Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Kaern

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Santal Royal by Guerlain

The problem with Oud is that like Immortelle, when used in any appreciable amount it tends to dominate the whole fragrance. I was hoping that Guerlain would create a sandalwood to die for, matching the now long gone 'Sandalwood' by Floris. That fragrance used Mysore when it was relatively cheap and not subject to restrictions so I can't blame Guerlain entirely for this rendition. Marrying it with oud wasn't going to work for pure sandalwood lovers though.
'Oud Royal' would have been a better less misleading name imo.
The fragrance itself is lovely though -rich, resinous, fruity, long lasting and gloriously smooth.
Love the Black Bee bottle.
29th July, 2015
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A by Avery

This is an Italian House based in Padova. All 5 fragrances (A.V.E.R.Y.)are very nice indeed. They come in 30ml only and are 'Pure Parfum'.

I'm surprised looking at the notes as 'A' strikes me as fundamentally 'woody'.

It's like a combination of the best ever 'woods' from CDG and a superior version of Suzanne Lang's Tamboki Wood.

'A' is find of the year so far for me and the smell is highly addictive. Pricy for just 30ml though.
22nd June, 2015
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Polo Red Intense by Ralph Lauren

I can't believe it. This isn't too bad imo. 100% better than the original, but even that isn't a full recommendation.

I like the opening which is a little unusual citrusy and spicy mix.

The coffee accord works pretty well and there is a general smokiness about the base.

Tobacco Vanille it aint but it has good strength.
15th June, 2015
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Jimmy Choo Man by Jimmy Choo

Zero marks for originality and very badly made. Honeydew Melon equals a general sweetness is all.

Top marks for projection and longevity though.

Isn't that always the way?
15th June, 2015
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Adventurer by Aramis

A brutish loud semi-aquatic with pretensions of being a fougere.

Just what the fragrance world needs.
15th June, 2015
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Shards of Cedar & Red Thyme by Jo Loves...

I'm in sort of two minds about this. On the one hand, it's a very masculine take on cedarwood and lasts for ever. On the other, it's very linear (apart from the very brief opening citric blast)with the cedar only marginally tempered by some herbs. I can't help feeling it would have sold very well to middle-aged men in the 1970's.

I like the fragrance and the name but probably won't be reaching for it too often.

Very nostalgic for some though.
09th June, 2015
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Cologne Indélébile by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

After the wonderful opening, I detect a steeliness (almost metallic) in the drydown. It must be the musk.

Spoils it completely for me.
04th June, 2015
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Vétiver (new) by Carven

In the Guerlain and Lubin mould of vetiver, which is the type I prefer. Perfectly nice alternative but I prefer Le Vetiver. Good strength and longevity.
04th June, 2015
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Vetiver Veritas by Heeley

If you like the smell of freshly dug up vetiver and can live with it for 8 hours or more -- this is for you.

Grapefruit and mint are fleeting at best.

Very expensive and sort of boring. Not a good combination.
04th June, 2015
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Fève Délicieuse by Christian Dior

This is gorgeous and has to be a 'semi-gourmand' at least. If you put your nose to this in a dessert bowl, you'd want to eat it immediately.

All my jaded nose can detect is a wonderful accord of amber over caramel with lashings of Tonka in the base.

It sounds heavy but it has been created (somehow) to open itself out in an almost fresh way. The sweetness is certainly there but perfectly tolerable.

Strangely masculine in my opinion and a must have. Also, firmly rooted in Dior Homme's lineage.

Btw -- The whole line has increased in price by over 30% in about 18 months (why?)
04th June, 2015
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masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Fougeres always smell dated to me and I think -- do I really want to smell like this again?

Well, think of a superior flanker to Rive Gauche with a touch of smokiness added. It's irresistible.
04th June, 2015
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La Collection Croisiere : Jangala by Pierre Guillaume

Firstly , this collection isn't strictly all 'aquatics' -- it's more Le Ciel et Le Mer and the 'space between them'. Jangala is supposed to represent facets of the steamy Indonesian jungle from morning to night. It has a lovely lush opening of eucalyptus and coconut which is wholly intoxicating and lasts a good while. The drydown is less fabulous and actually reminds me , at times, of Mont Blanc's Presence. Still, I felt I needed to have this so it has to be a thumbs up.
04th June, 2015
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Salina by Laboratorio Olfattivo

This reminds me very much of the Farmacia SS fragrance -- I think it's called Hale.
Basically, you have to like the smell of salt around you all day to appreciate this. Very sharp and tangy which doesn't really let up until a softer musk kicks in very late on. A thumbs up for not compromising, but a slightly challenging wear.
06th May, 2015
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Sublime Balkiss by The Different Company

Does blueberry, blackcurrant and rose equate to grapefruit? That's what I get anyway. Cocoa in the base? What?
A zingy grapefruit that eventually becomes more floral, but not feminine to my nose. Amazing tenacity. I love it.
05th May, 2015
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Long Board by MiN New York

I think this smells gorgeous and sexy in a 'beach' type way. Can't imagine wearing this outside of summer though which obviously restricts it's use. Not sure I want to pay the ridiculous price of it -- if MIN had reduced the egregious packaging they might have been able to do the same with the cost. Still, coconuts, orange and salty notes -- Yum.
05th May, 2015
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Monsieur by Huitième Art

Woof! Hello Nursey!

