Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

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Total Reviews: 903

Clouds' Illusion by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Clouds Illusion EDP is one of several products of a campaign in 2019 in the Eau My Soul group on Facebook inspired by the Joni Mitchell song ďBoth Sides Now,Ē resulting in Clouds (with more natural ingredients) in both EDP and Parfum form, as well as Clouds Illusion (with fewer natural ingredients) in both EDP and Parfum form.

I chose the Clouds Illusion EDP in a 50ml size, and Iíve really been delighted by the fragrance since first smelling it. The principal notes are orris, narcissus, vanilla, hay, and sandalwoodórecreations, as opposed to Clouds, which is composed of more natural (and therefore more expensive) ingredients.

Clouds Illusion is bright, sweet, powdery, and fresh, a mix of sweetness of the vanilla, powdery and creamy qualities of the orris, the lovely narcissus, and some of the pep of the hay, over what I perceive as a sandalwood base. Itís not sharp or screechy at all in the way that I fear orris/iris to sometimes be, but rather, itís so harmonious and easy to wear, itís really a flattering jack of all trades. It scratches my neverending itch for sweet fragrances while also offering orris in a lovely presentation that I find both comforting and easy to wear, along with narcissus, though the fragrance does not end up being overwhelmingly floral, so itís a recommended try. Moreover, it performs well, like pretty much everything Iíve tried from Sarahís catalogue, and good performance is always a plus.

Clouds Illusion (along with Clouds) is sold in the UK via the 4160 Tuesdays site and in the US via Krystal Fragrance. The US pricing is $180 for 100ml / $120 for 50ml, very much in line with most of the lineís pricing on this side of the Atlantic, and Clouds Illusion is a versatile fragrance with a high value, in my opinion. Itís frankly on my list to buy a backup bottle of at some point, because I really enjoy wearing a lot of it.

Iíve a sample of Clouds, as well (the parfum, I believe), so Iíll need to give that a full try too, and report back, but from initially smelling the few different versions on paper, I can advise that while there are some differences among the four, all four are great. I think Clouds Illusion EDP comes off as the lightest/freshest/brightest, but really, all of them are great and comparable, yet interesting in their own ways.

8 out of 10
03rd January, 2020

Telegrama by Imaginary Authors

Itís my third or fourth wearing of Imaginary Authorsí latest release, Telegrama, and I canít get enough of it. Itís fresh, sweet, chalky, highly interesting, and yet is reasonably agreeable, like other recent releases Saint Julep and Sundrunk, in that itís accessible and fresh for fans for warm-weather-friendly fragrances only, but contains a lot of depth and nuance, like the aforementioned releases.

The listed notes are talc, lavender, black pepper, teak, amyris, vanilla powder, and fresh linens, with presumably the last of these being the ďimaginaryĒ note, an attribute common to each and every perfume of the house.

The black pepper, talc, and teak provide a viable contrast to the robust lavenderóTelegramaís standout note, in my opinionóand the vanilla powder, which acts as a sweet-yet-powdery anchor to the fragrance as it dries down. Itís linen-fresh yet sweet, slightly powdery (but not screechy or sharp), and just a bit woody, spicy, and chalky to provide some great texture and structure underneath.

It performs well, tooóperhaps not a beast like Cape Heartache, Memoirs of a Trespasser, or A City on Fire, but just a notch down, which feels right, given the versatile type of fragrance it is. And its bottle design is as nice as ever, with a two-color theme to the usual one-color display, very much on the nose while somehow being a bit different from prior bottlesí designs.

Like everything that Josh Meyer releases, Telegrama is innovative and intriguing. I donít own every perfume in the IA lineup, but I find it difficult not to admire the artistry in even the fragrances of which Iíve not purchased a bottle, and in that respect, Iíd always encourage newcomers to the brand to try the full line and see what clicks with your personal style.

Telegrama is instant ďloveĒ for me, providing something new but also with lovable familiar characters (lavender and especially vanilla) but in a different story, the result being a perfume thatís both unique and versatile, as it feels perfectly suited for all seasons and situations. Itís among my very favorite releases from the house, just a touch below my favorite, Cape Heartache.

Telegrama is available on the IA website and great boutiques like Perfumology for what remains a fantastic price of $95 for 50ml, with the 14ml travel size available for $38. I deem it not only full bottle worthy but backup bottle worthy as well.

9 out of 10
02nd January, 2020

Nuit d'Issey Pulse of the Night by Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake Nuit DíIssey Pulse of the Night is one of the latest 2019 releases from this house of many flankers, and, like Noir Argent, an agreeable fragrance seemingly marketed to / designer for men.

Initially, it comes off sweeter and fruitier than Noir Argent, as was more or less my expectation from its name, which conjures a clubbing vibe, but almost immediately after applying it starts to descend into more of mix of tonka, leather, vanilla, vetiver, and resins, in that order. Itís very pleasant and agreeable, and inherently a bit more suited for the colder weather that the more year-round-friendly Noir Argent, which has citrus and pepper. Pulse of the Night is more like a Blvgari Man in Black in the sense that it blends several wintery elements together in a sweet/spicy mix. Pulse is no doubt meant for mass appeal, and it achieves that very well while being interesting enough to pursue.

Like Noir Argent, I quite like Pulse of the Night, overall. Itís more loyal to the ďNightĒ in its name than the ďPulseĒ and ends up being a workable, agreeable cold weather option, and a reasonable performer. Overall, itís a fine everyday scent, apropos enough for the office or a night out, somewhere between casual and serious, in my opinion.

The retail pricing is still in effect but like most other flankers, thereís reason to expect that itíll be within $50 for 100ml at some point, like 2018ís Noir Argent now is on FragranceNet, for example.

