For those interested in what I bought and what they smelled like (to me), I have put my personal thoughts below. Fragrances are listed in order from best (at the top of the page), to least (at the bottom).
Acqua di Parma Blue Mediterraneo Mandorlo di Sicilia: This one wowed me. Knocked my socks off. Instant love. And then I looked it up and saw it was made over 20 years ago!! It doesn't smell old-fashioned or outdated in any way. It is a classic gourmand. Unisex. Some say root beer, but to me it is 100% Sarsaparilla (even though that's not a note in it). It's soft and pleasant and I immediately purchased the biggest bottle I could get my hands on. No regrets. This will be the biggest bottle in my collection, and probably end up being one of my top 5 all-time favorite fragrances. It sits very close to the skin so it's going to be something you wear for you, not for others in the room. Top notes are Green Almond, Star Anise, Orange and Bergamot; middle notes are White Peach, Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine; base notes are Bourbon Vanilla, Tolu Balsam, White Musk and Cedar.
Update: My full-sized bottle came and I love this fragrance so, so much. Very happy that I ordered the biggest bottle they had. It's just blissful, an almond lover's dream!
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic, EDT: Very citrusy orange. Pleasant. Perfect for summer days. Dry down reminds me a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice. It smells so good. Very soft scent that lasts a few hours but sits very close to the skin. I really, really like it. It is highly likely a full-sized bottle of this will end up in my collection. Top Notes: Clementine, Bitter Orange, Orange Blossom, Green Tea, Iris. Mid-Notes: Mandarin Orange, Basil, Chamomile, Peony. Base Notes: Sandalwood and Amber.
Maria Crisofils Fleur09 EDP: I couldn't figure out what it reminded me of, but it surely reminded me of something very familiar, and then it hit me, it smells just like my mother-in-law's Gardenia bush. Now, I love that SHE loved her Gardenias, but I never cared for that smell...unless one of my children was proudly bringing me one, carefully displayed in a glass of water. ;) Then I loved them. Perspective changes everything, doesn't it? I'll always love any gift from my kids, especially those heartfelt, 'I love you so much' gifts from their early childhood. As a perfume though, it's not something I want to wear, or so I thought until this one. At first I was thinking, no, no, no, but only because of the whole Gardenia thing. The longer it was on though, the more I grew to appreciate it. It does have a very steep price tag if you're buying a full-sized bottle, so it was no surprise to me that it was very well blended, but what did surprise me, all things considered, is that it also really became so pleasant smelling to me. It did wear well. It lasted a huge part of the day, and projected well. It's blended together nicely, and worth the price if you like this kind of fragrance. This is a fresh, feminine fragrance. It is really quite stunning, and I came to enjoy it even though Gardenias are never my first (or fiftieth) choice for a scent. Hats off to the creators of this masterpiece.
Now that being said, the notes listed don't say Gardenia specifically, but they do say white flowers, and I am guessing that is one of them. Fleur09 captures the true and purest essence of the white flower, with a blend of Sicilian yellow mandarin essence, Calabrese bergamot essence, bitter orange tree leaf water absolute, Moroccan orange flower extract, Tunisian orange blossom absolute, Indian tuberose absolute Orpur, Mexican Vanilla bean absolute and Benzoin tears extract from Laos.
Narciso Rodriguez, For Her, EDP: I tried this awhile ago in a store and it smelled pleasant to me, and reminiscent of fabric softener. I tried it again and it smells the same. It's nice, but something in it is a little strong too. It's fresh. Great for day time. Lasts almost all day. I like everything about it, yet I know I will probably never buy it, which is odd to say/think/feel but true. Maybe it's because I think this is one that might bother my son. I wrote about his allergies, not long ago, and since I sold my heavy, strong fragrances, he has gone back to normal (hurrah! and I knew it!). For me, it's better safe than sorry and I 'll leave this for the many others who own and love to wear it, or who have yet to experience it. Notes: Orange blossom, pink floral accord, chypre, amber, soft musk, vanilla, woods, musk
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Orange Soleia, EDT: This is a fizzy orange. Not unpleasant but I like the Mandarin much more. Definite sharp bursts of orange coming through, but there is somethine more subdued and a teensy eensy bit masculine in the base that keeps it from being a bright fresh. It actually reminds me a little bit of Orange Fanta but a little heavier. Top notes are Blood Orange, Bergamot and Pink Pepper; middle notes are Petitgrain and Mint; base notes are Musk and Tonka Bean.
Frederic Malle: Portrait of a Lady: If you like roses, this is your
girl woman. Beautiful. Strong. If you are wearing this, people are going to notice. I appreciate the heady, rich rose quality. It's very similar to a rose perfume I smelled in my youth. It's very well done but alas not for me. It is very long lasting. Rose and spice that varies between the oriental and chypre theme with patchouli, natural and intense, dominating the heart of the composition. The notes of this sensual modern classic include Turkish rose, raspberry, black currant, cinnamon, clove, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, ambroxan, benzoin and white musk.
Narciso Rodriguez Ambree EDP: It smells very designer-y to me, which isn't bad, but it's distinct. Soft, and inoffensive. A little inexpensive smelling but still a mainstream crowd pleaser. It doesn’t smell at all like Olympea but it reminds me of it for some reason, and I don't like Olympea. Top notes are Frangipani, Ylang-Ylang and White Flowers; middle notes are Musk and Amber; base notes are Cashmeran, Vanilla and Cedar.
Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau EDP: Someone said it smells delicious. Like a bread bakery also selling licorice. I'm not sure if I agree with that...it does smell a tad bit bread bakery in the opeing, but not the-bread-is-baking kind of bakery smell, more like a hard crust day-old bakery type of smell. It had a slight undertone to it and some spices that just weren't that great to me. Honestly, it's not awful, it's just not my style. I could smell the wheat, some spices and the sandalwood. Top Notes: Wheat and Milk. Mid Notes: Licorice, Coconut and Immortelle. Base Notes: Sandalwood, Apricot, Spices, Woody Notes, Osmanthus and Amber.
Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree EDP: In one of my fragrance groups, the ladies were raving over this perfume, saying that it smells like rich caramels, and that is why I purchased a sample (I love a high quality caramel scent). I don't think so. To me it smells like men's cologne. It's not unpleasant but it's not something I want to wear. Very hard to wash off too. I tried several times and could still smell it. That's good news for those who love the scent. It's definitely going to be one that is long lasting. It has a strong projection and sillage as well. Top Notes are Black Currant and Bergamot. Middle Notes: Iris, Rose and Jasmine. Base Notes: Patchouli, Caramel, Leather and White Musk.
There were quite a few scents I enjoyed, two of which I purchased full-sized bottles for, so I'd say this was a great sample lot. I love getting samples so I can try before I buy.
Visit The Perfumed Court. They have a wonderful and plentiful amount of both niche and designer samples to try. They are one of my most favorite companies to order from when it comes to fragrance samples.