Perfume Reviews

Reviews by verycharlie

Total Reviews: 14

Iris Prima by Penhaligon's

Bottega Veneta-a-like Ballet Bore

What a shame. The kick off is beautiful but within no time the iris (and the interest) is long gone and you're looking at the same long, gentle, featurelss, indistinct stretch of soft, beige-pink suede-ish stuff that also made me dislike Bottega Veneta. The complexity has evaporated and what you're left with is somehow sneakily synthetic in its tone and persistance, like leatherised fabric softener...until it just fades away after an hour or two. I certainly don't pick up on sandalwood or any of the other listed basenotes. Not really my style but many people will read this as subtle, pretty, elegent, restrained, comforting etc and I'm sure Penhalligons will sell tons of it. The scent apparently seeks to capture the spirit of ballet and the promo video (featuring ballet dancers quoting sweat, skin, make-up, hairspray, waxed floorboards under hot lights, dusty theatres, deep heat and tiger balm) had me expecting something far more intersting. To me the only connect to ballet is that it smells like the colour of a ballet shoe. If you're crazy about this you might try Bottega Veneta before you fork out, its much the same but cheaper and longer lasting.

Pros: The first 10 minutes
Cons: The boring rest"

03rd October, 2013

Lumière Noire pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Rich, potent, dark/dusky/dusty rose. After few hours on a strip is now a little big, boozy and perfumey and has turned into a bit of a bridge playing, fox fur wearing 'grand-dame'. Great smell, no doubt well made, however can't imagine wearing it myself (although it's certainly got more kick than the femme) and really can't ever imagine finding it appealing on a man.
12th April, 2013

Sandalo by Santa Maria Novella

Recently an Italian friend gifted me a carrier bag- full of dried bushels of a particular wild oregano found only in Southern Italy, a special, much prized stuff, with a strong unique flavour very different to common oregano. Spent an afternoon rubbing this twiggy payload between my hands, breaking it down for putting in pots, sousing myself and my kitchen with it's fragrance in the process.

Tried Sandalo yesterday expecting, naturally, sandalwood, and instead recognised the rough, aromatic blast of my wild oregano. The herb has a distinctive smell; dry, strong, herbal, a little earthy, a touch of oily bitterness, and a definite medicinal, anisic aspect. A wonderful smell, but not one I would want to wear.

I definitely see this as masculine. Should be worn by an intellectual, cultured older gentleman, probably an academic, the kind of well-dressed academic whose self-assured style suggests confident, relaxed, liberalism and a sharp, enquiring intelligence. If you don't read Italo Calvino or appreciate wines and cheeses by regional speciality I don't think this is for you. If you like dry, anisic masculine lavenders you might want to give this a try....that's not to say this smells of lavender, just if you're into strong, dry aromatics it could be of interest.
23rd September, 2012 (last edited: 24th September, 2012)
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Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

Putting aside the 'alien plant life' business, the really super-futuristic thing about Mugler's Cologne is that it's an instant shower in a bottle. Truly it's an essential utility. I've had my sample for a week and it's already indispensable for: wearing to bed at night to feel like you had a shower when you didn't - wearing in the morning to feel nice during that (drink tea/ feed cat/ smoke breakfast ) period in between waking up and getting showered, dressed and putting on your proper perfume - radically improving a hangover by removing all trace of fester, leaving you free to loll around in bed all day feeling clean and lovely with only pain and nausea left to deal with. It's great.

As for the smell, there's something about it that reminds me of my dad's skin, which always had an distinctive clean/oily, vaguely citrus-ish smell, the unmistakable smell of a particular gelatinous, alien green industrial skin cleaner used by mechanics everywhere since the dawn of time. Could the mysterious 'S' ingredient be Swarfega?! Calling on any grease monkey fume heads out there to confirm this wild theory.
12th August, 2012

Taormine by Keiko Mecheri

Very nice cologne type scent. Sweetish in just the right way, i.e.not too much, wonderfully sweet/bitter almond is the main player, with a strange hollow effect like the scent is whooshing up your nasal cavities through a metal tube (something I also get from Avignon) which I really like. Also bit salty, breezy. Doesn't last long, sillage ok. The slot in my wardrobe for this type of thing is already filled by Escale Portafino but I'd go for this next time if it wasn't quite so pricy because the almond here is so delicious and the scent is interesting, it triggers happy memories that I can't quite pin down.
08th August, 2012 (last edited: 10th August, 2012)

