Perfume Reviews

Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

Total Reviews: 349

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.

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.

19th March, 2019

Cuba by Czech & Speake

Czech & Speake's Cuba is the sort of scent that you are never going to get again if the current tides of civilisation and progress (read: mass culture) persist. Here is a proper 'cologne'. I refrain from using the word 'perfume' as it is quite explicit who the target audience is; and, women, if they wear this, they'd perhaps be the ones who prefer colognes over perfumes. Here is a cologne done in the best traditions of the old school, but with some nuances and flourishes that render a suave, fresh appeal rather than something dusty or dated.

Cuba is a simple yet complex affair; beginning with a burst of lime and mint paired with a note of rum. The mint is underplayed and expertly handled so that the concoction smells closer to an abstract cocktail, rather than any toothpaste association. That isn't all; there is a deft touch of clove, and a very prominent note of bay. The aromatics are further shaped by a rapidly developing warm, humid note of tobacco that hints at leafy cigars, together with cedar and vetiver. I don't really get any incense from it, and it smells perfect. The development is brisk, then slowed out as the fresh-aromatic nature encounters a plot twist to reveal a warm, glowing scent. I'm not surprised that warm weather brings out the best in this scent. Luckily I don't get any note of faeces, but then, I never really had a way of life compliant with contemporary North American (specifically: Toronto) standards of sterilisation and sanitisation. Cuba exhibits discreet to average projection and moderate longevity based on an abundant application.

Cuba is far removed from contemporary perfume trends in 2019, and I'm thankful for that. It's 'niche' at designer prices, at least when I bought it a couple of years back; more importantly, its style is very different. There is minimal emphasis on synthetics though I'm sure it employs quite a bit, and it reminds me of the earlier/vintage Creeds like Baie de Genievre. Cuba exhibits excellent separation of notes, is airy, and lingers on in memory space for long after it fades away from skin.

If you're curious about how it relates Havana, they are largely different scents with Cuba being fresh-spicy, whereas Havana is warm-spicy; however, there is an uncanny link in the 'personalities' of the two scents, somehow they feel connected, even after accounting for the tobacco and bay/rum notes. They sort of go hand in hand, and I can say this about both: here there is style, here there is substance. This is a scent for discerning gents who understand and value respect and appreciation; wet shavers, hat wearers, and tango dancers.


Note: Review is of the EdT. I just realised I have never tried the aftershave, and now I feel stupid.
18th March, 2019
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Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

A diluted Tuscan Leather with the raspberry note toned down, and some vague floral notes added. Strangely, I do not find it particularly leather-y, maybe because it feels watered down. The accord is moderately satisfying, but is too meek, and doesn't hold up well for long on my skin - it fades in about a couple of hours. It is linear, in the usual Tom Ford style. Stylistically it is in the same vein as Tuscan Leather or Acqua di Parma Colonia Leather, but those two are much superior.

This is the same as Ombre Leather 16 to my nose. Honestly it seems that much of the fanfare about this fragrance is because it is the same as Ombre Leather 16 (a diluted spin on Tuscan Leather, and Tuscan Leather is too strong for some) at about two-thirds of the price. There are dozens of better leather perfumes at lower prices, including the Acqua di Parma which can be had for less.

14th March, 2019

parfums*PARFUMS Series 4 Cologne: Vettiveru by Comme des Garçons

Vettiveru is precisely what it claims to be - a conventional vetiver cologne. One might even be surprised that this is from Comme des Garçons whose offerings are usually anything but conventional. The vetiver is pitched right in the middle of brightness and smokiness, with some short-lived citrus notes that add a flair. It is somewhat fresh, somewhat dusty, quite dry throughout, and its strength is well calibrated: it does hang in for four to five hours, but sillage is very close to skin. There are some additional notes of cedar that is seamlessly blended with the vetiver. I detect zero florals in this.

