Tag Archives: fragrance

Travelling Box of Perfume – notes from Lisa

We are speeding up, we are speeding up! Nancy has confirmed that she received the Box but today we have Lisa who is going to share with us her experience of playing around with the Travelling Box of Perfume content. So sit back, grab some tea and enjoy reading.

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Your general impression of the box once it arrived…
“Wowowowowowowow!” Excitement and glee. I unpacked everything, and while riffling through the box I noted that many of the scents were ones I had not tried before, and there were several houses with which I was unfamiliar, which only increased my excitement level. I felt a moment of sincere gratitude to everybody who contributed to the box prior to its arrival at my house, appreciation for a world in which there are so many wonderful things to smell, and then considered myself really fortunate to be on the list of MTBoP (Magical Traveling Box of Perfume) stops.
I read through the cards enclosed. I always love to read notes from other perfume fiends – it makes me feel like I have kindred spirits across the globe. Which, clearly, we all do.

Favorite perfume in the box…
My favorite fragrance from the box was the sample of Aziyadé, from Parfum d’Empire. It has so many of the notes I love to smell, individually and in concert: cardamom, date, ginger, and incense. I have always responded positively to a mix of spices and woods; I adore perfumes that straddle the line between “That smells good enough to eat” and “In my mind’s eye, I am in lotus position in a temple high in the mountains of Tibet.” I like to veer completely into one category or the other occasionally – I’ve been known to walk around smelling like a patisserie one day, and a stick of fine Japanese incense the next – but my favorite scents are those with a balance of both.

Least favorite perfume in the box…
My least favorite fragrance – actually least favorite line, since I can’t remember the individual names of the scents, but do remember thinking that I didn’t respond well to any of them – were the samples from Solstice Scents. Almost all of these struck me as very strong, heavy “head shop” scents, evoking a combination of overpowering notes of nag champa, patchouli and something called “Night Fairy Raven Blood” something or other.  On a positive note, these seem to be highly concentrated, so if you like them, I suspect that they could last for many hours.

Mini reviews
First up – Anima Dulcis. Sweet and rich, a heady and really smooth gourmand that isn’t cloying. I liked this one a lot. Unfortunately, it had very little projection or lasting power on me. Otherwise, I might be considering a purchase.
Belles Rives. An elegant, cool and clear iris. I read somewhere that this has a strong incense accord, but it is not one that I detect. I find iris scents lovely in the first 15 minutes, but they tend to lose their appeal once they get to the powdery stage.
House of Matriarch Bittersweet Symphony. Dark chocolate. Wow, weird. Yummy, then not yummy.
House of Matriarch Trillium. Ooh, this is interesting. Green, green, green. Reminds me of some perfume from my teenage years, whose name I can’t remember. This is like Smell Bent’s Florist’s Fridge, but perhaps deeper and richer. It is described as a tea scent, but I don’t really notice a strong tea vibe – just a strong sense of fresh vegetation and flowers.
Solstice – heavy and resinous, a little too much of a head shop vibe.
Hiram Green Slowdive. This is the heaviest, drippiest, most true to life honey scent I have ever smelled. It doesn’t just smell the way honey smells, it smells the way honey tastes, and feels on the tongue. Golden and syrupy.
Areej le Dore Oud Picante. I recommend just dabbing this one. It’s so powerful, I can’t imagine what it would smell like if it were sprayed. A plethora of spices, smoke and body odors, it is an intriguing evolution of smells.  I don’t think I could wear it in public, but this, and all of the Areej le Dore samples in this box, was sensational.

Lukasz, I have spent the last two weeks simply REEKING, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve kept the box on my desk, so that I can continue to test throughout the day while I work.

