Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

Total Reviews: 2004
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Anni Venti by Laura Tonatto

The opening is characterised by a floral dominance, with jasmine and rose in the foreground, brightened up by a touch of neroli that is accompanied by a restrained aldehydic halo. The drydown is characterised by whiffs of violet, and the floral notes are not too overbearingly sweet.

Heading towards the later stages of the development, here a rich oriental feel becomes dominant, with incense combining with a good lashing of benzoin. Richer and and sweeter now, but on my skin never seriously cloying.

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

A nice autumnal creation, combining floral with oriental moments that, at times, cannot avoid a certain generic nature, but in some aspects compliments each other nicely. 3.25/5.
26th June, 2017
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Lilac Love by Amouage

A floral heliotrope with jasmine and good parts of gardenia and other white florals; later on a somewhat flat iris arises too. The drydown is a vanilla chocolate dyad, not dissimilar to molten ice cream but, alas, quite generic, as is the soft patchouli towards the end.

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

A spring scent that is not bad, but distinctly unexciting. 2.5/5.
22nd June, 2017
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Acqua di Bergamotto by Ermenegildo Zegna

The opening blast displays an equal contribution of the lovely bergamot and a very nice vetiver. The latter is fresh and with minimally woodsy undertones, and lacks any significant earthiness.

Soon a herbal rosemary component arises, and merges with the opening notes to a delightful, fresh and invigorating mix. A bright neroli with minimal sweetness is added, with whiffs of hesperidic touches fleetingly present.

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

Comparing this cheerful summer scent to the other summery bergamot-based creation of this house, i.e. Italian Bergamot, the latter has more lemony characteristics on me. Whilst Acqua di Bergamotto features rosemary instead of more traditional ingredients like clary sage, it is more in the line of the traditional Eau de Cologne, and in the tradition of 4711 and Farina's Kölnisch Wasser. The juxtaposition of a more traditional with a more citrus-influenced Cologne is done by other houses; Penhaligon's Extract of Limes vs. its Eau de Cologne comes to mind.

A straightforward Cologne then this one is, crafted well, and a great delight. The performance is quite respectable for a scent of its genre. 3.75/5.
21st June, 2017
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Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna

Yes, bergamot is in the centre of the opening blast. With touches of lemon on top of the top notes, it is bright, summery and refreshing.

The drydown sees neroli and, a but later, a pleasant vetiver added on, with the latter also being on the bright-and-light side; it lacks any earthiness or tanginess.

After the first hours all the top notes have receded, and I am left with a mix of herbal notes on the base of a nonspecific woodsiness.

I get moderate sillage initially that softens dramatically after the first hour, good projection intially and a total longevity of three hours in my skin.

This scent for hot weather is characterised by a very nice realisation of the core bergamot impression, but is characterised by somewhat less convincing heart notes and a dull base. The performance is poor, but when one conceptualises this product as a take on the tradition of the light and refreshing Eau de Cologne, this deficit in performance is not unexpected and cannot be held against it; Colognes are designed to be re-applied frequently through a hot day.

Nothing exciting but crafted satisfactorily; the bergamot note is of a decent make. 3.25/5.
20th June, 2017
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Zegna Intenso by Ermenegildo Zegna

Whilst there is quite a bit of citrus freshness in the opening blast, after a first twenty minutes it is overwhelmed by a mixture of white musks with a gradually strengthening vanilla undertone, with the latter being the major contributor to the sweetness of this composition. This sweetness is never to heavy, intrusive or cloying.

With time spicy, slightly peppery undertones are evident, but never harsh or heavy. Towards the second half of the development of this creation, cardamom adds an exotic feeling, but I never get any real incense quality here.

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

This wintery scent is an interesting attempt to contrast brighter citrus notes with more oriental-deeper tones, and is a concept of some interest. The main problems is that the ingredients are too generic and synthetic; the latter to the extent of boredom at times. 2.75/5 overall.

Intenso - yes.
Bellissimo - no.
19th June, 2017
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L'Eau d'Hiver by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The opening is lovely: a citrus whiff with underlying heliotrope aromas, with a slightly sweet almond impression. Later on there is a floral touch added on, mainly iris with a white floral bend.

The heliotropes recede with time, and the almond takes on a hint of anis and marzipan - here is a possible connection with wintery themes. At times there is a honey component evident.

