Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seconds on the Clock: Sucre et Fleurs by Terri Bozzo

So, my friend Terri was nice enough to send me a sample of a fragrance she has been working on called Sucre et Fleurs (sugar and flowers), and I thought it would be a good time to bring back my favorite style of review: Seconds on the Clock. If you don't remember or were not around when I used to do this, the idea is simple: I write a little sentence or two on what I am getting out of a fragrance in few hour long intervals, then sum up the experience and offer a rating of sorts at the end.

Let's go.

1:50 p.m.: Upon application, my first thought was baby wipes. Maybe I'm tainted by too many cousins and relatives having kids lately and thus the smell of baby wipes is around me far too often, but this is really what I smell off the start. I get some powder and some soft florals but that's about it.

2:00 p.m.: After letting it calm down a bit, I am getting a lot more from this already. I am detecting a nutty note which after looking at the notes list I can tell is pistachio alongside some honeyed white florals (jasmine mostly with lily as well). It isn't the most original opening necessarily as I am still getting that baby wipe/newborn room kind of powdery smell, but I think that is partly due to the vanilla that is very prominent on the inhale. We'll see how it settles further in an hour or two.

3:00 p.m.: Thankfully that odd scent association is gone, and now I am left with a very pleasant pistachio/honey/jasmine combo that smells just slightly chemical but not in a "fake" way like some designer scents laden with aroma-chemicals are. Think of it more like a plastic/waxy vibe. The cedar wood/vanilla base is featured in this composition (I have worn the base by itself before and it was great!), and it really serves to curb the overly powdered opening.

4:45 p.m.: The fragrance has transitioned into the cedar/vanilla base almost entirely now. While there is some lingering jasmine the vanilla is now much more noticeable, with just a hint of dry cedar as an underlying note to help things not come off as too saccharine.

6:30 p.m. I'm surprised with how little that I sprayed that this is still going on. At this point though the fragrance has become entirely about that cedar and vanilla dry down with just a touch of florals (I feel like I've said that before). So, I'm going to call this one. I can imagine longevity will be perfectly suitable given how long it has lasted with two small sprays on my wrist.



So, this is definitely a scent that is a little out of my comfort zone, mostly due to the fact that I don't own much in the way of florals, and from the name at least, I expected it to be another super sweet take on the candied florals that litter the genre. That was not the case here, and instead what I received was a much more restrained, simplistic fragrance that does not try to do too much. I can see this being a welcome addition to a wardrobe for when you want something a bit floral but do not want to go full soliflore.  The opening is kind of a turn off for me, but I have a feeling that given some time and additional wearings I would get used to it and my scent association would go away. I hope that the little bit about baby wipes does not turn anyone off, because again fragrance is a very personal thing and just because that is what I smell does not mean it is what you will smell.

Once everything dries down I like the fragrance a lot more. I find it clever of Terri to use pistachio, a note I've never really experienced in a fragrance before in place of something like Tonka bean to offer that roasty, toasty mid note. I'm also admittedly a big fan of jasmine in fragrances and I'm not sure why. It is just dirty enough to not be so squeaky clean all the time, almost akin to when lavender is used well in a fragrance. It stops smelling like laundry and creates a new association.

I'd like to also address the fact that she uses the term "sucre" for sugar here, which gives me at least some expectation that it will be a sweet fragrance, and in a way it is. But, it's not cotton candy/white chocolate sweet, nor is it cloying unless you get up close and sniff for a while (I feel like any fragrance would get that way if you did that!).

While I feel like this might have been intended for women to wear, I do feel this works perfectly well as a unisex fragrance as long as men are okay with some florals to go along with their vanilla. While this doesn't stand out from the group of vanilla-centric scents I've smelled recently in terms of quality (of the vanilla), it serves its purpose well enough.

Overall I like this fragrance, especially from a relatively new perfumer in Terri. I think she definitely has a lot of potential and I look forward to trying her stuff in the future.

