Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Annayake pour Elle by Annayake : Perfume Review

Finally the time has come for the last installment of my Annayake feature. Even though we have moved away from the seasons, Annayake pour Elle is to me a quintessentially summery scent. In fact, I would be more than happy to replace Natsumi in the seasonal cycle with Annayake pour Elle. This is possibly the strangest fragrance in the line: never has my mind been filled with so many negative illustrative adjectives for something that I am so deeply attracted to. How can I describe this perfume while avoiding to use those words for fear I’ll do it injustice? I can but try.

My advice is to approach this fragrance with an open mind, to let your senses experience it with lack of judgment and expectations, for it so unconventional, so interesting and unique it does deserve attention -even though it is so far removed from what we expect a perfume to smell like. It is a scent that, to me, personifies solitude without a trace of loneliness. It makes every other presence remote, as though I am suddenly the only inhabitant of the world, left alone in a beautiful marshland with no knowledge of my state of solitude, for I feel no pain. The opening notes are astringently herbal, medicinal. They impart a bitterness I can almost taste in the back of my throat. It is not a fleeting bitterness either, it will stay with me long after, until the perfume fades. Am I strange for enjoying this? Perhaps, but it is not a theme previously left unexplored: those of you who adore the similarly strange and bitter Cerruti 1881 like I do, will find a great friend in Annayake pour Elle.

Bergamot and fig milk, mix with the fennel-like smell of elemi, transporting me with ease to a summer afternoon. Insects are buzzing all around me but dare not come close – I’ve become a poison. Trees surround me, their leaves whisper in the breeze that makes my hair sway gently against my bare shoulders. I am clad in attire I’ve never worn, a linen shift and espadrille shoes. My skin smells of strong, dark tea, spiked with lavender. Golden brown with light blue, warm and cool together - the color combination nature prefers best. And yet more blue, a sacred blue lily there in the broiling tea pond. I pick it and fasten it behind my ear. I’ll need no other jewels; I am wearing the medium of a Sun God in my hair. Its aroma fills the air with a distinctive banana scent that further enhances the tranquility I feel. Equilibrium, peace and liquefied inner strength flow inside my chest. Is it ichor inside my veins, poisonous to mortals? I have been misted with the essence of eternal youth. I’d drink it greedily, but the gods have been wise in preventing hubris and insolence by making it so bitter.

Image of lily pond by Lida Rose, sourced from
Image of Sacred Blue Lily, courtesy of
Image of Nefertiti with sacred blue lily sourced from Nook/7916/Nefertiti.html

Monday, May 28, 2007

Yukimi by Annayake : Perfume Review

When I was a child, time seemed to stand still. Each season was endless, each year lasted a decade. As I grow older, seasons seem to come and go in the most fleeting of manner, each one melding quickly into the next, a year gone in the blink of an eye. So have the seasons of Annayake passed before our eyes and we have invariably arrived to the last one, the longest stretch of the year, Winter.

Yukimi means “snowviewing”, and once again, the name bestowed upon this fragrance fits the composition wonderfully. I’ve never experienced coolness and warmth blending at once with such effortlessness, with no sense of dissonance whatsoever. And what is perhaps most curious is the overwhelming sense of quietness and stillness that this fragrance delivers.
It is the same sense of quietness I experience when I wake up in the morning with the unwavering certainty that it has snowed the night before, for every single sound in nature is eerily muffled. I love mint in fragrances, and its addition in Yukimi is utter perfection, boldly announcing crisp cool winds and steely light. The fruit in the blend quickly brings me back inside the warmth of the house, where mother is throwing rinds of mandarin oranges and peels of apples in the lit fireplace, thereby scenting the air with festive aromas. Cool musks, cedar and soft powder, enveloped by the warmest of amber, enfold me in a bubble no sound can fully penetrate. They form a safe cocoon, offering protection from over-stimulation and the demands of adulthood. Time stands still again, affording me the luxury of reflection.

The woman that will gladly dance among the falling snowflakes, the woman this perfume is meant for, is rare, uncustomary. She is a self-assured innovator. It is not by chance that my mind places her dancing in winter wonderland. Even though she is a grown up, her essence is that of a child. She sparkles, full of joie de vivre. For her, time will still bend, making every season last a lifetime, just so she can suck every single drop of life out of every single day. When snow falls, she’ll still try to catch snowflakes on her tongue. When she goes to bathe in a hot spring up on the hill, she hopes to encounter macaque monkeys, completely unafraid. When she walks home at night, she’ll stop to marvel at the light twinkling inside the stone snow-viewing lanterns, yukimi-gata – even though she has seen them countless times before. Her laughter is crystaline and clear, like snow melting on the first days of spring. Her perfume of choice is subdued, to counter and contrast her playful character. Her perfume is that of innocence and clarity, quiet happiness and sweetness. She chooses something that blurs the lines between her own sweet skin’s scent and the perfume itself. She chooses Yukimi, scenting her neck with a childhood her body has outgrown.

Pictures courtesy of:, and

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Natsumi by Annayake : Perfume Review

As I have already indicated, I started this Annayake week because I fell in love with Hanami, Tsukimi and Annayake pour Elle, and it was only those fragrances that I was initially planning to review. After I started writing the feature though, it seemed like such a shame to leave Natsumi and Yukimi out, to leave things incomplete, even though admittedly, I have not become enamored with them in the way I have with the rest. Today and tomorrow then, we shall visit summer and winter; together we will complete our walk through the seasons of Annayake.

Natsumi is the fragrance of summer, and once again the name is indicative of the period the scent embodies. Natsumi means “beautiful summer” but the word can also be derivative of a verb, meaning “to pluck vegetables and greens”, creating a clever and thoughtful play with words, as the fragrance is identified as both vegetal and fruity. It represents a woman that is well organized and traditional.

I wanted to be transported to a summer festival with this perfume. I wanted to watch koi glistening in the bursts of light cast by fireworks. I wanted to smell the lightweight cotton of the summer kimonos, the yukata, blue and white, decorated with patterns of dragonflies or cranes. Instead, I find myself sprayed by light summer rain, high upon a mountaintop, lush and green. A burst of watermelon, it strikes my head like a red, juicy exclamation mark. “Why?!” I lament, and for a moment a child laughs giddily, reminding me that Japanese summer wouldn’t be the same without the traditional custom of splitting watermelons blindfolded at the beach, much like a crazy piñata game. I nod in understanding, but I am still baffled, for there is no sand beneath my feet, my toes are still protesting the wet feel of grass. It is chilly, so high on the mountains, I need a light cardigan. Mist surrounds the green peaks, everything is cool and fresh. The light is diffused by the summer clouds, but if I look down, shading my eyes out of habit, I see the cultivated fields, caressed by the sun. They are filled by ripe, blushing tomatoes, the sappy scent of their vines somehow wafts all the way up here.

