Reviews by Colin Maillard

    Showing 1 to 30 of 920.
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    Uomo by Valentino

    I smell almost no differences with Dior Homme, except a more prominent gourmand side, and less complexity. Which means this scent smells undoubtedly good, actually much good if you are into that "metrosexual gourmand" type of fragrances, but well... I don't see the point - it's not even cheaper. Get Dior Homme if you like this, it smells better and at least *they* had the idea.

    6/10

    25th January, 2015

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    Smoke for the Soul by By Kilian

    The opening of Smoke for the Soul is fairly powerful and mostly centered on cedar-incense, balsamic notes, sage, citrus notes (notably something zesty-aromatic like bergamot), a load of spices (pepper), something slightly fruity – like tea – then a not-that-solid tobacco note, which is basically just a sweet-fruity-soft-herbal note as in many mainstream tobacco scents. More than tobacco, say just a herbal accord *with* a whiff of tobacco out of the bag, but actually smelling more of sage (and bay leaf too?). Anyway, nice, one of the nicest Kilian’s perhaps – but I am not a fan of the brand, so this rather means I just don’t consider this completely tragic. It is undoubtedly pleasant to wear, as much elegant as effortless and laid-back, and smells rich, decently satisfying and fairly substantial. The contrasts between tart-zesty-spicy bergamot-citrus notes and woods-tobacco make it a perfect all-year rounder for pretty much any situation, as it’s fresh yet dark, understated but distinctive, smoky but bright (and so on). The problem is that, well... none else mentioned it but I smell a bold similarity with Terre d’Hermès on the drydown. It settles quite on the same woods-herbs-citrus-spices structure in my opinion, and smells fairly similar. Which makes the price even more irrational than it was already... but well, it smells nice, so if you’ve money to waste, it won’t be a wrong choice.

    6,5/10

    24th January, 2015

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    Lys 41 by Le Labo

    You know what this smells like? Sleep. And I mean that both because it’s a terrifically boring scent, but also because it is so yawn-inducing it becomes fascinatingly soporific (that cozy, intimate, and obviously terribly pleasant feeling you have just before falling asleep). So in the end, not a completely negative kind of boring. Almost a creative take on it. Anyway, Lys 41 is basically a really simple, graceful and quite plain white floral scent with a woody-amber base and sweet-dusty nuances, with also something that reminded me of suede, but I guess it must be the musky note. Don’t think of anything too powdery or sweet, it’s rather a delicate haiku played on creamy-woody notes, as much pleasant as a bit dull and plastic. The evolution if basically non-existent, but the persistence is good and the projection is unexpectedly quite sharp. On one side, you can smell here the peculiar way of Le Labo of playing around common accords and notes with a sort of “modern” and kind of suspended, ethereal, aseptic treatment: but also, I think they sort of “crossed the line” a bit with this, meaning that the mild, “lunar lab” discreetness becomes just more plain dullness here. Or well, just this close to it. A synthetic candy worthy a try, but nothing more in my opinion. I completely agree with deadidol’s take on this!

    6/10

    24th January, 2015

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    Ellenisia by Penhaligon's

    Ellenisia by Penhaligon’s is a rich yet discreet floral scent quite on the white-green-sweet side with a watercolour rose heart, somehow quite conventional but really pleasant and pleasantly “British” as regards of its soapy, slightly nostalgic sense of refinement, as much classy as restrained. Plus, it also feels quite youthful and lively, albeit a bit melancholic – shortly nothing outdated or too formal/mature. Some metallic-camphorous nuances “ruin” a bit the romanticism here, but they’re subtle: what you get is mostly jasmine (quite clean, nothing indolic), sandalwood, something greenish providing a crisp and crunchy “leafy” feel (think it is that “violet leaves” note), resins, and a really quiet but dense tuberose note - don’t expect any headache-inducing note, it is there more just to add an earthy stout vein to the floral accord. The evolution is quick and well, much “evolving”, as it passes through different stages – at some point it almost feels an osmanthus-fruity-tea note emerges, then it all goes back to greenish-white territories, finally drifting towards earthier-camphoraceous nuances. Overall a totally solid and compelling fragrance, really elegant, clean, sharp and to me, perfectly composed and with totally good materials, as far as I can tell. The persistence is good and vibrant, with a subtle “carnal” feel but with a Victorian mood – a pale, restrained, pulsating yet “bourgeois” kind of carnal (shortly, a bit frigid, no offense). Cold and luminous like a London garden in mid-March, with clouds coming and going. Nice!

