Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Wild Gardener

Total Reviews: 310

Oh Là Là by Azzaro

There is a message on the box of this 'delicious lively oriental' which reads

"Oh lala" is so beautiful;
it reminds me of you
and I love it as I love you.

In reality this scent (perfume being too grand a term for it) is an over sweet and dull woody gourmand with as much interest as raspberry ice cream - without the raspberry.

This is dumb one dimensional stuff, and about as sincere as Monsieur Azzaro's sickening little homily to the unfortunate buyer - who's just been hooked by their sweet tooth into handing over real money for fake fume.

Plain vanilla, no la la.

09th April, 2017 (last edited: 10th April, 2017)

Jacomo de Jacomo Original by Jacomo

Budget fougère that starts off with a thrilling whiff of smoke only to get shrill in the body. Like many things in life you get what you pay for.


Modern version
06th April, 2017 (last edited: 15th November, 2018)

Black by Bulgari

Annick Menardo's Parfum de Pneu or eau de tyre is an impressive idea, there's no denying its originality. The problem is that its passive-aggressive mix of dry rubber and aldehydic floral is more interesting than likeable, and this amounts to a self defeating strategy. It seems strange to criticise a work of art for not being practical but Black rarely gets worn in the gardener household because it's so difficult to connect with. More respect than love.

27th March, 2017 (last edited: 10th December, 2018)
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La Nuit de L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

On the positive side, the drydown to this is nice, a simple sweet powdery cardamom. The downside is that its a very sweet, and fruity, powdery cardamom that comes with a chemical note like hairspray and cold ash.

Happily the bum note mostly fades away, but thats only to leave a type of mediocre sweet woody masculine that would be ideal cover for those who smoke and have a taste for red energy drinks.

It should have been called La Nuit de l'Adolescent.

20th March, 2017 (last edited: 28th March, 2017)

Cravache by Robert Piguet

The word cravache means several things in French: its a riding crop, and as a verb it means to slog away at something thats tedious and hard work; both meanings apply here.

There is a smack of incense at the top, but this by itself is not enough to gee up a determinedly staid profile of woody bergamot and lavender, its dowdy brown-orange colouring in desperate need of the brightness that citrus's would bring.

Its difficult to make out, but more than that Cravache is also poorly structured. There's nothing to connect its amorphous woody mass with the the flying whiplash poised overhead; again, a place for citrus - and conventionally - aromatics could have been found here.

À la cravache means to drive flat out, but this is a freeze frame not a movie. Its like something you might come across in an old print of a stagecoach going full tilt across the page, the coachman forever whipping on his horses but never making contact with their hides, their legs never moving and the wheels not going round; Cravache is linear, static.

The last meaning is to be ruthless - like the critic excoriating a perfume completely undeserving of its risqué name, there being nothing even remotely snappy - never mind sadistic - about this dowdy juice that lacks character and coherence and ultimately goes nowhere.

13th March, 2017 (last edited: 14th March, 2017)

Citrus & Wood by Yardley

Poor man's Terre d'Hermès.

04th March, 2017 (last edited: 26th March, 2017)

Palo Santo by Carner Barcelona

A quiet and somewhat gauche duo of sweet milky caramel and difficult dry woods.

The opening flourish of disinfectant and acid fruity syrup hints at interesting things to come but sadly these fade out far too soon. This leaves the field open to a vaguely unsettling and unpalatable dry woody iris set against a thick and creamy comfort-food caramel.

The obvious tension in this repulsion / attraction gourmand theme has potential to be developed but the challenge is ducked. What could have been a meditation on the complexities of taste and eating issues gets lost as the edgy appetite sapping wood is swamped by an excess of sweet caramel.

There's a mildly surprising twist that leads to a drydown of orange inflected woods, which is ok, but between the first act and the finalé of this teenage Samsara there lies a long boring interlude and a missed opportunity.

