Wednesday, June 14, 2006


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REVIEW: Storer Aromatics, Monk (2006)

Pros: An unusual aroma, light, airy, dry incense with only a hint of sweetness; great price tag.

Cons: It does remind me of an old cathedral which could actually be a "pro" for some.

Notes: Musk, civet, tabac, frankincense, leather, ambergris, sandalwood, tonka, galbanum, bergamot

Reminds me of: Etro Messe de Minuit; L'Artisan Passage d'Enfer

Development: I was surprised when the scent failed to develop much; with a list of notes as above, I expected unfolding layers. Instead the scent is well-blended and few single notes stand-out.

Longevity: The fragrance got very quiet on my skin after about 1 hour but I was surprised to get faint whiffs of Monk after about 3 hours. It lingered, albeit quietly.

Sillage: The fragrance is MUCH lighter than the notes might lead you to believe; creates a trail of light musk and fankincense.

Where can I buy it? $20.99 for a 100ml edt spray at

Bottleworthy? At that price, this is an unusual scent that really must be tried.

The Bottom Line: After reading about Storer Aromatics' Monk at, I knew that I would have to try it. I read descriptions like "smells like church incense" or "a great gothic aroma" and figured this was a scent that mimics Etro's infamous Messe de Minuit. In a very small way, it does, but the good news is that Monk is neither as harsh nor as expensive. My main problem with Monk is that it seems to be lacking that "it" factor that makes an ordinary or safe fragrance into one that just bowls you over. Monk didn't bowl me over but it did have me nodding my head "yes" and thinking of what kind of weather would have me wearing this. My answer: cool, rainy, grey days; days when I need a quiet and subtle aroma. Overall, Monk is an unusual fragrance from a new perfumer that deserves to be tried. Perfect for those who love light musk scents and church incense.

Rating (out of 10): 7

What's your favorite "Scent of a Cathedral"?

ASK MARLEN: Lutens, Le Labo and the Fragrance Fridge

Hi Marlen,

I love your blog and check it basically every day - it's one of the few sites I go to that actually update at least every day, so I'm always happy :)

I'm just starting to get into the very costly world of perfume addiction, so far I've only got about fifteen bottles of over-the-counter stuff, but I'm about to start branching out into niche stuff. I've fallen in love with Luten's Muscs Khublai Khan based just on the stuff I've read about it and NEED to have some. I've got a 5ml sample coming, but it's impossible to find online in any proper quantity. I understand that it's part of the "exclusive" non-export line, but surely there's got to be some site selling it that's not charging the ridiculously inflated prices you pay on Ebay? If you could steer me in the direction of such a site I'd be eternally grateful!

Also, I'm really intrigued by your review of vetiver46 (I LOVE vetiver fragrances.. went into two department stores the other day and asked the perfume lackeys what was a good, heavy vetiver scent and BOTH handed me hugo boss' selection hehe... yuck!), but also liked the sound of montale's vetiver... is Le Labo really worth the price difference??

One last question: on the very very off-chance that I manage to get a friend in Europe to get me some MKK, is there anything I need to watch out for in shipping? I'm in Australia and don't want my precious 100 euro perfume to get broken in transport, or heat-damaged or anything like that. I've heard that keeping good fragrances in a fridge is a much better way to store them
- is this true? ok, so that was two last questions, I'm all done now!

Thanks heaps,
JDear J,

Thanks so much for kudos. I love writing my blog, so I'm sure it will be around for some time!

Ok, onto your questions....I'm gonna make this short and simple:

1) The reason it's called the exclusive non-export line is that no one else sells it and it's not exported out of Europe for commercial sale. Best to contact Lutens directly: The only time you see Lutens non-export items for sale is by private sellers who are re-selling their own items.

2) Le Labo is absolutely worth the price tag in my opinion, but only for someone who is a die hard fan of the fragrances they offer. Best to try the fragrances out.

Read my review of Le Labo Vetiver 46.
Check out Le Labo's website.

Montale's Vetiver is a horse of a different color and equally enjoyable to wear!

Read my review of Montale's Vetiver de Sables.
Check out for great prices on Montale.
Check out Montale's website.

3) Shipping is always hit and miss, but its likely that if anything breaks on transit from your retailer, it will be replaced by the retailer...From a friend in Europe? Best to have the package insured just in case!

4) As for the urban legend of the Fragrance Fridge, well, it's true, there was a time I actually had a few fragrances in my fridge, and I have friends who have dedicated mini-fridges in their bath suites just for perfume. And it's true, like wine, fragrance lasts longer when stored in cool, dry, dark areas so if you've got the extra fridge space or the means to buy your own fragrance fridge, by all means go for it. While living in my Dad's house for the summer where you might find a block of cheese from 1968 still living in the fridge (yes, I am exaggerating, and wildly), I choose no to chill the Cerutti.

Ok, hope this helps, feel free to keep the questions coming!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

REVIEW: Montale, Jasmin Full (2005)

Pros: An incredible white floral that smells exactly like fresh jasmine petals.

Cons: This one is strictly for floral lovers.