If you are interested in getting your hands on some Sucre et Fleurs, check out Terri's Facebook page "Decadent Decants." Pricing is an absolute steal at $12 for a 15mL bottle.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

On revisiting old favorites

While not a review, I feel the sudden urge to stream of thought some words down about revisiting old favorites in the perfume world. All too often as our collective collections grow, we forget all the ones that came first. All the fragrances that we looked up, researched, and sampled in order to start up our fragrance collections. I know for a lot of my fellow reviewers this process started out with a few blind buys, maybe even some that they regret. But not me. I was diligent in my methods. I scoured the Internet looking for websites, forums, anything really where I could read up on my newest infatuation: "Colognes."

For me it all started when I was tired of wearing Axe body spray every day, so I started to wear the only fragrance I had ever bought, Armani Code. Code was a night out fragrance, a scent that I would never wear with any actual regularity outside of when I had first bought it and I would wear it to school for a while. As I wore it, I wanted more. I wanted more variety like I had with the Axe body sprays (I would have 3-6 cans going at one time easily). So, I bought 1 Million while I was at Macy's, and tried out HM by Hanae Mori and liked that a lot too but didn't have money for both I ended up getting the HM later, and wore that rotation of scents to death for a whole summer.

 Fast forwarding a bit, I had finally found Basenotes while on a trip up to New Hampshire with a friend a few years back and I was hooked. The community was so friendly, and some of them had 20,000+ posts! I knew I could entrust them to guide me through the world of fragrances. As my collection started to grow, I picked out some that I really loved. Aventus was a big hit, and I remember getting a sample of Chergui from someone nice enough to send me a little of their personal bottle so that I could test it (I couldn't afford to be buying a bunch of samples at the time). Both of these were huge loves for me, and I eventually bought a bottle of Chergui and a large decant of Aventus Z01.

In fact, it is Chergui that inspired this vomit of words that is being typed out right now. It's wafting into my nose with each keystroke, building a layer of hay, tobacco, and just a slight hint of powdery cherry with each successive breath. It's been a long time since I last wore this, instead always favoring my newest endeavors into the perfume world, what some might call the more "daring" side of perfumery, filled with musks and extraits and brands few have heard of. I guess I've started to become a fragrance hipster in a way, and I don't wear that self-label proudly. No, I'd rather consider the fragrances I've nearly left behind. The ones that I've loved for years but don't often reach for. I long for those sweet days of naivety where I knew nothing of the notes, the subtleties that go along with fragrances. Of course, this is just a pipe dream, as I feel I've learned a lot in my few years of exploring, but it's a nice thing to think about from time to time.

So, maybe it is time for me to revisit some of my first loves. Back when sparks flew and my eyes glazed over when I discovered something truly special. Sure, these days I am still discovering exceptional fragrances, but there is nothing quite like that old friend to comfort you and bring you back.

--Andrew

Thursday, May 29, 2014

First Impressions: Eau Des Missions by Le Couvent Des Minimes



Okay, so this one I got for $19 (60mL) in a split from a fellow fragrance lover on Facebook. I figured it was a safe enough blind buy, especially when I heard it compared to a few other very famous (and very expensive) vanilla based scents. So, for such a cheap fragrance, the real question is: Is it any good? Short answer, yes. From the very start this reminded me of another five star cheapy, Choco Musk by Al Rehab. While this does not have the chocolate that the latter has, the opening in both is a very marshmallowy, super saccharine vanilla that is just ever so slightly powdery. Now, I can tell you right away, this isn't the best take on the genre I have smelled to date, but it does do a remarkably good job of remaining wearable and pleasant throughout its first few hours.

Once this sits on the skin and fabric for a while, it fades away very quickly. But, while it is in that process, it turns fairly spicy and just a little hit of benzoin. Now, I can't really fault this for not lasting that long, as it is an eau de cologne strength fragrance, but it is worth noting that this only projects for a few hours. Thus, it is a perfect "fragrance snack." By this I mean it is great to wear in between your morning and night scents if you change over, or if you just want a quick spritz of something different. I also think this could be great for layering as it stays fairly linear throughout its few hours in skin. I generally don't layer, but it is certainly an option here. Overall, this is a good scent for what it is trying to accomplish. It isn't going to blow anyone away, but it is a solid stab at sweet vanilla.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Working my way through Sonoma Scent Studios (part 2)

Tabac Aurea: (5/27/14):

