Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Total Reviews: 826

Altesse Mysore by Alexandre.J

Expectations of sandalwood brought forward by this perfume’s name must be swiftly put aside, as must those of floral profusion evoked by the PR guff, especially of ‘carnal’ jasmine – nope, not getting any of that. Altesse Mysore is primarily a balsamic creation, with a healing aura created from a mélange of spices and extracts with something not too far from ground almond paste as carrier, likely a pretty dark patchouli. The florals here appear as stewed tinctures rather than as vibrant blooms – but it matters little as the predominant mood of this perfume is ambery, preserved, reflective. A judicious dose of bitter elements in the mix add more depth and complexity.
An assured and serious composition, which is crying out for better materials than those used by the house to raise it up.

19th July, 2017

Rêve d'Anthala by Evody

I had to overcome my inner snob to appreciate this perfume, as it started with the somewhat tacky notion of mixing two blingy genres – the white floral with the taffy gourmand – for a journey into the very soul of superficiality. But all credit to this Rêve, it quickly won me over.
For one, the white florals (which come across as a tiare orchid cross) seem to be a bridge to the much darker base which transforms quickly from standard seeming caramel notes to a much less sugary benzoin and vanilla paste, offering a range of impressions – roasted and boozy, warm and balsamic, bitter and nutty. This is a dark brown mood, shaded and brooding but with not the slightest hint of a frown.
There are a couple of problems, however. A perfume of this nature, no matter the richness of the base, feels somewhat simple – there are no points of contrast. And, thus, in the deep drydown one feels like one is wearing a scented smudge rather than a perfume as such.
(I have tried the perfume in the slim version of the bottle, not the one illustrated on this page; not sure if the there is any difference in composition.)
19th July, 2017

Romanza by Masque

Lowering dark clouds, the ragged, muddy meadow with tall grasses and yellow blooms, and a mourning cello player in the distance, Romanza is like an expression of love with tears in its eyes – god, does that not make you feel good to be alive.
An overdose of what smells like sodden hay sets its melancholy tone – it’s an odour that compels but has a bit of an attract-repel quality reminiscent of the vegetal mood of Oriza’s Chypre Mousse. Within it blooms the narcissus, indolic yet not weighed down, its naturally fatty scent cut by a fruity sourness like unripe apricots. The metallic and greasy greenness of violet leaf combines with this completely organic (and on the brink of decay) mix with great ease. Far, far away, the purr of something resinous.
Romanza takes you to a place you do not want to go but really you do, a place of deep emotion that stirs you up. And yet its face remains calm. I cannot help but think that Nathalie Lorson was visiting the same place when she composed Myths Woman for Amouage, its swampy narcissus a relative of Romanza.
Romanza is challenging and not easy to wear; therefore you must love it more when you do.

19th July, 2017
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Silent Grove by D.S. & Durga

Grass and linden – evocative of sunshine and the outdoors – translated into a perfume that is equal parts lime-scented hand soap and peppy room freshener. Somehow, this is not a bad thing, instead even a little addictive. Silent Grove has the underlying synthetic sweetness of such products and even when the composition goes a bit woody and smoky in the drydown that aromachemical aura is hard to deny. Still, a bit like popping candy, it has sparkle and fizz and suits occasional use.
19th July, 2017

Terrasse à St Germain by Jul et Mad

If the cool, somewhat soapy aldehyde-influenced florals (citrusy, limpid freesia, a drop of tender rose) at the opening suggest a chic classicism and carefree bounce, the beautifully realized musky woody backdrop adds just the right amount of friendliness and warmth. There’s complexity here but delivered in a way that seems natural, unforced and breathing. The woods are sheer, soft and sweet; the musk rounding them and making them coming alive. There’s even some enticingly golden muscat wine lurking in its depths.
Speaking of depths, I do find that Terrasse à St Germain suffers a bit from the Jul & Mad tendency of restrained projection, which is a shame as something with such personality really needs to express it a bit more.

