Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist

Total Reviews: 977

Bois Oriental by Serge Lutens

This is more wood than spice to my nose. The amber and vanilla dominate and tone down the cedar. I don't get any of the fruit or floral notes either.

It comes across as a simplistic wood scent, pleasant but unremarkable. It is very light to the point of almost non-existance. I have found this with the other Bois flankers of this line (Bois et Fruits, Bois et Musc), Lutens using less oil concentration than in other fragrances (I have sampled half of the house's output at this point).

Definitely not worth the price.
27th April, 2016

Bois et Musc by Serge Lutens

A very pleasant cinnamon cedar oriental, much sweeter than their Bois et Fruits and less incense oriented than same.

As I could not detect any fruit in the Bois et Fruits, I cannot detect any musk in the Bois et Musc. Go figure!

Still, these two quality flankers to the 1992 original composition, Feminite du Bois, are worthy. They do share an odd trait in common, the lack of sillage and longetivity, two trade marks for this house that usually make a SL purchase worth the price - it will last longer as it takes less application to achieve a strong effect.

Not at all bad, but a stronger concentration of oils is needed to justify the price.

26th April, 2016

Bois et Fruits by Serge Lutens

A sweet, luxuriant oriental, combining notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, cinnamon and myrrh - to my nose, anyway.

I don't detect any fruits, dry or otherwise. Turin calls it a "plummy wood," but my nose can not agree.

What I can agree with is the oft mentioned (in these reviews) trait of poor longetivity and intensity. Lutens is known for strong concentration of oils and long-lasting fragrances. This misses the mark on both counts.

It's a superb oriental, but don't blink or you'll miss it.
25th April, 2016
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Climat by Lancôme

This is a review for the vintage parfum. I have not sampled the current re-issue.

This immediately reminded me of the rich, textured floral chypres of Lanvin. It is very old school, right out of the 1940s, and is to my nose truly superb. The exact floral oils used here are hard to detect as the balance and blending are stunningly achieved.

It is very creamy with a sandalwood and vanilla base that lovingly supports the florals.

Quite an achievement. I'll be looking for a bottle on Ebay or amongst the private collectors/purveyors I know.

24th April, 2016

Tubéreuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

A refreshing blast of wintergreen - those pink Canada mints we seniors used to eat as children. Slowly the tuberose emerges from the minty mist, but it is a subdued tuberose, a quiet tuberose, although up to now I hadn't thought that was possible. The jasmine seems to restrain the beast and rein it in.

It floats over musk and vanilla with a hint of nutmeg for the remainder of the dry down. Although Turin found this to be the Ethel Merman of scents, I do not. I love tuberose and find this to be refreshingly tame, one a guy could actually get away with wearing in public.

A surprise for me and a welcome one.
12th April, 2016

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

Dark, rich, dusty combo of patchouli and cocoa. There is a sense also of freshly cut saw mill sawdust. There is also the sense of dry pipe tobaco. Very earthy and very subtle.

An excellent masculine. Some reviewers compare it to Coromandel, but I find it to be superior to that Chanel. Turin notes that silks from the orient used to be wrapped in patchouli leaves to repel insects and that this is how the West discovered the scent, which penetrated the fabric.

That said, I would imagine Borneo 1834 could successfully be sprayed on scarves, sweaters and other clothing with success, as well as on our persons.

Warm and comforting - one of Serge Lutens' best.
11th April, 2016

X for Women by Clive Christian

A peachy woody (read reedy) ephemeral scent that disappears soon after you apply.

In other words, a joke. One that won over Turin with his four stars.

A real rip-off in big letters with Madison Square Garden lights. Emperor's Slightly Hand -Me Down Clothes.

Longetivity: 5 seconds. Sillage: 000000.1 %

Seriously, this is "trash" with a capital "T."
10th April, 2016

Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens

At first I thought, yet another Angel rip-off. Yes, it is, but without the complexity and multi-note development of that classic gourmand. This is a flavored coffee scent - caramel, vanilla to be exact. It's also the scent of candles one finds at Christmas in department stores.

