Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Starblind

Total Reviews: 103

Chypre Palatin by MDCI

All chypres call my name, and this one in particular has a gorgeous angularly-green opening that draws me in and holds me tight for approximately 10 minutes. Then, unfortunately, the whole thing collapses like a flattened souffle, and the fun is over. The rest is simply too abstractly floral and powdery for me to appreciate, especially after that glorious beginning. Perhaps if it hadn't begun with such flair. Perhaps if the greenery weren't so attenuated. Perhaps if the majority of its scent-life weren't so "vanilla" and humdrum.
29th April, 2018

Eau de Protection / Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d'Orange

For reasons unknown, this reminds me of Aromatics Elixir underlaid with some kind of fecally-musk. By rights, as an animalic and strange-scent lover, I should probably enjoy this, but it's a bit too prickly for me, overall. The geranium and ginger and pepper send it over an edge too far for me.
12th April, 2018

Ubar Woman by Amouage

If I were an entirely different female, I might love this, but Ubar is simply too heavily and abstractly floral for me to appreciate. And the lily of the valley and civet make for a combination I cannot abide. The whole thing is simply too rich and high-pitched and pee-like (in equal measure). If I wore only Chanel and lived in Palm Beach, maybe, but since I wear old Levis and Vans and live in S.F., this one is not for me.
30th March, 2018
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Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens

I adore this weird, wild scent! It smells like nothing I am familiar with, although it triggers distant memories of a rosy, leathery chypre from the golden, olden days. Thankfully it is far less bombastic than Knowing or L'arte di Gucci and contains none of their unending spikiness, either. This is a wondrously animalic apricot rose wearing expensive leather pants while desultorily placing somewhat wilted roses by their dead mother's crypt.

I must have a bell jar.
18th January, 2018

Fumabat by Couteau de Poche

This definitely smells vintage in a sort of 1970's way. It's not quite a headshop--it's more sophisticated than that--but it hints at herbs and patchouli and darkness in a rather attractive fashion. I think the smokey frankincense gives this fragrance some lift, while the muted carnation tips it over into the unisex category. The whole thing sort of winks at leather, in the same way that it flirts at all of its other notes; it simply refuses to be tied down to one firm category of scent. It's skittishness makes it interesting to me; I simply can't quite tell what I'm smelling from one moment to the next. Is it inky or herby? Incense-y or soapy? It's somehow all of these and more. I think males of all stripes may love this one, as well as females who enjoy old school orientals and funky scents like Bandit.
16th November, 2017

Les Déserts d'Orient - Encens Mythique d'Orient by Guerlain

I so wanted to love this: A modern Guerlain that I could get my hands on, unlike the vintage frags that I search and scour the internet for. Plus, it had incense and ambergris--wow, what could go wrong? Well for me, pretty much everything. There is a synthetic and artificial overlay here that ruins the entire scent for me. Its extreme chemical nature gives this fragrance the sharp, almost crackling sensation of static electricity, and it permeates the perfume from top to bottom. I have tried this scent on several different occasions, thinking perhaps that different weather or a different attitude (mine) might change things for the better. Nope. :-(
29th October, 2017 (last edited: 27th April, 2018)

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

I used to love this scent and actually used up a couple large bottles before deciding that it smelled just a tiny bit sweet in a bothersome way. If the EDC had bit more power, I would wear it instead since I am intrigued by its somewhat more-herbal and less-honeyed nature. Regardless, I received many compliments on the EDP, its thick sweetness just wore me down a bit as the wearing-hours progressed. It is definitely a musk for those looking for something rich and slightly floral and with just a hint of bodily sexiness. It somehow feels thick, as if it is laced with sweetened, almost curdled cream and a teeny, tiny dollop of human musk.

