Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Snippet Review: Part 2 Abdul Karim Al Faransi Maison de Parfum

Bakhoor Hindi
If you are fan of blackberry musks then Bakhoor Hindi is definitely worth your attention. For me Bakhoor Hindi is a bit like if Narciso Rodriguez had used a blackberry musk instead of an Egyptian musk for his original scent. Bakhoor Hindi is smooth and luminous, it takes away the vanilla note used so often in blackberry musks ex. Falling In Love by Philosophy or Bath and Body Work's
Black Raspberry Vanilla and instead creates a sleek stylish take on the blackberry musk genre. It's not citrus forward like L'Artisan's Mure et Musc, but rather keeps the berries smooth but supports them with a rather chic supple jasmine note, below all of that is a sweet luminous musk with a hint of woods. Try if you like berry musks or Narciso Rodriguez.

Dulcedinis Moschus
If you are a fan of Egyptian musks this probably the closest in the Al Faransi collection to that type of musk. This has a sweet tangy clean floral quality I associate with Egyptian musks going through it. I did find it had a bit of animalic note going through it that caught me off guard but eventually Dulcedinis Moschus softened into a very clean sweet soft scent on me. Try if you like Auric Blend's Egyptian Goddess.

Musk Massilia N.2
I would say that Musk Massilia N.2 is Al Faransi's other take on the blackberry musk genre. Instead of going sweet and smooth though, Al Faransi takes blackberry musk into a whole new direction, the fougere direction. The fougere quality is created with a high quality high altitude lavender, the smooth fluffy quality of the lavender tells me it is high altitude lavender. Complimenting the berries is a spicy woody note that makes me feel that Musk Massilia N.2 does best in cooler weather. Below this is a rather luminous salt tinged musk that amplifies the spiced berry quality of the scent. Try if you like Guerlain's Jicky, Montale's Fruits of the Musk, or Bois de Paradise by Parfums DelRae.

I'm calling this the night cousin of Lancome's Mille and Une Roses. Now here is the thing Lancome's Mille and Une Roses has always struck me as a warm ambery rose musk. Sundus takes that same damask rose found in Mille and Une Roses and layers in animalic honey, jasmine, musk, and amber. Overall the effect is heady and intense, the rose is sweet and velvety. Sundus is probably the most animalic of Al Faransi's offerings I have tried. Try if you like Calligraphy Rose by Aramis, Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone, or Magie by Lancome.

Image by Olaf Hajek

Monday, February 01, 2016

A Summer Garden: Ninfeo Mio by Annick Goutal

Last year I was bemoaning the lack of fig and then I found a very true to form fig in Lucy B's Apothecary Royal Green Fig and Vanilla . Somehow in my years I had never gotten around to sniffing Annick Goutal's Ninfeo Mio, I regret it, because Goutal released one of the most interesting fig scents I have ever smelled.

Ninfeo Mio is the scent of a summer garden for me. All the ad-copy will suggest watery spring garden in Rome but for me Ninfeo Mio is an early summer garden with the last remnants of spring holding on. Ninfeo Mio starts with a buzzing candied citrus note combined with the friendliest galbanum note you have ever met. I can't help but think of bees buzzing around in a grove of citrus trees with blossoms and ripe fruit at once. There is a sweetness in the scent that suggests the imagery of candied citrus or lemon peel in honey and yet not an ounce of this is cloying because Isabelle Doyen is keeping it all in check with an easygoing galbanum. The green herbacious note of galbanum is the perfect balance note to the buzzing sweetness of the citron and lemon. It also plays the chauffeur to the next stage of the scent.

Fig is frequently paired with galbanum, galbanum playing well with fig's green notes, yet sometimes they can be an overly harsh pairing on me. Not in Ninfeo Mio, the fig of Ninfeo Mio is all creamy goodness, this is the afternoon of the garden. The buzzing of the bees is gone because everyone is taking a nap in the heat, the citrus keeps going combined with the figs and galbanum, the effect is a milky green quality. It reminds me of the color of celadon.

The third stage of Ninfeo Mio is perhaps the one that catches everyone off guard the most. I like to think of it as the early evening stage. Everyone is awaking from their naps there is a tinge of clean sweat, you can smell the evergreen trees giving off the their resinous scent with the coming of a cooling evening. The animalic note of sweat is utterly there but instead of being off-putting Doyen is genius because it is balanced with resinous note of mastic and creamy fig. One thing I noticed about this clean sweat note is that it is far more pronounced if you spray the perfume but if you dab Ninfeo Mio on it is relatively mild.

Finally Ninfeo Mio settles into creamy resinous combination of fig and mastic there are still hints of citrus but the overall effect is milky green. The effect of Ninfeo Mio feels like going through a full day in a garden on the first warm day of summer, the green is still there, in fact it is peaked at its most lush levels but dry summer heat is edging in.

