Perfume Reviews

Reviews by zatarain

Total Reviews: 15

Black Line by Mancera

Black Line opens with a nicely balanced duo of sweet-spicy rose and medicinal oud in the familiar style of the Montale line. I find the opening reminiscent of MFK’s Oud Silk Mood.

Gradually, the astringent and medicinal aspect fades as the sandalwood assumes a more prominent role.

The sandalwood remains, but is covered, tide-like, by a warm mixture of white musk and amber. At this phase, the fragrance becomes thick and sweet compared to the cool astringent opening. The transition takes hours and is smooth and seamless.

After 10-12 hours, Black Line lies close to the skin, but stirs and projects if you move and/or your skin warms up. It is sweet and pretty scent at this stage. After a shower and a night’s sleep, I can still clearly smell it on my skin.

Although there is nothing groundbreaking or attention-grabbing about this composition, it smells and feels like quality ingredients, and it’s very pretty without being delicate or particularly feminine. There’s something addicting about its quiet competence and beauty.
04th April, 2014

Epic Man by Amouage

Reputedly very strong in projection, longevity and gravitas. On me, it was very subdued, mannerly and mostly reminded me of an old-time barber shop with sandalwood-scented shaving cream or soap. I thought it should have been named "Polite Man".
26th March, 2014

Opus VII by Amouage

Very nice spicy green opening, giving way to a beautiful oud wood (not oil) and leather heart that reminded me of Leather Oud but less animalic, and ending with a bit more ambroxan than I like. It was very nice, but in a way too pretty, like a too-attractive person (if you subscribe to such a concept).
26th March, 2014
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Zahd by Slumberhouse

I agree with Akahina's description of the notes, but for me, Zahd starts as intense chocolate-covered cherries, the kind that have cherry syrup rather than a cherry in the middle, and then gradually shifts into cranberry sugar, kind of like Pixy Stix candy if you know what I mean. There is sandalwood and Nag Champa and the red wine effect is in there, too, but this is primarily a gourmand from where I'm standing. The wood and incense never really come forward, they only slightly temper the sweet fruitiness, even after 14 hours of wear (still going strong!)

I personally don't care for the sweetness, but I'll keep my rating neutral out of respect for the uncompromising weirdness and uniqueness of this scent and its creator.
18th March, 2014

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I had been meaning to try this for some time but had difficulties locating a sample. Finally got to try it.

The opening had all the animalics I'd heard of, and indeed after a few minutes even smelled strongly of urine; I suddenly recalled Dernier_Cri's review:

"reminds me of someone dead drunk on Barenjager who then urinated (by accident of course) onto a cheap leather jacket.....some time ago."

The urine phase passed and I found myself in a cloud of powdery amber. I generally don't like powder or amber, but this cloud was shot through with threads of civet and it made a very interesting olfactory scene, indeed.

Still, I had hopes that I would not need to add this to my "to buy" list.

As it happened, it only became more glorious. This perfume is huge, celestial and yet grounded in animalic filth of the most beautiful kind. I was very sorry to shower it off, because it just kept getting better and showed no signs of ever stopping... I bought a bottle the next day.
29th January, 2014

Royal English Leather by Creed

The only Creed I truly liked. To me it smelled like an old leather armchair recently cleaned with Lemon Pledge. The cheap, harsh industrial smell of furniture polish made a nice counterpoint to the soft, elegant old worn leather. Well-balanced and evoked a feeling of nostalgia. As I recall - my sample is long gone - it didn't have great longevity, but it was beautiful in its way. According to the Creed web site, it's currently "vaulted".

When all is said and done, I think Knize Ten has everything I liked about REL and then some, and I'm happy with Knize Ten.
19th January, 2014

Fate Man by Amouage

Opens with a huge blast of saffron, which I always find spiky and somewhat uncomfortable. The saffron subsides quickly, though, revealing a beautiful ginger-and-frankincense accord with supporting notes blended smoothly beneath them. If there is any fault in this phase, it’s that it’s a little too pretty.

After a few hours the scent quiets down and becomes a skin scent, though readily detectable close up. There is a long and gradual drydown to spiced woods and resins, and again the supporting notes are skillfully blended and not individually identifiable. I detect a refined leathery aspect mixed with the woods. The late drydown is beautiful while maintaining a reserved quality.

Altogether a very pleasing expression from Amouage, my second favorite (so far) after Memoir Man.
15th January, 2014

Aoud Lime by Montale

This does indeed evoke a lime, but it’s not a fresh one. It’s a lime that spent the day at the bottom of a spent Margarita, poolside in the sun on a hot day. At some point, someone put a cigarette out in this lime. Brackish, sour and slightly burnt.

