Sunday, 31 May 2015

Madame Rochas (vintage parfum) Review

Madame Rochas is a aldehydic floral with chypre leanings and recalls (in the best possible way) fine French soap.
A special quality of rose absolute, jasmine and lily of the valley, together with a chord of aliphatic aldehydes, gives the perfume its essential soapy-floral character. Unlike Chanel’s No.5, for example, which rounds this complex with prominent ylang-ylang and vanilla, in Madame Rochas it remains dry with a mossiness that is discernable from the opening. The whole thing feels very prim and proper, with only a little ambery sweetness but quite a lot of sandalwood and vetiveryl acetate for vertical support.

Nose: Guy Robert
House: Rochas
Release date: 1960
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, aldehydes, lemon, neroli, lily of the valley, orris root, ylang-ylang, violet, narcissus, sandalwood, vetiver, musk, cedar, oakmoss, tonka bean.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Tango Review

Tango is a floriental that principally consists of a spicy, balsamic amber accord contrasted with a ripe smelling jasmine sambac. The composition is very much in the modern ‘niche’ style, being dominated by a sweet and heavy-handed resin complex that shows facets of honey, raisins and liquorice. Common to jasmine and amber accords is, of course, a certain woodsiness and these threads are tied together in the base with a pale cedar and sandalwood elaboration. The whole thing is then fixed with a big composite of musks that provides a powdery finish.  

Nose: Cécile Zarokian
House: Masque Milano
Release date: 2013
Notes (per Fragrantica): jasmine, rose, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, tonka bean, benzion, sandalwood, guiac wood, cedar, melilotus. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Trésor and La Nuit Trésor Review

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Lancôme’s Trésor, coinciding with which is the launch of a new flanker named (rather unimaginatively) La Nuit Trésor. Sophia Grojsman’s towering monument of contemporary perfumery is, of course, no stranger to spin-offs: a quick search on Fragrantica reveals more than 15 members of the Trésor family, created by such noses as Dominique Ropion, Véronique Nyberg and Alienor Massenet. That La Nuit Trésor however (signed by Christophe Raynaud and Amandine Marie), feels quite disconnected to its parent is a shame. It is a testament though, to the enduring weight that the name Trésor carries in the mind of today’s perfume shopper. 
The original fragrance is famously built around a monolithic accord of musk (Galaxolide), jasmine (Hedione), powdery iris (methyl ionone) and light wood (Iso E Super). This so-called ‘Grojsman accord’ makes up some 80% of the formula and is largely responsible for its assertive-yet-comforting feel. The top is brightened with dewy peach and apricot while a pastel coloured rose adds a classically feminine appeal. 
In its reincarnation as La Nuit Trésor, what once was the star of the show now fulfils only a supporting rôle: the original hug-me accord is eclipsed by an overdose of vanilla and caramel (ethyl maltol), while the rose is rendered much more more spicy-rich (in the direction of Cashmeran) with a very fleeting top-note of lychee. 
The bottle too has been tweaked by giving it more of a cut diamond shape, pointing the once flat base. Rather annoyingly, this means La Nuit Trésor is one of those flacons that cannot stand up of its own accord. There is, perhaps, a metaphor in there somewhere. 

Noses: Christophe Raynaud, Amandine Marie.
House: Lancôme
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): pear, black rose, vanilla orchid, patchouli, papyrus, incense, lychee, praline.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Musc Ravageur Review

Musc Ravageur is essentially an old-school animalic Oriental dressed up in modern garb. 
The perfume hangs on a classic chord of bergamot, lavender and vanilla which projects with plenty of Iso E Super like radiance. The gourmand sweetness of the fond is here played up with spicy notes of clove and cinnamon, and the whole thing is wrapped up in thick layers of furry musk. The latter smells remarkably like IFF’s specialty Tonquitone base, a synthetic replacement for natural musk deer grains. Although now a protected species, the tincture from the glands of Moschus moschiferus once made up a reported 15% of Chanel No.5’s formula (together with 15% natural civet infusion, per Kraft et al.). 
A tad rougher in feel than Shalimar and the like, Musc Ravageur nevertheless succeeds in showcasing a largely forgotten facet of so many famous perfumes. 

Nose: Maurice Roucel
House: Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Relase date: 2000
Notes (per Fragrantica): lavender, bergamot, tangerine, cinnamon, clove, sandalwood, tonka, vanilla, guaiac, musk, amber. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Montecristo Review

It’s interesting to note that Montecristo was released in 2013 - the same year as Tendre est la Nuit for Majda Bekkali, also by Delphine Thierry. Both perfumes explore a dark and dirty theme though the former pushes the idea to the limits of wearability.
Montecristo is built around a linear, tenebrous, animalic chord that shows phenolic/smoky facets due in part to the presence of guaiac as well warm and frankly fecal ones that speak to hyraceum and labdanum. Unlike, say, Muscs Koublaï Khän (C.Sheldrake,1998), which recalls the intimacy of post-coital, pre-shower bodies, Montecristo wants for any human connection – a feeling underscored by a pronounced, synthy woodiness that runs through the composition.
Like most novelty scents, Montecristo has a self-limiting quality and once the novelty wanes, so does one’s interest.

Nose: Delphine Thierry
House: Masque Milano
Release date: 2013
Notes (per Fragrantica): ambrette, rum, cabreuva, tobacco, celery seed, labdanum, benzoin, styrax, hyrax, guaiac, cedar, patchouli.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Irish Leather Review

For 2013’s Irish Leather, Memo returned to the green-leather theme previously explored in Italian Leather.
The result is a less sweet fragrance, the snappy galbanum being replaced by a mishmash of green notes ranging from the metallic through the earthy via a leafy violet shade of methyl  heptine carbonate. The leather meanwhile, has been boosted to a level of squeaking intensity. 

Nose: Alienor Massenet
House Memo
Release date: 2013
Notes (per Fragrantica): juniper berries, amber, leather, mate, tonka bean. 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Manoa Review

Smelling more like an Oriental base than a full-fledged perfume, Manoa principally consists of a linear, vanilla and resin accord that’s dominated by the musty, woodsy tones of opoponax. More bergamot would take this powdery-sweet balsamic composition in the vague direction of Shalimar and Habit Rouge, but Manoa wants for any of the Guerlains’ mastery and mystery. 

Nose: Alienor Massenet
House: Memo
Release date: 2010
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, lemon, ginger, iris, tonka, cypress, opoponax, vanilla, labdanum.