Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist

Total Reviews: 1108

L'Art et la Matière : Cruel Gardenia by Guerlain

This is a very sweet and feminine floral with an initial metallic chemical musk scent, which is present upon application, but which quickly fades to the background. There is also a decided jasmine, center stage, not gardenia, which is not mentioned. Very strong, the sort of scent you used to dread your CEO wearing at a closed meeting when the a/c has failed. It brings to mind a scented men’s hair dressing product from the 1970s (not Brylcream), an olfactory memory coming out of who knows where. The scent on the pillow the morning after? A dry woody artemesia emerges from the background to accompany the strong jasmine and the two weave in and around each other for the remainder of the experience.

I give it a positive rating since I have not encountered a scent of this type since D’Albret’s Casaque from the 1950s and it has always been one I admired from a distance. It’s nice to have it back again. Not for everyone. Sniff before you buy. It’s oddly unisex, but only a certain suave, sophisticated ultra masculine man could pull this off. I would imagine a guy would have to be very confident and sure of himself to wear this successfully.
20th June, 2017

Shocking You by Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli's couture house closed in 1954 and she died in 1973, so this scent from 1976 may have been approved by her or have been in the works at her death or it may be the last created by the perfume branch of the house, which was separate from the couture side.

In any case this is clearly a green floral. Additional middle notes for the tree above are raspberry in the middle and musk and oak moss in the base.

It is very green, primarily galbanum and rose. Yet it is a light green scent, very well blended and not at all over-bearing. The base notes provide the proper weight at the other end of the scale, keeping the green notes from being screechy.

I'd rate this with Givenchy's III and Jacomo's Silences as being a top quality green floral. Easily findable on Etsy.
07th June, 2017

Halston Limited by Halston

To my nose this is a typical men's powerhouse scent from the 1980s.

Dominant is an oak moss saturation that is not even mentioned in the available note structure. Basil and artemesia give it a decidedly green note. Coriander accentuates the dryness and gives it a bit of skank appeal. Patchouli, vetiver and musk support.

Dark and brooding but without sensuality.

Not any better or worse than dozens of 80s mens scents.
06th June, 2017
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Carnegie Blue by Hattie Carnegie

It is difficult to isolate particular notes in this superbly blended scent.

It is a light floral melange over a warm base, definitely a floral chypre, but not at all heavy handed.

It premiered in 1952 according to the Perfume Encyclopedia. As the other reviewer on this page noted, it is a "very classy scent" indeed, very reminiscent of Chanel No. 5.

Pricing on Ebay has become more reasonable since that reviewer posted in 2012. Worth seeking out for lovers of vintage scents.
03rd June, 2017

Four Winds by Hattie Carnegie

This is almost a dead ringer for Lanvin's My Sin (Mon Peche), the same rich floral chypre, dark and deep, woody and plummy. Quite fine. I copy the notes for My Sin below to give you some idea.

Top Notes
Aldehydes, Lemon, Bergamot, Clary sage, Neroli
Heart Notes
Jasmine, Rose, Clove, Orris, Muguet, Daffodil, Ylang ylang, Lilac
Base notes
Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk, Woods, Tolu, Styrax, Civet

Odd that I cannot find a release year for Four Winds, though it must be pre-1961 as I can find no zip code on the bottle or box, which dates it before that year. I have recently experienced Carnegie's Pink, which resembles Countess Mara Copper in its dry labdanum blend of earth and metal. Next her Blue will be arrving soon.

Interesting to exploring a vanished house for which there is scant information or reviews. This one is worth seeking out and seems quite available on Ebay.
31st May, 2017

Carnegie Pink by Hattie Carnegie

I am reviewing a two ounce bottle of the cologne concentree and find it very reminiscent of the original Coty Chypre of 1917.

The bergamot has vanished and I am left with labdanum. There is no discernible patchouli or oak moss, just the linear labdanum.

