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.

This is an all natural fragrance that is in Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH “Gaia Perfume Collection”. This is as the name applies, a spicy fragrance. I really do like spicy fragrances but I think I have “low-brow” spicy fragrance tastes. I seem to always use Old Spice as my spice fragrance point of reference. Well, Epices d’Hiver is spicy and citrusy like Old Spice but much more high-brow. At first it is a wonderful winter citrus explosion. You can smell bitter oranges, blood oranges, perfumey bergamot, and grapefruit. It is citrusy but nothing like the “citrus” you would grab in the middle of summer. This is definitely a “cold” citrus blend. I mean that it doesn’t smell like fresh citrus juices but more like citrus essential oils. I then smell lots and lots of star anise. This is a good thing because I love the smell of star anise. I know other spices are present but I pick up on the star anise the most. I get a hint of cloves and nutmeg. The spiciness of this fragrance reminds me a lot of Pae-lo or Chinese Five Spice. Or Sambuca mixed with a bay rum aftershave blend or Old Spice. The dry down is  soft, warm, and resiny. It reminds me of non-burning incense. It is “round”, mellow, and wears closely to the skin.

This is a nice scent for cooler weather. It is spicy without smelling “Christmasy”. It has been a great fragrance to wear during this past week when the temps have been about 19° F. It reminds me of a beautiful bay rum (I guess because of the davana mixed with citrus and spices) with a dash of Pae-lo. This is a spice fragrance that both sexes can wear. It is a great “classic” scent for the kind of male that spends his winter holiday eating clam chowder by a fire in a wool sweater that he got in Novia Scotia last year before he goes out yachting. I also see it for the kind of confident female that wears Old Spice, Hepburn-ish pant suits, and red lipstick. I see both wearers as an “adventurous” type.

This is a long-wearing scent because that wears closely to the skin most of the time because of the expensive essential oils used in the blend. I really do like this scent and I don’t mean it any harm by comparing it to Old Spice. That is just my low-brow reference for spicy blends. For a “spice” blend this one is beautiful and complex. It reminds me of anything from warming Sambuca cocktails to “faraway”, “exotic” spice blends. I really do like this fragrance and I find it very easy to wear for a spicy fragrance. I wear it and it doesn’t wear me. My husband also likes this one. He says it smells of Compari and Sambuca. He says that this is the most sophisticated bay rum in the world. I would say that this means a lot coming from a guy that wears bay rum in the winter and has a very limited scent vocabulary. Notes include: bergamot, bitter orange, citrus oils, coriander seeds, davana, pink peppercorn, star anise, cinnamon bark, clove bud, jasmine, Moroccan rose, nutmeg, spice notes, ambrette seeds, labdanum, Siam benzoin, tolu balsam, tonka bean, Arabian myrhh, and vanilla absolute. A few sizes are available. The 5 ml bottle in an antique inspired bottle goes for $90. I recommend this fragrance for the person that loves spice fragrances, The Different Company Un Parfum d’Ailleurs & Fleurs, Annick Goutal Madragore EDT, L’Artisan Parfumeur Fou d’Absinthe EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Navegar EDT, Byredo Parfums Fantastic Man, Etro Anice, Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique EDP, and/or Old Spice 🙂  It is available on DSH’s website.

Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Shower Gel is one of those comfort products to have around during cool weather. Like all of the other Korres Shower Gels, this one has a nice lather that doesn’t dry out the skin. It’s a very nice natural product. It doesn’t feel slimy or separate in the bottle like some natural products. A little bit of this gel goes a long way.

The scent is sweet. But, not like a gooey cinnamon roll. It reminds me more of eggnog with spicy woods. It’s more a milky vanilla base with a hint of cinnamon spice that boarders onto spicy woods. This is not a scent that I would like in the dog days of summer. It would be repulsive at this time. It is a great winter scent. It’s comforting, creamy, slightly spicy and woodsy. The scent doesn’t linger on the skin. I wouldn’t want to smell like eggnog all day anyways. It is just a “fun” product because it really scents the shower and makes it a bit of a holiday oasis but you don’t smell like that all day. It’s the perfect holiday scent of sugar and spice.

