Reviews by Colin Maillard

    Showing 1 to 30 of 733.
    rating


    Deep Rose by Montale

    Deep Rose opens with a bold rose note (you don't say...) of the same style of Czech & Speake's Dark Rose: nothing soapy or powdery, rather a dark, rich, humid and slightly boozy synthetic rose, dirtened (is that the verb? I mean "made dirtier") by a benzoin note which provides its peculiar carnal-camphoraceous feel, and a hint of oud on the base, which emerges as the scent evolves making it increasingly woodier, drier and darker. So basically another rose-oud scent, just a bit more centered on rose than on oud. Trendy yet elegant and decently pleasant, with a predictably rubbery and artificial drydown, which then finally settles on a nice, plastic, silky and dark rose accord. If you are familiar with Montale, it's just "another of their scents", if you aren't, then don't bother.

    6/10

    22 October, 2014

    rating


    Join The Club : More Than Words by Xerjoff

    The opening of More Than Words is centered on oud with almost no other notes initially, and the oud here is unexpectedly, even if deceptively, powerful and deep; still synthetic and in no way comparable to a real oud, but somehow showing an exotic, dark, warm refinement which I rarely get in Western oud-centered scents. It shows a nice woody and balsamic austere feel, smoky yet animalic and almost indolic at first. So, in short: they faked it, but they did it well. The evolution is quite linear, meaning that the scent stays "there" with no big changes, except for a fruity-floral accord which emerges slowly and comprises mostly a hint of rose and spices. Except for the opening which for a while succeeds in simulating a good oud accord, for most of its life cycle on skin More Than Words becomes and remains fairly similar to many other oud scents, e.g. Montale's ones, with nothing making it either better or worse as regards to them. So many ouds, so little time, meh.

    6/10

    22 October, 2014

    rating


    Chêne by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    The opening of Chene is remarkable, even memorable in my opinion. It's a surprisingly vibrant, realistic woody accord, the woodiest of them all, with a lot of nuances; fresh, sweet, radiant, balsamic, much spicy and with a nice green-herbal accord which increases the "green-balsamic-aromatic" factor - a "culinary" type of herbal notes as in some other Lutens' scents (here is thyme). The wood accord is different from pretty much any other I've ever smelled so far: it's really, really aromatic and rich, on the cedar-oak side with a hint of warm sweetness provided by sandalwood. Overall it has a peculiar sort of lively and vibrant freshness, like the invigorating smell of a freshly cut trunk of wood. So no smoky, dark, dry or "aged" woods, just real pure wood. A subtle pollen-resinous breeze (almost caramelised, with rooty and sweet nuances of licorice and honey - I guess this is all due to immortelle) completes the "landscape" of coniferous woods. Pretty much it, I think I smell only a couple of other slight notes that enhance different facets of the woody accord – green notes on one side, spices on the other (cardamom, but to me also juniper and a light cloves note). A really simple scent yet complex and cleverly composed, fascinating and powerful, evocative and sharp, incredibly natural yet incredibly "clean" somehow. And totally refined. Perhaps its martial linearity can turn into monotone staticity, but its "basic" and organic coziness is pure class and charme.

    8/10

    22 October, 2014

    rating


    Bois d'Ombrie by Eau d'Italie

    For what it's worth, Bois d'Ombrie is the first scent by Eau d'Italie - and one the very few by Duchaufour - I truly enjoyed. The opening is irresistibly pleasant and perfectly mastered: it's foggy, boozy, somehow transparent in a way but incredibly complex and textured. Basically the prominent blend you encounter at the first sniffs features mellow and powdery notes of iris, balsamic woods, resinous notes, a very powerful, earthy and dark woody feel all over: all gravitating around a dense, juicy, bold rhum note, which is really rich, round and persistent. The woody note is quite powerful and sharp, although not that realistic in the "organic" meaning: it smells basically like a clean, a bit statically synthetic cedar note (the "pencil" one) somehow "rounded" by sweeter notes and "blackened" by the booze. The tobacco note is hiding behind all this initially, but soon after the opening it emerges and it's good as well: soft, wet, slightly sweet, really aromatic, earthy, a bit woody too - shortly, the rich and cozy smell of a bag of freshly-cut tobacco. I also detect a note of licorice, which links to the mossy, resinous and slightly leathery base. Meanwhile, the transition towards the drydown brings up a vetiver note which melts with rhum, leather and licorice, thus creating a darker and "manlier" blend if compared to the opening. Shortly, anyway, Bois d'Ombrie is a manly, "brownish" scent for sure, but with some nice and unusually interesting nuances: balmy-mossy notes, licorice, tobacco. Something like a sort of dry and dark "woody gourmand", if that ever existed. Finally, the drydown brings Bois close to many traditional woody-mossy fougères of the '80s, as it becomes more dry and more dark focusing on the leather, the woods and the herbal-mossy notes, still with tobacco-boozy nuances, and still (that's the main difference with vintage fougères) a nondescript yet palpable and distinctive subtle sweetness all over (the rooty note of iris). The materials are not that stunning in my opinion, as despite the compositive efforts Bois d'Ombrie still smells a bit weak and plain after a while, but nonetheless it's surely a much pleasant scent with a clever and distinctive personality (plus, finally, it lasts for a decently long amount of time).

