October 28, 2016

Coty Vanilla Musk Cologne Spray- Use With Caution

Coty Vanilla Musk Cologne Spray 1oz
Do you like perfumes with musk notes? As long as I can remember, I have always loved exotic musk fragrances. I enjoy the lingering effects on my skin and the appeal they are supposed to have with the opposite gender.

However, musk is very controversial. I recall giving my Grandmother a sniff of one of my musk scents after which she said phew and turned her face away as fast as she could. She absolutely hated musk notes of any type. Many people do.

Over the years, I have tried scents where the musk is blended with other notes such as amber, sandalwood or patchouli. Fabulous.  Foolishly, this vanilla hating lady let curiosity get the best of her and she decided to try a vanilla-based musk. If it's from Coty, it couldn't be that bad, could it?

The Vanilla Musk Bottle

My 1 oz. cologne spray bottle has a copper-colored cap. The bottle is mostly an oval shape, but the back portion has a deep concave indentation. I think this is what makes it act so unstable as it tips over very easily. On a positive note, it is very narrow side-to-side for easy tucking into a purse or cosmetic bag.

Basically, A Simple Oriental Fragrance

According to online descriptions, this scent is classified as an Oriental with four distinctive notes: Vanilla, Musk, Sandalwood & Cedar. That's it. I was surprised about the Cedar note.

Coty Vanilla Musk In Real Time-Here We Go

  • Sniffing The Nozzle- On first sniff, I get the unpleasant aroma of sweet burnt rubber baby doll. It's so bad, I don't even want to spray it on myself, but I will.
  • The First Spray-Lots of alcohol, then something that smells like wet tree bark begins to emerge. Maybe that is the Cedar note.
  • After 15 Minutes-Something syrupy and sickly sweet is taking place. The burnt rubber smell is really developing now. Somebody dabbed vanilla behind Barbie's ears, then tossed her into the fireplace.
  • After 30 Minutes-I am dying here! Gagging on the scent of vanilla-dipped moth balls. The artificial chemical smell is pure torture. I should report this to Hazmat, pronto.
  • Complete Dry Down-No musk, no sandalwood here. No soft comforting "skin" scent has emerged. The artificial sweet burnt rubber smells lingers on and on. I must wash this off. Now.

Skunk Award
 Somehow, I survived this stinky experience. What is most upsetting is that it smells so bad, I can't mix it with other fragrances. It is too hideous to recycle as a make-shift air freshener. It has to go. In a marked hazardous waste container by police escort.

For an oriental scent, it has neither mystery, allure, sex appeal or quality. It's not pretty or girly. I can't believe how many women give this perfume a thumbs up on review sites and places like Amazon.

 If you are looking for musk, this is not the one. As much as I go for unusual perfumes, Coty Vanilla Musk is too weird, even for me. It gets the Skunk Award for being one of the stinkiest fragrances I ever tried.

August 14, 2016

Bob Mackie Perfume For Women

Bob Mackie For Women Eau de Toilette 3.4oz spray
In the 1990's, a few well-known fashion designers decided to add fragrances to their collection. I  distinctly remember the Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Diane Von Furstenburg scents of that era. Bob Mackie was a name that was very well-known in fashion circles, especially after he rose to fame as Cher's dress designer.

Although we are bombarded with celebrity and designer perfumes up to our ears today, back then it was a little more restrained and special.

I stumbled upon a few reviews of Bob Mackie For Women describing it as an "old-school" powerhouse perfume worth trying.  After suffering disappointment and anger with modern watery ripoffs, I had to buy some and try it.

The Bottle Design

Leave it to a designer like Bob Mackie to come up with a bottle shape like this one. From the side, it looks a bit like a pregnant penguin; flat chested, but with a puffed out lower abdomen. The glass has substantial weight. The etched glass creates a 3D or art-deco effect that is very modern looking.

The cap is made with odd angles that never "match" the straight lines of the bottle neck. If you like things that line up neatly, you will be playing perfume rubics cube every time you use it. However, the bottle looks sophisticated just sitting there. The puffed front and flat back makes it prone to fall over easily.

Bob Mackie Perfume Notes

This fragrance is classified as a Floral Oriental with fruity components.

