Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb


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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.


Balmain La Mome


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Ambre Gris by Balmain was one of the first perfumes I ever reviewed for this blog. Back then I was still in my “Oh gosh! Fruits and flowers are so good!” phase. I’ve since grown a bit in terms of taste (or at least I like to think I did) and while I still love my flowers, my clean smells, and my fruits I’ve also warmed to Ambre Gris enough to be excited about La Mome rolling out of my sampler box for a try.

La Mome

La Mome

In Bottle: Roses, violets and an undercurrent of amber.

Applied: A flash of sweet raspberry that opens the fragrance under a fruity, sweet pretense. The rose is quick to fall in and I’m glad for that because I think I’ve had my fill of raspberry for a while. The rose has a lovely soft and classic affect mixing beautifully with an amber note that sweetens and warms the fragrance. I get violets the longer I wear this, giving the fragrance a bit of dusty appeal like I’m wearing a fine fragrance and just dusted myself down with some violet powder. This reminds me of fancy windows for some reason. Windows with intricate little patterns in the glass. Windows that lead to an exquisite sitting room. It’s deceptively simple because this is a much more complex scent than the seemingly easygoing violet, rose and amber mixture.

Extra: A little bit of research yielded an explanation for the naming convention of this fragrance. La Mome means “The Kid” which is a dedication to Edit Piaf.

Design: I love the design of this bottle. Balmain does very well with its packaging. The juice, the color of the juice, down to the materials and the style of the bottle, and the weight of the whole thing are meticulous. I love everything about it, up to and including the little tassels.

Fragrance Family: Floral Oriental

Notes: Pink pepper, raspberry, freesia, rose, violet, myrrh, iris, opoponax, amber, musk.

Sometime I should sit down and take a good sidelong stare at how my tastes in fragrance have changed over the past two years. I went from a pretty uneducated lover of fruity florals to a pretty uneducated lover of everything else too. I never would have thought a little hobby blog could take me this far.

Reviewed in This Post: La Mome, 2008, Eau de Parfum.


Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose


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I had a glimpse at this adorable bottle at the store the other day. Lancôme’s Trésor Midnight Rose looks more modern than original Trésor with a cute little rose ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle. It’s things like that which wake up the little girl in me.

Tresor Midnight Rose

Tresor Midnight Rose

In Bottle: Cedar (plenty of it) in this with a mild sweet floral. A little touch of rose settling in the background.

Applied: It’s probably not a good sign when the first note I smell in the bottle and on my skin is cedar. Midnight Rose’s cedar doesn’t agree with me as it overtakes the scent and makes itself a dominant force to be reckoned with. Pushing the cedar aside, I can get vague glimpses of roses and berries. The underlying scent is a sweet floral and I imagine without the cedar present, Midnight Rose would smell pretty tame and mild. With the cedar, its tameness is being drowned by a near obnoxious “Look at me, I’m a big tree and I smell”, sharp woody note that I get in most cedar perfumes. Something about my nose or my skin or just me in general cannot get along with these cedar notes and Midnight Rose just so happens to use enough of it to bother me. I keep Midnight Rose on in the hopes that cedar will go away and let me into the rest of the fragrance, but it’s always there, taunting me. Thankfully the fragrance has a noticeable enough progression that near the end, I get a bit of creamy vanilla with a soft lingering floral.

Extra: Midnight Rose was released last year, in 2011. Trésor has a large selection of flankers, most notably, Trésor In Love and Trésor Sparkling.

Design: I didn’t even recognize this as a Trésor flanker because of how different the bottle looks from original Trésor. The redesign is definitely appreciated as Trésor’s design was showing its age a bit. Or maybe I just associate it naturally with the 90s because that’s how long I’ve been seeing the bottle sitting on a relative’s vanity table. Trésor Midnight Rose is encased in a tall glass bottle that reminds me a bit of Nina Ricci and Chanel mixed together. It has a cute fabric rose, tied to the neck of the bottle that, for once, accentuates the aesthetics and gives it a sort of sophistication as opposed to just tackiness.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Floral

Notes: Berries, rose, jasmine, peony, cassis, pink pepper, cedar, vanilla, musk.

