Tag Archives: tonka bean

Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto

12 May

Manifesto smells like CGI wood, sweet powder, and tangy dark berries. On the exhale, there is a sweet airy vanilla.

Manifesto is the older, more daring and devilish cousin of Viva la Juicy. It is definitely a contemporary composition. When I first tried it about four months ago, I could not STAND it, but now that I am more familiar with the vast array of generic vanillic offerings that make up this particular fragrance family, I don’t mind it at all. It’s projection and longevity are about average, not unlike Viva la Juicy.

There is a syrupy synthetic DNA code in there that cannot be ignored. However, if you decide to embrace Manifesto for what it is, it can be comforting, reassuring, and ::gulp:: … sexy.

 

All the pics From the Old Computer 3420

L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse: Vanille & Narcisse

11 May

Vanilla & Narcisse is a very unpredictable fragrance on my skin. Each time I wear it, it goes in one of two directions..

1. Soft, feminine, and lovely.

The first one is light, warm, powdery vanilla like a marshmallow (though less sweet), with an abstract floral element which possesses a tinge of what I would equate to wintergreen, though it’s really more like wintergreen gum or candy than the essential oil. It’s like a powdery vanilla-mint without any bite. Projection and lasting power are moderate.

2. Totally gross.

The second direction is sweet powdery vanilla changing to body odor. This is the smell of body odor on the back of my freshly washed hand, and when it goes this way, I want nothing more than to wash my hand again immediately.

Could my body chemistry be fluctuating THAT much? My first experience with this fragrance was so enjoyable, and I walked around wearing it in the warm late afternoon, planning to go back the following day and ask for a sample. However the next time I tested it, I thought “YUCK! It’s baby powder mixed with grown-up stink!”

Do not blind buy this or gift it to anyone based on the notes. You really must sample it several times to make a determination about it. Though this is true of many if not most fragrances, it holds especially true with ones like Vanilla & Narcisse.

All the pics From the Old Computer 3385

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur

14 Apr

Musc Ravageur is an entire family of wild raccoons that have found their way into the vanilla pudding cups in my pantry. Yes, this has actually happened to me, so I know what it smells like.

Musc Ravageur lasts 12+ hours on my skin with just two sprays in cool weather, and the raccoon/pudding phase lasts for at least the first six, with 1 parts raccoon and two parts pudding.

At around the six hour-mark, the vanilla pudding cups (the kind that don’t require refrigeration)are replaced by amber so that the musk is now pairing with an element which amounts to something much more agreeable to my stomach than a sweet milk note.

I sighed with relief when the amber emerged in the second half of this long and arduous journey. At no point did I find it sexy, sensual, or empowering.

I did find it naughty, but in the furry-tailed, beady-eyed, turning my pantry into a gigantic sticky mess kind of naughty. Not the lacy thong in tangled sheets kind of naughty.

Fragrances can create that impression for me, but NOT Musc Ravageur. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t that bad, and that it would be over soon; not exactly my preferred mantra when trying out a new fragrance.

I think this would be great for any occasion where you are wanting desperately to smell from vanilla or something rich and sweet, but can NOT allow yourself to smell like straight vanilla because it is too “blah” or “girly” for you. Slap a wild animal right on top of that vanilla with MR and you are so good to go.

window painting

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

10 Apr

Have you ever inflated a pair of plastic water wings, an inner-tube, or a kiddie pool using just the air from your lungs. This is the scent of the opening to Vetiver Dance.

Vetiver Dance opens with sharp green and plastic notes, along with black pepper and big fat vetiver. There is something very synthetic and almost toxic mingling with the earth, spice, and warm greens in the opening.

The plastic-smelling note is very familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on it. It reminds me of the air trapped inside of a bath toy that is too old and starting to deteriorate.

Once Vetiver Dance starts to calm down, lilly of the valley emerges and weaves through the green, plastic, and earth. At this point it has become considerably less peppery and sharp.

The dry down is the most redeeming part of Vetiver Dance. It reminds me a little of walking down a path through the woods after the rain. There are wet earth notes, cedar, and warm green notes as well as a bit of sunlight peeking through the clouds. The plastic is no longer present.The dry down is very pleasant. Projection is pretty good, longevity is excellent. It feels like a very Summery fragrance to me.

Is it worth all of that sharp artificial (albeit interesting) tumult for the beautiful warm, earthy green dry down? I’ll leave that up to you, but personally, I would go with Grey Flannel or Hermes’s Eau de Gentiane Blanche if I wanted a unisex-type, flowery, verdant bomb of a fragrance. I could do without that half-inflated kiddie pool.

Note: “interesting” and “beautiful” are not opposed to one another in my mind, but sometimes they can both be present without being equivalent. In the case of Vetiver Dance, it’s interesting qualities do not highlight its beauty for me.

A Perfect Vanilla? Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille (Revisited): An Updated Review

29 Mar

I have come around to this fragrance. After sniffing my way through quite a few vanillas, including niche, designer, and drugstore (as well as a bunch of organic vanilla essential oils),

I have come back around to this one.

Here’s why: Un Bois vanilla is layered and complex, the vanilla is  unquestionably the focus, and yet it has the most beautiful, natural,  cool translucency and airiness that I have ever experienced in a vanilla. It isn’t weak, it is just so artfully constructed that it never evolves into all of the things which are so easy to dislike (or like?) about a vanilla.

BV is very well blended but has great note separation, and is paired with such high quality, complimentary notes of beeswax and various woods, it really is quite memorable, and is not a projection monster (thank God) but instead settles into a beautiful very natural woody sweetness that stays with me quite a while.