02nd March, 2017 (last edited: 18th March, 2017)

Wanted by Azzaro

Fruity apple shampoo, gingery syrup and spiky woody amber, all rolled up into another one of those shouty things for youths. Not the worst of them by any means but not really wanted by me.

26th February, 2017

Nuit Etoilée by Annick Goutal

Nuit Étoilée : terre fruitée.
Goutal's Mandragore theme turned inside out.

18th February, 2017 (last edited: 01st October, 2017)

L'Interdit (original) by Givenchy

In 1953 Audrey Hepburn asked her close friend and couturier Hubert de Givenchy to help her commission a scent for her exclusive personal use. He was by this time au fait with the world of perfumery and he passed the job over to the author of L'Air du Temps. The perfume was duly composed for Hepburn and when it was done L'Interdit, the Forbidden One was hers and hers alone. However, four years later Givenchy wanted to launch his own perfume collection and when his first juice Le De was ready he put L'Interdit on the market at same time. As he explained, 'with two horses in the stable there is more chance of coming in first'. Like many other couturiers his dresses were not selling anymore.

The original formula is an aldehydic floral bouquet, with a flourish of juniper and herbal notes in the head, fruity and spicy notes folded into the floral heart, and a biscuit undercurrent which later comes through supported by an oily-feeling vetiver sandal and amber base.

Its a simple construction that settles into a light, uplifting creamy yellow floral decorated with subtle ornamental flourishes. Although L'Interdit is an aldehydic in the hard and smooth eggshell manner of Blue Grass (1934) or Je Reviens (1932), it has a softer and more sympathetic floral theme than those other two. Where their lesser ornamentation and more straightforward articulation gives them a more functional and domestic feel - with metal polish notes for example, L'Interdit's sweet florals express more of a feminine feel than the 1930's iterations.

L'Interdit also has a certain amount in common with that comparatively ebullient floral aldehydic at the other end of the spectrum - Chanel No.5. With more clearly expressed ornamental themes and much more discrete florals the Givenchy is far less abstract, and outgoing, than the 1921 Chanel classic. When these two are put head to head its possible to see just how quiet L'Interdit is, just like Hepburn herself was in real life.

Somewhere between these two floral aldehydic tropes of homely domesticity and modernist abstraction, L'Interdit feels like an uncertain negotiation between private and public spheres, a bit like the sitation an introvert film star might find herself in when she walks onto the set.

16th February, 2017

Les Notes de Lanvin : Oud & Rose by Lanvin

That well known rule of perfumery Luca Turin's Iron Law - which states that in every trio of perfumes one of them shall be naff - has been broken by Les Notes de Lanvin.

The superior quality* of Oud & Rose when compared to the others in the series suggests that a second rule may be at work here; a harder-wrought, more demanding, Platinum Law of Perfumery which states that only one of the trio can be good.

*(I should perhaps qualify this opinion by saying that Vetyver Blanc, while being no two-dimensional lash up, smells chemically pungent and ill conceived and I never wear it; and after an hour's skin test the third placed Orange Amber never even made it home with me - even at the discount price it was offered at...)

It is really false modesty on the part of Interparfums to imply that their Notes de Lanvin collection is just that - a collection of notes - as though they were simple two-tone colognes, just like those of 4711.

The name Oud & Rose, while accurate, doesn't really do justice to the scent; it feels like a fully worked out Eau de Toilette - which is exactly what it is : a rose water nougat, decorated with strawberry and iris-rasperry notes, surrounded by lighter modulations of citrus, orange flower, banana and green notes. And of course there is the usual Western style sticking plaster oud. There are also some screechy synthetics - which the oud cannot totally disguise and which can sometimes get a bit intrusive.

This bitter-sweet and powdery rose oud starts off well enough, but the complexity soon fades and then later the quality. It's like the money (or the time) ran out before work on the second half was finished. Enough effort seemingly went into the project for one good fume, but not a trilogy. The two underperformers should therefore have been dropped and this one worked up into something special. As a fully finished, high quality stand alone it might have still been on the market today.