Turin finds amber and rose here, which are not in the note tree. He is most reminded of a coffee shop, while Lucky Scent's blurb likens it to roasted marshmallows at a camp fire.

I am not impressed. It smells like those nasty candles, quite plainly, cheap. There is a vast audience for this type of vanilla scent, so it obviously sells well. I don't get the woods, coconut or licorice.

Strength and longetivity are gargantuan, as are most Lutens, so be prepared to smell like a candle until your wicks are burnt low.
10th April, 2016

La Fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens

I found Lutens' Rose de Nuit to be a light and lovely rose.

I find La Fille de Berlin to be a rich, deep rose with, as others have said on these pages, a jammy sweetness.

Two sides of the same coin and both eminently wearable, suggesting day and evening suitability.

I have yet to experience Lutens' first rose scent, Majestie La Rose, and wonder where on the spectrum this will announce itself.

For the purposes of this review, Berlin is a fine soliflore, and one that is quite unisex in my opinion, a rarity for a rose-centered fragrance.
09th April, 2016

Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens

When Alice first arrives in the foyer of Wonderland, she drinks from a small bottle in order to become small enough to enter through the locked door. That potion "had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast."

This is the olfactory effect one gets from Jeux de Peau, a jumble of gourmand notes that smell deliciously decadent - the maple syrup intensity of the fenugreek immortelle, the yeasty opulence of buttered bread, the suggestion of steaming coffee, the sweetness of apricot jam. One gains pounds within the first few minutes.

Once it all settles down, one is happy for the experience. It is doubtful however if one wishes to smell like breakfast in a patisserie for hours on end. It's a very clever and fun creation, but like most gourmand fragrances, its function as a wearable scent is almost an after-thought.

Full marks for creativity though!
08th April, 2016

L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens

Soft musk laid over bitter woods.

This is the third review in three days of a Lutens scent that had bitter oud-like woods at its heart. There is a minty coolness that weaves in and out of the musk, but it is essentially for my nose, just that simple trio - musk, mint and bitter woods.

The musk and mint combo might have worked for me had the woods chosen been sweet and warm - whatever became of sandalwood? - but the bitterness of the underlying cashmeran, cedar and patchouli give it a nasty and off-putting undercurrent.

I don't understand this modern love of bitter woods. My nose always crinkles up in distaste when I encounter it.

For fans of this vibe, go for it. I will pass.
07th April, 2016

Vitriol d'Oeillet by Serge Lutens

The peppers are immediately evident, giving the scent the sharp, pungent aroma of oud. It's very dry. I am assuming the "woods" is the oud.

It takes a while for the floral notes of carnation and iris to surface, but they are immediately done in by the strong clove and nutmeg blanket.

Since carnation and clove are identical in scent, differing by strength and intensity, the carnation note being light, green, spicy and fresh, and the clove being powerful and dark, there is no contest when you put them side by side. The clove always overpowers the carnation.

An interesting experiment gone wrong, in my estimation. The balance is all wrong. None of the delicate notes are allowed to be buoyed up by the denser ones. Instead they are submerged and smothered.

One of the oddest scents I have ever experienced and a total failure.
06th April, 2016

Ma Bête by Eris Parfums

In 2013, Barbara Herman gave the world an iconic volume of scent exploration, Scent and Subversion, which has become the reference bible for all lovers of vintage perfume. Exploring 310 perfumes released between 1882 and 2000, it waxes rhapsodically over ingredients, overall effect and the public's response. When I recently learned she was launching her own line of scents, I was delighted. She possesses one of the great noses of the perfume world and I knew her standard was high.

Ma Bete is a lovely, light oriental. The warm woody animalic notes of cypriol, nutmeg and styrax are supported ever so lightly by cedarwood and patchouli. Floating over this enticing blend are the sweet floral notes of neroli and jasmine. It is a warm, vanillin, spicy scent that seems to me eminently wearable at all times of the day and year. It is soft and sensual, ideally unisex. Highly recommended.
05th April, 2016
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Night Flower by Eris Parfums

In 2013, Barbara Herman gave the world an iconic volume of scent exploration, Scent and Subversion, which has become the reference bible for all lovers of vintage perfume. Exploring 310 perfumes released between 1882 and 2000, it waxes rhapsodically over ingredients, overall effect and the public's response. When I recently learned she was launching her own line of scents, I was delighted. She possesses one of the great noses of the perfume world and I knew her standard was high.

