Yves Saint Laurent Caban

Long time, no see, YSL. Mostly on my part. I’m looking into Caban today after I caught sight of it and fell in love with the bottle and minimalist aesthetic.



In Bottle: Sweet, rosy and deep like a sugared rose swimming in vanilla and a pinch of spiciness.

Applied:  Caban is more gourmand than I expected from it. Upon initial application, it has a very distinctive sweet tooth with a spicy kick added in. Immediately I smell vanilla, and a toffee-like sweetness that pervades the entire experience. Caban mellows into a middle with an added rose note and a mellowing woodsy scent. The spice is persistent and the rose and heavy sweetness tends to fade overtime, and in the end, it’s spices in the end with a very pleasant touch of sweet to carry out the scent.

Extra: I know next to nothing about fashion these days. So I only know that Caban is a relatively recent release from Yves Saint Laurent. It is one of five members of the new YSL Le Vestiaire des Parfums collection.

Design: I love the bottle, it reminds me of the classically simple but eminently luxurious minimalist aesthetic.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand Floral

Notes: Caramel, vanilla, pepper, rose, sandalwood, tonka bean.

This is a beautifully done and elegant gourmand floral. One that would actually be a lovely Valentine’s Day gift to a fragrance-lover with a sweet tooth. Presently, Caban can be purchased at Bergdorf Goodman. It runs for $250USD.

Reviewed in This Post: Caban, 2015, Eau de Parfum.

Cacharel Scarlett

Cacharel Scarlett happened upon my cluttered desk a while ago, it was a little sample knocking around from some of the circles I used to frequent back when perfumes were I hobby where I had time to indulge. I really miss it–the perfumes, I mean. So I gave Scarlett and a few others a whiff to see how things stacked up. And to dust off that long neglected notebook.



In Bottle: A light floral, a little pungent upon first whiff but I fear I may have smelled it a little “too hard”. Nothing really fancy about it yet.

Applied:  Bright and floral, a little juicy upon first application. There’s a sharp citrus to this at first that smells into a more rounded white florals style of scent. It’s very classically flowery and pleasant enough to wear. Scarlett isn’t really light, and nothing in it really reminds me of Scarlet O’Hara. But then, my vision of her doesn’t paint her in a dainty, floral at all and I expected something headier if it was to truly represent her. After a while of the white florals, the scent mellows into a mild warmed amber, honey and floral scent.

Extra: Scarlett was dedicated to the famous Scarletts in past and present including O’Hara and Johansson.

Design: I was actually surprised to see the bottle when I looked it up. It’s definitely not your typical curvy flacon and I actually kind of like it, though it clashes with my usual tastes. It’s different, and I guess that’s plenty to lend it credit to me.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Lemon, pear, jasmine, orange blossom, honeysuckle, amber, sandalwood, honey, white musk.

So I mentioned this didn’t really remind me of Scarlet O’Hara, it’s close and I understand where they’re trying to take it. To me, O’Hara is a heady, dark floral with a distinctive tuberose and a flash of something sharper and tangier like a cedar. I don’t know much about Johansson. In the end Scarlett is a nice, grown-up scent. It’s not groundbreaking enough to really set it apart from many of the other florals I’ve experienced, unfortunately.

Reviewed in This Post: Scarlett, 2015, Eau de Toilette.

Creed Sublime Vanille

I managed to stumble upon a very tiny sample of Creed Sublime Vanille thanks to a friend who asked me the other day when I’ll get my nose out work and into perfumes again. I didn’t realize what kind of treasure she had dropped into my lap until I did some research and promptly exclaimed, “What? Are you insane?”

Sublime Vanille

Sublime Vanille

In Bottle: A really, really light vanilla and some slight green notes that almost feel sour in the back of the throat.

