Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Total Reviews: 953

Onder de Linde by Baruti

The obvious danger of creating a floodlit, maxed out floral is that it will be too much for most. For it’s opening hour or two Onder de Linde is just such a thing before it settles into a more polite discourse. During that period we have a wailing siren of a linden, with its naturally honeyed scent amped up with an additional honey note – this is ‘do you want whipped cream on your creamcake?’ territory. There’s a comforting greasiness to it that suggests quality naturals were used, a bit like the buttery richness of narcissus or hyacinth. Fortunately the green aspect of the linden profile is also amply evident as counterbalance, further bolstered by a rawer cut-hedge scent, as well as a curious pear note that becomes more evident with time. I say ‘curious’ because pears in perfumery rarely work – they’re usually too chemical. Here, that is not the problem – this is a greenish pear just on the verge of ripeness that does recall the real thing – but it seems to merge in and out of the composition as if wanting to strike out boldly in a perfume all its own before eventually making its peace and settling down. Shades of mauve lilac, a light natural powderiness and a wood and musk backing are the more understated elements here. And, quite surprisingly, when the volume of this one dies back it’s the powdery lilac rather than the linden that is the lingering impression.
03rd August, 2018

Nejma 7 by Nejma

I wonder if citrus top notes are a kind of perfumer’s default, inserted for good measure even when they contribute nothing or are just a distraction. Nejma 7 is a case in point, where the citruses seem completely warped by what is seeping out from the heart notes, coming across as nose-singeing nail varnish. Fortunately they burn off quickly, but what follows I can only describe as an overblended perfume – something that feels like it ought to be squeezed out of a tube rather than spritzed from a bottle.
A bit of a shame, as I know this house isn’t afraid to be bold and the combination of the main players – a white floral note, some toasted cocoa, creamy coconut and dark, earthy-sweet patchouli – seemed promising to my somewhat gluttonous appetites. But the accord they strike is clunky, a scented goo that lies inert like a blob no matter how much one tries to prod it by deep inhalation. Maybe this is the kind of perfume that comes alive after brisk activity – but I really couldn’t be bothered to test that hypothesis.
03rd August, 2018

La Yuqawam pour Homme by Rasasi

Bold, bitter, suede-like leather with a family resemblance to the likes of Tuscan Leather and Aoud Leather, but to be found cheaper than both. Has a hefty glug of artemisia which is always a good thing in my book. Wears cool in the heat, despite its unapologetic character. Pretty linear, so one really needs to be in the mood for leather before pressing the sprayer.
03rd August, 2018
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Les Tourterelles de Zelmis by Oriza L. Legrand

In keeping with Oriza’s resurrection chic, this composition comes complete with antique finish, despite not being based – as far as I can tell – on a perfume that once existed. But when it’s such a bright thing with a broad smile upon its face these things matter little. A Turkish rose done in a very French style, what sets it apart is a veneer of somewhat salty and terpenic beeswax that seems to place it back in time and give it teeth. This is no mausoleum rose, however, as fresher complimentary tones of geranium and a shampoo peony are well incorporated. There seems to be a tug between the antique and the fresh within this perfume – the rose itself and the rose almost as artefact – which keeps the wearer alert. Something for all seasons, the freshness playing well in the heat, the beeswax in the winter.
The later stages are middling, however, as the geranium turns into a bit of a bully.
03rd August, 2018

Her Majesty The Oud by Atkinsons

Cedary woody grafted on to a mixed (as in no individual notes registering) fruity floral bouquet. As the latter gets increasingly syrupy over time, Her Majesty starts listing into a stream of medicine.
03rd August, 2018

Lily of the valley by Parfums Quartana

Slightly vegetal, green, leafy rose, hence puzzlement over the naming of this one. It’s all a bit wispy and watery (‘dew drops’ is the aspirational declared note), save for a salty woods accord trying it’s damndest to cancel out the freshness. Morphs in the later stages into a powder compact floral.
This entry belongs to a collection called ‘Les potions fatales’ by the brand, whose marketing copy is all about edge. I suppose fatal insubstantiality isn’t much of a selling point.
27th July, 2018

