Banana Republic Classic

Banana Republic has a surprisingly nice selection of fragrances that usually tend to sit on the simple and easy side of things but that doesn’t discount them from making some pleasant on the nose scents that are versatile and pretty easy to wear. Banana Republic Classic

In Bottle: Classic smells like a green, clean machine. Reminiscent of the sticky sap of a banana tree. But it’s really just a fantastic blend of limes and leaves.

Applied: Jolt of green citrus that harkens in the clean and fresh immediately. Classic reminds me of  how fresh laundry and clean clothes should smell. I know people out there like the smell of clean laundry and there’s quite a few fragrances that can pass themselves off for that. Classic is one of them. No one can accuse you of being smelly with this on as it’s so incredibly inoffensive. Nothing more than fresh, clean citrus at first with a subtle hint of florals as the fragrance progresses. The white florals balance the citrus as Classic heads into its dry down of gentle white musk and sandalwood.

Extra: Banana Republic is a mid-range fashion brand. The term Banana Republic also refers to unstable countries whose chief means of finances tends to be some sort of agricultural product. The two are obviously not related.

Design: Classic comes in a rectangular bottle with a metal cap affixed to the top. The cap and the sprayer are a type of brushed metal. No thrills or frills with Classic. It’s just simple, easy to hold, and can be purchased in the slightly larger 125ml version rather than the usual 100ml you often see.

Fragrance Family: Fresh

Notes: Lime, mandarin, bergamot, orange, grapefruit, white florals, musk, sandalwood.

Classic came out in 1995 and is a generally lovely fragrance for office and other purpose wear when you don’t want the other person to know you’re wearing perfume. I can often feign a pleasant smelling soap with this stuff. The other thing about Classic is it tends to have terrible longevity on me. We’re talking on for an hour and gone before you know it. I assume this is due to the predominance of citrus in the fragrance but it’s only a guess.

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

Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat

Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is probably one of my favorite Guerlain fragrances. So it’s a good bit of fortune that I came upon it recently at La Signature at Disney Epcot in Florida. Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a classic from 1920 that is available at better stocked Guerlain counters, but more exclusively than Shalimar. Nothing wrong with you, Shalimar.  I just see you everywhere. Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat

In Bottle: Lemons! I hope you like lemons because Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a big lemon tree. Green and crisp and citrus and fresh. Lacking the notable Guerlain base but still so lovely all the same.

Applied: Sweet lemon candy is a strange introduction into Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat but it’s a welcome one as the fragrance matures immediately into a cool lemon. As this is a pretty simple mixture with low concentration Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a fleeting scent, even on clothing. It’s even more fleeting on the skin. After the lemon candy dissolves a bit, the lemon dominates the scene and an hour later, you’re left with a soft light, floral quality that’s just barely there and extremely fleeting. Don’t wear this if you want longevity. This fragrance has no base stage and I hesitate to say it may not have much of a mid-stage either. Wear if you want a quick fresh burst of fragrance from a sophisticated lemon-like note. I’ve had trouble with lemon notes in other fragrances so I was pleased to note that cedrat is not lemon necessarily but a close relative that smells much better on me. The cedrat in Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is a lovely, soft, crisp little thing that won’t overstay its welcome or yell the entire time it’s there.

Extra: Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat is pretty much what its name suggestions. It’s a flower and citron. It’s not trying to be anything else and if you do expect more complexity, this isn’t the place to look. The cedrat is similar to a lemon but has an icy and more candy-like fragrance. It smells remarkably similar to a lemon, but in a fragrance it couldn’t behave more differently.

Design: Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat comes in a bee bottle design as a 100ml bottle. Lovely molded glass with bee designs on the glass itself. It both looks and feels luxurious , which is why I adore the bee bottles so much.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Citrus

Notes: Citron, white florals.

La Signature, also known by many Epcot patrons as, “That store that sells really expensive French perfume that I’ve never heard of”, is probably the best place to go–short of Paris–for a big selection of Guerlain fragrances and their cosmetics line. I don’t  use their cosmetics but the amount of Guerlain perfumes they’ve got there is fantastic.

Reviewed in This Post: Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, circa 2008, Eau de Cologne.

