Chanel Platinum Egoiste

Platinum Égoïste is the well known Chanel men’s fragrance that many people claim exudes confidence. I can’t say it exudes confidence so much as it’s a pleasant, professional, quality fragrance. It’s loud but not shrieking, it’s pleasant but not boring, and it’ll last ’til the end of time. Platinum Égoïste is a clean, soap-like, aromatic that’s so versatile you’d be hard pressed to find a time when you can’t wear it.  Platinum Egoiste

In Bottle: Aromatics up my nose. Help. My very first reaction to this was that it smells very familiar. It took a few moments before I realized it. Holy hell, it smells like my fiance’s soap or shampoo.

Applied: Aromatics that mix together to make that masculine soap and shampoo scent. This is like Prada’s d’Homme but done much louder and a bit better. It’s clean, fresh, very familiar to the Acqua di Gio crowd but much more expensive and sophisticated while at the same time being pleasant and approachable. As Égoïste ages, it turns into a sharp lemon and aromatic which eventually fades back into a nicer, less abrasive floral heart with a pleasant touch of aqua. The dry down is a light, crisp cedar and musk. To get anywhere near the dry down you have to wait hours. Like with most Chanel fragrances, the scent stays on you for a long time. Which makes this a great office fragrance that you don’t have to worry about touching up. So long as you go light on it because while this stuff smells pleasant, sophisticated and approachable it is also extremely strong.

Extra: Platinum Égoïste sometimes gets accused of being boring or overpriced for what it is due to its similarity to Acqua di Gio fresh and other fairly typical aqua fragrances. I don’t smell Acqua di Gio in this, it has a very subtle sophistication to it that a pure AdG clone tends to lack. As for overpriced? I’d have to point to Creed’s Virgin Island Water or Green Irish Tweed if we’re banking on that argument. There’s an overarching feel  to Platinum Égoïste that sets it in the same mood as Acqua di Gio, but to me, there’s a bit of spin in this stuff that also sets it aside. It smells better, more expensive, and better made. In the end, if it smells the same to you as another fragrance then don’t buy it. As for me, I love it.

Design: Comes in a nicely made rectangular glass bottle with a metal cap. Has that nice weighty feel that most Chanel bottles have. Simple, elegant, not at all gaudy or over the top. Just minimalist and lovely.

Fragrance Family: Aromatic Fresh

Notes: Lavender, rosemary, petitgrain, clary sage, geranium, galbanum, vetiver, cedarwood, labdanum, treemoss.

Reviewed in This Post: Platinum Egoiste , 2009, Eau de Toilette.

Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat

Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is probably one of my favorite Guerlain fragrances. So it’s a good bit of fortune that I came upon it recently at La Signature at Disney Epcot in Florida. Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a classic from 1920 that is available at better stocked Guerlain counters, but more exclusively than Shalimar. Nothing wrong with you, Shalimar.  I just see you everywhere. Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat

In Bottle: Lemons! I hope you like lemons because Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a big lemon tree. Green and crisp and citrus and fresh. Lacking the notable Guerlain base but still so lovely all the same.

Applied: Sweet lemon candy is a strange introduction into Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat but it’s a welcome one as the fragrance matures immediately into a cool lemon. As this is a pretty simple mixture with low concentration Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a fleeting scent, even on clothing. It’s even more fleeting on the skin. After the lemon candy dissolves a bit, the lemon dominates the scene and an hour later, you’re left with a soft light, floral quality that’s just barely there and extremely fleeting. Don’t wear this if you want longevity. This fragrance has no base stage and I hesitate to say it may not have much of a mid-stage either. Wear if you want a quick fresh burst of fragrance from a sophisticated lemon-like note. I’ve had trouble with lemon notes in other fragrances so I was pleased to note that cedrat is not lemon necessarily but a close relative that smells much better on me. The cedrat in Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a lovely, soft, crisp little thing that won’t overstay its welcome or yell the entire time it’s there.

Extra: Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is pretty much what its name suggestions. It’s a flower and citron. It’s not trying to be anything else and if you do expect more complexity, this isn’t the place to look. The cedrat is similar to a lemon but has an icy and more candy-like fragrance. It smells remarkably similar to a lemon, but in a fragrance it couldn’t behave more differently.

Design: Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat comes in a bee bottle design as a 100ml bottle. Lovely molded glass with bee designs on the glass itself. It both looks and feels luxurious , which is why I adore the bee bottles so much.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Citrus

Notes: Citron, white florals.

La Signature, also known by many Epcot patrons as, “That store that sells really expensive French perfume that I’ve never heard of”, is probably the best place to go–short of Paris–for a big selection of Guerlain fragrances and their cosmetics line. I don’t  use their cosmetics but the amount of Guerlain perfumes they’ve got there is fantastic.

