Perfume Reviews

Reviews by clamnole

Total Reviews: 347

Dark Aoud by Montale

Dark Aoud is actually the first Montale Aoud fragrance that I've found pleasant from the very opening. The screechy trademark Montale synthetic aoud is still present but I also get a raw leather note and a creamy sandalwood. I'm not sure if there's vetiver in this, but I do sense a dry element in the later stages which is likely more a iso-e-super effect than vetiver. It's typical Montale; brashly conceived with a bombastic sillage and longevity. What redeems Dark Aoud is the scent is highly masculine and the combination of aoud, leather and sandalwood is intoxicating, albeit a synthetic, lab originated attraction. Let's face it, real sandalwood just isn't going to be noticeable 10 hours later. Love Montale for what they are, don't worry over what they aren't. Not my favorite from Montale but not bad either.
15th October, 2017

Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a pleasant scent from Jo Malone that should really be thought of as a layering base for one of their other fruity or spice fragrances. What you read is what you get. It has a soft wood (cedar perhaps?) and a light, breezy salt accord. On it's own it dissipates too quickly, but paired with another JM fragrance it creates olfactory heaven. My personal favorite is to layer it with Blackberry & Bay, or Earl Grey & Cucumber. Oddly amazing that it works, pairs itself divinely.

I have to give it a Neutral on it's own, but a Thumbs Up as a layering base.
13th October, 2017

Cologne Intense Collection : Oud & Bergamot by Jo Malone

A truly excellent fragrance. Oud & Bergamot has a bright citrus or bergamot opening that's very authentic without any sourness or sharp synthetics. A soft oud note warms forward and blends with the bergamot to become the mainstay accord for the duration of the scent. It seems that JM fragrances' performance varies by fragrance and wearer. While none of the JM line are designed to be sillage monsters, O&B remained discreetly evident for about 4 hours, which is what one should expect from an EDC. Reapply as necessary.

O&B strangely reminds me of a uptown Chicago tailor that my grandfather used to be personal friends with. He used to take me as a kid to his shop where they would custom make suits, shirts, belts and shoes. This was late 1960's, but the shop had this incredible gentlemanly scent that I hadn't thought of for 50+ years until smelling Oud & Bergamot. I bought a bottle right away.
13th October, 2017
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Bogart pour Homme by Jacques Bogart

BpH - purchased blind online for $16, due to all the positive reviews. Gotta say, this is an amazing bargain. Bergamot and lavender opening provides the cherry-tobacco tone other reviews mention, but actually I don't detect anything here that really feels like that, although I'm not familiar with pipe tobacco. I would liken the scent to more of a fruit liquor, with a holiday sweetness. There is a floral undertone but nothing prominent or feminine. The base notes are rich patchouli, tonka and vanilla. Really well blended so that it all stays together for 8+ hours in terrific harmony. A good holiday season fragrance that isn't too winter heavy. Obviously at this price the scent is out of market favor, because nothing really comes across as cheap synthetics and the performance is excellent. Really a great budget purchase that I'll happily wear often. An easy thumbs up.
06th October, 2017

White Aoud by Montale

White Aoud is the sixth Montale Aoud fragrance that I've sampled and I would place it on the "more agreeable" end of the spectrum. The loud medicinal oud Montale employs is tempered by a decidedly feminine jasmine with underlying hints of vanilla and amber. It's a very pleasant scent once you get past the first half hour of "screeching out of the bottle" olfactory assault that is trademark Montale. As it settles into the heart of the fragrance, a soft dusty saffron and rose comes forward and pairs effortlessly with the rising vanilla and amber. The duration is incredible and it never really changes beyond the first hour.

