Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Colin Maillard

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Total Reviews: 1254

Ashoka by Neela Vermeire

The opening is apparently simple, but actually basing on a quite complex texture, a floral-green accord on amber-vanillin, with a bold "yellow flowers" feel, a fruity hint (the fig leaves, I guess) and even a vegetable note, but above all, flowers and green leaves. The base is a mellow, canonic white musks-sandalwood accord, a milky and creamy pillow – if you are familiar with Duchaufour's style, that's quite it. The overall balance is nice, I like the contrast between the creamy base and the pungent, fresh crunchy green notes, with a pleasant silky floral accord halfway these two. It's basically a dense, but not particularly opulent Oriental scent, dangerously tending towards a gourmand territory. It luckily eventually dries and turns towards a more organic-vegetable floral side, always on a soft base, with a nice "vegetable garden" fresh breeze all around and a tasty blend of spices. As minutes pass it gets more and more denser and cozier, the rose emerges better, it all darkens and gets on a rose-vegetable territory, with a slightly more leathery dusty base, delicate but dry and sharp. This is a nice scent which just... wants to be too much (rose, gourmand, floral, green, leather, woody) and ends up in smelling undefined and a bit unstructured – not in a positive way, since it's quite classic and traditional. The drydown is a bit disappointing – and unrelated, solitary, neverending oud debris. Not bad, but... meh.

6,5-7/10
19th May, 2014

Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens

Nice resinous opening, sticky and velvety on a somptuous, dense sandalwood note, with cocoa notes and an overall hint of "oiliness" – one of Lutens' signature features (and the one I enjoy the least, to be honest). It has a deeply nostalgic and romantic note which I can not figure out clearly, a floral, really classic accord, perhaps violet. Must say this is probably my personal favorite among Lutens' "Santal" range. Majuscule shows an ethereal, graceful, powdery floral note which I really enjoy a lot, and which enlightens and makes the whole blend irresistibly gentle and pleasant – so finally, the "syrupy" personality which I could not come to like in Mysore, is a bit more restrained here. The sandalwood is treated in a really bright and pleasant way, it has not a fixed shape but it's rather wrapped in a "web" made of several notes and accords that enhance and enlighten all its facets. So the sandalwood is kind of anywhere, and nowhere at the same time, it's a really nice structure, the flowers, the resins, the spices interplay with the nuances and the facets of sandalwood, emphasizing or contrasting them. Speaking of "smell" itself it's basically a less sweet, less syrupy Santal de Mysore, with on the contrary, some more earthy and darker echoes. After a while it progressively dries, and the sandalwood emerges in a more compact shape, still dense and resinous and of course beautifully aromatic. The floral notes vanish and it all turns into a woody, warm, still a bit sticky scent, with a dusty hint of tobacco. I bet Josh Lobb of Slumberhouse quite liked this one. Personally my ideal cup of tea when it comes to sandalwood is still more on the Santal Noble side, more masculine, simple, dry, still soft and plushy but a bit more "classic" and traditional and as less syrupy as possible, but Santal Majuscule is surely one of the nicest and most fascinating interpretations of this theme on the market.

7,5-8/10
18th May, 2014

M by Puredistance

The opening is marvelous, clear, sharp, amazingly elegant and cozy. I detect patchouli, aromatic woods, cedar, vetiver, a floral accord, sweet resinous spices, cinnamon, a gorgeous leather note (soft like suede, initially) with a bold talcum-soft feel. All is aerial and dimensional, almost geometrical, at the same time plushy, silky and mellow. A lot of suggestions and images come to mind, there's an oriental vein blended with a totally contemporary Western personality. Quite complex and textured, really compact, just smelling beautiful and great like Fetish pour Homme, and also quite on the same "concept" too: basically, a renovated, modern "masculine classic", with some nostalgic fougère/chypre accords blended with a new and more modern sensibility. A tight and harmonic scent full of nuances you feel better in the sillage than on skin. What I like the most is an irresistible accord of leather, flowers (jasmine?), delicate woods (cashmeran, cedar?) and spices blended with a talcum-balsamic accord, something that just captivates me I don't know why precisely... like those scents you link to people you love, or loved. So distinguished and majestic, without being "opulent". As minutes pass a talcum cloud emerges and "explodes" in all its dreamy and narcotic dustiness, and again, a symphony of nuances, mellow woods, flowers, leather. Then it all starts to dry and the bone-structure emerges more clearly, which I said, it's quite a classic fougère/chypre texture, incredibly sophisticated, soft, mossy and velvety. As many other reviewers already noticed, a couple of scents come to mind at this point, two legendary scents to which this one almost sounds like a "tribute": Moschino pour Homme and Bel Ami. The leather accord with a talcum/floral "gentleness" is one of the best I've ever smelled, it smells really perfectly. The drydown is great as well, more bitter and dry, but well balanced, and doesn't reveal the sadly-too-usual safraleine cheapness (burnt rubber). Utter elegance. The quality is uncompromising and really high, of both materials and composition. Still, the price is completely insane and megalomaniac, and not in a way that I'd say "... but it's worth it". It's not, it's great and stuff, but it's not worth that cost. Just grab a sample and try it, then enjoy the hundreds of equally good (or better) fragrances around.

