Fumblings of a Fledgling Fumehead – My Week in Scent – Edition 1

Well I haven’t gotten off to a great start in my endeavour to post about my adventures in scent have I? Truth be told I just don’t think I’m fluent enough in the language of perfume to do proper reviews. So this is what I’ve decided to do; I will share with you the the perfumes I’ve wore and tested for the week and my experiences. Mini reviews you might say. I think it will be a good way to introduce you to the wonderful perfumers I’m exploring without my looking like a complete idiot since I don’t know what I’m talking about. LOL
Let’s start with last Saturday. New Year’s Eve. I knew I wanted to wear one of my Amouage samples but couldn’t decide which one. In a rush before heading out the door I opted for Amouage Gold for Woman. It seemed appropriately luxe for the occasion given this description:

This powerful floral fragrance is made for the most special, luxurious, evening occasion, rich in sophistication and splendour.
 Top notes: rose, lily of the valley, frankincense.
Heart notes: myrrh, orris, jasmine.
Base notes: ambergris, civet, musk, cedarwood, sandalwood.

Of course I was just heading to a pot luck house party but hush. I can pretend I was going to a lavish party.  Gold is a rich, opulent floral that gives me a boost of confidence. Amouage is a house that really speaks to me. I have samples of about 8 of their perfumes and I love every one. Some of them I REALLY love. This is trouble since they are pretty darn pricey! At least if I ever manage to narrow it down to the scent I want to have first as my first full bottle of Amouage I know it will be a beautiful bottle. Take a look at Gold:
Sunday, New Year’s Day, didn’t start out so great. We woke up, after a very late celebration, to a broken coffee maker. Not the way I was hoping to start out 2012. I decided to try out the sample of Robert Piguet Fracas. This is the description from the Robert Piguet website:

Classic femininity and modern sensibility collide within this lush white floral fragrance. Seductive tuberose mingles with jasmine, jonquil, gardenia, Bulgarian rose and orange flower in a profusion of fragile white flowers before revealing a base of sandalwood, vetiver and musk. Fracas is the signature fragrance for those who want to make an unforgettable impression.

I had heard so much about this fragrance. I was delighted to see it was included as one of the samples in my recent Neiman Marcus Gift with Purchase. I absolutely LOVE white florals. They are one of my favourite kinds of scent. I know some people don’t care for white flowers at all and I had the impression from the many times I had heard Fracas discussed that maybe it was a bit hard to pull off or even offensive to some. I don’t know if I just had a total misconception of Fracas or if it just happens to work well for me because I found it positively lovely. Soft, beautiful and so very me.
On Monday I decided to delve further into the samples Mandy Aftel sent me of her incredible creations. I selected Aftelier Parfum de Maroc which is a spicy floral. Here is Mandy’s description of her creation from her website:

Inspired by an ancient Moroccan spice recipe Ras el Hanout or “top of the shop” – a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer. Traditionally having many dozens of spices, I took creative liberty to include the ones that would blend beautifully in a perfume. My recipe is based on Turkish rose, a smoothing element that takes some of the edge off the spices, like galangal, nutmeg absolute, and black pepper; it massages them into a rounded softness, finished off with the freshness of bitter orange. Built on a base of myrrh and cardamom, I layered the spices vertically throughout the perfume.
 Featured Notes
Top: saffron, galangal.
Heart: Turkish rose, nutmeg.
Base: cardamom, myrrh.

I love Mandy’s website. I find it so informative and well organized. Mandy has also written several books including Essence & Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume. It’s one of the first books I picked up when my interest in fragrance began to to turn into an obsession and it’s an excellent read. 

I really enjoyed Parfum de Maroc. The best way to describe it is that I felt I smelled yummy! On my skin it came across as a soft peppery rose with a hint of nutmeg. Yummy.

Tuesday I tested out Parfums MDCI Le Rivage des Syrtes from my sample. This has been added to my full bottle wishlist. I fell madly in love for Le Rivage des Syrtes. I could not stop huffing on my wrists all day and it lasted fabulously. Here is the description from Lucky Scent:

Having established itself as a star in the firmament of perfumery in the classical manner, Parfums MDCI invited famed perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï to embark on a journey in a new direction for the house, with no prohibitions regarding the expense of the ingredients.
 The result… Le Rivage des Syrtes, an oriental floral with a name taken from a famous French novel by Julien Gracq, uses fragrance to tell the tale of a lonely sailor who travels far from home– from island to island and along the shore to gather precious plants and exotic olfactory substances, which he stores carefully in a chest to bring back to his beloved.
 The top notes or orange, pineapple and galbanum combine in an unexpectedly radiant composition which fans of Nicolai will recognize as very much in her style. With the precious fruits secured as cargo, the search continues. Our hero gathers an abundance of heady florals— precious ylang, orange blossom and tuberose designed to delight any recipient of such a magnificent bouquet— and tucks them into a basket he has lined with grasses in order to protect them. Finally, the sailor’s attention turns to the most precious and rare essences– musks, incense and ambergris– eternal mementos of his exotic travels and worthy of none save the one who waits for him alone, praying for his safe return. A complex scent that evokes the bitter and the sweet, the tenderness and the wistful longing of romance.
 Le Rivage des Syrtes Notes
sweet orange essence, pineapple, galbanum, ylang ylang, tuberose, orange blossom absolute, incense, ambergris, vanilla, musk.

