Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

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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
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Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

This opening blast is quite something! Burning smoky rubber, leather, hints of latex, some benzoin with resinous birchtar - a delightful blend of rough smoky leather. At that stage the amber is more like a backdrop on this dramatic olfactory canvas.

The core principle underlying the development of the drydown is: lose the rough edges gradually, introduce a floral component, mainly iris, and see the amber increase in intensity and its presence over time gradually. Over time this turns into a warm, glowing and smooth amber, which dominates the base and peters out gradually.

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

The first stage is very convincing, albeit of less high quality than, for instance, Knize Ten, and with a somwhat contrived leather impression, but nonetheless well crafted. The later stages with the amber in the centre of their development are also lovely, but a bit more linear. Overall a rather nice product. 3.5/5.

18th January, 2017
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Jubilation 25 by Amouage

The opening notes, a brightish rose with ylang-ylang, davana and a hesperidic touch, are pleasant and well balanced with their sweetness that is not too heavy. The drydown adds whiffs of incense, tarragon and a slightly herbal cistus undertone.

The base adds a bit of a somewhat nondescript fruitiness, vetiver, but is also characterised by a very soft myrrhe compenent that is intertwined with a fairy generic soft patchouli.

I get moderate sillage, strong projection and eleven hours of longevity on my skin.

Thr first half of this autumnal creation, good especially for evenings, is dense and intensive, whilst the later parts are a touch less vivid and duller. Overall a nice creation and not without interesting ideas, and performing extremely well. 3.5/5.
17th January, 2017
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Vanille Tonka by Nicolaï

This vanilla-tonka dyad is the golden thread and core of this composition, enriched ny undertones if mandarine and orange flower that balance out the vanilla sweetness. Interestingly, whilst clearly sweet, this one in never sticky or cloying on my skin; it is endowed with a touch of slimness and elegance.

This opening mix sheds the citrus is the drydown, in order to replace it with a smooth and gentle frankincense, with a veil of a mildly honeyed cinnamon veil draped over it. With time the tonka - admixed with whiffs of the incense - wins out and becomes more dominant until the end.

The sillage is moderate, the projection is excellent and the longevity is a stupendous thirteen hours on my skin.

This scent for warmer winter days is smooth and comforting whilst never being heavy. During the first half is remains a bit too restrained and too thin, but with times it becomes more intensive. Whilst not ultra-creative, it is solidly made, some ingredients are of high quality, and the overall impression is on the positive side - but with a wafer-thin margin. 3.25/5.
16th January, 2017
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Rock Crystal by Olivier Durbano

A hersperidic undertone is combined with layers of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cistus and cumin - the result is crisp, mineralic composition, with an peppery incense, not too ceremonial and with a touch of smokiness, but overall a bright, tart and acrylic mix. Creative and convincing.

The drydown, however, only brings out small and nuanced developments, like floral tones, touches of pencil shavings and, later on, a slant of the incense towards the less peppery and towards a myrrh impression.

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

This scent for warmer autumn days is original and well crafted. Whilst being somewhat underwhelming and a tad too synthetic in the later stages, and being a touch linear in spite of its formidable complexity, this creation incorporates original touches and ideas. 3.25/5.
15th January, 2017
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Barbara Bui by Barbara Bui

The warm ambery incense with the woodsy cedary undertone define the core character of this creation.

This develops in quite a gourmand-style fragrance. Down the track a soft white musk is added, and from then on the character changes very little, until it peters out gradually towards the end.

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

A soft, warm and comforting wintery scent, which is very pleasing but a touch overly synthetic. Additionally, it is a bit too generic and predictable. Not bad, though. 2.75/5.
14th January, 2017
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Orris Noir by Ormonde Jayne

The bergamot and the iris notes blend in with the davana essence to a pleasant, fresh-floral opening with a slightly boozy incense touch topping it off.

The drydown adds more incense with a slight slant towards a whiff of myrrh, and a soft and somewhat dull patchouli arises in the base together with a somewhat bland woodsy undertone; in the Coda of this olfactory symphony the balsamic undercurrent echoes until the end.

