The New Hermes Iris Ukiyoe Perfume

Jean Claude Ellena fans will not be disappointed by this newest addition to the Hermessence perfume line.

Parfums de Nicolai: Weekend a Deauville Perfume Review

A detailed perfume review on the limited edition (and now discontinued) Week-end a Deauville by PdN.

Vintage Perfume Shopping

Lovers of vintage perfumes should check out this report on local Antique Shopping in Florida.

Chanel Perfume Photos

Photos of a few Chanel perfumes, include Cuir de Russie in pure parfum and Cristalle eau de toilette.

By Kilian Releases Incense Oud

By Kilian's newest addition to their upscale line is a high quality combination of oud and incense (but too pricey for most budgets).


By Kilian Incense Oud

By Kilian sent me a sample of their newest release, Incense Oud, this week. Perfume lovers who are wondering how to get free samples... I think I received this one because I recently went to their site and registered. This was their newest release since I registered, and it came to the address that I used on that site.

I have to admit that while I am incredibly appreciative of the free perfume sample, this isn't my favorite By Kilian fragrance. Incense Oud is a dense, high sillage perfume with that slightly medicinal, slightly metallic edge that oud lovers are sure to enjoy. Like most perfumes in this category, there is a rich, slightly sweet amber base and some smoke (here, it's more incense than burning wood). It's very well made, but at the cost per ml, you have to really love oud to get out for your wallet for this one.

My favorite By Kilian fragrances so far? Straight to Heaven is at the top of this list. I could see myself paying full retail: it's a nice combination of dry booze, wood and incense on my skin. Love and Tears was also really well made, like a high quality version of Dior J'Adore.

Vintage Perfumes & Antique Shopping

Micanopy Florida is our regional "antique store town", and it's where I headed yesterday in search of vintage perfumes. I'm sure that there are towns like this all over the country: small towns with 2 or 3 small streets with historic houses that have been converted into stores selling 1930s glassware, old world war 2 memorabilia, old books, and antique dolls with splotchy, discolored faces. I hadn't gone since college, but I've reading about perfume lovers finding vintage perfumes in these antique stores, so I decided to give it a shot. If you have a town like this near you, it's time to jump in the car and go!

vintage perfume bottles
What was I looking for? Two things: vintage Ralph Lauren Lauren (aka "Classic Lauren" by Ralph Lauren) and vintage Chanel perfumes. I've always loved the former and recently posted a mini perfume review of vintage Ralph Lauren Lauren on this blog. I've loved it for two decades and hate the reformulation. I've more recently discovered that I love Chanel (especially vintage Chanel perfumes). It took me a long time to decide this, even though I love the pre-exclusif Chanel Cuir de Russie. My aunt gave me her bottle last year, and at first, I thought little of it. At first, it was all gasoline and heavy leather jacket, plus a touch of fence varnish. It took 4 or 5 wearings for my nose to suss out the iris, the flowers, the light buttery leather-- and then I was hooked. I swapped for small samples of the other exclusifs and a few vintage perfumes like Chanel No. 19, Chanel No. 22, etc. Those arrive next week. I'll also get a small sample of the Exclusif version of Chanel Cuir de Russie, and I'll compare it with the vintage version and report back soon.

There are two types of antique stores in Micanopy: single-owner antique shops and a large, oversized antique mall that has little "nooks" that singular sellers rent and sell their goods out of. Surprisingly, ALL of the good perfume finds were in the antique mall and not in the singular stores. This might be in part because in the shops, there's sunlight. So the bottles that I found there had turned. The photos below are all shot on my camera phone in the antique mall.

So what did I find? Good stuff. Check out these pictures:

In this photo, you can see a small (10-15ml?) 2/3rd full bottle of vintage Givenchy L'Interdit pure parfum in a baggie and an empty bottle of what appears to have been Coty Chloe (though the top didn't look like my early 1980s bottle). There was a sign that said to try them, so I did! I tried the vintage L'Interdit, which I would never have had the chance to see or smell. Pretty incredible! And only $19.
vintage Givenchy L'interdit parfum perfume bottleThis pretty cabinet had a large selection of mini vintage perfumes, plus a few larger bottles. There was vintage Lou Lou by Cacharel and Coty Emeraude, right next to some old bottles of Victoria's Secret perfumes (here's one of the things you learn when shopping for vintage perfumes in antique stores: it's not all going to be gems!). There was an old bottle of Ralph Lauren Sarari. There were lots of old Avon perfume bottles, too. In the middle, that's a gorgeous bottle of vintage Guerlain L'heure Bleue. How much? $49 for the half-full looking bottle. I didn't buy it since I wasn't on the hunt for Guerlain. vintage Guerlain L'Heure Bleue perfume bottle

