Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

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Total Reviews: 984

Louanges Profanes 19 by Parfumerie Generale

Sunny and straight ahead orange blossom-led floral. A slip of a thing in a white shift dress, which somehow manages to be both charming and banal.
11th October, 2018

Azemour les Orangers by Parfum d'Empire

I rarely try citrus fragrances because so many are disappointing. They often suffer from the pumpkin carriage tendency, fleeing just as you’re beginning to enjoy yourself. And those that linger are usually too synthetic smelling by half. After one too many bottled screeches, it’s easy to give up. But Luca Turin’s five star review of Azemour Les Orangers piqued my interest enough to order a sample.
This is a perfume with a big personality and a world apart from other citruses out there. It’s based on a juxtaposition of a rich and luxurious blend of citrus notes (leaning towards oranges and mandarins rather than the sharper siblings) and a strong dose of humid soil, full of mould, almost choking. A world championship clash between oriental opulence and chypric ruggedness. My skin, alas, plays up the earthiness, so that what sang sweetly like a siren on a strip of paper pitch shifts considerably. I love that Azemour is so natural, full to the brim and rich, but I’m laid low by the humus – it’s all a bit ‘freshly dug grave in the orange orchard’.
It’s only a good two or three hours into the wear that Azemour settles on my skin, the mulchy soil dying back to a more acceptable level and turning woodier, resinous tones emerging and a bit of candied peel finding its way into the mix. The classic ideals of harmony and restraint now govern and a place has been earned in the gallery of greats. That this place may be right next to Nicolai’s New York has been observed by Turin, who cites Azemour as being a more natural iteration of that idea. Be that as it may, New York is my friend from start to finish, Azemour takes its time to warm to me.
11th October, 2018

Amber Rose by Shay & Blue

The flattest rose I’ve come across in a while – this is bargain basement stuff in high end clothes. The rose is a toiletry rose – fresh, greenish, slightly synthetic. For a short while there’s a film of an odd skin-and-vegetable-peelings note over it, nowhere near any dulche de leche or amber that I’ve smelled. Ends as a background rosy hum. Light and inoffensive is the kindest I can be about such utterly pointless exercises in perfumery.
11th October, 2018
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The Fragrance Journals : 1927 by Floris

Welcome to the ozone bar! 1927 is a light-as-a-feather sparkler – effervescent with lemony aldehydes dressing up a pillow-soft mixed floral bouquet. It evokes a space of gilt edges and cool white marble tops where the delicate but persistent scent of morphing flowers lingers – now the pale mauve vagueness of violets, now the soap bubbles of fluffy mimosa, or is it linden with its touch of green?
Retro as hell but oh so stylish – only go here if you get aldehydic florals. It makes me want to bring out my (non-existent) brand new mother of pearl cha cha heels and waft through my (non-existent) palace to make the arrangements for a grande soirée.
One aspect that is sadly not retro is the active life of this perfume, which dives to next to nothing after 3-4 hours. And it doesn’t seem to be a skin issue either; it did the same on a paper strip.
11th October, 2018

Oud Stars : Alexandria II by Xerjoff

Putting the bomb into bombast, Alexandria II’s opening is so loud and diffusive it will make you want to sit down and rest your punched hooter. Here are hugely diffusive musked-up florals – soapy rose amplified to a flood of suds and fresh lavender of a solar brightness –, a storm cloud of cinnamon, a stream of treacly amber, all backed by smooth, powdery woods. While other Oud Star offerings have a similar will to power – any more than one spray of Gao and you’re harming the environment – this has a decked-out, blinged-up, look at me character to it which is frank, OTT and not for snobs.
Alexandria’s smile reveals two rows of gold caps and wafts a month’s supply of mouth freshener. The essence of this perfume in its first few hours is its turbo-charged lavender played off against an almost toxic dose of cinnamon, a battle royale conducted under layers and layers of transparent laundry musks so thick, they are panes of ice.
However, once this phase is passed, Alexandria goes the way of Atlantis – major subsidence. The whole thing deflates, projection drops and now what emerges is a dry and spicy take on oud that one can encounter in almost every budget-friendly Arabic or Middle East-oriented house’s offerings. Not special – we wuz robbed.
02nd October, 2018

