Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

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A*Men Ultra Zest by Thierry Mugler

It was a bit surprising to see a flanker of the rather heavy, sweet and intense A*Men promising an ultra-zesty version. Imagine YSL Opium announcing that they will release a flanker called Opium Eau d'Orange Verte. Still, the top notes of Ultra Zest do the name some justice: an orangey-and-mandarin citrus opening, with touches of ginger and a minty freshness rounding it off. Not a revolutionary set of top notes, but well made in the TM tradition.

The drydown looses the freshness of the opening notes after a while and replaces it with a sweeter mix of a spicy cinnamon with a soft patchouli. In the base the trademark TM vanilla kicks in and ensures that we end up in the well-known A*Men comfort zone of sweet warmth.

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

As initially mentioned, the conceptual inconsistency between the original and this spring flanker are not easy to reconcile. TM resolved this conundrum by splitting it into two distinct phases: the zesty start - a bit enhanced with some A*Men intensity that unfortunately results in some attenuation of the zesty component that belies its name - and a second phase more like the original A*Men in character.

Overall, it is neither fish nor flesh, but still, if it was not for the disappointing performance it might just have made a positive score. 2.75/5.
17th August, 2017
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Essences Insensées 2016 (Rose) by Diptyque

This is a rose fragrance from beginning to emended through and through. It opens with a gorgeous centifolia aroma, a rose in full bloom, intense, with just a delightful modicum of natural sweetness. Delicious.

Whilst this is indubitably a soliflore composition, there is still some development occurring with time. The rose becomes a bit lighter, and whiffs of the leaves and the wood of the stems shine through, although this remains a rose blossom creation at heart.

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

A delightful rose scent for day and nighttime in spring, composed of high-quality ingredients executed well. Whilst a tad linear and lacking vivaciousness and depth at times, it is still a lovely gift for rose lovers. 3.5/5.
16th August, 2017
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Eau Plurielle by Diptyque

The opening is as if I find myself transposed into the sunny landscape of green meadows, with the fragrance of freshly cut grass permeating the air most beautifully. Delightful it is indeed, this fresh and bright opening, which, combined with a very young ivy, has added spritzes of citrus added to it at times.

Later on a rose impression is added , but even her the green leafy parts of the rose are in the foreground.

At times as fruity undertone develops, which over time mixes with the woodsy notes that is the hallmark of the later stages of this perfum's development. By now the green freshness of the top notes is toned down considerably, and the woodsy side, with a touch of white musk added in, is dominant until the end.

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

The wonderful green freshness of this summer spring scent is a beauty. It reminds me a bit of Geoffrey Beene's Bowling Green, only lighter and a bit more elegant. Whilst it lacks some the crispness and fruitiness of L'Ombre dans l'Eau, the similarity cannot be denied. It is a bit linear at times, but nonetheless is is a lovely addition to the stable of this impressive house. 3.5/5.
15th August, 2017
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Aël-Mat by Lostmarc'h

A bright fresh and summery bergamot-based heliotropic opening blast greets me; it is as if a ray of sunshine escaped this pretty bottle. A slightly fruit undertone of berries, peach and hints of pear does not distract from the brightness of the top notes overall.

In the drydown the marine character comes alive: a pleasant and crisp saltiness that is mixed with a touch of jasmine and whisps of cardamom. The base adds a subtle vanilla that adds more depth without taking away from the lightness and elegance of the whole.

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

A fresh summer scent that captures bright and sunny days in the seaside in a most uplifting way. Limited performance but blended very well. 3.5/5.
14th August, 2017
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Fougère : Ambre & Lavande by Accord Parfait

Warm amber is the core note from ththe beginning. It is round, soft and pleasant, and lacks any significant harshness.

This persists long into the drydown, and after a while a lavender is added, blending in very nicely. This lavender also also is warm, soft and with little green characteristics. Occasionally, wihiffs if a restrainedly woodsy undertone are present too.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good, and the longevity splendid at close to eleven hours.

This composition is agreeable and warm, perfect for autumn overall. A bit simple, is is crafted well nonetheless. 3/5
13th August, 2017
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Zen by Oud Milano

A clean and fairly bright while floral mix determines the top notes - some muguet is there, and soon I get a gentle rose notes and, further down the track, a light and pleasant tuberose with virtually no waxiness.

There is a bright-ish modern powderiness to this overall very smooth composition, which is never overly sweet on me.