If I have to contextualise it in terms of scent profile, it is closer to Sycomore and Guerlain's Vetiver rather than 'modern' stuff like Tom Ford or Zegna. In terms of brightness, it is closer to Sycomore than something like Vetiver Extraordinaire (a bright, zingy vetiver). Vettiveru is uplifting, versatile, and a good alternative to traditional (or modern) citrus colognes. Definitely not for people who don't like vetiver (or are strongly averse to cedar, or woody notes in general). It's not brisk (there are no aromatics here), but it is conservative, and nearly perfect.

21st February, 2019

Santo Incienso by The Different Company

Santo Incienso is an incense and woods scent, dry and bright, rather than anything dark or brooding. I do smell hedione, and the incense accord is transparent, airy, with a tinge of vague sweetness. It is different from other incense/woods scents I've tried, largely due to the accord being different. I liked the accord initially, however, it is largely linear, and it grows tiresome by the dry down when it is humming on around five or six hours. I like potent scents, however, in this case the dry down is more about dry, sharp, synthetic woods rather than something more interesting. I also find a note alluding to pink pepper, initially, though it may not be among the listed notes. Sillage is close but consistent.

Santo Incienso is eventually an underwhelming affair, and only two factors distinguish it from run of the mill woody-incense scents: the accord is somewhat novel (I have no idea what palo santo is supposed to smell like), and it is quite potent. Otherwise, it is nowhere near as nuanced or distinguished as some of the other incense/woods compositions (Comme des Garçons 2 Man and numerous Amouages). This is a case where the perfume could have been much more well done with more careful attention to the dry down, especially if it was more nuanced and less sharp/synthetic. To quote Luca Turin, The Different Company isn't that different any more, and after wearing Santo Incienso one can understand why.

09th February, 2019

Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Dryad is definitely a bonafide green chypre, quite sharp. I smell an accord of oakmoss (moss is prominent and persistent from start to finish) and galbanum, laced with clary sage. I find hints of floral, towards the late dry down, but very reserved. I'm missing completely any woods, resins or musk. Interestingly, I also do not find any note of leather unlike Bandit or Azuree.

Dryad is a commendable choice, but personally fails to hit the mark. I find it too one-dimensional, and lacking in nuances or complexity (unlike, Mito). For this reason, I also find it to be somewhat unfinished and unedited. It comes across as the "green chypre accord" equivalent of one note genre exercises that plague niche perfume lines. If only it had some added depth and dimension - it would have been much more engaging. It is quite abstract thanks to its central accord, but it isn't particularly complex.

I would imagine that Dryad would only specifically appeal to those looking for a specific accord, and even so, sniffing around might prove rewarding. Sillage is close but persistent, and duration is very good at over seven hours based on a moderate application.

07th February, 2019

Casamorati 1888 Fiero by Xerjoff

1888 Fiero is actually a nice scent, with that fresh/herbal mediterranean feel - crisp, with notes of citrus, olive tree, thyme on a middleweight woody base. Quite effortless, and restrained/conservative in a good way. The overall vibe is classic, Italian, something along the lines of a modern interpretation of a vintage citrus-woods, unisex, but with an emphasis on notes traditionally used in masculine (marketed) perfumes. The quality is good, something that one would expect at Xerjoff prices.

1888 Fiero has subdued sillage, and lasts a moderate four to five hours on skin. My issue with it is not so much 'performance', but the fact that this is a bit dense/concentrated in its smell. What it really needed was to let loose the shackles, lighten up the formula (as an EdC or EdP) and make the vibe radiant, rarefied, airy and expansive, perhaps with a lighter base, like many of the brisk, traditional masculine scents.

It's like listening to your favourite upbeat track, but the key is inappropriately low.

02nd February, 2019 (last edited: 22nd February, 2019)

1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

Histoires de Parfums is a line that mostly draws a big yawn from me with one notable exception: 1740 Marquis de Sade, which is a terrific perfume. This is effectively a dry, dusty leather scent reminiscent of old libraries. There are many notes and accords, right from the davana to patchouli and a huge dosage of immortelle. Those who don't like immortelle would probably not enjoy 1740. There's a boozy aspect to the opening, which dissipates in about thirty minutes. There's vanilla in the dry down, but very restrained, while there are also some mild woody nuances.

