Perfume Reviews

Reviews by schumi

Total Reviews: 102

Melograno by Santa Maria Novella

For so many years I have tried to imagine what a perfect fragrance would smell like. Hundreds of scents have stroked my nose, some of them were gentle and smooth, others were rough and sharp. Some were classic, other were odd and innovative. From florals to fougeres, from citruses to orientals, all of them had something to offer, but none of them had everything to offer.

I have now found an almost perfect fragrance... Melograno. This has one of the most divine mixes of lush flowers and fruits, with slightly smoky undertones (in my opinion, not the best choice to yoke with the floral/fruity character of the fragrance) perceivable throughout the entire development of the fragrance. The typical SMN odd, harsh notes, combined with a clean barbershop note, could label this fragrance as an "original classic". There are very few fragrances that can claim that label, and even fewer produce such a contradictory, but absolutely wonderful effect.

Melograno is not just to be worn, but to be enjoyed, savoured from the first strong, bold opening notes, through the intoxicating fruity-floral mid notes, ending up with the smooth and sophisticated dry-down.
06th September, 2009

Pasha by Cartier

What a fabulous scent! It's a mere perfect fragrance... full bodied, perfectly balanced, deep, complex, sophisticated yet very sensual. Give me a fragrance with lavender and sandalwood and I'll instantly become addicted. My favourite Cartier, this is one of the very few designer fragrances that totally worth the money.
10th July, 2009

Cuba by Czech & Speake

I'm not a fan of tobacco scents but I'm a big fan of Czech & Speake, so I gave it a shot. The opening was very harsh and "dirty" and, unfortunately, it lasted more than I would have wanted. I was hoping that once the mid notes would emerge, the scent would soften and become warmer and more wearable. It did, but just a bit. It still remained a heavy and strong scent. After a few hours, things finally became smoother… The drydown is a woody-herbal-leathery-tobacco mix which, although sounds like a heavy combination, is much easier to take and much more wearable. I actually like this final phase quite a lot, but, unfortunately, the good things in this fragrance emerged too late.

Overall, Cuba is a strong, robust fragrance but which is not my cup of tea. Maybe if I were a smoker, I would like it better. I have to admit, though, that this is probably one of the best opinions I could ever have on a tobacco-based fragrance.
10th May, 2009
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Pot Pourri by Santa Maria Novella

I really want to think that this fragrance is better than what I perceive. Based on what I read about it, I expected to love it, but it wasn't quite like that. I find it harsh, much too medicinal and not very accessible. Normally, I would probably rate it as negative, but I feel that the small sample I had was not enough to fully comprehend this fragrance. I really think it takes time to appreciate it. Unfortunately, I did not have that time.
07th May, 2009

Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

MPG is one of the finest houses in the world and a true niche brand. MPG's fragrances are opulent, rich and almost ridiculously complex. I haven't tried their entire line, but I'm sure that all their creations are anything but dull.

Ambre Precieux is one the finest, most complex, richest and best blended amber fragrances I've ever tried. It possesses a very interesting duality: it's opulent, but not unwearable, it's serious, but not boring, it's complex, but not complicated. It's warm, creamy and sweet but all of that is very well balanced with a touch of spices and incense, thus the scent doesn’t become cloying.

I have to admit that I don't fully comprehend all the faces of this fragrance, it's not my favourite, as I find amber a much too heavy ingredient (Ambre Sultan being probably the best proof of this heaviness - this heaviness being consistently reduced in Ambre Precieux), but I have to admire its complexity and originality, especially in a time when even some of the niche companies have begun creating some quite dull, mainstream fragrances.

