Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 363
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White Aoud by Montale

Of the many in the Aoud-line, White Aoud is 'the' Jeckyl-and-Hyde of the bunch. White Aoud starts of with the Montale oud note, softer then Black Aoud, but not initially balanced with contrasting accords. After about 10-15 minutes, the "soft side" (vanilla, amber, florals) of White Aoud begins to present itself. For the next two or so hours, the fragrance is an exercise in transition. Oud becomes less prominent as the amber/vanilla becomes more prominent. At some point the oud and amber/vanilla are in balance, then the sweeter notes take over.

Eventually the oud note fades away completely, leaving a soft and very pretty amber/vanillic base. This is remarkable, even compared to others in the Montale Aoud line in which at least some oud remains in the composition through the base (Aoud Shiny, Aoud Damascus for example). It's also remarkable just how far the fragrance travels from dark, distinct oud to near-Guerlinade in the base. The first time I tried White Aoud and forgot about it on my hand for a couple hours, for the life of me I couldn't remember what I'd sampled.

It's taken me a while to appreciate oud accords enough to wear them. It so happens that White Aoud was one of the first that I really enjoyed - I then went on to try many others and came back to this one, finding I like it just as much as I did the first time I tried it. I'd recommend this (and Silver Aoud) as the perfect 'starter Aoud' for getting into the line.

I agree with Trebor that this is an oud designed for Western tastes - and perhaps even the more adventuresome ladies... but what's wrong with that? I live in the West, not a middle-eastern city, and White Aoud works quite well.
11th February, 2009
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Aqua Allegoria Ylang & Vanille by Guerlain

There's not a whole lot to write about this. The composition is a lot more 'Ylang' than it is 'Vanille', and I think the fragrance would have been better if the proportions were reversed. Ylang itself is fairly sweet, but the composition itself doesn't go overboard with sweetness... it could be much worse (and I was anticipating worse from the reviews). AAYV is particularly feminine compared to some of the other Aqua Allegorias. It would make a nice casual day fragrance, but it's not nearly as enjoyable as some of the other AAs (like Pampelune or Angelique Lilas).
09th February, 2009
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Acqua Chiara by i Profumi di Firenze

A cross between a floral and an aquatic on steroids. Well constructed but not my kind of fragrance. Would appeal to those who like designer offerings but want higher quality.
04th February, 2009
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Hypnotic Poison Eau de Toilette by Christian Dior

I'm a little mad now that I've tried Hypnotic Poison. Mad at the basenotes community, mad at the fragrance world, and even a little mad at Dior. There is no good reason that I should have had to stumble across this myself, and there is no good reason that this fragrance isn't discussed at all, or even mentioned, when discussing other greats in the 'woody gourmand' genre. I will seek to correct this in the upcoming weeks whenever possible. Dior shares some blame in making this gem a Poison flanker instead of having the balls (and budget) to give it a distinct name and bottle - but then again we just know how Dior love to make flankers instead of properly art directing and marketing a new fragrance (Exhibit B: Dior Homme Sport). Perhaps if people didn't associate Hypnotic Poison with it evil older sister Poison it would be more successful and well known.

Anyway, I came across HP when I realized Annick Menardo is the perfumer of many fragrances I really enjoy. Lolita Lempicka, Body Kouros, Jaipur, Oriental Brulent and even Boss Bottled (the one and only decent Boss fragrance, IMO) are all in the oriental/woody/gourmand style I love so. Reading the BN reviews I started seeking out an inexpensive bottle and sample, but Dior didn't make it easy as HP isn't in all the malls and it's quite pricey for a designer flanker.

HP starts of with a thick almond/honey accord. The fact that the almond note is bitter keeps it from ever becoming too sweet. The fragrance meanders with touches of vanilla, amber, woody notes, and florals while all the while retaining the bitter almond accord that acts as the backbone of the fragrance. As with other Menardo fragrances, HP is never a full gourmand because there's enough going on that has nothing to do with food, but the effect is a fragrance delicious enough to want to spread on ice cream, just like a gourmand. The base becomes musky as the bitter almond slowly fades out, replaced by a woody/amber. Not a woody/amber like every crap men's fragrance these days has an Iso E Super woody/amber, but a real wood notes and amber notes base.

