Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Total Reviews: 1020

Viper Green by Ex Nihilo

Where’s the viper? Brilliant emerald slithery thingy loaded with venom this ain’t. It’s a cool, pale green floral which, if one is feeling generous, has a certain just-showered charm, and, if one isn’t, smells like air freshener, pleasant but a bit mono.
Viper Green settles quickly – opening with a squirt of citrus, one gets musked up greens (a kind of galbanum-lite without any of the characteristic bitterness and some watery angelica) merging with vague white florals. Once settled, this reads – to me – like the umpteenth wispy attempt at rendering lily of the valley, nice enough if you’re a noob where perfumes are concerned, but with little to lift it above the cheaper and just as refreshing drugstore variants.
07th February, 2019

Olympéa by Paco Rabanne

Pretty identikit designer white floral that ticks a lot of boxes – overall powder-puff softness, a touch of pulpy fruitiness, vague, airbrushed ‘floral’ notes, some aquatic cool blue in an air-freshener stylee with ethyl maltol cotton candiness soaking through. The purpose of this kind of thing seems to be about providing the olfactory equivalent of empty calories for perpetual dieters. The usp is allegedly a salted vanilla accord – and yes, one briefly registers some such thing, a kind of dry deflection on a vanilla sugar note – but it soon gets subsumed by the sweet fog such contourless creations end up as, which feels paradoxically both anaemic and full-on.
Stuff like this sells by the truckload, which leads me to the rather depressing conclusion that I am rather out of joint with the times because I find it utterly grim, representing a vision of femininity that is pink fluff, tacky bling, nail extensions and goopy lip gloss: affectation as a mode of life. I see that there are two Aqua, one Intense and an Extrait de Parfum versions of this horror and a dupe shop in my neighbourhood prominently advertises a cheaper clone. There truly is no hope for humankind.
07th February, 2019

Cicuta by V Canto

Cicuta is cake for the nose – deeply satisfying (if you love roses), without being particularly ground-breaking. It essays a Lyric (Woman) style rose lifted in the opening by citrus peels, before blooming in the full bodied but soft manner often characteristic of Bulgarian rose compositions, here held aloft by woody musks. There’s a powdery vanilla in the base that is one of those just-right decisions that signals that there’s nothing else needed, this is complete. Very moreish. Do try, especially if you love Lyric.
Anecdote: I wore it to a gathering where a co-participant walked into the room and said: ‘It smells heavenly, like roses, in here.’ She looked a bit doubtful when I said it was probably me – notions of what is considered ‘men’s perfume’, I guess.
07th February, 2019
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Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

If you buy into the backstory, then this bat is doing some serious flitting, from dank and musty cave to the green canopied forest and back. But, in reality of course, the earthy aspect of this scent comes nowhere close to a bat cave rank with the creature’s droppings; it’s more like freshly turned earth rich in humus, a scent that catches a bit at the back of the throat, matched with a powerful humidity. This is Bat’s overriding theme – challenging for sure, but thrilling to see it so well captured; and its counterpoint is a singing crisp, vetiver, dressed in bright green notes.
For a large portion of its life on my skin Bat is a bit of a tropical rainstorm of a perfume, not one I’d wear for the usual pleasures of olfactory indulgence but because it takes me places. There’s a basketful of fruity notes mentioned in the declared list, but on my skin there’s really no trace – my bat’s got them safely trapped in its gut and ain’t about to burp.
But it’s after a good 6-plus hours that it really begins to take flight for me. The soil tincture effect dies down and a thrillingly sour vetiver-woody reveals itself. It’s a zinging tartness that the nose can’t quite place (it’s not really citric) that has me going ‘mmm’ with pleasure and wanting to zip about with renewed energy.

