Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Total Reviews: 841

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d'Orange

Breezy and soothing, this light minty concoction is refreshment on redial. It has echoes of the sea, of morning gardens, and seems to invite one to dwell in a pale, spacious, minimalist designer home in a complimentary white linen kaftan.
Somewhat linear – check; synthetic – check; Herba Fresca with hints of L’Ombre Dans L’Eau – check. Nonetheless, I found its effortless manner disarming, a bare shouldered shrug to trying too hard. ‘I’ve touched your brow with my cool, I’m finished like a beach pebble – what more do you want?’ it seems to say in its ASMR voice.
Puts on a bit of weight late in the wear becoming more reminiscent of the Diptyque offering and – at times, and curiously, – a guava.
27th August, 2017

Limanakia 27 by Parfumerie Generale

What have we here? A sweating cyborg in the tiare grove? There’s a story behind it for sure, a pastoral written for a virtual world. For what else could explain the merging of metallic sheen and ozonic salt, billowing toothpaste-like freshness reminiscent of open skies, the dirt funk of cumin with white flowers?
It’s a crash piled several vehicles high if one just inspects the notes, but Pierre Guillaume is nothing if not adept at freeze framing will o the wisps. And this one has that elusive quality and yet seems to have its contours delineated. It’s out there – but travelling in a direction I don’t necessarily want to follow. However, the trail it leaves in a room is much more appealing – sea breezes with traces of gentle florals – just a shame this is not what you will smell on yourself.

27th August, 2017

Artemisia by Penhaligon's

Vague but strangely meaty floral doused in rubbery vanilla and the monochord that goes by the name of white musk. While the floral profile is diffuse (blame the violet) there is a curiously padded quality to this perfume, the flesh of a cactus or the stuffing of a cushion translated into olfactory experience. The centre coheres like dough and I am reminded of certain iris accords, so tiny punctuating hints of something sharper reminiscent of immortelle helps.
A head-scratcher for me – a perfume that smells nothing like the plant it is named after, soft and musky but also thick as paste, and with an undefined cosmetics-meet-talced-latex sweetness about it. I really don’t know why it isn’t unwearable. Instead it is one of those perfumes that settles quite comfortably into a background hum to the day’s activities.
27th August, 2017
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Tropicana by Lorenzo Villoresi

Smoothie culture runs amok, this one shaken up by the hipster’s child with a mix of tart tropical fruit notes AND big fat things like milk, coconut, vanilla, narcotic white florals – why not?, heck, even a sprinkle of chocolate. Plus a gauze of powder and musk draping the lot.
It’s the hundred-topping pizza mentality and it rarely yields good results. Here we have something barely wearable for the first few hours, whereas fewer impressions may have yielded much better results because the notes as one glimpses them seem pretty decent. There’s mouth-puckering passion fruit, a melon impression that feels natural, proper chocolate, dry and a bit dusty. But due to the barrage, they are lost almost as soon as they register, and the wearer is left coated in goop.
However, in common with some other Villoresi offerings this turns around a lot later in the wear, becoming a simpler creamy passionfruit and mango concoction that feels more and more at home on one’s skin. I found myself actively enjoying it, but can’t imagine repeating the experience often seeing the messed up early hours.
08th August, 2017

Saint Julep by Imaginary Authors

Lip-smacking mint – fresh as a daisy, properly green and herbal, not toothpasty – backed with very moreish ripe and candied citrus. The skill is in the realization which is so vibrant it’s like nothing else I’ve smelled before, despite the familiarity of the notes. A joyous burst of a thing that will revive and restore.
The mint does fade after about half an hour but seems to leave a ghostly presence behind as the perfume moves to greater citrusy juiciness underlaid with sugar. It’s a tall glass with ice kind of affair rather than cloying and syrupy, before the eventual move towards greater candied solidity. There’s an underlying note common to Tauer’s Pentachords Verdant (a pretty useless reference, I’ll admit, except for those who have experienced this now discontinued perfume), sweet but also somewhat earthy, and persistent which carries this perfume to the end of the day.
I was bowled over by the minty opening and would have loved to hang on to it for longer, but felt the evolution was sufficiently accomplished to make this one a keeper.
08th August, 2017

