Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Colin Maillard

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Total Reviews: 1254

Bois d'Arménie by Guerlain

Pungent, sticky, dense woody-balsamic opening, with some floral notes accidentally entangled in this syrup, a caramelised vibe with anise notes, and a quite realistic, dry, dark aromatic note – the guaiac wood, softened by an incense fog which makes it smell dustier and darker. Earthy patchouli and a subtle fresh breeze. A bag of spices, and a hint of vanilla. Finally, a round, discreet, powdery and bit plastic iris note. Once it settles on the skin, it slowly becomes unexpectedly more and more bright and luminous, something that really "opens up" your nose – perhaps it's some particularly balsamic incense accord, however it's nice and aerial. It then evolves on a spicy/medicinal accord with floral notes and a woody base, and a thin, rarified but palpable smoky/incense meditative breeze all around. Pleasant, interesting, intriguing, really aromatic, worth a try. Weak persistence.

7/10
12th May, 2014

Opus VI by Amouage

Powerful opening of flowers in a rich, dense, poisonous and sticky aroma, with a dark base of amber, resins and frankincense with an animalic heart (it almost smells like castoreum!). Some dark leafy green accents, gloomy and bitter. Quite a bold and decadent blend, raw and intriguing. The rose note emerges better as minutes pass, but overall, at least on my skin, it remains a really dark, thick and sticky blend, which after a while gets a weird, stale and frankly a bit unpleasant smell. Basically it's a rose drowned in a lacustrine, dense potion, with spices (saffron, cumin, cloves?) and something green – poisonous, embracing green – with an elusive, still present, super-dark base. As minutes go by it then slowly "opens" and blossoms, smelling more and more herbal and medicinal until the amber base comes in light, which is still however partially entangled in that thick, oily "web" which I honestly do not like – it was fascinating after at first, the problem is that it just does not go away, and after a while I kind of wished it did. So overall I'd say it's just a half success, charming at first, then frankly becomes an undefined, cloying spicy/medicinal blend, a bit un-structured and a bit unpleasant. Still interesting and worth a try, but absolutely, for me, not worth the price tag!

6/10
12th May, 2014

Lyric Woman by Amouage

Superb floral opening, thick, dense, powerful, overwhelming, with rich rose notes, so rich they're almost syrupy, oriental and spicy, on a shady and dark woody base. A classic chypre with an exotic-oriental twist, a powdery musky feel and a slight salty note which gives the scent a sensual carnality. Then it slowly blossoms and opens in a breezy, invigorating balsamic vortex on woody notes, always with a heart of tasty rose and a counter-chorus of resinous notes, on a deep base which smells almost like castoreum, also with a pleasant earthy-green fresh accord which gets bolder as minutes pass. At the same time, from the base obscurity it emerges a vanilla-talcum dusty accord which becomes a soft "pillow" for the central sensual accord of rose, spices and woods. With a perfect tiny hint of patchouli which gives just the right amount of heartiness. Words fail a bit; it's a real symphony of notes, there's quite many, in many directions, and with many nuances, all perfectly harmonized with the rose-centered bone structure. A great and sumptuous harmony. Elegant, rich, perfectly-executed, aerial and dimensional, imaginative and evocative, totally addictive, with just the right sillage that accompanies every movement you make, like music in a musical, and the right persistence. The drydown lasts for ages in a cozy, soft, nostalgic silky accord of flowers and delicate, warm vanilla notes. Still a bit overpriced, but a great scent for sure.

8,5/10
11th May, 2014
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Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi

A good, pleasant, cozy, aromatic sandalwood-vetiver scent, simple and honest, with cedarwood-like notes and a mellow "rounding" accord of something like cashmeran, which I personally like quite much. Classic masculine "eau de cologne" structure: amber-woods with a floral touch and an earthy-mossy counterpart. I also smell a hint of incense and tobacco, but that may be just a trick of my nose. Really pleasant, elegant, natural (at least a bit) and effortless, vibrant but relaxed. A bit delicate, but boldly persistent: also perhaps slightly "unpersonal", I mean without a defined personality, but perhaps its strenght is exactly in not having one – just being cozy and elegant, without being boring. A well-executed and versatile "crowdpleaser" and all-year, all-climates, all-outfits rounder. My review may not sound that enthusiastic, but instead (for what it's worth) I quite like this!

7,5/10
10th May, 2014

Signature Collection : Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio

Bold, straightforward, classic opening of tuberose on a vanilla-amber spicy and powdery base. Nostalgic and feminine, a tribute to classic chypres, vaguely gloomy and carnal, but at the same time quite natural and dry. As for some other scents by Orio, however, this all "stands" there for just a while, before collapsing and going wrong – here, luckily, not "that" wrong... just a bit. I won't agree with Luca Turin, as he was clearly too and unnecessarily cruel in reviewing this: it does not smell that bad, just a bit cloying for a while, then sweetish, eventually developing a persistent, unpleasant stale note on the drydown. And overall, terribly dull. Not a disaster, just barely decent and totally unworth the price tag.