07th February, 2019

Under My Skin by Francesca Bianchi

It’s criminal that this perfume hasn’t garnered a single review as yet – an oversight that must be corrected immediately.
Under My Skin belongs to a perfume family that I often have issues with – the leathers. They can tire my nose; they can make me smell unwashed; they can try too hard (revved up with spices); they can say to me: ‘Seek your pleasure elsewhere’. So good ‘uns are always cause for celebration.
Bianchi’s intention was to work on an animalic theme that was not too loud, more human animal than the beastie variety – and she gives us a perfume that is leather and yet like a second skin, dabbed with soft powders, with just small traces of salt to suggest previous exertions and rude health and with the most amazing bloom of orris at its heart, whose mild yet pervasive fatty sweetness is glimpsed fully at the opening and then merges back into the composition providing a steady, reassuring pulse. And then there’s ambergris – probably responsible for that lick of salt, but also a perfect complement to the orris, its glow subtly suffuses everything.
Under My Skin is a perfume that harmonizes perfectly with one’s skin, even reminiscent of its odour, and yet it’s a complex creation, silky smooth and full of suggestion. I particularly admire the gorgeous milky sandalwood that is by now so unfamiliar in perfumery, where more raspy avatars of this noble wood are the norm. There’s the gentle spicing supporting the main floral note – the naturally spicy carnation – and an array of balsams carefully deployed.
Under My Skin is the scent of human closeness, of touching, of lying next to a loved one, of the gentle caress rather than the carnal heave. Admittedly towards the end of the day, the resinous base becomes more evident as some of the other notes die back, as does the salt, bringing in a sultry aspect after all. Nonetheless, I commend it to you.

07th February, 2019

Tulaytulah by Majda Bekkali

Perhaps my nose has got blunted by my love of rich, enveloping perfumes, because to me something like Tulaytulah comes across as way too subtle for its own good – a pale wash that matches the icy blue colour of the juice. A harmonious arrangement of light sweetish almond, clean, slightly bitter suede and a touch of vague cherry drops in the background. The cherry-almond combo is tried-and-tested in culinary terms, and here it is pleasant without coming across as particularly gourmand.
Tulaytulah may be just the thing for those in search of something light, cooling, agreeable yet with a hint of froideur. For me, it’s perfume as muzak, burbling in the background without stirring anything much in particular.

18th January, 2019

Pure Addiction by Paul Emilien

An invigorating green herbal shower (mainly basil and mint to my nose) with the zest of bergamot to further brighten things. Slowly the tooth-numbing sensation of cloves emerges from under the herbal cover, a natural outgrowth. Perfumes like this are all about aura – a zingy green mist with tart citrus and polite spicing. What’s not to like?
Well, perhaps the niche posturing – as the drydown is pretty standard ‘man cologne’ territory, a citrus-infused fresh woody, shower gel elevated successfully to perfume. And then there’s that crass name of course…
18th January, 2019

Promise by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Oh rose, though art sick – and that’s the way I like you.
The promise of a true rose is one that is always deferred in perfumery, too many wrecks littering its rocky outcrops. Often it can be better, instead, to deviate from chasing verisimilitude and see what a bit of distortion reveals. Ropion’s Promise presents rose in an epic (and, yes, very loud) struggle with sour, wine mould tones up top and the smoke-and-choke pungency of the incense and cypriol combo in the base. And that struggle, for me, is beautiful; the rose’s agony immediate, touching, I hold it close to my heart.
The mode is definitely Middle Eastern/Arabic; and this a perfume with body and a forceful personality – a spray or two will suffice. For some this will be the ruination of the rose – too sour, too badgered by cypriol – and I can understand that. To me, the tensions of the sour, sweet, smoky and spicily resinous elements have the urgency of the tragic mode, it has drama, it touches the tender spot. Not a perfume I would wear every day, but one I’d give myself up to when I did.
18th January, 2019

