Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

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parfums*PARFUMS Series 4 Cologne: Anbar by Comme des Garçons

The opening is in the classic summer cologne style: refreshing lemon and bergamot together with a mandarine-orangey citrus core - roll on sun and blue skies!

The drydown sees the citrus notes evaporate, but on me the bergamot lingers for a number of hours, extending the fresh component beyond what I would normally expect from a summer cologne. That said, the drydown is dominated by a white musk, which at times is undelined by whiffs of a very subtle spice note. Here arises the amber that gives this creation its name, and that grows ever more prominent as we are heading towards the base notes. During the last couple of hours this amber is just a tad on the discretely sweet side, with the amber constituting the gradually fading finale.

The sillage is soft overall, the projection very good, and the longevity eight hours.

An uncomplicated summer cologne with performance-boosting
and longevity-enhancing ambery extension - a nice idea. 3.25/5.

07th December, 2016
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Scent by Costume National

The amber is at the core of this creation, but is is unusual in that it is a light and pleasant amber; warm but quite restrained. On my skin it lacks any darkness, harshness or smokiness, and I do not get any incense either, unlike in many other amber-centric products.

In the drydown the floral side breaks through, with hibiscus, frangipani and whiffs of samphire on me. At times a very discrete jasmine is hovering in the background. All this is accompanied by an overarching veil of a tea impression; think slightly milky darjeeling that is mildly sweetened. Towards the end the floral basket moves into the foreground and peters out gradually.

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

Amongst the amber-dominated fragrances, this is one of the more unobtrusive one. Perfect for a warm and sunny autumn day, its restrained nature makes it a good choice if one wants to wear and amber scent to the office. Very pleasant; a bit lacking vibrancy and vividness at times. 3/5.
06th December, 2016
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Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

An amber with a herbal undertone - that is my first impression here. The next constituent I get is a woodsy note, mainly a restrained sandal initially, then cedar and a mild rose impression. So far this is not a heavy scent, but it is not a lightweight either - of medium heaviness but on the brighter side of the spectrum.

Towards the base this becomes richer, darker and sweeter. This is mainly due to added tonka - sweetness - and a soft patchouli with benzoin - darkness with a touch of smokiness.

Additionally, at the later stages I get a discrete powderiness, which is added light-handedly and is neither stuffy nor heavy.

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

At times lacking complexity and not super-original, this scent works well on warmer autumn days, is blended in a balanced fashion and interesting enough to deserve a positive score -just. 3/5.
05th December, 2016
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Moroccan Amber by Nest

The amber that gives this creationnits name is indeed the lynchpin on this product's development, but is entials a couple of interesting twists: A fresh bergamot is added, as is an initially strong and dominant eucalyptus. This eucalyptus has, at least initially, a strongly medicinal flavour, and blends in well with the bergamot-amber dyad. Well done.

Later on added nuances include a soft patchouli with a gentle incense and transient whiffs of a nutmeg-like impression; all this fades out slowly towards the end, with the ambery remaining present in the background like the idée fixe in the Symphonie Fantastique.

On my skin the performance is very convincing, with moderate sillage, excellent projection and twelve hours of longevity.

For a warmer autumn day, this is a pleasant and well-blanced compsition, not heavy and with a couple of original twists, including the eucalyptus note that vanishes later in the drydown. A Koala's delight. 3.5/5
04th December, 2016
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Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Yes, from beginning to end amber is indeed the core impression of this creation and runs through it from beginning to end like a golden thread. What strikes me in the opening phase is the lively and lovely bergamot, which adds a fresh side tonthe amner, resulting in an inusual brightening of the ambery top note.

The drydown sheds the fresher component and adds richer and sweeter tones, with cinnamon, tonka, a light touch of fleeting incense and hints of caramel that are well placed, resulting in an admirably balanced result. This amber-centric composition is always more on the elegant than on the thickly-cloying side, even with a restrainedly resinous undertone.

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

An amber scent well suited for warmer autumn days, well balanced and made with a touch of creativity, albeit, like the design of the bottle, more on the linear side. 3.5/5.
03rd December, 2016
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Mirra (Myrrh) by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Myrrhe galore! With amber!