1740 is quite unique, even among so many leather perfumes; first of all, don't expect a no holds barred leather scent (Tuscan Leather, as an example). Here there are several other complementary directions, because of the immortelle and the patchouli. This is probably what a leathery version of Eau Noire would smell like. 1740 has great longevity on skin, and adequate presence with strong sillage in the first two or three hours. Despite the baroque/opulent themes and (to an extent) demeanour, 1740 is quite wearable, and a versatile evening scent for me.

02nd February, 2019

Eau Lente by Diptyque

An excellent concoction, no doubt, with dry herbs and spices; a lot of cinnamon, woods. There is a dry, dusty vibe that persist from start to finish. It is one of the interesting orientals, in similar category as Noir Epices and Chanel Coco - with barely any sweetness. However, my main issue is that Eau Lente smells more like a parfum d'ambience rather than a personal scent. I also find sillage to be underwhelming, though duration is adequate at over six hours.

Among similar spicy orientals, I find Coco or Noir Epices to be more striking and complete. While Eau Lente is substantial, it is perhaps too quirky, and eventually not very interesting.

01st February, 2019

Fahrenheit Parfum by Christian Dior

Dior, for once, has released a nice perfume. This is an excellent scent with smoky woods, leather, hints of petrol (initially) on a base of dry, bitter vanilla. The violet leaf is very prominent; the Fahrenheit DNA is clearly there, and it also reminds me a bit of Fahrenheit Absolute. No harshness, very smooth, and the execution from start to finish is very good. I find both sillage and longevity to be good.

This will probably be loved by people who love Fahrenheit (I do). I often wear Fahrenheit in spring and summers; by contrast, I prefer the Parfum in cooler weather. It's also quite versatile, and can be dressed up or down.

All in all a welcome twist on Fahrenheit that is neither trivial nor insubstantial.

31st January, 2019

Sagamore by Lancôme

Note: Review is of the 'current' version.

I haven't tried the vintage version of Sagamore, but based on reviews and comments I have some idea of what it can be like. The version of Sagamore I have tried from my sample is the re-release. This is completely at odds with descriptions of the vintage I've read. Even if a perfume is stripped of oakmoss, there remains the skeleton essence - as is evident in the overwhelming majority of reformulations. Sagamore smells completely different, with vague, soft spices and florals (jasmine) over an indistinctive base of woods and musk. It is what I imagine Le 3me Homme de Caron would smell like if diluted to 40% and considerably cheapened. Both sillage and duration are sub par.

30th January, 2019

Tubéreuse 1 Capricieuse by Histoires de Parfums

I don't know if this was reformulated, or I have an old sample, but Tubereuse 1 is one of the most underwhelming tuberose (or floral) scents I've encountered. The opening is bright with citrus, soon overtaken by an accord of fresh, polite tuberose paired with faint waxy iris. However, there is little development thereafter, before everything collapses into a generic soft, musky dry down. Sillage is close, and duration is underwhelming at about five hours for what is purported to be an EdP.

With the recent resurgence of tuberose in mainstream perfumes, (Gucci Bloom; Twilly d'Hermes) there are several better alternatives at half the price or less.

29th January, 2019
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Cozé 02 by Parfumerie Generale

Sumptuous patchouli fragrance. Specifically, a lot more going on here: there's a touch of pimento pepper (similar to Piment Brulant, but more subdued), some clever nuances of cocoa-chocolate, and a two-faceted accord of 'green' tobacco (no sweetness) and marijuana. In fact, it smells quite close to someone smoking a beedi (a form of cigarette common in the Indian subcontinent) - especially if the smoker was also wearing patchouli oil.

However, here's the great thing about Coze: despite its diverse elements, it is coherent, suave and and has a rugged sophistication. It is also very well-crafted, easy to wear; expansive and makes one feel good. While it is a patchouli fragrance, it is not a one-note bore but is multifaceted, and in the same 'patchouli plus' group that would include Coromandel, A*Men or Nicolai's Patchouli. I also find it to have some 'green'/herbal elements, similar to Devin or Wazamba.

