– Kilian Black Phantom (Memento Mori) Body Lotion
– Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense (arrived already opened)
– Maison Lancome Oud Bouquet Eau de Parfum (x2 travel-size)
While I busy at work not working, I noticed that Nordstrom were now selling my beloved Black Phantom (Memento Mori) (haulage here) as both a Body Lotion and a Shower Gel! Also new to Nordstrom was the latest take on the infamous Black Opium, which was Black Opium Intense. I was still debating whether I should purchase yet another Body Lotion and Perfume, when I happened to notice that the travel-size version of the ever elusive Oud Bouquet was back in stock! That settled that!
As soon as I got home, I hurriedly placed my order. As per usual, there were a ton of Gifts with Purchase and Samples that came along with the order, and everything arrived safely (not a thing was damaged)!
Kilian Black Phantom “Memento Mori” Body Lotion (6.76oz./200mL) retails for KD 42/560 ($130)
Enriched in shea butter, the hydrating body lotion is the second layer of your perfuming ritual.The fragrance is true to itself and, when shower gel, body lotion and perfume are used in a three-part layering ritual, the perfume trail is profound, prolonged and absolutely pitch perfect.
The scent of Black Phantom “MEMENTO MORI” reveals its hidden treasures to the curious nose in waves. Rum accord from Martinique, akin to ‘pirates water’, spikes the scent of strong coffee at its heart, balanced by vetiver essence. A deadly bite of cyanide accord hides menacingly, like the smile from death itself. Smile back as sugar cane and dark, creamy sandalwood assures a trying journey holds a sweet reward.
Top Notes: Rum, Cyanide
Middle Notes: Vetiver, Coffee
Base Notes: Sugarcane, Sandalwood
I became obsessed with Black Phantom from the moment I clocked it (love at first sniff, here)! I was so in love that I sneakily managed to talk two different sales assistants into giving me a tiny sample vial each (here), which if you’re familiar with the attitude of the staff at our local Sephora, you’ll know was not an easy task! Finally, with a help of an absolute darling of a sales assistant, I bit the bullet and sprung for the real thing (haulage here)!
I’ve been just as obsessed as the day I bought it! So, when I noticed that Nordstrom had the Body Lotion and Shower Gel in the same scent available for purchase, I added both to my online shopping cart! However, Kilian ‘aint cheap. Figuring I’d blow through the Shower Gel pretty quick (despite the fact that it cost a pretty penny), I decided on getting the Body Lotion (which would also come in handy for layering)!
As you can see, the Body Lotion came in a sleek bottle, complete with a pump dispenser (super convenient!) and a gorgeous decorative vessel (which the bottle slid into perfectly)! The vessel had Achille’s Shield embossed on either side (so cool!) and a Gold Plate on the front with Black Phantom by Kilian “Memento Mori” engraved on it! Divine scent aside, everything about Black Phantom “Memento Mori” (in any and every form) was incredibly aesthetically appealing to me! I mean, just look at the Body Lotion (in its Vessel) and the Perfume (in its Keepsake Box) side-by-side in the photo. They looked insanely cool! Needless to say, I’m extremely happy with this purchase!
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense (3oz./90mL) retails for KD 40/590 ($124)
Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense is the stronger, bolder and more seductive take on the original Black Opium Eau de Parfum.
The opening notes of adrenaline-rich coffee give way to a vibrant heart of delicate orange blossom, energized by a thrilling aura of blue absinthe. Shimmering dark blue, the bottle is lit up from the inside with the mesmerizing light blue of the fragrance.
Top Notes: Boysenberry, Black Coffee
Middle Notes: Jasmin Sambac, Orange Blossom
Base Notes: Blue Absinthe, Licorice, Vanilla, Sandalwood
I’ve actually purchased the original Black Opium as Birthday Gift for someone (here) and received a Sample of it as a Gift With Purchase in my previous Nordstrom Fragrance Sample Pack (here) and sniffed it in-store several times in-between. However, the original Black Opium was just too popular for me (no offense if you actually own the original, different strokes for different folks and all).
