Perfume Reviews

Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

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Total Reviews: 315

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum by Chanel

Disappointingly thin elevator guy type scent with no sillage and short duration.

The idea is nice (aftershave), but the execution is sub par and an insult to the price tag.

One upside is that it's less synthetic smelling than the EdT.


2/5
17th September, 2018

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

While I started out liking fougeres, I've sort of moved on from them. There are several that I've worn and liked, even loved - from the classic Azzaro, to the futuristic Jazz, the verdant Tsar and the rich Nobile. However, the one that has stayed with me the most is Rive Gauche pour Homme. Nothing else matches its admirable qualities of being modern, cosmopolitan, but yet so fundamentally wholesome and grounded in the best qualities of traditional perfumes. It is a seamless blend with a seamless transition - the vivid lavendar-geranium is spiked with the freshness of rosemary and thyme, spiced up with star anise and clove (not medicinal, not strong, but deft and subtle) on a bed of soft patchouly and creamy guaiac wood. However, notes only tell part of the story, as the end product is as elementary and essential as a tailored fine white shirt; and while being spectacular, it is also very much an 'everyday' scent, doesn't seek attention or needs to stand out, but forms a distinguished, fragrant cloud around the wearer.

Rive Gauche pour Homme has become my most-worn scent, and as a fact I'm fairly familiar with its bits and parts. It is, perhaps, not fun the way Mugler Cologne is, or it doesn't make a statement like Kouros. However, it is effortlessn, and is a genuine contender for being a part of the curated wardrobe of a discerning gent. I can mention it in the same breath as New York Intense as being examples of fine gentlemanly scents that are indeed signature worthy, always appropriate, and, unfortunately, fast disappearing.



5/5
17th September, 2018

Allure Homme Sport Cologne by Chanel

Allure Homme Sport Cologne is indeed a fresh, 'sporty' fragrance, with a synthetic but well done accord of citrus on a base of clean musk. Usually something along such lines end up being sub par; but here it is different. What I like about it is that the focus is soft and hazy - there's no shrill or sharp edge. It doesn't smell like a modern Chanel masculine; rather, it smells something that Hermes would probably release, save for the effect something akin to 'aldehydes' in the very beginning, toned down and very brief. The scent itself is very simple, but is fun and never intrusive. I find sillage to be close but persistent, and duration is surprisingly good at several hours in hot weather.


Allure Homme Sport isn't the best in its category on the market; Mugler Cologne is. However, Allure Homme Sport is a viable second choice, given how disappointing all masculine mainstream 'sport' fragrances or colognes are nowadays, especially with the demise of Dior Homme Sport. The other interesting aspect is that I imagine it work would quite well on women. Allure Homme Sport Cologne is probably something that was supposed to run totally contrary to my taste; yet, it doesn't, and I have bought myself a 150 ml bottle. It has quickly become a wardrobe staple in the hot weather.

3.5/5
02nd September, 2018
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Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

I've waited a few years to try Bentley for Men Absolute (instead of blind buying it), and rightly so. I like very much Bentley for Men Intense, but Absolute doesn't make the mark at all. This is all the more surprising since this is rated to be similar to the discontinued Gucci pour Homme I (which I like). Yes, it is similar, but there is a key difference: it smells stale, stuffy and musty, before quickly fading on skin.

In this category of woody-incense, I still find Comme des Garcons 2 Man to be a benchmark, and one that I would suggest instead of the Bentley. If on a budget, even Azzaro's Visit compares favourably to Bentley for Men Absolute in my books.


2/5
18th August, 2018

Incanto Pour Homme Blue by Salvatore Ferragamo

Shrill metallic grapefruit combined with screechy aquatic notes on a base of synthetic detergent musks. I would consider it to be in the same genre as Nautica Voyage or Azzaro Chrome. I admit not being the biggest admirer of this style, but this is the worst I've tried from this category.

It didn't trigger any headache or nausea, but it did make me seriously question my love of perfumes.


0.5/5
28th July, 2018

Acqua di Parma Colonia Leather by Acqua di Parma

I didn't have high expectations from Acqua di Parma Colonia Leather, but it is indeed a nice leather fragrance, modern and sleek. No marks for originality, as it is very similar to Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather; so much so that having both is perhaps redundant. However, it doesn't have the fruity aspect of Tuscan Leather, and is instead citrusy. Colonia Leather is largely defined by a linear leather accord, smelling similar to brand new leather shoes, rich and dark but also with a nice suede aspect. There is an ashy element to the accord, especially in the beginning and mid phases, but it mellows down after a couple of hours. While unoriginal, given Tuscan Leather and the plethora of 'smellalikes', Colonia Leather is quite well balanced and edited, which shows the expertise of the perfumer.