Oud Vendôme by Ex Nihilo

It took me a little while to get used to Oud Vendôme; first impressions were of the ‘You’ve got to be joking’ variety. The opening is powder-puff oud. A kind of sweet cosmetics smell infused with an ever-so-light smoke-and-incense woodiness. If this is Ex Nihilo’s attempt at an East meets West take on oud, they can keep it, I thought. It seemed subtle to the point of being a blur.
But once the perfume settles, a much better, somewhat more assertive and interesting creation emerges. The oud – a peppery and smoky variant – creeps up on padded paws until its face to face with the wearer, while the sweet envelop evolves to brings accents of saffron and ginger into the mix. These spices usually have a warming glow, but here they are treated in a cool, burnished manner – almost like memories of the things rather than the things themselves. The presentation of a rather butch and rugged oud note in a gilt-and-spotlights cosmetics counter setting is Oud Vendôme’s little trick and it’s done well. It’s a claws and silk thing that’s hard to pull off successfully and at times the odours fuse in my perception to give an overall impression of sweetish wood varnish before regaining their balance again.
Does it make me want to rush out and buy it? No. But I enjoyed my visit to the place it took me.
18th January, 2019

Opus X by Amouage

I had high hopes for Opus X, as I like a scandalous rose, and the howls of outrage over the metal and varnish notes of this one made my anticipation keener. So I was completely unprepared for the rather flat and watered-down reality that initially greeted my nostrils.
Opus X doesn’t give the wearer rose so much as rose water, the stuff an adventurous grocer will sell you for a couple of bucks. This is then accented by a pepper-and-smoke wood note (the ‘oud’), cloaked in something solvent-like, with a curdled suggestion of damp leather. It all seemed a bit too low-key and desultory, making it hard to take seriously or with any enthusiasm. Just when I was thinking: ‘nice set of fantasy notes, shame about the execution’, everything slotted into place and came to rest as a rather novel whole. Opux X is cool-warm, somewhat sour, and distanced by its pane-like slick of varnish.
However after a period of some hours, that varnish begins to dissipate and a rose and greenish geranium accord play out the perfume in the manner of Une Rose’s less angry sister. The perfume actually seems to gather strength as the rose theme comes more and more into focus during the course of the wear. Not an instant love, but it turned me around in the end.
It may not be the most arresting of Amouage’s offerings, but is further proof of the house’s willingness to take risks under Christopher Chong’s creative direction.
18th January, 2019

Noir Obscur by Antonio Alessandria

In my opinion, most ambers are the blunt instruments of the perfume world, providing something that references function (‘perfumes make you smell nice’ or ‘perfumes lift my spirits’) without the distinguishing features to make them essential. It’s good to get that bias off my chest, which is where Noir Obscur is currently nestling.
Noir Obscure is a leathery amber with a bit of booze up top, and some iris in the heart to keep the leather company and to smudge with make-up the patchouli that brings up the rear. It doesn’t have the density that I dread in ambers and there’s a certain citrus-spice zing to it’s opening. The throw of the thing has polish, no suggestion of anything rough and, surprisingly, I am quite happy to have it humming in the background as I go about my work.
18th January, 2019

Nightingale by Zoologist Perfumes

Nightingale has the veil-upon-transparent-veil quality of classic perfumery which is so sadly missing from too many current offerings. It offers light, shade, light merging into shade, shade turning to light; it’s playful yet through-composed and has me immediately making note to self: ‘try other perfumes by Tomoo Inaba’. It’s like wearing a kimono of fine silk with perfectly judged embroidery gracing it.
Nightingale opens a very particular shade of Japanese pink, with the specific plum blossom scent that is typical of Eastern plum wines, but then immediately refracted through various olfactory textures, soft powders, dry resinous woods, zingy saffron, crumbling moss – all traces, moving up and down in the overall cloud of this perfume. Nightingale is things shimmering through several sheer and shifting layers. Its austere notes (incense, saffron, oud, sandalwood, moss) rise up with all the delicacy of the smoke from those small Japanese joss sticks that are so restrained and yet give just the right dose of perfume, and that delicacy carries through the brighter tones – the pink, almost fruity, plum blossom and rose, the cool, calm musk, the ozonic buzz of violets. The sillage is gentle and inviting, and I’m with rogalal that this is like the imagined Guerlain release of classical elegance and character that just doesn’t happen these days.
Something where the detailing is so subtle can turn to fluff in the drydown and Nightingale doesn’t entirely escape this fate. Still, it’s pure joy for a good four hours or so.
12th January, 2019