Night Flower is no disappointment. This is a rich, opulent oriental right out of the 1940s. It brings to mind the scents of Lanvin and Molyneux. The balance is perfect. The tuberose and birch tar do not fight with each other for dominance and relate together luxuriously. The spice notes of cardamom and cinnamon bring radiance to these central notes and the base of tonka, patchouli and musk support beautifully.

If I didn't know this was created in 2016, I would have been convinced it was one of the masterpieces of the past. Bravo Monsieur Lie and Brava Ms. Herman.
04th April, 2016

Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens

Fille en Aguilles begins with a sharp, bitter frankincense note, combined with pine and fir balsam. It's reminiscent of some very sharp, dry and pungent oud scents I've experienced in the past.

Like the dozen or so Serge Lutens scents I've already experienced, it does not stint on the quality or intensity of the oils. You really get your money's worth when you buy a full bottle of any of their fragrances.

Fille is for me a bit too one note. I was looking for the "candied fruit and spice" dry down to ameliorate the harshness of the first half hour, but it never came. This is the first Serge Lutens scent I truly dislike. Still for those fans of raw oud and frankincense, it will surely please you. Too rough for me, though.
03rd April, 2016

Belle de Jour by Eris Parfums

In 2013, Barbara Herman gave the world an iconic volume of scent exploration, Scent and Subversion, which has become the reference bible for all lovers of vintage perfume. Exploring 310 perfumes released between 1882 and 2000, it waxes rhapsodically over ingredients, overall effect and the public's response.

When I recently learned she was launching her own line of scents, I was delighted. She possesses one of the great noses of the perfume world and I knew her standard was high.

I did however pause at the choice of her perfumer, Antoine Lie, the person responsible for, according to the Basenotes profile, the vilest scent ever released on a unsuspecting public, Secretions Magnifique.
What would the result be?

Belle de Jour is "interesting." My nose notes immediately the plastic impression of an aerosol hairspray, followed by the jasmin. The very salty effect of the seaweed comes forward and stays center stage, softened by the floral note. The cedar and musk are a very discreet and almost imperceptible base.

It is most unusual and while not personally liking it, I can appreciate its originality and respect its intentions. Over the next few days I will be experiencing the other two scents in the initial release package of this line.
02nd April, 2016

Le Parfum de Thérèse by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

An incredibly beautiful creation. The main notes I get are carnation and vetiver, although the former is not listed in the note tree.

It reminds me very much of Guerlain's Sous Le Vent. Spicy and warm with its nutmeg and plum resting on the understated jasmine and rose. The fruity notes of melon and mandarin are also understated, bringing a lightness to the top notes while not screeching a statement as most modern perfumery does with these notes.

The balance of all the ingredients is the most impressive aspect of this creation. Obviously a master at work.

To create a great perfume for one's wife is quite possibly the highest compliment to be paid a woman. Lucky Madame R.
01st April, 2016

Sacrebleu by Nicolaï

Fruity sweet blast of tuberose, jasmine and cinnamon initially, quite strong as in the good old vintage days when perfumers were not afraid of over-dosing with oils compared to the amount of alcohol. This has the strength of say, Patou's Joy, on first application. Since it is a bold statement, a little dab will go a long way.

After only a few minutes the base enters with the vanilla and tonka notes easing one from the voluptuous florals down to the supporting incense, patchouli and sandalwood.

Quite stunning and beautiful, but not for the weak of heart. This is a scent for a strong, mature, independent woman. I can imagine Hilary Clinton wearing this with ease and pulling it off beautifully.

I am amazed it came out as late as 1993. It has the power of the 1960s, a Rochas perhaps. Very feminine, very mature, very impressive.

