Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two Oakmosses: Ladyboy And Black Violet

Two seemingly different perfumes in my collection that have something in common: Oakmoss and violet. 
Lush Ladyboy
chamomile, labdanum, violet leaf, oakmoss, seaweed

This is my attempt to leave my prejudices of Lush behind and actually experiment with an open mind.

Ladyboy begins with a bubble gum note. Oh wait, it is banana flavoured bubblegum! Sweet, intense but inedible due it trademark 'Lush smell' which I find a bit overwhelming. It completely changes its direction into the oakmoss territory with only a trace of the banana bubblegum. Oakmoss shines and dominates the drydown. The violet leaf is ozonic and powdery at the same time and blends very well with oakmoss. I am impressed with the oakmoss experience. It dries down to a dark, musty, sweet, powdery, earthy smell. It is a rather enjoyable 'smell', a perfume that I could almost wear. Almost. It is a bit too stuffy for me.

Tom Ford Private Blend Black Violet
Top: bergamot, citruses and fruity notes
middle: violet
base notes oak moss and woodsy notes.

This is one of those fragrances that takes its own sweet time to develop, revealing itself, layer after layer. It is begins with a lemon balm note. It is not quite astringent but a gentle, warm lemon note with hints of sweetness from dry fruit. It stays this way for a long time, say about half an hour before it starts to morph into a lovely oakmoss perfume. It is powdery, musty, old smelling but also very airy, the factor that stuffy Ladyboy is missing. I think it is bright because of the violet, a slightly powdery floral. The woodyness is a nice surprise. Oakmoss and violet with woody ascents makes it is a beautiful floral chypre. It finally dries down into a woody floral with the characteristic oakmoss.

The name Black is well justified. It is a lovely dark perfume. It is a darker version of Violet Blonde due to the lack of the powdery iris/violet factor but the presence oakmoss which gives a different kind of powdery-ness. And it smells nothing like Black Orchid. I am happy I forked out well deserved cash to blind buy a full bottle of this hard to find, discontinued beauty.

Of the two, Black Violet is more polished, well made and truly a pleasure to wear. Ladyboy on the other hand is nice but somewhat sticky and harder to wear. I love the oakmoss in both: musty, earthy, old, powdery, dry and deeply sensuous.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Juliette Has A Gun: Oil Fiction

It was new, it was exciting, it was niche, it was limited edition. I lived in the right place at the right time. I jumped at the opportunity and bought Oil Fiction as a goodbye present when I left the UK for good. It is my first JHAG perfume. You can read about the excitements and dilemmas (mine and of others) in this thread I started. I guess the initial excitement died down and I am not sure if the perfume took off as expected. After using this for a fair few months, I think I am ready to write my thoughts down.

Oil Fiction is a true amber scent, the kind of amber that is smooth and velvety. It is a soft spoken, dry, balsamic amber. Saffron is delicate but prominent and lasts for a fair bit before it merges into the powdery floral heart. Iris, which I hoped would take the centre stage (my initial expectation was that Oil Fiction would be a prominent iris and saffron fragrance) is definitely there but somewhat gets muddled into the amber. Iris leaves behind an undeniable powderyness. It is actually more floral than I initially thought. Ylang ylang and some more opulent (white?) florals emerge to take the perfume in a slightly different direction from its dry ambery beginnings. The perfume is still soft at this stage but it is more floral and more feminine. It dries down to a warm, balsamic powdery floral with hints of wood and a smidgen of patchouli. 

