The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris

Image result for bois d'irisWHAT I SMELL:  Bois d’Iris is oh so inviting when it first goes on the skin.  It’s like soft iris infused cashmere that’s lightly sweetened and tinged with sun.  The perfume feels like a late spring morning where the dew of the evening before has just evaporated off the flowers and greenery of a beautiful garden.  The iris is very contained, but nicely warmed with the lightest amber that helps to give the perfume a golden hue of radiance.  After some time, the iris retreats to make way for a buzzing labdanum.  Still golden, the perfume moves from floral to almost entirely wood.  Eventually, the perfume moves to the powdery and it becomes slightly sweeter , but the sweetness is kept contained by a dried woody vetiver.  Overall, a very easy wear.

To smell wood, to see its scent from a totally different angle, forget the idea of the forest, leaves and earth , and picture it on a beach, floating in waves, and washing up on the sand.  Driftwood warmed by the sun.  I paired it with Ambergris and Labdanaum to underscore the solar and sensual dimension of this wood.  Iris and Vetiver bring out the texture and elegance of this fragrance.

– Emilie Coppermann

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Beach bonnet.  It’s a lightly sweet floral wood tinged with the sun, with a salty woodiness that is pretty, yet elegant and refined.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE BOIS d’IRIS: clean, tidy, proper

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT BOIS d’IRIS:  Now Smell This, The Non-Blonde, Perfume-Smellin’ Things

BOTTOM LINE:   Bois d’Iris is sweet, pretty, rather demure, and fun in a 1950’s kind of way.  A perfect perfume for wearing at the office, or a fun day out on the town.

  • Bone Rating:  3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Woody
  • Nose: Emilie Coppermann
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $125 for 1.5 oz eau de parfum


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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


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New Release: Silphium by Stora Skuggan

WHAT I SMELL:  Silphium goes on the skin incredibly herbal, medicinal, warm and mentholated.  It really vibrates with a vaporous sheen and the perfume is incredibly reassuring without being soft and cuddly.  Instead, since there is a medicinal edge it feels more like an elixir of health.  As the perfume begins to settle, the herbal turns to an energized spice that is somehow flat, yet full of movement.  Still rather medicinal, the perfume throws out an aura of energy which now begins to lighten with a rounded moisture fused in ginger and a slight citrus.  After some time, the perfume removes the majority of the medicinal tone and lightens to a fuzzy and lightly powdered wood that albeit full of projection, feels somewhat ethereal and wispy brought on by the breath of an opaque incense.  In the end, the perfume softens considerably and becomes a comfort scent…in the sense that the therapeutic aspects of the fragrance make you feel like you don’t only smell good, but the perfume is good for you.

From the Stora Skuggan website:

Silphium (probably of the genus Ferula) was a plant that grew in the area of Cyrene, present day Libya, and was widely renowned as a spice, medicinal herb and perfume ingredient throughout the empires of the classical antiquity. It was praised by Greek philosophers and writers, as well as Roman emperors and cookbook authors.

There were many attempts to cultivate Silphium, but they inevitably failed. It would only grow wild in a limited area of the north African coast. This in combination with its qualities as seasoning and medicine made Silphium the most valuable spice in the world, outshining both saffron and cinnamon. The demand for Silphium eventually became so overwhelming that it was harvested to extinction, and the taste and smell of the once greatest spice in the world was lost in time.

Our rendition of this historical plant is created by researching surviving assumed relatives of Silphium, using aromachemicals (the molecular building blocks of scents) to create an accord that we feel represents what descriptions remains. This is set against a background of ancient incense, woods and leather.

Silphium features top notes of Silphium accord and Cistus. The heart notes are Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Tobacco, Ginger, Geranium and Clove. Base notes are Frankincense, Myrrh, Cedarwood and Leather.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Medicinal cotton.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SILPHIUM: herbal, medicinal, therapeutic

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SILPHIUM:  None found.

BOTTOM LINE:  This new release from the Stockholm Sweden based Stora Skuggan is interesting and different and I love the fact that they are creating a perfume through the re-creation of an extinct and historical plant as a central theme.  And for perfume lovers who also gravitate towards incredible bottles…Silphium does the trick.

  • Bone Rating:  3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Spicy
  • Nose: Olle Hemmendorff and Tomas Hempel
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $140 for 30 ml eau de parfum

Sample provided by Twisted Lily Fragrange Boutique and Apothecary.  Opinion my own.