Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

    Showing 1 to 30 of 57.
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    French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    French Lover is an interesting composition. It is a damp, green, woody fragrance with a rugged, earthy vetiver note as the key central piece. I do not get much of incense. Rather I mostly sniff wet woods. I also find something in the beginning that smells vaguely of oranges. It is almost as if I'm sitting in a deep forest after a shower and peeling unripe oranges. The fragrance clears up a bit as it transitions into the base: the damp feeling subsides as a musky note develops.

    While it is certainly interesting, I cannot call it engaging. Some might not find it very wearable. Average projection and longevity on my skin.

    14th April, 2015

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    Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    I find Vetiver Extraordinaire to be good, but nothing extraordinary. It opens up on the skin as a bright fresh fragrance; but not too fresh such as Creed or Tom Ford. The vetiver note in question is clean and bright; not smoky or earthy. The pink pepper accentuates the fresh quality with a shimmering effect; it is almost glowing. The fragrance projects moderately and dries down to a soft base of woods with hints of musk and resin.

    My biggest disappointment was in the fact that this just seemed to sit on the skin and was very soft. The performance was sorely lacking. I don't know if it's the fragrance- I'm assuming it is my own skin chemistry.

    I'd recommend people to try this one out, and watch out for the performance. I'm sticking with Creed and Tom Ford.

    11th April, 2015

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    Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

    Kouros opens up with spices and civet and musk- a strikingly beautiful vibe that is invigorating. The shimmering notes take a while to settle to exude cool. It's fresh, crisp, non-powdery and enveloping. A beautiful floral theme develops over the woody musky vibe at the heart of the composition. This phase is luscious, and intills in the wearer a sense of tranquility. Then the florals become more delicate as a gorgeous, subtle honey note appears. This phase of Kouros is magical. It is a dichotomy. The fragrance still retains its earlier feel of cool which is a brilliant counterpoint to this sensual honeyed warmth. The fragrance is now hot and cold at the same time. It is still airy, crisp, wonderfully nuanced with the honey note over the lush florals, and the musk as gorgeous as ever. It has been a journey - a transcendental olfactory experience. It has visual interpretations in fresh linen; men and women dressed up in the morning and going to work; spice markets and flower shops; the sweaty crowd of people in the hot streets as the breeze blows; children peeling and eating oranges; beautiful redolent gardens in bloom; porters busy at the docks as ships come in and go out; the din and hustle of the train station; the beautiful evening as the sun dies leaving the sky bathed in orange and scarlet, with a speck of dark grey cloud lurking somewhere.

    I know of only one other fragrance which is as evocative and beautiful. It is called Fahrenheit.

    05th April, 2015

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    Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Musc Ravageur is a wonderful composition centred around musk and clove. The initial impression is of a busy opening with hints of lavender. The transition to heart phase starts very soon where the cloves become more prominent. They finally subside to reveal a base of musk, woods with hints of vanilla. The overall fragrance is warm, cosy, enveloping and sensual. The musk is somewhere between clean and dirty. Musc Ravageur is a pleasure to wear and lasts a good time.

    It is a beautiful interpretation of musk, and very distinguished too.

    04th April, 2015

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    Uomo by Lorenzo Villoresi

    Uomo has an array of notes covering citrus, spices and woods. The lemon, bay leaf, sandalwood and vetiver stand out and are more prominent than the others. Often compositions involving so many notes are a mess or incoherent. Uomo is superbly crafted, well blended and smells great. It has this sparkling character about itself- as many other great Italian fragrances with a classic vibe. However, the joyride is severely shortened by poor longevity. Reading the reviews I discover that I am not the only one. Projection is average as long as it lasts.

    I agree with Marais that this fragrance is very natural smelling, which perhaps comes at the cost of poor longevity.

    I am compelled to give a neutral rating due to its performance. I would have considered it bottle-worthy otherwise and wholeheartedly recommended it to both men and women. As long as it continues to disappear in less than 4 hours, I would continue to look elsewhere.

    If you strongly prefer natural smelling fragrances but don't mind substandard longevity, this one is worth checking out.