Oil Fiction is a harmonious fragrance. It is rich, soft, full and elegant. It stays close to the skin but it is a powerful amber that lasts and lasts. It has the oriental feel without the heaviness associated with Arabian theme perfumes that I much dread. The dry down is floral-powdery-amber which to my own surprise reminds me of the dry down of Thierry Mugler's Alien Absolu, not quite as jasmine-y but very much warm, vanillaic balsamic amber. I wouldn't buy the full size paying crazy amount of money (€280 for 75mls, that is if at all I can find it in Australia) but I will surely enjoy my sample (and probably invest in Alien Absolu, because that is really something!)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dries Van Noten Par Frederic Malle

I tried this for the first time in Liberty London, knowing nothing about the notes which in my opinion is the best way to test a perfume. All I remember is the initial saffron hit and a really lovely sandalwood trail. The very first whiff calmed me down and made me happy. Thanks to Liz for this generous sample, now I can experience the same bliss at home! Read Liz's review Here

Dries Van Noten is a deep and introspective perfume, both qualities I attribute to sandalwood. I think the perfume is all about sandalwood, the kind of sandalwood I know and love. I am from around the city of Mysore, so believe me when I say this sandalwood is good! I associate this kind of sandalwood with everything pure and sacred, hence the calming effect of the perfume.

The perfume begins with Saffron diffused in cream. Delightful! It is dense, rich and very comforting. The cream is unsweetened and light but delicious. Saffron really stands out and it is very realistic and delicate. At this point, due to saffron and cream, I feel a 'Kulfi' coming along but it goes nowhere near the edible smell territory due to the progression of the perfume into sandalwood: beautiful, simple and elegant. It comes with a smooth, creamy, balsamic, powdery element that compliments the sandalwood well. There is a flash of nutmeg in there somewhere. The woodyness is enhanced by a stark cedar/guaiac wood, feels a bit synthetic but its lightness makes me think of vetiver. The dry down is all sandalwood, a little earthy, really warm and hearty.

This perfume is enjoyable to wear. In spite of its gourmandish beginning, it stays true to sandalwood throughout but carries the velvety smoothness of cream throughout. It has moderate sillage and 2 sprays will last for hours on my skin and even days on clothes. You can get 3 x10 ml refills for $130, the cheapest option but that should last you quite a while given its tremendous staying power.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Body Shop Honeymania Soap

Some can't wait to try it. Some are already loving it. As The Body Shop slowly rolls out the Honeymania range, it has got everyone talking about it. I finally got to try it and I am one delighted Pooh Bear! I am a bit of a Pooh Bear when it comes to honey scents. I have tried honey in so many forms (as evidenced by Honey in the tag cloud) and can't get enough, my top 3 honey scents being BPAL's Womb Furie, Possets Honey and By Kilian Back To Black. Honeymania is closest to Possets Honey.

Honeymania is a delightful take on honey. It is sweet but mostly floral. It smells more like nectar than honey. It kind of smells like linden blossoms drenched in honey. It reminds me of pollen, nectar, spring, flowers, happiness, sunshine and all things fresh, girly and lovely! It is very satisfying for a honey lover and very much wearable because it is lighter than it is sweet. If you have smelt TBS's products with honey in them, you'll instantly recognise the honey note. I absolutely adore "Lotus & Frangipani Body Puree" from Polynesian Spa Wisdom range and this is the same familiar honey note, only the honey in Honeymania is purer.

I picked up only the soap because I was told by the shop assistant that Honeymania (like Chocomania) is not a limited edition and will be around for a long time. That gives me enough time to get the body butter when I finish my current pot and wait for the Eau de Toilette to be released in Australia. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spiritual Sky Musk & African Violet

Musk by Spiritual Sky
This musk perfume oil is an embodiment of hippie culture, like 'head shop' in a bottle! Nevertheless, it is well bended and balanced enough to pass off as an expensive perfume. It starts with a sweet amber note, warm and sensuous. Spices follow. Spices smell indistinct, somewhat like the spice remnants of an old wooden spice box. It is old, dusty, dry and nothing sharp. The Musk in it is a warm one, that gels well with the soft ambery spices. The musk is not animalic, not clean, not skin-like, just warm musk. The whole thing smells like incense sticks. Not pure frankincense but those incense sticks they burn in hippie shops. I like this as a smell but don't prefer to wear it as a perfume. Staying power is awesome. I think it could be a cozy autumn/winter perfume, if amber/musk is your thing.

