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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Twosome for Autumn: Short Reviews of Bvlgari’s Jasmin Noir and Estee Lauder’s Sensuous

By Marla

It’s hard to imagine lonely strolls through autumnal forests in the 100-degree plus humidity of Florida, whilst fanning myself furiously under the coconut palms. But autumn is only a few months away and a glorious time it is. So I was very pleased to find not one, but two new autumnal perfumes, thanks to the charming Wendy at my local Nordie’s, who first had to listen to my 100 winges about ubiquitous fruity florals. One of these newbies may even find a space on my overcrowded perfume shelf next to Feminite du Bois and Theorema. They are Bvlgari’s Jasmin Noir and Estee Lauder’s Sensuous.

I must disclose I do not “get” Estee Lauder. After reading Luca Turin’s book, I tried, I really did. But I couldn’t find one that seemed to suit me. Sensuous is a different story and, along with Bronze Goddess (also scrumptious), they seem like outliers in the EL line. Sensuous has many notes but the ones I picked out immediately are honey, mandarin, black pepper, woods, and amber. Though lily, magnolia, and jasmine are listed, they are barely present. There’s also some spice in the mix, something like a tiny smidge of cinnamon, though it’s not listed. It’s not at all gourmand but it’s pure comfort. Sillage is minimal but the lasting power is impressive. I found the overall impression more cuddly than sensuous, but then, in these stressful times, cuddly is often very sensuous, so I suppose the name fits.

Bvlgari’s Jasmin Noir is very similar in the emphasis on warm woods and very soft florals. The notes are green sap (couldn’t smell it), gardenia and sambac jasmine (caught a whiff in the head notes), almond (strong), woods, tonka (also strong) and licorice (subtle). Another skin scent like Sensuous, this one has good longevity also, but the pepper/cinnamon is absent; and though not sweet, I’d say it borders on the gourmand. It's one of those "I can't stop sniffing my arm!" scents.

So in conclusion, I’m pleased to report that there is hope for 2008 after all. Sensuous has recently appeared everywhere, and Jasmin Noir is slowly arriving at the big department stores. They’re both worth a test stroll.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to try Jasmin Noir, but Sensuous leaves me cold. My body chemistry is weird, but after all those comments on molten woods, I thought it would be . . .woody. And it's not. It has a sharp, unpleasant magnolia rush on me, followed by musk that lingers and blooms and (horrors!) it's a scrubber on me. [Hangs head in shame.] I had great hopes. -Q

12:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Sensuous is one of the fragrances that I too had great hopes for but alas on me it smells just awful, like some cheap drugstore perfume from the 70's. I will try the Jasmin Noir though, it sounds lovely! Green sap, gardenia and almond.......What's not to love! Thanks Marla for the great review!

1:05 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard similar comments about Sensuous from a number of people now. I'm wondering if because I sprayed it on my clothes (having been attacked by baby jellyfish at the beach, so no arm space), that made the difference in my impressions. It's definitely not "molten woods" but I found it a very gentle, warm scent. I'll have to try it on skin now!

1:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Very perceptive review, Marla!

I can't get past my dislike of most Lauder scents, but I will probably at least try Sensuous in case it is as good as the Bronze Goddess, which is so anomalous in the line it seems to be unrelated.

I REALLY want to try the Jasmin Noir from your description! It seems to be a bit of a departure from other Bulgari scents which always seem either austere or ethereal to me, or both. I love me some good strong tonka to go with my white florals!

1:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love a bottle of Jasmin Noir. When the chap in Selfridges wanted me to try it I was reluctant, because crazy as it sounds I don't like jasmine-heavy scents, but this was such a lovely surprise: it is somehow a warm, dark jasmine, well-suited to the chic black bottle. Sensuous seems to want to be all things to all people, judging from the notes - a woody ambery floral gourmand! But I will sample, because anything cuddlesome is WHOLLY welcome here in England. We have literally had about 5 summer-y days, amidst rain and cold. Enjoy the heat while it lasts! - Emma x

4:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Ines said...

Both sound great and I can't wait to try them.
And I have to say, thank god that someone else dislikes Estee L. fragrances (except Bronze goddess which I love) beacuse I stopped trying to smell them and think I'm missing sth because they get stuck in my nose (in a really bad way) and stay there for hours. (shudders)

5:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was excited about Sensuous because it's a dept store number that reads like it's made for me. Sorry to say it left me cold. On me it was sort of nondescript with an edge of harsh, no honeyed molten woods, nothing warm or comfy at all.
I have a slightly better success rate with Bulgari than EL (I don't hate Black. That's the best I can say) so I do have hope for Jasmin Noir. Jasmine, almond, tonka, woods ... Line me up to try that that, thanks. Hoping that green sap bit bypasses me though ...

7:59 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Jasmin Noir sounds wonderful! Must try. I didn't dislike Sensuous, but I think I must be anosmic to some notes in it since I found it to be amazingly light - transparent almost to the point of nonexistence on my skin.

9:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Light seems to be endemic among perfume releases this year. They are almost ghostly pale, and flit away in less than an hour...I've been wondering if it's because of increases in complaints about perfume in public, attempts to criminalize the wearing of perfume, etc.. Could the corporations' legal departments be behind this "lightening" of scents?? -Marla

10:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see your review...I also vastly disagreed with Perfume the Guide's overly sympathetic views of EL's line - putting Beyond Paradise (plastic room spray) in the same category as the magnificent Mitsouko was a real puzzler to me. To each his own....

I tried Sensuous and it didn't do it for me, even though it wasn't that bad. If I had to pick, I'd rather go for an oldie like Azuree... I'm glad to hear your review of Jasmin Noir, because I've been really searching for a warm new scent that can be between end of summer and crispy fall...I'll make sure to try it.

10:28 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'm always up for one of those "Can't stop sniffing my arm" frags..

11:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Recommended Retailers said...

call me

5:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I smelled the Jasmin Noir this Saturday at Nordie's and it smells a lot like the Tom Ford's Black Orchid, but I think even more subtle.

5:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Black Orchid overwhelms me, but this is much more subtle.

12:29 AM EDT  

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