Reviews by saxifrage

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    saxifrage
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    Swiss Unlimited by Victorinox

    This is unbelievably disgusting! The smell is very reminiscent of medicine. It even has a bitter, mentholated quality that makes me think of Vicks Vap-o-Rub. One whiff of this and I am taken back to memories of bronchitis, Robitussin, and inhaling menthol vapors. It's a medicine chest in each spray!

    It's also very strong and hard to wash off. This ranks 2 thumbs down if I could.

    02 March, 2010

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    Garden of Ireland: Farmhouse Lemonade by Fragrances of Ireland

    Amazing!

    Dudes, don't let the name fool you. This isn't like spraying on Kool-Aid. The name belies its quality and the fragrance tradition it emulates.

    Think of an interesting interplay of Acqua di Parma Colonia and Penhaligon's Castile. At a significantly lower price! The quality is something to be admired. It is every bit as good as a niche house, and the price cannot be beat. There's even a little quinine bitterness in there that evokes an Eau de Portugal of sorts.

    Looking to experience a "barber shop" eau de cologne aroma? You might consider this one! I can't wait to try it in summer in the heat.

    11th February, 2010

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    Inis Ór by Fragrances of Ireland

    I have to say that this almost feels like a redundancy of Inis. It feels like its slightly more sour, and less fresh cousin. I wasn't quite expecting this as Inis is an aquatic, and this looked to be more like a chypre.

    You can definitely tell that citrus takes a stronger dominance here, and as it dries, you do notice the woody notes. However, this isn't like cedar chest or pencil shavings wood. It's very, very restrained and more like a hint of woodiness as opposed to blatant expression. The rose is also strikingly more obvious in Inis Or.

    I was intrigued by the base notes and thought that perhaps this one would swing a bit more toward stereotypical "masculine" woodsy notes, but I find this one to be a bit more feminine and cloying. I think I'll stick to the original "Inis"


    11th February, 2010

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    Inis by Fragrances of Ireland

    Not bad at all!

    Eau d'Issey... oh boy. I find the smell to have admirable qualities, but it quickly becomes cloying and it's not something I could wear. I do see the similarities drawn here between Inis and Eau d'Issey, but this offering by Fragrances of Ireland is quite a bit easier to swallow (or smell, in this case).

    I was rather surprised by "Inis" ... a rather palatable fragrance, cool, refreshing, aquatic. I detect the muguet very easily, and I can see how the other notes build upon it. I get what almost feels like an anise node, mixed among the aquatic accord.

    I wouldn't say I'm the hugest fan of aquatic scents. Creed's Erolfa doesn't do it for me. L'Artisan's Navegar does, with the interplay of lime, greens, anise, pepper, and the aquatic note. Similarly, this one appeals to me. It's not quite as risque or quirky as L'Artisan (but really, who is?), but it is perfectly enjoyable. And at around US $35 a bottle, it's a steal. Definitely something I'll be buying a bottle of.

    11th February, 2010

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    Blenheim Bouquet by Penhaligon's

    Boy, do I have a weird history with this fragrance.

    When I first smelled it, I hated it. It was early in my fragrance acquisition disorder, admittedly, and I had to develop a palate. This smells so different from most modern fragrances that it can be a little jarring. Truth be told, when I first smelled it, I thought it reeked of sour lemons and bitter leathery qualities mixed together in a sickening incongruity, continuously putrefying on my skin throughout the day. It almost smelled mentholated. Medicinal.

    Over time and smelling other fragrances, I came to actually love Blenheim Bouquet. It really didn't sink in until I purchased some Blenheim Bouquet handsoap and I realized how wonderfully clean, fresh, and masculine it smelled. I eventually became a devotee and got the shaving cream, deodorant, shower gel, EdT, etc.

    I suppose this is an acquired taste. Just like British marmite. I hated that stuff at first as an American. I simply wasn't used to the flavor. Now I love it, crave it, eat it regularly. Same for Blenheim Bouquet.

    11th February, 2010

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    Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland

    Not bad at all! A nice chypre, that starts off cool, fresh, and soapy... and then dries into a very warm, slightly sweet, and enjoyable base of peppery oakmoss and faint patchouli. Longevity and sillage are impressive on this one, for sure.

    A spray on the wrist and a spray on the chest will last all day and into the evening for me! I actually sprung for a bottle. The price was quite reasonable.

    The only concern is that the musky notes tend to make it smell a little "mature" ... this may not fly for a younger crowd. The box and the bottle are gorgeous. The idea and concept behind it is also endearing.