The vintage version is the one to get. The reformulation contains a slightly metallic edge that takes away from the richness of the scent's overall profile.
29th October, 2017

La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens

Both sweet and soapy with an incense-rootbeer combination. Aldehydes aplenty early on, so be cautious in your sprayage. This is an unusual Lutens, and I like it all the more for it. I would love to smell this on a man since it leans more to the feminine side (the juxtaposition of this bubbly anise-filled soda would be so surprising and sexy on a male!). Evidently this scent reminds many people of Mr. Bubble, but since I missed that part of childhood, I notice only its resemblance to a lightly and slightly "churchy" A&W. Nearly impossible to find, but worth the effort.
27th October, 2017

Inverno Russo by Areej le Doré

Russian Adam thrilled and astonished me when he came out with Siberian Musk and Ottoman Empire, both of which are simply stunning fragrances that I am proud to own and love. Of his four brand new Areej le Dore scents, Inverno Russo is my favorite, although I find it surprisingly more challenging to wear than any of his earlier releases. The oud and the musk and the civet render this fragrance decidedly animalic--not stinky or skanky, per se--but in a dark, chewy, chocolate-mixed-with-oud sort of way. And there is even a tiny, almost naphthalene-like note that adds to its indolic character. This rich noir-ishness reminds me of the plush, velvety texture of certain vintage scents by Lanvin and Patou that I adore and miss, although I find Inverno Russo a bit less balanced than these older frags. Here, the darker aspects seem to override the florals--something that is especially noticeable when sprayed on clothing. I have a feeling that the oud Adam used here is partly (or primarily) responsible for this scent's unusual darkness and depth, but there are also some notes here I am unfamiliar with (e.g., Indonesian gaharu boya and betel leaf) that may be contributing, as well. While the beautiful florals combined with the clove and cardamom and sandalwood, recall Adam's own Ottoman Empire, Inverno Russo's far deeper base takes this scent into decidedly different territory. I think many will find IR's oudy and animalic nature compelling, while I find it just a bit too 'bottom heavy' to enjoy as a daily wear.
14th October, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2017)

Atlantic Ambergris by Areej le Doré

If you liked House of Matriarch's Blackbird, you should try Atlantic Ambergris. I mention these two in connection primarily as a reference point, since AA is so unusual that it is hard to pin down, label, or define. The two scents are not dopplegangers by any stretch of the imagination, but they share a overall profile that feels somewhat similar. The airy, slightly marine top notes, combined with a highly outdoorsy pine, and a darker oudy, incensed base makes me think of the denser, more urban-smelling HoM scent. AA is definitely lighter in tone and more floral, while Blackbird contains some darker tar-like notes that the Areej le Dore does not. I think this scent would smell incredible on a man, although an iconoclastic female could easily pull it off as well.

Very natural smelling and quite intriguing.
14th October, 2017 (last edited: 15th October, 2017)

Phi - Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer

I SO want to love this one! The opening notes fill me with the sort of delight that makes me immediately refigure my entire perfume budget. A tender rose all tarted up with spicy warm apricot--oh my! I fall in love each and every time I smell Phi's beginning. But then...then some sort of prickly and utterly synthetic chemical note/chord (Ambroxan? Iso Super E?) takes over and overwhelms the entire scent, pushing and shoving like a schoolyard bully anytime a bit of apricot or cinnamon attempts to raise its timid head. It's an unfair fight, and the smell of something unfortunately similar to rubbing alcohol wins by a knock out.

Call the principal. :-(
11th October, 2017 (last edited: 18th November, 2017)

Pear + Olive by Slumberhouse

My very least favorite from Slumberhouse. And that's saying something since I am not a fan of their thick, dense, heavy-footed, pedal to the metal house style. Here, however, it is the sweetness, rather than the density that does me in. I actually feel physically ill when smelling this combination of pear and fig(?) and coconut and cognac. It reminds me of a very cheap fruity shampoo I once bought by mistake. Where, oh, where is the olive?

