I wanted to share some updates regarding the fragrances that are on tap to be reviewed in the short-term and long-term, that are still to be tested, and issues which may impact my review schedule on both a fragrance and personal levels.
There are several different categories of fragrances that I wanted to let you know about: First, the fragrances subject to (most probable) upcoming review in the weeks ahead; second, the ones I haven’t decided whether to review due to availability issues (Agar Aura and Slumberhouse) and which, as a result, I’d like to hear from you about the relevancy of coverage; and third, a broad category that consists of fragrances still to be tested or about which I haven’t yet decided if I like enough to exert the effort the effort to cover; and fourth, fragrances that I really like, such as vintage Dioressence or Tabu, but don’t have the energy or time to do the necessary research required for a vintage review, particularly with regard to the important bottle identification and the necessary comparisons across different vintage formulas and concentrations.
Let’s start with the first category of fragrances most likely to be covered in the weeks ahead, subject to the personal issues that I’ll talk about at the end. Thus far, what’s on tap:
- Parfum d’Empire‘s Mal-Aimé (the definite next review);
- PRIN Rahassanai and Mandodari; and
- Al Shareef Oudh‘s Qubrus.
The second category consists of fragrances that I haven’t decided whether to review due to availability issues:
- Agar Aura‘s Cheikh Boheme and Al-Arabiya; and
- Slumberhouse Fjerne, Norne (circa 2019, I think), and updated Grev.
The quandary that I am in and my competing thoughts on this issue are as follows. I think there is a genuine value to reviewing fragrances, even if not currently available, for the same reasons that one reviews vintage fragrances: someone out there has a bottle and would be interested in a detailed olfactory breakdown. There is also a value for the purposes of a historical record. On the other hand, no-one likes to read about a scent that they may like or love but which is unobtainable, even in sample form. I certainly don’t. It’s frustrating. And I don’t like to frustrate a large majority of readers even if the review will have value and merit to a much smaller group.
Take, for example, Slumberhouse‘s Fjerne. It’s not the sort of thing that I normally wear or like but, to my great surprise, I actually loved it. It was a “Cozy Comfort” fragrance, my favourite genre, to which I turned repeatedly about a month ago when both my parents were in the hospital simultaneously.
But here are a few olfactory things that you should know: My bottle is the 30 ml original 2020 version; a subsequent, tweaked version was issued in early 2022 in a larger, fatter, and more expensive 50 ml bottle; both versions are completely sold out and impossible to sample; and Josh Lobb told me that he will be re-issuing the scent in the months ahead with new bottle packaging and, given Mr. Lobb’s constant retweaking to achieve perfection, with very likely further changes, resulting in yet a third version.
I don’t know what to do. As I said, I loved the original Fjerne 2020. I thought it whimsical, fun, and playful in addition to smelling good and becoming more addictive in nature the longer I tried it. While it wasn’t very well received, I think that is because it departs from Mr. Lobb’s patchouli and spice signature and because it’s a little quirky. However, I truly think if Serge Lutens had issued this fragrance — which has a number of Lutenesque popular elements like sweetness, milkiness, and wheat alongside its hazelnut, coconut, shea butter, vanilla, tonka, and other notes — it would have been a smash hit amongst a broad audience. I want to cover it, but I also don’t want to frustrate people.
Similar considerations apply to the re-issued, now vanished, Norne 2019. Unlike Fjerne, I don’t know if this one will be re-tweaked then released again. I need to ask Mr. Lobb.
What are YOUR thoughts regarding any of these now sold-out Slumberhouses or Agar Auras?
The third category of fragrances is a broad one: fragrances still to be tested or about which I haven’t yet decided if I like enough to exert the effort the effort to cover. The first subset consists of things that I haven’t tested yet but plan to or would like to:
- Parfums Dusita Montri (and/or, if I can ever find my sample again, Cavatina)
- Thomas de Gold Raw Gold;
- Hiram Green Vivacious (and, if I can ever find my old sample, Hyde);
- DI SER Hoshi Tsukiyo;
- Xerjoff Luxor;
- Milano Fragranze Pannetone (if I can find my sample again);
- Amouage Ashore; and
- Serge Lutens Fils de Joie.