Notes: Jasmine, orange blossom, honeysuckle.

Reminds me of: L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons, but headier.

Development: The honeysuckle and orange blossom are really only accents here, helping to create a sense of depth and adding a touch of sweetness; a linear composition.

Longevity: Lasts forever on me and that's a good thing from a jasmine fragrance.

Sillage: Again, excellent, enough so that I was asked what I was wearing, but not too overwhelming.

Where can I buy it? $122 for a 100ml edt spray at

Bottleworthy: A jasmine-lover's dream.

The Bottom Line: I've always loved the smell of jasmine, it's true. Having always preferred to drink my jasmine (tea) rather than wear it, I've long been somewhat shy about wearing white florals. That began to change after I discovered Hanae Mori for men in the mid-90's and became enchanted with its big brash jasmine note. More recently, after being surrounded by an oasis of jasmine (petals, flowers, teas, oils) at the Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I officially became a jasmine junkie and Jasmin Full is the perfect scent for an addict such as myself. Yes, it's a little pricey, but the materials used are exquisite, the scent lasts forever, and it truly does smell like fresh-picked Jasmine petals. What more can I say?

Rating (out of 10): 8

What's your favorite jasmine scent?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

ASK MARLEN: Les Amandes


Since we're on the topic of the Montales, (I've tried several of the oud line and liked them) and I think you're an almond and/or heliotrope fan, I was wondering if you've tried Amande Orientale. I'm intrigued but the MUA reviews seem to be all over the place on it.


Dear T,

Ya know, this one surprised me. I had been testing a number of the warmer oudh and musk fragrances and then stumbled upon a sample of Amandes Orientales. I was really surprised to discover a sweet powdery almond fragrance with standout notes of what smells like ylang and heliotrope. Its a softer scent that never grows too sweet or cloying, but beware the plastic doll-head note. Like a Barbie who hasn't bathed, Amandes Orientales also has a nasty side. Perhaps it is this note that keeps me from truly falling for it, though at the same time keeps me coming back out of cuirosity. I think I prefer the honeyed rose notes in Sweet Oriental Dream, another almond-inspired fragrance from Montale that is basically another version of Rahat Loukhoum, though neither as overwhelming as Mecheri nor as heavy as Lutens. I recommend trying both, but it's true T, there's a reason why the MUAer's are all over the place.

Hope this helps!

Montale Sweet Oriental Dream may be purchased
online at a special price for Scenteur7 readers:

REVIEW: Guerlain, L'Instant D'Un Ete Pour Homme (2006)

Pros: Lighter, fresher, version of the original; not as sweet; added citrus notes; stunning bottle.

Cons: Is this really different enough to warrant purchasing if I already own the original?

Notes: Green Citron, Badiane, Elemi, Neroli, Pepper Rose, Grapefruit, Patchouli, Exotic Woods, Cedar, Sandalwood, Lapsang Tea, Cacao, Hibiscus.

Reminds me of: Surprise, surprise, smells almost exactly like the original.

Development: I've now tried this on 3 occasions, wanting to make sure I gave this fragrance a real chance. It goes on well, but overall has a "washed out" effect that takes me from application straight to the basenotes, with the top and middle staying faint in the background. The base is a light, ambery, almost musky tea and woods aroma.

Longevity: Stays perceivable for about 2 or 3 hours before becoming nothing more than a hint.

Sillage: Minimal - my skin just soaks this stuff up...

Where can I buy it? CHF 68.90 for a 125 ml edt spray at

Bottleworthy? Save yourself the money and wear less of the original and you'll achieve nearly the same effect.

The Bottom Line: Reminding me of other summer orientals like Pi Fraiche, Guerlain has attempted to create a new scent by adding stronger citrus to the opening and toning everything else down. The effect is pleasant - L'Instant d'un Ete is certainly wearable, and there's no arguing that it does indeed smell great - but in terms of creating something new and unique, this summer version crosses no new territory, and afterall, it IS a summer variation...Try this one before your inner addict forces you to buy it - you'll likely agree that this lime-tinged version of the original is nice, but ultimately unnecessary.

Rating (out of 10): 6

What's your take on the Guerlain summer variations?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

REVIEW: Tauer Perfumes, Lonestar Memories (2006)

Pros: An unusual leather composition, highlighted by an exquisite jasmine note and ambery-sweet basenotes.

Cons: None.

Notes: Geranium, carrot seed, clary sage, bichtar, cistus, jasmine, cedar wood, myrrh, tonka, vetiver, sandalwood.

Reminds me of: I know I've smelled something to this effect before, but I can't place it. Could it be that Mr. Tauer is developing a signature accord? Could what I detect as familiar actually be a reference to L'Air du Desert Marocain?

Development: Lonestar seems slightly more linear than I would have expected with very little about the composition changing over time.

Longevity: Excellent, 6-8 hours.

Sillage: Perfect.

Where can I buy it? Coming soon to

Bottleworthy? If you're a lover of leather or richer wood fragrances, this is gonna be a holy grail scent and in that case, better get two bottles.

