Thursday, February 02, 2006

Off to Tokyo for the weekend...

Will be back Wednesday or Thursday and will write more then! Have a great weekend, everyone!

In the meantime, enjoy this pic of "part of" my collection circa 3/04

MUST-READS: Make reading blogs easier on yourself!

Not reading NowSmellThis yet? Well, here's a great reason to start, just click the icon below: Robin has written a great article about Blog Aggregators that collect new entries from your favorite places for you! Check it out!

MUST-READS: 2 new Mazzolari reviews at NowSmellThis Blog

Checkout my reviews of Mazzolari Patchouli and Alessandro at NowSmellThis, just click the links below:

MUST-READS: February ADDICTED column now on Basenotes

Hey everyone! Don't foget to check out my latest "Addicted" column on Basenotes, just click the image below:

REVIEW: Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, George Sand

Notes: Lemon, bergamot, patchouli, rose, amber, musk, Mysore sandalwood, spices.

Pros: Rich, spicy floriental that quickly softens into a musky cinnamon.

Cons: Opium anyone? Though not as heavy as the YSL classic (and perhaps closer to one of the summer versions), I can't help but think of it each time I try this.

Bottleworthy? No, not at this price. Save your money and try Opium d'Ete.

Where can I buy it? $145 for 70ml EDP spray at

The Bottom Line: Beautiful, but ultimately uninspired.

Rating (out of 10): 5 (loses points for high price and low originality)

Inspired by a famous female author, can you think of any other scents inspred by famous women?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

IMAGES: Mah Jongg anyone?

"Mah Jongg" by Pleville, ca 1923

Image courtesy of GS Collection

REVIEW: Patricia de Nicolai ,Mahardjah

Notes: Rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, pepper, Indian sandalwood

Pros: Spicy oriental with excellent lasting power. Reminiscent of Jicky but without the vanilla and civet. Has an overall effect of smokey incense.

Cons: A simple fragrance that could be enhanced by a musk or tonka note. I would like it better if it were just a touch sweeter.

Bottleworthy? Though it's a bit pricey, and has a simple composition, I like the mood it creates. That being said, I think I'll hold out for SMN's new Citta di Kyoto.

Where can I buy it? 50ml edp spray $70 at

The Bottom Line: Though it starts off rather sharply with an herbal rosemary note, the lavender soon tempers it and the cinnamon quickly takes center stage. The pepper and sandalwood are surprisingly subtle. This is the perfect scent for those who love spice, or more specifically, cinnamon.

Rating (out of 10): 6.5

Maharadjah is truly a cinnamon-lover's scent. Which cinnamon fragrance is your favorite?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

REVIEW: LT Piver, Cuir Russie

Notes: Leather, mandarin, bergamot, honey, woods.

Pros: An unusual leather fragrance with a vinatge feel. A departure from most of the earthier leather scents that all seem to mimic Knize Ten. Strong on the citrus and cedar.

Cons: A strange almost bitter sweetness pervades the beginning of the composition, likely the honey and citrus notes. The leather notes are not as prominent as I would like, though combined with the woods, they slowly begin to strengthen as the scent develops.

Bottleworthy? I recommend testing first as this might not meet everyone's expectations at what Russian Leather is.

Where can I buy it? £35.00 for 100ml edt spray at

The Bottom Line: Interesting variation on leather highlighted by strong citrus notes. Overall, the composition has an odd vinegar-like note and just doesn't appeal to me. Improves as it develops, but I'd prefer not to wait. Not a bad scent by any means, but I'll stick with my Knize.

Rating (out of 10): 5

Have you tried any of the other Piver scents?

IMAGES: Very Irresistible for Men - Very Boring Ad

Oh puh-leez...

...we can do much better than this...

Very Boring is more like...

Courtesy of

MEN'S GROOMING: Bvlgari pour Homme After Shave Emulsion

What is it? A wonderful, light, milky balm scented with the Bvlgari pour Homme fragrance (Main notes of citrus, orange blossom, darjeeling tea, transparent musks and white amber).