The last couple of hours are on the dull side, based in very mundane white musks, but the almond still breaks though from time to time.

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

The first parts are pleasant and agreeable, whilst the later section a very generic and too boringly synthetic. Overall just a positive score. 3/5.
18th June, 2017
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Lys Méditerranée by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The first floral hit is a lily in full bloom. Touches tiger lily, not sweet initially, very nice.

After this first hour or so, I get more of a sweeter note that is quite characteristic of muguet, and for quite a while the muguet really defines this composition. Later in the drydown, orange blossom is added as well as whiffs of citrus and nigh-ozonic undertones, but for most of the time the muguet rules.

The base combines nonspecific woodsy hints with white musks and a very restrained tonka - but the muguet stills shines through on my skin until the very end.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good, and the longevity amounts to ten hours, albeit very close to my skin for the last hour.

This spring scent, unashamedly a floral fest, is well-executed and composed of ingredients that are of a very good quality overall. At times the standard drops and inferior synthetics are evident, but that is only for smaller parts of the development of this product. 3.5/5.
16th June, 2017
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Cologne Bigarade by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The bitter orange hits me right from the first moment on, and it is very well executed. Very tangy, bitter and quite fresh. It is orangey and hence a bit darker than those bigarade impression found in the ultra bright and zesty lemon-based bigarrades like Creed's brilliant benchmark Citrus Bigarrade. The latter somewhat toned down and layered with Roger & Gallet's Bois d'Orange would come closer to this Cologne Bigarade.

Additional freshness is provided by a very judiciously applied set of aldehydes that blend in smoothly with the citrus core.

After the first half hour the orange zest is gone, a woody background is revealed. Towards the end whiffs of the orange return transiently, paired with a minimally spicy undertone - the latter is very discrete and well-integrated into the whole blend, and much weaker than in, for instance, Creed's Orange Spice.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and a longevity of about four hours on my skin - not a great performance but very good for a summery fresh daytime citrus Cologne. 3.5/5.
15th June, 2017
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The Night by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The oud is dominating the first hours, and what a fine oud it is! Typical is its aroma, with a smoothly civety undertone so typical for agarwood, with its tanginess and the notion of dried hay - this oud is beautifully executed out of the natural product.

The rose comes to the fore very slowly; it is a fine, slightly somber rose that blends in seamlessly with the oud. One thing is clear though: the oud is clearly the dominant note here, and the rose plays an accompanying role like the orchestra in a violin concerto- the oud is the soloist.

Towards the end an ambery impression develops in the background, and forms a nice backgound feature.

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

One thing must be emphasised: the above description of this wintery scent is based on deliberately sparing application. This way it is a delightfully balanced creation that is never intrusive and miles away from the gazillions of chemical-laboratory-harsh and intrusive pseudo-ouds that have flooded the market lately. Sure, this scent can be amplified by a more lavish and generous application, but with more limited amounts the wonderful elegance is most evident.

The quality of these natural ouds and the rose is superb. This is an oud-centric creation that is quite simple, but like a simple dish perfectly executed is a delight to be savoured, so does this comparatively straightforward olfactory dish deserve a high mark: 4/5.
13th June, 2017
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En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

A gently freshish opening blast greets me - with a green-floral opening accord that is very pleasant. The green note is a leafy tone, quite bright, whilst the floral side, which lasts way into the heart notes, is a mix of violet with a restrained undercurrent of white florals, mainly touches of muguet.

Further down the track this is mixed with a yeasty note, as if sniffing a wine barrel whose content is undergoing fermentation. There is a fruity undertone, but on me this is never really a sweet composition. This overall impressions lasts until the end.

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

Lovely in spring, this scent is not very complex and at times a bit thin, but it is made of good-quality ingredients with some creative twists. 3.25/5.
31st May, 2017
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Le Parfum de Thérèse by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The opening starts with a fruity blast, a melon - more watermelon than cantaloupe on my skin, quite freshish, with the latter being re-enforced by a gently orangey undercurrent. Soon a green side note develops, based on a fresh jasmine impression that balances out the fruitiness, which in any way is never really heavily sweet on me.

