Something Smells Funny Here – Perfume Mini-Reviews Part 1

There are many samples that somehow ended up in the dilapidated tea box I store them in, where I have no idea, not even the faintest recollection, of how they got there.

No doubt some have found their way in as additions to purchases or extras from well-meaning friends, some I might have even procured myself for reasons that at the time where doubtlessly good ones, but that I cannot fathom any more.

To give these perfumes their fifteen seconds of fame, and then file them away forever, I am writing this post now.

These are scents that did not quite make the cut, but are interesting enough to warrant a line or two.

Lorenzo Villoresi Spezie: Smells like Grog or Mulled Wine. Fine if you want to pretend its is Christmas Time and you hit the bottle, hard.

Ava Luxe Creme Brulée: Is exactly what it proclaims to be, it is not the fault of the perfume that I do not want to be confused with dessert.

L’Artisan Dhzongka: A strange mixture of salty ghee and incense-y leather, evoking the region it is inspired by (The Himalayas) rather well, it is just not for me to wear. Maybe if I were a Yak…(please forgive me Lady Jane Grey!)

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Noir Epices: I love the idea of this, black spices, orange, great! It is just not so great on me. Somehow I end up with a fake orange spiked with fake cloves, a perfume-y, plastic-y pomander.

Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan: Please, I do not want to smell like stinky armpit, ever. I am sorry, and I tried so hard with this, but it is always stinky armpit or worse. So, it is goodbye unwashed Warrior King!

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant: This pains me the most. I love the other three of the Les Orientalistes collection, but somehow Encens Flamboyant is more flame-broiled entrée on me. It smells like a dusty, not well cleaned grill does, when heated. But I also have the greatest hope that this could change, since I have a long history of not getting Goutals for the longest time, before it suddenly clicks. We will see, I’ll keep you posted.

Parfumerie Generale L’Ombre Fauve: It can take its stinky brother Kublai Khan by the hand and go in for a good, long, hot shower. Maybe then we can talk.

Xerjoff Elle: What is it that is bothering me here? Is it the sweetness? The unrelenting high-volume la, la, la-ing  is seems to give off? It is probably the most expensive reject in history. It may also be that I am a bit miffed with Xerjoff that after specifically asking which samples I wanted, when I won them (yes, I am an ungrateful b…tch), they sent the wrong ones. But no, I would be willing to love it, if it where not so…uncouth.

Serge Lutens L’Eau: This is a very ambivalent issue. I, if left to my own devices, would simply dismiss it. I don’t like fresh, clean ozonic super scents. BUT: my husband does. And he actually bought a bottle of L’Eau for himself. I like it on him, mostly because after the initial wave, it is pretty much unobtrusive. But it is clear that I wanted to give it a fair chance. That is not to be…sorry.

Ormonde Jayne Woman: This has such great reviews, many people I like and respect love this. On me, it is unbearable. There is something in it that demands I scrub it off IMMEDIATELY. There is no way I can tolerate it to wait it out, to see what it becomes, I can’t live with it for even two minutes. I am weak, what can I say? Thankfully all the others in the discovery set are such successes.

L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse: I wanted to really make an effort with that, but it smells just not appealing to me. It reminds me of Prada’s Infusion de Tubereuse, which was no hit with me (or anybody else as I remember) either. So what is the difference? What am I missing? Can’t just be the L’Artisan/Duchaufour bonus, can it?

I feel there could be more than one posts like this in the future, since I still have a good many in that box waiting for their judgement.

But you know what? The beauty of perfume is (or maybe it is the supreme fickleness of yours truly) that all that could change. I don’t know why, but it so happens that I have started to love a reject after trying again at a later date. All the perfumes above have merited their inclusion here by putting me off more than once off course, but still. You never know. I am only glad that this does not happen the other way around, I have not yet encountered something I have loved immediately, to discover I hated it later. Yet.

