Fève Délicieuse by Maison Christian Dior

Notes: lavender, mint, bergamot, cherry, freesia, jasmin, tonka, benzoin, caramel, cedar, dark chocolate, coconut, leather, sandalwood, and Madagascar vanilla.

Fève Délicieuse was originally released in 2015 as one of the Dior Privée fragrances. It is now part of the Maison Christian Dior line. I tested this current version a few months ago at Saks (when I bought Belle de Jour). I knew it was one of the older Dior Privée scents that had been grandfathered into the new exclusive Maison line. I was curious about the older/original release and so I ordered a small decant from Surrender to Chance. Fève Délicieuse is a tonka-centered composition, so it’s definitely a gourmand. I also get cedar and incense notes on my skin, which add dimension and make this not purely a gourmand for me. However, if you’re truly not a gourmand fan, you can likely skip this one altogether!

The notes here don’t develop for me in a traditional pyramid fashion. And yet, the development isn’t linear either. Fève Délicieuse is a bit of a wildcard on my skin. The most prominent note I get in the opening is a deep cedar wood from the base. I also get a cloud of milky coconut hanging over everything, like someone has just grated coconut over top of the rest of the composition. I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint bergamot if I hadn’t read the list of notes. but there’s a hint of zesty citrus. I don’t get any mint or lavender, so I don’t know what happened there. Fève Délicieuse then settles into my skin as a creamy, toasted vanilla, which is the type of scent profile that I associate most often with tonka bean.

As it develops, Fève Délicieuse reminds me of Jeux de Peau from Serge Lutens, in that it is a bit of a game. As I said, this composition is focused on tonka. François Démachy’s game here is to bring out as many facets of tonka as possible. I already got the creamy toasted vanilla facet quite early on in wear time. After a little over an hour, I also get a sweet praline mixed with cherry soda. It’s very odd, but this is the cherry note. This is not a fresh fruit kind of cherry. It has just a hint of the cherry cola vibe from L’Artisan’s Mon Numéro 10. I can still smell the cedar going strong here, and it makes for a surprisingly yummy blend of flavors. This is the festive side of tonka. This cherry praline would fit right in as one of the Starbucks holiday drinks.

It’s not until several hours into wear time that I get probably my favorite aspect of Fève Délicieuse: the resinous part. This isn’t something that I associate with tonka, but it really clicked with me here. Fève Délicieuse has great longevity and sillage. But, as it starts to quiet down, an incense vibe shines through. It’s a little bit sweet and there’s a little more of that toasted vanilla note. But there’s also that contemplative benzoin resinous current running through everything. It’s really lovely and I appreciate this more understated aspect, especially in such a powerful gourmand composition.

Sadly, I don’t get the dark chocolate note at all, but maybe it’s still waiting for the right time to come through on my skin. The very last bits of Fève Délicieuse are a surprisingly dry leather smell. I love the way this fragrance seems to develop into something more dry as it wears. Some fragrances start out woody and dry, and then develop into rich base notes. Fève Délicieuse is almost the opposite. I really like this composition and I think it’s surprisingly interesting and thought-provoking for a gourmand.

However, I wouldn’t touch this in hot weather. It would be way too much and overbearing. For that reason, I’m sticking with my decant for now. Maybe I’ll do another decant in time for next Fall/Winter. But, just considering the price point and how often I’d wear this, I can’t justify purchasing a full bottle. It has fantastic longevity (9 hours easily) and smells of high quality materials (i.e. not reformulated to death with cheaper ingredients). Fève Délicieuse is well worth testing and purchasing. And it’s a must if tonka is one of your favorite notes.

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Fève Délicieuse is available directly from Dior and in store at Saks Fifth Avenue. I ordered my decant from Surrender to Chance.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica. It’s worth noting that the only note Dior officially lists is tonka.

The photo of my little decant was taken by me.

Woody Mood by Olfactive Studio

Notes: bergamot, ginger, clary sage, saffron, sequoia, black tea, incense, patchouli, leather, styrax, and cacao.

