Samples Spectacular II: Good, Bad & Ugly Fragrance

     Since going through my skin care samples in September I’ve been looking at my ridiculous pile of fragrance samples and wondering what to do with them. Then it hit me to simply go through them – one at a time. I put together four weekly packs of fragrance provisions going into this fight, and this is my battle journal detailing first impressions on each sample. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.

Week 1

Week 1

© Gil Segev 2016

  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Blackout ($220*): Blackout is all about Osmanthus and masala chai. It smells weakly spicy to my nose. I’m not a fan of spicy fragrances to begin with, but if you’re going to go ahead and call something “blackout” I want to be blown away in a storm of heat. WNR
  • Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Verte ($128*): The Fleur expansion to the Tory Burch line perplexes me. The original fragrance was awesome, and the Absolu is also pretty good. But these have nothing to do with Tory’s essence, who she is and what she stands for. This one, in particular, is such a strong white floral that it completely turns me off. It’s something not even my grandma would wear, maybe a crazy aunt. Somehow it evolves into the smell of food frying in deep oil, I’ve consulted with others who say the same thing. Takeout in a bottle, but I’m not interested. WNR
  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Rain Day ($220*): I am pleasantly surprised by this one, although I still do not think it is necessarily worth the price. Warm-toned aquatic vetiver, smells like something from Armani or maybe Givenchy. Clean, fresh, but has that dirty masculinity that I find really sexy. I will definitely have to look into purchasing a smaller bottle. WR
  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Something Wild ($220*): Sweet BBQ sauce and firewood. WNR
  • Amouage Reflection Man (£160*): After half an hour or so of having this on my skin I finally concluded that I just don’t care for it. It’s generic and unimpressive, and has orris root which I’ve come to know doesn’t sit well with me. WNR
  • Mendittorosa Id (150€*): I’ve already mentioned that I don’t care for spices, but if I had to pick a spicy scent it might be this one. Very rich and warm, smells lush and big but slightly overwhelming. Like sweat, kind of. It has a suggestiveness of oud, with a lot of cinnamon, nutmeg and labdanum. Again, not my favourite, but it’s not horrible and I can see the appeal. WNR
  • Theirry Mugler Angel EDP ($153*): The one, the only, the original. Sweet patchouli, dark chocolate, a hint of spice and a killer projection. I’m going through a trio of mini bottles of this stuff right now, but when I am done I may invest in a small bottle. You truly need the smallest amount, it is instantly detectable and recognizable. I am not sure what others might think of it on me, but it is one of those scents that instantly make you feel a certain way so I don’t care. WR

 

Week 2

Week 2

© Gil Segev 2016

  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Hi-Fi ($220*): Top notes of soapy rose, maybe jasmine, with a lot of greeness, it’s an offensive floral with a flare for drama. After a few minutes it retorts to a barely there sweet floral that’s like any celeb scent from the past decade. WNR
  • Chanel Bleu De Chanel EDT ($142*): I love this one so much, but it holds memories that I would rather not remember so I wouldn’t buy it. Very fresh, preppy, clean, sexy, all around wonderful EXCEPT for the lackluster bottle. Would have preferred to see a blue version of the classic women’s flacon, but it’s alright. WNR
  • Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Rose ($128*): Sweet rose and fresh musk, in that order. Not very exciting, but could be successful with an older crowd who is looking for an everyday classic fragrance. Kind of has a B&BW vibe to it. WNR
  • Serge Lutens L’Eau Serge Lutens (£110*): If you are in the market for a fresh unisex perfume, this is a solid choice. It somehow reminds me of the lakes in the Muskoka region, with clear water and giant green lily pads. Rather clean and fresh but with an air of mystery, I can imagine canoeing in the early hours of the morning with this on. Very much a late summer scent. WR
  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Looking Glass ($220*): If I remember correctly, this is one of the better selling scents from the line. Looking Glass is a refined sweet floral perfume, a little generic but perfectly nice. I mostly get a cotton candy vibe from it, with vanilla and maybe rose. For me personally it is not exciting enough to warrant a purchase, but I wouldn’t mind it on another person. WNR
  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Drunk on Youth ($220*): Not a bad one at all, if you like honeysuckle. Rather sweet but a little powdery, it is very soft and maternal smelling. I quite like it, but the lasting power is questionable. I tentatively recommend trying it before buying to see if your skin soaks it up like mine does. WNR
  • TokyoMilk Tainted Love ($58*): This is like sweet rose tea with milk and honey. Yum. Almost has a biscuit vibe going on, too, which makes it great for this fall transition period. Great price, and available in roller ball and body care. WR

 

