Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist


Rose d'Amour by Les Parfums de Rosine

A light rose, punctuated by ginger and orange flower.

This is a very old-fashioned and simple rose scent, light and effervescent, very refreshing and buoyant. A perfect scent for spring and summer wear.

As Tania Sanchez suggests, it would make a good masculine. The rose is light enough to be easily wearable by men and the ginger and orange flower give it an eau de cologne flavor. Ms. Sanchez considers it a "rose chypre," but it is much too light in my estimation for that categorization.

Recommended for all lovers of rose.

01st February, 2016

Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

Why is my mouth watering?

I am transported to a barbecue pit, where the scent of too green to be burned birch wood did, however, serve the purpose of smoking the pork tenderloin, which had first been submitted to a mouth-watering marinade. As such this is more gourmand than leather to my nose.

I love the scent of birch tar, going back to such masterpieces as Molyneux's Le Numero Cinq (1925) and both Coty's A Suma and Lelong's Sirocco (both 1934). Here the scent is masterfully placed center stage - smoky, but not harsh at all to my nose - supported by patchouli and vanilla.

I am impressed by the creation, though I don't consider it wearable as a body fragrance, as it would need more blending of other ingredients to make that so for me (as in the vintage classics mentioned above).

Admirable scent, nonetheless!

31st January, 2016

Cuir by Lancôme

My favorite leathers are Knize Ten and Chanel's Cuir de Russie. I did own a bottle of Cuir Ottomon and finished it without intending to replace it - that was a rough, strong leather that I enjoyed fully, but did not want to repeat the experience.

Now looking for a sophisticated and subtle leather, I was ready to shell out $250 for a bottle of the Chanel, when Lancome's fell into my lap. My nose finds Lancome's Cuir a good substitute for the Chanel and more pocketbook friendly at one third the cost of the the latter.

It is elegant, refined, and sensual, bringing to mind the scent of soft Italian leather jackets or Jaguar upholstery. Definitely, a huge success with me. Very highly recommended, especially for fans of the Chanel.
30th January, 2016
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Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

I know incense and incense blends from an association with a monastery that made its own. Frankincense is essentially sweet and signature "incense" is derived from mixing it with other resins and woods (myrrh, rose, cedar) to create a rich, multi-layered fragrance which, when spooned over live charcoal, creates the smoke for liturgical ceremonies, dispersed through censers, swung around the altar.

What my nose picks up here is simply pepper and cedar - dry, bitter and rather nasty - this is the scent of "burnt" incense, not in the sense of consuming by flames, but in the sense of hard, black, ruined, finished incense, the point at which the censer should be retired to avoid offending the noses of both the congregation and the deity being honored.

It is a poor performance, and a joke considering the price. If you want true and beautiful incense, try Etro's Messe de Minuit, a quarter of the price and four times as good.

29th January, 2016

Armani Privé Ambre Soie by Giorgio Armani

This begins for me as a dark, bitter amber, which after ten minutes lightens to let in the gourmand chocolate effect, enhanced by the three spices (ginger, clover, cinnamon).

There is an oud-like bitterness that may be a raw patchouli. It dries down to a dusty, old incense vibe, as if one entered a monastery on a hot August day, months since any incense had been used, but catching the smoke-drenched tapestries in the sun.

I find it rather unpleasant.

I love the use of amber in hundreds of other scents, but find its use here creating a minimalist effect that is off-putting.

It wears close to the skin and that is a good thing.
28th January, 2016

Ta'If by Ormonde Jayne

A dry dusty rose, very faint and restrained.

When I read Turin's description of Ta'if as a "peppery floral," I was expecting something along the lines of Perles de Lalique or Coriandre. In those the pepper and patchouli drew the rose center down to deep, dark realms.

I find Ta'if, for my nose, to resemble the scent from roses that have dried and are either on their way to potpourri or to be tied with a ribbon and hung from the rafters.

I get none of the other notes listed, just a dry, dusty rose. Nice, but unremarkable.
27th January, 2016

Frangipani Absolute by Ormonde Jayne

To begin with, naming a scent "Absolute" indicates it is soliflore
oil, not a mixture of other scents. Perhaps Jayne wants to indicate "Absolutely," rather than the proper wording "Absolut," without the "e."

This begins for me with an apricot note, then settles down to a generic white floral melange without much character and in which I can not detect any of the notes mentioned. I would think one could not hide tuberose, rose or jasmine, but Frangipani Absolute manages to do just that for my nose.

