Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist

Total Reviews: 1185

Le Roi Empereur by Rancé 1795

A terrically bad attempt to creat an eau de cologne in honor of Napoleon, who practically bathed in it in his day.

The orange, rose and violet struggle valiantly to rise above the cloying, chemical-laden base, rise and fail.

I believe Rance picks the "notes" it releases to the public from a hat with little relation to the scent, which is just as good as they all seem to be pretty bad. I have experienced Josephine and Couronne, as well as Le Roi. None of them are any good. I give this a neutral rather than a negative as it's not down right awful, just mediocre.

Still, a laboratory child. I don't believe any essential oils have any part of their manufacture. The old company was grand. This resurrected name is producing such drek, it's embarrassing to the memory of the original.
14th August, 2017

Eau de la Couronne by Rancé 1795

This is the second scent I have experienced from this company, after Josephine, a lack luster affair in and of itself.

This is a very dry, hay-like scent with not a single one of its 13 notes discernible to my nose. No matter, they disappear within 15 seconds, no matter how liberally you dose yourself with it.

A non-scent and unworthy of anyone's attention.
14th August, 2017

Joséphine by Rancé 1795

For decades at the end of the last century and slowly creeping into the current one (before they disappeared), Rance soaps were the most elegant and pricey one could ever hope to come across. They were extremely rich and luxurious, strongly scented (all soliflores) and shaped in ancient soap molds with all the feminine gee gaws and doo dads of the late nineteenth century. I'd treat myself to a box every birthday.

Then the company seemed to disappear entirely, or at least USA distribution ended.

Now out of the blue we get a slew of new formulations and new names, all released in this century. Josephine is the first I have tried.

It certainly has many notes, 19 of them, which read as if it should be a fruity floral. What it is is a "plastic" fruity floral created out of chemicals, not essential oils, the very antithesis of what the company of the past stood for.

You can hardly make out a single note (and who's to say whether the companies just write anything that comes to mind to intrigue the buyer, true or not?)

Josephine smells cheap and department store grade. Not offensive, but not good either.

14th August, 2017
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Night Drums by Dorothy Gray

Dorothy Gray began her career as a hairdresser in 1916. Her first scent was released in 1922 and her last in 1971, a total of 45 scents. Her most popular was Midnight (1963), but Nosegay (1938), Love Song (1948), Indigo (1948) and Night Drums were popular as well.

I can find no release year for Night Drums, nor any note tree. My review is based on a two dram bottle of parfum, unusual in the perfume world for two reasons. The cap is a long metal tube, topped with a faux diamond within a mesh bonnet. Also, the liquid is perfectly crystal clear, no coloring of any kind, extraordinary for vintage parfum, which has always had an amber or dark brown hue in any I've come across.

The scent is the most unusual I have yet come across in the commercial world of fragrance. At first I detect rust, then pencil shavings, then the wax of crayons. I wonder if it has gone off, although it is a full bottle.

It may have been an experimental men’s scent, though the parfum concentration acts against this theory, as men’s scents in the vintage world came almost exclusively in either edt or edc.

Patchouli and cedar are emerging from the initial mélange, but without any softening effect, such as tonka, musk or vanilla.

I must conclude that if what I am smelling is what was intended, then it is a failure, far too harsh and unpleasant to be worn on the skin for either sex.

14th August, 2017

Vespri Orientale by Nobile 1942

Yet another nice scent ruined for me by the nasty, bitter oud/cedar base.

The citrus fruits and jasmine haven't a chance against this overwhelming wood effect. I can't even detect them lurking in the background. They are no doubt cowering in the cellar in chains, as oud with whip in hand asserts his dominance over all.

What has become of the human nose that oud was ever allowed to enter the realm of perfume resins!

13th August, 2017

Dahlia Noir by Givenchy

I am reminded immediately of Versace's Baby Blue Jeans with its powdery scent of orange and vanilla.