    7,5-8/10

    24th January, 2015

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    In The Library by CB I Hate Perfume

    In the Library by CB I Hate Perfume opens with a milky, musky-soapy blend stuffed with vanillin and spicy-floral hints (the floral here is on the heliotrope side, quite dusty), with something that reminds me in fact of paper, but nothing romantically “antique”, though: rather plain cellulose you can smell by opening any new book in any bookshop. The clean, industrial, slightly lactonic-sweet smell of plain polished paper. If you like that, then this works; just don’t expect the (quite more fascinating) dusty-vanillic and slightly moldy smell of aged paper. That’s it for a while, I don’t really get any leather or wood out of this (well, perhaps some wood), as it feels decidedly more milky-soapy and “white” sweet on my skin. Then, the drydown: it all slowly morphs into a stinky and quite unrelated broth half-roasted (oh hello leather!) half sweetish, which kind of smells like a cake in the oven. Made of cellulose, perhaps. Out of the library, straight into a class of particularly clumsy aspiring pastry chefs. To each his own, though: I find this pointless, but give it a try.

    5,5/10

    24th January, 2015

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    Ambrette 9 by Le Labo

    Ambrette by Le Labo is a cute and graceful scented thingy gently and carelessly revolving around amber, musk, ambrettolide, ambroxan, with something fruity on top and a pleasant anisic-floral breeze providing a watercolour silky touch all over. Cozy, sweet, lively, as much pleasant as completely unsubstantial to me, as it basically smells like the drydown of a whatever floral-fruity feminine scent from the late Nineties. Feeble, nerveless, and short lived. Meh...

    5,5-6/10

    22nd January, 2015

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    Vetiver 46 by Le Labo

    If a hypothetical “Gucci pour Homme Vetiver” from 2003 existed, it would have smelled exactly like this. Vetiver by Le Labo is literally Gucci pour Homme I (I get this one closer than the CdG) with all its distinctive incense-cedar-pepper structure, just topped with (good) vetiver. A proper “flanker”. Surely nice overall, with also a remarkable persistence, but really too derivative for me.

    6/10

    22nd January, 2015

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    L'Eau de Gouverneur / L'Homme by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

    Here’s a really nice, solid green-vetiver-lavender-nutmeg-cloves blend, as much elegant as earthy and spicy. Simple but totally good, if you’re into the notes; it smells rich, classy, fresh, effortless, revolving around vetiver’s trademark “relaxed” coziness, clean yet earthy and natural. Quite a lot of pleasant nuances coming and going, I get a slap of zesty citrus initially, then herbs (my guess of lavender may be due to that), something floral, something slightly indolic too... a totally unpretentious and perfectly compelling “natural landscape”. And stuffed with spices though, especially as hours pass: cloves and nutmeg above all, which at some point seem even “overpassing” the axe vetiver-herbs. Initially I thought this hadn’t much in common with Cacharel pour l’Homme, but after the opening (say, one hour or so), Eau de Gouverneur comes undoubtedly close to it, although keeping it a bit less heavy on the spices. Really nice overall, “easy” in the most positive meaning possible.

    7/10

    20th January, 2015

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    Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio

    A powerful boozy opening with a dark, oily, “sticky” texture; I get metallic nuances, a balsamic-resinous-woody and kind of cold note which reminds me of (a stereotyped idea of) Northern woods – like fir balsam, just “woodier” – then cloves, amber, “dark” smoked woods (birch), a thin leather accord, something like tobacco and as I said, a general and quite bold medicinal-metallic booziness all over. After a while it gets deeper and darker, more smoky and more dry, stale-indolic oak moss and castoreum echoes come in – not that dirty, but with a gloomy, moldy feel of heaviness. More then the raw, filthy skin of a sweaty beast, I think of a more general and subtle “mood”, the dark shady creepiness of a Northern wood (shortly the scent any True Norwegian Black Metaller would enjoy - by the way, fun how I get the opposite feel of Deadidol here, about coldness/warmth). All is treated “the contemporary US indie way” here: rich notes, heavy linear evolution (which means almost no evolution), general boozy darkness, thick powerful texture. Really fascinating and quite close to a couple of Slumberhouse scents, a bit too stout for my personal taste and perhaps just a bit “cliché-y” as regards of the abovementioned niche features... but surely a nice work worthy a try.

    7/10

    20th January, 2015

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    Light My Fire by By Kilian

    Imagine giving three among the nicest masculines by Lutens - Fumerie Turque, Borneo 1834 and Chergui – to your 8 years old nephew asking him to make a Frankenstein hybrid out of them. This is Light my fire. It has them all: hay, tobacco, honey, vanilla, a lot of patchouli, the zesty-salty touch of vetiver. It’s nice, pleasant, warm and sophisticated. And costs almost like the three Lutens together. With a quite remarkable – negative – difference as regards of quality, as it quickly becomes a saggy, unsubstantial, plain blend mostly centered on patchouli and vetiver which just an earthy sweet-smoky feel, and an annoying synthetic aftertaste. On the drydown it also recalls Jovoy’s Private Label a bit, mostly for the same way vetiver is treated here – that same dark “inky” and oily kind of note with hay-earthy nuances. That’s it, uncreativity at its best lasting like a fart. Meh...