    7,5/10

    20th October, 2014

    rating


    Fulgor by Calé

    As its name goes, Fulgor ("Splendor") opens with a bright, bold and vibrant smell, which instantly reminded me of my father's vegetable garden. It smells of wet grass and flowers, humid roots, "culinary" smells and spices (saffron) patchouli, sandalwood, stoney and earthy soil (alfarom nails it: "mineral", indeed). There is quite a lot of nuances which are really organic and realistic, to the point you almost feel the leaves and the branches crunching and crackling under your feet, and not only that, as there is also this more artificial feel or wet concrete soil with its peculiar and slightly pungent smell. The smell of fig leaves is no way comparable to real fig leaves (as with any scent containing that synthetic note, which I don't really get the point of), but overall the blend works quite decently initially. It reminds me of other kind of spicy-botanical scents like some Frapin and perhaps Terralba by Masque, although there are some differences – more a matter of general inspiration. The evolution of Fulgor brings it on a different - and quite disappointing - path, though: almost "oddly", I'd say, it soon starts to get drier, darker, more austere, still vibrant somehow but getting - frankly - increasingly *weird*. A sort of clumsy and random industrial smell, with a palpable smoked, gloomy, rubbery and chemical feel all over, which reminded me of something halfway gasoline and Comme des Garçon's Odeur 71 (much more powerful, though). All of which apparently does not have the slightest connection to the first stage of the scent. I would love to believe this is still an "intended" evolution, but I fear it's most just aromachemicals gone wrong in each in their own way. They still smell somehow earthy, woody and floral, but in a really cheap and artificial way. On the drydown, another twist, which partially saves this sort of random, Lynchian turn of events; Fulgor becomes warmer and retrieves a bit of earthy-sweet natural smell thanks to patchouli and amber, which blends with that odd stuff I've mentioned above, covering it a bit. A peculiar scent indeed, and only partially in a positive way, which overall does not really convince me. The opening is nice, even if unoriginal, while the evolution is just, well, you read that. Meh...

    5/10

    20th October, 2014

    rating


    Noir Divin by Stendhal

    The opening of Noir Divin is nice, peculiar and intriguing since the very first sniff: ginger, tonka, perhaps heliotrope, a humid rose wrapped in a warm ambery aura, an overall bold "pollen" and resinous feel (on the dry-earthy side), a bit cloying at first but shady, elusive and fascinating. There is also a green note floating all over which I can't identify better, something that smells greenish but somehow "juicy", halfway carnation and red pepper, with a menthol vibe (geranium?). All mixed on a solid yet discreet woody base. Overall the "mixed soup" effect is just 'round the corner, but Noir Divin manages to step back just in time, and works quite fine – the materials smell good and so does the composition. It's somehow dark and carnal, but also much spicy and somehow playful in a way. Nonetheless I agree with a fellow reviewer on (*that other prominent competitor website*) about the "moldy" feel: what I don't enjoy about this scent is precisely its heavy, thick, a bit cloying texture, with that moldy and almost rancid nuance that comes and goes - and which is surely not that pleasant to smell on yourself. Still, I feel that Noir Divin is perhaps one of those scents that may work great on the "right" person with the right attitude, so... give it a try.

    7/10

    19 October, 2014

    rating


    Preludio d'Oriente by Calé

    The opening of Preludio d'Oriente is super cool: a basic, martial, bright and ultra aromatic woody accord (cedar, oak) with spices (cumin?) and a green, bitter, realistic note of artemisia providing a sort of sour and bitter crunchiness. The woody accord is initially beyond brilliant: it's, dry, fresh, organic and natural like a freshly cut piece of wood. I appreciate the effort of building something more credible than the average woody notes. The first stages of Preludio d'Oriente are all about this, a bright and quiet harmony of woody-earthy-dry notes elaborated in a really austere and essential way – something like Lutens' Chene, a luminous, aromatic, slightly sweet type of wood, with – as a plus – that green sour aftertaste. Then, it soon emerges the incense note, which is rather simple, a bit plain honestly, mostly synthetic à la Cardinal or Jovoy (no olibanum-resinous complexity, rather just some grey modern Iso E note). Finally also the leather note emerges after a while, which is - again - a dry, monotone and a bit depressing conventional synthetic leather accord (which luckily vanishes soon - I don't get its point in this composition, but I won't argue the nose). So, basically, departing from the beautiful initial woody-green accord, it then turns into a darker and drier woody-incense scent, overall discreet, a bit sour yet, quite dry and basic. Still decent, even if it soon starts to become more and more "synthetic", as if the natural and organic feel of the first stage was just a facade which now (after some couple of hours) starts to collapse. And sooner than you expected, you start to smell this chemical, pungent, rubbery-charcoal feel all below the blend, in a more and more perceivable (and annoying) way. In short: "good" at first, "ok" for a while, finally "meh" (I'm being generous with the latter).

