Reviews by bokaba

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    bokaba
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    Eau de Quinine by Pinaud

    While Pinaud's Eau de Quinine is marketed as a hair tonic, it can be used as an aftershave or cologne as well. EdQ was one of the better surprises I've had lately with cheapo fragrances. EdQ cannot compete with Crown's now discontinued venerable Quinine, but Pinaud's gets the job done. There is certainly a whack of medicinal quinine bark in the mix, but there is also a good deal of musk, must, fust, and Victoriana. Pinaud EdQ reminds me of the original Shulton Old Spice with a good coating of 19th Century flair. Not bad for under $10.

    09th July, 2014

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    Nuit de Chine by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Upon first smell, I noticed much of the top is no longer with us, but that was to be expected from an 80+ year old perfume. At first blush, I would categorize Nuit de Chine as an oriental fougere and its similarity to Mouchoir de Monsieur is uncanny though not unusual as they were released within eight years of each other and probably of popular style at the time.

    The opening is dull and unexciting, but the coumarin/tonka accord so cherished from MdM comes to the fore except that Nuit de Chine uses real—yes, that’s right—real civet and deer musk in the composition. I have smelled these tinctures before and can say with much certainty that this is so. The longer it sits on my skin the fecal yet floral nutty aspect of the civet becomes greater.

    Nuit de Chine is also known for its resplendent sandalwood note—natural Mysore, of course. It is restrained and adds a light buttery texture and slight hints of Chinese incense.

    I am not sure why Rosine chose to name their fragrance “Chinese Night”—perhaps it was to inspire visions of the Orient. Nuit de Chine was also a popular French song in the 1920s, though it was released after the perfume. Poiret had originally named his fragrance Nuit d’Orient as he favored Oriental perfumes.

    It is difficult to give a note construction for such a long lost perfume that is so disconnected from what we know as fragrance today. I would guess that it contains an opening lavender-coumarin accord for the basic fougere effect inherited from Parquet’s not so distant Fougere Royale in addition to some florals and spices perhaps jasmine, tuberose, cinnamon, orris, and rose. The base is a coumarin haze augmented by civet, musk, sandalwood, and vanilla. There may also be traces of vetiver and cedar here.

    Overall, if one has smelled Mouchoir de Monsieur, especially a vintage formulation, one is not missing much in Nuit de Chine. However, if artistry and the best ingredients available are important, Nuit de Chine is not to be missed (also note that Turn of the Century perfumers likely had easy access to the best perfume ingredients ever available). Unfortunately, Nuit de Chine and Poiret’s other masterpiece, Le Fruit Defendu, are probably the things of which perfume dreams are made—far outside our grasp.

    05th November, 2013

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    Blue Carnation by Roger & Gallet

    Perfect Carnation

    After several months of research and sampling, I came to the conclusion that Blue Carnation by Roger and Gallet was the best there ever was. It came down to two finalists, the second be the much vaunted Floris Malmaison. Unfortunately, most carnation fragrances on the market today do the flower little justice: they represent it as fiery, peppery, and over the top clove-laden or as a syrupy and sweet floral; neither of which could be any farther from the truth.
    There are some small independent perfumers who still use carnation absolute, but it is very expensive and the better the quality, the more expensive it gets. Most have a tendency to use it in symbolic quantities in the same manner as the mainstream. Even the cheap, readily available carnation substitute, iso-eugenol, is heavily regulated by IFRA and it is difficult to use enough to achieve the desired effect.
    Now, onto the scent itself: Blue Carnation was released as a feminine fragrance in 1927 and discontinued around 1973 for a variety of reasons. I believe it was phased out because of the unjustifiably high price of the raw materials and general "unfashionableness" of the genre in the first decade of contemporary perfumery. Others claim Roger and Gallet intentionally took it off the market so that it could be worn exclusively by the Queen of England. I’ve never seen any verification of this claim in writing or from Roger and Gallet themselves. I think R and G was transitioning themselves from a glorious house of yore that perfumed the aristocracy of the XIXth Century to the budget brand (albeit one of the best) they are to today (thank heavens they’ve preserved, at least in part, the flagship Extra Vieille).
    Blue Carnation is the carnation to end all carnation. This is the essence of the flower itself. Carnation plays the leading role in the opening and drydown. Nowhere else, save partially in Malmaison, have I ever smelled such a fragrance. The carnation absolute, of the highest quality, sits masterfully over a bed of cinnamon, tonka bean, clove, musk, oakmoss, and bit of vanilla. BC is mildly spicy unlike the spice bomb Caron Poivre or is it over the top floral. It is just right, decent, and above all else, luxurious, not luxurious as in a jet-set DUI-accumulating starlet of today, but luxurious in the sense of old moneyed aristocrats who are not in need of attention. The overall feel is velvety and plush with a dash spice inside the very carnation flower itself.

