Perfume Reviews

Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

Total Reviews: 357

Cèdre by Serge Lutens

This is Serge Lutens does Le Labo, as in the name is not at all indicative of the perfume. What I smell in cedre is syrupy amber, tuberose, spices and generic wood notes, in that order. It begins with a nice promising blast of tuberose that is rich, slightly spicy (clove and cinnamon), but is soon drowned out by a syrupy amber. This amber accord dominates and prevails into the late dry down, where barely discernible sweet woody notes emerge. Sillage and duration are more than adequate.

I'm always ready to look past names (what's in a name?), but Cedre leaves me cold. There are tons of better tuberose fragrances (including one from Serge Lutens...), better amber fragrances (again, including one from Serge Lutens...) and the amber accord here is monotonous. Sure, Cedre smells nice, but is also one of the most boring scents I have encountered, especially beyond the first thirty minutes. All in all, severely underwhelming.

18th October, 2017

Bulgari pour Homme Extrême by Bulgari

Bvlgari pour Homme Extreme is perhaps not brilliant, but it is remarkably good. It is a reasonably long-lasting fresh fragrance composed around a note of green tea. The whole Bvlgari pour Homme range (the original, this Extreme flanker, and the Soir flanker) centres around fresh takes on tea. Bvlgari Extreme has a similar take on tea (green tea) as the original, but is sharper, zestier and more invigorating. I detect fir, subtle herbs and spices that are typical of classic Italian fragrances, and a base of musk and woods. The note of tea is sustained throughout its development, from the initial herbs and citrus to the late drydown.

Bvlgari pour Homme Extreme works extremely well for me, and is a seamless composition, good proportions, and a touch of elegance and sophistication. Additionally, compared to the original which is a little muted, the Extreme version has just the right degree of sillage and adequate duration. Bvlgari Extreme is an easy recommendation given a lack of quality and interesting fresh fragrances, and its price makes it an absolute no-brainer.

17th October, 2017 (last edited: 03rd July, 2018)

Five O'Clock Au Gingembre by Serge Lutens

I cannot warm up to Serge Luten's take on tea and ginger, because of a couple of points - 1) The candied ginger note overpowers others and causes an imbalance in my experience, and 2) It is too sweet for me, considering its style. I would have preferred a stronger focus on tea, which is absent. My overall impression is of a sweet ginger scent. Now, I always associate and love ginger in fresh scents, which is not the case here. I don't particularly get any prominent patchouli, but more of a woody-musky accord that hints at amber and patchouli. Another issue I have with it is that the second half of its lifespan is unreasonably dull compared to what came before. Sillage is low key but persistent, and duration is adequate at about five to six hours.

Yes, it is perhaps one of the nicer abstract gourmands, but Five O'Clock Au Gingembre simply doesn't click personally, and I also rate several other abstract gourmands ahead of it, including Borneo 1834 from Serge Lutens.

17th October, 2017
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Colonia Club by Acqua di Parma

This, to me, is Acqua di Parma Colonia meets a jarring synthetic mint note and a bunch of other fresh aromachemicals, thus rendering the composition loud and even obnoxious (as many other screechy mall fragrances), which is surprising given it's by Acqua di Parma. Then again, that might be an indication of the change of the times. I don't think this is inoffensive, as I am, at times, offended by the harshness. It smells closer to any sub-par designer release, or perhaps even like poorly reformulated drugstore scents that any discerning individual avoids.

More vulgar than dull. Best if avoided.

16th October, 2017

Bandit by Robert Piguet

Bandit is majestic, great but also a tad unapproachable (perhaps because of my gender). Great leather-chypre with tremendous presence and tenacity. Leather is balanced by galbanum, bitterness of oakmoss, and embellished with bone dry herbs. It is similar to Azuree in some respects, but I find Azuree less dry, friendlier and more unisex.

