Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Practically Perfect

Total Reviews: 27

Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

Ok. I'm a woman. And I wear this. We've got that out of the way right? This was probably my first serious frag buy before I set about buying frags seriously; this and Shisedo's Feminite du Bois set me on my way to becoming a full on 'fume head. It's so part of me I've held off reviewing it for a long, long time. I own a spray bottle that I've had since it's inception and a 100ml splash bottle I bought on eBay last year as my spray is about to die and I'm not sure I can honestly have a collection without this in my trunk. Yes, it's all cedar pencil shavings and smoke, yes it's very linear, but oh my hell is it good; really, really good. Few perfumes transport me these days, but this, this beauty, is dark, sexy and makes me weak at the knees every single time. Whenever I think I've smelt a good man's cologne I come home and smell this and realise what we are missing now it's been discontinued. Rich, golden, thick, sharp, smokey and *swoons*. Nothing touches this for me, it is The Best men's aftershave out there, and for women too - sexy, empowering and just plain filthy. It's the top, it's the Coleseum, it's the Louvre Museum, it's grown up, it's assured, it's mannered, it's unadulterated smooth masculinity, it's George Clooney in a cigar bar chatting to Tom Selleck over a whiskey. It's Oh My Gosh!
29th September, 2015

Yvresse / Champagne by Yves Saint Laurent

I blind bought a bottle of vintage Champagne because "reviews" and I was feeling flush. OMG, quite probably the best feminine chypre-leather I've ever smelt. Soooo gentle and cosy but sooo "real woman". No shrinking violets here! I've been on the look out for a vintage peach for a while, Tuscany Per Donna came close to what I was looking for but a little too 80s chypre for my tastes now, Rocchas Femme missed the mark (maybe because my vintage buys were off on the top notes), Champagne hits it bullseye! Light and fluffy to begin with but the dry down is pure vintage femme fatale. I used to wear this as a teenager and I salute the younger me for my good taste, I'd forgotten how good this. There is a weighty deapth to the fruit, no vanilla, all oak moss and sandalwood, and leather on the dry down. I'm bloody in love. They don't make 'em like this any more.
13th September, 2015

Rouge Nocturne by Terry de Gunzburg

Soft, super soapy rose; what's not to like? A bit of a grower and fast becoming an easy go-to work frag, this easy to wear understated rose belies it's initial blasts with an oud-y spicy dry down. Nothing objectionable. Lots of appreciation in the office even after a long day - A lovely gift, but I wouldn't pay full price.
30th July, 2015 (last edited: 13th August, 2015)
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Aimez-Moi by Caron

Smells of 80's sun cream and violets. Nice, slightly peppery, creamy, but not good enough to prevent me selling it on. Preferred violet frags include: A Unicorn Spell by Les Nez, Ombré Mercure by Terry Gunzenberg, La Violette by Annick Goutal.
10th July, 2015

Deci Delà by Nina Ricci

This is fast becoming my "go to" vintage/discontinued summer frag. Yes, I understand the "it's confusing" reviews but for me it's a perfect fruity-chypre - and there's really nothing like it on the market right now. Yes, it's super-synthetic, but I really don't care. Initial blasts of sharp aldehydes settle into a juicy peach that is neither sugary or childish, and for once there is no vanilla in the base. The silage wafts 80's grown up herbal chypre herbals for miles (think top notes of Tuscany Per Donna or vintage Y YSL), while up close the peach notes have that slightly alien-plastic other worldly feel of Eden and other garden-fruit frags of my youth. I've so enjoyed re-discovering this one! 30mls can be easily found on eBay (with patience, ignore the over priced stuff) for about £20. I have two back up bottles but seem to be wearing this to work at an alarming rate of knots this year so you may have to bid against me next time a cheap bottle comes up.
06th July, 2015

L'Autre Oud by Lancôme

Wafted in front of a group of women on the tube having just squirted the tester at House of Frasier, one of them said, "Well, someone smells amazing" and pointed at me...


