Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What I smelled

Nothing in depth tonight, despite a few Serge Lutens that need to be discussed. It's just a case of so many perfumes, so little time. There were several sniffing trips and a handful of samples that are worth documenting here, even if it's not a full review yet.

Lalique Encre Noire didn't win me over at first sniff, though I liked its vetivery goodness. I only tested the EdT version out of fear I'd really like the EdP (priced at JAR level), so maybe that's why the "noire" aspect of this fragrance has been a bit lost on me. The grapefruit in the opening and some other clean notes are making it dry, light and luminous to my nose. Still, it has captured my attention and my nose enough to the point I can recall and dwell on the scent's memory. I came to really like it, though between the sweet sensuality of Vetiver Oriental and the sexual power house of Malle's Vétiver Extraordinaire (and a future release from Andy Tauer), I'm not sure I really need another full vetiver bottle.
Available at Aedes.

Tom Ford for Men Extreme is much more related to the original Black Orchid (which I adore) than to the recently released masculine scent that carries his name. From the beginning there's the recognizable darkness and funk of that weird black truffle note. The fruity part is different: the blackcurrant is replaced by a richer note, rumored to be fig, which turns into the familiar vanillic base. Unlike Tom Ford for Men, which is wearable, likable and always appropriate, this one might not be the scent to give your father-in-law for Christmas. The controversial ad campaign makes much more sense now that I've smelled the Extreme. It's a limited edition that will be gone soon; exactly the stuff perfume obsessions are made of.
Available at Bergdorf, Saks and Neiman's.

Hermès Brin de Reglisse is the newest release in the exclusive Hermessence collection. I was looking forward to this modern take on lavender and licorice and initially was not disappointed. It's sweet, almost candied, the lavender is gorgeous and as far from the craft fair's aromatherapy sachets and pillows as can be. The sweet anise is rich and satisfying, the combination works well, and then it's gone. Twenty minutes after lavishly spraying there was not a trace or a hint of the scent, so I can't talk about any dry-down or development.
I tested Brin de Reglisse at the newly-opened Hermès boutique near my house. The store was completely empty except for my husband and me, but the three sales assistants did their best to ignore us. I'm not sure how many Birkin bags they sell at that store, but apparently enough to make trying to sell us perfume not worth their time.
Available at Hermès boutiques.

The sample of Penhaligon's Lily and Spice has been sitting in my drawer taunting me for weeks. I'm not big on lilies, but I was curious about the spice part, and something in Penhaligon's Britishness has always appealed to me. I cracked it open and hoped for the best. After the first seconds of lily alarm, I realized that I actually like it. A lot. The flowers are as far from Holly Hobbie as can be, and the scent is much more about the spice than you'd suspect. I have a peculiar skin. It amplifies spicy notes and makes everything smells like carnations and clove. There's some saffron in the mix, but on me it's almost sweet and gingerbready. Like a warm cake on a nicely made table that has a small vase of fresh lilies as a centerpiece.
Available from Aedes.

As much as I like the French perfumery meets the streets of New York concept of Bond no. 9, the only Bond I love and own is New Haarlem. Most of them are just too airy, floral and unoriginal to my nose, except for Chinatown that becomes an indescribable vile abomination as soon as it contacts my skin. Still, I was curious about the recent release of their Andy Warhol Silver Factory perfume. An incense perfume is something I can't resist, and this one didn't disappoint. It's got a lot of character. It smells "big". Not necessarily feminine, but a woman wearing it has to feel all "woman" and not girly in the least. The scent is complex, changes between the woody, ambery notes and the layers of incense, and feels dark and sexy. I liked it a lot, but in a wardrobe rich in incense fragrances (and about to get richer with the two upcoming incense scents from Tauer Perfumes) I'm not sure I need a 3.4 oz bottle of any juice. Had they offered a smaller option I'd have bought it upon the first sniff.
Available at Saks and Bond no. 9 boutiques.


  1. Pity about the Hermessence and surprised that TFE smells comparable to the women's. Lily and Spice had been something I was curious about, so thanks for satisfying my curiosity! :-)
    And I do love Silver Factory too, as I wrote back in summer.

  2. Well, you know that I like Silver Factory, but I also wish they'd do smaller sizes. I don't think I want to commit ever to another 3.4 ounce bottle. Grrr.

    Snooty sales people should be smacked. I don't care if it's Hermes, H&M or Hamburger Hamlet, you are IN SALES. Be nice or get a job at the DMV..

  3. E- I'll have to go back to your review now. It's always intereting to reread a review after actually experiencing the fragrance.
    I was also surprised at the TFE. I thought it would be a darker, deeper version of the men's scent, but the two seem unrelated.

    Tom- I wish we could start a petition or something to get all perfume makers to offer 1/4 and 1/2 oz bottles. Considering so many of us could go for months wearing a different perfume every day without repeating, that's all we need from most of them, isn't it?

  4. Oh, and I had a good laugh over the DMV comment. Sending those Hermes snoots to work at the Lodi DMV office is the biggest punishment I can think of...

  5. "Chinatown... becomes an indescribable vile abomination as soon as it contacts my skin": Ditto, absolutely the same thing happens to me. I smell like a teenaged hooker.

    I've been curious about Brin Reglisse, but wasn't sure about the anise, maybe too candy-ish? I really want a lavender perfume, so I'm inclined to try Caron Pour Homme first, as Carons have a tendency to agree with me.


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