Is It All That?



I´ve been noodling around with various posts but they haven´t quite coalesced (congealed?) yet so today we´re going to play a game, and you have to play too.  

Remember all the gotta-try, must-have fragrances — the darlings of the blogosphere/MUAers/POLsters, etc., two weeks or months or years ago?   Fragrances that you almost never see mentioned any more, because we´ve all moved on?  Because we had to, because there are now 90-gazillion releases a year?  (Examples off the top of my head: Wickle!  Les Nez!  Anne Pliska!  Ylang Ivohibe!  Sushi Imperiale!  Tea for Two!  Shalini!  Fifi Chachnil!)  Okay, dig up your sample or bottle of a similar niche darling and answer the eternal question:  Is It All That?   How did it work out for you?  Is there some fragrance with continuing cult fandom you don´t quite understand?  Something you thought was All That at the time, bought a bottle of, and now hate?   Ask yourself the question, and then comment:  Is It/Was It All That?

I´ll go first:

1) Cumming by Alan Cumming.  For me, it took a little getting used to.  Quote from his website: “But really, what could be better than smelling nice, feeling sexy and having a laugh?”  Amen.   Now I am desperately afraid it will be discontinued because while they have it online at Sephora (excellent!) it´s never in their brick and mortar stores, and why not!?  My personal theory about why this scent is so good:  First, Alan Cumming made a fragrance simply because he wanted to, not as an ancillary product in some giant celeb-retail empire.   Second, he had a clear idea of the kind of scent he wanted to do.  Third, he hired a man (Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume) who was perfect for the job: making an earthy scent with Cummings´ sense of humor: “leather, peat fire, highland mud, burnt rubber and white truffle ground the scent with rugged sensuality, while the core notes of cigar, heather, Douglas fir and rubber contribute to its sharpness. The fragrance is completed with spicy top notes of bergamot, black pepper, Scotch pine and whiskey.”  The result: a hilarious, bold, delicious scent that I´d like to replace half of the Sephora Everyman-juice with, and women can borrow and wear too.  The drydown is as smooth and mouthwatering as that whiskey.  Verdict: Is It All That?  Yes, and so much more.  By the way, if you have never browsed his hilariously naughty site (Cumming in a Bar!) and watched his dirty little commercial, here´s the link.

An aside (because my mind wanders): SJP did a good commercial scent with Lovely, and she was already interested in fragrance before she made it.  But I wish she´d make the scent she wanted to do in the first place and Coty wouldn´t let her because it was too edgy for them  – a riff on her longtime personal blend of CdG Avignon, Bonne Bell Skin Musk and some unspecified Egyptian oil.  Now that I´d like to smell.

2) Serge Lutens El Attarine.   Come on, people.  Seriously?  You love this that much?  I would think this smelled interesting and sniff-worthy if it didn´t smell like bits of, oh, I don´t know, five or nine other Serge Lutens scents, from Arabie to the Bois series.  How many more of these are we supposed to put up with?  The Emperor has had no clothes for quite some time, although I was willing to give him his silk undies back after Serge Noire.  With the arrival of El Attarine, the man is not only buck naked but he´s back to waving his little, dried-up curried wood at me.  Tell you what — I´m going to go by the Secret Serge Special Sauce Room hidden away under the Palais Royal in Paris, tie up the staff, and take away their (clearly unlimited) supply of curry, stewed fruits, and faux-bois.  Verdict: Is It All That?   No.  Serge?  Try something different.  You could call Chris Brosius, maybe he´s got some ideas. 

Okay, your turn!   Thoughts on Idole?  Worth Courtesan (snerk)? Stoned?  Or any other obscure-ish scent you sampled?

  • Teri says:

    ROFL!! I would be more than happy to boing-oing-oing if it meant I could clean my house as speedily as Lindsay always could. Heck, I could probably leap tall oil rigs in a single bound! :d

    I did some time in the ‘enemy’ camp before I came to Denver, doing statistical analysis for ADM’s ethanol division. It was a corny job, but someone had to do it…;)

    I burned all my 2008 vacation time during my medical leave, but I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE coordinating an afternoon of sniffage in the spring when I next venture back to the Windy.

    Anyone in the vicinity would be more than welcome.

  • mollypenny says:

    Black Cashmere was reduced to commonplace for me before I even had a chance to appreciate it due to a scent from Crabtree & Evelyn that my mom wore in the 80’s called Spring Rain which deposited itself in my scent memory where Black Cashmere should reside. Do any of you know Spring Rain and if so do you get the similarity? Irksome.

  • Natalie says:

    I’m a complete fragrance Philistine, so my list of “huh?” scents is a mile long. In all fairness, my skin/nose tends to reduce 90% of perfumes to cheap ‘n’ nasty junk, so it’s the rare scent that stays true to its promise on me. Ones that I don’t “get” include Serge Lutens (OK, I haven’t tried them all, but I’ve sniffed a fair number and have yet to find one that really interests me), Amouage (both Lyrics and both Jubilations), Bond No. 9 Silver Factory, Ava Luxe No. 23, Ormonde Jayne Woman, and [whispering this last one as I run for the nearest exit, pursued by hordes of rabid perfumistas brandishing pitchforks] Black Cashmere.

    • Shelley says:

      Hey, I love Black Cashmere!