Why does it work? Good hydrator and doesn't make skin feel oily. Scent is subtle. Sadly, I can't find any other info on the ingredients or benefits.

Pros: Lightweight hydrator, a little goes a long way, smells amazing. Worked well on hands and all-over face.

Cons: Scent is light, would be nice to have it make more of a presence.

Bottleworthy? Yes. I was very impressed by it's moisturizing abilities and the fact that it didn't feel or smell chalky, as so many men's AS balms do.

Where can I buy it? At most any department store; 50 ml pour $27.99 at

The Bottom Line: Hard-to-find product, but worth the search. It's hard to think of a more pleasing scent for after a shave and shower, especially in warmer weather. Worked well on hands as well.

Rating (out of 10): 9 (again, if the bottle had a pump and the treatment had UV protection, it would be a 10)

I thought I remembered being told that Chanel actually makes Bvlgari's products - can anyone confirm?

IMAGES: Name That Scent

$10 via paypal to the first person who can name every scent!

Image courtesy of

IMAGES: Naked Sailing Stile

Because nothing says "Stile" a day of naked sailing...

Sergio Tacchini
S T I L E for Men

...from Images de Parfums

Monday, January 30, 2006

IMAGES: Lubin "Ocean Bleu", ca 1925

Ocean Bleu by Lubin, 1925 – Baccarat

REVIEW: Ava Luxe Cafe Noir

Notes: Black coffee bean, Allspice Berries, Cardamom, French Lavender, Attar of Roses, Cedar, Patchouli, Vanilla, Mocha, Sandalwood, Siam Benzoin, Ambrette seeds.

Pros: Sweet without being cloying, and unlike most, this has a true coffee aroma. Wonderully-blended and well-rounded composition.

Cons: I'd like a little more projection, but I'm not sure if my sample is EDP or Parfum. Other than that, this is a perfect composition.

Bottleworthy? Yes, this is one for the wishlist. Might just be the only coffee scent I need.

Where can I buy it?
$45 for 30ml EDP at (other sizes and parfum available)

The Bottom Line: Serena Ava Franco is a new force to be reckoned with. Similar in style to CSP's Vanille Cafe (though not as sweet), Cafe Noir's accents are beguiling - a hint of lavender at the beginning, amber in the drydown, etc. I find this preferable to Bond 9's New Haarlem.

Rating (out of 10): 9

Which coffee scents do you most enjoy?

MEN'S GROOMING: Art of Shaving, Sandalwood A/S Balm

What is it? Recommended for normal, sensitive, or dry skin, The Art of Shaving Sandalwood After-Shave Balm is ideal for moisturizing skin during cooler winter months. With grape seed, shea extracts, and Vitamin C, this antiseptic balm is both oil and alcohol free. Created with 100%pure essential oils, Art of Shaving products not only soothe skin but are also effective as aromatherapy.

Why does it work? On my skin, it relieves razor burn, moisturizes without feeling too greasy, and smells unbelievably good.

Pros: Incredibly sweet and smooth sandalwood aroma. Works well as a facial moisturizer and hand and body lotion as well. Long-lasting scent that blends well with other fragrances.

Cons: The price is a bit high, but a little goes a LONG way. Wish the bottle came as a pump rather than a pour.

Bottleworthy? Yes. You need this. If you love sandalwood, this is the ultimate accessory.

Where can I buy it? $38 for 125ml at

The Bottom Line: Attention Ladies! Let me reiterate, this works well as a hand and body lotion as well as a facial moisturizer and should not be limited to enjoyment only by the guys. One of the only scented body products I use. Again, this seems to compliment (rather than clash with) almost any fragrance.

Rating (out of 10): 9 (if it also had UV protection and the cap was a pump, I'd give it a 10!)

