Hypnotic poison has always been a firm favourite among the men. Wearing this scent is always bound to illicit complements no-matter how “mainstream” it is. It was brought to the market in 1998, and was always the original Poison’s softer, quieter, more mysterious little sister. It does not attack the senses like Poison, but instead works slower and more seductively, each note beautifully synergising with the last to create a dreamier, more subtle olfactory experience. Many fans of this perfume talk about it as being a perfect winter companion, stating that there is something incredibly comforting about it, to be used as a sort of ally during those difficult winter months. When the oriental blend of bitter and sweet that Hypnotic Poison opens with has done it’s bit and begins to gradually fade a fresh musk begins to come to the fore. The notes of this particular perfume are as follows: Bitter almond, caraway, jasmine sambac, acaranda wood, moss and vanilla musk. Bitter almond folds delightfully into jasmine cream as the top notes emanate away from your skin upon first applying it. There is also a strange metallic note that seems to cut through the rich creaminess of the scent, perfectly tempering its sweeter notes and toning them down. The base notes are musky and gourmand whilst also slightly animalistic and perfectly restrained by a hint of bitterness that runs all the way through fro top notes down to the base. Every bit as magical as when it first debuted, it’s an excellent choice for all fans of anything with a hint of Jasmine.
Debuting back in 1999, J’adore is every bit the modern, glamorous perfume it was a decade ago. The unique blend of notes that went into creating J’adore has proven to be a winning formula and has gone on to become the basis for many other spin-off blends that bear the J’adore name. J’adore was always intended to be a timeless fragrance, opulent, golden, sun-filled, even mythical, from it’s notes to the design of the bottle all the way to the chosen advertising campaign it is intended to evoke decadence and the timeless quality of the ancient world. The perfume opens sweetly with a slightly sharp zing in the form of mandarin that cuts its way through a delicious floral bouquet. It’s notes include: Mandarin, Champaca Flowers, Ivy, African Orchid, Rose, Violet, Damascus Plum, Amaranth Wood and Blackberry Musk. Jasmine, plum, orchid and citrus form the opening notes. As this delightful blend begins to ease off, making way for the middle notes the floral aspect of J’adore gradually begins to centre on rose while the opening notes linger and morph, synergising with the more persistent heart of the perfume. This in turn fades to a beautiful pitch making room for amaranth, blackberry and musk to round off a sensuous, chic and rich olfactory experience.
Created by Pierre Bourdon in 1996 Cool Water for women came off the back of the inordinately successful original Cool Water for men which catapulted the relatively new perfume arm of Davidoff to worldwide acclaim. Whatever you think of that original scent now, some say it smells dated, some think of it as rather cheap-smelling and far too obvious, nevertheless it did become one of the quintessential scents of the nineties and was an enormous financial success for the brand. A Cool ten years after the debut of Cool Water for men a version of the same scent was released for women. It ought to be noted that such was the popularity of the original cologne it became something of a fad for women to also purchase and wear it in the absence of a version for women. The women’s version is very calmer and more delicate than the original, less in your face, with breezy and cool aquatic notes that are sweetened and lifted with hints of fruit and then brought back down to earth by a more woody middle and base. The top notes of fruit are comprised of Citrus, Melon, Quince, Pineapple, and melded with floral notes of Lotus and Lily. The middle notes continue primarily in a floral bouquet of Rose, Jasmine and Muguet which then ease off allowing base notes of Vanilla, Peach, Musk, Sandalwood, Orris and Vetiver that linger delightfully as the night wears on. In many ways a superior fragrance as compared to the original, Cool Water for Women is exactly what it says on the bottle.
Just one in a long line of Cool Water spin-off by Davidoff this perfume is said to have been inspired by Aphrodite and was created with the femininity and the free spirit in mind. Freshness is the operative word here, as with the entire Cool Water line the bottle and advertising bumf, as well, of course ans the blend of notes that go into it are designed to inspire the images of crystal clear waters, of fresh breezes and off long summer days and even longer summer nights. As soon as you apply Cool Water Wave to your skin you are immediately hit by the blend of floral and fruity head notes that combine summer floral scents such as freesia and datura with rich sweet exotic fruits like mango and guava, this deeper fruity scents are also softened with the softer, more delicate aroma of sweet watermelon as the perfume moves into its middle phase. The base of this fragrance is composed of amber, iris and sandalwood, rounding off the blend in an excellent and memorable way. Not everyone’s favourite cool water, this is a love or hate affair, it is difficult to be indifferent towards it.
