November Candy

First thing – ALERT! ALERT! – get your preorder in for Andy Tauer Orris, shipping after November 15, $85 for 30ml (or buy a 1ml sample for $4). Notes are: Rose absolute from Bulgaria, cinnamon, pepper, grapefruit, orris, frankincense, agarwood (aoud), Mysore and Australian sandalwood, vetiver, ambergris. I believe Luckyscent has 200 LE bottles, and they’re expecting it to sell out. If you’re outside the U.S., order directly from Andy’s website. By the way, Luckyscent is unloading Le Prince Jardinier original (a weirdly fetching combo of citrus, wood and leather created by Isabelle Doyen) for $25 …

Okay, this post is too long. Oh, well. If you keep reading there’s a giveaway at the end.

The real disaster of the week was my much-anticipated Guerlain Voilette de Madame. I want to beat my head against the wall when I think about it. Not the disgusting, animalic “Madame´s dirty underthings” as I have read elsewhere. (I would have accepted that cheerfully.) Not fragrance nirvana – the sort of buzz that had nine bottles sold in nothing flat at the NYC Sniffa. Nope, what I got was: celery with a Guerlinade base. The good news is I guess I won´t have to fork over, what — $400? – for a bottle. That´s it, that´s my whole stupid review, I´m going to pretend Voilette doesn´t exist, that´s how depressing this is to me.

On the other hand, something had to go right, right? Like Le Labo Tubereuse 40, which everyone has reviewed extensively elsewhere, so my only addition is: actually, I do get tuberose in this, and a fair amount. I know tuberose isn´t even listed in the notes in spite of the name, but Judith (from whence many good things come) was told by … uh, those two cute Le Labo guys that tuberose is definitely in there. Anyway. It is lovely, which is high praise from me for a line that has, with a couple of exceptions, pretty much left me cold. The Big Cheese is out of town, which allows me to waft maximum sillage, so I had Tubereuse on the right, Carnal Flower on the left. I´d give them 50% similar DNA on me. Carnal Flower has that weird floral-shop chill I adore so very much – the perfect juxtaposition of weird and beautiful that makes the Malle line so brilliant. Tubereuse 40 had slightly less sillage, and the base vibe was in the citrus direction others have noted but on me was much less pronounced and occasionally registered as faint citronella – which isn´t the end of the world, but I wasn´t wild for it, either. My final verdict – very, very good, but Carnal Flower is better.

Polo Double Black. The original Polo Black is like dating a nice, clean, reliable, but ultimately boring guy. And so, in a fit of pique and immaturity, you end up sleeping with his ne´er-do-well brother during the weekend at their beach house. I never would have tried Double Black if Bois de Jasmin hadn´t waxed poetic about it. Notes are: spiced mango, nutmeg, espresso, vetiver. I get a little pepper, and it´s a perfect balance of sweetness, spice and warmth. I´m still having trouble believing this is RL – did somebody slip something into his monogrammed flask? Anyway, it´s a men´s fragrance, but it´s so smooth and not-gender-tagged that a woman could wear it easily. I smell it every time I get my hands on a bottle, and I cannot get enough.

Chanel No. 22 – Angela did this great review on NST talking about how the drydown is incense. It´s been so long since I took a crack at Chanel (other than Bois de Iles and Cuir de Russie, both of which should be on everybody´s must-try list) … where the hell was I? … oh, Chanel. Notes are: aldehydes (duh), jasmine, tuberose, ylang, rose, vetiver, vanilla, incense. I never could get through the big blast of aldehydes in the opening, so I sprayed on some EDT (which seems to be the only concentration readily available) and then steadfastly ignored it for half an hour. And guess what? It does smell like incense – a la Chanel, meaning an extremely refined (but not powdery) incense wearing a long string of pearls but sharing the stage with something just a little … dark. This would be an excellent addition to the wardrobe of any incense fan, and I think it would smell amazing on a man. While I was there I re-tried…

Chanel Coco in the EDP
, which is light-years better than the EDT. They´ve been tinkering with the formula (aren´t they always?) and for the last couple of years I was sad to find it flat and bitter, rather than the sensual, spicy signature scent that manages to be alluring and a bit stand-offish. Notes are: mandarin, cascarilla, pimiento, coriander, orange flower, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, ambrette seed, opopanax, benzoin, tonka, vanilla. The EDP seems to have been returned to its burnished glory. Unlike most of the mainstream Chanels it´s sexy as hell, and I don´t care if the other one is called Allure, Coco puts the ass back in classy. Dab this in your décolleté and put on your dark red lipstick, and watch all the bad boys come to mama.