Bandit is definitely not a conventional women's perfume, but I'm having a hard time imagining any guy who could pull this off. Forget all other 'butch' feminines, this one here is indeed THE alpha female perfume, the sort of thing a true dominatrix would wear. Leather preferred, high heels mandatory. Having said all that, let's forget the stereotypes (however blatant those may be), and wear it if you love it. Contradictions are always interesting.

Surely not everyone's cup of tea, but it is terrific.

13th October, 2017

Aqua Universalis by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Laundry fresh cleanliness (aka white musks) underneath a fresh burst of citrus and white florals. Good duration and reasonable sillage.

It's so boring, it puts me to sleep. Maybe this works better on women.

The 'Forte' version is more grating.

13th October, 2017

Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

"One, two, three
If you close the door
The night could last forever
Leave the sunshine out
And say hello to never

All the people are dancing
And they're having such fun
I wish it could happen to me

But if you close the door
I'd never have to see the day again."
10th October, 2017

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

One can understand a 'safe' release, or even a mediocre 'safe' release - but when did the once-famous house of Yves Saint Laurent become synonymous with dumb releases? Forget the notes, Y is just another boring substandard fresh woody amber with a large dose of sweetness. This has been played and replayed hundreds of times in the last fifteen years or so - and this particular specimen is particularly cheap. One can make mainstream modern releases without sacrificing quality - look at Hermes, or even Cartier. When will the folks at YSL stop and take a good, honest look in the mirror? There are a lot of things I'd choose over wearing Y - including being coerced to watch Keeping up with the Kardashians or drink coffee at Starbucks.

05th October, 2017

Touch for Men by Burberry

This is a violet-woods-tonka composition with some musks.

It takes the tradition that starts from Grey Flannel, and provides a safe modern interpretation. Nonetheless, it is too safe, in the middle and not very memorable. Anyone interested in Touch for Men would do well to try Gucci Pour Homme II, Narciso Rodriguez for Him and Fahrenheit as alternatives.

It does carry a metro appeal, but is not as attractive as the Gucci. Average sillage and duration - based on a liberal application.

03rd October, 2017

La Nuit de L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

I am always surprised by the batch hysteria this 'frag' seems to generate, as to me it has always been a vile chemical concoction with good presence. It should win some formal accolades for bearing the most artificial lavender accord in a perfume.

There is also a strong cardamom note. Lavender and cardamom smell great. La Nuit does not, and actually manages to become increasingly grating on skin.

Honestly somewhat uncultured, and lacks in grace and sophistication. That is absolutely fine (variety is the spice of life), but not when it is pretentious, trying to fit in, and costs ten times as much as it should.

03rd October, 2017

Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

Fougere, but really spiced lemons (Amalfi?) laced with geranium and dry woods (patchouli) in the base.

The patchouli is the same as in Aramis 900, but the dosage is less strong.

Simple, honest, handsome, effortless.

There is no comparison with Azzaro pour Homme, as that is French and this is decidedly Italian. Choose both, if you have to. Adequate duration and sillage.

03rd October, 2017

L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Not a complete disaster, but yet another 'cologne' that is dull, pedestrian, flat and lacks emotion, complexity, intelligence or abstraction.

Not as brash as some of its brethrens, but is nameless, faceless, unsure of character and suffering from a serious identity crisis.

03rd October, 2017

Superstitious by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

After spending an adequate amount of time with Superstitious, I am a bit surprised at the classical references in the chatter around this fragrance. I have to concede that I haven't tried Lanvin's Arpege; however, I doubt vintage Arpege smells like this - especially it's hard for me to imagine Arpege sharing a temperament with Superstitious. Superstitious has all the trademarks of a post 2010 Ropion creation for Frederic Malle. It is meticulously crafted, seamlessly blended and has precise movements and proportions. It is a floral, but a lot more than any regular floral. There is a prominent dose of aldehydes, that appears deliberate. This renders a sparkle to the composition, to counteract the rose and the fruity aspects. Rose is at the heart of the fragrance, paired elegantly with an abstract note of peach. The triad of aldehydes, rose and peach comprise the central accord of the composition, and it stays linear throughout much of the development. There is a refined soapy aura, and also an airy mood that prevails most of the time. The slow transition finally reveals, after well over seven or eight hours, a dry down where an airy vetiver note takes centrestage, and harmonises the primary accord which now has a hazy, soft focus. Sillage and duration are both excellent.

