Perfume Reviews

Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

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Total Reviews: 377

Prada Amber pour Homme by Prada

Cool-warm and reassuringly suave, Amber pour Homme is a fresh oriental with notes of saffron, myrrh, vanilla, spice and floral notes. Clean, soapy with a touch of powder, Amber drifts in and out of shapes, but always hovers in the space between soapy fougeres à la Sung Homme, and heavier fresh-orientals such as Montblanc's Individuel. It's largely linear, and there's a subtle bitterness that persists throughout to counterbalance the array of fresh-sweet notes. There are some common tones with Narciso for Him, especially the musky facets of Amber, but Narciso is much more musk-focussed, and decidely gloomier.

Prada/Andrier revisited this work later in Amber pour Homme Intense, which is deeper, more tailored, and arguably more refined. Amber pour Homme doesn't reinvent the wheel, but reimagines the classic masculine staples of yesteryears in a contemporary fashion, not without a touch of androgyny.


3.5/5
26th November, 2019

Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès

An explosion of summery loveliness; green mangoes, florals, breezy and chic. Quite an abstract composition with a bit of complexity, part synthetic and part as natural as sliced watermelon. The dry-down on my skin veers more towards musk than woods, which is a plus for warm-weather scents. In fact, it blooms quietly in hot weather, with close sillage and admirable persistence for something that seems so brittle. It's similar in vibe to some of the other Les Jardin perfumes, especially Sur Le Toit, but is still utterly unique. A pleasure to wear in summer, and sometimes a burst of joy in the dead of winter.

4/5
21st November, 2019

Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss

A somewhat simple-smelling composition, with a fruity-spicy opening, apples with mild cinnamon, on a woodsy vanilla base. Nice, but lacking any depth, direction or development; close sillage and moderate persistence. I'm reminded of Spice and Wood as being in the same ballpark but much better, though horribly overpriced. I'm attributing this partial letdown to what I imagine would have been the budget of Boss, rather than Annick Menardo.

2.5/5
21st November, 2019
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New York Intense by Nicolaï

Absurdly good.

It does have oakmoss, but it's blended in finely with everything else, with incredible balance, and the fragrance is more than the sum of its parts. It's complex, subtle, rich without being heavy, and abstract.

In my books, among the best perfumes released in this decade, and surely the best 'masculine'. It's right up there with Patou pour Homme, vintage Heritage, and all the be-alls and end-alls among perfumes.

Absolute perfection; sublime.



5/5
14th November, 2019

Vert des Bois by Tom Ford

This is a wonderful perfume, deep-green, resinous, with touch of florals, and ever so slightly sweet-smoky in the dry-down. Full of retro charm, but decidedly contemporary, unisex but perhaps leaning slightly masculine, and adequately tenacious on skin with a lovely sillage. One of my (newer) favourites to wear on cool autumn days, and one of the best 'green' perfumes around.

4/5
21st October, 2019

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is a perfume that I had to wear more than ten times spaced out over more than a year, to finally understand its appeal. More than notes or accords, I was never sure how it smells and whether it is diffusive and tenacious enough. Dzongkha has an array of notes that hint at interesting combinations on paper, and finally it is indeed more than the sum of its parts.

Dzongkha starts off with a spiced floral accord, subtly fruit; cardamom is dialed back. The composition smoothly evolves into its mid phases which is iris with a hint of tea (note that cardamom is still there), and then the base is mostly iris and incense with hints of a leathery accord with a touch of cypriol. The star is definitely the iris and incense, conjuring up a colour of a dark greyish pink, haunting and alluring in equal parts. Dzongkha is perhaps what a spiced, darkened, slightly butch version of Iris de Nuit would smell like. I think what really works here is the fact that Dzongkha is not aggressive, in-your-face, but elegant and spaced out.

I have come to realise that Dzongkha is quite versatile, with more adequate sillage and duration. It's beguiling and elusive, and one of the better examples of a contemporary twist on the classic French perfumes. This is a rare case where investing time in a perfume is truly worth it, and the dry-down is exquisite, and absolutely worthy of the memory space.