Copper Skies by Kerosene

Restorative boot-polish amber. It’s ‘good for you’ kind of stuff – smelling medicinal, full of big bold licorice and tobacco, sweetness reined in. It has a vigour that many ambers lack and a lung-filling quality, making it just the thing for the great outdoors – the unspoilt version, that is, as it smells so immediately ‘of nature’. By degrees, what my nose took for licorice untangles to a warm glow of cloves and an undercurrent of peppery yet green basil. What makes or breaks an amber are the resins involved and here they seem to radiate from the wearer’s skin in overlapping layers. Ultimately all other notes dissolve one by one and it’s the warm cloak of resins that remains.
It’s a forceful creation, and thus not for everyday wear. My own preference would be to keep it for those times when the urge strikes to escape the confines of home to head out in search of a wilderness.
29th September, 2018

Alter by Sammarco

True but subdued jasmine with some skin buzz and resinous smoke and saltiness. It’s a beautifully arrayed composition – the jasmine, though with its natural sweetness curiously dialed down, comes across as a flowering plant sharing the wearer’s space, earthy and vegetal tones mingling with the floral song; behind it the shades of frankincense and myrrh, distant at first but coming ever closer, impart a somewhat dusty but also civilizing quality. And then there’s the thought that this perfume is merging perfectly in and out of one’s own skin scent. Everything seems to be in such balance that Alter has that sense of ‘this could not happen in any other way’.
I find it hypnotic, captivating, and, yes, ‘altering’ of our expectations of white florals and jasmine scents. But it’s an extrait in the old school sense and refuses to announce its presence. Call me a vulgarian but I wanted it to speak up just a bit more.
29th September, 2018

L'Eau Guerrière 20 by Parfumerie Generale

Incense through a cool veil of (coniferous) forest green – a scent of safety in terms of lack of provocation, genre conformity and modest projection.
29th September, 2018

Fantastic Oud by Montale

Opens more like Obnoxious Oud, sour and curdled, the oud note particularly sharp and smelling like a cross between the cheese factory and the plastic warehouse. But then it improves somewhat by turning more towards a patchoulied leather direction. There is also a typical attar rose note in here but of dime store quality and a little play of smoke in an attempt to soften the edges. The main thing about this, however, is thrust, an aggression reminiscent of budget fragrances aimed at young males, and that is achieved by an overwhelming cloud of chemical ‘freshness’, a kind of citrus and lavender mix that will fill a room and singe the nose.
Relaxes in the later stages in to a wearable somewhat peppery oud – but who wants to wait for hours to get there?
29th September, 2018

Dew Musk by Montale

A walloping indolic white floral combined with a beasty musk. Take Kiehl’s much more subtle (and beautiful) musk offering and crank it into the red seems to be Montale’s game plan. There’s one problem – while the musk is decent, the florals are of floor cleaner quality (and pungency). And then there’s fruit in the mix that thinks its nail varnish. Nothing dewy here, for sure.
29th September, 2018

Iris Macchiato by Auphorie

Despite being a caffeine fiend, coffee is not my thing. It makes me nauseous. If an estate agent were to take me to a house smelling of the stuff (a common sales trick, I am told), I’d be inclined to walk right back out the door. But being an Auphorie follower, I felt I couldn’t avoid trying this even if it threatened to be a Sécrétions Magnifique-type experience for me. Maybe the iris would save it, but then No 15, their other perfume supposedly centred around iris hadn’t really delivered on that promise.
Well, after much dithering, there was nothing else to do but press that sprayer…
And sure enough a basso profundo ogre’s-breath coffee top note spewed out – uncompromisingly bitter, caramelized/burnt, deep in the grounds and yet with a certain almost-milky smoothness. This stuff was oceanic and for coffee lovers it is bound to be a head rush. Curiously, much as I dislike coffee, none of the associated nausea was materializing. I was surprised at how mellow and indulgent this was feeling, addictive even, prompting me to go for another spray. Iris Macchiato, while still undoubtedly about the espresso, seemed to get creamier and rounder all the time, and I wondered whether this effect was the result of the benevolent working of the musk.
This was the beginning of a long, slow transition, with first the perfume’s throw getting a temperate chocolate aspect, airborne and light, before increasing abstraction with gentle woody and sweetish tones coming into play. Once again, I felt the iris was proving elusive to my nose until it dawned that this delicate woody sweetness is the Auphorie interpretation of this note.
What can I say? This is an expertly blended perfume. If it can give a coffee hater like me a good ride, that’s saying something about the craft involved here.
21st September, 2018

