Perfume Reviews

Reviews by freewheelingvagabond

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Total Reviews: 357

Siberian Musk by Areej le Doré

Siberian Musk is an oriental composition centred around musk, and some citrus, pine and woods. These other elements help to enhance and showcase different attributes of the musk note, rather than detract from it. The initial opening is oily citrus and pine, giving a glimpse into the musky elements, and phase that I enjoy. Beyond this, it slowly transforms into an accord that is mostly musk, augmented with spices and some woody touches. This transformation begins at around one hour after application, and takes place over another 3-4 hours. The musk note is clean, fresh and deep. Anyone looking for a skanky musk is bound to be disappointed: compared to Muscs Koublai Khan, Salome and MAAI (I don't find any of these skanky either ....) - this is rather clean. There is a second and final transformation as the fragrance dries down to its base accord, which is mostly musk supported by a touch of woods. This phase starts at about six hours post application and lasts a long time. Curiously, this final accord is just very slightly a touch skanky compared to its initial and mid phases - however, again, not at all when if considered in relation to the other fragrances I mentioned. Personally, this final accord is also not as compelling or engaging as the initial and mid phases.

I found sillage to be on the lower side, however it exhibits excellent duration at around twelve hours, or even more. The other point of note is that the (relative) absence of floral notes. This would be interesting to anyone looking for a fresh, clean, natural musk fragrance with some depth and quality, and without any skank or florals. Another note - at no point is the musk or the fragrance is sweet by any stretch of imagination. It's not bitter either, and I don't get any medicinal, or even a herbal vibe at any stage of development. While Siberian Musk does not exactly win me over, I like its style and am keen to explore other perfumes by Areej Le Dore.

3/5
05th September, 2017

Passion by Annick Goutal

Annick Goutal's Passion comes across as a very well balanced, well behaved white floral fragrance that is eventually a little unexciting given my personal tastes. I do get the fresh green opening with a lovely subtle touch of mint, followed by a bouquet of white flowers. I perceive a well mannered tuberose that is more beautiful than heady; this is complimented by a soothing ylang-ylang. The overall vibe is sunny, summery, uplifting. This accord of white flowers, laced with a touch of green, continues for hours before eventually becoming softer and revealing a faint musky-vanillic sweetness in the base. I do not detect any patchouli or mossy aspect. Passion exhibits a duration of six to seven hours on skin, though the sillage is subdued and close after about a couple of hours.

Passion, to me, is not particularly a tuberose fragrance. Unlike hardcore tuberose compositions like Carnal Flower, Fracas, Tubereuse Criminelle or Amarige, Passion is more of a refined white floral blend with tuberose taking the lead. While not too abstract, Passion achieves a great balance among its different elements. To me, Passion is a no-nonsense go-to white floral fragrance that perhaps works best in warm weathers, and possesses an understated aura and a refined elegance. Nonetheless, Passion is missing a spark somewhere, that elicits a neutral reaction personally.

3/5
04th September, 2017

Sombre Negra by Yosh

Note: Review is based on a fresh sample acquired in 2017.


Sombre Negra, on my skin, has two distinct phases: the first half is all dark, smoked woods, and an array of dark, spicy notes that hint at incense. The elements move in tandem, creating a layered, complex accord that also has a slight oily aspect at times (which I love). I do not particularly detect tobacco, while the composition is never quite leathery to me, presenting only faint nuances.

Unfortunately, this first phase lasts for about two hours, before the fragrance unravels significantly to reveal a faintly sweet woody dry-down that hints at vetiver and cedar. There is a significant reduction in the body, with sillage becoming quite thin at this point. There is still a nice peppery-incensy touch, but it's almost imperceptible due to a lack of strength. In this phase it is sometimes reminiscent of Frankincense & Myrrh by Czech & Speake. This bare bones second phase persists all of three hours before becoming silent on skin.

Sombre Negra, eventually underwhelming, is reminiscent of other dark, woody fragrances such as Memoir Man and Bois d'Ascese. I also spot a relation to Jacomo de Jacomo. While differing on several aspects, any of these are more worthwhile and engaging than Sombre Negra.

