Victorian Spirit by The Parlor Apothecary 30ml EDT for $45 NZD from Etsy
Notes: Amber, Apricot and Vanilla.
It opens as sweet and sugary with apricot and vanilla. Apricot, along with strawberry and peach, is probably one of my favourite fruity notes if I had to choose. It pairs very well with vanilla, is soft and almost velvety. It’s youthful and happy but, surprisingly, not gourmand. As it dries down a lovely warm amber comes through. It actually does come across as Victorian-esque for some reason. It’s kind of woody in a mysterious fae glade way but also like reading on a window-seat in a grand library in Victorian-area clothing.
It’s got soft to medium sillage and lasts a couple of hours. Sometimes I get more out of it but other times it fades quite quickly. It’s almost more like a mist than and EDT. It’s got an absolutely gorgeous bottle which, to be honest, is part of the reason I bought it. Look at that gorgeous atomizer and golden delicacy – it looks lovely in my collection. I also really like the branding and collection of this perfumer. 7.5/10.
I also purchased a couple of samples and have short reviews on them below:
Antique Tonic is a tiny bit astringent for me with its lavender. I do like this, French I think, lavender though as it’s proper and almost dainty. It’s another lavender/vanilla combination which I like but already have lots of. Antique is a good name for it. 6.5/10.
Lingerie Mist is basically just sugar, brown, and vanilla but is very nice. There’s a little bit of amber in here too. It’s sweet, youthful and flirty. It reminds me of some Bath and Body Works scents. I did actually think of getting this but chose Victorian Spirit instead as I already have similar scents to Lingerie Mist. 7/10.
Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain 75ml EDP for $350 NZD from Nordstrom
Notes: Top notes are pink pepper, bergamot and incense; middle notes are ylang-ylang, cedar, bulgarian rose and jasmine; base notes are benzoin and vanilla.
Since Vanilla is my favourite note I simply had to get my hands on Guerlain’s rare, expensive and worshiped SDV. I normally buy my samples from Luckyscent but since they don’t stock SDV I bought a 3ml vial from The Perfumed Court.
It opens as a benziony and woody bergamot with a touch of pink pepper. It reminds me of the opening of Mona di Orio’s Vanille. It’s bit too mature for me (as I’m 22) with a tad too much benzoin. Up close it’s really intense but from a distance I get wafts of this gorgeous vanilla. A kind of creamy vanilla ice-cream but it’s more liquid than solid – like a high-end vanilla beverage flavoring. I would like a perfume based on that vanilla because, sadly, this isn’t really it. This is too elusive; it dances around the vanilla but doesn’t truly embrace it. I can’t really tell where the fragrance is coming from despite knowing it’s my arm as it halos.
This is mainly a smoky-woody-incensy-ambery-benziony-tobacco scent with wisps of vanilla. I don’t find it sweet or boozy. It also reminds me slightly of Serge Luten’s Un Bois Vanille which was honey/beeswax, liquorice and benzoin on me and I didn’t like it. Whilst there’s some sort of deeply woody aspect to this I don’t get cedar. I don’t get any florals – I was hoping for rose.
SDV smells like the kind of stuff millionaires wear in their luxury houses on the top of snowfield-hills with glass walls for views whilst smoking a cigar with a sexy woman in their arms. Or, more like, it’s rubbed off onto this woman as it does have hints of that feminine vanilla. She has a fur wrap, dark red nail polish and a glass of expensive liquor.
A few hours in it does get more vanillic and weaker. It becomes softer, more feminine and almost powdery. It feels shier now. It brings to mind images of an exclusive club in a library. It’s warm and cozy. At times I almost want to lick my arm as it’s yummy but it’s still not what I imagined it to be. From the bottle it smells like a gorgeously boozy vanilla essence with a tinge of benzioned cedar. That’s how I thought it would be on my skin but it’s not.
The fleeting whispers of vanilla I get it are nice but it’s not enough. In-fact I don’t actually know if vanilla is an active ingredient or if some ingredients are trying to emulate it. It just doesn’t feel real enough to me. I have a love-hate relationships with this perfume. Sometimes I think it smells gorgeous but other times it makes my stomach curl. I can’t justify buying a (RARE AND EXPENSIVE) full bottle and maybe when I’m older I’ll like it more. 7/10.
Jua by Trilogy 7.5ml Oil for $25 NZD at a local pharmacy
Notes: Top notes are bergamot, rose and freesia; middle notes are apricot, olibanum and mint; base notes are cedar, vetiver and vanilla.
This is a New Zealand (yay!) natural perfume oil which is super awesome. Sunflower oil is the base of the fragrance so it does have whispers of Sunflower which adds to the vibe of this perfume. I get very little bergamot but a lot of rose and freesia which carry most of the fragrance.
A soft vanilliac apricot, slightly smoky olinanum and a touch of mint come into play to make Jua unique. It’s still mostly freesia to me with a bit of a grassy-hay vetiver and a touch of cedar to give it a woody aspect at it’s base. It does have a slight soapy scent at times. It’s warm, feels like a hug from a mother or rolling around in grass on a summers day. It reminds me of my childhood and has a kind of strange mature innocence to it.
