Reviews by drseid

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    Courage by One Seed

    Courage opens with a very strong dull orange, coupling with slightly sweet amber rising from the base and a grouping of mild supporting culinary herbs. As the fragrance enters the early heart phase the culinary herbs disappear, while the orange and amber tandem remains, now joined by a supporting slightly indolic jasmine floral with an animalic musky undertone. The fragrance remains relatively linear from the early heart through the late dry-down as the musk and amber dominate late but the orange never completely dissipates. Projection is below average to average and longevity is well-below average at about 4 hours on skin.

    Courage is an all-natural blend from a great relatively unknown perfume house from Australia called One Seed. When first applied, the fragrance conjures up glancing similarities to many of the amazing releases from Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O'driu with their brilliant use of culinary herbs. Courage takes a different path shortly after the open and is definitely unique, as it takes the orange and amber combination sans herbs and adds a musky underlying vibe to it even though the composition doesn't contain any real musk (as it is 100% botanical). The musky qualities are most likely the result of the indolic slightly animalic florals used. At this point the composition channels some of the best qualities of the great perfumer Vero Kern and her super-fine Onda Extrait in particular. If I could change anything about Courage it would only be to increase its performance aspects, as while the composition is plenty strong it softens and goes away all too quickly. While it hangs around though, this absolutely stellar 4 to 4.5 star out of 5 composition is a hidden gem that Aussie's need to share with the rest of the world as most of us have no idea what we are missing. I know the house of One Seed just got on this reviewer and buyer's radar in a very big way!

    13 April, 2014


    Hydrogen [1H] by Nu_Be

    Hydrogen opens with an ozonic aldehyde-laced boozy orange resembling Cointreau liqueur. As the composition enters its early heart the boozy facets disappear with the orange developing into a moderately sweet mandarin and melon starring tandem with an underlying fine powdery sheen. During the late dry-down the mandarin and melon combo dissipates, revealing a prominent vague woody base, supported by just a touch of powdery oakmoss. Projection is below average and longevity is very good at 8-10 hours on skin.

    Hydrogen opens nicely with its very fine approximation of Cointreau liqueur, but that is really the highlight of its development. The mandarin and melon tandem that dominates most of the mid-section is slightly cloying, resembling a syrupy orange cough medicine. While the vague woody base notes actually smell pretty good, there is absolutely nothing distinguishing them from many other far less expensive compositions, and the powdery oakmoss is used so sparingly that it is barely noticeable. The bottom line is the $150 per 100ml bottle Hydrogen by Antoine Lie is a competent composition, but nothing distinguishes it from many others for a lot less money earning it an "average" rating of 2.5 stars out of 5 outright, and an "avoid" when you take its relatively poor value into account.

    06 April, 2014


    Helium [2He] by Nu_Be

    Helium opens with a sweet alcoholic splash of benzoin before quickly transitioning to its early heart. During the early heart the relatively sweet benzoin remains, adding significant warm spicy cinnamon and smooth pipe tobacco to the mix with hints of a balmy chapstick-like accord joining leathery styrax and clary sage in support. During the late dry-down the composition turns much less sweet and relatively dry, as slightly earthy patchouli from the base joins remnants of the tobacco and benzoin as the composition slowly fades. Projection is average and longevity very good at 10-11 hours on skin.

    Unlike its sister scent, Sulphur, where the tie-in to the element of the same name is more readily apparent, Helium is a bit of a misnomer as the composition actually has much more of warm spiced tobacco and patchouli focus with no trace of the element to be found. The tobacco which ranges from sweet in the key mid-section to more of a dry leaf during the finish smells quite pleasant marred by the vague balmy chapstick-like accord residing underneath it that makes the composition a bit difficult to enjoy at times. The best part of the composition is the late dry-down as the tobacco turns dry and the patchouli takes over as star through the end. The bottom line is the 110 Euro per 100ml bottle Helium is a odd name for the composition and is far from perfect, but it does smell good, earning a 3 to 3.5 star out of 5 rating and a tepid recommendation. Those looking for this kind of composition should also sample Saville by Keiko Mecheri that occupies a similar space but was one I personally preferred.

    23 March, 2014


    Sulphur by Nu_Be

    Sulphur opens opens with a fresh slightly tart grapefruit and mild peppery angelica tandem before transitioning to its early heart. During the early heart the grapefruit and angelica remain briefly before giving way to a growing leathery castoreum and latex rubber-like costus starring tandem with cinnamon spice acting as key support. During the late dry-down a very natural smelling cedar takes over the focal role, mixing with remnants of the cinnamon, castoreum and costus that all remain, now in support. Projection is very good and longevity excellent to outstanding at over 12 hours on skin.

    Sulphur is one of those scents that first impressions can prove quite deceptive. When first sprayed on paper for an early read all that stood out was "burnt tire rubber" and that was not a good sign. Indeed, even early when sprayed on skin as one sniffs their wrist up close to evaluate the composition it still comes off in similar fashion. It would be easy to see many dismissing the composition if that is the way the fragrance is solely evaluated. Where Sulphur begins to win the wearer over is in its sillage. When smelled from the scent trail perspective the nuances of the composition are revealed. What comes off as tire rubber up close, shows as smoky latex-like costus in the sillage flanked by dry hardcore leathery castoreum. That is surely a step in the right direction, but what really won *this* reviewer over was the cinnamon that completely makes the composition even though it never is the focus. The cinnamon balances the "bite" of the rubbery facets with additional support from some well-concealed ingredient in the heart adding just the slightest amount of sweetness to the mix. The dry-down is also quite pleasant smelling; as cedar is utilized quite well, melding perfectly with the sulfur-like asphalt remnants from the early heart. The bottom line is Sulphur is not the kind of composition that is super-easily likable, but if one gives this 3.5 star out of 5 "very good" rated composition a chance it may very well win you over. Recommended.

