Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Mick_Trick


Les Déserts d'Orient - Songe d'un Bois d'Été by Guerlain

Absolutely wonderful stuff. The smell of burning oud wood supports one the most tangy supple leathers I've ever tried. There's an animalic quality to the leather but rather than being fecal it displays a rich balsamic plush pishyness, raunchy and engaging yet somehow maintaining a debonair tilt.

For what it's worth I prefer this over Leather Oud (Songe's more raucous cousin), Songe just puts on a knife edge the balance of challenging/wearable in such an appealing way while sparkling with life from start to finish. Great stuff, recommended.

28th September, 2015

Ô Hira by Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777

I luurrve resinous ambers, and true to expectations this stuff is gorgeous. It's buttery, resinous, dusty, smokey, and about every other dream amber descriptor going. In terms of colours it's of course amber, but more specifically it's built around umber/ochre clouds billowing dynamically, backlit with golden yellow rays highlighting the cloud edges with their radiance.

The whole affair is long lasting and fairly linear, and maybe not something a non lover of ambers would really appreciate, but if you're like me, this is grail material. Yeah, the price is beyond silly, but hey that's a story for another day. For the juice itself, yes it's outstanding.
23rd September, 2015

Mohur Extrait by Neela Vermeire

A silk embroidered veil holds back the intensity of light in this dusty landscape. Yes, Mohur Extrait is built around rose and boy what a rose it is, somewhere between fresh dewy green garden rose and a rich oriental jammy red rose, it's both comforting and refreshing simultaneously.

But what to me really lifts this composition is what's juxtaposed over the rose, that veil, the spices, cardamom, sandalwood and oud. They act as a Gaussian filter over the composition, softening and romanticising the setting and adding context to the Indian story.

I love this stuff, it's one of those perfumes that transports you from the humdrum of everyday life to somewhere more spiritual, somewhere to reflect and be thankful for the goodness in life. On a side note, I'm a self confessed Duchaufour fanatic, and really this for me is the only thing that comes to exceeding Timbuktu.

This review is for the Extrait, but equally can be taken for the EdP which is completely similar except for lower strength.
23rd September, 2015
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Mohur by Neela Vermeire

A silk embroidered veil holds back the intensity of light in this dusty landscape. Yes, Mohur Extrait is built around rose and boy what a rose it is, somewhere between fresh dewy green garden rose and a rich oriental jammy red rose, it's both comforting and refreshing simultaneously.

But what to me really lifts this composition is what's juxtaposed over the rose, that veil, the spices, cardamom, sandalwood and oud. They act as a Gaussian filter over the composition, softening and romanticising the setting and adding context to the Indian story.

I love this stuff, it's one of those perfumes that transports you from the humdrum of everyday life to somewhere more spiritual, somewhere to reflect and be thankful for the goodness in life. On a side note, I'm a self confessed Duchaufour fanatic, and really this for me is the only thing that comes to exceeding Timbuktu.

This review is for the Extrait, but equally can be taken for the EdP which is completely similar except for lower strength.
23rd September, 2015

Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

A delightful suede/nubuck style leather, with soft resins and a touch of powdery iris. After the heart it pulls back to a skin scent, but this shift to the intimate level does nothing to reduce its charm. Cosy, lived in and comfortable in its own skin, totally solid stuff from P d'E.
23rd September, 2015

African Leather by Memo

The early focus of African Leather is a beautiful and effervescent spice laced saffron, with cardamom providing a little earthy soapy background and solidity to what otherwise might be too ethereal and flighty. During the heart a supple leather enters bringing some tangy umber tinged saturation to the composition. The drydown follows with the leather getting a little more polite and refined (read handbag interior) with a little dustiness from woods and a western oud accord, it just keeps going and going in this vein not changing but attenuating over time.

The whole thing starts out promising, the saffron and cardamom evocative of the African savannah, I was really looking forward to see what was coming next, but rather than delivering the promised excitement of fur and sweat the drydown actually feels a little flat. It could do with a little character from the listed cumin which goes completely under the radar, or from animatic musks which would fit the brief, with a little bit of big cat snarl.

African Leather for me anyway feels too polished and restrained, ultimately not reaching the evocative animalic potential of the brief. Of course if you look at it from the perspective of golden tinged soft leather goods, it's quite satisfying. So my recommendation would be to ignore any expectations the back story builds and try it on its own merits. On another note, for the price point, really it does not deliver the goods. Nice, but underwhelming.
18th September, 2015

Venetian Bergamot by Tom Ford

Pretty nice, pretty characterless, pretty expensive. Bergamot and white florals leads to endless soft woods, lactonic sandalwood synths and white musk.

