Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Yosh Ginger Ciao 2.27 EDP

There are few things I love more than a cool, crisp fall day. When the blustery cold winter rolls around, I commit to never complain if the thick, humid air of summer promises to come traipsing 'round again...but I do. If it weren't for my passionate love affair with tropical fragrance, I'd consider becoming a nomad, traveling the earth seeking the ensuing autumns. Alas, I am not a nomad, and I haven't been able to end my summertime dalliance with tropically lush potions. Add Yosh Ginger Ciao to the ranks, but make no mistake, she's not your average gal.


black coconut, night queen, tiger lily, neroli, ylang ylang, ginger, basil

"Ginger Ciao is the bewitching heroine of a major modern novella: charismatic, daring, and scintillating. Arabian sandalwood, ylang ylang, and black coconut offer the undeniable allure of faraway lands - but touches of kenya lily, basil, and ginger hint that our charming heroine also has an audaciously intelligent alter ego. This fragrance has more than enough seductions to go around, but you'll probably want to keep it all to yourself."

Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. There isn't a single thing about this juice that I don't adore. Relentlessly sexy. Bewitching. Yosh's own description so perfectly encapsulates Ginger Ciao that following it up seems daunting. This isn't your run of the mill, coconut hut perfume. Freshly applied, basil leaves and ginger shavings are spritzed with citrus, and rested atop a bed of coconut which is at once cheeky and shy. I appreciate the unique and fresh aspect that the basil and ginger bring to this mesmerizingly creamy potion; herbal, fresh, spicy, and ever-so-slightly bitter. Before I'm fully submerged in the intoxicating opening, Ginger Ciao evolves, taking on a sweet (but not sugary), balmy, and vanillic persona, which can only be credited to the beautifully waxy floral trio.

This is not a scent reminiscent of unabashed sunscreen (a la Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, Maison Martin Margiela Beach Walk, or Bobbi Brown Beach), but closer, rather, to the scent of warm, salty, sunscreen-remnant skin after a day spent lounging oceanside with a lover who has missed no opportunity for a sexy make-out session. Don't let this description fool you into thinking that its wear is appropriate only for luxurious vacations by the sea, Ginger Ciao is as versatile as the woman that Yosh describes. And certainly oozes with seduction.

Left to cook on the skin for a few hours, the herb and spice slip quietly into the shadows, leaving Ginger Ciao dominated by the creamy vanillic quality of night queen, with a smattering of coconut. Ms. Han can't be held responsible for the forceful nuzzling of ones neck that is sure to occur should you choose to indulge in a generous helping of Ginger Ciao. If only I hadn't a persistent need to spread the joy of scent, I'd certainly keep this one a secret all for myself.

Ginger Ciao EDP is a 50ml and retails for $110, it was created by Yosh Han

Longevity: 3/5
Projection: 3/5

WEAR THIS: late spring, summer, early fall, day, night, a sexy date, waterfront drinks, anytime you need an edge of seduction

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: Diptyque Tam Dao EDP

When I purchased Tam Dao, I went with a safe 12ml, knowing how finicky I have been with woodsy notes. If a fragrance veers too woody, I tend to reject it immediately. However, I've really enjoyed scoping out sandalwood based fragrances; I love the sweeter aspect that comes with sandalwood. It doesn't feel so dry and serious. I felt I needed to experience Tam Dao. I'd love to find this lovely, subtle, slightly urbane woody scent that feels like a modern, minimalistic, yet slightly rustic space; basically all the home inspiration pins that I pin on Pinterest. Like a beautiful, clean, white kitchen, with an abundance of natural light, and beautiful real-wood floors. With my very first test of Tam Dao, my reaction was akin to a pissed off cat; hissing and recoiling. However, as it dried down, it became closer to that pretty, modern, rustic space; I curl up and purr.

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lime, coriander, ginger, sandalwood, cedarwood, musc, vanilla, and amber wood

"Memories of Asia. In the depths of the jungle, the ancient trees intertwine. The magnificence of precious Goa Sandalwood and the brittle dryness of Cedar, blended with the sparkle of exotic spices and the warmth of amber."

