Reviews by gimmegreen

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    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Hedonist by Viktoria Minya

    A curtain of seriously honeyed boozy vanilla which gently sways apart from time to time to let in a breeze scented with spring blossom. The effect is utterly original but it takes a serious amount of craving to wear something so sweet it’s almost suppurating. With time the vanilla fades out somewhat and the heart of pulpy peach and apricot mixed with orange blossom begins to pulse, introducing an edge of tartness. There’s a pore-clogging richness to Hedonist, but as the sillage is moderate, it won’t offend.
    I’m still trying to pin down a curious, sour, old makeup note in the dry-down which seems to jar at times and at others seems to be an interlocking part of Hedonist’s complex swirl. Classic, golden, honeyed, expansive, many will likely find it irresistible; for me it took several wears before I could take it on its own terms. For a long time I missed depth notes, maybe something dry or bitter, a bold touch of wood or spice, before arriving at the conclusion that that would have probably resulted in something heading in a completely different direction to the one the perfumer had intended. It’s grown on me and I have a sneaking feeling that increasing familiarity will result in greater pleasure.

    13 February, 2014

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    Aoud Damascus by Montale

    A most woody rose with a musky purr in the base. Deeply comforting, with the overriding impression of a wood blend rather than just the loud Montale oud approximation. The frankincense that fades back after making its presence felt at the start would have really added an extra dimension had it been more assertive. Just a couple of sprays are enough to envelop the wearer in its soft charms for hours. However, seems to lack enlivening tonal variation, it grabs a hold of its main chord and sticks with it.

    13 February, 2014

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    Angel: Les Parfums de Cuir by Thierry Mugler

    The secret of making a good curry is proportion, the spicing must be calibrated with some elements highlighted, others playing a supporting role. Attempting a curry by throwing together various spices will result in an edible but invariably muddy result.
    This iteration of Angel throws up a similar problem – one senses a multitude of materials but they resolutely refuse to unite into something grand, a bit like a high definition recording being played through muffled speakers.
    First up is an amazingly strong cassis note that smells just like the underwear of a dribbler who doesn’t change their smalls for days. This dried urine whiff had me chuckling; it was mercifully short-lived.
    Then we were in the realm of a powerful thing dulled somewhat – I don’t know whether it is the attempted leather to blame. I say attempted because had I tried this blind, I wouldn’t have plumped for leather, just something that smells a bit worn and tired.
    However, this is clearly a perfume of two parts, with the elements cohering much better after a good few hours, where a rich yet frothy, mainly abstract but quite fruity scent of considerable charm and sophistication remains.

    10th February, 2014

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    Oeillet Louis XV (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    The dowager’s parlour with satin cushions of the palest pink, thimble glasses of a green liquor poured out, powdered wigs several stories high, an ample cleavage with a beauty spot on one flank, footmen in too tight breeches, pious prayers and secret assignations. Maybe it’s the name of this creation or its thrilling powders at the start but this is the scene I’m transported to.
    The base of this is incredible, oozing with quality – comforting sweet musky powders that explode at the first spray and then settle gently through the course of the perfume’s journey upon your skin. They are the perfect complement to the carnation rounded with the softest clove note imaginable that is the presiding accord. The progression is surprising – from something rich and ‘perfumey’ and ‘not sure I want to smell this aged’ to a highly responsive lightly spiced powdery floral that seems to be a natural exhalation of the skin. So accomplished.

    10th February, 2014

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    Evening Edged in Gold by Ineke

    Mild-mannered candied abstract floral with something vegetal pulsing in the background that lifts it slightly above the banal. Coming across like the misbegotten child of Miracle and Calyx, it’s wan, sickly, lacking in exuberance; I’ll pass.

