Perfume Reviews

Reviews by NickZee

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Total Reviews: 134

Aramis Modern Leather by Aramis

All I get is a poor effort at basil. No discernible leather note at any point. A disappointing release from Aramis.
11th November, 2017

Bracken Man by Amouage

A nose searing death by spicy clove. I guess the clove is meant to mimic the extensive use of carnation in classic floral fougeres like Lauder For Men, since both clove and carnation derive their scent primarily from eugenol. Bracken Man comes across as some sort of rebellion against recent spineless fougere releases like Chanel Boy and Dusita Issara. But instead of just moving away from these heliotrope-laden offences to the fougere genre, Amouage has taken this fougere into thoroughly earthy territory, and lost the gentlemen along the way.
02nd November, 2017

Oud Wood Intense by Tom Ford

The opening blast is a contrast of bright and dark, as juniper and ginger float above the dark heart notes. This opening is stunning, and lasts a good half hour. The oud here has abandoned the fruity softness of the original and focuses on the dark woody and leathery aspects of oud without straying into the animalics that sometimes accompany the note. The fragrance is also characterised by a tar note that others in the community refer to as a mechanic’s workshop, or charcoal or some other variation. It’s unclear whether this dark affect is related to some aromachemical wizardry or whether this may be the cypress note interacting with the darker aspects of the oud. In any case, it continues to impress for several hours. In the late drydown I don’t get much more development, any change is attributable to the fatiguing of the heart notes. At this point Oud Wood Intense becomes rather disappointing and reveals a lack of depth for a fragrance in this price range. This lack of development in the base may be the cost of that beautiful opening and heart, which may have struggled to express themselves if they were simultaneously having to rise above a complex base. In any case, I have to deduct a few points for outrageous pricing and a poor base, giving it 7/10.

31st October, 2017
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Indonesian Oud by Ermenegildo Zegna

You will notice the 2017 reviews differ from the previous reviews. That’s because this has been drastically reformulated. Indonesian Oud used to be a sharp, medicinal rose oud. Now it’s a leathery, smoky oud similar to Armani Oud Royal. Smells much better, proof that not all reformulations are bad.
21st October, 2017

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Brilliant release from Gucci, the notes combine to create a very authentic scorched leather accord from beginning to end. There’s medicinal aspects that my wife compares to a dentist’s consulting room, which I can understand. Not as difficult to wear as you may think. Skin heat brings out the lusher notes, so the whole thing smooths out enough to be friendlier than what it is on paper.
04th October, 2017

Splendid Wood by Yves Saint Laurent

Truly a luxury fagrance, creamy woods softened with a touch of jasmine. Brilliant cardamon and incense opening. The texture is something that needs to be experienced.

The formulation seems to have softened over the years for the better.
03rd September, 2017

Grand Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

This is a rebellious Amber fragrance, with a ham-fisted approach to notes and elements that should be handled with care - Tonka, benzoin, synthetic woods, sweetness. They are all there with abundance. The sweetness in this case has a particularly piercing nature, like that of stewed fruits.

Those wanting a simple, rich, syrupy amber must accept that MFK will never produce one that doesn't have a challenging twist. Like APLS used animalics for that twist, Grand Soir uses Tonka and benzoin in high doses and piercing sweetness to make the wearer jump hurdles to smell the amber.

Performance is excellent.
28th August, 2017

Bottega Veneta pour Homme Parfum by Bottega Profumiera

A simplified version of the EDT, basically cardamom, leather and a hint of tonka, smells great but lacks the perfumista nuances of the especially good EDT.
26th August, 2017

Prada Amber pour Homme by Prada

YouTube reviewers like to call this "soap in a bottle". More precisely, this is nice shampoo in a bottle. I say that because it smells polished, sterilised, filtered, a bit sharp under its muskiness. And once you move beyond the opening notes there really are no notes that have a substantial link to naturals.

It opens with one of the great designer openings - an impressive burst of clean cardamom, neroli and low-key citruses that are nondescript, zestless and candied. There's no doubt this opening is designed to instantly seal the deal at the counter.

