Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

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Total Reviews: 2100
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Mukhalat Malaki by Swiss Arabian Perfumery

The opening is rose with saffron and amber. Initially the saffron dominates, but soon the amber pulls equal rank.

There is not one specific specific moment when the rose suddenly appears, but is grows very slowly to become an aroma that is, like a gossamer web, covering the whole in a very thin layer, more like a backgound atmosphere than a fully present independent note in the mix.

In the drydown the oud develops; a gentle out, rather soft with the harsh edge reduced to a faint minimum. This oud does not stand out like in so many other products, it is here a well integrated team player. In the base the oud is paired with cedar and small touches of sandalwood, whilst he amber penetrates it all until the end.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and twelve hours of longevity on my skin.

A nice, smooth autumnal scent composed of high quality ingredients that are well blended, and, in spite of being not particularly creative, being a nice creation with excellent performance. 3.25/5.
16th October, 2017
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Al Ta'if Rose Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

From the first fragrant moment to the last whisper in the final dying moment: the is a rose composition. A truly mono-floral creation.

Being mono-floral does not mean boring; on the contrary there is development in this rose enough to enthuse.

On me this is a bright rose most of the time. After the initial phase it develops a green undertone, like the aroma of the juice of the freshly cut bundle of rose stems. The smell of rose leaves is mixed is also.

I get strong sillage, superb projection and a magnificent twelve hours of longevity on my skin.

This rose marvel is a gorgeous spring creation. It may not win the trophy for creativity and complexity, but is its pure intensity, uplifting richness, and in the astounding quality of the natural ingredients it reaches sublime heights of olfactory bliss.

Positive, intense, this rose is of great beauty. 4.25/5.

A rose is a rose is a rose.
15th October, 2017
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Dahn Al Aoud Anteeque by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

This is oud, oud, oud form the beginning to the end. Starting with a touch fruity smokiness initially, it gradually smoothens to become a classic, natural oud but without much sharpness.

That does not mean it is boring: like the colours of a rainbow change with us moving, this oud is scintillating in various nuances and shades as times progresses.

This is not a heavy oud on me, but well balanced.

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

This autumnal oud is really nothing much but a beautiful oud. And this is maybe a bit monoclonal, but is makes a beautiful scent ou(d) of supreme natural raw material. 3.75/5.

An oud is an oud is an oud.
14th October, 2017
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Hindi Pure Indian Oud Oil by Arabian Oud

This is a smooth start, a lovely oud thatis the core note of this composition. It is a bit unusual in several aspects:

This oud is not heavy - especially with sparing application- and more in the elegant than on the heavy and cloying side.

This oud is smooth and rounded, at least initially, and lacks the scratchy and harsh character that many synthetic oud notes overemphasise. After the first few hours a little bit of oud harshness comes across, especially after more generous application, but on me this is more a subtle crispness than brutal harshness.

This oud has not much of a animalistic undertone.

That said, I only get limited development, but what I get is lovely indeed.

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

An oud scent for cooler autumn days, comforting, not heavy, smooth, and made of very fine natural ingredients, including some of the real McCoy. 3.75/5.
14th October, 2017
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AA Indian Pure Musk Ghazelle by Ajmal

From the opening moment a rich and dark musk envelops me. It is soft and a beautiful musk. So pure and expressive, very animalistic throughout; musky, beautiful!

After a while whiffs of a machine oil aroma appear, and later on moments of hazelnut, whilst further into the drydown I get quite a prominent component of sweet almonds.

Further into the development the barnyard notes get stronger, with underlying castoreum-like undertones but without any significant harshness; and the skanky nature inherent in all good dark musks is civilised here by the sweetish softness that is its overarching feature. Never too sweet though, and never cloying in all its intensity. It is incredibly rounded and smooth in all its animalistic character.

I get strong sillage - with generous application this can become and overwhelming sillage monster - outstanding projection and a heavenly fifteen hours of longevity on my skin.

This warming evening scent for winter days - or for warm desert excursions - is incredibly balanced and blended sublimely of ingredients of the finest quality - one of the few dark musks where the indubitable presence of the real natural musk is evident. Without the brutal harshness that synthetic musks like to conjure up so frequently, this is a soft, friendly and inviting musk. Maybe a touch too musk-centred for some, there is no escape from all the musky goodness here.

One of the finest musks I have come across in a Iong time. 4.25/5.
13th October, 2017
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Jasmine by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is a typical jasmine soliflore from beginning to end. Bright, rich, intense, the jasmine hits the target very well. Occasionally whiffs of slightly woodsy undertone come and go, but always the jasmine reigns supreme.

