The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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New Release: Exit the King by Etat Libre d’Orange

WHAT I SMELL:  Exit the King’s opening is bright, light and a little lemony, all of which soon moves to a sparkling pink pepper that quickly melds into a soured, flattened and soapy mix of florals.  From almost the beginning, the perfume has a cottony and gauze like sheath that sits above the muted florals.  Overall, it’s pretty in a inconspicuous and subdued way.  After some more time, a salty edge brings a bit of a bite to the florals floating underneath.  And with the salt, comes a little funk, like a light sweat.   And as I say that, the florals begin to really gain strength while still being muted.  But because of the mix of salt, funk and clean florals, the perfume feels natural, as if it’s just part of your personal DNA.  After some more time, the perfume begins to warm with a lightly sweetened minty patchouli.  Here, the perfume feels like a natural hug with its herbal essence.  As the perfume then slows in development, the herbal becomes more a bit more soapy and a clean woody white musk takes it’s place.  Even without the herbal freshness, the perfume retains its delightful persona.

From Etat Libre d’Orange:


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Guerlain Lui

WHAT I SMELL:  Lui opens with a warm, lightly spiced benzoin that’s deeply sensuous and lightly tar like, but without the heavy weight.  Soon enough, a buzzing carnation makes an entrance in the quietest of ways.  And then, a nutmeg and clove spice begins to take shape after a short time adding just a bit of a bite.  The perfume is rather brooding in it’s spicy persona with a mix of benzoin, leather and vanilla spice carrying the perfume on its journey.  In the end, you’re left with a light smoky dry haze of a perfume that hugs close to the skin.

From the Guerlain website:

Feminine. Masculine. Why choose? LUI is a fragrance that likes to blur the boundaries. Not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine, it is both at once. Inspired by a generation that is breaking free from gender norms, Guerlain had the idea of an unmistakably universal fragrance.

Its ambiguous fragrance trail is based on benzoin: floral, spicy and woody in turn, this resin is revealed in all of its complexity as the composition created by perfumer Delphine Jelk unfolds. Fused with powdery and spicy carnation accents, they form an equally unexpected and harmonious blend.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:   Autumn in Paris.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE LUI:  reserved, contemplative, semi-spicy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT LUI:  The Black Narcissus, Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  I love Guerlain perfumes, but I don’t love Lui.  Truly a fall and winter perfume, the nutty-ish spice almost reminds me of the season’s tragic “pumpkin spice” phenomena.  And weirdly, Lui doesn’t make me feel any emotion as I wear it.  Instead, it just rather bores me.

  • Bone Rating:  2.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Spicy Woody Floral
  • Nose:  Delphine Jelk
  • Classification:  Unisex
  • Expense:  $185 for 50 ml eau de parfum


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Morning Chess – Vilhelm Parfumerie

WHAT I SMELL:  Morning Chess opens with a sparkling, yet muted bergamot that is soon met with a lightly sweetened leather.  Quickly a blackberry/currant note enters in the most ethereal way.  It’s light, doesn’t overpower and it’s completely dreamlike.  And gliding right behind the berries enters an evergreen note.  Here, the perfume feels like a warmed northern forest partially lit from the sun as it hits the top of the trees and the green grass that it manages to reach at the forest bottom below.  As it continues to develop, the green fir moves to the warmer with a low dose golden amber.  Here, the perfume feels like you’re in a warmed meadow at the edge of the forest where the smell of the fir lingers in the air.   In the end, the perfume dances between a berry like lightly sweet patchouli and the fir.  In all, the perfume maintains the lightest of touch and the fir notes stay muted in perfect harmony with the fruit and leather.  Morning Chess is an exceptional perfume with a Scandinavian sensibility…it’s simple, clean and perfectly peaceful.

From the Vilhelm Parfumerie website:

Bright endless mornings in a cottage, minds battling in wit over a chessboard: the memories of Jan’s summers shared with his grandfather. The ripe, green lushness of summer on the Swedish coast, where grassy notes are light enough to hint at the evergreen sharpness of the distant winter air.

Top:  Bergamot
Middle : Tuscan Leather, Galbanum
Base : Patchouli, Black Amber

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A dreamlike Swedish garden spot.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE MORNING CHESS:  calming, comforting, contented

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MORNING CHESSLife in a Cold Climate, Now Smell This

BOTTOM LINE:  The other morning I had applied Morning Chess before heading out of the house. When I came back hours later, I jumped in the pool to cool off.  In between my dozing on my float, I kept getting whiffs of the most beautiful lightly berried fir scent and wondered where it was coming from.  Finally, I realized that the incredibly pretty scent was coming from me.  The heat of the sun had pulled the perfume off of my skin and surrounded me in the most beautiful haze.  Not many perfumes can enrapture me in such a way.

* Sample provided by Twisted Lily Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary.