Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Colin Maillard

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Total Reviews: 1254

Cuir de Russie Parfum by Chanel

Somptuous, soapy, sensual orris-leather masterpiece with a multi-faceted cut – balsamic, dark, floral, chypre, dry, powdery. A quintessential timeless great masterpiece like Mitsouko, Shalimar, Bois des Iles: there's them, then there's everything else. Scents which do not really any douche like me wittering about them. Ironically I agree with Anosmia's review below: I mostly wear it at home too, but not because I find it too feminine, just because I do that with the scents I really love the most - so that I can enjoy them at full power and concentration, and in total relax.

Mandatory!

10/10
19th April, 2014

Cuir Garamante by MDCI

A pile of exhausted tires and a bucket of fruits left to burn for an entire summer in the backyard under the sun, that's pretty much the smell you get: sweet and pungent, with a dry, cloying burnt-rubber (norlimbanol) leather note. Simple, sharp, straightforward dry leather with some syrupy-rancid floral notes. Personally I do not find the accord much well done – kind of some dissonance I really don't like, but I am more than happy to admit it is my personal taste and my prudish limits. Gets better after a while, but fun enough, it jumps on the opposite side: it just becomes pleasantly dull and safe. Oudh fans may like this as well, same gloomy rubbery dryness you can find in several (so-called) oudh scents. And also leather aficionados will probably love this (I like leather, but I don't like this). Not my cup of tea and honestly, as I said, not that good anyway.

5/10
19th April, 2014

Cèdre by Serge Lutens

A rose-like, restrained, narcotic poudrée tuberose, cinnamon/eugenol notes, a load of warm musks and amber, a slight refreshing bergamot-like note at first. Syrupy, syrupy and syrupy. Sweet, cozy, soft aromatic woods base, with a subtle oak moss note you get more clearly after a while. Overall a dense, resinous, fruity and – yes – syrupy scent. Think of a fresher, simpler, laid-back version of Arabie. Once the syrup dries, you get a pleasant (barely pleasant) talcum-sweet drydown, fairly light but persistent. Nice, but a bit sticky. Not among my favourites.

P.S.: no cedar - at all.

6,5/10
19th April, 2014
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Derby by Guerlain

Gorgeous, powerful, perfectly-shaped balsamic opening with woody vetiver notes, jasmin (feels more like lavender for me), cloves/eugenol feel, cistus, patchouli, citrus notes. Really bold, dense, warm and masculine, with sweet floral notes and refreshening citrus accents. Elegant, dry, dark leather base emerging as minutes pass. Great, perfect oriental/chypre in the "timeless classic bibles" family of Jicky, Yatagan, Guerlain's Vetiver – and like these, perfectly wearable today.

10/10
19th April, 2014

Black Amber by Agonist

The "flow of consciousness" of notes I feel at the opening: amber, incense, lavender, linalol, clove, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, benzoin, pepper, vanilla, aromatic woods (cedar?)... most of them I don't know if are actually there but that is how the opening smells to me. Basically a sweet and spicy amber, with a pleasant, bold opening. It then slowly becomes a bit more green-balsamic as minutes pass, some herbal feel with a mentholated touch – kind of CdG realm. That's a nice transation. You feel the pungent feel of ambroxan on the base, the cedar and the styrax, and also a tiny bit of dry and a bit plastic patchouli – does not smell great, but it is still fine for the purpose. And that linalool insecticide vibe, subtle but persistent from the very beginning. Frankly this overall smells a bit dull to me – the amber/incense/green notes accord is nice, but also a bit confused and... I don't know, not catchy. Pale, perhaps. Anyway, overall this scent is closer to some green incenses CdG's like Sugi or Zagorsk, more than to amber-based scents. Short persistence (too short for me). Nice, but not worth the price tag for me.