I was told by several people that I would love this one, so needless the say the hype I have received prior to smelling this may affect my view. Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind as I sniff this is a few other tobacco scents I've experienced in the past with a big tobacco note. Like the others, this one has a very raisin-like, sweet fruity quality off the top. This reminds me in a way of the raisin tobacco and suede filled Sana by Slumberhouse, and the tobacco and honeyed hay of Sova by the same perfumer. These, at least from me, are very positive comparisons as I am a huge fan-boy of the house. Though, this one does not have that pungency of either of those, and instead is a little more subtle than a lot of the tobaccos out there. In my opinion though, it really does not develop all that much throughout its life, so if you don't like the opening (fortunately I do), then this probably won't be for you. It does dry down into something more smokey than the initial blast, but in general it's fairly linear. Again, this is up to interpretation on whether this is a bad thing or not. I don't really mind it.

There really isn't a lot for me to say about this that has not already been said before. There is a lot of woods in the base notes, things like cedar, alongside some smoky vetiver that isn't (initially) super noticeable, but once I started looking for it I realized it was quite apparent. Unlike my fellow reviewers, I don't really find this to be a very "true to life" attempt at a cigar/cigarette style tobacco (this is coming from a cigar smoker). Rather, it reminds me more of a pipe style tobacco that's a bit sweeter than your average cigarette or cigar. This is just another style option for perfumers, and one that I've personally experienced a lot of over the last few years that I've been interested in fragrances.

So, bottom line: I really like this scent, and I think it would be great for any collection that is not too heavy on tobacco fragrances. Me? I already own Sova (two bottles actually), which is my "holy grail" tobacco, and I have enough variations on the genre to keep me entertained with the note for the foreseeable future. If someone was to just give me this I'd wear it often, but seeing as funds are always limited this doesn't seem like something I'll end up having in my collection for quite a while. Still though, great scent and I do recommend it regardless of my kind of wishy-washy analysis above.

Spiced Citrus Vetiver: (5/30/14)

Well, this one starts off very strange to my nose. I get an almost citrus cleaner type of smell, with this thin layer of almost plastic-like smelling stuff that is not unlike the waxy candies I grew up eating as a child. Blood orange is definitely present, which brings with it its characteristic and true to life slight bitterness and smell/taste of raspberries. That odd opening that had my nose very confused dies down after ten or twenty minutes and at that point the vetiver is more present. Again, this is a more bitter take on the fragrance than I was expecting, but it certainly isn't bad. This is an all natural fragrance, and with that comes some challenges. I would assume a big one would be figuring out how much to use of each ingredient, and at least to my nose, the top is absolutely dominated by blood orange. Oh, and for those of you who are familiar with blood orange based designer scents like 1 Million, be aware that this is nothing like the more saccharine takes on the note, and is instead a much more true to life version. The spice comes from cloves, which are unmistakable in here. I've noticed Laurie likes using cloves, and here I feel they do their job of spicing up the scent nicely. That being said I am a big fan of cloves both in perfume and in food, so others may not be as keen on it as I am.

The later I get into the fragrance the less plastic shows up, and the more natural side rears its head. While this is definitely an entirely unique fragrance, I'm not sure it is for me. I still am not getting a ton of vetiver, but when I do detect it it is a peppery yet fresh take on the note, which is nice to see in this setting, as a dirtier vetiver would certainly seem out of place. The dry down is nice, but not something I am longing to wear again.



Now for some more rapid fire reviews based on wearings on each wrist and each nook of the elbow:

Wood Violet: (5/28/14)

The start is very light and full of violet. It is immediately a very soft fragrance, with some fairly noticeable minty vibe running through the back of the opening, alongside a soapy quality that makes me think of a high end floral soap my Nana used to have displayed in her bathroom. I don't get a lot of "woods" in the opening for something with this title, but there is a bit of musk that I guess could be mistook for a woody note since it is very faint. As it settles after 10 or 20 minutes, it starts to smell a bit like Play-Dough to me, and I am not really sure why. Maybe that's the violet in there (I don't have a ton of experience with violet since it is really popular in hyper clean designer fragrances...which I don't own many of), but it's got an almost fabric like smell as well. Not an unpleasant smell, just unexpected.