Many aftershaves can be used as effective hand, body and facial moisturizers - what's your favorite?

REVIEW: Jil Sander Sun for Men

Notes: Calone, Bergamot, Rosemary, Cardamom, Musk, Nutmeg, Plumeria, Cedarwood, Amber.

Pros: Sweet and aromatic, yet with a warm musky drydown. Easy to wear and good for any season. Interesting plumeria floral note brightens the composition while the amber accentuates the musk in the base. Strangely enough reminds me of Mugler's Alien.

Cons: Not terribly original, giving an "I've smelled this before" impression. Would have liked something a little closer to the original women's Sun. Moreover, I would have named this "Autumn" as it conjures images of crisp October days rather than a day at the beach.

Bottleworthy: Definitely, especially as a gift for someone you love and whom you'd love to smell good.

Where can I buy it? 75ml edt spray $29.95 at

The Bottom Line: I like this scent. It reminds me of a number of other scents (specifically Diesel Green for Men) but somehow I keep coming back to this. While I wouldn't reach for it in the summer (the nutmeg and amber make it a bit too sweet for humidity in my opinion), I find it great for cooler weather . At the low, low discount price, it's worth adding to the collection and I'd definitely recommend this to my female friends. Not the most groundbreaking scent, but a pleasure to wear with great longevity and sillage.

Rating (out of 10): 7.5

I think the name SUN is a major misnomer. Any other scents that you think are majorly mis-marketed?

WISHLIST: J del Pozo In Black

The Lowdown: The 5th women's fragrance from the Spanish house of J del Pozo, In Black offers a stunning bottle of glass and chrome with nods to Prada's vintage atomizer. On the heels of Euphoria's floral-woody composition, it's sure to be a departure from del Pozo's earlier floral compositions.

Notes: Black Cherry, Black Pepper, Pink Grapefruit, Top Rose, Black Lily, Jasmine, Violet, Black Lily, Jasmine, Violet, Licorice Wood, Madagascan Vanilla, Moroccan Cedar, Indonesian Patchouli.

Why I want it: I'm a HUGE fan of Esencia de Duende, Quasar and Adventure Quasar, and I quite like Halloween on the right person (not on me)...but I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for that bottle!

Where can I buy it? Now on Ebay,, and

Have you tried In Black yet?

REVIEW: Laura Biagiotti Emotion

Notes: mango, iris, vetiver, coconut, sandalwood and ylang-ylang.

Pros: None of the individual notes really stand-out: the result is a smooth, well-blended composition that stays close to the skin, is easy to wear, and has a fruity, woodsy feel.

Cons: Sillage and projection are minimal. That being said, whenever a friend of mine wore it, I could smell it and it was wonderful.Bottleworthy? Yep. Wouldn't dream of parting with the bottle I have.

Where can I buy it?
3oz EDP $55 at (s&h is included in this price); better prices available on Ebay.

The Bottom Line:
As with most of the Biagiotti line (Roma, Venezia, Laura, etc.), Emotion is a stunner. Can be purchased rather inexpensively online, and with such an unusual composition of notes, it is absolutely worth it. The coconut and mango add a fresh, tropical feel, while the vetiver and sandalwood create an aromatic balsamic drydown. The iris and ylang add an earthy soft powder (very subtle) rounding out the composition.

Rating (out of 10): 8

Can you think of any other scents that effectively use coconut?

Sunday, January 29, 2006


How many times have you found yourself pondering what white musk actually is? "Does it come from an animal that is white?" you might have thought. "What makes it white as opposed to black?" you may have asked.

Here's the answer: White musk is actually a name for a family of synthetic (organically synthesized) aromas that have a musk-like smell. Less expensive than natural musks, and less of a threat to the animals who produce traditional musks, man-made musks like fixolide, habanolide, galaxolide and ambrettolide (we need a scenteurolide) are increasing in popularity in everything from fragrances to cleaning products. Wikipedia writes: "It was obtained by Baur in 1888 by condensing toluene with isobutyl bromide in the presence of aluminium chloride, and nitrating the product. It is a symtrinitro-butyl (?) toluene. Many similar preparations have been made, and it appears that the odour depends upon the symmetry of the three nitro groups."

