Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Marais

Advertisement
Total Reviews: 220
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Encre Noire Sport by Lalique

Encre Noire Sport treads a well-worn olfactory path with no particular distinction. It reminds me of a boiled egg and potato salad and offers a similarly boring sensory experience.
19th October, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Fougère Nobile by Nobile 1942

A decent scent. Would get a thumbs up, were it not for the fact that Rive Gauche pour Homme already exists (and at a lower price). Hoping for something new to intrigue my inquisitive snozzle, I found a near-simulacrum and interest rapidly waned.
17th October, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Salvatore Ferragamo pour Homme by Salvatore Ferragamo

I blind-bought 100ml of this for the princely sum of £20, from The FragranceShop's bargain bin after hearing rumours of discontinuation (which naturally serve to heighten a scent's appeal) and reading largely positive reviews. Mind, I had sore misgivings, based on remembrance of dubious responses to fig-heavy scents like Philosykos, but happily on this occasion the talcum powder was not required.

Fig is the loudest of the notes (green or barely ripe, not sugared or stewed), accompanied by grapefruit and a grassy vetiver base. There's a sort of ghostly clove note hovering in the background, but it's really nothing to be afraid of. The overall impression is clean, bright, fresh and uplifting. It doesn't smell cheap like that awful plasticky Ferragamo F Black. Longevity is excellent, especially of the fig and vetiver notes. Projection is limited, though, and I give it 8 sprays.

Edit: wearing this again today (October 26th) I am aware of a soft sandalwood base note, 8 hours in, following some mild physical exertion (no, not that; raking leaves if you must know).
30th September, 2015 (last edited: 26th October, 2015)
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tom Ford Noir Extreme by Tom Ford

Thin, watery and wan. Three words which do not spring to mind when wearing this scent. Rather - loud, dense and brash. Also, sweet, syrupy and sickening. Treacly confections are without my comfort zone, but even I can appreciate the occasional tart. Plus, there is a redeeming factor, a discordant iris dryness, which helps to balance the vanilla and amber, like Richard Harris's gruff lamentation on a wasted afternoon in the kitchen.

I think this is similar to Valentino Uomo, although I haven't done a direct comparison. I did try Tom Ford Noir pour Femme by mistake (bottle, rather than gender confusion) and that was similar too, but even sweeter.

I suspect, like many of these gourmands, it will prove a great hit with youngsters of romantic intent, with the bonus of not smelling cheap and nasty at intimate quarters, unlike a lot of the competition.

Longevity and projection are both excellent.
16th September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Passion for Men by Elizabeth Taylor

I call this one 'Fantasy in Mauve', inspired by the garish box. A powdery lavender/heliotrope scent, spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. The epic musky/vanilla drydown is delish.

Overall, a sort of 'barbershop oriental' akin to Guerlain Cologne du 68 and Maharadjah by PdN, combining traditional gents' grooming cues with more exotic elements (et une touche de plastique, pour être honnête).

If you are one of the sweaty swathes preoccupied with the need to boost your inconsiderable masculinity, you should probably skip this one. It's too vulnerable and pretty for desperate mingers pretending to be cowboys.

A proud relic from 1989, whilst not a real powerhouse, it is written in bold. 5 sprays from that ugly kitsch bottle last well over 12 hours. So inexpensive that you too can smell like a self-made millionaire, even on a budget.
04th September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Scuderia Ferrari Black Signature by Ferrari

Imagine some overripe fruit sat on a sweaty vinyl car seat on a hot day. Now push your nose into it. Good so far? Proceed to eBay with your tenner and rejoice.
03rd September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Republic of Men by Banana Republic

A nice fruity-woody scent with a light, non-nauseating plum note and a decent sandalwoodish drydown. There's a hint of ripe banana in there but I suspect an olfactory illusion due to the name (or maybe because I ate a banana soon after applying my sample).