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

A pleasant spring composition, with a nice opening with a creative touch that is followed by a less convincing end game. Overall - just - a thumbs-up. 3/5.
13th January, 2017
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Tolu by Ormonde Jayne

The opening is a delight: whilst the juniper berry is not really top-notch - this is no Baie de Genievre - together with the sage, lily-of-the-valley and the orange blossom this quartet results is a pleasant mélange that is not without an original twist. In the drydown the floral is strengthened by a pleasant and fairly bright rose impression. The base is clearly dominanted by its - at times a bit bland - ambery core, combined with vanilla - not too intense or sweet - and the tolu, which on my skin is neither overly resinous not particularly spicy.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity eleven hours overall; the last hours are very close to my skin.

A lovely spring creation, with attempts of originality resilting in a well crafted creation that is, however, mainly due to the somewhat generic base constituents, less interesting towards the end. In the end: just barely a postive score based on its opening. 3/5.
12th January, 2017
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Anné Pliska by Anné Pliska

Fresh bergamot with mandarin to start off with, but soon morphing into a floral heart note set, with geranium and whiffs of oleander setting the tone in the drydown. In the second part of the drydown the amber develops, and a vanilla - well balanced and not to sweet - teams up with a soft patchouli to constitute and restrainedly gourmand-ish base.

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

Whilst a tad unoriginal overall, This spring scent is executed well and performs well. Pleasant. 3/5.
12th January, 2017
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Old Windsor Eau De Cologne by Crabtree & Evelyn

This creation, which I sampled courtesy of a colleague, starts with a bright and cheery citrusy mix of top notes. There is bergamot, a bitter orange and a verbena untertone, although there is a salty tanginess in the background. This whole olfactory potpourri develops into an overall impression with a petit grain quality, and is on my skin refreshing and pleasant overall.

The drydown gradually looses the fresh and zesty characteristics of the opening phase, and, heralded by a nice lavender aroma, makes the turn to the woodsy and greenish side. The wood is somewhat non-specific, retains elements saltiness for a while, adopting vetiver-root-like elements and has whiffs of a soft patchouli added to it.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity nine hours on me.

A pleasant and refreshing summer daytime scent, not too synthethic in its presentation, with a second phase of a more woodsy nature. Try before you buy. 3/5.
12th January, 2017
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24, Faubourg by Hermès

The top notes are very floral, a lovely iris, with slight iris stem undertones, in the foreground. Soon a discrete jasmine is added in. The floral opening has a rich, traditional character with just a touch of a boudouir-style vibe.

This continues well into the drydown, but the restrained sweetnes of the opening phase is intensified by a tonka impression, which blends in discretely with the floral notes. There is a touch of waxiness present.

The base sees the sweetness gradually waning, with a very subtle transient woodsy spiciness making an appearance.

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

Well blended indeed, this lovely floral spring scent with a twist is nice for evenings and never too sweet or cloying. 3.25/5.
10th January, 2017
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Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé by Hermès

The opening serves the amber striaght up fromtnon my skin, a warm amber, laced with flavoured tobacco. This tobacco is soft and fruity, as if indeed stemming from the vapour of a water pipe. For a change, here the name describes the fragrance accurately.

Soon the drydown grows more complex: fruity tones, mainly gently spiced fried apple, mix with a honeyed almond, and cinnamon is added in too. The tobacco grows weaker with time.

Towards the base the fruity components grow weaker, as does the amber, and what remains is the almond-cinnamon gourmand side, still rich and lovely, and gradually waning.

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

This autumnal delight starts off emphasising the title notes, but with time morphs into a delicious gourmand too. Nothing extraordinary, but not without original twists, performing very well and based on good workmanship. 3.5/5.
09th January, 2017
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L'Ambre des Merveilles by Hermès

Amber, labdanum for initial crispness, a soft patchouli and vanilla - quite linear on my skin with limited development.

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

Not bad at all but a tad too straight and, whilst quite a rich autumn scent it is just too predictable. 2.75/5


08th January, 2017
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Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

This has one of those unique openings - chamomille tea, hints of bergamot, and a darkish rich rose with a good lashing of bitterness courtesy of the dyad of coriander and of an oakmoss, which in the days of pre-IFRA diktats was the real thing - with a few olfactoric brushstrokes a masterful - or mstresful - opening is created. Unmistakbale.

