Monday, March 18, 2019

Cerruti 1881: fragrance review

The realm of soapy fragrances is huge, probably because "cleanliness is next to godliness" in several cultures. Therefore buying at least one fragrance that would prolong that feeling of freshness and would broadcast one's good intentions and respectability all around is probably necessary in an inclusive and nuanced fragrance wardrobe.

Fenella Chudoba by Zhang Jingna via

Within this vast field there is a spectrum: some soapy nuances come from fatty aldehydes, accounting for classic aldehydic florals like Chanel no.5 and Arpege, some come with powdery accents like Caleche, while some with their own dry but at the same time soothing, innocent elements. Cerruti 1881 belongs to this latter category with "flour de lin" its signature core note, as per perfumer Claire Cain.

The note of chamomile is the dominant one, however, throughout Cerruti 1881 For Women, a soothing note of German chamomile tisane, almost soporific, though the dryness of the composition retains it from becoming too juvenile and keeps it in the adult world.  Herbal without being green or aromatic, it projects like an imaginary linen flower, tactile and smooth.
A section of iris projects starchy and ironed, like a shirt that has been pressed, while the accompanying, powerful note of mimosa is that touch of innocence that prolongs the feeling of the chamomile. Mimosa has light heliotrope-like and honeyed-sugared aspects, and it naturally includes farnesol which acts as an insect pheromone within the blossom, but as a fixative and floralizer in perfumery. It almost gives a linden tree impression, which further reinforces the soothing properties of chamomile.

In short, it's hard to be seen as dangerous in something like Cerruti 1881, but its dry elegance makes it a suitable fragrance for innocuous occasions and office wear. Its light, starched florals quality makes for an easy like from most people.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Thursday, January 31, 2019

L'Artisan Parfumeur Dzing!: fragrance review

Which scent is capable of bringing out your inner Cat People? Have you ever wondered? This old specimen from the time when L'Artisan Parfumeur was a niche perfumes pioneer , Dzing!, is a strange amalgalm of animal hide and animal waste plus the compelling smell of old paper.


Smelling old books and that particular feeling of abstract fluff that is industrial cardboard used for moving boxes have some things in common: they have a starchy, almost vanillic nuance to them, but flat and non sweet, like a cake that lacks sugar but still retains the sweetish tinge of a comforting spice.

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur was inspired by the zoo, by the sawdust and the animals, the fun and festive air that surrounds a performance, but also the comforting feel of a childhood memory. It's probably not a surprise that vanilla is so closely tied to childhood memories. Dzing! does not immediately recall vanilla, it actually smells like a cross between moving boxes, sawdust and old books, all of this sprinkled with the slightly unsettling hint of animal musk in the distance; this thing is heaving. The light leather tinge is sexy and intimate, musky soft-smelling; a synergy between a saffron note with something birch-derived or musky-suede, rather than the rough isoquinolines in butch scent variations of leather fragrances. The overall impression is not sweet as the given notes might suggest, only in that register that skin and fur smells a tad sweetish and lightly salty.

But that's probably what a person who appreciates smells odder than the standard cake vanilla would find themselves peering into, with an upturned eyebrow and a keen interest in their eye; count me among them. Dzing! isn't very easy to wear but the experience is rewarding. Just imagine what people with keen noses might think and be too embarrassed to mention. Priceless.

Fragrance notes for L'Artisan Parfumeur Dzing!: leather, ginger, tonka bean, musk, white woods, caramel, saffron, toffee, candy apple and cotton candy.

Related reading on PerfumeShrine:

Modern Leather Fragrances short reviews
Perfumes and Fur, les perfumes fourrure and the intimacy of furry stuff
Animalic Notes: the skanky scent of sexy

Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Davana: fragrance review

Jo Malone's latest fragrance launch Honeysuckle & Davana is advertised as a happy smell and it most definitely is a happy smell. One that feels like fortunate news spreading through the peals of countryside church bells into the distance; smiles in a nursery when the little one first stretches his/her facial muscles into that endearing way that has caretakers have their heart aflutter; or of long lost friends meeting at a long awaited rendez-vous. The brand's choice to illustrate the fragrance with the girl with the canary is spot on, even if canaries do not dot the English countryside by any stretch of the imagination.


Honeysuckle & Davana is quite fresh and honeyed at the same time, and at that intriguing intersection between warm and cool which I find very alluring. There is an oscillating ribbon of white florals right in the middle of the scent, further cementing that freshness which blooms when the scent is sprayed liberally. This is a fragrance that reveals facets when used in excess, much like their previous Mimosa & Cardamom needs the bigger spray rather than the applying with a small wand on skin testing technique to fully reveal its pretty message. Compared with that other honeysuckle fragrance in the Jo Malone catalogue, Honeysuckle & Jasmine (1999), which used to be quite charming in its naturalistic impression of a fragrant garden at dusk somewhere south, the newer edition is more upbeat, with interesting facets that differentiate it from the white florals that are so screechingly taking over perfume counters as the "immediate femininity" index when the whole isn't hoarding under tons of syrupy sweetness...

In the drydown of Honeysuckle & Davana, we come up with a mix of an earthy note that might be attributed to Evernyl, but which is also mixed with clean, starched white musks (and which provides the very tenacious part, however those who are anosmic to some musks might find this undetectable, so try before you buy).
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