Mini-Review Roundup, Sept. 19, 2014

roundupYee-haw!!! A mini-review roundup again, after, like, months.

Guerlain Vol de Nuit (modern EdT, from Surrender to Chance) – after a brief hit of galbanum, this smells like… um… nothing, really. Musty nothing. I keep spraying it multiple times, trying to find it, but it is so pale it’s like it doesn’t WANT to be found. The notes list and descriptions I’ve read say that this is supposed to be a woody oriental. The only thing I can call it is confusing.  I’ve heard that the current version isn’t good (see Victoria’s comparisons of vintage and current Guerlains at Bois de Jasmin), but I assumed it was another one of those “compared to the old stuff it’s terrible.” Boy, they weren’t kidding. It’s awful. Doesn’t even smell like a Guerlain to me, whatever that means. (Notes: bergamot, galbanum, petit grain, jasmine, daffodil, spices, iris, vanilla, amber and woody notes.)

Carven Ma Griffe (vintage EdT, again from Surrender to Chance). Another big hit of galbanum to start, but also a blast of decaying aldehydes, followed by moldering whitish floralish stuff and then a ton of vetiver and musk. Vetiver/musk/aldehydes seems to pop up a lot in fragrances that had their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s (Madame Rochas, Rive Gauche, Prince Matchabelli Cachet – and even in the wonderful Chanel No. 19), but I don’t like it. It bores the crap out of me. The reason I love No. 19 and like Annick Goutal Heure Exquise is the galbanum-iris-rose stuff, not the vetiver-musk. Borrrrring.  I thought I’d love this. Nope.  (Notes: aldehydes, gardenia, green notes, asafoetida, clary sage, lemon, iris, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose, labdanum, sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, benzoin, oakmoss, vetiver and styrax.)

Also, I hear that Carven has reorchestrated and rereleased this one with a “soft” rollout, no heavy advertising, but I can’t find a sample of the current version anywhere. Guess you have to live in Europe to get it, even though their recent Le Parfum is available in the US.

Speaking of which, I really enjoyed my carded spray sample of Carven Le Parfum. So pretty. So, so, SO pretty. I am often just as thrilled with a just-so-pretty floral fragrance as I would be if you came up and thrust a dewy bouquet right into my arms. I’m not ashamed.

sweet-pea-0210-lIn any case, Carven Le Parfum starts off with citrus and a tart apricot note, and then quickly eases into a gentle mixed-white-floral. It is clearly a Francis Kurkdjian fragrance, which is generally a good thing from my viewpoint – I like FK’s stuff, generally. There’s some clean patchouli in it, which absolutely ruined Elie Saab Le Parfum (also composed by Kurkdjian) for me, but here it isn’t too hijacky, it’s just a support for the lovely florals to rest on.  I’d say that it skews a bit younger and more innocent than the Elie Saab, and despite the apricot, less sweet to my nose. The hyacinth is prominent to my nose, but it does also actually smell like sweet peas, which my mother used to grow up against the wood fence in our yard when I was a child. The only other sweet pea fragrance I can recollect trying was Lolita Lempicka’s Si Lolita, which was also jam-packed with pink and black peppers, but ended with a lightweight amber. That one was sweeter, and spicier, less floral in character.

I like it. If I owned this, I’d wear it. So what if it’s not groundbreaking or dramatic? It’s pretty.  Fragranticans are calling it “sweet,” but it’s real fruit as opposed to the fakey-fakey stuff I call “froot,” and as I say, not particularly what I would call sweet. No cotton candy here, though if you’re a fan of dry, woody, incensey stuff you’ll probably hate it.  (Notes: mandarin blossom, apricot, white hyacinth, sweet pea, jasmine, ylang, sandalwood, osmanthus, and Indonesian patchouli.)

Historiae Jardin De Le Notre – apparently this was an exclusive fragrance created for sale for the Domain of Chantilly at the Le Notre Gardens, and it’s no longer available. But it’s a pretty, gardeny floral that came my way as a carded sample, and I enjoyed it so I’m discussing it.  It starts out with a green-leaves accord, which slides into an attractive mixed-floral bouquet (rose, hyacinth, lily of the valley). The notes list on the card also includes gardenia, but that’s clearly delusional; I get a lot of clean jasmine out of this. It eventually goes a little screechy, but not more so than my 2006 Diorissimo; I just have less tolerance for that these days, and after three or four hours, I’m ready for something else.

DSH Perfumes Peony – this is, well, peony. Plus a bit of rose and a good bit of greenness, and it is another bundle of pretty flowers atop a tiny bit of musk to extend the florals. I like it a lot, though not quite as much as the delicate, lovely peony/fresh-rose MDCI Rose de Siwa. But I can’t afford Rose de Siwa, so if you loved that you might want to check out DSH Peony.  (Notes: peony, grass, green leaves, rose.)

Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire California Reverie OOOOOH, I said to myself upon smelling it for the first time.  Citrus floral! So pretty!  That lasted a fairly long time for this sort of light floral thing, at least about three hours, before I started getting tired of the jasmine.  (Notes: mandarin orange, neroli, jasmine sambac and frangipani, beeswax and vanilla.)  If I owned this, I’d respray every two hours for the addictively beautiful citrus-floral opening.  And then I’d kick myself for literally blowing, like, $2 a spritz.

Parfums d’Empire Corsica Furiosa – not “furiosa” at all.  Nope. It’s a pleasant herb-garden fantasy with grass and plenty of tomato leaf, and something that smells like juniper to me, as well as some light woody notes. Stays green all the way through, but it is quite light and fleeting, with minimal sillage to me.  Reading Kafkaesque’s review of it has me wondering if I *am* anosmic to ISO E Super after all, because I’m not picking up rubbing alcohol or pepper at all, and Corsica Furiosa is so light! There and gone. (Notes: mastic, lime, grass, hay, honey, moss, labdanum, mint, tomato leaf, pepper.)

I’ve also recently tested Piguet Douglas Hannant, which reminded several people (including me) of a lightened-up Fracas. Then I reacquainted myself with Fracas. I’m planning on a Throwdown for those two soon.

Enjoy the weekend! Our high school football team travels about 75 miles away for tonight’s game (WHAT were they thinking, scheduling that? Driving right past a dozen other schools? Silly), so the band isn’t going. I get a rare band-mom night off. 🙂


13 thoughts on “Mini-Review Roundup, Sept. 19, 2014”

  1. (BTW, I love this format. It reads well on my mobile and home computer)

    Mals, you make me want to go try both the Carven Le Parfum and the DSH Peony. I love hyacinth, peony and sweet pea, and rarely find them done well. The DSH is harder to do, as I would have to order from the site. The Carven, I can probably find a tester locally, eventually. I just have to deal with my mall phobia. Well, mall dislike.

    I thought of you today–Pajiba (the website) has a collected guide to the ever changing accents of Tom Hardy that I think you’ll love. He’s dishy 😀 Be well.

    1. OH YAYS I’m so glad it works fine.

      The Carven is so nice! Hardly (heh, I just typed “Hardy” and had to correct SEE WHAT YOU DID TO MEEEEE?) any sweet pea fragrances exist, and this one is just so pleasant. Groundbreaking, no, but really enjoyable. I’m not a big fan of the mall either, but unfortunately the only nearby mall has only limited fragrance options anyway. I’d have to drive at least 2-3 hours to get to a mall that would even have the Carven, and I cannot be bothered.

      Tom Hardy! Sigh. Dishy indeed. Thank you, that was an enjoyable runthrough of his accents (though they skipped RocknRolla… which might have been his natural accent, come to think of it). The one for Lawless, the only one I can say with any certainty that I’m familiar with, was not bad at all – and that comes from a Southerner who is usually disgusted by the fakey Southern accents I hear in movies. Tom’s wasn’t *quite* right for Franklin County, but it was way better than, say, Shia’s. Almost right. Almost. (You want to hear authentic Southwest Virginia? Tommy Lee Jones. Yes, I know TLJ is from East Texas… but no kidding, he sounds like home to me.) As for the movies themselves, This Means War was really really awful, beyond awful AWFUL – and Warrior was heartbreakingly good. Haven’t seen Bronson, not likely to (too violent for me), wish I hadn’t seen Lawless (again, too violent).

