Reviews by surreality

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    surreality
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    Arabian Nights - Pure Oud by By Kilian

    Strong, dark, fierce and unrelentingly masculine. These four words desribe my experience with the sample of Pure Oud I have been testing over the last couple of days.

    From the first application the oud is present in all its glory. The saffron adds an extra edge to the oud and the combination of these two scents takes no prisoners. Over time Pure Oud changes very little on my skin, the saffron slowly fades and a little sweetrness makes itself present by the 4 hour mark but the main character of the fragrance remains. By the 8 hour mark this is basically a strongish skin scent that smells woody and warm and that compels one to sniff at the point of application. 24 hours later Pure Oud is still there to be found.

    05th December, 2009

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    Monsieur Balmain (new) by Pierre Balmain

    If you are looking for a lemon fragrance with decent longevity then Monsieur Balmain should be on your list to try. This starts of with a blast of refreshing, albeit slightly synthetic smelling, lemon mixed with a faint herbaceousness (basil?) adding a nice green element to the mix. After about 10 mins, oakmoss becomes apparent adding a much needed dimension to the fragrance, making it a fuller, more complete scent. From this point in its development it is pretty linear, with a touch of clean musk coming through in the very final stages of it's life on skin.

    On my skin I get about 4-5 hours and it has decent projection and a moderate sillage. Monsieur Balmain is a refeshing and somewhat classsy fragrance for the summer months that smells very good and is available at an excellent price point.

    22nd May, 2009

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    Passion Boisée by Frapin

    This was love at first smell. There is a noticable burst of fresh citrus backed with spices and patchouli that when combined take on a tobacco-ish flavor. The citrus slowly fades out and allows a boozy note to come through. Even though there is a booziness to this it remains fresh smelling. Leather then makes an appearance, not a harsh leather but a very refined soft leather. This scent is pure class. It has decent longevity and has a noticable sillage that whispers rather than shouts.

    11th May, 2009

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    Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    I don't know if too much more can be added; just about everything to be said about Ambre Precieux has been said. This is a hauntingly beautiful fragrance, powerful, spicy but very classy and refined. AP lasts forever, I can put this on at 7am and smell it when I shower the next morning. I would recommend this to all who love or are exploring amber fragrances.

    06th April, 2009

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    No. 88 by Czech & Speake

    No 88 is a rich, elegant and sophisticated perfume. To me this is a very nicely done, well blended sandalwood based fragrance. The rose, while prominent is not the main focus of the fragrance; it combines with the other floral notes bring out the delicate perfumey aspects of the sandalwood. This is fairly linear once the top notes dissipate, but this is not really a problem because the dry down is very nice indeed. No 88 has decent longevity (6+ hrs) and has a noticeable but very subtle sillage. I think if you are searching for a rose heavy fragrance then keep looking, this will probably not be what you are looking for, but if you are looking for a scent that would be at home in the office or the theatre then you may be very happy with No 88.

    10th March, 2009

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    1826 by Histoires de Parfums

    The opening of 1826 is a sweetened Bergamot which after the first few seconds is joined by patchouli. There is a nice spiciness to the heart notes that tames the florals and patchouli but that is so well integrated into the fragrance that it doesn't smell spicy. The amber and incense start poking through at about 20 minutes but like the spices in the heart notes these notes are integrated to work with the other notes to give them depth and character. After about 2 hours is when I get the most amber, a slightly dirty amber that doesn't seem too vanillic or sweet. On my skin it fades from existence after about 4 or 5 hours leaving only the slightest hint of perfume on the skin. This sticks fairly close to the skin and has very little sillage. I think this is more unisex in character than feminine as and such is worth checking out if you are into patchouli or amber frags.

    06th March, 2009 (Last Edited: 24th March, 2009)

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    Ambra by Omnia Profumo

    Imagine a slab of a thick, rich, chewy vanilla nougat laced with orange essence and studded with almonds. Imagine that this has been distilled into a perfume. The result is Omnia Ambra. I'm not ordinarily into gourmands but Ambra is the exception. The initial blast of vanilla, orange and almond is almost mouth watering and settles down onto the skin to become a beautiful vanillic amber with just a touch of a clean musk tying everything together. This has excellent longevity 12+ hours and projects off the skin nicely to provide the wearer with subtle hints of the perfume all day.

