Bond No.9 Chinatown


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While most people might think of a fragrance named Chinatown being something like a spicy incense–this is actually a fruity floral. And it’s a beautiful fruity floral at that.

Chinatown

In Bottle: Sweet peach and tuberose with a bit of cardamom spice added in.

Applied: One of the few fragrances, in my books, that does a sweet peach note well. It’s sweet but not to the point of candy. It settles the peach in fruity territory and dishes into the mid-stage rather quickly. There’s supposed to be bergamot up top but I got very little of it in the opening. Maybe a dash, a couple of dewy drops. Not a whole lot of citrus in this one to go around as there’s more cardamom with its spicy–call me crazy–slightly earthy quality in this fragrance. The mid-stage is marked with my friend tuberose and the lingering cardamom. A bit tame and sweet and heady, the tuberose drowns out whatever other flowers might be in this mid-stage. Lucky for me, I love tuberose and despite her being the dominant floral, she isn’t as loud here as she is in Fracas, for instance. Now my favorite white flower with the  big personality does settle down a bit, letting hints of orange blossom and honeyed vanilla seep through with a rather pleasant drydown of warm spicy cardamom and woods.

Extra: Chinatown was composed by Aurelien Guichard. It’s one of my favorite fruity floral fragrances for its marriage of fruits, florals with an added kick of spice. There’s different versions of it too, including one limited edition bottle that’s $650USD.

Design: Chinatown’s bottle shape is similar to that of other Bond No.9 bottles. The star shape is growing on me, though I still think it looks a little silly. I do love Chinatown’s design of a pink background splashed with a white be-flowered branch.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Bergamot, peach blossom, gardenia, honey, tuberose, peony, orange blossom, patchouli, cedar, vanilla, sandalwood, cardamom, Guiac wood.

I had the same problem opening my sample vial of Chinatown as I did with other Bond No.9 sample vials. They do something amazing to vacuum seal this stuff in or something because I just can’t get a grip. Regardless, Chinatown is a beautiful fruity floral and one of the more lovely renditions of the fragrance genre. If you’re looking high-end and not finding the fruity florals that you love, then give this stuff a whiff–if you can get the sample vial open, that is.

Reviewed in This Post: Chinatown, 2010, Eau de Parfum.


Serge Lutens Chergui


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Chergui, named after the wind that blows through Morocco during the summer is Serge Lutens’ very spicy oriental fragrance with a big dish of sandalwood.

Chergui

In Bottle: Spicy and honeyed very sweet with a tickle of sandalwood. Smells absolutely beautiful.

Applied: Flare up of spicy honey with a slight sweetness and a very warm sandalwood scent that lingers in the opening creating this beautiful woody, spicy, oriental fragrance. As Chergui ages, it loses a bit of its honeyed quality and takes on more of a smoky vanilla scent and turns more towards the woodsy aspect, maintaining levels of its spiciness while the woods amp up and the honey slowly dissolves. Chergui takes on a strange transformation that shifts it from one fragrance family to another. As it leaves the honey the amber clings to the rest of the raft but doesn’t really match up in beauty compared to the honey. This turns into a sweet woodsy scent with a hint of spices in the mid-stage. The dry down is much of the same, as I see dry vanilla mellowing out in favor of more powerful woody notes and a lingering hint of spiciness.

Extra: Chergui was composed by Christopher Sheldrake. Chergui’s concept was to invoke images of that hot dry desert wind. I’m not sure I get desert wind from this fragrance so much as a fireplace in a cozy cottage in the middle of winter.

Design: As usual, bottled in a highly attractive tall glass flacon with a simple label that identifies the fragrance’s name and house. I love it when a line makes matching bottles for their perfume. Kind of gives the collector in me a little bit more urge to get them all and line them up in a neat row.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Oriental

Notes: Honey, musk, incense, tobacco leaf, hay sugar, amber, iris, rose, sandalwood.

There’s a lot of disappointment about Chergui in the fragrance community and I noticed many of the disappointed reviews noted that this was a fairly banal oriental fragrance. I thought Chergui was lovely, a bit ordinary perhaps, and certainly not the desert-invoking fragrance it was toted as being. But it was a valiant attempt, I love its story, and it’s a good fragrance that smells fantastic. Sort of like a milder version of Opium.

Reviewed in This Post: Chergui, 2010, Eau de Parfum.


