Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

Total Reviews: 512

Aventus for Her by Creed

Aventus for Her by Creed is surely by very similar to the original Aventus, which is obviously a good thing, both in the sense that Aventus is well-liked and agreeable, and that Aventus for Her is reasonably true to its name.

The most noticeable difference for me is the replacement of pineapple with a peachy vibe. Blackcurrant seems to remain, though it's not a listed note. There's certainly less of the smoky, birchy aspect to Aventus to Her than in the original. The result is something sweeter and fruitier but less citrus and fresh and woody. Aventus for Her settles into a base of flowers and musk, whereas the original Aventus' dry down is a bit woodier.

Aventus for Her is not especially more feminine than the original, but the addition of peach and diminution of pineapple surely makes it a less fresh option, and thus more year-round and more nighttime friendly, as I'd generally wear Aventus either casually at night around the house or out on a warm day.

Aventus for Her is pricier for now though I expect in the long run that it'll land in a similar place to the original. A good innovation, but not especially feminine and certainly not improved, in my opinion.

7 out of 10
19th May, 2017

Royal Scottish Lavender by Creed

Creed Royal Scottish Lavender, like many of the discontinued Creed freshies, has an allure, a classic charm about it that distinguishes from some of the house's more recent, more ready-to-please entries.

The note breakdown is rather straight forward: bergamot on top, lavender in the heart, and sandalwood, vanilla, and "spicy notes" in the base. It has a sharper opening, no doubt due to an unadulterated dose of bergamot, with the lavender itself, after which it dries down into a woody base, the vanilla serving not so much to truly sweeten the mix but just to keep it from remaining as harsh (only slightly) as at its onset.

RSL is a superior performer to most of the Creed freshies, newer or discontinued, and it fits both into the freshie realm and the woody realm, as, particularly after the initial acerbic buzz wears off, it's a mellower, more year-round woody mix.

I initially didn't think I'd like it but it won me over in a few hours.

8 out of 10
18th May, 2017

Ferrari Bright Neroli by Ferrari

Ferrari Bright Neroli, the first of the house that I've sampled, is a nice entry and welcome addition to the pantheon of neroli-dominant fragrances that is seemingly led, in popular opinion, by Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

It has, as expected, a healthy dose of citrus---very mixed, with citron, lemon, and orange---and a whole lot of neroli and orange flower keeping it bright into the dry down. The bed of rosemary, pepper, and vetiver in which Bright Neroli lands is a soft spot, as the scent doesn't dramatically change when it dries down.

Bright Neroli isn't quite as complete as Neroli Portofino, let alone Neroli Portofino Forte, but's darn good for the price, at $41 for 100ml EDP, with performance that is comparable to NP.

8 out of 10
17th May, 2017
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Vanilla Smoke by Aftelier

Definitely a departure from most vanilla-dominant fragrances, Aftelier Perfumes' Vanilla Smoke, my first try from the house, combines a very dense vanilla (boozy, cake-like) with darker elements, which, while feeling like oud and incense, are likely the result of a heavy does of saffron absolute, mixed gently with woods, coumarin, and ambergris.

It's really a sumptuous vanilla rendered more challenging.

I analogize it slightly to Kerosene Blackmail, which isn't simply berries, vanilla, and amber, but rather when the amber is very resinous and oud is added, it becomes a dual reality of sweet and harsh, or sweet an acerbic, that has to be enjoyed thoroughly. It's not the instant relief of the blend that's the reward; it's the harmony of generally-opposing sides.

The case is the same with Vanilla Smoke, which, as its name suggests, pairs the sweetest note of them against something devoid of sweetness as imagined.

I won't go as far to say it's in my very favorite vanilla creations, as I still prefer the note in its slightly boozy rendition in Guerlain's Spiritueuse Double Vanille, which many seem to hail as their favorite, but what's done in Vanilla Smoke is surely more daring, if nothing else, than SDV.

It performs exceptionally for an EDP, feeling more like an extrait from the onset, but its pricing of $180 for 30ml gives me some pause, as, despite the exquisiteness of the juice, $6 per ml is steep for non-sampling prices, but it's understandable that in a smaller operation with smaller batches, the margins need to be higher and the markup is less, given the likely involvement in this case of authentic ingredients (well, maybe not the ambergris) of high quality.

