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

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.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Mahjoun is a decadent gourmand that is a must have for the honey lover. I love the scent of honey. It’s sweet but raw. This makes it difficult to wear. If you are one of the lucky and confident few out there that could wear a heavy honey based scent then this is a must for you. The fragrance’s website describes Mahjoun as “exotic, sensuous, and delicious“. Oh, it is. And it is based on the Moroccan delicacy (an ancient cannabis confection). I have never traveled to Morocco. Mainly because I love the “exotic” vision that I have of it in my mind and I don’t want to be let down. I want it to always be that “faraway” place. I love to picture the textures and smells of Morocco. I imagine bold spices, dried fruits and flowers, and precious resins. This is what I imagine and this is what Mahjoun delivers. It makes my mouth water. It is much sweeter than what I would imagine the streets of Morocco being like. This is much more dessert and gourmand and intoxicating, as the name implies. I usually can’t (or won’t) wear “sweet” fragrance but I see myself wearing this one frequently. It is sweet but it has so many other things keeping it interesting and “raw” while remaining beautiful. It is so sweet like honey as soon as you put it on. It’s sweet but very musky and sexual. At first spritz, it is a all about the sweetness of raw honey with a heavy dose of bitter almonds and zesty citrus juices. You can pick up a bit of lavender. This makes this is a crisp but sweet scent. Lavender honey is one of my favorite treats, especially in a black tea with a squeeze of lemon. The crispness fades fairly quickly and you are left with the “heart” of this fragrance. The heart is much like a sweet, sweet confection. It is heavy on the honey. It’s rich and golden, syrupy. It is mixed with dried fruits. I pick up on the dried dates and the dried pipe tobacco like aroma of dried figs. It is far from smoky, it just smells like a mix of honey and dried fruit flavored pipe tobacco. It has a dusting of sweet spices like nutmeg. It isn’t really “spicy”. The spices just add to the richness of the honey and sticky dried fruits. They are very understated. The “heart” has a bit of toasty nuttiness. Hazelnut in fact. My favorite. This makes this scent almost masculine/unisex and a must have for the lover of L’Artisan Parfumeur Mechant Loup EDT (my review here). I imagine it as a very intoxicating scent on both males and females. It’s really for anyone who has dreamed of being swept away by Rudolph Valentino as The Sheik. (This fragrance really does embody that Silent Film obsession with “exotic” and “sensual” and “forbidden” Bedouin culture).

The dry-down is less smoky and resiny than I would of imagined/predicted but it is there. It is an oriental blend of “exotic” resins and precious woods. It remains honey-ish but more in a beeswax with honey way with lots of amber, myrhh, sandalwood, frankinsence. It smells of exotic incense. I have to say that this is my all time favorite honey based scent that I have tried throughout my many years of sniffing. It is less “pissy” than L’Occitane Honey & Lemon EDT. It is sweet without sweetness being its soul purpose of existence like Lush Honey I Washed The Kids Solid Perfume.

Notes include the following: bitter almond, cardamom seed, cherry blossom, lavender, lemon, sweet orange, Bulgarian rose, fig, hazelnut, honey, nutmeg, orange blossom, sugar date, amber, atlas cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, sandalwood, and Arabian myrrh. Many sizes are available. It’s a rich fragrance that wears for many hours closely to the skin. An 1 ounce EDP spray goes for $65. It is available at the Parfums des Beaux Arts website. I would say to give this one a try if you are a fan of complex honey scents or L’Artisan Mechant Loup, L’Artisan Havana Vanille, Tokyomilk Honey & The Moon EDP, Serge Lutens Chene, Arabie, or Fumerie Turque, Napa Valley Cielo EDP (my review here), just to name a few in the honey oriental genre.

Sometimes I run into a fragrance and wonder “why haven’t I had you in my life sooner”? This is one of those scents. Sometimes I smell something and it is so me. Despite my extensive fragrance collection, I see this (10 Corso Como)  is the kind of scent that I will keep going back to and using again and again and again. I flirt with many, many types of fragrances, but at heart my fragrance personality is “woods”. Especially, dry warm woods.

10 Corso Como doesn’t possess a certain in your face “wow” factor. It isn’t a chameleon. It doesn’t contain a collection of strange  “isn’t it ironic notes”. It’s just really pretty and a must have for the woodsy fragrance lover. It’s for those that love the richness and warmth of sandalwood, musk, oud, frankincense but don’t want to smell like hippies or like they stumbled upon a Grateful Dead tribute band concert when they were just trying to have a romantic picnic in the park. Don’t get me wrong. I adore a “headshop” fragrance oil, but I don’t want that from a $115 perfume. I want it to have some class, some beauty, some refinement.