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The opening of Tam Dao EDP is a spiced wood, with a slight sweet lime. Katie Puckrik likens Tam Dao to sticking your head in a cedar chest. Actually, after my initial few testings, I've grown to really enjoy the heavier woody opening. I'm impressed and surprised, because typically I won't evolve my opinion too much from what it was at the first test. I don't like to feel as though I'm trying to convince myself to like something, and I've learned that when I have tried to do this, it doesn't work. In the end, my initial dislike usually prevails. 

As Tam Dao dries, I start to enjoy it even more. The spiced wood fades into the background, and a vanillic amber comes out to play. I appreciate that the spiced, dry wood sticks around like a hovering mother, because it keeps the sweet amber-vanilla from becoming sticky or heavy. I spent a great portion of my teens being known for smelling like a vanilla cupcake. I love vanilla, and I still appreciate it (almost as much as I did at 14) small doses. I've found that if a fragrance has a composition with a too-heavy dose of vanilla, my skin will pull it out like a priest performing an exorcism, and I have no desire to smell like Body Fantasies Vanilla Fantasy at age 28. Tam Dao doesn't do that, it somehow keeps a nice balance. 

Overall I really like Tam Dao, it has a clean, modern, milky, woody vibe. Its biggest downfall is that you'll likely have to top up quite frequently in order to enjoy it throughout your whole day. I'm not a huge stickler for pissing on a fragrance with short longevity, simply because my skin tends to eat perfume for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, I've grown accustom to having to reapply almost anything I own somewhat frequently. Also, I have not tried the EDT, so I'm unsure of how similar they are.

Tam Dao EDP retails for $140 for a 75ml, the nose behind this fragrance is Daniel Moliere

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 2/5

WEAR THIS: year round (maybe not when it's humid though), outdoor activities, cozied at home, cuddling with your love, low-key hangs with friends

Monday, July 20, 2015

Overview: Fragrance Sample Subscriptions

Hi, hi! Maybe you perfume-lovers find yourself wondering which sampler subscription to go with. Here's a quick overview of a few subscriptions that you may be interested in. I have recently subscribed to a few of these, but this post will be informational only (void of my personal opinion), as a way to help you compare and contrast.

  • USA based
  • Provides 3 niche samples each month and a description card
  • Samples are 2.25ml (15-20 wearings worth)
  • Choose your subscription length (month-to-month, 3 month, 6 month, 12 month)
  • $18/month with a month-to-month subscription (goes down by a dollar for each subscription length bracket)
  • You will receive an $18 credit each month toward a full bottle of perfume
Check out Olfactif

  • USA based
  • Provides one travel size designer fragrance each month (some niche offerings are available)
  • You choose the scents you want to receive each month by creating a changeable queue
  • Travel size is 8ml (approximately a 30-day supply)
  • Choose your subscription length (month-to-month, 3 month, 6 month, 12 month)
  • $15/month with a month-to-month subscription (goes down by 50 cents for each subscription length bracket)
Check out Scentbird

Scent Trunk
  • Canada based
  • Provides 3 niche fragrance samples, with description cards, and scent strips
  • Samples come from the manufacturer of the brand, therefore sizes will vary (1.5ml-3ml)
  • Month-to-month subscription
  • $18/month
Check out Scent Trunk

Indie Scents
  • Canada based
  • Provides 3 indie fragrances (reviewers say they often receive more than 3)
  • Samples are 2ml
  • Month-to-month subscription
  • $15/month
  • You will receive a $15 credit toward a full bottle each month
Check out Indie Scents

DISCLOSURE: this post contains affiliate links

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Dame Perfumery Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli

I've been wanting to talk about this fragrance since I got it, but the words escaped me. I didn't want to do it an injustice, so I've been enjoying it silently for around a year now. Like all Dame Perfumery scents, Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli is simplistic in the most complex of ways. The expert blending that Jeffrey Dame lends to his perfumery is notable and admirable. Sometimes you want to smell great without riding the scent rollercoaster, wondering when you're going to be let off, and how you're going to feel when you are. When I spray a Dame perfume, I know within minutes how I feel about it, and that's something I appreciate.