Once the dry down comes, I got much of the same. The scent faded a whole lot and became more of a skin scent. Overall I'd say this one is interesting for those who are looking for a good violet. Personally I'll pass on this one.

Velvet Rose: (5/28/14)

I think this is what I was smelling when I first got the sample pass and smelled the outside of the box the samples were packed in. I immediately smelled a jammy rose, and this was it. For those that love rose notes in fragrances, I can already tell you that this is one to go and sample. I am not a massive fan of the note, but I have been looking for a good rose perfume for a while. This is the epitome of the idea of jammy in a fragrance. This is sweet and only a little on the cloying side (an accomplishment for a sweet rose). This one also has a lot of violet leaf in it, so for those of you who are averse to violet, this might not be for you. The top is very floral, and in my opinion very feminine. I can still see this being worn by a confident man, but you definitely have to be willing to walk on that side of the street, if you know what I mean. I can't quite figure out what I am getting in the back. There might be a little musk, and maybe some sort of berry note (my guess would be raspberry), but I don't see that listed in the note breakdown. That being said, I definitely get some bergamot in here, and it is well done to add a citrusy, spicy aspect to the fragrance.

After this dries down a bit, the rose really becomes the centerpiece. It is a very nice, more relaxed version of the opening and something that I definitely like a lot. So, as I said above, if you are a fan of rose and don't mind a more feminine take on the genre, this one is definitely one to check out.

Lieu de Reves: (6/2/14)

Once again this one absolutely turns up the volume on the violet. Again, I'm not a huge fan of the note, but here it is handles well. It is another smooth take on violet, and altogether is not unlike Wood Violet. There is a noticeable combination of jasmine and some spicy woods after the initial spray which is very welcoming and calming, but to me at least the violet is still very intense. I can definitely see this being a treat for violet fans, much like the aforementioned Wood Violet (but I think I like this one more as it is more distinctive). There is vanilla in the base to be certain, and a sandalwood/tonka kind of combo in there as well (there may not actually be any sandalwood, but the vanilla and tonka gives off a similar vibe.

The dry down is much of the same, which is something I have come to realize in her scents more and more. The doughy violet is still here, and so are the softer notes of tonka and vanilla, though accented more on the tonka now. This is alright, but along with Wood Violet it just doesn't stand out enough to warrant a revisit.

Nostalgie: (6/2/14)

This one comes off as very feminine on my skin. From the start it is a mix of dense florals like jasmine and rose. The jasmine the perfumer uses is really excellent quality, as it is one of my favorite notes and I love experiencing a high quality one like in Nostalgie. This is also a bit powdery, but I believe this is here to smooth out the dense florals, and it succeeds in doing so. This strikes me as a straight from the book take on French perfumery that dates back hundreds of years, only modernized by the rose that is ever so popular these days.

As this dries down the softness continues to show itself, turning the fragrance away from the jasmine and more toward the rose. This got very light very quickly though, and after the bold, humid, thick opening it really settles down into something more akin to a skin scent than a projection monster. This is perfectly okay in my book, but I think I would have personally preferred the "in your face" style of the first few hours to last a little longer, as that is less common than all of the other light florals I've smelled. This is a good one though, and I could see any woman pulling this off successfully. Men, this is probably at least a challenge, but not too far off since the opening is quite strong.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Working my way through Sonoma Scent Studios (part 1)

So, I was lucky enough to get to be a part of the Sonoma Scent Studio sample pass going on via Basenotes recently. I am (so far) the last to receive the samples. As a result, I've been able to read several other member's posts about these fragrances, so my opinions may be slightly influenced based on what others have said. I am not picking these in any real order (except for the first one as I am going out today and wanted something lighter for the heat), so the little reviews you see here are not ordered in any particular way. It is also worth noting that these are very off-the-cuff reviews that are being written first as I apply the fragrance and then again a few hours later when it dries down and I've had time to live with it.