Mandala by Masque

A big hilltop monastery kind of incense – smoky yet in quite high relief, with bold yet somehow not stifling spicing and the uplift of greenish woody tones. I smell pines, the notes say cedar. There is something quite fatty just beneath the mix, almost like slightly off coconut cream, which may be the nod to ambergris – whether it adds something to an otherwise bracing composition is, I suspect, down to taste. Personally, I find it muddies the composition – but what’s a little mud when the effect being aimed for here, one feels, is of a certain craggy salt-of-the earth ruggedness.
The evolution is towards a more standard-issue frankincense with a sweet woody backing, however with the generous spicing preserved intact. I do however, miss the greenness at the start, which lingers tantalizingly in the air of a room in which one is sitting.
12th January, 2019
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Imitation Man by Amouage

Whereas Imitation Woman is a party in a bottle, Imitation Man plays it comparatively safe, giving us an ultra-smooth orris-leather with a sweetening dose of rose up top. There’s nothing to dislike about these things, the refinement is at the upper reaches of the scale, and those who have fallen hard for orris-heavy scents like Dior Homme should definitely give this a try, but I feel, that despite its beauty, Imitation Man offers me too little by way of a twist or that something extra for me to part with my cash. The closest it comes to perfume magic is a sensation in the heart phase of the notes turning almost liquid, like a distillate of something pleasingly alcoholic that just happens to be scented with orris, leather and rose. As is sometimes the case with Amouage’s paired releases, the women’s version is gutsier, a suggestion a shop assistant took great exception to when I was trying this one out, insisting it was a bad-boy leather. It’s not; it’s pretty damn good; it’s not unusual.
12th January, 2019

His Majesty The Oud by Atkinsons

With His Majesty the Oud Atkinsons go into major mash-up mode squishing together an angry belch of a spicy smoky oud (shades of Amouage’s Interlude man) and a cookie dough vanilla. To say this is a marriage under duress is putting it mildly. These two just hate each other’s guts and it shows in this perfume that seems to be all over the pretty nasty place. The notes promised me lapsang souchong, a brew that can carry me away on a winter’s day – and actually in the heart phase there is some of its gunpowder and smoke but smothered in that persistent, unctuous vanilla. Sadly, a hot mess.
12th January, 2019

Gold 2 by Acqua di Genova

I always have my welcome mat out for a good powdery floral – Teint de Neige walked in without wiping its shoes and I greeted it with a hug. So I had hopes for Gold 2 – it seems to have a loyal following at a web shop in which I loiter with intent and offers the promise of more affordable ‘niche’ (under 100 euro per 100 ml bottle). Maybe the two things are related.
Sadly, it was not to be – while offering the requisite soft cloud of powder, Gold 2 has very little to say beyond a certain whiteout sweetness. A faint whiff of anise in the Pastilles de Flavigny style (ie close to not being there) and a body lotion vanilla. Greatly comforting stuff for sure and the powder is the entire puff and then some – but too lacking in personality for me to bite.
12th January, 2019

Fusion Sacrée Elle by Majda Bekkali

Whereas white florals usually have an in-built indolence about them, Fusion Sacrée Clair surprises with its vigour. The scale of this thing is pumped up with a take-no-prisoners tuberose in the lead, so oversprayers beware. But this is maximalism with a purpose, the whole swirling swarm of notes dancing around the white floral vortex.
First impressions are of the heady florals enlivened by the somewhat pungent resinous green note of fir, but soon other flirtations make themselves known – dark coffee dosed just right so that it darts in and out of perception, ditto a juicy and fresh orange note, the vegetal cool of a bit of rhubarb, mellow, almost milky vanilla. And it’s not just these, this composition is a-twinkle with accents, little pinpricks of sensation that combine in a sumptuous whole.
Despite its dynamism, Fusion Sacrée Clair is a more of heavy brocade rather than a gauzy chiffon, especially with the resinous elements coming in to play much more as the hours go by. And it cannot escape the destiny of most perfumes with a strong tuberose component – in the end all the nose will register is tuberose. In this instance, what left at the end of the day is a soft and creamy variant of the flower gently warmed through by a backing of resins and spice.
Majda Bekkali remains an underappreciated house – whether that’s due to limited distribution or the quirky bottles, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s a line with an impressive ratio of hits to misses, well worth any perfume lover’s attention.
12th January, 2019

