Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

Total Reviews: 671

Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

A homage to the smoke-filled origins of perfume, Patchouli 24 is truly fine. Well it is, if like me you appreciate the following things and are not averse to wearing their odour – first, great billowing clouds of woodsmoke and heated tar, then the antiseptic smell of hospital corridors, maple-cured bacon, lapsang souchong, peaty whisky, auld leather, split birch bark. Patchouli 24 achieves a union of these strong personalities without sinking under their weight; it won’t march over you in jackboots.
Underneath this wood and smoke fest is a dry and somewhat loamy patchouli (which seems to only inhabit the heart phase), half hidden, just the way I like it, and some equally dried out and sugar-free vanilla. This is everything I expected Menardo’s Black to be but wasn’t: impressively textured and full of character (‘sexy grease monkey’ comes to mind) rather than the somewhat dull mumble of Black.
With the vanilla a bit more to the fore in the deep drydown, Patchouli 24’s final hours are as a tarry amber.

17th June, 2016

Kalemat by Arabian Oud

I love how Kalemat wears – fluffy, lightly warming, like a soft cashmere thing. This is important for me as too many ambers sit on my skin like choking BDSM gear. Its trail is like an aura around the wearer, announcing your presence – not as perfume as such but almost as part of you.
Kalemat is a honeyed amber with a big daub of dark vanilla, so far so traditional and perhaps icky-sticky. But it’s had air whipped into it to prevent it from turning into a slathering goo. Also there are contrasting herbal notes at the start which really lift it, some blueberry juiciness (a la Jubilation XXV), and when these begin to fade a spicy, frankincense-wood theme takes over. Hugely original it’s not, but it gives the comfort of things being in their right places and then there’s that cashmere quality that makes it so easy to slip into.
The main reason why I won’t rush out and grab a bottle is a certain staleness to the spicy-woody notes in the mid-section, but other noses may not be bothered by it. It does disappear to be replaced by a clean musks haze in the deep drydown.

17th June, 2016

Black Prestigium by Mancera

Black Prestigium opens in a powder-filled boudoir where kitsch is the ruling deity. It throws at you the most tooth-rotting rose imaginable, candied violets, and clouds and clouds of pink sugary powder. Ridiculous, but also ridiculously well done – I took to it immediately. Had it carried on in that vein maybe it would have been a short-lived fancy.
But it evolves minute by minute in the opening stages, first letting in a dab of bergamot to brighten the pink fog for a while, then a deep, musky and earthy patchouli to darken it. The powder changes all the while too, transitioning from a sweet cheap cosmetics kind of scent (I’m not knocking it, I’m irresistibly drawn to such odours), to a take on vanilla tones and finally touches of suede and glimpses of iris-like rootiness.
A few hours in, when the drydown is reached Black Prestigium becomes a bit familiar and even lacklustre. Now it reminds me of the drydowns of some Montales – patchoulied desiccated roses with a sprinkle of wood dust. Nice enough but been there too many times already.

17th June, 2016
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Aqaba by Miriam Mirani - Aqaba

A satisfying old school floral oriental carrying a super-organized handbag – everything in its place and nothing to excess. At its heart are the classic rose and jasmine combo accented with a light blush of peach. Heady things for sure, but handled with restraint and smoothed over by a waxy, old makeup note that for me triggers associations of twin set, brooch and a single string of pearls.
Layering and warmth comes by way of pretty insistent spicing (mainly clove) and a puff of incense. All the elements are in place for an indulgent, somewhat wanton creation; instead Aqaba Classic goes for well-ironed poise, the kind that often fronts a deep well of emotion. There’s nothing wrong with that.
17th June, 2016

Myths Woman by Amouage

A cool, dark, damp shade where bitter, humid greens proliferate over a rich, peaty soil riven with mycelial rhizomes. Buttery, dense (but obscure) floral notes hang heavy in the air. This is the opening of Myths Woman, a perfume which seems to be seeking to unite swamp vegetation with hints of the decay upon which it grows.
With time the dry moss note in the base becomes more pronounced and the composition becomes airier. This is a cool, green floral chypre but with a bold counterpart of soil and decay. I enjoy such things, but I suspect many will not. I do not, however, enjoy them enough to justify the price, which would require mad love.
Ultimately Myths Woman’s final destination after about 6 hours is just a bed of dry moss with the odd mushroom thrown in for good measure, not terribly exciting. It’s a boring fizzle of a deep drydown and it lasts for hours. Still, if you like perfumes like Oriza’s Chypre-Mousse, this one is worth a try.