Les Années 25 by Tauer

Boing – Andy Tauer celebrates 25 years of operation with a limited edition perfume that opens with such gonzo gusto that one wonders about the nature of the intended statement.
One is dropped straight into a primeval, shouty marriage between big citrus and medicinal/furniture polish resinous and woody notes. Other voices in the clamour are a powdery-fruity rose à la Phi and the thick, morning-after tones of a vanilla-tonka-patchouli combo. For its heart phase Les Années settles around this latter, rather dolourous accord which is now familiar from a particular strain of new French niche offering perfumes that essay forth in just such an overfed yet not gourmand manner. That is not to say that all other impressions evapourate, they just become more muted with mainly the rose still afloat in the slather. Les Années’ final destination is a leathery amber of moderate projection.
Les Années seems to be referencing quite a few of Tauer’s other perfumes – the citrus sparkle of Orange Star, the medicinal oddness of Le Maroc pour Elle, Phi’s apricot blush rose, before finally settling upon a variant of his greatest hit – LADDM. A perfume that will appeal to those with a soft spot for rich ingredients, I find it an inessential chapter in Tauer’s often brilliant oeuvre.

27th July, 2018

Fleurs de Rocaille by Caron

By now, almost everyone knows that the times have not been kind to the house of Caron – too many of the current offerings are shadows of their former selves. I can only guess what vintage Fleurs de Rocaille smelt like, but the current EDT offers little to recommend it – ‘inoffensive’ being the kind view here.
After touches of lilac, carnation and mimosa done in a light air-whipped style, it shifted into an ambiguous floral foam – both soapy and watery at once – but with an unappealing resinous squeal emanating from its base reminiscent of preparations used to treat wood floors. Fortunately the latter didn’t last long, but the feeling of a needlessly buttoned up floral remained.
27th July, 2018

Private Collection - Bois Naufragé by Parfumerie Generale

After the initial head scratch of why PG would launch another fig after the completely lacklustre Jardins de Kérylos, the answer became obvious upon application – to do better this time around. Bois Naufragé’s opening is up there with fig milestones such as Philosykos – milky, green and sappy. So far, so refreshing – in a derivative stylee. But then a marine wash rolls through its middle section, differentiating it a little from other green fig perfumes, but also bound to prompt complaints of a synthetic quality. Fortunately it doesn’t stay around for long. There’s also a vague woody spiciness in the background. I rather enjoy it – it’s light and summery and I end up using gallons in a single application due to PG’s usual weak formulation. But I also find it difficult to muster excitement over something that is treading pretty familiar territory.
27th July, 2018

Aqua Regia by Al Kimiya

Some pleasures are difficult to explain to others who don’t get them – such as my fondness for bitter greens. I can wax lyrical about the feeling of connection to nature such notes invariably summon in me, the joy of being able to inhale something that smells as if it could be potentially poisonous, etc – but some, such as my significant other, just screw up their noses at them. Aqua Regia majors on such notes and if you love them it’s a must try. Imagine the primary green of Diptyque’s L'Ombre Dans L'Eau crossed with the soil-sprinkled iteration of Tauer’s (sadly discontinued) Pentachords Verdant and you’re getting the kind of deep green conjured here. The notes disclose only eucalyptus as the source of it – but there’s none of the associated medicinal quality.
Intriguingly the sugar drop sweetness of a supporting rose note only intensifies the bitterness (much as in the Diptyque) and the citrus in the blend is so smooth it lifts imperceptibly. Put this against a backdrop of dark and mouldy wood and we’re surely talking some kind of altered state. A perfume that one feels one should be able to perceive at the back of one’s throat rather than via the nostrils (but offer thanks that that is not the case).
27th July, 2018

Aurum by Al Kimiya

Often the secret of making a good sauce is when to stop reducing it – otherwise you end up with an unpleasant overcooked mess lacking all subtlety. Aurum’s opening makes that mistake, by being such an over concentrated syrupy sweet rose that my initial reaction was that it was ruined. When the thing begins to settle the rose quietens and the backing of dry woods, moss and patchouli brings a relaxing wine cellar quality to the proceedings. Still it belongs with the middling Montales of the rose and woods category not the thrilling ones. The late stages are candy unlimited.
27th July, 2018