Bravo to Mandy for this creation, as I look forward to trying a couple of her other EDPs of which I bought samples.

8 out of 10
15th May, 2017

Dark Purple by Montale

A nice fruity-rosy combo, Montale Dark Purple hits on a couple of spots in which the house tends to succeed.

A plum opening is a sweet start, a mixed floral heart dominated by rose is most of what I associate with this fragrance, and a woody musky dry down gives it a soft landing place. Pleasant from start to finish.

In Dark Purple, though, I don't feel they've accomplished something all that special but rather created another pleasant entry that, while perhaps suiting some wearers perfectly, very much mimics a lot of their catalog, but as far as adding volume to their catalog, Dark Purple is not an unworthy entry. And as usual with Montales, it's a great performer.

It's surely worth trying, as it might fit the bill perfectly for you, and compared to other niche, is moderately priced (currently only $95 for 100ml on Notino), but I've personally found various other better sweet rose fragrances on the market that I prefer, such as Tom Ford Noir de Noir and Cafe Rose, and Armani Prive Rose d'Arabie.

7 out of 10
12th May, 2017

Chypré Vanillé by Montale

Montale Chypre Vanille is predictably a chypre with a bit of vanille---sweet, feminine, and probably best built for winter day use, if I had to guess. As expected, the fragrance entails the brand's typical exceptional performance, with a strong projection that lasts hours, and on overall quite impressive longevity.

I get a very herbal powdery mix of jasmine and tonka with the dominance of the vanilla, create something churchily feminine, especially when it settles down into a dry down of incense.

Overall, one I'm fairly neutral toward it. Not bad, but not something I'd lean toward much even if I were given a bottle for free.

6 out of 10
11th May, 2017

Aoud Vanille by Mancera

Mancera Aoud Vanille sounds like something I might like, a mix of sweet and bitter, and in this respect it succeeds in that pairing, as the vanilla tempers the oud and vice versa. These are certainly the main two players, eponymously emphasized, but pepper and cardamom jazz up the opening while sandalwood and guaiac wood anchor the base.

The performance is outstanding, characteristic of some of Mancera and Montale's better offerings in terms of both projection and longevity, and so its value is strong, at the standard $160 for 120ml retail (i.e. Luckyscent) and a bit lower at $100 or so on Notino.

There's a slight redundancy with the lighter vanilla mainstays (i.e. Guerlain SDV, Perry Ellis Oud Black Vanilla Absolute, Tauerville Vanilla Flash) but it's hard to dispute that Aoud Vanille is a step removed from the vanilla dominance of those perfumes.

8 out of 10
08th May, 2017

Seher Al Kalemat by Arabian Oud

Arabian Oud Kalemat Black (Seher/Sehr Al Kalemat) is very similar to the original Kalemat, but to my nose, it has a bit of a darker vibe, almost dirty like black tar. Perhaps the the opening combination of olibanum (incense) and basil that fosters a sharper, dirtier edge to the otherwise familiar (like the original) trio of vanilla, amber, and oud.

Similarly a superb performer like the original, but ultimately not interesting enough to merit buying it in addition to the original, and not quite as purely interesting as the original.

7 out of 10
05th May, 2017

M7 by Yves Saint Laurent

Dark, resinous, and powerful, in terms of intensity, YSL M7 lives up to the hype that it's built as a bygone fragrance from the Tom Ford era of YSL. Seemingly a mix of oud, incense, and resin, but nothing too well-defined, lending credence to its superb blending. I do like how it sweetens and the sharpeness gives way to sweetness in the dry down. It's sophisticated, masculine, and strong, while not being overpowering or cloying.

This original is definitely superior to the reformulated version, M7 Oud Absolu, that is part of a line, "La Collection," of a handful of reformulations of vaulted classics, like Jazz.

Certainly for an EDT, it's superlative in terms of power, along the likes of the 1980s powerhouses, or even some of the Mugler A*Men line.

