Working through something also from like 3 years ago... Van Cleef & Arpels sampler set of their 'new' Collection Extraordinaire from when it first launched: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Bois D'Iris - There's florals in here but I'm getting a huge hit of chocolate and spices. Not what I was expecting! I'm so confused... All I'm smelling is heavy heady vanilla and spice. I had to double check if I put on the wrong one... OK I'm going to skip the review because this makes no sense to me. I don't get any Iris or floral to speak of. ????. Aha! now that I'm reading L'Incandescent's note above about the chocolate facet of Iris, which I had no idea existed, this may be making more sense. And after quite a while now I can smell more of the floral notes. Just surprised me, that's all. I will agree with one BN reviewer who said there's a somewhat overwhelming cheapish vanilla base that sort of just plows over everything else.
Lys Carmin - OK this one's interesting. The Muguet is crisp and fresh. This is sweet, in a way I've never smelled before. I'm struggling to describe this. There's Ylang ylang which to me almost has a red currant sort of fruity note. Shoot, maybe it's the caramel of Prada Candy? Plus shampoo or bubble bath. There's kind of a candied sweetness and then the ylangylang, which as far as I know is not a common floral used. Again, not particularly my cup of tea, although I think it's worth sniffing. TRY! (who knew?)
Gardenia Petale - Alright, let me start by saying I don't particularly care for Gardenia... GF beside me has a little splash of it on her arm. I'm no expert but I think it's accurate. Meaning white funky earthy floral. Bit of dirt, earth, and little funk. Eh, not much to say here I dunno. I guess if you love gardenia, give it a shot, otherwise. Oh, just read that it's got Jasmine and Tuberose, two other things I also rather dislike. Really not to my kind of thing but I'll give it some credit and say if you like things such as Chanel's Gardenia or Malle's gardenia candle, give it a TRY.
Cologne Noir - Mark Buxton huh. Interesting. Ok, well it's spicey incence black pepper, woods, etc. Actually reminds me exactly of some of the Penhaligons I reviewed earlier. Maybe a CdG vibe. Actually really nice! Some lemon, strong dry black pepper, and woods. Sharp, dry, fresh in a sense. BN is telling me there's also ginger in this one and I get that. It's the sharp throat burning spicey almost garlic sharp side of it. Actually I'm also reminded a lot of Hermessence Poivre Samarcade. Hmmm, on the one hand it's worth trying because it's nice. On the other hand, for a niche scent it's a pretty common combo, like you could just as easily get the Hermes one and be happy. It's well worth a sniff as the juice stands, just doesn't add much to the genre IMO. And yet, for me it's the closest to 'niche' that I think this line gets to. It's just not very interesting niche. So worth a sniff, ie a TRY but you've probably smelled this sort of thing before. Basically EdC DNA with less citrus and a big wallop of black pepper. Eh, I still have mixed feelings. Y'know what, for the $250 asking price, get the Hermes instead or Creed's Spice&Wood.
Orchidee Vanille - Well there's an almost sharp hot vanilla here, gonna give it a second to calm down. Little bit boozy, little bit nutty. GF says it's like custard buns. I won't say it's cheap vanilla, but it's not the kind we're used to smelling a la Guerlain (booze/spice) or L'Artisan (plastic) etc. After a few minutes, the florals are starting to come out. It's pleasant enough but hardly captivating.
So overall, the Cologne Noir was my favorite, though it's fairly safe for 'niche'. For you floral lovers, the Gardenia is nice since these are hard to find I think and then the Lys and Iris each have a somewhat unique angle there. All that being said, my thoughts on the line are that it's a bit random. Quite a few florals, mostly fresh and green or heavily overshadowed by oriental tones, and then one random spicey EdC. Not a very well thought out line, and the prices are pretty high, even for niche. Nothing really surprised or delighted me. The Cologne Noir was nice, and a couple of florals were pretty, or interesting, but just barely there. Worth a sniff if you see it, but don't bother going out to search for it, and as for ordering samples, hmmm, I'd really be hard pressed to encourage even that because the bottles aren't worth their asking price even if you decide you 'like' one, and I'd be surprised if you guys really love any of them. There's a couple of interesting ones, but I just don't see anything jumping out.
SOOOO over priced this line is!!!
Have you tried the Precious Oud yet?