Another pleasant, unambitious and unnecessary TF release.
18th September, 2015

La Collection Croisiere : Mojito Chypre by Pierre Guillaume

This is an interesting one, it opens with a citric lime note and a minty strawberry, which interestingly comes across as just starting to turn/ferment strawberry. The heart pushes the strawberry harder, and it just keeps going. L’Oreal Kids Shampoo with Very Berry Strawberry flavour has a really similar scent profile, so one may consider the endless aromachemical mix is similar.

Overall the impression is of some kind of cheap fruity slaggy overstrong perfume, but this I think is all part of the genius of PG who must have authored this fragrance as some kind of ironic art parody as a statement against the lowest common denominator of cheap commercial perfumery. I mean, even the text of the release is brilliant, using sarcasm and wit to poke fun at the industry, “This perfume reinterprets fun on the beach … from Ibiza to Miami”.

I actually kind of love it, when I’m feeling cheap and sleazy this is my reach to bottle, so a big thumbs up. Only issue is the price, which is also a joke. But hey, this is niche man…
15th September, 2015

Holy Shit by Pekji

It's all musty catacombs, dust covered remains of resinous altar offerings, smoke impregnated cassocks and sweat infused leathers, pain followed by ecstatic howls and mewling. A light slightly damp movement of air from adjoining tunnels is slightly cooling but unrefreshing. This is what I wanted 1740 Marquis de Sade to be. It's creepy, liturgical, and a little scary, but in parallel possesses a kinky charm that beguiles.
19th June, 2015

Al Lolo Al Maknoun by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

This opens with a dried fruity aura of dahn al oudh before lightening up a more fresh fruity and musky heart with some woods thrown in for good measure. It's hard for me to review this objectively as it's personally not in the sphere of something I'd wear normally, but if you get exited about how a fragrance reminds you of your favourite yummers juicy fruit shampoo, this'll have you spitting out your cupcakes with fevered excitement.
04th May, 2015

Al Ghar Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Soft musky dusty dessert spices, powdery amber (not overly sweet), and a woody non-stanky style oud outline this oil. I feel wrapped up and warm as after a good massage. There's an oiliness about it and it feels a little more like a massage oil than a personal fragrance, but that in no way gets in the way of the golden sandy tinged comfort this oil provides. It's not high art, but it's hitting those dopamine receptors. Good at the price point.
04th May, 2015

Akabir Blend for Men by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

This one comes across as a Western/Arabic hybrid, it features (to my nose) lavender and tonka yielding the fresh early noughties fougere style of Amouage Ciel Homme. Later in the progression a dried fruit style dahn al oud is added to the mix as a minor component, subtle but adding some dirty human warmth. I didn't really perceive the listed vetiver in any meaningful way, but that could just be me. It smells good, but I find it feels a bit muddled with what it's trying to say as a composition. So overall a neutral rating, but as one of the lower priced oils not a bad effort.
04th May, 2015

Fatima Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Light semi-sour citrus with a backing of dry woods and white musk. It's not bad, but there's something screechy about the way the woods are presented, I'm not going to lie and pretend I know anything about synths but it feels like there is something otherworldly hovering in the fourth dimension of the space-time continuum projecting a quantum distortion into the centre of my feeble goopy human brain, and it burns... Okay maybe I'm being unfair, if I smelt this on someone else I'd think it was better than 90% of the dreck out there, but personally I couldn't be followed by it for a day. Price more than reasonable if you click with it.
04th May, 2015
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Odoon by Pekji

The subtle woody one my arse, this is a quadraphonic meld fest of woods, woody word associations and weirdness. The base which is dominant if smelling close to skin seems to be formed with a dry sharp and fizzy cedar accord paired with a lactonic sweetish sandalwood. There is a fenugreek/imortelle sticky sweetness that adds burnt richness and sweetened chewiness to the base but also lives out in the projection and sillage. It sounds good doesn't it? But the next part is what lifts it for me, and I didn't even realise till a full wear because if you spray on your hand and test you just don't get it. Living only in the projection more than 6'' from your skin there's an sour slightly icky dank note/accord that I can only describe as being like vintage Route de Vetiver, whatever, it's the poke in the eye to balance the rich and comforting other facets. Most fun of all is that it plays with the chewy sweet fenugreek. It's like some kind of fecked up sweet 'n sour experience, totally novel, it could so easily not have worked, but the balance is spot on. Full thumbs up 5* material for wood lovers.

