A Few New Impressions On A Few Old Perfumes (And A Few New Ones Too) – Mini-Reviews

I went for a little sniffing trip to the department store and here are just a few impressions. I did not want to smell only new releases this time, but mostly ones I always overlook for one reason or another, or which I haven’t smelled in a long time.

Dior Dune: I haven’t smelled this in ages. I did not remember it being that strong, it packs a fair punch!

Dior Homme: Homme is dead! Horrible, horrible new version. So sad. I wish I had a small bottle of the old stuff, before LVMH started messing with something good (as they do.)

Kenzo Fleur de Camèlia: Nice, soft, fresh floral. Very uplifting, easy to wear, tender and delicate. I can appreciate it, but it is too cute to be my thing.

Guerlain Insolence Eau de Parfum: after reviewing the EdT here, I needed to smell the EdP and I’m glad I did. It is actually close to Lipstick Rose, and it smells like a Guerlain should.

Estée Lauder Sensuous Nude: Too clean, too predictable, but undeniably nice. I prefer the original Sensuous though, that is a lovely creamy wood fragrance, smelling like something Pierre Guillaume would have made.

Yves Saint Laurent Cinèma: this is a lovely scent and does not fit into its bottle at all, in my opinion. Were it not for its good reputation, I would have no qualms leaving that bottle untouched, it looks like it contained an 80s powerhouse, when all it is is a quiet and soft vanilla-amber. It does smell a bit plastic-y though…

Yves Saint Laurent Nu: still a lovely spicy incense. The old bottle was so much better than those new beige chess pieces…

…and a few new releases I couldn’t pass by unsniffed:

Calvin Klein Sheer Beauty: shampoo, expensive shampoo, but still.

Givenchy Eau Demoiselle Eau Fraiche: massively unsurprising, but a nice summer cologne-style fragrance.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire: Cherry pie, but a stylish one. What can I say, Guerlain is almost good enough to eat.

Lancome La Vie est belle: No, it ain’t! (belle, that is.) I hate this. But that doesn’t come as a surprise, because I already know it. This is Coco Mademoiselle, Flowerbomb and any other fruity patchouli ever created (why, oh why?). Iris gourmand? Oh please, berry patchouli with the power to kill small animals and the half-life of Uranium.

Which mainstream perfumes did you smell recently? I would love to read mini-reviews of your favorites (positive or negative) in the comments!


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51 Responses to A Few New Impressions On A Few Old Perfumes (And A Few New Ones Too) – Mini-Reviews

  1. I usually spare myself the pain of smelling mainstream releases but I especially like Esprit D’Oscar. It is like a younger, easy to wear version of L’Heure Bleue. Very decent for a mainstream fragrance.
    I also tried and liked the Diane Von Furstenberg fragrance.

  2. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Not for a long time ! I can’t even manage most of the niche ones anymore…
    The last one was Oscar de la Renta’s Live in Love (Harrods back in March) – I remember it, becasue I quite liked that lightly green, summery happy-happy floral. If they had the 1 oz version, I’d have even bought it. But they didn’t 😦 (Then I bought Danger instead…)

  3. Tatiana says:

    “Oh please, berry patchouli with the power to kill small animals and the half-life of Uranium.” LOL
    That line made my day! Agreed that the original EL Sensuous is the best. Today I walked thru the mall on my way home. Sniffed Coco Noir on paper once again. Can’t bring myself to put it to the skin test. I keep thinking it smells very familiar, but not very appealing. Found the new Tom Ford quartet out. Sprayed each on a card. They’re very nice, but not outstanding enough for me to pay $205 for 50ml. I always try to go in for a sniff of Aliage when I’m passing by an Estee Lauder counter. And I like to give the SAs at the Clinique counter a fright by asking them if they have a tester of Aromatics Elixir. I rarely spray it, just asking for it is enough to change their facial expression drastically.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I had to laugh about your Clinique story, these girls don’t know what they are missing. (Better the loud, but brilliant AE than the relentless fake cheer of Happy).

  4. andreawilko says:

    I tried Coco Noir the other day, pleasant enough and the dry down is very close to the original, they seem to have amped up the patchouli in the opening, not enough wow about it to warrant a full bottle. (although the actual bottle is lustworthy)

    I also tried the re-launched YSL in love again in the silly plastic square bottles, hated it with a passion, I made the fatal error of spraying it on skin as well, just when I thought I was coming round to fruity florals but sadly this is not in the same league as La Belle Helene or Peche Cardinal.