The drydown sees the development of a very restrained white-pepper background, which, together with the - at times ozonic - tangy aroma of unripe plums counteracts the fruitiness of the top notes beautifully. The further additions in the heart notes are florals: a somewhat unexciting rose and a pleasant violet with greenish flavours; the latter is followed on by a slightly earthy getter impression that leads into the later phases of the development of the olfactory story.

The base is full of further interesting twists, namely a soft leather with fresh, night minty aftertastes, as if the fruitiness is meeting touches of crispy white musk notes.

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

This spring composition is characterised by the skillful balancing of the fruity-floral spectrum, with the sweetness and the ozonic tanginess in perfect harmony. The main drawback is that at times the price paid is a bit of a loss of structure, leading to phases when the components are more blurred than interwoven with one another, but this does not detract form the very positive overall impression. 3.5/5.
30th May, 2017
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Eau de Magnolia by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

A touch of bergamot adds a touch of brightness, but this is a product whose name doors not belie is substance and content: the Magnolia is it. A typical, rich, fragrant magnolia, conjuring up childhood memories of the magnolia tree outside the window and its vibrant aroma in times of its blossoming.

On my skin the magnolia is persistently dominating the scene. There are some variations over time, touches of vetiver and some woodsy undercurrents towards the end, but always the Magnolia rules. Even in its dying moments the big M is ever-present.

I am getting moderate sillage, excellent projection and an impressive eleven hours of longevity on my skin, albeit fluctuating in intensity over the last hours.

Floral, magnolia splendor galore. At times a bit monochromatic but never intrusive or very sweet. Well crafted and made of good-quality ingredients. A paradigmatic magnolia creation. 3.5/5.
29th May, 2017
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Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Brightened up with a touch of bergamot, from the word "go" the star in the performance greets me: a beautiful tuberose, bright but intensive, rich but elegant, floral but not too sweet. This beauty hardly displays any waxiness. One of the most convincing tuberoses I have come across for a while.

The drydown gains added depth and a slightly creamy character with the addition of nice ylang-ylang undertone, soon a white floral mix gains prominence, with a jasmine that at times is bearing gently woodsy characteristics. It is, however, a lovely orange blossom that moves into foreground, but always combined with the starring tuberose, which remains prominent from beginning to the end, like an idée fixe in a work by Berlioz.

This remains the core blend in the base, with some perfunctory white musks adding - not very much noteworthy.

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

A delicious evening spring scent on account of supreme and brilliant tuberose and the very nice orange blossom - the rest is mere accompaniment only. 3.75/5.
28th May, 2017
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Emerald Dream by Estée Lauder

After a brief citrus-fruity-harsh chemical attack (contravening various international conventions) in the opening blast, I was fearing the worst. No need to worry though; it soon settled down to a pleasant and fresh grass-green impression, with touches of very fresh basil underneath the heath. Touches of a peach aroma were intermittently detectable in the background. Parts of the top notes reminded me of Geoffrey Beene's Bowling Green, just lacking the vibrancy of Beene's verdant creation.

In the drydown floral pieces were added to the olfactory mosaic: initially a fairly woodsy violet impression, then mimosa, whiffs of geranium, and a pleasant cyclamen to maintain a good balance.

The base turns increasingly woodsier, with the cypress gradually overwhelmed by the Kamani and whiffs of sandal; it is as if a hint of white blossoms is admixed. Delightful, and towards the end the fruitiness from the top notes as well as the green parts of the initial phase return to combine with the rest to a green-woodsy and slowly fading apotheosis. Memories of the Emerald Isle?

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

Apart from the first seconds, this is a a fresh daytime spring creation with a green-woodsy centre, executed very well and performing excellently. 3.5/5.
27th May, 2017
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Amber Mystique by Estée Lauder

From the very start I get the amber - rich, with a fresh touch but intense. There is an underlying berry-fruitiness supplying it with glimpses of brightness. An amber that is well executed.

The drydown adds a dark rose impression in the background, with a jasmine giving it a subtly green touch, but the amber remains proudly in the forefront. The floral notes are more frameworks than centrepieces.

The end of the heart notes sees the emergence of a darkish and slightly crisp patchouli. This blends in seamlessly with the other main player in the base, a typical oud impression. Whilst very stereotypical and at times a tad too generic, this oud is not bad on the whole and never too intrusive or cloying. Nonetheless, the amber stands firm in the centre of attention until the last gasp.

