The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


16 Comments

Xerjoff Oesel

WHAT I SMELL:  Oesel opens like the dawn of a new day with a creamy, smooth, layered orange blossom.  It’s as if the sun warmed blossoms have exploded with their fragrant projection just at the peak of the late morning.  The florals are rich, thick and bountiful without being overtly juicy or sweet.  The mix of florals including jasmine, mimosa and Bulgarian rose are blended as if they were carried in the most fragrant nosegay and are melded so seamlessly as to defy you to be able to distinguish them, but for the voluminous orange blossom.  In addition,  Oesel is warm and full of bright yellow hazy sun and when smelled on the skin, the perfume retreats to the depth of your lungs.  After a while, a consistent and dried wood begins to float under the orange blossom giving the perfume an added dimension with just the slightest of dirt and earth.  Oesel is golden in every sense of the word.

From Fragrantica  –

Oesel perfume from the Shooting Stars Collection is a symphony of bright and rich notes perfectly mixed with the best raw ingredients. Orange blossom and petitgrain from Paraguay lead the path to the heart of Bulgarian rose and Sambac jasmine, which are skillfully wrapped in sophisticated mimosa and white flowers. Graceful result of this mixed breed is the ambery wooden base of Indian patchouli, cedar and tobacco flower, which exudes the character, depth and persistence.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  An orange blossom boutounniere…the perfect perfume for your wedding day.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE OESEL: rapturous, uplifting, joyous

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OESEL:  Now Smell This, CaFleureBon, Confessions of a Perfume Nerd

BOTTOM LINE:  I finally set forth cleaning up my office and the stash of perfume samples that were invading every corner of the room.  There were quite a few of the perfumes I didn’t even realize I had in my possession.  So off came the tops of many for a quick smell.  Oesel was the loveliest of surprises and I wish I had tested it sooner.  In fact I loved it so much so that the next day I purchased a bottle.  How’s that for an endorsement?!

  • Bone Rating:  5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Floral
  • Classification: Marketed for men, but could easily be worn by a woman.
  • Expense: Varied…mid $200 for 100 ml eau de parfum


16 Comments

Vintage Habanita by Molinard

habanita1WHAT I SMELL:  Habanita has a dramatic opening that is glowingly sweetened, with a blast of fruit followed quickly by a warming floral mix that is highlighted by lilac and rose.  The perfume is so deliciously inviting as it seems to envelops the wearer.  Habanita has a sweet edge to it, but it’s not a perfume that I would categorize as sweet.  Maybe because as it develops the dryness of the oakmoss, the fresh tobacco and sheen of leather tone down the higher pitched notes.  As the perfume settles down, the various notes even out creating this incredible balance between the spice, florals and woody notes.  Habanita is sexy without being dangerous, but it draws you in making you want more.

From the Molinard website:

1921 – Habanita was born in the exuberance of the Roaring Twenties. With trailblazing spirit, Molinard revolutionized perfume codes, creating the first women’s Oriental fragrance featuring vetiver, an essence hitherto reserved for men. From perfume extract to the essence of the femme fatale, Habanita’s innovative style was eagerly embraced by the garçonnes-  France’s flappers – and soon became Molinard’s runaway success and an icon in the history of French perfume.

Top notes are orange blossom, raspberry, peach and bergamot; middle notes are lilac, orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are leather, amber, musk, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss and cedar.

cyd168WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Cyd Charisse

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE HABANITA:  whirling, energetic, dynamic

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT HABANITA:  Fragrance Daily, Yesterday’s Perfume, Grain de Musc

BOTTOM LINE:  Habanita is one of a kind.  It’s the kind of perfume that I crave.  Unique, beautiful, radiant…I can’t imagine not owning a bottle.

  • Bone Rating:  5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental
  • Classification: To me this is perfectly unisex
  • Expense: Review based on the vintage parfum extrait version.  Prices vary on eBay, etc.


26 Comments

Sultan Pasha Attars: Aurum d’Anghkhor & Irisoir

sultan-pashaI often wondered if being a perfumer only requires a purely scientific skill, like that of a chemist; or if a perfumer holds an innate ability or talent that can be developed and nourished.  I have seen quite of few upstart perfumers who begin their journey with a love of perfume, who then decide to create their own perfumes which then turn out to smell exactly like a scientific experiment; an incongruous mix of ingredients with an end result of a perfume that smells like it was conceived in a lab.  That makes me wonder if being a perfumer requires an ability that can’t be measured by science, but of which comes from within; like an artist.

I had heard a great deal of buzz about a perfumer from Britain who had created some attars that were unique and beautiful.  Kafkaesque had written much about perfumer Sultan Pasha and his creations  and I have seen many exchanges on the perfume feeds in Facebook.  Always wary of trends, I didn’t rush out to find out more about these attars.  And I have to admit, when I hear the word “attar,” I automatically think of heavy ouds.  The wonderful Esperanza introduced me to Sultan Pasha and I will be the first to admit that this “trend” is well deserved.  I received a sampling of 27 of his attars…with not one in the 27 being anything but incredible.  These perfumes have a soul and it makes me believe that you can’t just be a chemist to create incredible perfumes, you have to a god given talent.

