Oud and Roses

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As usual, I’m late to the party and last on the bandwagon. I start watching TV shows 10 years after they’ve been cancelled. I’m at least a season behind the fashion trends, if not completely in my own time zone. And I’m just now beginning to explore the whole,  ‘Rose and Oud’ phenomenon. 

Coming from a history of soapy florals  and fruity gourmands, anything woody or spicy, 5 years ago, was a no go. Oud was a deal breaker and reminded me of body odor. It’s was dirty, earthy, musty. I didn’t like it.  But as a young adult develops a taste for alcoholic beverages, or the wine lover who finally starts to venture outside pinot noirs,  I’m really beginning to ‘get’ this whole oud ‘thing’.  I’ve had a eureka moment.  And I liked it. 🙂

Of course I’ve only sampled a handful of different houses version of the combo thus far, but I’ve yet to find one I flat out dislike.  Like enjoying coffee several different ways, I’m enjoying the different approaches and my ‘to try’ list is growing exponentially.  My sampled list so far consists of:

  -Montale- Amber and Spices

  -Ramon Monegal- Hand in Hand

  -Armani Prive- Rose D’ Arabie

  -Fredric Malle- Portrait of a Lady

Although I’ve already reviewed a couple of these I just might have to go back with edits since I reviewed them rather blindly and in ignorance so I didn’t really understand what exactly I was reviewing.  I’ve also discovered that oud doesn’t develop well on my wrist, which is the typical place I test fragrances.  My wrist is too dry so the notes quickly fade away or smell brittle, but the crease of my elbow is warmer, more moist, so the notes that developed there are much more rich.  That pretty much nullifies my first attempt to review Portrait of a Lady so now I must go back and give it a proper try, especially since I first tested it in the dry desert heat of Vegas and I live on the Texas coast and humidity really makes a difference on how perfumes develop. 

I may be late in discovering the charms of oud but I’m still glad to have come around at all.  There are only so many ways to concoct a soapy floral or fruity gourmand before they become redundant.  And although I will always enjoy them, I’ve grown bored of them. I can’t remember the last time I was really ‘wowed’ by one.

But this is just another dimension emerging reminding me of why I love perfumes so much! Because it IS a multifaceted hobby/obsession lol.  Tastes grow and change over time, developing more mature noses. I think , we in modern times, are so very lucky that we are able to embrace those changes and to have such a wide variety of fragrances available, at the click of a button, to indulge ourselves in.  Thank you internet! 😀

Pierre de Lune Armani Prive


Opens with a green, violet leaf and delicate floral accord. Develops into a semi sweet, aquatic soapy iris after dry down. Soft sillage skin scent but decent longetivity. Very feminine and clean but somewhat understated. Safe and no real ‘wow’ factor for the price. It’s still a nice frag but nothing unforgettable. Kinda ‘meh’ and dancing with generic imo.

Season: Spring/Fall

Notes: Iris, Violet, Cassie, Violet leaf, Belambre, Woodsy notes

Purchase Pierre de Lune Here

Rock Princess Vera Wang



This is a fruity boozy mess but I really like it! It’s different, unique, kind of raunchy in your face, and rough around the edges but isn’t that everything a rock princess should be?

There’s a rum note that almost overtakes the composition and the rasberry and coconut notes almost help push it over the top but there’s something keeping it all in check. I think it may be the cashmere wood. I can’t really put my finger on it though.

The rum and coconut give it a beachy feel to me but not the cute, designer bikini laying in the sun working on my tan sipping pina coladas at a resort beachy feel but a little more grungy, like riding a motorcycle to a locals palapa bar in cowboy boots, frayed cutoff short shorts, and a bikini top under a fishnet tank, ready to go have sex in the bathroom. It’s not sophisticated or refined by any standard but rebellious, maybe even a little sleazy but fun.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a blind buy as it is definitely not for everyone but it’s a little on the rare side so testers aren’t readily available either. I did, however, see bottles listed online under $40 so if you did go ahead with a blind buy it’s not so expensive to put you out very much if you ended up not liking it.

 The sillage is pretty strong and it lasts all day, 8 hours easy. I’m on my second bottle and get complimented often when I wear it. Maybe its my chemistry. Maybe there’s just something to this frag. It’s got quite a bit of bad feedback but it seems to really work on me.

Season: All

Top notes: Peach, Raspberry, Bergamot

Heart notes: Heliotrope, Jasmine, Rose, Lily

Base notes: Cashmere Wood, Musk, Iris, Coconut

Smoke for the Soul By Kilian


Omg, there’s so much cannibis coming through this frag I regret applying this before getting on an airplane! I checked the notes but how could I have possibly anticipated THIS? I hope I don’t set off any alarms with TSA. Ugh, I wish I was kidding! 😬

This is green, really REALLY green. So green I could almost roll it up and toke away. Good grief! lol

The opening on me is pure Eucalyptus immediately followed by potent cannibis and the woodsy notes. I don’t really get any of the other listed notes and I don’t get any smoky notes either. Maybe a hint of grapefruit that seems to very slightly tone down the sourness. But I really don’t ‘get’ this fragrance or its appeal, if there actually is any.

