Tag Archives: spring fragrance

by Kilian Bamboo Harmony

22 May

Bamboo Harmony starts off with promising hints of citrus and sweet floral notes, but rapidly becomes an unexceptional (dusty) powdery floral tea-centered fragrance. I much prefer Water Calligraphy to this, though with Water Calligraphy, the emphasis is on sparkling sunny florals instead of tea, bergamot, and green grassy notes.

After the delightful opening, Bamboo Harmony quickly morphs into a powdery floral, and then the tea really comes out full force, but still cloaked in this powdery floral veil with a hint of ambiguous spice.

The white tea has a somewhat nose-tingling bitter element as if it has been a little over-steeped, and then cooled/muted to make iced tea, so that the notes go a little flat on my skin.

In the dry down, there is a powdery musk and the tea continues to permeate with its subtle yet persistent bite. The dry down is actually quite pleasant and ends as green as they come, but I would not choose this before any other more vibrant and simultaneously gentle (harmonious?) tea fragrances.

This reminds me of the perfume which “hangs” around a strange rich lady who is placidly looking at the same painting as you at a museum. You can tell that she is not friendly and she doesn’t notice you at all, even though you are no more than inches away. She is in her own calm, insulated and isolated world.

Like warm ice.

 

Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom

4 May

Osmanthus Blossom is a boldly green citrus with water/flower notes. I would rename it Petitgrain Blossom. The reps at my Jo Malone boutique were very generous to give me a big fat sample when I stopped in to say hello.

Osmanthus Blossom opens with sweet and tart, crisp juicy lychee-ish, fruity “water” notes, accompanied by bright, ambiguously green citrus medley (petitgrain with sugar-dipped lime wedges and bergamot oil…maybe even a tea note?)..

The dry down loses some of the sparkle and tang of the opening and contains mostly mild, sunny-sweet powder and green notes which again lean more toward the lotus, petitgrain-citrus direction, than any other. There is also a hint of light, ambiguous woods with the water and powder (a high-quality aquatic musk) toward the very end.

I feel that this is an easy composition, green, sweet, springy, and not representative of anything realistic.

It is an impressionistic fragrance, but my impression of the actual osmanthus bush/tree (one of my all time favorites) is not similar to this fragrance. I don’t usually get hung up on names and review for what I smell, not for what I hope, but I couldn’t help but want a true osmanthus scent from JM, since her Red Roses and Orange Blossom hit the nail on the head with such precision.

I think OB is about as compelling as the new Jasmin & Bergamote by L’Occitane. Longevity and projection are average. I won’t be owning this, but I’m not in the market for a green citrus floral.

OB is a safe bet for someone who wants to smell fresh, feminine, and ready for spring with open arms, but isn’t really sure what she wants in a fragrance, and abhors the idea of offending anyone around her. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Personally, I would be eager to see Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co. attempt an osmanthus soliflore in the same vein as her Hindu Honeysuckle (also a petitgrain-rich composition). I feel that the osmanthus blossom must be nearly impossible to replicate, and if anything can approximate it, the palette of natural perfumery may have the upper hand.

All the pics From the Old Computer 1329

Nomaterra Washington D.C.

14 Mar

The trees are bare in early Spring, except for the tiniest of buds on the branches, but there is occasionally a hint of something aromatic and earthy floating from the direction of the park.

Washington D.C. is briskly walking to lunch at a bustling urban roundabout, right at the base of a large park in the city center. It is watching the horses and carriages with their owners, who in turn watch the tourists in hopes of selling a ride. It is cold outside and there is commotion everywhere, but the horses are motionless, only occasionally rippling an isolated group of muscles, or shaking their heads from side to side.

Weaving in and out of the crowd of professionally dressed people who are also trying to get to lunch, you pick up random hints of their perfumes and colognes: This one is a little flowery, that one is a serious aquatic (and very close!), while another is SPICY, …leathery, and so on…

It is a unique olfactory trip, weaving through the crowd in the bright grey light of early afternoon in Spring. It’s an oddly juxtaposed noisy scene, and the snippets of things you find yourself staring at take you by surprise.
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I was fortunate to receive a sample of Washington D.C. from Nomaterra, because it is not quite like anything I have experienced before.