Top Notes-  Peach, raspberry, pineapple
Middle Notes-Honeysuckle, rose, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, narcissus
Base Notes- Patchouli, musk, vetiver, sandalwood, amber

My Real Time Scent Experience

  • The Cap Sniff-When I take off the cap and put the nozzle to my nose, I smell a rich, sweet scent like vanilla infused flowers. I don't know why I get vanilla as it isn't listed in the notes.
  • First Spray-Yes, I can give it the okay for those citrus notes of peach and pineapple. I don't smell any raspberry, however. Something dances underneath the citrus; perhaps the tuberose.
  • After 15 Minutes-Pure tuberose at this point, maybe a bit of ylang-ylang lurking beneath the surface. I adore honeysuckle, but no matter how hard I sniff, I don't detect it.
  • After 30 Minutes-Here is where this perfume gets interesting on my skin. From a distance, I get wafts of rose and orange blossom. Sniffing my wrist up close I smell something sour and dank hiding under the florals. Perhaps the vetiver?
  • Complete Drydown-It has been over an hour now. Those luscious base notes of amber, patchouli, musk, sandalwood and vetiver have all melded together into a very soft, powdery scent where no one note stands out above the other. Powdered fruits is a good description.

What I Like About This Fragrance

In my opinion, Bob Mackie smells rich and elegant. It is a sophisticated fragrance full of unusual nuances. It is a lovely reminder of the 1990's and what was popular back then. Bob Mackie is still a full-bodied fragrance that hasn't been watered down or tampered with.

Compared to those modern celebrity scents that are overpriced and underwhelming, Bob Mackie For Women won't break the budget. The fragrance is rich enough to give you your money's worth.

What I Don't Like About It

For a scent classified as an oriental, it just doesn't have that air of mystery that I crave in oriental perfumes. There is no spice, no sass, no reason to don sunglasses and act like Greta Garbo on a secret mission. It may be in the oriental family, but it is very far removed; like a 5th cousin.

My Recommendations 

Anyone who loves rich, fruity florals with a heavy rose accent might like Bob Mackie perfume.  I could definitely see this scent blooming into a real beauty on someone with the right chemistry. The drydown is very soft, so don't let the "powerhouse" description scare you.

July 09, 2016

Aviance Night Musk Review- A 1980's Fragrance Flashback

Aviance Night Musk Cologne Spray 2.6 oz.
When I think about the many reasons why I love perfume, one is the tantalizing image they portray. Like others, I  can find myself caught up by the fantasy that perfume marketers try to tempt us with. I can't think of a better example than Aviance.  Although the original came out in the 1970's, the night musk version hit the shelves in the early 1980's.

When I was growing up, there was always some delicious smelling scent from Prince Matchabelli around. Windsong and Cachet are two that come to mind.

Aviance Night Musk Bottle Design

Like a pigeon standing at attention, the bottle is top heavy, yet has that distinctive crown logo that marks the Prince Matchabelli line. Because of its flat profile, wide top and small base, it falls over  quite frequently.

The Fragrance Notes

From online sources, the night musk version is described as a fragrant blend of Rose, jasmine, lavender, cloves, cinnamon, citrus and apple. * Nobody mentioned musk!*

Aviance Night Musk In Real Time

  • Sniffing The Cap Impression-An unusual kind of apple-spice with a slight floral in the background. Weird is what comes to mind.
  • On First Spray-The first spray comes out strongly of alcohol, then I am hit with some type of spiced lavender and a tad of cinnamon scented roses.
  • After 15 Minutes-Okay, here comes some of those roses, a bit of jasmine and perhaps some other floral notes.
  • After 30 Minutes-The only way to describe it is what a barrel of rotten apples smells like after being thrown into a fire.
  • Complete Dry-down- Wouldn't you know that the perfumes you find the stinkiest last the longest? On my skin, this scent dries down to a putrid blend of pomander balls and plastic bags.

What I Like About It

If I could name one thing positive about this scent it's the memories of old-school scents and those unforgettable commercials that made us rush out to buy them. Okay, I can give it a second like; it's perfect for noses seeking to sniff unique combos of notes.

What I Don't Like

I find it slightly tacky that Prince Matchabelli puts different perfumes into the same bottle type. You will find that Windsong comes in the same exact bottle style.Sadly, there is much to dislike about this one.