Fleur Narcotique by Ex Nihilo

A complete headscratcher for me – all I get is vague fruit with vegetal shading and floral notes that recall the water in the vase holding the bouquet rather than the blooms themselves. Nothing narcotic, everything a bit gassy, including the mossy backdrop. Dries down to a fluffy sweetness which brings to mind budget bottles filled with pink coloured liquid. If this were shorn of Ex Nihilo’s glamorous presentation and the rhapsodic reception in some quarters, a blind testing would probably lead to the conclusion that this was a drugstore cheapie that was not even worth the few bucks being asked for it. Except it’s not and my puzzlement is all the greater.
12th January, 2019

Broken Theories by Kerosene

After an opening that suggests a mildly spicy leather in a bracing ‘pour homme’ style, Broken Theories reveals its hand – a mature, vanilla-impregnated tobacco redolent of musty old school clubs (all burgundy leather upholstery, blue haze and pale yellow globe lighting), with spicing bordering on the fungicidal and the lingering blessing of smoke. The ripe, almost fermented, mild and deep sweetness of the tobacco is an acquired taste, like Marmite, but touches the wearer in ways that are difficult to describe – a bit like the foodie experience of umami flavours.
Another in a line of Kerosene fragrances that I find wholly admirable but nevertheless do not feel tempted to buy.
01st January, 2019

Bond-T by Sammarco

Bond-T sits firmly in the intersection of booze with medicine – suggesting, thus, to the wearer that this is an elixir that promises both altered states and healing. A pairing of dusty, bitter, deep as a moonless midnight cocoa and a dry, chewy, leathery patchouli, backed by oozy-boozy, almost pulpy, vanilla and tonka tones, it’s the kind of thing that simultaneously signifies sensual pleasures and a deep seriousness – like the rich pipe tobacco that the overall combination of these elements evokes. Bond-T’s palette is earthen, brown, autumnal even, but it has a life force that such things do not suggest, one that is slow, strong, uncoiling from some primal source.
Some have commented on its quiet sillage – I find it well-judged. Something this heavy needs no amping up, that would just make it uncomfortable for me. I run from room-filling patchoulis, whereas Bond-T is good, if somewhat solemn, company.
01st January, 2019

Bois d’Hiver by Ex Nihilo

A classy sweet and fresh cedar woody, nicely airborne with cooling cardamom on its breath. There is probably deployment of the usual suspects in terms of woody aromachemicals but I can’t complain with something as good-natured and smooth as this. Has a barbershop zest to it and there may well be a glug of lavender hiding in there somewhere (undeclared in the notes list). Clean musks zoom it up and the whole thing smells of wake-up-and-smell-the-day man cologne. Good stuff – whether it is worth the price when it isn’t really deviating from the template at all, I leave up to you.
01st January, 2019

Blu by Bruno Acampora

Gauzy tuberose, not a barnstormer, but ever so skillfully rendered in the opening hours, with the florals smelling fresh, nectarous and dew-laden, a little twist of orange peel in the start, hints of crushed twigs, and waxy and creamy coconut undertones. Yes, it has the headiness and carnality of tuberose, but somehow turned towards reflection and calm – a kind of soft-focus, sunset tuberose, if you will. I would have been entirely in favour of such a thing had it not been for the big surge of coconut cream in the drydown which toppled the balance.
Review is for EdP.
01st January, 2019

