Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Colin Maillard

Total Reviews: 1254

Daimiris by Laboratorio Olfattivo

The opening of Daimiris is centered on a really unpretentious yet compelling buttery-rooty iris note, camphorous and dusty, quite on the “earthy” side, with a hint of bergamot, a subtle ambery-sugary breeze and perhaps a light, lively floral note or accord which provides a bit of brightness, well contrasting a really light but perceivable leathery-boozy undertone. Austere and rooty, rich but gentle and discreet, Daimiris evolves then on a violet-amber scent on light suede, with a pleasant velvety feel all over. Basically something like Dzonghka, just more simple and lively, less complex - and less charming. And once violet, amber and leather start to dominate the sillage, you may also think of Jil Sander Man for a while. Not the most original scent around, but well made, solid and refined, and pleasantly understated without smelling dull. Another good one from Laboratorio Olfattivo, albeit not among their best ones.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 16th February, 2015)

Cozumel by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Cozumel opens with a dominant note of nice, juicy, mellow and sweet-woody sandalwood, carrying that warm elegance of fragrances like Santal Noble, well rounded here by herbs (something anisic, and maybe lavender) and a really pleasant, discreetly refined fruity-citrus touch. Tonka is the other key note, tamed down enough but bold, which enhances the nutty-sweet and spicy facets of sandalwood. Shortly an Oriental woody-spicy scent centered on sandalwood with a modern (and kind of trendy) touch of cedar-incense, which means Iso E, that together with something ambery like cedramber (or something equally, mainstream-ish “plastic”) gives Cozumel a contemporary, “posh”, somehow “designer” look – bringing it a bit close to many woody-ambery mainstream scents. Still a totally pleasant scent, just not that creative or particularly “rich”, basically on the fence between more complex and deeper niche scents (Santal Noble, or some of Lutens’ sandalwood works) and more shallow and cheaper designers. Still solid and elegant, just a bit conventional and less interesting than you may think – especially given the (considerably higher) quality of the rest of Laboratorio Olfattivo line.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 06th February, 2015)

Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The opening of Timbuktu is mostly centered on a sharp, almost austere vetiver-incense-cedar accord, dusty and dry, basically halfway the smell of slightly aged paper (something like In The Library by CB I Hate Perfumes) and the smell of “pure” wood – and by pure I mean the pale (and quite boring) smell of a woodchips warehouse. No trees and forests, just the smell of Ikea furniture out of the box. That, with a subtle salty-earthy vetiver note, something velvety and sweet (resins, I guess) and a light fruity-floral breeze with a gentle red pepper note. After a while the incense note gains a prominent position, a rarefied and thin balsamic-synthetic incense like in many CdG fragrances (Kyoto above all: quite the same synthetic woody-balsamic feel). That’s it. Really linear and quite plain, you may think it “hides” some complexity or something interesting is ‘round the corner, but... well, it doesn’t, it’s really just that. A synthetic incense-woody scent like dozens of others - not as “avantgarde” as the CdG’s, not as classy as stuff like Gucci pour Homme... Shortly: meh.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 06th December, 2014)
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Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Alambar is a quite simple, yet rich citrus-amber scent stuffed with a warm, palpable medicinal-resinous feel, overall quite “sticky” like pouring resin, autumnal and exotic at the same time, topped with a load of sweet spices (cinnamon, cumin) juxtaposed to a vanillic-resinous accord and this ton of warm amber, all posed on a slightly camphoraceous-metallic base (something like benzoin, just harsher, more synthetic and drier). All gently refreshed by a subtle balsamic feel that softens the overall sweet-caramelised heaviness. I don’t get any cocoa note honestly, except for a subtle dusty-sweet feel which can be anything. If you are familiar with Enrico Buccella, his style and his “colour palette” are quite recognizable here as well; a much linear scent, a nostalgic chypre inspiration blended with contemporary metallic nuances, a general boldness mostly focused on ambery-resinous and spicy notes, which this nose seems quite fond of. Not that original, but nice for a while, as it smells deep, rich, intriguing at first, gently evolving on a more bright and soapy drydown. Nonetheless its solid and linear persistence may turn into a flaw after a while (I mean: boring). Give it a try, though; if you like it, it’s a good deal for its price – Laboratorio Olfattivo is one of the very few niche brands which is humble enough to stay away from elitism and keep prices on a decent (fair) level, and I appreciate that.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 10th November, 2014)