If you want real frangipanni, note the correct spelling with two "n"s, sample Lili Bermuda's Frangipanni. Although Turin describes the scent as somewhere between peach and jasmine, for me it's closest to our tuberose, but sweeter, less green. The notes for the Lili Bermuda blend follow:

Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Jonquil, Jasmine Sambac, Cassis, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Amber, Vanilla

Samples can be obtained directly from Lili Bermuda if you can't find them elsewhere, and very affordably. This is available in pure parfum strength as well as either an edp or edt, I can't recall which.

Comparing both Jayne's version and Lili Bermuda's will I believe be most instructive for those unfamiliar with this beguilng tropical flower.
26th January, 2016

Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris

This begins on me as orris, soon supported by clove, and it stops right there.

None of the other ingredients in the note tree come to my nose. The clove is done sparingly, so I do get the dryness. Sadly, nothing else develops but these two notes.

It's a pleasant scent, but very simply constructed, and therefore without much interest on my part. I'm reminded of the spice notes in both Bel Ami and Equipage, but this is a mere skeleton, almost a starting point for scents such as those mentioned.

Not a winner.

25th January, 2016

Kenzoair by Kenzo

A sharp, bitter, peppery mix of anise, oud and vetiver.

Turin notes the bitter peppery note as angelica. The anise and vetiver are both light to my nose. What totally ruins this scent is the sharp, metallic oud note, making this one of the most unpleasant scents I have ever encountered.

It was difficult finding a mini for this one, but I'm glad I waited. I would have hated to pay real money for this terrible scent. Why perfumers go out of their way to create offensive scents I have never been able to comprehend. Even less do I comprehend the noses which find these pleasant enough to pay big bucks for them.

Ah, well, the mystery of the human nose.
24th January, 2016

L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris

Such a diversity of reactions in the 42 reviews (to date) on this page.

Some of the reactions had me poised to really dislike this, but I don't. It seems quite simple to my nose. Amber and vanilla with a slight, not unpleasant, metallic note to balance the otherwise possible overly sweet result of that combo. Much like the use of lavender in Jicky counteracts the vanilla in that classic.

I find it perfectly pleasant - a warm scent with an edge. It's just not interesting or delightful enough to warrant either a thumbs up or a bottle purchase.

Very nice, but not a contender.
23rd January, 2016

Nicolaï pour Homme by Nicolaï

Lavender Green, Dilly Dilly!

This is for me a very dry, dark, restrained lavender. Initially I get the burst of lavender, amber and mint, all well balanced and well combined.

The green of the galbanum and mastic accompany its initial note trio, eventually warming down with generic woods, vanilla and musk.

The scent is so quiet and so close to the skin as to be practically undetectable without putting nose directly to wrist.

Discontinued and nearly impossible to find. A kind Basenoter supplied my sample from his private and extensive collection.

Nice, decent, but not worth going out of one's way for.
22nd January, 2016

Beyond Paradise Blue by Estée Lauder

A generic synthetic watery floral!

I thought the original Beyond Paradise to be a nice floral melange (jasmine, honeysuckle, gardenia), but didn't care for the plastic note that hovered in the background.

With Beyond Paradise Blue, that's all you get, the same generic, watery acquatic floral in hundreds of other fragrances. It's incredibly boring and completely unimaginative.

I would imagine its only happy home is at the beach and it does come in a handy roll on bottle slim enough to fit in a beach bag without taking up too much space.

The four stars Turin gives it are not deserved in my opinion. Two at the very most.
21st January, 2016

Dune pour Homme by Christian Dior

A bitter green acquatic woody.

This is decidedly, for my nose, generic to the nth degree. It smells like hundreds of other acquatic woodies on the market, thin, watery, without any character, with an underlying harshness that makes it very off-putting indeed.

I hated the original Dune. I don't like this flanker either. By the way neither has any relation to the other. The original Dune reminded me of "wet dog," the Dune Pour Homme reminds me of wet woods.

Pass the hair dryer, please.
21st January, 2016
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Equistrius by Parfum d'Empire

A very decent powdery, slightly fruity iris.

The initial chocolate note brings on the impression of leather or suede, as mentioned elsewhere in these reviews. It is rather linear with me, staying quietly close to the skin.

It is not in the league of the great irises (Iris Gris, Iris Silver Mist), but it is a perfectly nice iris for all that. Comparisons to Dior Homme do not work for me. I am one of the few who dislike that scent for its harshness. Equistrius is a gentle scent that could be worn by either men or women and in almost any atmosphere or role of the day.

