Reviews by JaimeB

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    Showing 31 to 60 of 284.

    Sélection Verte by Creed

    Creed elegance for warmer weather. This is a simple collection of lemon, verbena, black pepper, peppermint, herbes de Provence, and ambergris. It is light and somewhat ephemeral, remarkable among Creeds for it evanescence and the need for reapplication. But thus it is with many citrus fragrances, save that in this one the peppermint and base note linger a bit.

    30th March, 2010


    Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

    A fairly pleasant powdery fougère, with some herbal, citrus, and aromatic notes in the top, spice and orange blossom in the heart, and a woody-oriental base note. It's sort of sedate, and in spite of a lot of powder, has a good sillage and longevity. I can see why this appeals to younger men, although of course, scents have no age of their own. This is affable and more or less mild-mannered: not threatening, yet slightly sensual. Kurkdjian did a good job here.

    29th March, 2010


    Palais Jamais by Etro

    A comfortable woody scent with citrus and jasmine notes in the top and tobacco/leather notes in the heart. Oakmoss and vetiver are in the base note. The leather note in the base is slightly smoky, a definite birch tar note. This is not the kind of aromatic woody that inspires sweet thoughts; it is more masculine and rough, emphasizing the smokiness of the leather and the bitter vibe of the oakmoss. Good sillage for the first hour or two, with average longevity. A refreshing change from the run-of-the-mill scents one smells on many young men today.

    26th March, 2010


    Pour Un Homme by Caron

    Lavender and vanilla, tout court? Not quite; that seeming simplicity is deceptive. There is an ample cast of supporting characters here, all pulling their weight to make those two notes shine. Behind the lavender, there is bergamot for definition, rosemary to reinforce the green and herbal side of it, and lemon to brighten it; also rose and rosewood for a floral and spicy lift, and clary sage for a slightly green muscatel vibe. For the vanilla, an oriental trio of powdery musk, hay-like tonka bean, and a touch of bitter oakmoss. A bright head, a rich heart, and a lush base: a masterpiece of balance and support for a transparent simplicity as light (but as precarious to achieve) as a perfect meringue.

    25th March, 2010


    Terre de Bois by Miller Harris

    Fresh and green, this starts off a little rough, but quickly sweetens and develops a green-woody accord that is very pleasant. Basically a skin scent after the first few minutes, it nevertheless has a decent longevity. This is a mellow scent, being warmed by the sweet Indian spices in the base. As soon as these notes appear, it is wonderfully soothing and calming to the spirit. Wear day or night when you seek a warm atmosphere. Quiet and pleasant enough to wear at work.

    24th March, 2010


    Ambre Canelle by Creed

    I can see now where Creed Baie de Genièvre came from. It is a stripping down of this rather more forceful scent. This one is more floral, more herbal, and more spice-laden than the streamlined version of 1986. The cinnamon is very prominent from the outset, and the development of the other layers of the scent is rather accelerated. It doesn't take long to catch on to the base notes. This is probably because the cinnamon leaves in the top call up the deeper cinnamon right away, and the rose, with its low odor detection threshold, is right up in one's nose at once. Very nice for cool weather or evening wear. Decent longevity; the big initial sillage tempers within half an hour or so.

    20th March, 2010


    Monsieur Léonard by Léonard

    Fresh, green, and aromatic, and definitely has all the hallmarks of a fougère. At first this has a bit of soapiness about it, but in a good way. That soon subsides, however, and we are left with a very nicely blended and balanced classic-style fragrance. This isn't exactly demure, but it's not wildly groundbreaking either. Nice for the office (after it dries down a bit), or or a casual afternoon's social moment. Good longevity, moderate sillage after the initial burst.

    19th March, 2010


    Maharadjah by Nicolaï

    This is an amazingly beautiful scent, though the first few minutes aren't very reassuring. There is a huge blast of strong lavender, followed by an equally big cinnamon note. This doesn't last long, however. Soon, the heart notes come through, and even some of the base notes. After half an hour, this is purring like a contented cat. The true beauty of this scent is in the emergence of the full array of base notes: very rich, very oriental. The last phase goes on for a long time, but the sillage drops away a bit after the first onslaught. Also, somewhere between the top and the heart, there is something refreshingly green and slightly dissonant. It could be the discord of lavender and cinnamon doing battle in force, but I think it might just be mint. Who can say… Enchanting nonetheless, and an EdP to boot!