      • Natalie says:

        I know, everyone does except me! It’s one of several perfumes that all dry down to the same boring, vaguely sickly, sweet scent on me — I call it Vat No. 3 (there are other groupings that fall under Vat No. 1 and Vat No. 2). Oh well, I guess I’d be in more of a bind if everything smelled stunningly fabulous on me…

  • sweetlife says:

    All That: The Libellules, especially Encens Mystic, which I am wearing and loving today, after a week of vintage Guerlains. It took me awhile to fully appreciate it but now I am so, so, glad I sprung for the $16.

    Not so Much: Well you already know about my Courtesan adventure, March. Sugar syrup all the way. I am still waiting for the full glory of Fem de Bois to reveal itself to me. I feel like I can sort of see it peeking around the corner… Other than that I’ve been ridiculously, dangerously lucky with my unsniffed buys and sample purchases. Or is it just that I’m terribly, terribly suggestible? 😕

    And of course I still can’t stand Chanel No. 5.

    • sweetlife says:

      Chiming back in for a second thought–I think that what has happened with some of my used-to-be faves is that they were the first place I found something I didn’t know I was after–a depth or resonance, a particular note or accord, a feeling–and then after I’d gotten all excited about that I was able to recognize it elsewhere, done better, or more excitingly, or less loudly or something along those lines. (But I am a loyal girl, so most of those starters are still in the perfume closet…) I wonder if this is true on a larger scale for las perfumistas and the new releases?

      • March says:

        I think that’s an excellent point. At some point you can identify a particular aspect/note (like incense) as what you love, and then maybe your affections get transferred to another, “better” scent.

        I am clearly in love with novelty. Part of the reason I almost never buy bottles any more. I need to put things away and forget them for awhile.

  • Patty says:

    Now, now, now…. Of all the Serge cuminy woody deriviative bits he was going to fly about, El Attarine is one of his better ones. It behaves on me beautifully, much better than some of his others. So I appreciate as being a wearable deriviative, even if a little threadworn.

    Idole didn’t stick for me, and Cumming, I’m sure I’ve smelled it, but???? Oh, kill me, I don’t remember it!

    Most everyone gets moved down in status. Only a few things stay in my top tier of perfumes I never get tired of. That should be a list for a future post, huh?

    • March says:

      I’m just such a gigantic cumin magnifier. It was all a big curried cuminy fruit conserve thing on me. I didn’t get the warm love Serge was showing you, all caressing and stuff. 8-|

      You know you like Cumming. giggle.

  • Teri the bionic woman says:

    Whew…it’s good to be back to work and fully vertical again, complete with new titanium knee and a foot full of ball bearings (yes, really). Infinitely sorry I had to miss the ChiCocoa event :(( but thrilled that you all enjoyed yourself and definitely enjoyed reading about all the fun. :d

    I still LOOOOVE my Idole just as much as when I bought my first sample. I rest it in the summers, so it’s like a reunion with an old pal when I bring it out for cold weather.

    Like many of you, one scent that initially didn’t blow my skirt up was Serge’s Gris Clair. But yet….it’s grown on me and has become my go-to scent for one specific situation. I’m in the oilfield services business and from time to time I have to don my coveralls and hardhat and go play in the oil fields with the bad boys. Even (perhaps especially) in that environment, I have to be appropriately scented and Gris Clair is just the ticket. It seems to say “I fit into this testosterone-laden environment just fine, thank you. I’m aloof, powerful, confident enough to wear what some might term a manly scent, cool, calm, and 100% collected. Don’t make the mistake of messing with me…ever.”

    This scent is such a 180 from anything else I wear that it surprises me how well it works and how I crave it sometimes on a very deep level. So yes, for me, GC IS all that, a bag of chips, and a blender of homemade habanero salsa.

    • March says:

      Hey, welcome back! Glad you are better. And I think your explanation of your love for Gris Clair is an excellent one. I think I’d love it more except I plugged Encens et Lavande in that one particular cubby hole.

      • Teri says:

        Thank you!

        I’m almost fearful of trying E & L. I’m afraid I’d fall for it big time and GC is sooo much easier to obtain. Is there a word for fear of better fragrance?? lol

    • Musette says:


      When you jump over the rigs, do you get the ‘boingboingboing’ sound they used to do for Lindsay Wagner? Jes’ joshin’ ya because I’m so thrilled you’re back in action!

      We do a lot of work for the alternative energy industries (same guys, different field/:) and I go just the opposite – the rare times I’m in the field I usually wear Rochas Femme or Fracas. My demeanor is so warrior-like (along with the pipe wrench that is my constant friend) that it provides this bizarre juxtaposition that catches them just a leeeetle off guard, which is how I like ’em!

      But I can see Gris Clair doing exactly what you say it does!


      ps. if you’re around Chicago, just say the word and we’ll do a leetle Event of our own! To be honest, I don’t remember much about the Event now, except the rain and the fun, wonderful people – but I couldn’t tell you much about what we actually did.

  • Robin says:

    Absolutely cracked up at “the man is not only buck naked but he’s back to waving his little, dried-up curried wood at me” — ha!

    There is so much brilliance in the SL line that these little “rearrangements” are kind of interesting, and I did like Attarine. But, hard to see how much longer it can go on before the material has been sucked dry.