Yes, I *am* that cheap.
08th June, 2015 (last edited: 28th January, 2016)

Manoumalia by LesNez

Bois de Jasmine calls this "Songes little cousin", she's lying. It's a vamped up, white flower death march, all the way to glorious Valhalla. No sweet vanilla dry down to lull you into security, this is full on, by the throat, by the nose white flower annihilation. Glorious if you think Songes (Goutal) or Fracas (Piguet) are a little tame...If carnal white flowers aren't you're thing then get out of Dodge, fast.
20th April, 2015 (last edited: 19th April, 2015)

Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

OMG. Filth, just pure filth. Get yo'self a copper topped dude and this will see you right for 100 years. One drop at a time, I kid you not. It's excruciatingly dense and animalic, don't try this at home unless the kids are out. But Wowzers it delivers. Vile, vile, fecal notes. I bloody love it!
19th April, 2015

Tea Rose Eau de Toilette by Perfumer's Workshop

"Wow! What IS that?" asked my boss yesterday, "I feel like I'm in a garden, not just a garden but in the early morning, covered in dew." So speaks the man of very little words. The only other frag he's ever complimented me on is Madonna Truth or Dare. And there maybe lies the rub. The "possible over look because it's cheap and I don't do cheap" conundrum.
I wear a lot of frags to work, mostly niche or niche-ish. Some strong, some not so. But this one (like my slightly embarrassing celeb frag by Madonna) always garners compliments.
Yes, it's a little obvious; no, it's not complicated. But it is fresh and clean and extremely feminine, and for £15 on eBay from a reputable perfume dealer, you really can't go wrong. It's excellent for layering, especially over incense frags and musks.
I used to keep it as a reference frag - it really is an extraordinarily cheap rose soliflore, exceptionally well done for the price (Rose Absolute by Annick Goutal is my other rose touchstone but at five times the price and half the sillage and longevity). And more recently as I begin to wear it regularly I'm starting to realise it's worth a little more than that. At the very least spritz it in your bath or on linens for a clean, full on rose uplift.
19th April, 2015

Stephen Jones by Stephen Jones

A HUGE burst of aldehydes quickly dries down to a super-soapy ultra modern violet. No sweet candies here, these violets are punched through with black pepper - as savoury as a violet can likely get. And if by "meteorite" SJ means "stone" then this frag is bang on the money.

The only problem for me is that I really don't get a story - A Unicorn Spell by Les Nez (despite it's twinkly fairytale name) does far more for me in all categories:
Stone Cold? Tick. But where Unicorn actually feels like a cold slate near a stream, SJ leaves the stone randomly floating in a formless void.
Violets? Tick. But where Unicorn buries them deep in wet mossy earth, SJ leaves them hanging in mid-air.
Clean? Tick. But where Unicorn washes you with moonlit spring water, SJ smells like a brand new bar of uber expensive soap.

I totally get all the other notes, the roses, the heliotrope, and they are undoubtedly handled with incredible skill but the sum of it leaves me, however impressed, completely unmoved.

Stephen Jones has an incredibly modern feel, the sillage is moderate and it lasts all day long - the dry down is hugely linear, almost disappointingly so, and after a few hours I almost get a little irritated there isn't more to this clever frag. It's so completely clean - if you are going to claim you fell to earth from outer space then I'd like a little more rock and roll weirdness in the base please.

While looking for my ultimate violet perfume I fell hard for A Unicorn Spell - Stephen Jones feels to me like a very accomplished one trick pony.
08th March, 2015

Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

Bright, fresh, very Spring-like rendition of a white flower frag. Completely office appropriate and very easy to wear. In a similar vein to Ninfeo Mio it is juicy and green, with a "no sex" very innocent approach to the gardenia - this is definitely no cheesy, carnal Fracas. That said it is watery, airy and just light enough and different enough to make it a go to office perfume for me. Plenty of cut-price outlets on-line sell this so there's no need to pay full price. What's not to like?
07th March, 2015

Fleur Poudrée de Musc by Les Néréides

Another blind buy as my search for discontinued and pre-IFRA regulated perfumes (musks in particular) forces my hand and my credit card.