Woody Mood is my first experience with Olfactive Studio. I just couldn’t resist these notes for fall/winter and I ended up purchasing a full bottle! Olfactive Studio is a niche line that explores the connection between photography (visual) and our sense of smell (olfactory). I haven’t tried a wide range from Olfactive Studio, but I imagine that memory is usually the connecting factor between the photographic image and the fragrance composition. Each full bottle comes with a copy of the accompanying photograph so that you — now both the wearer and the viewer — can contemplate any personal connections that may or may not arise. As you might guess, the photograph for Woody Mood is of a forest:

The photograph is by Roger Steffens. I’m not much of a photography critic, so I will stick to discussing the scent here!

Woody Mood was created by the grand master himself, Bertrand Duchaufour. This feels like a pared down composition for him. Part of the reason Woody Mood feels minimalistic is because it’s very dry. There is no creamy vanilla or rich amber to warm up this composition. In the opening, I get ginger, black tea, and what I assume is the sequoia note. The sequoia smells very much like cedar to my nose. That means, this opening smells like woody, ginger tea without any milk or sugar. If you take your tea with lots of milk, or prefer your perfume rich and creamy, you likely won’t enjoy this scent.

I love a woody cedar note, so I enjoy the opening and mid-notes here. The composition remains on the dry tea and wood side of things on my skin. I get a little bit of incense, but nothing overly smoky. I get a dry, dusty patchouli in the base. The cacao note is also present in the dry down. It’s a yummy note, but it’s not decadent or a full gourmand chocolate. The base has depth but, again, it doesn’t feel rich or creamy.

I really enjoy Woody Mood and I find it to be a really interesting composition. I hadn’t realized how accustomed I had become to the pervasive vanilla/sandalwood base notes until wearing a composition that doesn’t contain any of these notes. Now, the drawback to all of this is that the longevity of Woody Mood is not great. The absent creamy base notes aren’t here to help the dry down last those couple extra hours on the skin. I get five hours of wear time from Woody Wood before it has truly faded. I’m happy to re-apply, but I know that poor longevity is a deal breaker for many in the perfume community.

I have to say, it’s nice to have a more minimal fragrance for Fall/Winter. I’m not always in the mood for an opulent Tom Ford Private Blend-esque experience. Woody Mood is crisp and dry, which feels eminently appropriate for November. I’m curious about other Olfactive Studio scents. I wonder if their other compositions have a similar issue with longevity or if this is a one-off. I’m not as into photography, so I don’t personally connect with that aspect of this line. Please let me know if you’ve tried anything else from this house and what your thoughts are!

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Woody Mood is available from Olfactive Studio and from Luckyscent. When I purchased my bottle, Luckyscent was offering 20% off on Olfactive Studio, so do check if that’s still going on.

Info on notes is from Fragrantica.

The Roger Steffens photograph is from Olfactive Studio. The photo of Woody Mood is taken by me.

34 boulevard Saint Germain EdP by Diptyque

Notes: pink berries, citrus, clove, cinnamon, cassis, tuberose, iris, geranium, rose, violet, sandalwood, vanilla, woody notes, and amber.

Diptyque is one of my favorite houses. I love their candles, scents, and even body products. But, I could never get along with the Eau de Toilette formulation of 34 boulevard Saint Germain. It just did not work with my skin or suit me at all. When I read that Diptyque had released an EdP formulation, I figured it would be more of the same with my skin chemistry. However, Luckyscent included a sample of the EdP with one of my orders and I couldn’t resist testing it. I’m glad that I did because I love the EdP and I’ve drained the tiny original sample.

As expected, the EdP is heavier and more rich than the EdT. This heaviness is lifted by a berry note in the opening. When I initially looked at the note pyramid, I thought it was going to be a pink pepper note. But it’s more of a tart pink berry, very similar to a cranberry note. I also get a cassis liquor note, although this is not boozy. It’s probably just my brain associating cassis with drinking creme de cassis in kir royale cocktails. I don’t get much of the citrus notes listed, but I definitely get the cinnamon and clove. The effect of this opening makes 34 boulevard EdP holiday party appropriate. It definitely has a festive feel to it.