Top: Narcissus, violet leaves, galbanum
Middle: Carnation, patchouli, ambergris accord
Base: Leather, moss, musk

Perfumer: Nathalie Lorson
17th June, 2016

Lime, Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone

Natural smelling citruses in perfumery are all too rare. Many offerings in this genre sandpaper the nostrils with chemical potency. Lime Basil and Mandarin is an elegant exception.
After a joyous burst of lime at the start that feels like standing under a travel advert’s waterfall, it evolves through a heart phase where the herbal greens show through before sliding effortlessly into a drydown with a moss-and-dried-grass bed above which float that now much more muted citrus and light summery floral notes. It has the quality of some colognes of yesteryear – simplicity built on classical foundations – and is pleasing throughout, with a gentle presence.
10th June, 2016

Lillipur by Tiziana Terenzi

A monastery in a dry forest, high in the mountains. Holy incense curls through the forest resins and pine sap, against a backing of spice and amber.
The composition has the characteristic ‘held in check’ quality of this house – it is not overbearing in the slightest, it won’t bomb your nose. But as the notes weave about, one realizes that this is a perfume that rewards reflection but also is perfectly amenable to a wear-and-go attitude. I enjoy the just-stripped quality of the wood notes in this one and its ability to transport me to a mountaintop.
Veers off into a gentle floral direction after a few hours, but retains enough of the start to remain interesting.
10th June, 2016

Sunshine Man by Amouage

Smelling some of the recent Opus releases and the Sunshine duo, I feel tempted to think that Amouage’s glory days are behind them – time was I would expectantly look out for the next release, now it’s more a question of hoping they would slow down and focus on the kind of bold and panoramic creations that made their reputation. At times like these, I take a deep breath and remind myself of the absolute wonder that is Fate Woman, late in the run but ranking up there with their best.
Sunshine man started promisingly enough with a bright and keen lavender that was soon joined with a rich and boozy orange accord and a dusting of powder – playful, and on target for the ‘retro-chic’ (according to Amouage PR) goal, almost like classic takes on lavender were being cross bred with Nicolaï’s New York. There were touches of bitter herbals which gave it a contrasting medicinal fringe.
But it slumped completely in the tonka-heavy drydown which made me feel like I had slathered on a thick layer of marmalade. Sweetness is fine by me, it can be decadently over-indulgent, even sensual in a chubby-love kind of way, but when it collapses any sense of structure as it does here, it just seems torpid.
A kind of over-ripe mango fruitiness develops that demands swift decanting from bowl to bin, but that’s what one is stuck with. Curiously the tonka itself is pretty decent, a bit dusty and with hints of cocoa, but it cannot make a dent on the overall impression of jam-thick fruitiness.
The trace the perfume leaves in a room is still frisky, with the sparkling lavender still in evidence, but that’s sadly not what one smells on oneself.
The later stages, when the jamminess ebbs, and aromatic herbs and spice are more in evidence, revive the promise of the start, but 5-6 hours is too long to wait.
10th June, 2016

L'Eau d'Hiver by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

A floating, lilting creation that stops short of the melancholy often associated with heliotrope and settles instead for a reflective mien.
The top is loaded with lime and pale green angelica notes which worried me a bit – they seemed to be heading in the direction of a cologne-style bore. Fortunately, there is evolution within minutes and as the citrus subsides, the angelica is left to seek its balance with emerging notes of powdery, almondy heliotrope and vaporous musky tones. It wears like body lotion – soothing, cooling, muted but pleasing. But it also has some of the plant sap quality of CdG’s Calamus which keeps it alive.
It’s a light little thing – probably a bit insubstantial for people whose noses are more attuned to richer, more obviously complex perfumes. But my beef with it is of a different order – Ellena is a master of evoking the natural world with synthetics, but here the almond notes at the core of L’Eau d’Hiver’s being feel like a plastic heart.

