FCUK Friction for Her French Connection

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Friction for Her was a blind buy a while back when I was looking for a good summer coconut based fragrance. I was looking for something that smelled like a day at the beach with tanning oil and pina coladas. This one had a lot of good reviews plus being a cheapie, I figured I had nothing to lose. I think I paid around $20 for it on eBay.

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While this IS a very coconut-y fragrance and great for Summer, it’s not the beachy coconut I was looking for at all. This is a highly sweetened vanilla coconut cream pie of a perfume rather than a boozy beach frag. I was initially very disappointed to say the least.

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Coconut is one of those notes in perfumery that is difficult to make into a “grown up” fragrance. It’s a playful and youthful note that doesn’t usually go much farther than a Bath & Body Works  or Victoria Secret body spray. Beyond that it’s a supporting heart note in a designer frag. And in the world of haute couture and niche fragrances, there are only a few noses that have even attempted to pull one off, like VIW, Coccobello, and Chantecaille Tiare. Though most niche houses DO have a coconut frag, they are usually going for a completely different take on the note, away from the Hawaiin Tropic vibe, like Terracotta and Philosykos. Friction definitely falls into that BBW & VS area of coconut frags.

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While I was initially disappointed in this perfume, it wasn’t really the perfumes fault. It just wasn’t what I was looking for. It’s not a terrible perfume, but it’s also not that great either. It feels very synthetic and juvenile to me, even though French Connection is not a juvenile clothing brand. I feel like they could have done a lot better. And while I love the art deco inspired flacon (bottle), which I find well designed and very attractive despite the top half being plastic, it doesn’t feel appropriate for the juice at all. 

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While the projection and longevity are better than I imagined and pretty good for a cheapie, this isn’t something I’ll ever really wear so I’ve made it my car spray. It is VERY similar in fragrance to those coconut scented pine tree shaped air freshners for cars so this is perfect for that lol. I know some perfumistas LOVE this fragrance though, so while it may not be my cuppa tea, if you love coconut frags, this is definitely one to check out. ❤

Season: Spring/Summer

Notes: Honeysuckle, Apple blossom, Red berries, Spun sugar, Coconut, Jasmin, Vanilla, Vetiver, Woodsy notes, Amber, Sandlewood, Musk

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Neroli Outrenoir Guerlain

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I love the L’ Art et La Matiere collection so much I ordered this blindly, meaning I didn’t test it before buying. But I’m confident in this collection and as expected, Thierry Wasser, Guerlains perfumer/nose, once again delivered. I am really overjoyed too, because this fragrance is fantastic! 

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This is a gourmand orange dreamsicle treat for the grownups! The primary notes I get are orange, tangerine, and a creamy spicey vanilla but with so much more depth from the added nuances of smokey incense, myrrhe, and tea.

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“Neroli” is the young blossom from the bitter orange tree. “Outrenoir” translates from French literally as “unusual black” but the term “l’ultrenoir” was coined by French artist, Pierre Soulages, whose abstract paintings composed mainly in black, focus on the play of light on various shades of black within the piece. His intentional brush strokes emphasize direction and create movement as well as give a sense of depth. You can tell which strokes are layered over which. The areas of black paint that are more transparent, feathery, and “dry brushed” are matte therefore absorb all of the light but the more opaque areas of thicker paint have a glossier texture, thus reflecting light creating highlights on the black impasto. 

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           Pierre Soulages  Untitled 1958

I completely understand why this fragrance was named as such: it’s a total dichotomy on the brink of oxymoron.  Neroli and orange blossoms are pure white flowers, while “outrenoir” means “strange black”. This isn’t just noir, it’s outre noir. So the name equates to a white flower “noir”. Perhaps a gothic white flower noir even. Not literally dark but mysteriously dark. The seemingly polar elements of the notes on one hand, speak of warmth of spring and summer with sunny orange blossoms, grapefruits, and tangerines. On the other hand they tell a more overcast story of a chilly fall and winter with the myrrh, smokey incense, thick oriental vanilla, and Earl Grey hot tea, but it works so very well. It’s delicious and I can see myself wearing it year round.