It’s a bright, sunny, subtle and slightly-green Oriental Floral perfume. The sillage is soft to medium and it lasts about 2-3 hours on me. It’s a Spring scent and since Jua means ‘sun’ or ‘sunshine’ in Swahili it’s very accurate. It’s not exactly my kind of thing but I like it and some money from sales will go to charity. 5.5/10.
I ordered a 2ml sample of Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors from their website and they kindly gave me samples of Violet Disguise and Cape Heartache as well – all for $6!! Awesome value and service. 🙂
The concept of Imaginary Authors is rather unique and self-explanatory. The perfumes are based off the lives of these authors that the perfumer made up. The real version of this would be if people made perfume out of the lives of J.K Rowling or Jane Austin or George RR Martin – it’s interesting concept to think about.
MEMOIRS OF A TRESPASSER – 60ml EDP for $85 USD
Notes: Madagascar Vanilla, Guaiacwood, Myrrh, Benzoin Resin, Ambrette Seeds & Oak Barrels.
This opens as a dusty vanilla with some sweet wood but at the same time, as someone previously mentioned, it has a faint tar/shoe polish scent for a few minutes. This is probably from the myrrh and/or benzoin which is noticeable but not overwhelming. I’m getting a lot of guaiac wood (and a little oak barrel) from it with a rather smoky and slight incense tinge.
I don’t get much vanilla for the first hour or so, as it seems to be used more as a base to back up the overall concept, but I finally get a rather incredible vanilla. I can see, now that I know what kind of Vanilla it is, how it was subtly there at the start but the smoky wood was veiling it. It’s a very pure vanilla, more essence than cake-sweet. The vanilla does gets slightly sweeter in a woody-way though as it goes on and resins influence it heavily. The more I smell this the more I like it and it’s, somehow, strangely exactly what I imagined this perfume to be.
It is a warm, cozy and nostalgic perfume with a mysterious ‘it smells like something from my past that I can’t quite put my finger on’ aspect. Amber isn’t a listed note but it has an ambery aspect. It is surprisingly unisex. It reminds me, of course, of campfires and autumn but is also a rather lonely scent. It’s much lighter than Mona di Orio’s Vanille and isn’t a home-fireplace scent like Firebird’s Woodsmoke Vanilla. It also reminds me of Loreena Mckennitt’s music. 7.5/10.
I bought a set of three 1ml samples from FirebirdBathBody on Etsy for $6 NZD. The value of these is great because a full 9ml roll on perfume oil bottle is about $13 NZD.
Woodsmoke and Vanilla: This is a lovely and cosy scent. It definitely smells of wood-smoke but in a fireplace-way more than a campfire-way like Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors is. I like this a lot because it reminds me of stormy nights curled up by the fireplace reading a book with tea as opposed to an earthy bonfire night dancing with alcohol scent. The vanilla is definitely there, and becomes more prominent in the dry-down, but is more of a backdrop to the smoky wood (cedar?) with a minty fir aspect. 7/10.
Vanilla Amber: Goodness this is yummy, I will simply have to buy a full bottle of this. It’s a soft, warm and cozy Oriental Gourmand. The amber is very rich and almost honeyed whilst the vanilla is a unique vanilla bean. The other notes of coconut, cardamom and sandalwood blend perfectly around this lovely creation. I recommend layering this with Woodsmoke and Vanilla. 8/10.
Black Cocoa: Dark chocolate. This is literally black cocoa. This is one of the closest to real chocolate scents I have come across. It’s rich and dark – not sweet or really even edible. There’s a woody aspect to it (cedar and sandalwood). It’s a bit dramatic and strong for me but I admire it. 6/10
I do get a slight soapy scent from these sometimes though. They are mostly skin scents but have a bit of throw and last about 3 hours.
Les Nombres d’Or Vanille by Mona di Orio 100ml EDP for $230 USD from Luckyscent
Notes: Top notes are petitgrain, clove, rum and bitter orange; middle notes are vetiver, sandalwood, guaiac wood and ylang-ylang; base notes are amber, tonka bean, vanille, tolu balsam, leather and musk.
This opens on me as very woody with an emphasis on clove and bitter orange. After about half an hour in it settles into a rum dipped sandalwood and guaiac wood perfume with a hint of tonka bean. I think it’s the vetiver which is giving it an almost fresh and sharp grassy wood scent.
I finally get something resembling Vanilla about an hour in with the amber – it’s subtle and blended with the woods. The noticeable hints of tolu balsam and leather blend with the perfume perfectly. It reminds me ever so slightly of Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors but more expensive and executed differently. Memoirs has a lighter smoked wood campfire feel whilst this is deeper, woodier and smells like being trapped in a sauna-room or cargo-hold for too long.
I think this is indeed artfully blended and well worth it’s popularity but it’s slightly too masculine and woody for me. It’s dark and deep. Bitter and smoky. There is a rich story in this, a cargo hold of a merchant ship on the high seas. Pirates and cigars sitting on barrels drinking rum.
I’m currently reading a book called S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst and this perfume reminds me of it and what I imagine the Ship of Theseus to smell like. I was expecting to love this but it doesn’t really suit me – I think I’d like it on a guy. I like the story Mona’s Vanille tells, sniffing it like a decoration – a ship in a glass bottle if you will, but it’s not something I’d actively wear. 7.5/10.