Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JanAlways

Total Reviews: 19

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Jaisalmer by Comme des Garçons

Spice, incense, cedar - what's not to love?

This is by far the most rich and complex of the CdG Incense range, and by far my favourite. I would second previous comments about its longevity, but while it's around it's magnificent.
15th October, 2011

Oud 27 by Le Labo

This is by far the best of the Le Labo range - rich, just a bit skanky and very, very sexy. But do heed the previous reviewers' advice and be judicious with the sprayer.

I've gotten several compliments on it, once the woman is close enough to smell it on my neck. I keep this on the shelf beside Teck, Yatagan, Kourous and Balenciaga Man as my go-to scents for dates. This is, of course, based on the fact that these are the scents that have drawn multiple compliments from women. They also make me feel GREAT when I wear them...

In return, I would LOVE to smell it on a woman. I think it would be incredibly sexy.
15th October, 2011

Vetiver 46 by Le Labo

This is just another iteration of CdG Man 2. I like it a lot, and do smell the richness of the ingredients, but ultimately feel that the CdG is slightly more complex and, thus, more interesting.
15th October, 2011
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Gaiac 10 by Le Labo

In the same way that Vetiver 46 is modeled on CdG Man 2, this seems like it's Visit, but with higher quality ingredients. I like it a lot, but with a full bottle of Visit on the shelf, it would be redundant to buy this one.
15th October, 2011

Balenciaga pour Homme by Balenciaga

I spotted a small (30ml) bottle of this in a perfume store in a mall a few weeks ago whilst on holidays in California. I remembered that it had gotten a good rating on Basenotes, so I took a flyer and bought it blind. I fell instantly in love. This is truly spectacular. A powerhouse 1980s scent tempered by a sweet core that its contemporaries lacked. My initial feeling was that if you imagined a triangle with Azaro PH, Zino and Fendi PH describing the corners, with DK Fuel for Men and a touch of Havana and something sweet in the centre, you would be close to it. But it has a shape-shifting ability that means that each time I apply it I smell something new in it, so I have abandoned the idea of trying to describe it. It has instantly risen to be one of my favourites, along with Teck and Yatagan.

To give you some idea of the complexity of Balenciaga PH, here are the official notes:

TOP: Ceylan Cinnamon; Italian Bergamot; Corriander; Thyme

MID: Patchouli; Sandalwood; Cypress; Cedar

BOTTOM: Yugoslavian Oakmoss; Vanilla Bourbon; Amber; Musk

If I could I would give it five thumbs up. I agree that it is criminal that Balenciaga discontinued this scent, and feel it would do well in a modern reissue similar to the current Aramis collection (Havana/JHL/900/etc)

EDIT: After prolonged use I must say that this is my favourite fragrance of all - and I have perhaps 300 bottles on my shelf. There is something so rich, so complete, about it that I find myself almost swooning when I apply it. This truly does need to be reissued, and now that Balenciaga is ramping up its women's perfume line, perhaps they will bring this back for us blokes.
18th January, 2011 (last edited: 15th October, 2011)

Teck by Molinard

Teck is delightfully old school. To me it smells like a cross between Yatagan and Michael Kors for Men. I really love wearing it, and that was reinforced recently when I went to collect my daughter from school.

I was just out of the shower after tennis, and freshly scented with Teck, which I hadn't worn in a long time. One of the mothers (32, blonde, single, and a very yummy mummy) came over to my car to ask me something. When I lowered the window she literally SWOONED. I've never seen such a visceral reaction to a scent before. (In fact, I didn't realise women could swoon at all outside of the American Deep South.)

She immediately demanded to know the name of it so that she could buy it for her new boyfriend. Now, I regularly use her as a sounding board (should that be "smelling board"?) for scents, so over the past couple of years she has sampled dozens of scents on my arms and the backs of my hands. None have ever had that effect on her.

A couple of weeks later I was wearing Teck whilst at a gig and my date (forty-something, also blonde and yummy) spent a goodly portion of the night nuzzling my neck and telling me how good I smelled.