I'm not blown away but I'd still say it leans more toward a "love" than a "like" so I'd be happy to have more than my decant but am also content to test my decant out while I test the market, though the market surely seems high for it.

8 out of 10
04th May, 2017

Leather Blend by Davidoff

The much-hyped Davidoff Leather Blend achieves in a leather fragrance one of the expressions I like most--a sweeter, less animalic leather than leans closer to a sumptuous gourmand than a gritty leather experience.

A mix of leather, amber, rose, and black pepper, it's mainly sweet and resinous but has a but the rose and pepper lend, respectively, floral and spice to the mix.

Usage is primarily cold weather, the usual attribute of fragrances involving leather, but it's not so dark that it couldn't be enjoyed on summer nights. And it's surely unisex, though I imagine it was originally developed with women in mind.

Performance is quite good, above average for an EDP without being extreme. Still, the value is excellent, at $65 for a 100ml bottle on Notino currently. This is definitely an "instant love" for me, and I bottle I want to acquire.

8 out of 10
03rd May, 2017

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

I finally got around to sampling YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme today, and I'm impressed as I expected. Certainly within the fougere realm, but quite a bit cleaner and less spicy than some of its counterparts (like Chanel Pour Monsieur and YSL Jazz, for example), Rive Gauche lives up to the hype of being an understated gentleman's fragrance that, like the others, emanates maturity and class while not smelling too much of old men, or causing a stink.

Certainly the lavender plays in very significantly in Rive Gauche, as with most fougeres, but it's especially front-and-center to the effect of providing that cleanness into the dry down, following a bergamot/rosemary opening. I'm fortunate to not get too much of the star anise at the opening, as I'd be worried that it'd render it a bit too bitter for my liking. And it the dry down is the familiar mix of oakmoss and other woody/earthy notes--in this case, the soft, semi-sweet guaiac wood with the sharper, earthy patchouli.

A very impressive blend, and one that performs pretty well on my skin, great on longevity, but a more modest projector, contra the reports of some that get a lot of projection from it. It definitely pales in comparison to YSL Jazz or Chanel Pour Monsieur EDP, but it's still solid.

A welcome future addition to my collection, YSL Rive Gauche is yet another gentleman's staple I'm happy to have finally gotten around to trying.

8 out of 10
02nd May, 2017

Live Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

The third iteration of Jazz, Live Jazz, released in 1998, a decade after the original, is a significant departure from the original and Jazz Prestige in that it's much fresher and less spicy.

It opens with a citrus lemon/grapefruit mix and mint, drying down into a slightly herbal heart with some punch via coriander, and finally a base of cedar and ambergris. As with the other Jazz renditions, the woody notes stand out most in the dry down, which in this case is the cedar.

With Live Jazz, versatility is up but performance, masculinity, and a semblance of a more classic style are each lower. It's a trade-off that makes Live Jazz more pleasing to most, even for use by women, but will undoubtedly turn away those that enjoy the spiciness of the original and especially Jazz Prestige. Still, Live Jazz is a very pleasant, mildly fresh and woody blend that serves its purpose---a modern take on the more classic fragrance.

7 out of 10
20th April, 2017

Jazz Prestige by Yves Saint Laurent

YSL Jazz Prestige is noticeably sharper and spicier than the original Jazz, having sampled the original only yesterday. It's certainly similar, or at least an homage, to the original released five years prior.

The most substantial deviation from the original occurs during opening, during which the sharp blast of spiciness is borderline overwhelming, whereas the original remained a bit more consistent. In the dry down, though, Jazz Prestige is much closer to the original Jazz

Oakmoss factors in heavily still, with a mix of some citrus, more amplified spice via cinnamon and pepper, and a similar dry down of leather, sandalwood, patchouli, and of course the oakmoss. None of the drydown elements stand out except the oakmoss--I get hints of leather and patchouli, and a generally woodiness of sandalwood or possibly cedar, but nothing striking apart from the oakmoss, now no longer used in natural form

Despite the higher-rated consensus of Jazz Prestige, I slightly prefer the balance and more classic feel of the original Jazz, but only slightly. Jazz Prestige is still a fun wear, a good throwback, and a powerful masculine option. I'm not sure I'd seek this one out either but certainly this is worthy of having continued the Jazz name. Next will be Live Jazz.