The heart notes come in, and it’s fairly linear from here on out on my skin. It’s lots of vanilla, more cinnamon, and a rich sandalwood. This is a composition with a lot of depth. However, the sandalwood and vanilla don’t come off as creamy on my skin. It leans the tiniest bit dry, but still warm and enveloping. It gives off quite a formal air. You can certainly wear this dressed down, but it really calls out to be worn for an occasion. I don’t mind the linear nature here because it settles into the skin nicely. And being the EdP concentration, it lasts forever. This is one I can wear to bed and can still smell traces of it in the morning.

The bad news for us as perfume lovers is that, since this is an EdP, Diptyque is able to set a higher price point. At $190 for 75 mls the 34 boulevard EdP is quite pricey. I’m putting it on my Christmas wish list and am hoping to come by it that way. At this time, The Perfumed Court offers samples and decants of the EdT but I don’t see the Eau de Parfum yet. If you have a Nordstrom or Saks nearby, I recommend trying this in person. It really settles into the skin in a lovely way and it lasts for hours!

Have you tried 34 boulevard Saint Germain as an EdT or EdP? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts. I love Diptyque and I’m so happy that I can finally embrace something from the 34 collection!

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The 34 boulevard Saint Germain EdP is available from Diptyque and Luckyscent. I received my sample from Luckyscent.

The info on notes is taken from Fragrantica.

The photo is of my 34 boulevard sample vial and my beloved Figuier room spray, which has lasted me two years so far!

Poison by Christian Dior

Notes: coriander, plum, wild berries, anise, Brazilian rosewood, carnation, jasmine, African orange flower, tuberose, opoponax, cinnamon, incense, rose, white honey, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, Virginia cedar, amber, vanilla, and heliotrope.

The bar at the Ritz Central Park in New York is one of my favorite meeting spots in the city. The bar itself is small, but usually not overcrowded and not too loud either. My sister and I have used it as a meeting point and just a place to grab a drink and rest our feet. (It’s also a good place to stop and use the bathroom if you’ve been running around the city all afternoon!) I bring this up because I was sitting at the bar having dinner one night when I recognized a familiar scent: Poison. That huge all-enveloping tuberose is unmistakable. A French woman came in and sat down at the other end of the bar and ordered for herself. I assumed she was French even before I heard her speak because who else still wears vintage Poison these days? I could smell Poison wafting towards me all evening. It’s a beautiful smell, and all-consuming one. I think we all left the Ritz that night smelling of Poison.

In the US, I feel like Hypnotic Poison has definitely taken over as the Poison scent to wear. When I worked at Sephora, we didn’t even carry the original Poison in store. We carried the flankers: Hypnotic, Pure Poison, and we got the new Poison Girl in. (I actually don’t mind Poison Girl. There is something of the original Poison in the base). The original Poison was created by Edouard Fléchier and was released in 1985. It is unquestionably an 80s fragrance, in that it’s huge, in your face, and demands all of your attention. You can kind of see how the pendulum swung from this extreme to the other extreme with the 90s acquatic calone-infused fragrances. The US is still a little bit enamored with these clean scents. One thing I used to hear all the time from women looking for a new scent was “I don’t want to smell like perfume.” What they meant was “I don’t want to smell like No. 5. I don’t want to smell like Poison.”

Even Poison does not smell like Poison anymore. I have a bottle of the EdT that I purchased from Dior in 2016. The opening is lovely. It’s an explosion of fruity, jammy plum, creamy tuberose, and a little bit of sharp, spicy cardamom. It settles into my skin nicely. I get smoky incense and a spiced carnation in the heart. But, as it wears, this Poison takes on a manufactured grape juice smell. Going into the base, the composition feels thin. It’s missing that rich, syrupy, creamy texture.

I’m happy to own a bottle of the Poison EdT. I love the apple bottle shape and the deep purple — so dark that it’s almost black. But it’s not my favorite to wear. I am keeping an eye on ebay for samples or small decants of older formulations. I know that The Perfumed Court also offers decants of the vintage Eau de Cologne formulation. Ami Loves Perfume has a fantastic video here on her channel about Poison. She shows examples of the different packaging and bottles over the years in case you’re looking at Poison on ebay and are wondering what’s authentic. It’s also just a very informative and lovely video to watch!