Melle Cléo by Les Cocottes de Paris

After an off-putting syrup, soap and waxy old lipstick opening that is less cocotte and more desperate frump, Melle Cléo revives a little with a greenish fruity note (the litchi) ascending, and plumped up by an airy laundry-floral accord. Nonetheless, a second visit is off the cards.
08th August, 2017

Carrousel by Paul Emilien

Bright citrus spiked with pepper, with a good dose of eucalyptus in the mix which gives the whole thing a parched, waiting-for-a-lit-match quality. Has a briskness about it that brings to mind clichés of office workers in crisp white shirts. Pleasant and easy wearing, if unexceptional.
08th August, 2017

XJ 1861 Zefiro by Xerjoff

Zefiro is the incense that transports not to church but to a leather playroom. For somewhere in its meld and weave of notes is a suggestion of polished, supple black leather – and once that lodges it’s difficult to chase away.
It’s a cumulative effect rather than a specific leather note as such for this perfume is mainly about a central incense surrounded by spices, herbs and woods which can sound somewhat trad. But there’s something a bit amorphous about the incense, it doesn’t have the silvery clarity of say the incense in an Amouage offering, instead it is warm, fuzzy, lightly smoked, seeping across the range of this perfume rather than offering a point of definition. It is counterpointed by a well-judged and dry sweetness, just enough to be a faint presence and offer relief to the bustle of spice and herbal notes inhabiting the incense cloud. And then there’s something like hour-old white wine in a glass and a touch of wormwood which give it a suggestion of mould and wear and perhaps that leather-like twist. Mature for sure, but also a handsome devil.
A word of caution though: this does not evolve much, so once it settles into its leather-inflected incense statement it doesn’t budge. If that does not sound like something you’d go for, you’re unlikely to be converted.
08th August, 2017

Collection Grands Crus : Oud Al Sahraa by Berdoues

Bang-in-the-middle oud, so unexceptional it could have been created by a bot (which is possibly insulting to bots that are now capable of composing pieces of classical music that fool audiences). It's mildly spicy, it's midway on the sweetness scale, it's definitely woody, no doubt about that, but not in any standout manner. About the only thing that's a bit different is a bit of proper myrrh, which imparts dust, resinous dryness, and some character.
Is it no good, then? Absolutely not. Nothing that has echoes of M7 about it could possibly be. It's just that there is nothing that distinguishes it from the legion of competent ouds out there.
03rd August, 2017

Shardana by Bottega Profumiera

Just when I thought I’d given up completely on aquatics, here’s one to make me change my mind – well, for a couple of hours at least. What makes Shardana work for me is the impressionistic, somewhat hazy way in which the salt water accord is handled, making it seem like sunshine diffused by cloud. A soft and warm sandalwood, and some mild, refreshing herbal notes create gentle and languid mood music. This is a cool summer day on the deck with the sea in the distance, clean cotton clothing and recently brushed teeth, and perhaps time to do a lot of nothing.
The blessing of not having the aquatics dermabrading one’s nasal passages does have a flipside – Shardana’s projection is on the subdued side. And then, there’s the plague of modern perfumery – the almost complete inability to compose a decent drydown. Here we’re presented with a vaguely aquatic musky melange after the first couple of hours.

28th July, 2017

Lumière Dorée by Miller Harris

Uber-clean white floral, which begs to be reincarnated as a spritzer served in a pub on a hot day as well as a perfume. A single minded orange-blossom with its green facets bringing cool shade to the delicate honey that is at the centre of its scent profile, a dab of bitter orange to tease out the fruity aspects of the blossom, and projecting musk a go-go. Normally it’s the kind of thing that either makes me bored or run with horror. But here it’s executed with panache and energy, transitioning from the sparkle at the start to the downy drydown without putting a foot wrong. It’s gussied up cologne water for sure, but when the results are so perfectly pitched, I really don’t care.
28th July, 2017