The drydown is a clean, somewhat powdery musk overlayed with a masculine floral combination that smells like a perfumer's pre-mix. There's tenuous links to geranium, jasmine, orange blossom, lavender, accented by a hint of an aromachemical which I guess is meant to be the saffron. But really it's just all a big blob of clean, shampoo-ey pleasantness.

As for the other listed notes, patchouli, Vetiver, suede, tonka bean, vanilla - I don't smell them. Certainly not in the way they are effortlessly presented in some of the finer works in perfumery. As for Amber, this would have to be one of the most misleadingly named fragrances ever. Apparently the bottles were labelled well before the perfumer was done with their edits.

A neutral rating because the opening is well worth experiencing, and because it's competing against a lot of rubbish in this price segment. But the drydown is a little grating in the long term if you are the type who pays attention.
13th July, 2017

Armani Privé Encens Satin by Giorgio Armani

What a gorgeous fragrance!

If you have tried Tom Ford's Rive d'Ambre you will already know the amber note that dominates the drydown of this fragrance. The Tom Ford introduces this amber note with a citrus opening, whereas here we have incense and woods making the introduction. The amber is light and complex with fruity accents, but don't let that fruitiness scare you, it really is just an accent. This fragrance is still unisex, elegant, formal, dark leaning.

The incense comes at the beginning, as incense notes are known to do. It's the same incense note as that used in Avignon and Cardinal, this time a bit lighter. It lingers to the end, but it's presence is mostly felt in the first 20 minutes. Within 20 minutes the woodiness of the fragrance shines. The note pyramid lists spices, and I suspect it is black pepper that is creating this brilliant woody note, which lasts noticeably for the first hour and then provides a nice woody backbone for the amber drydown. A light vanilla note cushions the fragrance in the drydown. Intoxicatingly complex and beautiful from beginning to end.

11th July, 2017 (last edited: 12th July, 2017)

Incense Gold by Ermenegildo Zegna

What we have here is an intensely woody fragrance from the same mould as Montale's challenging Dark Aoud. Incense, saffron and Cypriol pepper accent the woodiness.

It opens with nice but fleeting soft citruses. Within a minute the unisex floral heart introduces itself and keeps things relatively friendly and complex for the first hour, always expressing itself through the woody base. Gradually the intensity of the woody base comes to the fore, and by the three hour mark the base has grown dark, dry, bitter, brooding, intimidating. Not an easy wear, and far from a compliment getter. But if the fragrance matches your mood, it may be a worthwhile wear.

I don't get any plush Leather or white musk, so don't let the presence of these notes in the pyramid mislead you. They are more a reference to this fragrance's intense musky woods than anything approaching leather or white musk.
07th July, 2017 (last edited: 12th July, 2017)

Musk Gold by Ermenegildo Zegna

An elegant, formal woody masculine fragrance in the same realm as Tom Ford's Tobacco Oud, Amber Absolute and Bois 1920's Real Patchouly. At its heart, it is a musky woody fragrance. There is a stunning whisky opening which quickly gives way to a burst of spices in the first 5 minutes, especially nose-tingling black pepper. The black pepper quickly mellows and becomes woody, creating a perfect segway to the patchouli. The patchouli is softened by the sensuality of the carrot seed and a touch of oud.

The musk here gives a "lived-in" feel to the fragrance, similar to the musky effect in Tobacco Oud and Dior's Leather Oud. It's not skanky, but it is mildly animalic. Those searching for a clean laundry musk, or whose tastes don't extend much beyond the "fresh and clean" aisle of the fragrance supermarket are advised to test a small spritz on paper.

Performance is 6-8 hours
20th June, 2017

Black I by AJ Arabia

The note pyramid seems a bit off here. To me this smells like rose accented by cedarwood, cinnamon and clean musk. A touch of incense, but not much. Quite pleasant except for a slightly limp woody Amber synthetic base. I get little or no cardamom, perhaps because cardamom is an opening note that performs better out of a spray, whereas I applied from a dab. But primarily this is a Rose fragrance.

