Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Vartan

Total Reviews: 5

To Be The Illusionist by Police

Too much, yet too little

So, I'm that guy. I bought this totally blind - a fragrance and brand I had never heard of before - when I found out that it had a kind of neat looking skull-shaped bottle, after a cursory glance at the notes to make sure I wouldn't hate it. It helped that it was sitting on a shelf for $24.99 at a Ross at the time. It opened up like a distant, slightly generic cousin of GIT or perhaps Cool Water and I thought "Oh, ok. Maybe this was a random ok find.". With only two sprays on, I walked into a room to have my friend say "What the heck are you wearing, and how much of it did you put on? You smell like a room full of fratboys on the prowl." Shh, I said. It probably comes on strong, but any minute it's going to die down. And so it did. After about 30-45 minutes of wearing, it went from bro-to-the-face to smelling like a handful of pepper and artificial fruit candy, dwindling away until I had to really stick my face in it to smell it. I'm not sure what crystal musk is, or cashmere wood, but I really don't think I've smelled much of anything as far as the listed notes except slightly greenish citrusy aquatic stuff with a small hint of warmth. Certainly not leather or cedar. And I tend to be able to pick out some major notes, even if I'm not one who can talk extensively about traces of this or that, or insists that there simply MUST be oud in there somewhere, even if no one else can smell it. I suppose I'll give it a few more tries, just in case it was a bad day, the hot weather, that sort of thing, but so far it's been pretty much the same every time. 2.5 stars because it's not awful, but it's not really anything special either, especially with such a distinctive packaging and all. While there's not a whole lot of info about it around, I've definitely hesitant to agree with it being the "seductive, eccentric fougere" the advertising calls it. That cologne sounds interesting. This one is just somewhat generic and short-lived.

08th June, 2013

Aventus by Creed

Went to the Creed store in NYC to sample Feuilles Verte and Royal Oud and got a sample of this by mistake, the SA had recommended it when I had mentioned that I had GIT but found it a little overbearing at times, then I mistakenly gestured at it instead of Royal Oud when asking for a sample. Was a little hesitant because of how incredibly fruity it smelled in the vial and on the test card, but of course no need to waste a Creed sample (plus he was limited on samples so that was all I was getting that day so may as well make the best of it).

Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I got around to actually wearing it. The overwhelming pineapple is a very short burst at the beginning and the fragrance immediately settles down into a nice, long-lived, pleasant scent. There is an undertone of a slightly acrid smell in the middle but it also quickly diminishes unless you really smell for it close to the skin, perhaps the oakmoss? it sort of reminds me of vetiver but I don't see that as a listed note... All in all it wears well, it has a bit of the classy feel of GIT without being as brash as GIT can seem at times and a bit of the freshness of Himalaya without seeming as light and slightly generic, with an extra "something" from the fruity notes to tie it all together. I don't know that it would be an every day scent for me, but it would definitely be a good summery scent that is a bit versatile for that "what to wear" mood that strikes us all from time to time.
18th July, 2012

Halston Z-14 by Halston

I bought this on the recommendation of a friend, knowing that I liked leather, citrus, and wood scents, and in the hopes of getting me to look into lower cost classics instead of pursuing Tom Ford, Creed, etc, to save my wallet; especially as a semi-newbie to this whole fragrance-hoarding

It's pleasant enough, you can definitely smell a quality to it that dates it, but not in a way that makes out outdated, it just marches to a different beat compared to today's colognes, though I'm never sure when it's appropriate to label something "classic". It does seem to dance slightly on the edge of "too mature for the under 40 crowd" to me but that might be partially due to childhood associations and not the scent itself...not sure. I can still wear it and get compliments as a 30-something, even if it reminds people of a long-ago family member from time to time. Such is the side effect of wearing a cologne introduced almost 40 years ago.

My only complaint is that I don't smell much of the leather, or the patchouli, cedar, or amber for that matter. It fairly quickly dries down to a scent that I have heard others refer to as "the barbasol scent", it's not offensive or anything, it's a rather clean, somewhat generically manly smell that is only faintly projected, and it doesn't have a certain masculine "oomph" I associate with other colognes, especially leather ones. I also definitely smell the "coca cola" smell that another person commented on, though I hadn't known what to call it before. Wondering if this is yet another frag that got dumbed down a bit over the years, as I don't find this having nearly as forceful of a macho personality as others are saying.

Either way, for the price it's definitely worth picking up, it's found for $20-25 in many places and is far better a choice than whatever frat-boy-du-jour cologne is on the shelves for the same price point. Well, in my opinion.
18th July, 2012
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Bang by Marc Jacobs

I like pepper a lot, and this cologne has tons of it. My only complaint about this is that the pepper is overpowering in the beginning along with a strange sort of synthetic quality, and then it quickly drops off and there isn't much left other than a faintly woody scent couple with the remnants of pepper that stays fairly close to the skin and wears off after a short while.

It's still a good scent even if it's short lived, and one that will get comment; as a bonus I've found that I can layer it with Burberry London which it is compatible with, at least on me, and the two together complement and prolong each other's strong points fairly well and last throughout an average day, and takes just a hint of the excess sweetness off of London's base and emphasizes the woody/tobacco portion.

However, I also agree with the others that the bottle design is totally impractical. It's interesting looking, but it's always falling down at the tiniest jostle and I had to move it away from my other colognes because it was constantly toppling a good portion of them in the process. Unless it's meant to be stored on its side? I doubt it, though.
18th July, 2012

Lyric Man by Amouage

Having tried and really liked several of the other Amouage men's scents (loved Epic and Honour on first sniff for instance), I decided to give a few others a try. I've tried to like Lyric and find various nuances in it and I keep giving it another chance thinking maybe this time, things will be different. It has the amazing projection/sillage/lasting power that I have come to love about Amouage, which has even spoiled me to many other fragrances which just seem too flimsy and short-lived in comparison. However, upon putting on Lyric, it's an immediate, overwhelming blast of floral, mostly rose, and citrus, and with such projection that I've been witness to bewildered conversations where women are getting complimented on their beautiful perfume (that they aren't wearing), sometimes even standing quite a few feet away from me, almost every time I've worn it and even more than once on a few occasions.
After a quite some time (hours) it settles down to a very smooth, woody/incense/spicy warm scent that I enjoy that Amouage is so good at IMO, but the rose is always there, sitting on my shoulder the whole time watching. I don't hate roses by any means, or lyric for that matter, but I don't think this meshes well with me either. Have a sample of JXXV coming any day now, hoping the florals won't be as overwhelming to me in this one.
18th July, 2012