4/5
14th September, 2019

Tom Ford Noir Extreme by Tom Ford

Cheap vanilla .....

TF Noir Extreme has an alluring opening with well-blended spice (mostly cardamom, nutmeg and saffron) and floral notes, sort of contemporary, urbane, and has that 'upscale' feel that TF fragrances aspire to. The vibe is similar to La Nuit de L'Homme, Valentino Uomo / Intense, and other sweet, 'masculine', 'crowd-pleasing' perfumes, and Noir Extreme manages to smell more refined and interesting than most of the competition. However, in a few hours all the interesting spice and floral notes dissipate to leave behind a base of vanilla and amber that's just dull, a bit sharp-scratchy rather than smooth and comes across as rather cheap. I know that the average perfume buyer doesn't perhaps care about the dry-down, but TF Noir Extreme still has the worst dry-down of all Tom Ford fragrances including both the Signature line and the Private Blends. It has adequate sillage, and good duration of several hours, but I wish it just disappeared on skin after the initial and mid phases. Oh well ....


2/5
10th September, 2019

Close Up by Olfactive Studio

A cosy semi-gourmand with notes of cherry, cinnamon, tobacco on an amber base. The mid and dry down is remarkably similar to that of Ambre Narguile, but Close Up is less sweet than the Hermes; not as rich either. I was expecting something a bit more unique or distinctive since it's Annick Menardo, but seems that Olfactive Studio wanted a 'crowd-pleaser'. The dry-down is rather quiet and somewhat underwhelming. Nice, but unremarkable and not memorable.

2.5/5
08th September, 2019

Olène by Diptyque

Shampoo and hairspray with a hint of melon in the beginning, followed by jasmine and a soapy-floral dry-down which is much better than the initial phases. Half-way between crudeness and refinement. Not terrible, but you come to expect better from Diptyque.

2.5/5
02nd September, 2019

Pays Dogon by Monsillage

This is a smoky-rooty vetiver with a strong patchouli note, and noticeable cypriol. It is somewhat linear and smells of an accord of vetiver-patchouli-cypriol, uncompromising but also somewhat flat and one-dimensional. Quite green and earthy; reasonable presence and good persistence. The quality is there, but it suffers from a lack of note separation, limited complexity, and the accord is agreeable but not quite engaging or novel. The late dry-down is more refined; a hint of guaiac wood, with a vague creamy aspect. Worth a try for anyone after a smoky-rooty vetiver. A bit more modernised compared to Villoresi Vetiver or Route du Vetiver, and less avant-garde than stuff like Lampblack.

3/5
02nd September, 2019

Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka by Hermès

A brilliant vetiver, contemporary, concise and effective. Vetiver seated right next to tonka that cancel out each others' worst qualities. Green, light brown like early autumn, lightly toasted, nutty and slightly buttery without the fat; well-proportioned, sweetness without excess, and adorned with hints of praline. Diffusive, and reasonably tenacious; sumptuous and thoroughly charming.

4/5
29th August, 2019

Coriolan by Guerlain

Metallic and dull; sort of JP Guerlain does "Weekend for Men by Burberry". Sort of a fougere, airy and abstract, dry and quite light, and rather disagreeable. The 'vibe' is sort of similar to Jazz (maybe even Live Jazz), but Jazz is just way better, and that's what I'd recommend. Coriolan has been discontinued, but I would not miss it one bit.

2/5
25th August, 2019

Dunhill Icon by Dunhill

A fresh-woody scent for men (rather, unisex) that's been given a nice twist by adding a lot of neroli, and a touch of pepper. The issue is that the budget appears limited. That's why the neroli is rather synthetic (though not screechy by any means), and at times the composition does smell quite close to grape soda and orange popsicles, especially in the initial and mid phases. It could've been more abstract. The base is mostly soft woods, with hints of the earlier neroli. The dry-down is rather faint and light, which could sometimes be a blessing rather than the blaring synthetic woody-amber masculine perfumes that have proliferated in this market segment. At no point of time in its development is it loud or cheap. Perhaps good for people in college or at their first job, if they buy it at a discount.