19th July, 2017

Vertine by Friedemodin

The nice idea is a jotting from a dream. The nice idea’s usual destiny is to languish. Until someone tries out the nice idea.
Vertine’s nice idea is to combine green notes of mint, basil and fig leaf in a light and fluffed by musks manner in order to refresh and bring shaded respite to your summer. As far as nice ideas go it’s a, well, nice one and decently executed. The usual warnings apply – the mint will feel like mouthwash until you get used to it, don’t expect fireworks (this is meant to cool your brow not knock your socks off), verisimilitude when it comes to green notes is a thing of degrees rather than a given. A sweet rosy note, well concealed among the foliage, helps everything hold together. Performs well for close to four hours after which it’s a green-tinged musky muddle.

02nd July, 2017

Souffle Intime by Paul Emilien

Undistinguished, hazy, pleasant ‘white flowers’ combine with a paste-like gourmand tonka-patchouli base with a hint of bitter almonds and fatigue. Sounds awful, but is actually cozy and alright if a bit featureless, dropping to skin-hugging musks within a couple of hours. Sadly this can never be a recommendation.
02nd July, 2017

Pélargonium by Aedes de Venustas

The main problem with previous Aedes de Venustas offerings has been that they skated rapidly through their pretty creative opening and heart phases and then subsided with a disappointing whump into lacklustre bases.
Can Pelargonium do any different? But perhaps that is the wrong question when its opening statement is one that is so firmly trad that one begins to wonder why this is a new release. A burst of juicy citruses spiked with the classic accompaniment of black pepper is well-rendered but ain’t going to win any prizes for originality. And when the evolution is towards sweet but blurred florals (the geranium being the main player), we’re in the territory of AdP’s Colonia offerings. Zesty and refreshing for sure but a well-trodden path by now.
However, Pelargonium has a major plus up its sleeve – it has an endearing ever-so-slightly powdered floral throw and as time wears on the impression of lying among meadow flowers forms in the mind. Just the thing, I’d say, when you want a light yet lasting, soft-focus floral.
02nd July, 2017

Iris Cendré by Naomi Goodsir

Thrills to begin, dunking the wearer in a tub of iris butter – lovely rooty stuff with hints of smooth, caressing suede and a smooth fatty density, which in this case, is ever so appealing. Its singlemindedness is the attraction. When so many perfumes drive straight into the cul de sac marked ‘competent but safe’, it’s a relief to have standouts. It’s lightly smoked, the smoke adding barely-there complexity, and there’s an intriguing cedar-spiked-with-cardamom note right in its middle which comes across like an undulation in this iris bath.
This perfume takes the earthy, doughy aspects of its starring note and stretches them without succumbing to brute tendencies. Maybe it’s the diffusive nose-blanketing quality of the violet ionones that spreads this even smoother and helps create the immersive feel.
However, Iris Cendre deflates as it goes along becoming a skin scent in a couple of hours with a spicy leatheriness creeping in that does no favours to the rather wonderful experience that had preceded it.
02nd July, 2017

Binturong by Auphorie

I delayed trying out Binturong for a long time, having caught a whiff on a strip of paper which suggested that it may be too challenging for even my adventurous nose. On paper this thing was all fur and backside, and I was unsure I wanted to smell like that all day.
However, my curiosity won me over as Auphorie has yet to release a perfume that doesn’t take me places. And fortunately, on skin Binturong revealed that it is a many layered thing.
While the opening impression is of great density like a drone work where all the levels seem maxed out, it soon begins to unfurl. Its foundation seems to be that rich, gourmand, smoked coconut-rice custard accord that is the star of the line’s Eau de Nyonya. Here it is the backdrop to an interplay of curious, contrasting notes. There’s the furriness of the animalics (though the perfume uses no animal derived ingredients); gentle, made silky by the infusion of iris, with little evidence of the unwashed that I had smelled on paper. A deep roasted coffee note offers a touch of bitterness in the mix but it’s deftly handled – one registers it and then it merges back into the blend. Dancing against these almost fudgy notes is a clear floral sweetness reminiscent of Shambala, another Auphorie perfume – I haven’t a clue what it is and the notes don’t make me any the wiser but this is what makes the perfume. It is clean, slender, almost glassy and it plays against the compacted swirl of the rest with great elegance.
And then some hours in something quite magical happens and the game of contrasts transforms into a union of great silkiness and delicacy, as the dense background begins to relax and lighten and the sheer floral accord settles like a drifting feather upon it. Now everything is compelling musky abstraction, a perfume inviting, warm yet cool, and soft as a kittens belly.
Projection is lovely – a couple of mini-sprays is enough to get that not too much not too little balance that truly satisfies.
02nd July, 2017