Rather sweet, it smells a bit like a less bombastic version of La Nuit de Chav by YSL. However, I would not be ashamed to present this as a gift to one of my grateful goggle-eyed libidinous nephews.
03rd September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tom Ford for Men by Tom Ford

A tame oriental, with citrus and tobacco leaf notes over an ambery/vanilla/cedar base. If the base notes were amped up, it would fall into gourmand territory (think custard slice). Affable and office-friendly thanks to feeble projection. Longevity as a skin scent is excellent (12 hours from 6 sprays).

This fragrance would be a flop were it not for the louche 70s lounge lizard vibe the blend invokes, implying that the wearer is a 'sex man' and thus rescuing it from a thumbs down.

Baldessarini Concentree and (to a lesser extent) Courvoisier L'Edition Imperiale EdP are similar.
16th August, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Monsieur Balmain (new) by Pierre Balmain

I have a cylindrical bottle of this scent. On first application it reminds me of R. White's lemonade. Zesty and sharp and very lemony, with a modicum of sweetness. As it dries down it becomes drier, dusty and woody. Nose tingle is heightened by pepper. A sandalwood impression is there, but it isn't very strong.

Projection and persistence are both low. It is more or less a skin scent after an hour or so.

I group this with other lemon/woodys like Blenheim Bouquet, Wellington Cologne and Agua de Colonia Concentrada by Alvarez Gomez (this latter being the best value for money, but sweeter than M. Balmain).

Overall, quite nice but nothing to write a paean of praise about.
12th August, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels

A soapy, green, tobacco leaf fougere, with a hint of Drakkar Noir's dihydromyrcenol. The prominent tobacco leaf note I find similar to that in Creed's Tabarome. I have both vintage and recent (2013) bottles of Tsar. The vintage is superior due to oakmoss adding depth and a nice sandalwood note lacking in the current formula, which, whilst drier and less rounded, is still a decent scent. Both have good staying power and moderate projection.

Tsar smells clean, smart and serious. It goes well with a white shirt. Wearers of scumbag hats and exposed underwear should stick to the likes of Invictus and Eros.
09th August, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Miracle Homme by Lancôme

A light oriental with a nice coffee note, something vaguely peppery, and a sweetish woody base. A goofy aquatic note provides a mildly arresting amuse-nez, akin to seeing a fat man in a pair of red slacks.
The only 'Miracle' is the price this discontinued juice now commands. No masterpiece, but a cut above the standard treacly designer horrors of more recent issue.
22nd July, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

The Dreamer by Versace

A fresh and clean soapy tobacco scent, the bold cigarette aroma contrasting nicely against a laundry powder lavender base.

The gorgeous tobacco note is close to that in D R Harris' Marlborough cologne. Of course this has much better longevity.

The bottle I purchased in 2010 seems to have aged for the better. I remember a harsh opening of hairspray/dirty ashtray when it was first spritzed, but wearing it again now, that has gone and it is much smoother. I wonder if maturation in the bottle accounts to an extent for the rumoured superiority of the vintage juice referenced in other reviews. I did ponder buying a vintage bottle myself soon after I bought this one; now I'm glad I didn't! If you can't afford vintage, just buy the current stuff and put it away for 5 years :)
19th July, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Dear John by B Never Too Busy Be Beautiful

Gather round kiddies, whilst uncle relates a serendipitous tale of fragrant derring-do. My quest begins in John Lewis, fruitlessly seeking a sample of the new AdP. As usual, no sign of it. Crestfallen, I repair to the top floor cafe, seeking solace in an overpriced bacon sarnie. Loins girded, it's back to the fragrance section for another look-see. There's that new Spicebomb Intense! Not bad at all...bit much for summer though.

Emerging happier yet ultimately unfulfilled, I make my way to M&S, having heard tell of another sale. En route, I spy the Lush store and chance my arm, recalling great things about that new sandalwood, Smuggler's Soul. There it is! One spray to the right arm, jolly good. Oooh, bit skanky innit! Hang on, what's this? 'Death and Decay'. Sounds right up my olfactory alleyway. Two sprays to the left arm. Hmmm, that's nice. I'll see how this develops. Now on to M&S, before those heavily discounted green/beige t-shirts/slacks are sold out. Hello, a teapot for a tenner! Yes please! Lid's a bit fiddly but you can't argue with the price.

