Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

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Total Reviews: 767

Bloodflower by Parfums Quartana

Bloodflower was my initial first favorite of the Parfums Quartana presentation when first smelling the entire collection and it remains a provocative, unique entry in the line, somewhat a cold-weather, sweet, slightly masculine-leaning option, like Hemlock, but very much with its own vibe.

Amidst a host of notes, licorice and anise color my experience of it most strongly--not wholly, but enough that I'm generally thinking licorice and anise first before any other notes.

Only after several hours does the pseudo-blood accord (that many seem despite, and others revere) become a significant aspect of the fragrance.

All throughout, spicy additives of clover, patchouli, and orris help add color and depth and nuance while not taking away much from the signature players.

It's a solid perfumer, like Hemlock, somewhat masculine and surely more apt for cold weather, and at $145 for 50ml, is at the lower end of the Quartana pricing (for which other perfumes are $165 or even $185).

8 out of 10
09th November, 2018

Hemlock by Parfums Quartana

Hemlock is perhaps the sweetest entry of Parfums Quartana's Les Potions Fatales that I've retried so far. It's a mix of the eponymous floral note, the infamous poison taken by Socrates, and a host of other notes (really, the note list is unusually long), which consist of other florals, woods and woods-like influences, and some spices, still with the whole blend being rather sweet.

The elephant in the room is the black vinyl accord, which is very effective, as the perfume smells of a vinyl record--in concert, of course, with the host of other notes, but still rather prominent in the mix. The particular mix of black vinyl, and say, clove and cinnamon, fosters an almost anise-like vibe, certainly sweet in its own way, but somewhat bitter, as well. There are also healthy doses of woods (leaves, sandalwood, amber wood) and sweet bits (vanilla, tonka, benzoin) that foster a sort of comforting blend. It's really a remarkable accomplishment to balance out all of these competing aspects---daring/comforting and natural/synthetic.

I'd classify it more as cold-weather-appropriate but it's not so dense and overwhelming as to not be befitting, say, a summer evening; I'd simply avoid wearing it in extreme heat since the black vinyl accord might become a little bit overwhelming itself under those circumstances.

Hemlock is a very good performer, as well, like Midnight Datura, and a little bit better than Digitalis or Lily of the Valley. Pricing for Hemlock is in the lower end of the range for this collection, $145 for 50ml, and like the rest of the collection, can be found at Perfumology, among a few other similar US boutiques.

This is yet another fragrance in the collection executed with care, intrigue, and some sense of dare.

8 out of 10
08th November, 2018

Midnight Datura by Parfums Quartana

Unlike my first two retries of the Parfums Quartana Les Potions Fatales collection, Midnight Datura is, actually, quite floral-dominant.

It has the feel of a white floral that opens with just a bit of mixed citrus before becoming a seemingly full-on white floral, the datura (of which I'm individually unfamiliar) blending with other white florals like jasmine and tuberose in a fairly sharp mix. Not to be tempered, but at least blended, the white florals mix with spicy accords of patchouli, clove, and pepper, render the perfume rather provocative.

Still, it has an air of sophistication as it's somewhat restrained, and it feels rather versatile, working well especially for women, old and young, as it doesn't feel like like a stereotypical old or young ladies' perfume. Some men may undoubtedly enjoy this as well.

Its performance is quite great, with significant projection for hours and then a slightly projection for hours thereafter. Superior to Digitalis and LOTV, performance-wise.

Categorically, Midnight Datura is not quite my cup of tea, it being a floral-dominant offering, but it's surely well done, with care and complexity befitting the collection and price, the roughly-standard $165-for-50ml going rate via retail establishments in the US, like Perfumology.

Certainly worth sampling and it should be overlooked in the collection.

7 out of 10
07th November, 2018
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Digitalis by Parfums Quartana

Digitalis is perhaps the most aquatic, ozonic, and green of the Les Potions Fatales collection from Parfums Quartana. Usually "ozonic" is a descriptor that renders me inclined to think that a fragrance is cheap and only ephemerally interesting or tolerable, as that's been my experience with most fragrances described as such, but in Digitalis, that mold is broken.

Apart from the Digitalis (or Foxglove) flowers, a genus with which I'm not all that familiar, this perfume entails moss, ozone, resins, cucumber, coriander, and rose. It's quite fresh, surely green, and comfortably blended. It has vegetable and herbal hints but is not akin to wearing a vegetable (like the first incarnation of Zoologist Panda, for instance).

Performance is quite great for the type of fragrance it is, with projection roughly average, and longevity above average. Overall not as quite as robust as LOTV or other offerings in the line, but certainly satisfactory for the usage occasions, generally daytime during warm weather, in my estimation, though it's a versatile-enough offering for men and women alike throughout the year. It just plays better to the day or casual (than the night or formal) occasions.

