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.

The People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo

The title of this one alone kind of made me swallow hard. Not so much because it was long and difficult, but rather I wasn’t sure how my blog would wrap that title. I love the title though, Luctor et Emergo. You saw that to somebody and they’ll probably think you’re casting a spell on them. Bonus points to this one for having some of the most interesting notes, grass, almonds and sour cherries piqued my interest the most.

Luctor et Emergo

Luctor et Emergo

In Bottle: Probably the most interesting experience I’ve had in a while with a fragrance. First spray reminded me of a very expensive rum I had once. Aged some strange amount of decades, it came out smelling very similar to this. Like woody barrels, almond and a bit of spice.

Applied:  The application wasn’t much different to me than the off-skin sniff. It smelled of that aged rum, almond, a hint of vanilla, wood barrel and a sprinkle of spice. It smells tasty, but the initial burst of rum makes way for a predominantly woodsy scent. I smell this and I think of cherries and pencils. It harkens me back to elementary school, sharpening my pencils at my desk a tube of cherry chapstick wedged in the corner of my desk drawer. I liked collecting the curls of shavings because I thought they looked beautiful. It’s a good memory, and I think a nice way for me to describe Luctor et Emergo. It’s the shaving curls off of sharpened pencils. Rolled into little ribbons of wood, collect them together and make a nice masterpiece. I get a bit of the almond in this as well, sweet and mild and working with a hidden vanilla note. The longer I let this age, the more the woods grow on me. They’re pleasant and tempered woods. Not the screaming harpy that I often associate with cedar. These woods are soft and pretty and nostalgic. I actually really love this, just for the memory spur alone.

Extra: Luctor et Emergo was released in 1997. I looked up what Luctor et Emergo meant, and the translation I came up with was “I struggle and emerge”.

Design: I have to admit, I’m not sure I’m a fan of the bottle design. Something about it reminds me of a nail polish bottle and I think it’s a part of that design sensibility that faded away a bit in the 90s.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Grass, white florals, vanilla, almond, cherry, precious woods.

The opinion on this one seems mixed across reviewers. I personally like it because of how nostalgic it made me feel. Hard to believe because I distinctly remember having not that greatest of times in elementary school. But I suppose the reminder of those pretty pencil shavings was something I missed. You can get Luctor et Emergo from Olfactif or LuckyScent.

Reviewed in This Post: Luctor et Emergo, 2013, Eau de Parfum.

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.

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.

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy la Fleur

Maybe I’m not being fair. Or maybe I felt like I’ve been spoiling myself with niche and independent fragrances lately, but I went on a department store perfume bender and have a book full of notes that I have only just now gotten around to starting. There’s still more niche to come, but these mass market scents seem fun to me–some less fun than others.

Viva la Juicy la Fleur

Viva la Juicy la Fleur

In Bottle: A big pile of sugar and flowers. Smells a lot like the original, with a weird cloying burnt sugar smell that I didn’t get from the original.

Applied: So Viva la Juicy la Fleur is one of those less fun fragrances I mentioned above. In the past, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and amused by a lot of mass market offerings, but this one hits the ordinary right on the head. The original Viva La Juicy, I had to give props to. Despite myself, I actually liked it on occasion. Granted, I was younger then and had more opportunities to wear hot pink. I’m not sure the original would strike my fancy as much these days, because la Fleur isn’t doing anything for me. If you thought Viva la Juicy was just too strong and didn’t have enough of that burnt sugar smell, then la Fleur might be worth it. For me, the original was better, but these two smell very similar. Same sugary candy opening, same sweet florals, same hint of fruits throughout, and same achingly sweet persona. This is the smell teen girls in high schools and colleges might like and wear. It would only smell ridiculous on me now.

Extra: I still pull out the original Viva la Juicy now and then, take off the cap, spray and smell and then promptly go to wash it off. I really outgrew the fragrance and making it lighter didn’t make it any more grown up.