Performance improves depending on the level of application. 0.4ml got me very good performance. But I imagine frugal users or cost-conscious bottle owners will be struggling a bit..

Stunning presentation. Almost worth buying for the presentation alone.
18th June, 2017
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Sublime Vanille by Creed

A pleasant, cozy vanilla of the sort produced by the christmas tree deodoriser in my cousin's car back in the late 90s. Yes, its been a long time since this sort of vanilla found its way into all sorts of cheap candles and other common fragrance products, but we haven't forgotten Mr.Creed. Thats why vanilla is a graveyard for so many niche brands. Guerlain is an exception, seek out Spiritueuse Double Vanille if you are shopping in this territory, lots of dollars to be saved and lots of happy olfactory experiences to be had.
13th June, 2017

Néroli Sauvage by Creed

This is an overshadowed fragrance, a misunderstood fragrance, and it is plagued by batch variations. It is overshadowed by its opening, a frenzy of mouthwatering, natural-smelling citruses that induce your senses into a frenzy for the first 30 minutes. The softer side of this fragrance often cannot be heard after such a loud opening, but that softer side has a lot to say.

This fragrance is also misunderstood because the neroli in the name hides the fact that the heart of this fragrance is primarily based around a sensual, woody orange blossom note in the basic sense, and there's not much of the steam distilled version of orange blossom that is referred to as neroli. This orange blossom is made masculine by a touch of cedar and given depth with the Creed ambergris. Verbena ducks its head in and out. It's cozy, elegant, and unique.

But if you get one of the many sub-standard batches, this is indeed an underwhelming, overpriced fragrance. Therefore, test with care and when you find a nice tester, buy a batch that is at the very least, from the same year.
12th June, 2017

Hommage à L'Homme Voyageur by Lalique

I get the designer-grade bergamot and the designer-grade parchouli, vetiver and papyrus. Basenotes lists amber in the base, but I smell ambrox that gives the whole composition that characteristic fresh "bleu" feel.

Quite good in its price bracket, excellent actually, but nowhere near as good as the original Hommage and on absolute terms it is a neutral rating from me.
31st May, 2017

Himalaya by Creed

An unremarkable woody-musky-citrus. Creed would do well to vault this rubbish to avoid further comparisons to drugstore cheapies.
22nd May, 2017

Angel Muse by Thierry Mugler

I am reviewing this from having smelled the sillage, because my wife was the wearer. Therefore, I have more of a bird's eye view that may not be the same experience as for the wearer. Certainly, the reviewers who have worn this fragrance have had a much more nuanced experience.

This would work very well as a food additive or a milk shake flavour, but its not a personal fragrance that me or my wife would want to wear. The hazelnut note dominates and the fragrance itself is strong. This is not a subtle fragrance. A couple of sprays is enough to transport the wearer and anyone in the same space to a cake shop. It seems a bit uncooth and if you were trying to find the wearer in a crowd, you would be unlikely to turn to anyone well dressed and elegant. You would maybe turn to the frumpy person who may have been taken by the scent but not realised it has no human touch.
03rd May, 2017

Leather Oud by Floris

This reminds me quite a lot of Montale's much-loved Black Aoud, but softer and featuring an extra layer of leather in the opening. There is the same ambery mandarin and bergamot opening as the Montale, intermingling this time with a unique and distinctive leather note that will satisfy leather lovers. The heart brings forth rose and geranium and the Montale-style oud. This oud exhibits the medicinal and leathery facets of oud and forgoes the animalic facets. After 6 hours the oud takes over and remains for 12 hours plus, supported by traces of Vetiver and patchouli for a convincing woody-leathery accord. Full bottle worthy, assuming you don't already own the Montale.
01st May, 2017

Endymion Concentré by Penhaligon's

Smells like Axe body spray. Penhaligons reached a summit with Sartorial, but now it seems it is coming back down the mountain.
06th April, 2017

