Reviews by gimmegreen

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    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

    Showing 121 to 150 of 366.
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    Interlude Man by Amouage

    A really smoky, lightly peppered, dry and savoury frankincense, on a serious desiccated woods base. I don’t get the Interlude backstory at all, of a quiet moment amid the hurly burly of chaotic modernity. Umm... no. This settles pretty firmly into its stride right from the word go and is pretty monolithic. The richness of the ingredients is a given and the salty edge of the oregano is a novel idea, but I find myself struggling to get beyond ‘like’ on this. There just isn’t the variation in tones and shades that make the best Amouages so memorable, instead one has the dense main accord, like it or lump it, like a boulder carried by a glacier. I find myself tiring of it at the end of a day.

    26 October, 2012

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    Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    What a heavy trail Timbuktu has left, particularly in the niche world, where numerous perfumes have taken up aspects of its central shimmering, dry woods accord. Many an Amouage could step out of its bejewelled vestments and stand naked before the mirror as a relative of Timbuktu. But whereas an Amouage creation is often about richness and mellifluous density, Timbuktu is all transparence and sinew. Many austere woodies strain for its magic but collapse like a jenga heap when they overdose the overtly chemical.
    Timbuktu’s initial impression is a bracing swirl of incense, myrrh and sweet vetiver, with a good pinch of cardamom, some sandal, and a slight milkiness around the edges. It’s warm, comforting but there’s no flab to it. The progression is toward increasing dryness, sunlight falling on a fragrant wood floor as a curl of incense smoke rises from a corner, and while the overall feeling is of an assured natural simplicity, the aromatic components seem to be in constant motion if smelled up close. Stellar so far.
    The deep drydown (after about a half day’s wear) takes on a soft, sweeter and creamier aspect, still great to wear but considerably different to the main act.

    17 October, 2012

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    Piment Brûlant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    I was dreading the density of a chillies-and-chocolate combo. Would this be like slathering oneself in stinging mud?
    However, the wearing experience reminded me not to take notes lists too seriously, for this is mainly a cool and airy green floral. The chilli here is sappy and aromatic, just sliced, but fortunately without fire. This aroma was always there in the real thing but it’s one of those things one takes for granted unless reminded of its qualities in a novel and poised context.
    The floral sweetness adds an elusive dimension – the faint scent that certain flowers not known for their scent have, like some kinds of tulips that have a trace of musky saffron lingering within their cups. Here the note is supposedly poppy.
    Disregard the spices, they are all but imperceptible. The chocolate and cocoa are a waveform in the air. The totality sparkles – stimulating and calming at the same time.
    A caveat: this perfume will not impress those more used to strong fragrances. It’s perfect, however, for cool days of clean air.

    10th October, 2012

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    Lonestar Memories by Tauer

    On a blotter this opens a wide starlit sky, the rush of woodsmoke, a certain weary night mystery. I couldn’t wait to wear it. After a beautiful tarry beginning with much smoke and leather in evidence, in summertime this more or less expired to a whiff of latex on my skin, with occasional glints of something or other that might tease the scent receptors. In cooler weather it settles to a luxurious but fairly quiet, smooth, new-from-the-shop leather. I was so willing to fall in love with this one, but it isn’t the grail of smoky perfs that I was hoping it might be.

    10th October, 2012

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    Blanc Violette by Histoires de Parfums

    This violet has the dubious distinction of being soft and shrill at the same time. All things violetty have been thrown at this perfume – including the green of its leaves (supported by a touch of anise) – but to little avail. There is a roughness to the composition which is surely unintentional, making it more suited to a product like washing up liquid. It’s powdery like a violet scent should be, but somewhat lumpy about it.

    10th October, 2012

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    Alien Essence Absolue by Thierry Mugler

    Whereas the original can be death-by-jasmine if worn when one is not receptive to it, Alien Essence Absolue is altogether a more abstracted affair. A burnished woody amber, it comes across as a ball of appealing sweet notes that one wants to do unspeakable things with. There are hints of booziness, bubble gum, the cashmere woods spliced so neatly onto the vanilla, that the impression is one of roundedness, cosiness, an insistent nuzzling.
    There’s a density and impenetrability about it that will frustrate noses after something a bit sharper; it remains something warm and golden behind a pretty smudged lens.