10th October, 2017

Chamade by Guerlain

If I were a real floral-lover, this is the perfume I would wear. The vintage version of Chamade feels as if you are plunging your entire face into a pollen-filled bouquet of fresh, just-picked flowers. Heady, beautiful, and utter springtime lushness ensues. The ylang ylang is what makes this as glowingly golden and delicious as it is, and I find myself breathing the scent in over and over as if it were a tonic or drug of some sort. The whole thing is almost too radiant for me, and because I really don't wear rich floral scents, I don't own this, but I do adore smelling it from time to time.

Glorious is the descriptor that best fits this fragrance.
09th October, 2017
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L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens

Was this one the beginning of the end for Serge? The slippery synthetic slope down which he has continued to slide? This is a frosty sheet of incensed ice, or perhaps in less complimentary terms, the plastic window sheeting meant to keep that iciness out. There is something a wee bit interesting about the spicy, cooling effect of the mentholated incense, but that's about it for the plus side here. Otherwise, it's just another in Luten's line up of transparent chemical coldness.

08th October, 2017

Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal

This has been reformulated and much to its detriment. I used to like (but not love) its slightly vegetal muskiness. It was a berry-sweet, barely there puff-of-a fragrance, with a tiny bit of green thanks to the angelica top note. A somewhat pretty, inoffensive mid-point between clean white musks and far dirtier ones.

Now however, it is nothing at all. Or it is a nothing created synthetically with only a faint resemblance to its original self--which was already faint enough to begin with. This is kind of sad, since it filled a much-needed and right-in-the-middle spot on the musk spectrum.

Don't bother unless you can find an older bottle. (Even then you, like some, may be anosmic to its particular type of musk notes.)
08th October, 2017

Grand Cuir by Parfums Retro

I'm amazed that no one is mentioning the stinkier aspects of this! There is a decidedly animalic component to this 'leather' scent, in fact, it smells primarily like a fascinating combination of soap and stink, squeaky clean barbershop accords and exceptionally dirty leather. There are mothballs galore and a dry down of leathery musk that permeate the entire thing and make it smell reminiscent of 'sinful' feminine perfumes from long ago. The indolic nature of the orange blossom and other florals gives this Cuir a very intriguing and darkly voluptuous bent that I love. Too bad it is now discontinued because I would wear this one myself and revel in its bad-boy attitude.
08th October, 2017

Cuir Cordoba by Keiko Mecheri

Because I am one of those heathens who does not appreciate Daim Blond, I am also no fan of Cuir Cordoba--which is essentially Daim Blond with more violets. This type of scent is my idea of perfume hell (or at least purgatory). It smells like a neo-traditional notion of what a rather prim, rule-abiding, and well-to-do female should/would wear. It stakes no claim and makes no promises; its main goal seems to be smelling delicate, non-threatening, and utterly inoffensive.

Maybe if I were a nun.

Or a robot.
06th October, 2017

Private Collection - Cuir d'Iris by Parfumerie Generale

I would simply love to smell this on a man. Or on the world's most chic and sophisticated woman. (Erin O'Connor or Tilda Swinton might fit the bill.) This is dark leather. It isn't bitter or brutal, but it is black or very dark chocolate in its coloration. It has an aristocratic nose and Vikings somewhere in its heritage. This perfume has a spine of steel and it occasionally mucks out the stalls, and then puts on a a beautifully tailored frock coat and smokes a cigar.

Okay, but how does it smell? Like uncured leather combined with some rooty vegetation, a hint of tobacco and the darkest, richest, bittersweet chocolate money can buy.
06th October, 2017

Chypre Mousse (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

One of the very few scents about which I vacillate even while I'm wearing it. I can love and hate Chypre Mousse both in the space of 5 minutes' time. Put it on, wash it off, put it back on again. Is it a bag of vegetables liquefied and left rotting in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, or a druid's magic potion found beneath a giant, spotted toadstool? I can never quite make up my mind. Its dark-green complex strangeness reminds me of Onda, while its odd minerality makes me think of the original L'air de Rien.

