The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


Roja Parfums Risqué (Creation-R)

Roja Parfums RisqueWHAT I SMELL:  Risqué (marketed as Creation-R in the United States) opens with a warm and sensual bergamot that is surrounded by the deepest rounded and lung filling florals that feel as if they are trapped in bosom of a hug and which at first is like they are fighting to get out of that hug, only to surrender and bury themselves deeper into the warm embrace of the feminine mystique.  As perfumes go, Risqué is head swimmingly beautiful, yet there is this undercurrent of carnality that draws you in without release.  I have said this before, that when I review a Roja Dove parfum, I always have to state that the blending is seamless and as such the individual notes af for the most part are hard for me to pull apart.  This creation is no different.  After around 10 minutes, the florals starts to sink further into the skin as if they are retreating to a more primal place only to then begin radiate and project from what seems to be a labyrinth below.  There is a dusting of leather and civet that wrap themselves around the perfume like a cage that attempts to keep the cat from its prey. And finally, after an hour or so, a layer of creaminess covers the perfume, only to make the cat purr like a kitten.   I don’t find that there is particularly a great deal of development with Risqué, but that’s the most wonderful aspect of the perfume overall.  So many perfumes start off strong and interesting, only to be left as a shadow of its former self.  Instead Risqué remains deeply warm, deeply carnal, deeply passionate and beautifully sensual.  And as a plus, Risqué weaves its magic all through the night…leaving a whisper of itself into the morning.

From the Roja Parfums website:

“On The Edge Of The Forbidden”


“When I created this I thought of how society tells us how we have to behave, think, and act. So I decided to create a perfume that seemed tailored and disciplined – but as it develops it starts to show its overtly sensual base, which gets warmer, darker and more overt with each breath”. Roja Dove

TOP:  Bergamot
HEART:  Chamomile, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Rose, Ylang Ylang
BASE:  Cedarwood, Civet, Labdanum, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver


WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The beautiful Simone Simon as Irena in the 1942 version of Cat People, who turns into a panther when aroused by passion.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE RISQUÉ:  seductive, pulsating, intense


BOTTOM LINE:  There are certain perfumes that hit us on a level that can’t be explained. Every breath of Risqué wraps me up in this enchanted and seductive spell never to let me go.  This is a full bottle must for me so I better start saving my pennies…OK dollars, because I’m in love.

  • Bone Rating: 5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Chypre
  • Nose:  Roja Dove
  • Classification: Feminine
  • Expense: $480 for 50 ml Parfum


Shangri La by Hiram Green

Shangri La (transparent background)For me, there are few fragrances that I am introduced to that end up receiving a 5 bone review.  This past year, perfumer Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom was one of those fragrances that did.  I had heard so many wonderful things about Moon Bloom and was late the game in checking it out, but it was well worth the wait.  So when I found out that Hiram was launching his second creation, I had to be front and center to check it out.  But before I get into my review, I posed a few questions to Hiram:

Hiram Green (4)

Hiram Green

The Scented Hound:  From what I read, Shangri-La was inspired by the Coty fragrance of the same name (Coty Chypre).  What motivated you to create this homage?

Hiram Green:  I was experimenting with a variety of different materials, once I started to picture a Shangri La paradise in my head, the Chypre accord developed intuitively. I did not set out purposely to create this homage, it just happened.

The Scented Hound:  Moon Bloom, your freshman effort was a critical success.  Was it intimidating at all developing Shangri-La knowing that you set the expectations so high for your sophomore release?

Hiram Green:  It was very intimidating launching Moon Bloom. I am a bit more relaxed with Shangri La. I feel that many of the people who enjoyed Moon Bloom should find similar qualities in Shangri La. 

The Scented Hound:  What’s on the horizon for Hiram Green next?

Hiram Green:  I am always working on new fragrances. Nothing is quite yet finished. Are there any fragrances that you or anyone else would like to see from me?  (see the Hound’s response in the Bottom Line section).