Gold II by AJ Arabia

A perfume in the whacking-great-cloud manner of Montale where one is hit by a concentrated blast of heady notes – in this case a sweet woody amber, but with musky propulsion and bitter orange peel and saffron glinting through. At its heart is a kind of scented gunk – like a fudged up vanilla and patchouli combo that smears its rich endearments over much of the rest that is going on in this perfume. If that kind of density appeals, you should give this a try. I personally find that this kind of style if not done exactly right weighs me down and makes me feel sluggish, like I had overindulged at the pastry counter.
28th July, 2017

Cologne du 68 by Guerlain

Long-range cologne which covers a fair field of impressions, but a cologne nevertheless – so expect freshness and vibrancy but not great note differentiation or projection.
The arc of Cologne du 68 sweeps from the expected citruses through a lovely green section which includes herbal elements but also scents one can only call vegetal, smelling faintly of the earth, mushrooms but also of crushed twigs and leaves, that verge onto delicate summery floral elements like airy linden. Dotted through the perception of this scent is the traditional cool blue cologne note of lavender, discreet flecks of spices, light touches of pepper, and the sweet breath of anise. And there’s also the Guerlain vanilla, evident to my nose from first spray, but which then seems to all but vanish, doing its work in the background. And what of the battery of resins? For me they extend some of the herbal notes, effecting a gentle drying out if you will. The only fault – and it’s a minor one – is a creeping up of sweeter musky elements in the latter stages. But as they don’t obscure the other players, it’s forgivable.
A cologne that proudly says more is more, while remaining bright and sparkling.

28th July, 2017
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Attache-Moi 55 by Attache-Moi

A scent of hygiene – and it’s not just the citrus note at the top, it’s the feel of the thing as if a thin film of water or cellophane lay over the top of it. That’s not entirely a diss, as it’s quite a clever effect when one has warm notes like cardamom and a woodsy vetiver lurking within. However, Attache-Moi 55 revolves around its florals – jasmine and osmanthus – and it’s a bit of a letdown that their evocation is a bit underfed, lifeless, and quite removed from nature, though the osmanthus has the requisite overripe plums and leather nuances often associated with it. Sure this distance from nature fits with the overall mood of the perfume, but it seems more suited to a car or a hotel lobby rather than my body.
28th July, 2017

Aqua Sextius by Jul et Mad

I have been left indelibly scarred by too many strident yet ultimately banal aquatics that I must admit to a prejudice against this bossy family that screams at the top of its voice at the wearer (and usually poor suffering bystanders as well) to BE COOL. I dislike the overriding synthetic feel of such perfumes and the bad name they give to abstraction.
The opening of Aqua Sextius triggered this prejudice as it unleashed a wave of thin citrus carried on top of briny aquatic notes, but fortunately it receded quite a bit to reveal a much more interesting composition. As we move into the heart phase the saltiness of this fragrance combined with touches of fig bring faint echoes of Womanity but this not quite as sweet for one and has many dissimilar notes to the Mugler release for another. The citrus pickles nicely in the salt which sounds horrible except that the touch remains light throughout and the diffusive musks doing most of the work in this perfume bring their characteristic smoothness. Green fir-like notes of the earlier stages give way to a dry cedar note of the split-wood variety which brings a cool-warm feel to the base.
Having said all that, much of Aqua Sextius belongs squarely on the shelf marked ‘designer man cologne’ and I can’t picture myself parting with the bucks required for it.
28th July, 2017

Altesse Mysore by Alexandre.J

Expectations of sandalwood brought forward by this perfume’s name must be swiftly put aside, as must those of floral profusion evoked by the PR guff, especially of ‘carnal’ jasmine – nope, not getting any of that. Altesse Mysore is primarily a balsamic creation, with a healing aura created from a mélange of spices and extracts with something not too far from ground almond paste as carrier, likely a pretty dark patchouli. The florals here appear as stewed tinctures rather than as vibrant blooms – but it matters little as the predominant mood of this perfume is ambery, preserved, reflective. A judicious dose of bitter elements in the mix add more depth and complexity.
An assured and serious composition, which is crying out for better materials than those used by the house to raise it up.