The Bottom Line: A scent with a wow factor, Lonestar Memories travels an unusual path for a leather-inspired scent. Opening with a fresh vegetal note (I imagine it's the carrot seed and sage) and then moving to a surprising middle bouquet of heady jasmine (one of the standout notes here), sweet birchtar, golden cedar and cistus (rockrose/labdanum) before revealing warm woods, sweet tonka, and earthy myrrh, Lonestar Memories reminds me of a late summer sunset - bands of orange and amber illuminating the sky with glistening stretches of golden clouds.

It's true, I'm a leather-lover and have my favorites - Knize Ten, Creed Royal English Leather, and Chanel Cuir de Russie being among my top three. What sets these fragrances apart from the rest is the range of notes in the composition that compliment the leather. In Knize, it's a buttery-rich blend of woods and musk; in REL, the leather is sweetened by the standard Creed base; and in Cuir de Russie, aldehydes and amber create the mood. With Lonestar Memories, the jasmine, tonka and myrrh create an unexpected depth and fullness that many other leather fragrances lack.

Lonestar Memories is a perfect addition to the current collection of fragrances that Mr. Tauer has created - as good as you'd hope, better than you could imagine, and an utter success. Now, if only we could do something about getting one of those cowboys pictured in the advertising to be included with the fragrance...

Rating (out of 10): 9

What makes a great leather scent for you?

ASK MARLEN: Takin it to the Maxx or the Marcus?

Hey Marlen,

I am considering applying for a job at TJ Maxx, and I'd like to know how your experience is working out. I can apply for several openings at my local store, including processor, merchandise retail, and cashier. I was hoping you could give me some advice as to what your position has been like, and what positions (if any) are better or worse to apply for.

Thank you!


Hi J,

I worked for the fragrance companies themselves at Nieman Marcus and Nordstrom, and then later actually for Nordstrom, a very different setting from TJ Maxx. There are definitely advantages to both - think of all the great discounts on fragrance as a Maxx employee vs all the free stuff you could get working in a larger dept store.

I'll elaborate a bit: Usually in a department store there are two types of salespeople - the ones who work for the dpeartment stores, "Sales Associates" (or SA's as we commonly refer to them); and then there are those folks who work for the fragrance companies and promote the fragrances in the stores, "Models". SA's usually work a schedule determined by the department store, make a lower hourly wage than models, but also have reliable work and, usually, benefits (medical, etc). Models' hours are generally more flexible (they create their own schedule), work can sometimes be sporadic (off-season or non-holiday times can be difficult if the fragrance companies decide they don't want to pay for models), and you might encounter some territorial SA's. I could go on...But I hope this gives you a basic idea of the types of fragrance positions you could look for in department stores. While SA's are employed directly through the department store, models are generally employed through the fragrance distributor - finding these jobs is no simple to ask around the fragrance counters at your local dept stores!

Hope this helps!


Friday, June 09, 2006


And the winner is...

It was a close competition,
but only one could win:

Congratulations to Flora & her
Une Rêve des Pivoines
(A Dream of Peonies)

I see The Different Company as using very classic materials in new ways, and only using the best, as well as exploring new and unusual materials to expand the horizons of perfumery. This is my concept for a new fragrance:

“Une Rêve des Pivoines” (A Dream of Peonies)

This fragrance recreates the misty nostalgia of a romantic garden, and the scent evokes a happy childhood spent in the countryside. The rich yet sharp Peony intertwines with Rose, Freesia, spicy Nasturtium and a variety of fresh, green aromatic and balsamic accords that give a feeling of being out in an old-fashioned cottage garden on a fine early summer day, with a breeze coming in from the wild fields and woods beyond. Close your eyes and inhale deeply; it will transport you to a beautiful, tranquil place.

Notes: Paeonia lactiflora absolute from select heirloom cultivars, Rose de Mai absolute (Rosa centifolia) from Grasse, yellow Freesia absolute, Mock-orange (Philadelphus) extract, Nasturtium petals, Sweetclover (Melilotus) extract, Robinia flower extract, Comptonia peregrina leaves (sweet fern), Balm Poplar leaves, Oakmoss, Tolu balsam, Marsh tea resin (Ledum palustre), Paeonia leaf and root extract, Manaús rosewood.

Flora, please contact me at theperfumecritic at yahoo dot com
with your mailing address to claim your prize.

Just one question: Can you actually make this scent for me? Please? : )

ASK MARLEN: Kosui Bijutsukan

Dear Marlen,

Do you have any information on the Shizouka Perfume Museum in Japan? Are they online?

Thank you,

Dear K,

I'm surprised to hear about this - 4 years living in Japan and you think I would have known...and I've even been to Shizuoka:

There's not a website dedicated to the musem or at least not in English language searches, but I did find this:

Not very helpful unless you are planning a visit, but it's a start.


Thursday, June 08, 2006


click the pic to find out how

ASK MARLEN: Eau de lung transplant

Hi there!

Love your pages. Could you please recommend a good heavy fragrance for a gay male smoker (40 cigs a day!)?