I'm definitely going to try more of the MPG's fragrances, as this is one of the most interesting alternatives to all of the "Pour Homme"s, "Eau"s or "Water"s out there.
07th May, 2009 (last edited: 08th May, 2009)

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

I'll always choose a niche fragrance over a designer creation. And Serge Lutens is regarded as a hallmark for the niche sector, a really distinctive brand, but I just cannot wear any of his fragrances. Ambre Sultan makes no exception... it definitely shares the same base with other Lutens creations, such as Chergui or Arabie: it's stuffy, cloying, medicinal, excessively sweet, way too heavy on amber and vanilla, therefore very, very difficult to wear. I actually find all the Lutens scents much more suitable for room or car odorizers. The worst thing about it is that after smelling it for a few hours, I literally threw up! The good thing is that the Serge Lutens line is really different, but not necessarily good different.
21st March, 2009

Nemo by Cacharel

Although I have a very strong reticence about designer fragrances, I thought that the almost unanimous praise that this fragrance gets here at Basenotes would be a good reason to buy this blindly. What a mistake! This is a cheap-smelling, common fragrance! There isn't a single note that I may describe as outstanding, or even above average.
Usually, the openings are very citrus-y and refreshing, and if there's anything bad to follow, you won't get a sense of it until the mid-notes kick in. But Nemo is pretty disappointing right from the beginning. The opening has a very synthetic sweetness which persists through the middle and base notes, but develops into a tart sweetness which I find quite unpleasant. The smoky undertones are not my cup of tea and I don't think they add anything special to this fragrance, on the contrary, the result is an undefined, kitschy mix of synthetic sweet/woody/smoky notes which can be described as anything but a refined creation.
I find Nemo as one of the most characteristic mainstream fragrances, and, although similarities with Allure, another modern kitsch, made me think twice about purchasing it, I thought that in the worst case, this would be a safe, comfortable wear. But I'm so disappointed in it, that I'm probably going to give it away. I just don't get what everyone sees in this plain and dull fragrance. I can't find any explanation for all the rave reviews.
I rate this as neutral simply because I try to be as objective as possible and not let the huge disappointment because of my (probably unjustified) sky-high expectations influence my review.
18th March, 2009

Eau de Campagne by Sisley

The initial herbal burst may be too pungent for many. I agree that in the first hour or so, there is nothing pleasant in this fragrance, it's just a raw smell of nettles and a lot of other herbs, but if you give it some time, it will develop into a very nice, smooth and refined scent. The absolutely wonderful drydown deserves the tolerance of the much too green, ultra-sharp opening.
03rd March, 2009

Le Roy Soleil Homme by Salvador Dali

This is a summer fragrance, so don't expect anything deep and complex. But for what it is, it's a real pleasure! Bright, smooth, refreshing and invigorating.
03rd March, 2009

Burberry for Men by Burberry

Much too synthetic. Regretfully, this is a typical modern fragrance.
03rd March, 2009

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

Not bad, but way too synthetic for my taste. Although I do appreciate the clean, distinct quality of this fragrance, it is, just like many of the modern scents, too artificial for me to enjoy it.
18th January, 2009

Platinum Égoïste by Chanel

Starts off quite promising but then it develops into a rather mainstream scent. Since this is a summer fragrance, one should not expect a whole lot of depth or complexity, but still, it's quite a disappointment.
18th January, 2009

Eau de Santal by Floris

It instantly became one of my all time favourites. You can't get much better than Floris Santal... This is a glaringly beautiful, utterly refined and highly elegant fragrance. Its warmth and softness, combined with the depth and complexity of its development, place this magnificent cologne in the very restrained world of monumental fragrances.

The bright, invigorating opening burst of bergamot, although absolutely fabulous, doesn't really prefigures the magical follow-up. After a few minutes, the soft, almost delicate mid notes break through. The experience is one in a million... a pure, yet complex sensation of joy, uplift and sophistication enshrouds you in an almost magical mix of emotions. A delicate touch of spices prevent it from becoming cloying. Nothing is too much, nothing is too little, everything is perfectly balanced.

After about two hours, Santal turns into a woody, mossy, ambery, but still creamy and mellow scent. Even at this stage of the development, the fragrance conserves its soft, warm, calming nature. From start to finish, this is mere perfection.

