Le Labo Jasmin 17

Hooray! The new samples have landed. I was incredibly excited to have a bank of smellies (as I have taken to effectionately calling them) to smell and write about again. One of the first I noticed was Le Labo’s Jasmin 17.

Jasmin 17

Jasmin 17

In Bottle: Instantly makes me think of a light spring breeze that’s touched with a little bit of floral. Definitely white floral in scent with a very delicate sheer personality to it.

Applied: Light and airy. Jasmin 17 goes on so sheer but has such a great lightweight feel to it at the same time. It’s like the concept of a fresh Spring day. I get an initial waft of orange blossom, nice and sweet and easy to enjoy then a tumbling into a more floral bouquet featuring other delicate little flowers. The “Springy”, airiness of this reminds me of green tea served cold. I get a lot of neroli projecting from the bouquet of white florals, but I had to do a lot of digging to even start smelling the jasmine. It’s so faint that I question whether I’m actually smelling any jasmine in this or if it’s just my mind wanting me to smell jasmine at all. The whole fragrance is held together by a quality, delicate vanilla scent that lends a bit of sweetness to the whole affair. Overall, Jasmin 17 is a really fresh, easy to love experience for anyone who enjoys clean, fresh and floral scents. It’s right up my alley, anyway!

Extra: Maurice Roucel was the perfume for Jasmin 17. You may remember his work for Bond No.9’s Riverside Drive, Musc Ravageur and DKNY’s Be Delicious.

Design: Jasmin 17 was bottled in a pretty similar fashion to most of Le Labo’s other fragrances. The whole line is charming in a “vintage chemist” sort of way to me. One bottle on its own looks a little out of place among much more decorated specimens, but lining a shelf with Le Labo fragrances would look quite nice.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Neroli, bigarade, jasmine, orange flower, amber, musk, sandalwood, vanilla.

I picked Jasmin 17 mostly for the fact that I wasn’t satisfied with letting Thierry Mugler’s Alien take the limelight. There had to be something more “niche-y” that interpreted jasmine with a bit more flare. I remember the buzz surrounding Le Labo’s Rose 31 a while back and never got around to ordering a sample of that one until now. And to go one better, I threw in some Jasmin 17. Unfortunately, if you were looking for a strong jasmine presence, I don’t think you’ll find it in Jasmin 17. If you wanted a light, easy to wear, airy scent that reminds you of cool spring breezes, then you’ve got your fragrance.

Reviewed in This Post: Jasmin 17, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

I Love Coconut

I’m not one for hot weather. Don’t ask me why I moved to Florida of all places. So I’m usually hanging around inside and staying out of the heat during these hot summer months. But when I do go out, the high heat has me running to a few summer standbys and I came to realize that I reallylike coconut.

Image credit: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen

Virgin Island Water by Creed
I’m actually running low on the small bottle I have of this. And while many Creeds escape my understanding, Virgin Island Water remains one of the best interpretations of coconut I’ve smelled yet. I’m looking for other (preferably more affordable) alternatives. But until then, I’ll keep riding the sliver of fragrance I have left in the bottle of this perfume.

Vanilla Coconut by Susanne Lang
Vanilla and coconut has been done to death in the fragrance world. I love the combination so I’m happy to have the myriad of choices. And if I were to grab a cliche, it would be this one because it’s a very nicely composed fragrance with a tropical feel–perfect for these summer months!

Coconut Lime Verbena by Bath and Body Works
I like what I like and I happen to really like this. Painfully simple, very affordable, and comes in a huge bottle. Coconut Lime Verbena reminds me of clean, fresh leaves. I had a bottle of body wash in this fragrance and used that up in a couple of weeks. I can’t get enough of this stuff and it just screams summer to me.

Maybe it’s because my mother had cravings for coconut when she was carrying me. Or maybe it’s all the coconut I ate as a child. Or maybe it’s the sheer frustration of not being able to get my hands on a good coconut despite being so close to the tropics but I’ve really been craving these three particular fragrances lately.

Freaking Out About Perfumes, Again

Seems I can’t turn a corner these days without hearing someone wrinkling their nose at perfume usage and spouting some puzzling facts about how they’re full of chemicals and poison and will harm everything on your body from your organs, to your skin, to the pockets on your shirt. I’m wondering when this fad in the whole “chemical free” trend is going to end. I touched upon this subject last year in relation to perfumes and people’s fear of it giving them cancer.

