Perfume Reviews

Reviews by timdoeswell

Total Reviews: 20

cK Free by Calvin Klein

If you like your scents to project and last, then you would be well advised to steer clear of CK Free. I can barely detect it a mere 45 minutes after applying it. This is the weakest fragrance I have ever tried, and I can't smell many of the notes listed before it fades away.

Not a good fragrance at all - if you want an inexpensive, light summer fragrance that works well with casual attire, I say go for C&E West Indian Limes or Eternity Summer.
16th November, 2012

Black Musk by Montale

If you liked the smell of Fahrenheit but found it TOO much like petrol/rubber, you will enjoy this.

The leather and nutmeg combo is toned down quite significantly when compared to Dior's effort, and although it still gives that 'Super Ball dipped in gasoline' accord that Fahrenheit possesses, I find it much easier to wear.

As with most of the Montales, it lasts for ages (one spray on your bare chest, and it will linger on your shirt until you wash it) and projects like a beast. People will definitely notice you, and it takes confidence to wear this.

I'll concur with alfarom and give it a 7/10, I'd love to hear what a Fahrenheit fan thinks of Black Musk.
16th November, 2012

Sandalwood by Crabtree & Evelyn

This is a very linear fragrance and extremely true to its name - this is almost straight-up sandalwood.
The amber adds a slightly burnt creamy note that works very well with the sandalwood, resulting in this fragrance smelling like a pile of sawdust into which you'd be all too happy to jump.
The strength and longevity are, like in the rest of C&E's mens range, well above average (and the price is excellent).
The lack of any progression in this fragrance means that I'll be swinging towards Tam Dao instead, but for a pure and 'true' sandalwood edt, this stuff is quite good.
16th November, 2012
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FCUK Him by French Connection

FCUK Him is, without fail, one of the most vile male EDTs I have ever smelled. With no disrespect to my fellow reviewers intended, I cannot fathom how this fragrance can be described as 'soapy'. Perhaps it may smell like the very cheapest hand soap in a public bathroom, but even saying that is being generous.

The 'bug spray' and hospital-grade 'chemical' comparisons are getting close to describing this offensive, synthetic mess, but I feel are still too kind. It really does seem like something you would find in the bottom of a cleaner's storeroom (I'm not just being critical of the fragrance - it really does smell like an old cleaning product).

I'll give it credit for its longevity - a typical lavender fragrance usually has a lower lifespan than this, however in the case of this juice, a longer life only prolongs the misery. The bottle is cheap also - it is prone to falling over if slightly nudged, and the sprayer is unpredictable at best.

This is one stifling example of where 'inexpensive' most certainly does mean 'cheap'.
16th November, 2012

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

Ambre Sultan has captured EXACTLY what it was going for - a bone-dry amber fragrance that brings to mind a middle-eastern bazaar.

Resinous with loads of sandalwood and coriander, this really pushes the boundaries of what western perfumes do with amber accords.

Surprisingly, this fragrance works extremely well in the heat (as it also does in cooler weather) and makes a nice change to the generic aquatics that are mostly used in stiflingly hot weather.

To me this scent is just a little linear to make it a must-buy, but if you truly appreciate the amber accords that are so often ruined by fragrance houses, you'd do well to sniff this out.
16th November, 2012

Ulysse by Vicky Tiel

Opens with a lot of promise. There's no mistaking this for an expensive fragrance, but it certainly smells pleasant and the florals are a welcome change of pace from the usual mens fragrances.
Ulysses is synthetic, to be sure, but it doesn't smell like anything I've ever smelled before.

Unfortunately the cheap fun is all too short-lived. To get this to project or last for even two to three hours requires 8+ squirts from the atomiser, anything less than this will leave you alone with your thoughts an hour or so later.

The drydown is also nothing special. The florals don't take to the fore like I had hoped, and it becomes a soft, clean, and incredibly derivative musky with a hint of something smoky.

A lot of potential, but the drydown does not take advantage of its opening, and the strength of this juice is anything but epic (I knew I had to work an Odyssey reference in there).

Thumbs down from me.
16th November, 2012

Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

This is the quintessential citrus/aquatic fragrance. Released in 1996, it has to be one of the few mens' designer fragrances to maintain huge sales numbers without drastically reducing its price (I'm looking at you, Cool Water).

