Samples Review: Miscellaneous

     Kim Kardashian perfume? Really?

     Yes, really! In my journey through the world of fragrance I pick up all sorts of oddities, including samples for miscellaneous brands that I will probably never try again (not necessarily because they’re bad). Because I believe in equality, I’m going to treat these samples just the same I would Chanel’s latest release: with respect and a grain of salt.

     Here are my quick thoughts about each of the fragrances:

Kim Kardashian Gold sample

Kim Kardashian Gold sample

1.) Kim Kardashian Gold: the things I know about Kim Kardashian include the existence of her sex tape, her baby’s unusual name, and that her perfumes are constantly in the clearance section of my local Shoppers. Let’s see why.

     A 2011 release, this has notes of pink pepper, grapefruit, and bergamot. In the heart we have flowers such as violet, rose, and jasmine. In the base there’s benzoin, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, and musk. The predominant thing I smell from the card is sandalwood, and that’s all. Perhaps this is not a fair assessment given the nature of the cheaply made card, but hey – it’s her official sample. Next!

Exceptional Perfumes Exceptional Because You Are sample

Exceptional Perfumes Exceptional Because You Are sample

2.) Exceptional Parfums Exceptional Because You Are: I got this sample as a bonus in one of my FragranceNet purchases, but never even thought about putting it on. But while we’re on the subject of odds and ends, I’ll be giving it a try. I can’t make heads or tails about the facts for this fragrance based on multiple listings which are completely different, so we’ll skip that and jump right to the scent.

     This is a 2006/2013 release (FN couldn’t make up it’s mind, apparently), and has ‘crisp and elegant’ top notes, a ‘lightly spiced floral heart’, and a ‘sensual’ dry down – revolutionary. This to me screams aquatic floral, like a slightly saddened Acqua Di Gioia Essenza. I imagine this is the scent at the edge of the pond in Lover’s Lane of a 1950’s town in middle-class America – whimsical and playful and young. In my mind I can see the young ladies in technicolor dresses, stealing this from their mother’s dresser in order to impress a boy they fancy. Unfortunately, his mother wears the same one, and he’s not taken with her – tragic. It aims to be fresh, but falls short, landing somewhere between sour and old. I enjoyed the mental trip this took me on, but will not be purchasing this.

Adam Levine for Him sample

Adam Levine for Him sample

3.) Adam Levine Adam Levine For Him: there was a lot of excitement in the fragrance community about the launch of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine’s fragrances. I admit that I checked them out pretty quick too, but for some reason they seem to have been driven away from shelves earlier than others, although maybe this is just applicable to where I shop.

     This was released in 2013, with top notes of violet leaf, sage, lemongrass, grapefruit, and mandarin orange. To me this smells of bitter-sweet grapefruit, the type your grandparents think counts as juice (but you know it obviously doesn’t). There’s also a weaker note of sage, but it dies away with the top notes like a souffle out of the oven. Past the opening, we discover a fruit platter from an exotic country, full of passion fruit and guava – mouth watering. I can’t get over how weak this perfume is, being an EDT – what’s up with that? *reapplies to continue review* I almost don’t see how this an a man’s fragrance, given it has no ‘substance’ – perhaps a lady might enjoy this one more. I’ll be using up the sample, but that’s it for my romance with Adam. Sorry, boo.

Protocol Calvin Klein Obsession type sample

Protocol Calvin Klein Obsession type sample

4.) Protocol Vending Calvin Klein Obsession Type: You’ve got every right to roll your eyes and click away, but it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t include this. So, let me tell you what this thing even is.

     The date is early September, 2013 – the place? Toronto Pearson International Airport, where we’re seeing off my grandparents before their long voyage home to Israel. While we wait with them, none of us wanting to be the first to say goodbye, disaster strikes – I’ve gotta go! Luckily, there’s a restroom nearby – how handy. Upon washing my hands, my eyes drift to a series of odd-looking chunks of metal on the wall. Is the robot invasion upon us? Is the end nigh? Not yet, my friend, not yet. What I saw was a few coin-operated machines that dispense anything from condoms that I wouldn’t trust to breath mints. But something does catch my attention: is there perfume in that machine? There is! A toonie later, I’ve got this unremarkable vial in hand.

     Some background on Calvin Klein’s Obsession – the perfume, not the man’s (although I’m sure his obsessions would be endlessly interesting as well). The men’s version was created by Bob Slattery and released in 1986, becoming an instant classic. There’s been quite a few flankers since the original, including the recent (and awesome!) Dark Obsession. So, let’s see how this ‘type’ (impression) measures up to the real deal, which opens with fresh citrus notes (tangerine, grapefruit, lime and bergamot) as well as spicy coriander and cinnamon, plus a floral note of lavender. The sample gets the top surprisingly accurate, with the warm cinnamon taking a front seat in the composition. From there we begin to transcend into realms of white floral gardens, full of delicate jasmines, and ending with a syrupy amber that’s full of remorse for being such a weak presence on the skin. I imagine this is due largely to the quality of the impression, and probably has nothing to do with the original (especially since Fragrantica’s sillage for Obsession rests securely at ‘heavy’). If this is a good representation of Obsession for Men, I need a bottle of the thing pronto. Good stuff!

Les Parfums de Rosine Vive la Mariee sample

Les Parfums de Rosine Vive la Mariee sample

5.) Les Parfums de Rosine Vive la Mariรจe: Brace yourselves, because I’m about to tell you about one of the first non-mainstream perfumes I’ve ever tried. I won this in one of Perfume Shrine’s numerous giveaways, and Elena (who is, by the way, an incredible writer and a source of daily inspiration for me) sent this sample to me all the way from Greece. I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what to expect from this. I hadn’t really read the description, and I didn’t really know who Les Parfums de Rosine were and what they stand for, and I certainly didn’t need another sample in my collection. Plus, I was a little annoyed with the name, which seemed almost too political for me. Regardless, I’m going to bravely put on this powerhouse of a perfume today, if only to A) check it off my bucket list, and B) for your entertainment, of course.

     Released in 2013, Vive la Mariรจe opens with a sweetly floral bouquet, specifically jasmine. There’s an underlying artificial sweetness that I’ve learned to recognize as praline, but it isn’t terribly important to the composition. To contrast that the vanilla in this smells utterly wholesome. The moment it’s applied to the skin you begin to forget that it’s a floral at heart. I could easily call this a fruity floral, although which fruit I’d be talking about is beyond me. Since I’m not doing a particularly wonderful job of explaining this, let me put it this way: white floral perfume with praline and sweet notes. Happy? No? Me either. I don’t care. I’d wear this to something dressy, but perhaps not to a wedding. Valentine’s Day, maybe? I think I wouldn’t mind a full bottle of this, though.

Collective thoughts about what I’ve sniffed today: we’ve been all over the place with today’s perfumes – the 1950’s, TPIA, and Valentine’s Day… what do you think of the miscellaneous samples post? Should I do this more often, or do you prefer specific brand focuses?

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