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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Grossmith London Floral Veil & Golden Chypre ~ fragrance reviews

Grossmith Floral Veil & Golden Chypre

Years ago after a friend and I listened to Sarah Vaughan sing her heart-wrenching interpretation of “It Never Entered My Mind,” he turned to me and said, “Well, that song’s been done now. No one else could sing it better.” His comment ran through my mind as I sampled Grossmith Floral Veil and Golden Chypre. Have the ultimate basic floral and floral chypre already been made? There certainly are plenty on the market. Do the Grossmith fragrances have anything new to add — especially at their price?

Floral Veil and Golden Chypre are part of Grossmith’s Black Label Collection. (The collection also includes Amelia and Saffron Rose. Amelia has a dominant woody-musky accord that gives me a headache, and Saffron Rose deserves a true rose lover, so I’m leaving those to other reviewers.) Like the other Grossmith fragrances I’ve tried, Floral Veil and Golden Chypre smell rich, condensed, and expensive, and they last forever on skin. They are Eaux de Parfum, but I can’t imagine Extrait smelling any more luxurious. But are they interesting and compelling…

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Amouage Interlude Woman & Interlude Man ~ fragrance review

Amouage Interlude

Some of the more recent Amouage fragrances for women — Memoir, Epic, and to some extent Lyric — are built like battleships. They’re weighty and loaded with moving parts. Amouage Interlude joins the fleet. The trick in this type of fragrance is that as its intricate machinery clicks and whirrs through its gears, dozens of potentially disparate notes need to engage and dissipate in combinations that evolve artfully.

In my opinion, Interlude Woman grinds its gears before it hits cruising speed, while Interlude Man with its simpler, more familiar construction, sails full steam ahead. (You’ll be glad to know this concludes the painful simile part of the review.)

Amouage defines Interlude Woman as a floral chypre…

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Rochas Mystere ~ fragrance review

Mystere de Rochas advert

So many perfumes smell like things we know: flowers, fruit, wood, food, spice and funk. A few fragrances — mostly created before the disco era, it seems — are more difficult to pin down. They smell only of themselves. They’re sophisticated, and they’re undoubtedly a challenge to fall in love with in the thirty seconds most perfume shoppers these days take before making the decision to purchase. Rochas Mystère is that kind of fragrance.

In response to a post a few weeks ago, a commenter lamented Mystère’s disappearance. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my decant, a bonus in a swap years ago, shoddily labeled with scotch tape and a sharpie. As fate would have it, I stumbled over a bottle of Mystère Eau de Parfum at Goodwill just a few days later…

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Gucci L’Arte di Gucci ~ fragrance review

L'Arte di Gucci advertL'Arte di Gucci advert

A long time ago I read an interview with Donatella Versace in which she said wearing red lipstick with a red dress was bourgeois. She suggested pink lipstick instead. I get that. Red lipstick with a red dress is predictable, a hackneyed suggestion of seduction or power. Pink with red is a surprise that makes you look twice.

Sometimes, though, you don’t want to mess around with subtlety. You don’t want to play cute or artsy — you want to get to the point. A red dress with red lipstick will do just that. So will the perfume world’s version of red on red: a rose chypre. Gucci L’Arte di Gucci makes the point better than most.

L’Arte di Gucci launched in 1991. Its bottle, a glam concoction of asymmetry and gold, is a good representation of its contents. L’Arte di Gucci goes on sharp with a fanfare of green and rose, dirtied by cardamom. (Honestly, a fanfare. Don’t squirt the bottle while your honey’s still asleep, or you might wake him with the olfactory racket.) The fragrance shimmers with hints of orange, aldehydes, and cassis as it settles…

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