There are those guys who will insist anything with a gourmand note or that comes in a feminine-marketed bottle cannot be worn by men. This is an unfortunate viewpoint for these guys because they're really missing out. HP is a fragrance that would be sexy on a woman but equally unisex and interesting on a guy as well. I haven't played with it long enough to judge sillage, but longevity is pretty good, about 6-8 hours.

High recommendation.
30th January, 2009
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Crystal Aoud by Montale

Notes (per LS): melon, green apple, mandarin, sandalwood, teak, aoud, patchouli, vanilla, white musk, saffron

Now that I'm about 20 different Aouds deep into this line, I've long since given up with extensive reviews of each. Only those that really catch my attention will command a review. I'll admit they do blend together when I recall them. On the skin, some oud/[insert accord here] combos work really well (White Aoud, Aoud Cuir d'Arabie, etc.) and some really don't (Aoud Lime, Aoud Ambre). Every person will have their own opinion and enjoy some while hating others.

I find Crystal Aoud to be one of the ones that work, and it works well. I wouldn't have thought the combo of melon/apple and oud would work, but the sweetness of the fruit perfectly balances the medicinal quality of the oud and at times the accord melds into one big sweet/bitter note that is very unique.. As foetidus notes, the oud lasts longer and is more pervasive then others in the line, but again - this works well and the particularly distinct melon and apple notes last along with the oud. Unlike some from this line, like White or Silver, the oud doesn't fade out at the base. Instead, it intensifies somewhat as the lighter fruit notes fade and oud is joined by patchouli and woody notes. The base is reminiscent of Black Aoud's but with the volume turned down.

One of the Aouds I'd really like to own.
27th January, 2009
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Parure by Guerlain

Ever come across a fragrance that is very nice that, regardless of it not being remarkably gorgeous, becomes a preoccupation? Enter Parure. I came across Parure in my ongoing Guerlain sampling and for whatever reason I am smitten. When discussing classic chypres, Parure is unfairly overlooked and deserves to mentioned along with Givenchy III as one of the best.

Parure starts off with a bright, cheery bergamot note deepened by plum and a mix of florals. The top/mid fruit/florals are rich and create a wonderful aroma around the wearer. The base appears soon - a little to soon - and quickly one of the richer oakmoss bases I've ever smelled takes over. Most of Parure's life is it's oakmoss/woody base, which in some ways is interesting because most chypre EdTs are usually faded out by the time the base presents itself.

I recently acquired a small amount of Parure extrait. I'm so glad I did, even though there is only enough to wear more than 1-2 times, because I was able to experience a deeper, richer presentation of it's fruit/floral heart. The fruit/florals mix with the oakmoss as the extrait slowly lingers it's way to the base, and it is during this transition from heart to base that Parure is as it's most gorgeous.

Parure has been discontinued as of this writing for about two years, but bottles still appear occasionally here and there. I'm on the hunt. For those of us interested in Guerlain's 'bottle history', Parure has a couple interesting notes. First, there is the wild, vintage 'wavy stopper bottle' described in Mr.Guerlain's review in which the stopper nearly dwarves the bottle. My extrait is in a mini-version of this bottle. There was also a version that came in an art-deco style 'upside down pyramid' style bottle (I'm not sure what else to call it) and boxed in a funky orange/yellow geometric 70s-style pattern printed on the box.
25th January, 2009
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To See A Flower by CB I Hate Perfume

This was included, at my wife's request, in my second order of samples from CB. I'm starting to get it. My first order included Gingerbread, which doesn't just smell of gingerbread but rather its components, butter, cream, sugar, ginger, etc. and then by the base the composition smells of its name.

Likewise with To See a Flower. One experiences walking into a greenhouse or flower case at a florist. One smells the soil, stems, leaves and earthy aspects of a flower before the base develops into a sweeter, more traditional floral accord with hints of the green aspects of flowers. It's really quite brilliant. I sampled the absolute/extrait, so I'm not sure how the water-based EdP would differ, if at all.