Harajuku Lovers G


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The Harajuku Lovers fragrances is one of those things I never really got into. The scents are okay–mostly. My favorite of the lot is G which was supposed to represent Gwen Stefani’s character. There’s been so many flankers over the years that I’ve pretty much lost count of them all. So this post is a review of the original G, the one released in 2008.

Harajuku Lovers G

In Bottle: Fruity and coconut. Very tropical. The fruitiness is more predominant in the opening.

Applied: Blast of very slight tart fruits followed by very sweet coconut that rushes in and steals the show. The coconut is huge in this fragrance and is clearly the main player. It hovers up top and casts this creamy coconutty sweetness over the rest of the fragrance. You get some florals in the mid-stage, mostly reined-in jasmine and freesia with this sparkly clean undertone. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about G, but it is a very, very, well done coconut, beachy, tropical scent. The dry down is markedly uninteresting with more coconut hovering over the sandalwood and clean laundry smell.

Extra: Okay, I think I’ve got most of the flankers down for G as of this post. With how popular the Harajuku Lovers fragrances are, I doubt the list of flankers is going to remain static. Anyway we’ve got G (2008), Sunshine Cuties G (2009), Wicked Style G (2010), and G of the Sea (2011). Then there’s the bottle redesign for the winter which further adds to the confusion with the Snow Bunny version of G. I’m sure I’m missing some other edition like Valentine’s Day G or Talk Like a Pirate Day G–Oh no, am I giving them more ideas? 🙁

Design: Okay, yeah, the bottles are really cute. But they’re not my thing. The perfume comes in a little glass stand that the plastic doll is propped on. You gain access to the perfume by either popping off the head of the doll or the entire doll body. I remember handling these bottles more than once but don’t remember if I removed only the head or the entire body but spraying the fragrance itself was not an unpleasant ordeal. I was honestly not that impressed with the design and would have rather seen these dolls as a part of some sort of dangling charm off of a better designed bottle similar to what Juicy Couture did. Think about it, cute little Harajuku Lovers cellphone charms that come with your perfume. As it is, it’s too gimmicky for me at the moment.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Mandarin, coconut, apple, jasmine sambac, freesia, magnolia, coconut cream, white sandalwood, cottonwoods.

The fragrance for this is one of the better iterations of tropical and coconut out there. I’m just not a fan for a variety of reasons. The coconut is just that, pure sweet coconut, nothing too interesting about this fragrance. And the packing does not hit home for me. So they missed me by two points. There is, however, a huge fanbase for these dolls and these perfumes so clearly it’s a successful gig.

Reviewed in This Post: G, 2010, Eau de Toilette.


Calvin Klein CK One


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CK One brings back memories of the early 90s. Where people these days love their Viva la Juicys, the early 90s seemed to be marked with the citrus-y smell of CK One.

CK One

In Bottle: Opens on a rather tart but very crisp and dewy fruity citrus note. There’s a pineapple in there but it’s not your  run-of-the-mill fruity sweet and tropical pineapple. This is tart pineapple and I quite like it.

Applied: That clean, green and crisp opening with the tart pineapple and the citrus. CK One takes its citrus and leads into a clean floral mid-stage dominated by lily of the valley, iris and a very potent lemon note that works well to keep this fragrance fresh and clean. The best part of CK One for me is the dry down where the citrus is gone and whats left are florals clinging to clean and diving into a base of tame cedar and sandalwood. I don’t so much smell the oakmoss in this than I smell the green notes that were in the opening. The closer is a green, floral woods.

Extra: I remember being a little girl and first smelling CK One. It was at a department store and we had little money at that time for things like this. But I always tried to sneak a smell. I don’t remember if I liked it or not, I only knew that Calvin Klein–at the time–was some fancy brand and one of the girls in my class bragged about wearing this perfume.

Design: Very simple bottle. Flat and rectangular with frosted glass. The sprayer is quite uniform-looking too but it’s still an extremely recognizable design. There’s something very utilitarian about this that I love. Maybe it’s the lack of fanciful shapes and colors. I actually like the design, but I think it might be a bit on the plain side.

Fragrance Family: Fresh

Notes: Pineapple, green notes, mandarin orange, papaya, bergamot, cardamom, lemon, nutmeg, violet, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose, sandalwood, amber, musk, cedar, oakmoss.