Created by Annick Menardo and Thierry Vasseur under a new licencing deal between Diesel and L’Oreal, Fuel For Life for her is classified as a chypre-floral. You might expect this to be yet another in a long line of saccharine youthful scents that are promptly forgotten almost as soon as they are encountered but I have to say you’d be wrong. Although Fuel For Life is indeed aimed at a younger, trendier, and perhaps a little less discerning slice of the perfume-buying public it does actually surprise and certainly stands out from the ever-growing crowd of sweet and fruity teenie fragrances. Fuel For Life for her opens with intriguing top notes of mandarin and pink pepper that open the senses and create the space for the delicate and well-rounded heart notes of jasmine, blackcurrant and patchouli which are in turn well grounded by a nicely textured musk at the base. Its bright zingy freshness can seem a little overwhelming at first but give it just a little time and you will see, or rather smell, that Fuel For Life actually quickly develops into a very charming fragrance. Not as youthful as you might imagine, it is actually suitable for all sorts of women looking for something fresh and sexy and more than anything else bright and rather charming.
Too many perfume launches, not enough time, not enough days in the year in fact. That’s the cry from perfume reviewers the world over as they madly scramble about trying to find perfume and cologne samples, attend launches, sniff the actual fragrances, wear them, get the facts, and pen the perfume reviews. Regardless of this fact the good folks at D&G have thought that it might be a good idea to launch a total of five new fragrances all at once. The new collection goes by them name The D&G Fragrance Anthology and takes its inspiration from the tarot card deck. The five simultaneous fragrance releases are named as follows: Le Bateleur 1, L’Imperatrice 3, L’Amoureaux 6, La Roue de la Fortune 10 and La Lune 18, which translate to: The Juggler/Magician, The Empress, The Lovers, The Wheel of Fortune and finally The Moon. Each fragrance comes complete with a different naked model or two (in the advertisement, you understand, not included in the price) and D&G seem to be banking on the fact that the anthology will be collectible enough to make their cheeky marketing ploy pay back not more than the cost of one fragrance perfume per customer. With mixed reviews of the actual fragrances so far in the industry this remains to be seen.
Le Bateleur 1 (or the juggler/magician) features the use of both aromatic and aquatic notes, with a base of cedar and vetiver. Unfortunately they seem to have overdone it slightly with the cedar notes and as a result comes off smelling too much like soggy wood chips. Even though these peculiar top notes only last for several minutes matters are not really helped by what follows, in which Le Bateleur 1 then ventures in what can only be described as stock sport fragrance teriitory. This is where notes of melon, mild spice and calone begin to come to the fore. As these rather uninteresting and unoriginal heart notes wear on and begin to ease out the fragrance returns to a sort of soggy cedar and wet vetiver base that may have been interesting enough on its own were it not for the rather predictable middle notes of this particular fragrance. To sum up a less from glowing review Le Bateleur 1 is exactly what you expect from a “sport” fragrance, it is smooth and rather strong and long lasting, smells pretty much like every other sport smell out there and really feels like a superfluous addition to the D&G fragrance anthology.
L’Imperatrice (The Empress) is composed of the following notes: watermelon, kiwi, pink cyclamen and musk. The fragrance opens quite strong with a powerful aroma of sweet citrus fruits cut nicely by an interesting combination of kiwi and watermelon that synergise delightfully and come in at just the right intensity to take the edge of the citrus and soften it slightly, freshening up the overall top-notes of the fragrance. Thankfully this is achieved without the watermelon stealing the show as tends to happen with certain blends in which watermelon is used. A mix of sharper more grapefruit like and green notes prevent the sweetness of L’Imperatrice 3 verging on the sickly, which is a good thing. The cyclamen comes in somewhere in the middle top of the perfumes life span and adds an aquatic touch to the experience, again without stealing the show. As the scent wears on and dries down you’ll find that the sweetness will ease off nicely, and as the scent dries down, allowing more tart aromas to enter. L’Imperatrice 3’s base notes are also rather interesting, an gentle musk aroma blends with with a strange blend of dried fruit and beer, grounding the scent and fading out slowly over then next few hours. The fragrance is suitable for men and women, even with a name like The Empress. It doesn’t have the longest ever life span but is probably the most interesting of the five fragrances that comprise the D&G Fragrance Anthology.
