Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

This is a fragrance that I thought I hated. As I’ve matured, I have found that I don’t dislike this one. This is my favorite Clinique fragrance and one of my favorite mass market, line specific, department store fragrances. Clinique’s slogan for this fragrance is “Intriguing, Non-Conformist Fragrance performs the role of a perfume, but goes far beyond”. Pretty bold coming from the “safest” cosmetic company that I can think of. This fragrance was created in 1975 by Bernard Chant, the man behind the classic chypre, Cabochard, and the 60’s floral, Estee. So, yes, Mr. Bernard Chant, was the creator of the many fragrances that Generation X-ers and beyond refer to as “old lady” smells. I find that I like “old lady” smells. I’m a vintage, old-fashioned gal. I prefer the scents that my grandmothers wore.

At first spritz, Clinique Aromatics Elixir is mossy and has a greenness from an old-fashioned rose. There is so much oakmoss. I need to add that I love a heavy dose of oakmoss in about any perfume. After the mossy rose settles, I get tons and tons of patchouli. So, if you despise headshop patchouli then stay away from Clinique Aromatics. It is an oily and rich patchouli with a hint of dried vetiver and dried lavender. This adds a coolness to the earthy patchouli and its bed of mossy roses. This really hits me as a Pacific Northwestern scent because of the moss, roses, and wet dirt. It’s like being at The International Rose Test Garden in Portland on a wet and dreary October afternoon. I love it. The dry down is still heavy with patchouli but it lacks that wetness and coolness. It becomes slightly powdery with soft amber and sandalwood notes. There is a 70’s musk present too. This soft, earthy and musky dry-down is reminiscent of many dry-downs of juices in the mid-60’s to mid-70’s. This means that if you wear this, then somebody may carbon date you back to the 1970’s. The dry-down reminds me of going through grandma’s containers of vintage face powders and perfume oil bottles that she saved for their containers. It’s powdery but has that richness of dark perfume oils. I must add that my grandmother did (and continues to) wear Clinique Aromatics Elixir as her casual, “around the house” fragrance. So, I do like this fragrance because it reminds me of laid-back days with grandma.

I am so happy that I gave this one another try. This is why I should never let go of perfume samples 馃檪 I’m moody and it only makes sense that my tastes would be too. I realize that many young adults will not find this perfume attractive. I don’t wear perfume for others. I wear what I like. This elixir is very long-wearing. I would say that I find it on my pulse points 12-15 hours after applying. It just contains so many rich and adhering fragrance notes.

Notes listed include: rose, jasmine, oakmoss, ylang ylang, vetiver, patchouli, musk, amber, and sandalwood.

You may like this if you like fougere scents or scents like Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac EDP, Estee Lauder Youth Dew Cologne, Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches EDP, Parfum d’Empire Fougere Bengale EDP, Serge Lutens Chypre Rouge EDP, Heeley Parfums Cardinal EDP, Tauer Perfumes Incense Rose EDP, The Party In Manhattan EDP, and/or Montale Orient Extreme EDP. The 1.5 oz retails for $42.50 and the 3.4 oz for $52.50. It can be purchased at Clinique counters anywhere or Sephora. It’s also available at fragrancenet.com.
Get it for a deal at…

Aromatics Elixir Perfume for Women Parfum Spray 3.4 Oz by Clinique

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Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Parfum de Grasse is a sophisticated spicy, resiny rose blend with lots of chypre notes. It isn’t a green or “fresh” rose floral. It is a bit sweet but in a honey or crystallized rose petal way. This is what makes it different from the other rose scents in my fragrance library. I tend to purchase those fresh/green rose ones. This one is different. It is rich and luscious, dark and mysterious. It is a long-wearing fragrance because it is made from 100% botanical ingredients. You get your money’s worth with this purchase.

The top has a spicy crispness. I get lots of the carnation and orange blossom. This is a classic spicy floral mixture.聽 However, it has a bit of a dried vetiver that adds a woodsy freshness to the spicy florals. This is not an invigorating or overwhelming vetiver. It smells of dried vetiver and at times it has a mossiness, the kind that only classic perfumes seem to pull off. The heart is sweet and floraly. It has rosy florals mixed with musky, sweet beeswax. I love beeswax when used “right” and this is fitting in this blend. It keeps the florals grounded. The beeswax also helps the fragrance “stick”, meaning that it keeps it long-wearing. I get a butteriness. I assume this is the orris because it is a tad floral. The dry-down is animalic without being offensive or heavy. It’s woodsy and mysterious. And the moss comes back. However, this time it is more of a mossy incense.