    5,5-6/10

    19 October, 2014

    rating


    Devil In Disguise by Mark Buxton

    The opening of Devil in Disguise in peculiar: sweet, slightly caramelised with balsamic nuances, with a bizarre prominent note which I would describe as of a sort of cocoa-ginger flavoured muffin. Not a gourmand note, as I tend to think gourmand notes as more "creamier" and richer: this is instead quite dusty, dry, light instead, but still dense and realistic. I guess this "thing" is due to patchouli (quite sweet and rooty on the cocoa beans side) and ginger, with also a whiff of aniseed, perhaps a resin (olibanum?) and vanilla, even if they are not listed. Rhubarb provides a subtle and bittersweet fruity-rooty-earthy feel underneath, still in a quite realistic and "organic" way. Then vetiver on the base, which works quite brilliantly with these middle/head notes, and aromatic citrus head notes, and that's it. Overall it's pleasant, and pleasantly unusual, both for the composition and for the choice of the materials. I basically don't "recognize" any conventional accord, even if nothing is too daring here, it's still creative and well built. It's one of those scents which smell "fresh" (meaning "new"), and if you ask me, it works great. It's basically a sort of futuristic woody-fruity-citrus-rooty scent with a zesty head and overall "dirtened" by a sweet yet earthy dust smelling halfway cocoa beans, tea leaves and incense. My description may sound meaningless, so just try it, as it's funny and worth it. It's synthetic, at least partially, showing a decidedly contemporary personality, but it's not abstract, minimalist or cold; it's light and thin, in its own way, but at the same time dense, lively and vibrant. The initial part is really interesting and captivating, then it gets soon a bit more dry and simpler, ending on a woody-rooty accord with gentle floral-spicy echoes and still a touch of rhubarb, with its peculiar sort of rooty-boozy-fruity smell, but overall a bit duller than before. An interesting and pleasant scent, perhaps a bit weak quicker than expected (I mean it gets lighter quite soon and does not last that long), but nice. As I said, worth a try!

    7,5/10

    19 October, 2014

    rating


    Mistero by Calé

    Mistero is my first encounter with this brand, which I was fairly skeptical about given that its founder, Silvio Levi, is the person behind Milan's perfume trade "Esxence" (and boy, it's just my opinion, but I don't like tradeshows at all...). Well, I'm still skeptical about tradeshows, but this scent is unexpectedly nice. Mistero opens with a fairly unusual and charming accord comprising a vibrant balsamic and aromatic wood note (cedar, oak), a "culinary" spicy accord rich and nuanced (saffron, chili), rhubarb, a sort of mellow, sweet and brownish note which reminds me of tobacco and citrus-green-menthol notes on top. On the drydown Mistero becomes warmer and sweeter, perhaps thanks to the elemi note with its peculiar sort of "candied" resinous touch: also the woody note remains still great and rich, just more on the sandalwood side (sweeter, "creamier"), plus a nice warm and balsamic feel which again, reminds me of tobacco a bit. The scent is undoubtedly pleasant, with prominent notes of woods (surprisingly good and, well, "woody") and rhubarb: an unusual and evocative aromatic scent which kind of reminds me more of North Africa or the Mediterranean area. The notes smell nice and well crafted, rich and nuanced, much aromatic and without smelling (too) artificial, especially the woods (sorry for insisting on woods but despite they're featured in almost every scent on Earth, they're rarely rendered with proper care). The only weakness of Mistero is that after a compelling bold start, it soon becomes quite light and close to skin, with also an unacceptably short persistence. It's a common problem with contemporary niche, still I will never accept to get used to it. Other than that, it's a nice scent.

    7/10

    19 October, 2014

    rating


    Fireside Intense by Sonoma Scent Studio

    The opening of Fireside Intense is a perfect example of the American contemporary niche, which I quite admire for the creative work on new materials and new ways to communicate through scents. It opens with a rough, bold, powerful, almost aggressive accord, quite dark – "black", I' d say - and really thick, partially much synthetic (aldehydes) and partially more natural. I smell a lot of spices which remind me of Black Cashmere by Donna Karan (a similarity which will be even more clear further on), drowned in a black, oily, terpenic lake of dense notes among which black birch wood, tar, amber, resins, sour leather and something - which may be just an aftertaste of all this - that oddly smells like smoked bacon for quite a while. All covered with a fog of aldehydic metallic shades, slightly salty and mineral. Overall a black smoky-spicy scent stuffed with bold power, much evocative of dark woods outside town, with the breeze of dry branches and balmy leaves melting with the cloying smokes and poisonous oils coming the suburbs. Fascinating, but to me quite too much challenging to wear: besides behind quite bold and powerful, it's also much linear (which is the main weakness of many other indie US brands), so it easily becomes a bit boring after a while. Nonetheless it's creative, well-built (at least materials-wise) and worth a try for sure.

    7/10

    19 October, 2014

    rating


    Leva by O'Driù

    Leva bears O'Driù's "signature" opening mixture, a dense and pungent concoction (here however gentler than in other scents) which is basically a floral-vanilla blend with lavender, a lot of spices (cumin above all), citrus notes, tonka, an earthy-dusty woody accord with a slight salty aftertaste (vetiver), benzoin, possibly some castoreum providing a carnal, sweet but at the same time sticky and "rotting" animalic note, and finally, "something" fruity, a sort of bittersweet note which I guess may be due to tagetes (which is a material I don't know). Overall Leva has something deeply classic and silently nostalgic, without smelling "opulent" or baroque, mixed with the peculiar, visionary and provocative dada-futurism of Angelo Pregoni – although unlike other scents by this brand, the latter is less present and prominent here. If comparing to most of other scents by Pregoni, Leva is fairly closer to classic perfumery - possibly the most close of all of them. By "classic" I mean the tradition of both feminine chypres (spices, humid flowers, dusty camphoraceous accents of benzoin) and masculine ones (woods-citrus-herbs accord). Where other O'Driù's took that as a starting point to elaborate Pregoni's visions and obsessions, here somehow it seems like he chose to step back and keep it classic, and also brighter and simpler than usual. Finally, once the drydown approaches, Leva "opens up" and warms a bit, creating a sort of cozy, aromatic and sweet feel of warmth which lasts for hours, slightly reminding me of tea. Perhaps less charming, complex or challenging than other fragrances by O'Driù, but nonetheless intriguing, gentle and well made. Worth a try.