Colonia Leather has good sillage and duration on my skin based on a moderate application. I am surprised to discover that it wears very well on summer days, and sillage is perhaps even better. If you can manage it without overbearing, this could be the leather counterpart to the summery suedes like Cuiron and Daim Blond. Leather is often an abstraction in perfumery, and Colonia Leather isn't abstract. It is not as refined as Cuir Cannage, Cuir d'Ange, Cuir de Russie or Cuir Ottoman, and it is not as complex as Cuir Mauresque or M. Whether one likes Colonia Leather (or Tuscan Leather, for that matter) depends on whether one likes or dislikes this principal smoky accord of leather. I happen to like it quite a bit.


3.5/5
21st July, 2018

Azzaro pour Homme Night Time by Azzaro

Azzaro pour Homme Night Time is a mixed bag for me. This actually could have been very good, if it didn't have a particular shortcoming. For a change, even though this is a relatively recent mainstream release, it isn't loaded with calone or melon or sweet/fresh woody ambers. It begins very promisingly with a juxtaposition of bright orange and rhubarb, quite well done; the orange is similar to the one in the original Jaguar (green bottle). The orange and rhubarb are paired with dry woody notes, with a hint of spice, though neither pepper nor nutmeg is prominent separately. However, then comes the collapse after about 2-3 hours in the dry down, which is just plain scratchy, synthetic woods. I don't know if this is a case of cash running out, though I would guess that to be likely.

I found Night Time to actually have good persistent sillage, and a good duration of over seven hours based on a moderate application. It is also somewhat unique in how it smells, I cannot immediately think of other fragrances that would be similar. The synthetic woods dry down, which would have been okay ten years ago when I was 21 and less picky, is a deal breaker today. It's a disappointment, as the fragrance is rather nice otherwise. Also, as you might have guessed, it bears no relation scent-wise to the original Azzaro pour Homme.


3/5
01st July, 2018

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

I find Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme to be a missed opportunity more than anything else. Here is a fragrance by Gucci, after all those tiresome non-perfume entities, that merits at least a second sniff. It is a leather-vetiver scent, and quite far removed from everything else among mainstream perfumes. It starts off on skin with a lush note of medicinal leather. The leather is characterised by a particular medicinal character that hints at antiseptics and hospitals, and yet is oddly compelling, even brilliant. It is by no means an outlandish accord, but it is odd among mainstream perfumes, and hence the reaction. However, this leather accord doesn't persist and transforms into a vetiver dominated accord within an hour, which is largely nice but rather underwhelming after the initial phase. I do not detect any patchouli or cypress at any stage of development. I also find it to be extremely subdued on skin, and it practically disappears in about four hours. I do note that the dry down is soft and sensuous, and this can be an interesting office scent for people who wear stuff like Cuiron.

Gucci Guilty Absolute is definitely a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with clichéd fresh woody-ambers. It is innovative. However, it fails short of the mark personally, largely due to its potency/concentration issues. As an innovative leather scent it brings to mind Fahrenheit, but is rather tame in comparison. Leather vetivers are not that novel, with Bel Ami Vetiver being perhaps the most immediate example. In the context of medicinal leathers that push the envelope, it is comparable to Arte Profumi's Fumoir, which is pricier but more compelling. In fact, I recommend Fumoir to those who would find similar shortcomings in the Gucci. Gucci Guilty Absolute does not change the world of mainstream corporate perfumes, but it makes one more hopeful about positive change.



3/5
13th June, 2018

Skin Bracer by Mennen


Note: Review is of the aftershave.