    10th February, 2014

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    1828 by Histoires de Parfums

    There’s minty, citrusy, pine-and-eucalyptusy bairns crowded around the ample skirts of mama nutmeg at the start of 1828. Thus this dusty spice takes on a greenish, tangy aspect.
    Things change in the mid-section, the nutmeg receding somewhat, taking on a creamy, almost coconutty aspect, and the pine coming through more, giving a brisker, cologne-like feel. The deep drydown is an even, thoroughly blended mix of the cool, the lightly spicy and the lightly woodsy, a thing of some delicacy which performs best when one does not pay it too much attention. Pleasurable even if not quite exciting.

    10th February, 2014

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    Zirh Ikon by Zirh

    After a screechy lemon drop start, Ikon relaxed into a 1980s daddy scent – persistent, synthetic down to its toes, sweet for the duration (which is long), mildly hinting at woods, vetiver, spice, without committing to anything in particular, and, as many have discovered, surprisingly pleasant. A bit too-square-to-care for my taste, this seems to be aiming in the direction of the much more vibrant Rive Gauche PH.

    05 February, 2014

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    La Fille De Berlin by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    An unexceptional showing from this house which is capable of much daring. A middle-of-the-road rose with some wet, peony-like accents, a waft of geranium, a touch of pith and stem, and discreet spice. Easy to wear but one is surprised by the sheer averageness of it. Its most appealing quality is a somewhat mature air (a pretty old fille to my nose) and disregard for freshness.

    05 February, 2014

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    Fate Woman by Amouage

    Another symphonic creation from Amouage (some have called it bombastic) where layer upon layer of fragrant notes are ingeniously swirled together to propel a rush of heightened being, the senses alive and tingling. Radiantly spiced, with a balmy, balsamic aspect (a kind of rose-and-myrrh, vanilla and old furniture accord), this certainly is a step up for Dorothée Piot after the soda pop maximalism of Memoir Woman. The spices are cool, shimmering, almost like some face powders, instead of being raided from the kitchen. There is a solid fundament of heavy hitters – leather, incense, moss, patchouli – underlying the dancing notes of the top and heart, but it remains almost hidden, providing body not a blow to the head.
    Confident, assured, perhaps somewhat aloof for the first few hours, Fate Woman is one of those rare perfumes that just keep getting better over the course of the wear. Softening, getting warmer and richer, and just that much more memorable, until one is convinced one is in the presence of greatness. The florals, particularly the lovely buttery jonquil, rise up in the mix, and the luxuriant complexity of the labdanum and benzoin makes the entire thing bask in a benevolent opulence that seems open to all. It would be remiss not to point out an attractive sourish aspect, not at all sharp, but silken like the most accomplished of desserts, keeping the whole thing on its toes from start to finish. A triumph for Amouage, Fate Woman may well turn out to be one of the presiding deities of 21st century orientals.

    05 February, 2014

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    Fate Man by Amouage

    One of the most sweaty starts encountered in perfumery – notes of cumin, immortelle, frankincense and liquorice blending to provide an almighty unwashed and salty whack. Yet, strangely enough, quite compelling despite this, the tempering wormwood transforming the sweat with its earthy green energy, and ginger and perky lavender giving it zest and lift.
    But it’s not the sweat that’s the problem with Fate Man, it’s its thinness. Once its main salty accord has come into view there’s little else going on, the usual Amouage richness is somewhat lacking. A bit of sandal inflected sweetness comes into view after 8 hours or so, but that is rather long to wait.

    05 February, 2014

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    1876 by Histoires de Parfums

    Oh my, this is my favourite kind of rose – juicy and liquerish to start before revealing the complexity of the supporting ingredients: gorgeous powdery spices, balsams and woods, resolutely old-fashioned and introspective. This rewards and soothes at every stage, with each note hung perfectly in balance, with special mention owed to the dreamy influence of iris and sandalwood. As it proceeds it is no longer predominantly rosy, more a blissful emanation of soft spicy woods (a bit like Féminité du Bois) with a floral mien. I’m a little in love.

