Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Fleuriste ~ fragrance review

green carnation circles

Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently announced the launch of Fleuriste,* a carnation-centered “modern floral with just a few nods to the classical style.” Regular readers at Now Smell This very likely know that I have a special fondness for rose fragrances, but I love other florals, too — violet, iris, and yes, carnation. Therefore I was naturally interested in Fleuriste, which includes notes of rose leaves, carnation, neroli, jasmine, rose and ambergris.

Fleuriste begins with a breath of chilled air and crisp greenery, as though you had just opened the door of the refrigerated display case in a florist’s shop. There’s a hint of moisture that lasts for a while, as though the flowers were misted with cool water…

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Oeillet Sauvage ~ fragrance review


If you’re perfume-obsessed, it’s always a crushing blow when one of your favorite scents is discontinued. Once gone, a fragrance almost never returns; today I’m happy to be able to discuss one of the rare exceptions to that rule. If you’ve been keeping track of this sort of thing (as I have!), you may have recently been cheered to learn that L’Artisan Parfumeur was reissuing several fragrances that had been discontinued, including Tea for Two, L’Eau de Caporal and Oeillet Sauvage. (Bois Farine has also become easier to find than it was at this time last year, thank goodness.)

Oeillet Sauvage was developed by perfumer Anne Flipo and originally launched in 2000. Its current press release describes it as a “spicy and vibrant fragrance – an ode to carnations in bloom in the wild” that captures the flower’s “exuberance” and “sensuality.” Oeillet Sauvage’s composition includes notes of pepper, pink peppercorn, carnation, rose, ylang-ylang, white lily, wallflower, vanilla, cedar and musk…

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Aedes de Venustas Oeillet Bengale ~ fragrance review

Aedes de Venustas Oeillet Bengale, brand image

Oeillet Bengale is the upcoming fragrance from West Village niche perfume boutique Aedes de Venustas. It’s their third, following 2013’s Iris Nazarena and 2012’s Aedes de Venustas Signature. If you’ve tried the first two, you probably already expected incense, and the name Bengale Oeillet, if you speak French (or even just perfume-French), probably led to you to expect carnation.

You’d be right on both counts. The press materials point out that the Bengale Oeillet is actually a rose (a variety of China rose, to be more specific), but that’s not relevant to our concerns. The Aedes Bengale Oeillet is a carnation-incense fragrance, something I never particularly thought to wish for — I’m still waiting, patiently, for my perfect jasmine + incense — but that turns out to be welcome…

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Serge Lutens Vitriol d’Oeillet ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Vitriol d'Oeillet

The perfume world is fickle. Though some perfume notes are perennial favorites — bergamot, sandalwood, and petitgrain come to mind — other ingredients become “problematic” over time. Once, Calone was all the rage…then, one day, perhaps due to overuse or a style shift in perfumery, Calone smelled dated. Not that long ago, rose-rich perfumes were considered passé. (Alongside antiquated rose were the scents of oak moss and carnation — suffering not only from associations with old times and ‘old folks,’ but difficult to work with, or re-create, due to IFRA restrictions.) Then, rose had a renaissance, a facelift, an attitude adjustment, and became “young” again, and is used in all manner of mainstream and niche perfumes, including men’s fragrances. Oak moss and carnation are still waiting for their rejuvenation treatments.

So, how do you “update” a dated aroma? How do you transform old-fashioned carnation, that much-maligned flower, associated with death, bad luck and bad taste, into something modern, edgy and desirable? One way would be to make carnation brazen: accent every facet of its scent, amplify its impact with newer, unusual perfume materials, make it bloom in a new way. Another tactic is familiar from the world of food…

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Old Spice & OS Signature ~ fragrance reviews

Old Spice logo

I’m a lucky person; I live with a man (“B”) who cannot be intimidated and who is hard to embarrass. I hope everyone reading this post has such a person in their lives — they come in handy! If I were living alone and developed a case of, say, jock itch (sorry if anyone finds this offensive but I need to make a strong point here), I would never in a million years go to the drugstore, even disguised in a wig, hat, faux moustache, scarf and sunglasses, and buy a remedy; I would order a treatment online and suffer till it arrived in the mail. Thankfully, if I ever do develop such a nasty malady, I have B and I’d say to him: “Would you mind buying me a box of Gobi Desert Jock Itch Powder?” B would go to the drugstore immediately. If he walked into that drugstore and saw that the only employee was an 18-year-old Adonis dressed in Prada from head to foot, B would smile and say to him: “Hi, where can I find the Gobi Desert Jock Itch Powder?”

Robin here at Now Smell This has been asking me to review Old Spice for over a year, and I’ve procrastinated because I was too embarrassed to buy a bottle of Old Spice; sad, but true…

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