    01st March, 2009

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    Cuiron by Helmut Lang

    Cuiron is an absolutely horrid synthetic mess of a fragrance that was rightly discontinued before it could contaminate the noses of too many people. I've worn this several times now and my hatred of this fragrance grows with each wearing. There is something sharp and acrid about the top notes that doesn't subside as the fragrance "develops" (i.e. loses the "plum") but only becomes slightly less abrasive. There is something discordant about this fragrance that grates on the nose the way a really bad, out of tune, middle school marching band grates on the ears. What makes matters worse is that Cuiron lasts forever on the skin and projects off the skin well. This just prolongs the horror and makes Cuiron present to the nose at all times when one is wearing it.

    Cuiron sets the standard of how NOT to do leather, and this may just be its lasting legacy to the perfume world.

    28th February, 2009 (Last Edited: 19th April, 2009)

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    Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

    Cuir Ottoman starts off rather boozy, for the first five minutes I could smell is a note that reminds me of Jack Daniel's Old No7. The floral heart notes start to creep in on top of the boozy note with the leather not far behind; at this point in its development Cuir Ottoman seems to lose coherence, becoming a raucous cacophony of rather synthetic smelling notes. The iris comes in adding an earthiness and a little dirt but it still seems muddled by the time the basenotes are fully apparent.

    After all of the good words I have read about this fragrance, I wish I could find a redeeming factor... but it eludes me. This is an unbalanced, muddled, synthetic smelling mess of a fragrance; all in all quite a horrid scent.

    27th January, 2009 (Last Edited: 01st February, 2009)

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    Habit Rouge by Guerlain

    Quite simply Habit Rouge (EdT) is a masterpiece that will always have a place in my wardrobe. Few fragrances approach the sophistication, refinement, and sheer beauty of this classic. Citrus, florals, woods, vanilla, leather and amber blend seamlessly to create a well integrated and perfectly balanced fragrance. Habit Rouge projects off the skin well, lasts all day on my skin and has a moderate sillage that leaves a hint of scent behind the wearer.

    27th January, 2009

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    Equistrius by Parfum d'Empire

    Uninspiring to say the least. The citrusy opening soon fades into a floral heart before the iris starts to come through. A green note adds a little something to the mix and brightens the scent but overall this just smells flat and listless.

    21st December, 2008

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    Ambre d'Or by Il Profumo

    Ambre d'Or (Parfum) is a very rich, spicy, sweet amber complemented with a white musk note that is very prominent in the top notes (and smells very much like Musk Lifesavers) The heart notes introduce a few floral notes and honey. The honey and musk notes lasts into the dry down and the amber gets a little more powdery. Very nice clean smelling musky amber that has very good longevity and projects off the skin fairly well.

    14th December, 2008

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    Bigelow Barber Cologne Elixir Black No. 1581 by C.O. Bigelow Apothecary

    Starts out with a nice oud topnote that is quickly joined (15min) by a sweet tonka, vanilllic amber base that dominates the fragrance as it dries down. This is a warm scent that is rather nicely suited to the cooler months. Black Elixir projects nicely off the skin and lasts about 3-4 hrs. Nice scent, a little unbalanced with vanilla playing too large a role in the composition.

    13th December, 2008

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    Bigelow Barber Cologne Elixir Green No. 1582 by C.O. Bigelow Apothecary

    This starts out with a nice refreshing blast of smooth green notes in the style of Green Irish Tweed and Riverside Dr. that slowly give way to a sweet amber base with a touch of sandalwood. Projects nicely off the skin and lasts a good 4-5hrs. Smells nice, lasts a decent amount of time and is great value for money.

    13th December, 2008

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    Axe Dark Temptation / Lynx Dark Temptation by Axe / Lynx

    As far as body sprays go Axe Dark Temptation isn't too bad. There is a chocolate note over what seems to be a chypre base. Has decent longevity for a body spray. No bad, not good but better than other comparable products.

    05th December, 2008

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    Allure Homme by Chanel

    Chanel Allurre pour homme is a fresh fragrance with citrus topnotes layered over a wooded and spicy amber base. Chanel has created a well balanced, pleasant but very generic fragrance. Nothing about this really distinguishes it from any one of the other hundred well balanced, fresh fragrances on the market. Suited more to the young man who wants to smell nice than it is to someone who is after a more distinctive scent.