L'Anima Della Rosa by Auphorie

A garden perfume from the Au brothers, where the blooms are open and touched by cool morning air, hints of green, some of the near citric tones that are often part of the make up of living roses, pulpy fruity accents of more exotic flowers. A heady mix for sure but tempered by a serene, greyish, almost metallic tea note up top and by the gentleness of the execution.
There is a touch of deflated expectation on my part as I had expected the roses to play more of a starring role, but this is very much a mixed bouquet, a kind of floral nectar where I can pick out the honeysuckle and acacia, alongside the rose. I’ve no idea what a passion flower smells like, but there’s definitely a touch of the moreish sour-sweetness of passion fruit here.
Tucked underneath, almost completely hidden, is an unobtrusive accord that smells like human skin – the figure in this garden perhaps. L’Anima Della Rosa feels gracious and unforced, unlike the huge personalities of some other Auphorie perfumes, but it is nonetheless capable of filling a room – so just a spray or two is optimal use.
21st September, 2018

Première Danse by Paul Emilien

My main problem with the Paul Emilien range is that his perfumes seem anonymized. It’s as if the great characterful idea of any particular creation is studiously scrubbed of distinguishing aspects to present a safe middle-of-the-road option. Premiere Danse is one of his better offerings but still suffers a bit from this tendency. A warmed-through ambery fruity floral with a boozy tinge this could have been something truly special with a bigger budget for its formula and bolder note differentiation. Instead, its golden glow feels created by light coming through a strip of coloured cellophane rather than from the source itself and it feels pleasant when it could have been a rapturous embrace.
The one gutsy thing about it is a quality labdanum in the base providing resinous complexity and heat – that combined with the bitter orange up top provides a bit of the dancehall rush that this perfume promises. And in the drydown when the floral notes have fled and the dancer is flumped on a chair, the much sturdier amber-oriental that emerges, weighted with redolent spices and resins, is a satisfying – if somewhat chunky – affair.
20th September, 2018
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Le Cri de la Lumière by Parfum d'Empire

This dance of the iris and the rose sweeps effortlessly and elegantly past a vast vista of shades, it would appear, in a hall built from fragrant timbers. The essential harmony of the rose and iris plays out in a vast vaulted space entirely of this perfume’s creation where fine spice, silken woody notes along with the root-like aspects of the iris float like gauzy strands encountered in the perpetual movement that seems to be at the heart of this creation. Le Cri has similarities to other woody oriental rose perfumes, especially those with an Arabic inflection, but where it differs is how it seems suffused with air and light, being expansive without overbearing, present as a vaporous aura about the person of the wearer.
A marvel for a good 3 to 4 hours after which Le Cri fades back quite a bit to a still satisfying woody rose, though lacking the vitality of what came before.
20th September, 2018

Charlatan by Fort and Manlé

The refectory with exotic plants and fine morsels. Charlatan is a beautifully balanced floral gourmand perfume where neither of those qualifiers are quite what they may suggest. The floral notes don’t jump up and identify themselves – rather they evoke a shaded space with blooming plants; and the gourmand elements are soft and silken smooth , like dreams of ambrosial delights rather than the things themselves. The whole is bound together by a delicate, marshmallow-soft vanillic ambery sweetness and a soothing neutral tone akin to plant sap.
Entirely lovely, even if, like other Fort and Manlé offerings, it requires generous spraying.
20th September, 2018

Aeon 001 by Aeon Perfume

With Aeon 001 we travel with perfumer Antonio Gardoni down several strata of mulch – a place of relative darkness but teeming with life. Aeon 001 is one of the few perfumes that does justice to the complex aroma profile of vetiver as a raw material and then adds something worth adding on top. So beyond the gorgeous bittersweet earthy humidity of this humble root in all its glory, there are perfectly dosed smoky tones that dissolve into the whole, some terpenic mastic chewiness and a bright white floral boundary which offers a kind of beckoning-lights-in-the-distance effect for a while until it fades. Aeon 001 feels grounded and grounding – a druid commanding a vast vista.
20th September, 2018

Intense Cherry by Montale

Breezy, laundry musky, hairspray floral, probably best suited to pre-pubescents. Oh, and the promised cherry? Not intense, and smelling like a slurpy variant. Had I sniffed it blind, I most likely wouldn’t have figured out the intended fruit.
Intense Cherry is a bit like being enfolded in a jujube – and, guess what, having grown up with a parenting strategy that involved popping a sweet as a pacifier into my bawling mouth, on some days I’m in the mood for that. But the drydown is utterly inexcusable, the most nondescript musk that for some reason kept bringing thoughts of a carpet warehouse to my mind.
20th September, 2018

Rose Perfection by Robert Piguet

Excited by the revival of the classic Piguet perfumes, I was later disappointed by their newer creations, losing all interest in the line around the time their weird and claggy Oud appeared. So I come to Rose Perfection (which was launched a year later) by chance rather than design.
It’s a downy, rich, reddish, somewhat stewed rose with depth and a haze of powder and dust around it – and will do fine as a soliflore. It will have you smelling of… well, roses, and it has a certain woody dryness to it that’s in the Montale tradition. All that being said, there’s a distinct lack of excitement on my part as it’s all quite familiar with no compensating boost in quality to lift it above similar offerings.
13th September, 2018