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

This house originally focused on cosmetics and body milks, and their first fragrances show that heritage. Smooth, nigh milky and not really strong, this spring creation is quite restrained, but it is not too generic and shows some development. Restrained and hence good for the office for someone who likes their scents discreet. Their shop in London's Oxford Street is very friendly and helpful. 3/5.
13th August, 2017
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Ishtar by Oud Milano

This is essentially a white-floral mix. Fairly bright, this is quite nonspecific, but a touch is muguet is a part of the mix.

There is a slightly citrus-lemon undertone present that adds freshness; at times whiffs of a very restrained miky flavor are also evident. Touches of geranium round it off.

I get very soft sillage, limited projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

Conceptually this might not be bad as a very discreet spring scent. Apart from it being a very linear creation and a bit too generic, it is the ultra-poor performance that is the main drawback here: in spite of liberal application, this is and remains a skin scent that, from beginning to the end, is extremely close to my skin. 2.5/5.
12th August, 2017
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Scarlet by Oud Milano

Did I just pick up a very diluted version of some Victoria's Secret product? Well, this one is not sweet enough for starters, but in the top notes it has a candy core that could be aimed at a similar target group of consumers.

After the first hour it suddenly collopses and vanishes into this air. Then, after a while it is resurrected as a smooth vanilla base mixes with a cinnamon sideline. Quite different from the beginning and again not too sweet - it is never intrusive or cloying.

Initially having moderate sillage and adequate projection, the second phase is a skin scent on me. As a matter of fact it is so close to my skin that my nose has to enter my bone marrow - metaphorically speaking - to appreciate it. The total longevity including the extremely weak later stage is seven hours.

Pleasant in autumn in warmer days, it is limited by its synthetic natures and the poor performance. 2.25/5.

11th August, 2017
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Castadiva by Oud Milano

The opening is a floral mix, with geranium mixed with coumarin resulting is a deep floral impression with a darkish undertone. Whiffs of transient hesperidic notes come and go.

In the drydown a slightly sweet incense notes is present, which is neither very spicy nor medicinal in character. A pleasant cinnamon with a slightly woodsy undertone develops, which grows in intensity over time until the end.

The whole has a rich texture, smooth and rounded.

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

This composition is good for cooler spring days or for warmer winter climes. It is well blended but loses its structure at times, with the main drawback being its rather synthetic nature. Overall 2.75/5.
10th August, 2017
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Chypre : Thé Noir & Bergamote by Accord Parfait

A dark and smoky black tea is lightened up by combining it with bergamot. This combination is a characteristic of Earl Grey, but this one is heavier a blend. This black tea has a lot of smokiness to it, but less tannins and less harshness as, for instance the opening of Bvlgaru Black, but is has definite bite - although it is a formula applied quite often.

Later on the tea nights becomes less dark and the smokiness is reduced gradually. Pleasant.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and five hours of longevity - not the best performance but nice, although with only the bergamot being part of the usual mix this is not really a chypre in the original sense of the word.

Overall a good start, but quite linear after the initial opening phase, and lack originality a bit. 2.75/5.
09th August, 2017
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No 1. Extreme by Aus Liebe zum Duft

The opening combines soft spicy accents - I get cardamom with hints of cinnamon with a slightly fresher dyad of orange and whiffs of mild ginger. The spices are never strong nor very intense, but they have a lighter character.

In the drydown wood notes are added, which are a bit generic at times. Touches of a slightly powdery jasmine undertone are also present at times. Additionally, further into the development there as is a very soft leathery note. This leather is restrained with no tannin or other harsher component on my skin.

A very gently musk impression arises towards the end, mainly white musk and not heavy at all.

The sillage is moderate with good projection and nine hours of longevity.

Warm and pleasant is this scent- and great for autumn. At times it is a bit too generic though, and follows rather well-trodden paths, but otherwise it is quite well-crafted and it performs well. 3/5.
07th August, 2017
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Sublime by Ajne

The core of this composition is a combination of vanilla and lemon, with mainly vanilla on my skin. For most of the time I am getting the vanilla, and as a vanilla it is very much average or less; is is quite generic.

Towards the end hints of a woodsy impression are present. Again, rather generic and uninteresting.

The sillage is poor, the projection not good either; it remains very close to my skin with a longevity of three hours.