I get moderate sillage, good projections and six hours of longevity on my skin, with the last couple of hours being very close to being a mere skin scent only.

This spring scent is very well crafted, and a convincing rendering of a nice jasmine creation. 3.5/5
12th October, 2017
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Cymbelline by Cotswold Perfumery

A harsh woodsy, earthy and slightly leathery opening blast leads into an opening phase where the woods soften and mix with a bright and pleasant vetiver. The wood in the opening reveals itself here as the prelude to the vetiver, which is continuing to be accompanied by the woodsy notes, but overall it is a quite a bright vetiver.

Later a mossy impression arises, which lacks the terse and harsh elements that characterise a typical oak meoss; here it is softer and smoother. With times it softens even further, displaying an additional mild sweetness that at times reminds me of a fairly velvety ylang-ylang.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a very impressive longevity of eleven hours on my skin.

This very agreeable spring chypre is not mega-original and is also a bit of a slow developer, but given times the nice drydown is complex enough to keep one entertained. 3.5/5.
11th October, 2017
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English Rose by Cotswold Perfumery

This is a classic rose soliflore.
It starts with a harsh blasts, woodsy with hints of leather and tea, a touch smoky, maybe moments of burning roses, showing its thorns first so to speak.

After this rough start the rose-y side comes out: a fairly bright rose, not heavy but rich enough to impress. In the drydown the other parts of the plant are added: the wood of the stems and the wet leaves; a luscious rose garden after the rain.
Over times there are a number of permutations of the notes of the various parts of the rose such as to keep things interesting in the development of this mono-species composition.

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

This delightful spring scent is a study how to make a rose scent out of high-quality ingredient(s). A study worth taking to heart. In all its simplicity it is executed well and convincingly. 3.75/5.
10th October, 2017
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Muguet by Cotswold Perfumery

This is essentially a soliflore involving muguet. Initially with some woodsy and nigh tea-like undertones, is soon develops into an agreeable expression of the typical muguet characteristics.

This is basically what I get, and whilst there some small modulations over time, there is not much further development of note on my skin.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity six hours on my skin.

This spring scent is a good example of a nice muguet creation - nothing more, nothing less. Well executed. 3.25/5.
09th October, 2017
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Viva by Cotswold Perfumery

The opening is a potent blast aldehydes, very strong and in full force. After a while this settles and over times a floral potpourri develops that defines the further development of this composition.

At first - woodsy/smoky at the start - a jasmine develops, nicely done. Then an ylang-ylang comes to the fore. It is fairly creamy at times but not overwhelmingly sweet. Touches of lily-in-the-valley also come and go, and with times these florals present in various proportions and permutations.

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

For the lover of a full-on aldehydes initially, this spring scent is a tad unoriginal but well crafted overall. 3.25/5.
08th October, 2017
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Ruby by Cotswold Perfumery

The opening blast emits a lot of smoke, a blast of a nigh smoky woodsiness that is of a vegetal nature with a whiff of black tea at times also present. Soon, when the dust, i.e. the smoke settles, the note behing this opening firework shines through: a superb and beautiful jasmine.

This jasmine, intense and uplifting, has been present for a while when the second major player comes the the fore: a deep, rich and glowing rose, beautiful in its own right, but melting together with the jasmine to form and extraordinarily exquisite floral dyad that rules the next hours of the drydown.

After a while a comparatively meak ylang-ylang rises, which is less sweet and heavy than expected. It fits in well with the jasmine and the rose, but remains nothing that an accompaniment to the star duo on my skin.

In the base a darker harshness sets in, nearly mimicking hints of an oakmoss-like tanginess, but soon this notes declares itself as a return of the smoky-vegetal impression of the top notes.

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

This is for all intents and purposes a duoflore, a creation for spring evenings that is admittedly not particularly creative or innovative, but blended of absolutes of a very fine quality. It is never really a particularly sweet mixture. In the same way a simple meal prepared skillfully of few ingredients of the finest quality can provide culinary delights similar to a more complex meal, this simple English country scent scales olfactory heights to surpass many of its more complex and glamorous competitors.

Furthermore, the unexpectedly strong performance belies the notion that high levels of synthetic components are needed to ensure superior longevity. 4/5.
07th October, 2017
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Pallas by Cotswold Perfumery

The opening note is heavily infused with clover, with a rather bright and crisp spiciness with a touch of terseness; this all is mixed with a jasmin that develops over time and gradually adding a softer touch. This beginning is unusual and interesting!

