Saturday, January 31, 2015

February 1st - February 7th Posting Schedule

What's up stinkbutt? I kid, I kid. Saturday's post is on the fire now, but until then I thought, hey, why not give you a schedule update? It's looking rosy, kiddos. And by rosy, I mean I've got two perfume reviews.

  • Tuesday (February 3rd) - Fragrance Review: Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet
  • Friday (February 6th) - Fragrance Review: Balenciaga B.
I will also be changing the Featured page, so if you have any suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments or e-mail me at admin@olfactory-exploits.com. Thanks and stay salty!

... I mean, pleasant journeys~


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Episode 22: Just a Small Sample (or, Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler, Spring 2015)

Ohhh myyyy goodddd two more weeks until Valentine's Day, what was I thinking. I did promise to talk about gifts though, so here is a bomb-ass gift set that is sure to please you or your loved one. I was actually hesitant to pick it up at first because I have so much perfume to try, but when I saw the value I couldn't resist. So that is what I want to talk about today, let's do this thing.

Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler (Spring '15)

This set comes with eleven sample vials that range in size from .03 fl oz to .06 fl oz. The total fluid weight of the set is .52 fl oz or 16.1 mL. As the smallest sizes in perfume bottles is usually 30mL or 1.0 fl oz, you're getting about half a bottle before you even redeem the scent certificate. The scents include in the set are as follows:
Bulgari Omnia Crystalline: Italian mandarin, lotus flower, white sandalwood and benzoin. Redeems for a 2.2 fl oz EDP retail $95 USD.
Clean Skin: Honeydew, lotus blossom, fresh air accord, blue rose, white musk, amber woods and vanilla. Redeems for a 2.14 fl oz EDP retail $69 USD.
Giorgio Armani Sì: Blackcurrant nectar, delicate airy florals and musky blonde wood. Redeems for a 1.0 fl oz EDP retail $70 USD.
Flora by Gucci Glorious Mandarin: Mandarin, piña colada and jasmine. Redeems for a 1.6 fl oz EDT retail $72 USD.
Juicy Couture Juicy Couture: Mandarin, absolute tuberose, princess lily and precious woods. Redeems for a 11.0 fl oz EDP retail $72 USD.
Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream: Fruits, florals, refreshing lychee, white woods, musk and coconut water. Redeems for a 1.0 fl oz EDT retail $52 USD.
Narciso Rodriguez for her: Floral, amber and woody notes. Redeems for a 1.0 fl oz EDT retail $54 USD.
Prada Candy Florale: Cedrat, cosmos, musk, benzoin and caramel. Redeems for a 1.0 fl oz EDT retail $54 USD.
Stella by Stella McCartney: Soft rose, peony, mandarin and amber. Redeems for a 1.0 fl oz EDP retail $50 USD.
Tocca Simone: Frangipani, salt sea air, watermelon, ylang ylang and blonde woods. Redeems for a 1.7 fl oz EDP retail $68 USD.
Tory Burch: peony, tuberose, grapefruit, neroli and earthy vetiver. Redeems for a 1.0 fl oz EDP retail $65 USD.
Immediately looking, one can see the selection of scents is very well rounded. There are a couple that seem to pop up in every box (Narciso Rodriguez, Bulgari and Marc Jacobs usually have a presence) but in this set several new releases are offered, such as Daisy Dream and . The opportunity to try scents outside my comfort zone, but still have something I like to fall back on is one of the things that makes these sets so appealing to me.
 Of course, there is also the inherent value in a set like this. The latest release is superb, especially compared to some from the past, when it comes to value for the dollar. The set rings in at $55 dollars and the average cost of the perfumes offered is $65.50. So not only are you saving, on average, $10 on your perfume choice you get the entire value of the sample set as well. The value tops out at $95 due to Omnia Crystalline (which I don't fancy at all, sadly) but even if you chose Stella at only $50, when you factor in the value of the samples in the set (remember, over half a fluid ounce is in those vials in total) you are still getting approximately $75 worth of product - $20 more than the sticker price. This particular set has to be one of the best, deal-wise, I've seen in a long time. Only four out of eleven scents even retail below sticker price.