This is what comes across in Dahlia Noir. Other references by other reviewers to baby powder are not inaccurate. However, there lurks at the base something bitter and acrid, reminiscent of guaiac wood or oud, which works against the soft, mellow powder aspect.

The two aspects are at war with one another into the dry down. It might have interested me more if it weren't for that acrid base, but I can't say it is as presented here, more than of average interest.

13th August, 2017

Câline by Jean Patou

Caline's first impression is that of a My Sin "Light."

The rich, heavy, honeyed floral chypre notes are all there, but it in a new frothy mix that floats, rather than envelops.

I don't perceive any of the green notes others write about, nor can I distinguish most of the particular notes in the tree, except for the santal, labdanum, rose and musk, which are discernible.

My problem with my sample is that it disappears within five minutes. No amount of re-application can nail it down for longer than that time frame. I am experiencing the edt.

I must give it a thumbs up for that beautiful first five minutes. I'd be curious to see if a parfum version lasts longer.
13th August, 2017

Chance Eau Vive by Chanel

Very chemical smelling attempt at combining citrus fruit (grapefruit, blood orange) with a white floral (jasmine).

This is beneath Chanel, smelling of something aquatic and watery one would find on the "marked down to sell fast" bin at one's local department store.

Harmless, but far from any conception of quality or uniqueness.
13th August, 2017

Royal Rose Aoud by Martine Micallef

Well, this company has certainly glutted the market in no short order.

Just look at the profusion of scents from the last 6 years and you know from the outset that this is a company that just wants to fool the public and make a profit as quickly as it can.

The usual Angel rip-off opening does have to its credit a nice unobtrusive mix of oud, patchouli and sandalwood to support its berry opening. However, it does quickly dry down to a bland and somewhat acrid oud base.

Thank God it quickly fades to nothing at all. Save your money, folks, stay away from this one.
12th August, 2017

Jimmy Choo by Jimmy Choo

First off, any new company that is so afraid of what it puts into its scents that it needs to hide this information under such transaparent names as "Green Notes" is from the outset not to be taken seriously.

Now we move to Tiger Orchid, which has no scent of its own, so we can throw that note tree addition away.

Toffee and Patchouli - now that sounds interesting. However, I don't detect either of these notes.

This is entirely made in the chemical lab - slightly sweet, totally mediocre- and to be avoided. Jimmy Choo should pay the public back for any one foolish enough to spend money on this initial product.

12th August, 2017

Giò by Giorgio Armani

A beautiful feminine floral, simply created with only a few notes, although the underlying tuberose, always evident but always restrained, is never mentioned in the scent tree.

That tuberose allows the other florals (jasmine, hyacinth, rose) to join their green notes to it and blend into one of the finest of modern scents for women. Too bad it is discontinued, as it was one of the best of the 1990s. Don't be fooled by the "Acqua de Gio"s - they are not the original, not by a long shot.

Seek this out in vintage parfum land and enjoy. A perfectly blended, sweet, ultra feminine floral. Best suited for the grand dame personalities - the Mae Wests, the Rosalind Russells. Definitely not an Audrey Hepburn scent.

Very highly recommended.

Jasmine, Hyacinth, Tangerine
Rose, Iris
Sandalwood, Vanilla
12th August, 2017

Green Jeans by Versace

A very green, strong, blend of pine needles, mint and oregano.

The citrus notes of bergamot and grapefruit provide a sparkling lift to keep it from being too serious, and as such provide a cheerfulness to an otherwise somber scent. Cedar, sandalwood and oak moss provide a grounding woody earthiness without taking over or masking the pine, mint, oregano heart.

This is somewhat reminiscent of the powerhouse men's scents of the 1980s, but without the stereophonic loud speaker sillage of those blends.

It's a very nice masculine scent and the second surprise I have had in trying the Versace Jeans line (Baby Blue Jeans was equally surprising in its originality and balance).

Recommended as a good, solid, reasonably priced men's scent.

