Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

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Jardin Blanc by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Of the obligatory offerings in the white floral genre that most perfume houses feel compelled to have in their range, here is the umpteenth, which while competent, sticks firmly in the middle of the road.
Jasmine-led with hints of honeysuckle in the early stages, it at first seems limpid and transparent but then the white floral tendency to ever-greater volume asserts itself as the minutes turn into hours. The jasmine itself gets fattier and more indolic in the expression though never quite losing a weird just switched off hairdryer smell that seems to hang around it. It all gets a bit unrelenting after a while, even though the starring jasmine is halfway decent.
Life’s too short for such singlemindedness, I feel, and I was left craving some variation in tone, a bit of depth to accompany the volume.
29th January, 2016

Gold Rose Oudh by Tiziana Terenzi

There is a little bridge to cross here – Gold Rose Oudh could easily have come from Montale’s line-up, the oud in particular is familiar from Montale rose-oud pairings. Over it? Ok, then we can talk about this in its own right.
With a name like that, I fully expected GRO to be an ode to olfactory bling. But while it has its tacky and trashy side, it is also a properly realized composition, not just gold-plated posturing.
The power trio at its core is an attar rose, oud that is warm and rounded (as opposed to piercingly dry and spiced-up) and an overdose of patchouli. Chouli-phobes need not fear, however, as the hippy juice here morphs and blends with the other two players rather than asserting itself, offering mainly intensity to the rose’s sweetness and a kind of marzipan-like quality to the proceedings. There’s a light trickle of something honeyed around it all, which weaves in and out of one’s perception. The other main note is a dusty sandalwood aromachemical (also common to many Montales) that comes up from behind into full visibility in the later stages; it works well with the rose and oud, offering stability and a bit of distance to the intensity, so it is not surprising that it is so often used.
Gold Rose Oud is strong, but it does not overpower, it is dense when sniffed up close but not when perceived as part of the perfume’s throw. Ultimately it treads familiar, tried and tested territory, but if it is territory that you haven’t explored before this is as good a place as any to start.
29th January, 2016

Ecstasy by Tiziana Terenzi

Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink notes lists frighten me a little – I’ve come across too many perfumes striving for complexity but collapsing instead under the muddle of their ingredients. I kept putting off trying Tiziana Terenzi’s range seeing the length of the listed notes. Ecstasy is my toe in the water.
And while it may not make me ecstatic it is a relief that it is so easy to wear and has some novel juxtapositions.
The start is what might call almost ‘traditional’ for avant perfumery – a fanfare of incense smoke (that all but vanishes soon after) followed by a daring dose of conifers. Ok that’s them ‘artisanal’ credentials established right there. But the audacity and success of what follows is to be commended.
While the pine remains the main theme, planted slap bang in the middle, the complimentary notes are unexpected – syrupy florals (with red roses blooming among them) and dried fruit. These shouldn’t work together and yet they seem to extend the range of the conifers, the forest as garden of the senses. At times the interplay of the notes give an oud-like impression - but soft and distant.
Well-composed but suffers from a certain solidity, which means that while it is good, it doesn’t quite have the zing of the great.
29th January, 2016
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Moon Aoud by Montale

I’ve been known to defend the slight variations of significant chunks of Montale’s oud range amid a chorus of ‘yawn, same old same old’. Why? Because of the power and the glory. I love the brash confidence, the unashamed volume and pleasure in vulgarity, their bling-bedecked sprint to the finish line. All of this, usually achieved with a panache that doesn’t quite fit with the often blatantly synthetic materials used.
But even I have to confess that Moon Aoud is a mishmash and rehash. The discordant opening feels like a mix of some of Montale’s greatest hits, the cheesy oud and leather from Aoud Cuir d’Arabie, rose and oud from half a dozen other offerings, and the vapours and misty musks of Black Musk. It feels thrown together. The oud is fortunately not of the piercing, ultra-spicy Dark Aoud variety, but is more sweetly woody and rubbery (once the cheese has dampened down).
And it is what saves the day, when in the heart phase the leather (a just out of the tannery note) merges successfully with it and is joined by a vanilla-almond note providing roundness.
The woodiness amplifies in the later stages and it becomes a decent enough dired rose-inflected woody perfume with a sandalwood sawdust haze about it, but nothing out of the ordinary – and too similar to other middle ranking Montales. There’s also something stale about the odour profile that I can’t quite put my finger on which detracts.

