Perfume Reviews

Reviews by bokaba

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Total Reviews: 243
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United States

Belgravia by Dukes of Pall Mall

It is with great jubilation that I am able to review this fine fragrance. Although there were only two short lived perfumes from the Dukes of Pall Mall, namely Belgravia and the citrus-floral Cotswold. Belgravia is a middle of the road, tan in color aromatic fougere perhaps in the style of vintage Monsieur Rochas and the original 1934 Dunhill for Men. It is a shame that Dukes was so short lived. I will horde my sample villainously until perhaps one day I find a full bottle! From smelling it I conjecture that the notes might be something like this:

Bergamot, English Lavender, Orris
Jasmine,Tobacco, Beeswax, Geranium
Tonka, Cedar, Sandalwood, Musk, Patchouli, Ambergris, Vanilla, and Oakmoss

Strikingly similar to Penhaligon's new Sartorial, but done with much better ingredients and without the bothersome "effects."
13th October, 2011
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Tea/Rose by CB I Hate Perfume

I really like the idea of a scent featuring Moroccan rose absolute and I am not usually a tea note lover, but I think it works well here. The tea is of the Darjeeling type, black, spicy, and full of old world charm not the newer watery green tea accord used by lesser house. The Moroccan rose is quite nice, but more on the lighter, snappier, tea rose type accord--I'd of preferred a Bulgarian rose absolute for a richer, more satisfying accord. One of things I really like about this scent is its ability to show the various facets of both the tea and rose as each is very complex with more notes than just their namesake. Tea/Rose is exactly what it claims--nothing more, nothing less.
11th September, 2011
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Cuba by Czech & Speake

Of the Cuba type scents available Czech and Speake's (especially the vintage) is by far the best in comparison to the likes of Acqua di Cuba and others. Cuba must be understood as more of a bay rum superimposed on top of a leathery cedar and tobacco base. I will not say that there are no animalic elements to Cuba, but I argue they aren't as profound as many have claimed. The cedar adds a certain type of graphite pencil note (covetous in wine I hear) that combined with civet smells somewhat of bad breath--but what great ones don't--Mouchoir de Monsieur, etc. I find the tobacco note quite profound and reminiscent of an unlit cigar though perhaps La Via del Profumo's Tabac does it better.
25th June, 2011
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Tabac Aurea by Sonoma Scent Studio

Tabaco Aurea is one of the few modern creations that really has me excited. I feel Tabac Aurea is a good balance between varying presentations of tobacco seen in many different fragrances. It's not as musty or uptight as Vintage Tabarome, not a leafy green as La Via del Profumo, and not as boozy-spicy as Cuba. The opening is beautiful though slightly sweet cherry-plum tobacco accord that is natural and close to the skin. All of the heavy aspects here work well together (I usually don't favor heavy components like labdanum, vanilla, leather,etc). Despite its extrait concentration, the sillage is restrained and wears close to the skin for many hours. A pure joy. Every time I open the gift box that contains my sample, I smell the most beautiful pipe tobacco accord settled into the paper of the box.
25th May, 2011
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"Vintage" Tabaróme by Creed

"Vintage" Tabarome exemplifies everything that is great about Creed. No marketing scams, no low grade ingredients, no games--this is the genuine article. Tabarome is strong with great longevity and sillage yet still refined, restrained, and gentlemanly. I believe Creed may have reached its high point with Tabarome though it plays host to a number of other timeless classics from yesteryear including Royal Scottish Lavender and Citrus Bigarrade. The leather, tobacco, and peppery aromatic components are superbly integrated and balanced. The tobacco here is not honeyed (i.e. Acqua di Cuba, Tobacco di Toscana, etc) but stark, authoritative, and staunch. The base is a gentle though synthetic cedar of respectable quality that keeps ambiance of the tobacco and leather going long after they have departed. Is this a cigar? Perhaps, but the driest and most regal. I would think of Tabarome as more of a time and place--a high end social club in Victorian London perhaps on the Pall Mall where wealthy industrialists and earls tend to congregate. Do not bother with the newer Tabarome Millesime as it has nothing to do with this beautiful Tabarome except a slight tobacco note in its base.
23rd May, 2011
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Alt-Innsbruck Eau de Cologne by Alt-Innsbruck

