Mini-Review Round up, July 6, 2012

Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender – The short version: licorice marshmallows, yaaaay!

The long version: KMT starts out with an anise focus set atop a delightful heliotrope-vanilla-marshmallow (ethyl maltol) base. I didn’t think I would like it, until I actually tried it on skin. Yes, it’s sweet. But there is a tender greenish streak through it that lightens some of the sweetness. There’s also a hint of rose and violet, though it isn’t powdery at all.

I like it. I wore it on one of the hottest days of June so far – 101F in miserably-humid Washington, DC weather, on our admissions tour of Georgetown University – and it was quite pleasant. No hint of the huge flesh-eating patchouli-marshmallow of Angel bursts out of Kiss Me Tender, even in the heat. It just smells nice, all cool and sweet like a licorice popsicle. Lasts about 4 hours, not as long as you’d think based on the notes list. I like the heliotrope in it, particularly because it doesn’t go Play-Doh or artificial fruit-flavored. I’ll probably use up this generous sample (thanks, Joe) but not buy a bottle.

This one joins the list of PdN scents that I really like but don’t love enough to buy: Odalisque, Just une Reve, Maharanih, Rose Pivoine, Number One. (The PdNs I adore? Le Temps d’une Fete, of course, and Vanille Tonka, which was the very first niche scent I fell for, and which I still love like crazy.)

Diptyque Eau Rose – Simple, greenish rose with a hint of peony and a hint of green. Very nice. Nothing complex at all. A little old-fashioned, but I like that sort of thing. Pretty, soft, lightweight. Not much to say about it, which probably belies the amount of work that went into it to keep it from smelling like drawer liner paper.

Parfumerie Generale Tonkamande – A not-quite-edible almond pastry. (I love almond pastry.) This scent is milky and tonka-heavy, with just a sprinkle of sliced almonds on top. I was surprised to find the wheat-flour note so prominent.

I don’t know what I was thinking, testing this almond-pastry of a scent in the middle of a heatwave. Oh, it didn’t kill me, not even close – it’s quite nice. And it wears like an open-weave cotton blanket, all snuggly without being overbearingly warm. I was disappointed with the lasting power since it’s so weighted with base notes, but then I was dabbing. And it was hot outside. Sticks pretty close to skin, lasts about four hours.

Mona di Orio Jabu – I have only tested two Mona scents at this point – her Les Nombres d’Or Tubereuse (which I found to be waaaay mushroomy), and this orange-blossom scent, which was created to benefit a South African charity that helps HIV-positive mothers and children. In fact, I wasn’t even going to bother with this scent since I don’t like orange blossom fragrances as a general rule. But a kind friend (thanks, Heidi!) sent me a sample, and because there is tuberose in the notes list, I tried it on skin.

It’s far more complex than I’d expected. Opens with a nice juicy green petitgrain-and-OB accord, and then goes really really indolic-stinky for awhile, making it pretty uncomfortable for me. It’s the sort of stinky I associate with certain jasmine raw materials, though jasmine isn’t in the notes list.  (Just yesterday I was driving down the road past our neighbors’ field with the windows down, and thinking, “Hey, do I smell French jasmine? Oh, no – Dale just spread some manure on his wheatfield.”) After some time the tuberose pops up – surprisingly, it takes more than half an hour to show, which is unusual for Take No Prisoners Tuberose – and the big white floral effect of OB-tuberose-ylang is just gorgeous.

Eventually it settles into an oriental-ish sort of base, with vanilla and musk and something that might be myrrh (?), and it’s sort of skanky again in a classic 50’s perfume sort of way. You know, that animal warmth thing that you so often smell in fine fragrance of that era. This is not at all a bad thing, but the changes disconcerted me, especially since my perfumista friends who love this thing often talk about how joyful and effervescent it is. (Curiously, they both live in California. I wonder if the weather makes a difference. Other reviews of Jabu on perfume blogs don’t mention any skank, either. But then I often have issues with jasmine.) This one lasts about six hours, sprayed delicately, and I can imagine it eating your head alive if you spritzed too much.


