Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gmstrack

Total Reviews: 101

Or des Indes by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier


Or Des Indes by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier opens with a puff of aldehydes and powdery notes and immediately reminds me of Ombre Rose L'Original by Jean Charles Brosseau. Like OR, ODI has a vintage makeup bag vibe and eventually evolves into powdery resins and soft honeyed woods. Touches of lavender, iris, and rose serve to round out this composition. I definitely categorize ODI as a fragrance that smells like vintage makeup and powdered resins; for example, Drole de Rose, L'Heure Bleue, and Chantilly can be considered as sister fragrances. Did I mention that ODE is powdery? :)

08th July, 2013

Eau des Îles by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Smoke and smiles

Eau des Iles by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier really makes me smile. It opens up with a huge eye-watering dose of smoke and coffee while a timid, yet pretty yellow floral note is trapped inside. Actually, I just read Alfarom’s review and that is basically how I perceive Eau des Iles. Also, there is something reminiscent of the late 80s hippy revival in the fragrance, yet it feels completely plausible that Eau des Iles could have been released in 2013. This is a must try for all fragrance collectors, especially incense fans. I’m very impressed, although I’m not sure how much I would reach for Eau des Iles if I owned a full bottle.

07th July, 2013

Gli Invisibili : Io by Hilde Soliani Profumi

Pixi Dust

Io by Hilde Soliani starts out as a white floral coated in a generous dusting of crushed sweet-tarts. As the acidity of the candy calms down, a grape flavored tuberose takes center stage. The purple grape candy smells very little like a "natural" grape. Even though I’d classify this as a fruity floral, the whole composition retains a dryness not typical of the genera. The juxtaposition of simple floral notes with the sweet-tart candy results in youthful sophistication and an abstract twist. After a while, it becomes clear that some of the dryness is due to an old-fashioned powdery iris note that makes the fragrance quite lady-like, yet the pervasive pixi dust keeps it playful. As time passes, the warmth of the benzoin tames the candied tuberose and the composition becomes less interesting. Soon, only a trace of candy is left on the skin.

07th July, 2013
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Immortelle de Corse by L'Occitane

Snuggly Immortelle

Immortelle de Corse by L`Occitane is an affordable sweet surprise, and alas, a limited edition. The fragrance is simple, pleasant and easy to wear: honey, maple syrup, benzoin, carrot-y iris, and a touch of warm hay coalesce to create a nice "wearable" gourmand that melds with the skin. Interestingly, if I apply IdC to my clothing it leaves a trace of curry after about 12 hours. At less than a dollar per mL, IdC is a bargain; longevity on skin is 6-8 hours. A must try for gourmand and oriental lovers. I couldn’t find IdC in the regular L`Occitane store, but I found it on sale in the outlet store about a week ago.

06th July, 2013

Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

Chain smoking in the garage

Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal, just like the name implies, is not for the faint of heart. Maybe I’m influenced by the name, but I’ve tried AF on several times, and it just keeps delivering. At first, AF reminded me of vintage Shalimar minus the citrus with extra leather and incense. Then I picked up the rubber note, which isn’t listed. To me, the rubber is so pervasive, that it makes me wonder if I’m supposed to be picking up the "Russian" leather instead. By the way, what exactly is "Russian" leather accord? Anyway, the incense, leather, and rubber combine to create a garage effect. Yes, AF is a couple of mechanics wearing Shalimar and chain smoking. In other words, AF is a very atmospheric fragrance, like Avignon: it seems to envelope one in a cloud of fragrance that could be originating from the surroundings instead of melding with the skin. (Thankfully, the 15 mL splash bottle is the perfect amount of AF for me and I will probably reach for this during the winter months.)

Final verdict: AF is good, but not one of my go to fragrances. I’ll just stick with Bulgari Black, thank you.

