The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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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.


15 Comments

Russkaya Kozha by Berdoues

WHAT I SMELL:  Russkaya Kozha has a discordant and biting opening that quickly moves to a flattened wood tinged with leather and oud.  There’s a sour edge and a pungent aspect, like worn leather pants that have absorbed the dirt and sweat from the wearer.  The perfume is beefy without being weighted, but it does have presence.  After a few minutes, the funky opening starts to sweeten and a wonderful radiating amber and benzoin ride above the now rough hewed sueded leather.  There’s a slight booziness that meets the mix and what was a bit rough and tumble at the beginning is now confidently sophisticated.  It also seems like there may be a light rose note buried under the leather, but I’m not seeing that listed as one of the notes.  The perfume settles down into a warmed smoky leather that is masculine without being overt but is still clearly in charge.  Instead, it projects confidence in a wonderful grandeur that is born from the majestic heart of Mother Russia.

From the Berdoues website:

An elegant leather perfume.

All the sophistication of Russia captured in a glass bottle. A blend of the noblest raw materials, Russkaya Kozha develops into an intense, mysterious perfume through the combination of Cade wood from Spain, Siam Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.

Russkaya Kozha is a leathery, amber perfume that bares eternal Russia’s soul through the blend of Cade wood and an elegant accord of Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.  An elegant and sophisticated Grand Cru.

Prince Alexander Konstantinovich Gorchakov

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A perfume fit for a Russian Prince.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  secure, cultivated, resolute

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  Colognoisseur, The Perfume Expert

BOTTOM LINE:  Russkaya Kozha is a lovely leather perfume that feels refined, yet still embodies the rough edges that come with the harsh environments of the Russian landscape.  This is a really nice leather perfume that doesn’t overwhelm the wearer and as a cologne, this has incredible lasting power.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Leather
  • Nose: Flavien Laurandeau
  • Classification: Leans masculine, but easily unisex
  • Expense: $80 for 100 ml eau de cologne


11 Comments

New Release: Sandor 70’s by Carner Barcelona

carnersandos70sWHAT I SMELL:  Sandor 70’s completes a kick-start with a quick blast of bergamot that soon melds into a wonderfully warm floral suede.  The florals then move to the more herbal with a clary sage note that is front and center.  The perfume is smooth and incredibly engaging.  Neither feminine nor masculine, the perfume defies a label.  As the perfume continues to develop, it really begins to project and a dry woody timbre pushes out a light powder.  Continuing on, a smoky note appears along with a dry vetiver, but as soon as I write that, the dryness makes way for a buttery vanilla.  Here, the perfume is simply sublime as it fills the air with a rich, sophisticated suede that feels like it’s coming from a well of nature.  It’s not dirty, nor heavy, instead, the perfume feels earthy and grounded and nostalgic.  As it continues to unfold, the tobacco and the leather mix in a swirl of wafting smoke.  Here, the dirt from the cobblestone streets meet the soles of the well-worn shoes that walk them.

From the Carner Barcelona website:

inspiration:  “At the crest of upper Barcelona once a place to see and be seen, an iconic bar where the smoke of cigars flirted with the aristocratic leather armchairs…”

top notes – Suede Accord, Italian bergamot, Vintage Jasmin absolute, Chinese osmanthus absolute, Bulgarian rose essence

mid notes – Tobacco Accord,  Clary sage absolute, Virginian cedar wood, Peru balsam, Mexican vanilla extract

base notes –  Spanish leather accord, Patchouli essence, Vetyver essence, Ethiopian frankincense extract, Oak moss absolute

wellwornsandalWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Your favorite pair of well-worn leather/suede sandals.  So comfortable, like an old friend.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SANDOR 70’s:  vintage, careworn, comfortable

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SANDOR 70’s: Fragrance Daily

BOTTOM LINE:  Part of the new Black Collection, Sandor 70’s is my favorite among the three perfumes in the line.  Here, the nod to nostalgia is done perfectly and makes this a leather perfume that’s perfect for those who don’t like their leather over the top.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Leather
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $220 for 50 ml eau de parfum

Sample courtesy of Twisted Lily.