Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Colin Maillard

Advertisement
Total Reviews: 1254

Incense Extrême by Tauer

A rich, but at the same time really clean and simple, romantic, bright, and uplifting scent. Balsamic incense with a contemporary geometrical feel, fairly close to other modern incenses (e.d. the CdG ones). An animalic ambroxan note comes and goes, perfectly interacting with warmer and more aerial notes. Overall a balsamic take on incense, really powerful and long-lasting, with many points in common with other Tauer's. Soothing drydown.

8/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 12th April, 2014)

Incense Rosé by Tauer

A magnificent, bright, rich and bold incense-rose symphony, elegant and joyful, really "bright", spacious and extraordinarily geometric and clever as all other Tauer's fragrances - with a couple of his signature notes here.

8/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Eau Lente by Diptyque

Herbal medicines and spices in an old woodbox - centuries old, stuffed in a Medieval alchemist worshop. The grandmother of Esprit du Tigre by Heeley. If you like herbal/dry woody scents, this is an essential!

7,5/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Blask by Humiecki & Graef

Rich and floral, a bit fruity too. I get the wine accord (or, as Alfarom notes, the "must" note). And I also get a sort of violet-liquorice structure at the very beginning, although there is none of the two, but I guess that is due to oud on flowers. Frankly this smells pleasant and "portable" to me, I do not feel anything particularly "daring" or special. Basically it's a floral/woody scent with a sour fruity flavour and a hint of freshness. Surely a great fragrance, well-crafted and balanced.

7,5/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

L'Anonyme ou OP-1475-A by A Lab on Fire

Well, the name says it all... not saying it's bad, it's fresh and cool and stuff. I like the salty note at the opposite pole of the floral base. Vertical and grey, but you'll have a hard time finding some consistent differencies with a lot of other "sporty" (i.e., dihidromyrcenol-driven) mainstream fragrances - and if you bought this you bet you'll do it, since this costs twice those!

5/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Charmes et Feuilles by The Different Company

Fresh and soft. Smells really good and clean. Bit of a medicinal/herbal touch, would work better as a room fragrance to me.

6/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Ambre Muscadin by LM Parfums

Although at some point it smells like if someone peed on a countess' toilette, it is a really traditional, rich, old-fashioned scent with a darker and drier twist, that makes it slightly more daring and animalic than the "classics" it is inspired by. I also enjoy the subtle masculine geometry (the amber, the resinous touch, the vetiver). Interesting.

7/10
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Chergui by Serge Lutens

Chergui opens with a superb powdery-fruity balsamic and resinous accord on a beautiful base comprising sandalwood and tobacco notes. The Lutensian "syrupiness" is toned down by the powdery notes of violet/orris, the woody notes, and a subtle mossy/earthy vibe of hay and the "humid side" of tobacco. A sophisticated Oriental opulence, quite understated and not as "rich" as other Lutens' scents. As minutes pass it slowly dries turning into an orris-sandalwood accord with cinnamon, balsamic-ambery-benzoin notes, and an utterly elegant tobacco base, so dense and humid it almost smells like leather. A really refined scent, more simple and dry than other Lutens. The evolution is equally great and pleasant, and it slowly goes from Oriental to Mediterranean, as the mossy-earthy "pine forest" accord comes in blending with the Oriental bouquet of flowers and resins. All beautifully surrounded and supported by tobacco. Distinctive but "wearable" and versatile, refined and just gorgeous to smell from the beginning to the end, slightly more feminine and resinous than what it may look from the composition.

