For my 200th post, I thought it would be fun to cover some facts, figures and favorites since my 100th post back in March. For the most part, I’ll focus just on the fragrances that I’ve covered since then but, for a few things (i.e., which houses I’ve covered the most), I’ll include all posts. So, in no particular order, here are some general thoughts or conclusions about the last 100 perfumes I’ve reviewed:
In the first 100 posts, my favorite modern fragrances were: Téo Cabanel‘s Alahine, Puredistance M, Dior Mitzah, and Neela Vermeire Création’s Trayee. (You can read the full list of loves, likes, dislikes and more in my #100 rundown.) The next 100 posts have brought some new additions to my favorites list:
Neela Vermeire‘s Mohur Esprit de Parfum: the new extrait version of Mohur, the upcoming Esprit is simply spectacular. Fully diva-esque in the most beautiful way possible, it takes the haunting beauty of Mohur and makes it sing like Maria Callas. Rose, violets, spices, gorgeous sandalwood, and amber swirl together with a richness that evokes a queen in the most opulent, haute couture ballgown imaginable.
Vero Profumo‘s Onda — not “swamp sex” but, rather, for me, beautiful honey with salty vetiver and sensuous muskiness. Gorgeous, different, original, opulently rich, utterly seductive, and very evocative of a passionate embrace.
Serge Lutens‘ De Profundis — haunting, evocative, exquisite, delicate florals of a purple hue. It stays in your mind, and you can’t forget its beauty.
Viktoria Minya‘s Hedonist — sunny, soothing, sensuous, honeyed florals. Lush but perfectly balanced and airy. It’s definitely a beauty, and one of the stars of this year’s new releases, in my opinion.
Profumum Roma‘s Ambra Aurea — the richness and complexity of real ambergris takes center stage in this very baroque, opaque, heady amber soliflore that is as smooth as satin and an addictive as salty caramel. Perhaps the best amber I’ve tried thus far, it creates a whole new standard for richness, depth and longevity.
CLOSE, SO CLOSE, BUT NOT QUITE THERE:
Amouage Fate for Women: gorgeous, lush, and very seductive, but soapiness — and the aldehydes that I suspect are the cause of it — are always a huge issue for me, even when they aren’t a predominant part of the fragrance. Plus, I wasn’t completely gaga over some of the lemonade-like aspects of the chypre beginning. Yet, I keep thinking about it, and I suspect this one ultimately end up on the favorites list — soap be damned!
Profumum Fiore d’Ambra: sillage and longevity were a bit of a disappointment, and, ultimately, something keep me teetering just on the edge of absolute love. However, I suspect that this is another fragrance that would be utterly addictive with extensive, repeated use.
Chanel Bois des Iles (EDT): I love Bois des Iles, and it should probably belong in the Favorites section. However, there is just something that holds me back a little. A wee bit of sheerness, given my personal tastes, and the need for greater heaviness or opulence. I think the Eau de Parfum version would probably send me completely over the edge with adoration, but I do love the EDT. A LOT!
YSL‘s vintage M7: My favorite oud fragrance, but simply nonexistent sillage and extremely poor longevity on me. Such a shame, as I really love what little of it shows up on my skin. Others have significantly better luck, so if you’re looking for a scent to drive your partner wild, this should be at the top of your list!
Serge Lutens Boxeuses: sillage, longevity, and, alas, just something that didn’t quite bowl me over. Mea culpa, Uncle Serge.
Tom Ford Arabian Wood: A lovely chypre, but there were some serious sillage and longevity issues on my skin.
Le Labo Lys 41: A white floral beauty dominated by lilies and tuberose, but, again, serious sillage and longevity issues for me with this one as well.
Amouage Lyric Woman and Ubar: I liked both fragrances but, ultimately, both came up just a little bit short for me. Ubar was perhaps just a wee bit too white for me at the end of the day, but Lyric still sticks in my head, even if it wasn’t a spicy rose fragrance on my skin as it is for everyone else.
Lubin Idole (EDT): Alas, not full-bodied enough for me, too sheer, and without fantastic sillage. I shall have to try the Eau de Parfum.
TRAUMATIC FRAGRANCE EXPERIENCES:
First place goes to the new release by the small perfume house which I shall not name. All I’ll say is that it was a stomach-churning, revolting, hot mess, one of the worst things I’ve smelled in years, and almost put me off perfume for a few days. The mere thought of it sends a shiver down my spine, so let’s move on.
Histoires de Parfums Vidi: the 2nd in the Veni, Vidi, Vici series, it was a witches brew worthy of Macbeth’s crones. An unholy combination of: metallic, aquatic notes; chocolate-like cardamom; watery cucumber; antiseptic acne tonic; ISO E Super; and eggy vanilla. No-one should ever mix watery, metallic cucumber with chocolate. No-one!