10th June, 2016

Myths Man by Amouage

Credit to Amouage for attempting to reshape the boundaries of what the mainstream expects. There are quite a few ‘aspirational’ brands out there pushing the ‘quality’ button for a bloated price tag but few have the degree of daring that Amouage displays, even though it leads to a few train wrecks.
Myths Man’s opening took me back to Histoire de Parfums oud trilogy (since joined by a fourth offering) – that same sense of ‘Whooaa, what’s this?’ that that trio had triggered sprang fully to life after having lain dormant for quite a while.
The opening volley of ash and smoke is so strong it had me coughing at first try – but, despite that, it was apparent that a full-bodied and properly thought through composition was looming through it. Myths goes for bold brush strokes which somehow combine to form a picture that is not garish in the least but, contradictorily, quite refined.
That ash accord, veering more towards the remains of a cigarette or charcoal rather than joss stick, is so upfront and in your face, it’s as if it is daring you to dislike it – it is present right to the very end. And dislike it I would were it not for the ingenious way it is stitched together with the other notes. First, there is the desolate wail of the chrysanthemum, a chilly and deathlike fragrance, which damps it down a bit before receding into the mix. Then, a strong factory-fresh leather note which accounts for much of the vigour of this creation. But the backbone of this perfume are the resins – smoky, complex labdanum which harmonizes with all the other elements while laying down the Amouage incense marker (a note of tradition in this quite untraditional perfume), and elemi, more high pitched, and with lemony, turpentine accents. For a short while it feels like the latter has been a touch overdone, but my nose adjusts to it quickly. It is curious what the resins do to the rose hidden in the heart, making it come over waxy and embalmed – which fits perfectly with the other elements.
What I find the oddest thing about this perfume is that it appears to create such a sensation of speed with quite funereal elements. For me, the surreal effect being aimed for is successfully carried off – this is serious dreamtime stuff.
If you think, ‘Oh yawn, another smoky, resinous Amouage’, you’d only be partly right. It’s the ‘another’ bit you’d have got wrong – this is a proudly independent creation. And, fortunately (after the nadir of Sunshine Woman), the ingredients smell top-notch.
After about 8 hours the projection drops considerably and we’re left with a more straightforward ash and incense affair.

Perfumers: Karine Vinchon, Dorothée Piot and Daniel Visentin
10th June, 2016

Cozé Verdé 2.1 by Parfumerie Generale

Fig leaf sap and lots of it – milky, lightly green, slightly woody, a tad coconutty. Oozing somewhere at the imagined meeting point of ‘fresh’ and ‘rich’. That’s where we arrive with Cozé Verdé when it has settled. Your appreciation of this perfume will rather depend on whether you like fig notes or not.
It’s a distant relative of Cozé, the stellar patchouli released by PG. Here, the patchouli is still a soft and plush thing tempered with a dusting of dry, almost bitter cocoa – but it isn’t the gourmand genie unleashed by Cozé.
Going back to front, the top, when the fig is at its leafy best (helped with a spritz of lime) and that patchouli accord is swirling like a seducer around it, is truly striking. It may not resemble Cozé much, but who cares.
However, that classy, discreet patchouli seems to vanish in cooler temperatures, leaving only the main fig theme. This is where the interference of memories of other accomplished fig fragrances (including my beloved Phylosykos) causes my enjoyment to slump a bit. Curiously its mainly in warmer weather that the patchouli lingers on, distinguishing Cozé Verde from other green fig creations.