The drydown mellows with time, and after a while a touch of saltiness combines with a nice ambergris note that again is crisp and at times has a nigh-tinny undertone, that is mostly agreeable nonetheless. A bit of a herbal twist comes and goes, and I suspect that this is the oakmoss, but it is more a softer mossy version with little of the usual oak moss sharpness. A note not very convincing as classic oak moss, it is a smooth moss so to speak. Further towards the end there are whiffs of a soft woodsy component present.

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

An unusual springscent that manages - with a few brushstrokes - to create a vivid olfactory picture that is unusual and quite enticing. Overall well made out of good ingredients. 3.5/5.
06th October, 2017
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AB ± Cashmere by Uèr Mì

The opening is not unpleasant: a bit floral - a fairly ordinary jasmine with a good dose of osmanthus adding a slightly crisper herbal undertone. Then a rather nonspecific fruity undertone develops, which is smoothed by a soft patchouli.

The later stages reveal an awfully synthetic ambery aroma that has a vanilla tone added as a sweetener; all this is laced with the ever-so-popular concoction of white musks that is a bane of perfumery over the last couple of decades.

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

This is not a bad or disagreeable scent, wearable on warmer autumn days, but it is so generic and impersonal as a whole that is makes me yawn at times. Mediocre and synthetic it is. Once AI is a bit more developed, a similar product might possible to produce by a good computer with the right software on its own. Here comes the perfumer algorithm! 2.25/5.
05th October, 2017
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OH ± Denim by Uèr Mì

The opening note is a fresh-ish floral-neroli mix that is quite pleasant at times. The floral component is dominated by a somewhat creamy ylang-ylang, which is neither very sweet nor very rich. It is paired with pleasant but fairly light tuberose component, and whiffs of a gentle pepperiness come and go.

The second stage develops into a somewhat nonspecific ambery impression together with a rather nondescript patchouli, with touches of tonka and a rather basic white musk complex thrown in. Should there be any - indubitably completely synthetic - oak moss molecules lurking under the surface, I am sadly lacking the electron microscope needed to detect them.

I get moderate sillage and very good projection on my skin. The longevity is a bit uneven: whilst it appears to be over after six hours, for a further four hours whiffs of the base note re-appear and the vanish several times, albeit very close to my skin, like rays of sunshine breaking through a patchy cloud cover here and there. After ten hours it finally calls it stumps for good.

This spring scent has stretches that are definite agreeable, but overall it is let down by its generic and, at times, bland nature. Still, not bad, but not particularly good either. 2.75/5.
04th October, 2017
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Florabellio by Diptyque

The opening phase is characterised by a marine impression that has a tart and herbal undertone; this is not a tropical marine but reminds me more of cooler climes: more North Sea or Hokkaido than Bahamas and the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately this marine character has quite a synthetic undertone.

The drydown as a floral-fruity component, apple blossom with general white floral connotations are evident. The base is more of a creamy and baked patisserie nature.

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

Pleasant for cooler summer days on the ocean, this is not bad, really, but too generic and synthetic to entice. 2.5/5.
03rd October, 2017
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Geranium Odorata by Diptyque

This is a geranium-centred creation, with a touch of bergamot supplying a bit of added freshness. The geranium is all right, but not particularly vivid or intensive.

The drydown adds rose - a bit generic - and a touch of light pepper, the latter also a touch too anaemic.

The base develops richer accents. A pleasant tonka and woodsy undertones rule the base and m then fade away gradually over time.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a solid eight hours of longevity on my skin, with the last couple of hours being very close to my skin.

This is a pleasant spring scent, a floral that is well-made technically but that disappoints as some ingredients are rather generic and average. The geranium is definitely coming out well, but overall it does remain in the realm of a standard product with little excitement, originality or depth. 2.75/5.
02nd October, 2017
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Eau de Lavande by Diptyque

This fragrance is centered around lavender, no surprise there. It is a fairly dark, rich and complex lavender, which over times takes on characteristics that range from terse and bitter to a smoky incense aroma, accentuated by coriander undertones.

In the drydown the spiciness continues with a nice nutmeg impression, which is enhanced by the well-balancing sweetness of a cinnamon note. This mix of cinnamon and spiciness results in a gingerbread-like impression, but with times the cinnamon grows stronger, and for the last few hours I get pure and delicious cinnamon.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent, and the longevity a very good ten hours on my skin, with the last hours being close to the latter.

