Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Gerald

Total Reviews: 68

Calypso Marine by Calypso Christiane Celle

One of the more unusual yet easy to wear "ocean" fragrances with an ozonic, almost aldehydic top and a heady floral heart. Although perfect for hot summer days, this is far from being watery. It evokes immediately pictures of a hot, sunny day near the sea, but not at the beach (no reminders suntanning lotion like 'Fire Island'), but on the terrace of a nice resort, sipping cocktails. It shares some similarities with Profumum's 'Acqua di Sale'. Great.
09th September, 2008

Encens Chembur by Byredo

A very pale, somewhat watery incense scent for everyone who finds Bois d'Encens or any of the CdG incenses too strong and offensive. Almost zero sillage and very modest longevity. A big disappointment compared to the other partly beautiful fragrances in this line.
07th August, 2008

Violette Madame by Guerlain

It's called 'Voilette (= veil) de Madame' actually, and Guerlain offers it as a limited vintage edition in their Champs Elysées flagship store for a hefty price. It comes in its original beautiful snail-shaped crystal flacon (also Mouchoir de Monsieur is available in the snail bottle, but the juice is the same as the 'regular', widely available Mouchoir) and was originally created for J. Guerlain's marriage. Voilette for the bride, Mouchoir for the fiancé.

With this romantic story in mind, one should assume Voilette de Madame was an utterly feminine, soft and cosy fragrance. Well, it is not.

VdM starts with an aldehydic, powdery burst of green leaves. Sharp, grassy and only with only a hint of flowers: iris, ylang-ylang, narcissus, violet. The drydown is very animalic (civet?) on a sandalwood base. It is a dry, musty, dirty fragrance and despite its name you also Monsieur can get by with it. There are some similarities to Miller Harris' L'Air de Rien, but VdM is more complex and much more fascinating.
Stunning, but not everybody's cup of tea.
06th June, 2007
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Voleur de Ciels by Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan

Voleur de Ciels (sky thief) is one of the masculine-labeled fragrances in Stephanie de Saint-Aignan's line (but I find it absolutely suitable for a woman as well). It's a quite unusual chypre that starts fresh and spicy with notes of mint and jasmine, followed by anise and a leather note. Finally, a Patchouli accord unfolds. The fragrance is refreshing and cool with a metallic tone at first; later, when the spices and the patchouli come out, it gets increasingly glowing and warm. A unique composition that combines traditional ingredients of classic men's colognes with innovative elements. Long-lasting, with powerful sillage. A winner.
21st May, 2007

L'Art et la Matière : Rose Barbare by Guerlain

One of the most beautiful rose scents I know. The aldehydes and the chypre base create a sparkling green, fresh, almost cool aura, while the mentioned honey accord stays in the background (at least on my skin). In its development, it gains a certain warmth, but never loses that refined, dewy touch. It's only moderately sweet and never gets cloying. Rose Barbare could be Rose de Nuit's bright and sunny counterpart.
21st May, 2007

No. 68 by Guerlain

Cologne N°68 was created in 2006 on the occasion of the reopening of Guerlain's flagship store on Champs-Elysees 68 (I don't know if it's identical with the 2000 version in the directory). It's a unique take on the classic Eau de Cologene theme: it starts fresh and fruity (tangerine, lemon, bergamot), then turns quickly into a spicy compound with star anise, loads of cardamom, coriandre and pepper and finally dries down to a soft, woody base with a slightly musty touch. N°68's spectrum is remarkable: while it starts like a dressed-up Cologne Impérial, it ends like a distantly relative to Dior's Bois d'Argent. Truly exceptional, if you don't judge it from the first few minutes but wait until it has fully developed. Definitely unisex, comes in a huge (and very classy) 490 ml bottle and is only available in selected selling points (e.g. the Paris flagship store).
21st May, 2007

Gendarme Green by Gendarme

Green is an exquisite combination of citrus, herbs and the Gendarme-characteristic white musk base. Like all gendarme fragrances, it stays relatively close to your skin (though it has a significantly stronger sillage factor than the classic Gendarme or Gendarme V), and lasts for many hours.
The topnote is a somehow flashy citric mixture (lemon, verbena, bergamot) with a saccharine undertone. It quickly melts down to a soft and cool heart (cucumber, basil, some thymes) that justifies the juice's name: indeed, it smells green. The crisp, clean basenote rounds the whole composition off. All in all, just perfect for spring and summer.
I don't like the cheap-looking aluminium bottle, but after all, it's the fragrance that counts.
After Grabazzi, this is my secondary favourite in the Gendarme line.
16th May, 2007

