Kenzo Power


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Kenzo Power was described as a spicy woodsy scent–a rather banal genre for men’s fragrances which wouldn’t turn very many heads. That is, if only Power kept to that spicy woodsy description. Instead, Power is less so a spicy wood fragrance and more like a spicy floral.

Power

Power

In Bottle: Powereded florals and spice, I get cardamom but I definitely get some florals in this with some woods as well.

Applied: Starts off with a citrus opening that fades in with the spices almost immediately. Power starts off strong with an opening befitting of a classic men’s fragrance. The scent heads into its midstage with an increasingly floral presence as it settles in with a powdered flowers, a bit of creaminess and residual spiciness from the opening. The dry down is a fairly generic woods fragrance with a hint of amber and lingering spices.

Extra: Power isn’t your average men’s fragrance–at least not the average that I’ve been smelling. It’s got the male progression in the strong citrus blast up top and the woody dry down but the mid-stage has a nice femininity to it that doesn’t overpower the masculine aspects of the scent. Sure, there’s florals in this but it is still a men’s fragrance at heart. It’s soft and sophisticated and definitely different from your average aquatic or spicy wood. Kenzo Power was composed by Olivier Polge (Burberry The Beat and Balenciaga Paris).

Design: Rather interesting design, reminiscent of Montale’s fragrance bottles except done much better. Shiny metal with a fantastic heft to it. Feels good to hold, has a masculinity to the aesthetic but is not over the top and still manages to look modern and a little different. At the very least, the metal helps balance out the flower logo that should hint that this ‘Power’ has a little bit of floral in it.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Woodsy Floral

Notes: Bergamot, coriander, cardamom, florals, amber, woods.

Kudos to Kenzo for making Power smell the way it does. It’s a new and interesting contender in the rather repetitive abstract that is the men’s fragrance industry. Check this one out if you want a more creative men’s fragrance and you aren’t too afraid of flowers in your cologne.

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


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Lady Una


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Lady Una from Neil Gaiman’s Stardust has a pretty little fragrance by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Lady Una

In Bottle: Sweet and fruity with an underlying tartness from the berries.

Applied: Sweet berries up front with a bit of astringency from the green tea note and the berries that help with a little bit of tartness–not a whole lot of tartness here though as Lady Una is mostly honeyed berry. The fragrance continues on a rather linear path through its midstage and as it delves into its dry down the fragrance takes on a soft vanilla and clean musk.

Extra: Lady Una is a fragrance in the Neil Gaiman’s Stardust line from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that focuses on concepts and characters from the novel.

Design: Lady Una is bottled much the same way as other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents. You get a small amber bottle with a plastic cap and stopper and a label featuring artwork by Sarah Coleman.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Honey, green tea, blackberry, vanilla, musk, spices.

Very nice soft fruity fragrance. If you’re a little too old for the vanilla and fruit explosion of most mainstream fragrances then give Lady Una a try for a softer, more subtle sweetness.

Reviewed in This Post: Lady Una, 2010, 5ml Bottle.


Soivohle Cumberland Ti


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I’m still on my quest to find the perfect tea scent so a nice detour into Cumberland Ti by Soivohle was in order.

In Bottle: Black tea with a twist of honey and a little bit of spice.

Applied: A bit of citrus on the open followed with a deep, rich black tea scent and a hint of spiciness–something almost like pepper. As the fragrance ages the tea scent gets deeper and just a little bit of sweetness peeks out from the bed of notes. The chamomile doesn’t make itself very loud, it adds a bit of herbal quality to this fragrance that also leans a bit toward a slight floral quality near the end of the fragrance’s midstage. The dry down is a soft herbal tea-like treatment with a slight dustiness at the end.

Extra: Cumberland TiĀ  is inspired by a sweet southern tea with a sweet flavor.

Design: Cumberland Ti’s design is pretty much similar to the other scents in Soivohle’s line.The bottles are nice enough, but with Independent and Niche perfumes, you’re not buying the fragrance for the packaging. Though the packaging is usually nice anyway.

Fragrance Family: Aromatic

Notes: Tea, mate, honey, chamomile.

Beautiful tea fragrance though not exactly what I was looking for. It’s a very nice, complex and unique blend and if you’re looking for an off-beat tea, definitely check this one out.

Reviewed in This Post: Cumberland Ti, 2010, Absolute.


Tokyo Milk Let Them Eat Cake


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Tokyo Milk knows what I love and they better believe it. Stationary, soap, and fragrance rolled into one company? If they had a physical store nearby I’d probably never leave.

Let Them Eat Cake

Let Them Eat Cake

In Bottle: Let Them Eat Cake is a soft cake scent that isn’t overly sweet and doesn’t feature that dreaded burnt caramel note I usually get in gourmand fragrances that focus on baked treats or candy.