Applied:  I really doubt my friend supplied me with a faulty sample and I fully believe the weakness of this sauce is due to Creed’s mixing. Or maybe it’s me. Whatever it is, I hardly get anything out of this. It smells of barely there vanilla and kind of leaves me wanting a lot more, especially after finding out its price tag ($710.00 on Creed’s website, if you were so inclined). I get a little hint of green sourness that I want to attribute to some kind of citrus. The two actually go pretty well together in the kind of way that you wouldn’t expect. Like those Terry’s chocolate orange things. Except unlike the chocolate oranges, this lacks in flavor, being kind of a weak throw type of scent. I feel like I need to line the inside of my nostrils in order to smell it. I can’t say that I am a fan.

Extra: Creed’s Sublime Vanille is a part of a collection of exclusives from the house. The flacons are beautiful and the price tag matches the aesthetic.

Design: Gorgeous design. I love the bottle, it looks nice and weighty and absurdly expensive. If someone were to break in one day, this would likely be the thing I’d hurl at them first–then I would regret it later. What? It’s $710 for stuff that barely smells like anything. I can be snarky.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Vanilla, tonka bean, orchid, musk, bergamot, lemon.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but I’m so much more cynical towards these pricey scents than I used to be. And perhaps the fact that this stuff costs so much that I expected so much more from it.

Reviewed in This Post: Sublime Vanille, 2014, Eau de Toilette.

Tauer Cologne du Maghreb

Has it really been that long? Was what I said when an email landed in my inbox the other day telling me this website had been updated and that I really ought to visit once in a while like a good daughter. Months ago, I received a very generous sample from Jeffrey Dame of Hypoluxe. When Cologne du Maghreb landed at my door, I said to myself, “Soon!” As months went by and more clients were piling work my way, soon became later and here we are. Cologne du Maghreb, lovely in most respects and while quite a bit later, better than never.

Cologne du Maghreb

Cologne du Maghreb

In Bottle: Fresh, green woods. Crisp with a little bit of flowery water thrown in.

Applied:  Cologne du Maghreb is lighter than what I thought it would be. It went on like a silk scarf, gentle and breezy with a clean and fresh opening of citrus and green leaves. It’s reminiscent of a whiff citrus zest. As it ages, there’s a floral note in the background that plays second fiddle to a very pleasant woody spice. Something tells me there’s a cedar in here, but at least it’s well-behaved and being tempered by a mix of florals and spices. The fragrance ends on a cool, ambery, woodsy note and dwindles into a fine floral finish.

Extra: Cologne du Maghreb was designed by Andy Tauer, famed for many fragrances in the Tauer Perfumes brand.

Design: Simple bottle with a nice and modern feel. No frills or crazy shapes and colors here. Just simplicity that works for what it is.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Woodsy

Notes: Lemon, bergamot, rosemary, lavender, orange blossom, neroli, rose, cedar, labdanum, vetiver, amber.

I had forgotten how much joy I derived from fragrances and fragrance reviewing. And I have a maintenance email to thank for bringing me back, even if it is a somewhat brief reunion. Cologne du Maghreb is a perfectly nice fragrance, light and a bit on the tame side but it doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking for something to wear on a frequent basis.

Reviewed in This Post: Cologne du Maghreb, 2014, Eau de Parfum.

Dita Von Teese Erotique

Got a request to do a review of this one. It took me a few months to track down a sample of it, half because it was curiously hidden away at department stores where I am and half because I felt another mention of celebuscents within months of each other was a bit over the top.



In Bottle: Leather and smoke with a bath of wood.

Applied:  Erotique reminds me of the word “blunt”, the adjective. It comes in with leather and gives you the dyed soaking version of just that. It smells of smoke instead of incense. The smoked leather is warm, if you need something to remind you of heat in the dead of winter, I think Erotique might help. It reminds me more of a fireplace than leather at times, and at other times it’s overwhelmingly warm leather. I guess the imagery I get from this is less erotic and more comfy. Like taking a nap on a leather sofa in front of a wood burning fireplace. There are other elements of this that come and go, in less noticeable amounts than the leather and wood. There’s not too much else I notice aside from a kick of spice here and there, but what is there is a pleasant enough journey for me.

