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The Perfume Challenge

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: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenusSounds interesting, I'm adding it to my to try list.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@Samtianwould be interested to hear your thoughts! This one is def not a crowd pleaser

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Today I tried Yatagan, a chypre by Caron. It’s really amazing. The opening is herby, woody, smoky and leathery which sounds generic but it’s not like the leather scents you smell nowadays. There’s a dark edge of galbanum, the aromatic lift of pine, as well a hint of anise, which I’m guessing is the wormwood, a medicinal note. It dries down into a warm supple leather that is fantastic. Spicy at points, nutty at others. It manages to convey something animalistic without being remotely dirty. It also reads super butch. I think it’s fantastic, but as an EDT, it weakens verrrrrrry quickly and barely lasts! :'( It's like listening to some amazing symphony on very low volume. After reading reviews describing Yatagan as a beast, I’m not sure what to make of the weak performance. I’ll have to wait, try again another day and see how it goes.If you like Bel Ami by Hermes, definitely give this a try. They’re different of course, but both present an aromatic, spicy leather.


Speaking of beasts, I think I tried Kilian’s Dark Lord maybe 1-2 weeks ago? I sprayed a card twice and stuck it in the pocket of my trousers. I threw the card away but wore the trousers again today and can still smell its jasmine-cedar mix wafting up from the pocket 😮

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Mmm, that sounds like a "leather" I might like! Too bad about longevity... I hope it was just an odd day for trying scents, and that you'll have much better luck with it next time! 😉 Do let us know about it!


Ok, now I'm gonna have to try Dark Lord! 😄



Re: The Perfume Challenge

@lyravegaI'm going to cycle through my samples and give it another shot. Will update here when I do 🙂 Would love to hear what you think of Dark Lord!!

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Today I tested out Mona di Orio's Dojima. Of the fragrances I've tried from the house, this one is most disappointing. The opening is musty, rather than musky. Instead of Japanese rice, I have the distinct impression of vintage clothing that has been stored for years and could use some airing out.

The scent improves as it develops and the jasmine begins to open up. But you need to wait for it to meld with the rest of the scent which remains a dusty, musty orris for some time. It takes a couple hours for the fragrance to become more enjoyable and softer. But overall, it frustrates. It brightens and lifts at points to become quite beguiling, but those moments are fleeting and one feels like Dojima could be any nice iris-powder-makeup scent.

I'm also disappointed because Dojima wears noticably thinner than I have come to expect from this house. I adore the lush creaminess of Vanille, the smoky, nutty depth of Cuir, the enveloping opulence of Oudh Osmanthus. Dojima doesn't remind me of the house aesthetic.

My other unmet expectation is of Dojima's "rice accord." Theoretically, I can imagine jasmine and powdery iris creating a rice accord, but they never blend together in this way on my skin. If you are hoping for something reminiscent of fragrant jasmine rice, you are better off trying Etat Libre d'Orange's Fils de Dieu.

When I try to set my expectations aside, I am left with a wearable gauzy jasmine-orris with a dusting of spice and hint of cream that is interesting at points but that also fades in and out of mustiness. I think there may be some aromachemical that's not sitting well with my skin since others online rave about smelling a beautiful milky rice powder thing. It's not a travesty but it's not a love for me like the others.


Re: The Perfume Challenge

Oh noes! I just ordered me a sample of this one the other day! Bummer. But, thanks for your detailed review, @pocketvenus . Have you tried Suede de Suede? How leathery is it? I keep skipping on trying that one because I am not too big on leather scents ( leather dominant scents )... But, it's MdO. How "bad" can it be, right? 😄 ( That house cannot do wrong in my eyes. 😛 Can't believe Dojima is so disappointing... ugh... )

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@lyravegaI wouldn’t write it off as many other people online report having a much better experience! Sometimes orris just doesn’t turn out well on my skin. Although after reading your review, I wish I'd tried the sandalwood one now 😛 I haven't tried Suede de Suede yet, but I've read good things about it 🙂

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus Santal Nabataea? Not sure if you'd like it, but definitely give it a try. I love it so much. For me, it was a total love at first sniff! One of those scents that speak directly to your soul. I just ordered me a decant ( TPC has 25% off right now ) that will hopefully last me until TL restocks the house, and hopefully gets the new scents, as well. 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@lyravega, yes that's the one! You and another perfume reviewer I like who blogs at takeonethingoff dot com both really loved it.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

I tried the other oud oil the other night and I don’t think I can test this for five days straight because my office mates might kill me!!


