Mini-review Roundup, January 24, 2017

I always forget how much fun it is to do mini-reviews! I should do more of them.

Masque Milano Romanza: Okay, so you know I love me some narcissus, right? Oh, how I do love it. PdN Le Temps d’une Fete is still my favorite narcissus scent (not to mention, probably favorite scent of all time. OF ALL TIME, y’all), but I’m always looking for another narcissus scent. So then this Masque thingie showed up on the fumie blogs and I had to sample.

Narcissus poeticus

It’s pretty great, actually. The first five minutes it’s all drrrty intoxicating narcissus and a whap of something aromatic and bitter, and then that animalic stuff recedes to a lovely floral – narcissus and jasmine with green leaves. After that, the scent dwindles gradually to a vetiver-cedar base, very pleasant.  The drydown sticks around for the bulk of the time the scent’s on my skin, but that’s not the part I love, so this will never be a replacement for LTdF. All the same, it’s very good.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Natura Fabularis Tenebrae 26: Somebody I know from a fragrance split group offered a bottle split of several of L’Artisan’s Natura Fabularis (“Nature Mythology,” according to three different Latin-to-English online translators). Tenebrae was the one that seized my attention for some reason, and although the split didn’t work out — not enough takers, I think — I decided to sample it.

I was expecting something like this. (Image by Melurinn at DeviantArt; click through to follow link.)

This is not at all my usual sort of thing, of course. But something about the description, “a ‘dense and dark forest’ with incense, resins and sap,” just whispered that I needed to try it. Tenebrae means “shadows,” and I guess I was in a shadowy sort of mood, maybe. At this remove, I don’t remember.

So is it dark and dense? Is it foresty, shadowy, a David Lynch movie in a bottle? Nope. There’s enough vetiver and dry cedar in here that it comes off being quite light and dry and pleasant. The incense is prominent. Forest? Sap? Not so much. This reminds me a good bit of CdG Incense: Zagorsk, which I like. Good stuff. The juice is sort of light bluish-green, which I also like. It lasted for a good five hours on my skin, a big surprise for something that wears this lightly.

Serge Lutens Cèdre: this is the Serge that’s famous for its name being all Le Labo-misdirectiony, as in “Where’s the cedar? This is all tuberose!” (or amber, depending on who’s reviewing it). It’s also famous for being, and I’m quoting more than one person here, weird. I blew it off for a long time, but I finally broke down and got a sample, so I could check my opinion against everybody else’s.

Not that anybody is talking about Cedre these days. It’s one of the older scents in the Lutens stables, yet not a classic, so people forget about it. The official notes are cedar, tuberose, cinnamon, honey, musk and amber.

I put a dab of this thing on my left hand, and then I burst out laughing. Because, yes, it’s weird. It’s got some seeeeerious menthol going on the first two minutes, almost as minty as Tubereuse Criminelle, and then the next thought I have is, Hey, this is like the early blueprint for Memoir Woman: weird mint-spice thing, big white floral thing, cat-butt musk and leather.  I love Memoir Woman, which has Almost Too Much, including a bizarrely medicinal opening, going on for its own good.

Twenty minutes later, the honey is coming to the forefront of Cedre and the whole thing is getting softer and sweeter, muskier and cat-furrier. It’s less weird, though I would not call it conventional by any stretch of the imagination. And yes, there is (eventually) cedar in here, although I’m still getting a very caramelly-buttery tuberose all the way to the bottom. Good 4.5-hour sticking power, not much waft, but that might be the fault of applying from a dab sample. Four hours is a pretty good EdP ride for me and my scent-eating skin; your mileage may vary.

This is kinda nice. It’s got way less teeth than Memoir Woman, though, so I think I’m finding it a little tame. (inorite? In 2009 I’d have probably run screaming from it found it too weird to wear, but now I’m all blasé and claiming it’s not teethy enough for me. Heh.)

Tested anything new to you lately?

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6 thoughts on “Mini-review Roundup, January 24, 2017”

  1. Hi there,
    Cedre! It can be had in the discounters for a song and I love it too, though I get more woods than you do.
    Romanza is a wonderful name for a fragrance.
    Portia xx

  2. Cedre is a weirdy and I do remember all that tuberose when I was least expecting it.

    When it comes to narcissus and I love it myself, I still love CB’s Cradle of Light and also the beginning of that super obscure Pierre Bourdon thing Mistresses of Louis the Nth. Very gardeny for most of the scent but still not as good as LTduF!

    1. Cedre is definitely weird.

      Never got to try Cradle of Light, as wildly expensive as I remember it being… and the Maitresses de Whatevery Hooha has kind of disappeared. That Dame Perfumery soliflore is really good, though.

  3. I didn’t realize that I liked narcissus until I started noticing that note popping up again and again in perfumes that I likes. And I like the brand. So I should probably seek out a sample of Romanza. L’Artisan strangely hasn’t become “my brand,” so I’ll probably skip Tenebrae (I haven’t even heard about that Mythology line). But now I’m curious to re-try Cedre if my sample is still alright: I like, own and wear Memoir, but I didn’t get any parallels when I was testing Cedre (I’m not saying I don’t smell them – I just never thought about it; that’s why I want to re-test).
    I do not test too many new scents these days so there’s nothing I could recommend off the top of my head, but I have a recommendation of what NOT to test: Derek Lam 10 Crosby perfumes. A friend send me half of the discovery set for testing and I want to cry: why have they decided to pollute the Universe with such lame perfumes?!! Ten of them!

    1. Oh, thanks for the warning on the Derek Lams. They hadn’t crossed my radar yet, but there’s just SO MUCH new stuff out there that it’s good to know what to avoid.

      There’s only a vague likeness between Cedre and Memoir anyway, and it doesn’t last until drydown. It’s a weird medicinal topnote plus a rich white floral, but from there the two diverge (and Cedre gets boring anyway).

      I don’t love L’Artisan much, either. I don’t know why, but I just don’t tend to connect emotionally with the house line.

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