14th February, 2017

French Line by Révillon

Dark fruit and woods without the powder and civet; a less sophisticated version of Antaeus.

10th February, 2017

Aramis 900 by Aramis

If you've ever felt like wearing Aromatics Elixir but found it just too much, this might be what you're after.

A900 is a cleaned up, smoothed out version of Aromatics with a lot of the bombast stripped away. Its a much quieter, positively modest version that has nothing like the same staying power - which makes it easier to carry off than its monumental sibling but its also a lot less fun: a bit like Ride of the Valkyries played by brass band when you were hoping for the Berlin Philharmonic.

03rd February, 2017 (last edited: 10th February, 2017)
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Black by Comme des Garçons

After the peppery - anisic - boozy rush of the intro it could be possible to talk about the many nuances there are in Black, but this would probably be misleading because they're really no more than a sideshow.

Black doesn't take long to settle into its groove of burnt cedarwood and rubber with a sweet marshmallow undertone. The cedarwood is the principle actor here, and its also a basenote - and we'll see why this is important later on.

Cedar is paired with a smoky note - which may well come from cade oil and birch tar, but the woody core also smells like it contains an empyratic grade of cedarwood oil (which the amateur can buy in head shops in the UK) and this oil has a remarkably similar smell of blackened wood and rubber to that which is found in Black.

The best part is this early main phase where the rubbery and smoky notes add a frisson of danger, but the rubber soon fades away (which is characteristic of the head shop oil) and leaves only the smoke clinging on. The smoke then merges with rising incense and bitter powdery iris notes, which do nothing to change the direction of the scent, or its desiccated texture. These secondary notes are essentially replacements for the more interesting modifiers that preceded them.

For a while Black is driven by a contrast of bitter smoke and sweet fruity notes, but as they fade out and the internal dynamics unwind it loses a lot of its mystique, and once this transition point is reached the profile doesn't change that much anymore. All thats left is a slow and linear decline of the incense, smoky and sweet notes from around the burnt cedar which, eventually, is left standing on its own with just a whiff of licorice.

The licorice is a nice touch but its still not enough to stop the smell of charred wood from getting pretty boring by the end; and by the end we're talking days, not hours; and remember - its been there right from the start, almost...

At first the idea of burnt smoky wood and black rubber seemed bold and inventive, but with more exposure to it I've changed my mind. Black starts off well but it gets tedious - it far outstays its welcome.

29th January, 2017 (last edited: 08th April, 2017)

Miss Dior Originale Eau de Toilette (previously Miss Dior) by Christian Dior

The original 1947 Miss Dior in the black and white hound's tooth check was a brown leather chypre and this olfactory hue immediately sets it apart from its great congener and wartime rival Bandit. If Bandit (1944) is the scent of a black leather handbag filled with odds and ends - the scented accoutrements of a hard bitten madame in Occupied Montparnasse, Miss Dior can be the scent of the perfumed saddle of Epona - Celtic goddess of horses who, in Apuleius's bawdy and picaresque novel The Golden Ass, has a shrine in a stable adorned with roses.

I choose this archaic metaphor because it is - today, like Miss Dior - out of its time. There has been a slippage in our olfactory social conventions over the past seventy years and Miss Dior is a perfect example of how things have changed in a lifetime.

Leather chypre was once an odour that denoted femininity. Admittedly this was an embattled post WWII femininity struggling with destruction, shortage and widowhood, but at the time leather chypre was a very popular genre for women's scent. Because of changes that have happened in society since then, Miss Dior came to smell no longer feminine in the way it had; the effects of war ceased to touch people in the same way that they used to and women were no longer survivors who had to learn to appear (and smell) resilient in the face of catastrophe. Consequently, this tough but big hearted floral has, by today's olfactory standards, slipped much closer to the gender boundary - it smells to our noses much less feminine than it originally did. What it signifies today is much less clear cut, but still no less beautiful than it was back in the aftermath of World War Two. Let's take a look at what its saying.

