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Green Floral Summer

Vero Profumo Mito Voile D’Extrait

25th June 2015

Addictively green! Actually, green and acid yellow, because along with the garden’s worth of green leaves and a tree’s worth of dry, resinous galbanum shoe-horned into the opening notes of Vero Profumo’s Mito Voile d’Extrait, there is also a hyper-lemon or bergamot accord in there that feels like a million citruses pressed into action all at once. The bitter rind, the juice, the pulp – it’s all here, upfront.

And immediately, in the midst of all this green-and-yellow madness, a creamy white flower starts unfolding its petals, explosively, in a hurry to show off its pushy beauty. Magnolia? Maybe jasmine. Surely, at first it is magnolia – a creamy, non-indolic smell that smells like a magnolia freshly plucked from the tree, complete with the slightly poisonous smell of the green juice of the just-ripped leaves and stems.

It’s beautiful and heady, and yes, supremely botanical in feel. Mito feels like a dense, packed green thing at first, but it has development. It unfurls. The green, citrus ‘roid-rage’ opening unfurls to reveal a magnolia, and the magnolia parts its petals to reveal a very Diorella-esque note of overripe peach or melon. No fruit is listed, but I smell a sticky fruit of some sort.

This ‘rotting fruit’ core is the part of Mito that takes it from a merely botanical wonder of citrus and greens that might have been done by Annick Goutal (only 100 times stronger) to something more complicated, something closer to the slightly decaying, salt-grass-and-fruit chypres that form the bedrock of French summer-chic perfumery, specifically Le Parfum de Therese, Diorella, Cristalle, and even Femme.

Wearing Mito is an all-in experience. You get the lush grandeur of an Italian garden, the resinous greens, the citrus, and creamy white flowers. But you also get the gassy fruit and underlying decay. The extreme dry down of Mito is a surprise – on my skin, it’s all jasmine, with nothing green or botanical or chypre left to provide ballast. I find myself re-spraying to re-live the amazing opening and heart. That’s the part that I find exciting. I’ve gone through two samples, though, and am currently Mito-less. Damn it.

This makes the “maybe” list. Does the joy I feel in the opening notes justify the expense? Hmmmm. We will see.


Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere

25th June 2015
Sergey Melkonov / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

A beautifully sheer, crisp take on the enduring classic that is Chanel No. 5, the wonderful Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere is perfect for anyone who adores the original but who finds it too rich and too bombastic for use in the summer heat. Or indeed, for anyone who can’t stand the original.

To be perfectly honest, although I do have a healthy appreciation for the original (especially in its vintage extrait form), it’s not a perfume I ever managed to love. I do love Eau Premiere, though. To me, it smells like a glass of lemony champagne poured over powdered rose, jasmine, and sandalwood. If the original No. 5 is a luxurious cashmere, Eau Premiere is a gossamer-thin silk. Just the ticket for a lunch out with girlfriends on a hot day.

It’s been reformulated. The first version, in the tall bottles, is the best, but is very difficult to find these days. The current version, housed in the more standard-issue Chanel square bottles (those tall bottles must have made the OCD folks at Chanel shudder every time they walked past a Chanel display in a department store), is closer to the original No. 5, and is all around a heavier, muskier, more abstract thing altogether.

I’ve been through a whole 150ml bottle of the original version, but now that I’m out, I’m not bothering with the new version. I’m done. Switching to 31 Rue Cambon instead from here on out.


Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau

25th June 2015

Well, technically, Guerlain’s Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau Si Sensuelle. That’s right – a flanker of a flanker of a flanker.

I don’t care. Laugh all you like! I love this stuff.

And get this – this was my first Guerlain. EVER. It was my neural pathway to the original mothership oriental herself, i.e., real Shalimar. (Every time someone says that a flanker was their introduction to the original fragrance, a Thierry Wasser gets his wings.)

I can’t believe they just discontinued this little beauty, the bastards. I know that people are a bit sneery about this being a flanker of a flanker, but, honestly, it is just a fabulous smelling perfume. Whereas Parfum Initial is heavy on the iris/berry/patchouli and more than a few degrees closer to Dior Homme Intense than Shalimar, this one reads as a true Shalimar Light.

L’Eau is also, dare I say, a whole lot better than Parfum Initial. It is like a summer sketch of the original Shalimar using only the gauziest of notes. The heavy, stinky bergamot opening of the original, which can be utterly frightening to the unindoctrinated, has been replaced by sunny, zippy orange, neroli, and grapefruit. It smells like lemon tart or lime cheesecake sprinkled with candied rose petals. The opening is so irresistibly delicious and aromatic, you will want to drink your wrist.

The scent, being simple and direct, reaches the heart and base very quickly, where it stays in a lightly spiced, lightly creamy vanilla register for the duration. The lime cheesecake smell is utterly delicious. It makes me ridiculously happy.

Of course, don’t go into this expecting Shalimar – there is no smoke, heavy vanilla, leather, civet, or amber here. But this works fantastically as a sort of summer cologne-style version of Shalimar when you want to stay on the lighter side of things. Highly recommended, and stock up while you can still find this in shops. Knowing Guerlain, they will probably re-release this or Parfum Initial in the bee bottles in twenty years and try to charge us all $450 a bottle for it. So….buy it now.

Review Summer

Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana

25th June 2015

Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana consistently comes in at the top of the bestseller lists in the United States – and with very good reason: it is hard to beat in the summer refresher stakes. Featuring a sparkling green apple note and a translucent amber base, Light Blue is a pleasure to spritz on liberally in the heat. Its fruit notes are sheer rather than syrupy, so the overall effect is crisp and bright – like biting into an ice-cold Granny Smith.

It’s a pity, though, that the bright apple opening cannot be maintained past the one hour mark. The sheer amber base reveals itself to be Iso E Super, and the remaining three hours limp on in an agony of synthetics (for me). A pleasure at the start, but a plain old Iso E Super or cedramber base makes this one a miss for me.

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