From Russia with Love

nesting dolls.jpgToday´s post is a joint review of sample scents from the line Novaya Zarya, of Moscow, which Marina of Perfume-Smellin´ Things sent us. The only one I´d smelled before is Russian Forest, which is a wonderful woody-balsamy fragrance.

Check out this link to their ordering source, à¢â‚¬” these things are cheap, cheap, cheap! They are also light, which is perfect for this time of year. Be prepared to slap on a fair amount. Fragrance notes listed below are from the website.

In no particular order, here are our reactions:

Ambre Dore or Golden Amber – Eau de Parfum Spray – 1.7 oz / 50ml $12.00. Warm Fragrance Head Notes: Violet Petals. Heart Notes: Rose, Patchouli, Coriander. Base: Amber and Oak Moss.

March: I´m not the queen of Amber, unless it´s buried in some floriental. This one is a Wearable Amber along the lines of iPdF Ambra de Nepal (another amber for non-amber lovers.) I probably wouldn´t run out and buy it (even for $12) but it´s light and pretty, with a little pleasant musk-anise note to keep it from being cloying.

Patty: A soft amber. Very nice and clean smelling. Amber is another note (along with patchouli and muguet, see below) that aren’t my faves as the prominent note, but this one is done very nicely. It smells like gramma’s drawers, soft and sweet and seasoned, nostalgic.

March: Uh, P. Gramma´s drawers? As Katie says, *snerk*

Arome Musque or Aroma Musk – Eau de Parfum Spray – 1.7 oz-50 ml $12.00. A delightfully light and fresh signature scent with sensuous undertones of golden musk. This provocative fragrance has a gently powdery body with subtle elements of woodsy florals.

March: Um. Next? (later) Okay, too light to be a scrubber, but there´s something in there that strays into mildew territory. (even later) Hey, the mildew´s growing on me. Figuratively speaking. Sort of candied mildew. Actually, I like it.

Patty: I tend to not be much of a musk fan normally, but this one is certainly pretty and is a nice combination to soften the musk and keep it from being overpowering. Sexy and flirty, it’s a musk I could wear.

Melody of Flowers – Iris – Perfume Splash 1.7 oz / 50 ml $10.00 (no info on notes)

March: OMG. Cat pee. I know Patty loves this, so I won´t say anything more.

Patty: I *adore* this scent. Iris and some happy little citrussy notes create this bubble iris cloud that is intoxicating. It is pretty linear, but I’m absolutely okay with that since I don’t want it to change at all. I need gallons of this — lasting power is a little short, but fresh applications are great. It screams Summer Scent. At $10 for 50 ml, I can buy gallons and not feel guilty. Can you bathe in this stuff? Seriously?

Green Vetiver à¢â‚¬” EDT Spray – 3.4 oz $12.00. Vetiver is a blend of fresh green notes in the woody family. Head notes: Orange, Mandarine, Verbena. Heart of Cedarwood and Flower. Base of Oakmoss and Amber.

March: Who doesn´t like vetiver? Well, I don´t. Or, more precisely, vetiver doesn´t like me à¢â‚¬” it goes off in the direction of cat pee or feet, or, if things are really dire, both. One of the reasons I´m behind on sampling men´s fragrances is I´m always terrified vetiver is lurking in there somewhere, waiting to jump out and scare me. But this! This is wonderful, what I imagine vetiver to be like on vetiver-lovers. A green, glass-like scent with a faint sweetness and a hint of woods. And maybe the REAL reason I like it is à¢â‚¬¦ if you look carefully at the notes listed, it contains à¢â‚¬Å“verbena,à¢â‚¬? which has a green, lemon-y scent I´m fond of in the garden, but there´s no vetiver listed. Well, there you go. I probably love this Vetiver because it contains à¢â‚¬¦ no vetiver.

Patty: Very green with some wood chips throw in. The orange and mandarine make it a little sweeter than most green scents are, but the verbena tends to overpower that pretty quickly. Nothing not to like here, but it fades too quickly, and the base notes don’t have enough ooomph to keep my interest.

Carnation – Eau de Cologne Body Splash – 3 oz $3.00! (no info on notes)

March: My favorite of the bunch, along with Russian Forest. I can´t believe this thing is three bucks. Less spicy than Floris Malmaison and less heady than Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano, this is a straightforward, light, breezy carnation that´s perfect for summer.

Patty: Spicy, reminds me a little of the Floris Malmaison, though this one has a little different base in it. I like it because I like carnation scents in general, but it’s pretty straightforward and light.

