Perfume Reviews

Reviews by andyman32

Total Reviews: 52

Golden Aoud by Montale

I have had Golden Aoud for a couple of months and every time I wear it, it's a treat. It is a predominantly rose & oudh scent but it's a quite idyllic, masculine, woody rose with soft edges. I can't dive as deep into the subtleties of the blend as others here have, but simply put, the juice is sublime. A true masculine rose. This is one of a handful of fragrances that will be in my wardrobe forever!
31st May, 2010

Tokyo by Kenzo

Opens with a guaiac wood, an amorphous sweet citrus, cinnamon and clove. Dries down to orange rind, nutmeg and a hint of wood. Actually reminds me very strongly of a Dunhill Desire, dialed back about 50%. The longevity is poor, as has already been noted. The sillage is strange. On my skin, the fragrance is only perceptible at 1-2 feet but is nearly imperceptible up close. It's like an olfactory ventriloquist. It's not bad; it's also nothing that will impress you. I'm not sure I would buy it again. If you want a longer-lasting synthetic sweet cinnamon, ginger, citrus, nutmeg type of thing, try Dunhill Desire (I hate it). If you want some kick-arse dense, sticky, sweet clove juice, try Washington Tremlett's Clove Absolute. Not too excited about Tokyo. I might take it over Dunhill Desire only because it's more mild. I'm not sure about the Burberry frags everyone else references; I have a good number of Burberry fragrances and don't have any that smell like this.
18th April, 2010

Jungle pour Homme by Kenzo

Big up for Kenzo. I'm SERIOUSLY digging their frags. This one is subtly sweet. Though I haven't tried it on skin and tested the top and mid notes, the prominent notes that last through the base note are cedar, sage, some kind of wood (maybe synthetic), ambergris, a touch of vanilla (just a touch, not like a Givenchy Pi 'smash you in the face repeatedly with a mallet soaked in vanilla'). The sillage is great, longevity is medium. As with any fragrance that doesn't stick like glue, just spray it on cloth - collars and cuffs - and you'll smell it fine all day. My wife liked this one INSTANTLY, and after enjoying (or SUFFERING, as one may say) a collection approaching or exceeding 300 fragrances, she has become quite a critic. If you must wear it on skin, maybe you'll be disappointed by the longevity, but I usually put my frags on my cuffs - if you can roll with smelling it on a fabric, this one is sublime.
16th April, 2010
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Aoud Cuir D'Arabie by Montale

Trebor turns out to be right. The top & middle notes are pretty easy to characterize: oud. Oud and nothing else. The various Danh al Oudh offerings from Ajmal are indistinguishable from Oud Cuir d'Arabie. As it turns out, that's the proper scent for oud, and to date this is the most unadulterated oud in the Montale line - and I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable as I own a dozen from the Montale "Aoud" line and two others besides (Amber & Spices and Attar, both of which smell to me like they contain the same subtle and sultry oud topnote as the rest of the Montale Aoud line, which is why I love them), and I have tried another half-dozen Montale samples that I don't subsequently own. Yes, I have tried pretty much the entire Montale line.

The dry-down is indeed a smoky, dry leather, and a remarkably faithful leather at that, which I enjoy. The leather is louder and almost a caricature in Aoud Leather. Not nearly as subtle & natural, but it definitely gets the point across far better in Aoud Leather. This one is a subtler one, dry (almost arid) but full-bodied, with medium sillage and far more limited longevity. It almost makes me suspect the use of synthetics in Aoud Leather. This one is wonderful to enjoy yourself on a weekend, or on a romantic evening (with the right woman). And honestly, for niche fragrance aficionados, enormous sillage isn't always a good thing. Right guys? Sometimes an excellent fragrance is only really enjoyed more privately.

Try before you buy is a good one here, I would say it doesn't necessarily reach a broad audience, but for those who enjoy the leather fragrance niche, this is definitely among the best. For those who also enjoy oud, this may be THE best. Cheers!
23rd September, 2009

Cuir Pleine Fleur / Fine Leather by Heeley

Heeley just can't put together a fragrance I REALLY like, and it seems that I like offerings of the same category from many other houses. Menthe Fraiche has a sour note that reeks a little too much; Cardinal is far too dry and astringent and and smells like fresh cedar chips and a dash of incense. Cuir Pleine Fleur continues the trend. Good, but just barely. It has some interesting stuff happening very quickly, top & mid notes, and the emphasis changes dramatically, but it's so fast that it's hardly worth describing. The dry-down is in 5 minutes and it is a rather astringent, medicinal fragrance. It is overwhelmingly clove and ginger. Very, very subtle suggestions of leather come & go for the first 10 minutes, but once they're gone, they're gone. You also need a bit of an imagination to smell leather in this at any point. I had to think "leather... leather... leather???..." to experience it. On the "leather fragrance scale" this one is a 1 - it's subtle and you might not even notice it at all if you don't REALLY focus; Aoud Leather is a 10 - it smells like LEATHER, long, strong and hard.

