Cuir de R'Eve by David Jourquin

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: bergamot, red fruits, pink pepper, clove, Siberian iris, heliotrope, vanilla, patchouli, leather, musk
Cuir de R'Eve is the daytime version of Cuir Altesse and is classified as a feminine fragrance.

After a brief shaky start, from an imbalance in the citrus and spices, some red fruits emerge just before the iris. The iris is strong and slightly powdery, but lacks any earthy or rooty properties. As for the vanilla, it only serves to uphold its creamy premise, while the heliotrope adds a mild floral powderiness. However, whatever patchouli and leather that's been included is meagre, leading one to conclude that it's more about iris than leather.

For most of its lifespan, the iris gently purrs upon a clean musk-laden oriental base. Beyond the full unveiling of the iris, there's hardly much evolution. Interestingly enough, on the first wearing, one's skin emitted the iris very clearly (as well as the rest of the other accords) but, on the second wearing, the composition smelt murky and lacked any finesse (although the iris was still evident).

Like Cuir Mandarine, Cuir de R'Eve also had the potential to be something special. Unfortunately, its execution lets it down. With average sillage, its tenacity is impressive – easily persisting for at least eight hours.


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Cuir Altesse by David Jourquin

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: orange, pink pepper, cardamom, clove, cumin, rose, jasmine, coumarin, benzoin, vanilla, patchouli, leather, oakmoss
Intended as an evening fragrance for women, Cuir Altesse is a brutal disappointment.

The opening is lovely, with a flurry of orange, spices and florals, alongside a mild leathery accent. And although this stage is fleeting, it's both succulent and spritely while it lasts. However, after giving way to the mid notes, it all goes unexpectedly pear-shaped...

Initially coming across as anaemic, a bitter marzipan-like aroma rears its ugly head. As this aspect intensifies, one soon realises that it's actually the coumarin... and far too much of it. So overwhelming is the coumarin that it takes quite a while for some of the other accords to sufficiently breathe (particularly the florals).

By the drydown, the coumarin has yielded some of its dominance but is still very much perceptible, with subtle hints of patchouli, vanilla and oakmoss being present. And while the marzipan-like aroma has largely subsided, the coumarin's suggestive loukhoum properties continue to quietly pulsate.

Although all the David Jourquin creations assert a leather theme, Cuir Altesse can't really be considered a true leather fragrance. Personally, one can only see it appealing to those who enjoy the different facets of coumarin, as that's pretty much the prevailing note.

As always with this house, staying power is over six hours but its projection is too modest.


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Fiore di Riso by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

*****
Year: 2011

Notes: bergamot, mandarin, ginger, white flowers, marigold, davana, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood, oakmoss
Fiore di Riso is a beguiling and elegant floral gourmand, which comes as an unexpected surprise.

With a citrus and vanilla opening, Profumum's Dulcis in Fundo vaguely springs to mind. But while there may be an initial similarity, Fiore di Riso isn't as dense, with the citruses being crisper, brighter and more ethereal. The differences become even clearer when the emergence of dainty white florals add a feminine touch – with neroli, orange blossom, jasmine and ylang-ylang being possible undisclosed contenders.

As the creamy zestiness persists, the floral tone intensifies with a touch of marigold. A faint booziness is also evident, from the davana, but its volume never increases. As it progresses, the white florals soon give way to an ambery-vanillic drydown, accompanied by some sandalwood and a hint of oakmoss.

In summary, it's a soft skin creation, with dreamy vanillic facets, which isn't syrupy sweet or overtly floral. Even though its lasting power is somewhat lacking, it's still a lovely olfactory experience that's harmoniously bended in a skilful manner.


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Aromadite by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

*****
Year: 2008

Notes: lemon, orange, dill, aromatic notes, ginger, spices, tea, flowers, amber, vanilla, powdery musk
There's something odd about Aromadite that just doesn't work...

Call it an abstract structural imbalance, if you will. Maybe it's the dill, maybe it's just the saccharine sweetness of the citrus accords, or maybe it's because the uncouth fruity-floral blending is extremely reminiscent of Tauer Perfumes' Une Rose Vermeille.

With prominent ginger-infused florals, resulting in a tea-like diffusion, it spends most of its time coming across as cheap-smelling and unpleasant. It's only several hours later, into the musky and spicy vanillic drydown, that it becomes a far less laborious experience.

Although it boasts exceptional longevity, with minimal sillage, it's sadly muddled and unfocused.


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Moaï by La Maison de la Vanille

*****
Year: 2007

Notes: bergamot, coriander, lavender, patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood, musk

Comment: Moaï is part of Les Eaux du Pacifique Collection
Named after the monoliths found on Easter Island, Moaï is a masculine aquatic vanilla, with the typical woody-gourmand heart found in most designer offerings of the same silk, such as Thierry Mugler's A*Men.

When combined with the other listed notes, the lavender emulates a chocolaty accord, with a gritty yet creamy undercurrent. Unfortunately, there's nothing really groundbreaking about the composition, and very little to set it apart from other generic woody-gourmands. In addition, the sandalwood and musk base notes exude a metallic aura that's devoid of any grace.

