Reviews by finzi

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    finzi
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Badgley Mischka Couture by Badgley Mischka

    I find this much more pleasant than the previous Badgley Mischka. If I concentrate, I can still pick out the slightly syrupy almost sour note that I dislike so much in Badgley Mischka, but in Couture it is weighted with a little smoke; probably the vetiver and maybe the plum?

    Although still a sweet fragrance, it is at least slightly cleaner (my review of Badgley Mischka mentions sweat and hairspray...) and more subdued.

    I don't know if I really like this fragrance, but I don't wildly dislike it as I do with Badgley Mischka. The white wine is still there, but it's (thankfully) blended with other, softer notes. The pear seems to life the fragrance slightly, freshens it.

    In my opinion, more grown-up than the original.

    15 March, 2012

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    Oriens by Van Cleef & Arpels

    I sprayed this onto the back of my hand and wrist in the shop, then forgot about it.

    An hour later I was in Superdrug and could smell the most awful, sickly scent. I thought it was the perfume of the sales assistant who was helping me at the time... then I left the shop and realised it was me! I'd had my hand on my bag strap at my shoulder and the perfume had been wafting over. I couldn't believe it was Van Cleef!

    Couldn't stand it, but left it on my skin for another hour to see if it got any better and it didn't. On my skin, this perfume is all about the praline and berry liqueur. Sweet, sweet, sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet... It puts me in mind of the very worst example of celebrity fragrances - sugary, cheap and loud, VERY loud. I get the same feeling with Biehl's PC02.

    Come back Badgley Mischka, all is forgiven. I used to think you were sweet but you are stone dry by comparison.

    15 March, 2012

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    Badgley Mischka by Badgley Mischka

    In light of all the positive reviews, I feel like such a heretic posting this...

    Whenever I smell this I think of 19 year old girls drinking cheap white wine. It's sweet with a very slight acidic/sour note that I can't quite put my finger on - I can only compare it to those last few dregs of white wine left in the glass the morning after the party. That's not such a great smell...

    Somehow I just can't imagine a grown woman wearing this, only a girl in her late teens or early twenties. She's getting ready to meet her friends for a night out and the smell of her perfume is mingling with the smell of hairspray and makeup. It smells the way my younger sister's bedroom used to smell when she'd decided she needed to keep her door closed ALL the time - the room was never aired enough (despite my mum's best efforts) and resulted in a permanent smell of hairspray, makeup, perfume and sweat.

    Sorry. :-/

    15 March, 2012

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    Umè by Keiko Mecheri

    I must admit I was expecting this to vanish an hour after I applied it - I've read so many reviews of Keiko Mecheri's perfumes which report terrible longevity.

    Well I applied this six hours ago since when I've worked out on the cross-trainer for an hour and had a shower. The perfume is still there! Granted, there isn't much projection going on but I'm still pleasantly surprised.

    Ume reminds me of something I just can't put my finger on. It has a lovely warm, woody, spicy base which I can't get enough of. Those warm woody notes are there right from the start, the perfume doesn't change very much on my skin, only the plummish fruit notes fade away slightly. I don't find this too sweet at all, in fact it's not an adjective that ever crossed my mind. It smells rich, opulent and mysterious. I'd wear this during the day without fear that it would overwhelm anyone, it certainly doesn't seem to be a sillage monster! Great for evening.

    I'd love to be able to write more about this scent but I'm still a novice and finding my way around. Ume has definitely sparked my interest for plum scents and I'm on the lookout for more. Definite thumbs up from me!

    14 March, 2012

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    Bal d'Afrique by Byredo

    finzi
    finzi

    I'm experiencing a true love/hate relationship with this fragrance. At the time of writing my first review, I just couldn't get along with the perfume. Wanted to love it but had to conclude that I didn't. Then, lo and behold, I tried it again and loved it (see below).

    Now I hate it again. The violets jump out at me and the perfume seems brash, awkward and just unpleasant.

    Sadly, have to relegate this one to the swap list. I can't wear something that seems so changeable! It's one thing to have a perfume evolve on the skin, changing over time to reveal its various elements, but quite another to have it send me running for the soap one day only to seduce me the next!

    Sadly the bottom line is that this is now a scrubber for me. :-/

    ***UPDATE***

    Oh, how wrong I was... I do indeed ADORE this perfume.

    I tried this scent again, this time making sure that I washed the skin first to remove any trace of body lotion near my wrists. The lotion I use is unscented but I read somewhere that even an unscented lotion can interfere with perfume. I also tried it when my nose was fresh, rather than after smelling a few others in the store.