    7,5/10

    17 October, 2014

    rating


    XIX March by Tiziana Terenzi

    The opening of XIX March is lively, greenish-woody-floral, slightly creamy thanks to sandalwood and white flowers (among which jasmine above all), with fresh and zesty head notes of citrus and neroli. The green accord is well played around a refreshing minty note, one of the nicest I've ever encountered so far: it's crunchy, sour, balsamic, leafy and compelling - no "Colgate effect", in short. XIX March is one of those "botanical" scents rich in vibrant notes smelling of leaves, branches and wood trunks, rich of "spring" nuances and graceful colours. Yet it's not conventional, as it bears an unusual bold spicy-herbal accord with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and a range of "culinary" aromatic herbs. A proper Mediterranean perfume indeed. The interplay between floral notes and woods is clever and nice, as it's quite evocative of flowers hiding among trees, so you smell more the "echo" of flowers than the "inner" of them (as in many other floral scents). It's like sitting in a house garden in the countryside waiting for lunch, the smell and whiffs of trees and flowers mix with spices and herbs from the kitchen. The vetiver note emerges after a while, quickly becoming the prominent character of the drydown. The bad side of this scent is that despite being an "extrait de parfum", its longevity is - to me, unacceptably - short and light, nothing more than a normal EDT. Apart from this, a nice scent from a respectable brand.

    7/10

    17 October, 2014

    rating


    Cologne Reloaded by Bogue Profumo

    The opening of Cologne Reloaded is remarkably powerful and deep, basically a straightforward, "in-your-face" condensed anthology of masculine chypres. Bold notes of lavender, citrus, wood, sandalwood, carnation, musk, leather: a dry and austere blend exuding "manliness" and darkness, with a quite funny aftertaste of smoked ham at many points, but still evocative and majestic. The moldy-sweaty-indolic note of civet is remarkable as well, I doubt there's real civet in here (just a feeling) but nonetheless it's a really appreciable and well-built rendition of this "king of dirt" note with its urinous, fecal, savage nuances. On the very base, a hard, raw and dry woody accord, the antique woody closet protecting this precious whiff of vintage smells (and a piece of rotting bacon - that subtle smell of smoked ham which I guess being due to birch wood, won't go away for quite a while). Finally, the drydown comprises a balsamic-woody accord dirtened with metallic nuances, that I don't enjoy that much but which are part of the game as you largely smell them in vintages too, and a slightly unrelated smell of garlic (I guess due to the drydown of civet). Overall impression: on one side it quite reminds me of some works by O'Driù, mostly for the fougère-animalic notes with a contemporary twist, just far more "conventional" and without that kind of creative/artistic/provocative aim. On the other side, it obviously reminds me of dozens of masculine chypres, which Cologne Reloaded is a well-crafted, yet a bit derivative "rebuilding" of. Technically, the materials and the composition are outstanding, you can smell Gardoni put a lot of care and work in this scent: the notes are deep and faceted, and the composition is cleverly balanced and highly enjoyable. And I appreciate the idea of taking back the concept of "daring" (with bold animalic stuff) in the niche world, which has completely forgot what "to dare" means (devoting religiously instead on the concepts of "boredom", "repetition", "marketing"). So, in short, an undoubtedly well-made tribute to an era. But... still, the same I wrote for MAAI applies here too: as long as I'll have access to vintages, I'll prefer them to these well-crafted yet slightly pedantic "reconstructions".

    (some press I read elsewhere about this: "vintage materials from the 40’s that were found in an old pharmaceutical laboratory"? Oh come on...)

    7-7,5/10

    17 October, 2014

    rating


    Cuir by Lancôme

    Cuir de Lancome opens as a feminine, mature and quite compelling leather-powdery scent à la Cuir de Russie, with its dark leather soul hiding behind a white foggy cloud of talc and soapy notes, also enriched by spices – which makes Cuir de Lancome less sumptuously soapy than Chanel's, and a bit more exotic and Oriental. I smell a lot of cardamom, tonka, saffron and cumin, which all together enhance the shady, brownish, "organic" side of leather. Still, the soapy and powdery notes are there, so we can still include Cuir de Lancome in the almighty family of French feminine leathers - he's just the cousin back from his exotic trip around the world. The leather accord is well built for sure, slightly alcoholic (not only boozy, but also merely reminding household denatured alcohol) and belonging to the dry and austere leathers family – Knize Ten and the likes. Basically, Cuir de Lancome may be situated halfway Knize (or his slutty sister Habanita) for the leather accord, Boucheron's Jaipur for the talc spices, and Cuir de Russie for the soapy notes and the general inspiration. With also an echo of Cartier's Baiser du Dragon, as the boozy-almondy feel is quite bold here as well. Finally on the base you smell hints of mossy notes, woods (sandalwood), herbs and perhaps a hint of civet too. The drydown is predictably quite dry and dark, basically a slightly powdery leather accord with spicy nuances. Overall I can't say this could stand next to the names I mentioned, as it smells more like an exercise which tries to take the best of them all, eventually remaining quite far from their majestic sumptuosity; still, it's quite good nonetheless, probably among the best "other leathers" on the market.