Just as I am starting to enjoy all this, the scenery fades, like a dream. I am left on a disappointingly well-trodden path, visited countless times before. White roses, pure and mild, ylang-ylang softer than I know it. My hands sticky from the staple fruit of summer, peach. A holy trinity to which I’ve prayed to before, in temples better suited for worship. I’ll take a photo, but I won’t be coming back.

Pictures courtesy of:, and

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tsukimi by Annayake : Perfume Review

Since I promised to start with Hanami and Tsukimi, I will unorthodoxly suspend a review of the second seasonal fragrance, Natsumi, to write about Tsukimi. The third fragrance in the seasonal quartet of the Annayake fragrance line, Tsukimi, means Moon Viewing. It embodies the spirit of autumn and is meant to represent a woman who is radiant, devoted to tradition and family. This characterization might sound a bit archaic to western, individualistic societies, but this is most certainly not how it would be viewed in the Japanese collectivist culture. Keeping with tradition, Japanese tradition specifically, is a great virtue, and such a woman will be revered, like a precious flower that is never to be sullied, corrupted by unworthy elements. She will be the most attractive ray of light, sought after like a rare, incandescent jewel. She is the woman with the magical ability to bring out the best in the most contemptible of men; she is the bringer of redemption. Her radiance is an eternal, ever-giving spring. Everything she comes into contact with will be blessed by her virtue and beauty, enabled to shine a bit brighter each time for it came to be in the presence of her unyieldingly pure kindness.

Annayake places this woman in the setting of the Harvest Moon. Moonviewing, just as Hanami, flowerviewing, is a tradition that originated in China and was embraced by the Japanese court initially, before spreading to the masses during the Edo era. It is the time of year when farmers harvest the last crops and offer thanks to the moon. It is the time of year to come together with family, friends and loved ones to admire the beauty of the moon, to put seasonal offerings next to the moonlit window and to celebrate togetherness under the silvery lunar rays. The Tsukimi woman will go meet her lover on a hill, to hold his awaiting hand, to bathe in the moon’s light with him under the starry sky. She will be the joy of her family, an emblem of the continuation of tradition. A tradition that might be sadly, slowly fading.

Tsukimi reminds me in many ways of Féminité du Bois by Shisheido, which is not very surprising since they share a lot of the same notes. But having smelled Tsukimi, Féminité du Bois now almost seems aggressive and harsh. The top citrusy notes fly off quickly and leave the skin enveloped in the intensely woody, ambery veil of the fragrance. There is also the scent of lovely, smoky incense there, making the experience all the more interesting. Cumin haters beware, for this is a note that plays a prominent role in this perfume. It blends marvelously with cinnamon, sunflower, violet and precious woods, in a manner that makes me think of fine, viscous oils of anointment. Despite the intense notes, the overall feel of Tsukimi is that of calm sweetness, warm, effusively graceful and heart-achingly nostalgic. It stays relatively close to the skin, making one gently emanate a softly perfumed, filmy aura, like the golden body of a saint, streaming myrrh.

Pictures courtesy of:, and

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hanami by Annayake : Perfume Review

“We carry the perfumes of Annayaké exclusively” the kindly sales assistant informed me when I inquired about them, taking extra care to raise her tone of voice slightly to accentuate the last vowel with the correct intonation after I had mistakenly pronounced it in a rather western manner. She was right of course. I do not know why I did not think of it myself. Perhaps it was out of force of habit, I had been mispronouncing the brand name for a couple of years already, ever since I started using the Annayake Ultratime skincare line for my face. I have since switched to Kanebo, which I also tend to mispronounce, accentuating the word as it would be verbalized in Dutch. Old habits die hard. In any case, I left the shop happy, with samples of all the Annayake perfumes they carried and have been testing them for the last two weeks. The homogeneity of the flacons had me in doubt of the perfumes’ uniqueness; I had enough trouble remembering which perfume was which due to the lack of any contrast other than the jus colors. But I needn’t have worried: I am thoroughly impressed. As promised, I will focus on my three favorites this week, Annayake pour Elle, Hanami and Tsukimi. It now seems a shame to leave things unfinished, so I will try to extend the reviews with the additions of Yukimi and Natsumi as well, if there is enough interest for them. I have unfortunately not been able to find Matsuri as of yet. It is a great shame, for that would help me finish the circle of the feminine fragrances in the Annayake line. For a great review on Miyako, a limited edition eau de parfum I have not had the fortune to come across, please check Colombina’s review.

Hanami, Natsumi, Tsukimi and Yukimi each represent a different season of the year, and each is meant to be a manifestation of a certain female personality, mirroring and accentuating her character. Hanami, the first of the four fragrances, is an expression of spring – time of awakening and rebirth, and the personality it represents is that of a positive, optimistic and dynamic woman. The word “hanami” literally means “flower viewing”, a centuries old customary spring activity undertaken all over Japan during the spring months. The flower most closely associated with Hanami is the cherry blossom, or Sakura, as it is called in Japan. At this point I should probably confess that I am a great fan of anime and manga. Considering most well-known Japanese festivals and celebrations feature quite heavily in both, there is no lack of mental imagery in my mind for Hanami: a female voice will wistfully gasp “Sakura!” while a couple walks down a lane lined on either side by cherry trees in bloom, petals falling and whirling madly around them, not unlike snow. Businessmen will demurely walk out of their office buildings at lunchtime, only to be seduced by the glory of nature around them and they will find themselves instinctively loosening the tight knots of their ties. Hanging lanterns will sway in the breeze come evening, gently lighting the laughing faces of the people reclining on blankets under the splendor of the blooming trees. Romance is in the air, palpable and energetic.

