Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Dernier_Cri

Total Reviews: 101

Extreme Oud by By Kilian

Don't get me wrong. I'd absolutely love to own a bottle of By Kilian Extreme Oud. I'd also like to have the kind of disposable income to make the purchase without the color draining out of my face.
I love the opening. Very dry from the start. A strong clean dry oud. Leather from castoreum and possibly cardamom (in some places listed as an ingredient, in others not). A bit of petroleum jelly that fades pretty quickly. The strong oud, the leather and possibly vetiver (again sometimes listed, sometimes not... I don't really smell it) make this a decidedly masculine offering. I love the dryness. There's a subtle elegance. It broods on the skin. It's quiet. But I think those very qualities may not make too many potential user's hearts start to pitter pat with excitement, especially at the price. Then again the limited availability in the states and the fact that it's a limited edition may make all that a moot point anyway. The projection seems on the reticent side.
I like the drydown as much as the opening. It doesn't seem to go anywhere, but that's the thing, it stays pretty much it's good self for a good long while: a natural masculine skin type scent. Very nice stuff. For a combination of quiet, strong and masculine in a fragrance I don't think you can do much better.
The subtle elegant feel of Extreme Oud naturally calls to mind the subtle elegance of Calice Becker's 2009 creation Pure Oud. For me Pure Oud is about as close to perfection as you can get in a fragrance, Oud or otherwise. Ms. Becker hit the ball way out of the park with Pure. She'll really have to muscle up to ever do that again. I hope she does. With a little tweaking I think Extreme could have been as exquisite as Pure.
27th March, 2013

Aoud Moon /Moon Aoud by Montale

Very pretty little rose oud from Montale. Bears some tenuous similarity to Black Aoud but the vibe is much lighter, it has kind of a soapy quality to it. Like someone from Creed took Black Aoud and decided to make it more user friendly.
I could see Moon Aoud accused of being a dumbed down Montale rose oud but it works for me. I prefer it to Black but then I never warmed up to Black in the first place. Moon Aoud is really nice and simple and well put together.
21st March, 2013

Interlude Man by Amouage

Amazingly opulent and warm oriental from Amouage. Like being immersed in a fluffy cloud of spiced leather, amber and soft wood. Powerful but soft. Rich. Regal. Like a lot of things from Amouage, Interlude can be quite mesmerizing. If I were more open to this style of oriental maybe I wouldn't feel so much that it's soft cloudlike fluffiness teases more than it satisfies. If I were myself more calm and meditative maybe I wouldn't always be looking for an edge. Definitely fit for the temple. Or baby powder for the king. A must try.
16th February, 2013 (last edited: 08th April, 2013)
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Sova by Slumberhouse

Incredibly interesting concoction from Slumberhouse. Lots of boozy carmel and hay. Maybe some mouse pee in the hay. I'll confess that the smell of mouse infestation is not in my top ten, maybe not even in my top 100. However, it is just a teense. Much more booze and carmel and hay. Really a fun smell. Not sure I'll be wearing this to the next 4H dance.
16th February, 2013

Original Cologne by Creed

I really like this. Didn't expect to. A delightful, clean, fresh smelling cologne. Insipid? For me, not insipid at all. Your insipid mileage may vary as they say. Wearing this to me is smelling like you used an excellent soap. Expensive soap smell? Duh yeah.... And you're gonna wanna buy a big big bottle, maybe like a magnum. You're gonna need to throw some fuel in the firebox to get this engine up to speed.
16th February, 2013

Turtle Vetiver Back by LesNez

Definately LesNez Vetiver. Which is a good thing. After all, the chief interest in LesNez Vetiver is the vetiver itself which is distinct from anyone elses. So, in Back , as in Front before it, you're getting a vetiver that smells strongly of unadorned vetiver "oil" and has that distinctive rooty vegetal quality. That said, I have to say that Back is something of a disappointment to me. I was expecting some exciting new take I guess while preserving the core smell. In Back the vetiver seems somewhat muted compared to Front; less defined, more muddled without the addition of anything interesting. More a subtraction than an addition. If you wanted to spin positive I guess you could say Back is more subtle than Front.
Is Back supposed to be more wearable? I dunno. I thought Front was wearable.
And Front is more the kind of vetiver you can lose yourself in while smelling it.
Back is still a very good vetiver in my humble opinion and might appeal more to some or even most. I like to do Back first, Front second, a kiss on the mouth goodbye and out the door.
09th February, 2013

