Monday, October 7, 2019

Bottega Veneta Eau de Velours: fragrance review

Bottega Veneta Eau de Velours from 2017, with a seductive name that evokes caresses with the softest materials, is a lasting, worthwhile specimen in the family of Bottega Veneta fragrances. Maybe even more lasting than the first eponymous release, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum!

via Pinterest

For this very plummy flanker fragrance, which was a limited edition to begin with, we have a presentation in – you guessed it – velvet ribbon caressing the neck of the bottle, substituting the subtle kink of the strip of leather which encircled the neck of the original Eau de Parfum in a bit of tasteful fetish wear.

Those of you who do not like the actual bitter facets of leather fragrances, but instead long for the plush and the decadent sense of luxury that leather suggests, will find this rosier and softer version, Eau de Velours, by perfumers Michel Almairac and Mylen Alran, more to your liking. The leathery core is here, too, but don't fool yourself that it's a defanged mass scent of musks and fruits sprinkled with sanitized patchouli and ready for its close up like so many others. It's definitely close to the original, but the softness, with an interlay of starched iris, makes it less sharp, less androgynous, more comely, and I'm afraid a little bit more "middle of the road," if such a term like that can be applied for the Bottega Veneta fragrance line at all (which i'm sure it can't, but you get what I'm saying).

Eau de Velours is a prime example of those fragrances fit to scent one's autumn scarf – very close to the body, but rising with the body temperature to mingle with one's skin chemistry and becoming one's own. Sensuous but in control, it's commanding attention where you don't need to raise your voice or your eyebrows to make your salient point. Good going, Bottega Veneta!

Related reading on the PerfumeShrine: 
Bottega Veneta fragrance reviews and news
Leather Fragrances Series: a Complete Guide on Leather in Perfumery
How to Seduce with your Perfume
Chypre Perfumes for Newbies

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir: fragrance review

This discontinued gem is shining in a deep purple bottle of sumptuous line that would match a wonderful smoky eye that looks so at ease on an autumnal night out. Sensuous Noir takes the good parts of Lauder's Sensuous (that idea of woody notes enhancing the natural scent of the skin) and taking it up a notch, adding patchouli with its dark sweetness interlaced like a shadow on said skin. More voluptuous, more intense, more sensual than the original version of Sensuous, the second version by Estee Lauder - Sensuous Noir includes characteristic wooden tones, an abstract floral hint and soft aromas of cozy oriental balsams that carry the entire composition.

Sensuous Noir has a stronger, more intoxicating and more seductive scent than the prior fragrance by Estee Lauder with half the same name, although the latter is also quite sensuous and silky and worth your time and money.

The top notes include a floral blend of purple rose, jasmine, rose oil, black pepper and spices. The heart focuses on the warm wooden notes, typical for this scent, with the use of the innovative Nature Print technology. The smell of "dissolved wood" in the concept, generated by pine tree and guaiac wood merging, was captured exactly by this technology, and used as a seductive note that was first used as a sensory note and complemented by the innovative Noir cream, lily flowers and patchouli notes. The base notes include benzoin, amber and soft vanilla with an amber overall scent. The final feeling is one of absolute self-confidence!

Please visit Estee Lauder fragrance reviews and news on the using this link.

Dior Diorella: the Peach, the Peach, the Peach is on Fire.

photo copyright by Elena Vosnaki

Read my fragrance review of Christian Dior's Diorella on this link.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental: Tendrils of Earthy Green

photo copyright Elena Vosnaki

I cannot shake the impression that the task of scaling down, of attenuating the formula of Vetiver Oriental to the richness and sumptuousness of the material's roots is an algebraic challenge, a piano étude aimed at perfecting a specific agilité that is not in tune with the Lutensian way of usual opulence. And yet...and yet the result speaks in hushed, nocturnal voices of a decadent drawl; a few chiseled citrusy consonants, a little rubbery-smoky with the rosiness of gaiacwood, surprisingly sweet-spoken licorice-like (deriving from lots of anisaldehyde) with the earthy bitter edge of dry cocoa and loads and loads of polished woods, almost laminated... Read my full on fragrance review of Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens on THIS link.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Tender Music of Guerlain Chant d'Aromes

Photograph copyright by Elena Vosnaki

Chant d’Arômes does not aim to be a link in the Guerlain chain, but making a fresh, ever young start it takes us into the realm of the eternally sunny. Although officially classified as a chypre floral by Guerlain, I find that its chypré qualities do not make it difficult, but on the contrary it serves as the perfect choice between floral and chypre for those who do not like the extremes of either category. Its innocence fondles the mystery of youth.

It's the perfect sweet melding of summer into autumn.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Points of Contrition: What Makes a Modern Fragrance Tick?

 Several fragrances flummox the shelves of department stores nowadays, more than at any other time in history; greed is a sin. But few of those survive or make their presence memorable enough to warrant having fans mention them after their afterglow has subsided. I began wondering: what makes a contemporary fragrance tick? What makes for its saving grace?

I made a list of some of the mainstream perfumes of the last few years which really stick and explain the reasons why, in my opinion, they deserve their well-earned redemption. 

Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum is unquestionably among the finest releases of its time; if not the best, then definitely among the top 5 best mainstream fragrance releases of the last decade. The densely fruity compote of plums recalls fruity chypres of yore, in the frame of Femme and Mitsouko, while the leathery base lends refinement and self-confidence in a way that's sensuous and alluring.  
There are four key notes in Bottega Veneta's Eau de Parfum: jasmine sambac, Brazilian pink peppercorn, bergamot, and Indian patchouli; not particularly "dirty", but richly mature. The citrus and leather are recognizable from the start, while the perfume warms increasingly with candied plum notes fanning the floral heart of jasmine, on a resinous backdrop of caramelic notes and earthy oak moss. Bottega Veneta gains in patchouli strength, nuttier and sweeter, boosted by the humming leather, the longer it stays on. By no means a powerhouse, but the sillage and tenacity are undeniably very good, always creating that spark of dreamy wonder from strangers and friends alike that is the hallmark of a great scent: "which perfume are you wearing?"

Twilly by Hermes, as I have analysed in its "sparring" with Chanel's Gabrielle, hits all the right spots with street smarts coupled with an impressive pedigree; it basically had Gabrielle for lunch. But that's beside the point when it comes to its composite elements that help make it memorable. The ginger is treated like a gauze. It's never scathing or too hot to handle and its interlacing with the white floralcy of tuberose seems novel and familiar all at once. It's impossible not to like it. Twilly's success on the market will probably be used as a focus group litmus test for other perfumes to come... so its ginger note is one that begs attention. 
The fragrance looks like a kaleidoscope of green, floral, and even earthy and woody nuances, passing before your nostrils in quick succession, as if buoyed by the golden light of a glorious afternoon full of grace when everything seems to happily melt unto itself.
Twilly by Hermes doesn't remind me of any other fragrance I know, which is admirable in today's market, and it's witty enough, light enough to appeal to younger women without appearing condescending in the least.

Nomade by Chloé is a specimen of "everything old is new again". A total surprise, probably the best mainstream release of 2018 and for all the right reasons: It is different than anything else on the roster right now, it lasts exceptionally well, it projects in a civilized but definitely perceptible way, and it unites the past with the future thanks to its alliance of an old school concept executed in an achingly contemporary way.
What starts in Nomade Eau de Parfum as a fragrance to suggest traveling forth in place, is actually a scent to take you traveling back & forth in time. The retro inclusion of a significant portion of oakmoss-smelling materials, some of them cutting edge modern analogous stuff amassed by Quentin Bisch, makes for an "a-ha" moment.

Nomade not only smells, but also lasts, like perfumes of yore, with a powdery and earthy dry down, in that it has the backbone and solidity of older fragrances, yet it's transparent on top and airy, the way contemporary fragrances project. Most young women would nowadays find it rather masculine smelling, but I admit I find it intriguing and hopeful. The opening with its tingling note of hesperidia and peppery jolt is full of motion. But it's the alliance of the apricoty-peachy heart note, which is the marvel that causes the original Eau de Parfum concentration to make me sit up and notice in particular. 
There is the good news that Nomade has been updated in recent months with an Eau de Τoilette version of the already critically acclaimed eau de parfum.

 A floral fragrance is usually associated with romantic feelings and more prim personalities who personify all that is stereotypically feminine. Cartier, who fairly recently brought out Carat, is a very classy brand and their woman perfumer-in-house, Mathilde Laurent, is anything but stereotypical, so her latest feminine fragrance might seem like a prim and proper offering, but it is much more than simply that. This shiny little gem of a bottle hides a very fetching floral fragrance that would satisfy those after a cool-type floral with softness and ladylike projection.

Cartier Carat is a soft fragrance (the way Baiser Vole by Cartier also is), but manages to project in a very piercing, prismatic manner that unfolds the floral notes one by one, with lily and hyacinth predominant on my skin.

The scent of Estee Lauder Sensuous is also rather clever, even if not particularly ground-breaking, but again balances all the ingredients and chords in an effect that would make you feel, like one reviewer said, "the victim of your own fragrance snobbery." We tend to bypass mainstream releases in favor of niche, and yet there are some mainstream releases which make us wonder what we have been neglecting, or viewing with unwarranted contempt, and Sensuous is one of those scents.
Sensuous was moving the boundaries from already well known Estee Lauder floral notes towards an opulent oriental woodsy-amber concept, to praise the beauty and sensuality of women all ages, a decade back.
Lightly spicy and quite creamy, the original Sensuous gives me a warm, soft, just right impression of lightly scented skin, in a way paying homage to the creations of Lutens (though less spicy-sweet), but also winking in the direction of Tom Ford's personal favorite Santal Blush, which is also a very creamy and smooth skin scent if you let it dry down. The sandalwood is what is most prominent on my skin, totally a creative attempt at giving that old mainstay of perfumery a valiant effort, but quite effective and very indulgent; it's skin-like at the same time as it's clean and polished, perhaps with a distant whiff of smokiness in the background.
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