As such it smells earthy, but at the same time, light, not as concentrated an olfactory experience as the Coty original. Not very floral either.

It's a pleasant light chypre splash. I can find no year of release, even on the Perfume Encyclopedia web site.
10th May, 2017

Romance by Ralph Lauren

A highly generic, highly chemical, fruity floral that morphs into a typical oceanic nonentity.

Not awful, but so common as to have minus twelve creativity or ingenuity about it.

The sort of scent that tells me to avoid those who like it as having no taste in scent at all.
22nd March, 2017

Homme de Grès by Grès

In 1923 Roger and Gallet came up with a wonderful scent, Le Jade, which matched lime (the green in the clever name) with oak moss, providing a bracing scent far more masculine than feminine, but looking forward to such oak moss dominated perfumes as Bandit and Femme.

Gres took the oak moss from their classic Cabochard, and substituting lemon and bergamot for the lime, created their ultra-sophisticated and masculine Homme de Gres in the mid-1990s.

Homme is quite simple, but tres bracing and uplifting. Perfect for summer wear, either office or sport, and a good choice to splash on for early evening wear. A winner and sadly discontinued. You can still find it on Ebay. Worth a buy.
21st March, 2017

Versus (new) by Versace

This tries to be too many things at the same time and ends up being nothing at all.

First citrus, then a floral fruity sweetness, then a bitter oud note, finally the ambrette, which is a like it or hate it note. For me this final note, which can become cloyingly nauseous in warm weather, seals the negative summing up.

If you loved Creed's now (happily) discontinued Ambre Canelle, you might just like this ambrette flanker. Where the Creed was a bomb, this Versus balances the Vice in that monster.

Either way, this is nothing to go out of your way for.
21st March, 2017

Sissimo by Simonetta Visconti

Simonetta Visconti was a near forgotten fashion designer, first starting out in Rome in 1946 and then moving on to Paris. She released her two scents through Prince Matchabelli. The first, Incanto, was a warm, spicy floral chypre.

Her second, Sissimo, from 1969, was not as interesting as her first. This projects a green rose over a slighly mentholated base at first sniff. As the scent proceeds it develops into a warm, gentle rose with jasmine, musk and amber supporting. It fits neatly into the category of rose chypre.

While pleasant it is not outstanding or signifcantly different from any other rose chypre I've encountered. Very rare. Nips are about the only way one can experience it these days.
06th March, 2017

Incanto by Simonetta Visconti

Simonetta Visconti was a little remembered fashion designer, who began her career in Rome in 1946 and later moved to Paris. Her first scent (of two I know) was released through Prince Matchabelli, though he gave her full credit in packaging and design.

The bottle design, a tiny opaque, black inkwell shape, is striking as are the beautiful pair of boxes which surrounded it, the one round, the other square. It's a rare find on Etsy or Ebay.

Incanto, from 1955, is a woody, floral fragrance. The oakmoss is predominant upon first exposure to nips. A tobacco/leather fragrance sweetly insinuates itself around the moss, mellowing it. Then the rose, jasmine and vanilla round it out. The impression is that of a bright, spicy, yet darkly floral chypre - joyful, but at the same time serious.
06th March, 2017

Sandalwood by Caswell-Massey

Ever since 1941 when CM introduced TRICORN, they had the very best sandalwood cologne ever created, using the treasured Mysore sandalwood as its source. Well, the forests were devastated over time, and Mysore became ever more expensive. The common Bangalore sandalwood has gone into the CM SANDALWOOD scent and it is common and pedestrian.

For those who never knew what real sandalwood smelled like, this may "do," but it's a sad come down in quality, the difference between luxurious, intense and creamy - and - sweetly pleasant.

Save up and buy TRICORN on Ebay. John Barrymore used it as his signature scent and that is saying something.

26th February, 2017

Greenbriar by Caswell-Massey

I've never liked sharp, tweedy scents, finding them abrasive and off-putting. Greenbriar, the original, is one of those scents. The lavender and sage are to my nose offensive and grating.