vintage perfume Guerlain L'Heure BleueI also found a sealed (strings still tied around the box) vintage Bal de Versailles parfum.
Most of the good perfumes were found in glass cabinets, but there was a large rack in the back of the antique store that was open and on shelves. The photo of the mini perfume bottles (at the top of this post) was from that section of the store, along with the rest below. There, I found a TON of great stuff. First, you'll see in the photo below the old bottle of Chanel No. 5 lotion. I'm not a huge fan of No. 5, and lotions don't keep well over time, so I didn't buy this one. It was next to Anais Anais, Oscar de la Renta, Aramis and vintage Yves Saint Laurent M7 After Shave which I considering purchasing for my husband.

vintage chanel perfume lotionvintage Yves Saint Laurent m7Here's where I found the vintage bottle of Ralph Lauren Lauren Classic Sport Tonic spray with sunscreen, which smelled like Classic Lauren plus that early 1980s chemical that they used to put in sunscreen. Amazing stuff. I held the metal can in my hand and shook it a little. It was about 1/3 full. I think it was priced at $9 or $19. I passed, because in the minis, I found two bottles that I had to buy.

Here's what I came home with (below). The smaller bottle is a 1.8ml vintage Cabochard by Gres pure parfum bottle with stopper. This is one of those strange, vintage leather perfumes that everyone should have in their collection: it's slightly masculine and incredibly long lasting. That bow is a grey plastic decoration like you used to find on 1980s Barbie dolls. It was $9.

Next to it is a small mini bottle of vintage Ralph Lauren Lauren Perfume. It literally says "perfume" on the bottom (not eau de parfum or parfum). I think it's an edp, but I'm not sure. If you know, message me. It's 3.5ml and lovely, with less carnation than you find in the edt and cologne versions of Lauren. If you are looking for this stuff, you can find it on ebay for pretty cheap. I don't think you can choose between this and the edt; you need both.

vintage cabochard gres parfum, vintage ralph lauren classic perfume

All photos taken using my camera phone while shopping. All rights reserved.

Chanel Perfume Photos: Vintage Cristalle and Cuir de Russie

vintage Chanel Perfume photo
Sean and I took some photos of my perfume collection. I'll be adding them over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, here are a few to get you started. I purchased the two mini vintage Chanel perfume bottles on ebay. The vintage Cristalle bottle is a 1/4oz eau de toilette.

The other bottle is a 3.5ml pure parfum of Cuir de Russie by Chanel.

The large bottle is the star of my collection: a pre-exclusif bottle of Chanel Cuir de Russie eau de Toilette.

All photos taken by Sean and me. All rights reserved.


Hermes Iris Ukiyoe Perfume Review (SOTD)

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe Perfume bottle

Being a huge fan of Jean Claude Elena and Hermes, I was excited when they announced the launch of the new Hermessence Iris Ukiyoe—but I'm on a budget, so it’s taken me a few months to obtain a bottle. A few weeks ago, I ordered a travel bottle (15ml), which arrived in the mail on Thursday afternoon. I had a big road trip planned for the weekend, and I wondered what to do… It’s dangerous to spray yourself liberally with a new perfume and jump into a confined space: you can end up with a headache or nausea or just a plain scrubber. But Jean Claude Elena’s scents tend to be transparent, so I decided to give it a full spray before jumping in the car. I’ve worn it for a few days since then, so I can give you more than just a brief impression, but it still deserves a few more wears before I can do a more serious perfume review.

If you’re a big Hermes perfume fan, chances are that you’ve already read reviews of Iris Ukiyoe. It’s been labeled as a spring scent, with a focus on “iris flower” instead of the more common “iris root” note that you’d find in Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir and Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist. JCE is quoted somewhere as saying this is more about his impression of a watercolor than about iris itself, and he also referred to being inspired by Japanese art. From what I’d read, I worried that it would be aquatic (it isn’t) or too green (it isn’t too green, but it’s definitely green) or too powdery/heavy (it isn’t). I also wondered from the descriptions if it would smell like the one Hermessence that I didn’t like at all: Hermes Vanilla Gallante (good news: it doesn't smell similar to VG at all).