    02 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 02 March, 2010)

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    Acier Aluminium by Creed

    Have you ever smelled a fragrance that literally feels like something you haven't smelled in 30 years, and when you take a whiff, you're instantly thrown into an involuntary flashback to a time you'd rather forget?

    Well, if so, that's the way I feel about Acier Aluminum. One whiff of this powdery, leathery, slightly fruity aroma and I am transported to the 70's. This stuff is the epitome of the 1970's. Funky, musty smells, bellbottoms, sideburns to the next millennium, and long, wavy locks.

    I'm sorry, I really didn't want to revisit those days.

    For what it's worth, I don't think the scent is offensive. There is an unusual petroleum note in there that reminds me of some type of non-descript lipbalm. It also reeks of some type of (once again) non-descript French toilet water, something almost like Anais Anais. Once again, uber 70's.

    I couldn't wear this, ever, in a million years. For all that I'm ragging on this one, please be aware, I'm not into the hairy-chest, uber-masculine power scents of the 80's either (a la Green Irish Tweed/Drakkar Noir/etc.)



    30th January, 2010

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    Epicéa by Creed

    I could marinate in this stuff. It's a wonderful pine and spice composition, delicate, and exhilarating. It instantly makes me think of snowy pines in a beautiful mountain vista. The spices add warmth, a smoky quality, and dare I say it... a hint of bubblegum. I don't know why, but I respond to this bubblegum note. It makes it addictive enough to where, as I said before, I want to marinate in it. Although I'm sure my neighbours may not agree. The saving grace for them (and a point of chagrin for me) is that the longevity and sillage are both rather weak. You might really HAVE to marinate in this to have sustaining pleasure in the fragrance, and at over $100 a bottle... that might break the bank. Still, this gets a hearty thumbs up. Next to Bois de Cedrat, this is my other favorite Creed fragrance.

    15 January, 2010

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    Sélection Verte by Creed

    Not bad at all, in fact, it's rather delicious. A wonderful minty-like combination. In effect, it's what Penhaligon's "Extract of Limes" should be. Excellent longevity. The lime and mint accord at the beginning shines through for a long time, and unlike other citrus fragrances, it doesn't dive into the realm of bathroom disinfectant. I think the ambergris at the base keeps it steady and doesn't allow it to completely burn off. It also lends a sweetness to it that might counteract the fatigue of lime.

    It's actually rather surprising, as I tend to loathe that bug-spray-nausea-inducing ambergris-musk accord found in so many Creeds (Green Irish Tweed, Silver Mountain Water, Millesime Imperial, Green Valley, etc.). In this case, it's ratcheted down just enough to where I like it.

    14 January, 2010

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    Bois de Cédrat by Creed

    Truly beautiful fragrance, I want to marinate in this stuff. Delicious, zesty citrus aroma interspersed with a dry cedarwood aroma and a slight chemical note that smells a bit like petroleum. It's not offensive in this case. This scent also lacks that ambergris/musk accord in many Creeds that I detest.

    Sillage and longevity are pathetic on both fronts, but oh, the hour or so you wear it is worth it.

    14 January, 2010

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    Windsor by Creed

    The main attraction on this one is that it's, of course Private Collection Creed, which means it comes with the enormous flacon. That's fine if you want to marinate in the fragrance, I suppose, or make a side business selling decants, but it also comes with the hefty pricetag because you're buying a huge jug of the stuff. But Windsor has set new heights in exorbitant excess: $600 for the flacon. $400 for a 1.7 oz/50mL atomizer, that is of course one of the leather ones. So subtract the price of the fancy leather atomizer that Creed puts out, and you have $250 for 50 mL of juice.

    So I got a decant and played around with it for a week.

    Is it bad? Absolutely not. To Creed's benefit, it doesn't have that characteristic musk/ambergris note seen in so many of the modern Millesimes that, to me, smells like a mixture of artificial watermelon and mosquito repellent.

    Does it have reasonable sillage/longevity? It's definitely better than most other Creeds I've worn.

    But is it really worth it? Not in my opinion. If anything, it's minty/evergreen roses with a twinge of eucalyptus. I find it to have little more than that. A friend that smelled it on me said I smelled like Coty's Sand and Sable. I can see that, after the fact, albeit Windsor is rosier and darker. I could also maybe even ever-so-slightly compare it to L'Artisan's Chasse Aux Papillons Extreme, but much powdier/rosier and lacking in the citrus. I think the Sand and Sable bit comes from an unusual tropical twang in there somewhere that is reminiscent of coconuts. Of course YMMV, but I don't find the mixture to be all that great, and for this price, good grief. I could buy 3 big bottles of expensive niche fragrance that I'll actually enjoy wearing. Or many, many bottles of Sand and Sable mixed with rosewater.

