Reviews by gimmegreen

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    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

    Showing 181 to 210 of 407.
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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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    Je Suis Un Homme by Etat Libre d'Orange

    This is Imperial Opoponax lounging on a leather sofa smoking an Indonesian clove cigarette. Which probably makes it sound more interesting than it is. This is Old Reliable rather than Take Me On The Carpet NOW; wears y-fronts not a jock strap – more’s the pity. The drydown where a rich frankincense-heavy accord banishes the candied orange of the opening is a marked improvement.

    22 August, 2012

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    Diabolo Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Why do the rose and the mint refuse to join hands and dance an airy minuet? Instead they race at each other across the floor, missing each time. Could it be that pesky pepper making their pants itch? Fortunately that’s gone rather quickly, followed by Monsieur Mint, leaving our demure rose turning into body lotion. There’s no doubting the quality of materials used in this one, but I’ll sit it out.

    22 August, 2012

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    Ubar Woman by Amouage

    ‘There’s a lost horizon/ Waiting to be found’ went the song about Shangri-La. Well, I’ve found it and it’s Ubar. A work of heart-piercing beauty, in which it seems a chorus of perfumery’s lost greats sing out in unison. You will have encountered glimpses of Ubar in dozens of remembered perfumes that either no longer exist or have changed beyond recognition. And here it is, thrillingly new and yet ancient.
    This has to be the first intense floral that I felt like spraying to excess; I almost had to tie my hands down. It’s like a rare, exceptional vintage, where the intoxication results from its divine flavour rather than the alcohol content.
    Ubar has natural florals in abundance, with indolic and animalic elements that would send the ‘clean’ brigade running, and the most precious sandal in its base. But there also seems to be a constellation of other notes suspended in perfect harmony. Truly the music of the spheres.

    22 August, 2012

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    Phul-Nana by Grossmith

    A vital, bracing start, all orangey citrus with the warmth of tuberose – like a whole spa experience sped through in a matter of seconds. Then the flowers bloom, opened up by the bergamot at the top and the cedar of the base. There’s a kind of throwaway, effortless luxury to this which many aim for but few achieve. The heart is what makes this all so worthwhile and heavenly. Sadly only average projection after quite a few sprays. The end is reminiscent of those wonderfully subtle hair-oils of yesteryear.

    22 August, 2012

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    Mimosa by Czech & Speake

    So Old School it should be an exhibit somewhere. A well-constructed jasmine-tuberose combo with plenty of indolic unease and an underlying murmur of the kinds of bone dry spice mix one found in a multitude of perfumes of a certain age which have (with a few exceptions) since hit the dust. Shakes off the indole and gets creamier with time and ultimately soapy (which is the closest this gets to mimosa), but I’ll pass.

    22 August, 2012

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    Iris Poudre by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    I find this creation to be like an interloper which has unceremoniously booted out the original occupant of this name – for this is not particularly heavy on iris nor is it powdery to any great extent. Instead, soon into its development something that reads awfully like a Guerlain accord comes to the fore: a bit of indolic jasmine with the sharpish sandalwood typical of that house and some vanilla. Before that, the opening is subtly lit with aldehydes and brightening fruity tones. Ultimately the thing heads off in a soapy, musky direction with a much cleaner jasmine still lingering.
    But what of the iris? Where is the powder and dust? The playdough? The butteriness? The vegetal otherness? The solitary hauteur? The iris here couldn’t be bothered; it is sitting somewhere in the back concentrating on its knitting.
    The final result is pretty soft and seamless, easy to wear, but I can’t muster much enthusiasm for it.

    22 August, 2012

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    Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Act 1
    Oh. My. Goodness. This is exceptionally well done.
    As the cumin rose from my skin while trying this on, I felt ready to give up before it had had its proper spin. But there are rewards, at times, for not being hasty. In the next few minutes the cumin settled into the composition and became just a twinkle among the more carnal notes.
    For something this spicy and sharp, Al Oudh has a remarkable sparkle and buoyancy, almost as if it had been lifted by aldehydes. This is the smell of the dream lover’s bed but it’s also a leaping buck on the horizon.
    There is so much going on here: a wonderful attar-like elixir tucked deep in its core – smoky, sweet oud and rose united with the dust and tang of myriad spices; then an entire arsenal of propulsive, sharp and warm notes – cedar, incense, myrrh, with just a stroke of sandal; and then that extra something that can only be called French magic, a refining, lightening touch that sets the entire thing afloat and shimmering.
    I find spicy orientals a challenge; this is one, and yet that is not all it is. It’s like being kissed simultaneously by someone who wants to yank off your smalls and do the dirty and an angel who wants to bathe your soul in light: one feels twice rewarded, twice blessed. Thank you, Duchaufour.
    Act 2
    About 4-5 hours later, the base scent disappoints. The mystery of the attar and the oud has faded, the sweatiness gains the upper hand and the whole sinks somewhat into stale spicy oriental shorthand mode. Of course the volume has also ebbed making it less noticeable, but at this stage Al Oudh is not something I would choose to wear. The magic is played out.