Brown leather chypre, with a humid undertone of stable yard and horse. There's a liquid crystalline citrus accord with the tang removed, and a spicy pepper clove and coriander overtone, with a base of resins balms, vetiver moss and patchouli. As it unfolds the spicy leather softens to reveal a lovely rose-jasmin and lily heart, surrounded by iris, neroli, lavender, tuberose and a green accord.

It was robust and yet subtle, with the grace of a chestnut thoroughbred mare. But Miss Dior was no pushover; she was - despite the soft pink heart - a commanding floral chypre with presence.

In their excellent book Perfumery, Calkin & Jellinek declared Miss Dior to be 'an extraordinary balancing act between contrasting materials, [and] one of the most admired perfumes among perfumers [at the time].

By today's sensibilities, Miss Dior doesn't read like a feminine. But the prominent floral centrepiece means it doesn't smell masculine either. The closest comparison to extant perfumery would probably be Aramis - wearing his floral heart very much on his sleeve; and this illustrates the problem that the original formula of Miss Dior posed for the contemporary perfume market - it didn't meet the needs of women of today.

After the war ended in 1945, confidence returned and people's tastes rebounded towards something lighter and more optimistic. Perfume buyers no longer wanted olfactory leather armour to protect their vulnerable emotions, and perfumery was not slow to respond. Only a year after Miss Dior came out, a new perfume appeared that was to become one of the cornerstones of modern perfumery - L'Air du Temps, an abstract gardenia and carnation bouquet - not a chypre.

Miss Dior managed to cling on right up until the seventies, but gradually the chypre went out of style and was all but abandoned as a feminine trope, to be replaced by florals, orientals and more recently gourmands as the default signifiers of femininity.

Nowadays, women want (or are told they want) something less confrontational, more consumable. Because of what had become by the eighties the complete loss of its cultural relevance, Miss Dior had to be completely overhauled if it was to survive as a commercial product.

As a result, this one time market leader and critically acclaimed masterpiece was axed and completely reformulated; it had to fall in line with current demands or fall by the wayside. Consequently, what was once the reference brown leather chypre, and one of the greatest perfumes of all time is no more: what goes by that name today is nothing but a bunch of fruity florals.

23rd January, 2017

Bandit by Robert Piguet

In todays world of fruity saccharin bombs, it seems inconceivable that such a remorseless leather chypre as this, adorned with citrus, spice and the barest minimum of florals could ever have been created as a feminine.

Black patent leather emerging from a shimmering rainbow sillage, Bandit remains - despite reformulation - an enduring and protean masterpiece, created from under the boot heel of Nazi occupation by that greatest of iconoclasts Germain Cellier.

16th January, 2017 (last edited: 10th March, 2017)

Midnight Oud by Juliette Has a Gun

The principle notes are oud - saffron - rose : but none of them are really 'real'. A dearth of natural oils makes Midnight Oud feel pretty synthetic; but thats not to say that synthetic is bad - on the contrary, the syrupy-plasticky background sets the fake oud off to good effect.

Its a clean type of oud with no smoky or animal notes but instead you get a smidge of rubber at the start, possibly from the dry bitter saffron substitute. The 'saffron' pairs up with the oud for most of its course, and there's a shy rose accord which mingles in the background with a red cocktail of fruity molecules; this is where the plasticky syrup texture comes in. There's a complement of woody notes and powder which lend a slight hint of naturality to proceedings, but having said that, powder isn't a natural aroma - its just simply one that we mostly all recognise, and so in fact the only natural smell in Midnight Oud is a minor undertone of wood.

Even though 'real' smells are in the minority the profile still doesn't take off into the realms of science fiction, but, by Western standards the red brown, hard bitter woody-oily note combined with the disinfectant twang of 'oud' is pretty out there none the less.

Considering the financial constraints - $15,000 a kilo for oud oil, $1,500 for saffron - (top prices on Alibaba), it should be no surprise that Midnight Oud (like all commercial 'oud's) is a synthetic reconstruction.