    5,5-6/10

    20th January, 2015

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    Bally Masculin by Bally of Switzerland

    Well, this was a great surprise, and allow me to sincerely thank user “easyfish” for the sample of this ultra-rare – and ultra-forgotten - little gem. The opening is fantastic: a graceful, manly, slightly sweet herbal-smoky-leather accord with a peculiar and irresistibly elegant soft and velvety substance (not the usual “raw” leather you often get in vintage masculine scents; rather sharp, clean, soft finished leather), a fresh-balsamic breeze, subtle fruity hints, and a “classic” fougère base of patchouli, woods (mostly vetiver) and the leather accord. Dusty shades and earthy echoes complete the look of Masculin. Think of the discreet European elegance of Bally leather goods and shoes, Masculin perfectly translates that into a perfume. What amazed me is how the opening was similar to vintage Bel Ami: perhaps lighter, brighter and sweeter, and also less complex here, but truly quite similar – how can you not be sold to that? Then it progressively moves away from the Hermès, leaning towards herbal-woodier territories, finally reaching a cozy and totally refined drydown with gentle smoky leather-vetiver-herbal notes. Terribly pleasant, sophisticated and solid, with a quite distinctive fresh, understated, bright yet smoky refinement, and quite different from many other masculine scents of its era – mostly for this kind of “modern” sweet-ambery-aromatic “roundness” juxtaposed to its invigorating herbal-balsamic freshness (which is more “herbal” than predictably “piney” as it was in fashion back then). Discreet, mild and elegant close-to-skin persistence. Hard to find, completely underrated, totally worthy a “rediscover” for me.

    8/10

    19th January, 2015

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    L'Homme Idéal by Guerlain

    Before finally getting a sample (I don’t really hang out in perfume shops) I read a lot of reviews about this, mostly negative, but I was quite sure I would have like this the same, even taking into account its mediocrity, as I admit I have a bit of a “penchant” sometimes for mainstream scents with this type of pyramid – I mean: woods, leather, Guerlain, in the worst scenario it will be just ok. Well, I was disappointed: L’Homme Ideal is less than mediocre for me. Basically it smells of spicy-sweet wood, something reminding of a couple of late (shit) Gucci's, a thin note of synthetic leather, vetiver, a sprinkle of citrus and not much else. A generic spicy-fresh “boisé” to any extent similar to others which you may find at cheaper prices, as much pleasant as uninspired and dull. What disappointed me the most is the actual quality of materials, as far as I can tell: this smells just utter plastic to me. I won’t say it is hideous however, as it isn’t, it obviously smells “decent” in the less fulfilling and interesting meaning ever (artificial, static, linear, in a word: exceedingly boring). The thing in my opinion is that this is stuff Burberry or Ferrari would do, not bloody Guerlain. It’s a “Christmas perfect gift” for your 20-something brother which works at the gym and is running out of 1 Million. Zillions of miles away from a scent standing on the same shelf as Habit Rouge, Vetiver, Derby, Mouchouir de Monsieur, not to mention the glorious feminines or I’ll start to cry. Unworthy its price per se, and surreally depressing for being a Guerlain. For whom may think this represents Guerlain’s ability of taking a “trend” and giving it a “Guerlain’s treatment”: hell not. Where’s the treatment? I only see the (bad) trend.

    4,5-5/10

    17th January, 2015

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    Christopher Street by Charenton Mascerations