Try Ninfeo Mio if you like Miller Harris's Figue Amere, Coriandre by Jean Couturier, Lo Mejor di Mi by Mario Tomas, or Le Temps d'une Fete by Nicolai.

First Image from
Second Image from Frances Benjamin Johnston
Third Image from Hellen Van Meene
Fourth Image from Tom Killion

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Snippet Reviews: Abdul Karim Al Faransi Maison de Parfum edition

Musk Warda N.3
If you are a fan of clean rose scents and clean musk scents then this scent is for you. Very much a dewy rose scent with leanings toward the tea rose category, but thankfully nothing overbearing. Definitely of the aldehydic musk variety. Try if you like Serge Luten's Clair de Musc or Sonoma Scent Studio's Velvet Rose.

Sample this immediately if you love Parfum d'Empire's Ambre Russe or Ava Luxe's now legendary long discontinued Madame X. This has the rich baroque spice and amber of Ambre Russe combined with the slinky animalic labdanum and leather of Madame X. The florals used remind me a bit of Caron's Narcisse Noir, a rather narcotic combination of grape-y orange blossom and jasmine with an herbal rose. Very animalic.

Musk Abiyad Optimum
Ever wanted to smell a white musk of high caliber ingredients, such as when a perfumer is using good quality ambrette? Then this scent is for you. I imagine this is originally what white musk smelled like before the note became overtaken by the laundry detergent note that has over the years taken over white musk. An intensely animalic anise opening that settles into a pure white musk note. If you consider yourself a true white musk aficionado then you need to try this.

Musk Al-Qurtabi
If you want a musk with an intense floral opening a la the grape florals as I like to call them, a combination of orange blossom and jasmine, then this musk is for you. Unfortunately this blend never really settled on me so I really couldn't tell you about the musk. My floral wonky skin didn't really allow me to enjoy this.

If you love Jeffrey Dame's New Musk or Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez this scent is worth your time which tells you it is not for me. It has that unique musk on me that goes strangely screechy.

Image by Olaf Hajek

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Musk Quest: Musk Tahara Al Faransi by Abdul Karim Al Faransi Maison de Parfum

I have often jokingly said that if heaven has a scent it would be the scent of the Italian hazelnut liquor Frangelico. It is one of the most delicious things you will ever smell and over the years I have often wondered why the hazelnut note found in Frangelico is not used more often in perfumery. Well the thing is when hazelnut is used as a note in perfumes most of the time it is in the form of nutella on steroids, overbearing, intensely sweet, and frequently paired with chocolate; not what I want to smell like.

So let us bask for a moment in the genius use of hazelnut, lemon verbena, and lemon used in Musk Tahara Al Faransi. This perfume uses hazelnut in all its perfect nuttiness to create a sublime cuddly musk.  Al Faransi has made an excellent argument in Musk Tahara Al Faransi that hazelnut is an underused note to use in musk based scents.  Hazelnut combined with a candied lemon verbena followed by delicious zingy creamy lemon makes Musk Tahara Al Faransi have one of the most unique openings I have smelled in a musk in very long time. Musk Tahara Al Faransi is a part of the white musk family, but I have to say this now the white musk used by Al Faransi is clearly above average in comparison to all of the white musks I have encountered. The white musk used by Al Faransi showcases the rose and sandalwood notes of white musk. Yes, this scent is clean but at no point have I been reminded of dryer sheets or anything industrial, what I am mainly reminded of is cashmere, cream, and rosewater.

Musk Tahara Al Faransi smells like luxury comfort with a very friendly opening, there is something very warm and welcoming about this scent. At the heart of this scent is a rosewater vanilla laced white musk which keeps the tiniest reminder of delicious hazelnuts going throughout. The beginning reminds me of an Italian style hazelnut cake with has generous portion of lemon zest in it but as time progresses I am reminded of rosewater scented cream all of this plushly supported by Al Faransi's sweet white musk. Musk Tahara Al Faransi glows perfectly on the skin, this is the sort of scent that should have a cult following because it is just so good smelling. Yes, I do intend to buy a bottle of this.

Try Musk Tahara Al Faransi if you like Pearl by Sage Machado, Perfect Veil by Sarah Horowitz Perfums, Musc by Reminiscence, Opal by Sonoma Scent Studio, Vanilla Musk by Kuumba Made, Loukhoum by Ava Luxe or Montale's Musk to Musk.

First image from
Second Image Alon Alvissar
Last Image from

Friday, January 29, 2016

Calisson meets Loukhoum: Kayseri by Abdul Karim Al Faransi Maison de Parfum

Sometimes someone makes an awesome perfume discovery and shares it. Finding Abdul Karim Al Faransi's perfumes is very much courtesy of the Facebook group Facebook Fragrance Friends.