3/5
13th August, 2019
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Eau de Gloire by Parfum d'Empire

A nice extended spicy eau de cologne, starting from lavender with subtle touches of citrus but very quickly transitioning to black tea, anise and licorice. Hint of smoke in the mid phase, and has that wonderful tea accord similar to the one in Ambre Russe (at least earlier bottles). The base is light and subtle with hints of tobacco, leather and moss. Dry from start to finish, and occasionally earthy. An old world meets new nuance in a good way, reserved, subtle and lots of character; requires over-application for enjoyment. The eau de parfum concentration could be misleading. A nice alternative to concentrated citrus colognes, especially if one is also looking to avoid anything too sweet.

3.5/5
13th August, 2019

Wild is the Wind by Atelier de Geste

Notes from Atelier de Geste:

• Top tête (20 mins) - rose petals, verveine, savage geranium
• Middle coeur (2 hrs) - pine, jasmine, musk, leather
• Base fond (12 hrs) - white musk, sandalwood

"Wild is the Wind" is one of my favourite songs, particularly the version by David Bowie on his Station to Station album, though I also love Nina Simone's recording. To expect Atelier de Geste's fragrance to match the mood and whims of the song would be to look for a wild, unusual, perhaps nocturnal or even animalic perfume. Incidentally, the perfume is none of that.

The perfume here is a leathery floral, with lashings of musk and woody notes that extend the dry down. The initial phase is bright, with the rose finely blended with geranium to act as a pale veil, rather than a sharp colour. There is a brief but intense burst of green initially, supposedly from the verbena, but making me think of galbanum several times. Thankfully the verbena never turns sweet over time, unlike in several other perfumes, and the perfume remains crisp.

The mid-phase is where the leather is more prominent. The pine is there, but handled like the rose: soft, finely woven within the accord, and in the background. In the dry down the musk is fresh and a little sensuous, while the composition is still verdant. Sillage and duration are both appreciable based on a moderate application.

Overall, this is a legible and very much wearable perfume, nicely positioned between the green-florals like Bel Respiro, Cristalle and the rose-patchoulis such as Eau de Protection, though being much closer to the former group. Nothing, sharp or dull or animalic, nothing extravagant or seductive; instead, a cool, wistful perfume, engaging on rainy days during the transition from spring to summer, or summer to autumn.


3.5/5
20th June, 2019

Eau de Rochas Homme by Rochas

Eau de Rochas Homme is a straightforward citrus scent with lemon, lime and other notes, but unfortunately has too much lemon verbena for me which gives off a coconut oil aroma and turns too sweet on my skin too soon. I prefer my citrus scents to be more crisp, aromatic or even musky, leathery or woody. Sillage and duration are both adequate for this style of fragrance based on a liberal application. It's also a bit too synthetic/chemical for its own good.

2.5/5
12th June, 2019

L'Envol by Cartier

L'Envol is a rather unbalanced and harsh mish-mash of notes that look interesting on paper, but smell jarring and unappealing. Honey, iris and musk aren't at all a bad combo, and can be excellent if done the right way - the leading example being Dior's Bois d'Argent. L'Envol also has a woody note which is supposedly guaiac wood, but it smells closer to modern woody-ambers than subtle/refined applications (Tokyo by Kenzo, Micallef, or even Rive Gauche pour Homme). It's more soft and less jarring after a few hours, but is also somewhat bland and unremarkable.

It still has its fans and admirers, and it least it isn't one of the umpteenth fresh woody-ambers like Sauvage or Dylan Blue.


2/5
12th June, 2019

Ottoman Empire Part II by Areej le Doré

Ottoman Empire II is primarily an oud fragrance with leathery-musky nuances. The rose is there initially, but somewhat behind a veil. The oud isn't medicinal, cheesy, barnyard-y or animalic; it's rather woody-leathery earlier on, and a few hours later leathery-musky. If one has to dissect then there are floral elements, but overall it isn't particularly floral to my nose. To my nose, this is a somewhat linear fragrance. It does show development, but that is sort of the oud revealing its different facets, rather than some conventional transition from opening to base as one finds in classical perfumery. There are a lot of listed notes, but on my skin there is minimal separation of notes. All I smell is the central oud accord from start to finish. It has good presence on skin, and goes on for several hours; some might find the initial/mid phases a bit sharp (though not synthetic-sharp), while the dry down is soft and just a little sensuous, but not engaging or memorable to me.

