I am a very sensory person - I can be made very happy or very irritable by textures, sounds, color blends and scents, and how they make me feel varies according to my own mood, so I tend to keep lots of eclectic options around so that just the right stimulus for the right moment is readily at hand.
This means I currently have a lot of perfumes, colognes, and body oils I like to drawn on, rather than one or two signature scents, even though I often prefer to wear none at all.
I was really interested in trying the Pinrose line of eau de parfums - each one is specifically designed to elicit a particular mood, and their website descriptions for each scent include multiple sensory metaphors that compliment each blend, from colors and moods, to tastes and even songs. To further help the new shopper determine their preferences, there is a quiz that will help you find a fragrance that is likely to appeal to you.
But I found that the best way to get to know Pinrose fragrances is to try them for yourself, and they make that easy by offering a Sample Starter Kit that includes 1 'petal' sample of 13 of their fragrances (that's all of them except the Surf Siren) for only $9.00!
For review, I received the Sample Starter Kit, which came with the petal sachets tucked into a mesh bag along with a booklet describing each fragrance and with the bonus of a $25 off gift card to Le Tote. It was my enormous pleasure to spend the next several days trying each one and writing notes on how I experienced them.
It is important to remember that when it comes to scents, it is much like wine tasting - some elements will be common to each person experiencing it, but each person will experience it individually. Particularly with fragrances, once it hits your skin, your own chemistry interacts with it, altering not only the scent but how far the 'throw' is (that is, how far away from you the fragrance can be perceived by others), how long it lasts, and which particular scent notes dominate.
If you look on their website, you will see how each one has fragrance notes for the short term, the midrange, and for the long range, labeled "Smile", "Heart" and "Soul". While my fragrance knowledge isn't sharp enough to pick out all the scent notes by name, I found that nearly every one morphed very much as they were described.
So, let's look at each one (and remember, your experience will not be identical to mine). These are my notes as I took them in the moment:
"I dance therefore I am. Embrace this romantic mix of peony, mandarin petals, and creamy sandalwood."
In the package: astringent and alcohol.
Smile (1st 20 minutes): "Italian Bergamot, lemon, apple"
Upfront, lemon and bergamot are apparent - like earl grey tea with lemon. Astringent - apple maybe? Apple notes stronger after about 5 minutes - like a crisp raw apple, growing sweeter.
Heart (2 hours) "lavender, peony, mandarin petals"
After 1 hr, mostly sweet/floral, with a hint of pepper. Can make out lavender, but subtle. From there, it becomes less definable.
Soul (after 2 hours) "creamy sandalwood, amber, cedarwood"
This faded on me rapidly as a fairly generic scent. "Smells like perfume" (not a helpful comment, but that's all I could think.) None of the notes dominate.
Conclusion: I like this, but it doesn't particularly stand out for me as one to choose for repeated use. I do think on the right person, this one translates well to both day and night time use, and it would certainly be an acceptable scent for any public use where scent is appropriate at all.
"Perfect for sipping whiskey in the woods after the rest of the tent has gone to bed. Spice up any adventure with burning oud wood and vanilla bourbon"
Just by the description, this sounds perfect to me.
In the package: a whiff of raspberry liqueur. ooh!
Smile: "whiskey, raspberry"
I love the raspberry in liquor notes - almost immediately after application, a distant whiff of burnt wood is added. I really love this first scent and I hope it doesn't change too soon.
Heart: "burning oud wood"
My first question is... what is oud wood? On research, I find it is also known as agarwood, and it is a resin. Sadly, the raspberry did quickly leave... what's left is a smoky resin - deciding if I like it or not, but in the meantime find myself huffing my wrist, so I am thinking I do?
Soul: "vetiver, vanilla bourbon"
At close to two hours in, I thought it'd settled down a bit into something indistinctly resiny, but then my husband - from over six feet away - passed me, saying, 'wow that scent sure is... pervasive.' I never really identified the vanilla bourbon, and the vetiver (which tends to smell like dirt, for better or worse) adds to the sensory image of sitting outside around a campfire. On further talk, we both agreed, we don't dislike it as a scent, but couldn't figure out when it would be appropriate to actually wear it. I think I may try finding agarwood as an incense, though.
Conclusion: In spite of my husband's strong reaction, I really liked the evocativeness of the scent. It reminds me of sitting around a fire with friends - which is probably the only really appropriate place I'd wear it. I don't think I'd buy this, but I really enjoyed trying it.
