Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Douce Amère Review

For the lips of a strange woman drop with honey,
and her palate is smoother than oil.
But her end is as bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword. 
(Proverbs / Mishlei, 5.3-4)

Douce Amère, as its name suggests, is a study in contrast between the bitter and the sweet.
The opening is dominated by a realistically cool absinthe accord, combining the intensely aromatic yet fresh, woody-green scent of wormwood (Artemesia sp.) and a sustained anise note. As the Green Fairy departs, a comforting fond of vanillic, creamy woods is revealed. 

Nose: Christopher Sheldrake
House: Serge Lutens
Release date: 2002
Notes (per Fragrantica): sweet-sourish pollen, cinnamon, tiare blossom, jasmine, lily, vanilla.

Miel de Bois Review

For all the hyperbole that surrounds Muscs Koublaï Khän, I’ve always considered Miel de Bois the true animalic beast in the Lutens stable.
Despite some minor tweaks to the formala, the perfume remains pleasingly pissy, thanks to a good dose of phenylacetic acid that’s instrumental in creating the honey (miel) smell.
Bridging the gap to the woody-amber base is an impressive amount of beta ionone, which adds a dry, orris-like facet with slight floralcy.

Nose: Christopher Sheldrake
House: Serge Lutens
Release date: 2005
Notes (per Fragrantica): Honey, guiac wood, oak, wax, iris, animal notes, hawthorn.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Sel Marin Review

Sel Marin manages to distinguish itself from most other ‘aquatic’ perfumes by virtue of its refined character and well-balanced composition.
Evoking the advertised oceanic theme is an accord comprised of various mariney materials including Ocean Propanal (/Helional), which ingredient has a watery, indistinct floral quality with notable ozonic overtones. Against this backdrop is set some attractively tart (and very natural smelling) citrus and a touch of carnation that adds depth to the olfactive field. As the fragrance dries down, it reveals a light support of gentrified vetiver and crisp woods.

Nose: unknown
House: Heeley Parfums
Release date: 200something
Notes (per Fragrantica): lemon, Sicilian bergamot, marine salt, algae, vetiver, birch, cedar.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

L'Heure Convoitée II Review

The opening of L’Heure Convoitée partners soft iris and a juicy, tutti-frutti note that mercifully avoids straying into cheap, ‘body mist’ territory. This fruitiness is soon washed away by watery, green, lily-like florals, spiced up by an unfashionably prominent carnation. With a dash of vanillic sweetness and powder, the retro vibe is complete.

Nose: Mathilde Laurent
House: Cartier
Release date: 2011
Notes (per Fragrantica): carnation, iris and powdery notes

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

L'Heure Promise I Review

The first hour. 
A constellation of diaphanous citrus hangs on the cool firmament of iris-y ionones, dimming in anticipation of the rosy-fingered dawn. 
But alas, the promised crepuscular blush goes unfulfilled as the whole quickly resolves into a blend of raspingly dry woods and thick, lumpen musks. 

House: Cartier
Nose: Mathilde Laurent
Release date: 2009
Notes (per Fragrantica): Petit grain, fresh herbs, iris, sandalwood, musks.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

L’Heure Mystérieuse XII Review

L’Heure Mystérieuse, A.K.A. the XIIth hour, is Mathilde Laurent’s tenebrous take on the patchamber theme.
With perceptible relish, the challenging aspects of patchouli’s character are enunciated in clarion tones: from its strikingly camphorous top, whose cool vapours here curl with resinous incense, through its dark earthiness that’s augmented by impressions of dry woods, oakmoss, clove, and a dusting of cocoa powder. The whole is rounded out with plump musks and benzylic blenders that have a soft balsamic/floral/oily quality.

Nose: Mathilde Laurent
House: Cartier
Release date: 2009
Notes (per Fragrantica): jasmine, patchouli, coriander, elemi, incense, nutmeg

Sunday, 2 February 2014

La Myrrhe Review

In Christopher Sheldrake’s perfumed paean to myrrh, the titular resin’s rays are refracted through an aldehydic prism and rendered crystalline.
Comparisons with No.5 are perhaps inevitable, though where the Chanel famously relies upon the series of aldehydes C10-12 for its characteristic fizz, most prominent in La Myrrhe is mandarin aldehyde whose long lasting mandarin-orange sparkle extends through most phases of the perfume’s development. Benzaldehyde seems to be present too, noticeable in the top as a nutty, almond note and possibly some anisaldehyde complementing the natural licorice-like facet of myrrh.
From time to time, I detect faint terpenic whiffs resembling pine, together with some beautifully inconspicuous spices that add a slight piquancy. Pillowy musks and a none-too-sweet amber accord anchor the fragrance and provide the merest whisper of powder.

Nose: Christopher Sheldrake
House: Serge Lutens
Release date: 1995
Notes (per Fragrantica): mandarin, myrrh, lotus, bitter almond, sandalwood, honey, jasmine, amber, musk, various spices and pimento

Saturday, 1 February 2014

El Attarine Review

El Attarine's orchestration involves a delicate interplay of the dry and the sweet.
Borne aloft on the cedar-like breeze of Iso E Super, a judicious dusting of cumin and cinnamon soon blends into the spicy, maple syrup tones of immortelle while violety ionones dance above a subtle accord of dried fruits. Offsetting the arid base of pale woods is a consoling drizzle of honey that lends the composition a softsmooth texture.
If the theme is a familiar one for Lutens and Sheldrake, it is here explored with a uniquely light touch, felt also in the perfume’s relatively modest sillage.

Nose: Christopher Sheldrake
House: Serge Lutens
Release date: 2008
Notes: Solaire. Traduit tout ce qui est odoriférant. La route des parfums en un jus solaire.