6,5-7/10
18th April, 2014 (last edited: 19th April, 2014)

Déclaration by Cartier

A really good and distinctive contemporary "eau de cologne" with a much interesting and complex structure. Dozens of notes here, but basically it is a fresh-musky-woody fragrance with several facets to discover according to what you focus on - you may want to feel the rich, sensual floral touch, the woods, the ginger, the citrus, the dried fruits-spicy accord (which, in turn, unfolds up like a fractal in cardamom notes, caraway, pepper, tea, neroli...). Or still - and probably, better - you may just want to feel the overall look of this - a safe, elegant, long-lasting milestone of modern eaux de cologne. An admirable essay of perfumery.

P.S. my personal feelings? Like for other Ellena's... so perfect it's boring.

7,5/10
18th April, 2014 (last edited: 19th April, 2014)

Bois des Îles Parfum by Chanel

One of my favourite Chanel's ever. Simply marvellous! So great and timeless. I enjoyed Luca Turin's review in his Guide, I feel quite the same. Perfect for men too. Won't try to convince you or describe it – just try it, at least once in your life!

10/10
18th April, 2014

Eau de Monsieur by Annick Goutal

Elegant, classic eau de cologne, with the same "dusty" and slightly funereal chypre feel of Encens Flamboyant. I really appreciate the mandarin-floral note here, it is very rich, beautiful, well crafted and sparkling like a diamond cut. I read it's geranium, but has quite an opulent density closer to rose. Just a subtle hint of insecticide (quite recurrent in Goutal's work – I recall feeling it in Duel too). Overall really nice, elegant, close to skin and not much persistent.

7/10
18th April, 2014

Sacre du Printemps by YS Uzac

I could only smell this at Esxence Milano, so my first impressions are based on a not-that-accurate paper test. However this is a green, straightforward, dry, aerial spring-y scent, I did not get all the notes but it's basically an accord of lively pungent lawn grass, herbs and white flowers. The drydown on paper is a gorgeous, delicate and incredibly persistent base of a delicate floral note on vanillin, with just a discreet and subtle balsamic souvenir of grass and herbs (and some aromatic woods I guess). Can not wait to smell it more accurately, I am a fan of Ys Uzac's work - for the moment I appreciate they did not come out with something more trendy, spicy green scents aren't that fashionable these days.

7,5/10
18th April, 2014

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta by Acqua di Parma

Nice, pleasant, invigorating citrus and bergamot opening on mellow aromatic woods – sandal and cedar, I guess. A talcum, powdery, musky heart of flower petals, a solid but very subtle base of patchouli, vanillin and (synthetic) oak moss, which gets more and more earthy while the first more volatile notes vanish. So basically nothing new, but still decently executed. I also detect the peculiar, piquant-fruity note of pepper and pimiento. What you get after a while is a persistent, sweet, gentle musky drydown with just a tiny hint of dusty earthy notes and a vague feel of powdery white flowers. Bit boring after a while. Frankly the start is better than the evolution, but it's indeed a clear, laid-back, cozy, (overpriced) modern eau de cologne.

7,5/10

Edit (November 2015): ah, screw that. I needed to get rid of some snobbery to admit that, but it smells great. I still think it's a tad boring, but a really, really pleasant and elegant boredom. Upgrading it to a higher rating (not that anyone should care).
17th April, 2014 (last edited: 19th November, 2015)

Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels

Great classic formal fougère, cozy accord of bergamot and lavender on balsamic woods and dry bitter leather. Less raw and bold comparing to other "powerhouses", a bit more elegant and restrained, even though it has some dark, dry, animalic notes crawling underneath – but (lucky for them back then) this was part of the concept of "classic man scent". However surely more "safe" and pleasant comparing to other "savage bombs". A great, timeless and understated masculine fragrance I enjoy to wear home, from times to times.

9/10
17th April, 2014 (last edited: 19th April, 2014)

Quorum by Antonio Puig

Rich, dense, raw opening in a perfectly classic fougère style. A textured blend of green balsamic notes on spices and citrus drips, with a rich and natural oak moss note on ambers and bold, resinous aromatic woods. The leather note emerges as minute pass: honest, shady, solid, slightly rubbery and dry. A great, manly, elegant, rich and self-conscious fougère – still not tacky or cloying. With just a hint of that gloomy, sweaty personality many powerhouses had in the 70s/80s (some more elegant and understated fougères like Tsar are like old, classic Mercedes cars; this is rather the fast & noisy Alfetta Spider). Highy wearable today as well. I own a vintage version and I have heard is has subsequently been reformulated on a more green/fresh tone – probably still good, I don't know.

