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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's a Sniffathon! Part 2 - Ellie D, L'Artisan, Montale & More

Part 2 of my gigantic Sniffathon.

Ellie by Ellie D, “a perfume infused with nostalgia with youthful and modern sensibility.” Quite frankly, I mostly get very modern politically correct blandness rather than any sort of distinctive individuality that would make the scent an homage to the striking perfumes of the past…Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely fragrance, a gentle green floral, with lily of the valley and jasmine being the most prominent notes, and with a pleasant woody and slightly sweet base of sandalwood, vanilla and coconut…wonderfully well blended (by Michel Roudnitska, no less), very elegant, very ladylike, a white gloves and a white hat kind of scent, and that certainly makes it a little bit of a standout among the fruity-gourmand tackiness of most new releases. But still, it is just too discreet, too shy, too understated, especially considering the hefty price of $180.00 for 1/2oz. When I am in the mood for a ladylike green floral, I will turn to scents with more oomph and personality, namely Roudnitska’s very own Debut or his father’s Diorissimo.

Bill Blass Eau de Parfum. First, why I like the new Bill Blass perfume. I like it for the things it is Not. It is not a fruity-floral. It is not pink, not cloyingly sweet, not gourmand. In our day and age it seems almost shocking that a company would dare to release a sophisticated, heady green floral, with such unfashionable notes as hyacinth and lily of the valley. Bill Blass is a vision of an opulent bouquet of white flowers and of a woman in a shimmering, body-skimming silk Blass dress carrying this bouquet. It is classy and it does not smell like it was made with Barbiesque teenagers in mind. And now why I don’t like Bill Blass Eau de Parfum … It smells rather harsh, so chemically-strong that I can actually taste, not just smell it. It lacks finesse and subtlety and it bothers me when I wear it for long stretches of time. Still, kudos to Bill Blass for their classic ambitions and quite successful attempts at olfactory sophistication. $65.00 for 1.3oz at Saks

Lovely Prism by Givenchy. By contrast with the refined Bill Blass, Givenchy’s new release is anything but refined. Fruity-floral scent by numbers, it smells of…oh, I don’t know … Sweet Red Fruits and Sparkly Pink Flowers. It is not horrible, not at all, but it is yawn-inducingly boring and probably too young even for 13 year-olds. Givenchy, they of L’Interdit, Le De, Givenchy III and even Amarige and Organza, should be ashamed of themselves for releasing such unbelievably generic, dull fragrances. $39.48 for 1.7oz at

Oud Safran by Montale. I have never heard of this fragrance, I cannot find it on Montale’s unhelpful website, but I am sure that the wondrously prolific line has many scents we might have not even heard about (yet). The problem is that, to me, most of their ouds smell more or less alike. There are just too many of them; I am becoming unable to distinguish one Montale Oud from another. It is hard to believe that such exciting genre as oud might possibly be boring, but, to me, in Montale’s incessant rendition, it is beginning to feel dull and repetitive. And so Oud Safran…it smells of…well, oud, the dark, smoky, woody accord that always makes me think of extremely over-brewed, extremely black tea. The oud is strong and basically overwhelms everything else. If I try really hard, I can sort of intuit rather than smell saffron and something a little earthy, perhaps patch…but really, this is all about oud, oud, oud. I am bored. I will pass.

Jatamansi Huile pour le Corps by L’Artisan. This is Body Oil, and as such is probably not fully representative of what the Eau de Toilette will smell like, but what I can smell makes me hopeful and eager to try the Real Thing. The oil smells herbal, but not sharp or pungent, it is an understated and pleasantly “warm”, “rounded” scent. I do not know what jatamansi is supposed to smell like, what I smell is a cross between thyme, sage and perhaps even cardamom. Very wearable, very likeable, and in Eau de Toilette, probably absolutely perfect for summer. The oil blends into the skin quickly and does not leave a sticky residue, which is great. Still, I’d much rather wait for the Eau. L’Huile pour le Corps costs €60.00 for 250ml and is available at L’Artisan Parfumeur boutique online.

Le Bain Secrete Afrique by Esteban. This piquant little number starts with a mouthwatering citrus accord, slowly acquires soft, warm spiciness of ginger and eventually dries down to a slightly earthy, dry, woody base. Simple and tasteful, but perhaps a little too citrusy-sweet for me. I couldn’t find Le Bain Secrete Afrique at the online stores that carry Esteban line, so perhaps it isn’t available in the US just yet.

Cult of Helios by Voluspa. This fragrance is everything I used to love about heliotrope and everything that now makes me slightly nauseous. I am not sure I can do this scent justice, simply because I Can Not Stand Heliotrope In Big Doses, Arrgh! …but …trying to be objective here…for those who love the sweet, slightly almondy, doughy powderiness of heliotrope, enriched by vanilla, for those who prefer their florals to have a subtle gourmand quality and don’t mind a hefty dose of musk, Cult Of Helios might be a must-try. $24.00 for 15.5ml at Sorry, have to run and wash it off now, see you tomorrow for the final installment of The Sniffathon.


Blogger tmp00 said...

Is it selfish of me to love these reviews? I can read these and mentally tick off:

Don't need this....

Don't need this....

Don't need this....

Don't need this....

Don't need this....

Don't need this....

