The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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New Release: Amouage Lilac Love

amouage-lilac-love

WHAT I SMELL:  Not surprisingly, Lilac Love opens with a soft sweet powdery lilac which quickly turns to cocoa…which smells like milk covered Count Chocula cereal.  But that only lasts for few minutes as it moves towards a powdered floral that’s quite dusty and dry.  After some more time, the perfume gains a lightly sharp sandalwood bite.  The cocoa that was once front and center now seems to pop in and out of the perfume which makes the perfume much more alluring and moves the fragrance away from the gourmand.  As Lilac Love continues to develop, a soft sweetened patchouli appears that’s pretty and rather demure.  Without any big twists and turns in the development, Lilac Love leaves with you with very little lilac, but instead, you get a soft and powered slightly sweet sandalwood perfume. Lilac Love, like many Amouage perfumes, lasts a long time…but what’s different with this release is that it’s not a powerhouse.  And that’s a pleasant surprise.

Notes from the Amouage website:

Top notes: lilac accord, gardenia, peony and heliotrope

Heat notes:  orris, cacao and tonka bean

Base notes:  sandalwood, patchouli and vanilla

Pic: Parmalee by Sophie Gamand

Parmalee by Sophie Gamand

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Puppies and purple flowers*

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE LILAC LOVE:  soft, fuzzy, ladylike

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT LILAC LOVE:  Colognoisseur, Kafkaesque, Brooklyn Fragrance Lover

BOTTOM LINE:  I found the cocoa opening a bit disjointed, but eventually the blending of the florals and the chocolate are more in sync.  What started off as a little strange, ends up being a soft and light sweet dream.

  • Bone Rating:  3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Floral
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $400 for 100 ml eau de parfum

* I’m not sure why visuals pop up in my head with a fragrance, but they do.  With Lilac Love, my first impression was of labrador puppies romping in a field of purple flowers.  In trying to find such a picture in Google Images, I ran across some wonderful pictures of pit bulls in flowered headdresses which then led me to the website of photographer Sophie Gamand.  Sophie created a series of photographs entitled “Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution.”  This series was designed to provide a softer look at the much maligned pit bull.  Each of the photographed subjects is/was up for adoption.  For more information on this series, as well as Sophie’s cause, check out her website at:  www.sophiegamand.com.  Seeing these beautiful creatures memorialized with such love, respect and warmth will bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.


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Hello 2016!

2015-16Well, 2016 is finally upon us and today brings back the reality of going back to work after the holidays and all the festivities that have been enjoyed in the past month.  The Scented Hound is not much for looking back at what “was,” but as an eternal optimist steers forward knowing that the year ahead is going to be the best ever.  But before moving forward, we’ll take a little walk down memory lane at 2015, one last time!

The Best Perfumes of 2015 –

I, by no means, experienced the majority of new releases this past year.  But instead, had the pleasure (or displeasure) of experiencing a small percentage of the new.  As such, I’m not going to make any claims about what were the best new releases, but what I found to be my personal favorites of the year…

Puredistance WhitePuredistance WHITE:  Undoubtedly this release was my favorite of the past year.  The beautiful, warm and majestic florals have me craving this perfume almost on a daily basis.  I cannot get enough of this radiant beauty.  It easily is my favorite from the line and that says a lot, because the entire Puredistance line is magic.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Forte:  Aqua Vitae Forte is the second cousin to Puredistance WHITE.  Very similar in its composition, Aqua Vitae Forte has more of a citrus zing which I found to be perfect for the hot summer months.  Easy to wear and absolutely beautiful.

Blomma Cult by Room 1015:  As many of you know, I tend to lean towards the more traditional when it comes to my perfume likes.  Blomma Cult veers away from the trend with its rock star energy and dynamic creativity.  In the end, the perfume purrs like a kitten, but the stage show getting there is one hell of a ride.

Although technically launched in 2014, I didn’t experience the following until 2015…

Mohur ExtraitNeela Vermeire Creations Mohur Extrait:  The original Mohur eau de parfum is incredible, but the extrait is like a satin and cashmere wrap of exquisite beauty.  This is one of those perfumes that I wish that everyone could experience at least one time in their life.

Maria Candida Gentile Syconium:  Maria Candida Gentile offers perfumes that either people love or hate…I find that there are very few in-betweens.  Syconium I do believe is one of those perfumes that everyone can love.  For myself, fig can sometimes be troublesome and overbearing, but with this creation, it’s a soft and creamy garden delight.  And shout out to Maria Candida Gentile for offering smaller 15 ml amounts that don’t break anyone’s budget!

