Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Parfum de Luxe to me is a rich, oriental gourmand fragrance (even though it is described as a woody chypre). It’s a natural fragrance so it is long-wearing and rich. It is “de luxe”. One of the many reasons that I love Parfums des Beaux Arts fragrances (other than many are so artfully crafted and long-lasting) is their inspirations. The inspirations range from art movements to colors to historical periods. DSH describes the fragrance as so “On the Riviera, I was overwhelmed by the charm and grace of my surroundings. The Perfume in the air was magnificent. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 1920´s and ´30´s, Parfum de Luxe is rich, pure and confident.” I agree. I also love Art Deco after restoring our 1936 home. I wore this fragrance out this fall and winter when I craved all things deco and 30’s. This fragrance went so nicely with my page boy haircut, cloches, bakelite brooches, and menswear tweed trousers. It went with my fashion cravings so nicely. This fragrance was dead-on what I wanted. There couldn’t of been a better match for me at the time.

This fragrance contains many, many notes. They all play off of each other nicely. However, when worn on my skin, I pick up sweetness. I get rich, raw honey. It’s sexiness verges on vulgarity. I love it. Yeah, at the initial wear I get a bit of the balsamy, purifying sage. But, that is blended with rich old-fashioned roses. (DSH uses the finest rose absolutes that I’ve ever sniffed). These roses are hard for me to identify because they are soaked in sticky, raw honey. They smell gourmand, candied, sticky, and sweet. Throughout the wear the honey really sticks on me (no pun intended). I do get buttery, creamy orris mixed with the honey. Sometimes when I wear this, I get the rich white florals but they have been baked into a buttery, honey cake. I must add that the orris and honey combo is lovely. It inspires me to add orris root to my next honey cake. (Perhaps toasted orris root?) I think it would be quite amazing. Anyways, back to this fragrance. The base still has sweetness. The honey doesn’t vanish but it does get quieted down by rich, resins and unisex mosses. This is the stage where I would definitely call Parfum de Luxe a chypre. It’s woodsy and mossy but still sweet with amber, tobacco, and vanilla. I want to call it a gourmand chypre if there is such a thing. Regardless if there is or isn’t such a thing, I know I like it. It’s delicious, rich, sensual.

Like I said, this fragrance wears very sweet on me. It’s all honey, candied/edible flowers, and rich, gummy resins. I find it very sexy and it is one that I love to wear in the fall/winter. Its richness warms me up on cool, damp, classic Western Washington days.

Notes listed include: bergamot, clary sage, neroli, petitgrain, violet, Bulgarian rose absoulute, Centifolia rose absolute, Chinese geranium, honey, orris, tuberosa, ylang-ylang, amber, benzoin, brown oakmoss, labdanum, patchouli, sandalwood, tobacco absolute, and vanilla.

Like I said before, this is a natural oil blend. It is long-lasting and it smells expensive. I think this would be a nice replacement for Tom Ford Private Blend’s retired Moss Breches EDP. Also give this one a try if you like honey fragrances, natural fragrances, or scents like TokyoMilk Honey & The Moon EDP or Honeycomb Solid, Guerlain Tonka Imperiale EDP, Kilian Back to Black EDP, Serge Lutens Chêne EDP, Tom Ford Private Blends Arabian Wood EDP, and/or Sisley Soir de Lune EDP.

Many sizes are available. The 1 oz. EDP spray retails for $135. A pure parfum is also available. (I bet it is amazing). All sizes are available on the house’s website.

This scent is supposed to be based on Egyptian musk. It may have been but I think I will continue to wear my no label Egyptian musk oils instead of this. It isn’t that I dislike this scent, there are just others that I like more. When I wear this fragrance, I feel like I am wearing someone’s signature scent, but not mine. I just don’t feel “comfortable” in this one. I have to admit that the first few times I wore this, I didn’t like it. After about the fifth wear, it started to grow on me.