28th April, 2015

Al Medina Al Mounawara by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Al Medina Al Mounawara

Kind of a sour sod of earth with some green rose facets, built off a powdery amber base. Doesn't really do anything for me personally, it just inhabits a sort of olfactory limbo in a sour but forgettable fashion. Meh...
11th December, 2014

Ajeeb Musk Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Ajeeb Musk Blend

Earthy dusty and slightly chocolaty patch, with what feels like a little bergamot on top to give a little sparkle to the opening. It's not even a semi-gourmande, but hints at things that may be edible under different circumstances, rather than refined cocoa think of dried cocoa beans trodden into dusty sun baked earth, I guess this is a facet of the patch which presents itself in this manner with green streaks on opening with slight powder. I've read marketing material that labels this as a full on "hippie" patch, and for me I'd associate that with pungent purple laced heady rawness, but I find Ajeeb to display a tighter arrangement with a green powdery side balanced against the tan dusty cocoa side. It feels to me built of a musky and resinous base adding softness and solidity to the later stages of development. A nice blend if you like a light-medium patch, living in the middle of the two extremes of almost psychedelic heady hippie patch and ultra sweetened examples like Coromandel. I don't think it wins me over for a FB purchase but it's nice nonetheless. $54/tola
11th December, 2014

Abdul Samad Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Sweet golden orange tinged oil (in colour and smell) that's backed up by gentle spices and mildly fruity and woody oud. The sweetness feels the same as what you might experience from inhaling the aroma of dried fruits, raisins, figs or dates, but this is tempered by the woody backdrop. There is also a powdery musk that backs the composition smoothing things out. Solid stuff at the price if a little on the hum-drum in terms of excitement.
08th December, 2014

Boukhour Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

This is a fairly light oil that starts with a musky floral lilt running though it which feels like mimosa, sweet but with a vein of tart bitterness. It sits quite close but leaves a decent scent trails in its wake. Quite interesting progression with this one though as the tart aspects increase over time giving the impression of the oil emitted from a squeezed grapefruit skin adding a bracing freshness to the composition. At the beginning I wasn't too sure, but as the tart 'grapefruit' accord developed and a woody accord entered I found I enjoyed this quite a bit, in the end it actually morphs into a nicer version of Malle's Eau de Magnolia, sharp and refreshing unsophisticated fun. Worth checking out especially as the price is very reasonable.
08th December, 2014

Onda Eau de Parfum by Vero Profumo

I was sent a sample of this by a friend, and to my delight, I now get to smell what so many of you have been talking about. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to figure out if your nose agrees with what the reviewers say. So, eager to start testing, I sprayed a small amount of Onda on the back of my right hand as we were heading out to the shops today. Wife - not a perfumista - sniffed and recoiled: "That's an ASSAULT on the nose!"
Me: "It's a very expensive perfume by an indie perfumer."
Wife: "And people BUY it?""
Me: "Yes, for $200."
Wife: "What, are they buying it without smelling it or something? Why would anyone buy that once they've smelled it?"

Onda opens with an overpowering Pine Toilet Duck note with an undercurrent of sweaty butt crack. It moves to industrial air freshener and stays there. I walked past a public toilet a supermarket today, and for a split second, I wasn't sure if the waft of Industrial Pine and Lemon was my hand or the toilet (it was actually the toilet, though the fragrance wafting out of there was an improvement on Onda). Once worn for a few hours, the scent remaining on the skin is what I imagine the soiled, sweaty knickers of an industrial cleaning lady would smell like after a hard day's work.

If you've always wanted to wear functional fragrances as perfumes, and like a honeyed unwashed crotch note lurking underneath, this will be your dream come true.
This fragrance is the best example I know to date for demonstrating that ingredients do not a perfume make. The work is akin to someone taking truffles, grass-fed veal and the finest red wine in the world to make a gourmet bolognese, only to drown it in discount brand ketchup.
27th October, 2014

Pathetique by O'Driù

A few initial impressions. I've not read the notes list so my read on it is purely what it's saying to me (ie I'm probably way off), but here goes.
The whole thing reminds me of a balance of various skin care products (Not a negative), the opening of rich cocao butter laced and white floral body soufflé. There is a green leafy note running though that keeps it from getting puddingy. As it progresses into the heart it reminds me of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry body oil and also of old school sun tanning oil, with a little oily coconut. The drydown takes these elements attenuated and adds a white musk, later fading to a plasticy ambered late drydown. Projection, longevity etc are all outstanding.