7 out of 10
19th December, 2019
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Gentle Fluidity (Gold Edition) by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I sampled Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Silver yesterday and now Iím sampling Gentle Fluidity Gold today. The background is that both fragrances are composed using the same notes but in different arrangementsóa humbling reminder of the power of chemistry and perfumery.

While Silver is a semi-fresh, sharp, herbal, and somewhat metallic perfume that strikes me as a menís signature scent, Gold is very sweet, more or less a gourmand fragrance dominated by vanilla. It has a sugary, light, fluffy quality to, almost along the lines of a marshmallow texture but without the marshmallow smell itself. There are hints of white musks, nutmeg, and woods, but in Gold, the juniper and coriander are far in the background, practically undetectable to my nose after hours of wearing.

Some compare it to Montale Intense Cafť without its coffee, but I donít even get much rose in Gold, so for me it remains primarily a vanilla-dominant scent, which isnít to say that itís too one-dimensional or boring, though, as it has some nuance but the spiciness of Silver (from the coriander and juniper) is virtually nonexistent in Gold, at least on my skin. It has a sort of dustiness, a dryness to it, as well, that prevents it from being an over-the-top gourmand, so that crafty restraint makes it more viable for more people than just gourmand lovers, Iíd say.

In summary, Gentle Fluidity Gold is a very nice vanilla scent: itís easy to wear, a reasonable performer, and even with my improved view on Silver, I still prefer it to Silver. However, at its retail pricing ($225 for a standard 70ml MFK bottle in the US), itís a far cry from an easy sell. And Iím afraid itís just uninteresting and safe enough to be good but not great, in my opinion, especially considering its pricing and the abundance of vanillas on the market, including scores of modestly-priced options.

7 out of 10
19th November, 2019

Gentle Fluidity (Silver Edition) by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Silver is one that I smelled along with Gold some months ago when they were on the verge of being released in the US, and while I was certainly much more moved the sweet Gold, I was interested in trying Silver so I made it one of my two samples to be included with my APLS order.

To Goldís sweetness, Silver is a sharp, metallic, herbal offering that, while surely unisex, reminds me of a menís signature scent of some kind. It starts out borderline unappealing, very much the sharp and metallic side, but dries down into a more pleasant, harmonious blend. Its pungent, almost heady, spicy vibes come from a healthy dose of juniper, but also coriander as supporting act, and an assortment of nutmeg, woods, musks, and vanilla. But really, the juniper (first) and the coriander (second,) are the standouts.

The very opening can be a bit much but overall, Gentle Fluidity Silver is a nice, year-round-friendly, versatile offering and it actually might be more noteworthy than Gold for that reason, despite Gold being a bit easier for me to love. Silver performs pretty well, being of reasonable density for hours and having good longevity. The retail of $225 for 70ml in the US is about on par with what Iíve come to expect from MFK but itís still a lot to ask if you donít love it.

Overall, Iíve become a fan despite finding it a little tricky on paper to start.

7 out of 10
18th November, 2019

Oud For Greatness by Initio

Second wearing of Initio Oud for Greatness some ten months after initially trying it out, following its late 2018 release, and itís still quite the interesting spicy oud fragrance that has once again become seasonally appropriate with the weather cooling down.

Its blend is full of provocative notesóoud, patchouli, saffron, lavender, patchouli, musksóand itís a strong arrangement, with some lavender to add freshness, nutmeg to add spicy, and saffron as a wildcard to complement what is dominantly an oud/patchouli blend, slightly reminiscent of Parfums de Marly Nisean in its general sense but even more vaguely like a Montale or Mancera aoud/oud-named fragrance, albeit slightly more complex.

Oud for Greatness feels rather floral on my skin, too, as I imagine there being rose or something similar in addition to the lavender. Itís not particularly sweet but more a spicy woody oud, though not an especially animalic oud, but a ďsafeĒ or ďsmoothĒ oud, as Iíd usually classify it.

Itís solid winter staple, in short. This is something I could wear regularly and not get tired of it, even if Iím not particularly amazed by it. As a side note, its bottle is beautiful, the eye reminding me of masonic imagery from National Treasure, clearly a visual upgrade from the other more sober Initio bottles in the same shape.

Itís for sale at great retailers like Perfumology, Osswald (from whom I obtained the sample), and Beverly Hills Perfumery, but doesnít come cheap, at only the 90ml size for $350 though there are sometime sales to be had.

I really like it, overall, but I donít think I need a bottle, maybe just a large decant. Rehab remains my favorite of the Initio line, though Blessed Baraka is another one that Iíve wanted to do a full sampling of.

7 out of 10
15th November, 2019

Bois Rouge by Tom Ford

Finally wearing the discontinued Tom Ford Bois Rouge, a bottle that I blind bought earlier this year, a great deal and purely by chanceóconsidering itís a discontinued fragrance from the Private Blend line thatís generally difficult to come byóhaving read good things about it, and those good things are generally true.

Itís spicy, woody, semi-animalic fragrance that feels both a little antiquated and right-on-the-nose as far as contemporary scent profile. Its note list consists of bergamot, florals (jasmine, lily of the valley), patchouli, woods (cedar, sandalwood), amber, leather, vanilla, and vetiver. Itís provocative while being harmonious, with patchouli, leather, and vetiver giving things a kick vs. the freshness of bergamot and the relative comfort of the florals, amber, vanilla, and woods. I enjoy its density and again how it harkens back to more classically masculine powerhouse fragrances while simultaneously being a modern unisex multifaceted creation.

