American Idol Idol Moments

Happy Valentine’s Day! And yes, there is an American Idol perfume. Two, actually. This one’s for women. The one for men–which I can’t seem to find anywhere in a sample size or decant, is called Idol Spirit.

Idol Moments Perfume

In Bottle: Hey citrus, how you doing? This is a pretty normal self-explanatory citrus opener with nothing to feed it any inspiration. I don’t think American Idol perfumes are supposed to be special or unique in any way so I’m not disappointed in the citrus opening–just kind of disinterested.

Applied: After citrus, of which I detect mostly clean slightly sweet orange with a bit of bergamot spice. The mid stage is a light white floral consisting mostly of lily and jasmine with a hint of rose lingering here and there. The floral bouquet is done fairly well for what it is. I don’t actually have a whole lot to say except this is decent and wearable though I don’t find anything particularly noteworthy or beautiful about it. It’s light and flowery, not too sweet, and the dry down is inoffensive enough with a fading floral scent. Idol Moments is pretty banal but highly wearable. It’s fresh, it’s clean, the heavy use of florals leans it more towards feminine. It’s dull but it’s not terrible and I can at least commend it for not relying on vanilla to carry the scent.

Extra: I expected to hate this but I actually didn’t. I wouldn’t exactly call this competent but I would call it passable. Idol Moments was released in 2004. I don’t really  watch the show but their fragrance  for women is decent.

Design: The bottle is a no frills pink cylinder that kind of reminds me half of Lacoste’s Love of Pink and half of Pink Sugar. Why does everything have to remind me of Pink Sugar? Anyway, if you were looking for beautiful packaging this probably won’t be it as it’s pretty utilitarian and not in an elegant way like Chanel. More like utilitarian in a hairspray can kind of way. The box it comes in is a little silly too with a see through cover where one of the idol figures is standing around in front of the bottle encased within.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Bergamot, mandarin, orange, rose, jasmine, geranium, magnolia, lily, ylang-ylang.

Well, that wasn’t too bad. What is bad is tracking this stuff down. You know, some of these gimmick fragrances are a lot harder to track down than some niche and vintage perfumes. If you want a bottle of Idol Moments now your best bet is to hit up eBay.

Reviewed in This Post: Idol Moments, 2004, Eau de Toilette.

Bruce Willis Cologne

Hey, did you guys know Bruce Willis came out with a perfume? Yeah, me neither. The reason? The distribution company for this fragrance does not service North America. So, amusingly enough, tracking this stuff down is even harder than tracking down some niche perfumes.

Bruce Willis Cologne

In Bottle: The scent bills itself as elegant, green and woody. And green is what I’d definitely call this opening. Straight out of the bottle and it is a clean, sharp green grapefruit fragrance with a dash of pepper. There’s a touch of sweet orange in here. Some people have noted that it reminds them of Terre d’Hermes. I can see that. This also reminds me of John Varvatos Artisan without the pepper. But when I said sharp, I really mean sharp. I was actually surprised it didn’t go with the lowest common denominator (aqua and citrus) and the opening is pleasant with a bit of a kick. Not bad.

Applied: After the initial blast up your nose with the pepper and citrus, Bruce Willis (heh) mellows out a little but remains spicy as the rest of its notes come in–when I say notes, I really meant, note because from hereon in, I smell one thing predominantly. But let make a note about the grapefruit. The grapefruit is a bit of a lingerer, holding onto the top to clean up the black pepper a bit and I do like the opening it’s competently done. However, Bruce Willis goes into the mid-stage smelling more woodsy with the cedar note slowly amping up until it reaches maximum tolerance, then keeps going up. And here comes the cedar, loud and sharp and obnoxious and I’m sorry. I think I’ve already established that me and cedar don’t belong together when its overused and Bruce Willis overused the cedar. This fragrance is really strong, and the powerful cedar does not do it any favors for me. Mingled with the pepper and this stuff gets almost unbearably loud. Nothing special, just really loud. Bruce Willis Cologne has fantastic longevity, I’ll give it that and its projection is massive. I sprayed this twice from a tester vial and people could smell me from across the room. When this stuff does calm down hours later, the cedar mellows out a little and I can smell some earthiness peaking through before it disappears too and leaves me with the merciless cedar until I scrub it all off.