Without further ado:

Jour Ensoleille: (5/21/14)

Right off the bat I knew I'd be interested in this one as soon as people mentioned neroli and musk as being two of the dominant notes in this fragrance. Indeed, the opening is a fairly literal interpretation and representation of neroli, something I am very familiar with as I grew up with a little orange tree in my room. In fact, this fragrance as a whole reminds me of my room growing up. A little musky since it was located in my grandparent's house (I have no idea why their house always smelled musty and musky to me...maybe mildew?), but the neroli and orange scents cut through that musk just like it does in Jour Ensoleille. The opening isn't very complex, as I mostly get the neroli and musk, but there is a tuberose/white florals suite in there as well. Generally speaking, I am not a fan of tuberose, but in this creation it is hovering in the background, so it isn't a deal breaker for me. The name is an excellent descriptor of the fragrance, as Jour Ensoleille translates to "sunny day" as long as my limited French hasn't failed me (I checked a translator to double check), and I feel this is perfect for that kind of weather, especially in the first hour of the fragrance before all of the surrounding florals come more to the forefront.

A few hours later, it has dried down a bit and I am left with mostly the same fragrance. The orange blossom is still at the forefront, but the muskiness has turned into a more plastic-like musk than the original mildew/house musk that it was previously. I fear these descriptions are rather personal and do not really lend themselves to helping outsiders figure out what this fragrance is about, but it is the best way that I can try and describe them. It is worth noting that as this ages on the skin, the feel of the fragrance ages as well. At first it had a classical yet modern feel to it up top, but by the time the mid notes and base notes come out it is very much a vintage, classical smelling fragrance. For me, this is a perfectly good thing, but it isn't something I want to smell like all the time. For an occasional spring wear I could see this being a hit, but it's not something I will be immediately seeking out a bottle of.

Champagne de Bois: (5/22/14)

As soon as this was put on my skin, I got a sweet, spicy vibe that smells almost like baked apples and cinnamon. I think the note is actually pears, but it gives off that same sort of scent profile. There is also a light, crisp vibe coming from the top notes that isn't from the fruit. I am positive this is aldehydes, as this is one of those notes I have a lot of experience with smelling on women since Chanel is so popular. This isn't like that kind of Chanel aldehyde though, it's much sharper up top and has a more gourmandy feel thanks to the pears and spices The whole first blast is very pleasant, with some lurking musks in the background that remind me of the musk in Jour Ensoleille, which had a parallel with a few I've tried from Serge Lutens.

As this starts to dry down there is an excellent dose of a labdanum rich amber accord that really serves to sweeten this up, but not in a negative way. This is the sort of thing I am not used to seeing in perfumery: A sweetened, not overly fruit-filled aldehyde fragrance. It's definitely unique, and one of the better openings and middles of a fragrance I've tried recently. There is something seductive about it that really draws me in. There are layers of complexity here and if I stick my nose to it closely I keep unveiling something new.  This kind of reminds me of my grandmother's house as so many fragrances with labdanum do, and the essence that it has with aldehydes reminds me of my mother, who for her entire life has been wearing stuff like Windsong and Cristalle by Chanel. So, this really evokes some scent memories for me, which makes me like it even more. The more it dries down the more animalic it becomes. That musky labdanum becomes more of the center of the fragrance, and while this style of thing isn't new in perfumery, this transformation makes it rather interesting. What started as a lighter, slightly sweet aldehydic fragrance turns into something much skankier and this is a change that I personally really dig. Maybe it's just the name playing tricks on me, but I do kind of smell the idea of champagne soaked wood here in the dry down.

Definitely full bottle worthy. I'll have to wear this once more at the end of the sampling before sending it on to the next person.

Incense Pure: (5/23/14)

Well, the meaning is in the message the name gives off. This is indeed pure incense, with a big hit of frankincense from the very start, which dominates the top notes for a while. There is a lot going on in the background though, and the perfumer mentioned that she wanted to have this be a big frankincense fragrance with some labdanum in the notes to round it out alongside some sandalwood. I can't say that I get the sandalwood yet, but I definitely can see the underlying almost syrupy labdanum. This reminds me of a few other outdoorsy style incense, with the Comme des Garcons line coming to mind immediately with Kyoto (minus the cypress note) and Avignon (though definitely less cold), and Jovoy's La Liturgie des Heures with its coniferous green incense.