    05 February, 2014

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    Sweet Redemption by By Kilian

    The pairing of a cream soda vanilla with a sweet, non-feral orange blossom note is the main accord of this perfume and while it’s satisfying in a custard pudding kind of way, it doesn’t wow like an ingeniously crafted dessert could. What Sweet Redemption does achieve is a smooth, creamy orange blossom – not airy, but not cloying either. Comfortable. A bit of a shame that the vanilla slowly fades during the progression, so that the orange blossom sweetens and gains a bit of an essential oil quality.

    06 January, 2014

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    Orangers en Fleurs by Houbigant

    Well-balanced orange blossom led white floral. Holds jasmine and tuberose beautifully in check to create something pulsing with life but not feral. Whereas the overriding impression is of naturalness, the later entry of the ylang is the wild card – its rich banana-like density pushes Orangers en Fleurs out of the wide open spaces and closer to the hothouse in the midsection before fading back in the mix. There’s no denying this is a warm orange blossom (as claimed by the makers) what with its subtle use of nutmeg to underscore that aspect, but one that works just fine when the mercury is high.

    06 January, 2014

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    Figuier / Fig / Eau de Figuier by Heeley

    A bravura recreation of fig foliage, which opens sharp and solvent-like but settles quickly into rain-drenched, sappy green leaves that makes me feel at ease and one with nature. The scent is thinner than other green fig recreations without the usual coconut undertones, but with vegetal, almost green chili pepper notes that offer a different dimension. Not a fig leaf to hide behind but one that seems to prompt one to slip into the greenery in the altogether.
    While other fig perfumes work by concentration, this, while possibly being closer to nature, may even strike one as being not quite how we remember fig. Over the course of the wear we move from the leaves closer to the wood. While this takes Figuier into more traditional territory, it also makes it more rewarding as a perfume, because the opening and middle stage seem better suited to scenting rooms than skin.

    06 January, 2014

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    Aoud Safran by Montale

    This is the scent of Indian handicraft emporiums where the odours of burnt out and fresh agarbattis mingle with those emanating from carved sandalwood knickknacks, artisanal toiletries (ayurvedic ‘medicated’ soaps among them) and the scents and hair oil worn by the staff. I like these places, they offer gleaming floors, a tolerable temperature and a relative hush to the chaos of the streets. To say nothing of an old world, time-has-passed-us-by air.
    Curiously one of the named players, the saffron, doesn’t really register to my nose – perhaps it has morphed beyond recognition with the attar rose and sandalwood accord that is at the heart of this perfume played over the darker, brooding, almost antiseptic oud. There’s a worldly staleness to the drydown which is not out of place with the overall feel.
    Sure it’s a Montale, which means there often isn’t a tremendous variation between the ouds of this house. However, discounting that, the perfumes in their own right are a pleasure to wear.

    06 January, 2014

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    Traversée du Bosphore by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Discovering that some tulips are scented was quite a surprise – I had to bring my nose right up to their cups and there it was, faint but distinct, like a whisper heard with great clarity from a distance. The scent had a touch of saffron, a trace of something green.
    The marvellous transparent opening accord of Traversée reminded me of tulips (not least I suppose because that is the intention of the perfumer), that light saffron note – here complemented by soft iris, suede and a hint of something fruity – worked its quiet magic. This is a scent that is carried by a breeze across a lake, somewhat distant but so tempting.
    Whereas the opening typifies the rich-but-light trick that many L’Artisan creations do so well, the drydown is quite straightforward. To me this is mainly a lipstick iris, soft, creamy and comforting, with some sympathetic accents rounding it out, which then turns into something amorphously sweet – likeable but doesn’t inspire devotion.

    05 January, 2014

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    Mukhallat by Montale

    A thoroughly stewed offering from Montale wherein a bunch of synthetic sweeties are cooked to an unyielding, rubbery density which adds nothing to the experience. The kindest thing one can say about it is that it smells a bit like the perfumed erasers of my childhood – rubber exuding odours of chemical strawberry and banana. Sometimes poorly handled ylang has this kind of plasticated fruit whiff, but I rather suspect Mukhallat achieves its hideousness without the help of any naturals.