I would give the disclaimer that I'm only familiar with the aftershave version of Skin Bracer; I haven't seen any cologne formulation, though I admit not having looked hard. Skin Bracer is a mentholated aftershave that does precisely what it claims: provides a cooling blast of menthol and tones and moisturises the skin. I perceive the menthol content to be comparable to that of Ice Blue, and higher than that of Ice Sport. The scent is rather nice and is structured as a two part story - an initial spark of menthol that is quickly followed by a fougere accord that soon dries down to a warm base with hints of coumarin-like sweetness. I am surprised to find no harshness in the scent, which could perhaps be due to low concentration. It reminds me of Brut, but is softer. I am also pleasantly surprised to find that Skin Bracer works excellently on my skin, as a toner and also for a bit of moisturisation. I find this to be a marginally superior product to its competitor Ice Blue, and it can be useful for pairing as an aftershave with traditional fougere scents like Brut, Paco Rabanne pour Homme or Azzaro pour Homme.


3.5/5
12th June, 2018

Aqua Velva Ice Sport by Williams


Note: Review is of the aftershave.


I am not aware of Aqua Velva Ice Sport being available as a cologne; the only format I'm familiar with is the aftershave, which one can pick up for cheap at US and Canadian drugstores. I am currently on a menthol kick and greatly loving the cooling effect mentholated aftershaves provide after a wet shave. I thought that Ice Sport would feature a higher concentration of menthol than its progenitor Ice Blue and went for it; surprisingly, it does not. If anything, I sense more menthol in Ice Blue. The scent is indeed fresher than Ice Blue, and features an accord that is not unlike the lemon-verbena accord in Green Irish Tweed. That does make me question my sanity for having purchased the Creed at hundred times the price of Ice Sport; the consolation is that the Creed is richer and deeper, as one would expect, and not unreasonably. Ice Blue has a nice touch of warmth in the dry down that Ice Sport lacks, and other properties (astringency, moisturisation) are no better than those of Ice Blue.

All in all a largely superfluous product, but perhaps some consumers appreciate the variety.


2.5/5
12th June, 2018

Furyo by Jacques Bogart

Furyo is a musky, woody fragrance with a slight animalic twist. This is a crowded category (especially among vintages), but Furyo distinguishes itself with some wonderful touches of rose and jasmine, and a faint honeyed sweetness. The other accomplishment is that the emphasis is on the perfume rather than any shock value: it does very well on the Guy Robert test. Moreover, it doesn't emphasize 'masculinity', or being a 'powerhouse': there is definitely a subtlety here, as is a generous dose of romanticism. This possibly comes from the rich floral heart, and the slightly amber-y quality. The civet is there from beginning to end, but only to add a touch of sensuality.

The drawback is that the base appears somewhat thin, at least for my tastes. It's very engaging with a lush accord filled with subdued notes of amber, patchouli, and musk - but one would have preferred more richness. I find Furyo to exhibit moderate sillage, and good duration of six to seven hours on skin based on a conservative application of 4-5 sprays. Furyo is worthy of consideration if one's looking for an alternative to something like Kouros, but more floral, gentle and autumnal.


3.5/5
08th June, 2018

Mr. Vetiver by Une Nuit à Bali

Mr. Vetiver is a fresh, spicy-woody aromatic composition with a focus on cardamom and vetiver. The initial burst of citrus and cardamom makes it smell like a Declaration flanker for five minutes; soon a note of fresh geranium joins to brighten things. The cardamom gradually calms down over a couple of hours; the base of vetiver is soft, light, subtly sweet and a little nondescript.

While Mr. Vetiver is elegant, it touches on too many personal woody masculine clichés to be considered seriously. Sillage is good initially but diminishing, and the dry down is rather faint on my skin. This could have been more engaging if it had a more substantial base. It's also somewhat simplistic, and is one of those scents that one quickly grows tired of after a couple of wears.

This might be interesting for someone considering a spicy-aromatic vetiver that is mainstream and inoffensive, with the emphasis on 'mainstream' and 'inoffensive'; however, along similar lines, something like Mugler's Fougere Furieuse is far more compelling. Perhaps ideal for spring and fall weathers.

2.5/5
02nd June, 2018

Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

Brisk, conservative lavender - very English.

The lavender is paired with a restrained peppermint, similar to the one in Cuba, which livens up the composition. Rosemary is vaguely discernible in the accord, but adds a suave herbal freshness to the composition. The lavender paves way to a charming light mossy, woody base that persists for a few hours. Projection is low, sillage is close and duration on skin is average at around five hours based on a generous application.

Oxford & Cambridge is quintessentially classic, refined and cut from quality cloth - a notch above something like Penhaligons. What works here is that the resultant composition is simple, elegant and effortless. It is not dressy, but rather an everyday scent, perhaps even a comfort scent.