At present, I use:
Arabian Amber
Mysore Sandalwood
Over the years, I have always found myself addicted to oriental notes. In particular, I love Arabian oil based 'attars' especially oud, amber, and black musk.

Thanks for your comments and good luck with the PhD.


AshDear Ash,

40 cigs a day, huh? First let me recommend some Oxygene by Lanvin....

Ok, seriously...I'm so glad you asked this question during Montale Madness month because their Aouds and Attars are incomparable! First, go browse the Montale page at, my favorite e-tailer for Montale who is offering specials to Scenteur7 readers for the month of June. In particular, I can recommend the following:
  • Attar - Mysore sandalwood and Bulgarian roses.
  • Oud Cuir d'Arabie - Leather, tobacco and smoked woods.
  • Black Aoud - Red roses, Black Aoud and sandalwood.
Be sure to ask for samples if you're not totally sure. Suravi will allow you to put the cost of the samples (if any) towards your first purchase. I'm especially fond of the oudh fragrances because of the buttery saffron-like notes that usually accompany agarwood essences.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you'd like a few more suggestions!


REVIEW: Art of Perfumery #5 (2006)

Name: Art of Perfumery #5

Pros: An incomparable floriental with rich overtones of white petals, bright citrus edges and a cushion of warm vanillic basenotes.

Cons: As far as the aroma goes - none; Extremely exclusive and hard to find, but take heart, samples are available!

Notes: Madagascan ylang, Chinese geranium, Italian mandarin, Argentinian lemon, Italian bergamot, clove, cardamom, vanilla, tonka, benzoin, myrrh, patchouli, and sandalwood.

Reminds me of: I can't really think of anything! I get echoes of creamy white petals, Hawaiian Punch and L'Artisan Vanilia!

Development: At first sniff, I think I can detect wait, make that, it's changed again, it's jasmine. Ylang makes an appearance and then fades as the citrus brightens the composition and adds a vibrant and youthful freshness to the composition before the top and middle give way to an extremely subtle and flawlessly blended base of sandalwood and tonka. Could that vanilla reference actually be Comores blossoms rather than vanilla pod?

The composeur writes:
When I was asked to participate in this project I decided that I wanted to work with the spirit of the original orientals. The idea was always to go deep into the odour area and not be afraid of it. Too many orientals today seem almost shy of themselves and, in my opinion lack any authenticity. But I didn’t just want to go down the retro route. I wanted all of that original power but I wanted to layer some modernity into the structure. The central theme is based around vanilla extracts, tonka beans, benzoin, myrrh, sandalwood and patchouli - these are the key elements of my oriental structure and give the fragrance its soul. I wanted to emphasise that exotic nature with a spice character and I used one of my favourite combinations of clove and cardamom to which I added just a trace of nutmeg. This gives a dry freshness to the theme which I “moistened” a little with Chinese geranium and ylang ylang from Madagascar. There is a lovely perfumery “trompe d’oeil” in the body of the perfume – a light touch of a beautiful aniseed, almost liquorice note which has been created purely through the interaction of the ingredients - there is absolutely no aniseed at all in the creation. For the top of the fragrance I’ve used a trio of essential oils - mandarin, lemon and bergamot - which give an incredible lift to the opening effect. Both the bergamot and the mandarin are Italian sourced but the lemon is an Argentinian oil which gave me the sharpness I was looking for. It’s a stunning start.

Longevity: Excellent, though the topnotes began to fade after an hour, the warmth of the basenotes really began to bloom.

Sillage: Better than average.

Where can I buy it? 75 Euros for a 50ml edp spray; 3 Euros for a 2ml sample spray at

Bottleworthy? Definitely try before you buy, as this isn't your typical oriental.

The Bottom Line: Juicy, soft, complex, rich, deep, velveteen, heady, textured....these are all adjectives that came to mind within the first few minutes of trying this exquisite new fragrance. Having never smelled this before and having not even read the list of notes, I sprayed this one on with absolutely zero preconceived notions, and boy, was I in luck. I love this stuff!

The notes are a little misleading, giving an impression of a scent that is richer, darker and sweeter than it actually is. Having never been a fan of the classic #5 (think double c's), this is a #5 to bathe in, take solace in, and relax in. Conjuring images of tropical orchards and gardens, their only boundaries a white sandy beach with rocky outcroppings on one side, and on the other, lush green hills, the sky is an electric blue and the only sound is the tumbling of the waves. Paradise.

Rating (out of 10): 8

Have you tried any of the fragrances from this line yet?

WEBSITES & E-TAILERS: Sniffing around in Sweden

Do you know this man?

click his pic to see his blog


A fragrance blog from Örebro, Sweden

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

READER FEEDBACK: Boning in Singapore

Dear Marlen,

I have to thank you for a good time. I was just reading your joyous "Overdosing with Singapore's darling" article and empathizing with your jubilant exploration and incredible discoveries. As you intended, this reader got swept up in the fray while monitoring your ever-quickening pulse--I saw the aisles, the boxes, I heard you inhaling, I felt your excitement. Your animated account seemed to come at me faster and faster as I read your enthused self-quote:
I go into my best “I’ve been a fragrance addict since I was a fetus” routine and stroke him with “your shop is unbelievable and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. I’ve already met your wife. We boned..."
What? Whoa, wait a minute. I know he was darned happy, but ... Ohhhhh--"bonded."

