Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Total Reviews: 874

Cedar by 1907

Revoltingly screechy floor-scouring aquatic in which the usual watery and melon notes are filtered through a mesh of industrial grade chemicals. A generous sprinkle of dry thyme catches in the throat and adds to the ghastliness. The olfactory equivalent of radio static.
20th November, 2017

Farnesiana by Caron

Farnesiana is like falling asleep in a warm room on a winter’s day and being visited by a loving presence in a dream. It is cosy, creamy and comforting – its complex layers falling like a halo of warm orange-amber light around the wearer. Despite the impression of a multitude of notes surging within it, it feels trusted and instantly familiar.
After a beautifully pliant and doughy-buttery opening marked by a gentle and ambery vanilla and sweet hay-like tones, the florals begin to breathe little by little – wisps of mimosa and syringa, the sweet haze of violets, all treated with restraint and respect, and with the assurance of a complex Caron base (think refined resins and powders) to back them up. This is perfume that feels like a silken foam, full of air and light, and yet luxurious and caressing.
Farnesiana has a palpable warmth to it. These are spring flowers miraculously transported to what feels almost like a Christmas interior gently fragrant with potpourri and candied fruit, and they feel perfectly at home.
Sometimes I am tempted to give up other perfumes in winter and subsist solely on Caron extraits; they feel like old friends you want to hug and hold close, and yet they always give you your space.
Review is for current extrait formulation and there is a big catch – Farnesiana disappointingly cycles through its stages to the muted base in just a couple of hours. Still, glorious for that short while.

20th November, 2017

Pluie de Soleil / Burst of Summer by Phaedon

A perfectly decent light-yet-honeyed freesia let down by gumdrop fruitiness. If the fruity end had held its own, we would be talking but it’s just too vague and drenched in syrup. Sadly not a tropical fantasy in the design style – you know, all sunburst flowers, slices of yellow pineapple, citrus and what have you, juice droplets spraying in artistic arcs. That’s the illustrator’s version; the real tropics being beastly hot, with sweat, humidity and decay just as evident in their odourama as heady blossoms and overripe fruit.
If I could get that freesia accord on its own I’d be tempted to spend much more time with it. But as this heads off into total fruit-sludge ignominy after a couple of hours, there’s really no redemption.
20th November, 2017
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Chocolat by Il Profumo

I first came across this on a visit to a perfumery where the owner regards me as a kindred spirit. She indulges me by spraying all the new releases on blotters and then we chat about them – it feels like going to a perfume event catering just for me. In between, other shoppers come and go – they are usually after something specific, and while the owner deals with them, I tend to browse further. So, in walks this couple, and the woman was craving her Il Profvmo Chocolat which she had once bought on holiday and which had become her signature ever since. A blotter was sprayed just to relive the ‘ooh ahh’ of her fondness and to my surprise, standing a few feet away, this wave of dark and enticing chocolate of undeniable quality curled up to my nostrils.
What wasn’t evident then was that this chocolate was a bonbon, containing a soft centre full of plummy fruit, delicate spice (nutmeg) and jammy florals – sheer indulgence. People have spoken of this perfume as Angel plus chocolate – possibly, but without the obnoxious pushiness that such a thing may have. The other perfume it vaguely recalls is the delicately erotic Missoni which is, alas, no more, in which a bone dry cocoa note is played off against gorgeous orange and a feather-light woodsy backdrop. Again, apart from differences in the scent profile, there is also a difference in degree here – Missoni is a marvel of dynamism, of playing off dark against light; Chocolat, on the other hand, seems to gather all its treats into the same comfortable mid-range.
Nonetheless, it is pure pleasure, and when in the later stages the cocoa fades a bit, the underlying fulsome fruity floral comes into view but with the compensation of dusky woody and vanilla notes preventing the whole thing from doing a Disney. Then there is a further surprise in the late drydown which reveals a sophisticated and gauzy mixed floral – it is as if with each layer that falls from this offering, it remains fully realized and beautiful, with comfortable projection.
20th November, 2017

Oud Stars : Alexandria by Xerjoff

Note: this review is for the current version which goes under the name of Alexandria II, not the 2012 release which was a limited edition.

