Perfume Reviews

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Reviews by Louslice

Total Reviews: 30

Owl by Patch NYC

What a find this was! Tucked into the bottom shelf of a gift store, at drug store prices, I found this little gem which features a masterful sandalwood and vetiver presentation, loaded with natural ingredients. It's a true unisex scent, and its as good as those overly hyped niche perfumers who sell for five times as much.
It goes on rich and has great longevity. It has an incredibly elegant presentation, creamy texture, and an almost sacred air that the best vetivers aspire to.

It's also available in a wax, which is very hard to find but brilliant for travel.

This is the real deal. Highly recommended, and the price makes it a screaming bargain.
19th June, 2016

Cologne du Maghreb by Tauer

Cologne du Maghreb is a wonderful example of all-natural perfumery, and a wonderful introduction to the unique world of Andy Tauer perfumes It isn't really a standard cologne at all, which is not surprising considering that Andy Tauer has never made a standard perfume. I hope he never will.

This cologne doesn't last long, like many colognes. I use it in the morning during the work week. It gives a delightful start to the day but fades before I get to work, where perfume is frowned upon. Sometimes I spray it before I got to bed as well. Natural perfumes are somehow more calming than the standard chemically-charged perfume.

It starts with a wonderful, natural-smelling blast of neroli and bergamot; delicious, rich and lively. Unlike most colognes, it isn't citrus-dominated, and I wouldn't have called this a cologne if I hadn't read the label. There is something woody and spicy at the heart of it, almost edible. At first I was surprised, but then remembered that this was an Andy Tauer creation, and of course he can never follow the rules! Not even for his first cologne.

I breathe deeply during the opening because it doesn't last long. The heart of the fragrance does last for hours, but it is very light and hard to detect unless you get close up to your skin - which is perfect for a workplace fragrance. Andy encourages liberal spraying, and when I use extra sprays it does indeed transform the fragrance, as the delicious woods and light florals (think freshcut spring blossoms in a wooden vase) persist and stand out with more personality after a more liberal application.

The bottle is his older rectangular, generic-type bottle - not the fancy ones you see on his website. I don't mind, since I keep it tucked away out of the light anyway, and the fancy bottles must add quite a bit of cost. But it doesn't present as well, so keep that in mind if you plan on it being a gift.

It seems strange that I want some perfumes that fade away, but it really does fill a role for me. I simply can't go to work wearing a perfume that projects, because it is perceived as being unprofessional. So the one I reach for, Monday through Friday, is a light cologne that will delight on application, then fade, but just leave enough of a trace that I get a whiff of it every now and then from my shirt. Cologne du Maghreb fills that role beautifully, replacing the Santa Maria Novella Russian Cologne I had been using for years.

Tauer perfumes are usually all powerhouses, so this may serve as a gentle introduction for those of you who like your scents light and easy. It is also an excellent example of a natural perfume that really works, which is very rare. Andy's perfumes always smell much more expensive than they are, and really stand out for the overall feel of quality and shiny purity of the notes.

Enjoy! And if it fades ... just spray again!
30th March, 2012

Carillon Pour Un Ange by Tauer

This is Tauer's tribute to Lily of the Valley. Unfortunately that plant is not native to my area, so I don't really have a reference to what it smells like in nature, and it doesn't trigger any memories for me. That is too bad, because this perfume feels very real and I wish I had more of a personal connection to it.

Carillon pour un ange is the purest floral that Tauer has done so far. The opening in particular is very floral, with the truly weightless feel you only get from perfumes using the very best natural ingredients. After the spectacularly fresh florals of the opening, it slowly becomes more leafy. This stage lasts for a very long time, a pleasant leafy floral that is a pleasure to wear for men or women. The green leafiness keeps it away from the powdery scents that are difficult for men to wear. This one is a unisex floral, as much as any floral can be unisex.

This is a very long lasting scent for me, dominated throughout by the refreshing green florals. It stays close to the skin, and smells very real and pure. This is a scent for a true perfume lover, for it is not showy and does not project much. This scent is for someone who wants to celebrate a true, pure, beautiful ingredient, and experience Tauer's vision for this special flower.
24th August, 2010
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Orange Star by Tauer

If you wanted to oversimplify things, you could say that floral perfumes are for women, woods are for men, and citrus perfumes are for both. That is definitely the case with Orange Star, a very unisex perfume. Basenotes has it listed as a female perfume, but it works just as well for men.

Orange Star starts out with with a juicy orange peel note, backed by gentle woods and florals. It takes a while to get used to the Orange note because it is not synthetically sweet as I am used to with orange scents, and it does not project either. You have to get up close to smell it, and then you get that rich, bubbly, lickable orange note. It really smells juicy, there is no better way to describe it. It took me several applications to really appreciate it.