2.5/5
04th September, 2017
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Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

Note: Review is of the vintage version (wraparound label)


Givenchy Gentleman, in its vintage form, is perhaps my favourite patchouli, together with Nicolai's. I find most 'straightforward' or 'hardcore' patchouli fragrances nice but tiresome. Additionally, one can achieve as good an aromatic effect by simply choosing a quality patchouli EO. Givenchy Gentleman takes patchouli, and creates a magnificent accord with civet. The civet adds a generous dose of sensuality, while providing a leathery aspect. The composition is further embellished with touches of aromatic herbs (tarragon) and spices (cinnamon). The result is an incredible composition, as solid and deep as a Brahms sonata. While it stays on skin for six to seven hours, there is adequate sillage to conclude a special experience. There is absolutely nothing like this on the market today: old school elegance, rarefied, forceful but with a gentlemanly demeanour. Familiar ingredients, but masterful abstraction and brimming with intelligence and emotion. Sometimes I get a touch of honey, with the composition hinting at a quality, aged Scotch.

Note: The current version of this has experience a significant loss in quality. Not only does it feel less rich and layered, there is only a brief burst of what feels like a second grade version, before paving way to a weak dry down that lasts all of two hours.

4.5/5 vintage (positive)

2.5/5 current, circa 2013 (neutral)

04th September, 2017

Habanos by Royal Crown

This is the sort of new age 'synth niche' fragrance that I do not care for. The bottle is robust and nice, but is compromised by a tacky cap that's borderline hilarious, resembling a crown that belongs to some pompous king. I understand that that's perhaps the mojo and motto of Royal Crown, but it's over the top and rather ridiculous.

Now to the fragrance, it has a large dose of saffron initially. Saffron is not a note I like, especially when the use is heavy-handed. There is a thick, honeyed, resinous tobacco accord with a shrill sweetness. The tobacco is closer to cherry pipe tobacco rather than leaves. The tobacco, however, is almost overwhelmed by a thick wall of notes that is rather jarring. The dry down is a little vanillic. While Habanos has consistent low sillage, it possesses excellent duration of at least ten hours on skin. However, there is not much transformation over the hours. Additionally, it never smells that compelling, or simply 'good'; it appears clumsy and clunky, and eventually a bit cheap as well, which is shocking considering the price tag. There is a richness, but it is gaudy rather than refined or elegant. During the mid phase, there are also some floral elements, when one finds a vague connection to The Dreamer by Versace. I'd much rather wear The Dreamer than this, which is more rarefied yet substantial, compelling, and a whole lot more fun.

Habanos might probably appeal to someone who would want a less sweet version of Tobacco Vanille. However, the first half of Tobacco Vanille showcases a complex, layered tobacco accord which is head and shoulders above anything I smell in Habanos. Additionally, there are already several other fragrances around the 'sweet tobacco' idea of Tobacco Vanille, that present different refinements and interpretation of that idea. As for authentic and hardcore non-aromatic tobacco fragrances with warmth and a touch of sweetness, Habanos cannot hold a candle to something like Acqua di Cuba or the now-discontinued Tabacco by Odori.


1.5/5
03rd September, 2017

Spice and Wood by Creed

Spice and Wood, unlike other modern Creeds, appears more natural smelling with a burst of peppery translucent apples tinged with lemon, and moving quickly to a mid phase of spiced woods with a dose of cedar. There is angelica, but no galbanum. The dry down is soft woods, with a musky element and a faint sweetness.

Among woody fragrances by Creed, Spice and Wood, while having an absurd price, comes across as less substantial than Bois du Portugal or Royal Oud, and is surprisingly fleeting, becoming a skin scent within an hour and lasting all of four hours. Malle's French Lover is a more interesting woody scent of similar profile, albeit more green.

