Candy Buzz

Oh, the pressure. It´s so hard sometimes. Please. Feel my pain with me. I am too busy, busy like a bumblebee in fall, hellbent on a pleasure-buzz through the Candy…

IUNX L´Ether – Which begs the question, is it better or worse to smell a fragrance knowing that when it´s gone, barring some miracle there will probably not be any more? I have never been able to answer this one. What do you think? (Look! An unopened bottle of Coty Chypre in Grandmas´s cool, dark closet!) Anyway, Coty Chypre´s easier to come by than the IUNXen. Notes are: myrrh, benzoin, rosewood, sandalwood, saffron, maple wood. L´Ether is sublime, and I drove myself nuts for half an hour trying to figure out what it reminded me of, until the obvious answer hit me like a perfume pie in the face: Passage d´Enfer! Another one of my best friend Olivia Giacobetti´s creations (I probably would have loved this entire line, except now I´ve heard that the waters lasted like, well, water.) I´m going to wear the rest of this decant and love every second, but the truth is, it shares 92% of its fragrance DNA with Passage d´Enfer – it is an airy, lovely incense. The other 8% is some delicate sweet note that, well, I do like more than my adored Passage – so now I´m experimenting with layering PdE with a faint but persistent floral note (that´s a tricky balance) to try to recreate the effect. Osmanthe Yunnan feels right but doesn´t last. Paestum Rose is too strong. Suggestions?

Esteban Sensuelle Russie
– Colombina the Terrible dissed this as a blatant rip-off of/poor man´s Ambre Narguile – although, when I think about it, there are a lot worse things you can call a fragrance (a poor man´s Baby Phat Goddess, for instance.) But Colombina and I are going to have to disagree on this one – I´m totally on board with Mimi Froufrou´s characterization of this as “… a nectar fit only for the gods which would have accidentally or by design spilled onto a giant rough-hewn table made of fragrant cedarwood and as it slowly spread out would have mixed with tobacco and strange spices…” (here´s a link so you can read the rest of her mesmerizing review and I can retain some sense of dignity by not quoting the entire poetic thing, although I´d like to.) To me, Ambre Narguile is like drowning in a vat of excellent, dark amber maple syrup – it´s great stuff, sure, but you´re still gonna die. Sensuelle Russie avoids that effect and instead heads in the direction of Serge Lutens Chergui or L´Artisan Tea for Two, without the tea part. As Mimi noted, I get a lot of tobacco in the drydown, although it´s not listed in the notes. I find it massively comforting, which is more than I could say, ultimately, for…

Annayake Miyako — I tried, honest. There´s a meditative, calming incense, sure, and it is very pretty. But there´s something in the base I can’t get past. Everyone else on the planet finds it massively comforting, though, including Colombina at Perfume-Smellin’ Things, who almost made me buy a bottle unsniffed…

Opium parfum – Objectively, this is far superior to the EDT – with all its rough edges smoothed out, and a much fuller, richer presence, along with excellent lasting power. But … maybe it´s just habit. I like my regular ol´ Opium better. I miss its abrasiveness, those elbow-sharp notes that get everyone to move to the other side of the elevator at the mall if I´ve overdone it at Macy´s. I should try the EDP, though.

MPG Soir d´Orient – a funky, wild, musky, woody (oudh?) fragrance that´s like a cross between MKK and a chypre – and you know I mean that as a compliment. I refuse to look any more for this, because the note on the sample vial says “rare” and I refuse to fall in love with another rare thing. It´s like only dating men who are unavailable.

Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande
– Patty sent me this. I smelled it when it first came out, and disliked it massively, ergo I am stupid. I admit that (as is true so often with our humorous friend Serge) I have to ignore it for a few minutes while it arranges itself. Then it moves past the all-lavender sachet and the incense begins to bloom. It makes me cry, though. There is something very melancholy about it, which is odd, because I consider lavender cheering. An excellent rainy-day fragrance.

Matthew Williamson EDP
– Ack! This is, I assume, the same outfit that created (then discontinued) MW Incense, one of my greatest unsniffed lemmings? And they give us this? What kind of sick joke is that?