Top Notes
Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cluster pine, Needles, Mint
Heart Notes
Cedar leaves, Oregano
Base notes
Sandalwood, American red pine, Oakmoss
12th August, 2017

Baby Blue Jeans by Versace

An unusual and well done powdery citrus, not a category or genre heavily populated. In fact I can think of only one or two others that fit this description.

As another reviewer mentioned, it does remind one of a creamsicle. It's the mandarin paired with the musk and vanilla. There is however a serious darker base provided by the cedar, sandalwood, patchouli and iris, making it dry and woody at the same time the luscious mandarin powder effect hovers over.

The balance is in never letting the woods/resin override or interfere with the warm fruity powder effect.

I am impressed when I thought I wouldn't be. Quite unisex and quite suitable for a warm summer's day at the beach. Recommended.

12th August, 2017
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Îles d'Or by Molinard

Molinard – Iles D’Or (1929)

Molinard opened its doors in 1849 in Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. In 1900 the house moved to a perfume distillery, where the house still exists today.

Molinard's Iles d'Or was launched in 1929 as a rich floral fragrance under the slogan "Message from Provence, a floral paradise." It was inspired by the exotic islands of Polynesia.

I am experiencing vintage parfum and this is probably the only review thus far that is not dealing with the 1993 reformulation.

This is as far removed from a “bubble gum fruity floral” as one can get on the spectrum. It would seem the reformulation was not a re-working of the original scent, but an entirely new one, with the old name plastered on to confuse and mislead the consumer, a trend that is all too common in the perfume world.

The original is deep, rich and dark. The fruity top notes seem to my nose to have faded with time. I experience a chypre-like mixture of warm (amber, vanilla, cinnamon, sandalwood, musk, ambergris) with green (galbanum, muguet) highlights.

The soft floral trio of jasmine, heliotrope and freesia provide a gentle sweetness that floats over this chypre-like base. The experience is that of a serious scent with a hint of playfulness, one to be worn by a mature woman of the late 1920s and 1930s, although it is certainly at home as a modern masculine. Very nice indeed and quite a surprise.

Top notes: Pineapple, Peach, Apricot, Citron Vert, and Freesia
Heart notes: Muguet, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Amber, Cedar, Vanilla
Base notes: Oak Moss, Galbanum, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Musk, Ambergris

12th August, 2017

Rêve de Paris by E.Coudray

Coudray – Reve de Paris (1822/1920)

The following historical information for the House of Coudray is used with permission of its author, perfumista and collector, Alexandra Star:

“A small perfume shop named M.Maugenet & E.Coudray was established in Paris around 1810. Edmond Coudray, a doctor-chemist, traveled over the world bringing back exotic raw materials for the production of perfumes. In 1837 the house of Coudray became the official supplier to the British Court and was a favorite of Queen Victoria.

They later opened a small cosmetics and perfume shop called Maugenet & Coudray, located at 348 rue Saint-Honore, Paris in 1882. The company produced many luxury presentations and won several awards. They won two silver awards at the 1882 Exhibition, one for their eau de cologne.

Edmond Coudray went on to enjoy a spectacular career, creating Eaux de Cologne, pomades, creams and soaps for the crowned heads of France, Italy and England, including Queen Victoria, for whom the perfume ‘Reine Victoria’ was made.

At the end of the 19th Century, Coudray was appointed official supplier to the English court. The boutique became a rendezvous as well for the Imperial French royal family, the Marshals of the Empire and the new nobility.

On the death of Edmond Coudray in 1860, his son-in-law took over the company – which remained a family business for many, many decades and was later revived after World War II thanks to the survival of its precious formulas.”

Our scent history for Coudray goes back to 1860 with almost 60 fragrances to the present day. Those created between 1810 and 1860 have not, to my knowledge, survived in catalogue form, with the exception of the scent being reviewed, Reve de Paris.

My only experience heretofore with Coudray was through a few products, distributed by Caswell Massey in the 1970s and 1980s, including their lettuce and carrot soaps and a jasmine scented facial vinegar, to be added to warm water at the end of the day, for gently bathing away any accumulated impurities prior to sleep.

