The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Guerlain Lui

WHAT I SMELL:  Lui opens with a warm, lightly spiced benzoin that’s deeply sensuous and lightly tar like, but without the heavy weight.  Soon enough, a buzzing carnation makes an entrance in the quietest of ways.  And then, a nutmeg and clove spice begins to take shape after a short time adding just a bit of a bite.  The perfume is rather brooding in it’s spicy persona with a mix of benzoin, leather and vanilla spice carrying the perfume on its journey.  In the end, you’re left with a light smoky dry haze of a perfume that hugs close to the skin.

From the Guerlain website:

Feminine. Masculine. Why choose? LUI is a fragrance that likes to blur the boundaries. Not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine, it is both at once. Inspired by a generation that is breaking free from gender norms, Guerlain had the idea of an unmistakably universal fragrance.

Its ambiguous fragrance trail is based on benzoin: floral, spicy and woody in turn, this resin is revealed in all of its complexity as the composition created by perfumer Delphine Jelk unfolds. Fused with powdery and spicy carnation accents, they form an equally unexpected and harmonious blend.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:   Autumn in Paris.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE LUI:  reserved, contemplative, semi-spicy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT LUI:  The Black Narcissus, Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  I love Guerlain perfumes, but I don’t love Lui.  Truly a fall and winter perfume, the nutty-ish spice almost reminds me of the season’s tragic “pumpkin spice” phenomena.  And weirdly, Lui doesn’t make me feel any emotion as I wear it.  Instead, it just rather bores me.

  • Bone Rating:  2.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Spicy Woody Floral
  • Nose:  Delphine Jelk
  • Classification:  Unisex
  • Expense:  $185 for 50 ml eau de parfum


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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.


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Vintage Shopping: Hermès Calèche and the Guerlain Mystery Perfume

I love shopping for vintage perfumes.  I mean, physically going to antique stores and estate sales to find those hidden gems.  One of the down sides of living in Mexico is that there are neither.  Yes, once in a while I can find a vintage perfume online, but it’s not quite the same of the rush of finding a treasure hidden in some dark cabinet in the back of a store.

We recently went back to the US to the outskirts of Seattle, Washington.  We love Mexico, but getting away from the heat every once in a while is essential and that part of the country is incredibly beautiful and the weather this time of the year is perfect.  But one of the best things about going back to the US, even in this time of COVID, is the ability to go shopping for vintage perfume.  What a treat!

Of course, these days, not all of the antique stores were open.  And in the ones that were, the the pickings were rather slim , unless you were looking for the random celebrity perfume.  But I did manage to find a bottle of 1980’s Hermès Calèche Eau de Toilette.  The perfume was used, came in a weathered box and was not the greatest bargain.  Even with given all of that, of course I had to purchase the perfume!

WHAT I SMELL:  Calèche opens with bright aldehydes, mixed with the lightest of soap tinged soft and tender florals.  Quickly, a light oakmoss begins to appear from below and the perfume becomes a bit more muted with a cottony finish.  In short time, the florals, now warmer, come forward with a richness and radiance that is pure luxury.  And as the perfume continues to settle, a light leather pins itself under the dusty florals.  Calèche is never heavy, nor sweet, but is an understated confident beauty that radiates a elegant aura.

From the Hermes website:

Written in 1961 by Guy Robert, Calèche was Hermès’ first fragrance for women. A highly feminine, woody, chypre floral, its name refers to the horse-drawn carriages that are emblematic of the house. Calèche is a novel that dazzles with the beauty of its raw materials, from the joyfulness of citrus fruit to the modernity of aldehyde notes; from the floral heart embellished with ylang-ylang, rose and jasmine to the woody, chypre sillage underscored by the nobility of the iris.

Jane Fonda

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  1970’s sophistication.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CALÈCHE:  dusty, easy, tailored

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CALÈCHEThe Black Narcissus, Yesterday’s Perfume, The Vintage Perfume Vault

BOTTOM LINE:  I have no regrets with my purchase and surprisingly it seems that the top notes have held up better than I had anticipated.  Calèche is a beauty that is easy to wear and thankfully perfect for the hot Mexican weather as the sun and heat make it bloom without being too heavy.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Aldehyde
  • Nose: Guy Robert
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: Prices for vintage vary.  Review based on the eau de toilette version.

EPILOGUE:  When I transport vintage and used perfumes in my luggage, I typically use Parafilm to ensure that the perfumes don’t leak.  If you haven’t heard of Parafilm, I suggest you read the wise words of Undina who has helped me save many a perfume throughout the years.  However, this time, even though I carried Parafilm with me, I failed to use it and the bottle leaked.  I didn’t lose a great amount of perfume, but just enough to ruin the already tattered box as well as to rub the finish off the perfume’s cap.  Of course, this does nothing to take away the beauty of the perfume…but I, like most other perfumistas, would rather have a pristine bottle sitting on my shelf.  Lesson learned!

The damaged Calèche and the Guerlain Mystery Perfume.

VINTAGE GUERLAIN MYSTERY PERFUME

When I travel to the US to visit friends, I typically will purchase a few items on eBay before I go, just because I can’t do it here in Mexico.  Prior to going to the US this time, I noted that there was a 100 ml vintage Guerlain cologne bottle for sale at a very low cost.  The bottle had no label on the front and no label on the bottom.  On the plus side the perfume was sealed.  And I should say that I love Guerlain colognes as they’re perfect for the Mexican heat.  So, for a mere $35, I purchased the perfume.  So what was in the mystery bottle?  Or was it just a factice?

The mystery perfume turned out to be Shalimar.  The really wasn’t a surprise as it seems to be the most widely available vintage Guerlain cologne on eBay.  I have no complaints as the bottle is in great shape and the perfume smells fabulous.   For $35 would you have purchased the perfume even without a label?  As for me, I would do it again in a heartbeat.