Well, I had been feeling fairly jolly reading your story to this point, but this phrasing put me into hysteria. Three tissues later, I'm clear-eyed enough to see the monitor and tell you how much I enjoyed your overseas report. In fact, I don't think I'll ever forget it.


      Thanks, J!

      You got me scared for a moment, thinking "Oh Lord, did I really write that? How could no one else....oh," and then I saw that it was merely a trick of the eye. Thanks for the encouragement and praise, greatly appreciated by a novice writer such as myself...

      p.s. - should fetus be spelled with an "o"?

      WEBSITES & E-TAILERS: 2 new fragrance blogs!

      Congratulations to the following new blogs:

      Made By Blog

      Be sure to check out the review of Montale's Intense Tiare at Aromascope!

      Wishing you all the best of luck,

      GAME: The War of the Roses

      The War of the Roses4 fragrances have been sent to 6 people,
      3 men and 3 women.
      They will have until the end of June
      to choose their favorites.
      Each week they will vote one scent
      off their list and tell us
      their reasons for doing so.

      In July, you, the reader can vote for
      your favorite of their comments,
      and the winning fragrance
      will be revealed.

      The writer of your favorite comment will win
      a 10ml decant of their chosen rose fragrance.

      The 4 fragrances will remain anonymous until then,
      in this,
      The War of the Roses.

      ASK MARLEN: Wood and Spices and...?

      Hi Marlen,

      I have a question about one of the Montales, and I guess this could be a good time. I really love their Wood & Spices, but it drives both me and my partner crazy when we can't figure out what it reminds us of. Have you noticed a close resemblance to something else (not sure it is even a fragrance)?


      SHi S,

      I love Wood & Spices and don't worry, you're not alone, I believe a Basenotes concensus revealed a reference to Chanel Allure for Men. Likewise, Wood & Spices also reminds me of Sculpture Homme by Nikos. Let's look at some compositions, shall we?

      Montale Wood & Spices (2004)
      Notes: Ebony, sandalwood, vetiver, incense notes from Caradamone and spices.

      Chanel Allure pour Homme (1998)

      Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Citron Zest, Jamaican Pepper, Vetiver, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Tonka Bean, Labdanum.

      Nikos Sculpture Homme (1995)

      Notes: Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Coriander, Cedar, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Ambrette seed.

      Main differences that I experience among these three are that Allure tends to have more citrus in the top and a smoother drydown; Sculpture is slightly more floral; and Woods & Spices has a much richer base that is slightly more complex.

      Hope this helps!


      Montale Wood & Spices may be purchased at at a special price just for Scenteur7 readers!

      Tuesday, June 06, 2006

      MULTIMEDIA: Instructions, please.


        BARGAIN OF THE WEEK: Guerlain, Les Meteorites (2000)

        Notes: Violet, Iris, Heliotrope, Rose.

        1 oz EDT spray: Retail $38; $14.95.

        The Bottom Line: One of Guerlain's lesser-known creations, Meteorites pays homage to soft florals with this violet-themed aroma that seems to have been discontinued. Often compared to Guerlain's Apres L'Ondee, this is the perfect scent for the approaching summer if looking for an unusual and little-known light floral. A simple composition, an adorable bottle, a low price tag, and one of the rarer Guerlains, how could you go wrong?

        REVIEW: Sonoma Scent Studio, Fireside (Special Edition)

        Notes: Sandalwood, guaiacwood, woodsmoke, Atlas cedar, and a touch of frankincense and myrrh.

        Pros: Striking and simple composition that makes a great vehicle for the star of this show - sandalwood (and a beautiful sandalwood it is!)

        Cons: Neither as smokey nor as dark as I would like. But then again, this is a good alternative for those who are put off by Diptyque's even darker Galliano.

        Reminds me of: LaCroix Tumulte pour Homme; Diptyque Tam Dao; Indian Sandalwood oil.

        Development: A very linear composition that showcases the nuances of the sandalwood essence used.

        Longevity: Considering that the composition is an EDP, I had hoped for greater longevity.

        Sillage: This one stays close to the skin after an hour, but I find this is true of many sandalwood-based scents.

        Where can I buy it? $32 for a 30ml edp spray at Try a sample for just $2.50!

        Bottleworthy? Sonoma fragrances also comes in a variety of other formats, so be sure to look around to find the product that best suits your tastes.

        The Bottom Line: The scent is named 'fireside' but it would need a lot more fire and smoke to suit my personal tastes...And this is what makes Sonoma so great. If you tell the owner and creator that you need a little more of something, it's likely she'll be oblige:
        Please send an email to before ordering a custom blend to inquire if it is something we can do. If it’s just a simple change to an existing formula, such as increasing/decreasing one ingredient, we can usually do it right away at no extra cost to you.
        Though not my favorite sandalwood fragrance, this is one that seems to be missing from the current market, and when accented by cedar and woodsmoke, the composition becomes even more intriguing. As the scent relaxed on my skin, I was offered hints of myrrh and I could have sworn I detected the slightest bit of coffee...of course it may just have been the pot brewing in my kitchen...or possibly even wishful thinking?