    05 January, 2014

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    Field Notes from Paris by Ineke

    Whereas the published notes had left me to expect something quite different, Field Notes from Paris opened with a septum piercing combination of abrasive citrus (in the manner of drug store ‘masculines’ aimed at teenage boys) and lavender. So far, so unpleasant. Later a halfway decent orange blossom does appear but the shrill quality of the composition makes one think these field notes were made in a part of Paris dedicated to the manufacture of lavatory cleaning products. A bit of a shame as there’s a decent base lurking under it all – something smooth, honeyed but with a fruity accent – that only becomes apparent when all the rest has faded and there’s just a skin scent left.

    05 January, 2014

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    1969 Parfum de Révolte by Histoires de Parfums

    There’s a DayGlo-through-mist quality about 1969’s opening, the bright juicy fruity notes, the cardamom spike, a Tocade rose, crumbs of chocolate, all somewhat obscured by poor projection. Shame, as the opening is twisted just right for me: the unusual appeal of something newly created, like an ice cream flavour thrown together from random suggestions by the public which surprisingly works. Too damn subtle to be a true perfume of revolt. Dries down to a baby pink powdery rose.

    05 January, 2014

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    Prada Amber pour Homme by Prada

    Top-loaded with generic ‘masculine’ citric swill, the heart of this fragrance is in quite a different place. Which makes one wonder why the citrus opening was grafted on as it doesn’t harmonize at all.
    Eventually this perfume settles into soap – triple-milled and luxurious no doubt, but ho-hum. Whirling in a haze on its horizon is the real core of interest – a ball of sweet myrrh, saffron and cardamom – that could have been superb had it come into focus. As it is, only the cardamom eventually lends it milky spice to the soapy abundance. Pleasant, easy to wear but entirely unadventurous perfumes like this make me itch for a feral oud or a deep floral.
    However, I must add that a friend who wore this regularly always smelled huggable. Probably because perfume experienced on others is a somewhat indistinct waft, one barely goes beyond ‘nice’ and ‘mmm’ as descriptors – it’s different wearing it yourself, where all the shades of any particular beast are evident up close.

    08 December, 2013

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    Golden Boy by Dueto Parfums

    Golden Boy demonstrates what a curious thing a lightweight leather can be – in this case, airy and creamy and enlivened a bit by violet leaf. It comes across as being in denial about its true nature. I find serious, doom-laden leathers every bit as challenging as the next person, but this iteration for all its suede softness just seems insubstantial, like those foams one kept being served when food fads dictated that they were the height of haute cuisine. Golden Boy does have staying power, but seems content to keep mumbling in its corner.
    I haven’t tried Tuscan Leather, so can’t comment on any perceived similarities.

    08 December, 2013

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    APOM pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    This is the gent who takes time to dress with care, has had his jaw sorted by the dentist, has cultivated ‘good taste’ in music and film, and still remains something of a bore.
    A bracing, almost barbershop, proposition of orange blossom (veering more to the fruity side of its range) cut through with a peppery cedar, which is underlined with the smells-like-skin musk that makes Lumiere Noir pour homme such a success. The cedar is a sharp stab at the start and then retires gracefully to the background. However, later in the wear, one gets the unwelcome impression of the kind of airbrush chemicals that plague sports editions of mainstream perfumes. APOM remains in the ‘nice try’ category, pleasant and a bit too cool for its own good. Suits casual use, though.

    08 December, 2013

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    Prelude to Love by By Kilian

    A just-washed, ready-to-face-the-day kind of creation – Turin was right to call it a ‘morning cologne’. Energizing citrus – lovely green toned bergamot and lemon peel to the fore, followed by dabs of neroli – it feels and stays natural which is an accomplishment in this category. A short while in, the iris surfaces but it remains a gentle presence, not weighing down the light mood. Wide eyed and innocent, Prelude to Love must remain just a prelude to the rather risky business of love itself. Nice work and a perfume well-suited to the office environment.