While I appreciate the artistry, this isn't something I'd wear. My wife loves it, however, and a bottle will probably forthcoming as a gift to her.
24th January, 2009
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Jubilation XXV by Amouage

A good incense fragrance with thick layers twinged with spices and fruits. There's a nearly creamy texture to XXV. Unfortunately it's just too much and is an example of the phenomena where too many notes creates an overload that just isn't successful. I can recognize why people would like this but I don't like the aroma it creates when wearing it, and I personally wouldn't feel comfortable wearing it anywhere.

I'm glad I only had to spend $50 for a 30ml bottle because the normal price is $240+ for 50ml. At that price this fragrance fails compared to other fragrances in that price range. Now that the travel bottles are sold out, there's no reason to drop the cash for a retail priced bottle. I'd prefer to drop that money on Amouage's Lyric Men, which is as smooth as silk and very unique.

Speaking of unique, Duchoufor's own L'Artisan AdV is better and a touch cheaper, and Timbuktu even more so. It's pretty rare that I trade off a bottle like this instead of keeping it for posterity or to give away samples, but I already found a home for mine and don't think I'll miss it. This fragrance is a case study in what happens when a high-end fragrance becomes very affordable, because all of a sudden it's so many people's favorite fragrance. The truth of the matter is it's the only good niche fragrance they own.
22nd January, 2009
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Quelques Fleurs Royale by Houbigant

A lush and very full floral with rose leading the way. Sweet but not sweet, and not overtly feminine such that a guy couldn't wear it. This is reminiscent of how a full mixed bouquet of flowers smell. Add a touch of liqueur in the background for texture and you've got QFR. Very pretty, very nice. No offense intended to SirSlarty, but I don't get the L'Homme comparison at all.
22nd January, 2009
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Persian Leather by Caswell-Massey

Not leather.... unless Persian Leather is a variety that doesn't smell like any other leather on earth. I found this to be watery and a light smoky fragrance at best. It's somewhat bitter and totally linear. This isn't in the same league as Knize Ten - or any other well established leather - not even close. If you're a leather fan don't even bother because it's not worth it, which is unfortunate because usually C-M puts out good stuff.
22nd January, 2009
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1826 Eugénie de Montijo by Histoires de Parfums

The notes I have for 1826 are somewhat different than those posted in the review, below. These are the notes on the new bottle (pardon my bad French):

Top: Bergamot, Mandarin
Mid: White Flowers, Violette, 'Gingerbre', 'Cannelle'
Base: Patchouli, Amber, Incense, 'Bois Blondes', White Musk, Vanilla

As I've worked my way through the Histoires line, I've come to realize that the published notes are only indicative of what you'll actually experience, and they do not represent the actual order in which you will smell them. The Noir Patchouli should really be called 'Noir Rose' because the patchouli topnotes are fleeting and it's all about the rose. People should not think these are historical recreations - rather, this line has chosen historical figures as catchy associations with their fragrances (the way Etat Libre has done with sexual innuendos).

1826 would have been more appropriate to have patchouli in the name, because although it's a published basenote, it's a primary note to the fragrance structure and is apparent from top to base. The top is a pretty - but not delicate - citrus tempered with rose and other florals. Patchouli makes an entrance fairly quickly after the opening and becomes more prominent as the fragrance progresses. Patchouli is joined by what I believe to be violet (or other slightly pungent florals) in the heart. I like the composition's balance - it is never too sweet, too floral, or too citrusy, yet there is a brightness that highlights all of these aspects.

Unfortunately, by the time the base establishes itself (3 hours), the fragrance has run out of steam. There is a musky patchouli, rose, and some mild woody notes poking through, but it fades quickly from this point. I get none of the amber, incense, or vanilla per the published notes, though perhaps they are simply part of the composition and not distinct. The longevity is surprisingly short compared to 1969 Parfum de Revolte and 1740 Marquis de Sade, which both lasted 12 hours or more on my skin.