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.
20th November, 2017

1270 by Frapin

A fruity woody that could have been a contender, except for its somewhat hesitant character. After a delicious, juicy, pineapple dominated opening, 1270 settles into a pleasing mix of sweet fruity notes with a bit of warming ginger and a musked woods backdrop. Slight developments of interest are dusky cocoa shadings and hints of tobacco and leather – all kept unobtrusive, functioning as gentle support.
Still, there is a lacklustre quality about the proceedings and a default ambery setting which drags this into pretty generic territory when it could have been so much more.
20th November, 2017

Wolfsbane by Parfums Quartana

Unusual in a very well turned out manner – not fizzbang and screaming rockets but tailored to fit, almost discreet, and yet resolutely unusual.
Wolfsbane turns on an axis of great promising fattiness – at its heart is a dense accord that is alive with impressions but whose ‘feel’ is like orris butter, beeswax and finely milled coconut fat, giving a rich, unctuous, bound-to-be-good-for-your skin impression. Within lurk nuances of earthiness, humidity and a strange kind of herbal greenness, signifying plant origins without the usual fresh or sharp elements. This is a nocturnal greenery, shade upon shade of dark, veiled green, but without any gothic heavy-handedness.
In time the main note around which Wolfsbane slowly revolves comes more clearly into view – a sultry, waxy and even somewhat rubbery tuberose, placed bang in the centre from which a profusion of other directions seem to be followed. The resinoid vanillic accent of benzoin further congeals its thick blood. This is a perfume of slow motion and hidden sorcery; dense as fog but surprisingly easy on the wearer.
Many hours in much of the novelty is departed and Wolfsbane joins the ranks of warm and creamy tuberose perfumes.
20th November, 2017

Poudre de Riz by Huitième Art

I’ll take powder, yes please, great clouds of it, no problem. Old make up? Sometimes it too can float my boat, if well-executed. But hairspray? That usually doesn’t do it for me, bar the occasional gem like Tocade. Maybe it’s the acetone tendency that perfumes going down that route display.
Fortunately, Poudre de Riz’s off-putting hair varnish opening dissipates pretty quickly , yet the promised powder doesn’t materialize. Instead delicate, honeyed florals reveal themselves – a coochiecoo rose and little dabs of white floral something or other. Served on a cushion of musked-up honky tonka and vanilla. It’s subtle and sweet and won’t scare any horses – and by that same token a bit of a yawn. A shame, mainly due to its execution in pastels. Because there’s something right about this composition that gets me thinking that a gutsier approach to the same elements could have yielded stunning results.

03rd November, 2017

Palo Santo by Carner Barcelona

From melting toffee to sweet and salted wood, Palo Santo is a strange one, but it’s a familiar kind of strangeness. The odour profile from start to finish is dense and buttery, but as the projection is a bit tentative, it doesn’t overwhelm. This toffee-impregnated woody with slightly boozy breath has a kind of maple syrup and bacon meatiness about it which is perhaps aiming to achieve an olfactory umami sensation. If Jeux de Peau rocked your boat, then this may also be worth your while.
03rd November, 2017

'Ilm by Al Kimiya

A multi-layered oud for sure, with notes of old leather, dried cow pat and sodden, mouldering wine cask vying for attention. Of these, it’s the last that most appeals to me as it brings with it suggestions of drowned florals and decadent decay, and, strangely, relaxes the mind. There’s depth to this for sure – but whether it is depth worth the over 300 euro price tag…?
Over the course of the wear Ilm took on a somewhat fruity leather aspect (strongly suggestive of the osmanthus-oud pairing in Xerjoff’s Najaf/Zanzibar) over peppery woods. For all that, it is a restrained oud and that quality may appeal to some, but for something that smells this cured I miss the turbo jets that a more brazen house like Montale would have gone for.
03rd November, 2017