Prada Infusion d’Homme

Infusion d’Homme is a part of Prada’s infusions series that includes one of my favorites, Infusion d’Iris. This series of sheer and light fragrances aren’t known much for their longevity or silage but are fantastic as clean and light fragrances. Infusion d'Homme

In Bottle: Infusion d’Homme smells fresh and clean, mildly aromatic but mostly  just fresh and clean–like a bar of soap. Generic, lovely smelling, soap.

Applied: Neroli and dryness for a moment then Infusion d’Homme sends the soap straight out at you. There’s a powderiness to this that lingers a bit with the soap, furthering that clean, fresh scent. Infusion d’Homme does one thing well and that is make you think you’re wearing a bar of soap around your neck. It’s a nice bar of soap though. During the middle development, this gets a little sharper and very, very slightly sweeter before it goes back to just soap. There’s a pyramid of notes presented for Infusion d’Homme that I think is just there for show since the only piece of that pyramid I saw was powder and neroli. The soap stays with you, never truly leaving–not even on the dry down when Infusion d’Homme gets a bit more powdery.

Extra: Although generally thought to be a masculine fragrance, Infusion d’Homme is more of a unisex. I don’t really see how a fragrance that smells like soap and cleanliness could have a gender anyway.

Design: Call me a sucker for uniform, but I love how these infusions are bottled the same way with varying colors and slightly different themes. Infusion d’Homme is bottled exactly the same way as Infusion d’Iris except it is a beige color instead of a light green. Simple, elegant, looks great on a shelf–if I kept my fragrances on a shelf, anyway.

Fragrance Family: Clean and Fresh

Notes: Mandarin, neroli, clean notes, iris, galbanum, cedar, vetiver, benzoin, frankincense, powdery notes.

Infusion d’Homme reminds me a bit of my childhood, French colonial style apartment buildings with clotheslines threading the distance between them. A day on the stone balcony playing with a bar of soap, that this fragrance invokes the smell of, while our downstairs neighbor simultaneously cooked dinner and yelled at her kids.

Reviewed in This Post: Infusion d’Homme, 2009, Eau de Toilette.

Dior J’Adore

Perfume ads tend to be these really dramatic, in your face styles. Or very subtle, introspective feels. For J’Adore it was an in your face kind of thing that one would expect from a loud floral fragrance. I remember the commercial for this one particularly well, with a decked out Charlize Theron throwing things on the floor. But to buy a perfume based on its marketing material is a pretty bad idea. Rarely has a fragrance smelled like its marketing. Whatever smell you would happen to take away from that kind of thing anyway. J'Adore

In Bottle: Clear, bright florals and a juicy sweet fruity scent. I wouldn’t venture to call this a fruity floral though. This is mostly just a floral with a heady flowery background.

Applied: Sweet and heady florals with a very minor fruity note trying to turn these florals to a fruitier position. The fruit evaporates upon the arrival of the mid-stage but I retain the sweetness with a pretty rose and violet scent as the woods start to usher in. The power of J’Adore is fairly impressive though its very sweet floral scent is so bright and sunny. Rather reminiscent of some perfumes I smelled earlier in my life. Flower powerhouses that radiate like entire gardens have been planted in your nostrils. J’Adore does calm down near the end though as the dry down works into a sweet woodsy floral.

Extra: Christian Dior is a fashion designer who founded the Dior fashion house.

Design: J’Adore the bottle is egg-shaped with a very interesting plastic cap wrapped in metal. I find the design fun to look at and handle. The bottle itself is very easy to hold and the sprayer works just fine.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Mandarin, champaca flowers, ivy, african orchid, rose, violet, damascus plum, amaranth wood, blackberry musk.

This is really just an inoffensive, nice smelling floral fragrance for a more mature person. The presence of those fruit notes doesn’t shift this fragrance any closer to young fruity floral as J’Adore is a firmly planted floral perfume that’s appropriate and wearable for a wide range of occasions.

Reviewed in This Post: J’Adore, 2009, Eau de Parfum.

Juicy Couture

Juicy Couture was the original that led a couple of flankers, including the sugar mountain fragrance, Juicy Couture’s Couture Couture. I notice one strange thing about Juicy Couture in that every time I smell it, it smells a bit different. My first time, it was a powdery floral. The second, a bright citrus fruity scent, and lately, Juicy has a fresh and fruity opener. So I decided to pin this one down for good this time and just review it already. Juicy Couture

In Bottle: Citrus cut with white florals and a hint of what I think is tuberose. Juicy Couture’s supposed to have a tuberose punch in it. Which, considering I’m actually expecting tuberose this time, will be a welcome sight.