In the heart, the scent began to remind me of Beef Chow Mein, doused in Kikkoman soy sauce, that I used to eat at a cheap Cantonese restaurant as a child.

This association persists into the drydown. It’s not as horrific as it sounds; the sillage is softer, sweeter and more oudy, but close up it’s not what I’d call pretty.
13th January, 2014

Memoir Man by Amouage

The opening is an aggressive green angular mixture of absinth, wormwood (aren’t these two the same thing?), basil and mint, a combination I found somewhat discordant. As with the thyme in Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather, I felt the basil would have been best left in the kitchen spice rack. However, this clamorous opening did not last long before a very smooth frankincense and something else, which I guess is the combination of rose and lavender arrived to settle things down and impart a soothing, warm impression.

The fragrance soon settled into a spicy warm woody incense with the greens in a supporting role, undeniably attractive.

The base notes, which appear to be everything comforting, warm and masculine round it all out and despite superficially resembling many other fragrances’ drydown phases, this maintains a beautiful, well-balanced and distinctive character, though I am again struck by a certain resemblance to Tuscan Leather, though this is a more complex and sophisticated inclusion of cooking spice (basil) with leather.

In summary: a beautiful, well-blended and ultimately unique expression with a startling green herbal opening.
05th January, 2014

Sova by Slumberhouse

I was a little apprehensive about Sova because the comments seemed to be split between "hay, booze, tobacco, animal" (good) and "curry" (I like to eat it but not so much to smell like it). The very high praise for Sova outweighed my apprehensions and I blind-bought it. I am glad I did. My first wearing of Sova was an Aha! moment, something I don't get often these days with perfume. I was immediately amazed by the depth, complexity and uniqueness of this scent. It didn't even really seem to be a perfume in the sense that I am used to experiencing perfume. It seemed to be alive. Sorry for the purple prose, but that's really how I felt.

I found that "hay, booze, tobacco, animal" is a pretty good description of the parts, but the sum of the parts is more than that.

One interesting thing about it is that it smells much lighter, sweeter and airier from a slight distance, but if I put my nose into my shirt, I get all the dirt and mouse dung that other reviewers have mentioned.

06th December, 2013

Vierges & Toreros by Etat Libre d'Orange

This was recommended to me a few years ago by someone with a good knowledge of my favorite leather scents. My first few wearings of Vierges et Toreros were uneasy, as there is something in it that smells like blood, and it caused the back of my throat to constrict. Eventually, one wearing of it made me feel a little nauseated so it went into the back of the closet for a couple of years.

Recently I've been going through the back of the closet to see if any of the exiled scents have become more attractive to me.

My new first impression was, "Tuberose! With all its rubber and gasoline!" I generally don't like white florals and especially not tuberose, but this time I did like it, even though I still got the blood and throat-constricting qualities.

In fact, I was a little disappointed when the initial assault died down and it became a quieter, more leathery scent.

After a few hours, it dried down into a soft floral leather with a trace of incense, very mild-mannered compared to the explosive opening.

I wish it could have retained more of the initial violence, but all in all, I find this a unique and rewarding effort by the Antoines.
09th November, 2013

En Avion by Caron

My first impression after putting this on was a very literal interpretation of the aviatrices; orange peels and carnations floating in aviation fuel. An acrid and heavy scent that is both fascinating and repellant, both ancient and new.

After a couple of hours, the sharpness was gone, replaced by powdery roses on leather; soft and intoxicating.

A few hours more and the powder and leather begin a long dissolve into moss. It has now been 13 hours and the moss is fading away, too.

A complex and multifaceted scent. I admire it greatly; not sure it will have a regular spot in the rotation.
21st December, 2007

Tabaróme Millésime by Creed

Tabaróme Millésime reminds me of the first girlfriend I lived with. She drove me crazy and cramped my style, but I knew that without her, I would have considerably less style. Her name was Ginger; my name was Tobacco.
13th December, 2007
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Cuir de Russie Parfum by Chanel

Chanel Cuir de Russie starts out with a burst of citrus and flowers. After a short time, the leather comes on and assumes the foreground. Gradually the civet (?) moves in, and the flowers, leather and manure reverberate grandly for a long time, gradually fading with coumarin harmonics.

A fantastic leather scent!
13th December, 2007

Fou d'Absinthe by L'Artisan Parfumeur

After a quick and pungent drink of absinthe, I went into the woods for a shave.

The smell of my shaving cream lingered for a while.

Other than that, not much happened.
04th November, 2007