9/10
17th April, 2014 (last edited: 18th April, 2014)

Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

The new formulation is a pungent, green, spicy and elegant version – in the cleanest, most unoffensive and most polite sense ever – of the original Eau Sauvage, which had a superb, lifelike animalic-chypre accord that gave it an unmistakable dusty, rugged, spicy and smoky dark vetiver base. I guess purchasing that new version feels like switching to a jail-like diet. To me, only the vintage version exists.

8/10
17th April, 2014
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The Infidels by Agonist

Rich, thick, interesting texture, still quite delicate and pleasant. It suddendly reminded me (like a "madeleine") of Divine for women, the first fragrance Divine made I think in the early '90s or late '80s. Basically it is an opulent and dense scent in a really classic manner, a fruity graceful chypre rich in flower notes with a heart of dark rose, amber and aromatic woods, really coloured and dynamic, very deep and elegant. A sort of brighter, less somptuous, less decadent but still quite complex version of some Amouage's. However it is not worth the price tag which I've heard is crazy – the Divine I mentioned should be fairly similar but with a far more affordable price.

7/10
17th April, 2014

Ispazon by Parfums de Marly

Green spicy lime opening with a pungent laurel leaf note and a vanillin hint on a dusty, round, musky evernyl base. After a while it gets a bit more mellow and ambery, still with a persistent green herbs tone, basically entering a cheap unoffensive fougère territory – the "after shaving cheapos" world. Overall: dull.

5/10
17th April, 2014

Patchouli Impérial by Christian Dior

Spices, pungent subtle fruit accents, soft and mellow ambery/aromatic woody base. Kind of Coca Cola vibe – the same I get in quite many Oriental spiced/resinous scents, Lutens' Arabie for instance. Smoked caramel vibe. Once the sticky opening dries down you can feel better the earthy dusty side of patchouli, still keeping it slightly resinous and fruity. Although it is well composed and overall nice, to me there is quite many better patchouli scents around (I rather prefer rawer, simpler ones).

7,5/10
17th April, 2014

Oiro by Mona di Orio

Powerful, deep, slap-in-the-head opening of jasmin, heliotrope and immortelle on aromatic cedar woods – rich, carnal and daring, a bit morbid and overhelming with a hint of mind-blowing decadent mess, but that is how "power" scents work. BayKAT's review below correctly recalls L'Heure Bleue - different components, but that's the kind of feel. I smell a sort of weird, balsamic-camphor base which somehow amplifies and surrounds this – making the texture almost resemble to the dense power of tuberose-based scents, to which this one in fact smells alike. Perfectly-balanced citrus notes (thank God) refresh the texture. As minutes pass it progressively becomes more and more mellow and sweet, settling down a quite natural powdery floral fragrance, still with a disturbing kind of cloying/rancid note with a weird resinous note floating over like a zombie crow, and an ambery/frankincense subtle base. I frankly can not like this completely, or better say, I am still unsure about when/how to wear this - bold, rich, complex, somptuous, viscious carnal flowers, still with nothing leathery/animalic to provide a darker counterpart: challenging for sure.

8/10
16th April, 2014 (last edited: 24th April, 2014)

L'Homme Sage by Divine

Rich, round, unmistakable opening with a really tight and complex texture. Basically a fruity, spicy, kind of gloomy blend, with a subtle but still bold accord of earthy oak moss and patchouli, which underline and support the raw, shady side of the scent, while the more prominent flower notes and the aromatic woods create a superb, unique, slightly boozy tea-like aroma melting with the wonderful, fruity-spiced accord of saffron, mandarin and pungent fruits (Vasnier used litchee notes and I trust that, although I only detect a pungent, syrupy, fresh fruit note that can actually be anything). Miles down you can feel the solid base of styrax and cistus, which kind of "shape" the scent with a masculine uplifting touch, giving it a slight unique fougère personality. Words fail a bit here, basing on my description this may sound messy and super-rich, while in fact it's really simple and wearable, just really compact, consistent, harmonic and tightly-packed – like looking a perfectly-formed thingy through a microscope lens, you then realize it's made of billions of (whatever it's made of). Highly wearable, with a perfect persistence and sillage, a real (and sadly, apparently much underrated) total marvel.