    The scent opens with a fresh citrus zing, but not as sharp as it seemed last time. The sweet floral accord is smooth, sultry and superbly feminine. I feel seduced and mesmerised by Bal d'Afrique. The sweetness is never cloying as it can be with gourmand or vanilla-type perfumes, it is fresh and subtle, suggestive of the fruits I mentioned in my earlier review. It also has a slightly salty, cool accord - it's not always obvious but it's definitely there somewhere.

    Good longevity, lasting at least six hours on my skin, days on clothing. Projection seems fair, but I find that very difficult to gauge, so your mileage may vary.

    The understated sensuality of this fragrance makes it ideal for any time of day or night.

    I've been wearing this for a couple of days and it is my new signature scent. I am delighted. I'm so glad I decided to try this perfume again. Had I missed out on this dream of a scent it would have been a minor tragedy.

    I simply can't stop smelling my wrist and my boyfriend adores the perfume as much as I do. It smells very similar to Clive Christian's X for women but is less scandalously priced!

    Superb fragrance, cannot say enough good things about it.


    ***YET ANOTHER EDIT***

    I'm starting to suspect that my opinion of this depends largely on how liberally I apply it. If I apply sparingly, I find it far more pleasant than if I'm heavy-handed. When I apply too much I get those horried violets that I despise so much. With just a couple of sprays I end up with the lovely salty, slightly cool and androgynous scent that I love :-D

    ------------------------------------

    At first sniff I thought I adored this fragrance, but grew tired of it very quickly. Upon application there was a momentary dash of sharp lemons, followed by a couple of hours of what I thought were fruits, so I was surprised when I read the fragrance notes here and saw that the only presence of fruit is in the citrus top notes. I thought I was smelling berries and perhaps peaches, but evidently not! The fruits were sweet and juicy which I loved at first, but was disappointed when the scent developed into a rather banal floral base. I had hoped for something richer, warmer and deeper. Perhaps the vetiver and cedar come to the fore for others, but not on my skin. I smelt no trace of amber whatsoever. I would have given a great deal to smell the heavier, grounding scents of vetiver and cedar but alas, they never arrived.

    It reminds me of the sort of perfume I always try to avoid in department stores - generic, feminine (bordering on girly), floral, but pinkly sweet and lacking any development.

    I hasten to add that I acknowledge perfumes develop differently on different people, but this one is definitely not for me.

    The search continues for my new Signature Scent.

    11th March, 2012 (Last Edited: 26 March, 2012)

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    pc02 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

    Warm, sweet (too sweet perhaps) and creamy with a faint suggestion of something like aniseed or liquorice - that must be the cardamom. Reminds me of vanilla ice-cream melting over a hot pudding!

    The combination of honey and vanilla is too much for me, I prefer perfumes that are sweetened with fruits instead. Longevity is good, lasting most of the day.

    This smells very gourmand to me, but you may not think so. I guess it all depends on how you feel about honey in perfumes. I don't get ANY rose at all, which surprises me because I often find I can pick out rose in a perfume at fifty paces and it usually turns me right off.

    11th March, 2012

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    Sampaquita by Ormonde Jayne

    Unfortunately this is a mess on my skin, but that's probably because most perfumes containing rose dry badly on me. The rose rushes screaming to the front, throws a tantrum until she stinks to high heaven and then hangs around pouting. Such a shame! Exactly the same thing happens with Ta'if, another rose-based Ormonde Jayne fragrance.

    I adore the smell of roses and wish they suited my skin!

    11th March, 2012

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    Cuir Venenum 03 by Parfumerie Generale

    Oooo, this is unsettling...

    It took me a long time to decide whether or not I like this and could wear it. Unfortunately I have reached the conclusion that it's just too disturbing! It's almost a fruity leather, with a juicy quality that makes my mouth water every time I smell it. I want more, I sniff again... and then I feel corrupted, on edge. There's something animalic about it, possibly bordering on fecal. That might sound gross, but this isn't an unpleasant perfume, it's just that I find it unnerving!

    Despite deciding that I can't wear this fragrance I would definitely recommend sampling it. It's an experience! The sales assistant I spoke to said that this unsettling quality is entirely deliberate and is just what Parfumerie Generale intended.

    My boyfriend LOVES this perfume and was pretty disappointed when I gave him my final verdict and told him it wouldn't find a place on my dressing table.

    11th March, 2012

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    Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka by Hermès

    My heart skips a beat every time I catch a whiff of this! It's that sweet, slightly salty tonka that does it. I get exactly the same feeling from Byredo's Bal D'Afrique, but Vetiver Tonka is smokier, heavier, stronger... I feel aroused and seduced! The unisex ambiguity is provoking and challenging, but in a gooooooood way.