8/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 23rd May, 2014)

Serge Noire by Serge Lutens

On my skin, this is just... wrong, from the very first sniff. The opening is a really weird and unpleasant smell of, say, burnt soup and melting tires; I detect quite a lot of aromachemicals (like safraleine), a bag of spices with cloves above all, and a warm, oily smell of something like gingerbread, so I assume there's ginger and perhaps some flowers. But the very heart and the most unpleasant of all is a central, quite prominent note, which has an odd, rancid, warm decadent feel halfway between balsamic, spicy and earthy with a strong incense vibe. I'm blind-guessing since I have really no idea of what it may be – but whatever it is, it is not well-executed for me. I only know this smells terribly wrong for the first minutes. Then it slowly gets at least "smell-able", a prominent note which I think is still cloves and other spices but with almost a dry-floral smell (like heliotrope), a nice earthy feel and crisp leafy notes (patchouli), spices again, and some slight waxy violet/orris touch. Quite in a "futuristic" way, though: there is also a massive aldehydated presence, and overall, the blend smells "angular", thin and a bit metallic – like many other recent Lutens. The overall smell, apart from the unbearable opening, is strongly medicinal/balsamic. After a while, say, one hour, it gets more light and more wearable – the smell it the same, just the volume is calmer. If you are into that type of scents then it's worth a try, for me it's surely not worth another one.

5/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 13th May, 2014)

Back to Black by By Kilian

A bunch of petals sinking in a lake of honey. With someone smoking in the background. I admit I do not get most of "purely sweet" fragrances, as they always remind me those teenager cheap fragrances I used to smell on my schoolmates - this one is not an exception.

4/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Musk Oud by By Kilian

Not much different from other ouds I have tried. A hint of burnt rubber and a nice rose/incense/oud main accord. I do not really smell much "musk" here. Fairly light and delicate in terms of projection and persistency. Personally I prefer more his Incense Oud to this.

6/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens

I would have never thought to say this about a scent, especially a Lutens one, but the first thing I unconsciously thought of while testing this on paper was: pizza. Freshly baked, steamy pizza out of a brick oven, covered in sweet tomato sauce and sweet mozzarella. Must be some weird musky sandalwood accord. However then it tends more on a sweet/smoky side, with a spicy tea accord. In short, a decent scent (except for the odd start) that does not even compare to most of other Lutens fragrances.

5/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Incense Oud by By Kilian

It does what its name suggests. Oud and incense. A bed of resin, spices, smoke, flowers, even a note of tea to me, but finally it all comes to oud and incense. Clear, clever, pleasant and really well-balanced. It would be a better scent if it had some more projection and persistency.

6/10

28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Vanille Absolument / Havana Vanille by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is like diving in a pool full of vanilla-flavoured chocolate. And getting drunk in there - the bourbon note. After the first striking and nauseating smell I was able to distinguish the accords - the whiskey note, the fruity accent - but still I can not picture who on Earth could wear this, except perhaps Willy Wonka's stalker?

4/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Rich, charming and as the name fittingly states, "carnal" tuberose. Nothing "stunning", but surely a beautiful, bold and self-conscious fragrance.

7/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Sel de Vétiver by The Different Company

Céline Ellena does Guerlain's Vetiver with a really subtle (and quickly-vanishing) salty note. It's nice, but if I was a vetiver fan - which I am not - I would choose Guerlain.

6/10
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Black Aoud by Montale

Let’s start with the good news: nearly all ouds by Montale share the same exact boring artificial oud notes, while Black Aoud doesn’t really. It’s very different from any other oud scent by Montale (still good news here), and actually it doesn’t seem containing oud notes in the first place for me. The bad news is that it would have been so better if it was “just another oud by Montale”. Because as is, it smells revolting for me. It’s basically an extremely dry, bitter, bold, rather pungent, extremely artificial and overwhelmingly horrid woody-patchouli powerhouse drenched in latex, with some faint rose-musky notes and an Oriental aura of dark spices, also slightly infused with something resembling to coffee. Basically Van Cleef pour Homme, Boucheron Homme and A*Men Cuir having a threesome in a seedy sex club scented with some supermarket rose room spray. And despite I am a fan of powerhouses, even the cheaper ones, I find this a complete failure. It’s just too much. And not “too dark” or “too daring”. Just “too garbage”. It smells really too cheap, acrid, vile and screechy to be even barely wearable just for fun. And also, it seems to me completely uninspired and uncreative, given that it clumsily emulates a type of scent – the zombie macho drugstore powerhouse – you can get with a fraction of its price. Just get Van Cleef pour Homme, let it rot for a while, paint it in pink, here’s Black Aoud. The drydown is tolerable (maybe it’s just the relief speaking), but all in all it’s still an abysmal pointless experience I wouldn’t really recommend.