There is hardly any sweetness in this, and the overall vibe is dry, dusty. Finally, it is an EdT and wears exactly as it should. It is a little loud initially but quickly tones down in thirty minutes when its best dynamics come into play, and it is very soft after six or seven hours.

One of the most unique (and wearable) perfumes on the market.

26th January, 2019

1 Million Intense by Paco Rabanne

Sweet, synthetic and rather ghastly, with some effects that are supposed to create a 'darker' version of 1 Million but end up generating a muddled version of the latter. I find quite a few similarities with Invictus, which as another ghastly woody-amber. Additionally, it smells quite crude and cheap, somewhat shocking considering the price point.

Maybe I'm missing some joke here.


26th January, 2019

La Fumée / La Fumée Classic by Miller Harris

La Fumee is a standard citrus-woody fragrance with some touches of incense and resin. The citrus I smell here mostly hints at orange. It is a bit reminiscent of Terre d'Hermes, and more so of Declaration (perhaps due to the cumin). Surprisingly, the citrus note sort of hangs in there and comes back now and then. Hints of leather and smoke in the dry down, but the overall vibe is very reserved and conservative. Sillage is close, and duration is at around six hours based on a moderate application.

La Fumee is well crafted, easy-to-wear, and versatile; I would use it as an office scent, or something a little more casual. My gripe with La Fumee is common to all Miller Harris scents I've tried. They are rather unexciting and lack a spark or two - at least, for me. Among light or middleweight smoky-woody scents, I find Comme des Garcons Black far more interesting and lively.

26th January, 2019

Voyage by Nautica

Among the gazillion citrus-aquatics for men on the market, Nautica Voyage gets it right. It is very much a run of the mill citrus, florals, musk with aquatic (water?) notes, but the key here is that each component is well calibrated, and restrained by the others. While it does smell synthetic initially, it settles down quite well on skin in half hour. Thereafter it is a nice citrus-aquatic eau de cologne, bright, fun, androgynous. It's a notch or two below Bvlgaris and Armanis in terms of refinement, but it is also more casual and upbeat.

I think of Voyage as an 'extended' eau de cologne, sort of a muted EdT. I still prefer Mugler Cologne or Chanel's Allure Homme Sport Cologne; however, Voyage is different, and on some days it's a great pick-me-up. To me it's the best in its class and price-point, together with Tommy Bahama's Set Sail St. Bart's for Men.

26th January, 2019

Bleu de Chanel Parfum by Chanel

If you're reading this, I'd mention that Wild Gardener's review below is spot on.

While I like the idea of Bleu (men's aftershave in the 21st century ?), I don't like the EdT (too scratchy-synthetic) or the EdP (smoother but too quiet and indistinctive). Parfum addresses the two concerns by being a smoother, richer (and somewhat 'dense') variation of the same idea. The grapefruit-geranium is polished, sleek, followed by a woody dry down that's subtly sweet. One good thing: very restrained sweetness, even more so on (my) skin than on paper. However, it's too meek, too quiet, and I wonder what is the point? I would have loved an expansive version of this that would form a bubble of Bleu. Duration is very much middle of the road. It lasts less than Egoiste or Antaeus on my skin (and my bottles are recent).

26th January, 2019

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

This is how I like it. Very crisp, with lots of rosemary, sage and laurel, and the lavender is very smoothly blended in - unlike sweet modern lavenders. It is suave, it is fresh. The dry down is driven by moss and accentuated by a vague, hazy sweetness of honey and tonka, which makes it a little cosy; moderate separation of notes, and excellent balance. Sometimes rugged, sometimes refined, soothing, uplifting, robust, decidedly old school and definitely out of fashion (isn't that a good thing?). It isn't as sophisticated as Rive Gauche pour Homme, and is a tad less dressed up than Azzaro, but it is more effortless. I find there are some similarities in 'personality' with Bogart ("classic/signature"), even though scent profiles are somewhat different. A must try if you're into wet shaving or barbershop scents; discreet sillage and moderate duration.