L’Amoureaux 6 (translates to The Lovers) is composed of the following notes: bergamot, cardamom, juniper, pink pepper, spices, birch leaf, orris, wood and finally musk. Being that current perfume trends tend to dictate that most fragrances center around a kind of sugary sweetness that has been the bane of perfume reviewers’ lives for years, L’Amoureaux 6 is actually a welcome break with this rather staid tradition. Three of the five fragrances in the D&G Fragrance Anthology are also rather sweet and L’Amoureaux 6 is the exception to this rule. Okay, so this particular fragrance opens with citrus that is softened and freshened up by being blended with a gentle and breezy aquatic note. After this fresh and zingy introduction the fragrance begins to veer off onto a different track as a certain spiciness begins to emerge. Notes of pepper and cardamom pierce through the initial citrusy freshness adding depth and texture to the overall fragrance. As the spice finishes up it’s job of cutting through the top notes and opening the nose the base notes of wood, more spice and juniper round the whole experience off and bring it home. While this is indeed a welcome break in the line from the sweetness of the other fragrances in the line, much like Le Bateleur 1, it really feels like it has all been done before. There is nothing really new and interesting here, even though in and off itself this is a good all round fragrance.
La Roue de La Fortune (The Wheel of Fortune) is the forth in a line of five new scents that compose D&G’s new Fragrance anthology. Taking as its inspiration a number of cards from the tarot card deck it seeks to create a unique fragrance for both men and women that represents one of five archetypal ideas. La Roue de La Fortune contains a blend of the following notes: tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, benzoin and patchouli. This is a sweet floral fragrance that centres around a bouquet of white flowers, as a result if sweet is not your thing then you might want to give this one a wide berth. Notes of tuberose, gardenia and jasmine meld in the opening, teasing the nostrils with their delicate sweetness. None of them really compete for dominance although I suppose you could say that generally the jasmine is a little bit more noticeable than the other flowers in this floral blend. The floral head notes are sweetened even further with a hint sweet citrus and just a touch of banana. Thankfully the fragrance is not a particularly strong one as it would definitely be rather overpowering with all these sweet notes. Patchouli and benzoin attempt to resolve the sweetness but are themselves overpowered and this extremely feminine scent fades out pretty much exactly as it came in, sweet, sweet and a little more sweet. Perhaps its only saving grace is the fact that it is not so strong.
La Lune 18 (The Moon) is the fifth and final fragrance in the D&G Fragrance Anthology. Although you may imagine that this one was earmarked as the collection’s darker or midnight fragrance that is not exactly what you get here. Instead what you get is more of the same, a variation on the theme that runs through the entire collection, which in a nutshell is sweet and unoriginal. The notes you’ll find in La Lune 18 are lily, tuberose, sandalwood, musk, orris and leather. It opens with white flowers and closes with musk, that’s pretty much it really, no leather to it, no animal sexiness. It’s pretty boring to be honest although well-rounded. It smells like about a hundred other perfumes you’ve probably already come across, most of them cheap and cheerful. The orris is overwhelmed by the white floral bouquet and all you’re really left with is a vague and uninspired, sent for that matter, uninspiring “feminine” scent. I really wish D&G had put their energies into creating one very good scent, instead of five very average ones.
The One by D&G is classified as belonging to the floral Oriental group of fragrances. It is composed of top notes of mandarin and bergamot and complimented perfectly by fruity hints of peach and lychee. Overall there is a delightful warmth to this fragrance and with primarily floral middle notes that are almost entirely made up of jasmine. These notes will begin to fade out over a few hours depending of your skin type and will just slightly linger as they begin to dry down to a delicious vanilla and sweet amber that is also very well rounded. What you won’t find in D&G’s The One is overt animalistic sexiness, or a scent that the young ones will dash out to by. It is refined and chic, delicate and poised, but a little “mature” if you know what I mean. There is nothing particularly that wows the senses or stands out from the crowd here, except perhaps for the fact that it doesn’t smell as youthful as the advertising campaign might lead you to believe. D&G perfume buyer tend to collect every bottle of perfume that the fashion house releases, I’d be very interested to see what those hardcore D&G fragrance collectors make of this. Like I said, it’s well balanced, rather chic, but most definitely not the one for me.
