Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

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Vacances (new) by Jean Patou

On my skin the opening blast is a fresh blend of lilac with a hesperidic undertone, which makes the lilac much brighter than it normally would be. Very nice! This freshness evaporates with time, a growing galbanum component restores the crisp edge after some time to some extent.

The drydown leads to a floral-centred phase, mainly jasmine and hyacinth, but never does it turn really sweet on me. The base adds a soft civety impression that is, however, quite tame and does not brandish any faecaloid claws in my direction.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent and the longevity eight hours.

Even though being a reformulation, which usually - not always though! - means a drop in standard and quality, this is a nice creation for warm spring days, and worthy of taken seriously as a freestanding creation. 3.25/5.
25th February, 2017
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Patou Pour Homme (new) by Jean Patou

The new formulation tried in the Paris flagship store:

The opening has a fresh bergamot-driven characteristic - not without being a bit restrained - and is mellowed by a fair dose of galbanum. He greenness I am also getting is a mix of tarragon with whiffs of a grass-like aroma. The result is a pleasant, but certainly not a WOW opening.

Lavender is present here too, and in the drydown it adds jasmine - not bad - and a rose impression that is really quite unimpressive in its lack of complexity.

Towards the end amber - average - and a soft patchouli- are appearing, but on my skin they are quite bland and never develop any individuality of note.

The sillage is moderate, the projection adequate, and the longevity is six hours.

The top notes are the part hat are well done in this spring day scent, but the rest never transcends the impression a certain level of blandness.

Compared to the original, the sandalwood, the gorgeous geranium and the oak moss are missing, partly due to being IFRA-sanitised. The new formulation is no longer a floral chypre, but a floral with a questionable attempt to mimic the chypre ingredients - hence the rather generic patchouli towards the end.

By itself it is all right. As a re-interpretation of an iconic classic, it falls short. 2/75/5.
25th February, 2017
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Magie by Lancôme

This is a review from a small vintage bottle, which was purchased in Southern Japan about fifty years ago; it appears to be a parfum.

Whisky - a delicious whisky is filling the room with a malt whisky-like boozy note that initially is endowed with a sprinkle of gentle aldehydes. In the opening stage I also get a dark lily that soon is underlined by a delicious rose, which has a dark tendency.

This rose glows beautifully, rich and intense but neither heavy or intrusively sweet. It defines the beginning of the heart notes, together with a jasmine impression that blends in very well.

The heart notes continue the jasmine and the boozy parts, including a fairly contained natural sweetness that fades to some extent over time, as does the booziness of the opening stage.

This results in the the base being only minimally sweet, and then it develops a pleasant violet that gives space to a very discrete amber impression; the latter constitutes the core of the base note stage now.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and seven hours of longevity in my skin.

This spring evening creation boasts ingredients of amazing quality - absolutely superb! The blending is beautiful too. Maybe the base is a bit pale but otherwise it is a very impressive scent. 4/5.
25th February, 2017
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Patou pour Homme (original) by Jean Patou

Having had the chance to wear this product a number of times since its release, it is high time to review it.

Herbal green and fresh green - that is the first impression I get when then opening blast hits me. The fresh side introduced by a fairly restrained petit grain, which permeates the greenery very discretely. Draped over this like a gossamer veil is a whiff of oregano that rounds off the unique impression theses top notes make.

The middle notes introduces a lovely jasmine, which links the top and the heart notes, and soon it adds floral notes: firstly a very beautiful geranium that, in all its distinct presence, is mixing in extremely well with the other notes. A similarly impressive carnation completes the floral dyad beautifully. Both florals are of a discreetly natural beauty.

There is still more to that phase in the development: a delightful woodsy aroma of pine needles that, however, remains more in the background after its original appearance.

The base sees a gentle tonka arise that is not particularly sweet, accompanied by a slightly mossy castoreum they gives the final moment a bit of a - nonetheless quite gentle - bite. This touch of sharpness counteracts the tonka well.

On me this is not a development that never comes in sequences of clearly discrete stepwise developing phases, but the stages merge into one another in a very fluid manner.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and around four hours of longevity on my skin.