Robert Piguet Baghari – Nobody´s going to buy this, which is a shame, because it´s not going to test well in the department store. The opening is an aldehydic fusillade that reminds me very much of My Sin, and unless you like retro fragrances it´s going to put you off, it is so deeply out of fashion. But, please, try it anyway. After a few minutes it morphs into the most delicious scent … it is floral, and there is something unabashedly romantic about it – the feel of, say, Annick Goutal´s Passion or Grand Amour (although it´s a completely different smell). It is sweet, but sensual rather than cloying, and manages to be both a little grand and charming at the same time. Notes are: aldehydes, neroli, bergamot, violet, rose, jasmine, iris, amber, vanilla, and musk. I´d add this to my Girly list from Monday – one of the prettiest fragrances I´ve smelled recently, and I mean that as an absolute compliment. This is one for the days when you want to be the Princess, and doesn´t every girl (and the random boy) want to be the princess every now and again?

Hanae Mori Magical Moon – Wow, can you imagine? Something to smell and love at Nordstrom instead of on eBay or at the Palais Royal… heck, they´ll even make you up a sample! Mimi Froufrou wrote the definitive review. Notes, from Osmanthus Flower, Rose, Sugar Cane, Cotton Flower, Coconut Milk, Vanilla, White Musk, White Sandalwood, Red Cedar, Incense, Litchi, Patchouli, Pineapple Pulp, Guava Nectar, Star Fruit, Orange Flowers and Pink Berries. Okay, that sounds gaggingly sweet, but I swear to my nose it´s mostly sandalwood, cedar, incense, and osmanthus, with a little creamy, refined sweetness in the deep background. I am trying to find the right descriptor – restrained? Elegant in a highly mannered way? It bears some resemblance to the delicious SMN Citta di Kyoto, only more sophisticated. Go smell it. It´s beautiful. I´m waffling between the EDP (more woods) and the parfum (more incense).

And finally … Arielle Dombasle, the fabulous French model/actress/ hottie/chanteuse of the moment, said in the NY Times on Sunday that she loves fragrance – and her custom blend is a layering of Chanel Cuir de Russie, Clinique Aromatics Elixir and a cheap off-brand white musk (unspecified). Somebody out there have all three kicking around? Please try it and report back.

The winner of the bottle of Miso Pretty is … Chaya! Please send me your address under Contact Us.


  • Katie says:

    Fine, fine! Now I have to go see if I can find a tester or a sample somewhere of Baghari! :(( Twist all of our arms, why doncha? Heh.:)>-

  • March says:

    Mimi — well, it was you who set the world on its ear with the Sensuelle Russie. Very seldom do I smell something and say, gimme some more of that right now!!!

    I have the Magical Moon EDT in a manufacturer’s sample. I can barely smell it (which may be my problem, not the scent’s!) I think the EDP is the way to go.

  • Hi March,

    Sensuelle Russie worked better on me than Ambre Narghilé too, except I find the dry down could be improved.

    Huh, I think you have succeeded in making me feel embarassed with all the flattering comments you made:”> Not to complain though\:d/

  • March says:

    Judith — well, fragrance reaction is such a funny thing … there is nothing particular about AN that should provoke my ire, and yet … so the Sensuelle Russie is my wearable AN; maybe it is what AN smells like on other (normal) people, if that makes any sense?


    No, that doesn’t make much sense, but I suspect you will forgive me.

    Ambre Russe I hated, oh, 9 months ago. Just you wait. A year from now, I will probably be singing its praises, along with AN.

  • March says:

    V — that is very interesting! — I got an intense burst of aldehydes at the beginning, rather than candied sweetness — fizzy enough that it almost put ME off, and it’s a smell I like to start with … I am anticipating a rare (for me) bottle purchase. I have a little sample and I keep re-testing, and I think the drydown is lovely.

  • judith says:

    Well, I will probably buy Baghari, if only to raise its sales (I’m so helpful):). I would have bought it last time I was at NM, except I liked Soir de Lune even more–so I bought that. I like most of these a lot (except for the MW–what a comedown!–and the HM, which I haven’t tested. Soir d’orient does, indeed have oudh (+amber); I see the similarity to Ambre Russe that M. mentions, but I think its even more similar to Ambre Precieux (+oudh), which, of course, makes sense.:) I am going back and forth on my sample of Sensuelle Russie. I do like it a lot (more than M., I think), but it also smells a lot like a lighter AN to me–and I already have (and love) AN (which never makes me feel like I’m going to die):) So, while I wouldn’t kick it out of bed, I don’t think I’ll spring for the FB.