African Violet by Spirtual Sky
This is beautiful. It smells like Parma Violets, sweet and powdery. Powdery, as in floral, young, bright powdery, not as in heavy, artificial powder. I don't think it is a true violet perfume because I can't smell the green/dewy fresh violet leaf aspect or the delicate smell of the flower (to experience which I just take a sniff of my Guerlain Meteorites powder!). It is that smell of edible violet candy and it is a beautiful smell. Easy to wear, makes me feel pretty and girly. It is a comforting smell. The staying power is not as great as the musk but lasts a good few hours.
I love the colour of the perfume oil. It is so... violet! It reminds me of Gentian Violet and Haematoxylin pencils. Not to wear with white clothes.

Bought both at local bath and body shop at $10.95 each

PS: I'm back in Australia! I'm on Instagram!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bond No 9: Central Park West

Central Park West
A legendary, grand-scale address with a grand-scale front yard deserves an eau de parfum to match. A springtime wakeup call: Narcissus mingled with tangy ylang ylang and a pinch of piquant pepper. A beckoning white-petal mélange— orris, jasmine, and linden—and majestic gardenia.
Top notes: narcissus, ylang-ylang and pepper
 middle notes: jasmine, gardenia, lime (linden) blossom and iris 
base notes: vetiver, oak moss, oak and musk.

Prepare your noses for a floral blast! This is a potent white floral. So potent that just a drop of this perfume on the back of my hand is equal 10 sprays from a regular EDP in terms of longevity and silage. Which is a good thing, only if you like the perfume. When I tried it in winter, I found that it was too much. I had put my sample away for a better time to use it. Now that it is spring and I am loving florals, I thought it is a nice time for me to try this one out.

Central Park West begins with a sharp gardenia note. It is strong and coarse. It takes quite a while to settle down. As it progresses, it softens to a nice white floral, dominant gardenia, some ylang and very little sweetness. The narcissus is soapy and the musk is really clean. The theme of  'harsh, clean and soapy' continues but fades into very very powdery florals in the dry down, not quite interesting as the dramatic opening but much more wearable.

The overall effect that Central Park West gives is the opposite of what I would expect in a springtime floral perfume. I love my florals big and soft with some smoothness and some sweetness. But I do like the perfume, sans the harsh opening and uninteresting dry down (what is left of it fleetingly somewhere in between to like). 

Penhaligon's Peoneve

Penhaligon's Peoneve
"Peoneve opens with a burst of greenness from Violet Leaf absolute which gives way to a heart of luscious Peony, peppery Bulgarian Rose and a powerful white floral note courtesy of Hedione. The sensual base notes add a sense of summer abandon to the scent; earthy Vetiver, mischievous Musk and warm Cashmere Wood."

On my skin, Peoneve opens with a huge blast of rose, a loud and clear rose. It is a very fresh rose, so fresh that it smells like a just picked red rose, with dew drops and the smell of the green herbaceous stem (the Violet Leaf aspect). I don't know about Peonies but it smells like a realistic rose fragrance. At this stage, it is quite strong to the point that makes me doubt if it belongs to the dainty and delicate Penhaligon's house. The rose gives way to luscious jasmine (hedionine aspect probably). The fragrance now mellows and reaffirms that it is actually a Penhaligon. The white florals are dense but soft, very enjoyable. The dry down is all vetiver, very fresh, slightly woody, earthy, a nice accent to the florals, both rose and jasmine.

Peoneve is a feminine, fresh fragrance which is both soft and powerful. It goes on with a punch of rose but calms down to a really soft but fresh floral dry down. The lasting power is good, a few drops from my sample vial is lasting a 4+ hours on me. I would consider buying a bottle if in fact I generally liked rose. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