I love how this fragrance uses natural botanical ingredients that mimic Old World animalic floral perfumes. DSH has vision and talent. This is a wonderfully modern take on Old World perfumery. This is a wearable resiny, animalic floral. It is packed with classic notes and it all works together. It has it all: spice, florals, sweetness, woods, and chypre notes. It’s a “dark” floral and that is why I like it. I also like it because every time I sniff it, I get something different. It’s complex and cerebral.

Notes include: bergamot, mimosa, neroli, carnation, centifolia rose, French beeswax, jasmine, orris, Brazilian vetiver, moss, and sandalwood.

Give this one a try if you are looking for a “darker” rose/floral or if you like scents like Les Parfums de Rosine Une Folie de Rose EDP, Tom Ford Private Blends Noir de Noir EDP, Lubin L de Lubin EDP, Byredo Parfums Rose Noir EDP, Guerlain Mitsouko EDP, and/or Shiseido “Classic” Zen Cologne.

The 1 oz. EDP spray retails for $135. Other sizes are available.This blend is available at DSH’s website and Beautyhabit.com.

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)聽 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聽 “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.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love these little old school highly fragranced body lotions. I hope Avon realizes that this “retro” packaging is what sells these Perfumed Skin Softeners. Well, at least it does for me. I like to have them out, there isn’t a logo, a label. They are just in a “sphere”. They really look nice in a boudoir. They retail for about $5 and are frequently on sale for about 99垄 on Avon’s website.

Candid is a nice fragrance for those that like a classic late 70’s floral oriental type fragrance. I love a late 70’s oriental. It’s a dated blend of heady jasmine, red roses, woodsy but feminine sandalwood with vetiver. It manages to smell “fresh” and clean, I guess because of the vetiver. The scent isn’t very complex. It’s all blended together to make a feminine, fresh oriental scent. I find that it does mix well with pure fragrance oils of any of the scents mentioned above. I love to wear it with either jasmine or rose to bring out the feminine quality. I can make it more masculine and zesty fresh with a spritz of L’Aromarine Vetyver or Guerlain Vetiver. Since the product is heavily scented, I can still smell it wearing very closely to my skin after all day wear.

The lotion is thick but not buttery. I still find that at night I need to apply a heavier cream to keep from being ashy in the winter. I just use this skin softener for the nostaligic novelty. And it does wear nicely with fragrance oils and some of my more “classic” fragrances.

The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

If you are a fan of vanilla, then you should love Hypn么se (please do not confuse with Lanc么me’s original Hypn么se 1950, confusing, huh?). Hypn么se is an oriental fragrance heavy on 3 notes: passion flower, vetiver, and vanilla. That’s really all there is to it, maybe a dash of other “flowers”.聽 I am not a huge fan of vanilla but I don’t dislike vanilla either. I like vanilla when there is just a hint to round and balance things out. This is a “sexy” fragrance I suppose. I’ve had ladies tell me their man loves this one, my hubby could care less (he’s no vanilla lover either). It is a bit heavy. It’s a vanilla blend, slightly sweet, with romantic a touch of florals with crisp almost masculine edge of vetiver. ( I would say the vetiver is what makes this one bearable). It’s not very me (needs more “wood” or more vetiver), but I could see others really liking this one. Also, I think it could wear nicely on a man, especially if you are a guy that likes Fresh Cannabis Santal or Boucheron Ja茂pur, just a thought. It is a long wearing fragrance and mainly wears of that “spiral” of vanilla, passion flower, and vetiver. If you get this on a scarf of something, it will smell like Hypn么se until you wash it. So you are getting your money’s worth 馃檪聽 For a Lanc么me scent it isn’t too bad (shame for a company that started as a fragrance house), but for a scent in this price range it isn’t the greatest. This is my opinion, like I’ve said, I am not a vanilla lover.