Itís an outstanding performer, really quite great and consistent with the Tom ford Private Blend releases of the late 2000s, albeit not as much of a powerhouse as Tobacco Vanille, Noir de Noir, or Amber Absolute. And while itís in the same vein as Japon Noiróanother discontinued Private Blend from the 2000sóin terms of its spicy and slightly animalic character, Bois Rouge is not quite as provocative overall, Iíd say, despite being a little bit easier to wear than Japon Noir. The comparison is warranted, though.

Iím quite impressed by Bois Rouge and glad that I have it.

8 out of 10
14th November, 2019

Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb, specifically the juice with color from 2013 (or earlier), is especially great, before its reformulation to the current juice without color, but itís still great in its current incarnation. Iíd avoided Spicebomb for years after not liking it around the time of its release but Iíve warmed up to it (and then some) since that time, and I can easily see how itís a staple, particularly as a cold weather menís fragrance.

The concept of the fragrance is the mix of cool and hot spices, and I agree that itís effective in that wayóitís not overly powdery, spicy hot, spicy fresh, minty, or any one aspect, but rather, an ensemble of spices thatís very effective in how well itís blended. It has influences of pink pepper, saffron, tobacco, and elemi primarily, a sort of spicy, woody, slightly resinous blend that hits a lot of the right spots while not being too powdery.

The vintage in particular is a bit deeper, darker, and longer-lasting than the newer formulations, though the newer stuff is still great, just slightly more superficial. I do not regard the difference between the newer and older juice significant enough to regard the newer juice as not worth buying. It surely still is, particularly at a nice discount via a grey market site.

As a side note, I donít regard it as all that similar to Bvlgari Man in Black, which has sweeter and leathery touches far more so than Spicebomb.

Overall, Spicebomb is a great fragrance that took way too long for me to warm up to and Iím delighted to not only have it in its current formulation but also a ďvintageĒ version as well. Even the newer version performs quite well.

8 out of 10
13th November, 2019

Maderas de Oriente Oscuro by PK Perfumes

PK Perfumes Maderas de Oriente Oscuro is a 2018 release and the winner of the Art and Olfaction Ė Aftel Award, created by perfumer/owner Paul Kiler. It comes off very sharp out of the bottle but is quickly revealed to be a wonderfully-blended resinous/woody fragrance on my skin.

Its note list is interesting and diverse enough that I wouldnít do it justice except to list it in full, per the website, but what comes off most prominently on my skin are the resins, cherrywood/hickorywood smoke, brown sugar, and perhaps just wee hints of cherry and pacthcouli:

Guaiacwood, Blood Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Agarwood.
Earth, Mushroom, Patchouli, Vetiver.
Honey, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Ambers.
Clove, Anise, Cherry, Tobacco, Cherrywood Smoke, and Hickorywood Smoke.

MDOO is delightfully rich and dense, the type of fragrance that feels especially appropriate this time of year while the weather is cooling down in the northern hemisphere. It has boozy undertones, almost smelling of mahogany wood, freshly lacquered up. Thereís something pleasantly sharp and acidic about it that pairs well with the woody dominance and sweet hints.

Pricing is very reasonable, at the largest size, under than $2/ml line that I ramble on about, at $115/$75/$55 for 60ml/30ml/15ml with samples available as well like the one pictured. It is sold, along with the rest of the PK catalogue, only through the PK Perfumes website, to my knowledge.

Iím a big fan of MDOO and it might have to be my first PK Perfumes bottle buy, but Iíll give it some more tries in the meantime.

8 out of 10
07th November, 2019

Cafe Diem by PK Perfumes

My second try of PK Perfumes, Cafť Diem, is a fragrance which scarcely smells like coffee in its opening but develops somewhat of a coffee character as it dries down. From its onset, itís a crossover between a fresh spicy and a warm spicy fragrance, slightly sweet, slightly boozy in a whiskey sort of way, but overall not that heavy or dense.

As is often the case, it opens a little sharper and dries down to be more balanced, but still with some of the spicy elements, a curious mix of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and other familiar players. The note list is quite long!

Overall, I quite like Cafť Diem, especially when it dries down, at which point it feels a bit more in balance. Iíd recommend it as a boozy, slightly coffee-laden alternative to some of the powerhouses, too, since while itís not transparent or weak, itís definitely not a powerhouse in a way that many might find prohibitive. Density-wise, itís more in line with Legendary Fragrances Barista than Kerosene Follow or Sebastiane Espresso Royale in terms of coffee scents.

Still, itís a reasonable value in that $2/ml range that I find appropriate for niche/indie offerings, sold only through the PK website, I believe. The pricing for Cafť Diem is $125/$85/$55 for 60ml/30ml/15ml and samples are available on the website.

Iíve a decent amount of coffee-intensive and boozy scents so while I tend to like many such fragrances, Iím inherently a bit discriminating when it comes to new ones, so Iíll be trying Cafť Diem some more, but itís very pleasant and one Iíd recommend everyone looking into. 2 tries from PK so far, and both are solid offerings.

7 out of 10
05th November, 2019

Precious Oud by Mancera

Mancera Precious Oud is yet another 2019 release the Montale/Mancera empire that keeps churning out new fragrances like a factory. I really enjoyed sampling Montale Oud Dream the other day and Mancera Precious Oud does not disappoint, either. The note list is complex, not Roja-esque, but a lot more than the rose/patchouli/oud breakdown of Oud Dream.