Extra: I saw what it was made of and noted the cedar and decided that I did not need more than 2mls of this and I’m glad I only got that much. Bruce Willis Cologne is probably not bad. I just have an unfortunate intolerance for loud cedar. Otherwise, this fragrance is decent. It’s not special, it’s got a pleasant opening but by mid-stage it falls apart on me. If you want something with longevity and projection, this is a good contender.

Design: The bottle’s shape is quite nice, simple, elegantly designed, the cap adds a bit of masculinity to the design. The overall shape and aesthetics of the bottle is rather nice. The metal plate bearing the fragrance’s name and concentration is a tad ludicrous but it could have been a lot worse. Overall the design is pretty decent.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Grapefruit, orange, black pepper, cedar, gum benzoin, vetiver.

And there you have it, a Bruce Willis perfume. A really difficult to find and procure Bruce Willis perfume for people living in North America and given how it smells, I don’t think it’s worth importing it at a hefty price tag. You could get a more well-behaved fragrance that smells close to this with Terre d’Hermes. So unless you’re a Bruce Willis paraphernalia collector, I think the fragrance is a pass due to how hard it is to get and how unspectacular it is by comparison.

Reviewed in This Post: Bruce Willis, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Valentine’s Day Fragrance Recommendations

So Valentine’s Day is creeping up on us again. If you haven’t yet, you still have three days to pick a perfume if you’re going that route this year. If you have someone in your life who loves perfume, always heed the most important advice anyone can give when it comes to fragrances; Know what they like and never blind buy. Blind buying, unless you are a major fragrance collector, can get ugly when you accidentally get a perfume the other person hates. So, make sure you profile them a little to see what kind of scents they enjoy.

Now, with that having been said, the following is a little list of perfume recommendations for your special someone ordered from affordable to lavish. Happy hunting. And remember, don’t blind buy these just because I recommend them. Go smell them first!

For Women

Affordable: Cherry Blossom from L’Occitane en Provence – $38.00 (50ml)
Cherry Blossom from L’Occitane is one of those pretty, sheer, easy to wear florals that’s done very well. It’s not the widely popular Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works so you aren’t getting her a fragrance that everyone else has. L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom hits a more sophisticated level.

Mid-Range:J’Adore L’Eau from Dior – $88.00 (125ml)
J’Adore L’Eau borrows from the same concept as the original J’Adore but does it in a lighter, slightly sweeter, and fresher way. I find L’Eau a nice, clean, crisp scent that’s hard to hate. J’Adore itself was beautiful and L’Eau makes an already easy scent to wear even easier. Not to mention at 125ml for $88.00, you are getting a pretty good deal for a Dior perfume.

High End: Beige from Chanel les Exclusifs – $210.00 (200ml) or $110 (75ml)
Beige is one of the most beautiful fragrances from Chanel’s les Exclusifs line. It’s strong but elegant. Classic but modern. It’s an echo from Chanel’s days when the house was at its best. Beige is a gorgeous floral that evolves into a woodsy scent. Unique but very easy to wear and very obedient.

Lavish: Un Lys from Serge Lutens$140 (50ml)
Un Lys is a beautiful piece of work from Serge Lutens. It’s a lily soliflore done so well that it’s won over many hearts especially those who love lilies and light florals.

For Men

Affordable: Arber from The Body Shop – $28.00 (100ml)
It’s hard to beat that price for an ultimately decent men’s fragrance that’s fresh, clean, easy to use and relatively well-composed. Arber’s watermelon note shouldn’t scare you away, it only adds to the crisp freshness of the scent.

Mid-Range: L’Eau au Masculin from Lolita Lempicka $83.00 (100ml)
The lighter, more woodsy and more citrus version of the feminine perfume, Lolita Lempicka. There is a very well done licorice note in this fragrance that gives it a little flair. Interesting, more complex than the standard mass market offerings and comes in a neat looking bottle.

High End: Vetiver 46 from Le Labo – $200 (100ml) or $130 (50ml)
Vetiver 46 is a great vetiver iteration. Vetiver being one of the more popular notes used in men’s fragrances. This is an interesting take and stays true to the sense of vetiver with a masucline darkness to it. It is recognizable, noticeable but not overwhelming.