Clinique Simply – has been discontinued according to SAs at Macy´s and Bloomie´s when I went looking for a re-test. So if you love it, consider stocking up.

Guerlain Vol de Nuit parfum
– I have tried and failed to love this one, and I assumed the problem might be the EDT, which smells harsh and sour to me, as if the juice had gone off. I was stunned to stumble across a bottle of the parfum at our nicer Nordstrom. Vol de Nuit would be a textbook illustration of why the Guerlain EDTs should be outlawed – with the exception of Jicky, they´re like poor counterfeits of their own line. Anyway, Vol de Nuit in parfum is a dark, fairly butch (on me) combo of oakmoss, leather and amber, somewhat reminiscent of Jolie Madame, with a Guerlain base. While it hasn´t displaced my favorites in the line, anyone with a weakness for leather or a hatred of florals should give it a whirl. Layered with L´Heure Bleue EDP it´s heartbreaking.

Finally, we´re doing TWO things today. First, the giveaway: samples of Le Labo Ciste, Vetiver and Rose 31; if you want them, leave a comment that you want Le Labo. Second, the swap – I have an almost-full 5ml decant of Guerlain Apres L´Ondee PARFUM (not EDT), which I´d like to trade for something, and I´m too lazy to swap on MUA. My first choice: a bottle of Hermes Eau Des Merveilles (the original) you got bored with because it´s too light. (The Apres decant is $50 on eBay, BTW, and the parfum is no longer in production.) But I´d swap for something else, and if you read this blog regularly you know my tastes are pretty wide-ranging, so don´t be shy (e.g., I´d trade it for Hilary Duff´s new thang). If you´re longing to try the Apres parfum and you have a bottle (used/no box, I couldn´t care less) you´d like to offer for swap, put it in the comments below. Off the top of my head, other things I´d like bottles of: Insolence, Betsey Johnson, maybe one of the Toccas?… if I pick your offer, I´ll throw in a vial of the Apres EDT too, just for grins. UPDATE: I’ve arranged my swap for the Apres and it is no longer available; however, you can buy some (in smaller amounts, too) from Dragonfly Scent Me on eBay.

  • kerry anderson says:

    Yes please! I’m interested in a sample of Le Labo Ciste. How do we arrange this? I’m very new to your site. Love it!!

  • anna says:

    Thanks for the reviews
    I love sweets also.

  • The eau de toilette for Samsara is actually my favorite version of the fragrance, over the edp and parfum; I hope they haven’t changed the formulation. I used to wear Chamade in edt and it was great too. I still have Parure in edt from about 10 years ago; it smells rich and keeps very well in a fridge. L’Heure Bleue (recent version) is OK but a bit too powdery and less defined in edt. Jicky, ah Jicky! I need to write a review of that beautiful perfume; I’m glad to hear it’s still great in edt.

  • Judith says:

    Late addition–Like you, I think the only Guerlain I like in concentrations other than parfum is Jicky. But my absolute favorite is the older PdT–strikes just the right balance, I thin.

  • March says:

    Steve — the floral stuff is happening right up front, but it’s pretty much buried under the aldehydes (that powdery, champagne bubble smell). So even at the opening it’s dry champagne-ish and unisex. I’m not wild about powder, which is why I grit my teeth and ignore it. On me, after half an hour it’s actually rather masculine — more or less pure incense with a light vetiver base. Honestly, I think a man could pull it off well.

  • March says:

    Patch — you’re in!

    I’m not sure about the samples — I know Andy’s site is expensive on the shipping of the bottles.:-?

  • Steve H says:

    Please enter me in the Le Labo giveaway.

