Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Advertisement
Total Reviews: 925

Majestic by Arabian Oud

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

Nudo by Morph

To my nose Nudo is the love child of YSL’s M7 and CDG 2 Man – and with such attractive parents, who can deny the appeal of the offspring? It provides a salubrious combination of sweetish, chopped wood notes, sympathetic spices and incense, in the established tradition of rugged-yet-smooth masculines. Possessed of a wide smile and unpretentious charm, Nudo exudes a kind of clean, square-jawed, open-shirted, outdoorsy sexiness. By the same token it is pretty mainstream, but sure as hell deserves to be better known as it is one of those perfumes that gets warmer and cuddlier in the drydown. I was surprised that it had me craving to wear it again and again, rather than indulging in the perfume promiscuity that is my default. Anything that’s doing that is doing something right.
19th May, 2018

Maduro by Fort and Manlé

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

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Curious how the trinity of honey, cumin and cedar provides a funky, salty-sweet, oozed-out-my-pores-and-dried quality to this perfume. This is hardworking skin at the end of a hot day amplified and ‘perfumified’. The illusion holds and yet one can smell the various elements here in their own right – the sharper tones of the cumin and cedar, a dry quality imparted by them both, and a buzzing-with-pheromones honey note that leans more towards beeswax than towards floral condensation. This makes me feel a bit hot (and I’m not talking about me nether regions), so I couldn’t imagine wearing it on a summer’s day.
The rest of the perfume emerges through this intensely physical trinity, the floral notes skewing wine-y (somewhere between wine cork and wine cellar, which is quite a good place to be), the incense adding a further dry and salty tang rather than smoke. Ultimately my nose perceives Absolue pour le soir as an amber composed of noble elements but treated in a manner that suggests it has reached its evening after a hard slog. There is a certain satisfaction and restfulness in that, but it ain’t the sensual heave that other wearers seem to experience.
In the deep drydown, things move in a vintage complex floral direction – there are powdery accents, and the spicy-woody tones give it the impression of an old-style multi-layered base. The salty-sweet accord I mentioned at the start now has some of the maple-and-meat heft of immortelle, and the whole thing becomes increasingly siren-like.
19th May, 2018

Molécule No. 8 : Wooden Chips by Zarko Perfume

Eau dear! With typical blank/minimal design which the Scandi set still think is shorthand for cool, here’s another bloodless offering that just can’t be bothered. Purporting to ‘capture the essence of human innocence and beauty in a fragrance’ no less and ‘born in a moment of clarity on an autumn beach’ what it amounts to is some woody synthetics of the cedar chip variety fringing something that smells of a powder one could mix with water and make a vaguely ‘citrusy’ fruit drink. After a while the fruitiness subsides to leave a slightly bilious clean woods odour that usually hangs around bloke juices with ‘sport’ in their names. The problem with such moments of clarity – even the deluded have them.
24th April, 2018

MAAI by Bogue Profumo

All the heavy breathing about MAAI on internet forums led me to expect something quite different – everything from animal magnetism to animal disgrace (away to the naughty corner with you for peeing on the floor). So it was quite a surprise to be greeted by MAAI’s old school ‘suave gent’ style opening – resins and florals with abstract aldehydic radiance, rounded by a sweet and warm musk, that somehow signalled slicked back hair and a shirt open to the second button. The musk – and for me this perfume majors on musk, particularly in the drydown – does have that lovely animal warmth, but this animal ain’t rubbing its backside on your carpet. Instead there’s an aura of almost soapy freshness which combines intriguingly with a wine must scent.
MAAI is a perfume of layers – there are honeyed florals that surprise the wearer in bursts and then get contained again by their cordon of a dry leather-like moss accent, there’s the bustle of polished smooth woody tones saturated with that head-spinning muskiness, and then the angularity of terpenes and resins. The whole thing speaks at once with one voice and with many – and it seems to have so much to say. Rich, ravishing and beautifully detailed, MAAI is a perfume for indulgent days when one can take the time to get just a little lost in how good one smells.