Out of the box
The House of Matriarch Trillium travel spray – I am fascinated by this one. I don’t usually wear a lot of green scents – mostly because they’re often fig-based, and fig is a difficult note for me after the first 30 seconds. However, this one strongly evokes a scent memory from decades ago, and I want to keep wearing it to see if I can clarify what that memory was.
The House of Matriarch Bittersweet Symphony travel spray – this one just needs more testing. I like its weirdness, and the distinct note of chocolate that comes after the first spritz. It keeps twisting about, though, and I lose focus on it, with the result that I am not sure if I like it, but I suspect that I might really like it if I my nose could concentrate on it long enough.
Prada Day for Night decant. This is a really smooth, comforting, amber-based perfume. Warm and slightly sweet, it strikes me as being very wearable on a daily basis, like a good cashmere sweater.  I remember posting on NST that this is not something I’d necessarily shell out big bucks for, but if it dropped into my lap, I’d take it. Since it has actually dropped into my lap, I will.
Aziyade sample vial. I loved this one, and I need to test it a few more times to see if I really, truly, need a bottle. I don’t detect a lot of cumin as others have described, but perhaps I am simply walking around smelling strongly of body odor and not noticing……
Areej le Dore Atlantic Ambergris. There are just a few drops left in this vial, but I am very happy that it was included. I am looking forward to wearing a drop and seeing how it evolves throughout the day.  Again, like most of the frags from this line I’m not sure I would wear it out and about, but it is definitely a scent that captures one’s attention with its sense of “taking a journey.”

Into the box
A decant of Berdoues Assam of India. This is a tea fragrance (no surprise), light and lemony. Nothing difficult or challenging here, just an easy, happy-making perfume, kind of like a Hermes Hermessence or Jardin scent.
A partial bottle of Houston, from Ajne Perfume. From the perfumer’s website: “…fragrant grasses, fresh powdery citrus, canvas and a wisp of pipe tobacco and leather. Houston is equally suited to women and men.”  I’m including the pretty box, because, well, it’s pretty.
A manufacturer’s sample of Bois de Paradis, from Parfums Delrae. This is one of my absolute favorite perfumes, and I want to send this sample out into the world for all to smell. It’s just beautiful.
From Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Essence Studio Collection, a rollerball of Hemlock oil essence. I received this in the last NST freebiemeet. It’s a challenging one, but hopefully there is somebody out there for whom this will be a perfect match.
From Soivohle, Ginger in Love, a botanical essence oil perfume. I am a fan of Liz Zorn and the Soivohle line, because she seems to simply go her own way while making really interesting scents.
From Commodity, a travel spray of Gold EdP. An easy and wearable amber/vanilla/musk.
From Guerlain, a partial decant of Rose Barbare with a few mls left. A really lovely rose.
From Hermes, a partial 15 ml bottle of Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. Nicely zesty due to the grapefruit, it’s very much in the vein of other JCE perfumes. Airy.

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Travelling Box of Perfume – notes from Pam

Please excuse such a long hiatus since the last time you’ve heard about our Travelling Box of Perfume but it was going through a bunch of obstacles. When the box was delivered to Clarissa1812 it turned out that she has to go to the hospital for the unplanned operation. I hope she’s doing fine now. So the box went to Undina where it got packed with even more samples. Next in line was Shiva Woman – Pam was struggling and fighting against devastating forces of nature but she finally found a moment to share her impressions with us all. I’m thankful for that and wish her strength

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Your general impression of the box once it arrived…
.I received the box in early February and I was relieved to find that I had tried on, or had about 1/4 of the perfumes—but delighted to see ones that I had never even heard of—or—lines like Killian that I had sort of studiously avoided so as to avoid other lines. The box was lovely, and what I most appreciated—and learned from—was Undina’s note, which I felt very privileged to read. She had kindly placed some Parafilm M in the box, a little to help with bottling; I regret to say I used most of it, because I placed a lot of bottles in the box. I ordered a roll of it after I got the box—and received it the day after I sent the box. I was hoping to add it. I like it ever so much more than plumbers tape or Saran Wrap—so Thank You Undina! It was just such a treat, a great gift and surfeit of lovely perfumes carefully packaged except for a few that got a little smudgy and lost a bit here and there, nothing serious. I recognized the Atelier Cologne box since I used to have one myself and thought it was appropriate from you as I know that’s a line you like.

