The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Vintage Houbigant Essence Rare Parfum Extrait

WHAT I SMELL:  Essence Rare opens with what seems to be fading aldehydes that are quickly met by a spiced geranium.  The perfume deepens quickly as the perfume moves to a civet and amber making it very mature almost from the start as there’s nothing light nor fluffy about it.  As it continues to develop, the oakmoss pushes itself to the forefront and it’s here the perfume puts out a strong forcefield as it’s all powdered and dry oakmoss, spice and civet.  After quite some time, the perfume begins to retreat a bit and thankfully a beautiful sandalwood laced with warm florals begins to take the perfume from the overt to the almost sublime.  In the end, Essence Rare is still mature, but it’s much more approachable, albeit with a strong personality.

Essence Rare Notes:

Top:  aldehydes, bergamot, lily of the valley
Heart:  geranium, rose, iris
Base:  sandalwood, ambergris, vanilla, oakmoss, musk, tonka bean, vetiver, civet

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Forgive me, but the image of Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” popped in my head.  The perfume seems stuck in the 70s, is a bit unforgiving and begs to be noticed.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ESSENCE RARE:  solid, stocky, bold

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT ESSENCE RARE:  Bois de Jasmin, Fragrantica

BOTTOM LINE:  I found the iceberg bottle pictured above at an antique store for $15, so I thought, why not.  As many of you know, I love vintage perfumes, but Essence Rare is a rarity where it’s anything but a love.  What I typically like about these small extrait bottles is that they generally stay fresher than some of their larger counterparts.  I’m sure that there has been degradation with this, but I believe that Essence Rare was pretty much a powerhouse from day one and it does feel very dated.  So my 2 bones rating is based solely on this bottle…but maybe it’s just that bottle and some day I’ll run into one that makes me reconsider.

It should be noted that Essence Rare was reformulated in 2018 and the perfume was once again created by Jean-Claude Ellena.  But everything that I have read about it states that this new version is much lighter and rather pretty and no doubt more approachable to today’s market.

  • Bone Rating: 2 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Aldehyde
  • Note:  Jean-Claude Ellena
  • Classification: To me, very unisex
  • Expense:  Prices vary.  Review based on the 1976 reissued version parfum extrait.

 


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New Release: Puredistance No. 12

WHAT I SMELL:  No. 12 opens with a soft, buttery bergamot that’s infused with citrus and lightly sweetened florals that go on smooth as silk.  From first spritz the perfume is elegance personified as there’s nothing sharp as the now lightly warmed florals seem to infuse into your being as if the perfume isn’t just resting on your skin, but becomes part of it.  The ylang-ylang is front and center initially, but hints of rose peek through every now and then.  After some time, the perfume withdraws a bit, making it rather quiet as a slightly metallic rose makes its way in replacing the ylang-ylang as the center of attention.  The perfume still retains its buttery and silky finish as it starts to become warmer and grows in projection.  After some more time, the butter makes way for the powder which makes the florals all that more feminine.  Continuing on, No. 12 deepens and warms with a lightly weighted mix of amber and softened sandalwood.   Overall the perfume is seamless in its development and its infusion of ingredients.  As such, I’m not sure I’m giving it justice with my description.  So in the end, the best way to describe No. 12 is to envision a beauty descending slowly down a grand staircase at the start of the magnificent ball.  You can’t help but turn your head and take in the radiant grace and warmth of her spirit.  Let the festivities begin! 

From the Puredistance website:

A grand perfume that wraps around you like a cashmere veil… A perfume like no other, in many ways timeless and hard to describe with words. No.12 perfectly embodies the DNA of Puredistance: timelessly beautiful, elegant and very distinctive in character

Top Notes: Bergamot oil, Mandarin oil, Cardamom oil, Coriander oil, Ylang Ylang oil, Narcissus abs

Middle Notes: Jasmin abs, Rose oil, Geranium oil, Lily of the Valley, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus abs, Orris Butter, Heliotrope, Hedione HC

Base Notes: Vetyver, Sandalwood oil, Patchouli oil, Oak moss, Tonka, Ambrette note, Ambroxan, Vanilla, Musks.

Lady in waiting of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (wife on Nicholas I) by Gavril Yakovlev, 1850′s.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Royal blue.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE No. 12:  grand, graceful, classic, warm, inviting, rapturous…ok, so that’s more than three words, but I probably could add another 20 and in the end it wraps up to just one word…gorgeous.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT No. 12The Plum Girl, PerfuManiac, CaFleureBon

BOTTOM LINE:  No. 12 is the last entry into the Puredistance Magnificent XII collection of perfumes.  And what a way to seal off an already amazing set of fragrances.  With No. 12, perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer has created a classic that harkens back to the day when perfumes were created that were simple in their beauty while also being fantastically grand.  I have always stated that White was my favorite perfume in the Puredistance collection, but I am thinking that No. 12 may have just changed my mind.  No worries though as I can love them both!

  • Bone Rating: 5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Nose: Nathalie Feisthauer
  • Classification:  Leans feminine
  • Expense: Starting at 175 Euros for 17ml parfum extrait (25% perfume oil).


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Two from Shalini Parfum – Paradis Provence & Iris Lumière

PARADIS PROVENCE – WHAT I SMELL:  Paradis Provence opens with a sparkling, yet slightly salty thyme and lavender along with what I found to be just a hint of sweet caramel.  Almost right from first spritz, the perfume seems to lift off the skin as if it’s ascending towards the sky.  With this airy quality, it’s as if it’s a sheet that has been hanging on the clothesline, soaked in the sun and infused with the herbaceous thyme and lavender from nearby fields.  In the most quiet of ways, there’s an orange blossom note that rests within the perfume which helps to temper the stronger aspects of the lavender, making its’ persona softer, while still buzzing with energy  Additionally, the perfume also has an interesting textured quality to it, as if it has been painted on with a soft and powdered dry brush.  Overall, Paradis Provence has a very calming presence (as I write this, I’m sitting in the dark without electricity as a tropical storm charges through…thanks to Paradis Provence, no worries).  Paradis Provence doesn’t change much beyond this point which is a good thing as the perfume rests in this powdery herbal and lightly woody heaven that is quiet, intimate and grounded in positive energy.

