Perfume Reviews

Reviews by drseid

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The Fragrance Journals : 1962 by Floris

1962 opens with a brief dash of sharp citric orange bergamot and deep clove spice before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart the bergamot vacates, leaving remnants of the clove in support of an unveiled natural smelling spearmint leaf and co-starring coniferous green, woody cypress, with hints of underlying oakmoss and just slightly sweet amber rising from the base. During the late dry-down the mint and clove completely vanish, leaving the remnants of the cypress and amber now in support of the oakmoss that takes the fore, additionally supported by an emergent slightly sharp cedar wood through the finish. Projection is very good, as is longevity at 10-11 hours on skin.

1962 is a composition that has been making its way into "hidden gem" perfume conversations for a while, but alas, I confess it eluded me until recently. Now having worn it a few times I understand what the excitement is all about. The perfume has been frequently compared to Italian Cypress by Tom Ford, and indeed the two share a couple key notes. That said, I think 1962 not only smells quite different than Italian Cypress, it also is a *heck* of a lot better smelling. For one, it has an outstanding spearmint leaf note in its heart that could easily prove problematic but instead melds perfectly with the coniferous woody cypress that never dominates it, rather paring together to form a quite pleasant and also unique overall accord through the heart that brilliantly bridges modern and classic perfumery. The more classically structured late oakmoss and cedar wood led dry-down is no less compelling or skillfully implemented than the rest of the composition's fine development. In truth, while maybe not quite at the masterpiece level, there really isn't a weakness from top-to-bottom. The bottom line is the $190 per 100ml bottle 1962 is a pleasant surprise that marks a much needed modern resurgence to form from the IFRA ravaged Floris classic offerings, earning an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation to all.
22nd March, 2020
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Tom Yum by Parfum Prissana

Tom Yum skips any top notes to speak of, instead moving directly to its highly aromatic heart comprised of a starring herbal-citrus combination of kaffir lime leaf, lemon-like lemongrass and natural smelling, sharp lemon and lime with significant gingery galangal spice support and hints of creamy coconut milk. The composition stays highly linear through its development, with the kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass driven aromatics remaining through most of the composition's lifespan, very gradually giving way to the slightly nutty chalood bark finish. Projection is below average to average, with below average longevity of 4-6 hours on skin.

Tom Yum (the perfume) may not really be a gourmand, but the name based on the highly aromatic Thai Hot and Sour soup dish does do a fabulous mouth watering job of making the wearer crave the soup, while being equally successful as a fine, natural smelling Eau de Cologne style composition that is completely wearable and heavenly. It is really hard to describe one of the two key drivers of the composition, kaffir lime leaf, but anyone familiar with Thai food (and certainly Tom Yum) will know what to expect and will find it very believable smelling here. The lemongrass is the other key driver, and when combined with the kaffir lime, the two just seem made for each other. While not listed in the perfume notes, another component of Tom Yum soup, coconut milk, makes a subtle appearance to further strengthen the believably of the "dish." Alas, as fine as the composition smells, its 100% natural ingredient strength from a believability perspective is its performance downfall. If I had one wish, it would be that the perfumer would have added just a bit of synthetics to the mix to aid performance. As is, the composition is fantastic smelling, just short-lived. The bottom line is the $140 per 30ml bottle Tom Yum is an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated composition that is as mouth watering to wear, as is its Thai soup namesake to consume, earning it a strong recommendation to lovers of the soup, or just superb smelling aromatic Eau de Cologne style compositions in general.

14th March, 2020
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Sahraa Oud by Fragrance Du Bois

Sahraa Oud opens with no top notes to speak of, starting its development with its heart. During the early heart a slightly medicinal, gauze-like real oud takes the fore with natural smelling saffron spice and soft slightly aromatic patchouli, as supporting amber rising from the base adds additional depth to the spiced oud. During the late dry-down the amber takes the fore in a very big way, dominating the composition as the oud vacates, leaving remnants of the saffron spice and patchouli to join slightly sweet sandalwood in support through the finish. Projection is outstanding and longevity excellent at around 12 hours on skin.

I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to trying this one and fully expected to love it, but alas, I find the composition highly disappointing. The real oud is presented to show its more gauze-like facet as opposed to the barnyard animalics that usually scare away many (including this writer). To that, I was pleasantly surprised. It really isn't the oud that sinks Sahraa Oud, but rather it is the amber. At first, the amber in its supporting role is only mildly annoying, nothing to warrant panning the composition over surely. Unfortunately, it quickly builds over time to where on skin it dominates to the point of obscuring nearly everything else, and it really starts to wear one down, approaching scrubber territory. The soft supporting patchouli and slightly sweet sandalwood don’t help the composition's cause either as the two meld into the amber, giving it an odd, sweet, almost creamy facet that only broadcasts its dominance further. All-in-all, while this writer openly admits to not being an oud or amber fanatic, I do enjoy many fine compositions that contain both ingredients together or independently. Sahraa Oud, however, will not be joining that list. The bottom line is the $745 per 100ml bottle Sahraa Oud has some expensive ingredients within, only to waste them in what amounts to an "amber blast," earning a "poor" 2 stars out of 5 rating and an avoid recommendation.
09th March, 2020 (last edited: 11th March, 2020)
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Tabac Original Extrême by Mäurer & Wirtz

Tabac Original Extreme goes on skin with strong herbal bitter-green artemisia and gobs of mossy-green oakmoss with a hint of carnation florals before transitioning to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart, the oakmoss remains as co-star to significant musk rising from the base, as the bitter-green artemisia moves to a supporting role, joined in support by nutmeg warm spice and woody vetiver. During the late dry-down the woody vetiver and musk both take the fore with remnants of the oakmoss remaining through the finish. Projection is minimal, as is longevity at 3-4 hours on skin.