Naja by Vero Profumo

Sinuous, slinky, pollen-laden joy. Naja is a perfume that effortlessly outshines the sum of its parts, full of change and dynamism. I love its light, diffusive quality – an impressive trick considering a fatty, true-to nature linden is the star of its opening and a chewy, almost mulched tobacco is at its heart. And yet, Naja wears like a ripple, teasing my nose with all kinds of notes – iodine tincture, fruit parings, dusky and humid vetiver, marine salt – but above all else an unforeseen and perfectly realized union of spring florals and tobacco. It has an enduring and inviting strangeness, and yet so much of what the nose perceives in it is familiar. Novel, invigorating and yet supremely stylish – what more does one require from a perfume?
13th September, 2018

L'Esprit Divin by Paul Emilien

Spicebox woody that decides to throw in the whole perfumers’ cabinet, it would appear. Doesn’t work. While parts of this perfume have appeal – like the boozy, slightly sour rose in its heart – the whole has a random feel, though the effect being aimed for is clearly the serious spice and florals enriched wood/oud offering that seems a niche must. The woody base is raspy and there is a prolonged shower of nutmeg gratings which is some kind of endurance test. The deep drydown smells like a leather seat that has just been vacated after hours of occupation by an ample posterior.

07th September, 2018

Fiore di Portofino by Moresque

Light and supple neroli-led cologne with some bright green basil uplift and a touch of rooty vetiver in the background. Refreshing as a burbling brook in summer but the throw is feeble, so a good dousing is required.
07th September, 2018

Tiare by Ormonde Jayne

Crisp, refreshing, close to Crystalle in terms of buttoned up sophistication but without its ramrod straight back and archness. I get little by way of tiare but rather a lemony clean and green white floral with a dry mossy edge. This is the stuff of great hygiene and order but done without the scouring tendency commonly resorted to. I can appreciate its place in Ormonde Jayne’s sleek pantheon but it’s the kind of perfume that draws little emotional response from me and which I can take or leave.
However, in the interests of fairness, Tiare bucks up considerably when applied generously – then the foliage comes into its own and beckons one outside.
07th September, 2018

Tubéreuse Couture 17 by Parfumerie Generale

‘Honey honey, nearly kill me,’ chirped ABBA with evident glee, and there’s something of that spirit about Tuberéuse Couture, which aims to give you a smiling death-by-sweets experience via the syrupiest tuberose imaginable. The thing should be a flabby, over-fattened flop but there’s dramatic rescue via some prominent ylang ylang, equal parts semi-ripe banana, nail varnish and rubber, that makes it get up and dance. There’s an understated lightly spiced resinous backing, perceptible only when sniffed up close adding a suggestion of shade behind the floral whiteout.
All the party action happens in the first few hours after which this is a straight ahead creamy tuberose, fine for fans of the flower, but a switch from stereo to mono for the rest of us.
07th September, 2018

Roses Musk by Montale

Roses Musk is Montale’s bestseller and I can see why. It offers an uncomplicated yet powerful median rose combined with fresh laundry musks. The main elements are easily recognizable and the overall just-bathed and powdered feel of the perfume in the opening and heart phases is bound to have many fans. Especially for social occasions where we often like to project that impression of ourselves to the world, the body cleansed and arrayed in clothing deemed fit to signal acceptance and rank in the social order, the ostensible purpose usually being celebration. If that is reading too much into a perfume, perhaps it is better to say that the rose has greenish tinges but remains a kind of standard rose (no active displays of personality involved), until the transition to the drydown when after going through a fruity patch it lands firmly into the woody patchouli pit that is a Montale signature. This is now megaphone rose, a kind of bondage Barbie creation. Muzak for sure, but played at maximum volume because it is Montale.
07th September, 2018

Mon Nom Est Rouge by Majda Bekkali

A spicy oriental which comes cloaked in incense but fortunately not overloaded by the rich ingredients; it has a stately tread rather than a weighed down stomp. That being said, you have to enjoy spice bazaar orientals to get this one, as it throngs with warm elements – ginger, cinnamon, pepper, elemi – bustling through the incense smoke, with a solid backdrop of vanilla-tonka and woody tones providing the foundation. Mon Nom est Rouge is the ambery glow from a bakery which specializes in exotic spiced goodies perceived through clouds of fragrant smoke. My personal preference for such creations – and I must admit to wearing them only rarely – is for them to be a bit less sweet and drier, a touch of denial to go with the indulgence.
07th September, 2018