Then, I spotted this baby, in all it’s Electrifying… Blue… Glory! For starters, it seemed to be new-new, which meant there weren’t that many reviews yet. Also, it meant that it wouldn’t be available locally (for me to give it a sniff) any time soon, because… Kuwait. Every website had their own version of the notes, but the official notes were Coffee and Absinthe and Orange Blossom (in that order), which was exactly what Nordstrom had listed. Personally, I was sold from the moment I read that this baby had Coffee in the notes, and hurriedly added it to my online shopping cart! It didn’t hurt that bottle looked so cool in the online pictures!
Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense was available in several sizes; .33 oz/10mL (pen-spray) and 1 oz/30mL (mini bottle) and 1.6 oz/50ml (average bottle) and 3 oz/90mL (large bottle). Rather than getting any of the smaller sizes, falling in love with the scent, consequentially finishing it up very quickly and ending up kicking myself for not purchasing it in a larger size, I figured I’d skip all that and just go ahead and purchase the largest size available. Somehow, I’d even managed to convince myself that it was more cost-effective to get the larger size (if you factor in the shipping charges) and that I was actually saving money this way lol I was just so sure that I’d love the scent. Sorry to say, that was not the case.
The outer packaging (the box it came in) looked pretty cool, actually! The bottle however was nowhere near as Blue as it had looked in any of the official photos (good job, marketing team). As you can see, it was a much darker Blue, almost Black, with tons of chunky glitter. However, where the bottle of the original Black Opium looked beautiful, the bottle on Black Opium Intense looked a bit cheap, if not tacky. The liquid inside was also Blue (so cool!) which in certain angles did in fact, make the bottle look somewhat blue-er and nicer. The cap though, seemed much too small for the rather wide bottle. They kinda’ looked silly together, honestly. Still, it wasn’t that big of a deal, since all of that was just aesthetics. What was a big deal though, was how the atomizer spritzed the perfume. It seemed to be stuck, which meant I had to press it down, really, really hard (making it a challenge to apply on the go) otherwise the liquid would just trickle down my fingers (quite annoying). Even when done correctly, the spritzer didn’t apply a fine mist. Basically, it would spit the liquid at me lol
Again, all that would’ve been fine, if I actually liked the scent. However, since this was yet another blind-buy, that was not the case. As soon as I spritzed this thing on, I got a strong eye-watering alcohol-y scent. It’s listed as Absinthe to sound “edgy”, but if that were truly case, then all those cheap-y alcohol-based scents from H&M (here) and Zara (here) and Bershka (here) and Victoria’s Secret (here) and Bath & Body Works (here) that at first smell like straight up alcohol, must be super edgy lol
Seconds after spritzing it on, Black Opium Intense turned into a gorgeous heady scent of Coffee! It was so strong, that I couldn’t help but think of the equally gorgeous Bath & Body Works Paris Cafe Candle (here)! Shortly after, all I got was a horrible smell of White Florals. It wasn’t really that bad, but I personally just don’t enjoy florals. Sadly, the annoying floral scent lasted the longest. With that being said, Black Opium Intense was completely gone within 30 minutes! For that price, you’d think it would perform better than something from Bath & Body Works lol In this case, since I didn’t actually enjoy the scent, I wasn’t as upset by the fact that it was so short-lived.
All in all, this was a very disappointing purchase (my fault). I was expecting a much nicer scent, but this was essentially yet another floral (ugh). I was also expecting a prettier bottle, but this thing looked so tacky! I might as well have purchased the original Black Opium (I mean it’s popular for a reason, no?) instead of this… abomination. They sucked me in with the notes and promo shots of the packaging (both of which seemed so cool!), but for something that was named Intense, it was quite weak and short-lived and like I said earlier, just another floral. Basically, I didn’t love the bottle and I sure as heck didn’t love the scent. Such a waste of money…
Maison Lancôme Ôud Bouquet Eau de Parfum (travel size) (0.47oz./14mL) retails for KD 10 ($35) each
Ôud Bouquet Eau de Parfum is a narcotic and sensual rose.
Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin, renowned for his subtle creations, blended a trio of bold woods composed of 20-year-old Oud Wood and smoky Guaiac Wood, softened by the enveloping sweetness of Copahu Wood. The Praline Rose Signature, crafted from Centifolia Rose Absolute, Vanilla and Praline Accord, gives it an enigmatic and infinitely seductive power.
I’ve been intrigued by Oud Bouquet for quite some time now! I spotted it earlier (here and here), but the counter was abandoned and tester was always empty. I even attempted ordering it from Nordstrom earlier (here), but of course it was out of stock. Eventually, that darling of a sales assistant filled up a little sample vial of the stuff for me (here)! I played around with the sample and came to the conclusion that I quite enjoyed Oud Bouquet!
Rather than purchasing the full size, I had my heart set on the travel-size version. I wasn’t in love with the bottle of the full size version and I figured the travel-size version, other than being cuter, would be easier to stuff into my smaller handbags, and would also cost considerably less. Like I said, I’ve already tried purchasing it from Nordstrom earlier (here), but it had gone out of stock. I’ve been checking to see if it was back in stock, on and off, ever since. Once I noticed it was back in stock, as soon as I got home from work, I placed my order immediately (I wasn’t about to miss out… again), ordering two, this time!
It’s not my aesthetic, but I thought the packaging looked quite elegant! It was all White, with touches of Gold here and there, and a raised floral design on the front, and the notes helpfully listed on the side, whereas the travel-size bottle was clear, with a Gold floral motif on the front and a Gold Cap. Too much Gold for my taste, but in this case, I thought all that Gold complimented the Amber liquid housed inside the travel-size bottle quite nicely!
Oud Bouquet listed no less than three different types of wood notes… in the notes. lol I mean, it was straight up called Oud Bouquet, which I feel couldn’t have been a more perfect name! Between the Oud Wood and Gaiac Wood and Copahu Wood, the name Oud Bouquet was deliciously appropriate! Ever since Bath & Body Works first opened shop in our lil ol’ Kuwait (about a decade ago) and I gave Twilight Woods a try, I’ve discovered that I adore Woodsy Scents! The smokier, the better, as far as I was concerned! More recently, I’ve slowly warmed up to Oud-based Fragrances. Maybe it’s the Arab Blood in me, but I just find Oud to be… intoxicating! Also, despite my aversion to most Florals, I actually quite like certain forms of Rose in fragrances, especially when coupled with Vanilla or any other sort of Gourmand Notes. Between the Oud and the other Smoky Wood Notes and the Rose and Vanilla, this baby had almost everything I tend to enjoy in a fragrance!
Oud Bouquet included a blend of Centifolia Rose Absolute and Vanilla and Praline Accord, to create what was dubbed the signature “Praline Rose”. It was unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before! It was sweet, but it was a sweetness that was completely new to me! It wasn’t one of those juvenile sugary sweet scents. It wasn’t your basic vanilla scent either. It wasn’t even your average fruity sweet scent. I don’t even know how to even begin to describe it! I suppose “Praline Rose” would be the best way to describe it. In any case, it was undeniably very, very, very sweet!
When I first spritzed this baby on, I got all the Woodsy Notes. After some time, I got the “Praline Rose”. Eventually, it settled into a beautiful blend of both! Initially, I was extremely happy with Oud Bouquet, but now I kinda’ find it a bit… annoying, because the performance of this baby was “beast-mode”! For starters, one little spritz formed a rather large scent bubble around me! It’s nothing as innocuous as leaving a light trail in my wake. It’s more like an oxygen-sucking dense fog! It would explain why Oud Bouquet is officially described as “seductive” (it cuts off the oxygen supply to people’s brains lol not kidding)! I mean, you could actually smell me before I physically entered a room (which is never a good thing)! lol Also, the scent lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts… I suspect it had something to do with the fact that it was quite oily, because a shower and a spirited exfoliating session later, I could still smell this baby on my skin! Good quality, no?
Oud Bouqet was a such a beautiful scent, if a bit cloying, which is why I’ll be reserving it strictly for use during Winter. I’m also really glad I got this in the travel-size, because a little bit goes a looong way!
