Illuminum Cashmere Musk

The Illuminum brand came to my attention when a certain famous womanwore it on her wedding day. I tried my best to ignore the royal wedding because I had very little interest in it, so just about the only thing I knew was that it had happened and that Kate Middleton wore Illuminum’s White Gardenia Petals. While I do have a sample of that, I wanted to start with something less well-known.

Cashmere Musk

Cashmere Musk

In Bottle: Cashmere Musk, smells of hyacinth and soft, clean musks. It’s light and airy and very delicate.

Applied: Nice light hyacinth scent with a soft personality. Makes me think of spring, clean clothes, and gentle breezes. I had initially wondered if Cashmere Musk would smell like a soft suede with woods, but there’s no such thing in this. It’s a clean, fresh floral with heavy emphasis on the hyacinth. The floral note features heavily in the fragrance upon application and is joined briefly by a nice gentle touch of cedar. The cedar adds a bit of woodsiness to the fragrance but isn’t very detectable unless you try to search for it. Cashmere Musk dries down with a cool woodsy and floral fragrance with a prominent clean white musk note. This smells like clean, expensive soap and I love that. The projection sticks close to the skin and the longevity is moderate, giving me about five hours of enjoyment for this fragrance.

Extra: The Illuminum line was started by Michael Boadi who also heads the Boadicea the Victorious line. There’s definitely a correlation between Cashmere Musk and some fragrances from Boadicea the Victorious. I’m reminded of Pure when I tested this out.

Design: The bottles look pretty nice lined up in a row and I love it when things look good and uniform when you have a collection of them. I’m not too crazy about the aesthetics strictly speaking as a designer, but differing tastes and all that. The bottles are presented as they are to showcase the natural colors of the fragrances they contain.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Floral

Notes: Ylang-ylang, hyacinth, cyclamen, cedar, sandalwood, precious woods, white musk.

I’m tempted to drop the cash for Cashmere Musk, it made an excellent first impression on me and I’m happy to have chosen it first. There’s a bit of a rift when it comes to reviews of this, some love it and some think it’s a bit boring. I happen to really like fragrances that do clean and floral rather well, so Cashmere Musk hit if off with me. You can purchase a bottle of Cashmere Musk on Illuminum’s website.

Reviewed in This Post: Cashmere Musk, 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.


Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers

Sunflowers has perhaps develop something of a bad rap. Maybe it’s just me. But every time I saw Sunflowers, it was sitting in a bargain bin of fragrances at the thrift store. I always wondered about it, but was never swayed to try it because it sat in the same bin as the likes of other “has-been” celebrity fragrances. Serves me right for being judgmental.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

In Bottle: A surprisingly pleasant clean floral scent with a nice underlying woodsy amber scent.

Applied: Floral, I get the jasmine and the rose rather quickly with a slight clean bite from the citrus notes. Then I get the cedar and the other woods. The cedar in this is a bit strong and can get kind of loud if I overdo the fragrance but it’s a pleasant reminder that where you find a fragrance shouldn’t let you color your experience with it. Shame on me. Anyway, Sunflowers has a very nice progression to it, there’s nothing overly childish about it and at the same time it’s not trying to be anything artistic. It’s just nice and unassuming, if somewhat strong for my tastes. The cedar gets a bit too loud for me as the fragrance wears on, but I do enjoy the mix of florals and ambery woodsiness that mark the end progression of this scent.

Extra: Sunflowers was released in 1993. It is an extremely accessible fragrance, so if you wanted to give it a try, it should be available almost anywhere.

Design: A rather plain bottle, but then Sunflowers isn’t really about being loud or garish. I don’t particularly like the feel of the bottle or the appearance. It’s a marked step down from other more high-end fragrances, but it isn’t without it’s charm. The little sunflower icon is cute and the bottle is otherwise functional.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Floral

Notes: Orange blossom, mandarin, lemon, bergamot, melon, cyclamen, osmanthus, orris, jasmine, rose, rosewood, sandalwood, amber, musk, moss, cedar.

Sunflowers was a pleasant surprise. Very nicely done scent with a strong woodsy floral showing. Get it for the fragrance if you like it, but don’t worry too much about the bottle.

Reviewed in This Post: Sunflowers, 2009, Eau de Toilette.


Guerlain AA Jasminora

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Guerlains. I figured a few months worth of a break is a decent time period so I’m heading back slowly with Guerlain’s newest Aqua Allegoria; Jasminora.

Jasminora

In Bottle: Clean citrus with a jasmine and soft floral heart.

Applied: Sharp green citrus up front that quickly fades into a scrubby clean floral scent. The jasmine is easy to distinguish from the other florals although it is struggling a bit due to the amount of clean white musk that was dumped into this fragrance. The mid-stage is a lovely floral and airy thing. A bit of a wilting daisy when it comes to fragrances but this is an Aqua Allegoria after all. Guerlain’s done jasmine better in some of their other fragrances but this one is a nice departure from their usual. It’s a lighter, more youthful interpretation. I just wish there was more to it than jasmine and clean. The dry down is not too much more complex as the jasmine and florals fade away leaving you with this generic clean smell on your skin.

Extra: I’m not overly impressed with Jasminora. It suffers from that “Doesn’t smell like a Guerlain” syndrome. But one could argue that most Aqua Allegorias suffer from that. Still, Jasminora is easy to wear and easy to like. She’s not interesting at all and she’s a bit of a disappointment from one of my favorite fragrance houses.