First I must say, that this fragrance reminds me so much of Victoria’s Secret’s discontinued fragrance, Basic Instinct. If you are looking for a replacement for Basic Instinct, then buy this Narciso Rodriguez EDT. Based on the notes listed, I would think that I would like this fragrance. I usually like woodsy musk scents. I love animalic scents. I love heavy scents. I usually like Francis Kurkdjian’s creations (co-nose for this scent). For some reason this fragrance is not for me. At first it is a musky floral. I hate to say this but the musk comes across not so fabulous with “hissy” or astringent florals like orange blossom and osmanthus. Like most EDTs, this fades or settles. I’m then left with a “round” and robust musk-floral. It is sweet. I pick up a little bit of vanilla. This is needed to balance the fragrance. The top is still very musky and pretty.  The muskiness fades (a little bit) and the florals start to take center stage. I like this. The florals are so delicate and romantic. I do like orange blossom because it is such a flirty yet “grown-up” note. For a short while, this fragrance is playful. At this stage it hits me as a sexy night time “resort” type fragrance. The orange blossom and osmanthus add a lightness to a musky fragrance. The musk at this time is more “skin” musk; hence, it’s easy to wear in comparison to animalic, skanky musks. At this stage I do see where this could be based on Egyptian musk.  This stage lasts too little on me. I wish it wore throughout like this. It could be my summer Egyptian musk. The fragrance then becomes sweeter than before with amber and vanilla. I usually like amber and vanilla but for some reason I don’t like the sweetness in this fragrance. It makes this lightweight, “lingerie” type fragrance feel too heavy. It also makes it feel like it is trying too hard (the fragrance equivalent of rhinestoned thong underwear).  It feels too sweet and powdery but not in a good sweet and powdery way. It seems like walking through a cloud of vanilla talc. I taste it. For some reason the vanilla wears very heavily on my skin. It isn’t creamy or gourmand. It just smells like a waxy vanilla candle (on me but smells creamy on a blotter).The dry-down is very “dry”. It’s dried generic woods, dried vetiver, and musk. I like the dry-down. It’s unlike other popular “modern woods” thanks to the heavy hand of musk again. This fragrance has musk throughout the wear. Each of the musks are autonomous  and react differently to the different phases of the fragrance. I think I should give this fragrance a try in the fall or winter. I may wear it more then. Or maybe I should try the EDP since it has other notes listed that may round this fragrance out. I feel like this EDT is missing something but I just don’t know what. Fruit? Jammy roses? I think I may play around layering it with other fragrances.

OK, so this is a sexy musk scent that has chypre qualities. I do like those nouveau-chypres. It is not masculine despite the musk and woods. It is a very feminine fragrance. I don’t know why I don’t like wearing this one. I guess because it feels like it is lacking a certain something. I like certain aspects of this fragrance. I don’t hate the other aspects. I could have loved it but I don’t. Maybe it’s that I’m not craving this in June or it isn’t “skanky” or bold enough for me? I love to sniff it on a blotter but it doesn’t have as much “umph” when worn on my skin (one more reason to try the EDP). I don’t know what the problem is. For some reason it makes me feel bad that I don’t love this one.

I recently stumbled across a “skanky” discussion on Now Smell This. A reader commented and recommended this as a  starter skanky fragrance. I totally agree. This is a musk scent that is light enough to have a wide range of followers. Those that like musk could like this and those that usually steer clear of musks because they associate them with heavy animalic oils could like this too. Is it possible that this is a daytime skanky fragrance? Perhaps. It’s a feminine fragrance with sweetness and florals. There is nothing outrageous or offensive in this musk based scent.

Notes include: honey flower, solar musk, orange blossom, osmanthus, amberlyn, vanilla, tactile musk, tactile woods, and vetiver. Yes, I did not make a mistake. It says “tactile”. No visual or auditory musks or woods in this fragrance. You can feel them.

Give this a try if you like Victoria’s Secret Basic Instinct EDP, Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite EDP, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely EDP, Kat Von D Sinner EDP, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique EDT, and/or Avon U by Ungaro EDP. Also, give it a try if you are looking for “starter skank”.

The 1.6 EDT retails for $65 and the 3.3 for $89. Many other items are available in this line including a hair mist and deodorant spray. It can be purchased at Sephora. It is sometimes available on “discount” sites such fragrancenet.com. There is a difference between the EDT and the EDP. I’ve reviewed the EDT and look forward to trying the EDP.

Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

This is a fragrance that I thought I hated. As I’ve matured, I have found that I don’t dislike this one. This is my favorite Clinique fragrance and one of my favorite mass market, line specific, department store fragrances. Clinique’s slogan for this fragrance is “Intriguing, Non-Conformist Fragrance performs the role of a perfume, but goes far beyond”. Pretty bold coming from the “safest” cosmetic company that I can think of. This fragrance was created in 1975 by Bernard Chant, the man behind the classic chypre, Cabochard, and the 60’s floral, Estee. So, yes, Mr. Bernard Chant, was the creator of the many fragrances that Generation X-ers and beyond refer to as “old lady” smells. I find that I like “old lady” smells. I’m a vintage, old-fashioned gal. I prefer the scents that my grandmothers wore.