There couldn’t have been a better representation of spring in a perfume than what Annayake has put on offer with Hanami. The first whiff is that of dew on velvety petals, just unfurled in the light of dawn; morning dew in an endless field of green, moist, fresh, veracious. All the moisture contained in wonderful fleshy petals trying to seep out of their satiny pores. Amazingly, what initially starts out quite shy and cool suddenly intensifies on the skin, like nature resolutely blooming all at once. Freesia, muguet and cherry blossom fuse together bewitchingly, leaving me utterly captivated. These are the truest flowers I’ve ever smelled in a bottle. I cannot describe Hanami as a complicated fragrance, but this is by far no criticism: it is the form and essence of spring, encapsulated. It needs nothing more, it is perfect as is. Hanami is neither old-fashioned nor modern; it is simply timeless, ageless. Moreover, all that is needed to create wonderful sillage are a few drops. It is a perfume that gives and gives, enveloping the wearer in the most beautiful blend of flowers all day long.

Pictures courtesy of,, and respectively.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Posts for this coming week

Hi dears,

There will be no post today as I have an inordinate amount of studying to do. I am giving exams in a couple of weeks time on the anatomy and chemistry of the human nervous system. Come back tomorrow when I will begin my three-part review on my favorite Anna Yake fragrances.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez : Perfume Review

There’s something to be said about perfumes whose development does not hold too many surprises. They are trusty, they will remain true from the moment you wear them till the moment they fade. They offer a single dream, a single location to which they will transport you and once there, you do not have to second-guess your surroundings. It is safe to put your guard down; seasons might change, the sun might rise and fall, shadows might obscure part of what you see so that glimmers of light might highlight other aspects of the scenery as time goes by, but the location is the same. All promises are kept. Bal a Versailles will never be this virtuous. The dream on offer is a journey you will have to take blindfolded, led by a dancing, prancing magician. Each time the blindfold is removed, something new will appear. Each time you think you know where you’re going, you’ll be in for another surprise. The dance at Versailles is a bal masque where nothing is as it seems. Confusion abound, the best option is to let go and allow yourself to be courted by all the different dancing partners that choose to lead you across the dance floor. Considering that -according to most sources- the name “Versailles” etymologically seems to derive from the Latin word “versare”, meaning ‘versatile’, ‘capable of change’, I can’t help but find the name of this perfume most apt.

My own personal journey through the surreal dream Bal a Versailles offers, starts in a quiet, dim room. A woman is standing next to me, her eyes sad but hopeful. She nods toward her dressing table, once the height of fashion, now battered and old. “You can have them if you like” she murmurs almost shyly as he opens a drawer; silk stockings and gloves, a girdle. The scent of old silk undergarments mixed with spilled vintage French perfume. Citrus fruits, dust and moths, comforting and familiar. “I’ve smelled you before” I say, and she disappears, offended.

I am left holding a hat in my hands. I turn it around and pass my finger over its hand-sewn label, which reads: “Made to Order, Rex Inc. Beverly Hills”. A widow’s cap with gorgeous white ermine fur, framed by a cream bow that borders the delicate ivory peak that will be placed downwards on the center of the wearer’s forehead. Formal mourning in sunny Beverly Hills, mourning in impeccable style no less... Who was she, the woman that ordered it? How long ago? She suddenly approaches me, smelling of flowers, powder and red lipstick. I try to return it to her, but she refuses; she is wearing a pillbox hat right now and tasteful high heels. She is young, with a pearly smile, but there is no hint of playfulness in her eyes, just as there is no playfulness in her scent. I am charmed, but disappointed.

The sound of the revving engine of a motorcycle approaches before I manage to quite finish my thoughts of regret over the lack of sparkle in the woman’s eyes. It stops in front of me and the driver does not even bother to remove his helmet - he knows I am going to drive away with him. I wrap my arms ridiculously tight around his leather clad torso, thankfully inhaling the dry, animalic blackness of the garment, before it too disappears into whatever abyss the previous companions of this journey have.

We make our way to a small candle-lit chapel up on a hill. We walk inside dizzily; our legs slightly smarting from the long ride there. I feel the warmth of the
melting candles around me, caressing my skin. They’re made of pure, lovely beeswax and the odor they emanate as they burn is beautifully sweet. I marvel at the rich smell of incense, I smile and cherish the scent of benzoin and the strong tolu note that fill the small stone church. The smell of honey clover wafts in through the open door. I turn to my finally unmasked companion: “I’ll dance with you in the courtyard. I’ll dance with you till morning come.”

Picture Sources: Vintage gloves and hat, my own. Masquerade Ball scene from Phantom of the Opera (2004), Bal a Versailles bottle and box,

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Little Trip

My Dears!
In the beginning of this week I arranged for a last-minute trip. I will be visiting Greece from Thursday morning until Sunday morning. I do not think I will be able to post anything while in Greece, so I am asking for your patience until the next review that will be posted on Monday. Wish me strength, it is 1 o'clock and I have to wake up at 4.30 to go to the airport! Argh!

Lots and lots of perfumed hugs!


Laura by Laura Biagiotti : Perfume Review

I remember the day I first smelled Laura by Laura Biagiotti very clearly. I was fourteen years old, out for a cup of coffee with a good friend and she, knowing that I loved fragrance samples brought me several her sister had brought back with her from a trip to Italy. We tried most of the samples together, right there at the cafe and the verdict was unanimous: Laura was the best one of them all. My sample did not make it through the weekend; the scent haunted me and I had to have it. I do not even remember how I purchased my first bottle. Did I buy it with my allowance? Was it a gift? A Christmas present perhaps? I do not know anymore, all I remember was that first day I experienced it, and the fact that I was so openly enthusiastic about it, my family kept gifting me with the fragrance every birthday thereafter for many, many years, ensuring a constant supply. I am down to my last bottle now and it has been a great while since anyone has presented me with the familiar oblong box – they know my tastes have changed. I do not wish to be without it, but part of me suspects I will not repurchase sweet Laura when she imparts her last dewdrop on my skin. We have simply grown apart. Yet it is time I pay a small tribute to her, my friend of early adolescence.

Laura is a fresh aquatic-floral that was launched in 1994. The bottle, like many others in the Biagiotti fragrance line, was designed by Joel Desgrippes (Boucheron by Boucheron, Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo etc). It is a lovely flacon, which stands out on my perfume display. Its long, delicate, feminine lines perfectly match the scent of the jus within. Laura starts out fruity and fresh, with top notes of peach, plum and lychee. The addition of watermelon at the top imparts a moist, aquatic feel to the perfume’s character, while bergamot oil adds crisp, green freshness. The fruits are never tangy, for which I am grateful. They marry perfectly with the flowery middle notes of carnation, violet, cyclamen, jasmine, muguet and waterlilly. The freesia is probably my favorite of the middle notes, serving to extend the life of the juicy waterfruit with its dewy nature. Even though Laura is a light perfume, one must take care to not overapply. I find that there is a note that can be slightly dominant if it is applied too liberally. The base notes consist of sandalwood, musk, cedar, vetiver and slightly powdery orris.