So far this scent - very suitable for spring evenings - sound very nice but not really deservings its stellar reputation, but with PPH it is the absolutely sensational quality of its ingredients as well as the astoundingly beautiful blending that raises in into the zenith of iconic fragrances. Although it is often called a floral chypre, this is more of a brighter and beautifully elegant composition. An elegant chypre is a rare thing indeed. The longevity is not optimal but this is the price we sometimes pay for prime natural ingredients. 4.5/5.
20th February, 2017
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Petit Guerlain (original) by Guerlain

The opening is lovely: fresh notes, gentle citrus aspects, a soft lavender with hints of garden green in a rain - not a bright green, more the dark green green of a shadowy spot under a tree in a moist garden.

A flowery bouquet sets in, not for very long on my skin though, with minosa and a somewhat perfunctory rose under the surface. The end is a vanilla that is a touch dull and equally unimpressive.

I get moderate sillage with excellent projection and nine hours of longevity on my skin.

A pleasant spring creation, well blended and quite subdued a touch at times. This is nothing special but not without nice touches. 3/5 - Just!
15th February, 2017
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Shalimar Ode à la Vanille : Sur la Route du Mexique by Guerlain

Now this is first and foremost about Vanilla. A well-composed vanilla, not particular special or exciting but solid.

Two positive points about this vanilla:
- It never is cloying or intrusive unlike many other vanilla creations,

- it is made more entertaining by some development, in the first stages by a freshish vetiver, quite weak and without any earthiness, and later on by a cocoa powder impression, which is not too bad but a tad too generic.

Throughout the while development of this fragrance there is a very pleasant, restrained opoponax in the background, which is less intensive than in an opoponax-centric composition like Gucci Envy for Men, but it blends in cery nicely with the whole, and at times has a mild incense aroma accompanying it.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and ten hours of longevity on my skin.

A pleasant vanilla scent for autumn with an original touch, but a touch too generic and synthetic at times, and just crossing the line to thumbs-up. 3/5.
14th February, 2017
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Ne M'Oubliez Pas by Guerlain

The 2015 reformulation:
The opening notes are a basket of of fruits and flowers, with a ripe plum with a touch of a sightly nutty undertone also being present.

In the drydown it turns into a dark rose combined with a soft carnation, which forms a floral dyad. Slightly sweetish cinnamon - not too creamy and more on the elegant side - develops and adds richness to the whole mix.

The base retains the richness, with the cinnamon passing the baton to a quite restrained vanilla, which expressed discrete ambery undertones.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a tremendous twelve hours of longevity

This composition demonstrates that reformulations are not always resulting in bad outcomes. Smooth, good for evenings on cooler spring and autumn days, it is blended superbly from high-quality ingredients, although it lacks structure. Of the fragrance releases under the Guerlain name in the last fifteen years this is one of the best. 3.5/5.
13th February, 2017
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L'Ame d'un Héros by Guerlain

The opening blast is cheery and bright freshness. Lots of bergamot, lemon and a smooth and soft neroli - soon there is an additional herbal undertone with a slight boozy accord on top.

Juniper with touches of absinth and gin are additionk touches, blending in well with the fresh accords from the top notes. Flowery notes develop, mainly a very restrained ylang-ylang, but on my skin the fresh components remain in centre stage throughout.

The main contributions to the base are a crisp patchouli with a woodsy impression being intertwined with it. Still, the crispy freshness is still dominant until it fades away gradually, with the woodsy, at times cedary constituents having an accompanying role.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and an impressive ten hours of longevity.

This summary scent is close to Coriolan but less sharp and a bit less nuanced in it expression. A very pleasant creation nonetheless. 3.25/5.
12th February, 2017
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L'Homme Idéal by Guerlain

Opening this olfactory perfomance is a mandarin with a pleasant orange blossom; with a fairly sunny impression but not brightly refreshing.

The drydown - the top notes are gone rather soon - entails the metamorphosis into a soft, smooth and later on quite creamy on my skin. The booziness is characteristic at that stage, but transient whiffs of amaretto with hints of ripe cherries are more fleeting embellishments that don't stay around for long. Actually, most of she booziness is rather nonspecific in nature.