22nd January, 2016

Nox by Angela Ciampagna

There’s nothing wrong with confounding expectations, but then one had better deliver something that improves on the original premise. I’m not sure if this is the case with Nox which is pitched as a salty interpretation of Hinoki but whose realization is thoroughly mixed up.
Hinoki is an odour of some delicacy, lemony-woody for sure, but its essence is a dry mellowness which shouldn’t really be tampered with. Here this lovely note is paired with cedar (to which it has some resemblance), swirled in greens, dosed with indistinct but calorific florals, and more or less completely subdued by a hefty salty licorice (familiar from other offerings in Ciampagna’s line) which gains a hay-like aspect during the evolution.
The result is wearable if somewhat morphed and has a brash vitality about it. But I can’t help thinking that the original, much more tempting, idea of a salted hinoki gets a bit lost in the brew we’ve been served up.
22nd January, 2016

Oha by Téo Cabanel

To smell fragrant roses is to be drawn into the essential kindness of the experience. Sure roses have been interpreted in manners ranging from hygiene-obsessed gym queen (all those cups of green tea swill!) to blood-gorged goth – with vampy femme fatales holding the middle ground. But if one is true to the essence of roses, then one needs to feel their tenderness – an almost maternal warmth coupled with the softness of a baby’s cheek, a nectar-laden presence, deep and untiring, that gives and gives.
It’s a quality Oha brings to the fore, despite its quite evident sophistication. The loukom-accented nature of Bulgarian and Moroccan rose oils is done full justice here, the evocation is rich but not over-rich, there is density and there is air, there is grandeur and yet Oha remains approachable and smiling. The beautiful old-school base is the real masterstroke – an unguent-like dark brown blend of tonka, vanilla, woody notes provides the kind of shade that makes the scarlet of the rose bloom. The bridging note is a half-soapy-half-woody cardamom.
With all its components in place, Oha seems to dance, now letting that base surge up, then again giving that disarming rose the upper hand, now taking a sip from some mysterious liqueur, or opening the lid on a tiny box of the most refined spices…
I don’t want to heap Oha with the weight of unrealistic expectation, but I love it, and feel that if you care about roses, you should try it. Also, my personal preference is for the first three or four hours of this perfume, after which it becomes a much more conventional white musk and rose combo – still poised, just less interesting and a bit cooler than before.
22nd January, 2016

Sartorial by Penhaligon's

The ‘smell of a high end tailor’s shop’ was so hyped on this one when it came out, that people felt inclined to go into rhapsodies about steaming hot irons and offcuts of twill and what have you. Thank goodness I didn’t test it then – who knows, maybe I’d have succumbed to all that nonsense, too.
In any event, I approached Sartorial with caution, applying just a tiny bit first and got quite puzzled with what my poor nose was smelling. It was sweet, it was daddy-o, it was Brut as I remembered it from my teenage years, with what seemed like a massive aromachemicals cloud that threatened to trigger headaches.
However that’s no way to treat a perfume, and so I finally gave it a decent spraying and this, surprisingly, worked much better. Sure the Brut reference was still prominent, but now I could appreciate that this was a somewhat more complex and engineered composition. So beyond the lavender and tonka sweeties which acted as traditional ‘man cologne’ signifiers complete with non-specific woody backing, there were several subordinate notes playing little harmonies from the wings.
A faint hiss of something metallic at the start, a mellowing touch of cardamom in the heart, floral notes, aldehydic and ozonic twists, resinous murmurs, and oh yes, ‘white musk’, yards and yards of it.
Ultimately Sartorial is backward looking, a typically sweet ‘English’ barbershop fougère, and I’ve had my bellyful of those. Still, there is no denying it has been crafted with skill.