    • Robin says:

      And want to add: with all the derivative/generic crap on the market, I’ll say this for SL — at least he’s copying good stuff, and his OWN good stuff!

      • March says:

        All excellent points. And when he’s on his game, his scents are fascinating. Right now I am debating whether I *need* a bottle of Fleurs d’Oranger, having worked through a decant. But that particular fruit/cumin/woods thing, I’d like to leave that behind for awhile…

  • mi-cuit says:

    Is Idole all that? Absolutely. I’m wearing it very sparingly because I don’t want it to become commonplace and because the bottle will be obscenely hard to replace. hehe.

    Was Dzongkha part of a craze? I’m beginning to think it might take over the “if I could only have ONE” category. It is 100% me.

    I haven’t had the chance to smell El Attarine, but Serge Noire is unfortunately very polite and very derivative on my skin. My favorite part about it is the incense, and I’m thinking that’s a sign I should splurge on (the much less expensive) Avignon.

    • March says:

      Dzongkha. I am just unselfish enough that I am delighted that so many other people (a lot on here today) talk about their devotion to it. It’s hell on me, but I am glad it works for you. :)>-

      I think in hindsight the CdG Incense series is looking pretty masterpiece-y, you know?

  • Billy D says:

    The Chanel Exclusifs were my entrance into the perfume world, so they hold a special place for me. Then I got into Hermanessensessnsnesnes, and then came Serge Lutens. Iris Silver Mist was my exaulted face, although right now it gives me a headache. My love du jour is from a niche line, one more scorned than adored, By Kilian–Straight to Heaven! Gimme gimme gimme!

    • March says:

      The Hermanessessessesssences!!! That’s Musette’s fault, every time I think of them I think, Hermanessences. One of these days I’m going to call them that in Hermes and be embarrassed.

      ISM is technically gorgeous and wow, if I put that on on the wrong day it’s all over. So I’m a little scared of it.

  • Disteza says:

    I’ve asked around the various DC-area Sephoras why they don’t carry Cumming; the consensus seems to be that it was a limited area release ‘like 1 store in NYC’ only. Doesn’t stop me from wanting to try it though. Tea for Two=FB big hit on me, likewise with Dzing! I’ve had to learn to love ElA–I find that if I layer it lightly with Rose de Nuit or La Myrrhe it takes the edge off of the cumin stink and something magical happens. Jub XXV was also another big hit on me. The PGs are hit and miss: some I admire but have no lasting power, some don’t work at all, and others have been FB-worthy (Coze, L’Ombre Fauve, Un Crime Exotique, Psychotrope). I still like Let em Ply the Lion, although I understand that there have to be certain pre-existing conditions before I can hope to wear it (temp over 90, humidity over 90, that sort of thing). I’m still trying to figure out why I splurged on 2 big Bond #9s (Silver Factory and Broadway) though–they don’t wear all that well on me.

    • March says:

      I’m smiling at all the T42 love on here today! It was one of my early “weird” ones, although of course now it doesn’t seem strange at all. I am happy it makes other people happy as well.

      The El A is all cumin on me. 🙁

  • Silvia says:

    Anyone remember PG’s Ether de Lilas Blanc sur Feuillage Tendre ? Besides having to Google it every time I spell it and probably still getting it wrong, it sadly sits in its box gathering dust and only comes to mind in connection with the words expensive niche mistake.
    Serge Noire seems to have slipped down the list of priorities, but 5 O’Clock au G. resurfaced after being forgotten for some time. Both Jubilations and The Party are still up there with the top lemmings. And still adore T42.
    It’s a moveable feast !!!

    • March says:

      Is that that thing’s Full Name?!? Lordy. I just called it Ether Lilas and it made me feel anesthetized. 🙂 Well, most of us have at least one expensive mistake. That’s what swaps and eBay are for.

      5 O’clock smells great but on/to me it’s basically ginger, like I could buy Origins or the Roger Gallet and be just as happy.

  • moi says:

    Cumming IS all that, and a bag of chips. With guacamole. I bought it because of that brilliant commercial and was not/still am not disappointed.

    I can’t think off hand of any niche release in the past five years I’m still feeling any kind of lust for. I’m sticking mainly to vintage samples of classics (Emeraude is my current fave) as well as what I consider best of the obtainable mainstream releases. Although, I have to agree with the poster above about Andy Tauer. I will most likely never kick Lonestar Memories to the curb.

    • March says:

      I watched that commercial five times when I first saw it. It’s too wonderful.

      Oooh. Vintage. Have you tried L’Origan, vintage? Superfantastic. I bet you have. And Lonestar is maybe my favorite Andy.

  • MJ says:

    This post is why I love this blog so much – now I want to try Cumming, after I stop laughing about shaking the dry curried little wood! TEE HEE!!!!

  • Lordy –

    This post could’ve been written about me; as you know I’ve only been a focused perfumista-in-training for about a year and I still don’t know what the heck I’m smelling half the time. And I have a bazillion samples, both from generous enablers (usually on the mark) and my own impulsive self (not so on the mark).

