Yves Saint Laurent Caban

Long time, no see, YSL. Mostly on my part. I’m looking into Caban today after I caught sight of it and fell in love with the bottle and minimalist aesthetic.



In Bottle: Sweet, rosy and deep like a sugared rose swimming in vanilla and a pinch of spiciness.

Applied:  Caban is more gourmand than I expected from it. Upon initial application, it has a very distinctive sweet tooth with a spicy kick added in. Immediately I smell vanilla, and a toffee-like sweetness that pervades the entire experience. Caban mellows into a middle with an added rose note and a mellowing woodsy scent. The spice is persistent and the rose and heavy sweetness tends to fade overtime, and in the end, it’s spices in the end with a very pleasant touch of sweet to carry out the scent.

Extra: I know next to nothing about fashion these days. So I only know that Caban is a relatively recent release from Yves Saint Laurent. It is one of five members of the new YSL Le Vestiaire des Parfums collection.

Design: I love the bottle, it reminds me of the classically simple but eminently luxurious minimalist aesthetic.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand Floral

Notes: Caramel, vanilla, pepper, rose, sandalwood, tonka bean.

This is a beautifully done and elegant gourmand floral. One that would actually be a lovely Valentine’s Day gift to a fragrance-lover with a sweet tooth. Presently, Caban can be purchased at Bergdorf Goodman. It runs for $250USD.

Reviewed in This Post: Caban, 2015, Eau de Parfum.

Creed Sublime Vanille

I managed to stumble upon a very tiny sample of Creed Sublime Vanille thanks to a friend who asked me the other day when I’ll get my nose out work and into perfumes again. I didn’t realize what kind of treasure she had dropped into my lap until I did some research and promptly exclaimed, “What? Are you insane?”

Sublime Vanille

Sublime Vanille

In Bottle: A really, really light vanilla and some slight green notes that almost feel sour in the back of the throat.

Applied:  I really doubt my friend supplied me with a faulty sample and I fully believe the weakness of this sauce is due to Creed’s mixing. Or maybe it’s me. Whatever it is, I hardly get anything out of this. It smells of barely there vanilla and kind of leaves me wanting a lot more, especially after finding out its price tag ($710.00 on Creed’s website, if you were so inclined). I get a little hint of green sourness that I want to attribute to some kind of citrus. The two actually go pretty well together in the kind of way that you wouldn’t expect. Like those Terry’s chocolate orange things. Except unlike the chocolate oranges, this lacks in flavor, being kind of a weak throw type of scent. I feel like I need to line the inside of my nostrils in order to smell it. I can’t say that I am a fan.

Extra: Creed’s Sublime Vanille is a part of a collection of exclusives from the house. The flacons are beautiful and the price tag matches the aesthetic.

Design: Gorgeous design. I love the bottle, it looks nice and weighty and absurdly expensive. If someone were to break in one day, this would likely be the thing I’d hurl at them first–then I would regret it later. What? It’s $710 for stuff that barely smells like anything. I can be snarky.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Vanilla, tonka bean, orchid, musk, bergamot, lemon.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but I’m so much more cynical towards these pricey scents than I used to be. And perhaps the fact that this stuff costs so much that I expected so much more from it.

Reviewed in This Post: Sublime Vanille, 2014, Eau de Toilette.

Ineke Scarlet Larkspur

Having done very little to seemingly whittle down the remaining selection of samples I have, I really said to myself that I ought to stop ignoring my passion for smellies under the pretense that I’m “busy”. Busy doesn’t excuse the fact that I need to do something I enjoy or go crazy from nothing but work. So I went back to my notes, re-sniffed the things I meant to re-sniff and here I am, Scarlet Larkspur, months too late but better than never!

Scarlet Larkspur

Scarlet Larkspur

In Bottle: Light and pretty, cherry with a bubbling start and finish and a spicy support.

Applied:  Cherry, like red cherry cola upon application. I feel like I sprayed the essence of a classic soda I once tried. Scarlet Larkspur tickles the nose then fades into a pretty spicy floral in the mid-stage with a woodsy backing. There’s a nice clean depth to Scarlet Larkspur that I’m starting to recognize in the entire line. It’s easy to approach, gentle and not overwhelming or loud. This smells like a fragrance I wear when I want to relax.

Extra: Scarlet Larkspur is a member of Ineke’s Floral Curiosities collection.

Design: I really love the design of the entire Floral Curiosities line. Simple bottle shapes, but with beautiful literary imagery with swooping typography and a vintage motif.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Wine, cherry, currant, saffron, florals, amyris wood, tonka bean, vanilla.