What about you? Any interesting rejects in your sample boxes?

Image source: some rights reserved, thank you!

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35 Responses to Something Smells Funny Here – Perfume Mini-Reviews Part 1

  1. lady jane grey says:

    Yaks are charming animals…

  2. RH says:

    Oh gosh. I LOLed at your comment of PG’s L’ombre Fauve.
    Some of the samples that were recently rejected in my stash: Tauer’s Une Rose Chypree- It’s impressive one moment and then a washroom stall the next.
    Une Rose by Frederic Malle- I loved it at the first and second try and was ready to buy a decant, until I decided to give it one more go… and… suddenly it was a whack on the head with a bottle of wine. I tried again but it didn’t become the lovely rose I had at the first and second try. To this day I cannot understand why this happened.
    Timbuktu- I really wish I could get all the raves for this- I thought it smells like one of my father’s friend. And he didn’t exactly smell good. 😦

    • Olfactoria says:

      I often wonder how we perceive the same perfume so differently over time. Some of my favorites were scrubbers once, some I lost to inexplicable disgust, like you describe with the roses you tried. Smell sure is a mystery…

  3. Ines says:

    I haven’t tried all from your list but I cannot but agree with you on Woman. I don’t know why OJ scents don’t work on me (those I tried).
    LV line has left me completely cold, unlike Muscs Koublai Khan which I don’t wear but love to smell on my arm. And who knows, maybe one day I start wearing it…

    Btw, I don’t call them rejects, they are more on a semi-permanent (some on permanent) leave from my nose. Like you, some I keep for a chance sth might change, others leave for better homes. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are right, calling them rejects is not the right term, since I often experience a change of heart. So it is a good thing to keep them at hand, you never know…

    • Marla says:

      I think a lot of OJ scents use a lot of Iso E Super. Some people find it a soft, comfy smell. Others find it bracing but good. And some (seems like about 25%) of people, are hyperosmic to it, and smelling it is like being hit over the head with an iron frying pan. If you have a hard time with Terre d’Hermes or Kenzo Flower, especially Flower Oriental, then the Iso E Super is probably the culprit.

      • Ines says:

        Thanks Marla. 🙂
        That’s me, being hit on the head by that Iso E Super.
        There is a note in there that jumps out at me and won’t me let me smell anything else while it won’t leave my nose (I thought it was some kind of a synthetic white musk).

  4. JoanElaine says:

    Your husband bought himself Serge’s L’Eau? Oh, what a fab man you have.

    I have two of the same reject samples as you!

    Ormonde Jayne Woman : I have tried this perfume several times and it always ends in me scrubbing vigorously. It’s unfortunate because I love the hemlock note, but something about the wearing the fragrance makes me queasy. I’m going to look into Iso E Super and see if I have rejected any other scents it lurks in.

    Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant: Smells like fabric softener on me. There is nothing encens or flamboyant about it.

    I pretty much rejected my entire first ever sample order, which included:
    Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano: Smelled like bubble gum on me, but on my best friend, it bloomed into a spicy floral reminiscient of Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus ). It’s unfortunate her husband doesn’t like perfume because it smells so good on her!

    Borsari Violetta di Parma: Powdered plastic.
    Penhaligon’s Night-Scented Stock: Night scented headache. Every time.
    Both have been adopted by another friend and she loves them both.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I would be very curious if you find anything out about what bothers you in OJ Woman. I doubt that it is Iso E Super for me, since Molecule 01 features it and nothing else, and while I didn’t find that spectacular in any case, it did not bother me at all. (I reviewed it sometime last year.) Maybe I find out when I am at the OJ boutique.

      A good thing you did not give up on perfume after the first sample order was so off. You sat it out! 🙂

  5. malsnano86 says:

    (Laughing at Joan’s reaction to Borsari VdP – exactly my own! Didn’t like the Stock one either.) Love these quickie reviews!