Ormonde Jayne Montabaco: Oceanic levels of ISO E Super. Oceanic, I’m telling you! It forever impacted my nose, not to mention my ability to handle the synthetic note. Now, I’ve become a walking weathervane for ISO E Super, even in the smallest doses. A friend who loves Molecule 01 has said that Montabaco is very similar. For the sake of politeness, let’s just say that I will never try Molecule 01.
L’Artisan Dzing! & Dzonghka: Dzing! holds the distinction of making me almost lose my mind — and my usual approach to reviewing. I had a meltdown, culminating in a rant about Ionesco and Absurdism. I stand by my opinion: Ionesco would have loved Dzing! and would have undoubtedly written a whole play around it, perhaps as a sequel to Rhinoceros only this one would take place in a cheap, plastic-reeking, dusty, cloying, synthetic circus. Dzonghka was somewhat better — but it’s all highly relative in this case.
Amouage Opus VI: I’m in the minority on the issue of Opus VI which many consider to be the best amber fragrance around. Perhaps I’m just difficult when it comes to my Orientals, or perhaps it’s because I’ve spent time in the Middle East and am familiar with Arab fragrances. Whatever the reason, Opus VI left me shrugging my shoulders. I was singularly unmoved, and I really think it is over-hyped.
Amouage Opus VII: Urinous notes evocative of a zoo’s big cat enclosure, animalic muskiness taken to extremes, huge amounts of ISO E Super, and pungent oud…. I’m clearly not the target audience for the newest addition to Amouage’s Library Collection. Opus VII will forever more be summarized in my mind as “panther pee.”
Vero Profumo Rubj (EDP): I had high expectations for Rubj, since I love orange blossom and am not a cumin-phobe. On my skin, however, it smelled of: sweaty feet; stale, rank, fetid body odor; and animalic muskiness redolent of unwashed genitalia and crusted, dirty, caked underpants. It was…. overwhelming. Perhaps the Extrait or Pure Parfum version would be better but, frankly, I’m not motivated to go out of my way to buy a sample.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Moods Collection: Disappointing as a whole, but Cashmere Oud was particularly horrendous: rancid, sharp, medicinal, metallic notes combined with a Gorgonzola-chevre oud, pink rubber bandages, and cloying, synthetic, candy-floss vanilla. Velvet Oud was only marginally better. Again, it’s all relative.
Xerjoff Zafar: Rancid Gorgonzola cheese atop a foundation of extremely rubbery, pink bandages and a strong tinge of rubbing alcohol. I was fortunate to be spared the heavy fecal notes that many detect in Zafar, but it still wasn’t my cup of tea. Clearly, I’m not cut out for the most masculine, hardcore, aged, pure versions of agarwood.
WONDERFUL BUT I’M BEGGING FOR A PURE PARFUM VERSION:
Parfum d’Empire‘s Ambre Russe & Aziyadé: I’m one of those freakish people who actually thinks both perfumes to be far too sheer. Yes, yes, I know, everyone considers Ambre Russe, in particular, to be a meaty, full-bodied amber, but I thought it was anorexic. Gorgeous, intoxicating, evocative — but anorexic. (And this was far before I’d tried Profumum Roma’s stunning ambers with their concentrated 43% perfume oil!) My dream is that Ambre Russe will one day be released in Pure Parfum concentration. I’d be the first person in line to buy it. Hell, I’d probably sell an organ to buy a vat of it.
Speaking of Parfum d’Empire, I just have to say it one more time: they have the best backstories of any perfume house. The tales associated with both Aziyadé and Ambre Russe were mesmerizing. I could read them for days; if they were in a book, I’d buy it. They are utterly transportative. En plus, they actually and genuinely fit the essence of the perfume — which is pretty damn rare, in my opinion.
PREDICTIONS FOR “BEST OF” LISTS FOR NEW 2013 FRAGRANCES:
New perfumes always come with a flurry of hype, but I think there are some that will prove to be popular and remain loved regardless of early excitement. My predictions include two fragrances that have not yet been released, but which I had the lucky opportunity to test out a while ago:
Neela Vermeire Créations’ Ashoka: Ashoka will be a stupendous, stupendous hit once it is released in the Fall! No doubt about it in my mind at all. It is a highly refined, beautiful, soothing, comfort fragrance that will be adored by those who are current fans of NVC perfumes, but also by those who may prefer something less oriental or spiced.
Neela Vermeire Créations‘ Mohur Esprit de Parfum: if this one doesn’t end up on many year-end “Best Of” lists, I’ll eat my hat! Stunning. Simply stunning!
Viktoria Minya Hedonist: Another fragrance that I think will grace many “Best Of” lists at the end of the year. An absolutely lovely fragrance that evokes the best of classique, haute French perfumery, and that I think will continue to captivate people. Viktoria Minya is a perfumer to watch and, considering that Hedonist is her very first fragrance, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Amouage Fate Man & Woman: I think both these fragrances will prove to be very popular, for different reasons. I’m not so completely convinced that Fate Man will stand the test of time across the board once the hype dies down, but I think Fate Woman will, for the most part.