Rausch by J.F. Schwarzlose

Billowing sweet woody with a huge glug of vanilla, butched up with some pungent and smoky cypriol. It’s a combination that could be trite and awful, but Rausch is held securely by a border that is half fresh leather and half grown up booze. It’s large, it projects like a thesp, it has a reassuring familiarity yet has dark depths (my bet is on the cleverly concealed patchouli), it’s warm and yet means business.
At first, the oud mentioned in the base seems to be a figment of the brand’s imagination – it’s the usual woody aromachemicals lurking in so many woody ambers. But with time something remarkably similar to the moreish oud construct in Oud Satin Mood emerges. This is an accomplished offering which is friendly and tough in equal measure, a combination many will perceive as quite sexy.
17th June, 2017

Saffron Rose by Grossmith

Saffron Rose has a long-enclosed feel to it – like an ornate box of precious scented materials that has lain forgotten which upon opening releases an aged, dry but bewitching odour. Definitely one for special occasions as it is one of those perfumes that expects the wearer to rise to it. The rose petals are withered and crumbling with an austere bitter-sweetness about them. The saffron is rubbed into old leather and the grain of the several woods that seem to be involved. And underneath them all is a salty, skin-like base note that suggests animal presence. The whole is unashamedly antique and it exerts the fascination of things that don’t reveal everything about themselves upon first exposure. One to wear when visiting the shaded room of the imagination that houses medieval manuscripts written on vellum.
Slumps somewhat after the first four hours into attar-by-numbers territory (the rose coming up) and drops in projection a touch before then – unforgivable at this price point.

17th June, 2017

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

There is a balm at the heart of both Ormonde Man and Ormonde Woman - it is a smooth and creamy thing, giving a sense of luxury and refinement and a hint of something that is somewhere between cashmere and milk (with no doubt a good helping of Geza Schoen’s beloved, velvety – and addictive – Iso E thrown in). It soothes the greens and woods that are common to both these perfumes and dissolves them into a magical and cool forest fantasia. Here are gently waving grasses, airbrushed pines, the gentle crunch of fallen twigs releasing odours not only of wood but herbal, almost floral coriander seed and the sweet, soapy breath of cardamom. Here is sunlight filtering pale green through the tall branches alive with dancing motes. And here is the unmissable elegance that is something of an Ormonde Jayne signifier, which gives so many of their perfumes an effortlessly relaxed yet polished feel.
Whereas I love a green perfume that goes for verisimilitude, I am also partial to such smeared lens explorations which seem worlds apart.
As I currently own Ormonde Man, I find the common DNA of the two perfumes does not justify also buying Ormonde Woman, but should the former run out, then it will be time to get gender fluid.

17th June, 2017
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Figue Aoudii by Maison Incens

After a fairly repugnant opening - rubbery and overly sweet fig notes that would have been better off in a scented erasor – this turns into a curious, somewhat more wearable creation as the latex feel wears off. An ambery fig floral with a big slash of coconut body lotion and musky projection, how many of those have you come across? Especially when the floral notes are nectar dripping ones – a very hothouse iteration of ylang ylang among them.
For many this will be a mess of sick. I do admire its daring intentions and it somehow manages to avoid feeling too sticky, but it’s not one I’d seek out.
17th June, 2017

Aomassaï 10 by Parfumerie Generale

I remember my first encounter with salted caramel in Brittany many moons ago – an umami bomb for the sweet of tooth, I was immediately sold and wondered why such an excellent and intense culinary idea wasn’t more widely prevalent. I imagine many others shared this view as this particular flavour has now marched into ice creams, fudges and even peanut butter far and wide across the Western world.
Aomassaï seems to be drawing on this particular trick of combining a massive dose of salt with caramalized fudgy and nutty scents. The saltiness is what rolls up first – a combination of licorice, hay and vetiver which smells of all these things but also sea-bathed, sun-baked skin. It’s been picked up by many other niche merchants since (for example Angela Ciampagna) with varying degrees of success.
The foody notes of condensed milk caramel and roasted hazelnuts rub up against the salt to suggest at first coffee but then temptations that seem beyond gustatory appetites.
What Aomassaï does particularly well is work a dark palette of notes – burnt, roasted, caramelized – into a composition that has the PG signature airiness. In the later stages the saltiness recedes leaving a slightly musky, nutty mousse. Different and accessible.

