Thursday, December 21, 2006

All Fragrances, Great and Small

Despite the lack of fragrance posts lately, I've been sampling and testing quite a bit, and adding several new ones to my ever-growing wish list.

L'Artisan Perfumeur- Premier Figuier Extreme: I love it, and it's no big surprise, as fig (or fig leaf) is one of my favorite notes. I've always been a fan of the Fig Leaf and Cassis line from The Thymes, but their cologne is exactly that- a very weak and flat juice and not an EdP. They really disappointed me when they discontinued their environmental oil, which I used in my lamp rings almost daily. But here, at last, is the real thing: deep, warm, rich but keeps its green freshness. It's both comforting and sexy, has a dark edge to it but very wearable. The gorgeous limited edition bottle in the picture can be found at Aedes. The regular bottle is available from Luckyscents, and I also spotted it at my local C.O. Bigelow in Paramus.

L'artisan Perfumeur-Dzonkha: This could be described as Premier Figuier's complete opposite. But I still love it. There's nothing comforting about its serious presence. It's a calm, confident, stony-faced scent, aware of its beauty and accomplishments. For me, it doesn't evoke a Bhutanese fortress (not really surprising, as I've never been there or seen one), but it makes me think of Midtown Manhattan on a cloudy grey day. Steel, skyscrapers and the concrete pavements. Either way, it's complex, cold and very unisex. Like many scents of this kind, I liked it better on my husband than on myself. However, he has found it a bit too bitter to wear comfortably.
A far better review of Dzonkha by Greeneyes can be found here.

Yosh- Winter Rose: This isn't a masterpiece. The reason I feel it needs to be stated is the fact that an 8 ml bottle of this perfume oil is sold for $200, which puts it right there with the most expensive of the JAR line (about $800 for 30 ml for Bolt of Lightning). However, this isn't a JAR creation. It's not as complex, interesting and well-blended and it doesn't give you the otherworldly impression that Mr. Rosenthal's work does. Don't get me wrong: It's a really nice one. It's rosy and spicy, and on my skin the cardamon was very dominant (I think I also detected a hint of saffron, though it's not a listed note). I like cardamon in chai, in rice, and apparently, I also like wearing it. But I don't adore it that much. It's a limited edition, only 250 bottles are available at Luckyscent.

Il Profumo- Encens Epice: I really loved this one. Not all incense fragrances work this well for me, but this one has a lot to offer when it comes to spice and wood. Coriander seeds, cypress and a drydown of blond tobacco are making it smell rich and honeyed, cozy but with enough character to keep things interesting. It's a great cold weather scent, in my opinion, and can probably be worn by both men and women, though I used every drop of my sample without testing it on my husband. I tested the EdP, but when I get a full bottle I'll probably go with the oil.

Tocca Perfume- Florence, Stella and Touch: Tocca's famous candles had many people eagerly waiting for the personal fragrance version. I don't use candles (a result of allergies and a house full of cats), so I wasn't familiar with the scents, only with their reputation. I was especially curious about Stella and its orange flowery goodness. I sniffed the bottle a couple of months ago and nearly bought it based on that. I'm very glad that I didn't. On the skin it becomes a very sweet orange confection. March from Perfume Posse described it as an upscale nouvelle cuisine orange creamsicle, and I agree. It's dessert-like until the drydown that is all musk and reminds me a lot of Valentino V Absolu. Nice enough, but doesn't rock my world.

Neither did Touch, with its fruity-floral boring composition that turned into a heady white floral and not in a good way. But the worst was Florence. March blames it on the cabbage rose note, but what made it into a horrible scrubber as far as I'm concerned, was the bathroom-worthy jasmine. It was horrible and hard to wash off. Florence has clung to my skin like nothing else in my memory and required lots of hot water, soap and hand cream until it was finally gone. I kept sniffing my wrist in panic that a trace of it might still be there.
If you must, both Sephora and Bergdorf sell them, as well as Luckyscents (link above).

Robert Piguet- Fracas: This fragrance doesn't really belong on the list, as it's a classic one from 1948. Also, I've sniffed it a couple of times in the past, so it wasn't really new to me. However, last week I decided to test it, so it is worth talking about.
The reason I avoided it for so long was my original impression that it smelled just like Chloe, my mom's favorite fragrance of all time. Through all the years of living in the same house as countless Chloe bottles, I've never once actually tried it on my skin. It was my mother's signature scent and so identified with her that I couldn't (and still can't) even think of giving it a try. However, two things have happened in recent years. My mother started to venture out of this tuberose comfort zone and Chloe had been demoted and degraded into a drugstore EdT (the original EdP in the milky glass bottle has been discontinued).

This is why my wrist has found itself sprayed with Fracas. And, I was right, It does smell just like the old Chloe, only with more depth and richness. It's a similar white floral combination (the infamous tuberose, orange, lily of the valley, jasmine, gardenia and a musky finish. It's pretty, but I can't be objective or adequately describe it. Also, I can't wear it. It smells like my mother.

Anat Fritz-Anat Fritz: This is a new one, created by a knitwear designer who is based in Berlin. As far as I know, here in the U.S. the fragrance is a Luckyscent exclusive. It's a typical cold-weather scent that starts with a distinct lavender note that doesn't completely go away even as the scent wears on. It is joined by vetiver and wood-- mostly cedar and more cedar-- to create a very clean and dry experience. It can be easily worn by men as to my nose it lacks any of the traditional feminine notes and it isn't seductive or flirty in any way. But it is very pleasant, interesting and caused me to bring my wrist to my nose many times during the EdP long wear. But, its true beauty is revealed when it's lightly sprayed on sweaters and coats. I think I need a bottle just to keep in my closet and make my clothes smell divine. The fact that I also like wearing it is simply a bonus.


  1. Have you tried a fragrance from Urban Botanic,yet? They let you create your own fragranced based on your personality. Take the personality test at my website and then I can create something for you and send it to you and let you try it out if you would like.

  2. ha! i did a search to see if you had reviewed tocca's florence. sorry you had bad luck with it! it smells divine on me, it's my new favorite. lots of woods and rich iris (on my skin, at least!)

  3. My favorite fragrance in the whole world is Premier Fugier and PF Extreme. I love them both! I also gotta say I adore philosykos but more for a summer scent. Figs and Jasmine flowers are my inspiration - both sweet but wild in a way - yet completelly different. About the figgy frags, have You tried: mediterranean fig by Pacifica? What about fresh scents by terry? Have You tried their Dream scent? If not those are other, great alternatives! No matter what though, nothing smells greater than premier figuier, this is my signature perfume for sure. Sweet, milky, little bit grassy and green, woodsy in it's drydown - just all of the good things I love!


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