Tabac Original Extreme poses quite the quandary. On the one hand its aromatic oakmoss laden open is not only eye opening, but rather fantastic smelling. Once you get past the open, however, things turn much more mundane. That is not to say the composition goes completely south, but rather it becomes more of an average product of its time, as the musk and woody vetiver come into play. If it were released nowadays I am sure I would be amazed, but when compared against its contemporaries, after the terrific open one just can't get too excited, with that feeling only confirmed by its rather linear development through the finish. Adding to the development disappointment, the relatively poor performance metrics also don't make much of a case for the composition in the end. The bottom line is the discontinued $50 per 50ml bottle on the aftermarket Tabac Original Extreme is pretty decent smelling, but lags many of the prominent offerings of its contemporaries, earning a "good" 3 stars out of 5 rating, but only a neutral recommendation due to its lack of distinguishing itself from "the 90s pack."
08th March, 2020
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No 59 : Tobacco & Frankincense by Meleg Parfum

No. 59 opens with a nose tingling, fresh nutmeg and cardamom tandem with hints of slightly sweet vanilla enhanced tobacco before transitioning to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart the slightly sweet vanilla enhanced natural smelling tobacco takes the fore, with smooth frankincense melding with the nutmeg and cardamom warm spice remaining, adding just the slightest hint of subtle rose floral support. During the late dry-down, the tobacco significantly recedes though never completely vacates, revealing an amber-like labdanum that takes the fore, joining the tobacco, frankincense and warm spice remnants through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at around 12 hours on skin.

No.59 is the kind of composition that is not going to knock your socks off with innovation, but rather wins you over with its warm, comfortable familiarity, impressing with some very natural smelling ingredients that are easy to relate to and conjure up special old memories. More specifically, No.59 is a tobacco perfume at its core. The tobacco note used smells very convincing and wholly enticing, while the warm nutmeg prominent spice and deep, smooth supporting incense just flesh out the tobacco further. There is an added sweetness that made me think of pipe tobacco when I wore the composition the first time, but on further wearings I believe actually the smell is closer to fine cigar tobacco leaf, but with a mild natural smelling sweetener like vanilla added to give an ultimate impression somewhere in between the two. The end result of warm spiced, slightly sweet tobacco leaf underpinned by incense is as sublime as it is relatively minimalist. If there is a weakness to No. 59 it would have to be in the amber spiced vanilla-like late dry-down. There is nothing wrong with it, but after the amazing heart it comes off as a bit of a let-down in comparison. All-in-all, a fine effort from perfumer Matt Meleg. The bottom line is the approximately $120 USD per 50ml bottle No.59 may not wow with innovation, but instead impresses with sophistication and high ingredient quality, earning it an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation to those seeking a classically structured warm spiced tobacco and incense perfume.

01st March, 2020
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Un Homme by Charles Jourdan

Un Homme goes on with a highly aromatic lavender and bergamot tandem with supporting anise-like herbal French tarragon before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, a distinct anise note emerges, co-starring with moderately smooth aromatic patchouli, mossy-green oakmoss and slightly sweet sandalwood, as a just detectable cedar underpins the focal ingredients in support. During the late dry-down, the anise vacates as the sharp cedar moves from support to co-star, with a relatively dry amber from the base unveiled also as a late co-star, with remnants of the sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss trio remaining, now in support through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity very good at 10-11 hours on skin.

I confess that I am not much of an aromatic fougere lover. Many compositions in the genre that wow others I am only remotely enamored with. That said, there are definitely exceptions like Patou pour Homme Prive, Azzaro pour Homme, and now Un Homme by Charles Jourdan. As fougeres go, Un Homme, along with Patou pour Homme Prive has got to be one of the two bests I have sniffed to date. The composition immediately draws the wearer in with a fabulously balanced aromatic lavender and bergamot citrus open. It only gets better from there, as the anise, oakmoss, patchouli and sandalwood driven heart again displays perfect balance with none of the key notes jockeying for position, instead perfumer Caron brilliantly has them all harmoniously coexisting to amazing effect. Possibly the weakest aspect of the composition's development is in the late dry-down, as the natural smelling cedar wood and amber driven finish is somewhat simplistic in comparison to the rest, but make no mistake, it smells heavenly too. So in the end, even one who does not seek out aromatic fougeres like this writer, has to admire and acknowledge greatness as found in Un Homme by Charles Jourdan. The bottom line is the approximately $100-$150 per 100ml bottle on the aftermarket discontinued Un Homme is just about as fine an aromatic Fougere as has ever been created, earning it a "Near-masterpiece" to "Masterpiece" 4.5 to 5 stars out of 5 rating, and an easy super-strong recommendation to all vintage perfume lovers.
29th February, 2020
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Etienne Aigner by Etienne Aigner

Etienne Aigner No.1 opens with a nose tingling bergamot and lemon tandem at the fore with warm nutmeg spice support spiked with some of the mossy green oakmoss enhanced leather from the base immediately detectable. As the composition moves to its early heart, the citrus vacates as the oakmoss and relatively smooth leather tandem now dominates, with slightly sweet sandalwood and woody patchouli joining in, and the nutmeg spice also remaining from the open adding oregano-like marjoram to the overall well-blended mix. During the late dry-down remnants of the smooth oakmoss enhanced leather remain, but the sandalwood and woody patchouli now take the fore through the finish, with trace elements of the warm nutmeg spice still detectable. Projection is below average, but longevity is excellent at around 12 hours on skin.

No.1 definitely is a leather of the mid 70s to mid 80s in the way it is so classically structured with liberal use of real oakmoss, real sandalwood and dry woody patchouli. They just don't make them like this anymore, and it is a damn shame. One thing that is a bit different from other leathers of its great age, like the also excellent Arrogance pour Homme, is No. 1 really does not project much. This is not a powerhouse composition, but rather a supple, warm spiced leather one could easily wear to the office even now without the slightest hesitation of offending anyone, while not sacrificing uniqueness, quality ingredients, nor stellar composition blending and structure. Super-hard leather lovers may find the smoothness of this leather presentation a bit safe for their liking, but in the case of this writer it hits a bullseye in being "just right." The bottom line is the sadly long since discontinued and extremely rare Etienne Aigner No.1 is an exceptional classically structured leather of its time, earning an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and an easy recommendation to any vintage lover who can get a hold of a bottle, mini or otherwise. They just don't make them like this anymore, regrettably.
29th February, 2020
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Music For a While by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Music for a While opens with a brief blast of sharp citric bergamot before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition reaches it early heart, the bergamot vacates, as a very strong rotting pineapple fruit accord joins slightly sweet, caramelized aromatic lavender as co-stars with rugged patchouli support. During the late dry-down the composition stays relatively linear, as the rotting aspect of the pineapple recedes, leaving remnants of the pineapple and the now softened, sweetened caramelized lavender and patchouli the focus through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at 11-12 hours on skin.