In my opinion, Aviance Night Musk is all over the place. It isn't a spice, nor a floral, nor a fruit scent.  I sniffed high and low for the musk, but never found it. It's just plain strange and doesn't work for me. By now you may be wondering if I dislike it so much, why is my bottle is almost empty? Every once in awhile, I will "visit" it hoping for a more pleasant bloom that never happens. This is what happens when a perfume addict refuses to face ( or smell) reality.

My Recommendations

You stink!
If you are a die-hard collector of vintage perfumes, you might enjoy having this in your collection. However, in my honest opinion, it isn't worth what people are selling it for these days; especially on eBay.

It's a strange name, Aviance Night Musk. There is nothing musky about it. Perhaps it is best for night so people don't recognize you as you waft by smelling of rotten campfire apples.

May 15, 2016

Patchouli By Molinard Review

3.3 oz Eau de Toilette version
If you ever search online for patchouli-rich scents, one name you see mentioned is the fragrance by Molinard. There are so many different variations of what manufacturers call patchouli perfumes that you really need to try them  for yourself. After reading that Patchouli by Molinard is one powerhouse perfume that is heavy with this note, I decided to buy a tester ( without cap) and smell what all the fuss was about.

The Bottle Design
One compliment that I can give Molinard is that they didn't skimp on the quality of the glass base. It is heavy and substantial. Of course, I hate the fact that my bottle doesn't have a cap as it looks a bit like a headless horseman.

The bottle is purposefully androgynous to appeal to both men and women. This fragrance is classified as unisex.

Patchouli Molinard Perfume Notes
Don't you love the simplicity of the notes here?
  • Top Notes- Geranium, orange, orange flower
  • Middle Notes-Patchouli
  • Base Notes-Musk, sandalwood, vanilla

Real Time Fragrance Experience
  • Smelling The Cap- A very faint  sweetness; perhaps a hint of vanilla.
  • The First Spritz -The first blast is strong on alcohol at first, then I get the full effect of  earthy, woodsy patchouli. All patchouli. Nowhere do I smell orange flowers, oranges or geraniums.
  • After 10 Minutes-Wet, damp and earthy like walking through the woods after a rain storm in the fall. This is patchouli in all its glory.
  • After 30 Minutes-After half an hour, the smoky, slightly bitter patch leaf scent is still prominent on my skin. Like described, the middle note of pure patchouli lingers and lingers.
  • One Hour Later-After an hour, the scent has dried down to a very soft, bittery maple fragrance that is probably the vanilla note coming to life. I don't catch any whiff of sandalwood and absolutely nothing of musk.

What I Love About This Scent
Patchouli Leaves
What I enjoy about my Molinard scent is knowing that when I crave a pure sniff of genuine patchouli, it's there for me. It's perfect for layering and adding an extra spicy element to other perfumes in my collection.

What I Don't Like About It
Although it adds a punch to my other perfumes, sillage and lasting power is pretty weak. Another slight disappointment is the fact that nobody notices or compliments me when I wear it. That can be good or bad depending on what you expect from your fragrances.

My Recommendations
If you miss the good old smell of damp, earthy patchouli leaves, you should give this a try. It really is the old-school hippie-type patchouli scent, but it doesn't knock people out when you wear it. If you love the real-deal smell of patch leaves, you will love having this one in your collection.

Image Credit: Patchouli Leaves By Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivod (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

April 17, 2016

Cabochard Eau De Toilette Review-The Sultry Librarian Scent

Cabochard Eau De Toilette Spray 1oz
Can a perfume with leather notes like Cabochard actually smell good? The first time I read that Cabochard had an unusual blend of notes that included leather, I tried to remember if any of my old scents had ever contained a leathery note. No, I don't think so. The last scent I remember with this note was my Grandfather's Old Spice aftershave.

History Tidbits Behind The Cabochard Fragrance
This perfume has reached the halls of classic because it was created in 1959 by one very interesting lady by the name Madame Gres. Something about her trip to India inspired her to commingle those scents into one great fragrance. She is also known for another classic, Cabotine.