STATS BY PERFUME HOUSE:
At this point, I’m going to encompass all the reviews I’ve done for the blog since I started. The perfume brands I’ve covered the most, whether with full reviews or the more abbreviated Reviews En Bref, are:
- Tom Ford: 12
- Serge Lutens: 11
- By Kilian: 8.5 (the half comes from a fragrance that I discussed briefly in one long paragraph in a Review En Bref devoted primarily to two other Kilian fragrances. I disliked the fragrance so much, I didn’t even include its name in the review and gave it rather short shrift, at least by my standards.)(Out of these 8.5, only 1 review, for the new Musk Oud, was even remotely complimentary and positive.)
- Amouage: 8
- L’Artisan Parfumeur: 8 (All negative. The exception might be Safran Troublant, which I loved, but its ridiculously fleeting nature ultimately turned that review negative as well.)
- Chanel: 7
- Guerlain: 6 (All negative to a large degree. Modern Guerlains simply aren’t my cup of tea. Interestingly, the one that I had the most neutral feelings for, relatively speaking, was the very last perfume ever created by Jean-Paul Guerlain.)
- Ormonde Jayne: 6
- Neela Vermeire Créations: 5
- Maison Francis Kurkdjian: 5
- Parfum d’Empire: 4
- Montale: 4
- Histoires de Parfums: 4
MOST FREQUENTLY READ REVIEWS:
The blog has been up for 6 months and 22 days, and gotten over 122,500 hits thus far, but some of my reviews get more love than others. The Top 10 most popular posts (in order and with the number of hits listed at the end) are:
- Perfume Review- Serge Lutens Chergui: The Desert Wind 3,460
- New Perfume Releases: Volume 3 – January 26th, 2013 2,441
- Perfume Reviews – Jo Malone “Sugar & Spice” Collection: Ginger Biscuit and Bitter Orange & Chocolate 2,063
- A Beginner’s Guide To Perfume: How to Train Your Nose, Learn Your Perfume Profile, & More 1,995
- New Perfume Releases: Volume 4 – February 15, 2013 1,823
- Perfume Review – Amouage Jubilation 25: Scheherazade & Seduction 1,726
- Perfume Review – Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood: An Approachable Oud 1,637
- Perfume Review – YSL M7 For Men (Reformulated): The Lion is a Pussycat 1,221
- Perfume Reviews – Jo Malone “Sugar & Spice” Collection: Redcurrants & Cream, Elderflower & Gooseberry; and Lemon Tart 1,205
- Perfume Review – Puredistance M: “M” for Molten Marvel 1,072
To my surprise, I also get continuous (and often daily) hits for Valentino‘s Valentina Assoluto. I chalk it up to the fact that no other blogger wanted to really tackle all the Smucker’s strawberry jam.
And, speaking of food, a surprising number of people find my blog not because of perfume, but because of all the gastronomy, royal food, food history, and royal recipe articles, with many being searched for by name. The sum total of the historical food posts, in conjunction with the general history articles, results in several thousand more hits. It makes me happy to think that some culinary student at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) is discovering the recipe for Catherine the Great’s favorite dish, learning about Tsarist coronation banquets, amused by the British royal family’s eating habits or culinary preferences, or paying heed to the woefully under-appreciated Careme (who is completely overshadowed by Escoffier, even though poor Careme is the real father of modern gastronomy, in my opinion).
Two things always amuse me when it comes to my blog. First, spammers who write that I need to add greater detail and length to my posts. Because, really, have they seen my reviews??! Second, the manner by which people find my blog. I thought it may give you a few laughs too, so below are some of the funnier searches which have led to hits on my blog. The queries have been copied verbatim, with the only change being the minor editing of one four-letter word, and the addition of how many times that search may have come up in parentheses at the end:
- sex smelling dirty sweaty socks
- a customer has reject his order of roast beef, he want a replacement of chicken fricassee. how would you deal with this difficulty and solve the problem (11 times)
- big fatewoman get f*** by mini hourse (5 times)
- male full frontal (22 times)
- assist the nursery on how to read and write a nstp narrative documentation (7 times)
- big muscular caveman wanking (2 times)
- naked Omar Sharif (2 times)
- perfumed panties seduction stories
- Excrement perfume
- sexy images for blanket in the forest.
- “flaming flamingo lily smells bad.”
- tangle pile of naked male flesh male on male four some orgy
- sadomasochistic using vapor rub
- smell of a woman’s decomposition during sex
Needless to say, the last one is rather alarming. Either it was a necrophiliac, a budding serial killer, or both. As for the caveman one, it would be a lot more interesting as an insight into the sexual psyche if I didn’t continuously envision the Geico cavemen….
As a final note, I want to thank all the regular readers — regardless of whether you comment or just lurk in the shadows — for staying with the blog. I know your time is precious, and I realise that many of my reviews are not brief. (That may be the understatement of the day!) So, please know, I’m enormously grateful to all of you, and cannot thank you enough for being here. Your loyalty and friendship have really made Kafkaesque, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
So, onwards and upwards to another 100!