Friday, March 27, 2015

Episode 35: Black Violet Ginger & Lace (or, Sweet, Soft Springtime)

I totally hemmed and hawwed about what scent I wanted to review, and I had it narrowed down to an indie - I actually settled on a different scent then switched my mind last minute. But I have really been loving this scent, and it is a little different than my norm. Okay? Okay.

Black Violet Ginger & Lace

I haven't yet reviewed a Black Violet perfume, although I've mentioned the company in previous posts. The scents tend to be very hit or miss on my skin - some of those I thought I'd love (Lady Grey, Lokelani) didn't work at all, and others that I wasn't expecting (Lemondrop, Gold Rush) ended up being wonderful. That's kind of how it goes with indie perfumes, but Black Violet seems to sing on the pendulum for me more so than others. The scent I picked up from the Spring 2015 release is one of those that really surprised me.
I first tried Ginger & Lace as a sample with my purchase of Lokelani and I fell so, so in love. The Black Violet website describes the scent as "Wisps of apricot hairs rise thru vintage Limerick lace draping her skin. Soft-spoken, yet intoxicating. Keynotes: Soft Musk, Ginger Lily, Coconut Milk and Apricot." Now, I think I've mentioned before, but two things I really don't like are white musk and toasted coconut. I know "toasted" is a key descriptor here, but trust me, I've tried scents that just mention "coconut", "coconut milk" or even "coconut flesh" and have been smacked with that godawful stench. Luckily, Ginger & Lace doesn't have that problem.
The scent opens for me soft and sweet - the fruit, and the sweet coconut milk are really well blended, and give a slightly haunting potency to those first whiffs. The floral notes come into play after a few minutes or so and by about 45 minutes in, Ginger &Lace has developed to her warm, temperate base. This is a scent perfect for daily wear in the blossoming heat of spring - it's never overpowering, but it wraps around you like the titular lace and holds on. It is just lovely.
I don't have my bottle to show you because it leaks, and the oil has smeared the label and makes it hard to work with (I'm using up my sample size right now). If I can get it replaced, I'll insert a picture. Don't worry though - as far as I can tell it is just a defect. Black Violet always has very well packaged shipping! The full sized BV scents come in gorgeous cobalt glass, 10mL roll-on bottles. I love her packaging.
[image here]
Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - With the delicate sweetness of the coconut milk bearing the primary load of providing an ethereal quality to the scent, instead of the usual floral or fruit notes, Ginger & Lace becomes something imminently wearable and hard to take offense with. It definitely takes a top spot for me, and should definitely be on the wish list of all indie perfume lovers! Buy it here.
So yep, I decided not to review Lokelani which was a dud for me, and do this gem instead. If anyone wants to hear my thoughts on Lokelani or any of the Black Violet scents that I possess, just leave me a comment below!

Reminder that I won't be updating again until April 5, 2015 and that will resume the normal posting schedule. Just to titillate you, I will let slip that the scent note will be bergamot (!) and the Face-Off is going to be between Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra and Commodity Tea. Hope you'll come check those out! Pleasant journeys~


Friday, March 20, 2015

Episode 34: Luck Be a Lady (or, Bond No.9 Las Vegas)

You came here just to hear about a stupid, ultra-limited fragrance that will be a giant pain in the ass to get? You sick freak - I'm all on this for you! xo No preamble here, let's get down to brass tacks.