What is more stably present is a strong, smooth and creamy tonka accord, which extends into and dominates the last 2/3 if this composition. A few hues of a soft and thin leather, and a more intensive woodsy undertone, at times with a cedary characteristic, is interwoven with the rest. These interlaced creamy tonka and wood notes dominate the base.

The two other fragrances this one reminds me of are John Varvatos Man and, closer and of similar creamy smoothnes but a touch more covincing,
Lanvin Irresistible, the original in the greenish bottle.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a longevity of ten hours.

A pleasant concontion for autumn evenings, this scent is a agreeable product,well blended but missing a few nuances at times. 3.25/5.
10th February, 2017
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Aqua Allegoria Rosa Magnifica by Guerlain

On my skin this is a soliflorous rose with hints if rese stems very much in the backgoud. It is a lovely, elegant, light and bright delight.

The development overall is minimal, with white florals alternating with an overdiluted and very weak black tea; but their overall impact on the whole picture is minimal.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and ten hours of longevity on my skin.

A fresh, bright and quite elegant rose for a sunny spring day that lacks any meaningful development. 3.25/5.
09th February, 2017
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Chamade pour Homme by Guerlain

The lovely and crispy bergamot in the opening is given a touch of spiciness that consists of a gentle peppery notes, a gentle black pepper that is. Restrained crispness is the appropriate comment here.

The drydown turns floral, and violet with added violet leaf are in the foreground. Hyacinth and a whif of geranium are also present, the former more so than the latter.

The base looses the florals fast, replacing them with woods and leather. The leather is not exciting at all; neither a smooth new Italian nappa leather nor a gasoline fuelled harsh tannin impression. The wood is pleasant, but a bit non-distinct.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and ten hours of longevity.

Compared with Coriolan, it has less lemon input to the top notes, is more floral in the middle, lacks the absinthe booziness and is less crisp in the base. On me Chamade pour homme is more subdued and less spright in colour.

A pleasant scent for cooler summer days. 3/5.
07th February, 2017
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Aqua Allegoria Tutti Kiwi by Guerlain

The opening consists mainly of a soft lemon - a bit like a brighter version of the citric effect in Versace's Versus - with an undertone of a restrained tangerine and a quite well-executed rhubarb that is,however, quite a bit synthetic in nature. A bit later the eponymous kiwi arises - pleasent but a touch too generic.

Further in the drydown a somewhat unexciting floral aspect is revealed: geranium with whiffs of gardenia. These are very weak on my skin.

The base is made of a woodsy core, which is rather nonspecific and accompanied by a very thin vanilla, which, interestingly, has hardly any sweetness incorporated in it.

I get moderate sillage, adequate protection and nine hours of longevity on my skin.

An acceptable creation for cooler summer days, but most of the ingredients being either too generic or too anaemic. On the spectrum from elegance towards being anaemic, this scent veers too much towards the latter. 2.75/5.
06th February, 2017
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Cologne du Parfumeur by Guerlain

Lemon - restrained, bergamot - discreet, orange blosson - not intense; this olfactory triad is combined into what is not a strong and fresh opening blast, but more of a pleasant and positive array of aromas. Not special at all though really.

The main addition later on is galbanum, which in the earlier stages of the drydown is paired with a very convincing note of lovely freshly cut grass. The galbanum lacks colour and vividness, but the grass impression hits the spot very nicely.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and an impressive ten hours of longevity on my skin.

This is much less directly refreshing a Cologne than 4711, and less well produced than, for instance, Penhaligon's EdC, and miles below the quality of the ingredients that Chanel's EdC prides itself of. Quite agreeable in some parts, but overall never special. 2.75/5
05th February, 2017
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Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia by Guerlain

The opening with the lily-and-hesperidic opening blast is very pleasant, with none of the two too dominant. The citric tone is incorporated into the mix and pleasant.

In the drydown the subtle waxiness and aroma of the tuberose blends in well with the rise if a lively ylang-ylang, with the latter's sweetness remaining sufficiently balanced. Then vanilla is added when approaching the base, but this is an unexpectedly unobtrusive vanilla and never cloying in spite of the ylang-ylang's additional sweetness already tilting this product towards the sweeter range.