I found White Aoud to be a sweeter Montale Aoud offering and much more powdery dry down. For some reason I don't find it as synthetic as other reviews, but I agree with ClaireV that there is a Victorian style rosewater tone in this that is somewhat addictive. It's too elderly and feminine sweet for me, but pleasant to the nose none the less. I'll give it a thumbs up, but will pass on wearing it again or purchasing a bottle.
05th October, 2017

Royal Water by Creed

Royal Water is another of the fresh Creed fragrances and probably the one that is least heralded. The scent falls between several other Creed productions and is by far the most synthetic toned fragrance of the line. While I don't think Creed has gone with faux notes in RW, the opening combination of citrus and mint do give it a plasticized nature. It's very reminiscent of a Bond No9 aquatic fragrance, that while good quality, just seems like the designer spilled a note in that doesn't belong. In RW it's the peppermint and perhaps the basil that clash with the traditional Italian EdC formula. The fragrance does have better than average sillage and longevity, but it just doesn't work for me, especially considering that Creed has multiple true gems that fill this space far better. An indifferent Neutral for me.
28th September, 2017

Oud Wood by Tom Ford

Oud Wood seems to be TF's modern take on the semi-traditional oud fragrance. It opens with a cherry like rosewood and spice which conjured my toddler aged chest cold cough syrup that I dreaded to swallow. Fortunately this quickly fades and develops into the heavenly oud-tonka-amber accord that my experience associates with an oud fragrance. The rose note lingers in the background, but the heart of the fragrance centers on a rich earthy oud, sweetened with tonka and smoothed out by amber and vanilla. There's a slight gourmand tone in the nature of a winter fireplace toddy, yet it never fully turns into a malty coffee liquor, although the pairing would be quite enjoyable. Excellent sillage and longevity from two sprays. My wrist was under nose all day, so oddly difficult to wear in the office. The wife loved it, so an excellent choice for a evening out with close physical contact in mind.

Thumbs way up here.
28th September, 2017

Pasha Edition Noire by Cartier

A softer, more wearable version of the original. The sharp edges and sometimes screechy citrus and lavender in the original are toned down with amber. I like the original Pasha, but it can be untameable on the wrong day. Noir is it's laid-back cousin, who really doesn't care what your situation or body heat may turn into. It can behave. Thumbs up.
18th September, 2017

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite by Tom Ford

Really a rather decent fragrance that ought to have a sizeable market appeal as there aren't many new releases from mainstream designers with any edge. If nothing else, Anthracite has a bit of bombast in at least the first hour. The feature to my nose is in the spices. I get a strong cinnamon, pepper and maybe even a touch of asphalt (I know that's not a spice). Slightly reminiscent of original Polo Green, back when Polo Green was still produced as a wearable fragrance. I also caught later similarities to Italian Cypress in the dry down, yet in a sharper mode. It seems to be a great effort to create something in a nostalgic style, rather than a derivative of the original Noir. Perhaps I'm just getting old. I'll acknowledge the effort with a thumbs up.
18th September, 2017

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

Not terrible, but not memorable by any stretch. Y is YSL's entry into the generic smelling fresh floral-wood field and this fits right into the department store line of in-offensive fragrances. After the short lived synthetic citrus top notes, Y is all violet and ambergris. There's a soft and unidentified wood base, but I really didn't detect anything else because it starts losing power pretty fast. There's nothing here that'll make your heart race. Within three hours you'll forget what it was you sprayed on. Overall, it's calm, dull and forgettable. I'll be very generous and go neutral.
16th September, 2017 (last edited: 17th September, 2017)

Black Vetiver by Phaedon

Phaedon Black Vetiver is an interesting style for a vetiver fragrance, not dark or dirty, yet not entirely light and airy either. Lemon leaves cleans up the top and makes it fresh smelling at the outset. As the lemon fades (fairly quickly) the spicier pimento/pepper note comes forward. It's almost a cinnamon or chili like note and you get the drier, salty, grassy vetiver element as in TF Grey Vetiver or Dyptique's Sel de Vetiver. It's on the fresh side of clean vetiver and not dark or dandified as in a classic vetiver composition. It stays pretty linear and it's certainly nothing boring by any stretch, but one that should definitely be sampled before purchase at $160 a bottle. Personally, I liked it a lot. Great longevity and a generous sillage from two sprays. For those that like a slight spicy clean scent, Black Vetiver is worthy.
10th September, 2017 (last edited: 12th September, 2017)