  2. Thanks for the heads-up re: the modern Vol de Nuit… I love the vintage so much that the modern would probably make me cry. Or hit something. So I’ll be sure to avoid it. 🙂

    I’m not usually a big fan of florals, but VC&A California Reverie hit my Pretty!! button and I collapsed like wet laundry. And since I don’t have a lot of jasmine in my collection anyway, I like wallowing in it in this one. I need *something* to break up my vetiver-amber-dry woods rut!

    Love the new blog format – the autumn trees are gorgeous, likewise the peonies (?) on the Chinese screen in the backdrop.

    Enjoy your evening off!

    1. Well, bear in mind that I’ve never smelled the vintage stuff. I don’t know what it’s SUPPOSED to smell like… I just figure that there’s no way it’s supposed to smell like THAT.

      I think I have a bigger Pretty! button than most other fume bloggers. I don’t need weird and funky, give me something pretty and I swoon. So I am WITH YOU!! MORE PRETTIES!! PRETTIES FOR EVERBODYYYYY! (I have this thing about jasmine, though: it tends to bore me after a couple of hours. Tuberose I could wear almost 24/7, but jasmine has a sell-by date for me. I dunno, I can’t ‘splain.)

      Welcome, by the way! GLad to hear from you. I think those *are* peonies on the Chinese screen, yes. I liked the colors, mostly.

      1. If you ever get a chance, do sniff the vintage VdN extrait! It’s one of the few perfumes that made my hair stand on end at first sniff (vintage Tabac Blond did that as well). I have a teeny half-milliliter vial from StC that I’m doling out one molecule at a time. Wish I had more so I could share!

        Tuberose is the floral that I have the hardest time cozying up to (I’ve tried Fracas, Carnal Flower, and Tubereuse Criminelle). To me, tuberose always seems like that one social-interaction-impaired person at a party who stands too close to you and breathes in your face. I end up edging away, muttering lame excuses.

        And thanks for the welcome – I fell down the scented rabbit hole a while back, and have just recently joined in on some of the blogs. Will try not to breathe in anyone’s face. 😉

        1. I was a little surprised by the modern VdN, honestly. I was expecting something powerful. I’ll try to get hold of some vinty if I can.

          I’ve loved tuberose, and most mixed white florals, ever since I was old enough to go sniffing around… I remember loving the tester of White Shoulders at the drugstore, back when I was little (and my mom shuddering, so I understand that not everybody loves the BWFs). Ehh – you like what you like, is what I always say.

  3. Heya,
    You have been BUSY!! Great to read you back in the saddle.
    I wear vintish Vol de Nuit parfum under my modern EdT. It adds some lovely light and shade that gives the EdT real lift and throw.
    Really enjoyed reading a bunch of things that I am yet to get my sniff on. Thanks for taking a hit on one or two that I can easily cross off my list.
    Portia xx

    1. Hi Portia! Well, yeah, busy… just not *writing* about it lately. I’ve got a lot of sniffery to discuss, including the Oriza L. LeGrand sample set (and HOO BOY do I have things to say about it)!

      I’m still not sure why I didn’t like Vol de Nuit. The notes list has a lot in common with my darling Le Temps d’une Fete. I wonder if it’s just this version that’s awful.

  4. I couldn’t get on with VdN in its most recent incarnation, but had fully planned to give it another bash. Now I don’t feel the same urge! Then Corsica Furiosa didn’t work for me – a bit too green in a foghorny kind of way. Fairly furious, in fairness.

    1. Ahhh, you got the “furious” part! I didn’t… it was insistently, but quietly, green on me.

      I don’t know what to make of Vol de Nuit. At ALL.

  5. Hey, I went wandering specifically in search of what you were up to.

    And I found HAY. Corisica, perhaps too fast and furious (I see Vanessa’s comment), but sounding interesting nonetheless. Am still operating mostly out of the rabbit hole, but I see that one glowing down there, saying Drink Me. Figuratively, of course. (**settle down, IFRA and other police, settle down**)

    Nodding along with the Vol de Nuit comments. The old stuff is the schizz.

    Hope you are well. Going to backtrack a bit a catch up. Sort of like binge watching, I guess.

    1. O HAI! Hope you are doing well. We are mostly fine here… busy, of course, and The CEO and I are trading off on cross-country and marching band parent duties.

      Corsica was nice, I thought, but nothing that moved me emotionally. Sigh. Vol de Nuit, though – all I can think about that is “Why bother?”

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