22nd January, 2016

Baldessarini Ambré by Baldessarini

Of marriages made in focus groups, the combination of metrosexual sweet fruit with grey-flecked daddy-o tobacco must be one. The juicy stuff ticking the yoof box while the leather-tobacco base providing reassurance to any thus imperilled masculinity.
Ambré’s fruity opening is half apple half raspberry but executed in that typical fruit pulp style of so many overly synthetic creations that the main aspect it displays is of unsticky hygiene. The contrasting notes are more interesting – a leathery tobacco, slightly smoky, somewhat spicy, shorthand signifier of ‘solid gent’ in mainstream perfumery, bolstered by a sympathetic amber accord (the notes mention labdanum). Ambré straddles its two worlds quite successfully and is designed to appeal to a wide range of blokes depressing those sprays in perfume shops.
But it’s the mushiness of its execution that lets it down – it smells super synthetic and muddled after just a minute or two, and that suave base suddenly turns beige.
15th January, 2016

Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

Often one needs to ignore Etat Libre’s back stories to truly appreciate their releases and Jasmin sans Cigarette is a case in point. Anything resembling a cigarette in this composition is possibly in the wearer’s auto-suggestible head, unless if one counts a certain murk like a plume of dirty water that lurks around the edges.
But for the major part this is a jasmine soliflore – the jasmine itself is bright (almost to the point of coming over a bit plastic), unyieldingly floral and fat, with hints of strong Indian hair oil and something the cat left on the carpet rounding out its odour profile. Nonetheless, it’s not a heavy breather, just a true jasmine, with the green notes that the fresh flower has also coming through. However, its chutzpah seems to run out in the later stages as the scent gets cleaner, thinner, and downright monotonous. Still, one I suspect jasmine fans may value – I just feel like adding some oud or something to it to shake it up.
15th January, 2016

Hayati by Haramain

Hayati is a woody musky creation of considerable reticence – not the usual turbo blast one expects from Eastern perfume oils. This is probably intentional as Al Haramain marketing copy calls it ‘a gentle and incredibly refined fragrance’ which is ‘delicate, clean and long-lasting’. It wears like a just-about-there aura, rather than a statement of intent. It lasts well enough, but these kinds of perfumes often have me straining my nose to enjoy them.
Adding to its woes is a not terribly interesting central accord – wood of the pencil shavings and new furniture variety, coupled with a clean musk that is more air than scent. In the early stages there is a hint of green cardamom, and later on a certain creaminess to the profile that is also a positive.
But ultimately, Hayati’s voice is thin and weak, and when you sniff it up close associations of swimming pools and moth balls arise that are the opposite of the ‘sensuality and warmth’ promised by the Al Haramain marketers. Too hygienic for its own good.
However, if, at the risk of staining your clothing, you choose to wear it more liberally (I’m talking about half an ml which is a lot for a perfume oil that is sold in 12 ml bottles) the experience is quite different. Now, Hayati emerges like a siren of great creamy sophistication, the soft wood tones offering comfort and enticement all in one go. It is now a perfume that encloses and holds you in its gentle grasp. And that is also evident on clothing that has touched it, which smells like it has been tossed in a heavenly cloud for days after.
15th January, 2016

Early Roses by Téo Cabanel

Rose done in a light style with a generous shake of pink pepper at the top. Seems like a throwback to all those pink pepper infused perfumes of the early Noughties with little to distinguish it except for a vegetal pungency in the mix. Once the pepper has blown off, the main event is an inconsequential watery rose that offers little by way of character. The base is light, too – bled out wood notes and puffy musk.
I find it too run of the mill to really care, especially when it plummets to a skin scent pretty quickly.

15th January, 2016

Comme des Garçons 2 Man by Comme des Garçons

What fun to have a perfume that flirts with several ‘masculine’ clichés and yet creates something so full of life and so deeply satisfying. From the curls of vetiver and incense smoke that mark the opening to the lovely sweet herbals-infused wood accents coming up behind, to delicate sprinkles of nutmeg, this is declaring ‘man stuff’. But wait, there is aldehydic (and – dare I say the dreaded word – almost aquatic) lift, old makeup accents of iris and violet and goodness knows what else creating an incredibly addictive mesh.
It’s a joy to wear – rich (but not overly so), accessible, warm and complex, a honey of a scent. I rushed out and bought it. Shame the projection is somewhat quiet. Into every perfumed life some rain must fall…
15th January, 2016

