Amber Elegantly (Perfume Thoughts: Le Lion de Chanel, Chanel)

I’ve wanted to sniff Le Lion de Chanel for a while now. Obviously, the name appealed to me, and I have always been fond of most of the Chanel Exclusif collections. I always fantasize about making it my ‘signature’ scent, as it would be so fitting, title-wise. And upon first blast, I had one instant reaction: it smells very Chanel.

Meaning: it’s refined, it’s couture, it matches everything the house represents. It’s an amber scent, and it does so beautifully. I imagine wearing this scent with pearls, I imagine wearing it with tweed. It would not feel out of place wearing it with head to toe Chanel things. It’s a sweet elegant amber, with added notes of leather, and incense. It’s strong but not cloying, it has its presence felt for sure but never overstays its welcome. It’s rich but never overpowers. The aldehydes are abundant, just like a Chanel scent would, but it never feels synthetic. It smells expensive.

If I had smelled this ten years ago I would have grabbed it instantly. Nowadays, I am more cautious with warm scents. But I don’t know if I can resist this.

Inducing Fever (Perfume Thoughts: Fever, Jimmy Choo)

My first big mistake was sampling Jimmy C hoo ‘Fever’ on a hot summer day. On a scorching July morning, this is the last thing you need: it’s a heavy, jammy, amberr-y dark fragrance, and it is probably more suited on colder weather days. The plum here is dense, and it instantly gave me a headache. And the vanilla base was relentless. I hated it immensely, and wanted to throw up as soon as I sniffed it. A scrubber!

Sea Candy (Perfume Thoughts, Riva Solari, Bvlgari Allegra Collection)

Bvlgari’s Allegra’ collection is a series of scents expressing ‘Italian emotions,’ and I had a chance to sample ons of them, ‘Riva Solari,’ and the fragrance is meant to evoke a boat ride on the Mediterranean. I have always liked the Bvlgari house, and always thought their perfumes have a distinct and unique character.

This isn’t bad, if a bit slight and colorless. It is a powdery citrus, and is pleasant, but in my opinion lacks a distinct character. It also has a slightly salty feel (probably the sea reference)but kinda faintly sweet the same time. I think faint is the big takeaway here – there is very little projection from it, thought the fragrance lasted a long time (I did use the whole sample though)

All in all, it’s on the unremarkable side. I do like the candy bottle though.

Dewy Barbershop (Perfume Thoughts: Lavande Romaine, Perris)

I don’t write about Perris that much. I don’t even think I have anything from their house. But for some reason, I was looking through my samples and found I have one from them, of Lavande Romaine. I think it is from one of my Scent Bar visits. The scent is by Jean Claude Ellena, and it is a classic Ellena – watery, transparent, very original. It basically centers on two notes: lavender and black currant. When I first spritzed it, my first reaction was: ‘this smells juicy.’ I love the sweet and tart combination of the black currant note (L’ombre dans l’eau is one of my all time favorites) and the mix here is quite original. This smells like a dewy barbershop. It’s interesting. But.. this is just so fleeting on my skin. It did not even last an hour on me – a lot of Ellena’s creations do that on my skin. I find I have to douse myself with it to capture its full intensity.

Not My Way (Perfume Thoughts: My Way, Giorgio Armani)

Out of Sinatra’s musical canon, ‘My Way’ is my least favorite, and that is part of the reason I really was looking forward to sampling Giorgio Armani’s ‘My Way.’ The song is just too saccharine and weepy. So of course the perfume that takes its name is a sweet syrupy mess. Wow, at first blast, this is just synthetic sweet. I am looking at the notes and it is saying that the main note is tuberose, but on my skin, it’s just a sweet berry. It’s sweet candy – I have seen it described as smelling like gummy bears – and it smells, well, the only word I could think of is cheap. Armani is such an elegant (almost conservative) house so I was actually surprised how screechy this smells, akin to a drug store brand. This smells generic and mediocre and really, I don’t want to know the person who wants to wear this. So yes, this is a big flat NO for me.