5/10
10th May, 2014

Foin Fraîchement Coupé (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

Fresh, lively, spring-y green/soapy floral scent, with a slight metallic/aldehydes feel and an overall "plasticity" but pleasant and refined enough to be the perfect gift for Mom's day. The flower notes are nice and a bit "restrained", the anise note and the humid-earthy hay note are nice as well and well detectable, on a cozy amber-white musks base, with a subtle camphor-talcum aftertaste. After a while it gets even softer and cozier while a breezy geranium note emerges - geranium isn't there, but flowers and mint deliver pretty much a similar note, half floral/half mentholated. The drydown is a soft, tonka-vanilla floral accord still with a graceful and clean earthy feel. A cute, nostalgic, elegant, clean scent with some interesting but a bit un-developed earthy facets which would have added a more distinctive and interesting touch. Persistence is a bit short. A decent feminine "crowdpleaser".

6,5/10
10th May, 2014

Sagamore by Lancôme

Quite a peculiar scent, mostly considering the years it dates to. The opening is powerful and vibrant, with aldehydes, oak moss, a slight animalic heart and patchouli, with floral (rose, jasmin, lavender) and balsamic-mossy vibes, slightly and elegantly citrusy too. Powerful but bright with a nice and unusual floral-ambery heart. It's Lancome and it was the '80s, so quality is top notch. Basically it is a delicate, masculine chypre with a feminine heart, more discreet and refined than other fougères, with a dusty and silky roundness and a dense floral heart. As the amber accord emerges better it quickly evolves into a beautiful, delicate but warm amber-centered scent, at the same time raw and a bit earthy but "powdery", with a classic lavender-citrus accord that still keeps it "classic". The persistence is sadly a bit short, and also overall is not a "powerhouse" in terms of projection, but overall it smells quite modern, creative, atypical and peculiar considering the era. Surely worth a try!

7,5/10
10th May, 2014

Musc Tonkin (Extrait de Parfum) by Parfum d'Empire

Marc-Antoine's take on a super classic theme – the animalic-musky chypre. This episode stands quite alone in Parfum d'Empire line; it's still connected to the other ones thanks to a couple of "signature notes", but the mood and the style are a bit different here – not the quality: that's great as always, can't go wrong with this precious brand. Basically, the main structure here is a beautiful and dark musky-rose accord, like in an old, gloomy and naughty chypre, with the perfect amount of flowers and powder, and the right depth and strength – quite enough not to end up smelling too "skanky" (pee). Laces, silk, powder and crochets. Velvety notes of iris, balsamic amber, aldehydes and leather. Dense and sour, animalic, slightly herbal, a bit decadent, really elegant, womanly but however restrained enough, on Parfum d'Empire's cozy signature accord of oak moss, hay and white musks – that beautiful, earthy-silky feel you find in pretty much all of their scents. As minutes pass it becomes more quiet and gentle, a bit more soapy with a nice salty-metallic vibe – another tribute to classic chypres. After a while it pops out a warm, resinous and a bit sticky "cake" note which I almost always feel in all chypres, sooner or later, and I guess it may by due to the evolution of some flowers together with resins, however it is nice. Spicy, nostalgic, oriental, feminine, self-conscious and sensual; perfectly executed and surely worth a try.

7,5/10
09th May, 2014 (last edited: 09th November, 2014)

Theseus by Lorenzo Villoresi

Pleasant and classic opening, even a bit "retrò", of spices, suede leather, citrus notes, translucent but dense and with a bold salty/metallic undertone. Green/mossy counterpart of oak moss, vetiver and patchouli, elegant and dusty, which emerges more and more strongly as minutes pass, until it basically becomes a straightforward, refined, pleasant, aerial and modern vetiver, still slightly salty and aquatic, really pleasant and fresh. A subtle animalic note with amber and vanilla enriches the base, which eventually becomes drier on leather and oud (however much subtle and delicate). A sort of light, contemporary vetiver-based fougère with just a hint of "trendy" (Iso E, oud), that basically smells like a self-tribute made by Villoresi to his 1994's Vetiver - which was however richer, darker, rougher, earthier and more classic (in short, for me: better). However this Theseus is really nice to wear, surely well-made and balanced; an elegant "crowdpleaser" which may suit any vetiver fan as well as any man who wants to smell classy and good, yet not boring or mainstream. Decent persistence.

