Reviews

Reviews by tdwctdwc

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Bulgari Man in Black by Bulgari

The SA who i get all my discounted designers from has been raving about this all week telling me to step by and smell it. I did today. One heavy spritz on my hand as i was already doused in my SOTD.

Starts off promising. Spices and Tobacco with non-powdery iris, tuberose and some mild sweetness lingering in the back. Think of it as an iris cousin of Tobacco Vanille, but less sweet. I can see people falling head over heels for the opening. Nice trick from Bvlgari.

But unfortunately, it goes downhill (boring-hill to be exact) after that. The projection suddenly chokes and the smell crumbles into a mediocre floral leather with tonka beans sweetness. That's all.

NOT full bottle worthy...for me at least.
21st February, 2015

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

Timeless scent.

A beautiful celebration of sensational violet leaves that are evoking to the senses, further brightened by a zesty orange accord, stirred with smokey vetiver and polished with leather.

There is no scent in existence that highlights violet leaves like Fahrenheit does.

Stunning, addictive, unique and mesmerizing.
21st February, 2015

Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

As a fan of extremely dynamic scents that shape-shift and evolve on the skin, Gucci Pour Homme will never in a million years make it to my top 5, as it's a boldly outspokenly linear scent.

Another scent that falls in the same category (development wise, not smell wise) is Naomi Goodsir Bois D'ascese, which i respect and like but don't see myself becoming a hardcore devotee for.

Having said that, I like Gucci pour Homme, maybe a tiny bit more than "like", but again the linear nature stands in the way.

This is a lovely woody scent dominated mainly by papyrus wood from start to finish. It gets slightly smoky in the drydown with hints of "I can see some light" type of sweetness, which what i suspect is mainly amber.

The comparisons to Comme Des Garcons 2 man have solid grounds but i think Gucci Pour Homme is more engaging and has this "There is something to be revealed behind the woods" type of vibe.

I have no doubt in my mind that all the zillion other notes in the pyramid are there and i can just "feel" they're there, but i can't discern them as they are all crammed behind the woody wall, which leads to two things:
1. It keeps me wanting to smell my wrist constantly.
2. It gives the scent an addictive mysterious nature that somehow leads me into a soothing meditative olfactory haven full of undisclosed promises (notes). And i think it's a brilliant trick by Tom Ford.

Overall: Very nice, but again, the lack of dynamics keeps it away from my "love" stash...for now. Things might change though as i can see it growing on me due to its seriously addictive nature.

EDIT: Yup! It grew on me alright!
21st February, 2015
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Tabac Original by Mäurer & Wirtz

Four words description: Creamy, fizzy, natural, addictive !

Every time i finish a bottle of Tabac Original EDC and wait a while before i buy another bottle, i feel that my wardrobe is missing something.

Every time i wear it again, i realize how perfect it is.

It's soapy yet silky and creamy, it's sharp yet velvety, it's straightforward yet multi-dimentional, it's classic in structure yet feels modern in its execution and interaction with the skin, but most importantly: It smells VERY NATURAL.

The aldehydes opening blast can become overwhelming during the first 5-10 minutes (me i love it), but it then snuggles in a rich creamy paradise packed with vanilla, tobacco, oakmoss, flowers and sandalwood.

An irresistible delight humbly wearing a $15 price tag.
21st February, 2015

Oliban by Keiko Mecheri

Where is the olibanum? This to me smells like a feminine version of Chanel Allure Homme Sport Extreme. Lemony, bright, sweet with a touch of blond tobacco leaves in the background, hints of rose and a lot of tonka.

The name is definitely misleading.

I can understand that the perfumer tried to do something original with the blend, trying not to make it smell similar to other Olibanum centered scents. But when you try too much, you begin to steer away from the main theme in my opinion.

I expected something centered around frankincense, hence the name!
21st December, 2014

03. Apr. 1968 by Rundholz Parfums

Simple/minimalist/huge in volume/straight-to-the point frankincense smoke, stirred with a very thick creamy "whole fat" fruity accord.

Three notes only(!) blended brilliantly. The creamy almost vanillic vibe is coming from the Heliotrope and the way it mixes with the frankincense smoke is just so addicting. A fruity inviting sensual litchi accord sits in the background. The result is a surprisingly complex statement fragrance. .