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Neroli Outrenoir has been compared to the Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra, and while I’ve never tried it, Teazzurra has been compared to Les Voyages Olifactifs Tokyo, which I own, so I can say they share that exact same tea note. The dry downs of Toyko and Outrenoir are only similar on that tea note. Outrenoir is much sweeter and thicker with vanilla and myrrhe. Side by side, it makes Tokyo feel bitter, brittle, and tart. And while we have seen quite a few neroli perfumes released within the past few years, including the highly successful Neroli Portifino by Tom Ford which I adore, I still prefer the Outrenoir. But I am a Guerlainophile. 😉

I’m usually not so crazy about citrus dominate perfumes in general, which I find too fleeting, too squeaky clean, a bit boring, and really, only appropriate for Summer. I think of citrus as mostly top notes as the molecules are more volatile and quick to evaporate. Outrenoir is a much heavier than most citrus frags though, thicker, creamier, and lasts 12 hours strong. I’m not sure how Wasser did it but I can smell the neroli all the way into the base, which is an accomplishment in itself. Plus I can wear this year round which is a super win-win. 👍

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This is a Guerlain exclusive which means it’s not readily available for testing and it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. But if you love citrus and vanilla, this is absolutely the best of the best, creme de la creme, though I do recommend seeking out a sample before purchase if possible.  But I adore it! My most successful blind buy this year! (So far, ha ;)❤

Season: Year round

Top: Bergamot, Petitgrain, Grapefruit, Lemon, Tangerine

Heart: Orange blossom, Tea, Smoke, Earthy notes, Neroli

Base: Ambrette (musk mallow), Oakmoss, Myrrh, Benzoin, Vanilla

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Aria di Capri Carthusia

52904Though this isn’t the oldest perfume from this house, Aria di Capri is a very old fashioned style perfume and for good reason.  I love the history behind this house. From Fragranticas bio page for Carthusia:

“Legend has it that in 1380 the father prior of the Carthusian Monastery of St. Giacomo was taken unaware by the news of the arrival in Capri of Queen Giovanna d’Angiò and so made a flower arrangement with the most beautiful flowers of the island. The water was not changed for three days and, when the flowers were thrown away, the prior noticed that the water had acquired a fragrance unknown to him. He went to the father alchemist who traced the origin of this scent back to the “Garofilum silvestre caprese”. That water became the first perfume of Capri.

History, on the other hand, relates that in 1948 the prior of the Monastery discovered the old formulas of the perfumes and, with by permission from the Pope, revealed them to a chemist from Turin, who created the smallest laboratory in the world and called it “Carthusia”, i.e. Certosa.”

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Aria opens with a burst of aldehydes and fresh zingy citrus.  The top smells like a floral chypre, vaguely reminiscent of Mitsouku only much lighter and without the peach.

Fragrantica has this classified as a floral aldehyde but when I think aldehyde, I think Chanel No 5 or No 22. I think Iris Poudre and Chamade.  I detect oakmoss in the top along with the mimosa. It may not have the ingredients to actually be a chypre in the purest sense but the accords translate to me as such nonetheless. Perhaps it’s the combination of the bergamot, bay leaves, and geranium that are giving an oakmoss feel.
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After the top dries and the bergamot settles, the florals begin to really come out, especially the mimosa and geranium. There’s a soft, powdery feel to it but not a cold, dry iris type of powder but warm and a little sweet. I can detect the greeness of the petitgrain in the mix alongside this powder.  This is a very classy, mature fragrance.

I’ve tested 2 perfumes from this house thus far; Fiori di Capri which is labeled as a Chypre Floral and Aria di Capri which is labeled as a Floral Aldehyde by Fragrantica, but my nose is telling me that they are mislabeled. To me, Fiori reads as the Floral aldehyde and Aria reads as the Chypre. But regardless of the labeling, I really like them both and consider them “fbw”, which translates from perfumista as “Full bottle worthy”.