Things that require further testing either because I was unenthused or unimpressed by my initial test or because it left me feeling ambivalent:
- Marissa Zappas Lilac Dream and Petrichor;
- Bortnikoff Coup de Foudre;
- Faviol Seferi Insomnia;
- PRIN Anatolia, Anatolia;
- Parfum Prissana Nimtyr; and
- Les Indemodables Iris Perle.
As a side note to the last brand, I definitely plan to cover at some point Musc des Sables, which I liked a lot, and Vanille Havanne. I just have to get myself motivated as there are fragrances which I liked more and which, as a result, are getting a higher priority.
Fragrances that I’m unlikely to review for a variety of different reasons, though the top two (of about 4 reasons) tend to be that I find them to have either overly strong amber-woody aromachemicals* for my degree of sensitivity or excessive sweetness**:
- Masque Milano Petra;*
- Jovoy Pavillion Rouge;
- BDK Tubereuse Imperiale;**
- Mallo HOZ; and
- Cristian Cavagna Boa Madre and Musa Paradisiaca.*
The fourth category of fragrances is the vintage ones. These are the ones that I’d actually love to cover the most. Unfortunately, these are the ones that I’m likely to delay the longest due to the monumental amount of time and research that goes into my vintage reviews, particularly with regard to critical concentration or formula comparisons and equally important bottle packaging differences. Why do these matter? So that you can tell which bottle on eBay is from which era and to get the best one for your tastes or budget.
Apart from the other Dioressence and Tabu shown above, another one that has been on the list for a long time is Givenchy‘s vintage Ysatis. It is a chypre-floral from 1984 and the one Dominique Ropion fragrance that I rave about, which should tell you something given my oft-stated feelings about Ropion. I’ve intended to get around to vintage Ysatis for the last five years, but something always delays things. Usually, it’s because I need to buy bottles from different decades and with different versions for the sake of comparison. That is still an impediment, alas. Plus, thanks to no batch code on my vintage bottle, I can’t even tell you from when it dates, so I certainly don’t have a basis by which to compare it to anything else I eventually buy.
There are a number of personal matters that you should be aware of and which might impact these plans. The main one is not something I’ve discussed outside of Twitter: my mother has dementia (and heart issues) and my father has terminal Stage 4 metastasized cancer and has, in the last month in particular, been weakening in such a way that the end suddenly seems sooner rather than later.
While I’ve been their primary caretaker since Covid struck, the pace of their decline over the last year in particular has had a major impact on me, my free time, my energy levels, my psyche, and my mental health. To be honest, the last 6 years have taken a toll but it’s worsened over the course of the ridiculously stressful last 2 years. Last month, my father was in the hospital for 9 days with potential organ failure and with a host of serious chemo-related issues. During those 9 days, my mother was in a different hospital with heart and lung issues.
One of my siblings has finally been helping out a bit over the last 6-8 weeks but, for me, it’s too little, too late. I’m emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted to the point that, when I have free time, I tend to spend it on distractions, sleep, or mental escapes. Perfume is not one of those escapes because it requires so much mental exertion and effort, which means that it tends to take a back seat whenever I have a bit of time to spend on myself.
I’m not sharing this for sympathy, for replies, or for discussion. Frankly, I’d prefer for you not to comment on it so that I can just block everything out on this one rare night when I have a big chunk of time for myself — thereby enabling this scheduling post or update and soon to be spent watching the new Criminal Minds: Evolution tv series — but I felt that you needed to know in case my review plans get upended and I don’t post anything for a while.
A less important factor is my mood and passion levels. It’s easiest to write when I really love something. It’s hardest now, after all these years, to write negative reviews or cover something whose intense smoky or woody-amber aromachemical levels make testing hard in light of my sensitivity limitations. I don’t have the time and I also have zero ability to persevere for even my usual minimum of 3-hours in order to write even one of my negative Review en Bref broad summations. (I’ll tell you this, though, the bro-tastic Initio Parfums Oud For Greatness is one of the worst things that I’ve smelled in years and a Chernobyl-like take on oud, in my opinion.)
I know I’ve forgotten a scheduling point or two that I had intended on mentioning, but I’m so tired and mentally burnt out right now that I can’t recall what they were or might have been.
If you have thoughts on my availability dilemma outlined above, please feel free to share.
Until next time, happy sniffing!