La Douceur de Siam by Parfums Dusita

At first I couldn’t understand the avalanche of praise for this one. As a tropical floral it seemed to partly hit the mark – the champaca evocation is heady, strong, with a decent greenness to it that imparts the sense of a real flower. But the syrupy rose that is also a part of the bouquet jars somewhat, particularly as it seems to have an overly synthetic gloss about it and a clingfilmed clove nestling within. There are elements of this perfume that smell of rubber, bread crumbs, raw vegetables – all intriguing things but out of place with its predominantly floral character.
However, I had been a bit impatient with it. As the drydown began La Douceur de Siam began to redeem itself. The composition became a bit breezier, the greens livelier, and hints of ripe fruitiness that are contained within the scents of some yellow flowers began to emerge. But there also seemed to be bilge water lapping in the background which I wish had been drained.
It was only a good hour and a half into the wear that things fell into place with the tropical fruitiness (mango and passionfruit) growing more pronounced and seamlessly blending into the florals – sunny, tangy, moreish, all the odd distractions were now discarded. There are shades of the Body Shop’s infamous Dewberry lurking within this altogether more sophisticated creation.
03rd November, 2017

L'Histoire Oubliée De Dunhuang by Auphorie

I have one major grouse against Auphorie – they often release perfumes of enchanting beauty as limited editions. This plays havoc with my wish list. Auphorie perfumes have a sneaky habit of jumping that particular queue as otherwise they could be gone before their number came up. Their Shambhala seemed to be created just for me; it brings joy with every wear and doesn’t set a foot wrong. I felt I should spread the love and get a bottle for a loved one, but – pouf! – it had vanished.
Now L`Histoire Oubliée De Dunhuang is rubbing up against me and the wish list is once again looking susceptible. This is a perfume of great transparency, a stained glass window of a thing through which light pours in shades of orange and pinky-red. Beginning with a lovingly realized sweet orange with not a trace of anything bitter or sharp about it, the perfume shades into a mixed floral bouquet so light, fresh and airy it seems to have been plucked from some fairy meadow. This is a combination designed, it would appear, to induce good cheer. Underneath the floral dance is a restrained base of hay-like and creamy tones.
All of which does make me wonder about the oriental notes listed – a bunch of spices (Fragrantica users seem to think star anise is the most prominent note), vanilla, amber – none of which register particularly to my nose and I don’t miss them. Instead of a warm and spicy wintry composition, this seems like a herald of a clear late spring day.
Auphorie extraits are powerful things – all dayers, a spray or two is plenty. This, however, seems to require a few more and then has moderate projection, before diving to a skin scent about 3-4 hours in. Maybe the wish list needn’t fear after all.

03rd November, 2017

L'Attesa by Masque

Exquisite iris in the delicate, subdued way that only iris can be, as uplifting as a baby’s kiss and as tender.
That’s me done about L’Attesa, actually – I’ve succumbed totally, it’s a perfume that immediately belongs on me. But for those who like a little more detail, here goes:
Wearing L’Attesa is like being brushed by the finest of suedes, powders, and the gentlest lips. The aura of its iris is softly sweet, its butteriness just an indication of how smooth it is, never fatty. There’s a lifting effervescence within (perhaps the so-called champagne accord) and the airiest suggestion of floral notes which gain in body during the course of the wear. The introduction of complementary bitters is similarly restrained, suede, perhaps woods, but not the vegetal rootiness that pushes many an iris to the wrong side of odd.
L’Attesa’s main player, the iris, has a reputation for wan ethereality, its delicacy can easily be insubstantial. The perfume, subsequently, wears like a haze, but what an impressionist haze it is – full of soft colour gradations, slight changes in light and shade, and suffused by an almost ghostly tactile quality. L’Attesa gives the iris presence without forcing it to raise its voice.
Impressively tenacious, lasts a full 24 hours on me – possibly longer, but I can’t be certain as I shower every morning.
03rd November, 2017
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Figment Woman by Amouage