The topnotes last a long time, then slowly fade to some gentle woods and green florals. The idea you get is of a leafy orange tree, although to be honest I don't live in an orange tree climate and can't remember what an actual orange tree smells like. So I will call it an impression of an orange tree.

Eventually this dries down to a wonderful natural base. From Tauer's scent notes I learn the drydown is tonka and ambergris, but I have never smelled either of those things individually so I will have to take his word for it. Whatever it is, it smells great, although not really related to the Orange Star theme and familiar from some of his other perfumes. It seems that he is developing a kind of signature drydown, which is lovely but in this case unrelated to the rest of the perfume and the Orange Star theme. The drydown does last a long time - I can usually still smell it the next morning.

Overall, Orange Star is an elegant, luscious interpretation of orange, with a long, natural, but unrelated drydown. For all my life I have been exposed to artificial, sweet, chemical orange smells in everything from household cleaners to gum drops to department fragrance and told that this is orange, to the point where I would smell them and immediately think "orange". And yet, they really had only a passing relation to the fruit that I have also been eating all my life. This is the first time a scent really approached the true "orange" feel of the fruit, and I am finally glad to leave behind gumdrops and floor cleaners as the definition of orange fragrance.
24th August, 2010 (last edited: 21st September, 2010)

Grezzo d'Eleganza by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

I got a start of lively citrus and bergamot. This passes quickly, and I get some elegant flowers and herbs, and something very animalistic, which I understand is castoreum. This is an arresting note, and balances boldly with the florals. Later the herbs develop as the flowers pass, and elegant woods and resins join in. The castoreum remains and balances this arresting, bold fragrance. The mood is dry, elegant, and sensuously masculine. The drydown comes fairly soon, and again it is dry and masculine, with aromatic woods and a touch of incense, all brought out by the castoreum. Really dry, with a sophisticated, masculine edge.
21st March, 2010

Cuoio tartaro / Tartar Leather by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

First impression is of the rich strength of this perfume. I get a blast of spices and ... what? Something strong and pungent, I don't know what to call it, but it dominates the opening. Then it settles into a rich resin of some type, a very rich, pungent smell. Honestly, I have no idea what I am smelling here, it is different and delicious. My wife suggested it was patchouli. I can't tell, but I like it. It mellows slowly and gradually, some woods emerge and the spices continue. Lasts well. I don't think the name really gives any clues, it doesn't smell much like leather or the smelly Tartars. I don't know exactly what it is and have trouble describing it, so I would just say it is a strong, mysterious perfume inspired by the middle east.
21st March, 2010

John Varvatos by John Varvatos

This perfume begins with a blast of aquatic, "fresh" notes, which are the same sort of artificial chemicals that most of the department store perfumers, as well as the drugstore shampoos and deodorant makers, use all the time.

Fresh, clean, aquatic, blah blah blah, I am tired of these artificial chemical smells and find them vaguely offensive. They certainly are pungent and intrusive, and when you think about it they don't actually smell fresh or clean. What exactly does "fresh" smell like? Or "clean"? Maybe to some people it smells like Maritima or Muguet Aldehyde 50 BB, but to me those chemicals smell just like ... chemicals. So right away I don't like this one.

Later some fruit and herb smells develop, like the perfume is really trying to make a statement, but I am not engaged or interested at all. Plus the aquatic notes are still pervasive. So the rest are lost on me, and I don't care if my wrist still smells like West Indian Tamarind Leaves or not. They should have let the fruits and herbs stand on their own, without wrapping it around the plastic fresh wrapper that everyone else uses.

This perfume lasts well, so you can smell like fake chemicals the entire day if you like. I would prefer not.
25th November, 2009

Bazaar by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Starts out with a blast of spices (clove, cinnamon, cardamon, and others) mellowed by a sweet, pungent orange. Then a rich, luxurious incense starts, that is truly marvelous. It stays sweet, with woods, herbs, and spices blending with the incense. It is enveloping and intoxicating, rich and sweet, mysterious and compelling.
17th November, 2009

Yohji Homme by Yohji Yamamoto

On application, there are some spices right away, perhaps cinnamon and pepper, tied in with a little leather. Then I get food smells: chocolate, clove, and coffee, which eventually settle around an ambery, musky base.