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

Maybe the amber is too dominant overall, but this wintery creation is overall a nice example of an amber-centric scent with an acceptable oud and with an amber that is an unusually skillful team player. 3.5/5.

26th May, 2017
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Pleasures Delight by Estée Lauder

The opening blast is an olfactory fruit platter: very berry-like, strawberry, some raspberry, and the slightly acidic undertone - this seems to be all I get from the pomegranates. Not bad, but not exciting.

The next phase is all-out floral, with preponderance of muguet and lily; soft and very restrainedly sweet. Pleasant.

The later stages get richer, with vey agreeable caramel merging with ith a vanilla impression - creme caramel with vanilla ice cream and distinctly in the middle of gourmand territory. Rich, smooth creamy and sweet - but again just avoiding being overly cloying or sticky.

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

An olfactory opera in three sequential acts - fruity, floral and gourmand - this wintery scent is not badly done, but at the same time it feels a bit bog-standard too at times. The reason for this somewhat pedestrian impression lies in the rather generic nature of some of the floral notes, as well the at times overly synthetic character its ingredients. Just between mediocre and good on the whole, the very good performance gets it over the line to a positive score, if only just. 3/5.
25th May, 2017
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Cinnabar by Estée Lauder

Review of the original Eau de Parfum:

A peachy-peary fruity start is given a spiciness as if boiled in a spice soup for several hours. A cautious but definite addition of aldehydic undertones add some sparks such as to prevent is from being all too dark.

In the head notes sweetness arisies, a mix of a rich and scrumptious cinnamon that is never too thick or cloying. This is nicely combined with a rich ylang-ylang, and this dyadic partners work together exceedingly well. Jasmine - with a touch of verdant vibrations - is present too.

A pleasant tanginess leads into the base, and it turns out to be derived from clove with a well-placed component of some ambery orris. This turns into a gently crisp spiciness owing to an underlying layer of darkish patchouli. The ylang-ylang sweetness, however, stands its ground and is now fortified by a dense but not too heavy tonka impression.

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

A rich oriental and wintery creation, less heavy than Opium and never too overwhelming. This is well-blended out of ingredients of a very respectable quality. The aldehydic notes as well and the spicy-tangy aromas are incorporated in a very balanced fashion. At times it lacks vibrancy and can be a bit dull though. Overall 3.5/5.
24th May, 2017
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Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder

Review of the Parfum:

The opening notes are a blend of bergamot, other citrus notes, a white floral components - mainly hyacinth and jasmine - and a green-grassy philodendron. The overall is an unusual and intriguingly verdant white floral mêlange that is very pleasant on my skin.

In the drydown the jasmine and the floral side gain in strength, and the lovely purity of these notes becomes increasingly clear. In a manner somewhat unusual for this house, considerable restraint is exercised in the application of aldehydes, and there is very little that is tantamount to annoyingly synthetic emanations. Soft but elegantly intensive, and very well executed.

The base continues these themes, but has little to add apart from somewhat nonspecific woodsy undertones. The floral notes are still present, and gradually this potpourri fades out very slowly, with the echoes of floral beauty on my skin the only remainders towards the end.

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

This spring creation - a scent nice in the evening as well during daytime - is interesting in concept, the ingredients are mostly of good quality and the smooth blending is superb. The first half combines carefully primed originality with high levels of craftsmanship, whilst the base drops in creativity but is still of very acceptable quality. The base is the least inspiring part.

Overall not extraordinary brilliant but very nice, quite original and rather convincing in design and implementation. 3.5/5.
23rd May, 2017
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Sensuous Nude by Estée Lauder

A fruity opening - sweetish - with a slightly orangey undertone dominates the top notes.

The drydown some adds two main streams of development: (1) a floral side, with muguet being quite strong, combined with a bit of jasmine and a somewhat bland rose impression. (2) A concurrently developing coconut aroma, that gradually gains in exposure and lasts deep into the later phases. Both work quite well together.

The base adds - what a surprise! - vanilla again, which is not really a stroke of originality, combined with slightly honeyed woodsy accompaniments that fade out towards the end.

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

The major creative achievement of the spring scent is the unusual use of the coconut. The major drawback is the regrettably generic nature of the rather synthetic ingredients.