4,5-5/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 02nd January, 2016)

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

A pleasant and nice scent indeed, as much leathery as tons of other contemporary leather-based scents (suederal-safraleine type), without any particular twist that let this stand alone in the crowd. Classy and refined for sure, in a rather safe and tamed down way though: "brownish", smoky, crisp and clean like a new pair of leather brogues. Not bad, actually rather pleasant, just a bit overpriced for the quality. And in fact there's quite some cheaper alternatives which do the same job: Godolphin by Parfums de Marly, Golden Boy by Dueto for instance.

6,5-7/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 22nd December, 2014)

Cardinal by Heeley

The younger, brighter brother of Avignon: less heavy, with a light floral breeze providing a general "airy" mood, and also a sparkling, sugary, fruity fizzy personality underneath. The incense note is not resinous-olibanum, it's pure, abstract, polished Iso-E, so it shares the same (creative) "artificiality" of Avignon – of which, as alfarom correctly says, Cardinal smells basically like a washed-down "eau de cologne" version. Still, Cardinal has much of its own, quite enough to differentiate it and make it a bit more fascinating, playful and charming. Above all, that pleasant dusty, silky, sugary base layer halfway balsamic, floral, fruity, woody. A delicate, ethereal (in typical Heeley's linear and minimalist style) blend hiding behind the main abstract but dense incense fog. To some little extent this reminds me of Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile – not for the olibanum, but rather for this fruity-floral accord which adds a pleasant taste of "life" and colour. A sophisticated, luminous, classy and creative take on the contemporary incense theme.

8/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 15th July, 2014)

Iris de Nuit by Heeley

Iris de Nuit is in my opinion one of the best contemporary iris on the market, together with L'homme de coeur by Divine, with which it shares a similar approach to the material. A transparent, cold, sharp, perfectly shaped and restrained yet dense and substantial iris note, angular and straightforward, with a few else around: a light hay note on the base (something making Iris de Nuit quite close to Cuir Pleine Fleur), carrot, light green notes. The main iris note is deprived of any "buttery" waxy rootiness – it has a slight carroty-rooty smell, but it's dry and light. It strikes me how this manages to smell almost "rural" thanks to carrot and hay, still completely "contemporary" in its sophisticated, almost abstract meaning. Great job with notes and composition here. Really elegant, pleasant, versatile and totally unique. The drydown comprises also a light ambery note, although it's overall quite linear and does not change much (this may be the only slight "con"). For me, one of the best Heeley's around together with Cuir Pleine Fleur.

8,5/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 14th July, 2014)

Cuba by Czech & Speake

A masculine majesty, austere, warm like a Cuban evening, with humid tobacco leaves, rhum, benzoin, amber, a fresh touch of zesty citrus and a few culinary herbs. A wet, shady floral heart emerges soon, notes of dry flowers left under the rain, bringing a slight camphor note as in classic masculine chypres. On the base, a stout, refined and cozy woody concoction. As minutes pass it emerges a beautiful rose note slightly fruity too, sensual and juicy, almost carnal, really aromatic and perfectly blended with the overall austere, elegant mood given by tobacco and herbal notes. Dry, almost gloomy, distinguished and exotic, powerful but noble, with a gentle side of more delicate and airy notes. Rose-ambery-woody-smoky drydown, silky and discreet, quite long-lasting and slightly balsamic too. A great, versatile gentlemanly scent.

8/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 27th June, 2014)

Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Smells exactly like a cheap shampoo I used to use at my parents' house (it was called Vidal, black bottle, if you're interested in smelling the same way at approx. 1% of the price of this scent!). Unworthy any further review, and obviously not its price.

