Elie Saab Le Parfum

Elie Saab is a famous Lebanese fashion designer so of course the man would have a pretty perfume too.

Le Parfum

Elie Saab Le Parfum

In Bottle: Orange flower, clear and feminine and very beautiful with a floral backdrop that adds rather than overpowers.

Applied: Orange flower up top with a warm, sweet honeyed fragrance that leaps up almost immediately too. I get a bit more florals was I wear this further, getting a rose and jasmine mixture in the middle that mingle with the orange flower. Normally a jasmine and rose thing would be pretty banal but the honey really helps to deepen this fragrance and make it a bit more unique. I really like it with that one extra element that managed to make all the difference. The dry down is marked with a faded florals and honey affair and a slight powdery woodsiness. Very nicely done.

Extra: There’s a type of honey I have that’s purportedly infused with a more floral fragrance from the honey bees that collected the stuff favoring certain types of flowers. I think the science of bees and honey making is fascinating. And the taste of the honey is a bit different than what I normally get. There was a hint of cleaner florals in there. That honey is what Le Parfum reminds me of, except instead of florals inspiring honey. This one florals inspired by honey.

Design: The bottle design is rather simple, it’s easy to hold, it’s not garish in anyway but also does not particularly stand out either. It’s just a simple, easy to like design. It reminds me a bit of Hilary Duff’s With Love bottle and–dare I say–Victoria’s Secret Bombshell, except done in a more subdued fashion. It’s nice. Period.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Orange flower, jasmine, rose, patchouli, cedar, honey.

Fairly nice entry into the fragrance market. Easy to wear, good for a debut, nothing classic but is very enjoyable and good for women who are looking for a subdued floral.

Reviewed in This Post: Elie Saab Le Parfum, 2011, Eau de Parfum.

Tokyo Milk Honey and the Moon

I’ve always wanted to try Tokyo Milk fragrances so it was strange when the one place I’d find some miniature bottles for sale was at a stationary store. A physical Papyrusstore, to be exact.

Honey and the Moon

Honey and the Moon

In Bottle: Creamy, sweet and rich honey scent with a slight flowery aroma to it. It’s a very convincing honey scent.

Applied: Opens up with a really beautiful creamy honey fragrance with a floral scent rolling in with it as well. This smells rather gourmand with a delicious floral twist that actually adds to the gourmand feel of this fragrance. It probably helps that the scent is honey and honey tends to take on certain elements of whatever flower the honey was made from. I am so far very impressed with the authentic honeyness of Honey and the Moon. The progression into the midstage takes on a bit more of a floral air. As the scent continues to age, the scent becomes a bit more creamy and a little sweeter at the end as it takes on a slight dustiness in the dry down.

Extra: Tokyo Milk is a niche house that deals in perfumes and other cosmetic products as well as stationary. Their very elegant website has all these things available online here.

Design: Designed simply enough the bottle I looked at was a rectangular square affair with a shiny cap. It was a very cute size with really nice, whimsical illustrations on it. Very cute and practical at the same time.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Honey, violet, jasmine, sandalwood.

I really liked Honey and the Moon and the best part about it is the fact that Tokyo Milk fragrances are relatively affordable. I haven’t tried many other scents from them but they are generally well done.

Reviewed in This Post: Honey and the Moon, 2009, Parfum.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Fairy Wine

Fairy Wine from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is a part of their Neil Gaiman, Stardust collection of fragrances that are supposed to invoke characters or concepts from the book, Stardust. I was originally intrigued by this fragrance because it purportedly actually smelled like wine. Fairy Wine

In Bottle: Fancy that, it smells like wine! Wine with a hint of sweetness and blackcurrant.

Applied: Now I’m about as unsophisticated as you can get when it comes to wine so I can’t identify what type of wine this is if there is a type to this. All I can say is that it has that deep, fruity scent of wine with a hint of honey, a little bit of green bitter dandelion, and a few tart blackcurrants added into the mix for good flavor. The notes blend together very nicely with the wine taking on a bit more sweetness as the fragrance ages on the skin. The final stretch of this fragrance has me smelling less wine and more currant.