No. 22 Parfum by Chanel

I never cared much about N°22, but now, after having tried the classic version and the slightly reformulated 'Les Exclusifs' version, I see what I've missed. An effervescent, intriguing, powdery-green fragrance with a wonderful incensey drydown. The only aldehyde powerhouse that I find totally wearable for a man.
The topnotes are very fresh and green, almost a bit pungent. Shortly after, the floral accents strengthen and dominate the heart phase. By and by, the incense enters the stage and begins to play the lead.
The old and the new versions of N°22 are twins, of course, but indeed there are differences, mainly the higher dose of incense in the new version (which I like better). Besides, the new N°22 is a bit less sweet.
A must-try, also for the guys.
16th May, 2007

Story by Paul Smith

A very agreeable green musk / vetiver scent. Soft, round and fresh; suitable for any opportunity. Akin to KenzoAir, but without the latter's anise note, and with better longevity. Paul Smith's best fragrance so far.
15th May, 2007

Sous Le Vent by Guerlain

This fragrance starts ultra-green and crisp, almost harsh and slightly bitter. You get the smell of leaves crushed in your hand and there's not the slightest touch of sweetness in it. After some time, flowery accords enter the stage, above all green jasmine, accompanied by some spices - mainly clove - that prepare the ground for a warm and spicy drydown.
Sous le Vent lasts quite long though it stays close to your skin. The 2006 version comes in EdT concentration, and though I'd wish they'd launch an EdP, it's perfect for hot summer days.
It's marketed as a female fragrance, but I find it decidedly more on the masculine side.
11th May, 2007

Wedding Bouquet by Anglia Perfumery

An almost photorealistic olfactory copy of an opulent bunch of flowers. Freshly cut white flowers and fresh green notes, with only a touch of sweet honey. Very linear, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a fragrance that wants to reproduce reality.
22nd February, 2007

parfums*PARFUMS Series 1 Leaves: Lily by Comme des Garçons

Excellent. The calmness and cleanness of white lilies is projected into a pure and almost minimalistic fragrance. Floral, green, no sweetness at all. The ultimate lily fragrance for all floral aficionados, and suitable for women and men.
22nd February, 2007

Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

This fragrance is unique without being weird. The combination of tobacco and jasmine is surprisingly harmonic and comforting; the two main accords are well-balanced and equally present from the top to the base. The tobacco doesn't remind me of smoke (as in Tea for Two), but more of unsmoked cigars (as in Tabarome). Not very complex, but well constructed and with decent staying power. Perfectly suitable for a man or a women.
20th February, 2007
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Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d'Orange

I don't get any resemblance to body fluids. In its first stage, this fragrance reminds me of the milky, green, slightly pungent aroma you get when you cut dandelion stems. And there's a metallic, ozonic note. Not even bad in the beginning, if you like grassy scents. But after some time it turns to something rotten... a bit like foul flower water mixed with sour milk and dishwashing detergent. At this stage at the latest I had to wash it off, but due to its enourmous staying power I clearly detected it even many hours later. Which can be a good thing. But not with Secretions Magnifiques.
20th February, 2007

Rien by Etat Libre d'Orange

Rien isn't "rien" at all. It's a rich, dark, distinctive fragrance that starts with a soft, warm balsamic leather note (slightly resembling of Cuir Ottoman)and a hint of iris. The patchouli accord is sweet and light and never gets into the foreground. After some time, Rien gets harsher with a somehow mineral, graphite-like touch: incense, cumin and pepper notes gain dominance and remain noticeable during the whole drydown.
Rien may be an interesting choice for all leather & spice lovers and is (in opposite to some other fragrances of this house) definitely wearable. Striking sillage and longevity - use it sparingly!
20th February, 2007