Davidoff Adventure by Davidoff

There must be a certain cynicism in calling this bland, standard-issue bloke juice Adventure. It’s got chemical citruses up front, and familiar sweet woody and spicy tones coming right behind, all done, it would appear, on a budget of pennies. Dreadful it ain’t, but if similar offerings were lined up, they’d circle quite a few blocks. After a few hours of wearing this stuff, associations of cleaning floors with lemony detergent are hard to ignore.
15th January, 2016
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Aer by Angela Ciampagna

The opening smells a bit like an herbalist’s mortar, with various twigs and herbs ground up to treat some bronchial ill. When it begins to settle, Aer reveals its best moments, moving quickly through a tediously indy-seeming dry and salty phase to reach an equilibrium that rewards. This is a beachfront vetiver, with a good sprinkle of fennel, still dry as a bone, but now with hints of citric succulence coming through and the wild card of mint which brings freshness and the flash of something green that this composition was gagging for. The overall effect is surprisingly traditional, creating the impression of something the clean-cut could be spritzed with at the end of their session at a men’s salon.
Sadly this is not the end of the journey, for the base is mainly that salty and thin vetiver with a bit of fennel on its breath. Nice enough but unremarkable.
09th December, 2015

Fleur d'Iris by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

This is your traditional ‘contents of old handbag’ kind of perfume, a dying breed, and perhaps underappreciated. It blends powdery, old make up tones, with rootier almost leathery elements and the odd touch of clove, all while offering a soapy floral bouquet as the main draw. It’s the kind of thing that could be denigrated as belonging to an older generation (as if this were denigration, but for some it seems to be!).
For me it is absolutely classic French. We have sweet roses with great lashings of powdery violet, some root dirt and jasmine indoles to funk up the mix, and a suggestion of doughy and vegetal iris. A potent old school combination, the beauty spot style of perfumery – the beauty spot being the application of a prominent black spot to one’s face (usually to the side of the chin) in order to highlight the charms of the rest of the face. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I enjoy its authentic artifice.
09th December, 2015

English Pear & Freesia by Jo Malone

Gauzy, almost aquatic, floral with a decent throw but a true pear note would have made it special. Alas, despite the suggestibility induced in the wearer by the name, one would be hard pressed to locate something resembling pear in a blind test. There’s a bit of a ‘fruit nectar’ quality about the composition, that’s as close as we get.
Instead there’s a decent, quite rosy, freesia that is carried aloft on airy musks – a simple, refreshing thing that cannot shake off associations of shampoo perhaps but will appeal to those for whom perfume is a functional ‘nice smell’ rather than a passion.
09th December, 2015

Aoud Leather by Montale

A stripped back and clean leather, the minimalist presentation paying off in spades. It’s not at all overbearing and the central accord has a meditative calm that reaches out to me.
The leather is obviously of the suede variety, but it seems brand new and super clean (not some sweaty bruiser), not soiled by anything sweet, touched lightly by a dab of bergamot at the start. Underneath is a soapy, foamy mix of cardamom and gently bitter wormwood (not mentioned in the notes but that’s what it smells like to my nose) that gives it a magic twist. That’s pretty much it, but I find it completely compelling, and it gives me an energized and focussed ‘just bathed’ feel for the course of its wear.
What about the oud? Maybe it’s the wormwood note that was supposed to be the oud – but Montale is no stranger to naming perfumes after ingredients that don’t really feature in the mix (witness the ‘lime’ in Aoud Lime). I don’t miss a traditional oud construct in something so sleek and sophisticated, and I love how a herbal bitterness rises up within it.

