Fragrance Reviews

Tom Ford Private Blends Oud Fleur Fragrance Review

* Sweet yet subtle flowers – not really muted but not as vivaciously strong as you would expect

* Then after 5 minutes – it blooms – a lush garden of dirty jasmine and spicy carnations.

* Next comes a sweet rose that is both powdery sweet and fruity/jammy.    

* At one point it seemed to have morphed into a fruity floral with a bit of a kick.

* During this portion, if you sniff really closely there is a hint of oud behind the rose.  Not overbearing, it kind of just levels out the sweetness.

* The flowers fade away for a base that is a soft mix of light leather, woods, and amber.

Summary:   Fleur oud is confusing.  It makes me think again of the infamous “chess for girls” sketch from Saturday Night Live, but it goes both ways.  A few times when I wore this, it felt like it could be a safe “non-oud” oud for women who didn’t want a skanky, dirty oud scent. Other times I wore it, it seemed like a floral fragrance that a guy could wear without feeling too girly.  Either way, this is one that definitely needs to be skin-tested several times to get the full story of how it works on your skin.   Projection is strong for the first hour, but after it calms down it would be safe for office wear.  Longevity is excellent for an EDP, lasting over ten hours.   Together with Tobacco Oud, these two scents restore my faith in the Tom Ford Private Blend line.  This is the line that first got me into niche perfumes a few years back.  The past few collections (Musks, Atelier D’Orient, and Jardin Noir) made me feel like the brand had lost their way but these two oud scents make me think that the line is ready for a comeback.

Other opinions:

Perfume Possee
The Candy Perfume Boy
The Scentrist
Ca Fleure Bon
Man Loves Cologne
Katie Chutzpah

Tom Ford Private Blend fragrances are available at Saks 5th Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

Disclaimer: Sample provided by sales associate for review. Image courtesy of Neiman Marcus.tom-ford-private-blend-oud-fleur-nordstrom

Fragrance Reviews

Lush Scent Snowcake  Fragrance Review


* Before smelling the perfume, I stopped by a Lush store to smell the snow cake soap.  It’s sweet almond – almost edible, like a cookie-  maybe an Americanized version of Loukoum.

* Snowcake perfume starts off strangely vegetal.   The almond on top isn’t as sweet – it’s cut with a cooking oil, like canola, that gives its an oddly astringent texture

* Then something seems to go wrong and this odd accord comes through which I think is a mix of fig, ambergris, and sulfur.  It’s not unpleasant – it’s just a bit outerworldly and surreal how it floats over my skin.

* Sometime in that mix I get a bit of rose in the background as well.  

* The dry down is a subtle and sheer dry, sweet vanilla.

Summary:  I had a quick sniff of Snowcake soap at Lush and think it is a little bit sweeter than the perfume.   Snowcake is office-friendly because it is not that loud, yet it’s not exactly a shrinking flower either.  Longevity is the lowest of the series with it becoming a very subtle skin scent after about six hours. Snowcake is nice, but not one that I would strongly recommend, if only because other lines have stronger almond/marzipan/loukoum products.

Other opinions:

All Things Lush (Soap)
Meteo Beauty (Soap)
The Notice
Vampy Varnish (Soap)
Writing Whimsy

Lush Scent Snowcake is a limited edition that was available only from their website. Check there first to see if it is still available. If not, ebay is pretty much your only option.

Disclaimer: Bottle purchased – no disclaimer needed. Image courtesy of Lush website.

Fragrance Reviews

Costes Fragrance Review


* Crisp lavender and sweet cinnamon are quite exhilarating together on the top.

* It starts like a refreshing and manly sports scent – or what I wish a man’s sport scent would smell like, rather than generically clean and fresh.

* Out of nowhere,  a soapy rose comes into play- with some of the cinnamon giving it a prickly feel.

* The rose blossoms literally by feeling really alive, as if it is breathing. 

* If you sniff your skin closely, you smell the base of woods and nondescript musk.

Summary:  Sort of in the vein of celebrity scents, this is the signature scent of the Hotel Costes.   It’s fresh sand invigorating, but not overwhelming.  It lasts about five hours on my skin, which is about right for an eau de toilette. I could see this as a great scent post-workout or as a nice wake-up scent in the morning. It’s available as shower gel and soap, which would be delightful to use or give as a gift. It’s definitely unisex and on the lighter side, so this would be great for people who are afraid of being too loud.  If you are ever in Paris, you must visit the Hotel Costes to see not only the amazing rose market but to experience all the IUMX fragrance in the special automated flower machines… Hard to describe.  Whatever you do, do not touch the tester bottles or else the animated perfume salescold will chastise you with “this is not f*king Sephora” (or “this is not f*king Boots” if you look British). Just one of the many animated characters you might meet in Paris… 

Other opinions:

Bois de Jasmin

Perfume Smillin Things

Costes is available at LuckyScent and CO Bigelow.

Disclaimer: No disclaimer needed as I own a full bottle. Image courtesy of LuckyScent website.

Fragrance Reviews

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Silk Mood Fragrance Review


* Silk Mood starts off with a really strong rose that projects loudly. People several feet away will know that you are wearing a rose scent.

* It’s brazen and spiced, so it’s surprisingly appealing for both men and women.  It would be pure diva on a woman or robust yet sexy on a man

* The rose gets sweeter, yet more decadant. It’s a mature sweet that’s richly and seductive. 

* The first time I wore it, I got pear joining the rose.  The next time, I could swear it was apple.  The fruit note that boosts the rose seems to change with me each time.  

* Though the woods are subtly there through the whole development, they come most into the forefront in the base where they anchor what becomes a very green rose, as opposed to the sweeter rose present earlier.

Of the three Moods, I would say that Silk Mood is the one closest to its own name.  It’s smooth, sexy, and seductive – just like silk.  Silk is also the fabric of royalty, so the bold rose fits that symbolism as well.  I could say this is oud for girls, but that might be sexist and demeaning.  While it is soft, it is still strong and longevity is more than eight hours.  Guys who are confident in themselves and not afraid of florals would like this.  Rose and Oud is a classic combination in Arabic perfumery, Silk Mood is a modern interpretation that keeps the feel but makes it more appropriate for our current tastes.  Due to the projection of the rose, this is not an office-friendly fragrance.  If you are looking for an oud that is not dirty or skanky, Silk Mood might be the one for you.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian fragrances are available at Neiman Marcus, Luckyscent, and Osswald.

Other opinions:

Ca Fleure Bon

Candy Perfume Boy


Disclaimer: Sample provided by store for review. Image courtesy of Neiman Marcus website.