24th April, 2018

lumen_esce by Nomenclature

Pale and enervated hairspray violet that, if one were being imaginative, could recall cool porcelain or chrome in its overtly synthetic polish. But, sadly, such airbrushed stuff doesn’t provoke flights of fancy in me at all - just the desire to wear something different. Grounded with a claggy musk that has the feel of guava meets Milk of Magnesia about it, which made me feel a bit sick, until it too died back into not very much at all.
24th April, 2018

Hyperessence Matale 12 by Parfumerie Generale

Sunny citrus-and-pepper number which would have benefited from a more botanical approach. Instead it joins the ranks of pleasant but forgettable colognes, as it is all too familiar without offering that something extra that would make a perfume lover sit up and take notice. For example, if the tea note had been somewhere close to real tea instead of that faux aqua-green thing that lurks in spa products. Hyperessence Matale, has a certain technical skill, it’s smooth, cooling and nothing jars, but it’s also light, slight, and gone from my mind despite its persistence on my skin.
24th April, 2018

Mr. Bojnokopff's Purple Hat by Fort and Manlé

The stage is set and here’s the trick the perfume magician performs: out of the purple hat, he pulls a creation that is deep and dark – bitter, mouldy woods and dark chocolate (definitely more than a dab of patchouli lurking within) – but which is also lit up with a herbal glow – lavender that is bright and airy, carrying hints of menthol and clove about it. And this dark, yet glowing thing is also smooth as a silken glove. Bojnokopff caresses; it feels light despite the richness of some of the notes; and it feels herbal-fresh and boozy at the same time as well.
When it settles it is becomes somewhat more traditional – the brighter aspects vanish and the overriding theme is of a sweet cured tobacco inflected with vanilla and chocolate. For some reason – and I am possibly being horribly unfair – I kept thinking that a politer relative of A-Men had alighted on my skin. This association may well be falsely triggered as I haven’t worn A-Men in years now so my memory of it isn’t sharp, but perhaps it is indicative of the feel of this perfume.
24th April, 2018

Mayura Extrait de Parfum by Auphorie

For its first two hours, Mayura seems like one of those outstanding fragrances which one feels delivers whatever it may choose to promise. It’s the full strutting peacock, iridescent plumage ablaze in the noonday Indian sun. It emanates a lush tropical heat but pairs it with honeyed softness, it preens but is also kind and infused with such uplifting tonal variation that those who are so inclined could take it for a spiritual experience.
I don’t normally gravitate towards white florals; I dislike their diva behaviour and they often give me a hangover without the reward of intoxication. And as for the lighter hedione-led hordes, they never quite seem to hit the sweet spot, like some unsatisfying diet version.
And here I am, weak in the knees, after wearing a perfume that presents the most solar, saturated jasmine in recent memory as its star. It drips rich, dizzying nectar, all its indulgent greasier aspects are not edited out and yet there is also the contradictory freshness and presence of the living flower. Mellower tones of ylang and davana round out this superbly orchestrated floral sweetness. This symphony of flowers has the most amazing warm, soft, glandular musks as one of its basso elements; these are musks of animal presence and closeness, that reach out and embrace without smelling of the squalor of the cage. (Indeed, as Auphorie is committed to vegan ingredients, there is no danger of actual animal derivatives being used.) The other is a subtle array of woody and mossy tones – providing dabs of dryness, bitter and salty accents, that make the sweet heart of Mayura even more precious.
This may well be the best work the brothers Au have produced so far and their fans may have twigged – the fragrance is on back order already and seeing as it is a limited edition (I hope they change their minds about that) may well be gone before the world gets a chance to discover this creation that seems to be imbued with such generosity (the materials smell absolutely top notch) and, dare I say it, love.
I started this review with a reference to Mayura’s amazing, mind-altering first couple of hours. What happens after that? There are two main stages of evolution in my mind. That amazing jasmine subsides somewhat and the mossier and animalic elements begin to assume a more prominent role; it feels almost like the perfume is taking on and conveying the carnality of the wearer. Mayura does dirty in the chic French way of some beloved vintage florals, with a satisfying chypre backbone. It remains a thing of great beauty, but now there are more referents, it’s no longer seemingly in a space of its own creation which is the feeling of the first few hours.
And much later, when the day is done, it has a surprise. All the heavier elements fade out and a delicate, soapy floral emerges – just right for floating off into dreams.
21st April, 2018