Escada’s Incredible Me hit stores back in 2008 with an advertising campaign that was fronted by Lydia Hearst. Envisioned by the company as an “intercultural” scent, whatever that means in this day and age, it brings together exotic Asian elements with the vibrancy of the western world.
Classified as a vanilla-based floral oriental it comprises notes of Clementine, honeysuckle, orchid, tiramisú, vanilla and sandalwood. This is an overwhelmingly sweet scent, opening with Clementine the citrus top notes are not as sharp as perhaps the rest of the notes warrant. This initial sweetness morphs and is replaced as heart notes of honeysuckle and orchid come to the fore. The middle notes then linger for a while, not as spicy as the oriental olfactory group it belongs to would suggest. Only the vaguest citrus hints remain discernible as the sweet flowers make way for a still sweet edible base. The base notes of tiramisu (an Escade favourite), vanilla and sandalwood round the perfume of rather nicely to a luxurious and sexy gourmand finish. If sweet scents are not your thing then you’d be best advised to give this one a miss. However I should point out that this is one of the better ones, it’s a luxurious sweetness that is best used sparingly, but is guaranteed to get mouths watering as you walk past. The bottle is a stunner, a curve knot of glass echoing the company’s logo and lined with mat black. The lifespan of the scent is slightly longer than average, further confirmation if any was needed that you really ought to go easy on the spray unless you want people to thing that you lie in a crème brulee factory.
Although D&G’s spin-off perfume that takes its inspiration from their 2006 release The One would have most of you expecting a rose centered fragrance with soft powdery gourmand texture this is not exactly what you inevitably get. If you go in for all that sexy advertising bumf featuring an jaw dropping Scarlett Johansson looking more than good enough to eat and actually purchase D&G’s Rose The One this is actually what you end up taking home with you. Rose The One features the following blend of notes: black-currant, pink grapefruit, mandarin, lily of the valley, rose, litchi, peony, Madonna lily, ambrette seed, sandalwood, musk and vanilla. Read the list again, a little slower and you’ll discover that this is a rather stock blend of ingredients that has been done to death over the past few years to create rather sweet floral perfumes. Rose The One opens with grapefruit and although there is rose in there somewhere you’ll find that it is inevitably pushed to the side by the rest of that long list of notes that the perfume is brimming with. The heart of this fragrance is made up of lily of the valley, peony, and unripe mulberries that end up smelling rather strong and harsh even, both bitter and sweet. Don’t expect it to ripen into anything more seductive and nuanced as the perfume dries on you because unfortunately this does not seem to take place. As the heart of the perfume peters out you’ll find little more than a smooth vanilla base note that does not generally serve well in rounding the fragrance off, nor does it warm the fragrance. Unfortunately this seems like another exercise in perfume by numbers, testament to the fact that while people’s visual literacy is second to none nowadays, their sense of smell leaves much to be desired for I’m sure this will be a great success.
Created by Olivier Gillotin, 5th Avenue After Five is an accompanying fragrance to the original Elizabeth Arden scent named simply 5th Avenue. It is composed of the following notes: black plum, bergamot, coriander, muguet, jasmine, saffron, lotus blossom, sandalwood, white birch, Tonka and musk. This poised and exquisitely blended scent opens with sweet and spicy top notes of black plum, bergamot and corriander. Though initially rather sweet, it is a delicate teasing sort of sweetness that is immediately prevented from overwhelming the other notes by just the right amount of bergamot and corriander that add a much needed and complex edge to the simple plum opening. These initial top notes linger for a while, fusing with each other on the skin to create a wonderful synthesis of scents that begin to fade away almost as soon as they begin to dry and meld into one. At this point the delightful white floral heart begins to bloom whilst being seasoned with muguet, and saffron, making the middle notes of this perfume altogether more interesting and nuanced than other more simple white floral heart blends. The base notes have a similar synergy, a grounded woody musk entering in the final stages and carrying on well into the night, made edible and sensuous by just a hint of tonka bean right on the way out. The early evening version of 5th Avenue is a great success in my opinion and a scent sure to surprise long after you think you have grown accustomed to it.