In the drydown we are talking floral business, which infuses the darker, harsh and intense opening notes with white florals - I get mainly lily-of-the-valley and a sweetish ylang-ylang, with jasmine and a very discrete carnation also present. The base adds a darkish patchouli that is not too harsh with touches of sandalwood, and it ends on a warm and well rounded herbacious woody-floral note.

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

The original version is a complex and formidable classic, an iconic scent for cooler evenings, and nowadays it is still very respectable indeed. 3.75/5.
07th January, 2017
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CB Musk by CB I Hate Perfume

The opening is surprisingly fresh for what is a darker type of musk. There is a whiff of castoreum draped over what is quite a sweetish mixture of top notes. The musk has definite civety-animalistic characeteristics, but compared to Khoublaï Khan and to Musc Ravageur it is a tad less savage and less wild.

The drydown looses the fresher components, and the musk now reigns supreme. Darker, sweetish and rich, it gradually loses the animalistic characteristics, although this is never a particularly egregiously skanky blend on my skin at the best of times. In the base the musk is quite gentle, fading out gradually.

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

This is a well-balanced and delightfully blended winter musk. The ingredients are of excellent quality, and whilst the dark and wild side has been smoothened out somewhat and it is a bit linear at times, it is a definite must to try out for the musk-lover. 3.5/5.
06th January, 2017
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L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris

Even in the modern version there is the mossy neroli freshness present, but with with the synthesisation the oakmoss note is flatter, simpler but still pleasant. The overall mix in the top notes is quite unique, interesting, albeit not very complex.

The drydown brings a more richer and less mossy-crisp mix of amber and woodsy notes, with a white musk undertone also present. A pleasant vanilla-derived very restrained sweetness develops, but the vanilla aroma as such never really takes off on my skin in the newer version.

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

In the original version this was a delightful and creative chypre-neroli for spring with a musky twist. After IFRA-induced reformulation and synthetic contamination it still keeps an combination of quite original top notes, but the masterful simplicity of the original formulation is now changed to a somewhat predictable and duller synthetic drydown. For the current formulation it is hence only a 3/5. The solution is to find the vintage version.
05th January, 2017
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Musc Intense by Nicolaï

The name of this composition is possibly confusing, as the musk remains in the background throughout, and, at least on my skin, is more light and restrained than in any way intense.

Nevertheless, there is this very light white musk, synthetic of course, but not unpleasantly so, and also a bright musk it is. So the first word in the name is not put there without some justification.

The central experience here, however, is that if a floral drydown. Central is the rose, a lovely, quite natural sommer rose that is more on the bright side whilst not at all being a lightweight note. This rose co-operates nicely with a gentle violet, which is accompanied by a white carnation and, in the backgound, whiffs of oleander and jasmine. For the last 2/3 of the development the white musk is merely the canvas on which the white floral bouquet is displayed.

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

A white light and elegant floral spring creation with a thin gossamer-like layer of light white musk delicately spread over it. Pleasant, but nothing exceptional. The rose - just - pushes it across the line into thumbs-up territory. 3/5.
04th January, 2017
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Jovan Musk for Men by Jovan

Reviewing the vintage formulation:

A fresh, lemon-cum-mint dyad combines with white musk in the opening blast. Very agreeable.

In the drydown floral elements come to the fore, including lavender and a restrainedly sweet carnation, with the latter being stronger on my skin and with a green whiff present at times.

In the base the floral and citrus elements evaporate and make place for a woodsy impression, with the misk gradually fading into the backgound, but with a gery discrete light and bright soapiness in the background towards the end.

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

This musk creation is purely based on white musk and throughly void of any dark or animalistic characteristics. Whilst the latest version might be a bit blander, in its original beauty, whilst nothing special, it is a pleasantly summery white musk, and one of those as nice as white musks can be in this league. 3.25/5.

03rd January, 2017
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Musc Impérial by Atelier Cologne

The fruity opening phase, with a slightly herbal twist, soon gives way to a floral stage, with a rather weak lavender combining with a faint fig and a light white musk note. The musk is sweetish, discrete and in the last coupe of hours adopts a woody undertone.