Cadjméré 18 by Parfumerie Generale

First sample wearing from this house, don't know what to think. Gourmands not my thing but applied with an open mind. I got a circular swirl of creamy, coconutty sweet stuff with a dissonant, bitter-bright tangerine note poking a distinct hole through the middle. Found myself excessively wrist sniffing to catch the tangerine as it faded into sweet, vanillic mush. Got bored of the mush & reapplied twice in as many hours to rejoice in the weirdly satisfyingly resinous tangerine vs vanilla cream contrast. 3 hours in and left with the sweet, slightly cloying vanillic mush and the unshakable sense that I know this smell.......and then it came. My skank blonde party-girl sister's bedroom in the late nineties, totally littered with knickers and clubbing garments all clung to by the endless, sweet decaying dry down of DUNE!

07th August, 2012

Loverdose by Diesel

I've never worn this, but sit next to a girl in the office who douses herself in the stuff so feel compelled to review. It's repellent. insect repellent. Previously she doused herself in 212 Sexy. It wasn't, it was 212 sickening, but at least after a while of unconsciously thinking 'what's this sickly fug?' I'd realise 'oh, it's her perfume, nothing to be done' and could blank it out the way you can an irritating noise. When she changed up to Loverdose I thought I was going mad..for weeks I could smell something wrong, something chemical, some underlying pervasive sickly sweet bleach..I'd sniff the air asking if the cleaners were trying to poison us or if they were burning plastic at the local building site. I didn't make the connection to perfume until one day she lent me the Loverdose body cream to use and told me it was her new favourite fume. Instant comprehension. The stuff smells exactly like the doses of thick, horrible, pink flavoured antibiotic we were given as kids. Something nasty disguised as something nice. Medicine masked with synthetic sweetness. The name suggests this might be intentional. The name also suggests the clap.
24th July, 2012 (last edited: 07th August, 2012)

Prada Amber pour Homme Intense by Prada

My beautifully (£35) priced 100ml bottle arrived from a lovely eBay seller this morning and very excited I was too. I smelt this on a smelling strip whilst (supposedly) out sniffing for something for my husband. By the time I got home the strip smelt fantastic and did so for the next 7 days.....and it seemed to me to have very similar aspects to Coromandel, which I own and utterly adore. With a rapidly diminishing bottle I thought I may have found the ideal poor mans alternative, so this review is a comparative essay of sorts.

I've had a full days wear and can say the following: Concur with other comments, found the opening loud and extremely sweet, cloying and personally too vanillic...not bothered by initial loudness, Coromandel has a blast of an opening, but this I found overly sweet and quite sickly (although nonetheless rich and not synthetic) whereas Coromandel's sweetness is held in check by a fantastic strong, earthy, arching champhorous note and lifted by some magical effervescent powder effect. The Bergamot here seemed to jar with/sit on the sweetness rather than temper it.

The loudness and cloying sweetness settled after a while into a closer wearing choclately patchouli (can't comment on myrrhe as I don't know it as a note), still sweet but with a powdery, slightly soapy aspect and a little woodsy as time went on. The scent develops beautifully into a deep, dark, comfortable and delicious, natural smelling vanillic amber however all day I couldn't shake the underlying (bergamot?) soapy note. Unfortunately that note reminds me of a guy I once worked with who had the most unpleasant smell that was at once both soapy and foul, as if he had washed but had soap trapped in his...ahemm...personal areas where it was stuck and going rancid.

What I realise is that on my skin, despite the intense vanillic sweetness and deep delicious amber the soap note just made the thing too masculine for me to wear....and wearing it made me feel a bit ill. As such I am really looking forward to smelling this on my husband because it is a fantastic fragrance and I'll probably appreciate it much more on his his skin than on mine. This definitely feels like good quality natural materials. Longevity is excellent. I've had this on my arm for more than 12 hours, have washed my arm and it still smells very rich and good up close. Interestingly I did also wear Coromandel on my wrists this morning and now at midnight, in the far dry down, they smell almost identical.

In all a warm, sexy, close wearing fragrance and really excellent. For my own wearing I'd love to have the soap note replaced by something more citrus (if such a thing could possibly work) but a big thumbs up for this.

Edit: Yes, smells amazing on the husband.

09th June, 2012 (last edited: 17th July, 2012)

Le Pamplemousse by Miller Harris

Tried this at the Miller Harris boutique in Coventry Garden recently and it instantly, forcefully, reminded me of Diptique's Ombré dans Le'au (just without the 'rose' that people talk of in relation to that perfume). The sales assistant said I was the 2nd person that day to make the comparison. Unfortunately for me this meant that a couple of strong sniffs from a smelling stip was enough to give me an annihilating drilling pain in the front of my reaction was even worse than with LODL as this literally made a big patch on the left side of my forehead go cold and numb and made me feel nausous. Obviously whatever note they have in common I have a serious chemical reaction to.