It shape-shifts and evolves on the skin like a ceremony. All you have to do is sit there and watch.

Sometimes you'll get the amplified bitter smoke, other times the thick sweet floral facets weave in and out and mix with the smoke, or sometimes the litchi peaks in a gentle playful way.

Finally as it calms down, you'll be left with a gorgeous slightly fruity ashy incense that lingers for long hours, even after you think it's gone.

The official Rundholz description mentions: " This gorgeous fragrance will manage to surprise you long after you've fallen in love with it ". And that's exactly what this scent does to me.

A VERY SPECIAL scent that could make a perfect signature for introvert real artists, painters, musicians who look at our superficial world in a different way.

18th December, 2014 (last edited: 26th December, 2014)

Déclaration d'Un Soir by Cartier

The only rose based scent that i embrace and adore to pieces.

This has two notes that i usually steer away from: Rose and Cardamom, but it manages to capture my nose in a way that not even scents with my favorite notes can. And that to me is a STATEMENT in blending.

A "luminous" young rose dipped in an masterfull accord of cumin, sandalwood and cardamom. Bright yet undeniably warm and rich. Modern in its execution yet old school in its romantic interaction with the skin.

I love it.
12th December, 2014 (last edited: 14th December, 2014)

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Absolutely beautiful.

A rich, opulent, thick and satisfying assault of oriental delight from start to finish.

Even the transitions between top/middle/base are filled with layers (if that makes sense!).

The notes are geometrically parallel in a way that you could smell every single note.

Honey, benzoin, cumin, rose and a smokey incense base all feeding off each other in a relentless broadway performance where no one has the leading role... yet everyone does.

The smokey incense has the last word in the drydown, but everyone else is still there on the stage.

Loud and proud. No hidden notes or tricks. What you smell is what you get. Take it or leave it.

Me? I'll take it.
19th August, 2014 (last edited: 20th August, 2014)

L'Humaniste by Frapin

Nice spicy edible fresh scent.

It sets itself apart from other scents in the same genre thanks to its edible "boozy" characteristics.

Cardamom, citrus and juniper berries stand out the most on my skin.

It almost has the Declaration DNA but it's more modern, edgy and fruity.

Longevity and projection certainly can be better, but i like the way it envelopps the skin regardless.

Good, nice, lovely but not full bottle worthy for me.
19th August, 2014

Cedrat Boise by Mancera

A mixture between Aventus and Pure Malt edition 2013 (aka the fruity version), with an added dose of leather.

The combination might look good on paper. I was expecting something fresh, fruity and sparkling and while the notes are there, i find myself not liking this at all.

It smells "sticky", syrupy, very unnatural and the leather note makes it even worse.

I just can't get over the fake fruity leathery hair spray vibe i get out of this.

For me it's unwearable.
19th August, 2014

Mosaic by Imaginary Authors

I really feel this is most suitable for fall or even winter.

I smell Bergamot and petigrain the most with an unmistakable "grey" mineral vibe. I stress on the word "grey" because that's how the entire composition presents itself to my nose.

I can't help but imagine a bunch of bergamots laying on a wet clean sidewalk pavement on a rainy fall day.

Gloomy, sparkling, transparent...yet still somehow "grey ".

It's certainly different and i can see why it won an award as i haven't smelled anything quite like it yet, and the ingredients are certainly high quality.

Projection and longevity are moderate.

Thumbs up but with some reservations, only because it's not my style.
18th August, 2014

Full Incense by Montale

A sweeter and more expensive equivalent to Avignon, but done very well.

Woody, slightly spicy and darker than Avignon, with a lovely persistent patchouli base.

Linear with hints of smoke at some point during its development.

Full and surprisingly rich.

Not my favorite incense, but certainly among the best.

Thumbs up.
18th August, 2014

Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne

If you love the smell of freshly squeezed REAL orange juice, this is for you.

If you love blood oranges, this is for you (It's in the opening).

If you tried pretty much all orange based fragrances (designers and niches) but still didn't find one that truly fulfills your orange-head cravings, then this is for you.

If you want to smell like you literally poured some Tropicana on your skin, then this is for you.

This is exactly what i'm looking for in an orange fragrance: I don't want the woods, i don't want the amber, i don't want the tonka, i don't want the green background, i don't want the fig, i don't want the bergamot, i just want to be surrounded with a smell bubble of pure natural oranges on a hot summer day. Period.