Karagoz by Nishane

When edge and adventure turns medicinal. With Karagoz the intention was probably to deliver a super-concentrated fruity and then subvert it with a volley of herbal accents and a vetiver-woody backing. But this particular pudding proves somewhat challenging to my digestion. The fruity notes are bright and yellow but their intensity is warping, throwing up fermented and soda pop qualities. When they begin to fade back a bit, a rather pungent neroli comes through wearing its ill-fitting jacket of herbs and smoky peppery wood. The final hours are pure apothecary’s kettle – presumably Nishane’s oud construct mingling with the herbs. There’s a certain strain of niche that majors on throwing together bold, saturated notes at the expense of compositional chops and Karagoz seems to belong to it. Interesting elements but this particular jigsaw still needs piecing together.
15th July, 2018

Jardin de Kérylos 16 by Parfumerie Generale

Leafy fig in a Sade ‘Smooth Operator’ style, too milky and dreamy by half, and in dire need of a kick from something sharp. There’s a floral hum in the background, as a nod I suppose to the garden inspiration, but it has the curious effect to a certain extent of denaturing and shrink-wrapping the fig.
15th July, 2018
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Iris Oriental / Iris Taïzo 14 by Parfumerie Generale

Leave it to Pierre Guillaume to invest a resins-focused oriental with a cool, aerodynamism. Iris Oriental zips out the sprayer, sleek and ready to go – and the myrrh-like core of it (with overtones of dark woods) instead of radiating warmth has a more temperate pulse. Even the dabs of honey don’t slow this thing down. But eventually, there is only so much masking of the nature of this beast, and its footfall begins to get a bit heavier, the wood notes become a bit more evident, and the mercury begins to rise. There seems to be a large dose of cardamom providing the sole spice note and very little by way of iris.
I find the promise made by Iris Oriental’s opening act isn’t kept when it turns into a more familiar resinous-woody occupying this family’s middle ground.
15th July, 2018

Fatih Sultan Mehmed by Fort and Manlé

Un-oomphed oriental. This close to the skin scent would be fascinating if it projected a bit more. A mixture of sweet rosy notes partnered with ambery vanilla emerging through a veil of ambergris-iris interpreted in the unguent manner, it is just delicious to sniff. But that would necessitate walking about with my nose stuck under the neckline of my t-shirt.
15th July, 2018

Classic Mimosa by von Eusersdorff

More like Classic Violet, as the pale but persistent violet note definitely keeps wanting to jump the fluffy mimosa. Nevertheless, it’s a sympathetic coupling, and the perfume that results is light as a feather and comforting, like a cloud of baby powder. There’s a delicate greenness to it which enlivens the scent profile and gives it a sense of motion. This floral haze has no distracting complexity, just soft downy repose, which can be quite inviting on stressful or hot days.
15th July, 2018

Fath's Essentials : Rosso Epicureo by Jacques Fath

At the risk of sounding a complete pseud, Rosso Epicureo puts me in mind of the Beckett lines: ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’
Why? Because certain experiments, while appealing to the imagination, seem doomed to fail. Here we are promised a sparkling Kir Royal opening shading into a carnal tuberose heart – a light, intoxicating start giving way to floral seduction. However, the Kir Royale attempt is completely without fizz and smells of well chewed pink bubblegum and the poor tuberose is tough and leathery. What it does have is a wine dregs mustiness in the base which is intriguing, but for the most part Rosso Epicureo is just sweetish foulness.
05th July, 2018

Fath's Essentials : Les Frivolités by Jacques Fath

Candied fruity floral in the uberpink manner of La Vie Est Hell and the dismal legion to which that belongs. Barrel-scraping in its chemical awfulness, starting with a nostril singeing ‘freshness’ and then rapidly lost to the vaguest of saccharine signifiers for ‘flowers’ and ‘berries’. Even the big dose of a suede-y leather grates. One of those seemingly soft scents that crawls into and occupies every available space.
05th July, 2018

Alkemi by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Pretty straight down the middle resins and patchouli combo that seems uncomplicated and nice enough but there’s little by way of alchemy happening here. Sharp woody accents highlight the resins, and booze and vanilla support the patchouli. But it’s a quiet little thing, with none of the usual attributes that can lift up a perfume beyond the ordinary – crispness, brightness, intensity, oomph or originality. Turns into a vague, sweetish mumbler after an hour.
05th July, 2018

Harem Rose by Fort and Manlé

Harem Rose is a beauty, no doubt about it, but too damn polite for its own good. This is a perfume that would normally have had me reaching for my wallet in a kind of Pavlovian response, but as its projection is modest – only a shade or two more than a skin scent on me – no sale.
Such a shame as Harem Rose is otherwise so decorously arrayed – dried, sweet, slightly musty, red rose petals, shimmery woody notes with a fermented twist and the fresh breath of cardamom and menthol combining dreamily into a scent that feels like an afternoon reverie, relaxed and relaxing. But much as I would like to nod off to it with a smile on my face, I find it not sufficiently airborne to deliver the pleasure it so tantalizingly offers.