Applied: Smells like white cake, fluffy and buttery and very easy to wear and take. Lots of vanilla in this and a creaminess that adds some extra appeal to this already delicious gourmand. As stated, the lack of that horrendous burnt caramel note makes this infinitely better than the typical gourmands of this category. The one downside I see to this? The initial smell goes away all too soon. It doesn’t hold and the top notes with the fluffy white cake is replaced with this slightly less gourmand note when the fragrance hits its mid stage. I get a slight powdery floral in the middle stage and a clean but very synthetic note mingling with the cake scent the longer this wears on me. But the initial fragrance is still gorgeous and absolutely delicious.

Extra: “Let Them Eat Cake” is reportedly a famous quote from the ill-fated Mary Antoinette. The quote, actually, may never have been uttered by Antoinette at all and is actually a widely misquoted phrase. Still, it makes for some fine perfumery.

Design: Tokyo Milk bottles have this wonderful aesthetic about them that makes them cute, classic and functional at the same time. I love the designs, I love the feel of them, and I love the look of them lined up in a row. It’s distinctly Tokyo Milk but so very simple. In short, I just love the bottles!

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Coconut, vanilla, musk.

Let Them Eat Cake will make a great fragrance for anyone into Gourmand scents. If you thought Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf is good, you definitely have to smell some of this stuff. A lot of people report success with Let Them Eat Cake so you might not experience the weird progression into synthetic clean that I did. I didn’t even mind the progression that much, the fragrance just sort of veered in a surprising and strange direction for me. There’s no telling how you’ll react to it and it is a very well done gourmand.

Reviewed in This Post: Let Them Eat Cake, 2011, Eau de Toilette.


Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male


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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.


Prada Infusion de Rose


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Ah, Prada and their infusions. Simple, light and usually easy to wear. Infusion d’Iris is still one of my favorite scents. And I absolutely love rose–if done right. So I gave her a try.

Infusion de Rose

Infusion de Rose

In Bottle: Big old Bulgarian rose right in my face with a splash of refreshing mint.

Applied: This smells like Bulgarian rose with a little squirt of mandarin. I don’t really detect much else aside from that until the mint comes up in the initial stages and gives Infusion de Rose this sort of crisp, watery quality to it. The fragrance keeps aging with the rose taking a dominant role and continuing to play a dominant role until the endstage. I get no wax or holly and have no idea how to detect the smell of beeswax anyway. All I know is, this is a very simple, very crisp and refreshing rose fragrance. Far from interesting or unique but still does a good job.

Extra: Infusion de Rose is a member of the Prada’s infusion series. There’s an entire series of this stuff where Prada takes a fragrance concept and runs with it. They’ve done Iris, Tuberose, Vetiver, and more.

Design: Infusion de Rose is designed in the same way as the other Infusion fragrances except it’s main color is a very girly pink. If lined up in a row, these bottles look absolutely beautiful. I’d love to collect them just to put them on display. The glass is clear, the bottles have a nice weight to them. The design is classic and simple but still very functional.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Mandarin, beeswax, holly, rose, mint.

I would buy this only so I can say I’ve got it for my collection. But as a fragrance, Infusion de Rose isn’t very interesting or new. You could get dewy modern rose in almost any modern rose-based fragrance. It’s just not unique but it does follow the style of Prada’s infusion series rather well.

Reviewed in This Post: Infusion de Rose, 2011, Eau de Toilette.


Elie Saab Le Parfum


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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.


Givenchy Very Irresistible


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I remember when my mother first got this fragrance and promotional ads of Liv Tyler and her funky black hat where all over the department store. It seemed to me–back then–that this was thefragrance to have. These days, it seems everyone’s moved on to other things but my mother used up every last drop of her bottle so it surely had something going for it.

Very Irresistible

Very Irresistible

In Bottle: Bright florals with a little bit of sweetness. I get the rose (it’s modern) and magnolia which blend together fantastically.

Applied: I should have known better than to doubt my mother’s taste in perfumes. Very Irresistible has this optimistic, bright quality to it. Something that’s missing from my life and being replaced in little spritzes from a fragrance sampler. It’s all florals with a little sweetness, and so well blended too. The initial application is marked with a clean lemon berry-like scent that evolves quickly into a bed of roses and magnolias. The peony is well mixed into the bouquet so that it doesn’t stand out and doesn’t remind me of bathroom spray (an unfortunate associate I have with peony). The floral notes are nice and crisp, distinct enough that I can pick them apart but not so distinct that they smell discordant. This is a very nicely done floral though given the releases of today, there’s very little that sets this fragrance apart from other bright florals in its category. It is still probably one of the best contenders, however.

Extra: Very Irresistible has inspired a long line of flankers since its release. You have an eau de toilette version and an eau de parfum version along with a number of flankers such as Very Irresistible for Men, Very Irresistible Fresh Attitude (a men’s version), Absolutely Irresistible, and Very Irresistible Sensual.