Figment Woman’s first half captures the humid nocturnal tropicality of the traditional heavy hitters of white florals – tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, lily. Lactonic tones overlap, though the indoles are kept in check, and a mood of sultry languor pervades it. There’s no escaping a certain foghorn quality about it, and the blurring of the notes doesn’t help. But if being suspended in a pool of white floral unguent is your thing, then Figment is for you. Although the floral elements are rounded and feel natural to the nose, the almost complete lack of definition in this perfume is like being fed a diet of pap.
In the late stages, this is mainly about the, sadly unexceptional, tuberose which drones on and on like a party bore.
03rd November, 2017

Oscent Rouge by Alexandre.J

What starts as a novel yet logical take on fig (we’re talking the leaf and sap smell now so common in perfumery, rather than the fruit), namely brightening it’s associations with summer by injecting a tart and cooling streak of bergamot and lime, then goes on to flirt with floral sweetness, before plumping for a pretty down-the-middle figgy scent. Passable, but the problem is that there are now scores of those and this thing seems to have been created on a shoestring, with little overall polish.
03rd November, 2017

Rose Absolue by Annick Goutal

I cannot pass a rose bush of the open petalled variety without leaning over for a sniff, and the familiar scent (despite some variation) remains surprising – deep, nectarous, narcotic but somehow also soft as down, airy and cooling. Each time, it is a love renewed.
I have yet to come across a perfume that gets this contradictory balance of a natural rose right – and why should it? Artistic perfection must aim for different standards of excellence and modes of expression to natural perfection, imitating which is a thankless task.
Rose Absolue is a successful rose perfume, but lest we forget, it is a perfume not a rose. Its opening is strongly reminiscent of rose water, which has that delicate but strong quality that is so bewitching, and a huge dose of the sweets. It’s ringed by a faint whiff of mothballs – perhaps indoles were employed, as they often are, to plump out the floral bouquet. Given time, all indolic suggestion vanishes and the rose becomes cloud-like, super soft, and floats from the skin like a comforting aura – it has traces of both soapy and deeper attar roses to it, but it’s the gossamer, lilting quality that lifts it above many another perfumery rose. A visual analogy helps – Rose Absolue is like a canvas with a thin band of deepest crimson and a huge fade of feathery pink bordering on white.

A skin scent after 4 hours.
21st October, 2017

Rose Muskissime by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

A delicate eau that pairs a watery rose with tangy blackcurrant, which then mellows to include other fruity notes, like mango. This is the way to do a fruity floral, I feel – with an air of innocence and some frivolity. There’s a juiciness about it which slowly evolves into the lightly powdered musky drydown.
There’s nothing about the ingredients that indicates they are in any way special, and perhaps its timid projection is due to this budget tendency. More sensitive noses may have greater pleasure from Rose Muskissime, but a perfume I have to strain to smell just doesn’t do it for me.
21st October, 2017

Lilac Love by Amouage

If your idea of pampering is a full body slather of your favourite lotion after bathing, followed by lolling on the couch with a slab of rich milk chocolate, then Lilac Love could be for you.
It has a serious ooze factor; this is perfume as unguent. But what it does, it does quite well – embedding a heady jasmine-heliotrope accord within fold upon fold of an uber-creamy chocolate, tonka and vanilla dessert. I am reminded of cinema ads for chocolate from long ago which used to major on a constant pouring of the silken, brown stuff. Over time the composition does let in a bit more air and space as the chocolate seems to get consumed by and by and the floral notes breathe and expand – now there’s a pinkish blush of peony in the mix, too.
Wear it with a light touch and this will provide gentle uplift and comfort; overdose and risk a headache.