I’m publishing this post on Halloween and, yes, I am wearing Poison for my Halloween scent! Although, the truly scary thing is how quickly Dior seems to reformulate their fragrance compositions these days. All the reformulation drama aside, I love Poison. Love it or hate it, once you smell Poison, you will recognize it forever. It’s a haunting perfume, indeed.

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I ordered my bottle of the Poison EdT online directly from Dior. They also have an extrait available. I’m very curious as to what the modern extrait smells like.

The info on the notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo is taken by me.

Cinéma by Yves Saint Laurent

Notes: clementine, cyclamen, almond blossom, peony, amaryllis, jasmine, amber, benzoin, white musk, and vanilla.

I personally love that bottle design and packaging is part of the whole experience in the perfume world. There are some beautiful bottles out there — some more beautiful than the juice inside! The best is when an iconic scent has an iconic bottle to go along with it, as in the case of Shalimar or JPG Le Mâle. They are are bottle designs that even non-perfume lovers would recognize. YSL Cinéma has one of my favorite bottle designs. It’s not overly elaborate or a completely unique type of bottle. I simply love the play of light through the glass, emphasizing different points of the gold bottle design. It’s a bit of a trompe l’oeil because sometimes it looks as though Cinéma has flecks of gold in the liquid. (Which is a real thing now thanks to Atelier des Ors, if you’re looking for your perfume to contain gold flakes!)

Cinéma opens with a juicy mandarin citrus note. This is not a fruity floral, but the mandarin adds a freshness to a composition that could otherwise become very dense. It’s a lovely bright opening, and it makes way for a floral heart of jasmine and peony. My nose isn’t advanced enough to pick out cyclamen on its own, but I find this to be a very appealing floral bouquet. It has an effortless feel. I think a lot of people could pull off this mandarin and floral opening, and feel good about what they’re wearing.

The almond blossom note makes things a little bit interesting. I sense it more in the heart of the fragrance, which starts to come through an hour into wear time for me. The floral bouquet is still present and it takes on an even more lush white floral feel. In fact, the whole fragrance is so lush and full-bodied at this point that it reminds me of a white wine. The almond blossom adds a soft nutty note, while the jasmine continues to bloom on the skin. Cinéma takes on a buttery chardonnay feel for me here. It’s very textured, creamy, and yummy without being gourmand. I’ve sometimes gotten a red wine vibe from fragrances, and even a champagne vibe from aldehydes, but not chardonnay before. Cinéma is really unique here in that way. I will clarify that it’s definitely not a boozy scent. Rather, it’s full-bodied in the same way that buttery California chardonnays are.

The base is more of a typical vanilla/amber/musk dry down. The composition still has a rich, buttery feel. It’s a comfort scent for me at this point. The musk in the base gives me Tocca Margaux vibes (a personal favorite) in that it’s a warm, comforting musk that doesn’t come across as synthetic. This is a lovely base, it’s just a little bit less unique than the interesting heart notes.

Overall, Cinéma is a delicious white floral/vanilla that has some uniqueness, and doesn’t tip over into full-on gourmand territory. It’s a happy scent and a comfort scent for me. Cinéma will put you in a good mood. I also get beautiful sillage and wear time from this one. It easily lasts me a typical eight hour work day and it doesn’t offend anyone in an office setting. Cinéma always puts a smile on my face. It’s a scent that I enjoy and the gold-flecked bottle only adds to my enjoyment!

I would love to hear about any favorite bottle designs, please share! Likewise, are there any bottle designs that have put you off testing/buying a perfume?

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Cinéma is a little harder to find in the US these days. It’s currently available directly from YSL. I purchased my bottle a couple of years ago from Fragrancenet.

The info on the notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo was taken by me.

Beach Hut Woman by Amouage

Notes: bergamot, mineral notes, driftwood, ylang-ylang, patchouli, and cashmeran.