7/10
09th May, 2014 (last edited: 10th May, 2014)

Geste by Humiecki & Graef

The opening is nice and interesting, and unlike other Humiecki & Graef scents, at least here it manages to stay like this for its whole life cycle. Aldehydes, some camphor-medicinal vibe, a lot of spices, an anise-amber base, some sticky/silky note I do not get entirely but fits perfectly, aerial and geometrical floral notes which smell almost like magnolia and tuberose, some slight honey notes, and finally a balsamic-incense subtle accord. A bit hard to describe: in fact it's a round, thick and dense smell, overall really nice, wearable, interesting and fresh, which feels like a double face half-velvety half-metallic piece of some avant-garde cloth, icy and intriguing at the same time, although a bit cold and unfriendly like a "non-place" (airport lounges and those kind of "non-lieux" as Marc Augé called them). As minutes pass the scent gets a simpler and more defined shape, becoming a pleasant, cozy and well-executed narcotic and musky floral on amber and aromatic woods. Really nice, still with a bit of "weird", which is cool and keeps your attention and curiosity up. It then slowly kind of loses this contemporary "avantgardeness" and goes back in time, settling on a rich, nostalgic, bold central note of honeysuckle on vanilla, quite dusty and round, pleasant and with a slight boozy feel. This is what remains from the initial structure, like a futuristic building collapsing and revealing ancient ruins. It's an interesting and nice feeling, although the the "con" counterpart of this is that at this stage it is also a bit more predictable and dull – in fact, the drydown is nice, soapy, silky and floral: tons of scents do that, but if you want to, say, "reach it" via a different way, then this is worth a try.

7/10
09th May, 2014

Eau Radieuse by Humiecki & Graef

Quite a peculiar fragrance which (spoiler alert!) sadly does "too much" and just goes wrong, like a Frankenstein monster that escapes the lab before being "completed" and receiving the sacred gift of consistency and coherence. The opening is unique and interesting, a bit unpleasant but somehow intriguing: a cold metallic accord both citrusy and aquatic, a ton of aldehydes, a geometric and freezing linear blend with bitter green notes and a really sour heart that somehow manages to mix with a delicate floral mentholated note, coming from a sort of decomposed, futuristic geranium. Perhaps there's also verbena or something like that, I smell a cold, freezing breezy note which smells like a bag of those sugarfree, super-icy eucalipthol candies – it refreshes your nose so much you better not inspire with too much strenght. It's an interesting and avant-garde "smell" which however I frankly can not manage to keep on my skin, there is an angular and ambiguous aldehydated/metallic/breezy feel that makes it quite elusive and too unfriendly to stay there. But as I said, it's interesting. After a while, a "weird but cool" poisonous subtle note emerges, a herbal/green touch somehow icy somehow narcotic with a boozy vibe, halfway between cold gin and ether. Cool and odd, however it then vanishes quite soon. So far so good, but then, sadly it all starts going worse and worse; if until now it somehow managed to keep it interesting, it just goes more simply "wrong". The horrible sort of "tropical" note emerges with a really unwanted strenght, and finds its way adding a disturbing and totally unrelated fruity touch which really does not fit, no matter efforts you make. And with that, we're basically on the drydown, which is persistent as hell, and sadly it's the worst part: a sort of half-aquatic (calonic), half-fruity cheap deodorant, with that same exact metallic freshness of the cheapest one on the market, that just stays there for hours with all its morbid and unpleasant presence. I hardly feel anything "radieuse" here, but I guess it's ironic.

5/10
09th May, 2014

Visa by Robert Piguet

The reformulated version of Visa is a rich, sensual but somehow linear and contemporary fruity-floral chypre, much lighter and more lively than "classic" chypres. Aldehydated and solid, a sort of more adult and calmer version of Daim Blond, less syrupy and more powdery. The drydown is equally powdery-floral, slightly dry, with a subtle suede note, much lighter than I expected – I was hoping for some naughty, darker side to reveal, but instead it was pretty much all there. Well-executed, safe and pleasant, the perfect gift for a refined woman/girl; but to be honest, a bit pale and "mute" to me, with a feel of waiting for something which (spoiler alert) you won't get.

6,5/10
09th May, 2014

Portos by Balenciaga

A classic, powerful, uncompromising fougère. All smells and sounds deep, clear and bold, from materials to composition, to evolution. Slightly more exotic and warm than other scents of this class – Balenciaga's spanish signature, I guess. Citrus, lavender, spices (cumin above all), on a great, dense, rich base of leather and woods, with a sticky, luscious, nasty and raw animalic heart of castoreum. In short, that kind of leathery-animalic rawness which made the '70s/'80s so fun. A bit similar to Puig's Quorum (vtg) for a while, just more green and spicy, and with a more intriguing base of dusty tobacco and vanilla, with a resinous sweet touch of labdanum and myrrh. In then all evolves in a dry, super masculine strong leather drydown which lasts for ages - to be honest, too dry for me; my expectations were a bit more higher. If you had a crazy playboy uncle who drove an Alfa and smoked cubans, chances are he had this among his rotation.