Top: lime peel, aldehydes
Middle: heliotrope, iris, rose, tiare flower
Bottom: patchouli, amber

"Three elements neatly balanced for simple, clean, and pure beauty. A bright top note, a pretty floral heart, and a warm sensual drydown, matched together and blended to perfection."

Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli is so unpretentiously sexy. I'm a pretty casual gal, I usually feel sexiest in a pair of skinny jeans, a t-shirt, some form of low-heeled shoe, an unstructured bag thrown over my shoulder, and tousled hair. A spritz (or a few) of this and my casual ensemble feels complete and elevated. I can take on the world (or NYC). I'm light on my feet; practically floating. I'm confident. I'm happy and friendly; but I'm not taking any shit (a la those oh-so-disgustingly-creative and unwelcome city cat calls). Airy, fresh, powdery-clean, chic. Don't be fooled by the patchouli, there's nothing heavy or hippie about this. I'm floating, floating, floating down the street, into a charming little cafe. Yann Tiersen quietly humming throughout the cozy shop. I'm sipping on a mug of tea, quietly observing the lives of others unfold for the day...

...okay, okay. How does this smell? That's what you really came here for, right? Remember when I said that Dame perfumes are expertly blended (I hope you do, because that was literally, like, right up there ^)? Well, that makes a fragrance-reviewers job pretty tough (or easy?). I see the note list, and upon spraying, I realize that they simply blend together seamlessly...but hey, I'm up for a challenge, I'll try my best to decipher this for you.

The first spray offers up a sparkly, bright, aldehydic sweetness. I've spent enough time with my nose buried in the heliotrope plant at Brooklyn Botanical Garden to confidently tell you that almost immediately after the first spray, there's a sweet density imparted from the heliotrope (and possibly a splash of amber from the base notes). Approximately 15-20 minutes in, the density of the sweetness is diluted by pretty florals. It retains a sparkly, airiness; tempered by a contemporary powder.

As Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli settles in, it latches onto the lightest ambery-patchouli base. Throughout the day, I frequently catch seemingly ubiquitous whiffs of something perky, yet peaceful. I excitedly remember that it's me, and unabashedly revel in it. It encapsulates me for several hours, but I'd reapply once or twice throughout the day to keep my scented bubble impenetrable.

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We all know this person. They're effortlessly chic. Friendly. Carefree. People like them without knowing why. They can sip tea and wine, guzzle black coffee, or toss back a few beers (or cider in my case, because beer is a taste that I'll never acquire) with ease. They can speak with sophistication, or eloquently toss out the F-bomb. They make a statement without being obnoxious. Jeffrey bottled this person, so perhaps you can spray it on when you need a boost of confidence. Spray away, my friends. Dash out the door and know that you're leaving a convincing and purposeful scent in your trail.

Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli is available in a 7ml trial size for $8.50 or a 65ml bottle for $65, the nose behind this fragrance is Jeffrey Dame of Dame Perfumery Scottsdale

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 3/5

WEAR THIS: daytime, carefree/independent city frolicking, cafe hangs, brunch with a friend or lover

*Also currently loving from this house: Herb Man*

Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: D.S. & Durga Debaser


Top: bergamot, green leaf, pear stem
Middle: fig, coconut milk, iris
Base: blond woods, tonka bean, moss

"The wild shrill of Black Francis coming through the radio in the August heat."

I should have been more prepared for Debaser. I read the scent list, and my eyes must have glazed right over the notes that I know aren't great matches for my chemistry (or overly pleasing to my sense of smell), I could have saved myself. Oh but no, like being enamored with a bad boyfriend, I amplified the good and credulously ignored the not so good (for me!). I imagined our whole future, told myself that I could change him, dreamt of skipping into the sunset together. But, I think Debaser and I are breaking up. He's too edgy for me. I'm devastated. Can we talk about it? Yeah? Okay, thanks. You're such a good friend.