Now I have gotten the (very) rare compliment before on my scents (for Feuilles de Tabac, Fahrenheit Absolute, Kouros Fraîcheur and Avignon), but no scent has ever caused such PHYSICAL reactions in women.

Needless to say, Teck will now be front and centre in my fragrance cabinet - beside Yatagan, the King and his Kousin (Kouros and Kouros Fraîcheur), the new Fahrenheit Absolute and my many incense-based scents (Avignon, Messe de Minuit, Armani Privé Bois d'Encens, Cardinal etc).

I must also mention the fact that since it's not available in any shops in Ireland, I purchased it directly from the Molinard web site. They sold me a 100ml bottle of Teck for half price, and threw a second 100ml bottle for free.

Swoon-worthy, sexy, rare, remarkably inexpensive and delivered straight to my door - you can see why I'd give this five thumbs up if I could.
13th December, 2009 (last edited: 25th February, 2010)

Winter Star by Michael Storer

I recently got my bottle of the re-issued Winter Star. I'm knocked out by it - it's different to anything I already own.

It's spicy, soft, enveloping and... SKANKY!

There's a dirty undertone to it that sets it apart from anything else in my collection. It's also VERY strong, so one spray will do it! It lasts a very long time, though it recedes into a soft powdery and cosy hum after a couple of hours. (Some may find that powdery hum a little too feminine, but I think a man can pull it off.)

Thanks to that skanky note, it smells like sex in a potpourri shop. (I have always hated potpourri shops, but will look at them in a new light from now on!)
15th December, 2008

H&M by Comme des Garçons

This is like a primer to the CdG range of scents, boasting as it does hints of the Red Series, Incense Series and the Synthetics, all wrapped in a smokey coat. It's fairly fleeting and doesn't project too far, but it's very nice while it's there. (The smokey note is also redolent of Fracas for Men and Full Choke as well.)

It's not especially radical for CdG, but for a huge department store chain it's a very bold statement indeed. If it brings people to the "proper" CdG range, then it has achieved much. But whether or not it does, it's a lovely "daytime" take on CdG's more distinctive scents and is worth searching out.

At €30.00 for a bottle it won't break the bank, so you can spray generously and renew often.
15th November, 2008

Porsche Design Essence by Porsche

I made the mistake of putting three spritzes on my forearm this afternoon, and I was enveloped in an awful chemical stink. It is only now - seven hours later - finally receding to a dull marine base note.

This is awful stuff - cheap, predictable and totally unappealing. In fact, the juice smells as cheap as the plastic-clad bottle that holds it looks. What shockingly shoddy packaging too. (It looks so cool in the photos too...)

Buy yourself a bottle of l'Artisan's Navegar, which does the cool juniper thing SO MUCH better, or save even more money and grab a bottle of Cool Water on sale somewhere.

What this has to do with Porsche cars is anybody's guess. In fact, this stuff is best described by paraphrasing the long-ago Monty Python sketch on Australian table wines - this is a scent for lying down and avoiding!
13th October, 2008

Cardinal by Heeley

I never thought I'd find a more "churchy" incense scent than Avignon, but Cardinal is it. Compared side-by-side with the CdG, Cardinal is more natural smelling (Avignon has a chemical undercurrent I never noticed before - and still only notice when comparing it directly to Cardinal). It is also rounder and more interesting. Sadly, I don't get great longevity out of it - couple of hours at best - but it is so heavenly I'm happy to make allowances for that. HUGE thumbs up!
24th September, 2008

Eau Lente by Diptyque

This is remarkable - solid, almost unrelenting. I get a timeless incense from it and very little of the spices others seem to smell. I can well believe that this is based on an ancient perfume recipe. It has the same emotional effect on me that Philosyskos does - these are both beautiful scents and aromatherapy, rolled into one...
24th September, 2008

