Sampling New Releases. Part 2.
Day two of speed-reviewing….
Esteban Sensuelle Russie. The first thing that strikes one about Sensuelle Russie is that it is a dead ringer for Ambre Narguile. Pale, diluted, not nearly as intense, robust and thus not nearly as interesting but still Ambre Narguile. Ambre Narguile Lite or Diet. The similarity is as obvious as that of, say, Wish to Angel or Bois et Fruits to Feminite du Bois, although far it be from me to imply that Sensuelle Russie is as beautiful as Bois et Fruits…To make your own Sensuelle Russie, take 1/3 of Ambre Narguile, 2/3 of water and mix in some cardamom. I suppose it was only to be expected that Ambre Narguile wannabe scents will start getting launched, in fact I am surprised it has not happened sooner, considering the striking originality, beauty and popularity of Narguile. Still, it makes me sad somehow. On a more positive note, Sensuelle Russie will certainly be a cheaper substitute for the very expensive Hermes scent when and if it is finally launched in the States.
Reminiscence Jammin. When you borrow from one source, it’s plagiarism, when you borrow from several, it is research, they say... Whereas Sensuelle Russie was heavily “inspired” by one particular scent, Jammin seemingly pays homage to several. It starts with an Angelesque bang, with an accord that makes me think of sugared patchouli or patchouli sugar (a la vanilla sugar) sprinkled with grapefruit and blackcurrant juice. Slowly, almost imperceptibly the scent begins to transform, the cardamom note creeps in, with tonka bean and woods tiptoeing right behind it, and before you know, instead of Angel it is Chinatown you are suddenly smelling. From the middle stage forward Jammin has the same lacquered Chinese box smell as the Bond No 9 creation, although Jammin is woodier, drier, and has a very noticeable pine note. It is actually quite interesting. I don’t know whether I would want to buy it, if it ever becomes available in the States, but it is a bright, slightly bizarre little scent that is certainly worth a sniff.
Givenchy Ange ou Demon. Jammin was sugared patchouli, Ange ou Demon is candied oak. Sounds a little odd but not altogether unpleasant, right? It could have been quite lovely were it not for the presence of a lily note of gigantic proportions. Lilies and I are not usually friendly, and given the fact that there was also lots and lots of sweet, powdery ylang ylang and a huge dollop of vanilla…well, I did not enjoy Ange ou Demon at all.
Perles de Lalique. As it is always the case with Lalique, the bottle is simply stunning. As it is always the case with Lalique, the scent is beautiful and, for the lack of better word, expensive-smelling. As is it often the case with Lalique, the scent is not strikingly unique, but rather plays it safe. Still, it is a beauty, and the lovers of rose notes in perfume should take notice of this one. It starts with a gorgeous, lively, lush rose, which has some darkness and yet some sparkle too. It reminded me of Une Folie de Rose and La Rose de Rosine as well as of Lancôme’s Mille et Une Rose, all at the same time. What I would have loved, is for Perles to have a more intense woody note, an even stronger chypre vibe. I also would have preferred if it did not have quite as much patchouli in the drydown, which, on my skin, was practically patchouli only, with maybe just a hint of vetiver somewhere in the background. But that’s just me and my issues. I strongly believe that many people will love the beautiful Perles de Lalique.
Sensuelle Russie and Jammin are not available in the US yet and seem to be impossible to order from abroad. Ange ou Demon is available at Nordstrom, Perles de Lalique at escentual.co.uk.
Tomorrow, please tune in for the first day of our two-day CB I Hate Perfume special. Tom will be talking about At The Beach 1966, Winter 1972 and Memory of Kindness, and on Friday I will post about Black March, Burning Leaves and Tea/Rose.