Estee Lauder Spellbound ~ fragrance review

Estee Lauder Spellbound advert

Down at my local Nordstrom this week, to my surprise I found the classic Estée Lauders packaged in new bottles among the regular perfume offerings. In the past, if I wanted to sniff Azurée or Estée, for instance, I had to ask at the cosmetics counter and hope there was a tester hidden away somewhere. But now, here they were, lined up like little perfume soldiers in plain sight. I asked for a sample of Spellbound.

I chose Spellbound because a few commenters on my post on Old School Chypres mentioned it. To me, Spellbound isn’t a chypre at all, but a massive warm peach- and orange flower-infused oriental that probably draws boatloads of fans, and leaves as many people holding their noses in disgust…

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A Lab on Fire Rose Rebelle Respawn ~ fragrance review

A Lab on Fire Rose Rebelle Respawn

Last summer, A Lab On Fire launched Rose Rebelle Respawn, a “modern, feminine” fragrance developed by perfumer Sophia Grojsman. Like everything about A Lab on Fire, it’s a bit mysterious: it’s the third or fourth permutation of Grojsman’s 100% Love, originally released in 2003 by S-Perfume (the parent brand of A Lab on Fire). The original 100% Love was followed by S-Perfume 100% Love {More} in 2006, and more recently, by A Lab on Fire Rose Rebelle in 2011, which I never had the chance to try. (I think it was available only in Paris, and it may or may not have been identical to 100% Love.)

Rose Rebelle Respawn has a composition of ivy, mint leaves, carnation, rose, musks, incense and cacao…

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Lalique de Lalique ~ fragrance review

Lalique de Lalique, Libellule flacon

I rarely get my hands on classic/mainstream women’s perfume samples; I’m always receiving niche offerings — masculine or unisex. When I saw a sample tray at a department store full of the Lalique de Lalique fragrance, I got two vials, thinking I’d pass one on to someone I know who loves old school women’s perfumes and I’d keep the other to use in my scent infuser — IF the fragrance appealed to me.

Lalique de Lalique has a confusing history; it was originally called Parfum Lalique, was developed by perfumer Sophia Grojsman,* and was released in 1992. Parfum Lalique was repackaged, renamed Lalique de Lalique, and, perhaps, reformulated in 2001. Reading my sample card, the perfume I’m reviewing is an Edition Spéciale, 20th Anniversary (“special edition” refers to the bottle, not the perfume, I believe) that came out in 2012. I have no idea if this is yet another reformulation…

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5 perfumes: Mimosa

yellow mimosa

I have always liked mimosa in fragrances. Rather, I should clarify: I have always liked Acacia farnesiana (cassie) and/or scents with heliotropin. The term “mimosa” is a bit of a moving target, even in botany, as there are about 400 species or cultivars of plants under this genus, mostly with pink or mauve flowers, in addition to many other shrubs or trees that produce poofy, cartoonish blossoms and were historically lumped in under the name by the public — silk tree being an example. The sweet, warm, powdery smell we encounter in perfumery, with its facets of almond, honey, violet, craft paste and fresh cucumber, comes from distillation of the soft, feathery yellow petal clusters of the acacia species that most of us in the West know as mimosa flowers. One of my most vivid and happy memories of visits to France is the bushels of mimosa branches tossed out during “La Bataille de Fleurs” or flower parade during the Carnaval de Nice, which winds its way along what must be one of the world’s most beautiful thoroughfares, the Promenade des Anglais.

For all its cheerful straight-forwardness, mimosa appears to be a hard note to use in perfume. There are very few credible soliflores and many mainstream fragrances with a strong mimosa presence come off as airheaded and shampoo-like. With the IFRA restrictions on heliotropin, it has become even more difficult, if not impossible, to base a fragrance around the flower. Looking to include perfumes with some availability in this list, I found that almost all the mimosa fragrances I’d enjoyed at the beginning of my perfume education in the mid-noughties were discontinued or reformulated. Caron Farnesiana, long the great classic of mimosa perfumes, has gone through so many versions that it is hard to keep track of them all…

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