17th June, 2017

Fusion Sacrée Lui by Majda Bekkali

The fusion of contrasts is an interesting idea – here there is a successful graft between outdoorsy notes of citrus, lavender and celery (just a hint) and boozy caramel-dominant gourmand notes. But from the off you know which side is going to be taking over and pretty soon the richer notes of davana, tuberose, caramel, vanilla, backed with seamless woods and musks form the sumptuous bed of this fragrance.
It doesn’t really matter that the contrast isn’t maintained as this is a sophisticated blend: rich, luxurious, prompting thoughts of decadence, but maintaining an energy about it, a kind of spicy herbal zing that burnishes its edges and saves the project from ponderousness. If you’re imagining fudgy caramel, you’ve got this finely orchestrated perfume all wrong. In the drydown a plush suede accent emerges, a comforting touch.

07th June, 2017

Garofano by Lorenzo Villoresi

Wooha – the opening of Garofano made me feel like a dusty old carpet that had been attacked with an unnecessary excess of some stridently floral freshener. It was sour-sweet, it was powdery in a chemical dust kind of way, and its floral elements felt as if they had been hard boiled and pickled.
Ultimately it resolved into a pretty strong carnation scent, cloves in its teeth, something curdled about its presence, and singing the Habanera draped in red nylon. There’s the tang of geranium and some uplift from a pepper-lavender combo. Sure, this feels vintage in a certain strongly-scented powder compact kind of way and has a stiff backbone of spice, but I can’t really appreciate its chintzy bad temperedness. In the interest of fairness it must be noted that hours into its evolution, milder-mannered floral of notes of rose and ylang ylang become evident and Garofano loses its frown.
07th June, 2017

Othello by Il Profumo

Do not pay much attention to the listed notes if you’re planning on trying out Othello – they may lead you to expect things this perfume doesn’t deliver. Stay instead with the thing itself and discover an accomplished fresh and spicy number with the air of a few barber shop classics. Othello nods to fougères with a clean and energizing aura about it and then mixes up an uber-trad ‘masculine’ blend of aerated spice, herby aromatics and woods – all in a just-shaved and just-washed manner. It’ll brighten up a dull day no doubt about it.
Exceptional? No. Oud? Not even a whiff. Mainstream and pretty good? Yup. But with a polite drydown that seems to be signalling some pretty modest materials, it is anyone’s guess why we should pay niche prices for this.

07th June, 2017

Ylang Ylang by E.Coudray

The languid charms of ylang ylang continue to fascinate me – the scent of this bloom bright with jasmine-like notes but with none of jasmine’s assertiveness leads to an oasis in my mind. Ylang is calming, its slight rubberiness almost tactile, its golden honeyed heart gentle not overbearing. I love how it can sometimes suggest bananas, or how its density attracts rather than repels. It makes me dozy and content.
So I make a beeline for ylang ylang perfumes and almost blind bought this drawn by Persolaise’s rave Love at First Scent live review, and, I’ll guiltily admit, feeling somewhat susceptible to its limited edition status. However, seeing that a shop with a friendly owner stocked it, I decided to be sensible and try first.
The difference I perceive between the scent on a card and on skin is quite significant. On paper, it seems to have a good glug of jasmine and plenty of vintage complexity (spice and a pinch of the unwashed), which though not unattractive didn’t seem particularly compelling either.
But on skin, the heaviness I was unsure of fortunately didn’t come across and it opened with a confident and radiant ylang and lily accord – rich but also fresh. It rang out clear as a bell, the pride of floralcy, gorgeous. Upon development, however, when a sandal-prominent Guerlain-like base brought alteration to the floral joy, it became a bit more traditional and less to my taste. I can’t fault the backing, it is soundly executed, I just find it takes the floral notes down a too well travelled route with the parts not adding up to a greater sum.
For others it may be just the thing as this is by any measure a very good perfume, but I’m sitting it out on the purchasing front.