This is actually a fairly warm fragrance in terms of the genre, and that is something that I definitely commend it for, as all too often I find myself with cold, almost antiseptic smelling incenses coming in samples. It is hard for me to come to grips with describing and rating Pure Incense, as it is, at least at one point, a very true to life interpretation of its name. But,then as it dries down the greener notes come to light, and the whole fragrance becomes significantly more complex than it once was. It is this kind of duality that makes Incense Pure such an interesting fragrance, and I can tell just after one wearing that this is the kind of thing that I want in my collection.

Now, some have compared this to NK Incense, but I have still yet to crack open my sample that a friend sent me, as I know the stuff is exceedingly hard to find. Still, I feel that if some reviews are willing to toss this into the ring of serious powerhouse incense fragrances like NK, then that can only speak volumes of just how well composed this is. Take what I've written as an amateur's attempt to cover a genre that I've only really ever scratched the surface with. If you want a more in depth and knowledgable take on the fragrance, I'll direct you to deadidol's review on fragrantica.com (at the time of this writing it is the top review).

Another from Sonoma Scent Studio that I plan on purchasing in the near future! Of course my timing is pretty crap since they are on break until fall it looks like, and the prices on Indiescents are a lot more than her personal website. Drats!

Fireside Intense: (5/24/14)

Yep, that's a fire alright. I mean, I didn't really expect anything else off of the top, but I had a feeling that this might smell more like the smoky notes in something like Bois de Ascece, but it doesn't, at least not initially. Right from the start I get an almost barbecued smell to this. There is cedar right up in the forefront, with birch tar swirling in there to make an almost plastic kind of vibe. To me, for some reason, I am reminded of barbecue flavored chips/crisps as you first open up the bag and get that initial puff of air. This actually reminds me a fair bit of Engin by MadHat scents, as it shares that same sort of smoke heavy style while having an odd, almost thin quality in the inhale. Though, unlike the latter, I find this one gets a little tiresome on the senses after a while, and turns into an almost burning trash/wet dog food smell, to me at least.

So, as it dries down I don't get a whole lot of development, and instead it starts to trick my nose into thinking it is something else entirely. My issue with this style of fragrance is that very often it isn't really something I want to wear on my skin for more than a few hours, and this is no exception. So, while I do applaud the attempt, this one just isn't for me.

Fig Tree: (5/25/14)

I'm going to start off by saying that I have very little experience when it comes to fig notes. I don't know any of the "flagship" or "touchstone" reference scents that use the note, so my little review here is about as amateur as you will ever see on this blog. Anyway, the opening is soapy and fresh, using the fig note to offer that almost coconutty vibe that I hear it often has. This opening is a little rough around the edges though, and is definitely not your typical fresh scent kind of opening. It has a lotion/bug spray kind of quality off the top that is not really to my liking, but it dissipates after a handful of minutes as the fragrance settles. Once it calms down a bit I get a big dose of green notes, probably from the leaves of the fig tree itself, boosted with a hit of patchouli and what I think is some sort of herb like basil (but I'm not sure on that one). It's interesting to me that this is much less fruity and much more green/fresh than I was expecting, but it definitely isn't a bad thing.

A few hours into wearing Fig Tree it settles down a bit like most fragrances, but it stays mostly linear from the top. That bug spray vibe is gone, but the green/freshness is still here. It is a bit sweeter and almost gourmand like after it sits for a long while, which is alright, but not really something I want if I am wearing it in the heat like today. Overall this was a good fragrance, but again not something I am going to seek out a bottle of. I wouldn't mind wearing on occasion, so maybe a decant would be in order, but I think I'd rather test out some other fig fragrances and see where this lands in comparison.

Sienna Musk: (5/26/14)
I have to say that I am generally a big fan of musks. Whether it is a dirty, skanky musk, or a cleaner, gentler musk. Sienna Musk is much more of the latter than the former, as it does not have any of that damp pungency of most of the musks that I have fell in love with in the past, and instead opts for a much lighter take on musk than I am accustomed to. The opening is almost entirely the light musk accord I just mentioned, and underneath there is a bit of vanilla that I am told is akin to her amber based fragrance, Amber Noir (which I have not sampled at this time). There is also a little dose of florals that are being hidden by the slightly sharp musk on inhale, but it is hard to identify which florals they are. Other reviewers have mentioned rose, but I find that this whole floral bouquet gets overtaken by the musk and a creamy, milky note that shows itself a few minutes into the opening.