    7-7,5/10

    17 October, 2014

    rating


    Tabacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novella

    Initially, Tabacco Toscano ("tuscan tobacco") is more about Tuscany than tobacco, meaning that I smell a mellow, soft and pleasant accord of woods and leather – and Tuscany is quite renowned for both high-quality leather goods, and its stunning countryside landscapes. The leather accord is soft, ambery, quite sweet (vanilla), friendly and cozy, blended with subtle floral notes and a super soft white-musks note, or something similar to that, which gives a feeling of warm plushiness and utter comfort. The wood notes are equally pleasant and aromatic, I detect cedar above all, which provides a well-built nuanced smell of natural, organic, raw wood (not dark or dry, rather quite bright, gentle and aromatic). The tobacco note, as I said, initially it's not much there in my opinion: it's more of a faint and undefined brownish, warm, slightly humid, sweet and hearty feel which initially lies beneath woods and leather. Once it emerges soon after a while, you can smell it better, and if you are used to fresh tobacco (for pipes or homemade cigarettes), that's quite it: mellow, wet, brown, sweet, earthy, even almost balsamic in a way. Overall it's quite a peculiar perfume, and frankly quite much pleasant. What I enjoy the most here is a palpable feel of lazy, but sophisticated quiet: Tobacco Toscano exudes all the pleasure of enjoying your pipe or cigar on a lazy Sunday afternoon in the countryside, in one of those small, silent villages, when everyone's having a nap (which, if you're unfamiliar with Italian rural habits, is quite a sacred moment that at a certain hour in the afternoon makes such villages look like Far West's ghost towns). Class and refinement played on understatement, mellow nuances, gentle warmth, "manly" sweetness and self-confidence, with a hint of "rural" and provincial refinement mixed to a sort of dandified feel (if compared to more conventional masculine scents, which are averagely more dry and austere than this). A bit too delicate for my tastes, even if the persistence is good instead (just quite light), and perhaps not that stunning quality-wise especially if compared to its price, but fascinating indeed.

    7/10

    16 October, 2014

    rating


    Sheikh Abdul Samad Al Qurashi Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

    Sheikh is an almost pure-oud offering from Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, which features this natural woody marvel in a more shady, raw, straightforward and animalic way than other oud-based blends that I have tried so far from this brand, which were somehow elaborated in a more "wearable", friendly and refined way. The opening is quite bold and pungent, not cloying but remarkably moldy and indolic, rich in the usual fascinating nuances of our beloved "rotting agar wood" note: a balsamic breeze, the warmth of amber, a slight sweet roundness, and then stale notes, salt, herbs... I also detect an amber gris note here, with its peculiar sort of animalic-camphoraceous saltiness. Overall the smell here is decidedly exotic, savage, growling, ghastly and mysterious: the smell of a pure deep wood forest with its shades and threats (or, if you want to take away all the charme, the stink of uncle John's abandoned barn). Initially fecal and raw, sure, but that is part of its marvel, as that is only the door to a world of facets and nuances (and however it's at no point "sickening" or discomforting, like many synthetic aromachemicals can be instead). Whereas other ASAQ blends like Royal or Jewel are considerably more "civilized", polished, humanised by elegant and gentler notes, here there's no room for fancy delicacies: rather it's all about Stevensonian echoes of deep nature, uncontaminated cults, animals, exotic rituals (and other clichés, I am terribly sorry for my lack of narrative taste). Still this does not imply Sheikh ASAQ is not equally elegant if compared to other more complex blends from this line: it is, just in a different and perhaps more selective, challenging way. It's all about being tasteful and self-confident enough to wear this - bearing in mind it is also meant to be layered, that is something which, again, requires taste and knowledge enough: a positive way for a perfume to act "selective", unlike the pointless elitism based on cost... Anyway, as hours pass Sheikh does not lose a gram of power, it becomes increasingly drier and woodier to the point it reaches a true, austere smell of an antique wood closet, with no other aroma except the pure, moldy, stale smell of aged wood. An imaginative, evocative scent, for sure, gloomy and hieratic, fascinating and somehow off-putting and unfriendly – in a charming way, the charme of savage creatures. So far among the ASAQ oils I've tested, Sheik is probably the best one for layering purposes, as it smells less complex than others - or at least, it's more centered on oud, offering a broader variety of possibilities of layering. The quality is outstanding as usual, so if you want to experience what real swearword smells like and want to discover it and play with it, you're in for a treat.

    8/10

    15 October, 2014 (Last Edited: 16 October, 2014)

    rating


    Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

    The opening of Patchouli 24 is rough, dry, dark, tar and smoky, an ultra-dry and sour birch woody accord, quite synthetic in a way (a good way: synthetically "post-industrial"), but at the same time rich, thick and realistic, with a nice and almost ghastly nuance of "smoked meat", like alfarom noted below. I also detect the patchouli note but it's quite understated and restrained, hiding behind this exhaust campfire of black woods, yet creating a nice and elegant contrast between its velvety, dusty, slightly cocoa-earthy feel (the patchouli, I mean) and the woody-ashy overall mood. On the very base, just a thin "rounding" layer of vanilla. Much refined and utterly pleasant with its austere and sophisticated look, just a tad artificial, but nice, a contemporary vision of "black" like Bois d'ascèse or CdG Black. After a while it starts to "warm" and open up, becoming softer and gentler, with a smooth and soft yet dark leather note arising - and at this point, while the similarity with the abovementioned scents becomes weaker, the closeness to La troisième heure by Cartier becomes quite evident. It's exactly the same structure: smoky, mellow, dark leather blended with dusty vanilla. Perhaps there's no leather and it's the birch wood, still that's the smell. Pure class and pleasure for sure, although nothing new. Plus, the patchouli (which was barely detectable at the opening) is completely vanished at this point, so bear this in mind in case you came here mostly for patchouli. Nonetheless, the scent is much good even if the main character is missing: it's pleasant, sophisticated, a bit overpriced and not that unique (the Cartier is not the only "reference", basically any other contemporary leather-vanilla scent would work), but "it works" quite well. I enjoyed wearing it and – for what it's worth – I'd wear it happily if I had a bottle. I wouldn't pay for this, but I'll do my best to have someone buy this for me (lucky me, Christmas is not that far).

