Tauer Cologne du Maghreb

Has it really been that long? Was what I said when an email landed in my inbox the other day telling me this website had been updated and that I really ought to visit once in a while like a good daughter. Months ago, I received a very generous sample from Jeffrey Dame of Hypoluxe. When Cologne du Maghreb landed at my door, I said to myself, “Soon!” As months went by and more clients were piling work my way, soon became later and here we are. Cologne du Maghreb, lovely in most respects and while quite a bit later, better than never.

Cologne du Maghreb

Cologne du Maghreb

In Bottle: Fresh, green woods. Crisp with a little bit of flowery water thrown in.

Applied:  Cologne du Maghreb is lighter than what I thought it would be. It went on like a silk scarf, gentle and breezy with a clean and fresh opening of citrus and green leaves. It’s reminiscent of a whiff citrus zest. As it ages, there’s a floral note in the background that plays second fiddle to a very pleasant woody spice. Something tells me there’s a cedar in here, but at least it’s well-behaved and being tempered by a mix of florals and spices. The fragrance ends on a cool, ambery, woodsy note and dwindles into a fine floral finish.

Extra: Cologne du Maghreb was designed by Andy Tauer, famed for many fragrances in the Tauer Perfumes brand.

Design: Simple bottle with a nice and modern feel. No frills or crazy shapes and colors here. Just simplicity that works for what it is.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Woodsy

Notes: Lemon, bergamot, rosemary, lavender, orange blossom, neroli, rose, cedar, labdanum, vetiver, amber.

I had forgotten how much joy I derived from fragrances and fragrance reviewing. And I have a maintenance email to thank for bringing me back, even if it is a somewhat brief reunion. Cologne du Maghreb is a perfectly nice fragrance, light and a bit on the tame side but it doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking for something to wear on a frequent basis.

Reviewed in This Post: Cologne du Maghreb, 2014, Eau de Parfum.

Dita Von Teese Erotique

Got a request to do a review of this one. It took me a few months to track down a sample of it, half because it was curiously hidden away at department stores where I am and half because I felt another mention of celebuscents within months of each other was a bit over the top.



In Bottle: Leather and smoke with a bath of wood.

Applied:  Erotique reminds me of the word “blunt”, the adjective. It comes in with leather and gives you the dyed soaking version of just that. It smells of smoke instead of incense. The smoked leather is warm, if you need something to remind you of heat in the dead of winter, I think Erotique might help. It reminds me more of a fireplace than leather at times, and at other times it’s overwhelmingly warm leather. I guess the imagery I get from this is less erotic and more comfy. Like taking a nap on a leather sofa in front of a wood burning fireplace. There are other elements of this that come and go, in less noticeable amounts than the leather and wood. There’s not too much else I notice aside from a kick of spice here and there, but what is there is a pleasant enough journey for me.

Extra: Erotique was released in 2013. Dita Von Teese, I had to look up, and discovered she was at one time the wife of Marilyn Manson whose musical stylings confused and frightened an eight year old version of me back in the 90s.

Design: For a fragrance like this, I found the bottle to be a strange juxtaposition. Its shape and color and styling would make me think “sweet and fruity!” rather than warm leathery woods. The cap is also a bit overdone, but I’d be hard pressed to say the bottle didn’t look nice. I just don’t think it looks appropriate.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Leather

Notes: Rose, incense, leather, pepper, coriander, sandalwood, guaiac wood, cedar, musk.

Maybe it was because I had to take it easy on the fragrances for about a month, or maybe it was ten to twenty fragrances I had tested before I got this one–in a period of about three to four days but by the time I was done with Erotique, I had a pretty awesome fragrance headache. No idea where that came from, the last headache I got was years ago (from perfume anyway). I really don’t think it had anything to do with Erotique, but rather my brain telling me to ease myself back into perfumery. Regardless, Erotique is actually one of the few celebuscents that does something remotely different from everything else. If you must get yourself a celebuscent, try Erotique.