    One spritz on my wrist lasted ALL DAY which I think is amazing considering that this is an EDT. Lasts longer and has much better projection than many EDPs I've known. In fact, if I wear more than a couple of spritzes it can bring on a headache, which tends to happen to me with heavy vanilla- or tonka-based fragrances.

    Sublime, I love it. I'd wear it all the time if my man were a little more enthusiastic about it!

    11th March, 2012

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    Chance by Chanel

    I echo what others have said - nicely blended, with no one note vying for attention above any other. A lovely soft, subtle vanilla tone on the base.

    I am surprised to see so many others reporting excellent projection - this stays very close to my skin and after 4 hours my boyfriend had to press his nose to my neck to pick up the scent! His verdict, when he could smell it was "Doesn't shout 'Buy me!' but it's alright I guess". Hmmm.... Not really the reaction one wants! :-)

    Whilst this is very pretty it's not really to my taste. I want something more distinctive, more opulent, more long-lasting, more everything!

    11th March, 2012

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    Eleganza Luminosa by Linari

    Much as I enjoy this scent, I can't help but feel that it's been done before and a similar fragrance can be found for a much lower price.

    Scents such as this remind me of champagne - sparkling, light, golden yellow in colour, fruits blending with florals. Very wearable, very pretty, superbly feminine.

    Projection is minimal on me and longevity isn't great at only 4 hours or so.

    I often think that the benefit of having so many similar fragrances is that we can each choose the one which leans towards our particular preference, so that we may wear variations on a theme. The question then is whether you want to pay £145 for this variation or hold out for one that may only cost you £50.

    11th March, 2012

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    Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain

    This is far and away my favourite vanilla perfume of all those I have come across. In my opinion there is a slight darkness to the vanilla which stops it being cloyingly sweet and also gives it such a luxurious weight and depth. It is so indulgent, so beautiful... It's also rather strong, so a little goes a loooooong way on my skin. I suppose it might be too linear, too simple for some tastes.

    I have found some vanilla perfumes too sugary (E Coudray's Ambre et Vanille and Vanille et Coco, Serge Lutens' Bois de Vanille spring to mind) but not so with Spiritueuse Double Vanille.

    11th March, 2012

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    Halston Woman Amber by Halston

    For the first hour this perfume is almost overwhelmingly sweet on my skin, but once the top notes have faded it mellows to a warm, woody, spicy scent. I usually avoid perfumes that contain sandalwood because I find often find that it dominates all other notes, but that's not the case here. Sandalwood is a weighty note and works perfectly against the sweetness here.

    My boyfriend adores this perfume and thinks it is very elegant and sophisticated.

    It reminds me very much of Hermes' Elixir Des Merveilles, which is a lighter fragrance, but has the same sweetness and warmth at the heart.

    I've only just acquired my first bottle of this fragrance, so may well update this review in month or so, but for now it gets the thumbs up from me!

    11th March, 2012

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    Calèche by Hermès

    Did somebody say Chanel No. 5? If you've tried Chanel 5 but weren't too sure about it, try this. It's very similar but has a slight variation on the theme that might appeal to you.

    I get a huge blast of the aldehydes and bergamot sitting on top of jasmine. The vetiver peeks its head above the parapet just enough for me to know that it's there.

    In my (uneducated) opinion, very nicely blended and a great classic scent. Rich, opulent and sophisticated.

    11th March, 2012

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    Coeur de Vétiver Sacré by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Unfortunately I have had to draw the conclusion that vetiver tends to give me a headache; Coeur De Vetiver Sacre certainly does. It's so dark, so heavy, so overwhelming.

    Having said that this is very true to vetiver oil so you might love it for that alone. There is a hint of greeness (from the tea?). Excellent sillage but poor staying power on my skin. I should think not for the faint of heart!

    11th March, 2012

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    Blu II by Bulgari

    The very first thing I smell seems to be cucumber! Fresh, clean, quite watery. I like it but it lasts only a few moments before the rest of the perfume hits my nose. It is creamy, with a slight sweetness but this is not overpowering on my skin - it is the most delightful hint of fruits, perhaps with a dash of something more aromatic (that's probably the star anise or liquorice).

    Beautifully, discreetly feminine with soft floral notes. I think this is a very elegant fragrance. Good stuff, definitely worth a sniff. I wear it when I want something to cheer me up!