Extra: Erotique was released in 2013. Dita Von Teese, I had to look up, and discovered she was at one time the wife of Marilyn Manson whose musical stylings confused and frightened an eight year old version of me back in the 90s.

Design: For a fragrance like this, I found the bottle to be a strange juxtaposition. Its shape and color and styling would make me think “sweet and fruity!” rather than warm leathery woods. The cap is also a bit overdone, but I’d be hard pressed to say the bottle didn’t look nice. I just don’t think it looks appropriate.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Leather

Notes: Rose, incense, leather, pepper, coriander, sandalwood, guaiac wood, cedar, musk.

Maybe it was because I had to take it easy on the fragrances for about a month, or maybe it was ten to twenty fragrances I had tested before I got this one–in a period of about three to four days but by the time I was done with Erotique, I had a pretty awesome fragrance headache. No idea where that came from, the last headache I got was years ago (from perfume anyway). I really don’t think it had anything to do with Erotique, but rather my brain telling me to ease myself back into perfumery. Regardless, Erotique is actually one of the few celebuscents that does something remotely different from everything else. If you must get yourself a celebuscent, try Erotique.

Reviewed in This Post: Erotique, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

The People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo

The title of this one alone kind of made me swallow hard. Not so much because it was long and difficult, but rather I wasn’t sure how my blog would wrap that title. I love the title though, Luctor et Emergo. You saw that to somebody and they’ll probably think you’re casting a spell on them. Bonus points to this one for having some of the most interesting notes, grass, almonds and sour cherries piqued my interest the most.

Luctor et Emergo

Luctor et Emergo

In Bottle: Probably the most interesting experience I’ve had in a while with a fragrance. First spray reminded me of a very expensive rum I had once. Aged some strange amount of decades, it came out smelling very similar to this. Like woody barrels, almond and a bit of spice.

Applied:  The application wasn’t much different to me than the off-skin sniff. It smelled of that aged rum, almond, a hint of vanilla, wood barrel and a sprinkle of spice. It smells tasty, but the initial burst of rum makes way for a predominantly woodsy scent. I smell this and I think of cherries and pencils. It harkens me back to elementary school, sharpening my pencils at my desk a tube of cherry chapstick wedged in the corner of my desk drawer. I liked collecting the curls of shavings because I thought they looked beautiful. It’s a good memory, and I think a nice way for me to describe Luctor et Emergo. It’s the shaving curls off of sharpened pencils. Rolled into little ribbons of wood, collect them together and make a nice masterpiece. I get a bit of the almond in this as well, sweet and mild and working with a hidden vanilla note. The longer I let this age, the more the woods grow on me. They’re pleasant and tempered woods. Not the screaming harpy that I often associate with cedar. These woods are soft and pretty and nostalgic. I actually really love this, just for the memory spur alone.

Extra: Luctor et Emergo was released in 1997. I looked up what Luctor et Emergo meant, and the translation I came up with was “I struggle and emerge”.

Design: I have to admit, I’m not sure I’m a fan of the bottle design. Something about it reminds me of a nail polish bottle and I think it’s a part of that design sensibility that faded away a bit in the 90s.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Grass, white florals, vanilla, almond, cherry, precious woods.

The opinion on this one seems mixed across reviewers. I personally like it because of how nostalgic it made me feel. Hard to believe because I distinctly remember having not that greatest of times in elementary school. But I suppose the reminder of those pretty pencil shavings was something I missed. You can get Luctor et Emergo from Olfactif or LuckyScent.

Reviewed in This Post: Luctor et Emergo, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Grand Cuir was another inclusion in the March 2014, Olfactif package. Its copy tells me to expect a leather, smooth and unique. Dove right in.