    16 March, 2014 (Last Edited: 17 March, 2014)


    Savile by Keiko Mecheri

    Savile opens with a brief blast of woody cedar before it quickly transitions to its early heart. During the early heart the fragrance features light powdery lavender and rich jasmine florals joining relatively fruity green patchouli as an underlying lively citric apple-like undertone adds balance. As the heart phase progresses the citric apple-like aspect recedes, replaced by a relatively sweet pipe tobacco enriched woody undertone that grows in intensity and remains through the rest of the core development. During the late dry-down the sweet pipe tobacco and patchouli slowly recede, revealing powdery dry vanilla in the base that dominates through the finish. Projection is above average and longevity outstanding at over 15 hours on skin.

    Savile is a composition that has generally flown under the radar in 2013. I received a sample of the fragrance from a generous fellow fragrance lover and had I not I too may have overlooked it. With a name like Savile I expected a bit of a different fragrance early-on as instead jasmine and patchouli-laced woods joined sweet pipe tobacco. That said, the late dry-down softens considerably as the fragrance completely morphs into a gentle powdery vanilla finish that fits the fragrance name if lacking the same interest level of the rest of the development. In fact the late dry-down is probably the most disappointing part, but the perfumer deserves credit for at least not having the powdery vanilla come off too strong so that those who are powder averse can still at least tolerate it. The bottom line is the $115 per 75ml bottle Savile is a largely successful and pleasant smelling but somewhat unoriginal composition that may be a bit too sweet and powdery at times, earning a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rating.

    04 March, 2014


    Gatsby by Pacoma

    Gatsby goes on with a cognac booze-laced dark candied fruit accord before quickly incorporating slightly sweet amber into the mix during the heart phase of its development. The cognac and dark candied fruit very slowly recede as time passes, allowing the amber to take the fore and remain the star throughout the rest of the scent's linear development, coupling with a subtle underlying woody accord acting as support in the dry-down. Projection is below average and longevity is very good at about 9-11 hours on skin.

    Gatsby is one of those elusive scents that one may never even hear about let alone ever get a chance to sniff. It came out in the late eighties, but never really caught on and fell into semi-obscurity. That said, having sniffed it I am convinced it is something special. The boozy open is really sublime, but unlike many scents where the top notes burn off quickly, the cognac in Gatsby remains for quite some time before dissipating. The dark candied fruit accord is difficult to describe, but it is almost prune-like in its nature. Finally, the amber used has that perfect balance of adding some sweetness to the scent while never coming even close to the "too sweet" side of the spectrum. If I had any gripe with Gatsby, it would have to be the scent does not develop much throughout; pretty much what you experience first is what you get throughout. I guess that is really not so bad when the scent smells so fine. The bottom line is Gatsby would feel right at home during a night out at a classy restaurant or a formal ball. It is maybe not the most versatile of fragrances, but when you do have the occasion to wear it; it is quite memorable, earning an excellent 4 stars out of 5. Bottles of Gatsby on the aftermarket are quite scarce in relative terms, so expect to pay a minimum of $80 for a 50ml bottle if you can find it at all.

    04 March, 2014


    Eau d'E by Bogue Profumo

    Eau d'E goes on with a mentholated aromatic lavender and woody green cypress blend, as a laurel and clove driven culinary herbal citrus accord joins in support. As the fragrance enters the early heart the laurel and clove both grow in intensity as the other supporting culinary herbs remain with the woody cypress and citrus fading considerably. At this point underneath the starring laurel is what appears to be a hint of fiery red pepper and woody incense, adding warmth to the otherwise relatively fresh light composition. As the fragrance enters the late dry-down, it becomes slightly powdery and resinous as traces of dry amber join the now heavily subdued remnants of the herbal blend. Projection is below average and longevity is average at 7-8 hours on skin.

    Eau d'E is quite different from most Eau de Cologne style fragrances with its highly aromatic complex blend of florals, herbs and spices, citrus and woody greens. The Bogue house style has been compared by some elsewhere to that of O'driu and while the two houses are far from similar in their composition implementation I can see where the comparisons are coming from. The culinary herbal blends the two use are different, but while Bogue has a much lighter and easy-to-wear general style, the off-beat renegade nature of the two can't be denied. The truth is I am only guessing on many of the notes in Eau d'E as the composition is quite well-blended and the citrus aspects in particular are difficult to place, though it would not surprise me if natural lemon was one of them. If there is an aspect of the composition that is less exciting it is the late dry-down as the fragrance turns very mild and slightly powdery, evoking memories of a clean spring countryside breeze, eschewing most of the more genre bending aspects of the composition. The bottom line is at 100 euros for 50ml (70 euros for 30) the 99 bottle limited edition Eau d'E is far from inexpensive, but there is something quite satisfying in supporting an indie house from Italy like Bogue that is breaking the typical composition mold while still crafting a very easy to wear 4 to 4.5 star excellent smelling fragrance. The best recommendation I can give is that I thought highly enough of Eau d'E to buy a bottle. Eau d'E shows Bogue's Antonio Gardoni is quite talented and I expect great things from him to come.