I would say that you would like this if you are a fan of vanilla based oriental fragrances, Guerlain L’Instant or Insolence, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Burberry Brit EDP, Dior Pure Poison, Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance, Strange Invisible Perfumes Magazine Street and/or Fresh Cannabis Santal. Since this is a heavier scent, I would say that it would wear the best during cooler months/seasons. The bottle is based on the original. It is sturdy glass, spiral, “evocative of a woman’s silhouette, with facets that shimmer in the light”. It has violet colored juice. It’s a pretty bottle, it feels expensive because it is hefty.

It is available in 3 sizes from 1 ounce to 2.5 ounces with prices ranging from $45 to $72.50. Do pick it up with a GWP, I love those things. * Currently it is available at fragrancenet.com.

Once again I have fallen for L’Aromarine’s adorable vintage packaging. I bought it for its cute packaging and I was looking for something to replace Guerlain Vetiver. The Vetyver fragrance is simple, an unisex single note fragrance, and is perfect for warmer weather. Vetiver is a grass that is used in so many perfumes and even household items from mats to hampers (which I really, really want). The fragrance is clean, refreshing, and well, “green”. You know vetiver when you smell it. It is grassy with a hint of citrus. It is like lemongrass but much more green and less foody. The L’Aromarine EDT is cute. It is cheap, under $20 (there are different sizes), long wearing, and simple.聽 It smells “refreshing”. L’aromarine’s is light but still manages to wear the entire day. The dry down, many, many hours later reminds me of the woodiness of patchouli. It isn’t fancy but I do like it just as much as Guerlain’s. I find this scent easy to wear for both sexes. It doesn’t smell masculine or feminine. It just smells clean and fresh.

So many fragrances want to “take us on journeys”. Which is fine with me. I don’t really see a trip to Timbuktu in my future any time soon. I just made a cross country move and have to get ready to live on one income while I finish grad school. L’Artisan Parfumeur is an unisex fragrance that wears nicely and contains many different fragrance notes. The L’Artisan Parfumeur website describes the fragrance as:

Timbuktu is a wild, yet sophisticated fragrance that is ultra sensual on women and men skin.
This perfume was inspired by the unique blend of flowers, ointments, spices and woods that are used by women in the sensual African perfumery tradition.

I have minimal exposure to the African perfumery tradition other than the goods I find at international markets. I’ve always loved the fragrance of these African “drugstore” soaps. In reality many of my Sudanese friends loved Clinique Happy and my West African girlfriends loved Dior. They found many of the scents that I liked too “raw” such as my loving of myrrh and amber. It’s all a matter of perspective. Anyways, Timbuktu is a nice mix. I like it as a women’s fragrance but I love it as a men’s fragrance.

Timbuktu starts out as a bit fruity with mango and pink peppercorn; however, it is no Victoria’s Secret body spray. It is fruity in a sour way, like unripe fruit. It is not sweet or succulent. It is made “dirtier” with spicy cardamom and something close to cumin. It stays a bit spicy on my skin. It is peppery but doesn’t resemble the B.O. odor that cumin has sometimes.聽 It eventually dries down to a soft oriental blend of incense, patchouli, myrrh and vetiver. But, it is not a “hippie” scent. It isn’t smoky or a patchouli bomb. It actually smells really “clean” and “dirty”, if that is even possible. Like let’s say “floral dirt”. I did wear it during a thunderstorm so maybe that affected my perception. I found some notes listed online and it says it contains karo karounde flower, which I have never smelled before. It is listed as a note in Estee Lauder Pleasures which is a scent that I really don’t love. I’ve tried finding info on the flower but just keep finding it listed in some perfume notes. Anyways, Timbuktu is a complex and nice fragrance. It is “exotic” because it manages to have contradictions such as clean but dirty, incense but not smoky. It is a very nice scent and I would recommend it to those that like strange or unusual scents such as Demeter Dirt or Demeter Beetroot. It is a great fragrance if you are looking for something different. It retails for $95 for the 50 ml, $135 for the 100 ml. Because this is a “spicy” fragrance I do recommend it for cooler weather wear. I tested it during the summer and was not offended but some people have said that it smells overwhelmingly “sweaty” and spicy on them during the summer. I really need to dig out my sample again. I think it would work well with musty fall weather.

Lovely pic of Timbuktu

Lovely pic of Timbuktu