The pricing for Digitalis is on the lower end of the collection, at $145 for 50ml, sold at Perfumology, Twisted Lily, Fumerie, etc. in the US.

8 out of 10
06th November, 2018

Lily of the valley by Parfums Quartana

Les Potions Fatales is a collection by Parfums Quartana under the umbrella of Joseph Quartana's SixScents in which poisonous flowers (and their histories) inspire fragrances, the collection consisting of nine perfumes at this time.

I had the pleasure of smelling all nine during a presentation at Perfumology, and Lily of the Valley was one of the few I liked most from the start, both on paper and eventually on skin.

Lily of the Valley involves its eponymous floral note, but as part of a lengthy blend of accords, which, for me, comes off priarily as a mix of lily of the valley, sandalwood, and leather, with an opening of bergamot and neroli and a base / dry down of vetiver, vanilla, and resins, with other florals like rose seemingly more a part of the blend throughout.

I'd not read the full note list until now and my reaction is that it seems gargantuan, along the lines of a Roja Dove creation, so it's plausible that there's plenty more going on than what I'm detecting, but I do vaguely perceive the perfume's complexity and multifacetedness.

It's not overtly floral-dominant, to put it bluntly. Yes, th lily is prominent among other notes but I'd taxonomize the perfume mainly as a floral/fresh/leather/woody blend that could even be described as a little sweet and spicy at times, as well. It feels difficult to classify, usually the mark of a sophisticated creation.

As my own collection has grown, I look for more unique offerings like this (in fact, the whole Les Potions Fatales collection very much has this feel), even though I otherwise gravitate toward weighty gourmands and semi-traditional freshies.

Performance is very good, I'd say, on par with the type of fragrance it is, above average projection and above average longevity. Like many EDP (or extrait) compositions, its longevity significant exceeds the time during which it projects a lot, but on my skin, in projects for several hours.

It's priced at $165 for 50ml (the prices of bottles in the line range from $145 to $185 for 50ml) and is sold at Perfumology, among other similar retail boutiques like Twisted Lily and Fumerie in the US, and in a handful of other countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, and even the Maldives!

In conclusion, LOTV makes for an unusual but excellent composition that feels diverse in and of itself, a departure from my norm, but nevertheless a blend of a lot of familiar elements that harmonize nicely and bring about a gender- and seasonally-versatile offering.

8 out of 10
05th November, 2018

Wave Musk by Mancera

Mancera Wave Musk is easy to like, a marine scent that has a reasonable balance of citrus, aquatic, and musky influences, some standout notes being sea salt, driftwood, grapefruit, and musk.

It comes off quite synthetic, more so than many other offerings in the Mancera/Montale realm, and that's its main detractor, as, like the rest of their catalog, its performance is decent, particularly for a warm-weather-leaning composition (the houses seem to be known for their darker, more cold-weather-leaning fragrances, in my opinion).

It's decent juice but it's a little difficult for me to avoid noticing the slight funk of synthetic aquatic notes, not just that there are aquatic notes. I liken this to a significantly less refined and cheaper alternative to Tom Ford Costa Azzurra, which seems to nail the concept well in its use of driftwood.

As semi-transparent aquatics go, I'd do much better with Nautica Oceans or a CK One Summer, particularly for the price, though I'd be remiss not to point out just how cheap Wave Musk is on the secondary market, only $89 (for a standard 120ml bottle) on FragranceX and a shocking $60 on Perfumania as an online-only option, a website that accompanies a chain of discount perfume stores that actually mostly fall short of having good deals.

Still, I'd recommend seeking this out if it sounds good, as the value is strong, particularly at $120 for 60ml, if you dig the fragrance. I'd personally fare better with either comparable cheapie options or, on the high end, Tom Ford Costa Azzurra.

6 out of 10
01st November, 2018

Sixes & Sevens by Slumberhouse

This latest limited edition release from Slumberhouse, Sixes & Sevens, is, as many have said, not as boastful as their typically beastly and provocative dark juice. Josh Lobb's house does feature lighter and brighter options (consider Sadanne, Pear + Olive, Grev, and perhaps even Kiste) but what I've come to love the house for is its dark, potent, pungent offerings that I tend to adore for their performance and appropriateness in winter (i.e. Norne, Ore, Jeke, Zahd, Sova).

Sixes & Sevens mainly smells of leather and resins (benzoin, frankincense), with hints of castoreum, orris, cumin, sandalwood, and oud each adding some intrigue. Among these background players, castoreum is what I notice most, though it's used in such restrained quantity as to not jeopardize the prominence of leather being the principal accord and resins being the backup singers.