I do realize that the notes might sound quite overwhelming, but Laura is anything but. It is an ethereal gossamer veil, perfect for a spring day, quenching the skin with its refreshing qualities. It is romantic and delicate and never fails to make me feel girly and innocent. Not only by association of the youthful period in which I first wore it, no. It is its character itself that lends the wearer improbable grace and femininity. It might appear quiet and inoffensive to the ones not tuned in to its peaceful love song. But for those that care to listen, it will whisper and hint at romance and profoundly tender reveries. For those that care to listen, the wearer will shed her armor and come forward unarmed, with palms open, offering flowers as well as her heart.

Pictures courtesy of and respectively.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Libertine by Vivienne Westwood : Perfume Review

Libertine... Gluttonous abandon, hedonistic encounters... The word brings many associations to mind, but perhaps most salient to me are the wordy, loquacious, sometimes downright pleonastic writings of the time. But no matter which association my wandering mind stumbles upon, the perfume itself seems incongruent with its gifted name. No, I do not mean that this is a fragrance with mass-market appeal, for it isn’t. But it is not quite anti-establishment either, nor is it garrulous and excessive. It follows a linear development and its beauty, albeit not simple, is Spartan and restrained.

It is not difficult to become infatuated with Libertine. The simple beauty I spoke of should not be equated with mediocrity, or with the average. It is the simplicity of a gorgeous woman wearing nothing but her man’s crisp white shirt on a sunny Sunday morning. She needs no make-up or dangly earrings. She is sensual as she is and her silky skin is begging to be explored. It is the simplicity of a pair of sparkling diamond studs: they don’t scream their presence, but they never fail to add an extra spring in your step. So is Libertine, unassuming yet unfailingly noticeable. In the same way one does not need to be a sommelier to recognize the quality of a wine of great vintage upon tasting it, one will immediately recognize the standard of this perfume the moment they come across it. To borrow a term from the field of cognitive psychology, this fragrance has the ‘pop-out effect’.

Like Boudoir, Libertine features viburnum, a flower commonly found in English gardens and favored by Vivienne Westwood. Having never smelled viburnum myself, I cannot say how prominently it features in the fragrance. The rest of the notes listed for Libertine are pineapple and grapefruit at the top, honeysuckle, muguet, and bergamot oil in the middle as well as oakmoss, musk and patchouli at its base. The notes do not quite resonate with me; I would prefer to describe to you how I experience the blend myself. Libertine to me is woodsy, like a dark basket lined with sappy, freshly cut green vines. In it, I do find small pieces of ripe pineapple and flower petals, but also roasted coffee beans, which have been slightly caramelized. In fact, it is this flowery, slightly caramelized coffee smell that makes me love this fragrance so much. The lovely, bittersweet Libertine has sadly been discontinued. You can still find it in some fragrance boutiques until their stocks get exhausted, as well as online. Which reminds me... I really need another bottle.

Pictures courtesy of and

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Montana Parfum de Peau by Claude Montana : Perfume Review for Mother’s Day

I was not planning to write a special review for Mother’s Day, in fact, I had been preparing a different review for today. But something happened yesterday, a strange coincidence, a little touch of fate that prompted me to suspend the piece I had prepared, in order to write this one, a Mother’s Day special.

As it has probably become clear by now, Saturday mornings are perfume exploration days for me and yesterday was no exception. I went to a specific perfume boutique to try out some fragrances I was not very familiar with, in order to decide which one to order online from a gift certificate I’d been given some days ago. I was walking purposefully next to the countless shelves of perfumes to reach the specific section, when my eye caught a certain blue box that made me stop dead in my tracks: Montana Parfum de Peau by Claude Montana. My heart missed a beat; I had not seen it in years, more than a decade to be exact. I thought that it was out of circulation and that I’d never happen upon it again. I was immediately flooded with emotion: On the day that every boutique in town was filled with shoppers buying gifts for Mother’s Day, I happened upon the one long-lost perfume that says 'mom' to me like no other. The coincidence was not lost on me; I knew I had to buy it and write a Mother’s Day special for today.

My mom has never been fickle with her fragrance choices. She always picks a single signature scent and sticks with it for years until something prompts her to change it. During the time that I was growing up she went through three different perfumes: Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, Nina by Nina Ricci and Montana by Claude Montana. Out of the three, only Paris is still widely available. And out of the three, it is Montana that rouses the strongest memories inside me. Wearing it now, I become a child again, reliving a scenario so oft-repeated it’s been imprinted in my mind like a schema. My mother is about to go out for the evening with my dad and she laughingly puts me into her bed to watch her, as she is getting ready. “Do I look alright, darling?” I nod, wide-eyed and utterly in awe of her dramatic blue eyes, shiny blonde hair and extravagant eighties outfit. She is about to leave and there is one last touch to complete her outfit, the perfume. Apprehension – I know my nose is going to sting and burn for a while before I can start enjoying it. I do not know whether I love or hate this perfume, but I say nothing of the sort. It forms a peppery cloud around her and she tells me I can sleep in her bed as she presses her nose against mine. The scented trail she leaves behind is so strong, it will stay with me for hours, in the air, on my skin, on the bed linen. Mom. Paris was youthful innocence, Nina was a return to romantic femininity, but Montana was always my mother as a sexual animal, a self-confident woman filled with joie de vivre and sensuality. A side of her that took me a while to consolidate with her daily image.

Montana is a floral chypre that opens up with an overwhelming burst of pepper and cardamom, combined with juicy fruits that excite the senses and leave the nose tingling. The ginger and carnation at the perfume’s heart enhance and prolong the peppery spiciness, while rose and tuberose give the fragrance depth and substance. It is the base notes however, which turn this into a truly magical concoction: amber, cedar, patchouli, olibanum, vetiver, oakmoss, musk, civet and by far my favorite of all animalic notes, castoreum, all blend together perfectly, leaving me breathless, gasping for more in a state of addiction. Not only is Montana extremely unique and grossly, clashingly peculiar, it is also deviant by nature. Having forgotten all about it for years and now experiencing it again, I realize now I had been looking for controversy and dissonance in all the wrong places. No wonder Muscs Koublai Khan smelled tame and friendly to me, when my olfactory bulb still retained the memory of Montana in its depths. Fur, sex and exuberant abandon were all waiting for me there to be rediscovered and no substitute would do. Seeing the listing of oakmoss on the box makes me surmise that this is a fresh bottle. Hopefully that means we will never have to part again.