Myrrhe from begonning to end. It is a lovely herbal note, at times with hints of a woodsy undertone, and combined with an amber impression that is impressive indeed.

What pervails throughout is the myrrhe-amber duo. At times a whiffs of woods are added, with a soft and restrained smoky-powdery undertone that sometimes also expressed mildly resinous characteristics.

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

At times this autumnal scent is a bit linear, nut otherwise it is very impressive. This is mainly due to the beautiful quality of the first-class natural ingredients, which are well-blended. A great example of a myrrhe-amber creation. 3.75/5.
02nd December, 2016
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Monogram Collection : Myrrh Casati by Mona di Orio

The opening mixes the eponymous myrrhe with a mandarin and a floral lotus impression - and it does that very well. A rich myrrh, it is nicely balanced by its citrus sidekick, very nicely indeed.

Later on he amber arises - not very dark an amber it is - and light brushings of a sweetish raisinous undertone also present. Bitter almond is also features here, with a pleasantly smoky undertone. The base adds gentle spices, just a dash of white pepper added to this olfactory menu. Hints of white musks come and go throughout the latter stages.

I get strong sillage, excellent projection and a brilliant longevity - fourteen hours on my skin.

One of the convincing myrrhe creations, more concentrated than, for instance, Annick Goutal's Myrrhe Ardente, this is a spring creation made of high-quality ingredients and very well blended whilst being a performance powerhouse on me. Maybe a bit lacking in complexity towards the end, it is otherwise a convincing testimony to the quality of this house, whose founder died so tragically. 3.75/5
01st December, 2016
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La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens

The opening is a sheer delight: a mandarine-citrus combined with the herbal myrrhe aroma and a floral undertone of lotus and whiffs of magnolia - beautifully balanced and resulting in an original mixture, which combines citrus with herbal and floral lines.

In the drydown amber comes to the fore. A pleasant and soft ambery impression together with a light powdery note develops, which, together with an aldehydic undertone, remains present like an overarching veil cast over the main olfactory stage for most of this composition's development. A light sandalwood, at times displaying a honeyed raisinous sweetness, is counterbalanced by a more traditional jasmine.

The later stages keep the amber, and white musk with gentle spices are added and gradually fade towards the latter phases, with the powdery theme continuing until the end.

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

Beautifully blended and creatively composed, with only the base being a bit linear, this scent is well suitable for spring and autumn, and makes an especially good evening scent that works also for the day. 3.75/5
30th November, 2016
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Blue Amber by Montale

The eponymous amber strikes me from the beginning, but this is quite an unusual amber note: neither heavy nor resinous, it a lightness and brightness that is quite unusual, and that is owed to a restrained bergamot and some hesperidic undertones.

In the drydown an light, unobtrusive powdery imoression is added; this is not a rich traditional barbershop powderiness, but it is more of the lighter and mire elegant version. Here I also get some coriander with a few woodsy notes mixed in, adding depth and richness to the amber.

The base adds an - again restrainedly - sweet - vanilla aroma together with a soft patchouli that is intertwined with whiffs of white musk.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and a splendid twelve hours from this creation.

Nothing extraordinary here, but a nice springtime re-interpretation of the traditionally darker and harsher ambery approach. At the border between neutral and positive, this is pushed across the line due the pleasant and somewhat unconventional approach towards the creation of an amber note, and by its impressive longevity. Less intensive and less intrusive than other products of the same house. 3/5.
29th November, 2016
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Infinito by Nobile 1942

Wood is the word at the start - an attractive cypress that is interwoven with a well-made bergamot,
like a breeze that moves the twigs of the tree gently and refreshingly - quite a nice opening.

In the drydown we walk deeper into the forest with the addition of a cedar impression. The woody dominance is softened by an underlying floral carpet, mainly geranium, which provides for some lightness and playfulness amongst the shadows of the trees.

