Buried Treasure

RB031I was going to write a review of a new fragrance, Lancà´me´s Hypnà´se Senses, but instead, I´ve decided to borrow a bit of inspiration from Patty´s last post. Here´s the info if anyone is interested: Hypnà´se Senses is a scent available exclusively at Lancome.ca and Shoppers Drug Mart here in Canada. It is classified as a floral chypre; not my  category of choice when it comes to fragrance, but an interesting sniff nonetheless. The notes are osmanthus, patchouli, pink peppercorn and baies roses. It has a Coco Mademoiselle vibe to it, and will probably thrill mainstream chypre fans to pieces. I sniffed it only because it contains osmanthus, one of my favourite notes. Too bad the rest just doesn´t agree with me. The pale, peachy-pink juice is housed in the same translucent twisty glass flacon as original Hypnà´se, and makes for a stunning presentation. It can be had in 30 ml, 50 ml, and 75 ml sizes for $52.00 to $92.00 Canadian.

As I unpacked my bottles, decants and such earlier this week, I was grateful to not have suffered any casualties in the move. No runs, drips or shattered glass, I´m happy to report; all is well in my fragrant little corner of the house. As I took stock of my collection, I came across some gems that I haven´t worn in ages, and realized a distinct pattern that I never before paid any attention to. Besides my love for most things vanilla and almond, I noticed for the first time how many incense fragrances I have, and how long it´s been since I´ve worn many of them. Now, I´m anxious for more autumnal weather so I can break these out. Before I know it, there will be a foot of snow on the ground. Here´s what I´m looking forward to wearing:

Serge Encens et Lavande: liquid serenity and calm in a bell jar; nuff said.

Armani Prive Bois d´Encens: This was the incense scent that started it all for me. I never even considered wearing incense until I sniffed this one.

Costes: Who knew roses and incense could be so perfect together?

Eau d´Italie Paestum Rose: Roses with even more incense. Men go nuts for this one. Well, Italian men, anyway.

And, Chaos; I´ll always have Chaos. Three bottles worth to be exact.

How about some wacky tabacckie?

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille: This one could be a Serge scent with all the candied fruit in the drydown. But it was the initial hit of sweet pipe tobacco that hooked me instantly.

Etat Libre d´Orange Jasmin et Cigarette: It sounds disgusting, but I like it.

By Kilian Back to Black. I don´t own any yet, but it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Lastly, in part because I was so enthralled with Patty´s comparison of commercial versus non-commercial scents in her post yesterday, I will finally admit that I flat out adore Mandy Aftel´s Cacao perfume. Reams of text have been written about this gem, mainly because it will probably go down in history as the most fecal, indolic combination of jasmine, orange and chocolate ever bottled. I believe this was a limited-edition scent created with Scharffen Berger chocolate, and boy did it cause a stir on Makeup Alley back in the day. As Patty so eloquently stated, Jo Malone´s scents sell circles around Mandy Aftel´s, but there is definitely room to appreciate both categories of scent. I really liked Jo Malone´s new vanilla and anise scent, but it was a toss-up between a bottle of it, and making sure I had enough packing material to ensure that my most precious possessions did not crumble to bits within the confines of an 18-wheeler. Safety won out. And I didn´t lose a precious drop of Cacao, Chaos, Serge, or anything else.

 What are your buried scented treasures? You know you´re just itching to tell me.

  • mals86 says:

    I think Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory is iris-incense. (Haven’t tried it and can’t recommend personally, but it seems to be a favorite of many.)

  • SophN says:

    Good call with Cacao – it is not going to do it for everyone and I certainly found it was an acquired taste, but it genuinely is a classic that not enough people are aware of.

  • DinaC says:

    Hey Nava,
    I also like Paestum Rose…got a sample at Art with Flowers. That’s my first dip in the incense pool, so to speak. I’m not sure if I’ll be a big fan of incense since I tend to shy away from orientals and spicy things. We’ll see.
    I’m looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear more woods and chypres, more ambers and heavier florals.
    Do you like iris notes? I do. I’ve been trying a bunch of variations this year. Is there a iris and incense combo I should try?
    Hope you enjoy a great week up in Canada! Here in No.Va. summer is hanging on!

  • Amy H says:

    You’re kidding — Cacao is supposed to be indolic? I wasn’t a perfumista back when this came out, so I wasn’t around for the poo-furor. But I just sampled this at Bendel’s the other month, and all I got was a too-orange-liqueur-y-with-a-bit-of-chocolate sweet mess. Didn’t notice any jasmine, much less indolic jasmine.