    My bottle is the ribbed rectangular splash from the late 1950s or early 1960s. The juice is a grassy green, which I surmise is the proper color. I’ve smelled similar bottles with dark yellow juice and while still superb, the carnation is not would it should be. BC was available in EdT, EdC, and Parfum concentrations. This review is for the Eau de Toilette.

    14th September, 2013

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    Derby by Guerlain

    Gentlemanly Masterpiece

    Derby was originally launched in 1983 as the second masterpiece of the now disgraced Jean Paul Guerlain (his first being Habit Rouge). He released numerous feminine scents, but like the Guerlains who preceded him, his real talent was creating gentlemanly perfumes.

    Derby came to the fore in time when the last vestiges of classical (by classical, I mean Victorian/Edwardian/Belle Epoch, etc.) perfumery had come to end in the 1960s. Derby likely took much inspiration from another timeless and brilliant scent that was introduced a few years earlier—the irreproachable Patou pour Homme designed by the mainstream fragrance industry’s final farewell hero, Jean Kerleo.
    Derby is a leathery woody fragrance for men, most suitable for autumn or winter evening wear. The opening is a brisk bergamot and green herbs followed by a soft floral heart of Spanish jasmine and Bulgarian rose with aromatic spices such as nutmeg. The base is built strongly with a good portion of real oakmoss, patchouli, and sandalwood.
    The overall feel of Derby is dark, but never brooding or overpowering. It is an 80s powerhouse style fragrance if you will, but retains more than enough good breeding under the watchful eye of Mr. Guerlain himself.
    The juice itself has darkened to almost dark brown at this point (purchased and shipped from Italy recently), but I feel nothing has suffered the passing of time save maybe the citrus because Derby contains mostly elements that improve over time if stored properly like a 1963 vintage Bordeaux wine. My bottle is the first edition "eagle" bottle that is supposed to look like an eagle with its wings outstretched. It was horribly unpopular and Guerlain quickly changed to the standard rectangular bottle.

    14th September, 2013

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    Iris Gris by Jacques Fath

    Queen Iris

    Smelling the legendary Iris Gris, after long last, is one of the highlights of my fragrance career. I immediately noticed upon first unwrapping the wax paper that it is soft, smooth, and light—three things we don’t often see with today’s iris fragrances beating you over the head either with synthetic iris (the perfumer thinks you don’t know what iris smells like) or beating you over the head with the real thing—naked, exposed, and bare (the perfumer wants to show you how much natural iris he has used without regard to fragrance itself). I, of course, prefer the latter approach as in Iris Silver Mist.

