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.

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.

Sarah Horowitz Perfect Nectar

Something rather delightful was waiting in the mail for me just the other week. I hadn’t been active much on this blog since work started ramping up again, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a package from Olfactif containing three samples of fragrances I hadn’t yet tried. Hey, smellies in my mailbox? I’m game.

Perfect Nectar

Perfect Nectar


In Bottle: I went with the one sample that seemed to be the most lighthearted. With a series of notes sliding around in the fruity floral arena, I felt Perfect Nectar was a good one to start off with. A light citrus opening that dives right into its white floral roots.

Applied:  I get very little else but white flowers in this interpretation. It’s quite sweet and rather heady. The white florals taking the prominent podium for the majority of the show. With no base notes to go off of, the florals are pretty much all I get. Now, I like white florals just fine. There’s a definite sense of Perfect Nectar trying to hit a sophisticated note, but it does come off exceptionally strong and a little bit lacking in the depth department. Lovely as it is, there’s not a whole lot in terms of other notes. I get sweet florals for pretty much the entirety of its lifespan and it’s got a very long lasting lifespan.

Extra: Perfect Nectar was released in 2000.

Design: Lovely simple bottle. I’m a big fan of delicate little flourishes on bottles too. No frills, and none needed. Lovely bottle.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Tangerine, blood orange, papaya, mango, ylang-ylang, green tea, white forals.

Olfactif is a fragrance delivery service where the samples you get once a month introduces you a potential fragrance love. Did I mention that they specialize in niche so you won’t be faced with getting samples of painfully obvious fragrances? I love the concept. As for Perfect Nectar, I don’t think it’s the one for me as it is somewhat one-dimensional, a little too strong in the floral note and not nearly enough of anything else to keep me interested. If you are looking for a clean fragrance with excellent staying power and throw, this might be a good contender for you.

Reviewed in This Post: Perfect Nectar, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Tom Ford Tobacco Oud

When Tom Ford dropped a tobacco oud fragrance, I dug it, having decided that I had enough of my clean, light fragrances and was going to go for something dark.

Tobacco Oud

Tobacco Oud

In Bottle: Resinous and spice with a woody opening with a heady alcohol waft that opens rather powerfully.

Applied: Like I said above, the initial application is very strong and heady. It smells of sweet resins, woods and spice. It makes me think of whiskey and while I’d like to get the tobacco oud, the strength of the other notes in the opening doesn’t quite allow for that. And as it turns out, tobacco oud is somewhat lacking in oud. It actually smells quite smooth, like a very good resin but is it a good oud? I can’t, personally, detect any of that. I get more spicy ambers than anything else and upon dry down I get the sandalwood and a very nice smokiness but still not all that much oud unless the amber I keep smelling is supposed to be a stand in for that. Tobacco Oud is actually not bad–actually, bad is probably not one of the words I’d use for this. I quite like it. I like the amber, I like the smoky incense, I even like the big, powerful opening. It’s got a nice, strong initial presence a good middle ground personality and a pretty delightful dry down with the smoky sandalwood with that touch of amber. But it wasn’t the dark, powerful scent that I was expecting and hoping for.

Extra: Tobacco Oud was released in 2013. Interestingly enough and maybe I was a little swayed by the notes list was that it lists whiskey as one of the ingredients. Fascinating addition, though I never cared much for whiskey myself. I’m more a rum kind of gal.

Design: Fairly similar design to many other Tom Ford fragrances out there. Nice shape, very classic. Easy to own and display if you’re into that kind of thing. Not too special or flashy or different from other Tom Fords. Good and reliable are probably two words I’d use for this design.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Spice

Notes: Oud, tobacco, sandalwood, patchouli, spices, whiskey.

So now I know that Tobacco Oud is probably not the kick I wanted out of a fragrance. Any recommendations for some really dark and smoky ouds? I have a hankering for one.

Reviewed in This Post: Tobacco Oud, 2013, 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.

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin

Getting stuffed up and being unable to smell any fragrances due to allergies is no fun. And during that time, I kept trying to get fleeting sniffs of La Fille de Berlin in the hopes that my sense of smell had come back. Finally, I can say today that I can–indeed–smell with no allergy yuckiness getting in the way.

La Fille de Berlin

La Fille de Berlin

In Bottle: Peppery, dusty rose with a hint of dirt, like someone dropped a bouquet of very aromatic roses in a mud puddle.

Applied: I know the above description doesn’t make it sound too great, but it’s actually a rather fascinating experience. I get a lot of pepper from this and rose tends to amplify in my nose anyway. So La Fille de Berlin feels like two strong notes or rose and pepper battling it out with each other and I have to say, I think the rose is winning. The scent changes very little from my first impression of it, to the midstage where as I wait a while and start to pay attention to it, the musk or as I like to call it, “that muddy smell” comes up a bit more. La Fille de Berlin is certainly an interesting trip, I was delighted when my sense of smell started to clear past the rose and I could get a bit of something else, but I wouldn’t say this fragrance appealed to me.

Extra: La Fille de Berlin was released in 2013, and translated into English means, “The Girl from Berlin”.

Design: Designed similarly to most other Serge Lutens bottles, the packaging is beautiful, simple and elegant. I have always been a fan of the Serge Lutens’ packaging looks.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Rose, violet, pepper, musk.

The rose and peppery kick aren’t really what I’m after so I feel fairly neutral to this in that I don’t love it or dislike it. I had been intrigued by mostly the name without having read about any of its notes.

Reviewed in This Post: La Fille de Berlin, 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.