    But I didn’t get swayed so much by the blogs as by the ads on the blogs – Luckyscent and Aedes nailed me early – Aedes mostly because they have one of the most beautiful blog logos in existence and Luckyscent because of a link – ANYWAY, I got hooked on the ad copy for a lot of niche frags – even when I’m laughing my petunia off I’m getting sucked in…….I have more samps that now I sniff and go “WTH?” (Satellite Ipanema – I can rub on some Tropic Tan from the Dollar Store for 1/100th of the price) Occasionally I fall in love with niche, like Liz Zorn’s Ankhara and her Violets and Rainwater, which surprised the heck out of me and Ayala Moriel just did a fragrance – Tamya – that may make its way into my FB collection, it’s that good….

    but I’ve been sadly disappointed by so many niches I bought samps of that I mostly stick to my Old School regulars; can’t go wrong with a FB of Bal parfum, now can you!?

    La Belle E, you do a way better job with me than I do with myself. Whyzzat?

    (but I am getting samps of Amouage Lyric and 25, if only because I have to see if the Femme connection exists for m. You know me and Femme)….and while I’m at it I figured ‘why not?’ on the Vero Kerns…..:”> hope springs eternal…

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      Wait … how did I miss you? 🙁 That’s no way to treat my favorite alien. I’ve been up since 3, sorry, a little hectic today.

      You and your stinky stink 🙂 What else do you need to try? Theo Fennell. DEFINITELY. Heh. Although what will you do if you love it? And Party in Manhattan is maybe too old school for you, but it’s lovely and skanky. Oh, and Alexander McQueen Kingdom. That’s nice and cumin-y.

      • Musette says:

        I LOVE Kingdom. Mistress Shelley gifted me with a lovely little decant of that skankalicious stuff – and Louise already waved Theo Fennell about like panties at a Tom Jones concert!:o I’m getting me some o’ that – yeah, I’m gonna try them ALL, including PIM – you know I’m so Old School I’m new, baby!!! And that’s why I love TPC, bless their hearts and decants!

        You’ve had a LONG day. I’d be under the bus by now. GO TO BED!!!|-)


        • Shelley says:

          Hey, speaking of panties…(those of you who pay attention to my ramblings whenever Kingdom comes up know the note that generally speaks loud and clear and to me)…you know I love sharing the love, but when it comes to Kingdom, I’m still in training, so I don’t know if it’s love I’m sharing…(:| I’m thrilled you like it, though!

          I’m a big fan of what those Amouages do on me. But methinks I’ll sit back and watch y’all dance with Theo Fennell. If I’m feeling lonely, I’ll see if I can make it once around the floor with Alexander McQueen.

  • Tania says:

    I was glad I’d only bought a small sample of SN, as it went curry on me straight away, and never stopped. If I’m going to smell like my local curry house, I want to at least have a tikka masala to make up for it.

    I was also disappointed with Jubilation. On me, too old-lady. Which seeing as how I’m over 50 anyway, is quite a feat! And my tiny JAR sample, IMO, was not worth the money.
    But Vero Kern, Les Nez and Andy Tauer lived up to my hopes.

    And I like Cumming, a lot. Who doesn’t? :p

    • March says:

      Giggle. It’s hard to stop with the Cumming. I think his shower gel is Cumming All Over The Place.

      Think of all the money you saved on the JAR and Amouage!

      • Existentialist says:

        I think sometimes I need the entire Cumming line, just to get myself to laugh at various times of day. Not to mention that it is a marvelous scent. As far as what I am ‘what’s the big deal” about, I have to say that Bois des Iles is sort of blah for me. It’s beautifully done, no doubts about the craftmanship, but it just does not stir me. Not that BdI is obscure. Now, I do love 10 Corso Como, but I only came to it recently, so I have no memories of an earlier, better version, so I am free to love it as it is now.

  • Melissa says:

    I just did a quick check of my sample box and found a relative oldie but for me, not goodie. Yes, the cult favorite POTL Luctor et Emergo. Of course. Just to be fair, I dabbed 1/2 ml on and I have been wearing it for the past 20 or so minutes. And I still don’t get it. Almond play doh? I know, there are many fragrances with a hint of play doh that draw rave reviews, but generally not from me. I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t buy it, especially at that price.

    • March says:

      POTL. Snerk. I don’t get it either. But I think it’s Play-Doh or it’s heaven with that one. I mean, I don’t believe the people who are waxing all poetic about it are getting Play-Doh, they’re getting God’s finest amber. 😉

  • Gail S says:

    March, thanks so much for planting that mental image of dear ol’ Serge waving his woody bits about 😮

    My entry in the “why the heck is everyone talking about this?” sweepstakes is Indult Tihota. Now, I have absolutely nothing against vanilla in a fragrance as a supporting player, but straight-up vanilla does nothing for me. And at Indult prices???? Holy cow!

    Everyone still talks about the biehl’s from time to time also. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you which one(s) or what they smell like because my brain absolutely refuses to keep track of them. I’m pretty sure they’ve been discussed here too, but again, no idea which. Maybe if they’d released only two at a time, or given them real names [-x

    • March says:

      That’s funny. I have a decent decant of Tihota. And I do think it’s really pretty (I like to layer it with John Galliano for a smoke-fest.) But I wouldn’t BUY it. 🙂

      The biehls did themselves in with their release, and too bad, because I think a couple of them are delicious. Having said that they are IMHO (to crib from Robin who said it about something else, can’t remember what) they are more like “scent ideas” – interesting sketches rather than elaborate fragrances.