I’d always thought of my preference for perfumes that sting and burn the nasal cavity (Paloma Picasso, Rose Cardin, Wrappings...) as a personal idiosyncrasy, a very personal taste I’d somehow developed. I thought of it as a personal quirk, an eccentric oddity of taste. Only now do I realize where it stems from and the reality of this leaves me slightly shaken, as though part of my originality has been stolen away. Yet at the same time I’ve gained insight; “Know thyself” advised the ancient Greeks and I do know just a little bit more now. My bond with my mom has been strengthened. The invisible line that connects us has been reinforced one more time. I love you, mama. Happy Mother’s Day, this one’s for you.

Images of Montana ads through the years, courtesy of
Image of Montana on fur, my own.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Burberry by Burberry : Perfume Review

Last night an email prompted me to prepare a skin scent review for today. I wanted to challenge myself by picking something I do not personally wear and I thought I had the perfect contender in my samples drawer: Murmure by Van Cleef & Arpels. Such a misleading name... The darned thing was nothing short of a scream, a foghorn in the dead of the night! Disappointed, I decided to fall back on a well-known friend instead: Burberry by Burberry.

In a series of puzzling marketing moves, the perfume released in 1995 and originally known as Burberry was subsequently renamed Burberry London, only to have its name changed once again recently to plain old Burberry when the new Burberry London scents were released by the British fashion house. The folly of those moves becomes especially apparent when one considers than not all online listings have been brought up to speed with the changes, resulting in considerable confusion. Fans of the fragrance have affectionately dubbed it Burberry Classic, or less eloquently in times of exasperation, as “the one in the pebble shaped bottle”. This is not an undeserving description of the flacon. It is indeed very reminiscent of a large pebble, not only in shape, but also in weight and feel. Its smooth surface fills the palm of one hand very adequately and its substantial weight somehow turns the process of application into a simple luxury, if only because of the slight extra effort one has to exert when using it. It is not a bottle you can just pick up for a quick spray and then drop back onto your dressing table thoughtlessly, and it is this that forces application to be more thoughtful than usual even in the most casual of perfume wearers. The masculine stopper and the simple lines of the flacon set the stage for the clean luxury of the perfume itself.

It all begins with almost effervescent, sparkling fruit. Mouthwatering peach and apricot shine brightly with the addition of fresh mint and brisk bergamot. Despite the full-bodied appeal of these fruits, Burberry always remains rather dry even at the top of its development, with the helpful combination of apple and tagetes. Even though I am not a fan of fruit notes generally speaking, Burberry is one of the few examples that brings out a different aspect of how fruit can be done and manages to get it right for me. It is the dryness of this fragrance that always keeps me interested and intrigued, explored further with the addition of geranium and cedar in the middle notes. Together with sandalwood, musk and amber, these notes conspire to make this fragrance intensely powdery. The end result feels completely parched of any moisture; it is a sheer powder that covers the skin with comfortable cleanness, warmed by a generous dollop of bourbon vanilla. It adheres to the body like a second skin, blurring the lines between one’s own personal scent and the fragrance itself. It is at once comforting and sensual, classy and familiar, like the bosom of a sexy, curvaceous woman in a cashmere sweater. In fact Cashmere would have been the most apt name for this perfume in my oppinion, done so much better than Cashmere by Chopard. While on the subject of perfume comparisons,
Skin by Trussardi smells very, very similar to Burberry, but it is far inferior and nowhere near as dry. Speaking of which, it is still early days, but I do wish to start archiving these reviews at some point – and aside from the more obvious house-name archiving, I would also like to make a perfume-alikes / comparisons link. Something to look forward to in the future.

Pictures courtesy of, and respectively.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tendenza for Her by Van Gils : Perfume Review

Van Gils is a Dutch fashion house that dates back to the 1920s. Their clothes and accessories are clearly inspired by Italian sense of style but can readily be described as boring and unoriginal. Their fragrance line however has enjoyed considerable and not altogether undeserving success. Tendenza for Her, the first female fragrance in the line, was released in March 2005 and is widely available across Europe.

I am not a fan of fruity florals, quite the contrary actually, but for some reason I really wanted to review a fragrance that is both fruity and not high-end lately. For this purpose I chose Tendenza and decided to sample it several times both on myself and on others. The experience has been very disappointing. Tendenza has top notes of Grapefruit and Green Apple, middle notes of Freesia, Peony, Rose and Jasmine and base notes of Amber and Vanilla. The opening is very sharp, but it is perhaps the most intelligent part of this perfume’s development. I rather enjoyed being able to clearly discern both the fresh green apple and the gentle, uplifting smell of Freesia. Unfortunately, both those notes fly off quite fast and what is left is a messy, generic, wildly synthetic girly mixture. The press releases attempted to brand Tendenza for Her as sexy and elegant. It is neither. Instead, it is a fragrance more suited to a misguided romantic teenager that tries to be alluring, ellegant and sexy. Unfortunately, said teenager has not yet developed a good sense of taste, for this is a perfume completely lacking in class and finesse, but one that is so stereotypical of feminine fragrances that will undoubtedly trick many such young girls into buying it. Tendenza is every bit a run-of-the-mill drugstore female fragrance and its cheap packaging does not do it any favors either. The bland flacon was created by Fabrice Legros, the same man who designed the bottles of Caline and Libertine. Its austere, boring lines further conspire to add to its generic, conventional image. The lasting power is punishingly sustained, guaranteed to be there on your skin for much, much longer than would be desired. Hopefully by then, the main offenders will have subsided and you will be left with a much less cruel, sour vanilla. The only point of redemption I can think of, is that on male skin Tendenza manages to evolve a warm chocolate accord for the first few hours of wear. Yet surely, there are much more refined options out there that will provide the same effect.

