Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Allen-on-Holiday

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Total Reviews: 55

Anonymous by Thallium by Yves de Sistelle

Anonymous smells exactly like Xeryus Rouge, which would be fine if I like XR.

21st December, 2015

Pulp by Byredo

Realistic, raw fruit. When I first gave Pulp a sniff from the sample vial, I thought, “raw fruit, a little boring”. But after wearing awhile, I see there’s more to it than that. The more I smell Pulp, the more I smell something vegetal, rather than fruity. Pulp actually reminds me of 2 very different fragrances: Sweet Pea from Bath and Body Works, which smells exactly like fresh peas in the kitchen (with added sugar, of course), and Piment Brulant by L’Artisan, which smells like a vegetable garden. Yes, despite the listed notes, Pulp also has a slight vegetal smell to me, which keeps it from being too sweet. Maybe this seems odd, but I find this vegetal smell fascinating, even therapeutic. I don't think Pulp smells like rotting fruit, just very RIPE fruit. Overall, I like Pulp, but it seems a bit top-heavy, lacking substantial base notes which would make it a more wearable, well-rounded fragrance.
18th February, 2015

Ylang 49 by Le Labo

The initial blast is very bright, and reminds me of Plum Japonais (Tom Ford) and Pomegranate Noir (Jo Malone). If Ylang 49 were a color, it would be fluorescent lavender! It opens very feminine, probably due to that gardenia, but eventually gets smokier, and might be able to pass as unisex. Overall, Ylang 49 is bright and distinctive. But after wearing it awhile, all I smell is the gardenia! And, sadly, this prominent gardenia note is the reason I can only “like” this and not love it.
13th February, 2015
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Black Orchid by Tom Ford

For years, I have heard about Black Orchid, so I decided to finally try it. The notes listed include ylang-ylang and black currant, black orchid, and, basically, a patchouli/chocolate/vanilla drydown. I am wearing it now, and, basically, all I smell is a slightly metallic chocolate/vanilla. There seem to be differences of opinion about whether or not Orchid is strictly for women, or could pass as unisex, but personally, I think it could be worn by either. I admit my nose doesn’t pick up “creamy” scents very well, so any depth to this doesn’t register. I have heard the Bath and Body Works fragrance, Black Amethyst, is a “cheaper version” of Black Orchid, but after wearing both, I completely disagree. In fact, I actually prefer Black Amethyst, which opens with a lemony bergamot, compared to Orchid’s slightly powdery chocolate. I guess I am in the minority here, but Black Orchid isn’t worth the hype, which doesn’t surprise me because, although I love Plum Japonais, I have found Tom Ford fragrances to be drastically lacking in the drydown stages. Black Orchid reminds me of a melted, chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bar in the back seat of a warm car.
06th February, 2015

Bois d'Ombrie by Eau d'Italie

Bois d’Ombrie reminds me of Arabie, and other Serge Lutens fragrances, because of that powdery/watery base. I am actually wearing Bois d’Ombrie on one hand, and Arabie on the other. The Bd’O drydown is more pleasant than Arabie, but that isn’t saying much because it is still drowning in watery powder, and quite anemic. I prefer Sienne L'Hiver over Bois d’Ombrie because of its unique olive note, although it’s drowning, too. After about an hour, Arabie is still going strong, but Bd’O has faded into nothing more than a skin scent. Maybe it isn’t fair to compare these 2, but to MY nose, Bois d’Ombrie is a weaker, although more pleasant, imitation of Arabie.
28th January, 2015

24 Gold by ScentStory FZE

I can easily smell the raspberry and the chocolate (and I happen to be a fan of raspberry), but it isn’t as nice as it sounds. I cannot understand all the good reviews. 24 Gold is too musky, and too harsh! Almost makes my eyes want to water. But while I appreciate the fact that it certainly isn’t feminine, I am sure there are better raspberry fragrances out there. I would rather wear something from the Dollar Store than to ever wear 24 Gold again.
21st January, 2015