The Bottle Design
Simply elegant are the words I use to describe my bottle design. The container itself is thin and sleek and feels nice in the hand. The etched 3-D bow is lovely and makes a girly statement extraordinaire. Pretty! However, the girly bottle hides an un-girly secret.

What You Read About Cabochard Online
I enjoy reading what other people have to say about fragrances, especially unusual scents like Cabochard. The extreme varying opinions can be incredibly interesting to read.  On a positive note, Cabochard has been described as smooth, bold and sophisticated. Those who hate it mention gasoline, bug spray, men's aftershave and just plain stinky. How is that for differing opinions?

Cabochard : French for stubborn or headstrong

Cabochard Perfume Notes
There are so many notes that it could explain the wide variety of responses you get from all the different noses out there.
  • Top Notes- Sage, lemon, spices, fruits, aldehydes
  • Middle Notes-Rose, ylang-ylang, geranium, orris root, jasmine
  • Base Notes- Oakmoss, sandalwood, coconut, amber, vetiver, patchouli, leather, tobacco

Trying This Fragrance In Real Time
Here is my scent experience in real time as it happens:
  • Cap off and first sniff- An old leather purse that someone spilled rose perfume on is my first impression when I sniff the spray nozzle.
  • At first spray-Okay, here we go. Spray on wrist. A burst of lime, immediately followed by the most intense floral bouquet cloud with roses and geraniums prominent.
  • After 15 minutes-At this point, something stinky and most unpleasant begins to peek through the florals; perhaps the orris root. My wrist smells musty, sour and a bit metallic. This is probably where the bug spray comments come from.
  • After 30 minutes-Here comes the leather note in full force. It replaces the sour, musty scent with a fragrance that smells like rose perfume in a library of vintage books after the librarian had a cigarette. Rich, heady, mysterious. Stubborn? Perhaps.
  • Full dry down after 1 hour-After an hour, I smell my wrist and what I am left with is a warm oakmoss, woody-leather residue with all traces of floral notes gone.
Patchouli? If it's in there, I didn't smell it and I am a patchouli hound. Coconut, no. None. Sadly, whatever sandalwood or amber notes it contained, didn't bloom on my skin. The burst of lime I mentioned turned out to be a lemon note instead.

What I Love About It
Other than the pretty bottle, I love having perfumes with an interesting story or person behind them. Cabochard lets me experience the wild spectrum of perfume blending uniqueness. I love thinking I have a scent that was invented 57 years ago that reminded somebody of her trip to India. When other perfume-aholics discuss their Cabochard reviews, it's great to have some on hand for a re-sniff.

What I Dislike About It
It's not a quick-spritz for casual times scent. Cabochard is meant to be worn for something that requires a statement. The biggest disappointment is probably how I feel when I wear it. I rarely reach for it because I have to be in one those moods where I need to make a major don't-give-a-hoot announcement. In other words, Cabochard is perfect for those rebel-without-a-cause-moments.

My Personal Recommendations

If you are looking for a classic floral, this is not it. I would recommend Cabochard all day and everyday for the perfume collector simply because this is one of the most unusual perfumes on the planet. It really is a love it, hate it, or curio scent at best. For me, it's a curio.

February 28, 2016

Cafe Parfum By Cofinluxe-An Opium Dupe?

Cafe Parfum 3oz Spray
If you love those spicy powerhouse orientals like Opium and Cinnabar, you may not like the spicy price tags that they come with. Sadly, some of our favorite perfumes are the most expensive. Even more frustrating is how many manufacturers these days are tampering with our signature scents by watering them down into mere shadows of their former selves. Enter the world of dupes.

When I first discovered that Cafe was a great dupe for Opium, I made a fast beeline to Amazon and bought a bottle. It was cheap. Very cheap. The reviews mentioning the spice and sandalwood notes had me waiting in anticipation. Could this really smell as awesome as Opium?

My First Impression Of The Bottle Design

When I first opened the box,  I was neutral about the packaging and bottle design. After checking it out, I found the glass portion of the bottle quite pretty. It has a raised, bumpy design that appears to be coffee beans ( or tiny horse shoes) sprinkled around some type of flower. The top part of the bottle seems to be a complete mismatch in quality to the bottom. It's almost cheesy it's so plastic.