Design: Very Irresistible–much like its flankers–is bottled in a tall colored glass tapered prism flacon that sports a slight twist to its design. The bottle is a bit awkward to hold when you want to spray it because it’s heavy glass, a strange shape, very tall and slender, and I’m worried I might drop it. The design itself–however, is a nice echo to Givenchy’s aesthetic and is a pleasant enough thing to look at.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Cassia, lemon verbena, anise, peony, magnolia, rose.

I suppose the fact that this fragrance has a large number of flankers and men’s versions of it is a testament to how popular it was–and probably still is. It is a great fragrance for someone who is into florals (roses in particular) and isn’t afraid of the fragrance being a bit on the strong side.

Reviewed in This Post: Very Irresistible, 2005, Eau de Parfum.


Victoria’s Secret Vixen


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Vixen was released earlier in 2011. I’m not sure if there was much fanfare over this one because I had no idea it even existed until I happened upon it in the store.

Vixen

Vixen

In Bottle: Really sweet, very syrupy apple fragrance mixed with an equally sweet floral scent and a lot of vanilla. It’s already cloying.

Applied: Extremely sweet apple note on the opening that’s also trying to be a bit sour at the same time. It’s not coming through very well as an apple fragrance because it just smells like that synthetic apple stuff that I usually get in fragrances like this. The sweetness only amps up as the florals and the vanilla roll in to give the fragrance a bit of a flowery gourmand personality that does nothing to make this seem less generic. The fragrance was already cloying from the first get go and it doesn’t get any better when it reaches the base either. All that’s at the base is a sweet vanilla bean fragrance.

Extra: So Vixen’s not very original or unique. She smells like any other apple-based fragrance out there. If you want an apple scent, this is good. You can also try DKNY Be Delicious, CB I Hate Perfume Gathering Apples, and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Delirium. Heck, if you want an even simpler apple scent that focuses more on the note, get the double body mist from Victoria’s Secret called Appletini.

Design: Vixen comes with a balloon pump to add a sense of vintage to the fragrance. The one thing I noticed is the familiar shape. Reminds me a lot of a classic Guerlain Shalimar bottle except with a bit of a garish color scheme. The balloon pump does give the bottle a classic sort of look. But I can’t get over how much the shape of the bottle echos classic Shalimar.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Apple blossom, freesia, vanilla.

Not very interested in this. Mostly because it smells like so much that’s already out there. It’s a very sweet apple scent, and that’s about all I can really say about this one. I mean, it does smell good but it’s way too sugary for me.

Reviewed in This Post: Vixen, 2011, Eau de Parfum.


Bath and Body Works Orange Sapphire


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I had smelled Orange Sapphire a few months ago and thought it would be a part of Bath and Body Work’s regular collection. When I went back recently to freshen my memory of this scent, I found that it had been discontinued. That’s the thing with Bath and Body Works, they come out with some nice, wearable, easy fragrances that smell all right. Then when you go back looking for it again, it’s been discontinued. Talk about frustrating.

Orange Sapphire

Orange Sapphire

In Bottle: Clean, sweet citrus that reminds me immediately of summer and the tropics. Nicely done citrus-based fragrance that’s more interesting than White Citrus. Orange Sapphire is like White Citrus if the latter would loosen its shirt collar a little bit.

Applied: It’s like a sweet citrus party upon application as all the citrus notes flood up top and vie over each other for dominance. There’s definitely a distinct sweet mandarin scent amongst the various citruses. As the fragrance wears on, it gets a bit more floral and a lot more generic. Orange Sapphire’s citrus notes try to hold on in the midstage but the fragrance develops into a floral near the end of its midstage and when Orange Sapphire hits the endstage, it still smells like a sweet floral generic fragrance, the base notes don’t add much to the fragrance, as is usually the case.

Extra: Orange Sapphire was discontinued sometime in 2011. The last time I saw this on the shelves at a Bath and Body Works store was in 2010. You can still buy this on eBay and Amazon from third party vendors. But given the history of BnBW discontinuing scents then bringing them back under different names, I wouldn’t be surprised if Orange Sapphire resurfaced with a different name.

Design: All Bath and Body Works perfumes are pretty much designed the same way. I suppose the uniform design approach works for them. I mean, the design itself is easy enough to like and easy enough to rebrand for other fragrances. Orange Sapphire, appropriately enough, features an orange glass bottle with some sapphire blue elements on the design.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Blood orange, orange, grapefruit, bergamot, mandarin, cassis, raspberry, peach, jasmine, orange flower, freesia, lily of the valley, magnolia, orchid, vetiver, musk, patchouli.

It’s too bad this was discontinued because I think it did fill a niche in that it’s more playful than White Citrus but is still refreshing without being a full out gourmand. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought this back at some point.

Reviewed in This Post: Orange Sapphire, 2010, Eau de Toilette.