It’s tough to describe. It starts off with a green mandarin note, which is better described as two notes laying on top of each other: one being “green” like fresh broken stems and the other being “mandarin”. The mandarin isn’t the hyper-colored-orange note that you’d find in the Atelier colognes. It’s there, but paired with the greenness, it’s not distinctly fruity to my nose. In a short while, flowers some into play. If I didn’t know that this was supposed to be an iris perfume, I would have guessed it was tulips at this stage. After some time, I get a strong amount of hyacinth, and then later in the base the hyacinth intensifies and takes on a slight cocoa-ish flavor. The cocoa is strange and unexpected; it’s not gourmand and it’s not sweet, and it’s just a hint. I haven’t seen it written in any of the press about Iris Ukiyoe, so I’m wondering if it’s a facet of the hyacinth. But either way, the middle-to-base of the perfume reminds my of the discontinued perfume by L’Artisan Parfumeur called Jacinthe des Bois.

Iris Ukiyoe represents a real departure from Elena’s more common fragrance design. First off, I don’t smell that sharp-challenging-tart-fruit perfume note than you find in some of his Hermes fragrances like Kelly Caleche and Rose Ikebana (I love those perfumes, so this is no insult). And while it’s green, there’s no moment where the note that Luca Turin describes as “vegetable patch” overwhelms it. It’s more girly to my nose than most of his other stuff, though a guy could also wear it.

Hermes Iris UkiyoePhotos taken by my husband and myself. All rights reserved.

Iris Ukiyoe by Hermes
SOTD Perfume Review
Perfume House: Hermes
Creator / Nose: Jean Claude Elena
Year: Late 2009
Classification: Green floral
Perfume Notes: I don't think that the marketed notes are very accurate, but they list: iris, rose, orange blossom, mandarin orange.
What you mostly smell: It starts off very green with mandarin. After a few minutes, you get a pretty floral, with iris flower (not root) and tulips. The middle notes are probably the best: tons of hyacinth with dark, unsweetened cacao notes.
Lasting Power: Not the best. But at least you'll enjoy spritzing throughout the day.
Similar Perfumes: It's pretty unique, and any JCE fanclub member will want to add it to their collection. That said, if you like this, I'd probably check out Byredo La Tulipe or Serge Lutens Bas de Soie (which has an unfortunate milky note on my skin; Iris Ukiyoe is better) and if you can find it... L'Artisan Parfumeur Jacinthe de Bois. Though Iris Ukiyoe doesn't have and scent twins or dupes out there, these others would be interesting to review in comparison.
Other Reviews at: NST Perfume


Juste Un Reve - Parfums de Nicolai - SOTD Perfume Review

Juste un Reve by Parfums de Nicolai is the perfect perfume for any Monday morning. I dabbed some on from my decant this morning and can still smell the eau de toilette now (and that's more than 12 hours later)-- not bad for an edt!

A lot of people classify this as a "tropical floral" or "vacation perfume" because of the notes. You'll see different notes listed on different sites; some even focus on the coconut and monoi notes. I agree that those are there, but it's not nearly as fruity as Parfums de Nicolai Cococobana (a green coconut) or Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess.

I'd list Juste un Reve as a slightly-powdery green floral. It's pretty in the same was that Givenchy Amarige was: a lush white flower with lots of gardenia and jasmine. The coconut starts off very green and non-gourmand, with an almost powdery edge. It's fresh, clean and laid on top of a musk, wood and vanilla base. Like Amarige, it's a bit white flower combo (but here, there's less tuberose).

Juste un Reve by Parfums de Nicolai
SOTD Perfume Review
Perfume House: Parfums de Nicolai
Creator / Nose: Partricia Nicolai
Year: 1996 (just 5 years after Amarige)
Classification: Green floral
Perfume Notes: Different notes listed on different sites; are there two formulations? Has it been tweaked? Some sites list: monoi, tuberose, jasmine, rose and hyacinth. Others list jasmine, gardenia, coconut, musk, sandalwood and vanilla. My guess is that it's mostly the latter. I don't get any hyacinth at all.
What you mostly smell: I get mostly gardenia, jasmine and green, non-gourmand coconut in the beginning. The base is a nice vanilla. I don't get much woods and people afraid of musk should still give this a shot; it's very clean but not soapy.
Lasting Power: Great.
Other Reviews at: Make Up Alley


Vintage Lauren by Ralph Lauren - SOTD Mini Review

I rarely wear my small, 15ml stash of Vintage Lauren by Ralph Lauren, but when I do I'm never disappointed. Six months after I became serious in the perfume hobby, I began to track down my favorites from when I was young, including both Lauren and Chloe by Lagerfeld.