Promo image from Sephora.com
 Overall, I think this set is an excellent way to try new fragrances, and to get a great deal on a perfume of your choosing. I purchased this set myself, and am getting no compensation for promoting this, but I had to let you know - starting February 5th, 2015 there will be 3x points on all fragrance purchases for Sephora Beauty Insiders. Because the set is limited edition, I think it will sell out fast. The promo ends February 15th, 2015.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ - Sephora's sample kits continue to get better (the women's, at least) and this is the best so far. Definitely a must-have for anyone looking to add a new fragrance to their collection. Buy it here
Wow, so yeah. I want to pick up a second set, but I don't know whether or not to wait until the points promo. Urgh, what a dilemma. I probably wait. I'm debating between Armani, Gucci and Tocca, what about you? Until next time, pleasant journeys~


Friday, January 23, 2015

Schedule Updates January 25th - 31st

Hello! Just a quick update on the schedule - I got my sampler earlier than anticipated, so I am going to be swapping the two posts for next week. The updated schedule will look like:

  • Tuesday (January 27th) - Breakdown & Review: Spring Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler
  •  Saturday (January 31st) - Discussion: Nearly Edible, the pleasing aromas of food
I don't think I mentioned it, but I want to get specific. I am not reviewing the individual scents in the sampler as a whole, only the contents and value of the kit. I will in the future review my choice, for sure, and probably some that I really liked (or really hated) but that is not going on here, because like I mentioned before, I am not reviewing scent right now.

In other news, thanks to my blown out sinuses, I can barely smell at all, so maybe it is a good thing. Pleasant journeys~


Episode 21: Stairway to Heaven's Nose (or, Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Sensual Jasmine Vanilla)

I thought this post would be late because I've come down with a yucky cold, but I think it will just be short instead. This isn't a formal review because I can already tell you that this is my favorite scent from Bath & Body Works, hands down, and one of my favorite scents of all time. I just want to talk about it because I think this line of products is a little bit underrated, even if you aren't into aromatherapy stuff. So, let's do it.

Sensual Jasmine Vanilla

The main exponents of this scent are Jasmine Absolute and Vanilla Absolute, which each have their own inherent properties in aromatherapy. According to the BBW website, jasmine gives "sexy self confidence" and vanilla "soothes". The scent is available in body lotion, shower gel, sugar scrub, body cream, and massage oil. The retail varies between $13 - $16 USD, although they can be included in coupons and go on sale often. At the time of this writing, all BBW Aromatherapy, excluding massage oil, is on sale for $8.00. The scent has previously been available in body mist, hand soap and candle formats, which pop up occasionally at BBW Outlets.
Promotional image from Bath & Body Works
To begin with, the Aromatherapy line is one of my favorites - I feel that the products are higher quality, and the scents are simple and have better staying power. When I use my Jasmine Vanilla lotion, I can often smell it on my clothes the next day. I can smell it on towels, as well, if I use the shower products. So the lasting power is there. The feel of the lotion is smoother, too, less gloopy. All in all I prefer their use over BBW Signature Collection.
The scent... it's heavenly. I honestly don't know how to describe but it is like jasmine on steroids but smoothed down by the vanilla. It isn't an entirely original scent idea, but it works well and has a good price point. I've used travel sizes of the body lotion for my hands in the past because the scent is just that amazing. I don't feel particularly sexy, but it is incredibly feminine, and does make me feel empowered and confident. I love using this before a presentation or meeting. Especially if you are meeting with dudes... that can't hurt. Guys love this scent, for sure - I get lots of compliments from ladies about the different perfumes I wear, but this is one of the few where I am consistently complimented by men. Nice, I'll take it.
 So, all in all, I would say this is an excellent choice for Valentine's Day, especially if you don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a new perfume. Although the body mist is no longer sold regularly, the combination of shower gel (or sugar scrub) and lotion alone is more than enough to scent your life. I highly recommend this one, kiddos, so check it out. While you do that, I will be in blissful NyQuil dreams. Oh, and pleasant journeys~







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 25th - January 31st Posting Schedule

Oh, lordy, it's not Valentine's yet? How long is this month? I'm really re-thinking this idea about now... well, as I formulate a plot to get myself out of the trap I trapped myself in, here is next week's schedule.