It also helps that the lavender here is quite good. While I personally prefer Encens et Lavande for a fresh lavender, Oxford & Cambridge is a noteworthy lavender fragrance together with Caron and Gris Clair.

While it is fresh, I find it to work best in temperate weather. Perhaps a little 'masculine', and a must try for wet shavers.


3.5/5
25th May, 2018
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Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso by Dolce & Gabbana

More than five years ago I went through a bottle of Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme, made in Germany, which was a limited but respectable offering. Fast forward to 2018, and I am wearing Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso. I see many superficial similarities to the original, but here the scent is different.

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme is basically redolent of a lemon scented high quality toilet floor cleaner. I get immediate flashbacks of toilet attendants handing out towels and intermittently spraying lemon-lavender fresheners in air and on the sparkling Italian (the Italian connection) floor tiles, while guys bathed themselves in Axe in the nightclub restrooms at Park Hotel, Calcutta, circa mid 2000s. This was in fact confirmed by my good friend (no perfume snob, has been wearing Acqua di Gio for a decade), who regularly played bass with rock bands at the said venue.

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intense is lemon-lavender paired to aquatic notes and woody amber, but balanced and more towards the fresher side. However, it’s better suited as an excellent parfum d’ambience.


1.5/5
25th May, 2018

Dior Homme Sport (2012) by Christian Dior

I am a big fan of the 2008 version of Dior Homme Sport. A great casual summer fragrance, very lemony, rich and the lemon is paired to the brilliant central accord of Dior Homme, but only a smidgen of the latter.

Now exploring the 2012 iteration, I find that the lemon is toned down, while the Dior Homme accord is more prominent together with ginger. So far so good, it would seem. However, the dry down, as so often, is where everything comes apart. It degenerates into an overly synthetic smelling accord of woods, to the point of being abrasive. In comparison, this would make something like Chanel’s Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport seem like composed of rare essential oils.


1.5/5
25th May, 2018

Déclaration Parfum by Cartier

Declaration Parfum is basically Declaration EdT, but with a generous lashing of popular woody amber notes, and most importantly - muddled and flattened. This is Declaration tailored to mass mediocrity, so much so that it doesn’t declare anything anymore. Here there is a greater exploration of cardamom; however it is the spicy warmth of synthetic cardamom, which is a darling ‘spice twist’ of so many modern designer masculines, and not a study of the green aromatic attributes of fresh cardamom as one finds in the beautiful Declaration d’Un Soir EdT. There is also a discernible leathery vibe; however, as one would imagine, the cumin driven edginess is of the original is completely gone.

Sillage is good and duration is excellent at over ten hours - but what is the point? To make no declaration, and silently conform?


2/5
25th May, 2018

Dent de Lait by Serge Lutens

I had little expectation for Dent de Lait, but was enthused after trying this on a paper strip. It had this fresh, milky and vaguely metallic note jostling alongside heliotrope and almond. Now that I am wearing it, my hopes are completely dashed. Any interesting minty freshness, that is somewhat unique, disappears completely within the first twenty minutes. What remains is a stereotypical concoction of almond, musk and heliotrope that becomes increasingly jarring. Dent de Lait does have good sillage, but unfortunately I find it impossible to tolerate after a while. While there is a reasonable degree of abstraction, the accord is also jaded and vapid. The dry down is clichéd, and I find it tiresome to smell this accord in a Serge Lutens perfume.

Dent de Lait provides further testamony to the proposition that the best days of Serge Lutens as a company have long gone by, especially as one considers the back catalogue.

2/5
24th May, 2018

Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

Wazamba is a nice incense fragrance, with fruits (plum and apples) and a lovely cypress note. Thankfully the fruitiness is very minimal, at least on my skin, whereas the cypress blends beautifully with the resins and incense, it is quite a bit balsamic and even somewhat sticky in the manner of several Serge Lutens fragrances (Fille en Aiguilles), but I love many of those so I am not complaining. It is substantial, fleshy and closer to Lutens or even Amouage (Jubilation XXV Man) in style rather than the ethereal incense style of Comme des Garçons. I also detect a lovely note of fir balsam in the mix. There are tons of incense/resin scents but Wazamba stands out for how it is interwoven with the green notes. Finally, unlike some other Parfum d'Empire scents, performance is quite adequate on my skin based on a modest application.

