Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Wild Gardener

Total Reviews: 315

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
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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)

Jean Marie Farina by Roger & Gallet

A dark, sturdy, smooth bergamot - orange accord comes mounted on a dry, clumpy and woody backdrop. This is the bland side of the petitgrain and synthetic neroli heart, the floral business end of which blends with and neatly hides the crunchy sweet drydown of the orange oil in the head. Together they combine to give this cologne its sustained orange direction. Spice comes through, and cedar and a discrete touch of musk can be found in the vetiver demerara brown base.

The original formula is some 200 years old and they've done a commendable job of bringing it up to date with modern materials. It remains good and true and hardly puts a foot wrong.

While other venerable marques have opted for prestige outlets with their associated high running costs, Roger & Gallet have stuck to a mid market strategy and sell their wares through a network of pharmacies. Extra Vielle isn't just good, at €40 for a 200ml splash bottle its a real bargain.

15th September, 2016 (last edited: 20th September, 2016)

Eau de Cologne by Chanel

Chanel released two colognes designed by Jacques Polge in 2007, Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport and the Exclusif.

The strategy reminds me of that used by motor manufacturers who make their cars in a range of models to suit various budgets. These two colognes are built around the same chassis of a hard and bright lemon - grapefruit accord. Allure is the basic, entry level runaround made to a strict budget, and Eau de Cologne de Chanel has all the trimmings you'd expect from a top of the range model.

They both launch on the same basic citrus accord, but here it comes ameliorated by lime, sweetness and discrete powdery and woody nuances that soften the citrus and broaden its effect ready for what is to come.

Its when you get into the luxury floral interior that the real magic starts. With a budget generous on quality ingredients like bitter orange, real(?) neroli and a decent musk, as well as Chanel's own Grasse jasmin, rose, lavender and spice, it all makes for a beautifully smooth elegant ride.

The other difference between Allure's basic saloon and the Exclusif black limousine must be the care and attention lavished on the evolution and detailing. It holds a fine balance between shiny and matt, acid and sweet, hard and soft. Crucially the citrus head accord remains crisp and true deep into the floral heart, thus maintaining the profile's artistic integrity as a cologne. It feels as though its been made to the same standards of excellence as the EdT's.

Cologne de Chanel is classified as feminine but for the first three hours or so it conjours up for me images of Saville Row shirts and high class tailoring, but then it makes a swerve to the feminine as the powdery sweet musky drydown starts to break through the citrus glass ceiling.

This is a traditional structure that relies on impeccable materials and great design work for its success rather than innovation, and so, in this conservative context, I think that remarking on a mild sense of gender realignment in the base is a valid criticism.

However, despite that, this is still one of the best colognes there is.

09th September, 2016 (last edited: 11th September, 2016)

Bad by Diesel

Egregious 'orange' 'woody' chemical nose beater so piercing its likely to cause bleeding if over applied.

03rd September, 2016

Bowling Green by Geoffrey Beene

Not the one in the picture, this is the original Sanofi one with a little cloth tied round the cap.

It's different, evidently. I get a little citrus and it's spicy and green but the pale sweet fruity core - that runs all the way down - smells like pear. And that makes it a little ... flaccid.

Pear fougère. Nice but not outstanding.

30th August, 2016 (last edited: 14th September, 2017)

Lotus Bleu by Roger & Gallet

Grapefruit meringue; citrus, white floral and oily Blue Lotus seed on a salt caramel base.

It would be alright if it could shake off the sour acrid overtone.

28th August, 2016

Eau Neuve (original) by Lubin

Because it has a full base accord, vintage Eau Neuve feels more like a tangy citrus Eau de Toilette with herbs, not a cologne.

Departing on a good clean lemon with choppy herbaceous note and sweet undertone, the citrus is not too pithy and has well sustained attack. The woody brown base then turns it into a lovely demerara chypre.

Impeccable materials, beautiful harmonies (and no white musk): simply excellent.

24th August, 2016 (last edited: 10th November, 2017)

Jeu d'Amour Eau de Toilette by Kenzo

Totally synthetic 'fruity floral' with a dog whistle overtone so penetrating it hurts.

If this is the Game of Love then I'm taking a Vow of Abstinence.

14th August, 2016 (last edited: 15th August, 2016)

Eau d'Orange Verte by Hermès

The original Eau de Cologne formulation was:

a good dry orange and verbena cologne with a hint of brown leather.

Long lasting and quality materials but a trifle old fashioned.