Lauren was my first "adult" perfume, which I received as a gift when I was about 13. I had the set, which included a burgundy glass bottle with a bulbous gold cap, a small container of lotion (which was silky smooth and thin) and a small bottle of the pure parfum, around 5ml in size. I knew nothing about perfume back then and thought that the parfum was just a small, convenient-for-traveling bottle. But even back then I remember thinking that the small bottle smelled better than the larger eau de cologne and that the lotion smelled more like the extrait than the edc.

Now, as an adult, I purchased a small decant from The Perfumed Court of the current formulation and was saddened that it didn't smell as sharp, dark or mythic as I remembered. Reading up online, I realized that it had been reformulated and tracked down a bottle on ebay. I was completely scammed on the 1st botte that I purchased (darn ebay!) but was victorious on the 2nd.

Lauren doesn't smell like the typical 80s perfumes like Poison. Don't get me wrong: it's big and heavy, but the pineapple in it keeps it fresh and sharp. It's a very dark floral with rose, sandalwood, musk and lily of the valley taking center stage (with the pineapple) to my nose. Plus, it's probably one of the few perfumes in my collection that contains real oakmoss-- a delightful treat.

Lauren Classic by Ralph Lauren perfume bottles

Photos taken by me; all rights reserved.

SOTD Perfume Review: Vintage Lauren by RALPH LAUREN
Perfume House: Ralph Lauren
Creator / Nose: not sure
Year: 1978
Classification: Floral Chypre
Perfume Notes: Pineapple, rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, oakmoss, musk
What you mostly smell: A well blended pairing of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and pineapple at the front (pineapple and rose being a big part), with a nice woody/oakmossy base. I don't get too much musk. It does best when sprayed heavily; I think it's meant to be worn BIG.
Lasting Power: Great. Even the eau de cologne (of the vintage variety) outlasts most of my modern edp's.
Other Reviews at: Basenotes and I Smell Therefore I Am


SOTD: Parfums de Nicolai Week-end a Deauville

Parfums de Nicolai Weekend a Deauville Perfume
I love Parfums de Nicolai, and when I heard about the launch of Week-end a Deauville (a Paris exclusive at the time and a limited edition) I knew that I had to have it in my collection. At the time, I had not yet purchased a full bottle unsniffed, so I was weary of buying an expensive bottle from Paris and wasn't sure exactly how to go about it, though I had purchased from "theparisshopper" on ebay before with some success... and I considered asking her to pick up a bottle for me.

As luck would have it, a fellow MUA'er (J) was kind enough to send me a sample. Along with it in this package, she sent Violette in Love, MDCI Un Coeur en Mai, and a few other "spring time" scents which were created by Patricia Nicolai. Violette in Love was the other limited edition that was released at the same time as Week-end a Deauville, and I expected to love both.

Week-end A Deauville

From the beginning, I loved Week-end a Deauville: it's a charming spring floral with a salty edge, very natural and very pretty. Some perfumes smell like a color to me, and this smells yellow and makes me think of yellow powdered pollen. It smells natural. It's commonly classified as a "dry chypre" or a "floral chypre", which seems to fit. I do find it dry, but I would classify it as a "green floral chypre" myself. It's a well blended bouquet of flowers to my nose. There's not much development, and for once, that doesn't bother me at all. It stays approachable and pretty throughout the day and lasts fairly well on my skin. It's in my top 10 most favorite perfumes, and I have purchased a decant and worn it at least once a week since then. When I found a bottle on ebay, I snatched it up immediately: it's one of the highlights of my collection. I've read that Week-end a Deauville was discontinued and no longer in production, but shortly after that BeautyHabit in the US added it to their site. Either that is a lucky coincidence or fellow perfumistas should consider immediately buying a bottle. (I even considered a backup bottle when I saw it on their site.)

For those of you who are trying to get an idea if you would like it unsniffed, I think that it is very similar to MDCI Un Coeur en Mai, but with less bergamot and petitgrain. Week-end a Deauville is also more sheer and more salty, with a less dominent rose note. It's most simialar to Parfums de Nicolai Eau du Lude, but lacks the cloying aspects and smells more natural. Other reviewers compare it sometimes to Guerlain Chamade, but I don't find it to be very similar myself. On my skin, Chamade is far sharper, heavier and less natural smelling.

Violette In Love

At first, I didn't appreciate this one. My first impressions was that they were both spring time scents, but Violette in Love was more than just a pretty floral, with notes of lemon, a soft fruity rasberry, in addition to the rose and violets. It was pretty but it was also fruity, and I suppose that I've become jaded against fruity florals which seem mainstream to me now. Add to this the fact that I had a full packet of new samples to explore. I was so blinded by how beautiful Week-end a Deauville and Un Coeur en Mai smelled that I didn't really pay enough attention to ViL. Violette In Love made a stronger impression on me after I smelled Ormonde Jayne Seraphim and was looking for a cheaper alternative; then, as I sampled more rose/violet perfumes, I found Violette in Love to be a perfect, cheerful, citrus-y alternative in a cologne style with good sillage.

