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.

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