    04 March, 2014


    Eva Kant by O'Driù

    Eva Kant opens with a splash of herb-laced grapefruit before quickly transitioning to an effervescent rose and geranium tandem supported by underlying dry anise and coffee with subtle hints of sharp lemon citrus and animalic castoreum peeping through. The herbal rose and geranium infused anise and coffee accord continues through the early heart, starting off strong before gradually giving way to a powdery ylang ylang, magnolia and lavender floral trio with bitter wood-like myrrh support taking over through the latter heart. During the late dry-down moderately powdery vanilla and benzoin take over as co-stars balanced by smooth sandalwood, as the diminished earlier spicy floral remnants fade. Projection is very good and longevity outstanding at well over 15 hours on skin.

    The open to Eva Kant is probably the most recognizable aspect of the composition, tying it loosely to many O'driu compositions of the past and present. The culinary herbal aspects are there, as is the tremendous castoreum laden dulled rose and geranium accord that is found in some of Pregoni's best work. Where Eva Kant really goes in a different direction is when the ylang ylang and magnolia come into the picture with the dusty powdery facets of the composition really kicking in. The late dry-down in particular is quite pleasant with the powder softening, smoothed by relatively dry sandalwood in the base. The whole composition comes together rather nicely, though some may be put off if they are highly powder-averse. The bottom line is the 150 Euro per 50ml bottle Eva Kant resides around the middle of the O'driu pack. That said, "middle of the pack" from a great nose like Angelo Orazio Pregoni still means very good, with the composition earning a solid 3.5 stars out of 5.

    23 February, 2014


    Armani Privé Rose d'Arabie by Giorgio Armani

    Rose d'Arabie opens with a rubbery Oud and slightly jammy rose duo supported by underlying saffron spice. As the composition moves to its early heart the rose grows in strength as the Oud slowly recedes, gradually replaced by relatively sanitized patchouli and a vague synthetic burnt woody accord. During the late dry-down the rose finally dissipates to a whisper as the burnt woods smooth out, tamed by soft powdery violet and vanilla through the finish. Projection is excellent and longevity outstanding at well over 12 hours on skin.

    Rose d'Arabie is yet another rose, Oud and patchouli composition. It seems like these are popping up everywhere nowadays and perfumers are looking for new ways to distinguish their compositions from the pack. Unfortunately in this case, the key distinguishing factor lies in the crucial mid-section, with the "tool" used to accomplish the objective being norlimbanol. It must be extremely difficult to control how the norlimbanol derived synthetic smelling burnt woody accord interacts with other ingredients used in compositions because in nearly every instance where the stuff is detected it overpowers everything else in its path. In all fairness to Rose d'Arabie, the faux burnt woods do not come on quite as strongly as they do in many other guilty culprits, but once they arrive it is "game over" as far as I'm concerned. If one can get past the mid phase, the late dry-down is quite pleasant as violet meshes with slightly sweet vanilla to create a gentle powdery, slightly sweet finish with the remnants of the rose now adding subtle support. The bottom line is the $285 per 100ml bottle Rose d'Arabie is not just your average rose, Oud and patchouli composition, but the synthetic woods in the heart ruin what would otherwise be a winning concoction, barely earning it a "good" rating of 3 stars out of 5. With the hefty competition in the rose, Oud and patchouli space like Ex Idolo's Thirty-Three it is hard to recommend this relatively expensive offering by Armani.

    17 February, 2014


    Horizon (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Horizon opens with a quick dash of almond before a slight powdery cocoa note emerges, mingling with a subtle dark dulled rose. As the fragrance enters the early heart the cocoa turns less powdery, blooming to full milk chocolate, as it mixes with the primary heart accord of boozy cognac and benzoin-laced semi-sweet amber. Natural woods and a touch of underlying anise join the remnants of the dull rose in support. As the fragrance enters the late dry-down, the cognac and dull rose dissipate while the relatively sweet amber remains dominant, now joined by traces of sanitized patchouli and suede-like leather. Projection is average and longevity is excellent to outstanding at 12-14 hours on skin.

    Immediately when I sprayed Horizon on skin I thought "this smells like vintage Yohji Homme." I think it is something to do with the gourmand-like heart accord of the supporting anise mixing with the cocoa, the boozy amber and woods that begs the comparison. The rose was elusive at first, but over time what was thought as plain anise was actually partially derived from a dark dulled rose that compliments it. The heart accord is on the sweet side of neutral, but it never veers to overly sweet. If there is any part of the composition that is weakest veering away from vintage Yohji Homme it probably is the late dry-down, as the amber dominates sending the sweetness level a bit higher than desired without enough of the suede leather in the base for better balance. The bottom line is the 120 Euro per 100ml bottle Horizon is a rare instance of a gourmand that is quite appealing on the whole and definitely purchase-worthy, earning an "excellent" rating of 4 stars out of 5.

    16 February, 2014


    Jardins d'Armide (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Jardins d'Armide opens with an effervescent orange flower and dull rose floral tandem with an underlying shampoo-like powdery sheen derived from further violet florals, with the overall accord resembling an orange and cheap shampoo spiked root beer float. As the fragrance enters the early heart the violet driven powder takes control and dramatically intensifies as the rose and orange flower remain, now relegated to still significant support. During the late dry-down the fragrance slightly sweetens as the powdery violet driven floral accord recedes, revealing a honeyed amber-like mildly animallic musk base. Projection is excellent, and so is longevity at about 12 hours on skin.