Extra: Fairy Wine is a joint venture between Black Phoenix and Neil Gaiman for a charitable cause that goes to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Design: The bottle is, of course, the same as all other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents. The only difference is the label which features interpretive illustrations of Stardust characters and other elements. The artwork was done by the very talented Sarah Coleman.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Wine, dandelion, honey, blackcurrant.

Well, I did go into this expecting wine and I got what I wanted after all. While I don’t know if I can wear this often it is quite a pleasant scent.

Reviewed in This Post: Fairy Wine, 2010, 5ml Bottle.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Josie

Josie is a member of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s District line of fragrances that focus on the sensual side of smell. Josie, in my case, hits a nice little sweet spot I have for peach notes. Josie

In Bottle: Strong. I mean, up your nose and clear out your sinuses strong. Josie is a heavy handed dose of sweet peach candy with a dollop of honey and a light dusting of sweet magnolia flowers. Yikes.

Applied: This fragrance is no wilting flower. It’s loud on application and remains loud until a few hours in. Your first impression of Josie is likely to be her very sugary personality that plays up the honeyed peach angle. If you aren’t partial to sugar, you might want to consider a difference fragrance because this stuff can be cloying. It dries down to a finer peach with a little less overbearing sweetness as the magnolia makes faint efforts to make itself present but don’t go digging into Josie looking for florals, she’s peach candy and honey for most of the ride. If you’re looking for something like a refreshing peach, you may have to look elsewhere. If you just want sweet peach candy then Josie should be up your alley.

Extra: I do like Josie, or at least like her concept of a simple sweet peachy fragrance. But she is very sweet and a bit too young for me now. If you liked Katie Perry’s Purr fragrance but wanted even more peachy goodness then give BPAL’s Josie a sniff.

Design: Bottled in a similar manner to BPAL’s other fragrances. You will get an amber colored glass vial with a plastic stopper. The label for Josie differs a bit from the other BPAL fragrances as it features artwork by the very talented, Molly Crabapple.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Honey, magnolia, peach.

Ultimately, Josie falls a bit flat on me because she’s just too sweet and I expected her to have a bit more temperance. Still, whenever I see someone ask for a peach fragrance I’m tempted to tell them to smell this.

Reviewed in This Post: Josie, 2010, 5ml Bottle.

Animale 1987

Animale is an interesting fragrance to explain. It’s sort of a chypre, it has all the classical stylings of a chypre but with an extra added jolt of pure dirty, animal smell. Oh, don’t get me wrong here. It’s fantastic stuff.


In Bottle: Heavy, heady, powerful. Three words you’ll probably used to describe animale. Even in the bottle, this stuff is strong. I get civet immediately mixed with a blend of florals. It has that decidedly unique chypre scent to it as well.

Applied: Starts off with a big of bergamot. Barely enough to even detect as Animale develops the civet slowly and carefully but the civet is strong and the civet definitely makes this scent smell dirty and animalic. The animalic notes in this creep up rather than blast you full on right away like it does in the bottle but you’ll be smelling full-on animal before you know it. On skin, civet takes its time at first as the fragrance moves into a mid-stage that’s incredibly reminiscent of a chypre with jasmine making a loud proclamation as the civet creeps in more and more, amping up the volume. The rosewood, adds even more dirty with a little woodsiness in case you didn’t think civet was enough. This is a chypre but it’s a distinct dirty chypre that will march to its own beat if it wants to. As the fragrance dies down, there’s a smooth patch of oakmoss and vetiver layered over that civet note that I had been too distracted to notice. The civet’s used rather well here, but the dry down does bother me a bit with this slick, almost oily scent. I imagine that was the coconut making its way in. So opening and mid-stage are fascinating. End stage is great save for that weird slick scent I got. Still, Animale is fantastic if you like heavy, powerful, heady fragrances.

Extra: Animale, the brand began in 1987 which was also the time that original Animale (reviewed in this post) was created. In 1990 the company was sold, and in 2004 it was sold once again. Sometime during the 1990s, Animale shifted away from being a chypre and became more of a floral oriental. I liked it a lot more as a chypre.

