Out Of The Box – Mainstream Sample Sniffathon Part 1

The other day I was lucky enough to have the morning to myself, totally child free, thanks to my Mother in law. That was a perfect moment to go through my mainstream sample box for once. This box is a separate entity from my big tea box that holds niche and classic samples. These are the mostly disregarded and quickly forgotten samples I get at the department store, those samples the SA’s part with out of their own free will (an indicator in itself that there may be something wrong with them, the least of which is that they are heavily marketed and pushed since they are the newest of the new).

That box held 42 samples, not counting duplicates. Here is a quick sniff and impression of the first ten. I must say there were quite a few surprises in there, both good and bad…

Estée Lauder Sensuous: Wow! Who would have thought? (Well, those who can read, would have thought, since Sensuous has very positive reviews all over Perfumeland, but it somehow never crossed my path.) Instant love! Estée Lauder does very good perfumes, so this shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, but still. Sensuous, a warm, creamy and woody fragrance is full-bottle worthy for me. This is a so-called “duty-free in waiting”! 😉

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: this one is familiar, I have worn Coco Mademoiselle along with everybody and their Grandmother in my twenties, I remember getting many compliments for it too, but I didn’t remember how it smelled. It is way bolder and in your face than I remembered it, a combination of masculine and gourmand that is well made, but holds no more attraction for me. Intimidating sillage!

Issey Miyake A Scent: no doubt something called A Scent is minimalistic, the name and the bottle do not exactly suggest opulence of any kind and neither does the aesthetic of a Japanese creator, but A Scent is really just that. A good smell, a vaguely woody, sexless affair that leaves me with the need for a Lutens to counteract the feeling of “not enough” that A Scent invokes. It smells fine, and it is even quite tenacious for its kind, mind you, but it is just a scent after all, best for people who do not like perfume. But to be fair it does not pretend to be anything else.

Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One: sharp, harsh opening, faint heart, thin drydown. No need to bother with a rose this close to utter cheapness.

Oscar De La Renta: the Eau de Toilette. I don’t know how I came to be in possession of this one. It is a rather heavy floral-aldehydic blend. It is not on the Oscar de la Renta website anymore, and I think that is no great loss. I’d like to try the new Esprit d’Oscar though…

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist: I was glad to find this. It is such an iconic fragrance, especially in the US. In Europe, especially the German speaking countries, this took a while to be accepted because of its name. Mist means garbage in German, nothing you want associatd with perfume unless you are Etat Libre d’Orange. Cashmere Mist is a woody oriental with a little bouquet of lily of the valley thrown in for good measure. Despite heavy notes, it is transparent and does right by its name.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Luxe Edition: this flanker of the above amps the floral part up with jasmine and orange blossom, it still retains its light, gauzy “mist” character though.

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: Where have I smelled this before? Answer: everywhere! The quintessential Eau de Generic, a fruity-floral for the ages, no doubt. 😉

Narciso Rodriguez Essence: I love Narciso Rodriguez For Her and have worn it for years, my husband has been known to walk into perfume stores asking for Felipe Hernandez and still coming out with the right perfume. But Essence is somehow lacking. Lacking in substance, lacking in style, lacking in concept. It seems too close to the essence of cleaning liquids for comfort.

Flower By Kenzo: no flower smells like that, I believe (although I am no botanist, so feel free to correct me). It is a powdery, cuddly totally artificial scent, not bad, and much warmer and less happy go lucky than I imagined, but ultimately not for me. Reminds me a bit of Villoresi Teint de Neige, which is much richer though.

Dior Miss Dior Chèrie: aside from the cute bottle I have a hard time finding anything good about this perfume. It takes its name from something entirely different and it is not deserving of that grand name. A fruity-floral with a vengeance, it clamors the be the loudest of them all and may even win.

Jean-Paul Gaultier MaDame: is a -wait for it – fresh floral and it smells like everything and nothing. A very synthetic mélange of floral and musk. Do I like it? *shrugs* Is it good? *shrugs* As hard as I try, I cannot form an opinion about it, whatever that means…in any case this is more of a non-review than a mini-review. Sorry.

Stay tuned for the next three parts of this series over the next weeks.

What are your department store surprises?

