Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Fragrance ~ Coco Noir ~ Chanel

The original Coco is one of my all-time favorite perfumes, so my heart did a happy dance when I read about Coco Noir, the latest Chanel set for release this September.  Created by Jacques Polge (the house perfumer at Chanel since 1978, he created the original Coco and Coco Mlle.), it's a flanker of the original and has notes of bergamot, grapefruit, orange, jasmine, rose, geranium, patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood, incense and white musk.  One of the few perfumes I would buy unsniffed.  And the bottle?  Wow!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Michael ~ Michael Kors

End of winter blues?  Need a trip to the tropics without leaving home?  Then Michael might be just the ticket.

Michael Kors first perfume (launched in 2000) was a departure from the squeaky clean fragrances that dominated the market at the time, but quickly became a huge seller and met with great reviews.  This is predominately a white floral, but is rounded and softened by tamarind and smooth woods.  Its structure is clear - while it's very lush, it won't suffocate everyone around you.  You're left with an impression of blooming tropical flowers freshened by cool breezes.  A touch of incense gives it a sexy edge.  If you enjoy tuberose perfumes (like Fracas and Carnal Flower) but find them over the top for every day wear, then try Michael.

official notes (courtesy of Sephora):  

Dewy Freesia, Tamarind, Chinese Osmanthus, Incense, Fresh Tuberose, White Wings Peony, Blue Orris, Arum Lilies, Cashmere Woods, Musk, Vetiver Haiti.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

By ~ Dolce & Gabbana

This ultra-sexy perfume is for the self-assured woman who knows what she wants - and goes after it. If Lovely epitomizes Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie in Sex and the City, then By would be worn by Samantha.  Launched in 1998, By was popular in Europe, but never took off here in States, partly because the 90s were all about "fresh" scents.  It's too bad, because I think if it had been introduced a few years earlier, it would have gotten the recognition it deserves.

First impression reveals a bright citrusy bergamot, but very quickly takes a deeper turn: it doesn't take long for its inner growl to emerge. After it's settled, it smells like a coffee/bourbon/sandalwood second skin, with subtle white florals weaving in and out of the composition now and then. Vanilla is there, but very restrained, lending the composition a round smoothness.  The whole effect is really quite intoxicating.  It's definitely an evening scent.

I would classify it as a woody oriental.  Sillage and longevity are excellent.  I believe it's been discontinued, but it can still be found from internet discounters (though a tad pricey).  However, if you're looking for a distinctive perfume with personality, it would be worth searching out a bottle.  I adore the animal print!

Official notes:  clementine, bergamot, freesia, osmanthus, tiger-lily, orange flower, sandalwood, cedarwood, coffee, musk.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fancy ~ Jessica Simpson

I've learned to put aside celebrity names (and my sometimes negative associations with them) and judge their perfumes based on merit.  After all, they are developed by professional noses, and sometimes you can stumble upon a little gem (Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker comes to mind).

My wonderful daughter is visiting this week from Denver, and she brought with her a bottle of Fancy.  I spritzed away, not expecting much, but was surprised how much I enjoyed it.  A sweet comfort scent, the opening reveals a fruity floral with LOTS of amber (a favorite note of mine), so I'm sure that's what won me over so quickly.  It vacillates between creamy and dessert-like to a drier woody-oriental.  Gardenia and jasmine are listed in the notes, but I don't detect much of either, so I wouldn't worry about them if don't like white florals.  Overall, it's one of those fragrances that I would reach for when I need my perfume to give me a warm hug.  It's not sophisticated or terribly complex, but sometimes that's OK.  If you dislike sweet perfume, stay away from this one!

The bottle is a bit gaudy for my taste, but I suppose appeals to the target market of 20-somethings who like pop music.

Official notes:  pear, apricot nectar, red fruits, gardenia, jasmine, toasted almonds, caramel, sandalwood, vanilla crème and amber crystals

Happy sniffing!
Barbara

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Allure Sensuelle ~ Chanel

Created in 2006 by perfumer Jacques Polge (who also created my beloved Coco), Allure Sensuelle is ravishing.  Nothing like its sister-scent Allure, this beauty should have been given her own name, rather than relegated to mere flanker status.  She has a distinct personality.

Living up to the Chanel name, it starts out BIG.  When you first try it, apply sparingly, and be patient.  Give it a few minutes to settle and it warms and softens beautifully on the skin.  The opening reveals spicy florals and a lovely, subtle fruity sweetness, but the real reward is when the rich basenotes appear:  frankincense, sandalwood, exotic spices, and bourbon vanilla lend the composition a smokey sexiness that is unmatched in most modern perfumes.  I'm very surprised that this hasn't received more attention, but that can be a good thing...those that love it are in on a beautiful secret!

While I firmly believe any perfume can be worn during any season, this is really best in the colder months, and shines in the evening.

Official notes:   Top notes contain bergamot, mandarin and pink pepper. The heart is composed of jasmine, rose, iris, candied fruits and vetiver followed by the base notes of French vanilla, amber, patchouli and frankincense.  Just the right amount of sillage and tremendous lasting power.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maitresse ~ Agent Provocateur

First of all, how fantastic is this bottle?  Reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec's late 19th century paintings of risque Parisians, I fell in love with it immediately.  I was hoping the fragrance would be equally wonderful, and it is.

The total effect is a feminine melange of intoxicating notes.  Based on aldehydes, and opening like a classic French perfume, you are immediately greeted by white lotus petals, delicate nuances of ylang-ylang, and violet leaves.  The heart opens up with osmanthus, jasmine, and rose, and its base reveals powdery iris, amber, patchouli, and white suede.

Save it for the boudoir and romantic evenings out.  Light application; a little goes a long way!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

For The Men: Dirty English ~ Juicy Couture

Dirty English first debuted in 2008, eager to tap into the young male market that was tired of "fresh" scents that smelled like soap.  They delivered.  This is a surprisingly sophisticated woody-oriental that would smell great on a man of any age.

The opening is uber-masculine: leather, cypress, and agarwood make their presence known immediately.  A boozy/whiskey vibe emerges later which gives it a bad-boy edge.  Cardamom and caraway add spice, and the finish is a sexy amber-musk. Sillage and longevity are excellent. It was nominated for a FiFi award in 2009.

I could see guys like Colin Farrell and Olivier Martinez wearing this well.  You do have to have presence to pull it off.  Really love the rugged bottle.

Official notes:  Blue Cypress, Mandarin, Bergamot, Black Leather, Sandalwood, Amber Musk, Atlas Cedar, Vetiver, Wood, Black Moss Absolute

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Freak ~ Illamasqua

The debut fragrance by London based cosmetics company Illamasqua, Freak is an attempt to appeal to the "fringe" consumer looking for an edgy scent.  Since I fall into that demographic, I was very excited to get my sample, and today it arrived.
It opens with a chilly, metallic edge which soon gives way to a floral/fruity heart.  The base reveals a smoky, dirty musk with whispers of patchouli and other woods.  It does give the impression of being outdoors in a garden under the moonlight, but does it live up to its "daringly provocative" tagline?  No. It certainly isn't as voluptuous or as magical as its notes suggest.  That said, I was not completely disappointed.  It's a good fragrance that I will revisit often. And it goes without saying that the bottle is fabulous!

Official notes:
 top: Black Davana, Opium Flower and Belladonna.  heart: Poison Hemlock, Datura and Queen of the Night blossom.  base: Aromas of Frankincense, Oud and Myrrh.