Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist


Tuscany per Donna by Estee Lauder

Turin describes a "woody rose," noting the amber-orange oriental accord, and praising the edgy geranium-peony note, giving it four stars and classifying it as a "peony oriental."

To my nose, it is an inoffensive, but practically scentless creation, smelling in a general way of rose and amber. The sandalwood and vanilla are used sparingly, as are the other florals listed above.

Despite several applications, I get only a very faint whisp of scent that quickly disintegrates.

It's neither good nor bad, just blandly uninteresting.

For the record, I love Aramis' Tuscany per Uomo of six years prior.
05th October, 2015

Lady Stetson by Stetson

One of the very best bargains in the currently available perfume world.

This, as most reviews emphasize, bears a close resemblance to Chanel's No. 22, but is not as rich and heavy as that classic scent. This is a combination of peach and amber with present but indistinct citrus and floral notes. It is dry and warm at the same time.

Tina Sanchez gives it four stars and terms it an "aldehydic floral," preferring it in the long run to the Chanel. It could certainly pass for a far more expensive scent from a top house if inhaled blindly.

Very highly recommended as an affordable and distinctively fine scent.
03rd October, 2015

Rose Privée by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I grow roses in my garden and I have once again been looking for an un-fussy rose scent to carry the delights of the summer forward into the coming colder weather. Therefore I recently spent a delightful hour or so in a small scent shop playing with various options, comparing my nose to those of the clerk and a friend who accompanied me.

I’d tried the current formulation of Penhaligon’s Hamman Bouquet – my old “go to” rose scent of years past. It was not quite what I wanted: too complex, possibly too heavy for my nose now. I compared two different Santa Maria Novella rose-based scents. None quite had the simplicity and purity I was seeking.

Then the clerk suggested Rose Privee, and I was again in love with a rose perfume. My nose does not detect the citrus others mention here, nor does it detect much development. I get a simple, extremely pure, gentle rose. No darkness of the Turkish rose, no over-sweetness of the English rose. Just the pure, clear scent of the Bourbon rose -- Madame Hardy comes to mind -- clear, with a depth of pure, rich rose essence. Light, yes, but true and innocent.

To my nose this is a perfect soliflore. Projection is limited, longevity unbelievably long. Hours later the scent on my skin was as lovely as with the first spray. Recommended.
03rd October, 2015
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Encens & Bubblegum by Etat Libre d'Orange

Why? I keep asking myself, Why?

Just because you "can," doesn't mean you "ought."

This inoffensive, sweet, little thing is clever without being good, distinctive without being memorable, and cute without being remarkable.

Olibanum, amber and a sweet candied note, reminiscent of Bazooka bubble gum (probably the raspberry and peach) make up the overall effect of this trifle.

Not awful, but why bother?
02nd October, 2015

Sex Appeal for Men by Jovan

Turin (Sanchez actually) gives it four stars and calls it an "herbal oriental."

This unassuming men's scent from 1976 mixes lavender and amber with a slight dash of cinnamon. Dries down to a light aromatic wood. Not heavy at all, in fact quite light, it is unassuming and subtle. Perfectly acceptable as an all purpose scent, from office to date night to sports event. Tremendously affordable (I got my attractive 3 oz. bottle for $10), and a perfect gift choice for guys who want to smell good, but who are really not "into" scent.

Not bad, not great, just okay.
27th September, 2015

Exceptional by Exceptional

Exceptional is not quite what it claims to be; in fact, the opposite.

It opens with a burst of sweet aldehydic lavender with the strength and harsh edge of far too many generic men's oceanic scents.

On my skin it quickly dries to a sharp, metallic, and at the same time icky sweet note. Medium sillage and unfortunately, prolonged longevity.

In my estimation, certainly not for women. Possibly serviceable as a men's "sport" scent.

Avoid at all costs.
26th September, 2015

Impact Pour un Homme by Caron

In 1934 Caron released the ultimate lavender/vanilla combo with its Pour Un Homme. This gentle, powdery scent was perfection itself for the older gentleman, the dad, even the grandad, and has lasted the test of time.