L'Oudh by Tauer

The first few times I wore L’Oudh, I wondered why it wasn’t called L’Vetiver, as a lovely, deep and sonorous vetiver seemed to be the star of the show. Vetiver is a noble perfumery ingredient in its own right, whose full range of expressiveness is rarely explored, but it comes at a much humbler price.
Perhaps my 5 ml sample was still maturing and hadn’t quite reached its full potential, but I am happy to report now that there is a good deal more than vetiver to this offering. While I find it still lacks the hypnotic quality that I long for in a good oud, it compensates with a heart-of-the-wood experience that seems completely natural and unforced. If you love woody perfumes, this is one you must try.
L’Oudh has a moreish mouldy and humid aspect to it during the first couple of hours, bittersweet, which complements the smokier side of the composition well. It has layer upon layer of woody tones, creamy soft like some sandalwood oils, sharp and sweetish like some cedars, the salt tang of vetiver along with its earthier aspects, a pepperiness in common to some other ouds, shade upon shade they both comfort and tease the wearer. I don’t sense the musky, beasty notes here and don’t really miss them.
I find L’Oudh has a moderate projection and comes into its own much better in warmer weather. It’s a kind of meditation on wood – and true to the nature of a meditation, while the experience is in constant flux (plenty of variation in the woody tones) the focus remains singular.
The later stages are somewhat less compelling for me as the wood becomes more sunbleached and salty. If you love perfumes in the vein of Sel de Vetiver, this will still float your boat.
18th April, 2018

Beach Hut Man by Amouage

The ramshackle associations of the name kept putting me off this one, but eventually, desiring escape on a dreary workday, I decided to give it a go. My first thought was: ‘What a smoothie.’
A refined minty opening, ringed with a frosting of both sugar and ice like in some summer cocktail, is soon merged into layers of other greens, a bit leafy, a bit mossy, a bit bitter, but remaining fresh and alert – and yes there’s a vague hint of water about it, but fortunately not in the manner of tenacious aquatics that submerge the wearer. It’s a civilized version of the green outdoors, tame and inviting, just draw up that deck chair and relax. Of course there’s a woody backing to hold it together but it’s so set back from the green display, there seems to be little point in mentioning it. After about eight hours, when much of the detail of the green vista has smudged, Beach Hut Man takes on an ozone fuzz.
Getting mint right is no easy task and overall this is a fine perfume, but my taste veers more towards the overgrown and rugged in green perfumes so this one is not for me.


03rd April, 2018

Eau d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

Insofar as all perfumery is artifice, what with extracts from natural sources often diverging from how the thing itself smells and the most ‘natural’ smelling soliflore recreations often dependent upon a battery of synthetics to achieve that verisimilitude, the judgment of what the nose perceives as synthetic is often a dubious one. And yet, being creatures of subjectivity, the perception of the synthetic (mental shorthand for ‘unauthentic’) plays a crucial role in deciding whether we take to a perfume which aspires to present us with a vision of ordered nature. (Unabashedly abstract creations are a different matter.) Citrus scents suffer especially from this perception and I am among many who can dislike their chemical ‘screech’. So finding a good ‘un is cause for celebration.
And yet, there is, of course, no universality to this perception - some still dismiss Eau d’Hadrien as Lemon Pledge, whereas I find it zings as if it had just issued from a squeezed rind.
This is a sprightly, refreshing, non-sweet citrus (lemon is the most prominent in the mix) with subtle tones of pepper and celery that make it even more bracing. There’s an undertow of bitters common to citrus peels and the whole thing is simple, direct and elegant – the kind of perfume one can safely wear on stressful days and feel lifted rather than burdened by it.
03rd April, 2018
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Pepper by 1907

Airbrushed (ie somewhat denatured) pepper and oud lad (not quite dad) cologne. Sleek and refreshing, if a bit middle of the road, everything about it is buffed up and smoothed over, including the warming sweetness of the balancing patchouli dose and some chewy cardamom.
Has a barbershop quality to it – not quite hygiene, though it is not dirty by any stretch of the imagination, rather a brightly lit space of crisp towels, relaxation and energization. Easy and likeable, it comes into its own in the later stages as it gets lighter, soapier, an inviting halo around the wearer.
03rd April, 2018

