Dior Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita is a vibrant little number that I kind of wish I had more of. It’s bright, peppy and classical all at the same time.

Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita

In Bottle: Sweet, almost pastry-like with a strong peach/apricot and cardamom showing initially.

Applied: Dolce Vita goes on reminding me of a peach pastry. It’s got to be the–well–peach, and the spices that make me think of the jammy fruit filling in a danish. The pastry feel doesn’t last for too long before I get a hit of sandalwood with a pretty strong sweetness. Dolce Vita is sugar and woods with a tablespoon of cinnamon sprinkled over it. The sandalwood is quick to settle down but the sweet cinnamon fruity floral thing has bigger plans and sticks around on the fragrance for quite some time. Dolce Vita has good staying power on me, I barely noticed when it slipped from its sweet fruity floral middle and nestled between a nice tame cedar and a soft, lilting sweet vanilla base.

Extra: Dolce Vita was released in 1994 and was composed by Pierre Bourdon of Cool Water fame.

Design: I really like the bottle. It looks like it came from an earlier time than the 90s and it has a nice feel to it too. It’s a good looking piece that has 90s elements to it, but at times can feel like it came from an earlier era. Hard to describe, but overall, I like it.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: Grapefruit, bergamot, lily, peach, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, apricot, magnolia, heliotrope, rosewood, sandalwood, cedar, coconut, vanilla.

I had to take a couple of tries to figure out if I truly liked Dolce Vita or if it was just a fad I was going through. I do really like it, it’s nice and well-composed and thankfully still available to boot.

Reviewed in This Post: Dolce Vita, ~2004, Eau de Toilette.

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.

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.

Histoires de Parfums 1804

Okay, no more silly celebrity stuff for the time being. I went a little crazy for Histoires de Parfums. Gimmicky as the concept might seem sometimes, I can’t deny for a minute that it hooked me. So I went and got a few more years from the line.



In Bottle: I really didn’t expect the pineapple to be quite so prominent, but it’s just about the only thing there on first sniff.

Applied: Yep, pineapple. Very tropical, quite sweet with a juiciness to it that I want to attribute to the peach. The pineapple note is very strong and quite loud. I rather like it as it screams holidays and summer at me. Strange because I expected something entirely more subdued from 1804, still feminine, still fruity but not screaming fun and sun like it is right now. All confusion and expectations aside, 1804’s pineapple opening is pretty delightful. It’s sweet and girly and fun. It rolls into a mild floral bouquet with a sweet and clean finish at the end. I was looking for the spices the whole time, but they never made themselves known. Not elegant, but not at all bad. I quite like it.

Extra: 1804 was inspired by Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin, who might be more recognizable by her pen name, George Sand.

Design: Designed in the same way as most other Histoires de Parfums bottles. I would love to have a full set of these, lined up in a neat row. I would finally be able to pretend I’m some sort of chemist with impeccable taste.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Pineapple, peach, gardenia, jasmine, rose, lily-of-the-valley, cloves, nutmeg, sandalwood, patchouli, benzoin, vanilla, white musk.

Probably not an instance where I’m dying to throw money at it, but 1804 remains a very pleasant, very feminine fragrance. If I had a hankering for pineapple, I think it would be the first thing I go for.

Reviewed in This Post: 1802, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Perfumes Celebrities Wear

One of the questions I get asked in surprising frequency is what perfume I think a certain celebrity wears. This confuses me for a number of reasons. Chief among them would be that if my television service wasn’t bundled with my internet service, I would gladly turn it off. I never go to the movies either. Buy movies. Or go out of my way to find out what’s coming out next. In fact, I’m not even sure who most of these celebrities are until one of their fragrances lands in front of my nose and I find myself having to do the barest amount of research.

Then the best comes when I tell people about the website that supposedly lists the fragrances that celebrities wear and they’re shocked the celebrities don’t wear the fragrances with their names on it. And I have to ask, why would they? After all, most celebuscents are cookie cutter tragedies that smell pretty similar to one another. Once in a while, you get a diamond in the rough but the majority of the time, if it doesn’t smell like Britney Spears Fantasy, it’s a miracle.


So what fragrances are celebrities wearing? Well, here are some of the more commonly asked for:

Britney Spears
Britney’s one of those celebrities who does end up wearing some of the stuff with her name on it. But she’s also into other things that don’t really surprise me. Like Comptoir Sud Pacifique’s Vanille Abricot. Hey, I don’t blame her, Vanille Abricot rocks.

Lady Gaga
I really wanted to stop talking about Lady Gaga, but since it’s the new year and so many people kept asking me what I thought she wore. Lady Gaga, apparently wears Thierry Mugler’s Womanity. Not really surprising and pretty fitting.

Angelina Jolie
No joke. I had no idea Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were together and had a large mass of children under their roof until someone asked me what I thought her fragrance of choice was. The last time I saw Angelina anywhere was in the movie Hackers (yeah). Anyway, she apparently favors Creed’s Love in White.

Kim Kardashian
You know, I was a much happier person before I knew who the Kardashians were. Regardless, Kim’s fragrance of choice is Michael by Michael Kors.

Michelle Obama
Color me surprised when I found out the first lady was enjoying quite a bit of celebrity status. The local paper actually had the answer to her favorite fragrance. She’s a Creed Love in White fan too.