As some have reported, and I now concur, the fragrance is a bit less daring and significantly less intense, in terms of performance, than most of the Slumberhouse catalog to date, and that's not to say that that wasn't wholly Josh's intention. In this respect, it's a departure from the norm, perhaps allowing for a more agreeable, more versatile option that can be enjoyed on more occasions throughout more seasons.

I get only modest projection for the opening hour, and it becomes a skin scent, albeit steadily so, within a couple hours of applying. Certainly it still feels comparably as strong as other niche wintery offerings, but its contrast to other dark juices in the house is palpable, performance-wise.

The elephant in the room, though, is the pricing, $200 for 30ml (contra the usual $160 for 30ml) with an additional option of $500 for 100ml, of which all bottles of both sizes sold out almost immediately anyway, meaning that it can only be obtained via the secondary market at predictably-inflated pricing. Given the diminished performance of the juice, Sixes & Sevens is a tougher sell at its retail pricing, limited edition status notwithstanding.

In conclusion, Sixes & Seven is good, perhaps very good, and if I'd gotten in on blind buying a bottle via the house directly (I would've opted for a 30ml for $200), I would keep it and enjoy it, but I'm not all that inclined to track it down for $200 (or realistically, much more) given that it does not push the envelope like most of the fragrances in the catalog, and though these fragrances set perhaps an unrealistically high bar to keep reaching over and over again, it's the selling point for the juice: powerful, provocative potions, pardon the alliteration.

7 out of 10
31st October, 2018

Rose Wood by Ajmal

Ajmal Rose Wood is another interesting entry, and this marks my third try after Amber Wood and Santal Wood.

Like Santal Wood, Rose Wood predictably has rose, but a much healthier helping than in Santal Wood. The rose in Rose Wood comes off sharper, brighter, and fresher, than in Santal. Santal's rose was more medium-bodied but Rose Wood's rose comes off more like rose de mai.

The note listing seems to be limited by various sources, but I mostly get a mix of the eponymous rose, sandalwood, oud, and perhaps a spicy touch of pepper. There's also a vague sweetness but overall it's the rose and the spiciness that give the fragrance its warmer color, more apt for cold weather wearing, just like Amber and Santal.

It's a nice creation, reasonably safe and agreeable for men and women alike, perhaps the most unisex of the Ajmal Wood line I've tried.

At $160 for 100ml (FragranceX), it, like Rose and Santal, is a bit generic and is not quite compelling enough for the price. It's mostly a matter of taste, as there's nothing wrong with the fragrance. Particularly with Santal, the duo is balanced and agreeable, not so sharp or offensive. Still, I'm not dazzled, and it feels like it should be a little less expensive.

7 out of 10

30th October, 2018

Santal Wood by Ajmal

My second try from Ajmal after Amber Wood, Santal Wood is a nice, reasonably-bodied woody entry that has spicy, sharp, and sweet hints, with an underlying layer of rose that is exposed nicely as the fragrance dries down.

It consists primarily of sandalwood and cedarwood with some interesting additives--most notably, cardamom providing spiciness, ginger providing sharpness, and rose providing, well, its signature florality. There are also wee hints of patchouli and oud, but even several hours into the wearing, these are not prominent.

It's mainly a woody fragrance, though, still, though the rose, cardamom, and ginger all provide hints of interest that prevent it from being too safe. Still, there's something about that it that is rather generic and non-distinguishing.

Despite Amber Wood seeming to be the recipient of more of the hype and love, though, Santal Wood seems to me to be the more well-rounded fragrance.

$169 for 100ml (FragranceX, in North America) is nevertheless a bit high of an asking price, even on the secondary market, on account of Santal Wood feeling somewhat generic. Its utility is not to be denied by me, though. It makes for a very reliable cold weather day-and-night scent, leaning masculine slightly but kept unisex particularly by the rose.

I quite like but probably wouldn't consider buying it at its price point--it feels more like something that should be well under $100.

7 out of 10
29th October, 2018

Armani Privé Cuir Majesté by Giorgio Armani

The mystique of Armani Cuir Majeste--the only member of the Prive line sold exclusively outside the US, to my knowledge--was significant, as was the praise I heard for it, so I was delighted to procure a decant. It's exclusive to Harrods in London, but seems to be available for purchase online.

Like another Armani Prive offering, Cuir Noir, Cuir Majeste is a sweet leather fragrance, but better, at least to me. CM is composed mostly of leather and mixed fruits, with a strong hint of rose in the background, with more minor accords of oud, resins, and perhaps some woods remotely contributing.

I'm definitely impressed. I liked Cuir Noir but I love Cuir Majeste. it's an excellent "sweet leather" fragrance, opulent and sharp, certainly a notch up in terms of formality from Davidoff Leather Blend, another one of my favorite sweet leathers, and less loaded and audacious than, say, Tom Ford Tuscan Leather or its now-numerous smellalikes.