    I was surprised at the caramel-cotton candy stuff I got out of Xerjoff Elle, particularly after a friend whose taste I respect told me it was “very floral.” Um, NO.

    OJ Woman doesn’t bother me, but there’s too little hemlock and too much amber in it for my taste. In fact, I believe I may be anosmic to Iso E Super, and the balance of some perfumes might seem off to me as a result. But there are several fragrances that I simply cannot wear because, although they *smell* fine, they make me nauseous. This includes the entire Estee Lauder line, and SSS Vintage Rose. Bleargh. And I so wanted to love Vintage Rose – all the notes seemed right up my alley… the Lauders I get about two hours into and then find myself wanting to rip my skin off to get away from.

    Une Rose is a lovely rose for twenty minutes, and then it turns into a stalker armed with a really big knife. I feel threatened when I wear it.

    I’m still on the fence with Nuit de Tubereuse. I don’t find it particularly tuberosey, for one thing, and the fruity topnotes are a little, um, garbagey-mildewy on me. If I persevere and leave it on, it gets to be a manageable pink pepper/light incense fragrance. (I like pink pepper.) It’s funny, though – even though *I* don’t care for it much, it’s the one fragrance for which I have received the highest number of compliments. Weird, eh?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Mals,
      we have a lot of “difficult fragrances” in common it seems. 🙂
      Too bad about the Estee Lauder scents, there are some great ones in the line…
      It is really interesting that Nuit de Tubereuse garnered you so many compliments, when you don’t like it so much.
      In the end I always wear perfume for myself, if I don’t love it, it is toast. 😉

      • malsnano86 says:

        Re: Nuit de Tubereuse – I bought a 5ml decant back when it was brand new and you couldn’t even get samples at TPC. I’ll probably keep it, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. I don’t hate it, I just find it… weird.

        But yes, about 95% of the time, I wear what *I* like. (I am careful not to wear the things my husband dislikes when he’s going to be home, and to wear the things he likes when we can manage the time to go out on a date! It’s a small thing to please him from time to time.)

        • Olfactoria says:

          I try to take the likes and dislikes of my nearest and dearest into account. But thankfully I spend a lot of my time with someone who is just happy I am there and is not complaining (yet, for he only masters Mama and Dada for now, but I am sure Serge Lutens will be one of his next words). 😉

  6. deeHowe says:

    Like RH, I laughed out loud at your thoughts on L’Ombre Fauve… I love it! It’s not dirty, it’s cuddly 😉 And you know how much I love OJ Woman, AND Nuit de Tubereuse. I think hating tuberose might be a requirement for loving that one! 🙂

    If I remember correctly, Xerjoff Elle smelled like apple pie to me.

    In my sample box (a chock-full cigar box), there aren’t many things that I actively dislike, but there are a LOT of things that didn’t move me. EL Tuberose Gardenia and Jasmine White Musk were both very pretty and wearable, but they didn’t speak to me; while I loved Byredo Oud Immortel, Accord Oud was a total Blah-fest; I like Chamade, but it doesn’t speak to me the way no. 19 does; Putain des Palaces is very pretty, but Citizen Queen outshines her; there are so many pretty perfumes!

    I could probably be happy with almost anything that I’ve got a sample of—if I hadn’t fallen down the rabbit hole. There all hands down better than the last fragrances I wore pre-epiphany!


    • Olfactoria says:

      With all those perfumes everywhere, I come more and more to the conclusion that something has to really wow me, to be worn. Blah is not worth the time. But it seems equally important to never forget that anything, any time can turn from blah to wow.
      Am I just supremely fickle?

      • deeHowe says:

        You’re just supremely awesome! LOL, no, I know what you mean. I’m not going to waste my time on something that doesn’t wow me, but I’m not going to write anything off after one or two trials, either. Lyric woman is a good one—when I tried it a little over a year ago it was “meh.” When I tried it in the last few months it was “WOWZERS!”

