31 Days of Perfume Challenge

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Do you have a box full of perfume vials and/or a vanity covered in perfume bottles? Are you the Goldilocks of perfume, just looking for the perfect signature scent? Do you want an opportunity to post daily about how your perfume of the day smells oaky and smoky with hints of blackberry and currant, like a cigar in a whisky barrel rolling through a Mediterranean orchard on a breezy summer morning?

 

If you answered yes to any of the above, or you just want to hop on board for the ride, join us for a 31 days of perfume challenge starting January 1st! Some of us from the 25 days of lipstick challenge wanted to continue the fun and exploration, and since many of us have so many perfume samples, we thought this challenge would be perfect. If you don't have 31 perfumes or hate everything that doesn't smell like Meyer lemons and fresh goat cream, that's fine--we're just aiming to use the neglected perfumes we have laying around and incorporate them into our perfume rotations.

 

And if you want more perfume vials, there's no better time than now to take a peek at Sephora's samples section.

 

Edit: Anyone can join in at anytime! We're here to support, live vicariously through, and encourage everyone in their olfactory adventures!

Re: 31 Days of Perfume Challenge

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So this morning I am wearing Marc Jacob's Decadence on one wrist and Burberry's My Burberry Black on the other...

 

A while back I picked up one of the sampler sets and I just KNEW I wanted Decadence, but then I really liked the Burberry black, and THEN I ran out of both of the samples.  So, with my tail between my legs, I hit up my local Sephora and explained my super serious problem, and the girl was kind enough to fill two samples of both of them so that I could try to decide.

 

To me, they smell very similar, but I think now I'll go with Decadence.  It's sweeter than the Burberry Black, which isn't always a deal breaker, but I think that the Burberry Black has a slight 'soapy' note to it, which detracts a little from the experience I get from it.

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Today I am wearing Tocca Florence. This is definitely a true, classic floral, but in no way overwhelming or strong. It's quite nice. The notes say bergamot, gardenia, and blonde wood, and I feel the gardenia is the most apparent. Very lovely, I like this one a lot. It feels very appropriate for spring and early summer.

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I just remembered I have a sample of this in my stash! It sounds lovely, cannot wait to try it. Smiley Happy

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I apologize ladies, because I am about to be long-winded again... Day 4 and today i am wearing JULIETTE HAS A GUN GENTLEWOMAN. I don't know why the brand decided to represent this pefume by sticking a lovely scowling 16-year-old in a tuxedo but I don't pretend to understand the marketing side of the perfume industry. I find it interesting that the concept for this perfume is that it is meant to be somewhat androgynous and to this end it combines many of the elements of traditional "eau de cologne".  From my first sniff of Gentlewoman I can see that this is not just a nod to traditional eau de cologne, it is a love letter...

 

The original eau de cologne was launched in 1792 in, you guessed it, Cologne, Germany (hence the name "Eau de Cologne").  It is called 4711 by Maurer & Wirtz.  It is still available today and comes in a lovely vintage looking bottle adorned with a turquoise and gold filigree label.  It is also quite inexpensive but the ingredients are of excellent quality and they smell like the natural ingredients their notes boast.  Incidentally, this cologne is very familiar to me since it was the only scent/perfume that my severely allergic to anything chemical or synthetic grandmother could ever wear and so it smells of my grandmother who always smelled fresh and lovely and I always admired the beautiful bottle on her vanity as a child.

 

I have a love for perfumes that smell like the actual notes they list on the bottle - I like to smell the real things and then pick them up in a fragrance.  Traditional eau de cologne should smell of real natural things and it combines the elements of citrus, mint or basil with neroli and lavender and other notes but these are some of the most important.  At the risk of annoying everyone by constantly referring to my french roots I will say that the smell of neroli/orange blossom is one I am familiar with because many french cosmetics traditionally included Neroli essential oil which many people (myself included) believe that it has many benefits for the skin.  I am therefore fond of the smell and to be it smells beautiful and clean and airy but since it is also an element in many traditional eau de cologne fragrances I can see how many people would perceive it as a masculine scent even though it is a clean crisp floral scent to me.  In fact I think I can remember that someone recently reviewed Atelier Grand Neroli in this thread and disliked it and I don't want to misquote anyone but I believe that they felt it was a masculine scent.  I've smelled Grand Neroli and it is very close to natural Neroli - most of Aterlier's fragrances are close to the real thing they because compared to other modern perfumers they use a higher proportion of naturals.  I am not trying to contradict the notion - perfume and how we perceive it is personal there are no right or wrong answers and the fact that Gentlewoman is marketed as androgynous scent suggests that many people regard the note this way.