Maybe if they had added some patchouli to the composition it could have been a playful poke at the hippies, but this frag, to me,just smells dirty, green, and sour, so no thanks. Definitely a pass for me and I’ll be passing along this sample too.  Maybe it’s just my chemistry but I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would pay so much to smell like this. 😕

Notes: Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Tobacco, Mate, Birch, Cashmirwood, Cannibis, Cardamon.

Scoring Samples and Freebies


Let’s face it: samples are freebies and freebies are nice, right? But are they REALLY free?

My experience has shown that samples are much easier to coax out of your local product specialists after you’ve made a purchase or two or thirty and proven your ‘purchasing power’. 😍

Would I expect a load of free samples of the most expensive frags on my first ever visit to a counter or boutique? Probably not.  But when that counter or boutique becomes the new employment of a person I’ve followed through 3 different niche companies over the years and they know I’ll buy, I can pretty much get samples of whatever I want because they know I will buy and am a loyal customer.

They know that samples aren’t just little perks for me to play with or give away.  They are the bait for my next purchase. And knowing that I am a fragrance collector they know there WILL be a next purchase.

But really, what are samples for in the first place? They’re a way to try before you buy and it becomes a lot more apparent of how important that is when you’re thinking about purchasing a $300 bottle of juice vs a $40 bottle. It becomes imperative!

There’s no way I would commit to buying a high end frag over $100 without wearing it for a day or half a day at least. I need to see how the frag transforms on my skin over the course of a day. A spritz on a piece of paper only gives an idea of what the frag smells like but it cannot show you how it will perform with your body chemistry. 

‘Joy’ by Jean Patou, smelled amazing on the test card and on my SA,but after I wore it for a day it was clear that it didn’t work at all with my chemistry because I smelled like very sour musks.  If I had bought that bottle because of how much I liked it on the paper I would have been out a couple hundred bucks. Not that I won’t revisit it sometime in the future and give it another shot one day but I digress.

I don’t ask for samples haphazardly either. I give each sample a bare minimum of half a day to wear and try out so I only request the ones that are within my preference parameter.  I don’t want to waste my time on sampling frags I know I’ll never buy. For example, I’m not a big fan of dark spicy balsamic frags so rarely do I request a sample of one.

Samples are not truly free. They DID cost the house money to manufacture and package after all. But a company that has confidence their products usually have no reserves on supplying samples to potential customers. And I would be hesitant to buy without them. So it does the company favor to offer them.

And it becomes apparent over time that the more you buy the easier it becomes to score samples. The more you become acquainted with the shop employees, the more samples you can get. There’s a trust that develops because they know you are requesting samples to truly help you decide what your next purchase will be and not just getting them to turn around and sell online.

But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still fun to get! After spending a few hours at the boutique counter and sniffing frags and coffee beans til my nose can take no more, it’s always great to get a handful more to take home and try out after my nose has cleared. And honestly, who doesn’t like free gifts, even if they ARE ‘free’ – with purchase. 😉

Santal Carmin Atelier Cologne

I was captivated by this fragrance from the first moment I smelled it. During my introduction to Atelier Cologne at Neiman Marcus today, I sampled several in the collection and just couldn’t stop myself from repeatedly coming back to this one for another sniff. It’s absolutely intoxicating!

I immediately bought the 200ml even though experience HAS taught me to be more patient and get a tester first before committing but this one was love at first smell.  It comes with a 1oz leather pouched travel bottle as well and I LOVE getting little extra perks, but who doesn’t, really.

It opens a little sharp with juicy ripe limes and bergamot. Then turns spicy sweet as the saffron begins to develop followed by a creamy sweet woody vanilla warmed by a somewhat muted sandlewood . This is a very unisex frag but is a bit feminine towards the dry down.

The bottle, though metallic gold, is a little bland in my opinion but the juice is high quality and has great lasting power. The sillage is soft to moderate depending on how much you apply but this is a somewhat potent frag so no need to over spray or it could end up ‘in your face’ and not as pleasant.

The final notes become a bit powdery and the cedar really dominates but is kept in check by the vanilla. I just love this and even now can’t stop sniffing my wrists.  I normally wouldn’t even have been drawn to try this, to be honest,  based on the name and bottle appearing, to me, to be a mens line and somewhat boring at that, but that’s why they say never judge a book by its cover. Or in this case never judge a fragrance by its bottle, because I am so glad I discovered it (with some help of course) 😀

Season: Fall/Winter

Top notes: Lime, Bergamot, Saffron

Heart notes: Sandlewood, Guaiac Wood, White Musk

Base notes: Papyrus, Texas Cedar, Madagascar Vanilla

Purchase Santal Carmin Here

Mon Precieux Nectar Guerlain


There’s quite a few mixed reviews on this fragrance but I really love it! My Precious Nectar was my second ever frag from the house of Guerlain and my first bee bottle and it truly is precious.
My initial impression was of creamy vanilla and muted jasmine with a hint of green florals immediately followed by almonds and fragrant orange blossoms. This sweet composition never becomes cloying on me and is very consistent. The sillage is there but gentle and it lasts all day.