Of fragrances that are supposed to have leather, Cuir Pleine Fleur is similar in composition to Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire - minus the actual leather smell. Given its prominence of clove (by far the strongest component), I'd say this is closer to Clove Absolute by Washington Tremlett than any other leather scent I have smelled. Of course, Clove Absolute does the clove smell far better, it's a rich, almost sticky, and quite delightful fragrance.

Despite my complaints - it's NOT a leather scent, it's a clove scent - it is decent. And, strange to say, it would smell nice ON leather, or WITH leather. Perhaps I'll add a few sprays of this to the cloth next time I oil the hyde on my Jag. Overall it's a neutral, good but not great, because it is an OK scent, wearable and elegant, albeit not a leather scent, and not the best clove scent either.
22nd August, 2009

Aoud Flowers by Montale

The description that it is kind of waxy, musky, murky and medicinal rose is good. It starts a little sweet but the dry-down is fairly astringent. I could read some tobbacco and violet leaf in it. It is a fairly elegant offering, not quite as 'sparkling' as some other Montales. The longevity is excellent, as with most Montales, particularly on cloth. A spray on cuffs or collar will last for a good 10-12 hours.

I do like this one but it's not at the top of the stack in the Montale Aouds. This one and, despite its popularity, Black Aoud, are the middle of the pack for my taste. I like White, Gold, Velvet and Lime a little better... I enjoy the juxtaposition of bright & bubbly or casual notes over the oudh. Steam and Leather are both interesting in their own way. Black and Flowers are each rather dark & brooding and a little less 'fun' to smell throughout the day. It is still a high-quality and enjoyable entry in the Montale line, and I'd still rather wear this than just about any designer fragrance in my collection. I do agree that this would be very sexy on a lady.
21st August, 2009

Cardinal by Heeley

I love incense fragrances and that's why it's a bit odd that this one just rubs me the wrong way. The top note is really just a parched, arid, almost bitter cedar smell. The dry down is a little more incense-y but out of my incense fragrances, after wearing it a couple of times, this one just comes out as my least favorite. Another comment included the adjective 'astringent', and I think that's a good one - this isn't a mellow or pleasant incense, it's really more of an old, musty church wood with maybe some stale smoke from incense that was burned in the censer last night. For 'reference' incense frags I go to Etro Messe de Minuit. Some of the Comme de Garcons fragrances named here are great, and I have a few L'Artisan Parfumeur frags - Dzongka and Passage d'Enfer, that are both much brighter and more interesting incense fragrances. Of course there's also a generous dose of incense in Amouage Gold, which will knock your socks off... and a good many more that include frankincense as a major component. I love all of these fragrances, but just find Cardinal to be too abrasive, even when sparingly applied. Oh well.
18th August, 2009

Black Aoud by Montale

If you like woody rose, you just can't go wrong with this. It's lovely. A generous agarwood presence and a sinister, elegant rose. It does have excellent longevity, particularly on cloth. It also has excellent sillage, which, combined with excellent longevity, means that a liberal application is not required. Czech & Speake No. 88 is another nice sinister rose fragrance but I would rate Black Aoud a little above it, simply on the bewitching Oud note.
10th August, 2009

Powerful by Boadicea the Victorious

Lemon, with a touch of grapefruit. Don't even go looking for violet, ylang-ylang or sandalwood. It's 95% lemon and 5% grapefruit. I like lemon and this would be so-so on a woman, but it's singularly unimpressive in terms of endurance & complexity. You could just buy a bottle of lemon essential oil and you'd be in the same spot as buying a bottle of Powerful.
09th August, 2009

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

This won't be a popular position to take, but I haven't liked a Serge Lutens fragrance to date, out of about half a dozen samples I have accumulated. Ambre Sultan is no exception. In a word, they are all too subtle (limited silage), offer poor duration (Ambre Sultan is a bit better than others in this regard), too sweet, and too gourmand. In each of them, there's some combination of gingerbread (or, stale ginger root), cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, powder, and ambergris. All cloying stuff, and as it turns out, I despise cinnamon notes in fragrances, across the board, which doesn't help. Ambre Sultan IS a well-constructed, subtle and natural fragrance, but is totally, unwaveringly dull. Also not designed for those who don't like wearing food on their wrists & neck. Save a boatload of money and just put two gingerbread men doused with vanilla extract in your pocket.

