The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Flamenco by Ramon Monegal

WHAT I SMELL:  Flamenco dances open with a cotton candy raspberry that’s quickly met with a sweet and candied violet.  Very soon after, a soft orris makes a quick entrance making the super sweet opening something a bit more tame.  But don’t get me wrong, the perfume still remains in the confectionary, but now it includes a lovely musky undertow.  Soon the florals begin to break through with a rounded rose front and center.  Here, Flamenco begins to quickly grow and rise as it seems to spin wildly off of the skin.  It’s here that the perfume resides for some time; at times soft, at other times projecting greatly.  But each time it moves, Flamenco becomes a bit warmer and more comforting.  Flamenco doesn’t morph all that much after this point, and in the end the rose, mixed with the soured woods, wafts along as if they’re ready to once again start a fire on the dance floor.

From the Ramon Monegal website:

“I have submerged myself in an art known for its great emotional intensity and which comes from something rooted in my cultural origins, flamenco. Distinguished by its wild gestures, ferocious foot stamping, profound laments and guitar flourishes. Flamenco, my olfactory manifesto to the Andalusian character tattooed with fire on the soul of Spain. Flamenco is a profound and passionate art… it’s a unique state of mind. It’s my forbidden hypnotic fruit!” – Ramon Monegal

Top Notes:  Raspberry, Violet, Orris

Heart Notes:  Jasmin, Rosewood, Red Rose

Base Notes:  Musk, Amberwood, Cedarwood

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  With the name Flamenco, can there be any other visual than a whirling Flamenco dancer?!

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE FLAMENCOsweet, smooth, swirling

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT FLAMENCO:  Australian Perfume Junkies, CaFleureBon

BOTTOM LINE:  Flamenco dances nicely for quite some time.  The candied opening is appealing and the pulsing rose in the heart is lovely.  Unfortunately for me, the soured wood is just a bit…too soured for too long for me.  But I have the feeling Flamenco is either a “love the dance or hate the dance” kind of perfume.


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Santa Maria Novella Russa

WHAT I SMELL:  Russa opens with a zesty lemon and buzzing bergamot that is quickly met with a soapy orange that brings it out of the citrus groves and moves it behind the villa wall to the flower and herb garden where sprigs of lavender join the blend.  What was hanging ripened on the branch is now a mix of citrus and freshly picked herbs and flowers gathered in a bountiful basket ready to come into the house.  As soon as the basket makes it to the house, the mixture turns from the garden towards that of the barber.  Here, a foamy herbal soapy mixture that reminds me of traditional barbershop shaving cream breaks forward through the goodness of the garden.  There is something really comforting about Russa at this point.  It’s masculine, reassuring and lightly warmed in a sun-kissed way.  There’s nothing of a “take-charge” kind of masculinity here, but just an ease where the perfume doesn’t require itself to be anything but nicely clean and proper, yet comfortably based in the garden’s bounty.  As the perfume continues its journey, it becomes more “zestified” as the benzoin becomes more pronounced.   Because of this, Russa grows from a rather quiet perfume to one that demands just a bit more attention.  And in the end, a hay-like note comes forward as the perfume makes its final round back to the outdoors and to the sunny fields of the countryside.

From the Santa Maria Novella website:

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella’s Acqua di Colonia Russa fragrance is a bouquet of fresh aromatic citrus notes. Russian cologne was quite a popular fragrance in the early 1800s and each perfumer added a personal touch to his own version. The Santa Maria Novella monks created their own formulation, with citrus top notes and spicy floral middle notes.

Olfactory Notes:  

Top: citrus, Calabrian bergamot

Middle: petitgrain, green aromatic notes, clove

Base: Sumatra benzoin

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A medieval dandy.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RUSSA:  comfortable, herbal, “zestified” (yes, that is a made up word)

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RUSSA:  Scent for Thought

BOTTOM LINE:  Russa is a wonderfully easy to wear cologne that’s perfect for everyday use.  I tend to prefer masculine perfumes that are not brutishly so and Russa fits that mold very well.

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Aromatic Citrus
  • Classification: Leans masculine
  • Expense:  $135 for 100 ml eau de cologne


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Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

WHAT I SMELL:  31 Rue Cambon goes on cool with a peppered bergamot that’s fizzy, but fixed within the pepper.  The florals come quickly with a beautifully creamy and waxy ylang-ylang.  The perfume seems to exist in the middle; not too light and not too heavy, but riding this really easy wave of florals that as time goes on becomes accented with tinges of the pepper.  But that soon dissipates and the perfume moves completely to the creamy.  Here, 31 Rue Cambon is incredibly pretty as the ylang-ylang gives a bit of leeway to allow for the rose to come forward.  And here they sit in harmony with each other in the most beautiful of ways.  After some time, the perfume moves to a cool iris and begins to powder and expand and sweeten just so slightly giving the perfume a light lipstick vibe. Not too far after, a patchouli makes a lightly sharpened entrance and the perfume becomes more woody and edgy.  There’s also just the lightest of leather that appears as the perfume becomes drier and more rooted in the straw.  Looking at what I just wrote, it seems 31 Rue Cambon makes quite the journey, when in fact it’s all so seamless that it really just glides along with incredible ease.

From the Chanel website:

31 rue Cambon: the epicenter of the world of Coco Chanel, a place that combined her love of simplicity and taste for baroque style. This mysterious and sensual fragrance captures her contrasting passions.

Evoking the timeless elegance of CHANEL, this scent is imbued with simple-yet-powerful accents: the radiance of a chypre accord heightened with iris and black pepper. A true reflection of brilliance.

Top notes are Black Pepper, Bergamot and Green Notes; middle notes are iris, Ylang-Ylang and Rose; base notes are Patchouli, Labdanum and Woody Notes.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A handmade henequen purse.  Classy in a laid back kind of way.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE 31 RUE CAMBONsophisticated, easy, snappy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT 31 RUE CAMBON:   The only reviews I found were for the eau de toilette version that was discontinued in 2016 to make way for the new line of eau de parfums in the Les Exclusifs line.  As there may be significant differences, I have not included any of them here.

BOTTOM LINE:  Once again, Chanel does it with a perfume that is clean, easy to wear, and anything but boring.  31 Rue Cambon seems to morph with your mood and activity.  It can be buttoned up for work, buttoned down for running errands, or glammed up for the night on the town.  And it’s perfect every time.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Woody Chypre
  • Nose:  Jacques Polge
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $200 for 2.5 oz. eau de parfum