Whilst not extremely creative, the complex lavender is interesting and the performance is good too. 3.5/5.
01st October, 2017
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Ur ± Silk by Uèr Mì

The opening combines citrus with herbal notes: mandarin with a gentle neroli and a herbal undertone, mainly dill with touches of basil. The citrus and neroli are not full-on refreshing in character, but more of the gentler variety.

A slightly sweet and fruity impression emerges, constituted of a fairly dominant fig aroma and combines with touches of nut in the backgound. Together with a very discreet and soft lilac this all combines to a quite original mix that is rather pleasant.

The later stages add a woodsy base, a slightly sweet cedar that interplays with the fruity components very well. It turns a bit creamier, and with some jasmin and whiffs of sweetish white musks it retains its nigh-gourmand character until the end.

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

A lovely spring composition that is quite original in its concept and well blended to ensure all its ingredients work together harmoniously. Some stages threaten to slip into a more generic nature, but mostly it shows sufficient character to please. 3.25/5.
30th September, 2017
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Velvet Desire by Dolce & Gabbana

The opening is a combination of tuberose - the main player on me - and jasmine, combining nicely to a white floral opening blast. The tuberose is not too heavy and lacks any waxiness or sharpness.

The drydown adds some gardenia - although this is more in the background - and whiffs of violet, before I get a soft frangipani impression. This combines very nicely and is fading out gracefully toward the end.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a well-made white floral evening spring scent, that is blended well and whose sweetness is more restrained than I expected and never cloying intrusive. Comparisons with Estée Lauder's Tuberose Gardenia come to mind, with the latter being composed of ingredients of much higher quality and more intensive and vivid in the expressions of the components. Still, Velvet Desire is a solidly crafted product. 3.25/5.
29th September, 2017
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D&G Masculine by Dolce & Gabbana

The opening spouts a fair share of citrus for sure; bergamot and lemon, although a bit standard in nature but nice indeed. The later stage adds herbal notes, and additionally adds a fresh ozonic aroma.

That said, the ozonic freshness is a bit nondescript and does not carry with it any seashore or otherwise more enticing freshness. Nonetheless, it is a pleasing drydown.

The base continues in a similar vein: woodsy notes with a restrained vanilla, some sweetness is expressed but not overbearingly so.

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

Nice for cooler summer days, executed quite well and not too glaringly synthetic: just at the border between neutral and thumbs-up; with the good performance tilting it - just! - into positive territory. 3/5.
28th September, 2017
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Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana

The opening has some bergamot all right, but it is not a bright, sunny and sparkling bergamot; it has a shadow cast over it.

The drydown is floral; again somber but rich; with jasmine, a deep and dark rose and touches of heliotropes; the latter try in vain to infuse a lighter note.

The base takes another direction again, with a dark musk developing that is quite convincing and at times takes on oak-mossy characteristics. Woodsy and slightly powdery undertones come and go, and towards the end the heliotropes re-appear and combining with the musky aromas, creating a glimpse of brightness and, at times, a nigh minty accompaniment.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and an astoundingly impressive longevity of fifteen hours on my skin.

This is Sicily in autumn, after the tourists have gone and the connoisseurs remain: rich, fragrant with ever-changing aromas and a development that is never boring. Whilst at times a tad too synthetic, it is overall very well crafted and skillfully blended. 3.25/5.
27th September, 2017
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A*Men Pure Tonka by Thierry Mugler

The label "Pure" with TM does not necessarily guarantee purity, and his holds true with this composition. Whilst the tonka is present pretty much right from the start, there is a herbal undertone present throughout the initial phase.

The tonka develops over time by becoming increasingly more toasted and less sweet - and whilst rich and intensive in the typical TM-A*Men-style, it manages to be never overly sickly sweet or intrusive. With time I get hints of cocoa too. The base adds a soft patchouli that provides some counterbalance to the heaviness of the core components.

I get strong sillage, truly excellent projection and gigantic longevity of fifteen hours in my skin.

This wintery scent lacks the creative brilliance of Pure Havane, but otherwise it constitutes a well-crafted execution of its concept as an A*Men flanker. 3.25/5. A*Men to that.
26th September, 2017
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Olène by Diptyque

This is floral galore. Opening with a jasmin as the core component throughout, I get an interesting set of additional floral undertones. At times a crisper and nigh steely-bitter intensive indolic aroma, intermixed with notes narcissus and at times even touches of tuberose with hyacinth. Otherwise this is a fairly linear composition.

The performance is excellent, with moderate sillage, very good projection and a magnificent thirteen hours of longevity on my skin.