Note: My bottle is a 'semi-vintage' splash. No idea as to how the current stuff is.

20th January, 2019 (last edited: 10th March, 2019)

Chrome Legend by Azzaro

This is complete garbage, and I would add that it wasn't always like this. Years ago it did smell like a fresh fruity aquatic, albeit synthetic; something in the territory of Nautica Voyage. Now this reeks of harsh metallic aromachemicals, with unbalanced blending. Now it's in the same camp as Ferragamo's Incanto Blue, though the latter is worse.

For what its worth, Nautica Voyage is a much superior alternative based on current versions. Seriously, even Aqua Velva Ice Blue smells much nicer for a fraction of the cost. Yes, it's in the same general category as Acqua di Gio, but the difference in quality is about the same as the difference in price.

17th January, 2019

Davidoff by Davidoff

This, right here, is probably the most glorious example of what a citrus leather can be. This is no Bel Ami, where citrus is just a brief prelude. This is a no holds barred citrus aromatic floral leather with a big punch of oakmoss. In fact, I primarily think of it as a neon green citrus in the best possible way, lit up by a heady mix of florals with the darker notes of leather and moss lurking underneath. That doesn't perhaps describe how it actually smells like - it is sophisticated, but, more than anything else, incredibly suave and smooth. Something that I'd tag as 'something classic, something Italian'. Yes, Versace L'Homme and Moschino pour Homme are in the same genre, but the Moschino is more subdued and restrained with less of the citrus. And, Versace L'Homme is a bright, big lemon-leather, but the Davidoff is a tad more complex. What I find absolutely incredible here is that the lime stands out, together with lemon, and the citrus notes are deftly supported by herbs that lend a certain ruggedness, a refined aura, and furthermore accentuated by a bouquet of carnation and jasmine that add a sheen and radiance that is unique, a brilliance that is found in only rare gems like Givenchy's Insense. Moreover, the in the mid phase and in the later dry down, there is a hint of a tobacco note, a genius allusion that is not often encountered in modern scents.

I usually reach for the Davidoff in cold weather, though it does just as well in the heat. It has an extended duration on skin of over eight hours, and the projection is very strong with thick sillage for the first three to four hours, though it later calms down appreciably. I've surprisingly been complimented (something that very rarely happens) on this scent many times by different people. The personality of this scent is very much masculine, perhaps someone a bit more dashing than reserved, with a sharp suit, patent leather dress shoes and stainless steel watch, and a sports car. It does smell a lot like several other 80s fragrances, but it has aged better than many others, and is more than just nostalgia. I would mention that Vermeil pour Homme is in very similar ballpark, with a more noticeable tobacco note and toned down florals, and sort of a 2D interpretation of Davidoff. I would also note Christopher Street (Charenton Macerations) to be a modern mossy citrus leather with florals that could be imagined to be a contemporary interpretation of Davidoff.

Davidoff is one of those very rare examples where everything comes together to create a remarkable perfume. In my view, it is as good as anything Davidoff has ever brought to the market. I always find it to be uplifting and reassuring, and it never fails to puts me in the mood to go out and see more of this world.

25th December, 2018

Bois Rouge by Tom Ford

I am a little baffled after wearing Bois Rouge and comparing its listed notes with what I smelled. My perceptions are also rather different in its details from what most reviewers assess this scent to be. I primarily find it to be a spicy, woody scent with prominent leathery undertones. I find an accord of woods and leather that isn't far removed from Bel Ami or Declaration. I find Bois du Portugal mentioned, but they are somewhat different in my books due to the nature of the spices. While I am not able to isolate individual spice notes in the Creed, Bois Rouge smells of something that distinctly hints at cumin. On my skin, Bois Rouge lasts an appreciable six to seven hours with moderate projection for about the first three hours.