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So let's talk. Debaser isn't even a remotely sweet fig. Had I been more careful, more observant of its description, I'd have seen this coming from miles away. First spray renders me into crunchy, green, wet leaves - super unripened fig - an ever so slight pear stem sweetness - and maybe a hint of earthy iris. I've just woken up in my tent at an outdoor music festival, early in the's still quiet, the ground is wet, the air is dense and foggy, and the smell of dozens of extinguished campfires from the night before lingers in the air. At this stage, I'm intrigued and I'm a little confused (because I saw what I wanted, even though Debaser fully presented itself to me from the start). I'm still hopeful that this will veer into something that I can fall in love with, but from here I start to emotionally detach...

The longer it hangs around on my skin, the woodier, drier, and earthier it gets. There is a very brief moment in the middle of this scent journey that I detect an ever so slight sweetness from the coconut milk and/or tonka bean, but it is very fleeting. This bad boy can't blow his cover for long. I've never done well with essentially zero-sweetness juice; this is no exception, I need a little romance. As for the fig in Debaser, aside from being strictly green, while I can tell that it's lingering there, it is really contending with the woods and iris (and a slight nose-crinkling mossy note).

Debaser is a scent I'd admire in nature (the music festival morning imagery feels very real), but I don't necessarily want to wear it. As much as this isn't my typical scent, there are moments during my many test-wears that I catch a whiff from afar and really enjoy what I smell. BUT, I have to remind myself that this bad boy's good qualities aren't good enough for me to keep him around. Break up aside, I admire the composition and the artistry that went into this, and I have no doubt that a woodier/earthier-loving person could really be into this. And this dude DOES NOT QUIT - seriously, it just lasts and lasts; since when are bad boys clingy?

EDITED TO ADD: After an hour or so of wear, I get a slightly sweetened iris in the waft that I really enjoy!

EDITED TO ADD: The morning after, this still lingers, which is pretty impressive considering my skin usually inhales any scent overnight.

Debaser retails for $145, and it is created by D.S. & Durga

Longevity: 5/5 
Projection: 3/5

WEAR THIS: summer, fall, camping, an outdoor music festival, a bonfire get-together

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Maria Candida Gentile Syconium

Fig lovers rejoice! Maria Candida Gentile's Syconium has absolutely slayed me. I can genuinely say that this was one of my best blind buys to date. Syconium is one of three new offerings from Maria Candida Gentile which are inspired by the orchestral piece 'Flight of the Bumblebee.' Each of the three scents shares a honey note.


honey, milk, fig, java sandalwood, beeswax

"Syconium is the ripening of the fig, the best expression of what nature has to offer in the form of the fruit, the richness of its flavour, and of the perfume that is brought to us by a tree close to us since the earliest times. Syconium explores the pulp, but also the milk, the peel, the scorching sun and the shadow of the great leaves."

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Syconium is a short journey, which doesn't mean that the journey ends once the end destination is reached. I mean that the trip from the top notes to the dry down happens very quickly. Syconium hides nothing, it's almost fully transparent from the start. I respect this. First spray yields a beautiful, honeyed milk; creamy, warm, clean. And before I can fully melt into the milky honey, my beloved, ultra ripe fig swoops in to steal my already enamored heart.

Next, a hint of beeswax begins to densify the scent a little more, while it all simultaneously becomes grounded on a slab of sandalwood. Here, it remains in its final, glorious state. Begging to be inhaled (and I succumb). I quite literally spend the rest of the day randomly breathing in my wrist, which is easy to do because this little baby lasts ALL DAY.

I'm really impressed with Syconium, it has instantly made its way onto my 'favorite fig-based perfumes' list. This is my first try with Maria Candida Gentile, and Syconium has made such a great impression that I'm nearly tripping over my own feet in an attempt to run off and grab everything she's created.