Reve de Paris was originally launched in 1822 and lasted at least until 1920, from which my parfum decant dates.

Top notes: Bergamot, Neroli, and Orange Blossom
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, and Carnation
Base notes: Oak Moss, Leather, Labdanum, Musk, Sandalwood, and Ambergris

My immediate impression is that of a deep, rich floral chypre with a leather undercurrent. Since there is no orris listed and “leather” is a note made up of other oils, I am wondering what exactly Is giving me this leather/suede vibe. The carnation rises up to give this richness a bit of spice, along with the balanced mélange of rose, jasmine and muguet. The base is also exceedingly well blended, giving comforting resinous warmth throughout the dry down.

It is certainly very attractive and very unisex by today’s standards. It’s rather exciting experiencing a scent created 195 years ago and knowing I am enjoying not chemicals or additives, but a mixture of pure oil extracts.

I have experienced and enjoyed many rich honeyed chypres from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and it is a surprise to me to encounter their ancestor so far removed in time from the later reincarnations. Reve de Paris may also be the ancestor for the “cuir” genre that would be so prevalent in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

A fabulous scent, a rich, honeyed floral chypre for all lovers of vintage parfum.

10th August, 2017

Stephen Jones by Stephen Jones

Although my sample is marked CDG as its house, here on Basenotes, Stephen Jones is not only the name of the scent, but that of the house as well.

At first clove (dark), carnation (bright) and rose (warm) leap out at you, all with equal assurance and perfectly balanced. You can detect all three at once. The jasmine and heliotrope bring in a softer middle heart note, but the spiciness of the clove and carnation combo remain nicely center stage.

For once, the Gaiac wood is not poured on in bucketsful, but only pops in from time to time in the dry down to remind you it is there. The cumin, vetiver and amber are another trio beautifully blended and hovering below the spice.

I am rather impressed with this as a spicy carnation scent, great for both men and women, but I think more successful with men, as the base notes would I believe blend better with a male's body oils and chemistry.

I sampled this from a bag of samples passed on by a friend de-cluttering her collection of freebie samples and was prepared to toss it off with a bitingly dismissive epigram, but I am fooled again. There in the vast 50 sample bag was one that was worth its salt.

Unreservedly recommended for those who thought no modern fragrance of quality could ever again be created. Bravo!
10th August, 2017

Cologne Intense by Houbigant

A most interesting fougere that delivers.

The citrus (lemon, neroli) and herbal notes (lavender, tarragon) are beautifully balanced with the jasmine heart and the earthy frankincense base, for once not over-emphasized.

In the world of fougeres, this is a "new" take on the genre, all too rare these days, and quite welcome.

A very dry scent, full of nuances and interest, and all so well balanced that nothing screeches at you. All is in harmony.

I am impressed. I may just invest in a bottle. Quiet and unassuming, assuredly masculine and wears close to the skin, invitiing others to get closer.
10th August, 2017

Animale Temptation Man by Animale Parfums

A mediocre woody spicy scent, reminiscent in smell of the men's power bombs of the 1980s, minus any excitement. Sillage is adequate, but longetivity is poor.

No better nor worse than a million other generic men's drugstore scents.

Nothing interesting going on here.
10th August, 2017

Cologne Intense Collection : Dark Amber & Ginger Lily by Jo Malone

This is really interesting at first. It delivers. Amber, ginger and lily. For about 45 seconds.

Then it all disappears and becomes your usual chemically offensive melange.

Oh, now the not listed nasty oud note comes in and obliterates what's left of our trusting olfactory nerves.

Yet another olfactory disaster from this experimental company that never quite GETS IT!
10th August, 2017

DKNY Be Delicious by Donna Karan

Chemicals smelling like green apples.

