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 Angel’s Trumpet

Angel’s Trumpet was the second in the scent library sampler that I got a while ago and only just got around to now.

Angel's Trumpet

Angel’s Trumpet

In Bottle: Light and green with a refreshing melon note and a nice floral finish.

Applied: Gentle and green like it was in the bottle, the melon provides a pleasant freshness to the scent more akin to a sweet aqua note than an obnoxious candy melon note. The florals come in during the midstage (and they come in rather quickly) with a soft layer of orange and spice and an agreeable clean cedar. Angel’s Trumpet is a touch of a fragrance, very lilting and smooth and clean at the end. It’s all white florals and white musk with a bit of green and clean added in. Overall nice and very wearable.

Extra: I really need to get on my game and put in my order for a full size of one of these scents. I am still with Sweet William on this one, but Angel’s Trumpet is also quite beautiful. I wish the coupon that had come in the sampler worked on the smaller travel versions.

Design: Similar look to Sweet William, I’m rather attracted to the soft golden color of this design, it’s bright and happy and gentle at the same time.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Orange, melon, green notes, angel’s trumpet, cinnamon, allspice, cedar, white musk.

Angel’s Trumpet is a pleasant fragrance, but I don’t find it particularly memorable. It’s lovely, of course, but there’s nothing about it that stands out to me.

Reviewed in This Post: Angel’s Trumpet, 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.


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.

Aoud

Aoud

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.


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.


Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb

Considering the complete lack of flowers in Viktor & Rolf’s very popular, Flowerbomb, I had to try out Spicebomb to see if it lived up to its name.

Spicebomb

Spicebomb

In Bottle: In short, no, this isn’t a spice bomb. It’s rather pleasant though, sweet and warm with a hint of spiciness.

Applied: Initial spray of bergamot that settles into a sweet cinnamon candy scent that makes me think Spicebomb is taking the same “bomb” approach as Flowerbomb. Which also leads me to think Viktor & Rolf’s idea of a bang is something sugary. The fragrance ages into a more mature spice as I keep wearing it, but it never shakes the sweetness that it gathers in the top notes. The scent takes on a stronger cinnamon and peppery scent as it flows into its end stage with a wilting smoky tobacco scent and a bit of synthetic-smelling leather. Over all, I’m not all that impressed, but the longevity was fairly good, giving me a decent ten hours of wear.

Extra: If you were wondering what the elemi note listed below is, it is a resin from a tree. I didn’t get much resin from this.

Design: The shape is somewhat reminiscent of Flowerbomb, given more angles and straight edges to appeal to a more masculine audience, I guess. I don’t really like it and think this particular depiction is a bit lame. Sorry, Viktor & Rolf.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Leather

Notes: Bergamot, grapefruit, pink pepper, elemi, saffron, cinnamon, pepper, paprika, vetiver, tobacco, leather.

Spicebomb failed to impress me in numerous ways. The fact that it started out sweet and reminded me of a more gourmand Flowerbomb didn’t really help matters either.

Reviewed in This Post: Spicebomb, 2012, Eau de Toilette.


Cartier Declaration for Men

Happy New Year! I am back with a Cartier. I was thinking of doing a more unique fragrance as the first for 2013, but after humming and hawing over what that fragrance may be, I decided a Jean-Claude Ellena designed Cartier would have to do. That Smell will be back to normal next week.

Declaration for Men

Declaration for Men

In Bottle: Citrus, sharp orange, no sweetness–but very bitter with an earthy quality and a spicy kick.

Applied: Bitter orange with a blend of birch in the background. I get some spices upfront too and an almost animalic quality that I’m assuming is coming from an ambery leather combination. There’s definitely something that smells a bit “off” about this, but it’s “off” on purpose, like Declaration is trying to tell me to like it or leave it. Anyway, as the scent ages, it gains more woodsiness, takes on a floral bouquet with warm leather and that constant off smell in the background as the spices roll in. It took a long time for Declaration to get anywhere, it has fantastic longevity and projection so if you want something that will stick around all day and don’t mind occasionally getting a whiff of faint uncleanliness then this might be up your alley. As the scent dries down, I get more spices, more vetiver and a smooth leather that rounds things out very nicely.

Extra: Declaration has quite the lengthy list of notes and the complexity it boasts is no surprise for how much stuff is jammed into it. It smells of sophistication and good taste, but at the same time, it warns the fainthearted off with what people call the “sweaty armpit” undercurrent that runs through this scent. Whatever it is, those who brave it might come to love it.

Design: Declaration has a nice enough look. Simple in general with a bit more attention paid to its cap. It’s easy to hold, pleasing to look at with no garish bone on its body.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Spicy

Notes: Artemisia, caraway, coriander, birch, mandarin orange, bergamot, neroli, bitter orange, iris, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, juniper, orris root, jasmine, cardamom, leather, amber, tea, vetiver, oakmoss, cedar.

I don’t relish much on the off smell in this. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll note that I tend massively toward the clean so Declaration was a bit of a surprise for me. I appreciate it on the complexity level, but I think I’ll pass.

Reviewed in This Post: Declaration for Men, 2012, Eau de Toilette.


Holistic Body Therapy Celebration

I had the honor of participating in the Natural Perfumer’s Guild‘s Home for the Holidays event this year and was super excited to be paired up with Andrea Ashanti at Holistic Body Therapy. Today’s fragrance is a little different than the norm, it was formulated as a misting spray and can be used as a room spray or on yourself. I’ll be trying both.