04th August, 2009

Pure Gold by Montale

It's an ordinary, soapy floral. A bit of apple and iris. It's a feminine scent through and through and ordinary. Closely resembles several $30-or-less bottles. You won't find a more forgettable bottle for over $50. Still, I'm not making it a negative on its incredible price tag alone. Just take this as a fair warning - you don't need to spend $150 or $200 on something that smells like this.
22nd July, 2009

Bois de Aoud / Original Aoud by Montale

I tried a sample of this once and I thought I like it so I bought a bottle. Then I tried the sample again, a second, and third time... it is regrettable. The aoud is OK but in three minutes, when it dries down, all that's left is a simple, one-dimensional note, a solution of black pepper. Solution of black pepper. I smell black pepper in rain water, left out in the summer sun for a couple of weeks, the kind of thing you'd typically find mosquitoes flying around. No, it's not nice. I haven't opened the bottle but after I tried the sample 3 more times I might just give the bottle away.
22nd July, 2009

M7 Fresh by Yves Saint Laurent

Cloying sweet medicine. I'm not sure about a lot of the claims here - oud? None. Ginger? Maybe a smidgen. Raisins? Beaucoup. It's a cloying raisin bouquet with a foundation of bitter sickness; essentially, the smell of bad morning breath, or the taste left in your mouth when you're sick and haven't brushed your teeth in two days, with a little menthol. Anybody remember Vicks Vapo-rub? Another way to characterize this is bad morning breath after eating a bowl of fruit loops. It's a strikingly synthetic smell that even borders on offensive, either in terms of its cloying sweetness, or in terms of its bitter, somewhat noxious undertones. M7 is alright, maybe not one of my favorites, but this one is not alright. I'm afraid this one is a 'pass'.
14th July, 2009
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I love this stuff, absolutely love it. Timbuktu is nice but this one is spectacular. If it's an incense fragrance it's only an undercurrent of frankincense, not an incense powerhouse like Heeley Cardinal, Amouage Gold or Etro Messe de Minuit. The most prominent note I get is actually a celery note, it is very fresh and lasts for a couple of hours. There is a slightly sweet floral note in here too. I don't have a whole lot of drill-down detail but this very pleasant, very wearable around the house or around the office, and is one of my new favorite fragrances...
13th July, 2009

Erolfa by Creed

Lovely stuff. As weird as it is to say it, yes... ozonic. It's light, airy, a little salty like a sea breeze, projected outward on a little soapy, floral, slight but bright citrusy platform. Sillage is surprisingly good for such a passive scent and longevity is excellent, particularly on fabric. It dries down to a slightly sweet floral base but I don't get sandalwood. I bought a flacon and I love it. You can wear it any time. Totally inoffensive but thoroughly enjoyable.
08th July, 2009

Rose 31 by Le Labo

Well, I bought this blind along with a bottle of Oud 27. I had had a sample of Oud and really enjoyed it but did not have Rose. Reading up on Rose 31, it seemed like my kind of frag. Well, I have to admit that it was underwhelming. Overall I'd characterize this as a very subtle, dry, fresh rose petal & wood scent. It IS nice but it is subtle and it clearly makes you think of a freshly-cut young rose bud, not a big rose bloom projecting its fragrance across a lawn. Now, for all of that analysis, the rose is not the prominent feature of this fragrance - it's a warm, sort of dull woody base, and yes, it is regrettably only a skip and a hop away from my Oud 27. I haven't tried any other Le Labos but from the reviews this may be held in common with other bottles they produce. While this fragrance is nice, it is a bit too subtle, too warm & dry, to justify its lofty price tag. Competition at that level is for some pretty grand creations and grand, this is not - the opposite.

My final observation, and this is more than just a nitpick, is that the vaporizer pickup tube in my bottle is cut short. It doesn't reach the bottom of the bottle. When I get down there, it'll leave up to a good 15ml at the bottom that I just can't reach. I"ll have to see if I can pull apart the vaporizer without damaging the bottle to get at that last bit. That's pretty downright disappointing... for a bottle that costs you $200, you sure don't want to open up and find out that there is $30 at the bottom that you'll never be able to reach without modifications!