The schtick is strong with Areej Le Dore fragrances, and they tend to hit you before you smell the fragrance. This is a brand that highlights its usage of high-quality and rare naturals. While this could be the case (this one certainly does smell like it has a good quality oud oil), the issue is that the final compositions lack polish and refinement, and do not smell particularly appealing. I've had a similar experience with the original Siberian Musk, which was a more nuanced composition but at the same time identically lacking. These aren't cut from the same cloth as something like Amouage Tribute, for example, and aren't as polished/refined as the better examples of mainstream western perfumes.

A separate issue as a consumer is that these perfumes are created in limited numbers (for whatever reasons) and that drives up prices through speculation, not to mention creating echo-chambers of fanboys. Even if I ignore all of that as background noise, I find these to be a hard-buy given that these are structurally in the middle ground between western perfumery and middle-eastern attars and oils, but lack the best features of either.


2.5/5
12th June, 2019

Tiger's Nest by Memo

Tiger's Nest is a dry, balsamic incense scent to me with minimal sweetness, a tinge of vanilla, and a papyrus note that's barely there but adds a nuance in the mid phase. Any other note is completely lost on my skin, and I don't detect any of the florals. In fact, I find something akin to ambergris in the initial and mid phases, even though it's not listed. The accord reminds me of Ambra Mediterranea. Tiger's Nest is somewhat muted and flat, and within a few hours all that's left is the dry down of balsams, which is too quiet and soft. I feel this would have more nuanced, complex if the florals were more prominent, and there was a bit more separation of notes. As is the case with African Leather, Tiger's Nest thins out towards the dry down (though not exactly being a top note con job).

Honestly, I find there are dozens of incense/amber fragrances that more convincing than Tiger's Nest. As for Bhutan, Dzongkha is far more evocative, apart from being a much more nuanced and interesting composition.

2.5/5

P.S. The Memo website does list 'amber' as a key note, but the BN note pyramid is different.
31st May, 2019

Le Cri de la Lumière by Parfum d'Empire

Le Cri de la Lumiere reminded me of two compositions - Fleur de Peau (which I'm largely anosmic to) and Superstitious. It is an aldehydic iris-rose, with lots of musk (ambrette seed); luminous because of the aldehydes. The aldehydes are underplayed relative to vintage aldehydic florals, and the iris-rose-musk accord is nice but not a novelty; very minimal soapy vibe from the aldehydes. It wears too close to skin, and the base is a light accord of florals, musk and soft wood.

Overall, I'm not really convinced by Le Cri; it isn't a great iris scent, and definitely not one's first choice for an excellent aldehydic floral (I find Superstitious to be much more convincing and on a different level). Le Cri is definitely not bad but middling, too weak and eventually underwhelming. Not to mention, not sure why this eau de parfum is nearly two times as expensive as Ambre Russe or Wazamba.


2.5/5
30th May, 2019

Oud Palao by Diptyque

Oud Palao is an excellent woody oriental in a clichéd genre. As mentioned by others, this smells like oud chips rather than the oil. The rose has a very soft-hazy focus, similar to the rose note in Habit Rouge or Egoiste, rather than conventional rose-ouds. In fact, this is very different from stereotypical rose-ouds such as Oud Ispahan, Black Aoud or Thirty-Three. Here, the rose is mostly in the background, providing a subtle contrast to the oud which is woody, a little sweet, somewhat creamy, slightly musky and quite cosy. The vanilla is very restrained, even more so than the rose. It is a bit too clean, could've been more animalic. However, it is not clinical, and the musky facets render it warm, furry and sensuous.