    20th March, 2015

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    Royal Oud by Creed

    Creed's Royal Oud has one of the best openings I've ever encountered in any fragrance. It has a sparkling woody start, where one can detect sandalwood, cedar and pink pepper. This lasts for a fair amount of time before the heart phase begins. At this juncture it settles into a smooth, creamy, woody fragrance and this vibe lasts till it fades on the skin. One can carefully detect some faint musk and citrus; but they are in the background- present only to embellish this wonderful woody scent. I get a very nice natural-smelling sandalwood note in this one. There is a lot of heated debate about whether it actually has any agarwood in it or not. I'd request people to just relax and enjoy this great offering from Creed. The only drawback is that it could greatly benefit from better projection and longevity; it is quite average in those regards.

    A must try for everyone, particularly for those looking for a smooth woody fragrance.

    18th March, 2015

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    Idole Eau de Parfum by Lubin

    Idole edp has a very good, even great opening with rum, saffron and the other ingredients creating a spicy, boozy effect. I really like this phase of the fragrance; unfortunately it doesn't persist beyond one hour or so. The booziness disappears, the spices become soft and unexciting and a nondescript woody vibe emerges. I almost feel cheated.

    Projection is good in the beginning, but everything dies down quickly. Poor longevity.

    18th March, 2015

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Kyoto by Comme des Garçons

    Kyoto is a very dry, austere incense fragrance. Sometimes even ethereal. Upon application one immediately senses a cloud of incense over some greens and faint woods. It is subtle, vaguely warm and cool at the same time, and stark. While I appreciate the composition, I find it too abstract and minimal for my tastes. Almost a skin scent, and longevity is average.

    18th March, 2015

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    Eros by Versace

    Eros is another uninspiring release from the house of Versace. It opens up with citrus-fruity accord and smells good for the first few minutes. But then the tonka bean, vanilla and other notes set in, leading to a gourmandish mess. It is in the same ballpark as modern clubbing fragrances such as Le Male and 1 Million. In this particular olfactory niche the bar for being a decent composition is rather low, but this one still misses the mark.

    The bottle looks good, the cap outright tacky.

    10th March, 2015

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    Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

    Le Male is one of my few blind buys, and I regret it. It is constructed around a minty lavender opening and heart, and a sweet base of vanilla, musk and amber. I get some faint spices and woods throughout its lifespan on skin, but the trinity of mint, lavender and vanilla dominates everything else. While it scores for being quite original in scope and execution, I don't personally find the overall scent to be very agreeable. Moreover it seems to diffuse this sophomoric vibe and I cannot take it seriously at all. After hearing about all the wonders, I find its performance on my skin to be pretty average.

    For some reason I feel this would smell better on a woman. But I'm not recommending it to anyone.

    10th March, 2015

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    Arber by Body Shop

    A somewhat unique smelling citrus fragrance with some musky wood notes in the base. Smells good, but lacks any bite in either projection or longevity.

    10th March, 2015

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    Starwalker by Montblanc

    A weak and superfluous offering from Montblanc.

    It has some citrus and musky notes, but is derivative and doesn't project or last long. It appears that this fragrance is almost afraid to express itself.

    Perhaps this could be good for scenting the bed sheets.

    10th March, 2015

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    Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

    Opens up on the skin with an air of nothingness. This is apologetic for being what it is, and one has to be apologetic about wearing a fragrance before considering this one.

    One might as well bath in Evian and wear freshly laundered clothes to get the same effect.

    10th March, 2015

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    Original Vetiver by Creed

    Original Vetiver remains, by some distance, the best fragrance I've smelled from the house of Creed. It is fresh, green, grassy and soapy. It opens up on the skin a very vibrant green fresh fragrance. About thirty minutes into the application it starts to emit the most gorgeous wafts I've ever encountered in any fragrance. This sensual experience continues into the drydown, where it becomes soft, alluring and vaguely musky.

    Vetiver is the major player in this fragrance. But as with Creeds, this vetiver comes from the stem of the vetiver grass rather than its roots, which lends the fragrance the fresh green aroma. There is some ginger to add some zing and mild spiciness. And there is some sandalwood to provide a rounded feel. Overall it smells utterly delightful.

