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.