Oud Palao would be an interesting choice for people looking for a conventional woody oriental, but with more punch. A must try, even if someone doesn't like rose or oud. In fact, I'd probably place it closer to Egoiste and Habit Rouge rather than typical rose-ouds. Oud Palao is quite androgynous, maybe leaning a little masculine and perhaps just a bit more interesting on a woman. Unlike other fragrances from Diptyque which are on the lighter side, Oud Palao is quite a heavyweight with adequate sillage and excellent tenacity at over ten hours; which makes it an oddity in the range. In terms of 'personality' and 'style' it smells more like a Dior La Priveé (circa 2010-2016) than something from Diptyque. Perfectly wearable, and very versatile.

Very nice work.

3.5/5
12th April, 2019

La Fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens

If Sa Majesté La Rose is a rose soliflore, then La Fille de Berlin is a blooming, breathing rose upon the skin of you or someone you like. There is the rose, crimson, large and living, incredibly deep and vivid; accentuated with a touch of pepper, it is sometimes a bit icy and a bit metallic. There are some hints at fresh green notes and berries, but it is always about the rose. There is no surprise or twist here, as La Fille de Berlin slowly grows mellow over several hours to a base of rosy amber/woods/musk. There's no discernible amber or musk, as they have been rightly compromised to make way for the rose.

In a range that often gives us sweet perfumes, La Fille de Berlin is completely devoid of any sweetness. Its vivacity reminds me of Lipstick Rose, but it is perhaps closest to Rossy de Palma in terms of scent profile; but there are key differences. Rossy de Palma is more fresh-green, and there is a definite focus on patchouli in the later stages. La Fille de Berlin is all about the rose, left, right and centre.

La Fille de Berlin could be deceptive as a nice but simple rose fragrance, but I find it to be a tremendous tour-de-force composition, a rare specimen of graceful magnificence, transitioning ever so slightly from cool to warm, and a perfume of unparalleled beauty, and sometimes just a little quirky. It exists in the most crowded category of floral perfumes, but stands alone where no one else does.

I enjoy La Fille de Berlin even more in cold, crisp weather; otherwise it transcends fashion, styles, gender and the hour of the day. Perfection, irrespective of whether worn in or out of context, and it can be worn for weeks as it becomes a second skin. Lush, elegant, contemporary, urbane, intelligent, a complete head turner, and finally a bit emotional and remarkably memorable; deadly and devastating in the best possible ways.


5/5
11th April, 2019

Reaction for Men by Kenneth Cole

There is nothing in Reaction for Men that should preclude women, other than olfactory sensibilities. I find the synthetic green apple/melon combo too sharp initially, almost taking it into air freshener category; the dry-down of clean musks and soft woods is less grating but doesn't redeem it. It also showcases a dramatic decrease in volume, but the base dose linger on quite a bit.

What makes me averse to melon-green apple notes is the ham-fisted nature of their usage in mainstream fresh fragrances. This one is obviously a case in point. It screams out for an MFK 'Aqua' treatment, fresh notes with a soft-hazy focus in lieu of sharpness, which would have garnered it at least an additional star.

In this category of fresh-clean, out of shower and into the t-shirt fragrance, CK One is a more balanced alternative (apparently, also more gender inclusive). My favourite? Prada's Infusion d'Homme, which can be devastating on anyone; albeit pricier, but much nicer.

2/5
11th April, 2019

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite by Tom Ford

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite ignores the trend of fresh woody-ambers and sugary gourmands, and is all about peppery woods. The peppers are hot and dry, hinting at Sichuan peppers. The wood notes are bone dry, dark, earthy-metallic. I don't find any note of cedar, sandal, patchouli or oud. Instead, it smells like some new molecule/aromachemical, maybe hinting a bit at smoky vetiver. Like almost all Tom Ford fragrances, Noir Anthracite is very linear on my skin; between the initial burst of pepper to the dry down of peppery woods, it changes little. It has moderate presence, and surprisingly is somewhat quiet towards the dry down, but it does last adequately. In terms of scent profile, it reminds me of the flinty/earthy nuances of Terre d'Hermes, the peppery woods in several masculine Amouages (Memoir, Epic, Journey), some bits of Bois d'Ascese, and the austere/noirish moods of Jacomo de Jacomo or Serge Noire. Noir Anthracite is very streamlined, tailored, and perfectly wearable.