Washington D.C. opens with a fragrant, almost flowery cherry note which is half way between a realistic dark red cherry, and a chewy candied maraschino cherry. Then, almost immediately, something very strange happens.

There is a strong aromatic earthiness to the opening of Washington D.C… It smells a little like fresh horse sh*t, but less sweet. Maybe it’s the combination of bay leaf and black pepper? There is something heavy and humid and dank in this fragrance. The sweetness of the cherry opening is still hanging around in the background, though it is more faint as it develops on my skin.

As it warms up, the nutmeg really starts to HOLLER at me, along with a suddenly potent and cheap-smelling aquatic musk that grows and grows in force until it is practically eye-watering.

The dry down continues with the familiar “freshness” (not really so fresh) of aquatic musk. The nutmeg lingers faintly in the background along with the black pepper, and the cherries and flowers have long since disappeared.

Washington D.C. projects considerably, especially the black pepper and aquatic musk, which from a distance reminds me of petroleum jelly. The dry down comes quickly, though the longevity of this aquatic musk stage is insane. At the very end of its life, I can detect the faintest trace of a sweet artificial vanilla.

There is something disconcertingly 2-D about Washington D.C. It has the compositional flatness of a cheap designer fragrance, but the odd note variety and development, of something more experimental in nature, something that leaves me struggling to get through it.

The composition is haphazard and unbalanced to my nose, but gets points for originality.

Sarah Horowitz Parfums What Comes From Within: Peace

12 Mar

What comes from Within: Peace is a personal pool party in a bottle. Thank you for the lovely sample, SHP.

WCFWP starts off with soft fruit sherbet creaminess and pool-side aquatics, as well as Sunlight beating down on the cement around the pool. There is an uplifting, citrusy-brightness that lingers in the afternoon air.


My friend in high school had pool parties every Summer, and this sweet fruit with musk and citrus + aquatic notes captures those eternally happy days. Projection is good but not outrageous, as is longevity. It lasts all day and into the evening, drying down to a skin scent for the last two thirds of its life. I agree other reviewers that the aquatic musk can become a little much after you’ve been smelling it for hours on end, such that I am a little eager for it to disappear already towards the end of its extremely long life. This, however, is the fragrance’s only downside.

As it develops on my skin, I suddenly see a tremendous tray overflowing with bright watermelon wedges. On the wooden patio table surrounding the tray, are Ring Pop Candies in bright wrappers boasting two tropical flavors swirled together.

Relaxation. Peace is less a remote, tropical destination, than it is someone’s decked out backyard, where you are always welcome to sit around listening to top 40 radio with tropical Popsicle in hand.

There is an over-sized plush towel with your name on it if your lips start to turn blue, and you can even spend the night if you want to swim more the next day.

What Comes From Within: Peace is the scent of simple consolation in a world full of intense change. It’s an invitation to put everything else aside. To kick your feet up and relax in the bright, warm, afternoon light.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Lemon Tart

8 Mar

The Lemon in this Jo Malone is not cleaning fluid to me, but it is also not exceptional (or edible), especially in the opening. The dry down is slightly more sweet and pleasant. I don’t really get anything light, fluffy or gourmand in this fragrance. I used to work in a bakery that made lemon tarts, and I have eaten many variations on the lemon tart theme from different places. This is NOT a true to life lemon tart. It IS a strong, linear, slightly artificial lemon scent.

If I were going to smell from a linear lemony citrus, I would choose the original Lemon Verbena by L’Occitane over this in a heartbeat. Lemon Verbena smells exactly like a true to life lemon ice. It is so fresh, uplifting, and well… edible.

I would like to say I expected more from Jo Malone since I am a loyal fan, but in the past few years, she has had a few more misses than hits. I am still looking forward to trying the rest of this collection. Maybe I’ll be surprised.