I keep seeing people generally liking this and I wish I could say the same. The cedar really was the sole reason why I didn’t have any luck with Midnight Rose. What I smelled underneath was a mild, nice, sweet floral which I probably would have enjoyed.

Reviewed in This Post: Trésor Midnight Rose, 2011, Eau de Parfum.


Ed Hardy Love and Luck for Women


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Hearts and Daggers was something of a flop on me, but I also had a little bit of Love and Luck for Women by Ed Hardy. And while I haven’t grown to like the packaging in any capacity, I will admit that Love and Luck for Women was a bit of a surprise.

Love and Luck for Women

Love and Luck for Women

In Bottle: Citrus and fruity, quite nice in a fruit bowl sort of way. If you want fruity and fresh then this is the stuff for you.

Applied: Initial flare of citrus followed by a peppery kick thanks to the pink pepper present in thsi fragrance. The scent has a nice clean edge on opening that does rather well when it starts to move into it’s fruit bowl stage. I smell the currants and the nectarine with a mild creamy plum in the middle. The scent is rather pleasant. Not too strong and while it’s generic, it does the fruity genre of fragrances rather well. Love and Luck is a decently blended fragrance and while it won’t win any awards any time soon, it’s one of the better fruity scents I’ve smelled as of late. The dry down gets a bit woodsy but not too much that you would mistake this for anything else but a fruity perfume. Overall, nicely done and extremely wearable with decent longevity.

Extra: I’ll admit, I had initially been interested in reviewing this fragrance once I saw the proposed design for the new Ed Hardy fragrance, Skulls and Roses. Mostly I was inspired because the proposed design was so bad. You can view it for yourself at Fragrantica. Keep in mind that the image is currently a composite of a 3D model and a 2D rose so if the image looks a bit odd, that’s why. Hopefully someone at Christian Audigier realizes that the design looks kind of funny and tones it down a little.

Design: Love and Luck features the tattoo inspired artwork indicative of most Ed Hardy products. I’m not a fan of the design and I find the plastic cap that covers the glass bottle thing kind of annoying to use.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Bergamot, blood orange, pink pepper, blackcurrant, nectarine, plum, jasmine, sandalwood, cedar, musk, patchouli.

Love and Luck for Women has a male counterpart that I haven’t tried yet. I rather like this version and think it’s a competent fruity fragrance. Granted there are a lot of competent fruity fragrances out there. So if you’re shopping for a fruity perfume give Love and Luck a sniff, but don’t worry if you don’t fall in love with it. There are many more fish in the sea.

Reviewed in This Post: Love and Luck for Women, 2010, Eau de Parfum.


Chanel Allure Sensuelle


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Allure Sensuelle is the flanker to Chanel’s Allure fragrance. My love for Chanel Allure has faded a bit since I wrote about it last. While I still wear it, the fragrance doesn’t have the same amount of “punch” it once did.

Allure Sensuelle

Allure Sensuelle

In Bottle: Dusty and woodsy with a floral note and a bit of vanilla.

Applied: Dusty fruits and vanilla with a hint of wood upon application with a tart and very quick sting of citrus. The fruity midstage is slow to develop but it eventually rolls in making the fragrance smell like creamy fruit slathered onto a plank of wood from the woody notes in the base wafting up. I’m not sure that I like that combination. It doesn’t read to my nose as something I particularly like or want to keep smelling. The strangeness of the mix is repelling me as opposed to drawing me in, but I will admit the fragrance’s warm creamy oriental side can keep me around.  I’m not too fond of Allure Sensuelle though she smells just lovely and when I compare it to the original Allure, I think I gain a bit of an appreciation for it.

Extra: Allure Sensuelle was introduced in 2006. If you want to get some of this stuff, Chanel sells it in body lotion, EDP, and Parfum iterations.