09th December, 2015

Immortal Beloved by YS Uzac

Sharing a glass of fine cognac in the shop of a dry fruits merchant – that’s the story of Immortal Beloved for me, now that I have worn it.
But I almost didn’t wear it. I kept getting a reek of stale, almost sweaty immortelle from the sprayer and was dreading some statement perfume that would try to make a virtue of brutalism. Good news, then – that doesn’t happen.
What emerges is a finely tuned and complex perfume, with the kind of stateliness and severity that is chypre territory. But Immortal Beloved is only chypric in its abiding dryness, the melange of notes have an oriental warmth without the gooeyness often characteristic of that genre.
At its heart is a successful match of refined boozy notes with concentrated and desiccated fruitiness – like sniffing a plump dried apricot that has just been sliced in half. It’s almost Lutens territory but without the shower of spices that would be more characteristic of that house.
There are a few interesting sideways manoeuvres that unexpectedly work – one is the inclusion of a jammy red, red rose deep in the mix. It sings its siren song sweetly from a distance, and is the more intriguing for it. Another is a breezy lavender reminiscent of wide open spaces which should be a complete mismatch but, again, works because it is used subtly against the booze and fruit main theme.
Anchoring it all is that sense of dryness which sets it apart from various OTT failures in executing this kind of olfactory complexity. It’s a reassuring hum of skin-toned immortelle, the dry mould of Artemisia and the depth chord of an ambery labdanum. They offer a restraining hand and keep the various elements balanced. Late in its life, it’s this ambery fundament that is predominant.
Quirky, yet poised, Immortal Beloved is a good choice for winter.
27th November, 2015

Liquo by Angela Ciampagna

A demonstration of how the dry fennel-anise-licorice palette blends seamlessly with hay notes. Liquo is like opening a jar of fennel seeds and getting the unmistakeable slightly salty tang of their pretty distinctive scent. All other elements are firmly in the backdrop. This will be a fix for those seeking a big licorice high (fortunately the stuff only numbs the mouth, not the nose) or a blast of coumarin, but I wanted it to be a bit more than that and it wasn’t.
The progression is from a huge scattering of anise/fennel on a bed of hay towards the deeper, somewhat stickier licorice, with the merest hints of vetiver and lavender peeking through.
The liquid is cat pee yellow – which is fun.
27th November, 2015

Opus 1870 by Penhaligon's

Why does Opus 1870 seem to embody the clichés of English ‘men’s ’ perfumery of the aftershave variety when clearly it is doing a few different things? Maybe it’s the discreet powdery florals tucked almost out of perception in the centre, or could it be the rather ho-hum quality it projects, or maybe it is just the emphasis on the fresh and bracing? Whatever, it is unusual for the above average dose of black pepper in the composition, which rests on a shaved pencil woods accord and is introduced by something citrusy with a hint of swimming pool bleach at the start.
The woods are clean and just shaved off and the pepper similarly has the liveliness and faint citric punch of the stuff that is just ground. But the presentation of these decent notes seems a touch indifferent and middle of the road – nothing here that is truly radiant. An offering that is likeable but not among the first tier of guests you want to invite to the party of your life.
27th November, 2015

Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone

My introduction to Pomegranate Noir came through a charming man arriving for a pre-theatre get together wearing it and within minutes being surrounded by the assembled company telling him how nice he smelled. The charming man, being a charming man, was somewhat embarrassed by this reaction and got all self-conscious.
So, compliment hunters, this may be one to try – it projects well and has an oozy, spicy-woody warmth with plenty of the sweets.
Wearing it myself, I find myself transported back to that evening, but that is of no help to you dear reader. So let’s describe a little of what happens when you depress that sprayer. A quick burst of juicy fruity notes – sour-sweet pomegranate and luscious perfumery plums – marks the top, perhaps enough to justify the name, but they recede to the fringes in no time to make way for the deep accord that is the main event. Whatever combination of woody aromachemicals were used in this one, they sure got it right – that woody base is sweet but chewy, with gourmand enticements to tempt you into biting the wearer. Spices like clove and cinnamon (initially heavy but then settling in the mix), hints of smoky incense and dark patchouli round things out. It smells instantly familiar but you will be hard pressed to find another perfume resembling it. Has a delicious mouldiness lurking in the depths which flatters that woody base no end. Sensual without coming across all glandular.
There’s an instant gratification aspect to Pomegranate Noir that can cross the line into the unsubtle – and it can tire over the long run. But wear it with discretion and walk on that heavenly perfumed cloud.