    This composition was a tough one for me to keep from scrubbing. As soon as I sprayed it on skin I recognized the almost dusty powdered orange and rose florals resembling a Tauer composition I sampled last year called Lys du Desert by Decennial. This may be missing the "Lys" but the real drivers of the two compositions (the powder-laced soapy rose and orange) through the heart phase are quite similar, with Jardins d'Armide taking the powder up more than a notch with its heavy dose of violet. From the open through the heart this one is difficult for any powder hater to tolerate, though things improve in the dry-down as the fragrance sweetens a bit and the powder swaps places with a relatively benign musk and amber-like accord as welcome relief. The bottom line is Jardins d'Armide like all the rest of the surprising Oriza L. Legrande house offerings uses top-notch materials and is relatively well composed, but this 120 euro per 100ml bottle near-scrubber is one only the most ardent powder lovers will be able to tolerate, earning a slightly "below average" rating of 2 to 2.5 stars out of 5 and an avoid recommendation. If you are an ardent powdery Tauer composition fan (something this reviewer definitely is not), ignore the rating and give the composition a shot as it will near-certainly be up your alley.

    16 February, 2014


    Gold Rose Oudh by Tiziana Terenzi

    Gold Rose Oudh opens with a dominant slightly raspberry jammy rose light as air supported by sharp green bergamot citrus. As the composition enters its early heart the airy rose remains the star, now supported by a relatively refined Oud and patchouli tandem with hints of underlying green fir and some of the slightly sweet honey rising from the base. During the late dry-down the rose and Oud slowly recede though never completely disappear as the slightly sweet honey takes over as star with subtle dry amber support remaining through the finish. Projection is excellent to outstanding and longevity excellent at about 12 hours on skin.

    The rose, Oud and patchouli trio is such a classic combination that it is hard not to yawn when yet another rendition is released (no matter how competent). It is all too easy to dismiss Gold Rose Oudh as just that... but there really is more to this composition than its surface classic structure indicates. The first thing notably different than the norm is its sharp green underlying nature immediately noticeable at the open through the deft use of bergamot citrus in an unexpectedly different way, furthered by an infusion of coniferous fir later in the early heart. Just when one may feel the composition has revealed all its secrets the late dry-down comes seemingly out of nowhere, turning it into a dry honey and amber driven affair through the finish. The bottom line is the $145 per 100 ml bottle Gold Rose Oudh does little to plow new ground for the crowded classic rose, patch, Oud genre, but its brilliant execution and subtle nuances throughout distinguish it, earning the composition an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and a strong recommendation.

    15 February, 2014


    Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga

    Ho Hang Club goes on with an earthy patchouli, floral carnation and orange clay-like coriander spice starring trio, as green oakmoss rising from the base lends early support. As the composition reaches its early heart the oakmoss turns slightly more assertive, mixing with additional leathery styrax and dull rose, also joining the earlier carnation and coriander co-stars. During the late dry-down the composition turns quite woody, as cedar melds with the floral remnants now coupling with relatively dry, quite potent amber from the base through the finish. Projection is above average and longevity very good to excellent at 10-12 hours on skin.

    Ho Hang Club is a tough composition to completely pin down. The floral-laced patchouli open is quite 80s powerhouse-like in its implementation and quite aggressive. Shortly after though, things go a different direction than one might expect as the coriander spice adds a clay-like undertone to the composition, and when the dull rose shows up, it gives off a very good impression of rosewood. Rosewood is not my favorite smelling wood by far and it can come off smelling a bit dated and mundane at times; but in Ho Hang Club the patchouli hanging around past the open livens up the rosewood a bit with its slightly sharp earthy nature, giving it some sparkle. The cedar-driven woody amber dry-down is probably the least interesting part of the composition, but the way it sneaks up on you as the coriander recedes enough to let it shine through is quite the surprise and keeps things interesting through the end. The bottom line is the discontinued but still relatively inexpensive Ho Hang Club at under $0.50 per ml is a fine but less than perfect outing for Balenciaga, earning a "very good" 3.5 star out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation to old school composition lovers (like me).

    09 February, 2014


    Duc de Vervins by Houbigant

    Duc de Vervins opens with a gentle aromatic lavender breeze, supported by just a hint of bergamot citrus and green oakmoss rising from the base before moving to its heart. As the composition reaches the early heart the lavender remains, though now in support to the also remaining green oakmoss that takes control, as the composition turns slightly powdery and quite soapy fresh with traces of cumin spice balancing the fresh soap. During the late dry-down the oakmoss continues as star through the finish, with its powdery facets increasing late. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at over 12 hours on skin.

    Many compare Duc de Vervins to vintage Drakkar Noir, and there is no denying the resemblance. I doubt that Duc de Vervins was ever intended to clone it, but something about the way the soapy clean oakmoss is implemented in both makes the comparison inevitable. That said, Duc de Vervins holds up well on its own merits, blending in aromatic lavender, and cumin spice so mild you could almost miss it if not paying attention. In truth, before I thought Drakkar Noir, I first thought Monsieur de Givenchy -- not really in fragrance profile, but rather spirit. By spirit, I mean the composition is so clean, balanced and relatively light that it is extremely versatile. Unfortunately for Duc de Vervins the fragrances it conjures images of (in spirit or actuality) are some of the best ever, and I can't really say it quite rises to the challenge in comparison. The bottom line is Duc de Vervins with its impressive performance metrics is quite tempting at its approximate $45 per 120ml cost per bottle on the aftermarket, but as you can find vintage Drakkar Noir for not much more than that and Caesars Man for significantly less both surpassing it overall, it is hard to recommend without reservation despite its "very good" 3.5 star out of 5 rating.

    02 February, 2014


    Balenciaga pour Homme by Balenciaga

    Balenciaga pour Homme opens with an aromatic lavender, carnation and rose floral accord with supporting green oakmoss rising all the way from the base. As the composition enters its early heart the floral trio and oakmoss remain, now joined by a very strong patchouli, cinnamon and leathery styrax starring trio with the composition turning slightly sweet, primarily derived from supporting honey and tonka bean. During the late dry-down the floral aspects and patchouli gradually dissipate as creamy, slightly sweet sandalwood joins supporting slightly powdery mild vanilla from the base, with traces of the earlier cinnamon remaining in additional support through the finish. Projection is outstanding and longevity average at 7-8 hours on skin.

