Long time, no post! Things have finally settled around here and I think I’ll be able to post again.
A while back, I sampled Parfum d’Empire Eau de Gloire and loved it. It’s been sitting on my wishlist for over a year now, and I finally snagged a deal on a new bottle. I snapped a few shots when I got it out of the box and thought it would be a good way to start posting on here again.
Hope you stick around – I’ve got some very neat photos to post over the next couple weeks, including a bottle of Invasion Barbare that was just ordered and some gorgeous shots of the Murano bottle from Xerjoff. I’ve also got a big pile of samples just waiting to be tried.
Today’s “scent on the back of the hand” is Aramis Havana Reserva. I had sort of expected it to be a traditional fougere, but what I got was anything but that. I wasn’t completely surprised by what came out, but it held far more interest in it than I’d expected.
It opens with a fizzy bright boozy notes, with a tickle of pepper and warmth of crushed tobacco. It settles relatively quickly into an intriguing rum/tobacco/pepper melody with soft cumin undertones and hints of patchouli. There are elements of a traditional after shave (think Old Spice type), but it’s done in a very well blended, nicely presented package. The long dry down brings great dry woody notes that really balance the whole composition. I likes it. I likes it a lot.
From what I gather, the Reserva is the same formulation as the old Havana, but in a higher concentration. I believe both of the Havana and Havana Reserva have been discontinued, but Aramis has re-released Havana with new packaging just last year. I think Reserva might be something I would only reach for on seldom occasion, so paying the exorbitant prices that are out there for the discontinued Reserva isn’t really in the cards. However, I can really see wearing it to an evening outdoor happy hour on the beach could be perfect. I’ll try out the new Havana release and see how that compares – hopefully it will make the cut and make the much friendlier price of $48 even friendlier.
I got the email from LuckyScent saying they had Back to Black in stock and within minutes, I was on the site to order a sample. I had high hopes for it – I wanted to like it. I’d enjoyed Calice Becker’s previous work with By Kilian, so I was set. I got the samples I’d ordered a few days later and dumped them all out on the table, excited to try all the new goodies.
I sniffed the Back to Black directly from the stick and immediately thought “wow, this is going to be good.” I put a bit on the back of my hand and looked forward to what would come of it. It opened with a jammy berry note, almost so tart and pungent that it could tingle your glands. It then transitioned into a wonderful almond woody note, sweetened by vanilla and honey with a touch of warm patchouli. All seemed to be going well. A good while later into the dry down, the honey started to come out a bit more than I was hoping. It was similar to the honey note in the base of Miel de Bois by Serge Lutens. Not good. Hours later, all that was left was the pulsing honey note, all too close to the smell of a well-used port-a-potty on a hot day. Honey isn’t listed as one of the notes and the Kilian website isn’t updated yet, but it seems like a number of people are getting a big honeyed tobacco note pretty strongly.
I’m going to revisit it in hopes that it was a fluke – perhaps applying it by swiping didn’t let it develop the way it needed to.
Longevity and projection are both huge – just from the bit I had on my hand, I was getting wafts of it all afternoon. Also, from that same little bit on my hand, I could still smell it the next morning and still traces after showering.
I’ll try again soon.
Notes from Luckyscent:
Bergamot, raspberry, blue chamomile, cardamom, coriander, saffron, cedarwood, vanilla, almond, vetiver, cistus labdanum, patchouli, oakmoss.
This is the first in the Parfum d’Empire line and one of the first few that I’ve tried in this intriguing line. So far, I’ve only tried a few from Parfum d’Empire, but I’ve been impressed with all of them so far.
Here are the notes for Eau de Gloire:
lemon, bergamot, rosemary, orange, neroli, lavender, tea, anise, licorice, leather, tobacco, incense, immortelle, oakmoss, cistus.
This was done in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, due to his love for fragrance. Actually, the entire line is based on the premise of mixing history with perfume. It may be a bit gimmicky, but I like it, so I guess it got me.
For the longest time, immortelle was not one of my favorite notes. It always smelled a bit off for some reason. I couldn’t describe it, but never felt comfortable with it. My tastes have done a huge 180 since then though and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it lately (Eau Noire is perfection in a tall, green bottle). I was really intrigued by the idea of immortelle playing with the icy anise note here so had to try it. It is blended really well – it’s not easy for me to really pick out any certain notes but right off the bat, I’m treated to a gorgeous melange of woodsy tobacco, leather and anise (but more natural, less like the icy licorice style), with hints of immortelle, all introduced by a crisp, yet velvety citrus curtain that immediately begins its development and parts to reveal the heart. I had somewhat expected a sharp licorice type opening for some reason, but was pleasantly surprised with a rich natural blend that incorporates everything into a wonderfully smooth scent. Nothing is fighting for center stage, and I never felt like anything was dominating the rest. Part of me wishes there was a touch more immortelle presence in this, but I think if it did, it might throw the whole thing off kilter. The leather in the base is perfect, reminding me of a similar treatment in China White. This one is a winner – it may have to find its way onto my shelf.
I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into the first time I tried it. I was lucky enough for someone to send me a sample they’d parted ways with. I didn’t have any preconceptions of what it would smell like, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I got. It’s a really lovely super dry patchouli with dusty earth, camphor and grasses as a backdrop. Think sensual without using the usual suspects of vanilla or sandalwood as a cloak or to make it overly rich. It leans more to the masculine side than feminine for patchoulis, but it’s by no means an overpowering scent. It remains a light aura of a scent on the skin as opposed to a powerhouse patchouli scent. I’ve tried plenty of patchouli scents, and where most rely on a richer, more oriental base, this stays crisp without those overbearing, heavy notes you usually associate with patchouli. It makes uses of tobacco notes and hay to support its lead players. Like many of the Nasomattos, there is a signature note that is hard to describe, but is strangely addictive.
It’s a parfum extrait, but it’s not an in-your-face type. I originally wrote it off as having less than stellar lengevity, but I was mistaken after a few wears. It wears closely and doesn’t have a huge, lingering sillage which I think works perfectly for this and sets it apart from other patchouli heavy scents. However, I can still easily detect it with a fluff of the shirt 10 hours later.