Design: Someone refreshed design. I had thought the original Viva la Juicy was absurdly girly, but apparently all they had to do to top it off was slap some graphical flowers on the bottle, use a cheaper bow, throw in a script typeface and here we are. Not ugly. The form actually still looks nice. It is just very, very girly.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Orange, berries, water lily, honeysuckle, gardenia, jasmine, caramel, vanilla, sandalwood.

Couldn’t remember the last time I had smelled a generic fruity floral like this. It was actually somewhat nostalgic. Long story short, though, don’t buy this if you have and like the original Viva La Juicy. Unless you just want something weaker and sweeter.

Reviewed in This Post: Viva la Juicy la Fleur, 2012, Eau de Toilette.

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.

Lalique de Lalique

Lalique de Lalique was released in 1992 with a limited edition version released in 2012 that I can’t seem to find anywhere.

Lalique de Lalique

Lalique de Lalique

In Bottle: I get a sweet, creamy fruits with a pleasant soft and sweetness in the background with a layer of equally sweet florals.

Applied: Chevrefeuille starts off with a rather strong fruit showing that mellows out fairly quickly into a stronger wave of florals with the sweet fruit opening still hanging on well into the mid-stage where the florals become a touch dusty like a wave of light powders. I get plenty of jasmine with a delightful introduction of clove that adds a bit of edibility to the fragrance as it rolls into the end where a vanilla musk and dusty sandalwood pick up the scent to carry it the rest of the way. The entire fragrance is very soft and easy to wear and very modern while at the same time having a classical edge.

Extra: Lalique de Lalique (or just Lalique) was released in 1992. A limited edition version of it bottled in a fancier way was released in 2012 as a part of its 20th anniversary. It’s nearly impossible to find the limited edition version anywhere as a result. Lalique is an old perfume house, their earliest fragrance dates back to 1931.

Design: Beautiful design, usually I don’t go for things quite as embellished as these bottles, but they are made in a way that makes them eye-catching and luxurious. The limited edition bottles are also very beautiful.

Fragrance Family: Floral Oriental

Notes: Pear, blackberry, iris, rose, jasmine, clove, cassis, sandalwood, vanilla, white musk.

I do really like Lalique de Lalique, though it’s not the kind of thing I would go out of my way to hunt down. The bottle, though, makes it really hard to resist.

Reviewed in This Post: Lalique de Lalique, 1999, Eau de Toilette.

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.

Hermes Bel Ami

I’ve been on a chypre bender lately, wanting something full-bodied and classic once again. Enter Hermes Bel Ami, which inspired an hour-long look at some new Hermes scarves.

Bel Ami

Bel Ami

In Bottle: Now, it should be noted that I have the newer formulation of Bel Ami, so this isn’t a true vintage chypre. It’s one of those “modern” deals. But Hermes did a good job with it, sweet, deep, masculine and woodsy.

Applied: Sweet upon application with a nice bergamot and lemon opening. The spiciness is only a hint in this fragrance. What I’m getting the most out of it is a deep, rich leather scent with a hint of animal and a big dose of earthiness from the orris. There’s a pleasant touch of cedar in the background that doesn’t overwhelm but is in there enough to give the fragrance a hint of woodsiness. The herbal notes probably lend a tempering effect to this fragrance as it’s more of a blast of leather than anything else. I can see where the chypre construction in this lies and it’s fabulous, but it isn’t quite what I’m looking for. Still a really great, strong, masculine scent with a very interesting composition and a great sense of projection.

Extra: Bel Ami was released in 1986 and has, unfortunately, been reformulated a few times, I suspect. Still, it smells pretty good for having been tinkered with over the years.

Design: Bottled simply, and somewhat reminiscent of some other Hermes bottles. Looks classical and functions pretty well. No one is going to immediately notice this bottle, but it’s a joy to look at it nonetheless.

Fragrance Family: Chypre

Notes: Mandarin, sage, bergamot, lemon, cardamom, patchouli, orris, carnation, basil, jasmine, cedar, leather, coconut, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver, styrax, amber.

So Bel Ami isn’t really my thing. I don’t go crazy much for this much leather as it tends to smell too bold for me. But it is still a very well constructed fragrance.

Reviewed in This Post: Bel Ami, ~2000, Eau de Toilette.