The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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The Scented Hound’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re like me, you’re always running behind on getting the perfect gifts for your loved ones.  This year is no exception.  But thanks to online shopping, ordering your gifts late doesn’t mean that you have to worry about your presents arriving after Christmas.  So now that I have my list together, let’s help the overworked Santa and get some shopping done!

GUERLAIN MITSOUKO EXTRACT

Dear Santa, if you’re listening, there’s only one thing that I want for Christmas and that’s a new bottle of Mitsouko Extract. Since 1919, this enigmatic perfume has been weaving her spell on all who wear her. As much as I love the eau de toilette version, the extract is everything that is perfume is meant to be.  Be aware that this version is hard to find online, so you need to call your closest Guerlain boutique to place an order. But for those in the UK, you can purchase this spellbinding perfume via Escentual for 2o4 pounds. Santa, I promise that I’ve been a good boy this year!

JONATHAN ADLER JACQUES TRAY

Perfumistas love to display their most treasured perfumes. So for those who are not quite sure what perfume to buy for a loved one, you can’t go wrong with purchasing a luxurious tray for holding one’s perfumed gems.  Jonathan Adler has some new gorgeous lucite trays, which are pretty, but better yet, whose design won’t distract from your most loved possessions. The luxurious Jacques Tray comes in both a small and large size and is available in either brass or smoke accents. Prices start at $395.

MOTTAHEDEH BLUE CANTON FU DOG CANDLE

I love Mottahedeh Blue Canton china. Add a Fu Dog and a candle, and I’m completely sold.  This beautiful candle is scented with the fragrance, Air de Bergamia, a citrus-fresh fragrance that blends lemon and orange with bergamot, tea, raspberry and peach.  This elegant candle would look good in any room in your house. You can find this treasure at Gump’s online or in store in San Francisco. And if you’re not familiar with Gump’s, you’ll find that this is one of a kind department store with unique items that you won’t find anywhere else. Priced at $375.

PUREDISTANCE DISCOVERY BOX

I make no bones about the fact that Puredistance is my favorite perfume house. There is no perfume in the collection that I do not like, but I will admit that White is my favorite perfume in their line and one of my top 3 favorites perfumes overall.  If you’ve never experienced Puredistance perfumes, they are crafted luxury of the utmost quality.  And since their’ perfumes are extracts, a little spritz goes a long way, plus they last throughout the day. The best way to discover what your favorite is to sample the range, which includes a 1.5 ml sample of White as well as 6 other beauties. And all this for 59 Euros. I know that once you have experienced these incredible perfumes at least one will end up in your collection.  Please check out their website for other amazing special holiday gifts.

TRAVALO PERFUME ATOMIZERS

If you’re a perfumista, no doubt you have purchased a Travalo atomizer at some point. These handy travel accessories make taking your perfume on the road easy as pie. Plus they’re really nice looking and pretty reasonable in terms of cost.  But if you’re looking for the ultimate in atomizer luxury, they also offer silver and gold options covered in Swaravoski crystals.  What better way to treat your favorite perfume by casing it in the ultimate bling.   OK, so it’s a little pricey at $399, but isn’t your perfume worth it?  If that’s all too much, then remember that they have other atomizers starting at $9.50.

CAR SCENT DIFFUSER

We love to smell nice.  Why can’t our car smell nice too?  If you’re like me, the thought of hanging a deodorized evergreen tree on your rear view mirror is one that I can’t fathom.  But there are options to the old school way of perking up your car’s inner presence.  The diffuser from Duke may just be what you’re looking for.  This fun little gadget allows you to plug in to your cigarette lighter holder or the USB connector.  The product comes with essential oil, but if you’re like me, I would put a few drops of my favorite scented oil to make sure that my car smelled just the way I want it to.  And it’s at a great price of  $32 at Abode New York.

“GOT PERFUME?” T-SHIRT

I love this funny perfume skunk t-shirt.  This fun gift is a win for those who love perfume and for those who hate it (how is that possible?).  And it’s a deal for under $20.

YANKEE CANDLE COMPANY PERSONALIZED PICTURE CANDLES

I will have to admit that I struggle with Yankee Candle Company.  I can’t bear to go into their stores because the smell is overwhelming with too many different odors colliding in a fury at once.  Given that however, I do love this idea of being able to create your own customized picture candle.  It’s easy, just choose the size of your candle, pick the scent and then upload your photo to create your label.  In the end, it’s a unique, one of a kind gift that no one else will have.  Actually, I would love to see a candle with my two kitties on the front.  I wonder if they have tuna fish as one of their scents??  Prices vary based on the size of the candle chosen.