But, whether this perfume smells like 'real' oud and saffron or not is really besides the point. Midnight Oud - like Joy, No.5, J'Adore and all other modern perfumes employ interpretations of natural smells (or other perfumes) and not reproductions of them; ie they don't claim to be - or aim to be - copies of flowers, wood, fruit etc, and we shouldn't regard oud as any different to jasmin or rose in this respect. One hardly ever smells pure jasmin or real rose in a (modern conventional) perfume, they are always augmented by isolates and synthetics - and for a host of good reasons, not only price. Therefore, even the best made of modern perfumes must - by their very nature - be, and smell, artificial.

Because Midnight Oud is Romano Ricci's interpretation of the old Arabian construct of oud - saffron - rose, it is doubly artificial. It uses synthetic materials to achieve an interpretation of an exogenous style; its not a genuine Arabian perfume, but an 'Arabian style' perfume made in Europe - big difference.

Modern perfume does not, and indeed should not smell nature identical (be a straight up representation of flowers etc). It is, and should smell like, an interpretation; an artistic (or crafty) re-presentation of 'flowers', filtered through an individual's personal vision.

And what of this interpretation of oud using an imitation of Oud? The question, to my mind, is not "does it smell like oud?" but does it smell any good?

Well, no it doesn't really - and yes it really does.

11th January, 2017 (last edited: 12th January, 2017)

Peau d'Ailleurs by Starck

You've maybe heard about Guerilla Gardening - where people reconnect with the land by growing plants in wasted urban spaces. Well, Peau d'Ailleurs is the smell of an imaginary guerilla garden : a beetroot pushing through the black mineral dirt in a crack of concrete, watered by a stagnant puddle, splattered with citrus milkshake :- welcome to Guerilla Perfumery!

Don't give up yet though, its not all about trash and decay... Running through Peau d'Ailleurs - like a seam of muted gold - is a subtle, musky, creamy lemon floral.

Peau d'Ailleurs is a fabulous challenge - like a tightrope walk through the wasteland; musky lemon on one side, ditchwater on the other.

24th December, 2016 (last edited: 28th March, 2017)

Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

Its nearly Christmas as I write and my nostrils have become well attuned to the smell of Scotch whisky. So, when I was going through a selection of scents today it wasn't difficult to pick up on the opening gambit of Cuir Ottoman as a booze fest for the nose. Not exactly a single malt but not far off...

Later in the winnowing process what turned up was iris. I can't be more specific because it wasn't a perfume review I had in mind but something new for the upcoming festivities.

Can't say that Cuir Ottoman smells much of leather, and neither does it remind me of the land of Turkey, but then, hey, I'm no expert...

23rd December, 2016 (last edited: 04th January, 2017)

Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

Gucci pour Homme substitute.

21st December, 2016

Opium pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Opium pour Homme begins with a duet of anise and blackcurrant and this pair leads us straight to the core of the piece - fruity notes wrapped around bergamot. Along with citrus oils they give the impression of a slightly oily and dark orange.

Amongst the many colours swirling around this thin, fruity-aromatic syrup is an oddly out of place, pale medico-camphoraceous Atlas cedar. It reminds me of the milky-fresh smell of urinal cake that comes from the more hygienic of mens public toilets; but there are more congenial smells too...

You can find tobacco leaf, whiskey & orange, ginger ale and mulled wine with spices and mandarin. There's also an aromatic note and a green accord with pine. The hint of outdoor freshness they give feels like a window's been left open somewhere and the cedar note points us in the direction of the bathroom.

At first OpH is a bit underwhelming, but it does get better... A dusty sweet pot-pourri rounds up all the wispy loose ends and ties them in together, this helps to make sense of all the bits and pieces, and the dusty dryness adds more body to it all.