  • Tuesday (January 27th) - Discussion: Nearly Edible, the pleasing aromas of food
  • Saturday (January 31st) - Breakdown & Review: Spring Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler
On a side note, I am not able to do any fragrance reviews this week because I am participating in a scent trial. Next week I have some samples of some new scents to review, but I am not sure if either of them fit the "Valentine's" bill, so I may end up holding on to those for a little later, and going with some more traditionally sensual fragrances.

This is all conjecture for now, though. Until next time, pleasant journeys~

Episode Twenty: Love is All Around (or, Indie Valentines)

Many indie perfume companies are doing special and/or limited releases for Valentine's Day. I think perfume is an excellent Valentine's gift, and some of these releases are really exciting me, so I wanted to make mention of these in time to get your grubby little paws on them. Oh and don't worry your pretty little head - I am going to put up the pheromones in scented products post but I need to do a little more research. As for these indies, well, let's talk.

Indie Valentine's Releases

Darling Clandestine - Will be releasing some Valentine scents exclusively starting January 26th. The company Facebook page has mentioned that these will be the only products in stock for a week or so, so you should have plenty of time to get a hold of them. The releases will include a trio of LE fragrances, a solid gourmand called Coma Cluster and a run of Blue Valentine. I'm going to do my best to get my hands on all of DC's releases, but Coma Cluster I am looking forward to, especially. Shop here.
Haus of Gloi - They've recently released information about their Valentine's offerings and it looks like a nice selection with something for everyone. I see gourmand, floral, fruity and oriental/musk so I definitely don't think that anyone will have a problem finding a scent they like. Most scents will also be released in several formats so even if perfume oil isn't your thing, the lovely Pumpkin butters or Whipped Soaps are sure to delight. The scents were released through the HoG newsletter, so I don't have the full list, but I'm going to try and get my hands on Come Hither for sure. Shop here.
Alchemic Muse - She's already released her holiday scents and there are some doozies here. You can find descriptions of all the scents and the forms they are offered in on the company's Facebook page, and I'd jump on anything you like since it has been out for a few days already. I'm going to pick up Voodoo, and perhaps something in Jezebel, but I also already own the Nostalgia perfume oil and it is a lovely soft scent that I highly recommend, especially if you like tea or smoky floral scents. Shop here.
Black Violet - Has also already released her Valentine's scent which is Limited Edition, in anticipation of her Spring 2015 scent collection releasing on February 6th. The Valentine's edition is called Lokelani which the Black Violet website describes as "key notes of Bulgarian Rose Absolute, Jasmine Sambac, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang (extremely limited)". I've purchased it of course, because the notes remind me of my beloved  Jasmine Vanilla from Bath & Body Works that I will be talking about later this week. I can't wait to smell it! The Spring '15 scent descriptions will be available on the Black Violet website soon. Shop here.

I leave you with those four. I know there are other perfumers releasing limited scents and I know there are other perfumers for whom I've yet to review any scents, but at this point I am only able to speak to those I buy specifically for personal use. I do have some scents from Alkemia coming, though, which I can't wait to review!

And once again I find myself posting late. I apologize as usual; the start of the spring semester put me a little off kilter. It may take a few weeks for me to figure out the balance of homework and free time so until then I will try my best to at least post in the week I specify! I mean... I'll try... *hides*
Pleasant journeys~

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 18th - January 24th Posting Schedule

I almost forgot to post next weeks schedule! For shame! I really, really wanted to talk about some indie releases that I've ordered, but since I can't do that, I am going to post the upcoming Valentine's Day specials and scents that I recommend you check out! So, with that in mind, here is the upcoming schedule. ♥

  • Tuesday (January 20th) - Indie Valentine's Suggesions
  • Friday (January 23rd) - Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Sensual Jasmine Vanilla
Only two posts this week as it will be a busy one, going back to school! I might try to sneak something in on the weekend, though...