7,5/10
09th May, 2014
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Eva Kant by O'Driù

One of the most intriguing and stunning "new" scents I have smelled since a long time, one of those scents which literally smell like nothing else. The opening is a slap: a biting, angular, nondescript potion of flowers, musk, a load of spices, an animalic oily drop on a gorgeous dusty vanilla base, mixed with a totally unrelated, still inexplicably perfect and fit carnal and lascivious "feel" I can really not come to describe. Cloves, ginger, pungent spices, a really dense and pulsating heart of flowers – magnolia and ylang – some raw animalic notes like castoreum, aniseed, a meditative balsamic breeze with an herbal feel, caramelised benzoin and myrrh, incense. A totally peculiar blend both decadent and medicinal, archaic and futuristic, with ambery translucent notes and narcotic flowers. I kept thinking of art while wearing this, as this scent has a really oniric and "imaginative" progression which triggers images and unconscious "situations" more than words, and I recalled the work of some of my favourite artists which kind of work or worked with the same suggestions, from Jeremy Mortimer to Jenny Saville, to Schwarzkogler and other provocative Viennese "aktionists". An alchemic smell of gauzes, bandages, blood, medicines, flowers, flesh, animals, with a heavenly, but at the same time gloomy balsamic sweet breeze all around it. Really hard to catch, decompose and define, but terribly irresistible and captivating. And most of all, speaking of "perfume" itself, so good and pleasant to wear. Then, it slowly and brilliantly evolves on a rich, decadent floral accord, which in turn gets a really weird, evocative and a bit creepy, sticky and opalescent feel of water – not in a predictable "calonic" way, rather of lacustrine, stagnant water, still salty but much dense and almost oily, together with a counterpart of talcum/vanilla and spicy dusty notes, medicinal and sensual at the same time. That medicinal feel is the other "pillar" of this scent, a subtle but bold vibe which does not disappear and stays there like a psychotic nurse from some obscure Italian horror/crime movie of the Seventies. Ghosts and fantasies apart it's a terrific scent, not "challenging" to wear since it perfectly manages to be daring and new still smelling amazingly good, exuding talent and intelligence, with a beautiful evolution and a totally unique and distinctive personality. Bravissimo Angelo!

9/10
08th May, 2014

Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange

Finally after some "disappointments" from this brand, I've found the first really good scent among ELd'O line. The opening is already intriguing and captivating: a vanilla/fruity accord with a dense floral heart and a bitter aftertaste, really peculiar, almost like olives, a kind of metallic sour subtle feel which fits just perfectly balancing the "gourmand" lively side. Totally bright, creative and smart, the overall feel is a silky, luscious vibe which effortlessly blends with a camphor-archaic feel, an "ironic" counterpoint play which I find really witty and interesting. And also, above all, totally pleasant to wear. That sort of metallic obscure aftertaste is what intrigues me the most, I can not really "get" it, it smells almost like an elusive dadaist bug which just "floats" below, still perfectly fitting and hiding in the blend. Overall this smells basically like a classic floral/fruity scent, say, a Guerlain, just "detourné" like a situationnist comic strip and decontextualised in this sort of contemporary, industrial-medicinal way. The evolution is equally interesting and quite unpredictable, as it progressively smells more ambery-resinous, still with a bold camphor-medicinal smell and a stronger cumin note. Slight rubbery feel. I miss a bit the incense note but I feel it's there. After a couple hours it becomes sweeter and more delicate, almost a gourmand, still with that genius camphor-cumin counterpart. I must say I really enjoyed wearing this – it's fun, it's bright, it's interesting to follow, and it smells terribly good. The final drydown is really good as well; silky, aromatic, aerial, and quite long-lasting. Perhaps a bit too sweet here and there, but overall, a really good scent, almost great, surely worth a try. Finally an avant-garde work (or at least I consider it that way) which manages to "say" something new still remaning a wearable and enjoyable scent.

8/10
08th May, 2014

Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris

The opening is pleasant, a bit ordinary perhaps, but masculine and contemporary: vetiver, tobacco and spices (cloves) on an amber-incense base, quite dense but fresh and aerial at the same time. Stuffed with Iso E and ambrox, but good – I like these materials so I do not mind "spotting" them, especially if they are blended with other materials to create a contemporary take on classic themes – this time, the "fougère" structure. As minutes pass it gets more and more drier, the tobacco note emerges better and more bitter, more raw and humid, and for a while I must say it is quite cool. Sadly the expectations are partially frustrated, as it then evolves in a rather inoffensive, safe drydown, surely pleasant and elegant but a bit dull – a "crowdpleaser", in short. Nice and cozy like that pair of understated sneakers you'd wear to walk the dog after dinner, worth a bargain if you happen to find it discounted. Longevity is delicate, but persistent.