Whatever it is, one thing is certain: it is ODD and almost enchanting. And for me, that is good.

I think.

06th October, 2017

Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir

Next to Yatagan, this is one of the most truly vegetal scents I've put my nose on. All manner of green leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, and buds grow and thrive here in a profusion of herbal and slightly peppery undergrowth. Tuberose (thank heavens) is only an incidental player here, adding merely a tiny bit of florality to the intense and almost bitterly green nature of this fragrance. I am reminded of two other new scents, Dryad and Naja, and if you mixed the verdure of the first with the smokiness of the second you might come up with something close to the Goodsir. This is definitely not a clean green or a springtime green or perhaps even a green that any of us is familiar with. Instead, it is a noir-ish green that hides a tiny sting or snakebite--the scent that vaporized into the air when the serpent wound around that very first tree and flicked its tongue at the hapless, round-eyed couple.

Strange. Intriguing. Provoking.
06th October, 2017

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

This is the top entry on my 'love-but-can't-wear' list. I think it's the screechy benzoin that keep me from being able to have this on my body for any real length of time. The cumin and smokey incense and urinous honey are no problem; strong animalics are my thing, but the intense and DENSE sweetness here just kills it for me. This is thickness to the extreme and it creates a sort of impenetrable wall of scent that makes me feel subsumed beneath or inside it. I have no sense of self left when I wear this, but become part of some all-consuming beehive Borg that controls my every move. And it takes over for simply forever.

Frighteningly beautiful and arcane. Like something ancient priests would wear to ward off bad juju.
06th October, 2017

Muschio Oro / Gold Musk by Santa Maria Novella

In my fever of musk trying and buying, I foolishly ignored the reviews that mentioned this scent's soapiness. Its extreme soapiness. But now that I've smelled Muscio Oro up close and personal, I can only add that this is one of the most radiantly, soapily clean scents I have ever experienced. It is not only soapy (did I mention its soapiness?), but it is dazzling and sun-bright in its approach and attitude. I had a root canal done while wearing this scent, and received a compliment from my endodontist, which was kind of an amalgam of my experience. I felt both beautifully and sharply, stingingly CLEAN.

A blinding beauty. Wear your eclipse glasses.
05th October, 2017 (last edited: 07th April, 2018)

Kama by Ava Luxe

Wow. This one almost defies definition or depiction. (But I'll give it a go simply because it fascinates me so!). This is akin to a month's worth of mentholated cigarette butts sitting in an cedar wood ashtray, in the unopened, utterly curtained attic room of someone who needs a shower and a root canal. And I love it!

If only my husband wouldn't object so vociferously, I would wear this all winter long. There is something so oddly comforting and reassuring about this scent that it calms me every time I put it on. It's like that old thrift store coat you bought nine years ago and that mostly hangs in your back room closet. Its fur collar has collected the musky odor of various bodies and perfumes and a tiny bit of naphthalene, and it smells the way a crowded urban cafe does on a cold afternoon right before it begins to snow. Smoke, stale perfume, musky body odor, coffee, and too many humans packed together closely. The scent of humanity, preserved and entombed.

One of the more truly strange and weirdly enrapturing scents, ever. For animalic lovers only.
05th October, 2017

Bandit by Robert Piguet

I love chypres, but I now realize that leather chypres are simply too much for me to handle. Azuree and Cabochard and Aramis and Bandit all make me want to run for the hills. Each one is too bitter and too loud and too harsh, while mixed unconvincingly with powdery florals that do nothing but jar and point out the dissonance between the two divisive camps. There's a war going on here, and I don't want the battle to take place so near my clavicle. Eeek.