Alt-Innsbruck is a classic 1950s Austrian gentleman's barbershop scent with all the trimmings. First, for the relative affordability, the quality of all natural ingredients is exquisite and holds it weight with some top contenders like Creed's Vintage Tabarome though the former is deeper, more complex, and more regal. Alt-Innsbruck is a simple concoction of water, alcohol, tobacco, and menthol. If one uses it as an aftershave, the menthol blast in the opening is quite apparent. Then the scent dries to a nice sweet, cigar, tobacco scent far removed from the vapors of the smoke. Very good and now available from select vendors in North America. Buy it before it disappears. Things this good never last. True Austrian quality from 1953.
07th May, 2011
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Hermèssence Brin de Réglisse by Hermès

Brin de Réglisse is quite nice but still largely disappointing. I think it lives up to its name as a "strand of licorice" quite well. I'd prefer a stronger lavender component and more emphasis on a fougere structure featuring some of the other interesting notes like hay, vanilla, leather, and orange blossom. All I get is a big blast of licorice--don't get me wrong, it is a blast of perfect licorice if you will, but it never goes beyond that demarcation. I must commend Hermes though for not venturing into the super-sweet realm as so many fated anise and licorice fragrances often do. I'd suggest trying it first as it is hard to find and commands a pretty penny at Hermes boutiques worldwide.
28th April, 2011
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Royal Water by Creed

Royal Water is supposedly a classic citrus cologne with a modern, British twist. I suppose this is what one might call it. Creed generally uses good quality ingredients, which gives this citrus-herbal concoction a little a edge over similar products. The opening is a blast of lemon and other bitter citrus. The heart is herbal-spicy with the usual ambery drydown. The interplay of herbs and spices notably cumin, is somewhat disagreeable in my mind. Royal Water's description tell a story that the fragrance fails to live up to. In this pseudo-cologne mix there are far better options such as Eau de Guerlain, Acqua di Parma Colonia, etc. I think Creed's own Selection Verte is the much superior and time-tested version of Royal Water.
18th April, 2011
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Acqua di Parma Lavanda Tonica by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Lavanda Tonica is a nice Italian lavender tonic just as the name suggests. However, it is little more. The opening lavender blast is nice with a brief floral heart. The base persists with a soapy laundry detergent musk. I would not think this is worth the money though the quality of ingredients is quite nice. I'd give Agua Lavanda a try first.
18th April, 2011
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Fougère Royale by Houbigant

Fougere Royale is a modern interpretation of the 1880s fragrance that started the fougere genre (much like Coty's Chypre) and is quite a feat to live up to. I'd like to say that there are things I like about it and some other things I find not so appealing. To start Fougere Royale is an aromatic fougere not a classic fougere, which is an incorrect rendering of the original. FR certainly does have the traditional lavender-geranium-tonka accord that defines the fougere genre, but does not feature it. The opening is composed of high quality citruses and aromatic elements. The heart is the most beautiful delicate floral bouquet of geranium, rose, orchis, heliotrope, and carnation. This is probably my favorite phase of the whole production. Then the base is very woodsy with oakmoss, tonka, and vanilla. My nose interprets some of the new mown hay coumarin accord as a spicy cedarwood that dominates the base.