Field Notes from Paris by Ineke

Primarily a sheer orange blossom and beeswax fragrance with lots of nuances that do well to live up to the imagery of Paris on a beautiful day. Intoxicating opening. Performance is acceptable - the pleasant main notes persist for a long time after all the clever supporting acts have gone home. There is a shampoo like quality in the drydown that orange blossom fragrances often teeter around, and that places it strictly in the casual wear category for me. Overall, really well done. Not quite on par as the signature orange blossom work of Francis Kurkdjian, but very good nonetheless. And for the price, well worth a purchase for me. Excellent value.
29th March, 2017

Emir by Martine Micallef

This is a stunning masculine with excellent performance. The note pyramid only tells part of the story because the oud has many facets: leathery, fruity, smoky, woody. It's a terrific representation of oud. There is an 80s powerhouse vibe in the background, which may be what Darvant refers to in his review below as the traditional patchouli/geranium blend. Emir also has a very nice orange/grapefruit opening. 5 stars.
28th March, 2017

Coromandel Eau de Toilette by Chanel

I do like this but I dont get any patchouli in the EDP. Not a trace. And the famed "white chocolate" is surely a reference to a powdery accord of musk, orris root, heliotrope and other powdery nuances. There is some orange/tangerine in the opening. Elegant, feminine, classic, long-lasting. Would be incredible on my wife.
14th March, 2017

Incense Oud by Nicolaï

Develops into a never-ending citrussy olive oil accompanied by some sort of hairspray note in the deep drydown.

07th February, 2017

Oud Stars : Zanzibar by Xerjoff

This one falls short, beginning sweet and syrupy, then two minutes later a barnyard note comes forward dominated by hay, and an hour later it ends with basic dry woods. This last stage extends for several hours. Innovative in 2012, but times have moved passed this style. Would be best to discontinue this and leave the stars of the Oud stars line shine.
02nd February, 2017

Regent Leather by Thameen

Vanilla and jasmine, fighting to the death against a big dose of patchouli. There were no winners, least of all those seeking an automotive leather fragrance.
31st January, 2017

Oud Rose Intense by Fragrance Du Bois

My earliest flutter in the world of perfumery was the supermarket aisle when I would have been 14. I was drawn to the women's body sprays that my female cousin wore so well. They sold for the outrageous sum to me of $4 a bottle. It was 1996, dad was down on his luck in an economy just showing the first rays of hope after a brutal recession and I still had not got my first part-time job. One of those bottles was the purple version of Impulse. I Emptied half a dozen bottles over a year in high school.

And now Fragrance Du Bois does the same thing for $500 for 50ml. Granted the quality is better and I as glad for the reunion. Lots of geranium, followed by rose and some sandalwood and some sort of shampoo effect. No notable oud or Amber. I'm sure many people will get enjoyment out of this, but the full bottle price is too much for me.
30th January, 2017

Le Mâle Essence de Parfum by Jean Paul Gaultier

An excellent sweet take on leather that is accented by some sort of nice paper-money note. Opens with the designer-standard, pleasant lavender and cardamom but unlike many designers with that standard opening, the drydown continues to deliver.
22nd January, 2017

Issara by Parfums Dusita

A soft, coumarin laden, apologetic fougere in a delicate undersized 50ml bottle and priced to break the bank. Forget the slick pictures folks, this bottle is miniature, yet unlike Oudh Infini, the juice is not strong enough or daring enough to warrant the miniaturisation. This is a safe fragrance and one that can be worn with abandon, and that means that 50ml won't hang around for long. My recommendation is get yourself a sample, enjoy, and then proceed to the much more afforadable, engaging and imposing Masculin Pluriel.

This would be a thumbs up, but the packaging and pricing issues are too much to ignore.
21st January, 2017

Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

What a gorgeous fragrance this is, after all my forays into niche I can't say this wows me anymore but it does continue to please me.
20th January, 2017