Applied: Juicy Couture opens with a fruity citrus kick that mellows out soon after into a nice, fresh floral fragrance containing tuberose and a dewy lily note. There’s some very sharp lingering in the background to this fragrance too and to my nose, it smells like white musk that cleans things up a bit. The florals in this are well-mixed and quite impressive as they float in and out of the subtle sweetness left over from the fruity opener. The dry down introduces a little bit of greenery and woodsiness that helps to herald in Juicy Couture’s very inoffensive mild woodsy, patchouli last stage.

Extra: Juicy Couture has two flankers–sort of–Viva la Juicy and Couture Couture.

Design: Usually praised for their bottle design, Juicy Couture bottles this fragrance in a nice squarish package with a detailed top that consists of a plastic spire over a metal cap band. Wrapped around the cap band is a necklace you can take off and wear with  some charms on it, including a J shaped scepter, a plastic crown and a safety pin. The front of the bottle has the Juicy Couture emblem on it.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Watermelon, mandarin, pink passion fruit, green leaves, hyacinth, marigold, tuberose, lily, wild rose, caramels, powdery vanilla, creme brulee, patchouli and woods.

I prefer this fragrance, vastly, over its latest incarnation as Couture Couture. I’ve smelled Viva la Juicy on a handful of occasions and every time I end up coming away feeling pretty benign to it but Juicy Couture has a lovely well-blended mix of florals, musk and sweetness that’s very appealing to me and despite those  gourmand notes at the end, I got nothing gourmand about it. And I’m okay with that.

Reviewed in This Post: Juicy Couture, 2008, Eau de Parfum.

Just Cavalli Her

Am I crazy or am I starting to turn to the dark side? Dark side being spice, woods and musks because I’ve had an unfortunate string of rather uninspired fruity floral fragrances. Perhaps my nose has finally moved on from trying to decipher how a raspberry smells as opposed to a blackberry. Just Cavalli Her seems like your typical fruity fragrance until it starts to dry, then you’re in for it. Just Cavalli Her

In Bottle: Fresh, crispy fruits settled in a clean citrus topper. The sweet jasmine in this is present in a big way as it tries to push and shove its way into center stage.

Applied: Very odd, kind of unpleasant syrupy sweet floral notes on application. Like bruised flowers and some fruits drizzled with vanilla and rolled in sugar. Blackcurrant has this strange medicinal sweetness to it that I can’t say is helping the opener much in Just Cavalli Her. But wait out the opening and you’ll be rewarded with the emergence of this beautiful, very agreeable and mildly spicy cinnamon that horns in on the crazy syrup floral fruits and their little convention. The cinnamon gives Just Cavalli Her a nicer edge and a bit more complexity and helps take it back from the brink of syrupy sweet. This is a fragrance that teeters on the edge of cloying for me as I feel that cinnamon note might drop off but it is a good contender and stays until the final dry down of light woods and mild vanilla with the residual syrup.

Extra: Just Cavalli Her is discontinued? There seem to be conflicting reports of this or perhaps Just Cavalli Her was recently discontinued. Maybe I’m thinking of a different Just Cavalli fragrance because I still see this stuff being sold.

Design: Just Cavalli Her is bottled in a big rectangle. I’ve never held the item myself so all I can comment on is the textured glass is a nice touch that adds a bit of dimension to the whole design. Without it, the bottle really would be too plain.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Bergamot, apple, bamboo leaves, blackcurrant, cinnamon, waterlily, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, apricot blossom, coffee bean, amber, vanilla,  white cedarwood, musk, tobacco.

I found this one just too sweet with not enough creaminess to cut the syrup in this and actually found it reminded me of a perfume I smelled in my childhood. I believe it was someone in the family who wore it because I remember smelling it often.

Reviewed in This Post: Just Cavalli Her, 2008, Sampler Vial.

Disclaimer: The fragrance sampler vial reviewed in this post was provided to me for free. I am not in any way receiving pay or compensation for this review. This review was written based upon my personal experience and opinions of the product.

