mercoledì 9 dicembre 2015

CINESCENT, by Gabriela Guidetti: "Opium" VS. "Gilda".

Opium (1977) 
Gilda (1946)

Mundson: "Gilda, are you decent?"
Gilda: "Me? Sure ... I'm decent." 
(from "Gilda", 1946)

When Pierre Dinand, creator of the first bottle of Opium, asked Yves Saint-Laurent his thought about "Orient", he answered: "Flowers of fire". Whether it's a reference to fireworks, born in the Far East, or to the visual effect you get when you close your eyes and press the eyeballs with your fingers, it does not matter, because in those few words Saint-Laurent synthesized the olfactive essence of the masterpiece created in 1977 by Jean-Louis Sieuzac for the Parisian maison.

mercoledì 2 dicembre 2015

BLEU de Chanel: yesterday and today (2010-2015).

I received an incredible amount of requests, asking to sampling different batches of Bleu de Chanel in order to find differences and "reformulations" in these five years. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Bleu. Let me explain the reason: I'm used to Pour Monsieur, Pour Monsieur Concentrèe, Antaeus, Egoiste...and when I sampled Bleu for the first time I remained a bit concerned: I had the impression to have already smelled a few of similar perfumes with fruity/woody notes. 
Bleu de Chanel is the perfect "clean", "inoffensive", "crowd-pleaser" scent. But it lacks very important factors: personality and originality
Antaeus was the Animalic Beast, Egoiste was the Sandalwood King, Pour Monsieur was the Old Gentleman, and Bleu is ...the Harmless One. 

martedì 27 ottobre 2015

AZZARO: Yesterday and Today. ("Azzaro pour homme", 1978)

Azzaro pour Homme is an institution: it's one of the most famous perfumes ever created. In the middle of the 1980s "Azzaro pour Homme" and "Drakkar Noir" by Guy Laroche accounted together for almost 40% of all male perfume sales. During those years, if you wanted to buy a perfume "for men", you had to choose between "Azzaro" and "Drakkar Noir"....

martedì 13 ottobre 2015

How to recognize SERGE LUTENS perfumes.

SERGE LUTENS is one of the most acclaimed "niche" perfume houses, with a cult status, and an huge amount of enthusiastic followers.
During the Nineties (approx. until 1999) all scents "by Serge Lutens" were launched under the Shiseido label ("Les Salons du Palais Royal- Shiseido, Paris"), in the classic "Bell Jar" transparent bottles, with a white-purple label, stored inside a white-purple box. These early bottles are very rare nowadays.

mercoledì 23 settembre 2015

HABANITA de Molinard: yesterday and today. A "side-by-side" review.

"Imagine to walk in an oriental spice bazaar, with a bunch of exotic flowers in your hands, and a leather factory on your left, and a tobacco manufacture on your right....and suddenly a cloud of talc powder comes down to surround you. This is Habanita."
This is a good description of one of the most legendary perfumes in history: Habanita de Molinard.
You will find spices, tobacco, leather, flowers, talc powder, blended all together. It seems Habanita has been fulfilled with almost every ingredient used in perfumery. Actually, according Molinard, Habanita contains more than 600 (!) ingredients.
Apparently, according to tradition, Habanita could stay in the group of those perfumes called "feminine but masculine": Tabac Blond de Caron, Bandit de Robert Piguet, Cabochard by Grès, Jolie Madame by Balmain. But, in my opinion, Habanita is more similar to another lost gem from the past: Tabu by Dana. However, if you know and appreciate any of these perfumes, you will feel comfortable with Habanita.  In addition, sporting a strong tobacco/spice/leather core, Habanita could fit perfectly for men, too. Be careful, Habanita stands on its own feet and it's immediately recognizable. You can't be wrong: when you smell it, you immediately say: this is Habanita. 
As usual, you can read tons of review about Habanita on the web, so we'll leave floor to a few of highly estimated reviewers (listed at the end of this article).
Hanbanita is in production since 1921 and was probably reformulated several times. Good ol' friend Gianni Ambrosio, the now-retired retailer from Milan, generously borrowed me a couple of vintage EdT bottles from his collection, plus the modern EdP version on sale today, for a comparative review. Laura added a small sample of her precious older vintage. So I was able to perform a really comprehensive review. 
How does vintage Habanita de Molinard perform in front of the modern one? Firstly, we have to learn something about different versions, bottles and packages used during last decades. 
So, let's go and see!

mercoledì 16 settembre 2015

YVES SAINT LAURENT "La Collection": a side-by-side comparison.

Since the launch, happened in 2011,  the "Yves Saint Laurent La Collection" (eight historic male and female perfumes) arose an huge amount of debate among perfume lovers.  The bigger complaint were about the "reformulation" of all eight scents made by L'Oreal (owner of YSL brand); then there was a minor complaint about the new "double cube" bottle (an identical one, for all eight scents), and -at last- the biggest cry: the stop of production of previous versions. 
Aesthetical considerations apart, what about these "new" scents? 
Was "reformulation" so drastic? 
Are these "new" perfumes so "awful" (as reported by many during past years), or "acceptable", or even "good ones"?
I was able to obtain all perfumes both in vintage and modern versions, and perfectly stored (especially the vintage ones). 
So, finally I could perform a side-by-side test with the four "new" male scents produced under "La Collection" line: Rive Gauche - JAZZ - YSL pour Homme - M7 Oud Absolu, and I compared with different "vintage" versions, under strict conditions.
How did they perform?
Let's go and discover it!

mercoledì 19 agosto 2015

"FRACAS" vs. "Fracas": side-by-side.

