Perfume Reviews

Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

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Total Reviews: 323

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.

1.5/5
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.

3/5
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
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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.


3/5
17th October, 2018

Old Spice Fresh Lime by Shulton

My experience is with the Indian versions, circa early 90s and later early 2010s. In the early 90s I remembered men in my family using this (my grandfather did). However, I have no recollection of how it smelled like. Later on in the early 2010s I bought the aftershave spray - on the cheap. That was basically Old Spice with a hefty dose of lime on top. The note of lime wasn't too realistic, but not synthetic smelling either, and it made for a bracing freshness. The recipe was a winner; I liked it more than Old Spice, and would drench myself in the stuff on the hottest of days, using it as an eau de cologne. It did hold up well, and it was crisp - not much powdery, and quite suave.

Perhaps not worth hunting down, but you'd do well to pick up a bottle if you come across one on the cheap.


3.5/5
15th October, 2018

Habit Rouge L'Eau by Guerlain

I had been curious about Habit Rouge L'eau for a few years, because of a few reasons. I love Habit Rouge, and L'eau is rated highly by many who love the original. Secondly, I love jasmine in perfumes, and L'eau purportedly contains a prominent dose. Lastly, I'm always on the lookout for a quality fresh fragrance (there aren't many), and what's not to like about a fresh twist on Habit Rouge?

Well, it turns out that L'eau is rather underwhelming. L'eau leaves out the wonderful lemon of Habit Rouge and uses orange - somewhat synthetic, and at odds with the rest of the structure. There is the jasmine, but its combination with the orange results in an accord that is jarring. I feel that it smells quite different from Habit Rouge, and the motif (or at least the key features of the Habit Rouge motif) is largely absent. There's no leather here. Instead, what I smell is a musky vanilla, semi-sweet, that combines with the jasmine and the orange to create a sickly, synthetic accord. I detect a similar accord in the dry down of Cologne du 68, with the major difference being the iris in 68 is replaced by the jasmine in L'eau. While sillage is low-key, L'eau drones on for hours and becomes increasingly grating.

L'eau emerges as yet another example of the difference between the Guerlain of then and the Guerlain of now, Jean Paul Guerlain and Thierry Wasser, and perfumery artistry vs. corporatocracy driven mediocrity. Sure, it's better than all the L'Homme Ideal nonsense, but that is not saying much.

Stick to Habit Rouge, or Le 3me Homme de Caron for your jasmine fix in a similar context, or L'eau Boisee if you crave freshness.


2/5
09th October, 2018

Ferrari Essence Oud by Ferrari

Ferrari Essence Oud is a woody fragrance with oud, and little else. There is a fruity element in the initial phases, and the base is more woodsy, with just a hint of sweetness. There’s no vanilla, and this isn’t sweet by any means. The oud note is synthetic, and similar to one commonly found in other oud fragrances in similar price range. The composition is reasonably balanced, while sillage and duration are both good.

My main issue here is that the dominant oud note (and hence the composition) smells rather synthetic, and a little plasticky - especially in th first 1-2 hours. For the records, I have the same issue with Chopard’s Oud Malaki. I can imagine some liking that vibe, but count me out. IMO one is much better off with spending a bit more and getting something like M7 Oud Absolu which is more refined. Essence Oud is a good representative of its genre, but one I’d personally avoid. It’s somewhat youthful. This might work well as a night out fragrance for young college students on a budget.


2.5/5
05th October, 2018

Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

Acqua di Gio Profumo is fantastic, one of the best mainstream releases in recent years. I don't care much for aquatics, and 90% of modern mainstream releases are a pass for me. However, Acqua di Gio Profumo is certainly an exception. It does have the DNA of the original Acqua di Gio which I like but don't love; however, it's a dark, spicy twist on that idea. There is a patchouli-incense accord here which achieves that. This results in something that is fresh but dark, and lots of depth. The other good thing here is lack of sweetness. I find sillage to be good, and duration excellent at over six hours.

Acqua di Gio Profumo, to me, is perhaps the best exhibit of the modern mainstream fresh-clean masculine genre. It has revived my interest in fresh fragrances, and more so in mainstream releases. It has also increased my respect for the prolific Alberto Morillas; I think this is his best work apart from Mugler Cologne. I find it to be quite different from Bleu de Chanel, and in my books this is what Bleu de Chanel could've been, but failed.

It's good in hot weather, but I find it even better on slightly cooler days (and nights).


4/5
05th October, 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 effortless, 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 (last edited: 28th September, 2018)

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

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

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
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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

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