I was initially a little surprised as it's a different tact from most of what I've tried re O'Driu, but it makes sense as continuation of the path Eva Kant wandered down. In terms of imagery I can't escape Audrey Hepburn and co sur la plage on the Cote d'Azure, all oiled up with the sun beating down, sun loungers out and parasols nodding in the light breeze.

I wasn't sure what to think at first, but this is basically the perfect ode to an idealised beach life scent. It's like the anti-O'driu, this may sound pathetic but it's wonderfully done, great stuff.
15th October, 2014

Eloge du Traitre by Etat Libre d'Orange

What I love about this is the dry white smoke that permeates the pine, bay, and artemisia green resinous accord, it feels almost like powdered stone drifting suspended through gently moving air. After the bracing opening the deliberate restraint lends an introspective and slightly melancholy air somewhat similar in mood to Memoir Man, the subtle dark oily leather in the drydown only adding to the mood. It's the opposite of happy go lucky, but when you're in the mood it seems to touch at a deep level
25th September, 2014

Lampblack by Bruno Fazzolari

Lampblack fulfils it's promise of light vs. dark in some style, it feels like a dark rubbery mutant solid heart surrounded by kaleidoscopic orbiting gasses and sparkling motes of light. As deadidol mentions it definitely has a CdG synthetic feel, but with some meat added to the bones, the vetiver and opening citric notes adding a natural comfort that only seems to further highlight the alien futuretech synths. The dark side also hides some delightful associations and surprises (more of that later). What's remarkable is the fact that the sparkling thin gassy grapefruit accord maintains itself to the close, maintaining the light vs dark dance for the full duration, I've no idea what synthetic molecule achieves this but it works wonderfully here, it reminds me a little of nu_be Sulphur in this respect but applied in an even more successful way. CdG lovers I would be awfully surprised if you didn't wet yourself over this.

Lampblack opens with a lifelike citrus grapefruit, with a little sparkle. Shortly after an accurate ink note joins and these two sides define the opening stage. The transition to the heart seems to strip back the grapefruit to a thinner more persistent synthy note, and the ink note morphs slightly, now exhibiting a light rubbery facet. The combination can come off a little sweaty, not a cumin BO sweat, but more the slightly sharp smell of sweat breaking through an anti-perspirant. There is also a de-rooted vetiver (ala VE) and some kind of musk that seems to add a compliant solidity to the heart underneath the swirling mid to high notes, this identifies a little like toasted circuit board lurking around. As Lampblack moves to the drydown the earlier accords remain in an attenuated state and a plumy berried note is added. The effect of this is to add a very slight nauseousness on the periphery that reminds me of the ghostlike form of cyborg wet dog. From there it looses the berry notes first, then the darkest rubber and fades to a close with grey vetiver and the radiant grapefruit synth sparkle. I know I've mentioned some odd concepts above but it's what I'm feeling, but in no way does it come across in a nasty or skanky way, it's more of a artificial digital fascimile of an organic impression. It isn't a beast in strength or projection, but seems to have a pronounced radiance much in the spirit of Timbuktu, and longevity seems good at 8-10 hours.

19th May, 2014

Santal 33 by Le Labo

This pushed all the right buttons. A brief cypriol gust knocks you off balance on opening before falling back to a lactonic green accord slowly transitioning into a lush fruity sandalwood during the heart (there is almost a feeling of honeyed apricots, the colour and texture if not aroma). It's got a wonderful balance between the sweetness, creaminess and astringent woody side, rich but never too much.

An interpretation of sandalwood with modern ingredients having an emphasis on boosting the golden bright aspects of the natural oil. Perfect.
24th March, 2014

Labdanum 18 / Ciste 18 by Le Labo

Shares a lot of facets with Ambre 114 to my nose, pleasing but not too complex powdery slightly spiced amber, perhaps could have benefited from a little edge. As the drydown sets in I get a bit of vanillic almost almondy side which is for me a bit of a turn off, I'm not really getting much of the promised animalics either. I guess I'd call it good-meh, good quality and certainly nice if you like your ambers to play politely, but I personally prefer mine with a little more bite, ala Ambre Absolute, Opus VI et al.
23rd March, 2014

Eva Kant by O'Driù

Eva the perfume all hinges on the juxtaposition of a bitter spiciness layered over a soft creamy base. The former composed of lemongrass, bitter grapefruit oil from the skin of the fruit with a soapyness from the cardamom, I guess the listed lavender plays in this accord by didn't feel too prominent. This all is feels volatile and expansive. The second side is driven by the resins and vanilla, it sits closer and denser, sweet, slightly powdery and creamy.

