Monday, April 30, 2012

Tom Ford Private Blend: Oud Wood

Tom Ford says: Exotic Rose Wood and Cardamom, blended with exuberant Chinese Pepper, envelop the wearer in warmth. Eventually, the center exposes a smokey blend of rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood and Vetiver. Finally, the creamy scents of Tonka Bean, Vanilla and Amber are revealed.

When I first smelt this, I had no idea what Oud was. I liked what I smelt so much that the Oud obsession began. I have had a roller coaster ride with Oud. Most of the 'real' stuff I tried gave me a headache. The Ajmals, Al Haramains and Al Rehabs were too traditional and strong for me. Montales and By Killian gave me hope. I came back to Tom Ford Oud Wood, trying to figure out why I liked it so much. I like Oud when it is modern. I can wear it when its purity is lost, when it becomes synthetic and mass market (says a lot about me). Yes, Oud Wood is 'the' Oud for me, in my limited experience because I still have some good ones to try.

Oud Wood is a beautiful modern take on Oud. It is a dry and cold perfume. Oud itself as a note is quite cold-woody which is enhanced by Cardamom and Vetiver. The freshness of cardamom and vetiver make the perfume go towards fresh but the luxurious Oud takes the centre stage. The pungency of the oud is masked yet complemented by other woody notes. Oud is less intense but shines among the woody notes. I don't really get a warm drydown. What is left is a woody cool Oud which becomes more prominent as the perfume develops and has a very slight plasticky feel and mildly animalic. Staying power is nice, though not as good as other perfumes from the Private Blend.

Overall, I really like Oud Wood. It is clean, neat, modern and a well made perfume. It leans towards becoming quite masculine especially since it lacks any floral notes, rose in particular which is such a relief personally. I am not really sure if I like it as much as to buy a full bottle but it is by far the nicest Oud perfume I have tried.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tom Ford White Musk Collection: Urban Musk

Tom Ford website: "The musk of carnal passion. This sexy, hedonistic scent leaves an indelible and irresistible impression as it brilliantly reveals the raw power of musk amidst seductive notes of jasmine, honey, black plum and incense."

Smells like a vain attempt to mask the stench of horse manure by generously spraying a jasmine scented air freshener. Even though the compost/skanky musk has the rural factor, it has an 'Urban' edge. It many not be a perfume I'd like to wear, but it is a smell that appreciate for the untamed animalic rawness of the musk. Cumin note that I detect has something to do with adding to the organic-ness of the musk. Can I say it is the most sophisticated of the skanky musks?!

Urban Musk is the last remaining of my Tom Ford White Musk samples which I found during a clean out this morning. It is also my least favourite of the White Musk range, the best I like being Jasmine Musk which is oh-so-heavenly! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Musk Lollies and Agent Provocateur Strip

My lovely friend Div (who writes Severed Sparkle and a Vegan blog. She's great, check her out!) has the nose of a truffle hog. Whenever I meet her, she has a spot on description of the perfume I am wearing. She says it so well and so precisely that makes me think "Oh yes, that's exactly it!" I think she should be writing a lot of perfume reviews! One time we met, she said I smelt like incense. So I did, I was wearing BPAL's Womb Furie. Yesterday, she said that I smelt like Musk Lollies*. Yes, I did! I was wearing Strip. Natalie once said the same thing about Strip in one of her comments. I do agree, Agent Provocateur Strip does smell like Musk Lollies!
I picked up Strip at a warehouse sale for a meagre 20 bucks. Strip really stood out from all the other perfumes and believe me, I tested about 30 in a span of 30 minutes. I could smell something warm, like amber and I swear I smelt leather. It was beyond gorgeous and I wanted a bottle right away. When I came home with Strip and tested it in a more controlled environment, paying full attention to the gorgeousness, I got a beautiful amber note. Strip is huge on amber: golden, rich and dark. The quality of amber is vanillaic, slightly boozy and dry. It is not too sweet but warm and powdery. What I perceived as leather initially isn't really there but there is an animalic feel to it without being too dirty. It may very well be the quality of musk which shines in the dry down. Powdery, woody, slightly smoky, sweet musk is the drydown, very much like Musk Lollies!

Strip is a big fragrance, sensuous and voluptuous, very sexy but quite comforting at the same time. I think it is amber lovers heaven. Kind of reminds me of Prada Amber Intense, only without the patchouli note. It stays forever and the projection is awesome. Definitely makes a statement.

The bottle is egg shaped, the signature shape of AP bottles and has a leather tassel clip in place of a cap, very nice. The design on the bottle is like someone has played naughty games with paint (free association, dirty mind and all!) Sadly Strip is a limited edition but there are many bottles floating around at sales etc. I think if a bottle is spotted anywhere, it is grab-worthy. I know I want to stock up on it!

*Musk Lollies or Sticks: Iconic Australian sweet confectionery. They are a kind of scented/flavoured candy which I have eaten many times without knowing the name. They come in sticks, palettes and "lifesaver" form. They are crunchy but melt in the mouth.

The flavouring agent is "edible musk oil". It has a sweet rose-floral fragrance, a bit mentholic but not too strong with a mouth freshener quality to it. It is very perfume-y but edible. I think it smells like baby powder but tastes really sweet and nice. It is like eating perfume but in a good way! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Christian Dior Couturier Parfumeur

I was at Myer store today and saw this beautiful display of Dior perfumes. All the Dior perfumes currently available in the store are decanted into these pretty little bottles. The Cruise Collection, the flankers of Poisons, Miss Diors, J'dores, Addicts, Fahrenheits, etc...... though there are no limited editions or the actual Couturier Parfumeur range itself (like Mitzah, Granville, 1947). The bottles are not for sale (of course) but you can sit down in front of this display and sniff, test and try all of them. I really wish I had the time to do it!

