My Review Philosophy: What I Write About, What I Ignore…and a quick poll

I’ve often sat at my desk surrounded by 50 or more perfume samples and thought: “I don’t have anything to review this week!” How could I think such a thing? (I don’t take this ‘dilemma’ too seriously, and completely understand if you’re thinking: “Who CARES?”)

Anyway, I have NOTHING to review this week so decided to write about reviewing. If this seems a dull topic, perhaps you’ll read my candle reviews next week?

Here’s my process for deciding what to review (or not):

Good Scents

If I come across an interesting-quirky-unusual or beautifully crafted perfume — even if it’s not that original — or a fragrance that showcases a favorite ingredient of mine in a wonderful/new way, no matter its maker or price, I review it…

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Tom Ford Fleur de Chine ~ fragrance review

Branch of Flowering White Jasmine

I believe (tell me if I’m wrong) I have given more attention to the Tom Ford Private Blends than any other contributor here at Now Smell This (and I’ve liked more of the Private Blend perfumes than my cohorts, too). But over the last couple of years, my interest in the brand has waned, as one overpriced, under-thought-out perfume after another joined the range. Tom Ford’s Private Blend Atelier d’Orient Collection has been out 18 months and I’ve just sampled all four fragrances; three were yawners to me, but Fleur de Chine1 was a happy surprise.

Fleur de Chine opens with a brash salvo of aldehydes, floral spice (very wisteria-like), tart citrus, and semi-indolic magnolia…

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Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Wood & Michael Kors for Men ~ fragrance reviews

Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Wood

Thierry Mugler launched A*Men Pure Wood1 last summer; it’s a limited edition that, according to my most-trusted Nordstrom perfume sales person, is selling fast. I was beginning to worry the A*Men “Pure” scents (among them A*Men Pure Energy, A*Men Pure Shot, A*Men Pure Havane, A*Men Pure Malt and A*Men Pure Coffee) were smelling too similar. A*Men Pure Wood stands apart from others in the “Pure” collection with its sweet/dense “oak” aroma, mingling with pungent cypress and woody vanilla and patchouli. Dare I say that my first impression of A*Men Pure Wood was: “Wow! It’s Chêne-sque!” …as in Serge Lutens; I want to try these perfumes side by side.

A*Men Pure Wood is a linear perfume, but it does not wear me out or bore me as the day progresses; in fact, I enjoy it more and more as time passes — it’s a comforting fragrance…

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Clinique Aromatics Elixir ~ fragrance review

Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I remember trying Clinique Aromatics Elixir1 in my early twenties (didn’t like it then) and forgetting it existed till I met someone 13 years later who wore it all the time. When I first met her, I said: “You’re wearing Aromatics Elixir, aren’t you?” How could I remember a perfume I had tried so long ago and never wore again? (I was proud of myself…what a memory! what a Nose!) But I can take only partial credit for this feat; Aromatics Elixir is distinctive, and one of the few perfumes with a strong oak moss note that I now enjoy.

Last week, when I reviewed Aramis (a fragrance that shares Aromatics Elixir’s perfumer, Bernard Chant), I admitted oak moss is not one of my favorite fragrance ingredients — an understatement. Oak moss is something I imagine as a brittle, sticky thread that takes over other ingredients as a virus overwhelms a host…

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Aramis by Aramis ~ fragrance review & A Rant in Defense of the Aging and Old

Aramis advert

I’ve been meaning to review Aramis1 for years (it’s a classic, and I’ve never tried it!) Reading two articles back to back last week, randomly, led me to the perfume counter for a fresh Aramis sample…and this review. These articles have apt connections to the “old-man” perfume that is Aramis (it was first released in 1964 and is regularly disparaged by men, and women, on perfume forums as being “old” fashioned and, thus, un-wearable today).

First up was an interview with Frances McDormand, talking about aging in The New York Times:

We are on red alert when it comes to how we are perceiving ourselves as a species. There’s no desire to be an adult…

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