    18th March, 2010


    Signoricci (Original) by Nina Ricci

    Green and citrus notes in the top, with a slightly metallic vibe on my skin. The base notes are not in evidence much at the very beginning; they do come out after a little bit, but the sillage is not very strong. This is a kind of skin scent, and would probably do well in warmer weather. There seems to exist some confusion over various formulations, but the bottle I have (and its box) look exactly like the picture for the original formulation in the Basenotes Directory. It just smells much fainter than I would have expected from the accompanying pyramid. A full wearing should tell the tale...

    18th March, 2010


    28 La Pausa by Chanel

    A very clean, slightly fruity, but more woody iris. The notes in this are hard to detect, and not listed by Chanel. The impression is one of lightness and ethereality; subtlety, but not faintness or weakness, The iris here is presented as central, and one gets the impression that any other notes are meant only to support it and bring it out. This comes across almost as a one note perfume. Don't be sparing, as this isn't a sillage monster or a masterpiece of longevity, but it does remain in a background mode, drifting in and out for quite a long time. Very beautiful, perhaps a tad too delicate.

    16th March, 2010


    Bel Ami by Hermès

    I have the old formulation, in the old bottle. It is a very strange accord, with some contradictions, but as in beautiful musical counterpoint, all the suspensions and discords are resolved as you go along. The clary sage in the top note, along with the basil and bergamot, is a green start, the herbal basil and wine-like clary sage playing off in counterpoint. Florals and woods with orris root in the heart also makes some resolutions necessary, and these are found in an oriental base with its own outliers of castoreum and leather. A strange, but beautiful beast. This is like having a friend who is a bit of a diamond in the rough: At first things may be a bit unsettling and strange, but after true natures are known, you wouldn't be parted for the world.

    15th March, 2010


    Vétiver by Creed

    One of the classic male Creeds. Vastly better than the soi-disant Original Vetiver of more recent days. There is a chypre aspect to this that makes me suspect some mossy stuff in the base note that doesn't get listed in the usual pyramids one sees. I like to wear this in bright weather, even if it's cool out. It's the kind of coldish scent that seems to thrive in its own element. Smooth, debonair, yet rather unassuming — no need to try to impress, and no worries that one isn't making a good impression, if you know what I mean...

    11th March, 2010


    Aromatic Fragrance of Guajaco Wood by I Coloniali

    This is a close blend of citrus, spices, and woods, with guaiac wood predominating in the base note. It's a pretty linear scent, with moderate longevity and sillage. The thing I like about it is its barbershop quality, very straight-ahead and stereotypically masculine, the kind of thing you would expect to smell on some clean-cut, athletic thirty-something guy on a casual Saturday cruise around town, just wasting time and having some good, clean fun.

    06th March, 2010


    Quimbaya Homme by Jean Pascal

    An elegant accord of citrus, lavender, herbs, violets, spice, musk, and coumarin, making a fresh, energetic fougère scent. This is great for fair spring or summer weather, and perfect as a light office scent. The name is taken from an ancient indigenous triibe of Colombia, famous for their skill in goldsmithing. Jean Pascal, a French-Swiss perfumer now living in Colombia, has forged a scented form of gold here.

    23rd February, 2010


    Douce Amère by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Bittersweet indeed. Bitter wormwood (absinthe); sweet anise, cinnamon, tiaré flower, jasmine, lily, and vanilla; bittersweet chocolate note; then inedible powdery musk and woody cedar. What lingers on me is the opening of wormwood and anise, hauntingly filtered through the inedible base notes. I sprayed a tiny bit on my hand early one afternoon, and it remained in a subtle whisper of this four-note chord when I woke up the following morning. It is quiet, but not shy; soft, but not yielding. And now, it is being discontinued. Get it while you still can.

    14th February, 2010


    Bulgari Black by Bulgari

    I had never bought this before because the "rubber" note in the top used to bother me. Today I smelled it once more, and this time I got it. If I like Dior Fahrenheit, with its "gasoline" note, or the weird note in the top of Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, why should I not like this? And, of course my recent blog musings about the working of Oriental scents made it a natural. Once the rubber "hits the road" (pun intended), this settles down into a beautiful leather oriental accord with just a hint of jasmine tea. Very Bvlgari. (And what's with that Roman stone inscription-style "V" in their trademark name anyway?)

    07th February, 2010


    Chergui by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    A tobacco-laced soft oriental made slightly powdery by iris and musk notes. This is a bit challenging at the top because of the odd combination of honey, tobacco, and musk which states the theme. The dryness of the tobacco, combined with the sweetness of honey and the powdery note of musk makes an odd, tickle-my-nose kind of impression on me. Yet the whole is so delicately balanced and resolves beautifully, like a dissonant chord returning to the tonic. It is hard to resist the brilliant development and the excellence of the drydown. This scent could well be taken as the paradigm of a soft oriental: the hallmark musk, amber, incense, and sandalwood accord here assisted by elegant florals (rose and a light iris) and the evanescent pipe tobacco note. Mysterious, alluring, intoxicating.