    10th January, 2010 (Last Edited: 05 March, 2010)

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    Coconut Lime Verbena by Bath and Body Works

    I tried, I really did, to enjoy this one. I love anything citrusy, and the coconut effect led me to think that smelling a tropical potion would be very enjoyable. Unfortunately, I didn't get it with this one. I find it cloying and to be like a mixture of artificial lime mixed with suntan lotion and paraffin notes.

    25 December, 2009

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    Midnight Pomegranate by Bath and Body Works

    My honest thoughts at first spray were very positive at the dark, lush fruitiness of the concoction. Unfortunately, as it dries down and the musky vanillic sweetness comes through, it begins to remind me more of Ny-Quil cough syrup. It becomes thick, cloying, medicinal. Like a bad piece of candy. It gets a neutral for me, though, because 2/3rds of the fragrance pyramid are enjoyable.

    25 December, 2009

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    Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

    I did sorta like this one at first, especially the first few moments of citric/orange pithy tartness wrapped amongst woody, musky notes; however, over time, I began to really resent the unusual wet cement aroma that emerged in the basenotes. I did own this fragrance for a long time, but eventually never made it past using 80% of the bottle before I got rid of it. I think it is definitely an interesting fragrance, but I've learned quickly that I do not like Jean-Claude Ellena's compositions.

    25 December, 2009

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    Mandragore by Annick Goutal

    Very enjoyable, a mixture of palatable ginger and anise, a hint of cedar, and some type of juicy vegetal note that reminds me a bit of bell peppers. After some time, bergamot emerges to add a tonic fizzy quality to the ginger and anise. The vegetal note remains. As it dries down, heavier, spicier woods emerge. There's a certain musty/algal like quality in the drydown, very earthy. This "dirtiness" still seems very clean and fresh. Natural in an endearing way. The downside is that the extremely short longevity is criminal. As such, I can't give a Thumbs Up, because for the price, it doesn't live up to its full expectations. Similarly, this scent is hardly original, and similar notes can be found elsewhere.

    25 December, 2009

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    Little Italy by Bond No. 9

    A completely enjoyable orange fragrance, bitter, tart, and sweet. A combination of all the aspects of the orange peel, juice, fruit, and pith. Simple and straightforward, linear, and lacks depth besides that. It's hard to justify the cost for the fragrance, so it's up to the perfumista to determine how much a citrus fragrance is worth. To be honest, it's gorgeous, but there are others (the Hermès Eau d'Orange Verte or Concentrée d'Orange Verte) that pack a similar juicy, realistic punch with the added effect of oakmoss for longevity. They also cost about a third of Bond No. 9. Still, it gets a thumbs up.

    25 December, 2009

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    Touch for Men by Burberry

    Oh, this is a headache in a bottle. Sharply synthetic, astringent, and with the pepper twinging amongst sour violet notes, it's a recipe for one of the worst migraines of your life.

    25 December, 2009

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    Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

    Dreadfully disgusting. Don't get me wrong -- I love summertime. I like green vegetal aromas. This stuff smells revolting.

    A mixture of cut grass, gasoline/oil mixtures for a weed eater, the exhaust from the weed eater, a slight ozonic note that one detects in the moments before a summertime thunderstorm, and fresh male armpit sweat.

    Now, while I can't say I don't dislike the smell of fresh cut grass, I prefer it when it has that distinctively watermelon-like aroma. This is more like a wild-onion aroma. A disturbing Liliaceae accord mixed with petroleum, sweat, and ozone.

    It definitely evokes summer and a certain summer memory/scenario, but this is not something I'd enjoy wearing. A total scrubber, a bad memory of the 80's. Do you know how many men wore this? Blech!

    25 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 10th January, 2010)

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    Eau d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

    I love citrus scents, but I'm not taken by this one at all. I find that the citrus here has a strong petroleum note, akin to gasoline. The saving grace is that the longevity on this one is very, very short. A completely ephemeral fragrance, enjoyed in potency for 5 minutes, and completely gone within 10. Oddly, it doesn't retain its scent on sprayed clothing for me either. Heat seems to burn it all off in no time.

    25 December, 2009

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    Contradiction for Men by Calvin Klein

    This is a scent of college for me -- for those who wanted to buck the trend of CK1. I'll say I prefer it to CK1 or CK Eternity, but that's not saying much. Cloying, almost bitter at times, soapy. It leaves a residue on the tongue, and that's with only one spray. There is a powdery soap quality that pervades this whole fragrance reminding me more of laundromat than citrus, herbs, or woods.