27th November, 2015

Sanguine Muskissime by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Another middle of the road offering – someone should tell MPG that if one lingers too long there, there’s a risk of getting run over. Here we have a sharp (as in non-sweet) citrus, mainly orange with some more acidic tones, possibly lemon or grapefruit, paired with the over-familiar vague musk that MPG are so fond of. The beginning is somewhat odd with a curious herbal note a bit like coriander leaf jarring with the citrus, and the musk coming across as dry as a hungover person’s tongue. By the time the winged coriander decides to take flight, so has much of the citrus and the musk has blown up into a gigantic marshmallow. Of course this musk is quite tenacious, but it also seems completely pointless.
27th November, 2015

Quercus by Penhaligon's

Quercus seems to be aiming to be the scent of the office-going median man (if such a creature still exists) – it is crisp (the starched white shirt), energetic (‘can do’ attitude) and unobtrusive (‘what? you didn’t notice the hours I spent trimming my stubble to an acceptable degree of averageness?’). Not a perfume to really pay attention to but good to have in the background of a busy day.
Aside from that predominant impression of crispness there is little else to bite into – this is a decent lemon-and-lime cologne type offering on a sweet and foamy musk base. I could twist my nose trying to pick out more notes, but hardly see the point if they are not much in evidence.
Maybe they were going for the notion of being ‘sturdy as an oak’ in calling it Quercus, because there’s little here by way of woody notes.
Wears light and bright, with the musks seemingly hanging on for eternity.
19th October, 2015

Blask by Humiecki & Graef

With Blask H&G uncork another keeper. I find it such an enticing scent despite accords that sound unappealing. The opening fanfare is a cross between a polished wood floor and that smell that clothes acquire when they have taken too long to dry and have been put away slightly damp. Should be disgusting, but it’s actually quite stimulating.
With greater familiarity, the components of this perfume reveal themselves. There’s bay, which usually scares me because it can be piercing and stale, but here rendered in a lovely green and herbal manner which marries well with the resins and woody notes. There’s a mouth-watering mouldy, wine cellar smell, a scent that is warm, slightly off, but sweetly persistent, botyritic maybe and with that hypnotic quality that only a few other odours possess (ouds for example) – I’ve always fancied wearing something like it all on its own. There’s even candy and flowers in the mix but so fluffy as not to cause offence. And all these elements are placed in such a good balance that wearing Blask feels like a welcome hug by a sexy devil.
But the hug relaxes as time wears on and Blask becomes a somewhat traditional herbal leather, still pleasant to wear if not quite as arresting.
19th October, 2015

Aqua Vitae Forte by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Francis Kurkdjian is adept at presenting us with polished creations, buffed to a Brancusi shine. A minor problem with this approach is that sometimes it can privilege seamlessness too highly for my taste. Aqua Vitae forte is purportedly ‘the caress of a solar breeze’ – bright, warming, golden are the associations being aimed for, one imagines.
And the notes evoked make perfect sense but somehow the execution remains a touch too smooth for its own good. What is better to evoke sunshine than a battery of citruses (with lemon and bergamot to the fore) paired with the traditional clean, none-too-assertive, ‘supporting role’ vetiver we are used to as a perfumery backup? A bit of gentle cardamom adds a warming accent and florals complete the picture. Among the listed floral notes we have the Kurkdjian favourite, orange blossom, and ylang ylang, and of the two, the former is certainly more in evidence. But more interesting is how they have been calibrated, with a bit of their sweetness bled out of them so they match the citrus aspect without overwhelming it.
It’s all been put together with great attention to proportions but there’s a certain blankness about it that I just can’t bring myself to appreciate.

19th October, 2015

Bay Rum by Olympic Orchids

One of those perfumes that is so not for everyone – maybe not even for me – but the kind one realizes probably needs to exist and be out there. The first few minutes of wearing it are like being placed before one of those old coil electric heaters, watching its incandescent orange glow, face flushing from the blast of drying heat.
The striking opening accord of a powerful green bay combined with cloves of a solar intensity is something else. That bay is so alive, it feels as if one has been pushed into a bush, a bit like what imagines a freshly distilled botanical extract to smell like. The dosing of these elements is so into the red in the scale of what is expected of perfumery, that it’s easy to see that this would be an immediate scrubber for some. But it’s the daring and vibrancy of that opening that keeps me going.
There is other spicing apart from the cloves (cinnamon mainly) and, as one would expect, a resinous base – it’s hard to see how anything else would have worked with the main players. It’s a shame that the thrilling immediacy of that bay note has to succumb to time and lose some of its verdancy, and when it merges with that resinous base there is more than a suggestion of furniture polish – but an old school one nevertheless, rich with plant extracts not wafting some ridiculous piney aromachemical.
The movement is from great energy to something a lot denser and stolid, the spices subsiding considerably. This later phase is far from compelling and Bay Rum sinks into a heavy, unvarying drone that has all the charm of a persistent mosquito.
It’s a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ kind of perfume – I appreciate its daring, but it would wear me out.
19th October, 2015

