The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Vintage Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

WHAT I SMELL:  This particular vintage L’Heure Bleue (why do I say it that way?  you’ll see below) eau de toilette opens with a bright and sweet bergamot and spicy anise which first goes on cool to the touch, but then warms considerably and quickly.  It smells mysterious and serious and rather mature and slightly medicinal.  This is not your Britney Spears of perfumes, but is a perfume that instead dazzles and sings with wisdom and grace.  There’s not a great deal of development as the perfume settles in to reside in a floral meld with a spicy carnation and tuberose center that is dusted with a violet powder that wraps the perfume in mysterious wisdom.

The top notes are opening with spicy-sweet aniseed and fresh bergamot that gently lead to the heart of rose, carnation, tuberose, violet, and neroli. The soft and powdery floral notes are resting on a base of vanilla, Tonka bean, iris and benzoin.

Blue silk floral applique gown by Valentino.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A romantic blue silk evening gown.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE L’HEURE BLEUE:  mild, measured, solemn

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT L’HEURE BLEUE: Kafkasesque, Bois de Jasmin, Monsieur Guerlain

BOTTOM LINE:  The review above it based on a 1980s sample received from the wonderful Undina.  It’s bright, yet serious and very powdery.. and I love it.  I recently found a 1980s unopened EdT bottle on eBay for next to nothing.  The bright top notes seemed to have faded away and unlike the version I’m writing about, it’s pretty, but much darker has much more rounded florals.  It’s nice, but it doesn’t carry the fresh feel like the sample I reviewed.  Then a couple of weeks ago I was in an antique store and found this massive Bacarrat bottle (200 ml?) of extrait from the 1930s/40s.  There was a sale at the store and I got the 1/2 filled perfume bottle for a great price.  The stopper was stuck and thanks to Mr. Freezer, I was able to dive into this treasure.  Again, after all these years, the top notes have faded, but the heart is glorious, deep, rich and very serious.  So three different versions and 3 very different perfumes.  I have to say that the light and pretty 1980s version is a dream and probably my favorite of the three.  But overall, none of the versions project on my skin.  Maybe it’s me that’s the problem?

IMG_0799This story just keeps getting longer…so about a week after I started writing the above, I felt compelled to purchase a bottle of the current version in the eau de parfum formula.  A great price added with a coupon I couldn’t refuse right?  Actually, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to like it… but to my surprise I adore it.  It’s not quite as sunny as the vintage Undina sample, but it’s lighter and sweeter than my vintage EdT and parfum.  There’s a little incense in it and a little powder as it’s completely understated.  But what it defined for me, is that no matter what formula the perfume is in…my skin just eats it up and that means it has a pretty short lifespan on me.  That’s unusual for me, but I’m OK with it because I love to slather myself in any and all versions.   BTW, the new EdP layered with my old vintage EdT is divine!

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Floral
  • Nose: Jacques Guerlain
  • Classification: Marketed as feminine but to me it’s very unisex
  • Expense: Prices vary for vintage versions, but the current EdP can be purchased for as low as $60 for 100 ml.


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Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve

WHAT I SMELL:  Iris Fauve glides on the skin with a smooth and silky bergamot that is quickly met with a cashmere and rather putty like iris.  The perfume is creamy, weighted and it feels like “waving in the wind” silk gliding across the skin.  There’s an interesting cinnamon note that provides just a hint of sparkling sweetness; it’s a really nice touch that gives it a special brightness that rides on top of the silkiness. After a bit, that cinnamon note begins to retreat and the perfume begins to flatten, but with a deep and rounded consistency.  This perfume is pretty without being too feminine.  Instead, there’s a wonderful masculine edge, most likely coming from the labdanum, that provides this unexpected beefiness for an iris perfume.  As the perfume continues to develop the cinnamon seems to come forward once again, along with a mysterious myrhh.  Iris Fauve is beautifully bewitching.

Top notes are bergamot, cinnamon and iris; middle notes are patchouli, haitian vetiver and cypriol oil or nagarmotha; base notes are myrrh, musk, labdanum and liatris.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Trading on the Silk Road.  The combination of exotic flowers and spices make for a mysterious and exotic perfume.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE IRIS FAUVE: enchanting, fluid, enticing

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IRIS FAUVE: CaFleureBon, Kafkasesque, AustralianPerfumeJunkies

BOTTOM LINE:  Iris Fauve is an iris perfume that’s not cool to the touch.  Instead, it’s a beautiful, spicy and exotic presentation of iris that feels modern, yet which stems from the old world.  And who can resist those bottles and the gold flakes?  Heaven.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental
  • Nose: Marie Salamagne
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $275 for 100 ml eau de parfum


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Russkaya Kozha by Berdoues

WHAT I SMELL:  Russkaya Kozha has a discordant and biting opening that quickly moves to a flattened wood tinged with leather and oud.  There’s a sour edge and a pungent aspect, like worn leather pants that have absorbed the dirt and sweat from the wearer.  The perfume is beefy without being weighted, but it does have presence.  After a few minutes, the funky opening starts to sweeten and a wonderful radiating amber and benzoin ride above the now rough hewed sueded leather.  There’s a slight booziness that meets the mix and what was a bit rough and tumble at the beginning is now confidently sophisticated.  It also seems like there may be a light rose note buried under the leather, but I’m not seeing that listed as one of the notes.  The perfume settles down into a warmed smoky leather that is masculine without being overt but is still clearly in charge.  Instead, it projects confidence in a wonderful grandeur that is born from the majestic heart of Mother Russia.

From the Berdoues website:

An elegant leather perfume.

All the sophistication of Russia captured in a glass bottle. A blend of the noblest raw materials, Russkaya Kozha develops into an intense, mysterious perfume through the combination of Cade wood from Spain, Siam Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.

Russkaya Kozha is a leathery, amber perfume that bares eternal Russia’s soul through the blend of Cade wood and an elegant accord of Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.  An elegant and sophisticated Grand Cru.

Prince Alexander Konstantinovich Gorchakov

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A perfume fit for a Russian Prince.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  secure, cultivated, resolute

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  Colognoisseur, The Perfume Expert

BOTTOM LINE:  Russkaya Kozha is a lovely leather perfume that feels refined, yet still embodies the rough edges that come with the harsh environments of the Russian landscape.  This is a really nice leather perfume that doesn’t overwhelm the wearer and as a cologne, this has incredible lasting power.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Leather
  • Nose: Flavien Laurandeau
  • Classification: Leans masculine, but easily unisex
  • Expense: $80 for 100 ml eau de cologne