Black Amethyst by Bath and Body Works

Since I don’t see one male review, here’s mine. I think Black Amethyst is dark, heavy, and mysterious and definitely has that “wow” factor. Yes, I’ve heard how it’s a rip-off of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, among others, but I have never smelled Black Orchid (I think I am the only one who hasn’t). Black Amethyst is slightly too floral for my tastes, but I’ve heard it has sometimes been mistaken it for a men’s cologne. I can easily imagine wearing this with a tuxedo at a formal event. It seems especially good in cold weather. And because it’s from Bath and Body Works, Black Amethyst is available in spray, lotion, and shower gel, which is a huge plus. And in my opinion, Black Amethyst is the only Bath & Body Works fragrance worth wearing, with the single exception of Midnight Pomegranate.
08th January, 2015 (last edited: 09th January, 2015)

Bayolea by Penhaligon's

Bayolea starts out very interesting, very dry and masculine, I thought I found a new favorite! But within minutes, it actually starts to stink. Nasty.
02nd January, 2015

Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors

Basically, as others have said, Cape Heartache is a simple fragrance of strawberries and pine. I think it might have been nicer with a little nutmeg, or something, added, to give it more of a base. But as it is, I must admit there’s nothing really bad about it, but it’s not anything special, either. Ironically, there’s nothing “heartache” about it because it seems like a happy scent to me. But I still feel like I’m wearing a paper pine tree air freshener (with strawberries), but, so far, no complaints from anybody around me. Cape Heartache leans more towards feminine than masculine.
31st December, 2014

Arabie by Serge Lutens

Arabie certainly has clove in it, but the clove doesn’t overpower the rest of the notes, although very noticeable. In a small way, it reminds me of L’Artisan’s Piment Brulant, but only because they both share a clove note. Arabie is definitely gourmand, while PB is more like a vegetable garden, raw and uncooked. Also, Arabie is definitely sweeter than PB because PB isn’t sweet at all. I suspect most people will either love it or hate it. It seems to drown itself, during drydown, in a watery base, as I suspect is typical with most Serge Lutens scents. Overall, during drydown, any pleasant smell is gone. I can certainly live without Arabie.
31st December, 2014

Noir de Noir by Tom Ford

Very tart, not enough character. Linear, nothing underneath. The fact that it seems linear to me isn’t a problem, but it certainly isn’t good enough to justify a purchase. Plum Japonais is a much better scent, but it also suffers from weak construction. The name “Noir de Noir” is pretentious and misleading: nothing “noir” about it. In fact, I think it’s quite… bright. If I were Tom Ford, I would be embarrassed by both the scent AND the name.
05th December, 2014

Desire for a Man by Dunhill

I have worn Desire (red) before, and loved the opening, but hated that sour drydown! But now I have learned to *appreciate* that sour drydown because it’s so well-blended, and because I have grown fond of teak, and have really always been fond of lime. But my fascination with sour notes has grown, especially since so many fragrances out there are sweet. But I think Desire is well-blended and VERY unique. And I think I can almost smell cinnamon, although cinnamon isn’t listed in the note pyramid.
05th November, 2014

Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermès

It is simply dry, mossy grass. Nothing to get excited about.
01st October, 2014
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Black Vines by Kerosene

Black Vines by Kerosene certainly isn’t the first fragrance featuring licorice/anise blended with something else; there is licorice with lavender (Hermèssence Brin de Réglisse), licorice with rose and amber (Aoud Black Candy by Mancera), licorice with mint (Reglisse Noire by 1000 Flowers), and licorice with lemon (Caron Eau de Reglisse), to name a few. But this licorice with fir/balsam/cypress blend is, by far, the most intriguing and powerful of them all. (The drydown reminds me very much of Eau des Baux by L’Occitane, but Black Vines is much deeper, and richer, than Eau des Baux.) Black Vines is licorice and wintergreen on steroids! But of course, most people don’t like the smell of wintergreen, that familiar medicinal scent from muscle rub creams and Pepto Bismal, but this is exactly the reason I find it therapeutic.
19th September, 2014 (last edited: 05th February, 2015)