7 out of 10
19th April, 2017
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Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

Finally happy to try this as I've heard much about it, and YSL Jazz harkens back to the both the power fragrance era and the end of the era during which fougeres were prominent, as it seems to be both a bit of a fougere as well as a heavier spicier winter order.

I definitely get more "spicy" than "fresh" as I smell Jazz, but it's indubitably a bit of both. However, the lavender, from the opening through much of the dry down, remains a prominent accord that makes it lean toward fougere. However, the spicy elements of cinnamon, sandalwood, cedar, leather, tobacco, and most notably, oakmoss, take over in the dry down and give Jazz a heavier character than a "true" fougere, perhaps.

I'm not in love with Jazz specifically but I'm fond of the men's fragrances of the era, as many like this are masculine and strong and harken back to a time now 30 years removed.

As with many vintage 1980s, the performance is just fine, as it projects and lasts plenty.

7 out of 10
18th April, 2017

Rush for Men by Gucci

One of the more vaunted discontinued Gucci Fragrances (like Pour Homme and Envy), Rush for Men has a strong reputation and seemingly special place in the hearts of many male fragrance enthusiasts, so I decided to sample it for the first time by ordering a few sample vials off eBay.

The scent is itself is not at all disappointing, a fresh/spicy/woody mix of lavender, cypress, sandalwood, cedar, and musk, mainly. Several descriptors come to mind: versatile, year-round, masculine.

Performance is a bit more limited than I'd hoped for, being pretty modest on project, albeit with decent longevity.

Certainly Rush for Men is a fragrance I'd have in my collection if it were much cheaper (I imagine it was modestly priced on FragranceNet not so long ago)

8 out of 10
17th April, 2017

Boisé Fruité by Montale

Montale Boise Fruite, while not smelling much like Creed Silver Mountain Water out of the tester atomizer I received, does smell a lot more like SMW on skin. Simply put, it's a pretty good approximation with decent performance, but it falls a bit in between the real thing and a good cheap like Deray Parfums White Attitude that's $20 for 100ml. AT over $100 for 100ml on the secondary market, Boise Fruite falls short of having the real smell though it does embody better performance than other imitations. A decent creation by Montale but unoriginal and probably not the best cheaper clone option.

7 out of 10
13th April, 2017

Battito d'Ali by Profumum

Profumum rarely fails to deliver an interesting mix, and while Battito d'Ali isn't necessarily a mix I'd expect to love, it's nonetheless a well-executed creation that showcases the high quality of the brand.

I get mainly a white floral accord from it so I'm a little surprised to see that the only, or at least the primary, floral note is orange flower, which is usually quite fresh itself.

Beyond the orange flower, the other notes include vanilla, myrrh, coconut, and cacao. The result is a sweet, slightly powdery floral mix.

Undoubtedly it leans feminine, but as with, say, Tom Ford Shanghai Lily, since it's sufficiently fresh and sweet, it's nonetheless pleasant enough for some men to wear.

Performance is strong, as with most Profumums. It reminds me a bit of Meringa, the Osswald boutique exclusive, in their shared sweetness and dominant note of orange flower. They're definitely related, though Meringa is creamier and appropriately more like meringue, while Batitto d'Ali has the coconut side.

An interesting blend but not one I'd likely buy a full bottle of Battito d'Ali---still, another solid entry from Profumum.

7 out of 10
11th April, 2017

Monserrat by Bruno Fazzolari

Bruno Fazzolari's Monserrat is another mostly-fresh entry with an apricot dominance and contributions from jasmine and citrus, specifically grapefruit. Neither committed to the fruity nor the strictly citrus, it's a blend that indubitably seems geared toward warm weather wearing but does't fall into the citrus-dominant lot. For me, it mainly comes down to whether the wearer likes apricot or not, as it's the standout for me, with the jasmine and grapefruit serving familiarly and well-blended enough in the background. I'm not a huge fan of apricot but I'm pleased with its tempered use in Monserrat.