Grand Cuir

Grand Cuir

In Bottle: Fresh, smooth and animalic upon first sniff. Heavy like a classic fragrance but lacking that “aged” feel you’d get from a vintage.

Applied:  I get an initial burst of freshness upon initial application. Woodsy and leathery with a lick of herbal. Grand Cuir is a chameleon, it changes before I can put a finger on what I expect it’s trying to smell like. There’s a note of stickiness to it as well, like an animal creeping around in the woods. I think that ultimately is how I’d describe this, something primal creeping around in some glorious woods. There’s a note of a flower bed, a hint of clean, and a dusting of leather. Grand Cuir fades down to a clean, light scent at the end. Complex with a good bit of throw and longevity, Grand Cuir is interesting at the very least. Not my kind of thing, but it’s something to consider if you want a smooth leather.

Extra: Grand Cuir was a more recent launch in 2013 and designed by Hugh Spencer. There’s also a rather interesting interview with Jeffry Dame about Parfums Retro you should check out.

Design: Very simple bottle, somewhat retro in design as well so I’d have to say they hit the visuals right on the mark. Good and clean, nothing garish. Well done bottle and design overall.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Leather

Notes: Labdanum, birch tar, clary sage, orange flower, lavender, carnation, rose, violet, geranium, cinnamon, tarragon, pine, moss, sandalwood, rosewood, patchouli, musk.

No vanilla in this, but I don’t think it really needs it. At least, I got no vanilla. I was perfectly happy with the cute soda-like opening and the mellow, relaxing florals in the middle. The woods note in this is fantastic too. You can get your hands on Parfums Retro’s Grand Cuir from Olfactif.

Reviewed in This Post: Grand Cuir, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Ineke Scarlet Larkspur

Having done very little to seemingly whittle down the remaining selection of samples I have, I really said to myself that I ought to stop ignoring my passion for smellies under the pretense that I’m “busy”. Busy doesn’t excuse the fact that I need to do something I enjoy or go crazy from nothing but work. So I went back to my notes, re-sniffed the things I meant to re-sniff and here I am, Scarlet Larkspur, months too late but better than never!

Scarlet Larkspur

Scarlet Larkspur

In Bottle: Light and pretty, cherry with a bubbling start and finish and a spicy support.

Applied:  Cherry, like red cherry cola upon application. I feel like I sprayed the essence of a classic soda I once tried. Scarlet Larkspur tickles the nose then fades into a pretty spicy floral in the mid-stage with a woodsy backing. There’s a nice clean depth to Scarlet Larkspur that I’m starting to recognize in the entire line. It’s easy to approach, gentle and not overwhelming or loud. This smells like a fragrance I wear when I want to relax.

Extra: Scarlet Larkspur is a member of Ineke’s Floral Curiosities collection.

Design: I really love the design of the entire Floral Curiosities line. Simple bottle shapes, but with beautiful literary imagery with swooping typography and a vintage motif.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Wine, cherry, currant, saffron, florals, amyris wood, tonka bean, vanilla.

No vanilla in this, but I don’t think it really needs it. At least, I got no vanilla. I was perfectly happy with the cute soda-like opening and the mellow, relaxing florals in the middle. The woods note in this is fantastic too.

Reviewed in This Post: Scarlet Larkspur, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Sarah Horowitz Perfect Nectar

Something rather delightful was waiting in the mail for me just the other week. I hadn’t been active much on this blog since work started ramping up again, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a package from Olfactif containing three samples of fragrances I hadn’t yet tried. Hey, smellies in my mailbox? I’m game.

Perfect Nectar

Perfect Nectar


In Bottle: I went with the one sample that seemed to be the most lighthearted. With a series of notes sliding around in the fruity floral arena, I felt Perfect Nectar was a good one to start off with. A light citrus opening that dives right into its white floral roots.

