Beauty Without Fuss

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Project Perfume - First update featuring Chanel, Guerlain and Thierry Mugler

So, the first month of Project Perfume has gone stonkingly well, I've sniffed around 20 new perfumes, swapped out some old perfumes (and, some newer ones I didn't like), and sat with Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne for a "perfume portrait".  Plus, I've discovered some new perfumes I absolutely adore.  Here are the highlights of my month.

On my Project Perfume page, you can see all the perfumes that I've crossed off the list - I'm not going to list them all here, but the ones that I've found in January were largely ones that were very easy for me to track down, I seem to be saving all the difficult ones for further down the line, possibly a little bit foolhardy, but I'm not really one for making life easy for myself, it seems.  I will be reviewing a couple further down the page though.

I also attended the Scratch + Sniff event: "A Perfumed Journey Around the World" with My Perfume Life and Persolaise  (both of whom are massive inspirations on this project) where we were guided on a journey through Morocco, 1980's Moscow, Bengal, Java, The Alps and Kyoto by James Craven of the infamous perfume store Les Senteurs.  This was a huge amount of fun, and I got some great feedback from other perfume enthusiasts of my live-tweeting of the event.  There were some scents I liked (heavy, spicy smoky ones), some I wasn't bothered about (marine ones), one I loved (by Andy Tauer), and one I didn't like at all (a fruity floral, who knew?), all in all a great evening, and well worth £12.50 of anyone's money, I'll definitely be going back.

So, the scents I've picked out to talk about this month are:

A*Men by Thierry Mugler
Chanel No19 by Chanel, and,
Vetiver by Guerlain

A*Men - Thierry Mugler

 Perfumes The A-Z Guide gives this four stars, and describes it as a "chocolate mint" scent.

An extract: "... one hand a herbaceous lavender-mint chord brightened by aldehydes.  ... reinforces the roasted section with caramel, coffee and tar ... simultaneously poisonous and delicious eat-me-and-die feel as the original.  Hard to imagine on a guy, but a great feminine"

Now, I hate the original version of Angel, it's choking, too sweet, too cloying, too floral, too ... everything.  It's a vision of hell dipped in sugar and sold to unsuspecting 20-somethings who think everything sweet (and strong) is good.  So, I was prepared to hate this, but the description of "chocolate mint" had me thinking that it might be worth a try.  I mentioned already that I go a little bit crazy for mint smells (however cheap and soapy), so I got my hands on a sample.

And, there's no mint in it.  Not a bit.  Chocolate, caramel, and sugar galore, oh yes, but no mint.  And I don't mind.  This is possibly because I don't have to imagine it on a male, MrLippie has been wearing it non-stop since it turned up.  It makes him smell deliciously edible, and it's a wonderful change from all the "clean" scents he's been favouring lately.  Yes, it's loud.  Yes, it smells incredibly odd for the first five minutes after spraying (that'll be the tar, with a slight hint of burnt rubber), but for the rest of the day, you'll smell like a sexy Caramac.

Man, that looks so stupid now I've written it down. It's rather true though.  Lippie rating: Weird (but gooooood)

Anyway, onto:

Chanel No 19

As diametrically opposed to A*Men as it is possible to be, I'm still finding it hard to believe that I'd never smelled this before until now.  Perfumes categorises this as a four star "green floral"

An extract: " ... from the silvery hiss of it's nail-polish-remover beginnings to its poisonously beautiful green-floral heart ... For a fragrance with so many springtime references, all white blossoms and leafy greenery, No19 never lands you in any Sound of Music meadows"

Cold, austere, bitter, but undeniably beautiful, this is a fragrance I can wear whenever I'm pretending to be an elegant businesswoman in control of my destiny, instead of the lightly hassled, frazzled, and dumpy, frumpy, lumpy accountant I actually am.  There's nothing warm or sweet about this fragrance, and it's all the better for it.  It's a spritz of pure confidence in a bottle, and I've taken to wearing it to board meetings.  Yes, I do attend board meetings, something that astonishes me upon occasions too.  It's dry, but less obviously "perfumey" than Chanel No5, and I don't smell many flowers in the perfume until it's almost worn off.  I love it.  For me this falls into the Very Nice category, but for MrLippie, it's merely in the Nice/Soapy area, there aren't enough soft edges for him.  It's a perfume to wear to please yourself, and go hang anyone who doesn't like it.

Vetiver by Guerlain

I hadn't really smelled all that much vetiver till just before Christmas, but this was a beautiful addition to my perfume collection.

Luca Turin names this as the "reference vetiver" and gives it four stars in the book.  His write up is rather dismissive of the current formulation, however, this fragrance is talked about in the context of so many other perfumes in the book, that I felt that my perfume "education" would be incomplete without smelling it.

And I'm very glad I did, it's a perfect "sparkling" green scent, not too sweet, not too citrus, and not too smoky.  Vetiver is a grass, with - on my skin - hints of grapefruit, and for me, this is a perfect every day scent, I get hints of pepper, possibly a bit of clove, but the spice never dominates.  It's clean, it's fresh, but it's never soapy, it's wonderful.  I'm currently trying to convince MrLippie to try it (it's classified as a masculine, but I think it's perfectly, wonderfully unisex), but I'm still having trouble tearing him away from A*Men ...  

This is a massive post, so I think I'll save writing about my meeting with the lovely and amazing Linda Pilkington till later in the week!

This post originated at: All rights reserved.


  1. First of all, thanks very much for the link.

    I'm glad you liked Vetiver; it's easily one of my favourites. I see Chanel's Sycomore has been crossed off your list. What did you make of it in relation to the Guerlain?

  2. I like how you have described these. Whilst I find LT extremely entertaining it rarely helps me in deciding whether I will like a perfume or not other than reading his reviews and those of this partner and thinking "here are 2people writing with intelligence about perfume and making me laugh ergo I will like that perfume" which is often not the case. Thankyou for at least giving a nod to what a fragrance smells of. Looking forward to the rest of your reviews very much. Jan x

  3. I really enjoy the way you and Mr. Lippie are discovering the world of fragrances. I am waiting for your next smelly :) post !

  4. Wow, thanks for the link to Scratch+Sniff. I'll definitely be adding at least one of their events to my diary.

    Did you smell Ormonde Man? It's a bit more easygoing than Zizan and could easily be a unisex (in my opinion anyway). It might be another good one for you.


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