19th July, 2017

Rêve d'Anthala by Evody

I had to overcome my inner snob to appreciate this perfume, as it started with the somewhat tacky notion of mixing two blingy genres – the white floral with the taffy gourmand – for a journey into the very soul of superficiality. But all credit to this Rêve, it quickly won me over.
For one, the white florals (which come across as a tiare orchid cross) seem to be a bridge to the much darker base which transforms quickly from standard seeming caramel notes to a much less sugary benzoin and vanilla paste, offering a range of impressions – roasted and boozy, warm and balsamic, bitter and nutty. This is a dark brown mood, shaded and brooding but with not the slightest hint of a frown.
There are a couple of problems, however. A perfume of this nature, no matter the richness of the base, feels somewhat simple – there are no points of contrast. And, thus, in the deep drydown one feels like one is wearing a scented smudge rather than a perfume as such.
(I have tried the perfume in the slim version of the bottle, not the one illustrated on this page; not sure if the there is any difference in composition.)
19th July, 2017

Romanza by Masque

Lowering dark clouds, the ragged, muddy meadow with tall grasses and yellow blooms, and a mourning cello player in the distance, Romanza is like an expression of love with tears in its eyes – god, does that not make you feel good to be alive.
An overdose of what smells like sodden hay sets its melancholy tone – it’s an odour that compels but has a bit of an attract-repel quality reminiscent of the vegetal mood of Oriza’s Chypre Mousse. Within it blooms the narcissus, indolic yet not weighed down, its naturally fatty scent cut by a fruity sourness like unripe apricots. The metallic and greasy greenness of violet leaf combines with this completely organic (and on the brink of decay) mix with great ease. Far, far away, the purr of something resinous.
Romanza takes you to a place you do not want to go but really you do, a place of deep emotion that stirs you up. And yet its face remains calm. I cannot help but think that Nathalie Lorson was visiting the same place when she composed Myths Woman for Amouage, its swampy narcissus a relative of Romanza.
Romanza is challenging and not easy to wear; therefore you must love it more when you do.

19th July, 2017

Silent Grove by D.S. & Durga

Grass and linden – evocative of sunshine and the outdoors – translated into a perfume that is equal parts lime-scented hand soap and peppy room freshener. Somehow, this is not a bad thing, instead even a little addictive. Silent Grove has the underlying synthetic sweetness of such products and even when the composition goes a bit woody and smoky in the drydown that aromachemical aura is hard to deny. Still, a bit like popping candy, it has sparkle and fizz and suits occasional use.
19th July, 2017

Terrasse à St Germain by Jul et Mad

If the cool, somewhat soapy aldehyde-influenced florals (citrusy, limpid freesia, a drop of tender rose) at the opening suggest a chic classicism and carefree bounce, the beautifully realized musky woody backdrop adds just the right amount of friendliness and warmth. There’s complexity here but delivered in a way that seems natural, unforced and breathing. The woods are sheer, soft and sweet; the musk rounding them and making them coming alive. There’s even some enticingly golden muscat wine lurking in its depths.
Speaking of depths, I do find that Terrasse à St Germain suffers a bit from the Jul & Mad tendency of restrained projection, which is a shame as something with such personality really needs to express it a bit more.

19th July, 2017

Vertine by Friedemodin

The nice idea is a jotting from a dream. The nice idea’s usual destiny is to languish. Until someone tries out the nice idea.
Vertine’s nice idea is to combine green notes of mint, basil and fig leaf in a light and fluffed by musks manner in order to refresh and bring shaded respite to your summer. As far as nice ideas go it’s a, well, nice one and decently executed. The usual warnings apply – the mint will feel like mouthwash until you get used to it, don’t expect fireworks (this is meant to cool your brow not knock your socks off), verisimilitude when it comes to green notes is a thing of degrees rather than a given. A sweet rosy note, well concealed among the foliage, helps everything hold together. Performs well for close to four hours after which it’s a green-tinged musky muddle.

