Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Wild Gardener

Total Reviews: 315

Déclaration L'Eau by Cartier

A lighter and fresher version of Declaration, with a sparkling grapefruit depart.
Personally I couldn't get into the original and much prefer this reworking by
Mathilde Laurent the in house perfumer at Cartier.
An ideal summer cologne with body.
11th January, 2015 (last edited: 13th January, 2015)

Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens

Not an oriental but full of balms, an immortelle than smells like honeyed spice cake, a skin scent with great longevity.

Jeux de Peau is quite unlike anything else out there. It's as though Serge Lutens asked for an oriental bazaar done without amber.

What Christopher Sheldrake came up with, in place of citrus, vanillin and ladbanum, is a blocky structure made up of large doses of bland materials. Benzoin, balsams, honey accord, myrrh and musks, on which is mounted a helichrysum heart decorated with cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Resinous nuances of hawthorn and fir balsam provide highlights. There are no distinct head notes.

This makes for an oriental that breaks completely with the Shalimar tradition in both character and structure. It refers back instead through Obsession to Trésor as the blueprint from which it has been engineered.

Comparisons with Sables are inescapable, and also Eau Noire. It defines a sub-genre of pseudo florientals based on strategies to control the difficult note of everlasting flower. The key to success here is to manage the contrast in textures between two opposing materials. The coarse and strident features of immortelle, and its smooth, sweet and bland setting of biscuit, amber or lavender.

The balms draw from the skin, but also mask, a discrete animality. Somehow reminiscent of Xeryus and also Sybaris but less overtly sensuous than that classic powerhouse. JdP is better worn as a masculine even though it is marketed as a mixed scent. With a nurturing foody character it is however, definitely not an alpha male type profile.

That JdP manages to stay the right side of gourmand is debatable, the dividing line between olfactory and gustatory being a movable one depending on the circumstances. How hungry you are and your skin chemistry being the obvious factors. Are these the skin games referred to in the name, playing with the limits of how a scent can be perceived ; now the nose, and then, now the tongue?

It has a surprisingly English feel, being reminiscent at times of a school dinner dessert I remember that was made of flour, suet and vine fruits, called Spotted Dick.

The nature of the construction of JdP, and the sub-genre defining character of the theme lead me to see it as the synthesis of two important modalities of modern perfumery.

The balsamic gourmand feel serves as an antidote to the narcotic and over bearing themes of the 80s. It achieves this by replacing their toxic formulae with a simple and legible profile. It also takes the linear structure of of some water thin 90s solutions - which emerged in contrast to the big hair monsters of the previous decade, and replaces the meagre ingredients of those calorie free diet Eau's with a good portion of home cooking.

Jeux de Peau can thus be seen as a critique of some of perfumery's most notable excesses over the space of twenty years.

In essence, this is a gourmand of considerable skill which combines the ambience of comfort food with a discrete animal warmth. It's an easy and satisfying wear, but not facile, and has enough internal contrasts to sustain interest through its long, slow and almost linear evolution to dry down.

That smell, taste, touch and sex should be implicated in the simple spray of a perfume should come as no surprise to parfumista's, but how these relate one to another is a philosophical question even a savant like Serge Lutens would be hard pressed to answer.

Maybe it's better not to get too fussed about it. Maybe perfume isn't a tool of seduction, a fashion accessory or two dimensional sculpture after all.
Maybe perfume is just a game we play on the skin.
26th December, 2014 (last edited: 18th March, 2015)

Ted by Ted Lapidus

Dreadful. A thin, sour lash up of no quality what so ever.
A mildly interesting top accord that lasts about five seconds and then a sour green thing and fake woods. Ugh.
10th December, 2014
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Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs

The usual lashings of syrupy fruit have been brought to bear by a creamy lactonic accord and an abstract white floral.
There is a white wood and musk accord also.
Perilously close to achieving the perfect balance between sweet and bitter, fruity and creamy floral, but held back from greatness by, I assume, a too short composition deadline.
First impressions are that it is better than the original Daisy, and if this is the case then it's a good advert for the continued production of the much maligned flanker.
After 24 hours the Dd is good, suggesting the composition has been worked through from top to bottom, with a creamy woody note that has a surprisingly unsweet character.
There is just the merest hint of fruit below the white floral. Could this be the beginning of the end of the fruity floral from hell?
03rd August, 2014 (last edited: 11th January, 2015)

Voyage d'Hermes Parfum by Hermès

A divertimento of sun cream, hot sand, and citrus cocktails at the beach bar.
Like many of Elléna's impressionist compositions it doesn't have great longevity,
but it's fun while it lasts.
Not bad at all.
14th February, 2014 (last edited: 20th March, 2015)

Brut by Fabergé

Perfumery, You are hereby charged with irremediable decadence.
In the case for the prosecution, I present exhibit 'B'
Gentlemen and ladies of the jury, note the difference between Exhibit 'B'
and Exhibit 'B Vintage.'
Gone is the powerful longevity, the richness, the depth and sheer quality
that 'B' used to represent.
It is place you will find
a cynical cost cutting lash up of the most criminal character.
This most reprehensible betrayal of a once great piece of our heritage
demands nothing less than your utter condemnation.