"For pillow fights and love bites. Get cozy with this playful mashup of apricot and vanilla."
In package - tropical, fruity
Smile: "apricot, cypress, coconut"
This smells like dessert - an apricot danish? Very sweet! after about 10 minutes, I can get a bit of the cypress wood notes - still desserty, or maybe like an apricot liqueur (the apricot is not so much fresh fruit as stewed and sweetened) - I like the scent a lot, although I'm not sure I like it as a perfume - it is a bit more sweet and cloying than I would choose for myself. Still, an enjoyable beginning. Not directly picking out the coconut, although I imagine it is adding to the dessert/tropical imagery.
Heart: "tobacco, jasmine, mimosa"
After an hour, still tropical apricot, with some spicy pepper thrown in - I like this better now that it is less sweet but still very lush. "heady". Two hours in - jasmine (a scent I love), with unidentified spice notes and apricot behind it. I like this stage - still heady but no longer sweet or cloying.
Soul: "vanilla, saffron, patchouli"
3 hrs in - floral, a little powdery, spicy. Not picking out any specific notes. 4 hrs in, still heady, but in a really delicious spicy way - still has good throw, so I'd be cautious about applying this sparingly, and in spite of the earlier fruity/desserty notes, I don't think I'd wear this during the day. But I do like it very much and would happily keep in on hand. It is in evocative, sexy blend! Good staying power - mellows out into a long lasting spicy scent that is really seductive.
Conclusion: Not for everyday wear, but the longer I had this on, the better I liked it. I would happily purchase this - it starts out sweet and fun, and then seduces you!
"I've got you and you've got me. The rich cocoa and pomegranate notes will make you fall head over heels for this brand new scent."
In package - alcohol
Smile: "cocoa, cardamom"
I am getting milk chocolate and incense - about 50/50 foodie and spice in tone. Within 10 minutes, it smells like chocolate covered spiced berries - very delicious and rich!
Heart: "pomegranate, mocha"
Chocolate notes growing more subtle. Soft, almost powdery berries/spiced wine scent. In spite of foodie notes, it doesn't evoke food, so much as a scene - dessert and wine on a table, candlelight, and incense burning. This is a night scent for me. An hour in, the spice/incense notes have mostly overtaken the berries and the chocolate is gone. It is a bit more powdery than I'd prefer, and already has a very low throw, but is still very evocative.
Soul: "amber, vetiver, cedar"
Never got to this point - had entirely disappeared by then! Sad.
Conclusion: I loved this right up until my skin ate it and it disappeared. The early stages are enjoyable enough that I might be inclined to purchase and simply reapply often, but most of these last so much longer than this that I was disappointed to miss out on the entire progression.
"Bring on the bottomless brunch. Radiate sunshine with this refreshing blend of nectarine, rose, and plum."
In the package: light, fresh-scented
Smile: Nectarine, Grapefruit, Cassis
Nectarine as top note (yum!) with some brisk grapefruit thrown in. Nice summer scent (heat index will be 100F today!) Fruity without being cloying or heady. It could stay just like this, and I'd be happy.
Heart: Violet, Rose, Plum
At an hour in, still predominantly nectarine - fruity, no florals yet. Other than as a subtle backnote, they never did strongly appear.
Soul: Musk, Moss, Tonka
By 2 1/2 hrs, it is very, very light and mildly tart - not getting much else, and I think it will be gone soon. Gone entirely by 3 1/2 hours.
Conclusion: Pleasantly effervescent, but short lasting - this is an excellent summer daytime scent if willing to reapply. I would happily wear this often just for its earlier stages. Brunch, yes. Bottomless, no.
What do you wear to a party in a forest? Create some mystery with the enchanting notes of cardamom, orange blossom, and patchouli.
In package: Very astringent - makes my nose sting. Uh oh...
Smile: "cardamom, mandarin, cherry"
The astringency left instantly. Now it's, mm, spiced black cherry! Like black cherry pie filling. After a few minutes, the cardamom comes to the front. Love this stage.
Heart: "orange blossom, gaiac wood, praline"
spice and gentle incense - no orange blossom that I can make out, but mildly smoky and nutty and really pleasant, still with an overlay of incense. After about 1 1/2 hrs, I smell the praline notes - nutty, sweet and spicy.
Soul: "indonesian patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood"
Mellow incense, short intimate throw. I really like this - none of the stages are unpleasant or overbearing, nor is the incense 'dirty hippy' in character. This is vetiver done right! Gone by hour five.
Delightful and mysterious! I'd be happy to wear this often, reapplying occasionally.