As it dries down it is really much of the same. This scent is very close to the skin and very fresh, so this is definitely something I'd feel perfectly comfortable wearing out. That being said, this close to the skin nature feels like it would be best suited for an oil based perfume. The late dry down is really spectacularly good, as the vanilla and musk blend together so well that it turns into something just excellent, but at this point I can only really smell it on my clothes. This late dry down smells a lot like Musc Ravageur by Malle, as I get that clove spiciness that MR has in the opening. In the end, I didn't get a ton of longevity out of this one, and while it is nice for what it is, there are more interesting takes on the genre out there that I'd rather reach for.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Americana Rust by MatHat Scents review



When I heard that my friend on Basenotes rynegene had started up his own small indie perfume house, I have to admit I was very jealous, as it is something I have been wanting to do for the past year (the cost is prohibitive). I was also excited since he and I share similar scent profiles, and he and I are also big fans of the work of modern master perfumer Josh Lobb and his Slumberhouse line. I feel Josh's influences running through MadHat's line, and this excited me even further.

Anyway, Americana Rust is the first sample I am trying, and right off the bat I am impressed by how lifelike the tobacco note is.It smells not unlike the humidor I have sitting next to me that is filled with cigars that are aging for later use. Indeed, this opening is not so much a raw tobacco smell, but a slowly curing yet still edgy tobacco. One thing that I find interesting about this opening is that there really are not any supporting notes to go along with it. All too often in the perfume world perfumers feel the need to add vanilla or cherry or something along those lines to "smooth" out the tobacco, but this just isn't needed here. The quality is absolutely impeccable, and it's hard to put into words. It's also worth noting that there is a chemical undertone here, but it isn't a synthetic feel, almost a tar like smokiness that might be playing at the idea the perfumer had to make this smell just like a Kentucky tobacco curing house. It definitely is not a light cigar or cigarette kind of scent, as it is more subtle than that, and is smelled only in the background behind that tobacco note. I would wager that it is the combo of cade and oud that causes this. It is worth noting that this intro is very strong, so those of you who do not like assertive scents, you may either find this not for you, or you may have to stick it out a few hours and wait for the mid and dry down where it gets toned down a bit.

Once you get to the mid notes, the leathery vibe starts to enter the forefront. I doubt that any leather is actually present in the note breakdown, as I think this is a trick that the tobacco and smokiness are playing now that they have melded with my skin a bit. The more I think about it the more it smells akin to the slightly powdery leather in Cuir Pleine Fleur by Carner Barcelona. It doesn't have that orris root type of powder, but there is definitely some softness underneath everything, likely due to one of my favorite notes, guaiac wood. It's a nice transition, but the overall scent stays pretty linear throughout its life.

As the dry down comes, the cade/oud combo is mostly what I smell accompanied by a very slight sliver of sandalwood. The tobacco is there but it has faded to the background in favor of that more smoky aspect the fragrance has. The lasting power is very good, as I've gotten 8+ hours easily in my two wearings, and I would say the projection is closer to the skin, at least after the intro where it felt like I could be smelled from across the room. Overall, I really like this scent. It is fairly different in the genre of tobacco scents, and it is a good attempt at trying to get rid of all of the fillers so many houses add into them. One knock I have is that it doesn't smell good necessarily, and seems like it might be more at home in an avant-garde candle than a fragrance one would wear out to places. Though, this isn't truly a negative, as it makes for a great wear while at home, and I'd bet that given the proper weather (read: Not 75 degrees out), it would flourish perfectly into something great.

At the very least, it is worth a sniff, and as with the rest of the line, the price is right.

--Andrew

















A homecoming: Starting up reviews immediately

Hello all,

I know I never really gained a ton of views last year, but I am hoping to keep this blog up and running again for at least this summer, hopefully longer. Anyway, I have a lot of great ideas and some cool reviews slated for this "season" and I hope that you all will stick around and check them out! I should be posting a review today to kick things off.

Best,

Andrew