Its only in the later stages that the profile really comes together. The acid-fruity and thin oily syrup marries with the dusty sweet pot-pourri, and where they meet the patchouli-vanilla base it makes for a tangy-fruity, light brown sweet cake of a comfy gourmand oriental. This will leave a trace of fine, dry, sweet baked goods on your sweater; its only in the light drydown that 'Opium le Garçon' redeems himself from his rather unsuccessful start in life.

I call him that because he's got nothing like the quality of his mother, the original feminine version which is truly monumental in stature and persistence.

Being fresh and fruity - but also warmly convivial, OpH is ideal for the party season.

12th December, 2016 (last edited: 28th December, 2016)

This is Her! by Zadig & Voltaire

There's a new shape in the air and this is it!

Under the guidance of old master Michel Almairac, young nose Sidonie Lancesseur has come up with the new dispensation.

With its creamy sillage shot through with a scintillating fizz, This is Her! is simple and deadly effective. Its young, its audacious, and its ubercool.

Its a dry creamy-nutty floral with ginger iris and a lick of red fruits for colour thats been blasted with soda bubbles.

Running along the pale minimalist lines of Helmut Lang's Cologne and Rush for Men, this new work from the author of Straight to Heaven and Lumière Blanche knocks the syrupy stuffing out of the old fruity floral and has the potential to define a new generation's idea of floral abstraction.

This is great, its the most exciting thing I've smelled this year!

07th December, 2016 (last edited: 09th December, 2016)

Xeryus Rouge by Givenchy

In this review I am going to do a head to head comparison of Ouragan and Xeryus Rouge because they are so similar.

The departures are essentially the same, Orange Tango; pimento, thin exotic fruit and citrus in XR, and OU has bergamot, mandarin and orange, and some sharpness, but here its more restrained.

There is the same formica-like, clear sour woody-plastic off note in both of them.

They both also have an aromatic herbal component but Xeryus Rouge is dryer, more acidic and spare and has better definition. Ouragan leans more towards the aromatic and then gets sweeter and more floral as time goes on, spreading wider, getting softer and becoming warmer with spice.

OU evolves in the direction of sweetened geranium. This makes for a decent transition which moves the profile through from citrus down to the sweet ambery powdery base.

By contrast there's a problem with the central section of XR. Its a version of Xeryus, but the woody musky heart is far back in the mix and reads only as a weak floral element. Although its detectable on paper, in practice the heart stays very much in the background and as a consequence the profile feels hollow. There is only this recessive mild floral and sweet woody musk accord to connect the pimento top with the powdery vanillin and balsamic base.

The two works very much prioritise opposite ends of the formula. XR spins out the long lasting trim head, pulling it down over the sweet fluffy woody core, and there's really no base to speak of.

OU inevitably diverges from this pattern because its a regular three part structure with a fully worked out base. The base is where OU reaches its climax, a dark woody sandal and amber overlay accompanied by a strengthening warm spicy note. There's also possibly vetiver to give an extra demerara sugar fullness to what is a comparatively much richer and more successful drydown.

The heads are different in detail but broadly similar in outline, piquant orange citrus. From below the top and down to the base the central core of both works is very similar, except that OU has been given some extra padding. Its only in the base that they really diverge.

So, it seems likely that OU was, shall we say, inspired by XR. One is more powerful, piquant and spare, the other a sweeter, bland and fuller version of the same subgenre or species, namely woody citrus (powdery).

One point of criticism; the off note is present in both formulae but in XR its more intrusive, stronger and longer lasting. There's no place for the off note to hide in the compact profile of XR, but the broader and more fluffy body of OU manages to cover it up sooner. And so, to be consistent I've had to mark XR down.

Another point; Ouragan is available in supermarkets and costs a third of what Xeryus Rouge was selling for in the perfume shops.

In summary; OU is the more mainstream, safe, fuller and more natural smelling of the two, while XR is more adventurous, more aggressive, more spare and definitely more synthetic.

Today XR could be read as a signpost saying Sauvage this way ---> 11 (years).