    Chanel no 22 isn’t too floral (tuberose)?

  • patchamour says:

    Hi March,
    If I’m not too late here, please enter me in the drawing. I keep trying Coco when I’m in Macy’s — love the stuff. To get the sample of Orris that you mentioned, do you have to order it from abroad? I couldn’t find it on Luckyscents list of samples.

  • March says:

    Cindy and Emily — you’re in!

  • March says:

    Veronica — you’re in! Hope the layering worked out for you.;)

  • March says:

    Tom — I don’t know if you’d like it or not. I’m not clear enough on your fragrance preferences yet … it’s hard to compare to anything else, because it’s not really like anything else. If you send me your address I’ll mail you some when it gets here.

  • March says:

    Evil P — you’re in!

  • March says:

    Katie, no I have not tried the parfum. I bet it’s amazing.:(( The EDT I don’t get leather … it’s just kind of … rank. I dunno. The EDP is my choice.

  • March says:

    Stella — I was starting to wonder whether anyone had read that … :d

    you’re in!

  • March says:

    Victoria — thanks so much for the tip about Double Black!

  • March says:

    Christine — I guess Robin at Now Smell This got some, but not a ton. I’m going to consider myself lucky.

  • Emily says:

    Please enter me in the Le Labo drawing

  • CindyN says:

    Please enter me in the le labo drawing!

  • Veronica says:

    Yes, please enter me in the drawing for Le Labo! Especially Vetiver 46!


    VdN and L’Heure Bleue EDP? I’ll give it a whirl, too.

  • tmp00 says:

    Nope, I haven’t tried it. Do you think I wouldn’t care for it (he wrote in fond hope…)

  • evilpeony says:

    oh… and can I have some Le Labo… please?:d

  • evilpeony says:

    OMG… layering LHB with vol de nuit… what a sinful idea march! i must do that… right now…. 😉

  • Katie says:

    I rather like Coco in all its forms, but the EDP is so, so, sooooooooo enjoyably sweet and spicy. The EDT does seem to lose that aspect, though I find it a leeeetle bit more leathery for some reason, which I like. Have you tried the parfum yet? You gotta try the parfum 🙂 Best of both worlds, really, plus a little bit more myrrh to it than the other two concentrations.

  • Stella Maris says:

    “Puts the ass back in classy”! Oh girl. *wipes eyes*

    Le Labo me please!

  • Victoria says:

    I also notice tuberose in Le Labo. And I am glad to hear that you’ve tried and liked Double Black. I was also surprised to smell that fragrance in the RL bottle.

    After reading the rumours of Mitsouko apparently being reformulated already, I took my samples of the EDT from the early and late 1990s and went to the local Guerlain counter to compare. The EDT still has loads of oakmoss in it, and it does not seem radically different from the 1990s version. Be it as it may, I never liked the EDT that much.

  • Christine says:

    I think you’re the first to say you get any tuberose in the Le Labo.

    I’ll have to find it and try it.

    Also, please enter me in the drawing.

    And even though it’s no longer available I’ll throw in my boyfriend and cat for a good bottle of perfume. They’re both pretty whiny, but they’re good for a cuddle.

  • March says:

    Tigs — that’s funny, I don’t like powdery either, and I loved 22 (although I get incense, not powder).

    The Coco EDT I don’t like at all, but the EDP seems to be sending me again, which is nice. I wore it in an interesting part of my life, and I missed its vibrancy. Yes, I agree – I don’t like to recommend niche stuff so much, people are intimidated and then don’t buy at all.

    Babe, you’re on your own with the Carons. I’d rather wear Stetson, no lie.<):)

  • March says:

    Tom — have you tried Andy’s orris? I can’t decide if I think you’d like it.:-?

    The rose is hideous.:-$ Consider yourself warned.

  • March says:

    Iris — I just arranged a swap for a bottle of Black Orchid (see, people?!?!? I SAID I liked it!!!) Now I can spend the next 10 years sniffing it and hoping for the dirty bits. However, you can still buy a decant, I believe (in smaller sizes too) from Dragonfly Scent Me on eBay, she’s great.