Now onto the scent:

The opening is one of the most fascinating openings i have smelled in any fragrance: A natural refreshing assault of mouthwatering blood orange pulp. So realistic, so real, so engaging and most importantly so uplifting and refreshing.

The pulp smell fades after a while and you're left with the smell of the leftovers peels of that same orange. It doesn't smell acidic or dry, but it manages to keep the smell of the juicy pulp in the background as time goes by.

I don't detect the flowers. i think they're there but very very faintly in order to keep providing the scent with that aromatic appeal.

Longevity is so persistent on my skin, it lasts around 8 hours with a subtle average projection that will keep reminding you it's there every time your body heats up.

Linear, but mouthwatering and gorgeous.

The search is over.
16th August, 2014
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Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

Faultless perfect amber goodness.

Nothing needs to be added or tweaked in neither smell nor performance for me. No 'i wish', No 'if only'. Just perfect.

A beautiful blend of sweet resins and herbal aromatic reinforcements laying on a golden silky bed of amber and vanilla.

Bay leaf and myrrh are the middle name here and are key components to the uniqueness of this beauty.

It's funny the color of the juice is orange because that's how i exactly envision the smell of this scent: Sunkissed sweet resins melting and gently swirling in a form of orange/golden liquid on my skin.

Who needs gourmands when you got this ?
02nd August, 2014

Pulp by Byredo

White flowers, apples, figs, summer, easy, balanced, just right, alluring, signature, white T-shirt. These words all ring clearly in my mind (and nose) when i wear this.

It's nothing extraordinary but it's so well put together in a way that is very convincing and could become addicting to the wearer. And the final outcome of the blend just smells great. Period.

I do get the infamous "rotten fruits" vibe , but only in the top notes. I would actually describe them as "smoky fruits" to be honest and i don't find them that repulsive at all.

This really starts to blossom in the heart and in the drydown when the white flowers start to come out. Just beautiful.

I really like this.

Thumbs up from me !
29th July, 2014

Casbah by Robert Piguet

The best incense perfume ever made.

The incense in this beauty "compresses" the entire composition just like a musical effect an audio engineer uses on a track to keep it as loud as possible without crossing the 0 db and eventually hurting the listener's ear. It's perfectly balanced and compressed to the max.

The fumigating incense is present from start to finish, joined by slight hints of black pepper in the beginning until the lovely angelica and orris join in to give the smell a much needed bright slightly colorful lift while keeping the woody undertones present.

I feel that there is something about this composition that is waiting to blossom: Something earthy, "alive", ripe and addictive that seems to be constantly "moving" along the incense throughout the development. I know the nutmeg can create such effect but there is also something else in there added as an "extra". Brillant.

A must have for incense lovers.

WARNING: Do not overspray because this will fill halls and buildings for an entire day and turn them into a church. People will be asking who called a priest in to fumigate some incense, literally.
21st July, 2014 (last edited: 02nd October, 2014)

Cardinal by Heeley

Extremely similar to Avignon, which makes me acknowledge the impact that Avignon has made on the industry so almost every other incense scent wants to smell like it (except a few : Sahara Noir, Bois d'encens, Robert Piguet Casbah and Norma Kamali incense).

I like Avignon and i also like Cardinal, but as a fan of frankincense and as a person who burns frankincense regularly at my house (for air perfuming reasons, not religious reasons), i don't find them to be role representatives of that smell. They might "remind" someone of going to church yes, but i personally see them both as very wearable perfumes with accords of incense as opposed to being representatives of the genre.

In other words, i see myself buying them because they smell good but NOT because i want to smell like incense.
21st July, 2014

Calling All Angels by April Aromatics

Really beautiful resinous rich "edible" incense.

The gourmands elements (Honey and vanilla) are major players here along with an unmistakable opoponax influence on the composition.

The incense here is the same clear stark frankincense found in Norma Kamali Incense, except it's tamed by the gourmand elements.

When first sprayed, the frankincense comes off as "dirty" and honeyed, then as the scent develops, it becomes smokey. This is the stage where memories of NK incense peek in and out but never see the full light of day because of the gourmand-ish reasons i mentioned above. I'm not saying this is supposed to smell like NK incense, i'm just stating the similarities and differences :)

Being an all natural incense based perfume, this scent is extremely enjoyable to watch as it develops: Layers after layers of resins and edible notes peak in and out, disappear then come back again, all for the sole service to create a truly unique incense perfume.