21st October, 2017

Le Sillage Blanc by Parfums Dusita

The forest a few days after the last downpour. The humus in the earth, bittersweet and fragrant; bits of bark from the oldest trees, still damp, almost mouldering, mossy, dark and with a bitterness so dense it is like a drug.
I know my beloved wormwood is at play when I encounter such compelling intensity. But there is also a good dose of galbanum – a condensed, toxic, inky green. Le Sillage Blanc is green for sure but it is also floral, leathery, earthy. However, its abiding spirit is that concentrated bitterness, like dark light, combined with close, almost cloying sweetness, that provides a depth and pulsation to the creation, an enticing poison.
In nature decay is essential to new life, and somehow Le Sillage Blanc transports the wearer to the core of this mystery, it makes peace with these powerful, irresistible forces. Read the list of notes – they’re there, present and correct – and then wear the perfume, and forget them.
21st October, 2017

Feu Follet by Friedemodin

Feu Follet is one of those attractive and seemingly simple ideas that should inspire more followers. Take a gentle, clean, suede-like leather and pair it with what I can only describe as ‘garden freshness’, a natural sweet-smelling mélange of notes that recall cool, cultivated spaces. There are plenty of leathers paired with turbo laundry musks, but they tend to be screamers. This feels unforced and comfortable, with breezy lavender in the mix and spices like nutmeg and cardamom used in such a light, lively manner that they suggest living herbs rather than the spice box. The leather is cool, dry, with a well-judged presence, neither heavy nor flyaway, and the other notes bring hints of warmth and sweetness.
The rather large cloud to this silver lining that it all but vanishes after about 3 hours, so needs generous application and frequent refreshing.
21st October, 2017

Black Afgano by Nasomatto

Some years ago, the hype around Black Afgano was so heated that it was difficult to think of approaching it with a cool head. Today, one wonders what all the fuss was all about. It is a solidly made perfume, decently balanced for a such a full-throttle blend of spicy incense and resinous woods, but I smell little that distinguishes it from a legion of butch creations in a similar manner spanning the range from some Amouage offerings, to Montales and on to the many designers that have opened up the box labelled ‘rugged, spicy oud’.
There’s smoke, there’s some leather going ‘Grrr’, there’s old-boy tobacco, in a mix that’s aimed at being dark and decadent but is now shorthand for a certain kind of knuckle-dragging perfumery masculinity. I suppose it is welcome that the makers market it as a unisex scent. But beyond that, this really isn’t dope, even though it claims to smell like it. Nope, I have loved ones who are warriors for cannabis freedom in their dreams but nothing about Black Afgano reminds me of anything they’ve ever brought to my nose. Kinski does a much more convincing job on that front. What Black Afgano does have is a pinch of pungent dried herbals in the mix, resembling crushed fenugreek and curry leaves, that mixes effortlessly with the spice.
Good if you like powerhouses in this manner. I find I’ve had enough of their persistent personalities after a few hours.
21st October, 2017

Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo

With resins forming their backbone, amber fragrances draw on associations of the fossilized tree resins used in jewellery – the orange-gold translucency of these stones, how they evoke the mysteries of nature working over the ages. In order to keep up with the romantic associations of their name, amber fragrances – which are not derived from the gemstones – often aim to create a mood that combines golden warmth (usually by spicing), antiquity (the non-fresh and condensed odour profile of most resins), and autumnal beauty. They must attempt to be the log fires of romance novel covers.
Often, though, their treacly sweetness, density and spicing feels heavy-handed, if instantly familiar. Rare is the amber that truly thrills. But that doesn’t deter fans craving comfort and warmth. And who am I to disagree? Except to say that striking variations on the theme are more difficult to pull off in this fragrance family, the genetic imprint is resistant.
Thus, with Alambar one comes upon yet another competently executed and smartly dressed amber whose voice blends instantly into the family choir. The overall profile is creamy-soapy, the resins are rounded by a suffused and mild sweetness, and the requisite antique warmth is present. Yet there is nothing to make it stand apart, even if just a little. A bit of dust and dryness in the base and a suggestion of wood varnish are too subtle to really do it. Perhaps fine for true believers.