8/10
18th May, 2014
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Oud 27 by Le Labo

One of the few oud-based scents I like. I admit this is not one of my favourite notes, so among the thousands of scents I've never tried yet, oud scents are not exactly on my "top" list. But this one was quite a surprise. A friend of mine brilliantly defined this "an imaginative oud" and in fact, I think she was perfectly right. The opening is pleasant, a peculiar balance between an oud base, with its signature indolic/animalic personality, and a velvety, delicate, dusty rose breeze. The overall smell is much ethereal and spacious, but sharp and clear. The notes are linear and thin, the ambiance is rarefied and silent, vast and wide but calm and "void" in a way. All it's there, but all is transparent. Initially the oud note is much refined and civilised, and also quite subtle. It's more of a linear, woody accord, quite clean and a bit rubbery, with just a slight but palpable and ambiguous "oud" heart. The same for the rose note, it's talcum-powdery but restrained and positively plain. This makes me think of "sheets", one on another, on a perfectly white glass desk, if that makes sense. The vibe is open-air, but industrial too, or more precisely, a "lab" vibe, with that specific medicinal/suspended mood, rarified but oppressing too. I also think of waiting lounges and that kind of post-modern "non-places". After a while a balsamic refreshing breeze arises, still with a powdery feel, and I like this passage a lot – often notes vanish or tone down, this instead just "comes in" like if someone opened a window. The "key" adjective here are "clean", "sophisticated", "subtle", "aerial". The oud base is there and it's shady, but is also delicate and fairly inoffensive (which is perhaps one of the reasons why I like this scent, I like oud either like this, or just raw and unleashed, like is the darkest Montale's). After one hour or so, a nice twist again, some unexpected accords come in shape; a woody/incense nuance, a dry white musks accord, a slightly salty breeze. Luminous, in a totally contemporary, artificial meaning. Moreover, some of those notes fades away, and all that aerial lightness gently "vanishes". The drydown turns almost into a delicate and essential chypre, a nostalgic, dark and somehow sensual thin accord, still clean but a bit more dense, gloomy and sweaty. A great evolution for a really good scent, not my cup of tea but brilliantly executed and worth a try.

7,5-8/10
18th May, 2014

La Liturgie des Heures by Jovoy

A fresher, more balsamic take on the "catholic" incense à la Avignon, with floral-woody notes and a fruity touch, and even an earthy-mossy side. Not as fascinating as CdG's milestones, but with a different personality, which is still a good feature. La Liturgie is close to Avignon but "moves the camera" on the outside of the Church-ish ambiance, like wandering in the garden of a Mediterranean abbey. The incense notes blend with a herbal-balsamic breeze; the mood is still much meditative, cozy and mellow, just fresher and more "natural", less hieratic, less severe, but also less experimental and "contemporary" speaking in terms of structure. This is more friendly, more aerial, more "safe" in a way. The drydown is a bit disappointing on my skin, as it turns into an unpleasant, sour rubbery note, but apart from that, it's an elegant and cozier alternative to other darker and "bolder" incense-based fragrances.

7/10
18th May, 2014

Jardins d'Armide (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

Pleasant, lively opening, with elegant rose-lavender notes, anise, bergamot, orange blossoms, white musks, perhaps some sandalwood, with a bold, warm, iris-aldehydated and talcum-vanillin roundness. I also detect some herbaceous notes, but really subtle and discreet. The main feel is soap, a spring-y, playful, aromatic, bright, soft, nostalgic soapy feel with a dense, multi-faceted and even a bit narcotic floral heart. Retro elegance at its best: simple, balanced, pleasant and well-executed, pale as a shy lady and with a reassuring, cozy, clean soapy drydown, like taking a bath on a Sunday afternoon. For me, a strong madeleine of "Spuma di Sciampagna" bath soap. Not a memorable work, but may work pleasantly as an elegant and un-intrusive "signature scent".

7/10
18th May, 2014

Lalfeorosa by O'Driù

Lalfeorosa opens with the usual, Carrollian potion you have to swallow before accessing the hall of mirrors of Pregoni's imagination. Pungent, invigorating, somehow spooky medicinal accord of cloves, nutmeg and balsamic notes, with however a dense, tasty, vivid floral heart, a load spices, a camphor accord, musky notes, everything floating and melting so tightly and so quickly I give up trying to list notes and passages. Then there's this powdery, talcum, antique rose incapsulated in a post-industrial synthetic-medicinal accord, which is totally fascinating and well-executed. More than smelling it, you're perceiving her, "spying" her, peeping from a keyhole. A dissected, androgynous, dirty, contemporary, playful and nostalgic chypre. The floral and balsamic heart emerges with increasing warmth and depth, always wrapped in O'Driù signature, bizarre herbal-medicinal accord. The feelings and the echoes are the usual ones of the "odriudism", a clinic, urban, surgical, oniric world with a palpable Brechtian feel of alienation. All smells great, still out of place... perfectly out of place. What I enjoy the most here is a dusty, sweet floral accord with a hay, rural aftertaste, incredibly well blended with a lot of more contemporary and "chemical" suggestions. The drydown lasts for ages and it's cozy, refined, totally distinctive (as all of Pregoni's fragrances), with a classic vibe and an "oddity" personality. I just love how he manages to play effortlessly and playfully with structures and clichés, and with materials, without simply "renovating" the tradition or offering "interpretations" of tradition, but just simply inventing from rough. Nothing smells, smelled and probably will ever smell like this. Again: bravissimo!