03rd June, 2016

Cozé 02 by Parfumerie Generale

An exquisitely blended, almost sheer patchouli, Cozé is an ode to pleasure. It takes hefty notes, balances them perfectly against each other and presents them in a manner that is carefree and comforting. I keep returning to ‘almost sheer’ in my mind – I am astounded by the delicacy of touch.
The major accord is of a patchouli gourmand, sensual and satisfying – smooth sweetish patchouli united with bitter chocolate, a touch of dry coffee, and a dusty marriage of cured tobacco and vanilla. I don’t know how the heck Pierre Guillame keeps this dark and rich accord buoyant but he does. Against it revolve two contrasting impulses - one is of a lifting green via the declared note of hemp (but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other sympathetic notes in there) and the other comes via wood notes that smell of bark that suck the sweetness from the patchouli and give it a licorice aspect.
For a patchouli-phobe like myself (I’m fine with it as a base note but shrink from it in a starring role) to be so struck by Cozé is saying something. I hope it is saying: ‘Please do try this for yourself as it is a delight’, and not: ‘This is a patchouli for wimps’. Marvellous stuff.
03rd June, 2016

Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma

Gossamer light and diaphanous, Iris Nobile catches the mood of a shaded spot in a summer garden. The note placing is faultless, as can be expected from the two perfumers involved in its creation.
Delicate, cooling citruses introduce a breezy white floral theme (mainly orange blossom and tuberose to my nose). It all smells a bit ‘open air’, one gets little puffs of fragrance rather than a full-on gust. And the florals are handled with exceptional daintiness – there’s not a molecule of indole to be had for love or money.
AdP call this a ‘floral chypre’ but the firm jawline expected from the latter descriptor is entirely missing, as is the iris of the perfume’s name. Stranger things happen in perfumery.
Much as I admire how it smells for the most part, I find Iris Nobile just a touch too wispy (and this is the EDP I’m talking about). One could douse oneself in a few ml of this stuff and still be left wanting more. Plus it seems to fizzle out almost completely after a few hours – all that’s left is a smudgy base of some jasmine-like chemical and a touch of musk hanging close to the skin.
03rd June, 2016
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Noise by Ephemera by Unsound

In Noise Geza Schoen has created a textured, striated, flickering perfume like a spectrogram of the crackle and roar of a bush fire. Smoke (both wild and liturgical), burnt electrical wiring, charred wood are its mode of expression and it is in the perfumer’s gift to make them so appealing, chiefly due to a base of sweet cedary woodiness that will speak to those frightened of the avant garde concept.
A perfume of shifts and variation which nonetheless remains the same and itself, it is true to the idea of noise as a music/sound genre. Here among the burning, smoky whiteout of crackling wood and incense, one catches whiffs of saffron, handfuls of black pepper, hints of ganja. At times it can reach a choking intensity, and then again come round with warmth and sweetness.
To me it has an intensely sensual aspect – like one of those extraordinary deep bass voices with which so few individuals are blessed. I don’t know about you, but when I hear one of those my mind immediately goes into fornication mode. Compelling.
03rd June, 2016

Drone by Ephemera by Unsound

It’s likely the liberal use of aldehydes, but Drone registers as the most ‘alien’ (as in unearthly) of Geza Schoen’s Unsound trilogy. One feels adrift in a rarefied metallic milky atmosphere where traces of boreal forest can be glimpsed deep down below. It’s a perfume of strange air and strange space – all familiar referents seem distant and turning their faces away from the wearer. Major Tom’s panic bottled.
Sure there’s a vetiver-juniper combo at its heart but so stripped of anything that’s of the soil and so swirled in the chilly milky fog of aldehydes that it’s an impression of an impression, a scratchy hologram of these materials. I can’t help thinking Etat Libre d’Orange is the true home of Drone.
I can’t fault its overall balance but the elements used in this composition are just not my bag. I’d rather smell like a screaming queen than an ice queen.
03rd June, 2016