Photo taken by me and my husband. All rights reserved.
SOTD Perfume Review: Week-end a Deauville by Parfums de Nicolai
Perfume House: Parfums de Nicolai
Creator / Nose: Patricia Nicolai
Year: 2009
Classification: Green Floral Chypre
Perfume Notes: You'll see different notes listed everywhere you look. Almost all refer to galbanum, lily-of-the-valley, bergamot, petitgrain, rose, mimosa, pink pepper, and hyacinth. Some also mention styrax, oakmoss and clove.
What you mostly smell: A well blended spring floral with a salty edge. It smells very natural without any chemical harshness. It's salty without being beachy, and though it has a lot of lily of the valley, it doesn't smell like soap the way many LoTV perfumes tend to.
Lasting Power: Good, but I recommend heavily pre-moisturizing your skin before you wear it. It lasts, but it is very sheer and doesn't have great projection. If you are wearing it for your own pleasure, that won't bother you at all.
Similar to: I find it most VERY similar to Parfums de Nicolai's Eau du Lude, but Eau du Lude tends to be a bit cloying and heavy. If you are looking for a more complex and more sheer Eau du Lude, this is for you! Also similar to MDCI Un Coeur en Mai. Other reviewers mention similarities to Guerlain Chamade and Le Temps d'une fĂȘte but personally, I don't find it to be very similar to those.
Other Reviews at: I Smell Therefore I am, MimiFrouFrou and


SOTD Review: Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale (Collection Extraordinairre)

SOTD is Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale. I'm dabbing it from a sample set that I purchased, and I can only imagine how pretty this perfume will be when sprayed. I've already used up a full sample, so clearly this is on my "to buy" list.

Here's the thing: I really like the idea of wearing floral perfumes, and this one is clearly very well designed. And it's very pretty. I imagine it is one of those perfumes that my fellow office workers would compliment me on. And if you are wearing perfumes for other people to smell, this is a great choice. It's clean, pretty, not overly sweet and without any real musk elements. It smells very natural.

While 95% of it smells like my above description (fresh flowers, gardenia, jasmine, lily of the valley), 5% of it smells slightly beach. And that's what I probably like about it the most. While it's mostly floral and formal and pretty for other people around me to smell--- There's something in it that reminds me of coming back from the beach as a child. It smells like sunshine and skin that had the early-80s-sunscreen-mostly-washed-off-from-swimming-in-the-ocean. And so, that 5% smells remarkably personal to me.

Because of all that, I could wear it to work, out on a dinner date, or I could wear it on a walk in a garden or to the beach. It's formal but approachable. Very well done.

SOTD Perfume Review: Gardenia Petale from the Collection Extraordinairre
Perfume House: Van Cleef and Arpels
Creator / Nose: Nathalie Feisthauer, who also developed Comme des Garcons Luxe Champaca, Hermes eau de Merveilles, a few of the Etat Libre d'Orange fragrances and a few other high quality niche frags
Year: 2009
Classification: Formal, Tropical Floral
Perfume Notes: "Green notes" (what's that mean?!), lily of the valley, gardenia, jasmine. Different blogs and sellers also talk about citrus and fresh notes.
What you mostly smell: You get gardenia for sure, but it's a perfumers idea of gardenia and doesn't include the heaviness or mushroom-like note that you get in the true flower. If I had to summarize it shortly: it smells like Michael Kor's original Michael perfume, but with less tuberose, more gardenia and something that smells slightly beachy circa 1982. Maybe it's in the "jasmine" or "fresh" notes that they refer to, but it reminds me slightly of the beach when I was a kid. Maybe some note that was found in my sunscreen?
Lasting Power: Very good. These are eau de parfums in this line (even Cologne Noire, which has Cologne in the title, is an edp). Gardenia Petale has very good sillage, too.
Similar to: Hm. Okay, so it's in the general genre of Michael Kors Michael but it certainly doesn't smell like Michael. Also a distant cousin of Bond's Saks for Her, which I personally find to smell sharp and agressive and chemical (where Gardenia Petale is more natural and feminine and soft).
Overall impression: Very masterfully made, with great sillage and lasting power, and it just makes you *feel* pretty and clean. An exceptional perfume when that's what you are looking for (but not especially challenging).


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