    Balenciaga pour Homme is a powerhouse lover's dream come true. It has all the hallmarks of the great 80s compositions (though it was actually released in 1990). Powerful projection, check, strong patchouli and spice-laden floral heart, check, plenty of oakmoss, check... The list goes on and on. I absolutely adore the stuff, finding it one of the best compositions I have sniffed from the 90s. Despite its genuine powerhouse credentials, somehow the late dry-down pulls in the reigns as the composition becomes much more controlled and tame. That said, even the more subdued late sandalwood and spiced vanilla driven dry-down, while probably my least favorite aspect of the composition is amazing in its own right. The bottom line is the sadly discontinued but still available on the aftermarket for about $1 per ml Balenciaga pour Homme is a masterpiece caliber composition by the great Gerard Anthony that demands any powerhouse lover's attention, earning a 4.5 star out of 5 rating and an extremely strong recommendation.

    26 January, 2014


    Rose Rebelle Respawn by A Lab on Fire

    Rose Rebelle Respawn opens with slightly powdery dark chocolate cocoa with a tinge of underlying green. As the composition moves to its early heart the powdery cocoa remains, now supporting a soapy rose and powdery carnation starring tandem that quickly emerges to take the fore with faint early hints of incense from the base peeping through. During the late dry-down the rose and carnation slowly recede as the powdery cocoa and soft incense join slightly animallic musk in key support through the finish. Projection is minimal and longevity excellent at 12 hours+ on skin.

    This is just a boring composition through and through. Quite frankly the highlight of this mundane composition was the all too brief open, where its typically forgettable powdery cocoa was distinguished for a split second by a difficult to identify underlying green accord before it was gone with all the hope of an interesting composition with it. What remains is an all too common combination of powdery cocoa, soapy rose and soft powdery carnation. The whole thing is quite linear and wholly forgettable. The bottom line is the $100 per 60 ml bottle Rose Rebelle Respawn is quite reasonably priced and has a well-respected nose behind it, but the end result is quite unimpressive earning a very average 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and a mild avoid recommendation except if you are a big fan of fragrances like Noir de Noir by Tom Ford but want more of a skin scent in a similar vein, in which case this one may appeal to you.

    21st January, 2014


    Onda Eau de Parfum by Vero Profumo

    Onda Edp opens with a very brief and somewhat subtle bergamot and citron tandem before quickly moving to its early heart. Upon reaching the early heart the early citrus quickly dies, replaced by a powerful animalic and floral-like passion fruit and slightly sweet honey tandem that dominates, supported by clay-like coriander spice. During the late dry-down the composition turns even more animalic as a strong leather and musk-laced vetiver begins to dominate, as the passion fruit and relatively dry honey slip into a supporting role. Projection is excellent and longevity outstanding at 15+ hours on skin.

    Onda EdP is touted by many as easier to wear than the original extrait. That said, I think while it is indeed different smelling early-on it is no less aggressive and challenging, just in a different way. The EdP composition substitutes passion fruit and honey used early-on in a very innovative way featuring the combination's more animalic and floral facets, and at times it even could almost be mistaken for dulled dark rose. That combination may be a lighter way of transitioning to the leathery musk-laced vetiver driven base of the original extrait but it is no less challenging and interesting, just different. The real question is which challenging aspects of Onda you prefer since lighter or darker transitions, neither composition compromises and can be equally polarizing... and fascinating. The bottom line is Onda Edp at $200 per 50ml bottle is far from inexpensive and is not going to appeal to the "crowd pleaser" crowd in all likelihood, but Vero Kern's outstanding skill coupled by the use of top-notch ingredients make this composition every bit as good as the extrait but different enough to justify owning both, earning an "excellent" to "near-masterpiece" rating of 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5 and a very strong recommendation.

    19 January, 2014


    Millésime 1849 by Creed

    1849 has no top notes to speak of, instead immediately moving to its heart accord of super potent powdery makeup-like ylang-ylang with jasmine support over an underlying green grassy accord that disappears after the first half hour or so. As the fragrance enters the late dry-down the powdery ylang-ylang slowly gives way to powdery vanilla and light musk from the base. Projection is average and longevity excellent at 10-12+ hours on skin.

    1849 was not a fragrance I was interested in from the get-go, but as many have lauded it with "Best of 2013" accolades I thought it only fair to at least give it a whirl despite my initial indifference. Now having worn it on skin several times I clearly needn't have bothered. The suffocating powdery makeup-like floral ylang-ylang heart accord is very badly implemented and would normally be a show-stopper. Adding to the disappointing heart accord is the near equally disappointing late dry-down featuring more powder, now derived from cheap smelling vanilla in the base. The whole thing is just a big mess, and one that has me shaking my head at the comparisons by some to Creed's Royal Oud. Apart from the ridiculous pricing on both there are few similarities, with Royal Oud smelling miles better. The bottom line is the 225 Pounds per 75ml bottle limited edition 1849 fails on nearly every level save its unfortunately excellent performance, earning a "poor" rating of 2 stars out of 5 and a *big* avoid recommendation. Creed can't make a limited edition small enough for *this* one.