I can’t even put in words my experience with Le Rivage des Syrtes. I think what really spoke to me was the complex blend of florals and incense on my skin with so much more I couldn’t put a finger on. I just couldn’t get enough.

Wednesday I wore Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Tubereuse from my decant. I purchased a decant of this unsniffed and this was my 3rd attempt trying to make it work for me. I think I may have to resign to defeat. The notes in Tubereuse are: Pink Peppercorn, Bergamot, Absolute Tuberose from India, Benzoin, Casmeran, Heliotrope. I should love this but for some reason there is something in the opening that makes me nauseous. For at least a good 30 mins. After the drydown I really quite enjoy this scent but I unless I can find a way to get past the opening I just don’t think it’s worth the struggle. We were all stunned and saddened by the untimely passing of the beautiful Mona di Orio in December. I hope to have the opportunity to explore more of her creations because I have heard such amazing things.

For Thursday I again dug into my beautiful sample box from Aftelier and applied Wildflowers solid from the sample clamshell. Mandy’s description: Evokes the rolling hills of California — The honeyed softness of sun-warmed sweet hay, dotted with wildflowers and a cool breeze of Mexican lime.

This was my first time using a solid perfume so I don’t think I applied enough but WOW I couldn’t get over how I felt like I had been suddenly transported to a field of wildflowers basking in sunshine. A beautiful, natural scent. I will definitely be reaching for this again when I need to put a smile on my face on a dreary day.
Friday (today) I’ve chosen to wear Elie Saab Le Parfum again from my Neiman Marcus GWP sample. Gee…another white floral. Shocker huh! And you know what? I really love it. Another beautiful floral. I am actually astounded by the fact there are two “designer” fragrances that I have fallen for in 2011. There were some real quality scents that were released to the mass market last year. One of them may have even made it under my Christmas tree…

Stay tuned for next week’s adventures.

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  • Julie
    January 7, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Great post! I love mini reviews 🙂

  • Undina
    January 7, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    I love mini-reviews format! Enjoyed reading your first installment. I love Amouage Gold (and most of the perfumes from this line). Now I’m very curious to try Le Rivage des Syrtes.

  • Shannon (Lipstick Musings)
    January 7, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Great post, and I’m so glad you’re joining the ranks of the scent reviewers! I’m hugely fascinated with perfumes, yet at this point the extent of my reviewing capabilities would be something along the lines of “complex and warm…I love it!” or “bright but deep floral…truly unique!” LOL.

    I really, really need to study fragrances. I’m going to give Mandy’s book a try (where did you get your copy?). I also have several of her samples en route right now, and can’t wait to try them!

    For the moment, I’m using several Jo Malone fragrances, layering them rather at random to see what I get. Not as highbrow as your choices (which all sound lovely), but fun nonetheless.

    I can’t wait to see more reviews from you as you become more comfortable with fragrance. I always love your reviews on cosmetics, and know that fragrances will benefit from your writing, as well.


  • PerilouslyPale
    January 7, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Thank you Julie and Undina!

    Thanks Shannon! You are too kind. I hope my confidence grows and I can start writing more about my perceptions. Right now I think simple will be best ;-)I am with you. My in depth fragrance musings tend to go not much further than “I love it!” “I need it!” or “yuck” LOL

    I have only tried Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia and I loved it so much I bought a bottle from Hubby for Christmas. 😉

  • Tracy@Beauty Reflections
    January 7, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    I love mini reviews too! I also applaud your ability to review fragrance. I seriously can’t. I’ve a horrible nose. That Ellie Saab is one I think I’d like! Actually, I think I’d like them al LOL.

  • mandy
    January 8, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Thank you very much Christa – how nice to appear twice in your fragrant week! I really appreciate what you wrote about my website & books too, thanks!
    – Mandy

  • Kate MacDonald
    January 9, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    I think these reviews are great! I’m a huge perfume (and perfume sample) fan, as is my fine gentleman. We both love trying out different scents.

    As far as knowing about perfume, I think it’s kind of like wine- you can read about it, but what you need to know you’ll learn by testing as you go along.

  • lexi920
    January 9, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    You are totally inspiring me. I wanted this year to be the year where I stop sitting and watching from the sidelines – I need to get off my lazy ass and just start writing. I may not know what I’m describing but at least I’m trying right?

    This is an awesome post – CHEERS!!

  • PerilouslyPale
    January 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Go for it!!!!!!!!!!!


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About the Editor

Christa Potter is a professional makeup artist with a passion for introducing women to the newest and best in beauty with a touch of fashion and lifestyle.

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