Design: Allure Sensuelle looks largely like Allure except with a richer, deeper color scheme. Otherwise the parfum version comes in a very beautiful flacon that I wouldn’t mind displaying as it looks like a classic Chanel bottle.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Oriental

Notes: Bergamot, mandarin, pink pepper, jasmine, rose, iris, fruit, vetiver, French vanilla, amber, patchouli, frankincense.

Sorry, Allure Sensuelle, you don’t really work for me. Though it is a nicely composed fragrance with a rather interesting approach to woodsy orientals with its fruity and creamy introduction.

Reviewed in This Post: Allure Sensuelle, 2007, Eau de Parfum.


Gucci Envy Me


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What struck me the most about Gucci Envy Me was the fact that the ad actually said it was supposed to appeal to “the egocentric and bold young woman”. I wasn’t aware being called egocentric was a good thing, but it’s evidenced in how well Envy Me did as a fragrance that people either don’t care, didn’t know, or actually found it  appealing to be called egocentric. Color me confused.

Envy Me

Envy Me

In Bottle: Sweet and clean fruity florals. Just about as standard a fruity floral as you can get. Smells good though.

Applied: Pink pepper adds a bit of clean spice the fruity opening of this where I get a mixture of peach and mango that reminds me of an Herbal Essences shampoo. The fragrance evolves into this litchi note that dominates the beginning stages of the mid notes arena. Litchi tends to enjoy taking control of the show and I find the fruit note to be a bit unbearably sweet and pink and girly at times. Envy Me does a good job taming its litchi for the most part but it is still quite strong in the fragrance for a little while. As the scent continues to age, there’s a bit of perfumey woods going on as it blends in with the clean fruity opening while imparting this refreshing sense to it that I can only assume is the white tea at work. As Envy Me keeps going into its base, there’s a clear amping up of the soapy clean fragrance was present throughout the whole thing as the white musk takes hold of the pretty tame teak and sandalwood mix. At the base the fruits a little weak but I didn’t expect them to do anything else but fade as the fragrance ages on the skin. Overall, Envy Me was a pleasant ride. Starts off like a Herbal Essences shampoo and ends with a scented sandalwood fan fragrance.

Extra: Not sure where they got the idea that this fragrance is bold and egocentric. It just smells like shampoo and cleanliness to me. It’s one of the better done fresh out of the shower smells in that it doesn’t abuse the florals but it’s still pretty generic.

Design: Gucci Envy Me is bottled in a tall rectangular flacon with the signature Gucci pattern on the glass running all the way up the four sides of the flacon in pink. It’s a little ridiculous for my aesthetic but I can definitely see the type of image this fragrance is trying to project in its design choices. The bottle is a bit awkward to hold because it–like Givenchy’s Very Irresistible–is a tall and slender bottle that’s made of heavier material.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Fruity

Notes: Peony, pink pepper, cassia, peach, mango, litchi, pomegranate, pineapple, sandalwood, white tea, teak, white musk.

In a pinch, I’d reach for Envy Me to spritz on when I want to smell refreshed and clean. It’s a great out of the shower fragrance for if you want to hold onto that Herbal Essences smell for just a little longer. Otherwise, there’s nothing remotely bold about it. It sure is fun though.

Reviewed in This Post: Envy Me, 2006, Eau de Toilette.


Playboy Play It Sexy


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What classy digs I’ve found myself in today with one of the (surprisingly) many Playboy fragrances. It’s Play It Sexy, a fragrance for women that I guess women can use to seduce men. I’m not sure this will work the way it claims it’ll work but let’s give it a sniff and go from there.

Play It Sexy

Play It Sexy

In Bottle: Sweet citrus that doesn’t hit the right notes and ends up smelling a little synthetic right off the bat. I kind of get some of the licorice note up front too which doesn’t help the synthetic smell of this at all.