Reviewed in This Post: Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, circa 2008, Eau de Cologne.

Perfumes Getting Simpler

While I do tend to be a fan of both complex and simple perfumes, I can’t really advocate the deluge of single or two note fragrances flooding the market right now. A single note is nice because it’s a clear, unhindered fragrance. But a single note could similarly be achieved by catching a whiff of an essential oil.

Meanwhile, this flood of perfumes with a few notes dashed in here and there is defeating the once mighty complex perfume with a notes listing a mile long. Where every wearer experiences a different progression from top, mid, and base. I have to wonder how Guerlain’s older vintages will fare up if this single or two note business really kicks off. It’ll never truly be the same when we have companies rolling out lime and lemon combos, while beautiful compositions like Nahema are left to the past.

Vera Wang’s Princess an Oriental Fragrance?

I have to laugh when I read PR releases for perfumes sometimes. Take the one for Vera Wang’s Princess for instance that bills it as a floral-oriental.


The only spectrum this weaksauce fragrance is going to inhabit is the likes of the gourmand floral where syrupy-sweet cake batter is mixed with a confusing array of equally sweet florals to create a miasma of scent reminiscent of the baking disasters I had when I was a kid.

You have admit, it’s pretty ballsy for them to bill this fragrance as a floral-oriental when they know full well the oriental classification encompasses greats like Shalimar and Opium. It’s almost like Princess is dying to become Queen but she doesn’t want to do any of the hard work when she gets there.

The only thing oriental about this fragrance is the vanilla. But if we were judging based on that alone, we’d have to classify Viva la Juicy as an oriental too. And that’s just silly.

Avril Lavigne Forbidden Rose

Forbidden Rose is the second fragrance the people in charge of slapping Avril Lavigne’s name on things have come out with. Forbidden Rose’s tagline is, “Dare to discover”. Which I’m assuming is related to trying to unearth where rose comes into play in this fragrance. Forbidden Rose

In Bottle: I’ll give you guys a hint; there’s no rose note in Forbidden Rose. Probably where the ‘forbidden’ part comes into play is when it’s making it obvious that you’re not getting a rose out of this thing. This fragrance is more content being a fresh aquatic floral and not a whole lot else.

Applied: Funny enough there’s a brief blast of sweet vanilla and florals. After about five seconds, Forbidden Rose heads into its longest and blandest phase. The florals ramp up their game into sharp, clean scent that made my nose immediately fire off a screaming message in my brain that read, “This smells like Turquoise Seas by Calgon!” Upon smelling my twelve year–rather well-preserved–bottle of Turquoise Seas, I’m likely to agree with my nose. Then I smelled Calgon’s Morning Glory sitting next to it and Forbidden Rose seems to have borrowed from that as well. I don’t know if it’s the banality of the fragrance that makes it smell like a amalgamation of at least two Calgon body mists but Forbidden Rose isn’t daring me to discover anything except where it borrowed its notes from. It’s not an offensive fragrance by any means, in fact, being compared to a couple of body mists is a testament to how inoffensive this fragrance is. It smells like cleaned up flowers that have been scrubbed extra well. It’s easy to wear, but highly unexciting. And if you let it dry down, the sharpness goes away and you get a faint whiff of a typical sandalwood vanilla base with the ghost of that Amalgamation of Calgon Body Mist lingering in the back.

Extra: Don’t rush out and blind buy a bunch of body mists because of me. Like every fragrance reviewer–I don’t care who they are–their experience with the perfume may different from yours. So if you are going to do some rushing, rush to smell Forbidden Rose then try to seek out the two Calgons and see if they’re similar to you or not. Like most fragrances, you can never get an exact duplicate and there are differences between the three fragrances I mentioned but they are also similar enough to my nose that you could conceivably spend $8 on a bottle of body mist instead of $60 on a eau de parfum.

Design: Forbidden Rose has a cute presentation. The juice is a fun purple color. The glass portion of the bottle’s shape is reminiscent of the tall Thierry Mugler Angel bottle with the silver cap. While at the same time it gives a nice little homage to the other Avril Lavigne fragrance; Black Star. Forbidden Rose has a cute little black plastic rose as a cap. It is nice and pleasant to hold. Easy to spray. No complaints here.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Floral

Notes: Apple, peach, bourbon pepper, lotus flower, apple blossom, heliotrope, pomegranate, vanilla, chocolate, sandalwood.

It seems that those of you looking for a daring fragrance is going to have to keep looking when it comes to stuff with Avril’s name on it. I want to reiterate that Forbidden Rose does not smell bad. It simply smells pedestrian, which is not always a bad thing.