05th July, 2018

Ilang Ivohibe 15 by Parfumerie Generale

Bald white floral (mainly chem jasmine) with a glug of vanilla flavouring. After a somewhat plumper opening with fruity tones and a whiff of heliotrope (floral almonds), Ilang Ivohibé descends into a synthetic mélange that left me questioning why people would part with good money, etc, etc. Unlike many PG offerings that don’t trouble the nostrils of the wearer much, this is I found quite penetrating – perhaps due to my awareness of how much I disliked it.
05th July, 2018

Red Crown Extrait de Parfum by Auphorie

Red Crown is a perfume of many stages and a long evolution. It opens as a feathery, carried-on-the-breeze creation that seems to be following the marketers’ guidelines for perfumes supposedly appealing to the East Asian segment – up to a point. Such concoctions are usually created with soft floral and citric notes, unsullied-by-spice or animalic dirt, and are not too intrusive.
Red Crown has the requisite gentleness, with the floral theme mildly fruity in order to evoke the fruit tree blossoms mentioned in the notes, which don’t actually smell of much at all themselves. Here the effect is a bit artificial and gum droppy but not unappealing. And it is paired with a pale woods theme (bamboo is mentioned in the notes), giving the whole a cool, almost aquatic shimmer. But Red Crown is an extrait and its presence is much more evident than the lighter, cologne-like offerings pitched at the East. There’s an undertow of sandal, salt and sun-tan lotion giving the requisite weight. And a hint of smoke.
Then in the mid-section, the limpid feel of its opening gives way to a pretty blurred floral, and for some reason I kept thinking of Amouage’s Secret Garden offerings which seem similar in spirit. And I must admit, much as I’m an Auphorie fan boy, at this point there seems to be much more of the boiled sweet in evidence than of blossom.
The next shift results in my favourite phase, where the bamboo grove theme of greenish woody notes re-merges, with the floral notes opening up and twinkling within, and a backing suggestion of something from a herbal apothecary’s cabinet. It’s a complex layering of elements, given the kind of spacious treatment it deserves.
In the deep drydown, however, there is a surprising change and a closing in, with the emergence of a rather clotted white floral (mainly tuberose and jasmine to my nose) with the coconut aspect that often accompanies. That kind of thing is not my style at all and, overall, through all of Red Crane’s twists and turns, I found that while it intrigued me, it held back on sensory indulgence.
All of the above is now academic as Red Crown is sold out on Auphorie's web site.
05th July, 2018

La Lanterne Rouge Extrait de Parfum by Auphorie

This unusual hyper-sweet perfume is like an olfactory representation of far-Eastern pop romantic sensibility – bright, busy, with an abundance of satin bows, hearts and all things ‘cute’; so over the top it can’t but be sincere. And, yet, if that sounds off-putting, disregard that description, as we are dealing here with an impressive feat of balance. Behold, sandwiching the saturated sweet notes is a leathery saffron zinging across the top and an amazing aged wood accord in its depths, apparently inspired by Chinese red Dalbergia wood furniture, soft, deep, with a kind of burnished feel to it that really does call to mind antique furniture in dimly lit perfectly appointed salons.
And then there’s the heart and soul of the perfume – sweet riches that seem completely exotic to my nose, fruity tones overlapping with honeyed florals in a novel, unforgettable mix. I know what the numerous suggested components smell like – dates, osmanthus, peony, mandarins – and yet I couldn’t have pinned them down in this perfume. It’s a heady, enticing mix, airy and diffusive, a scented street full of promise one can’t help but head down.
So far so fantastic, but one needs a sweet tooth to stay the course with this one, as in the deep dry-down both the saffron and the woody notes dissipate leaving a marshmallow core of ootchy cootchy hearts and flowers. It still maintains my interest, but I can imagine it may be touch excessive for some wearers.
18th June, 2018 (last edited: 26th June, 2018)