Applied: Citrus on opening with a sweetness to it that’s a little bothersome. That synthetic feel of the fragrance isn’t any better on the skin. The fragrance is rather quick to evolve as well as the citrus moshes itself into the florals where I get jasmine and what’s clearly a rose note. The sweetness mingling with the rose is a tad disturbing and is reminding me a bit of how Danielle by Danielle Steel smelled and I did not like that one bit. The licorice note–hilariously enough–is also present throughout this entire fragrance taking this to the next level of unappealing because it’s mingling with everything and in a really poor way. It’s kind of like you’re not really enjoying a discordant juice blend that you decided to make yourself one day and tried to add some random element to it in the hopes of improving upon your wayward culinary attempts. Only said random element only made things worse. The fragrance dries down into a pretty generic vanilla sandalwood which I actually liked seeing as the rest of the fragrance didn’t hit it off with me. I will give Play It Sexy one thing, it doesn’t reach cloying sweetness and it isn’t crazy strong. So while I didn’t like the fragrance, I didn’t feel like I had to run to the bathroom and scrub it off.

Extra: So I don’t think Playboy will be joining the hallowed halls of mainstream designer perfumes any time soon. But if you’re looking for some cheap thrills in perfumery, these Playboy scents are very affordable. They’ll run you a few bucks over an Axe bodyspray but they do smell better.

Design: I really can’t speak for the bottle design for this stuff. It’s like an amalgamation of things I don’t like. Weird animal motif, random gem, pink, bowtie. It’s cute, I suppose. The only thing it’s missing is Comic Sans font and a fairy. The aesthetic just isn’t sitting well with me.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Grapefruit, mandarin, pink pepper, jasmine, florals, licorice, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka.

So these fragrances come in a three pack, which is a pretty good deal, but supposedly they are supposed to represent the stages of a woman’s seduction game. The other two fragrances I’ve got are called “Play It Spicy” and “Play It Lovely”.

Reviewed in This Post: Play It Sexy, 2010, Eau de Parfum.


Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita


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Lolita Lempicka fragrances have a way of drawing me in with their bottle design and Si Lolita is no different. It got me with the bottle design but I can’t say I care too much for the fragrance itself.

Si Lolita

Si Lolita

In Bottle: Spicy florals. Rather interesting for a mainstream release and I rather like the spiciness.

Applied: The pink pepper used in this is rather strong and infuses the fragrance with a spicy quality throughout the rest of the scent. There’s a hint of clove and I want to say cinnamon but not entirely sure. There’s definitely more to the spiciness than just pink pepper though. The fragrance moves into its midstage smelling like spicy sweet floral fragrances with a jolt of creaminess. Rather fascinating but I haven’t decided if I like it yet or not. As the midstage continues, I start to notice something a bit unpleasant bubble up from the depths. It might be the patchouli, I thought at first but patchouli doesn’t do what I was smelling. So I went out and looked this one up and surprisingly enough Sephora, of all places, gives me my answer. There’s wallflower in this, making the fragrance smell like a spicy sweet herb in the midstage. I don’t like it in this context. The dry down is marked with that spicy sweet herb scent but mingled with a warm amber and tonka quality. The warming at the end actually makes the sweet herb smell even worse for me, unfortunately.

Extra: Si Lolita had a beautiful ad campaign with vivid colors and a gorgeous presentation in terms of packaging and commercial. There was a bit of unnecessary sexiness and a hint of overdone but the overall campaign was very nice and pretty. You can see for yourself with this video (entirely in French).

Design: I love the bottle and the packaging. The colors are bright and cute and go well together. The bottle has a nice feel and weight to it. The design is adorable–a four-leafed clover with an adorable scarf attached at the neck.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Floral

Notes: Bergamot, pink pepper, mandarin, sweet pea, heliotrope, wallflower, elemi gum, patchouli, tonka bean, amber.

Si Lolita started out beautifully enough, it had a great opening and a great start to its midstage. I really wish that wallflower hadn’t come into the mix and messed things up for me. But keep in mind that I might hate the sweet scent in this but someone else might enjoy it. So try this one out to see if you like it at all. It’s a well done fragrance even if it didn’t work well for me.

Reviewed in This Post: Si Lolita, 2011, Eau de Parfum.


Paco Rabanne Black XS


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After two fails on me with Paco Rabanne, I had to wonder why I keep coming back to the brand since nothing they put out really interest me. Black XS has an enormous rose on the bottle which made me a bit leery about what I would get.