At first spritz, Clinique Aromatics Elixir is mossy and has a greenness from an old-fashioned rose. There is so much oakmoss. I need to add that I love a heavy dose of oakmoss in about any perfume. After the mossy rose settles, I get tons and tons of patchouli. So, if you despise headshop patchouli then stay away from Clinique Aromatics. It is an oily and rich patchouli with a hint of dried vetiver and dried lavender. This adds a coolness to the earthy patchouli and its bed of mossy roses. This really hits me as a Pacific Northwestern scent because of the moss, roses, and wet dirt. It’s like being at The International Rose Test Garden in Portland on a wet and dreary October afternoon. I love it. The dry down is still heavy with patchouli but it lacks that wetness and coolness. It becomes slightly powdery with soft amber and sandalwood notes. There is a 70’s musk present too. This soft, earthy and musky dry-down is reminiscent of many dry-downs of juices in the mid-60’s to mid-70’s. This means that if you wear this, then somebody may carbon date you back to the 1970’s. The dry-down reminds me of going through grandma’s containers of vintage face powders and perfume oil bottles that she saved for their containers. It’s powdery but has that richness of dark perfume oils. I must add that my grandmother did (and continues to) wear Clinique Aromatics Elixir as her casual, “around the house” fragrance. So, I do like this fragrance because it reminds me of laid-back days with grandma.

I am so happy that I gave this one another try. This is why I should never let go of perfume samples 🙂 I’m moody and it only makes sense that my tastes would be too. I realize that many young adults will not find this perfume attractive. I don’t wear perfume for others. I wear what I like. This elixir is very long-wearing. I would say that I find it on my pulse points 12-15 hours after applying. It just contains so many rich and adhering fragrance notes.

Notes listed include: rose, jasmine, oakmoss, ylang ylang, vetiver, patchouli, musk, amber, and sandalwood.

You may like this if you like fougere scents or scents like Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac EDP, Estee Lauder Youth Dew Cologne, Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches EDP, Parfum d’Empire Fougere Bengale EDP, Serge Lutens Chypre Rouge EDP, Heeley Parfums Cardinal EDP, Tauer Perfumes Incense Rose EDP, The Party In Manhattan EDP, and/or Montale Orient Extreme EDP. The 1.5 oz retails for $42.50 and the 3.4 oz for $52.50. It can be purchased at Clinique counters anywhere or Sephora. It’s also available at fragrancenet.com.
Get it for a deal at…

Aromatics Elixir Perfume for Women Parfum Spray 3.4 Oz by Clinique

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Cafe Noir is a moody, rich fragrance. I love it. I call it “beatnik in a bottle”. It’s smart and sophisticated and a bit counter-culture (if a perfume can be described as such). It reminds me of a classic French perfume created for the kind of gal that spends late nights/early mornings reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti by the fireplace, sipping on midnight black coffee.

DSH describes this spicy oriental luxury perfume as “a Paris night…Dark and sophisticated, it evokes late concerts in smoke filled rooms…sipping coffee and listening to jazz.” I love when I create an “impression” in my head when I wear a fragrance before I read about it and it actually “fits” what the creator was going for. I haven’t spent late nights in Josephine Baker-ish Parisian jazz clubs, but I have spent many insomniac moments at 4 o’clock in the morning reading “A Coney Island of the Mind” turning each page with fingers decorated with deep merlot nails. This scent reminds me of “beat” poetry.

My first impression of this fragrance creates a bit of confusion in my mind. I know that I like it but I find it very odd. It hits as if it is a spicy, mossy, dirty, chypre. It smells a bit wild and untamed and actually hot. It reminds me of all of those classic Guerlains like Mitsouko but Cafe Noir is much dirtier and grittier and with a kick of spice. It reminds me of moss and Atomic Fire Balls. You just know like beat poetry, that this is a fragrance with so much to say. Once my mind finally gets that this is a dirty, spicy chypre, I get an unexpected “shot” of bitter coffee beans. To add to even more complexity, I get lovely “classic” perfumey. I get rich, thick Parisian florals of rose and jasmine. But, it isn’t classic because of the bitter coffee. The dry down is moody and fairly simple. It has smoky incense like copal rich sweetness with grounding notes of vanilla, labdanum, and balsam. It is like being in a room where incense was once burning. It is slightly smoky but mostly you get the sweetness of the smoke floating through the air. I can not imagine my perfume collection without Cafe Noir in it. This one is very special.