    7,5-8/10

    15 October, 2014

    rating


    Black Cashmere by Donna Karan

    Black Cashmere opens with an incredibly thick and dark accord of ultra-dense amber, ghastly rancid fruity notes, a humid bouquet of flowers right out of a Baroque still life painting, a gloomy fog of dusty incense, balsamic woody notes and on top of all of that, a *load* of spices. Remarkably "niche" for sure, for being a designer scent - where niche means creative and quite "daring", in a way (surely "nicher" than most of today's niche). There is quite a clear similarity with Lutens' style, as other reviewers have noted, notably for example Arabie for the candied-syrupy notes of resinous fruits and spices, carrying the same kind of exotic warmth and mystical sultry elegance. Still, Black Cashmere is far more dark and urban, at the same time dirty and sophisticated, smelling like luxury black velvet stained with black ink. Fascinating for sure, not the most versatile around though: its thick gloominess is as much intriguing as a bit challenging to wear, also given this scent is quite loud in my opinion (in terms of projection and sillage). Finally, the thing I honestly don't enjoy much is that since the evolution is quite monotone (or should I say absent), the scent remains quite like that - that dark, nasty, obsessive bomb of spices - for hours, and it can easily become a bit cloying soon. And in fact it did so to me. Apart from this, a remarkable scent for sure, Definitely suitable for men too. Worth a try!

    7,5/10

    15 October, 2014

    rating


    Indigo by Gant USA

    Indigo by Gant is a(nother) "sport-casual" aldehydic scent with generic woody notes of Iso E, a subtle citrus-floral head note, a calone note providing the mandatory "sea breeze" note (I wonder when they'll realise this alleged "sea" thing smells more like antifreeze liquid), a rounding sweet base of sandalwood and vanilla and some spices, among which I personally detect cumin, pepper, perhaps nutmeg. So basically, a more-than-conventional designer Oriental woody-citrus-spicy scent without pretenses (which is good) and without praise or blame. Surprisingly, though, I would not define it too much cheap: perhaps mediocre, but not unpleasant and not even that bad honestly. It smells nice, clean, cozy and "office/weekend-safe", fairly more than others of the same genre which smell quite more harsh and chemical. To be clear: I still consider Indigo just a tad above department stores' deodorants, yet it is quite more pleasant than others among this category of masculine scents (not to mention several niche ones which smell like this and cost ten times this, Creed for instance).

    6/10

    14 October, 2014

    rating


    Hugo Red by Hugo Boss

    Hugo Boss Red is a completely inoffensive citric-ozonic cologne with a light synthetic woody base, also featuring lavender, eugenol (cloves), perhaps a hint of melonal providing a generic fruity note, and not much else. Shortly a fresh woody-sporty scent with just the right amount of "urban", office-safe mediocre elegance. Dull but not unpleasant, given the price and the pretenses I can't really blame it for being plain and uncreative, so in its own way, it works fine. Nothing more than a decent birthday gift for your "Adidas-deodorant-aficionado" brother or boyfriend (or dad, or uncle, or whoever you want: you got the point...).

    5/10

    13 October, 2014

    rating


    AB ± Cashmere by Uèr Mì

    The opening of Cashmere is extraordinarily similar to Scent Intense by Costume National, just a bit less "intense" and more greyish, but the notes are incredibly close (I have a bottle of the Intense and I just applied it on my other arm: the similarity is *really* close, especially initially and for quite a while). Basically Cashmere smells of sandalwood (a lot), cashmeran, a synthetic amber note (more like ambrette seeds or cetalox) and something fruity-floral on top, with the peculiar lively-aromatic juiciness of tea (Scent Intense comprises a tea leaves note, this one has osmanthus which is quite close to tea - not to insist on the comparison, but well...). All over this glossy, artificial creamy-woody-fruity concoction stands a light, grey, slightly dusty breeze of synthetic resinous incense. Say, something halfway Cuiron (apparently now that it's back in a different formulation we have to get used to say "the vintage" Cuiron), more or less any sandalwood scent (I thought of Geo Trumper's Sandalwood, for instance, but any average-cheap sandalwood works the same as reference) and as I said, Costume National's Scent Intense. After a while it becomes more a generic sandalwood scent on the sweet-creamy side, always also quite fruity. Pretty pointless to be honest, just get one of the scents I mentioned, which all cost a fraction of this (except Cuiron, obviously).