Safran Nobile by Technique Indiscrete

Knockout saffron – for about two hours. The recreation is so warm and authentic that it pushed my previous saffron favourite (L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant) off its top spot. My cultural background immediately makes me associate saffron with special occasions where rich rice dishes and desserts containing this expensive spice would be served. For me the association isn’t, however, particularly foody but of the hospitality and contentment of such feasts, where people would attend dressed to the nines. The creator of Safran Nobile Louison Libertin was similarly inspired by attending a London wedding party and the olfactory memory he formed must have been similar to mine.
The saffron here is not sniffed from a little box (which is admittedly also heavenly) but drifts across the air promising treats to come. It is backed by just a hint of cardamom (a pairing also found in the dreamiest kulfis and kheers) and given extension and kept dry by a subtle anise. But there is no doubting that the saffron is the star and it is as close to the real thing as you will get in perfumery.
However, it doesn’t last – after a couple of hours of unadulterated joy it was gone and I was left with a barely perceptible somewhat floral murmur on my skin. This time I didn’t care about its short life and plumped for a bottle – because I knew I would wear it copiously. It can be a morning hit, which, when it runs out, can be refreshed, or a bed time soother – or I could wear something else entirely over the remnants without fear of them interfering. As long as it gives me that feeling of something precious and special, it is doing what it should – such things often don’t last.
03rd April, 2018

Narciso Poudrée by Narciso Rodriguez

I really shouldn’t like this and here’s why: the vision this brings to mind is of a Disney prom-bound older sister, all straightened teeth smile, brushed and conditioned hair, pinky lip gloss, perfectly manicured nails lacquered in Fairy Kiss, cutesy charm bracelet, and whispery of voice in a push-back-puberty style. The kind of being one imagines spends their entire life worshipping at the altars of Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly and Missy Perfect and probably suffers from mannequin pudendum syndrome.
But, arggh and bother, I actually like this rather a lot. It has a kind of fabric softener addictiveness that makes one want to lie back and dream. So, sure, it is a pinky haze of powderpuff musks but it’s so fatally well-engineered, I have to succumb. The trick is in the florals enclosed within the feathery musks – if one puts one’s nose close to one’s skin there’s a gorgeous trickle of nectarous rose, sparkling almost, not cloying, complemented and shaded in by an almost suede-like jasmine note. There’s also something woody that’s been milled to a cosmetics grade fineness. Knowing these elements nestle within Narciso Poudreé’s enveloping, sweet musks, helps one appreciate why it is just that bit different to the many other perfumes doing the fantasy princess via soft musks thing. But ultimately it’s just a question of wearing the thing and feeling like being carried away by a gently ascending series of lalalas.
25th March, 2018

Incensi by Lorenzo Villoresi

Bright incense creation touched by pine and juniper – there’s a brisk after shave or gentlemen’s hairdresser quality about its opening. This is likely to do with its overall clean and crisp feel, despite the deployment of a battery of resins and some serious spicing. Straddles two camps – the incense one that demands focus, passion and a degree of singlemindedness to convey the usual austere/spiritual associations and the much more workmanlike efficiencies of the woody-spicy man cologne – awkwardly. The drydown is a whiny, sour and spicy incense that has little tonal variation and drones on interminably.
25th March, 2018

Harmatan Noir 11 by Parfumerie Generale

An upfront and aerial sweet mint note, that registers both green and icy blue, behind which there is a stretching vista of spicy dry woods – the effect is like reaching the edge of a ravine, sniffing this crushed herb in its rarified air, and watching the treeline on the distant horizon. Smooth in the manner of most Parfumerie Générale creations, but with an interesting catch of lightly smoked spiciness, the overall effect is quite original.
The drydown proceeds in a much more mainstream spicy-woody direction, with, strangely enough, almost an aquatic quality about it. What with the subdued presence (in common with other PG creations), this kind of thing does not inspire.
25th March, 2018

N°15 Extrait de Parfum by Auphorie

Auphorie marks its 15th creation with an abstract perfume of finesse and aerodynamism. It’s just as well they’ve chosen a mouthwash blue-green for the colour of this liquid as the feel of this perfume is of wide open (scented) air merging constantly into springwater arising from a source ringed by soft fantasy florals and greens – and then turning back to air. The intention may have been to showcase orris butter but the wearer may be forgiven for coming away with a completely different perception. If there’s one predominant note to this composition it is a cool, almost minty violet leaf, bittersweet and fluffed out by soft florals and the abiding airiness of No 15.
Accents of clovey spice, woodshavings and musky ambrette that lurk close to the skin are the only deviations from the clean blue-green theme in the first half. But this is an aero-aquatic with a difference – it doesn’t pelt you with faux cucumbers and melons, there is no recognizable calone drone, nothing vaguely industrial, and it doesn’t get headachey. It’s floating and persistent, and whatever the synthetics used, the result is olfactory harmony.
Later on, the perfume condenses somewhat and undergoes a by-degrees character change with a more earthbound leather and resinous woody aspect coming into view without affecting the overall lightness of touch.