The later development turns out to be a bit unexciting. The base is being ruled by a dyad of patchouli and a white musk, which are still reasonably pleasant but less vivid and tad flat compared with the first half of the development of this composition.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and eleven hours of longevity in my skin - not infinito but very impressive nonetheless.

A lovely spring creation, not too sweet or heavy, whose slightly weaker base is compensated by its excellent performance. 3.25/5.
25th November, 2016
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Eau d'Elysee by Pierre Balmain

Peach and bergamot are the two prominent notes that greet me from the start. And it surprises me rather pleasantly how well they work together - the peachy sweetness is counterbalanced by the tart freshness of the bergamot.

The drydown sees the commencement of the addition of a light powderiness. I mean that this is not a stuffy heave and cloying boudoir powderiness, nor do I get a distinct barbershop undertone. This powderiness is discrete with a nigh-fresh character. It is lovely and remains present on my skin, with variable intensity, until the end.

During the second half of the development this scent changes considerably: the fruitiness becomes a bit sweeter, and develops a cinnamon impression and is combined with an overripe characeristic that, at times, reminds me of the aroma of fresh raisin toast. This blends in well with the overarching powdery aroma and they fade out gracefully towards the end.

The sillage on the soft side, the projection adequate and the longevity six hours.

This is a well blended and delicate spring creation, whose sweetness is classically restrained and balanced very well. The longevity is just acceptable, but the performance is limited otherwise. Lovely overall 3.25/5.
25th November, 2016
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Secret Charm by Victoria's Secret

The prominent impression throughout is the honeysuckle - it is fairly typical and quite well done as far as I can ascertain on my skin. The next component I can detect is a faint jasmine, which evaporates rather quickly and is rather transient in nature.

At times a fruity undertone is present, and it gets stronger with time. The floral and the fruity components work together quite well.

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

This spring scent is structured very plainly and is rather linear, but the ingredients, synthetic for sure, are quite well composed and it does not reek of the excessively synthetic characteristics and the sickly sweetness that characterise this house most of the time. This deserves a - just - positive score. For VS less is more in this case. 3/5.
25th November, 2016
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Total Attraction by Victoria's Secret

A distinct orchid aroma is what I get from the outset, and it is not that unpleasant. Soon an underlying fruity component is present, and on my skin that is mainly a hint towards a cherry impression. In the later drydown a lily blossom develops, with a concurrent diminishing of the fruity side.

Towards the and the lily prevails most dominantly; this composition ends in a floral note.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and four hours of longevity on me.

This is clearly a rather synthetic spring scent, but it lacks the intrusive ultra-sweet candy sweetness that is the, at times nauseating, hallmark of so many products of this brand. This one is quite wearable and one of the better products of this brand. 2.25/5.
25th November, 2016
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Midnight Mass by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

The opening with its softly glowing incense is curious: it has a festive-ceremonial undertone, but lack any serene pompousness. Festivity in a manger? Not bright, more in the somber side but at the same time not really dark at all.

The drydown adds a warm, nutty and buttery creaminess, whilst maintaining the incense all the time. The base adds woodsy undertones, with cedar and whiffs of teakwood.

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

A Christmas-night-inspired ultra-smooth creation that is superbly blended but with the dominant incense being too linear at times. 3.25/5.
20th November, 2016
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Amber Rose by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

The start is a rich rose, a darkish Damascene; I use the term 'darkish' for there are bright components it is too, so it is not a brooding note; it has elegance and brightness to it too.

Over time the rich and velvety character of this rose is delveloping nonetheless. An additional crispness is provided by castoreum, but this is not an extra add-on to mellow or counteract the rose, but it merges with, or better sub-merges into the rose absolutely seamlessly. At times a whiff of wood, with just a touch of a nigh oud-like very gentle spiciness, makes a brief appearance.


From the drydown on the other main player is evident: a gorgeous, sweetish, rich and gleaming amber. This amber lacks any sharpness, it is of glistening smoothness and, again, seamlessly integrates with the other parties in this olfactory performance.

I get strong sillage, excellent projection and a stupendous fourteen hours of longevity on my skin.