Ashton Kutcher
Last I saw of Ashton Kutcher, he was on That 70s Show. Color me surprised when I found out it stopped running and he’s been doing other things since. Ashton favors Arpege Pour Homme.

Katy Perry
She’s apparently a fan of Vanille Abricot too. Doesn’t really surprise me, I was just hoping for something with a little more variety.

Taylor Swift
Oddly enough, the only celebrity that really got in my face this year was Taylor Swift. She was everywhere for some reason. On billboards, at stores, on TV on the rare occasions when I’d turn it on, on websites and in ads all over the place. She has quite the list of favorites, but the most notable would have to be Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess. Good choice.

Nicki Minaj
I really had to do some research on this one because I had no clue who or what Nicki Minaj did. Whatever it is, she prefers Chloe.

Mila Kunis
She apparently likes Carnal Flower. Good choice.

Selena Gomez
Laugh at me all you want, I thought Mila Kunis and Selena Gomez were the same person. They don’t even really look the same. Selena Gomez likes Daisy Eau so Fresh.

You can check out what other celebrities are wearing at: CelebrityFragranceGuide.com

If I had more room for the title, I would change the one for this post to be, “How out of the loop is Kay? Oh, and some perfume”.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted

I didn’t happen upon Wonderstruck Enchanted by accident. It was actually somewhat pushed on me by a well-meaning sales associate who said it would suit me.

Wonderstruck Enchanted. In case you weren't tired of looking at Taylor Swift yet. I am.

Wonderstruck Enchanted. In case you weren’t tired of looking at Taylor Swift yet. I am.

In Bottle: I was underwhelmed when I smelled it prior to application. It had the hallmarks of faux vanilla and too sweet berries.

Applied: Well-meaning sales associate tells me Wonderstruck Enchanged was new, smelled fresh, clean, sweet and that it would suit me quite well. I was a little perturbed by that assessment, but figured I would try it anyway. Upon application, the sweetness and faux vanilla make themselves known right away. It’s not outright plastic-smelling but it isn’t natural. The sweetness is dialed way up in this to the point where my teeth felt like they needed to be drilled and filled in. And by the time I had walked away from the fragrance counter, gone home, went for a jog, showered then sat around for a few hours–I could still smell the sweetness on me. It clings like a powerhouse. Wonderstruck Enchanted isn’t special or unique. To me, it’s like a pile of berry candies coated with a vanilla air freshener. It’s just unappealing and kind of a mess. And unfortunately for it, it’s strength and longevity make it last an absurd amount of time. It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning did I finally rid myself of the cloying sweetness.

Extra: Wonderstruck Enchanted is obviously the flanker for the original Wonderstruck. It was released in 2012, and I really wish they had taken some time to think about it a little bit more because the fragrance manages to be both uninspired and messy.

Design: Similar shape to the original Wonderstruck. It’s red this time instead of just purple and features some slightly different charms around the neck of the bottle. I like the ornate cap, but that’s really about all I can say for it because every other design detail is clearly aimed at a younger audience.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Passionfruit, berries, poppy, freesia, peony, champaca, sugar, musk, woods, vanilla.

Well, there you go. A few months go by and I get this urge to write about a celebuscent and Wonderstruck Enchanted just had to be it. It really wasn’t anything special and I found it mildly annoying that Taylor Swift was every where I looked. But hey, at least it wasn’t Lady Gaga again.

Reviewed in This Post: Wonderstruck Enchanted, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Thierry Mugler A*Men

Lots of thanks to Undina from Undina’s Looking Glass for the sample of this fragrance. A*Men has been one of those scents that I kept hearing about but never got around to trying.



In Bottle: Sweet and a bit dusty, I get a lot of woods out of this but at the same time, I’m smelling the gourmand too.

Applied: Sweet upon application, lavender with a bit of milk and honey and lots of caramel. The fragrance introduces its woodsier side rather earlier as I get patchouli mixed with cedar that blends in with the caramel and milky notes. The mid-stage is marked with a noticeable addition of spices and woods, I swear I can smell cinnamon as the fragrance gets a bit more coffee like with this dusty coating of woods following it. The dry down is warm with a sandalwood base and a sweet toffee-like backdrop. I’ve seen people absolutely love A*Men and other people who can’t stand it. I was all ready for a gourmand but I was more surprised by the prominence of the woods in this. It makes the fragrance more oriental in style with a creamy, sweet caramel scent accented with a lot of woodsiness.

Extra: A*Men was introduced in 1996 and comes in two bottle styles. One metallic bottle and a rubber bottle.

Design: I’ve never been much of a fan of Thierry Mugler’s bottle designs. I often found them too chunk or too alien-looking and I can’t say I really like the bottle designs for A*Men either. It just doesn’t strike a chord with my sensibilities.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand Oriental Woodsy

Notes: Coriander, lavender, fruits, spices, mint, bergamot, honey, jasmine, milk, caramel, lily of the valley, cedar, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka, amber, musk, benzoin, coffee, vanilla.

I don’t think I’m that big of a fan of A*Men. I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked the gourmand bits of it, or the oriental bits, or the woodsy bits. It just all melded together into one big “blah” for me, though it does have really fantastic longevity.

Reviewed in This Post: A*Men, 2012, Eau de Toilette.