06th July, 2013

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

Gateway Fragrance

This review is for the EDT. I’m not going to break down the notes or rate it. Yes, this is Jean-Claude Ellena’s mainstream fragrance packed full of ISO E super; it smells good, but lacks subtly and the trademark whimsical touch. Blah-de-blah-blah. I would recommend this to someone not really into fragrance. Basically, it could be a great gateway fragrance for people trying to convince their spouses to step over to the dark side and start a creepy perfume collecting hobby. It just might work—he said "It’s O.K." and tossed it into the neglected pile of samples next to his computer. Fingers crossed.

18th June, 2013

No. 19 Poudré by Chanel

Trust Fund Baby

No 19 Poudre Chanel could be the shy, yet talented niece of Chanel 19. Auntie is wealthy (thanks to her own efforts) and has aged quite well; in fact, she takes a young lover from time to time, but never allows herself to be bothered with permanent attachments. Children (and some adults) who read "The Witches" by Roald Dahl cower in terror has she approaches. Her obsessive-compulsive disorder is apparent if one were to inspect her well-kept home: the space between the refrigerator and the wall doesn’t harbor a speck of dust, and of course her lingerie wardrobe is organized and color coded. We will not discuss her Chanel handbag collection. The young niece, on the other hand, is a straight-A student studying art history at NYU and lives in a small bohemian loft. Her elegant, yet relaxed appearance draws everyone who meets her in for a closer look. She has a couple of confidantes whom she shares her bed with, but prefers to maintain friendships instead of settle down. She spends her spare time volunteering at soup kitchens and hanging out with friends at trendy cafes and bars. In spite of her art degree, she knows that she will land a decent job immediately after graduation—auntie will make sure of it.

Mediocre longevity; wears close to the skin; I can’t help but like it. 3.5/5

18th June, 2013

Vent Vert (new) by Pierre Balmain

Green Goodness

During my quest for a "green" floral appropriate for spring/summer weather, I sniffed several reputable fragrances with the intention of finally finding the perfect balance between refreshment and sophistication. One of the fragrances, Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte, was quite disappointing and left behind a trace of white-floral fart after the citrus quickly dissipated. (The original Cristalle is quite lovely, however it transforms into an unpleasant mess on my skin. I love No. 19, but I feel it is too formal for every day wear.) So, there was nothing left to do except sample, sample, sample. After quite a bit of huffing and tossing, I finally stumbled across Vent Vert. Is it good? Yes. Does it end my quest? No, but sniffing Vent Vert was eye-opening because I realized that this is what Cristalle Eau Verte is supposed to smell like. At least that’s how it goes down in my noggin. The note quality could improve a little; things move into soap and shampoo territory and call me crazy, but wearing Vent Vert is a little like washing the dishes while wearing a chastity belt. Although Vent Vert is a decent green floral with a very reasonable price point, I’m not interested in owning a bottle. My search continues…

16th June, 2013

Coeur de Vétiver Sacré by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A vetiver worth getting to know

A few months ago I acquired a sample of CdVS and thought of it as "not bad" and "nothing special". Boy, was I mistaken. I consider CdVS to be a vetiver and tea composition, but it’s mostly all about vetiver. Some reviewers have pointed out that CdVS has vetiver in it, but not as a central component. I disagree: CdVS is a vetiver-centered composition with other notes supporting and accentuating the multiple facets of vetiver. The opening has a fruit juice quality to it--mostly apple and apricot. The fruit juice immediately settles down and morphs into dried fruits; the dried fruits play up the (gasp) fruity side of vetiver and it is difficult to separate the vetiver from the fruit. The same is true for the black tea note; tannic earthiness and pepper blend effortlessly with the vetiver. There is also a beautiful smokiness permeating not only the vetiver, but also the tea and the fruit. Perhaps this seems unremarkable, but the 3D vetiver is supported by a quiet, yet persistent woody oriental base with woody notes, tonka, and musk. It's almost as though two compositions are layered together and it makes me think of bread supporting meat to make a sandwich. We could eat the bread or the meat alone, but why would we want to do that? Castoreum appears later as the condiment that ties the oriental part to the smoky vetiver/tea. The animalic component also serves to render the composition "wearable" without feeling overdone or vulgar.