While Superstitious does have a retro charm, it employs more of a nod rather than more obvious references. It is as modern as any perfume in 2017, the only difference being Superstitious offers a view into the past through a lens, but without any baggage of nostalgia. It blends in a particular vintage style well within a modern perfume structure, more as an embellishment. It does not want to take us back, but it brings back something from the past to accentuate its aesthetics. In terms of temperament, Superstitious has an emotional aloofness, a dry, cold character that is perhaps what it was supposed to conjure up. It smells familiar but with a definite sense of mystique. It does have a darkness about itself, which is more of a dim gray dark character rather than anything dramatic, more misty than gothic. It is angular, it is synthetic, and at times even leans towards a bit avant-garde. It is definitely not for me, especially since I usually do not gel well with fruity fragrances, especially peach. While Superstitious is far from 'fruity' since the peach note is so abstract, it nonetheless veers close to something I would admire from a distance rather than on my skin. Personal tastes aside, Superstitious is a solid offering for perfume lovers, especially in 2017, even after considering the astronomical pricing. It is immaculately crafted, absolutely not a top note con job, and has depths and nuances that are revealed after a few wearings. This is a perfume that may appear deceptively simple at first, but becomes more intriguing and interesting over time. I also think of Superstitious as being parallel to other fragrances with obvious retro references. While several new creations successfully evoke vintage perfumes directly by construction (MAAI being a leading example), Superstitious touches on the same subjects but passes by eventually. It can be elusive.



Those of you who know how my tastes in perfumes lack in refinement and sophistication, you wouldn't be surprised if I eventually end up with Superstitious, given how much of a sucker I am for strong perfumes. I am absolutely thrilled with this attribute of Superstitious, which makes it a very strong candidate for debate and discussion in the sadly now-defunct Thickheads group. Its potency is good, but is excellent considering it's primarily a floral, not a monotonous amber. I happy to admit that I can safely use attractive adjectives like 'thick' and 'robust' when mentioning its sillage and duration. )
03rd October, 2017
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Les Heures de Parfum - IV L'Heure Fougueuse by Cartier

After spending what I would consider adequate time, I am still not convinced by IV L'Heure Fougueuse. I think of it as an aromatic 'nu-gere', where the fougere structure is altered by adding a big dose of a green tea note. It actually smells much closer to yerba mate than tea. Compared to Villoresi's creation, the Cartier is more rounded and harmonious. The development leads to a dry down of soothing musk and a touch of hay. While I enjoy the composition, it is too subdued on my skin to sustain any interest. Yes, it is unique, distinctive and impeccably elegant, but unfortunately barely discernible.

02nd October, 2017

Shooting Stars : Nio by Xerjoff

A super strong blend of (synthetic) citrus, with a strong green undercurrent. This could have been a little diluted, which would have rendered it fresh, juicy and lively. Instead it is super concentrated, to the extent that after thirty minutes it almost leaves the back of my throat parched with dryness. Additionally it is linear and starts to grate, becoming eventually jarring.

The element of Nio I enjoy the most is the touch of green notes, especially in the mid phase, where it shares a hint of similarity with Fougere Royale. Nio is well composed but eventually a let down, especially considering the astronomical price. It also adds to my conviction that hyper expensive concentrated citrus fragrances (Cologne Indelebile, Neroli Portofino, Nio, Italian Bergamot, ....) are a complete waste of time and money - at least for me.

02nd October, 2017

Equipage Géranium by Hermès

Equipage Geranium is good stuff. Considering the quality of releases in recent years, it is excellent stuff.