Moderate sillage, giod projection and ten hours of longevity - that's the performance I get on my skin.

Technically done well and quite well balanced, this fragrance for spring days is well executed, albeit marred by a certain lack of originality. 3.25/5
04th February, 2017
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Aqua Allegoria Mentafollia by Guerlain

Yes, there is mint in this one, definitely, but never as a solo performer. A hesperidic-citrus combination is also present in the top notes. Initially, there is more of grapefruit, later on it is more tangerine-heavy.

The best part here is the fact that the mint and the citrus are balanced perfectly well; neither is domineering and this balance is remarkable indeed.

The drydown sees the development of a delightful green tea, accompanied by the concurrent weakening and gradual evaporation of the citrus components. Later on a touch of a soft and quite green jasmine is added.

Later in the base a wood mix develops, initially rather unremarkable. Then, in an unexpected olfactory apotheosis, the mint, tea and cedary wood notes, beautifully smooth now, merge, somewhat creamy and delightfully blended, into an elegantly gracile melange. Very nice a scent from the handbag people.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and ten hours of longevity on my skin.

An original combination of citrus, mint and wood, very well blended, with none of the notes ever being overriding the other notes - a spring scent of democratic equality, composed of constituents of very good quality, albeit a touch lacking intensity in the heart notes. 3.5/5
03rd February, 2017
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Cherry Blossom by Guerlain

Green tea, cherry and a fresh-ish bergamot - this trio is evident in the opening, with the cherry clearly dominant in my skin. This trio is clean, quite bright and well balanced in spite of the asymmetry in the strength of its constituents. This first half of the longitudinal development is characterizsed by an nigh-fragile elegance.

In the later stages a jasmine-lilac duet with a slightly fresh green undertone form the core features.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and eight hours of longevity.

From quite a delighful and elegant mix of top notes this spring scent moves to a less convincing second part. Overall 3.25/5.
02nd February, 2017
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Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita by Guerlain

Well, this a pear-dominated opening all right - extremely synthetic - with a less annoyingly laboratory version of bergamot in tow. The drydown bring on a more bearable lemon note with the best of the bunch so far, osmanthus.

A good measure of a bland white musk with an overly anaemic cedar impression dominate the base.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and ten hours of longevity on my skin.

This spring scent goes from overly candied laboratory syntheticness to dullness. 1.75/5.
01st February, 2017
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'Ilm by Al Kimiya

Based on the majority of the products of the contemporary oud-based fragrance tsunami, I was expecting an oud-fest, performed by a bunch of synthetic, sharp and unpleasant oud fumes. How pleasant a surprise I got!

Sure, it is a veritable oud-fest indeed, composed a cluster of various ouds, but they are neither synthetic, not overly sharp and not very intrusive either. The ouds are sophisticated, rich but never pushy, and in their gently musky characteristics clearly focusing on the oud. Slightly sweetish with the typical oud-ish woodsy notes with added faecaloid undertones. This is a very civilised oud collection.

On my skin I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a superb longevity of twelve hours.

One of the best oud scents I sampled recently, this wintery composition is 100% pure oud, very intense but never intrusive, aggressive or cloying. 3.75/5.


31st January, 2017
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Le Cinéma Olfactif : No. 4 - The Virgins by Folie à Plusieurs

He opening is aldeydes with florals, which entaiils on my skin a predominance of geranium, rose, muguet and violet. The aldehydes add a fresh charateristic, but they are unusually discrete and blend in well with the floral mix.

The later stages develops a tonka impression, which inexorably rises in strength but never intrudes. It adds a creamy sweetness that is intense, but never cloying or overwhelming.
Later a nonspecific woodsy aroma is combined with a lovely myrrh undertone.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a longevity of eleven hours.

Pleasant, not very original but well blended, this spring scent performs well and is not too synthetic. The title is a touch weird, but I do smell ingredients, not titles. 3/5.
30th January, 2017
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Luna by Al Kimiya

An opening blast containing the aroma emenating from a fruit mocktail, with apricot, peach, tangerine and apples dominating the top notes on my skin. Delicious.