6,5/10
08th May, 2014

Tom of Finland by Etat Libre d'Orange

Tom of Finland is one of the perfect examples of how the worse (which sadly means, quite a significant part of) niche perfumery works, and how it relates to “mainstream” alleged competitors. On one hand, here we have the witty, creative, avantgarde Tom of Finland, $85 a 50 ml bottle from fancy underground and/or luxury shops; on the other hand, there we have the ultra-boring and generic Essence de Cerruti, $15 a 50 ml bottle, that kind of uninspired cheap stuff which pops out around Christmas in the “gift boxes” section of supermarkets and chainstore perfumeries, straight from there to your uncle Reginald’s shaving shelf. Or to the “bargains” section of Amazon and the likes. Ask any niche connoisseur, they’ll probably rave about Etat Libre’s Tom of Finland and will have barely heard about Essence de Cerruti (and anyway it’s just another Cerruti: boo-ring!). Now, who composed both scents? Antoine Lie, the Dr. Niche and Mr. Mainstream of contemporary perfumery, carbon-copying the same couple of recipes over and over for any paying customer from Zegna to nu_be. Are they similar, Cerruti and Tom? No, not really. They’re nearly identical – on the drydown, they’re hilariously identical. Just blind test them side by side. The same, exact, unoriginal cheap musky leather with some minty/balsamic stuff, saffron and violet and a bone-structure of any woody Oriental designer (Cerruti is slightly heavier on the latter, while Tom leans more on musky leather). Decent per se, perfectly acceptable for Cerruti or fellow unpretentious and inexpensive mainstreamers, plain pathetic for Etat Libre d’Orange. Chapeau to these little French rascals for being so successful in fooling hipsters with this stuff.

4,5-5/10
07th May, 2014 (last edited: 11th August, 2015)

Bendelirious by Etat Libre d'Orange

The opening is beautiful, but as I've learned to expect from many contemporary niche avant-garde scents made of promises more than liquid, it will soon collapse – as in fact it will do, so enjoy it until it's there. I like the opening because it's joyful, colourful and funny, in a really peculiar way; a fruity-floral accord (rose, orris, violet and to me, perhaps also other flowers I don't get, some dense narcotic note I do not detect entirely), vanillin, some bittersweet syrupy notes, with an earthy-herbaceuos "vegetable garden" feel and a soft, cozy amber-vetiver-sandalwood base. It may look kind of confused perhaps, but instead it's developed in a really bright, dynamic and playful way, I can not come to explain it better, but I liked it and it put a smile on my face. As minutes pass, everything slowly finds its place and tones down, leaving the stage to orris root, violet and leathers, like in a theather show when the side characters "disappear" in the backstage for the main scene. This main accord is nice as well, not that powerful and not even that good in terms of quality (I thought of Parfum d'Empire's Equistrius, which has nothing to do with this scent overall but to this extent, it is based on the same accord, and for me that's far more better), but still quite nice, although already losing strenght at the speed of light. Peculiar salty metallic feel on the very under-base. Rubbery safraleine feel, which I really don't like – or better said; I know it's there, I know 99% of leather scents are based on that, I just don't like when noses don't do any effort to "use" it in some way that doesn't make you notice it. Anyway, my overall opinion on this scent it's... well I don't know. I can't say it's bad, it has a nice, almost beautiful opening, a decent evolution, a funny and bright playful approach to accords, it's clean and pleasant, it "works" somehow. It has some "con's", but it's also safe and wearable, still... you feel a little bit of disappointment, some "they could do better than this" regret.

6,5/10
07th May, 2014

Silver Musk by Nasomatto

Fresh aquatic slap on aldehydes and white musks, basically some sort of exaltolide/galaxolide wrap-up with some vague earthy notes on the very base, and a slight ambery feel too. Shampoos and supermarket deodorants. The evolution is pretty much on the same path – even worse, just less fresh and more musky. It soon settles on a weird accord halfway between a warm ambrettolide-gingerbread note and that white musks accord, with a persistent metallic feel, which finally evolves on a salty-musky-clean drydown with a subtle and unpleasant kind of "sweat" aftertaste. Cheap and useless, luckily it's at least quite delicate. If Gualtieri really managed to sell even just one bottle of this scent at that incredibly crazy price, than he should be featured as a "case study" in marketing books.

