Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I’ve noticed some people appreciate candid reviews, while others become seemingly offended by the fact that I dislike a particular perfume. I write perfume reviews because I enjoy every moment of it – but I also take painstaking care to tell the absolute truth and never sugarcoat my opinions. If you want poetic and undecipherable ad copy – that gives you very little in terms of what the juice smells like – you can surely find that elsewhere, all over the internet.

In the spirit of being candid, here are a few perfumes that I’ve purchased over the years due to reading over-the-top swooning reviews which turned out to be duds:

Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige
I completely fail to see the appeal of this. I adore Chandler Burr and his reviews; however, he tells us stories and never quite tells us what the perfume smells like. It was Mr. Burr’s review that caused me to purchase Teint de Neige and I was rather disappointed once I realized I could have gotten the same effect by dusting myself with Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.

Guerlain Attrape-Coeur
Average for 10 minutes – then disappears

Tom Ford’s exclusive private blend collection
Yawn. The prices are ridiculous.

Serge Lutens Bois de Violette
I’m sorry, I’m obviously a philistine, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why this makes The Guide’s top 10 perfumes of all time. It smells like a stack of cedar wood with one tiny violet. For the same effect, I could store my sweaters in a cedar lined bureau and apply just one teensy weensy spritz of a very soft violet soliflore like Annick Goutal La Violette or Borsari Violetta di Parma (or take your pick).

Bvlgari Black.
I like Black. But it’s neither particularly “Black” (as in deep, dark or mysterious) and it’s really just about vanilla. Maybe the construction is amazing, but the tenacity isn’t there and the overall scent is just an oddball vanilla. But I do like this one, it isn’t a dud, but I often wonder why it has such a big following.

L’Artisan Dzing and Dzonghka
If these scents were created by Givenchy or Paris Hilton – would there be such a cult following? Dzing smells like cardboard and Dzonghka like stones.

Amouage Jubilation 25
Seriously. This is killer. This is one of the reasons non-perfumistas hate perfume. (okay, leave my beloved Amarige out of this – I *already* know ya’ll hate it).

Montale White Oud
Where’s the Oud?


Dain said...

Abigail, I think without exception I agree with all your duds (though some I haven't sniffed)--it's meh meh meh down the list for me too. And I enjoy reading your candour. It's easy to get lost in a sample, but it's quite another to go purchase the (often very expensive) bottle and wear it out in public, in real life.

Unknown said...

I agree with you on Jubilation 25, I tried and tried to love it but (thankfully for the price) I don't. I do love Black, although it is not "black" to me at all either.

lady jicky said...

Good on you - say what you think! I can get all the sugery bull**** from their ads! LOL

Abigail said...

Hello Dain, Amanda & Lady Jicky,

This post was written partially in response to a thread on MUA where the posters were seemingly offended that I called the newest Serge Lutens beautiful but not worthy of the Lutens name. The thread made me laugh when one poster said she only reads NST because that's the only non-biased blog (!) and another poster basically said perfume reviews are useless (and she continued with something that showed a lack of reading comprehension entirely.) Oh My ;-) How DARE I suggest that Nuit de Cellophane isn't the most amazing juice ever! It is LUTENS, the Emperor of perfume! Puhleeez. I say it as I see it and I am especially not blinded by brand mystique. End of story.

Thanks for reading my, as always, candid reviews! :-D

Unknown said...


I've been reading your blog for quite some time and I have to say I really appreciate your style of reviewing. I don't get some of the cult fragrances either: Bois de violette, yes I really like it, but top 10? No way! ;-) And Bulgari Black to me smells like musky vanilla paired with burnt barbie doll. LOL, keep up the good blogging!

Ines said...

I love this post. :)
I also fail to perceive the interest in Dzing and Dzonghka and was already wondering if there was sth wrong with me...
As for Bulgari, I still need to find one that I might actually like a bit.

Anonymous said...

I love Bulgari Black, but I will until my death defend your right to say you don't! :D

fifthsensenyc said...

I commend your candor and its your blog, so you go girl. I am a writer for a fragrance magazine, and I try to bring out the best s in a fragrance (or i don't write about it) but my skin is notoriously famous for doing unspeakable things to most perfumes,so I must use up to 15 testers because , #1. we are not a piece of white paper, #2. gender,ethnic background hormone level, age, diet are hugely important.#3 fragrance is not just molecules and materials, it is ART and art is subjective. When I tried Jubilation 25, my first reaction was'who put all this CUMIN INTO MY VINTAGE FEMME-YUCCHHH." on three people it was glorious- curiously all male and this was the female version.

I really enjoy reading your blog.

michelyn Camen

ahsumaker said...

I agree with some of your reviews, and other times not. But thank goodness you have an opinion! You tell us what it smells like to you, whether you like it, and why. Yay, please continue doing so.

Abigail said...

Awww, thanks so much everyone. I wasn't looking for compliments, really.

Altgodt - you made me smile that you'll defend my right to voice an honest opinion until death!! :-D

Anonymous said...

:blushing: Voltaire beat me to it, he said it first. Not about Black though, I doubt he ever sniffed it. :D