    25 December, 2009

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    Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma

    Oh, truly beautiful. A gorgeous, succulent citrus opening that dries down into clean lavender florals and spicy wood notes. Extremely clean, light, refreshing, and full of class. Timeless. Definitely agree with the snob appeal. I love it in the summer during the heat, but I love it in the winter to remind me of warmer, sunnier times.

    25 December, 2009

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    Silver Mountain Water by Creed

    I wish there was a way I could effectively describe how cloying and disgusting this fragrance is, but all I can say is that while the description *is* somewhat accurate (Olivier Creed has to be given his proper dues), there are many parts not addressed in the ingredients (but ARE mentioned by fellow reviewers) that make this fragrance something that one should *most definitely* try before they buy. Please don't get sucked into the Creed fanaticism.

    There is an aquatic accord, a slight ozone quality, perhaps even a slight aroma of nitrogen dioxide (the scent you also experience when rainfall first splashes against dry earth). The black currant notes are definitely there. Unfortunately, also, the typical Creed musky/ambergris base is still there. This combination smells like berries, alcohol, a hint of spicy tea, ozonic moisture, perhaps snow, and some type of alkane. It's not enjoyable.

    Add to that a VERY distictive ink-like aroma and it is a very bitter and unappealing scent that smells less like perfume and more like an organic chemistry experiment gone wrong.

    The benefit to the whole thing is that from first spray to almost no register of fragrance on the skin is approximately 30 minutes for me. I don't even have to worry about scrubbing it off.

    24 December, 2009

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    Green Irish Tweed by Creed

    Kaern took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn't agree more. This is almost a fragrance stereotype.

    GIT suffers from a symptom of modern Creeds that becomes a deal-breaker for me. That sickening ambergris-musk element that runs throughout. To me it smells like a mixture of artificial watermelon candy mixed with mosquito repellent. It completely ruins whatever else is in the fragrance, and it is a motif in so many of the millesimes that I now automatically skip over them all.

    24 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 11th February, 2010)

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    Extract of Limes by Penhaligon's

    I agree with Caltha. At first spray, this stuff is marvelous. You can really detect the juiciness of the lime, mixed with the bitterness of the peel. Very refreshing on a hot, humid summer morning.

    After about 15 minutes or so, a minty/camphorous note emerges that very quickly takes precedence over the lime. It melds with it to create a very synthetic aroma.

    The longevity is very poor, so the only way you can get a decent amount of staying power is to really marinate in this stuff. Make sure you get some on your shirt. Spray on your chest.

    Unfortunately, at the end of the day as I was walking out of my office to go home, I walked past one of the carts that my building's janitor uses to clean the floors with. He had his mop bucket out filled with water and the mopping solution. It smelled just like my shirt. I finally realized that by the end of the day, I smelled like a urinal cake, airport restroom, and/or janitorial cleaning solution.

    A pity, it really does start off beautifully.

    04 December, 2009

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    Eau de Verveine by Penhaligon's

    I'm not sure how to adequately describe this one. Expecting this to be a fresh, citrus heavy fragrance, I was rather disappointed when I was met with something that smelled suspiciously like Brut. A woodsy, mossy, fougere accord with a soapy/powdery effect. There is no doubt of the quality of this fragrance, but by the end of the day, I was ready to wash it off. The good news is that the longevity is feeble-to-moderate. Starts off fantastically strong and glows for a good 30 minutes to an hour, but then it quickly fades.

    04 December, 2009

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    LP No.9 for Men by Penhaligon's

    Honestly, I hate orientals. I'm just not big into the opulence and sweetness. It tends to get old to me after a while and then I get a headache. Keeping that in mind -- I absolutely ADORE this stuff. I tried a decant and one spray was enough. I had to spring for a full bottle. The bubblegum bit is spot on. This has a distinctively minty/clovy effect that is like some type of old fashioned candy. It dries down into honey and caramel sweetness. I normally don't like such warm/sweet/gooey scents, but this one is an absolute guilty pleasure. I get compliments left and right when I wear this! The staying power is amazing -- I can wear it and go to bed to wake up with warm sweet murmurs of this still resonating on my skin and I love every single second of it. Penhaligon's should really diversify this line into shaving creams, body lotions, deodorants, etc. I can see why some might tire of it -- normally I would too -- but that's where the eccentricities of taste come in. I don't like this genre at all, but I'm glad I kept an open mind and tried this one anyway. I prefer this to Endymion hands down as the "sweet, modern oriental" in the Penhaligon's line.