Lastly I want to say that I feel slightly guilty for painting such a caustically negative picture of this fragrance. I do not mean to offend anyone who finds delight in this perfume. And too, I do not know if you, the readers, find it more interesting to read positive reviews inspired by love, to negative ones. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I find it hard to write about perfumes that do not create any stirring of emotion inside me, the review would be bland if the perfume itself left me completely cold. But I would really appreciate some input on whether blatantly negative reviews are welcome and read with interest. I hope that this review has provided you with at least a chuckle or a smirk!

Pictures courtesy of and respectively

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Un Parfum d’Aventure by L.T. Piver : Perfume Review

The world of fragrance can sometimes be overwhelming and it is not hard to get jaded while sampling its offerings. Truly, how often does it occur that you fall in love with a scent the moment you spray it on your skin? How often does it happen that it haunts you every day after that initial application until you acquire it? This is not a common occurrence for me, yet this is exactly what happened the first time I got to try Un Parfum d’Aventure. All it took was a single spray on my wrist and I was instantly ensnared and forever enchanted. Since it is not available where I live, I had to wait a week before I could return to the boutique where I initially experienced this unexpected gem in order to finally make it mine. My excitement over this perfume has not faded in the least since that day and it has helped initiate a love affair with the perfumes of L.T. Piver, perfumes which I promise to return to and review in the future.

Un Parfum d’Aventure was released in 1931 for the occasion of the Colonial Exhibition of Paris and has since been tweaked for its re-release. Having never experienced the original, I cannot make a comparison but there is definitely one thing I can say: Un Parfum d’Aventure smells vintage. It takes me back in time with unparalleled ease, giving me the chance to find my nose gently pushed against the pressed collar of a cleanly shaven gentleman of its time. I say gentleman, and indeed, this is identified as a masculine perfume, but I would never hesitate to encourage a woman to wear this fragrance as I believe it can be just as much of an asset in a woman’s fragrance wardrobe as in a man’s.

I love everything about this perfume, everything from the beautiful green-colored box, to the little story on its back –printed both in French and in English-, to the simple, masculine flacon, to the jus contained within. The note that I find most irresistible in Un Parfum d’Aventure is one I unfortunately cannot put my finger on. It is a slightly medicinal, herbal note that stings and refreshes the nose and it is the exact same note that attracts me to Vanille Exquise by Anick Goutal. Even though the two do not share any of their official notes, the resemblance is unmistakable. Unlike Vanille Exquise though, the note remains unrelenting in Un Parfum d’Aventure, refusing to fly off throughout the development. It gives and gives, always remaining as strong. I never tire of it and I find myself bringing my wrist to my nose throughout the day in order to deeply inhale it and feel its effects all day long when I wear this perfume. It is most often described as a warm spicy scent, and indeed, it will not disappoint spice lovers. Pink pepper combines beautifully with cloves and cinnamon to add extra warmth, while cardamom and cedar manage to keep everything dry and temperate under their welcome discipline. The lavender contained in the blend lends to the rather old-fashioned masculine, vintage feel of this fragrance, and even though only a top note, it is once again one that somehow remains noticeable and present throughout the development. It is the combination of lavender, vetiver and geranium that lend a true freshness to the end result - one that makes me hesitate to classify it as a truly warm scent. If we permit ourselves for a moment to embark on the sea bound voyage of discoveries suggested by this perfume, we find that the blend of these three notes can be likened to a spray of seawater hitting the deck of the vessel carrying its precious cargo of spices. Together they lend an uplifting, invigorating briskness to our travels. The vetiver is marvelously gentle, albeit insistent, and the geranium has shed all of its sourness, retaining only its freshness. For me, Un Parfum d’Aventure keeps each and every one of its promises, allowing me to experience the pioneering spirit of discovery and adventure. Priced at 40 euro per 100ml, there is simply no excuse to not indulge in this exotic journey.

The first two pictures are courtesy of while the last one was sourced from

Monday, May 7, 2007

Antonia’s Flowers by Antonia’s Flowers : Perfume Review

Two weeks of beautiful sunny days, not a hint of rain in sight. And then suddenly, the rain and cold are back, everything changed. The weather started taking a turn for the worse last night and today we woke up to overcast skies and dreary rain. When you live in a country dominated by the wind and rain, you start thinking about the weather a lot. Talking about it, even. It becomes a conversation point. Talking about the weather is so pedestrian, part of my mind tells me. But it can’t be helped; the joys of spring still flagrant in my mind, how can I not lament the loss of the sun’s warm rays on my skin? Who’d ever choose for the tears of rain on their face when they could have the fond caress of sun on their cheeks? They skies should never have to be so gray in May.

There are so many ways to choose a perfume, so many ways to use it. There are perfumes that are not so much part of my wardrobe but integral parts of my character that I use to underscore and highlight who I really am; perfumes that are one with my identity, my spirit. There are perfumes I use for seduction or to express my mood. There are yet others, which let me travel back to the past or help me reach grounds my feet have never touched. And there are still perfumes I’d never wear outside, so incongruent are they to my character, but that I still have to have to use as balm – soothing remedies for those times when not everything in my day is right. One such is Antonia’s Flowers signature fragrance.

It was for those qualities that I was looking for today in my perfume and I instinctively reached for it. I longed for its freshness, its cheeriness, its optimism. Antonia’s Flowers was created in conjunction with perfumer Bernard Chant and was launched in 1985. It focuses on the designer’s beloved freesia and even though it does not quite strike me as a soliflore, this is the only flower note I can clearly discern. It is softly accentuated by lily, but the jasmine and magnolia never make an appearance for me. Despite its ‘living flower’ technology, I have to assert that to me, natural freesia is much headier. The freesia in Antonia’s Flowers is soft and green, never quite as boozy as the bouquets the tables of my paternal home were always adorned with in Easter. Perhaps this is different in other concentrations of the perfume – I have only experienced the EdT. But this is far from criticism. It is this fresh, lush greenness that draws me to this perfume on rainy days such as this one. The overall effect of the fragrance is freshly cut grass, so luscious and juicy as can only grow in rainy countries such as this one. In the opening the green is joined by sparkling and slightly sharp citrus that dissipates before you even knew it was there, to give rise to the grassy field where the sun is projecting its rays between the shadows cast by the foliage of the trees. There is a slightly musty accord there too, that struggles to come through from time to time, the mildewy scent of dump clothes. Instead of finding it a turn-off, this is a smell that makes me happy in this fragrance, as though the green field was not eerily quiet, but alive with boys and girls laughingly drenching each other with water, partly to tease, partly to cool themselves from the summer’s heat. A game I’ve often played in childhood... It is this accord too, that makes me marvel at how lively the freesia in this perfume really is. It is a scent that often rises from the flowering bulbs, but not from the cut flowers. After a couple of hours of wear, the grassy smell becomes soft enough to allow the true flowery character of this fragrance to bloom. And it blooms in the softest, quietest manner possible. Unobtrusive, dewy and green, Antonia’s Flowers is simple and cheerful. The sense of spring, gentle and true: perfect balm for a rainy day.