    In summer, this is usually what I'd choose to wear over everything else.

    08th March, 2015

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    Duc de Vervins by Houbigant

    Being a lover of green fragrances, I had to seek it out sooner or later. And I didn't find it agreeable.
    No offence, but even though I love and wear 95% of the old school classics, I'm not a fan of Drakkar Noir. Duc de Vervins is a greener and somewhat fresher version of Drakkar Noir, if there ever was one. If you like either Drakkar Noir or green fragrances (and don't dislike the other), you might like this. I'm now intrigued about the common note in Drakkar Noir and this one that I don't seem to like.
    Performance in terms of projection and longevity was pretty good.

    08th March, 2015

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    Interlude Man by Amouage

    Where Memoir Man falls short, Interlude Man gets it right. The traditional masculine notes of woods, leather and tobacco are replaced by amber and resins. The result is an astonishing blend of incense and sweetness that is a unique olfactory experience. It seems to project more and last longer even than most other Amouages.

    08th March, 2015

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    Memoir Man by Amouage

    It seems to me there are two ways of doing incense. One is the Ellena-esque minimalist style pioneered by Comme des Garcons in their Incense series. Montale Full Incense pretty much conforms to that. The other one is to take incense and mix it up with citrus, spices, woods, resins and deliver a final fragrance that is sumptuous, breathtaking in its depth and intoxicating with its delightful array of notes when done right. Amouage seems to do this better than most, and Memoir Man could almost be a testimony to that fact. What prevents it from being so is the flinty, almost mineral-like direction it takes from about the end of heart phase to its base. The other issue at hand is that it seems to refer to, in its own way, most of the classic masculines of the 70s and the 80s. That is something that unfortunately doesn't work here.

    Nonetheless it's still a solid release. As with most Amouages, very good projection and longevity.

    08th March, 2015

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    Versace l'Homme by Versace

    My review is for the current formulation.

    L'Homme is hands down the best masculine fragrance from Versace (though the competition isn't very stiff...). It is a classic woody leather fragrance. It opens at the beginning with clean sparkling citrus notes of lemon. The citrus gives way to a sharp but smooth leather note with a hint of florals as the woody character of the fragrance comes into its own. The woody leather theme is retained in the dry down as the floral element makes room for a faint musky note.

    L'Homme is a very versatile fragrance with decent projection and longevity. It's not my favourite fragrance in its genre (I prefer the superb Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme). Nonetheless, it's still a solid fragrance.

    08th March, 2015

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    M7 by Yves Saint Laurent

    This review is of the first version which had dark glass on all sides.

    M7 by Yves Saint Laurent came out at a time when this house was churning out great fragrances, and this is one of them. It's hard to know to what extent Tom Ford pushed the creation of such daring releases, one can only speculate. The oud boom in western perfumery started perhaps sometime around 2007. M7 is arguably the first western fragrance to use oud, and in 2002, was way ahead of its time. Perfumers Jacques Cavallier and Alberto Morillas together are credited with creating this masterpiece.

    M7 is a stunning woody oriental centred around agarwood, with notes of amber and vetiver surrounding it. There is some hint of citrus at the beginning. The fragrance has been said to have a sweet, syrupy, medicinal vibe, which is effectively the oud-amber combination. I am personally grateful that it doesn't have vanilla which often makes such compositions overtly sweet. M7 wears like a dream, projects well and stays on skin a long time. Like many other great fragrances, it has haunting evocative qualities. If I would had to pick only one oriental, this would be it.

    I won't take the trouble of finding another vintage bottle once my existing one runs dry. The scent will fade; sentiments will not.

    08th March, 2015

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    Bois du Portugal by Creed

    Creed's Bois du Portugal stands out among most of the other Creeds simply because it is so different. The first impression is a brisk woody lavender note that is classy and refined. An hour into wearing it the top note of lavender recedes into the background as a cosy woody vibe develops and lasts into the dry down. Nothing groundbreaking, just a very good execution of a classic, traditional masculine. I would not seek this one out before Jazz and Tsar which cover similar olfactory territories. But a very good one nonetheless.