2.5/5
02nd September, 2017

Cuir X by La Parfumerie Moderne

Marc-Antoine Corticchiato is the nose behind the La Parfumerie Moderne Creations, of which I have tried Cuir X and No Sport. These two compositions are rather polished and seamless, and shunning the rustic charms of some of the Parfum d'Empire fragrances. Cuir X is definitely a modern leather fragrance, with a composition that hints at high quality leather accessories, and at times leather upholstery. This is in the same canon as other modern leathers such as Cuir Cannage, Cuir Ottoman and Ombre Leather 16. The initial opening has a sparkle with a touch of saffron, that sets the tone for the development to follow. The accord features many suede qualities, but is overall decidedly more leathery. Iris forms a natural harmony, though less prominent compared to Cuir d'Iris or Cuir Ottoman, while a touch of sweetness supports the other elements and add cohesion. I hardly detect any birch tar. Cuir X is not abstract, nor was it meant to be. There is a slight edginess, that brings an element of interest which is maintained over the majority of its lifespan on skin.

My personal reservations in the case of Cuir X are twofold: I prefer more sensuous leathers such as Mona di Orio's Cuir, or Cuir Mauresque, or even Cuir Ottoman. The other aspect is that the latter half of its lifespan on skin is rather faint, too subdued, and not as engaging. It loses the edginess, the the bodacious leathery accord, and is somewhat thin. Cuir X, nonetheless, possesses an attraction that makes it potentially interesting to anyone considering a modern, friendly leather fragrance. While decidely unisex, I imagine it to be working better on women. It's quite chic.

3/5 (neutral)
02nd September, 2017

Moschino pour Homme by Moschino

Moschino pour Homme is very much a leathery chypre, rather than an oriental. I do not get any oriental nuances here, any such element is definitely in the far background. Moschino pour Homme is firmly in the territories of leathery chypres such as Bandit, Derby and Bel Ami. It is closest to the latter. The mossy aspects are more prominent relative to vintage Bel Ami, but underplayed relative to other vintage mossy leathers such as Davidoff and Blend 30.

The key attribute to Moschino pour Homme is the great compositional balance, where a styrax driven leather accord rests harmoniously on a chypre foundation laced with a deft blend of herbs and florals. The floral aspects are hardly discernible, but add depth and complexity. The herbs add a cool, suave freshness that is retained throughout. There is almost no spicy element, unlike Bel Ami. The exploration of leather is also not as bold as in Bel Ami. Instead, it is almost as if Moschino pour Homme, released in 1990, offers a lens through which one can review and recap the diverse stylistic elements of masculine fragrances in the 70s and 80s.

Moschino pour Homme is refined, approachable, restrained and gentlemanly, but with adequate presence. It sits on one's skin with a soft but persistent sillage, and has a duration of about six to seven hours, which is adequate for its concentration. The only reason Moschino pour Homme doesn't get a higher rating is because of personal tastes - I find like it enough but not quite love it. This is perhaps my mind playing tricks - but Moschino pour Homme has a quality, perhaps an effortless demeanour, that takes it dangerously close to 'something classic, something Italian' territory.

Tip: If you're after Bel Ami (particularly earlier versions), I would strongly suggest to ignore the current Bel Ami, and sample (subject to budget) Puredistance M for 'vintage Bel Ami', Moschino pour Homme for 'Bel Ami light' and Bel Ami Vetiver for a nice modern twist on Bel Ami.

3.5/5 (positive)
29th August, 2017

Bulgari pour Homme by Bulgari

Bvlgari pour Homme, composed by Jacques Cavellier and released in 1996, is an aromatic citrus fragrance, underpinned by musk. Bvlgari has since added two fragrances to this range - Extreme and Soir. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful collection of masculine fragrances by Bvlgari, and each one is a play on tea. Bvlgari's romance with tea in perfumes begins with the now iconic Bvlgari Au Parfumee The Vert, composed by J.C. Ellena in 1992. Since then, tea has been a signature note for this brand, incorporated successfully in many compositions in the 90s and early 2000s.