Parfums des Beaux Arts Cimabue by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Cimabue is a saffron-centered fragrance and contains a plethora of ingredients, such as bergamot, orange, cardamom, neroli, lemon, carnation, honey, cinnamon, cloves, jasmine, sandalwood, saffron, tuberose, ciste, labdanum, opoponax, vanilla and much more. The result is a surprisingly harmonic scent that reminds me of gingerbread and christmas pastry (well, cinnamon, cloves and honey say it all). Sweet, but not cloying, this is a nice mood-lifter for cold winter evenings.
20th February, 2007

Jour de Fête by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A nice, light, fresh almond scent with a hint of vanilla, not too sweet and not cloying. Quite linear. Unisex, leaning a bit more on the feminine side, but can be weared easily by a man. More a skin-scent type of fragrance with zero longevity - doesn't last longer than an hour on my skin.
20th February, 2007

Vetiver by Etro

Wet, earthy, strong and linear. Ultra-dry and merciless with not the slightest lucency (by citrus or - like Route du Vetiver - fruity notes). This one is for real hardcore vetiver enthusiasts. Unfortunately, not for me.
20th February, 2007

Antico Caruso by Profumum

Antico Caruso is quite heavy, rich, sweet and powdery and not at all a shy or subtle fragrance. It starts with a sharp, loud citrus-sugary intro, then the sweet notes (almond, a touch of vanilla) unfold, giving the whole composition a soft and cuddly character. The drydown is the best stage of development: sandalwood and a powdery accord create an elegant, classy aroma. Antico Caruso actually reminds of old barbershops due to the mixture of soap, talc and citrus cologne. It bears a certain resemblance to Prada Amber, but seems more refined to me. Maximum sillage and staying power - beware of overapplying. I like it, but it's a tad too sweet to really love it.
19th January, 2007

Acqua di Sale by Profumum

Like some other Profumum fragrances, this one starts with a heavy, blatant mess: cold, metallic, sharp and somehow perfumey. But within a few minutes the squaller calms down and unfolds a wonderful array of notes reminding of a sea breeze: salt, algaes, cedarwood, myrtle and a mellow fruity accord. Although the scent gets more subtle by and by, it has some decent longevity and sillage. An interesting olfactory interpretation of a sunny seaside scenery, avoiding tanning oil associations (CB - at the Beach, Bond No 9 - Fire Island) but more geared to the marine flora (salt, sand, seaside plants) with certain similarities to Calypso Marine. An enchanting, distinctive spring or summer fragrance.
19th January, 2007

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Dzongkha actually seems to be a relative to Passage d'Enfer at first; both imply a dry incense note and an almost spiritual character. But while PdE gets brighter due to the lily accord, Dzongkha becomes more and more mysterious and sublime. The iris note begins to come to the foreground and gives a certain coolness to the whole composition, but the spices keep it from getting too cold. Iris root still is the predominant note in Dzongkha. An awesome scent from L'Artisan, with good sillage (without ever being overpowering) and decent longevity. It develops very differently on different skin types, so test before you buy.
19th January, 2007

Après L'Ondée by Guerlain

Another very versatile classic Guerlain suitable for women and men. The combination of aniseed in the top with hawthorne in the heart creates a cool, relaxed atmosphere; the warm iris basenote retains it from being too airy or fresh. Subtle, yet long-lasting. Pure class.
19th January, 2007

Signature Collection : Lux by Mona di Orio

This is one of the most surprising scents I've ever tried. It starts with a citrus overdose, fresh, bitter and sharp, reminding me of FM's Bigarade Concentree. But it doesn't vanish or get watery-airy like most citrus fragrances. It gets darker and deeper an develops to a full, rich ambery scent with some 'dirty' hints (musk and labdanum). The citrus accords stay perceivable all the time, also during the drydown, even if they retrench more and more into the background. A distinctive, extraordinary yet very versatile fragrance. Great!
21st October, 2006

Préparation Parfumée / L'Original by Andrée Putman

A very versatile, well-made, uplifting fragrance with notes of pepper, water lily, coriander and a soft woody drydown. It's translucent, but clearly detectable. Whenever I smell it, I associate it with a scenery of ample trees around a mountain lake. It's cool, green and leafy - somehow similar to L'Artisan's Navegar. No big sillage, but lasting close to your skin for several hours.
29th August, 2006

