I really like Annick Goutal Heure Exquise EDT. It’s old-fashioned, feminine, and mysterious without being cloying and heavy. I must add that I love iris/orris scents. They are fresh and green. Often iris based scents are masculine (a reminder of antique after shaves), not Heure Exquise. It’s a seductive fragrance with class. The iris in Heure Exquise is not as green and medicinal as some iris heavy scents. It is more powdery and feminine. It really is what Annick Goutal was going for, an “exquisite hour”. It is dusk hovering over a well manicured garden with classic blossoms of iris and rose. It’s a “darker” iris, an iris for evening.

At first the fragrance is green in a classic iris way. It’s fresh but in a dry, earthy way. It becomes sweet yet green, thanks to the Turkish rose. The fragrance smells of an old-fashioned and symmetrical Victorian garden. It’s proper but soft and grounded. It’s beautiful. (I’ve already let it out that I love iris scents). This iris heavy scent is made feminine by sweet roses. The rose gives this earthy floral fragrance a bit of honey sweetness. The fragrance smells powdery. Since this is an EDT, it does change rapidly. The mid is beautiful. You still get an old-fashioned iris that is powdery but it is almost like  incense. The Mysore sandalwood makes a presence, mingling with the dry florals. It is so soft but not delicate. It is really like the sun is setting over this proper garden. It has a bit of mystery, a bit of haze. The dry down is rich and incensey. I get lots of Mysore sandalwood, one of my favorite notes ever. It is made feminine by a light touch of vanilla. The dry down is sweet but not in a gourmand way. It is sweet like resin.

I really like the fragrance, but I like old-timey scents. This one is old-fashioned but since it is a light-wearing EDT, it is very wearable. It isn’t heavy. The top is refreshing like going on stroll through a flower garden. The sun begins to set and this fragrance becomes very mysterious. Shadows change the scenery. Even though you’ve seen it all before, it becomes new with the darkness, mysterious, but still harmless. This is an understated sexy scent. I think it is trying to be sexy but it manages to do so tastefully.

For an Annick Goutal EDT, I find that it wears longer than most. It wears for about 4-5 hours on me during “average” temps.

Notes listed include Floretine iris, Turkish rose, Mysore sandalwood, and vanilla.

Give this fragrance a try if you like fresh, powdery scents, Editions de Parfums Iris Poudre EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Drôle de Rose , Jean Paul Gaultier Classique EDT, YSL Paris EDT, Victoria’s Secret So In Love EDP, and/or Lubin Nuit de Longchamp EDP.

The 3.4 fl.oz. retails for $115. It is available at luckyscent.com. * Currently it is available at fragrancenet.com at a discount price!

Claude Monet's Iris

As I went to the local MAC store with the intent to purchase everything in the Style Black collection for my goth self, I was more smitten by the Fall/Winter 09 Trends collection. I’ll be sure to share all of that soon. I came across this limited edition Asphalt Flower fragrance roll-on. I loved both of the limited edition honey fragrances this past summer and to my surprise, I am now in love with another MAC fragrance. They have really been stepping up their game with these limited edition, low price point fragrances.