Creed Love in White

Love in White is one of those fragrances with a wide split between people who love it and people who hate it. It’s Creed’s answer to the ultimate fresh fragrance. This stuff is so fresh and crisp it makes my eyes water. Billed as a women’s fragrance, Love in White comes in a cute, feminine white bottle that’s supposed to represent a woman, the sand, and the sea. I can dig it. Love in White

In Bottle: Sweetness, aqua, and something sharp. Like sugar water with broken bits of glass and twisted pieces of metal. Love in White is strong too. So strong that my first whiff of it went straight up my nose and exploded in the back of my head. The sharpness that I assume might be the zest is so strong in this that it went beyond fine fragrance and reminded me of household cleaner.

Applied: Not much dying down of that sharp note on application but I do get the rest of the fragrance now that it’s on my skin. It’s like somebody turned up the volume on the jasmine note here because it’s very high-pitched, almost shrill as it tries to out sing the sandalwood. Meanwhile, iris with its rather distinct brightness is adding to the fresh feel. There’s got to be some aqua note in this because I swear I can smell water. I suppose that’s where the ocean imagery comes from but so much of this fragrance is clean and fresh that it’s hard to move beyond those two concepts to something gentler. The dry down helps a bit, the sharpness fades and the florals have sore throats and are now just whispering. I can appreciate the quiet calm of the dry down here as the soft creaminess of that vanilla shows up to help tame the sandalwood a little.

Extra: Love in White kind of reminds me of household cleaners. Not in a bad way. I mean, household cleaners contain fragrances meant to offend the least amount of people. Love in White is that inoffensive. The thing I can fault it for is how close it has to stick to my skin so I have to get up really close and personal. And when I’m that close, the fragrance is incredibly strong.

Design: The white bottle for Love in White is supposed to represent the feminine, the ocean and the crisp ocean air. I’m not sure I’m really feeling the look of the bottle or the conceptualization of it but it is pleasant enough to look at.

Fragrance Family: Fresh

Notes: Orange zest, rice husk, iris, jasmine, daffodil, magnolia, rose, vanilla, ambergris, Mysore sandalwood.

When it’s all said and done Love in White is a very fresh sort of shrill scent with a loud projection that also manages to stick relatively close to the skin. I have to get up close to really smell it but once I’m that close I also tend to get its entire assault up my nose.

Reviewed in This Post: Love in White, 2010, Sample vial.

Acqua di Biella Kid Mohair

Kid Mohair by Acqua di Biella was inspired by Audrey Hepburn and is supposed to be reminiscent of a warm embrace from a refined and elegant woman wearing a super soft and comfortable sweater. Now that’s an interesting, and very vivid image. Kid Mohair

In Bottle: Citrus with something musky hanging about in the forefront. I do get the slight sweet, syrupy scent of mango that adds an exotic touch to this fragrance. There’s also a sharp clean note to this that I can only assume is patchouli shoving its head into the picture.

Applied: Opens up with a really lively, fresh citrus note with a slight touch of musk. I’ve lost track of the mango but the fragrance is quick to turn for the powdery side of things as it starts working on that refined woman sweater embrace scent. Kid Mohair does warm up a bit and, strangely enough, is reminiscent of comfort. It’s a nice, pleasant, feminine and comfortable fragrance that settles itself nicely into a powdery, lightly floral and ever so slightly sweet fragrance. The dry down is also rather interesting, as the powder recedes the further this develops before it finally settles on a clean musk.

Extra: Acqua di Biella is a niche house established in 1871 by Luigi Cantono. Kid Mohair was composed by Chiara Cantono.

Design: Kid Mohair is packaged in a glass bottle with a very interesting textured glass finish that kind of reminds me of the privacy glass sometimes used at the dentist’s office. Not that it’s a bad thing. I would personally find hours of entertainment just feeling the texture.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Mango, mandarin, rose, osmanthus, pink pepper, patchouli, ambrette, musk.

Most people’s initial reaction to the name of this fragrance immediately conjures of images of human children with particular hairstyles. Kid mohair is actually a type of yarn taken from young mohair goats. This makes it a very luxurious, silky, material that’s usually made into sweaters.

Reviewed in This Post: Kid Mohair, 2009, Eau de Parfum.

Demeter Earl Grey Tea

I spent a lot of time trying to find just the perfect tea fragrance. Something that smells exactly like a cup of earl grey tea without any other fluff surrounding it. I tried Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs with notes that were supposed to smell like earl grey tea but found there were other notes getting int he way. I tried niche and mainstream and finally I decided to settle down and see if Demeter Fragrance Library could get me any closer to that earl grey scent. Earl Grey Tea

In Bottle: Bergamot with a squeeze of lemon, I think. There is a heavy, gritty, dusty note settled on a black tea like note underneath the citrus opener. It’s almost like smelling a cup of weak tea with a sprinkling of dust on top.