I also had the pleasure of meeting the loveliest shop assistant who remembered me from a year ago, was friendly and answered all my questions. Because she was so nice and helpful, I did buy Dior Homme aftershave balm for the husband and was given a beautiful set of skin care samples. Now, that's some pretty good service! I am going back to buy Serum de Rouge. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Smells Like Breakfast

Two yummy perfume oils that smell like the most delicious breakfast that you can ever eat!

Haus Of Gloi: Red Roan
"Fresh strawberry flecked porridge with maple syrup and adulterated with a splash of white cognac."
Oh yes! This smells like porridge with strawberries. Maple syrup is a bit strong at first but softens down to a sweetness that is just right. The strawberries are ripe and sweet. It is like the strawberries are generously coated in maple syrup! I do not get any cognac. It smells so amazing, like a perfect bowl of oat porridge!
Red Roan was released as a limited edition for Halloween 2011.

An unnamed sample which reads "Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Perfume Oil"
What?! I don't know from which perfume oil company it is! Must be something that Dee generously sent me, or was it Larie or Ki or Michelle? Oh, the pleasure of having too many perfume loving friends!
Anyway, this one smells like almonds and soft milky honey. Almonds are so aromatic (like benzaldehyde) but so soft and so beautiful. Milky honey is just yummy! This is the kind of breakfast that I can eat everyday for the rest of my life!

EDIT: The unnamed sample was indeed sent by Dee. It is from Lemon Citrus on Etsy. Thanks Dee!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random Smell Love

Smell is a smell, be it in a perfume or elsewhere. If you are someone who flips and sniffs a shampoo, conditioner or body lotion before buying at the supermarket or pharmacy, you'll know what exactly I am talking about, random smells that you find in unlikely places or products of everyday use. Here are five such products that I am loving right now for how good they smell.

Akin PureMAN Face Wash: The husband is using it because he is quite the sensitive one to 'chemicals' and loving the face wash. I just can't get enough of the smell. It smells like orange rind, cinnamon and vanilla, like Christmas pudding with the bitter sweet orange peel, just yummy!

David Babaii Fibres Holding Paste: I got this to define my curls. I don't get the concept of fibres in it but it does work pretty well. Importantly it smells of Strawberries. Very similar to Montale Mukhallat which I absolutely detest. Strawberries in David Babaii are not rotting ones in sweet sugar syrup laced with cheap incense like Montale Mukhallat but they are sweet strawberries with mild incense. The two smell so much alike that if you are wearing (or should I say like wearing) Mukhallat, you can 'layer' it with David Babaii holding paste by perfuming your hair, while saving $100+!

Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm: I am not too keen on lip balms but cold and dry weather forces me to use them. I am quite enjoying the Burt's Bees Lip Balm. It is soothing, moisturising, nourishing and all that plus it smells so good. Beautiful honey with delicate floral scent (I want to say Mimosa). Love! I am using it just for how good it smells. My lips thank me.

Molton Brown Pure Milk Soap: I like Molton Brown products. How nice is the Black Pepper body wash?! If they weren't as expensive, I would use only this brand. This little soap is one of those hotel soaps, from a very fancy hotel of course. Pure Milk soap is so good for dryness, so moisturising. It smells gorgeous, not soapy but like perfumed creamy milk!

Fudge Colour Removing Wipes: Okay, now this is an example of finding good smells in unusual places. Being an avid DIY hair colourer and having used so many of these wipes and lotions, I expected an alcoholic pungency to the wipes. Surprise surprise, it smells like almonds! I don't know who came up with adding an almond fragrance to alcohol based product. Bizarre but it is working and I like using it!

So, to the flippers and sniffers out there, is there any particular good smelling product that you are enjoying right now? 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paddywax Ex Libris: Edgar Allan Poe

Snapshots from the video "Requiem For The Damned"
Absinthe, the one that corrupts the mind and makes the actions evil. As in Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat. Used as a note in the candle that pays homage to Poe himself. 

Paddywax has a wonderful collection of candles from The Library Collection, a tribute to writers, created for bibliophiles. I picked up Edgar Allan Poe (well, yes, I am a fan of Macabre and mystery) solely for the notes. Cardamom, Absynth, Sandalwood. It smells unique, pleasant and very soothing. 
Absinthe is sweet like honey, slightly boozy, no overwhelming anise or fennel note. It enhances the sweetness of the cardamom and complements the soft woodyness of the sandalwood. Very delightful combination. Simple enough for a candle but if a perfume is ever made with this, I'll be all over it!
The candle is made of soy wax and has double wick. The burn time is 30 hours. Burns well, the sillage is average but it should fill a small room with a good amount of fragrance. I absolutely love the label, the tin packaging which is simple, elegant and portable. It is perfect to burn in the library or in the study to creates a great atmosphere for reading.

The Ex Libris range from Paddywax candles has other nice candles, like Oscar Wilde (Cedarwood, Thyme, Basil) and Walter Withman (Grass, Thyme, Red Clover) both of which I want to get. I bought the tin for $14.95 from Myer store. I have also spotted the range for very cheap at Dymocks. It can also be bought from the website. These candles would be great study partners. Look out for Journey of the Bee range, yum!