It retains the basic structure of Equipage, which was all about resplendent woods, sparkling spices, a dash of carnation and a touch of herbs. However, it's been masterfully altered by slimming and trimming it to make it more modern, but without sacrificing quality. Gone are the herbs, the florals, and the spices. Instead, there's a soothing, balmy mint at first, followed by sparse geranium and the original woody structure, but without the rosewood, and a distinct focus on the sandalwood. The mint-geranium-sandalwood accord with a touch of mild spices is at once intelligent and legible. There's a wonderful lemony aspect to the sandalwood. The whole accord presents an abstraction of a high quality soap, and at times hints of leather - the soft supple leather of Hermes bags. The dry down is mostly the sandalwood, with traces of the other compositional elements. Sillage is close and intermittent - one keeps getting lovely wafts throughout its duration on skin, which is a good seven hours based on a liberal application.

Equipage Geranium is sleek, modern, polished but also with an obvious nod to tradition. Its eau de toilette formulation is adequate, and never intrusive - it possesses a subtlety, but without sacrificing depth. I have worn it quite a bit this summer, but imagine it to be even better in slightly cooler weather. Released in 2015, Equipage Geranium almost puts to shame most other modern designer and 'niche' releases that are hackneyed, derivative, harsh, cheap, unpolished or unwearable.

A big thumbs up.

02nd October, 2017

Volutes Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

Note: Review is of the EdT

Volutes EdT is an easy to wear spicy oriental featuring a central accord of pipe tobacco drizzled with honey over a resinous foundation. The good thing about Volutes is that the blend is coherent, and it has a very restrained sweetness. Volutes also features a dry, powdery iris that renders it similar to Dior Homme in some aspects. It lacks the sweetness and makeup aspects of Dior Homme Intense, and the leathery nuances of Dior Homme EdT. It also reminds me of Versace's Dreamer, minus the incoherent and slightly strange opening, and of other tobacco fragrances like Tobacco Vanille and Chergui. However, Volutes is temperamentally most similar to Dior Homme EdT among these, given its versatility and accommodating nature - in that it never wears the wearer and is always an accessory.

Volutes wears close to skin, forming a thin puffy cloud of spiced, fruity tobacco amid wisps of light smoke. It is a pleasant enough perfume when the mercury starts to fall, though it is not striking or startling. Though I prefer wrapping myself up in Chergui at such times, Volutes is a solid recommendation - especially if one is looking for something modern, subtle and elegant.


A note on the EdP: This one smells very similar to the EdT with the tobacco a little subdued, lasts just as long but has even less sillage and projection. The EdT is clearly the more attractive choice between the two, at least for me.

02nd October, 2017

Gillette Cool Wave by Gillette Series

The truth is, I am not convinced that Basenotes should ignore aftershaves in the context of additions to the directory. I am glad that this one is up there. I emptied out 3 ml from my bottle today, post a Sunday afternoon shave. I actually used it as a scent itself. This is the prototype fresh citrus-woods-musk, with a hint of some green and aquatic elements. Very fresh, bracing, with a subtle herbaceous undercurrent and leathery nuances. It has a reasonable oomph for an aftershave, and persists at well over three hours. There is a vague mossy element in the far dry down, together with a musk note. The first half hour is almost glorious, but even thereafter it continues to provide satisfaction. Yes, this can effectively be layered with fresh fougeres and chypres. I have myself done that successfully with vintage Cool Water. However, I've fallen for the simple charm of Cool Wave, and often prefer to wear it just by itself. Relative to the price and quality of other personal fragrances, the price of Cool Wave is surreal. I purchased a 100 ml bottle at about $6. I actually prefer the splash -
precisely because I can splash it on with abandon. One of those simple pleasures of life.

01st October, 2017

Oud Malaki by Chopard

I find Oud Malaki to be a solid oud offering with a deliberate lack of polish, but nonetheless rendered smooth enough for an easy wear. It reveals three distinct phases, beginning with a rich, woody aroma with an emphasis on spicy wood notes and a hint of tobacco. Around a couple of hours later it mellows out as the roughness around the edges is softened. The fragrance exhibits soft leathery aspects with a touch of amber, as a complement to the woods. The final phase is vaguely sweet with an amber-woods finish.