07th June, 2017

Décou-Vert by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Bright whitish floral (hedione prominent clean jasmine and equally freshened up lily of the valley) with green accents and a hint of lemon. Sunny, resembling a scented splash, competent, good for warm weather – but I’ve come across this kind of thing so often now that I find it difficult to raise a lasting flicker of interest.
31st May, 2017

Eau des Sens by Diptyque

Summery perfection in this neroli-led EDT from Diptyque that is just bursting with a juiciness that energizes and refreshes. The orange blossom note here is bright and floral (note: many orange blossom outings in perfumery are plastic and sugared citrus peel affairs – this isn’t) with a dewy quality, and it is blended superbly right from the start with delicate citruses. Right in the background are petitgrain-like woodsy tones and a hint of mild, sweet patchouli. This is like 4711 ‘elevated’ (to use a term popular with snobby chefs). It carves out a space of tall trees, long grass and balmy sun.
I first wore it on a day when my mood was down and it lifted me immediately. Surely a service to the perfume purchasing public from Diptyque.
31st May, 2017

Full Incense by Montale

Full spectrum incense with plenty of terpenic lift evoking the great piny outdoors in the opening stages. Curiously this benefits from overdosing – wear a spray too many and you are immersed in its sacramental cloud, be stingy with it and it seems thin, whiny and synthetic. The balance of citrusy treble notes (the elemi) with powdery, dusty woody sonorities rounds out the resinous and lightly smoky incense at its centre. If its churchy appeal makes me feel like sashaying in brocaded robes and chanting for the first hour or two, I must admit it becomes much of a muchness beyond that and I’m inclined to cover it up with something a bit more varied.
Needless to say, only go there if a single-minded incense perfume is what you are after. All other expectations will be dashed.
20th May, 2017

Rue des Lilas by Phaedon

Yes, I think I passed that street – the lilacs were in bloom, the air and soil were dry, a gentle breeze carried their scents. As with many lilac recreations there is a supporting lily of the valley note that wafts in and out of one’s perception and stays for the course. In keeping this composition delicate and airy as opposed to the heady narcotic route that is also possible with such florals, Pierre Guillaume conjures a reverie. There’s a pleasing simplicity to Rue des Lilas, it’s soft yet persistent, with the only evolution being traces of the powdery musk in the declared notes becoming more evident with the passage of time. It’s the kind of perfume that I can enjoy for a few hours rather than a whole day – by then I start feeling a bit trapped on that street.
20th May, 2017

Midnight Rose by Amouroud

A rose like a plush, mile-deep sofa, this is one to sink into. The note differentiation is pants and yet this perfume is appealing as a gourmand rose if you like that kind of thing. The main rose note is dense and in the Middle Eastern attar vein, with the candied honey base so common to many sweet gourmands and a seam of tart jelly-like fruitiness plumping it out (guided by the notes list one might concede this is litchi, but I doubt that conclusion would be evident if one were to test this blind). It’s all very rose jam and Turkish delight, probably nightmarishly so for some. But I find it succeeds as a whole (because this sure ain’t a perfume of parts) where many such attempts just turn into syrupy slop. Maybe it’s the well deployed sour-sweet fruitness, but I find Midnight Rose lets me indulge my sweet tooth without discomfort.
Curiously however, projection drops dramatically after a couple of hours. This is a shame because perfumes in this manner need to have built-in oomph to succeed, their drama can’t play out in murmurs.
20th May, 2017

Amazing Mukhallath by Al Haramain

An energizing vetiver that opens with the characteristic bracing and fresh sweetness of a fougère. The scents of conifers and tonic juniper blend with subtly employed cardamom. I’ll be damned if there isn’t a quantity of bright lavender in the mix as well, although it is missing from the notes list. Well, with such bedfellows, it’s no surprise that the vetiver used here is pretty clean – none of the dank and earthy tones that I normally love – but it works perfectly.
I find the resins and incense low key; this is a joyously refreshing affair, like a swim in a chilly lake by a forest of spruce and pine. Perhaps this is standard ‘masculine’ territory, but there’s genuine panache here and that should be celebrated.
20th May, 2017