Bond No. 9 - Saks Fifth Avenue Las Vegas

There is something of a kerfluffle if you try to garner information about this scent online because of the difficulty in obtaining it. Originally launched in 2010, this scent is available only through purchase at the Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Las Vegas, which at this time number only one. Although it was designed as a Limited Edition, the scent (for reasons unknown to myself) has been brought back into production and is currently available for sale. Whether this is permanent or temporary is also a thing unknown, although the Bond No. 9 rep I worked with gave no indication of it being in limited quantities. If you are interested in purchasing the scent, I will provide direct information for the store below.
Scent Notes: Specific breakdown of the layering notes is hard to find, but fragrantica.com provides the information that it contains peach blossom, jasmine, amber, vanilla, and spicy woods. Because I find this to be something of a sweet floral, I'd personally reckon that the peach blossom and jasmine are the top; vanilla is the heart; with amber and the spicy woods grounding the scent. It's really a lovely fragrance that appeals to my Angel-loving heart.
Mine via Instagram
Other Information: This scent has a bit of a sticker shock, even if you are used to Bond No.9 prices. The retail on this fragrance is $325 USD, in large part due to the amazing flacon. Hand placed Swarovski crystals on jet black glass, this is a 100mL bottle so it has some heft. It comes in a custom box, also decorated with crystals (image to come). It is truly a stunning sight.
I found out about this scent purely by accident. Bond No.9 wasn't really a perfume house that had caught my attention in the past, but my husband brought home a test card with this scent because he had passed the display in Saks and it caught his eye. He chatted with the rep briefly and then came home to see if the scent was something I liked. I fell in love right away, but my heart was broken when he told me the price-point. I have to say, I sniffed that card for probably a month before on a whim we went in to the store. The rep that was there that day was wonderful, and the brand discovery tour I went on sold me on these fragrances, Las Vegas in particular. 
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ - This is not a scent that will be for everyone, I know. Even if you like the fragrance, the difficulty in obtaining a bottle can deter some. However, if you find yourself lusting after something amazing; something that can sit on your vanity long after the fragrance is gone; something that can be passed down to daughters (or sons) and grandchildren, then this is for you.
To purchase this scent, you must contact the Las Vegas Saks Fifth Avenue directly. The store is located at Fashion Show Mall, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd South, and the hours of operation are M-F 10 am to 9pm, Saturday 10am - 9pm, and Sunday 11am - 7pm. Saks operates within those hours. To order by phone contact Bond No. 9 NY Perfumista Tonya Williams at 1 + (702) 940-1366. Although I do not get any personal kickbacks from this referral, you may call the store line at 1 + (702) 733-8300 if you prefer. You will need to request a transfer to the Bond No. 9 counter.

So that's pretty much it - there isn't a lot of information about this scent available online, which is a damn shame. Or not, depending on how you look at it. Scarcity is a beautiful thing. If you're in Las Vegas and drop by the store, tell them I said hey. Pleasant journeys~

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Quick Update (Non-Personal)

Hi diddly-dee how are ya? I'm fine, I'm fine. I am getting a little break in the school work, so next week I will have a chance to put up some posts - they won't be my current format, though, just regular scent reviews. But I have a TON of scents to review, so I thought I'd put this out there and see if anyone wanted to weigh in. I have the following scents queued up for review:

Luxury/Limited
  • Guerlain L'Art et la Matière Tonka Impériale
  • Balenciaga Paris l'edition Mer 
  • Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue Las Vegas
Boutique/Niche
  • Bond No.9 New York Park Avenue South
  • Commodity Tea
  • Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia
Indie/Seasonal
  • DarlingClandestine Inked
  • Black Violet Ginger & Lace  
  • DarlingClandestine Monstre Delicat
  • Haus of Gloi Splendiferous
 So basically, if no one has any preference, I will probably review the Bond No.9 scents and the Black Violet next week, and leave the others to contend in the Face-Off when it returns in the second week of April (I have a wonderful competitor in mind for l'edition Mer). However, if there is anyone who might be considering any of these, especially the time-sensitive ones (the indie seasonal, or the LE scents) and want a review NAO, please let me know in the comments!

Pleasant journeys~

    

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Episode 33: The Life and Times (or, Well This is Random)

Hey all, a pretty short post for this past week. First some housekeeping stuff - I had midterms this week (March 9-13) and I will begin an intense mid-session class next week (starting March 16th) and THEN I will be out of town for Spring Break (starting March 30th) so I don't foresee having a Tuesday post in the near future. What does this mean for the Scent Notes series? I will either make it bi-weekly or even once monthly on Sundays instead. I will be continuing those posts because the interest me, even if they don't interest you.

I am also considering doing some video posts - There are some posts I'd like to make that feel bloated when written down, and I think would be more fun in a chit-chat type setting. Some of these are:
  1. My current fragrance rotation
  2. Specific brand collections
  3. How I display current rotation
  4. Home fragrance collection
Basically pretty much anything that involves my personal scent collection - I thought about doing pictures and writing it up but... ugh. So anyways, that is is my head for the future.