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.

Reviewed in This Post: Scarlet Larkspur, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

Biehl Parfumkunstwerke gs03

Another sampler from Jeffrey Dame at Hypoluxe. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting after gs02, though I was pleasantly surprised when I tried out gs03!



In Bottle: Nice, soft white florals with an layer of woods.

Applied: Slight citrus kick on spray but quick to dissipate as it’s replaced with a smooth white floral fragrance with an under layer of woods to back it up. The opening is fabulous. Very airy white florals, a slight spice to tie it together. It’s mid-stage is marked with a more prominent woodsy showing with those white florals layered on top. The dry down sees a smoother wood note, less florals and more soft warmth from a vetiver with a mild return of the citrus that disappeared in the top layer. This reminds me of laundry or very nice soap. And something in it also reminds me of something my mother used to wear. Nice, lovely and soft.

Extra: gs03 is a new launch from biehl parfumkunstwerke targeted both men and women. It was composed by by Geza Schoen, like gs02.

Design: A similar minimalist bottle design as gs02. Nothing flashy or outrageous. After having seen some of the latest celebuscent bottle designs, I appreciate simplicity like this a lot.

Fragrance Family: Floral Woodsy

Notes: Mandarin, orange blossom, neroli, pepper, juniper, rose, jasmine, iris, cedar, vetiver, castoreum, oakmoss, benzoin, tonka bean, musk.

Very nice, though a couple of times during the midstage I got a little worried about the cedar. That note doesn’t behave for me, but it did fine in gs03 as it was light and well done in this fragrance. Overall very nice and I prefer it over gs02 for its softness.

Reviewed in This Post: gs03, 2013, 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.

Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme

A friend of mine raves about L’Homme and how much he loves it and gets compliments whenever he wears it. I have to admit that hype kind of puts a damper on things for me. Hype it just enough and I’ll be interested. Hype it a bit too much and I find myself avoiding it.



In Bottle: Bam. Familiar. Familiar in a rather good way. Takes it back to my early childhood where I remember lights, noises and of course the smell.

Applied: Citrus with a tempering ginger note a hint of sweet florals and woods. All of the notes are very well blended. I definitely get the citrus first, but then it molds together into a nice even fragrance that hits a memory nerve. The scent has a nice mild spiciness to it with an underlayer of woods with an inoffensive cedar note that provides a base for the sweet floral notes that are really the stars here. L’Homme is rather soft and yielding. It’s like the whole fragrance is composed of very delicate amounts of ingredients. And it really shows because L’Homme is a quick fader and is gone within a manner of a few hours. The smell takes me back to my childhood, reminds me of one of the houses I lived in as a toddler. It’s hot days, street noise, and the ever-present banging of Vietnam’s less than safe metalworking shops. I think L’Homme is taking me back because it smells like a laundry soap my mother used on our clothes back then and we always ended up smelling like it. In either case, my association with L’Homme makes me instantly like it. On a more objective note, it is a good fragrance. If it didn’t jive any memories in me, I would say there’s nothing too particularly special about it except for the fact that it’s a fairly well blended scent that’s accessible and easy to pull off.

Extra: L’Homme was released in 2006 and has a mixed reception. Some love it, some hate it. Most think it’s a pretty easy going fragrance that will work for the office.

Design: L’Homme’s bottle is really recognizable for me. Mainly because I see it everywhere I go. It’s one of those standard fragrances that isn’t very difficult to find and up until now, I never had the urge to actually walk up to it and spray some on because it was so unassuming a bottle. It’s simple, compact and would blend right in with the rest of your bottles.

Fragrance Family: Floral Woodsy

Notes: Ginger, bergamot, lemon, basil, ozone, pepper, spices, violet leaf, tonka bean, vetiver, cedar.

L’Homme does run a bit more sweet than most fragrances marketed to men. But it’s one of those scents that skirts the unisex to masculine line. So if you wanted a full on “man fragrance” then maybe this isn’t for you. L’Homme also doesn’t have the greatest longevity. What it does do well is provide a nice, inoffensive, easy to wear clean and floral scent. So I do so happen to like L’Homme–mostly because it reminded me of something good. Or at least, something familiar. Odd thing to do for a fragrance that was released long after I had those memories. But then, that’s what makes scents and memories fascinating.