Reviewed in This Post: Erotique, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

The People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo

The title of this one alone kind of made me swallow hard. Not so much because it was long and difficult, but rather I wasn’t sure how my blog would wrap that title. I love the title though, Luctor et Emergo. You saw that to somebody and they’ll probably think you’re casting a spell on them. Bonus points to this one for having some of the most interesting notes, grass, almonds and sour cherries piqued my interest the most.

Luctor et Emergo

Luctor et Emergo

In Bottle: Probably the most interesting experience I’ve had in a while with a fragrance. First spray reminded me of a very expensive rum I had once. Aged some strange amount of decades, it came out smelling very similar to this. Like woody barrels, almond and a bit of spice.

Applied:  The application wasn’t much different to me than the off-skin sniff. It smelled of that aged rum, almond, a hint of vanilla, wood barrel and a sprinkle of spice. It smells tasty, but the initial burst of rum makes way for a predominantly woodsy scent. I smell this and I think of cherries and pencils. It harkens me back to elementary school, sharpening my pencils at my desk a tube of cherry chapstick wedged in the corner of my desk drawer. I liked collecting the curls of shavings because I thought they looked beautiful. It’s a good memory, and I think a nice way for me to describe Luctor et Emergo. It’s the shaving curls off of sharpened pencils. Rolled into little ribbons of wood, collect them together and make a nice masterpiece. I get a bit of the almond in this as well, sweet and mild and working with a hidden vanilla note. The longer I let this age, the more the woods grow on me. They’re pleasant and tempered woods. Not the screaming harpy that I often associate with cedar. These woods are soft and pretty and nostalgic. I actually really love this, just for the memory spur alone.

Extra: Luctor et Emergo was released in 1997. I looked up what Luctor et Emergo meant, and the translation I came up with was “I struggle and emerge”.

Design: I have to admit, I’m not sure I’m a fan of the bottle design. Something about it reminds me of a nail polish bottle and I think it’s a part of that design sensibility that faded away a bit in the 90s.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Grass, white florals, vanilla, almond, cherry, precious woods.

The opinion on this one seems mixed across reviewers. I personally like it because of how nostalgic it made me feel. Hard to believe because I distinctly remember having not that greatest of times in elementary school. But I suppose the reminder of those pretty pencil shavings was something I missed. You can get Luctor et Emergo from Olfactif or LuckyScent.

Reviewed in This Post: Luctor et Emergo, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Grand Cuir was another inclusion in the March 2014, Olfactif package. Its copy tells me to expect a leather, smooth and unique. Dove right in.

Grand Cuir

Grand Cuir

In Bottle: Fresh, smooth and animalic upon first sniff. Heavy like a classic fragrance but lacking that “aged” feel you’d get from a vintage.

Applied:  I get an initial burst of freshness upon initial application. Woodsy and leathery with a lick of herbal. Grand Cuir is a chameleon, it changes before I can put a finger on what I expect it’s trying to smell like. There’s a note of stickiness to it as well, like an animal creeping around in the woods. I think that ultimately is how I’d describe this, something primal creeping around in some glorious woods. There’s a note of a flower bed, a hint of clean, and a dusting of leather. Grand Cuir fades down to a clean, light scent at the end. Complex with a good bit of throw and longevity, Grand Cuir is interesting at the very least. Not my kind of thing, but it’s something to consider if you want a smooth leather.

Extra: Grand Cuir was a more recent launch in 2013 and designed by Hugh Spencer. There’s also a rather interesting interview with Jeffry Dame about Parfums Retro you should check out.

Design: Very simple bottle, somewhat retro in design as well so I’d have to say they hit the visuals right on the mark. Good and clean, nothing garish. Well done bottle and design overall.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Leather

Notes: Labdanum, birch tar, clary sage, orange flower, lavender, carnation, rose, violet, geranium, cinnamon, tarragon, pine, moss, sandalwood, rosewood, patchouli, musk.