I still see people worrying themselves sick over whether or not fragrance usage (be it themselves using it or someone nearby) causing them permanent long-term physical damage. What I often observe when I delve a bit deeper into these fears is a lack of understanding about how fragrances actually work. There is also a belief that perfume fragrance chemicals and the fragrance chemicals in ordinary household things are somehow different.

Dior Hypnotic Poison Ad

Dior Hypnotic Poison Ad

If you do happen to be wondering if wearing perfume is safe, then go down this list and think about what you use on a daily or almost daily basis:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Soap/Body wash
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Dish soap
  • Kitchen cleaners
  • Air freshener
  • Candles
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Hand sanitizing wipes
  • Bathroom cleaners

That’s only a few of the things that I could think of off the top of my head that have some sort of fragrance chemical applied to them that people would find themselves using on a daily basis. As a friend of mine who decided that she would one day like to eliminate all “man-made” fragrances from her life would tell you, eliminating everything scented from your home is much easier in theory than it is in practice.

And furthermore, unless you have a medical condition that makes you extremely sensitive to scents, why worry so much about perfume when the chances of you using any number of the above fragranced products on a daily basis are relatively high? And given the nature of some of those fragrances and what they’re used for, they’re often much stronger and heavier duty than what you’d find in a perfume if they’re expected to perform their jobs in a harsh environment like Windex or some other household cleaner. Even the products that are sometimes sold as “non-scented” actually have chemicals whose purpose is to block scent.

So why are we so crazy about being chemical free anyway? I hate how the word “chemical” has become so taboo. Like just saying it will make people flinch away. Marketing and media outlets don’t do the word any favors either, often calling anything that could have an adverse affect on someone a “chemical”.

Which is why all this brings me back to a very old (and very cliche) standby: The Dangers of H2O. Water, itself, is a chemical. Our bodies are made up of chemicals. Some scientists argue that our emotions are just the result of chemical reactions.

So given all this chemical stuff floating around outside of you and inside of you, would a spray of perfume really hurt you in the long run? Who knows. All I know is that everything is chemical in some way or another, and my life is too short to spend it fretting about fragrances when everything is already so heavily fragranced as it is.

Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme

A friend of mine raves about L’Homme and how much he loves it and gets compliments whenever he wears it. I have to admit that hype kind of puts a damper on things for me. Hype it just enough and I’ll be interested. Hype it a bit too much and I find myself avoiding it.



In Bottle: Bam. Familiar. Familiar in a rather good way. Takes it back to my early childhood where I remember lights, noises and of course the smell.

Applied: Citrus with a tempering ginger note a hint of sweet florals and woods. All of the notes are very well blended. I definitely get the citrus first, but then it molds together into a nice even fragrance that hits a memory nerve. The scent has a nice mild spiciness to it with an underlayer of woods with an inoffensive cedar note that provides a base for the sweet floral notes that are really the stars here. L’Homme is rather soft and yielding. It’s like the whole fragrance is composed of very delicate amounts of ingredients. And it really shows because L’Homme is a quick fader and is gone within a manner of a few hours. The smell takes me back to my childhood, reminds me of one of the houses I lived in as a toddler. It’s hot days, street noise, and the ever-present banging of Vietnam’s less than safe metalworking shops. I think L’Homme is taking me back because it smells like a laundry soap my mother used on our clothes back then and we always ended up smelling like it. In either case, my association with L’Homme makes me instantly like it. On a more objective note, it is a good fragrance. If it didn’t jive any memories in me, I would say there’s nothing too particularly special about it except for the fact that it’s a fairly well blended scent that’s accessible and easy to pull off.

Extra: L’Homme was released in 2006 and has a mixed reception. Some love it, some hate it. Most think it’s a pretty easy going fragrance that will work for the office.

Design: L’Homme’s bottle is really recognizable for me. Mainly because I see it everywhere I go. It’s one of those standard fragrances that isn’t very difficult to find and up until now, I never had the urge to actually walk up to it and spray some on because it was so unassuming a bottle. It’s simple, compact and would blend right in with the rest of your bottles.

Fragrance Family: Floral Woodsy

Notes: Ginger, bergamot, lemon, basil, ozone, pepper, spices, violet leaf, tonka bean, vetiver, cedar.

L’Homme does run a bit more sweet than most fragrances marketed to men. But it’s one of those scents that skirts the unisex to masculine line. So if you wanted a full on “man fragrance” then maybe this isn’t for you. L’Homme also doesn’t have the greatest longevity. What it does do well is provide a nice, inoffensive, easy to wear clean and floral scent. So I do so happen to like L’Homme–mostly because it reminded me of something good. Or at least, something familiar. Odd thing to do for a fragrance that was released long after I had those memories. But then, that’s what makes scents and memories fascinating.