Design: Very 80s! Brings back fond memories of elementary school, and TGIF shows. I’d huddle around this tiny TV with my cousins and we’d watch Family Matters, Full House, Fresh Prince, and a whole host of other family-friendly sitcoms. Long story short: This bottle reminds me of late 80s and early 90s aesthetics and fashion. I think the word I want here is ‘funky’. Not necessarily well-designed as I imagine people these days would consider this kind of aesthetic hideous. The bottle design hasn’t aged well, that’s for sure. As for me, I grew up in the late 80s and 90s so I’ll let someone else harsh on this bottle.

Fragrance Family: Chypre

Notes: Coriander, hyacinth, bergamot, neroli, carnation, honey, orris root, rosewood, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose, patchouli, coconut, oakmoss, vetiver, civet, musk.

Now that the review and nostalgia are all over, would I wear Animale? Probably not. The civet really turns me off on the fragrance. I’m a big baby when it comes to civet, almost always I find it too strong and I’m no where near confident enough to rock civet. That doesn’t mean Animale isn’t fantastic. I like it for what it is, but maybe that’s part of the nostalgia talking.

Reviewed in This Post: Animale, ~1989, Eau de Parfum.

Bond No.9 Chinatown

While most people might think of a fragrance named Chinatown being something like a spicy incense–this is actually a fruity floral. And it’s a beautiful fruity floral at that.


In Bottle: Sweet peach and tuberose with a bit of cardamom spice added in.

Applied: One of the few fragrances, in my books, that does a sweet peach note well. It’s sweet but not to the point of candy. It settles the peach in fruity territory and dishes into the mid-stage rather quickly. There’s supposed to be bergamot up top but I got very little of it in the opening. Maybe a dash, a couple of dewy drops. Not a whole lot of citrus in this one to go around as there’s more cardamom with its spicy–call me crazy–slightly earthy quality in this fragrance. The mid-stage is marked with my friend tuberose and the lingering cardamom. A bit tame and sweet and heady, the tuberose drowns out whatever other flowers might be in this mid-stage. Lucky for me, I love tuberose and despite her being the dominant floral, she isn’t as loud here as she is in Fracas, for instance. Now my favorite white flower with the  big personality does settle down a bit, letting hints of orange blossom and honeyed vanilla seep through with a rather pleasant drydown of warm spicy cardamom and woods.

Extra: Chinatown was composed by Aurelien Guichard. It’s one of my favorite fruity floral fragrances for its marriage of fruits, florals with an added kick of spice. There’s different versions of it too, including one limited edition bottle that’s $650USD.

Design: Chinatown’s bottle shape is similar to that of other Bond No.9 bottles. The star shape is growing on me, though I still think it looks a little silly. I do love Chinatown’s design of a pink background splashed with a white be-flowered branch.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Bergamot, peach blossom, gardenia, honey, tuberose, peony, orange blossom, patchouli, cedar, vanilla, sandalwood, cardamom, Guiac wood.

I had the same problem opening my sample vial of Chinatown as I did with other Bond No.9 sample vials. They do something amazing to vacuum seal this stuff in or something because I just can’t get a grip. Regardless, Chinatown is a beautiful fruity floral and one of the more lovely renditions of the fragrance genre. If you’re looking high-end and not finding the fruity florals that you love, then give this stuff a whiff–if you can get the sample vial open, that is.

Reviewed in This Post: Chinatown, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Serge Lutens Chergui

Chergui, named after the wind that blows through Morocco during the summer is Serge Lutens’ very spicy oriental fragrance with a big dish of sandalwood.


In Bottle: Spicy and honeyed very sweet with a tickle of sandalwood. Smells absolutely beautiful.

Applied: Flare up of spicy honey with a slight sweetness and a very warm sandalwood scent that lingers in the opening creating this beautiful woody, spicy, oriental fragrance. As Chergui ages, it loses a bit of its honeyed quality and takes on more of a smoky vanilla scent and turns more towards the woodsy aspect, maintaining levels of its spiciness while the woods amp up and the honey slowly dissolves. Chergui takes on a strange transformation that shifts it from one fragrance family to another. As it leaves the honey the amber clings to the rest of the raft but doesn’t really match up in beauty compared to the honey. This turns into a sweet woodsy scent with a hint of spices in the mid-stage. The dry down is much of the same, as I see dry vanilla mellowing out in favor of more powerful woody notes and a lingering hint of spiciness.