    5/10

    13 October, 2014

    rating


    Gucci Eau de Parfum II by Gucci

    Gucci II opens with a fruity-floral accord comprising synthetic notes of peach, rose, white flowers, aldehydes, a base of light mossy wood and a subtle powdery creaminess of sandalwood and, probably, ylang or jasmine. In short, a clean, fresh, soapy floral-fruity scent with just a hint of more "adult" refinement (aldehydes, mossy notes). All is artificial, static and mutely "perfect" like a shop window. Thus, nothing interesting, creative, challenging or particularly evocative whatsoever, but still versatile and fairly pleasant to wear, with no particularly evident defects. A kind of "office-scent" elegance, if you want. Or, the same kind of politically-correct, trendy and uncreative glossy elegance of a fashion magazine. Still, it's decently made, therefore I get it may be pleasant enough for customers which require only a discreet, generically refined and good-smelling perfume, standing to a proper "good" perfume like a hostess' uniform compares to a prêt-à-porter tailleur.

    6/10

    13 October, 2014

    rating


    XVERT by O'Driù

    Xvert opens with a menthol-herbaceous accord animated by a loud dose of vanilla and lavender, on a slightly animalic-musky base (with a peculiar soft and fairly sweet aftertaste, pretty much like castoreum). Finally a floral bouquet completes the still life, a humid bouquet rich and gloomy, which concurs to create what I consider O'Driù's typical olfactory landscape - a nostalgic, slightly decadent, even slightly nasty and luscious ambiance, with moldy smells and pungent sour herbs blending with sweet, narcotic floral and powdery notes. After less than hour, the first bold twist in the evolution: an almost sudden breeze loaded with herbal aromas arises, really dense, balsamic and crunchy, brownish and scented like a park in Autumn. This powerful accord of herbs and woods is incredibly rich, invigorating and spicy, managing to carry at the same time O'Driù's typical medicinal-anisic feel underneath, that gives Xvert Pregoni's "signature" ambiguous naughtiness all over. In short, Xvert smells of dead leaves, medicines, abandoned family houses in a forest, carrying contrasting feels of domestic nostalgia and urban melancholy. As hours pass it progressively sweetens and softens, warming up and letting a pleasant, comforting and mellow woody note emerge (something like sandalwood). Considerably simpler and more wearable if compared to other scents by O'Driù and honestly also less intriguing and fascinating than others in my opinion, but still totally pleasant and compelling quality-wise.

    7,5/10

    13 October, 2014

    rating


    Resina by Oliver & Co.

    I am starting to quite dig Oliver & Co. creations. Resina is perhaps Oliver's best scent so far among the ones I tested, as it brilliantly manages to present resins - which are surely not that uncommon in perfumery - in a different way, totally new and creative. It starts with a bold, dry, herbal accord which reminded me of some works by O'Driù, together with a warm, sticky and kind of "urinous-animalic" note (probably benzoin, but at first it smelled almost like castoreum to me), all surrounded by a fog of different resins offering an impressive harmony of nuances, from balsamic to rooty, from greenish to sweet, from sticky to balmy, to mossy, to earthy, even to "candied" and slightly floral-silky (labdanum) - a real chorus, basically, which transports you among woods, soil, earth, pine needles, small animals, branches, whiffs of fog.... Among all this, a "contemporary" breeze which to me smells like Iso E plus some synthetic amber, as it basically creates a sort of artificial dusty grey feel of "unscented incense" with a subtle salty note, which however perfectly fits the composition, reminding me of those contemporary architecture installments in natural environments. So, basically for the first couple of hours Resina stays a grey-green-brownish scent with woods and resins, but also a sort of darker animalic note which comes and goes, and also a distinctive velvety and dusty feel, slightly sweet, which will eventually emerge better as the anisic note. Another note which emerges better as time passes is the coffee note, which blends with the anise note together providing a sort of earthy, sweet, dusty, warm and really aromatic feel all over, "warming up" and softening the scent as hours pass – which is a clever idea to make balsamic resins smell less boring (as they tend to do quite soon, in my opinion). The coffee note is probably the best I've ever found in perfumes so far: finally a genuine, raw, sour, earthy and dry roasted coffee beans note, and not some idiotic, creamy, sweet Starbucks coffee gourmand note. It's not the main note here, but after some 2-3 hours I could detect it quite clearly and sharply. The last phase of the evolution of the scent comprises a balsamic feel arising with increasing prominence, melting with the smells of woods, pines, coffee and resins - a balsamic feel halfway natural and resinous, and synthetic (the Iso E incense note, and also later on, a slight pungent feel of eugenol). The only reference I could think of is: a sort of intergalactic pro-nephew of Filles en Aiguilles with a hint of CdG Kyoto, a sweeter-silkier side (coffee and anise), more nuances, more colours, more exotism, and a genius subtle feel of pure futurism. An amazing scent which truly impressed me: it's solid, well-built, really dynamic, full of creativity and clever ideas, plus it's elegant and refined in its own peculiar way, not challenging at all. Yet i's a bit costly and I am not sure if it's worth the cost (up to you, in the end), all I can add is that it lasts for long, with a solid projection and a remarkably enjoyable evolution. Bravo Oliver!

    8,5/10

    12 October, 2014

    rating


    Ailleurs et Fleurs by The Different Company

    A white green-floral scent with a sheer tuberose note, all played on transparency and discreetness, yet without smelling too synthetic – rather a bit too much delicate initially, to the point of resulting a bit shallow. Unexpectedly, though, as it warms up and melts with your skin temperature, it becomes a bit more radiant and vibrant, with a beautiful vanillin base surrounding a bolder and sharper floral accord, always with a faint green echo. To be honest I don't get the aniseed note, but it's nice the same. In short, a crisp, clean and bright floral scent, discreet and elegant, still a bit dull and incredibly short-lived, but still nice and quietly refined.