Applied:  I get very little else but white flowers in this interpretation. It’s quite sweet and rather heady. The white florals taking the prominent podium for the majority of the show. With no base notes to go off of, the florals are pretty much all I get. Now, I like white florals just fine. There’s a definite sense of Perfect Nectar trying to hit a sophisticated note, but it does come off exceptionally strong and a little bit lacking in the depth department. Lovely as it is, there’s not a whole lot in terms of other notes. I get sweet florals for pretty much the entirety of its lifespan and it’s got a very long lasting lifespan.

Extra: Perfect Nectar was released in 2000.

Design: Lovely simple bottle. I’m a big fan of delicate little flourishes on bottles too. No frills, and none needed. Lovely bottle.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Tangerine, blood orange, papaya, mango, ylang-ylang, green tea, white forals.

Olfactif is a fragrance delivery service where the samples you get once a month introduces you a potential fragrance love. Did I mention that they specialize in niche so you won’t be faced with getting samples of painfully obvious fragrances? I love the concept. As for Perfect Nectar, I don’t think it’s the one for me as it is somewhat one-dimensional, a little too strong in the floral note and not nearly enough of anything else to keep me interested. If you are looking for a clean fragrance with excellent staying power and throw, this might be a good contender for you.

Reviewed in This Post: Perfect Nectar, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Some Common Misconceptions About Celebrity Perfume

I’ve heard all of these in some variant over the years and maybe it’s time to gather up all my thoughts so the next time I get a question or remark like this, I can refer to this post and copy/paste. One of my resolutions for 2014 is efficiency (sometimes laziness). In truth, I’m just tired of seeing these misconceptions about celebrity fragrances bouncing around.

Kylie Minogue's Sexy Darling

Kylie Minogue’s Sexy Darling

1. Celebrity perfume is low quality and isn’t as good as brand name perfume.
Not really true. Most celebrity perfumes are pretty generic, dull and not really worth the time to fuss over. But their quality isn’t that much better or worse than most mainstream offerings. If it’s quality you really want, you’ll have to do a bit of research and experimentation to find what really works.

2. [Insert celebrity here] designed this fragrance.
More like, the fragrance company or house that partnered up with the celebrity had their professional perfumers come up with concepts, develop the fragrances, ran the stuff through a few rounds of testing and probably a grueling revision process before they presented the celebrity (or their representatives, in some cases) with the proposed product. I’ll never find myself in a situation where a fragrance house wants to make “Eau de Kay”, but lacking any sort of formal aromachemical training, I doubt they would let me do much beyond picking one out of a batch of sanitized samples. The thought of Snooki donning a lab coat to personally formulate her fragrance does make for some interesting mental imagery though.

3. Since this perfume has the celebrity’s name on it, they must use it all the time.
Sometimes true, sometimes not. Some people love wearing the same scent every day, all day. Some people like to mix it up and change scents from day to day. It’s pretty unrealistic to presume a celebrity would wear a fragrance with their name on it all the time. I’m sure some celebrities actually wear the fragrances that they endorse. At the same time, I think many of them wear other fragrances along with the ones they endorse. Then there are those where the fragrance really was just marketing and they don’t wear fragrances at all or wear something else entirely. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t laugh if I saw, “Justin Bieber caught wearing his ‘Girlfriend’ fragrance at mall” in the news. Unfortunately, I don’t read the entertainment column.

4. I like [insert celebrity here]. So I must also like their favorite perfumes.
Nothing would sadden me more than a potential perfume lover being turned off perfumes because they found the fragrances their favorite celebrities liked didn’t agree with them. Wear perfume that you like. Problem solved.

5. Celebrity branded perfumes smell like said celebrities.
I hope not. I would personally find it very disturbing if any human being’s “natural scent” was peaches, blueberry candy, caramel and faux sandalwood.

I had originally written this months ago and kept it on the draft list. Given how much JB’s been in the news lately, I wanted to hold off on release this for a while until things settled down. Heaven knows that kid doesn’t need any more publicity–good or bad!