Fraîcheur Muskissime by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

There is a danger in marketing light cologne-like creations at niche prices – the customer, perhaps justifiably, expects a little more than the standard. This offering from MPG’s ‘legeres’ range falls into this pit of expectation.
It’s a ‘by numbers’ musked out musk and berry job in a ‘bath products’ style. It also suffers from the use of a real cheapo and strident sandalwood aromachemical which sticks to the citrus like the stalker from hell at the start, providing a piercing but not pleasing accord. The usual blackberry evocation – nothing like the real thing more like the vague flavourings found in confectionary – is a bit of relief, but it is drowned in ‘musks’ whose sole purpose seem to be to prolong the life of the scent rather than bring any kind of joy. The later stages when the mure et musc balance improves are more comfortable. So, sure, it lasts well enough, but the composition is of so little consequence, I just can’t warm to it.
01st October, 2015

Eau Mohéli by Diptyque

I have been known to stop at the doorways of florists and indulge in some pretty heavy breathing. The start of Eau Moheli lets me restrict this weird behaviour to my home – it’s ylang in a florist’s shop, surrounded by zesty greens and light mixed floral notes. What’s not to like? This is an energizing presentation, far from the tropical languor usually evoked by ylang prominent fragrances. It’s an ylang ready to take a brisk walk, if not a sprint round the block.
The red pepper, ginger and resins are included with a light touch and don’t distract from the breezy floral notes. Once the perfume has settled, I find myself thinking, this could just as easily be an evocation of a green jasmine were it not for the fruitiness round the edges which is more typical of ylang ylang.
Eau Moheli is deft, crisp, and would be fine as something to wear while going about one’s work day. While coming across as somewhat linear it does have a gentle evolution, the greens vanish over time and the ylang gets plumper and rounder but without losing the ‘just plucked’ spirit that seems to hang over this creation. I’m quite enamoured of the freshness of the top and have to resist wanting to relive that again and again, thus ending up soaking myself in perfume.
01st October, 2015

Aoud Purple Rose by Montale

Oh Montale… when you are bad, you are terrible. Here we have a loud, braying rose that initially reminds one of Bond’s New York Oud (launched a year earlier and awarded a gong or two), but which ultimately reveals itself to be in a league of crassness all its own. This is a rose stalking some industrial terrain soaking up solvents and machine grease. What passes for oud here is more of a hiss than a smell – the kindest thing I can say about it is that it seems to completely evade definition apart from a certain powderiness.
Wears quite salty and sweaty on my skin before relaxing and softening a bit and going quite dry in a rose potpourri kind of way, but still remaining beyond the bounds of acceptability. It may possibly have had some kind of mileage as a conceptual art prank, but Montale are trying to push this one as a taif rose based perfume – yeah, tell me another.
01st October, 2015

Dolce Riso by Calé

I nearly dismissed Dolce Riso as a nice but unremarkable musky lime. You know the drill, a decent citrus note gathered up in prolonging laundry musks – whoops there’s another perfume ready for launch.
But due to that clean and soft start, I was unprepared for developments. Well, first there was a bit of an herbal flutter (I wouldn’t quite call it artemisia as listed in the notes, but rather something green and flavoursome) which was joined by some dusky notes (probably the cereals suggested) which gave the entire thing a nice roundness, while maintaining its polite nature.
After that quite accomplished heart phase the drydown went all a bit wafty – vague notes in a mist of musk, the citrus had got quite depleted by now and some vanilla sugar had arrived blanding out everything else. Ah well… time to dismiss Dolce Riso after all.
01st October, 2015