CK One isn’t anywhere near as big a deal for me now as it was back then. Still, there’s moments when I smell this and remember sneaking sprays at the makeup counter while my mother and the sales associate gabbed about sunblock.

Reviewed in This Post: CK One, 2002, Eau de Toilette.


Bieber Fever Hits Perfume


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After this relatively low-key release of some scented dog tags earlier this year, the Beebs decides to move into actual fragrance territory with his new scent, “Someday” to be developed by Prestige Perfumes.

Prestige, as some of you may know, are responsible for perfumes from companies such as Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Bvlgari, and Dolce & Gabbana.

So while we can rest assured that Bieber’s perfume won’t smell awful, we can also be sure it’ll smell generic. The mainstream perfume consumer side of things is already abuzz with this new release. Half want to smell this to see if it’ll smell bad (it won’t, but they will say it does anyway because it’s got Bieber’s name on it) the other half is on the edge of their seats waiting for this to be released in June. On the fragrance critic and addict side, we’re sweeping this one under the rapidly crowded area beneath the “celebuscent rug”.

As for me, you bet I’ll be out to see what becomes of Someday.


Calvin Klein Obsession for Women


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Call me crazy, but I don’t like Obsession for Women. I like the men’s version a bit better but both of them fell off my radar and into ‘Eh, don’t like it and can’t get myself to’ territory. Much like how Poison by Dior ended up there.

Obsession for Women

In Bottle: Warm and spicy, very reminiscent of Opium but not as smooth or as smoky. I smell the animalic in this up front too.

Applied: Obsession opens with a slight spray of green citrus which is quickly joined by the civet note. Civet is used well in most perfumes, often as a touch of sensuality and Obsession is no exception. Anyway, after the light citrus and civet open up, the fragrance digs a bit into a fruity jasmine and rose blend dolled up with a lot of spiciness. There must be cloves or cinnamon in there somewhere. Obsession’s projection, by the way, is very good as is its longevity. You’ll be waiting a rather long time for it to dry down but the fragrance dries so naturally into a deeper woodsy floral amping up the civet a little and mingling those spices with a very warm amber quality to it and a slight smokiness that eeks itself into the scene at the very end.

Extra: Obsession was released in 1985 during the crazy trend with oriental perfumes.

Design: Obsession’s bottled in a oval glass with a golden liquid inside. The cap is a rich brown shade. The packing looks nice enough and a bottle of Obsession is definitely easy to ID. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s pretty good.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: Green notes, mandarin orange, vanilla, peach, basil, bergamot, lemon, spices, coriander, sandalwood, orange blossom, jasmine, oakmoss, cedar and rose, amber, amber, musk, civet, vanilla, vetiver, incense.

Obsession is a well done perfume. I just want to get that out there, I just don’t like it because I believe it’s very similar to Opium and Opium did this concept better which makes Obsession seem rather unnecessary to me. But then, Opium is stronger, so if you liked it but thought it came on way too much, try out Obsession and see if this will work better for you.

Reviewed in This Post: Obsession for Women, 2004, Eau de Parfum.


Calvin Klein Euphoria


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I know Calvin Klein’s been curiously overlooked in this blog for a while and here’s why–I don’t really like anything in their line. Even the hallmarks of Calvin Klein fragrances; Obsession and CK One. But I kept seeing Euphoria around and I’ve smelled it a few times before and decided to just get a few reviews out there because I know a lot of people love CK.

Euphoria

In Bottle: Sweet synthetic apple and berries smelling up top. The sugar isn’t mixing well with the pomegranate or the berries to my nose and it’s turning things into a bit of a cough syrup factory.

Applied: Syrupy sweet berries and a really obnoxious synthetic apple note on the opening that digs into the middle with the same syrupy sweet quality. The middle stage is marked with a series of banal florals, all of which are sweet and clean and try to clean up the sugary mess in the opening but all I get is sugar florals, sugar violets particular, trying to do what they can with a dewy green and clean note supporting them. Peaking up in the mid-stage is also a woodsiness that makes the mid-stage even more appealing. I think I would have liked the mid-stage of Euphoria a lot more if it was just the florals. Cut out the fruity sweetness in the opening and see how things go from there. But since we’re playing up the sweet, Euphoria’s end stage heads into a floral, warm and woodsy closer. Rather nice closing on this fragrance, actually.