Une Belle Journée by Paul Emilien

Breezy if pretty standard hesperidic rose with a herbal backing. In this case mint, but curiously of the dried rather than fresh variety. Eventually this shades into mossy tones, making the whole thing sharper and crisper. Like the other Emilien offerings I’ve tried, this is mild and one fears the slightest nudge would slide it into insipidity. Nevertheless, one senses the bones of a good idea with this perfume – the overall scent profile has a completeness to it – which, had it been executed with better materials, could have resulted in a stand-out.
18th June, 2018

Remarkable People by Etat Libre d'Orange

In which ELDO skate into the mainstream full speed ahead. Nothing wrong with that, just don’t expect adventure and daring. The opening is pure ‘suave gent’s cologne’ – citrus polished with soapy and cool cardamom. Grapefruit is mentioned in the notes list and its presence is part of the citrus chord but there are also sweeter, smoother things in there which plonk it squarely within the space marked ‘perfume citrus’, quite distinct from ‘real citrus’. The deeper notes – black pepper, the faintest whiff of curry leaf (discernible close to the skin but not in the throw of the perfume) and woods – are handled in an airbrushed manner, much in line with the upmarket barbershop quality one feels this is aiming for. Underneath it all sits a billowy ambery accord which seems to be chawing on some very fruity bubble gum or is just some morphed lavender? This is perhaps one concession too far to the mass market but, what the heck, this thing actually works just fine for casual wear. It’s been buffed to the nth but it remains easygoing and I can imagine it featuring in answers to calls for recommendations of ‘non-offensive’, ‘office-friendly’ perfumes.
18th June, 2018

Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors

Oh bubba, I am really put off by this one. A cloud of something halfway between candyfloss and scented eraser finally relaxed into a synthetic vanilla with the nose feel of paste. Some vague woody tones (oddly singed by a chlorine-aspect) and the merest whiff of a myrrh-like resin sadly failed to provoke interest. The question I kept asking myself was, why would I want to wear something like this? And failing to come up with a halfway satisfactory answer, it fell into the pit of ‘never again’.
18th June, 2018

Confessions of a Garden Gnome by Fort and Manlé

Confessions of a Garden Gnome triggered a pang of nostalgia for the underappreciated but eminently wearable and lovely Vert d’Eau by Les Neriades. That was a cheapie which is now unavailable and because it came in a splash bottle (instead of a spray) the remnants of mine have quite deteriorated. But here I sense the same gentle aquatic shimmer of a cool green interpretation of lily of the valley, though with a somewhat firmer anchor of a woody base which makes it a bit less floaty. Nevertheless, Vert d’Eau was a charming if simple warm weather favourite and this is in the main (apart from a fresh burst of lemon in the opening and the woodiness) pretty similar. The beauty of both perfumes is in their effortlessness, their notes are painted in runny watercolour rather than oils, their feel is cooling muslin rather than opulent silk, and one can wear them without thinking too much about them.
Apart from the large price differential, I welcome this like a long-lost friend.
18th June, 2018

Brûlure de Rose 13 by Parfumerie Generale

Dipped in syrup rose sitting atop raspberry jam and musk. Should be a cloying suffocating mess, instead PG’s usual light touch imparts a certain aloofness which makes it more desirable, natch. Decent have-your-cake-and-eat-it stuff with a bit of oriental weight on its hips.
18th June, 2018

Maduro by Fort and Manlé

Someone who sells (niche) perfume for a living, when telling me about Fort and Manlé, went ‘Oh Maduro…!’ with significant fainting-with-pleasure roll of eyes. But trying it for myself, I fail to locate the hotspot this seems to trigger for many people. After opening with a pineapple note that is no better than those commonly used in mass market fragrances it soon settles into a murky sweet tobacco with undertones of a chamomile-based cosmetic product. There are fleeting impressions of juicy red apple and something halfway between honey and wine, but they’re soon lost to its rather felt-like tobacco base.
19th May, 2018 (last edited: 07th July, 2018)

Majestic by Arabian Oud

Vague oud. A pitch towards a lighter fruity-floral combined with oud, this perfume fails to deliver on a few counts. The bouquet is abstract bordering on plastic, with only a stab of citrus delivering anything close to the natural world. The rest of the materials smell as if they have emerged through layers of shrinkwrap, bought at some clearance sale. The oud has an almost almond-like bitterness, but it suffers from a piercing aromachemical quality. Majestic in Poundland maybe – for me it’s a bottled headache.
19th May, 2018