The iconic house of Floris has fulfilled its grandiose reputation... again!
01st January, 2009
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Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa by Acqua di Parma

In my opinion, this is the least attractive fragrance from the "Colonia" trilogy. While both Colonia and Colonia Assoluta are two outstanding clean, refreshing summer fragrances, Colonia Intensa digresses from the path followed by them. This is sharper, heavier, stuffier, more rugged, less citric, less floral, woodier and more herbal (not really surprising, since this is the only masculine fragrance from Acqua di Parma). It's not terrible, but it does seem unpolished compared with the other two. Another big minus is that it doesn't seem to have a clearly shaped personality, I can't really put a label on it and I can't categorize it in any way. Therefore this turns out to be a generic, common, uninteresting fragrance.
28th December, 2008

Rose 31 by Le Labo

I find rose fragrances much too heavy and harsh (the only exception being the magnificent No.88). However, I think this one is slightly better than other "rose colossi", like Black Aoud and Voleur de Roses, but still not very wearable.
28th December, 2008

Aramis by Aramis

Rough, very rough, rugged, heavy and very masculine. I guess this is hairy chested men only territory.
27th December, 2008

Gucci by Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

I have no interest in the new, "modern" fragrances. They are all very common and cheap smelling. In my opinion, the 80's and early 90's were the most glorious years of fragrance industry. That was the era of many all-time classics, as well as some of the finest niche creations. I have yet to find a fragrance released in the new millennium that makes my world shake. Gucci is another big, iconic name that has fallen from its pedestal with the release of this... insult. It doesn't even deserve to be reviewed.
25th December, 2008

U by Ungaro for Him by Ungaro

Another fragrance from a million other. Simple, common, cheap, very cheap smelling. I'm pretty sure that Ungaro will never release anything nearly as good as their fabulous trilogy of the early 90's. That's a pity.
25th December, 2008

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Colonia and Colonia Assoluta are THE perfect summer fragrances. I think they are some of the finest fragrances ever created. These two clognes are made for the rich people, those who wear white bathrobes and sip extravagant cocktails on their luxurious yachts, wallowing in the Mediterranean summer sun. These are the scents of Monte Carlo, Cannes and Nice. These are the scents of the beautiful people.

Although separated by almost 90 years, they are very much alike... and they both are some of the very few fragrances that do reach perfection.

I don't know which of the two I like the most... I don't want to like one more than the other, so I'll write this review for both.
07th December, 2008

Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Colonia and Colonia Assoluta are THE perfect summer fragrances. I think they are some of the finest fragrances ever created. These two clognes are made for the rich people, those who wear white bathrobes and sip extravagant cocktails on their luxurious yachts, wallowing in the Mediterranean summer sun. These are the scents of Monte Carlo, Cannes and Nice. These are the scents of the beautiful people.

Although separated by almost 90 years, they are very much alike... and they both are some of the very few fragrances that do reach perfection.

I don't know which of the two I like the most... I don't want to like one more than the other, so I'll write this review for both.
07th December, 2008

Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A total disappointment. The first few minutes are very sharp, with a sour note in the background, and then it dries down to an unpolished, unrefined scent. An untypical L'Artisan fragrance.
29th October, 2008

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

My first impression was one of a very opulent, but medicinal fragrance. I detect a significant amount of amber, which, together with the sweet/leathery notes, contribute to the medicinal/harsh impression. It reminds me of some very strong amber-based fragrances, like Ambre Sultan or Ambre Precieux. I would never wear this fragrance, I find it much too harsh for everyday usage. But, I appreciate the fact that it is different and unusual, so I rate it as neutral.
29th October, 2008

Santal Noble by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

There's a lot going on in Santal Noble. It is a very rich oriental/woody fragrance which could be quite difficult to wear. I actually find this scent more suitable for aromatic candles, burning sticks and other types of room fragrances. It is strong, even harsh and may not be enjoyed by everyone. I appreciate its complexity and the multi-faced, multi-layered structure: it is at once woody, a bit smoky and with a hint of spices now and then.
Santal Noble is an opulent, formal, serious, cerebral fragrance. No play, no games, no jokes, everything is as sober as possible. I appreciate these characteristics in a fragrance, but I think Santal Noble is just too much for me. I couldn't wear it, at least not now or in the near future.
29th October, 2008