This composition is horrific smelling, and the worst perfume to date in a generally otherwise strong Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle stable. I hate to be so blunt, but I honestly have no idea who Malle is trying to appeal to with Music for a While. The rotting pineapple fruit accord has underlying elements of hard leather and even Oud to some degree... It-doesn't-work-at-all. When coupled with the slightly off-kilter aromatic lavender that is not too far off from my (nightmarish) memory of a similar lavender used in the also horrific smelling Sunshine Man by Amouage, you have just about as bad a combination as possible (and let's not even get into the added sugary sweetness). The odd lavender and rotting fruit will generally not appeal to fruity composition lovers as it is too off-putting for most of their tastes, vintage and classically structured perfume lovers like me will want to run a mile, the gourmand aspects are not gourmand enough to appeal to those fans, and sweetness-averse customers will also steer well-clear, only leaving oddball modern perfume fans who might be interested to some degree but will find other perfumes more appealing. I wish I had something I could say that is positive about the composition, but even its excellent performance metrics in this case are a negative, as one wants the stench off their skin in record time; too bad Music for a While doesn't comply. It truly saddens me that the master perfumer behind one of the best perfumes ever created in Polo, Carlos Benaim, has sunk to depths this low, even under Malle's usually stellar direction. The bottom line is the $330 per 100ml bottle Music for a While is a failure on every level imaginable, appealing to seemingly no one, earning it a "poor" to "very poor" 1 to 1.5 stars out of 5, and as strong an avoid recommendation as I can muster. "Torture for a While" is a more apt title to this fatally-flawed "composition."
28th February, 2020
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Issara by Parfums Dusita

Issara opens with no top notes to speak of, immediately moving to its early heart as very subtle almond-like coumarin takes on the sole starring role, underpinned by soft musk-like ambergris. During the late dry-down a sharp, woody vetiver emerges and takes the fore as the coumarin vacates, leaving just hints of the ambergris remnants as barely noticeable support through the finish. Projection is minimal, but longevity very good at over 10 hours on skin.

When I first applied Issara on skin I had to put my nose right up against my wrist, as I smelled almost nothing. Either I am anosmic to most of the early ingredients, or despite the fragrance pyramid listing, the top notes just aren't there (and I dare say the same holds true for a lot of the heart notes too). The coumarin definitely can be detected in the heart, but even though it is the early focal aspect of the composition, it comes off as extremely subtle, almost to the point of making one wonder what is the point of wearing the perfume. The skillful use of ambergris also almost goes unnoticed, as like the coumarin, while detectable, it too seems to be in hiding throughout the composition's development. Only in the late dry-down does the woody vetiver finally assert itself, salvaging an otherwise pleasant but disappointing and irrelevant outing. I find myself torn on how to score Issara, as on the one hand it does smell good and has a great smelling late dry-down (if not overly simplistic), but the rest of the composition just makes one shrug one's shoulders as to "what's the point." In the end, the bottom line is the $350 per 50ml bottle Issara teeters between irrelevant and near-fantastic, earning it a "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 rating, but only a neutral recommendation due to its inconsistency, among other minor shortcomings.
23rd February, 2020
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Lucifer by Renaissance Fragrances

Lucifer opens with a ton of oakmoss and smooth patchouli, melding with a dry tobacco leaf accord not unlike the one used in Havana and Montana Red Box. The oakmoss and tobacco slightly recede as the perfume progresses to its early heart, leaving the patchouli as the star, with the still significant oakmoss presence coupling with an emerging ashy coniferous green-woody accord similar to the one found in vintage Polo as co-stars through the heart with warm spices featuring nutmeg in support. During the late dry-down, the ashy coniferous accord vacates and the patchouli recedes, leaving the oakmoss and warm spices as co-stars through the finish, with remnants of the patchouli now in support. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at 12 hours on skin.

Lucifer checks all the right boxes for me. It combines elements of vintage Captain Molyneux, vintage original Polo, Balenciaga pour Homme and Havana. As I love all of these and consider them all masterpieces, it goes without saying I consider Lucifer an absolute hidden gem winner that I am finding I love more and more with every wear. I have no idea why this offering didn’t sell, but had I sniffed it last century when it was released, I would have bought it without hesitation. I highly recommend this excellent smelling 4.5 out of 5 rated perfume to vintage powerhouse perfume collectors who love oakmoss and patchouli heavy compositions from the 70s and 80s. Great stuff!
15th February, 2020
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Salvador Dali pour Homme by Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali pour Homme opens with a potent, slightly earthy patchouli, aromatic lavender and culinary basil spice trio before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the patchouli remains, joining with powerful, deep mossy green oakmoss in the joint focal heart role, with the aromatic lavender hanging around as well eschewing its basil counterpart now in support, as honeyed animalic musk rising from the base joins a significant, almost rose-like geranium floral as co-stars. During the late dry-down, almost all of the prior noticeable ingredients vacate or fade significantly to the background, revealing a slightly sweet, natural smelling sandalwood and vanilla tandem that remains the late focus through the finish. Projection is very good, but longevity average at 6-8 hours on skin.

I have never been much of a fan of surrealistic artwork, so the late Salvador Dali while extremely successful never really interested me much. The crazy looking odd shaped bottle with a pair of lips as the cap I personally find unbelievably odd and ugly looking to the extreme. That said, I am sure Dali and admirers of his art would find it the polar opposite, and very much in-line with his surrealist style. Bottle aside, this review is solely focused on the perfume it contains, and that perfume is definitely impressive. From the aromatic lavender and patchouli open, to the patchouli, oakmoss and musk driven heart, the composition stays very in-tune with its 80's roots and shows an ingredient palette that is just not seen today except in rare non-IFRA compliant artisanal offerings. Prolific perfumer Thierry Wasser in one of his first creations skillfully combines a very complex ingredient list, while keeping the perfume's balance in-check at all times. The late dry-down really sneaks up on you, as before you know it, the crazy potent ingredient onslaught has all but "left the building," unveiling a sublime soft sandalwood and vanilla finish that is as near equally impressive as it is minimalist. The bottom line is the discontinued $65 per 100ml bottle on the aftermarket Salvador Dali pour Homme may not quite reach the crazy height the absolute best of the great 80's compositions do, but it is an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated composition that can hold its head up high regardless, easily worthy of a strong recommendation to vintage perfume lovers (even if you are like me and detest its bottle).
15th February, 2020
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Eau de Metal by Paco Rabanne

Eau de Metal opens with sharp nose tingling aldehydes, with a natural smelling hyacinth floral in initial support. As the composition moves to its early heart, the aldehydes take a back seat to the hyacinth that now shifts to the starring role, with yellow floral ylang-ylang and white floral lily-of-the-valley joining the aldehydes in support. Significant mossy green oakmoss emerges as co-star, adding a musky-woody undertone to the overall complex mix. During the late dry-down, the composition remains relatively linear, as the aldehydes vacate and the florals gradually recede, leaving remnants of the green-woody oakmoss to pair with relatively clean synthetic musk through the finish. Projection is excellent and longevity outstanding at over 20 hours on skin.