16th March, 2018

Une Amourette Roland Mouret by Etat Libre d'Orange

A perfume of glamourous evasion, leading one on with promises, reminding one that anticipation is pleasurable in itself. From its fizzing start, like the fine stream of champagne bubbles in a tulip, to its lovely dough-and-blonde-leather iris segue, to the breezy not-quite neroli, rather something cool and vaguely orangey but also floral, to the sprinkle of pepperiness that seems to have a pale green flush (apparently the denatured patchouli that is the Givaudan discovery Akigalawood), this is a perfume that shifts constantly, but keeps a smooth, sophisticated veneer throughout. Its ‘not quites’ seem to be ripe with possibilities, all contained.
It isn’t a loud perfume when it begins and when it finally settles around a vaporwave fantasy neroli it does get really quiet – if this is a crush as the name suggests, it is a bashful one.
16th March, 2018

Vanhera by Laboratorio Olfattivo

A curious confluence – a creamy vanilla, smooth in the manner of plug-in room fresheners, grafted on to peppery woods that recall certain synthetic ouds. This one also brings a prickle to the back of the throat courtesy of something chilli-like – possibly the Sichuan pepper mentioned in the notes. I think the intention here was to give us a deep, dark, spicy vanilla without sacrificing a buffed ‘sophisticated’ feel to the whole. Unfortunately the elements here seem not quite ready to be united in the opening phases, and Vanhera fares little better when it settles, with an indigestible level of spiciness overwhelming the composition.
16th March, 2018

Vetiver by Lorenzo Villoresi

Thrillingly butch to begin – humid, inky and quinine bitter woody tones pierced by the sharp saltiness of celery and dry cumin. It’s an enlivening mix, where the assertive main players are wrapped in a halo of freshness – the latter in part deriving from aspects of the sweet and dusky vetiver itself, but there are also lifting elements like lavender, herbal notes and citruses all unobtrusively incorporated. The perfume seems to be straining between suave slickness and a kind of pants-popping vigour, a tension that is rather fun to be part of.
Once it has settled into the drydown some hours in, it becomes much more centred on vetiver – but fortunately it’s a broad spectrum incarnation with the dank, earthy side of the root getting as much play as the barbershop one. Lovely, if a bit modest in terms of its trail.
16th March, 2018

Vocalise by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Syrupy floral that is all granny spectacles and talcum powder. There are hints of cassis and foliage but they are tucked away under the petticoat of sickly primness that is the main mode of expression here. Such a sugar-laden floral needs to be over the top and doing high-kicks in blood-red satin in order to work. Instead this is a demure and somewhat hygienic affair (in an old-school cake of soap kind of way) with modest projection.
16th March, 2018

Rose Gold by Ormonde Jayne

Gorgeous cool rose, brightened with uplifting hesperidic notes, light, gently diffusive and energizing, with the only concession to weight in its opening being its backing of skin-like ambrette. In its first few hours Rose Gold is like an after-shower rose splash elevated to the realms of serious perfumery – and that’s not a back-handed compliment. It’s a pleasure to encounter a rose perfume that demands your attention for its dewy, airy freshness, rather than going for more familiar deeper, darker pleasures weighted down with heavy olfactory jewellery. This spins out like gossamer and calls out to spring regardless of the season.
The noticeable lime accent that lingers for a good four or five hours brings to mind Amouage’s Lyric, but only fleetingly, as this perfume has much gauzier, soft-focus aims. In the later stages, Rose Gold gets a few degrees warmer as the smooth and dry sandal in its base pairs up with the musk, without any loss, however, of its airy quality. This is when a slow transition begins where the tissue of the former perfume slides off almost imperceptibly to reveal a base that is a fuller blend of a honeyed rose with rich woods but pitched in that discreet, ‘listen to me because I won’t shout’ Ormonde Jayne manner. The next day in the shower, when the water revives the last traces, the wearer may be surprised to find that they have been wearing an oud after all.
The price point is painful and is probably intended to exclude, what with the usual OJ guff about using pricy absolutes. Still there is no denying the artistry involved.