The Worst Perfumes of 2015 –

gentlewoman-juliette-has-a-gun-interiorJuliette Has a Gun Gentlewoman:  A nod to androgyny, this perfume is a basic citrus cologne that is a weak imitation of a man’s cologne.  Boring, uninspired and pointless.

Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum:  What started off with promise and beauty turned into a cotton ball chemical bomb.  I’m not one that promotes natural ingredients, but this ended up like a lab experiment on my skin.

My 2015 Reality –

2014 to me was the year of the big florals.  That continued to a point in 2015.  I found that the perfumes that I wore the most were traditional florals…my top 3 being Puredistance WHITE, Roja Parfums Risque (Creation-R in the US) and Caron Tubereuse.  All three of these perfumes I found myself craving time and time again.

Roja-Dove-Danger-Parfum-ExtraitBut as I say that, I also found that I was heading back to traditional male perfumes as well.  This year, Roja Parfums Danger, Vetiver  and Amouage Dia Man were worn at least once or twice a week to work.  None of these perfumes are overly butch in their demeanor, but both are easy to wear and rather buttoned up.

Less is More –

When I was first introduced to this wonderful world of niche perfumery, I, like many wanted to purchase, purchase and purchase new perfumes.  Around every corner there was a new perfume that was wanted and desired.  However, over that past several years, I find that much of my collection is not being used.  Additionally, some of the perfumes that I couldn’t live without have now turned on me (has this happened to anyone else?).  Case in point, Amouage Fate Woman.  Two hours after wearing the perfume, the dry and dusty base, creeps up through my nose to give me this blinding headache.  I thought maybe it was just a fluke, but every time I wear it now, the same happens.  Needless to say it is sitting neglected on my perfume tray.

As a result of not requiring a great deal of perfume and by wearing many of the perfumes multiple times a week, I found that I only purchased two perfumes this year; Roja Parfums Danger a 10 ml bottle of HMC at Coqui Coqui Perfumes in Mexico.  I was wracking my brain wondering if I had missed something, but that is it!  My wallet is extremely happy and so am I as I don’t need a large collection to make me love this industry.

Looking Ahead to 2016 –

I have to admit that I possibly have become a bit jaded when it comes to perfume.  Even though there are a plethora of newly released perfumes that are beautiful and of which would be a great addition to any perfume collection, there seems to be only a few new releases that really stand out as exceptional.  Maybe 2016 will buck that trend and we’ll find that 2016 is the year of the “exceptional perfume!”

Happy New Year from The Scented Hound!


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Annivers-Obso-Bestof-Draw Mega Post!

2ndAnniversaryI am having a hard time believing that I have been blogging for two years now (actually, my anniversary date was January 4th).  But I have to admit that at present my muse is hiding in some closet somewhere and ever since coming back from a wonderful holiday vacation I have not been able to get back into the groove, thus my late anniversary post.  And since I failed to do a “best of” list at the end of the year, this post is going to be a combination of anniversary ramblings, observations, best ofs and of course a fabulous draw…thus the uber supercalifragilisticexpialidocious title of this post!  So here we go…

Anniversary Ramblings and Observations:

How lovely...the perfume urns at the Caron boutique!

How lovely…the perfume urns at the Caron boutique!

When I started this blog, I was new to the niche marketplace.  My first discoveries and loves were the amber fragrances, which included Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens and Ambra Nera by Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561. They are strong and powerful fragrances which drew me in with their boldness.  I don’t know if I am fickle, or I have learned that more subtle scents are now what I find I prefer, but I have moved into a stage where less is more and where traditionally feminine fragrances are now my siren songs.  At present, kicked off by my love for Nuit de Noel by Caron, I have now stepped into a “I need to learn more about Caron fragrances” phase and recently purchased French Cancan (it will probably be my next post) and am now itching to get to Lexington Avenue in NYC to visit their store so I can stock up on pretty little bottles of traditional feminine fragrances.  So I have the feeling that 2014 will be my “Year of the Woman” in terms of my favorite fragrances as it seems that 2013 ended up that way.  As I tell my friends, I’m butch enough to carry off such fragrances.  And when I declare that, they just look at me and reply “uh huh, whatever you say.” In any case, at my age, I’ll wear what I want, where I want and when I want!