A delightful, intense and warm winter composition, beautifully blended, but towards the end a bit linear and less scintillating. The supreme quality of the ingredients, especially that of the delicious natural rose, is beyond doubt. 3.75/5
15th November, 2016
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Samsara by Guerlain

The Vintage Parfum:
The ylang-ylang hit me from the start, but soon the jasmine clamours for my attention, and it is this jasmine that comes to the fore. It forms the core note for most of the duration of this development.

The drydown adds a lovely sandalwood, which blends in very smoothly with the jasmine. A white floral undertone adds discrete sweetness, which later is affirmed by the addition of iris and whiffs of violet.

The base is a bit sweeter still, owing to a very soft tonka being added in, but the whole is never thick or cloying in my skin.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and nine hours of longevity, but for the last four hours it is very close to my skin.

A gorgeous spring scent of sublime beauty, exuding elegance and refinement, but a touch too linear at times. It is crafted of natural ingredients of the highest quality. 3.75/5.
14th November, 2016
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Mon Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

The evident apple-berry opening construed on a a rather dull bergamot foundation leads to a jasmine-peony-muguet-centred floral drydown. The base develops an ambery musky core accord, with an ultra-generic patchouli towards the end.
A laboratory-derived candy sweetness permeates it all.

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

Synthetic, generic, not particularly original. Mediocrity veering towards the negative side of the scale. 2/5
12th November, 2016
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Midnight by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

A nice floral opening centred around a primrose oil impression and an undertone of oleander, petunia and gladiola. The base has a woodsy core, mainly cedar.

The sillage is soft, the projection adequate and the longevity six hours on my skin.

A pleasant scent, nickely done but performing poorly on my skin.
12th November, 2016
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Incensi by Lorenzo Villoresi

The opening introduces us to incense firm the worked "go" - but this in not the usual type in incense: neither dark nor ceremonial, it is bright - citrus notes with a large splash of ginger carry the bright freshness, supported by a lovely bergamot. Later on, this freshness is tampered by the restrained sweetness of a cinnamon impression, with a good labdanum adding touches of tangy crispness. At times, a whiffs of a leathery smokiness are in the air.

After some hours it takes a turn towards the harsher side of things: with a nigh burning leathery harshness that reminds me of the eternal Cuir de Russie by Creed, which also combines this with citrus top notes. Woodsy undertone with opoponax and a styrax that, surprisingly, lack a significant waxy component are fleshing out the base further, to slowly peter out under a gently woodsy veil until the end.

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

This is a complex autumnal creation of high beauty, exceeding well blended of high-quality ingredients and quite original - an incense composition that is bright and elegant whilst being complex and colourful. 3.75
11th November, 2016
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Araucária by L'Occitane

This pine wood opening is derived from the pin tries typically found in Southern Brazil. They are different from the Mediterranean pine trees - more gently and fresh wood impression with at times whiffs of a nigh-fruity character. The drydown becomes increasingly more focused on the wood note and becomes increasingly less intense until is goes away at the end.

The sillage is moderate, the projection good, and I get four hours of longevity on my skin.

A pleasant scent for warm autumn days, lacking intensity somewhat and rather linear, but pleasant. 2.75/5.
10th November, 2016
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Odoon by Pekji

The opening phase is a wood-fest, with a gently spicy undertone. Over time I get mainly cedarwood, but various other varietals coming and going, including hints of crispness, but no agarwood. In the drydown some floral whiffs, inter alia a soft and dark patchouli as well as violet with a herbal undertones, are also present.

Other facets of this very nice development is a fairly constant spiciness, variable in prominence and net very strong. Additionally, especially in the second half, the otherwise dry woodsiness is accompanied by a dark but fairly unobtrusive resinous undertone, but I get neither a waxy nor a powdery undertone.

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

A wood-lovers' autumnal delight, well structured and nicely blended. 3.25/5.
10th November, 2016
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Eau d'Iparie by L'Occitane

The opening blast presents a warm mix of labdanum, rose and a slightly sweetish spicy undertone - with a glowing warmth but nonetheless with hints of crispness owing to the labdanum and added touches of patchouli.

