Toning it Down, Dialing it Back

For 2013, I have decided to focus a little more on my career as one of my New Years Resolutions. Writing for That Smell has been a joy–not to mention a fantastic vehicle for meeting some wonderful people, I cannot commit to posting twice a week any longer as I have recently struck out on my own as a freelancer.

From this week and onward, That Smell will only be updated once a week, either on Tuesday or Wednesday (more likely Wednesday).

I will still be around plenty to read your posts, respond to your emails and comments as usual.


Floris Santal

Santal, like with most men’s fragrance samplers, fell into my lap through some exchanges or trades. Its little glass vial sat pretty much untouched since I received it due to its unspectacular name. But like books, you really shouldn’t judge a fragrance by its cover–sometimes.

Santal

Santal

In Bottle: Soft gentle spice with a sandalwood heart.

Applied: Bergamot with a lemony friend in the opening. The spices roll in quickly, but very elegantly. It’s a gentle spice, like a nice little dusting of cardamom and nutmeg and clove on top of your cup of tea or coffee. It smells light, doesn’t come on too strong and imparts this sense of confidence without being loud and obnoxious about it. This smells like a refined gentleman with a nice sandalwood upon entering the latter midstage. The dry down is marked with a warm, light spice and heavier dose of woods. Santal is not young smelling. It’s not the aqua deluge of modern mens fragrance. It smells more classical and has a nice, subdued sophistication to it.

Extra: Santal was released in 2002 and is still available today in an EDT concentration, bar of soap, aftershave, shower gel, or shaving balm.

Design: Looks nice enough. The Floris label is really the focal point of this design with a nice classical air about it. The bottle itself is unassuming with an easy to hold design and subdued but mildly flashy gold detailing.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Spicy

Notes: Bergamot, pepper, cardamom, grass, lemon, nutmeg, clove, lavender, amber, cedar, sandalwood, olibanum, vetiver, vanilla, musk.

Some scents never cease to surprise me. I ended up liking Santal quite a bit.

Reviewed in This Post: Santal, 2011, Eau de Toilette.


Alfred Sung Jewel

With all the heady, classic fragrances I had been trying and wearing lately and with the weather doing all sorts of strange things, I had a hankering for a springtime perfume and Jewel caught my attention.

Jewel

Jewel

In Bottle: Sweet, dewy and slightly fruity jasmine with a bit of orange blossom.

Applied: I primarily get a nice dewy jasmine scent out of this with a fruity pear and a strong neroli note in the front. The jasmine is sweet and clean and fresh as it rolls into a fairly benign mid-stage with hints of creamy coconut in the background. So far, Jewel is nothing to really write home about. It’s very nice, but not unique. It reminds me a bit of springtime, and its use of fruits and jasmine together are not unappealing, nor is it too overdone to be enjoyable. The dry down is not too special either, as the sweet jasmine rolls into a clean floral finish.

Extra: Jewel was released in 2005 and if you didn’t get enough of it in fragrance form, you can choose between its wide range of body care products like the lotion. Jewel isn’t difficult to find either, and is available from discounters online though I haven’t seen it in a department store myself.

Design: Reminds me of Ange ou Demon by Givenchy, but I suppose it’s just the shape that makes me draw the similarities between the two. Has a pleasant shape overall, interesting to look at.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Floral

Notes: Blackcurrant, pear, neroli, orange blossom, jasmine, frangipani, coconut, plum.

Overall, a pleasant experience if somewhat uninteresting. It is a nice springtime perfume, and hit the spot when I wanted to smell spring-like, but there are more interesting spring offerings out there. Still Jewel is pretty good for what it is, has a pleasant clean, fresh jasmine sweetness to it and doesn’t lay it on very thick.

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


Roger & Gallet Oeillet Bleu

Much thanks to Deb at LuvParfum for a sample of Roger & Gallet’s Oeillet Bleu. My obsession with vintage fragrances hits a peak every time I visit her website. I really don’t know what’s stopping me from buying everything in sight.

In Bottle: Unmistakably vintage with a spicy floral opening. I get carnation in a big way, in the sort of way you don’t get these days because big carnation like this could scare off those faint of heart.

Applied: Spicy carnation. Lots of floral and plenty of clove to leaven it. This is green but makes me think of oranges and reds instead. I guess I needed a color that embodied the heat and passion that I get when I smell this.¬†Oeillet Bleu is vibrant even after all these years and has a beautiful leathery vanilla base that complements it painfully well. I wasn’t sure if I would continue to like the leather in this, but it proved me wrong. Oeillet Bleu is something of a soliflore. I don’t get much else outside of carnation and the buttery base, but it’s one of the best carnations I’ve ever experienced. It’s also one of the most convincing and long lasting.