Despite how thoroughly I enjoy Oud 27, I am disinclined to buy or even try any further Le Labo fragrances on account of this bottle.
07th July, 2009

Messe de Minuit by Etro

What can I say? I love this stuff. I am a big fan of incense fragrances. My neighbor even made fun of me for having on "hippie cologne", apparently mistaking this incense for patchouli - and I'm not as big on patchouli. I don't care, this fragrance is all for me. It's dry, bright, sprightly incense, a smell that could come out of a censer, but without the oily smoke. It seems to have a dry cedar streak in the base notes, a whiff of a hot cedar-lined sauna. It is lovely stuff... if you like the impeccably rich, brooding note of incense, treat yourself to this bottle!
06th July, 2009

Cool Water Deep by Davidoff

This is a nice aquatic, fresh and simple, doesn't last all that long. It's certainly pleasant if not distinctive. When I first sprayed it I thought... I have smelled this before. Not a kind of resemblance, but an identity relationship. Something in another bottle, from another brand. I tried 2 or 3 from my wardrobe and nailed it... Dunhill Pure. This is Dunhill Pure. Not LIKE Dunhill Pure - I mean it IS Dunhill Pure. I sprayed Cool Water Deep on one arm and Pure on another and they are literally identical, top, middle and base, sillage, longevity. Same juice, different bottle. I think Deep is a little less expensive than Pure but neither is very expensive in the first place, and I suppose in the myriad fragrances out there, more than a few are bound to collide.

Or are they ACTUALLY the same concoction, in two different bottles / brands? It wouldn't be entirely surprising. But I can't over-emphasize the fact that these two scents are identical. Somehow I thought there was another one very similar to this... Eternity Summer 2008 was my first guess but that one was a little different. Anyhow, for what it's worth, if you like Pure, you'll like Deep. If you don't, you won't.
01st July, 2009

Starwalker by Montblanc

Mont Blanc has fallen flat on its face yet again. Out of almost 200 fragrances in my wardrobe, this is one out of no more than half a dozen rejects.

It's synthetically sweet... and that's all. Cloying, amorphous sweetness that lasts for half an hour then goes away. Interestingly, this is precisely the same condition as Presence and Individuel - two other rejects.
22nd June, 2009

Individuel by Montblanc

Out of almost 200 fragrances in my wardrobe, this is one out of no more than half a dozen rejects.

It's synthetically sweet... and that's all. Cloying, amorphous sweetness that lasts for half an hour then goes away. Interestingly, this is precisely the same as Presence and Starwalker - two other rejects.
22nd June, 2009

Salvatore Ferragamo pour Homme by Salvatore Ferragamo

Depending on the day, this fragrance ranges from bad to incredibly bad. I bought it blind and want to make myself like it - and I have done that successfully with some other ones. I just can't place it - I do get the cedar, the grapefruit, the fig and clove, but the accord is a kind of projectile-vomit of sour-sweet smell. There IS fresh vetiver & cedar in the drydown but you have to get past this unpleasant assault of synthetic sour that is just unforgivable. My wardrobe is fairly extensive and I have "learned to like" a good many fragrances that just didn't agree with me the first time or two I tried them on... but this one is on a very short list of irreconcilable rejects.
22nd June, 2009

Présence by Montblanc

L'eau du fruit loops.

Major bummer.
22nd June, 2009 (last edited: 26th June, 2009)

OP Juice by Ocean Pacific

One of my very short list of rejects. It's a very flat, one-dimensional fragrance goes from wood to... wood. Wet, mossy wood. Maybe some toasted nuts. It's neither sweet nor fresh, nor minty, nor fruity, nor floral, nor citrusy, nor is it pleasantly earthy or mossy. It's just a sharp, sort of dirty smell. Maybe the smell of coconut flesh rotting in the sun is the best thing I could describe it as. Sillage is good for about 15 min, luckily it goes away after an hour even with a liberal application, so you're not in it for the long haul if you are unlucky enough to accidentally get some of this on your skin. The little spray tab also broke off my bottle, so there's that.

This might actually be to someone else's liking but this is one of those fragrances that projects a sharp, dry, sour smell that is simply unpleasant to me.
22nd June, 2009

Sliver Aoud by Montale

This is one of the less impressive Montale fragrances I've tried so far. YSL Pour Homme + a dash of oud. Lemon, sage, and a kind of sharp generic floral dry down that comes out after 60-90 minutes, leaving no hint of oud. The other Montale ouds do leave a potent floral dry-down after the oud is gone (1-2 hrs typically); what's left of this one is potent but isn't all that great. YSL Pour Homme Haute Concentration really does most of this work (and I'm not very fond of YSL either... so there's that.)