9/10
16th April, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2014)

Umbra by Ramon Monegal

Citrus opening on a weird, unsettling, metallic/ozonic base – same note I detected in at least other 3 Monegal's. Mentholated and calone-ish balsamic accents, something shady and organic like oak moss, soft musks, some flowers. Wax-like vetiver – which I never like, and I don't get why so many contemporary vetivers do have that awful glue-like smell. I like this more when the flowers kind of "morphs" into a nice accord of sweet and talcum notes, while the vetiver note becomes more rubbery and soft. This creates a sort of weird but interesting suede-like texture which I quite enjoy. Then again, a change; this all melts and slowly becomes almost a chypre accord with a balsamic breeze – yes, kind of Mitsouko realm here, respectfully talking. While overall I don't like Monegal that much, I must admit I quite enjoy this fragrance – the notes, the materials are bit "meh...", but still it has a nice and intriguing story to tell, with quite a lot of twists and surprises.

7,5/10
16th April, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2014)

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

Another win among the Incense Series, although not my personal favourite. An eugenol overdose of balsamic, green, pungent and spicy notes: the freezing, pagan counterpart of the monolithic, Catholic liturgic gloominess of Avignon. Basically halfway between that and the most notable green CdG's - Sugi and Hinoki for instance. Great projection with a sillage shorter than expected.

7,5/10
16th April, 2014

Eau d'Hadrien Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

A pleasant, clean, classic citrus cologne with the typical Goutal's touch – kind of a paler and more masculine version of Nuit Etoilée. Nice and lively, but there's plenty of other similar scents which do the same job. Quite light and not much persistent.

6/10
16th April, 2014

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Like Turin wrote in his guide, “it took guts to come out with an aromatic fougère in 2003”: it did, indeed, as Rive Gauche pour Homme is truly a jump into the Seventies. Not a “rewritten tribute”, but a veritable, extremely elegant and pleasantly pedantic aromatic fougère exactly as they made (plenty of) them thirty years ago. Something I like to see as a proud and shameless slap to contemporary trends, which is admirable from such a big important company. It makes a statement, which at that level of visibility, may truly mean something. While I usually can’t stand fragrances - especially niche - which are “inspired by” and/or plain rip off chypres and fougères but they try to conceal that by acting new, “cool”, “luxury” and avantgarde as if they were ashamed of smelling derivative, too simple and “too outdated” as they do, I can’t help but appreciating an open and genuine operation like this. There’s a big difference in fact. Rive Gauche pour Homme is the quintessence of nostalgic simplicity, smelling and looking openly outdated, declaring it loud and proud. Many other companies still produce very classic fragrances, but to launch a new one, again – “it takes guts”.

All here is a true time capsule from the past, from the fragrance itself to the unpretentious, functional and almost cheap-looking bottle which looks like a drugstore shave foam can out of the 1970’s. The fragrance, anyway: lavender, anise, green herbs, woods, oak moss, patchouli, carnation, a nephew of Azzaro pour Homme looking and acting exactly like his hero uncle, just younger. The skin is softer and paler, the voice is still a bit juvenile, everything’s more light-hearted and livelier, but the face, the look, the style, it’s all the same. This is Rive Gauche pour Homme: a fougère which combines a lighter modern look, an overall obvious “fresher” feel due to its young age (I mean lacking in the “vintage” feel caused by the aging of the juice), with a vintage quality. It doesn’t aim at be a masterpiece, and in fact it isn’t, but it’s an extremely pleasant and stylish fragrance retrieving the true purpose of a man’s perfume – smell good, confident, mannered, masculine. Dry and dark as most of classic men’s scents, but the “aromatic” side comprising powdery-floral notes of lavender and anise keeps it bright enough. Obviously a nostalgic redundant product thirty years late on its reference trend, but totally irresistible. The Kaspar Hauser of fragrances.