02nd July, 2017

Souffle Intime by Paul Emilien

Undistinguished, hazy, pleasant ‘white flowers’ combine with a paste-like gourmand tonka-patchouli base with a hint of bitter almonds and fatigue. Sounds awful, but is actually cozy and alright if a bit featureless, dropping to skin-hugging musks within a couple of hours. Sadly this can never be a recommendation.
02nd July, 2017

Pélargonium by Aedes de Venustas

The main problem with previous Aedes de Venustas offerings has been that they skated rapidly through their pretty creative opening and heart phases and then subsided with a disappointing whump into lacklustre bases.
Can Pelargonium do any different? But perhaps that is the wrong question when its opening statement is one that is so firmly trad that one begins to wonder why this is a new release. A burst of juicy citruses spiked with the classic accompaniment of black pepper is well-rendered but ain’t going to win any prizes for originality. And when the evolution is towards sweet but blurred florals (the geranium being the main player), we’re in the territory of AdP’s Colonia offerings. Zesty and refreshing for sure but a well-trodden path by now.
However, Pelargonium has a major plus up its sleeve – it has an endearing ever-so-slightly powdered floral throw and as time wears on the impression of lying among meadow flowers forms in the mind. Just the thing, I’d say, when you want a light yet lasting, soft-focus floral.
02nd July, 2017

Iris Cendré by Naomi Goodsir

Thrills to begin, dunking the wearer in a tub of iris butter – lovely rooty stuff with hints of smooth, caressing suede and a smooth fatty density, which in this case, is ever so appealing. Its singlemindedness is the attraction. When so many perfumes drive straight into the cul de sac marked ‘competent but safe’, it’s a relief to have standouts. It’s lightly smoked, the smoke adding barely-there complexity, and there’s an intriguing cedar-spiked-with-cardamom note right in its middle which comes across like an undulation in this iris bath.
This perfume takes the earthy, doughy aspects of its starring note and stretches them without succumbing to brute tendencies. Maybe it’s the diffusive nose-blanketing quality of the violet ionones that spreads this even smoother and helps create the immersive feel.
However, Iris Cendre deflates as it goes along becoming a skin scent in a couple of hours with a spicy leatheriness creeping in that does no favours to the rather wonderful experience that had preceded it.
02nd July, 2017

Binturong by Auphorie

I delayed trying out Binturong for a long time, having caught a whiff on a strip of paper which suggested that it may be too challenging for even my adventurous nose. On paper this thing was all fur and backside, and I was unsure I wanted to smell like that all day.
However, my curiosity won me over as Auphorie has yet to release a perfume that doesn’t take me places. And fortunately, on skin Binturong revealed that it is a many layered thing.
While the opening impression is of great density like a drone work where all the levels seem maxed out, it soon begins to unfurl. Its foundation seems to be that rich, gourmand, smoked coconut-rice custard accord that is the star of the line’s Eau de Nyonya. Here it is the backdrop to an interplay of curious, contrasting notes. There’s the furriness of the animalics (though the perfume uses no animal derived ingredients); gentle, made silky by the infusion of iris, with little evidence of the unwashed that I had smelled on paper. A deep roasted coffee note offers a touch of bitterness in the mix but it’s deftly handled – one registers it and then it merges back into the blend. Dancing against these almost fudgy notes is a clear floral sweetness reminiscent of Shambala, another Auphorie perfume – I haven’t a clue what it is and the notes don’t make me any the wiser but this is what makes the perfume. It is clean, slender, almost glassy and it plays against the compacted swirl of the rest with great elegance.
And then some hours in something quite magical happens and the game of contrasts transforms into a union of great silkiness and delicacy, as the dense background begins to relax and lighten and the sheer floral accord settles like a drifting feather upon it. Now everything is compelling musky abstraction, a perfume inviting, warm yet cool, and soft as a kittens belly.
Projection is lovely – a couple of mini-sprays is enough to get that not too much not too little balance that truly satisfies.
02nd July, 2017