    I am looking forward to breaking out the spicy deep roses and the musks! Have recently re-discovered A.Maze and Roxana Illuminated’s wonderful Rosa on the rose front. And L’Air de Rien will be perfect for the fall transition.

  • zeezee says:

    Ooooh, almonds & incenses are among my very favourites too – I’m going to need to start paying more attention to what you recommend, Nava!
    I don’t know when the weather learned to read calendars, but as soon as Sept 1 hit, it started oozing with rain. No fun. Still, Sept is not even a week old, and right here right now I can still appreciate colder weather.
    Plotting which incense to wear right now. Ouarzazate sounds mighty good to me, though I’ve *just* received samples of Shaal Nur & Messe de Minuit that are begging for attention. Jasmin et Cigarette is wooing me, too.

  • elizablue says:

    I really dig Alamut and it is built to last forever too–i love smelling it on my clothes and in my hair–one tiny spray and you are set. I second the Jungle elephant version and Opium for men, I like Versace The Dreamer too for that wispy quality in the drydown. I like to take really good quality natural incense and dissolve it into my own “blends” and yes the Tom Ford headshop one PP sounds heavenly–and I am ever a fan of the Youth Dew TF and classic layering…I’ve mentioned it before but can’t help myself–it’s a great marriage!

  • rosarita says:

    I love incense and wear it year round. I wore Shaal Nur today for the first time in forever and it smells so good – I’d forgotten it. My new to me favorite lately has been Rochas Femme (hi, Musette!) It’s perfect (to me) for these no longer summer but not quite fall days. Omnia is another one, it’s just spicy/woody enough but still transparent. Good for daytime. I’m looking forward to rich heavy scents, though; patchouli you can eat with a spoon kinds of things. I’m not ready for the cold weather they require, though.

    • Musette says:

      Hey, honeybunny!

      It IS Femme weather, innit! My preciousssss……

      I’mo crack that girl and her mama (vintage) out this afternoon – it’s cooling down – should be in the 50s by 8p. Perfect!

      xoxoxo >-)

  • lauren dw says:

    Oh no! well Louise, guess I am not the only one. I am glad I just purchased a mini. I am really at the stage of wanting to sniff everything.

    Thanks Musette for the Welcome–nice! Well, so far I am loving the Guerlains, and reading these blogs gives me so many ideas of what to try.

    Yes, Fracas is gone, but my 25 year old daughter smelled it out of the bottle and thinks its too “old lady” for me… I guess that is why its good to try on the skin.

  • mariekel says:

    Pretty foliage, crisp weather, yeah, yeah. Fall sucks. My birthday is in October and then it is winter. Fall blows. There I said it.

    Now that I have that off my chest, there are some perfumes I DO look forward to digging out. Eventually. Already, I have been making a few forays into my incense collection and put on some CDG Hinoki mixed with my last drop of Durbano Rock Crystal and wore them to bed. ahhhhh.

    This is the time of year when many of my beefier florals start making an appearance, like Bois de Paradis and L’Arte de Gucci. Those last few blooms before everything withers…ok, I’ll shut up now.

  • lauren dw says:


    New here, and totally new to perfumes, having just fallen in love recently, last couple of months. Its a dangerous stage for my bank account. I live in New Mexico and its still quite warm here but cooling at night. The slightest changes in the air. Cottonwoods are just beginning to turn on my daily walks with my German Shepherd- Anya…

    I just recieved a mini of Fracas and it disapeared on my skin… I mean its gone. I have heard how potent is was and I am so beyond bummed. I cant even smell it. Anyone had this happen to them with a fragrance? Since I am still SO new, I am not sure what to think about this, the case of the disapearing parfum….

    I am learning so much from this site and it is becoming a lovely part of my day. Thank you!

    • Musette says:

      Lauren –

      Welcome! and WOW!!!

      I believe I may fear you!

      Are you sure you are not a “cy-ba – netic o-ga -nizm” (It helps if you can read this in Ahh-nuld’s voice 😀 That’s the ONLY explanation I can think of……

      Usually one can smell the remnants of Fracas from when it was sprayed on the moon during Neil Armstrong’s historic walk!

      Dang, girl! Usually Fracas bows to no one – but it bows to you!

      xoxo >-)

      ps. in the spirit of “Let Patty Try It” – can you try Aromatics Elixir for me? I sprayed that a year ago September – and I’m still smelling it!!! Tame that one, PLEASE!