Still, this is not a fragrance I would reach for much, even if I had a free bottle. Five still remains the preeminent warm weather option of the line, over Monserrat and Room 237. Monserrat was a nice try, as usual, and not a terrible performer, though certainly not meriting the price ($110 for 30ml, same as the others) on performance; you'd really need to love the scent in order to buy it.

6 out of 10

10th April, 2017

Lampblack by Bruno Fazzolari

Lampblack seems to be Bruno Fazzolari's most celebrated release, and so in purchasing the Portfolio sample set, I was most looking forward to trying out.

It lives up to the darkness of its name, perhaps best summarized as an "inky vetiver." I get a damp, earthy quality from it, but admittedly something also seemingly synthetic in the inky vein. I don't detect too many of the listed notes---citrus at the onset, sure, and maybe some pepper, but not benzoin or any of the other items; granted, some of the notes are probably imaginary as with Imaginary Authors.

Certainly geared more toward cold weather but not prohibitively dense for warm weather wearing, especially at night, Lampblack is strong but not overwhelming, consistent with what I'm sensing is a trend of good projection but great longevity from Bruno Fazzolari's line.

I'm not in love with it but I do like it more than I generally like vetiver-dominant fragrances, and it makes for an intriguing entry in the line.

7 out of 10
06th April, 2017

Room 237 by Bruno Fazzolari

Bruno Fazzolari Room 237 is, like Five, clearly geared toward warm weather wearing, but unlike Five, Room 237 is deliberately synthetic and geared toward a sort of bathroom cleaner vibe, and not in a very appealing way.

Still, I'm more or less ambivalent toward Room 237, as, while there are synthetic elements to it, there are components that seem to be genuine citrus, floral, and other plants, though indistinct enough to be pretty uninteresting.

I can't see the appeal, really, even from a generic standpoint, but at the same time I don't find it unpleasant. I can't say I share the hate for it that many do, too, as it doesn't project well enough to even bring out its bad side, if it has one.

Probably not worth smelling unless you get the Portfolio Set like I did. Onto the next.

6 out of 10
05th April, 2017

Five by Bruno Fazzolari

Five is my first try from Bruno Fazzolari and it does not disappoint. A citrus/herbal blend, a little bit like a traditional cologne, but modernized with the herbal side of rosemary. Neither boastful nor shy, neither too fleeting nor too aromatic, Five is a composition that strikes a a pleasant balance seldom achieved by fragrances that seem geared toward warm weather.

The citrus is definitely a blended citrus, without the dominance of any one fruit, a harmony of orange and lemon. I'm often a fan of the way that petitgrain mixes with citrus and Five is no exception, as the earthy, wheaty quality of petitgrain contrasts the very fresh citrus blend poignantly, with rosemary lingering in the background to give an herbal feel that isn't overwhelmingly herbal.

Five performs pretty well, as well, giving hours of decent projection and hours more as a skin scent, so certainly above the norm for a warm weather EDP. Still, its full bottle pricing of $110 for 30ml is a bit steep, so this one I' need to sleep on and try some more before stomaching the pricing.

8 out of 10
04th April, 2017

Gucci Intense Oud by Gucci

Gucci Intense Oud is a good release, a designer-priced (especially on the grey market) oud/incense offering with niche quality.

Leather is listed in the mix but I don't get it, mainly just the olibanum and oud, with some woody notes as well, perhaps cedar or oak.

Overall, there's not much to it, and its elegance is in that simplicity. If there IS leather, it's hardly all that animalic, but rather a smooth contributor to an otherwise smooth blend of incense and oud.

The closest comparison I can make is to the more refined By Kilian Incense Oud, which is undoubtedly smoother yet substantially more expensive at retail at ($395 for 50ml) than Gucci Intense Oud's pricing on Notino of $90 for 90ml.

While it's not all that daring or complex, I concede that it's unusual to find a fragrance so well put-together at designer pricing.

Performance is very good overall, both in terms of projection and longevity.