I must say that initially Eau de Metal took a bit of time to win me completely over. It was evident from the start that the composition was extremely well-crafted, but something about the piercing aldehydes, coupled with the hyacinth-driven florals just seemed like it might be a bit too much to comfortably wear for this writer. That said, I think the oakmoss that is quite prominent in the heart section, acts enough as a binder to bring the aldehydic florals down to earth to make the whole thing work. Once you wear Eau de Metal a couple times it is hard to dismiss the obvious skill that perfumer Robert Gonnon exhibits to combine all the ingredients into a slightly challenging, but completely successful concoction. The bottom line is the sadly discontinued $65 per 50ml bottle on the aftermarket 80's release Eau de Metal is just another fine example of the amazing perfume output of that great decade and an equally fine display of perfumer Gannon's skill, earning an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rating and a strong recommendation to all vintage perfume collectors.
09th February, 2020
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Luciano Pavarotti by Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti opens with a nose tingling blast of bergamot and lemon underpinned by slightly grassy verbena before quickly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart a creamy iris is unveiled, supporting an almost dusty dulled rose, soft patchouli and powdery green oakmoss trio that's overall accord takes the fore, with a relatively dry opoponax derived honey, moderately soft leather , warm woods and slightly sweet vanilla derived accord as co-star. During the late dry-down the composition stays moderately powdery/dusty, with the powdery green oakmoss remaining prominent with remnants of the patchouli and benzoin enhanced vanilla hanging around through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity stellar at well over 15 hours on skin.

This is a tough one to crack, as Luciano Pavarotti is an extremely complex perfume with a gob of ingredients. I have heard comparisons to vintage compositions like Givenchy Gentleman and Giorgio for Men, along with more modern compositions like Dia Man, but honestly I don't get much comparison with any of them save for some similar ingredients used. If I were to attempt any kind of comparison, Luciano Pavarotti has a *passing* resemblance to the excellent, but rare vintage Bugatti Blue Bottle, but that doesn't come close to nailing the composition down fragrance profile-wise, instead being more of a starting point. The composition has a very dusty quality to it throughout, also coming off as powdery (from the significant oakmoss used that focuses near-solely on its powdery facet), but also warm woody, dry, slightly sweet, with dulled rose florals and relatively sanitized soft, dry honey infused patchouli throughout. Finally, a supporting leather facet that underpins the works is not quite suede, but more soft than rugged. It all comes together rather nicely with nothing appearing out of place, but the dust and powder do somewhat detract from the end result, especially to this power-averse writer. Make no mistake, I like Luciano Pavarotti plenty, but just can't quite get to "love." The bottom line is the long-since discontinued $90 per 75ml bottle on the aftermarket Luciano Pavarotti has an appealing dandy-like complex fragrance profile that for the most part hits the mark, only marred by its abundant focus on gentle dust and powder that keeps it from a higher rating and outright love, earning a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation to vintage perfume collectors who are not heavily powder-averse.
02nd February, 2020
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Indian Wood 11.1 by Parfumerie Generale

Indian Wood opens with sugary sweet coconut milk infused sandalwood before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the hyper-sweet coconut milk remains in full force with the sandalwood taking a supporting role, turning creamy while spiked with vague warm spice as moss-derived heavy powder joins the coconut milk as co-star. During the late dry-down the powder vacates leaving remnants of the spiced sandalwood, now offloading about half of its sweetness to pair with newly unveiled relatively transparent vetiver from the base through the finish. Projection is average, with longevity below average at 5-6 hours on skin.

This is extremely bad smelling stuff, at least from the perspective of this sweetness and powder-averse writer. The coconut milk used here presents itself as sugary sweet cotton candied suntan lotion, and the likely fake ("faux" if you prefer) sweet, creamy sandalwood only emphasizes the sweetness of it further. Add in extremely powdery make-up like tree moss eschewing all of its green facets entirely, and you have concocted just about a "worst case" scenario. I suppose those whose preferences are the polar opposite to mine may enjoy Indian Wood, but for me this stuff is unwearable and horrific smelling until the banal and forgettable late dry-down only slightly tempers the continuous nasal assault. The bottom line is the "very poor" to "poor" 1.5 to 2 stars out of 5 rated $125 per 50ml bottle Indian Wood may appeal to niche sugary sweet powder freaks (some have *got* to be out there), but the majority of perfume enthusiasts will want to steer well-clear of this repellent cotton candied makeup-like monstrosity.
20th January, 2020
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Turquoise by Régime des Fleurs

Turquoise goes on with a combination of transparent and sharp alcohol, with hints of cut green grass and indolic jasmine before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the indolic jasmine remains and takes the fore, joined by significant dry beeswax and a vague, dulled rotting slightly sweet fruit accord. During the late dry-down, the beeswax vacates as the jasmine and rotting fruit both soften, with a barely detectable dull rose joining in support through the finish. Projection is minimal, with longevity average at about 8 hours on skin.

What can I say about this mini-stinker? The composition comes off as relatively unpolished and while far from hideous smelling, certainly unpleasant and generally off-putting. The primary players are the indolic jasmine and the dulled slightly rotting fruit accord. Jasmine is one of my favorite notes, and when skillfully implemented there are few ingredients that can bring as much life to a composition. Unfortunately for Turquoise, the heavy-handed use of the stuff coupled with the unpleasant dulled rotting fruit accord is an abysmal combination that made this writer want to scrub the stench off as quickly as possible (and if not for needing to write this review, would have). I would like to say that the late dry-down where the jasmine softens considerably salvages the composition, but alas, while better in relative terms it quite frankly just doesn't smell good either. The bottom line is the apparently discontinued Turquoise finds new ways to turn one of my favorite notes into insect repellent, earning a "poor" 2 stars out of 5 and an avoid recommendation to all.
19th January, 2020
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Œillères by Roberto Greco

Oeilleres opens with a camphoraceous eucalyptus underpinned by aromatic lavender before moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the eucalyptus remains, now joined by significant natural smelling cumin spice and a strong, almost mossy olive-oil accord supported by slightly herbaceous chamomile. During the late dry-down, the olive oil accord recedes then disappears, as does the cumin spice, unveiling a woody, leathery styrax base note, with hints of supporting soft musk through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at around 11-12 hours on skin.