Xeryus Rouge - Givenchy 1995 **
Annick Menardo

Ouragan - Masculin by Bourjois 1997 ***
François Demachy
02nd December, 2016

Ouragan by Bourjois

Because Ouragan isn't well known, and because it's similar to Xeryus Rouge you can find a comparison of them here :
16th November, 2016 (last edited: 28th November, 2016)

Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

In the old days before digital, photographers would calibrate their cameras by using a grey card, 50% black 50% white.

Drakkar Noir achieves a similar balance by mixing the dark tones of leather, patchouli and tree moss with lavender and coumarin. DN may be called black but to my synesthetic nose it smells grey, grey like fluffy mould.

The neutral tones of DN were adopted by feminists when it first came out in the eighties. The tactic of wearing traditionally male perfumes allowed women to sidestep olfactory stereotypes long before Serge Luten's Palais Royale brought crossover scents back into the mainstream.

A middle of the road fougère, sweet yet bitter, moderately heavy, opaque but nebulous, it still divides people today. Some love it. Others perhaps unsettled by its vague indeterminate nature don't like it at all.

It is easy to overdo it with DN, too much can get suffocating so moderation should be the order of the day - not too much and not too little.

I think its not bad - but not great either, just quite nice. Technically its no great shakes either, another barbershop fougère.

And the legacy of Drakkar Noir : eighties gender bender or the smell of shaving foam in a can...?


14th October, 2016 (last edited: 22nd November, 2016)

Chloé Innocence by Chloé

Innocence - case Not Proven

A sort of sugar-water pink peony, with jasmin, grannies violets and orange flower, but even notes like grapefruit, banana skin, green notes and a bitter dark iris nuance can't restrain an overwhelming sugar rush tendency. Although this is a massively sweet-toothed profile it actually handles the syrup quite well; by holding onto the watery texture it manages to stay on the breathable side of glycerine.

It comes as no surprise to see the adverts for Innocence featuring a pale, blue eyed blond girl of mid teens and impeccable complexion; the super-sweet scent profile points directly at the teen market.

The saccharin simplicity of Innocence is a remote descendant of that first great puberty perfume - Anaïs Anaïs, and both must be held responsible for prizing open the bedroom door to those morally (and aesthetically) dubious phenomena, Celebrity Perfume and perfume marketed at girls.

Chloé - not so innocent.

11th October, 2016

LouLou by Cacharel

Parfum chouchou:

LouLou is to the white floriental what metallic paint trainers are to a pair of Stan Smiths, its the gritty sparkle that makes 'em stand out.

07th October, 2016

This is Him! by Zadig & Voltaire

This is one of the best spiky woods so far, but needles, sweet powder, woody amber and ashes still isn't saying that much.

01st October, 2016

Gieffeffe by Gianfranco Ferré

Cheap and nasty:

Cheap smelling bubble bath that turns into a cheap smelling floral.
GFF then loses a star for the nasty metallic note.

23rd September, 2016

Armani Eau pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

The tangy basil - citrus - bergamot opening comes laced with cool spice. This is set over a base of lightly sweetened dark woody vetiver and patchouli. Coriander adds an air of aromatic sophistication but even a large dose of linalool can't stop the profile from quickly plunging into obscurity. It gets more and more muddied till the whole thing becomes just a featureless dark brown with a citrus tang rising up; like a brown bear in a bear pit, thrashing around on the mandarins put down for bait.

The recent fashion for adding piquant notes to the profile of designer masculines shows how, in theory, this type of thing could be improved. A hard edge at the top would add definition to the structure and could help to provide direction to its evolution. But the success of this strategy depends on material quality, whether its traditional incense or pepper etc, or even aldehydes that make the cut, or whether the option is for savage industrial chemicals.

After a promising opening vintage Eau pour Homme becomes a disappointing muddy brown mess; its dull and its boring, but it could be worse - at least it isn't offensive.

20th September, 2016 (last edited: 27th September, 2016)