Don't need this....

and I feel like I've saved hundreds! Which of course means that I can totally buy that bottle of Reverie au jardin!

10:40 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I loved writing them too. Felt very smug and kept patting myself on the head for not wanting to buy a single one of them.
But you just wait. Tom Ford will be reigning over PST next week...lemmings aplenty.
*evil cackle*

10:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this little reviews. If I happen upon the website and you're reviewing something I already own or have tried, its still lovely to read your wonderful reviews, but a little depressing b/c some of the excitement is gone. But these mini reviews are like paydirt!! Thank you and you've managed to cram a lot of infor about each one into a sizeable paragraph, kudos on that!!


10:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! :-) So you enjoy the review more when they are talking about scents you haven't tried yet? Interesting. I've never thought about this. On the one hand, I love to compare notes, so to say, with other reviewers. On the other hand, like you, I find the reviews of the scents yet unknown to me to be very exciting. Interesting. :-)

11:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, when can we expect your review of Reverie? Hmmm?

11:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

*whispers* On Thursday. :-)

11:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Hah! Thanks for the heads-up.

11:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Will we be having a pleasure of reading more of your reviews? No pressure! No pressure! :-)

11:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Of course! I am working on something as we speak (type?). Living in Mexico means that I must learn to wait and wait and wait some more. I got a huge package of samples from Tom and one from Chaya Ruchama (Ida). I now have lots to work with. I also totally went off my "no-buy" rule.

12:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Gaia said...

The Givenchy smells and looks like it could be the new Eau de Tart from Lindsay Lohan.

On an even sadder note, I have yet to find a Montale that likes my skin.

12:27 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Like Tom, I feel positively bathed in virtuousness this morning as I happily am able to dismiss all but a couple of these (Ellie and maybe Jatamansi). But am trying to ignore your comment on the Fords. Trying very hard.

7:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

*covers Ellie's little shy ears*

I'm feeling virtuous too, I think I'll go snag a bottle of something in celebration! :)

Yeah, the new Toms have me all in a lather as I keep going through and finding another that I love. Enough lemmings to go around there, to be sure.

8:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, Yes I think for me I actually use your reviews to hype up or bump down my wish list. If you rave, then I must seek it out...if you dont rave, then if I happen upon it, then so be it.

But I do like to compare, re-evaluate the ones I'm familiar with.

Most of all though, I just enjoy the day's post!!



8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I think I liked Ellie better than you--enough to get a small decant of it, anyway. For some reason, Debut never worked for me. Diorissimo (esp. vintage perfume) is incomparable. The rest of the sniffa, well,. . . .

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hurray! Can't wait! (What did you buy when you went off your no-buy? :-))

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The non-blonde,
I agree with both of your statements :-)

8:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You can run, but you can't hide, the Fords are coming, and they getting better the more I smell them...:-P

8:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

"I'm feeling virtuous too, I think I'll go snag a bottle of something in celebration!" Now, where is the logic here, tell me, where? :-) As my dad would say, Voooman! :-D

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Mark! There are some bloggers-enablers who constantly move things up and down my wishlist :-)

8:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

From the rest of the sniffa I have the biggest hopes for the actual Jatamansi EDT. Even the oil smelled nice. I think the EDT is going to be lovely.

9:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My, you've been busy. none of these excite me, though the Ellie number is VEWWY VEWWY pretty. It's the only one of the bunch I can sniff. Like you, the Montales belong to the wall of oud category - I can't get anything else from them as my nose is fatigued by that blare...

Just so as you know, today's code is plsfukng. A polite request?

9:38 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of them all, the L'Arstisan is the one I am most excited about and the one that sounds most promising. But like you said though, I would rather try it in the eau form. So I'll wait it out.

Great reviews. :)


10:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aw, poor pathetic It is so desperate, it has to resort to making indecent proposals through verification letters :-))))

10:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!

And I am looking forward to this one too. L'Artisan rarely disappoints me.

10:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

M. I bought Bois Blond, Querelle, Sables, and Chergui. (hangs head in shame...) Of course, I like to think that I can justify all of these purchases.

10:55 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful mini-reviews, M. I don't think I need any of them, thank god. I have a sample of Bill Blass, so I will give it a go, but I doubt I will fall in love. Whatcha reviewing tomorrow? :-)

11:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh congratulations, what wonderful purchases!! Fantastic!

12:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Gosh, I can't remember what's tomorrow...I believe there are a couple of Profumums there.

12:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I didn't even know of Oud Safran. I think Montale should just stop making all these numerous ouds. We get the point! They're all so much alike! As for Ellie D, I agree with you that it's understated but I still love it dearly. I've tried the Jatamansi body mist, and I must say for a skin scent it has quite a bit of development! Can't wait for it to be released.

12:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree. Montale- enough is enough. Surpise us with something else. A floral maybe. They can do florals, just look at Jasmin Full.

12:31 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Want Jatamansi! Too bad on the Ellie D, had great hopes.

12:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Have you tried Ellie? I am going to check if you have a review, what's wrong with my memory! It would surprise me if you didn't like Ellie, my EFT. :-)

2:17 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Nope -- just got some Ellie D, haven't even smelled it yet :-)

4:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Waiting for your review!

4:16 PM EDT  

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