Applied: Bergamot comes roaring out on the entryway, dragging this very bright yellow lemon behind it. The dynamic citrus duo is followed by a really strong hit of black tea. This is the earl grey scent I’ve been looking for. No punches pulled, no extra fluff, just plain old earl grey with a squeeze of lemon. It smells as advertised and I’m just delighted! Then, just as quickly as I was delighted, Earl Grey Tea disappears on me. It packs its bags and heads out the door, leaving almost nothing but its slightly astringent black tea scent. And after a few more minutes, even that’s gone. I understand this cologne is truly meant as a very temporary burst of happiness and amazement but the longest I’ve ever gotten Earl Grey Tea to stay on my skin was around thirty minutes. I’ve tried lotion, I’ve tried using more, I’ve sprayed it on my clothes but this stuff just wasn’t meant to last. It’s fabulous while it’s there though, as close to earl grey tea as any perfume has gotten so far.

Extra: Demeter Fragrance Library, instead of focusing on complex evolutions of top, middle and base notes,  focuses more on creating scents to invoke memories. They have a huge selection of literal interpretation fragrances. If you think you might like Earl Grey Tea, why not try out their Orange Cream Pop fragrance? Dirt is a very popular one, and their Espresso scent might send you to the nearest Starbucks after sniffing.

Design: Really simple bottle. Glass cylinder with a metal cap. The sprayer distributes a larger than normal amount of fragrance but trust me, it’s necessary here. The labels and packaging are fairly simple but there’s not much complaint on my end here. Demeter doesn’t charge anywhere near as much as other fragrance houses might so I’m more than happy with the packaging we do get.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Bergamot, lemon, black tea.

Gourmand, not gourmand? It smells good enough to drink to me. In either case, one could spend a lot of time smelling the offerings from Demeter but don’t forget that one of the founding noses of Demeter has branched off to form his own line too. Christopher Brosius creates fragrances under CB I Hate Perfume.

Reviewed in This Post: Earl Grey Tea, 2009, Pick-Me-Up Cologne Spray.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab The Girl

One of my favorite pairings, florals and amber. The Girl is, well, feminine. But I don’t like assigning seasons, genders, or occupations to certain scents. I will say that this is a lovely, pure amber fragrance that doesn’t try to muddy the waters by adding in too many florals. The Girl is a limited edition fragrance from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s 2009 Halloween limited edition run. The Girl

In Bottle: Light jasmine and ylang-ylang. Smooth fragrance with a nice sweet amber and almost vanilla scent. The heart of this fragrance is in the amber and the florals are used as backing for this. There’s a bit of woodsiness in this too which helps cut up the smoothness with a bit of dry airiness.

Applied: Strangely enough the musk is one of the first things I get. Clean and smooth initially as the florals catch up to the party. Jasmine has less of a presence here than ylang-ylang but neither of them are really stars. They seem to be there to bolster this pretty white amber and touch of vanilla scent. Meanwhile the musk is still hanging around giving this an older, more sophisticated, quality while still maintaining the fragrance’s smooth amber floral scent. It’s just hard to describe The Girl. It’s a well-blended fragrance. On the dry down I’m smelling a bit more of the woods as the amber and vanilla chill out a little bit. And I mean, literally chill out. The Girl takes a turn for the cold and ethereal on dry down.

Extra: Immortelle, one of the featured notes in The Girl, is used to refer to a number of flowers in which one particular species can be steam distilled for its essential oil. Which smells like rubbery honey to me.

Design: The Girl is contained in a 5ml amber glass bottle with a plastic top. It has a limited edition label with the house name fragrance name on it.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: White amber, silver birch, immortelle, davana, pale musk, star jasmine, and ylang ylang.

I wouldn’t say The Girl is a typical oriental but its focus on the amber and vanilla helps it in that direction. If you’re looking for oriental in the classical sense, you would need to look more into Mitsouko or Shalimar. The Girl is a much more modern smelling oriental that’s in and of the same vein of L’Instant de Guerlain or Allure by Chanel.

Reviewed in This Post: The Girl, 2009, 5ml Bottle.