Bvlgari pour Homme begins with a subdued bergamot, with hints of florals and other citruses. Very soon the tea note comes to the fore, abstract yet very reminiscent, and alternating between leafy green and smoky black. The florals harmonise the tea note, and a smooth, soft musk note is the string that binds lightly all the elements together. This is the fresh musk I appreciate: clean, soft, very slightly sweet, yet far removed from any laundry detergent association. The musk is dealt with a light hand so as not to overwhelm. The tea-musk accord is the centrepiece of the composition, and dominates from start to finish, from a refreshing opening to a comforting dry down.

Bvlgari pour Homme is very muted on my skin, though duration is about adequate from a generous application. I am partial to the Extreme flanker which is stronger, greener, and has a faint zing of ginger. While pour Homme doesn't work for me, this is recommended to anyone looking for a fresh, balanced tea scent that is soft and discreet.

3/5 (neutral)
29th August, 2017

Private Collection - Querelle by Parfumerie Generale

Querelle, contrary to its 'concept' (marketing brief), is a refined aromatic oriental. Anyone expecting something animalic or dramatic would be thoroughly disappointed. It very much reminds me of Bogart Signature initially; though Bogart develops into mossy-leathery, whereas Querelle transforms into soft, smoky myrrh with spices and a hint of moss. In terms of character it also brings to mind L'Homme Sage by Divine, though the Divine is definitely a notch or two higher in quality and execution.

Querelle begins with a refined citrus accord with a touch of spices, and a nod to many aromatic fragrances from the '70s and the '80s. The resinous character is soon evident from the myrrh, which is laced with a mossy undertone. I get a hint of incense, and hardly any vetiver, though there is an airy quality to it akin to vetiver compositions. The nuanced accord driven by myrrh and incense forms the back bone of the composition, and there is little further transformation over time.

My gripe with Querelle is that it is exceedingly soft on my skin beyond the first hour or so, and wears as an eau de toilette. Its duration on skin is also barely adequate. Otherwise it is a fine scent, more handsome than beautiful, rather conservative and well executed. Anyone interested in something more substantial should try L'Homme Sage by Divine. Though, to enjoy the latter, one has to like saffron, which I do not.

3/5 (neutral)
29th August, 2017

Himalaya by Creed

There are a bunch of Creeds that do not smell any different from one another after a couple of hours, and Himalaya is one of those. Himalaya employs some citrus and creates brief 'chilly' moment of freshness. It is also very safe, which means that no aromatic or herbal overtones are present. A soft, fresh, woody phase follows that has a hint of sweetness, and this is the point from which onwards it is similar to Millesime Imperial, Green Irish Tweed and Silver Mountain Water. There is a metallic aspect, especially in the beginning, which is similar to that of Silver Mountain Water, but Himalaya doesn't have any of the 'shrill' demeanour of the former. The dry down is woody-musky, with bare hints of sandalwood and ambergris.

Himalaya is competent and never vulgar. However, it is not as compelling as Green Irish Tweed, and is rather generic, and both sillage and duration are slightly less than that of Green Irish Tweed. Its lack of any distinguishing character is perhaps attributable to the fact that it seems the ideal fragrance to market to casual purveyors of faux-luxury. The bottle is hideous.

2.5/5 (neutral)
29th August, 2017

Séville à l'Aube by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Seville a L'Aube is a rich orange blossom fragrance by L'Artisan that shuns the usual subtlety of other L'Artisan fragrances, and opts for a more direct and robust constitution. It begins with a piercing, rich and bittersweet neroli and petitgrain accord, laced with lavender. This is soon joined by a honeyed beeswax note that provides a sweet counterbalance to the initial bitterness. This neroli-beeswax accord forms the centrepiece of the composition, which is joined by incensy-balsamic notes in the base where one gets hints of benzoin. I experience a persistent but close to skin sillage, and an average duration of six to seven hours. This also feels much more bodacious compared to other L'Artisan fragrances.