    It seems I can totally justify to myself why I wear more expensive perfume. (I say that in jest, I get as much pleasure from fleur le male and silences as I do from any of my other perfumes and these were really cheap)

    • Olfactoria says:

      There is a definitely a world between mall fruity florals and La Belle Helene! 🙂

      I still haven’t tried Coco Noir, but I’m not very optimistic. A shame. 😦

  5. poodle says:

    That “berry patchouli” quote made me laugh too especially since I just saw a small piece in a magazine (was it Allure?) where it said that Julia Roberts said she didn’t want something that smelled like fruit.

  6. Ines says:

    Did you smell the original Robe Noire or the reformulation?
    I’d love to get my hands on the original – the reformulation sort of pales in comparison (at least for me). 😦

  7. Tara says:

    Wonderful mini-reviews!

    Totally agree about La Vie est belle. What a shame considering the great perfumers behind it. Even my Mum asked the SA where the iris was! Pretty horrific stuff, even several hours later.

    I’m going to avoid trying that new Dior Homme at all costs. Too sad.

  8. Alexandra says:

    I haven’t stopped and sniffed on the High Street for a while now, I realise I am incredibly lucky to live in London where niche perfume is so easy to find. I do however continue to have soft spots for both Kenzo Amour – which smells so wonderfully warm with musky vanilla and Noa by Cacherel – which was my ‘signature’ before I knew what a signature was – it is just a really pretty, incredibly innocent floral. Interesting that I now tend towards dirty Orientals…

    Oh and I found Coco Noir totally uninspiring…

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are lucky indeed, not only because of the niche access, I adore London (I hope to visit again in the fall!).

      Sadly mainstream is more often than not the McDonald’s equivalent of niche’s Haute Cuisine.
      (I’m a snob and I stand by it. 😉 )

  9. Amy Bella says:

    OK- you inspired me to open the sample of Givenchy Dahlia Noir that a SA foisted off on me recently. It’s been about 20 minutes and I am very glad I didn’t put it on my skin! Yuckity yuck! I wish I could pinpoint what makes me hate it so… I don’t have a big problem with any of the notes listed. Maybe I am not a chypre fan? (I don’t have much experience with them) Maybe there’s a chemical in there that doesn’t agree with me?

    I’d take a berry-patchouli over this any day! 🙂

  10. AnneD says:

    Hi! De-lurking here to ask (beg) where you found the Insolence EDP!!?? I looked far and wide and no such luck. I am in the USA, Dallas, Tx area and can only find the EDT. Thanks so much! I read and enjoy your posts regularly.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Anne,
      a pleasure to meet you! 🙂
      Maybe the EdP is unavailable in the US? Here in Europe it is easy to find. Should you want me to buy you some and pass it along, I’d be happy to. But maybe you can find it on ebay?
      Probably the bigger Guerlain counters (those carrying the exclusive line as well) have it too.

  11. Dubaiscents says:

    Thanks for the laugh about La Vie est Belle, I totally agree with you and everyone else. Such a waste of Julia Roberts on such a blah scent. I smelled Coco Noir and besides loving the bottle I wasn’t even tempted to try it on my skin. One that I am not sure is around worldwide but, is everywhere here is Givenchy’s Eau Demoiselle Bois de Oud. They are promoting it as a feminine oud but, besides maybe a slight hint of it in the top notes it seems that it is more just a nice feminine floral – no oud. It is pretty but, if you are looking for Oud I don’t think you find it here except in the name. Smells good on my 2 year old daughter 🙂
    A couple of good ones I tried and purchased recently were Cacharel’s Loulou and Sonia Rykeil’s Belle en Rykeil. Both smell a lot nicer than you would expect from something not very expensive. The Loulou bottle is hysterical – a blue plastic rocket ship and the Belle en Rykeil is a really lovely fruity amber.
    And you are making me want to get out my bottle of Insolence EDP again and try against Lipstick Rose – intriguing!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Eau Demoiselle and it’s flankers are everywhere here too, I really like the bottle, but the juice is just too unoriginal to excite me.
      Some older mainstream perfumes are still great, I’m glad you found two such treasures.

    • masha7 says:

      Belle en Rykiel is really unique, isn’t it? I have a bottle and wear it now and again. A floral/lavender amber, very strong yet cuddly.