    Iris Gris has large quantities of orris butter and orris CO2 extract, but is it smooth and well integrated with the rest of the scent. Give my experience is strictly from a blotter and not from skin, it will probably vary slightly. I understand the Osmotheque does not allow skin contact with their scents because they do not conform to IFRA standards and they do not want to be liable if someone were to go blind or die because oakmoss touched their skin for a moment.
    There is peach, the peach aldehyde C-14 just as I suspected. C-14 is quite potent (my whole house still smells like peach after storing a small blotter of the stuff) so I presume it is light and just enough to diffuse the rough, rooty edge of the orris. I further believe that the orris is smoothed out with a little violet leaf (this is confirmed by Jean Kerleo himself who presumably designed it in a French language interview mentioned in an earlier post). The overall feel of the orris is peachy and rich with a little powder and a slight metallic/cold edge though it remains warm and velvety throughout.
    The heart is a white floral bouquet, typical of the time period, using top quality floral ingredients. There is something quite indolic though it never becomes fecal. I suspect this is jasmine grandiflorium, also known as Spanish Jasmine coupled with a conservative dose of tuberose. I never much care for tuberose, but it adds depth and indole in small doses. There is also lilac, muguet, and heliotrope. The heliotrope was the most noticeable of the flowers after the jasmine and tuberose.
    The base is more difficult to discern. It is somewhere between a classic chypre and a musky, slightly soapy wood. I would suspect Atlas cedar for depth and a bit of that cigar box smell, a light vetiver accord for a hay-like grassiness, oakmoss, Mysore sandalwood for a rich creamy and buttery texture, a top quality vegetal musk—perhaps ambrette seed or angelica root, perhaps a little cassie oil to give a sweet oily density, a light carnation note for a little spice, and finally, dare I say—Peru balsam to add a velvety texture.
    So for a note structure, we have: peach, orris (Florentine presumably), violet leaf, Spanish jasmine, tuberose, lilac, muguet, heliotrope, cedar, vetiver, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood, cassie, carnation, Peru balsam.
    To be certain, Iris Gris is great fragrance, perhaps one of the greatest of all time. It was originally released for women, but it could be worn by any gender, so long as the wearer is sophisticated with a sense of tradition and historicity. It does not, by any means, smell old-fashioned or out of date—it smells timeless, sophisticated, and simple. I think a fragrance like this would be popular today even as long as it could be sold alongside other living legends like Shalimar, Jicky, and the like.
    Smelling this blotter was the culmination of several months of research into the orris root. Further, a renowned perfume historian recently revealed to me that Iris Gris contained an extraordinarily expensive orris base made a Swiss perfume company. I take that to be either Givaudan or Firmenich. Firmenich makes an expensive base called Iris Rhizome Resinoid of Florentine Orris—perhaps this is it.

    14th September, 2013

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    Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    King Iris

    Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens (I house I generally despise) is one of the few modern fragrances I would dare to discuss on this blog. It takes its place beside the queen of irises, the regal and long lost Iris Gris. ISM is cold, powdery, spicy, rooty, peppery, and above all else, irisy. In no other extant fragrance is there such a high concentration of orris compounds.
    The opening is pungent like slicing open a beat and inhaling deeply. There is pepper, root, earth, and a bit of doughy carrot. This phase quickly gives way to the cold, icy orris heart of the fragrance. The orris is of top quality in conjunction with the rare and expensive Robertet iris base.
    To my knowledge, Silver Iris Mist is the only fragrance on the market that contains large quantities of natural orris butter and other natural orris compounds. Is it as good as Iris Gris? Probably not, but you could do much worse. In the heart, the icy orris root comes to the fore. The base contains a little sandalwood and a slightly soapy musk reminiscent of the long lost Gris (do not be fooled by MPG Iris Bleu Gris as it has nothing to do with Iris Gris).
    I would suggest buying ISM while it is still available if you are interested in the best available iris fragrance. Is it cheap? Certainly not, but the quality of the iris compounds justifies the price and may, of course, only be available in the States for a short period of time—ISM was once a Paris exclusive.

    12th September, 2013

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    Nuit de Chine by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Vintage Oriental Fougere

    At first blush, I would categorize Nuit de Chine as an oriental fougere and its similarity to Mouchoir de Monsieur is uncanny though not unusual as they were released within eight years of each other and probably of popular style at the time.

    The opening is dull and unexciting, but the coumarin/tonka accord so cherished from MdM comes to the fore except that Nuit de Chine uses real—yes, that’s right—real civet and deer musk in the composition. I have smelled these tinctures before and can say with much certainty that this is so. The longer it sits on my skin the fecal yet floral nutty aspect of the civet becomes greater.
    Nuit de Chine is also known for its resplendent sandalwood note—natural Mysore, of course. It is restrained and adds a light buttery texture and slight hints of Chinese incense.
    I am not sure why Rosine chose to name their fragrance "Chinese Night"—perhaps it was to inspire visions of the Orient. Nuit de Chine was also a popular French song in the 1920s, though it was released after the perfume. Poiret had originally named his fragrance Nuit d’Orient as he favored Oriental perfumes.
    It is difficult to give a note construction for such a long lost perfume that is so disconnected from what we know as fragrance today. I would guess that it contains an opening lavender-coumarin accord for the basic fougere effect inherited from Parquet’s not so distant Fougere Royale in addition to some florals and spices perhaps jasmine, tuberose, cinnamon, orris, and rose. The base is a coumarin haze augmented by civet, musk, sandalwood, and vanilla. There may also be traces of vetiver and cedar here.
    Overall, if one has smelled Mouchoir de Monsieur, especially a vintage formulation, one is not missing much in Nuit de Chine. However, if artistry and the best ingredients available are important, Nuit de Chine is not to be missed (also note that Turn of the Century perfumers likely had easy access to the best perfume ingredients ever available). Unfortunately, Nuit de Chine and Poiret’s other masterpiece, Le Fruit Defendu, are probably the things of which perfume dreams are made—far outside our grasp.

