Monday, February 9, 2009

Forgotten Gems Part V: Etro Heliotrope

SUBTLE SUGAR RUSH. Heliotrope - a very nice, albeit understated, cologne from the Italian masters of eccentric paisley Etro, is often unfairly overlooked in the discussions about the great gourmands. This is the aroma of bitter sweet almonds on a bed of white flowers sprayed with caramel milk. Even though heliotrope notes have been quite widely used historically, this rendition adds beautiful layers of cherry and soft tobacco creating a sublime pastry like impression. This is not just pure marzipan.

As mentioned, sillage is not its forte, but this is hardly an issue as I suspect a strength increase would just make it overtly sweet and cloying. Also I was quite surprised to learn that this was released in 1989 as it comes across as much more contemporary and soft compared to what stuff generally smelled like then. A fact that further proves Heliotrope was ahead of the curve and probably has served as an inspiration for fragrances like Dior's Bois d'Argent, L'Artisan Parfumeur's Bois Farine and Cerutti Black.

Captivating, precious and gentle.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Monday, February 2, 2009

Speed Review: Lalique White

Year of Launch: 2008
Gender Classification: Masculine
Perfumer: Christine Nagel
Availability: In production
Dominant Notes: Lemon leaves, tamarind, bergamot, violet, white pepper, nutmeg, amber, cedar , musk
Reminiscent of: Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche, L'Eau par Kenzo pour Homme, Dior Homme Sport
Longevity & Sillage: Moderate sillage, average longevity
Packaging & Design: Broad shouldered matte white flacon, somewhat dissapointing given the brands prestigious history of crystal craftsmanship
5 adjectives: Contemporary, safe, citrusy, hesperidic, smooth
Overall rating: 6/10

Monday, January 26, 2009

Aramis - Bermuda Tonic

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. In the present cold and dark European winter, one's mind easily wanders away toward carefree summer days and dreams of a nice tropical vacation. Very light and breezy and not something for a cold climate or mindset - Bermuda Tonic from Estée Lauders Aramis-line is just what would suit such a day of relaxing in the sun.

his is basically a "resort fragrance", very Piña Colada-ish featuring a pleasant blend of bitter rhum, sweet coconut and juicy pineapples. The overall impression is very crisp with a lightly salty touch reminiscent of sea and wind. A slightly astringent lime remains troughout the development of the fragrance.

This is a tonic however and intentionally designed to be sprayed very liberally since it's quite weak- so beware of seriously fleeting character.

losest sibling is Creed's Virgin Island Water and whilst the latter is definitely the better of the two, it's hardly worth the much steeper price.

o conclude, Bermuda Tonic is a good, fun and leisure fragragrance. In it's inviting packaging, it was a nice 2005 release of Lauder and a welcome strenghtening of their portfolio after some dissapointing launches.

Year of Launch:
Gender Classification: Masculine
Reminiscent of: Creed Virgin Island Water, Calvin Klein Obsession Night for Men, Jil Sander Sun
Longevity & Sillage: Both below average
Overall Rating: 6/1o

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Citrus Anatomy Part IV – Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée

Jacques Polge’s flawless 1989 update of the classic Pour Monsieur is indeed stronger compared to the original, but above all of a superior craft. It feels considerably more modern, but not edgy in any way. Added to the wonderful initial blasts of various citrus fruits are clear notes of nutmeg, cardamom and something smelling slightly like coconut. The basenotes feature a sweet creaminess, an oriental vanilla not unlike the one found in numerous Guerlain perfumes, that is perfectly balanced with the by then fading spices and dry mossy heart.

Pour Monsieur Concentrée is actually more reminiscent of Dior´s Eau Sauvage than the original Pour Monsieur, the latter being a straightforward citrusy chypre while both PMC and Eau Sauvage transcend traditional categorization and have way more intangible compositions. In my experience the truly great citrus fragrances have at least one of two parameters: Superior, often natural smelling ingredients, like Eau de Rochas Pour Homme and Annick Goutal´s Eau de Hadrien, or a level of abstraction that makes them rise above the genre in general, like New York from Parfums de Nicolaï. This Chanel easily fulfills both those criteria. Comfortable and truly a class act.
Overall rating: 7/10