Piment Brûlant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Just because “cocoa” and “vanilla” are listed in the fragrance description doesn’t mean Piment Brulant is a sweet fragrance; there’s nothing sweet about it! In fact, I can’t smell any cocoa or chocolate OR vanilla. Not one ounce of sugary sweetness here, just a vegetable garden… FRESH vegetables. Fresh, but not in a soapy or “aqua” way. I know it has clove in it, but the clove note is so well-blended that it isn’t noticeable. Overall, a somewhat unique, although somewhat familiar, fragrance. Whatever their original intention, I give L’Artisan a Thumbs Up for duplicating the smell of a farmers market, and converting it into a surprisingly wearable fragrance.
29th August, 2014 (last edited: 20th October, 2014)

Creature by Kerosene

Since I already love Black Vines, and I like Fields of Rubus, I thought I would like Creature, too, but I was wrong. Creature isn’t bad, it just smells flat, and empty, and doesn’t seem to breathe. It reminds me of a child’s cold, plastic toy. Yes, a toy “creature”, made from scented, lime-green neon plastic. I can’t imagine an adult paying a very adult price for this.
25th July, 2014

Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince

Enchanted Forest opening is very similar to an old cheapie, Spark for Men by Liz Claiborne. I loved Spark when it first came out, but soon that honey and rum accord got old, and I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. Enchanted Forest isn’t any different, it smells nice enough at first application, but soon, those honey and rum notes are overwhelming. I actually like the smell of chili peppers, but the rum seems to drown all the other notes to the point that it becomes heavy, stuffy, and choking. The opening of green, buttery leaves (yes, buttery) is very nice, but then, in a short while, I smell like an alcoholic. For $200.00 per bottle, I expect more. PLEASE, give me some air!
24th July, 2014 (last edited: 05th February, 2015)

Réglisse Noire by 1000 Flowers

Don’t be fooled by this fragrance house name of 1000 flowers, Reglisse Noire starts out very masculine. In fact, I almost didn’t bother to sample because I thought it would be too floral, which it isn’t. The opening licorice note fades to what I call “cold” mint, which seems washed out, like an old mint found in a car seat or something. Usually, I love the smell of licorice, and I love the smell of mints. But Reglisse Noire’s licorice fades too fast, and the weak mint smells plastic. The end result is nondescript and mediocre. I will pass.
21st July, 2014 (last edited: 24th July, 2014)

Background by Jil Sander

I'm sorry, I just don't get what is so special about Background. First of all, I know a name isn't everything, but "Background" is such a non-pretentious name that I almost didn't bother to sample it because I thought it would be boring, and I was right. The rose isn't too dominant, but is still noticeable, and I don't care for the smell of roses. I respect that others like this, but it's nothing special to me. In fact, to MY nose, it smells cheap.
20th July, 2014

Aoud Greedy by Montale

Just got my sample today in the mail. If this is an example of the house of Montale, which I have never tried before, then I want nothing to do with it. Nasty stench, reminds me of every Bath & Body Works amber fragrance ever made. I don't get any licorice (which I love), and it smells cheap. Not sure I have ever been so offended by a fragrance.
01st June, 2014

Aqua Amara by Bulgari

Just smelled Aqua Amara at Ulta for the first time, and I find it interesting, I have always been fascinated with Bulgari (except Aqua Marine smells like dead fish). I only got to smell Amara for a few minutes before it disappeared, but it certainly is bitter! I might go back for more, kinda like that bitter vibe. But no matter HOW much I might like it, it isn't worth the price if it is gone that fast. UPDATE: tested it again (on my hand), and evidently smells much different on cooler days: not as good.
29th April, 2014 (last edited: 01st May, 2014)