Reviewed in This Post: L’Homme, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport

It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to worry about where my next fragrance review is going to come from. But my bank of reviewed fragrances has run dry and a collection of new niche and vintage samples is on its way. In the mean time, I dove back into the mainstream and fashion house markets. That is to say, I took out my notebook and went sniffing at the mall. My relocation landed me in a less urban area with available fragrance stores nearby. Which limited my choice to Bath and Body Works’ latest releases, BPAL, Victoria’s Secret’s offerings and what I could get my hands on at Dillards.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport

Chanel Allure Homme Sport

In Bottle: Pleasant and sweet. Homme Sport smells of citrus, deep vanilla, woods and lukewarmth.

Applied: Allure Home Sport starts off with a spray of citrus and aquatics. It smells crisp, clean and refreshing. The fragrance ages rather quickly, approaching its middle with a showing of pepper and neroli blended with a more floral note that helps temper the cedar a little bit. The vanilla is rather apparent to me, lurking in the background like it’s waiting for me to do something about it. At the end it was a vanilla amber with a spicy woods mix. The amber tries its best to warm this up, but it never really gets there. At most, it’s lukewarm. It is kind of cool in some parts, kind of warm in others. It’s like dipping your foot into a swimming pool lukewarm–if that makes any sense at all. Overall, a sporty scent you would imagine would smell of sharp citrus and aqua to give you that, “I’M CLEAN! I’M FRESH!” yelling kind of feel. Homme Sport starts off like that to me, but takes it on a more relaxed, “Don’t worry, you’re clean, but let’s not yell about it”, route.

Extra: Allure Homme Sport was released in 2004 and is obviously the flanker to Chanel’s Allure Homme.

Design: Contained  in a metallic Allure Homme-like bottle. It looks luxurious and masculine at the same time. Good design by Chanel? Pretty much a give in most cases. Actually, Chanel’s had its fair share of stinkers too, but Allure Homme Sport’s bottle design is not one of them. It’s not especially memorable or beautiful, it’s just basic good Chanel design.

Fragrance Family: Oriental Woodsy

Notes: Aldehydes, orange, mandarin, marine, pepper, neroli, cedar, tonka bean, vanilla, amber, vetiver, white musk.

The oriental comes in with the ever present vanilla note that I kept noticing throughout, otherwise, this would have just been woodsy to me. If you’re looking for a pretty laid back, mostly predictable fragrance with a designer name on it, then Allure Homme Sport is probably a good idea.

Reviewed in This Post: Homme Sport, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

Playboy Play It Rock

Apparently Playboy didn’t stop at the last trilogy of “Play It” fragrances that included in Play It Sexy, Play It Lovely and Play It Spicy. Play It Rock is a new fragrance that’s built on the same concept as the previously mentioned three scents.

Play It Rock

Play It Rock

In Bottle: Citrus and fruit. Lots of fruitiness in this actually with a little bit of vanilla.

Applied: Citrus up top, rather loud and harsh at first and makes me think that’s where the rock is coming from. The sharpness goes away rather quickly though and I’m introduced to a fruity mid-stage that makes me think of apples and berries mixed together in a bizarro cupcake. The fruitiness is tempered a bit by a pretty benign layer of generic, but soft and yielding florals. As the fragrance ages the vanilla note arrives making Play It Rock smell more and more like a fruity cupcake. Nothing wrong with that. The fragrance is rather soft at this stage and doesn’t smash you in the face with its sweetness. It’s actually pretty decent when you get to the dry down. It’s not unique, but it’s perfectly wearable after the opening.

Extra: Play It Rock was released in 2011. I’m not sure where Playboy is going to take this line. A part of me wonders if they’re going to be releasing two more Play It fragrances or if they’re just going to leave it at Play It Rock. I just hope they get a bit more creative in the future.

Design: The design is essentially the same as the other Play It fragrances with a round bottle and a nozzle cap that features the Playboy Bunny. Play It Rock sets itself apart by having a red topper as opposed to a black top like the other Play It fragrances and does not have the little jewel on the bottle.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Oriental

Notes: Blood orange, apple, orange flower, saffron, frangipani, passion flower, ebony, patchouli, tonka bean.

Play It Rock doesn’t do what it’s meant to do badly. It’s not exciting, but it’s a good competent fragrance for a younger audience or for someone who wants a nice sweet fruity scent that isn’t too strong. Granted, if you wanted something light and sweet you could get the body spray version of this stuff.

Reviewed in This Post: Play It Rock, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros

Every time someone asks for a strong, long-lasting fragrance marketed toward men someone else is bound to suggest Kouros.



In Bottle: Holy cow, it’s strong. Yeah, I’d say it lives up to its reputation. Bergamot, I think is what I’m smelling with a lot of aldehydes and some drowning florals.