Lavish: Memoir from Amouage$260 (100ml) or $225 (50ml)
Memoir is a complex, dark, and dense fragrance focused on a beautiful spicy, woodsy herbal blend that is, as usual, incredibly well-blended by Amouage. This is a fragrance for fancy dinners and special occasions but it can also work as an everyday scent if you want to feel luxurious every day.

And there you have it, a bunch of recommendations for fragrances. I tried to keep most of these likable but always, always, smell before you buy!

Valois Dispensing Systems

This has to do with perfume, I swear! Valois is one of the leading manufacturers and providers of spray pumps for fragrances including clientele like Armani and Guerlain. You can check out their extensive list of products here.

Meanwhile, I marvel over how often people ask how many pumps they can get out of [xxx]ml of perfume. Seems the answer depends on what atomizer you have. Not exactly shocking to me, but the following generic formula should give you a close estimate:

14.25 sprays per 1ml

Take 14.25 and multiply by how many ml is in a fragrance. If you need to convert from oz to ml, consider this formula:

1 oz per 29.57 ml

Multiply oz by 29.57 to get the approximate ml.

Ed Hardy Hearts and Daggers

So what do you do when you get a hankering for a fruity perfume? Book it over to Hearts and Daggers and experience the fragrance the least smells like hearts and daggers! This perfume is well-loved amongst the mass market and I can see why, it’s fun, it’s fruity. It’s so painfully easy though.

Ed Hardy Hearts and Daggers

In Bottle: Fruit punch. Yeah. Even in the bottle Hearts and Daggers smells extremely sweet, like you’re taking a whiff of someone’s fruit punch containing as many fruits as they can cram in.

Applied: There’s an initial flare of sweet grape and what I swear smells like canned pineapple and mandarins. Then as the fragrance continues to age it throws more fruits into the mix. Berries, apples, mangos, what have you got? We’ll add it in. What’s that? A passionfruit? Why not? Basically Hearts and Daggers crams a bunch of fruit notes into itself so that the progression is so hard to define simply because all the fruit notes end up floating up to the top of the notes pyramid. As a result, this scent suffers hugely from longevity issues. Almost every note it uses is a delicate top note so they’ll fly away rather quickly. When Hearts and Daggers settles down into its dry down phase, you realize there’s something else mixed in with the fruits that you hadn’t realized was there until now. Some sort of sweet floral that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m going out on a limb here and saying it’s probably the sugar-dipped jasmine missing all its indolic bite to usher out this scent.

Extra: Ed Hardy Hearts and Daggers is actually by Christian Audigier which refers to Ed Hardy as the line of perfumes. Well, if there had to be a defining perfume for teenage girls these days, Hearts and Daggers is probably it. It’s fun, it’s easy to wear, it’s way too sweet for me but probably perfect for anyone who enjoys these sweet scents. Just keep in mind that you will smell like fruit punch.

Design: Not a fan of the bottle design. Hearts and Daggers is a hot pink glass bottle with those signature Ed Hardy designed tatoo-esque elements. The bottle has a cap that you put over about 80% of the bottle–sort of like an all body hat for the bottle.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Blood orange, violet, apple, mango, apple blossom, jasmine, musk, amber, benzoin, blond wood.

As stated above, despite this fragrance being an Eau de Parfum its longevity is severely lacking due to how most of the notes it’s composed of being delicate fruity top notes.

Reviewed in This Post: Hearts and Daggers, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Star Trek Tiberius

James Tiberius Kirk, the most decorated Starfleet captain–now in a scent. When I saw this perfume on Amazon last year I said to myself, “No way!” But yes way, it exists, and I have a sampler of it. And you know what? It ain’t half bad!

Star Trek Tiberius

In Bottle: You know how for women’s celebrity scents you usually get these candied fruity floral perfumes? And for men’s celebrity scents you usually get some sort of variation of Cool Water? Well, Tiberius is a surprisingly competent fragrance that smells like a dash of black pepper, over sheer cedar (not crazy cedar), with a spritz of citrus.