8/10
15th April, 2014 (last edited: 03rd May, 2015)

Psychédélique / Psychedelic by Jovoy

One of the nicest Jovoy's out there – my "could-have-done-better" house par excellence. Dark and really earthy patchouli, slightly syrupy and boozy, with a well-balanced and earthy vanilla note – something I really value, as I love vanilla but most of the times you get rather a cloying candy-like vanillin note. Perfect counter-balancing blend of pungent decadent flower notes on amber. Beautiful, warm and soothing drydown. I still feel something that does not catch me completely - perhaps the fact the patchouli is not raw and earthy enough, the roses are not sensual enough... don't know, I can not find this "great", for whatever reason I don't get. But it is good.

7,5/10
15th April, 2014 (last edited: 15th June, 2014)

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

A slightly more fruity and more ambery, less liturgical version of Avignon. Green balsamic breeze with a pungent hint of pepper and laurel oak on aromatic woods – and of course, a soothing, oniric, meditative incense fog all over. Another great scent among the must-have Incense Series.

8/10
15th April, 2014

Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder

Salty white-green floral with a massive metallic-ozonic feel I can really not stand. I do not get the rate Turin gave this. Still better than the man version however.

4,5/10
15th April, 2014

Vanille Tonka by Nicolaï

A feast of "S": soft, soothing, sweet and slightly smoky. Nice and elegant fragrance, that does exactly what the name suggests – easy to wear, easy to review!

7/10
15th April, 2014

Darley by Parfums de Marly

Sweet, round, rich, talcum-vanillin notes with a balsamic/mentholated twist – a funny (in the almost-pathetic meaning), cheap parody of Le Male.

4/10
15th April, 2014

Mon Patchouly by Ramon Monegal

Cloying opening, a slap of aldehydes and powdery jasmin notes, with a dense, metallic, milky feel and a balsamic touch (that kind of plastic, ozonic balsamic mood as in Fahrenheit 32). I do not get the patchouli at all, a get a tiny bit of oak moss – clean, plain, synthetic - on jasmin, which is perhaps the most prominent note. After a while the metallic fades and evolves into a more soapy note, still cloying but at least a bit more powdery and tolerable. Overall it's fairly poor, unpleasant and confused, with an everlasting persistence and an uselessly misleading name.

4/10
14th April, 2014 (last edited: 19th April, 2014)

Cuirelle by Ramon Monegal

A creamy fruity-vanillin floral accord on a fake "suede" base given by the blend of patchouli with incense. Overal gentle and slightly milky at first, then powdery, somehow close to Cuir Cordoba by Keiko Mecheri. I like the concept of reconstructing a suede-like feel using no leather, the fragrance itself is pleasant and delicate, sweet and bright. A bit close to skin, but soothing, nice and interesting. Slightly metallic drydown (an unpleasant, cheap signature note I detected in at least other 3 scents made by him).

7/10
14th April, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2014)

Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

Bold, pungent, gloomy opening with a massive decadent incense feel on dark, opulent, dry amber. A macabre fairytale, the nocturnal side of Annick Goutal - just like in Encens Flamboyant. Weird and almost disturbing animalic notes flounder below like crawling underdogs on a roasted caramel base. Balsamic notes, still heavily smoky and somber. After a while you get the leathers and the dry, earthy accord of patchouli and labdanum, still with a bold and persistent incense note. A nice take on amber, a bit messy perhaps, but still interesting. I just love how Annick Goutal can give you these nocturnal, funereal, gloomy, animalic scents, and at the same time some of the most lovely, springy, delicate, impressionist and oniric scents around (Nuit etoilée, Songes, Mandragore...) - always with her subtle, unexplicable, signature fairy tale feel, which can be, in turn, kind of cozy or kind of scary.

7,5/10
13th April, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2014)