The bottom of the bottle says Cafe Paris France. The entire bottle is shaped like a flattened bowling pin. It feels nice to hold in your hand, has a good weight and doesn't tip over.

Cafe Parfum Is Supposed  To Contain These Notes

  • Top Notes- Lime,verbena, rosemary
  • Middle Notes-Spices, rose
  • Base Notes-Vetiver, patchouli
I say supposed because I am hard pressed to locate many of these notes. Maybe I need a new nose.

Experiencing Cafe In Real Time

Okay, here we go. Let's take off the cap and do a sniff test.
  • First sniff results- Warm. Slightly sweet. Powdery spice.
  • Initial Spray-A beautiful blast of amber-dipped flowers that immediately disappears, I mean within seconds. Lime? No. Rosemary? I don't think so. If there is any Verbena, I didn't notice it.
  • After 15 Minutes-This is where the Opium reminder might come in to play. The spice notes are in full bloom here. Any Opium lover will find some similarities here. Cafe does fit in to the Oriental/ Spice family of perfumes.
  • One Hour Dry Down-Here comes the strange part. Cafe drys down on my skin to a pure amber-sandalwood combination, kind of like those oils you find at health food shops. The base notes are listed online as patchouli and vetiver. No and no. This is more ambery like Moonlight Path by Bath & Body Works.

What I Like About This Fragrance

One of the most positive aspects of Cafe is that it has taught me that fragrance notes are so complex that even one extra note will change a perfume's composition. Cafe is a cheap try out and wont break the bank if you want to compare it to Opium. It is still an okay Oriental scent that I spray on when I am in one of my sandalwood-amber moods.

What I Don't Care For

The biggest let down is that Cafe is supposed to be a parfum. From France. Shouldn't it last a bit longer? It becomes what I peeve about the most; a soft skin scent that nobody notices; including me. Of course, I can't expect Chanel quality from a perfume that costs less than $20.00 for 3oz.

My Recommendations 

 If you like warm, powdery spice scents, you will like Cafe Parfum. It really does become a soft, close-to-the-skin fragrance. Imagine baby powder with cloves and that about sums up the whole experience. Is it a good dupe for Opium?

Cafe is like Opium in spirit, but can never reach the richness of those gorgeous Opium notes. Like I said, Cafe is affordable enough to grab as a research scent. Go ahead and give it a try so you can understand why so many think it's a dupe for Opium.

February 13, 2016

Cabotine By Gres- Eau De Toilette Review

How lovely it is to spend part of a weekend morning reviewing one of the perfume classics; Cabotine by Gres. I can't recall exactly when or where I picked up my 1 oz. spray bottle, but it has had a home in my collection for a few seasons now. I became curious about Cabotine when I stumbled on reviews and the history of this particular fragrance.

Although I didn't discover it until 2013 or so, it has been on the market since 1990. I knew going in that this was some type of floral and that it has a cult following of women that absolutely love it. That, and the great price made me decide to go ahead and try it.

The Cabotine Perfume Bottle
Cabotine by Gres Eau de Toilette 1oz.
Cabotine by Gres-1oz. Eau de Toilette
Sadly, the picture I have posted here doesn't do the bottle much justice. With the leafy, broccoli-like cap and well-balanced body, the Cabotine bottle is pretty, pretty, pretty. The lettering on the bottle matches the green of the cap.

Cabotine Notes
Cabotine is listed as a Floral-Adelhyde scent that revolves around the very rare Ginger Lily flower. Other notes include:
  • Top Notes-Plum, pear, blackcurrant, coriander
  • Middle Notes-Ginger lily, rose, violet, tuberose
  • Base Notes-Musk, amber, vanilla, cedar wood

Spraying On Cabotine In Real Time 

  • The bottle cap sniff test- Soapy-fresh notes that smell like baby shampoo with a bit of musk added in; not the most thrilling sniff test in the world.
  • On First Spray-A gorgeous burst of rose, pear and plum notes. The first spray smells beautiful. I can really get the violets and the hyacinths too. Spring is in the air!
  • After 10 Minutes-At this stage, something sharp and bitter emerges. The tuberose? Perhaps that ginger lily? Here, the scent becomes weird to me. It reeks of sour flowers.
  • After 30 Minutes-I search desperately for any notes of musk, amber or cedar wood contained in the base notes. None. Vanilla? No. What I do get, however, is that original bottle cap smell of soap and shampoo. My wrist smells like carnation-scented Ivory liquid.
  • Complete Dry down-This is it. Cabotine smells like weak Yardley English Rose soap on me. Considering Cabotine means a dramatic, theatrical poser and ham, I am saddened by the undramatic qualities of smelling like soft floral soap.