    08th September, 2013

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    Eau de Kananga by Rigaud

    Beautiful French Soap

    Let me first say that Eau de Kananga is a brilliant but not mind-blowing scent. Eau de Kananga, at least the Rigaud version, is not a feminine fragrance and in reality a unisex if not exclusively masculine fragrance. Kananga, named for the Japanese ylang, is a leading example of old world refinement and minimalism. Kananga reminds me of a old French soap containing bracing lavender, deep and dark citrus, spice, and musk. That is exactly what Kananga is: an example of the soapy clean gentleman of the inter-war period. It, of  course, does not last long in likely an eau de cologne concentration with a good whack of natural ingredients. The French version of DR Harris's Arlington perhaps?

     

    Mt guess as to the notes:

     

    Lavender, lemon, bergamot, verbena

    Carnation/clove, ylang, jasmine, neroli, orris, geranium

    Musk

     

    Note that the original formula for Kananga Water contained cassie and jonquil, though I do not really smell them here.

    23rd May, 2013

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    Garofano by Santa Maria Novella

    Realistic albeit floral Carnation

    SMN Garofano is a realistic and beautifully orchestrated carnation perfume. It is strong, spicy, and heady with floral overtones. Garofano is spicy, but not as spicy as Caron's Coup de Fouet. It is more floral and a bit sweeter. Quite good, but the only downside is the use of synthetic chemical to extend the floral aspect of the carnation long into the base.

    23rd May, 2013

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    Aéroplane by Detaille

    At last, another masterpiece added to the directory! While Aeroplane is certainly similar in structure to Eau Sauvage--an herbal citrus chypre--it stands heads and shoulders above both Sauvage and its 1980s contender Eau de Sud. Detaille is a small, boutique operation in Paris that makes a number of classical oriented scents. Aeroplane, as we know it today, was formulated in the 1980s when the current owners of Detaille purchased the outfit; many of it's scents do date back to 1905. Aeroplane features a beautifully crisp yet rich citrus opening much like Crown Perfumery Imperial. The heart is largely herbal and it dries down to a romantic and animalic oakmoss nearly identical to the lost Chanel pour Monsieur.

    12th May, 2013

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    Crown Esterhazy by Crown Perfumery

    While this genre is quite crowded, I would call Esterhazy the best in show. Many houses make a light, cheery verbena citrus type fragrance, but if you want the best and likely most historic, let me suggest Esterhazy. Esterhazy Bouquet was a well respected cologne genre like new mown hay, ess bouquet, Hungarian Water, etc. that was manufactured by mostly small, bespoke chemists in London, Paris, Parma, etc. Crown's brilliant rendition of Esterhazy is in EdP concentration, but behaves more like an eau de cologne. It is centered around lemon verbena and lemon melissa, which most people mistake for mint. A brush of lavender and rosemary add depth and brief base of light musk and woods ends the fragrance.

    10th May, 2013

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    Duncan by Anglia Perfumery

    Duncan is a soapy, citrusy fougere with pine and cypress notes. It is a good, not great, approximation of the old Crown Perfumery Buckingham. The structure and basic idea are the same (I would certainly recommend this to anyone for a dose of old fashioned Victorian soap) though the quality of materials and artistry are inferior to Crown--but Crown used some of the best and most expensive oils available. This is what soap used to smell like (most are aquatic or gourmand now, right?)--clean, brisk, and to the point. The pine adds depth and sharpness while the cypress adds a bit of dusk much like Creed's Cypres Musc. Duncan focuses more on lime and bergamot while Buckingham employed brilliant lemon, cedrat, and lemon melissa. One never knows how long an outfit like Anglia will be around, so it would be wise to sample and buy if you are so inclined.