    My day with Christopher Street: tested, loved, wishlisted, bought. What a great scent! The opening is totally intriguing from the very first sniff: smoky, “campfire” woody-leathery notes cleverly juxtaposed to a slap of juicy, aromatic, fizzy and mellow bergamot-citrus notes. A bold contrast, which works just perfectly here, mostly because of the really clever and creative “gradient” between the two opposites: a blend of earthy-mossy-spicy-floral notes comprising green stuff, carnation and crisp, rich tobacco (a duo – carnation and tobacco - that strongly links Christopher Street to vintage Equipage by Hermès in my opinion), then patchouli, cloves, other woods... “synesthetically”, I’d define this a vibrant “black-brownish-orange” gem. Or in other words, a spicy-woody fresh-aromatic Oriental leather scent with a bold zesty-aromatic side, sweet nuances from tobacco to cinnamon. All so bloody well blended. A sharp, rich, unisex, totally creative modern scent that for me quite clearly takes inspiration from some vintage green fougères, without smelling like a ripoff of them (see? Sometimes...). The creative and modern side of Christopher Street mostly lies in something just... “playful” going on here, a touch of fresh colour, something crisp and vibrating that makes Christoper just totally, well, “contemporary” - I don’t really know how to put it. Another “avantgarde” touch here is a sort of ammonia-metallic vein which isn’t the usual “aromachemical-driven” metallic aftertaste, rather an actual smell of aseptic metal; it’s there, but tamed down enough to blend just perfectly with the rest, so don’t think of any unpleasant “clash” of notes. Overall I find this a terribly refined scent exuding talent, class, fun, creativity. History rewritten. Incredibly versatile too, as it’s really not that challenging; it’s fresh yet dark, formal yet impudent. Just a precious balance of inventiveness, quality and good taste - plus it lasts for hours and projects loud and sharp. So great. Try it!

    9/10

    16th January, 2015

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    Cuir 28 by Le Labo

    Easily one the nicest leather scents on the market at the moment, at least for the “straightforward leathers” part of the family. What I enjoy more in Cuir 28 is the perfect, “round” simplicity of the leather accord, which has basically nothing around “disturbing” it: it is indeed a bit tending towards freshness more than “dark harsh heaviness” like other leather scents, but overall it smells really bright, realistic, “purely leathery”. There’s vetiver, cedar, darker woody notes to provide a stout base with also a slight medicinal feel (like oud), then spices (cloves), a subtle veil of warm and dusty vanilla adding the right amount of “softness”, the usual aromachemicals used to build leather accords, a sprinkle of bright citrus, and that’s it. These notes are tightly blended to create “the” leather accord par excellence: a sharp, neat, meticulous “figurative” depiction of leather. A really well-balanced scent which is not too harsh, not too dry, not softly suede-ish, not excessively “smoky”, not “openly” synthetic... yet a bit of all of them: just soft, rich, high-quality finished leather. And ironically, Cuir 28 is so austerely simple, that (for the almighty power of “less is more”) it smells more interesting and fascinating than most of other contemporary leathers which almost always try to “add” something to leather (tobacco, fruits, flowers, oud...). It does not resemble to any leather scent; yet it does a bit to all of them, as if it was “a leather of leathers”, a sort of patchwork of all the leather notes taken from all leather scents (I get I am starting to write nonsense, be patient, it’s almost over). Plus, note that “simple” here doesn’t mean minimalistic or thin: Cuir 28 is rich, complex, fulfilling, almost “materic” in its realistic power: it smells solid and full of nice nuances, all perfectly connected to leather. Literally providing that feel you get by wearing and touching your favourite high-quality leather jacket: that warm, “masculine”, elegant, soft feel. It is obviously a bit dark, but dont’ imagine anything gloomy or dry: it’s dark in a warmer, laid-back, yet sophisticated meaning. Anyway: really good. Two flaws: much linear, and quite costly. But a must try for all leather fans.

    7,5-8/10

    16th January, 2015

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    Hugh Parsons (Blue) by Hugh Parsons

    It took me months to come up with a review with this. Traditional (is that the name, by the way?) by Hugh Parsons is a deeply odd scent in my opinion, almost bizarre. One of the weirdest I’ve ever tested. I got a bottle some months ago and wore it from times to times, each time I couldn’t really figure whether I liked it a lot, or it smelled like utter crap. Now perhaps I made up my mind a little, so here’s my take on this. I must start by saying that personally I do not agree much with the definitions I read online about this scent: I wouldn’t define this an “ozonic” scent, although I admit one of the key notes here is a sort of aqueous-mineral feel, but rather “organic”, lacustrine and almost moldy (sort of sweetish-salty). What I smell more though is a loud, pungent herbal-peppery smell in which angelica surely plays the dominant role, with its peculiar leafy smell sweetish and bitter at the same time, on a base in which I get quite a remarkable dose of ambergris; and oddly enough, it smells like real ambergris to me. The note is rooty, salty, slightly animalic, camphorous and earthy, as proper ambergris should be. Finally (on the same “volume level”) I also get laurel, sandalwood and other woody notes and something that reminds me of licorice, an earthy-sweet anisic smell that may however be due to ambergris. There’s citrus too but I get it quite tamed down, just more a generic bitter-citric feel, sharp but not prominent. Overall this smells... odd as I said, and much complex too. There is a loud contrast between bitter-citric-green-sour notes, and all the sweetish-rooty-woody-aqueous bottom counterpart. I would define this scent a herbal-rooty fragrance with spicy, greenish and “watery” nuances, but all played here in quite a unique way. The green notes here for example are not really the usual “sport” green notes, rather a strongly aromatic, loud, kind of shady and windy Mediterranean blend of leafy notes, from angelica to laurel and juniper. For some reasons I won’t define this fragrance “bad”, but not completely “good” too. It surely has a vibrant and distinctive sort of natural raw elegance, it shows some really enjoyable notes (angelica, ambergris, that licorice feel), it’s aloof and moody in a fascinating way, it surely is much creative (I can’t really think of anything similar to this), and honestly as far as I can tell, the materials smell nice here, rich and vibrant. Still... it’s not entirely compelling in my opinion. Mostly because of the actual overall smell, which despite being unique and charming, is also a bit loud especially initially, and honestly almost vile at first, then however keeping a slightly “discomforting” feel underneath. I guess it may be mostly due to that aqueous-lacustrine-moldy feel, if you try to imagine how that can go with citric-green notes (you can’t imagine it? I’ll tell you: it doesn’t go well, at all). Shortly: a fun, oddly refined peculiar scent worthy a try.