    01st December, 2008

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    Vierges & Toreros by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Many years ago there was a product on the market in Australia that was sold as a pet odor deodorizer. One or two drops from the small blue dropper bottle would fill the room. I forget the name but it had a floral musky odor that was unforgettable. Imagine my suprise when I sprayed Vierges et Toreros and the first thing that I thought of was that horrid musky liquid. I persisted and lasted this one out... twice. No good, the association with the pet deodorizer is just too strong.

    This is potent sweet floral over a musk and leather base. Last forever and projects loudly off the skin. This fragrance is just not for me.

    30th November, 2008 (Last Edited: 10th December, 2008)

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    Teak Wood by Ava Luxe

    Teakwood opens with a burst of bergamot before moving into a floral (violet with a touch of rose) heart. There are woods and a little castoreum in this composition but these notes are overpowered by the floral notes (especially the violet) and take a few hours to really come to the fore. Longevity is good 8+ hours and Teakwood projects off the skin well. This is a decent fragrance, although it seems a little unbalanced to my nose. For a scent that is advertised as a woody fragrance, wood only seems to be a bit player that provides a foundation for a predominantly floral composition.

    18th November, 2008

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    mb03 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

    mb03 is a nice enough fragrance with a scent falling somewhere between Zagorsk and Avignon with a little extra spice thrown in for good measure and a drydown that is a little sweeter than the two CdG's previously mentioned. This is really a skin scent, it doesn't seem to project very far off the skin at all. Longevity was about 4 hours. Personally, I think I'd prefer to spend my money on the Incense Series by CdG than for a bottle of mb03.

    09th November, 2008

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    Bleecker Street by Bond No. 9

    Bleeker Street is probably my favorite Bond No 9 fragrance so far. It opens up with a green note balanced with hyacinth and it evolves from there, adding sweetness of amber and patchouli to the green notes by the time it dries down. Bleeker Street is a very well composed fragrance, all of its parts create a coherent and well balanced whole. This lasts forever on my skin; I could still smell this upon waking this morning about 20hrs after the application of 2 sprays. Bleeker Street projects off the skin and leaves a nice wake behind the wearer. Even if this does have slight similarities to other fragrances its balance, longevity and overall quality puts it way a head of its peers.

    01st November, 2008

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    Ambre Topkapi / PB by MDCI

    Ambre Topkapi is a poor excuse for an amber scent. This starts off with some nice fruity and spicy notes, very fresh smelling for an amber but after the initial blast a chypre-ish accord comes to the fore. This seems to dominate the scent never allowing the notes in the amber accord to shine, in fact the amber notes seem weak and insipid, especially when compared to classics like SL Ambre Sultan. The longevity was less than 4 hours and it had no appreciable sillage. Even when snuggled up with my wife she could not really smell it unles she buried her nose in my chest. While the idea of creating a masculine amber is intriguing, other ambers are much better executed and more masculine (i.e. Ambre 114).

    20th October, 2008

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    Orient Extreme by Montale

    Orient Extreme is a feminine chypre, with rose and sandal wood playing major roles in this perfumes progression. I tested this side by side with Serge Luten's Chypre Rouge and they are very similar; with the SL offering being creamier, richer and an all round better fragrance. Not that Orient Extreme is bad, it is a well composed perfume that has good longevity and sillage. This just isn't for me.

    02nd October, 2008

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    Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

    Ambre 114 is powerful and complex, but subtle and refined perfume. It envelops the wearer in a close-fitting cloud of ambery goodness, that is always in front of the nose. The herbal top notes dampen the sweetness of the amber, making this a very wearable fragrance that never gets cloying, even in warmer weather. Apart from the top notes that last for the first hour and the musk base that becomes most evident after about 8 hours it is really hard to identify individual notes; which shows just how well balanced this fragrance is. Longevity is excellent; I applied two sprays over 15 hours ago and it is still going strong. This projects off the skin nicely, (hence the closefitting cloud of ambery goodness comment) but it isn't a sillage monster. In short, Ambre 114 is a gorgeous fragrance, one that any amber lover (and those that don't think that they like amber fragrances) should try at least once.

    27th September, 2008

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    Serge Noire by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Serge Noire starts of with the spiciness of cinnamon bark, and the dryness of the dark rich woods combined with a large dose of camphor. These notes work together work to create an opening that is quite assertive. For the first hour or so I was thinking how linear this scent was; the opening notes seemed to linger on the skin getting rounder and less sharp as time went by. Before too long the wood and cinnamon were joined by incense and amber, with just a touch of smokiness in the mix; notes that last until the end.