This blend contains 99% botanical ingredients. Notes listed include: bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry, benzoin, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, coffee absolute, tolu balsam, and vanilla. I would say to give this fragrance a try if you are looking for an interesting and moody fragrance or if you like Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe Cologne, Penhaligon’s Endymion Cologne, Mark Buxton Nameless EDP, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Iles, L’Artisan Parfumeur Eau du Navigateur EDT, and/or Hilde Soliani Bell’Antonio EDP. I must say that the biggest difference between those listed and Parfums des Beaux Arts Cafe Noir is that Cafe Noir is rich and long-lasting and natural. This is no cologne. An 1 ounce parfum spray goes for $135. It is available on the fragrance house’s website. More sizes are available.

Juliette Has A Gun Citizen Queen is everything at once and still not very exciting. It is made to feel very retro and 50’s and have a high concentration of fragrance, 20%, I think. It is a strong and long wearing fragrance. It wears all day. Seriously like 24 hours.  It does smell “old-fashioned” but more of an old fashioned interpretation of what modern perfumery has to offer.The bottom line with this fragrance is that it is trying way too hard. Think airbrushed park bench portrait of a real estate agent during this housing crisis. It is just trying too hard to be classy and expensive and “convincing”. When I wear this I feel like I am trying to be somebody I am not. I do consider myself to be a very glamorous person but this just smells like it is trying sooo hard. It smells like a mix of a wonderful luxury house, like Chanel, but not one of their breathtaking classics. This is more of one of their modern interpretations, think Allure, Coco Mademoiselle, or that God awful Allure Sensuelle. It is a take of a classic. At times this fragrance comes across as a bit drugstore-ish and Vanilla Fields like. This fragrance claims to have 160 notes that are “rare”, etc. They are using the same ad campaign that a perfume house would of used on bored 50’s housewives. I’m supposed to believe this is expensive (which it is) because it is exotic and complex and world rocking. It is supposed to be an “extreme” composition. It is a bit chypre and oriental and floral. It is everything and sometimes everything just comes out as generic. Throwing everything together doesn’t make you glamorous, it can make you very tacky. This is the bleached blonde with dark roots, rouged to hell and back, matching lips and fingertips, cleavage falling out but not in a Marilyn Monroe way more in a middle aged Cache clothing store way. This is a bad thing, this is a bad thing if you are not this lady. Yes, this lady is an Amazon in her own right but it just isn’t me. So when I smell this on me I’m always scared it’s my mother standing behind me waiting to bitch to me about something. This fragrance is trying so hard to be sexy but since it resembles a newer Chanel like an Allure it just smells like all of my friend’s mothers and my own mother.

This fragrance at first is very iris and amber with a little bit of rose. But, not an incense amber, more of a vanilla amber. The iris helps green it up a bit but it fades rather quickly on me and leave me with a rich and sweeter than I want it to be fragrance. It is heavy, I guess this is supposed to translate into seductive but I find that most men will find this a bit too heavy and abrasive. I’m sure there are gentlemen out there that like this, but do you really want to attract them anyways? 🙂 I can not find the leather notes. Or at least it doesn’t wear very heavily on my skin. I was hoping that this would be leathery too, oh well. This fragrance is described as “chypre” and “animalic”, that is a stretch. Pretty much the opening notes are the most interesting and then it slowly dries down to a sweet, resiny, ambery base with a little bit of floral. It is really annoying because I keep waiting for something interesting to happen and it never does. I expect for it to be interesting at it’s $105 and $135 price tag.

Anyways, it isn’t a disgusting fragrance. It is just not what I expected. It is playing off of a cute name and an OK bottle. It is selling to the gals that long for retro glamor and dream of being a pin-up or burlesque dancer. But, a gal that longs for retro glamor knows how to reach for a classic Dior, Chanel, or Caron. We don’t need this new crap that really comes across as a “poser”. This fragrance would be nice for those that like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Allure, and Allure Sensuelle if they wanted something new. This is also good for those that like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist and they want something sweeter or the old Liz Claiborne Realities if they want a more expensive and a more niche replacement. I just know when a fragrance isn’t me and this one is it. It isn’t me at all. I hate to say this is something that my mom would wear because I wear a lot of old fragrances for someone my age that my mother would never think of touching. But, this is something my mom would wear. I really think the company should of marketed this to over the top ladies in their 40’s because they have the money to buy this anyways.