Nude? Certainly bare of any natural goodness. 2.5/5.
22nd May, 2017
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Modern Muse Le Rouge by Estée Lauder

A loud, artificial candy-raspberry-cum-blackberry lolly impression greets me, and it is not of the very pleasant type. Very generic, very unimpressive.

The drydown, not unexpectedly, shifts to the floral range, and after expecting another onslaught of laboratory fumes I was pleasantly disappointed: whilst the rose I am getting is rather pale and anaemic, there is a triad of jasmine and magnolia, with whiffs of oleander on its tail, which are, whilst still somewhat generic, synthetic and pedestrian, much more convincing and lack the unbalanced features of the top notes.

The base develops a slightly spicy undertone with an ambery side - this time there are ultra-generic notes - and a vanilla aroma that is agreeable but rather trite indeed.

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

A spring scent that alters between bluntly biochemical laboratory fakeness and phases of unexciting pleasantness. Be-muse-ingly unamusing but just acceptable. 2.25/5.
21st May, 2017
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Private Collection by Estée Lauder

Review of the Eau de Parfum

The opening begins with a white floral impression, a lovely hyacinth that is given additional fresh touches by a bright citrus undertone. There is a green, nigh grassy undertone present that enhances the feeling of an certain crispness.

Heading towards the drydown the emphasis shifts to the downwards floral side, adding jasmine, narcissus and transient whiffs of geranium in addtion to a very light touch of a restrained bright rose impression in the background. Later on a woodsy pine note is evident, a very dry and refinedly herbaceous pine without any sweetness, and quite different from the traditional Pino-Silvestre-style heavier pine compositions.

A very soft amber leads into the base notes, paired with a restrained mossy undertone, whose subtle tartness is not standing out - this is no Gucci Nobile - but blending in with the rest quite inconspicuously. At times the oak moss is possibly a bit too perfunctory. This is rounded off by a somewhat generic white muskiness - at times veering to a stronger gold musk character, which is thinly draped over the other notes like a gossamer veil without any civety components whatsoever on my skin. Echoes of the earlier floral potpourri follow on into the base, mixing with the rest superbly and harmoniously and forming a round, rich and sophisticated floral-chypre architecture that very gradually vanishes towards the end.

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

This is on the whole a beautiful creation for spring evenings; mature, confident, rich, and mostly composed of ingredients of the finest quality, supremely blended whilst maintaining excellent structure. One of Estée Lauder's best works. 4/5.
20th May, 2017
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Sensuous Noir by Estée Lauder

The floral-vs-spicy dichotomy defines the first half if this creation: a medium dark rose with a lighter touch at times, and a pleasant jasmine, and a peppery touch - just to add a bit of spice, but initially in the background.

The heart notes add an agreeable violet with whiffs of fruitiness, but with time the spicy elements move into the foreground- never heavy, rich or dark though, but gradually developing an ever so discreet balsamic touch.

The base grows sweeter, with a lightly ambery vanilla and sweet honey, but not actually stronger in intensity. Carried on a carpet of acceptably restrained benzoin, is vanishes gracefully towards the end.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent and the longevity nine ours on me.

A pleasant winter scent with a nicely balanced floral-spice theme, a bit generic at times, and with a base concept that is rather predictable, but overall nice work and well-blended. 3.25/5
19th May, 2017
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Azurée by Estée Lauder

Wow! The harshness of the initial aldehyde blast is nigh breathtaking and made me feel that this is quite umplesant, but soon the freshness of the bergamot becomes more evident and the top notes finish of much better.

The drydown - in a somewhat predictable pattern - enters a floral phase, with jasmin, not infrequently found in the heart notes of this house, and an unusually subdued ylang-ylang, which displays limited sweetness and is not the creamy and intensive variety, but is more of the lighter and slimmer type. Orris, cyclamen, and a crisp patchouli- both on the terse side - ensure that the tartness of the opening is not lost throughout the later phases of the development on this olfactory journey.

The base peters out in the aroma of a somewhat stolid white musk impression, a weak amber and a somewhat perfunctory oak moss, but - unlike in many other of Lauder's creations - remains on the hasher side, just the harsh side is attenuated with time.