Muguet– Eau de Cologne Body Splash – 3 oz $3.00 (no info on notes)

March: Weird. I tried this one three times, and all three times I got nothing resembling muguet. Instead it´s a creamy musk with a little green and (ruh-roh!) just a squidge of Play-Doh. It´s not offensive, exactly, but it´s not a screaming buy, either. If I attach my nose to my skin and huff, it´s floral, sort of. I´ll pass on this one.

Patty: Muguet is usually not my bag, and this isn’t changing my mind to get a new bag. This smells like plastic bag — could it be the one I’ve got over my head to block that smell. Gack, the only scrubber of the bunch.

Russian Forest – Eau de Cologne Body Splash – 3 oz $3.00 à¢â‚¬” no info on notes

March: I´m doing a special head-to-head with Coty Wild Woods! Russian Forest is à¢â‚¬¦ very light and sweeter, more perfume-y. Definitely something floral in there. When they say splash they mean it, this one is extremely light. A mildly salty note I also really like. Coty Wild Woods is a stronger, more conventional woody scent with a leather-musk note and a mild green twist that I wish stuck around longer.

Patty: reviewed this way back in our blind fragrance swap and called it very nice, with a Guerlain feel to it, almost Mitsouko-ish. Which is a fair assessment; I think I get less of the spices than she does.

PS Aromascope, Perfume-Smellin’ Things and Scentzilla are also posting on these fragrances today.  And here’s a link to an interesting post that Boisdejasmin did about the fragrance Krasnaya Moskva (Red Moscow) from the same line.

  • Mjau says:

    Heeey guys. Russian cosmetics is good HA. But try the latvian one. Had you ever heard about Dzintars parfumes? mmmmm

  • March says:

    Lisa — Bargainistan, egg-sactly!!! Come on, how many times do you get to swoon over a $3 fragrance! Stay away from that Muguet, though … ugh.

  • Lisa S says:

    must get that carnation with these faboo recs. and the Triple Filtered Cologne. and the Red Moscow. and the. and the. and the.

    Dang! I want them all just for the cool bottles & labels. My bank card won’t sweat either. Ahhh…the joy of finding Bargainistan.

  • Elle says:

    LOL! Oops! I thought it seemed an rather unique scent association choice. 🙂

  • March says:

    Ina — I have to go read your post. Don’t worry, Patty knows enough to ignore me and my dissing. I really did like the carnation.

    P — gak, that Muguet was the worst, wasn’t it? Of course, simpleton that I am, I did it three times, just to be sure.

    Cait — these were DEFINITELY better than drugstore frags. They just smelled … more legitimate, more interesting, less sweet. We’d have to compare them to vintage stuff, I think, most of the current iterations are so weak.

  • March says:

    P — I’m sorry. /:) I know it was wrong. I just … :-” … couldn’t resist.

    Elle — The green “vetiver” and Russian Forest are both very nice indeed.

    Katie — heh heh. *snerk* (can I borrow that occasionally?) Glad you got the Play-Doh note too, I’m not nuts. Iris almost always smells like crap on me, it’s my fault.

    Marina — yeah, I could see how the absence of vetiver might be a problem for you!

  • Ina says:

    Cait, I’d say better but I’m biased. :d LOL at your Cold War idea!

  • cait says:

    Would you guys say these were better than American drug store frags? I think you should do an old Cold War style head to head review fest.

  • Patty says:

    Katie, at least we all agreed on the Muguet. Plastic, Play-doh, it was horrific, though at least it was short-lived, the whole thing.

  • Patty says:

    E, gramma’s chest of drawers, not her drawer drawers. I think I just stumbled into a Larry the Cable Guy comedy set. 🙂

  • Ina says:

    March and I are sort of on the same page with these, methinks. :d And I did like Carnation, even though I think I sounded a bit double-minded there. Patty, it’s OK that you love Iris. Honestly. It’s OK.

  • Marina says:

    It seems we agree on everything but Iris. Well, I didn’t like Vetiver for the same reason that March liked it…there IS no vetiver there! :d

  • Katie says:

    Heh. Gramma’s drawers.

    March, okay, so I also got a smidge of Play-doh!! I decided at the time that it must just be me imagining things, but if you did, too…

    Patty, I like the Iris a bit, too, though it’s not for me. Tell March she’s nuts! Oh wait. That could get turned the other way around on us, couldn’t it? Nevermind 😉

  • Elle says:

    Gramma’s drawers?? LMAO. Decidedly not the first thing that springs to mind as a positive selling point for a fragrance. 🙂 After reading your reviews I’m putting Green Vetiver and Russian Forest back on my list of scents to try.

  • Patty says:

    That is the LAST time I leave you alone with my notes. 🙂 Poor Gramma!

    It just slays me how you and Ina could hate the Iris and I can love it so much. Noses.