  • Elle says:

    I so agree w/ you on El Attarine. Serge, *please* stop this! Go meditate in the Himalayas. Come back to your olfactory senses!
    There are very, very few recent raved about releases that thrill me and that I think will stand the test of time, but I do believe that Vero Kern’s scents will and agree w/ Masha that Andy’s will as well. I also think that Jalaine’s Vetiver and Patchouli will retain a strong cult following, but I don’t think the rest of her line is going to – another case of *way* too many releases. PG’s Felanilla has restored my faith in him, but I’m w/ the other posters in agreeing that he seemed to go on automatic pilot w/ too many releases. The one niche scent I have constant internal battles over between my sensible self and my “budget be damned, I just love the stuff” self is Profumum’s Santalum. I was *sure* I’d get tired of it and not need a bottle, but it is definitely standing up to the test of time for me. It’s a simple blend of sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon and I can’t shake a sense of dismay that at $240 this is more than I’d pay for a classic Guerlain parfum (I rarely compare amounts or concentration since I almost never finish anything anyway – just base price), but the fact remains that I *crave* Santalum. I wear it alone and layer it w/ a multitude of scents and it never fails to satisfy. Am praying LS will have some sort of discount code like BH soon and then I *will* get it.

    • Gail S says:

      Oh yeah, I totally forgot to include something that IS all that! Like Elle, I think the Vero Kerns are masterful and have what it takes to still be talked-about and loved for many years to come

    • March says:

      Sorry, out running mid-day errands…. taking me away from my BLOGGING. Harrumph. [-( Weather is funny here today, def. need that Tea For Two!

      The Veros don’t work for me personally, oddly enough, but I agree with you that they ARe All That, particularly Onda.

      On the Santalum — not that you need me enabling you, but if it’s a tried and true, and you know you love it, and you wear it all the time, and it’s sort of your scent staple workhorse yadda yadda, who cares what the price is? We tossed this around on NST once. I have my limits on individual fragrance bottle purchases, but if it were something serviceable I wear all the time, I’d say, $240, why not? 🙂

      • Elle says:

        A warning about the VKs. It took me a full year or more to fall for Onda and Kiki. I really didn’t see the magic at all, but when I did finally fall, I fell *hard*. Beware of resampling. 🙂
        I know I will end up getting the Santalum (after Felanilla and a back up of Vol de Nuit parfum), but I still feel like it’s the equivalent of a great white t shirt from the Gap. I’d not blink an eye over spending that (and more) on a white blouse in a wonderful fabric, but I’d hesitate over the T, even if essential. Santalum is brilliant, but very linear, very simple and I have a multitude of excellent sandalwood scents already. Still, I guess one can never have too many perfect sandalwoods. 🙂

        • March says:

          Pestering you (scent twin, mostly)…. what do you consider a great sandalwood? I like sandalwood IN things, obviously (good thing in perfumery, eh?) but on its own it’s too … itchy? It rubs me wrong the way oudh in massive quantities does. So. Where should I start resampling? Or is it Too Late (giant sandalwood shortage)? I like 10CC now that everyone says it’s ruined… Tam Dao?

          • Elle says:

            I know it gets its fair share of bad reviews, but I absolutely rely upon MPG’s Santal Noble to get me through winter and to layer w/ everything (as I used to w/ 10CC). I also love SL’s Santal Blanc and Santal Mysore, L’Artisan’s Santal, Trumper’s Sandalwood, The Body Shop’s Sandalwood oil, Chanel Egoiste and Bois des Iles, C&E’s Sandalwood and Tam Dao. Sandalwood is a key comfort scent note for me and I rarely feel a spicy (especially wintry orange/potpourri spice scents) or floral scent could not be made just a bit better w/ a nice touch of sandalwood layered w/ it. 🙂

          • March says:

            Thanks for the suggestions! I will ease into it slowly.

          • joe805 says:

            March: Just chiming in about sandalwood — I was on a quest recently and ordered a bunch of samples and the end result for me was that Villoresi Sandalo was about the closest to true Sandalwood for me. Etro and Laura Tonatto I didn’t like at all. Bois des Iles and Santal Blanc are both terrific scents, but I don’t really find either of them close to a true sandalwood accord. Of course, pure sandalwood might not be what you’re looking for either. Tam Dao is also nice, but not what I was looking for on that particular quest (and frankly, almost seemed more cedar than sandalwood).

          • March says:

            Santal Blanc I love and is the only one I own, but you’re right — it’s corrupted enough 🙂 I am not sure I consider it a regular ol’ sandalwood.

            My recollection, possibly incorrect, is of Luca Turin/others lamenting the passing of good natural sandalwood, the trees having been overharvested. Hence the alleged shift in 10CC away from sandalwood. OTOH I thought I’d read elsewhere of good chemical substitutes, so I have no idea.

  • long-lost Judith says:

    Checking in briefly, just ’cause I miss you!:x I enjoyed my decant of El At, but feel no impulse to get more. Must try Cumming again.

