Forever Red Vanilla Rum by Bath & Body Works 10ml EDP for $12 NZD from trademe
Notes: Rum, vanilla, mandarin, jasmine, gardenia, black lily, black currant, musk, apricot and cashmere wood.
I simply had to get this scent because it’s called Vanilla Rum and was so cheap. It opens as dark and rum-like, it’s beautiful and sultry. An instant evening and candlelit dinner scent. I get hints of mandarin and black currant before it settles into it’s, slightly powdered, heart. I get some soft and subtle florals – gardenia with a hint of lily.
It is, however, the base of rum soaked vanilla and musky cashmere that really stands out. It’s a very me base and smells of class. It is slightly sweet but in a dark and boozy way.
It’s alluring, mysterious, graceful and sophisticated. It’s slightly spicy and rather deep. It’s got soft to medium body-hugging sillage and lasts about four hours. It’s a very, very good Bath & Body Works scent that I’m angling to buy more of when I’m out. 7/10.
Vanille Noire du Mexique 100ml EDT for $60 USD from Luckyscent
Notes: Vanilla, rose, jasmine, iris, tonka bean, patchouli and bergamot.
I brought the set of all 5 La Maison de la Vanille 15ml EDT’s for $50 on Luckyscent and thought each perfume deserved its own review rather than a combined set one. Vanille Noire du Mexique opens with a fresh, almost spicy, bergamot. This top note is very fizzy and almost like those dissoluble cold medicine tablets that I used to have when I was little. After a few minutes this settles into a powdery and velvet iris with a touch of patchouli. I find the patchouli, which some sites don’t list but is definitely there, more prominent and sweeter in warmer weather than colder.
I, thankfully, don’t get any jasmine but I do get the faintest whiff of a dry and dusty rose. It’s rather earthy and I’m happy when the tonka-bean and vanilla finally appear in the base. It’s not too sweet and certainly not gourmand. This is possibly the darkest scent of the set – hence the noire. It has a slight soapy aspect which parallels with it’s slightly spicy aspect.
It’s exotic and powerful but also contained. It can be alluring and dangerous. Something a warrior ninja would wear. The kind of person I imagine this on wears a ribbon in their hair, has a sad darkness to them, wears black clothing and has a femininity to them. I imagine someone like Blake Belladona from RWBY wearing this. It’s also slightly gothic ivy, stone and velvet. It has medium sillage with about 4 hours of longevity similar to the rest of the collection. 7/10.
Gothic I by Loree Rodkin 50ml EDP for $140 USD from Luckyscent
Notes: Vanilla pod, Madagascar vanilla, spice accord, Tunisian patchouli and Indian patchouli.
The description on Lucky Scent does it justice “A moody vanilla shrouded in a mist of light woods and patchouli. Sensuous and unrepentant. We picture long hair whipping in the wind, a search by candlelight and a man driven half mad by love. Still, for all of its gorgeous drama, we could wear this everyday. It has the luxuriant skin-caressing softness of a vintage silk velvet cape. Worn over nothing. Voluptuous and mesmerizing.”
It opens with a deep and velvety vanilla, backed up by a dark patchouli and smoky spices. I really like the vanilla in this, it’s warm and full-bodied. The Patchouli is a strong force, dirty and earthy. Gothic I flickers like a candle between the Patchouli and the Vanilla – some reviewers have mentioned this might have to do with temperature; that the vanilla is more prominent in cooler temperatures and the patchouli is more prominent warmer temperatures. It’s very complex and well blended.
This is rich, luxurious, silky, seductive, mysterious, dark and dramatic. However, at times, I’m sure some people will find it medicinal or too incensey. This perfume is quite powerful and not for the light-hearted but it’s not at all too much for me. It’s reminds me of things like Phantom of the Opera and Sarah Brightman – both of which I love.
I believe you’d have to be a certain type of person to pull Gothic I off which, at times, I am so I’m probably going to have to buy a full bottle of this. It’s my dark secret. Some people have said this is really sweet but I find it actually suits it’s name, gothic, with only a touch of vanillac and patchouli-esque sweetness. It’s a definitely a night perfume and I’d keep it away from the office. It’s more suited to colder seasons and smells like an alternative shop. Both the sillage and longevity are medium on me. 8/10.
I bought a 10 pack (plus 1 free) sample set of perfume oils from Scent by the Sea on Etsy for $17 NZD and here is my review of them.
Kabuki: This was a free sample included and recommended to me by the perfumer when I said I liked oriental and warm scents. All I had to go off was the short description that said it was “inspired by the art of David Mack.” I had not come across the art of David Mack before so, naturally, I looked it up – it’s very beautiful (go check it out!) but I had no idea how it would transfer into a scent. Turns out it does this well as Kabuki is reminiscent of vague watercolour brushstrokes, warm colours and has a soft grace to it. It’s warm, wet, oriental, slightly soapy, slightly gourmand and smells like sunlight touching your skin. Now I’m not really sure of the notes but I’m pretty sure there’s some Sandalwood (reminds me of a softer version of Sandalwood Vanilla) in here, maybe a little vanilla, maybe coconut and something floral like Frangipani. It kind of reminds me of Madagascan Vanilla Flower by The Body Shop. This is one of my favourites from the set and I’ll probably purchase a full bottle – nice recommending! 7/10.
Cote d’Azur: Oh my god I can’t stand this this perfume. I actually can’t try it on again to review it so I’m just sniffing it from the bottle. It’s strong, almost medicinal and bitter to me. I’ve read polarising reviews on this; people either love it or hate it and I’m the latter. The notes are apparently lavender, champagne, vanilla and a hint of coconut but I can’t really tune into one as it’s a headache inducing blur to me. I think it’s the lavender and champagne causing the problem – they don’t blend well at all. Normally if I don’t like a perfume I’ll still wear it and let it run it’s course but I had to try to scrub this off immediately. It’s sad because I see where the perfumer was trying to go with this. 1/10.
Middle Earth: A perfume that’s meant to smell like Middle Earth? I simply had to get it. It’s quite strong on first application but settles down into something sweeter. I can’t find a list of notes on Etsy anymore so I’m going by my nose. I get a lot of Pine, a slight shampoo smell, hints of herbs (marjoram?) and other woods, it’s slightly fruity, green and resinous. It doesn’t necessarily smell like Middle Earth in a bottle to me but maybe a forest the fellowship would’ve camped out in. The kind of forest where your head is buried into the foliage. I don’t see myself wearing it but it’s an interesting experience. 5/10.
Cinema Rouge: This is a great and well blended perfume that I have become to especially respect since trying a lot of other perfumes. The name is very befitting for such a perfume and it matches it’s description well. The perfumer describes Cinema Rouge as “a willingness to consort with the seamy side of desire, excess and all things sensual and forbidden. A dedication to the vamp cinema style of Theda Bara.” It’s basically a smokey yet creamy amber with a touch of vanilla. It’s a little bit gourmand and spicy – the note I initially thought was anise turns out to be malabar pepper which is rather unique and prominent on my skin. Apparently black orchard is a note but I’m not familiar with it so I’m unable to comment on it. It gets a bit powdery on dry down and can easily be worn on a man. If you like amber scents I would definitely recommend this. It reminds me of various Tom Ford perfumes. I think it’s too dark for use during the day but I would wear it at night when I’m feeling moody, gothic and/or mysterious. 6.5/10.