Perfume Reviews

Reviews by kingofengland

Total Reviews: 138

Liquo by Angela Ciampagna

A box of tonka beans having been my first introduction to the joys of perfumery some 60 years ago, I have remained enamoured of coumarinic scents ever since. This one is rich, nutty, suggestive of hay and tobacco flavours, and generally delightful.
30th November, 2019

Ignes by Angela Ciampagna

Somewhat disappointed after reading the glowing description from the marketers, all about the wonderful sandalwood and rich tobacco etc. It seems to be a fairly conventional oriental fragrance in the manner of Calvin Klein's Obsession.
28th November, 2019

Aer by Angela Ciampagna

Very different from my expectations after reading the ingredients list and the hype on the Sniff etc. It puts me in mind slightly of Eau Hadrien and Bois de Hadrien from Goutal and I also got a hint of a very familiar flavour, though I can't think what. Any suggestions? Pistachio ice cream maybe, or some type of liqueur.
I suppose there is a certain airy freshness, (I was briefly reminded of floralozone) but in general I find this fragrance a vague and nondescript affair. And the juniperberries? Not a trace anywhere, or anything remotely like them, I'm afraid.
27th November, 2019 (last edited: 30th November, 2019)
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Rosarium by Angela Ciampagna

A waxy-woody type of note which reminds me of aldehyde MNA, and puts it in the territory of Study 23 by Miller and Bertaux (see my review).
27th November, 2019

Flash Back by Olfactive Studio

Nice topnotes - Fresh dry citrus, grapefruit with a peppery edge, bergamot. Linalyl acetate etc
23rd November, 2019

Nox by Angela Ciampagna

First impression was a freshness in the direction of lilac (terpineol). I can also relate to Luca Turin's association to a church crypt, but it's not the usual incense, something different and I agree with Turin when he says it's "lovely stuff".

On the negative side, I see it contains the usual dose of salt, along with practically every other perfume on the market. Salt has no odour so won't interfere with the fragrance; all the same, I can't believe all this salt is doing us any good.

In summary a great perfume, but keep an eye on your blood pressure.
23rd November, 2019

Panda (original) by Zoologist Perfumes

The outstanding feature here in my view is the contrast between the fruity green body and the earthy undertone. The sweet fruitiness resembles not so much apple as pineapple, there might even be a nod to Frederick Malle's Music for a While, which is also famous for its pineapple note.

The earthiness, representing the forest floor, is the same as I included in my wedding perfume for my daughter - very difficult to get the dosage exactly right, but the balance is nicely achieved. A successful marriage of fruity-green, floral and earthy: surely a recipe for happiness.
19th November, 2019

Every Storm a Serenade by Imaginary Authors

I get nothing from this apart from a vague and totally nondescript odour with no relation to what others are perceiving. Either it is a total con or my nose is blind to the odorants. Presumably the latter and I only report on it in case others have the same problem.
18th November, 2019

The Soft Lawn by Imaginary Authors

Pleasant, green floral fragrance with linden blossom as a principal component - the honey and beeswax type of character like you find in D'Orsay's Tilleul is less pronounced and in its place is a fresh aldehydic peach similar to that in "Falling into the Sea".

I also get what I call a "briar" effect because that happens to be the name of some ancient perfume compounds in my archives, with this smell - there is very rarely anything new under the sun in perfumery.

Overall however it could be said to suggest a soft lawn, though the tennis balls are almost certainly added by the marketers, rather than the perfumers.
18th November, 2019

Autoportrait by Olfactive Studio

Back in the 1970's I recall an Italian mens line called vidal which had this fresh woody note. It belonged among the coniferous fragrances in the H&R genealogy if I remember right, alongside Pino Sylvestre and all that group. A dry, very acceptable masculine scent, fresh cedar, I quite like it.

The declared ingredients could be quite misleading here though I can believe there is elemi and bergamot, but as the official description comments:

"Autoportrait is a good example of how frankincense can be used in a modern way for its fresh coniferous value, without going into a churchy or oriental interpretation."

Very likely it will be sweetened by synthetic components such as coniferan, plicatone etc.

Sure, the marketing story trying to link perfume and photography is contrived and unconvincing but the fragrance itself is attractive, as is the bottle. I think the some of the dismissive judgments below are a bit hasty to be honest.
16th November, 2019 (last edited: 18th November, 2019)

Rake & Ruin by Beaufort London

I am in general agreement with FumeHood's entertaining review below. My first impression of the fragrance was something very original, savory, burnt or roasted. The savory aspect which can certainly be compared to celery is also very like the herb lovage, a common ingredient of soups. It could come also from angelica roots which is listed among the ingredients, and is a characteristic component of gin of course, which is in keeping with the backstory.