Over Eva's progression the focus shifts from the bitter side to the soft base. But things never feel entirely harmonious, their is an interesting interplay between the two at all times almost a combination of avant and classical. If we're talking music think Walk This Way by Run DMC and Aerosmith. Very late drydown turns mostly to vanilla. Projection is moderate/good and longevity +8 hours. After a few wears now I'm liking this very much.
16th January, 2014

Bel Ami Vetiver by Hermès

One word can make such a difference...

Been sampling this side by side with Bel Ami (current) they are poles apart. Where BA is soft tan leather with sparkling citrus and cinnamon/cumin spices, BAV is all about, bitter citrus (at opening) with dark musky smokey leather paired with a dominant lush rootsy vetiver. As the fragrance progresses towards drydown things soften up you are left with a gentler smokey vetiver. Projection/longevity seem around par with BA and things get fairly quiet by drydown.

I was ready for this to be a disappointment, but it's actually bloody nice, and deserved is own name rather than have flanker status. JCE did well, it's got whole lot more attitude than you might expect (one may even say butch at least for the opening and heart) and has a vintish feel that makes it instantly comfortable. My admittedly poor nose likes it alot. Should you enjoy leather/vetiver, by all means check this out.
04th January, 2014

Fate Man by Amouage

Fate Man opens with a triple front of absinthe, ginger and cumin accords, these are all present and may be perceived in the singular but come also come together in a gourmand manner to give an impression of chewy cinnamon pastries or gingerbread. The heart of the fragrance gets drier and a little more focused on the dark and spicy copahu balm and cumin (the cumin is not at all sweaty, and more gourmand in its application) After around 6 hours when Fate comes back as a skin scent, singular notes seem to waft up in isolation, whether they be copahu, liquorice, or tobacco and taif rose, this goes on for an hour or two, and is a very nice experience. The immortelle is more prominent during drydown and is not too syrupy, but is applied with a little stewed/dried fruit balance and a beautiful creamy sandalwood backbone, similar to that of Opus VI. The liquorice also is more evident during drydown, but still faint.

Silage is moderate and after about 6 hours Fate pulls back to be a skin scent, although longevity is very good and the Fate is still sniffable after 12+ hours.

It is complex, and engaging, yet very well behaved and wearable in most situations. I love Fate Man, it’s a really satisfying wear, and one that seems to get better with time. Great stuff…
10th December, 2013

Les Déserts d'Orient - Rose Nacrée du Desert by Guerlain

Got to say I'm really enjoying the lush syrupy rose, saffron and oud. The opening and heart are rich for sure, but I don't find the sweetness gets to cloying levels. The drydown is transformative where everything losses density and dries off as a musty patch base dominates and fades towards the close.

Colourwise up front is all velvet burgundy with black and green streaks intensifying during the drydown. Definitely a fragrance of two dominant and diverse stages. Longevity perfectly acceptable, for me at least. All in all, good stuff, rich, decadent but with a slightly macabre ending, and all the better for it IMO.
19th November, 2013

Oud for Love by The Different Company

Slightly green for a few seconds at opening, quickly developing into a dry and sweet spiced whole complimented by subtle florals, beautifully blended with oud in a way where the balance of oud and other elements is so fine you can feel every note individually yet simultaneously all falls into the most enchanting symphony. The oud and spiced base becoming more prominent throughout the fragrances progression through the heart, at drydown the oud fades and sweet spices remain as a rootsy vetiver adds interest from late drydown to the close.

What's not to like? BD's trick of presenting density in a transparent way allows what are very rich components never to overwhelm. Perhaps not as intellectually gripping as Oud Shamash, but engaging and satisfying nonetheless. A gorgeous wear.
12th November, 2013

Casamorati 1888 Fiero by Xerjoff

Fiero opens with a breathtaking tart citrus infused with a massive explosion of aromatic tarragon and herbs. Sweet and tangy blood orange makes a brief appearance padding out the herbal heart. Fiero does powerhouse perfectly, during the opening and heart it's loud, even brash, with everything turned up to eleven. Later soft slightly ashy woods and coumarin support the drydown like a pillow, comforting and warming after the bracing opening, it's a good place to be. Great longevity and massive projection until the drydown where it settles back somewhat.

Fiero conjures a Mediterranean bergamot grove at dusk with herbal aromas arriving on a balmy breeze from the day's sun drenched wild bush hillside. It's a beautiful reference piece of the genre, reminding me a little of a denser, more luxurious and better resolved Bois de Portugal, and also sharing some of the citrus/spicy facets of Bigarade Concentre, but where BG is yellows and oranges, Fiero is verdant greens throughout. Great stuff.
08th November, 2013