Sometimes the whole composition smells like leathery tobacco and sometimes it feels "green", but definitely not in a crushed leaves or fresh cut grass sort of way. I like to think of CdVS is as a "spiritual" retreat for vetiver, but not in a religious or hippy sense. In this case, vetiver packs a bag, travels to the mountains, stays in a log cabin (with a wood fire and maybe some incense), drinks tea, and eats simple dried food.

Projection is average, but I prefer scents that stay close to the body. Longevity was a shock: I got at least 12 hours out of CdVS. This is definitely the longest lasting LAP fragrance I’ve ever tried. This composition is truly excellent and I consider it to be elegant and underrated. On the other hand, if you are not into vetiver and tea, then CdVS might not be for you.


30th May, 2013

Essence by Narciso Rodriguez

Essence, like other fragrances for women by Narciso Rodriguez, is a fragrance centered on musk with tasteful floral accents; however, if you are in love with Narciso Rodriguez for Her and enjoy the come hither, animalic musk, then Essence could be a shock or a disappointment. The musk in Essence is the laundry detergent kind, accented with rose and a light dusting of aldehydes. In fact, this fragrance reminds me of White Linen by Estee Lauder, except it is more accessible to the younger crowd. I’m not interested in smelling like laundry detergent on steroids but, if I wanted my personal fragrance to say “CLEAN” (i.e., my skin as well as my clothing needs to smell like fresh laundry), then I would probably choose this one over the other offerings.
28th April, 2013

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

Oh dear. Where do I start? Infusion d`Homme by Prada opens with a blast of soda water and citrus fruit and settles down to become dry, soapy iris covered in laundry detergent musk and sodium bicarbonate. A little benzoin and vanilla hum in the background and a very light floral note floats on top, but I just can’t get past the soapy, carbonated, laundry effect. In fact, it is so overbearing that I need to scrub it off. This fragrance might work for me if I smelled it on someone else standing on the other side of the room.

I was really hoping to like Infusion d`Homme, but alas, I am quite disappointed. I read several great reviews, noted the adorable bottle, and found the price point very reasonable. Too bad the juice didn’t complete the fantasy.

20th April, 2013

Bois de Turquie by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Bois de Turquie by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is a gorgeous iris/sandalwood composition and one of my favorite scents for every day wear. It starts out sweet with notes of iris, mandarin orange, and orange blossom and quickly develops on the skin to expose sandalwood and bay leaf while a hint of myrrh lurks in the background. The iris note is beautiful and it never becomes too powdery because it is tamed by the sandalwood and perky bay. BdT makes me feel beautiful, approachable, and feminine; I could wear this everywhere and feel comfortable and appropriate. Longevity is mediocre, so I apply it to my undergarments. Projection is interesting because some of the notes sit very close to the skin, while the floral component leaves a decent trail. Overall, BdT is quite lovely and high quality.

07th April, 2013

Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal

This is a sad, sad day. After a long day at work, I arrived at home to find a delivered package containing Musc Nomade and Ambre Fetiche. With a wagging tail I tore open the package and eagerly applied Musc Nomade to my wrist and started huffing away. Snort. Snort. WTF? Snort. Oh no. I am not able to smell parts of this composition. The musc note is incredibly faint and I think I’m detecting ambrette, but otherwise only pale amber with a touch of chicken soup fades in and out. As such, I will refrain from rating Musc Nomade because, sob, I just can’t smell it! Take my advice: do not blind buy Musc Nomade!!!!

Next day edit: OK, this is completely perplexing, but now I think I can smell the composition. The musc is almost a texture, not a discernable note. I’m finding the MN experience very subtle and almost spooky. It’s like the ghost of someone’s flesh lingers in the air, but it is difficult to really describe what that flesh smells like; it’s sort of like a faded memory that keeps snuggling with you. This is hands down the creepiest review I’ve written and I’m going to stop typing now.

Two days later: Yes, I can definately smell blackberry-musc accord, but the problem is that I need to dump half the bottle on my head to detect the whole composition.