If you are a violet lover, then give this one a try. I absolutely adore violet fragrances. I live off of Choward’s Violet Mints. I love “green” morning dew violet scents but I really, really love those “candied” ones because I am such a fan of candied violets. Asphalt Flower reminds me of a glammed up interpretation of the bottom of my huge Hobo International messenger bag. The top notes remind me of the runaway Choward’s Violet Mints that hang around in their gang in the bottom of my purse abyss. They get crushed up weekly into a fine, sugary dust and get all over my wallet. It’s leather and candied violets. Asphalt Flower’s top notes are a sugary sweet violet with rainy, tsunami drenched tropical flowers like soft and humid ylang-ylang and powdery heliotrope. This is grounded by old-fashioned iris. I love this phase it wears this way for about an hour. It reminds me of being in an Industrial Revolution era green house, in the midst of lovely white and purple flowers drenched in mist, outside the coal clouds swarm in winter rain. It’s so pretty, powdery, feminine, and old-fashioned. It’s sweet with a bit of gloomy, rainy humidity mixed with oil. It’s very gothic with an Edwardian flair. The complete dry-down is very moody and extremely sexy with Tom Ford White Patchouli type of patchouli, that synthetic “clean” patchouli that works so well with these modern blends, smoky olbanum, and lots and lots of that MAC vanilla that is used in their other blends. I’m usually not a fan of vanilla but it really works in this mix. It adds a certain sexiness. It’s not a candy or vanilla bean vanilla but more of a dirty, musky, leathery vanilla. MAC describes this fragrance as “a deep, dark erotic fragrance that takes place in our Trend F/W ’09 Collection as the aromatic complement to this alt-fashion look.” It is a very “alt-fashion” fragrance. The entire collection strikes me as my personal fashion color collection dream come true. It is dark, rich and sooo Edwardian, turn of the century goth, that look that unfortunately Tim Burton brought mainstream. This fragrance is so dark, gloomy, intoxicating with a hint of the old-fashioned. It seriously reminds me of the Industrial Revolution. It’s romantic with violet and iris but a bit animalic and sooty. It’s that time because it is urban, industrial with artistic Romanticism, upper class stuffiness, lower class rawness mixed with a  desire for the occult. I find it very “me” and exactly what I wanted for the fall/winter rainy season in Seattle. This is great because the roll-on retails for $20. The bummer is that it is a limited edition. And if I want to replace it I am going to have to get something like Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet. I will be picking up another one of these roll-ons. Also, this fragrance is very long-wearing. It lasts at the same intensity on my skin for 8+ hours. There may only be .2 fl.oz. in this roll-on but this container will last much longer than MAC’s spray on fragrances.

I’d say to give this one a try if you are fan of candied violets, the closest I can compare it to include: Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet, Tokyo Milk Parfum Le Petit or Dead Sexy, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Guerlain Insolence, Penghalion’s Ellenisia, Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, Borsari Violetta di Parma, and/or Armani Pierre de Lune.

This fragrance was difficult for Guerlain. It didn’t attract the “typical” Guerlain customer, you know the person that swears by Jicky or Eau du Coq, and it didn’t attract the mainstream consumer (the person that purchases every new release at Macy’s) because it is just too “odd” for their tastes. I am in the middle ground consumer. I love all Guerlain fragrances. I wear Jicky, but I also wear fragrances like Benefit Maybe Baby.

This fragrance is like a “young old lady fragrance” if that makes any sense. (I hate describing fragrance by age groups, its just wrong just like putting age equivalents on standardized tests). It is a super powdery fragrance. It’s kind of sweet like a dusting powder but it is very powdery from orris root and something that resembles candied violets (my ultimate weakness). It has a sweet rose, like a rose lozenge or pastille. Sweet, but only foody if you are a floral food fan like myself. It’s musky and clean while being powdery and floral.Guerlain’s website states that “olfactory pyramid has been ‘deconstructed’ to reveal three faucets of INSOLENT femininity that suits everyone’s taste and mood…sparkling violets, glints of red berries, and rays of iris.” Well, maybe not suited for everyone’s taste and mood, but definitely my own. Some of my favorite memories included last summer, my 1st summer in the Northwest. I would pick berries with a Choward’s violet candy in my mouth and I wore a cheap no label Italian iris/orris root EDT in the late days of summer. It was nice, happy times. So Insolence has nailed what I’m looking for. It is much more feminine than me sweating and ignoring bloody berry scratches. This is so feminine, soft, powdery. It is an “olfactory spiral”, this is just a gimmick that means that top note, middle, and base are all together and it pretty much stays the same throughout the wear. This is somewhat true. It smells much like initial spritz even a few hours down the road. I mean it is a little different but the idea is still the same. It isn’t like violet, berries, and musk. It is more all of these things in a blender once the alcoholic top note dries down. It is a sweet fragrance with candied violet, rose, vanilla, sandalwood but note overly sweet like cotton candy fragrances. It does appear fruity, but for some reason this just doesn’t linger with me (slightly like a red currant).  It is just sweet but not too sweet to wear for summer. I find that I wear this throughout the year.