    OK–so here is where I lose my perfumista license (which I probably lost anyway from being out of commission for so long): I like the new Amouage fragrances (Jubilations, Lyric), I really do, but. . . they just don’t rock my world. Not only do I have no impulse to buy bottles, I haven’t even finished my decants. Clearly, I am missing something! 😕

    On the other hand–all that and a bag of chips: The Party in Manhattan!! I LOVE this–and not in an “I’m-so-bad-I-can-wear awful-skank” sorta way, but just in a “IT SMELLS DAMN GOOD (on/to me)” sorta way. Now, since I seem to remember descriptions of husbands who ran screaming from the house upon its arrival, I may very well be missing something again:-?–but Mr. Lily, at least, had the same reaction to smelling my wrist as I did: “That smells really, really GOOD!” It’s a good thing we’re married to each other, I guess. The only reason I haven’t bought a bottle (or several) is, well, I’m really broke and really busy, and it’s in Italy, etc.. . . But if anyone has some you’re trying to get rid of, I’d be glad to help you fumigate your house!

    I need to go back into hibernation now–should reappear in the Spring or so. . . .

    • Louise says:

      Hiya! I get what you get from PIM-Jub 25 plus rounder, softer edges. I’m awaiting it’s arrival in the U.S. to consider a splurge.

    • March says:

      Hey, long-lost Judith! Nice to see you! PIM is a GREAT scent! It’s a big riot, one of those fragrances you fall in love with and wear just because it makes you so happy. So you’ll get no argument from me.

      The Lyrics are not my personal taste, and the Jubes never bloomed on me the way they did on some other folks, so I hear you.

    • mollypenny says:

      PIM would actually be my first FB if I could afford it! Maybe by the time it makes its way closer to us it will be more attainable in price.

  • Kim says:

    I agree with March on El Attarine – the only recent SL I have thought worthy of a decant is Serge Noire. The other recent releases seem to me to be derivative of his earlier work and not worth spending $ on. But others who have the exact opposite opinion from me on this so I am glad he is still producing – no matter what, someone will be happy!!

    I tend to focus on the lines I love and leave the others until or if ever I have time – I can’t keep up and too many of them are disappointments.

    Yes, please CarmenCanada – please redo a review of the Chanel Exclusives. It as it is a line I greatly admire and will always rush to try a new release – even if, in the end, I don’t want a full bottle! As a body of work, the line is marvelous – I just wish they did smaller sizes!

    Parfumerie Générale is another line for which I rush to try new releases. I am still working through the line but on a percentage basis, I wear more of them than SL and they are more obtainable than Chanel Exclusifs. Corps et Ames is now in my top 10 and Aomossai is hovering in and out of the top 20. Please CarmenCanada – catch up and do a wonderful series on them! 😡

    • carmencanada says:

      Kim, thanks for the prompting: I’ll have a go at the Exclusives as soon as my backlog of new releases is done (as if that was going to happen). And I’ll do what I can about the PGs… The sheer quantity is discouraging, though.:-<

    • March says:

      I sort of lost track of the PGs after the first couple batches, but I have two (?) samples on the way, Felanilla and that other one. I am looking forward to those.

  • hvs says:

    March – loved the post. Soooo sucked in by the hype. Sooo questioning the necessity of all these tiny vials. Sooo wondering why I didn’t think to ask for a sample of Cumming…Sooo worried that now that I got a bottle of Myhrre Ardent (before finishing the decant) I’ll be over it…

    • March says:

      Getting a bottle of something frequently kills off my desire for it, even if I worked through a decant. I wish I could make that stop happening. :-w

  • rosarita says:

    I still want to sample Cumming; I admire it’s sly, cheeky marketing and think it would smell great on my quirky husband. Of some of the others mentioned, the only one I have is Ylang Ivohibe (a split), which is imo a very nicely done, pretty composition. Feminine and airy, I wore it a lot over the summer but I won’t replace it when it’s gone. PG’s price increases take them out of my range, and they are too prolific to keep up with anyway. I’m working my way through SL samples and look forward to Serge Noire; Louise is my canary in a perfume mine & I think she liked it. 🙂

  • Masha says:

    One of the few niche lines that really keeps the quality going is Andy Tauer. I can’t think of a single dud, and I really loved the new Vetiver Dance, and Incense Rose. His are a few (a very and dwindling few) of the niches that are worth the price tags. He uses a high concentration of excellent raw materials, mostly natural. He works for a long time on his formulae, doesn’t rush out 20 at a time. He beta-tests.
    Andy, you rock!:x

    • March says:

      Andy’s scents are wonderful, and you’re right – it’s nice that he beta tests and gets feedback, you can detect the subtle tweaks and they’re great. I really need some more Desert Marocain.

  • Louise says:

    While I’m still collecting perfume at a reasonable clip, I am developing many fewer crowd-induced crushes. This mostly due to a number of crushing disappointments :(( I noted my let down with many of this fall’s releases, and have been coveting the odder, rarer species for the most part (Micallef’s Guaic is coming my way soon).

    I do like Cumming a great deal, but waited for the kindness of a generous benefactor to send me a decant. I did *slowly* rush to get Theo Fennell, though I am not sure it falls at all into the perfumista frenzy category.

    Serge Noir was a disaster on me; El Attarine a moderate success, though very cumin-y straight on. Even dear Serge no longer commands my unwavering loyalty, after all these years. Too many “mehs” in recent years-Louve and Rousse in particular.