10th August, 2016
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What I did on my Holidays by 4160 Tuesdays

Sky of blue, and sea of breeze,
stick of minty rock, and ice cream.
Suntan oil, with coconut, and some
Candy floss, in the beach hut...
Ha ha!

We all went on our holidays to the beach,
it was lots of fun,
it is lots of fun.

10th August, 2016

Fan di Fendi pour Homme by Fendi

This is a dreary cocktail of crab apple purée, cedar, and nuclear strength pimento. Or - mush, wood and fallout if you prefer.

There is also a synthetic metal-grey, dry approximation of an aromatic accord that develops at the outset and which clouds over the heart section making it feel vague.

So, what Fan de Fendi pour Homme consists of is, a sweet unctuous amber and bitter-spicy tobacco accord which is supposed to be leather, plain cedar, and that manic pimento note irritating your nose, at either end of an ashy metallic grey fog.

Not only badly executed, the basic idea is utterly generic - the sort of thing you've smelled a dozen times before.

I suppose the two junior perfumers are also credited with this so they can at least blame each other.

04th August, 2016

Eau d'Hadrien Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

This is the most atypical, shady, low down smelling antithesis of all citrus colognes you could ever imagine; the Evil Twin of Extra Vielle; cologne from the Dark Side.

After the most perfunctory of citrus fanfares Eau d'Hadrien EdP maintains only the most marginal relation to citrus via its herbaceous and choppy textured lemongrass note; but this is a fig leaf - there to provide a surface cologne-like respectability to the hot caustic ginger that struggles to control its temper, and a dark bitter liquorice molasses found brooding in the depths.

These are the ones who rule here, so make no mistake. All those who imagine Eau d'hadrien to be a sunny Mediterranean sketch of citrus and cypress - think again.

And then, you may wonder; in one hour! ... where did it all go?

[Distant, booming Comedy Villain voice comes vanishing from the depths]

'No poxy white musks here!
Ha ha haa ... '

28th July, 2016 (last edited: 01st August, 2016)

Eau Pure by Caron

A casual blend of salty grapefruit-citrus and Passion fruit bubble gum that wants to be nothing more than olfactory lemonade.

And it does it pretty well; a nice discrete scent for beach bar, pool side or even Soirée Blanche.

Lemonade is the fun bit, but it soon fizzles out so you'll need a vapo to keep it going.

20th July, 2016 (last edited: 28th July, 2016)

Fresco by Victor

Below-stairs cologne:

A bland Woody cologne in the citrus and herb style of Blenheim Bouquet.

Without the latter's cut glass enunciation it soon comes to feel breathless, like the interior of a closed room.

15th July, 2016

1881 pour Homme by Cerruti

Michael Edwards classifies 1881 pour Homme as a citrus and it does have a yellow citrus and elemi theme, on which aromatic, fougère, green tree resins, white lily and big rose bouquet, iris, spicy and chypre elements progress.

Somewhat like a laid back Eau Sauvage and easier to wear, it settles to an elegant spicy fougère with dandified floral chic.

Strangely overlooked in The Guide, I wonder why, its really very good...

14th July, 2016 (last edited: 06th June, 2017)

Eau de Guerlain by Guerlain

Eau de Guerlain bursts out with a bright éclat of citrus and then transitions into a light EdT.

After the initial excitement of the citrus calms down the atmosphere becomes one of decorous restraint. But even if the feeling is rather conventional, the structure of this cologne is not ordinary at all.

Jean-Paul Guerlain wasn't trying to create something new however, he was attempting to conserve, for as long as possible, the fleeting effect of the cologne formula. He takes a similar approach to that of Acqua di Parma's Colonia (1916); but where they boost the heart accord right up with rose, he uses the fixative action of EdT base accords, including the trademark Guerlainade, to extend the cologne structure in a different direction.

In EdG the emphasis is very much on the opening, and then it runs straight down to the warm base at the expense of any distinct middle phase. The effect of this is to make EdG technically heartless. Not quite the void displayed by the much admired Jicky - which contains no heart notes at all, but the similarity is there, and I believe his grandfather's masterpiece may have influenced Jean-Paul when he composed this.

The transition from extrovert citrus to musky amber base with occluded neroli makes EdG coherent - its a managed decline rather than change of direction, but the price for this is the muted feeling the profile has for much of its life.

After the citrus hit (and on exposed skin this really is fleeting,) Eau de Guerlain doesn't really shine. What you get is musk, amber and sandal, with a neroli overlay and a touch of moss; the whole of which which seems to go against the spirit of a citrus cologne.