Precoius Oud has the rose and oud, unsurprisingly, but it has sweet and boozy hints as well: tiramisu, whiskey, and leather are listed verbatim, along with a handful of florals and a familiar dry down of patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, and oakmoss. So the note list is a lot to digest, no food pun intended, but the upshot for me as a balance between a rose/oud fragrance and a gourmand sweet/boozy fragrance, and a pretty even balance, at that. Itís a nod to both the rose/oud lovers and gourmand lovers.

As usual, the performance is very strong, certainly more than satisfactory for the type of scent it is, something Iíd be more inclined to wear in cooler weather, when the juice needs to be a bit stronger to stand out.

I might not quite love it as much as Oud Dream but itís surely a winner, for me, one I need to try some more but a release that Iím impressed with upon trying it even just once.

The only retail option in the US that I see for now is Osswald NYC, a great shop, but theyíre currently sold out of it, and itís almost certainly at the standard Mancera pricing of $180 for 120m

Overall, Iím very pleased with this one, another banger from this company.

8 out of 10

01st November, 2019

Fragrance One : Office for Men by Jeremy Fragrance

Fragrance One Ė Office for Men is the debut release from Jeremy Fragranceís brand, composed by Alberto Morillas. I found a decant at a very reasonable price and finally wanted to indulge my curiosity about the release, which is not found in brick-and-mortar stores but online only.

Reviews have been mixed but I regard it as agreeable but not terribly interesting. As its official description reads, it has a fresh opening, spicy mid, and woody dry down, a mix of citrus, other fruits, pepper, and ambroxan and perhaps other synthetic woody notes, as my best guess.

Its performance is okay, fairly pronounced at the opening but it dies off fairly quickly after a couple hours, when it becomes a skin scent.

I believe my decant is from the first batch, but currently itís in its third batch releaseótake from that what you willóat pricing of $180 for 100ml. This is very steep for the product, in my opinion, which has more the feeling of a designer clone (with modest performance) than something really inventive, even at a price of under $2 per ml.

If youíre curious as I was, perhaps seek out a sample, but I donít feel this release is terribly special, albeit very easy to wear and enjoy briefly.

7 out of 10
31st October, 2019

Baie 19 by Le Labo

Le Laboís latest Baie 19, which I first smelled in my local Nordstrom over the weekend and obtained a sample there, is very instantly pleasant out of the bottle, on paper, and now on skin, the effect being a fresh musky semi-sweet floral.

It uses ambroxan fairly heavily, that smooth synthetic sandalwood underscoring bits of juniper and patchouli, but the effect on me is almost an aldehydic floral. Itís a reasonably safe release, even safer than Tonka 25, but somewhat less interesting, almost a more muted alternative for those who find Tonka 25 disagreeable.

Pricing is the same as the rest of the standard line (not city exclusives, in other words): $275 for 100ml, $189 for 50ml, $82 for 15ml at Nordstrom at other boutiques like Luckyscent that contain it. It performs reasonably well, perhaps middle of the pack in the line.

Overall, I like it, but it doesnít move the needle much. Itís agreeable and quite likable but just not lovable enough to make as much of an impression as Tonka 25 did.

7 out of 10
30th October, 2019
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Oud Dream by Montale

Montale Oud Dreamís familiar note listing of rose, patchouli, and oudóno strangers to the Montale/Mancera catalogueóadd a fairly sweet, creamy twist that doesnít seem to be indicated by the notes. Itís instantly pleasant, with reasonably balanced blend of the three main notes but with almost a honey and whipped cream blend to creamily render it sort of a sweet fragrance while still being a rose/patchouli/oud. Also, there are powdery nuances, which make the blend not totally sweet-leaning but a little more nuanced, despite the brief note list.

Like most of the cold-weather-leaning Montale/Mancera fragrances, specifically with rose and/or oud, Oud Dream performs very well, with only a few modest sprays providing great sillage, density, and, so far, longevity, as expected.

This might be the most impressive Montale/Mancera release to me since Montale Arabians (of 2017), as much as I know that Montale Ristretto Intense Cafť and especially Mancera Instant Crush have been popular in recent months.

Oud Dream has the standard Montale retail pricing of $170 for 100ml and is available not only on the houseís website but great boutiques like Osswald NYC, Luckyscent, and Krystal Fragrance, though itíll usually move to the grey markets and Facebook sales eventually for less. Krystal Fragrance even has various decant sizes available at good prices.

Iíll enjoy my decant for a while but this will surely get bottle consideration too.

8 out of 10
29th October, 2019

ChŤvrefeuille Original by Creed

Creed Chevrefeuille, which translates to honeysuckle, is a discontinued grey-cap-era release that I regard as one of the best freshies of the house, very apropos in the dead heat of summer but comparably nice on a day like today (where I am) that starts off cool and ends up mildly warm.

Chevrefeuille is a freshie but is also dense and interesting enough to merit more attention than most of whatís out on the market, even if itís comparable to many of the previous and current Creed freshies in terms of overall quality. I liken it far more to the other discontinueds that I love (Epicea, Baie de Genievre, etc.) than, say, Silver Mountain Water, Himalaya, or even Green Irish Tweed. Thereís something about Chevrefeuille

The note breakdown consists of honeysuckle, ďherbaceous notes,Ē and the familiar Creed base of ambergris. Itís primarily floral and citrus, the sharp scent of honeysuckle predictably dominating the scent profile, but thereís a vague herbal quality to it as well, which, even though I think the herbaceous note description is a bit odd, is fairly spot-on. Itís fresh, floral, citrus, and herbal, though the ambergris base doesnít shine through as much as in the more watery compositions by the house.

Overall this is a great fragrance and one I recommend checking out if youíre ever able to. I see if for sale from time to time on Facebook and elsewhere and usually it doesnít drive as much of a price as some of the other discontinueds, but it merits comparable attention, in my opinion.