Un Bois Vanilla is much more complimentary to one’s own skin than those vanillas which are opaque, excessively rich, and viscous-smelling.

Also, it doesn’t break down into a musk, which is frequently an easy cop-out for  fragrances that otherwise have merit until their unfortunate final stage of development. So far this is my favorite vanilla on the market, and if I had the money I would definitely own a FB, despite the fact that I am not usually attracted to gourmands.

After revisiting Un Bois Vanille, I tracked down a more technical and beautifully written review on Fragrantica by commenter jtd (author of ScentHurdle.com), which reinforces my new found observations. Here are his conclusions about Un Bois Vanille. I could not have said it better, so I am including his review in its entirety. Enjoy!

“Vanilla is a key component to both the contemporary dessert/gourmand and the classic amber oriental. Vanilla is almost inescapable in perfumery, but it’s usually found in the familiar company of labdanum, balsams, resins, spices or ethylmaltol in the above genres. It takes effort to dissociate it from the foody, cuddly feel. Despite its brief plastic/cotton-candy camouflage topnote (wonderful!), un Bois Vanille does just this. After the foody misdirection, BV avoids the expected. The tease of edibility shows itself as a licorice note, not cotton candy. The licorice also keeps BV from going the amber/oriental route since the genre is almost by definition warm, round, thick. Licorice here comes off as anise-like not candy-like. It’s cool and focused and it brings out vanilla’s sharp, bitter side, making it more potent than plush.After the expansive opening the heartnotes are fairly quiet, with a dry, airy feel that I would think to associate with frankincense, not vanilla. By drydown BV is dusty but still taut, reinforcing the point that vanilla can be strong and direct without being lush. BV stays cool as it winds down and resists becoming a skin-scent, further bucking a vanilla stereotype.BV solves a problem for me. One of very few in perfume fan-dom, I don’t like Caron’s Pour un Homme. The lavender/vanilla combo has no synergy and reminds me of the feel of a stuffy head. In BV, the cool side of the licorice fuses with the vanilla in a way that I imagine Pour un Homme’s minty lavender and vanilla combo works for the rest of the world.”

*  *  *

Un Bois Vanille also solves a problem for me. I have been on a search for a wearable, vanilla-dominant fragrance, and it wasn’t until I became better acquainted with the spectrum of vanilla offerings out there (I realized there is much work to be done still) and came back around to this one, that I was finally able to see it for everything it contained, (or didn’t contain) in order to make it so welcoming and unique.

At last, I can finally rest with this one for a while before moving forward in the never ending quest for a transcendent, exceptionally well constructed vanilla fragrance. Much thanks to jtd, Fragrantica, and of course, to Serge Lutens.

Here is my original review of Un Bois Vanille, if you want to see an example of how much perception can change as our experiences continue to inform us.

Kilian Flower of Immortality

23 Mar

Flower of Immortality opens with sugar-covered yellow & pink Haribo peach gummy candies in a cut crystal dish with zingy black currants and a powdery floral note. Mmhm… not bad at all. Thanks to the awesome Kilian reps at Saks for my sample.

As it develops on my skin, I can now see how it conveys that particularly mild sweet aroma characteristic of white peaches, in contrast to the potently flavorful scent of yellow peaches. The currant and powder go really well with the white peach, but before I know it, Flower of Immortality has reduced to a whisper on my skin.

It’s like the spirit of nectar has in passing, glanced at the top of my hand. Only 15 minutes after application, I am holding my nose to my skin in disbelief. Did I spray perfume here once? I swear it smells like peaches, but it must be my imagination. Or maybe… It was a ghost!!!


Perhaps there is an intentional inverse relationship between the Immortal in the name, and the life-span of this scent? 20 minutes in, I’m smelling basenotes as if the perfume had been applied three days ago and this is all that remains.

I want to put the paddles on this fragrance and shock it back to life. Alas, before I can reach for my cell phone charger, my flame thrower, or my sample vial for a refresher, ANYTHING that might in some way help… Flower of Immortality is already going… going…

gone.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Ginger Biscuit

17 Mar

Discount Snickerdoodles and Vanilla-Spice tea…

Ginger Biscuit opens with a distinct sweet milk note, like the milk remaining in the bowl after the sugar-coated cereal is gone.

There’s a dusting of spices through its development: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, but it really is just a light dusting. A vanilla snickerdoodle cookie brimming with artificial ingredients and a visible sprinkling of spices on top. I am also reminded of artificial vanilla-spice tea bags, though there’s no actual black tea note here.

Ginger Biscuit does not smell like true to life cookies, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, like a few other of Jo Malone’s weaker offerings, e.g. French Lime Blossom, Vintage Gardenia, and the rest of the Sugar & Spice collection (with the exception of Bitter Orange & Chocolate), Ginger Biscuit suffers from a surreal transparency – the overall composition just seems to miss the mark.

GB projects pretty poorly so you can wear it wherever, whenever. I can’t imagine it offending anyone. It reminds me of Bond No 9′ I Love New York For All, sans the black pepper, leather, and monster projection.

Ginger Biscuit lasts a good long while, and if you dig artificially flavored mildly spiced cookies, this could be your (go-to fragrance for a) cup of tea.

Personally, I would go for JM’s Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, or L’Occitane’s Eau des Baux if I were in the mood for a soothing spiced vanilla.

On the other hand, I could see Ginger Biscuit layering beautifully with the majority of the fruit-centered JM offerings, (I’ll bet the English Pear and Freesia layers with this amazingly) so if you love all things JM, this one is worth a sniff.

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