I like Insolence much better than L’Instant which I find too vanilla-y and overwhelming. It is “young”, I guess but I found that many people under 30 are completely turned off by this fragrance that many ladies over 30 find this too “young”. I was working the launch of this fragrance and you wouldn’t believe how many people were offended by this one. I just didn’t get it but I am sure many of them would find Shalimar offensive and SJP Lovely not. I don’t find this one offensive at all, if anything it is too tame and pretty. Also, the use of Hilary Swank as the “face” of the fragrance was a bad idea. You don’t realize that the public is so sensitive to that kind of stuff until you see it in action. Many people do not find her glamorous (or attractive really!); people really do use her name and “horse face” together alot. Anyways…

It wears for many hours, extremely well for an EDT. I smell it on my jackets and scarves days after wear. My husband loves this one. It just smells “girly” so I am sure it will attract the opposite sex. My husband always says that he hates vanilla in fragrance because it smells “cheap” but he seems to like it in this. It adds a sweetness and softness to the floral notes. It also helps the violet stick around (I still haven’t found a violet fragrance that loves to be with me!)

The bottle is OK. It’s a bit chunky and the plastic top is a bit oversized. The 1 ounce bottle goes for $55. It is getting harder and harder to find! Please don’t tell me that it is being discontinued like I predicted it would be since it’s launch. I still have a 3.4 ounce bottle left and maybe I need to get my hands on another.

I am a big fan of Pucci prints. I have a few vintage items and I love them. They don’t really fit the Pacific Northwest very well, but hey one day I’m retiring to Mexico! I really tried to love the new Pucci Vivara but I don’t love it. I like it but I don’t think I’ll ever purchase it. I was intrigued by these three new fragrances. I thought that out of three there would surely be one that would make me part with $59. Nope.

The first is Acqua, the blue one. It is much too aquatic for my tastes. I don’t do those type of fragrances. They burn my nose and I find them boring. This isn’t a horrible fragrance, it just doesn’t go with my tastes. I kind of knew this would be my least fragrance because of its reason of being, acquatic. It is too synthetic and not very “salty” like it claims. But, if you like Davidoff Cool Water, Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise, or any of those Bath and Body Works “aquatic” sprays then you’ll probably dig this.

The second is Sole, the yellow one. It is inspired by the sun. Actually I thought I would really dislike this one, but it isn’t too bad. It is a bit bitter from the tomato leaf and tangerine notes. But, it is made “warm” by jasmine, patchouli, and musk. But, it isn’t too warm and it definitely a summer fragrance and not a fall one.

The third is Sabbia, the coral one. It is actually my favorite of the three. This is a huge surprise. Just proves to smell things before making a judgment. It is inspired by sandy shores. I thought I would dislike it because of all the citrus notes listed like tangerine, lemon, and even bergamot. However, this isn’t what makes this fragrance. It is the cool and crisp iris. It is a pretty blend that seems very interesting even with its popular notes like bergamot, iris, and vetiver. It smells both warm and cool. It is that contrast that sand has. Sand can be so hot it hurts or so cool that it hurts.

Each bottle is 1.7 ounces and is an EDT. I thought that they were limited edition but I don’t think they are. Usually when a company offers lots of different items like this in one collection they are limited but I don’t know.

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 thought I’d give i Profumi di Firenze Fiori del Cielo a try. I wasn’t wowed nor did I despise it. With a name like “Flowers From Heaven” you really expect a whole lot. This is where they shot themselves in the foot in my opinion. These are hand crafted from Italian tradition. It is supposed to represent a lovely spring bouquet of iris, narcissus, anemone, and cyclamen. It is inspired by “the natural beauty of Florence”. I love iris fragrances. I really do like this fragrance. I was wanting to love it but I’m not there. It has the crispness of iris in the initial spritz. It is fresh and green but almost aquatic at times. So it does have a fresh rain element. Which is nice because it is trying to resemble Florence’s flowers after the rain. The scent is a very updated scent of classic iris based fragrances. It is crisp and almost grape like at times. I love the smell until is dries down. It just doesn’t work for me. It starts to smell like dried flowers and not like the crisp notes that were there before. I also felt like this one didn’t last on me. It only lasted a few hours before I grew numb to it. It isn’t a horrible fragrance and it is worth testing. I think I am going to test it again. It just isn’t something that I keep sniffing because I love it so much and it isn’t living up to the “Flowers From Heaven” name. But it does smell expensive and not “cheap”. I’ll give it another shot maybe when the weather warms up. Maybe I’ll love it in the spring. I’ve been stuck in the snow for a week. You would think any floral would “wow” my mind when I have cabin fever and a longing for spring.

It retails for $89 for 50 ml and is available at beautyhabit.com and barneys.com.