    10th October, 2012

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    Opus V by Amouage

    After encountering one too many lacklustre orris creations, I was struck by the beauty of Opus V’s opening chord: subtle but insistent like a lover who knows how to go the distance. The union of the soft, pale, delicately sweet orris with the sheerest touch of booze and an almost creamy oud note is divine. Please someone, find a way of prolonging this, bottle it and bring it on the market.
    For Opus V soon goes down another path, which is ultimately less rewarding. The oud becomes brasher and gains in prominence and is preserved in the ‘dry wood accord’ mentioned in the official list. This latter is stuff you will probably have encountered before; it seems to dry out the nasal membranes and has an addictive quality like glue fumes. There is a hefty dose in Opus V which results in a wearing experience a bit like a drugs high, but it does seem a bit of a cheat after the artistry of the top.

    21st September, 2012

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    L'Âme soeur by Divine

    Aldehydic veils cloak the start of this light-as-cologne creation; there’s something fresh, metallic and sharp in the mix, like violet leaves. The aldehydes soon subside into wispy powders, with a nice ‘wide open’ sweetness (possibly gifted by the coumarin-heavy liatrix?) balancing the sharper aspects. The main event, however, is a fruity, pretty watered down, raspberry rose. Has a classic French perfume feel what with the aldehydic haziness (shorthand for ‘sophistication’ for the French it would seem) and generally abstracted air, but this also drags it into the ‘nice but nondescript’ category for me. The overall feel has a nodding acquaintance with Chanel No 5 and Baghari, but without the dynamism of those fragrances. Long lasting. Also exists in an extrait version which I haven’t tried.

    21st September, 2012

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    Hippie Rose by Heeley

    Now here’s a surprise from Heeley, a rose with plenty of murky undergrowth, resolutely old-fashioned, turning its face against the soapy, clean or simply loud characteristics that tend to dominate recent rose fragrances. I wouldn’t have expected it of him – so many of his other perfumes place the emphasis so strongly on the clarity of notes, they sometimes skirt banality.
    This hippy is out in the garden: a mature rose among mossy, herbal aspects; there’s a hint of licorice that bridges effortlessly with a dark, rooty patchouli. The patchouli is beautifully judged, its presence is central but well contained, it’s no yawling feral beast. This is the kind of fragrance that rises to the nostrils as a perfectly formed accord; there is a completeness to it that resists too much picking apart of notes, one grasps it immediately and is satisfied. Or at least I am! Pretty linear once the top settles.

    21st September, 2012

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    Déclaration by Cartier

    Help, mother, my head is being squished between turbo-oranges. And the vetiver-cedar note is giving me a septum piercing. Ellena tends to focus on the driest, sharpest aspects of vetiver, for some reason, disregarding the wonderful warm earthy-sweet spectrum that’s available from this magical ingredient. A perfume that would seek to make of forwardness a virtue. No doubt all that Iso-E Super in the base contributes to the sense of sheer thrust this thing has.
    For what it is, it’s impeccably constructed despite its brashness (well, I suppose the name is a warning), but it scares the daylights out of me.

    14 September, 2012

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    L'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer

    This opened like Bvlgari Black’s incense-loving sibling – smoke, rubber, incense, a bit of spice around the edges. Soon settled into a resiny amber of no great distinction, some sweetness and tremendous dizzying persistence. Underwhelmed.
    Numerous tries brought little variation to this sequence. I wish I had more detail to offer – but my nose doesn’t latch on to much detail in this; it is undoubtedly strong but without much by way of layers, and has the muddied feel of some ‘natural’ perfumes.

    14 September, 2012

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    Songes by Annick Goutal

    I love Guerlain’s AA Ylang et Vanille; the langour and voluptuousness of the ylang coupled with the warming comfort of vanilla. Goutal’s Songes uses high quality absolutes of these two notes to bridge a heart of exquisitely creamy jasmine. The ylang has wonderful rubbery and banana facets. There are other tropical highlights of frangipane and tiare, but despite great richness and depth this perfume is not overbearing (of course, one needs to spray judiciously); it’s a reverie, a smile through a sigh, mood music for a lazy Sunday.