No vanilla in this, but I don’t think it really needs it. At least, I got no vanilla. I was perfectly happy with the cute soda-like opening and the mellow, relaxing florals in the middle. The woods note in this is fantastic too. You can get your hands on Parfums Retro’s Grand Cuir from Olfactif.

Reviewed in This Post: Grand Cuir, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Ineke Sweet William

I was wowed into trying Sweet William from seeing its packaging. There are two things I can’t resist (okay, there’s actually  a lot of things I can resist, but these are the two I can think of right now) 1) perfume, 2) books. You slap those two things together and you might as well just take my money right now.

Sweet William

Sweet William

In Bottle: Sweet William opens with a sweet and spicy peach with a smooth application of clove.

Applied: The fragrance goes on so light and sweet and pretty that I feel like putting on a flowery dress and frolicking in some random fields. The peach is so uncandy-like (thank goodness!) that it almost verges on a spicy orange opening. Sweet William is girly with a dose of spice to make sure it’s not all silliness and has a little bit of sophistication as well. The mid-stage is a sweet carnation with a soft beautifully done sandalwood and vanilla waft. Its dry down marks no sharp notes, no stray and misused cedar or patchouli at all. It’s a lovely, soft, warm spicy woods. Just lovely!

Extra: Sweet William by Ineke is a part of a limited edition collection of scents called Floral Curiosities. The packaging is adorable, and I was delighted to find that the sampler collection comes in what appears to be a book.

Design: The bottle itself is fairly similar to other Ineke 75mls, packaged in a lovely box and looking very nice. I have to shamefully admit that I would rather get the travel spray just because it’s packaged in another adorable book box. I’m a little obsessed with this packaging, you see.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Spicy Floral

Notes: Peach, cinnamon, clove, carnation, sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, vanilla.

At the time of this writing, I haven’t yet tried the other fragrances that come with the sampler (I highly recommend giving this a try, especially if you’re looking for something outside of the standard department store fare for someone extra special), but I’m already delighted enough with Sweet William that I wonder what the others will be like. If nothing else, the beautifully done Sweet William has my vote.

Reviewed in This Post: Sweet William, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Lucien Lelong Indiscret

Indescret is one of those rare finds that a lovely friend supplied me with on one of her many sojourns into antiques markets, estate sales, flea markets, and all other manner of excellent places I wish I lived close enough to her to enjoy too. I’ll always be grateful when she finds a fragrance treasure and sends me even the smallest samples though!



In Bottle: Heady and bitter, highly floral and possessing of that classic perfume scent that’s always hard to describe and can only be smelled and experienced to understand.

Applied: Indiscret is very strong upon application. It fills my nose, floods into my sinus cavity and clears things out as it hits my brain screaming of a bitter green and sharp orange. It settles down after about an hour but don’t think Indiscret gets any more mellow, it’s a powerhouse, keeps going and evolving and growing stronger the longer you wear it. The woodsiness comes up a bit more, along with some faded floral notes, the most I get is a very rounded jasmine that adds a very nice touch to smooth out the scent. The whole thing smells classic and I wish I had the eloquence to describe that classic, vintage fragrance smell adequately because it’s a beautiful thing and all budding perfumistas or fragrance fan needs to smell and experience it at least once. Indiscret, or at least the version I have, seems to have taken on a musty lower note as it ages hours later. It has a bit of spiciness with that woodsy scent but at the same time, there’s something a bit funky about the dry down that puts me off a little, but doesn’t turn me away. Judging from the other reviewer reactions, I have a feeling my particular juice may have gone off a little, which is a shame since people seem to describe the final stage of Indiscret as a smooth, creamy woodsy spicy affair.

Extra: Indiscret was released in the mid-1930s to Lucien Lelong, a very fancy brand back in the day. Indiscret was discontinued at some point, but is still somewhat available via eBay and select vintage fragrance sellers.