8,5/10
17th May, 2014 (last edited: 18th May, 2014)

Lalfeogrigio by O'Driù

O'Driù is one of those noses which is quite challenging to write about – more than to actually simply wear and enjoy. I mean that his scents are great, they smell perfect, with a bright and creative composition and a great "wearability". Still when it comes to write about them and describe them, I always have a bit of that "writer's block". Mostly because he is so talented in taking a load of notes and combining them in a truly alchemic way, meaning that the final result is not a "harmony" or a "coexistence" of accords and materials each with its own identity, but rather something new, and I mean entirely new, a new-born from the annihilation of the creative process. So there's a lot of notes there, but you have to work, be patient, try, wait before eventually be able to unfold Pregoni's super tightly-wrapped scents. Otherwise it may smell just like a sci-fi potion that just fell down on Earth from nowhere. The trick is not to be fooled by the opening, which is almost always identical, the trademark O'Driù balsamic/cloves medicinal accord, here added with a strong and pungent initial "urine" note, which will soon vanish, leaving the stage for a balsamic-herbal structure on a soft, sweet base (but as in other O'Driù scents, somehow opalescent, naughty and sticky, almost luscious). A lot of spices, mostly nutmeg and cloves. Ambiguous and cozy, discomforting but pleasant, industrial and organic, playful and tricky, a perfect and balanced blend of a lot of contrasting, even opposite nuances and feelings. The structure is basically a totally contemporary, post-modern, somehow "childish" (in a totally good way) chypre, where everything is there, but still... it isn't, or it is disguised. There's a balsamic breeze on an aromatic, sweet base, and many notes, from a musky/animalic one, to a floral accord, to – of course – a lot of spices which create that medicinal feel I referred to. Yet it's not only this. Or perhaps it is not this at all. The closest term I can think of is "chypre" precisely because of its musky/floral/balsamic/powdery structure, but this is criminally reducing. It's like wandering in a garden near an abandoned factory and stumbling upon a load of "stuff" – from the past, from the present and from the future. The drydown is super pleasant, at first it's more on the animalic/leather side, then it slowly ends in an endless ambery/musky/woody cashmeran-like accord. And overall, even just talking about the scent itself and "how it smells", it smells terribly good and versatile. We need more perfumers like O'Driù!

8/10
17th May, 2014 (last edited: 18th May, 2014)

Invasion Barbare / SB by MDCI

The opening is a blast of aldehydes (C12 / anisic), talcum, floral notes, a hint of suede, something woody, rubbery and dry, and a sort of camphor-stale note on the very base. A green, bitter accord, quite realistic but also a bit pale and ambiguous. What I smell the most is however the aldehydes. In its own way, a cheap way, it's a nice fragrance, quite pleasant and fascinating too - the notes appear like stuffed in a transparent, frosted cube (that's the feeling aldehydes give to me). A clean, metallic, talcum-vanillin springy scent, cozy and incredibly persistent, fairly dull and completely unworth the price tag.

6/10
17th May, 2014

Caravelle Epicée by Frapin

The opening is a restrained blast of spices, mostly dry and "brownish" like nutmeg, cardamom and pepper, rounded with a sweeter, dustier subtle accord of amber and tobacco, which together with spices create quite a number of odd nuances, somehow leathery, somehow earthy, somehow floral. Overall I honestly find this quite unpleasant, it has a weird, cloying smell of old shoes and dusty closets. Not in "poetic" way (if that may be poetic in any way). And not that exotic too. The drydown gets even worse, the dark woods emerge with their pungent and dry rubberiness, and a discomforting hint of fruity/sticky pimiento makes its way, and it all gets almost sickening. And spices again everywhere, mostly nutmeg, which I honestly can not stand. I guess it's partially me, I mean this is a rare meet-up of some of the notes I dislike the most, but apart from that and trying to keep it objective, I find this scent confused and, well, "smelling bad" - again, not in an "interesting" or creative way, just smelling bad.

4/10
17th May, 2014

Myrrhiad by Huitième Art

A clean, aromatic, floral-resinous scent with a bold gourmand side of vanilla and tonka, on white musks and a pleasant, silky mily sea of bath gel. Green-balsamic breeze coming and going. A triumph of synthetic-drive coziness. The base is stuffed with – of course – myrrh, actually a more generic dusty resin accord, but that is the concept. Not much else. Delicate, a bit plastic, but decently nice. Surely overpriced.