Whilst I always say that everyone has try by themselves how a fragrance develops on their own skin, my experience with this autumnal scent is not satisfactory. Overall the notes are very dull on me. Combining this with the paltry performance, for which I cannot find any convincing excuse, the overall score is unsatisfactory. So sublime it is hardly noticeable at times. 1.5/5.
05th August, 2017
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Kitrea by Maria Candida Gentile

The beginning of this creation walks in the brighter side of olfactory life, with a bergamot blast that has a sight lemon tone added to it. A bit later a fruity undertone is added to this, a mixed fruit note without any strong sweetness - a bit like a fruit bowl filled with unripe fruit.

In the drydown a sweetish honeyed impression developes, and towards the end a slight whiff of a very generic amber arises briefly. The latter is rather thin and uninspiring. At times this nonetheless results in a nice balance.

I get soft sillage, limited projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

Not a bad spring creation, but a bit to generic and predictable most of the time. 2.75/5.
05th August, 2017
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Spice Bazaar by Nishane

In the opening Spice Bazaar by Nishane displays a fresh juniper, with ginger, which results in a brighter atmosphere than the later stages of the development. These top notes are quite nicely done.

The drydown is dominated by cedar, but this cedar is a little dull and generic on me. After a while the cedar is jones by a bright, gentle pepper-based incense and a soft, restrained cinnamon with vanilla. This restrainedly sweetish impression is a bit soso and does not develop into a convincing duo. The vanilla is a tad generic.

The performance is a bit disappointing, the sillage is moderate and the he projection limited, and I get three hours of longevity.

Not a bad autumnal scent, but a bit listless overall. With better performance the pleasant first part would warrant a positive score. 2.75/5.
04th August, 2017
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Majestic by Arabian Oud

Another oud-rose blend. Indeed; yet it is the oud that is truly the most important component of this creation. And this oud is well made: quite intensive, an oud of the smother veriety with minimal harshness with no pungent or faelcaloid characteristics. And it is not too intrusively synthetic, like most of the products of this current oud flood in the fragrance shelves of the department stores.

The rose is quite soft, not too dark and more on the elegant side; it is not very sweet on me.

Otherwise, the drydown adds woodsy and lighter incense notes, but this is never a heavy or thick composition.

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

A scent for warmer autumn days. 3.25/5.
03rd August, 2017
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Iris Poudre by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I get the iris fairly early on, after the slight orangey-bergamot citric opening blast rescinds. It is a dry iris that on me is never really sweet by it itself. It is characterised by a light and fresh contemporaneous powderiness that is never stuffy or crusty.

The drydown sees an enhancement of the floral core of this creation, mainly jasmin with while florals like magnolia, which are freshened up by a decent lashing of alhehydes - hence the comparisons with Chanel No.5.

The base sweetens gradually, with ylang-ylang and a fairly restrained tonka impression coming to the fore, underlined by a nonspecific amber-infused woodsiness. Still, the iris remains palpable until the end.

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

This spring scent is a lovely take on the iris theme, although at times a tad too predictable and several notches in quality below the great and incomparable Iris Gris. Still, one of this house's more memorable products. 3.5/5.
02nd August, 2017
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Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Of course the vetiver is there right from the start; is makes, after all, what maybe 70% of this creation is all about. This is a bright, open and straightforward vetiver.

It has slightly hesperidic undertones, and with times develops a tangy and slightly steely characteristic that grows stronger with time, but the vetiver accord remains dominant on me throughout.

One thing that I am not getting in this vetiver is earthiness or any darker shades. Woodsy impressions, at times with whiffs of gentle spiciness, hover in the background, but always remain in an accompanying function until the end.

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

This is a pleasant spring vetiver. Comparing with other major vetiver scents it lacks Molinard's power, depth and earthiness, it lacks the original Guerlain's complexity, the cleanness of Creed's Vetiver, the depth of Annick Goutal's and the somber rawness of Roja Dove's version. Still, although it might be too linear at times, as a bright and comparatively straight-out vetiver it is nice and agreeable. 3.25/5.
01st August, 2017
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Lipstick Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The title hits the nail on the head: creamy lighthearted lipstick, bright, a touch creamy and waxy; this is combined with a bright, fresh rose. The rose is neither green nor woody; as a matter of fact, there more of a fresh-ish and fruity than a woodsy character present in the rose. A splash of modern and unstuffy powderiness rounds off the top notes. Bright red lipstick comes to mind.

The drydown adds a pleasant violet component, which blends in well with the initial notes. Until now the sweetness is very restrained.

Later on it turn a bit sweeter, but still not very sweet, and it is never heavy or cloying. Vanilla and white musks combine to create a very light ambery tone towards the end.