One of CM's historical scents was called Purple Sage, this being a combo of the lavender and sage that is in Greenbriar, but it was far softer, bracing (yes), but not in your face harsh, as I found the original Greenbriar to be.

If you are looking for a great green scent, Givenchy's III has yet to be topped in my book.

26th February, 2017
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Persian Leather by Caswell-Massey

While there are many scents out there with the moniker "Russian" before its "Leather," and even one with "Spanish," to my knowledge this is the only one labeled "Persian," perhaps to entice the buyer with the promise of exotic and forbidden olfactory indulgences.

Created in the 1920s, the only celebrity I know of who liked it was Cole Porter. However, as another Basenotes reviewer notes here, the original formula was far richer than the later reformulation.

Tonka, sandalwood and vanilla formed the base, but there was a sharp, sometimes acrid vibe that floated on top, a mix of patchouli and birch tar perhaps. There were restrained floral notes in the heart as well. I never liked it, but my partner did and I often bought the soaps, talc and cologne for him.

A decent "leather," but not outstanding in any way.
25th February, 2017

Lime by Caswell-Massey

Lime supported by carnation and nutmeg. Mmmmmm! On a hot summer day, fresh from the shower, a splash of this cologne and one felt one could conquer the world.

Lime and Verbena have been one note successes from when they were introduced in the early 20th century and have always been part of the ever dwindling CM line-up.

This is one of the best limes out there. Juice and zest are top quality, originally harvested from the Caribbean islands, delicately balanced with the floral and spice, which support, rather than intrude.

Although my favorite Lime is Trumper's Extract of West Indian Limes, CM's Lime is a close second - and more affordable.
25th February, 2017

Elixir of Love No.1 by Caswell-Massey

Although there never was a No. 2, Elixir of Love No. 1 was an inspired take on jasmine, rose, musk and lavender. Very close to the 2001 re-formulation of Casma, albeit the latter depended on a heavy dose of sandalwood in its make-up, Elixir of Love brought luxuriance back into Milady's boudoir.

Released in a cobalt blue bottle with a gold top, this scent is about as powdery comfortable as one can get. The creamy soaps, lotion and fabulous powder (with its own swansdown puff) that were also part of its line meant one could drift back into a day when quality products were the norm.

I not only indulged in these products for a decade, I often gave them as gifts to women friends. Always appreciated. Highly recommended.
25th February, 2017

Patchouli by Caswell-Massey

The cologne is raw, strong, bitter - a real earthy patchouli. No frills. The formula for the other products in that line (soap, talc, lotions) was however quite different and the line's name was eventually changed to "Aura of Patchouli." That scent was much more accessible with the patchouli blended with anise, vetiver, and musks. I quite enjoyed using the soap and talc, but avoided the cologne.

Odd that the modified scent for Aura of Patchouli was not adapted for the cologne. It remained the original raw patchouli oil and alcohol formulation, despite having its name changed from Patchouli to Aura of Patchouli.

Sadly no longer available but findable on Ebay and Etsy.
25th February, 2017

Number Six by Caswell-Massey

One of the great colognes of all time and CM's top seller for almost 230 years.

The classic combination of neroli, bergamot, lime and rosemary that went into most "eau de colognes" is enhanced by a generous dose of jasmine, making this a citrus floral and rather unique in my experience. CM's advertising for this boasted 127 different ingredients, which may or not be true, but seems rather wasteful as our noses can only detect at most a dozen during its drydown.

Of note, the scent that is used for the other products in that line (soap, talc, lotions, etc) is markedly different, much drier, less sparkling, than that used for the cologne itself.

Do try it. Whether you like it or not, it must be part of every Basenoter's olfactory training.
25th February, 2017

Jockey Club by Caswell-Massey

Although every scent company from the 1820s on had its own "Jockey Club," the only one that, to my knowledge, survived into post WWII society was CM's. I used to have a list of all the florals that were in it, over two dozen as I recall.