6/10
17th May, 2014

Vikt by Slumberhouse

Straight on my top chart of Slumberhouse, which is actually an ex-aequo of most of their scents. Ultra-modern elegance at its best. The first smell is something completely new, a narcotic, velvety feel, sensual and mellow but in a totally unique way, nondescript and physically irresistible, extremely persuasive and pleasant, halfway between sticky and dusty. I detect the over-dark, venomous oily accord of styrax and benzoin (and trisamber?) of other Slumberhouse scents, but here is played in a suspended, aerial, azure-green balsamic nowhere. And there lies that "smell" I find so luring and irresistible, it's like and anisic, medicinal, poisonous talcum. Incense notes emerge too. Usual terrific balance of notes and quality of materials. On the base you feel this dirty, sticky terpenic river of dark woods with a medicinal vibe, but the main unique feature of the scent is that translucent anisic smoke with silky tobacco notes, which just surrounds everything. At some point, from somewhere, a fruit note drips into the base darkness, and it brings to life a subtle rancid note. Crazy alchemic balance. The "visual experience" here is consistent with Josh Lobb's obsessions, it's like wandering in a decaying, post-modern, desert suburb, and just stopping by a crevice on a wall and inspire the narcotic azure smoke it exhales. Several notes recur, and compared to other scents from this line, this is one of the most complex for me, as it show many nuances and shades. It's still quite linear, but the linearity is vast and dimensional enough not to get bored of it. After a couple of hours it gets warmer and sweeter, the balsamic-medicinal accord emerges better as well as the ambroxan base, still with a black sticky vein and a dry, gloomy, industrial rubbery feel of dead woods (perhaps a bit too much rubbery after a while). Echoes and ruins of a dissolved contemporaneity.

8,5-9/10
16th May, 2014

Fetish pour Homme by Roja Dove

The opening is really beautiful, unexpectedly and significantly classic: a renovated, enhanced, modern fougère. Especially in the first minutes it smells basically like a more aerial, more light Moschino Pour Homme, less powerful, with a more contemporary/synthetic touch. The castoreum note is almost a joke, I mean it's really light and restrained, but it's there, and together with the animalic/leather base, represents the "fougère heart" of this scent. The rest is equally classic, an "eau de cologne" texture of flowers, delicate and aromatic woods (cashmeran?), bergamot, a balsamic-mossy side. It eventually emerges a vetiver heart, on a mellow, dusty amber base. Leathery (soft) and ambery drydown, dusty and sophisticated. Pretty much it. It all sounds good and clear, the materials are better than average, what I enjoy the most is the touch of incense, smoky modernity, a "chic", rarified contemporaneity, cozy and sophisticated at the same time. But overall, as I said, I can not think of many'80s/'90s fougères, the more elegant ones, like Bugatti pour homme. And more broadly, to classic masculine perfumery textures. So where's the big deal here? I don't know honestly, but it somehow manages to smell great, contemporary and quite distinctive, although a bit delicate (or perhaps that's the key?). Somehow I like this, and if it had a decent price - I mean the price it is actually worth, which is average/bottom niche - it would have ended in my wish list. The actual price is beyond surreal.

7,5/10
16th May, 2014
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Montecristo by Masque

The opening is powerful and totally unique: strong, dry, realistic tobacco notes on tanning leathers buried in a dusty woody closet, a stale smell of forgotten leather bags, with a slight gourmand/boozy aftertaste. The heart is like drowning your nose in those old dusty bags, feeling all the stale indolic smell of leather, and a number of echoes and nuances of the times they've lived. A hint of salt and a balsamic breeze. It has some clear and recognisable '70s feel, I instantly thought of my grandparent's house on the Sardinian seaside, which was stuffed with things, garments and accessories belonging to my father and his brothers, most of which dated back to those years. A drier, more linear and darker blend of Yatagan and Balenciaga's Portos, exhuding "dryness" and "leathers". Super dark, but not "black": more ebony, or dark brown. Dusty, stale, even a bit fecal at some points, but somehow cozy and reassuring too: grandpa's closet, again. Nostalgic and evocative, powerful and quite sophisticated (not for everybody, though). Still, to be honest, although it has an undoubtedly unique and sparkling personality, I don't find it particularly well made. Some notes smell a bit cheap to me (the leathers, especially on the drydown) and overall, I find this a bit too much linear and monotonous. I get it's a style choice, and I like the concept, but it sounds a bit rushed and almost "incomplete" to me. However the persistence is great and overall it's an elegant and distinctive scent. Promising!

7-7,5/10
16th May, 2014

Baque by Slumberhouse

Perhaps my favourite so far from Slumberhouse, together with Ore. Again, the Slumberhouse mantra: sharp, powerful, vibrant, a "stereo" feel. A bold cocoa note, dustier and darker than ever, on a boozy tobacco-ambroxan base and a rough, earthy, biting patchouli feel, heavy and gloomy. There's no patchouli but cocoa and tobacco give me that feeling. Think of Lutens' Borneo 1834 on steroids. Like being thrown in a humid, black, empty, deep reservoir, with green, bitter, poisonous branches growing on the walls. You also feel quite clearly the cedar and the mossy notes, with this sour, dense and tiny heart of artemisia. And then, of course, the tobacco, so rooty, powerful and overwhelming you don't even notice it's there – because it's surrounding you. Shady, humid and pungent, the Holy Grail of tobacco lovers. Like waking up in a humidor. As minutes pass it progressively dries down still remaining super dark and dusty, with this dense poisonous heart, and a balsamic breeze which is the consistent trademark of many Lobb's scents. The drydown is slightly sweeter and stickier, but the texture is the same, and it goes on, and on, for hours, tasty and clear like hours before (again, Slumberhouse's linearity: that may turn into a "con"). Besides the great, balanced, bright composition, the materials are just amazing, powerful and vibrant. Sadly for the moment it's discontinued but it's a mandatory try!