In Praise Of Bois Farine

Peanut butter, flour, bread dough or is it exquisite woody iris?! Why, oh why did I not fall head over heels in love with Bois Farine when I first tested it? It was a long time ago and at that time Bois Farine struck me as unique but I couldn't appreciate its true beauty. Maybe 1 ml sample is too little to form a real opinion of it? Recently I was casually testing perfumes at L'Artisan shop and carried a tester strip of Bois Farine with me. I came home to find that my handbag was smelling of sandalwood, a really stunning, lovely, soft sandalwood. Next time I had the chance to go to the shop (I'm lying, I made a special trip of 100 odd Ks to get there), I bought a bottle of this beautiful perfume.
I get the renowned peanut butter note from it, yes. But the more I wear the perfume, the less I feel the peanut butter's presence. Now that I have worn it many times, my nose entirely skips the peanut butter note. I love peanut butter (so much so that I've stopped buying it because I finish a jar in 2 days), a comforting smell but I am iffy about smelling of it. The fact that I don't get that note after a few wearings has worked in my favour. The flour note that follows, actually smells like bread dough on me is very lovely and comforting. It is like that well kneaded soft, fluffy dough that is ready to go into the oven. The dough note has hints of the nutty peanuts, with a barely there almond/anisic facet but it all just passes to transform into this lovely powdery iris with accentuated sandalwood. The wonderful dry down: so woody, like dry cedar-y sandalwood, laced with a powdery iris.

Bois Farine has turned out to be my ideal sandalwood perfume, it is dry but warm, woody like real sandalwood with a feminine iris heart. Bois Farine, in spite of the initial nutty beginning, is not a gourmand at all. It is just this beautiful woody-powdery-floral stuff that is so comforting and a real pleasure wear. Thinking of a backup bottle already.

"There is pleasure in recognising old things from a new viewpoint" 
-Richard Feynman

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alkemia: Naiad Ambre III

Alkemia Perfumes
Perfume Oil
"An exquisitely alluring blend of dew soaked orris roots and pale irises bathed in cool rivulets of aquatic amber with a whisper of Japanese incense."

Okay so, there is much more than a whisper of incense. I smell a lot of incense, a holy and head shop-like incense followed by amber. I have never smelt an 'aquatic amber' before and from what I smell in this, it is really lovely. Amber is a bit balmy but unlike the regular vanillaic/cistus based/powdery/perfume-y amber, it is light. The combination of incense and amber smells unusually fresh and crisp. This phase of strong incense seems endless, but it is kind of addictive and I can't stop smelling it. Underneath this glaring but beautiful incense, emerges the orris root. It is somewhat cold, rooty and metallic, only slightly powdery. As I have mentioned a few times in this blog, pure orris root smells more like paper to me than the famed 'makeup smell'. In Naiad, the orris has that same dry quality of paper but it is faint, like a whisper. I wish it had less of all the ambery incense and more of the orris root smell. In the dry down it smells like soft incense-y orris root.

Naiad, the third perfume in the amber series (I have not smelt others), is based on water fairy/spirits and it is supposed to smell 'watery'. Well, to me, Naiad doesn't really feel aquatic, but it does give a cool sensation. It is fresh, clean, cold and dry. It is an airy and light but a strong perfume nonetheless. I like the headshop nature of incense/amber here. It is a calming/meditative perfume.

Naiad is nothing like I expected. I bought a full size bottle without even sampling it first because Iris/orris based perfumes are hard to come by in the world of indie perfume oils. I expected an Iris perfume, something like my beloved Infusion d'Iris. Naiad turned out to be a totally different perfume but a lovely one albeit. I think my lust for an incense perfume is satisfied with Naiad. 
Did I mention the wonderful lasting power? Yeah, Naiad is a beauty! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Few Kilians

I may sound like I am a shill for Kilian perfumes but believe me, I am not. I like the brand, enjoy the perfumes, the counter at Harvey Nichols has very friendly SAs who know their stuff and I like being sent samples of new releases directly to my home. But I don't think the price of £150 for 50 mls is justifiable at all. Fortunately for my wallet, I am not compelled to buy all the perfumes. There are perfumes that leave me unthrilled but those which do thrill me, I am compelled to buy. I am living through refills, decants and samples which doesn't sound too luxe but it is a great way to experience these perfumes and the fact that the brand actually offers to buy these at a lesser price is plus. 