Fresh Frankincense (Perfume Thoughts: Paris-Edimbourg, Chanel)

I really do like Chanel’s Les Eaux collection, which is a set of olfactory experience from Coco Chanel’s life travels. I think they are perfect if you want ‘lighter’ scents, and when I am in the mood for. something like that (though not always) it is a great luxurious way to mist yourself. I recently got a sample of Paris-Edimbourg and on a perfect summer day it’s a fresh scent that’s interesting and not run of the mill.

Paris-Edimbourg is the route Chanel used to take when she was with the Duke of Westminster and is a rugged castle in Scotland. The scent translates to some fresh resinous notes – icy juniper and cypress. It smells of wet green forest. And there is a whole underlying tone of frankincense. I always associate incense with dark and warm notes but here the effect when mixed with the greens is…clean. It feels like a fresh shower and is perfect after such. It’s herbaceous but clean and powdery. It is a very unique take on the ‘fresh’ scent, something I normally get bored with.

It’s light, though. I think I have ot probably refresh it a couple of times a day if I want to wear it like I wear my scents. But… I like.

Shoulder Pad Scent (Perfume Thoughts: Bon Monsieur, Rogue)

It’s Memorial Day weekend and I am in Las Vegas visiting family. It’s hot in here right now, like triple digit hot, and usually I would just do regular colognes, but I figured I would wear something that is a little bit of a coolant, so I brought with me my sample of Bon Monsieur, by Rogue Perfumery.

It’s a blast of cold air on repeat, with its lavender and mint notes. There are some florals here too – ylang ylang and carnation – but the star here is the lavender note. It’s not your usual watered down lavender. This one is raw and rooty and it feels different somehow.

A lot of writeups about Rogue mention how its nose, Manuel Cross, does fragrance that are reminiscent of vintage ones. This one has big shoulder pads in them – it’s very 80s powerhouse mens scent, but there’s something about this that also feels modern and not too synthetic-smelling.

I like this a lot. I don ‘t know if it is something I would buy, but I can enjoy it while I am wearing it now.

Plain Jane (Perfume Thoughts: Vanilla Vibes, Juliette Has A Gun)

I find Juliette Has A Gun’s later releases to be good solid uncomplicated perfumes. There was a time when everything they released was centered around the rose note, but obviously they have evolved. Vanilla Vibes is exactly like that – a plain jane vanilla of a fragrance. It’s a nice vanilla bean note – not gourmand and nothing too syrupy. And while I associate vanilla with heavier fragrances, this one is summery, with hints of coconut, and a little bit of that suntan lotion note. It’s not my most favorite thing in the world, but unlike other vanilla-centric scents that give me a headache, this one was at least tolerable…and wearable.

Lush Lilac (Perfume Thoughts: A Drop d’issey, Issey Miyake)

I was randomly reading about Issey Miyake’s new fragrance, A drop d’issey and the article mentioned that the scent reminded them of Olivia Giacobetti’s En Passant, and that suddenly caught my attention. En Passant is easily one of my favorite perfumes of all time so I know I would like anything that is a shadow of it. Well, I love this, and I may have to break my no-buy pledge for a full bottle. This is a beautiful summer floral, featuring a watery lilac note. There aren’t a lot of lilac scents out there, and this one is particularly well-done, like a bright water color painting. I can see why people are comparing it to En Passant, and while both share a lilac accord, Giacobetti’s masterpiece is more artsy and contemplative. This scent is brighter, cheerier, and yes, a more commercial version of the same idea. There is nothing wrong with either, and each has a specific place in my wardrobe.  A drop d’issey is a summer coolant that will invigorate and refresh.

Grow A Pear (Perfume Thoughts: Pear Inc., Juliette Has A Gun)

Juliette Has A Gun’s Pier Inc. is exactly what you think it smells – like a pear. It’s just a pear note, and it’s an accurate reproduction of what the fruit smells like. There is not much nuance and imagination to it, but do we really need that all of the time?

Yes, we do. While this is an inoffensive fragrance, it’s also quite meh. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the house is a niche brand, and this smells almost cheap, like something from the drug store or Bath & Body Works. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but with the bottle’s price points, I want more.

With that said, I am sure this appeals to a certain kind of market, and I don’t even mind wearing it on a hot summer day.