This might not be an instant love for the hardcore incense lovers out there who like their incense to be copal and unapologetic, but with more wearings, this all natural beauty is sure to lure them in.
06th June, 2014 (last edited: 07th June, 2014)

Blackbird by House of Matriarch

This is a scent that will make the most devoted perfumista, who doesn't believe in signature scents nor wants to stop discovering and sniffing new ones, to pause and say : " I could easily wear this for the rest of my life and rest my fragrance journey to ease".

This to me is Nirvana in olfactory satisfaction.

It's so complex, rich, dense, satisfying and packed with natural aromas. It connects so personally with the skin to the point where every slight rise in body temperature triggers a hidden "note" in this impeccable modern symphony of aromas.

Cannabis, Seaweed, leather, Aoud and frankincense are the most detectable on me.

Amber later appears in one of the most epic, soothing and comforting drydowns i had the pleasure to experience, with the leather polishing the base smoothly in order to prevent the entire composition from "falling off".

Perfection. The End.
31st May, 2014

Bois d'Ascèse by Naomi Goodsir

Another hyped scent which i'm glad i tried a sample of instead of blind buying a full bottle.

This to me smells very similar to Armani Bois D'encens, which i already have a full bottle of.

Both scents are heavy on somali incense, which by nature, smells like light bonfire smoke as opposed to the thick richer smell of omani frankincense.

Funnily enough, both scents also have a sweet bite to them, which strikes me as another common feature they both share: Bois d'ascese gets it from the cinnamon dipped whiskey shades, while the armani does the same effect with the semi-sweet vetiver background.

A pass for me, i'll stick with my Bois d'encens.
29th May, 2014

Harâm / Farah by Brécourt

This composition packs so many notes and somehow manages to stuff them all into one extremely rich and balanced tablespoon of gourmand "vitamins".

I feel that each note mentioned in the pyramid is extremely vital and important, whether it's detectable or not. And that for me is the recipe of a winning scent.

"Smokey" dark honey (as if someone was smoking inside a honey pot) and cinnamon are the most detectable on my skin, then it dries down into a sublime authentic dried dates accord.

I wish the projection was a little better, but that only extracts a tiny bit of my rating.

Full bottle worthy without a doubt in my mind.
10th May, 2014

Pear + Olive by Slumberhouse

Pear & olive does the same exact thing that Norne does to me: It connects me to a familiar place in real life.

While Norne reminds me of a mid-forest river where i used to swim in my teenage years, Pear & olive takes me to the family gatherings in the garden outside on a beautiful late spring afternoon.

Everyone finished lunch and now it's time for desserts, maybe some cognac, some fruits. Maybe some white grapes? "How about pears everyone?" Yes please, i'll take one ! Dad and uncles are playing cards next to us, cousin got a new story to tell, sister is yapping on how the weather is finally warm to hit the beach, while the smell of mediterranean olive oil is still lingering around from the Labneh(Yogurt)appetizers that were on the table during lunch.

This scent is home to me. It's familiar, it's soothing yet so beautifully unique and engaging.
07th May, 2014

Incense Rosé by Tauer

This tops everything i have tried from Tauer so far, crowning itself above many of my long time favorites scents.

This rose is hard to understand. It's an old rose with an old soul that lived through medieval times, endured the dusty winds of the indian deserts, the incense smoke of the neighboring villages, the breezy evenings of the spicy bazaars and still survived to tell its story.

It's bitter, it's cold yet dark, it's fizzy and it's very very very tired, yet somehow manages to retain a bit of sweetness.

A high concentration of Indian Frankincense wafting through every single one of its petals serves to calm it down, while a beautiful intoxicating base of myrrh and sweet resins persists to retain its age and longevity.

I could have this in my collection and literally be satisfied that i finally achieved olfactory Nirvana in my fragrant journey.
24th April, 2014

Norne by Slumberhouse

No matter who wears Norne, it's bound to trigger a memory in their mind. No matter what background, pedestrian lifestyle, childhood, vacation, experience or life you've had so far, Norne will find that special sweet spot and trigger it.