Even with the average longevity 1826 is a fun fragrance - if I had to categorize I'd say it's a 'patchouli/citrus/floral'. Good stuff.
21st January, 2009
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Eliotropio by Santa Maria Novella

This was a blind buy because (a) it's discontinued , (b) I got a great deal on eBay, (c) I like Heliotrope; and, (d) I like SMN. I guess I was sort of expecting something along the lines of Etro Heliotrope, which is very sweet and gourmand. SMN's version, like most of its single-note fragrances, is much more muted and realistic. CF SMN's Violette, Rose, and Vetiver.

Heliotrope smells like musky almond vanilla, and this version is presented exactly that way. The fragrance is just a touch sweet, but there is also a very realistic floral element to it that balances the sweetness and is just a touch green and almost - almost - bitter. Still, heliotrope retains its gourmand quality, and this would be a wonderful element in layering by creating a fuzzy, edible base. The composition on the whole is musky and fuzzy as heliotrope fragrances tend to be. CF Apres L'ondee.

If you thought Etro's Heliotrope was light, be warned that it's a sillage monster compared to this. SMN's version is essentially a skin scent, a very pretty one, but there is no amount of application that will result in sillage. Perhaps it's because the few ingredients are natural but the longevity is fairly short, about 4-5. Of course your skin may still smell nice after this time, but you can't really detect any heliotrope. All in all I'm glad with my blind buy, though I'm not sure this will play a big role in my rotation except for those days that call for little or not fragrance. Again, the best place for this may be in layering, which I rarely do but may just experiment with now that I have a good base to work with.
15th January, 2009
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Cuir Mauresque by Serge Lutens

A wonderfully smooth and sensual leather, with just enough smoke and spice to keep it real interesting. When I applied to my arm, I noticed something of a floral note at first that I didn't find too appealing (I find this note in other SLs as well, such as Bois en Violette), this note fading out by the heart. When actually wearing CM, I didn't notice this floral note, instead I was just surrounded by a wonderful leather aroma. The leather starts out fairly intense but becomes more smooth over time. You can really feel the balance and twinge of fruit via orange blossom in the heart and base. The longevity is good, 7-8 hours.

As far as leather fragrances go, this one deserves a place on the top shelf with the other true greats such as Chanel Cuir de Russie and PG's Cuir d'Iris. In fact, this may the absolute smoothest among them, like the inside of a new Bentley.
13th January, 2009
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Film Noir by Ava Luxe

This was a blind buy and my first time ever trying an Ava Luxe, so I had no idea what to expect. The top is a serious WHOA! The opening is very animalistic and has the 'jet fuel leather' type of accord you find in Carion en Avion. On paper this gassy note lasts a while, but on the skin it settles quickly into a subtle and light leather accord. This leather may be one of those conglomerations of notes that create the effect of leather, but to my nose these notes are so well blended that it smells just like light leather.

It remains like this for quite a few hours, and I figured it would just fade away as a light leather. However, the base really opens up and even sweetens.... I get hints of rose, tonka, and coumarin - I'd even swear I get hints of fruit/berry, though this may be the rose.

To smell the top notes and then the base, you'd never ever think that it's the same fragrance, such is the massive difference between them. There is some real artistry here, and I'm glad this blind buy was successful. I'm now really looking forward to checking out more from Ava Luxe.
12th January, 2009
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Aoud Damascus by Montale

A very impressive - and successful - Montale oud accord. I've been finding that some of the Aoud series work great (White Aoud, SIlver Aoud), while some are dissonant and, IMHO, not successful (Aoud Ambre, Aoud Lime). However, Montale does roses well, and this fragrance is perhaps one of their best.

What's really appealing is the balance... the oud, which is strong at first, never overpowers the rose, and conversely the rose isn't so dominant that the oud is only lurking in the background. At points, I don't even really smell oud and rose, but rather the intersection of the two as if a new note was just created. The effect of this superb balance is that the rose note avoids the problems inherent to many rose fragrances, such as being too sweet, too fruity, or even too earthy. Likewise, the oud avoids becoming too medicinal and overbearing as it can get in Black Aoud or even M7. As the heart emerges, I can get little whiffs of incense(?)... though fleeting. From the hear the fragrance simply fades out over the course of 4-5 hours.