Seville a L'Aube is an interesting fragrance among orange blossom compositions. It's definitely not a fresh take, and is thus different from Nicolai's Cologne Sologne or Neroli by Czech & Speake. It's closer in structure to compositions like Fleurs d'Oranger (Lutens) or Neroli Outrenoir. It employs sufficient complexity, and is quite enjoyable - especially after the initial phase. I prefer the Lutens due to its contrasting and interesting dose of cumin with neroli, and the only reason I do not find Seville a L'Aube more compelling is because of personal taste - and also the fact that orange blossom is not among my favourite notes.

A definite recommendation for anyone looking for a substantial orange blossom fragrance.

3/5 (neutral)
29th August, 2017

Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire

Review of earlier styled bottle:

Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire is perhaps one of the most convincing and innovative amber fragrances in one's experience. It is a smoky, boozy amber, with the boozy aspects having been handled with a deft touch. There is the unmistakable sparkling opening alluding to champagne, laced with vodka, and a light touch of spice. There is soon a leathery aspect from the birch, and a remarkable note of smoky black tea develops. The amber grows in parallel, and wraps a warm, comforting shawl around the other elements.

Ambre Russe wears with an airy, persistent sillage and has excellent duration on skin. It balances its diverse elements to create a consistent, compelling composition that ranks among the best amber fragrances. Ambre Russe is highly evocative. It is unique, yet never sacrifices beauty or wearability. This is one of those rare cases where concept and execution are of the highest order.

4/5

Review of current version:

To clarify, I owned a bottle of the earlier version. I recently tried a sample from a trusted source. To my disappointment, this was more powerful but less nuanced, more spicy, and all the boozy, leathery notes meshed together with amber into a single thick accord that is less ingenious and more clunky and cluttered, and absolutely none of the wonderful black tea note.

I sincerely hope it was the sample, but please try before you buy.

3/5 (neutral)
29th August, 2017
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Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna

Apparently the Zegna corporation owns some exclusive bergamot plantation in Calabria. That forms the inspiration for Italian Bergamot, released as part of the Essenze line.

This is the sort of composition that irks me. Its only redeeming feature is that it has a polish, which is expected for a mainstream release.

Otherwise it's a steely, cold, sharp bergamot from start to finish, with hardly any other supporting note. I fail to see the purpose of a composition like this, when one can easily obtain some bergamot essential oil as an alternative. It is unbalanced and, as is so typical of such releases, severely lacks emotion, intelligence, abstraction and complexity. The star ingredient is bergamot, which is not as compelling by itself as lemon or orange, and has too much bitterness. The concentration is eau de parfum, however it has average duration and is extremely muted. It also lacks, because of its concentration, the invigorating and bracing aspects of a good, simple bergamot based eau de cologne.

The bottle is cool.

1.5/5 (negative)
29th August, 2017

Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels

Tsar is an honest, good fougere, the likes of which are disappearing one by one these days. There's the traditional bergamot-lavender-oakmoss structure, but Tsar distinguishes itself with an array of fresh, green notes that are slightly grassy-coniferous than herbal. The bright, vivid opening of bergamot and lavender, tinged with neroli, leads to an aromatic phase that persists over a few hours. It is fresh, delightfully reminiscent of soap, yet retains a surprising crisp dryness. The oakmoss is discernible, though somewhat toned down, and together with patchouli and woods comprise an abstract accord that concludes the final transformation, where the fresh green aspects are still retained. It seems to have very little leathery aspect, if any. Tsar has an appreciable duration of about seven hours and a persistent gentlemanly sillage.

Tsar's neighbours could be Jazz (less green, more abstract and complex), Duc de Vervins (less fresh, more leathery) and Esencia (more woody and coniferous). Tsar could be a classic white shirt fragrance, though personally its charms are best experienced at leisure. I tend to think of Tsar as uplifting, uncomplicated, handsome, authentic, wholesome, more traditional than conservative, and a wardrobe staple for the discerning noses.