The shower gel retails for $13 for about 8 fl. oz. and is available at DERMAdoctor.

So far I have not met a Diptyque fragrance that I dislike. They are one of my favorite fragrance houses. The fragrances are simple and beautiful and so easy to wear. L’Eau de Tarocco is a beautiful fruity/citrusy but spicy fragrance. It can be worn all year round but I find it to be the perfect winter/cool weather citrus scent.

L’Eau de Tarocco is spicy but nothing like a pomander. It doesn’t smell like Christmas. It’s spicy but not heavy on cloves, nutmeg, etc. It is mainly lush citrus and a hint of spice such as ginger and cinnamon. Citrus scents are perfect for summer because they are light and refreshing but I do think of them for winter since this when they are in season. Having citrus in the dead of winter is such a treat. It opens up as a citrus juice explosion. It has all of the juiciness of sweet tarocco orange (sweeter than a regular ole blood orange), oranges, and a drop of tangy grapefruit. It’s the actual juice of an orange, not sweetened like orange juice.. This is an EDT so this explosion is just an explosion. It fades fairly quickly. I am then left with a bit of “tang” from the memory of citrus juices, a tad bit of spice like ginger and cinnamon. The spice isn’t overwhelming or Noel-ish. It adds some warmth and highlights the certain something of the florals present. This cinnamon/ginger plays so nicely against the orange blossom and softness of other dewy petals. The dry down is light and warm. You can smell the amazing cedar that is used in Diptyque fragrances. The white musk grounds the woods, keeping it “skin like” in quality. It is pretty, clean, and fresh at the dry down. This is a light wearing fragrance, refreshing and energizing. L’Eau de Tarocco contains notes of sweet Italian tarocco orange (yum), Florida orange, grapefruit, saffron, ginger extract, cinnamon, curcuma extract, Bulgarian rose, orange blossom, cedar wood, Somali frankincense, and white musk.

I would say that you would like this or if you like this you should try Parfums des Beaux Arts The Color Orange, Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange, Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cocoa, Fresh Bergamot Citrus, and/or Guerlian Exclusive Cologne de 68. I would also say that you would like this if  you like light, citrus scents or want something that is “friendly”, not heavy or over the top.  The cologne retails for $98 for the 100ml or $135 for the 200 ml and it is available at beautyhabit.com or barneys.com.

This fragrance claims to be “An ode to everlasting beauty under cover of night’s rich plumage”. Um, OK. If that wasn’t a good enough description then maybe this will help you more:

A phoenix, the mythical bird of legend burns at the height of its splendour before emerging triumphant, reborn from the ashes in a choreography of flame, conjuring the shapes of yesterday in a dance of ashes. The swirls of oriental grey enrich the twilight with depth and intensity while windswept memories hint at the beauty of transformation

Oh, now I get it! As with any Serge Lutens fragrance, we have a wonderful marketing campaign that strives for weirdness and exoticism. This fragrance has many “haters”, read Kevin’s review on Now Smell This blog. Ouch, but a very entertaining read and why I got my hands on a sample vial to begin with. I find this fragrance odd but not horrible. Actually, I find it quite intriguing. The dry down isn’t as odd as initial spritz, actually it is very “pretty” and very “Serge”, think a woodsy-amber scent (heavy on dry cedar) but with a hint of dental office anesthesia. That can be pretty, right? Well, I like it.