    22 August, 2012

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    Sables by Annick Goutal

    There is this lovely family-run perfume shop where I go and buy giddy florals and ransack samples. The mama of the shop must look at me and think, ‘What a waste!’, because she inevitably gives me a few big bold bruisers to sample as well. Sables is one of them.
    Its audacity is about the only positive I can think of.
    Certain smells are shaped by culture. In India, where I grew up, we eat fenugreek greens – they’re bitter and pungent and delicious. Afterwards, when you sweat, it smells like Sables. I have yet to find an Indian who will claim to love the pungent scent of fenugreek sweat. I suppose the comparison is with asparagus-influenced urine – interesting, but you wouldn’t rush to douse yourself with it.
    The first few seconds of Sables promises much more – a ravishing mix of herbals lifting the sweaty immortelle; but after that it’s all the things people say: sugar, bacon, maple syrup, fenugreek. To which I’d add a salty edge (I suppose the bacon covers that). The pepper in the mix is a further annoyance and the drydown is just a stale version of the heart. Its rich and piercing spiciness seems to have been an object lesson to Serge Lutens.
    Not for me. Give me a different version of audacious.

    20th August, 2012

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    Oriental Lounge by Different Company

    The smell of curry leaves defies description – pungent, herbal, metallic, somewhat caramelized; and yet someone reading those words would probably be completely surprised if they sniffed the real thing for the first time. No other scent comes close. To me it is the major chord of South Indian cuisine – the tempering of many dishes with curry leaves and mustard seeds in hot oil, to which additional tang is added by tamarind, and subtlety and creaminess by fresh coconut. The surface of the leaf has volatile oils which jump up and dance upon heating.
    How on earth would Celine Ellena integrate this note that clearly belongs in the kitchen rather than upon the body? By masking. The curry leaf is glued firmly to the bergamot and together they approximate cigarette smoke – not terribly appealing if you already share house space with a smoker. Underneath is a base of tonka and amber which takes gradual steps forward all the time, and the fascinating bit of this fragrance is how this sweetness interacts with the florals, spice and woods over its evolution. Ultimately it’s all a bit too lived in for me, like yesterday’s perfume on yesterday’s shirt – I’d rather put it in the wash.

    20th August, 2012

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    Little Stars by Olympic Orchids

    Opens like a chest embrocation, with a spiciness and hints of ylang emerging from it. There’s also some undergrowth greenness, a forest floor feel, which would be most tempting if it weren’t for the overriding impression of essential oils. Might work better as a soap (of the anti-bacterial variety).

    20th August, 2012

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    Honour Man by Amouage

    The main lesson of Honour Man is that there’s pepper and there’s pepper. There’s the stuff that gets up your nose and makes you sneeze and then there’s this which makes the nostrils flare with bliss, a complex dancing thing that introduces a lovely, light and pretty classy geranium and vetiver accord. A sharp frankincense-cedar accord keeps the wearer on their toes. I’ll agree with those who complain that perfumes like Honour Man represent the mainstreaming of a line known for OTT riches; this does not proclaim difference, but then it doesn’t need to. This is mainstream in the most suave and distinguished way, a perfume of restraint and elegance. The whole experience of wearing it is clean, cool like a fresh shirt and pretty enticing. I felt I could happily wear it day after day, until I did just that and found my interest flagging. The drydown is curiously fougere-like with a wisp of laundry musks trailing around it. My main grouch is that it wears pretty close to the skin and has a half-day life; can’t justify the expense for that.

    20th August, 2012

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    Chrome by Azzaro

    With Chrome, Azzaro created the perfect functional going-on-holiday-leaving-my-brain-behind scent that was watery and cool with a nice sour citric edge and which held up well under sun and higher temperatures. That is the extent of its charms and it was enough for the millions who bought by the bucketful.
    It annoys me with its out-of-the shower cleanness, its poverty of ambition (especially as the citrus seems to be half-way decent) and the aura of an outdoorsy bore it projects. Base is the usual synthetic smelling woodsy herbal soup common to mainstream ‘masculines’.

    20th August, 2012

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    Rush by Gucci

    A message from a friendly planet with a glitterball moon. It’s odd and it’s right and it makes one yearn to travel the galaxy and search out where this came from.
    Cloaked in plastic milkiness, a heart of chemical peach and pared-down dirt-free jasmine pulses, its fluorescence filtering through the whiteout.
    This is at once etiolated and full on – the scent equivalent of Debbie Harry’s vocal on Heart of Glass. And just as swoon worthy.