 We've got three weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, so I think I am going to focus my content on more romantic themes until then - brands, special scents even (once more) some of my favorite fragrance gifts to help inspire ~love~ *wink wink* so if you have any suggestions or requests, leave them in the comments or pass them along to admin@olfactory-exploits.com. I'd love to know what you all want to read about! Pleasant journeys~


Friday, January 16, 2015

Episode Nineteen: Shhh...Secretly, Candles (or, Victoria's Secret Candle Gift Set)

I want to make one thing very clear - Victoria's Secret Fall/Winter candles have left rotation in the Semi-Annual Sale, and I have not yet been able to determine if new scents will be released for Spring or Summer. They may not be back until next Fall, or they may not be back again, ever. I hemmed and hawed about this, but in the end I was so impressed by the performance of these candles I decided to write about them anyways, knowing full well most people may not be able to purchase them. I hope VS does Spring/Summer scents. I will be sure to purchase, if they do.

*** You can, also, buy candles in fragrance gift sets. Mostly those are Holiday items, but they may offer some for Valentine's Day coming up. ***

Victoria's Secret Candle Gift Set

I am not going to discuss the actual fragrances themselves, although I will tell you what they are, how well they perform, and which ones I prefer. I am mainly going to review the performance of the candles, which I found to be very good for nearly votive sizes. Each candle in the set is 56g/2 oz and there are five different scents. Midnight Sky, Pink Musk, Vanilla Noir, Luminous Amber and Sparkling Woods. The set originally retailed for $40 USD, I paid $14 USD on sale.
Burn Time: The set doesn't specify a length of burn time, but I have found that for candles around this size you can usually expect around 30 hours of burn time. That varies of course, due to wax quality and wick material, which affect how hotly the candle will burn, and how fast the wax will melt. I have yet to burn a full candle from this set, but from what I've seen, these will have quite a long burn time for their size.
Quality: Because VS is not longer selling the candles, very little information is available on their website about the candles themselves. However, because Victoria's Secret is owned by L Brands, who own the powerhouse candle distributors Bath & Body Works, I would imagine they follow a very similar recipe. VS candles are not the same as BBW candles, though, let me stress. In fact, I found that over all the quality of the VS candles was in fact higher than a BBW candle of the same size. They are also sightly more expensive, as a 14.5 oz candle at VS ran $25 USD as opposed to the $22.50 price point at Bath & Body Works.
Scent Throw: Now this is where both my excitement and my sadness kick in - excited because I was very pleased with the performance of these candles, sad that they are no longer for sale. These candles burn very slowly, and kick off an excellent throw. It took approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to build a full melt pool (in a 56g candle, no less) but the throw had filled my entire bedroom after only about 30 minutes of burning. It was extremely unexpected - these are not candles that project a very strong throw while cold, so for it to be that strong, that quickly, I was heartily impressed.
Fragrance: Each scent is quite unique from the others, and all five give off an equally strong throw, despite some having a deeper scent, and some having a lighter scent. The deeper scents (Midnight Sky, Vanilla Noir and Luminous Amber, in this case) built up slowly and then hung around for a good amount of time after burning. The lighter scents (Pink Musk and Sparkling Woods) built up quicker (sometimes within ten minutes of lighting the candle) but also fade faster once the candle is cold again. All in all, I found the scent quality while the candle was burning to be very high for all five and whether you want a deep or lighter scent would be personal preference (I enjoyed Midnight Sky the most).
Promo image from victoriassecret.com

Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - I am extremely impressed with the quality of these candles for the price, and I sincerely hope that Victoria's Secret chooses to release new scents for the upcoming seasons. I would really like to add a 14.5 oz 3-wick to my collection, and the lovely packaging doesn't hurt, either. A solid home fragrance choice! (No shopping links, unfortunately) :(
 Again, I am so sorry if you can't find these candles on sale at your local VS anymore - they don't have them at mine, either, only a week after I purchased this set (I wanted a full size Midnight Sky, but they were gone girl, gone). Hopefully they release more scents for Valentine's Day or Spring/Summer, until then we'll always have Paris. Err.. I mean, pleasant journeys~


Monday, January 12, 2015

Episode Eighteen: Viva La SomethinSomethin (or, Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir)

Since I don't think it makes sense for me to only review fragrances that are my "style" or that I know will probably agree with me, I've decided to make sure my reviews are a little more well rounded. This includes reviewing scents I expect to not like, as well as scents that are outside my comfort zone. And then there are scents like those created by Juicy Couture. Let's just dive right in shall we?