Favorite perfume in the box…
Perfumes like Aziyade I already had—and loved. Overall, I think my favorite LINE became Parfum D’Empire. There were three PDE bottles in the Traveling Box that I passed on because I tried them, LOVED them, and knew I was going to have to spring for a bottle, (so why keep the sample?): Fougere Bengale, Tabac Tabou and Musc Tonkin. I’m hoping someday my fairy godmother brings me a lovely be-ribboned shopping bag with these. I have large samples of Osmanthus Interdite (adore) so this is a line that just works nicely with my chemistry and my style.
They’re different perfumes, recognizable, stand out, well-blended, sophisticated. If I had to really narrow it to one: Tabac Tabou but the other two are neck-and-neck and Aziyade is up there with Interdite. Nope—need ‘em all. The line is reminiscent of Serge Lutens in its overal oeuvre and though not nearly as weird and artsy—perhaps more wearable. But this is one of the few lines that, as a whole, impresses me in a like manner.

Least favorite perfume in the box…
Least favorite perfume was: Dambrosia Profumum Roma, a synthetic smelling sweet fruity nothingness. The nutty quality competes with the airy bubble-girl fruit compote. Not for me. This was followed by some Iris perfumes. I’m not an Iris lover. I admit that I knew that there were obviously Iris lovers starting with yourself. And I thought the challenge in this box was to find an Iris I Would Love. I found some I liked, but this was the nail in the coffin. Nope. My least favorite line: Jo Malone. Just a big No. The perfumes—to my taste (which runs Baroque, Opulent and Oriental)—are insipid, colorless, flavorless, unoriginal, cologne-style waters-of-cleanliness which I find boring. Words cannot express my distaste for this style of perfume. I’m not a fan of clean and not a fan of sheer. I like heavy, dark, gothic, intense and different. I realize that scent-eating skin”is a phrase used in the blogger world—but it’s really true for me. I could spray on vintage Poison with 5-6 spritzers and no one will smell it on me an hour later. I know. I’ve asked. Jo Malones were usually gone in a minute.

Mini reviews
4160 Tuesdays Centerpiece – A lovely sweet gourmand floral, leaning toward the vanilla and frangipani and tea. The wood is a back-up player along with the musk and the chocolate is simply not there on me. Does conjure up a floral sorbet. But it has a synthetic vibe I don’t like. This might play better to a younger audience.
1907 Mon Ame – Sweet rooty orris opening with powder and wormwood. Candied violet adds some dimension to what is primarily an orris scent with musk adding warmer fluffy sweetness to the violets-though this is not gourmand or “sweet” per se. It’s neither a dry nor astringent powder Iris. For me as a scent, it’s “meh.” Okay. The longevity is low to moderate and silage is not present. It doesn’t move beyond three inches off me, and there’s no trail. Not really my thing, but Iris lovers may like the sheer quality and less aloof formality of this Iris compared to others.
La Parfumerie Moderne Belles Rives – This is essentially an iris scent, very rooty and powdery, with Osthmanthus (which I do love so much) lending a whisper of sweet-leather, cedar and vetiver supporting the Iris, bergamot lending a brief bit of astringency. It’s not a leather perfume though—but Iris! After a couple of wearings, this has lasted about as long as it took me to write this review, with silage quite low. I liked the scent itself, “okay” for what it is, but it’s not a love for me, and with such disappearing notes, not for me.
Wiener Blut Palais Nizam – This is a very enjoyable incense fragrance. The woods/resins, labdanum, and artemisia give it a dry, desiccated feel, like some of Tauer’s perfumes and move it into incense with the labdanum. Brandy is just barely apparent in the dry down, but warms this scent up with a whisper of fruited plum and saffron which plays nicely with the dry quality, and imbuing some leather facets. This is the “galbanum equivalent” of leather-incense; it has a biting, yet soothing quality I quite like. It’s a clean leather as well, more herbal than animalic with little to no sweetness, unlike many incense frags that lean into amber territory. Would love a bottle.
Prada Double Dare – I enjoyed this but wouldn’t buy. It has a top note that is classic Bergamot-Shalimar for 5-10 minutes. It’s a bit harsh, like a 70’s vintages Shalimar that’s somewhat “off” but without all the opulent spice notes. The ylang is thin, but present. After a while, orris presents and that’s really the strongest note for me with the labdanum and the amber picking up behind. Rose is easily discernible, but I struggle to smell the patch which I think is more a sweet-amber supporter. It’s a lonely amber, not rich and resinous—but still cuddly, like a thin sweater with a few holes that need patching. The Amberwood gives it a synth-musky warm, even faintly tobacco smell. Overall good, but not great, however classic, pretty, and perfectly unisex.

