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?