Oud Malaki is roughly in the same class of perfumes as Armani's Oud Royal and Tom Ford's Oud Wood. It is less polished than either, and more full-bodied than the latter. Additionally it has a casual appeal that is absent in the Armani. It more or less shuns any fruit aspect. I perceive Oud Malaki as more of a middle compromise of 'east meets west' in the oud realm, rather than any glorious fusion. Nonetheless,
given its solid construction and robust sillage and duration, Oud Malaki is a recommendation for anyone looking for an affordable oud fragrance.

30th September, 2017

Eau Fraîche by Monsillage

Eau Fraiche by Monsillage is a very conventional citrus fragrance dominated by lemon-verbena, and on a vetiver base with a hint of sheer musk. There is only a bare hint of herbs that renders only the slightest abstraction. I detect absolutely zero lavender in this. In the first minute there is a disconcerting synthetic element that soon settles down and brings to fore the citrus. Thereafter it is nice but unremarkable, and fades away in about four to five hours (which is fair for a citrus). Sillage is initially lively, but soon close to skin.

While Eau Fraiche is nothing bad, it is too simplistic, too bare-bone and lacks the balance and abstraction of other traditional citrus such as Eau Sauvage, Blenheim Bouquet or Concentre d'Orange Verte. Too trivial and too forgettable. The negative rating is influenced by the initial jarring element, especially considering the price and the market segment it is aimed at.

24th September, 2017

Vanilla Flash by Tauerville

Vanilla Flash is centred around a linear accord of vanilla and spices, laced with a touch of rose and patchouli. It's dry, non-sweet and even an abstract vanilla, as the spices dominate. In fact, vanilla is rather in the background of this accord, and doesn't stand out. The fragrance approximates the smell of root beer in the first hour or so, before the vanilla becoming just a bit more prominent and softening the spicy edge. Nonetheless, there is not much contrast and hardly any interplay of notes.

Vanilla Flash possesses moderate longevity but sits close on the skin, emanating a very soft sillage. While it isn't below par, Vanilla Flash is insubstantial and lacks any sort of depth or complexity. One would suggest Eau des Baux, Volutes and Eau Duelle as more compelling alternatives.

23rd September, 2017

Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

I consider Muscs Koublaï Khan to be a well done basic musk, that is versatile and engaging. It is rather straightforward to me - musk and florals. The musk is fresh but sensuous, with a touch of civet and castoreum that lend an animalic touch - clean but slightly edgy. I perceive a subdued note of rose that effortlessly blends in with the musk, and even complements it. I do not detect any spices or woods or leather - MKK has a solid focus on the musk with minimal distraction. I find sillage to be close but persistent, and duration to be over six hours on skin based on a generous application.

MKK is one of those simple fragrances done right with quality materials, and a few notches above the standard fare in terms of execution. For anyone familiar with Kiehl's Musk, which is fresh and summery, MKK can be imagined to be a slightly heavier autumnal version of Kiehl's. While overpriced for what it is, MKK is a must try for anyone looking for a robust musk fragrance for everyday use that is interesting, and becomes a second skin to the wearer.

17th September, 2017

H.O.T. Always by Bond No. 9

H.O.T. Always is a perfume of three parts, which aren't exactly three phases. These are some warm spices and aromatics that lend a 'hot' touch and approximate the spiciness of chili peppers, a subdued touch of florals, mainly rose, and a patchouli-driven leather accord. The initial spicy aspect is quite well-done, rugged, and suggestive of a barbershop style. The patchouli lurks in the background as the floral accord becomes prominent; soon the patchouli is front and centre, with the leathery aspects coming to the fore. At this stage it is quite reminiscent of Givenchy Gentleman. It maintains this structure till after a few hours there is a vetiver that joins the leathery dry down, while other floral or spicy aspects are greatly diminished. H.O.T. Always has a close, discreet sillage and an appreciable duration of about six hours on skin.

