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.

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Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

Victoria’s Secret Supermodel is a light-wearing fruity-floral fragrance. It isn’t something that I would wear. I find that it lacks a “wow” factor. But, it isn’t a bad fragrance. It’s pleasant enough although generic.

Of course, Victoria’s Secret hypes this fragrance up as super sexy. I don’t really see that. I sniff it and the word “sexy” doesn’t come to mind. I think more “casual”. This fragrance was a “partnership” with the cosmetic’s side of Victoria’s Secret and their sexy runway models, whatever that means. At first spritz this is a very berry fragrance. It isn’t a berry that I can recognize and I need to remind you that I live in the Pacific Northwest. I know the smell of many, many berries and their many stages of ripeness. This just smells like “berries”. It’s jammy. Something is musky and warm beside the berries. This is a “warm” fragrance. At times I get confused, thinking it is cedary. It reminds me of a Roberto Cavalli Fragrance, Oro, I think, that is discontinued. The maker doesn’t recognize this scent as being cedary but I can smell it there. After the mûre et musc variation fades, there is a tartness. It’s fruity and tart but not citrusy. It’s a berry tartness. This mixes into a creaminess that reminds me of a more grown-up version of Fruity Pebbles and milk. I think this is supposed to be peach blossom. It is more of a peaches n’ cream mixture than a floral peach blossom. This does dry down into a warm, creamy sandalwood base. It isn’t the most exciting sandalwood I have ever worn but it does work nicely with those berry top notes. The sandalwood dry-down is very comforting. It is a “generic” sandalwood but I like it because it wears so cozy close to the skin.  This isn’t a scent that I will go out and buy. I have a few things like it because I like blackberry/musk scents and I like L’Artisan Parfumeur better than this. Supermodel does manage to smell “clean”. This isn’t a bad fragrance especially coming from Victoria’s Secret. It isn’t offensive, but oh, that bottle. I am not a fan of the bottle. I find it very tacky.

I’m surprised that it is an EDP. I find that it fades quickly. I thought it was an EDT because it lasts less than 2 hours on me. Maybe my skin likes to devour Chinese berries, peach blossoms, and creamy sandalwood.

It comes in 2 sizes ranging in price from $39-$49. I would say that you would like this one if you like Bath and Body Works Black Raspberry Vanilla EDT, Trish McVoy#9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk EDP, Philosophy Falling In Love EDT, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc EDT, DKNY Juicy Berry Candy Apple EDP, Vera Wang Glam Princess EDT, La Prairie Silver Rain EDP, and/or Kenzo Amour Indian Holi EDP.


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.

It’s that time of year again. Mandarins, satsumas, whatever you like to call them, are at market to be purchased by the boxful. Citrus is a nice treat during these cool winter months. I’ve compiled a “collage” of zesty mandarin fragrances with a variety of price points and formulas.

Budget Mandarin Scents (Under $50): Trish McVoy Mandarin & Ginger Lily EDT is a citrus floral blend that is light-wearing. It retails for $48 for .5 oz (not alot of product for the dough). Crazylibellule & The Poppies Les Garçonnes Tamara Charleston is a very interesting humid, green, mandarin blend. This solid Crazystick retails for $18 and is well worth it. My review of it is here. Lush Olive Branch Solid Perfume is a simple and refreshing unisex blend of olive oil and mandarins. I love the solid formula. tIt retails for about $8. Lancome Ô de Lancome EDT is a classic, cool feeling mandarin, floral, and rosemary scent. The 1.7 oz. bottle goes for $38.50.  Voluspa Victoria Collection Pink Fatale is an incredible flirty fruity-floral with citrus and lilies. The .5 oz. roll-on goes for $24. Oh, and I almost forgot the mandarin classic: The Body Shop Satsuma Perfume Oil. It’s all about mandarin and the .5 oil goes for $16. (not pictured)