If you like gourmand type scents, and if you are looking for an understated, modest type of scent, you might like this one. Personally, it fails to inspire me. Food scents are rarely satisfying for me, because they don't actually smell like food at all, so you really have to use your imagination to get chocolate and coffee out of this one. Maybe some perfumers think that amyl ahenyl acetate smells just like chocolate, but I love chocolate and I can tell you that it really doesn't, and these fake-food perfumes are basically uninteresting to me.

The chocolate-spices-coffee heart of this fragrance reminds me a lot of Givenchy Very Irresistible, except that Very Irresistible adds some interesting herbal notes to it. So if you prefer your fake-food perfume with more punch, I would look at that one instead. Personally, I'll pass.
15th November, 2009

Tabac Blond by Caron

I thought this would be a unisex scent, but it isn't. It is a very feminine, powdery scent with a subtle, sweet tobacco in the background. Really, it is not interesting to me and I am sorry I was mislead by the many reviewers who said it was unisex. Any scent can be unisex for the right person, under the right circumstances, but not for me, not this one. Powders don't work for me. I would give it a thumbs down but that wouldn't be fair, considering it is sold and marketed as a female scent so I had fair warning. Sometimes basenotes reviews are helpful, and sometimes they really aren't.
07th November, 2009

Very Irrésistible for Men by Givenchy

This is a pleasant scent, rich and green feeling. It goes on herbal, then mellows out to a more sensuous, richer smell that lasts very well.

The problem is that it has no real direction. I know it is supposed to have mint, coffee, and chocolate, among other things, and if I try very hard I can see some of those notes. But the problem is, it doesn't smell like mint, coffee, or chocolate. It smells like some chemicals that someone decided reminded them of mint, coffee, and chocolate, but really don't compare to the real thing.

The goal of perfumery for me is to evoke images with smell. The best perfumes evoke the strongest images, and the true masters can pull out some of the deepest memories and emotions using their scents.

Using chemicals that bear little semblance to the listed notes, as this one does, doesn't help. it leaves your perfume soulless, lacking direction, and ultimately unsatisfying. Some people love trying to guess at what the various chemicals area meant to smell like, but not me. It might seem interesting to list chocolate as a note, and something in there does smell a little like chocolate, but it doesn't bring the image of chocolate to my mind. Together, it all smells very nice, but I don't love it and never will.
28th October, 2009

Acqua di Colonia by Lorenzo Villoresi

It starts out all citrus, mainly lemon peel and orange, then some spices develop and mingle in the background. It is a very fresh, bathroom sort of scent. It is supposed to be based entirely of essential oils, so the quality should be much better than the huge range of citrus scents that line most department store shelves. I liked it but didn't love it.
15th October, 2009

Yerbamate by Lorenzo Villoresi

Very green and herbal at first, but then soon some beautifully executed woods join in. Later it softens and becomes powdery. Overall it is a sophisticated herbal, green scent. It is more of a feminine scent and I wouldn't recommend it for most men, although there are always exceptions of course.
15th October, 2009
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Incense Rosé by Tauer

A gorgeous and beautiful incense scent. The incense is rich and true, and lasts from the start to the end. At the start it is surrounded by a complex blend of green and sweet notes, which grows spicier over time until finally only the woods remain to enrich the incense. Despite the name, the rose only plays a supporting role at the start. This is a rich incense scent through and through, intense and beautifully composed.
19th July, 2008

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

This is a sharp, clean floral. It has a metallic edge that makes it very elegant and masculine, despite being very floral. It lasts well, and although it is strong, the simplicity of it makes it suitable for the workplace, as well as daytime and summer wear.
I quite enjoy wearing this scent. The simplicity of it focuses my attention, and the quality of the ingredients shines throughout the day.
09th January, 2008

Messe de Minuit by Etro

Unique and distinctive. There is a brief burst of brightness just before the incense kicks in, along with the orange. The orange has a long, pleasant phase which introduces and then acquiesces to the incense drydown. Honey and incense, with hints of other spices, are what remains of this intriguing scent.

With the orange, honey, and spices, Messe et Minuit could be described as a sweet, tasty incense scent.
21st December, 2007

DKNY Men (original) by Donna Karan

This should be a pleasant scent. There are some nice ginger, spice, and berry notes, plus a little citrus around the edges.

However there is a dominant chemical smell that wraps it all together and promotes itself far too prominently. This is mostly what I smell with the fragrance, the chemical carrier, strong and penetrating. It almost makes me sneeze. For this reason, I can't use this in the office or any place where people might be sensitive to fragrance. That's too bad, because aside from the choking chemical smell, it would be a very wearable, balanced, and fresh scent.