  • Victoria says:

    I am with you on Annayake Miyako. I found it a bit flat and not altogether exciting. I love Baghari, but I do not find the openning to be particularly aldehydic and old-fashioned. It is quite sweet and almost candied. Still, a very good and respectful reformulation.

  • March says:

    Jenn — Eternity!?!?! 😮

    Gad, that’s awful. What a train-wreck. See, this is why I hate buying unsniffed. One person’s gracious woods/incense is another person’s Eternity.

  • March says:

    Vi — what’re you waiting for, woman? Get busy!!:-w

    Yes, we did talk about the Aromatics (and Calyx). I am trying, and failing, to imagine how that combo would smell. For cheap musk, any dimestore white musk (Coty?) would probably do…

  • March says:

    Marina — well, good!:d I am glad not to have something else to fall in love with. It is hard to judge things from very small samples.

  • March says:

    Elle — the Baghari is wonderful. The Rumeur… I do like it, although it’s not my taste. But they should have just picked a completely different name to avoid the irritation, since the new is nothing like the old.

    That MW was so awful. Frooty.

    Yes, I need to get some Elixir — doesn’t that mixture sound interesting?

  • March says:

    Chaya — I did laugh that you won “Politically Incorrect” — of course it would be you! Compared to a lot of your other fragrances, it’s not so special — certainly closer to the drugstore end of the spectrum! But I like it anyway.

  • March says:

    Malena — I’m not going to encourage an unsniffed purchase — it is always better to know what it smells like first, and there should be plenty of it available online.

  • March says:

    Sariah — I really, really liked the Esteban. I am not getting the AN reference (well, sorta) but the Sensuelle is very wearable.

  • Jenn says:

    Making me to want to get my hands even more on the Baghari. Although, my testing of Magical Moon was completely opposite, it ended up smelling like Eternity on me, and I am no fan of Eternity.

  • violetnoir says:

    Did I mention Aromatics Elixir to you earlier this month. It is amazing! I can only imagine what it would smell like layered with CR…I need to find out, don’t I? 😕

    I really need to test Baghari, and Magical Moon is, well, almost magical. I am on the fence about this one, but it is one of the better readily available releases to come around in a while.


  • Marina says:

    Soir d’Orient smells to me like a heavier, somber, ultimately boring version of Ambre Russe.

  • Elle says:

    I haven’t tried the new Baghari yet, but it sounds like it’s definitely in keeping w/ the original, which I adored. I want to send Piguet a huge bouquet of roses as a thank you for doing such a respectful reformulation. Let’s just say that Lanvin won’t be getting any flowers (live ones at least) from me for Rumeur. Grrrr. Oh, and since I’m in a grumpy mood anyway, MW deserves to have a couple of bottles of Cacao spilled in his office for that shockingly boring follow up to Incense. Hmph!
    I don’t have any white musk, but I’m very curious about her mix as well. Fabulous woman! I loved how she dissed wearing only one scent at a time as a boring custom of the 20th century.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Hi, March!
    Thank you !

    I’m with you on the Baghari [I bought it], and the E & L [ I WISH I had, years ago, when I could…sigh…].

    Sadly, much of what we savor is not in the popular taste… which usually portends removal from accessible circulation…

    Classically, and predictably unfortunate…

  • Malena says:

    Hi March,
    I have to test Baghari, but it´s not available round here, yet! Waiting can be really hard…but all reviews I´ve read sound like I almost could buy unsniffed (which I – of course 😉 – won´t do…!)

  • sariah says:

    Faint but persistent floral note hey? That’s tough. My fist thought would be OY too. Would also try AG Le Jasmin (the only AG soliflor that lasts on me).

    OhMyGoodness, your description of the Estaban, comparing it to AN, Chergui and Tea for 2 has me absolutely drooling. Must go get me a sample.