The top notes are what are so strange if I had to blame it on one thing. It is “citrusy” but more like a Listerine or a citrusy mouthwash, kind of a medicinal odor mixed with lemon zest. That is odd. Smelling like you just gargled is weird. It is heavy on cinnamon, almost makes me sneeze, it has a Christmas potpourri fragrance. Not quite, your spice cabinet cinnamon or a foody cinnamon. The cedar is what takes over on me. It smells like a cedar hope chest in a stale, mildewy basement or attic. Hell, the odor of the Pacific Northwest: mildew and evergreens! After the medicinal cedar begins to wear down, you pick up half-rounded bits of resiny amber. This adds some beauty to this strange scent. But, I am a fan of amber, that’s why I like Serge Lutens fragrances. The cedar still is there. So think cedar with amber with a strange medicinal vibe. Seriously, it reminds me of having my teeth cleaned by a nice hygienist that wears a resinous fragrance. It smells “clean” and “uncomfortable”, alot like having your teeth cleaned. Yep, it feels good, getting all the gunk out but it hurts and there is always the sound of drilling going on in the background even if your experience is pleasant. That is how I would describe Serge Noir, not like a mythical Phoenix bathing in ashes or whatever. I think going to a dentist’s office in early summer. Why early summer? Because the fragrance is “cool” in a synthetic way but still “warm”, it smells like there is a hint of mildew there like from the initial blast of an air conditioner that hasn’t been used in some time. And you feel like you are on goofy gas trying to break this fragrance apart.

I know this fragrance isn’t for everyone. It is weird and there is that little fact that a bottle goes for $140. So, before you buy you better try. Strangely, I have recieved compliments on this fragrance. But, where I am at you get complimented on the strangest things…

This is my granny’s cooking of fragrance. It is the most “comfort” fragrance that I own. It is warm, soothing, and just as cuddly as a my favorite soft cardigan. Bvlgari Omnia is a fragrance that I will always have around, just like my grandmother’s recipes. It isn’t my everyday fragrance just like honey cakes and mashed potatoes aren’t my everyday meals. I always will have this around. This is my soothing fragrance and I have been wearing it a year after its launch in 2003.

The thing that I have learned about the original Omnia is that you will love it or not. And you can “smell” it or not. Evidently on some people it fades very quickly or their sniffers are “immune” to it. Others can smell them hours later but they can’t smell themselves, so they don’t bother wearing it because perfume should make you happy first. I on the other hand, smell it. Currently, I have been wearing it for 3 hours and it smells just as strong as when I spritz it on. I also smell it on my cardigans, scarves, clothes after I wear it and when they have been sitting in the hamper for a few days. But, that being said. I know that it isn’t a “strong” fragrance to begin with. It wears pretty close in the beginning and it continues to wear closely. It is a cuddle fragrance, it’s intimate.

Omnia is simple, really. It is described as a “modern oriental”, that it is. It is a warm blend with a slightly citrus top note. But what sticks with me is the masala tea. So imagine a sweet, slightly spicy blend of masala spices (think cardamom and saffron) with hints of milky sweetness like a condensed milk. It is more of a Kashmiri Chai seasoning (with notes of almond, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, cloves) but instead of green tea, an Assam rich, black tea leaves. So in essence, it reminds me of a very Northwestern version of Chai, something that Tazo or Oregon Chai would do. Because it is Kashmiri with dark tea but sweet with a hint of white chocolate and vanilla flavored steamed milk. Now you can see why it is so comforting! It sounds very sweet and spicy, but is “sheer” and just slightly gourmand. It is more like smelling the steam from a hot cup of chai served from your favorite coffee house. (Less spicy, than those served at Indian and Pakistani restaurants).

I like the bottle, many people do not. It is plastic (cheap, I know) with warm tea colored plastic and chrome-ish accents. But, it does represent the infinity symbol and I like nerdy stuff like that. Even the name is soothing, it sounds relaxing/meditative and “omniah” is an Arabic word for “wish”.

The 1.33 ounce retails for $68 and the 2.2 ounce for $88. It is an ea de parfum and should last a long time. But, this is one that you should definitely try before forking over the dough. You may be one of the people that skin eats it. I recommend this one for those that don’t like floral fragrances, like light fragrances (Omnia is like a strange warm version of D & G Light Blue), fans of chai tea, like tea based scents and fans of comforting scents. It isn’t too foody or gourmand or sweet. It is one of my favorites. I wear it all year. It is available at fragrancenet.com.


Omnia Perfume for Women Eau De Parfum Spray 2.2 Oz by Bvlgari

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com