Oeilleres is a tough composition to describe. There are a lot of floral components, but the composition does not smell floral at all. In truth the primary standouts begin with cumin spice that thankfully does not present itself like body odor as in many other compositions, instead coming off quite natural smelling, like one might expect to find in a spice cabinet. Another is what can best be described as an "olive oil" accord, quite similar to the one frequently found in most of the early O'driu releases by Angelo Orazio Pregoni. There is a moss-like characteristic that melds with the olive oil accord, but this is not oakmoss instead presenting closer to the smell of tree moss or maybe a synthetic version of it. Finally, the styrax (benzoin) does not present itself as balsamic and floral as it frequently does, but rather as almost a cedar wood and leather hybrid undertone that works quite well during the late dry-down. While describing Oeilleres is difficult, deciding whether the end result works is much easier, and the answer is definitely "yes." I doubt this is a composition one would reach for often, but outside of the extremely limited edition (and availability) O'driu releases you would be hard-pressed to find anything on the market similar. The bottom line is that while the $215 per 50ml bottle Oeilleres is a bit of an oddball offering that will not garner mainstream attention, the "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 rated release will surely appeal to and is recommended to perfume enthusiasts who dig Odriu's early offerings and/or find their tastes bent to the more inventive side of the spectrum.
18th January, 2020
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Noble VII Cosmos Flower by Clive Christian

Cosmos Flower goes on with a slightly sharp, brief splash of mandarin coupled with a sugary sweet warm baked apple accord before moving to its heart. As the composition enters it early heart the benzoin derived sweetness remains, as a starring banana-laced jasmine-like ylang-ylang floral is unveiled, supported by soft cocoa and sweet caramel rising from the base. During the late dry-down the ylang-ylang vacates, leaving remnants of the cocoa and caramel to now support prominent, almost vanilla-like amber that takes center stage through the finish. Projection is below average and longevity average at 8-9 hours on skin.

With its relatively high sweetness quotient, coupled with gourmand facets like cocoa and caramel, a betting person would wisely believe that someone (like this writer) who is averse to sweet compositions would dislike Cosmos Flower, but surprisingly in this case they would be wrong. There is no denying that the sweetness is problematic and crosses the "danger zone" threshold. That said, the floral banana-like ylang-ylang really does meld well with the semi-gourmand facets, tempering the sweetness just enough to allow the (in this case sweet-averse) wearer to enjoy the experience. I doubt this writer will be running to purchase a bottle of the relatively sweet Cosmos Flower, but I can certainly appreciate the end result, and what many who *do* enjoy compositions on the sweet side of the spectrum will find quite appealing. The bottom line is the $550 per 50ml bottle Cosmos Flower will potentially be problematic to the sweet-averse, but is skillfully if not a tad simplistically composed, earning it a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rating, and a recommendation to those with a fragrance sweet tooth.
12th January, 2020
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Baikal Gris by Areej le Doré

Baikal Gris opens with a lush coniferous green woody fir coupling with just a hint of salty ambergris before moving to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart, the early coniferous fir gives way to pine-like coniferous cypress rising from the base that takes the fore underpinned by natural smelling, slightly sharp cedar wood and relatively dry and smooth real sandalwood. As the progression continues through the heart phase, the coniferous cypress gradually recedes, as the sandalwood and cedar woody tandem add a soft leathery facet with just a tinge of slightly powdery green oakmoss joining moderately sweet, powdery vanilla in support. During the late dry-down, the moderately powdery vanilla takes command, with remnants of the powdery oakmoss and sandalwood smoothing things out through the finish. Projection is slightly below average and longevity average at 8-9 hours on skin.

The first time I wore Baikal Gris the ambergris spiked coniferous open didn't agree with me at all. In fact, it bothered me enough that I pretty much stopped paying attention to things right there. I was fully prepared to slam the composition in this review based on the initial informal wearing, but an extremely rare thing happened this occurrence... I have done a complete 180 degree change in my opinion. Maybe it took me some time to adjust, or maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for the composition last wearing, but today I am enjoying everything about it. Ironically the weakest aspect to me is the salty real ambergris that gets top billing due to its scarcity. In truth, the real allure is just about everything else, with the cypress, cedar and sandalwood notes the most prominent. Also prominent and unexpected was a gorgeous deep, soft leather accord not unlike the stuff found in vintage Bel Ami that reveals itself midway through the heart. Apart from the relatively benign ambergris, the composition is only slightly marred by its powdery mundane vanilla driven late dry-down. While that is kind of a "dime a dozen" finish, it is relatively short, and the rest of the journey is every-changing and highly enjoyable getting to it. The bottom line is the $195 per 30ml bottle Baikal Gris took some adjusting to, but turned out to be fabulous, earning and "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation to all.
04th January, 2020
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Derviche by Rogue Perfumery

Derviche opens with just a hint of nose tingling orange bergamot, combining with much more substantial relatively sweet starring amber-like labdanum rising from the base with a supporting cherry pipe tobacco accord underpinning it before gradually moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the amber-like relatively sweet labdanum and now deepening pipe tobacco accord remain now as co-stars, as the the labdanum adds a leather-like facet to the mix along with supporting gentle warm saffron spice and subtle hints of floral jasmine. During the late dry-down, the composition remains linear as it eschews some of its early sweetness and the jasmine floral, as a mildly sweet vanilla and soft woody sandalwood tandem in the base gradually emerges and takes the fore, coupling with remnants of the labdanum and pipe tobacco remaining from the heart now in a supporting role through the finish. Projection is very good and longevity excellent at over 12 hours on skin.