Tubéreuse Indiana by Creed

Tubereuse Indiana doesn't work at all with me. It's a thick, greasy, sweet fragrance that smells extremely synthetic on me. I don't find it fresh at all, but very cloying and quite linear. Maybe it's my chemistry, but this is simply unwearable for me.
29th August, 2006

Alamut by Lorenzo Villoresi

Alamut is an opulent, rich, luscious fragrance. It's a bright oriental with flowers, spices and a soft animalic, voluptuous undertone. Notes: Osmanthus, rose, jasmine, rosewood, narcissus, tuberose, lang ylang, neroli, labdanum, amber, musk, sandalwood, patchouli, leather and aldehydic notes. In the topnotes, I find some similarities with Alexander McQueen's Kingdom - the lushness, the rose accord, the slightly acrid animalic notes. Then it starts to brighten up, the powdery accords melt into the flowery notes, the musk gets stronger and the whole scent gets cleaner during the drydown. All in all, one of the best Villoresis I've ever smelled. Not too sweet, not cloying, and the EdT can easily be weared by a man (there's also EdP and pure perfume which I haven't tried). It works best with evenings or with cooler temperatures.
02nd August, 2006

parfums*PARFUMS Guerrilla 1 by Comme des Garçons

This one starts slightly musty and dark and resembles of CdG's Odeur 71 sprayed on some old cardboard. Not bad, but very synthetic and sharp; I don't get much of the pear and the saffron in the topnote. It takes some time until this fragrance lightens up and reveals its fruity peach note, joined by a subtle floral accord (the Champaca?). The base is dominated by soft musk and some woods, I don't get much of the Vetiver. It has not too much sillage and stays quite close to your skin, but it lasts quite long. Maybe not one of the most unusual CdGs, but a nevertheless interesting and very wearable one.
01st August, 2006

Une Fleur de Cassie by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Think of a walk through a park on an early morning in late september, when the air gets cooler and there's this fine mist on the last green leaves. That's my main impression of Une Fleur de Cassie, which is a unique combination of notes: it's powdery, green, soft, cool, melancholic and calming at the same time. It seems to be full of contradictions, and maybe that's the reason why it polarizes that much. Personally, I love it. I like its matt green vibrancy and its dim chlorophyllic character. The lack of sweetness makes it a bit easier to wear than its near relative Iris Poudre (which I also appreciate very much). Maybe its name is misleading: don't expect flowery freshness or cheerfulness - Une Fleur de Cassie is far from being a happy spring scent, but it's a grand, slightly aloof love-or-hate fragrance.
31st July, 2006

Tubéreuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

I've heard much about this one, especially about its topnotes. Gasoline. Rubber. Menthol. Asphalt. Anyway, I ordered a bottle... and: everything is true. The weirdest topnotes I've ever smelled. Imagine you're filling the tank of your truck at a shabby petrol station... the smell of burnt rubber, hot asphalt and gasoline all around... in your truck you have one of those cheap air refresheners that smell of spearmint mouthwash. That's how Tubereuse Criminelle starts. Now I understand why it's called "criminelle" - it has a dark, strange character. Just shocking. But then the tuberose breaks through. It pushes the strange odor of gasoline away and you get the irradiance of an incredibly beautiful floral scent. The tuberose in here is powerful, but not creamy and damp - it's bright, juicy, uplifting and refreshing. Truly wonderful - and the only tuberose-centered fragrance beside Carnal Flower that's totally suitable for women and men.
For sure, a somehow eccentric scent, but totally addictive and at least worth a try. Normally, I wouldn't give "thumbs up" for a fragrance with these awful topnotes, but the heart and the base make good for the beginning. A masterpiece.
26th July, 2006

Central Park by Bond No. 9

I like it. It's a very refreshing, green scent that starts a bit sharp due to a harsh, even synthetic verbena accord. I don't detect any basil in the top notes. But after some minutes it calms down and the floral accords begin to develop and the scent now gets really good. Clean and fresh with a herbal twist (basil?) that makes it somehow interesting . The drydown is dominated by cedar notes. I can't find any hint of patchouli or musk. All in all, a well-made, refreshing summer scent with some sillage and good longevity.
22nd June, 2006