    06th May, 2013

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    Eau de Russe by Crown Perfumery

    I had high hopes for Russe, being one of the last Crown fragrances on my to-try list. I understood from the outset that it was a powdery citrus rather than a stark birch tar one usually associates with Russian leathers. In and of itself, Russe is nice, inoffensive, talcy, and massively powdery. A brighter, cleaner, and more British take on the Guerlain classic l'Heure Bleue. I would guess that Russe contains bergamot, neroli, lavender, orris, musk, and amber among other things. Russe is likely patterned after the trend of fragrances like Floris Special no. 127 made for expatriate Russian aristocrats in living in France at the Turn of the Century--and their vision of the perfumes of the good old days of absolute monarchies--a dream of Catherine the Great, the perfumed court of Marie Antoinette at Versailles, and the wind blowing through the blue and white silk brocades of Louis XIV in his grand garden. Eau de Russe is the child of too many dreams and too many illusions, which have gone flat by the dawn of the 21st Century. If you like l'Heure Bleue and classic feminines of Guerlain and Chanel, you will likely adore Russe; but the why not just stick with the Guerlain?

    04th May, 2013

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    Crown Ess Bouquet by Crown Perfumery

    An interesting lavender fragrance indeed. Ess bouquet derives from "Essence of Bouquet," a popular perfume genre at the end of the XXVIIIth Century up until the beginning of the XXth Century as citrict-floral cologne on top of an ambergris and orris base. During the Victorian age, sweet lavender and thyme were added in order to adjust to the tastes of "little old ladies" of whom we think when we think about Victorian perfumery. How does Ess Bouquet fit into this? Well, I would say at first blush, but to my nose, Crown Ess Bouquet is all about sweet lavender (not as sweet as say Caron PH or Gris Clair) with a grassy "new mown hay" flair. Ess is a simple scent that dries down to tonka, musk, orris, and vegetal musk (ambrette seed). Good quality, but strange and greatly out of place in today' s world.

    03rd May, 2013

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    Buckingham by Crown Perfumery

    If I had to sum up Buckingham in two words, it would be "Victorian soap." To my nose, this is what the essence of old Buckingham is. The opening is a dry, realistic lemon tempered by dusky cypress and juniper notes. The middle is a bit of a spicy fougere that is soapy--not modern soap--but something a distinguished old relative might used. Finally, the base dries down to a light musk that is pleasant, but brief. Certainly smells like it is out of 1880 like most Crown perfumes. No thrills and no frills.

    Alas, Buckingham was reformulated (into Crown Fougere more or less) and ultimately discontinued. Despite being one of the first to meets its fate at the hands of the Clive Christian chopping block, some genuine bottles are to found.

    22nd April, 2013

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    Eau de Quinine by Crown Perfumery

    Likely the finest of the self-styled "quinine" fragrances ever to be released. Bright yet deep citrus with the signature bitter quinine atop a soft base of moss and musk. Better rendition of Caswell Massey's No. 6. A lost beauty from a lost era.

    15th April, 2013

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    Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Une Rose opens with a blast of either authentic Bulgarian rose oil or something that approximates it very closely. The opening is stunning rose with a bit of citrus--even the clove and honeyed bittersweetness of the Bulgarian rose otto is present and last quite a bit of time (leaning toward my hunch that it is synthetic). But alas, the beautiful soliflore gives way to a discordant and synthetic white floral mess (muguet, magnolia, etc). For a purer rose, I would steer toward Creed's Fleur de The Rose Bulgare.

    24th June, 2012

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    Rose Vert by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    I typically am fond of many of Dawn's natural creations and Rose Vert is no different. I feel though that it is a bit misleading and the fragrance is more of sandalwood-oakmoss fragrance than a rose one. Sure, there is a slew of different rose oils undoubtedly of the highest quality, but alas they do not cut through the sandal or oakmoss. Good, but not what I am looking for in a rose fragrance.

    16th June, 2012

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    Feuilles Vertes by Creed

    Truly created in the last dying hour of traditional perfumery where high quality ingredients, simplicity, and above all else, craftsmanship and artistry ruled the roost. I was glad to see this past decade had one truly classical release (that as I write this review is still available in limited supply). Feuille Verte, or “Green Leaf” is the latest and likely last throwback to that simpler more refined society back in the Belle Epoch/Edwardian eras. On to the scent itself: Feuille Verte opens with a crispy, brisk citrus that is both sweet and dry of mandarin and lime. The heart is a rich, yet unsweetened golden brown oakmoss complimented by a dab of restrained vanilla bean and buttressed with a beautiful Bulgarian rose otto just for good measure. Finally, the scent dies down to an exquisite jasmine absolute, the likes of which I have only ever smelled once before in the brilliant Dukes of Pall Mall Cotswold.