22nd June, 2016 (last edited: 22nd July, 2016)

Champs-Elysées by Guerlain

Watery, screechy, bitter plastinated pink floral.

I think its trying to be a Peony, but the only sure things about it are that it came from no flower that exists on this planet, and its utterly vile.

What's more, Champs Elysées seems to legitimise the general trend which has gripped certain quarters of the industry of late whereby the production of such obnoxious travesties of nature as Quatre and Figue de Vigne are considered to be valid exercises in perfume creation.

19th June, 2016

Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

A heavier sweeter Dior Homme with much more amber and a lot less interest.

19th June, 2016

4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser by 4711

When it comes to Eaux de Colognes, its not the idea you're paying for but the quality of execution. 4711 isn't bad, but its not so good either, it soon loses its refreshing edge as the citrus oils go pithy and dull.

No one expects longevity from an EdC. Putting musk in it is like putting ice cubes in your chilled white wine to keep it cool, it doesn't have much effect and just spoils the taste.

Instead of trying to spin out an ephemeral creation, it would be sensible for Mäurer & Wirtz to excise the musk from their formula and spend that money on better quality oils.

15th June, 2016 (last edited: 16th June, 2016)

Cuir Sensuel by Daniel Hechter

Its entirely possible that Francis Kurkdjian made this perfume for the same reason that I bought it - to see what he could produce for 17€ a bottle.

The result? A characteristic sweet ambery accord with a miasma of clear synthetics floating above.

I don't know why either of us bothered.


Revision :
Now that the juice has had a couple of years to settle it's lost the synthetic overtone and become a half decent suede paired with a strong fruity sweet chord. All right for the price but I'm still going to use it as air freshener.

09th June, 2016 (last edited: 15th October, 2018)

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

Airless green fouge-ypre.

06th June, 2016

Fat Electrician by Etat Libre d'Orange

Chestnut purée, vinegar, praline, and some herbaceous metallic thing, all book ended with vetiver. Clever.

31st May, 2016 (last edited: 03rd April, 2019)

Sycomore Eau de Toilette by Chanel

A creation of the utmost elegance, executed in the grand classical manner. Forged from the most luxurious materials, yet infused with an almost monastic austerity.

This is Coco's high class miserablism wonderfully transposed into scent; shades of dark green, touched off by anise and aldehydes, rounded by woods, resin and smoke.

What rescues Sycomore's tightly bound chic from the sterility of other minimalist ventures - of the sans fleurs, sans sucré, sans vie variety - is the underlying human warmth hidden behind every detail.

It's as devastating as any Little Black Dress, and what's more - its for men.

A landmark.

27th May, 2016 (last edited: 10th June, 2016)

Quorum by Antonio Puig

Any legal body must have enough members present before it can conduct its business; this is what's known as a quorum.

The bottle I have is so underpowered that a dozen sprays at the start of a board meeting would barely last till the second item on the agenda.

There were evidently so few odorants present on the 10th of January 2012 when the constituents of this juice were assembled it could not have been quorate.

21st May, 2016 (last edited: 12th October, 2016)

Escada Margaretha Ley by Escada

Endless volumes of syrup leading to a predictable conclusion:

Once the redundant bergamot and lime intro flies off, Margaretha Ley is revealed in all her sugar coated orange blossom and ylang ylang glory, eating canned peaches - in a nail parlour.

While the floral nuances hold up it's actually not bad, but these soon decay to reveal a heart so massively sweet that even Barbara Cartland might have found it schmaltzy.

Then comes the long slow descent into the banal, and slightly awry, oriental drydown.

20th May, 2016

Grès pour Homme by Grès

Poor man's Eau Sauvage

There is a steady trickle of wine makers coming to sharpen their olfactory skills at Cinquième Sens - the perfumery workshop in Paris.

Wine and perfume have more in common than a bouquet, they are luxury in a bottle; they both stimulate the senses and appeal to our emotions. But, there is an anomaly in the way they are marketed.

For whatever reason, wine is priced by quality, Vin Ordinaire is cheaper than Veuve Clicquot. No such transparency in perfume.

Grès released Pour Homme in 1965. It was a flat and plodding citrus woody cologne that was, no doubt, being sold at the same price as all the other stuff ie. not cheap. Then, within a year came Eau Sauvage.

If Table Wine and Champagne were the same price, which would you choose?

Poor Grès didn't have a chance.

16th May, 2016 (last edited: 17th May, 2016)