From Shalini Parfum:

Paradis Provence is the essence of the land we call Provence, Paradise on earth.

Fields of blue lavande, thyme, orange blossoms, sunflowers following the golden Sun, ancient olive trees, the sky that turns pink as it touches the azure of the Mediterranean and amorous nights drenched in jasmine.

Where the solar energy lights your soul. the golden sunshine warms your skin, and soft breezes caress your senses, a feeling of deep relaxation prevails.

Paradis Provence is the fragrance of the eternal summer – of our youth, our imagination and our passion. A happy summer of blue salt and crystal.

The parfum is a solar composition of lavande absolut, thyme and orange blossoms. It carries you to the days of blue and gold and warms your soul with its sunlight.

Lavande absolut is the purest essence of this blue flower that is the heart of Provence. The sight of rows of endless blue in the summer is magnificent.

Thyme with its golden beam of light cleanses and heals. It opens your heart to receive love.

Orchards of orange blossoms laden by the bees, swaying in breeze, scent the air. The orange absolut carries the glorious energy of joy and abundance.

The oak moss lends a delicate forest-like, rich and earthy aroma to the composition.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Inner peace.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE PARADIS PROVENCE:  comforting, serene, centered

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT PARADIS PROVENCE:  Colognoisseur, CaFleureBon, WMSSL

BOTTOM LINE:  It has been a long time since a perfume has made me feel so at peace and so incredibly secure and relaxed.  And the fact that it’s so incredibly beautiful just makes it all that much more special.  I can have problems with lavender perfumes as they tend to overpower me.  But here, the lavender is tamed by the orange blossom in the most exquisite of ways.  Personally, I would say that Paradis Provence, along with the original Shalini are my two favorite perfumes in the line.  And that’s saying alot since all of the perfumes are beyond gorgeous.

  • Bone Rating: 5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Aromatic
  • Nose:  Maurice Roucel
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense:  Starting at $150 for 7.5 ml.  Also available in 12.5 ml, 50 ml and 100 ml flacons.  Available via the Shalini Parfum website.  Parfum extrait.

Paradis Provence is the Golden light and Iris Lumière is the Silver light.  The twin lights of creation. – Shalini Parfum

IRIS LUMIÈRE – WHAT I SMELL:  Iris Lumière graces the skin with a soft, cottony muguet tinged with the slightest of moistened leaves and tempered galbanum.  The perfume is tender and quiet; as if you laid your head on an exquisite pillow which is cool to the skin and surrounded by soft and lilting violet and muguet caressing your head with lullaby whispers.   There’s a light earthiness that rests under the tender florals and a dry wood that keeps the perfume just out of the clouds.  The opening of the perfume lasts a very long time and the development moves oh so slowly which is just as well as the innocent florals are in a place that begs not to be left.  When Iris Lumière decides to walk along the garden path, the green begins to grow and the lightest wisp of frankincense lifts gracefully with each quiet step along the way.  Here, Iris Lumière moves from the delicate innocence of the muguet and to a more mature orris root and it begins to warm ever so slightly as it begins to pulsate off of the skin in a lightly woody timbre.

From Shalini Parfum:

Iris Lumière parfum is the Silver light of peace and acceptance. 

The Moon shines upon the earth and lights everything in its path.  The night is cool and peaceful, a moment of respite for the world.

Iris Lumière is a luminous Parfum, like the moonlight bathing and caressing in a mysterious way.

Meadows of Royal irises clothed in regal purpura-blue; rising above the moist soil reflecting the silvery moon – are luxurious gifts from the heavens. The King is in the field – calling His beloved – swaying in silvery breezes whispers of love and passion. 

The parfum is a lunar composition of luxurious Orris Absolut, Hyacinth Orientalis, French Muguet, Galbanum and Frankincense. 

Orris butter is the heart of Iris Lumière. It is extracted from the rhizome of the Iris root. Creating an exquisite woody, violet-like aroma of unearthly beauty and luxurious delicacy.  Rapturous.

French Muguet’s elegant sweet floral bell shape is borne in sprays during springtime bringing a sense of tender happiness and inspiration.

Hyacinth Orientalis creates a heady green soft note like crushed fresh leaves – deep and exhaultic. 

Hyacinth promotes well-being.

Galbanum grows in the marshes of Iran – where the two rivers meet the sea.  It brings an earthy, green and fresh watery quality to the parfum. Verdure.

Frankincense, the purest of incense, lends a fresh balsamic, and woody note to the parfum.  It is a resin from the Boswellia tree that has been used since biblical times for prayer, clarification and healing.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Self assurance.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE IRIS LUMIÈRE:  introspective, connected, centered

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IRIS LUMIÈRE:  Colognoisseur, WMSSL

BOTTOM LINE:  Iris Lumière is beautiful with its’ very serene, yet spirited persona.  Even though it’s a peaceful perfume, there an energy of strength and confidence that is unexpected, but very welcomed.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Woody Musk
  • Nose:  Maurice Roucel
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense:  Starting at $150 for 7.5 ml.  Also available in 12.5 ml, 50 ml and 100 ml flacons.  Available via the Shalini Parfum website.  Parfum extrait.