Bois Rouge isn't anything special, but a decent, commendable woods fragrance in an overcrowded genre. I find it to be a tad synthetic smelling at times (as is usual with Tom Ford Private Blends) as opposed to something like Bois du Portugal or Bel Ami which possess natural elegance. Bois Rouge has some mild smokey aspects that add a dimension of interest. Bois Rouge sits at the cross roads of the leathers (Bel Ami) and woods (Bois du Portugal), but is much less distinctive than something like Declaration that occupies the same niche in my books. Overall, Bois Rouge is more likely to appeal to Tom Ford collectors than discerning enthusiasts.

It is nice, but is nice good enough?

25th December, 2018

Grimoire by Anatole Lebreton

Grimoire (lovely name) is mostly a cumin driven leather fragrance to me. In my books, it is Declaration meets Puredistance M Light minus the vanilla. I love cumin, and the aforementioned duo, so I naturally find much to like in Grimoire. All other notes (lavender, resins) are lost on my skin. I do detect a woody undertone from the cedar (don't get much patchouli either) that counterbalances the cumin. Cumin is definitely the star, showcasing its wonderful warmth and radiance. Still, Grimoire is somewhat subdued on my skin. While what I smell on skin is captivating, what I smell via projection is less striking. Sillage is moderate and persistent, and duration is good - at least seven hours from a dosage of ~ 0.8 ml.

While I find Grimoire to be an attractive leather fragrance, I feel it is rather redundant (to me, anyway) given the existence of Declaration (and its flankers), Eau d'Hermes and M. Grimoire could be a nice signature scent for discerning women and men. However, I feel Declaration and M are the scents I'd lean back on. Finally, I should perhaps re-emphasize this: nothing in this smells even remotely of lavender to me. While it's indeed a nice scent (one could do far, far worse), I feel the lack of uniqueness or any novelty leaves me somewhat uninterested. Definitely recommended if you are a fan of this style/niche of perfumes; this could become your second skin.

27th November, 2018

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

Now that the dust has settled on the first decade of this century, I find it easier to think about Infusion d'Homme in relation to what it captures for me, and how much I've remembered it. Among mainstream releases marketed to men, it is one of the best of that decade. I recall trying it many times at stores together with other perfumes, and its smell was always lost on the test strip: I simply couldn't smell anything in the olfactory cacophony of other perfumes sprayed in the same environment.

A few years down the line I tried it from a small decant, received due to the courtesy of a Basenotes friend. I was struck by its soft-hazy yet clear form. It reminded me of Mugler Cologne because of the soap; however, while Mugler was fun and uplifting, Infusion d'Homme was sombre and introspective. I found it to bear some similarities with Bois d'Argent, in part because of the iris and the myrrh, and in part because of their personalities. Years later when I'd sampled Iris de Nuit, I found they sometimes speak in the same language, but always tell different stories. Infusion d'Homme was always compared to Prada Amber pour Homme, and they had many similarities, both being fresh, interesting and reminiscent of soap, but with one key difference: Amber pour Homme was warm and friendly, while Infusion d'Homme was cool and aloof.

If you like Christian Dior's aesthetic of pale greys and pastel pinks, Infusion d'Homme could be for you. I find it soft yet gently persistent, with notes of clean iris, a light and moody incense, and a touch of myrrh; they together manage to create something airy, and an accord that is a dead ringer for soap. A good quality bar of white soap; very simple but quintessentially chic and androgynously beautiful. Yet, the most unique feature of this scent is its subtlety, and that, it is inoffensive and always appropriate; and another very interesting aspect is that it is clean, soapy yet shyly sensuous and intimate, while completely shunning any conventional notes used for such effects. On my skin it sits quietly with soft occasional wafts, and duration is moderate at about six hours. It's been one of my most worn scents, and it's been uplifting in the heat and comforting when cold.

I once read a comment on a blog post about Infusion d'Homme: "young people, especially single, could use this". For some reason, those words have stayed with me; maybe because I did use it quite a bit in my twenties. These days I find it more calming than before; it reminds me of the cacophony that it got drowned in, and I connect it to the cacophony of a world that gets messier each day. It doesn't solve life's problems, but it is comforting. If I weren't nuts, I'd have worn it everyday.