Extra: There, I know a lot of people really like Euphoria but it did nothing for me. While the sweetness did not get to cloying levels, I felt the sugar in this fragrance was largely unnecessary.

Design: Euphoria’s bottle always manages to get knocked over every time I go hear it. The bottle itself is a purple glass shaped into a sort of abstract leave. The cap is a tall metallic rectangle that sticks up from the leaf. The design is interesting but the cap and how tall it is really annoys me.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Apple, berries, green leaves, rose, lotus, orchid, violets, woods, amber.

Euphoria’s not bad when you consider its mid-stage elements and dry down. It’s a pretty good scent if you can ignore the sugar. I just found the sugar particularly irritating in this fragrance because it really didn’t need to be in this. Or maybe I’m just bitter because this didn’t work as well on me as I had hoped.

Reviewed in This Post: Euphoria, 2007, Eau de Parfum.


Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse


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Yvresse has a bit of a funny history. According to Fragrantica, it was once known as champagne but was forced to change its name to Yvresse after a few lawsuits.

Yvresse

In Bottle: Juicy peach and nectarine note that’s very crisp coupled with a delicate white floral accord. Extremely pretty!

Applied: Crisp and fruity opening, very peachy and nectarine-y. Quite edible on the opening actually even with the white florals hidden in the background. Yvresse has a delicate, fruity touch upon opening as it starts to evolve into its mid-stage with a warming sensation and an introduction of spices and heavier flowers. Much to my delight the peach and nectarine notes take their time to fade out as the spicy floral mid-stage takes hold. The rose is the major star in the middle stage, amping up with the spice to remind me of classic roses, and other spicy rose iterations like Le Labo’s Rose 31. Now the rose in mid-stage Yvresse is not quite like Rose 31, it’s cleaner, fruitier, definitely sweeter, and–somehow–smells more mainstream yet remains approachable. The dry down is marked with a warm, sweet, vetiver and a green soft mossiness that mingles perfectly well with the lingering traces of spiciness.

Extra: Yvresse has been noted by some as a fruity chypre. And while I can readily agree with the fruity part, I was originally hesitant to call this a chypre myself. It certainly has the oak moss base and the progression of a chypre but I was still a bit hesitant. A little more thought and a little more time and I eventually came around to it all. Oak moss or no, Yvresse progresses like a Chypre. Its opening peach note often relating it to Mitsouko. But Mitsouko’s peach is still a great deal more sophisticated, and significantly less sweet. Yvresse, nevertheless, remains absolutely beautiful.

Design: Yvress’ bottle is a glass oval-like shape with textured elements on the glass itself. The juice is a yellow-golden color, giving the look of the bottle a luxurious edge. This bottle is easy to hold and easy to use. I just wish the cap wasn’t plastic–but then, I always end up wishing that.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Chypre

Notes: Nectarine, peach, caraway, anise, menthol, carnation, rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, cinnamon, litchi, vanilla, benzoin, amber, musk, styrax, oak moss, patchouli, vetiver.

I found it quite the challenge to get a look at this one in a department store. One would think a beautiful piece like this from a rather famous house like Yves Saint Laurent would be much easier to get a hold of.

Reviewed in This Post: Yvresse, 1998, Eau de Toilette.


L’Or de Torrente


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Being a fragrance addict, I’m supposed to go around being drawn by smells and the fascination of following my nose to the next smell and just enjoying this fantastic olfactory world we live in. But sometimes I’m also bad and gravitate toward a fragrance because of its packaging. Thanks, L’Or de Torrente.

L'Ore de Torrente

In Bottle: Whoa, coffee! Well, this is coffee mixed with sweet lychee and a bit of tart currant but I’m surprised to find the note working so well with those other two elements.

Applied: Sweetness up top with the lychee dominating the scene and dragging a tart blackcurrant note behind it. The lychee in fragrances never seem to completely go away to me until late into the mid-stage. and the lychee in this sticks around but isn’t obnoxious about it as L’Or de Torrente heads into this beautiful sweet amber and roses fragrance with a cup of coffee sitting nearby. The lychee takes its time to fade out during this stage for me and I’m happy for it as that rose, amber, coffee smell is awesome without any fruitiness necessary. The coffee note is dense and rich, and even though the notes look like they might clash, it actually words really well here and I’m particularly fond of the use of roses in this scent. The fragrance reminds me a bit of chocolate roses, a confection that doesn’t always land on my gourmand palette either, but always has this irresistible elegance to it. Now, this stuff is sweet but the rose and the amber help bring it away from gourmand and slot it more firmly in oriental. The final dry down is a vanillic amber scent with a fading coffee trail. I wouldn’t call this delicious, but it does smell fantastic!