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

A bright and youthful spring fun scent, quite playful and unencumbered by darker elements. Pleasant, but a times a bit too generic. Still, just good enough for a positive score. 3/5.
31st July, 2017
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French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The opening is quite original in its combination of angelica and vetiver, resulting in an aroma of wet leaves in a forest; the woodsy contribution by the cedar wood becomes increasingly more substantial further into the drydown. The vetiver's earthy touch adds another facet to this olfactory nature sketch.

Galbanum and patchouli arise in the later stages, and together with a gentle incense note in the background that dominate the base. The incense is mild, and only towards the end expresses a touch of a balsamic undertone, very discreetly only.

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

And autumnal daytime scent that is well-executed, displaying good structure and creative touches. 3.25/5.
30th July, 2017
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Ambra Calabria by Nishane

The opening is expressing mainly green notes; these green notes have quite a herbal undertone. There are light touches of bergamot present at times that tilt the top notes towards a certain freshness, although a restrained freshness - this is not a refreshing summer Cologne.

Galbanum in a substantial addition in the drydown, adding a touch of spiciness that is applied very light-handedly, as is the gentle amber impression that is the other notable addition in the heart notes. This all is linked with an overarching fine and discreet layer of jasmine.

All this continues into the base, which is not very distinctly separated from the heart except for the development of a rather unexciting vanilla. This scent is never really very sweet or cloying.

I get soft sillage, reasonable projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

Pleasant to some extent in spring, this is a light and very gentle amber creation, which is too generic to really warrant a positive score. 2.5/5.
29th July, 2017
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Duftblüten by Nishane

In the beginning there was mainly magnolia mixed with some osmanthus, in what results in a pleasant but somewhat predictable opening.

In the drydown later on more white florals are present. Around the same time, a soft light incense emerges. It is a brightish and gentle incense, which lasts into the base and mixes with the floral blend quite well.

I get soft sillage, adequate projection and six hours of longevity.

This is not an unpleasant creation and would be a suitable day scent for spring; it is never overly sweet or cloying. The name is apt givens its ingredients. On the other hand, it remains rather unexciting on my skin.

Overall not excelling very much beyond the average. 2.75/5.
28th July, 2017
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Myths Man by Amouage

The opening is a development of floral impressions, with a well-executed Chrysanthemun and an Iris; both compliment each other well but the Chrysanthemum dominates initially. This unusual duo plays together harmoniously; the result is only restrainedly sweet on me.

The drydown is characterised by labdanum rising, adding a crisp spiciness with a floral background remaining, which is mainly provided by a somewhat mediocre rose. Orris comes up here and there too, adding a darker herbal touch. The base provides a change of direction once more by creating a leather impression that is not particularly smoky and more on the smoother side.

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

A pleasant spring creation with good core notes especially at the beginning. The floral-spicy theme is not new but enriched here by some original touches. 3.25/5
27th July, 2017 (last edited: 31st July, 2017)
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Bigarade Concentrée by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Yup, summer, summer, summer. Orange/lemon with Bigarade-type bitter tartness but a touch softened. Very lean. Very refreshing. Very convincing. This phase lasts an hour.

The drydown exudes a dried grass aroma with woodsy undertones. Less exciting but pleasant.

I get moderate sillage initially, adequate projection and five hours of longevity on the skin, with most of it being very much a skin scent.

A typical Cologne. Less intense but tarter than Creed's Citrus Bigarrade and with a less interesting drydown, but overall with better longevity - the latter is very good for a summer Cologne. 3.5/5.
26th July, 2017
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Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The star here is the rose that greets me right from the word "go!" A rich rose, not bright and a bit in the sombre side. This rose is not very smooth, it is on the crisp side of the rose spectrum. It is not really sweet on me, and whatever sweetness I get is more from the geranium that is developing in the background.

Later, further into the drydown, it turns greener and harsher. Added in is an earthy undertone that derives from the vetiver, and a patchouli-induced spiciness is growing stronger in the base. There is a touch of black Perigord truffle indeed evident towards the end, with the spiciness having a touch of a civet character not dissimilar to the spiciness in Creed's Orange Spice.

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

A wintery scent with a nice rose, but the later makers are a bit too intrusively synthetic. Another rose-spice version, with a good rose though. Unfortunately, the other notes remain on the mediocre level only. Overall 2.75/5.
25th July, 2017
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Dans Tes Bras by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The opening is an unusual floral mix, based on a foundation of a herbal violet with jasmine in the background; this is perked up by touches of bergamot.