All in all, I feel FR is a good buy available at mid-range niche prices and is readily available. If you are at all inclined to buy it, I suggest doing so as you might have to wait several decades until it is brought back again. I feel something like Penhaligon's English Fern is closer to the original Fougere Royale as it is a high quality stripped down classic fougere with lavender, geranium, clover, oakmoss, and coumarin. I feel the EdP concentration is incorrect as the original was likely an EdC.
13th April, 2011
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Marlborough by Geo F Trumper

Not the worst fragrance or the best by any means. Trumpers all seem to be of middle of the road quality and this is certainly true of Marlborough. The opening is an ashy lemon with a little geranium and an ultra-thick cedar heart and base. I get nothing but stale ashy cedar from this unfortunately. Sounded like a promising fougere, but I would go with Wild Fern or Penhaligons English Fern. Even YSL Jazz is much better.
03rd April, 2011
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Ma Liberté by Jean Patou

It is a true shame that Patou has discontinued several of its finest fragrances over the past decade or so. Ma Liberte is a lavender centric floral/oriental with aromatic fougere elements. Ma Liberte is much in line with the style and quality of the much vaunted masculine lavender fougere Patou pour homme Prive. Ma Liberte opens with a citric-lavender blast followed by a seamless floral heart with light spices and a slightly powdery base that prolongs the floral and lavender components. Both the EdT and EdP versions are very light and conservative. The same dry smoky vetiver-patchouli accord present in Prive. I am convinced Ma Liberte is the chassis on which Prive was built. Ma Liberte represents a simpler time in perfumery.

Notes: Lemon, Heliotrope
Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Clove
Patchouli, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Musk, Vanilla, Tonka, Vetiver, Cedar
25th March, 2011
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English Lavender by Atkinsons

Atkinsons English Lavender is exactly what is says: a dry, herbal, astringent, spicy English lavender that is far removed from the sweet vanilla/tonka syrup of Caron PUH. The opening is a fresh blast of lavender that is followed by a spicy heart of clary sage and clove backed up the resinous spice of rosewood. The base is a light tonka-moss-musk accord. Worlds drier than Caron and not as dirty as Oxford and Cambridge. English Lavender is very masculine and quite simple is comparison to more complex lavender fougeres like Arome 3 and Patou pour Homme Prive. I'd like to think of Atkinsons as a lavender dominated bay rum almost. The scarcity of Atkinsons products does not help their cause one bit! Try their Gold Medal Eau de Cologne if you can.
19th March, 2011
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Patou pour Homme Privé by Jean Patou

I am glad that I was finally able to try Prive today. It is most of what I imagined it might be. Prive has an exquisite and complex lavender opening that is both fruity and slightly sweet--a welcomed change from the usual harsh and medicinal lavenders to which I am accustomed. The heart is a tad musty (could be from age). The base is a light fougere accord of coumarin and oakmoss. Very light, very conservative, and nearly perfect.
19th March, 2011
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English Fern by Penhaligon's

Supposedly the closest extant relative to Houbigant's fabled Fougere Royale. English Fern is a classical fougere of the highest order--mind you classical fougere--not the more modern aromatic fougeres we are so used to like Jazz, Tsar, Patou Pour Homme Prive, and others. English Fern is one of the best examples of the pure fougere accord--lavender, geranium, citrus, sandalwood, and oakmoss with patchouli and clover for good measure likely with tonka, too though it is not listed. It is not nearly as earthy as Trumper's namesake offering. Many reviewers have commented that English Fern does not smell like a fern--it is not supposed to--the fougere genre is an abstraction of natural green elements among others. Fougere merely refers to a type of fragrance with dominant lavender-geranium-oakmoss-tonka accords that became popular at the end of the 19th Century. English Fern is quite a bit smoother and more refined than other "fern" fragrances.
15th March, 2011
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Lavandula by Penhaligon's

Lavendula, despite being created in 2004, smells quite classic indeed. The opening is a realistic, somewhat floral lavender followed by a sweet floral heart (Lily of the Valley) and a light musky/ambery base. Not bad at all, but decidedly to feminine for a man to wear. It reminds of an innocent sweet lavender perfume that a Victorian young lady might have worn.
09th March, 2011
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Aqua Allegoria Lavande Velours by Guerlain