One downside is that while most of the Prive line is sold in 100ml bottles for $250-300 or so (depending on the scent), Cuir Majeste is sold only in a 250ml bottle for $612 (the Harrods site's conversion from GBP as of today). I can hardly think of any need for that much juice, so it may just have to be a decant for me for the time being.

This is a great offering and I hope it receives a wider release (in 100ml bottles) at some point. It surely is one of my favorites of the Prive line, along with Rose d'Arabie (my very favorite), Myrrhe Imperiale, Oud Royal, New York, and Bois D'Encens.

Try it if you can track down a decant or live in the UK!

8 out of 10
26th October, 2018

L'Art et la Matière : Bois d'Arménie by Guerlain

I was delighted to finally sample Guerlain Bois d'Armenie, a member of the L'Art et la Matiere collection, around the time I found out it had been discontinued.

As advertised, it's a lovely, powdery, resinous, woody, and ever so slightly sweet fragrance, a mix of iris, mixed resins (frankincense, benzoin, copahu balm), guaiac, patchouli, and a couple of other small pieces.

It starts off very powdery, the iris being front-and-center for the first 30-60 minutes but still the most prominent piece for hours thereafter, despite the growing influence (over time) of the resins.

It's opulent and bold, a cold-weather-leaning perfume that feels inherently slightly feminine but surely unisex enough for all.

As it's now discontinued, it's hard to put a value on it but even the still-standard $260 for 75ml pricing from this line seems consistent with the palpable quality and care put into the fragrance.

The solitary caveat to my nose is that it remains powdery (mostly via the iris, assume) for a bit longer than I'd like--essentially throughout the long life of the fragrance, it's powdery, and I suppose I was hoping for that aspect to fade somewhat, but it's surely what makes it a bit feminine and alluring.

I still love but might be content with a decant.

8 out of 10
25th October, 2018

Over the Chocolate Shop by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Over the Chocolate Shop is perhaps the best-advertised of Sarah McCartney's numerous gourmand or near-gourmand fragrances, so with a month of anticipation, I had high hopes upon receiving my sample and giving it a first try.

The note listing is humbly small, a simple-ish nod to gourmand lovers like myself: only cocoa butter, the nuts of praline and hazelnut, coffee, and vanilla.

Fittingly, the chocolate takes center stage from the onset, not a more familiar dense semi-dark chocolate but rather, almost exactly as another has put it, like milk chocolate cocoa powder, somehow at the very intersection of sweet and dry. It's plenty sweet but not over the top, and the sharpness of the cocoa powder is somehow there. Another similar analogous experience is the smell of a milk chocolate bar when first being unwrapped. A brilliant capture by Sarah.

The praline/hazelnut mix starts to emerge in the background quickly after application. Hazelnut alone is more familiar, and I like to think I would've pointed it out without knowing about it ahead of time, but the addition of praline makes for a more nuanced and alien blend, albeit very desirable and certainly not taking much away from the cocoa-dominance of the fragrance.

I can't really pick out the coffee and vanilla individually but certainly they could, respectively, enhance the sharp and sweet touches of the fragrance.

Overall, I'm delighted that Over the Chocolate Shop gives me something new, slightly unexpected, and not just a near-copy of another chocolatey gourmand I've smelled before.

The "dry cocoa powder" aspect of it makes it unique among the chocolate fragrances I've smelled, and as often, I'm impressed by how polished the finished product is.

It's definitely a standout entry in the 4160 Tuesdays lineup and an all-star gourmand, a must-try for gourmand lovers, especially lovers of cocoa.

In addition, it performs very, very well, I dare say exceptionally, even among other similar cold-weather-leaning fragrances in the house that are generally strong, its dark juice selling its strength fairly convincingly. Its boastful projection of a few feet for at least a couple hours followed by a good scent cloud thereafter, suggests high value.

Fortunately, the pricing is rather in line with most of her offerings, at $110 for 50ml, and is sold in the US at Luckyscent.

In conclusion, I'm dazzled. Over the Chocolate Shop is a fragrance that I smell and want to keep smelling over and over again, among my favorite of Sarah's creations. Bravo!

8 out of 10
23rd October, 2018

Tonka 25 by Le Labo

Le Labo Tonka 25 is probably the first release I can remember (since fragrances became a hobby) being quite excited for, certainly of the main collection, if not the City Exclusives as well. Tonka is a fun note and is central in some fragrances that I love--particularly, deeply rich and sweet gourmand fragrances--so naturally, I was curious to see what Le Labo did with it.