In 1958 (not 2005 as stated by Basenotes above, that may be a re-issue date), L'Impact was released. This was an edp concentration of Pour Un Homme (actual name on the bottle was "L'Impact de Pour Un Homme") which had been an edc concentration.

The lavender is stronger here, obviously, the vanilla just balanced however, and the dry down less powdery, more linear. However, it is just as fine in its own way as the original. This might be better geared toward the younger man.

In either incarnation it is highly recommended.
26th September, 2015

Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

Turin (Sanchez actually) gives this four stars and great praise as a successful masculine fougere, keywording it as an "herbal patchouli."

Similar to all the other powerhouse men's scents of the 1980s, but much subtler. It is a warm and dry take on patchouli and lavender with bergamot and geranium. What is most prevalent is the use of cumin (pioneered three years earlier with YSL's brilliant Kouros), which gives it a slightly aphrodisiacal pull. I wouldn't wear this to the office, but as an all day societal scent, it is one of the best of its era.

Praise to Aramis for keeping this affordable and still available.

25th September, 2015

Ferré by Gianfranco Ferré

I am astounded both by the contents of the eight prior reviews and the overwhelmingly positive descriptions. These have nothing to do with my experience of the scent.

My impression is of a masculine floral fougere, similar to, but not as powerful as, the classic men's scents of the 1980s. I get none of the fruit notes and no sweetness at all from the florals mentioned. The dry down experience is one of refined lavender and iris with a subtle, brown sugar background.

It is pleasant, but in no way exceptional nor outstanding. Turin gave it four stars and called it an "aldehydic floral," mentioning its provenance as an improved Iris Poudre, created by the same perfumer, Bourdon, who brought that fragrance to life for Malle.

Amazed this was created for women, as it does not fit the profile at all.
24th September, 2015

Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal

Expectations abound with a name like this, referring back to Guerlain's classic L'Heure Bleue, but there is similarity only in the powdery softness of the overall effect, not in the composition.

Although it shares notes with those in Chanel No. 19, which I did not like at all, it handles them in a gentler way. The rose is softened by galbanum, as is the iris, both floating in an "old-fashioned" way above the sandalwood, musk and vanilla base.

Turin gave it four stars, calls it an "animalic iris," and notes the combination of galbanum and iris as its core effect.

A very pleasant, powdery floral, but not expecially interesting or outstanding to my nose.
22nd September, 2015

Rien by Etat Libre d'Orange

Aside from the idiotic name (who would want to buy a scent that promised to smell of nothing at all???), this has a lot going for it and a major strike against it.

From a distance, it is a beautiful sweet leather, strong and pungent. Turin gives it four stars, calls it an "animalic leather," and notes that is "no other unsweetened leather out there."

In addition to the notes mentioned above, "Incense, Rose, Leather, Iris, Cistus, Oakmoss, Black Pepper, Aldehydes, Cumin, Patchouli," I detect a good deal of cedar and Oud. It is the Oud that gives it too harsh and sharp an undertone to be ultimately a pleasant experience for me.

Had Etat left the harshness out of the formula, this would be a go-to leather scent for me. As is, I will stick with my Knize Ten, Chanel's Cuir de Russie, and SL's Iris Silver Mist as my favorite leathers.
21st September, 2015

Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain

As everyone subscribing to Basenotes knows, Jicky (1889) was the second scent to utilize synthetic notes in its composition. The first was Houbigant's Royal Fougere (1888).

Jicky was a failure with the ladies, too brutal and "new," but a hit with men, who kept it afloat until decades later, the ladies came around.

Mouchoir de Monsieur translates as "Gentleman's Handkerchief" and it is apt, as in 1904, the year of its release, men and ladies still brought scented handkerchiefs to their nose when traversing the foul and fetid streets of Paris. Since Jicky was aimed at women, it makes sense for Guerlain to formally market the same scent to men with a bit more base, civet and patchouli. However, it is pretty much identical to my nose.

The combination of lavender and vanilla has a dry, edgy scent, reminiscent at times of damp cardboard. However, controversial, it is still a rather unique scent, regardless of the name under which it is marketed.

I loved it when I first came upon it four years ago, but soon grew tired of it, registering it as having historical import, but no personal impact.

Turin gives it four stars, calls it a "rich lavender," and notes it befits the image of "Rupert Everett playing Beau Brummell."