Really, a great, different take on rose and a bottle I'd love to have.
12th January, 2009
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Pot Pourri by Santa Maria Novella

As I've come to expect with SMN, this is another high-quality and robust fragrance. Linear, yes.... but realistic, enjoyable, and very aromatic. I'd take this over almost any other incense type fragrance. Foetidus' review is dead-on, and there's not much to add besides reporting that longevity was 10-12 hours. Real good stuff.
12th January, 2009
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Ambra / Amber by Santa Maria Novella

I've tried quite a few SMNs by now, and this is the only clunker I've yet to come across from this house. Instead of a robust amber, this fragrance is transparent and feels very synthetic. Nearly any other niche amber would be better, which is surprising because SMN's own Amber/Lavender is quite good, and very rich.

If you want something sweet from SMN, go with the Vaniglia.
12th January, 2009
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Aôd by Lostmarc'h

I received a sample of this as an unexpected freebie, and I sprayed some on my hand on the way out the door. Within 30 minutes I forgot what I had applied, but I knew I liked the fragrance, and that it smelled familiar. When I get home I saw the sample, remembering what it was and re-applied for more complete testing.

Aod has absolutely no relation to "Aoud'' (lest anyone be confused). It starts as a lightly sweetened gardenia fragrance with a touch of citrus accompanying the gardenia. The sweetness is vanillic and I sense coconut (?). It starts close to the skin, but actually intensifies in it's heart, at which point the gardenia becomes more prominent. The drydown is just a fading of the gardenia and a lighter, musky vanilla accord. As with Losmarc'h's Lann Ael, it may stay close to the skin but it will last a long time. Lack of sillage is not a lack of quality with Losmarc'h.

The closest point of reference for this fragrance is Profumum Volo AZ 686, another Gardenia/Coconut fragrance, but the Volo AZ is about 1000x louder than Aod.

Great for gardenia fans....and there's nothing wrong with this fragrance (it's just not my thing).

06th January, 2009
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Patchouli Empire by CB I Hate Perfume

You hear the term 'hippy patchouli' thrown around quite a bit, and I often wonder what these people's reference point is for this description. Is it from the descriptions of other fragrances as such or is it from a hunch as to exactly what this phrase refers to? My reference point for the term 'hippy patchouli' are years on tour and countless hours in the back of a 1970 Westfalia camper. Hippy patchouli is dark, pure, and singes your nose hairs as it covers the scent of everything from bong smoke to weeks of BO. The closest any niche fragrance comes to replicating that scent is Montale's Patchouli Leaves.

This is long and roundabout way to say that CB's Patchouli Empire is NOT a hippy patchouli. It starts out with a significant citrus accompaniment that cuts through the patchouli and balances it. There is also a salty element that I can't quite identify, but it's there. This citrus fades over the first hour, bringing the patchouli more into focus. It never becomes overpowering, and in fact as the citrus fades the entire composition becomes musky. I'm smelling patchouli through a cloud of musk. All in all this is an interesting interpretation of patchouli, but nothing overly interesting. A little more ooomph towards hippy might do this better, but still nice.
06th January, 2009
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Esprit de Cuir by Auguste

Quite simply the most incredibly rich, smooth and downright gorgeous leather fragrance I've ever tried. You will pay through the nose for this ($6/ml), but it is a parfum, and the slightest dab lasted for 8+ hours on my skin. On initial application, the fragrance definitely has some citrus undertones, and as it slowly develops the undertones become slightly more spicy, and eventually slightly vanillic. It's these undertones that provide so much depth to the leather itself.

This bottle may have just leapfrogged over so many on my 'I want to buy' list.

Notes (per LuckyScent): Citron, Geranium, Galbanium, Jasmin, Clove, Birch, Opoponax, Tonka Bean absolute, Oak Moss absolute
03rd January, 2009
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Vraie Blonde by Etat Libre d'Orange

I tried Vraie Blonde having read these reviews, expecting something sweet with a foul stench. I tried it again. And again. Someone should study the effect that reviews have in creating preformed expectations before trying a fragrance. I've noticed that sometimes a reviewer's comments will sometimes be assimilated by subsequent reviews, and I think that people then seek out the described traits when first experiencing the fragrance. Vraie Blonde is Exhibit A. MKK is Exhibit B )I did not find it to smell like testicle sweat as many describe).