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While the projection stays within arms length, the longevity is better than average. And for a small batch niche house, they have really kept their prices affordable. A 50ml flacon runs around $80 on LuckyScent.

If you love chypres or are a vintage perfume fan, this one is well worth your time to seek out for it definitely feels like a vintage chypre without the vintage price or lost top notes. Testers are available on LuckyScent for $3. ❤

Season: Spring/Summer

Top: Lemon, Bergamot, Petitgrain

Heart: Mimosa, Jasmin, Geranium, Rose

Base: Cedar, White musk, Bay leaf

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Spring Flower Creed

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This fruity floral perfume was created for Audrey Hepburn in the mid 80s and was her signature scent until her death in 1993. Creed did not release it to the public until 1996, a few years after she passed away.  Audrey’s earlier signature perfume, L’interdit By Givenchy, was also created for her personally in 1957. It’s said that she did not want it to be released to the public, but was eventually released some years later in the 60s.

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Spring Flower reads as if it were a grand centerpiece of fresh cut spring flowers adorning a table of fruit. It IS very floral but somewhat difficult to pick out the flowers from beneath all of the fruits. This gives the impression of a more abstract floral fragrance rather than discernable flowers. I can tell they are flowers but I really can’t tell what kind of flowers without referencing the note pyramid

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On my skin it wears as a fairly generic fruity floral perfume. Nothing very different from any other fruity floral on the market and no real wow factor. It is not a challenging fragrance but, like Hepburn herself, very classically elegant and timeless.

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The sillage, projection, and longevity are all moderate with a very white musky feel in the base and not too heavy with ambergris. Overall, I think it’s a very pretty fragrance but I wasn’t really blown away by it nor compelled to run out and buy a full bottle. It is, however, a very safe and non offensive fragrance that would be a fantastic gift to any big Audrey Hepburn fan.

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Season: Spring/ Summer

Top: Melon, Apple, Peach

Heart: Jasmine, Rose

Base: White musk, Ambergris

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Love Don’t Be Shy By Kilian

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Calice Becker is a very well known “nose” in the fragrance world and the creator behind several perfumes I really love like Tom Fords Velvet Orchid, Christian Diors J’ Adore, and Vera Wang’s Rock Princess. She’s also the nose behind Liaisons Dangereuses By Kilian, one of my very fave’s, so I was super excited to try another one of her creations for this house.

An undaunted powerhouse of syrupy saccharine gourmand goodness, Love Don’t be Shy is fit for the Gods and isn’t shy at all. She is confident and self assured. Deliciously ambrosial. This has got to be the sweetest perfume I’ve ever smelled lol. 

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The main notes are vanilla, caramel, and sugar and while I don’t get very much caramel at all, I DO get lots of sweet vanilla and sugar. This is vanilla ice cream sweet. Not the pale yellow homemade style where the vanilla is spicy and obvious but super white softserve; refined and a bit more abstract. 

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It’s garnished great reviews but I can’t get past how overly sweet it is.  I am a fan of sweet frags don’t get me wrong, and based on the notes I should love it, but this one was just a bit too much for me. A bit cloying. And the longer it sits the sweeter it gets because the initial spray isn’t as sweet as it eventually becomes in the heart notes.

The sillage is great though and the longetivity is outstanding as it should be for a fragrance of this caliber. It really only needs one or two sprays to really project and last through out the day.

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If you are a sweet gourmand lover this one is worth giving a try though there really are other sugared vanilla frags out there for a much better value. By Kilians retail around $290 though I’ve seen testers on eBay as low as $80. But if you like sugar sweet, this is probably the creme de la creme of sugared vanillas.❤

Season: Winter

Top: Neroli, Bergamot, Pink pepper, Coriander

Heart: Iris, Rose, Jasmine, Honey suckle, Orange blossom

Base: Musk, Vanilla, Civet, Caramel, Sugar, Labdandum

Qom Chilom Stephane Humbert Lucas 777

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As much as I have grown to love this house after ordering a sample set on LuckyScent a few weeks ago, Qom Chilom unfortunately doesn’t measure up despite being one of the more expensive pieces in the house at $290 for 50ml, still less than O Hira which rings in at $800. That red flacon is stunning though.