The range of citric notes, combined with the freshness of aquatic notes and a floral accord makes this fragrance perfectly suitable for all occasions. It lasts reasonably well for a fragrance with such a prominent citrus scent, and this is attributable to its basenotes of woods, patchouli and musk (which are included lightly so as not to overpower the lighter tone of the fragrance).

This has got to be one of the most popular fragrances of all time, and to me, this works against it. I'd rather not smell like everybody else.

However, this is one of those rare times that a fragrance that EVERYONE is wearing is actually quite good.
16th November, 2012

Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani

One of my first fragrances (about 8 years ago), and although it's a good, safe introduction to the world of fragrances, I've come to want something a bit more bold and unique.

It's a bit overpriced for a designer fragrance, wears a little close to the skin after an hour or two, and is the Aqua di Gio of night time scents in Australia (too many people wear it).

That having been said, it is still a safe fragrance for a more formal evening at which you're not looking to create a stir, and its relatively low projection means you're not going to be accosting anyone's nostrils.

There are many better fragrances out there for the price, many of which will make you stand out from the crowd a bit more.
16th November, 2012

Tam Dao Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

This is a terrific fragrance, and I feel they've captured the feeling of the Vietnamese tropical forest for which the scent is named.

Sandalwood, rosewood and cedar are the major players here, with musk and some floral notes thrown in to keep it smelling too linear. I find the smell really deepens towards the end of its 5-6 hour longevity - turns sweeter and heavier than its fresh and dry opening would suggest. A lot of fragrances with powerful woody notes end up having notes that smell like sawdust, but this skirts the accord artfully.

Longevity and projection are both very good.
16th November, 2012

Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

I'll admit it, I like my musk fragrances dirty and animalic - Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens is the one of the very best musk frags available today.

Kiehl's Musk is much cleaner, has some strong floral notes, and avoids the civet of MKK, and while it doesn't take many risks, perhaps this is it's saving grace. Many people LOATHE MKK, whereas this is unlikely to offend the casual observer.

It's definitely musky, but has a clean levity to it that would provide a solid entry into the world of musk fragrances. Give it a go, but don't expect an untamed beast.
16th November, 2012

Cèdre by Serge Lutens

This fragrance is poorly named. If it's some kind of homage to the terrific wood that is cedar, they should be clearer so as not to build up expectations.

The opening is pure tuberose, then the cinnamon and and cloves kick in to provide a thick, almost syrupy progression. Once the amber basenotes have settled, you finally get some woody notes, but it certainly isn't some strong cedar.

Make no mistake. This is an attempt at a unisex tuberose, having the spicy notes there in an attempt to make it a little more masculine. There is no cedar in there, at least not to my nose. Perhaps Christopher Sheldrake was trying to mix non-cedar notes to create an illusion of cedar, but if so, he's missed the mark.

Don't expect any cedar out of this one, and you'll find quite a nice unisex tuberose. I won't wear it, but for a spicy white-floral scent, you could do worse. I just wish it had cedar in it.
16th November, 2012

Arabie by Serge Lutens

Oh god, with the curry again (that's for the Archer fans).

Wood, cloves and LOTS of spices. I'm not such a fan of the savoury gourmand category of fragrances, into which Arabie proudly and loudly plonks itself.

The caraway and nutmeg in this fragrance are too strong to make this a wearable fragrance for me. They get cloying and feel like they hang about the wearer like a haze....a haze that smells like curry.

There will be occasions for some of us on which this fragrance is a suitable wear. I can't think of any for me, though.

If you like a spicy oriental that has savoury gourmand accords, you might really like this.
I'm giving Arabie a wide berth, though.
16th November, 2012

Cuir Mauresque by Serge Lutens

Along with Muscs Koublai Khan and Chergui, this is the very pinnacle of the Serge Lutens range. Unlike MKK, however, this won't cause people around you to scrunch their noses up in revulsion.

After the initial (admittedly less than stellar) spicy leather opening, the jasmine becomes more noticeable, and for this reason alone Cuir Mauresque becomes instantly more appropriate for an office environment than other strong, linear leather scents.

In fact, this fragrance is the very opposite of linear - the leather stays throughout but the supporting notes change from spicy to floral, and then to powdery.

The caraway notes make this lean more towards being a masculine fragrance, and for that reason I find it better than the stellar Cuir de Russie by Chanel.

Longevity is exceptional, all day and into the evening with a couple of sprays.
16th November, 2012
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L'Eau Serge Lutens by Serge Lutens

I'm not sure what to say about this fragrance. The idea was interesting, a perfume for those wanting a break from perfume, but the execution wasn't on par with the intention.