Wazamba is recommended to anyone looking for a green-resinous fragrance. This could have been stellar if the fruit-sweetness was toned down a notch together with a greater emphasis on the cypress-fir notes, but it is still very nice for what it is, great to wear on cool fall days. In fact, I'm having ideas about layering it (and I am someone who almost never layers ...) with some uncompromising green scent (how about the 'house green' Corsica Furiosa ...?).


3.5/5
23rd May, 2018

Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

Note: Review is of the EdP, not the extrait version.

Musc Tonkin is an astonishingly tame musk perfume, insubstantial and forgettable. There is noticeable leather and a hint of florals, so much so that this could also pass off as a meek leather fragrance. On card as well as on skin there is no hint of anything animalic at all, and on skin it projects barely an inch, even after a generous application (approximately 1 ml). It's a tad musty, and brings to mind musky leathers of yesteryears (particularly Chanel's Cuir de Russie) but at one tenth volume and concentration.

Musc Tonkin pales in comparison to a well rounded musk fragrance like Muscs Koublaï Khan (which itself is not particularly animalic either ...), while there are several excellent musky leathers so that one need not bother with Musc Tonkin, which is possibly the weakest output from Parfum d'Empire that one has encountered.

1.5/5
21st May, 2018

Encens et Lavande by Serge Lutens

Simple but fantastic. Encens et Lavande is pretty much a two note scent: high quality lavender paired to a gorgeous, airy incense note. The lavender is bright, radiant and leads to a dry down of fuzzy incense, ethereal but still substantial. This is the most satisfying incense accord in the Lutens lineup. It is slimmer than Gris Clair, but just as tenacious. Sillage is quite good for its style, as I do keep getting lovely gentle wafts throughout.

Encens et Lavande (together with Gris Clair and Oxford & Cambridge) is one of the best lavender scents I've come across. Fans of Oxford & Cambridge would perhaps appreciate this for the starkness of the composition. The lavender note, though, is richer and similar to the one in Gris Clair. Encens et Lavande might also appeal to lavender fans who find Gris Clair to be too ashy.

Very different from most other things in the Serge Lutens lineup. It is calm, meditative and introspective. This is not complex, unlike Gris Clair, Eau Noire or Dzongkha, and is unlikely to satisfy anyone after a complex lavender or incense scent.

Encens et Lavande is a case study in simple beauty and elegance. The lavender is very good, but once it hits the hour mark and the incense joins in, the scent is sublime.


4/5

Note: Review is based on an older "Shiseido" bell jar version.
21st May, 2018

Fathom V by Beaufort London

On this nondescript Sunday I browsed my stash of samples to find this, sent my way by a kind BN friend. I knew about Beaufort being a London based brand, but this was my first experience. Fathom V (strange name) starts off with dewy-grassy greens and florals on my skin, fresh and uplifting. Lily is the star flower, together with the greens, but then, after about a couple of hours, the greens calm down a little to reveal some musky-aquatic notes, lightly salted. This shapes the development and leads to the concluding dry down accord of Fathom V, as it becomes soft, fuzzy but perceptible. It exhibits an understated but persistent sillage - almost forming a hazy fragrant cloud about my skin which is quietly enjoyable.

I was initially prepared to write off Fathom V (again, strange name) as a decent but unremarkable green floral scent, but the dry down has moved me. It is more of a floral-green-aquatic rather than floral-aquatic, and the aquatic notes are very well done, not like calone at all but more salty, fresh and ethereal. I love how they are intertwined and together create a lush and sensuous dry down. It is less bright than Lys Mediterranee, and the lily is less striking next to Lys Fume and Une Lys. However, I feel this adds to the composition rather than being a detraction, as the balance is beautiful in the end.


3.5/5
20th May, 2018

Maxim's pour Homme by Maxims

A scent from yesteryear, with an aromatic-fruity opening leading to warm woods, leather, embellished with carnation and jasmine. It is well executed, but there is a surprising and somewhat bizarre honeyed sweetness that develops from the mid phase. I find this note to be rather jarring, and at odds with the rest of the composition. I do not enjoy it, and unfortunately, as it persists till the dry down, I end up not liking the scent.

Sillage and longevity are appreciable based on a moderate application. It isn't a very aggressive scent, is more approachable and worth trying if you fancy a conventional but well done masculine with a fruity-sweet twist.