    04th March, 2015

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    Full Incense by Montale

    Montale's Full Incense is an aptly named fantastic incense fragrance. It might have some patchouli and resins, but it is by nature a full blown incense fragrance. Projects and lasts for a good amount of time given its genre, and is an absolute pleasure to wear. It is pretty much linear from start to finish, and smells great throughout.

    The only thing going against it maybe that it smells almost too similar to Avignon which precedes it by eight years. Passionately recommended.

    03rd March, 2015

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    Monserrat by Bruno Fazzolari

    A unique fragrance. It has a very bright fruity top with what smells like grapefruit and bergamot to me. This is accompanied by some floral elements- primarily jasmine. What is special is there is a vague skankiness that lurks underneath the fruity-floral innocence. About an hour after application a splendid lush green theme with musky undertones develops that takes the fragrance in a beautiful, more conventional and more reassuring direction.
    If I'm ever lunching with a beautiful woman on a sunny Saturday afternoon in spring in a quaint small city with a harbour, I'd wish her to be wearing something like this.

    26th February, 2015

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    Tabaróme Millésime by Creed

    This is as disappointing as it can perhaps get. Creed is known for inappropriately naming their fragrances, but here there is hardly any tobacco note at all. It's constructed with some citrus notes on the top of ginger and the usual Creed base. The opening and the mid are extremely forgettable, and the drydown is less satisfactory than all other millesimes. Projection and longevity were not good either. They should really take this one off the market.

    If you want tobacco, go for Havana or Pure Havane. If you want citrus, ginger or citrus-ginger combinations, look at Dior Homme Sport or Acqua di Parma line. If just want a Creed base, go with Green Irish Tweed.

    Easily the worst Creed I've tried.

    26th February, 2015

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    Classic Patchouli by von Eusersdorff

    The first impression of Classic Patchouli by Von Eusersdorff is like unpacking a bar of the most delectable dark chocolate in the world. A zingy but transparent bergamot note graces the surface of a smooth chocolatey patchouli heart. The patchouli note in this fragrance is not dirty at all, and not very earthy either; rather it is somewhat creamy, somewhat woody and very satisfying. As the top note of bergamot fades away, the fragrance becomes woodier. It is accentuated by a mild sweetness which perhaps is the contribution of the tonka bean and the vanilla notes. This sweet-woody patchouli phase lasts till the end and is very comforting. I experienced decent projection and longevity.

    This is a very good fragrance. Anyone looking for a cleaner woody patchouli fragrance should check this one out. Stay away if your tolerance for sweetness in a fragrance is very low. If there were amber and myrrh in this composition, this would readily be the cousin of Amber pour Homme Intense by Prada. Without those, it is more of the long lost distant cousin whom we can, luckily, still seek out.

    23rd February, 2015

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    Aoud Musk by Montale

    Aoud Musk is another remarkable release from the mysterious house of Montale. Montale is infamous for being harsh and relentless in both their fragrances and the number of releases. Confronting the full (or, what seems to be the full) line up at once can be daunting. Aoud Musk is a great one among those numbers. It is constructed around the two notes of oud and musk. It opens on the skin with the typical Montale medicinal vibe; the musk is neither too clean nor too skanky, and the oud is prominent but not overwhelming. The medicinal tone increases a bit as the fragrance moves to its heart phase, but dies down towards the end. The musk, now soft, is the principal theme with a hint of fruity sweetness about it.
    I can't think of many other good fragrances at the intersection of oud and musk. And this is a very good one.

    22nd February, 2015

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    Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

    I had some performance issues with Azzaro pour Homme. It would not project after a while, and would seem to be almost gone in about 4-5 hours. I finished up my bottle about a year back, but now I feel I want to give it a second try.

    The opening of Azzaro pour Homme is one of the greatest olfactory sensations that must be experienced by any fragrance lover at least once. It is a superb spicy concoction where I can pick out the lavender and the anise. This is the phase of Azzaro that I love the most; unfortunately it doesn't last longer than about 30 minutes in my skin. In what follows, the fragrance dies down to a soft and mildly spicy heart. There is a barbershop vibe and just a hint of soapiness. This heart phase transcends to a satisfying soft base while the soapy barbershop feel is retained.