Fields of Rubus by Kerosene

THE OPENING SMELLS JUST LIKE PAINT! Yes, it opens really loud, and I suspect the patchouli is mostly what gives it that paint smell. But in a couple of minutes, that fresh paint opening reveals the raspberry, plum, and apple notes that smell so good. It’s too bad they don’t last very long before the woody drydown starts. Thankfully, the cedar note isn’t as strong as the patchouli, which I think blends well with the vanilla, although I'm not crazy about patchouli in general. The opening, after that initial blast of paint, reminds me of a breakfast buffet with plenty of jam, but the drydown is woody and patchouli and reminds me of Home Depot. Overall, I think the fruit, vanilla, and patchouli blend is slightly interesting, and sometimes I like the smell of Home Depot. Yes, it reminds me of lumber, but BRIGHT lumber, if that makes any sense. I think $140 is steep, but, overall, so far, I am impressed with Kerosene's line. I might have given a Thumbs Up, if not for the price.
13th March, 2014 (last edited: 27th June, 2014)

Dark Kiss by Bath and Body Works

Can’t believe nobody else has reviewed Dark Kiss yet. It is marketed toward females, but I consider it to be unisex. Bath and Body Works own website says Dark Kiss is: A tempting blend of black raspberry, Mirabelle plum, amber, dark vanilla bean, and sensual balsam. I made the mistake of trying the shower gel first, and assuming the EDT would be similar, I was wrong. The shower gel has a nice cherry vanilla vibe, but the EDT smells mostly vanilla to me. VERY disappointing because the shower gel is actually awesome. But still, Dark Kiss is a nice berry/vanilla fragrance. Nice, but certainly not worth seeking out.
28th February, 2014 (last edited: 18th January, 2015)

Aoud Black Candy by Mancera

Should have been called ROSE Candy. I am wearing Aoud Black Candy right now, and I have to admit it opens with a very nice, true, black licorice note. I think blending rose and licorice together is an interesting idea, and the rose is quite prominent, all the way through the drydown. I don’t know about “edible notes”, but I think that awful amber is finally beginning to fade. The top notes are wonderful, the base notes are tolerable, but the heart of it, that rose-amber accord, is a deal-breaker. I don’t care too much for rose, but I really hate amber! Replacing the amber with cocoa (not chocolate, but cocoa, as in the original Dior Homme), might have saved this fragrance, enhancing both the rose and the licorice. But as it is, thumbs down.
30th October, 2013

A*Men Pure Havane by Thierry Mugler

I am wearing a sample of this right now. I think it's an interesting fragrance, but that "honeyed tobacco accord" reminds me VERY much of Liz Claiborne's boozy SPARK and is almost overwhelming. In fact, the longer I wear it, the more like Spark it smells to my nose. I have grown to hate the smell of honey and/or rum in anything.
08th September, 2012

Paris Hilton for Men by Paris Hilton

Sweet, yes, it starts out sweet: I immediately smell cantaloupe, which COULD be the cucumber and watermelon together. But then, it quickly turns sour; VERY sour. I don't notice any transition, just sweet and then sour. Cheap quality, not to mention the cheap name.
30th August, 2012

cK one Shock for Him by Calvin Klein

I LOVE this fragrance. This is that elusive "cherry cough syrup" scent I have been searching for. THIS is what Dunhill Desire WANTS to be, no joke! This is like a more mature version of Desire. But after wearing it some more, I have come to a conclusion: I DON'T get any lavender or chocolate in this, ALL I smell is a basil-y Cherry Tobacco, like cherry pipe tobacco. In fact, it could have easily been called "Very Cherry". If you don't like cherry, stay away from this.
16th August, 2012 (last edited: 18th May, 2014)

La Nuit de L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

To MY nose, this seems to be a good-quality fragrance, despite the fact it came from the same house that created that abomination, Kouros. And with that being said, it seems 2-dimensional to me, missing something, maybe TOP notes. Yes, that's it: it seems as if it is created entirely of middle and base notes. Maybe a good mandarin note would fix that.
13th August, 2012 (last edited: 21st January, 2013)

New West for Him by Aramis

I am revisiting some of the old frags I used to wear. I have NO idea what that note is, but something in it makes my eyes burn... BAD. I can't even tolerate it. Overall smell seems unique enough, but the drydown is awful. Can't wait to wash it off.
03rd August, 2012

L.12.12 Rouge / Red by Lacoste

To MY nose, smells apple-cinnamon-y, not bad, but nothing special, and it doesn't last long enough to justify the purchase. Blah.
02nd July, 2012