21st October, 2017

Signature Collection : Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio

A perfume that takes a while to come round on my skin. Upon opening it gave the impression of having sat in the cupboard for too long, like it was trying desperately to be a gutsy old school floral complete with unwashed underwear, but the end result sadly resembled an emanation from a bottle that had turned. The blast of orange blossom-heavy white florals that soars out at the start distorted and gained a plastic aspect, the civet-musk power chord of the base felt airless and stale. It seemed all yellowing lace, fur, and hair; old age in an instant.
And yet, despite all that, there was a perverse pleasure in wearing it, as if one were tempting fate. There seemed to be a core of oriental warmth to the composition, rendered in a creamy, body-hued manner which called out to me, willing me to risk entering the boudoir that time forgot.
And then in a final change Nuit Noire blossomed, the orange flowers became bright and radiant and imbued with a triple-milled soapiness, and that base began twinkling with spicy refinement reminiscent of a classic Caron. Worth the wait? Ya betcha.
05th October, 2017

Rose Tubéreuse by E.Coudray

More clash of the titans rather than diva duet. The first impression suggests a clove-spiked rose sitting atop some gummy vanilla, with the tuberose only sneaking up later in the perfume’s progression. Unfortunately this is not a creamy, carnal avatar of tuberose, nor is it heady and indolic. Instead we have a powder-compact-in-plastic-sheeting impression of this floral note, and the entire composition suffers from a decidedly fusty and clogged feel. Maybe it’s the base notes asserting their authority (a paste-like blend of vanilla, tonka and patchouli to my nose), but neither rose nor tuberose gets a chance to shine in this rather outdated offering.
05th October, 2017

Sex and the Sea by Francesca Bianchi

Dense doughy iris, doll plastic and old make-up rubbery sweetness, and reminders of castor-oil-laden lacto-calamine do not an enticing perfume make – not in my book. I struggle to get beyond the general clagginess of Sex and the Sea; it wears like something that will block your pores. The rich slather of vanilla-benzoin in the base doesn’t help things either.
The suggested evocation of the sea or our carnal commonality passes me by here – there’s none of the salt tang or the skin comfort or arousal I would associate with such things. Instead I get caked powder, several greased layers deep which makes me long for nothing more than a thorough cleanse.
05th October, 2017

Veloutine by Technique Indiscrete

This sugary berry-violet perfume seems to have a particular wearer in mind – a plastic doll with pop eyes and red dots painted on its cheeks. An undertow of musky leather is probably meant to nod towards seriousness of intent – but it doesn’t quite work that way. Still, likely to enjoyed by some who like uncomplicated sweet things.
05th October, 2017

East India / Vi Et Armis by Beaufort London

You gotta say yes to another excess. Vi et Armis is the kind of perfume that makes me want to stand up and applaud. It’s overloaded, butch, in your face, and just the thing that sorts out true believers from those who merely want a ‘nice scent’. This is what all those wimpy black tea creations wish they could be in their dreams – bursting with sensory impressions, smoky, brooding, so rich someone should make a fudge this flavour.
A perfect and full on union of tannic, tarry, smouldering notes, Vi et Armis combines gunpowder tea, burnt-out birch, peat-infused whisky, tobacco and ashtrays to such dramatic and startling effect that it took me a while to remember that I often don’t care for combinations of such traditionally ‘masculine’ notes. But the point is that there is nothing traditional about this perfume, it is a statement every bit as bold and uncompromising as Tauer’s Lonestar Memories and so is bound to evoke ‘Gah! Unwearable!’ responses from many.
The realization of the notes is something else, so vibrant and full of buzzing energy, with a bizarre but perfectly integrated squidgy core that smells like overripe plums, probably aspects of the whisky and cured tobacco giving that impression. This is the scent that should accompany darkened rooms of antique furniture draped in heavy velvets, rather than the usual dust and mould.
It moves to the gentleman’s club after about four hours when some of the dynamism subsides, turning into a more mature tobacco, tar and whisky affair. Less effusive yes, but still a damn fine thing.
05th October, 2017