 

MY IMPRESSION OF GENTLEWOMAN: Despite the fact that I said that this reads like a love letter to traditional old world eau de cologne, this is not, by any means a straight up interpretation (and neither is it masculine to my nose). Gentlewoman features a clever twist that leaves me wanting to smell my wrist again and again so that I can smell something that is part familiar and part surprising... It is worth noting that the first eau de cologne was for both men and women this to my nose doesn't smell androgynous at all - it's not "dark" in any way.  What I smell first is a fresh citrus burst of Bergamot, firmly supported by a radiant and natural smelling Neroli flower and supported by the perfect amount of Lavender... I also feel like there is perhaps a little sage in the mix.  Where it gets interesting is that as i inhale a little deeper i get a kick of almond and tonka bean and with the coumarin sweetness that the tonka bean brings to almond the note is marzipan-like and it is quite a realistic marzipan.  This perfume, to me, smells natural and expensive - expensive in the sense that the ingredients smell of the real things, not of cheaper aromachemical imitations.  Of course, the perfume will still be predominantly put together by aromachemicals but it is well done and the overall effect is one of fresh natural ingredients, complexity and quality.  This perfume is like a strange little chameleon, I almost feel like it is playing a sort of olfactory trick on me because it smells different from one moment to the next - one moment I am picking up the crisp, fresh but soft neroli, citrus and lavender blend and a moment later I am getting a potent nose full of marzipan sweetness and musk.  This almond/tonka bean coupling is definitely not a component of traditional eau de cologne and so it is interesting to smell something that retains some of the character of the traditional EDC while being, at the same time, very distinctive.  As time wear on, the more volatile citrus notes evaporate more quickly than the almond middle notes and tonka base notes  - citrus notes are naturally volatile in all fragrances that is one of their defining characteristics.  Though the neroli and lavender stay without being punched up by the bergamot the almond/tonka combo becomes more prominent.

 

The verdict: I really like this and I think it's interesting - I have the Juliette sample set and i wish I could buy a set with bigger versions that doesn't include any of the Oud fragrances which I personally can't stand.  I also don't need "Not a Perfume" - I find it gimmicky and have no idea why I would want to wear one barely there note that is very "meh" on its own.  Still - I think Juliette has a Gun has some very talented perfumers and they have some AMAZING hidden gems and it never fails to surprise me that these gems are not among their bestsellers - the perfumes that Sephora offers in rollerball version are my least favourite from JHAG though I like Lady Vengence I wish wish wish they made a smaller bottle set from the other scents that are not available in rollerball.  I would LOVE to buy a set with Miss Charming (my absolute fave from this collection) and Gentlewoman (my second favourite).   Please PLEASE Sephora - can you guys make more rollerballs for this line esp. Miss Charming?

 

I would def. buy this in a smaller size.  It is classical and new at the same time.  Familiar and startling all at once and it smells of wild natural and real things.  If anyone likes this scent but can't cop the full amount for the full bottle i would recommend snagging a bottle of 4711 Eau De Cologne if you can because it is SO CHEAP and it is very very well made.  If you like Tom Ford, Neroli Portofino, you will definitely like 4711.  It's very uplifting.  It doesn't pack the suprise marzipan punch that Gentlewoman does but if you like the Neroli, Citrus and Lavender combo (and you think you would like it tempered by a little peach and rosewater) then you would likely like 4711 - only downside is that it is difficult to find.

 

Sorry for being so long-winded but when my scent-memory is triggered I can go on and on. : )

Re: 31 Days of Perfume Challenge

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@RoseCharlie  No need to apologize for such a thoughtful and in-depth review of the fragrance! Smiley Very Happy

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I got all perfume samples in my last Sephora order (yay!)! I tried Giorgio Armani Si today, and it's really nice. I love Jo Malone's English Pear and Freesia, and it's interesting how the addition of amber wood makes the fragrance completely different. This one smells sweet and spicy in a lovely way on me.

 

Notes:
Pear, Freesia, Amber Wood.

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Ooh Jo Malone lucky you! 

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@txcatxYay! Perfume samples! : ) sometimes I see people on BT complaining about there being too many pefume samples in the samples section and i am dumbfounded because the perfume samples are my absolute absolute favourite! : ) English Pear and Freesia sounds amazing I will have to try it - I wonder if Canadian Sephoras will also get the Jo Malone?

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@RoseCharlie I know! We're definitely the minority who love perfume samples. For awhile, my perfume samples kept getting replaced with foundation samples, which was oh, so sad.

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@txcatxOh no I would hate that! lol,I'm a one foundation woman - so foundation samples pffft.  It's Guerlain Lingerie de Peau for me, but perfume? I'll NEVER have enough! lol

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DAY 3: Today I decided to try wearing Maison Margiela (Replica)'s "Funfair Evening" - I actually quite like this and I think it's actually quite an original scent in the Caramel Gourmand category.