    I did rush headlong into the Vento Canale crush (mostly from MUA), and thrilled to have a now-discontined bottle :d/

    • Lee says:

      Oh Vento Canale… Lovely. I have a big ole bottle of that beastie too. Didn’t know it was discontinued. Daft lid.

    • hvs says:

      mmm…Gaiac is a dream. That said – why don’t I wear my bottle more? Because I am overwhelmed by tiny tiny bottles of things everyone said was amazing! Hope you love it!

    • Melissa says:

      At another group sniffing event everyone hated SN on themselves but thought it to be nice on me. I’ve worn it twice now and can’t decide, but so far, I don’t find it FB worthy. Same with EA. I’m sticking with one or two Serge favorites for now, such as Douce Amere and Ambre Sultan.

      I too like Micallef Guiac but I have only tried a small sample. Many in that line seem to lack staying power. Looking forward to your report Louise!

      • Louise says:

        Hi girl:x The Guaic isn’t a long-laster, but I decided that I love it so much that I’ll carry a decant with me to refresh. That said, I wore the end of my sample last week, and managed to get a fair bit on my sweater-and had a good 6 hours of scent sticking around. Stay tuned!

    • March says:

      I wish I’d sniffed El At on you, and I’d forgotten how wrong Serge Noire went. The Theo Fennell is skanktastic and I bet is delicious on you!

  • MattS says:

    What perfect timing! Just the last few days I’ve been trying to get around to Cumming, er, smell some Cumming, I mean, get my hands on some Cumming! Whatever. We’ll keep our fingers crossed; it sounds right up my alley. Of course, if this post makes me lose a bid somewhere…I’ll be chaffed. Everyone stay clear of you-know-where for the next 24 hours.

    I’m with ya on the Serge. The Serge Noire, me likes and hope to scheme a bottle for Christmas. El Attarine I’ve tried several times and every time I get something akin to a gag that hangs at the back of my throat. And not in a good way. The best thing about El At is that it made me reexamine Arabie which is now no longer my least favorite Serge. I have a new respect for it and amjustthisclose to actually being able to wear it. I still might be allergic to something in it, but I’ve decided I love it on others (paging Louise) and love it on fabric.

    I wore Silver Factory yesterday and while I liked and enjoyed it, I didn’t love it like I did last holiday season when I wore it to every party I went to. It seemed a little chaotic and jumbled, which was maybe the point and maybe why it worked so well at parties. Maybe it still needs to get a bit cooler here. I refuse to give up; it used to be in my heaviest rotation. Plus it was too pricey to abandon just yet.

    • March says:

      That’s so interesting what you said about Silver Factory. I’ve been keeping it in the back of my mind, I liked it so much. And I smelled it again last weekend and thought, well, that’s … nice. Where were the fireworks? Weird. It didn’t smell different, but it didn’t sweep me off my feet.

      Dude, hope I didn’t interfere with your Cumming, sorry! 😉

      • Billy D says:

        Just had to chime in that I had the exact same reaction to SF recently. I was all about it a few months ago, now it’s nothing special, if not a little annoying, on me. I hope my love for Straight to Heaven lasts!

        • March says:

          I had kind of the same unfolding of Chinatown, to the point that it began to get on my nerves. Wonder if this will happen with Silver Factory? 😕

  • Lee says:

    I disagree entirely with you on El Attarine and Serge Noire. SN is derivative to me – an awkward chilly mishmash of camphor, incense and migraine spices – headshop horror. EA is smooth, non-curry like, nuanced, subtle, cleverly reminiscent of prior scents without being a repetition. Facets and reflections, and the enchanting lights they cast… I LOVE it! And I’m right and you’re wrong, so nardy nardy nar nah! :d

    ITA on Cumming though. It’s playful daftness, smells like earth and though I don’t wear it much, and it doesn’t last, I got a $20 sale bottle once and am so glad I did.

    Idole – wore off on me. Tea for Two – still love. But I’m going off Giacobetti it seems. I’ll find out what her new scent for Penhaligon’s smells like today or tomorrow….

    Wuv woo!:x

    • March says:

      One nice advantage of sniffing in a group a lot is that I’ve gotten to smell both of these on several people simultaneously, and anyone who says skin chemistry is a figment of the mind is an idiot.

      I totally get what you are saying about SN — it can be hideous, all dank and musty, that old-vase-water thing. Shudder. Or it can open and bloom and be wonderful, airy spices.

      For El Attarine, I took it along to a mini-Sniffa and four people sniffed and said, no thanks! It was all about the cumin, that day. But those scents usually smell amazing on Louise, she brings out their best, and Carmen got violets (!)

      Oh, I’d love a report on Penhaligons! And you’ve reminded me I need to get a decant of Tea for Two… 😡

      • helenviolette says:

        BTW, TPC has a Tea for Two large decant special…I had a tea for 2 sample in my possession for months and just recently squirted it on and it IS DEFINITELY all that…

        I will have to chime in on the Silver Factory- don’t get me wrong it is a great perfume, but I remember once upon a time it made me feel like “that other perfume you guys are chattering about today”-it’s just not hot and heavy in the rotation anymore. I do like MattS’ suggestion of designating it for the holidays.

