Gaiac by Jean-Claude Astier for M. Micallef 2005


Post by Maya


Hello APJ,
Recently my daughter ordered 6 perfume samples and gave them to me. She said, “These are all different from what you usually like, but they all have at least one note I know you love.” I was skeptical, but they were all nice. One really stood out,

Gaiac by M. Micallef 2005

Gaiac M. Micallef FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot
Heart: Cloves, jasmine
Base: Guaiac wood, vetiver, amber, vanilla

I should note that my love-note in Gaiac is jasmine and it’s all but invisible to me as is the vetiver in it.

I had no idea what gaiac is, but soon discovered that it is a tree, native to the tropical and subtropical Americas. It is a wood so resinous that doesn’t float. It sinks in water. Spanish Conquistadors burned it as incense, something they must have learned from the indigenous peoples, some of whom considered the tree sacred.

Gaiac M. Micallef Bulnesia sarmientoi WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

This is a lovely, low silage scent, that whispers it’s presence, but every word is audible and clear. M. Micallef lists it as masculine. I disagree. I think it is as much a feminine scent as a masculine one. When I dabbed it on, it was unexpectedly sharp, though not unpleasantly so. The sharpness faded quickly and I got sweet vanilla, spicy clove, and what had to be gaiac wood. I cannot describe the scent of gaiac wood. It’s unique and a bit exotic. The balance of the sweetness, the spice, and the wood is wonderful. The clove lessens after a few hours but the vanilla and gaiac wood stay as equal partners until the end, which is about 6-8 hours on me, except on humid days, when it fades after about 4 hours. Gaiac by M. Micallef is linear, which is fine. It doesn’t need complexity. It’s an evening around a campfire, burning gaiac wood, watching the flames dance, everyone feeling relaxed and stress free, laughing. And maybe, just maybe, some sensual feelings could awaken!

Gaiac M. Micallef Bulnesia sarmientoi WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Further reading: The Scented Hound and I Smell Therefore I Am
Parfum1 and LuckyScent have $90/30ml and $185/100ml
Surrender To Chance starts at $5/ml

Gaiac wood seems to be an underused note in perfume which is a shame. I will be looking for it in more scents. What about you? Have you tried Gaiac by M. Micallef or other fragrances containing gaiac wood?


Floral No 11 by Jean-Claude Astier for M. Micallef 2009

Heya Bargain Hunters,

Do you ever spend an evening trolling the fragrance discounters? Sometimes, after a windfall or I’ve paid all my bills, I set myself a budget and go hunting. A few weeks ago I did just that. there were a couple of things on my list to definitely find a good priced version of but there was about $70 spare by my reckoning to take a chance with.

Floral No 11 by M. Micallef 2009

Floral No 11 M. Micallef FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, galbanum
Heart: Rose, jasmine, geranium
Base: White musk, woody notes

M.Micallef’s Floral No 11 is the most ridiculously bargain priced scent for a real hark back to perfumes of days gone by. When I first sprayed Floral No 11, from the very first spritz, I felt like I was visiting an old friend. The galbanum/bergamot opening sequence like a chilled out version of CHANEL No 19, imagine #19 the morning after a really fun party, she’s washed and dressed with her usual attention to detail but her hair is a loose ponytail instead of a French twist, to her sharp chocolate/grey suit and ice blue shirt she has added a fabulous over the top Pucci scarf and an inch of heel. She is still impeccable but free-er, warmer and more human.

Floral No 11 M. Micallef Jasmine Flower DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

Then, instead of heading for the cool aloofness of iris and narcissus our girl has taken a right hand turn into geranium territory, a spicy, flirty and welcoming combo with jasmine and rose. Jasmine plays peek-a-boo through the heart, you smell it and adore its slightly indolic magic and then it’s gone, you forget it and some time later get a waft of its breathiness again. There seems to be a honeyed/animalic note almost from the beginning waft, could it be the way galbanum, jasmine and musk are playing or is there a groaning whisper of honey? Around the hour mark we are in hefty vintage-fragrance sensual mode, I’m probably way wrong but there seems to be some notes missing in the list and if you told me this naughty little baby was from 1960 I would believe you. I don’t understand why this is not talked about. How is it not thought of as a modern perfumista masterpiece?

After around 4-5 hours I am left with a pretty wash of flowers, musk and woods. Nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering but a good, solid, wearable close that makes up for its lack of outrageous by being comfortable and very easy. That sounds like a slur but it’s not, the fireworks have happened earlier, now we can all relax and hang out. Imagine being so comfortable in couture that you could have a ball, rather than being constrained by going to a ball. That’s how I think Floral No 11 feels.

Christian Dior: Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture S/S 2009Photo Stolen Luxussilk

FragranceNet has 100ml refills around $20 before discount coupons! (I paid just over $15 with the DCRT3 21% off coupon)

I hope you enjoyed my finding you a secret budget fragrant champion. Sometimes we are incredibly lucky.
See you tomorrow,
Portia xx

Black (Ananda) by Jean-Claude Astier for M. Micallef 2011

Hello APJ Family and Friends,

Recently they had a 20% off sale at Parfum1 and I had been lemming this bottle for a while, so I naughtily purchased. Some people call this Black and some Black Ananda, maybe because the original white bottle was called Ananda.

