Hello everybody! Happy March. I’m back, and I’ve been huffing it up, again!
The full list for February:
- Britney Spears Hidden Fantasy
- Burberry My Burberry EDP
- Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche
- Chanel Gabrielle
- Guerlain Samsara
- Guess Marciano
- Jean Paul Gaultier Classique EDP
- Mugler Les Exceptions: Oriental Express
- Mugler Les Exceptions: Supra Floral
- Narciso Rodriguez Narciso Poudrée
- Rihanna Rebelle
- Van Cleef & Arpels So First
- Vera Wang Princess Noir
2008 | Rodrigo Flores-Roux
Top Notes orange, tangerine, grapefruit blossom, verbena
Heart Notes clove, Napolitano cake, lily, jasmine
Base Notes vanilla, jacaranda wood, sandalwood, amber
I already own a few of the Britney Spears Fantasy perfumes, and thought it might be nice to add another when I saw Hidden Fantasy at Rexall for C$19.99. Amazingly, they had a tester out! The first blast is cherry-vanilla root beer, with a bit of fizz. Yummy, right? But the drydown comes quickly, and it becomes a somewhat generic, vanillic powdery floral. The scent doesn’t have much longevity.
I don’t expect that much from an inexpensive celebrity scent, but I found Hidden Fantasy to be more disappointing than the others I have. I won’t be adding it to my set.
My Burberry EDP
2014 | Francis Kurkdjian
Top Notes sweet pea, bergamot
Heart Notes geranium leaf, freesia, quince
Base Notes patchouli, rose
This smells exactly as a romanticized British trench coat should: an English flower garden—mostly rose, of course—on a rainy day. Citrus notes give it some brightness (sun peeking out after the gloom?) and patchouli a bit of earthiness, but not overly so.
It’s almost genius! (I really should try more Burberrys; they seem to love me and I tend to love them back. I already need to pick up more Brit, as my EDT is running low/starting to turn. I might spring for the EDP this time.)
I was smitten with My Burberry when I first sniffed it back in 2015 or so, but pregnancy meant I avoided buying any perfumes at the time. I promptly forgot about it until I resniffed it last month, and it is back on my wishlist. I will probably get a bottle just in time for spring rain.
Chance Eau Fraîche
2007 | Jacques Polge
Top Notes lemon, cedar
Heart Notes pink pepper, water hyacinth, jasmine
Base Notes teak, iris, amber, patchouli, vetiver, white musk
This is quite a delightful and wearable unisex scent that doesn’t particularly strike me as being the right flanker for the insipid original Chance. I’d long stayed away from any of the Chances simply because I disliked the original, but I realize I should have sniffed this one before.
It’s breezy, fresh, lemony, green, and über-clean. Honestly, I’d never buy this myself since you can get similar colognes for much better prices. The longevity is quite poor, but many in this scent category do not last well on my skin. In my personal collection, I’d wear the dirt cheap 4711, or equivalently priced but longer-lasting Dior Escale à Portofino, before Chance Eau Fraîche.
2017 | Olivier Polge
Top Notes mandarin, grapefruit, blackcurrant
Heart Notes tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange blossom
Base Notes sandalwood, musk
On paper, I should fall head-over-heels in love with Gabrielle: I adore citrus, ylang-ylang, white florals, and sandalwood. In reality, while it is perfectly nice and crowd-pleasing, it is also utterly forgettable and with very little longevity on my skin.
The bottle doesn’t feel quite as nice in person as it looks in photos.
It’s a bit reminiscent of 1999’s Dior J’Adore, which I think is far more more complex and elegant.
1989 | Jean-Paul Guerlain
Top Notes green notes, peach, ylang-ylang, bergamot, lemon
Heart Notes iris, violet, orris root, jasmine, rose, narcissus
Base Notes iris, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, vanilla
In truth, I did not check which concentration of Samsara I tried, but here’s my review, anyway.
I tried Samsara once, quite a while ago, and I liked it very much though I didn’t feel it was very me: it was so warm and sensual! It’s smoothly blended, with loads of creamy sandalwood, lush florals, and powdery spices. On my recent sniff (and I’m not sure whether it’s been reformulated since I first tried it), I felt the same way. It’s a gorgeous scent but I’m not the right person for it.
By the way, many Guerlain scents are undergoing a repackaging into the Aqua Allegoria-style bee bottles, Samsara included. So, if you like the original red Samsara bottle, which I think suits the scent much better than a bee bottle does (even if it does exude a bit too much “old school Avon”), you should look into picking up a bottle sooner rather than later. I recently picked up Insolence EDP and Idylle Eau Sublime partly to have the original bottles in my collection; one of the L’Instants may be my next purchase!
2007 | Barbara Zoebelein
Top Notes starfruit, Curaçao orange liqueur, grapefruit, cardamom
Heart Notes peony, honeysuckle, jasmine
Base Notes vanilla, musk, wood notes
I seriously expected a Guess perfume to be a bit tacky-smelling, to be quite honest. (I did love their jeans back in my younger days.) But Guess by Marciano is actually kinda sexy! No doubt it smells inexpensive—’cause it is—but it pretty much does everything right within its budget. Alluring, boozy, orangey top notes, pretty floral middle notes, and a warm and cozy drydown. Longevity was a reasonable few hours on my perfume-absorbing skin.
C$19.99 could not be spent much better, perfume-wise.
I didn’t get it myself, since I am not particularly in need of such a fragrance, but I whole-heartedly recommend it if it’s the sort of thing you need in your life.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
1994 (?) | Jacquer Cavallier
Top Notes rose, rum
Heart Notes vanilla orchid, daffodil
Base Notes amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, bourbon vanilla
I’m old enough to remember when the EDT version of this perfume was first released as Jean Paul Gaultier and then at some point later, renamed Classique. I’m not sure when the EDP was released, but they’re both signed by the same perfumer, Jacquer Cavallier.