Tonka 25 does not seem like it'd be an opulent gourmand, though, from the note breakdown list, and the actual scent confirms this prediction. In addition to the eponymous note of tonka, sweet and subtly nutty, there are strong contributions from cedar and musk, rendering the blend, fittingly, woody and musky. The musk is definitely of the "sweet white musk" variety, not animalic, and the cedar makes a fitting partner for a smooth, easy dry down, an easy partnership of sorts.

In the dry down, it's darker, as well, the musk fading with the tonka actually becoming heavier and more enveloping, rendering the fragrance even more comforting as a whole.

As with most higher-end brands, Le Labo's increasing pricing makes, with each year, for more challenging decisions of the value and merits of its fragrances. The saving grace is that the main collection (contra the city exclusives) is sometimes discounted by store-wide coupons (at, for example, Saks Fifth Avenue), so there's some relief. The retail pricing of Tonka 25 is $270 for 100ml, $184 for 50ml. Le Labo at least retains the unique quality, among higher-end brands, of incentivizing the purchase of smaller bottles by offering to refill them at lower costs than the juice + bottle original price (exactly how much lower, I'm not sure) in lieu of buying wholly new bottles as replacements. Still, all of Le Labo's offerings now fall roughly into the category of needing to love them in order to buy them.

Tonka 25 is an easy one for me to love, despite it not pushing boundaries in terms of scent profile (it's agreeable, unisex, versatile) or performance (it's good, more than just satisfactory, but not outstanding), but this is a clear winner from the house as its scent goes, as far as I'm concerned, and I'll give serious thought to acquiring a bottle.

8 out of 10
22nd October, 2018
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Fineapple by Gallagher Fragrances

Fineapple is one of the more recent releases by Gallagher Fragrances and makes a positive splash immediately with a fruity, fresh burst of the eponymous top notes of pineapple and green apple in the opening.

The dry down consists of a bed of florals (jasmine, magnolia), musk, and mixed woods, none particularly interfering with the fruit-dominance of the blend but rather giving it a soft place to land, bringing it from a fairly loud, bright opening to a more nuanced dry down.

Fineapple is a very pleasant fragrance, certainly a more apt warm weather option but surely above average on projection and longevity to do well on even cooler days like the one on which I'm wearing it (40-60F), and the apple accord rather reminds me, fittingly, of autumn.

At $150 for 100ml, now the going rate any Gallagher bottle, the pricing is not bad, either, roughly in line with what most niche / independent brands can and should reasonably charge. I'll have to give this some more wears but I'm decently impressed albeit not smitten.

7 out of 10
17th October, 2018

Amber Blend by Davidoff

Davidoff Amber Blend is in the same vein as the other members of the collection that I've tried, Leather Blend and Agar Blend, but with a fitting emphasis on the eponymous note of amber. It's amber-intensive but very spicy as well, no doubt due to the inclusion of cinnamon, though the rum accord is sharp, as well, to my nose, the primary sweetness, then, coming from the resins themselves.

With the rum and cinnamon both in the mix, Amber Blend comes off a bit sharp, surely on the sharper side of sweet amber fragrances that I've tried. It's sweet, yes, but emphatically, practically overwhelmingly spicy. One needs to like the rum and cinnamon just as much as the amber to appreciate the whole blend. Surely that could've been the intention in its composition, though, a relatively acerbic offering to the comparatively smoother Agar and especially Leather Blends.

Its performance is great, like Leather and Agar; it's a dense, cold-weather-leaning option. Found at the right price, a bottle (standard size of 100ml) could be a nice acquisition that would ostensibly last a user a while. It appears to never have been made available in US markets and is only sold in the Middle East, so acquiring it in the states seems to be a matter of using a secondary market or intermediary.

Amber Blend is bold, well-done, and enjoyable, but is edged but out Agar Blend and especially Leather Blend.

8 out of 10
16th October, 2018

Gucci Guilty Oud by Gucci

The third Alberto Morillas composition of late from Gucci, Gucci Guilty Oud, follows two successful releases (at least to me) in Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme and Pour Femme.

Certainly the most-recent Oud feels like a logical continuity from the next-most-recent Femme, as there is an overlap of berries, rose, patchouli, and amber (in order of descending prominence).

With Femme, we get red berries, but in Oud, we get a sharper, more distinct blackberry note that sings from the top, surely the brightest part of the entire fragrance, but nevertheless (similarly to Femme) quickly drying down into a rose/patchouli/amber blend, with very subtle hints at leather and woods.

Oud's performance is strong, a bit denser than Femme (and perhaps even slightly edging out Homme), with a couple hours of great projection followed by another 6+ on skin.

Certainly these latest releases feel of niche quality and execution, and in the case of Oud specifically, a synthetic, smooth oud serves nicely in lieu of a richer, albeit more animalic or medicinal, counterpart, seen in higher-end offerings.