4/10
07th May, 2014

Hindu Grass by Nasomatto

The opening is quite pleasant and nice: patchouli, rose, oak moss, a floral accord, a slight citrus/balsamic feel and also a nice tea/osmanthus note on ambers. Perhaps the whole citrus-balsamic-tea may be due to yuzu, which kind of comprises it all. To be honest all feels quite a bit synthetic, with that peculiar transparent "emptiness" of aromachemicals, but we can forgive that: in fact, at the same time it manages to stay decently vivid and nice, with a pleasant white musks-velvety note and a slightly sticky but sensual roundness, which is kind of interesting. It then turns on an amber-caramel base with tobacco leaves, a mentholated breeze and tea notes, and so it evolves, progressively refreshing and drying, finally settling on a green-balsamic drydown. Longevity is close to skin, but decent. Overall it's... good? Cute? A bit nicer than decent? Surely this smells nice and safe, but on the other side, also too much unoffensive and a bit dull, with absolutely no features that can justify the insane and completely unworthy price tag. Patchouli fans: this may be worth a try, but if you are really into patchouli, there's tons of better ones around.

6/10
07th May, 2014

Tam Dao Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

The opening of Tam Dao is nice and quite bold, you smell a lot of sandalwood and cedar, so basically a woody, sweet and slightly creamy accord (thanks to the sandal note) really aromatic and dense, refreshed by some floral notes - I guess white flowers - and with some short-lived citrus notes, on the floral-sweet-aromatic side, like neroli or orange leaves. All over this you also feel a greenish breeze, a bit plastic but crunchy and pleasant, which I don't know what may be due to exactly, it smells like Iso E plus green notes. Anyway: basically Cèdre by Lutens, less syrupy and more greenish. To be honest Tam Dao smells as much pleasant as plain to me: it's all a bit boringly glossy, polished, restrained as if all note were perfectly finished with a synthetic trim. It smells, say, a bit "grey" overall, despite the attempt at recreating a naturalistic type of perfume – assuming that is intended. Plus it has basically no evolution so after a while it becomes (more) boring, especially once you start to smell better the synthetic aftertaste some notes leave. Quite a "meh" for me.

6/10
06th May, 2014 (last edited: 14th October, 2014)

Bugatti (original) by Etorre Bugatti

This fragrance has a story to tell; a story of high-class Italian perfumery heritage, made of little, unknown and understated factories, parent companies and firms, with no luxury and no coolness to show, sometimes not even names, but just honesty, top quality materials, no rush, and great solid skills. Those firms have been able to produce some forgotten gems which are miles above to any extent to most of nowadays' hyped, costly and overrated so called "high-class" perfumery. No idiotic rules, no IFRA, no parsimony, no "primadonna" attitudes, no plastic luxury. An era when brands had the chance to take their time and benefit from relatively high budgets (to invest in quality materials rather than superstar noses) to produce one or two scents per couple of years, sometimes even less than that – sometimes just a couple per brand, like Diana de Silva did for Ettore Bugatti. All that is quite disappeared, and we are used to think that high standards both quality-wise and composition-wise were some rare features to look for only among top-notch brands like Guerlain or Piguet; they weren't. It was in fact a far more common standard, and this fragrance I'm reviewing here, together with other great and (back to then) cheap male fragrances like Moschino pour Homme, Dalì pour Homme or a couple of Ferré's, is a living (although quite rare) proof.

The opening here tells it all already: an incredibly powerful, yet balanced and bright classic "eau de cologne" opening of citrus, lavender and aldehydes on a spicy-green-floral (carnation, orris) accord, a mossy/earthy oak moss note and an already biting base of ambers, castoreum and leathers, which for the moment is just there lying in the shadow. To give a rough reference, at least for some aspects: Jicky by Guerlain. They share quite a lot of similarities: some notes, same decadent but impeccable elegance, same depth, same "eau de cologne" fresh vibe blended with animalic, macabre notes. And above all, same quality, and same stunning craft, which here in Bugatti are developed in a slightly more "modern" way, less feminine, less powdery, more masculine and more dry. All is irresistibly clear, powerful, bright, at the same time masculine and refined, almost aristocratic and dandyish. Like an old Bugatti car, in fact: luxury and sporty, retrò but modern, elegant but ready to bite the mud. The animalic-earthy base emerges then in all its power once the head notes vanish, it slowly becomes a leather-castoreum triumph with a perfect dusty-poudrée feel and a raw oak moss note (real oak moss), until it reaches a peak of boldness and strenght – a dry, gloomy chypre with just a chewed debris of citrus and spices. Then again, after a few hours, you get a splendid and endless final drydown in a perfect fougère style – a dry leather with a hint of powdery lavender and a slight balsamic breeze, can not think of anything more pleasant and elegant. Majestic, beautiful, perfectly executed and uncomparably bolder and more "daring" to many extents than many scents of nowadays' which would like to appear like that – and instead they're just a pale piece of burnt plastic.