You could end up smelling like a soup kitchen but somehow the perfumer pulls if off and just makes a fascinating and creative blend, very avant garde and different from anything else on the market, that I'm aware of.
16th November, 2019

Grand Amour by Annick Goutal

I sent for a sample of this out of curiosity in view of the review by Ayala below comparing it to the scent of mastic (lentisque). Mastic has a bitter green-woody odour akin to galbanum.

It shows how subjective is the sense of smell in that what my own nostrils picked up was a floral bouquet in the style of L'air du Temps, plus some hint of indole. A pleasant and very traditional perfume, from this respected brand.

I will have to look elsewhere for the green and woody notes I tend to go for.
09th November, 2019

Squid by Zoologist Perfumes

I must admit that the squid is a creature which occasions me a little trepidation, ever since I saw the film 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, featuring an epic life and death battle with a giant squid.

The fragrance however is not at all alarming but a very civilised affair. The marine aspect is quite different from the usual, hinting at a sumptuous meal of 'fruits de la mer' served in the elegant surroundings of the Nautilus by the impeccable and gracious host, Captain Nemo.

Somehow the atmosphere aboard that tastefully furnished vessel is conjured up in this highly original fragrance, a refreshing change from the usual ocean breeze and tropical flower compositions.

The main body of the fragrance bears a distant resemblance to Bulgari Black, which is perhaps where the reference to black ink comes in. There is a black tar and oily aspect, nothing so crude as cod liver oil though that idea did come briefly to mind, but it's more like a pleasant effluvium from the deep sea equipment.

As Elena Knezhevich of Fragrantica puts it "Zoologist Squid sings a song of the sea, a melancholy tale told through tangy brine... all united by the moody aroma of ambergris..."
07th November, 2019 (last edited: 10th November, 2019)
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Falling into the Sea by Imaginary Authors

Great name for a perfume! It's not really a marine smell, despite the name and the warm sand ingredient, whatever that is. It's more of a fresh flowershop vibe with a strong fruity shading in the direction of peach. OK I might be persuaded it's lychee but it smells more like peach to me.
A related type of fragrance is Miller and Bertaux number 17. Both very refreshing.
02nd November, 2019

Spessa by Nebbia

Agree with buzzlepuff. It is certainly marine in nature, but a little unsubtle. Reminds me of ultrazur, a calone type base from Givaudan. Needs a bit more work perhaps
02nd November, 2019

Sydney Rock Pool by Arquiste

Seashore scenery such as beaches and rock pools is something nearly everyone likes and is therefore borrowed to sell all manner of perfumes even if there is no real connection. I'm not too sure if that's the case here however as I've never been to Sydney or its rock pool.

Anyway it's very pleasant scent whose main theme is lactonic (coconut or gorse) with a subtle sandalwood shading and a gentle undercurrent of woody amber. The woody aspect recalls Serge Luten's Miel du Bois.

Another comparable scent is AOD, a rather nice sea beach offering from a company called Lostmarch in Brittany, so perhaps there is really something to this type of coastal interpretation.

I believe the fragrance originates from Givaudan, and it does seem to have that aura about it.
01st November, 2019 (last edited: 07th November, 2019)

Fathom V by Beaufort London

First impression is of a hyacinth freshness, or rather a lilac freshness but there is nothing flowery about this totally masculine smell. In a nautical context it suggests old sailing ships - a mixture of tar, rope, and smoky oil lamps. The decks of this ship have been well scrubbed and the crew all use lifebuoy toilet soap. The well preserved timbers have benefited from a good soaking in creosote.

I salute this fragrance for its unconventionality, and it is difficult to compare it to anything else, but I will have go. The old wood aspect is somewhat suggestive of Relique d'Amour by Oriza Legrand, another very unusual fragrance reminiscent of the smell which greets you when you open the door of a classic car. There are echoes too perhaps of Navegar by L'Artisan Parfumeur, created to celebrate the success of the Portugese navy.

I don't know if I would immediately think of seagoing scenes however if I smelt it for the first time. More than anything it sparks off a nostalgic of the garden cabin which was my hideaway as a boy. Great fragrance, and that's for sure.
01st November, 2019 (last edited: 04th November, 2019)

parfums*PARFUMS Series 2 Red: Palisander by Comme des Garçons

Smells like old empty tins of gloss paint, that was my first impression. Later I found that the fragrance is essentially that of Palo Santo, a south American aromatic wood with a distinctive sweet fresh character and a medicinal aspect, almost like wintergreen. Palo Santo sounds a bit like palisander, but I guess this must be coincidence since Palisander is apparently a variety of rosewood. However this Palisander fragrance has none of the linalool character of rosewood oil so I remain somewhat confused.
26th October, 2019

Gorse by Laboratory Perfumes

If you want to smell like a gorse plant, this is probably as close as you'll get. Gorse headspace is one flower that Roman Kaiser missed, but he wrote me that the important constituents are probably delta-decalactone and perhaps jasmin lactone. Those molecules (especially the former) account for the coconut type smell, which also seems to be the dominant note of this fragrance.