Broken Theories by Kerosene

I've never been a big fan of "burnt" elements in a fragrance, and Broken Theories is one that is somewhat borderline for me. The opening is pretty agreeable with a very realistic blood orange and spice. It's sweet and somewhat boozy in tone and sets the stage for the incense and oud elements to warm their way forward. Unfortunately the expectation gets completely destroyed by a camp smoke note. The camp smoke is there from the beginning, but discreetly hidden behind the orange and spice. As the top dissipates, a fire starts. I would've perhaps liked this one if not for the awful burnt note. It arrives like a cop breaking up an excellent party right when the pretty girl wants to dance with you. No more than a neutral from me.
06th September, 2017

English Oak & Hazelnut by Jo Malone London

Second JM fragrance I've tried and the second one that I found enjoyable, however I found EOH to be mostly a linear hazelnut that is very light, or lilting in sillage. I think the idea is that this fragrance would be a base for another JM creation and should be layered. The hazelnut is more of a woody nut scent, and not the coffee creamer or bakery style note. The oak, I never really could sense, but there is an element that I couldn't put a name to, yet it seemed dry like a grass or vetiver. The interesting thing about this fragrance was that it reminded me of Creed Tabarome, although I'd be hard pressed to explain what it was that drew me to that analogy. While I enjoyed the fragrance it doesn't last much more than an hour on its own, hence my feeling that the performance should be driven by another JM product to create a sweeter, gourmand layer effect. I want to go back to my retailer and try the theory out, but until then I'll give it an optimistic neutral.
05th September, 2017 (last edited: 14th October, 2017)
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Vodka on the Rocks by By Kilian

A friend of mine has been after me to sample several Kilian fragrances and VoR is the first of the batch that he sent me. The opening is a spice touched citrus-rose combination that is slightly reminiscent of a highball of some indeterminate variety that lasts less than an hour. Then it breaks down to a rose-sandalwood scent of moderately weak projection faintly similar to the late powdery drydown in Egoiste. While the composition wasn't bad, it strikes me as incredibly weak for a fragrance of this price and supposed quality. I could hardly detect any fragrance at all at 2 hrs from 3 generous sprays. The initial opening caught my attention and had me hoping for something special, but it really wasn't anything even discernible after one hour. I won't recommend this one.
04th September, 2017

Bayolea by Penhaligon's

Bayolea is a surprising fragrance from the subtle house of Penhaligons. I received a sample with a purchase, and had to look up the fragrance online, having never heard of it as one to check out. Bayolea opens with a citrus dominated by lemongrass, which I wasn't familiar with and thought was fairly unique. It's a clean lemon note, with a refreshing zest that stays forward for about 30 minutes, and then plays support as the lavender, cardamom and pepper middle notes emerge. Its very clean and a bit traditional in a gentlemanly fashion, and hints at barbershop tonic. The lavender and lemongrass create a fresh, hot shave cream tone. Fairly quickly, the top fades and a cedar and musk note is revealed which produces a somewhat bay leaf tone, but not in the fashion of your grandfather's sharp bayrum aftershave. It's a much softer note, and the sillage doesn't rise more than a personal level. The maximum longevity you'll get is maybe 2-3 hours tops. The problem here is trademark for Penhaligons, most of their fragrances disappear totally at 3 hours. I like Bayolea, but won't consider purchasing it as it performs so poorly.
03rd September, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2017)

Amber & Lavender by Jo Malone

First Jo Malone fragrance I've tried. It seems that most reviews agree that the designer tries to stick to a simple concept, however there's more going on than the two note name alludes to. JM Amber and Lavender opens with an airy light lavender balanced by a touch of citrus flower and a spice. You sense the amber laying underneath but it really doesn't come fully forward for at least the first 30 minutes or more. The heart of the fragrance is fully lavender, amber and a soft myrrh that keeps the fragrance on balance throughout. I don't get as much spice as other reviews note, but perhaps my nose is less sensitive. Unfortunately JM products are EDC strength, so as one would expect I got about 3 hours average sillage and an hour of skin scent. JM designs their line to be subtle and work friendly, but if it smells great why worry and just reapply with a atomizer later in the day. A&L is marketed as a unisex fragrance, but I think it's decidedly a gentleman's scent. A classy, wear anywhere fragrance. Thumbs up from me.
03rd September, 2017 (last edited: 13th October, 2017)