Final verdict: MN is a unique, comforting musc with an almost haunting beauty. It is, however, wimpy beyond belief.
07th April, 2013
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Amber & Spices by Montale

Amber & Spices by Montale should be called Amber, Spices, and OUD—oh my! This is one raunchy amber composition with dirty oud, caraway (?), and lovely, yet subtle rose. I think that cumin is a note because there is something about this fragrance that reminds me of sweaty man parts dipped in amber. So, to answer the question posed by a previous reviewer, I think this fragrance is more suitable for a man, but I could appreciate it on a woman too. ;)

Decent longevity and projection

4/5 Pure aphrodisiac ;)
28th March, 2013

Amber Oud by By Kilian

Amber Oud definitely deserves a sideways thumb. First, as other reviewers pointed out, the oud is barely detectable and doesn’t even show up until at least 30 minutes into the drydown and even then, the castrated oud meekly waves a hand in protest of the giant benzoin troll dominating the party. Finally, pleasant boozy amber takes over after the troll stops farting and a hint of bay leaf darts in and out. Overall, AO is a high quality fragrance, although I wouldn’t say that it is worth the ridiculous price, especially considering that AO seems slightly generic. If you enjoy heavy duty benzoin bombs (for example, Chergui) then this will probably be your cup of tea. If you like your oud prominent and challenging, then look elsewhere.

28th March, 2013

Aqua Universalis by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Acqua Universalis by Maison Francis Kurkdjian is a nice, simple lily of the valley scent available “as 1 liter laundry detergent and softener with the same notes”. I happen to love LOTV, so this fragrance is quite pleasant to me and I agree with a previous reviewer; yes, AU does remind me of a ‘classy hotel’. I can completely understand why this fragrance is so appealing; there is something very comforting about smelling like expensive soap, especially after shower. That being said, if one is going to rate this composition alongside masterpieces and classics like Diorissimo or Quelques Fleurs l`Original, then it is only logical and fair to rate AU as a 2.5 out of 5. Don’t get me wrong, the notes are high quality and the fragrance is quite lovely, but this is miles away from being a ground-breaking master piece.
28th March, 2013

Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain

Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain is not a disappointing “very berry cupcake”. Basically, take Shalimar EDC, add a dash of Angel, hit yourself in the head, and there you have it. The composition opens with citrus, vanilla, iris, and spicy leather, and at this stage, the genetics of the Grande Dame dominate the composition. As the fragrance develops on the skin, I pick up liquorice loud and clear. Basically, a huge liquorice root is chasing me around the room, trash talking and spewing obscenities. An hour later, the liquorice thug sulks in a corner and suddenly crazy Auntie Angel shows up with caramel and funky patchouli. Crazy Auntie and I are fabulous friends—we have caused quite a bit of trouble together—and we spend the next four hours trying on clothes and deciding if I look better in the vintage floral dress or the one made out of rubber (it snaps).

4/5 Just try it!
12th February, 2013

Bottega Veneta by Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta by Bottega Veneta is classified as a Floral Chypre, but I would describe this as a Fruity Chypre. The luxurious bottle evokes feminine leather, mirroring the juice inside. First, I will address the issue of fruity vs. floral. According to the note listing, bergamot and pink pepper contribute to the fruity aspect, but as mentioned by other reviewers, plum seems to be a noteworthy note. So, here we have fruity leather, and possibly a modern take on Mitsouko. However, if Mitsouko (pre-reformulation) is an attic-confined trunk full of dusty leather-bound books, then BV is a freshly polished library full of leather-bound books. The library is spacious, maybe a window is open, but the trunk full of books holds other strange archaic treasures waiting to be discovered. Perhaps this distinction embodies the divide between the “vintage” fragrances and contemporary compositions. In 2013, we are stuffed to the gills with stuff and gadgets, yet our pastoral sentiments point toward a “fresh” and simple ideal as we attempt to process the daily deluge of information. At the end of the day, we are simply too tired and overwhelmed to rummage through the attic. Also, 100 years ago, it was a sign of progress, and perhaps status, to leave the house smelling like the latest chemistry. Now, we associate “chemical” odors with toxicity while body odor is synonymous with poverty and ignorance; time for your huge dose of aldehydes and civet! So we long for a simple time, free of pollution and full of pastoral landscapes and “organic” gardens.