As for posting in the next couple of weeks - it is going to be really sporadic. I have two new fragrances I want to review for you. The only problem is that one is ultra limited and then other is VIB and VIB Rouge only (for the time being) at Sephora. I am going to review the first for sure, because I'd like to review a high-end scent so that you can get something of an idea of what happens to your money when you pay hundreds of dollars for a perfume.

For the second, I will double check the availability and see if it has been released to all shoppers on Sephora's website. I bought it a couple of weeks ago, so hey, it may already be fully released at the time of this writing. Just a head's up though, this will not be a Face-Off, just two reviews that will take the place of other posts in the week.

As always, I apologize for being so inconsistent, but that is pretty much my life. Pleasant journeys~



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Admin Announcement - Post Labels

Hey all just a quick heads up - I don't know how many readers take advantage of the label cloud below to find content, but starting today I will also be tagging individual brands and perfume houses, so that if you are looking for information on a particular scent, it will be easier to find.

I will also be slowly going through back posts and updating the tags to reflect this, but I am not making it a priority, so if you want to read older posts make sure you use the more general tags "product review" for starred reviews, "recommendations" for products and company recs, and "reviews" for recommendations that include mini-reviews of the products.

Other helpful tags are "perfume", "lotion", "body" and "candle" for those types of products, and if you are looking to shop "links" offers my preferred buying destination and "affiliate links" includes links where I get a commission if the product is purchased through that link.

Other tags are less specific and pretty self explanatory, but if you ever need help finding a back-post just leave your question in the comments and I'll get you headed in the right direction. Pleasant journeys~


Episode 32: Fragrance Face-Off, Prada Round 1 (or, Candy vs. Florale)

Sorry I am behind the times, whatever it's not even news. Today's Face-Off is a showdown between variations! The original Prada Candy versus Candy Florale. I chose these two because I never did do my scheduled review of Candy Florale, so why not do it this way? As a reminder, we'll have three categories and each scent will earn between 1 and 5 points in them. The final tally will be out of fifteen, and the winner will get my final recommendation for this week. No losers here, folks! If you think I am dead wrong, let me know in the comments, and since I am only basing on my preferences, read each category so you can see which scent would suit you better! On your marks...

Prada Candy vs. Prada Candy Florale

Composition: The original Candy is a grown up gourmand, a sweet you can wear to the office without getting laughs. The top is an accord of musk, with benzoin at the center and caramel at the base. It starts of strong, a nice musk tempered with the heart of benzoin, but by the dry down all I get is a murky chemical mess. Candy Florale, although part of the collection, pulls away from the gourmand. There isn't really anything sweet about this scent, despite its base notes of caramel, honey, benzoin and a hint of musk. Instead it is the type of powdery floral that I quite prefer. An accord of  limoncello sorbet at the top with a peony flower heart work together to give a very soft, modern feel to what could have been a quite bland composition. Both scents are created quite ingeniously and I have to give props to the nose behind them. She also put together one of my favorites from Guerlain, so it is no wonder I like these.
Candy: 3
Florale: 4
Longevity: Despite having only three notes, Candy manages to be one of those scents that, unfortunately, if you don't like it, you can't seem to get rid of it. A spritz on my pulse points in the morning will last me well into the afternoon - I'm estimating about five or six hours. Florale, by contrast, is a softer scent with the shorter lifespan to accompany it. I usually use an oil to prep my skin when I wear this scent, otherwise it has faded with an hour or two. Definitely not for the long haul.
Candy: 4
Florale: 2
Promo Image via Amazon