14th February, 2014

Opium Vapeurs de Parfum by Yves Saint Laurent

Hmm, that smells like...
Sandalwood joss sticks.
With a bit of vanilla and a hint of florals.
And there's something a bit synthetic and harsh in there too.
Want to smell like a joss stick?
You know what to do...

Update : It smells like a copy of the vastly superior Secrets de Rose by Parfums de Rosine. The difference being, Vapeurs is like putting on an acrylic sweater where spritzing SdR is pure cashmere.
13th January, 2014 (last edited: 26th February, 2015)

Artemisia by Penhaligon's

Artemisia at no time smells like the green anisic herb. Its a synthetic pink floral opening which fades to a totaly unrelated powerful rough white musk that annoyingly goes on for ages.

A badly conceived structure excecuted in a sloppy way.

04th January, 2014 (last edited: 19th December, 2016)

Armani Eau de Nuit by Giorgio Armani

Initially I held off from buying this one because on paper it comes across as a bit synthetic. However it does work better when being worn, and although its not a heavy scent, it performs well in the cold.
The similarity to Dior Homme is there, with the iris note in the heart, but the appeal for me centres on the light tobacco dry down. Like Tabac Blond done in a contemporary style, for guys.
Pity the quality isnt what it could be, and the longevity is not so good, but in general not a bad effort for a mainstream masculine.
06th December, 2013

Worth pour Homme by Worth

A green fougère - almost a copy of Paco Rabanne pour Homme but seven years after the fact. Even the bottles looked the same.

The original was really not bad; today it's just cheap and nasty.

23rd November, 2013 (last edited: 25th October, 2018)

Atlas Mountain Rose / Rose des Montagnes de l'Atlas by Body Shop

Relating to the Parfum oil: a nice quite open pink - red rose, with powdery and citric naunces and a sense of real rose petals with a peppery undertone. There is also a grey shading of synthetic musk in there.
Its now been discontinued, which is a pity because it was better than some other roses out there at a much higher price point. The EdT was not quite so rich.
Worth checking out at the discount price it was offered at by Body Shop in their clearance drive.

On reflection, it's not so good, coming across a bit plastic like, and lacking prescence.
No surprise its disappeared, and no real loss.
23rd November, 2013 (last edited: 26th December, 2014)

La Nuit de L'Homme Frozen Cologne by Yves Saint Laurent

Assuming that by frozen cocktail accord they mean gin and tonic with ice and lemon, its fair to say this is one juice that lives up to its fanciful note description.

The structure tries to balance coldness with an underlying dose of syrup which becomes more apparent as the gin & tonic and cardamom signature wears off.

Done in the regulation smoothly synthetic manner, Frozen Cologne arrives perky and sociable and seems designed to not offend anyone - unless they have a dislike of gungy sweet drydowns.

For the G&T effect to work at all, which is the sole reason for this flanker, I find it needs to be worn on clothes as it doesn't project from my skin.

There is little to recommend here, the G&T accord being fragile and the drydown banal, but overall I wouldn't call it bad, just gimmicky.

20th November, 2013 (last edited: 05th September, 2015)

Oscar for Men by Oscar de la Renta

One dimensional and mostly linear: white lily with pollen-laden stigmas, Formica table top, musky undertone; it smells remarkably like Paris without the pink rose and violets.

Actually not bad, and OK as an outlier to a wardrobe but it could get tiresome if over used.

The amount of Lyral in this juice makes it problematic on the skin so it would most likely be better sprayed on cloth, occasionally.

09th November, 2013 (last edited: 08th October, 2018)
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Diorissimo by Christian Dior

I was recently sent a sample of Wild Hunt -CB I Hate Perfume, which I could only see as an anti perfume. That later made me realise that in the world of anti perfumes Diorissimo is the grande dame.
Diorissimo is a brilliant essay in scent matching, a very well realised excecution of the waxy, lemony, lily type scent of Muguet, even with the undertone of sharp green foliage properly correct in there.
But, is it a perfume?
No. Not as I understand it.
Like the smell of stale ditch water in WH, the smell of Muguet is a copy of nature, which simply reproduces what is there and doesn't add anything new.
Its a very well done piece of craft work. But as a artistic creation it fails.
As Coco Chanel said, women (or men for that matter) should not smell like a flower.
I give it a neutral rating for the quality of excecution (of the original formulation.)
Its a pity that such a great talent as Roudnitska should have spent so much time on his hands and knees sniffing Lily of the Valley plants in pursuit of such an endeavour, rather than creating another masterpiece.
09th November, 2013 (last edited: 04th June, 2015)

Dior Homme by Christian Dior

Dior Homme would be a good masculine floral were it not for the chemical overtone.

2011 formula

10th May, 2013 (last edited: 28th February, 2019)