    6/10

    12 October, 2014

    rating


    Peoneve by Penhaligon's

    Peoneve opens with a nice, sheer and delicate floral accord in which I honestly smell more rose than peony. The accord smells good, a bit restrained and prudish like a proper English lady. Few else, a earthy-woody note, and a slight dusty feel underneath. Initially quite cold, then Peoneve warms up a bit in a couple of hours, getting more sweeter and slightly deeper, while the woody note of vetiver emerges more clearly with a slightly moldy aftertaste. A graceful scent for sure, a bit synthetic and boring after a while, but with a nice touch of British refined melancholy.

    6,5-7/10

    11th October, 2014

    rating


    Putain des Palaces by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Putain des Palaces by Etat libre d'Orange is a leather scent with fruits, rose-violet powdery notes, aldehydes, perhaps cedramber, an ambery-resinous sweet base and a couple of notes which honestly I can't identify: "something" quite pungent and sour, and "something" dusty but kind of sweet, like the smell of old paper (I guess it's that rice thing). Now, initially the composition seemed nice to me, as there is a lot of contrasts which are more "juxtaposed" than melted together; it may sound strident, but instead it works, and I appreciate the idea of working on "clashes" instead of harmonies - at least partially. The leather accord, for example, it's not a soft/plushy suede note as you would expect with fruity-floral notes; instead it's quite dry, dusty and austere, really synthetic and pungent. So this idea of working on bold contrasts is nice, but personally I don't find it particularly interesting or fascinating - or, to better say: it works... for a while, but once I got it, it's not enough to keep my interest "alive", and the scent starts to become a bit boring. Mostly because there is not much else, the scent is not particularly elegant or pleasant, the quality smells quite average (if not mediocre) and the evolution on my skin is almost absent. It's like going to see a comedian repeating the same sketch over and over. And that is the problem I have with other Etat libre d'Orange, as they seem to be unable (or unwilling) to, say, elaborate their "clever & provocative" ideas. Another niche scent featuring more smoke than "substance", but not among the worst ones of EldO.

    6/10

    11th October, 2014

    rating


    L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    L'orpheline ("the little orphan") starts with a blast of concentrated Iso E Super providing its smell halfway industrial vapors, synthetic incense, balsamic cedar. Which reminds me, again, of dozens of other scents which already elaborated this in every possible way, from Comme des Garçons to Escentric Molecules. The only additions here seem to be a peppery note and something sour-greenish, but basically it's a gigantic cloud of grey fog, purely synthetic, cold and kind of discomforting like waiting in a parking lot outside a refinery in the middle of nowhere. And that's it. The house which provided us with masterpieces like Ambre Sultan, Borneo 1834, Muscs Koublai Khan, seems now happy with this kind of stuff (this, L'eau froide, Laine de verre and so on). A brand which is starting to look like a sad little orphan indeed – let's get this Orpheline as a testament.

    4/10

    11th October, 2014

    rating


    Phi - Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer

    Rose de Kandahar made me a little sad. You have this beautiful, gorgeous lady rose, rich in nuances, earthy and juicy, slightly sweet, sumptuous and velvety, clean but shady, like you can only dream about in other fragrances which are supposed to feature rose... and you smell her sinking in a martial cold lake of ambroxan, harsh spices, synthetic incense and artificial fizzy stuff, that completely "covers" this poor gem with grey dust and synthetic soil. For hours, until you really start to wish you could jump onto your own wrist and save the poor lady. It's not even a matter of smelling bad or good: it just smells... weird, and for me, wrong. I am given to understand Tauer likes to build scents which feature a clash between heavily synthetic notes and deeply natural ones, and I admit it worked sometimes - like for his (only) masterpiece, L'air du désert marocain. But sadly, I think that composition style does not really work with rose, if rose has to be the main note. And here you can clearly smell why. The scent itself is somehow intriguing and stimulating, but as other reviewers have said, solely on an intellectual level: it has just "something" that makes it not work as a perfume – it may be its inner harsh coldness, or that slightly disturbing gassy-fizzy chemical breeze... shortly something wrong, detached, aloof which just does not make you want to wear it. And personally, makes me feel a little sad for that poor rose. And I also agree on the fact that this same feeling ("I admire it but I don't really feel to wear it") happens to me also with several others scents by Tauer – I owned L'air du désert twice, sold it both times, as I really never wore it. Anyway: worth a try the same, as the quality of the rose (as long as you can catch it) smells truly incredible.

    6,5/10

    10th October, 2014

    rating


    parfums*PARFUMS Series 4 Cologne: Vettiveru by Comme des Garçons

    Another win from Comme des Garçons. Vettiveru is a great, irresistible contemporary vetiver scent, cleaner than clean, with zesty head notes and subtle warm notes below, almost "zen" in its perfect simplicity - as much simple as totally meaningful and substantial. The vetiver note here is perfectly sharp, natural, slightly floral but with a woody-earthy heart, slightly more peppery on the drydown but always keeping it radiant and bright. Elegant, refined, modern, versatile without smelling dull or generic – rather the kind of scent you'll love to splash in after a shower. Perfect for any moment you want to smell clean, classy, natural and elegantly understated. Persistence is quite long, almost like any average edt, so totally satisfying also considering the incredibly low price. The modern version of those "pillars of masculine class" like Signoricci or early Guerlain's Vetiver in its eau de cologne concentration. Fantastic!

    8/10

    10th October, 2014

    Showing 1 to 30 of 733.




Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000