Dior Homme Sport (original) by Christian Dior

A fresher, more comfortable and more wearable version of the original Dior Homme. The opening shares a bit of the artificial notes of the original, but these are just some of the very few and dim signals that this is another version of Dior Homme. These artificial notes are far weaker and less inconvenient and they quickly disappear, making room for an ultra-fresh and invigorating scent. While the original is suitable for a cold, snowy, winter day, the sporty version is perfect for the hot summer days. Dior Homme Sport is a citrus fragrance which remains fresh and uplifting from start to finish. The lemony note remains strong and noticeable long into the drydown, an unusual characteristic even for a citrus fragrance... you won't find many fresher and more invigorating scents.
27th October, 2008

Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

A very modern and invigorating fragrance. It starts with a very pleasant and fresh citrus note and then it dries down to a soft and comfortable scent. It remains fresh and uplifting from start to finish, making it suitable for the young, energetic generation. I don't think it shares the classic Guerlain characteristics, but than may not be such a bad thing.
27th October, 2008

Pi Neo by Givenchy

I enjoyed the opening very much... It was very clean, fresh, invigorating... nothing like the original Pi. It lacks the cloying vanilla sweetness of the original, and that made me think this is going to be a better, more wearable and more enjoyable follow-up. But as the middle notes kicked in, it became a bit common... even mainstream. After a few sniffs I found certain resemblance with Armani Code, a fragrance I wore until saturation, so can't find it interesting anymore.
27th October, 2008

Sculpture Homme by Nikos

A wonderful fragrance, I love it! It doesn't smell artificial at all, on the contrary, this is a sexy, soft, gentle, refined and cheerful scent. It is also a very modern fragrance, a morale booster, suitable for a young, energetic, optimistic and well-mannered person. It instantly became one of my favourites. I will always buy it without hesitation.
27th October, 2008

Dune pour Homme by Christian Dior

A fresh, sweet, gentle and comfortable scent. Suitable for casual wear, this is a timeless sensual fragrance.
27th October, 2008

Isfarkand by Ormonde Jayne

Isfarkand starts off with a pleasant and refreshing citrus note, but then all I can get is pure incense. After sampling all the non-feminine fragrances from Ormonde Jayne (Orris Noir, Ormonde Man and now Isfarkand), I have to say that this is far, far away from what a niche company should be. All their fragrances smell very generic and cheap. I find the auto-characterization from the Ormonde Jayne web-site an insult:
"The story of this unique luxury perfume house is one of uncompromising perfection. Known for the rarity and purity of ingredients, sourced personally from growers in far flung climes such as Indochina, Arabia, the Amazon and Madagascar, and alchemised in our own London laboratory, Ormonde Jayne has attracted the admiration of the perfume cognoscenti and fine fragrance lovers worldwide."
I could (should) have rated all the Ormonde Jayne fragrances as negative, simply for the huge disappointment they produced on me.
08th October, 2008

Ungaro pour L'Homme I by Ungaro

Top Notes: Lavender, Bergamot, Pine
Mid notes: Wormwood, Patchouli, Jasmine, Precious Wood, Geranium
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Tonka, Honey, Amber

Now here's a strange fragrance. I've gone through almost half of a 2.5 oz bottle before I could finally appreciate and understand the beauty of Ungaro I. This is a wonderful woody-fougere which may not be enjoyed by everyone, but its uniqueness and elegance cannot be ignored by any fragrance lover. It is deep, boozy, alcoholic, mossy, damp, in a word, intoxicating. As a matter in fact, I think it's the booziest and most intoxicating fragrance I know. It's also a serious, intellectual, introspective fragrance and those who can appreciate these qualities and also its lack of sexiness and sensuality will certainly adore Ungaro I.

Although it's not quite the masterpiece that Ungaro III is, it completes one of the greatest (if not actually THE greatest) trilogy in the men's fragrance history.
05th October, 2008 (last edited: 12th April, 2010)