Scrub it off. Better still, don't buy it and throw your unused samples away.
10th August, 2017

Été de Murano by Murano

Aldehydes and alcohol. No discernible scent at all. An Emperor's New Clothes joke on us all.

We were NOT taken in.

Oh, were those hay notes fleeting by? How quaint.
10th August, 2017

Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani

A complete non-entity, beginning and ending with guaiac wood, Satan's answer to all the good scents the Deity wishes we could enjoy together.
10th August, 2017

Fath's Love by Jacques Fath

Fath – Love 1961

Jacques Fath, born in 1912 in Paris, France, was a French fashion designer, viewed as one of the most crucial influences on postwar haute couture. He was raised in a creative family of fashion illustrators, writers and landscape painters.

Fath presented his first collection in 1937. In his fashion salon, he worked with many famous models, creating numerous successful collections. A visit to his salon is featured in the second Cinerama film, Cinerama Holiday.

Fath later taught Givenchy, Laroche and Garavani, apprentices who would go on to make their own names in fashion. Among his clients were Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo and Rita Hayworth.

Fath died in 1953, the house discontinuing its haute couture in 1957 and turning instead to perfumes, gloves and other accessories. He is best known for his 1946 Iris Gris, the icon for all lovers of orris. However, many of his other fragrances are worthy of praise [Fath de Fath (1953); Canasta (1950); Ellipse (1972).]

Fath's Love, created by Michel Hy, was launched in 1961, not 1968 as noted on the Basenotes page. It is a rich floral fragrance for women, spiked with dominant spice and pepper notes.

According to perfumista and collector, Alexandra Star: “The perfume opens up with potent spicy notes of cinnamon and anise seed, but it moves quickly to reveal a strong and heady floral heart that has enough sweetness to hold its own against the spiciness. There are notes of sweet stewed plums as a prelude to the soft woodsy dry-down.”

Top notes: Neroli, Bergamot, Citrus, Plum, and Lemon

Middle notes: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove, Pepper, Anise, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Rose, Tuberose, and Gardenia

Base notes: Violet, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Oak Moss, Vetiver, Musk, Amber, Orris, and Benzoin

I am experiencing pure parfum. The scent surprises me from the start due to the dryness of the spices, helped no doubt by the orris in the base. This is no sparkling spice cabinet full of freshly ground barks and seeds. These have been kept for a while and have blended their richness. The anise gives the spice notes a particularly pleasant edge.

I did not perceive any of the top citrus notes. Perhaps they have faded with time. The olaceous white florals support the spice notes, rather than the expected reverse. The plum note emerges in the dry down, so one wonders why it is listed as a top note.

The over all effect is that of dry subdued spicy floral, something a more refined and quiet personality might wear. This is a scent for Audrey Hepburn, not Ava Gardner.

I’m beginning to think Fath knew orris better than any of his competitors. Here it directs the production as it did in its star turn in Iris Gris.

A beautiful and unusual scent, full of sophistication and quiet allure.

09th August, 2017

Ballerina No.2 by Les Parfums de Rosine

As unlike Ballerina #1 as night and day, #2 is dry and subtle, minus any chemical smell.

It wears very close to the skin. The subdued sweetness of the opening fruit notes are enhanced by the dryness of the orris and violet. Yet, there is something going on in the base that is quite unpleasant (I fear aoud and guaiac are purposely not listed).

Sadly, these bitter wood notes take over and destroy the symmetry. Amber and vanilla fight valiantly to warm the sandalwood and patchouli, but alas are no match for the undisclosed woods.

Yet another scent interesting and potentially fine, ruined by the addition of the bitter woods that take over and make the creation a nasty, acrid mess.

At this point I would have considered both Ballerinas to be Black Swans and not gone on to a third entry in the series, but fools do rush in! I shall not, passing up the dubious honor of experiencing yet another disappointment.
08th August, 2017

Ballerina No.1 by Les Parfums de Rosine

Ah, Angel! I had the feeling you couldn't be far away and you're not. Shall we name this Ballerina #1 or Angel Flanker #8 million and 2?

