Mini-Review Roundup, End of January 2019

(Wow, it’s been a while since I saw this image… and I still have no idea where it came from. Yee-HAAAA!)

Here are some mini perfume reviews for you today; generally speaking, these were not winners for me. I could have titled this post “What Was I Thinking?” and you would wonder along with me why I bothered to mess with orientals when I have such a poor track record with them.

I dunno. It’s winter? It’s really cold? There are some orientals I do like? I felt like being inclusive and equal-opportunity? I was wearing my Bad Idea Jeans?

Or . . . it’s winter? Srsly, I got nothin’. I guess I feel like whining about these.

Guerlain Le Parfum du 68: (How did I even get this? Was this a freebie someone sent to me? I can’t possibly have thought this would suit my tastes.) Fragrantica calls it a “woody spicy,” not an oriental, but on me? oriental. Very powdery, not woody-spicy — there is a ton of tonka bean in this. Official notes: spicy notes, immortelle, tonka bean, benzoin, incense and leather. But it’s really like a no-citrus, powder-bomb version of Shalimar: boring.

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche — I’m not much of an amber fan, as you might know. Honestly, I can’t remember why I got this sample, unless it’s because I picked it up for cheap when The Posh Peasant was going out of business as a decant service.

The official notes are “amber, frankincense, labdanum, styrax, benzoin, iris absolute, vanilla, and Russian leather,” but what this thing smells like to me at first sniff is root beer. Eventually a nice bit of what smells like church incense (heavy on the benzoin, yum) pulls up, and I think some woods (?), but it’s unable to overcome the initial impression of root beer. Good thing I like root beer. This one lasts forevvvver, which is unusual on my skin and probably due to its focus on basenotes. I like it, but it’s a one-trick pony.

Annick Goutal Myrrhe Ardente — I tend to like myrrh wherever I run across it. (Why? Dunno.) It’s not as universally beloved as frankincense, and it often smells medicinal, but [shrug] there it is. Official notes: myrrh, benzoin, vanilla, tonka, gaiac wood, and honeyed beeswax.

I read at least a couple of reviews of this scent that called it “all root beer, all the time,” but I don’t get root beer out of this one. (Unless, of course, somebody mixed up my samples. Possible.) There’s something very sharp and not-quite-unpleasant but not-entirely-pleasant about it. Herbs? It reminds me just a tad of the wackadoodle opening of Serge Lutens’ almost universally reviled Serge Noire, except that I liked Serge Noire, and I don’t like this.

Actually, I begin to believe that maybe someone did mix up these samples. There is a crap-ton of labdanum in the sample labeled Myrrhe Ardente, and no noticeable labdanum (which often smells like a mildewed rubber tent to me) in the sample labeled Ambre Fetiche. But . . . I dunno. Meh. It occurs to me now that there was literally no point in my testing oriental fragrances, even if they did come from Annick Goutal.

Incidentally, Goutal has revamped their line and changed all their packaging within the last few years, and I miss the old stuff. The new bottles seem less charming and more commercial. But the lovely Songes and Heure Exquise are still on the website, and I’m relieved.

Annick Goutal Encens FlamboyantePSYCHE!!! I never actually managed to get a sample of this well-regarded (Tania Sanchez gave it a 4-star review in Perfumes: The Guide) third member of the Les Orientalistes collection, and now the collection is defunct if I remember correctly. Oh well. Supposedly smoky, piney and frankincensey, which is kinda not my thang anyway. Just thought I’d mention it since I was testing the other two.

SIGH. I think I will go put on some vintage Coty Emeraude and call it a day.

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Winter Cravings

So lately I’m craving chypres. Anybody wanna ‘splain that to me? ‘Cause I don’t get it. I’m the Floral Gal. And it’s winterrrr, for heaven’s sake.

Okay, so they are all chypres with a noticeable floral aspect. I mean, we ain’t talkin’ green meanies like Bandit here.  We’re talking mostly samples and decants and small bottles, because I don’t own large bottles of these, because other than L’Arte di Gucci*, I’ve never committed to any amount of a chypre that exceeds, say, 11ml. (Well, since my mom bought me that 1-oz. bottle of Prince Matchabelli Cachet back in high school, and even then, as I say, I didn’t buy it. It was definitely not my favorite. I suspect that Mom was trying to combat my devotion to honkin’ BWFs even then.)

What I’m wearing: samples of Roja Dove Diaghilev and Pierre de Velay Extrait No. 11 (which is, in a way, another Roja Dove creation, and those two have similar DNA), as well as Carthusia Lady. Also a decant of Leonard de Leonard (which puts me in mind of Cachet, although I have not smelled it in any iteration since about 1992). There are people who would call the Leonard a green floral, but they would be wrong; that is definitely a mossy-ambery drydown. I am wanting Soivohle Centennial every day still, but since I only have an 11ml bottle I can’t wear it every day as I would like.  My sweetie Mary Greenwell Plum is not chypre enough; it’s too summery and bright for these cold days.  I have not yet busted out the vintage (60s?) Coty Chypre or my teeny-tiny 2ml bottle of Mitsouko parfum from 1990, but perhaps I will tomorrow. Or next week.

What’s puzzling me is that yeah, I do go through these cycles of wanting certain types of fragrances. Last spring, it was all floral leathers. At times in the past, it’s been white florals.

Also puzzling me is that it’s winter. Why not ambers or spicy things or vanillas or traditionally warm things?

Chypres? Me? Now?

Why? It no make sense.

How about you, do you go through cycles like that?

*L’Arte is a ROSE chypre. In general, I love those. In these other things I’m wanting lately, the florals are very well blended and the focus is more on the chypre than the floral part.

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