A good scent for beginners exploring the world of iris scents.
20th January, 2016

Eau Suave by Parfum d'Empire

A dry green caraway seed rose!

This formula first appeared in the early eighties when Coty released a new reformulated "Chypre," which bore no relation to its original masterpiece. This caraway rose formula has been copied over and over again. Lancome's original Magie Noire's dry down smelled like this, though the body of that fruity floral masterwork did not.

In any case, here I smell no fruits, just the caraway and the rose. It's a nice scent, but since it's pretty much an out and out copy, I can only give it a neutral for lack of originality.

Good, but derivative.
19th January, 2016

Corsica Furiosa by Parfum d'Empire

Very green and rather unpleasant.

It is acrid, raw and bitter. It boggles my mind that anyone would want to smell like this. The sharpness of tea tree oil with pepper and oak moss is what I am getting here. Having no experience with two of the official ingredients (lentiscus, nepita), I have difficulty identying with any accuracy what it is I am smelling.

Official notes: Lenstiscus oil, Lentiscus Absolute, Lentiscus Extract, eau-de-Vie, nepita (local mint), tomato leaf, pepper, cistus, oakmoss.

I wouldn't wear it, but those into raw green herbals may find it interesting.
18th January, 2016

Aziyadé by Parfum d'Empire

A gourmand oriental!

I did not get the fruits or spices - and then only marginally, until into the dry down. This began for me with a strong blast of cumin and frankincense. Five minutes later a very strong musk enveloped these two (the strength of Lutens' Koublai Khan).

I find so called "dirty" scents extremely sensual and sexual and love them when they are done well. This is one of the best. Cumin is used in Empire's Azemour along with orange, but does not come near the quality of other cumins out there - my favorite is J'Ose by Laroche - in Aziyade the cumin and musk combo is quite stunning. To be worn by young men and women for the purpose of pure seduction.

High marks for this one, both as a scent and as an aphrodisiac.
17th January, 2016

Azemour les Orangers by Parfum d'Empire

I hate to be the first non-positive reviewer for this scent, but I have to be honest. It doesn't interest or excite me.

I get the sweet orange/cumin burst upon first application. Twenty minutes later this has faded, still there but only slightly. The moss enters to give quiet support. Of the 19 ingredients (the official blurb adds cypress to the list above), I only detect these three.

The other Basenoter noses reviewing on this page are fortunate that they can experience the entire spectrum of notes, but for me it's pretty much a simple linear dark fruit/spice combo. It's nothing like Sous Le Vent, my favorite spice fragrance, (alluded to in another review here), to my nose.

Nice, but not special or outstanding in any way.
16th January, 2016

Camellia du Maroc by Ciro

Camellia du Maroc

It is unusual to find a scent named after the Camellia flower, since only a few of the genus actually have a scent. The Moroccan Camellia is one of those.

Of course the flower, a member of the tea family, whose leaves are still used medicinally, is best known for its being the favorite flower of Marie Duplessis, the young nineteen year old French courtesan, who captured the heart of Alexandre Dumas fils, later immortalized in his “La Dame Aux Camellias” as Marguerite Gauthier.

You may know this from the famous films, both silent and sound – Garbo’s performance in the 1936/37 version was nominated for an Oscar – or Verdi’s opera, La Traviata, based on the story.

Since the Garbo film was released at the end of 1936, the performance nominated in the 1937 Academy roster, this scent was probably created to coincide with that extremely popular film and performance.

What does it smell like?

At first it seemed a rich dark rose chypre, surrounded by civet, amber, sandalwood and vanilla.

First Edit: Upon further use, I find this reminds me very much of the mimosa flower - rich, deep and earthy in its fragrance. In fact it may be pure mimosa, with my olfactory mind playing tricks on me in trying to pin it down initially as a rose chypre.

I have yet to sample a Ciro scent I did not fall in love with.

This is a treasure, as are all the Ciros, it would seem. I just ordered bottles of their Bel Horizon, yet to appear on this site, and Doux Jasmin. Revues to follow soon.

14th January, 2016 (last edited: 30th January, 2016)

Blue Stratos by Parfums Bleu

I was intrigued to try this, having never heard of it, after reading Luca Turin's review - 4 stars - "Classic Fougere."

It is light and cool and sweet and bracing, definitely of its day (1976) and definitely of the Old Spice school, having originally been made by the same company, Shulton.