But to give a fair review not tainted by my personal chemistry, this perfume opens with amazing green notes. I was expecting something called 'the grapefruit' to be an obvious citrus and to smell of grapefruit, but this smells like stomped on riverside brambles and's much more of an English country garden smell (rhubarb, nettles, tall wet weeds) and I couldn't hear any citrus, but that may be olfactory blindness caused by my reaction to a particular ingredient. The opening blast of green seemed very natural, effective and well put together so I''m sure anyone who likes LE Ombré dans Le'au will appreciate and enjoy this perfume. Sadly I don't.

Edit. Think I was drunk when I wrote this..'Coventry Garden'. I sound like I'm from Royston Vasey.
26th May, 2012 (last edited: 13th June, 2012)

Kohdo Wood Collection : Dark Amber & Ginger Lily by Jo Malone

The opening has a wonderful green, translucent woods, as Odysseusm describes very well. I also get the hint of ginger and the scent develops into a beautiful, slightly sweet sandalwood then woodsy dry down that somehow retains a cool bite throughout. I really love this scent because it's warm and comforting yet has a sheer, cool translucence and dark spice, tang and hint of floral hovering at it's edges that keeps it interesting and changing subtly. It's very elegant, doesn't shout and lasts well on my skin. A perfect everyday scent. I wish I had more than the little bit given to me by a friend.
09th November, 2011

Ambrorient by Esteban

In Belgium recently for work I was very happy to wander into a shop selling a few niche perfume lines... one being the Esteban line which was new to me... where I snatched a moment of peaceful sniffing time between the meetings. I sprayed Ambrorient on a blotter and let out such a loud 'Oh!'that all the staff stared at me. 'Oh! Coromandel!' is actually what my surprised nose was thinking, surprised I suppose because I don't expect anything else to smell like Coromandel.

So from this brief (on paper not skin) encounter with Ambrorient the knee jerk reaction is smells like Coromandel but with a slightly fruitier top note. Looking forward to seeing if other reviewers have a similiar reaction.
09th November, 2011

Orange Blossom by Gorilla Perfume

Wanted to try this after reading the positive reviews. Did so. Smells like pee. Floral, blossomy, slightly medicinal honeyed pee with staying power. Not for me, but it was interesting to try.
08th November, 2011

L'Eau de Tarocco by Diptyque

Superb sparkling fresh, zesty blood orange/grapefruit opening follwed by a dry, warm spicy/cedar phase that somehow retains a certain sunny freshness.

My mum fresh squeezes orange juice every morning and slow bakes the juiceless left-over orange shells in the bottom shelf of her Aga to make firelighters (thrifty tip, baked orange shells make excellent free firelighters). This smell (the drydown) slightly reminds me of a sunny day in her kitchen when the door is wide open onto the kitchen garden and there's orange shells baking in the Aga and maybe she's cooking a Moroccan tagine on the top shelf at the same time.

(Aga is a brand of big cooking ranges that store heat so are always hot, sort of thing you find in big country house kitchens in England)

29th August, 2011 (last edited: 06th September, 2011)
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L'Ombre dans L'Eau Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

When I first spray L'Ombre dans L'Eau I get a really promising and exciting blast of greenness- like I'm walking by the Riverside on a sunny day & suddenly find I'm in a spot of deep tree shade and I've got to bush-bash my way through a rough patch of tall, overgrown weeds and brambles with a stick, getting wet green stains on the bottom of my jeans. I like it.

This phase lasts exactly a minute. Then a revolting, shrill, fizzy sweet blackcurrent note drills it's way directly to the migraine centre of my brain...and basically keeps drilling until I wash it off...I appreciate that the green and earthy elements remain in play, but for me they are just a meaningless jarring background to the blinding, screaming laser beam of synthetic blackcurrent fizz. If there is rose I can't smell it.

I am very much with Foetidus on this one, I get relentless 'pinkpurple' and a nasty sweetness, although for me it's fizzy rather than syrupy. Maybe there's one particular note that I react to really badly.....perhaps Angelica as Sherapop says in her review...whatever it is I'd love to know so I can avoid it in future. I did give it a good try and had more than one go at wearing it.

I may be an untrained nose and this may be my first review, however I can confidently say that for me L'Ombre dans L'Eau is a traumatic experience.
22nd August, 2011