Nothing to wear is the perfect excuse for spending all day in bed. Slip into this fresh laundry mix of powder, ambergris, and musk.
In Package: alcohol. No other scent at all.
Smile: Powder, Geranium
Instant morph, smells 'clean' and soft, like body powder. (I am ready to stop being worried about the alcohol scent in the package - it goes away as soon as these are applied.)
Heart: Clove Leaf, Ambergris
Still clean but less powdery. Detecting notes of amber and vanilla. This is a really comforting, comfortable scent. I like it. It is melting into my skin, but not disappearing - smells like skin (in a good way). Low throw.
Soul: Musk, Amber, Sandalwood
Very gentle blend - the musk, amber and sandalwood are in perfect balance. Very low throw - this is a scent for me and someone nuzzling my skin only. I am not sure how long it will last, but I like it very much. This would work well as a daily scent. In the end, this lingered over 8 hours in this very intimate subtle way.
Conclusion: I love this - easily a daily wear signature scent that doesn't invade other's space, except for those you've invited.
Stop and smell the roses. We proudly present our signature scent: A fresh rose with an edgy kick of leather.
It will come as no surprise by the name, but this is their signature scent! Pinrose was nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year, and this, their namesake scent, made it into the top five!
In package: roses and alcohol
Smile: Bulgarian rose, anise, elemi
Rich, dark red roses and something darkly spicy. When I was a kid, I absolutely adored Little Kiddles, tiny scented dolls that came in a perfumed bottle case. This has that same full-bodied heady rose scent, only far more adult.
Heart: iris, clove, burnt rose
Now sure how to even describe this - I think my chemistry is doing bad things with this, which is very disappointing! - an indistinct sour/bitter scent is overlaying rose along with freshly cut grass. (this stage lasted about a half hour, and then settled out into an herbal scented floral, with a hint of smoke / leather. 'burnt rose' is a good description.
Soul: labdanum, ambergris, vanilla
This pretty much just lingered as a nondescript scent that smelled of earthy tones and ashes of roses. Oddly, as much as I don't care for this on my own skin, I think I'd find it really sexy on my favorite guy.
Conclusion: As this is signature scent, I know this must simply not be playing well with my own chemistry - disappointing! I very much loved it's earliest stage, and I know on the right person, this would be incredible.
Pretty in pink and everything else. Make an entrance with this mix of gardenia, jasmine, and freesia.
In package: like... perfume. Floral, but not able to pick out any particular variety.
Smile: tiare flower, bergamot, freesia
Definitely floral - something like gardenia, I think. I can't identify what else is going on (there are other scents there - something slightly peppery, I just am not familiar with what they are). Very feminine. In reading, 'tiare flower' is a subset of gardenia, so that explains that.
Heart: gardenia, jasmine, frangipani
Lush and tropical - I like this, even though it's not something I'd instinctively gravitate toward without trying it. Gardenia and jasmine play nicely together! Frangipani is another name for plumeria, another tropical flower. At an hour and a half, it is still holding 'true' - gardenia and jasmine in equal part although the 'throw' has settled down a good bit. Still quite lush, though!
Soul: vanilla bean, amber
After 3 hours or so, this has settled down to a soft amber with gardenia - low throw, and very nice. Lasted about 6 hours total - just right for a night out!
Conclusion: I would wear this again - one of the very few solidly floral scents that really worked well with me!
No better place to survey the scene than from the very top. Brighten the crowd with this fresh mix of Italian bergamot, lime, and mandarin.
In package: effervescent, lime and something
Smile: Lime, Italian Bergamot, Mandarin
citrusy, very bright. Smells clean (almost like cleaning product). After about five minutes, that went away, and the lime was replaced with delicious fresh mandarin orange - like it had just been peeled. Lovely!
Heart: Freesia, Hedione, Apple Blossom
growing softly floral along with the mandarin. Very much a 'daytime' scent for me. Still 'clean' but now floral and also getting a bit of the bergamot. I really like this and I don't generally like florals that much.
Dewy, cool morning floral.
Soul: White Musk, Cedarwood
musk starting, hint of cedarwood, still with florals - citrus notes gone now. Still very enjoyable! Very small throw after about 4 hours and completely gone by 6, but I really liked this one a lot.
Conclusion: This was a winner for me, and I'd happily use it often.
Dish out toothaches and heartaches. Vanilla, cedarwood, and white chocolate create the perfect combination of sweet and sexy.