A nice floral for the jasmine-lover, never cloying or too sweet, with great performance. 3.25/5.
25th September, 2017
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Mango-Infused Pumpkin Chai Latte by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

A full-on opening blast hits me with an intensive onslaught of chai latte with a lovely cappuccino undertone, combined with an underlying pumpkin note with hints of ripe mango - gorgeous! Later on whiffs of saffron and coconut come and go, but the initial impression remains dominant throughout.

The performance is sensational, with very strong sillage, superb projection and an amazing fourteen hours of longevity on my skin.

This sillage bomb is admittedly not showing a lot of development after the wonderful opening, but the top quality of the natural ingredients more than compensates for that. A pick-me-up for Halloween. 3.5/5.
24th September, 2017
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Halloween in Brooklyn by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

This composition starts with m a herbal opening with dogwood being prominent; soon this merges with a fruity note, mainly ripe sweet cherry, and forms a gorgeous initial impression.

Alas, after the first thirty minutes, it collapses on my skin in spite of my lavish and generous application, but never fear: it re-emerges less fruity, with a nutty nutmeg note, combines with pine wood and a with flowery background, mainly a pleasant camelia.

And eventually it bursts open with a gorgeous balsamic eucalyptus, enough to transport any Koala perfumista into spheres of utter delight.

All this blends in beautifully, and the eventual performance is much better than the initial instability let me expect: moderate sillage, adequate projection and eight hours of total longevity. All move to Brooklyn please! 3.75/5
24th September, 2017
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Halloween in Los Angeles by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Burning grass with sage

The opening combines a herbal grassy note with a well-executed overarching burning expression. The smoky burning note is beautifully done.

Overtime the herbal side moves gradually into the foreground, mainly sage with hints of basil.

The sillage is moderate, the projection good and the longevity is seven hours on my skin.

Very nice and quite unique; maybe al allusion to wildfires? 3.5/5
23rd September, 2017
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Halloween in San Francisco by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Salt and rain-soaked leaves

A fresh herbal notes combining celery and grass impression with a salty undertone, but without any clear citrus component: still a fresh opening.

Later on the salty parts recedes, and the whole becomes smoother with woodsy noted in the background.

I get moderate sillage, limited projection and five hours of longevity 3/5
23rd September, 2017
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Eau de Lierre by Diptyque

Green, green, green - that is the core of the the top notes here. The ivy leaves blend with a - somewhat less impressive- geranium, but it is the cyclamen that really puts its defining stamp on this mixture. Crisp, a touch fresh, like sitting is an ivy-clad garden in early spring. Very well made.

Unfortunately, like so often, after a commercially advisable attention-grabbing initial phase that is meant to prompt the sampling customer in the shop towards an impulse-purchase of the product, from the drydown onwards it is much less impressive. Whilst the touch of mild green pepper in the heart notes is not bad, the base with its ordinary woodsy white musks is rather unoriginal and dull.

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

This spring creation deserves a lot of credit for the lovely top notes, with the rest developing from acceptable to boring and completely generic towards the end. Overall in the positive realm, but by a narrow margin only. 3.25/5.
23rd September, 2017
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Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme (new) by Dolce & Gabbana

A delightful opening blast that is given a slightly restrained citrusy aroma - mandarin, whiffs of lemon and a good lashing of neroli - with a fruity undertone. The result is not overtly fresh, but more on the calmly refreshing side. In spite of the rather usual selection of components the result of mixing these is surprisingly beautiful.

The drydown develops a pleasant jasmine with an undertone of white florals, whilst the base steers into a sweeter direction, with a very balanced vanilla joining a marshmallow impression to create an olfactory desert that is never too sweet or cloying. This is due to the admixture of woodsy aroma that helps mitigating the sweetness.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a very impressive eleven hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a lovely scent for cooler summer evenings, belended well of ingredients of high quality and combining fresh richness with elegance. The performance is excellent. 3.5/5.
22nd September, 2017
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Light Blue Pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

The citrus opening is not particularly riveting or exciting, but it is a solid yet rather generic set of top
notes of mandarin and of whiffs of lemony/ grapefruit components of medium ripeness; neither very sweet nor very acid-laden.

The core is much more nondescript; a mélange of nonspecific floral and woodsy component with a very synthetic and anaemic rosemary note - not unpleasant but not more than that. The base with its dull and anonymous soup of white musks and the failed laboratory attempts to create a mossy impression smells of what I imagine to be the bouquet of acid rain in a Petri dish.

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

In this summery, albeit not very fresh, creation some credit might be due for the opening phase, but the rest is a highly generic and dull petrochemical concoction of questionable merit. Overall - not reaching beyond mediocrity. 2.25/5
21st September, 2017