Reviewed in This Post: L’Homme, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

Jessica Simpson Vintage Bloom

I will forever associate Jessica Simpson fragrances to that line of supposedly edible perfume that I have yet to taste for myself. People have reported they taste like varying degrees of fake vanilla flavor though. Anyway, this post isn’t about edible perfume. It’s just about Jessica Simpson’s newest fragrance, Vintage Bloom.

Vintage Bloom

Vintage Bloom

In Bottle: Smells fruity and floral. I know this is being pushed as a pure floral, but it smells like a standard fruity floral to me.

Applied: Yeah, big old fruit. I want to blame it on the combination of citrus and raspberry. There’s also more florals in this than peony. I want to say rose and jasmine with peony to make the trifecta of floral boredom. The end game is also largely typical with a clean sandalwood fade. The fragrance as a whole is dull but very wearable. It’s a nice neutral scent for a younger crowd that wants to smell nice and not controversial or complex in any way. It reminds me of–well, of a lot of other fragrances that smell exactly like this–all of which also fall into the celebuscent category. Chances are, if you own anything with another celebrity’s name on it that leans more towards “smells like flowers” than “smells like fruit” or “smells like candy” then you don’t need to buy a bottle of this. If you own any of Bath and Body Works’ latest floral releases then you don’t need a bottle of this. If you are missing a “smells like flowers” celebrity fragrance and feel like you need a little more Jessica Simpson in your life then you could do worse than Vintage Bloom.

Extra: I always feel like I have to write in a disclaimer for fans of these celebrities that no, Jessica Simpon/Paris Hilton/Britney Spears did not become perfumers overnight and mix their own fragrances in their bathtubs or whatever. Vintage Bloom was actually made by Parlux. The people (with an unfortunate Flash website) who brought you other fragrances such as Rhianna’s Reb’l Fleur, Paris Hilton’s Can Can, and Queen Latifah’s Queen.

Design: The bottle could look better. As it is, it’s one of those over-designed pieces that’s too ornate to be called simple, modern or elegant, and not ornate enough to qualify as extravagant. It kind of skirts that awkward middle where it doesn’t hit modern or “vintage”. It just looks kind of tacky and out of place and I can’t say I’m a big fan.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Lemon, lime, raspberry, peony, sandalwood, musk.

Remember when Jessica Simpson actually sang for a living instead of selling perfume with her name on it? Or embarrassing herself on a reality TV show? Is she even still singing? I’m about as up to date with music as I am with television and movies.

Reviewed in This Post: Vintage Bloom, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose

I had a glimpse at this adorable bottle at the store the other day. Lancôme’s Trésor Midnight Rose looks more modern than original Trésor with a cute little rose ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle. It’s things like that which wake up the little girl in me.

Tresor Midnight Rose

Tresor Midnight Rose

In Bottle: Cedar (plenty of it) in this with a mild sweet floral. A little touch of rose settling in the background.

Applied: It’s probably not a good sign when the first note I smell in the bottle and on my skin is cedar. Midnight Rose’s cedar doesn’t agree with me as it overtakes the scent and makes itself a dominant force to be reckoned with. Pushing the cedar aside, I can get vague glimpses of roses and berries. The underlying scent is a sweet floral and I imagine without the cedar present, Midnight Rose would smell pretty tame and mild. With the cedar, its tameness is being drowned by a near obnoxious “Look at me, I’m a big tree and I smell”, sharp woody note that I get in most cedar perfumes. Something about my nose or my skin or just me in general cannot get along with these cedar notes and Midnight Rose just so happens to use enough of it to bother me. I keep Midnight Rose on in the hopes that cedar will go away and let me into the rest of the fragrance, but it’s always there, taunting me. Thankfully the fragrance has a noticeable enough progression that near the end, I get a bit of creamy vanilla with a soft lingering floral.

Extra: Midnight Rose was released last year, in 2011. Trésor has a large selection of flankers, most notably, Trésor In Love and Trésor Sparkling.

Design: I didn’t even recognize this as a Trésor flanker because of how different the bottle looks from original Trésor. The redesign is definitely appreciated as Trésor’s design was showing its age a bit. Or maybe I just associate it naturally with the 90s because that’s how long I’ve been seeing the bottle sitting on a relative’s vanity table. Trésor Midnight Rose is encased in a tall glass bottle that reminds me a bit of Nina Ricci and Chanel mixed together. It has a cute fabric rose, tied to the neck of the bottle that, for once, accentuates the aesthetics and gives it a sort of sophistication as opposed to just tackiness.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Floral

Notes: Berries, rose, jasmine, peony, cassis, pink pepper, cedar, vanilla, musk.

