Rosa Magnifica

This is an exceptionally potent and spicy rose at the start (Guerlain 1999). Or at least it is on my skin. It’s actually reminiscent of Nahema…and that worried me for the first half an hour. I think something about the combination of this particular violet and hyacinth with the rose reads as punchy, syrupy and medicinal on me. It really is reminiscent of Nahema. But then iris shines through… And iris and I are always great friends. It turns then into an old-fashioned lipstick, sublime and earthy rose. It even has a sort of woody, musky animalic charm eventually. …So I thank the iris for making peace with all the notes and letting me enjoy this really pretty Guerlain rose…

Notes: hyacinth, rose, iris and violet.

Noses: Jean-Paul Guerlain and Mathilde Laurent

Classique

Spicy pear, opulent plum, and sweet iris mixed with ginger are at the start of Classique (Jean Paul Gaultier 1993). Of course, bergamot plays a hefty role too… And you can’t forget to mention the eventually dominant orange blossom. Nor can you neglect the important notes of vanilla and star anise. At any rate, it’s a sharp, sweet but strong, classic 1990’s fragrance. Very 1990’s… And in the best sense.

Top notes: rose, pear, star anise, bergamot, orange blossom and mandarin orange. Middle notes: ylang ylang, tuberose, orchid, plum, ginger, and iris. Base notes: sandalwood, cinnamon, vanilla, musk and amber.

Nose: Jacques Cavallier

Ferentina

I’ve had this somewhat rare Caesar’s World Ferentina (Caesar’s World For Women 1994) for over a year. My husband bought it at an estate sale last spring. And, while I smelled the bottle and sort of liked the fragrance I was blinded by the house. Caesar’s World of Las Vegas, NV doesn’t exactly evoke a feeling of tastefulness and I wasn’t in the mood to bother doing more research… However I’ve recently given it another chance and it’s actually quite enjoyable. Ferentina, after whom the fragrance was named, was a mythical spirit of nature and water to the Romans and this fragrance is fairly aptly named. Cassis is bold and so are the other super-sized 1990’s florals (especially rose) but given the equally strong sandalwood, musk and amber at the base it becomes fairly balanced and the overall effect is a pretty opulence. If I were to compare it to another fragrance I’d pick Cabotine de Grès in a heartbeat… Actually, imagine Cabotine with bright lights and glitter and you have Ferentina.

Top notes: marigold, orange blossom and cassis. Middle notes: cinnamon, rose, jasmine, and ylang ylang. Base notes: sandalwood, musk and amber.

Fragile

I have seen this fragrance (Jean Paul Gaultier 1999) a few times over the years on Instagram. It’s often celebrated for its unique bottle and the voluptuous tuberose. Well, it is one of the most imaginative bottles I’ve ever encountered… and the tuberose is indeed fabulous. Actually though, it reminds me of my childhood and adolescence. Even if it debuted in 1999 it still is such a 90’s scent. And, as such, it embodies all the clarity, optimism, opulence and warmth of the era. I fondly remember the tone of that decade well… It was a much more cheerful time indeed. The orange blossom, jasmine, iris, rose and carnation mix happily together with the rich, gummy base notes and it has much the same lithe, ethereal and light effect as some vintage Trésor. It also reminds me a bit of Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs. 🤔☺️ Anyway, it’s lovely.

Top notes: Bulgarian rose, Tunisian orange blossom, bergamot, ginger, star anise, coriander, and Italian tangerine. Middle notes: rose, ylang ylang, Indian ginger, jasmine, iris, tuberose and carnation. Base notes: cedar, vanilla, musk, cinnamon and amber.

Nose: Francis Kurkdjian

Lalique

When Sophia Grojsman created the fragrance that would be presented in this Marie-Claude Lalique bottle (Lalique 1992) she invented a somewhat cool and detached beauty with an enormous amount of decadent, sweet, tart and very juicy allure. The blackberry waltzes with the citrus, orange blossom and rose. And the rich oakmoss chills the vanilla-tinged, sandalwood-spicy musk. Lalique is sensual but a little reserved.