Acqua di Parma Colonia Mirra by Acqua di Parma

For a line I enjoy and respect AdP Colonial Mirra begs the question "what were they thinking?" when concocting this? AdP normally does citrus notes as well as any line, but the citrus top in Mirra gets destroyed by too much petitgrain, a note that I've come to realize is not something I like a lot of. It almost makes the citrus seem like a cheap synthetic instead of what one would expect from an AdP scent. After the opening all I get is an AMen like nutmeg, and screechy patchouli. It seems like there's perhaps an amber or rum note laying underneath that isn't listed, but is trying and failing to pull down the dirty patchouli. In the end this whole thing smells cheap and uninspired. For AdP I'm calling this one a mistake, and think they should go back to what they do best with citrus clean fragrances. Leave this stuff to Mugler and department store counters.
01st September, 2017

Comme des Garçons 2 Man by Comme des Garçons

Great fragrance from CdG. Man2 is a smooth combination of vetiver, incense and a light, almost hidden leather note that comes forward just enough to make this a unique type of chypre combination. I don't get much iris or mint as other reviews describe, but a hint of nutmeg lingers, but not in a gourmand fashion. The comparison to the original Gucci is only a passing one IMO. The sillage and longevity could be better. If you want an inoffensive, professional masculine fragrance, this is a great option. I'll give it a thumbs up.
01st September, 2017

Costume National Homme by Costume National

Read all the great reviews about CN Homme and finally ordered a sample with a recent purchase. This is a heavenly fragrance that is reminiscent of Tauer's LAdDM, maybe a tad sweeter early and more incense driven later. Not exact copies, but similar. It would probably remind one of any sweet incense fragrance though. On the opening, I got lots of honey, cinnamon and clove, very sweet and lasting close to two hours plus. Amber and incense notes work their way through the spices and a pleasant amber, incense and warm wood base developed and went well past the 8 hour mark. A very good scent that would wear well on a cool evening or winter day. Definitely a thumbs up.
31st August, 2017

Aqua Vitae Forte by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

MFK is easily one of my favorite modern designers and I find that all of his fragrances have great depth and character, even when they're not my particular style or favorite notes. It's really hard to criticize much in his fragrances. AVF is one that falls into the "not my style or favorite notes" category, but there's no mistaking the artistic hand in the composition. While AVF opens as a spice-citrus composition, with zest like citrus peel, cardamom, cinnamon and pink pepper topnotes. It has a certain sour-spice to it that is unique. Once the topnotes subside the orange blossom and ylang ylang take over. Ylang ylang has a green sugar cane aspect to it and I like it paired with citrus, but AVF runs more floral to my nose, so it doesn't have the same Caribbean tropic affect I expected. A base of soft sandalwood and vetiver make this one sweet and airy. It's lighter and much less powdery than Universalis, but still equally low on projection and sillage. AVF would make an excellent office or travel fragrance as it's more of a personal scent. While I like it, I can't see that it's one that I want to own. Thumbs up all the same.
28th August, 2017

Cologne 352 by Ex Nihilo

Received a free sample of C352 with a purchase. This is a very nice smelling EdC with touches of green and floral heart notes over a woody-musk base. It's very well blended but has an unmistakable undertone of orange blossom and rose. There's a natural smelling green element and the woods and musk are clean, yet warming. Sillage is below the average, but you can tell there's no synthetic amplification going on, which is highly acceptable in my opinion. I got about 6 hours of light scent on a dry 85 degree day.

I like C352 and am impressed with the quality but can't justify the price. For those who can, this is a good fragrance.
24th August, 2017

One Man Show by Jacques Bogart

OMS - if you want an old school, beast mode fragrance, look no further. But don't let the time period, reformulation or insanely low price keep you from owning this one. Even after all that, OMS is a very talented performer. At first spray it's a sort of basil green aromatic scent which settles into a floral to wood development that reminds me of something you'd wear to a smokey casino in old Vegas. It's kitschy, yet has a charm of it's own. Very masculine and powerful. One spray and you're good to go. Worth the $20. You won't wear it everywhere, but at this price you'll reach for it often enough. No doubt, a thumbs up.
22nd August, 2017