Definitely try if you like linear fragrances, and are looking for a 'modern' woody scent with no sweetness, with the emphasis on 'modern' and linear. It might just click. Personally, Noir Anthracite misses a spark or two, as it becomes more of an ambient fragrance and less of a personal scent over repeated wears. It doesn't reveal any new nuances, and doesn't keep me interested. I find the accord of pepper and woods tiresome and two-dimensional. It is adequately abstract, but lacks in complexity; the opening and mid phases are arresting, but the dry down is underwhelming. The frustrating issue with Tom Ford's fragrances is that they often promise an uncompromising endeavour to showcase a particular note or accord, and deliver on that with compromises to everything else. Noir Anthracite, just like Ombre Leather released a year later, is no exception. It isn't bad, but it isn't good enough.


3/5
04th April, 2019

Tabac Vert by Rogue Perfumery

Tabac Vert comes across as a straightforward mossy, green tobacco scent that interprets fresh, green, leafy tobacco. It is aromatic (but not herbal), dry, austere and crisp; I don't notice any embellishment, and any note of amber or sandalwood in the dry down (or any stage) doesn't register with me. It is pretty linear on my skin, with very close projection (I'd prefer at least a bit more oomph) and moderate longevity of about six hours based on a generous application. Surprisingly, I get gentle wafts of it if I move about.

Tabac Vert isn't adequately engaging due to a few shortcomings; I find the composition to be too bare, and I feel it is missing some notes. I've tried Mousse Illuminee from the same perfumer, and that one comes across as a proper, finished work with adequate depth and dimension. I prefer the accord and scent profile of Tabac Vert, and would have loved a 3D version of this scent, with stronger sillage and perhaps more notes such as leather, sandalwood, labdanum, musk or even a herb or two (I'm thinking basil or clary sage).

On the other hand, there are a few things I find very refreshing about Rogue Perfumery (based on Tabac Vert and Mousse Illuminee). Focus on substance rather than PR/marketing/'concept'; a style closer to traditional perfumery than synth/hyper-modern/AI driven compositions; perfectly legible and wearable perfumes rather than unwearable concoctions that seem to plague the artisanal/indie segment; finally, fair and inclusive rather than exclusive pricing.


3/5
29th March, 2019

Cuiron by Helmut Lang

Note: Review is of the reissue.

Cuiron is a straightforward suede fragrance (my guess is suederal) with some plummy notes in the beginning, and a very soft, subtle touch of spices that are finely meshed with the suede. It is largely linear, moderately long-longasting, and has understated, discreet sillage.

What I like here is the 'personality' of the scent. It is refined, contemporary (in a good way), versatile and androgynous. It retained my interest, grew on me after wearing it a few times, and lingered on in memory space.

Sort of half-way between Daim Blond and something like Chanel's Cuir de Russie.


3.5/5
25th March, 2019

Oscar de la Renta pour Lui by Oscar de la Renta

Note: Review is of the current version.

Oscar de la Renta pour Lui is a venerable 80s powerhouse scent, but I have no idea how it was in the 80s or the later decades. I'm only familiar with the most current version. I can understand the cordial reception it garners among perfume lovers, but it leaves me unaffected personally. This is a herbal leather scent with a dry down of woods (and a touch of moss in this version), in the same neighbourhoods as Antaeus or Derby (but not as nuanced or sophisticated). I love Antaeus and vintage Derby, but the trouble with Pour Lui is that I find this particular blend of herbs a little disagreeable. It is very similar to the herbal accord in One Man Show. I find little similarities with vintage Patou pour Homme. I do not notice much spice, and the dry down is less herbal and more leathery-woody. I found both sillage and duration to be around average based on a moderate application.

