English Oak and Hazelnut 


I’m beginning to recognize the Jo Malone signature, and of course this one is not an exception. English Oak and Hazelnut (Jo Malone 2017) is fresh, clean, cheerful and bright but elegant. While a citrus note isn’t listed the cedar is especially citrusy and the hazelnut and oak seem to join together in unison to create a starched, woody and yet light and perfectly autumnal scent. Both the cedar and oak are a little pine-like too. Very enjoyable. 

Top note: hazelnut.  Middle note: cedar.  Base note: oak.  

Nose: Yann Vasnier 

Gabrielle 

Writing about this one is scary. It reminds me of a class I took in my junior year of college. I went to a private religiously affiliated college and for one required Biblical studies class I had a professor who insisted that by the end of his class we would be amazed by an interpretation he had of a particular book in the Bible. Our final grade would be based largely on this intrepretation and a presentation involving it, but the catch was that we had to guess what his interpretation was based on what we had learned throughout the course. As luck would have it in my innocence and trust I believed him and began to look for something astounding. In my assigned group for the presentation everyone else found and tended to believe the most obvious answer, but I kept looking for that (as he literally put it) “life changing” nugget of wisdom.   

At the time of our presentation I decided to take a risk and differ from everyone else in the group. Of course, they were right. And I got harshly yelled at in front of everyone in my group… I was hurt, confused and shocked. Apparently my “crazy” answer was sacrilegious and deeply offensive. But again… (and I say this very seriously) I was looking for something you could think was “life changing.” 😂😬🤔😆😂  

Anyway, one thing I learned from that rather traumatic experience was that what one person sees as “amazing” to someone else can be… painfully, pathetically obvious. You truly have to interpret many opinions in life with a humility rooted in the knowledge that all of our experiences are wildly different. There are facts but how things affect you is so incredibly personal and beyond objection.  

I love Gabrielle (Chanel 2017).  To me, on my skin, this Olivier Polge beauty is magnificent. 

Gabrielle is utterly melancholy, almost sad. Actually, if a perfume could cry I think this one might. But it’s ethereal, moving and subtle. And sure it’s glamorous, but in a quiet, polite citrus, jasmine and orange blossom way. The warm base notes are present but airy and reserved. And there is that Chanel tuberose (also found in Chanel No. 22) that on my skin is different than any other tuberose – very demure and nearly a different note.  

This is also a very vintage-like scent. If there’s any awkwardness I read it’s because it feels like Chloé Love Story gave one of my very old floral aldehydes a modern makeover and she’s stunning but maybe she didn’t need it… Still the heart of Gabrielle shines brightly through and feels marvelously alive.  

Top notes: lemon, black currant and mandarin orange.  Middle notes: jasmine, ylang ylang, orange blossom and tuberose.  Base notes: musk and sandalwood. 

Nose: Olivier Polge 

Jersey 


Lavender, musky, sweet lavender comes through with the smell of an herbal, lovely grass note (Chanel 2011). Then more herbal beauty floats about the skin laced with that burning, glowing, musky warmth. But it’s the very vintage-like florals that perfectly flank the lavender. It’s as if lavender threw a party for her closest friends and they ate a big, fluffy cake. It’s a tremendously lovely… I adore Jersey. 

Notes: lavender, vanille, musk, wildflowers, grass, tonka bean, jasmine and rose. 

Nose: Jacques Polge 

Drunk On Youth 


While only honeysuckle and apple are listed as notes on Frangrantica, Drunk on Youth (Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2015) is still a rather complex scent. It’s very typical for a contemporary fragrance, true, but it’s also genuinely nice. The honeysuckle and apple used are neither too sweet nor too clean. To me this fragrance just reads as very fresh and surprisingly subtle, albeit a tinge synthetic. Either way, the rain kissed peony-like apple and honeysuckle that’s almost more like a note of chamomile, are lovely on this crisp autumn day.  

Notes: honeysuckle and apple. 

Mon Guerlain 


At the very, very first breath of Mon Guerlain (Guerlain 2017) you detect citrus. Then an almost retro lavender note emerges, but is coyly submerged into the currently popular gourmand sweet vanilla mixed with a pretty bit of jasmine and iris. It’s reminiscent of Black Opium, Prada Candy and a few others but there is a nice, refreshing floral accord that eventually seems to reemphasize the original lavender. 

Nose: Thierry Wasser and Jelk

L’Esprit Divin


L’Esprit Divin (Paul Emilien 2014) is beautiful but topples just on that side, nearly missing being ever so slightly offensive. At the start the almost chemical aroma, akin to a cleaning solution, with a pungent mix of incense, cloves, woody ginger, citrus, spicy patchouli and resinous rose is a little daring. Of course, it’s also very sharp and fresh with that unmistakably contemporary niche vibe so all boldness is vaguely anticipated and enjoyable. And the accompanying florals with pretty vanilla and dense amber make it, as I said, beautiful. 

Nose: Patrick Bodifée

Kisses Rain 

It starts with an alluring, sugary burst. Impeccable oud and gentle rose mixes with almond. Musk and patchouli are at the base. But it’s a bright gourmand with a dash of subtle coffee flanked by opulent, airy, and utterly sensual cedar and balsam. And while it certainly has the open, expansive beauty found in some of the best contemporary fragrances it’s not without a unique sincerity and depth that is rare in today’s scents. As the name would suggest it’s truly romantic. 

Top notes: bergamot, agarwood (oud), cardamom and rose.  Middle notes:agarwood (oud), almond, atlas cedar, coffee and heliotrope.  Base notes: amber, musk, patchouli, vanilla and tolu balsam.
Nose: Daniel Josier 

Love Blossom 


This is a particularly spicy scent (Amouge 2017).  But it’s spicy in an amaretto, cherry blossom and vanilla sweetened manner… And there’s a dense and deep rose, suede and amber the warming on the horizons. All the notes blend well and elegantly. It’s smoky, sensual and yet sleek. And it’s perfect for both genders. 

Top notes: heliotrope and lime. Middle notes: cherry blossom, rose, amaretto, and ylang ylang.  Base notes: amber, seude, vanilla and tonka bean. 


Feminin Pluriel 


Soapy florals mix with green and spicy patchouli leaf (Maison Francis Kurkdjian 2014).  There’s a lyrical, silvery iris and a bouquet of other lovely florals chilled by a proper vetiver. And yet, the light provided by the patchouli leaf warms the room.  

Notes: iris, violet, rose, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, orange blossom, vetiver and Indonesian patchouli leaf.  

Nose: Francis Kurkdjian 

Sophía 


As far as celebrity fragrances go this is one of my favorites. I first sampled it when a dear friend on Instagram sent me a package filled with treats years ago. It’s a warm, juicy floral. The sweet plum and blackberry are very well blended with sandalwood. And the florals are fun, slightly spicy and yet somewhat delicate. It’s the sort of fragrance you want to wear on a sunny, pretty summer day – upbeat and optimistic.  

Top notes: plum,