      • Louise says:

        um, I can eat and disappear Fracas in a few minutes…and my scent-eating skin is famous, in a bad way…:(

        • Shelley says:

          Whoa. To both of you.

          • Musette says:


            Bowing to you both. I absolutely worship Fracas – but Lawd, it does Hang Around…

            Louise: Aromatics of Doom! Aromatics of Doooom!

            Can you eat that one? If you can, I am going to bake you a great big cake! (I admit to a bit of envy on that one – I so want to like it but it gives me a migraine and it is The Guest Who Never Leaves)

            xoxoxo >-)

          • Meliscents says:

            Now see I LOVE Aromatics. I know you’ve heard it before
            but do a light spray & run through & it smells like a
            beautiful French chypre. Any other way & it has scary
            lasting power.

          • Shelley says:

            Hmmm. I dab from my little mini bottle, and the drydown is pretty wonderful, though the opening is likely to grab you by the earlobes and nostrils and shake you around a bit. But the dabbing keeps it pretty contained.

          • Louise says:

            A of D scares me, Musette. I might get longevity, but I think my skin would melt first. I do like it on others, though 😉

  • Aparatchick says:

    I’m probably a month away from cooler weather, but I’ve been casting longing looks at my “winter” scents. Ava Luxe Fumari and Shisha (tobacco AND incense! Notes are tabac, honey, raisin, aubepine, Indian jasmine, amber, sandalwood, spices, incense and musk) are calling my name. So are Coromandel, Andy Tauer’s Incense Rose, PdE Ambre Russe, and Kenzo Jungle l’elephant.

    Olfacta, I tried Femme one day this summer. Not a good choice for a Florida summer day. People gave me odd looks – and I wondered what I was thinking spritzing that on – it had to be scrubbed off fairly soon. 🙁 Given another month, it will be back in heavy rotation.

    Note to self: add Paestum Rose and Jasmin et Cigarette to the list.

  • Robin R. says:

    P.S. Just out of curiosity, I clicked on Frederic Malle in the list on the right, and Patty wrote about Dans tes Bras last October, declaring it cool-weather-worthy:

    Finally got my little sample of Frederic Malle’s newest, Dans tes Bras. Created by Maurice Roucel, it has notes of bergamot, clove, violet, jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli, salicylates, incense, Cashmeran (a mix of musk, woods, and resin), heliotrope and white musk. DtB starts off very rooty and earthy, the dirt elements of woods and iris. There’s some hints of musk, but it stays right in that very gorgeous dirt smell for a long time. There are hints of the other notes floating around, thought I get more violet early on, and the incense and musk embellish the composition. Oddly enough, I sprayed it on my arm instead of my hands, and I get much more violet. This fragrance feels like fall to me, the outdoors, crisp and cold. I went out for a run on Sunday morning – it was cold and drizzly, and as I ran looking up at the trees turning color on the parkway, my eyes filled up with tears at how beautiful this world can be. I should have been wearing Dans tes Bras, that would have made it perfect

    • mals86 says:

      Thanks for the little snapshot of how it made you feel – that was beautifully written.

      DtB is lurking near the very bottom of my “try this” list. Based on the notes and various reviews, it doesn’t sound like me. I’m not ruling it out, it’s just that I think my nose needs to grow up a bit beforehand. And there are so many vintage gems that grab my attention before the niche stuff does. So many many scents, so little arm space…

      • Robin R. says:

        That was all Patty! 🙂

        But I do hope you run across it one day. It took me quite awhile to fall in love with it, but it’s one-of-a-kind and sometimes nothing else will do. If I had to do it over, I would spray it on someone else and then hug them half an hour later. Mmmmmmmm.

        In the meantime, vintage is SO much fun to explore, isn’t it? I’ve got Tamango by Leonard on right now and it’s a swanky lil’ chypre. Chypre?? Me??? Oh, yes. It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I loathed ’em. Now I love ’em. Fall is Chypre Time, I truly believe.

        • mals86 says:

          Ah! Now I see that colon there… didn’t catch that before.

          I’m still not sure about chypres. The only ones I seem to like are heavily floral (L’arte di Gucci, Ungaro Diva) – and I think I only like moss when it’s humid or wet outside. I was very disappointed in Ivoire de Balmain’s mossy heart, until I wore it in summer humidity. *WEIRD* how the weather affects my perception.