More Expensive Mandarin Scents: Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne is a zesty, herbaceous citrus blend that is unisex. It’s a great summer scent. The 3.4 oz bottle goes for $100. It’s a limited edition fragrance but it is still available: L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarine Tout Simplement. It is what the name implies. It is a sparkling mandarin citrus blend. It is light wearing and the 8.4 oz. spray goes for $135. If you are looking for a creamier mandarin fragrance, the kind that can transition into cooler weather even though it is refreshing, try Antica Farmacista Vanilla Bourbon and Mandarin Perfume. The 1.6 oz. bottle goes for $58. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Madarine Basilic EDT is a naturally sweet citrus blend with clementine, mandarin, and blood orange. The 1.7 oz bottle goes for $57. Here’s my review. Manuel Canovas Route Mandarine EDP is a mandarin and orange blossom mix, a citrus floral. It retails for $79 for 3.4 oz. Fresh Bergamot Citrus is a light blend of bergamot, citrus, and foresty base notes. The 3.4 oz. retails for $75. Creed Millesime Imperial is a unisex blend of crisp citrus, salt, musk, and woods. It is truly lovely and goes for $250 for 4 oz. (I just ordered one and I’m waiting anxiously for its arrival). Molinard 1849 Vervaine de Molinard is a green, crisp, fresh mandarin. Plus, the bottle is a must have. The 3.3 oz goes for $185.

5 Other Great Mandarin Products: Mistral Black Tea Mandarin Soap is a great scent for cooler weather. A bar goes for under $8. Ahava Body Sorbet in Madarin & Cedarwood is a refreshing and very moisturizing blend. The cedarwood really adds a special something. I love it for cooler weather. It is very foresty. A tub goes for $26. Lush The Big Tease Styling Gel is a hair gel with an orange blossom, mandarin, and lemon scent. It smells heavenly. It goes for under $17. Diptyque Oyedo Candle is a refreshing blend of grapefruit and mandarin. The candle retails for $60. A rich and lush mandarin fragrance for the home is Alora Ambiance Tre Reed Diffuser which goes for $58.

frangiguide

Frangipani is an amazing tropical flower. It naturally has a sweet, almost toasted sugar and vanilla like floral quality. It adds so much to those “tropical” blends that fragrance houses love to flirt with. Here is a guide/collage featuring heavy on the frangipani fragrances in a variety of price points.

Budget Frangipani Scents (Under $50): Lucy B. Pink Frangipani Perfume Roll-On retails for $24. It is lush and tropical. Urban Rituelle Beachcomber Frangipani Perfume Travel Spray is an exotic floral with light staying power that retails for $10. Voluspa Victoria Collection Corsica Petit Roll-On is a warm, slightly spicy frangipani fragrance with orange rind, pink peppercorn, and musk. It retails for $24.

More Expensive Frangipani Scents: Lily Pulitzer Beachy is an aqautic fruity-floral with a heart of frangipani. The 3.4 oz. EDP retails for $68. Annick Goutal Songes EDP is an exotic floral cocktail with frangipani, ylang-ylang, and jasmine grounded by vanilla. The frangipani works so well in this blend. The 1.7 oz. spray goes for $80. Kenzo Amour EDT is a romantic floral containing delicate frangipani. The 1. 7 oz spray goes for $55. Memoire Liquide #400 Fleur des  Tropiques Parfum is a lush, intoxicating exotic floral with frangipani, gardenia, plumeria, and many more tropical florals. It’s a lush, torpical floral arrangement in a bottle. It retails for $65. Lolita Lempicka Fleur de Corail EDP is a warm, sunny frangipani fragrance in a lovely bottle. The largest goes for $69. Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Desire EDP is a fruity-floral with frangipani. It’s not my favorite frangipani fragrance but it is in there. The largest 4.2 oz goes for $59. Usher for Women EDP contains frangipani with top notes of pink pepper and base notes of woods and vanilla. The 3.4 oz goes for $68. L’Artisan Parfumeur Fluer de Liane EDT is a complex “rain forest” blend. It is humid, green, woodsy, and an intoxicating floral all in one. I really like this one. The 1.7 oz. spray retails for $95.


Songes Perfume for Women Eau De Toilette Spray 1.7 Oz by Annick Goutal

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

tuberosecollage

Tuberose is one of my favorite notes. It’s intoxicating, enchanting, and so feminine. It’s for a confident woman who isn’t scared to be a little over the top. It is many fragrances so I narrowed this “collage” down for the tuberose enthusiast, for the person wanting a tuberose heavy scent. As you may notice, it’s a luxe note so you will see more in the “expensive” category.

Bargain Tuberose Scents: Tokyomilk Pafum French Kiss is a lovely white floral blend heavy on tuberose and gardenia. It is a steal at $28 for 1 oz. A slightly sweet and exotic tuberose scent is Voluspa Victoria Collection Tuberosa Agave Roll-On. It smells of tuberose and coconut milk. It retails for $25 for half an ounce. Parfums des beaux Arts Tubereuse EDP is a pure tuberose soliflore. It’s one of my favorite “tuberose” scents. It retails for $27 for 1/4 oz. Filles des Iles Floral Exotique is a sultry blend of tuberose, orange flower, and jasmin. The .33 oz. roller-ball retails for $18. I know it isn’t a “budget” scent but the roll-on available at Sephora is a nice deal. Piguet Fracas is a lovely scent with tuberose and the adorable roller-ball retails for $25. It has always defined the tuberose scent for me.  DL & Co. Angel’s Trumpet is a nice blend of night blooming florals like tuberose and angel’s trumpet. The roller-ball retails for $45.