9/10
15th May, 2014

Jeke by Slumberhouse

The opening is a bit similar to Baque and Zahd, dense, thick, voluptuous and sticky but at the same time dusty and dry, comprising cocoa beans, ambroxan, a lot of tobacco/patchouli notes, and a black pulsating vein of that dark, polluting glue you also smell in Zahd – trisamber, I guess. An indolic, pungent, terpenic, humid labdanum heart rises with increasing strength, and while it comes to the surface, it also slowly mutates becoming more and more rooty and earthy, finally a sort of vetiver note (or at least that is how it smells to me) emerges. More than a progression it's kind of a fascinating ascension of this green-earthy note from the very thick black deep to the surface. Besides also a medicinal vibe makes its way, another signature note detectable in many other Slumberhouse fragrances. Eventually the scent gets drier and dustier, more indefinite and nondescript, smoky and velvety, on a sweet and rubbery amber-woody base, with a fog of burning black smoke – more industrial than incensey. The drydown that lasts, as usual, for hours, comprises mostly an ambery, balsamic, vanillin, opalescent accord, really sophisticated, cozy and pleasant to wear. Overall another "dark" Slumberhouse scent, less humid and earthy than Baque, less powerful and challenging than Zahd, plus without that sweet-oily accord. Basically halfway between these ones and Ore, with an unusually cozy and mellow drydown. Brilliant.

8/10
15th May, 2014

Norne by Slumberhouse

Powerful, sharp, smoky opening of Iso E and eugenol (cloves), foggy and medicinal, with dark aromatic woods and - as many other works among this genius line - a sticky, gloomy, meditative, liquid post-apocalyptic feel, an overall "vibe" brought to life just thanks to the power of the materials and the superb balance of the texture. Metallic cloudy echoes of concrete, pollution, nature, and a black, terpenic, dense heart, with a milky-green alkaline balsamic vein, fluorescent like the acids in a dead battery, and a prominent medical accord (cloves). Once it, say, "tunes in" with the skin warmth it then opens up in a funereal, ashtray-ish incense/woody scent, with a sort of post-industrial liturgic heaviness, blending the incense note with the medicinal accord, in a dusty, woody, green "nowhere". I just love how Lobb plays with notes and materials to create worlds, situations, (urban) landscapes. His line is like a Ballard novel, I know I already mentioned him in another review, but that is one of the names that just comes to mind more often while wearing these scents. Also, I now realise how close Slumberhouse is to O'Driù, the "visual" inspiration is quite different (Pregoni is more provocative, playful, "artistic", whereas Slumberhouse as a more peculiar, "obsessive" passion for decay, darkness and de-personalised notes and accords) but they share the same "role" in today's perfumery, the same self-taught, free and independent research for a "new", maybe naif way to make perfumes, doing just a "tabula rasa" of all conventions and trying to make stuff that fits our age, or even the future, instead of reiterating a nostalgic set of reassuring codes and techniques (which of course is not bad itself: it's just nice and healthy to have someone like these guys who tries to look beyond that, it's how progress works). Two great outsiders, and in fact, I read that Lobb likes O'Driù. Well back to the scent, nice smoky and woody drydown, still with a persistent camphor/cloves feel. Not my favourite among their range, mostly because I am personally not that fond of cloves (and here they're quite prominent, for hours and hours), so I would not really wear this, but apart from my preferences, surely well made and worth a try.

7,5/10
15th May, 2014

Sana by Slumberhouse

The opening is a blast of mossy, coniferous resins and fir balsam (great rendition, it smells just like an absolute!), with a dusty, metallic camphor aftertaste. I smell quite a lot of Iso E and pine/fir needles, so overall it's a balsamic-woody scent, which ironically reminds me a bit of Marc de la Morandière's Gengis Khan, although more complex, denser, and more futuristic. There's a really beautiful nucleus with a fruity-floral note, and a general, rarified but detectable boozy note. After a while it slowly emerges a well-played herbaceous accord, quite bitter and rooty, with also some tobacco notes – humid and pungent. As in other Slumberhouse's scents, again here's a smart and bright interplay between organic, natural suggestions and synthetic, de-personalised notes, and also between black, dark sticky accords and more vivid, bright, aerial ones. There's also a constant, flawless, palpable black vein, dark and boozy, which slowly gets almost a warm, liquid terpenic smell mixed to a sweet/edible taste, and a base accord of dark, dry, rubbery woods (I guess birchwood). This scent stands quite alone in Slumberhouse's range mostly because of its progression, the other ones are quite linear, this instead has an unpredictable evolution, with this dense black heart that, say, kind of crashes against the skin and all its poisonous content slowly pouring out and contamining everything around. Now don't think it's an all-black scent, it's more like when you let some drops of black ink fall into a glass of (don't know what), and you see it "spreading" all around. Although my words may have sound enthusiastic so far, personally I do not "love" this scent, I just like it, as I personally would not wear this – no particular reason, I just do not feel it "right" on my skin, I do not get why exactly. Perhaps a tad too sticky at some points. But apart from that, it's a great concept, well-developed, perfectly consistent with Slumberhouse's poetic directions – that sort of retro-futuristic, urban decay kind of inspiration. Random artistic suggestion that came to mind for this: Justin Mortimer paintings.