Having been discontinued in many stores, Palazzo by Fendi was always something of a love hate affair with most people. Many mention it in the same breath as Thiery Mugler’s Angel, others site it as being closer to Karma by Lush. And although you’re not likely to find very many glowing reviews of Palazzo, for some reason unbeknown to me, I’d like to break with this tradition of Palazzo bashing and mention some of the fragrances good points, for there are indeed many. Firstly its rare, you don’t get very many people nowadays tapping you on the shoulder and saying “you’re wearing Palazzo by Fendi aren’t you?” Superfluities aside, it is actually a pretty interesting perfume. It is bold and assertive, rather delightfully off-key in composition and coming from Annick Menardo as it does, it is deliciously foody.
I don’t know about you but I never tire of smelling a certain way that makes men want to eat me! The patchouli notes are forward and unashamed and there is a really interesting incense-like smokiness to the scent that I personally find extremely sexy. Curiously there is also some citrus in there not evident in the top but buried somewhere deeper, perhaps the synergistic result of a couple of other elements as they mix with one another. It is undeniably sophisticated and self-assured, it doesn’t toe the line but rather is brass enough to stand out and say something different. It lasts forever, wafts off the skin exceptionally well and gets you noticed in a good way. The notes are as follows, I got so into eulogizing it I forgot to mention them at the onset: mandarin orange, lemon, bergamot, pink pepper, orange blossom, rose, and jasmine. If you want something a little different, a little rare and that comes in an absolutely preposterous bottle, this is definitely something you might want to try. Get hold of it while certain online companies still have the stock, and if you like it, buy a whole lot more!
Developed by perfumer Annie Buzantian, Ralph Rocks is is yet another addition to the Ralph by Ralph Lauren line of perfumes for young women. The line was introduced back in 2000 in order to capture a piece of the ever-growing twenty-something fragrance market and has seen the company release a string of fresh and fruity perfumes. The notes for this particular fragrance include passion fruit, kiwi, citrus, freesia, orange blossom, hyacinth, palm leaves, sun-bleached woods, coconut milk, sandalwood and amber.
At the very top the first notes to hit you as soon as you spray this perfume are a strong and sweet blend of tropical fruits. After these you get a fresh burst of citrus that helps to cut through the sweet fruity aroma,Thus preventing Ralph Rocks coming across as some kind of tropical fruit juice rather than a perfume. As these initial top notes begin to calm and the perfume dries on your skin it follows with a cream floral heart that is sweetened slightly by a hint of coconut, this helps tie in the head and heart notes to each other. As the middle phase of Ralph Rocks wears on you notice that it becomes progressively less floral and more coconut-y, without ever becoming to overpowering. By the time the heart notes have completely faded, and with them all hints of fruit, the perfume settles into a pale musk, grounded by the scent of woods. This is definitely one of the better perfumes in the line. Yes, it is sweet but nowhere near as sweet as other twenty-something fragrances and indeed many of the other ones in the Ralph by Ralph Lauren line.
Paired with the sport line of garments from Ralph Lauren, the Ralph by Ralph Lauren line of perfumes have been quite a success. Not just in the marketplace but also from the point of view of perfume reviewers. While there is nothing really groundbreaking about them, they do seem to be much more well balanced and poised than many of the other perfumes out there geared at the young adult market. Regardless of its name, Wild by Ralph Lauren, like the other perfumes in this line is a fruity floral, fresh, sweet and zingy at the top, floral in the middle and pale musky at the base. The head notes are sweet and fruity, strawberry being the dominant scent in top of this particular fragrance, this in turn gives way to a nondescript flowery bouquet in the centre, which in turn makes way for a pale woody kind of musk at the bottom. The notes are as follows: strawberry watermelon, cherry blossom, pink peppercorn, red petals, jasmine, amber, sandalwood and musk.
Though having nothing particularly wild about it, Ralph Wild by Ralph Lauren is a very pleasant, fresh and extremely wearable scent. The notes are well balanced so as to prevent the sweetness of the fruits becoming overpowering. This is a nice, sweet and fun pink fruity floral suitable for women of all ages.