3.5/5 Very good intentions…
12th February, 2013

Comme des Garçons 2 Man by Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garcons 2 Man by Comme des Garcons is an incense lover’s delight. I love smelling like I just stuck my head in a camp fire and then rolled around in random greenery. The usage of aldehydes is a stroke of genius that lends a cool yet waxy aspect to balance the huge bonfire burning in the back yard. The leather is aged liked a lived in jacket and doesn’t have that “beefy” steak-on-skin feel that can become overwhelming after a while. Yes, CdG 2 Man is much better than putting a steak in your pants. Also, this is loaded with Iso E super, but I guess I really enjoy my flavor enhancers. The rest of the fragrance involves citrus, spices, and in general, wood, but I really couldn’t tell you exactly what the notes are. The only issue I have with CdG 2 Man is development on the skin; after a couple hours the fragrance becomes a little generic.

4.5/5 Super! (heh)
12th February, 2013

Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka

Recently, I acquired an adorable Lolita Lempicka mini. Having read many fantastic reviews, I was looking forward to the fragrance. It turns out that LL is quite enjoyable; however, I must admit I’d rather wear Angel. In fact, I’d rather wear several other girly foody fragrances, for example, L by Lolita Lempicka. In this case, it is best to overlook one’s personal taste and judge the fragrance objectively. Basically, it’s a delicious, spicy dessert, and after 16 years, LL still holds its own against all of the “very berry cupcake” designer fragrances.

12th February, 2013

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Avignon by Comme des Garçons

Avignon definitely lives up to the hype; I just can’t get enough of this fragrance! Several fantastic reviews have already described Avignon, so I really do not have much to add except that Avignon=man trap. Yes, that’s right; I’ve been wearing it every day for about a week now and I have received more compliments per (arbitrary) unit of time than with Hypnotic Poison and Angel. I’ve already given away two decants. This stuff is a drug!!!

5/5!!! Weeeeeeeee!
12th February, 2013

Joy by Jean Patou

Joy by Jean Patou can be described as the quintessential vintage fragrance overflowing with rose, aldehydes, and civet. The civet is definitely loud and dirty, but it blends with the sweet, juicy aspect of the rose rendering it velvety and luscious. When I wear Joy, I conservatively apply it and keep a modern appearance. I’d love to meet someone who swims in this fragrance :)

12th February, 2013

Fracas by Robert Piguet

I finally tried Fracas, and although it isn’t the type of fragrance that I typically wear, it was everything I hoped it would be: intense and visceral. There are already several fantastic reviews describing Fracas, so I really do not have anything to add, except I can only imagine what it was like to sniff this in 1948. It must have been mind blowing, like hearing the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” for the first time in 1969, although Fracas doesn’t evoke same sense of self-loathing. Today, contemporary music uses new technology unavailable to Brian Eno during the 1960s and 70s. In perfumery, we have Carnal Flower, an excellent tuberose update; however, the 2005 iteration can only aspire to evoke the same magic (cultural relevance) created by the initial composition.

5/5 Hard-hitting: three chords and the truth.
01st January, 2013

Fleur de Rocaille by Caron

Before writing this review, I mistook Fleur de Rocaille (1993) for FleurS de Rocaille (1933) by Caron. After some research, I realized that I’ve yet to sniff the 1933 fragrance and based on the note descriptions, the two fragrances differ quite a bit. Here are is my impression of Fleur de Rocaille:

The opening is loaded with sweet floral and a touch of aldehydes. For flowers, I’m picking up lilac and maybe jasmine, but the effect is simultaneously muted and abrasive; this is a jagged, airbrushed bouquet found on greeting cards from the 1990s. The aldehydes are not very pronounced, but there is something off-putting lurking in the composition that reminds me of hairspray. Development on the skin is linear, so in this case, time isn’t a problem solver. In spite of my disappointment, I still want to try FleurS de Rocaille; hopefully, I will not mistake that one for hair product.