It took me a bit of time to completely come around to Derviche. The early amber-like sweetness comes off a tad synthetic smelling and a touch too sweet for this writer's aversion to sweet compositions. That said, the ambery labdanum calms down as time passes as the pleasant smelling pipe-like tobacco accord takes hold. While the composition is pretty linear so changes happen very gradually, the subtle emergence of the less sweet vanilla and sandalwood from the base sneaks up on the wearer as a nice surprise that almost goes unnoticed and ultimately clinches the deal. While I doubt Derviche will go down as perfumer Cross' best work, when viewed as a relatively straightforward ambery sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla composition, it is a successful one that is hard to dislike and much easier to fall in love with, as I did. The bottom line is the $150 per 100ml bottle Derviche may not show off Mr. Cross' immense talent like the much more complex Chypre-Siam does, but for what it is, the composition is an addictive and successful relatively sweet pipe tobacco focused "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated perfume that is recommended in particular to lovers of compositions like Tobacco Vanille, but want a bit more complexity.
29th December, 2019 (last edited: 30th December, 2019)
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Vétiver Nocturne Autumn ‘19 by Bortnikoff

There is an apparent laundry list of impressive ingredients to Vetiver Nocturne Autumn '19, but honestly most of the notes are either too well-blended to standout, or used in such small amounts as to be near-undetectable to this writer. As such, I will skip the usual more objective note and development section of the review and instead just get to what *is* smelled and my opinion of it. Projection is average, as is longevity at 8-10 hours on skin.

When first applied on skin, the vetiver immediately comes to the fore with a sharp, piercing concrete-like green/woody quality that is super-hardcore and will scare away all but the most ardent vetiver lovers (as this writer confesses to without shame). What comes next was wholly unexpected (as I sampled the composition blind without looking at the note pyramid and never sampled the original release), as some real Oud, perhaps Thailand based, emerges in support of the hardcore vetiver. The combination is something one doesn't smell often, or in my case, ever. It quite frankly doesn't work, at least not here. The Oud used does not come off as barnyard, but has an off-putting animalic element that just doesn't quite meld properly with the piercingly sharp vetiver. At this point the composition would have been viewed as a failure, but luckily the late dry-down partially salvages the overall result. This is accomplished as the Oud vacates, leaving the sharp vetiver to now pair with softening dry real sandalwood through the finish, proving a far superior combination that is rather pleasant smelling. The bottom line is the $330 per 50ml Vetiver Nocturne Autumn '19 gets points for innovation, quality ingredients and daring, but just doesn't smell particularly good earning it an "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and an avoid recommendation to all but those who *really* want to smell an odd Oud and vetiver pairing for themselves.
25th December, 2019
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Gold by Puredistance

Gold opens with a brief splash of bergamot combining with gentle black pepper and dulled mandarin orange before transitioning to its heart. As the composition moves to its early heart, fine floral jasmine and slightly sweet benzoin join a significant thickening, smooth, suede-like leathery castoreum and labdanum tandem with hints of the earlier dulled mandarin orange now remaining in support. During the late dry-down, woody vetiver enters the mix, with the composition also adding slightly powdery vanilla to remnants of the suede-like castoreum and mildly sweet benzoin through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity is outstanding at over 20 hours on skin.

Gold is a composition created by a perfumer I have had gobs of problems with in the past to put it mildly. It goes without saying that when I heard Antoine Lie was behind the composition that I was highly confident I would dislike it, even scared to *try* it... I am still somewhat in shock as I write this, but can safely say that Gold is the best thing I have sniffed from Lie, and certainly different from his usual style. In truth, while the perfume may be a tad polarizing, the superb mix of the floral jasmine with the suede-like accord paired with the woody vetiver and slightly sweet elements all play perfectly against one another and the result impresses more and more over time. After multiple wearings I now can say I love the perfume and have bought a bottle. The bottom line is the $190 per 17.5ml bottle Gold is quite a positive surprise from perfumer Antoine Lie, earning an "Excellent" to "Outstanding" 4 to 4.5 stars rating out of 5 and a strong recommendation (even to people like me who usually don't care for Mr. Lie's past work).
21st December, 2019
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Chypre-Siam by Rogue Perfumery

Chypre-Siam goes on skin with a mandarin orange, lemon-lime hybrid smelling kaffir lime accord, with early hints of floral jasmine rising from the perfume's heart. As the composition moves to its early heart, the lush white floral jasmine becomes the focal point, with slightly powdery co-staring yellow floral ylang-ylang and significant mossy green oakmoss rising from the base, bolstered by the subtle underlying support of multiple culinary herbs. During the late dry-down the florals gradually recede, leaving the oakmoss to pair with moderately powdery benzoin and slightly sweet sandalwood, with the composition turning leathery late, derived from a touch of (possibly real) civet joining in through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at 12-15 hours on skin.

Wow... Chypre-Siam is a stunner. It is so classically structured with pre-IFRA restriction nonsense ingredient types and amounts that this vintage perfume lover would swear it came out of the early 1900's if I didn't know better. The juice is a gorgeous mossy-green, foretelling the tremendous jasmine and oakmoss driven chypre concoction that has perfect balance from top-to-bottom. Perfumer Cross has many different successful compositions in his repertoire, but Chypre-Siam is the one he probably should be most proud of. I suppose if ignoring the IFRA, one could yield a convincing chypre, but getting the complete balance down is far from easy and I am sure Chypre-Siam was a labor of love that could have taken years to perfect. As a grateful wearer, this writer can only thank Mr. Cross for using his obvious talent to keep the true classic chypre alive and well. The bottom line is the $150 per 100ml bottle Chypre-Siam is a completely successful resurrection of the classic chypre, while still adding new wrinkles to the mix, earning a "near-masterpiece" 4.5 out of 5 star rating, and a super-strong recommendation in particular to lovers of classically structured perfumes who lament genre destroying IFRA restrictions.
15th December, 2019
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Le Canotier by Rogue Perfumery

Le Canotier opens with a slightly bracing, bitter-green orange bergamot and violet leaf tandem before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the sharp-green violet leaf recedes but remains, now joining dulled orange in support of an emerging lemon-like woody vetiver that takes the fore. During the late dry-down the composition development stays relatively linear as the vetiver remains the star, only softening slightly as time passes as the violet leaf vacates to reveal an underlying mild, natural smelling tobacco leaf in support through the finish. Projection is outstanding, as is longevity at well over 15 hours on skin.

