Demeter Greenhouse

Demeter’s Greenhouse caught my eye because, well, as of late I’ve had this strange urge to build a greenhouse, grow some tropical flowers and spend some quiet time among plants. Then one of my neighbor’s children will fling a baseball into our yard and probably smash the whole thing up. That is when I realize we need a fence before a greenhouse. So, in lieu of the real thing, I reach for Demeter’s Greenhouse.



In Bottle: As tangental as I was in that introductory paragraph, Greenhouse gets to the point a bit faster. Unfortunately that point seems to be, “I smell fake!”.

Applied: I’ve been in a few greenhouses growing up. One of my cousins has one in his backyard where he grows vegetables, fruits, flowers and other things that make me jealous because the best I’ve done is a couple of spindly trees and a sick looking fern. Some of my favorite smells is the scent of humidity, moist earth, green leaves with a faint aroma of flowers. That’s not what I get from Demeter’s Greenhouse. I get a synthetic green herbal shock with a dollar store level floral note in the background. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s not greenhouse either. There’s a bit of moistness to the fragrance, but it’s really quite off from the greenhouses I’ve been in. I suppose it’s hard to capture the essence of something that could have such widely varying characteristics, and really, I’m not taking away points because bottled Greenhouse doesn’t smell like my cousin’s greenhouse. I’m taking away points because something in this smells really synthetic. While not unpleasant, I can’t agree that this is a greenhouse.

Extra: It wasn’t until my recent move and discovery that not every living plant I touch immediately turns brown did I discover that I actually like gardening. Or at least, I would love to garden. Fence first. Garden after. Real greenhouse someday. In the mean time, Demeter’s Greenhouse isn’t going to cut it for me.

Design: Designed simply just like every other Demeter fragrance. Nice simple bottle, not high end or luxe in anyway. For the price point this is pretty much all I expected and if nothing else, the bottles are reusable.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Florals, green notes.

I might be ragging on Greenhouse a little too much. Really, it’s okay. Pleasant if I were to push it a little. But to me, it’s by no means a greenhouse smell.

Reviewed in This Post: Greenhouse, 2012, Cologne Spray.

Hermes Bel Ami

I’ve been on a chypre bender lately, wanting something full-bodied and classic once again. Enter Hermes Bel Ami, which inspired an hour-long look at some new Hermes scarves.

Bel Ami

Bel Ami

In Bottle: Now, it should be noted that I have the newer formulation of Bel Ami, so this isn’t a true vintage chypre. It’s one of those “modern” deals. But Hermes did a good job with it, sweet, deep, masculine and woodsy.

Applied: Sweet upon application with a nice bergamot and lemon opening. The spiciness is only a hint in this fragrance. What I’m getting the most out of it is a deep, rich leather scent with a hint of animal and a big dose of earthiness from the orris. There’s a pleasant touch of cedar in the background that doesn’t overwhelm but is in there enough to give the fragrance a hint of woodsiness. The herbal notes probably lend a tempering effect to this fragrance as it’s more of a blast of leather than anything else. I can see where the chypre construction in this lies and it’s fabulous, but it isn’t quite what I’m looking for. Still a really great, strong, masculine scent with a very interesting composition and a great sense of projection.

Extra: Bel Ami was released in 1986 and has, unfortunately, been reformulated a few times, I suspect. Still, it smells pretty good for having been tinkered with over the years.

Design: Bottled simply, and somewhat reminiscent of some other Hermes bottles. Looks classical and functions pretty well. No one is going to immediately notice this bottle, but it’s a joy to look at it nonetheless.

Fragrance Family: Chypre

Notes: Mandarin, sage, bergamot, lemon, cardamom, patchouli, orris, carnation, basil, jasmine, cedar, leather, coconut, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver, styrax, amber.

So Bel Ami isn’t really my thing. I don’t go crazy much for this much leather as it tends to smell too bold for me. But it is still a very well constructed fragrance.

Reviewed in This Post: Bel Ami, ~2000, Eau de Toilette.

Fake Spotting Vera Wang Princess

With the huge popularity of Princess, I’ve been finding more and more fakes of it cropping up on eBay. It wasn’t until a bunch of them kept showing up in my eBay “recommended” section that I finally decided to do a fake spotting for it–more out of annoyance than anything else seeing as I thought Princess was a bit of an uninspired mess. But just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean plenty of other fragrance fans do. So here’s what to look out for if you’re aiming to buy Vera Wang Princess off of eBay.