P.S. Infusion d'Homme has been discontinued. I have tried Infusion d'Iris Cedre on paper and on skin, and it is at least 98% identical. I attribute the difference of 2% to my vivid imagination. The prices are not identical.

25th November, 2018

Prada L'Homme Intense by Prada

After having worn Prada L'Homme Intense a few times, I feel it speaks to me more about the mainstream modern masculines than what it exactly is. It is a mainstream modern masculine, the ubiquitous 2018 mall fragrance, but done at a level that is several notches above the average competition. Daniela Andrier, who's been creating perfumes for Prada for over a decade, has created a fragrance that has its roots in Dior Homme, but is more mass appealing (if that is possible? Wasn't Dior Homme mass appealing?). L'Homme Intense, of course, is directly related to Prada L'Homme, which is in similar ballpark, albeit fresher and more powdery. L'Homme Intense has notes of iris, tonka - essentially a toned down "lipstick accord" from Dior Homme / Dior Homme Intense, with a touch of leather, the leather that is apparent in the Dior Homme DNA. On my skin, L'Homme Intense has subdued but noticeable sillage, and a solid duration of at least six hours based in moderate weather.

Now I intend to discuss my principal issue with L'Homme Intense: it smells as if I've spent all day at Sephora. Again, one could do far worse. However, the detraction in this case is the loss of the personal. It doesn't smell like a person, but rather captures the smell of the perfume aisle of the shopping mall (perhaps because that's what they spray in the air?). It is intended as a more serious fragrance (as opposed to a fun, sporty cologne), but it is not sensuous or intimate. This is not (only) my personal take, but the opinion of three non-perfumista friends. It also does smell a tad synthetic (what doesn't, these days?), but because the central underlying accord doesn't have any occurrence or parallel in nature, rather than any clumsy treatment or issues of budget (I believe that any such thing wouldn't be composed/released by Andrier/Prada). L'Homme Intense, nonetheless, marks a solemn personal moment of "not how it used to be": it definitely cannot replace on my shelf any of the earlier Prada favourites - Amber pour Homme, Infusion d'Homme or Amber pour Homme Intense.

25th November, 2018

Lemon Line by Mancera

I'd give the disclaimer that Lemon Line runs quite contrary to my tastes, especially these days. I don't find the concentrated citrus genre particularly appealing; I prefer my citrus frags to be classic and fleeting eau de colognes (Imperial, Cologne Sologne), or updated modern versions that are still rarefied but add noticeable legs (Mugler Cologne, Allure Homme Sport Cologne), or other citrus classics where the base is heavier and distinct and there are interesting transitions (from the lighter Eau Sauvage and Acqua di Parma Colonias to heavier citrus leathers such as Davidoff and Versace L'Homme).

Lemon Line doesn't really fit in with the aforementioned; instead, it is closer to the modern 'concentrated citrus' canon of Neroli Portofino, Cologne Indelebile or Aqua Viva (and is closest to the latter in terms of scent profile). I feel one would also get some parallels with Chanel's Allure Homme Sport Edition Blanche.

Returning to Lemon Line, here are the pros: it does quite well what it's supposed to do - being a long lasting lemon perfume with adequate presence and sillage. Here are the cons: the overall vibe is somewhat synthetic, it isn't really fresh but is scaled towards the candied lemon territory (but it isn't sweet as such, thankfully), and can occasionally be reminiscent of lemon pledge. Lemon pledge isn't that bad; one can smell and smell of things far worse. Heck, it can even hint at lemon pies at times. I find it to be largely linear with notes of lemon (nothing fresh or natural, but rather dried and somewhat artificial) and something that vaguely hints at dried florals and musks and amber. The 'lemony' aspect gradually tones down over several hours as the dry down is largely shaped by a white musk, that's actually handled deftly: it gives a lot of body to the composition without being in-your-face synthetic or bordering close to laundry musk associations. To be blunt, the dry down is more pleasant than the initial few hours.