Wearability: Now here is where it comes down to preference and where things might get sticky (no pun intended). Because despite how much I like the initial burst of Prada Candy, I just can't get past how chemical-y it smells on the drydown. It smells like sticky old 80's hairspray (remember I mentioned the pun?), like AquaNet or something. BUT I also know that the powdery floral scent like offered in Florale can be a turn-off to some wearers. Although that is my preference, I've read tons of reviews of my faves that read "ew, smells like an old granny". I don't think Florale smells anything like my granny, but hey, who am I to know what perfumes other people's grannies wear? So I have to judge on my own preference alone. I think both are imminently wearable, but, well, I do have my tastes.
Candy: 3
Florale: 4
Promo image via Fragrantica
Final Tally: Prada Candy - 10/15. Prada Candy Florale - 10/15. This keeps happening, but I swear it isn't intentional. I honestly write these without comparing the scores, and let's be real, it is obvious Florale is my fave. Oh well, you guys want two final recommendations, you got it.
Prada Candy Rating: ♦♦♦ - As mentioned before, this is a perfume I strongly want to like, but find I can't. The intriguing "candy for adults" premise makes this worth a try if you enjoy a gourmand scent. It isn't the best of the best, in my opinion, but it does very nicely what it sets out to do. Buy it here.
Prada Candy Florale Rating: ♦♦♦ - This fragrance matches its sister in the "not the best of the best, but good enough" category, for sure. It has an interesting idea behind it, the merge of candy and flowers, but between the peony and limoncello I don't get that, and the sweet base is never in evidence on my skin. This is a lovely sorbet, but it isn't deeper than that. Buy it here.

So next week I am going to chose a scent that I hate and totally rig the outcome of the face-off, is that cool, Y/N? I am seriously interested how many times this will happen - I try to deliberately choose scents that I either 1. don't have a pre-existing bias between or 2. I feel have equal advantages and disadvantages between them, because if I wanted to deliberately skew the results I'd just review my faves and call it a day. But that's not really helpful now, is it?

Don't forget that if you have any scents, perfume houses, perfumers, et cetera (even body and home) you want to see in the Face-Off you can leave them in the comments as suggestions - or recommendations for a future review. My limited preferences only go so far, so outside of new releases, I'd love to know what you want to know about! Pleasant journeys~


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Updated Info and Where's Today's Post?

HiHi! No regularly scheduled post today - sorry 'bout that. Basically when I was doing my research for the note that I had chosen, I decided that it wasn't the best possible choice so I had to scrap it. I will try to get the post up by Thursday.

...... Haaaaa I just wrote all of that and then realized today is Wednesday. Okay, so all of the above still holds true, but the actual reason today's post is not yesterday's post is because I went to a NARS launch event and wasn't home until late evening (and a little tipsy to boot). Would anyone want me to blog about these kind of events? I go to fragrance and makeup shindigs usually every few months, and I'd love to write about them if anyone was interested.

Okay so given THAT information, the Scent Notes post may not be up until Saturday again. If this sort of thing keeps happening, I will tweak the schedule and try to improve it.

I did, however, update the About and Featured pages - go check them out! I am featuring Balenciaga right now, because I've been loving those scents. Maybe you'll find one to love, too? Pleasant journeys~


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Episode 31: Upgrading Your Scent (or, When Spears and Beiber Won't Cut It)

All righty, so I said today's post would be fun and different, and I am trying my best to make it such. My sense of humor is massively skewed to the dark side, so this post is supposed to be fairly light hearted, while still offering some advice. And if that title up there or any of the content offends you, feel free to let me know, either in the comments or by e-mailing admin@olfactory-exploits.com. I won't change anything, but I will listen to your complaint whole-heartedly. So on we go.