The citrus top notes are beautifully blended with the geranium, rose and lavender heart. The base of dark patchouli and cedarwood is equally well balanced with the softer vanilla, amber and musk.

Very old fashioned and very comforting as well. Great as a summer after shower splash. It is very close to the classic Pinot's Clubman in the sweetness and coolness of its overall scent.

Simple and gentle little marvel. Recommended.

First Edit: Upon getting to know this, I find my initial Clubman impression was wrong. It is really more akin to Coty's L'Aimant with its combination of jasmine and a certain old-fashioned and pleasing nuttiness. Most unusual for a men's cologne.
14th January, 2016 (last edited: 24th January, 2016)

Doux Jasmin by Ciro

This is the first of the nine Ciros I have been able to experience that is not a chypre.

It is just what it says it is - a very sweet, yet very green jasmine. This is the "esscent" concentration, created by Ciro and approximating our current day eau de parfum.

This is as concentrated and strong of oils as one would expect from a Serge Lutens. It's quite close to pure parfum in my experience of vintage scents. As it dries down, the green quality fades, as does the sweetness, leaving one with the feeling of pure jasmine, picked with the dew still clinging to the white flowers.

Quite stunning and occasionally found on Ebay and Etsy.
14th January, 2016

Concentré D'Orange Verte by Hermès

A burst of lime and mint, followed by a mix of lemon and orange, finally drying down to a mossy herbal citrus - quiet and subdued. Its green mossiness is due no doubt to galbanum. It reminds my husband of making sangria, one's hands covered in the fresh juices of limes, lemons, oranges and mint.

I loved the original Eau d'Orange Verte and 25 separate that scent from the Concentre. The original was by Francois Caron and the Concentre by Jean Guichard.

Both are excellent, although I prefer the brightness of the original to the more subdued darkness of the Concentre. It's what I go to an Eau for, a burst of brightness and joy. It really is a toss up. These two really are alter egos of each other. You really can't go wrong with either.
14th January, 2016

Love In Paris by Nina Ricci

A big, old-fashioned, in your face, fruity floral, which is nicely balanced and blended. It has the feel of Patou's Joy when it comes out of the bottle. No apologies, just gorgeous scent for days.

This is described by Tania Sanchez (4 stars) as a "peachy floral," and indeed it is. Don't expect the same effect as with the classic Fracas. The florals are more on the jasmine side of things than on the tuberose here. The peach is as Sanchez describes "dark and golden."

There is a base, which Sanchez describes as "salty, animalic metallic." I get the metallic, but it's not offensive as this note can be in a number of modern creations. Just enough to underline and heighten the peach.

Surprisingly well done and recommended for peach fans.
13th January, 2016

FlowerbyKenzo by Kenzo

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no doubt. Kenzo's Flower is an homage to one of the fragrance world's great classics, and possibly the world's first gourmand - Caron's 1941 Royal Bain de Champagne.

RBC was the first scent I encountered upon moving to New York City. A young man I met on Brooklyn Heights' promenade floated in a cloud of melony vanilla amber, and this was the Caron, which immediately became my signature scent - this was in the early 1970s.

As Turin and Sanchez point out in their Perfume Guide, Kenzo's Flower attempts to recreate Caron's masterpiece. It begins quite similarly with honeydew melon and marshmallow, floating over vanilla and amber. However, Flower is greener than the Caron and inside of 15 minutes, has settled down to a pleasant reedy artemesia-like wood scent. Whereas with the Caron, the melon, amber and vanilla never let up.

A nice alternative, but I'd advise to stick with the original, which is so affordable, it eclipses the Kenzo as an economical investment.
12th January, 2016

Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler


A Mugler fragrance that is not a flanker of his Angel formula. And it's quite nice.

This is pure and simple neroli with petitgrain to ground it and without any of the usual eau de cologne supports (lemon, lime, lavender, etc.)

It's pure, it's clean, and it works for hours. Very reminisdent of Floris wonderful masculine No. 127.

An excellent eau de cologne. (And I don't get that "steam" element at all - a good thing, methinks!)
11th January, 2016

Broadway Nite by Bond No. 9

98 scents and counting. How a house like Bond No. 9 stays in business baffles me. They turn out scents like a bunny farm and the vast majority of them smell "cheap" and unformed. They then put a high price tag on them. Well, they sell, and sell enough to keep Bond in business.