Messe de Minuit by Etro

This is one of my very favourites: incense, earth and (buried deep within it) a tantalising sweetness like orange pomander. I have many incense scents and this ranks right up there with Cardinal and Avignon. I'd give it four thumbs up if I could...
24th September, 2008

Fuel for Men / DK Men by Donna Karan

I never got to try the original DK Men, but I have just purchased the reissue and I have to say it's terrific. It has a peculiar "grey" in the top-notes, not completely dissimilar to the top notes of Narciso Roderiguez for Men. The NR's "wet cement" opening is cold, while the DK is wet cement almost completely dried out by golden sunlight. The dry-down is simply gorgeous too, and I get decent (if not great) longevity out of it. A new favourite for me...
24th September, 2008
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Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is a real Cheshire cat of a fragrance. One minute it's not there at all, the next it's large as life, grinning malaevolently at you.

This is like Ungaro III's wayward brother, the one who took to a life of crime. It makes a terrific counterpoint to the elegant Ungaro. Love them both and happy to have them in my collection.
31st May, 2008

Princess by Vera Wang

The best perfume I have ever smelt. It tastes exactly like cotton candy!

(Review by my daughter Isabel, aged 8)
14th January, 2008

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

These are actually TWO wonderful scents: L'Instant de Guerlain PH and L'Instant de Guerlain PH Eau Extreme.

The packaging is viturally identical, and you'll have to look carefully at the boxes to spot the differences (basically small type identifying one as the EE and as "Eau de Pafum"). The juice is the same colour and the bottles are identical in size, shape and typography. The EE bottle has black edges, and makes no mention of Eau Extreme whasoever (only the label on the bottom of the bottle mentions Eau de Parfum).

L'Instant PH opens with a citrus-tinged green blast before settling into its truly warm and enveloping mid- and base-notes.

L'Instant PH EE EdP has just a hint of citrus and instead majors on luscious gourmand burnt sugar-chocolate notes in its opening. Those notes remain throughout the dry-down and give it quite a different "hue." (It has much more depth, warmth and sophistication than New Haarlem.)

The two L'Instants draw closer to each other as time passes, but there is still a discernable difference in tone.

Put simply, I'd say that L'instant PH is an ideal daytime scent, while the EE is the perfect after hours choice.

Both have pretty good staying power too, though (ironically) it's not the Eau Extreme EdP that lasts the best on my skin but, rather the EdT.

Love them both and wish only that the Eau Extreme wasn't so hard to find. They are the urbane counterparts to Caron's masterful PH and 3rd Man, which I also adore. I choose one of the Carons when I'm feeling puckish, and one of the Guerlains for my more "refined" moods.
07th December, 2007

parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Garage by Comme des Garçons

I love this fragrance from the moment it comes out of the admittedly fecky sprayer. It is gloriously "mechanical," with smells of petrol, oil and machinery in equal measure. The dry-down is redolent of Bulgari Black, but without the softness of the Bulgari. I'm sure no one near me will like smelling it, which could be problematic, as it has powerful sillage and lasting power (eight hours and counting), but it is so unusual that I cannot resist it.
05th December, 2007

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

I've been keen to try this for ages, and I finally got a blast of it today. What a remarkable, multi-dimensional scent. Yes, the fig is dominant, but it's tempered by the coolest of breezes. It hovers around the edges of melancholia too, and though I love this scent, at times it also makes me sad, or at least wistful. In terms of longevity, it is still giving of its best six hours after application. This is a "must buy" for the collection.
05th December, 2007

Yatagan by Caron

Some fragrances lie close to your skin and reward close perusal. Caron's scents stand tall and when your nose gets close they give it a quick jab with a knuckle-duster. None of them punches harder than Yatagan. This is truly one of the great fragrances of the world, and there's nothing like it elsewhere. It was my first "blind" purchase (based on reviews here), along with Caron 3rd Man and PH, and it has pretty much ruined me for other fragrances - though I'm happy to keep trying!
05th December, 2007