In my usual attempt to clear out the docket before the end of the year, here are some quick reviews: Vince Camuto, Miller Harris La Fumée, BCBG Max Azria.
Vince Camuto’s eponymous debut fragrance was made by Parlux, the same folks who’ve brought you fragrances by Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson — but before any of you anti-celebrity-fragrance perfumistas turn your noses up (pardon the pun), they also did the lovely Natori fragrance. The Vince Camuto is a floral chypre, in the modern (yes, it’s really an oriental) style, with a fruity top and a lightly spicy, sweet floral heart over a subtle leather and clean patchouli dry down. It turns drier and almost-smoky near the end. It does not, as it turns out, rival Natori (it’s in Macy’s instead of Saks, and in this case, it all fits) but it’s nicely done. If you’re looking for a sweet-ish, middle-weight oriental for winter and don’t want to cough up the dough for Natori, it’s worth a shot. If it’s close but no cigar, you might also check out Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Nights — they’re vaguely related (and were made by the same perfumer, Steve DeMercado).
Vince Camuto by Vince Camuto features notes of rum, osmanthus, rose, leather, night blooming jasmine, vanilla absolute, patchouli, amber and skin musk. It is available in 30 (but not in the US), 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum.
Miller Harris La Fumée
When Kevin reviewed Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Cuir Fétiche yesterday, he noted that the fragrance did not achieve originality. I don’t know about you, but I write something similar in my testing notes frequently — with 1500+ new fragrances every year, it’s hard to think of a fragrance idea that hasn’t already been done, and done again. And so I liked La Fumée, from British niche brand Miller Harris, as soon as I smelled it, but was hesitant to review it simply because it seemed like too much work to pull out and compare the many woody incense niche fragrances of similar bent. I’m not going to bother, I’ll just tell you that if your woody incense collection still has openings, this one is very much worth a try. It’s dry, spicy, smoky and somewhat church-y, and if that’s not enough for you, I’ll also remind you that Harris developed the once-adored-but-now-long-gone limited edition Incense fragrance for Matthew Williamson, remember that one?1
Miller Harris La Fumée is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum; notes feature cistus, geranium, cardamom, coriander, cumin, elemi, papyrus, birch tar, incense, sandalwood, cedar and amber.
BCBG Max Azria
I can only assume BCBG’s attempt to do fragrance in-house (BCBG Max Azria Within) didn’t work out so well because they signed a licensing agreement with New Wave shortly after. The resulting eponymous fragrance is classified as a “soft floral”, and it is, in a youthful pink ‘n fruity ‘n clean style: lots of fizzy sheer red fruits in the opening, sheer flowers in the heart, a mostly bland and pale base smoothed out with a touch of powdery iris. It’s innocuous enough, if not particularly original, and the same goes for the bottle, which is yet another variation on Marc Jacobs Lola.
BCBG Max Azria was developed by perfumer Stephen Nilsen; notes include strawberry, black cherry, kir royale, jasmine, muguet, rose, violet, musk, orris and sandalwood. It can be found in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum and in matching body products.
1. Which is not the same as the light, rather basic Incense that was part of the later (2007) Matthew Williamson Collection. The Miller Harris version was likewise called “Matthew Williamson Incense”, and it originally came out in 2002. If I remember correctly, it started disappearing from the planet around 2005 or 2006.