    6,5-7/10

    15th January, 2015

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    Patchouly Bohème by LM Parfums

    Just when I thought patchouli scents couldn’t surprise me that much anymore... now this is a peculiar, interesting and fascinating one. It opens with a musky, dusty, grayish mood, a pleasant sort of mint-balmy touch and a base which comprises nutty-spicy notes of tonka, then (I guess) vetiver, benzoin, and leather. I must say I disagree a bit with other reviews: I barely get the patchouli note initially, which in my opinion is quite well concealed among the abovementioned notes, to the point I had to “look” for it. What I get overall is a really intriguing, sophisticated, kind of decadent and fairly complex mixture that evokes to my imagination modest, dusty abandoned rooms, mostly for a really peculiar note or accord that makes me think of bitter leaves and grass grasping the walls and growing out from cracks on concrete soil. This note, which may likely be carnation, is really sharp, bitter, sour, dark-greenish, slightly salty-metallic, and gives a really vibrant, fascinating and memorable gloomy touch to the scent. Overall as I said Patchouli Bohème smells for a while more tending towards greenish-camphorous-woody territories of tonka, leather, woody balm, musk, with just a “raw shade” of patchouli; which however emerges soon, bringing the fragrance to a more conventional patchouli-centered blend, still with a peculiar and charming feel of chypre-sque nostalgia – pretty much like in Intrigant Patchouli by Parfumerie Générale, that in my opinion plays more or less the same “chords” around patchouli. Not saying they’re identical or much similar though, as Bohème is decidedly more tobacco-leathery, and also more balmy-nutty. The drydown is perfectly great as well: utterly refined, dark, with the leather note slowly morphing into an everlasting kind of “roasted” feel (like in Cuir by Mona di Orio, no surprise the nose is the same). Basically the first work by LM Parfums I find decent and interesting – and one of the few good ones by Mona di Orio. Nice!

    7-7,5/10

    15th January, 2015

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    Divin'enfant by Etat Libre d'Orange

    A decent gourmand scented with cocoa notes (I guess it's coffee, but to me smells more like toasted cocoa beans), tobacco, vanilla and aldehydes. On the base, a shady veil of dusty suede. Not bad honestly: it’s sweet but not sweetish or cloying, rather with a pleasant and mature sort of “dusty”, elegant kind of sweetness. Gentle floral and fruity notes are well counter-balanced by the tobacco-leather base. Pleasant and fairly compelling, although not the most original scent around, as several names come to mind (think of any recent tobacco scent, just a bit sweeter and more graceful; or think of pretty much any feminine fruity-floral scent and imagine to add a drop of leather-tobacco darkness). Antoine Lie did so worse than this, so here’s my mild encouraging enthusiasm for this work. “Bravo”!

    6,5/10

    15th January, 2015

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    Ormonde Man by Ormonde Jayne

    The opening of Ormonde Man is quite bold and almost overwhelming at first; all I smell is a slightly syrupy sandalwood note, citrus, spices (a load of cumin and red pepper), vetiver, cedar, and a strong salty note with a slight camphor aftertaste that I guess comes from musk. Basically, imagine a bold woody-spicy scent with a sweet-salty vein, and a vibrant Mediterranean aromatic herbal breeze (juniper?). The oud note is really light, more just a dark medicinal feel on the base. That’s pretty much it, for hours. Frankly this fragrance left me completely indifferent: I find it quite static, cloyingly thick, and too “powerfully generic” to be at least “safely” refined or elegant. Honestly it smells to me like whatever spicy-fresh-boisé designer scent, just “on steroids”, louder and more concentrated. Not bad, but... meh!