The opening is much more difficult than the white oud and overall, it’s more hefty even though it’s not as smoky. More woody as well. Doesn't really remind me of mainstream Western oud perfumes except in a really vague way. Finally, I got a sense of what people were talking about when they describe oud, and especially YSL’s M7 as bandaids and cherry cough syrup. The medicinal accord is strong here, with a cooling top edge that lies somewhere between menthol and mint. It is really aggressive and sweet, but in medicinal cough syrup way if that makes sense. It's not the sharpness of refined white sugar or the mellow depth of honey. As the scent dries down, the bottom starts to push out and you have the sense of wood that's been damp for awhile. Also there's a blue cheese note I've smelled in some fragrances like Kilian's Pearl Oud or Malle's The Night. Except it's super creamy here. It does become more wearable the longer it's on. Eventually it loses that syrupy sweetness and takes on a citrusy cast that balances its darker, heavier side. Smells better from a distance.


Interestingly, even though both these ouds are from India, neither had that scary, abrasive barnyard animal funk everyone warns you about when they talk about Indian ouds.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Like the other oil, the plain oud is very long lasting. And the longer it wears, the more fragrant and easier it becomes!


I really need to think of a next level Christmas gift for my friend ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Re: The Perfume Challenge

My friend was recently visiting family in India and brought back two small vials of oud oil for me to try ❤️ One is labeled white oud, the other, oud. I highly doubt it's pure oil as this much oud would cost more than her plane tickets. And lord only knows about the sourcing although she went with a friend who did extensive research into the market so I hope everything was above board.


This will be my first time trying a straight oud oil of any kind. I've worn it for five consecutive days straight.


Day #1: Opening of white oud has an aromatic freshness to it that reads as green, but not in a sharp, herbaceous way. It’s more like wood being cut into. This is paired with lush florals and a creamy depth. As the scent wears, it shifts into more familiar territory and for the first time, I can smell what all the synthetic western ouds are trying to approximate except where the synth ouds are harsh and raspy, the oud oil is rich, mellow, creamy and subtle. The dry down is musky and dense, but not overpoweringly so.

Day #2: Picking up notes of ripe fruit in the dry down. An unexpected sweetness with a hit of fermentation. Also detected a slight powdery note as the scent fades away.

Day #3: Today, the oil smells most similar to mainstream fragrances I’m familiar with. The kind of smoky, smoldering aspect that I’ve smelled in other ouds like the oud fragrances from MFK, JHAG, and so on. While the oil seems sharper, it isn’t nearly as aggressive.


Day #4: I think my nose is getting fatigued with this scent. I can’t seem to pick up the subtleties of earlier days. Again, I am struck by a powdery softness in the drydown. I was momentarily hit by what seemed a kind of mellow cereal note but maybe that was just my imagination.


Day #5: The dry down seems rich, creamy and aromatic today. There's again that mellowness to it. I could also pick up the scent on my scarf from Day #1.It makes me wonder if fixatives have been added to the oil.Overall, I find the scent has an enveloping quality to it. It fades in and out. Movement seems to bring it alive, and I was struck with wafts of scent unexpectedly.It's quite alluring. Looking forward to trying the other vial

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus - Wow - This sounds great!  How thoughtful of your friend. 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@Titian06@lyravegaI was totally blown away! Oud oil was something I have been curious to try for years. It must be white whale month ha ha

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus What a scent adventure! And what a good friend! 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Two more Aroma M Geishas to go. Tried them both today. 


Geisha O-Cha.


Palisander, Rosewood, Sweet Orange, Japanese Green Tea, Clary Sage, Vanilla


Green tea, with a hint of jasmine and citrus. And something herbal ( not tea. Maybe that sage. ). Some strong rosewood later on. But in all, soft, subtle, tea scent. Not my cup of tea, though. 😉


Geisha Hana-Cha. 