PARAFILM

Parafilm is the perfect stocking stuffer for any perfume lover.  So you ask, why would laboratory film be the perfect gift?  Parafilm, a sealing film, is the best way to ensure that your sample swaps and perfume bottle moves are protected from leaking.  I recently packed up my perfume collection for a move and I only found one out of about 100 bottles that suffered any leakage; and that was due to my sloppy application of the tape.  Now Parafilm can be expensive, but I found that you can find small amounts online via eBay for a low cost.  A little goes a long way so you don’t need much.  Trust me, you want to use this stuff!

RENAISSANCE KITTY PILLOW COVER 

Of course my holiday shopping list would not be complete without a gift from the irreverent Archie McPhee.  This year my pic for an inexpensive love is the Renaissance Kitty Pillow Cover.  This fun gift would be perfect for the cat lover in your life…or for those that frequent the Renaissance Fair each year.  At $11.95, it’s a great bargain.  But if the kitty pillow is not your thing, Archie McPhee offers a plethora of other fun, wild and strange offerings…most at an incredible price.  Archie McPhee is the place to go for the perfect stocking stuffer.

Of course, not all your holiday shopping needs will be met with this list.  But I hope a few of these items may find themselves under the Christmas tree, either for you or your loved one.

Happy Holidays from The Scented Hound.


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Vintage Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

WHAT I SMELL:  This particular vintage L’Heure Bleue (why do I say it that way?  you’ll see below) eau de toilette opens with a bright and sweet bergamot and spicy anise which first goes on cool to the touch, but then warms considerably and quickly.  It smells mysterious and serious and rather mature and slightly medicinal.  This is not your Britney Spears of perfumes, but is a perfume that instead dazzles and sings with wisdom and grace.  There’s not a great deal of development as the perfume settles in to reside in a floral meld with a spicy carnation and tuberose center that is dusted with a violet powder that wraps the perfume in mysterious wisdom.

The top notes are opening with spicy-sweet aniseed and fresh bergamot that gently lead to the heart of rose, carnation, tuberose, violet, and neroli. The soft and powdery floral notes are resting on a base of vanilla, Tonka bean, iris and benzoin.

Blue silk floral applique gown by Valentino.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A romantic blue silk evening gown.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE L’HEURE BLEUE:  mild, measured, solemn

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT L’HEURE BLEUE: Kafkasesque, Bois de Jasmin, Monsieur Guerlain

BOTTOM LINE:  The review above it based on a 1980s sample received from the wonderful Undina.  It’s bright, yet serious and very powdery.. and I love it.  I recently found a 1980s unopened EdT bottle on eBay for next to nothing.  The bright top notes seemed to have faded away and unlike the version I’m writing about, it’s pretty, but much darker has much more rounded florals.  It’s nice, but it doesn’t carry the fresh feel like the sample I reviewed.  Then a couple of weeks ago I was in an antique store and found this massive Bacarrat bottle (200 ml?) of extrait from the 1930s/40s.  There was a sale at the store and I got the 1/2 filled perfume bottle for a great price.  The stopper was stuck and thanks to Mr. Freezer, I was able to dive into this treasure.  Again, after all these years, the top notes have faded, but the heart is glorious, deep, rich and very serious.  So three different versions and 3 very different perfumes.  I have to say that the light and pretty 1980s version is a dream and probably my favorite of the three.  But overall, none of the versions project on my skin.  Maybe it’s me that’s the problem?

IMG_0799This story just keeps getting longer…so about a week after I started writing the above, I felt compelled to purchase a bottle of the current version in the eau de parfum formula.  A great price added with a coupon I couldn’t refuse right?  Actually, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to like it… but to my surprise I adore it.  It’s not quite as sunny as the vintage Undina sample, but it’s lighter and sweeter than my vintage EdT and parfum.  There’s a little incense in it and a little powder as it’s completely understated.  But what it defined for me, is that no matter what formula the perfume is in…my skin just eats it up and that means it has a pretty short lifespan on me.  That’s unusual for me, but I’m OK with it because I love to slather myself in any and all versions.   BTW, the new EdP layered with my old vintage EdT is divine!

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Floral
  • Nose: Jacques Guerlain
  • Classification: Marketed as feminine but to me it’s very unisex
  • Expense: Prices vary for vintage versions, but the current EdP can be purchased for as low as $60 for 100 ml.


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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.