Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Hilaire

Total Reviews: 17

Eau Mega by Viktor & Rolf

I find this very Calone-ish, aquatic-woody I suppose I'd define this. With a touch of melons and white florals thrown in in the dry down for good measure. It's light I suppose, but not very memorable. I rather like Flowerbomb so this was an apologetic disapointment for me,
15th September, 2010

Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal

I like the top notes of this but a friend remarked that it smelt like peach yoghurt, and once pointed out that's all I could smell.
12th September, 2010

Womanity by Thierry Mugler

I pretty much forgot all the blurb about Womanity, what it's supposed to smell of etc, but saw it on the way back from Italy and thought "what the hell, if I don't like it I'll give it to my sister or someone, I mean it's not like any of my female friends and relatives tire of getting big bottles of perfume for free off me is it?".

Anyway the next day I put it on, having dumped the box and blurb that came with it in line with my now very strict policy of not keeping boxes and packaging anymore. So what was I confronted with? Well frankly all I could smell was Passion Fruit, like really perfectly recreated Passion fruit, gorgeous, sunny, fresh and astringent green passion fruit. And basically that was all I could smell for the next 6 hours, which is unusual enough for me I can tell you, especially with the synesthesia and the fact that my skin is dry naturally and perfumes tend to get to dry down stage and then burn off long before the 6 hour mark.

I was impressed with longevity, and with sillage but somewhat shocked that it was so one note, and had virtually no evolution from top-note down to dry-down and base-note. It was basically stonkingly Passion-fruity for hours followed by a sudden dip to something similar to the dry down of Alien for about half an hour.

Well I supposed the fruitiness made sense, fruity florals are the dominant trend atm, and most are sweet, nasty, and headachy, and as a entrant in that race Womanity would show itself head and shoulders above the rest, but the rest made no sense, the lack of evolution but the intense longevity, the seeming lack of any other note, and yet the evident high quality of it's materials.

I was inclined to write it off and give it to my sister, she's a young pretty girl upon whom the enduring smell of tropical passion fruit might be cute. I felt it didn't suit me.

But over the subsequent days I kept being drawn to it, mostly by the odd whiff from a coat I'd been wearing the time I'd worn it. And I have now worn it a handful of times, and have gradually become extremely seduced by it. This was a source of embarrassment for me, and I was preparing to have it be a dirty secret I would only wear at home. So I decided to go back and read about it and what it's made of.

And I was thunder struck when I read the fragrance notes it is supposed to be composed of. Fig, Caviar, Fig wood, Fig leaf, and woody notes.

Well you can imagine that I was second guessing myself and grabbed the bottle and as I was reading the words Fig and Caviar it was as though the simulacrum of Passion fruit was dissolving in my olfactory passages and turning back exactly into these components, like magic. I could smell the intense Ozonic smell of the sea, saltiness and cleanness which one gets in great wafts from plates of only the freshest Oysters and Caviar (minus any kind of fishiness I might add, as anyone who knows Caviar will attest) , and then I could smell the intensely green and fresh and astringent smell of green Figs, and the leaves of Fig trees which give off such a distinctively balmy and sweet green smell in the sun.

What I had discovered was firstly that it is true that in the smells of tropical fruits are contained peculiar notes such as rotting flesh, or rubber, or B.O. or as in this case the smell of Caviar, and secondly that the Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin whose Dis Moi Mirroir is the only other of his I am familiar with, had produced an piece of perfume magic, and a masterpiece.

Once or twice a decade we get a perfume which is this clever, and usually they are misunderstood and not commercially successful, my all time favourite perfume Feu d'Issey suffered the same fate despite being genius and infinitely better than l'Eau d'Issey which was a phenomenon. What he has done is analyse a naturally occuring smell, Passion fruit, and taken it apart to discover what actually makes it distinctive, and from those parts he has discerned the notes of Caviar and the greeness of elements of the Fig plant and fruit. With these not only has he recreated Passion fruit but he has created some new crystal clear version of it, which both recreates Passion fruit and dissolves backwards and forwards into its components in the olfactory equivalent of a fractal, more than this he has created something else and something not Passion fuity at all, not tropical, but salty and airy, sunny and clean, light and evanescent. It's utterly compelling and bewitching.