Extra: Released in the late 1930s, Oeillet Bleu or Blue Carnation was a major hit for Roger & Gallet. I’m not sure when they decided to take it off the markets, but it was truly a sad day and I haven’t smelled a carnation quite as pure as this yet.

Design: Oeillet Bleu came in a few forms, the one I kept seeing was a somewhat unassuming ribbed glass flacon with a blue cap and matching blue label with the house name and fragrance name on it. Its designs are all perfectly beautiful in the classic way. It definitely reminds me of an era long gone.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore

Notes: Carnation, clove, vanilla, leather.

It needs to be said that things are truly unfair when some of the finest smelling fragrances are discontinued. Ah well, happy Valentine’s Day!

Reviewed in This Post: Oeillet Bleu, ~1950, Eau de Toilette.


Etro Royal Pavilion

Another sample that was sent to me from Steve at The Scented Hound. I wore Royal Pavilion to work one day, feeling like something ought to mix things up a little.

Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion

In Bottle: Jasmine, plenty of it mixed with ylang-ylang with a base of sandalwood and a pretty, juicy, mimosa.

Applied: I get the Ylang-ylang before I get the jasmine when applied. It flares up first and stays up, giving the scent this dusty floral vibe. The jasmine brings it down a little closer to familiar territory with a nice mimosa in the background and a rose that settles near the base. I had expected something else from Royal Pavilion. Perhaps more cypress or green. What it is delights me, however. With it’s classically beautiful floral and it’s nice sandalwood touch upon dry down. There’s warnings of civet and castor in this too, and I had a couple of faint whiffs as I sat in the back and wondered if anyone else noticed. Royal Pavilion was like a quiet, peaceful journey with a light bump at the end. It envelops you in lovely, classical floral notes then when you’re at the end and enjoying your sandalwood fade, a couple of small animal notes hits your nose just to make sure you were still paying attention.

Extra: I went into this knowing very little about Royal Pavilion. It was very much a random pick as I was running out the door in the morning. So I was surprised to find this was released in 1989 because I was going to peg it for a few years earlier.

Design: Bottled in much the same way as other Etro fragrances, in a very nicely shaped class flacon with a silver cap. Nice and simple with just enough design elements to impart “luxury” without any gaudiness.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Floral

Notes: Jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, mimosa, violet, sandalwood, vetiver, oakmoss, castor, civet.

Lovely scent, very excited that something from the late 80s is still around and kicking. Kudos, Etro!

Reviewed in This Post: Royal Pavilion, ~2012, Eau de Toilette.


M. Micallef Royal Vintage

I was delighted when Royal Vintage showed up on my doorstep one day. I had fallen in love with the offerings from the house of M. Micallef and was looking forward to testing out a masculine fragrance from their line.

Royal Vintage

Royal Vintage

In Bottle: Soft and woodsy, a nice tempered cypress with a touch of rich leather.

Applied: A whiff if bergamot up front that quickly gives way to a very nice, very green cypress scent. The cypress works wonders for this fragrance, it’s evenly applied it doesn’t blast up your nose or make itself too obvious. It just simply smells right with the right level of projection and power. The leather rolls in during the mid-stage as well, lending the fragrance an added level of complexity. Royal Vintage smells masculine, green, fresh and sophisticated. It relies on woodsy and that beautiful supple leather to make its point instead of the majority of mainstream men’s fragrances that rely too much on aqua. The dry down for Royal Vintage sees the leather fade away a bit with the cypress still going strong with a bit of earthiness from the patchouli carrying the fragrance the rest of the way.

Extra: Royal Vintage is a new release for January 2013 and is part of the Exclusif Collection. It should be available at retailers including on LuckyScent, Parfum1, and Parfumerie Nasreen. Royal Vintage is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for $185USD.

Design: Designed in a similar fashion as M. Micallef’s other offerings such as Emir and Style. The bottle is nice, organic, and simple with enough embellishments to hint at a luxury while imparting a sense of artfulness. Overall, nice bottle design. Looks great on display too.

Fragrance Family: Earthy woodsy

Notes: Pink berries, bergamot, cypress, leather, patchouli, musk.

I really liked Royal Vintage for many reasons. Probably the two major reasons is that it lacks in the two ingredients that tend to ruin men’s fragrances for me: aqua and cedar. The cypress does a much better job as a base wood note and the lack of aqua let me enjoy the rich, full leather note.

Reviewed in This Post: Royal Vintage, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Disclaimer: The fragrance reviewed in this post was provided to me for free for the purposes of review. In no other way am I receiving pay or compensation for this review. This review was written based upon my personal experiences and opinions of the product.

Thanks to Micallef for giving me the opportunity to try this fragrance and Jeffrey Dame at Hypoluxe for forwarding on the sample.