Ultra masculine -- think of a cranked up hybrid of Derby, Tuscany and vintage Givenchy and add some 'extreme' woods

Gorgeous
24th April, 2015
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Special for Gentlemen by Le Galion

In the style of Jicky and MdM --a fusty, dusty men's fragrance with lavender and amber prominent throughout. For me, there is some note clashing and it strikes me as a little rough round the edges. It lasts a very long time and the drydown isn't half bad. When does 'vintage' become 'dated'?
24th April, 2015
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Intense He Wood by Dsquared2

Seems to me to be a completely superfluous flanker that doesn't really improve on the original or the other flankers.

Maybe the word 'Intense' sells?

I don't really like the violet notes used here , but the cedar and vetiver drydown is totally acceptable and wearable.

Rather than the intense moniker given, it all seems a bit predictable and tame.
15th April, 2015
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Eau de Cartier : Vétiver Bleu by Cartier

Horrible blue liquid that smells of mint mouthwash.

Not a patch on Roadster
15th April, 2015
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Dunhill Icon by Dunhill

The first 20-30 seconds of Icon are lovely -- a very nice bergamot.

Then, for me, it all falls apart very badly. I am not sure what accord is causing this overriding smell of a rather sweet orangey bubblegum, but that is what I perceive. I actually can't detect any of the base notes listed.

This is where Dunhill and I part company for good

For pre-pubescent youths only.
15th April, 2015
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Dior Homme Eau for Men by Christian Dior

Apart from a hint of the original, this is your basic fresh summery citrus offering from Dior. The iris is muted imo.

It's perfectly wearable and lasts a very long time, but it disappointly crashes into the unoriginal and predictable woody finish.

It's a bit flat really, which isn't ideal for a summer scent and a little lazy.

I will wear occasionally though
07th April, 2015
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A*Men Pure Malt by Thierry Mugler

I hate the smell of whisky -- Pure Malt does not smell of it.

It does smell of malt , hops and wood though.

If you can overlook the ridiculous claims (fermented in oak casks?) and horrific bottle / spray mechanism -- what you have is one of the 'best bangs for the buck' fragrance ever.
30th March, 2015
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Brutus by Orto Parisi

Yes -- not a normal type 'Nasomatto' unlike Boccanera from the same line.

You'd thing 'Brutus' would be an out and out 'masculine' but it's really quite sweet and restrained. Deadidol has listed a lot of notes that I don't detect at all -- cumin? patchouli? -- what I do get is a 'tropical' fruity type orange blossom with a sweet musky finish. However, there is something unidentifiably woody in the base which keeps it very non-fem.

I like it very much, with one caveat -- it doesn't smell as expensive as it actually costs.
30th March, 2015
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Flower of Immortality by By Kilian

Very cheap smelling floral/peachy thing made for 12 year old girls?

You would be better off (literally) checking out some celebrity florals at a fifth of the price.

Check out Keiko Mercheri's version of peach to see how it should be done

25th February, 2015
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Vétiver Fatal by Atelier Cologne

Well -- I'm a sucker for plum and I could detect it straight away.

The fragrance is basically a fruity wood, but it has a 'freshness' that appeals to me -- that clean/sweet sort of way vetiver is done by Lubin and others rather than the bitter green version of Tauer, etc.

I like it a lot but I can understand 'vetiver' lovers shying away.
24th February, 2015
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Cuir Venenum 03 by Parfumerie Generale

A resemblance to Nostalgia? It has facets but I prefer to wear the SMN.

This has more going on though except for the outrageous opening of Nostalgia.

Myrrh and leather are the main players here together with a slightly skanky note -- it might be the urinous aspect of honey.

I like it very much and worth having for leather lovers imo.
23rd February, 2015
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The Dark Heart of Old Havana by 4160 Tuesdays

Maaaan -- this is good stuff.

Sarah Macartney apparently tried to get a verisimilitude of the Havana streets after dark and after partying.

The booze, stale cigar smoke, rotting fruit in the gutters and coffee and a general sweet putridness.

Sounds pretty disgusting, but is actually quite gorgeous to wear.

You need to check this out imo.

23rd February, 2015
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True Lust - Rayon Violet de Ses Yeux by Etat Libre d'Orange

Fantastic opening -- it plain fizzes and jumps off the skin in a glorious melange of florals and booze. Lily of the Valley tends to dominate until the sweet, leathery pay off.

I don't think I will be wearing in public but good luck to men who don't worry about such things like fragrance genders.

Will be amazing on a woman!
23rd February, 2015
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Cruel Intentions by By Kilian

I can't really find sufficient words to describe this.

If you can get over the truly horrible opening you'll be doing really well imo.

After that -- well -- it's just a mess of wrong turns. Thin and reedy with it also.
23rd February, 2015
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Sybarite by Cloon Keen Atelier

The phrase 'under the radar' was made for this beauty.

Opens with Incense and orange and you won't find topnotes like that very often. Very striking.

Heavenly heart of jasmine and rose. but oddly retains it's unisex or even masculine categorisation because of the dominant 'woody' aspect.

This is a 'sandalwood' fragrance. A sweet skein of the wood runs right through this, enhanced by musk and cedar in the base.

Goes straight into my top 5 sandalwood fragrances of all time
23rd February, 2015