3/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 27th April, 2014)

Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man by Caron

Clean, crisp, comfortable and elegant like a freshly-ironed shirt! Safe and sophisticated, the kind of scent that can make even the shabbiest man on Earth look nice and charming.

7/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 27th April, 2014)

Santal 33 by Le Labo

On paper I smell a lot of sandalwood ("you don't say!"), cedar and herbal/balsamic accords. Really pleasant, woody as a nordic, white/grey woody house. Makes me think of one of those marketing photoshooting you can find in Ikea catalogues.

6/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 27th April, 2014)

Eau Noire Cologne by Christian Dior

Elegant, gourmand and aromatic circus of spices. On paper I smell a blast of cumin and saffron right from the very first seconds, while on skin it tends to start (and remain) a bit more soft, somber and more dry. Quite peculiar and unique among the "heavy spicy" family. Powerful projection and everlasting persistency.

7,5/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 12th April, 2014)

Oud Cashmere Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

On skin and on paper I smell a LOT of burnt rubber - not to say almost only this. Among his Oud series, this is by far my least favourite.

4/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Menthe Fraiche / Fresh Mint / Eau de Menthe by Heeley

I love James Heeley and his great ability to put together really simple, linear, sound, perfectly-balanced fragrances, but this one smells just a hint better than Brooklyn Mint chewing-gums to me.

5/10
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Kurkdjian does... himself. Exceedingly similar to Miracle Homme Aquatonic, (especially in the middle/end phases). Since Miracle costs a fraction of this, I see no reason why purchasing this one. By the way I don't like this anyway.

4/10
21st January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Esprit du Tigre / Spirit of the Tiger by Heeley

I smell a lot of mint, pepper, camphor, so in short, as almost any other as already noted, a medicinal bomb. Still this is somehow fascinating, as it results in a fresh and green scent, with an exotic, spicy and balsamic twist - I do not know why, but the whole ensemble makes me think of some kind of a fin-de-siècle military red cross tent, somewhere in the middle of a desert war. The drydown tends more towards classic cologne notes - balsamic on woods.

7,5/10
20th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I’ve never been a fan of L’Artisan fragrances, let alone the uncontrollably prolific Bertrandingo. But one thing I’ve to admit – in the extremely seldom circumstances where they both work at their best, with decent budgets and some solid inspiration, the results are great. And this is definitely the case. This is easily one of the best woody-iris scents on the market, brilliantly succeeding in blending the utmost versatility and wearability with a tremendous level of creativity and quality. Basically I agree with the reviews (including Luca Turin’s one in his Guide) which connect Dzonghka to Timbuktu, as this is indeed basically Timbuktu with iris, which is amazingly blended within that peculiar sort of transparent cypress-woody and subtly leathery structure adding a powdery, rooty, dry and earthy-waxy texture which fits it just perfectly. It’s like to smell the smoky, greenish, autumnal “papery” woodiness of Timbuktu shyly blossoming in early March. Not a “floral triumph”, just some faint, pastel, still quite dark accent of rooty-floral notes rising from the soil, soon joined by a subtle, warm tea note. This is pretty much of Dzonghka smells, and it’s just achieved perfectly. It’s graceful, elegant, natural, breezy yet very cozy: no cheap musks, no plastic iris. The concept is simple, the execution is clever and well mastered. Just some genuine, palpably realistic sprinkle of orris powder on smoky woods with a “mineral” salty aftertaste and a slighty touch of sweetness which will grow in strenght on the (impeccable) drydown. It’s poetic, complex yet quite straightforward, masterfully executed keeping Timbuktu’s great ability of smelling “airy” but totally substantial. And it smells fantastic anyway. Heart-warmingly austere and very classy. Plus, finally a decently-projecting, decently persistent L’Artisan, for God’s sake. Recommended!

8-8,5/10
16th January, 2014 (last edited: 06th February, 2016)