Pricing ($137-$146 for 90ml via retail) is higher than Femme and a lot higher than Homme, but I'd expect Oud, like its predecessors, to be available on the secondary market at a significant discount. It's a bit of a tough sell at retail, but under $100, it may turn a lot of heads like Gucci Intense Oud did years ago.

8 out of 10
15th October, 2018

Uomo Noir Absolu by Valentino

I'm not too familiar with the Valentino Uomo scents, having smelled the other three but not really having sampled them. Uomo Noir Absolu in particular seemed to be received very warmly, and I picked up a decant.

It's as described, a masculine blend centered around iris, modified by sandalwood, incense, pepper, and cinnamon, quite spicy and woody throughout but the incense lends its resinous sweetness, which emerges as the iris fades.

The fragrance opens sharp, and dries down sweeter. Its performance is pretty strong throughout, with hours of projection and significant longevity beyond that.

I put it roughly in the same category as Bvglari Man in Black, a well-constructed masculine winter blend, not too sweet, not too edgy, a choice that's likely to work for many, even some women, as it lacks an overly dirty side (i.e. leathery, animalic).

The retail pricing of $118 for 100ml feels a little high, but it seems to make the rounds on some grey market sites.

8 out of 10
11th October, 2018

Tahitian Waters by English Laundry

English Laundry Tahitian Waters is an example of a fresh fruity citrus fragrance that embodies a cocktail while still being dignified enough to be enjoyed by serious people.

Lime is the leader of a citrus opening with bergamot and orange, but also the playful coconut, the whole quartet transporting me to a tropic island. It dries down a floral mix of jasmine and ylang ylang that is not so strong but nevertheless adds hints of sophistication and restraint to that which began playful and fruity. The base of brown sugar and cedar adds both sweetness and a staunch woody smoothness, a great place for the plane to land.

Tahitian Waters is a nice, casual warm-weather offering that can work for men and women, young and old alike. It's a versatile player that's a decent performer but certainly nothing boastful.

Pricing-wise, it's available online in varying discounted prices (i.e. $28 for 50ml on FragranceNet), but as with English Laundry fragrances, it's said to appear in US discount stores (TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory) for a lot less (under $20 for 100ml), so for that amount, it's a great deal to be had for a fruity fresh cocktail fragrance, of which Tommy Bahama Set Sail St. Barts is another great example. Tahitian Waters will be a welcome addition to my collection at that price.

7 out of 10
10th October, 2018

Casamorati 1888 Mefisto by Xerjoff

Xerjoff Mefisto has a strong reputation and in trying it today, I can understand why. Its blend and note breakdown are excellently arranged to create a balanced, enjoyable freshie.

First, the opening of mixed citrus (lemon, bergamot, grapefruit) is great, and grapefruit and bergamot in particular vary from one another enough to create a sort of general citrus vibe that's enjoyable while not being overwhelming.

Next, the heart of mixed florals, perhaps the three greatest floral notes, in rose, iris, and lavender. It too is fresh, but also sharp and deep and nuanced.

Finally, the base of amber, sandalwood, cedar, and musk, is soft, warm bed for the fragrance to rest on after drying down, the amber and musk adding some sweetness to contrast the citrus and floral opening and heart, respectively.

This is a near-perfect formula for a winning fresh fragrance: variant citrus and floral notes with just enough woodsy and whim while still being on-target and not too quirky to be universally enjoyable. Still, somehow, though, it feels sophisticated and not so commonplace to be regarded as boring or generic.

Mefisto's main pitfall, at least on my skin, is its performance, which seems to be moderate (at best) in terms of both projection and longevity. Apparently the consensus is somewhat more favorable.

Only with respect to performance, then, is Mefisto a tough sell. Even its discounted pricing ($238 for 100ml on FragranceX) is a tough sell, let alone the retail ($290 for 100ml on Luckyscent), but surely there are deals and decants to be had.

In conclusion, it's a superlative freshie, held back only by its performance on my skin, but hopefully it does better on yours.

8 out of 10

09th October, 2018

Amber Wood by Ajmal

Ajmal Amber Wood, while released by the UAE-based house in 2014, seems to be getting a lot of buzz currently, and for that reason, I picked up a decant.

It's immediately pleasing, a cold-weather-leaning mix of amber, woods, patchouli, and iris, with subtle hints of apple and lavender fading quickly into the main blend.

Amber Wood reminds me immediately of Mugler A*Men Pure Malt, but just a bit more powdery and sharp via the inclusion of iris, but the amber and wood with patchouli in Amber Wood more or less recreate the base of coffee and patchouli mixed with the booze in Pure Malt.

Performance is great, well above average in terms of both projection and longevity, especially the former, since it seems to project well off of skin for 4+ hours.

Retail pricing is higher, I imagine, but the best pricing I see for this is $140 on Finescents' eBay store and $185 on MaxAroma for a standard 100ml bottle.