    14 September, 2012

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    F! by Fragonard

    The mellowness of the herby start had me thinking that Fragonard had finally made a ‘masculine’ of some distinction. No such luck – five minutes in, and we’re in familiar chemical toilet territory.

    12 September, 2012

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    Iris Rose by E.Coudray

    Well, definitely more iris than rose at the start. When the rose does emerge, it is a Brosseau rose, muted and misty. While the composition is appealing, it is so wan that one could bathe in the stuff and it would still fail to lift above body lotion strength. Plenty of ‘white musk’ in the base, slipping the whole thing effortlessly into the generic.

    12 September, 2012

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    Les Echappées - Inlé by Memo

    Mainly a clean airy floral, pairing the touched-by-apricots scent of osmanthus with a light tea note. There’s a smell lurking here that’s a cross between flour and a whiff of dirty seawater that doesn’t really add anything positive to the experience and takes a long time settle. Wears light but persistent.

    12 September, 2012

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    Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Opened with great puffs of smoke (and a bit of rubber) on me which dispersed to almost nothing. Just when I was about to dismiss this as another Etat which was less than the sum of its parts, it crept back up. A refined rose (not ka-pow) which starts off peppery, but then shows hints of the initial smokiness and little lifts of green. The rose-pepper thing has been done better elsewhere, but there’s no denying this has been artfully made with feet in quite a few different camps without toppling over. However, I find it provokes no emotional response; it’s all at arm’s length. Surprisingly, it’s after about 6 hours that I enjoy it the most – when the impression it gives is of a huge Montale rose in the adjoining room, its brashness tamed by distance.

    29 August, 2012

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    Mon Parfum Cheri, par Camille by Annick Goutal

    Easy to understand why this one made so many ‘best of’ lists in the year of its launch. Perfumes of such depth and so comfortably grown up don’t come by too often these days.
    I’m no patchouli fan and this creation is centred on that note, but what a patchouli this is: rich, aged like a good vintage, musty and vegetal, with curious medicinal hints of dried herbs and tinctures, not sweet. The plum at the top is a fleeting association to my nose, more evident are the powders and waxes, iris and violet, which merge with the sureness of the brushstrokes in a gigantic dark Rothko canvas. Wearing this is like lying back on a vast pool of black mercury that engulfs the body but does not let it sink.
    Hours into the wear it becomes softer, smoother, a touch juicier.
    This is a serious, formal perfume, which I would find impossible to wear casually, its abiding quality is a sense of mystery, of being in on a secret that only this dusky creature can whisper.
    I have only used the EDT which is plenty strong.

    29 August, 2012

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    Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal

    The initial impression was: Annick Goutal’s attempt to give an eau de cologne a fig twist. Perhaps this is a bit unfair as the lemon at the start is gloriously juicy and a cut above standard issue colognes. Also the lasting power is decent, even if I did have to apply liberally to get it to project. Nothing wrong with the fig leaf note either...
    And yet this fails to lift above the merely pleasant. It may wow those who have never encountered fig leaf in perfumery, but will do little for fig veterans. The fig-lemon pairing has its intended refreshing effect and seems natural and unforced. But as with all citruses, the lemon eventually fades and then one is left with a rather nondescript fig leaf with woodsy backing and some chemicals that continue to chirp ‘Fresh, fresh, fresh’. Good for hot weather.

    29 August, 2012

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    Infini by Caron

    There are perfumes, that even if sniffed blindfolded, one immediately classifies as French. Infini is one and it belongs to a group of fragrances where the addition and compounding of elements results in a cloud experience (quite at odds with the J-C Ellena tendency which aims at transparency and clarity). Some claim these perfumes have had their day; I for one am glad they still exist.
    Infinity has exquisite balance, a multitude of notes are deployed in perfectly judged quantities making it difficult (and ultimately pointless) to separate them; it has a certain reserve and hauteur; it doesn’t deliver immediate rapture like some other creations from this house, like Parfum Sacre, do.
    I for one am glad I have come to Caron late. Their perfumes require an experienced nose; they’re not always aiming for the punchline in the first few seconds like most modern perfumes need to do in order to survive in the mass market.
    So what is Infini? A restrained abstract floral with springlike touches (a touch of green from narcissus, the langour and warmth of jasmine and tuberose) cloaked in a wonderfully silken smokiness, sprinkled with antique powders. It rests on comforting woods, of which a buff and soft sandalwood is the most prominent – and appealing – to my nose. Some have noted a somewhat metallic feel, others remark on aldehydes; all true. Its richness rewards contemplation but doesn’t feel heavy.
    I am less enamoured of it towards the end of its active life (5-6 hours in) when what is left on my skin smells a bit old and unaired. But at this point the volume has dropped considerably and a reapplication will not skew the experience.