Top notes: Chinese gardenia, Sicilian mandarin orange, accords of black currant and blackberry. Middle Notes: Peony, Tunisian orange blossom, magnolia, Bulgarian rose and ylang-ylang. Base notes: Indian sandalwood, vanilla, amber, Yugoslavian oakmoss , cedar and Tibetan musk.

Nose: Sophia Grojsman

Sun Moon Stars 


Sultry and somber Sun Moon Stars (Karl Largerfeld 1984) begins with a boozy pineapple and freesia. Meanwhile, a pungent jasmine, supple carnation, and a lily-of-the-valley wearing stilettos meet lotus. And sure, fruity, peach kissed sandalwood and vanilla add warmth and sugar but again, this fragrance is as ultimately blue and otherworldly as the bottle. Perhaps it’s the way the vanilla and pineapple come crashing into each other accompanied by a symphony of perfect notes moment by moment from start to finish. Whatever it is it’s certainly one of the most evocative scents in my collection.
Nose: Sophia Grojsman 

Tendre Poison 


Supple, citrus laced freesia haunts rose, tuberose and an orange blossom reminiscent of a perfectly sweet apple in Tendre Poison (Dior 1994). The asafoetida is melancholy and demure as it mixes gracefully with heliotrope, vanilla and rosewood. But always that apple-like sugary, loveliness returns. This is a definite beauty. 

Top notes: bergamot, mandarin orange, asafoetida, and Brazilian rosewood. Middle notes: orange blossom, rose, freesia, tuberose, and honey.  Base notes: heliotrope, vanilla, musk and sandalwood.  

Nose: Edouard Flechier 

Amber & Lavender Cologne

Delightful.  Jo Malone fragraces are almost always, always nothing if not delightful.  This lavender cool beauty is like crystal clear spring water running over mountain rocks (Jo Malone 1995).  The bergamot has a big role here…  But lets not forget the remarkable amber…  And how mint, clove and muguet meld into one note of clean, elegant perfection.    If you’re not thirsty for a tall glass of ice cold mineral water when you smell this you’ll instantly become thirsty for one upon sniffing it.  …I see so many iconic fragrances coming after this one that must have been inspired by it.  Jo Malone, you are a genius indeed.

Top notes: bergamot, lavender and mint.  Middle notes: lily-of-the-valley, clove and cinnamon.  Base notes: myrhh, patchouli and amber.

Nose: Jo Malone

Sabi 


Instantly enchanting, Sabi (Henry Dunay 1998) is cool and sublime. The lush florals, specifically orange blossom, carnation, hyacinth, tuberose, and angelica combine with spice laden vetiver to create an aromatic wonder. It’s a crisp floral like Private Collection or White Linen but it has such an inviting and warm vanillic base that it’s unique. And then moment by moment you keep being reminded of the vetiver. 
Top notes: Indian mandarin, carnation, angelica, orange blossom and bergamot.  Middle notes: hyacinth, yellow narcissus, narcissus, jasmine, violet leaf and tuberose.  Base notes: sandalwood, haitian vetiver, tonka bean and musk.


Nose: Richard Loniewski

Truly Lace


Punchy, sharp and green orange blossom mixes with gummy jasmine and tuberose, 90’s bergamot, and orchid in Truly Lace (Coty 1992).  Then ylang ylang, rose and lily-of-the-valley blast in although they don’t overshadow anything, especially the musk, amber and cedar that chime in slightly after. Finally, vanilla tinged oakmoss arrives. It’s very earthy and green while also being intensely floral. It perfectly matches the 1990’s does Victoriana motif of the label on the bottle.  
Top notes: orange blossom, gardenia, green notes, fruity notes and bergamot.  Middle notes:  tuberose, orchid, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose.  Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss, vanilla and cedar.