Overall, this is a nice perfume, one that I like a lot, but Pure Malt is reasonably close and done better, without the sharp, powdery edges that render Amber Wood a bit challenging.

8 out of 10
08th October, 2018

Crimes of Passion: Dirty Honey by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Dirty Honey marks another bold resinous entry from the line, after Shazam, which I tried some months ago. It's dominated by the labdanum, beeswax, and honey, with accents of jasmine and vanilla. It has a bit of a floral vibe that complements the slightly animalic side of the resins, but the overall experience is rather sweet and creamy, as one might expect.

As a performer, it's strong and dense, with above average projection for an hour or two and strong longevity thereafter.

At a slightly higher price than most offerings of $95 for 30ml, it's roughly in the category of needing to love it to buy it, and for my money, Shazam gets the edge, as far as resinous fragrances from the line go, not to mention its more modest pricing ($90 for 50ml).

Still, Dirty Honey should be a welcome try for fans of resins in particular.

7 out of 10
03rd October, 2018

Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers by 4160 Tuesdays

Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers is perhaps the most idiosyncratic creation under the 4160 Tuesdays label that I've tried so far.

It has a certain sharpness in its opening, perhaps due to the linden blossom, but rather promptly dries down so that within an hour it smells entirely of the dirty mix of leather, tobacco, and vetiver, along a vague bready sweetness, perhaps a combination of the croissant and coffee notes.

It's a nice performer, not terribly offensive, surely cold-weather-leaning, but I fear due to the sweetness more or less waning that it's simply not quite attractive enough for me to want to wear it again, usually the hallmark of a fragrance being likeable vs. feeling blase toward it.

Still, the creativity and skill that Sarah wields are on display in TTDTRN, but it's just not quite my cup of tea.

6 out of 10
02nd October, 2018

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Femme by Gucci

Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Femme is a refreshing departure and nice complement to the fittingly more masculine leather-and-patchouli Pour Homme released last year. Femme involves a blend of blackberry, rose, woods, and patchouli primarily, the blackberry starting off strong and heady but remaining a part of the mix throughout the life of the fragrance, blending excellently with the heart of rose and eventually a more relaxed base of patchouli, leather, and goldenwood. I don't get much of the leather, or the vetiver in the heart, for that matte, as it's mainly the blackberry and rose that are doing the heavy lifting, at least on my skin.

Certainly marketed for women with the floral/fruity dominance, I nevertheless regard it as unisex, especially for men like me that are fans of rose.

Its performance is great, well above average, and Femme, like Homme, is widely available on the secondary market, despite having scaled-up pricing from Homme (Guilty Oud's pricing is higher still), and Femme can generally be found in the $50-$80 range for its standard 90ml size (the largest, unlike Homme, which comes in 150ml as well).

Definitely a recommended try for men and women alike, not to be blind bought but certainly to be backed up if loved as I love it.

8 out of 10
28th September, 2018

White Queen by 4160 Tuesdays

The recent 2018 release and Perfumology exclusive from 4160 Tuesdays, White Queen, is a sweet semi-gourmand with some literary inspiration and in celebration of a Cafleurebon anniversary.

Its most dominant note by far on my skin is hazelnut, which itself fosters a bit of a cococnut, smell, as well, almost a mix between hazelnut itself and coconut.

Texture-wise, it's very creamy, not really dry, but rather immersive and warm, surely more apt for cold weather than warm weather, though as with many cases, it could probably work on some warm weather evenings.

It's sweet, certainly, but not a full gourmand, and its sweetness is subdued, in part, by the earthy mix of patchouli and incense, smoothed over by musk, but not without the overall dominance of the hazelnut, sprinkled with raspberry.

Pricing is more or less standard for the line, at $180 for 100ml and $110 for 50ml. Again, only available at Perfumology in the US, at least for the time being. A highly-recommended try, not one I'd know I'd love from the notes, but one that Sarah crafted so carefully that it ended up being a nuanced beauty.

8 out of 10
27th September, 2018

Who Knew? by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Who Knew involves a curious opening of grass and strawberry before yielding to a rose-dominant heart and eventually a mix of green tea, woods, vanilla, and vetiver in the base.

The green strawberry opening is somewhat pleasant but admittedly seems out of place, an unfamiliar pairing. Fresh yet slightly off in the opening, the rose provides some familiar comfort in the heart, and ultimately the dry down is pretty agreeable, the lone provocateur being the green tea.

It's a moderate performer, and as a scent, isn't overwhelmingly sweet or acerbic at any one time, and is relatively easy to wear.

Certainly not among my favorites from the house but not a bad fragrance, and certainly reflective of Sarah's creativity and range, just perhaps not something that I'd especially aspire to wear, nor would I particularly prefer it on someone else. Surely it wins points for uniqueness, though.

