Lush Death & Decay ~ perfume review

Funeral sheath

There are some oddball niche lines out there, but it’s hard to imagine any other mainstream brand the size of Lush — much less a mall chain the size of Lush (over 900 stores) — launching a fragrance collection under the name Death, Decay and Renewal. The individual fragrance descriptions emphasize the renewal part as much as the death and decay part (the collection is “inspired by the cyclical nature of life”, and do watch out for that ear worm), but still, it would be a surprise from anybody else.

Even then, I didn’t necessarily expect Death & Decay, one of the nine scents in the series,1 to smell quite so much like, well, death and decay…

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Kenzo Jeu d’Amour & Isabey Lys Noir ~ perfume reviews

Kenzo Jeu d'Amour

Quick reviews of one mainstream flanker (Kenzo Jeu d’Amour) and one niche fragrance (Isabey Lys Noir).

Kenzo Jeu d’Amour

At one time, Kenzo was one of my favorite mainstream brands, but they’re getting harder to find in the US, and lately I’ve liked a smaller percentage of what I’m able to find. Jeu d’Amour, which to my knowledge never officially launched here (do comment if I’m wrong!), sounded fun so I made a point of getting a sample. Nope, not fun. I expected Kenzo Amour with a bit of a twist provided by the pomegranate and tea…

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Tom Ford Shanghai Lily ~ perfume review

Tom Ford Shanghai Lily

I fell for it so hard that on any given day if I don’t have other perfume wearing plans it ends up on my skin.

I honestly cannot think of anything that smells like it and it definitely joins one or two other launches as being the most exciting perfume released this year…

Not just a bit of love for this one, but a big burning love.

That’s Bois de Jasmin, The Candy Perfume Boy and Perfume Posse, respectively, talking about Shanghai Lily, one of the four fragrances in the Atelier d’Orient collection from Tom Ford (the other three are Plum Japonais, Fleur de Chine and Rive d’Ambre). They’re all in the Private Blend range, and as I’ve written before about my general lack of affinity for Tom Ford Private Blend, I won’t belabor the point other than to say that the two quartets released just before Atelier d’Orient, Private Blend White Musk and Private Blend Jardin Noir, did nothing to shake my suspicion that the whole line is overrated and overpriced. Still, when Atelier d’Orient came out last year, I dutifully smelled them all on paper blotters at Neiman Marcus. I did like Shanghai Lily the best of the four, but I didn’t like it well enough to chase after a sample, so I went on about my merry way and forgot all about it…

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Cartier Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil, with an aside on Baiser Vole Essence de Parfum ~ fragrance review

Cartier Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil

Hey, who doesn’t need a little zeste de soleil right about now? (If it’s warm where you are, no bragging please!) Zeste de Soleil is the latest flanker to Cartier’s Eau de Cartier, a fragrance I’ve always liked but never adored quite enough to buy a bottle. It joins Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange (which was not as wonderful as I hoped), Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois (a great pencil-shavings scent darkened with a drop of oud) and Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose (which I have not smelled — do comment if you have).

Zeste de Soleil is apparently meant to be the exotic-slash-tropical entry in the series; it adds passion fruit to the original mix of yuzu and mint. The top notes are the perfect antidote to the grey, dreary, rainy weather we’re having here lately: an energetic burst of what smells like flash-frozen grapefruit peel…

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Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer ~ fragrance review

Oriental Lily

Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer is proof that to know what something smells like, the perfume’s name, description, and marketing materials often aren’t enough. Serge Lutens’s references to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, medieval torture devices, and the “essential nature” of lilies probably won’t help you pin down La Vierge de Fer’s nature. Years of sampling such Lutens favorites as Ambre Sultan and Chergui aren’t going to get you very far, either.

I’m going to gin up a new Vierge de Fer marketing campaign to give you a better idea of what the fragrance actually smells like. First, let’s rename it. Vierge de Fer is too harsh and enigmatic for such a gentle, romantic perfume. I know Serge would kill me, but let’s twist the title a bit and call the fragrance Maiden’s Dream. (I hear the groans already.)

For our marketing campaign, we’ll toss out the cubist painting of prostitutes and substitute a summer-dappled Berthe Morisot. I don’t want to make this too “July afternoon,” because the fragrance does carry a hint of metal and musk…

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