    6/10

    15th January, 2015

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    Midnight by House of Matriarch

    Midnight by Matriarch opens with a powerful, dark, dusty floral blend like a vintage Acampora, with gloomy, decadent, humid and quite heavy notes of tuberose, jasmine and narcissus and nearly nothing else, just a woody-musky shade on the base and a sort of slight sweet-anisic note, ambery and gently salty, which “rounds” the blend adding a (barely perceivable) touch of mellow and spicy sweetness. Really simple but rich, full and “narcotic” as it basically reunites the three “heavier” floral notes par excellence in my opinion. As far as I can tell, the floral notes smell beautiful and realistic here: you feel all the overwhelming camphorous earthiness of tuberose and the dirty-indolic feel of jasmine, well supported by narcissus and perhaps also something creamy (ylang?). Midnight is a “dirty white” scent, natural, gloomy and carnal, with (to me) no synthetic nuances, really pleasant and rich in class and refined nostalgia. Much unisex too: it smells dry, bold, austere, not that “graceful” as one may think. Now... the main (and basically only) flaw of Midnight is that I could barely put together my review before it started to vanish away. The longevity is quite an issue here: as long as it lasts, it’s fantastic, but after a bare hour it’s all brutally tamed down and reduced to a pale floral-woody-vanillic drydown. Surely pleasant albeit close to skin (and just “generically” pleasant), but at that price I would definitely want a better performance.

    7-7,5/10

    14th January, 2015

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Garage by Comme des Garçons

    Contrary to what it may seem from its name, Garage is a menthol-balsamic scent on a “plastic” base, halfway musky, anisic, glueish and dusty. Overall really clean, neat, sharp and bright. I totally share the concept of “garage” alfarom suggests below: Garage is a cold yet cozy and pleasant fragrance which reminds me of some “synthetic classics” (Miyake, Kenzo), just less friendly, less mainstream and more austere in its olfactory depiction of the smell of solvents, cleansers, whatever liquids used in a laboratory – or a “garage of the future”. The name may be misleading mostly because there’s really no oily dirt or “raw” darkness here: Garage has rather the pale, cold brightness of industrial lights, and the clean, plastic sharpness of the abovementioned hypothetical “futuristic laboratory”. Either way it’s a really nice scent, much fascinating and like many Comme des Garçons works, perfectly able to mix the concept with the wearability: Garage is elegant, appealing, totally pleasant and safe, whether you care about the concept of “garage” or simply want a good and distinctive scent. Now, for some reasons this did not completely made me “fall off the chair” – meaning it was just a “nice!” rather than a “WOW!”, but it’s really worthy consideration.

    7-7,5/10

    14th January, 2015

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    Snuff by Elsa Schiaparelli

    Snuff by Schiaparelli is a really solid and nice woody-herbal aromatic fougère quite on the formal, mature and refined side; mostly centered on mossy notes, herbs, tobacco, lavender, carnation, balsamic-resinous-piney notes, iris. Not a powerhouse for sure, and not even a “dark fougère” with loads of bitter leather like many other scents of its era. There’s some leather here too, but Snuff is more bright and balsamic, more about herbs, woods and pine, with a gentle floral and slightly shady “barbershop” side. It has a really elegant feel of mellow softness all over, which reminds me of Hermès Equipage: that same type of “tobacco bag” smell, which evokes the effortless and relaxed elegance of a gentleman’s weekend. Oddly enough though, it also – and more strongly - reminds me of another scent which has quite a much different mood: the ultra-cheap yet underrated youngster Haschish pour Homme by Veejaga. Try it; I’ve both here around, and to me they share quite a lot of common notes, with two really similar drydowns. Snuff is just a bit darker and more formal initially, and overall smells perhaps a bit more “expensive”, but they’re really close. Well anyway, a solid and totally pleasant fougère, worthy a try, but sadly apparently nearly impossible to find.

    7,5-8/10

    14th January, 2015

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    Revolution by Lisa Kirk

    Finally some proper “arty” avantgarde scent which doesn’t smell like a parody of a perfume. The opening of Revolution is genius: dirtier than dirt, stinky and urinous, with a concentrate blast of civet like you won’t smell even in the stinkier chypre. It does reflect the (I guess) semi-ironical pyramid listed on Lisa Kirk’s website: urine, leather, industrial gasses... Revolution smells literally of “dark, animalic metropolitan dirt”, but at the same time it manages to stay wearable and even quite pleasant, if you are into this type of perfumes. The civet here is crazy, powerful and rich, sweaty and indolic, but somehow the perfumer managed to treat it in a way that it smells also quite “industrial” and chemical; it’s alive, but it’s a sort of lab Frankenstein monster. Think of some CdG scents like Garage or Tar, just more dirty and depraved. A sort of futuristic beast, half robot half animal. Shortly anyway, to come back to the actual smell, Revolution is basically a dry, black, austere civet-leather-woody scent with a bold dusty and synthetic vein, which blends really creative with the indolic dirtness of civet and leather. I wouldn’t define this a challenging scent, as it basically smells like a (fairly sophisticated, somehow) dark-dry leather scent just dirtier than usual, but it’s surely “haunting” after a while - it’s persistent and doesn’t really tame down at any point. A solid piece of creativity!