What I Like About It
What I like is the adorable bottle. It could sit there for ages and just look pretty if I were to never use it again. The best thing that Cabotine has going for it is an affordable price point. This is not a wildly expensive perfume to buy.

Things I Don't Like
Other than the un-theatrical dry down, the bottle cap is a major dust magnet. All those nooks and crannies means a regular rinse under water, sometimes using an old toothbrush to make it shiny and clean again. Although the bottle cap is supposed to represent a flower, I still feel as though I am washing a broccoli top.

My Recommendations
Who do I think might like this fragrance? If you love those "clean" scents that remind you of fresh laundry and you happen to like multiple floral notes with a tad of sharpness, you might like this one. I am sure this is why so many women like it; it becomes a very soft, fresh-out-of-the-shower perfume that you could be okay wearing to work.

Cabotine by Gres Eau de Toilette

January 12, 2016

Patchouli Sumatra Review

Patchouli Sumatra 3.3 oz Eau de Parfum Spray
Just like musk, patchouli is one of those notes that people seem to love or hate. Some of us can take small amounts of the stuff and be happy with it. Others, like me, appreciate the scentsational effects of a strong patchouli perfume.

One particular day, I was in the mood to find some new perfumes to add to my collection that were based almost entirely on patchouli. After a little online research, I stumbled upon a few Patchouli Sumatra by Jeanne Arthes reviews.

After reading words like strong, long-lasting, powerful, spicy, oriental and a patchouli-lover's must have, I had to try it. I picked up the big 3.3 oz. Eau de Parfum.

The Bottle Design-Tassels & Flocking
The first thing I noticed was the substantial weight of the glass bottle. Even the cap has a noticeable weight that few other perfumes have.

You get a cute little yellow tassel hanging from the cap and the front of the bottle has a velvety flocked pattern in yellow. This one stays put and has never tipped over. The fragrance itself is the amber color of maple syrup or strong tea.

Patchouli Sumatra Perfume Notes

Although there is little found about the category and notes of this scent, I classify it as a straight up oriental/ gourmand. Patchouli? Yes, definitely. Perhaps some coriander, vanilla, amber and incense as well. Although described as a feminine perfume, I don't particularly find it a girly scent at all.

Real Time Experience
  • At First Sniff From The Spray Nozzle- Wow, a very pungent patchouli spice scent emanates from the bottle. The spice is very prominent here.
  • The Initial Spray-A powerful note of boozy amber sweetness mixed with slightly bitter notes of resinous patchouli.  After a few minutes the fragrance can only be described as what you would smell if you dipped patchoui leaves in maple syrup and roasted them over an open fire.
  • After 10 Minutes- I sniff my wrist and get a sour/ bitter hit of woody leaves with a slight undernote of sweet spice.
  • After 30 Minutes-As the fragrance drys down, I am pretty much left with the scent of campfire smoke on my wrist. The leafy bitterness of the patchouli is still lurking, but that dratted maple syrup note makes me smell like a Brandy flask.

What I Love About This Fragrance
It's different. It's like nothing out there. The bottle is adorable and looks pretty just sitting there. The scent is resinous and uses patchouli in a very unique way. Whatever the spice notes in it, I love the idea of what Jeanne Artes was trying to create; something exotic and Mata Hari-like.

What I Don't Care For
Patchouli Sumatra seems to die down quickly on my skin. As powerful as it is on initial spray, it does a disappearing act in record time.  After a while, the fragrance becomes too sweet like the gourmands I dislike.

My Recommendations

If you enjoy sharp, resinous notes with a little syrupy sweetness, smokiness and mystery, you may like Patchouli Sumatra by Jeanne Artes. It's not an expensive perfume. I can say this; you won't smell like any other woman out there with this highly unique perfume.