    Overall it is a very, very good fragrance. I will not call it great personally because of two reasons: one, it doesn't perform very well on my skin; two, I feel that Rive Gauche pour Homme, with which it shares many elements of class and character, is a better fragrance. Having said that, Azzaro pour Homme has my appreciation and respect for being what it is and its history and heritage.

    Since it seems to perform well on others on the average, I would say definitely seek this one out.

    22nd February, 2015

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    Private Label by Jovoy



    This is about as woody a fragrance can perhaps get. Jovoy Private Label opens up with an intense woody vibe upon application on the skin, with just a hint of peaty booziness. This vaguely boozy nuance is very fleeting. It soon bids goodbye as a very mild woody sweetness surrounds the central woody theme. It is deep and dark, but not brooding. Patchouli is the most prominent note, apart from cedar and sandalwood which are well-blended. Leather is listed as a note, but is very much in the background; so is the vetiver. It pretty much stays the same throughout from the heart to the base; towards the very end of its lifespan on the skin it is soft, sensuous, even alluring.

    Picture yourself seating in a wooden chair in an old wooden room stacked with old books on an autumnal evening. You walk up to the shelves, picking out and placing back one book after another, as time stands still. Maybe you even sip the occasional dram of bourbon.
    But nothing happens. And that, to me, is the issue with this fragrance. It is missing something. Perhaps some spices, or some moss, or woods, or an adjustment in the blend. There is a spark that is needed, and is absent. I respect it for what it is, but cannot appreciate it much. I almost feel I'm wearing it for the sake of wearing it.

    Projection is moderate and longevity is good. If you're a collector, or a lover of patchouli or woody fragrances, this might be interesting. Otherwise if you look elsewhere, you are not missing out on a lot.

    17th February, 2015

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    Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

    Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver (edp) is one of the very best releases in its genre. This is a fresh, clean vetiver fragrance with some tart citrus, perhaps lemon, in the opening. The citrus subsides after a while and one is left with a very refined scent of vetiver and soft woody notes. It does not project a lot; rather, it is very subtle and sophisticated. Longevity is pretty good, all of which makes it a great choice as an office fragrance.

    It is much less green and leans more towards being 'white' if one has to provide a visual interpretation. It is not as green as Creed Original Vetiver; it pretty much is the modern counterpart to great traditional vetivers such as Guerlain and Givenchy. It is also a perfect complement to the citrus and aquatic fragrances that people usually wear on summer days. While not as stunning as Creed's Original Vetiver (another great fresh vetiver fragrance) or Chanel's Sycomore (a completely different beast), it is a solid fragrance by itself and ticks almost all the right boxes.

    A modern classic.

    16th February, 2015

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    Black Aoud by Montale

    Montale's Dark Aoud is a gorgeous fragrance based on a dark rose note surrounded by patchouli and a deft, delicate handling of oud. The agarwood (oud) is less prominent, and creates a rusty deep woody background with the patchouli, letting the rose shine. The result is a deep, dark, haunting fragrance with great evocative qualities. It makes you dream of the orient, of the cosy alleys on dark cold evenings, of fragrant bazaars, and the alluring charms of an unseen land. It is not the most versatile fragrance, but who cares. It's a pleasure to wear on the right occasions, and is a very personal scent, much like another great oriental - Chergui. Deeply introspective, it has that rare ability to transport you to another time and place.
    Wear this one on a winter evening, while reading Dubliners and sipping a favourite whiskey. You will not be disappointed.

    15th February, 2015

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    L'Eau Bleue D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake

    Even though it's called L'Eau Bleue, this one is essentially a green fragrance. Of the ones I've tried from the house of Issey Miyake, this one is by far the best fragrance for men. A spicy, herbal, green, invigorating opening leads to a very good soapy fragrance. It's somewhat in the same ballpark as another gem- Lanvin L'Homme Sport. It's a pleasure to wear and longevity is pretty decent. The bottle is very attractive.

    15th February, 2015

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