This is described by Tania Sanchez as a "sweet floral." She gives it four stars and likens it to Caron's Farnesiana (I don't get it) and to Millot's Insolence - I do get that one. The faint scent of celery seed that made that herbal fragrance so memorable is present here with a non-descript melange of floral notes.

The so called "sweet amber" note may be really a tiny dose of immortelle. The rose and heliotrope are nicely and softly nuanced in the background. Vanilla and musk round this out.

The overall effect is that of a powdery floral mix with the tart celery seed herbal note giving it a bit of a twist. Nicely done and one of the better scents from Bond, a house which has had more misses than hits in my book.
09th January, 2016

Fougère Bengale by Parfum d'Empire

What is it about perfume houses and their "official" list of notes? Here, as is obvious in the many astute Basenoter reviews, the central note is immortelle, which is not part of the official seven notes given out by Parfum d'Empire - lavender, tarragon, patchouli, geranium, tobacco, tonka, vanilla.

The range of scents not in the note tree detected by the 23 reviews as of this writing is astounding. To summarize: coffee, chocolate, mint, Assam tea, oakmoss, maple bacon, civet, anise, cumin, coriander, tumeric, ginger.

I have in past reviews for immortelle scents (Eau Noire, Sables) appreciated the scent achievement without wanting to smell like the kitchen in an Indian restaurant. Primarily, that was due to the sweetness of the garam masala vibe that immortelle gives off.

Here, however, what I get is only one note (not 7, not any of the 12 other notes fellow Basenoters have detected), just one, immortelle. The difference for me is that this is not sweet, but both richly honeyed and bitter. The removal of the sweetness makes me like it. It removes the scent from the gourmand category and places it not in the fougere, but in the chypre category.

I have experienced hundreds of great women's perfumes of the past century and all the chypres have this great "bitter" honeyed note that closely resembles Fougere Bengale, although I don't know if immortelle was the common ingredient, as I never heard of its use in perfumery until recently.

In any case, this is the first immortelle usage I like and its all due to its honeyed bitterness and my attraction to the classic chypres of the past. A surprise, and a welcome one.
08th January, 2016

Iskander by Parfum d'Empire

An excellent citrus, and amazingly preserved as an eau de parfum rather than an eau de cologne.

The citron, mandarin and grapefruit opening is dry and warm at the same time, reminding me a great deal of Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet. The coriander and tarragon waltz together perfectly to round it out with the herbal/spice component, and finally it is further warmed by the cedar, vetiver, oak moss, amber and musk in the base. Drydown is most reminiscent of Cartier's Declaration.

This is for me one of the best of this house's scents, rich and strong as are almost all their creations. If you are into citrus scents, this is a must try. However, for the pocket book, you can do just as well with Declaration at less than half the price of Iskander.
07th January, 2016

Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

In the 14th through 17th centuries, leather was cured with urine, later perfumed. This is certainly the sense one gets with Musc Tonkin - that of a unique leather event from the distant past.

The musks used here are very strong. The effect of leather is there, the scent of musk is there, but they are interwoven with a strong, sweet urine effect that is off-putting, as though you sat next to a bag person who just splashed on some perfume to hide his or her body odor.

I can't imagine wearing this, unless you are a loner who has to be present at a cocktail party, but don't want anyone to speak to you. One whiff should send them circulating about the room.

It is not as strong as Lutens' classic Muscs de Koublai Khan, nor does it have its depth or strength. That scent was dirty, yes, but sensual, warm, sexy. Musc Tonkin is a bit too sharp and one note to be considered in any way a rival.

For fans of musk this is a must-try and it may be your cup of tea. I do admire it for its boldness and its creativity, but the finished product should be eminently wearable to receive a thumbs up. This is not so in this case. As a test tube creation, yes. As a parfum, nada.
06th January, 2016

Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d'Empire

How odd!

On me this smells like a very weak and watery, not unpleasant but not inspiring, white floral. On my partner it is an intense almond-apricot cookie dough - completely different scents to my nose from interaction with two different skins.

Turin only gives it three stars and calls it a "dark osmanthus," which is as far from the truth as night from day. He mentions hay absolute, coumarin and tobacco leaf, which are not in the note tree.The five notes mentioned above do not convey its essence to me. It's a baffling scent, the first light one I've experienced from this house, which usually deals in rich concentrated oils.

The almond-apricot experience reminds me of L'Heure Bleue and Caron's Farnesiana, but even if I could experience this on my own skin, I'd stick with either of these other two, both less expensive and richer than Osmanthus Interdite.

I'll pass.
05th January, 2016