Friday, August 18, 2017

Chanel Les Exclusifs Boy: fragrance review

It's hard to go wrong with an aromatic fougere; men have been conditioned to opt for them and women to respond to them as "the natural scent of men" since at least the end of the 19th century when Jicky by Guerlain became the first to make an impact. Lavender and musk plus a spattering of sweeter notes is the basic recipe but each maker gives them their spin.

Chanel made Boy (after "Boy" Capel, a lover of Coco's) in their boutique range Les Exclusifs to appeal to those men who want that steadfast tradition in a sleek modern bottle and who don't mind a bit of a retro touch. This is what perfumer Olivier Polge (son of Jacques who was head perfumer for 3 decades) envisioned I'm sure.

What I smell distinctly after the top note of sharpness is the heliotrope and tonka which give a slight effect of marzipan paste; they elevate lavender from the usually medicinal territory into something softer and cuddlier. Hard to find this not fitting any occasion, casual, office or night out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

In the grip of a heatwave

Melting doesn't beging to describe it global warming be darned. We had a cool May and a rainy July to only suffer through a tremendously hot July. The question of fragrance only makes me queasy most days. However there are a few respites.

beach in Halkidiki (Greece) via

Contrary to the perennial line-up of Light Blue (D&G) and Infusion d'Iris (Prada) which so many local women choose to wear on the hottest days, I opt for biting green chypres with piercing fangs. Chanel No.19 fragrance, especially in the less rosy and more vetiver-rich eau de toilette version, manages to sit on my bosom with the starchy iris of its heart and make me feel dry and groomed even when I can almost feel the droplets of sweat collect on the base of my throat. Curiously enough the heat makes it bloom and feel terribly sexy as well, with the bitter galbanum reacting perfectly to cut through the humidity like a scimitar. Bandit Eau de Parfum (Piguet), on the other hand, cuts with the startling bite of a bullwhip, and that's such an unlikely relief when it's hot as hell and you need that slap to wake up and get on with your day! If most people need pick-me-ups when drunk, consider me one (among others) who needs a taser when it's hot and humid. Other fragrances which serve me well in the heat are Sycomore by Chanel, Philosykos by Diptyque (review here and there's some Philosykos history background too) and Guerlain's Vetiver for men.

Much like the Spanish Inquisition, as immortalised in the words of Monty Python, my weapons of choice are "fear and surprise, surprise and fear." They seem to work pretty well.

And for those fully intending on embracing their sweat there are cumin and sweaty-like fragrances which the PerfumeShrine highlighted a while ago...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bulgari Petits et Mamans: fragrance review

The top of a baby's head. The milky breath. The soft, soothing chamomile note of a baby soporific infusion. The talcum powdered bottom. The peachy smooth skin of small kid's short and squishy limbs. The intense tenderness of cradling one's own child in their arms. How could anyone capture all those glorious moments in a single scent?

via Pinterest

One simply can't.

They come with their own avalanche of overwrought anxiety, triumphant elation, sleepless nights and the relief of seeing the small ones grow day by day. But if you concentrate on getting the impression, rather than the actual kaleidoscope of the wild mix of feelings one gets upon having a baby, you can't go wrong by opting for Petits et Mamans by Italian jewelers Bulgari (or rather spelled in the Latinized pavements style Bvlgari)

This downy soft and comforting blend of vanilla powder, chamomile and iris starchiness replicates the feathery light feel of kids' natural scent and projects as inconspicuously as its realistic equivalent. Before they start scratching their knees falling off the bike or having their own free will imposed on you whereupon they become boys and girls rather than asexual "kids". If there is a Platonic idea of how kids smell, all innocent and cherubic, it's Bvlgari's Petits et Mamans. Like the name says on the label, moms can borrow it as well. For remembrance's sake or for partaking in the joy.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

YSL La Nuit de l'Homme: fragrance review

"Sexy as hell" is what our Hellenic readers hail this cologne as. An enthusiastic endorsement from people who do actually enjoy a wide array of male colognes, La Nuit de l'homme has been YSL's best release in their masculine section for quite some time. Recents batches have become decidedly weaker, but the magic of the spicy woody notes persists.


Woody scents are typically manly, mainly due to a lack of distracting elements from their solid "watch me chop the wood, I'm a lumberjack" impression. But the cunning in La Nuit de l'Homme lies in interweaving a coolish tinge of spicy cardamom which interplays with the traditional barber-shop lavender to give a juxtaposition of cleanliness and mysterious exoticism. It's definitely one to wear when out flirting. There are very few women who don't like this one.

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