Extra: L’Or de Torrente was composed by Jean Jacques in 2001.

Design: So this bottle is a bit flashier than I’d normally like but there’s something so appealing about its color and the leafy accents and the whole look of the thing. It’s organic in a way, mixed with metal and polished to luxury. I can’t quite describe why I find the bottle so awesome to look at it but there you have it. The packaging is certainly alluring to me.

Fragrance Family: Floral Oriental

Notes: Mandarin orange, lychee, kiwi, black currant, magnolia, iris, cedar, coffee, rose, angelica, vanilla, white amber, precious wood.

I can’t believe how well this fragrance works. There’s just enough mixing to make it all mesh together without clashing and the coffee, strangely enough, really holds up the roses and vice versa. I simply love this.

Reviewed in This Post: L’Or de Torrente, 2005, Eau de Parfum.


Chanel Coco Mademoiselle


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All right, it was bound to happen. A review for Coco Mademoiselle, possibly the most popular fragrance amongst perfume consumers today. True, she doesn’t have the history of Chanel No. 5 but she’s undeniably pretty with a very appealing personality. So let’s cut to the chase already.

Coco Mademoiselle

In Bottle: Strong, very sweet lychee on top with a layer of very sheer florals you really have to focus in order to detect.

Applied: I know what the notes list says but there’s lychee in this and it’s the tippy-top of the notes pyramid. Coco Mademoiselle opens with a blast and a loud announcement that you’ve just arrived and you feel fabulous. It’s sweet, very loud, and predominantly lychee with a faded florals sort of scent lingering in the back. As the lychee settles a bit you get a hint of sweet orange flower and equally sweet mimosa. The fragrance starts to age into the mid-stage and that’s where you get something a bit more exciting. There’s a sheer white florals scent that keeps Coco Mademoiselle from being completely ridiculous as it blends so beautifully with the sweet notes in this fragrance. The rose note in this is particularly beautiful, it masks itself well with the florals and the lingering fruitiness of the opening, but it’s very, very modern rose. I might be a bit crazy here too but there’s something to Coco Mademoiselle that smells a bit like powder to me. Chanel giving me powder in a fragrance this modern? Kudos, Chanel! The dry down is lovely as well, when Coco Mademoiselle flings off the last of her silly lychee and embraces a warm, very clean, vanilla scent. Coco Mademoiselle, like most Chanels, projects and lasts a long time so go light on that sprayer.

Extra: Coco Mademoiselle was composed by Jacques Polge in 2001. It has consistently performed well in terms of sales since its release. Due to the popularity of Coco Mademoiselle, it is often one of the most counterfeited perfumes out there. In fact, I did a quick look on eBay and there’s at least three counterfeits on the first page of results at the time of my writing this. Definitely beware if you plan on buying this online.

Design: The eau de parfum version of Coco Mademoiselle sports the beautiful Chanel No. 5 style with the squarish glass bottle and cap. The cap for Coco Mademoiselle is a frosted glass. The shape is beautiful, the design is fitting and I simply love it. I still abhor most of the eau de toilette versions of Chanel’s fragrances though.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Floral

Notes: Orange, mandarin, orange blossom, bergamot, mimosa, jasmine, turkish rose, ylang-ylang, tonka bean, patchouli, opoponax, vanilla, vetiver, white musk.

All right so what do I think of Coco Mademoiselle? Well, its’ a very popular fragrance. I think it consistently shows up in top perfume sales so I doubt it’s going away any time soon. I actually own a bottle of the stuff but I rarely use it. It is very strong, has very good longevity but it is everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. There’s no exclusivity to Coco Mademoiselle. The fragrance is highly recognizable and it’s a household perfume at this point. Couple these two facts with the realization that a lot of people love it and you get a perfume that pretty much haunts you no matter where you go.

As for me? I’ll be happy spray this on when I feel like it, but Coco Mademoiselle isn’t an every day thing and certainly not a perfume I’d wear if I wanted to avoid smelling like everyone else.

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