About the seller
Nicholette, the blending brains behind this whole op (har har, Opulent… sorry. I’ll stop.) is such a wonderful seller — the customer service is great, she’s really accommodating, and the samples all look divine! You can really tell that everything’s been filled, labelled, and packed with care; my samples came super-full and carefully labelled. Plus, they arrived bundled safety in four or five perfectly-wrapped pieces of tissue and a bubble mailer. No cracks, leaks, or other packaging mishaps here!
Unlike a lot of sellers who promise “carefully chosen” extra samples “if available,” Nicholette actually pays attention to her customers. I had asked her to switch out L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two for a sample of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie at the last moment, and was disappointed when I opened up the package to find Tea For Two… until I saw that she had included both! My other surprise sample was a dupe of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, and I’m guessing it’s because (even I had to sort through old emails to figure this one out,) I had mentioned my budding vanilla addiction when I first asked about samples.
Now that, my dears, is dedication.
About the dupes
This section is long. I know, and I’m sorry. The really important stuff’s bolded, though, so you could always just read those bits!
Coco (Chanel) smells absolutely nothing like Coco, if you ask me! This was the first dupe I tried on, and I was horrified — it’s not sophisticated, and it’s not spicy. Which is not to say that some people wouldn’t like it, but on my skin, at least, it just smelled like a mess of soapy essential oils! It was far enough off the mark that I almost burst into tears. What can I say: I had my hopes up, and I was having a really awful day!
Chinatown (Bond No. 9). Everyone describes Chinatown as one of the most entrancing things they’ve ever tried; something that never gets boring. Now, I haven’t smelled the Bond No. 9, but this was pretty much what I was expecting. It opens as a very sweet, very bold “big white flor(ient)al,” and while it is definitely not a scent for the timid, it’s quite well-blended. The first few minutes are a bit overwhelming for me, but would be heaven for a lover of white florals and warm, sweet scents! As the top notes evaporate, Chinatown’s peach blossom accords, smooth, woody notes, and light spiciness are revealed. However, as to the claim that it is one of the most complex, fascinating scents around? For this dupe, at least: it isn’t, in my opinion.
(Also, it makes me think of an Anthropologie shop. I think it might be the bergamot-sandalwood blend, which is common in a lot of the candles and body lotions throughout the store. *shrugs* I don’t know. It kinda smells like a really pretty room spray or something, rather than a perfume.)
Un Bois Vanille (Serge Lutens) was a sample I didn’t end up ordering, because I thought I’d hate it! (Hint: I did not.) I’ve sampled the actual Serge UBV before, and it has a very specific note that I don’t care for — “animalic” would be the proper term to use, but honestly, it’s just icky and body-odour-ish. (Most people don’t find a lot of b.o. in UBV, but even the smallest amounts of it drive my sensitive nose nuts.) Opulent Alchemy’s dupe, however, has much less of an animalic note, delivering instead a very smooth, carmelized vanilla — incredibly sweet, yes, but if you’re a lover of sweet vanillas (and especially if you love Serge’s Un Bois Vanille,) this is a great one!