Design: The bottles I see have lovely, classic sweeping feminine curves and a beautiful looking flacon. If I could get my hands on it, I totally would. There are other designs as well, ranging from simpler rectangular flacons to mini sizes to more modernized bottles with shiny metallic-looking caps.

Fragrance Family: Floral Woodsy

Notes: Mandarin, bergamot, jasmine, tuberose, orange flower, rose, ylang ylang, geranium, iris, galbanum, woods.

Like most fragrances my friend picks up from antique stores, I can’t fully classify the year of the bottle and can only guess. My only recommendation for this one is to look for it, the more vintage and pure the better the experience. It’s a beautiful, full-bodied, very long-lasting vintage beauty!

Reviewed in This Post: Indiscret, ~1940, Eau de Parfum.

Biehl Parfumkunstwerke gs03

Another sampler from Jeffrey Dame at Hypoluxe. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting after gs02, though I was pleasantly surprised when I tried out gs03!



In Bottle: Nice, soft white florals with an layer of woods.

Applied: Slight citrus kick on spray but quick to dissipate as it’s replaced with a smooth white floral fragrance with an under layer of woods to back it up. The opening is fabulous. Very airy white florals, a slight spice to tie it together. It’s mid-stage is marked with a more prominent woodsy showing with those white florals layered on top. The dry down sees a smoother wood note, less florals and more soft warmth from a vetiver with a mild return of the citrus that disappeared in the top layer. This reminds me of laundry or very nice soap. And something in it also reminds me of something my mother used to wear. Nice, lovely and soft.

Extra: gs03 is a new launch from biehl parfumkunstwerke targeted both men and women. It was composed by by Geza Schoen, like gs02.

Design: A similar minimalist bottle design as gs02. Nothing flashy or outrageous. After having seen some of the latest celebuscent bottle designs, I appreciate simplicity like this a lot.

Fragrance Family: Floral Woodsy

Notes: Mandarin, orange blossom, neroli, pepper, juniper, rose, jasmine, iris, cedar, vetiver, castoreum, oakmoss, benzoin, tonka bean, musk.

Very nice, though a couple of times during the midstage I got a little worried about the cedar. That note doesn’t behave for me, but it did fine in gs03 as it was light and well done in this fragrance. Overall very nice and I prefer it over gs02 for its softness.

Reviewed in This Post: gs03, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Biehl Parfumkunstwerke gs02

I will admit that I was initially drawn to gs02 and the other scents in the latest release from biehl parfumkunstwerke because I was getting tired of picking scents based on their names. The letter and number combo lent some anonymity to the fragrance and made it seem like whatever I’d get, I wouldn’t be influenced by the name chosen by the house. What could get more anonymous than a scent called gs02? So having had no prior knowledge of the scent, no idea what notes were in it and only a write-up by Jeffrey Dame of Hypoluxe and a sample card to go with, I dove in.



In Bottle: Sharp and cool, refreshing, especially after walking around outside. Clean, too with a light floral impression on top of a bed of herbs.

Applied: Cool application, somewhat sharp. I get a slight hint of woods, like a slightly smoky wood. gs02 evolves into a smooth light floral with a touch of spice and woods. The longer this wears, the more I get the impression of something darker, like a leather trying to peek around the corner of some trees. The drydown has a smoother woodsy interpretation with less spice, no florals and that elusive leather is no where to be seen. Everything is generally softer on the dry down though very much present. It’s clean overall, fresh on the open, woodsy and supple in the midstage and soft on the dry down.

Extra: This one is a full on niche from biehl parfumkunstwerke and composed by Geza Schoen, the nose behind Clive Christian’s 1872 and other fabulous scents like Eccentric 02 from Eccentric Molecules.

Design: Minimalist bottle design, which for a series of fragrances like this lends towards the luxury and concept rather than takes away from it. These bottles fall into the aesthetic category of, “line them up in a row and stare at them all day”.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Orange, wormwood, angelica, thyme, spices, leather, castoreum, amber, tonka bean, vanilla.