I’ve tried many new Amouage releases in recent years, including Bracken Woman, Imitation Woman, Lilac Love, and Blossom Love. Frustratingly, none of them seemed to want to work with my skin chemistry. I’d almost given up hope of finding a contemporary Amouage release that works with my skin when I read about Beach Hut Woman. I don’t do typical beach scents like the quintessential Bobbi Brown Beach or Replica Beach Walk. I’m not really a typical beach person in general. I sunburn way too easily to spend my vacations laying out all day. Luckily for me, Beach Hut Woman isn’t the typical vacation beach scent and it really suits my style.

Beach Hut Woman opens with a bright, clear bergamot citrus note. I also get the mineral notes. To my nose, it’s not the typical calone note you might expect. It’s quite salty to me, and comes across as slightly seaweed-y! This opening is actually really interesting and appropriately beachy, while also signaling that this scent will not be the typical sunscreen-and-sand beach composition.

After an hour, the dry patchouli note starts to appear and it lasts for the rest of wear time for me. The driftwood note, which is the heart of the composition, appears as a woody note with a quiet presence. The sillage is low at this point. Beach Hut Woman sits closely to the skin and is really an inward-leaning scent rather than projecting out. If this is not your style, you likely won’t enjoy this scent. However, I find the low sillage appropriate for the vibe of this scent. The driftwood note conjures up images of visiting a beach house during the off-season. You can smell the salty sea air, but it’s too cold to go for a swim.

The cashmeran base softens things out like a haziness falling across the sea at dusk. There is something that feels universally familiar about Beach Hut Woman at this point, as though we’ve all been to this beach house at dusk. I imagine that most of us have been around this type of nostalgic smell before, whether it’s a summer house that’s been closed up for the off-season, or clearing out an old attic at your parents’ house. This kind of dry down won’t be for everyone. It’s not opulent, rich, or warm. Beach Hut Woman leans on the cooler side, although there is some coziness in the dry down from the cashmeran. Overall, it’s a contemplative and cerebral scent. I find it has a similar vibe to Wood Sage and Sea Salt from Jo Malone.

A full bottle of Amouage is out of my price range, but the packaging and presentation for Beach Hut Woman is beautiful. To me, this is completely worth the splurge if you can afford it. I wouldn’t recommend blind-buying this scent in particular simply because it’s so different for a beach scent, and you may not like the low projection of this composition. Beach Hut Woman is an emotional scent, in that you really need to be in the right mood to wear it and enjoy it. I also find it very nostalgic. I’d love to try Beach Hut Man (I hear that it’s a minty fougère) but I can say for sure that Beach Hut Woman is definitely worth a sniff.

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I purchased my sample of Beach Hut Woman from Luckyscent.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo is my Beach Hut Woman sample vial paired with earrings from J. Crew.

Plum Japonais by Tom Ford (Private Blend)

Notes: Japanese plum, saffron, cinnamon, immortelle, plum blossom, camellia, agarwood, amber, benzoin, fir, and vanilla.

 

There has been a flurry of activity concerning Plum Japonais recently. The rumor was that Plum Japonais would be discontinued to make way for the newest Private Blend release, Lost Cherry. I’ve been a fan of Plum Japonais for several years, and I finally took the plunge to buy it when I heard that it might be discontinued. Plum Japonais was originally released in 2013 as part of the Atelier d’Orient collection. The other Atelier d’Orient scents included: Fleur de Chine, Rive d’Ambre, and Shanghai Lily, all three of which have sadly been discontinued. If Plum Japonais were to follow suit, that would mean the entire Atelier d’Orient collection would be out of circulation. The current rumor at Fragrantica is that Plum Japonais will now *not* be discontinued. Who can keep up?