On to the review…

WHAT I SMELL:  Shangri La opens with this curiously warmed citrus which seems tinged with a bit of clove.  The fragrance is prickly to the nose with a peach note that’s rather jammy without being thick.  There’s a mulled spice aspect about the composition that exchanges rounds between being more floral and then once again becoming more spiced.  After around 20 minutes, the tonality of the fragrance begins to find its middle ground between the floral and the spice and Shangri La at this point feels herbal, as if it’s a special and mysterious creation that’s housed in an unassuming pouch made of burlap, leather and twine.  After some more time, the herbs and spices are met with just a hint of light sugar or sweetened floral.  It’s not until around the 45 minute mark that you really start to get wrapped up in the dust of the oakmoss which makes for a wonderful haze to base the spiced florals on.  But just when you think that the fragrance is going to settle in to its final phase, the peach note really comes forth and it’s a bit dirty and roughened.  In the end, Shangri La remains this dusty spiced peach of a perfume.

From the Hiram Green website:

Almost one hundred years after Francois Coty defined the chypre genre with a perfume of the same name, Hiram Green presents his adaptation of this classic accord. Named after the fictional land described in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, Shangri La evokes a mystical fragrant paradise.
Shangri La opens with a sharp burst of citrus, followed by a rich bouquet of peach, jasmine, rose, iris and spices, all anchored by an earthy base of vetiver and oakmoss.
Lost Horizon 1937

Lost Horizon – 1937

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Hiram Green named his perfume well…Shangri La.


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SHANGRI LA:  Colognoisseur, Kafkaesque, Cafleurebon

BOTTOM LINE:  Mr. Green’s second creation is wonderful and there is a quality and underlying spice that ties it to Moon Bloom and it is distinctively his.  As far as I can tell from these first two fragrances, he can’t do any wrong so I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next…but I do have my weakness for big white florals, I would probably love it if he came up with a head spinning jasmine!

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Chypre
  • Nose:  Hiram Green
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $165 for 50ml Eau de Parfum

Sample courtesy of Hiram Green.


New Release: Aqua Sextius by Jul et Mad

Aqua SextiusWHAT I SMELL:  Aqua Sextius opens with a warm and rich bergamot and citrus which feels like it’s sprinkled with brown sugar.  It’s rather deep in its initial form which was a surprise to me as I was expecting something light and airy instead of this comfortable hug.  After a few minutes, a slight saltiness comes forward which at first seems a bit discordant with the other notes, but you quickly get used to it as it’s refreshingly different.  After a few more minutes, a minty herbal accord layers on top of the salt.  At this point, Aqua Sextius is a bit balmy, like a luxurious rendition of Ben Gay.  After around the 15 minute mark, the fragrance begins to radiate this wonderfully warm labdanum and amber highlighted with a kick of semi-sweet Guaiac wood.  After some more time, the fig becomes noticeable and it stays in this realm until after an hour when Aqua Sextius moves into an even-tempered, light woody and salty dry down.

From the Jul et Mad website:

A sensation of absolute well-being, celebrating the joy of life. This extraordinarily fresh perfume astonishes by its superb composition and by its longevity. Named after the original Latin name of Aix-en-Provence, known as “the city of 100 fountains”, this exclusive fragrance perfectly describes this most beautiful summer retreat, where the time flows in the rhythm of its legendary thermal sources…

Head : Bergamot, Lime, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Green Notes
Heart : Mint/Eucalyptus, Marines Notes, Mimosa, White Flowers, Fig
Bottom : Labdanum, Ambergris, Cedarwood, Guaiac Wood, Oakmoss, Musk

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: The earthen beauty surrounding the warm mineral springs.


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AQUA SEXTIUS: Colognoisseur, CaFleureBon, Chemist in a Bottle

The village fountain, Vaugines, France

BOTTOM LINE: Around 7 years ago, we travelled around France and rented a villa with friends for a week in the small village of Vaugines.  We had such a wonderful time exploring the countryside, including Aix-en-Provence which was only around an hour away from Vaugines.  Aqua Sextius perfectly captures the essence of that region of France and its magic and beauty.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Green Chypre – Citrus Amber
  • Nose:  Cecile Zarokian
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $280 for 50ml or $110 for 20ml parfum extrait

Sample courtesy of Indigo Perfumery