I need to add to the criticisms about the practicality of the bottle. Mine languishes in the back of a drawer because it is too tall and unbalanced to stand up anywhere else. But then, who buys a fragrance because the bottle is practical?
07th December, 2007

Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

Starts off sharply peppery, but soon mellows to a crisp cedar woodiness. The woodiness is elegantly supported and developed, and very consistent and long lasting. This is a very elegant scent, persistent but not obtrusive, and keeps the woody character for a long time. It is understated, but still has a complexity of character that is very satisfying.

A great, wearable scent. Stays close to the body. Many of the current popular scents are understated like this one, which allows it to be worn in many situations and generally find favour even among those who are indifferent to fragrance, but unlike many others it still manages to have true classic character. In other words, it actually smells of something.
28th November, 2007

Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge by Bulgari

Starts out with a perfect blast of tea leaves, startling and real. But this mellows out quickly, which is probably good because you don't want to smell exactly like tea leaves all day. The tea is there for a long time, but a kind of spicy fruitiness appears and mellows out the tea.
I think the fruit reference is supposed to be fig, but to me it is more like olives. Anyway, it is fresher and brighter than any real fruit would be, so there are other things supporting it as well. It qualifies the tea nicely and ends up being a sophisticated, pleasant, fragrance. The tea makes it stand out from the crowd of generics.
27th November, 2007

Euphoria Men by Calvin Klein

There is a burst of bright florals at the start, then it settles into a fresh, vaguely herbal stage. It is pleasant enough, but not particularly interesting. It isn't a deep scent, so I would say it is geared towards younger men. Teenagers could wear it - would be a great prom fragrance.

If you want something pleasant, modern, and clean smelling, this is a good scent. If you are looking for depth or personality, keep looking.
27th November, 2007

Reaction for Men by Kenneth Cole

Immediately on contact with my skin, there is bright, sweet, fruit. After that there is ... well not much of anything really. Just a generic, light, clean kind of smell. Pleasant, but not particularly masculine or interesting in any way. But pleasant.

This would be one to wear to work. Spray it on in the morning for a tasty blast of fruit, then the rest of the day, if you do smell anything at all, it will be the vaguely clean and agreeable "Reaction" drydown. You co-workers won't notice it unless they get very close, and if they do they will find it inoffensively pleasant.

"Reaction" is poorly named. The one thing this generic scent will not get is a reaction. It will be lucky to get noticed at all. They should have called it "Inoffensive" because that would have been a more accurate description.

I want to give this a thumbs down, but really can't. You can't dislike this scent, but you can't really like it that much either. I suppose that is what Kenneth Cole told Symrise: make me a fresh, modern scent that everyone will like. So they did just that and came up with a likeable scent that no one will love or remember.
27th November, 2007

Encre Noire by Lalique

Not an easy scent –complex, spicy and woody, without the balance or sweetness that would make it all friendly.

It is fairly intense and strong, which is brilliantly mirrored in the name and bottle. Notice how most of the reviews here unconsciously reference the bottle: “dark” “inky” and “black” come up again and again. I would say this deserves a gold medal for the matching of name, scent, and bottle, as they all seem to reference each other and together the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

You have to be careful where you wear this one because it is bold and strong. It won’t be liked by everyone, but everyone will notice it. It lasts well, although the spiciness fades and it becomes pleasantly woody in the end. The drydown is pleasant, but the early notes of boldness and spicy complexity are what you will remember.

As another compliment to the bottle, I should add the spray on this one is remarkably good. It is easily controllable, so you can squirt just a little or a lot, important in a scent as bold as this one. It also sprays a very fine mist, which is great for even application. I wonder why other manufacturers spend so much on the bottle but then attach an unwieldy spray nozzle.
23rd November, 2007

Individuel by Montblanc

Does Montblanc really need to sell perfume?

I suppose that is a silly question, considering all the other odd sorts of companies and personalities that sell perfume, from GM Hummer to Michael Jordan. But it has become tiresome to see yet another company selling a great quality product (in this case pens), be purchased by an investment company with multiple luxury brand holdings (in this case Richemont, which also owns Cartier and Lancel, among others), raise the price of their primary luxury product beyond any sort of reasonable level, open a chain of boutiques mainly in airports, then introduce the usual lineup of overpriced luxury moneymakers: bags, jewelry, designer clothes, and perfume, even though none of them are true to the origin of the company.

Anyway, onto the scent. It really is lovely, although transient and derivative. Montblanc aimed to please and not to offend, and they have achieved it with a beautiful blend of green and bright spices, with a little citrus sweetness. It is bright, with a sophisticated but friendly personality. Unfortunately, it is also forgettable, as its brightness fades quickly and leaves little on the dry-down. It is also similar to manay other scents, and with little to distinguish itself from these others (such as Joop) it can’t help smelling like a copy.