  • March says:

    Patty, you might actually like Coco EDP. It reminds me of a little of the original Gucci. I’ve never tried the parfum, I bet it’s wonderful.

    The Le Labos. You and me both. Their patch is pretty cool, though — smells like leather and smoke (NOT patch).

  • March says:

    eumy — see Judith’s comment above. Apparently the Le Labo Dudes MEANT to make it clear that tuberose is a main ingredient. Whatever, it’s certainly very present on me.

  • March says:

    Twibbet — you’re in!

    My main objection to the Chanels is the powder. However, Bois de Iles and Cuir are pretty different, if you ever get a chance to try them. The nicer stores (e.g., NM, Saks) tend to have higher concentrations for sampling. Certainly availability varies; many folks only offer the EDT for sampling. BTW the 22 only comes in EDT and parfum.

  • tmp00 says:

    Learn to type, Tom.. I meant “I hate that”

  • Tigs says:

    March: I bought No. 22 this week. It is the Platonic Ideal of talc, which sort of belies my oft-stated dislike of powdery scents. Coco is back – can it be true?!? I like all the harder-to-find Chanels, so a wide-release scent would at least be one I could point to when my relatives asked for a Chanel recommendation. And please include me for the Le Labo draw.

    And please, people, help me get Patty to a full bottle of Farnesiana to split. (Hopefully she’s still willing to arrange such a thing after she reads the rude things I wrote about JCE this morning…)

  • tmp00 says:

    I’m actually a bit scared by the new Tauer: scared I’ll love it and it will be so limited edition. I have that.

    I’ll throw my hat into the ring for the le labo. I’ve never tried the rose

  • IrisLA says:

    Please enter me in the drawing for Le Labo.

    Oooh, I’d love to trade for your bottle of Apres L’Ondee parfum. I have Caron Aimez-Moi, Hermes 24 Faubourg, Jacques Garcia, and others. Will send details through Contact Us.

  • Patty says:

    Coco EDP, I DO need to try that strength. Why do all the Le Labo things just leave me going, meh?

    Vol de Nuit parfum is gorgeous. I’m finally going in for the Nuit de Noel parfum, found a bottle this weekend, just to see the difference on it.

  • eaumy says:

    I feel vindicated. Along with Judith, I smelled the tuberose fairly prominently. The question about whether tuberose was actually an ingredient left me feeling rather unsure of my sniffing ability. (It was actually kind of a “Gaslight” feeling). What a relief to know I’m not delusional!

  • violetnoir says:

    Yep, Carnal Flower is hands down gorgeous! I just purchased Lipstick Rose, and that one’s gorgeous and girly, too. Now I’m looking and MR and Une Fleur de Cassie. What took me so long to finally “get” it????

    I have a sample of Voilette de Madame. I’m afraid to use it. I dabbed a bit of it when I received it from a wonderful MUA friend, but I think it sort of faded to nothing…:(

    Double Black, huh? I’m there. I have to test this one for my hubby.


  • Twibbet says:

    I would love to be in the Le Labo drawing.

    Chanel just doesn’t like me, or I don’t like it, or something…it tends to go all baby powder on me. Don’t think I’ve tried 22, though, the incense sounds nice. I never see the EDPs of these anywhere, are they really better?

  • March says:

    Leopoldo — you’re in!

    Tapping my fingers until the Orris gets here…:-w

  • March says:

    Robin — hah. I’ll trade you two four-year-olds for the 8-year old, and throw in a sullen pre-teen as a bonus.:d

  • March says:

    Allison — you’re in!

  • March says:

    Helene — I think the Mitsouko EDT is the worst of them all — no wonder people hate it after sniffing that travesty.

    I’ve not smelled the Estee… sigh.

  • Leopoldo says:

    Throw me in the drawer.

    and I’m very excited to know that a bottle of Orris will be mine before the end of the week…

  • Robin says:

    One 8 year boy, probably some ADHD, for the Apres L’Ondee? Let me know…

    I get tuberose in the LL, but it sounds like not as much as you do. Will have to try it next to Carnal Flower now!