Le Canotier is somewhat of a departure from most of the Rogue offerings by talented perfumer Manuel Cross. While most of the line focuses on compositions of the past, with many the *distant* past... Le Canotier feels quite modern in style and structure by comparison. I can see how one going into smelling the composition expecting a more classical structure based on the others in the line could walk away surprised and disappointed by the perfume, but this writer finds the sharp, lemony vetiver-centric modern perfume to be quite compelling and intoxicating regardless. The perfumer's deft use of the supporting blonde tobacco to take a bit of the edge off the vetiver as time passes is a particularly interesting and wholly successful choice, with the combination working well when sniffed up close on skin, but even more effective in the sillage. The bottom line is the $110 per 60ml bottle Le Canotier may be a stark departure for perfumer Cross, but in no way an unwelcome one, earning an "excellent" to "outstanding" 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5 rating, and an easy recommendation.
14th December, 2019
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Accenti by Gucci

**This is a review of the EDT version of Accenti**

Accenti opens with a splash of clean, slightly aldehydic mandarin orange with hints of peach before moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the moderately sweet peach takes the fore, joined by a co-starring floral trio of almost plum-like honeyed jasmine, soft, airy rose and clean lily-of-the-valley, with the fading mandarin staying just detectable in support, pairing with slightly powdery vanilla and moderately sweet sandalwood rising from the base. During the late dry-down, the slightly sweet sandalwood and gentle dusty vanilla take the fore, with remnants of the peach remaining in support through the finish as the florals vacate. Projection is average and longevity above average at around 10 hours on skin.

Let's cut to the chase... Ropion has created a masterwork with Accenti. I am not a peach fan in compositions at all, but it is impossible not to be intoxicated with its masterful use in Accenti; coupled perfectly with the complex honeyed Dior Poison-like jasmine, airy rose and relatively clean, slightly indolic lily-of-the-valley floral trio. The sandalwood and vanilla are also used deftly, adding moderately sweet grounding to the peach-laced florals, then providing a well-integrated soft landing through the finish as they gradually take the fore. The composition from top-to-bottom smells absolutely incredible, with no note or accord seeming out of place, all melding together perfectly. The bottom line is the sadly discontinued $200+ per 100ml bottle on the aftermarket Accenti is some of Dominique Ropion's finest work and well worth seeking out even at its current lofty aftermarket price point earning an "outstanding" 4.5 stars out of 5 and a super-strong recommendation.
07th December, 2019
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Fidelis by Histoires de Parfums

Fidelis opens with a very brief dash of soft raspberry before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the raspberry vacates, being replaced by a starring faux Oud wood accord (most likely cypriol derived), supported by a heavy cardamom, saffron and cumin spice trio that combine to create a sharp wet concrete-like accord in support of the starring Oud with a very subtle underlying integrated coffee note. As the composition moves through its middle, an almost pipe tobacco-like supporting accord joins in with the rest to keep things interesting. During the late dry-down, the composition significantly sweetens, as the Oud gradually recedes revealing the slightly powdery amber driven base, with traces of the saffron spice warming the amber through the finish. Projection is average and longevity excellent at about 12 hours on skin.

After having been extremely impressed with The Moon from Frederic Malle and hearing talk that its predecessor from perfumer Rasquinet, Fidelis, from Histoires de Parfums was the composition it may have been based on I had to get my nose on it to sniff for myself. To give my quick verdict, there is *some* shared DNA between the two, but no, these compositions are very far from twins and not at all interchangeable. Fidelis really is much more about warm spice and faux Oud than the jammy raspberry and real Oud oil, rose/patch focus of The Moon. While those seeking "The Moon on the cheap" may walk away disappointed with Fidelis, when viewed on its own it is successful in its own right. Rasquinet never lets the cypriol get out of control, taming it with the spice and a very clever coffee note that is extremely subtle but just sufficient to work with the spice to blend perfectly with the faux Oud. The late dry-down sneaks up on you, as the composition moves towards its amber-driven finish seemingly at a snail's pace, but the whole thing from top to bottom is quite skillfully done. The only real gripe this writer finds is what best can be described as a wet concrete accord throughout the mid-section of the composition's development. This, distracts to some degree from the Oud to prevent its complete dominance, but one may not quite care for the end result. The bottom line is the $160 per 60ml bottle Fidelis may not be a "The Moon on the cheap" solution to bargain hunters, but it is a "very good" smelling 3.5 stars out of 5 rated composition in its own right that is definitely recommended, regardless.
06th December, 2019
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The Moon by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The Moon goes on skin with a clean blast of red raspberry before quickly moving to its early heart. As the composition enters the early heart, the raspberry remains, now joined by fecal, animalic real oud oil coupled with a lush rose and smooth patchouli tandem. This stage lasts about an hour, before the the barnyard oud oil gradually recedes, slowly being replaced by a hardcore smokey, leathery oud wood chips approximation (likely cypriol derived) that joins what now is more of a "vague red berry" accord. During the late dry-down, the red berry and hardcore leathery oud wood approximation now completely take the fore, as none of the initial real oud oil remains, only adding a hint of dry sandalwood to the final mix to tone down the ruggedness of the leathery oud wood as the composition very slowly moves toward its finish. Projection is excellent, and longevity legendary at nearly 24 hours on skin.

After just coming off a mild disappointment with another of the Middle East series offerings from Malle in the past week (see the review of "The Promise"), it was with some trepidation that I approached the more expensive "The Moon." When I sprayed the composition on skin, I can only say that very few opens I have encountered to date smelled this good. The red raspberry meshes perfectly with the rose, patchouli and real oud oil. When sniffed up close, the animalic fecal aspects of the oud are in full-force, but unlike Malle's The Night where the oud oil assaults your senses throughout, The Moon tones the assault down to allow the raspberry, rose and patchouli to shine right along with it. The sillage is actually where the composition impresses the most, as perfumer Rasquinet skillfully has the fecal aspects fade to the background, just leaving enough to add depth to the rest of the ingredients. The end result is absolutely superb smelling and worth the lofty price of admission alone. Alas, things are not all perfect with The Moon, as about two hours into the progression when the remnants of the oud oil vacate and the hardcore leathery oud chips approximation takes the fore, the composition becomes more like others in the genre, with the red berry accord and dry sandalwood keeping things different enough to still standout from the mob. In this case, while the whole development smells great, I dare say the first couple hours are what this writer would love to bottle and cherish. The bottom line in the case of the $750 per 100ml bottle of The Moon, is it really *is* all about the journey (and what a terrific one it is), earning an "outstanding" 4.5 stars out of 5 rating and an extremely strong recommendation to all who can afford it.
26th November, 2019
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Siberian Summer by Areej le Doré

Siberian Summer opens with a coniferous green fir balsam, adding just a hint of smoky camphor and birch tar support. As the composition moves to its early heart, the green coniferous fir remains, soon morphing into more of a relatively sharp green pine rising from the base, coupling with relatively benign musk. During the late dry-down, the green pine and musk tandem recedes but remains, now pairing with slightly powdery vanilla and barely sweet amber through the finish. Projection is average, and longevity very good at around 10 hours on skin.