Lancome 4pc Gift With Purchase
Free with every $49.50 Lancome Purchase
Since both travel-size Perfumes amounted to $70 in total, that meant I more than qualified for the Lancome Gift With Purchase. As per usual, everything arrived individually packaged in clear plastic bags and lumped together in an even bigger clear plastic bag. Each item was labeled (complete with the name, ingredients and expiry date) as well.
Gifts With Purchase
Lancome Gift With Purchase (deluxe samples):
– Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover (1.7 oz.)
– Blushing Tresor Powder Blush (0.07 oz.)
– Inconspicuous Color Design Lipstick (matte) (0.14 oz.)
– Définicils High Definition Mascara (0.07 oz.)
Not a fan of Bi-Facil, but it is one of their “best-sellers” which is why it’s almost always included in any sort of Set or Kit (be it free as a Gift with Purchase or otherwise). The Blush was a pretty peachy-pink, think along the lines of Nars Orgasm. The Lipstick was a surprisingly flattering mid-tone beige, think along the lines of MAC Velvet Teddy, except Lancome Inconspicuous was a much more comfortable (almost hydrating) matte. The Mascara did a nice job at lengthening and defining the lashes. Bar the Makeup-Remover, everything else in this Gift With Purchase was actually quite lovely!
Nordstrom March Skincare Sample Pack Gift
Free with $125 Skincare Purchase
Nordstrom March Skincare Sample Pack Gift:
– AMOREPACIFIC The Essential Crème Fluid (0.16 oz.)
– Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream (0.05 oz.)
– Clé de Peau Beauté Intensive Fortifying Emulsion (0.05 oz.)
– Darphin Hydraskin Light All-Day Skin Hydrating Cream-Gel (0.5 oz.)
– Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm (0.1 oz.)
– Erno Laszlo Hydraphel Skin Supplement (0.5 oz.)
– Filorga Hydra-Hyal Intensive Hydrating Plumping Concentrate (0.07 oz.)
– Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment (0.07 oz.)
– GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment Mask (0.5 oz.)
– Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser (0.16 oz.)
– Kiehl’s Since 1851 Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (0.05 oz.)
– La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream (0.17 oz.)
– Lancôme Visionnaire Skin Solutions 0.2% Retinol Correcting Night Concentrate (0.03 oz.)
– Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30 (0.17 oz.)
– Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum (0.17 oz.)
– Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash (1 oz.)
– Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (1 oz.)
– Shiseido Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate (0.18 oz.)
– Skin Inc. Licorice Serum (0.05 oz.)
– StriVectin Blue Rescue Clay Renewal Mask (0.14 oz.)
– Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream (0.1 oz.)
– Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 (0.17 oz.)
I wasn’t as excited about the Skincare Sample Pack, until it arrived and I actually saw what it included! I was super stoked to finally try out the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment and the Kiehl’s Eye Treatment with Avocado! The La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream was a surprisingly generous sample and the StriVectin Blue Rescue Clay Renewal Mask looked intriguing (all domed and cute)! There was a bunch of other handy stuff in there as well, like the Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 and Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant to name a few. Once again, Nordstrom did not disappoint!
Spend $150 on Skincare and you’ll also receive a 3-piece Bonus Gift from Kiehl’s
Kiehl’s Bonus Gift (deluxe samples):
– Ultra Facial Cleanser (1 oz.)
– Ultra Facial Toner (1.4 oz.)
– Ultra Facial Cream (0.25 oz.)
Since my order exceeded $150, I also qualified for the “Bonus Gift“. All three were pretty decent actually (no duds) and could totally be put to good use!
Lastly, with every order (regardless of the total), you got to pick out 3 samples of your choice, from a group of pre-selected samples. Obviously, I chose 3 Fragrance Samples.
– Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne (sample)
– Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum (sample)
– Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau de Parfum (sample)
These are the Fragrance Samples I ended up getting. Unfortunately, they ran out of the Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne. However, they did substitute it with Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne, which was pretty nice of them!
Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne (sample)
Childhood memories of blackberry picking…A burst of deep, tart blackberry juice, blending with the freshness of just-gathered bay and brambly woods.