4/5
17th August, 2017

Vetiver des Sables by Montale

Let’s get one thing out of the way: this is not a vetiver fragrance. Sure, it perhaps does contain a smidgen of vetiver, but so does at least 40% of fragrances, as vetiver is often used as a fixative in compositions according to perfumers. Now, coming to Vetiver des Sables: this is primarily a fresh-woody composition with a generous dose of spices - precisely the basic spice marinade used in a chicken curry preparation, including Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric, and ground coriander and cumin. This spice blend forms the counterpoint to the fresh-marine notes, and they together rest on a bed of nondescript woody notes (that may include vetiver). Over time the freshness subsides as the spiciness becomes more prominent, and later on the woody dry down prevails, which does roughly approximate the smell of mahogany furniture.

Vetiver des Sables posseses good village and longevity. It also never smells agreeable, is too unbalanced with spices in the middle, and exhibits a grating synthetic demeanour from start to finish.

2/5
03rd August, 2017

Aoud Shiny by Montale

Aoud Shiny is sort of a lowest common denominator among Montales, though definitely not the worst. This is supposedly a rose-oud-patchouli concoction, though I get very little of each. Instead, what largely dominates is sort of a fruity-spicy-woody ‘aoud’ accord, the sort of accord that is bread and butter for Montale. It lacks the exoticism of Black Aoud, and has less depth, and is eventually a little crude and cheap-smelling. I detect a hint of violets and saffron, but mostly very subdued. The dry down becomes less fruity, as more woods come to the fore. It exhibits average sillage and acceptable duration, though slightly below par for Montales.

Aoud Shiny is far from a total disaster, however it brings nothing new to a crowded niche, where it is outshone by many others, including several from Montale. This is more suited towards casual buyers and blind completists.

2.5/5
03rd August, 2017

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

Mandragore is a disappointingly thin citrus-woods concoction with a touch of herbal elements. There is a nice initial accord of bergamot with ginger, which is quickly joined by some green, woody aspects, and the show is over within an hour.

2/5
31st July, 2017

Le Vetiver by Carven

I hardly get any vetiver in this. It primarily comes across as a fresh-green masculine, soapy and a somewhat synthetic vibe. The synthetic element disappears completely at around three hours, which is the same time when the cash runs out. Stylistically it is somewhere between Creed's Original Vetiver and Lubin's Itasca.

Mugler Cologne, Guerlain Vetiver and Lubin's Itasca would be much more compelling alternatives.

2.5/5
23rd July, 2017

Aqua pour Homme Atlantique by Bulgari

If you thought Aqua Amara was underwhelming, try this ....

Atlantique has very little of the Bvlgari Aqva DNA, and instead is yet another vile chemical disaster. It is not an aquatic, rather yet another fresh woody amber, and is a complete abomination when compared to the original, which was innovative. It's only been seven months in 2017, but this is a strong contender for being the worst release of the year.

Stick to the original or the Marine flanker.

1/5
23rd July, 2017

Versace pour Homme by Versace

Versace pour Homme would be an abomination compared to other notable mainstream releases of its time, including Dior Homme, Grey Vetiver and Infusion d'Homme. Curiously enough, now it is above average in a mainstream store crowded with Sauvage, Invictus, Dylan Blue, Aqua Atlantique and the likes - it will almost smell like a sophisticated Italian cologne for all of two minutes. Reconciling the two drastic experiences would reveal that this eschews meritocracy and idiocracy, and firmly embraces mediocracy. It is a run of the mill concoction on the overplayed fresh woody-amber theme, marginally inferior to and substantially cheaper than Chanel's Allure Homme Sport, which is itself a banal offering. Acqua di Gio Profumo, while somewhat different, would be recommended as a more respectable and competent offering that can be worn as an alternative.


2/5
23rd July, 2017

Versace pour Homme Dylan Blue by Versace

Take Versace pour Homme, add the latest focus-group tested and approved aromachemicals in generous doses, and voilà! We have Versace Pour Homme Dylan Blue, a spicy-woody-aquatic featuring the dullest of spices, woods and aquatic elements but somehow managing to smell less dull and more jarring. Firmly belonging to the Sauvage-Invictus chemical factory, its olfactory assault is far less nuclear than those of its more illustrious peers. This favourable news is to be admitted with the perhaps unfavourable feature that Dylan Blue tries more to fit in, be a member of the pack, and be a ubiquitous offering of the post-modern, post-industrial, post-disinfectant world that is in perfect harmony with the concurrent heteronormative social hegemony. There is, indeed, an identity crisis at large.