Not one I'd necessarily buy since I own By Kilian Incense Oud, but one I'd surely consider.

8 out of 10
03rd April, 2017

Antidote by Viktor & Rolf

I thought I'd never smelled Viktor & Rolf Antidote but upon obtaining a decant of an older batch just recently, I've remembered that this is something I do recall from a decade ago, and it's phenomenal, mysterious, and signature scent worthy. Perhaps some nostalgia, even from a decade ago, makes me want to keep smelling it over and over again, but it's likely the combination of notes that hits a few areas just right.

The note listing is immense, so I'd mainly hone in a few accords: the freshness of the lavender, soft woodiness of the cedar, and sharpness of the mint that adds a little bit of an edge to an otherwise smooth and unassuming mixture. I

Antidote is classic, vaguely in the barbershop fougere sort of way, a little closer to Chanel Pour Monsieur EDT than some of the other kin, but still in separate territory, a composition somehow unlike those yet reminiscent of the same type of gentleman that might wear it.

Performance is quite stellar for an EDT, with quite strong projection and longevity.

Really a superb blend, an instant favorite and one that I hope to acquire.

9 out of 10
31st March, 2017

Layton by Parfums de Marly

One of the more recent releases from Parfums De Marly, Layton, seems to very popular, and I can see why, it's quite easy-to-wear and pleasing, a fresh spicy mix that leads with a strong mix of apple and lavender, giving way to floral heart and woody pepper base.

I like the apple at the beginning and the pepper at the end the most, those notes standing out most prominently, though I'm a little disappointed that the apple that's so front-and-center in the opening didn't last a bit longer into the dry down, but that's part of its charm, that it becomes a little more woody and even generic in the dry down.

To me, this is a very agreeable mix, stereotypically masculine but plausibly unisex, and a decent performer. Nothing shocking, but a safe, reliable, middle-of-the-road scent that is intriguing enough to be worth a little more, but probably not even the discounted price of $194 for 125ml on Notino, in my opinion.

A good performer, as well, average or slightly above average for an EDP, with medium projection and very good longevity.

7 out of 10
29th March, 2017

Galloway by Parfums de Marly

I definitely agree that Parfums de Marly Galloway, while not having exactly the same note breakdown, smells curiously like Lalique White, which is generally a fine compliment. Galloway is sophisticated and proper, nicely done, and a better perform that Lalique White, almost indisputably. However, for its increased pricing of about $160 for 125ml on Notino, Galloway is simply too untenably pricey in contrast to Lalique White, for the same volume at an eighth of the cost of Galloway.

Overall, Galloway is nice, an inoffensive combination of citrus, pepper, and musk that works for all genders in all seasons, but it's simply not enough of a standout (and too eerily similar to Lalique White) to merit a lot of consideration on its own, despite the fact that others will see less of a similarity. Judge for yourselves, though!

7 out of 10
28th March, 2017

Darley by Parfums de Marly

Parfums de Marly Darley is one of the less-celebrated members of the house, and the likeness to Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male is undoubtedly part of the reason that Darley gets less glory. Darley isn't particularly daring.

Still, it's very pleasant and agreeable, as a citrus/mint opening gives way to a floral heart (rose, orange blossom, jasmine, rosemary) and a woody dry down of sandalwood and guaiac, primarily. It has that nutty/fizzy edge to it like Le Male without the almond itself.

Darley is far more a Le Male clone than Profumum Antico Caruso, as many accuse the latter of this but I think Darley accomplishes the feat of paying tribute to Le Male far better than AC. Both, though, are better than Le Male, and Darley certainly feels a little more sophisticated in that it is not quite as sweet as Le Male.

Performance is decent, about moderate on project but well above average on longevity.

Darley is a worthy scent but even at discounted pricing on the secondary market ($151 for 125ml on Notino), I'd be hard-pressed to want to buy a full-bottle.

7 out of 10
27th March, 2017

Chypre Palatin by MDCI

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin is a heavy chypre with a strong mix of lavender and labdanum in the opening, giving it a sharp edge from the onset, the dry down giving way to a floral heart of iris, rose, and gardenia, and finally a hodgepodge of base notes, most of which I don't detect at all, the standouts of which for me are the oakmoss and castoreum, fostering a woody and animalic combination. I barely detect any sweetness at all that one might expect from vanilla or benzoin.