It is both floral and wistful, the herbal bouquet giving the flowers an autumnal shade of "almost gone by," similar to smelling a dry floral potpourri. At the same time its citrus ingredients (lime, bergamot, verbena) gave it a crispness.

One of the most sophisticated men's scents ever created. I haven't smelled it in over a decade so don't know if current bottles have been reformulated, but in its time it was one of the best and has always been one of CM's very best sellers.

Very worth trying.
25th February, 2017

Gardenia by Caswell-Massey

The original gardenia scent Caswell Massey released was part of their Southern series, celebrating Charleston, SC. Like all gardenia scents, it was in actuality tuberose, softened by jasmine, as it is impossible to extract the scent of gardenia from its flowers.

This was Southern Gardenia. Can't go wrong with the above combination. The other two in the series were Lord Ashley Cooper (a combination of sandalwood, vanilla and musk) and Daphne (a distillation of the lilac flower).

When the series was retired, Gardenia was retained as one of CM's regular solifores, available in cologne, soap, powder, lotion, etc.
It has always been a lovely scent in any form throughout the years and can be recommended in all of its incarnations. At least with CM, one is assured that the best ingredients have been utilized.
25th February, 2017

Casma (new) by Caswell-Massey

The re-release of one of CM's most popular scents is very similar to their Elixir No. One, relying mainly on a combination of musks with sandalwood and vanilla.

The original was classy indeed. I was able to sample a bottle from the 1950s. It resembled some of the great warm animalic chypres from the 1940s, like the Lanvin line.

While the re-formulation is luscious, creamy and warm, it seems rather tame when compared with the original.

Worth seeking out, though it is extremely rare, even on Ebay.
25th February, 2017

Tricorn by Caswell-Massey

The best sandalwood based cologne ever created.

That said, it was around from the early 1940s until the 1990s, when Caswell decided to do away with most its classic scents.

Using Bangalore and Mysore sandalwood, the purest and richest ever harvested, this scent was further enhanced by vanilla, musk and petitgrain. It was John Barrymore's favorite.

It used to be plentiful and affordable, available in cologne, after shave, soap, talc and after shave lotion.

If you are into vintage sandalwood, it doesn't get better than this.
23rd February, 2017

Esperanto by Lanier

It would seem Lanier perfumes came and went quickly. Only 7 scents created and those all revealed in 1955. Now you can find them only in nips on Ebay.

Esperanto is a dusty rose underlined by creamy sandalwood, tonka and vanilla. It is very vibrant, yet warm and comforting. Old-fashioned smelling in a good way.

Unlike LA Folie de Minuit, the only other Lanier I have experienced (and which did not impress), this is a definite thumbs up.
14th February, 2017

Toujours Toi by Corday

So many ingredients! Light sweet florals on top, heavy white florals in the mid-range, and almost every base note available at the time (with the exception of oak moss and castoreum). A very complex floral bouquet.

Initial impression is that of a very rich, sharp, green rose, made sharper and greener by the muguet, rounded by the jasmine and tuberose. I'm reminded very much of Patou's Joy.

I don't get any development on my skin. What you first encounter is what you get. Old-fashioned in a good way. Too heavy I am afraid for this day and age, but a loving salute to what once was. The concentration of natural oils is amazing!
07th February, 2017

Bourrasque by Le Galion

It's impossible to find anything on line about this scent. A kind fellow Basenoter, replying to a forum post, supplied me with a decant of the vintage edt.

This is a dark, woody scent, which could easily be considered unisex by today's standards. The deep, rich blend of immortelle, amber, musk, cedar and sandalwood stand out. It seems to be almost entirely base notes. Perhaps the top notes have faded with time, perhaps not. There is no way to know without a contemporary review being made available.

The effect is that of a rich caramel syrup boiling away on the stove top. As it dries down the cedar becomes dominant, avoiding the sharpness that contemporary takes on that note can become. Considering the age, castoreum and civet may be involved as well.