6 out of 10
26th September, 2018

The Dark Heart of Old Havana by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays The Dark Heart of Old Havana is a curious mix, one that certainly sounds appetizing its note listing, but not one of Sarah's best executions, at least to my nose, as far as sweet fragrances go.

Fruits, sugar, tobacco, vanilla, pepper, tonka, jasmine, and musk should, in principle, create a very sweet, perhaps slightly spicy tobacco scent, but I tend to agree with many reviewers that it's in the fruit mix, particularly during the opening, that I get a bit lost.

In fairness, the dry down is much more pleasant, the fruits more in harmony with tobacco and vanilla/sugar/tonka trio, but the opening is challenging to the point of being prohibitive, at least for me.

Sadly, probably the worst offering I've tried to date from 4160 Tuesdays, but that's only because I've loved and bought so many of Sarah's offerings that the bar is set very high.

6 out of 10
25th September, 2018

Centrepiece by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Centerpiece is another artistic creation by Sarah McCartney, its sweet, powdery, floral mix serving as a semi-feminine reminder of the intoxicating wonders of sweet florals.

Frangipani, or Hawaiian lei flower, is likely the main player, and I'm only reasonably assured of that by process of elimination, as it's the only floral note and there seems to be a lot of florals in this. It smells of a white/yellow floral mix, not too sharp on its own, but then mixed with the sweet elements of vanilla, honey and a soft, white musk, as well as cedar and even green tea, though I don't detect the green tea, really, except perhaps for a moment at the opening.

It's pretty heavily sweet throughout, but the floral / vanilla / honey / musk balance tells most of the story of this, as the tea is barely there and the cedar lies in the background. Part of the vanilla-lover in me loves this.

As much as I do like this scent, though, I dare say I might love smelling it on a woman, for whom it would feel more fitting.

Performance is strong, well above average for a scent of its type, and more robust than the last couple 4160 Tuesdays scents I've tried, though the brand generally produces rather strong juice.

At $110 for 50ml (Luckyscent, Indiescents, Olfactif), its pricing is reasonable enough for any fan of the scent (this pricing suits me just fine for Freeway, for example).

A like on my skin, a love on someone else's. In any case, a pleasant unisex-enough scent that demands trying.

7 out of 10
19th September, 2018

Doe in the Snow by 4160 Tuesdays

Despite favoring warm-weather-leaning notes, 4160 Tuesdays Doe in the Snow does foster a certain crisp, sharp result that transports me to winter rather than summer, a sort of icy freshness that one usually equates with mint but in DITS it's achieved via a peculiar mix of citrus, peach, mixed florals, oak, green tea, and even leather.

With the peach and jasmine coming out a lot on my skin, it comes off a bit feminine, but I still like it. Performance is decent and at $90 for 50ml, it's on the lower end of 4160 Tuesdays' pricing. A nice scent that I'm not quite sure is for me but I'd recommend trying nonetheless as it's mostly pretty agreeable and versatile.

7 out of 10
18th September, 2018

What I did on my Holidays by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays What I Did On My Holidays deliberately calls to mind the food aromas enjoyed while one is on holiday, or as we say in the US, vacation.

As seemingly many have noted, WIDOMH gives off somewhat of a "mint chocolate chip ice cream" vibe, but without chocolate as a listed note, leading me to believe it's predominantly the mint, vanilla, and ice cream notes that I smell from opening to dry down.

Other supporting fresh / sweet notes include coconut (which I definitely get whiffs of), lavender (adding some freshness), and seaweed (barely there, if at all, on my skin).

I'm generally not a fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream, nor do I enjoy mint in food much, and I'm usually pretty picky about mint in fragrances, so all of that notwithstanding, I'm pretty impressed by how well the mint is integrated into WIDOMH.

For me it's a like, not a love, at least for now, but I can see how this would have a lot of appeal, especially for summer wear, as it's a gourmand, but not too heavy. Performance is acceptable, maybe slightly above average, and the pricing is on the more modest side of 4160 Tuesdays, at $90 for 50ml. Certainly one I'd like to try and wear some more and of which I need to find a larger decant.

7 out of 10
17th September, 2018

Spring Fling by Bond No. 9

Bond No. 9 Spring Fling sports a nice name, a pleasant floral blend with some fresh touches like musk and tea and a sort of faint citrus vibe, but it's intrigue is limited as it's not a terribly unique or innovating offering.

I smelled it briefly in store before sampling it today and is today as it was then a nice, fresh, reasonably agreeable floral-dominant option.

It's nice but unremarkable, perhaps even unnecessary, but still a good enough offering that it could be a signature scent for a lady and an occasional fresh offering.

7 out of 10
14th September, 2018