Extra: Chergui was composed by Christopher Sheldrake. Chergui’s concept was to invoke images of that hot dry desert wind. I’m not sure I get desert wind from this fragrance so much as a fireplace in a cozy cottage in the middle of winter.

Design: As usual, bottled in a highly attractive tall glass flacon with a simple label that identifies the fragrance’s name and house. I love it when a line makes matching bottles for their perfume. Kind of gives the collector in me a little bit more urge to get them all and line them up in a neat row.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Oriental

Notes: Honey, musk, incense, tobacco leaf, hay sugar, amber, iris, rose, sandalwood.

There’s a lot of disappointment about Chergui in the fragrance community and I noticed many of the disappointed reviews noted that this was a fairly banal oriental fragrance. I thought Chergui was lovely, a bit ordinary perhaps, and certainly not the desert-invoking fragrance it was toted as being. But it was a valiant attempt, I love its story, and it’s a good fragrance that smells fantastic. Sort of like a milder version of Opium.

Reviewed in This Post: Chergui, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Chanel Beige

Beige is a member of Chanel’s Les Exclusifs line. It’s an agreeable perfume that, like most Chanels, has that “smells expensive” (often is expensive too) quality to it. It’s also a fantastic little office number that can be worn almost anywhere.

Chanel Beige

In Bottle: A pretty little floral fragrance that floats and moves like a gentle, calming breeze. If you’re used to Chanels smelling heavy, too sweet, too heady, then Beige’s sheer first impression will surprise you like it surprised me.

Applied: That sheer floral accord up top again, gentle and soothing. Something I never thought I’d say about a Chanel was that it was soothing. Chanels are bold and usually bright. Beige is quiet and reserved. Still utterly elegant but she doesn’t shout her presence, rather, she reminds you of it by sitting in the corner and smelling rather pleasant. My friend tuberose comes up light and wispy dragging with it a sweet powered honey scent that lays itself over the fragrance and stays there for the rest of its lifespan. Tuberose has the bad habit of being too obvious in perfume but Beige gives its tuberose just enough lead to be noticed but not enough to overpower. I’m surprised at how well-behaved it is, and how well-behaved it keeps being as the fragrance evolves into a warm frangipani cleaned up with a sweet freesia note. I particularly appreciate how nice the freesia and tuberose are playing together. The dry down comes on a bit quick, Beige doesn’t project much or have very good longevity, I get a bit of bitter green in this that creates an interesting mix with the honey powder.

Extra: Of interest is Beige’s history or rather, the history of its name. Its moniker was borrowed from another Beige, a vintage fragrance by house Chanel that lived many decades ago.

Design: Beige is bottled similarly to the other members of Chanel’s Les Exclusifs line. A big glass rectangle. Excellent to hold, has a great weightiness to it, totally minimalist in style that completely suits the perfume and the icing on the cake is that addictive metal cap.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Floral

Notes: Hawthorn, freesia, frangipani, honey.

What I love about Les Exclusifs is the fact that the bottles come in 200ml. They are expensive for sure, but you get a lot of perfume for your money. Beige is a great choice for Chanel if you feel their mainstream attractions are too strong or too boring. She’s sheer and easy to work with.

Reviewed in This Post: Beige, 2010, Eau de Toilette.

Lollipop Bling Honey

Reviewing Lollipop Bling after last week’s classic perfume review-a-thon is like attending an opera then going home and watching reality TV. There’s really no graceful way to segue from one to the other but I review what I have in my notes as I smell things. Some days I might go through five or six perfumes. Some days none. Then there are weeks like this and the Chanel week earlier this month where I yaw between the sensual, dirty romance of Jicky and Mariah Carey sitting on a pink cloud. Lollipop Bling Honey

In Bottle: I don’t know why they called this “Honey” because it smells like pineapples. Maybe it’s Honey as in, “Honey, why does your arm smell like pineapples?”