It's now hard for me not to smell the components drifting in and out of one another, and constantly giving me hints of the soft sweetness, damp aquaticness and tanginesss they concoct, and this explains the longevity and sillage I had noticed and the odd inability I had not to keep coming back for more, this ballet for the nose is so interesting and so unusual that subconsciously I couldn't stop trying to work it out, and the interplay explains the lack of evolution too since it's almost like a chain-reaction is constantly taking place instead.

Well needless to say that combined with the fact that it comes in one of the most theatrical and slightly kinky bottles, which are refillable, and that I have had such an odd but fascinating time with it, I more than highly recommend it, and not just as a woman's fragrance either, though I suspect many men would be too timid to wear it. I will probably wear it off and on for the foreseable future anyway, cycling it through all my other's whenever I want to be mentally stimulated as well as smell gorgeous.
21st August, 2010 (last edited: 12th December, 2010)
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8 88 by Comme des Garçons

I like a judicious sweetness in my perfumes, and 8 88 has it in just the right amount. It smells just on the tasteful side of bubblegum, and yet has a pungency and aromatic nature which gives it character and strength which sets it apart from the horrid bubblegum and berries confections which are so common these days.

I like the warmth and cleaness of this frangrance, and I love its soft floral heart. It's a great unisex smell for balmy summer evenings.
29th July, 2010

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

Utterly bewitching and beguiling, I adore HR. Its simplicity disguises its genius, in creating a light resinous green and lemony mantel over a warm leathery vanilla which never slides in to sickly sweetness or cloying Tobacco/Leather cliches HR does what very few other fragrances do, it transcends being a perfume and becomes a state of mind, and a feeling, a way of being. Perfume art at its best.
20th July, 2010

No. 18 Eau de Toilette by Chanel

I adore this fragrance. It reminds me of a smell I encountered on a trip to visit the gardens of a Chateau in Champagne. It had been raining heavily, despite it being late June, and I wondered off in to a rose garden with hundreds of aged rose bushes dripping in summer rain. The smell of the slowly drying, damp earth (cumin) and the dark leafy greeness, combined with the heady, warm, rose scent and that hint of the greengrocers (Iris) which all damp gardens have was intoxicating. No.18 takes me back to that moment instantly. I understand why some find it difficult, but I find it bewitching, and it's my favourite of this range.
09th June, 2010

Kelly Calèche Eau de Toilette by Hermès

I just got the EdP of this and I agree with some earlier comments that it is an altogether more attractive creture than the EdT. It's definitely a development of a theme which starts with Rose Ikebana, both share an intense burst of Geranium which I'd not noticed until my mother pointed it out. However KC is much softer and richer and more candied than RI. Gone is RI's citrusy rhubarb twang and in its place is a powdery, ammaretti biscuit note combined with something resonant and nose tingling. It remainds me of Flower Bomb by Victor and Rolf though infinitely more sophisitcated and subtle and its structure is more clear and concise. It plays an interesting trick of making Iris warm, and not cold and old ladyish.
07th November, 2009

Hypnôse Homme by Lancôme

I bought this on holiday, and oh my god did I have a rollercoaster of a time with it. One moment I would despise it as smelling like the kind of fragrance men from eastern europe in fake Porsche leather jackets wear to stun women in bars in to submission, the next minute I was intrigued and seduced by its weird combination of new car smell and sharp metalic lavender. At times I was revolted by the dry down, which would sink in to the direst depths of rank poor quality Lavender and at other times I would be grabbing for items of my clothing it had lingered on to try and capture a snort of something sexy and woody which I hadn't smelt before while wearing it.

I've been through the gamut with this fragrance, which if the main requirement of a fragrance is that it provoke a reaction would make it a roaring success, but I've decided I like it quite a lot. The new car-ness reminds me of the base of Miracle pour Homme, which I suppose isn't a surprise, but it is much less floral, and much more lavenderish, which I think could be the origin of my crazy reaction to the fragrance overall ( I'm not good with Lavenders ), and actually despite my initial waves of horror I actually do think it smells rather refined and masculine with a definite tobaccco note which I like, and Yuri and his lothario ways has finally been banished thank god. It really doesn't last very long which is either a really bad thing or a really good thing, I still can't work that one out.
30th August, 2009