Bergamot, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Cedar


To my nose, this is a typical "bug spray" scent. Very sharp, green, zesty bergamot opening. Followed with sharp cedar. Jasmin and ylang ylang barely there, deep under, indolic and... screechy. There is almost something peppery in there. Very sharp white pepper scent. This is a weird one ( at least to my nose ). I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s so screechy and bitter and sharp. Even when it calms down, it’s the same. Just not as loud maybe. But still plenty.... POed. 😂 To me this just smells like a bug spray. And I’d say it might be a very effective one, too. ( I don’t like scents of bug sprays, but I have to say I actually like the one I currently have. It beats, and very easily so, so many of these “bug spray” fragrances. It's actually smells sooo good. )


Out of all of these Geishas, I only really liked Vanilla Hinoki. That was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise. That "vanilla" ( non-foody vanilla ) fragrance is just sooo good! I wish it at least lasted longer ( it's a skin scent, and a very "barely there" one, too ). 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Trying the new Etat Libre d'Orange, I Am Trash, The Flowers of Waste, today. This is actually very pretty. Not that I really expected something smelling like trash, but you never know with ELDO ( and after Secretions Magnifiques ). 😉 
More about it, for those who maybe don't know what this fragrance is about, and why "trash":

"The perfumer Etienne de Swardt selected to realize his fragrant concept is Daniela Andrier of Givaudan. In an interview, Mme Andrier said that the worst thing for her is "the smell of anything dead – dead flowers, garbage; whatever is no longer alive", adding that she loves beautiful smells "because they talk about life." Consistent to that, she has created a delightful fruity/woody scent that indeed celebrates life by being itself (partially) reborn out of industrial by-products. The intention behind the fragrance's creation was none other than to showcase the subjectivity of what's considered "all used-up" and "unwanted", and celebrate a steadily growing ethos of responsible use of natural resources.


This refreshing, yet ambitious, concept for Etat Libre D’Orange I am Trash was realized by using as creative tool an innovative upcycling extract process achieved by Givaudan. This process makes it possible to distil for a second time ingredients already used once (in perfume making or elsewhere), thus extracting perfume oils that reveal a different facet of the respective material. Six of the ingredients of Etat Libre D’Orange I Am Trash are upcycled, most notably the Apple Oil (derived from fruit waste of the juice industry, destined to become animal feed), the Rose NeoAbsolute (extracted from apparently exhausted rose petals, distilled for a second time), and the Cedarwood Atlas NeoAbsolute (product of a second distillation of cedar wood chips, before they are turned into fuel)."

It's very fruity at first, then very woody later on, with slight floral hints, and green undertones. The opening is a fruit basket of juicy, fresh, tart apples, bitter oranges/citrus, and creamy strawberries. Quite yummy. And sparkly. It, for some reason, makes me think of Remarkable People. Not that they are similar. They are not. I think it's about that "sparkly" moment these both have.  
There is a very ELDO rose in there ( not your usual/typical rose, but more edgy, dying, yet beautiful rose ), as well, but just in hints and traces. Very nicely blended in. Soon after, the whole thing morphs into woods, and becomes much more sharper and more masculine. There's a very prominent and sharp cedar, and some warm, creamy sandalwood, too. Also, I am picking up something smoky. Barely there, but there. The scent is mainly woody from there on, with the rest of the notes in the background. I really like how all the notes are blended and how beautifully they all complements each other. Really beautifully done. 
But... this becomes a skin scent on me very quickly, which is surprising to me after all those sharp woods. But! I am making dinner right now, and there's a lot of sharp aromas and strong spices all around, so it is possible my nose is just confused. Maybe I should've waited and tried it some other time. But, as you could imagine, I was way too curious about this concoction. Sooo... yeah. I will have to test The Trash again, and soon. Just to make sure what is really going on there. Because, I am really liking this. Maybe not the largest bottle worth, but if they come out with smaller size/s eventually, ( there are smaller sizes! I didn't even see that. ) maybe. Maybe. Just not if it becomes so quiet so fast. 


Re: The Perfume Challenge

@lyravega, I just ordered a sample of this last week! Was bracing myself for a Secretions M level of difficulty ha ha. Thank you for such a detailed description, I'm really looking forward to trying it now 🙂

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus I wasn't really expecting SM, but I was not expecting something this pretty, either. This is... almost too pretty... for an ELDO. If you know what I mean? At least on me and to my nose. It's kind of... shocking. 😄

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@lyravegaha ha yes, while I enjoy the house, pretty is not how I would describe an ELdO

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