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.

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I finally bought the solid! It’s a great price at $16. It is a really fragrant solid. It’s loaded with scent of one of my favorite care-free feminine fragrances: Clementine. Clementine is a SoCal blend of night-blooming jasmine, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. It’s heavenly and every time I wear it, I want to move to California. It’s so pretty and easy to wear. See my fragrance oil review for more.

The solid comes in a pretty generous sized container. It’s much bigger than those offered by Lush or L’Occitane. (Think the size of a Smith’s Rosebud Salve). The solid base isn’t very creamy but it is rich. It warms up and smooths on easily with the warmth of your fingertips. It has a shea and cocoa butter base. It’s very moisturizing. The fragrance oils do so well in this moisturizing base. Like most solids, you’ll have to apply this a few times a day if you want to be fragrant all day. The scent lasts on me 2-4 hours.

This solid is available at beautyhabit.com. I can’t decide if I like this or the oil better. I like that this solid is travel friendly but I love the oil because it is sooo long-wearing.

The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

Dolce & Gabbana “Classic” EDT, the one in the red, is one of my favorite department store fragrances. I am not the kind of person that can go to Macy’s and find many fragrances that I like. However, this is one that many department stores carry and I love. It is warming, intoxicating, and it smells very “expensive”. This oriental fragrance wears very resiny and soft on me. It has a blast of citrus and refined flowers, but it smells woodsy and powdery. In my mind, it is what a fancy Italian women’s perfume should smell like.

At first I can pick up on the citrus but it is a perfumey citrus oil. I get rich neroli/orange blossom mixed with “classic” florals such as carnation and jasmine. The first few minutes are very neroli heavy. I know this fragrance hasn’t been around as long as other fragrances, but it really has a classic Italian perfume vibe. This is like a “going out on the town” fragrance, a seduction fragrance. It is very Anita Ekberg to me and makes me think of her in dream woman status in La Dolce Vita. The citrusy florals mix in to a powdery perfume blend. There is that spice from carnation mixed citrus blossoms. It becomes resiny, feminine, powdery, and sexy. It manages to be all of this while still smelling clean and fresh. I guess I have an old-school image of  the “clean” fragrance, less aquatic and soapy and much more powdery. The dry-down is a pretty blend of carnation, powdery amber, and soft vanilla. This is a fragrance that I like to wear in the fall because I like its warmth but I also like how it has a certain crispness thanks to the citrus and clove-like carnation. Somehow I can manage to wear this one in late summer, a little bit goes a long way.

Notes listed include tangerine, orange flower, red carnation, and vanilla. For an EDT, this fragrance wears for many hours on me, longer than many things labeled “EDP”.

I recommend this fragrance for those that like a warm oriental fragrance, YSL Opium EDT, Miller Harris Fluer Oriental EDT, Guerlain Les Parisiennes Derby EDP, Guerlain Sous Le Vent EDP, Estee Lauder Spellbound EDP, Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Parfum de Grasse EDP, Saffron James Punono EDP, Cartier Baiser du Dragon EDP, Serge Lutens Datura Noir EDP, Crazylilbellue & The Poppies Shanghaijava Collection Encens Mystic Solid Perfume and/or Avon Timeless Cologne. It comes in a few sizes and retails for about $64-$80.



Dolce & Gabbana Perfume for Women Eau De Toilette Spray 1.7 Oz by Dolce & Gabbana

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

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.

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.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH The Color Orange is a fragrance based on the color orange used in Rothko’s no.12. Appropriately it is heavy on citrus. Oranges are orange. At first spritz it is a juicy but rugged citrus. It smells like fresh, hand squeezed oranges. It’s a mix of the juice and the peel. It’s a bounty of mid-winter ripe citrus: juicy blood oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit. These are listed as the top notes and you can really smell them. Citrus crops are one of the few things that I enjoy about winter. Who doesn’t love the feel of a blood orange awakening the senses in the dead of winter? I can smell the lushness of blood oranges, the tartness of little mandarins, and the rugged sweetness of grapefruit. It is like an olfactory vitamin C bomb. It’s bold and refreshing, tart and only sweet in the way that a pink grapefruit or blood orange can be. Surprisingly, The Color Orange becomes “lighter” and flirtier. It has a whimsy blend of neroli/orange blossom. It’s still “citrus” but with a breeze of neroli/orange blossom. It becomes much more feminine, smooth, and less rugged. It’s just flirty, coy. It blends smooth like the oil paints used in a Rothko painting, seamless but with definition. I love the base. This flirty, coy citrus-floral turns in to a moody, Medieval animalic citrus pomander. The dry-down is spicy and rich with wintery myrrh, ambrette seed, and sensual musks. This isn’t a Christmas time craft project type pomander, heavy on cinnamon, stuffing an orange peel with cloves. This is how I imagine a Middle Ages pomander, animalic heavy on ambergris, rich resins, and orange rinds, all carried from distant, warm lands. Something to outweigh the less than perfect wintery weather of the land where you reside. This is a reminder of warmth, sunshine, and bountiful groves. Not the rain, cold, frost, snow, grayness of December.

I really like this fragrance for winter. It is refreshing, warm, and very much like the citrus in season. I would say that you would like this if you like “rugged” citrus, something “orange”, winter citrus blends, Diptyque L’eau de Tarocco, Keiko Mecheri Sanguine, Red Flower Organic Ambrette, Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange, and/or Fresh Bergamot Citrus. Oh, or Bliss Blood Orange & White Pepper body cream. The fragrance wears for about 4 hours.

A few sizes of this EDP are available. A 1 oz spray goes for $65. It can be purchased at DSH Perfumes website.

Rothkos no.12

Rothko's no.12

This is a rich and comforting fragrance that reminds me of Santa’s cookies and winter baking. It is a sweet, gourmand fragrance but I still like it. It is a blend of nutmeg, almond, orange blossom, vanilla, tonka bean, and musk. At first it is a spicy floral. You can smell the light, playful aroma of orange blossom mixed with spicy nutmeg. The orange blossom is a flirt and doesn’t hang around very long but you can tell it’s there even when it is “gone”. You soon smell the rich nuttiness of almond. I love the scent of almond. Nothing beats a nice Italian almond fragranced soap. I can smell the almond and rich, sweet creamy vanilla with a touch of “cocoa”. The almond gets sweeter, like it has been toasted in brown sugar. It smells like a delicious dessert (great vanilla almond cake recipe here) and it makes me want a strong cup of black coffee.It is a sweet fragrance. This is not an understatement. It is sugar and spice. It is the kind of scent that is too heavy/sweet for year round wear but it is perfect for cooler weather and winter, especially Christmas time. Sometimes fragrances like this are just what you need when the frost settles in.  The dry down is a comforting blend of tonka bean, musk, and vanilla.

This scent reminds me of sitting in a charming and cozy café, reading a used paperback book, holding it with cold hands as it rains outside. You order a hot latte  or a macchiato to warm yourself up. You’re wearing your favorite scarf and kind of the enjoy the cold because it is one of the first really “cold” days of the season. You look out the window to glare at the drizzle, look back down to continue reading. You hear your name, look up and to your surprise, it’s an old friend. It’s just going to be a good day.

This is a long wearing fragrance and wears for many hours. I would say that you would like this scent if you like gourmand, sweet scents that are heavy on vanilla or toasted almond, scents like Malzzolari Alessandro, Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie, Crazylibellule & The Poppies Poule de Luxe Vanilla Macarons, LaVanila Vanilla Spice, and/or Burberry Brit EDP. The 1.7 oz. EDP retails for $95. It is available at beautyhabit.com and sarahhorowitz.com.