    03rd February, 2010


    Iris de Nuit by Heeley

    A scent in which the iris supports a variety of green and woody notes on an oriental base. Angelica seeds and musky ambrette seeds lead off in the top, with a heart of orris root, violet and carrot seed, and a base of bracing white cedar and amber. The violet and carrot seed notes are familiar players repeated here from Hermès' beautiful Hiris, but minus the neroli and rose, making this Heeley iris much drier, woodier, and greener. Very subtle without being shy. It does have a moderate projection and a good longevity.

    30th January, 2010


    Tobacco Flower by Fresh

    Very green and slightly soapy-fresh, but don't think this is subtle! It stands out and calls attention to itself. This is very different from other scents: eucalyptus, mint, elderflower, and linden flower make common cause with tobacco flower, yet it isn't primarily floral. The sillage and longevity are quite good, but just don't expect to smell like everybody else; this is quite distinctive. High points for daring and innovation to Tobacco Flower! That said, this is not something I could wear everyday; it's too strong and strange a statement to repeat very often.

    28th January, 2010 (Last Edited: 16th February, 2014)


    Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermès

    I find myself wishing that this lasted longer and projected a bit more. It is really a very fine combination of citrus, summer florals, and woody-resinous notes. If there is anything on which to fault Jean-Clause Ellena's light hand, it is that he sometimes makes it a bit too light. At Hermès prices, this really ought to last longer. On pure perfumery points, there is little else to fault it on, however. If on the other hand one wanted to quibble, I suppose the base notes could be a bit stronger, perhaps a touch more oriental or resinous, incense notes; or, to go in the other possible direction, a bit heavier woods, guaiac, or vetiver, or patchouli. I think the oriental base notes would be better. Another approach might be to suggest more herbal notes in the top or heart notes: although there seems to be a hint of herbs, none is listed in the pyramid. On the whole, though, this makes such a beautiful impression that it's almost impossible to give it a bad review.

    26th January, 2010


    24, Faubourg by Hermès

    This is a beautiful floral oriental in the grand style. The citrus and peach in the top combine with prominent florals to open the scent. In the heart, the rich and slightly animalic orange blossom is at the center of a bouquet whose richness is somewhat tempered by orris and black elder. The oriental base is given a bit more force by the addition of patchouli to the gentler oriental notes. The first impression is rather stereotypically "feminine," but the emergence of the oriental notes and the depth the whole ensemble is more suitable as a shared scent after the first half-hour or so. Sillage and longevity are both good.

    24th January, 2010


    Oud Wood by Tom Ford

    The advent of a decent synthetic version of the oud note has made for a proliferation of scents featuring this note. This could be a good thing, or not. Not all ouds are created equal. There is no doubt in my mind that oud fragrances based on Western perfume traditions are best done by Pierre Montale; but now that the oud vibe can be done more economically, the competition is getting fierce, and the new competition is still charging as though they were using the real thing. When the general public catches on, I wouldn't be surprised if they were pissed off about the price issue for the synthetic-based fragrances. Still, I'm not reviewing perfume prices; I'm reviewing perfumes. On that score, the Tom Ford version is fairly imaginative and sufficiently distinctive to merit a good rating. The oriental base is a good support for the whole, and in particular, the tonka bean seems to give the overall fragrance a bit of a fougère-style cast. The rosewood and gentle spices in the top lend the kind of freshness one associates with a fresh aromatic fougère as well. The heart note, of course, is the oud and wood part, justifying the name. The scent has a fairly short top note, but that part of it blends into the heart well, and the base helps with persistence overall. There isn't a lot of development, but there is some, and the structure is good enough for the whole to stand on its own. I'll give this a thumbs up.

    20th January, 2010


    Bergamote / Divine Bergamote by The Different Company

    Citrus is not something I usually think of in the same context as rhubarb. Ginger, on the other hand is a possibility; I remember a little fresh juice joint that made a mix of orange, carrot, ginger, and beet juices — surprisingly yummy. The woody notes, orange blossom, and green notes make up a curious heart note for this. Rhubarb and musk make an odd base note as well. The whole thing is offbeat and kind of bare-bones, in the characteristic minimalist style of J-C Ellena. But off-beat is not at all bad, just different, and maybe even refreshing... And the rhubarb and citrus did smell a bit familiar: now I recall Ungaro Apparition Homme and its Apparition Homme Intense flanker, with their top notes of rhubarb and mandarine. But the TDC has none of the oriental notes of AH Extreme or the licorice and vetiver base of AH. Bergamote is softer and more powdery in the dry down, not at all unpleasant. Full marks to this for having the guts to be a little bit out-there.