It's not bad but certainly not great, and certainly not worth the sticker price. :(

17th June, 2009

Pure Vetiver by Azzaro

This isn't great. The top notes are a wet vetiver and some kind of obscure floral bouquet. The dry-down (5 min in) smells like an essence of stale gingerbread cookies, dried mosses and earth. It's rather pungent, if not altogether bad. Of course you don't get a very high-quality, natural vetiver in this price range, but that's not much of a surprise. This is still just a bit on the 'acrid' side to justify a neutral. It's DEFINITELY not the worst fragrance I've smelled.
17th June, 2009

Gold Man by Amouage

I just opened my Amouage Gold. I sprayed one spray of the vaporizer indirectly on my wrist - not even a concentrated spray - and my reaction as I walked in another room and sat in my easy chair was, and continues to be, WOW. I said to my wife, "Wow!" Incense... a menacing rose that finds its pure, true expression in Lyric... but all I can say is, WOW. It's loud, it's sumptuous, it's a proper sultan's perfume. It is awe-striking... sublime! Gold has spectacular sillage and endurance. A single spray will last all day. You wouldn't wear this for your own benefit; a single spray and you'll be sharing it with your office mates all day. But it is elegant, grand, impressive, as I said, sublime. It's like driving a Rolls Royce. You simply can't drive around in a car like that and not be noticed for the over-the-top grandeur and luxury. This is a Rolls Royce of all fragrances.

If you're a fan of subtle complexities and clever accords, this probably isn't your cup of tea. If you're impressed by, and enjoy, enormous brush strokes, bold colors, loud music... if you know & love Carmina Burana by Carl Orff... and you know your way around fragrances, you will absolutely adore this one. This is the Carmina Burana of fragrances. Take that for what it is. :)

(You may notice that I LOVE this fragrance, and am absolutely, without qualification, impressed by it.)
12th June, 2009

No. 88 by Czech & Speake

My day with No. 88:

The top note is a bizarre medicinal open that smells similar to Cuba, even though the substantial underpinnings are completely different. I wish I could identify the top note - I don't know the smell. A bit earthy and sour. It may be some chemical they use in all fragrances, I seem to recall the opening of Oxford & Cambridge featuring the same stripe.

Then it just melts into this fascinating, encompassing bouquet of rose. It's a brighter rose than Lyric, friendly and approachable, excellent sillage and all-day longevity. At points it smelled sweeter, sometimes more dry rose, sometimes the geranium. I will say that the longevity on my skin was medium-long, it had pretty well died down by the end of a 10-hour day, but on my clothes it was still loud & clear... and brilliant. This is a brilliant and impressive fragrance.
11th June, 2009

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

The top note does have a flowery gasoline smell and to my nose it gets confused in the mid note between moss and gasoline. The net effect is rather unfortunate - a dubious blend of florals and the smell of fresh vinyl - that kind of acrid rubber smell. Unfortunately, the smell of vinyl is much stronger than the subtle florals. This is one of those fragrances that you could wear to the office and result in people thinking, 'why does he smell like that?' mistaking it for something other than a fragrance. For all of that, I can't say I don't like it - it's just not appropriate for all situations. It's certainly not a good 'general use' fragrance.
11th June, 2009

Burberry for Men by Burberry

Despite the pyramid above, I get a slightly citrus opening, a dry-down of floral bouquet (rose, marigold) and vanilla. I'm reminded of LTL's The Baron, though this is a bit less fruity & sweet. It is still a sweet fragrance. I enjoy it immensely. This could be a casual or office wear fragrance. I'd wear it with a suit or around the house. VERY enjoyable, and distinct enough to merit a place of prominence in my wardrobe!
05th June, 2009

Arcus by Amouage

It's a good geranium and mandarin orange flesh scent. Medium sweet and only a hint of salty sea air on the mid-notes. It is a very "wet", "creamy" fragrance, I don't know how else to describe it. I don't get the depth some people are seeing in it here, but I may after I live with it for a while. It is high quality as you'd expect from Amouage. And yes, the bottle is VERY cool, so there's that. Standing on its own, the fragrance is excellent if not (as foetidus pointed out) a big booming fragrance. It's VERY nice and deserves a clear thumbs up. Now... *for the price* is a whole other matter. Maybe not as much. However, I review fragrances on their own merits alone.

I've said it before, you don't buy these things expecting to get any kind of bargain for a few oz of fragrant liquid for hundreds of dollars. It's a luxury item and you pay what you have to to get it. If there's any way you're going to miss the money, or the fragrance is too dear, then get a tester and choose not to buy... you never had to pay for it in order to do that. Its cost never hit your books. For that reason, I don't factor price in my reviews, nor do I think anyone else needs to.

And on its own - Arcus is really nice, natural, mildly sweet, floral & citrus aquatic. One I'm happy to have in my collection!
04th June, 2009