Monday, 6 June 2011

The continued perfume hunt

I took advantage of this offer at The Perfumed Court and ordered a couple of samples, plus a few others and I’m now happily testing my way through them.

It’s very difficult to review a scent, as we all have different noses and body chemistry. What I think is an agreeable scent may connote something very different to someone else and vice versa. For example, even if I think patchouli smells nice, it was also a very prominent note in the perfume my paternal grandmother wore. So for me´, patchouli smells old lady and even if it is a scent that is positive for me, I don’t like to wear it. And some perfumes that smells fantastic one some, really don’t on everyone. When I was in my teens a perfume called Le Jardin was very popular. My best friend smelled wonderful when she wore it. I smelled like a cat had peed on me, it truly stunk. However, if you have a notion of what kind of perfume you like, then I think it can be very useful to read reviews. I have mentioned this before, but I veer toward perfumes that are spicy or foody so if you are a floral girl you may very well dislike what I think is wonderful. You never know, though- a scent that you thought you would hate may prove to be a real hit.

My samples are pure perfume, which means that they have a higher percent of scent and a lower percent of alcohol. As EdT’s tends to give me headaches I had high hopes that pure perfume would work better for me. They do! A little goes a long way and lasts all day, without having to overdo it in the mornings to make it cling. One of my pet hates is people who walk around in a cloud of perfume. I remember sitting on the train for work when a woman came in and placed herself the middle of the carriage. As soon as she sat down the person beside her sneezed. Then the ones sitting before and behind, the sneezes rolling like a wave from her. I soon realized why as her very obnoxious perfume hit my nostrils. She literally had the whole carriage sneezing within minutes. I dread accosting people with my perfume- I want to be able to get a nice whiff of it, but prefer to keep it close.

And so, finally, I’m ready to actually talk about the perfumes I have tried. Being very fond of ambergris I choose to begin with two perfumes from Creed that are supposed to have it. Or possibly synthetic ambergris as it is expensive and hard to get. Ambergris smells lovely, sort of warm and vanilla-ish to my nose, but it also gives a perfume depth and roundness even if it isn’t a prominent note in a perfume. You may know the trick of adding a pinch of sugar in food that isn’t sweet? A pinch doesn’t make the taste sweeter, but it binds and gives depth to the other ingredients. Ambergris do the same in a perfume.

Ambre Cannelle from 1949 is sometimes described to have ambergris in it, sometimes not- it’s possible to find different scent pyramids for this one. I will go for the one that my nose thinks is right:

Top notes: cinnamon leaves, juniper berry
Heart notes: rose, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander
Base notes: ambergris, tonkin musk

The juniper is very prominent when I first put it on, which isn’t bad at all, though somewhat unexpected. It’s not overly feminine, which I kind of expected as this was, supposedly, the perfume Eva Perón wore, and I always thought of her as being very feminine. In fact, as Ambre Cannelle dries down to reveal more cinnamon, it also starts to smell somewhat like a men’s cologne to me. There is sweetness, but then there’s this masculine streak that seems a bit at odds as if you have put on something girlish and then borrowed the coat from your cavalier. I have seen it advertised as a unisex perfume and I can see that, even if think it’s much more a perfume for a woman. I don’t find the ambergris prominent, though it’s certainly there and the perfume isn’t at all in your face. I like it a lot, actually and will certainly use up my sample and will probably go looking for more.

Angelique Encens was created in 1933 and is said to have been made for Marlene Dietrich:

Top notes: angelica
Heart notes: Bulgarian rose, jasmine
Base notes: vanilla, incense, ambergris

I’m not a fan of roses in perfume and jasmine can be much to close to the dreaded cat pee, so I tried this perfume with some reserve. However, I can’t sense any flowers at all in this perfume. The first impression is a bit peppery in a pleasant way- I don’t know what angelica smells like, but I guess that is what I smell. Then it dries down to be the most wonderful scent ever. Ever! This perfume smells exactly like I have always felt that the perfect perfume should smell. There is the ambergris and there is the vanilla and then there is something spicy and I just can’t stop smelling my own wrists when I wear it. I’m completely and utterly won over by this scent, but there is a but. Let’s quote my favourite perfume blog, Yesterday’s Perfume:

Loving vintage perfume is a masochist's game, but a masochist of a special variety: the optimistic masochist. To love vintage perfume is to pursue what has vanished, been discontinued, or consigned to oblivion, in the hopes of reaching through time to bring it back.

So true. Angelique Encens was discontinued only last year. It’s still possible to find here and there but of course the prices are way up. I’m going to splurge on a few ml for special occasions, but I feel a bit sad that something this lovely isn’t made anymore.


Kristina said...

Oh, how exiting! I'm happy for You Isis! The Perfumed Court is the perfect playground for the nose to explore. Love love LOVE their offer. Guerlaine - Mitsouko and Vol de Nuit and Balmain's Vent Vert are high up on my wish list. I also want to try Robert Piquets Bandit and Fracas. In those days they realy could name theire scents . Shocking. Scandal. Tabu. Entaicing names, yes? I have a love hate relationship whit patchouli to me it's not at all granny more concerts, festivals and hippie gal's...But i'm on a holy mission to fiend my perfect patchouli and my perfect musc scent

Isis said...

Kristina: Yes, my wishlist is loooong. :) And they all have great names, I agree! I think many people have the same feeling about patchouli as you do- I was quite surprised the first time I heard it, as it is so much grandmother to me. And she was a very strict grandmother, nothing hippie over her at all. :) Musk is tricky for me, it can smell nice, but very often gets too much. I love to smell it on others, though.

Bright Young Twins said...

oh I love this post! I will definitely find and give Ambre a snifff! xx

Isis said...

Twins: You will have to tell me what you think of it, if you do!

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