In any case, it is every bit as good as Jicky with a bit more depth in the base. Since Guerlain simply copied its own scent intended for women, reshaping it for men, it can't be labelled a rip-off.

It's overall quite good, quite unique, and worth everyone's experiencing it.
19th September, 2015

Opening Night / La Première / Orage by Lucien Lelong

Lucien Lelong scents (there were only about 30 of them) kept renewing their lives under different names. Once a scent had run its course, Lelong retired it for a few years, then brought it out again under a different name.

In those days there was no Basenotes, there were no perfume reviews, there were no bloggers, and women usually stuck to no more than a half dozen scents for their boudoir moods. It was a well kept secret.

Opening Night has been released also as La Premiere, Tempest and Orage. It is a lovely green chypre, a cross between Coty's 1927 L'Aimant (which it most resembles in its top notes) and Millot's 1925 Crepe de Chine (which it resembles in its green dry down.) As a tribute to both scents, it works in combining the two.

It's quite nice, not a stunner, but certainly no slouch. A scent certainly worth seeking out if you are into vintage and especially if you are a fan of the Coty and Millot scents mentioned above.
06th September, 2015
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Oscar de la Renta pour Lui by Oscar de la Renta

A sharp, dry, pungent powerhouse of oak moss, patchouli, carnation and vetiver. There's sandalwood and galbanum here as well. Reminiscent of Aramis, but without the latter's sweetness. The dry down becomes redolent of strong tobacco leaves, cured for cigar smoking.

This is the vintage version I am reviewing. It is typical of so many powerhouse men's scents from the 1980s and does not really stand out from the others.

Projection is enough to kill at twenty paces. Use very sparingly, a little goes a long way.
20th August, 2015

Havana by Aramis

Havana begins with a strong green clovey/bay rhum blast that quickly calms down to a pepper and pimento middle ground. My nose does not detect any of the citrus notes or floral notes.

The base notes quickly take over, but they are a murky, harsh mixture indeed. No subtlety here and to my nose, no tobacco either. The oud here seems to just take over and let its bitter qualities smother all the rest.

A very poor scent in my opinion, despite the plethora of notes it supposedly contains.

16th July, 2015

Dachelle by Lilly Daché

Dachelle is unusual in that it is the only one of Lilly Dache's eight scents not to originate in the early 1940s.

Somehow this last gasp release came in 1963. There are no available notes, but it is quite a nice chypre. It is very warm and unisex - perhaps they were hoping for a successful cross over scent, in that the other Daches are all exceedingly feminine.

In any case, this is warm and dark. Perhaps a bit of birch tar, some civet, some sandalwood. It's a very close to the skin scent and nicely animalic.

It proliferates on Ebay as her most available scent, probably due to it being so recent in time. Worth obtaining a small bottle to sample if you are into dark animalic chypres.
07th July, 2015

Spring and Summer Cologne by Lucien Lelong

Lelong's Spring and Summer Cologne (1950) is a direct copy of Millot's Insolent from 1947.

This is a dry, reedy, green scent, which is redolent of celery seed, warmed by sandalwood and a bit of amber.

However, it is the very green celery seed note that predominates.

As such, it is an homage to an admired and for its time, successful and original scent.

It's quite nice - the neutral rating is due to lack of originality in duplicating a successful scent of another house.
07th July, 2015

Simply Belle by Exceptional

When I first inhaled this, I immediately recognized it as an old friend. It smells identical to the original Gendarme, an iconic scent of the 80s and 90s and my youth.

I don't know what is in Simply Belle, but I recall what was in Gendarme with its mix of citrus, herbs and one floral: Lemon, Bergamot, Lime, Basil, Tarragon, Lemon Verbena, Jasmine.

It is totally refreshing and a magnet for both sexes. Thus it is really unisex, as was Gendarme. If you are young, wear either of these and you will fascinate others, who will have no idea its due to pheromones and a simple scent that brings these to the skin surface.

And most importantly, Simply Belle is very inexpensive, while Gendarme is not. You can't go wrong with this scent - best for spring and summer wear.
25th June, 2015

Styx by Coty

A great early Coty (1911) that remains a rarity and one embraced by lovers of early chypres.