  • Shelley says:

    I posted a proposed personal fall list in response to March’s post, but in the spirit of wrapping up this week, I do have a buried treasure that also hearkens to the commercial side of Patty’s examining. Ha…”commercial”… maybe I should simply say “cheap?” 😉 Anyway, Jose Eisenberg (by Jose Eisenberg, natch), a somewhat sweet, hint of cologne amber versus, say, the equally notable for its price range Yves Rocher Voile d’Ambre.

    Or so I think. You’ve already heard my apologia when trying to help Musette. I’m just a smelling being with enough brain to say “I like” and a wallet that is willing to open to greater or lesser degree to indulge my interest/appreciation. (Note I did not say “smelly being,” though on sample days, others may beg to disagree…)

  • Robin R. says:

    Nava, if you ever tire of Toronto winters, you’re welcome to join us in Lotus Land here in Vancouver.

    Great thread. Now that our ocean-swimming summer days are numbered, I find myself dusting off all the light floral leathers in my stash. Jolie Madame vintage edt really works, and so does Kelly Caleche edt, which I think is built along the same general lines as Paestum Rose — another good call.

    Light ambers are working for me too. I still like Balmain’s Ambre Gris very much, now that the yea/nay hubub has quieted down about it. It’s round but just a little salty, which keeps me with one foot in the ocean here and the other on shore. Ditto my Dans tes Bras, which, like SL Miel de Bois, smells weird up-close, heavenly from a few feet away. In fact, MdB is another good one for this shoulder season. Must find it. Someone somewhere mentioned layering it with Fleur d’Oranger, which sounds rather nice.

  • Disteza says:

    I’ve already broken into most of my fll scnets, but I’ve held off on the quadruple-strength ambers for the time being. I’m just not feeling like Ambra Aurea or the Nazgul at the moment, but I’m sure once it dips consistently below 65 they’ll be begging to come out. Having barely survived my 1740 Marquis de Sade incident, it will go squarely in the cold weather-only section. The Arabian Oud perfume oils can probably come out of hiding too, though I get the felling you’re supposed to wear those in the heat. Can’t bring myself to do it yet, but maybe this weekend I’ll be brave.

  • Louise says:

    I’ve already cracked into my fall scents, having gotten fed up with summer rather quickly this year. I’m wearing Souk Nocturne on a suggestion of a poster here (hi, D), and wore LADM yesterday.
    FdB is also re-debuting, in various incarnations. I’ve been playing with my incenses a lot, and slept in NK Incense last night-I had strange dreams, wonder why??? 😉

    Glad you’re starting to settle in!

    • Nava says:

      The new FdB smelled pretty fab to me. Although I do miss that curvy teardrop bottle.

      I cannot believe you managed to sleep in NK Incense. Dreams would have been the least of my problems. 😀

  • Olfacta says:

    The other night I broke into the “Fall/Winter” perfume box and wore Femme to bed. It’s not quite time to put away the summer scents yet but will be soon. I did wear Amouage Lyric last night though, so gorgeous! Still waiting on cooler weather for Miss Balmain, the ambers/spices, CDG incense series samples, and all the samples of vintage leathery chypres I have accumulated. I’ve also been experimenting with using Barbara Bui as a base and layering it with other things — so far vintage Emeraude perfume does very well to make a close-to-the-skin knockout oriental.

    • Nava says:

      I unearthed a brand new bottle of Barbara Bui still in the shrink wrap. That is definitely a great base scent to layer with other scents. Thanks for the idea!

  • Musette says:

    Nava, Glad you’re settling in so nicely! It must be the change in season but last evening was my first foray into tobacco since we ooched into and right out of summer.

    If you’ve not tried Liz Zorn’s Tobacco and Tulle I urge you to get a little samp of it (she makes The Cutest samples). Warm, with a hint of violet? (crap, I’m prolly wrong on that one but it smells like violet should smell when it’s paired with tobacco) and a hint of something fruity, like plum.

    Shelley, HELP ME!!!?

    And y’all wonder why I never do actual reviews of fragrance??? But whatever – it’s really wonderful! 🙂

    xo >-)

    • Nava says:

      Thanks A. I’m planning on a downtown T.O. sniffa once the film festival gets underway next week. Maybe my next post will be titled “Treasure Hunt”.

      I was never very good at describing scents until I started writing here. It can be done, trust me. 🙂

      • Vischka says:

        Did someone say something about a scented treasure hunt in Toronto? I’d love to tag along -none of my friends are into scent or perfume…

    • Shelley says:

      I’m here, I’m here!