Applied: That citrus spray is the first thing to go–not unusual, that’s what’s supposed to happen in perfumes. Then Tiberius (I can’t believe I just said that) gets serious and digs into the black pepper and rocks up on the cedar. The cedar used in this is surprisingly not the insane kind, it’s tempered, and wearable to me, almost subtle as it settles on this clean note instead of relying much on the cedar to carry it. The black pepper is ever-present, lending the entire fragrance a very spicy personality. Back to the cedar a bit, as I am always happy to find cedar done well. Tiberius’ cedar compliments the black pepper quite nicely as the two of them head closer to the dry down stage we get a slight flare of sheer sandalwood and a pleasant warmed slightly sweet, but very clean vanilla scent aided by that clean note that’s probably the white musk at work.

Extra: I know a lot of Trekkies might like this as a gift for Valentine’s Day. And if you were wondering if it’s just a novelty item or if it actually has merit as a fragrance then rest assured. Tiberius can hold its own. It’s not groundbreaking. It’ll probably never become a fragrance classic. It’s a little one-dimensional. Despite all this, it is not at all bad. In fact, I’d rank this fairly high in the celebrity and spin-off fragrance corner.

Design: So the bottle’s ugly. I mean, it really is. You see that thing up there. It’s a glass bottle with what looks like a plastic cap. The shape and details lend nothing to class up the appearance of the bottle and ultimately I’m left thinking Tiberius is packaged in some sort of industrial cleaner container. But then, you don’t buy Tiberius for the bottle, or the scent. Though the scent is decent, I am giving a thumbs down to the bottle.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Woodsy

Notes: Citron, black pepper, cedar, vanilla, white musk, sandalwood.

Once again, you can color me surprised. I didn’t expect to like this fragrance at all. I was wholly prepared for another Danielle Steel experience but Tiberius kind of surprised me in a good way.

Reviewed in This Post: Tiberius, ~2009, Eau de Cologne.

Amouage Homage Attar

Widely known amongst fragrance fanboys and fangirls is Amouage’s Homage Attar which has been heralded as one of perfumery’s most complex, beautiful scents.

Amouage Homage Attar

In Bottle: Citrus with a big bouquet of bright roses that reminds me of a big ball of fresh and blooming flowers. The mental images Homage gives me are fantastic, the olfactory experience? Just simply great.

Applied: And that was just in the bottle. On my skin the citrus is fast to fade leaving behind a gorgeous layer of roses that stretches as far as my nose can smell. But it isn’t obnoxious up your nose and around  the corner rose. This rose is a tame beauty, fine with standing alone in the middle of the ball because she knows everyone’s got their  eyes on her. As the roses calm down a little, there is a spiciness that kicks up in the midstage and hangs out until the scent is done. It’s a warming spice, reminds me of dry powder and honey. The walk into this ethereal, dark, and heady garden is met with a jasmine note that mingles so beautifully well with the roses. This is a scent that morphs and conforms and forces you to face any fears you may have had of floral fragrances. Homage is a giant flower bouquet. As the scent continues to age it introduces other elements for us, bringing in a bit of aoud and this fantastic, warm, spicy, frankincense and amber that tips Homage over from a big heady floral and into the territory of complex high art. Finally, just when you think the well-blended, well-balanced, lovely trip is over, Homage throws in a pretty, slightly powdery note of sandalwood to usher you out. It’s a journey with Homage, one that’s very reminiscent of intricate silk clothes, spices, and a language you don’t know how to speak but innately understand is beautiful.

Extra: One thing about Homage you need to keep in mind is that this a perfume oil. One that, in many cases, can out power Black Phoenix Alchemy lab oils. It is strong. Let me repeat that, it is strong. You will not need a lot of this in order to scent yourself. A lot of people new to perfume oils will see how little they get in a bottle and assume that they’ll blast through it in a week or so. Nope. Perfume oils are meant to be used sparingly. You will dab it on you at best, and you will savor every drop you can. A full bottle of Homage (12ml) can conceivably last you for years.

Design: Bottled simply but beautifully. A nice thick glass 12ml bottle with the Amouage logo in front and a stopper to to close the bottle opening. Because Homage is a perfume oil you will not see any spray mechanisms here. That alone changes the game plan a bit. For one thing, you will have to take care of your bottle quite a bit better because there is no permanent sprayer to seal out air and prevent spills. You may experience faster levels of perfume evaporation too. And, heaven forbid, you may one day knock the bottle off a shelf. So keep this beauty safe, nothing would suck more than spilling the contents of a bottle of perfume this pricey.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Floral

Notes: Rose, silver aoud, silver frankincense, jasmine, amber, citrus, sandalwood.