10 Corso Como is one of those fragrances that you love or you hate. If you love sandalwood or oud, then you will most likely this one. In fact, you won’t find this very strong at all. You may find it too “weak” and “pretty”. The wearer that doesn’t reach for a woodsy scent may find this one too strong, too animalic, too smoky. I find it woodsy in a feminine way. It smells almost of a wood carved jewelry box where one would store their dainty perfume oils and aromatic elixirs. I can barely pick up the rosy elements. I get more a fresh, balsmy wood at first. It is a little strange. It’s very woodsy and balmsy. It smells like a clean, tidy recreation of an evergreen forest. When I say “clean”, I mean there isn’t any grit, moss, dirt, moisture. It’s the foresty perfume equivalent of those unadulterated “aquatic” based perfumes. It’s pure but it is not a synthetic forest scent that would remind someone of Irish Spring soap or a men’s cologne. I pick up on smooth woods and vetiver. It is very resinous and slightly “green”, but green like a mustard green or chicory (this I think is porcini raised in their pine needle beds, this aroma takes me on a mushroom hunt. I am an amateur mycologist, this does smell mushroomy). That’s the weird part of the fragrance. The strange forest, pine/vetiver, mushroom-ness. This stage quickly passes, about 5-15 minutes. It then becomes a turpentine-ish woodsy fragrance. It still smells like lady-like sweet woods such as sandalwood but with a bit of evergreen/turpentine edge. It really reminds me of the sap from an evergreen, mainly pine. A buttery sweetness is present among the woods and slight turpentine-ness (most likely the reason that I love it). This woodsy blend wears for some time. So to sum it up at this stage: Buttery sandalwood sap next to a a dried out piece of smooth evergreen wood. It’s much prettier than it sounds. I don’t really get the “smokiness” of this fragrance. I get an incense like aroma but no smoke. Frankincense provides an incense sans the smoke aroma. It smells rich and exotic but I feel it is there but in moderation. This is definitely more of a balsamy wood scent than it is a resiny oriental scent. The frankincense and musk is more apparent as the evergreen/porcini a.k.a turpentine fades. It becomes a sensual mix of sandalwood, frankincense, and musk. It becomes very elegant and almost too pretty. This happens after about 45 minutes of wear. It smells like a classic dry woods perfume. But, there is something a bit “off”, a certain strangeness that doesn’t scream at you but makes you realize that this isn’t your regular sandalwood obsessed fragrance. I think it is the oud wood/agarwood, one of my favorite notes in fragrance ever. I didn’t realize that I loved oud as much as do until about 2 years ago. It is such a weird note. It can smell like pretty dry woods, oil, floral, and even like porcini. Of course I love this wood for the fungal factor alone. It’s mesmerizing. I think why I like this fragrance so much is because the prized oud wood is there. In the beginning, I think this is what is making the top notes so strange. That spicy mustard/chicory must be the porcini like aroma of oud wood, it then gets a sandalwood warmth and really rounds out the sweetness of the buttery sandalwood present in this mix. It adds a bit of an unusual character that makes this scent glamorous and in my opinion worth the price.

Some people complain that this fragrance doesn’t last long. Yesterday when I wore it, it wore for 16 hours. Today it wore for over 14. It is the kind of fragrance that lasts a long time but just very closely to the skin. That is typical of woods heavy fragrances. They are there, you may not notice it, but others will. Woods make a fragrance last.

Notes listed include: rose, geranium, vetiver, frankincense, musk, sandalwood, and Malay oud-wood. Prices range from $85 to the 1.7 to $115 for the $3.4. Bath products are available in this line as well, oh, and a solid perfume. Have I mentioned that I love the 30’s vintage feel of this bottle? Since I have been renovating our 30’s home, I have been all about that era’s design. This bottle is right on and based on a flea-market find antique perfume bottle. It is available at beautyhabit.com.

L’Aromarine Opopanaux is a very rich scent in a very rich medium. It is a long wearing perfume oil. It can be diluted into alcohol for a lighter scent or mixed into other things such as epsom salt as a bath salt. It wears all day, but after the first few hours very closely to the skin. It is a rich, resin scent. It is both powdery in an amber way or myrrh and almost citrusy at times, like a mix of lemongrass and lavender. So what I guess I am trying to say that it is almost pine-y and coniferous while being boldly sweet and ambery. So, yep, a resin or a balsam: opopanox. This is a scent that I like but rarely wear except for in the winter months when I wear amber and frankincense based fragrances. You can pull off heavier scents then.