Fortunately, any reference to Dylan Thomas or Bob Dylan is restricted to matters of nomenclature.

1.5/5
22nd July, 2017

Patchouli Intense / Patchouli Homme by Nicolaï

Parfums de Nicolai has at its helm Patricia Nicolai, one of the most skilled perfumers of her generation. Her creations are rich, traditional, and complex. This doesn't seem to click with many, while many also find them too conventional or stereotyped. I, on the contrary, love this house. The compositions are complete, polished, exhibit the craft of the perfumer, the quality of ingredients, and, while there surely are some that do not make the mark, there is not a single release that can be considered bad, vulgar, or of low quality.

Patchouli Homme apparently has had a mixed reception, particularly because it's very different from most other niche patchouli fragrances. This is not a hardcore patchouli fragrance, even though patchouli is the most prominent member in the cast. Anyone looking for a 'patchouli' fragrance is likely to be disappointed. Here, it's not about patchouli. It's about the blend. Patchouli Homme firmly belongs to the 'patchouli and more' camp.

Patchouli Homme is an aromatic, and, at times, vaguely soapy interpretation of patchouli, where patchouli is somewhat in the shadows. I get notes of lavender, rose, mild spices and woods in an incredible accord that's hard to describe. The individuals notes are a little hard to discern, yet they manage to create many subtle nuances and dimensions that make the fragrance feel layered, rich and complex. There is a long and slow transition from the initial bright aromatics and touches of herbal elements to the comforting patchouli laden late dry down. It is assured, suave, sophisticated and simply smells divine. I'm sure it employs a fair degree of synthetics, however, there is a rich presence on skin, as it gives off impressions of a seamless blend of high quality essential oils. I have run through half of my 1 oz bottle, and now I can mention this in no uncertain terms: Patchouli Homme is, at least to me, right up there with the best Guerlains. While some might find it too conservative, this screams to me classic traditional French perfumery, rich and opulent - at least in the 21st century.

Lastly, for a perfume lover always crying about thin sillage and duration, Patchouli Homme is fantastic. François Hénin, founder of Jovoy, has apparently mentioned about Psychédélique: "Even the rain and mud of Woodstock won’t wash it away." Born in '86, if I could time travel to any one music festival, that would be Woodstock. In reality, unfortunately I cannot perform that experiment, irrespective of how much I wish I could. Now here comes the connection: I just wore Patchouli Homme all day last Friday in Chicago, including a day and afternoon out in the city with lunch and drink intervals, a mind bending four hour evening concert by Phish, followed by late night rounds at the good old blues bars on Halsted. Patchouli Homme was still discernible in the wee hours when I finally crashed.

5/5
19th July, 2017

Néroli Outrenoir by Guerlain

Guerlain's Neroli Outrenoir is a release that's a part of their 'luxe' (never mind whatever that's actually named) line. Neroli Outrenoir delivers an initial brisk bergamot show that lasts all of seconds. The plot moves over to an accord of neroli with smoky black tea, with some ambrette seeds that impart some dark musky nuances. Fairly linear, there is a slow transformation as the orange blossom subsides a little gradually, and the accord of ambrette seeds and myrrh becomes prominent, though the myrrh plays a supporting cast to the neroli-tea-ambrette seed triad. Neroli Outrenoir has close but perceptible projection, and lasts reasonably well on skin.

While Neroli Outrenoir brings something a little new to the canon of neroli fragrances, it is seriously compromised by what appears as the handling of the composition. The elements are too densely blended, lacking enough separation. The resulting neroli-tea-ambrette accord is dull, murky, and doesn’t flatter on the Guy Robert test. As neroli compositions, Seville A L'Aube or Fleurs d'Oranger are far more convincing, whereas one would suggest Philtre Ceylan as an example of a smoky black tea done right.