The fragrance is your typical 'clean linen' cologne - clary sage, aldehydes and citrus. Nothing groundbreaking, and not done especially well, in my opinion.

This is SL's attempt at a lighter, ozonic cologne-style fragrance, but I wonder why not make an Eau de Cologne (this is EdT strength)?
I cynically presume because EdCs don't, by nature, last long, and SL wanted to keep the price tag high on this. So it's an average EdC style fragrance with EdT longevity. Which is a good thing if it can retain its fresh feeling for the whole time.
After a few hours, however, this dries down into just another musky skin scent, ruining the whole feel of the fragrance.
16th November, 2012

Vitriol d'Oeillet by Serge Lutens

The opening of this is a dark carnation accord, which smells terrific (even though I'm not a fan of carnation fragrances) and has you ready to plonk down your cash then and there.

After a few minutes, however, it turns boring. It begins to smell like every other spicy floral you've ever tried. It's left to the musk, nutmeg and cloves to try and salvage the great work that the opening did, and alas they fall short.

I was really quite disappointed with this one, as it showed glimpses of fulfilling its potential, but then trundled back into safer territory.
16th November, 2012

Chergui by Serge Lutens

I was really quite underwhelmed when I first applied this to my skin. It didn't seem to project well, and I had all but written it off immediately.

How wrong I was.

Once this fragrance finds its feet, it is terrific.
Notes of tobacco, honey and amber mean comparisons to Back To Black by Kilian and Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille are inevitable, but the florals and smokiness distinguishes Chergui as very much its own fragrance.

Definitely full-bottle worthy, and on my skin it even outlasts Tom Ford's effort.

An excellent creation from SL.
16th November, 2012

Accord Oud by Byredo

Leather, berries and saffron.

If you're a fan of Agarwood fragrances, you'd best look elsewhere. I can't pick any in here. This is a safe, modern, unisex fragrance which lasts reasonably well for a Byredo fragrance, but not as well as it should.

This is the kind of fragrance you wear when you hope someone will ask you what you're wearing, just so you can announce to the world that you're wearing a niche, and not the standard designer effort they might have expected from the scent.

Give it a smell, and as long as you're not expecting any aoud, you just might like it. I won't be rushing out for it, though.
16th November, 2012

Essenza di Zegna by Ermenegildo Zegna

An utterly unremarkable fragrance.

The fragrance is nice but nothing special - it is an office-friendly scent that smells clean and fresh, with very slight floral accords and a mundane musk drydown.

What I can't understand is, if you're going to make a scent so unbelievably bland, why also make the projection and longevity so poor?

If you're looking for an office scent, choose either a challenging scent that lies close to the skin, or an inoffensive scent that has a bit of projection?

This fragrance is neither challenging nor powerful, and not worth your time.

I can't see myself using up my blind-bought 100mL any time soon - it's over a year old and I've only used it half a dozen times.
16th November, 2012

Lab by Pal Zileri

Starts off with a very boring opening. Smells a little sweet, incredibly synthetic, and generic with a hint of the floral notes to come.

After a few minutes the florals come through and give the fragrance a more unique aroma. It leans into unisex territory but it's still fairly masculine, and make up the best part of the fragrance's journey. This stage lasts for about 30-60 minutes before it dries all the way down into a linear and boring musk fragrance that lies very close to the skin.

It can be found for a very low price, but it's still hard to justify a purchase when there are far more enjoyable scents out there.
16th November, 2012

Eau Suave by Parfum d'Empire

The opening of Eau Suave is a wonderfully strong fruity floral blast, but unlike so many similarly-styled womens' fragrances on the market today, this stuff's opening is spicy rather than sweet, and is really bordering on the masculine.

I find the opening few minutes to be extremely similar to Alain Delon's Iquitos (sans aldehydes).

In the progression, Eau Suave becomes very much its own scent - it softens down into a very alluring scent that treads back into more feminine territory thanks to the berries (which are, again, natural-smelling rather than sweet). The projection reduces, but is certainly still above average.

The musk comes to the fore in the drydown, and here lies the only criticism I have of this fragrance - after an hour or two it no longer smells like an utterly unique fragrance, rather you'd swear you've smelled it before.

A very good fragrance, and definitely a viable option for men, if this stuff retained a more powerful or interesting dry-down I'd stock up in a heartbeat.
16th November, 2012