Image source: businessweek.com

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Aldehydic, Amber, Chypre, Citrus, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Gourmand, Green, Musk, Oriental, Powdery, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Out Of The Box – Mainstream Sample Sniffathon Part 1

  1. Ines says:

    I tried Sensuous Nouir the other day and was pleasantly surprised. Unexpectedly good, I almost went for a bottle (but kept myself in check). Sometimes I make myself proud. 😉
    Next time I’m there, I’m trying Sensuous.
    Btw, Rose the One had the greatest opening on me and then it went quickly downhill. Waaaay downhill…

  2. lady jane grey says:

    Hm, speaking of department stores… I just found out that Bulgari released “Mon” Jasmin Noir – which obviously must/should be different from the old Jasmin Noir I wore for a long time. Has that one by accident crossed your path already ?

    • Olfactoria says:

      I saw the (pretty) bottle at Nägele&Strubell on Saturday, but my nose was so unreliable that day, due to allergies, I did not attempt to try it. Sorry!

      • lady jane grey says:

        Oh, poor you, you met the parfumista’s worst enemy then… I hope it will be over very soon !
        (I only have the red eye syndrom, but no nose problems…)

  3. Marie says:

    “Felipe Hernandez”!! – Funny! 😀

    I’ve been circling Felipe Hernandez For Her for a while. Did you wear the EdT or the EdP?

  4. Marla says:

    Hee, hee, Cashmere Trash Deluxe, now that is a name for ELd’O indeed! I love it! I hope someone uses that someday. And yes, no one ever reached for that bottle in Munich, either! I liked MaDame more than you did, even bought a bottle, because it was so funny- but the references may have been more American, for GenX here. There were Now N’Later candies that were hotly traded in junior high school in the 80s here, neon- vinyl raincoats and umbrellas, also popular at the time, a strong hint of Love’s Baby Soft and a tiny hint of CKone, it was like going to the Pop Culture Museum, everytime I wore it, I laughed out loud! Now my bottle is gone, I used half, and gave the other to a friend who kept begging me for it, she thought it was as funny as I did.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for explaining the allure of MaDame, these sound like very American references, and I love the perfume instantly more for that. I will revisit it with that background.
      ELdO Cashmere Trash has a certain ring to it, indeed! 🙂

  5. karin says:

    Great topic, B! For mainstream scents, I love the original Juicy Couture. I also like D&G’s The One (haven’t tried the Rose version), RL’s Notorious (great fall office scent), and MaDame. Didn’t care for Sensuous, but I’m curious about Noir. I wore Coco Mademoiselle EDP quite a lot about 7-8 years ago, and still have my bottle, but admit I don’t reach for it much any longer.

    • karin says:

      Oh, and I love Narciso For Her EDT! I have a bottle as well – almost empty. It’s kind of in the Coco Mademoiselle category now for me – seems a bit dated and strong, perhaps because I wore it to death when it came out and I’ve moved on. But I still get it out now and then and wear it.

    • Marla says:

      I liked Notorious, too, and it’s too bad it disappeared so quickly- it was a really good go-to scent, got lots of compliments when I wore it. Even from my mother!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Karin. There are many great scents to be found at the department store, albeit among a plethora of very bad ones. 🙂

  6. deeHowe says:

    Estée Lauder Sensuous is lovely, but I’m a bit anosmic to it (unfortunately!!!), but I do really appreciate the Sensuous Noir! A quick aside: Mr. Howe is in an uproar of hilarity over Felipe Hernandez— and I love that bit too. Mr. O has won himself a box of Junior Mints for being adorable.

    Department store treasures (things I can find in Macy’s)…
    Bronze Goddess holds top spot!
    Also, Prada Amber,
    Chanel no. 19
    Chanel Egoiste
    Chanel Antaeus
    Kim Kardashian
    Halle Berry Reveal
    Stella McCartney
    Donna Karan Gold

    … there’s some good mainstream stuff out there! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Too bad you cannot smell the entire Sensuous, it is lovely. I am looking forward to Sensuous Nude coming out in summer.

      I’ll tell Mr O about his advanced adorability factor, he’ll be chuffed! 🙂

      Totally with you on the department store treasures, And BG – in the top spot forever!!!

    • Marie says:

      Have you worn Chanel Egoiste yourself? I’m really curious about it as a fragrance for myself but I’ve only sniffed it from the bottle so far. Liked it.

      • deeHowe says:

        Marie, I love Egoiste on my skin, it is stunning! As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best offerings from Chanel, whether mainstream or exclusive.

        Make sure that you try the original, though, not the Plaitnum version (totally different fragrance).

        • Marie says:

          Will try on skin soon – quite into the masculine notes these days. Thanks for the heads up on Platinum.