8 out of 10
24th October, 2019

Gucci Guilty Cologne by Gucci

Gucci Guilty Cologneís reception seems to be lukewarm overall, and while I can understand the bar being set fairly high by the three prior releases of 2017 and 2018óGuilty Absolute Pour Homme / Pour Femme and Guilty Oudóand I agree with some that find there to be a sort of calone-like prominence that makes for a very sharp marine vibe..

However, I donít find Gucci Guilty Cologne to be synthetic or general to the point of being unenjoyableóquite the opposite, as I really enjoy it, though I do have a little bit of difficulty describing it. It smells mainly of bergamot, cypress, violet, and, as mentioned before, a bit of a calone vibe, though no such note is listed.

Overall, itís fresh, but quite sharp, and I imagine thatís what turns some people off to it, but that itís a bit biting is part of what makes it interesting to me, perhaps not quite as inoffensive as its cologne name suggests. It performs pretty well but not anything outstandingóitís loud during its opening couple of hours and then fades fairly quickly into a skin scent. Itís a nice option for casual or daytime summer wearing, in my opinion.

As with the retail pricing of the other beloved Gucci Guilty offerings, Cologneís pricing of $95 for 90ml / $75 for 50ml is a reasonably tough sell, even tougher than the bolder, stronger Absolutes and Oud, so this would need to be a discount, grey market, or p2p type of sale. Still, Iím happy I blind bought it.

7 out of 10
22nd October, 2019

Bloodline by American Perfumer

Bloodline, by the American Perfumer boutique, was created by Hans Hendley, a limited edition of 15 of which I was lucky to obtain a bottle before it quickly sold out.

Itís dark, dense, rich, and very satisfying to someone like me thatís a huge fan of the winter pine resin type scents, slightly burnt but mostly a mix of various woody, earthy accordsómost of all, pine---though there are cedar, patchouli, and oakmoss in the mix, too. Labdanum adds to the smoky resin vibe and vanilla provides a sweet base, a point of contrast to the deep, albeit slightly sharp woody dominance.

With dark juice and extrait concentration, Bloodline unsurprisingly performs outstandingly, with tremendous longevity and density, though slightly less projection at first than the most extreme fragrances (some Slumberhouse offerings like Norne, Jeke, Ore, and Sova, and perhaps a couple of Tom Ford Private Blends like Tobacco Vanille and Amber Absolute come to mind as being slightly louder at the onset). Still, Bloodline is very strong and one need not apply much to enjoy it thoroughly.

A fairly easy comparison in the Hendley catalogue is to Fume, another dark, smoky scent, but while Fume more sharply focuses on the burning campfire accord, Bloodline leans toward more pine resin dominances with vanillic undertones. Quite different, but related, and Iíd always recommend Fume in any case, as it belongs to a similar family that includes Slumberhouse Norne, Dasein Winter Nights, La Curie Incendo, and Profumum Arso, all of which I love.

Overall, Bloodline is outstanding, and worthy of high praise above all else for its quality, belonging in the group of the aforementioned wintery delights.

8 out of 10
18th October, 2019

Amber Kiso by D.S. & Durga

D.S. & Durga Amber Kiso is a 2018 release from the Brooklyn niche house thatís been on my list to try, courtesy of a decant from a generous fragcomm member. Iíve come to really love amber and resins in general as fragrant notes and Iím often keen to try an amber when itís the first amber-named or amber-centric fragrance from a house. In this case, Amber Kiso was released simultaneously with Amber Teutonic.

Amber Kiso has a mainly dry, woody, animalic feel, not so much the sweet, creamy side of amber that otherwise makes it gourmand-leaning. This is not a gourmand, nor is it even particularly sweet. There is, however, a not of maple, so thereís a sort of resinous sweetness in addition to just the incense vibe that is evident from the opening. There are also woody and earthy notes of cypress, patchouli, and moss.

Perhaps the most noticeable additional accord is leather, though, as Amber Kiso comes off like an amber/leather mix from the onset. There are hints of Bowmakers in it, too, a sense of varnish, leather, woods, and sharpness that foster a similar vibe, or at least the strong suggestion that the two fragrances are in the same family. Bowmakers, though, commits to the varnish, whereas Amber Kiso, commits more to the amber.

The pricing for Amber Kiso is roughly the current standard pricing for the whole line, at $260 for 100ml and $175 for 50ml retail, though there are always deals to be had at retailers like Twisted Lily that carry the line. Like pretty much every fragrance Iíve tried from the line, Amber Kisoís pricing seems reasonable, not only because itís a particularly bold offering, but because it embodies the same degree of care and creativity that Iíve become accustomed to smelling from the house.

Overall, it performs well, highly dense from the start, not losing too much steam in the dry down, and a clear nice cold weather option, based on scent profile (I wouldnít wear this in the heatÖno sir), so itís frankly one that Iím likely going to buy a bottle of, but Iím glad I have this decant to try some more in the meantime, particularly as the weather cools down.

8 out of 10
17th October, 2019

Soleil Neige by Tom Ford

The latest Tom Ford Private Blend release is Soleil Neige, which translates to ďsun snow,Ē presumably hinting that itís a cold-weather daytime fragrance. It has a sparkly, fresh floral quality to it, slightly sweet. Thereís some citrus hints (bergamot, orange blossom), but not much fruitiness, further distancing it from seemingly being crafted for the summer, despite being fairly light as it dries down into a mix of florals (jasmine, rose) and a smooth base of labdanum, benzoin, vanilla, and musk.