    8/10

    14th January, 2015

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    Rêve en Cuir by Indult

    Reve en Cuir opens with a load of cloves juxtaposed to sweet, tart notes of vanilla, citrus (not that “citric”, rather aromatic and plushy) and nutty-resinous cardamom. I don’t get much oregano honestly, and I was intrigued by that as despite I love it, I rarely smell it in fragrances. But I do smell something more generically mossy-herbal, and also something somehow “woody-syrupy” if that makes sense, something like the cedar note in Lutens’ Cèdre if you know the fragrance. Now, the contrast between the pungent sharpness of cloves and herbs, and the sweet-tart-nutty notes of vanilla, citrus and cardamom (and that sweet, cedar-like note), is not exactly the most pleasant clash around in my opinion: it’s interesting at first, but soon a bit cloying to me. And overall that is my take on this scent, since it does not have much of an evolution; it has something that just does not work in my opinion. It’s not that pleasant, not particularly refined, not that deep or compelling, and on the other hand, not enough “creatively stinky” to represent some sort of creative statement. It’s just... don’t know, a “meh”. The drydown would be nicer, if it was just a bit louder, while it’s really close to skin. Sweet-woody-herbal cloves for hours, basically, with a warm and soft drydown; nothing bad, but nothing particularly remarkable either (especially for the price).

    6-6,5/10

    13th January, 2015

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    Cuir Tabac by David Jourquin

    Cuir Tabac is a nice, austere, masculine and fairly formal patchouli-tobacco scent; not that original, and fairly similar to a lot of cheaper perfumes (from Yatagan – just less boozy/animalic - to Masque’s Montecristo – less skanky and dry - passing through Lutens’ Borneo 1834, Patchouli Nobile by Nobile 1942, and even the good old Arrogance pour Homme EdP). Basically Cuir Tabac is that: a “new fougère” with a load of patchouli sweetened by a nice, mellow, dark yet plushy tobacco note, slightly boozy too initially, with herbal-woody notes and a hint of “barbershop” soapy notes (lavender). The leather note is barely perceivable, this scent shall be named “Patchouli Tabac”... but overall it is not bad at all: it is classy, solid and mature, albeit crazily overpriced for the (just a tad more than average) quality.

    6,5-7/10

    13th January, 2015

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    Om by Miller et Bertaux

    Cloves as first prominent note? Personally at the opening I get mostly a peppery resinous-patchouli blend, silky and clean, with a bold woody vein reminding me of cedar (guess it’s the incense). I also get something powdery, while the cloves note is just barely perceivable and really discreet, and also with a “substance” different than usual – more rooty and woody, and less harsh and pungent (not sure if because of the dose or the quality of materials, either way it’s good for me as I personally can’t stand cloves). Shortly a fairly pleasant, sharp, neat and cozy woody-spicy Oriental scent, not that original and honestly for me a bit boring and too tamed down to “say” something; but solid and nice. Really close to skin for me, but the persistence is longer than I expected.

    6,5-7/10

    13th January, 2015

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    Fate Woman by Amouage

    Fate Woman is a sort of light, pleasant, unisex, kind of generic and “all-rounder” bright chypre with a zesty, sweet, invigorating opening comprising citrus, elemi, down to herbs, amber, sandalwood, warm and earthy resinous-labdanum notes and the usual soapy-powdery stuff. The leather note is initially barely perceivable, while it becomes a bit more substantial as time passes, together with the civet, slowly bringing Fate towards spicier, more herbal and darker territories. A sort of poor man’s Shalimar or Chamade at three times the price, just fresher and spicier. As much elegant and perfectly executed as derivative and boring, in my opinion.