I love Fracas. It's one of the strongest, heaviest, most intense female scents, and it brings me back to my childhood.
"Fracas de Robert Piguet" is, since 1948, the epitome of tuberose. 
Actually, Fracas is the benchmark for all tuberose-based scents, yesterday and today.
You could read volumes about this perfume, searching on the net, so I'll not waste many words about it, because a lot of perfume experts have written very interesting reviews examining Fracas. You will find a list of interesting reviews at the end of this article. 
One of the most intriguing aspects about Fracas is its recent story: it was produced by historical "Robert Piguet Parfums" until the end of Seventies. Then, during 1985, a few Piguet scents (Fracas, Bandit...) were reformulated, produced and distributed under "Alfin Fragrances Inc.", a well-known american luxury firm, under its Swiss division "Orinter".
Two different bottles were produced by "Alfin/Orinter" : a transparent bottle (1985-1990) and an opaque black one (1990-1995).

"Alfin/Orinter" stopped Fracas production in 1995, and sold Robert Piguet Parfums to "Fashion Fragrances &Cosmetics Ltd". It took a certain amount of time to completely re-orchestrate the scent, and finally to relaunch it, in 1998, with the prestigious label of the "original Fracas formula, certified by Givaudan". Apparently, this new, certified scent underwent at least a couple of reformulations after year 2007, due to IFRA restrictions.
Searching all over the net, you will find a general consensus about the "rogue", "poor quality", "watered down", "deprecable" version produced by "Alfin/Orinter" (1985-1995), opposed to the new, back-to-original, magnificent, and "certified by Givaudan" version produced since 1998 (and -even more- to the legendary 1950s-1960s historical version).
Is it true? Did 1980s Fracas perform really so bad, compared to the new one? It's almost impossible to say, since "Alfin/Orinter" bottles from the 1980s are very, very rare, and almost impossible to find, so it's very difficult to perform a side-by-side comparison. 
Until now....
Well, I was incredibly lucky, because our beloved Gianni from Milan remembered to have an old Fracas tester, in the transparent bottle (the first one, produced during 1985-1990), stored in one of his basements. He generously borrowed it to me, to perform a side-by side comparison with a modern version produced by "Fashion Fragrances&Cosmetics Ltd" (actually, this "new" bottle is a year 2009 one).
In my opinion, this is the first time that someone put two different Fracas bottles side-by-side for testing. Let's go and see the results!

mercoledì 8 luglio 2015

lunedì 22 giugno 2015

GUEST REVIEW: "Capucci pour Homme", by T.Grottola.

Tony Grottola is a well-known name in reviewing perfumes, and this time he will illustrate one of his personal favourites: 

lunedì 15 giugno 2015

GUEST REVIEW: "Diorling", by Caro Fernandez.

If you are a passionate Perfume lover, you will start surfing the web.... and sooner or later you will arrive at "Tè de Violetas" (, the bilingual (English/Spanish) site run by Caro Fernandez and Virginia Blanco.
We at "Raiders" are therefore glad to give the floor to well-known expert Caro Fernandez. 
Caro will talk about one of her greatest favourite: "Diorling", by Christian Dior.

mercoledì 10 giugno 2015

Seven Ads for Seven Days: Tribute to Carven.

(on June 8th, 2015, Carmen de Tommaso, known as "Carven", passed away at age 105, after an entire life dedicated to fashion and perfumes)


lunedì 8 giugno 2015

"CineScent", by Gabriela Guidetti.

Let's open a new section: Movie and Perfumes, or "CineScents". 
It's a real pleasure to welcome Gabriela Guidetti, critic, writer, and perfume lover.

On Air:
Murasaki” (Shiseido, 1980) 
Dressed to Kill” (Brian de Palma, 1980)

martedì 19 maggio 2015

GUEST REVIEW: "Knize Ten", by Alfarom.

Alfarom (AKA Francesco Alfa Romero) is a fragrance aficionado known for his reviews and articles on both Basenotes and Fragrantica and for running his fragrance-related blog Neroprofumo ( He doesn't believe in objectivity applied to fragrance and strongly thinks fragrance criticism is all about personal tastes and penchants. Usually drawn towards dark and avant-garde compositions, he's also a big fan of classic French / Italian perfumery and pre-80s vintage from all over the world.
Here at "Raiders of the Lost Scent", we are very pleased to have such an authority as a "Guest Reviewer". 
So, give him the floor immediately....

lunedì 27 aprile 2015

A trip at the Perfume Chest.

Do you think perfumes stores are "shops where people sell perfumes"? You're right.
Do you think perfumes stores are shops where people sell perfumes  only? Well, this time you're wrong.
There are a few stores which are "Perfume Museums", too. 
Try to imagine it: when you enter in such a store, you enter in a Time Capsule: surrounded by perfumes from 30, 40, 50 years ago... 
A real (and pleasant) blast from the past.
Here, in the heart of Turin, in the northern Italy, not far from the French border, in the beautiful 19th-century "Galleria Umberto", there is a very unusual store: actually, it's a sort of  Historical Museum of Perfumery. Its name? "Elide's Perfumes".
Just enter at "Elide's", have a look around, and guess if you travelled back in time.
The owner, Mr. Gianni Bertetti, is not just the person serving the customer: he is a person who loves to chat, narrating stories and anecdotes about perfumes from the past.
And, above all, is an extraordinarily competent person, with decades of experience in the perfumes field.
(All photos in this article were shot at "Elide's Perfumes" in Turin, Italy)
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