Chypre Palatin leans masculine, as one might expect, but it's unisex enough that women could enjoy it too---it has a classic-enough appeal for both genders.

It's a good performer, ideal for cold weather, as it might simply be too cloying in the summer heat. It projects very strongly for about an hour and then has modest projection for several hours thereafter.

A nice entry but one that doesn't quite fit in with my ideal type of chypre, so not one I'll be pursuing further.

7 out of 10
24th March, 2017

Le Barbier de Tangier by MDCI

Parfums MDCI Le Barbier de Tangier is a more agreeable barbershop scent than Invasion Barbare, in my opinion, but lacks the daring elements to which many are drawn by Invasion Barbare.

The easiest way of classifying the difference is to say that LBDT is lighter and cleaner, and therefore less potentially offensive than IB.

LBDT is more citrus-intensive at the opening and fresher in the dry down, contra the heavy dose of patchouli I get out of IB in its dry down.

Think citrus and lavender, giving way to petigrain and woods, mainly. I hardly get any apple or patchouli in the heart but this might have something to do with its performance, which isn't very strong.

LBDT is safe, agreeable, but uninspiring, but I'd nonetheless aver that I like and would wear the scent, and would even buy a bottle if it were extremely lower in price, as $250 for 75ml is far too steep for a scent that's not terribly interesting, not a great performer, and vaguely resembles cheaper barbershop counterparts.

7 out of 10

23rd March, 2017

Velvet Exotic Leather by Dolce & Gabbana

My second try from the high-end Dolce & Gabbana Velvet line (after Velvet Desert Oud), Velvet Exotic Leather is a bright, interesting mix of leather, fruity accords that are probably yielded mostly by the juniper and perhaps the labdanum, some sweetness (perhaps attributed to the rum, even), as well as some noticeable incense that comes off quite spicy rather than smoky.

The leather itself isn't particularly dominant but rather part of a reasonably-balanced ensemble, so it's not overly animalic, despite the alleged presence of clary sage, which can often exacerbate some of the dirtiness of a composition. Rather, it's quite sweet overall, not specifically boozy but there's something sweet about it that's not strictly the juniper, so I credit that to the rum. The note combination is odd, though--there's lavender, allegedly, but I wouldn't say it's very floral or fresh, either.

It seems like a solid performer, with medium/high projection and longevity. It ought to work for men and women alike, and is surely cold-weather-leaning while at the same time perhaps being acceptable in some warm weather situations if applied lightly. My inclination with leather and incense is to generally avoid them in the summer except under unusual circumstances.

The 50ml EDP bottle retails for $230 but is available on Notino at $130, and the latter price seems more appropriate, given that for a 50ml bottle, it doesn't dazzle like its similarly-priced counterpart brands like Tom Ford Private Blend or By Kilian.

It's a nice fragrance and a decant that I'll hang on to but not one I'll likely buy even at the secondary market pricing. It works well, but fails to really impress me, though it's agreeable enough.

7 out of 10
22nd March, 2017

1270 by Frapin

Frapin 1270 is agreeable and pleasant, and, if cheaper, one I'd gravitate toward but it suffers from being a little uninspiring.

Don't get me wrong---I like its sweetness, a mix of honeyed nuts, cocoa, and seemingly a variety of fruit---but its performance is just so limited. As it dries down into a bed of woods and leather, it becomes a little bit less of a sweet gourmand and more of a balanced fragrance that, while still much like fruity baked goods, nonetheless comes back to a more familiar place with some traditional cold weather elements.

Its inspiration is cognac, and I have to say upon first wearing that it doesn't strike me as especially boozy but far more of the sweet and fruity mix. The opening was more akin to Profumum Acqua e Zucchero (sweet, fruity water) and the dry down is more like a sweet tobacco/incense.

I like a bit, but it's difficult to enjoy a lot in colder weather when it doesn't project.

7 out of 10
21st March, 2017