I would guess that you would like this fragrance if you like warm and rich amber, opopanox, myrrh, and frankinsense based fragrances, smoky incense scents, headshop fragrance oils, “oriental” scents,  Demeter Incense, Annik Goutal Encens Flampoyant EDP, Serge Lutens Chergui or Ambre Sultan (Serge loves to put opopanox in stuff), Regina Harris Amber Vanilla, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist (if you watered the L’Aromarine down), and/or Guerlain Shalimar. This scent is nice alone or mixed. You can mix it with vanilla oil for a sweeter take or with a rose oil for an elegant oriental perfume blend. I would say that it could very easily be unisex and very nice on a man if mixed with a woodsy oil like cedar or patchouli. It retails for under $10 and can be purchased on beautyhabit.com.

Eau D’Iparie is a beautiful warm fragrance. It wears closely to the skin and smells rich and warm without being sweet. Eau D’Iparie is more of an imaginary fragrance that evokes mood. It just smells warm and comforting but exotic without being too “exotic” for everyday wear. It smells like incense and warm resiny ingredients like amber. L’Occitane describes the fragrance as such:

“A town of magical fragrances. Imagine a place where myrrh and incense reign – Iparie. Its generous walls contain a blend of precious resins. The air is filled with myrrh and incense, a blended scent which is like a limitless gift. Transported along the ancient incense road to the eastern Mediterranean countries, these rare ingredients are now combined to create the intense, sensual and mysterious wake of Eau d’Iparie”

Pretty mood evoking, huh? Well, I’m sure ancient incense road journey isn’t as pretty smelling as L’Occitane is claiming. The scent is warm, woody, and a bit tobacco-ish. Initial spritz is a bit strong and “old fashioned”, like a men’s cologne. It smells of cedary myrrh like notes and earthy patchouli. It dries down to a nice close wearing fragrance that smells sweeter than the woody first spritz notes. It smells a little sweet but not in a fruity or gourmand way, in an amber and dried tobacco way. It does smell like some mystical spice trade caravan. What you hope it smells like. It smells of exotic woods, rich spices, fragrant incense, and sweet, dried tobacco. It dries down to a nice “greener” feeling fragrance that is stilll really resiny. I’m really happy that I picked this up on sale for about $31 for 4.2 ounces. It wears nicely and the lasting power isn’t too bad for an EDT since it wears intimately close to the skin. I am really impressed with this fragance, especially in comparison to other things found on the mainstream market. This is more interesting and complex. It actually smells sexy and “exotic”. I really hope L’Occitane doesn’t discontinue this one (I’m pretty sure they are). It is just too good. I really feel it would smell amazing on a man or a woman. I like it, it has an adventurous, tour the world type of attitude.

I love the smell of incense and I have my favorites. I like the “hippie” scents even though I am not a hippie and typically don’t like the same things that they do. I love incense but hate buying it. Thank goodness for the Internet. I was sick of visiting the creepy crystal lady.

Anyways, Demeter Incense is a very pleasant and nice fragrance. It is warm and sweet and not smoky or spicy. It isn’t Nag Champa or frankincense. It is very soft in an amber resin way and is almost vanilla-ish. (It isn’t too vanilla sweet and it definitely is not a cupcake by a long shot.) It isn’t a headshop and doesn’t smell like Dragon’s Blood or whatever. It isn’t heavy. It is light and very resiny. Demeter incense uses Copal. The Demeter website says,

Demeter’s Incense is centered on a unique core of Copal. Copal is a type of resin produced by plant or tree secretions, particularly identified with the forms of aromatic tree resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as a ceremonially burned incense, as well as for a number of other purposes.
More generically, the term copal is now also used to describe resinous substances in an intermediate stage of polymerization and hardening between more viscous and ‘gummy’ resins and amber.”

So that is why it is amber-ish but not dead on amber resin. This fragrance really wears nicely on skin and has a better than average lasting power compared to other Demeter scents. I will buy more when I am out. It comes in a 1/2 ounce splash, 1 ounce spray, 4 ounce spray, calming lotion, shower gel, body oil and room spray. I want to try the oil.

Copal Rocks, thatll be what Im smoking.

Copal Rocks!