In package: sweet and rich - the initial alcohol is like a sweet liqueur. I like!
Yes! It does smell like vanilla caramel - yum! I love this a lot.
Heart: White Chocolate
Not particularly getting white chocolate... this is still caramel, settled down into a rich, but not bright scent. Plays very well on my skin, and I find myself huffing my arm frequently just to inhale the goodness. The vanilla is becoming more prominent - very pleasant! This one is a winner!
Soul: Madagascan Vanilla, Cedarwood, Sandalwood
At 3 hours vanilla dominates and is nearly pure - hoping the woodsy tones come up. By hour 4, growing more subtle and rich - can't pick out cedarwood or sandalwood, but something is there in addition to the vanilla that makes it less foody than woodsy. By hour 5, there it is - delicious sandalwood tamed with a hint of vanilla. Perfect!
Conclusion: Total winner for me, start to finish. I would happily wear this as a signature scent.
Light up the world with melodies and mirth. Exude effortless elegance with this avant-garde bouquet of white lily and ylang ylang.
In package: floral/alcohol
Smile: lily of the valley, orange blossom, violet leaves
Floral - primarily lily of the valley. After a minute, the last of the alcohol has faded off - the lily is really pretty dead on (as if I were in a garden smelling them). I like this better than I expected to.
Heart: lemon verbena, musk, jasmine petals
1 hour in - this may be changing my mind about white florals - I'm liking it very much. It smells very 'clean' and fresh. Still primarily lily at this point, coupled with the lemon verbena. Not yet noticing any white musk or jasmine. Catching myself 'huffing' my arm, so I know I'm finding it appealing. At 2 hours, the jasmine is starting to dominate, with subtle musk and still a hint of the lily - going from fresh and white to more sophisticated. Still very much a floral scent, but growing more complex.
Soul: ylang ylang, cedarwood, peony
At 3 hours -The Ylang-Ylang has shown up - a scent I am often drawn to, and I'm back to huffing my arm. Ylang-ylang, jasmine, lily and musk, and I definitely enjoy this a whole lot more than I thought I would. It is a 'big' scent, and I'd want to be very cautious about not using too much, but I am totally starting to see how a white floral could work for me (or at least THIS one). 5 hours in - scent is still floral - mainly jasmine and ylang-ylang, and holding up very well. The throw is medium, and it is has staying power without a lot of morphing.
Conclusion: I am very surprised, but I really like it and would use it again!
Who's the empress of the woods? Take on the day confidently with this elegant mix of fig, peony, and Haitian vetiver.
In the package: again a whiff of alcohol/cleaner.
Smile: Cassis, Pear, Fig
Actually getting vetiver right off the top (like dirt), with overripe fruit. Hope this calms down soon. Fruit notes are stronger, but still not picking out what they are - tropical fruit laying in dirt. After 15 minutes, it finally starts to settle down.. More green notes, like fresh leaves along with the fruit.
Heart: Jasmine, Violet, White Peony
fruit and floral - peony predominates, fruit still smells overripe. Not unpleasant, but not loving it. Seems less woodsy than tropical and not what I expected. About an hour in, mostly peony with a whiff of jasmine - not sure I could pick out violet. Vetiver still noticeable, but far more pleasant now. Cool morning floral at this point - yes like walking in the woods. I like this better, than the earlier stage and would enjoy it if it stayed here.
Soul: Vanilla Bourbon, Haitian Vetiver, Moss
3 hours in I finally get pear! Still mainly floral, with a whiff of tropical notes and dirt (although much more subtle and well-behaved now). Same at 4 hours - no move toward vanilla bourbon (sadly), nor is the vetiver returning as a strong note (happily). By 5 hrs in, it has a much lighter throw, a vanilla floral that is pleasant. No vetiver at all at this point, but a much more pleasant finish than its beginning. Lasted nearly 10 hours before it was completely gone.
Conclusion: I expected to love this and didn't, which may be mainly due to my expectations not matching what it actually was. That said, it lasted incredibly long and included many interesting elements, and if I had more than one petal to test, I'd try it again to reassess how I like it after repeated use.
Out of the 13 scents I sampled, eight of them were enjoyable enough that I'd consider buying them - that seems like a really high success rate to me! I highly recommend trying your own 'taste tests' with the Sample Starter Kit and finding out what you like - there were quite a few surprises in here for me.
Fortunately, Pinrose is letting us give away TEN of the Sample Starter Kits to our US readers! Read on to see how you can snag one - and if you don't, check them out at Pinrose.com.
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