The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Santa Maria Novella Patchouli

WHAT I SMELL:   Patchouli’s opening is warm, with musty and thickened earthy patchouli that increasingly radiates off of the skin at every breath you take in.  There’s also a medicinal quality that is a cross between herbaceous and mentholated.  In a short time, Patchouli becomes woody, rather dry and it feels like the perfume was dug out from the bottom of a forest.  This is not a pretty patchouli, nor one of sweet youth, but a patchouli that reins from ancient times and one that has been fermenting in a cask until ready to be released after years of careful curation.  As the perfume develops in slow, deliberate and small nuances, it quietly settles in a woody, musky and dried, yet creamy crush of patchouli.  Patchouli would be perfect for those cool and rainy contemplative days when you don’t want to be troubled by current events.

From the Santa Maria Novella website:

The Patchouli perfume from the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica of Santa Maria Novella is a bouquet of oriental woody notes, which evoke the homonymous plant’s homeland: Malaysia and India. In the regions of origin, the unmistakable smell of patchouli pervades public and domestic environments, as traditional medicine believes that it acts on the physical balance and has a positive effect on the psyche.

Olfactory Notes:  Woody notes

Top: floral note

Heart: rosewood

Base: patchouli, sandalwood, oak moss

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  An abandoned Italian villa with remnants of ancient memories still lingering in the air.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE PATCHOULI:  ancient, earthy, serious

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT PATCHOULI:  Take One Thing Off, Perfume Smellin’ Things

BOTTOM LINE:  Patchouli is beautiful without being loud, funky or sweet in any way.  Although not an everyday perfume, it’s one that you’ll go back to again and again when the mood is just right.  For those of you who love patchouli, this is one for your collection.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Woody
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense:  $125 for 100 ml eau de cologne


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Vintage Guerlain Chamade Eau de Cologne

I love living in my adopted country of Mexico, but will wholeheartedly admit that one of the downsides of living in this beautiful country is the access to perfume.  Mexicans love their perfume; when you walk down the street everyone leaves behind a trail of perfumed bliss.  That said, you can find the standard department store fragrances without issue, but anything out of the ordinary (niche or high end) is impossible to get, at least here in the Yucatan.  And forget shipping from overseas, Mexico, like many countries, does not allow for the shipment of “flammable liquids.”  So yes, getting the latest and greatest new releases in a timely manner is something that I have had to learn to live without.

Another thing I miss is the ability shop on eBay.  Instead, here they have a similar site called MercadoLibre.  But perfume shopping is pretty much limited to the same perfumes found in the stores.  Of course, that doesn’t keep me from scanning the site every now and then just as I did the other day.  To my surprise, someone was selling an unopened bottle vintage bottle of Guerlain Chamade Eau de Cologne.  They said the bottle was 200 ml and in researching pricing, I found it to be a pretty good deal.  So I thought what the heck, this doesn’t happen every day and I have never ordered anything from MercadoLibre, so I went for it.  The shipper said they would ship “next day,” but I have to admit I was skeptical.  Two days after placing my order, a heavy box arrived from Mexico City.  I opened the box which was packed perfectly and found the largest bottle of perfume I had ever seen.  My first thought is that it was a factice, but once I put my nose up to the stopper I could clearly smell that it was indeed perfume.  The perfume didn’t come with a box, and the size was not labeled on the bottle.  After some research it was determined that the bottle is a 16 oz. or 500 ml bottle….for the size, the purchase turned out to be an incredible deal.

For size comparison, the Vol de Nuit on the left is 3 oz. and the Mitsouko on the right is 1.7 oz.

I love my Guerlains with Vol de Nuit being one of my all time favorite perfumes, but I never really paid much attention to Chamade.  A light green floral is perfect for the hot weather here, but that doesn’t mean I would like the perfume.  So did I make a good purchase?

WHAT I SMELL: 

The beauty of Chamade is instantaneously revealed with it’s opening of bright sparkling aldehydes which quickly meld with a green stem-ladened hyacinth.  This is spring in a bottle…I picture bouncing lambs running on hills of green.  The opening of this perfume is utterly delightful and so incredibly pretty.  For being a vintage bottle that is most likely from the 1970s, the top notes are surprisingly intact.  The perfume stays in this greenish floral bliss for quite some time, but after some time its met with a layer of powder that smells like makeup.  After more time, the galbanum takes front and center as the perfume dries out and continues to powder.  The perfume is green without being too sharp and to me this makes this easier to wear.  And just when I thought the perfume couldn’t get any prettier, out comes a floral heart with rose at the center topped with a comforting smooth vanilla and sandalwood combination, which helps to cut the powdery green.  Here, the perfume moves from the spring to the more serious…or should I say more seriously beautifully refined and mature.

From the Guerlain website:

For the first time in perfumery, Guerlain introduced to a formula the green and fruity accent of blackcurrant bud, freshened with a green harmony of hyacinth. Lastly, this symphony is embellished with Guerlinade, which majestically showcases jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood.

One of these Easter lovelies is probably wearing Chamade…which one is it?

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Although launched in 1969, Chamade to me is quintessentially early to mid-1960s as it’s rooted in the past and not so much in the modern era of the time.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CHAMADE:  springtime, happiness, contentment

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CHAMADE:  Yesterday’s Perfume, Perfume Posse

BOTTOM LINE: Chamade, where have you been all of my life?  This perfume is so pretty and easy to wear that it might be one of those perfumes that just doesn’t get the love that it deserves.  As for me, I’ll continue to search on MercadoLibre for the parfum extrait version.  Chamade is truly a love.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Fruity Floral Oriental
  • Nose:  Jean-Paul Guerlain
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense:  Varies for vintage