But enough about the drama! What does Plum Japonais smell like? It’s a classic Tom Ford Private Blend in that it opens in a rich, decadent manner. It’s all jammy plum and cinnamon on my skin for the first 30 minutes. It’s very Fall/Winter and the cinnamon makes it a little bit Christmas-y. It reminds me of mulled wine. This is one that becomes more opulent the longer I wear it. The saffron creeps in, adding to the spice of this fragrance. Then the plum fades slightly, only to be replaced by a floral note. The floral smells like jasmine to my nose. There’s also some oud here (the agarwood) but it’s very dry and comes across like patchouli to me.

The vanilla note comes in during the heart notes for me. After an hour and a half of wear, Plum Japonais takes on a creamy texture. It’s not heavy, but the texture is tangible. I would not wear this in hot or humid weather, where it would definitely become too heavy and overbearing. But in cool weather, these heart notes are delicious. The vanilla mingles with the spice for a warm spiced latte kind of vibe. At this point, the fragrance is yummy, and it’s really walking the line of being a gourmand. The dry down solidifies that this is not a gourmand. That dry oud returns, and it really is bone dry on my skin. There’s a light resinous note that smells like frankincense, but it’s in the background until the base completely fades away.

The similarities between Plum Japonais and Fille en Aiguilles from Serge Lutens have been covered in the fragrance community. I do indeed smell the similarities between the two. In fact, I also own Fille en Aiguilles and I wear it on Christmas Eve every year. Plum Japonais also reminds me of the festive cherry cola/leather smell of Mon Numéro 10 from L’Artisan Parfumeur, which I also wear around Christmas time. Clearly, this spiced, festive and opulent genre is a favorite of mine! The difference between the compositions for me is an emotional one. Plum Japonais is the type of scent that demands an occasion to be worn. It’s for holiday parties, even a New Year’s Eve party. Fille en Aiguilles, like many Serge Lutens compositions, gives me a more contemplative vibe. My family doesn’t attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve but, if we did, Fille en Aiguilles is the one (which is why I wear it on Christmas Eve anyway). And Mon Numéro 10 is to keep cozy on cold December nights.

There are so many perfumes out there these days. Let’s face it, many of them are going to share similar notes and accords. It all depends on what works with your skin chemistry and what you want to prioritize within your personal collection. Plum Japonais has a place in my collection, and I know I’ll get plenty of wear out of it this Fall/Winter. As for whether or not it will be discontinued, only Tom Ford himself could tell us. It will likely be discontinued at some point because that’s the reality of the market these days. I’m glad to have snapped up a bottle — even if the discontinuation rumors were all just a clever sales tactic!

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Plum Japonais is still available directly from Tom Ford. I purchased my bottle from Luckyscent.

The photo was taken by me. The info on the notes is from Fragrantica.

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Zoologist

Notes: bergamot, black pepper, fir, laurel leaf, neroli, nutmeg, champaca, geranium, jasmine, osmanthus, rose, ylang-ylang, resins, cade, cedar, civet, frankincense, leather, patchouli, sandalwood, and vanilla.

 

Tyrannosaurus Rex is actually my first foray into the world of Zoologist. I have of course seen the brand all over social media. The bottles with uniquely detailed illustrations of animals on the labels can’t help but stick in your mind. I just hadn’t had the opportunity to sample anything before now. Well, I’m starting with the king of the dinosaurs, and perhaps that’s the best way to begin! The brand refers to T-Rex as “a gargantuan scent” and it certainly is. Antonio Gardoni, who burst onto the perfume scene with Maai, is the perfumer here, and it seems fitting that the rockstar of the perfume (and architecture) world is the creator of this larger-than-life scent.

T-Rex starts off loud and gargantuan indeed on my skin. It’s all black pepper, birch tar smokiness, and just a hint of balsamic fir tree. This opening is chaotic, and it really shocked me the first time I tried it. It absolutely conjures up the chaos of the Cretaceous period. The smoke in particular signals danger and the reality of extinction. I have to be honest, the opening is just not wearable in a realistic way for me. I don’t want to get into my apartment building’s elevator and send everyone into a panic because it reeks of smoke! The birch tar is very strong on me. I only need to dab the tiniest amount of perfume onto my skin in order to get a huge impact.