    • the husband says:

      any latin name does the trick – or at least did back in the day when gonzales was still new. but i am willing to demonstrate in november using another name.

      • Marie says:

        You do realize that the actual name of that fragrance is now forever ruined for me?! 🙂 I will always have to think at least twice before getting it right – “you know, what’s it called, that Speedy Gonzalez fragrance?!”

      • deeHowe says:

        LOL! I look forward to seeing the live demonstration! 🙂

  7. Tara says:

    This post was a riot B, can’t wait for the next instalments. Too funny that mist means garbage in German and I loved “No need to bother with a rose this close to utter cheapness”. Oh, and anything by Uncle Serge is indeed the antedote to minimalist fragrance!

    I sadly don’t own any mainstream scents now (unless you were to count Guerlains) which is a shame because it would save me money! But I have bought them often for others, including Jasmin Noir, Bulgari Black, Cinema and Stella. Thinking of buying Kenzo Amour for my sister at some point. I did love Envy and Aromatics Elixir for many years, but like you, I have moved on. I do want to try the new Lancome O de l’Orangerie, though.

    BTW I saw Lady Gaga on the TV the other day say she wears Womanity – oh dear!

  8. Julie says:

    Sensuous is quite nice – I have a cute little mini of that. And Bronze Goddess is wonderful as well. Ed Hardy Love & Luck is one of my favorites, although I am ashamed to tell people what I am wearing! JLo Deseo is another great one –y a nice, not too sweet summery scent.

  9. Marie says:

    My department store surprise could be Stella Rose Absolute, a beautiful, dreamy and fairly deep, but not dark rose fragrance with amber. I wear it when I don’t want the more aggressive patchouli projection of Lady Vengeance. Today I wanted the patchouli, though, and sure enough, it shot through the air with – ok it’s lame – a vengeance, but it retreated fairly quickly and in reality it lives rather close to the skin. Back to Stella Rose Absolute. It’s a straightforward, uncomplicated beautiful scent with a slightly old fashioned rose note. I think I prefer it to Stella which seems saltier to me – the musk, perhaps – I’m more at ease with Stella Rose Absolute and I wear it when I want to be just that – at ease.

  10. vanessa says:

    Happy that you like Cashmere Mist too (it means “dung” too, doesn’t it, which isn’t very nice either?) I own a bottle of this and probably last wore it on a rainy day in Germany, come to think of it. I also own Sensuous, and some of the mainstream scents that surprised me lately were Sensuous Noir, O de L’Orangerie, CK Beauty and Belle d’Opium – in a good way, I mean.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, it does mean dung too, so in German-speaking countries (DACH – see, I am learning! 😉 ) this little bottle really never had much of a chance.

      I want to try the new Lancome as well, so many are recommending it.

  11. Undina says:

    Have you actually tried all twelve in one morning on your skin? (prepares to faint if the answer is Yes)
    I keep getting more and more mainstream samples (get something new every time I go to Nordstrom for any cosmetics purchase) but then I never have time/desire/skin real estate to actually test it.
    Out of twelve you reviewed I know about six and I tested on skin three and have a sample for one (Flower by Kenzo). My next trip to the store I’ll probably get a couple of samples from Estee Lauder – I keep reading that people like Sensuous and Sensuous Nouir. And now also I can’t wait for EL’s scented tatoos for Sensuous Nude!

  12. EL Sensuous is an all-time favorite of mine, I’m glad you like it so much! A new flanker is coming up soon, Sensuous Ambre Nude. The other flanker, Sensuous Noir, is beautiful too, with more emphasis on the jasmine.

    I can’t recommend Esprit d’Oscar enough, I’m practically flabbergasted by it each time I wear it, and keep sending decants to people in order to convert them. Perhaps you’ll be next!

    • deeHowe says:

      Hmmmm… you are quite smitten with Esprit d’Oscar, aren’t you? It hadn’t really piqued my interest—even after your wonderful review—but every time you mention it, it’s another straw on the camel’s back! It is now in spot number six on my “Sniff” list; I hope to get to it in the next couple weekends!! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ah, we have another one in common, I think our tastes overlap in the woody area of perfume. 😉
      I am like Dee, growing from total disinterest in Esprit d’Oscar to wanting to try it, every time I hear you mentioning it. 🙂

  13. Pingback: Two In One – Review: Xerjoff Shooting Stars Esquel | Olfactoria's Travels

  14. Pingback: Out Of The Box – Mainstream Mini-Reviews Part 4 | Olfactoria's Travels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s