The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


11 Comments

Vintage Guerlain Vol de Nuit

When we were over to a friend’s house for dinner a couple of weeks ago, the conversation turned to perfume as their neighbor was talking about how she missed the old Opium from the 1980s.  My friend had mentioned before that she loved perfume, but since developing allergies related to fragrance years ago she had to give up wearing it…along with now having to use fragrance free detergents, soaps, etc.  She walked me up to her bedroom and said that her signature perfume was Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit.  She pulled out an old bottle that was 1/2 full, a bottle that looked to be from the 1980s.  I put a little on my wrist and it was heaven.  She took a sniff and loved it as much as I did, but immediately she could feel it overtake her throat.  I was thinking how horribly sad it was that she would never again be able to enjoy this perfume she loved so much.  She saw how much I loved the perfume so she reached to the back of her dresser and pulled out a box that contained an unopened new bottle that she has been hanging on to since the 1990s and she proceeded to give it to me.  I balked at first, but then she said that she would rather the perfume go to someone who would truly love and appreciate it as much as she did.  An incredibly lovely gesture, I was humbled and still am by this generous and thoughtful gift.  I have many perfumes, and a few vintage perfumes as well…but this perfume will always occupy a special place in my heart.

WHAT I SMELL:  Vol de Nuit opens with a warm, encompassing dried galbanum and a subdued bergamot.  The perfume is light, but it has a strange depth to it as it’s slightly spicy and lightly earthy.  The perfume tingles my skin as it begins to powder and dry with a wonderful layer of oakmoss and dried flowers.  After some time, the perfume begins to lighten to reveal a soft and tender, but earthy and lightly leathered iris.  The whole composition is extremely subdued and it wears very close to the skin, but unlike the other early 20th Century nod to aviation, Caron’s En Avion that is thickened with the dirt spattered first flights, Vol de Nuit is ultimately more romantic and dreamy.  The drydown is a slow and soft ride, but it’s the wait that’s worthwhile as the perfume glides in a hazy state of pure, but restrained bliss.

The top notes are bergamot, galbanum and petit grain; the heart reveals jasmine, daffodil and spices; the base combines earthy woods, iris, vanilla, amber and woodsy notes.

Night FlightWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A romantic night flight above the clouds.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE VOL DE NUIT:  positive, subdued, dreamy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT VOL DE NUIT: Bois de Jasmin, The Non-Blonde, The Black Narcissus

BOTTOM LINE:  Vol de Nuit isn’t about the grandeur of other Guerlain classics like Shalimar and Mitsouko.  Instead, it has a quiet heart that sings softly.  If the eau de toillette is this beautiful, I can only imagine what the extrait is like.  Let the hunt begin.  Thank you Paula for letting me fly above the clouds!

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Woody
  • Nose:  Jacques Guerlain
  • Classification: Feminine, but easily worn by a man
  • Expense: Varied.  Review based on the EdT version.


13 Comments

Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale

WHAT I SMELL:  Sushi Imperiale’s opening is decidedly not sushi like as it opens with a warm crunchy bergamot and sugared orange.  The perfume is sweet, but not sugary sweet; instead its sweetened naturally as if it’s tinged with brown sugar.  Soon enough, the natural sweetness begins to give way for a more flattened floral spice.  The perfume is slightly gourmand, but that quickly moves away and the perfume begins to unleash a warm, shimmering radiance and a lovely warmed sandalwood comes to the forefront.  At this point, Sushi Imperiale becomes enveloping and rapturous…the base notes are a light blanket of comfort that don’t weigh down the perfume, but instead add just the right amount of security.  After this, Sushi Imperiale doesn’t transform much, except when it finally settles in with light and soft patchouli that feels tufted with light cotton.  In other words, it’s comforting and reassuring.

From Bois 1920:

An intense beginning where the citrus notes blend harmoniously for an eau de toilette that speaks of love.  The heart releases its spicy personality:  the vibrant and exotic luminosity of Pepper, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.  The fragrance develops into a brilliant and almost nonchalant wisp of woods and Vanilla of Madagascar.

Top notes are bergamot, mandarin orange and lemon; middle notes are pepper, nutmeg, jasmine, rose, star anise and cinnamon; base notes are sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, tonka bean and madagascar vanilla.

Italian Crown Prince Umberto II

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  To me this is less “sushi” imperial, but it is indeed more italian imperial, meaning that the perfume is fit for a prince.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SUSHI IMPERIALE:  shimmering, comforting, contented

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SUSHI IMPERIALE: AustralianPerfumeJunkies, EauMG, Kafkaesque

BOTTOM LINE: Sushi Imperiale is a wonderfully wearable and elegant perfume that has surprising projection and longevity and is rather beefy for an eau de toilette.  This is a perfume that is perfectly elegant without being snobbish.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Spicy
  • Nose: Enzo Galardi
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: Approximately $140 for 50 ml EdT


7 Comments

Les Exclusifs de Chanel Gardénia

chanel-gardeniaI am lamenting the fact that it’s now September which means that summer’s glow will now start turning towards the fall and the cooler weather.  I have to admit that I am more of a summer perfume person…I will happily take florals and light and breezy citrus fragrances over the ambers and vanilla perfumes that are more suited to the cool weather.  Today it was nice and sunny out and a bit cooler than it has been, which meant that it was time to do some cleanup in the yard…and the perfect perfume for tackling this chore was Chanel Gardénia.  Yes, I’ll admit to wearing perfume to work in the yard!

WHAT I SMELL:  Gardénia hits the skin with bright aldehydes that are quickly met with a smooth green lushness and radiant white florals.  The perfume is so creamy and full of life and full of unending joy. Gardénia can’t help but lift your spirits when you put it on.  The gardenia, formed with the roundest of tuberose, sparkles as if the dew is bouncing off of the waxy white pedals of the flowers.  As it develops, the perfume begins to dry out and a woody base that’s warm and radiant begins to hover underneath the white flowers and I find it now to be incredibly pretty without being overly feminine.  As it continues to develop, Gardénia really begins to sweeten… but I’ve noticed that how sweet the perfume becomes depends on the temperature, humidity, etc.  In the summer, this sweetness melds wonderfully with the moist air, but in the winter it could easily become cloying.  Overall, Gardénia hits the spot for raising my happy quotient and I like that.

From the Chanel website:

Mademoiselle Chanel liked white flowers, so well-defined, so sensual…and yet her emblem, the Camellia, has no scent. But the Gardenia, which it so closely resembles, fills the air with fragrance. Gabrielle Chanel and Ernest Beaux evoked this flower magnificently: its green notes, its creamy heart, and a trail full of fantasy.

Sunny 60s

Sue Lyon post Lolita

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Simply ’60s – the traditional years that were easy, simple, uncomplicated and a bit square.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE GARDÉNIA:  pretty, joyful, easy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT GARDÉNIA:  Bois de Jasmin, Olfactoria’s Travels, The Non-Blonde

BOTTOM LINE:  Gardénia doesn’t get the love or respect that other Chanel Les Exclusifs do, and I understand that.  Gardénia is a rather safe and unpretentious perfume…but when I wear it, I wear it solely for myself and no others.  I just wish the longevity of the perfume was a bit better…as it is, I am doing a lot of spritzing throughout the day…but I’m fine with that too!

  • Bone Rating:  3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Floral
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $160 for 2.5 oz eau de toilette.  Also available in parfum extrait.