Full Incense by Montale

A completely synthetic incense ripping off Avignon and following the trend that cloyed the market with a load of identical scents, slightly fizzy, much linear and persistent. Simply put: Comme des Garçons can, Montale can't.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 29th October, 2014)

L'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer

It took me a while to come up with a decent review of this (this does not imply the following actually is decent). I love this scent, but the only thing I could think of when spraying it on was: "it's so good, I love it, but I can not get why and what this smells like". In fact, this scent smells quite like nothing else. It is really unique and almost simple, meaning that once you spray it, you can instantly recognise it if you smell it later on elsewhere; but it has a really complex and tight texture, mostly synthetic for me, with a great balance and a superb evolution. The opening is really dense and breathtaking, and ambery-spicy accord which is hard to "enter". You have to just wait for it to open. Bold incense feel, in quite a contemporary and "chemical" way – mostly the infamous Iso E plus ambroxan. I also get bergamot, lavender, cinnamon, vanilla, oak moss, some balsamic/stale vibes, with a super warm and vibrating silky heart. Not saying all that is here, it's just the suggestions I get. Plus, the architecture is really great, I rarely get in touch with such vaste, multidimensional, powerful and architectural scents. And the best is still yet to come. As minutes pass, and without losing a gram of power, it slowly opens up like a sunrise, the warm heart you felt somewhere there at the very center of the scent just comes closer and blossoms up, literally enlightening the fragrance. That is just great, I know it's perhaps "synthetically" perfect but who cares; it's brilliant. It's like watching a dawn, it all becomes aerial and spacious, dimensional, and smells just great, slowly becoming cozy, dusty, ambery on a base of dark and dry woods and spices. I never felt the "air of Moroccan desert" but this definitely depicts the ambiance really good. Great projection (a modern powerhouse, I'd say!) and an everlasting persistence.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 30th April, 2014)

Aoud Cuir D'Arabie by Montale

Nice bold leathery and elegant scent, somehow gloomy and somehow celestial; if you just wait some 30 minutes until the initial "dead hyena pooping" note vanishes.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Noblige by Laboratorio Olfattivo

If you don't think about how much this resembles to Autan insecticide from the very beginning to the very end of drydown, it's a terrific fresh scent with a pleasant and refined woody end.

16th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Coromandel Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Coromandel opens with a thick, dense, black resinous sandalwood-patchouli-incense accord, bitter and sticky, with a refined and brighter crown of vanillin-flowers notes (iris, violet, rose, all quite velvety and discreetly sensual). For a while it gets slightly and "far" close to some Kamali's Incense, or some Slumberhouse scents, or more obviously Sheldrake himself, at least for the resinous, oily-sticky "blackness" of the opening. A hint of fruits (almost rhubarb), aldehydes, the powdery creaminess of white musks, orris and ylang complete the blend. Obscure and quite fascinating, it then progressively sweetens and softens as minutes pass, eventually settling on a mellow, soft, creamy-musky drydown comprising again sandalwood, earthy patchouli, a salty-metallic note, a balsamic breeze. The "Chanel touch" is the aldehydes accord, which gives the scent a metallic, powdery roundness, keeping it in a quite classic European chypre territory. Still it's globally a fresh (meaning "new") and unpredictable scent, fairly remarkable to be honest: mainstream enough, a bit glossy and restrained, but charming and well-executed. For mainstream lovers which want to add a touch of shade and "niche" to their collection.