  12. Anita T. Monroe says:

    Hi, I liked your comment about Dune. I tried it when it first came out when I was visiting in France, and loved it. You are right, however, it is too strong. I have tried to imagine what it COULD be like if it were a bit more salty and less “in your face.” I’ve tried experimenting with it, putting salt on a wash cloth and adding Dune. It was a bit nicer.
    I don’t like perfume that smells like fruit, praline candy or anything else to eat. I’m staying with the original Coco and original Guerlain. I’ve tried to like some of the new scents, but just can’t quite get there. I do like Clinique’s Aromatic Elixir, though. Just spray and walk through, not on my skin. I tried YSL’s In Love Again when it was first available in Florida in 1997. I liked it for hot weather, but soon started smelling too much grapefruit and gave it up. Not to be too negative, I do love Sensuous, the Original. All the men in my life like it too: “What are you wearing? Please tell my wife about it!”

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is a great compliment to receive! And those wifes hopefully allget a bottle of Sensuous. 🙂

      The original Chanel Coco is wonderful, I look forward to cooler weather to wear it again.

  13. Undina says:

    Thank you for the laugh, Birgit! 🙂

    It was surprising for me to read your take on Cinema. I haven’t tried it in years but the way I remembered it, I thought it was loud and strong. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it even planned to buy eventually somewhere online but then never did. Now I’m curious. I need to find and try it again.

  14. annemariec says:

    I bought a decant of YSL’s Yvresse recently. Silly in a way, as you can buy the stuff cheap just about anywhere, but the smallest bottle you can get is 60 mls, and I know I’ll never need all that. Yvresse is fabulous, great for when I’m feeling exuberant and on top of the world. And a peach chypre ALWAYS has my full attention. (Mitsouko, Femme, Diorella, even Gucci Rush … I love them.)

    I keep on the look-out for the new Lancome but it has not it our shores yet. Why am I bothering? I dunno. I HATE CM and Flowerbomb with a fiery passion.

    I love your micro-reviews!

  15. Philipp says:

    I’ve come down with a summer cold (thanks to ac and lots of stress at work) this week so no sampling for me at the moment. I hope to be better again by Friday 31/08, because I’d like to go fragrance shopping in Milan…

  16. Emma says:

    I thought EXACTLY the same re: Cinema -the bottle looks like it should hold a chypre or something but the scent inside is actually a gentle powderpuff scent! Agree about Nu, too – the beige bottle goes with the name, but neither go with the scent. Glad it’s back, though.

  17. Anita T. Monroe says:

    In 2004 I found “Nu”, a fragrance that I had never heard of, at T. J. Maxx. Not only the hockey puck spray, but the black soap, and the most wonderful body cream I have ever experienced. Since it was YSL I gathered up an armload of it, unsniffed. I guess that it was new to the market, and it was not expected to sell. Now eight years later, I still have some of that original stash and still love the fragrance. I haven’t been able to find more of that body cream or black soap anywhere.

  18. jamesdennard says:

    Vintage Dior Homme is one of my favourite fragrances. I never bought a full bottle of it, but hearing about the reformulation, I will treasure my samples while I look for an old bottle. One of my best female friends loves Dune. She and her husband wore matching female/male versions of it for their wedding (I was a groomsman).

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  20. smellythoughts says:

    I need to revisit Insolence EDP, I have owned the EDT before and loved it (yearssss back though). I have still yet to find a violet I enjoy as much.
    I also owned Dior Homme when I was about 14 😐 What has changed? I have never been a fan to be honest, too much, too headachey.

  21. masha7 says:

    Ah, Nu and Cinema! My two favorite YSL. Cinema was such a lovely perfume for springtime in the Alps, and it reminded me of almond trees in full bloom. Nu has been described as the perfect perfume for David Bowie, and I have to agree. It’s such cold, alien incense, but so intense! I have too many backup bottles to count, and I love the EdT as well, with it’s strong orchid note.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi there, Marla! I hope you are well!

      A David Bowie incense, now that is an interesting thought… I’m glad you’ve got enough backups to keep you covered.

  22. flittersniffer says:

    I agree about Cinema being a bit synthetic – I wanted to like it more than I did, though the rarer EDT was better than the richer EDP. That Kenzo sounds like my kind of thing – it would be hard for a scent to be too cute in my book!

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