The Dark Side by Francesca Bianchi

Oh yeah, this is the way to do a spicy oriental – voluptuously spilling out of its (at least for the first few hours) bodice, joyous despite its name.
Bianchi’s creation makes a virtue of boldness. Its spices are up front and in your face – and bolstered by a full orchestra of woods and resins (just look at the notes list). Usually I approach such things with caution as I find their persistent personalities a bit challenging. But Bianchi’s moody Dark Side is leavened by light, too. There are two notes in the mix that lift everything else and make it sing. First is a honey of great clarity: it’s a supple golden note, not laden with hormones and wax, and it ripples through the creation like an enlivening spirit. The second is a soft-as-a-kiss, nectar-like violet note, which instils an innocent, loving quality at the heart of this perfume – it is so silken and pure, it reminds me almost of a fantasy soft-focus rendering of rose otto.
In setting these delicate, maternal seeming notes among the expected heavy hitters Bianchi has created something a bit special. I love how the spices, though full on, don’t tilt the whole thing over – perhaps it’s because they are presented in such a blended manner, not as soloists. I can only detect cinnamon in the mix, but even that is after paying close attention. The woody notes – sandalwood and cedar – are dry and of a decent quality, and the spices blend right into their grain.
Eventually in the deep drydown, the sensuality takes a backseat and The Dark Side becomes a comfort scent with the sweeter elements taking on a powdery quality. Even dark forces are susceptible to tenderness.

27th September, 2017

Les Trésors De Sriwijaya by Auphorie

The chance to try a new Auphorie creation is something that causes me great anticipation. This is a house that offers novelties and challenges to intrigue the most jaded nose, and even when one of their extraits isn’t quite my thing it still seems to glimmer with enough olfactory jewels to command admiration.
Les Trésors de Sriwijaya is at first glance as ambitious as anything they’ve done, and pulled off with the same sure hand, though the later stages are somewhat more conventional. The opening – which speeds by far too soon – is mouth-wateringly fruity floral, but in a purely tropical interpretation, bursting with sunshine and the lovely golden accents of frangipane and ylang paired with luscious yellow fruit.
The transition starts almost immediately, with the florals taking on a glassy transparency and lightness, which seems to be an Auphorie signature, dancing at the front of stage, while in the background a whole orchestra of woody musky tones plays – but with extreme gentleness and subtlety. The declared notes list may contain a string of smoky and resinous heavy hitters, but they don’t present themselves in any overtly discernible way to my nose.
In its middle phase Trésors is, strangely enough, probably the most conventional perfume Auphorie has released – a sophisticated mixed floral with a quiet woody backing, its antecedents are in classical perfumery. The whole thing is sheer and in the drydown, as the notes merge, verging on the abstract. This is not to discredit it, as it definitely has the seemingly effortless class that this style of perfume lives or dies by. It just doesn’t open up new realms in the way other Auphorie offerings have done.
But the drydown a good three or four hours into the wear disappoints. The perfume undergoes a kind of condensation and reads like a mix of candied peel and essential oils. Still pleasant to wear, but ducking below the high bar set by this house.
21st September, 2017

Figment Man by Amouage

After a somewhat choking opening of damp, mulched earth, Figment Man begins to transition quite swiftly. It’s another bold, statement perfume in the manner of the Myths duo, and thus will no doubt divide, nay cleave, wearers.
What unfolds after the dig-my-grave opening statement is an assemblage of soil and foliage smells of shifting textures, behind which one senses rich and greasy floral notes in the mould of Amouage’s grand Gold Man. Here, they seem to always lie just behind the chiaroscuro front of steaming forest soil, snapped twigs and crushed greens. There are refreshing notes in the mix – a dash of lemon and a clean vetiver – that inject some air into what would otherwise be quite a close and forbidding composition.
Amouage market this one as a ‘luminous sandalwood’ – if that’s the case its light is well and truly hidden by the murk in the foreground, because by no stretch of the imagination (maybe that’s why it’s called Figment) would a wearer alight on sandalwood as the presiding deity here. It’s only after a prolonged swampy stage (poisonous greens, the earth notes now positively soaked and squelchy, with a hint of salty resins), when the shape of the thing is dissolving, that a sweetish, woody base becomes apparent – we’re talking a good six hours into the wear.
Figment Man is pretty rad, I’ll give it that, but by that same measure challenging to wear.
21st September, 2017