Norne by Slumberhouse

It took me a while to fully accept Norne as a wearable fragrance. Actually I'm still not even certain I have accepted it as such. But it took no time at all to be captivated by it as something you find yourself wanting to put under your nose over and over again. Dark. Rich. Sweet. Piney. Resinous. Tarry. Smoky. Green. When I first smelled it I actually laughed out loud. It seemed almost a parady of a forest scent. Almost too contrived. Too perfect. I end up smelling like this when I start up log fires in the winter months. That's probably where my skepticism starts. Norne can seem more like an incidental scent than a composed body fragrance. An "atmospheric" some might call it. But is it a problem only of definition or is Norne's dimensionality in question?
Some may have issues with it's longevity. To me the fact that it stays in character and proportion as it ebbs away speaks in it's favor. It seems very natural. I don't even mind that it stains. It wouldn't be right if it didn't.
If you like this one try Profumum Arso.
09th February, 2013

Agarwoud by Heeley

Heeley Agarwoud is at it's best just after it first goes on your skin. And it has a lot of appeal at that point. So pretty. So simple. A pretty rose-scented jelly candy. Pretty pretty pretty. But elegant too. The sweet oud gives it it's gel quality.
And that's it.......
And maybe that's the problem I always seem to have with it. I tire of it so quickly. Poor thing.
09th February, 2013

Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Doesn't smell too bad. Kind of a big pleasant herbed chocolate mandarin thing.
Can't say I like it very much. It's the chocolate. Like somebody laced Clinique Happy with Ghirardelli.
I was surprised Amyris has received such lackluster reviews here. I thought
it would be better liked. Guess I ride with the sheriff's posse on this one.
31st January, 2013

Les Déserts d'Orient - Songe d'un Bois d'Été by Guerlain

A lovely, elegant, brooding fragrance of leather (cardamon?), saffron and cedar. In middle drydown Songe d'un Bois d'Ete reminds me very much of a kinder gentler Leather Oud. The Guerlain creation seems more seamless, but the Dior to have a bit more edge. The pyramid say jasmine, which I love. My nose searched for it and couldn't come up with anything. I think a little more jasmine couldn't have hurt. If I hadn't been introduced to Leather Oud first, ( I get cravings for it once in a while)
I might be more partial to the prettier more subtle Songe.
31st January, 2013

Amber Oud by By Kilian

Well, they got the name right. This is amber with a capital "A". And oud with a not so capital "o". The amber here is "killer" and yes you can take that in more than one way. It is a big impressive almost textbook amber. The bezoin is quite prominent and gives it that distinctive benzoin chocolatiness. The chocolate is something personally I've never had too much affection for, but it's not too obnoxious here. This big bold amber with oud needs a little more dynamism or three-dimensionality or something. Amber it's got.
02nd June, 2012 (last edited: 10th April, 2013)

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Ah the circus.
Very few people know I was Jo Jo the two faced boy. I amazed circus audiences by talking behind everyone's back. Haughty female acrobats....sexually ambiguous animal trainers....know-it-all tarot card readers....the bearded lady....everyone. I think what finally drove me from the circus was the constant bickering among our little people. I mean who really cares who should stand in the middle of the back row when the group photo is taken? You may as well spend your time arguing which Bond No. 9 fragrance is the best. I mean really. But I digress.
Dzing is nothing but fun. Opens with inked paper. Segues to strange associations in the mind. Buttered popcorn. Elephants walking around in straw. Pure fun and brilliant too. One of a kind.
02nd June, 2012

Métaboles by YS Uzac

Spirit lifting and beautiful opening of herb and other leaves. Salubrious as a midsummer day in a quiet meadow. Kind of an upscale salad bar gourmand. Some interesting notes including tomato leaf, ivy leaf, licorice and spearmint. I haven't experienced tomato leaf since my mother would lovingly place a chiffonade on top of my oatmeal. Those were great days.
Metaboles shows the same light touch that is used with sister scent Pohadka, but Metaboles seems to hold up much better than that one and has a very pretty and satisfying drydown. Metaboles is well worth an audition.
02nd June, 2012
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Pohadka by YS Uzac