In the drydown a herbal character emanates, and now the myrrhe develops, although the latter never really dominates - this is no Myrrhe Ardente. This is accentuated by a pleasant incense undertone, which is never intrusive or cloying; this incense trends a touch towards the restrainedly ceremonial but is devoid of any campherous or medicinal characteristics on my skin. Towards the base the sweetness is a bit more prominent, albeit not in one's face but more discrete, and this all peters out very slowly.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and seven hours of longevity - but for the last couple of hours it remains very close to my skin.

A lovely autumnal creation, with a nicely done and rich entrée with good touches of originality, and a drydown that is more restrainedly gentle but pleasant, albeit close to my skin towards the end. 3.25/5.
08th November, 2016
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Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

The Vintage Parfum:
The top notes are a mixture of hesperidic impressions, a delicious narcissus and a slightly bitter galbanum; with the latter with a whiff of booziness. The result is a unique impression, where to restrained sweetness of the floral side, the galbanum and the hesperidic freshness are complimenting each other most beautifully.

In the drydown a herbal undertone emerges, with an added gentle oakmoss tartness veering towards a chypre tilt, although there is only a minimal amount of lavender present here; there is more of an iris input evident at this stage.

The base, finally, develops the Guerlinade, which is superimposed on a wood-vanilla dyad that is combined with a smooth ambery aroma. The powderiness is in the backgound initially, but is grows stronger gradually, to become the dominant component during the last hours. On the brighter side, traditional but never stuffy, and with only limited barbershop characeristics, this powderiness is most delightful. It blends in very well with an unobtrusive tonka that detect in the base, an which at stages has a gently spicy undertone - a very discrete spiciness without any pomp or ceremony.

The sillage is moderate, and projection very good and the longevity an excellent ten hours on me, although after after the first four hours it remains very close to my skin.

A grand spring creation, very unique in the base, traditional but original, composed of ingredients of the highest quality that are blended exquisitely. Some limited performance issues are noted, but they are not taking way from the delicious overall result. 4.25/5.
07th November, 2016
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Intimately Beckham Men by Beckham

A well designed combination of floral components, cardamom and bergamot on a citrusy background greets me in
the opening blast. Is is well balanced between the fresh and the restrainedly spicy sides, and the overly impression is that of a nice set of top notes.

The drydown sees a faint anise impression meet an very generic ambery chord. The base also sports a woodsy undertone, and a dismal patchouli. On the other hand, towards the end a nice vanilla is added that ends the whole on a somewhat more positive note.

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

A lovely first half that is well done and a touch original. Otherwise this spring scent is a bit less exciting. Overall 3/5.
06th November, 2016
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Candide Effluve by Guerlain

Bergamot, citrus - lemon with an orangey tinge, and a more somber rose unite to form the triad of opening notes. Soon a fairly bright violet is added, which is not a very strong violet but slipping into the mix in a nigh clandestine manner to softly permeate it.

The drydown sees a distinctly floral turn, with ylang-ylang and muguet particularly impressive on my skin, although a gentle jasmin appears now and then in a frail way. There are moments where I can detect whiffs of a subtle and dry bitterness due to the contribution of an orris undertone.

Amber and vanilla dominate the base, a very fine amber that is on the smoother and brighter side; this all is accentuated by a clean and unstuffy touch of powderiness towards the end.

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

A beautiful scent for warmer spring evenings, beautifully blended of top-quality ingredients, but it is never stuffy or stiff. 4/5.
06th November, 2016
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DKNY Delicious Delights Cool Swirl by Donna Karan

Sweet fruity playful opening, bright, summery.

Then more floral, mainly white floral; still playful, bight and summery and sweet.

The base moves towards a smooth patchouli with white musk and whiffs of citrus added; still playful, summery, bright, cheerful and, yes...sweet, although a bit less of the latter towards the end.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very god and the longevity four hours.