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

A fresh, and times unpleasantly synthetic spring composition, which for long stretches is not bad and quite stimulating in its crispness. At times predictable and at times solidly executed, it is just between mediocre and positive in the score - the good performance carries the day here. 3/5.
18th May, 2017
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Beyond Paradise for Men by Estée Lauder

The opening is a mix of white florals, mainly orange blossom and hyacinth, with a orangey/citrus vying with a rather generic bergmot for an accompanying role. There is an additional ozonic component in the background that expresses fruity-seashore characteristics whilst reeking of laboratory and syntheticness - or syntheticity, but not in Kant's sense. At this stage this is truly a cologne made of calones, and I can understand why some people hate it.

Now the beginning oft the heart notes gives out another strongly synthetic burst, this times more on the aldehydic side, but later on this moves into the background, with the florals now taking over. Apart from a rather pleasant jasmine core, the gardenia, hyacinth and the occasional whiffs of muguet create an unexpected oasis of floral bouquets. They are underlined by a pleasantly executed honeysuckle that is not really extraordinary - this is no Creed Chèvrefeuille - but that provides a rather delightful grounding for the overlying potpourri. At this stage I appreciate its lovely moments and why to some people it is a beautiful creation.

The base sees a continuation of the honeysuckle, a change of the floral side to less hyacinth, the addition of a somewhat weak hibiscus, as well as the ascent of an amber impression that is quite soft and a tad insipid.

The performance is reasonable, with moderate sillage, very good projection and nine hours of longevity on my skin.

A spring creation for cooler days that has its high and lows. Neither excellent nor truly awful, although in its worst moments it is quite bad, and in its best moments rather intriguing. Overall 2.75/5.

Beyond paradise there might be not only hell - maybe purgatory.
17th May, 2017
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White Linen by Estée Lauder

A freshish florally immersed aldehydic blast greet me with a bright "hello"! Associated with a pear-peachy fruitiness, a few early floral components soon develop: a soft ylang-ylang with a nice muguet impression - both smooth and both are pleasantly sweet.

The second phase completes the shift towards the floral: lilac and rose initially, later on also the aromas if orchids and a light jasmin. All these are nothing extraordinary, and quite agreeably executed.

The base brings another turn: a honeyed vanilla cinnamon sweetness pick up where the ylang-ylang left, with woodsy-ambery undertones providing a good counterbalance to the sweeter spots.

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

This is a pleasant spring day scent, although no match to the others of the triad is was released with. Some ingredients are well made, some are a tad too generic, but it is blended quite well and shows considerable variability throughout its development - this prevents too much boredom in this somewhat lighthearted and predictable composition. Given its performance is solid, this pushes it - just - across the line into positive territory. 3/5.
16th May, 2017
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Private Collection Amber Ylang-Ylang by Estée Lauder

There is definitely ylang-ylang present from the top notes on, but it is quite restrained, quite elegant and not of the rich and creamy variety. This ylang-ylang is therefore more in the background throughout the drydown, and it is overshadowed by the other components of this creation. Most notably, the amber arises and forms a leitmotif throught the whole developemnt of the fragrance.

The next important note is a pleasant rose, lovely but again not very intensive. A pleasant cinnamon develops too, quite prominent and present until the end.

The base adds a strong, smooth slightly incense-laden and creamy vanilla, and by combining with the cinnamon and the amber to a warm, pleasant and gently sweet triad it creates added depth. The ylang-ylang is long gone by now.

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

A lovely and smooth winter composition, a bit predictable and times but not without nice features. 3.25/5.
15th May, 2017
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Youth Dew by Estée Lauder

Review of the vintage formulation.

An explosion of rich, intense darkness characterises the opening blast: ripe orange flavour and a deep but soft, resinous spiciness appear in tune; and an overripe peachy undertone adds a fruity undertone. This spiciness is the result of a mix of clove and a gently balsamic overlay, nigh-camphorated but with an only minimally medicinal hint at times.

The concept reminds me a bit of Creed's Orange Spice, but the more clove-based and balsamic nature of the spiciness as well as the judicious addition of uplifting bergamot with a modicum of aldehyds distinguishes it favourably from the Creed: this original Youth Dew is the more complexly layered and construed product of the two.