Both sillage and longevity are rather good.


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Vanahé by La Maison de la Vanille

*****
Year: 2006

Notes: bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, orange, blackcurrant, wild strawberry, marine notes, lavender, orange blossom, lily, hyacinth, orchid, iris, vanilla, white musk

Comment: Vanahé is part of Les Eaux du Pacifique Collection
Inspired by the paintings of Gauguin, Vanahé smells like a confused fruity-floral, where its berry-fused olfactory assault is harsh, deranged and completely merciless.

Set upon a bed of vanilla and musk, the other notes are juxtaposed in such a chaotic manner, while a saltiness gently weaves throughout the proceedings. Yes, there's definitely an aquatic element but it's not as intrusive as its male counterpart, Moaï.

After several moments, the composition changes for the better, as the accords finally settle down and find their bearings. There's a greater sense of harmony, by this point, with a honeyed orange blossom chord providing an alluring sweetness. As this sweetness gently intensifies, the other florals gradually reveal themselves.

Although the eventual drydown won one over, the opening is still vile and makes it very difficult to grant a higher rating. Projection is average and its lasting power is reasonably good.


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Vanille Noire du Mexique by La Maison de la Vanille

*****
Year: 2005

Notes: bergamot, rose, jasmine, iris, vanilla, patchouli, opopanax

Comment: Vanille Noire du Mexique is part of the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection
With a resemblance to Vanille Givrée des Antilles, Vanille Noire du Mexique is certainly the better of the two.

Generally, it's another well-composed vanilla scent that's soft, spicy and powdery, with a prominent cocoa-like accord. While the name perfectly complements it, it's not the most original composition – with Kenzo's Jungle L'Elephant, the variations of Lolita Lempicka and Rochas' Rochas Man springing to mind.

It's largely a caramelised vanilla, with a subtle undercurrent of what smells like woods and molasses. The rose is inconspicuous, but the jasmine and iris are vaguely discernible. With a base of patchouli and opopanax, the drydown emits a more unified aroma, unlike Vanille Givrée des Antilles.

Personally known as their chocolaty vanilla, its projection is low but it's probably the longest-lasting, and most preferred, from the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection.


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Vanille Givrée des Antilles by La Maison de la Vanille

*****
Year: 2005

Notes: bergamot, tangerine, lavender, rose, tuberose, vanilla, patchouli, opopanax, tonka bean

Comment: Vanille Givrée des Antilles is part of the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection
Vanille Givrée des Antilles is the least preferred release from the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection. One can also understand why much has been said about its striking similarity to Thierry Mugler's Angel.

But while it's softer, the patchouli isn't as prominent. Opening with some citrus top notes, the florals keep their distance and allow the other accords to take centre stage. However, by the time the patchouli fully emerges, a balsamic base accompanies it, with an earthy and chocolaty sharpness heightened by the opopanax.

Unfortunately, the chocolate wafer drydown is very reminiscent of Vanille Noire du Mexique but less satisfying. Coupled with the Angel comparisons, one considers it to be the sole redundant offering in the collection (albeit more affordable than Thierry Mugler's commercial hit).

Perceived as their woody-balsamic vanilla, it mostly stays very close to the skin but peters out around the four hour mark.


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Vanille Fleuri de Tahiti by La Maison de la Vanille

*****
Year: 2005

Notes: bergamot, ylang-ylang, frankincense, cedar, vanilla, tonka bean, benzoin, amber

Comment: Vanille Fleuri de Tahiti is part of the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection
Vanille Fleuri de Tahiti is very much a quieter and less fruity version of Profumum's Acqua e Zucchero. Although no fruits are listed, there's a berry-like aspect to it, which could be attributed to the ylang-ylang.

It's sugary, slightly powdery and emits subtle whiffs of frankincense from time to time. However, it's linear, lacks complexity, and the serving of either the benzoin or tonka bean is too generous. As always with this house, the creamy vanilla accord is well-executed and its retail price represents good value.

Personally viewed as their fruity or ambery vanilla, sillage is intimate and lasts for roughly four hours.


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Vanille Sauvage de Madagascar by La Maison de la Vanille

*****
Year: 2005

Notes: bergamot, coriander, lavender, geranium, cistus, frankincense, vetiver, vanilla, sandalwood

Comment: Vanille Sauvage de Madagascar is part of the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection
Compared to the rest of the Toutes les Vanilles du Monde Collection, Vanille Sauvage de Madagascar could be viewed as the simplest (or least interesting) offering. It also smells a little too ubiquitous for its own good.

At times, it smells like a budget vanilla fragrance, but the other accords act as distractions to the cheap plastic aroma that occasionally greets one's nose. With a pleasant opening of bergamot and lavender, the composition duly settles into a warm and dry bed of vanilla, with a spicy facet from the coriander. As the drydown ensues, a soft woodiness provides an anchor, with the frankincense adding a tender smokiness to the proceedings.

Personally labelled their woody-aromatic vanilla, sillage is moderate and its longevity is at least six hours.


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