I really can't see someone disliking this scent.

Not to be confused here mind you, I'm not talking about tropical beaches and coconut or pineapple, i'm talking about wild nature, fern forests, wet river mosses and fir trees. I'm talking about a place where we all, in reality or in our mind, have visited to seek embracement and unity with the great green mother of all.

For me, Norne reminds me exactly of this:

When i used to be a teenager, we had this river crossing a very deep valley. It had the cleanest coldest water. It was very narrow with fern plants, fir trees, pine trees, mosses, crystal white big rocks and all sort of "green" species surrounding it on both sides.
We used to dive and swim there and right after we got out of the water, that exact moment, i could smell this beautiful organic aroma. It had the mixture smell of the water, wet rocks, mosses and everything "green" surrounding the area.
So fresh, so green, so wet, so amazing, i could never forget that smell.

Norne takes me to that place and recreates it with one single green stainy spritz (lol).

I'm happy to oblige.
26th March, 2014

Jeke by Slumberhouse

The benzoin was brilliantly planted in this one.

The main players in this are definitely Tobacco and labdanum, but the way the benzoin pokes and plays with this unapologetic dry composition is funny and genius.

Imagine a pack of wolves :
The tobacco is the alpha male and the leader of the pack.
The labdanum is the alpha male's favorite female in the pack to mate with.

But then you have one member in the pack who is playful, goofy and always seeking attention, but no matter how much he pushes the alpha male's limits, the alpha male never lets him cross the line. He tolerates him yes but never takes him seriously. The goofy wolf knows that and it kills him, but there is nothing he can do about it.

That's how i would describe Jeke: A powerful wolf pack with a little secret.
25th March, 2014

Ore by Slumberhouse

My favorite from what i tried so far from his line.

Slumberhouse took an olfactory genre (gourmand) and added unprecedented richness and authenticity to it which i have yet to smell in any other gourmand composition.

Extremely smooth shades of whiskey wafting through thick realistic cocoa and guaiac wood.

Scarily balanced, tied with a golden knot and an extra bragging smirk to finish it off.

Incredible.
25th March, 2014

Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

This is what every incense scent should be like.

I'm not talking about the smell but about the way the scent aura envelops the skin and transports the wearer to a calm ethereal place (in this case, it's the inside of an old stone church in Italy).

Incense itself when burned, is light in volume, airy and never overwhelming. This is exactly what bois d'encens is all about.

While other scents mix the incense with patchouli or amber to give it more volume and thickness, Bois d'encens gives it to you like it is and that's what i love about it .

Whenever i wear this, i feel like everyone and everything around me should be quite and calm. I know this sounds selfish but it's the truth and i can't help but feel that way.

Bois D'encens: Selfish incense.
23rd March, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Incense Extrême by Tauer

White, futuristic, hopeful, pure and serene.

Incense extreme is based on indian Frankincense, which is a resin i'm not familiar with since all we burn here as middle eastern christian orthodox is somali and omani frankincense.

I was eagerly anticipating to try this, especially since Andy mentions that this scent is a pure interpretation of the indian resin itself.

After giving it two full wearings from a sample, I can safely say that this is my favorite incense scent (along with Bois D'encens which is based on somali frankincense).

Incense extreme is so simplistic yet filled with architectural open spaces.

It even inspired me to write and mingle new melodies on my piano.
22nd March, 2014

Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio

Sonoma scent studio's approach of using all natural ingredients in their scents is brilliantly showcased in this one.

This is beautiful, sandalwood-y beautiful that is.

I feel that this scent revolves more around sandalwood rather than incense, but i'm not complaining!

The incense here is not the burning smokey churchy-like incense, but rather the smell of the resin itself.

To be more exact, this smells like a forest filled with frankincense trees with a lot more going on than just those trees.

I'll explain: The composition has a lovely "herbal" vibe that stays with me during the entire journey, with tons of oakmoss and labdanum as well.

Two "natural" thumbs up !
21st March, 2014 (last edited: 22nd March, 2014)

L'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer

Delicious bright sun warming amber and a breathtaking aroma of incense soaked in a barrel of cedar, coriander and jasmine.

It doesn't take me to any bazaar (despite the name), but what it does is: put me at peace and infinite serenity.

Magic.
15th February, 2014 (last edited: 19th February, 2014)