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir

I received this scent in a fragrance sampler packaged offered with purchases of a qualifying amount. The scent if offered in 1.7 fl oz ($72 USD) and 3.4 fl oz ($92 USD) sizes. The Juicy Couture website also offers gift sets in each size for $76 and $96 USD respectively. Viva La Juicy Noir is described as "Bold. Sensual. Arresting. An enticing rendition of the original best-selling fragrance, Viva la Juicy Noir embodies the woman who is dangerous in a good way." from the Juicy Couture website, and when compared with the original fragrance, I can see that - if I turn my head sideways and squint. VLJN is certainly bold, and I would agree that it is more enticing that the original VLJ, but I have a hard time agreeing that the scent is either sensual or dangerous. Wile wearing this fragrance I got a good four+ hours of longevity from one applications, and I would describe the sillage as high. I can smell myself coming from a mile away! Some of the notes include:
Top Notes: Berry, Mandarin
Mid Notes: Honeysuckle, Jasmine
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Caramel

Promo image from juicycouture.com
There are a lot of things I love about the Juicy Couture line of fragrances, I love how beautifully packaged they are, and how distinct the scent profiles are - you don't need to see the name to know when you've smelled a perfume by Juicy Couture. However, it is that very distinctness that turns me off the brand, because JC fragrances are clearly marked toward a certain group of people, and they all. smell. the. same. way. I hate to put anyone down or be too discriminating in my tastes, but to me JC scents are either for women in their early to mid-twenties (okay) or women in their mid-thirties to late-fifties who want to smell like a 20-year old (not okay).
Viva La Juicy Noir becomes especially painful because as I wear it, I experience a total sense of disassociation. This scent doesn't know what it wants to be! It's a berry - great! Now way, now it's a floral... umm... actually it's a poorly crafted gourmand, what the what? On final drydown, for me, I smell honeysuckle and vanilla so I would, in the end, take this out of the gourmand category Juicy Couture seems desperate to shove it into and perhaps classify it more as a warm floral. That's just me though, and I'm not the pro here.
Pros: Beautiful design, lovely to have on dresser, very nice choice for young women.
Cons: Too much going on, not a scent with any depth or maturity.
Rating: ♦♦♦ - This scent should only be worn by women in the first quarter century of their life. Otherwise it smells ridiculous and people will wonder what you're wearing (but not in a good way). Buy it here.
Okay, so um, wow. That wasn't very nice at all. In case you don't believe me, please let me reaffirm that I don't hate Viva La Juicy or the different editions! I just think they are not appropriate for a woman in my age range (which is past 25 but not yet 35) or older - these are young, playful scents and should be left to the young and the playful. I know you don't believe me, I can see the judgement in your eyes. It's okay. Would you forgive me if I told you you don't look a day over 22? Keep on keepin' on, and pleasant journeys~

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year, New Posts: January 11th - January 17th Posting Schedule

Edit 12 January 2015: I want to apologize for omitting the full name of the Juicy Couture Fragrance. The name has been amended.

Hi guys! It has been a long time! I hope your holidays were swell. Before I post the schedule I want to make some announcements:
  1. Because I will be returning to school and carrying a full class load, posts on this blog will only happen twice during the week days and/or once on the weekend. That means there may be a total possible of three posts in a week, but sometimes only two.
  2. I am going to offer reviews on a more diverse variety of men's cologne that I will actually sample on a man. Until now, I only offered scents that I knew smelled good on both me and my husband because it was easier this way, but with fewer reviews comes more time to test scents, so I will be having him test them instead.
I hope those things meet with your approval, now on to the posting schedule.

  • Monday (January 12th): Fragrance review of Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir
  • Thursday (January 15th): Discussion and review of Victoria's Secret Luxury Candles
  • Saturday (January 17th): Discussion - pheromones in fragrance products
I hope this post finds you well, and I hop you are as excited as I am about what I've got coming up in 2015 - some ultra luxury scents as well as new (to me) body products and perfumes for places I didn't even think you needed a perfume for! :o So stay tuned and pleasant journeys~