Amaya by Tola

We’re in the jasmine jam territory of the likes of Xerjoff’s Al-Khat here. However, Amaya is a more assured creation – sacrificing none of the syrup, yet coming across as much more complex, lively and warm. Glimpses of bergamot keep it awake, giving a bit of edge to the saturation sweetness, but it’s the base that really makes this sing – woody and musky, it has an air of burnt caramel that is enticing and comforting.
A polished, heavy offering from this house which usually delivers perfumes of much greater waywardness.
03rd June, 2016

Vanilla Flash by Tauerville

This Flash seems to be Tauer’s attempt to meld together the bland but calorific cookie vanillas of the perfume world with the more serious attempts to get at the dark heart of the pod. The former wins out at the start with a kind of zany hair lacquer sheen to it that reminded me a bit of a particularly traumatizing Montale I tried recently.
Fortunately, as the more serious vanilla fortified by a dab of cured tobacco begins to assert itself during the perfume’s progression on the skin the two halves of this perfume begin to balance.
Likeable, but does not wow me – it seems to be all surface and no depth.
03rd June, 2016

Lentisque / Spanish Bush by Phaedon

Perfumes that evoke wild outdoor spaces are the scents of freedom. Lentisque delivers beautifully on this front. The opening makes me gasp with joy – here is the scent of a tree resin (lentiscus) forming on the bark, the sap having just oozed out and hardening under a bright sun on a rocky outcrop. A healthy dose of bitter green galbanum helps transport the wearer to this place. Lentiscus/mastic is not a familiar note to me but it comes across here as close to conifer resin (even though the tree isn’t a conifer). Here is a dry, brisk, green start as good as any.
Slowly, other woody notes creep up and a gorgeous smoky vetiver with dirt and a whiff of soil clinging to it, but that bright opening accord is not lost. The aura of this creation is something else – it is dry bark and fragrant leaves and the silent forest basking in sunshine. The late stages see a cedar note much more prominent. The whole thing is cushioned by soft, unobtrusive musk.
In my experience such woody green perfumes are perceived much more subjectively than some other categories – a bit like liquorice sweets which some will consume with an addictive craving and others will spit out with an ‘are you trying to poison me?’ look. But if you love perfumes like Eau de Campagne, there’s a good chance this will also matter to you.
Lentisque has the brightness of an eau de toilette but also does need a liberal application to get the full wow.
06th May, 2016

Jewels of Blu by Miriam Mirani - Aqaba

Yucky first impressions usually are a call for greater patience, and that’s the case with Jewels of Blu. Confronted by a big blob of pulped fruit drowned in acetone, I was ready to run but decided to stay just a bit longer. Within minutes Jewels of Blu became a perfectly acceptable perfume if nothing special.
That acetone wash evolves into an overall lactonic feel which combines with a lightly handled base of patchouli, vanilla and skin-like musks. The vanilla has intriguing dry cocoa tones in the heart phase but, alas, they’re no longer in evidence in the drydown. For those who have not yet tried it, you will need to imagine this quite accomplished base married to a rather vague peachy fruit note – it doesn’t seem quite right and it doesn’t seem wholly wrong.

Notes according to Aqaba website:
Fresh, fruity and floral, top notes seduce in bursts of peach and apricot, blending into veils of Rose de Mai and Ylang Ylang, with bottom notes of Vanilla Bourbon, Egyptian Jasmine and Patchouli.

06th May, 2016

Futur by Robert Piguet

Bitter (and twisted) greens are completely my thing – so there was a degree of excitement in my approach to Futur. Much to my surprise, after about 30 seconds of some juicy citrus, Futur was a huge violet on my skin – the dark medicinal green of the leaves and the somewhat poisonous sweetness of the blooms, all with a dirty musk-and-jasmine undertow. It reminded me of Grey Flannel (which I love) and I felt spring walks in forested areas would be the ideal setting for it. Any fragrance that puts me in such a frame of mind gets my vote.
The late stages are mainly marked by the quite sultry musk-jasmine combo bringing Futur into an attractive circle of sin. The volume decreases, but this evolved Futur is definitely still there urging the wearer to go on and be naughty.
06th May, 2016