    6-6,5/10

    13th January, 2015

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    Domenico Caraceni 1913 by Domenico Caraceni

    Oh, what an underrated gem. Possibly the best masculine rose scent ever for me (yes, taking into account Amouage, Czech & Speake and others). The opening of 1913 is surprisingly pleasant, with a bold barbershop/“antique grooming toilet” feel mostly centered on rose, carnation and tobacco, posed on a dark, camphorous, dusty and slightly indolic base (jasmine?) like in many old masculine chypres. The floral accord is dark and lascivious, quite more bold than usual for this kind of “traditional” masculine colognes, and gives 1913 a really peculiar and distinctive austere but irresistibly sophisticated grace; a sort of decadent, shady, vaguely “dandy” kind of refinement, mixed to an austere feel reminding me of classic Italian aftershaves – kind of more nutty and floral, no citrus-lavender-leather “Britishness”. Extremely classy, mature and pleasant, slightly “outdated” in a totally positive way; one of the very few Italian perfumes which indeed speaks Italian to me, meaning that it makes me think of the dusty, cozy, shady, kind of shabby and modest beauty of barber parlours and small tailors’ ateliers – the kind of places where our beloved Italian heritage of elegance was born and is still being kept alive (nothing fancy or luxurious, I rather think of understated, shabby boutiques). “Penhaligon’s Sartorial”? Meh... this is possibly the closest fragrance to my concept of “gentleman” I’ve ever tried - and that surprises me given that I usually tend to associate vintage scents to that idea. The drydown is just fantastic and irresistibly classy, rose and dry tobacco. Persistence is everlasting, just a bit cloying after a while, but really solid. Great (and obviously, discontinued).

    8,5/10

    13th January, 2015

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    Pure Soap by Demeter Fragrance Library

    It does what it says, at least initially: a smell of freshly-laundered clothes and hand soap. All quite dry, ambery, dusty and musky, more grayish than white as one may assume, mainly focused on a sort of industrial, artificial, cold concept of cleanness an "automat-laundry" clean, rather than a "cozy-bath" clean. Fun enough, I also get a sort of iris note, which may be due to some aromachemicals also used to build powdery notes. Synthetic amber, synthetic white musk, something generically floral; that type of notes which create something not that distant from Helmut Lang EdP or some Comme des Garçons fragrances, even if in a more raw, straightforward way - and honestly quite more boring after a while. It smells more like a base on which eventually one should build a perfume rather than a scent ready to use, but it doesn't smell that bad and is also quite inexpensive, so if you're into "clean" stuff, go for it.

    6,5/10

    11th January, 2015 (Last Edited: 14th January, 2015)

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    Woo by House of Matriarch

    A balmy, dark, unusual and terribly fascinating contemporary scent with the “allure” and the sensual depth of an old chypre: I get jasmine, benzoin, tobacco, a fantastic powdery note of rose, a subtle salty-anisic breeze and a shady, hyper-dark veil of leather on the base, dusted with something sweet, earthy and dusty (I thought of cocoa beans but I don’t see them listed). The ambergris note is there, and for once it is quite realistic: it is not the usual, artificial, musky ambroxan-driven note, but rather the smell of real ambergris, so a rooty, animalic, “organic” and salty note with a slight sort of iodine-camphorous aftertaste. Woo has the personality of old Guerlain’s (I thought of vintage Chamade, for instance) or other prominent vintage chypres, mostly because of leather, rose and the indolic whiffs of dead flowers, and it also quite reminds me of Dzing! by L’artisan. But at the same time, it’s totally new, fresh, creative and contemporary: the creativity here, for me, lies mostly in a really genius touch of salty iodine, a crystalline azure touch on a warm, dark blend centered on jasmine, tobacco and leather. A balmy, dark, warm yet fresh and sea-inspired scent that mixes a nostalgic inspiration with a futuristic, refined “azure-blackness”. Quite nondescript; try it if you have the chance to. As much terrific as overpriced though, but apparently House of Matriarch does heavy discounts sometimes (I guess it’s the only moment they manage to sell some bottles).

    7,5-8/10

    11th January, 2015

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    Berkana by Torre of Tuscany

    Berkana opens with a grassy, zesty woody accord that reminded me of Terre d’Hermès at first, just more woody and spicy. I also get some citrus, a cedar-incense note with a sort of fizzy feature like in Maria Candida Gentile’s Exultat (I see she’s the nose behind this as well, that makes sense), pepper, cumin, something resinous. An invigorating, quite pleasant, fresh and fairly persistent Oriental-Mediterranean scent, shortly. I really don’t get that much leather, while soon after the opening the vetiver note comes in quickly taking a prominent position – which it will hold firmly for hours: a fresh, salty, zesty (almost citric) vetiver note, with just a hint of spices on top and smokier wood notes (and ok, a shade of leather) on the base. That’s it. Nice, but “yawn” for me... another (overpriced) nephew of so many classic vetiver colognes, a pleasant, well-made and self-controlled exercise and as much respectable as negligible in my opinion.

    6,5/10

    11th January, 2015

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