Samples Roundup: February 2018

For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.


© Gil Segev 2018

  • LUSH Cosmetics Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner ($35.95*): First off, this smells truly lovely, I would wear it as a perfume even though I could see how it’s not for everyone. It is designed to be used as an in-shower, wash-off body lotion. It leaves the skin slightly softened with a bit of residue but not oily, and lightly scented. I could see myself using it in the winter months. WR
  • MAC Cosmetics NC25 NC30 Studio Sculpt SPF 15 Foundation ($41*): This is a great dupe for the Tom Ford foundation I tested out last month, however I found this lasts longer at less than half the price. NC25 is my winter shade, even though it is very yellow. It is a completely full coverage foundation with a mousse texture and low SPF, which gets prettier the more you wear it. What I mean is, on initial application it was very cakey, super heavy, and streaky. Stage makeup came to mind, and I had to use a beauty sponge to blend it out rather than my usual brush. However, an hour into wearing it I felt totally flawless, hydrated, and perfected. The foundation settles perfectly onto the skin and lasts all day. Since I never get ready “on location” and there’s always a gap of time between application and needing to look presentable, I am willing to overlook the initial application for the exceptional performance. WR
  • Chanel Gabrielle ($183*): My general distaste for Chanel aside, I was willing to test out its newest pillar, which is after all an exciting event in the industry. First, not a fan of the bottle, I wish they had kept the traditional design of No 5Coco, etc. The scent itself is not revolutionary as the marketing would have you believe: jasmine, neroli, tuberose, and ylang-ylang make up the heart, which is a note-to-note clone of Dior’s J’Adore In Joy, coincidentally released at the same time. However, it calls to mind a different Dior, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet, in its freshness and youth. Of the two I’d still prefer the latter for its beautiful bottle and much more pleasant opening notes. WNR
  • Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Cream ($510*): First glance at the price had me thinking “no way,” but after carefully reading the official Guerlain marketing I’m a little less defensive about this. First, let us recognize that this cream is clearly marketed to women (note they specifically refer to this one sex only) who are at the age where anti-aging is a priority at all costs – literally. So in that sense, fine, I understand I am not the target market. Second, Orchidée Impériale’s whole idea is to re-oxygenate skin cells, with the intention of freeing up energy to use for regeneration. Interesting concept, but I haven’t actually read anything that proves it, and I don’t know how I feel about an entire skin range (an extraordinarily expensive one, at that) that focuses on one singular ingredient to do this exceptionally complex function. Finally, in terms of my actual experience with this sample (worth $10.20, to be exact), I enjoyed the emollient texture even though I found it quite waxy, and I really liked the scent. My skin felt hydrated for sure, and had a nice radiance (courtesy of real diamonds, as they claim). I think this cream would actually be a very nice option had the price been half what it is. WR
  • Amouage Bracken Man ($360*): Amouage is a respected niche fragrance house out of Oman, founded by then Sultan Sayyid Hamad bin Hamoud al bu Said. They’re quite rare in Canada, carried in four stores total, three of which are in Toronto. The bottles are shaped like traditional daggers (men’s) and palaces (women’s), and are priced to match their exclusivity. I should have known going into this that I wouldn’t like what they do, because they focus on traditional middle eastern ingredients such as oud and spices, both of which do not appeal to me nor sit well on my skin. Bracken Man, despite its floral motif, is very much in line with their vision. On my skin it was a dirty, foul oud and patchouli mix that mixed with spices to bring to mind (sorry in advance) hot garbage. As it wore throughout the day it did calm down a bit into more of a lavender, which is (you guessed it) another ingredient I’m not a fan of. All in all it was completely not for me, and I will be much more selective in the future about which Amouage I try – maybe something like Journey Woman, which seems a bit more approachable. WNR
  • Puredistance Master Perfumes Warszawa ($267*): This is a house I have grown to really enjoy despite the outrageous price (the linked bottle is only 17.5 mL). This fragrance was inspired by the city of Warsaw, where it was exclusively released a year before the global launch. As anticipated, Warszawa is a challenging scent for someone like me, who enjoys simplifying things down into their separate components. That is because Warszawa is less a list of notes, more of a coherent set of memories brought to life in the bottle. It’s funny, I can almost see a 3D world unfolding on my skin where Warszawa is sprayed! Since I disagree entirely with the listed notes, I’ll go ahead and describe what it actually smells like to me: a vase of rich red roses, a comfortable armchair and blanket, syrupy fruit preserve, incense, a smoky fire. The whole thing is bathed in a sort of bitter cold air. It really is from a different era, like a snapshot of life when things were simpler, although maybe harder. I would classify this as a true unisex scent for winter. It dries down into a soft musky skin-scent. Overall, another impressive release from a house that has seldom let me down, I would love to add this to my collection. WR
  • Versace Dylan Blue ($109*): I’ve previously complained that all masculine Versaces smell similar, which I think was a fair assessment prior to trying Dylan Blue. Unlike ErosHomme, and the others, it is not just a fresh aquatic with a ton of citrus, designed to appeal to gift-givers and women in general. Indeed, it’s a departure for the house, but not for the perfume world as a whole, I’m afraid. Like almost everyone on the Fragrantica page has already said, this is a take on Dior’s Sauvage. And, I might add, a poor imitation at that. Starts of with this really strong fresh burst, but falls completely flatly into a peppery drydown. Sauvage has a really unique warmth that Dylan Blue totally missed. I’m not a big spicy person to begin with, but when it’s plagiarized in this way I am entirely turned off. Does have good sillage and longevity, but even that and the pretty bottle don’t do it for me. I’m also rolling my eyes that they’ve already come out with a female version within about a year, and while I’m at it I don’t get the ad or the name, either. Cheap clone, all in all. WNR

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

*Prices true at time of writing.

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