Blackberry & Bay was the scent they substituted for Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I did not get one whiff of Blackberry. In fact, it was a very, very “green” scent. Honestly, as soon as I spritzed it, the first thing that came to mind was that one time I sipped on a Mojito (first and last time, because ugh, Mint). I believe it might be the Bay that made it smell so fresh and “green”. The longer it stayed on my skin, the more it started to smell blatantly masculine on me! With that being said, I personally would never purchase this as a Cologne for myself. However, I wouldn’t say no to purchasing it in the form of a Shower Gel or Liquid Hand Soap or something along those lines. Blackberry & Bay was a light and inoffensive “green” scent, making it ideal for hot summers in Kuwait!
Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum (sample)
Do you remember the old Marlboro ads? A man and his horse in front of the fire on a great plain under tall, blue evening skies
A defining image of the spirit of the American West with all it implied about masculinity and personal freedom. This man, firelight in his face, leaning on the worn leather saddle, alone with the desert wind, an icon so powerful that every man wanted to be him and every woman wanted to have him…From this memory is born SANTAL 33: the ambition to create an olfactive form inspired by the great American myth still a source of fantasy for the rest of the world…
A perfume that touches the sensual universality of this icon… that would intoxicate a man as much as a woman… that introduces our use of Cardamom, Iris, Violet, Ambrox which crackle in the formula and bring to this smoking wood alloy (Australian Sandalwood, Papyrus, Cedarwood) some Spicy, Leathery, Musky notes, and gives this perfume its unisex signature and addictive comfort. Here is, in a few words, what SANTAL 33 is… An open fire…The soft drift of smoke…Where sensuality rises after the light has gone.
I don’t know what my deal is with Le Labo, but for whatever reason, I am not a fan (despite my new-found Perfume obsession) lol However, up on the Nordstrom website, Santal 33 was touted as a “best-seller”. So, I figured I’d give it a shot. All I could smell was Cedarwood, and later on, Leather. There was something spicy and sweet, which could either be the Cardamom or Ambrox… or both. This baby was so well-blended that I couldn’t pin-point any one specific note, bar the first two that I mentioned. Oh, okay! I know! It smells like Marlboro Red Cigarettes… on someone’s fingertips (the official description was so on point)! At first, I didn’t really like the smell (it was too sharp and somewhat offensive), but after some time, it slowly grew on me. It’s a blatantly masculine scent, but I don’t hate it. However, it’s not really my thing, so I definitely won’t be purchasing it anytime soon, but I can totally see why it’s a “best-seller”.
Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood Eau de Parfum (sample)
One of the most rare, precious, and expensive ingredients in a perfumer’s arsenal, Oud Wood is often burned in incense-filled temples of Bhutan. Exotic Rose Wood and Cardamom give way to a smoky blend of Rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood and Vetiver. Tonka Bean and Amber add warmth and sensuality.
At first, I thought “Oh, eww, eww, eww” because I found it way too masculine, not unlike the Bath & Body Works Dark Amber (For Men) Hair and Body Wash (haulage here). But then, the other notes came into play! I could distinctly smell Cardamom, and a whole bunch of other stuff that smelled absolutely delightful! Also, despite several hand washes and a good scrubbing, I could still smell this thing on my wrist (albeit faintly) so other than projecting to the heavens, this sucker lasts and last. Honestly, I’d appreciate Oud Wood on a man, but not on myself, as I found the Vetiver or whatever else that was making this smell distinctly masculine, quite annoying on my skin! I wouldn’t mind purchasing it as a Candle (only to be lit during Winter) though.
Here’s a shot of everything including what I purchased, and the gifts with purchase and the bonus gift and the samples that I chose. Aside from Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense, I’m super, super, super happy with everything else that I’d received, especially Black Phantom (Memento Mori) Body Lotion! I’m so thankful that I finally managed to get my hands on the ever-elusive Oud Bouquet too and let me tell you, it was worth the wait! The Lancome Gift With Purchase was surprisingly flattering! The March Skincare Sample Pack was filled with tons of exciting things for me to try! The Bonus Gift seemed pretty handy as well! The Perfume Samples were fun to play around with! Like I said earlier, Nordstrom did not disappoint!
Hope you enjoyed this post!