There’s something to be said for the clean, crisp, sharp impression of gs02, though some consider it polarizing. I’ve seen reactions where people said it smelled like body wash. And having used my husband’s body shower now and then, I can attest that the association is definitely there. But gs02 has an understated, underlying complexity that you just can’t get out of a bottle of Nivea.

Reviewed in This Post: gs02, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

M. Micallef Aoud

M. Micallef’s Aoud is celebrating its 10th Anniversary and I got a hold of a little deluxe sample courtesy of Jeffrey Dame from Hypoluxe.



In Bottle: Fresh, woodsy with a little bit of sweetness. Masculine, but not so overtop masculine that a woman wouldn’t enjoy wearing this.

Applied: The aoud lends a very nice, mellow and well-rounded golden type of scent to the fragrance and it’s the aoud that really carries the rest of the scent. Layered beneath the aoud is a fabulous spicy incense that drifts around the heart notes in delicate little veils of lightness. At the bottom is a soft patchouli and a sweet coat of honey. I think what really ultimately what makes Micallef’s Aoud so awesome, it’s the fact that it’s a masculine scent but it doesn’t throw it in your face. It’s slow, complex and subtle but extremely effective and completely wearable.

Extra: Aoud was originally released in 2003 and is described as a masculine oriental woodsy fragrance.

Design: Aoud’s bottling harkens to a bit more familiar territory with me as its style is what I saw first years ago from Micallef and it’s what I identify their packaging with the post. It’s a lovely circle bottle with a touch of modern and plenty of style.

Fragrance Family: Oriental Woodsy

Notes: Rose, aoud, sandalwood, cinnamon, saffron, clove, patchouli.

I really quite like Aoud, and I’ve had a few that were quite strong and quite classical and Micallef’s Aoud hits that sweet spot with me where I can enjoy a strong note, but would really like it toned down sometimes.

Reviewed in This Post: Aoud, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

M. Micallef Parfum Couture Denis Durand

One day, I say to myself, I’ll have enough saved up that I don’t have to reinvest in my business so I can drop it on a full bottle of M.Micallef’s Ylang in Gold. The more I try of that, the more I fall in love with it. But the story for M. Micallef’s fragrances are often favorable. Most of the offerings from their line are great, and the vanillas are just to die for. I’m excited every time I get to try a new scent and this time it’s Parfum Couture.

Parfum Couture

Parfum Couture

In Bottle: A strong tangerine showing with a kick of cinnamon and plenty of sandalwood.

Applied: My favorite moment is the opening, crisp tangerine, tart with a spicy cinnamon kick. The fragrance is quick to roll into the mid-stage with a very tempered rose and orange blossom that layers itself beautifully over the aoud. I know a lot of people might be worried about the “animalis” note in this, but I honestly didn’t get very much, a little hit of castoreum and a pinch of musk and that was it. The entire progression from opening was very smooth with a prominent woodsy showing in the midstage as well as the end stage. It sweeps into a bit of patchouli with a warm clean amber at the base. Very nice, fairly well constructed, I was worried about the woods when they showed up early, but they behaved very nicely with the rest of the fragrance.

Extra: Like all Micallef bottles, Parfum Couture beautifully hand-decorated and is available on Luckyscent!

Design: I’m really digging the design for this bottle. A cool, modern shape wrapped in beautiful and delicate lace with a golden hang tag. Really nice, simple but at the same time dressy and fashionable.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Floral

Notes: Cinnamon, tangerine, aoud, rose, animalis, amber, sandalwood, patchouli.

Lovely scent, nice and smooth and well-behaved in a beautiful bottle. I’m still in love with Ylang in Gold, but this is still very nice.

Reviewed in This Post: Parfum Couture Denis Durand, 2013, Eau de Parfum.