31st March, 2016

Yohji Homme by Yohji Yamamoto

With the exception of the outrageous and incomparable Angel, I am not a fan of gourmand scents. I can't understand why someone would want to smell like he/she has just stepped out of a kitchen.

So, I was skeptical about liking Yohji Homme. No fear, the gourmand warnings were exaggerated. However, what I do get is minimal. Coffee and lavender drying down to a fougere with a whiff of leather in the background. Dry, nice, sophisticated, but hardly a masterpiece as so many great Basenote reviewers find it to be.

It disappears on my skin very quickly. If it had more depth, more longevity, the scales might have been tipped toward a positive review. As such, however, I can admire what it wants to be, not what it is. I would have sent it back to the labs with a nod of encouragement that it is on the right track, but has more work to do before it achieves what it points to as its unique goal.
30th March, 2016

Nina (new) by Nina Ricci

A tart lemony sweetness descends to vanilla and candy apples.

Tania Sanchez dubs it "rainbow sherbet" and pretty much nails it.

This is for teen-aged girls and as such is fun and fizzy.

Not for adults or those who are afraid of being stared at in public places.
29th March, 2016

Coriolan by Guerlain

The floral ingredient immortelle, or "everlasting flower" burst upon the perfume scene in 1985 with Goutal's Sables. However, it did have a limited presence as early as the 1940s - Milot's Insolence contains it.

Immortelle is identical to the Indian cooking spice, fenugreek, sweet and pungent, and has been used sicne the 1980s with more frequency in scents for both men and women.

I have a small decant from the failed 1998 Guerlain men's scent, Coriolan and with age this smells to my nose like an immortelle soliflore. I get no other notes, just immortelle. It's as strong as Sables and like all Guerlains, rich in oils. As I loved Sables, I think Coriolan is a fine version for men.

Not a complex scent by any means, but if you like fenugreek, you will love Coriolan.
26th March, 2016

S-ex by S-Perfume

Remember Pleather? Faux leather made from polyurethane for those who wanted the experience without the destruction of animal life. Well, S-ex is just that - Pleather.

There is a leather vibe here, side by side with a synthetic oceanic accord with the dry effect of reeds blowing in the wind. Both attractive and repellent at the same time.

Turin of course gave it five stars. However, if real sex smelled like this, I fear the planet's birth rate would decrease at an alarming rate.

An odd little experiment that didn't work. The leather though is nice, so perhaps a reworking of the ingredients, focussing on just that aspect might be worth another round in the labs. The note tree is childishly ridiculous.
25th March, 2016

Lime, Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone

A citrus-dominated fougere that is quite simple and for me linear.

The mandarin and lime float over a base that is present from the start. That base is somewhat synthetic with a vibe that is not familiar to me, so this must be the costus, an ingredient also unfamiliar to me.

I don't get the basil at all. It doesn't impress me as a whole. A nice scent, but unremarkable and not memorable.
24th March, 2016

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, released in 1973, was grandfather to the then new men's fragrance type, the so-called "aromatic fougere." Top Notes of rosemary, sage, rosewood and laurel; middle notes of lavender and geranium; base notes of moss, honey, tonka bean, musk and amber.

It is very like so many of its imitators throughout the 70s and 80s, the latter decade pouring on the densities of the notes to create the almost over-whelming "powerhouse" effect. Paco Rabanne PH is a much lighter original, very well balanced and confidently crisp, warm and herbal. To my nose, the lavender, rosemary and moss are primal, blending together seamlessly and defining the scent.

An excellent example of this genre and a good place to start in exploring this historical period of the then emerging masculine scent market.

23rd March, 2016

Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia by Estée Lauder

The four major white florals (tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, white lily) are all alpha scents, so strong, so luxurious, so loud that they dominate all other scents they encounter. Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is no slouch in that department.

Gardenia, as Turin rightly notes, is the only one of the four, whose natural oils do not contain the scent of the flower, so needs to be "reconstructed" from mixing other oils to give the impression of the flower.