        Ok, to wrap this up....When I was a teenager, there used to be this great New Age bookstore on King St in Boone, NC that sold everything from oils to incense. I once purchased a tiny bottle of Indian Sandalwood oil that lasted me for years; I loved the richness and complexity of the wood notes and have never been able to find anything that quite compares. Well, without even realizing it, along comes that aroma in Sonoma's Fireside and considering their prices, I think I may just have to get a bottle for old timesake. My favorite part of Fireside is when the creamy, honeyed, velvet textures of the sandalwood unfold - pure Heaven! Now the question is this: Do I enjoy the composition as it is or ask for revved up smoke and myrrh?

        Rating (out of 10): As the scent of a "fireside" - 6; As my new favorite sandalwood - 9.

        What's your favorite "roaring fire" scent?

        Sunday, June 04, 2006

        REVIEW: Montale, Vetiver des Sables (2004)

        Notes: Wild Vetiver, Mahogany Wood, Iodized Indian Spices.

        Pros: An almost creamy vetiver wrapped in an aromatic blanket of spices and woods.

        Cons: Slightly sharp during the initial opening of the scent, but this quickly relaxes.

        Reminds me of: It's very hard to compare this one, as its not as sweet as Lutens, not as woody as Le Labo, not as dark as MPG, and not as green as Guerlain. To top that off, there's a marine note (saltwater) that lurks throughout adding an intriguing and unique freshness.

        Development: Very interesting; the fragrance shifts through a number of different characters while managing to retain the same bouquet; at first it's sharp, then it becomes creamy, then it shows an almost marine/saltwater accord before coming back to the warm, earthiness of the opening.

        Longevity: Excellent a good 5-6 hours on my skin.

        Sillage: Just right.

        Where can I buy it? $122 for a 100ml edp spray at Price includes continental shipping within the US and is discounted exclusively for Scenteur7 and Basenotes readers. Please make sure to visit and enter your info for your chance to win special Montale products from Suravi and Scenteur7. Read more here.

        Bottleworthy: Most definitely, and I'm not really a vetiver fan.

        The Bottom Line: I know I was impressed with the straightforward and oriental nature of Le Labo's Vetiver 43, but I'm even more intrigued with this unusual vetiver composition. Vetiver des Sables is truly all about vetiver, but the sables notes are the key to the magic of this composition with echoes of Goutal's syrupy Sables and CSP's acquatic Motu, a most unusual combination. There's something about this vetiver scent that makes me want to wrap it in chocolate and eat it as a truffle, or perhaps just pour it all over a waffle with vanilla ice cream...sounds gourmand, doesn't it? Yet it isn't really. It's just a bewitching blend of notes that works perfectly. Now, if I can only remove my wrist from my nose for more than 30 seconds, I might actually be able to go out in public and share this scent with fellow citizens.

        Rating (out of 10): 8

        I know there are a lot of vetiver fans out there - who's tried this one?

        NEW RELEASE: Missoni (2006)

        click the pic for more info

        The prestigious Italian fashion house Missoni comes back to perfume, in cooperation with Estée Lauder. The color is the main theme of this luxurious creation whose bottles have a different hue according to their size. Red, pink or orange, a festival of colors for this Italian fragrance adorned with joy, passion, and "amore". A weave of luscious fruits, exhilarating florals and gianduia chocolate.

        REVIEW: Benetton Colors for Her (1986)

        Notes: Moroccan orange blossom, French hyacinth, Egyptian marigold, Isreali basil, Comoros Island tuberose, French jasmine, Hawaiian pineapple, Caribbean passion fruit, Georgia peach, Bulgarian rose, Madagascar vanilla.

        Pros: A large, brash, 80's fruity-floral with warm vanilla undertones; this fragrance has an overall effect and drydown that is both unusual and addictive; the price.

        Cons: Might be nostalgia-overload for some; the quality of the actual fragrance varies from bottle to bottle as this scent is literally everywhere - the Starbucks of fragrances - and its hard to know the age and quality of the product.

        Reminds me of: Dali Laguna; Cacharel Amor Amor.

        Development: The first 5 minutes are definitely not good - an odd misch-masch of notes and alcohol; the next 5 minutes are acceptable as the scent struggles to pull itself together. After about 10 minutes, the magic begins to appear as the entire fragrance relaxes, blends and becomes an incomparable aromatic floral.

        Longevity: Lasted about 4-5 hours; lingered from then on close to the skin and throughout the day.

        Sillage: Slightly louder than most, but only for about an hour or so.

        Where can I buy it? Everywhere! $8.89 for a 100ml edt spray at

        Bottleworthy? Oh come's not even $9!