Week 3

Week 3

© Gil Segev 2016

  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2 AM Kiss ($220*): Honey and peanut butter and plum jam. WNR
  • Guerlain L’Homme Ideal ($102*): For as much as I adore L’Homme Ideal Cologne, I can’t get into the original. Though it shares the familiar DNA and the decadence associated with Guerlain, it lacks the punch that the cherry in LIC delivers and the effortless lightness. It is more conservative and mature, still handsome but not my cup of tea. WNR
  • Michel Germain Sexual Fresh pour Homme ($75*): Three years of fragrance blogging and I still get blown away by perfume’s ability to represent a time, person or place in our memory. This smells like my first ever date in eleventh grade, and though it is a lovely tart fresh smell I don’t think I would appreciate smelling it often. WNR
  • Serge Lutens L’Eau De Paille ($160*): This is somehow similar to the previous L’Eau fragrance I mentioned, but very different at the same time. It is primarily an animalic vetiver, that dirty “hot hay” scent that has been described so often, with an overlay of freshness that doesn’t entirely work for me. Pass. WNR
  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Ellipsis ($220*): A floral by any other name would not be the same. There’s something very unique and special about Ellipsis, and I can’t attribute it to either of the listed notes of sandalwood or jasmine. It smells faintly like honeysuckle, but deceptively so. It toys with the nose, at times fruity, other times musky. Such an intricate perfume I haven’t smelled in a long time, and the end result is feminine and summery. Still, it is not something I would wear. WNR
  • Clive Christian 1872 Men ($310*): The first time I came across this brand was at the new Saks 5th Avenue in Toronto, where the sales associate claimed this is the most expensive perfume brand in the world. Now, whether that’s true or not is not relevant, but she did offer me a sample of the scent that caught my attention the most. 1872 Men is a STUNNING mashup of every ingredient imaginable, from citruses to florals to animal-derived scents like musk. It comes off very English and complex, a herbal citrus with loads of lavender and woodsiness. As a student I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the price tag, but I can dream. WR
  • Yves Rocher The Vert ($16*): What an awful sample, the perfume comes soaked on a wet towelette. The smell is very pretty, a fresh lemongrass and light yellow florals with a lot of green lushness. Will be nice for spring. WR

 

Week 4

Week 4

© Gil Segev 2016

  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Silent Street ($220*): This is heavy on the type of musk I can’t stand, a very synthetic and soapy thing instead of the warm pureness I love. Depressing to my nose. WNR
  • Derek Lam 10 Crosby Afloat ($220*): The notes listed are orris and mimosa, but I’m not sure if either is actually in this. My nose doesn’t tolerate orris and I can stand Afloat. It’s a tart clean scent, many have complained that it is similar to a cheaper B&BW scent but I can’t confirm as I don’t shop there enough. To me it is just generic. WNR
  • Christian Dior Sauvage ($109*): The problem with Sauvage is that it smells good on paper and on other people, but not so much on me. I will say that I get a solid 7+ hours of wear on this one, which is commendable. For me, personally, Sauvage is a pass although I certainly see its appeal, with fresh top notes and a spicy heart. WNR
  • Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre (£95*): This is quite the literal interpretation of tea time, complete with lemon tea and ginger biscuits. I can’t help feeling that it is trying to play at nostalgic memories I simply don’t posses, so the connection sails straight over my head. It is warm and spicy and interesting but not good. WNR
  • Aromaflage Wild ($65*): You’ll recall that Aromaflage is a line of insect-repelling fine fragrances, which I’ve reviewed and raved about before. I think the main difference between the original and this Wild version is that this one lacks the vanilla note of the former. It is straight up, punch you in the face citrus and I don’t mind it. I think either one smells equally pleasant and as long as it works as effectively as the original I’m game. I could see this one being called more feminine, but in the end it truly doesn’t matter. WR
  • Guerlain Petit Guerlain: Somehow this misses the Guerlain mark for me. Maybe because it is intended for children, maybe because it only contains five notes, or maybe it’s for another reason entirely, but there’s a lack of depth and severity that I’ve grown to expect from the brand. It’s a beautiful honey and orange blossom scent nonetheless, but that’s not what I’m looking for when I buy a bee bottle. WNR
  • Hugo Boss The Scent ($100*): It kills me not to love The Scent entirely because it is actor Theo James’ official cologne… You can very clearly smell ginger and lavender in the opening, but something about it has a cloying quality that doesn’t sit well on my skin. Somehow similar to Sauvage, maybe the lavender? However, when you move past that phase it is not a bad ginger masculine comparable to something from YSL’s L’Homme line, and I could see it working for me for casual summer wear. WR

 

     Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this season?


*Prices true at time of writing.


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