15th January, 2014 (last edited: 02nd January, 2015)

Décou-Vert by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Beautiful scent, really bright, clean, fresh, well-crafted and balanced. An invigorating and sunny floral start, much "white" in fact, which slowly opens up to a luminous and elegant drydown. Plenty of other scents more or less similar to this one, but still it's nice.

15th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Nirmal by Laboratorio Olfattivo

To be really honest I almosto smell no iris at all in here, at least not "completely". The first part is much "carroty", quite pungent and almost sour, then it slowly opens up to a brighter and more pleasant drydown, floral and elegant. I would say it is a complex fragrance as the first part is - to me - much different from the central part and the drydown. Not sure if I would consider this well balanced and consistent. I surely like the drydown more, so in case I should wear this, I would spray this some 30 minutes before going out!

15th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Hippie Rose by Heeley

A peculiar rose with Heeley's distinctive linear, architectural and aerial feel. Fresh and feminine, but at the same time, thanks to patchouli and (I assume) some incense/woody notes, also masculine. Very clever and simple, a bright concept developed in a totally well-balanced way. Warm and long persistence.

14th January, 2014 (last edited: 16th April, 2014)

Duel by Annick Goutal

Goutal doing the "trapeze artist" on the very thin line between a refined, pleasant, fresh tea/smoky fragrance, and a dishwasher liquid vial.

14th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)
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Kashnoir by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Lovely, complex fragrance. Mainly spicy and smoky to me, with a really nice flower twist. Warm, clever and elegant. A bit heavy perhaps, better in winter. Works perfectly on a man (well, at least I like it on myself!).

14th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

Fantastic lavender-based cologne, really natural, fresh and elegant. I'm not sure if it's the best lavender out there, but it is surely my favourite one since quite a while. Totally unique even if it is made of really classic and over-used materials - which proves how if you use good materials with a solid know-how, you can stand out even with the most basic composition. The uniqueness of Oxford & Cambridge resides mostly in the lavender note itself, which smells just richer, more faceted, and terribly more realistic than *any* other I've ever smelled. And also slightly different, a bit more floral and sweeter but at the same time, mossier than other. Surely fairly linear and not exactly the most creative or daring scent around, but that's obviously not its purpose. Just more a great, cozy, solid scent exuding class and understatement. Great persistence and fair sillage.

13th January, 2014 (last edited: 18th October, 2014)

Encens Flamboyant by Annick Goutal

This is a weird scent to me. Perhaps one of the weirdest I've ever tried. It has a really strong, evocative, clear "old lady" feel. Not in the sense of great classics which let us daydream about 1930's rich, foreign ladies and countesses; more like an actual, real old grandma, not even that rich or aristocratic. An ordinary, discreet, refined, wizened granny. This is the exact smell you would meet at her place: a bit of a perfume, sure, balsamic pine notes coming from the window, stained ashtrays near the sofa, crochets, dusty furniture and curtains impregnated with the smell of time passing by - the scents she used once, the cigarettes she doesn't smoke anymore. Balsamic and a bit gloomy, or better say, almost funereal.

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

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

To me, this is *the* quintessential smoky, boisé, herbal amber scent. Simple, powerful, perfect, elegant.

09th January, 2014 (last edited: 03rd August, 2014)

APOM pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Powerful fruity opening with a blast of opulent orange blossom notes, heavy musks, spices and balsamic cedar. It then softens a bit on an ambery/balsamic accord, still round and quite sticky, mellow and soft, powdery and slightly talcum-dusted. The cedar-amber interplay comes clearer and brighter after a while, at the beginning they are quite glued together but then the texture loosens and you can feel them more clearly. I also detect an orris hint, a dusty base, and still a fresh, almost mentholated breeze. The very down base is slighty rubbery and latex-like. Undoutably a distinctive, unique and opulent fragrance, with the signature Kurdjian style. Personally I loved it at first, but after two or three "full tries" for a day or so, it gets a bit boring – the smell is fine, it's just a bit "too much". Almost cloying. But if you love it, then it's deal. Monster persistence (it just survived a thorough shower).

09th January, 2014 (last edited: 16th April, 2014)

Oud by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Beautiful scent, actually perhaps the only "oudh" around that I like. Sensual, feminine, spicy, elegant, and masculine. Somehow dark, somehow celestial. Perfect blend of contrasts. And really classy. However, not worth the crazy price tag.

09th January, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)

Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens

The opening is great and beautiful, rich and evocative as in many Lutens back when it was still a reputable and good brand. A triumph of balsamic, green, coniferous resins, pine needles, Iso E to create a cold, smoky, woody, slightly mystical fog all over. A really dense and charming atmosphere rich in nature and mysticism, with nuances from resins to olibanum to spices, ending on ritual burning woods. A bit synthetic here and there, which makes the texture a tad more plain and less "raw" than one may expect, but still really good, iconic and elegant. Quite bold and sticky initially, as much as compelling and intriguing. Good longevity, too.

08th January, 2014 (last edited: 21st September, 2014)

Lumière Noire pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I think Kurkdjian is a much talented nose who does not want (or need, or has the chance) to use all his talent. His scents (well, some of) smell great, but not as great as they could if they were just, say, more "free" to express their potential. Lumière Noire is a perfect example of this in my opinion. The opening is great, a complex but splendid blend of rose, citrus notes (bergamot or neroli, I guess), dark woods, spices (cinnamon, cloves, saffron, cumin?), vanilla, an earthy-green crunchy note of patchouli and a dusty feel of tobacco leaves. Fresh and dark, dense and sticky, with a small but dense animalic heart crawling underneath. Also much powerful, with an incredible balance. It's all great, but at the same time, also much restrained and controlled: no roughness, no flaws, no imperfections, all is perfect and ready to be obediently worn by almost anyone. The animalic note is there, but the animal is trained and on a leash. Sensual, elegant and dark enough to be distinctive, yet clean and refined to be safe and wearable. In a word: censored. I think an "uncensored" version of this would smell just awesome. For the moment it's only a "very good".

08th January, 2014 (last edited: 30th April, 2014)

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

Borneo 1834 is possibly one of the three-four greatest Lutens of all times in my opinion, an incredible and unique balance of earthy rawness and distinguished sophisticacy. The patchouli-cocoa accord is initially bold and prominent, carrying a load of beautiful nuances, from smoky to dusty and from dry-sweet to rooty notes, rounded by the resinous and spicy sweetness of cardamom and galbanum and enlightened by a really subtle and silky floral breeze. Herbal hints and a range of beautiful echoes, from tobacco to coffee – all the nuances of "exotic rootiness". That's pretty much it: the "grandeur" of a few, masterfully blended notes. A straightforward and overall fairly simple patchouli, yet different from all the others: it's dry, velvety, sinister, sophisticated, exotic, exuding an impressive class I rarely found elsewhere. As many other Lutens (of his "golden era"), the name fits it perfectly: in a way, you think of a refined, yet audacious Victorian explorer, and the overall darkness may even remind of a decadent romanticism à la Baudelaire – but without melancholy or abandon for sure, as the earthy and raw notes surely make Borneo a "living", adventurous fragrance. Rich, mature, oriental, mysterious refinement at its best. If I am not wrong this is discontinued or however hard to find in its early formulations, but I see sometimes that bottles appear here and there – I got my 50 ml bottle (black label, old logo) for less than a normal current Lutens – so keep looking for it, as it's definitely worth it.

26th December, 2013 (last edited: 10th August, 2014)

Dior Homme by Christian Dior

I really love this, no need to write a detailed review as it is much common and pretty much any perfume fan knows it. Luckily I still own a pre-reformulation bottle. Still getting chills each time I spray this on. I admit there is more interesting, deep, complex stuff around, but still... my guilty pleasure.

26th December, 2013 (last edited: 27th April, 2014)

Géranium pour Monsieur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Pure genius. Crisp, elegant, angular. IF you speak about the original formula: the reformulation is pure Colgate flavour.

8/10 (original)
4/10 (reform.)
26th December, 2013 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)