Monday, 20 June 2011

Good and bad perfume surprises

A few scent surprises have come my way. First, I realized that the neat little offer from The Perfumed Court was a bit too neat- not all of the samples are perfume, but also EdT and EdP. Oh well, for that price, I shouldn’t complain, but I do wish I knew. Then I had a few surprises when it came to my assumption on which perfume that would suit me. I have always maintained that I’m not a flower girl, or for that matter very fond of cyphres, but I think I will have to modify that. I have always found them too harsh and have always assumed that is something that comes with the territory. Now I wonder if it isn’t just a modern fashion, because I find that I’m very drawn to some of the vintage florals and cyphres I have tried.

I had really looked forward to try Shalimar by Guerlain from 1925. I have heard it described as the ultimate vanilla perfume and I have always loved those. There are also a lot of other notes that I love in it.

Top notes: bergamot, lemon, mandarin, rosewood
Heart notes: rose, jasmine, orris, vetiver, patchouli
Basenotes: opoponax, vanilla, civet, Peru balsam, benzoin, tonka bean, leather

I was totally convinced that I would at least like it, and found that I hated it. It’s vanilla all right, but a cloying, sickenly sweet vanilla and the dry down didn’t make it better. I wanted to like this perfume so much, but it doesn’t suit me at all. I did try the EdT and not the perfume, so perhaps that would work better, but at the moment I don’t feel inclined to try.

I had exactly the opposite view on Balmain’s Vent Vert from 1947. Thought I would dislike it and found that I adore it. Vent Vert means green wind and this is truly the greenest scent I have ever smelled. I can’t pinpoint any specific notes, there is just a blast of greenness that feels very refreshing and cool. I would love to wear this on a very hot day.

Top notes: galbanum, citrus oils, gardenia, leafy green, peach
Heart notes: rose, lily of the valley, hyacinth, orris, jasmine
Basenotes: oakmoss, vetiver, styrax, musk

I’m surprised that I like it so much as it has several notes that usually don’t smell nice on me, but the whole of gloriously complex and evoke the smell of just green more than anything else. No wonder, really, the original perfume had over a thousand components. The reformulated version from 1991 only has 31… I think I will have to talk more about reformulating eventually, but in short, I don’t like it. There is one thing with Vent Vert I don’t like as well- it disappears. An hour after applying it is completely gone as if I never out it on in the first place. However, I have tried the EdT, so I will definitely hunt down the perfume and see it lasts longer.

Another, very pleasant surprise, has been Mitsouko from 1919 by Guerlain. Once again it has a number of notes that I usually don’t like, like rose and jasmine, but perhaps it is the spices and the woody notes that balances it up, because I love it, It feels both fresh and rounded. Definitely something I will wear!

Top Notes: bergamot, rose
Middle Notes: jasmin, spices (cinnamon?), peach
Base Notes: oakmoss, woody notes

To leave the world of perfume; I have got news from my father that he is renovating a deckchair from the 40’s that have belonged to my grandparents. He says that it will be just the thing for me to lounge in at the summer house this year. I dare say he is right.


Johanna Öst said...

I've loved reading these perfume posts! For some reason I just love reading about perfume... I think I'll have to order some samples as well, I really hope I will like Shalimar though! It has my most favourite bottle ever.

Andrea said...

I was surprised at Mitsouko, too. I tend towards Oriental, spicey, like Opium. I really like Mitsouko. I can't wait to place my next Perfumed Court order.

Isis said...

Johanna: I love reading about perfume too! :) If you want, you can have my Shalimar sample. It needs a good home.

Andrea: I have never tried Opium, but perhaps I should, as I lean towards the oriental and spicy as well. One of the things I love with perfume is that you can never really predict how they will turn out on you. For better or worse, true, but still fun.

Mim said...

Mitsouko is my long-term love, I adore it.

Shalimar I find better in winter - I notice your wrote this review in summer. Try it on a cold day, it's much less cloying.

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