3/5
20th May, 2018

Sudestada by Fueguia

Sudestada is a nice aromatic cedar fragrance with neroli (I smell more orange than neroli), straightforward and not much smoky. I don't find any tobacco here. It has a refined, restrained aura, and doesn't come across as synthetic to my nose. There is an autumnal quality to this scent. On my skin Sudestada has moderate (in fact sillage is good for this type of fragrance) sillage and duration based on a moderate application of about 5 sprays. I detect a hint of vetiver in this, and it does remind of some vetiver fragrances (Vetiver Royal Bourbon by Oriza L. Legrand).

Sudestada doesn't particularly smell 'modern' (none of the ones I've tried from this line does). Depending on one's tastes, this can come across as 'archaic' or 'stuffy'. While pleasurable to wear, Sudestada is also simplistic, somewhat unremarkable and unmemorable, and the price is truly surreal. I find the quality to be on par with something from L'Occitane (perhaps a marginally higher concentration), whereas the price is at least six times.

3/5
18th May, 2018

Corsica Furiosa by Parfum d'Empire

Corsica Furiosa is a dense green vegetal scent, with a prominent tomato leaf note. While I like green scents, I do not particularly care for the ones that are vegetal (for e.g. Devin); hence Corsica Furiosa is not to my liking. On my skin the tomato leaf dominates, though I also detect notes of galbanum and hay. It is very earthy, and somewhat bitter, though the bitterness subsides into the dry down. It also becomes a little resinous. Duration on my skin is good at around six hours, while sillage is moderate.

Corsica Furiosa would be a must try for anyone interested in vegetal green scents. I think this would work well in any weather, but perhaps better in summer. While I think it is well composed and interesting, perhaps even unique, it is just not at all to my personal tastes. However, if this were someone's signature scent, I would definitely want to meet that person.

3/5
17th May, 2018

Bell'Antonio by Hilde Soliani Profumi

An excellent synthesis of coffee and pipe tobacco, warm but not too sweet. The note of coffee is that of roasted beans, redolent, with a hint of espresso. It is successfully paired with an understated dry pipe tobacco note. The overall impression is that of an abstract gourmand, dry and rich, but also light. Bell'Antonio stays linear throughout on my skin, with discreet but discernible sillage, and excellent duration of over eight hours.

As it is unusually low key and not bombastic, it can be worn several days in a row - a great 'comfort scent'. Even though sillage is soft, others will notice it on you in close quarters. Bell'Antonio is defined by its gentle elegance, it does not smell synthetic at all, and is very refined. It does remind me a bit of Fumerie Turque, but is more cosy and inviting.

Bell'Antonio's demeanour is introspective, and it conjures up an image of a day spent at home with books at the arrival of winter. I also feel it successfully bridges the past and the present. It is not perhaps special or unique, but it is lovely.

3.5/5
17th May, 2018

Mûre et Musc by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Mûre et Musc is a clean, sheer musk composition with no frills. There is a vague lemony aspect to the soapy musk, initially, but thereafter it is almost a single note composition. It is not fruity at all, and the usual florals found in musk compositions (for e.g. rose in Kiehl's) are absent. Sillage is very soft, while duration is about five hours on skin based on a generous application.

Mûre et Musc is so ethereal that Kiehl's Musk seems opulent in comparison. Mûre et Musc is simply too subtle for my tastes; if this formed the base of a classic masculine with more citrus and herbs, I would be all over it. However, this could be ideal for anyone looking for a very straightforward and very low key but quality musk fragrance.

A key point in its favour is that even though it's a basic white musk fragrance, it has absolutely no synthetic or laundry musk vibe.

3/5
16th May, 2018

Sel Marin by Heeley

Sel Marin is a breezy, salty aquatic with no calone, some wet, green, mossy notes and an extended dry down. Contrary to others' views, I do not find Sel Marin to be a realistic representation of sea or beaches. It is more of an abstract interpretation. This abstraction is evident in the way the citrus notes (lemon and bergamot) are handled - they lose their atypical characteristics to become a part of the central accord of the composition. The most prominent actor is the salty effect, which is novel but can be sharp or synthetic to some. Many will revere or dislike Sel Marin largely because of it. In my mind Sel Marin is the mood of being on a desolate beach on a cool, cloudy day. As the hours pass by the fragrance quietens down, the salty shrillness makes way for soft notes of moss, wood and musk.