    29 August, 2012

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    Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

    This one has mass market written all over it – plenty of common in its denominator. A light and breezy aromatic citric blend that is slightly powdery in the drydown and yet ‘fresh’. Clearly a child of the Noughties. It’s lightfooted and nimble for sure, but it could be any one of numerous zippy men’s scents. Well-crafted, but without depth or gravitas, its bound to appeal to those on the lookout for a surface-hovering pick me up and are content with posh lime soda. Lasts well enough. ‘For the animal in you’ promises the advertising – for the happy shopper, more like.

    29 August, 2012

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    Laguna by Salvador Dali

    The first few wears of this one were puzzling. The words that came to mind were: fuzzy, shapeless, nondescript, sweetish. More puddle than lagoon.
    But, slowly, it developed a voice in my perception and that voice calls to me from time to time.
    This perfume is so thoroughly blended that wearing it can be a bit destabilizing: where are the markers? what are the comfort notes? Difficult to say.
    The citrus at the top only became evident after numerous wears. There is fruit here both ‘tropical’ and of the plummy variety, but that’s contrasted by a powdery dryness. There are woods and sweet spice, but juxtaposed against an ozonic, aquatic lightness with a rim of salt. Over time I have come to appreciate its shifts and the multiple-personality creature that resides within its sweet milky fog, though it does seem a bit of a stranger each time I encounter it anew.
    It wears light as a feather, but is persistent and powerful. It’s cheap as muck but will give more expensive scents a run for their money.

    29 August, 2012

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    Kinski by Escentric Molecules

    Woodsmoke, hash and vetiver – Kinski is a raw and driven thing. Resins seep through its every pore, oak moss creeps across its skin. Yet there is some heavy duty chemical lifting going on, for the experience isn’t lumpen and dense, it has the propulsive forward motion of a well-crafted perfume. The cannabis is a green and brushed thing, not really the stale cloud that hangs around a user.
    The essence of Kinski seems to be an urge to power, if that isn’t going too metaphysical on its ass. And therein lies a problem for me: such boldness is daunting over the course of an entire day. Much as I enjoy it to begin with, Kinski is perhaps a touch too much of a head trip, a bit too reminiscent of power frags. The cannabis lingers deep into its drydown which gets progressively woody.

    25 August, 2012

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    Oscar de la Renta pour Lui by Oscar de la Renta

    First, a confession. Despite being a rather fey youth, I spent my not so misspent late teens and early twenties drenched in this. Nowhere close to the testosterone-charged knuckledragging kind of person this fragrance is supposed to appeal to. Looking back, I like to flatter myself by thinking that it was love of complexity that drew me to it, rather than the weightier consideration of the student’s limited spending budget.
    Today, a quarter century on, I still keep a bottle handy.
    Pour Lui opens with a full on atonal blat, the entire orchestra testing to see if their instruments are in tune, all at the same time. But it rapidly falls into place, with a shimmering herbal woodsy spiciness that keeps shifting, over a marvellously responsive oakmoss heavy sweet base. Usually sweet bases tend to be without much contour and can get boring; this one breathes and evolves with the permutations of the fragrance.
    This is tremendously strong stuff (in fact the current version seems to have lost some of the brighter notes I’m sure were there when I first owned it) and best not sniffed up close. But apply a spray or two in cool weather and be surprised at its dark, rich and yet absolutely amiable luxuriance.
    This is one of the few perfumes with an anise note that doesn’t give me a heavy head right away. For a bargain buy, it smells surprisingly natural – unlike the chemical cocktails predominant in the ‘men’s’ market.