On first sniff I found it utterly gag-worthy, so many notes in common with Secretions Magnifique by Etat Libre d’Orange. It's a big civety skank bomb, skank skank skank skankpooskankpooSKANK! Slightly "drainy", slightly "full nappy"...Oh gosh I think I need to gag again.
And yet...
After a week of gentle usage it gets easier on the nose. I agree with comments from other members about using it to layer and to beef up the more insipid juices but I absolutely can't see me wearing it alone or in any quantity. Ever.

I'm on a huge reading tip at the moment - books on old fashioned perfumes from the 17th century onwards and all this research points to skank; civet, musks, ambergris, cumin-y sweaty smells being used in much larger quantities than today. We adore the "clean" these days - our noses are shy and very polite.
Fleur Poudree de Musc is basically a masterclass in perfumes that history has not let us smell. It's a tour de force of quite frankly, pretty intimate levels of sex. It's definitely worth testing in relation to Secretions. I find it filthier and less plastic, and more challenging as a "real" perfume as it has huge sillage and staying power in comparison.

I can not imagine any large house releasing this now. We are in love with the ozonic and the gourmand - this is neither. I'm glad I own it. I'll keep discovering it. Testing it. I wonder if in a years time, as my nose learns and explores more, if I will barely notice the skank at all. If you'd like a sample, message me, I'm happy to share. :-)

NB: Ok. Hold the front page. All change! I freaking love this. In addition to using it to "beef up" less dense frags and soliflores, I'm now doing what I thought I'd never do and wearing it alone. Yes, it's filthy dirty, but it's also soft and close...and sexy. Warm, comforting and "lived in". Absolutely none of the vanilla I associate with this feeling. Still slightly "poo-ey" if I breath in too hard - but I've come round and I can totally see why someone bothered to put this in a bottle. My nose is learning...
25th February, 2015 (last edited: 06th July, 2015)

Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene

"Ooooh What's that? That's LOVELY!"

The boyfriend. Never comments. The boyfriend is the most asnomic person I have ever met. The only other perfumes he has ever complimented unbidden are Vanille Absolutement by L'Artisan and Putain du Palaces by Etat Libre d'Orange. Given I have about 50 frags in my wardrobe at any one time, sometimes changing my perfume twice a day, and that I test-drive handfuls of samples about twice week and he doesn't seem to notice, means that the odds of this exciting occurrence happening are very low. Very low indeed.

You could argue Unknown Pleasures is a little bit obvious. The initial blast of lemon curd hits hard and then the gooey-gourmand syrupy-sweetness of maple sweeps in with tooth-aching levels of sugar over the vanilla-vanilla-vanilla. I didn't want to like it but I find it strangely addictive.

I've been layering it with more earthy pleasures such as Patchouli Antique by Les Nereides, and Fleur Poudree de Musc (discontinued) by the same house to give it a bit more base...but still, that first spritz of Unknown Pleasures always garners compliments from my bloke.

Sometimes it's not about my nose, about how sophisticated or complicated or cultured or rare a fragrance is, sometimes it's just about your boyfriend saying, "Ooooo, What's that? That's lovely".
Mr Kerosene, I doff my hat.
25th February, 2015 (last edited: 26th February, 2015)
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Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal

A completely perplexing juice. When I first smelt it, it did nothing for me, I persisted, loved it briefly and then couldn't smell a thing, I tried again and adored it, next time it was gone again. I bought a bottle going cheaply on eBay and cursed myself for wasting money, then wore it again and rejoiced. Musc Nomade is a fickle friend.
I agree with other reviewers that the chemistry of it doesn't lend itself to the musk asnomics out there - my boyfriend (who seems not to be able to smell any synthetics at all) thought I was joking when I asked him to smell my wrist as he couldn't detect anything at all.
On the days it works, it really works: soft, warm, snuggly and a beautifully put together formulation; rosey, fuzzy and woody, sophisticated and gentle - that old "cashmere wrap" trope.
On the days it doesn't...Well, it just doesn't.
I hesitate to say this, but Khiel's Musk Oil does the job far more efficiently.