The coniferous green open of Siberian Summer smells heavenly. It captures the smell of a coniferous green forest quite well without ever going overboard. When the composition adds the pine accord from the base it only reinforces the composition's biggest strength. The musk that is used to pair with the coniferous notes is likely synthetic (unlike the stuff used in many of the other Areej le Dore compositions), but while to many this may come as sacrilege, I find the synthetic stuff here much easier to digest and wear. Yes, it lacks the depth of the real stuff, but in this case it just feels "right" and never overpowers the other ingredients like the real stuff does in other compositions from the house. The only negative to this otherwise fine effort is in the late dry-down, where the composition turns to a very generic vanilla and amber driven powdery finish that is completely forgettable. The bottom line is the $160 per 30ml bottle Siberian Summer starts off outstanding but ends in a bit of a whimper, earning a 3.5 to 4 star out of 5 "very good" to "excellent" rating and a solid recommendation to all, especially coniferous composition lovers. It may end relatively mundane, but the journey in this case is worth it.
25th November, 2019
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Plumeria de Orris by Areej le Doré

Plumeria de Orris goes on skin with a blast of orris featuring an almost dense powdery character not unlike one found in fine make-up, coupled with hints of underlying plumeria, coming across similar to slightly sweet coconut. As the composition moves to its early heart, the orris now comes on strong, taking the sole starring role, with the plumeria continuing to smell somewhat similar to coconut, but adding a gardenia-like facet as the florals sharpen as time passes, adding a touch of additional sweetness from a vanilla and creamy sandalwood tandem that stays far back in additional subtle support. During the late dry-down the orris loses is powdery facet (and its detectable plumeria co-star), finally ceding its focal role to allow touches of woody, lemony vetiver in the base to emerge as co-star, with the sandalwood remaining in support as a slight sweetener through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity is outstanding at well over 12 hours on skin.

OK, now we're talking... While Orris/iris focal compositions tend to be some of my least favorites, Plumeria de Orris can't be denied as a truly fine effort. The ingredient quality is fabulous, with extremely high quality ingredients used. While I don't have a lot of prior experience with plumeria (as the ingredient is too expensive for most perfume ingredient budgets), sniffing it here has been quite the education as not only does it smell quite good, its facets seem to shift throughout the development making pinning down any easy way to describe it quite elusive. My use of words like coconut and gardenia really don't do the plumeria justice, but the truth is in its implementation here it doesn't quite smell like anything I have sniffed to date, making the experience all the more exciting and unique. The vetiver and sandalwood driven base is skillfully kept in-check to meld perfectly with the remnants of the orris, making for an outstanding late dry-down. The bottom line is the $200 per 30ml Plumeria de Orris may not be *my* kind of composition due to its orris focus, but it most certainly could and arguably *should* be many others', earning an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rating and a strong recommendation to all orris/iris composition fans, and/or admirers of rare, unique smelling ingredients. Good stuff!
25th November, 2019
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Promise by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Promise opens with an intersting slightly sweet, but also tart unripened apple with underlying airy rose support. As the composition moves to its early heart, the apple vacates, leaving the airy rose to take the fore, adding sanitized light patchouli and mild pepper support, with faux-oud-like cypriol rising from the base, growing slowly in its intensity as time passes. As the composition moves to the late dry-down, the cypriol has become the star as the rose has long since vacated, staying so through the finish, only allowing hints of resinous dry honey-like labdanum to peep through in support. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at around 12 hours on skin.

When I first heard about "Promise" being another Ropion and Malle collaboration, I was really eager to try the composition, as Ropion does his best work under Malle's direction yielding great results like Portrait of a Lady, Une Fleur de Cassie, Carnal Flower, and the first offering in the Malle Middle East series, The Night. The chances of another winner seemed pretty high, but there was one key note that was a potential showstopper... cypriol. Cypriol is used by many perfume outfits to approximate the smell of oud. It might have been a tell-tale sign of things to come when Malle priced Promise significantly less than all the others in the Middle East series that used real oud within. I would like to say Ropion was able to skillfully tone down the cypriol in Promise, but alas it is the composition's downfall, marring an otherwise fine effort by the master. On the plus side, the tart apple note really is handled quite skillfully, pairing surprisingly well with the airy rose and the initially supporting cypriol. It is only when the cypriol becomes the star about midway through the heart phase of development that the composition loses its balance, and loses the "promise" of being a major winner for Malle. I suspect that with some time, a perfumer the caliber of Dominique Ropion would have been able to get the composition balance in tune, but alas, as is, Promise becomes the weakest effort of the Malle Middle East series, and leaves this writer considerably wanting. The bottom line is the $390 per 100ml bottle Promise has some innovative tricks up its sleeve, but just can't keep that faux oud from obscuring its finer points, earning a "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars, and a tepid recommendation outside of any price considerations. If one considers the price tag, "Promise" is a tough sell.
24th November, 2019
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War and Peace by Areej le Doré

War and Peace goes on with nearly undetectable top notes, immediately shifting to its highly animalic musk and dense powdery orris root starring tandem supported by dark, gothic smelling rose. This floral animalic combination hangs around through the entire middle section of the composition's development until the rose gradually recedes and eventually disappears as the composition slowly moves to the late dry-down, revealing a base comprised of sharp, piercing woody vetiver that takes the fore joined by the now subdued powdery remnants of the orris root and animalic musk through the finish. Projection is excellent, and longevity is very good at 10-12 hours on skin.

War and Peace poses quite the quandary to this writer. On the one hand, the animalic musk and dark rose pairing, when coupled with the dense powder of the orris is *extremely* challenging to wear, dare I say wholly off-putting. Getting to the late dry-down is quite the chore, and quite frankly, I doubt I normally would have made it, scrubbing this sucker off as fast as possible. That said, I am happy to have endured the onslaught, as the late dry-down reveals an amazing hardcore vetiver, not unlike the stuff found in the Turtle Vetiver series from LesNez. As that vetiver is some of the best unadulterated stuff on the planet, being compared to it is high praise indeed. That said, I come full circle to the middle section of War and Peace that is just so tough to endure and ultimately I just can't say the great vetiver driven finish is quite worth it. The bottom line is the already sold out limited edition War and Peace displays some great quality materials, and a finish worthy of them, but the overly challenging price of admission proves too dear, yielding an "above average" 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5 rating and a neutral recommendation to all but the most ardent lovers of all things animalic.
24th November, 2019