The drydown is sporting a synthetic sandalwood, which is a convincing as a synthetic sandalwood can be - and that is not very convincing at all. Attempts to at a rather dull spiciness cannot be said to be successful on my skin. Whatever the base adds in white musks does not raise my eyebrows either.

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

As fora daytime spring scent the opening is passable, although it is a bit in the weak side. The subsequent development remains thin and synthetic; the latter characteristic is not particularly unpleasant but that is all. Most of its ingredients are quite generic. 2.5/5.
24th July, 2017
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Monsieur. by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The patchouli is the be all and end all patchouli as for as the latter's dominance in the development is concerned. A patchouli that is terse, spicy but not very sharp - unlike Tom Ford's Purple Patchouli. It is neither a smooth nor a particularly sweet one either.

Fairly linear, moments of booziness alternate with phases of pleasant oriental spiciness with restrained hints of vanilla, without any civety characteristics on me.

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

As a strongly patchouli-centric winter scent, less harsh that the Tom Ford or the Le Labo version, it is a bit overly linear, but a good example of a fairly balanced, albeit an unexciting representative of this species. Great performance. Not bad overall. 3/5.
23rd July, 2017
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Une Fleur de Cassie by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The opening is a pleasant floral potpourri, with a nice jasmine in the foreground in my skin, accompanied by carnation and mimosa draped over a underlying carpet of a violet that blends in well as a backgound. This is a very agreeable start. The sweetness of this floral bouquet is quite restrained, which prevents it from suffocating the delightful
flowery top notes.

The drydown starts promising with a good rose impression, that assumes some fruity and aldehydic characteristics. This is less vivid and less intense than the beginning.

By the time the base notes with its mix of woods, tonka and white musky arise, they have become quite faint and are more shadows than real notes.

I get soft sillage, and adequate projection initially that gradually deteriorates, and five hours of longevity on me.

A spring daytime scent with a very commendable and satisfying, albeit not very original, beginning, which becomes increasingly anemic in intensity as well in the quality of the ingredients. Towards the end, it unfortunately has turned quite generic and lost structure. Overall 2.75/5.
22nd July, 2017
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Ormonde by Floris

This opening is traditional: jasmine - dominating the first minutes, and complemented by a somewhat bland rose, but soon overshadowed by the grand star of this performance - and what a performance - the oak moss. Natural, intensive, rich but crisp, full but on the harsh side, although the the harshnessIs never as grating as, for instance, in the great Gucci Nobile - Ormonde is a bit less in your face, but only a bit.

In the drydown there are variations in the development: a great and convincing fern impression Is added - how much more chypre can a scent get? The mossy mixture then takes on a transiently greener turn, with a grassy character.

The base develops a pleasant musky undertone, but until the end the oakmoss is dominantly in the foreground, fading out very slowly.

The performance is thundering: strong sillage, excellent projection and a tremendous, astronomical longevity of seventeen hours on my skin! Unbelievable.

This is a wonderful classic fougère that is made for spring, with less emphasis on the floral side but nonetheless well balanced. The oak moss is of amazing quality, one of the best I have come across for a long time. A masterpiece form Floris. 4/5
20th July, 2017
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Modern Muse by Estée Lauder

The top note is a somewhat nonspecific floral impression with a slightly orangey touch. It has some fresh-ish moments though.

The drydown develops the floral theme further. A somewhat faint honeysuckle combines with a fairly perfunctory tuberose; all this is given some depth by a pleasant jasmine note that is the dominant component at that stage of the development.

The base, with a bit more sweetness as the earlier phases but never cloying, is centred around vanilla and a woodsy undertone. An agreeable white musky impression is present and, with the vanilla, prominent towards the end.

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

This spring scent is quite pleasant at times, but at times outright boring. The jasmine is quite nice, but overall the whole mix never really develops on me into a convincing whole. Most of the ingredients are rather generic and anaemic on my skin. 2.5/5.
19th July, 2017
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Sensuous by Estée Lauder

The jasmine in the opening, the most predominant of the florals in the opening, is embedded in a white-floral feel. Pleasant, but it seems to be attenuated, nigh suppressed on my skin, as is a veil of fog is draped over these floral fields

The heart notes add a woodsy undertone with slightly sweet whiffs of cinnamon and vanilla, which are very restrained though.

The floral notes are nigh evaporated now, whilst the base injects an aroma of honey in the backgound.

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

Not bad as a spring scent, but alas it never takes off in my skin, even at the beginning that is its strongest part. Overall a bit too generic too convince. 2.75/5.
18th July, 2017