This is probably the best of the Guerlain Allegoria range and truly a unisex scent. The opening lavender is crisp, aromatic, and realistic--but this is the only part I like. After the first few minutes, the lavender is overtaken by iris and a rather odd amber that dominate with great tenacity for quite some time. If it were just the top, it would be perfect.
09th March, 2011
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Live Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

Although a boozy, sweet aquatic in the vein of Cool Water and so many others, Live Jazz remains probably the best. Strong citric/mint opening, aromatic heart, and musky base. What makes Live Jazz stand out is that it is smooth, natural-smelling, and uses good quality ingredients.
05th March, 2011
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Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

Jazz is a better fougere than you would think. It is extremely clear and extremely to the point. No fluff here. Jazz opens with a bright citrus/spice blast and then displays the standard fougere lavender-geranium accord with aplomb. The heart is spicy and floral with a coumarin, sanaldwood, and amber base. Very nice, very conservative, and very well-thought. Many reviewers point out that this was run of the mill when it came out, but after the terrible releases of the 90s, this floral aromatic fougere is more than welcome. Jazz carries moderate longevity and moderate sillage, unusual of a 1980s fragrance if applied sparingly. Give it a try.
05th March, 2011
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Eau de Fleurs d'Oranger du Roi by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Notes: Bitter Orange, Lemon, Italian Neroli, French Orange Blossom Absolute, Orange Flower Water, Ambergis, Petitgrain

This is the true essence of the orange blossom and neroli. The opening is is crisp and floral and tad indolic and woody from the neroli and petitgrain. It is neither too sweet nor two dry nor are the florals to cloying. The heart is warm and floral and the base light and natural spruced up with ambergris. Surely short lived with minimal sillage, but who could expect more from an all natural concoction? Eau de Fleurs d'Oranger de Roi is fitting of its name and truly one of the most wonderful fragrances I own. This is from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's "Perfumed Court" line heralding the natural perfumery of King Louis XV's court. Fleurs d'Oranger du Roi certainly does evoke his court and all of its pomp. I certainly do hope to try more of the Perfumed court series. Even now, if you listen closely, you'll still hear Louis' billowing blue and white silk robes blowing gently in warm summer breeze at Versailles.
01st March, 2011
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1725 Casanova by Histoires de Parfums

I agree for the most part that 1725 is a more complex version of Caron pour un Homme. 1725 has the same gourmand lavender-vanilla accord but the opening boasts a little sweet anise and the heart and base are dominated with some type of sweet amber. Very good, but I'm not sure it's worth the price.
27th February, 2011
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Wild Fern by Geo F Trumper

I'm just now starting to get interested in fougeres having concentrated almost exclusively on traditional eau de colognes as floral soliflores. I find this is the better of the fern scents from the Three "T"s. It is drier and more earthy than Penhaligon's and much better parades the fern note. Penhaligons is sweeter and more citric. The base is a nice sandalwood and earthy fern. Not too bad, but not near the quality of Crown Fougere or the rare Fougere Royale.
25th February, 2011
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Milk of Flowers by Geo F Trumper

My heavens this one is bizarre! I can't really says it's bad per se, just odd and discordant. The opening is very sweet, very creamy, and very clovey. The heart is musty florals and the base is a strange, milky amber just like the name says. Give it a try and see what you think. I guarantee you've never smelled one like this before.
25th February, 2011
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Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

To my mind Czech and Speake's elegant 1994 creation Oxford & Cambridge is the most medicinal, tangy lavender opening available--stronger and sharper than the actual plant. Contrary to Turin's learned scholarship, the cologne is named after the Oxford & Cambridge Club at 71 Pall Mall, London rather than the agreeing minds of the two rival universities. Though "creating tradition" as Czech & Speake proclaims, as with most of their line, Oxford & Cambridge appears to stay true its Edwardian heritage with just enough dash of faux-Victoriana. OC opens with a bracing, medicinal, and harsh lavender backed up interestingly by peppermint--a fine pairing indeed--and a blast of bitter bergamot to wake you up in the morning. This brilliant opening gives way a blase herbal bouquet and then my least favorite part--the base--composed of a stupendous quantity of oakmoss and dusty sandalwood. The base is astringent and earthy for my taste. But let us give thanks that there is no sickeningly sweet vanilla here. I am of the firm conviction that Czech & Speake would have created the PERFECT lavender if they had left out the base or used a smooth chypre type in the fashion of Chanel Pour Monsieur--then it would trample the smoothness of both d'Orsay's Arome 3 and Creed's Royal Scottish Lavender. This should be a reference lavender in any connoisseur's arsenal.
16th February, 2011
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Arôme 3 by D'Orsay