I keep seeing people generally liking this and I wish I could say the same. The cedar really was the sole reason why I didn’t have any luck with Midnight Rose. What I smelled underneath was a mild, nice, sweet floral which I probably would have enjoyed.

Reviewed in This Post: Trésor Midnight Rose, 2011, Eau de Parfum.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport

It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to worry about where my next fragrance review is going to come from. But my bank of reviewed fragrances has run dry and a collection of new niche and vintage samples is on its way. In the mean time, I dove back into the mainstream and fashion house markets. That is to say, I took out my notebook and went sniffing at the mall. My relocation landed me in a less urban area with available fragrance stores nearby. Which limited my choice to Bath and Body Works’ latest releases, BPAL, Victoria’s Secret’s offerings and what I could get my hands on at Dillards.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport

Chanel Allure Homme Sport

In Bottle: Pleasant and sweet. Homme Sport smells of citrus, deep vanilla, woods and lukewarmth.

Applied: Allure Home Sport starts off with a spray of citrus and aquatics. It smells crisp, clean and refreshing. The fragrance ages rather quickly, approaching its middle with a showing of pepper and neroli blended with a more floral note that helps temper the cedar a little bit. The vanilla is rather apparent to me, lurking in the background like it’s waiting for me to do something about it. At the end it was a vanilla amber with a spicy woods mix. The amber tries its best to warm this up, but it never really gets there. At most, it’s lukewarm. It is kind of cool in some parts, kind of warm in others. It’s like dipping your foot into a swimming pool lukewarm–if that makes any sense at all. Overall, a sporty scent you would imagine would smell of sharp citrus and aqua to give you that, “I’M CLEAN! I’M FRESH!” yelling kind of feel. Homme Sport starts off like that to me, but takes it on a more relaxed, “Don’t worry, you’re clean, but let’s not yell about it”, route.

Extra: Allure Homme Sport was released in 2004 and is obviously the flanker to Chanel’s Allure Homme.

Design: Contained  in a metallic Allure Homme-like bottle. It looks luxurious and masculine at the same time. Good design by Chanel? Pretty much a give in most cases. Actually, Chanel’s had its fair share of stinkers too, but Allure Homme Sport’s bottle design is not one of them. It’s not especially memorable or beautiful, it’s just basic good Chanel design.

Fragrance Family: Oriental Woodsy

Notes: Aldehydes, orange, mandarin, marine, pepper, neroli, cedar, tonka bean, vanilla, amber, vetiver, white musk.

The oriental comes in with the ever present vanilla note that I kept noticing throughout, otherwise, this would have just been woodsy to me. If you’re looking for a pretty laid back, mostly predictable fragrance with a designer name on it, then Allure Homme Sport is probably a good idea.

Reviewed in This Post: Homme Sport, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

I Missed Your Birthday, Flora

I’ve been seeing a lot of people ask how long their perfume will be good for before they throw it into the trash. Then I see people telling them that the shelf life of perfume is two years and after that, into the bin it should go. It was a little strange to see such a set date and time for the expiration of something like a fragrance, but maybe that’s because I’m sitting on a big pile of perfume samples with some having vintages going back to the 1920s. And believe me, they still smell pretty good.

So I did some digging–okay, I mostly picked up a box of Gucci Flora and turned it over. There it was; 36M or three years. Not the two year mark I was looking for but close enough. Oddly, I apparently picked up the only box I had with an expiration date on it first. Everything else was lacking in that little symbol that conveyed the message that when my bottle hit three years old, I should promptly huck it into the trash with some varying level of fear and disdain.

Gucci Flora Ad

Chances are, I’ll probably still be using it five or more years down the road if it’s still good.

There are quite a few things I absolutely agree should have expiry dates to warn people before their products go bad. And while I can’t say much against all expiry dates, I do feel like calling into question the practicality of expiry dates on perfume.

In the first place, the expiration dates aren’t very reliable. At least, they haven’t been in my experience. I have a collection of perfume–like anyone else obsessed with fragrances would–most of them are anywhere from two to fifty years old and all of them are doing just fine. I can count the amount of times I had to throw out an old bottle on one hand–two fingers to be exact. Now we all know the dangers of anecdotal evidence, but I just can’t see the point of throwing out perfume because a date had passed because I’ve yet to experience a need to.