All in all, Lemon Line is a composition that you would probably like or not based on two broad criteria: a) whether you like this type of concentrated modern "dense" citrus compositions, and b) your tolerance level for perfumes that smell somewhat synthetic: in other words, are you generally okay with Montales and Manceras? If you're in for a), but not okay with b), be prepared to shell out twice as much for Aqua Viva. The key difference is that the Profumum is much more natural smelling, richer, sparkling; also, the Profumum has a woody base unlike the musks I smell in Lemon Line. If you can live with b), Lemon Line is definitely a very sound proposition.

In terms of strength and duration, I find Lemon Line to be better than Neroli Portofino, in the ballpark of Cologne Indelebile, and maybe just marginally below the Profumum. Please note that I'm referencing Neroli Portofino and Cologne Indelebile only for purposes of benchmarking; in terms of scent profile they are different (they are neroli driven compositions, while Lemon Line is about "Lemon Line"). Sillage is moderate to close (it's primarily a citrus frag), persistent, and duration is excellent at over six hours when worn in moderate weather.


(Note that the rating is largely reflective of personal preference, as explained above. This can be a 'home run' for the right target audience: which I am not.)
25th November, 2018

Monsieur. by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

One would expect a certain degree of polish from Frederic Malle perfumes, whether one likes the perfume or not. Monsieur. is an exception. It is an exercise in patchouli, although it doesn't come across as a 'routine patchouli'. It is overladen with woody-spicy notes, rum or whatever, and the patchouli is thick, dark without any softness or sweetness. However, it is also extremely one dimensional, banal, pointless, synthetic, and very irritating after an hour on the skin. It has a certain leathery aspect, but that's when one tries very hard to find nuances. For the records, sillage is moderate and duration is good on my skin.

The most puzzling aspect of Monsieur. is that is not rugged, but rather unrefined. It almost smells like an art patchouli perfume exercise gone wrong, and it feels that there has not been any edits. In fact, to be blunt, this is one of the most annoying perfumes I've ever tried. Very much a disaster, and easily one of the worst in the line.

04th November, 2018

Au Delà Narcisse by Bruno Fazzolari

This is a well executed fragrance that's an interpretation of the retro floral chypre genre. The bergamot is soft, leading to notes of narcissus and jasmine. The oakmoss is there in the dry down, though not a lot of it, unlike some vintages. I do not get orange blossom or amber at any stage of development. Sad, as I think they would've added another dimension. Somewhat unisex, could be a bit femme for some; sillage and projection are soft, though duration is moderate.

My tastes are shifting away from this style of perfumes. While it's nice, you might want to shop around for Givenchy III or other vintages. It is dry, and has some green elements, but is not a 'green chypre' like Dryad. Among modern stuff that revisit the chypre style, I prefer the richer and more nuanced Chypre Palatin, or the rugged MAAI.

01st November, 2018

Sycomore Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Yes, Sycomore EdT is a vetiver scent, and it's perhaps not as versatile as many other vetivers (because it's all of luxe, chic and root-sy), and sillage is close and longevity so-so, and moreover it's gone now.

So what?

Sycomore has one of the loveliest accords in perfumery, a rooty, smoky, haunting vetiver with touches of iris, aldehydes, cypress, all blended to perfection. My words are just words, but you must smell it. Some enjoy it in summers, I enjoy it in early fall for its autumnal qualities. Once the sparkling top fizzles out quickly, I find the scent almost to be a country cousin of Pour Monsieur.

Did I say it's memorable?

4.5/5 (Perhaps 3.5/5 considering price/concentration issues, but, for once, let us not be accountants. :-) )
19th October, 2018

Paestum Rose by Eau d'Italie

Peppery rose with a light, woody base. The rose is fresh and green, perhaps somewhat dewy. It stays away from the soliflore territory due to the embellishments. Next to the rose, there is an accord in the top and the mid phases that recalls vinegar, even brine. Paestum Rose is smart, chic and unisex with moderate sillage and duration.

Overall it's somewhat lacking in both depth and character. While nice, I find it to be limited next to stuff like La Fille de Berlin or Rossy de Palma. It also reminds me of Voleur de Roses, but the L'Artisan is more pale and interesting.

17th October, 2018