7,5-8/10
15th May, 2014

Flou by Slumberhouse

My review is based on the EDP version of this, which as other reviewers remarked, should be different from the oil version – more light and with a different formula. The texture here is based on a sort of deconstructed, simpler, darker chypre, basically a green-floral aldehydated scent with a bold balsamic/coniferous feel and light fruity notes on a dry, almost leathery base (I guess it's guaiac wood). Although this did not "wow" me that much, what I like here the most is a linear, super sharp, vertical metallic feel, rarified but powerful, like a cut in a Fontana painting, with a really thin and narrow vein of absinthe-ish, balsamic green. The aldehydes (or however, that accord which smells like aldehydes to me) together with the green notes create an interesting accord, dry and bitter, which brings to my imagination a classic chypre – say, a Cellier, a Guerlain – being dissected and re-composed by a mad scientist on a freezy steel surgical table. Visa by Piguet also came to my mind, this smells like a more pale and more green version of that. After a while that green-sour accord becomes bolder and clearer, and also a pleasant ambery-woody-balsamic base with just a vanillin hint emerges better. The drydown is delicate and pleasant, but a bit generic – Visa comes to mind again. Great quality as usual, but overall I am afraid that it's just a "half-success"... quite many references come to my mind, it has its own personality but smells more like Slumberhouse's "version of" something – in this case, a quite traditional feminine floral-fruity-aldehydated scent. Not bad, just less interesting than most of other scents by this house.

6,5-7/10
15th May, 2014

Zahd by Slumberhouse

An explosion of an oily, sticky, cherry-flavoured petroleum fuel. Edible, vibrant fruity-cocoa heart drowned in a black, evocative, boozy tar syrup. As in other Slumberhouse creations, all sounds sharp and clear, more powerful than ever, and above all, genuinely new. I read that Lobb used trisamber here to make that "syrupy oily" blackness come to life, and he totally nailed it. This is the blackest and oiliest juice I've ever tried. Sadly, although the darkness is really superbly crafted, there is something else I can not come to like, most of which is a kind of nauseating, cloying sweet bread/gingerbread smell, even too much edible and realistic, futuristic in a way, but still something a bit cloying which I can not really "keep" there on my skin. The smell itself is perfect, the craft is incredible, the materials are stunning, the use of synthetics is brilliant: the obscurity here is shady and bitter, with an artificial vibe, like getting lost in a Blade Runner kind of basement, with this unknown tar-like stuff pouring down the walls. But still, frankly speaking, it's a punch to the nose. If this would be a "smell" for, say, an artistic performance or just an experiment itself, then I would rate this with a higher rate, but since this is an actual perfume to wear, I fear this goes a bit too far for me, hence my relatively lower rate (for what it's worth).

6,5-7/10
15th May, 2014

Ore by Slumberhouse

I'm completely sold to Slumberhouse. This is just the freshest stuff around, at least in the indie niche segment. The opening is again, as all of Lobb's scents, sharp and powerful, vivid and perfectly crafted like a sculpture in raw wood: dusty, earthy, sweet cocoa beans, so earthy and raw that they smell like patchouli, on cistus and whiskey notes, with a totally peculiar resinous, mossy, dry amber base. Dark woods. The most dense, dark, thick, luscious, ambiguous and foggy gourmand I have ever smelled, that vibrant cocoa prominent note is just brilliant, so tasty and silky, and dusty like black concrete. Half-velvety, half-milky neon-green balsamic vein with echoes of vanillin and anise pulsating below – Slumberhouse's signature accord. Unique, brilliant, sophisticated in its own peculiar way, with an incredible balance of notes, a lot of facets with a compact, consistent overall vibe. A blend of raw, organic naturals with aromachemicals – that addicting, intriguing "retro-futuristic" vein under almost all the scents of this – allow me this idiotic word – "genius" indie house. An overwhelming talent with a perfect craft and stunning materials. The evolution is equally great, it loses a bit of dustiness, the balsamic breeze gets a bit more space, and the dry, yet rubbery dark tar-woods emerge more clearly. Quite a linear evolution, though – that may be the only con. For me, hats off.

9/10
14th May, 2014 (last edited: 18th June, 2014)

Mare by Slumberhouse

Crazy, gorgeous opening, really powerful and amplified, an edible, mentholated green-balsamic accord of crunchy leaves on a dark, oily, milky base, greener than green, humid and wet, spacious and tridimensional, with bold herbaceous notes and a general invigorating, energetic vibe, like those sugarfree mint candies you eat when you've a sore throat. Never smelled anything like this before – and I am surely not "an easy one" when it comes to enthusiasm, especially for avant-garde niche products. This instead just completely got me. The heart of the scent is really dense, thick, materic, almost oily and sticky, pungent but at the same time, luminous and bright – not in a predictable "sunlight" meaning, rather a neon, plastic light. Lot of synthetic aromachemicals, but used in a really balanced, bright and creative way, to explore new ways of composition and give the scent a palpable futuristic vibe. All smells so "new" (to me, at least) that makes this scent quite hard to describe for me, but it's simply superb, the only "normal" reference I can recall is that balsamic accord, which from times to times smells also like absinth, with its darker, liquid and stickier counterpart. But there is a lot more, there's this strange, captivating feel which makes me think of two cultural references: the opalescent, suspended, gloomy photography of Sokurov's movies, and the world of Ballard's novels - specifically his "The drowned World" novel, which is set in this post-apocalyptic green, super humid world. This is quite the smell one can imagine that world may exhude – a futuristic, at the same time organic and archaic nature. Deadidol perfectly summed that up below: "it’s the scent that vegetation will produce when humans are no longer around to interfere". Totally brilliant. Plus, the composition is just perfect, powerful yet restrained where it should be, it's just great. Plenty of skills and talent here, and a stunning quality of materials. The only tiny "con" is the drydown, which smells a bit like a chewing-gum, but I can really forgive that.