The drydown introduces whiffs of a soft spiciness, later on combined with a restrained vanilla impression as well a very soft musk and some underlying woodsy impressions.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and nine hours of longevity on my skin.

The top note mix is beautiful and well blended. The later stages lack these qualities to some extent and are less original. Nice for daytime in spring. In toto: a thumbs-up - just. 3/5.
29th January, 2017
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Kemi by Al Kimiya

The opening blast exudes a balsamic, rich and nigh faecaloid civet-ish caramel sweetness, soon to be given even more edge by a castoreum-based terse but creamy undertone. An unusual start, not for the faint-hearted, and in spite if its richness it just manages to be neither overly intrusive, nor too unbearingly sweet.

Later the sweetness becomes less dirty with the addition of a fairly straightforward vanilla impression, with woodsy additional components being evident. Of special interestnis a well-applied oud note, which, quite uncharacteristically, blends extremely well with the rest, is of good quality and much less domineering that is most other recent fragrances containing oud. An oud that is a good team player, and not an overwhelming primadonna.

I get strong sillage, excellent projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

A winter warmer, rich and intense, with civet combined with a sweet mélange. Very well blended whilst not very convincingly structured at times, especially as far as the non-oud woods are concerned. 3.25/5.
28th January, 2017
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Hayat by Al Kimiya

From the word 'go' on the oud greets me - not as intrusively as in many other recent oud-centred releases, but strong enough to overpower the other components of the top note phase. A bitter citrus briefly shines through, whilst later in the drydown a touch of lavender struggles to make itself smelt.

Later on a touch of cardamom with a woodsy undertone is present, and closer towards the end a somewhat unexciting patchouli is added in. All throughout, however, the oud pushes all the rest of the notes aside in an overwhelming manner.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and twelve hours of longevity.

An autumnal composition that performs very well, whilst lacking balance and over-emphasising the oud and keeping it far too dominant - a bit of Royal Oud's masterfully subtle aporoach to this wood would not go astray here. The oud as such is not so brilliant as to warrant its tyrannical dominance. 2.75/5.
27th January, 2017
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Jãbir by Al Kimiya

A floral opening - mainly freesia and a medium-sweet brightish rose - with a sweet and soft peppery undertone - are the main components in the opening phase. Later a restrained violet leads into a drydown that affirms the core floral nature of this composition, with whiffs of muguet pointing in the same white floral direction. A touch of booziness at times is noteworthy.

The base sees the ascendancy of a smooth and soft patchouli, with the pleasant sweetness being a combination of a fairly light musk with a restrained tonka impression. Most interesting, at this stage, is the addition of a rather nice oud, which blends in very harmoniously, and which lacks the overly synthetic-aggressive intrusiveness of many contemporary oud fragrances.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent and the longeivty seven hours on my skin.

This spring/autumn scent is pleasant, albeit not very creative, and it is very well blended - the latter is not unexpected give this is said to be a Xerjoff-spinoff. 3/5.
26th January, 2017
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Layla by Alkemia Apothecary and Perfumery

The opening is an intriguing mix of a soft woodsy core with a gentle incense that burns very discretely in the background. At times I get whiffs of a very faint citrus undertone. With time a delicious ylang-ylang arises, and all these notes combine to a rich, smooth and glowing mélange.

Later in the drydown this creation changes character through the development of a soft patchouli combined with a sweetish and fairly restrained musk impression, and whilst the sweetness is further enhanced by an added vanilla undertone, this sweetness is always fitting in with the other components very harmoniously and is never intrusive or cloying.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a superb longevity of fourteen hours on my skin.