Barbara Herman describes it as "moody and dark." It is that! This is one of those scents based almost entirely on base notes with just a few lighter ones to make it waft.

There is orris, vanilla and carnation here immediately perceptible, but the breakdown is as follows:

Top: Bergamot, Carnation, Ylang, Galbanum
Heart: Orris, Olibanum, Violet
Base: Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Benzoin, Musk, Oakmoss

Originally marketed as "The fragrance of subtle, mysterious, haunting personalities," it is rumored that Garbo wore it. Need I say more.

Discontinued in its original formulation in 1946, reformulated in a light parfum de toilette version only in 1951. This reformulation was discontinued in 1961.

One of the great early Cotys and to be treasured.
24th June, 2015

Mon Peche / My Sin by Long Lost Perfume

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, the only perfume company that advertised on commercial television seemed to be Lanvin, with its constant ads for its two big hits, Arpege (Promise her anything, but give her Arpege!), and My Sin. You would also find these advertised heavily in newspapers and magazines of the time.

This is definitely an old school floral chypre, a complex and rich blend of florals and musk notes that define the great perfume world of the 1920s and 1930s. Unlike the sharper and over the top Arpege, My Sin is subtle and rich. Barbara Herman called it "lush, over ripe, decadent," and I'm sure she meant it in a good way.

The scent existed from 1924 to 1988, when it was discontinued after 65 years of success, reflecting the changing times and tastes no doubt, but the vintage is one of the greats. No doubt about that. Luckily, still available on Ebay.
24th June, 2015

Conflict by Blanchard

I was fortunate to find a two oz. bottle of Conflict cologne, still sealed, in an antiques store recently and am pleasantly surprised by its old-fashioned, yet beautiful, floral blend.

Immediately one gets a burst of lilac, supported by the rarely used note of wisteria. (The only other use of wisteria I am aware of is in D'Albret's Princesse.) As it develops, jasmine and neroli join these and proceed to create a sweet floral aura that invokes the post-war era with nostalgic references to earlier happier times. Base notes must be there, but they never surface to my nose. Perhaps this was always intended as just a splash and not a long-lasting perfume.

A joyous and uplifting scent that belies its name. What an odd name indeed for any scent. Perhaps it refers back to the war just ended.

Worth seeking out for the younger woman (18-28).
21st June, 2015

Fleurs de Tabac by Cherigan

Fleurs de Tabac arrived in 1929, one of a handful of scents created by the firm of Cherigan. It followed Caron's Tabac Blond by 10 years and Roger and Gallet's Cigalia by 18.

The dark scent of tobacco leaves mingle with vetiver, a touch of vanilla and amber and a light jasmine overlay.

It seems relatively simple, but the overall effect is one of great sophistication and superb blending and balance. It can stand with the rougher Cigalia (birch tar infuses this one) and the cigarette tobacco (carnation and orris blend) of Tabac Blond to hold its own as one of the three great tobacco scents of the 20th century.

Cherigan operated in both Paris and Havana between 1929 and 1949. Below are listed their ten scents, which are very hard to find, even on Ebay.



21st June, 2015

Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent

An odd green floral/wood scent that is pleasant, but unremarkable.

Turin gave it 5 stars and named it a "reference rose." The rose is very very faint and gives us the green note. It combines with peach, muguet and jasmine and floats above "dark resins," such as vetiver, sandalwood and musk.

Top notes: Peach, Bergamot
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Muguet, Geranium, Orris, Ylang
Base notes: Vetiver, Tonka, Sandalwood, Musk, Oak Moss, Amber

Certainly nice, but there are better green roses out there (Jacomo's Silences, Dior's Diorling and Laurent's own initial scent, Y, come to mind).
20th June, 2015

Givenchy III by Givenchy

Along with Beene's Grey Flannel, I find Givenchy III one of the two best green scents for men ever created. I know this one was created for and marketed to women, but it is so unisex and so superbly, confidently, quietly masculine, that I can't imagine a woman even liking it, let alone wearing it.

A green floral chypre that is round, deep and complex. Intriguing suave, assured, sophisticated.

Green citrus and fruity florals blend harmoniously and lay over a woody, powdery, slightly spicy base. The slightly mentholated dry down is light and pleasant.

Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Galbanum, Peach, Gardenia
Heart notes: Muguet, Hyacinth, Rose, Jasmine, Orris
Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Amber, Sandalwood

Turin gave it 5 stars and dubbed it a "great masculine." I agree.
19th June, 2015

Surrender by Ciro

From 1923 to 1961 Ciro created approximately 25 scents, presented in beautiful Baccarat bottles that are treasured today by collectors, irregardless of whether they have any content.

I have only experienced/reviewed one other Ciro - Reflexions (correct spelling) and liked it. However, Surrender is far superior and was deservedly their biggest success.

This is a spicy, warm ambergris/civet dominated chypre, beginning with a caramel effect, perhaps some patchouli. The violet and jasmine float ethereally as top notes, but this is really an in depth chypre. The generous use of orris and real ambergris give this a dry down best described as warm floral leather.

I'll be looking for a full bottle on Ebay. My sample was vintage edc.
19th June, 2015

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

This is a most unusual and unique masculine green scent, in that the oak moss is very subdued, not overwhelming as in most scents of the late 70s and early 80s. It is quite dry and sophisticated,
with a fresh, herbal, grassy greenness.

It has the effect of a very concentrated green tea extract, which makes it a most pleasant scent to wear in the summer months.

The dry down is powdery.

Turin gives it five stars and calls it a "sweet green." He notes it can smell crude if over-applied.

One of the great men's scents from the "powerhouse" era that deigns to be subtle, not in your face.

18th June, 2015

24, Faubourg by Hermès

This is a gentle and restrained white floral, quite light, and a true tribute to the scent of jasmine. It has a light menthol-like dry down.

Top notes: Neroli, Jasmine Sambac
Heart notes: Iris, Vanilla
Base notes: Amber, Patchouli

Turin gives it four stars and names it a "honeyed floral."

It is recommended for the very young woman - in her early twenties.

Very nice, sophisticated, complex.
18th June, 2015

Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein

When most successful scents for women engender a "for men" derivative, the formulas bear no resemblance one to the other.

With the creamy oriental, Obsession, this is not the case. It's version for men begins just as voluptuously as a fruity floral. It is given more weight however than the version for women, by the addition of spices (Coriander, Clove, Sage), resins (Patchouli, Myrrh) and a dry lavender/sage combination.

This grounds Obsession in a slightly darker, more sober take on the fruity floral. The dry down is a warm vanilla/amber/sandalwood combo that is as masculine as it is unisex.

A very nice take on the original that still manages to be true to it.
Both Obsession and Obsession for men are highly recommended.
17th June, 2015

Reflexions by Ciro

Ciro created about 23 scents between 1923 and 1961, the three most successful being Surrender (1932), Reflexions (1933) [note that this is the correct spelling], and Danger (1938).

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery we are told. Reflexions copies the success of Dana's Tabu (1935), a scent that would go on to be imitated again in 1948 (Tuvara) and 1951 (Youth Dew).

This is a creamy oriental, very rich and voluptuous. According to Barbara Herman, it contains amber, patchouli, orris, vanilla and sandalwood. I can also detect jasmine, rose and tuberose in the make-up.

The formula in whatever of the above incarnations it appears is for me a reference oriental, whose honeyed and sensual palate is most warm and appealing.

Worth seeking out.
14th June, 2015

Amarige by Givenchy

There are two things about Amarige I find hard to reconcile. The first is that a house as refined as Givenchy created this bomb. The second is that it is still around 24 years later.

Barbara Herman correctly ascertains its synthetic-smelling sweet fruitiness and its overdose of tuberose. She notes also the sandalwood and cedar which ground it, but overall finds it to be very chemically laden and over the top. I couldn't agree more.

This reminds me of Sand & Sable, another tuberose bomb that is truly offensive. I love tuberose and I love its use in perfume, but these two are just embarrassing.

Turin gives in only one star, naming it "killer tuberose."

Plum Peach, Neroli, Violet
Ylang, Jasmine, Tuberose, Rose, Orchid, Carnation
Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musk, Amber, Tonka, Vanilla

It's so bad, it's almost laughable.
14th June, 2015