Kayseri may be the ultimate wallet friendly and interesting Loukhoum scent you have been waiting for. Although, lets take a moment to reminisce about the time when Loukhoum scents were a big fad in the fragrance community, yup it was the early 2000s and everyone was talking about Luten's Rahat Loukhoum, Keiko Mecheri's Loukhoum, and Montale's Mukhallat. For those of us obsessed with gourmands it was like a new frontier because this was a gourmand that featured roses and nuts prominently. Fast forward a few years and well the trend fell to the wayside. There are still those of us who enjoy the idea of a loukhoum inspired fragrance but the thing is most loukhoum scents have a clobber you over the head aspect frequently.

What if someone created a scent that featured the rosewater powder nutty goodness of loukhoum at its heart but instead of blasting you with powder decided to introduce a completely different element at the beginning, in this case the melon almond French sweet, calisson. If you are not put off by this idea then you need to try Kayseri. Kayseri starts with a sweet candied melon note, not overbearing, but most definitely there, it is very unique and somewhat reminds me of the beginning of Providence Perfume's Provanilla, this melon is most definitely of the cantaloupe* variety. It's a clean and sweet and not going to burden you and as time progresses it transforms to delicious rosewater loukhoum scent. Al Faransi's loukhoum note has accents of lemony rose and at moments I could swear it hints at a tiny smidgen of violet in there too. The beauty of Kayseri is instead of pummeling you with sweet powder as can frequently happen with a loukhoum scent Al Faransi has made a loukhoum that is slightly water-colored. The earthy quality of the melon note lightens it and adds a gentle spicy quality and it all sits on a bed of gently sweetened musky woods. Kayseri is easily one of the most wearable loukhoum scents I have encountered. Most interesting is there is a depth of layering to it that I have not really encountered in most loukhoum scents and much less in oil based scents.

Try Kayseri if you like Loukhoum scents, Sonoma Scent Studio's Lieu de Reves, or Rose Absolue by Yves Rocher

*Fun fact many melons in the cantaloupe family are called muskmelons. Considering Al Faransi specializes in musk scents how appropriate is it that use a muskmelon note in their scent?

Kayseri image from
Calisson image from Butterbadge
Loukhoum image from 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A List of Musks That Have Not Worked For Me

Let's discuss the musk scents that have not worked for me. The variation of how they have not worked is either I am anosmic/my skin sucked them up or they did something horrendous on my skin. I like to make these lists because well I feel like it gives me an idea of where to pinpoint the issue at hand:

Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez (I wanted that gorgeous milky white bottle in my collection but alas that was just not happening.)
Essence by Narciso Rodriguez (Too much laundry detergent in this)
New Musk by Dame Perfumery (I love many of his scents but this definitely turned screechy on me :-( )

Just Kind of Weird
Suaded Musk by GAP (what should have been a safe bet just sort of smelled off on.
Original Musk by Kiehl's (Not uber anything I just did not enjoy the powdery aspect of it)

Disappearing Act
Elephant and Roses by Marie Candide Gentle
Le Parfum by Barbara Bui
Silk Way by Ted Lapidus

Monday, January 25, 2016

Musk Quest: Musc by Reminiscence

As I've mentioned recently I'm on the mission for a new musk. My absurdly long lived Egyptian Goddess roll-on oil by Auric Blends recently turned and I need a new musk to wear. The frank truth is by the end Egyptian Goddess was no longer really me either. We had grown apart. I still consider it one of the best cheap thrills you can get in the perfume world and definitely recommend it to those that love Egyptian musk scents. Still I want a musk back in my collection that I can wear and feel great in. The pleasure of a good musk scent is that they smell like a natural awesome smelling extension of you.

I was recently going through my collection of samples when I stumbled on Musc by Reminiscence. It stuck out even more considering the recent review I read on Chez Pajama for it. Chez Pajama considers it a favorite of her's and that it has a rather intimate quality going on. Well I had to try it with that ringing endorsement and lets be frank if there is one place where mutations of scent on different skin can be smelled it is in the musk category of perfume.

Musc by Reminiscence smells good. It is one of those downy warm sweet creamy musks on me that some people say remind them of babies although I would say Reminiscence sidesteps that issue by keeping a lovely spicy bitter almond note running through out the musk. Musc is all about warm clean skin on me, whatever animalic edge other's encounter in this scent is sucked up on my skin (I can notoriously de-animalic scents that are considered super animalic and I can animalic scents that are considered safe). For me Musc is all comfort and ease with a little bit of spice running through it. I like that Musc is not a white musk or an Egyptian musk, it is closer to the old school 70s musks but a bit sweeter and more interesting.

It's not quite the musk I am looking for but I am most definitely going to enjoy my sample of it while I have it.

Try Musc by Reminiscence if you like Disco Nap by Smell Bent, Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens, or Dana O'Shee by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

First Image from 
Second image by Jozef Wilcon