It definitely feels most appropriate as a daytime wear, and while having feminine touches, is fairly unisex, overall. Some will find the floral / vanilla / musk blend to be inherently feminine, though, Iím sure, but Iíd still encourage anyone to try it out as itís fairly agreeable.

As often is the case, the retail cost of a Tom Ford Private Blend fragrance, even on the lower endócurrently $240 for 50mlófeels like a stretch, particularly for the relatively light offerings of the line, in contrast to the heavier, denser Tobacco Vanille, Noir de Noir, Tuscan Leather, etc., even in their reformulated incarnations. Something like Soleil Neige is a tough sell, but I still think itís a great fragrance and should be sought after on the secondary market or at a discount from retailers.

Overall, Iím quite happy with Soleil Neige and will enjoy it year round, I think, as a primarily daytime option.

8 out of 10
16th October, 2019

CocaÔne by Franck Boclet

Franck Boclet Cocaine, like Sugaróanother fragrance from this houseówhich I obtained a decant of some months back, Cocaine is a sugary, floral, ever so slightly fruity mix, highly sweet and provocative, almost heady, with the amount of sugar and vanilla I get.

Cocaine is slightly sharp, too, but itís definitely more a sweet fragrance than it is a sharp or powdery fragrance. Stereotypically, it would come off as a designer feminine fragrance, but itís well done enough that it would suit anyone that digs the sort of super sweet floral vibe. I certainly dig it, as it suits my penchant for sweet fragrances.

The notes themselves are more interesting and diverse, in fairness, so itís really a blended effect that creates such a top-heavy, sweet fragrance. I get whiffs of the pink pepper, bitter orange, tobacco caramel in the opening; not so much tobacco but the others fit. The heart is primarily floral (orchid, lily, tuberose), and the base is a mix of patchouli, vanilla, and monoi (which I had to look up; itís an extract of Tahitian gardenias, go figure!). Thereís not a ton of evolution but itís predictably a little louder and sharper in the opening and a little smoother in the dry down. The blend seems to remain pretty consistent, though.

Franck Boclet fragrances seem to be difficult to find in US retailers. FragranceX.com (based in NY) has a number of them for $130 / 100ml but not the two Iíve tried, either Cocaine or Sugar, so I guess these are more popular and only seemingly available in Europe.

Overall, I find Franck Boclet Cocaine a bit more interesting than Sugar, but still not something Iíd find myself wearing very often. If itís less than $1.5 / ml, its pricing is fair, though, given that it packs and punch and should be reasonably versatile for its fans. For me, itís tentatively a ďlikeĒ not a ďloveĒ despite it generally appealing to my appetites.

7 out of 10
14th October, 2019

Vikt by Slumberhouse

Finally sampling the discontinued Vikt by Slumberhouse, one of a number of storied perfumes from the line that came and went before I was fragrance-obsessed. Iím a big Slumberhouse fan and Vikt seems to have a strong reputation, so my expectations were high before I applied it via a spray-and-dab style, not

The notes are oud, styrax, and ravensara (in the laurel family from Madagascar), unsurprisingly a rich and pungent blendófloral and herbaceous with bits of oud and other resins that create a semi-sweet, woody, plant-like blend, which almost has a boozy absinthe-like quality to it, as I get hints of wormwood.

I liken it to a ďNorne with licorice/anisette,Ē though thatís a bit of a crude comparison. Still, it has some of the woody and resinous qualities of the more recent Norne will surely deviating its in own way to a floral, sweeter side. Overall, itís a creation that fits in with the darker / more cold-weather-friendly entries in the Slumberhouse catalogue, certainly distinct enough in its own right while feeling a hint related to Norne.

I regard the darker Slumberhouse fragrances (Norne, Jeke, Ore, Sova, Rume, and probably Zahd) as the zenith of performance, superlative in terms of both projection and longevity. Vikt isnít quite up their level, superb in terms of longevity but not quite as boastful, projection-wise, as the others. Still, it would surely be a worthwhile buy at their former pricing ($160 for 30ml) or even their updated pricing (due to be $220 or so for 30ml, I believe, per a recent livestream by Slumberhouse owner/perfumer Josh Lobb). The main question is whether one would track it down for lots more, and Iím not sure Iím as in love with Vikt was a I was with Zahd, another discontinued scent that was released in an even more limited run of 125 bottles, juust in 2013, unlike Vikt, which had a run of several years between the older marble style bottle and the more recent flask-style bottle.

I think Vikt is quite neat, though, something most Slumberhouse fans would appreciate, and itís more of a ďloveĒ than a ďlikeĒ for me, but not worth going crazy for on the tertiary market (i.e. eBay, p2p FB sales). But if you can come by a bottle at a reasonable price, itís a treasure, and Iíd certainly be interested in acquiring a bottle.

8 out of 10
11th October, 2019

Rolling in Love by By Kilian

The relatively new By Kilian Rolling in Love is delightful, a sort of sweet, creamy, semi-powdery floral. The ďkey notesĒ listed on the Kilian website seem reasonable and speak to the descriptors: almond milk, iris, and musk. Beyond those, thereís freesia, vanilla, and tonka, which mostly support the floral/powdery/creamy/sweet breakdown.

Rolling in Love strikes me as being marketed toward women but surely men who enjoy sweet and floral scentsóthough this isnít overwhelmingly eitheróitís a neat option, as it is for me. It doesnít evolve much, as it frankly doesnít open up all that sharply: it has a good balance among the various elementsóespecially the main threeófrom opening to dry down.

Interestingly enough, its retail pricing (at Saks, Nordstrom, etc.) is $240 for its standard 50ml refillable bottle, and this is cheaper than the retail for pretty much any other fragrance in the Kilian catalogue. Itís quite unusual for a new release to be priced below the rest of the pack.