    14th January, 2010


    Absinth by Nasomatto

    Green, earthy, herbal, slightly musky (not in the perfumer's sense, but rather, a bit raw and unwashed). This is "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma," to quote the words of Winston Churchill referring the Soviet Union, uttered in 1939. Nasomatto fragrances doesn't reveal the notes in their formulations, so we pikers have to put our heads together and come up with a best guess among us. Alessandro Gualtieri, the nose of Nasomatto (whose name, incidentally is Italian for "crazy nose"), searches out deeply redolent notes to combine and contrast in ways designed to mislead the nose, one feels; but misleading here means intriguing as well. Absinth is evocative of the liqueur of the same name, but through the rather raw and earthy note of wormwood instead of the usual, anise or fennel note that many of us associate with pastis, the modern, sanitized version of the drink whose effects are depicted in Edgar Degas' painting L'Absinthe. The perfume (and Nasomatto creations are perfumes in terms of concentration) has an elusive element to it, a fleeting, now-you-smell-it-now-you-don't kind of salty vetiver feel. Intriguing, a tad mysterious, evocative of something just out of the reach of memory: remembered... or imagined... or both?

    09th January, 2010


    Angel: Liqueur de Parfum by Thierry Mugler

    Very rich and enhanced by a cognac note and the depth of cherry wood (from the casks it's aged in), this is a sillage monster and a much deeper-toned flanker than the original. In spite of the mentions of honey and fruits in the notes, this is not so much of a gourmand, either. It comes across much more as an oriental, in large part because of the base notes.

    18th December, 2009


    Dioressence by Christian Dior

    Rather light in the EdT version, but still a recognizable chypre. With the vanilla and storax in the base, this leans a little in the direction of the Oriental genre. The cinnamon here is a subtle touch; just below the radar, it nevertheless gives a bit of spiciness to the floral bouquet in the heart note. The aldehydes and green note in the top also give it a lift and make this a bit lighter on the chypre scale than some.

    18th December, 2009


    Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

    A very citrusy, very green, very clean vetiver-laced affair. From the beginning we find the tang of grapefruit combined atypically with a sweet and floral orange blossom note. For green we get a clean, herbal note of aromatic sage which makes a bridge between the somewhat floral aspect of the orange blossom and the vetiver which is to follow. For roundness, the heart notes of orris root, a hint of spicy nutmeg, and a bit of sharp pimento; these also add variety and interest, providing structure and development. Finally, the main act emerges as the base notes make their first appearance: the thematic vetiver with some soft, ambery woods for richness and the bitter bite of oakmoss for a final stylish flourish. Well done!

    30th November, 2009


    Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    A bit overly spicy at first, and a strange (to my nose) spice accord at that. After a while, the other notes chime in and I get why this is called Santal de Mysore: the Indian spices do their work in preparing the way for the resinous and woody base notes. Others have said there's no Mysore sandalwood in this; that may not be the point of the name after all. In any case, by the last phase, it no longer matters: to use a musical analogy, the chord is resolved. Beautiful!

    28th November, 2009


    Cereus Pour Homme No. 14 by Cereus

    The secret with this one is to wait for the top notes to clear up a bit; at that point, it clearly shifts into an herbal-woody mode and the notes start to rebalance into a pleasant accord. In this middle stage, the amber and cognac notes persist for a while, and then the clary sage, tarragon, and rosemary team up with the musk and guaiac wood. I wouldn't say the rosemary dominates, but it plays a role in keeping the accord clean and bright. To get to this point takes only twenty minutes to a half-hour, though. When one finally reaches the kernel, it's been worth the wait, in my view, especially if you like a nice, clean, green and woody masculine witha modern twist.

    22nd November, 2009


    Purple Patchouli by Tom Ford

    This seemed very sweet and somewhat fruity on first application, but after a fairly long drydown, it goes to a very woody-oriental accord which is both warm and soothing. The spices in the heart note boost this effect slightly. The early stages have a lot of sillage, but even after it dries down a while it retains a moderate projection. Maybe not for office wear, but in situations where deeper, firmer scents are welcome, this is nice.

    20th November, 2009

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