Released way back in 1970, Eau de Rochas has proven to have a lasting appeal, or at least be part of something of a rediscovery and revival. Originally released as a woman’s cologne, nowadays it smells like more of a fragrance that either sex could enjoy equally. It is astonishing that a fragrance that was created forty years ago can seem so contemporary and fresh today, more than this, it even seems to have qualities that are mysteriously absent from the fragrances of today, cologne or not. What makes this particular cologne so special though, and guarantees its place up there as quintessential cologne, is the fact that unlike other colognes it doesn’t make the error of overdoing the coolness and freshness. This is a marked feature of colognes that they open fresh and tend to move all the way through the entire olfactory experience that they provide with coolness and freshness from top to base notes. As a result, not only are they boring and smell quite alike, but they also feel rather cold and unsexy after a while. This is due to the fact that overwhelmingly, the sexiness of a fragrance boils down to how it dries on the skin and how it starts to warm and spice up from the heart notes onwards to the base. This is precisely what Eau de Rochas manages to do, once the pale rose heart begins to fade away you get a wonderful warmth beginning to emanate outwards, no doubt created by the subtle blend of amber and oakmoss in the base. As a result this fragrance has it all, the fresh cool and breezy entrance, the understated floral heart and a warm sexiness at the base. It is comprised of the following notes: verbena, lime, mandarin, bergamot, wild rose, jasmine, coriander, carnation, oakmoss, amber, and musk and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The Story behind Femme is that is was created way back in the forties by famous perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. The perfume was commissioned by Marcel Rochas and intended as a gift for his wife. The original perfume has been reformulated by Rochas with an view towards today’s perfume market and has been altered slightly. The difference between the original and the new version arise in the omission of the aldehydes of the original in favor of cumin, which spices thing up interestingly, although, over the duration of a single wear you will find that the two versions of Femme parallel each other quite closely. The notes of this new version include: peach, plum, sandalwood, rosewood, lemon, rose, jasmine, oakmoss, patchouli, musk, amber, civet, and leather. It is a very sumptuous and sexy perfume, but also one that inspires a sense of nostalgia for days gone by. Furthermore it is strangely personal in the way it makes you smell, almost like you’re opening yourself up to the world. It lasts forever and the silage is quite astonishing, combine this with the fact that, as I have already mentioned this is a very sexy scent, and you understand why I use the word personal to describe it. It is intensely personal, and requires a certain air of confidence in order to carry it off properly. Over ripe fruit gives it is bruised lusciousness in the top notes. Sandalwood wafts off your skin throughout and is grounded by an almost dirty chypre bottom. This reformulated version is a great success and a welcome addition to the house of Rochas. Use with care, and only if you’re brave.
We’ve had a lot to say about celebrity perfumes on this site, most of which have been at best unflattering. Sarah Jessica Parker perfumes don’t seem to fit into the celebrity scent mould for two simple reasons. Firstly they are aimed, or seem to be aimed at an older woman, with all the sophistication therein that that implies, and secondly she doesn’t seem in any kind of rush to flood the perfume market with bottles bearing her name, this new fragrance comes two whole years after the release of Lovely. Both of these facts are a most welcome here. The idea behind Covet was to create something harder and more aggressive in nature than Lovely, something more daring and interesting.
The notes that go into Covet are as follows: wet greens, geranium leaves, Sicilian lemon, lavender, chocolate, honeysuckle, magnolia, muguet, musk, vetiver, bois de cashmere, teakwood and amber. Immediately you can see a difference between these notes and the sickly sweet sugary fruits of most other celebrity scents. Covet opens loud, with a sharp burst of lemon tempered by lavender and grounded in greens. It immediately softens on the skins, the initial sharpness quickly rounds itself off, making way for the sweetness of the chocolate to waft through. Almost just as this takes place the central flowers come in, and equally quickly they seem to dry out and make way for the perfumes distinctive musk.. This is a very well put together scent, one of my favorite celebrity affairs. It is dark and sexy in the base, with the vaguest hints of the initial sharpness informing the sweet edible hints of vanilla and chocolate. It also lasts seemingly forever, even though it progresses through its notes so quickly and what you’re left with is a delicious perfume with a wonderful warmth that you want to ever fade. I never seem to grow tired of this one.