Byredo Mojave Ghost ~ fragrance review

Byredo Mojave Ghost

The nectar-less ghost flower (mohavea confertiflora) that grows in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts has ingenious strategies for attracting pollinators: it mimics the appearance of another desert flower with lots of nectar, and the ghost flower’s center markings are shaped like a female bee (Xeralictus) — here come the male bees to do their work!

It’s a difficult assignment for a perfumer to mimic the scent of a wild, desert flower. The desert flowers I’ve smelled possess a “certain something” I’ve never encountered in perfumes; they have “clear,” fresh and clean aromas, with floral and fruity aspects that are hard to describe, let alone duplicate. I imagine a successful desert flower scent would smell fantastic, but wouldn’t last too long on skin. Byredo Mojave Ghost1 attempts to mimic the scent of an exotic flower’s perfume and to attract pollinators (buyers) but it’s only partly successful…

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Guerlain Vague Souvenir ~ fragrance review

Guerlain Vague Souvenir + peach blossoms

My love of fragrance did not begin by smelling the contents of fancy bottles. I learned to love perfume in the garden. If you’ve read my reviews for any length of time, you may have noticed I often use botanical illustrations to “decorate” my posts; that’s because any perfume that gives me a realistic representation of a beloved natural scent has captured my attention and has a chance at capturing my heart, too.

I grew up in the countryside, and big parts of my childhood were spent outdoors: in flower beds, vegetable gardens, orchards, woods. The bounty of those places found their way into the kitchen, where another facet of my scent education took place (all those fruits, vegetables, spices, vanilla, chocolate, liquor!) To list my favorite fragrance notes would be a laughable exercise; I’ve been smelling everything that crossed my path my entire life…the list would be extensive. Still, the scent of stone fruits would be high on my list…

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Surrender to Chance Surrender & Coldwater Canyon ~ fragrance reviews


All it took for me to be interested in Surrender (the new perfume from sample/decant retailer Surrender to Chance) was learning it contained petrified hyrax urine (hyraceum).1 It didn’t hurt that Surrender was developed by perfumer AbdesSalaam Attar (Dominique Dubrana) of La Via del Profumo (one of my favorite perfume lines).


(jasmine absolutes, licorice, carrot, myrrh, gourmand notes and hyraceum)

If anyone reads “petrified hyrax urine,” cringes, and marks Surrender off his perfumes-to-try list…DON’T! It’s an interesting fragrance…

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Hiram Green Shangri La ~ fragrance review

Hiram Green Shangri La

I’ve never believed in Santa Claus, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster or Shangri La. If Shangri La is hidden somewhere “out there,” it’s now probably suffering from drought or too much rain, and hotter-than-usual temperatures. I see the appeal of a hidden paradise, an exotic, clean, beautiful, calm retreat. But if all that were true…Shangri La would be a people-free zone. And in Hiram Green’s newest perfume, Shangri La,1 people seem absent; only plants and animals thrive and produce aromas.

Shangri La opens with strongly acidic citrus: green in tone; the perfume becomes tarter still with almost-ripe peach…

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DSquared2 Wild ~ fragrance review

DSquared2 Wild advert

When it comes to the new DSquared2 Wild perfume for men, I broke many of my rules for reviewing: I fell for advertising and the list of (supposed) fragrance notes, and I ordered expensive samples…from Germany…because the scent is not widely available in the U.S. (are DSquared2 perfumes EVER eagerly anticipated here?)

I feel most ashamed for believing the fragrance would be “…a raw roll in the hay — the whole idea is to be a bit raw.” Look at the horse in the ads, summoning aroma-ideas of sweat, leather, hay…neighing in the video starring the wild-man model Robin Here at NST(TM) awarded the best abs in perfume ads for 2014. I was swayed by Wild’s list of enticing notes: humus, neo-labdanum (NEO!), vegetable amber, santolina, opoponax, and resins galore.1 With “all that,” how could Wild NOT live up to its promises…

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