More Expensive Tuberose Scents: Jo Malone Tuberose cologne is a pure, intoxicating tuberose fragrance. The 3.4 oz. bottle goes for $100. Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is a must have for the white floral lover. It is a lovely marriage of tuberose and gardenia. The pure parfum comes in a beautiful bottle that resembles jewelry and retails for $325. It is also available in a less expensive EDP spray. Jean Patou Joy is a classic floral heavy on tuberose. The 2.5 EDt goes for $110. If you like Piguet Fracas then give Joy a try. This fragrance brought tuberose pack into the scene: Michael Kors EDP. It’s a moden tuberose fragrance, still very sexy and classy. The largest bottle goes for $90. L’Artisan Parfumeur Tubereuse is a sweet and exotic tuberose scent with coconut and ylang-ylang too. The 3.4 oz. bottle retails for $135 and it smells like a tropical vacation. Creed Tubereuse Indiana is a sexy tuberose soliflore with ambergris hints that keep it grounded. The 2.5 oz. bottle goes for $210. Editions de Parfums Carnal Flower (gross sounding name, I know) is a nice tuberose interpretation. It retails for about $195. Profumi Capri Capri Night is a romantic blend of tuberose and gardenia. It retails for $62. This is a beautiful scent, a simple blend of tuberose and jasmine: Profumum Tuberosa. It seems simple but it sexy. It retails for $240.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Gingembre is a perfect cool weather fragrance. I live in Washington, not just anywhere, around the Puguet Sound: Western Washington. We are known for our massive amounts of gloom and rain. For a closet goth and a mushroom hunter, this is paradise. I love the cooler, foggy,  seaside days. The rain is here just like clockwork starting on October 1st. It’s a bit chilly (50’s), cloudy, and rainy. If you’ve ever visited this area during the rainy season, then you know why we love our coffee. It is the only thing that warms you up and gives you energy during this season (even though many of us are into our tea). Today I am wearing Gingembre. It is my comforting travel mug of steaming dark roast and cashmere blended hoodie on this cool, rainy, classic PNW day.

Gingembre is spicy and comforting. If you love gingerbread or ginger snaps then you should love this. At first it feels and smells like the steam off of a masala coffee or chai. It’s spicy with nutmeg, allspice, anise, and clove. The ginger comes in, more of a dried powder, Indian market ginger. This scent then becomes my spice cabinet. You can smell the gourmand spices mixed with ginger powder. It has a bit of beeswax which adds so much to this fall/winter spice blend. It gets a little sweeter but not super sweet like a spice cake with cream cheese icing. This is more like a chai with a sugar or honey. If you pay close attention you can get a bit of a floral, like a honeyed, dried rose. It’s so beautiful. The great thing about the PNW is that this time of year you crave fall baked goods heavy with ginger and cloves, hot beverages, you smell the ground which is soaked, mossy, mushroomy. But, it isn’t “dying”. There are many evergreens and roses are late. We get roses up until November. It just delights me that this perfect fall/winter fragrance has rose. The dry down is delicious like a handsome man wearing a cologne heavy on patchouli and resins while sipping suavely on spiced rum in front of a blazing fireplace.

This one is a keeper for me. I thought my favorite ginger scent was Serge Lutens Five O’Clock au Gingembre, but  right now I love this one more. Five O’Clock is more of the aroma of a moist, baking gingerbread cookie ready to come out of the oven. This one is more of a crispy gingersnap and a cup of comforting chai. This being said, I think this is a nice unisex scent. It’s sexy on either a man or a woman.

I would say that you would like this if you are looking for a fall/winter ginger scent (not a tropical or fresh ginger), something  like Serge Lutens Five O’Clock au Gingembre , Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger Cologne, Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté, L’Artisan Parfumeur Navegar, Armani Prive Ambre Soie, Perfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique, Mark Buxton Sounds & Visions, and/or Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale.

This fragrance is made from 94.5% botanical ingriedients. It’s long-wearing, very realistic and natural. The 1 oz. spray goes for $70 and other sizes are available. It is available on the fragrance house’s website.