    11th January, 2014


    Amorvero Uomo by Amorvero

    Amorvero Uomo opens with relatively sweet mandarin orange fruit. As the composition transitions to the early heart accord the mandarin fruit remains now in support as it is joined by a group of sage driven mild herbs and aromatic lavender that take over as focus, with an additional underlying sweetness permeating the aromatics. As the composition continues through its middle, dry tobacco leaf rising from the base adds additional support to the starring aromatics; and during the late dry-down the sweetness dies as the tobacco leaf laced aromatic florals join relatively clean musk, slightly smoky vetiver and vague soft woods as the composition slowly fades. Projection is average and longevity very good at 9-11 hours on skin.

    After being completely won over by the original release from Amorvero in its EdP form, I had great expectations for what the same talented nose (Lorenzo Dante Ferro) could come up with in his new Uomo EdT version created 13 years later. Alas, while the original was a lush powerful well-crafted and executed floral composition with a classical structure, this is a completely unmemorable "me too" light fresh aromatic composition that only distinguishes itself (in a bad way) by its unwelcome early sweetness and relatively artificial smelling woody nature late. There is nothing off-putting about Amorvero Uomo, but when so many other compositions including the relatively inexpensive Bellagio for Men by Parlux occupy a similar space and smell better for a lot less money it is hard to understand what would be the motivation to buy it. The bottom line is the $130 per 50ml Amorvero Uomo EdT is a middling release that while exhibiting very solid performance metrics compared to its peers does not back them up with a compelling fragrance, and at the end of the day is outgunned by others in a crowded genre earning a very average rating of 2.5 stars out of 5. My advice is if you enjoy this kind of light herbal aromatic Italian style composition; try Bellagio For Men before settling on this one.

    11th January, 2014


    Fusion Sacrée Lui by Majda Bekkali

    Fusion Sacre Lui opens with a just noticeable dulled orange note before it quickly transitions to its early heart. The barely detectable dulled orange remains, now joining slightly boozy rum and ground black coffee, all supporting a dominant anise and slightly sweet brown sugary caramel accord. As the fragrance makes its way through the heart accord the anise-laced caramel displays a slightly salty aspect derived from significant use of celery seed rising from the base that hangs around throughout. As the highly linear progression leads to the late dry-down, the rum and coffee grounds disappear and the celery seed recedes, leaving the anise-laced caramel sans its formerly salty undertone to dominate through the finish. Projection is excellent and longevity outstanding at over 15 hours on skin.

    Fusion Sacree Lui was a relatively risky blind buy that unfortunately did not payoff. With a nose as skilled as Bertrand Duchaufour's it is near impossible not to have relatively high expectations, but even his vast skill couldn't save this one. The primary two culprits to the composition's ultimate failure lie with its liberal use of anise and celery seed. These two notes just don't mesh well with the caramel, and as the composition is highly linear they hang around for all but the first 30 seconds of the fragrance's amazingly long lifespan. I will give some props to Duchaufour for creating a gourmand that is not particularly sweet, but in this case even that attribute isn't enough. The bottom line is the $125 per 50 ml bottle Fusion Sacre Lui contains super-high quality and concentrated juice that has the performance metrics to match, but it is somewhat unpleasant smelling and highly annoying as time passes, earning a below average 2 to 2.5 stars out of 5. Gourmand fans that particularly enjoy anise may find the composition much more appealing than I, but if an anise gourmand is your thing, vintage Yohji Homme is a better bet for similar money.

    07 January, 2014


    Rêve d'Ossian (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Reve d'Ossian opens with a gentle touch of aldehydes before a gingery incense-like opoponax resin and elemi-derived pine tandem takes over. In the early heart the incense-like opoponax resin remains, now supported with cinnamon spice and slightly sweet natural smelling woods with a prominent tonka bean driven sweet powdery sheen covering all. During the late dry-down the tonka bean driven powder fades though never completely dissipates as slightly sweet amber, relatively clean musk and fine sandalwood from the base emerge and control, with the just slightly sweet sandalwood primarily "the last man standing" as the composition slowly fades out with traces of the supporting musk still barely detectable. Projection is very good and longevity is excellent to outstanding at 12-14 hours on skin.

    Reve d'Ossian has an amazing list of notes, but one of the most impressive early-on is its deft use of aldehydes up top. Usually the use of aldehydes in a composition is an arresting point for this reviewer, but they go down quite easy with this one, meshing quite well with the opoponax resin that resembles radiant church incense. The tonka bean gets just a tad problematic in the heart as it brings a pretty decent amount of sweet powder along for the ride, but thankfully while it goes right to the boundary of acceptability; it never crosses the line into unwanted territory. The sandalwood and amber base is quite lovely and finishes off the composition on a high note. The bottom line is the 120 euro per 100ml bottle Reve d'Ossian is far from perfect, but it gets things mostly right (especially the top and base accords), earning a well-deserved "very good" rating of 3.5 stars out of 5.

    07 January, 2014


    Relique d'Amour (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Relique d'Amour opens with a life-like watery lily floral adding gentle peppery angelica support. As the fragrance enters the early heart the lily continues as star alongside the now more prominent peppery angelica, with subtle green pine, oak wood and yellow dusty pollen support. As the composition reaches the late dry-down, it stays relatively linear with the peppered lily remaining through the end as the fragrance's life cycle comes to its all too brief conclusion. Projection is below average with the fragrance only slightly more than a skin scent and longevity is relatively poor at 3-4 hours on skin.