Out of the box
I kept Calling All Angels by April Aromatics. I had heard about this and knew I wanted to try it. It was also the first perfume I put on—-in the parking lot at the Post office—and just loved. Incense Heaven, slightly sweet, slightly apple-booze brandyish (the honey) with a lovely-wood back-up. I swooned, but told myself there were miles to go before I slept. But in the end—that was a keeper. I’m an incense lover—arid, dry, church, smokey, woodsy, rosy—love all my incenses! For an all-natural or mostly natural perfume—this is a long-distance runner at an easy 10 hours on me!!! Jacques Fath Rosso Epicureo was one I was “fence leaning”: this has an almost Andy Tauer Fruitchouli Flash rose, leaning a bit toward the too-sweet side, but I wore it, and it stayed the distance, and was fun, sexy, big and romantic. It is equal parts rose, jasmine, orange blossom, and ylang, followed by a fruit-punch and odd herbal aspects (that did not quite appear on me). It gets extraordinarily low marks by other reviews (probably because it’s a semi-tropical hot mess) but I liked it. I also kept it in part because of space constraints: the box was getting too full and wouldn’t close and that bottle was slightly bigger. Jul et Mad Paris Secrets du Paradis Rouge was an odd one for me to keep. Again, not my absolute favorite, and I’m not a floral fan but the heavy orange blossom indoles along with honey and almond smelled so comforting and sexy, holiday and tropical on me, with a strong aspect of sweet-tart vacation candy so I kept it, and went against my own type. Missala Qessence was a love. It’s just my style—and it’s Polish! This is a spicy rose with incense and a romantic powder aspect. Purported spices of coriander and cinnamon do not show up as much on my skin, but the ylang stands out along with patch and oud-wood. This one was instant love and a keeper. I also want the large green bottle…. Last one I kept was Ex Idolo Ryder. Okay, this is me. Qessence and Ryder are just more my thing. This was a lovely amber-incense with tobacco and some vanilla (yeah, Tom Ford has made his mark). This was chewy, chocolate, and dense as well. If you combine these with the ones I let pass in the Parfume d’Empire line, you get a sense of what I liked. #1, #4, #5 are “me”—but the PDE line I gave up on keeping samples with that. It was just too painful.

Into the box
A lot – Jubilation and Epic Man from Amouage, Annick Gouta Sables, Oud Picante, Ambergris Russian Oud – all 3 by Areej le Dore, Arquiste Anima Dulcis, Atelier Cologne Cafe Tuberosa, Child Perfume, Encens Mythique d’Orient from Guerlain, Heeley Cocobello, Slow Dive – Hiram Green, bunch from House of Matriarch and Imaginary Authors, Hothouse Flower by Ineke, Night by Judith Lieber, Russian Tea + Romanza from Masque, Papillon Anubis, 4 Solstice Scents, 3 Teo Cabanel and finally Camel and T-Rex from Zoologist.

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