Aqua Universalis Forte by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

MFK is a house I really like, having sampled then purchased Lumiere and Pluriel, Universalis however I'm going to pass on. Not that it's a bad fragrance, it's just too much of white flowers and rose for my nose and gives me a sound headache. To me, there's very little citrus going on in this one, and the base is decidedly more musk than wood. Thirty minutes in and it's a feminine bath powder. Not my style. Neutral.
21st August, 2017

Fougère Royale by Houbigant

For an old fragrance, FR smells pretty modern. I know it's been reworked from the original composition and the oakmoss is synthetic etc., but I'm impressed. It's not the lavender bomb I was expecting. In fact, the lavender is a short lived top note and the heart is a modern floral musk. I know there's rose in the mix and maybe a sweet green element over a musk and tonka/vanilla. After the first 30 minutes it stays a fairly linear green floral with the sweet musk base. One of the things I like about FR is none of the floral heart notes really dominate the scent. It's got good balance and reminds me of one of the superbly blended Middle Eastern scents. I imagine FR was the Green Irish Tweed of the early 20th century before GIT was ever formulated. Not the same scent, but as pleasant to wear IMO.

I'll easily give it a thumbs up.
20th August, 2017 (last edited: 26th September, 2017)

Dunhill Icon Elite by Dunhill

Icon Elite is relatively boring derivative of the original Icon citrus and wood combination that adds a somewhat leafy sage and vetiver to the faux woods base. It makes the fragrance seem slightly deeper and less screechy but doesn't really take it in any interesting direction. It's peppery and leafy and reminiscent of a Yankee candle. Nothing worth more than a curiosity sniff for me.
15th August, 2017

Legend Intense by Montblanc

My daughter's first boyfriend wore the original MB Legend at volume, and whenever he came around I would think, "at least he smells fresh and clean". Really, he was a nice kid and she's dated much less acceptable lugs since, but everytime I smell Legend I think of a high school guy who's just cleaned up for a date to the movies.

MB Intense to my nose smells practically identical to the original, maybe slightly less spice and bit more sweet, but still like the high school kid who's parked his car in my flower bed. Good scent for a young man. Just go easy on the sprayer and keep your hands to yourself.
05th August, 2017

A*Men Kryptomint by Thierry Mugler

While I have never been a fan of this style fragrance, I try and keep an open mind and found I do like a few of the Pure line, i.e. Malt, Coffee and Havanne. Kryptomint however, is just a sprint in the other direction. The opening is straight up AMen and mint. If you're familiar with AMen it's not hard to imagine the fragrance. To my nose it's dreadful. After about an hour the AMen effect wears down and it becomes a semi acceptable mint - patchouli scent that gets lighter the longer you wear it. I'm certain there's a place for this, but not for me.

Thumbs way down.
05th August, 2017

Silver Iris by Atelier Cologne

Silver Iris starts off as a violet distinct citrus-floral fragrance that evolves within the first two hours to a powdery iris floral with a tonka and amber base. I liked the violet-citrus portion although it's somewhat faint and is overtaken by the more powdery iris notes as the scent evolves. The iris is also a more feminine floral, so Silver Iris seems to change from a uni-sex scent to a feminine powder fragrance as it wears. It's very light and would appeal to someone who wants a personal clean scent with very little projection. A lady might like this, but it's not for me. A kind neutral.
21st July, 2017

Sole di Positano by Tom Ford

Citrus, floral and wood spice are the main notes in Sole di Positano. Another designer version of the Italian Eau de Colognes that seem to be suddenly popular. It's a nice anytime version that I find very reminiscent of Aqua di Parma Colonia Essenza or Zegna Italian Bergamot. Smells the same, but not as good in performance IMO. Nice enough though. Pick your label preference and enjoy.
09th July, 2017

Prada L'Homme by Prada

Iris, Neroli and Amber is what I get from the new Prada. It's a light scent that is reminiscent of Prada Amber, just with less soap tone and a soft iris added. The neroli provides the soap element, understated by the warmer amber. Longevity is decent for such a light fragrance. Nice, not ground breaking and not a strong impression maker by any stretch. Neutral for me.
09th July, 2017