Given the scent pyramid and most of the reviews, I was very excited to try this.
Unfortunately, all I get is floral notes, mostly the ylang ylang, and a little sandalwood in the finish. It's a pretty masculine floral, not very sweet, so for that it gets a neutral. Average longevity.
There's not much to add to these ratings - they cover pretty much everything very well.
However, many folks have indicated that they don't like the opening of Issey pour Homme; either that it's synthetic, too citric, or something else.
People who don't like the opening but like the heart and base of Issey might consider the limited edition wood version. It strips out almost all of the citrus in the opening and doubles down on the lotus, water, and wood elements.
It reminds me of some water gardens I visited in Suzhou, China. I get deep, still, but fresh water teeming with plant life. The wood version projects and lasts, and smells more mature and more expensive than the standard version.
For me, Douro opens with a spectacularly realistic invoaction of lemon candy. This lemon candy is balanced with an aromatic spine that cuts the sweetness and gives the candy an airy, cool, refreshing (eucalyptus or mentholated, not minty) counterpoint that smells very natural. If this opening were a real candy, I would eat it by the crate.
This accord of lemon and airy aromatics persist throughout the wearing, but get filtered through the heart and base notes.
As others have noted, the heart is floral. That said, this floral heart is a complement to the top accord, and develops in a rather linear fashion. At its best, I get an amazing heart of sweet, spicy, floral honey that is deep and complex, but unfortunately rather fleeting. While it lasts, this is an intoxicating scent.
When that fades, I am left with a sweet lemon drydown with only hints of the aromatics.
Douro is masterfully blended - it's notes are SO realistic, never clash, and are balanced so perfectly in the top and heart. That said, its longevity is average at best and sillage is quite low. Ultimately, I don't often want to smell like lemon candy, fine as it is. These two factors almost resulted in a neutral rating.
I would prefer this as a shower gel, scented candle, or home fragrance. I think many women could wear and enjoy this very much.
I purchased a decant of this from The Perfumed Court and loved it so much I purchased a full bottle. Within a week, I found myself asking again and again why I'd bothered.
Bois Blonds opens with a rather soft orange flower (bergamot?) scent that is pleasant enough, but a little powdery and quite muted. There are undercurrents of a soft, but not soapy, sandalwood. Sillage is nonexistent, and the scent wears very close to the skin. Within two hours, the scent is gone.
Recently, I found my decant in the office and decided to give it a whirl before a meeting. I put one spray on my wrists and touched it to my neck, and I was in love all over again.
From the decant, I get a very noticeable neroli right away, and it's heavenly - fresh and strong. The pink pepper blends perfectly with the neroli to give me what I interpret as a really spring-like spicy green take on neroli. I can imagine a grove of bitter orange trees in the first flush of spring growth, and it's really pleasant.
This lasts about an hour or so, then dries down to muted woods with hints of vetiver.
28th October, 2011 (last edited: 29th October, 2011)
This is a rich, evocative, powerful scent.
It opens with a huge blast of coriander and other spices, undercut by a light astringent note that prevents the spices from becoming cloying and overwhelming. Soon, the spice notes subside and are replaced by a heady, powerful incense that makes up the heart of this perfume.
My upbringing was Catholic, so these heart notes conjure up images of church far more than they do the Moroccan desert. That said, this is not the rarefied air of the cathedral. Rather, it is redolent of the incense of the Eastern church - close, solemn, and mysterious. To me, these notes never become acrid or smoky; the incense remains clean and pure.
The heart slowly fades, replaced gradually by a clear cedar note that blends in a warm, lightly sweet, ambery undertone as this scent reaches its base.
On me, L'Air du Desert Marocain projects moderately, retains excellent sillage for several hours, and remains as a very noticeable skin scent for over 10 hours.
16th October, 2011 (last edited: 29th October, 2011)