        The Bottom Line: I was 12 when I first smelled this on April Balser. We were in 7th grade and she had loved it so much she took to pouring the fragrance into her hairpsray so that she could get even more of a good thing. A few months later when on vacation in St Thomas, an eager saleswoman explained that Colors was a unisex scent and I of course talked mom into buying me a bottle. The following Xmas, Colors for Men (read the review here) started its advertising campaign and I knew I had to get that as well - less floral, more vanilla. Perfect.

        There's a certain quality that I've always found Colors to posess that has intrigued me. If I wait long enough, I can still manage to find the creamy edge of white petals and vanilla, but let's face it - there are too many other scents that don't need the warm-up time out of the gate. Still, this is a great, inexpensive starter scent for those looking for gifts or, as I might just use it, an unusual room spray!

        Rating (out of 10): 5

        What's your Benetton Colors experience?

        Saturday, June 03, 2006

        The New World Awaits...

        Click the pic to visit

        Get your bookmarks ready...

        thinking caps on...

        and enjoy the new look, new concept, new name...

        Scenteur7 has a new home...a new world awaits!

        Dear readers, Scenteur7 is moving during the month of June and will permanently move to its new home on July 1st. Though (the new site) is still in the fininshing stages, I would greatly appreciate your feedback and ideas as to how I might improve it, visually or technically, and what you might see that I missed! Please feel free to leave comments about HERE.

        ASK MARLEN: Old Leather


        Compliments from a newbie on a very informative and interesting blog. I like leather scents a lot and read your review of Cuiron with great interest. I wish to draw your attention to two relatively unknown and, in my view, vastly underrated Leather scents: Bogart by Jacques Bogart, released in 1975; and the original Dunhill for men, released in 1934. Would it be possible for you to share your opinions on these scents? I'm curious about a connoisseur's view of them.


        DHi D,

        I haven't smelled either of these fragrances in quite a long time. This alone should give you some indication as to how I felt about these scents, once upon a time. I recently had the opportunity to sniff Bogart's One Man Show and found it such a sign of its time that I truly feel it's just unwearable at this point. I also felt the same way when I had the opportunity to test the original Lanvin Homme, Worth pour Homme and Versailles pour Homme...

        Sorry, D. I'm afraid I can't be of much help here. Maybe some of the readers will have some comments for you.


        NEW RELEASE: Rochas, Reflets d'Eau
 ROCHAS scents for Men and Women,

        Reflets d'Eau pour Homme

        Reflets d'Eau pour Femme

        Friday, June 02, 2006

        MUST-READS: Go Daddy!

        click the logo above to read my first article for

        Go Daddy - Scents for Father's Day

        REVIEW: Benetton, Colors for Men (1988)

        Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Cypress, Vanilla, Cedar, Patchouli.

        Pros: A simple composition that has just the right amount of good stuff.

        Cons: Benetton's fragrances seem almost cliche nowadays, having somewhat undeservedly found a low-price, bottom of the shelf existence at Perfumanias and discount shops world over. If your inner fragrance snob can move past this, you may be in for a treat.

        Reminds me of: Shalimar Light; Molinard Vaniteck; Etro Shaal Nur.

        Development: Minimal, but then this is not a terribly complex composition; the warm, oriental drydown is my favorite part.

        Longevity: Excellent - lasts about 6-8 hours on my skin.

        Sillage: Also, excellent.

        Where can I buy it? Everywhere; $9.99 for a 100ml edt spray at

        Bottleworthy? Most definitely, expecially for those who enjoy vanilla and lemon aromas.

        The Bottom Line: One of the first fragrances I ever wore, and one that I keep coming back to, Colors for Men has consistently managed to find a place in both my heart and wardrobe. Though neither a masterpeice nor ingenious, Colors simply smells great, lasts forever, and costs next to nothing. Better than that, there is really not much else out there that compares with this citrusy, masculine oriental that works as well in warmer weather as it does in cooler. I'd offer decants, but let's face the price above, you're better off just going whole hog!

        Rating (out of 10): 7

        What's your take on Benetton Colors?

        REVIEW: Benetton Colors for Women

        Thursday, June 01, 2006

        ASK MARLEN: Three more?

        Hi Marlen,

        My name is J and I was wondering if you could make some suggestions for me? I've read alot of your reviews and Addicted column (the Singapore one had me rolling) and I've made 2 blind buys per your Basenotes reviews - both were spot on: Armand Basi and Roma Uomo. So, if I were going to own say 3 fragrances, all different but distinct, which ones would you suggest?

        Thanks for your time,
        Hi J,

        I'm happy you've enjoyed the writing and the recommendations, thanks for reading! Ok, here are some ideas:

        1) If you wanted to stay in the same family, masculine orientals, here are 3 of my other favorites:

        2) If you wanted to expand and add some other styles of fragrance to your wardrobe, how about these?


        Fresh Aromatic

        Masculine Floral



        Green Fougere

        Ok, hope this gives you a starting point. Be sure to read the comments for each review as there may be some valuable suggestions from other readers there!


        CONTEST: June is Montale Madness month

        What is it? A new contest for the month of June!

        What can I win? 10 ml decants of Montale's Patchouli Leaves or Oud Cuir d'Arabie; assorted samples of Montale fragrances.