Rausch by J.F. Schwarzlose

Billowing sweet woody with a huge glug of vanilla, butched up with some pungent and smoky cypriol. It’s a combination that could be trite and awful, but Rausch is held securely by a border that is half fresh leather and half grown up booze. It’s large, it projects like a thesp, it has a reassuring familiarity yet has dark depths (my bet is on the cleverly concealed patchouli), it’s warm and yet means business.
At first, the oud mentioned in the base seems to be a figment of the brand’s imagination – it’s the usual woody aromachemicals lurking in so many woody ambers. But with time something remarkably similar to the moreish oud construct in Oud Satin Mood emerges. This is an accomplished offering which is friendly and tough in equal measure, a combination many will perceive as quite sexy.
17th June, 2017

Saffron Rose by Grossmith

Saffron Rose has a long-enclosed feel to it – like an ornate box of precious scented materials that has lain forgotten which upon opening releases an aged, dry but bewitching odour. Definitely one for special occasions as it is one of those perfumes that expects the wearer to rise to it. The rose petals are withered and crumbling with an austere bitter-sweetness about them. The saffron is rubbed into old leather and the grain of the several woods that seem to be involved. And underneath them all is a salty, skin-like base note that suggests animal presence. The whole is unashamedly antique and it exerts the fascination of things that don’t reveal everything about themselves upon first exposure. One to wear when visiting the shaded room of the imagination that houses medieval manuscripts written on vellum.
Slumps somewhat after the first four hours into attar-by-numbers territory (the rose coming up) and drops in projection a touch before then – unforgivable at this price point.

17th June, 2017

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

There is a balm at the heart of both Ormonde Man and Ormonde Woman - it is a smooth and creamy thing, giving a sense of luxury and refinement and a hint of something that is somewhere between cashmere and milk (with no doubt a good helping of Geza Schoen’s beloved, velvety – and addictive – Iso E thrown in). It soothes the greens and woods that are common to both these perfumes and dissolves them into a magical and cool forest fantasia. Here are gently waving grasses, airbrushed pines, the gentle crunch of fallen twigs releasing odours not only of wood but herbal, almost floral coriander seed and the sweet, soapy breath of cardamom. Here is sunlight filtering pale green through the tall branches alive with dancing motes. And here is the unmissable elegance that is something of an Ormonde Jayne signifier, which gives so many of their perfumes an effortlessly relaxed yet polished feel.
Whereas I love a green perfume that goes for verisimilitude, I am also partial to such smeared lens explorations which seem worlds apart.
As I currently own Ormonde Man, I find the common DNA of the two perfumes does not justify also buying Ormonde Woman, but should the former run out, then it will be time to get gender fluid.

17th June, 2017

Figue Aoudii by Maison Incens

After a fairly repugnant opening - rubbery and overly sweet fig notes that would have been better off in a scented erasor – this turns into a curious, somewhat more wearable creation as the latex feel wears off. An ambery fig floral with a big slash of coconut body lotion and musky projection, how many of those have you come across? Especially when the floral notes are nectar dripping ones – a very hothouse iteration of ylang ylang among them.
For many this will be a mess of sick. I do admire its daring intentions and it somehow manages to avoid feeling too sticky, but it’s not one I’d seek out.
17th June, 2017

Aomassaï 10 by Parfumerie Generale

I remember my first encounter with salted caramel in Brittany many moons ago – an umami bomb for the sweet of tooth, I was immediately sold and wondered why such an excellent and intense culinary idea wasn’t more widely prevalent. I imagine many others shared this view as this particular flavour has now marched into ice creams, fudges and even peanut butter far and wide across the Western world.
Aomassaï seems to be drawing on this particular trick of combining a massive dose of salt with caramalized fudgy and nutty scents. The saltiness is what rolls up first – a combination of licorice, hay and vetiver which smells of all these things but also sea-bathed, sun-baked skin. It’s been picked up by many other niche merchants since (for example Angela Ciampagna) with varying degrees of success.
The foody notes of condensed milk caramel and roasted hazelnuts rub up against the salt to suggest at first coffee but then temptations that seem beyond gustatory appetites.
What Aomassaï does particularly well is work a dark palette of notes – burnt, roasted, caramelized – into a composition that has the PG signature airiness. In the later stages the saltiness recedes leaving a slightly musky, nutty mousse. Different and accessible.

17th June, 2017