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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Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 ~ fragrance review

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1

I confess I know absolutely nothing about the Liz Earle brand other than that they were purchased by Avon earlier this year. They’re based in the UK and apparently known for their skincare, and they might well be widely adored — my skincare routine was fixed years ago, and I do not stray. Anyway, they released their first fragrance, Botanical Essence No. 1, last year, and this is one of those rare times when I’m reviewing a fragrance only because a PR company sent me a bottle — I had never seen Botanical Essence No. 1 in a store and had no plans to seek it out. Since it turns out to be a fragrance I love, I’m glad it showed up in the mail, and I’ll be very sorry to see it go.1

Botanical Essence No. 1 is “over 98% directly derived from natural ingredients”, and we all know natural ingredients are usually not as potent or long-lasting as synthetic ingredients, right? The press release recommends that you “spritz all over or spray above and let the mist envelop you”, so the first time I tried Botanical Essence No. 1, I sprayed with more abandon than I normally would, and was promptly overwhelmed. Two things went through my mind simultaneously: one, I was going to have to take a shower, pronto, and two, what on earth is in that other 2%? But no, it calmed rapidly…

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