Some argue that perfume expiration dates are needlessly scaring people into thinking their perfume is only good to a certain amount of time before they have to throw it away and buy another (probably expensive) bottle. Others argue that the expiration dates can’t be verified because no one knows how long the perfume has been sitting on the shelf. Both good points and points I agree with. On the other hand, people are saying that perfume is a cosmetic and using expired product could harm or irritate your skin. And some people have had perfume expire on or before the expiration date on it.

This isn’t an issue that’s going to be decided on a blog calling itself “That Smell”, but it did make me curious. Mostly about figuring out the exact age of my bottles. And what do you know? There is actually a way!

The Cosmetics Calculator is a neat little tool that can usually give you a date of when your product was made. I’m not sure as to how accurate it is, and I use it as a good to know type of thing. I was also just excited that parsing those lot codes could so easy.

Here’s how you use the calculator: Grab your bottle of perfume, it probably has to be a major brand because only a limited number of brands are supported by that particular calculator. The calculator has a list of brands it supports too. Find the lot code, it’s often either on the box, on the bottle, or on both. Look under the bottle and box for the code it’s often in one of those two places. You’re looking for a four to five character code. Once you find your code, plug the code into the calculator, select the brand of your perfume, and you should be good to go.

Thankfully, Gucci was supported. So I put in my lot number and my perfume was apparently manufactured on April 28, 2009. So it’s been more than three years.

Oh well. I just sprayed myself down with some Gucci Flora about three times just now. And it smells great!

Clearly my “ancient” bottle of Flora did not go bad at the magical three year mark. See, perfume is one of those things that’s hard for me to to justify throwing away simply because it’s old. Maybe I just have a hard time of it because I have a collection of “old” perfume from the 90s that smells awesome and that I wear sometimes. Maybe it’s because I’ve associated people or memories to those old perfume bottles and those old scents and I can’t imagine throwing those away. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never had a perfume that was properly kept suddenly go bad on me yet.

Whatever it is that makes me keep these old scents around, I just don’t think it’s worth working myself up into a frenzy about all the old product I have. After all, I’m currently scented by an (apparently) expired bottle of perfume and I smell just fine. In the meantime, that Cosmetics Calculator is really fun to play with. Apparently, two of my perfumes were manufactured on the same day. Who knew!

Lady Gaga’s Fame Perfume

Looks like the fabled Lady Gaga perfume is finally on its way. I have to admit, despite being cautious around celebrity releases (mostly because all of them tend to smell similar), I’m a bit interested about Gaga dipping her toe into the perfumed pool. Though a large part of that interest probably has to do with the huge anticipation surrounding this fragrance from her fans. Gaga herself is something of a publicity machine, which just adds to the buzz.

Photo by Bidgee

I don’t know if her fragrance will smell any different than the other celebrity scents we’ve all experienced. I’m skeptical the more I hear people speculating about it because it’s all blown out of proportion.

Unfortunately, the ingredients list and the road that leads to where the fragrance is now doesn’t hint that this will knock anybody’s socks off. See, the fragrance was developed by Coty (and Haus Laboratories, though you have to wonder how much work a fictional company actually did). Whatever beautiful things I can say about Chypre de Coty are diluted by the celebrity fragrances Coty has developed as of late.

So the notes in Lady Gaga’s perfume are as follows:

Tears of belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, a black veil of incense, pulverized apricot and the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops.

Let’s just strip the notes list above of all flowery language and get to the business side of things, eh? Which leaves us with belladonna, orchid, incense, apricot, saffron, honey.

Honestly, aside from the belladonna and incense, the fragrance is gearing up to smell pretty generic. But, incense can be a powerful thing that can lend a surprising amount of complexity to a scent–if done right. Belladonna, if such a thing will even be present in the actual perfume, is a little worrisome. I haven’t smelled belladonna, but from what I gathered, people don’t particularly like how it smells. It’s also poisonous.

There’s also been a lot of buzz about the nature of belladonna in a fragrance and how safe it will be. If this stuff is formulated anything like pretty much every other perfume out there, the “belladonna” will likely be synthetic, or is actually some concept you’re supposed to imagine or smell as opposed to actual belladonna. My money’s on the latter.

Still, it’s a bit early yet to judge Fame based upon its list of notes. Who knows? It might turn out to be a huge success. It might smell like something Paris Hilton’s name should be on. We’ll see. Fame is set to hit store shelves in September.