Whilst the top notes a rich and dark, the drydown sees the lightening of the mood ito a brighter, very floral range. A bouquet of flowers emanates: a dark and velvety rose expresses reminiscences of the ealier moments, but the subsequently added carnation, and especially the orchid with a comparatively restrained ylang-ylang cast off the shadows and move towards a brighter momentum.

The base comes in two phases on my skin: initially a vanilla impression is added, and subsequently a soft and light patchouli with an ambery background note develop gradually. The floral heart notes, now attenuated considerably, are nonetheless still present, and towards the end they they merge with the slightly dusty amber to create light, feathery and bright whiffs of a slim, modern powderiness.

The sillage is moderate, he projection excellent, and the longevity a splendid thirteen hours.

This autumnal evening vintage scent, a dark, thick and viscous oily juice, is of wonderful richness, complexity and with a neverending development of permutations and variations. The contemporaneous version, whilst still very respectable, is not of the same high standard. The vintage formulation is masterfully blended whilst maintaining excellent structure, and is constituted of ingredients of superb quality.

Whilst this is at times a bit heavy and can be a touch overbearing, and is probably not everyone's cup of tea - that's the colour of the juice anyway - and whilst one should definitely try this product before one buys it, this is indubitably one of Estée Lauder's finest creations. 4.25/5.
14th May, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Armani Privé Ombre & Lumière by Giorgio Armani

The opening commences with a jasmine impression that is very convincing in its intensity and composition. Touches of bergamot brighten it up, whilst a bit later it is associated with whiffs of woodsy undertones.

The drydown adds distincty floral ideas, with hints of gardenia soon being overcome by a dominant freesia note. This all mixes with the jasmin very convincingly.

Towards the base the woodsy side is more evident again, with a darkish muskiness being combined with an ambery undertone. The base lacks a bit of the dynamism of the previous phases and is a bit static at times.

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

This spring scent for cooler evenings is not very complex in concept, but a real gem in its masterful execution. The quality of most of the ingredients is very high, and the whole is blended beautifully without losing structure. Armani's Privé series is touted as top of the range of this house, and in Ombre & Lumière at least one can see why. 4/5.
13th May, 2017
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United Kingdom

Pavillion by Estée Lauder

Review of the Vintage Parfum:

A beautifullly enchanting jasmin greets me at the opening gate to this olfactory experience, intense and rich, but counterbalanced by the brightness of a skillfully placed liberal dose of aldehydes. A delicious dyad of top notes.

The heart notes added on in the drydown are a most and foremost dryish, slightly green-tinged violet. Added on is a lovely orange blosom with the occasional whiff of hyacinth. This is a floral mix of intense, elegant richness.

Towards the base the floral side is retreating gradually, and an amber impression develops; a fairy light amd smooth amber, with traces of the aldehydes turning up again here and there. Moments of minute powdery touches are present towards the end.

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

The beauty of this gorgeous spring creation is based in the top quality of the ingredients, the judicious application of the well-balanced aldehydes and the superb blending. In spite of its comparable simplicty this is one of Estee Lauder's finest.
12th May, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Bronze Goddess Capri by Estée Lauder

Fruity berries - blackcurrant mainly - with a mandarin/lime citrus mix - one would possibly expect a fresh, sunny and sprite result with this combination of top notes. In reality, the citrus is rather subdued and restrained, and has a veil of a shadow cast over it. Still, pleasant it is nonetheless.

The heart notes take quite a while to come off the ground, but once they take off they develop into a delightful floral potpourri, with peony in the foreground, with a gentle jasmine, a character-laden muguet and whiffs of oleander forming a well-blended quartet of blossoming beauty. This is the highlight of the whole development.

The base is a bit of a letdown, and the vanilla is its main constituent without being really of an exciting quality. There is an ambery and white-musky backdrop evident that is undesirably generic in nature.

The main problem with this restrainedly summery creation is its very soft sillage and limited projection: at times I have to bury my nose deep in the subcutaneous tissue to catch a whiff of it. Still, as this product is labeled an Eau fraîche, which to me denotes more of an Eau de Cologne than anything more concentrated, the name is not really misleading and a cologne-like fleetingness is not unexpected. Therefore, I am not holding the overall quite poor performance against it, especially as the longevity is an unexpectedly acceptable seven hours on my skin.

Pleasant on cooler summer days, a bit dull at times - especially in the base - and necessitating very liberal application. 3/5.
11th May, 2017