Upgrade Your Signature Scent - Tips and Tricks

Okay so I have a lovely friend - let's call her Susan. And Susan has been wearing Britney Spears Circus Fantasy since High School. Now, however, Susan has her first post-college job and she wants something a bit more suited to the workplace, so that if someone asks her scent she doesn't have to say "Britney Spears" or worse, lie as if she doesn't know. Susan still wants something in the same fragrance family, though, and she doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg. So let's take Susan shopping.
1. Find out what you like. A quick Google search reveals that the main notes of Circus Fantasy to be raspberry and apricot blossom at the top, blue peony, lotus and orchid at the heart and a base of vanilla, musk and something called "violet candy" which is not a note in and of its self, but rather an accord. Susan agrees that what she most likes is the sweetly floral, yet still fresh way it plays on her skin. Using an online fragrance encyclopedia such as fragrantica.com or basenotes.net really becomes helpful here because you can search for scents with similar notes. Susan decided to try Viva la Juicy and Vera Wang's Princess.
2. How much do you want to spend? Another quick internet search found Viva La Juicy (normally around $70 - if I remember correctly) at Kohl's online for $48.00. Ulta had the scent for $72.00. Ulta also had Princess for $68.00. Because Susan didn't want to buy blind, she decided the higher price point was worth being able to test the scents first, so she decided to make a trip to Ulta. 
3. Do what feels right. Susan got to the store and when it became clear she was planning on buying a fragrance, sales girls quickly began spraying one after the other on sample cards. As Susan recalls, it was almost impossible for her to try the scents she had came for. Although Susan chose to stick to her guns, if you smell something you fall in love with, never ever feel like you have to buy any one particular scent. Have fun, experiment, and buy what you fall in love with! On the other hand, don't let pushy associates force you into a sale, especially if the price point is higher than you feel comfortable with.
4. You're not committed, until you're committed. This is perfume, not a marriage. Sure, you're not going to be able to return a bespoke scent from a luxury house, but why would you? Ulta, Sephora, Macy's, Nordstroms - all of those stores have return policies designed to help keep customers happy, and that means if you end you hating your scent after one or two wears, or your partner is allergic, or whatever - you can take it back. Never feel like once you've bought it, your stuck with it. Susan ended up choosing Princess and she loves it - more than her Circus Fantasy. In her words, "I finally feel like an adult". So congratulations, ladies and gents. You've graduated into adulthood.

This makes it seem like I really hate those celebrity fragrances... which is true, but I don't hate it when people wear them. I just think that sometimes branching out can be a little intimidating. However you may feel, I'd love to hear it - leave your comments below and pleasant journeys~

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Episode 30: Neroli in Perfume (or, What's in a Name?)

Holy wow. this was not expected okay. So obvi no Saturday post, but this late post will not take the place of the Sunday post, which will come later. What a mouthful. I chose Neroli for today's scent note because it is something I bet a lot of you didn't even know you liked!

Citrus aurantium

Neroli is the name for the flowering bud of the Citrus aurantium subspecies Amara and Bigardia, otherwise known as the bitter orange tree. Yes, it's true - Neroli is another name for a type of orange blossom. But it is fairly specific to those subspecies because the oil from these varieties does have different smell than some other variations (think bergamot). Neroli oil is extracted from the flower its self, and it can take over 1000 blossoms to make 1 pound of the oil. It has a pale yellow color and is slightly watery. Neroli oil is prized for its many therapeutic abilities as well as its symbolism of purity. Neroli is also one of the ingredients of the original Eau de Cologne.
©iStockphoto.com/Harald Richter
Neroli is a very unisex floral fragrance, sweet but with a slight metallic tang, that makes it ideal for use in both perfume and colognes. It is floral, yet crisp, and works well with many other scent notes. It can often be found in citrus blends, many florals, and many chypre scents. Neroli tends to be a top note, but because of its versatility, it can often be found in the heart of scents, especially the lighter colognes. Some well known fragrances that include Neroli are Versace Pour Homme, Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio and Prada Infusion d'Iris. As a point of interest, neroli oil is routinely used in the making of mass-market cola, and is believed to be a key ingredient in the the famously secret Coca-Cola recipe. (Information via Wikipedia and Essentialoils.co.za)

Wikipedia.com
I personally, try to avoid the traditionally citrus scents. Bergamot is my main exception to that, but I can also wear Neroli and Orange Blossom. Neroli on my is a very crisp floral, almost herbaceous as opposed to citrine. Of my scents that contain Neroli, like Dior Addict EDT, I would usually reserve those for late spring and summer - they are invigorating scents, not entirely "fresh" but not heavy florals, either. However I do find that scents advertised with notes of "neroli" are much lighter and crisper than those with "orange blossom". Orange blossom is a very heady floral, perfect for hot summer nights. Neroli, on the other hand is for a day at the beach, or having fun at the park. Granted, this isn't the case with all scents (Chanel No. 5 supposedly contains Neroli, and this isn't my typical walk in the park scent, ya feel?) but I think many of these fresh citrus oils give off that playful and energetic feeling.

Sorry this was late y'all but you know how I am. I will have Sunday's post later, and I will give you a hint... it is something fun, something light. Perfect or winding down your weekend. Until then, pleasant journeys~