Almost dreamy delicate watercolor floral-herbal with just a hint of sweetness. Maybe Alice was wearing this one because just a few short minutes after making it's presence known Pohadka seemed to disappear down the rabbit hole with her. A lightness of touch perhaps to a fault. It is refreshing not to be bludgeoned to insensibility by a decent fragrance but even with skin scents you need to be able to smell them. When I could actually smell Pohadka I liked it very much, and as it would fade I kept slathering it on over and over again. May I suggest the 1500 ml bottle.
02nd June, 2012

Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Al Oudh is a truly lovely unpretentious spicy little oriental. I opens with a juicy balsamic sweetness that brings to mind just that same kind of note found in Black Afgano. The balsamic note in Black Afgano is intensely saturated, the one here in Al Oudh is watercolor. The oud is on the prettier side, further contributing to everything about this fragrance being elegant, subdued and delicate. The lightness of Al Oudh may be it's biggest, and only, problem. While the drydown ushers in a quiet subdued glow it also turns A.O. into kind of a skin scent. It's a bit of a shame that Al Oudh doesn't have a bit more power and projection. But what this fragrance does possess is serious charm.
02nd June, 2012

Incense Oud by By Kilian

Incredibly mouthwatering herbal opening gives way to woody incense. A very faint smokiness. Lots of wood. Very dry. Saying the oud isn't overdone here is wry understatement. I prefer the presentation of this buttery incense to many other fragrances of it's ilk.
As good as it all is, Incense Oud strikes me as maybe a little too by the numbers. No surprizes, no wrong moves, no sparks. It's just there. Sitting there on your skin. Right in the middle of the road.
02nd June, 2012

Oud Stars : Al-Khatt by Xerjoff

Quiet little Al Khatt. This among the Xerjoff Oud Star brothers and sisters may be that shy unprepossessing sibling that few notice standing there in back of her more glamorous attention-getting and sometimes gaudy family members. Initially jasmine and some mildly barnyard goings on. Don't get too excited. This is Old MacDonald's barnyard. There's been a lot of shoveling and raking and hosing down. Everything is pretty clean as barnyard's go. The jasmine, while perhaps not exceptional is allowed to express itself in a more natural way in this quieter setting than the jasmine's present in the cranked up Mamluk and Fars. Al Khatt is so well-mannered and quiet compared to the other Oud Stars it sometimes seems to border on the an Amouage throw away. But there's something calming and almost deep also as only things this quiet can be, and Al Khatt for that reason seems to achieve a kind of refinement that the other Oud Stars don't possess.
Seemingly overshadowed by the other all very impressive Oud Stars, Al Khatt manages to hold it's own with it's unique subtlety.
31st May, 2012

New York Oud by Bond No. 9

I feel almost quilty for disliking this as much as I do. Unpleasantly rubbery oud with uninspired rose. A fruity muddle to start. Brazenly unoriginal.
I am not a Bond No. 9 hater. I could care less who made this. But this is just bad.

30th May, 2012

Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d'Orange

I could never even pretend to be enough of an individual to say I like this. My olfactory apparatus having evolved like everyone else's over the eons, and my general sense of decency, wouldn't allow me to lie that much to myself or to others. What I do find interesting about Secretions Magnifiques (and no it's not that there are human beings walking this earth and choosing at some point in their day to spray this putrid spume on themselves uncoerced. No, I am well aware people will do anything to make an impression on anyone for any reason whatsoever. No, I understand all that). It's merely that S.M. has an undeniable marine note which brings to my mind the smell of the ocean, a smell that I, like many others, am quite fond of. What I find interesting is that the scent being brought to mind (the ocean), one of such awesome power, is conjured up by a marine note in Secretions Magnifiques that is just off enough to be truly awful. As if the perfumer took only the truly awful smells of the ocean and distilled them all into one even more awful smell. I guess that's where the art comes in. But anyway. It succeeds in it's own horrible way.
I read an admired reviewer tell of his getting sick in the loo in Barney's (not on S.M. by the way). I sympathize. I too became sick in Barney's. By God's grace I was not in the loo but in a fitting room by myself. I experienced an attack of dizziness after checking the price tag on a pair of jeans I was interested in. Fortunately I recovered quickly enough to be able to complete the purchase.
25th May, 2012 (last edited: 30th May, 2012)