9/10
06th May, 2014 (last edited: 15th May, 2014)

Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens

Sweetish, creamy, musky opening of sandalwood with a resinous/caramelised side which makes the whole blend round and sticky like a toffee candy. The same stickiness prevails also on the balsamic/mossy side, which however shows a nice anise-liquorice note. A decent load of cumin and spices (basically curry) all over. As minutes pass the resinous-balsamic accord comes in shape contrasting with the sweet-creamy one of sandalwood and musks, on a pleasant and nondescript dusty base which reminds me of tobacco leaves and other drier and darker woods. To be honest the opening is a bit cloying and too much sticky, while it then evolves better, still a bit pasty, quite close to Fille en Aguille just with more sandalwood and more (too much, for me) cumin. The thing I do not enjoy is this persistent syrupy sweetishness, which eventually finally dries over after a couple of hours, and you basically get a honest, soft, finally "bright" and more balanced sandalwood base with some shady aroma below... yes, basically what more straightforward scents like Santal Noble give you since the very first seconds. I would say that if you are strictly a sandalwood fan you may find it interesting, but I am not sure if you would love it, as this component is just a feature in a more complex composition – as I said, quite a dense and rich spicy-balsamic-resinous blend. For me it's a good scent, materials smell nice and the evolution is fine; worth a try, not a blind buy, as it may feel "cloying" since the very beginning (like it did to me). Decent persistence – still there after five or six hours.

7/10
06th May, 2014

Mito Voile d'Extrait by Vero Profumo

Solid, powerful opening as for many other fragrances by Vero Kern, one of the key features which makes her work stand completely aside and alone in nowadays' perfumery: an overhelming, narcotic concoction of pungent vibrant flowers, with a juicy citrus accord and a fruity/vegetable feel (I smelled melon, it's peach), all emulsified in a subtle, humid and kind of earthy/medicinal accord. A kaleidoscopic, modern take on green/resinous floral scents, quite complex and multifaceted, with an exploding, leafy naturality blended with something deeply archaic and obscure. A suspended garden, realistic but completely imaginary – which in fact, exists only on your skin. This is an enjoyable and precious example of "alchemic" creation – a unique, complex scent where you smell all of the notes, and none of them, and much more. In fact, there is a lot of nuances which are not in the composition and I still get clearly, for example a sticky, decadent fruity note, a smoky/honey accord, and that medicinal subtle base. The scent evolves then gracefully and softly on a mellow, powdery and slightly waxy drydown, still with a vibrant and heavy nondescript floral feel – which is not "silky" or "velvety" and not "graceful", it's more botanical and organic. The composition is just brilliant and unique, amazingly balanced, dynamic and mutating, with no borders, no codified structure, and a powerful but "controlled" dynamic and oniric personality. To be really honest, personally I enjoy this more as a pure "smell" to admire - and you bet you will admire this - more than a scent to wear, not because I dont' like it; on the contrary, I like it so much as a pure perfume that it ends up in lacking in some bourgeois, boring and safe features I still look for in scents to actually wear (coziness, gracefulness, fitness with my personality, my mood(s) and so on). That's the border between safe classics and contemporary, more "daring" perfumery that sometimes I find hard to cross. Howevery, surely a mandatory try for anyone. Bravissima Vero!

9/10
05th May, 2014 (last edited: 06th May, 2014)

Datura Noir by Serge Lutens

The opening is classic and promising, although to me (on me) it smells a bit different as regards from how it should, reading the composition: it should contain tuberose and osmanthus, I smell a microscopic bit of tuberose and no osmanthus at all. While instead I get a beautiful, breezy-mentholated carnation note, and since I like it I'll pretend I am right. However it is much elegant and sensual, the floral notes are dense and rich, and there is an enjoyable green/floral balsamic breeze all over, on a powdery/vanilla base comprising white musks and perhaps resins too. I also feel some spices like maybe cumin, and a fresh hint of citrus, or better bergamot. Basically a good classic structure with a contemporary twist, as it is all quite linear, simple and aerial – almost geometrical, like some other recent scents by Lutens. After a while it emerges a little bit of gingerbread heart. So far so good: silky, soft and velvety but fresh, aerial and multi-faceted, feminine and refined but also luring and shady, intriguing and sensual, in a really peculiar minimal way. I thought of Tokyo Decadence for a while. As I said at the beginning, however, this is all just "promising", because in fact, the drydown (which occurs quicker than expected) is far less interesting than the part before. It basically becomes all more generically sweet and powdery, still elegant and dry but undefined and dull – basically the same clean, soapy pleasant drydown you'd have after taking a bath or a shower. It "loses" all that interesting personality as minutes pass, like waking up in the middle of a dream. Quite persistent, though.