I have nothing but admiration for those who wear and love this perfume because it is such a ballsy interpretation of a feminine fragrance. I just can't join these militaristic ranks myself.
05th October, 2017

L'Animal Sauvage by Marlou

Simply beautiful! A soft, well-rounded, and delicious animalic fragrance that speaks gently and carries its warmth and fur on little padded feet. Plus, it is blended so gorgeously that I cannot even separate out the individual notes. If pressed for an analogy, I would say that L'animal is something like the smiling, dimpled lovechild of Muscs Koublai Khan and Helmut Lang EDP (wearing a slightly damp diaper!).

Edit: after wearing this for several months, I find that the dry down contains a note or group of notes that bothers me a bit. I cannot figure out what the offender is here since the only notes listed--orange blossom, violet, sandalwood, patchouli, civet, musk--are all ones that I love, either singly or combined. I'm guessing there must be some synthetic fixative (or something) involved that rubs me the wrong way as the hours go by and the top notes drift away. YMMV.
05th October, 2017

Beloved Woman by Amouage

During the opening moments of this scent, I am fooled into thinking I could love the herbal and almost-harsh rose and grassy notes that rise up to meet me in a whoosh-y aromatic cloud. I am a sap for just this kind of beginning: a bittersweet greenness that is both creamy and tart and undergirded with resins and something approximating patchouli. But within minutes, the whole thing collapses in on itself and all that is left is a sharpness and a synthetic...something that give me no pleasure whatsoever. Amouage can do better than to give us a weak and decidedly inferior imitation of Aromatics Elixir.
05th October, 2017

Arpège by Lanvin

I'm a fan of anything vintage-leaning and indolic, so needless to say, I am an admirer of Arpege. The powdery aldehydes occasionally give me pause, but the animalic aspects of the vintage version of this scent are luscious and dark and sophisticatedly retro. Amouage's Gold Man and Arpege seem to be singing the same song, and it's a refrain I love to hum along with under my breath. I don't wear either of these two very often, but each time I do, I am impressed by their amazing combination of the delicate and floral with the deep and animal.

Delicious, but perhaps an acquired taste in these squeaky clean and candy floss-times.
05th October, 2017

Muschio / Musk by Santa Maria Novella

In my frenzy to try every musk fragrance in the known world, and after reading rapturous reviews mentioning extraordinary creaminess, butterscotch nuttiness, and old world relatives, I sent off for my very own sample and discovered...maple syrup and sun tan lotion...but quite lovely maple syrup and sun tan lotion, I admit.

I was slightly disappointed, it's true. But I think that those who love shy, slightly sweet, definitely creamy scents approximating a light, unassuming musk, will enjoy this SMN fragrance. Just because I am looking for something somewhat more growly and furry doesn't mean you are too.
05th October, 2017

Pot Pourri by Santa Maria Novella

This scent's name should be taken very seriously. It does, indeed, smell like the ultimate ur-potpourri. And if you like smelling like Claire Burke's original home fragrance, here is your chance. I would love to smell this on someone else, preferably a male. But after having tried this myself a few times, I found that I am just not quite up to wearing a fragrance this fervently resinous and herbal for an entire day. I actually feel this way about most incense-heavy scents, so take that as you will.

I think that anyone intrigued by old-world scents that smell highly natural and aromatic should give this a whirl. Plus, you will smell like no one else in the room, or building, or general area.
05th October, 2017

Marescialla by Santa Maria Novella

This is another one of those scents that I really admire, but cannot wear. I need to start a thread on this topic since most BNers claim that if they love a scent, they wear it. I only wish this were true for me, too.

Anyway, this is a BOMB of a fragrance and I mean that sincerely. Herby, spicy, smokey, medicinal--this one smells like something you'd mix together in a huge cauldron in the middle of the forest. And it lasts forever. It is as earth-bound and organic-smelling and darkly green as a witch's brew, and just as potent. I adore smelling it from the bottle, but I daren't spray it on, unless I feel like becoming Hester Prynne for the entire day and night.

Try it if you dare!
05th October, 2017