This might be due to the main drawback of Rolling in Love, which is that itís not strikingly daring or unique, but rather, agreeable and familiar, but many are looking for the latter, for them, itíll work well, especially for women of all ages, Iíd say. Personally, Iíd like a decant of this, but as itís a ďlikeĒ not a ďloveĒ overall for me, I donít need a bottle. Surely worthy of sampling by all, though, as it holds the balance well among the florals and gourmand notes.

7 out of 10
10th October, 2019

Tango by Masque

Masque Milano Tango, Act 3, Perfume 4 from their current catalogue, is the final perfume as far as the order theyíve laid out, though not the final chronological release. It was among my favorites from the line from my initial smelling at the Masque Milano introductory event at Perfumology several months ago, and remains, in my opinion, one of the boldest entries in the line.

It is a predominantly resinous scent with spicy powdery twinges, not a gourmand-leaning or indulgent amber, nor something particularly creamy, but rather a dense, powerful fixation of resins characterized by an especially pungent opening and moderately animalic character throughout.

Tango opens with bergamot, black pepper, and cardamom, before moving to a heart of jasmine, rose, cumin, and patchouli, and then finally a base of vanilla, tonka, amber, leather, benzoin, and musks. Itís slightly floral but primarily spicy and powdery with an animalic side, though the resins, while not creamy, lean more sweet than powdery and animalic overall. Still, it feels decently powdery, too, not sweet and cinnamon-like MFK Grand Soir or Tom Ford Amber Absolute, and not quite as animalic as Profumum Ambra Aurea.

Tango is a great fragrance, a must-try for amber lovers, for whom the only question will be whether itís too powdery/spicy or redundant with other offerings, which is my main question. At $145 for 35ml, itís on the higher end of pricing in the line, and fairly high pricing in general, but it packs a punch and is worthwhile for amber fans, for whom it seems to be quite popular. Certainly worth a try, especially with the cooler weather coming up in the northern hemisphere, and one Iíll be pondering, myself.

8 out of 10
09th October, 2019

L'Attesa by Masque

Masque Milano LíAttesa is the palpably iris/orris-dominant offering from the line that is Act 3, Perfume 1, as designated on the bottle and cap, as usual. It smelled oddly appropriate on paper when I first got a sense of what it was like at the introductory event at Perfumology in June, but as always, it needs to be tried on skin.

It starts out with mixed burst of bergamot, neroli, creamy orris, and powdery iris, and interestingly enough, itís the creamier side that fades, giving way to a bit of a sharper, woody, borderline musky experience through the heart of the fragrance thatís technically dominated by the florals, not only the iris/orris but also tuberose and ylang ylang, giving way to a fairly stuble dry down of mysore sandalwood, oakmoss, and leather. It gives me a comfortably paper-like vibe, and even though the iris/orris and other florals lean a little sharp and powdery, itís nonetheless unobtrusive and walks the line between fun and serious.

LíAttesa is not as boastful in terms of projection as some of the other options, but the care put into the fragrance is obvious. Just as Mandala is an exploration of incense, LíAttesa is an exploration of iris/orris, at least to me. At $158 for 35ml, LíAttesa is on the higher end the brandís pricing (the lower end is $125), and like Mandala and Hemingway for incense and vetiver, LíAttesa is really a nod to lovers of orris/iris and it may seem odd to those less familiar and fond of those notes, but is really quite an agreeable composition, less boastful than Mandala and certainly less so than Hemingway.

This is certainly yet another interesting option from the line that I recommend everyone trying, as I see it as a versatile option with respect to season, occasion, and gender. Very pleasant and neat composition of orris/iris, predominantly.

7 out of 10
03rd October, 2019

Hemingway by Masque

Masque Milano (Homage to) Hemingway, or just ďHemingway,Ē Act 2, Perfume 3 from the line that I first smelled in sequence at Perfumologyís introductory event for the Masque Milano in June.

Itís palpably a vetiver-dominant fragrance, and, as owner/creative director Alessandro Brun emphasized, entails at least two types of vetiver (from Java and Haiti) and is, to my nose, a fairly sharp and bright vetiver experience while being sufficiently dark and smoky, really a jack of all trades. I find that it obtains an interesting middle-ground between ashy/smoky and fresh/bright. I wouldnít really call it fresh at all, but itís not a smoke monster (shout out to fans of Lost).

It opens with a pungent sharpness, the top notes of ginger and rhubarb no doubt facilitating this effective, with a heart of vetiver, drying down to a balanced blend of cedar, patchouli, and leather. Really, though, the blended vetiver heart tells most of the story as a sort of nod to Ernest Hemigwayís tenure in the Caribbean. I do not typically associate vetiver with the tropics, even though thatís where it comes from, since it feels like a suitable fragrant ingredient for the colder weather, but the same can be said of a lot of organisms that grow in hotter areas but whose yield nonetheless seems more apt for colder weather (i.e. coffee, chocolate, vanilla, oud).

My vetiver knowledge is far from extensive, but itís far more to the ashy side along the lines of Lalique Encre Noire than to the fresher side like Guerlain Vetiver, though thatís a gross oversimplification. Surely this strikes me as a vetiver for vetiver fans, however, and fans of vetiver will love it and those less familiar with vetiver may be confused by it.

Hemingway is an immersive vetiver experience, somewhat intense but not overwhelming. It performs very well, though, a significant scent cloud coming from a few fairly minor sprays from the sample atomizer, but its cost, $145 for 35ml, even with the beautiful presentation, indicates that, like most of the line, you should sample it and love it before buying. I personally find it to be a fun fragrant experience though I know that I tend to reach for vetiver fragrances very seldom (Iíve a few: Guerlain Vetiver, Roja Vetiver Extrait, and Lalique Encre Noire a la Extreme).