A Rose For... by Floris

My relationship to rose perfumes is like that of some people’s to gin – I can’t resist the promise of a good one. Few, of course, redeem that promise, but that’s life.
Floris’s A Rose For… is, as the name suggests, supposedly one to make your own, but for me it coasts into the too-broad lane of ‘nice but not nice enough for me to part with my cash’. For those searching for a light rose scent which manages rather well an interplay of cool, freshness with touches of incense warmth, this may do the trick. The rose note here is crisp, as if smelled on a spring breeze, and can trick the nose into thinking of the foliage accompanying the blooms, but in reality there isn’t anything green here just a delicacy of touch, the rose presented slightly chilled, with a refusal to go anywhere close to the syrupier side of its olfactory range. For me A Rose For… suffers from its restraint – likely the bods at Floris considered it a marker of sophistication, but I would have preferred something with just a shade more presence. The later stages are a floral hum laid over lactonic woods – Duchaufour-lite.
01st January, 2019

Acqua Colonia Pink Pepper & Grapefruit by 4711

People go to 4711 colognes for a handy refreshing little something, a few hours of uplift rather than perfumes of gravitas. My mother was never without a bottle of their classic Kölnisch Wasser, which she would apply to her temples and sniff from a doused handkerchief on particularly hot days.
Pink Pepper and Grapefruit performs this uplift function quite adequately, even if it may not smell particularly of the two notes of its name. The pink pepper, if used, was so sparing that my nose doesn’t really perceive it. And the citrus is a sweet peelings scent with an undertow of powder to begin with which then gets increasingly lemony – none of which suggests the distinctive scent of grapefruit. Does it matter? – only if one believes in truth in advertising.
However, if one can put such considerations aside, this is a perfectly decent functional cologne, which could perhaps have benefitted from being a touch sharper, but will suit nicely on the kinds of days when one would rather bask in the shade than face the sun. Regular reapplications are a given for this genre, and the pricing reflects that.
01st December, 2018

Dama Koupa by Baruti

Baruti does familiar in a manner that’s new – here presenting orris that has been so closely miked that not just every intake of breath is captured but also every rustle of a hair follicle. Or so it seems. For the material is familiar – yes, this is waxy, lipsticky orris, but there’s an unprecedented fullness and richness to it which to some will come across as almost smothering. It’s plumped out by the fruit leather of osmanthus (more leather than fruit in this incarnation), made even more non-porous by dense beeswax and there’s a peppery something in the opening that intrigues and agitates in equal measure. Wearing Dama Koupa feels a bit like putting on some factor 50 unguent and there’s a passing similarity in terms of pore-clogging potential with Francesca Bianchi’s Sex and the Sea, though the scent profiles are sufficiently distinct. Dama Koupa’s disposition is milder, with enough balsamic warmth to hint at a smile. Nonetheless, I can’t say that pea-souper irises are my bag.
However, as this is an all-dayer, there is a considerable softening during the course of the wear, with a more benign, floral aspect of this creation being revealed slowly in stages.
29th November, 2018

Classic Patchouli by von Eusersdorff

I’m reminded of port – there’s plenty that’s drinkable, reasonably priced and of decent quality but get a bottle of the truly good stuff and the flavours that leap about on the tongue and the deeeeep, warming satisfaction are in a different league. Von Eusersdorff’s offering is like that good bottle but of patchouli and it’s no surprise that it has die-hard fans who will wear no other.
There’s no novelty, no ‘twist’ to it, just an amber brown patchouli of profound resonance that feels as though it has been matured to just rightness. The odour profile of the star ingredient here is so rewardingly complex there’s something for everyone – except those who’d rather have a candy floss concoction. After a honeyed opening that feels as if some master distiller had turned patchouli into a rare liqueur, nuances of old leather, soil, malt, sweet mulch, even marzipan begin to unfold over an unobtrusive yet firmly anchoring woody backdrop. This is olfactory damask, deep bordeaux one moment, then a shaded, nutty brown, or is it purple veering into black?
In the same league as Les Neriades’ Patchouli Antique, but a touch less bold in its projection and with less of the musty old chest about it. But where it steals the march is in the refinement of the drydown, which wears like burnished voile where so many patchoulis can feel like carpeting.
29th November, 2018