Applied: After the pineapple hello, Honey evolves into a warmed up honey pineapple treat that makes me think of the tropics. The tropics being an interesting muse for recent perfume releases. I’m happy to see there is actually honey in this but I find myself having to focus on finding it as it is buried under the giant fruity  balloon that rubbed itself onto a field of unsuspecting flowers before it floated off. I don’t think much of Honey. I don’t like it much. It’s far too simple, lacking in imagination and I can’t even enjoy it for its sheer fun factor because this has been done before and so much better. If you were going to go for Honey, go for the better version of this concept in G from Harajuku Lovers. Unless you hate coconut, then you might as well go Independent and score yourself a bottle of Rangoon Riptide from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I know it was a limited edition but at least you get more than this. This is just too simple to be any good. It makes me beg the question why I should care about it when there’s better stuff out there for the same price point. I smell three notes (pineapple, honey, flowers) for a period of an hour and then it devolves into that watered down, miasma of florals, “something sweet used to be here but died”, perfume scent that I hate so much.

Extra: Honey is a part of Mariah Carey’s (read: Elizabeth Arden’s) Lollipop Bling perfume collection. The collection is notably styled after M by Mariah Carey, only simplified to the barest essentials.

Design: There are three perfumes right now in the Lollipop Bling collection and Honey is identified as the yellow one. It’s a yellow glass bottle with a butterfly cap on top. Reminds me a bit of the butterfly bottles from Annick Goutal, only much clunkier and obviously designed to appeal to a much younger audience.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Pineapple, white florals, honey.

I can’t say Honey brings anything new to the table when it comes to tropical scents as we already had Desire Me by Baby Phat, G from the Harajuku Lovers collection, and Bath and Body Works’ Pineapple Orchid that doesn’t come in perfume form but if it did, I’m sure it’d be popular. After all that, do you really need another perfume that makes you smell like pineapples?

Reviewed in This Post: Honey, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.

Dior Poison

Poison by Dior is one of those classics from the 80s that I don’t give a whole lot of run time to. Because I don’t like it. I tried to. I came around to Opium and eventually cultivated a reverence for Jicky, but when it comes to Poison, I am still left wondering why. I guess I just don’t like it! But I’m going to review it anyway because it is a well composed beast of a fragrance that remains one of Dior’s most popular perfumes. Poison

In Bottle: Smells sweet in the bottle, almost like cough syrup with a slight spiciness to it that layers over a faint woody presence.

Extra: Whew, Poison! You sure came in loud. There’s nothing quiet or gentle about Poison. She’s big, she’s bold, her volume’s all the way up and she isn’t afraid of share what she thinks. Poison starts off with a sweet plum and blossoms mix with a spicy blast that projects like crazy. The top notes are guaranteed to clear quite a bit of distance around you and create a Cone of Smell sort of thing as the mid stage comes in with a added dollop of spice that’s coated in jasmine, rose, and heliotrope. My favorite friend, tuberose also makes an entrance here. Dragging behind it is a very irate cedar scent. Amusingly enough the cedar in Poison is the type that teeters into loud and obnoxious territory but the rest of Poison is so loud and bold that the cedar smells almost tame on me. Once the sweetness and fruitiness of the opening calm down we get into the end stage where Poison is a spunky lady that smells of incense and sophisticated florals holding onto cough syrup in one hand while she applies lipstick with the other.

Extra: Poison was the original in a rather lengthy line of flankers. In addition to the original, we’ve got Poison Tendre (green), Hypnotic Poison (red), Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle (also red), Midnight Poison (blue), Pure Poison (white). And that’s not including the elixirs. Clearly when Dior decided to go bold and different with the first Posion in 1985, they really hit it big.

Design: Poison’s bottle is in the shape of an apple and the glass is purple. Seems to be a popular motif for perfumes here, apples and forbidden fruits and whatnot. I do like the design of Poison’s bottle, even the blatant use of the symbolism is okay with me because the bottle is beautiful, feels nice to hold and is decently easy to handle.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Fruity Woodsy

Notes: Coriander, cinnamon, orange blossom, honey, pepper, plum, rosewood, rose, tuberose, wild berries, cistus labdanum, carnation, jasmine, heliotrope, cedar, vetiver, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, opopanax.

I’m pretty sure Poison’s tendency to smell a bit like cough syrup is what’s keeping me from this fragrance. But don’t let that stop you, she’s  big and brass and if you’re looking for that, definitely give her a try.

Reviewed in This Post: Poison, 2007, Eau de  Parfum.