Fruity opening, floral heart and metallic musky dry down. All smelling of the chemicals that it consists of. I doubt a true distilled oil came anywhere near the building when this was being worked out.

No better nor worse than any other chemical fruity floral out there, but that doesn't make it good. Rosine should stick to what they do best, variations on the rose, not Angel.

Not awful, but not good either.

08th August, 2017

Secrets de Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

A beautiful tea rose is at the center of this Rosine creation and it wafts towards you immediately upon first application, as if to say, "Wait! Wait! Before you smell the rest of my notes, just feast your nose on me alone."

I am quite ready to inhale the secrets behind this rose. I do wait....and wait....and wait!

How did I miss such distinctive notes as plum, licorice and bitter orange?

I'll wait a while more for the heart to emerge.

Yes, a touch of jasmine and ylang. A mere whiff of cumin, just to make it intriguing. The rose has quieted down now, its star turn at opening having exhausted it. However, the chorus is not up to par with the first number.

And there it halts. None of the base notes appear. Now even what has appeared is fast disappearing. Half an hour in and there is nothing on my wrist, but a faint whisper of the opening tea rose.

What a tease this is! A fascinating idea, but the show will never get out of previews.

08th August, 2017

Alaïa by Azzedine Alaïa

Practically nonexistent, this scent begins with a dry peppery accord, then weaves in a floral mix that is more chemical than floral (freesia? peony? I think not!) It ends in a non-descript white musk with a sharp, metalic chemical underlay.

Quite poor, indeed!
08th August, 2017

Noir by Weil

The House of Weil began as a successful furrier business, run by three brothers, who employed perfumer Claude Frayesse to create oils and perfume concentrations to adorn Milady’s coats, wraps and stoles. The first scents were released in 1927, their names reflecting costly furs of the time (Zibeline, Chinchilla, Royal and Hermine).

Bambou in 1934, a fruity oriental, was perhaps their biggest hit. The brothers emigrated to the USA in the 1940s. Other hits followed: Secret de Venus, Antilope and Padisha.

Their Noir came out in 1936 and was discontinued in 1969. It is classified as a light, woody, oriental scent with a mentholated tuberose, floating over smoky, spicy leather.

Top notes: Mandarin, peach and bergamot

Middle notes: Jasmine, rose, tuberose, iris, orange blossom, camphor

Base notes: Ambergris, incense, musk, styrax, sandalwood, vanilla, leather, orris, vetiver, oakmoss

I am experiencing a pure parfum decant. I would classify this as a floral oriental, with the depth of a chypre. The juice is very dark, opaque. The blending is masterful. Nothing stands away from the other ingredients. The camphor is very lightly mixed and the usual center stage tuberose manages to be a team player and part of the ensemble here.

It is odd to my nose in that it manages to be light, while at the same time possessing great depth, drawing me in to experience its sensual depths. Definitely for the mature woman {or man – definitely a unisex scent). Warm, rich, enveloping. Truly a masterwork in my experience of vintage orientals.

One must recall that this was not designed as a body perfume, but one for furs, so that the tuberose/camphor combo might have been uplifting when going out into the cold, giving one a joyous boost to enjoy whatever event one is heading for.

Hard to find, but very worth searching for on Ebay and Etsy.

08th August, 2017

Bonbon by Viktor & Rolf

A fruity floral melange, beginning as yet another Angel flanker, but eventually corralled by the bitter and unpleasant combo of cedar and guaiac woods. In the middle we get orange, peach and caramel.

Remarkably common place, amazingly unimaginative and redundantly wearable. The teen-aged Lolitas of our generation might like it.

I don't.
08th August, 2017

SexMagic by House of Matriarch

Another from Matriarch that combines exotic woods and resins and then drowns them all out with screeching aoud and guaiac.

I am unable to comprehend the noses that can stand this overwhelming, bitter and acrid scent and even like it.

I will never be one - instant scrubber.
08th August, 2017