One of the issues with H.O.T. Always is that it veers dangerously close to Givenchy Gentleman, but lacks the civet of the vintage version of Gentleman. As a result, the overall composition suffers from a hollowness, and a lack of sensuality. While it is more full-bodied than the current version of Gentleman, it is, of course, lacking in dimension next to vintage Gentleman - mainly due to absence of civet, a somewhat inferior blending, and the spicy aspects being less smooth. Nonetheless, it is definitely worth sampling for what it is - one of the better Bond No 9 fragrances, a more potent alternative to current Gentleman, and a near-novel initial spicy accord.

17th September, 2017

Hermèssence Épice Marine by Hermès

Epice Marine has the blueprint of Declaration written all over it, not to mention that they are by the same perfumer. This could easily pass as a Declaration flanker, albeit cut from slightly finer cloth. The 'epice' part of it is an approximation of the spices in Declaration - cumin and cardamom. The woody aspects of Declaration are toned down, and Ellena shows his imagination by fusing a slug of 'marine' notes, nothing 'aquatic' but ever so salty-briny that lend a strange freshness. The smoked woods aspect comes alive late in the development when the freshness and the spicy aspects have subsided. This is around the four hour mark, when it is also subdued and the presence starts to disappear.

I find Epice Marine to be one of the more interesting Hermessence compositions. Declaration is a personal favourite, and while Epice Marine doesn't charm, it still keeps me interested. Also, it's hard for me to pick Epice Marine when one can get hold of Declaration and its flankers at one-eighth the price. Epice Marine presents a case of perfumery with a curious juxtaposition of notes, but something that is surprisingly concordant and engaging. I am having a hard time imagining for whom this perfume would be an ideal fit. It keeps one guessing, which is always a positive sign.

16th September, 2017

Polo by Ralph Lauren

Pine, leather, tobacco, moss.

An iconic scent, a fresh-green-spicy wave transforming into a deep warm heart of tobacco and leather, and gently wrapped around in moss. It is at once reminiscent of pine forests, with patchouli adding a deep, damp, earthy touch. In some versions I find the pine and green accords to be more uplifting and steering the composition, whereas sometimes the leather-tobacco accord smoulders, almost steering it towards an ashy element at times.

It has some stylistic similarities with Quorum, and a great deal of divergence as well.

Good all season, though sometimes could be a tad overwhelming in the summers. An absolute pleasure to wear when the mercury starts falling.

One of my favourites.

15th September, 2017

Sel de Vétiver by The Different Company

Sel de Vetiver is a fruity-floral vetiver with a prominent salty character. There is a grapefruit note, which is not juicy - but rather sharp, piercing and somewhat synthetic. I get a floral accord of geranium with some other elements, and there is a vague peppery facet. There is also a slight metallic attribute. The vetiver blooms late in the dry down, but around this time it becomes rather muted. Duration is average at around five hours, and sillage is discreet and somewhat thin.

Sel de Vetiver reminds me a bit of Guerlain Vetiver (structurally), Sel Marin (for the salty attribute), Infusion de Vetiver (in temperament) and Vetyverio (for the florals). While Sel de Vetiver does have a bit of novelty, it is disappointingly thin, sharp, at-times harsh and eventually insubstantial. The sharp harshness does eventually improve in the dry down, but by then it is only a basic vetiver and nothing more. Any of the aforementioned vetivers would be more compelling alternatives.

15th September, 2017

No Sport by La Parfumerie Moderne

No Sport is a basic rose-patchouli concoction with a facelift that includes a note of hay. The rose-patchouli blend is of the fresher variety, comparable to compositions like Eau de Protection. There is also a nice dose of geranium in the mix. No Sport is initially floral with a hint of aromatics, before the patchouli takes shape. It is clean and brisk, with a cool aura. The patchouli has some similarities with the same note in Zegna's Javanese Patchouli. I get none of the tobacco, while the hay lends a dry, grassy and green aspect. While No Sport is quite engaging for the first hour, it comes across as possessing an insubstantial dry down as the composition seems to unravel a bit. Additionally, it exhibits average duration on skin, but is quite muted beyond the first couple of hours.