 

Update:
So now that I have been sitting in a cloud of “Lemon Tart” for some time, I am really beginning to want to eat one. Whether that is a testament to the power of this fragrance, or because I am writing this before breakfast is impossible to say. However, the reality is undeniable: now I seriously want a lemon tart. If you already want a lemon tart, smelling anything lemony is going to make you want one more.

Second Update:
I went out and ate a lemon tart. Then I returned to my home and re-applied Jo Malone’s Lemon Tart, which had long since disappeared from my skin (projection and longevity are both very low). On re-application, I once again experienced that strong, linear lemon from before. It’s been confirmed: JM’s Lemon Tart does not resemble a true to life lemon tart. It’s lemon alright, and it is rather tart, but the pastry aspect of the composition is totally lost on me. Fingers still crossed for the rest of this collection.

Third Update:
Revisited Lemon Tart after a week or so of not wearing, and was surprised by how distinct it is. It’s still that same linear lemon note, but in experiencing it again, I now see it as “Jo Malone Does Lemon”. The JM watermark is unquestionably present in the DNA of this simple fragrance, and for that, it deserves consideration. If you were sad that you missed out on the Lemon from the Tea Series and are enamored with all things JM, this one won’t disappoint.

Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay

7 Mar

A berry-scented flower in a used t-shirt?

Blackberry & Bay opens with very fresh bittersweet and sour dark berries. They are not true to life blackberries, but they don’t exactly smell artificial either. They smell like a fruity flower that has a berryish aroma.

Projection and longevity are both good. Longevity is excellent for Jo Malone, right up there with Pomegranite Noir.

Blackberry & Bay is warm, bitter, green and fruity. There is a tiny bit of soapiness under the berries.

As it develops on my skin, the fresh soap element amplifies and the berries seem to ripen, though they quickly begin to lose any distinctive “berry” character. The resulting aroma reminds me of smelling the armpits of a t-shirt to determine whether it can hold out for one more wearing before laundering.

B&B doesn’t actually smell like body odor, but it does smell a little like fabric softener mixed with an odd earthy-sweet “ripeness”. This continues through the dry down.

The un-naturally fresh, meets the naturally ripe.
I wonder how this would layer with Febreeze…

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel: Vintage vs. New

3 Mar

If for some reason, I were forced to rename Grey Flannel, I would call it Verdant Bomb. Thanks to fellow fragrange blogger Bigsly, I was able to do a swap for some vintage and new samples of GF.  Then I did a side by side comparison. The difference is like night and day.

Both the new GF and the vintage share the same freshly chopped green pepper, “verdant bomb” note.

The newest incarnation of Grey Flannel by EA Fragrances, is much more of a crowd pleaser than the vintage version. It is a citrusy, fresh and flowery, bright green aura opening right away with the juicy chopped green pepper. The new version dries down to something that could have been created by L’Occitane. It is masculine but flowery and citrusy enough to be unisex for anyone who loves green landscapes or light filtering through leaves.

It smells uncannily familiar, but not because I know anyone who wears it. It’s just that accessible and good.

The vintage GF opens with something sharp, chemical and also extremely familiar only not in a welcoming way. It’s almost like aerosol fixative, industrial adhesive, or something similar that I know but I just can’t put my finger on.

It literally smells toxic in the opening, such that I could see someone trying to get high off of it.

However, it very quickly transitions out of that, into the chopped green pepper note which was hiding under that sharp chemical veil. The whole composition remains less flowery, airy, and fresh throughout its development. Something in the greenery is dark and decomposing.

The dry down of the vintage GF is spicier, drier, and arguably more interesting than the new version. Instead of being well rounded and luminous like the new GF, the vintage is a dark green silver color in my mind. The vintage smells more serious. Potentially lethal. A plant that kills. I would go for the new one over the vintage, but can see the appeal of both. Projection and longevity are very good.

Quintessential violet green.

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