2.5/5
19th July, 2017

Green by Byredo

Green has an initial zing, that is a bit sharp and citrusy involving sage and galbanum. The opening zing subsides quickly to lead into a mid phase where the white florals are more prominent. I perceive a good amount of violets, and a vague nuttiness. The dry down is more musky with a hint of sweetness and traces of the floral elements, and similar in structure to the base of many of the Le Jardin series fragrances by Hermes.

Personally one finds Green somewhat ho-hum, and not much distinctive. I consider Chanel 19 and 19 Poudre to be more interesting alternatives in roughly similar categories. Anyone contemplating Green should also try those Chanels, Misia, and some of the Le Jardin releases.

Average sillage and longevity on skin.

2.5/5
19th July, 2017

Vétiver by Christian Dior

Dior's take on Vetiver is modern, crisp and has a couple of interesting nuances. It is a relatively straightforward vetiver with a twist of a note of roasted coffee beans. There is an initial hint of grapefruit as the vetiver is introduced; the vetiver is fresh, has the slightest hint of smoke. It is joined by a faint aroma of roasted coffee beans. This coffee note brings out more the rooty and earthy qualities of the vetiver; however, such nuances are very much kept to a minimum. At times there are allusions to nutty and blond tobacco notes. Dior's Vetiver has appreciable soft sillage and a moderate duration of about six to seven hours, which is on or above par for vetiver fragrances.

Dior's Vetiver is a quality vetiver fragrance that is recommended to anyone exploring fresher takes on vetiver. The neutral rating is mostly reflective of personal taste. While I admire the composition, the note of coffee, and the resulting vetiver accord is not as engaging to one's tastes.

3/5
10th July, 2017

Clean Reserve : Citron Fig by Clean

Citron Fig starts off with a mishmash accord of citrus that is sour. I detect mandarin, lemon and mint - in that order of presence. This is soon joined by a fig note, which thereafter takes centrestage. Very soon all that is left behind is a nondescript woody-musky accord, with brief hints of that unpleasant sour aspect.

Citron Fig comes across as a bog standard citrus-woody-musky concoction with sub par quality and at a strength somewhere between an eau de cologne and an eau de toilette (even though it is labelled as an eau de parfum).

1/5
05th July, 2017

Agaressence by Brécourt

Another fruity-floral 'oud' fragrance with lots of plum, rose, a smidgen of 'oud', but a melange that smells close to a shampoo, without any distinction or merit and very insubstantial, and eventually dull.

2/5
04th July, 2017

Le Vainqueur by Rancé

This is the quintessential early 2000s fresh-synthetic masculine designer viewed through the lens of so-called niche perfumery. However, it is by no means any improvement. It starts off reasonably well with a blast, which is a melange fresh-green fruity-floral-aquatic notes; thereafter it grows more crude, more annoying, and more grating with each hour. At about the three hour mark this is nothing but Burberry Weekend for Men with a facelift. Sillage is adequate, and so seems to be duration - which might not actually be a good thing in this case.

1.5/5
03rd July, 2017

Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris

Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris is an interpretation of uncured tobacco leaves within the aromatic green genre. The initial phase is citric, slightly peppery and slightly smoky, and paired with some tobacco notes that impart a humidity to the fragrance. Things go south soon, as the composition somewhat comes apart: any spicy aspect vanishes, and the tobacco disappears as well to leave behind a woody-sweet dry down that is only slightly aromatic. The fragrance is also rather meek with soft sillage, and duration is quite fleeting.

Feuilles de Tabac comes across as a missed opportunity because of its shortcomings. A greater focus on tobacco together with a considerable increase in potency would have been much more interesting. The vintage version of Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme can be thought of as a much improved Feuilles de Tabac: unfortunately, it is almost impossible to come by now. Or, just get Havana.

2.5/5
03rd July, 2017