Reviewed in This Post: Forbidden Rose, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Annick Goutal Mandragore

The best thing about Annick Goutal fragrances for me is the fact that they all tend to have this lovely light, garden flowers type of smell. The kind of fragrances that take something mainstream and improve on it. Like Guerlain often did. Mandragore

In Bottle: Fresh bright citrus, cooling mint and a lovely sweet anise note. Very fresh, nice amount of citrus and thankfully, no presence of lemon as fresh scents do tend to use that note as a crutch. Mandragore gets its freshness from mints and other citrus instead which I am very grateful for.

Applied: Citrus, mint, herb and a lot of anise. I’m really impressed with the mint and other herbal notes in this. They’re crisp and green and extremely refreshing. The anise sweetens and spices up Mandragore quite a bit. The fragrance remains fresh and bright with gentle wafts of spiciness coming in and out as the fragrance ages on my skin. The citrus leaves the fragrance some time during the mid-stage but the freshness doesn’t suffer from it. Mandragore uses those herbal aromatic notes to freshen things up instead of citrus. I’m really impressed. The dry down is a great fresh herb and woodsy ending. Unfortunately, Mandragore doesn’t last a very long time and needs to be reapplied more often than other eau de parfums. But the scent is absolutely lovely.

Extra: Mandragore is one of Annick Goutal’s more popular fragrances and with good reason. It’s got enough freshness to be a fantastic office scent, is excellent for places where you might need your scent to go on light and it’s quite a good unisex scent too. That is, if you don’t mind or like the feminine bottle design.

Design: Bottled in the same way as other Annick Goutal fragrances, in a ribbed glass bottle with a gold ribbon tying the fragrances name to the bottle. Mandragore also comes in a butterfly bottle. These things are round glass bottle with a butterfly topper. Finally, Mandragore can be purchased in a square bottle. Which is just that, a square-shaped bottle with a metal cap. Standard look if you would prefer something a little simpler in design.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Aromatic

Notes: : Bergamot, star anise, peppermint, sage, ginger, black pepper, boxwood, mandrake powder, ciste roots, labdanum.

I really love the bottles Annick Goutal presents their fragrances in. Not simple but very elegant and classic in style. Lining these things up is a great past time if you’re insane like I am.

Reviewed in This Post: Mandragore, 2008, Eau de Parfum.

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

More hits from Guerlain’s exclusive and prestigious l’Art et la Matière line. Cruel Gardenia is one of those gardenia scents that reminds me of Annick Goutal’s Gardenia Passion in that if there is any gardenia in this, I am not smelling it.  Cruel Gardenia

In Bottle: Pretty enough, lightly floral and creamy with slightly powdered underbelly. It smells girly and pretty and delicate like a single flower. That flower isn’t gardenia though.

Applied: After the first application Cruel Gardenia starts to sink into my skin and proceed to disappear without fanfare. Odd experience for me as the first waves of understated fruity florally goodness give way to an airy violets and sweetness floral heart rotating around a lilting vaporous muskiness. Oh, hi, tuberose. I see you’re in on this too. How are you doing? See, Cruel Gardenia is not so much a fragrance about Gardenia as it is dedicated to breezy, clean and girly florals that focus around being pretty to sort of steer me away from the fact that if there’s gardenia in this then there’s very little of it. The fragrance dries down to a pleasant enough lightly floral, creamy but unsweetened dry vanilla.

Extra: The crowd’s still out on the best blended gardenia fragrance but I’m going to have to pass on Cruel Gardenia. There’s not enough in there to really justify this. Certainly not for the price anyway.

Design: Bottled much the same way as Tonka Imperiale, Cruel Gardenia is encased in a lovely rectangular glass bottle and comes with a regular sprayer and a pump atomizer. And like Tonka Imperiale and Spiritueuse Double Vanille, once you install the sprayers onto these bottles you can’t refit them into their original boxes. I am still peeved about that, yes.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Peach, damask rose, neroli, violet, ylang-ylang, white musk, tonka, vanilla,  sandalwood.

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on these non-gardenia gardenia fragrances but I feel like I’ve been led on a wild goose chase. On the other hand, if you want to buy some fantastic, pure gardenia essential oil, Enfleurage’s looks mighty tempting.

Reviewed in This Post: Cruel Gardenia, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Guerlain Tonka Imperiale

Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matière line of fragrances celebrating great perfumers and great perfumes. The line has been going for some time now and Tonka Imperiale, as of this writing, is the newest release.Tonka Imperiale

In Bottle: Boozy vanilla with a slight almond edge and sourness. Tonka Imperiale reminds me a lot of Spiritueuse Double Vanille but the major difference is in the sourness. Tonka Imperiale has a sour almond scent to where. Spiritueuse Double Vanille, on the other hand, had smooth smokiness to back it up.