        • Musette says:

          I wish I could say the same. T42 was my first foray outside the box – my first couple of tries were ‘ugh’, then ‘hmmmmm’ then ‘oooh, yes!’….but a funny thing happened after that – on the next tries the ash note that I get in the drydown started actually making me :-& Since it was my first perfumista experience I was terrified that I’d somehow failed some test! Your post caused me to go revisit T42 this morning and while I can certainly understand the interest in it alas, it just ain’t me!

          Now, Dzonghka……^:)^


          • helenviolette says:

            Musette! ahhh, such is perfume. I have a few that everyone seems to love that pulled a :-& on me. Fendi Theorema/ Shaal Nur- after a few minutes, I find myself breathing out o’ the mouth.

            But hey! You know where to send that Tea for Two!


          • Musette says:

            Do you get chocolate in Theorema? You’d think I would love that, being the Chocoholic of the Universe…but somehow gourmands, especially chocolate, make me want to hurl…..and Theorema started out sooooo nice…

            If I had a FB or even a reasonable decant of T42 ‘twould be yours, my dear. Luckily I only had a couple of really hefty samps.

            God bless samples, is all I’m sayin’

            xo >-)

          • helenviolette says:

            I think it is definitely the gourmandy thing that makes her wrong for me. (Maybe chocolate-orange? you know that yummy thing you have to pummel on the counter and then it breaks into slices?)Yes we must bow to the samples…^:)^

      • mollypenny says:

        SN is still my current favorite. It is beautiful on me and my SO actually likes it! I still have yet to try EA . Idole I just discovered and am really enjoying. I feel like I would hate Beige, but since so many people say it’s good I’m going to have to give in.

  • carmencanada says:

    Aw, March, including El Attarine is cheating a little: it hasn’t been out long enough to have been a craze, and been forgotten. It’s still on my full-bottle list after several skin tests, and I don’t get curry at all, probably because my perception of the violet is quite strong.
    I’ve also been thinking of the niche darlings of the blogosphere: given the number of releases, I don’t think that kind of craze is possible any longer. Remember Idole indeed… I haven’t pulled that one out of the closet for, what, two years?
    As for Parfumerie Générale, I kind of stopped after the first episode and now it’s too late to catch up. Between his private collection ones, limited editions and normal line, I just can’t be bothered to keep track.
    In non-niche but niche-ish, I’ve been meaning to re-do a post on the Chanel Exclusives, now that the hoopla has died down: I still think the collection holds up wonderfully. Ok, so it’s Chanel, not some obscure edgy outfit out of Portland or The Hague. Shows why the greats are the greats, and not brilliant, one-hit wonders.

    • March says:

      See, this is why this kind of post is fun for me! I wear Idole all the time… having worked through two decants I actually bought a bottle! And am wearing it! Which is a miracle on its own.

      The Chanels. You know, I fell in love with Beige. And I wonder if part of the reason is, I wasn’t swamped with all of them at the same time. I could focus on it at length. Certainly I don’t think any of them has been quietly labeled a dud, although some are obviously more popular than others, and they are very much in keeping with the spirit of the house. My only request/wish was shared by others, that they’d do a concentration variation — instead of 200ml for $200, how about something stronger in a smaller bottle?

  • joe805 says:

    Haha! Love it. I have yet to try Cumming and about a zillion other niche “darlings of the blogosphere,” because…. seriously, you’re correct: 90-GAZILLION new releases a year! And I’m relatively (couple years) new to this and have a bi-i-i-i-g backlog to catch up on. Besides, I probably don’t know what the darlings of the moment are half the time. I actually think El Attarine is growing on me, but it’s also one of those things that I look at my little 1ml vial of and think: I paid $12 for THAT (or, for that matter, 1ml of ANYTHING)?! I might spring for a decant, but I have to remember that my initial impression was: “hmm, apricot curry… thaaat’s nice.”

    However, as for Jubilation XXV. Is it all that?: YES. I’m so happy they started selling 30ml bottles. However, since I upgraded from my 5ml decant, I’m scared to wear it very often. I don’t ever want it to feel “ordinary.” I want to savor it maybe 4 or 5 nights a year, on my birthday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and other special days.

    Carnal Flower. All that?: Maybe. I’m not a tuberose-kinda-guy, exactly, and this is lovely, but I’m also a cheapskate. I think most of my family would have me locked up if they knew I consider buying 50ml bottles that cost as much as a basketfull of groceries. Thus, for my personal tuberose fix, I’m more than happy with lots of frags that can be obtained for a lot fewer greenbacks.

    • March says:

      Oh, this is going to be a lively conversation! BTW for anyone who cares and reads this, the post was essentially prompted by my seasonal fragrance rotation (the unboxing of the Winter Season blah blah) and some rediscoveries, along with some pondering of, why the hell did I buy *that*? 😕 So I was curious what else people were still loving, or not.

      That Jubilation is TOTALLY all that. Not on me, personally, but I definitely get the sweep-you-off-your-feet deal.

      Carnal Flower I have a soft spot for because it’s probably the only tuberose I’m really into, and there are about five days a year on which nothing else will do. 🙂

      NEVER talk about prices with non-perfume-lovers. It scares them. My attitude is: a couple around here can easily spend that on a decent dinner, and when are you going to see that $$ again? Or a nice pair of shoes or some baubles. So why not fragrance?