      I’ve got to go back to T&T…in fact, perhaps that’s on the docket when I’m done here…that note you are talking about, is it castoreum? Remember, I don’t know wth I’m talking about half the time. But it’s that shaft of strength sweet permeated with down & dirty funky stuff? You find violet when I don’t/can’t, but that spine that runs through it (the think that is called “cruelty free hyrax tincture”?) I think accounts for the thick sweet and civet-y elements. But, it’s got ambergris, too, and that lends a certain something.

      Aw, for heaven’s sake, don’t make me pretend to be the smart one. 😉 I just know it combines knee-jerk pleasure with an element of challenge for me…a happy zone.

  • mals86 says:

    Neat post! I love the image of you unpacking all your treasures.

    I do love the Rose-Incense nexus (yesterday morning I wore Cabaret, and the evening scent was Amouage Lyric, mmmmm) but somehow have managed to miss testing Paestum Rose so far. I don’t really need yet another Dark Rose frag, do I?? Or do I? Hmmm. My bank account is cringing as I type.

    Can’t wait for cold weather so I can drag out PdN Vanille Tonka, which I find to be a glorious, giggly revel through a incense-vanilla bean-carnation forest, drunk on spiced rum & Dr. Pepper.

    I haven’t gotten into testing any tobacco stuff yet, although I remember my elderly neighbor’s cherry pipe tobacco as being one of the most wonderful smells ever, and I’ve got a small vial of DSH Tobacco Absolue to test when it gets cooler out. I’m anxiously awaiting that Havane Vanilla, too…

    • Nava says:

      Me in a sea of cardboard; it is quite an image! 😀

      Paestum Rose is quite nice, but with your other rose-incense options you can get by without it. If you happen to wander into a brick and mortar establishment that sells the Eau d’Italie scents, see if you can score a sample. The atomizers are very generous.

  • I found Hypnose Senses a direct rip-off when there was no need to (like regular Hypnose was unoriginal too), even though it’s “nice” (and I am sure lots of people will love it).
    Other than that, incense is one of my favourite notes as well and although I regularly use Passage d’Enfer, Timbuktu and Kyoto throughout summer, I long to break out the Angelique Encens, the Serge Noire and the Essence of John Galliano with their flamboyant fireworks.

    I love Jasmine et Cigarette too, it’s a weird cool tobacco pouch smell mingled with some girl’s hair pomade, captured perfectly. Who would have thought?

    Hope the move went fine and you’re easing yourself to your surroundings. 🙂

    • Nava says:

      Hypnose Senses gets a big fat zero for originality, but it was very well received by the masses according to the Shoppers SA I spoke to. I guess that’s the idea.

      Your incense choices are stellar. Kyoto and Angelique Encens are faves of mine as well.

  • Melissa says:

    I love the shift between seasons and the sense of anticipation that accompanies it. The last few days were something of a tease, with chilly mornings and days in the seventies. Out came the fruity chypres, vintage Patous and soft musks. The temperature is going back up again, so I will probably wear a floral aldehyde or three (Chanel No 22, Ferre by Ferre classic etc) because they work well pretty much all of the time.

    But I have been itching to pull out some of the winter heavy hitters. At the top of the list is Tom Ford Amber Absolute, which on me, is an incense-laden amber. And speaking of hidden tobacco treasures, my decant of Hilde Soliani Bel’Antonio is waiting to be unwrapped for the cool weather. Along those lines, Hilde Soliani Doolciiisssimo might be mine, if I can get my paws on another sample or decant to give it a try in cooler weather. You should try this one Nava. Tobacco, vanilla, creamy, resinous, yum. Patchouli is listed in the notes, which can be a dealbreaker for me, but it was subtle when I sampled it.

    Funny, I never used to look forward to cold weather. Actually, I still don’t, but autumn is a delight.

    • Nava says:

      That one sounds wonderful, Melissa.

      I remember debating between TF Amber Absolute and Purple Patchouli and choosing Purple Patchouli. I’m not a huge fan of very strong patch, but PP has this wonderful head-shoppy quality that I just love. I’ve got a bit of that in my stash reserved for a blustery winter’s day.

      • Robin R. says:

        Vindication! I love PP too, and thought I was the only one in the universe. I like its campy vibe; so many TFs seem to take themselves so darn seriously. That one’s fun. 😉

  • JAntoinette says:

    I am ready to break out Sienna l’Hiver and FM Iris Poudre, both are so much better on me when the temperature dips.