Please keep in mind I am only focusing on the original Vera Wang Princess. This fragrance has a hoard of flankers, including “Flower Princess” which is largely packaged the same except with a silver cap and the juice appears more pink. So if you see varying styles of Princess, they aren’t necessarily fakes so much as they are official flankers.

First, the authentic bottle and box:

Authentic Princess

Authentic Princess

A few things to pay attention to. Notice the very bottom of the inner chamber of the bottle dips into a deep channel so that the inner chamber closely resembles a heart. The crown should fit nicely over the sprayer nozzle so that you can push the crown down all the way and the sprayer will be barely noticeable. Also take note of the detailing between the gems in the crown and the gems are the same color in the crown as well as the ring that sits under the crown. The upside hearts and the faceted style of the outer glass on the bottle should also be noted. Now, here’s a fake:

Fake Princess 1

Fake Princess 1

Here’s a pretty easy one to start us off. First of all, the branding appears to have been put on by marker (more likely just a very poor quality ink) because several of the letters are smudged. Princess is also printed very poorly and the typeface was so smudged and poorly applied that it looks like someone even used a counterfeit typeface. The facets on the bottle are absent and the crown is completely wrong. For one thing, the detailing I mentioned above between the gems? They’re here on this bottle, but they’re very faint and not at all deeply imprinted as they should be. The clean cut upside down hearts on the authentic bottle are also poorly mimicked here with wobbly hearts.

Fake Princess 2

Fake Princess 2

Here’s an example of a fake Princess box. Notice how the cellophane isn’t as tight around the box as it should be. Also note how dirty it appears to be on the inside and the printing errors on the box itself. The golden lines around “Vera Wang Princess” are thin and appear rubbed off in some places. The words “eau de toilette spray” are set too close to the graphic and the ink looks dull and discolored.

Princess ?

Princess ?

This is either a fake bottle or just VERY poorly photographed. If it is fake, you can tell because the bottle looks squat, as if it was was squished down from its actual height. You can also tell because the text is set way too close to the top of the bottle and appears to be shifted too far to the right. Also the detailing between the gems appears to be off-centered. It is still a really bad photo. In either case, I wouldn’t buy it.


Princess ?

Princess ?

While most of the elements appear to be in the right place, something about the condition of this box and the cellophane wrapping bothers me to no end. Notice that the cellophane appears to be lifted off or otherwise poorly applied. The box is also dirty on the inside. Makes me suspicious that this was opened before and may have been tampered with. Whatever the case, it’s a good idea not to purchase a bottle of perfume unless the seller can provide photographs of the actual bottle. This is why I would never buy “New in Box” perfume. I either see the bottle or no deal. This is because it’s harder to fake a bottle than it is to fake a box.

And there you have it, fake Vera Wang Princess perfume. It’s all over eBay and other auction sites. Be careful out there.

Farmacia Ambra Nera

Another sample from the truly awesome, Steve from The Scented Hound. Ambra Nera is a parfum concentration amber scent that smelled pleasant from the sampler vial.

Ambra Nera

Ambra Nera

In Bottle: Smooth amber with a blast of eucaluptus and a hint of patchouli and touch of cypress.

Applied: The first thing I got from Ambra Nera was the eucalyptus, followed by the amber and a nice sense of warmth. The cypress rolls in during the midstage giving the scent a touch of woodsiness without being too overwhelming, the fragrance as a whole takes on a slightly green feel near the end of the mid-stage as it rolls into a lovely powdered amber with a hint of sweetness. Very pleasant, exquisitely sophisticated, and rather surprising as I was expecting something a bit more bold from this, but its softness is very appealing.

Extra: Ambra Nera was the brainchild of Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561. It’s available on Lucky Scent.

Design: Pretty simple bottle, but gets the job done. Looks nice, simple and modern. Nothing garish on this so it can sit anywhere and suit just about any style.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: Cypress, eucalyptus, amber, benzoin, vetiver, vanilla, patchouli.

Very pleasantly surprised with Ambra Nera, I enjoyed the subtle sweetness of the amber and its nice soft progression.

Reviewed in This Post: Ambra Nera, 2012, Parfum.