Oh my, this 'Death and Decay' is rather good! Shall I treat myself? Why not! I've paid more for samples! Back to Lush it is. What! There's an oil in the same scent! Dab, dab. Funny, smells nothing like it! Eh? I see... I misread the label earlier. I've been wearing 'Dear John' all along! Odd name, same as that limp 80s sitcom. Not sure I like this Death and Decay one. Lilies and jasmine. No, I don't. Shall I get Smuggler's Soul? Not today, don't be greedy.

Right, enough fannying about, I've run out of space for further testing anyway (goes to till).

My lucky find is a delightful, fresh, classical-styled citrus/vetiver, made more interesting by a dry, spicy foil provided by light clove and coffee notes. Nothing groundbreaking, no, but very decent. Safe as houses (except for cloveophobes, maybe), and would make a good inexpensive gift for any male relative who has outgrown his sweet tooth. Longevity good, projection lowish but adequate (from 8 sprays). Great for summer.






02nd July, 2015
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Minotaure by Paloma Picasso

A smooth melange of leather, vanilla and sort-of-sandalwood. It's not too sweet but otherwise I would not call it dated in the least, despite its 1990s origin. It reminds me a bit of Jil Sander Man. Longevity is excellent as a smexy skin scent but projection is non-existent. An ideal scent for the smart superhero about town, but owing to its less than super performance, perhaps more suited to Robin than Batman. 3/5
26th June, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

S.T. Dupont Homme by S.T. Dupont

I bought this blind, for a song, from 'that auction site' after reading Colin Maillard's review and I am not disappointed. It helps that I am a sucker for Declaration and its many variants, descendants and predecessors, so it wasn't much of a gamble for me.

The similarity to Declaration is unmistakeable but there are a few differences which make this a worthwhile addition. Colin refers to violets and iris, with something like a faint rose note in the drydown. I share all these impressions; the violets are especially prominent and perhaps that and iris render the scent a tad soapy and powdery. There's less citrus and more cedar than in Declaration. Some ozone-type note reminded me at different times of Erolfa and Horizon.

The overall effect is to make this scent warmer, fuzzier, more rounded and approachable than Declaration but possibly less distinctive (caveat: if you really dislike Declaration's spices, you probably won't like this, as they have not been completely neutered).

The only negative is a lack of potency, compared to Declaration et al. I find it needs a good 10 sprays to achieve decent projection, although longevity is perfectly adequate. Buy the bigger bottle, it's very inexpensive.

In summary a very pleasant scent which shall sit comfortably in my little Declaration family, without ousting any of the established members.
04th June, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Lothair by Penhaligon's

A soft, creamy, semi-sweet, lightly-spiced fougere. It's in the same olfactory ballpark as Maison Margiela's Replica At The Barber's, but twice the price and without the leather note which makes the latter more interesting. Unremarkable.
21st January, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Corsica Furiosa by Parfum d'Empire

All I get from this is a strong odour of split peas and tomato leaf. Very green, dry and vegetal. Of passing interest as a boggler of the olfactory mucosa but not something I want to smell all day long. Which I would as it is very persistent.
14th January, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Replica At the Barber's by Martin Margiela

This scent was reportedly inspired by the perfumer's memories of her father's daily grooming ritual. It captures well the scent of shaving soap (lavender/almond/vanilla), and may at first remind American noses of a more refined Pinaud Clubman (sans plastique). It is nowhere near as dense as another popular Brut-alike, Rive Gauche. There is a delicate leather accord, dry and subtle, which hints at the barbershop leathers of old (the marketing blurb mentions the shaving strop). At no stage does this dominate, but it does persist, offering a little masculine gruffness to an otherwise smooth dandified drydown of clean musk, creamy vanilla (with something of the flavour of vanilla ice cream) and lavender.

It needs 10+ sprays to perform, giving low projection but good longevity, and will inevitably disappoint those who believe that all scents should require only (insert pathetic integer here) sprays.