I love earlier leather scents, because apart from being (generally) well crafted, they are also very versatile and can be dressed up or down, not to add that a certain retro appeal adds to the charm. In this case, however, I'd pass on Pour Lui for something like Antaeus which is smoother, more sophisticated and also lasts longer when comparing the current versions. Around similar priced fragrances, I prefer Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme (similar leather scent but with a touch of rose, and more crisp/fresh, and a different herbal blend) or Bogart Signature (more understated, but crisp and refined). In the case of Pour Lui, I'm curious if I'd have a very different opinion if I tried the vintage.


3/5


P.S. I also have Oscar de la Renta pour Lui Fresh, which isn't listed on Basenotes or Fragrantica. This one seems to be a recent release. It is sort of a fuzzier version of Bleu de Chanel EdT, and doesn't smell anything like Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui.
25th March, 2019

Thé Noir 29 by Le Labo

The Noir 29 is a remarkably polished and alluring blend of fig, tea and an accord that hints at a dry, dark rose. It starts off with a citrus laced accord of fig and black tea, airy and radiant. There is a hint of rose, and I perceive minimal musks; I don't detect any hay or tobacco. It's translucent but persistent; I smell a lot of synthetic woods in the dry down. There is a passing hint at Cartier's Declaration d'Un Soir, but The Noir 29 has more dimensions. It has an unusual freshness, is quite clean and crisp, and has surprising sillage with good duration, based on a moderate application. It is dressy, and perhaps more suitable in cooler weather.

I loved The Noir 29 the first time I wore it, but thereafter realised a problem; the perfume is too sharp for me because of the synthetic notes, especially what I perceive to be woody-ambers (even though I don't find it ambery). This is even more surprising since I love and wear a fair number of perfumes that are too sharp/synthetic for many, such as Portrait of a Lady and the aforementioned Declaration d'Un Soir. The sillage of The Noir 29 is very elegant on someone else, and this is definitely complimented upon by others, based on personal experience. However, it becomes too jarring for me when I wear it; which is a little sad, since I like the scent.


3/5
21st March, 2019

Iris Cendré by Naomi Goodsir

A straightforward iris, buttery, clean, somewhat dreamy, moderately dense and almost like a one note perfume. I don't perceive any citrus (maybe they disappear two seconds after application), nor any other embellishments - tobacco, amber or leather. The iris reminds me of the Prada iris perfumes but with more depth, and without the nuances. It's almost as if the iris note has been separated carefully from Infusion d'Iris or 31 Rue Cambon and amplified, drowning out everything else. I perceive a green tinge to the fragrance, something that hints at a touch of galbanum. However, it's pretty much just iris to my nose. I don't find it to be particularly powdery, and it isn't too 'rooty'. I've worn it a few times, and I find its strength is well calibrated as I experience excellent duration of over several hours and a close but consistent waft of sillage.

Iris Cendre is a very solid offering; however, I find it somewhat underwhelming because it is a little unexciting for me. I feel it is lacking in dimension and development. I find to have a calming effect, an attribute that I enjoy quite a bit. I perceive an intelligence, and I know a few people for whom this would make an excellent signature scent.

3/5
19th March, 2019

Morning Chess by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Morning Chess is a refined, modern fragrance that can be contextualised as a reinterpretation of classic masculine perfumes, primary due to its citrus-leather-patchouli framework. The initial burst of bergamot is soon joined by an accord of leather, tempered with patchouli and galbanum. The galbanum (together with bergamot) steers it towards fresh-green, while the patchouli and leather are both clean, streamlined but substantial. There is very little transition in the development, only the freshness receding as the leather-patchouli accord is fully developed, with a faint touch of amber. The dry down is extended, and it has consistent close projection based on a moderate application of 6-8 sprays.

Morning Chess does hint at Aventus, primarily due to the leather, but significantly differentiated. Despite a listed note of 'Tuscan Leather', I get almost no connection to Tom Ford, apart from the part that both are leather fragrances. Morning Chess is a perfume that smells good, is perfectly wearable, and quite versatile as well, though it is a little dressy and not too casual. I like how the synthetics are handled here - they lend a very urbane character while being smooth, seamless and refined, making it a nice, crisp scent for spring or autumn.


3.5/5
19th March, 2019