My Kilian wish list: refills of Love, Straight To Heaven, Good Girl Gone Bad and a big bottle of Back to Black (running out of my refills). I have been holding out on reviewing Straight to Heaven and Love for a long time in the hope that I may end up buying a refill set but it doesn't look like it is going to happen in near future considering my finances. Some concise reviews, just to whet my appetite for these!
By Kilian: Flower Of Immortality
This newest of the Kilian perfumes is very young and fresh. It begins with an effervescent peach note, very crisp and very succulent. I get some sweetness from black currant along with peach making it fruitier and juicier. There is some powderyness from iris giving it a cold, clean vibe. It is clean, peachy and powdery. Somewhere down the line, it turns into a shampoo smell (fresh-out-of-the-salon hair smell). The dry down is all shampoo and it lasts for a long time (10+ hours). If you like fruity perfumes, you'll love it. If you like peachy perfumes, you'll adore it. It is so not for me. I am underwhelmed that it turned out to smell like shampoo.

Don't Be Shy
"A Marshmallow inspiration, sweetened with orange blossom from Morocco. At first soft and tender, it unfolds into the intensity that graces truly great seductresses. Top notes of glorious Neroli from Tunisia are like a shy, tentative kiss given by fresh lips. At the heart of the fragrance, Sambac Jasmine caresses skin warm with Turkish Rose and Iris of Florence, reaching ecstasy in the embrace of vanilla and musk."

This is Kilian's take on the good old marshmallow. I can say that this isn't a regular marshmallow. It is probably the most upscale and exquisite marshmallow that I wish I could put in my hot chocolate. Love is actually a love affair of big white florals with a generous sweet side, sweet in a luscious, creamy way.  The flowers are pretty, velvety jasmine, powdery iris and a prominent orange blossom that shines through the whole concoction. But the heart of this fragrance is its sweetness. The burnt sugar, the candy floss, the bubble gum. Oh yes, there is all that. But well tamed and well rounded by the florals. The musky vanilla also makes me think of turkish delight/musk lollies. It dries down into a pleasantly sweet floral, more floral than sweet which I love. When I first wore it, I could have sworn it had incense because of a kind of intensity I got from it, reminiscent of Montale's Mukhallat (but much more likeable and wearable). May be the incense feel I get is from musk or it may be the civet. 

Overall, Love is an upscale sweet perfume that is ultra feminine and very sophisticated. It is very long lasting and has a huge projection. It is well worth the refill price.

Straight To Heaven
White Cristal
"The alliance with the Patchouli of Indonesia, warm and deep, hides a mystery deepened by Nutmeg from Java, Cedar from Atlas and Brazilian Rosewood. This sensual scent leads us into an artificial paradise of pleasure."

While Love is an upscale marshmallow, StH is an upscale bay rum scent, just so delightful and refreshing. Bay rum perfumes usually make me think of grogg swilling, unclean sea men smelling of fish. But StH makes me think of a wet, hot guy, just off his yacht, with his white shirt unbuttoned to show off his muscles, walking barefooted on the white Caribbean sands! Sexy! StH opens with the bay rum accord, dry and aromatic, slightly smoky also. The nutmeg is prominent and perks up the rum to make it lighter, fresher. The woodiness, mostly from cedar, anchors the scent down while keeping with its refreshing side. On my skin, patchouli is barely there, if present at all. The dry down is really swoon worthy, a nutmeg spiced bay rum and smells very sexy on my skin. This is one masculine fragrance I would love to wear, which is such a rarity for me. Perfect for sultry beach days!