6/10
05th May, 2014 (last edited: 06th May, 2014)

Vitriol d'Oeillet by Serge Lutens

Super harsh opening, pungent green notes, raw freshly-cut carnation flowers, a massive aldehydes feel, all in a trasparent, metallic, vibrant cloud, with a slightly sweet base. The carnation is powerful, vivid and biting, surrounded by spices (cloves and pepper) and a tasty, savoury bittersweet note of pimiento. The softer base of vanilla and ylang comes in shape and emerges as minutes pass, slowly turning the fragrance in a sweeter and almost slightly milky tanning cream-like scent (I recall Un bois vanille). The middle phase is basically a talcum-musky fairly pleasant and sweet take on the initial accord - meaning that it's still all there, just "emulsified" in a sweeter shape. The evolution is a bit odd and almost "sea-roving", it ranges from metallic to sweet than switching back to a dry green/floral, then ending back again to a musky sweet drydown, which eventually dries and settles in a discomforting floral/medicinal accord. And frankly I do not enjoy any of these passages in particular, it's like watching a movie with people yelling and moving in front of the screen – the movie is carnation and the rest is, well, all the rest that surrounds (or better say, covers) it here. Plus I don't get any "feeling" in particular - it's not refined, not pleasant, not "ironic", not evocative... not even shady or masculine or avant-garde. Not that it has to be some of these, it's just that it's more kind of a sequence of smells, none of which achieves any result in terms of identity. A bit too much, in a bit too much unclear concept. If you like carnation, you'd better go CdG's Carnation - an unbeatable quintessential tribute to this beautiful flower.

5/10
05th May, 2014

Noir Tropical by Maria Candida Gentile

I like the concept, and I got quite surprised once I read the pyramid. This is what I smell here: vanilla, anise, fresh and transparent balsamic notes, a shady and dusty patchouli base with a hint of ambery/cocoa dry sweetness. I am surprised there is little of this and instead there is rhum and citrus – which I do not really smell, at any stage. Fascinating tricks of the nose. However, overall much "organic" and dry, simple, silky and also pleasantly gloomy – so is the vanillin-talcum drydown, aerial and elegant. On the thin line between delicate and dull, sadly dangerously tending more towards the latter.

6/10
04th May, 2014 (last edited: 05th May, 2014)

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

A martial, quintessential smoky/incense meditative scent, linear, grey and green, simple but comprising and bringing to life an entire heritage. Cedar and burning incense with a balsamic breeze, a splendid vibrant evocation of the Japanese traditional milieu, in a rarified, thin, oniric but palpable ambiance like in a Mizoguchi fairytale, with those "suspended", out-of-time foggy settings. Ambergris on the base and a green breeze, really light but palpable, with perhaps a tiny note of tea or some similar aroma, which gives a slight sweet-syrupy feel at the very microscopic heart of the scent, to kind of emulsify the blend. Really elegant and wearable, perhaps the most delicate and cozy among the line, and also the most "close to skin". Basically, coming back to Earth for a second, a bomb of Iso E and other aromachems, but Duchaufour manages to make you forget about it: it's superb and powerful - the proof that anything can turn into unforgettable gold in the right hands. Another beauty from a milestone series (and a milestone perfumer, which however I often do not like much, but I venerate his contributions to this line).

9/10
04th May, 2014 (last edited: 05th May, 2014)

1873 Colette by Histoires de Parfums

Beautiful opening comprising sweet, savoury orange/bergamot and citrus notes, delicate but vivid floral notes, lavender and spices on soft silky white musks and pungent, vibrant green notes providing a pleasant mossy and almost slightly earthy counterpart. Really nice and Mediterranean, although more in a "postcard" meaning (no rawness here). Fresh and cozy with a velvety, soft roundess which makes this refined and graceful but at the same time, sensual and carnal thanks to the breezy green "earthy" accord. Highly wearable and refined: a self-confident, beautiful, slightly aristocratic young lady enjoying her "vacanze italiane". Nothing unique, but still with a grace I find distinctive and tasteful. Also the persistence is surprisingly bold and long-lasting, considering it's a citrus scent. Then in eventually gently fades in a delicate musky/sweet aromatic drydown with orange blossom souvenirs, fairly close to skin, still nice.

7/10
04th May, 2014

1876 Mata Hari by Histoires de Parfums

Carnation, rose, spices, resins, vanilla, white musks, ginger (I know it is not listed but I somehow smell something similar), sandalwood, light citrus notes, and some other floral notes I am unable to get. Soft and slightly powdery. I read iris is here: glad to know. A rather classic structure with a transparent spring feel, pleasant and balanced, with a refreshing balsamic breeze coming and going. The sweet accord (which smells a bit like gingerbread to me) is a little overhelming and cloying, I wish it managed to stay lighter. Beautiful dusty base of dry woody-tobacco-like notes with a nice herbaceous/mossy feel. Globally nice but also "neither flesh nor flow", basically an "eau de cologne" (European meaning) with a chypre heart, a feminine twist, and a masculine drydown. Pleasant and refined but a bit dull.

6,5/10
04th May, 2014