Armani Privé Oud Royal by Giorgio Armani

Wow, talk about dark and brooding. Was this Oud Royal an only child brought up by regal, loving but austere parents, his only comforts his books, his few toys and his flights of fantasy from his great loneliness? Something so sad about this one. Normally I would be drawn to all this melancholy in a perfume but this is offputtingly austere and difficult for me to warm to. Extremely dry despite the use of vanilla and amber. Has a leathery quality especially early on. Some pencil eraser. Very linear. Seamless. I wonder whether Oud Royal wasn't made with more caution than confidence.
I do feel Oud Royal has a place, perhaps as just the kind of unique take on oud that it is: a very dry, low-key, quietly smoldering, slightly leathery one. I would not call it a resounding success.
I have read in the forum some tentative preliminary comparison of Armani Prive Oud Royal with By Kilian Pure Oud. Let me state here as emphatically as I can: There is no comparison between the two. They are not similar in any fashion and as a satisfying fragrance Oud Royal is not in the same league with Pure Oud.
I have described Oud Royal as having a leathery quality. At the risk of anyone interpreting this as there being a possible positive similarity between Oud Royal and Dior Leather Oud let me just say that Dior Leather Oud and Armani Prive Oud Royal do not share much in common. Leather Oud is the much better fragrance in this case also.
24th May, 2012 (last edited: 30th May, 2012)

Windsor by Creed

The inauspicious and slightly weird opening quickly dies away revealing what has been rightly characterized as the most beautiful of roses. Catch the rose's beauty here right at the beginning if you can. It will never be better than it is at this moment. Eventually Windsor dries down to the velvety tailored elegance of rose, orange and cedar. The dignified well-mannered effect may be too unexciting for the hoi polloi. Considering who Windsor was made for, and also that the conceit of combining ingredients culled from all over the Commonwealth was actually made to work, this is quite an achievement. I don't know anything about batches or batch numbers. My flacon I found floating in a basket of bulrushes near the banks of the Seine.
23rd May, 2012 (last edited: 30th May, 2012)

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette by Chanel

I felt like I needed a break from all the dauntingly serious ouds I'd been testing so I decided to give Chanel Bleu a whirl.
Well, it's not like I wasn't warned.
I actually like it better than a lot of stuff it smells exactly the same as. Decent skin scent when it dries down and fades a little. A good meh.
22nd May, 2012 (last edited: 31st May, 2012)

L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris doesn't smell unrefined. Maybe a little overworked. Weakly animalic. Weakly sweet. Weakly nutty. Are you starting to notice a pattern here?
Someone forgot to include even a scintilla of excitement.
One of those fragrances I spray on and immediately forget about; then when I catch whiffs of it here and there later on I find it annoying.

Update April 7, 2013

I'm not sure whether I smell this fragrance any differently than I used to but it certainly strikes me differently recently. It's reticence now seems charming. A light musk with vanilla. Seamless. Smells like hay. Like sitting in a field on a pile of hay warming in the summer sun. I see serenity now where before I felt a lack of excitement. Silly me. It seems like I'm more open to vanilla than I was before and also to amber (I like labdanum very much by itself, benzoin is another matter). Strange how your tastes change. For what it's worth this is a thumbs up now for me.
20th May, 2012 (last edited: 07th April, 2013)

Yatagan by Caron

Longstanding icon Yatagan reminds us that one man's artemisial nirvana is another man's hot dog seasoning. Does Yatagan hold it's own against longstanding icon and contemporary YSL Kouros? No, I don't think it quite does.
20th May, 2012 (last edited: 31st May, 2012)

Oud Stars : Zanzibar by Xerjoff

There's something weirdly sexual about Najaf. Some intial Zafar-like cheesiness. Najaf smells strongly of vaseline or liquid gel. Has a perfumed gumminess. Have you been dreaming about an osmanthus-scented personal lubricant for use with a significant other, or for those quiet moments alone? Your search may be over, dearest. Unique but never unpleasant. Can be a little heady in a Vicks VapoRub way. Takes on a more dark nuttiness as the patchouli starts to weigh in. You wonder, "Where is this going next?" You realize the tobacco may be contributing to the vaseline note. As the drydown continues you catch whiffs of something akin to Santal Blush or at least a Santal-Blush-scented vaseline. Two or three hours in and Najar is fading pretty badly.
Najaf is a minor key tour de force in the way that Zafar is. Wearability aside, anyone who likes to smell interesting things should try it.
17th May, 2012 (last edited: 30th May, 2012)