Conjure Oils 'El Sol'

Sample A Day Review: Day#21
El Sol (The Sun)  
Collection: Loteria
General Catalogue
Samples (pips) available
"bright citrus notes and hot clove melt together with a iridescent splash of golden amber. Surround yourself with an irresistible glow" 

El Sol smells like lemon when wet. Then it turns creamy and becomes a sweet lemon candy. It is still a nice lemon at this point but that changes when amber emerges. Amber is too perfume-y for my liking and makes the lemon a bit bitter. Dry down is a lemony amber, nice-ish but I am not feeling the love. 
If you like lemony perfumes with depth you may like El Sol. Conjure Oils has some other awesome perfumes. 'Mara' is up there in top 5 of honey scents for me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Poison Apple Apothecary 'White Queen's Bouquet'

Sample A Day Review: Day #20
White Queen's Bouquet
Alice In Wonderland Collection
Limited Edition
This vial is from 2010
"A gentle facade of good. What lies under the perfect veneer of the White Queen? Is it too good to be true? Her blend is a lush powdery floral, feminine in every way with notes of Jasmine, Rosehips, Vanilla, and whispery white powder"

This is a lush floral bouquet, very creamy and very soft. Smelt wet, it is a sweet floral. On my skin, it is still sweet but the pretty flowers start to emerge. I pick up some jasmine, but it is mostly a combination of indistinct but nicely blended white florals to my nose. It is not one of those in-your-face, screechy florals. I am amazed by how smooth and velvety it is. I don't get any powder, even if there is any, it is gently mingled with the sweet florals. Vanilla is the reason for how soft the perfume smells. The dry down is of beautiful creamy flowers, very soothing and very feminine. It wears beautifully on me but stays close to the skin. Lasts a few hours too. This one needs watching out for in case it is re-released. If so, grabbing a full bottle for sure.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Yesterday was my birthday, May The Fourth and all. Not too thrilled about it and not too thrilled about life in general. I am going through an uncomfortable phase where there is neither money nor career and lack of stability (constant moving from one place to another) is making me tired and anxious. That is why I haven't been blogging much lately. Instead of focusing on all the things that is making me go nuts, I'll just focus on things that's making me happy.

We went to Scotland for a week, an early birthday present from my husband. It was a wonderful.
I got a few thrifty birthday gifts for myself, some Chanel makeup and Penhaligon's perfume.

I redeemed my Boots points for Chanel makeup, which means I got the foundation for free! I think Vitalumiere Aqua is worth every rave review on the internet. It is light but gives an ideal coverage and a lovely natural finish. I was matched with B50 (I am NW30 in MAC) and it looks like second skin.
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B50
Chanel Les Beiges powder in 40
I also got the limited edition Chanel Les Beiges powder in the shade 40. I think it is something about the undertone that makes it a tad more golden for my skin. I can use it as a very subtle bronzer or for contouring. But it has a nice matte finish, no shimmer, just a glow. It feels so luxurious on my skin. It smells like the perfume Les Beige from Chanel's Exclusif range. It is a lovely honeyed floral, a very soft and gentle smell. I love the packaging too. It is something of a keepsake thing. Perfect gift really.

Chanel Les Beiges Powder
Continuing my thrift journey, I got a 100ml splash bottle of Penhaligon's Ellenisia at the outlet in Bicester Village for a meagre ₤15! Ellenisia is so gorgeous. It is a lush white floral with a prominent and natural tuberose presence. It is so feminine and elegant.

The gift that made me feel the most special was this lovely Dragonfly broach sent to my Nadja (La Domna) and it is handmade by her. I love the delicate gold and black wiring on it. It looks good worn with any outfit. You can buy it from her Etsy store here. Thank you Nadja!
On my last birthday, I wished to go back in time to relive my childhood. That wish really did come true when I visited my parents last year (and I didn't have to travel at the speed of light to the edge of the solar sysytem and back again!). It really felt like my childhood with so much love and care. I wish that this kind of happiness repeats again and again.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lovely Smellies From Lovely People!

Thank you Amanda (Iris Handmade Soaps), for sending me your soaps. I feel so special to try them! And for Solstice Scents samples, they are all so good!

Thanks Dee (365 Dyas of Smells), for spoiling me some awesome perfumes! 
 These two packages totally made my day. I am so grateful for the friends I have on interwebs. Thanks again ladies ♥