This opening lasts for an hour to an hour and a half on my skin. By the two hour mark, T-Rex undergoes a shift, and the floral heart starts to shine through. This is where I feel the composition really starts to open up and it lets me actually wear it, instead of the fragrance wearing me. I get a big yellow floral from the ylang-ylang. (Everything in this composition is big and over-sized. That’s just the nature of Mr. T-Rex.) The black pepper has calmed down considerably by this point, but there’s still some rich spice from the nutmeg. There’s definitely a red rose note lurking, but it’s not allowed to dominate with so many other notes competing for wear time here. The heart of the composition gives me the impression of a streak of dried blood in a landscape that’s otherwise dense with flora and fauna, perhaps the only remaining visible sign of the once dominant T-Rex.

But don’t think that Tyrannosaurus Rex goes all floral and sweet at the end. Around the four hour mark, the civet note starts to come through on my skin. Here, T-Rex reminds me faintly of Jicky with civet and vanilla notes that are slightly reminiscent of the guerlinade base. But T-Rex isn’t dying down yet. I still get another solid four hours of wear time. The base is animalic, maybe signaling a shift from dinosaurs to mammals, with civet, leather, vanilla, and a gorgeous resinous note. I also get something slightly chocolately on my skin. It’s a dry, earthy chocolate, so I wonder if it’s the patchouli turning slightly edible on my skin. It’s an unexpected note here, but I always welcome a chocolate note!

Tyrannosaurus Rex as a composition isn’t really about whether or not I personally like it (I do, once I get past the opening). It’s about the challenge. It’s the challenge of composing a scent around an extinct animal and a time period during which humans didn’t yet exist. I think Antonio Gardoni pulled it off. T-Rex will definitely be a unique scent in Zoologist’s library of scents. (Unless they plan to do other extinct animals!) T-Rex is well-worth smelling. It’s an absolute must to test it on the skin because this is a composition that develops and shifts according to skin chemistry. That’s part of the challenge, too. As the wearer, this composition gives you the chance to tame the T-Rex beast, or at least get to know the beast a little bit better.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex is available from Zoologist and from Luckyscent. I ordered my sample from Luckyscent, but Zoologist also offers samples individually and in sample packs.

The photo and info on the notes are both from Zoologist.

And here is an interesting interview between Zoologist’s Victor Wong and Antonio Gardoni.

 

Belle de Jour by Christian Dior

Notes: pear, rose, woody notes.

Belle de Jour is named after the Luis Buñuel film starring Catherine Deneuve. One of the Dior SAs kept mentioning the film as I was purchasing this. This fragrance doesn’t evoke the film for me, however I’m sure Dior executives want people to imagine themselves as Catherine Deneuve circa 1967 while wearing this. Belle de Jour is one of the newer releases in the Maison Chistian Dior line, formerly La Collection Couturier, formerly the Dior Privée line. Let’s hope Dior will stick with this Maison Christian Dior title! To make it more confusing, some Maison fragrances are the original Privée scents, but relaunched. (For example, Gris Montaigne is now Gris Dior.) Belle de Jour is one of the entirely new compositions.

I tried Belle de Jour on a rainy New York September day, just as the weather was turning to Autumn. I spritzed this on at Saks, and then wandered around midtown in the rain, passing Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, The Palace Hotel, and crossing over to Lexington. The city was grey and chilly from the rain, but I felt contented because Belle de Jour was radiating a pleasant warmth around me. I get some lovely sillage out of this. It’s not a beast, but more like a very pleasant and fragrant cloud.

Belle de Jour opens with a pear note. It’s not necessarily juicy, but it’s fresh and very easy to identify as a pear note. Fragrantica, for some reason, lists the opening note as peach, but it’s clearly pear. The fruit blends right into the rose note. I normally don’t fall for rose scents, but it’s extremely smooth and easy to wear in this composition. The rose here reminds me of Liaisons Dangereuses from Kilian. That one from Kilian does contain peach blended with rose, and it’s much more carnal. Belle de Jour is sensual, but I don’t find it to be carnal or sexy (which is kind of funny, considering the Buñuel film).