    11th March, 2012

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    Dambrosia by Profumum

    Oh boy, this is so, so sweet on my skin. It's unbearable. It's very similar to L'Artisan's Figuer Extreme. It has the same creamy quality that I recognise in so many fig fragrances. It also reminds me a little of Byredo's Pulp. In my opinion they both suggest rotting fruit, with all the cloying, syrupy fluids.

    I have found the same problem with many of Profumum Roma's perfumes. Several of them share this thick, sweet base. Vanilla seems to be something of a common theme with this house, in much the same way other reviewers write of Guerlain.

    If you ever find yourself telling a sales assistant that you don't mind sweet as long as it's not *too* sweet, my advice is to tread very carefully with Profumum Roma!

    Sorry, thumbs down on this one.

    11th March, 2012

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    Ginger Pear by Illuminum

    To me the pear is the dominant note in this fragrance. I can't quite pick out the ginger but I recognise the slight (VERY slight) warmth it gives to the pear note. It's a little too sweet and cloying for me, as indeed are many perfumes by Illuminum. Too many of them have an artificial note and Ginger Pear is no exception.

    There is a perfume (although I can't remember the name of it) in the Boadicea the Victorious line that smells *EXACTLY* like this. It's only now that I realise that both lines are by the same person, namely Michael Boadi. The Boadicea fragrance turns very soapy and unpleasant on my skin and lasts only an hour, at best! The staying power of Ginger Pear is somewhat better but unfortunately it's the aforementioned cloying quality which aids its longevity.

    11th March, 2012

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    Piper Leather by Illuminum

    The pepper and olibanum are very strong to my nose, so strong that I have to really concentrate to pick out the leather, which is a shame. There are many leather fragrances that I appreciate but this isn't one of them. Personally I think this is more of a man's scent than a woman's, because the pepper and olibanum make it sooooo heavy. There's little trace of the animalic side which the listed civet and leather notes suggest.

    I have found all the Illuminum perfumes I've tried to be a little clumsy. In my opinion most of their fragrances are either brash and loud or so fleeting that they vanish within a couple of hours, but your mileage may vary.

    11th March, 2012

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    Orange Blossom by Illuminum

    Orange Blossom, my foot. Do you remember the smell of Kia Ora? This is it. It smells like cheap orange cordial, sugary and synthetic. I can pick out the orange blossom and the frankincense but both are swamped by the sugar! The dry down is better, but still not very pleasant in my opinion and certainly not worth the price tag.

    11th March, 2012

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    Myrrhe & Merveilles by Keiko Mecheri

    This is another perfume which reminds me of Chanel 5. Also YSL's Opium. When I first smelt this I instantly thought of my mum, who wears the Chanel.

    The myrrh, jasmine and citrus blend together to give a slightly aldehydic effect. I can only just pick out the almond, but it is there, smoothing the fragrance a little and adding a slight nutty sweetness that I always associate with almonds.

    As I said about another fragrance that reminds of Chanel 5 - If you've tried Chanel 5 but weren't too sure about it, try this. It's quite similar but has a slight variation on the theme that might appeal to you.

    11th March, 2012

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    Wild Berries by Keiko Mecheri

    This is berries, berries, berries all the way down. Keiko Mecheri describe this as a fresh fruity and I think that's accurate. The berries, although sweetly fruity, aren't sickly or thick in the way that Byredo's Pulp is. There's no trace of rotting fruit here, nothing heavy or stifling. There is a slightly woody note as it dries down, but nothing so strong that it ruins those gorgeous berries :-D

    I love this perfume, I think it's so pretty, so light, so joyful. If I were to wear a fruity perfume this would be right at the top of the list I think!

    11th March, 2012

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    Cuir Cordoba by Keiko Mecheri

    Unfortunately the violets are just too dominant for me in this fragrance. Beyond the violets, it is very smooth, but not fusty, the way I have found some classic leather/suede scents to be when they are this soft. The violets give it an added edge, and keep the fragrance lively but, as I said, this is definitely not for me, hence the neutral rating.

    11th March, 2012

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    Velvet Vetiver by Dolce & Gabbana

    This is gorgeous! Reminds me of Hermes Vetiver Tonka, but D&G's Velvet Vetiver is softened by fig rather than the overtly sweet tonka bean.

    The opening is a vetiver powerhouse but after a few minutes it calms right down and the fig comes through with a soft creaminess. I think the vetiver and fig work perfectly together. The end result is sophisticated and well-rounded. Some may feel that it lacks complexity but I (uneducated heathen that I am) see nothing wrong with a simple scent that is well executed.

    I highly recommend sampling it if you get the chance. I wish I could wear it, but it's too masculine for me. I think this is definitely a man's fragrance.

    11th March, 2012

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