Syconium retails for $45-185, and it was created by Maria Candida Gentile

Longevity: 5/5
Projection: 3/5

WEAR THIS: nearly anytime, except when you want something sultry-sexy

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review & Comparison: Byredo Bal d'Afrique - Pal Zileri Viaggio d'Africa

Initially, I thought I'd simply do a review on Byredo's Bal d'Afrique, but when I was researching while trying to decide whether I wanted to take my chances on a blind buy, I saw that Pal Zileri's Viaggio d'Africa was proclaimed as nearly identical to Bal d'Afrique. So, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to do a double review in the form of comparison.

BDA Notes:

Top: bergamot, lemon, neroli, african marigold, bucchu
Middle: violet, jasmine, cyclamen
Base: black amber, musk, vetiver, moroccan cedarwood

VDA Notes:

Top: citruses (unspecified)
Middle: jasmine, iris
Base: tonka, guaiac wood, vetiver, cedarwood
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Freshly sprayed, BDA presents itself as very juicy. I've often seen others refer to this as a pineapple accord, but as you can see in the note list, pineapple isn't in this composition. Often, we describe an olfactive experience with scent descriptors that we're already accustomed to, and pineapple is something that nearly everyone has smelled. However, what is likely giving the pineapple-esque smell is the marigold. This, with the combination of lots of citrus, and a bit of bucchu (black currant scent) makes for a very fruity-feeling opening, which may leave you a bit confused (I was). That isn't to say that the opening isn't pleasant, it's only curious when you go into the experience knowing that this is a vetiver-based fragrance.

As for the freshly sprayed VDA, contrary to BDA, juiciness isn't it's forte. I catch a hint of what the opening of BDA presents, enough that I can understand the comparison, but they are very different. VDA is quite woody, with a possible squeeze of citrus. Although guaiac wood is listed as a base note, I find that it's most prominent in the opening. The tonka base may also be lending a small portion of it's sweet scent to the top notes.

While BDA's top notes skip off into the sunset, it's juiciness lingers in the breeze, just enough to keep it bright and sweet without veering into Bath & Body Works body spray territory. At this stage, BDA really won me over, it gains a warmth and clean sophistication that keeps my nose stuck to my wrist; likely from the amber and musk. As with many fragrances that aren't clearly floral dominant, I don't pick on any single floral note, but I fully believe florals do play a role here (if only minor). I don't pick up any discernible vetiver yet.

VDA is often described as having a coffee vibe, which I can appreciate, but don't fully agree with. The tonka/guaiac wood combination are the likely suspects in the coffee-ness that many smell. At this point, like BDA, VDA has smells that are lingering from the top. Guaiac wood is still very much apparent, but there is more tonka, and a hint of flowers. Vetiver is also trying to sneak in now.

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Now, as BDA settles in, I can detect a bit more of the florals, and a smattering of vetiver. It's still very warm and clean, but vetiver is sort of an afterthought. BDA won't be the fragrance you reach for if you're craving a heavy dose of vetiver. However, it's wonderful. Really, really wonderful. VDA offers a more vetiver-enriched dry down. It relaxes into a warm, woody, slightly powdery scent.

In experiencing the scent journey of each of these fragrances, I would say that they are certainly not twins, or even siblings. Maybe second cousins would be appropriate. One will not replace the other. Both are very wearable and very nice, VDA leans to a more masculine edge, and the projection is greater than BDA, but only slightly. BDA is slightly more feminine and light, not likely to project as much. VDA also slightly excels in longevity. Furthermore, I think VDA would be most appropriate in autumn, and BDA is more seasonally versatile.

Byredo Bal d'Afrique retails from $110-220, the nose behind this fragrance is Jerome Epinette

Longevity: 2/5 (lower side)
Projection: 2/5

Pal Zileri Viaggio d'Africa retails from $40-60

Longevity: 2/5 (higher side)
Projection: 2/5