I really think Mont Blanc should have used its heritage to produce something more relevant. For example, Lalique’s Encre Noir, with the inspiration of an ink bottle, would have been a terrific pen reference and is a wonderfully sophisticated and distinctive scent. Or something like Creed’s Silver Mountain Water would have been a great reference to the Mont Blanc mountain symbol, and again would have been something distinctive and unique.

But they took the middle road, and here it is.
23rd November, 2007

Cool Water by Davidoff

This is a terrifically refreshing and delightful cologne. Like so many currently popular scents, it doesn't smell like anything in particular. To describe it, one is reduced to using abstracts, such as the name itself (it does indeed smell like how one would imagine "cool water" to smell, which is actually meaningless since cold water has no smell) or adjectives like "blue" or "clean" that don't have a real smell either.
But in a sea of abstract and inoffensive male scents, this one stands out for perfect balance and charm. It is a clean, professional scent that also has enough depth to give it personality and character. Spices are balanced by citrus, herbs with woods, green with aquatic.

You can wear this scent anytime: on a date, to the office, on vacation, day or night. Its popularity is justified.

Cool Water has one major flaw: it fades almost immediately. It has no lasting power on the skin. For this reason, it is almost like a cologne for people who don't really like cologne: guaranteed to be liked by everyone up front, and it won't hang around to risk offending or spoiling the pleasant first impression.
23rd November, 2007

Lonestar Memories by Tauer

An intensely masculine scent, strong, sharp and even bitter. I wouldn't wear this to indoor events, but I do love wearing it. Birch tar comes on strong, with smoke and even a little rubber. Then the leather joins the tar and smoke, like a campfire. It eventually mellows and the smoke and tar turn to wood. But it is strong and pungent, made of rich ingredients that feel real. This scent really feels like the outdoors, the real outdoors, not the flowery oriental dreams of French perfumers. This is what the outdoors really smells like, way beyond the suburbs and their manicured parks. It reminds me of camping in the bush, or even of my years spent in the army. Harsh but rich smells. This is a niche perfume in the truest scent, one that you might not wear very often, but when the occasion calls there is nothing else that matches it. Bravo Andy Tauer for finding something new to add to the thousands of scents on the market.
22nd November, 2007 (last edited: 22nd November, 2009)

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

A great citrus cologne, lemon or lime depending on how you smell it. After the citrus it is mild, soft and pleasant. Very wearable, gentle and fairly sophisticated. Aside from the pleasant citrus, it is mostly generic, but the citrus is endearing enough to make it worthwhile.

I don't know what the sales figures are, but it seems to be hugely popular. Sales figures might be deceiving anyway, because a lot of perfume is purchased but not actually worn. This one is so easy and pleasant to wear that it quickly becomes a favourite.

This scent works in the summer, day or night, office or club. Men and women seem to enjoy it equally, which might explain its popularity.

As long as you like citrus, you could buy this scent and wear it every day.
22nd November, 2007

Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

A brilliant scent, often imitated but this is the original. Sweet woods, musk, amber, and silky spices in a distinctive, powerful, intense package. Bold but perfectly balanced. Manly, warm, sexy, exciting and provocative. Wear it with pride, or don't even bother.

This scent is 30 years old and may seem dated. It is certainly a stark contrast to the "fresh, clean, and light" scents favoured today. The powerful sweet musk is a throwback to a time when masculinity wasn't as carefully packaged as it is now, or perhaps just to a time when everyone smoked everywhere and a scent had to cut through the lingering stink of stale tobacco.

This is a great classic scent and I will always have a bottle on hand.
22nd November, 2007

Woody Sandalwood by Body Shop

A warm, soft, slightly sweet woody scent that lasts and lasts. The small bottle is good for traveling. Informal, familiar and friendly. Good for men or women.
21st November, 2007

Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès

Rich, dense, immediately and persistently sweet. The sweetness is tempered by some rich, deep spices and mysteriously vague woods and incense. It draws from Eau des Merveilles but is not defined by it.

This is an eau de parfum and the heavy concentration supports the complexity and helps it last all day. It also makes it suitable for men.

Wear this to an Asian restaurant, a summer fair, or at home when you are cooking something heavily aromatic for dinner, like a roast chicken. It is a great accompaniment for strong food smells.

21st November, 2007

Chêne by Serge Lutens

Oak, oak, oak, and more oak. Perfect, crystal, clear and consistent. I know there is more than just oak, but that is all I care about in this scent and all I want to smell in it. It is perfect.
21st November, 2007