Of course, with 27 perfumes, I can’t sing praise on each of them, but will speak to two of my favorites:

Aurum d’Anghkhor

WHAT I SMELL:  Aurum d’Anghkhor goes on my skin with a deep, warm honey and cream, that unfolds with a ripe rose.  It’s so beautifully weighted and almost gourmand.  In short time, an orange blossom, tobacco honey seems to swirl around the rose, which has become a bit decayed with a slight hay like consistency.    The rose is incredibly contained, as it feels like it could burst brightly at any minute, but instead the surrounding notes keep it under guard in the most beautiful prison.  The perfume remains captured in this timeless state for quite some time where the rose,  warmed and rapturous, is wrapped in a cocoon of labdanum and the purest sandalwood.  Aurum d’Anghkhor isn’t a carefree rose, instead, there’s something rather melancholic about it as if it holds an incredible secret.  As the perfume continues to develop, it begins to grow and expand and what was melancholic is now grand and majestic.  Still controlled, the perfume starts to emit this confident golden radiance as if projected like rays from the sun.

Top Notes: Saffron Oil, Jasminum Auriculatum absolute, Persian Rose Otto

Middle Notes: Bulgarian Damascena Absolute, Honey Absolute, orange blossom, Henna, tobacco,

Base Notes: EnsarOud’s Encens D’Angkhor, Beeswax, Hand Macerated Ambergris, Hand Made Shamama(aged sandalwood, 30yr old patchouli, henna, labdanum, Siamese benzoin, musk) raw Persian and Spanish Saffron Strands maceration, Siamese benzoin resinoid, Labdanum, tobacco absolute and Mysore sandalwood

enchanted-roseWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast; kept as a beautiful prisoner until love can set it free.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE AURUM D’ANGHKHOR:  knowing, mysterious, careworn

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AURUM D’ANGHKHOR: Kafkaseque, Take One Thing Off

Irisoir

WHAT I SMELL:  When Irisoir first goes on my skin it feels as if it’s devouring me with its warm and buttery floral cream.  The perfume feels like the most exquisite elixir worthy of any princess or queen.  I can envision a small bowl of this pure heaven being rubbed all over the living deity.  I’m not going to try to pick apart the notes of this magnificent beauty because doing so would be futile and would not provide any justice to it.  Suffice it to say, this perfume has bewitched me.  When I think of iris, I tend to think “cool” and “aloof.”  Here, mixed with other florals it’s warm and caressing.  As the perfume continues to develop it begins to dry and the buttery opening moves to a more deep and radiant amber and sandalwood.  There’s also a slight medicinal smell, which may be the mimosa.  But don’t worry, this is one medicine you will have no problem taking.  Beyond gorgeous.

Top Notes: Iris absolute, violet absolute, heliotrope, lilac, mimosa, peach,

Middle Notes: Orris Pallida butter, carnation absolute, Jasmine grandiflorum absolute, Persian rose Otto, violet leaf absolute,

Base Notes: White Ambergris, mimosa absolute,Tonka absolute, sandalwood Mysore, Cedar, Haitian Vetiver, Orris Pallida butter

Irisoir is my ode, my homage to iris of the yesteryear, from my favourite period of European art and culture… La Belle Epoque.

From the outset, one is greeted with the rooty notes of the finest Florentine iris and violet. Slowly revealing a honeyed fruity woody core with a deft touch of spice, just to tease ones senses with something extraordinary rather than the mundane and lacklustre examples of this genre that one is accustomed to.

This is a composition that even took me by total surprise as it revealed countless facets of the usually shy and timid iris, and now you shall be able to experience them with me! Be prepared for a journey back in time…” – Sultan Pasha

moses-in-a-basket-by-konstanti-f-02015_02_04_23_03_08-0WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Irisoir is less Belle Epoque to me, but instead it makes me think of when the pharaoh’s daughter found baby Moses in the bulrushes.  She is beautiful, warm and comforting, yet very regal and royal.  The sun and earth shine brightly on the baby Moses and the royal princess.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE IRISOIR:  ancient, majestic, other-wordly

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IRISOIR:  None to be found.

BOTTOM LINE:  It’s clear that Sultan Pasha has an incredible gift for perfumery.  These creations are beyond spectacular and solidify my thoughts on perfumery as an art form.  As these are attars, a little goes a long way, but the way these beauties unfold is a magnificent experience and one that I can say that I was lucky enough to witness.  Beyond the two perfumes, some of my other favorites in the collection are Thebes 1 and Encens Chypre.  Trust me, there’s something for everyone in this collection.