Applied: All right, I understand why a lot of people hate this fragrance. They were kidding when they said it was strong. If you were thinking of getting this because you wanted a strong (with italics and everything) fragrance then Kouros will make you happy. Well, it’ll make you happen if you happen to enjoy powerful animalic fougeres. Kouros starts off with a big hit of bergamot that’s bolstered with a ton of aldehydes and a spicy herbal treatment that adds to the masculinity of the fragrance. You’re going to see a lot of hyperbolic language in this post because this stuff is strong. Period. It’s a bit screechy at first, and if you’re not used to strong fragrances, you will get a headache or your nose will be overwhelmed. Let Kouros rest on your skin for a while and it’ll develop into a deeper more animal fragrance that introduces another round of spices and a bit of incense. This is complex defined with its classical personality paired with an 80s Powerhouse underbelly. The dry down never seems to come with this stuff as it’s just so strong and so dominant that I can only say by the time I had to shower it off, it still smelled finely of smoke, musks, spice, florals and confidence.

Extra: Kouros was released in 1981. Named after a Greecian statue that typically depicts a youth in a standing pose.

Design: Not the most interesting bottle to look at, but I do notice the relative simplicity of men’s fragrance packaging compared to women’s fragrances. Kouros is a fine design though. It’s simple but functional, would not look out of place on a man’s wardrobe or wherever he chooses to use his cologne. It’s nice to hold, easy to use, and has an excellent sprayer.

Fragrance Family: Fougere

Notes: Aldehydes, artemisia, coriander, clary sage, bergamot, carnation, patchouli, cinnamon, orris root, jasmine, vetiver, geranium, honey, leather, tonka bean, amber, musk, civet, oakmoss, vanilla.

Despite being so strong Kouros hits a nice and reasonable ground with me so that I don’t find it repulsive and strong. It’s a good fragrance, it’s very strong, and it’s considered close to the classics. If you can handle it’s strength then you’ll be very happy with it.

Reviewed in This Post: Kouros,  ~2000, Eau de Parfum.

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

Le Male’s something of a classic for men’s fragrance, I guess. Well, maybe classic is putting it a bit too high on the totem pole. What Le Male is, however, is a very successful, very nice oriental fragrance that many men who prefer something outside of Acqua di Gio tend to enjoy.

Le Male

Le Male

In Bottle: Initial whiff of lavender and spices in Le Male. It’s at once familiar and unique.

Applied: Spicy lavender up top. Le Male’s reminiscent of a fougere fragrance with a major spicy kick. The cardamom, to my nose is particularly strong along with the cinnamon note. It reminds me a bit of this awesome chai tea that I really like that features cinnamon and caraway rather heavily. The lavender helps pull the fragrance together from the get go, as its little whiffs of mint and bergamot that were in the initial spray make way for a warm, dry midstage that sees an introduction of a slight floral sandalwood scent. The dry down is very dry with lavender hints hanging on and its spicy cinnamon making a very good run as the sweet, dry, woods scent of the base takes the rest of the show.

Extra: Le Male is strong and has excellent projection, so watch how much of this you spray on yourself. Especially you guys who wear this almost every day. Your nose may have adapted to the scent from prolonged use and you might be overdoing it a bit. I’ve stood close to a man who overdid the Le Male and it turns this brilliant spicy fougere into a powerful mess. Easy on the trigger and you’ll smell awesome though.

Design: Iconic design from Jean Paul Gaultier of the “torso bottles”. Le Male is packaged in a blue torso bottle resemble a man’s chest and hips. The fragrance itself comes in a tin can. Great for keeping out light and helping the fragrance keep a little cooler, but I can’t say I like having a tin can sitting on a fragrance shelf. Still, the torso bottle is a classic piece of design to some people, but for me, it kind of freaks me out to be honest. Still,as soon as you see these torso designs, you probably instantly think, “Oh, it’s Jean Paul Gaultier doing his thing again”. So if nothing else, it is memorable.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Oriental Fougere

Notes: Artemisia, lavender, mint, bergamot, cardamom, caraway, orange blossom, cinnamon, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, vanilla, cedar.

On myself, Le Male smells too iconically male. Though it’s a great scent that I really like. It smells like it belongs on a man though and that is probably because of the prevalence of the gender that often wears it. Still, it’s like I always say, if you like this enough then who cares what gender it was made for? Just wear it and rock it.

Reviewed in This Post: Le Male, 2001, Eau de Toilette.