Also, when I started blogging, there were a handful of wonderful established perfume bloggers out there, but in that two-year time span, there are so many new bloggers that it’s hard to keep up with all of them and they tend to come and go so quickly which just validates the fact that blogging isn’t all that easy.  Add that to the numerous Facebook groups and the video reviewers, the number of resources can be a bit overwhelming.  Since I don’t seem to have the time to write for myself, I have to be choosy about what I read and what sites I visit.  But I want to give some shout outs to some terrific new bloggers who have joined the scene this past year:  Epiphany, The Smelly Vagabond and Odiferess.  Please check out their sites!

One lesson that I learned these past couple of years is that I just can’t keep up with it all.  There are just too many releases and not enough time for discovery and review.  So instead of chasing every new launch, if something strikes my fancy I’ll search it out.  But to keep on top of all the newest is just impossible.  I have been sucked up in the past (it still happens, but not quite so often) with the latest that everyone seems to be raving about, only to find that the fragrance being touted isn’t all that special.  So I try to keep an open mind combined with some sense of control.  As you’ll see below, my “best of” list is “my” best of, meaning that the fragrances are not necessarily ones that were released in 2013, but ones that I discovered in 2013 and fell in love with.   So I guess this is probably a good segue into my…

best_of_2013_logo_sqBest Fragrances of 2013:

Remember, the fragrances aren’t necessarily released in 2013, but to me they were new:

Nuit de Noel Parfum Extrait by Caron:  My new Christmas tradition to be worn during the holidays.  I can’t speak for the EdT version, but the parfum extrait is classic and heavenly.  If you love chypres, you’ll love this.

Enslaved Parfum by Roja Parfums:  Roja perfumes are priced out of my league.  Every year my concept with what is reasonably price is obliterated by something that I want that is ridiculously priced.  I stayed away from samples because I knew if I like them, I’d have a hard time saying no.  However, I did have the chance to check out a few in the line by a generous gift of samples and then again at Sniffapalooza.  Enslaved was love at first sniff.  Big, bold, beautiful and over the top, this is a killer fragrance.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband bought me a bottle this past Christmas and even managed to get Roja Dove himself to sign the bottle for me.  Is it wrong to come home from work and put on sweatpants and then spritz yourself with your most expensive perfume?

fatewomanFate Woman by Amouage:  Finally, a real 2013 release.  I can’t believe I haven’t completed a review of this yet.  Forget Fate Man; Fate Woman is a femme fatale.  This beautifully constructed muted floral is just the opposite of the over the top Enslaved, but just as beautiful.

Onda EdP and Kiki Parfum Extrait Vero Profumo:  I was late to the Vero Profumo line of fragrances, but now I own four of Vero Kern’s lovely creations.  I like lavender, but Kiki’s caramel coated lavender is sweet without being sweet if that makes any sense.  I love to wear this out on special nights as I always get compliments.  Onda was the big surprise.  I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it upon my first application, but something happened that made me surrender to its charms.  Onda has changed my mind regarding my disinterest in vetiver.

Orangers en Fleurs by Houbigant:  Another 2013 release, but I believe Orange en Fleurs got lost in the fray.  Delicate and understated, this a true beauty.

Noontide Petals by Tauer Perfumes:  Tauer perfumes can be hit or miss for me.  This is a major hit that harkens to nostalgic femininity.  Andy takes me back to the early 1960s with this masterpiece that was launched in 2013.

Silver Iris by Atelier Cologne:  Released in 2013, I originally purchased Gold Leather and received a smaller bottle of Silver Iris as an added gift.  Out of the two fragrances, I have to say that Silver Iris has turned into the bigger winner for me.  I find that this is the perfect fragrance for the office as it’s slightly sweet and muted tones are as comfortable as a wonderful suit.  Funny though, my husband keeps stealing my Gold Leather which to him is the better of the two.

Vintage Fragrances:  I went through a slight vintage stage this past year and added to my collection some really lovely fragrances that I wear on a regular basis…Ysatis by Givenchy (parfum), a 1980s big floral that makes me happy; Samsara by Guerlain (parfum), like silk, the smooth and warm fragrance is like a blanket of calm; Miss Dior (parfum), the perfect chypre that’s made for a woman, but seems to be kind of butch for a “Miss.”  You can find some great deals on eBay and on small bottles that don’t cost too much if you are looking to give something a try.

The Best of…

Discovery of the Year:  Maria Candida Gentile.  I was haunted by Cinabre which was one of those perfumes that I wasn’t quite sure if I liked, but kept getting drawn back into.  I tried Exultat and then bought a bottle of Sideris and I was hooked.  Her fragrances have a consistent feel across the board, like a unique fingerprint that’s recognizable as hers and they don’t smell like anything else out there. OK, I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by her two latest releases Finisterre and Noir Tropical, but I look forward to what she has coming next.  Oh, and I love the fact that you can order 15ml sized bottle online at her website.