Applied: Vanilla liqueur with that hint of sour again. The sourness is quick to fly away though, leaving me with vanilla, almond and booze. The booze then escapes me leaving me with a lovely rich vanilla and almond scent that signifies the mid-stage of Tonka Imperiale. Lovely spiciness comes in to the join the parade, turning this into full on gourmand as I’m reminded of cookies at Christmas time, very vanilla and decadent rum and spice cookies. The dry down after the Christmas cooking phase is a smoky woodsy fragrance with the beautiful vanilla note hanging on by a thread.

Extra: L’Art et la Matière is Guerlain’s long awaited answer to their lost niche when they were acquied by LVMH. I always felt most of the mainstream Guerlain releases were really pedestrian and lacking that exquisite Guerlainess that defined them so well prior to the acquisition. Though I do like most of their mainstream releases, I am also overjoyed that they’re still putting out stuff like Tonka Imperiale,  Spiritueuse Double Vanille and the other L’Art et la Matière’s scents.  Guerlain’s still got it.

Design: Bottled in a similar shaped presentation as Spiritueuse Double Vanille, Tonka Imperiale has a neater presentation without the big label and the honey bee wax seal. It still comes in that fitted box that you can’t do anything with if you plan on using the fragrance while keeping it in its original box. But, in addition to having a regular sprayer, Tonka Imperial also comes with a pump atomizer.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: : Bergamot, rosemary, tonka bean, honey, spices, almond, jasmine, vanilla, cedar, pine, incense, tobacco and amber.

I really wrestled with wanting a bottle of this and wanting to keep money in my pocket. The L’Art et la Matière line is a few price points above Guerlain’s mainstream releases. It’s even a few price points above some niche houses. At $230 for 75ml, I found the price a bit rich for my tastes. I liked this, but not enough to blow that much on it.

Reviewed in This Post: Tonka Imperiale, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Montale Soleil de Capri

It’s a testament to how lovely Soleil de Capri is when I applied this and found it smelled so nice I had to stick my nose so close to the application site that I got some on my lips–then in my mouth. And before I knew it, I was swallowing the stuff and found it didn’t taste bad at all. Yeah, I’m a goof. But when a perfume tastes not bad and smells wonderful, you know it’s a keeper. Soleil de Capri

In Bottle: Light, sweetly floral and soapy scent with a very pleasant clean and clearness that I’m thinking might be white musk.

Applied: Lovely, clean and fresh and clear juicy, crisp citrus and clean white florals backed by a beautiful faintly sweet white musk. The scent sticks close to my skin. That’s how the little accident with me tasting this happened, you see. And you know what? It tastes like soap. Not at all unpleasant, though I wouldn’t recommend eating this all the same. The citrus stays around a bit but dissolves into the florals and white musk giving this a faintly soap scent. It dries down into a nice sheer musk. Soleil de Capri is lovely for sure, versatile for every day wear situations, not adventurous but manages to be beautiful just the same.

Extra: Sadly this isn’t the first time I’ve accidentally eaten or tasted my perfume. And funny enough, Soleil de Capri was the least offensive of the ones I’ve accidentally tasted.

Design: Bottled in much the same way as other Montale fragrances. Soleil de Capri’s container is a light brushed metal.

Fragrance Family: Fresh

Notes: : Grapefruit, kumquat, white flowers, white musk, spices.

I couldn’t smell much of the spices but the rest was certainly pleasant. Out of all of Montale’s fresh and clean fragrances, I really have to hand it to Soleil de Capri. It took light, airy, fresh and beautiful and made paradise for my nose.

Reviewed in This Post: Soleil de Capri, 2009, Sample Vial.

Safe Cosmetics Act 2010

New act introduced to Congress today. Mostly interested in restricting carcinogenic ingredients from use in cosmetics, lotions, creams, and perfumes. Essentially this act seeks to force companies to divulge ingredients with detectable trace amounts. Which means those formulas that the companies have been jealously guarding may be blown wide open in the US if this passes.

If you’re not one to really care how this legislation impacts perfume makers, or cosmetics makers and their secret ingredients for fragrances then perhaps you’ll care about how large an impact this may have on your personal care products after it passes. Namely, your products may become more expensive. The ingredients list on the back of your products is about to become four to six times longer. And this will force smaller, independent personal care companies to raise prices or shut down.

The truth about this act is, it’s a corrupt little piece of work by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. A loud and vocal non-profit with lobbying powers that’s celebrating its impending victory over Big Cosmetics while trampling little firms in the process.

Read more at Personal Care Truth.