Alhada by Tola

I had been looking out for Alhada as it is a woody floral (my favourite kind of perfume) centred on the Taif rose. The opening moments looked like I was heading for a disappointment with a hairspray rose in the style of some of Montale’s dodgier offerings leading the charge. The only glimmer of light seemed to be a realistic marigold note – except that the scent of this blossom isn’t particularly bewitching.
But as I have learned with Tola, it pays to wait, as the perfumes usually take a while to settle. And sure enough the fumes that smelled of propellant dissipated (I think the lavender played a big part in creating that impression), and a rich and confident attar-style rose unfurled laid upon a bed of dark tonka and vanilla, and satisfyingly musty wood. It is profoundly sweet and yet escapes the syrup trap, through the bitter accents provided by the wood notes and a touch of saffron in the heart. It is one of Tola’s less unusual, more straightforward creations in that it seems to fit a particular Arabian style of roses (it is part of a collection called ‘Heritage’). My beef with it is that the deep drydown which is still plush with roses is no better than other offerings in this style. Not quite the knockout to justify Tola prices.
20th May, 2017

Paname Paname by Technique Indiscrete

The cumin route leads inevitably to well-sweated body odour, so it’s a brave (or foolish) perfumer who knowingly goes down it. Libertin Louison’s aim seems to be to bring some of the gravitas of animalic chypres of days past into a present where they can be somewhat unwelcome. This requires a tricky balancing act between, on the one hand, the grunting cumin and the unsmiling mossy accents which form the rather dour core of this perfume (‘take me seriously’ they seem to jointly hiss) and, on the other, the cooler fresher elements – some airy citrus, floating almost aquatic white florals, a note that is a cross between doughy iris and something fruity (the ‘apple cake’ of the declared notes?) and clean, somewhat powdery, musk. This creates a tension that could sustain the interest of the perfume lover, though a significant other may be inclined to single out the cumin and tell one to go wash. Eventually things resolve to an underweight Guerlinade with armpit issues.
An ‘almost works’ kind of perfume, a curiosity that brings a convincing vintage element to the table but lacks something to wow at the fresher end of its profile.

10th May, 2017

Mukhallath Seufi by Al Haramain

Tender, deep sweet rose given a blast of jet fuel by a supari blend of freshening ingredients and discreet spices. The concentration of this oil gives the impression of huge complexity as evinced by some gargantuan reviews on the net, but the main event is a woody rose with an attar density but with plenty of fresh lift as well. Reminiscent of quite a few rosy Montales, except the polish and sheen on this one is a few notches up.
10th May, 2017

N'Aimez Que Moi by Caron

At first the whump of the hefty Caron base (deep, powdery-resinous) masks the floating quality of N’Aimez que Moi. Then there is the ferocity of clove and something like the brambly undergrowth from Malle’s Une Rose that also make it appear to be more of a drama queen than it is.
But wait a short while and the rose, liquered, a bit musty but also powdery soft, wafts its magic gathered in clumps of cloudy violets and lilac. A touch of fatty, waxy orris gives it a discreet sheen. I find violets often give perfumes a watercolour, daydream-like quality – perhaps it’s because their scent seems so borderless and diffuse – and that is certainly the case here. Later the base re-emerges, but gently, a pillow to lean back on, giving the florals a touch of earth.
If you have a tendency to dismiss this kind of perfume as old-fashioned and fusty, then N’Aimez que Moi will do nothing to change it. For the rest of us, it is a quiet pleasure, rich yet restrained about it.

Review is for the current EDP formulation.

10th May, 2017

Cuir Garamante by MDCI

Roses in the dustbowl. The curious interaction of the smoky, dusty, pepper-infused cypriol with quite juicy roses is a bit of a headscratcher but, hey, I’ll settle for it as it seems to have some purpose. That purpose being a seriously rich and spicy rose perfume (the cuir of the name is a bit player really – just a touch of dirt around the edges), complete with Montale-like oud as support. So far so satisfying, but why anyone would part with serious bucks for this remains the question when so many more affordable niche lines are also doing this kind of thing to say nothing of the Arabic cheapies that got there first. Good for its angularity and drama – less good for its rather polite way of expressing them.
10th May, 2017