Eau de Néroli Doré by Hermès

Ellena departs from Hermès on a quiet note. Eau de néroli doré is like an eau de cologne variation both in strength and character. So, away with the greasy, heady aspects of neroli oil – this is a light thing that plays up the citrusy notes of neroli’s odour profile. There is a residual spiciness (more cardamom than the saffron in the declared notes) and perhaps a sliver of blonde woods for support and that’s about it. Some perfume bloggers have found it to be a crushing disappointment probably having expected a grand parting statement from Ellena.
That bad it ain’t – it’s refreshing and gentle, and the spice twist is a touch of the unusual in this genre. But it’s also completely insubstantial; it’s really a decent 5-10 euro splash cologne (with unimpressive sillage to match) posing as something much more fancy.
06th May, 2016

Fruitchouli Flash by Tauerville

Och, the burden of expectation.
I love Andy Tauer’s way with a fruit note – how the apricot is so frisky within the poise of Phi before finally settling down on a powdery bed, how the raspberry has such an enormous smile on its face in the otherwise rather stately Une Rose Vermeille. I was nigh salivating at the thought of cheery fruit excess.
But Fruitchouli Flash turns out to be an altogether different perfume – for one, the note differentiation one expects from a Tauer creation is pretty much absent. Instead it comes across as a hugely lactonic white floral with some peachy tones to it, with more than a passing resemblance to Gucci Rush. Don’t get me wrong, I love the disco-babe attitude of Rush and own a bottle, but Fruitchouli Flash feels a bit too much like re-inventing that particular wheel.
16th April, 2016

Chimaera by Tiziana Terenzi

No fire breather this Chimaera, but a thoroughly blended perfume that begins with coniferous greens mixed with light spices, before letting in a honeyed sweetness. It’s expansive and buffed to a high shine – individual notes cease to matter. But one must mention the balsamic base – half marzipan, half healing unguent – that lurks just beneath this dark green swirl and completes it. The oud? It’s there, but one must look for it – suffice it to say this isn’t an oud perfume in any traditional sense, Eastern or Western.
More nice work from this house.

16th April, 2016

Aoud Velvet by Montale

Overindulgently honeyed floral backed by sandalwood and some dry wood notes posing as oud. I thought I spotted a bit of vanilla lurking in the background, but now I’m convinced it was my mind playing tricks.
The emphatic sweetness of the floral notes is the main feature of Aoud Velvet, which is another blaster from Montale, nothing velvety about it. White floral notes are declared but the concentration is so syrupy that they could just as easily be rose – the sugar kick warps everything.
I would recommend this to lovers of excess – but alas there are far more accomplished perfumes available in that category. This is all a bit too auto-tuned to truly satisfy.

16th April, 2016

Amorosa by Ruth Mastenbroek

Maybe I’m turning into a cynic as I get older but I feared this would be a bit Dolorosa. Not so! A va-va-voom white floral that is classy and well-rounded, I think Mastenbroek pulled something rather special out of the hat with this one – well, for the first half at any rate.
Amorosa’s core pairing to my nose is tiare and tuberose – all the creamy, buttery, coconutty embellishments of those blooms are evident, but without overpowering. It’s sensual, heavy-lidded, dozy in a ‘come stroke me’ way. Around it lurk a sprightly green-tinged jasmine and a refreshing hint of watermelon at the start – of this latter I would have loved a bit more.
A rich floral it may be, but it has a soft and gracious step, and it throws open a window on a garden of heady blooms rather than locking you in a stuffy room with a huge bouquet (which tends to be the usual failing of white florals). Flattens out a bit in the second half, but just one spritz refreshes it again.