7 out of 10
02nd October, 2019

Mandala by Masque

Masque Milano Mandala is the second perfume from the second act, the sample obtained during an introductory event with Alessandro Brun at the former King of Prussia location of Perfumology, soon to re-open in Old City Philadelphia.

Mandala is a reference to the multicolored geometric creation of the same name from certain eastern religions, sometimes created with paint, sand, or textile, and they can be beautiful, artistic mixes of color and inspiration.

The fragrance itself is predominantly a multifaceted incense scent, somewhat bright, somewhat spicy, subtly nuanced, not an overly loud winter beast type of incense scent, but an incense scent for all seasons. The nutmeg and angelica in the opening foster a fairly sharp effect, angelica itself being somewhat bitter, before drying down to a more harmonic, albeit even more spice-laden blend of cinnamon, clove, and cardamom, before drying down to a woody base.

Overall, Mandala is yet another great creation from the minds at Masque Milano that is a bottle Iíll seriously need to consider buying, as I really love the complexity and intrigue of this composition.


Iíd especially recommend fans of incense fragrances to check out Mandala by ordering a spray sample from Perfumology, as the fragrance is distinct enough from other incense-dominant fragrances, given its varied note list, that it merits trying for uniqueness alone, even though the uniqueness is subtle, not a loud, in-your-face type of blast of resins along the lines of an Amber Absolute or Ambra Aurea. Like the other creations from this line, Mandala is created with care and subtlety.


I find the performance very satisfactory, not like the aforementioned beasts but still robust and thoroughly enjoyable. At $158 for 35ml retail, despite beautiful presentation, itís not cheap, so one really needs to love it to purchase it, but I imagine it would be an treasure for many incense fans in particular.

8 out of 10
01st October, 2019

Craze for Men by Armaf

Armaf Craze is essentially a clone of Parfums de Marly Pegasus, with its signature sweet-and-sharp almond-dominant delivery, also containing mixed florals, citruses, spices, and a creamy based of sandalwood, vanilla, and amber. It doesnít come off terribly floral but surely has a mixed sweet, spicy, woody, and powdery blend, not at all atypical of almond-heavy fragrances. Itís not controversial, but is still interesting, a cold weather option that walks the line between playful and serious.

It performs reasonably well, comparable to the original based on my recollection, and Iíd certainly suggest that fans of Pegasus looking for a cheaper option at least look into it, as Pegasus tends to be $150+ for a 125ml bottle, even on the grey market. I purchased a 100ml bottle of Craze on FragranceBuy.Ca at around $23 US, so at that price, itís a bargain even for those like me that arenít dazzled by its scent. Itís decent but not outstanding to me, something nice to spray on a cooler day, but it could be the answer to Pegasusí fans prayers as a cheaper alternative or stop gap.

6 out of 10
30th September, 2019

Blue Hole by Zara

Zara Blue Hole is a 2018 release that has the vibe of an icy citrus cologne, very fresh and sharp on its opening before quickly mellowing out and disappearing, as most Zara freshies tend to. Available at $19.90 for 100ml retail, though rather quickly put on sale to $12.90 from what I recall, itís a typically weakly-performing Zara fragrance but really a nice composition as far as scent goes, certainly welcome in the workplace or when I need a stop gap sort of 2-to-3 hour bridge thatís inoffensive yet invigorating. Iím a fan, mainly because the scent is reliably good despite the performance being subpar, but the latter is contemplated in the price. The name isnít particularly helpful but overall this is a winner from the house, all things considered.

7 out of 10
26th September, 2019

cK one Summer 2018 by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein CK One Summer 2018 is yet another pleasing entry in the line, like 2016, thatís not quite as good as my favorite, 2014. Thereís a fairly similar mojito vibe to 2016, and itís a listed note. Itís really virtually the same fragrance, which explains why I like both, with perhaps a touch of pineapple on top of the guava thatís also in 2016, with cedar and coconut in the base as opposed to just cedar in 2016. So by the notes, at least, itís a slightly more complex, fruitier offshoot of 2016óperhaps less mojito, more fruit. Again, itís very pleasing, easy to wear, and seems readily available on the cheap (under $20 on FragranceNet currently). Itís not much in terms of performers, like most Calvin Klein freshie fragrances nowadays, but itís a decent value and overall pretty nice, a like but not a love.

6 out of 10
25th September, 2019

cK one Summer 2016 by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein CK One Summer 2016 is one of the better iterations of the CK One Summer collection. I regard is a sort of sweet palm with mixed citruses and other fruit. Its note listing includes a mojito accord, which contrasts it from the more margarita-like vibe of its 2014 counterpart, and certainly the execution on 2016 isnít quite as pleasant as 2014, but 2016 still does give the tropical cocktail vibe, to put it crudely, while not veering off in an overly synthetic direction at any one point. Like 2014, itís good, not great, but certainly quite good for the money, as itís been available in its standard 100ml size for $20 at times, surely a bargain if there are qualms over the quality. The 2017-19 version are available on FragranceNet currently for such prices, though I expect the earlier versions like 2016 and especially 2014 might start demanding higher prices. Certainly a fun try and worth tracking down for the right price, but otherwise replicable via other options in a similar sweet fruity fresh category thatís fairly ubiquitous. Iíve 2018 and 2014 as well, with 2014 being my favorite and 2018 being roughly on par with 2016.

6 out of 10
24th September, 2019