Laboratory perfumes, despite their name, claim their ingredients to be all natural and I guess that both the above odorants can be natural-derived from materials other than gorse, though they would be more expensive by that

I am personally not that keen on coconut type odours, hence my neutral rating, however it is nice to see a perfume with a some olfactory relation to its name, which is by no means always the case. The modest pricing (compared for example to Curacao Bay by Fath, a similar type of perfume) is another point in it favour.
06th October, 2019

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

Powerful, very distinctive masculine fragrance with a bittersweet raspberry effect.

I would not call it a leather fragrance except in a completely abstract sense, and I doubt whether many people would describe it in these terms, were it not for the name. It is a million miles from the odour of shoes or leather goods.

On the other hand I am aware that perfumers use the term leathery to denote fragrances with a certain dry smoky phenolic quality due to the presence of quinolines, an example being aramis.

If you had to describe this perfume to someone who had never encountered it, you might say it is aramis on steroids, plus a mountain of raspberries.
07th July, 2019

Nebula 2 : Carina Eau de Parfum by Oliver & Co.

Fresh, citrus, woody, green, orange blossom. Conveys a clean sensation like an Eau de Cologne but is very powerful and longlasting. This fragrance is still in production. Masculine or unisex.

Quite similar to Mugler Cologne. I'm not saying it's a copy of that popular scent but it's in the same constellation, along with other inhabitants such as Creed's Original Vetiver. But compared to Nebula 2, those perfumes are bland affairs. Nebula 2 has a real knockout pungency, as forceful in a way as Creed's Green Irish Tweed. And I only have the Eau de Toilette version.
10th June, 2019 (last edited: 11th June, 2019)

Enneádas by Fueguia 1833

Dry, woody, natural with a certain greenness like ivy. Iris, yes, though I didn't immediately identify it. Very long lasting as the description above says. Excellent fragrance all round, masculine or unisex.
06th June, 2019

Sables by Annick Goutal

Very 'French' mossy, tobacco-y mens fragrance with helichyrsum (everlasting) herb. It has an intriguing "burnt" or caramelised aspect, also recalling the smoothness of a scotch whisky (Islay single malt), and tonka bean absolute. I could imagine this coming from Robertet, the most famous of the Grasse supply houses. One of their long forgotten mens fragrances from the 1960's which they called "Vetuclub" (I don't know under what name it was ever marketed) had this same 'burnt sugar' note, which I thought was most peculiar at the time. Quite an evocative scent for me.
28th December, 2018

Hyde by Hiram Green

Very nice balance between the smoky birch tar and the sweeter balsamic notes. Brings to mind both Lapsang Souchong tea and Russisch Leder (Farina Gegenuber), a fragrance that I remember from the 1970's. However I prefer Hyde to the latter. This is a really good Russian Leather with great complexity of character and will no doubt get a following.
27th December, 2018 (last edited: 28th December, 2018)

Slowdive by Hiram Green

More like honey than honey itself, previous reviewers have taken the words out of my mouth on this one and not much more to add. Yes I can see the connection to Eau du Ciel and it also reminds me obliquely of Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet, (though that is not claimed to be a honey fragrance).
27th December, 2018

Music For a While by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

This latest offering from Malle is an interesting and rather captivating combination of lavender and pineapple.

The gourmand aspect like jam roly-poly has a Slumberhouse type richness (as in Sadanne). Overall deep, fresh, sweet effect not dissimilar to Trance and Rausch from Schwarzlose (see my reviews). I think the Malle perfume is probably more masculine than Trance but inevitably these things are very subjective.

On a personal level the fragrance took me back to the 1960's and a masculine fragrance called Champion produced by a well known German supply house. In perfumery, there is nothing new under the sun!
08th December, 2018 (last edited: 11th June, 2019)

Monsieur. by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Leather/russian leather type, somewhat medicinal, reminds me of alliantone (Givaudan) - (not sure what happened to this material).
08th December, 2018

Eau de Magnolia by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Jasmin/celery jasmone/delphone. Very green aspect with the bitter metallic type of greenness as in PADMA, Green Ivy Givco, the green quality you get in air fresheners. Smells pleasant enough but I wouldn't pay a lot for it.
08th December, 2018

Cologne Indélébile by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Run-of-the mill old fashioned cologne with dominant neroli. Connotations of cheap hairsprays etc as noted by maillard below. Infinitely missable.
08th December, 2018

Marescialla by Santa Maria Novella

First, a fleeting impression which I can only describe as like petrol. This vanishes faster than a Harley Davidson on full throttle, leading to a rich spicy core of nutmeg and mace. There is a substantial chunk of carnation, giving a link to Shulton's "Old Spice". This is Old Spice, but not as we know it. A raw, untamed, uncensored version of the great men's classic.
12th September, 2018