    Relique d'Amour really is a pretty minimalist linear composition on the whole. The lily and peppery angelica dominate from start to finish, with what you smell early-on remaining pretty much through the finish. It would be all too easy to dismiss the composition as too simplistic or boring, but that really is far from the case. The lily is super photo-realistically accurate and the peppery angelica compliments it surprisingly well. One other notable observation is what can only be described as a pollen-like supporting accord that is quite uncommonly used, working so brilliantly here. As far as I am concerned if a composition smells *this* good it can be as minimalist and linear as it likes, not detracting from its enjoyment one iota. The only minor letdown is in the relatively poor performance metrics, but I suspect that is par for the course in compositions like this one. The bottom line is the 120 euro per 100ml bottle Relique d'Amour is a gorgeous lily focused composition that is deceptively simple but all too amazingly realistic, earning a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5. I think with the performance metrics as they are, it is a bit pricey, but there is no denying the tremendous ingredient quality used and the resulting composition success... Lovers of compositions like Lys Mediterranee should endeavor to sniff this one for sure!

    07 January, 2014


    Oeillet Louis XV (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Oeillet Louis XV opens with a fruity orange and dewy rose tandem with a slight carnation undertone. As the fragrance enters the early heart the orange dissipates as the carnation takes the fore, building in intensity with the rose hanging around in the background bolstered by traces of additional clove spice and powdery iris support. As the composition reaches the late dry-down the slightly powdery iris dies but the now diminished carnation remains, joining prominent white musk with a vague natural woody undertone fading in and out through the end. Projection is average and longevity is very good at 9-11 hours on skin.

    When I first sprayed on Oeillet Louis XV I detected a similar early rose and orange combo I experienced with another of the Oriza L. Legrand compositions, Jardins d'Armide. Looking at the initial same 1909 formula release dates of the two it would not surprise me if the same perfumer composed both. That said, while Jardins d'Armide ratcheted the powder up to crazy high levels with the use of violet, Oeillet Louis XV swaps carnation for the violet, and that is the real star of *this* composition. The orange from the open thankfully does not hang around long with the rose used to support the carnation, working much more effectively than when paired with the orange blossom and violet in Jardins. The late dry-down is quite pleasant with the fragrance turning slightly sweet and just a tad woody, though the woods are quite subtle and at times elusive. The bottom line is the 120 euro per 100ml Oeillet Louis XV represents a mostly successful spiced carnation and rose presentation with just a touch of powder in the heart and a skillfully executed gentle light woody musk finish, earning a "very good" rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. Fans of fragrances like JHL by Aramis in particular will most likely enjoy this.

    07 January, 2014


    Déjà Le Printemps (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Deja Le Printemps opens with what best can be described as a slightly aromatic eucalyptus-like mint and fig tandem with a fresh green grass undertone. As the fragrance enters the early heart the mint slowly fades, leaving the fig to directly mesh with the remaining green grass supported by resinous musky woody galbanum. As the composition progresses to the late dry-down a slightly sharp vetiver driven natural woody accord joins the remnants of the greens with a very faint tree moss undertone from the base adding weight to the relatively airy composition. Projection is on the low side of average, with average longevity at 6-8 hours on skin.

    Deja Le Printemps did not exactly wow me when I first sprayed it on, but its eucalyptus-like fig and mint really does gain appeal as it gradually couples with the green grass and galbanum in the heart. That aside, it is the late dry-down with its welcome addition of vetiver and woods, however, that turns the composition into something special as they combine extremely well with the remaining greens and the aromatic fig. This whole effect indeed conjures visions of a spring countryside with fig trees in the background, green grassy fields and wild aromatic herbs growing within. The bottom line is the 120 euro per 100ml bottle Deja Le Printemps delivers what its name promises, earning a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation especially to lovers of fragrances like Eau de Campagne by Sisley.

    07 January, 2014


    Chypre Mousse (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Chypre Mousse opens with a eucalyptus-like aromatic herbal mint accord with hints of the hay-like coumarin base note making its presence known quite early. As the fragrance moves to the early heart the coumarin grows in its intensity, mixing with mossy green tree moss as the aromatic herbal mint remains in diminished support. During the late dry-down the coumarin and moss remain, now joined by sharp slightly lemony vetiver and coniferous balmy green fir with the early aromatic mint now extinguished. Projection is excellent, and longevity outstanding at well over 15 hours on skin.

    Nowadays I immediately grow skeptical of any fragrance claiming to be a classic chypre, as IFRA restrictions on the key ingredients used to make one have made it near impossible. Recent releases using the chypre name that have impressed many others like Chypre Palatin just did not quite cut it for me. That said, while I suspect tree moss has been substituted for oak moss here either entirely or to a very large degree, the aromatic moss and coumarin fern-like fougere approximation is quite believable, being about as close to the real deal as can be released nowadays. Vetiver asserting itself late in the development provides a rather potent backbone that was somewhat unexpected, but welcome. After a while as it melds with the balmy coniferous aspects during the late dry-down it can get a bit overpowering, wearing one down over time so perhaps a touch less vetiver and fir late would have been more effective, but that is a minor gripe in such an overall fine effort. The bottom line is the 120 Euro per 100ml bottle Chypre Mousse delivers the classic chypre goods; and its ability to create a truly believable chypre approximation despite conforming to IFRA restrictions is even more impressive than its fine smelling results, earning an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5. Definitely recommended.

    07 January, 2014


    Classical by Anat Fritz

    *This composition is actually an intentional re-work of Anat Fritz's own original composition bearing her name. For a complete breakdown of the notes of that composition and my glowing thoughts, please see my initial review of Anat Fritz.

    Classical tones down the aromatic lavender of Anat Fritz (original formula) allowing the composition's focus to shift slightly towards the natural smelling cedar. The overall composition comes off as a bit more polished, but still keeps a lot of the untamed nature that I loved so much in the original formula.

    I guess the most important question is does this re-work improve on the original? My feeling is it depends on what you are looking for... If you want an absolute rugged wild edge to your compositions then the original is going to most likely appeal more to you... If you want a *bit* more refinement and less aromatics then the re-work should be more to your tastes. The main aspects of the original Anat Fritz composition are still very much in-tact with the rework, and I personally love both efforts equally - both masterpieces.