    27th May, 2012

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    Brooks Brothers for Men by Brooks Brothers

    Brooks Brothers for Men is certainly a winner among the hackneyed group of woody aromatics available today. It is nothing intriguing or breath-taking, but it is a solid masculine aromatic. Despite its American heritage, Brooks Brothers for Men is refined and smooth English woody aromatic featuring the usual suspects found in Safari for Men and Grafton though it is better than either of those. The opening is a bit fruitier and the overall composition is less fusty with of course less sillage and projection (which I like). Is BB a throwback, even retro? Despite its late arrival in 1998 compared to its predecessors, perhaps it does play the retro card and quite well I might add.

    Even though Brooks Brothers for Men is a late 1990s interpretation of a late 1980s/early 1990s genre, one might chance to catch a whiff of the Belle Epoch/Edwardian Era as some reviewers have mentioned. Buy it while you can. Something this solid won't last long since most people have poor taste these days (the company from whom I purchased my Brooks Brothers said they would include a sample of a similar fragrance for me to try--they included a sample of something by Jessica Simpson).

    20th May, 2012

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    Eau de Patou (original) by Jean Patou

    I was surprised I hadn't yet reviewed Eau de Patou. Designed by my hero, Jean Kerleo (also designed Patou pour Homme, Prive, and Ma Liberte) this one was a no-brainer. At first sniff, it struck me as not too exciting, but then the quality of ingredients and artistry came into play and I was quite impressed. The opening is a fruity citrus of high quality (not the typically bright, hesperidic citrus one usually associates with eau de colognes) that was dense and rich. Then the floral elements of ylang, orange blossom, jasmine, nasturtium, and honeysuckle (a bit feminine, but you'll live) emerge and interplay with the gentle base of oakmoss (the real thing), civet, musk, and amber to keep it going. I would get a bottle if you can. Eau de Patou exemplifies old world and old-fashioned sophistication along with good old-fashioned craftsmanship.

    18th March, 2012

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    Esprit de Lavande by Penhaligon's

    Esprit de Lavande, a discontinued Penhaligon's offering, is a simplistic lavender-laden gem among so many imposters. EdL is clear, concise, and of good quality though it is nothing more than a simple lavender water with an herbal, floral, and tonka component. Per its namesake, it just this, a spirit or tincture of the lavender flower. It is a bit dated, old-fashioned, and out of date, but nice. The tonka and herbs are a bit strong and the fragrance overall is a bit thin though quite vintage. Try it if you get a chance.

    "Esprit De Lavande is classified as a green herbal fougere unisex scent. Enjoyed by men and women.
    Fragrance Notes: A blend of lavender, basil, canella (white cinnamon bark), black pepper, Clary sage, oak moss, musk, moss and vanilla."

    14th March, 2012

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    Monsieur Rochas by Rochas

    This review is for the vintage yellow eau de cologne and not the new pink EdT:

    Monsieur Rochas lives up to its reputation as 1960s/1970s men's orientalized fougere featuring all the trimmings. MR is clear and convincing, genuine and legitimate. Monsieur is an orientalized descendant of the long lost Fougere Royale and possibly a precursor to the ultimately brilliant Belgravia by the Dukes of Pall Mall. Monsieur Rochas opens with a citric blast of lemon and bergamot followed by the typical lavender-geranium-tonka accord that defines the genre. Rochas is dressed up other interesting elements such as carnation, cedar, patchouli, and galbanum. The galbanum adds a smokey, tobacco scent in the base, which I'd deduce employs genuine oakmoss. Monsieur Rochas would fit a more cosmopolitan French aristocrat around the turn of the century rather than a country gentleman.

    26th December, 2011

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    Royal Delight by Creed

    Royal Delight is a gem among mainstream fragrances and probably one of the last good Creeds to be produced. However, among its own kind, Royal Delight is all too similar to Vanisia and Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie with their sweet, decadent bases--Royal Delight merely adds leather to the mix. For real royal delight I would go for Royal English Leather. Royal Delight uses top notch ingredients, but is redundant. I must restate though that compared to most other stuff these days it is quite nice.