 

I remember reading a review of this perfume (before trying it) that focused on the caramel/candy aspect and dismissed it as a being inferior to other fragrances in the genre, notably Prada Candy.  I could not disagree more with that review and in fact it leaves me wondering if the reviewer had a nose on their head because love it or hate it - this fragrance is very different from Prada Candy - though both have a dominant caramel note - and it is also very different from Therry Mugler "Angel" (another perfume I have seen a reviewer compare it too).  Terry Mugler Angel is - to my nose - more defined by the excessive patchouli than it is by the sweet gourmand notes.  In Funfair Evening there is no patchouli and there are a variety of notes that I have not seen in any other Caramel dominant gourmand scents...

 

Maybe FUNFAIR EVENING leaves a good impression on me because there is a star anise note that is quite pronounced and that prevents the fragrance from veering into overly sweet territory.  To some people, the star anise might smell like black licorice, it is indeed similar or it might be reminiscent of Sambuca... But because I am French and I have spent many lazy Sunday afternoon drinking the aperitif called Pastis (Pastis - if you are unfamiliar is a green liqueur to which we add a little water and a cube of sugar.  Pastis tastes almost exactly like Absinthe (a little milder) and it looks like Absinthe but it does not have the active ingredient that produces the special level of intoxication that made absinthe infamous (wormwood).  In any case - I smell Star Anise, Pastis, Caramel and Sweet Taffy, a little vanilla, undercut by a green sort of leafiness, crisp Neroli (orange blossom) and a hint - A HINT - of rosewater and I do mean rose water, certainly not full blown rose.  For my own taste I could wish that the floral elements and the vanilla were more pronounced but the inclusion of star anise  makes this - to my nose - quite interesting with the gourmand notes. 

 

I think it is most likely a love it or hate it fragrance and while I don't think I like it quite enough to buy a full bottle I would definitely purchase it if it came in roller ball size or if it was included in a roller ball set that also contained "Flower Market", also by Replica. 

 

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Oh, this one sounds so interesting! Your review was lovely, and I totally need a sample of this perfume now.

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Thank you! : ) I think it is definitely worth asking for a sample next time you hit the store because I find it hard to really get a good read when I'm sniffing so many other things and other perfumes are in the air but I do think this one is quite fun - not an every day perfume but a very interesting one nevertheless! : )

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Awesome review @RoseCharlie! I want to try a sample of this, it sounds amazing. Smiley Happy

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@angel7594Thank you so much! : )  I was worried I had blabbed a little too much and that no one would read it so I'm really happy to see you liked it! : ) I think it's definitely worth trying - even if you don't end up liking it for regular use I find it is a bit of a scent experience! : )

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Today I decided to wear Tokyo Milk Tainted Love because it was recently in the samples section and I received a little sample with my last order.  I like it even though I'm not usually drawn to fragrances described as "dark".  I wouldn't really describe this as "dark" per say since it is balanced by a bit of sweetness and a hint of floral but it does have quite a smokey character to it. I love the smell of vanilla and it is prominent in this perfume, the description states that one of the main notes is "dark vanilla bean" but I feel like the "darkness" comes from the smokey tea notes.  To me this smells of vanilla, smokey tea, a hint of wood, a hint of floral (I can't say it smells like any one particular flower and though the notes lists orchid and I often see orchid as a note in fragrance descriptions, orchids, to my knowledge, mostly do not possess any scent so I can't say I know what orchid smells like though if it is meant to convey the notion of a sort of clean floral then yes, there is a hint/peekaboo of clean floral hear).  There is also very small hint of sandalwood and these notes are all framed by what I would describe as a sweet (not overly sweet) "hug", as if the sweetness of dried black cherries hung faintly around the composition and around the dominant notes.  I quite like it even though it's not the sort of thing I would have thought to try on my own.  I remember reading somewhere that Kat Von D carries a hand cream scented with Tainted Love everywhere she goes.  In conclusion I should say - I quite like this and I would wear it but it is not extremely rich or complex if that makes any sense.  I get an immediate sense of the fragrance and the notes and that stays very consistently linear as time goes on.  Great value though this perfume is a steal!

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I love Tainted Love! Combining it with Alien is my go to combo. 

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@SamtianOooh nice, I have not tried layering it yet but you're making me think I should give it a go!  : )

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@RoseCharlie I just picked this sample from a little pile of free samples someone was giving away. I smelled Tokyo Milk once a loooong time ago in some Japanese stationary store at Santana Row. Now I can't wait to try it. Smiley Very Happy

XOXO,
Marieke

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@MariekeBTYay! : ) Thanks Marieke! I loooove getting perfume samples because I want to try pretty much everything - the only downside is that sampling so many perfumes makes for a growing wishlist and I'm pretty much never going to ever be done buying perfumes! : ) lol.