Cristalle Eau Verte by Chanel

I really like this, I grant you it's not the most original idea, citrus and white florals have been done to death, but I find this the one of the best of its kind. On me the citrus lasts, especially the Bergamot and the Neroli. I find it quite intense and I have to be sparing with it, perhaps because I have the EdT concentree. The Magnolia and perhaps Freesia parts of this scent last the longest on me, taking over when the citrus finally fades. Good sillage, excellent after a cooling shower to wash away the troubles of a hot summer's afternoon.
07th July, 2009

Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger by Prada

I adore this. It puts me in mind of Terre D'Hermes, but it's infinitely subtler and more floral of course. IdFd'O is a highly summery fragrance, and I find the interplay between Orange flower and petigrain and the earthier elements last long and well on me especially in the heat, There's something herbal in the drydown, it smells like dry hay and wild lemon thyme and of course the latest thing in fragrance is anything Orange related. Clearly this is a unisex perfumes and I find it much better in EDP. This is the only Prada fragrance I like, in fact I can't stand most of the rest, and I highly recommend it.
04th July, 2009

Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

J'adore this fragrance, it is darkly and sweetly pungent, with a strong does of chocolate and cinnamon. Thankfully it avers the kind of Vanillic cliches it might have been laden with. The Iris note remains intact but is subtly moderated into something which develops less and lasts longer than the original Dior Homme. Very seductive and masculine.
22nd April, 2009

Zen (new) by Shiseido

I love this fragrance, it's heady and sweet and very long lasting, all of which tick my boxes. I find it less woody then most, and perhaps the Patchouli wood is what I find most dominant in the base, instead I find the Freesia and Hyacinth predominate. I also find a kind of tangy Incense odour remains on my skin and clothing for days even after only a small application. It interacts deliciously with other fragrances also, and i imagine this is because of Shiseido's commitment to such high quality materials. I can't believe how reasonable it is in price considering.
22nd April, 2009

Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermès

I must say I don't get the figs that some seem to, but I get a huge bang of fresh Tomato stems which I think is very much intended, it's followed by sicilian lemon and hints of thyme and verbena all of which remind me of spectacular holidays in Positano, Italy, which I'm pretty sure would be where this gorgeous sunny brezzy garden would be.

I love this scent to bits.
12th January, 2009
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Gris Clair by Serge Lutens

I really wanted to like this frag because it's a Serge Lutens and because it's supposed to be a defining Lavender. However i really couldn't stand it. The astringent and vegetal nature of Lavender has been removed and replaced by something mutant and acrid which puts me in mind of something my granny uses to clean her sink. The dry down physically made me feel unwell deu to its weird chemical pungency which reminded me of cheap amber perfumes of the 1980's.

This horrid fragrance gave me a rash ( really it did, no exagerration ) and i couldn't wash it off no matter how hard i tried.

Big thumbs down.
22nd October, 2008

Le Feu d'Issey by Issey Miyake

I adore this fragrance and have mourned its passing for years now especially since infrequently i am insulted by its pale little sister Le Feu D'issey light which is repellent worn presumably by those who never smelled Big sister.

When ever i wore it people would stop me in the street to ask me what the beautiful scent was that i was wearing, and on more than one occasion was told that this perfume was what someone thought heaven smelt like ( once by a women who confessed to having ridden the elevator longer than she had to just to continue to enjoy the scent ).

This fragrance is so complex and unusual i think it missed its potential market and was tared with the same brush as L'Eau D'Issey but was totally unable to communicate with a casual perfume wearer.

I keep meaning to hunt this perfume down online but end up forgetting, maybe I'll finally get round to it and get back to smelling like heaven again.
20th October, 2008

Noir de Noir by Tom Ford

I got this for my birthday last week, and i love it. I find the accord less roseate than some do and there's a beautiful nutmeg/biscuit undertone in the dry down, i think the depth and richness of this fragrance may come from fermented Tonka bean. It wears very close to my skin most of the time, especially outdoors, but it lasts and lasts ( a testament to the quality of its materials ). I imagine many might think this a evening fragrance and perhaps somewhat feminine, but since most "masculine" fragrances at the moment are pretty poor i think it's an excellent all purpose mens fragrance.
17th October, 2008

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

a totally seductive scent in my opinion, it has a warmth that lasts an awfully long time, but without being amberish or too musky. It has a very charming sweetness as well, which is a difficult thing to get right in mens fragrances. It is traditional and yet modern in It's composition, and is one of my all time favourite smells.
20th December, 2007