Update: Ok. I've completely changed my mind on this one. It's turned out to be a new favourite and an easy go-to office frag for days when I need comfort without having to "say" anything with my choice of perfume. It's so cosy. I apologise Musc Nomade, I judged you to early, you're lovely.
13th February, 2015 (last edited: 14th April, 2015)

Orange Blossom by Demeter Fragrance Library

Utterly forgettable and fleeting. Really not worth the 5 seconds you have to sniff it before...oh...pouf!
27th January, 2015

White Musk Studio: White Musk #7 by Demeter Fragrance Library

Very pleasant synthetic musk. Not complicated at all. An easy wear, although it may leave you hungry for something dirtier. Even Khiels Musk Oil is more interesting... Useful for layering, but poor longetivity and sillage.

Edit: A year on I find I'm pregnant and my "Mum Nose" is changing my tastes. At the moment I'm being drawn to lighter and soliflore frags - this fits the bill beautifully and I'm also finding it lasting longer on my skin (something to do with hormones maybe). Anyhow, I can see this becoming a "go to" everyday scent at least until the bottle is finished.
16th January, 2015 (last edited: 19th March, 2016)

Snow by Demeter Fragrance Library

Cold and earthy. Snow? Almost. Rather heavy on the geosmin? A dead ringer for CB I Hate Perfume's Walking in the Air...No surprises there. An interesting addition to my collection.
16th January, 2015

Jasmine by Demeter Fragrance Library

Very good jasmine soliflore - absolutely no lasting power or sillage AT ALL. A fun spritz but I wouldn't call it a perfume.
16th January, 2015

Vanille Exquise by Annick Goutal

Warm, cosy and unchallenging. A good spritz for office wear. Almond and gourmand, yes, I get the play-doh note others mention but it's not a problem unless I'm looking for it. Nothing difficult about this frag. Easy to wear and often complimented. A good everyday addition to my wardrobe - although I'm pleased I purchased on eBay and didn't pay full price...
13th November, 2014 (last edited: 04th March, 2015)

Truth or Dare by Madonna

Ok. So hands up, I'm a Frag-head and a Snob (capital S). My collection includes some expensive niche brands, I'm a slave to discontinued Annick Goutal and L'Artisan, Uncle Serge is my hero, but this, this cheap celeb juice gets people every single time. I don't want to admit that one of my most complimented fragrances is bought for £9.99 (incl postage) from eBay - but it is. I don't want to admit that I cringe when people ask me what I'm wearing, and when I wear this they always ask, and then I have to say a celebrity name - but it is. I decant it so I don't have to carry the, frankly vile, bottle around. My boyfriend's friends ask me what I'm wearing and want to buy it for their girlfriends. Yes, it's a loose, modern Fracas, but what the heck! She's done a good job on this one has our Madge. It's sexy, floral, deeper than you'd expect, no hint of 'clean' (which is so popular these days), no sugary vanilla, and just enough musk on the dry down - it is, I'm embarrassed to admit, my go-to frag most days. And I have three, yep three, back up bottles in my collection. I guess the good thing about getting older is that you stop worrying about what other people think and just please yourself: I please myself, and others, by wearing this often. And for 10 quid, blind buy, what can go wrong?
07th November, 2014 (last edited: 28th November, 2014)

The Unicorn Spell by LesNez

Cold, so cold. I love it!
Having recently splurged on this I'm in heaven. Not your average sweet, cloying violet, this smells of cold slate washed with freezing sping water, a bank of violets near but earthy and slightly crushed under foot. The starlight is palpable. This is the older more lonesome cousin of Nuit Etoilee, almost emo - no crowd pleaser, a quiet dreamer. Just enough musk to smell the unicorn on the dry down. Next to no sillage, this one is just for me, at home, snuffling at my own wrists. Not for little girls this violet, and probably not for everyone - try before you splurge.
07th November, 2014 (last edited: 28th November, 2014)

Mon Parfum Chéri, par Camille by Annick Goutal

Another blind buy and so pleased I did. Thick, heavy and full of history. The patchouli which I'm not a huge fan of is soft and warm, not overpowering and quick to give way to lovely iris, plum and heliotrope notes. I can see how this could easily be called a "old lady" perfume, but those that do are missing a trick. It's sophisticated, earthy, complicated and dark. Not modern and very beautiful.
17th October, 2014