Sel Marin is stylistically very different from the other aquatics flooding the market - it has no sweetness, no calone, no fruity element, it's not stereotypical and it is more reflective and introspective. I find it to be similar to Sel de Vetiver, but Sel Marin is much more compelling and well crafted. I find Sel Marin to have low projection. I also thought it to be lacking in longevity, but that is not actually the case - the issue is that it quickly becomes a skin scent but persists for several hours. In summer it disappears from my skin in a quick three or four hours, but in slightly cooler weather it lingers on for at least seven or eight hours. I am not crazy about the salty aspect, I am okay with it. I wish it had a tad better projection in the dry down, but perhaps it was designed to be a skin scent. However, it does get noticed in close quarters, even after several hours.

Sel Marin also bears some structural similarities with Cuir Pleine Fleur, but is not as complex or innovative. I am torn between a neutral and a thumbs up, but will go with the latter on account of two considerations. Yes, it is expensive, but Sel Marin is one of the nice, interesting and innovative summer fragrances (even though personally it's too weak in very hot weather, but then most scents are ...), especially among aquatics. The second reason is a personal one, and it reflects my attitude towards beaches. I'm not crazy about them, but I do like to visit one that is deserted on a cool, cloudy, nondescript summer day.

3.5/5
15th May, 2018

Poivre Electrique by Atelier Cologne

After having tried the entire Collection Orient of Atelier Cologne, all of them miss the mark except for Philtre Ceylan. Poivre Electrique is built around a big dose of spicy black pepper, tempered with sparkling pink paper over a base that smells of mostly cedar to me. Any resins, if present, are very subdued. The focus is on the peppers, which are well done, but overall the composition lacks in dimension and depth. It reminds me of Lalique White and Honour Man. It is more full bodied and substantial than Lalique White, but the latter is more nuanced and elegant, though very fleeting; Honour Man is more complex than Poivre Electrique by incorporation of an airy incense note and a deeper and more engaging development and dry down.

I find Poivre Electrique to have good sillage initially but it calms down significantly after an hour or so, and duration is average on skin. I prefer Honour Man for its relative richness, while Lalique White, available at a fraction of the cost of Poivre Electrique, is a better budget option. Finally, Poivre Electrique comes nowhere near Piper Nigrum or Noir Epices, while Creed's Royal Oud is a much better exploration of pink pepper with cedar.

2.5/5
14th May, 2018

Cedrat Boise by Mancera

Fruity, woody, musky.

Cedrat Boise is a fresh fruity fragrance, with the emphasis on fruits. It's a basket of fruits, and you can sense lemon, pineapple and blackcurrant, while there is only a hint of florals. The fruits are supported by a conventional woody note that smells of cedar, and hints of musk. It is not leathery to me, and is quite linear from start to finish. I find that here the fruity notes together with musk create a strange accord, somewhat synthetic, that I do not quite like. I usually don't enjoy fruity fragrances, but this is well balanced.

This is often compared to Aventus, but Aventus has more prominent pineapple, and is distinctly smokier and leathery. Cedrat Boise has none of those attributes. Compared to Aventus, Cedrat Boise has persistent noticeable projection, good sillage and lasts more on skin. However, in this style my clear favourite is Morning Chess by Vilhelm Parfumerie. The fruity aspect of Cedrat Boise also reminds me a bit of Minotaure.

Overall a nice but unremarkable fresh fruity-woody composition with mainstream appeal.

2.5/5
14th May, 2018

03. Apr. 1968 by Rundholz Parfums

A simple but well done frankincense with adequate depth. I find this to be very good, linear frankincense with lashings of fruity heliotrope. As deadidol and Darvant have noted, it is similar to Sahara Noir. It is luscious, not smoky or woody as such, but is bright, warm and resinous. I prefer Sahara Noir which is woodier and smokier, but the frankincense note is very similar, and dominant in either composition. 03. Apr. 1968 is impressive, but not as compelling - though it smells more natural compared to Sahara Noir. I enjoy the quiet but radiant frankincense laden dry down much more than the initial phase.

Recommended for fans of incense, and a must try for fans of frankincense. Sillage is appreciable and duration is rather good. If anyone finds scents from CdG's Incense series to be too thin-bodied, this would most likely satisfy.

3.5/5
13th May, 2018