16th April, 2016

Rose Flash by Tauerville

Tauer’s Rose Flash gets straight to the point, and I like it for that. Opening with a jammy, raspberry-and-glue coated profusion of roses, Rose Flash announces its main theme soon after. The fruitiness dissipates within seconds and we’re left with a concentrated and deep rose bolstered with vanillic accents and a subtle bass woods backing. It’s quite a lively perfume as different aspects of the composition rise and fall continuously in the perception during the first hour or so – sometimes displaying a mild spiciness, sometimes almost a green freshness, at other times a syrupy gourmand quality coming to the fore.
All woody associations disappear over time making me wonder whether they were ever there and this is finally a quality uber-rose of great depth and generosity, front, back and centre.
Much as I enjoy it, I miss some of the complexity of the grand roses that Tauer has offered us before. I can see why it was a sell-out success upon launch – it’s a rich, luxurious, maximal but easy-going rose at an appealing price.
01st April, 2016

Un Air D'Arabie Musk by Maison Dorin

Un Air d’Arabie Musc’s first phase is as a proper Arabic musk. What I mean by that is that there is an assured complexity to the blend, it’s rich but not overbearingly so and it carries with it the suggestion of secret depths. This is a rosy musk – the rose lush, sexy but not crude, the musk bringing with it the suggestion of warm, aroused skin that is the domain of decent animalic musks.
The rose is shaded by the cooling aspect of chamomile (a note that blends well with woody notes, too) at the start, but the true bond is with a judicious dose of a smooth patchouli that gives a further sense of dimension and strength. And there is the backup of resins and woods that offer yet more intensity and a different twist to the main musk theme. It has a choral quality to it – working as an ensemble rather than as individual voices.
About three hours in, the musk pretty much takes over and muscles the other notes out of the way. It is still quite a vigorous beast but somewhat one-dimensional and – dare I say it – much cruder and cheaper than the impression it gave at first. I tired of it during the course of the day, though musk-heads may disagree.
01st April, 2016

Ruth Mastenbroek by Ruth Mastenbroek

A bit Eau de Aunty this one, reminiscent of mixed florals that were worn by most middle-aged women in my social circle when I was a child (1970s).
There’s a brief mossy punch at the start, an attempt maybe to lay down a chypric marker, but within seconds what unfurls seems like a pouring together of several mixed floral perfumes rather than just the one. There’s quite a solar, breezy feel about it and it wouldn’t surprise me if aldehydes were involved.
A few minutes in quite a juicy pineapple note emerges driving it further in the tropical direction, and it works well with the huge but thoroughly mashed up floral bouquet.
Not really my thing as I prefer perfumes this bold to have a bit more definition, but I am sure there’ll be a significant number of people for whom this will be just what they were always looking for – a fresh-smelling (though oh-so-retro) mixed floral with a dab of ripe fruit to wear in the warm weather.
01st April, 2016

Voyage en Arabie : Black Intensive Aoud by Mancera

Lovely restrained honeyed floral start (mainly rose but with some traces of violet) which reminded me of Al Harmain’s Attar Al Kaaba but delivered as a perfectly diffusive EdP instead of an oil. There’s the same milkiness about it, a creamy feel, with a polished sandalwood backing. Black Intensive Aoud wears smooth, smooth, smooth on my skin – the oud not really intensive at all, but a gentle backing player rounding things off. Similarly the spices are not really evident to me – whereas quite a lively amber in the base is and it fits right in.
Black Intensive Aoud gives an impression of great sleekness despite its soft and ample bosom of roses, cream and sandalwood. It may be a bit too derivative for some but it’s an absolute silky pleasure to wear.
01st April, 2016

French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

At long last, a perfume with sharp and edgy herbal quality without added sugar. How rare a beast that is becoming these days, where the obligatory touch of sweetness is added to almost everything to cater to what is perceived as mainstream taste. Message to the brands: Perfume isn’t medicine (even though it can be deeply therapeutic) and doesn’t really need that spoonful of sugar to go down.
For me French Lover is an accomplished poisonous green woody. The angelica note makes me sit up and give praise, intensely herbal, peppery, and bracing, like plant sap that could burn skin on contact, and pairing it with the bitter green of galbanum is inspired. The backing is muted – a touch of something musty coupled with clean woods. The whole thing is lifted effortlessly with unobtrusive musks, giving it a light and nimble aura. A perfume of classical proportions with no joins showing.
Goes a bit barbershop in the end, but I forgive it.
24th March, 2016