PCTG begins with a major loud burst of tuberose, properly green and richly white at the same time. Slowly the gardenia emerges and the tuberose steps to the background. My husband immediately detects the carnation base, but my nose cannot until well into the dry down.

Most of the scents with "Gardenia" in their names are given the summary "not gardenia" in Turin's book. He notes Michael Edwards' claim (back in 2008) that there were at that time 23 such fragrances with another 344 claiming gardenia as part of their make-up.

As I love all four white florals cited above, I have experienced many tuberose/gardenia combos, from the radiant vintage Chanel to the hideous and cheap Jungle Gardenia. Jovan's Island Gardenia is the best of the inexpensive versions. My favorite (after Piguet's classic Fracas) is the initial scent of the Carolina Herrara house, named after its founder. In fact, I have found many initial scents of houses named after their female founders to be white florals, dependent on the tuberose/gardenia duet.

While the CH is subtle and rich, the PCTG is loud and in one's face. It's superbly done, just a bit over the top for my liking. I'll stick with Fracas and CH for my tuberose/gardenia fix.
22nd March, 2016

Vraie Blonde by Etat Libre d'Orange

A slightly metallic peachy patchouli.

Unusual for me in that the metallic scent is not sharp and off-putting as that scent usually is for me. It's just there, giving the fragrance a cool character.

The peach and patchouli are supported by rose. These four elements (peach, patchouli, rose, metal) are all I get from the scent. It's the best of the Etats I've tried (about a dozen), but that's not saying much as I have found them for the most part bland to horrid.

Inoffensive, pleasant, but hardly worth going out of one's way for.
21st March, 2016

Peau de Pêche by Keiko Mecheri

Peach skin indeed - that of a hard, unripe, white peach, which is to say the merest whiff of peach.

This is very very light. After many applications, I get the merest whiff when smelling my forearm.

It also smells very synthetic, as if I am smelling a chemical that has a peach skin-like scent. We are ages away from the ripe luscious peach of a vintage classic such as Piguet's Fracas.

Minimalist peach dissolving ito a light musk. Totally underwhelming, uncomplicated, and uninteresting to my nose.
20th March, 2016

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

Such hype for this one, classic status as well. I was prepared for something tweedy, sharp, pungent, sort of a citrus chypre, considering the ingredients. What I get is a dull, poor, generic oceanic-woody, imitated ad nauseum in department store designer bottles selling for under $20.

Created for Cary Grant? I don't think so. This came out in 1985 and dear Cary went to glory in 1986. This may have done him in if he did indeed ever wear it. It doesn't say much for the tastes of other celebrities that supposedly wore it: Robert Redford, Richard Gere, Quincy Jones.

So common, so unremarkable, so lacking in imagination and/or creativity as to be for my nose an emperor's new clothes sort of olfactory joke.

Vastly disappointing.
16th March, 2016

DKNY Women by Donna Karan

A pleasant nondescript citrus eau de cologne.

Almost a non-scent for my nose, despite repeated applications. Another of those fragrances for the person who does not like scent, but feels he or she must wear something.

This could never offend since I doubt anyone but the wearer could be aware of it. There is the hint of a very dry and very distant leather in the mix, as if someone wearing a leather jacket wafted by three minutes ago, leaving "something" in the air.

Harmless, nice, but no award winner.
15th March, 2016

Let it Rock by Vivienne Westwood

Tania Sanchez tells us this is made up of coumarin and heliotropin and most reminds her of Shalimar Light. I agree.

It is a very nice oriental, simple and direct, with its amber and vanilla effect supporting the notes identified. It wears close to the skin in an aura of soft powdery scent and is quite nice. I have not experienced any other fragrances from this house, but from this first exposure I would give thumbs up to the fragrance and its price tag.

I don't get the citrus opening at all and the notes of freesia, rose, jasmine and patchouli which other Basenoters identify do not reach my nose. There is a menthol-like coolness that runs along in the background, giving contrast to the amber and vanilla base.

All in all, a very nice and very affordable modern oriental based on one of the greats of the past.
14th March, 2016