Black XS

Black XS

In Bottle: Slightly woody, creamy scent with a dish of flowers and some slightly tart berries.

Applied: On application, it almost smells like Christmas dinner. You know with the festive spicy smell and the little bit of cranberry? There’s sweetness in here almost immediately and it’s a pleasant little party. I admit, it is a little weird to feel like it’s Christmas all the way in July but hey, it’s fascinating at least! But Black XS quickly sheds its festive cheer and heads into a fairly banal floral mid-stage with a creamy and rich cocoa note adding a bit of interest to it. So far I’m pleased with the cocoa but pretty bored with the floral mid-stage that pretty much adds nothing new or interesting. I get more woods in the dry down, the cocoa note is still present and there’s always that looming sweetness that stuck around. Black XS lacks in a lot of departments and originality is one of them. I’m not all that pleased with this unfortunately.

Extra: Black XS was clearly not for me as it is marketed toward a young audience with a specific taste. I like to call them the Flowerbomb demographic.

Design: The bottle for Black XS is actually pretty nice–until you get to the huge rose on the glass then everything just kind of focuses there. I suppose that’s what they were going for and I suppose the demographic might appreciate the design but I don’t particularly like it.

Fragrance Family: Floral Gourmand

Notes: Cranberry, pink pepper, violet, rose, cacao, patchouli, vanilla, woods.

So I didn’t have a really bad reaction to Black XS. It was all right but like I said, there’s nothing original or interesting about this. It’s definitely wearable but it’s not at all artistic.

Reviewed in This Post: Black XS, 2010, Eau de Toilette.


V&R Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose 2011


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I decided to give Flowerbomb, or rather its flanker line, a chance hoping that after the very un-floral like contraption that was the original Flowerbomb, they would add some actual flowers to the perfume so it smelled a bit less like a very expensive Pink Sugar.

Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose

In Bottle: Still smells foody though the caramel note in this one is significantly more tame than in the original Flowerbomb. I’m noticing a smooth almond note mingled with that same scent that I got from Flowerbomb. That sweet, nothing-else-but-candy scent that I wasn’t too sold on in the original.

Applied: A flare up of bergamot with sweet tangerine leading the way. It’s typical of perfumes and this citrus opener didn’t happen with the original Flowerbomb that veered right into sweet territory. After the citrus digs itself out, the original Flowerbomb scent comes through with a milder caramel note riding on the waves of an almond scent that adds a bit more foodiness to the fragrance. The florals are still largely absent behind the huge wall of obnoxiously sweet candy-like accords that add nothing to this flanker’s originality. It is, essentially, Flowerbomb with some bergamot and almond. I’m not impressed. The dry down is a similar affair as Flowerbomb. La Vie en Rose is hanging on to some sweet candy scent dotted with a scrubbed clean patchouli until it has faded completely.

Extra: So this version of Flowerbomb’s La Vie en Rose flanker was released in 2011 and toted as being the same floral fragrance everybody’s already loved. I really wish the fine folks who keep producing this stuff would stop kidding themselves and admit that there’s very few flowers in Flowerbomb. I haven’t tried any of the other Flowerbomb flankers yet so hey, maybe they managed a floral one somewhere in there.

Design: Designed much in the same way as the original Flowerbomb. Same shape. Same basic premise. La Vie en Rose has a notable deeper pink though with smaller geometric squares on the flacon’s surface. I like the design. I think it’s cute and clever. I just wish this stuff actually smelled like flowers or at least admit that it doesn’t smell like flowers at all.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Bergamot, pink pepper, tangerine, freesia, lily of the valley, almond, raspberry, red berries, cashmere wood, patchouli, amber.

Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose  irritates me a little bit. It’s like the convenience store I go to sometimes that gouges me for instant noodles. So Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose is the instant noodles. I know it’s not gourmet, I know it’s got very little nutritional value but the convenience store will still gouge me for it anyway.

Reviewed in This Post: Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

PS. For all my geeky perfume lovers out there, happy Captain Picard Day!