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The primary notes are supposed to be cherries, oud, and leather, inspired by the cherry flavored hookas in Iran, but I get no oud, woods, leather, or any nuances of tabacco. I don’t get any dirty notes at all actually.

What I do get is a slightly camphorus candied cherry that smells like cough syrup in the first hour then once the medicinal properties wear off, strongly reminds me of La Petite Robe Noir, basically a cherry vanilla musk, but three times the price of the Guerlain. It doesn’t last very long either, maybe a few hours max. The projection is also very low but I am dabbing out of a tester vial so I’m sure it’s more intense when sprayed.

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If cherries are your thing, this one is definitely worth testing just so you know what it smells like but I don’t think it’s anything to write home about. And certainly not worth the price. Though I adore that gorgeous bottle I sure wish the juice was as impressive.

Season: All seasons

Top: Cherry, Rasberry

Heart: Heliotrope, Camphor, Iris, Oud, Teak, Cedar

Base: Vanilla, Musk, Patchouli, Leather

Les Voyages Olifactifs Moscow Guerlain

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I put off reviewing this frag # 1, because it’s discontinued now so really, who cares and # 2, because for me, this was “the one”. This post is more than just a review. This is about a legendary unicorn. And it’s kinda painful to talk about lol😢

Moscow was my second fragrance from Guerlain after Floral Romantique. I discovered it at the end of 2013, just a few months before it was discontinued but luckily I received fair warning.

Like most Guerlain exclusives, there wasn’t an over abundance of inventory to stockpile; once the last bottle was sold that was it. They just didn’t restock it. I  became friends with the SA in the Palazzo boutique and got early warning that this line was history so I bought a backup because I really loved it!

This is a vanilla and tonka lovers heavenly dream! I love it 10 times more than Tonka Imperiale and Spirituese Double Vanille and I really love the whole L’ Art et Materie collection dearly.

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The main notes are tonka, red currant, and vanilla. And though these notes would typically spell “pink candy sugarbomb”, that’s definitely not the case here. It does not read as a pink fragrance at all. Though it IS a sweetened vanilla versus a spicey dry vanilla, this is still one of the sexiest and most sophisticated, unisex vanilla frags I’ve encountered.

I finished my first bottle all too quickly, within 6 months and bottles typically last me years! I opened my second bottle with great reserve in 2015 but stumbled onto a full bottle on ebay a few months ago that I snatched right up. So now I can not only use my opened bottle a bit more liberally, I’ve listed a few decants on my eBay for those dying to try it and even have a regular buyer who remorsefully didn’t get a bottle before they were all gone.

Moscow has been elevated to legend status to those perfumistas in the know, perhaps not nearly as much as Iris Ganache or Guet Apens aka Attrape Coeur aka Evasion, etc., but it’s still in that league. And it really only made matters worse when Guerlain re-released it at an even more exclusive price in the Bolshi collection as Prima Ballerina at around $500 a bottle in a very limited release. But Guerlain IS nortorious for doing that with their perfumes, a sort of cat and mouse marketing game, but it actually totally works 😔.

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When the time comes that I have to open my 3rd and final bottle I’m afraid Moscow will become my Christmas Day perfume and will limit myself to sniffing the cap in between 😂 because I will not allow myself to finish the bottle. 😭
 
In the grand scheme of things it’s absolutely ridiculous because it’s just a perfume, I totally get it. But I am a fragrance obsessed perfumista and it’s still better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.❤
 

Season: Winter/Fall

Top: Wormwood, Pine needles, Red currant, Bergamot, Lemon

Heart: Jasmine

Base: Tonka beans, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musk