The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Sunday Shopping Surprise

I love a good shopping surprise.  Even better when it’s right in your home town.  Yesterday, after doing my yard chores, me and my hubby went toddling off to Old Town Alexandria to do some window shopping and to get some unneeded gelato.  If you have never been to Old Town Alexandria, it’s right outside Washington DC and it’s cute, quaint, very historic (think George Washington lived here).  If you ever come to DC, you have to visit.

In any case, there is a store, Patrick’s Designs which I enjoy going into to look at all of the beautiful decorative items that I can’t afford.  They have furnishings, barware, tabletop, gifts, etc. that are very unique.  This is where I purchased my first Dr. Vranjes diffuser (I have been a faithful purchaser since).  I have noted that in the past, they have had a couple of niche perfumes in the shop, but they have recently expanded and added some more.  Some of the lines include: Juliet has a Gun, Montale, Costume National (I had never heard of this line before), Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, Fragonard, Manuel Canovas, Miller et Bertaux and others.  The owner said that they will be adding other lines in the near future (goody!).  Of course, it’s my job as a hometown boy to support local business I had to make sure that I bought something.  But first lets discuss what I didn’t buy and why:

  1. Miller et Bertaux’s Om:  I don’t know why, but the darker the juice, the more I am attracted to a fragrance.  Om is a deep amber-colored incense and vanilla scent.  Wonderfully spicy, rich and peppery…beautiful on paper and initially on me, then straight to a metallic sharpness that I wanted to scrub off.  Very disheartening.
  2. Fragonard’s Billet Doux:  OK, the scent itself is a light and pretty powdery carnation which is pleasant but maybe not so special.  It’s much more feminine than I would normally like… but look at the bottle!!!  It’s like a princess jewel.  Is it OK to buy perfume just for the bottle?  I may have to go back and try this again, the price wasn’t bad… but I really just want the bottle!

“I want to go to there” – Liz Lemon

OK, good sense prevailed and I ended up purchasing what others rave about for good reason, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s Ambre Precieux.

WHAT I SMELL:  Golden warm amber and vanilla.  Slightly spicy, smoky and buttery creaminess.  At times, it seems lightly soapy.  I find that this fragrance doesn’t morph as you wear it, but for an Eau de Toilette, Ambre Precieux has incredible depth, sillage and I find incredibly long-lasting.  I usually find that most ambers are better suited for the fall and winter.  Surprisingly, because of the vanilla sweetness (not too sweet mind you), this works just fine in the heat of summer.  Beautiful.

From the Maître Parfumeur et Gantier website:

All the splendour of the Orient is bottled in this perfume in which the much coveted amber unfolds its sensual and unique scent for us.
Accompanied by precious woods, balms and spices, Ambre Précieux is a true Eastern symphony.

Ambre Precieux Notes:  Top notes are myrrh and lavender; middle notes are nutmeg and vanilla; base notes are amber, tolu balsam and peru balsam.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  As I was sitting at my desk at work today I was trying to pinpoint what this scent smelled like to me.  As strange as this may sound, it reminds me of the late 70s and 80s and a doctor that I used to go to.  So what does that mean??!  This doctor was very tailored in his white smock, had impeccable grooming and was very much a gentleman.  To me, Ambre Precieux is understated elegance.  It’s the kind of fragrance that would linger comfortably on your favorite weekend tweed jacket as well as your tux.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AMBRE PRECIEUX:  warm, refined, sophisticated

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AMBRE PRECIEUX: Bois de Jasmin, I Smell Therefore I Am, Pour Monsieur

BOTTOM LINE:  I don’t know if this will ever replace my love for Serge Luten’s Ambre Sultan.  But to me Ambre Sultan is a fall/winter fragrance.  So in the meantime, Ambre Precieux is going to satisfy my amber fix until the leaves start falling.

  • Bone Rating: 5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Oriental
  • Nose:  Jean-Francois Laporte
  • Classification: Unisex – leans masculine
  • Expense: Approximately $100 – $120 for 100ml EdT


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Indochine by Parfumerie Generale

Intrigued by the name and intrigued by the description of this scent, I knew I had to give this fragrance a try.  Indochine is as exotic as its name.  Sweet in the bottle and initially sweet on the skin, the far east is emboldened in what I would imagine a Vietnamese Buddhist temple would smell like.  Honey, vanilla and incense are the primary notes combined with a smoky haze.  I’m a fan or oriental scents, but the incense, as mild as it is, is not a favorite of mine.  Bold, without being overpowering, I would recommend this to anyone who likes deep and rich almost gourmand incense fragrances.

From the Parfumerie Generale website:

At once sweet, vanilla-scented, resinous, powdery, milky and spicy, Benzoin Siam is a resin of great olfactory richness that is rarely used as a central theme in Perfumery. Drawing on rare notes such as Kampot Pepper, Burmese Tanakha, or Laos honey, Pierre Guillaume orchestrates a luminous, smooth and airy perfume, delicately reproducing each and every facet of the unprocessed balsam.  This sepia-tinged balm infuses Indochine with the radiance of platinum…

Indochine Notes:

Wood, Fresh Spice, Sweet Amber, Powder, Benzoin Siam Resin, Kampot Pepper, Ceylon Cardamom, Burmese Tanakha, Laos Honey.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of 5 possible bones
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $95 for 50ml EDT


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Fiori D’Ambra by Profumum

More ambers; more to love.  This lovely perfume opens up with a rush of spice, I would say almost cinnamon in nature, along with a faint sweetness.  Funny, my husband said that it smells like root beer.  I can see that.  That had me a bit worried.  But once again, as time would tell, the scent transformed from that spicy blast to a nice and mellowed amber.  This is neither harsh or medicinal, but an almost vanilla sweet, lightly spiced amber with great longevity.  I would say that it leans a bit on the feminine side, but it is a scent that is close to the skin and therefore when walking through a crowd, no one would assume that a dowager is passing by.  Light, sweet, subtle.  A very nice amber indeed.

From the Profumum website:

Olfactory notes:  Opium flowers, Amber, Spices

  • Bone Rating:   4 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  amber, spicy, vanilla, light, subtle
  • Classification:  Unisex
  • Expense:   Expensive – $240 for 100ml Parfum