Black by M. Micallef 2011

Black M. Micallef FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Amalfi lemon, bitter orange, plum
Heart: Jasmine, tuberose, neroli, ylang ylang
Base: Musk, powder, benzoin, vanilla

Before I write about the fragrance I have to tell you the packaging is seriously gorgeous and the bottle feels like a million dollars when you pick it up. The Drag Queen in me adores the cognac rhinestones on the matte black porcelain bottle and the lid is a harem girls dream. Seriously. I know how shallow that is but couldn’t give a rats, this bottle is beautiful.

Black opens prettily perfumey, it is softer and less intrusive than I expected from its packaging, the plum taking dominance over the citrus. There is so much space between the notes, so sheer, a pastel scarf of finest gauzy silk Georgette. My skin gives an interesting brown sugar waft as the opening slides into the heart. Here we have white flowers being slightly indolic, a little bit retro, and the fragrance gets a touch more oomph but is still extremely ambient, a feeling of space and lightness, introverted fragrance that generates the kind of heft that you expect from body products. It’s close and personal. I can tell Black by M. Micallef has used some good product in the juice, the composition is seamless (so sheer it is hard to tell imperfections really) and clean. What I am most reminded of is a less milky Burberry Brit (towards the end of BBs life), it has a similar spare musky/vanillic/floral wash. For most perfumistas I think Black by M. Micallef will be a big fat yawn.

Black Micallef Calvin Klein mysuperficialendeavorsPhoto Stolen MySuperficialEndeavours

Maybe as a gateway frag from some of the extremely barely there white musks of Bodyshop etc this would seem a logical step, good for a grown up scent for young girls who have only had those before. Also if you want to feel laundry fresh all day but without being definitively laundry, but close.

Surprisingly for the lack of fragrance Black by M. Micallef lasts well, this is the PERFECT scent if you really want to have perfume but work in a frag phobic environment. Also good for people who don’t really like scent but wear it because ,”It’s the thing you do”. The bottle alone is worth having as a piece of art and looks killer in the bathroom, recently on Perfume of Life there was a conversation about growing up surrounded by people who had The One And Only Perfect Bottle of scent that was displayed on dressers or in bathrooms. If you are that kind of person then Black by M. Micallef could be the bottle for you.

Black Micallef Art Nouveau bottle mararie FlickrPhoto Stolen mararie on Flickr (not the Black bottle)

My question to M. Micallef is how can Black be packaged in this outrageous black, gold and cognac diamond bottle? There is a TOTAL disconnect between the enclosure and the juice. It’s like putting Gendarme into the bottle above when you would expect an Amouage/Lutens/Vermeire/Tauer, weird! It reminds me of the Coco Noir conundrum.

Further reading: I could only find sellers who have written about Black. Sandra on Olfactoria’s Travels does a beautiful job with the original Ananda though
Parfum1 has $115/30ml
Surrender To Chance starts at $7/ml

Are you a Micallef fan? Are there any in their range that you adore? Maybe you’ve tried black? What are your thoughts?

Have a lovely fragrant day,
Portia xx


Hello Perfume Hounds,

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

This week I’m doing something slightly different. The Lucky Scent July Sample Pack arrived during the week and I was wondering when I’d get to it. So of the 10 samples I thought I’d try a random selection for you and give you the usual 3 sentences and a star rating. You can find our Rating System Page <<jump.

Aqua di Casta  Eau de Parfum by  Testa Maura
Photo Stolen LuckyScent

AQUA DI CASTA by TESTA MAURA 2008. This crew offers 100% natural and organic products. Spicy, green and woody opening like opening a tea or spice chest. It stays sparkly fresh and lovely, pretty linear for the first hour or so. The wood feels newly hewn and left raw. It continues bright, bitey and delicious till it’s gone in a surprisingly long 6+ hours. S=**** L=**** D=***

MIA MURZA by TESTA MAURA 2008. Green, herbal and deep, this starts like a dense jungle and as you walk you break bracken and pass mossy trees with arboreal night flowers. An earthy, wet, humus rich fragrance that only warms up slightly as it continues to almost nothing. It is kind of there and not there after 5 hours. S=**** L=*** D=***

Vanille Cuir  Eau de Parfum by  M. Micallef
Photo Stolen LuckyScent

VANILLA CUIR by M. MICALLEF 2012. The opening sees a murky frission between the citrus, lavender and mint, something in this is the same as they use in modern Dana Tabu and it really fights with my nostrils. As a dab it then goes very skin scent but in a spray decant half an hour in and the leather really comes to the fore, a rough, unfinished leather straight from the tanners at first and then a mellow suede till the dry down about 4-5 hours later but it maintains that funny scent that torments me for most of its lifespan. I’m sorry to say, I don’t like it particularly. S=** L=*** D=**

VANILLA MARINA by M. MICALLEF . OHHHHH This opens so interestingly; the lemon is a warm hit of citrus (Unusual!!), I couldn’t place because the salty marine note plays with it like a Margherita, white flowers too. Are they orange blossom? So sexy and I can feel the vanilla sliding through it all, almost ambery but sweeter like …. I don’t know what!! WOW!! I am finding a decant of this, even though it’s not completely new, it is a fresh look at a common theme. Far better and lasted till morning, just quietly.  S=***** L=*** D=****

To receive the LuckyScent sample pack simply join their mailing list and they will send you an invitation to purchase their latest loves every month, priced very reasonably with P&H at attractive rates also. The only crap thing is there are only .7ml vials in the pack so if you want to spray them you have to self decant. I have written asking for a 2ml spray set but you all need to do it, go on.

I hope you’ve had a super weekend. It’s been very nice round here.
Love, Love, Love and good stuff to you and yours,
Portia xx