For me, white musk is one of my favorite notes due to the soothing, smooth, second-skin quality. It seems fitting that these chemicals are "white" as the resulting imagery (to MY nose/brain anyhow) is "clean" and "soapy". Quite often, white musk notes are paired with soft florals to create an airy composition. Generally it is these musks that extend a scent's longevity.

Some of my favorite White Musk scents include:
  • Comptoir Sud Pacifique Musc Alize (Cristalle de Musc)
  • Gendarme
  • Calvin Klein Truth
  • Emporio Armani White He
  • Jil Sander Man Pure
  • L'Eau d'Issey pour Femme
  • L'Artisan Passage d'Enfer
  • Mugler Cologne
So, in a nutshell, White Musk appears to be 1) not musk at all, 2) totally man-made, and 3) possibly not white. So what's with the "white"? (not to mention that I've seen mention of green musks...but we'll save that for another day!)

Why is White Musk, white? Any idea?

Information courtesy of and

SCENTED MEMORY #3: Disney World, Florida

There's a special aroma in the air at Disney World, a smell that permeates monorails, Contemporary Hotels and even the Hall of Presidents. A smell that says, "I've just been vaccuumed, shampooed and scrubbed." A scent that says, "I'm a clean air filter." A scent that says...."I'm in a whole new small world where the people are all part of the circle of life." It's a scent that I recognize every time I'm at Disney, and I absolutely love it.

Plume et Palette at EPCOT, France Pavillion

Having grown up in South Florida, just a short 3 hour ride from The Magic Kingdom, you can imagine how many times I've waited in line at Space Mountain, sucking in the wonderful Disney-fied air. School trips, family trips, last minute trips, all to a place where bushes are sculpted to look like animals and Geir is sold by the bushel at pseudo-Norway. A place where visitors pay retail for Madame Rochas (fools!) at Plume et Palette. A place where you don't mind paying $3.95 for a box of Orville Redenbacher. A place where I can eat a barbequed turkey leg before entering the Tiki Room, and enjoy a Dole pineapple/vanilla sorbet/ice cream cup before visiting the laughing place. The very idea of it just gets my adolescent juices flowing...rides, music, parades, and women dressed up like drag-queen princesses. I love it.

So...Scented Memory #3 is dedicated to the unique smell of Disney, whatever it is, be it carpetfresh, lysol, or the bouquet of a thousand disenfectants. No other place smells quite the same way and I love it. From hotel rooms to cafeterias, it is truly the scent of vacation.

Do you have a favorite smell that is associated with a unique place?

REVIEW: Ormonde Jayne Tolu

Notes: juniper berry, orange blossom, clary sage, orchid, Moroccan rose, muguet, tolu (a Peruvian tree resin), tonka bean, golden frankincense and amber.

Pros: Rich oriental, great for amber lovers. Excellent lasting power and not overly floral. The perfect balsam (wood resin) scent.

Cons: Perhaps a little too sweet for anytime wear, or those who prefer their scents drier or spicier.

Bottleworthy? Absolutely. One of my favorite from the Ormonde Jayne line. Yes, it's a bit pricey, but I think it's worth it - a little goes a long way!

Where can I buy it? 50 ml Eau de Parfum (25% parfum) £54.00; 17.5 ml Parfum £78.00 at

The Bottom Line: Another winner from nose Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne. Sweet, resinous, amber fragrance with a smoothly blended (and subtle) floral bouquet in the opening, and a longlasting powdery sillage. Perfect for cooler weather and for those who love vanillorientals (I want copyright for that term!).

Rating (out of 10): 8.5

Tolu balsam is an intriguing note - know of any other scents that use tolu?