This an autumnal scent is not super-creative in nature, but it is of great harmonious smoothness, richess and velvety intenseness without any heaviness, reminding me structurally at times if earlier Amouage products, e. g. Opus IV but a touch deeper and darker. This scent is exceedingly well blended and the quality if the ingredients is first class, as is the performance. A romantic richness best employed in the evening, as the name suggests. Quays and Clapton in one. 3.75/5.
25th January, 2017
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Parfum d'Hermès by Hermès

Review of the vintage formulation:
The opening is quite unique, with the floral dyad of rose and hyacinth is given a darker and deeper character by a generous lashing with galbanum; concurrently it is given a fresher and gently sparkling undertone courtesy of aldehydes. The rose provides a scaffolding for the other notes; it is pleasant and not too deep, whilst the hyacinth really gives this opening a beautiful floral twist and is executed truly masterfully. Very delightful and profound.

Towards to end of the top notes, a jasmine note creeps in, and then a herbal and woodsy light incense develops, which morphs into a myrrh impression that never dominates the whole mix; this myrrh underlines the mix of the other components, providing added depth and richness. It becomes gradually sweeter, initially courtsy of a juicy ylang-ylang, and later due to a tonka undertone; this sweetness is beautifully balanced and never cloying or intrusive.

The base has list the aldehydes and feshness, and the floral side gives way to a more mossy, woodsy and ambery impression.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a truly splendid fifteen hours of longevity on my skin.

This creation, great for cooler spring or autumn days, combines some creativity, high-quality ingredients and superb blending with a performance that truly deserves the 'perfum' epithet. A soft but rich chypre exuding elegance and substance. 4/5.

24th January, 2017
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Alliage by Estée Lauder

Opening with a dark green woodsy note, a touch boozy and lashed heavily with galbanum and brightened up a touch by a mandarin/lemony citrus note. Later on a slightly resinous myrrh impression is added. Very pleasant.

In the heart notes a nice, green jasmine note develops, which, at times, has a herbal undertone. The base adds a mossy note, and the myrrh undertone is still present thoughout this stage; this myrrh, however, never really claims a central rôle in this composition as it does, for instance, in Myrrhe Ardente.

I get moderate sillage, good projection, and seven hours if longevity on my skin.

An agreeable green-citrus-woodsy autumn chypre nlended well whist maintaing good structure. The quality of the ingredients is very respectable. 3.25/5.
23rd January, 2017
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Bois d'Argent by Christian Dior

Iris with a honeyed woodsy undertone - that is what the top notes convey to me. The iris is light, less intense that in Dior Homme, and more delicate.

In the drydown a gentle and soft patchouli is developing in the background. The wood note morphs into a thin veil of a tenuous myrrh impression that is thinly cast over the whole set. This myrrhe is much more restrained than in Myrrhe Ardente. It fades away very slowly until the end.

I get soft sillage, adequate projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a spring scent that is quite soft and thin. It is a delicate, nigh fragile at times, and hence the sweetness is never intrusive. More impressionist olfactory pointillism than stong expressionistic brush strokes. That the original was called Cologne points towards the lack of strength.

Overall a weak fragrance but well crafted, it just score a thumbs-up, barely. 3/5.
22nd January, 2017
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Fire from Heaven by CB I Hate Perfume

Myrrh and opoonax, with a bright and refreshing labdanum - delightful

Soon the freshness recants, and the rest is less interesting: wood and a smoky incense in the backgound.

Adequate sillage, good projection but limited longevity of five hours.

Good start, autumnal, very dull drydown. 2.75/5.
21st January, 2017
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Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire

A boozy and slightly cinnamon-laced amber. Softly glowing and delicious the amber is, wamr and wintery.

The drydown adds tea and incence spices, nut quite faded in the base.

The sillage is moderate, the projection is very good and the longevity tem hours.

Autumnal, and very smooth and ambery - 3.25/5.
21st January, 2017
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Ambre Nue by Atelier Cologne

The opening declares itself as an amber straight away, smooth but with a fresher bergamot edge initially, with judicious doses of marigold and cinnamon combining with benzoin to create the amber impression. This amber is rounded and not sharp at all.

Soon a lovely labdanum develops, together with a very soft patchouli adding additional depth and richness to the amber core. In the base added tonka and vanilla give it a sweet note, but only gently so.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent, and the longevity is ten hours on my skin.

A very nice autumnal and versatile amber composition that is very well blended. 3.5/5.
19th January, 2017