    18th December, 2011

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    Vanisia by Creed

    Vanisia is a classic composition in the styler of the older Creeds using superb quality ingredients. The fragrance is beautifully executed as well. Supposedly made for (inspired is more like it) an acquaintance of Marie Antoinette and it smells that way. Vanisia is an ambery oriental in the style of Jicky and others. There is a bit of orange in the opening and then a brief floral heart of Bulgarian rose and jasmine. The base is an ambery sandalwood. If there florals were more persistent I would like it better. Somehow scents with strong amber bases burn through the top and heart notes on my skin.

    03rd December, 2011

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    Jasmal by Creed

    Jasmal is probably the best jasmine centered eau de cologne type fragrance I've yet to smell. The quality of the jasmine is crisp, warm, a bit indolic, and aristocratic. Jasmal employs jasmine, galbanum, and ambergris in the classic style of early Creeds. Jasmal reminds me of the "eau de jasmin" favored by Comte d'Orsay--namesake of Parfums d'Orsay. Jasmal is head and shoulders above any designer or niche jasmine I've yet to smell. The ambergris here is not the millesime accord found in most newer creeds, but rather a warm, animalic tone in the base. The opening is a bit sweet, but the jasmine itself is just dry enough to keep my attention. The galbanum imparts a light amber tonality. I think Jasmal, along with the much older Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie should be smelled by any jasmine lover or perfume historian. In summary, I would say that Jasmal is a beautiful jasmine soliflore with all the traditional (Belle Epoch French that it) trimmings.

    30th November, 2011

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    Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi

    The best sandalwood fragrance I've ever smelled is Creed's discontinued Bois de Santal, but the best extant sandalwood is surely Lorenzo Villoresi's brilliant Sandalo. His creations tend by hectic and brash--finally settling after several minutes. Sandalo has some of that though it quite smooth and old-fashioned compared to most of what's out there now. Sandalo is a woody oriental based around synthetic sandalwood (along with Australian perhaps), which is adeptly navigated by natural rosewood, which is sour, sharp, medicinal, and resinous. The opening is aromatic with lavender and exotic spices and floral heart of perhaps jasmine, rose, and carnation. The base consists of sandal, rosewood, tonka bean, and Villoresi's signature resin. If you crave sandalwood, this is the best one still available--but for how long no one knows.

    21st November, 2011

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    Town & Country by Crown Perfumery

    Town & Country is a quintessential English fragrance featuring pine, pepper, woods, herbs, spices, and musk. Town & Country was surely inspired by Blenheim Bouquet, but is one of those rare occasions where the inspired is superior to the inspiration. Crown certainly had a fragrance called Town & Country that was released in 1925, but who knows what that one smelled like as Crown was out of business by the Second World War. Crown was revived by new owners in 1993 who set out to recreate traditional English fragrances using traditional craftsmanship and high quality ingredients. Blenheim Bouquet tends to give me headaches with its synthetic edges. Crown's quality and largely natural ingredients do not offend. It is austere, spicy, woody, and musky--and I like it a lot. Town & Country is the scent of an uppercrust Victorian aristocrat who has no humor and no expression. It's also a lot cheaper than Blenheim to boot.

    21st November, 2011

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    Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain

    Not horrible, but not up my alley so to speak. Among the Guerlain Allegorica series, Pamplelune is probably the best. The allegorica series is meant to tell an story through imagery--hence the name allegory. I suppose they each tell a brief and subtle story about some seasonal beauty or another spending spring on the wind-swept fields of Provence or something like that...The allegorica series, as one of Guerlains newer fragrances, lacks originality and traditional craft and uses inferior ingredients to boot. The grapefruit here is good, but the florals and blackcurrant are too much.

    17th November, 2011

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    Duc de Vervins by Houbigant

    On its face, Duc de Vervins has little to offer in comparison to other 1970s-1980s masculine aromatic fougeres. I would suggest the Duc is restrained and perhaps more regal than other contenders like Azzaro pour Homme, Paco Rabanne pour Homme (now watery dish soap), Aramis Tuscany, and others. I find Duc de Vervins is closest in style to Patou pour homme Prive though it is far greener and does not employ as high of quality ingredients. While Patou is a purple-golden orientalized fougere, Duc is a green-purple fougere. Many of the accords are similar, but nowhere near as good. Duc de Vervins has come a long way since the days of Fougere Royale, but who better to build your fougere than the fabled firm of Houbigant?

    17th November, 2011

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000