Pretty Woman by Barbara Orbison ~ fragrance review

Barbara Orbison Pretty Woman

Wait! Don’t click away! Had I not smelled Pretty Woman by Barbara Orbison, I, too, would have been tempted to scroll past this review. There are enough celebrity fragrances on the market to carpet Mars, and, as far as I’m concerned, another planet is exactly where most of them belong. A fragrance named after the dead wife of a dead rock legend (Roy Orbison) doesn’t inspire cheers of delight.

And then I smelled Pretty Woman. It’s not fashionable or pandering, but neither is it overly clever or challenging. Instead, it’s a warm, heady 1930s-style perfume with rich sillage and a long simmer on skin. Pretty Woman is kind of a lame name for it, really. It smells more like Sultry Broad…

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Parfums Raffy

Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2015

orange tulip

At last, spring! It’s taken long enough, and if your local weather has been anything like mine, you might be wondering if winter is not quite done playing games with you yet. Here are 10 perfumes (and another 10+ alternatives, because everyone needs choice, right?) to cover the full range of (crazy) spring weather, from boots to sandals and back again. As always, do add your own picks in the comments, or go read the lists at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Perfume Posse and The Non-Blonde.

Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk: When I reviewed Forest Walk, I said you could wear it year-round but that the outdoorsy blend of earthy notes and pine-y woods was perfect for chilly fall evenings. Turns out it suits a brisk spring night just as well…

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Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow ~ fragrance review

Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow artwork

Just when I thought this season’s wave of rose-inspired perfumes had tapered off, one more has come my way, and it’s a very unusual example: Asphalt Rainbow, the second release from Brooklyn-based independent perfume brand Charenton Macerations. This fragrance was developed by perfumer Cecile Hua, and its notes include rose, spray paint (aerosols), galbanum, lily of the valley, lychee, ylang ylang, saffron, magnolia, leather, cistus, asphalt, “detritus,” patchouli, wood and amber.

Asphalt Rainbow is described as “an olfactive love letter to the street: a roughed up rose that’s been hyper-colored, torn apart and twisted on its head, then nailed to the wall for your sniffing pleasure.” It’s actually discussed at much greater length on the Charenton Macerations website, in various posts that occasionally read like an M.F.A. thesis; once you sift through the verbiage, you can take away the idea that Asphalt Rainbow is designed as a homage to graffiti and street art of all kinds, an olfactory tribute to an art form that’s vibrant and temporary and rebellious…

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Calvin Klein Reveal Men ~ fragrance review

Calvin Klein Reveal Men

Do you have friends who believe themselves to be Great Cooks (simply because they’ve watched every dull/repetitive show on the Food Network for 10 years?) When you get an invitation for breakfast, lunch or dinner from these folks, your stomach cramps. You imagine their latest inventions (atrocities): Scrapple Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream, Dirty Corn (on the cob) slathered with a molasses and sardine oil glaze, Summer Lasagna, complete with pineapple, carrots and shredded toasted coconut nestled between Greek yogurt-smeared noodles. Oh, and sriracha sauce on everything!

As I’ve written before, I get the same sour stomach when I read note lists from Calvin Klein men’s colognes…

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Bvlgari Aqva Divina ~ perfume review

Magdalena Frackowiak for Bvlgari Aqva Divina

Bvlgari’s new Aqva Divina was inspired by Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and is “graced with the most sun-kissed wonders of the Mediterranean”.1 Translation, as executed by perfumer Alberto Morillas: it’s a “Floral – Solar – Watery” fragrance.

The start is appropriately dewy, with a “salty bergamot” note, although if you assumed such a thing would be light as air, think again — it doesn’t feel heavy on skin, but it radiates farther than you might expect…

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