Event:  Sniffapalooza.  We all fantasize about being able to go to Sniffapalooza, the biggest of events for perfume fans.  Thankfully, I was able to go this past fall to see what the fuss was about.  OK, for the most part the event is designed to introduce and sell product.  But you get to hang out with folks that are just like you and I made some wonderful new friends.  I think that all of us feel like we’re a little outside the norm from our friends and families in regards to our love of fragrance.  Sniffapalooza creates a family atmosphere where we all share that common DNA.  It was so much fun and I look forward to doing it again.

AftelierPackaging:  Besides having created one of the most haunting fragrances of the year, Cuir Gardenia; Mandy Aftel knows that packaging is the icing on the cake to a great perfume.  The packaging from Aftelier Perfumes is instantly recognizable, pretty, interesting and most importantly fun to open.  I wish all perfumers would give their outside packaging as much thought as this.  If you haven’t experienced receiving a package from Aftelier, purchasing the lovely Cuir Gardenia might just be your excuse.  Of course, one of my other favorites Haute Claire is just as good of an excuse!  Check out Mandy’s products on her website.

Blind Buy:  Yes, I am still horrible about completing a blind buy.  After two years of trying I still can’t help myself.  It’s like the old game “Mystery Date”, you never know what you’re going to get, the dreamboat or the dud.  Fortunately for me, I usually get a dream.  This year, I have to say the biggest dreams for me were my Caron’s, Nuit de Noel (parfum) and French Cancan (parfum).  As for the dud; thankfully I didn’t spend much money on this, but I got a small bottle of Boucheron Trouble, which I never even heard of.  I can see why it was not on my radar…talk about a discordant mess.

Blogging:  Actually there a couple of categories, first is the “How Do They Do It?” group and that includes Kafkaesque and I Scent You a Day.  Both are wonderful blogs, Kafkaesque with her prolific in-depth posts and reviews that are incredibly researched and thoughtful.  And then I Scent a Day whose goal was to write a review every day of the year and she almost did it this past year…but even running short a few days from her goal, the volume and tenacity that it takes to complete such numbers is incredible.  I commend both bloggers for the artful prose and commitment to their passion!

The second category is for the blogger that brings other bloggers together, Jordan River from The Fragrant Man.  Out of all of the blogging community, Jordan really keeps his eyes out for us all and creates community posts (posts with links and info from multiple bloggers) based on themes and subjects.  I always love how he ties it all together to create these wonderful and unique collective posts.

Marketer/Distributor:  Jeffrey Dame has been in the business for many years, but in 2010 he began his own company Hypoluxe, a distribution company of fine niche perfume brands.  At present, he currently represents the following brands:  Parfums M. Micallef, biehl.parfumkunstwerke, Teo-Cabanel Paris, Tauer Perfumes and Parfums Retro.  And note that I say “at present”, because Jeff will no doubt be representing many other exciting brands in 2014 as he is one of the hardest working in the industry and knows the importance of the blogger community and their influence in helping to market perfumes.  And if distributing isn’t enough, he also has a website designed for all of us who love to read about and discuss perfumes…Perfume of Life.  If you haven’t already, please check it out.

CatFirstPrize5887The Draw(s)

Because every anniversary needs to be celebrated with presents (and I said presents), I have a few items that are up for my readers to win.  Unfortunately, I have to limit the draw to US persons only.  So what are the prizes?

1.  To one lucky winner a copy of Barbara Herman’s 2013 book release, Scent and Subversion.  This is a wonderful book, written by a wonderful person who also pens the blog, Yesterday’s Perfume.

2.  To one lucky winner my few times spritzed full bottle of Orlando by Jardins d’Ecrivains, an incredible release from this past year.

3.  To 30 lucky winners, a 3ml sample of the 2013 released nostalgic leather fragrance, Grand Cuir by Parfums Retro.  This is a leather fragrance that lovers of leather, and non-lovers of leather can love.

The draw will close on 6pm Eastern Time on Friday, January 24, 2014.  To enter, please leave a comment telling me what your favorite perfume of 2013 was (it doesn’t have to be a new release, just your favorite of the year).  Remember, the draw is open to US readers only.

Thanks to all of my readers for a wonderful 2013.  I look forward to this next year and my 3rd anniversary with you!

xoxoxox

Steve