    01st December, 2009 (Last Edited: 04 February, 2010)

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    Narciso Rodriguez for Him by Narciso Rodriguez

    I really tried. I even like violet leaf, but this was just dreadful. This smell induced the gag reflex and after only a few moments, I got to experience those moments where you squint your face because the fragrance is beyond causing discomfort, but actually causing you to feel ill.

    I definitely get the wet concrete/earthy/stony quality that goes with this. There's a definite soil-like quality to this. I also get the extremely synthetic greens accord that does smell like a mixture of cut grass and green bell peppers (which I hate). I don't quite get the ozone note, but I definitely get a petrol note. As it dries, it starts to resemble cheap 1980's canned hair spray. A very synthetic, petroleum, fixative note (which is vertigo inducing) mixed with these sweet notes of synthetic florals (that is headache inducing), mixed with remnant wafts of green bell peppers (which is nausea inducing), mixed with a final smell that I can only describe as... almost fecal. There's a weird dirty musky twang in this that is ever-present throughout the entire process. In the beginning it seems more like fresh perineal sweat mixed with the overpowering greens, but as this dries down, it behaves much like real human sweat. It gets sour, and when you combine that with the heavy florals and petrol notes that persist in the dry down, the combination is finally enough to induce a migraine.

    The sillage on this is powerful. The lasting power is also amazing. This was not a good thing for me.

    To put it bluntly, it smelled as if I had been rolling around in the backseat of a car with someone who had walked up 20 flights of stairs beforehand, in the middle of a hot summer with someone weed-eating nearby, and the odor of stuffed bell peppers clinging to our clothes from dinner earlier in the night.

    I don't know if disgusting is a word that is strong enough. It's positively vile.

    24 November, 2009

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    Navegar by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    I find this fragrance to be rather refreshing. The subtlety is charming. It's a lush aquatic with the characteristic spicy pepper notes. I think it works all year round, but I will admit that it has a distinctively fall-like character to it. Almost like the smell of a November rain. The sillage is weak, and the lasting power is rather pathetic. For some people, the fragrance is meant to be enjoyed by the wearer, and not everyone within a 10 foot radius. That's the way I feel about this one. I don't care if other people can smell it. I have a personal relationship with this one. I wear it when I want something cooling and calming. I purchased a bottle and wear it often.

    17 May, 2009 (Last Edited: 25 December, 2009)

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    Méchant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Wow, a lot of harsh words on this fragrance. I, personally, find this one to be absolutely irresistible. As far as masculine goes, this one definitely makes the cut with its strikingly woody character. This is, as odysseusm puts it, almost surreal in its accuracy; however, this fragrance is truly an oddball. Normally, I take issue with L'Artisan's use of "foody" aromas (Bois Farine's flour note is sickening to me, I'm also not big on the peanut butter aroma. Tea for Two is cloying and takes away most enjoyment of tea after smelling it for hours... and hours).

    The notes of sweet honey and hazelnut are unmistakable. I would truly hate this, but when combined with the essence of wood, it is actually rather enjoyable. In fact, it even adds an addictive quality. When I smell remnants of it on clothes when doing laundry a few days later, I smile. When I wear the fragrance and I catch whiffs of the sweet, woody character, I'm happy I wore it. This fragrance does not develop a whole lot -- from first spray to 8 hours later, it doesn't change much at all.

    A charming fragrance. Masculine for sure, but the sweet oddball quality makes you think more of a man who has a wicked sense of humor. I don't think it's half bad at all, but as they say, YMMV.

    17 May, 2009 (Last Edited: 25 December, 2009)

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    La Chasse Aux Papillons Extrême by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    This is a work of pure beauty. A dizzying floral bouquet that evokes a freshness and joy that is almost tangible. While I wouldn't say this fragrance is especially unisex, the Extreme version has a much more pronounced citrus/lime note that is very apparent in the drydown. The pink pepper in this fragrance is undeniable in the drydown. This citrus is beautiful and enjoyable. The original La Chasse Aux Papillons is still a beautiful floral, but it is more sheer, less sweet, less hesperidic, and definitely less spicy. It definitely falls in the realm of "feminine" for me, while the Extreme version teeters ever so slightly toward the unisex threshold. For the record -- I would purchase a bottle of this. I do not know if many other men could or would consider wearing this, but I'm unapologetic. It is quite beautiful.

    12 April, 2009 (Last Edited: 25 December, 2009)

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