26th February, 2018

Note de Luxe by Evody

Warm resins and vanilla concoction with some waxy iris and powdery floral touches. Sounds alright as a string of perfume accents, but it’s all in the execution, and this one waddles rather than flies. It has a lethargic density, though not being particularly heavy, and none of the ingredients is particularly ennobled by their use in it. Plodding stuff that I regret wearing.
26th February, 2018

Ilanguara by Phaedon

Like wearing felt or corduroy – thick, warm and slightly furry. So many modern gourmands and resinous creations have that feel about them, and the results are rarely impressive. It’s a similar story with Ilanguara, where a benzoin-vanilla combo, laced with sweet denatured almond tones, makes for a middling perfume – the overall effect is pleasant but pasty, nothing really sings or shines. It settles with an enervating flump on one’s skin and that’s my main objection to it rather than the syrupy odour profile – all those creamy resins, balms and woods (the notes include benzoin, copaiba balm, gurjan balsam, cedar and guaiac) turned to dull brown corduroy .
26th February, 2018

Galantuomo by Bottega Profumiera

Galantuomo is all about civilized spice – it’s wrapped in balsams and soapy and refreshing notes (something citrusy, something like a lavender sachet for your linen drawer). The spices are as far removed from the kitchen as you can get and thoroughly blended – something spicy, you would say, rather than cinnamon or nutmeg. I find it all a bit of a something – somewhere in the middle of the woody-spicy men’s rack with a somewhat fougère-like breeze blowing through it. All a bit standard, lacking the richness or vibrancy that could indicate a decent budget for the formulation, and neither here nor there for my taste.
26th February, 2018

Euphoria by Calvin Klein

A bright and fulsome fruity floral that is post-Angel but not postlapsarian; it’s rich and juicy but keeps to the clean path that is CK’s definer despite inflections of wood and spice. Nonetheless Euphoria is a strong foray into this genre, with lovely tart, bitter yet sweet fruitiness to the fore in the opening (a deep purple fantasy pomegranate dripping with juice), lifted with accents of green freshness but also immediately paired with a darker, fudgier floral accord that belongs firmly in the plush velvet realms of modern perfumery ‘orchids’. Lurking behind this play of purple and noir elements, lit by the strong arc lights of the house emphasis on clean, are rounded, sweet woody notes and just a suggestion of spice. This is CK playing with oriental shade, while keeping the stage at all times brightly lit.
This isn’t a perfume of layers or depth – once the elements are slotted in and settled, that’s that, but it is impressive and energetic for about 4 hours. After which it falls down into a mush of sweet nothings in the base.
26th February, 2018

Bracken Man by Amouage

So what can Amouage give us in a fougère, that would make it stand out and justify the usual big bucks price tag? At first, it seems, the answer to that question is ‘very little’. A bracing, singing high note of lavender backed by polite lemony citrus establishes the ‘just showered’ feel of the genre, after which it is time for the starched shirt and the business day. Discreet, fragrant coniferous woods and shimmery, refined spices provide a deepening of Bracken’s abiding freshness and give it a more serious, ‘get to work’ demeanour. Down at the bottom there is a grounding scent reminiscent of damp earth with leaf and wood mulch that makes this a bit less boardroom overall and gives the parfumista a little something different to the usual refined barbershop offering that we’ve seen dozens of times before.
There’s a cool-warm theme to this creation what with the spicing balanced against the trad fougère elements, making it a good choice on a lethargic winter day when one is having trouble getting going. And its sillage is expansive and suave, all swept back hair and trimmed fingernails, broadcasting ‘gent’ in olfactory morse. All of which is all very well, but this is still over-mined territory and as I tend to find most fougères a bit of a yawn, not for me.
26th February, 2018

Bois d'Ascèse by Naomi Goodsir

An ingeniously engineered perfume that combines rooty, earthy wood, the smoke of twigs and dried leaves, the salt of dried sweat, cured tobacco and booze into a creation that is anything but stale or heavy, but curls around the wearer’s skin in an energetic invitation to the outdoors. Perhaps the trick is that the dreaded leaden ambery backing that such notes usually receive is here kept well in check or perhaps it’s the excellent volume control – one receives this challenging mélange in little puffs rather than in gales. So instead of making you feel like you’ve woken up with a hangover in a shuttered bar, reeking of everything that enclosed space and its ancient carpeting contained the night before, it keeps pulling you towards campfires and open spaces, particularly in the drydown where the smokiness becomes the overriding spirit. It’s only late in the day that a leathery amber clumps into dominant mode but by then it is time for bed.
26th February, 2018