No Sport is eventually disappointing, especially considering the perfumer, the fanfare, and the market segment that La Parfumerie Moderne appears to cater to. It is categorised as unisex, but there is a vague metallic harshness initially (perhaps the geranium) that might be unattractive to discerning women. Also, quality wise it appears to be half a notch below Cuir X. Anyone contemplating No Sport is strongly recommended Eau de Protection / Rossy de Palma. The Etat Libre d'Orange offering is a fresh rose-patchouli with a dose of geranium, but is substantial, interesting, engaging and eventually compelling.

2.5/5 (neutral)
12th September, 2017

Gabrielle by Chanel

Gabrielle is a very safe, run-of-the-mill release by Chanel. There is a persistent grapefruit note, not too fresh or juicy, rather a little restrained and at times a little synthetic, that is infused with an accord of white florals. The tuberose is hardly prominent, and neither is the jasmine. Rather, it has a demure temperament, and it is not much abstract either (resolving to a 'standard' mixed white florals accord, rather than anything more intriguing). It is absolutely none of soapy or powdery, has the barest hint of a creamy attribute, and possesses a vague summery freshness. While the grapefruit-white floral accord is quite persistent (at over three or four hours), the fragrance doesn't have much further development, and seems to be missing something of a base component or a dry-down. I don't find it to be tenacious (it becomes imperceptible at around five hours), though sillage is not too low-key, but rather moderate.

Gabrielle, while bearing some Chanel references, appears to be of a notch below the quality of something like Coco Mademoiselle or No 5 L'eau. Stuff like No. 19 Poudre or No 5 Eau Premiere are definitely cut from much finer cloth. I find Gabrielle to be reasonably easy to like, but very easy to forget. Additionally, while decidedly modern, it lacks intelligence, emotion, abstraction and complexity - and is at times a little sophomoric (which might actually be the target audience). However, I find no reason to recommend this to young (or elderly) women (or men), when one can buy fresh(y) florals (white or otherwise) that are much more memorable, emotive, witty, or fun - or all of that, and at one-third the price.

2.5/5 (a weak neutral)
12th September, 2017

Sables by Annick Goutal

I love the immortelle in 1740 Marquis de Sade and Eau Noire. However, I just couldn't get past the immortelle-honey(/maple syrup?) accord that is the dominant feature of Sables. Thick as a block, overly sweet, lacking clarity, and simply quite underwhelming for me on the Guy Robert test.

I find this to be a reasonably potent scent, a whole lot better than most other Goutals that are too fleeting, and it is perhaps on par with Ambre Fétiche. Sables is definitely interesting, quirky - and therefore a must try for almost anyone (unless one categorically avoids either immortelle or sweet perfumes).

A comment on the sweetness: while it is saccharine, it is rather dry and 'grown-up', and not unpalatably vulgar like calorie-laden sophomoric modern sugars.

12th September, 2017

Cuir de Russie Parfum by Chanel

Note: Review is of the Les Exclusifs EdT

I am not familiar with any vintage version of Chanel's Cuir de Russie, and am familiar with the Les Exclusifs EdT (that's before the line was overhauled). I do not find Cuir de Russie to be much of smoky or leathery. It is aldehydic, soapy, floral (rose and ylang-ylang), and together infused with an accord that alternates between suede and a light leather. I do not detect any spices or musks. The blending is great, and it has the hallmark refinement of good Chanels. However, it is unbelievably weak and wears like a medium strength eau de cologne, becoming soft within two hours and disappearing by the fourth. While Cuir de Russie is fleetingly beautiful, it is none of interesting or edgy.

P.S. Having briefly tried the new EdPs at stores, I find the scent two profiles to be nearly identical. Therefore, it would be an improvement if it is made more substantial / higher concentration.

2.5/5 (neutral)
12th September, 2017