        I like to think my nose is becoming more sophisticated. 😉

        • Olfactoria says:

          You are certainly right, our noses develop and so do our tastes, but still…it is strange how far off we can be sometimes with our own judgement.
          (And pssst, for me it was the same with Lyric, exactly the same!)

  7. Alice C says:

    I just this morning tried the L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse. It was/is sickly sweet on me. I tried the SL L’Eau the other day and didn’t think much about it until my son asked what I was wearing. I held up one wrist, he said -“not that,”…I held up the other (the one with L’Eau) and he said, “Oh, I really like that one.” He’s 14. It must be a guy thing. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, looks like a guy thing, 😀 I don’t get Nuit de Tubereuse. Maybe this one has to grow on you…since Dee likes it so much, there must be something great in there that I just don’t get yet.

      • deeHowe says:

        To me it smells brightly green—I get a lot of zingy, synthetic vegetal-ness, and that just rocks my world! 🙂

        I guess though, the main thing about it is that I find it both pretty and interesting—it always keeps me guessing, and I like to have a few scents like that around.

  8. Wee Stinky! Little Stinky! Thanks to you, I’ve got two new nicknames for my cat Troutie.

    I love posts like this, I do hope you do more of them soon! It hurts me in my heart to see my beloved OJ Woman in the list, but I fully get why it simply cannot work on everyone. I have a small decant of AG Encens Flamboyante on the way, I sure hope it doesn’t turn out like flame-broiled steak on me (I’ve been a vegetarian for over 15 years). But, if it does turn out that way, well, it will just have to go in my own Big Stinky pile. Speaking of which, I need to check through my samples and post back here about those Samples of The Damned and name names.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Poor troutie! Although I must say I use those nicknames for my baby all the time too! 😉

      Oh, flame-broiled steak for a vegetarian would be horrible, I hope you will like Encens Flamboyant.
      I look forward to hearing those names! 🙂

  9. Tara says:

    Love, love, LOVE this post. Definitely more please. It was like reading a page from your perfume notebook. My own notebook doesn’t have anything worth repeating here which why I will always be commenter rather than a blogger!

    Have you tried Nuit de Tubereuse in warm weather? I tried it in the midst of winter and didn’t care for it at all, but I liked it a lot better when it got milder and think it may “click” come Summer. Also think Encens Flamboyant will be worth you perservereing with. As for OJ Woman, I think it’s a scent that either really works for you or really doesn’t. I had similar reactions to Dzongkha and Noir Epices but hope to give them another go.

    Off topic my OJ florals arrived yesterday and I’m so pleased! Tried Osmanthus and Champaca so far and like them both a lot. Maybe Tiare tomorrow. Luckily the lovely weather has arrived in the UK just in time 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, I am glad you like it! I will certainly do more posts of this kind then. 🙂

      No, I tried NdT this winter, the lovely Dee sent me some. Thanks for your tip, will definitely re-try in warm weather.

      Ah, the OJ’s! Did you get Frangipani too? Such a lovely scent.

    • malsnano86 says:

      Tara has a point with the NdT – I think weather might matter with that one.

      (I first tried Silences in the fall and found it horrid. In spring, it felt perfect and I’ve loved it ever since.)

  10. Elisa says:

    Fun post! I don’t like Noir Epices either — scents with a heavy clove note frequently don’t work for me. (Best use of clove ever: SSS Tabac Aurea, just the slightest nod to cloves cigarettes.)

    Musc Ravageur is one of my interesting rejects — I know it wants to be a fancier version of L de Lolita Lempicka (which I love), but there’s a big, harsh woody amber note in it that I can’t get past. I wish I knew the exact name of this woody amber because I run across it in other perfumes too.

    Iso E Super, on the other hand, I rather like.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have my problems with Muscs Ravageur too. Sometimes it is great, most times it is not. 😦
      I still haven’t got around to test my SSS samples, it is high time!

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