All in all, a deep, darkly sweet woody scent best worn on a cold winter's day. A real find!
06th February, 2017

Fame by Corday

Fame by Corday is a woody floral fragrance for women, launched in 1946.

Fragrantica has a far more extensive list of notes than does Basenotes on this page:

Top notes are bergamot, acácia, lime, galbanum, honey, narcissus, linden blossom (Note: no mention of the civet that is the sole top note on Basenotes)

Middle notes are cloves, orange blossom, tuberose, iris, gardenia, hyacinth, carnation, lily-of-the-valley, lilac, ylang-ylang, jasmine sambac, orchid (Note: no mention of the jonquil)

Base notes are tobacco, benzoin, civet, oakmoss, amber, peru balsam, vetiver, patchouli, musk, sandalwood, labdanum, tonka bean and beeswax, (No mention of coumarin and civet is where it belongs, in the base.)

What is its impression? Strong, yet refined bouquet of white flowers, slightly sweetened by the orange blossom, heady and rich. The base has just about every base note there ever was all getting along splendidly to provide the depth.

Greatest impression is that of blending, which I find in all classic scents from the 1920s through 1940s vintage. It's difficult to pick out any single note, all of them creating a seamless whole. As arguably Corday's most popular and famous women's scent, it is a warm and comforting floral with woody undertones and a lovely achievement.

05th February, 2017

Possession by Corday

Possession is a rich floral (jasmine, ylang) with a spicy heart (carnation) and a warm, enveloping base (sandalwood, oakmoss, amber, vanilla).

It has an intriguing elusive note, reminiscent of the scent rising from a sugar syrup glaze on a pastry just emerging from the oven.

This is a quite subtle perfume for all its richness and depth and is very much of its time. In the dry down it has the lightest impression of Lanvin's Mon Peche.

The sort of scent your aunt used to wear when she went out to the opera with her furs wrapped around her. A man could pull this off with no negative effects in today's world. Equally at home on both men and women. Luckily, still available on Ebay and other sources.
03rd February, 2017

Lanvin Eau de Cologne by Lanvin

From all that I have read it seems this is really an edc version of Arpege.

The year prior (1933) Lanvin had created its "eau" concentration, what in today's verbiage would equate to an edp. Concentration was a good 15-20% oils, which made their other eau formulations very close to the parfum itself, differing only in longevity, not in richness or depth.

So all their scents would have two concentrations, parfum and "eau." This particular scent, being an edc, could have simply been named "Lanvin Arpege Eau de Cologne," but they chose to eliminate the actual name of the scent. By 1934 only two of their scents had escaped being discontinued, Mon Peche (My Sin) and Arpege.

23rd January, 2017

Rumeur (original) by Lanvin

Boozy, rich, deep, dark, spicy and attractive as hell, the vintage Rumeur is a masterpiece - I am experiencing a small decant of the parfum.

The clove and carnation come to the fore immediately, rounded in civet and a dark vanilla that borders on the bitter. As it develops the floral fruity heart glides in - ylang, rose, jasmine - enveloped in cardamom. It finally settles into a fruity chypre base of peach, plum, oak moss, tobacco and leather.

Barbara Herman finds it "haunting, disturbing and dark." I find it to be amazingly rich and spicy, so thick to the nose that it resembles dark maple syrup, not in its notes, but in its consistency.

I may have to mortgage the house to find a bottle of vintage perfume online. Avoid the nasty 2006 version like the plague.
22nd January, 2017

Woodhue by Fragrances of France

A warm vanilla amber scent with a touch of spice.

This was my first adult scent, the iconic bottle with the wooden top.

The warm base of sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, myrhh, amber and civet support the vanilla and opoponax, allowing the floral notes of jasmine, ylang, orris, clove and violet to hover sweetly in the background.

One of the truly great unisex scents of its era and one of the great ambers of all time.
15th January, 2017