Here are some random grab bag sampling thoughts of the day:
Carven Ma Griffe: I'm retesting my beloved Ma Griffe parfum mini with the gold scrolly cap, and I think it's a creamy, lovely, green, semi-fruity Chypre scent, very much like L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier if it were modernized. I totally understand the tropical vibe of this scent now, and why Guerlain Chant d'Aromes was inspired by it and called the scent of a tropical isle. The quality of this vintage reminds me of a vintage Diorama sample a good friend of mine once sent me to try. It has a distinct creamy softness that can only have been from that time period (roughly the '50s-'60s, '70s latest before reformulation). I'm starting to warm up to this retro scent. I've recently read that Yoko Ono is associated with Ma Griffe--that's cool perf info.
Christian Dior Diorling: I liked it at first when I thought it reminded me of Miss Balmain and Jolie Madame, both gardenia leathers, but Diorling dried down to an unsweet, balsamic-spicy and savory Worcestershire sauce smell (closely related to the barbeque or beef jerky smell). I just don't find smelling like a piece of meat appealing. It is elegant (for a raunchy leather (animalic) scent) and classic--I'll give it that--but it's very similar to Knowing, Cabochard, Halston or Ungaro Diva in its somewhat funky ending with rosy-woody-patchouli-labdanum (key animalic musk in Chypres) dominating. It's so heavy that even though it's unsweet, it's cloying and slightly nauseating for me.
L'Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu: This was recommended to me and I like the incensey part of it which is a lot like L'Artisan Parfumeur D'Humeur a Rien (Spiritual Mood), Etro Shaal Nur and even a bit like Messe de Minuit without the heavy, sweet ambery notes. It's a whole lot of meditational incense, smoky and somewhat ashy. I like it, except Timbuktu turns into a sharp, somewhat salty-sour-fruity floral scent on dry down, like Thierry Mugler Cologne, Ormonde Jayne Champaca or Sarah Jessica Parker Covet. Also, I'm a little bit tired of this linear, unchanging incense smell. It's too predictably "Buddhist temple"-ish for my current mood.
Intimately Beckham by Victoria Beckham: I really like Kylie Minogue Darling which to me is like Miss Dior Cherie only a bit stronger and more Chypre (more pronounced patchouli base, sharper fruits), but this celebrity fragrance is a bit harsh and perfumey for me. Maybe it's too floral and sandalwoody or something, but to me, it's a bit brash in the way of Pure Poison or Cerutti 1881. She looks gorgeous in the print ad, however--like a paperback romance novel cover. (Edited to add) Slightly aqueous-cool and floral, it's not a bad fragrance; it's that it's perfumey and the musky-sandalwood base carries, like Carolina Herrera 212 or Shiseido Relaxing--both fresh types that don't work for the office.
Guerlain Cuir Beluga: This is delicious! I didn't expect such a sweet Gourmand, but this is mostly amber and vanilla, not really a leather scent even with a name involving beluga skin. It's almost like L'Artisan Parfumeur Ambre Extreme without the spices (correction: It's quite spicy) and not as smoky. It's sweet like Casmir, Douce Amere or Guipure & Silk by Jeanne Arthès (which smells like Casmir-lite), but it's also a smooth and rich, refined dessert scent like Tihota Indult or Lavanila Pure Vanilla with no annoying white musk base for me to contend with on dry down. If you want typically raunchy and animalic leather (the tobacco-leather (Dry Woods / Animalic Chypre) fragrance family is predominated by honey, civet, castoreum and other animal-derived notes), this mild-mannered sugary innocence is probably not for you. (Edited) I get some leather in it initially but in the end, it's a sexy, spicy, finely powdered amber.
Serge Lutens Sarrasins: I think this smells almost identical to A la Nuit except maybe a tad peachy or creamy, and with some very subtle wintergreen-like mintiness happening on top. Basically, it's a very heady and intense, bold and punchy jasmine, queenly and regal, with a thick, musky woodiness in the base to back it up and make it even stronger. I don't get any more inkiness from it than I did from A la Nuit, so for me, it's a choice between A la Nuit or A la Nuit in a dark purple color. Grand? Yes, but subtle, it is not. If Diane Von Furstenberg Tatiana got more intense, it could be A la Nuit/ Sarrasins.
Pierre Balmain Bandit: Try as I may in parfum or eau de toilette, I still get mostly baby oil and baby powder mixed with the leather in this powerful classic. In a similar vein, I prefer Bulgari Black and even more, Molinard Habanita which to me has more interesting elements in it, like a touch of sweetness and more overall depth. Bandit is somehow bolder but more strikingly green and one-dimensional in its aldehydic, animalic, relentless powdery-musky strength. I'll need to test this one again. I must be missing the subtlety in it somewhere. Maybe I'm not woman enough for these animal rawhide and glandular secretion smells.