Pictures courtesy of and respectively.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Padparadscha by Satellite : Perfume Review

There was no review yesterday, since I’d been out of the house all day on a little day trip to another city. Yes, as you might have guessed, I was on a fragrance quest: I went there predominantly to sniff out some perfumes suggested to me by a friend. But the day was astoundingly bright for this time of year in our rainy country – which miraculously has been dry for a while now- and I found myself walking for hours, exploring the tiny cobblestone streets of different neighborhoods. I love those little explorations when I never know what I’ll encounter next. Every turn, every corner becomes an adventure. I guess I never managed to shed my childish enthusiasm – nor do I ever want to! The greatest find of the day though was in a little street I’d walked through before, in an area I visit quite often. An area full of little curious shops and evocative scents: the old smells of wood and dust emitting from the tiny antique stores, the heavy ones of cheese wafting from the cheese monger’s... Raisins, cinnamon and yeast from the numerous bakeries mingle with the flowery scents coming from the perfumeries and thin trails of moth balls mingled with disinfectant gently waft toward the street from the open doors of vintage clothing stores... There, tucked away between a silversmith and an antiquary I found a true gem. I must have passed it dozens of times before without noticing. How could I have missed it? There it was before me, like a magic shop that mushrooms out of nothingness in a fantasy novel. Curly toed slippers, gems and fabric were on the window display and a glance inside the open door revealed a gilded ceiling, still covered with its original painting. I couldn’t help but go inside, to take a closer look at the vintage theater and opera costumes that lined the walls and hang from the railings. They did not hang lifelessly though... Pierrots, Columbinas and Harlequins, princes and princesses, Venetian lords and ladies and Chinese emperors all danced around me in gem-colored swirls of sequins and feathers. The divas of the 1920’s sung the blues from a hidden stereo at one corner, where the most exquisitely eccentric, heavy made-up red-haired woman was mending yet another velvet costume. She explained to me that she buys all these costumes at auctions, or often privately, due to the connections she has made from working in the theater in the past. I propped a ruby-colored velvet jacket with gold trimming against my chest. That one was by Chané, a period designer and she had the matching pantaloons as well, she explained. Seven hundred and fifty euro for the jacket, she added, as I carefully returned it to the company of the other magnificent pieces. I left to make my way back home with an extra spring in my step and a smile painted on my face, my heart made richer for having been there. This morning the experience seems palpable still and the color of the jacket vivid in my mind. Inspired, I knew which perfume I wanted to experience today... A deep orange-colored sample vial I had been saving up for a while: Padparadscha, by Satellite.

Padparadscha is the name given to a rare type of sapphire gemstones of pinkish-orange hue. What sets them apart from rubies is that they are lighter in color, but some of the darker stones can create confusion even for the trained eyes of gem dealers. Named after such a precious rarity, Padparadscha had me intrigued. Perhaps I was setting myself up for disappointment because my expectations were certainly high. The bottle is gorgeous and the jus itself is very evocative of the actual stone with its sunset-orange hue. It came as a shock to me to find upon application that this is actually a very masculine perfume. The website from which I procured my sample did describe this as a feminine scent after all. But to me, Padparadscha smelled characteristically male. The fragrance opened with what I immediately identified as cloves. The cloves were rendered dry by the presence of light nutmeg notes. Lavender blended the two together, making the experience all the more masculine. It had been an interesting ride thus far, but on the dry-down the disappointment begun. What was rich and interesting suddenly lost its edge and became unoriginal and bland. A woodsy smell comprised primarily of sandalwood, cedar and soft amber was all that remained. A scent I’d smelled so many times before it seemed, the profiles of countless other generic male aftershave colognes and cheap shaving foams. Oh dear. Not a gem I will be adding to my collection any time soon. It is such a shame too, for I would have loved nothing more than to treasure this perfume and use it as a reminder of the beautiful spring adventure I just described. A fragrance to symbolize the stunning gem-colored jacket I held in my hands and the passion contained in that treasure-trove of a shop. It is indeed regretful, but I am partly comforted by the thought that there are many others who do appreciate Padparadscha and it is to them I dedicate this little recount of my beautiful discovery.

Picture of round-cut padparadscha sapphires courtesy of

Friday, May 4, 2007

Blue Jeans by Versace

In 1994 the Versace fashion house launched the jeans perfume line to represent the Versace Jeans Couture Collection. The first two fragrances were Blue Jeans and Red Jeans, to be followed in 1995 by Baby Blue and Baby Rose. 1996 saw the releases of Green and Yellow Jeans and the fragrant family continued to expand in 1997 with the launch of Black and White Jeans. The prolific line saw its last descendants in 2001, with the release of Metal Jeans for Men and Metal Jeans for Women, a last attempt to capture the market, geared for men and women with fast-paced, on-the-go lives. Most of these fragrances have now been discontinued and the only ones still in production are the original Blue and Red along with Baby Blue and Baby Rose.

Blue Jeans is surely my favorite member of this colorful Jeans dynasty. The blue tin box the flacon is contained in sets the theme for this very playful men’s fragrance, reminiscent as it is of vintage tin toys won in funfairs past. The fragrance itself is a wondrous medley of spices and woods, held together harmoniously by fragrant flowers. Despite the citrusy top notes, Blue Jeans is never sharp, not even at the opening: it is immediately deep and slightly musty. Carnation, violet and jasmine blend seamlessly together with nutmeg, anise, sandalwood, vanilla and tonka to create a sweet, gourmand veil on the skin. Its sexiness is underscored and at the same time balanced, by the addition of soft musk and powder notes created by the blend of heliotrope, musk, lavender, amber and cedarwood. In this sense Blue Jeans becomes a perfect contradiction on a man’s skin: the flowers and spices make him sexy and playful, the gourmand notes render his skin compellingly, irresistibly edible... yet the powder and musk combine in a way that is so evocative of baby talcum-powder, that part of him is helplessly perceived as innocent and vulnerable.