As a successful modern take on the barbershop genre, it is suitable for those whose retro aspirations exceed their audacity.
09th January, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Opium pour Homme Eau de Parfum by Yves Saint Laurent

A potent, smooth and intoxicating concoction of spices (dominated by anise), fleshed out by blackcurrant and softened by vanilla. As deep and dark as the eyes of the man who should wear it.*

Not for everyday use. 3 sprays are ample for a day's wear.

{Review of a bottle bought in 2010}.

*Please don't ruin this romantic association by wearing it if you are a hopeless minger.
09th January, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Opus 1870 by Penhaligon's

A nice, warm, slightly berry-fruity, transparent rose (akin to that in Voyage d'Hermes parfum) on a cedar wood background, with a very light dusting of pepper. Not bad for what it is, which is a very safe and understated office-type scent. It lasts ages on me, but after 30 minutes, projection is measured in microns, even with a dozen sprays. A starter rose scent, sans frissons. I defy anyone's knees to tremble whilst wearing (or smelling) this.
02nd January, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Juniper Sling by Penhaligon's

A limp little woody thing. The juniper is there, but hardly. Very soft projection but good longevity as a skin scent. Although disappointing, it's not worth crying over: Pell Wall's Gin and Lime is a much more convincing and robust recreation of a gin-based cocktail.
02nd January, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens

'Terribly cold it was; snowing, nearly dark, on that last evening of the year. Along the street went a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. Shivering, she hadn't made a farthing all day. At last, just as she felt her very breath would freeze, a well-dressed man approaches, seeking a light for his cigarette....'

- not Serge Lutens.

A veil is drawn over subsequent events, allowing endings grim or heart-warming, to taste (I prefer the one where he gives her his overcoat and a modelling contract).

In essence L'orpheline is an easy-to-wear incense, on a background of spices (chiefly cardamom and pepper), minty lavender, patchouli and musk. It reminds me a bit of the much more potent Costume National Homme (where the orphan grows up to be an overcompensating bully). I get a coconut impression from both, with L'orpheline drying down wonderfully to something resembling licorice. Projection is moderate, longevity good (from 6 sprays).
22nd December, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

L'Essence de Cerruti by Cerruti

It's that time of year when the TV ads feature their seasonal over-representation of mid-range aspirational fragrances. And sofas. Both appear to offer positive life-changes, albeit separated by a decade or two: the former, willing bedmates for gorgeous yet glum youngsters; the latter, a family of fixed grins for comfort-seeking thirty-somethings. Should finances not stretch to either festive extravagance, the rightly inexpensive L'Essence de Cerruti might hint at better times around the corner, combining as it does the scent of a leatherette sofa with that sweet nondescript base common to innumerable designer favourites.
26th November, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Dior Homme Parfum by Christian Dior

After several decades in the doldrums (an understandable reaction to the excesses of the 1970s) beards are back in fashion. This fact cannot have escaped the creator of Dior Homme Parfum, Francois Demachy; in DHP he has captured the zeitgeist in scent, showing that he remains firmly 'on trend' despite his advancing years.

If the original DH is smart and clean-shaven, and DHI is sexy designer stubble, then DHP is a proper beard; an adult growth, but neat, short and well-kept: neither a tatty tangled mat, nor an over-fussy exercise in peacockish ostentation.

Take DH, reduce the vanilla and iris, increase the patchouli, musk and leather (suede) and you get DHP. The smooth, dusty drydown is warm and inviting; like sipping a mug of drinking chocolate on a chilly night, with a loved one snuggled deeply in that aforementioned trim, manly but well-conditioned facial fuzz.

DHP is potent; don't make the slack-jaw error of spraying it 5 times and then invite ignominy by bemoaning how you found it too this or not enough that based on your single half-arsed 'test'. 2 sprays are ample - a long and pleasurable performance is guaranteed.