The Dior SA also told me that the dry down is musk and woods. I couldn’t get anything more specific out of her. There are all different types of woody notes, but Dior remains vague about this. The dry down here reminds me of the musk in Tocca’s Margaux, which I love, and I don’t always love musk! Belle de Jour’s dry down is a warm, rich musk. It feels decadent without being over the top. Thankfully, it doesn’t smell overly synthetic either. Again, the rose blends seamlessly into this dry down before the last floral traces fade away.

In fact, the striking thing about Belle de Jour is that it’s an exceptionally seamless and smooth composition from start to finish. There are no rough edges here, nothing odd peaking out between the seams of the composition. Sometimes I enjoy a scent that has a strangeness to it, something that makes me think. In this case, I enjoy Belle de Jour precisely because it’s so beautiful in an effortless way. It feels pretty and luxurious without trying too hard. As I walked around rainy midtown Manhattan, not even caring about the weather because I felt at peace while wearing this scent, I knew Belle de Jour had earned its place in my collection. Reader, I went back to Saks later that afternoon and bought it.

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Maison Christian Dior fragrances are available from Dior and from Saks in store. I purchased my 125 ml bottle from Saks.

Photo taken by me.

List of notes taken from Fragrantica and from Dior.

Honeysuckle & Davana by Jo Malone

Notes: artemisia, rose, honeysuckle, and moss.

I always love a Fall release from Jo Malone London. I love the tradition of visiting my local counter and trying the new annual release. It really puts me in the mood for the transition to Fall. This year’s release, Honeysuckle & Davana is a green floral, which might come across as more springy, but I’m really enjoying wearing it right now. There’s something about it that just feels right for the moment to me.

Honeysuckle & Davana opens with a pretty, blooming honeysuckle note, as you might imagine. The interesting part is that it’s also quite green and herbal from the artemisia note. In researching this perfume composition, I’ve learned that the davana herb is part of the artemisia family. Davana on its own is a chameleon note and can really vary depending on skin chemistry. I wonder if Ann Flipo, the perfumer, cleverly used artemisia here to give that herbal davana feel, while ensuring that it would be a bit less variable according to people’s skin chemistry, (Of course, you can never guarantee what something is going to smell like with someone’s skin chemistry!)

The green herbal note leans to the bitter side, which I enjoy. I’ve seen commenters on Fragrantica saying that it’s too bitter. Safe to say, if you don’t enjoy a green bitter note at all, this scent probably isn’t for you. Luckily, the rose note comes through in the heart and softens the bitterness. My skin chemistry doesn’t pull off a fully blooming rose note very well, and this is why I enjoy the herbal, bitter artemisia so much here. It really balances the composition.

I would have guessed that the dry down is actually sandalwood because it leans very woody on me. The SA at my Jo Malone counter told me that the dry down is musk, so who knows what’s actually going on here! The woody notes that come through on my skin make for a nice transition as the herbal artemisia top note fades. It also blends well with the floral notes. I don’t see anyone being offended by this dry down. It’s just really pleasant and a nice way to close out this composition.

I haven’t enjoyed a Jo Malone release this much since Wood Sage & Sea Salt (which is still a great one). I get 6 hours of wear time before Honeysuckle & Davana completely fades away, which is quite good from Jo Malone. It’s a perfect daytime scent. I’ve even been able to wear it to yoga class without offending anyone with an overbearing fragrance. As always, I urge everyone to test this on out the skin. The paper tester doesn’t pick up the herbal nuances here the way skin chemistry can.

I am really taken with Honeysuckle & Davana. It’s easy to be cynical about so many new releases coming from the fragrance industry as a whole right now, whether it’s mainstream, niche, or indie brands. We’re dealing with over-saturation from just about every corner of the industry. With all of that being said, it feels good to unabashedly enjoy a new release! I hope you’re all finding something to enjoy as well, as we transition to Autumn here.

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Honeysuckle & Davana is available now from Jo Malone, Nordstrom, Saks, and Sephora. I purchased my bottle from the Jo Malone counter at my local Nordstrom.

Photo taken by me.

The list of notes is from Fragrantica.