There are not many fragrances I think of as pairs, but one cannot help but think this way with the Jeans fragrance line. Almost all of the perfumes were released simultaneously with a counterpart, a companion. And in the case of Blue Jeans it is implicative that Red Jeans is its pair. I never found the two to match the least bit though... In my mind the perfect marriage is that between Lolita Lempicka and Blue Jeans. They compliment each other perfectly, never overshadowing each other. If I had to choose a jus within the line itself, I’d pick White Jeans to go with Blue, but the union would never be as perfect as the one with Lolita.

Pictures courtesy of and respectively.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Nahema by Guerlain : Perfume Review

Have you ever buried your nose in a fabulous rose? Imagine the experience magnified a hundred times...Take away the musty, earthy odor, for this is a new, waxy rose, its petals still tightly wrapped together, yet the godly scent is flowing unfaltering, unstoppable out of its calyx. Yes, Nahema starts out with a triple dose of rose, heady and determined, but the top notes are soon joined by bergamot and tangerine. In no way does my mind’s eye leave the mystical rose garden yet though. Their citrusy scent, instead of making the mental imagery diverge, consolidates the grandeur of the flower. The notes blend so well I am instead left imagining dried rosehip, with its distinctive citrusy tang. The base notes of sandalwood and vetiver are not far behind, making an early appearance, somehow preceding the middle notes, helping the image complete itself as my nose follows the shape of the plant to its woody base. It is not an outline of a rose; it is no plain sketch. This is the living bush, three-dimensional and glorious. In the drydown, any freshness our rose had is strangled, dying the sweetest death in the enveloping embrace of the narcotic, oily passion of ylang-ylang; a passion enhanced by the fragrance of overripe, juicy peach. And this is the only thing that rouses me from my focus on the rose... It makes me rise to my feet in my imaginary rose garden with eyes half-closed, beckoned by the heavy trail that somehow manages to refrain from being either oppressing, or cloying. It is an intense, sweet but never saccharine, inebriating trail I just have to follow. All I know when I am conscious of my thoughts again is that I am left in liquid, dangerous darkness. It is then I realize that the rose garden was never set in dusk; it was all an illusion. Darkness all around, Nahema operates in the night. I had been blind. There are no flowers around, just the lingering scent of a mysterious woman. A woman with red lipstick and dark clothes, layers upon layers of beautifully cut, couturier clothes and silk stockings. It will take a man precious time to undress her, precious time relishing the peeling of every single garment, every string of pearls. The only thing he will not be able to strip her of is her savage perfume, a scent that’ll haunt him.

Picture courtesy of

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Perfume Tip : Improving the staying power of your perfume

Most of the perfumes I wear are strong enough to not require layering to improve their sillage and staying power. Yet others, are so soft and subtle I can barely smell them half an hour after application. I normally do not layer products; not only because of sometimes being unable to find matching body products for the perfumes I’d like to enhance, but also because oftentimes I suspect the matching body lotion or powder alters the fragrance in a subtle yet important way. Of course, this could very well be my imagination, but there you have it. A tip we often hear is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, for well-moisturized skin will hold perfume longer. The opposite is also true: perfume will disappear quickly from dry skin. That is a good piece of advice, but what is the right moisturizer to use? If you are like me, you won’t find the idea of using a scented lotion appealing. I always fear the perfume will be altered in some way due to the scent of my moisturizer. The solution then has to be unscented moisturizer, and today I’d like to offer a couple of suggestions, in case you’ve been having trouble finding one.

The one I swear by is Enydrial Emollient Body Balm by Roc. This is a completely scent-free body balm that nourishes and repairs. It is also recommended for very dry skin and is gentle enough even for babies. Clinique also offers a fragrance-free moisturizer, but I do not recommend that one because I find it is (paradoxically) not completely scent-free. Another solution is to buy Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. You need to make sure it is refined. Unrefined coconut oil retains the smell of coconut and will lightly perfume your body, so you definitely need refined coconut oil, which is completely odorless. Conversely, coconut oil does wonders for the hair, as it is one of the few oils that can penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing it from within. It is also excellent for rubbing into nails. If you do decide to use it on your hair, make sure you use the right amount – a little goes a long way. You only need to scrape a tiny bit with your thumbnail and melt it between your hands by rubbing them together before oiling your hair. Using a bigger amount will result in oily hair, which is probably not the outcome you were looking for. Do share with me if you have any extra tips for fragrance-free moisturizing products!

Coconut picture courtesy of

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Trouble by Boucheron : Perfume Review

Boucheron released Trouble in 2004 and it has been marketed as a sensual, provocative floral-oriental. Trouble is indeed an oriental scent, but unfortunately it does not have the come-hither potential most of its oriental siblings possess. It starts out with a strong burst of citrus that quickly takes on a sugared quality that brings to mind strong, rich lemon hard-candy. The citrus continues to develop undeterred, like scratched lemon rind and combines with the herbaceous smell of digitalis, the poisonous foxglove also known as witch’s bells. There is a certain essential oil quality in this stage, with traces of crushed citrus leaves. The flowery middle note of jasmine is only a hint, overshadowed by the addition of rosewater and vanilla. The woody base notes are also discernible quite early on, and along with the blue cedar, I can definitely smell sweet palisander wood, which is possibly the sexiest note in the mixture. It is a very strong perfume and a little goes a long way. I get a lot of sillage out of it and its staying power is excellent. I see this as a fragrance with no age restrictions. Truth be told, this is how I feel about most perfumes, with very few exceptions. But I felt I should note this especially for Trouble, as the term “oriental” often serves as a deterrent for younger girls. I feel this is a good initiation perfume in the genre, which can be worn equally comfortably (and with as much success) by both very young and older women.

All in all, Trouble starts out very gourmand, not fully living up to its marketing claims. The dry-down is certainly sexy, but not overtly so. I would not label it as nondescript; it is certainly an interesting perfume, albeit not overly idiosyncratic. To me, this is the perfect perfume to reach for when one needs an oriental in warm weather, as it is both fresh due to its intense citrus character, but also spicy and warm. Having said that, it would still be too rich for daywear. I recommend it as a summer nighttime fragrance.

Image Sources: Lemon Tree, my own. Picture of Trouble factice bottle courtesy of