  • Allison in MA says:

    I’d love to be in the drawing for Le Labo!

    Thank you!

  • March says:

    Sharon — you’re in! You and Patty have fun with that split of Grim Reaper — uh, Caron.


  • March says:

    Jo — you’re in! Coco was one of my first grownup fragrances, I’ll always have a soft spot for it.

  • Vol de Nuit was my scent of predilection with Shalimar when I was a girl. The parfum is definitely the way to go in this case; the edt at the time was OK, not abominable like the Mitsouko edt I sniffed this fall. In fact, I knew one person on which the edt smelled marvellous.

    I do get the tuberose in Le Labo Tuberose. It smells uncannily similar to Estee Lauder Private Collection the parfum.

  • March says:

    Marina — I have never gotten celery before.


    I am really grateful to Angela. In general, the local Chanels I appreciate more in theory than in practice.

  • March says:

    Elle — well, it did develop a little bit. Eventually I got a bucket of leafy rainwater that had started to ferment into tannins, along with the celery. I now feel your pain about the celery, what an awful note in a fragrance, and I LIKE celery. I actually got two samples from different sources, I was so unwilling to believe what I was smelling.

    I do like the Jicky EDT, but it’s like a whole different scent than the parfum. The rest of the EDTs should be banned.

  • March says:

    Judith — well, it is a bit odd if it’s true that the published notes don’t actually list tuberose, which has been asserted elsewhere… Of course, anyone looking up perfume notes online regularly has discovered that the lists vary pretty widely. It is an interesting combination of notes, that’s for sure. Yep, I can’t wait for Elle to try Madame. I have never gotten celery before.

  • March says:

    Haus — you’re in. Great question regarding Orris Noir. If you’ve smelled the OJ line (I hope) the Noir has that OJ base … to me, kind of a wet grass/sap note, very distinctive. On top of that is orris and some florality (to me, a mix of bergamot and jasmine). It’s lovely, although there’s nothing particularly “noir” about it — and maybe twice as dry as Hiris? (finding the words is so hard) and certainly warmer. It has a lot of herbs and spices in it. So, then, Andy’s Orris is twice as dry and twice as warm again, with more of a focus on sandalwood and frankincense. In tone it is as “sweet”, but not in a floral way. They’re about equal in sillage and both fairly tenacious (Andy’s more so). FWIW, to whatever degree you find yourself sharing my likes and dislikes, I prefer Andy’s. Here’s the URL for my review of it:

  • March says:

    Alica — you’re in!

  • Sharon says:

    Hi Patty,
    I’m excited about our Caron split. I can’t wait. Please put me in the Le Labo drawing.

  • Jo says:

    Please enter me in the Le Labo drawing. Great comments regarding Chanel (Coco is one of my favorites).

  • Marina says:

    I haven’t given Voilette a good long testdrive yet, but on the first sniff I did not get the dreaded celery there…fingers crossed.
    Loved your description of Chanel 22!

  • Elle says:

    OK…took me a while to recover from hearing that you get a c****y note in VdM. I haven’t tried it yet. However, I shall now strike that right off of my list of $1,300 bottles to buy unsniffed (the less costly bottles at Sniffa are not going to be in general production according to Francoise at the boutique in Paris).
    So agree w/ you on the Guerlain edts. I can’t wear a single one, but I madly adore the parfums. Had never thought to layer VdN w/ L’Heure Bleue. Sounds brilliant! Will have to try that tonight.

  • Judith says:

    I don’t think the notes on Le Labo Tubereuse are supposed to deny the existence of the big T. Alberto Morillas, the perfumeur, described it as “non-heady Tubereuse shaped around citruses and musks.” A number of other people (myself included, do smell the Tub). The other notes are then listed. . . So sorry about Madame. I still can’t believe (well, I do believe, but I am astounded) that you get celery. Want the opinion of our prime celery-hater, Elle.

  • hausvonstone says:

    march – please enter me in le drawing. also – how close do you think andy tauer orris is to ormonde jayne orris noir? thanks…

  • Alica says:

    Hi Patty, I would like to be included in the drawing for the Le Labos. Many thanks.