01st January, 2013

La Chasse Aux Papillons Extrême by L'Artisan Parfumeur

La Chasse aux Papillons Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur opens with a face full of warm weeds. After one sniff, I braced myself for an allergy attack that (thankfully) never came. The sun drenched greens are peppery-hot and seem to share space with pencil shavings. Yep. Finally, the weeds calm down and the soapy floral starts taking over, but the weeds never really leave. Does La Chasse aux Papillons Extreme evoke a butterfly hunt in a warm flower-filled field? Yes: The fragrance has an innocent summertime feel and I’m enjoying it during the winter months. Also, longevity could be better, in spite of the fact that Extreme is part of the name. (I have this complaint with several LAP fragrances.)

3.5/5 delightful
28th December, 2012

Crystal Noir by Versace

Crystal Noir by Versace is classified as a floral oriental with gardenia as the main floral note and a typical list of spicy oriental notes to complete the composition. The gardenia pulls the fragrance in a soapy direction, while the “spicy” oriental part just adds a generic sweetness that really doesn’t bring that plush, warm feel I associate with woods and amber. Instead, CN turns into a typical mall fragrance, i.e., a mediocre sweet floral with detergent-y musk. The name and packaging evoke depth, and sensuality; however, the CN smells aggressively tame.

27th December, 2012 (last edited: 13th January, 2013)

Passion by Annick Goutal

Passion by Annick Goutal, a fragrance released in the early 1980s, is a loud blast of spicy floral when sniffed strait from the bottle. During the opening, the white floral is tamed by oakmoss and something green and spicy (tomato leaf according to the note listing). When applied to the skin, however, Passion morphs into something entirely different, with a touch of musty smokiness confounding the senses. Finally, a previous reviewer called it out: floral incense sticks! Passion is a white floral with a timeless Bohemian elegance. Another reviewer pointed out that the floral note treads the line between tropical and seasonal; I think that is, right on, man.

27th December, 2012

Quelques Fleurs L'Original by Houbigant

Quelques Fleurs l`Original by Houbigant is a gilded time machine. With a single spray, one is transported to a Victorian flower garden (or at least what I think is a Victorian flower garden). Here is my impression: flowers punch you in the face and then continue to do so for a few hours. The enormous bouquet is green with a soapy aspect; I’m mostly picking up lily of the valley, rose, and lilac. The citrus adds a touch of bright fruit at first, but quickly gives way to expose a clean musk, and of course, flowers dominate throughout. Also, there is a touch of warm honey tying the whole thing together and every now and then a little civet surfaces to remind us that furry creatures live in the garden.

Even though QFO can be a Victorian time machine, it has a timeless aspect that makes it a beautiful addition to any floral lover’s perfume collection. Also, if you are interested in vintage fragrances, but can’t stand aldehydes, QFO might be your cup of, um, fairies and elves.

Rating: 5/5 timeless classic
26th December, 2012

Patchouly by Profumum

Patchouly Profumum Roma is a rich, gorgeous patchouli/amber scent. The patchouli is earthy, incense-y, medicinal, and intense, however it is balanced with full, sensual amber, which develops into ambergris (as mentioned by the previous reviewer). The amber note is sweet and buttery-rich, and is the perfect foil for the not-so-tame patch. Also, a little goes a long way; the juice is so concentrated that one spray is lethal.

My nose is glued to my wrist.

14th December, 2012

Sarrasins by Serge Lutens

According to the Serge Lutens official website, when Sarrasins is “applied at night in a Moorish silence, it barely touches the skin…” Sarrasins made its mark when I applied one spray to my dry, ivory skin just below the wrist. The pale violet stain almost appears as a bruise, yet this is my secret to hold. This fragrance, however, is anything but a secret; a bombastic cloud of jasmine cut with grape jam fills the room. This white floral struts, tosses her hair, wears too much gold jewelry, and spends all day on her iphone. I was just about to dismiss Sarrasins as another hyper-feminine fruity-floral (albeit high quality), when suddenly, the initial romance receded to expose the underbelly of contemporary humanity: melting plastic, sweet animalic excess, and yes, feces. A monster.

Sillage and tenacity: Good

Overall: 4/5
12th November, 2012