    03 December, 2013

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    Incense Oud by By Kilian

    Opens forcefully as a somewhat typical Middle Eastern spiced frankincense concoction: a bit thrusting but definitely knowing its mind, and with a square cut to its jaw that’s sexy in an in your face kind of way.
    As Incense Oud matures on skin the progression is towards a somewhat sourish (almost fermented) rose note (faint echoes of Lyric woman) bolstered with soft spices, of which cardamom is the most prominent with its milk-chai-and-soap familiarity. The incense fades ever so gradually over the hours as this somewhat turned rose accord takes its place at the core of this creation. The oud is here only in name – for shame.

    03 December, 2013

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    APOM pour Femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    APOM continues Francis K’s love affair with orange blossom, here presented in a manner that feels quite unadorned and the better for it. After a sprightly, bright and refreshing opening, the buttery, denser sweetness of ylang begins to creep in, along with the typical skin-like musk that gives billowy body to many a Kurkdjian offering. APOM goes light on the indoles, so even though it is heady, it doesn’t turn headachey.
    Good for what it is – a hymn of praise for orange blossom – it will likely fail those who were expecting something more. A few hours into the wear is when APOM pf really hits its stride, becoming radiant, focussed and confident, as though sprinkled with fairy dust. And then a further few hours later it turns into musky orange blossom haze.

    03 December, 2013

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    17/17 Homme by Xerjoff

    Jeepers, which cauldron did they pull this megamongous leather from? Bag-and-sandal shop mixed in equal parts with roué’s black leather jacket after a night at an establishment with a name like The Sling or The Pit. The mix of new and weathered leather scents is an ingenious twist.
    Propelled in the opening by some herbal lavender, it soon settles into leather leather leather with an aureole of petrol fumes. Develops a pleasing creamy wood aspect in the deep dry down (4 hours). Well-made, with great persistence, will wow leatherheads to whose number I can’t say I belong.

    03 December, 2013

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    Osmanthus by Ormonde Jayne

    Pleasant, light, green tea white floral. Opens with a pungent burst of quite synthetic smelling greenish citrus. The top is about the only view of the fruity notes of osmanthus one gets for the duration of this fragrance – fortunately the citrus fades, less fortunately so does the osmanthus. Nice enough on a summer day, but featureless. Does bear some resemblance to air freshener.

    03 December, 2013

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    Herod by Parfums de Marly

    A deep and rich vanilla, not too sweet, rounded by languid, cured tobacco accents. Has a brief and brisk fizz of spice at the top and the plumping out of fruity osmanthus tones in the heart. Comforting, had the potential for greatness were it not for dismal projection. Also holding it back is the dulling of its main notes as time wears on, perhaps a result of an unfortunate loading up of the base with airbrush musks.

    03 December, 2013

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    10 Corso Como Uomo by 10 Corso Como

    Gorgeously smoked black pepper opening that morphs into frankincense and wood. Uncomplicated, direct and well-executed, the heavenly smokiness elevates it from the ranks of the ordinary and proclaims difference. The drydown, though still pretty smooth, doesn’t manage to hang on to the smoke, and it becomes a fairly commonplace peppery-cedar accord. Easy to wear.

    03 December, 2013

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    Caligna by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Whereas a sprightly sage is mainly what comes across on a blotter, Caligna tried on skin is a different proposition. Here the pungency of the sage is held resolutely in check with some pretty citrusy tones of pine and fig foliage, the whole thing light as a feather. Even the jasmine marmalade that’s at the heart of it (never tried the stuff, but if you’re talking a sweet, non-indolic, polite jasmine, it’s here alright) doesn’t weigh it down. Caligna offers something of an object lesson in placing a sugary note in a composition without overwhelming the wearer. The sage is one of the first notes to power down here. Easy to wear, moderately strong, refreshingly different in the first few hours, it nevertheless fails to get beyond nice.
    Crossing about the three hour mark the notes blend to produce a citrusy green tea kind of feel, we’re talking liquid hand soap territory.

    30th November, 2013

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