The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Maison Francis Kurkdjian – Aqua Celestia Cologne forte

WHAT I SMELL:  Aqua Celestia Cologne forte’s first spritz is a very fresh sparkling bergamot that’s fizzy and lightly sweet and tart at the same time.  Quickly, a blackberry note joins the bergamot, or I should say, sits on top of the bergamot because it feels layered as if they’re part of a fruit parfait.  The perfume is clean and bright, so much so that even if you were a little sweaty and hot from the day, the perfume would make you feel like you just stepped out of the shower.  The blackberry note continues to grow as the bergamot begins to fade into the background.   As the bergamot recedes, a fruit infused jasmine highlighted by peach comes in to take its place.  The fruit is bright and just so slightly juicy, but not enough to add any weight to the perfume.  As it continues to develop, a sandalwood pencil shaving note appears adding just the right amount of depth to bring this light and bright beauty back to the earth.  In the end, Aqua Celestia Cologne forte rests in a wonderfully light musky floral haze that’s ever so easy to love and easy to wear.

From the Maison Francis Kurkdjian website:

The bergamot becomes tinged with the fruity notes of blackcurrant, mimosa (with its raspberry and blackberry facets), and jasmine (strawberry, apricot and peach accents), before gradually melting into the mellowness of a fruity musky accord. Aqua Celestia Cologne forte releases a bright, crystal-clear aura and offers a flight towards the horizon.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Picking berries in the cool sweet morning air.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AQUA CELESTIA COLOGNE FORTE:  pretty, delightful, refreshing

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AQUA CELESTIA COLOGNE FORTE:  Contents

BOTTOM LINE:  The great thing about the Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfumes is that they are so easy to wear and many have this crisp clean finish that is impossible not to like.  Aqua Celestia Cologne forte (which is an eau de parfum) is no exception.

Aqua Celstica Cologne forte was released this year along with two other perfumes for a trio of Cologne fortes.  The following are my abbreviated impressions of the other two in the collection:

Aqua Vitae Cologne forte:  An inviting perfume that is perfectly delightful with the prettiest of florals that are topped with a mandarin orange.  I would call this a warm perfume that would be perfect for wearing even in the heat of summer.  Another 4 bones from me as it’s really lovely.

Aqua Universalis Cologne forte:  To me, this is the least interesting of the three perfumes.  Comprised of citrus and white muted flowers, it’s not bright, nor pretty, but rather salty and musky.  3 bones.

Samples courtesy of Twisted Lily Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary.


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Les Parfums Louis Vuitton

I have to admit that I neglect getting to the local shops to check out new releases as I am probably the furthest from somebody who loves to go shopping…especially at the mall.  But we had to head to the local Galleria (the local posh mall) this past weekend.  While there, I was really curious to check out the Les Parfums Louis Vuitton collection that was released last year.  Not surprisingly, the display at the store was understated and luxurious and the bottles were simple and chic (and graced with some hefty weight).  What I loved most was a coffret set of all 7 of the perfumes in 10 ml bottles.  It was cute, and again, packaged perfectly.  The sales associate was as gracious and accommodating with my many questions and when I asked if I could get samples, stepped away and then returned with a small bag filled with the complete set.  In the next couple of days, I went through all of the line and made the following determination…

the collection is nice, but nothing more.  I really wanted to love each and every one of these, but all of them seemed to have been conceived in a laboratory with a void of any emotion; they just exist.  I know, perfumes are meant to smell pretty…but these just lack any depth.  Now, don’t get me wrong, they are pleasant enough, but I was expecting the finest, finished, smooth creations, like the most luxurious Louis Vuitton bag…instead I got a no name brand bag from Macy’s.

It’s hard writing about perfumes that you don’t love…but I will say that my favorite out of the bunch (and that’s not saying much) is Matière Noire, a woody rose combination that opens with a lovely blackcurrent note but which fades to a pleasant, but nondescript sweetened patchouli.  From the Louis Vuitton website:

A blend of dark wood and white flowers ventures into a world of mystery.  Exploring the universe is the ultimate travel fantasy and most thrilling adventure. Matière Noire plumbs intangible depths with a journey through the darkest, most precious woods, namely patchouli and Laos agarwood. The agarwood’s animal notes are intensified by blackcurrant and contrasted with the whiteness of narcissus and jasmine, a floral vibration that cuts the darkness like a comet. Plumes of sacred notes unfurl on the skin. The disruption is total, almost mystical.

My second choice would be Turbulences, an earthy and big and bold tuberose perfume that gets taken over by a musky jasmine that quickly fades away.  From the Louis Vuitton website:

An extreme tuberose to stir the heart.  Discovering faraway lands can sometimes feel like soaring among the clouds. Inspired by a feeling akin to love at first sight, the perfume Turbulences pays tribute to the most narcotic of flowers: the tuberose. Here, it fuses with the most precious petals of jasmine. A light touch of leather, and you swoon. Intensely. Deliciously.

Overall, I would give the collection a 3 bone rating.  Nothing bad, but nothing great.  The perfumes, for a rather hefty price, seem to fade rather quickly.  Overall, this was a big disappointment to me as there was so much promise with the launch of this collection.

You can learn about the full collection at the Louis Vuitton website.  Each perfume costs $240 for 100 ml eau de parfum.  The cute coffret set is $290.

What others are saying about the Les Parfums Louis Vuitton collection:  Perfume Posse, Kafkaesque


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Vanille Charnelle by Les Absolus d’ Annick Goutal

Vanille CharnelleWHAT I SMELL:  Vanille Charnelle opens with a sparkling pepper which is soon met with a vanilla gourmand rather almond-ish ylang-ylang.  It’s sweet without being sugary and it smells like a baking rack full of cooling almond cookies.  But there’s a bit of sour from either the ylang-ylang or the tonka that keeps the perfume from being too confectionary.  The opening had me a bit worried that the perfume was going to rise up and scream.   But thankfully, after a few minutes the fragrance begins to contain itself.  The vetiver begins to come forward and with it comes a welcomed reedy woodiness that begins to dry out the vanilla.  But even as it continues to dry out, the vanilla almond is front and center; albeit less sugared.  After some time, the perfume journeys into a more floral realm and moves from gourmand to oriental.  It really is beautiful in a richly opulent and exotic way.  The notes are beefy and amped up and what was turning dry becomes ripened.  Vanille Charnelle then moves to a decaying spiced floral that’s wrapped up in vanilla.

Top notes are ylang-ylang and pepper; middle notes are vanilla, tonka bean and white musk; base notes are vanilla absolute and vetiver.

AnnieHallWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  There’s something very nostalgic and 1970s about this perfume…very Annie Hall.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE VANILLE CHARNELLE: charming, noticable, sentimental

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT VANILLE CHARNELLE:  Fashion for Lunch, Perfume Shrine, Alice in Beautyland

BOTTOM LINE:  Vanille Charnelle is a wonderfully spiced floral vanilla perfume the makes me want to reach for my tweed jacket.  A little of the perfume goes a long way, so when spritzing, do sparingly.  

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Floral
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $280 for 75 ml eau de parfum

Sample courtesy of Lucky Scent.