I don’t experience this as a sultry provacative scent but more innocent. It’s very angelic and clean, pure, chaste – virginal. I picture a young bride wearing this on her wedding day.

The general consensus on Fragrantica seems to put this in the cold weather category but I find it works well year round.  Even though it’s sweet, it’s not so much so that warm weather makes it cloying. It doesn’t even seem to become cloying when over applied. 

The bottle came with the atomizer bulb attachment but I only used it once or twice then returned it to the box.  I feel like it wastes the juice and gives it unnecessary exposure to air and I want it to last so now I just dab it. But there IS something very feminine and classy about spritzing with a bulb, I admit. 😊

Although this is a sweet frag, it’s a very tamed sweet. It reminds me of picking honeysuckle flowers off the vine in my back yard as a kid and pulling out the sweet honey nectar from the little tubes. Sweet, innocent, and just beautiful. One of my favorites! ❤
 Season: All

Top notes: Petitgrain, bitter almond

Heart notes: Jasmine, Orange Blossom

Base notes: Sandlewood, Guaiac Wood, Incense, Vanilla, White Musk

Light my Fire By Kilian


This unisex fragrance By Kilian opens strongly masculine, a little green, with tobacco and cumin dominating then transforms into a more feminine and powdery scent with the honey, vanilla, and patchouli taking over the reins after dry down, which by this time, is quite intoxicating. I also catch a leathery note in the heart.

Compared to other Kilians I’ve tried, this one seems a bit weaker, less sillage,  overall not quite as potent. But even still, I think it’s the most enjoyable from the Addicted State of Mind collection. The high quality is very obvious. It makes its statement in a very subtle manner. It’s old school classy with a slightly highbrow sophistication.

On the masculine side, it makes me want to put on a smoking jacket, grab a cigar, settle into a vintage wing back chair with nail head trim, and grab a leatherbound book in the study of my (imaginary) château while sipping fine cognac next to a wood burning fireplace.

On the feminine side, I think of a wool peacoat, walking along a snowy sidewalk window shopping for holiday presents. It’s very mature, classy, with intelligence and is very clearly a cold weather fragrance that is going to the top of my want list this fall. Love it! ❤

Season: Fall/Winter

Notes: Cumin, Hay, Patchouli, Vetiver, Honey, Vanilla, Tobacco 

My Insolence Guerlain


With a name so ostentatious and pretentious, I was surprised by the sweet freshness of this fragrance. I guess I was expecting something stuffy, unapologetic and rude. But this is fun, endearing, and more agreeable than I imagined it would be.

I will admit it’s walking a thin line with smelling generic but the obvious quality of ingredients is its saving grace and it DOES smell delicious!

It’s clearly a warm weather frag with the light citrus and juicy rasberries wrapped in vanilla and patchouli. The almond blossom dominates the heart leaving a faint hint of jasmine and the dry down is rich and creamy.

This is a very youthful frag. I could imagine this being a younger girls introduction to Guerlain but it’s not so immature that it would be inappropriate for someone in their 50s to pull off.  Not that I am a strict proponent of ‘age appropriateness’ with frags, it’s just for description purposes only! 😀

The bottle is adorable. Very pink as is the juice.  It’s cute, fun, and definitely has its place in my collection. 💋
Season: Spring/Summer 

Top notes: Raspberry, Citrus

Heart notes: Almond Blossom, Jasmine

Base notes: Tonka Bean, Patchouli, Vanilla

Intoxicated By Kilian


This is a very centered unisex fragrance, leaning toward neither the feminine nor masculine side.  The juice is very high quality with decent sillage and good longetivity.

Its opening is immediately very sharp and highly alcoholic, so much so that it burns my nose, but thankfully the alcohol dissapates quickly. The aroma of coffee then begins to take over for a few minutes and completely dominates as the top dries down.

Finally, as things begin to settle down after a few minutes and the coffee releases it’s grip a little, the other notes begin to show their heads and the scent becomes much more pleasant.

This ISN’T an intoxicating smell to me at all though. Quite the opposite actually. Seriously, who on earth drinks coffee to get Intoxicated? Who ever it was that named this juice was WAY off lol.  Coffee is supposed to SOBER you up. This juice should have been called “Sobriety” haha.

It’s not a terrible frag, in fact it DOES actually smell good, but I don’t want to all day smell like I spilled coffee on my lap on the way to work. 

This really isn’t my style at all so I shall pass on getting a full bottle but I will keep this one in mind as a possible gift for my coffee fanatic friends. ☺

Season: Winter/Fall

Notes: Cardamon, Coffee, Nutmeg, Cinnamon