I write all this as prelude to my report that Vraie Blonde is nothing but a fun little aldehydic fruity fragrance, fun and inoffensive. It starts out with a very aldehydic peach/berry note, the effect of which is something like a brut champagne. As it dries the peachy/berry note persists and is joined by light rose, and eventually the fragrance tails off with a light musk and perhaps a touch of rose and patchouli, though the base it not particularly sweet (an effect of the myrrh?). The entire composition comes off as if it was the love child of Chanel No.22 and Mure et Musc, and it would be perfectly matched with a spring day.

Yet another great ELO I'd like to have on my shelf.
31st December, 2008
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Eau de Cologne by Chanel

Chanel's Eau de Cologne is so good, it should essentially be the reference for all traditional colognes, which should then be judged relative to this Chanel version. The citrus is crisp and bracing, the herbal/woody drydown is smooth yet pronounced. I don't seem to have the same longevity problems others experience, with the basenotes persisting 6 hours after application, which isn't great compared to other Exclusifs but is great compared to most traditional colognes, and is certainly significantly better than the other great cologne, Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte. Although the fragrances that become references are usually the pioneers, Chanel's is a modern entry that has assimilated the best aspects of many generations' worth of traditional fragrances in this genre to create this classic.
29th December, 2008
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Vanille Absolu by Montale

I collect, and love, vanilla fragrances. I also love Montale, particularly for the unique accords and creative compositions in so many different fragrances. Montale's Boise Vanille is one of my all time favorite vanillas, so I figured how could I go wrong with a blind buy of Vanille Absolu when I saw it for a steal? Oh well.

If you don't like vanilla fragrances it may seem a bit odd to collect them - after all, it's 'just' vanilla, right? Not exactly. Even though every house has a vanilla fragrance of some sort of straight vanilla fragrance, there is generally something that differentiates them from being just plain-old-vanilla. Fragonard Vanille has a slug of sandalwood. L'Artisan's Vanilia has that candyfloss tinge, Parfumerie Generale Felanilla has a banana wood heart. Dior Addict has orange blossom. There's always something.

Well, this Montale offering is just plain old vanilla. It's hardly different than sniffing, say... vanilla extract for cooking. None of the few other notes (cinnamon, clove, woods) are noticeable, and if they're there from keeping the composition from being too boring there isn't enough of them. Even the saving graces - like good sillage - aren't present (though longevity is good as it is an EdP). I forgive Montale because I do so love Boise Vanille, and from the looks of it Vanilla Extasy is more interesting than Vanille Absolu, but I'd caution even vanilla lovers to take a look at any of the fragrances I've mentioned above.
29th December, 2008
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Orient Extreme by Montale

I was horribly mistaken... I thought this would be a sweeter, more extreme version of Sweet Oriental Dream - I should have read these reviews first (of course it's just a decant I bought, no harm done). Instead of an oriental, this should be in the Montale Chypre series (Chypre Vanille and Chypre Fruite)... this should be Chypre Aoud or something. I get a touch of oud at the beginning - or perhaps it's something similar to Aoud. There is the slightest touch of sweetness, perhaps rose, that appears along with this oud note. The fragrance that changes again to become what I can best describe as a 'rosey chypre'.... oakmoss may or may not be present, but it comes off to my nose as a traditional chypre base, not dissimilar from Givenchy III or Pour Monsieur, but with a touch of rose and sandalwood. The base is also similar to Montale's Chypre Vanille, replacing vanilla with sandalwood.