DHP is the winner of 2014's coveted my Fragrance of the Year Award.
17th November, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Black Orchid by Tom Ford

According to one telling of the Greek myth, although Perseus managed to escape the Medusa's petrifying gaze through nifty use of Athena's reflective shield, the Gods failed to equip our hero with a mighty nose clip and he fell victim to the gorgon's scent of the day, Black Orchid by Tom Ford.

Centuries may have passed, but the horror remains undiminished. Modern monsters who still wish to use BO, possibly in a misguided effort to detract from their hideously-deformed physogs, are entreated to think again, or at least apply with one dab of a brooch pin: any more produces a suffocating fog of sickening sweet stench - please have some thought for your fellow fiends, who would still like to be able to smell their own stink of the day once your awful presence has passed, without having to bolt back to the lair for a shower and change of rags.
14th November, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels

Legend has it that MiP was created when Olivier Polge dropped a teabag into a flacon of Shalimar. Whatever the truth of that apocryphal tale, it sticks in the memory because it gives a reasonable approximation of the smell. Excellent longevity from 3 sprays of the EdT.
11th November, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Habit Rouge L'Extrait by Guerlain

I'm assuming anyone considering this is already familiar with one of the less expensive formulations; at this price-point no-one else need apply. Anyway, here we have the crème de la crème.

As usual with a parfum, this wears close to the skin but lasts a long time. I use a parsimonious 3 or 4 sprays and it gives me 12 hours or so. How does it smell? Very good. So good that if JP Guerlain himself slighted me unintentionally with an ill-judged faux-pas, I'd still wear it.

Compared to the EdT, it ain't sparkling: that energetic opening citrus salvo is more muted. There isn't much air or light, it's a denser, darker, less powdery fragrance than the EdT or EdP, with no enveloping pink cloud. There's more leather than the other forms (save the aftershave). That, and an almost sour dry resinous accord to an extent neutralise the sweetness of the vanilla, making it harmless to dentition. I don't detect any oud (based on a numbered bottle bought in 2011).

Imagine you are at dinner with the Conte di Cavour, resplendent in black tie, crystal glass of non-Negroamaro in hand, pontificating on the origins of the latest financial crisis and how it would never have happened in the good old days of the Risorgimento. HR Extrait, with its old-money feel and conservative projection, is for just such an occasion. As I don't move in those hallowed circles, I wear it whilst chained to my desk at Department B (Subsection C) and dream.

Yes it is overpriced, but look at it like this: it costs about the same as 2 bottles of typical under-performing recent niche releases and you only have to spray half as much. Super value for money!
29th October, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Bayolea by Penhaligon's

There is something about this style of scent that makes it the opposite of a panty-dropper: a panty-raiser, if you will. It's clean, bracing, minimalist and a little antiseptic. It seems aimed squarely at the trendy, old-fashioned-preening-enthusiast, beard-sporting, thirtysomething crowd, who have the £ to spend on the whole grooming range on which this scent is based. There is perhaps a risk of exceeding the boundaries of clever self-conscious irony with this type of olfactory memento mori.

As to scent, it's a sort of lemongrass cologne with a loud cardamom note. It's on the light side, but I find longevity and projection good with 8 sprays. Uneventful enough to be safe for office use. 6.5/10.
11th October, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris

I'm getting salt, herbs and an earthy sort of vetiver. It's sorta bitter (narcissus), no sweetness. Imagine you've just been to the beach on a sunny day. It doesn't smell like that. OK, maybe a rock pool under the pier. Sillage is kinda weak, but it lasts ok. So yeah, go ahead and try it if you like oddball scents but don't wanna stink out the room. 7 hours from 7 sprays.
10th October, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Encre Noire by Lalique

With fevered brow I dip my fountain pen in the desk-set black inkwell and begin to write: 'Dark clouds swirl ominously around Frankenstein's Castle...' Several chapters later it all turns a bit sour, with smoking firebrands etc, but getting there is such a thrill-ride. I especially liked that bit where the doctor screams 'it's alive!' as electricity crackles through the air, and that touching scene where the young girl ends up taking an impromptu dip in the local pond. A good scent when you're in the mood for a bit of light-hearted morbidity.
04th October, 2014