A new, full bottle of Amouage Homage Attar will dig pretty deep in your pocket. While by no means the most expensive perfume in the world Amouage’s attars will run you a pretty penny. But this is one of the few perfumes out there that deserves its price tag. You definitely need to smell this before you buy it, as a 15ml bottle of Homage will cost $355USD. Maybe one day, Homage.

Reviewed in This Post: Homage Attar, 2008, Perfume Oil.

Serge Lutens Daim Blond

Serge Lutens is one of those fragrance house that you have to smell to believe. Their perfumes are so utterly beautiful and complex and strange that to not try at least one would be to miss out on some of the most well-composed fragrances in niche.

Serge Lutens Daim Blond

In Bottle: Sophisticated and a little bit fruity that feel of utter softness and gentleness.

Applied: Daim Blond opens with a pleasant mildly fruity soft  scent that reminds me of running the tips of my fingers along a length of suede. This stuff is so mild and gentle but it remains gorgeous. Daim Blond’s midstage is marked with that suede note that stays in the background. Further adding to that fingertips on suede feel is the spice from the cardamom makes itself known. The cardamom lends a bit of exotic flare to this fragrance, digging up its complexity as it carries on into the dry down that’s marked by musk and a very faint reminder of suede.

Extra: Serge Lutens was at one point a director for Shiseido. He has since moved into perfumes to create a fantastic line of fragrances that’s often praised in the niche market for being complex, interesting, and unique.

Design: Daim Blond, like most Serge Lutens fragrances is bottled in a tall glass rectangle with an equally tall cap on top. There’s no frills or gimmicks when it comes to Serge Lutens packaging. It’s simply understated and effective.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Earthy

Notes: Iris pallida, apricot kernel, cardamom, musk, heliotrope, hawthorn.

When I smell leather, I think earthy. And earthy to me is something organic. Mostly I just didn’t have any other way to describe Daim Blond except as a sophisticated leather scent.

Reviewed in This Post: Daim Blond, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coco is resting near the top of my favorite Chanel perfumes list. This fragrance couldn’t be any further from its younger incarnation, the pink and bubbly Coco Mademoiselle.

Chanel Coco

In Bottle: Add in spice for warm, a wispy thread of flowers, and a delicately peeled citrus note. Coco smells warm right off the bat with a bit of citrus to clean it up.

Applied: Coco wastes no time just digging into this. It comes off spicy right away, throwing cinnamon and clove at you to warm itself up as the citrus and wispy flowers quickly give way to the midstage where we’re greeted with a delightfully clean, spicy, warm jasmine and rose complex. A lot of perfumes rely on jasmine and rose together but that never seems to make the combination any less beautiful–particularly when it’s used in such a fine tuned balanced such as in Coco. There is the smallest drop of civet in this during the later half of the midstage. The civet in Coco is so well done and well balanced. I don’t normally like it in perfumes but this civet blends really well with the overarching spicy cleanness that the note adds a depth and sensual feel to the fragrance without making it smell too harsh and alienating. The dry down is an equally spicy amber with a hint of sandalwood and a smooth layer of tonka.

Extra: Chanel Coco was released in 1984 and was composed by Chanel’s in house perfumer, Jacques Polge. It is a little sad to see that when you do a search for “Chanel Coco”, most of the results come back for Coco Mademoiselle.

Design: Like most of Chanel’s other widely popular fragrances, Coco comes in various packaging. If you go for the full service parfum concentration deal you get a glass rectangular bottle so often associated with No. 5. Coco’s bottle has a black seal band running around the neck and a black label.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Oriental

Notes: Angelica, mimosa, frangipani, mandarin, cascarilla, orange flower, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, ambrette seed, opopanax, benzoin, tonka, vanilla.

Like with most Chanel fragrances, Coco lasts a very long, very impressive time. She’s a sophisticated lady and entirely wearable considering the era it came out in.

Reviewed in This Post: Coco, 2009, Eau de  Parfum.