I agree with the reviewers who say that something seems to be missing - it's a base without a top or heart. One of the few Montales I'm not overjoyed with.
27th December, 2008
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Gaiac 10 by Le Labo

The best woody/incense fragrance I've ever experienced by far, Gaiac 10 is very subtle and does not project much sillage, but its beauty is in the subtlety and complexity, not its volume. It is fairly linear and is primarily a balance between gaiac wood and olibanum, the entire composition being slightly musky. This is a parfum and just a touch of fragrance (it's definitely a little oily) lasted 12-16 hours. As the first reviewer alluded, this is really a skin scent, and this may not jive with people when they look at the price tag, but I know if I had a few hundred bucks to spend and this (and if I'm ever in Tokyo, the only place it's available), I most certainly would.
25th December, 2008
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Lann-Aël by Lostmarc'h

What we've got here is essentially a fruit-meringue-cream gourmand. It's sweet but not overbearingly so. There's definitely not much sillage but it's clear this was designed as a skin scent. What starts off as lemony becomes somewhat more apple-like over time. Longevity is decent - a few hours. There's enough vanilla and musk to keep Lann Ael from ever becoming transparent, in which case I'd have been disappointed.

It's tough to judge something like this without knowing what was intended.... if the intent was to create a complex fragrance that tells a story this doesn't make the grade. If the intent was to create a pretty, fun skin scent then it's spot on. I'm a sucker for gourmands hence the thumbs up, but I'll point out this could be a little better - perhaps a little more complex, even for what it is.
25th December, 2008
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Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Here's a fragrance in which the reviews are nearly all identical. The thrust of this fragrances is a sweetened patchouli balanced with roses. The patchouli becomes more 'damp' in the drydown, and it is joined with a fruity note - perhaps this is the plum some describe - that serves to sweeten the composition a bit more. Linear but very enjoyable, the fragrance lasts 10 hours easily on my skin with one spray. The patchouli is sweet in the vein of PG's Intigrant Patchouli or ELO's Nombril Immense. I personally prefer my patchouli quite a bit more dry and along the lines of L'Artisan's own Patchouli Patch, but this is a good, unisex patchouli floral nonetheless.
21st December, 2008
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Charogne by Etat Libre d'Orange

As I read through all the ELO reviews it's become apparent to me that you either like ELO's 'thing' or you hate it. As these reviews show, there is rarely any middle ground. I'm in the camp of those who appreciate the ELO thing - from the goofy names to the cartoon logos to the avante-garde fragrances. I think some people are a little too sucked into the marketing and expect too much, judging the actual fragrance against the quirkiness of the marketing. In reality most ELO fragrances are well made, modern compositions using high-quality materials. They are not super-sexualized, raunchy, or wild over-the-top fragrances.

Charogne is my favorite of the line (having sampled all but three right now). I find it difficult to describe only because I'm not always good at distinguishing florals. Too my nose bergamot plays a bigger role then others have mentioned. The combination of bergamot and the florals come off as being a rich, leathery, candied orange scent to me.... sort of like leather tainted with orange, ginger, and vanilla. The fragrance sweetens and becomes a little more musky at it progresses, but I find it to be fairly linear. I don't get any of the foetid note others describe - perhaps I just can't detect it, perhaps I'm interpreting it differently, or perhaps it's different when worn as opposed to sampled on the wrist or paper. Either way, I find Charogne to be a fun, lightly sweetened leathery/floral that is neither offensive or boring.
20th December, 2008
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United States

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

I can't believe it's taken me so long to get a bottle of this, but better late then never. I picked up the EdP, though I've tested and enjoy both. I prefer a richer, more gourmand experience so I went with the EdP.

What a terrific melange of notes! As many reviewers have noted, there's a lot going on and L'Instant cannot be pigeonholed into any one genre. There's a subtle touch of citrus that persists into the base (less so in the EdP), there are cocoa and vanilla gourmand notes, there's patchouli and sandalwood, and there are spice and floral notes. The beauty of L'Instant is that the whole composition is so well blended that the composition truly is the sum of its parts - individual notes are not particularly noticeable or distinct, but the total effect is that of a rich, oriental/gourmand that is lightly sweetened and slightly musky. The EdP lasts forever on my skin and the sillage is typical of a masculine EdP.

Another Guerlain classic.
19th December, 2008
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United States

Vol de Nuit Évasion by Guerlain

In case anyone was wondering, Vol de Nuit Evasion is the EdT version of Attrape Couer in a 50ml bottle. Weird how Guerlain does that. Because of the lower concentration, I didn't find VdN-E to have the same 'creaminess' of A-C, but I also find A-C to almost get a little too intense until it settles to the base. It's a good middle ground.

18th December, 2008