Pleasant, very synthetic and mostly on the generic side. 2.5/5.
04th November, 2016
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Holy Shit by Pekji

A strong, dark opening blast combining a faecaloid ("shit") impression with an equally dark incense ("holy") - the top notes reflect the name. Soon a harsh castoreum combined with a strong civet is added, an d a dark musky untertone to. A dark and animalistic set of top notes; more harshly animalistic that even Koublaï Khan.

The drydown keeps the animalistic core for a while, adding sharp oud-like characteristics, dark dried prunes and herbal glimpses. Later on, several hours later, the faecal-components becomes less prominent and less intrusive. Over times the sharp civet retreats too, and the whole composition softens considerably. Now the incense comes to the fore, changing somewhat and displaying more camphor with medicinal hints at times. Whiffs of wood come and go.

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

Whilst the top notes of this wintery creation are best worn when working in the dung and manure corner of the garden, the latter stages may appeal more to incense lover. The excellent quality of the smooth blending are without doubt, and although the concept is not particularity original, it is overall convincing in its execution. 3.5/5.
03rd November, 2016
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Ruh by Pekji

Quality!
This is the first thought that comes to my mind when the opening blast hits my nose mainly with a dominating saffron, a pleasant cardamom and a rose impression. The saffron is not light and bright like in, for instance, Comptoir Sud Pacifique's Sultan Safran, but darker, richer and more intense.

The rose is quite dark, smooth with just a modicum of glowing booziness. The coffee component is neither standing out nor particularly prominent - this is quite different for more directly coffee-dominated products like L'Eau de Navigateur. On my skin, the coffee permeates the opening triad and, infused with a hint of weak black tea, is part of the olfactory fabric in an unobtrusive manner.

Towards the base a restrained and slightly raisinous ambery aroma is added, with hints of musk, dark hesperidic glimpses and woodsy impression; all this is smoothly intertwined to form a multilayered fabric of olfactory artwork.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and an astounding - for natural ingrendients - ten hours of longevity on my skin.

Quality!
This sums up this oriental-gourmandish autumnal composition, as the most outstanding feature is the amazing quality of the natural ingredients. Some fragrances sport two or three dozens of notes that end up resulting in a disjointed mess. This scent, supremely skillfully pleated from comparative few and as such fairly standard main chords, does the opposite in a convincing manner. 4.25/5.

The name is correct: This creation has spirit.
02nd November, 2016
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Nuit au Désert by Gobin Daudé

The opening commences with a mix of a soft wood aroma with a dry and sandy undertone, softened with whiffs of white floral, mainly hibiscus, and enhanced by a veil of a gentle, just a touch smoky and unexpectedly bright incense that is cast over the opening notes and penetrates them deliciously. This mix of too notes in the beginning is unique and absolutely sensational.

The incense is light, nigh airy, with no medicinal and ceremonial undertones.

The drydown adds the floral expression of wildflowers, conjuring up the blooming desert in the Moroccon hills or the Little Desert in blossom. Unfortunately the whole thing collapses and nigh disappears after the first hour or two, but is reappears after a while but very much closer to my skin. Still, with my nose burrowing into my subcutaneous tissue I can enjoy the subsequent development.

Then a restrained fruitiness - mainly mirabelle - mixes with a gorgeous cedar impression. Still very close to my skin, they fade gracefully into the end.

I get moderate sillage and good projection initially, and the total longevity is nine hours.

The creation's opening phase is a sublime and divine revelation, with the latter stages, alas, not performing that well. The incredible quality of the natural ingredients is unsurpassed. Gorgeous. 4.5/5.
01st November, 2016
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Cuir6 by Pekji

This is a rough leather scent from the beginning on. Starting with a very harsh and smoky opening phase, at some stages very much an angry, burning smoky leather. It settles in the drydown to a birch tar being added, together with a transient gasoline impression superimposed on the leather. It is here that Knize Ten comes to mind, although the latter has more gasoline-garage-car leather characteristics.

Later on medicinal hints alternate with a dark musky undertone. In the base is gradually smoothes the whole mix, but a certain roughness never goes away.

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

An wintery leather fragrance in the tradition of Knize Ten and in many aspects more copying than displaying originality, this well executed and very well structured. 3.25/5.
31st October, 2016