    25 August, 2012

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    Rosa Flamenca by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Constructed with typical Rosine refinement, Rose Flamenca accents the rose heart with cooling, airy, orange blossom and successfully integrates the jasmine (a note that can easily overpower). An ideal summer weather wear you’d think – except that despite a liberal dousing, this struggles to be audible.

    25 August, 2012

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    Reflection Man by Amouage

    The shapelessness of this leaves me a bit at a loss for the right descriptors: white flower miasma, not-quite-eucalyptus chest rub, bubble gum (hence the Le Male comparisons), chlorinated swimming pool water, sweet el-cheapo synthetic musks, napthalene, this perfume has them all and then a few. But it remains vague (not elusive, there’s a difference), somewhat sweetish and when there’s a glimpse of the sandal in the base one breathes a sigh of relief. To its credit, about 3 or 4 hours in this does cohere and becomes quite comforting but Amouage can do so much better. Lasts forever.

    25 August, 2012

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    Epic Woman by Amouage

    Heavy orientals are, for me, the perfume equivalent of wearing too much make-up, or eating too much cake... or wearing too much cake.
    The amber and musk of the base wore too close, there seemed to be a teeming crowd of rich ingredients thoroughly blended in. Then there was the cumin up front on this one and I thought, Betsy, this is just tooo much. But persistence has its rewards, and while they may not be orgasmic, they do offer a fine, high quality, wearable fragrance for cool weather.
    So while the start has the usual spicy density of rich orientals of a certain pedigree, I found the experience about two hours in, when the fragrance thinned a bit, to be the most compelling. A shy soft rose began to poke its head above the blend, and the spice subsided somewhat into the warm woods and vanilla. This epic creature had shed some of her more opulent garments and had become more of a flesh and blood person one could hold close and squeeze.
    (For others who can’t abide cumin; the note does fade quite quickly here, about half an hour in.)
    On subsequent wearings, the fragrance sang to me right from the start sometimes. I imagine the mind remembers the beauty that comes later on and projects it forward into the experience of the perfume.

    22 August, 2012

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    Patchouli Antique by Les Néréides

    Headthrobbing memories of friends who wore hippy juice have made me give patchouli a wide berth. However, this fully rounded offering won me over. The striking thing about it is its maturity – an impression of being aged to just rightness like an exceptional liqueur, opening with a gorgeously mellow rum and raisin note behind which a voluptuous patchouli makes its entrance. There is dust and must, but everything is rounded and warm and comforting here – perfect for winter wear.
    A scant application lasts the whole day on my skin which normally chews up underpowered fragrances.

    22 August, 2012

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    Eau Rose by Diptyque

    An entrancing top on this one – nectar like and vibrant as a living blossom. A light and natural rose of the open pink-petalled variety that I will stop to sniff whenever I come across a bush. The fruit notes are subdued, with mainly the lusciousness of the lychee coming through gently to my nose. The emphasis is on the dewy and fresh (hedione, white musk); and on the sweet (geranium and honey notes), although there is enough tartness in the mix to keep it lively. The first couple of hours is reminiscent of a cleaned up Une Rose, with none of the twigs and roots and dirt that make up the surround sound of that creation.
    Good longevity and becomes more of an emanation of one’s own skin as the day wears on. The evolution is towards a blurring of contours.
    While I find much to admire in this composition, I miss richness or a twist to give it more force of character; as it stands I’d love to smell of this for a couple of hours after my shower, not for the whole day. But it remains a well done rose.

    22 August, 2012

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    Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain

    Impressively grown up opening – all skidding tires on asphalt, rum and smoke. After that serious bit of fan waving, the reveal is a vanilla that is very close to food essence. Tasty and comforting for sure, but makes me long for a touch more complexity. Lasts as long as your day.

    22 August, 2012

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    Nuit de Cellophane by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    This had such a ‘just picked’ opening (fresh cut stems, dewy flowers, slightly tart fruit) that I had to try it on my skin – where it quickly turned into a heap of white flowers put through a blender. From springlike frolic to laboured tread. Still, the quality is there, even if the march ends abruptly after 3 or 4 hours.

    22 August, 2012

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