    Serge Noire has great longevity; it is about 13 hours after I applied it conservatively and it is still going strong. It is not a sillage monster by any means, but it does make itself known to those in your immediate vicinity. Overall, this is a really well crafted and very likable fragrance, one that will most likely find a home in my wardrobe in the near future.

    21st September, 2008

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    Essential by Lacoste

    This is another inoffensive fresh scent that like so many of its brethren fails to leave any lasting mark. There is nothing about this Lacoste creation that is bad per se; it smells fresh, crisp and nice enough. But there is also nothing really that good about it either, and certainly nothing about this makes it essential to one's wardrobe.

    The citrus topnotes blend with something green and slightly herbaceous before fading away to leave a lightly spiced floral heart. This soon fades into a base of patchouli and sandalwood. The longevity of Essential is about 3 hours and it has a decent projection.

    20th September, 2008

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    Polo Black by Ralph Lauren

    Polo Black is an inoffensive and well composed "fresh" scent that is is a little on the generic side but more likable than many of its competitors. The refreshing fruity top notes soon fade away, leaving a lightly herbaceous and "watery" heart underpinned by a base of patchouli and sandalwood that is rounded out and softened a little by the tonka bean.

    Polo Black has nowhere near the power, sillage or longevity of other fragrances in the Polo line, it lasts maybe 4 hours before it needs refreshing. This is a nice enough fragrance but there is nothing that makes it (or the wearer )stand out from the crowd. If you are looking for something unique or sexy then this is not what you are looking for ; if you are looking for something fresh, understated and suitable for the office or class room then this may be worth a try.

    20th September, 2008

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    Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

    For the first half an hour or so after applying Kiehl's all I could think of was "this smells a lot like Kouros". After the initial blast of Kouros-like goodness, a more floral character starts to emerge with roses and some other florals (ylang ylang?) making an appearance. A slightly dirty musk holds everything together and stops it from becoming too floral. The florals die down a little in the dry down and a certain powderiness to the musk appears, smoothing its edges and taming it to a large degree. Longevity is very good (I got slight hints of it in the breeze a good 10 hours after a light application), and it projects well although it is not a "sillage monster".

    Overall, a Kiehl's a nice musk that although it brings to mind other perfumes it has a character all of its own.

    14th September, 2008

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    Greyland by Montale

    Greyland starts off with an intense blast of sharp cedar, spice (cumin, which when dabbed is much less prominent) and a touch of incense, before moving to a heart of incense, woods, black pepper, and something that is piney, resinous and slightly citrusy, with a faint indication of clove oil that seems to tie the resinous, incense and cedar together. This lasts forever on my skin, I was still getting whiffs of Greyland a good 10 hours after a light application. All in all this is a fairly linear scent, as other have mentioned it slowly becomes more faint with the sharp edges dropping off over time until only a slight musky, sloightly vanillic wood scent is left on the skin. This is a very masculine fragrance and one that needs to be worn several times to fully appreciate.

    09th September, 2008 (Last Edited: 20th June, 2009)

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    Riverside Drive by Bond No. 9

    Riverside Drive could best be described as the bastard child of Creed's Green Irish Tweed and Millesime Imperial. The opening of this is similiar to MI and before long becomes very reminiscent of GIT with a touch of pineapple thrown in for good measure and the violet toned down just a touch. Riverside Drive has good longevity 6 hrs and projects nicely. This is an inoffensive and nicely put together scent that could easily be worn to the office.

    07th September, 2008

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    Hindu Grass by Nasomatto

    Of the three Nasomatto fragrances I have worn Hindu Grass is the one I like least. However, having said that it is still a very good fragrance; just not nearly as nice to my nose as Duro or Absinth.

    The opening of Hindu Grass is a little sharp and biting with a definite citrus character to it. There is something dark and a little smoky in the top/heart notes that reminds me of coffee. There is definitely a vetiver note throughout HG's development that in the basenotes blends well with the patchouli. Hindu Grass' longevity is outstanding (16+ hours) and it projects nicely. I think that if you like fragrances like Red Vetyver then this is one that you should check out.

    04th September, 2008

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