8,5/10
14th May, 2014

Black Afgano by Nasomatto

The opening is pungent, bitter and sour with a nice black-green blend of balsamic notes with an edible, crunchy and poisonous heart, on a sticky, dense and black base of aoud, stuffed with dry echoes and burnt-tires vibes. A nice note floats around, something halfway fruity and balsamic, which gives dynamism to the structure and counter-balances the overall bitterness and dryness. A bit better than other aouds, surely worse than many others, I don't get the hype. It's basically a less interesting, less elegant, less powerful, less-everything M7 which smells like a hundred of other low-key aouds. Pretentiously dull.

5/10
14th May, 2014

Duro by Nasomatto

Another Nasomatto I do not really get. Or better said, I sadly get too clearly. The opening is clean and pleasant, a grey, silky, mellow Iso E plus cashmeran blend, so basically an aromatic woody scent with a slight rose-anise heart. Opaline and synthetic, surely pleasant to wear, even sophisticated, as any "safe woody scent" can be at, like, a fraction of this price. The most interesting part is the very heart of the scent, a half-floral half-dark concoction with incense echoes, perfectly wrapped in a sort of synthetic cage, a plastic bag. Super plastic vetiver notes. The overall vibe is refined, but mute and pale, and not in a fascinating way. This smells like the first one to be bored by this was even the creator himself – the marketing genius, Gualtieri. My low rating is partially due to the scent itself, which smells good (as any "office scent" does) although the persistence is ridicolously short to be an "extrait". What really annoys me is all that surrounds it – the insane price, the pretentiousness, the mediocrity.

4/10
14th May, 2014

L'Humaniste by Frapin

The opening is nice and pleasant, a fresh blend of citrus, bergamot, white musks, juniper, cardamom, pepper and a floral note which I thought was ylang and orange blossoms but it's peony. Mellow woody-vanillic base, with a synthetic but decent and pleasant "roundness", as pleasant as a bit dull. Slight raw-mossy side which takes this somehow close to many Parfum d'Empire scents, that same musky-earthy-herbal accord. As minutes pass it slowly evolves on a more herbal-floral accord, still keeping a nice bold bergamot note, with a crispy bitter aftertaste of leafy, aromatic green notes – thyme. Fresh, lively, well-executed and super safe. To be honest I had a bit of "dejà-vu", I spent several minutes thinking "where did I smell all this already?" then I realised: Cartier's Declaration! Not identical, but quite much similar to me.

6,5/10
13th May, 2014

Peety by O'Driù

The opening is, again, brilliant and unique: dark, velvety, in a nowhere between vanillin and frankincense, floating above a warm, thick sea of ambroxan and benzoin. Anise and liquorice on woods, with quite a number of spices, notably cloves, which Angelo seems quite fond of. Dense animalic heart, utterly sophisticated and captivating, shady and materic, with some sweet, sticky aromatic feel. Part of this you can feel it better in the sillage than close to skin. As other O'Driù scents, an abstract, compact composition which manages to smell at the same time totally pleasant, wearable and soothing, still interesting and complex. And incredibly smart. Which to me is quite a rare and precious feature, because many "avant-garde" scents smell either bad, or interesting but "un-wearable". This instead can be enjoyed as-is, or unwrapped and dissected like a magic candy. One of the really few scents around for which I'd use the term "new", and in fact, you'd better just stop reading this and just wear Peety (with or without "personalization"). Aerial and dimensional, futuristic and translucent, with the same oniric opalescence of Eva Kant, rarified and without a detectable structure, yet completely "clear" and... well, "there", hard to get and to describe with classic perfumery's terms and concepts, but perfectly "there". A really smart and fun interplay between naturals and aromachemicals, which also moves through different moods and ambients; once the opening evolves, it slowly becomes warmer and dustier, a floral heart emerges, and for a while you're close to a classic chypre, yet, as in a dream with your Charon driving you through a hall of mirrors, the chypre is destructured, appearing more linear, more abstract, more "fake", yet palpable and tasty. Rubbery tar echoes emerge too, drowned in a sticky lotion that makes them sound restrained, "mute" and pale. The fil rouge here, and also the link to other O'Driù scents, is a sharp medicinal vibe comprising vanillin and cloves, pungent and vivid like a blood-stained gauze, as if sniffing that was the key to access this surrealist, oniric, mutating gallery of realms and suggestion. The warm, dusty ambroxan base – not sure about the material, however that is how it smells to me – makes this scent a bit close to Tauer's style, I agree with Darvant below on that; although here is just more... bizarre. It's warm and soothing, but also somehow morbid. After a couple of hours an animalic note pops out again, dry and rubbery, which then drowns down again, and you're back again on that warm medicinal amber-spicy sea, with its synthetic sharpness and a dusty, geometric feel. The drydown is mostly based on this warm and dusty ambery-vanillin-medicinal accord, which is terribly sophisticated and really pleasant, and also incredibly persistent. It was with me basically the whole day. A totally consistent, dense scent, in which you hardly smell something you have already smelled elsewhere, which manages to be totally pleasant and the same time, totally and genuinely new to all extents. You just come back to smell it again and again, like something you don't want to see because you don't get it, yet you keep spying and peeping. Intriguing, versatile, refined, playful and irresistibile.