Daphne by Daphne Guinness

Blind buy after polarised reviews. Marmite - love or hate. I love. Very similar to Etat Libre d'Orange 's Rein which I hated on first try. This is softer, more floral and equally as difficult to wear. I'm in agreement with the 'messy soup' reviews but also think it's a frag you need to stick with. The orange blossom vanilla dry down I didn't expect to like, but it's warm and cosy. Try before you buy full price or do what I did and get a cut price bargain on eBay and be very pleasantly surprised. The BF calls it "the thick one". He's right, it's thick with everything you can throw at a perfume but no sugar to help the medicine go down.
05th October, 2014

Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal

This is my "happy" perfume! It's the last vestiges of summer to me. Bright, green, wet, juicy. It's lemon drizzle cake and tomatoes ripening on the vine, it's garden parties and the hay harvest. Sends me out of London (where I've lived for 20+years) and back to the sunny Norfolk countryside of my youth. Fizzy and happy, sherbets and sunshine. I hope IFRA don't mess with it.

Edit: a Realised recently that this (Brit TV allusion coming up) that this is equivalent to wearing The Great British Bake Off - it's not sexy in any way, it's homely, gourmand (tomatoes, figs and lemons), fun and warm. The ultimate comfort scent. Happy and juicy. No sex. But please - we're British!
26th September, 2014 (last edited: 07th November, 2014)

Vierges & Toreros by Etat Libre d'Orange

It's like the bad boy at the back of class, you don't want to look round to see what he's doing but you can't help yourself. I hated it at my first sample. Now I can't live without it. I don't wear it often, but I do wear it alone. The last time I wore it to a party my boyfriend's best friend took one sniff and said he wanted to eat me. I don't blame him, I'm happy to sit in a corner and sniff my own wrists when I wear this. It's dirty and leathery and very animalaic on me. I grew up in the countryside and used to help with my uncle's dairy heard - I can really smell the bulls in V&T. A wanton beast. Not for everyone, and at a perfume party it smelt different on every person who tested it, but on me it smells of leather, warm hay and bull sweat. I quite simply can't get enough. Pure S.K.A.N.K.

NB: There is more than a little Bal A Versailles in the dry down here. Pure barnyard!
21st September, 2014 (last edited: 06th July, 2015)

A Kiss by the Fireside by 4160 Tuesdays

Purchased very cheaply as a blind buy on an auction site.

My first reaction was that it is very Tauer-y, with hints of Incense Rose and L'Air du Desert Marocain, but that it is also sunnier than either of those. There is a bright rosey ice-cream, yet medicinal quality to the top notes that is very reminiscent of Tocade. The Tocade comparisons end after about 20 mins in and the Tauer vegetal, woody dry down kicks in. This is backed up by my boyfriend, who is a long suffering frag-widow - his judgements of my perfumes rarely go beyond a word or two: "nice", "flowers", "sweets", and sometimes even just "yeah"or "perfume". He has dubbed A Kiss "The Christmas One", a comparison of wrists revealed Tocade as "The Christmas One but lighter". So there you go folks, a Christmas Tocade. Excellent longevity on me, all day. Definitely will be keeping it for cosy winter evenings.

NB: Universally hated by all in the office today, teased all day. Spritz with care!

NB2: Have since sold my bottle on eBay. A comparison with L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Saffran Troublant concluded that A Kiss doesn’t do anything that Saffran T isn’t capable of, and that Saffran T is a much more rounded and sophisticated version of the same accords. Roses, vanilla and spices, warm and cosy. Vaguely sexy if you are into Christmas cakes…Otherwise wear it to read your favourite book (again).
17th September, 2014 (last edited: 19th February, 2015)

The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO) by 4160 Tuesdays

Basically just synthetic vanilla and ambroxan. Really disappointing! In comparison to the discontinued Havanna Vanille by L'artisan which always garners compliment) this vanilla bomb was universally ignored when I wore it. Sad as I love A Kiss by the Fireside and had high hopes for this one.
12th July, 2014 (last edited: 04th October, 2014)