Casamorati 1888 by Xerjoff

Spiced floral amber – the reason why I am using generic terms is that 1888 refuses to lift into anything much more specific on my skin. There’s a touch of the light, almost fruity saffron, that sings out in Dolce Amalfi from the same line, but it’s soon lost into this vaguely spiced sweetness that seems to rest on a base that is half custard, half wood paste. Fans of Christmassy scents may appreciate this one as it seems to have a mulled quality to it and feels warming, but I’ll stick to a couple of Carons which give me that particular fix (Narcisse Noir, Nuit de Noel). It remains a bit of a head scratcher making me wonder if my hooter is malfunctioning because I really can’t smell ‘the best perfume in the world’ wave overwhelming the Fragrantica commentators on this one.
29th November, 2018

Djhenné 22 by Parfumerie Generale

Transporting little thing which brings together sun and shade. The sun in the ripened, baked, comforting note of the wheat absolute and the warm resins; the shade in the cool lavender opening and the minty herbal nuances. The experience is a bit like a soothing after-sun lotion and a heaty chest rub applied together. This study in contrasts, which inevitably dries down in a more traditional resins and dried herbs direction best suited to the colder months, suffers from the chief Parfumerie Generale problem – demureness of body and presence which prevents it from making more of a statement, despite the accomplished creaminess of the finish.
29th November, 2018

MEM by Bogue Profumo

MEM leads off with an excellent billowing lavender, the kind that lets in nostril-clearing eucalyptus-like notes and gummier licorice into its usual soap-and-metal charge. This feels like fields upon fields of the stuff and it’s probably the first time it has truly excited me in perfumery (by contrast, lavender for real I find plenty exciting). Walk back into a room where you have been sitting – and there is that lavender, impossibly vital, a touch camphoraceous, fresh as a breeze. The citruses in the opening have been beautifully deployed to pair with the lavender – the bitter peel effects merging perfectly into the medicinal edge of its profile.
Hereafter, MEM diverges somewhat – on paper it had promised brassy, fat and dirty jasmine as the floral entertainment but on my skin the florals were muted subsuming themselves in the development of the lavender main theme. Bubbles of olfactory sensations keep popping – the brightness of something minty, suggestions of caramel and burnt sugar, malty comfort. So, yes, MEM is complex as has often been noted – but it’s a complexity within a clearly articulated theme. As for the animalic elements, nothing really wagged its tail at me – whatever is in here is kept well within the bounds of decency. What I appreciate most about MEM is how it zigzags between field-fresh lavender, medicine chest and grand classical perfumery of layers upon layers without any dizziness.
However, wonders be, much, much later in the day, almost without my noticing it, there was the jasmine, with not a single clean thought on its mind, doing unspeakable things with an ever-so-willing musk. The lavender was now taking a back seat, but enjoying the view, so to speak.

29th November, 2018

Imitation Woman by Amouage

Bold and brassy, Imitation Woman wears fluorescent pvc trousers and carries an exotic bouquet complete with fruit-laden sprigs of blackcurrant. I love that Amouage still takes these risks – there’s nothing run of the mill about Imitation (one wonders if there will be sincere forms of flattery in years to come) and thus it is bound to be for unfocused groups, ie individuals.
My first encounter with it was in a store and it immediately turned everything else I had been sniffing grey. When a perfume can do that, it’s leading not following.
In combining a cool, super-buffed aldehydic sheen that seems almost an olfactory counterpart to neon lights, vinyl, and sheer cellophane, with gutsy, juicy, flavoursome floral and fruity notes, Imitation presents a vortex of attraction, artifice and nature electrically conjoined.
I tend to overspray this one because I love the vibrant blackcurrant top so much – I keep returning at intervals for more. It pops like you expect blackcurrants to and is cleverly accented by a touch of sweet postbox red roses. Then the florals start to kick in, the classic white flowers and rose combo, but with that almost citric aldehydic rush that seems to spin them around and present then in bright white light. This is so in the spirit of 1970s scents like Charlie, but only in the confidence of its mood – the execution is much more sophisticated. Part of that sophistication is the subtle use of smoke (incense) and a light powdery wood backing.
It’s autumn turning to winter as I write this, and Imitation Woman has brought a burst of colour to the season. It’s the promise of fun times bottled.
29th November, 2018