The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews & blog.


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Guerlain Insolence

WHAT I SMELL:  Insolence (eau de parfum) opens with an ambered violet that quickly begins to turn creamy.  It’s slightly thickened and very pretty without being soft and demure.  Soon after, a more rounded vanilla and berry note comes forward and is added to the creamy concoction which feels like it would make for the perfect body lotion.  After a short time, the vanilla helps to move the perfume to the sweetened side which is a combination of candied and floral sweetness.  Here, the perfume really begins to radiate and grow in strength.  The addition of a sandalwood note helps to bring the sweetness down to earth while creating a wrap of warmth around the florals.  In the end, the perfume settles with a lightly sweet powdered vanilla’d violet resting on a subtle base of sandalwood.  Insolence is a “nice” perfume.

From the Guerlain website:

This fruity floral fragrance highlights an unprecedented powdery duo of violet and iris, given a modern edge by a dash of berries.

The Eau de Parfum Insolence showcases an overdosed, high-voltage violet: a triumphant violet that registers at the opposite end of the spectrum from the shy whisper usually used to treat this flower in half-shades and shadows. This dazzling violet rubs shoulders with a timeless, chic and feminine iris.

Top note is Violet; middle notes are Wild Strawberry and Orange Blossom; base notes are iris, Vanilla, Tonka Bean and Sandalwood.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:   A perfume that “Pat” would wear in the 1970s.  It’s not offensive, it’s lightly girlish, yet slightly mature and her husband thinks she smells “swell”.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE INSOLENCE:  sweetened, effective, pleasant-enough

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT INSOLENCE:  A Tea-Scented Library

BOTTOM LINE:  Insolence is a pleasant enough of a perfume.  But I’m not sure that it’s enough.  To me, it’s an everyday perfume that doesn’t feel like something that I would want to wear every day.  And that’s too bad because I love my Guerlain perfumes.  As I said earlier, Insolence is a “nice” perfume.

  • Bone Rating:  3 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Fruity Floral
  • Classification:  Feminine
  • Expense:  $135 for 75ml eau de parfum.


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Maison Francis Kurkdjian – Aqua Vitae Cologne forte

WHAT I SMELL:  Aqua Vitae Cologne forte opens with an exuberant bergamot and a fresh and juicy citrus that’s contained in a lushly rounded wrap of the prettiest of florals.  The perfume is bright, yet warmed like citrus in the sun, and the citrus is less the actual fruit, but instead is more akin to the waxy peel of orange and lemon.  As the perfume develops, the floral sweetness mutes slightly and a sandalwood note brings a bit more warmth and depth to the composition along with layer of clean musks that add a a wrap of light muslin around this incredibly soft, but radiant perfume.  Aqua Vitae Cologne forte is a completely rapturous perfume that is gorgeous without being overly formal.

From the Maison Francis Kurkdjian website:

Mandarin from Italy gives bright freshness to the bergamot, leading to a luminous, citrusy and sunny floral scent. Vibrating in unison in a halo of warm light, Aqua Vitae Cologne forte is a pampering eau de parfum whose trail is saturated with sun and sensual musks boosted by sandalwood from India.

Notes:  Musks, Bergamot, Mandarin

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Sunshine.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AQUA VITAE COLOGNE FORTE:  easy-to-wear, radiant, comforting

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AQUA VITAE COLOGNE FORTE:  Velvet Life, Contents

BOTTOM LINE:  Aqua Vitae Forte cologne (which is an eau de parfum) is my summer go-to perfume.  It is so fantastically refreshing and perfect for beating the heat.  And unlike some perfumes worn in the heat, this doesn’t become cloying, nor does it fade away with the sun.  I can easily say that Aqua Vitae Forte cologne will always be a part of my summer perfume collection.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Citrus
  • Nose:  Francis Kurkdjian
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $235 for 70 ml eau de parfum


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Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle

When I hear the name Synthetic Jungle, my mind automatically goes to “Asphalt Jungle” and gritty realism and inner-city strife. So before even giving the perfume a try I’m struggling with the different, yet very memorable name.  Then add Frederic Malle to the mix and I have the feeling that I won’t be using the words, soft, serene or gentle in my description.  But I could be wrong.  Let’s find out.

WHAT I SMELL:  Synthetic Jungle opens with a slightly chalky lily of the valley that’s very green, very fresh and a little dewy.  Soon after, there’s an addition of just a touch of earthiness which gives the composition an undercurrent of black rich soil.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to the lily of the valley.  The perfume is semi quiet, but as soon as I write that it begins to blossom and the green really takes a forefront.  The addition of ylang ylang infused with the lily of the valley brings the perfume from the more demure to the more mature as the ylang ylang is more rounded and deeper and rather magnetic.  But after some time, that too quiets and the perfume begins to lightly thicken as if its encased in a light and chewy putty.  But that dissipates and once again the lily of the valley comes forward.  In the end, a little powder and a light leather help to even out the intensity of the green.

From the Frederic Malle website:

Bright and lush, mysterious and provocative, Synthetic Jungle is a stylized landscape in technicolor greens. An ode to cult perfumes of the 1970s, Synthetic Jungle offers a modern vision of nature reimagined.

Flipo retained the opulent basil of the original composition, along with a recomposed bouquet of hyacinth, lily of the valley, natural jasmine, and Ylang Ylang oil. To modernize and sharpen, she then added synthetic black currant and styralyl acetate, effectively putting the bouquet through a glossy, sparkling filter.

Flipo simplified the Chypre and leather notes, resulting in a cleaner, more streamlined accord. Finally, she added patchouli.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The characters from the 1960-70’s Sid and Marty Krofft tv show “The Banana Splits.”  Don’t ask me why, but this is the first thing that popped up in my mind as I was wearing this.  No, it’s not because of any kind of banana note.  Instead, the perfume conjures in my mind what the fuzzy materials of the characters would smell like…a bit of 1970s artificiality akin to shag carpet.  Go figure.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE SYNTHETIC JUNGLE:  green, nostalgic, different

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SYNTHETIC JUNGLE:  CaFleureBon, Perfume Posse, Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  I’ll admit that this review is probably one of the strangest I have written and my thoughts of “Asphalt Jungle” were way off.  But Synthetic Jungle is a bit different in its own right.  It’s rather nostalgic with its inspiration from perfumes from the 1970s and with that the “synthetic” really can be felt.  At the same time, it’s rather a pretty perfume that’s easy to like.  That said, I can see many really liking this perfume.  An interesting composition overall and clearly one that has played tricks on my mind.

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Chypre
  • Nose:  Anne Flipo
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $210 for 50ml Eau de Parfum.  Also available in 10ml travel size and 100ml.