Celebration

Celebration

In Bottle: Celebration gives me the distinct impression of Christmas trees and warm vanilla cocoa with a dash of cinnamon.

Applied: Celebration goes in the air and on my skin almost at the same time. In the air, it fills the room with a beautiful dense fir fragrance followed quickly by the warmth of a vanilla, cinnamon and yummy cocoa scent. The gourmand latter really strikes a happy note with me, reminding me of days spent decorating and then curling up under the Christmas tree and drinking hot cocoa while it snowed during the Holidays. The fragrance is light but leaves a fabulous lingering impression in the room for a few hours that seems to uplift the spirit. On my skin, I get a little more mileage as the fir needle note blends in with this rich cocoa fragrance. I get more vanilla and a little less cinnamon on my skin but I also get more frankincense presence near the end of the fragrance’s wear time as it joins the delicious vanilla cinnamon cocoa and helps to further warm the scent. I found myself unable to stop sniffing my wrist and looking forward to Christmas more and more.

Extra: Celebration has an impressive mix of ingredients from fir needle, cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon to the Mount Shasta spring water and flower essences that give it a beautiful crisp aroma for a scent that really embodies the idea of Celebration.

Design: Celebration is bottled in a green glass sprayer bottle with Holistic Body Therapy’s label affixed to it. It’s cute and functional and works great for its purposes.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand Woodsy

Notes: Fir, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, frankincense.

The closest thing to a Holiday scent I had before Celebration arrived was a cinnamon and clove candle that would fill the house with a huge dose of spice. My Husband admits he doesn’t like it much and neither do I. I leave it in the pantry with the lid closed and it still manages to scent our beans a little. Cinnamon and clove candle beans are about as delicious as you would think. I was ecstatic to discover Celebration and went crazy spraying it around the house one day near Halloween. The fragrance doesn’t overpower, it lingers but its light. When my Husband came home, his first impression was much like mine, memories of good childhood Christmases in a bottle.

You can get yourself a bottle of Celebration for this holiday season at Holistic Body Therapy’s website. At $25 for 2 oz, you’ll get more than enough holiday cheer.

Reviewed in This Post: Celebration, 2012, Misting Spray.

Disclaimer: The fragrance reviewed in this post was provided to me for free for the purposes of review. In no other way am I receiving pay or compensation for this review. This review was written based upon my personal experiences and opinions of the product.

If you want to check out the participants in the Home For the Holidays Project, try Holistic Body Therapy, Anya’s Garden, Happy Herb Soaps, Belly Flowers Perfumes, and JoAnne Basset Perfumes.


M. Micallef Vanille Cuir

Vanille Cuir

Vanille Cuir

Vanille Cuir is the last of the Vanilla Art Collection from M. Micallef. I left this one for last because I had a feeling that I would like it the most. Though after Vanille Orient and Vanille Marine, Cuir has some pretty big shoes to fill.

In Bottle: Smooth, creamy vanilla with an equally smooth leather note that makes this fragrance smell very grown up.

Applied: Rich, smooth vanilla. One of the nicest smelling vanillas ever. It floods into the air and has this instantly relaxing feel to it. I love the opening. Like, absolutely adore it and if I could bottle that, I’d probably have my favorite vanilla and call it a day. All the bergamot, mint, lavender and whatever else that’s supposed to be in the opening isn’t there for me or it’s been too well-blended, and I quite like it that way. But, the pillowy, rich vanilla gives way to a smooth, almost smoky leather scent that makes things seem more dense and grounded. Like wrapping yourself up in a big leather blanket and sprinkling some flowers on top for good measure. After a while, the spices kick in and the leather calms down a little, letting that gorgeous initial vanilla note to return and take the fragrance into this very soft leather, woods and vanilla dry down.

Extra: One of the best selling features of M. Micallef’s Vanilla collection is the fact that they use a really nice vanilla. I’ve smelled plenty of vanillas, many were plastic, boring, or predictable. And a few, rare, vanilla gems really stood out. The bourbon vanilla that Micallef used in this series is one of these gems. It shows in the delicate way the note unfolds and works with the other ingredients to form a beautiful creamy, natural fragrance.

Design: Yep. Still not a fan of the design, but the shape and utility of the bottles is growing on me quite a bit. I still prefer Micallef’s other designs.

Fragrance Family: Leather

Notes: Bergamot, mint, lavender, cinnamon, cumin, orange blossom, tonka, sandalwood, cedar, vanilla.

Leather’s one of those notes that has a lot of people concerned about how it would make them smell. It’s generally been tamed, but I know of some leathers that can smell quite animalistic. Vanille Cuir isn’t one of those. It tempers the leather quite well and mixes the vanilla with it rather expertly. With that having been said, I think my favorite in this line is probably Vanille Marine, followed by Vanille Orient, Vanille Cuir and finally, Vanille Fleur. If you do love vanillas though, you should definitely check out this collection, some samples or the fragrances themselves can be purchased at Luckyscent.

Reviewed in This Post: Vanille Cuir, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Disclaimer: The fragrance sampler spray reviewed in this post was provided to me for free for the purposes of review. In no other way am I receiving pay or compensation for this review. This review was written based upon my personal experiences and opinions of the product.