    07 January, 2014


    10 Roam by Odin New York

    10 Roam opens with milky coconut and a mild spice undertone. Transitioning to the early heart the milky coconut remains in full force as dark woods join it as co-star, with traces of a vague jasmine-like white floral undertone detectable. During the late dry-down the coconut and dark woods smooth into the composition as the milky facets disappear, with subtle frankincense softening the final leg of the composition's life cycle. Projection is average, as is longevity at 7-9 hours on skin.

    10 Roam lost me in a matter of seconds with its odd milky coconut and dark woods, not improving until frankincense from the base was able to soften and enhance the composition's finish. The coconut does smell natural but the perfumer Jean-Claude Deville was way too heavy-handed in its implementation with it coming off as sickening. The dark woods play co-star to the coconut at times and support in others, but the awkward combination never works. Quite frankly, that just about sums up the entire composition... "awkward" and "never works". The late dry-down is actually decent smelling, but that is far from enough to rescue this dud. The bottom line is the $135 per 100ml 10 Roam is reasonably priced and certainly distinctive, but in this case distinctive does not equal good earning a "below average" rating of 2 to 2.5 stars out of 5 and an avoid recommendation.

    05 January, 2014


    Thirty-three by Ex Idolo

    Thirty Three opens with a slightly sweet boozy dried fruit accord with hints of dark dulled rose peeping through. As the composition moves to its early heart the rose takes command, gaining in its depth and breadth as it turns jammy with the boozy fruit replaced by supporting rubbery Oud and relatively sanitized patchouli rising from the base. During the late dry-down the rose remains the star though now more airy and dewy, with the supporting patchouli joining near-transparent smooth Oud sans rubber coupling late with slightly powdery heliotrope. Projection is outstanding, as is longevity at well over 15 hours on skin.

    Thirty Three has been marketed as featuring "vintage Oud" aged thirty-three years before its use (hence the composition's name). That said, it is clear early-on that the rose is the real star, and it changes in its characteristics throughout the composition's relatively linear development. The rose starts off dark and slightly dull before blooming into a jammy full dominant rose in the heart and then a light and airy natural smelling dewy rose at the finish. The smooth vintage Oud used is detectable throughout, but my guess is it is enhanced by some synthetic Oud to create the rubbery effect early before it smooths into the composition during the late dry-down seamlessly eschewing its rubbery facet. While the official notes list has some fancy esoteric ingredients listed like "Damascus steel" I confess I did not detect them after multiple wearings on skin. The composition is really a more classic rose, Oud and patchouli elixir distinguished by the way the rose changes as the composition develops, exhibiting excellent execution. The bottom line is the vintage real Oud in the $120 per 30ml bottle Thirty Three is what most likely will get people to try it, but it is the ever-changing characteristics of the rose that makes the composition the "excellent" 4 star out of 5 success it is.

    02 January, 2014 (Last Edited: 23 January, 2014)


    Rêve en Cuir by Indult

    Reve en Cuir opens with a mild clove and herb spiced cedar before transitioning to its middle. During the early heart the spiced cedar remains now joined by an emerging powdery vanilla rising from the base and a very subtle supporting suede accord. During the late dry-down the powdery vanilla dominates as the composition quickly fades. Projection is below average, as is longevity at 6-7 hours on skin.

    I can only describe Reve en Cuir as a disappointment. It is disappointing because the suede leather is so subtle it gets overpowered (or should that be "over-powdered") by the vanilla base note which isn't that strong to begin with. Cedar is also detectable from the get-go, but this is not really the kind of cedar I enjoy, unfortunately, with its implementation strongly resembling pencil shavings. The whole thing comes off as way too introverted for my tastes; highly polished, but somehow missing heart and spunk. The bottom line is the $200 per 50ml bottle Reve en Cuir is a polished composition for sure though it comes off detached with wimpy performance, earning an "above average" to "good" rating of 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5. It is tough to recommend Reve en Cuir at its relatively lofty price point with the less costly Duchaufour composed Cuir de Nacre by Ann Gerard being a much better smelling and implemented alternative.

    30th December, 2013


    Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

    Patchouli 24 opens with a very earthy, near camphorous patchouli before quickly transitioning to its birch driven heart. During the early heart the earthy patchouli moves to a barely detectable supporting role as a very smoky rugged birch wood driven leather accord quickly emerges and dominates the composition through its entire middle section with hints of the birch's woody nature peeping through at times. During the late dry-down the patchouli completely disappears with the smoky leather softening, as dry slightly powdery vanilla from the base first acts as underlying support before growing into the late focus as the development comes to a close. Projection is excellent and longevity outstanding at well over 15 hours on skin.

    As many others have mentioned (and quite typical of Le Labo) the Patchouli name on the bottle is far from a good indicator of what one sniffs. The *real* star of most of the development is the birch wood driven smoky leather. The birch near completely overpowers any traces of the patchouli, and by the time the composition reaches the late dry-down the patchouli appears completely gone. Apart from the addition of the late developing vanilla there really aren't many detectable notes (though the "24" in the name indicates there actually are 24 different ingredients). To me, Patchouli 24 really is a minimalist hard-core leather fragrance through-and-through, and an excellent one at that. The bottom line is the $240 per 100ml bottle Patchouli 24 has a deceptive name and most likely will disappoint those looking for a patchouli-focused composition, but hardcore leather lovers are bound to be pleased with its superior minimalist execution, earning it a "very good" to "excellent" rating of 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.

    29 December, 2013

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