11 thoughts on “Mini-Review Round up, July 6, 2012”

  1. I’m not really a Mona di Orio expert, though I have tried the majority of her new Nombre d’Or line, but my understanding was that most of her old line was pretty skanky/animalic? Although maybe less so with Jabu? I think I’m still trying to figure out the Mona di Orio line.

    Did you ever do a full review of the MdO Tubereuse? I liked it OK – sort of a salt-n-pepper tuberose.

    1. I haven’t reviewed the MdO Tubey. Mostly because I didn’t like it very much. 🙁 However, I should really write a mini-review at least.

      Jabu was supposed to be less animalic than most of the old line, true. And I was promised pretty white fwowers – which is also true, except that the fwowers are stinky.

      Once again, I run into the conundrum that I love tuberose-ylang-gardenia-LotV-tiare and jasmine sambac, while jasmine grandiflorum is pretty, um, ripe to my nose.

  2. I’ve tried two of the three scents you’re reviewed, Mals, and this is an area where I think our skin chemistry differences show up. I got soft and fluffy almondy-marshmallows out of KMT but no licorice, and just a hint of something off for the first hour or so before it went away. The Engineer said the drydown made him think of cotton candy in terms of feel. Other than LTdF, none of the PdNs I’ve tried yet have worked on me, which kind of bums me out because I love the idea of quality fragrances at a good price point.

    Unfortunately, Eau Rose did that horribly sour thing many upper-register roses do on me, which was a disappointment. Definite scrubber. Someday I’ll get to the Monas.

    1. I do think skin chemistry matters a lot more than Dr. Turin thinks it does.

      I did *get* cotton candy out of KMT, but the scent was less sugary than I’d expected. And I’m wondering if the “something off” was that green thing (I’m not sure what it is exactly… the hay note?) that seems so unusual against the gourmandy background. The first couple of times I wore it, I found it disconcerting, and then I started really liking it.

      I’m lucky in that rose does not often go sour on my skin. WHen it does, though? UGH. (100% Love, I am looking at YOU, with your sour rose and your disgusting cocoa-patchouli. DO NOT WANT.)

    2. Me, too! I had the same experience with Eau Rose. I wanted to love it, but it was a sour scrubber, nay, burner, to borrow Dan Rolleri’s term. I wish I knew what makes many rose fragrances do that. I suspect it is a specific aromachemical that my nose interprets as sour, but I’ve also wondered if it is a skin thing. The same fragrance on others smells lovely. Makes me very leery of trying roses; I only do so when I can stay home and scrub if necessary. Be well, and best wishes for better rose sniffing 🙂

  3. Laughing at “Eat your head alive!” Awesome! Do you mind if I steal this? So perfectly reflective of how you feel when it happens,
    Portia xx

  4. Sorry to have disappeared forever, work has been insane.

    These are fun reviews. I had hope for Jabu as well. I was hoping for giant orange blossom, and got lots of tuberose, as too. Jabu was a whole lotta fragrance. HUGE. And I wear Fleur d’Oranger and Carnal Flower. It does have a classical French perfume vibe–amazingly constructed, with many layers and a show that was quite something to smell. Lots of skank to my nose, and my tolerance is high. This fragrance wore me, and I kow-towed in sumission. Not something for frequent rotation.

    I don’t get anything out of KMT but vanilla marshmallow. Wish I smelled some of your anise and green or violet rose, but big soft vanilla marshmallow was it on me. Not very me, but I’m the woman who started off only loving incense and musks, and later branching out to love BWF. I still have not found many gourmands to love. PG’s Indochine is one. Pause. Can’t think of any others off hand.

    Gotta run, hope you have a lovely weekend. I’m off to the movies, for some much needed escapism. Be well!

    1. Oh, see, you’re the opposite of me in terms of wanting OB and getting tuberose. (Fracas, for example is huuuuuuuge orange blossom to me, almost more OB than tubey.) But yes, Jabu was big and skanky and head-eating, where, say, Carnal Flower is not.

      With KMT, I sure did get vanilla marshmallow, but the little green touches were what made it interesting, so if they zipped past you too fast there’s no point. Still haven’t tried Indochine.

      Enjoy the movies!

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