    08 August, 2012

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    Womanity by Thierry Mugler

    They got so much wrong with Womanity, from the clunky name that defies attempts to pronounce it naturally, to the thrift store goth metalwork on the bottle coupled with baby pink juice, to the near-fatal blow: announcing it had a caviar note. This last truly frightened some, with kneejerk reactions of ‘Ewww, this smells of fish’. The suggestibility of the human mind even got some others to claim this was eau de pudenda; if that’s the case then I can only say, as Germaine Greer once did, ‘Lady, love your c***.’
    Unlike a creation like Secretions Magnifiques which deserves every horror heaped upon its head, Womanity appears to be quite a misunderstood thing. It breaks new ground in two ways: it is a departure from the maximalism of Angel and AMen and so strikes a different pose to what is expected of a Mugler perfume at this stage in the game, and it offers a novel pathway to the dead-end the fig note had run down after the early brilliance of creations like Philosykos which made later fig fumes seem somewhat derivative.
    In Womanity the proposition was of a fig that was clean and light to begin with, all foliage and sap, nestling on a deepening sweetness that appears to my nose to be more a fruity fortification of the enticing fig leaf smell rather than the odour of the fig fruit as such (which has vegetal characteristics that are absent here). There were no coconutty distractions, instead what lay beneath the structure was a solid but unobtrusive woody note, providing firm and inconspicuous support like an underwired bra. What appeared to be frost on its surface was fine crystalline salt, a marine tang that seemed to freeze the perfume at its various stages (though its slow evolution after the headnotes can give the impression of linearity) and yet freshen and sharpen it and make it something to savour. The salt provides Womanity’s central contrast between its luscious, tasty aspect and its abiding cool, cooked-up-in-a-lab face.
    So what we have is a cool, sweet and salty fig fume which has brilliant tenacity yet feels light and wears well in summer; a wonder no-one else thought of it before. True, it has more of the vibe of something poured from a test tube rather than plucked from a tree. It has clear, defined contours, rather than hidden depths. I recall Chandler Burr’s first reaction to it in that BBC documentary. Startled look at camera, before re-sniffing his forearm and announcing with big smile: Does [pause] Not [pause] Disappoint.

    08 August, 2012

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    Charmes et Feuilles by Different Company

    Utterly charming. One of those ‘What is it?’ scents, but so light and breezy, you give up trying to figure it out and just go with it. The herbs are airy and abstracted and they encircle the lightest of jasmines in a cheerful green dance. What Miyake’s A Scent could have been if it had been structured better. Towards the end of its cycle a cardamom note develops that makes the wearer smell like a milky pudding; the only miss-step.

    08 August, 2012

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    Red Cattleya by Olympic Orchids

    I love the audacity of the tropical fruit punch opening – an unreal juiciness, a bit like those boiled sweets that are so concentrated that they embody the idea of fruit rather than the reality. An all-weather scent that will lift spirits in winter. Whereas some of the Olympic Orchids have headache-inducing projection, this one is more polite. There’s a hint of musk in the base, but I miss the subtlety a touch of wood may have added. On the whole this is a top heavy composition, with little by way of a grounding base – so when those fruity notes start to turn fuzzy some hours in, one is left with pretty indistinct sweet slop.

    08 August, 2012

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    Nombril Immense by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Here patchouli trades in her furry velvets for chiffon and sandalwood rises from its usual metallic compactness to a mousse-like frivolité. Turning dense notes airy and light is Nombril Immense’s little trick, and it strikes one as pretty clever for about two minutes. Ultimately there’s nothing distinctive here. The base is baby powder bedding down for the night with a lavendery cologne.

    08 August, 2012

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    L'Homme de Coeur by Divine

    What a joyous opening – the juniper gives an impression of crushed needles of conifers, one could be lost in a forest. This is obviously not an effect that is easy to achieve otherwise it would be much more widely prevalent, and it must certainly not be confused with what usually passes for ‘pine’ and the like in scents. This is surging, vital, rich. (There is also a faint trace of cat piss, but it doesn’t bother me in this instance.)
    The iris here is surprising too, rising gently from within, lending depth, dryness and a certain softness without any suggestion of powder. The picture shifts subtly all the while until the woods and vetiver that are the backbone of this perfume come into view.
    A refreshing, life-enhancing creation. It isn’t strong, so perhaps best for days when one hankers for a lighter perfume. Longevity around 4 hours for me, after which the barest trace lingers.

    08 August, 2012

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    Heat by Beyonce

    Candy floss (with a little burnt sugar) opening, merging into syrupy fuity-floralness, a small coconut interlude, finishing sweeeeeet. A concoction for the child woman. However, the times they are infantilizing – the ubiquity of this stuff is scary. Could also be the low price point, of course.

    08 August, 2012

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