Cacharel Scarlett

Cacharel Scarlett happened upon my cluttered desk a while ago, it was a little sample knocking around from some of the circles I used to frequent back when perfumes were I hobby where I had time to indulge. I really miss it–the perfumes, I mean. So I gave Scarlett and a few others a whiff to see how things stacked up. And to dust off that long neglected notebook.



In Bottle: A light floral, a little pungent upon first whiff but I fear I may have smelled it a little “too hard”. Nothing really fancy about it yet.

Applied:  Bright and floral, a little juicy upon first application. There’s a sharp citrus to this at first that smells into a more rounded white florals style of scent. It’s very classically flowery and pleasant enough to wear. Scarlett isn’t really light, and nothing in it really reminds me of Scarlet O’Hara. But then, my vision of her doesn’t paint her in a dainty, floral at all and I expected something headier if it was to truly represent her. After a while of the white florals, the scent mellows into a mild warmed amber, honey and floral scent.

Extra: Scarlett was dedicated to the famous Scarletts in past and present including O’Hara and Johansson.

Design: I was actually surprised to see the bottle when I looked it up. It’s definitely not your typical curvy flacon and I actually kind of like it, though it clashes with my usual tastes. It’s different, and I guess that’s plenty to lend it credit to me.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Lemon, pear, jasmine, orange blossom, honeysuckle, amber, sandalwood, honey, white musk.

So I mentioned this didn’t really remind me of Scarlet O’Hara, it’s close and I understand where they’re trying to take it. To me, O’Hara is a heady, dark floral with a distinctive tuberose and a flash of something sharper and tangier like a cedar. I don’t know much about Johansson. In the end Scarlett is a nice, grown-up scent. It’s not groundbreaking enough to really set it apart from many of the other florals I’ve experienced, unfortunately.

Reviewed in This Post: Scarlett, 2015, Eau de Toilette.

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.

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.

Balenciaga Florabotanica

Florabotanica is a new Balenciaga release from 2012. After their Balenciaga Paris release, I had to give this one a try. If for nothing else than its beautiful bottle design.



In Bottle: A nice rose, tame and green and fresh. Not fake and overly sweet.

Applied: Balenciaga’s fragrances tend to excel at being understated and Florabotanica seems to be heading in that same direction. It’s sold as a fragrance for a younger audience, but doesn’t patronize them by loading itself up with fruits and a cheap-smelling rose. The rose in Florabotanica is well-mannered, having a fresh green spicy kick to keep it on the ground. The dry down is a nice grassy amber with a prominent rose. I get an impression of Juliette Has a Gun’s Lady Vengeance with a little less concentrated prettiness and more girlish charm.

Extra: Florabotanica was released in 2012 with Kristen Stewart as the campaign figurehead.

Design: Love the bottle design. Bold, modern and fashionable. I was somewhat questionable about them using Kristen Stewart as the face of the fragrance, but I love everything from the styling to the photography to the campaign itself. It’s stern and not at all silly.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Mint, rose, carnation, amber, vetiver.

The thing Florabotanica reminds me of is preppy clothing. It makes me think I’m shopping in some teenage store where all the teenagers play water polo, have stables of horses, and have parties on their yachts. I don’t know why it makes me think of this but the fresh, screaming clean rose just sort of fits the imagery. It’s not Lady Vengeance as I think Juliette Has a Gun’s rose fume was a little more likeable but Florabotanica is a good, pleasant addition all the same.

Reviewed in This Post: Florabotanica, 2012, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Up until about a year ago, and thanks to a friend with an Etsy shop, I wouldn’t have known what a black tourmaline was. Olivier Durbano apparently has a gemstone inspired line of fragrances of which Black Tourmaline is a member of.

Black Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline

In Bottle: Dark, smoky with a lather of leather and woods. Very dry and reminiscent of fallen autumn leaves and incense.

Applied: A bit of spice that darkens the instant the leather and oud rolls in. There’s a heady incense note that takes over after the initial spray and makes me think of leaves and autumn with its spicy, smoky woodsiness. The leather is well-behaved, it adds a bit of complexity to the fragrance without distracting from the rest of it. I get mostly incense with a bit of spice and plenty of woods. Very lovely, very complex and things get better as the scent continues to dry down as it takes on a warm mossy bit that adds to its spice and incense.

Extra: Tourmaline is this beautiful semi-precious stone that comes in a wide variety of colors. There’s some spiritual and healing properties that some people affix to it, but I prefer to look at it in a strictly scientific sense. Black Tourmaline, the fragrance was released in 2007 and is still available today on Luckyscent.

Design: A tall, square bottle. Not the easiest to hold or use, but not the worst, by far. Its simple design wins some major points from me as does the beautiful (and appropriate) color of the juice. Nice overall presentation.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Woodsy

Notes: Cardamom, coriander, cumin, frankincense, pepper, oud, leather, woods, musk, amber, moss, patchouli.

Strangely enough, I had been harboring some hidden love of rocks and gemstones that Black Tourmaline has resparked. As if the gardening I had taken up in my off hours wasn’t distracting enough.

Reviewed in This Post: Black Tourmaline, 2008, Eau de Parfum.