Musc Angelique by Paul Emilien

Artfully realized clean musk which opens buoyant and cloudy and slowly gains warmth and body. After the initial impression of a cool musk infused with violets – a floral note that complements the abstraction and formlessness of the musk – subtle definition appears in the guise of an alert but restrained pepper note and the gorgeous otherworldly milky-sweet greenness of angelica. The vanillic ambery backing is barely there, providing support but not weighing things down.
Provides the tenderness and comfort associated with such musks, but combines it with a sense of personality that is often lacking. Has an active life of a few hours after which, as is so often the case, it blurs into just a vague sweetish musk.
07th September, 2018

Miyako by Auphorie

Auphorie typifies a strain of indie maximalism and Miyako is their gale force creation.
An anecdote: while we had house guests who had been sampling my collection, my normally non-perfume wearing partner decided to pick up a random bottle and spray himself. His hand alighted on Miyako and he went for the three to four sprays that are usually a happy mean for most perfumes. A perfume bomb exploded. We went to an open air event and a cloud of Miyako enveloped us and emanated far beyond – other people gave us dodgy looks. By lunchtime we had had enough and begged him to wash some of it off. Thus, ‘beast mode’ hunters, look no further. The rest – be warned and use with discretion.
No prior perfume quite matches Miyako’s golden effulgence, a wave of (over)ripe peach and apricot breaks first over the wearer, the scent concentrated, jammy, before it starts letting some air in and opening out to the matching floral note around which Miyako is centred – the fruity-leathery osmanthus blossom. There are delicious tart accents and before long a worn and sweaty leather comes into play; it’s a scent close to decaying flowers, offering a touch of gravitas in what is perhaps an over-indulgent creation. At the far periphery is a suggestion of something spice-like – perhaps the tea and wood notes mentioned? The play of decadent and sombre elements in Miyako is at the heart of its power and mystery, and why, like old age, it’s not for sissies. Miyako is like an eternal sunset, suffused in peachy radiance and yet touched by regret for the fading day.
The Au brothers are nothing if not daring, and in Miyako they hold back nothing in terms of the sweet cloying nature of osmanthus, but at the same time they make it majestically diffusive, bringing a dimension of great spaciousness that makes it a perfume to inhabit rather than a head-throbber. Miyako smells far fresher, brighter and downright juicy fruitier on a paper strip than it does on skin, and sometimes I catch myself wishing that Auphorie would release a version that would ditch the leather and smell like that on the wearer, too.
02nd September, 2018 (last edited: 11th September, 2018)

Noir Tropical by Maria Candida Gentile

At first Noir Tropical came across as a vanilla soliflore, more of a lacklustre base rather than a fully developed perfume. It seemed like a flatlining vanilla, missing tonal variation and any sense of motion. There was a curious dose of bergamot in the opening sitting rather uneasily atop the rather gummy vanilla chord, after which it looked like it was going to be vanilla all the way, somewhat rubbery and with balsamic support that felt pasty and thick. But an hour or two into the wear, there was a strange evolution resulting in an accord I can only describe as inside of hammam meets carpet cleaning product. Pass.
02nd September, 2018

Carré Blanc by The Zoo

A celebration of synthetic molecules, Carre Blanc should be indefinable abstraction. Instead the surprise, of course, is how refreshing and juicy it smells and how many referents there are to the natural world – particularly its green spaces. The brand acknowledges as much by saying in a take it or leave it fashion – ‘Whatever rocks your boat: green foliage, grapefruit, rhubarb, blond woods, hay, orris, tonka …’ But this is very much a take it rather than a leave it perfume – brisk, energetic, assured, and with an ozonic, hot iron otherness which keeps threatening to take large chunks of it into anosmia but never does. Let’s just say it keeps the wearer alert.
Sadly it gets thin, shrill and unvarying in the later stages, an acidic rictus confirms some of one’s suspicions of all-synthetic scents.
29th August, 2018

Cadjméré 18 by Parfumerie Generale

A floaty perfume, a cardamom-bamboo concoction that majors on creaminess, a kind of kulfi crossed with wood dust. Comforting? For sure, especially with the big glug of milky vanilla at its tail end. But exciting? Not sure. There’s a good accord of zingy spice and greenish woods under all that flattening creaminess and had that been lifted out a bit more I might have been cheerleading for this one, instead of putting it away with note to self of ‘pleasant but a bit of a snooze’.
29th August, 2018