Design: Bottled in a similar way as other Aqua Allegorias, in a pseudo-bee bottle flacon with a hive cage over the top half. Although these aren’t quite the full deal bee bottles, I bet they’d look beautiful all lined up in a row.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Bergamot, cyclamen, galbanum, lily of the valley, freesia, jasmine, musk, amber.

Ultimately, I looked at Jasminora and compared it to Thierry Mugler’s Alien. And I know, it’s a bit unfair. Alien is a powerhouse jasmine and Jasminora is an approachable jasmine. There’s just something weak about Jasminora that makes me say you’re better off going light with Alien.

Reviewed in This Post: Jasminora, 2011, Eau de Toilette.


Oscar Oscar de la Renta

Oscar from Oscar de la Renta was released in 1978 and is described as a floral aromatic. This fragrance, to me, is like all the good parts of women’s fragrance and men’s fragrance put together to form a very classic fragrance.

Oscar

In Bottle: Sharp green and a bit powdery. I get a lot of the herbs in the bottle with a faint trace of florals in the back.

Applied: Herbs and powder, a bit of a strange mix but not at all unpleasant with the rosemary being the most dominant note. It’s interesting and definitely smells like a classic fragrance. As Oscar settles down the perfume heads into more floral territory with a smattering of herbs and green rosemary while still retaining that classic powder scent. The fragrance uses florals in a sheer way with a hit of spicy carnation to give those flowers a bit more sway. The dry down is probably my favorite part that sees Oscar head into this warm amber and spicy powder finish with a dash of full-bodied patchouli. I know a lot of younger people who will be turned off by the powderiness of this and I will warn everyone that this does smell very much like a classic. But if you’re looking to smell sophisticated, this is good stuff.

Extra: Oscar was composed by Jean-Louis Sieuzac. One its recent bottle designs was done by the famous Serge Mansau.

Design: Oscar’s eau de toilette bottle (pictured) is a tall glass with a black cap and usually silver sprayer. The shape of the bottle is a bit interesting and sets it out from other perfumes by not being a big tall rectangle. The parfum version of the bottle looks more exciting, having a Marc Jacobs Daisy meets Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps style with its flower motif.

Fragrance Family: Aromatic

Notes: Orange blossom, basil, coriander, galbanum, peach, gardenia, ylang-ylang, jasmine, tuberose, rose, rosemary, cyclamen, lavender, orchid, opoponax, carnation, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, amber.

I’m loving that notes list and marvel at how well the notes actually work in this fragrance. Oscar is available for purchase almost everwhere with a strong presence at internet retailer sites and can also be purchased on the official Oscar de la Renta site.

Reviewed in This Post: Oscar, 2002, Eau de Toilette.


Victoria’s Secret Sexy Little Things Noir

Victoria’s Secret, known mostly for their underwear brand, also has a fairly lucrative line of beauty products and fragrances. It’s fragrance side is a well-loved establishment that releases mostly fruity floral fragrances that are wearable, girly, light and happy. Sexy Little Things Noir

In Bottle: Fantastic burst of fruits. It’s like I just sprayed a bowl of fruit punch on myself. There’s a slight sourness that really compliments and helps tame this very sweet fragrance. Something about this is really juicy, like biting into a crisp piece of fruit, juicy. And behind it all, I smell the faint waft of the very enigmatic jasmine supported by the spicy creaminess of tonka bean.

Applied: Fruit punch and creamy vanilla is what Sexy Little Things Noir is to me. For its massive list of notes, it does a great job projecting a fruity almost gourmand fragrance. Also due to its massive list of notes, I can’t separate nectarine from apple. However, I can pick out jasmine in this as well as the tonka beans. Sexy Little Things Noir lacks anything that I would really consider to be “noir”. In that a fragrance that’s marketed as “noir”, to me, should have some element of deepness or darkness. Sexy Little Things Noir is just a sparkling, juicy, fruit salad with a sprinkling of white flowers on top. There’s no deepness or darkness, which betrays its name but hey, I’m all right with that. It has fantastic projection but the longevity on me is a bit weak, fading within four hours into light vanilla and jasmine.

Extra: Tonka beans are said to smell like vanilla. A while ago, they could have been eaten in addition to being used in perfumes before someone discovered they contained a potentially lethal anticoagulant. Thanks for the kicks, nature.

Design: I’ll admit it, I was drawn to this perfume like many others for the bottle. The glass is a very dark purple in a pleasing, beautiful shape. The winning feature for me? That pump atomizer. That pump that’s so iconic of Hollywood Noir where the women were glamorous and the movies were in black and white. Though fragrances in pump atomizers back in those days tended to be from fragrance families that people these days refer to as “old lady” perfumes.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Nectarine, apple, citrus, pineapple, guanabana, pear, red fruits, bergamot, cattelaya orchid, muget, cyclamen, jasmine, plum, vanilla, dewberry, cassis, amber, musk, woods, tonka bean.

Sexy Little Things Noir is a part of Victoria’s Secret’s fine fragrance line. Meaning, it’s an Eau de Parfum as opposed to the body mists that Victoria’s Secret sells. Sexy Little Things Noir also has a counterpart body mist, shower gel, and perfumed body powder.

Reviewed in This Post: Sexy Little Things Noir, 2010, Eau de Parfum.