Oud Stars : Mamluk by Xerjoff

Xerjoff's crowd pleaser. A deep, rich, juicy floral oriental. A little powder maybe but not too much. There's something a little too "on the nose" about it. Like an improved version of something we've all smelled before but an improvement that really doesn't take it anywhere. Like colors that become more saturated to no good effect. Or wine with a higher extraction for not good purpose. Comes very close to being garish.
Oh the oud? I assume it's in there doing something. Seems a little obliterated with everything else going on. Still I sometimes can't resist Mamluk's lushness, the great floral note and the mouthwatering effect. Operates on me very much like Tom Ford Santal Blush does. Santal Blush is much better.
17th May, 2012

Oud Stars : Fars by Xerjoff

This is really lovely. Tre simple floral including the beloved jasmine and a tinge of oud sitting on a base of vetiver-patchouli with the other usual suspects. Aromatic. Spirit lifting. Exquisitely balanced. Far more mannered that the other Xerjoff oud offerings but never the least bit boring. Quite the opposite. Easy to wear. Easy to like and perhaps even adore. The light oud gives it just a little bit of edge.
As it drys down it softens and lightens and becomes an even more beautiful floral skin scent. That the base does not start to intrude and allows the flowers to live on impresses me as a great achievement in light of the many recent negative experiences I've had of fragrances collapsing during drydown. Fars reminds me very much of Penhaligon's of one sort or another, done the right way.
This fragrance isn't pushing any envelope of any kind, it's just really very nice. That doesn't mean it won't get nominated for the best fragrance of all eternity in a future Reader's Poll.
17th May, 2012

Oud Stars : Gao by Xerjoff

Gao was my immediate and clear-cut favorite among the four Xerjoff Oud Stars I tested. A commanding healthy oud leavened with a bit of amber et al. It reminded me on first application of By Kilian's Pure Oud and while they do have some ingredients in common, notably amber and saffron, testing them side by side brought me back to reality. They differ in significant ways. The oud note in Gao is much bigger, a little harsher,and slightly rubberbandy. It's powerful, clean and quite capable of standing on it's own. Pure Oud is all delicacy and that touch of warm perfumed sweetness done to perfection. Gao is a wonderful oud fragrance. I prefer Pure Oud. But then I prefer Pure Oud to almost anything these days. It's one of the prettiest fragrances around.
10th May, 2012

Oud Stars : Zafar by Xerjoff

So who spiked my Hinoki with limburger?
A commanding, decadent, arresting, domineering, smirking fragrance. Initially skanky in the best of ways. Like the man says, if it's not dirty you're not doing it right. Have I been drinking the deliciously expensive Xerjoff koolaid again? I have not. I could care less if the North Korean Politburo came up with this. It just so happens Xerjoff did and I'll give them their due.... verbally anyway. It is a triumph if only for being something that teeters so saucily on the edge of unacceptability while smelling captivating all the same. Xerjoff has taken the likes of a CdG Hinoki or a Black Tourmaline and pushed it in a new direction, moving it from the wood shop to the bedroom. The sexuality is fleeting. Like every other perfume these days the best part of Zafar's carnal life starts vanishing like the sheets drying. A tour de force ended too soon.
08th May, 2012 (last edited: 09th May, 2012)

Ambrarem by Histoires de Parfums

Ambrarem enters the world as a bright uplifting slightly sweetish fragrance which contains oud. Considering the fact that both elemi and vanila are used here I'm impressed Ambrarem smells as good as it does. Balance it has. Nothing is too out of hand---the vanila, the elemi. The animalic stuff is quite tame.
Even at the very beginning when Ambrarem is at it's best it never has much of a "wow" factor. It reminds me in tone at least of something like Puredistance "M": not terribly exciting, but well made and user friendly. In a short time Ambrarem moves from "good" to "unexceptional". The oud, never that strong to begin with, starts to fade leaving the nicely balanced rest behind. Unfortunately the nicely balanced rest is like that of a zillion other drydowns. Ambrarem just doesn't compete in any catergory oud or otherwise.

Update April 4 2013

Smells like someone attempted their first pie and messed up the recipe.
Kinda stinks.
05th May, 2012 (last edited: 04th April, 2013)