Perfume Reviews

Reviews by NickZee

Total Reviews: 151

Richard James by Richard James

Savile Row is easy to like. Having been released in 2003, it was ahead of its time in its heavy use of ginger, a note that would come to dominate the 2000s in similar releases like Dolce & Gabanna The One and Dior Homme Sport 2012. The One toned down the florals and amped up the cardamom, while Dior Homme Sport 2012 removed the tobacco and amped up the ginger to breaking point. This trend peaked with the release of Tom Ford For Men, which is essentially a grown-up Savile Row with high-grade materials and the butch-factor turned up to 11.

Savile Row opens impressively with a rush of supercharged molecules that have a passing resemblance to bergamot, rosemary and cardamom. When this opening accord exits after 45 seconds, the tobacco appears briefly for a few minutes, smelling faintly like cigarette smoke in a room. Then follows a mandarin-ginger accord that also smells great, supported by a floral mix that is pleasant but indistinct, and a tad plasticky or rubbery. Ofcourse tuberose has this rubbery facet, but a tuberose lover will be disappointed by the effort made here to represent tuberose even though the fragrance itself continues to smell good. In the later stages, 5 hours in, a smooth patchouli interacts with amber and suede and a mossy note. Thankfully Savile Row does not falter at these late stages, becoming cozy and seductive.

It’s a shame that discontinued prices are now hovering around the $90-$100 USD because at that price I’d rather buy a discounted bottle of The One or upgrade to a discounted bottle of Tom Ford For Men.
06th August, 2018

Bois Sikar by Atelier Des Ors

Atelier Des Ors does Naomi Goodsir’s Bois d’Ascese, this time with extra burned rubber and crispy bacon for double the price. You know you’re in trouble when you start copying Bertrand Duchaufour’s niche clichès. Where is the pyramid listing for incense???
17th July, 2018

Emeraude Agar by Atelier Cologne

Atelier Cologne does Creed Royal Mayfair
17th July, 2018
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Gold Aoud by Mancera

The note pyramid is fairly accurate, but the main players are as follows: The opening is a big burst of mandarin, which will remain for the next several hours. The black pepper and oud give the mandarin a soft woody backbone in this opening phase that is quite pleasant. Gradually the mandarin dies down to give way to jasmine in the heart, which is sitting atop a musky vanilla base. The whole time the other notes are acting as a single drip in a cup to give a distant, much needed complexity. A nice spring fragrance. Unisex, but more versatile on women. Performance is excellent in all respects.

Rating: 6/10, but if you’re comfortable with a woody mandarin jasmine fragrance, you may rate it higher.
28th June, 2018

Arabian Nights - Pure Oud by By Kilian

I cannot add a thing to the excellent description provided by ClaireV. I will just say I adore this creation and am very glad to have it in my collection.
14th June, 2018

The Aoud by Mancera

The smell of a freshly lacquered hardwood floor, made complex and soft enough to serve as a beautiful personal scent. When the aoud mood comes, this is a great fix.
12th June, 2018

So Blue by Mancera

Excellent fruity rose fragrance (hence a bit fem but wearable for a guy) with a beautiful intoxicating base that features all the listed notes. However if you want to experience the base, you will have to wait 10-12 hours, this fragrance stays and stays and gets sexier the longer it is on the skin. Full credit to Mancera, they do interesting fragrances that project and stay, and the price tag remains reasonable.
04th June, 2018

The Cobra And the Canary by Imaginary Authors

A coarse, unpleasant fume, amatuer in construction. Avoid.
31st May, 2018

Arabians by Montale

Excellent top notes are followed by a disappointing base that has a minty tinge, making me ask “did I step on some old mint gum on the floor?”. Make sure to sample with a full wearing, taking note of its development from beginning to end before making a decision on this beautiful bottle.
21st May, 2018

Ambre Doré by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Ambre Precieux with oud and leather (styrax), minus the powder. Excellent performance. Perfection.
15th May, 2018

Legend Night by Montblanc

A nice opening, but quickly sheds its complexity to reveal a big, bellowing chemical base that covers all the modern day cologne cliches that are targeted at young men looking for an upgrade from all the spray deodorants they used in high school.

16th April, 2018

XJ 1861 Naxos by Xerjoff

A ghastly, nauseating combination of hay-like Tonka Bean, lavender scent sachets, piercing anise and mildly urinous honey. No detectable tobacco unless it is a facet of the strong Tonka note.
03rd April, 2018

Musk Aoud by Roja Dove

This is an incredible fragrance. Musk Aoud delivers an experience that is intoxicating and surreal. I was incredibly fortunate to purchase a 100ml bottle of the Parfum. This is everything, woody, leathery, smoky, musky, ambery, appropriately animalic, all sitting on the plushest, highest quality florals especially that plush rose and jasmine that underline many of Roja’s other amazing creations.
18th January, 2018
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Concrete by Comme des Garçons

Guerlain Samsara, made more unisex by toning down the jasmine
10th January, 2018

Allure Homme Sport by Chanel

First and foremost, this is a mandarin and orange fragrance. The tartness of the fruit is removed, and then supported by large doses of clean musks and watery, aquatic notes. The others notes are largely imperceptible.

It is a youthful fragrance in the sense that the notes are fresh, ultra pleasant, and not challenging. It is perfectly suitable for casual wear. However, I would personally avoid this fragrance in a professional setting or at social gatherings because of its popularity, which results in the fragrance communicating nothing about the wearer because it has so often been associated with others.
12th November, 2017

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

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. I received a compliment for this at the 10 hour mark, so it lasts and projects nicely.
03rd September, 2017 (last edited: 25th January, 2018)

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

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