The sillage is weak, the projection limited and the longevity seven hours on my skin.

Like white musks go with their synthetic nature, here it fits in well with the other somewhat colourless and weak constituents of this composition that is apt for spring days. It is a pleasant scent all right, but nothing more that really entices me. Maybe it is one of those hotel fragrances that wants to please all guests and hence remains limited to timid shallowness. 2.5/5.
02nd January, 2017
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Alpha Musc by Soivohle (Liz Zorn)

In the opening blast it displays quite a convincing musk: musky, some faecaloid undercurrent, and a tinge of a nigh-ambergris-like saltiness; the latter takes on an incense character over time.

The drydown adds an ambery woodsy twist, and towards the end it has morphed into a pleasant woody impression. For the second half the musk is hardly palplable.

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

An attempt to create a darker musk that is not bad at all, although only the first part does its name real justice. Good for wintery times, and with the god performance worthy of a positive score, albeit just. 3/5.
02nd January, 2017
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Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

Initially a very short-lived hesperidic undertone is present, but soon the musky side takes over. It is a rather balanced musk note, darkish but not too sinister, musky but with a less faecaloid slant than, for instance, Khoublaï Khan.

Towards the end whiffs of cardamom with a slightly salty tinge are added. The musk is a touch brighter now, less harsh and much softer.

The sillage is strong, the projection excellent and the longevity a splendid twelve hours.

A well-composed musk, less savage that Khoublaï Khan and somewhat less dark than Kiehl's beautiful Musk. Great for winter. 3.5/5.
31st December, 2016
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White Musk by Montale

The white musk is clean, not smelling too synthetic and and well made. It has a clean laundry-type character which at times is enhanced by a fresh and very light contemporary powderiness.

In the drydown there are hints of white floral undertones, but in spite of the floral input this is never really a very sweet mix.

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

Overall this is a light white musk that is suitable for cooler summer days, fresh and clean but rather linear and a bit too monochrome. 2.75/5.
30th December, 2016
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Musc for Him by Narciso Rodriguez

This is an interesting one. It opens with a slightly fresh-fruity notes, with the iris gradillay developing on the way into the drydown. The fruity, at times cranberry-esque aroma that is present in the toop notes is also on the fresh side.

At times a castoreum-like tanginess is present, at times whiffs of cumin come and go.

Gradually a white musk kicks in, whilst the other components fade into the background over time.

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

Unexpectedly restrained, a fairly well-balanced spring scent, a bit linear at times but overall well-blended with an original touch. A fairly discrete musk creation. 3.25/5.
29th December, 2016
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Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

Now this is a musk! The opening starts with a mix of fresh cistus and a crisp castoreum; soon a faecaloid and rebellious civet appears and provides the core of this creation. This is a convincing musky-civety note, and although it appears to have lost edginess and darkness over the years since it has been released. Still, skanky enough to impress, at least in the opening phase.

In the drydown a pleasant rose appears, but it never goes beyond a mere accompnying rôle. The musk mellows, softens, a change that is supported by a surprisingly smooth patchouli. The faecaloid top notes undergo metamorphic change into a more pleasant, civil and nigh elegant composition.

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

A classic, paradigmatic musk creation for winter days, well blended and of good quality ingredients. A musky must for the musk lover. 3.75/5.

Le Musk de Serge
28th December, 2016
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Wūlóng Chá by Nishane

Top notes are bergamot, orange, litchi and mandarin orange; middle notes are tea and nutmeg; base notes are musk and fig.
The opening and most of the time there is a dominant tea note present. It is a bright, light, ethereal Darjeeling-style tea with hints of bergamot.

In some facets reminds me of a mix of Gucci Pour Homme II, but with some added characteristics of Earl Grey, especially with the added layer of bergamot.

In the early drydown there is orange added, and and a whiff of fig is added towards the end. The latter does, however, only add a modicum of sweetness to the whole mix.

On my skin the sillage is soft, the projection limited and the longevity is six hours. Still, a nice spring tea scent. 3/5
27th December, 2016