        What should I do? Visit the new site for and join their mailing list. Suravi is an exclusive fragrance boutique in Tampa, Florida that sells the best niche and hard-to-find fragrances including Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan (coming soon!!!), Miller Harris, Carthusia, John Mac Steed, New West, Beth Terry of Creative Universe, Montale, Amouage, Jean Pascal of Colombia (Basenotes interview coming soon!) and so much more! Suravi has graciously agreed to donate Montale products and to offer unique discounts to Scenteur7 readers - thank you, Suravi!

        JUST CLICK HERE and complete the secure online application. Your information will NOT be shared and you will not be solicited. By completing this form, you will be eligible for other great prizes and giveaways, and will be entitled to receive discounts on your favorite perfumes just by being a Scenteur7 reader!

        IMPORTANT: Please be sure to include the following in the comments section at Suravi:

        Scenteur7 Montale Contest

        When will I know if I won? Up to 5 winners will be announced on July 1st when both Suravi and Scenteur7 unvail their new websites.

        Have fun exploring and stay tuned for new Montale reviews throughout the month of June at Scenteur7 and NowSmellThis!

        ASK MARLEN: Brun and Basileus

        Hi Marlen -

        Before anything else, I wanted to say I truly enjoy reading your blog and your reviews on Basenotes. Your posts are articluate, sometimes humorous, but always informative.

        The real reason for my email is twofold. First, I was wondering if you still had decants of The Brun available? Secondly, have you had a chance to smell Basileus or Paris Tour Eiffel by Rene Laruelle? If you have, I'd certainly appreciate hearing your opinions.

        Rene and I exchanged several emails late last year about both fragrances but I have yet to smell either one.

        Hey Buzz,

        In fact, I do still have decants available of The Brun and I sent you a separate email about prices.

        As for Basileus and Paris Tour Eiffel, I have tried only the former and have a bottle of it. It is a very classic, 80's style scent with a clean, almost soapy edge. I'll be posting a full review of it in the coming weeks, so be sure to stay tuned! I have also tried Basier de Soie, Le Jardin des Floralies, and his newest, the 2006 release, Calame (my personal favorite). Reviews of these are also coming soon!

        Thanks for reading and posting!

        EVENT: June Sniffapaloozas!

        click the pic to register and for more information

        A message from Karen Adams of Sniffapalooza:

        This Saturday, June 3, we are going to have a "SoHo Family Sniffa" at Le Labo and Bond No. 9, with each shop holding educational and fun presentations for parents & children ages 8 and up.

        Then on June 10, we'll be holding a breakfast and Perfume Workshop at Bendels (presented by L'Artisan and Chandler Burr of the NYTimes), followed by a trip to Spa Ja. We are limited to 50 attendee's, but we still have some spaces open.

        To register or for more information, click the pic above. I won't be attending these summer events, but am planning to attend the big October, 2006 bash in NYC. See you there!

        MYSTERY SCENT CHALLENGE: May, Identity Revealed

        So...what was the mystery scent for May?

        Van Cleef & Arpels Tsar (1989)

        Notes: Bergamot, Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Jasmine, Caraway, Cinnamon, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber.

        Good guesses, everyone. Stay tuned for another Mystery Scent Challenge when Scenteur7 moves to its new home at

        Wednesday, May 31, 2006

        ASK MARLEN: Habituation

        Hi Marlen,

        Please can you explain a bit more about 'longevity' with perfumes: I've always understood that it is not the wearer who is the best judge - the wearer's nose is quickly saturated by the scent and can not judge its intensity after a very short time; it's the sniffers who could best judge longevity. It seems to me that the result is that the wearer applies more and more scent, and the sniffers are overwhelmed.....

        PDear P,

        This is a great topic of much debate right now as more and more people complain of fellow citizens wearing offensive fragrances that cause somatic reactions. In fact, my next Basenotes' 'Addicted' column will be on that very issue. But back to the matter at nose?

        It's true, our own noses do betray us and cannot perceive our fragrances at the same intensity over time that other people we come into contact with can. This is why longevity is usually a matter of great subjectivity. However, there are some fragrances that for whatever reason - concentration of oils, specific compositions, reaction with the wearer's skin - that do have much better lasting power. When appraising fragrances, etxraneous factors abound; our health, competing aromas, how much fragrance is applied, etc. can all affect how we perceive a scent's longevity.

        Here's some fascinating info and links:
        • anosmia - when an individual has the inability to perceive a specific odor.
        • hyposmia - not a total inability, but a diminished capacity to perceive an odor.
        • habituation - when we need more and more of something, in this case, an odor, in order to sense it. As part of our primitive fight or flight responses, our brains learned to diminish the perception of an odor over time so that other odors could more be readily perceived.
        • Kallman Syndrome - Now here's the super combo meal of odd disorders (notice the prevalence of 'micropenis'...there's a word you don't toss about in daily conversation): Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (wait, wait...what was that? Ok...try saying it ten times fast) combined with Congenital (present from birth) anosmia or hyposmia.
        Hope this helps!