(and now comes the joke I saved there for the whole time: "I tried to pee in my sample, but I wasn't able to hit it").

8,5/10
13th May, 2014

1270 by Frapin

Green and citrus-y opening, fresh and crunchy, with a bittersweet fruity heart on a vanilla-patchouli-ambery base. Mossy-powdery notes like in some Parfum d'Empire scents. The prominent accord is a warm, floral, spicy and ginger-y note which smells a bit like immortelle. Persistence is really short, and plus, a little after the opening, also kind of confused, un-structured and undefined. I miss a lot of the notes there, to me this smells more like a weak, generic and elusive ambery-spicy-floral-woody accord. Not a fail, as it somehow manages to smell "nice", but not that good either and surely not worth the cost.

5/10
13th May, 2014

Genghis Khan by Marc de la Morandiere

Vintage version:

Herbal, mossy, coniferous, spicy (I agree on the bold presence of cumin) balsamic and resinous: pine needles, fir balsam, crunchy branches... and a thin, rarified black ambery fog. Evocative and really pleasant. "Evocative" because it actually makes you think of a calm, green, meditative, smoky forest, not a predictable Western forest but something slightly different, with a touch of mystery and exotism (benzoin, spices). It smells "green" but in quite an unique way, a darker, thicker, smokier way, and I love it. Elegant and understated at the same time, not a "powerhouse" and quite creative and modern considering the age. After a while an aquatic – not calonic, rather "salty" – note comes in, finding its way in that sharp, pleasant, cozy balsamic-mossy aroma. I also smell a slight metallic feel which may be due to aldehydes and that however, gives the scent a nice "retro-futuristic" vibe. Refined and interesting. Beautifully ugly bottle (I am referring to the original bottle - and to the vintage scent, by the way).

7,5/10

New version:

Predictably completely reformulated in a, sadly, quite disappointing way. More than changed, it's just like if they washed it with bleach: it's all there, but terribly chemical and plain, with quite a lot of stinky artificial nuances. My advice is to avoid this and get the vintage which is still quite affordable.

5/10
12th May, 2014 (last edited: 30th September, 2014)

Cuir Beluga by Guerlain

The opening is elegant, aerial and captivating, with a mellow, silky, sumptuous and super soft suede note sided with a subtle aromatic woods note, in a rich, dusty cloud of vanilla and talcum, blended with a floral-spicy heart (saffron, cumin?). If you inspire with more strength you detect a dry, dark far base, which may be the "below side" of suede, with anise notes and a bitter, crunchy, subtle herbal feel. Quite a deep scent, with a strong "dimensionality", rounded by a "Guerlinade" of aldehydic vanillin-orris. Also I agree with the references to Shalimar, this smells quite like a "futuristic" tribute. As minutes pass the green-suede accord emerges better, with a bittersweet, almost animalic feel dusted with a talcum-vanilla powder – unpredictable, but really elegant and quite sensual too, also because of a slight salty "skin" note. To sum up: a powdery suede-vanilla accord with spices and a slight metallic feel, developed in a translucent, aerial, deep, cozy richness, with a peculiar personality which i am not able to describe – just try it. Not a gourmand, though; it's all quite breezy and ethereal, don't expect any "thickness". Big promises which however, sadly, are then partially disappointed: in fact, after a while it just starts to "fall apart", many notes vanish one after another, like in a dream just before waking up, when "stuff" around you starts to disappear (actually it never happened to me as far as I remember, but in movies it happens often). And you end up with a generic, still nice but a bit "pointless" drydown of vanilla on a subtle metallic-suede base. Actually more than losing notes, it loses in depth and width. The drydown, however, lasts for ages and it's not bad. An interesting fragrance which for me, is worth a try. I tested the old version (darker juice), I am given to understand the more recent one is lighter and more delicate.

7-7,5/10
12th May, 2014 (last edited: 24th June, 2014)

Attrape Coeur / Guet-Apens / Royal Extract by Guerlain

The opening is not exactly the best one out there, on my skin is a bit cloying and sticky like fresh pouring fir balsam, I smell a lot of sandalwood and resins (it suddenly reminded me of Lutens' Santal de Mysore in fact). Syrupy and sticky, and fairly sweet too. The base is nice, dark and thick like tar, almost animalic too, with an interesting dense mix of hay, moss, incense, and patchouli. The heart of the scent is however that warm, sticky dense blend of resins and flowers, mostly jasmin and heliotrope with just a hint of violet, which will eventually emerge better. Balsamic, oily and woody, with a syrupy heart of floral notes and a waxy/powdery feel, that's basically it for quite long – the evolution is pretty close to zero. It eventually just becomes a little more smoky and earthy on the very inner base. Thick and a bit monotone. After a while, as I said, the violet note emerges better, together with a waxy aftertaste, and it kind of comes closer some classic Guerlain's like Mitsouko, however the "tribute" is subtle and there is no real resemblance, just a faint echo. Not bad, but I see why they discontinued this.

6/10
12th May, 2014 (last edited: 13th May, 2014)