Perfume Reviews

Reviews by duncanw

Total Reviews: 40

Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

PS made me give up looking for a pepper-focused fragrance. It offers a great snapshot of pepper and initially I was wowed. But a few more wears revealed a quite muddied structure and this same queasy drydown I get from Poivre 23, Piper Nigrum and to a lesser extent Poivre Piquant. Oh well.
29th April, 2019

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

Not unpleasant just joyless; a monotone ashtray experience.
24th April, 2019

Jil Sander Man (2007) by Jil Sander

Meh. Hard to dislike this inoffensive wood and violet. But pretty hard to be interested too.
13th April, 2019
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Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Once I make it past the bandaids-and-dettol opening this is truly unpleasant, nauseatingly synth. Clearly it has lots of fans, not a few of whom give it 10 while saying they don't like it and wouldn't wear it. Huh.
Me? It induces a blinding headache. It is very loud and lasts a very long time, come what may.
08th April, 2019

Pomélo Paradis by Atelier Cologne

Delicious hyperreal juicy pink grapefruit with hints of passionfruit. As others note, this fades fast to a much too long-lasting and not so pleasant metallic-amber base: is it norlimbanol or ambrocenide? Dunno; reminds me of the former. Anyway that structure doesn't work for me. The vivid realism of the top notes is both fun and raises interesting "what are the goals of perfumery?" type questions I spose.
29th March, 2019

Aedes de Venustas (new) by Aedes de Venustas

I wouldn’t have predicted a rhubarb frankincense would be a delight but it is. In its homes of origin frankincense has a strong association with clean clothes. The tart rhubarb shimmers over that vision of fresh-pressed, blue-embroidered white linen as on a spring morning’s breakfast bowl.
24th March, 2019

Issara by Parfums Dusita

Surprised at the love for this one. Inoffensive and not merely forgettable but virtually unnoticeable. I wear frags for myself so don’t mind low sillage. But even at the skin scent level this fades from view in moments.
09th March, 2019

Korrigan by Lubin

I'd like to like this. There's a lovely creamy woods in the heart, and a delightful dry down. But also in the heart--as I found with Akkad too--is something that repels me: old dishrag or something.
04th March, 2019

Dark Lord Ex Tenebris Lux by By Kilian

Acrid medicinal smoke. I'd rate it an interesting not-always-pleasant onetime ride if it were just 12 hours but the nasty base takes a couple of days to scrub out.
03rd March, 2019

Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

I love Iso-e in many other fragrances, especially those by Schoen for Ormonde Jayne. It’s like a varnish bringing intensity and vividness to the other notes. Here, without other notes, one might think of John Cage’s 4:33 and how one brings one’s own. Which is fine the first time... but after that it starts to feel like a missed opportunity more than anything else.
28th February, 2019

Aziyadé by Parfum d'Empire

PdE: You see, most fragrances, you know, might have fruitcake at ten – you’re on ten here, all the way up ... and where can you go from there? Where?
Me: I don’t know.
PdE: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, for Aziyadé, we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Me: Put it up to eleven.
PdE: Eleven. Exactly.

Don't think I'd wear something this gourmand, but too much fun not to give thumbs up.
25th February, 2019

Solaris by Agonist

Unpleasant opening: stale garbage smell I associate with cascalone. I guess that’s the ozonic accord. Happily none of it lasts long.
19th February, 2019

Black Orchid by Tom Ford

Cloying horror.
28th January, 2019
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Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

Does what it says on the tin. Very vivid dry unlit cigarette. Jasmin.
For me the combination makes the jasmine interesting and unisex. Only drawback: quite fleeting.
27th January, 2019

Marrakech Intense by Aesop

Starts off with a huge hit of cardamom. Then cloves come through, adding to the impression of Indian paan masala (betel quid) just before you chew it. Perhaps the rose & neroli are part of that impression, though they're still barely discernible background players.
Looking forward to using my sample occasionally: almost as good as a holiday. Can't imagine buying a bottle however.
24th January, 2019

Mark Birley for Men by Mark Birley

Can’t work out whether this is a 2 or a 4 star. First try my reaction was a little Ike Himalayan odyssey’s: rubber band oddness. Second try was more in line with Collin Maillard’s. so neutral from me but will try again.
26th June, 2018

Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

Initially green, dry, unsweetly resinous, like a cracked branch of cypress. For me this makes it much more wearable than Heeley's Cardinal, vividly close as I find that one to neat frankincense smoke.
Unfortunately have to agree with others about the low mileage from this, especially for something as inherently tenacious as frankincense.
Thumbs up while it lasts.
13th June, 2018

Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain

An extraordinarily vivid breakfast grapefruit, it makes for a joyous trip to work. It might be pitched at women but it's not sweet and I think I pull it off well. Don't really care, it makes me happy. The dry down shifts towards vanilla. By lunchtime it is suddenly gone. After such a fine morning that's quite ok.
12th April, 2018

Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

Not horrible. Not interesting. As others have noted it starts 4711 and quickly progresses to an alkaline musk. Soap.
30th March, 2018

Nouvelle Edition Figue Amère by Miller Harris

Extraordinarily uninteresting. Hard to know when it stops so I'm guessing poor longevity too.
09th March, 2018

Zizan by Ormonde Jayne

Bitter woods. The bay leaf I guess, though without any of the uplifting aspect you'd hope for in that. Really disappointing. It is linear and only makes things worse by lasting a long time too.
13th February, 2018 (last edited: 26th July, 2018)

Sunshine Man by Amouage

A big bright neon-orange plastic confection. Very sweet but not fresh - more a hot-buttered-plastic fun fair experience. Too odd for me but if that's your bag you'll find it plenty vivid.
29th January, 2018

Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens

I sampled this as part of my increasingly forlorn search for a fragrance with the tangy elegance of Eau Noire.
I can't fault Jeux de Peau for not being anything like that. But on its own terms wearing it was a really dreadful yeasty experience that went on and on and on. Not for me.
20th January, 2018

He Wood Rocky Mountain Wood by Dsquared2

Meh. All pencil shavings no pencil. Longevity below average.
10th January, 2018

Bull's Blood by Imaginary Authors

Numcks' review is excellent, although my love for this is more muted. I give this a neutral because I can't agree with Colin Maillard that this is safe or wearable: I think the reviews are testament that many/most? around you will experience this as challenging at best. But do give it a go, perhaps alone, walking the Seville streets. It's a fascinating dark rose.
10th January, 2018

French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

How curious. I liked the opening few minutes, all wet leaves and such, and thought I might have found something with galbanum that I enjoyed. But then I went to smell my arm again and lo it had transformed into...the smell of dried fish scales, perhaps a few weeks old. Not strong, but not going away any time soon. Unsure where that's coming from--something ammoniac I guess (where's Luca Turin when you need him?). As a result this is not for me.
03rd January, 2018

Bentley for Men by Bentley

Opens with a brief sour wine aroma then sweetens appreciably. Hints of cinnamon, bay and rum form an accord, perhaps with the sage and leather, to give an unfortunate impression of platic...plastic what? car interior? I guess so. This then takes on a baker's yeast aspect. Lots going on, but none of it is for me.
31st December, 2017

Cedrat Boise by Mancera

Strikes me as reasonably different from Aventus / CDNI but similarly fruity; the blackberry I suppose, its sweetness not overdone. The opening is all about lemon. The drydown lacks the birchy interest of Aventus / CDNI. I'll stick with CDNI.
31st December, 2017

Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

Interesting. I liked the opening at first, but it stays that strong and smokey for much longer than I can take. Others mention barbecued meat; I got an impression of a tin of smoked oysters just opened. Something about the smokiness and oiliness. And sure I like smoked oysters. But that's not how I want to smell. After many hours the dry down becomes powdery, lipsticky, which adds to the impression of oil. And still that canned smoke. Not for me.
24th December, 2017

Gold Man by Amouage

A terribly fussy floral fragrance. Granny's bathroom is about right. I'm actually surprised at the number of neutral votes; I'd expect this to be almost entirely polarising. Another surprise is how far it is from the others in the Amouage lineup I've tried, like Memoir, Figment, Epic Man, Jubilation XXV. For me this one is a hard "no, not at all, thanks".
24th December, 2017