I remember trying Classique EDP for the first time in an airport duty free shop, and then I spent the entire flight worrying that the single spray I put on my wrist was filling up the nostrils of everyone within a five seat radius of me. It was pretty heady stuff. I loved it, but it was just a bit too much for someone who likes her perfume more low-key.
Perhaps reformulations have caused Classique to become less long-lasting, and with reduced sillage, because I really dig it again. It remains strong, but will not wipe out a planeload of people. It’s a plasticky lipstick rose with plenty of vanilla, and though I normally use “plasticky” as a derogatory description, it is brilliant here. Classique is synthetic and proud of it. Some people call it a hairspray note—in any case, it’s pretty fab.
I recently picked up the latest Classique flanker, Classique Essence de Parfum, and I am completely enamored of it. Is there still room in my collection for the original Classique? Perhaps.
Les Exceptions: Oriental Express
2016 | Olivier Polge
Notes Bergamot, sandalwood, vanilla, carrot core, carrot seeds
Parsnips. I couldn’t place it at first, but a review at Fragrantica mentioned it, and it all fell into place.
Oddly enough, I never knew what parsnips smelled like until a few years ago, when, on a whim, one of my brothers and I decided to roast some for Christmas dinner. As I was peeling the parsnips, I marvelled at how fragrant they were, and we suddenly became big-time parsnip fans.
So yeah, Mugler Oriental Express has a definite parsnip note. It’s also heavy on the vanilla and sandalwood. The combination is well-blended and I’d love it on a guy—I found it too masculine for my taste.
Les Exceptions: Supra Floral
2016 | Olivier Polge
Notes Hyacinth, amber, incense
I’m not sure I have ever smelled actual hyacinths, but the florals in this are strong and heady—green, not sweet. I’m afraid I didn’t pay very close attention to this one as it dried down (I should have, it’s quite pricey!), but overall, as with Oriental Express, I also found this to be a touch bitter and masculine.
2015 | Aurelien Guichard
Top Notes rose, jasmine
Heart Notes powdery musk
Base Notes vetiver, black cedar, white cedar
I already have and love the original Narciso from 2014, and wondered why it was taking me so long to try its flanker, Narciso Poudrée.
Well, it turns out that while Narciso Poudrée technically smells very lovely—all milky white florals and cool vetiver—it also has so much powdery musk that I literally cannot stand it.
It’s as though I’m constantly walking through a cloud of talcum powder. It doesn’t matter how pretty it smells because I’m choked by the powder notes. I do enjoy a nice powdery fragrance (hello, Guerlain Insolence EDP), but this is simply beyond what I can handle.
To add insult to injury, the longevity of one spritz of this scent on my wrist is insanity. I could still smell it wafting around myself ten hours later. Why can’t it be the scents I adore that last this long?
2012 | Marypierre Julien, Caroline Sabas
Top Notes plum, strawberry, ginger
Heart Notes heliotrope, vanilla orchid, cocoa
Base Notes musk, coffee, patchouli, amber
The notes do not mention it, but perhaps it’s the combination of notes that make me smell only sticky pineapple! There are some astringent and bitter notes which help to balance out the sweetness; I could personally use a bit more, but this is really quite a delectable gourmand.
I often despise pineapple notes in perfumes (though I do enjoy actual pineapple), and this is the very first time I’ve smelled an actual note that smells like pineapple—well, maybe a pineapple cocktail—and smells good. This perfume sticks around quite nicely on me, as well.
A nice pineapple note isn’t enough to get me to buy this for C$19.99, though (again, the tester was out at Rexall!). The bottle is pretty hideous and awkward to use, as well. Maybe if it was a mini for under $10… 🍍
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
2016 | Nathalie Lorson
Top Notes bergamot, magnolia
Heart Notes jasmine, freesia, frangipani
Base Notes sandalwood, vanilla
I tried Van Cleef & Arpels’ 1976 classic, First, a while back, and I’m not sure if my sample had turned or if it really did just smell plasticky. Suffice to say it did not appeal to me whatsoever.
Because of this, I ignored So First, a very new and modern flanker, for a while. But I recently spotted a tester at Rexall and finally gave it a try. Initially, I thought it pleasant at best and proceeded with my day. By midday, I was addicted to that gorgeous scent on my wrist, and scooted back to pick up the bottle for C$19.99.
As a 40th anniversary celebration of the original, I don’t know quite how much of a bang this makes—it’s very “safe” and even a little generic, to be quite honest. The bergamot opening leads into a beautiful, gentle floral heart (I do love frangipani) and the base is feminine perfection for me: sandalwood and vanilla. But, generic or not, it really does work so beautifully on me that I couldn’t pass it up at such a great price.
Online reviews mention that this is reminiscent of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, and even Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. I am not a huge fan of either of those patchouli-heavy bombs, but patchouli-free So First is lovely to me, so take that as you will!
Top Notes mandarin, pear, blackcurrant
Heart Notes cotton flower, jasmine, freesia
Base Notes rosewood, patchouli, amber, chocolate
Vera Wang’s latest Princess flanker comes in a very “wicked stepmother”-looking bottle, but it smells sweet as they always seem to.
The chocolate note is a nice callback to the original Princess, and I daresay I like this one a bit better. The original has a hairspray opening that I dislike; Princess Noir opens with a yummy fruit note (not too sweet, not too sour) and quickly turns into the usual “fruitchouli”. It’s not as elegant as, say, YSL Black Opium or Lancôme La Nuit Trésor, but it’s somewhat cheaper and is not such a powerhouse of a fragrance. It’s well-suited for a teen who may want a lighter scent.