I find Arome 3 (pre-reformulation) to be a good compromise between the light and airy natural lavender of Caldey Island and the in your face peppermint and medicinal lavender opening of Czech and Speake Oxford & Cambridge both of which are amazing lavenders in their own right. Arome 3 is perfumy and heady with a nice lavender accord in the opening that is not extended by the usual suspects moss and vanilla, but rather by a spicy floral heart of ylang, jasmine, and a light base of cedar and amber. The accords are nearly seemless though a tad sharp at times. Arome 3 is very floral and very French, but in a refined, gentlemanly way. I can still hear click of the Comte d'Orsay's ebony walking stick as he strolls eloquently down the old cobblestone streets of Paris on moonlit night on the eve of the Second Empire.
12th February, 2011 (last edited: 20th February, 2011)
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No. 88 by Czech & Speake

Though it has taken me some time to warm up to No. 88, I'm glad I did. No. 88 is, above all else, the epitome of a classic, conservative spicy men's rose centered fragrance. It evokes Victorian and Edwardian England with dark tendencies though I don't find it as Gothic as others seem to find. I can surely say that No. 88, though a modern creation, is the only true masculine rose that I entirely enjoy--not too sweet, not too dry, just smooth and sophisticated. Some argue that the incense is too strong, but I disagree. Buy this gem while you can though I am certain it will not be everyone's cup of tea.
06th February, 2011
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Number Six by Caswell-Massey

I must begin by saying that Number Six is a nice spicy eau de cologne for everyday use. It is not as decadent as the Guerlain Eaux or Lorenzo Villoresi, but it certainly holds its own in the cologne arena. Six opens with a burst of bergamot, lime, lemon, rosemary, and possibly orange. The heart is a musty floral as others have mentioned with spice--likely clove. I find this as cross between the vaunted Berdoues no. 444 Extra Vieille and Roger & Gallet Extra Vieille though it is not as good as either of them. For the price, this is a GOOD cologne evocative of small 18th Century middle class--Farina catered to the upperclasses unfortunately for Caswell-Massey.
06th February, 2011
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Bois de Cédrat by Creed

I must agree with the other esteemed reviewers here that BdC is quite straightforward--citron and woods. Perhaps there is also a hint of ambergris that adds the smallest bit of longevity to the base. Very natural smelling and I am convinced there must be some amount of natural oils present. This is very nice if one enjoys this type of light, citron based scent of yesteryear. BdC is very similar to Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat though it has a little bit more longevity and is noticeably less floral in the heart and more expensive. This would be a good one to add to your test list indeed!
21st January, 2011
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Citrus Bigarrade by Creed

One of the finest bergamot notes available in perfumery today! The opening is airy and crisp in the style of classic eau de cologne with a minimalistic Creed base of ambergris with a little neroli flower. This is not the smell of romantic groves in 18th Century Spain, but of industrial orange groves in southern California's Orange Empire c. 1900.
13th January, 2011
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Mimosa by Czech & Speake

Overall a good showing of tuberose and orange blossom. Slightly indolic and feminine. But that is about it. I think this would be a safe and fitting choice for women of any age. It is just the right balance between the stuffy old-world florals of yesteryear and the new age Acqua di Gio pour femme whatever that might be--something by Britney Spears or Paris Hilton perhaps?
11th January, 2011