The scent retails for $105 for the 1.7 oz. and $138 for the 3.4 oz. It is available at beautyhabit.com and b-glowing.com.

I flirt with Lancôme’s Magie Noire eau de toilette spray every now and then. It is a fragrance that I really love but I don’t wear daily. It is one of my “special” fragrances for some reason. Magie Noire is pretty “heavy” for an EDT, you know like how Opium is. Like Opium, Magie Noire is a thick but wonderfully blended oriental fragrance. I reserve both of the fragrances for special occasions and I think of them both as very sensual and seductive, smoky fragrances. It is a lovely fragrance that is “noire” without being too heavy or animalic. It is an intoxicating fragrance and it does not wear closely to the skin. So, like incense smoke, it swirls around the wearer. It is fragrance with everything: woods, florals, spices, and greens. It is very “French”. On my skin it smells very woodsy, a lovely sandalwood. It is made “fresh” by chypre notes and rose oil. It isn’t too spicy on me but there are “peppery” notes that aren’t over powering to the nose. The spices blend wonderfully with the rose. For an EDT it has an amazing staying power and I can smell it at least 5 or 6 hours later.

Some folks may find Magie Noire dated. It is. It was created in the late 70’s with all of those other wonderful “exotic” oriental blends. These are powerful fragrances and this attitude does wear off on the wearer. I haven’t had anyone of the opposite sex really go wild over this or even comment. I think it can turn off some men. My husband refers to it as the “bitch” fragrance because it carries so much attitude. It’s a very “black cat” fragrance. It just has l’air of a black cat: it’s mysterious and a bit untrustworthy. And it’s a little goth.

I love wearing this fragrance. It is warm and sensual. The price is right at $55 for the 2.5 ounce. At one time I had my hands on the pure parfum which was so lovely but was truly OTT. The EDT is just right for me. It is a little “rawer” than the perfume and it more like “black magic”. This fragrance may not be out at Lancôme counters. But, I promise, they have it. You’ll just have to ask. This is the only Lancôme fragrance that I love and wish they’d realize what a gem they have and do an add campaign instead of creating more crap.

Its a fragrance that reminds me of a black cat.

It's a fragrance that reminds me of a black cat.



Magie Noire Perfume for Women Eau De Toilette Spray 2.5 Oz by Lancome

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

Maja is a wonderful scent for a great price. It retails for about $19 to $25 depending on the size and where you buy it from. It has a beautiful stylish bottle and logo. I am seriously in love with the vintage packaging. I mean have you seen the adorable soaps? I purchased the EDT spray and the lotion yesterday in a gift set.

Maja, aroma de seducción. Pasión española. Maja, the scent of seduction. Spanish passion.

The scent is described as a “mysterious blend of rose, jasmine and other flowers.” This is not Tabu, this is a pretty delicate blend of roses, but not over rosy. It is clean because it has hints of oak moss with the dry down. The jasmine is there but it is not overwhelming or as pungent as most jasmine. The other flowers are a “family secret”. A family secret of other popular ingredients from the day. I would describe this as a “clean floral” or a “chypre floral”. The EDT does not last long on my skin. It is strong at first but I feel I can’t smell it after 15 minutes. I mix mine with L’Aromarine Mousse de Chêne for a little more lasting power and a cleaner smell but it also mixes well rose or jasmine oil too. I really like the Maja fragrance but I wish it would last longer or that I could find an EDP spray for the cooler times of year.

The Maja Perfumed Body Lotion with Oat Extract is for normal skin. It is a bit too runny for my body butter/cream tastes. It smells wonderul on and really does help the EDT stay on. The lotion is liquidy, silky and absorbs quickly. The lotion retails for about $12. I’m not disappointed with my purchase, I just wish I had it in the summer. This is a very summer set because it is an EDT and the lotion is so lightweight.

This scent has been around for over a 100 years. It is still a family business located in Myrugia. The creator was Esteban Monegal, an artist, sculptor, and violonist, and well, perfumist. The scent is a bit old fashioned for some people’s taste but it is very classic and well done in my opinion. It smells no “older” than Chanel Number 5. It can be found pretty much anywhere. I’ve seen it at Target and Big Lots, smallflower.com and tienda.com sell it too if you don’t feel like searching. I just happened to stumple across a set at Big Lots, glamourous I know. The kit had the lotion and EDT for $7. I’ve been searching for it since the move. Our Wal-Mart and Target used to carry it but I couldn’t find it anywhere in WA. I finally did. I just wish I found it a few months ago in the summer when I really wanted it.