Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

Total Reviews: 605

Sand Aoud by Mancera

Mancera Sand Aoud is one of the more agreeable aoud-named fragrances from the Mancera/Montale empire, in which aoud-named fragrances are numerous, seemingly beyond comparison to other western houses.

This isn't very oud-intensive, though, or at least the oud is not very medicinal or animalic as it sometimes can be. It's rather smooth to the point that it comes off more like leather, with some sweetness coming from the blackcurrant and vanilla and a bit of mystery (spice, woods) coming from the saffron. It's a harmonious grouping that is easy to wear, both for men and women, though preferable in cooler weather based on the collection of notes.

Performance is strong, as with most cold-weather-leaning Montale and Mancera offerings, and at $92 for 120ml on Notino, the value is strong. Even the retail pricing at $160 (or perhaps $180 with the increase) could be justified for this versatile cool weather winner.

It's a "like" not a "love" for, though, even as agreeable as it is. Unsurprisingly, the more Mancera and Montale fragrances one tries, the one more inevitably encounters some redundancy, and there definitely feels like some overlap between Mancera Sand Aoud and Montale Aoud Cuir d'Arabie despite the latter being a little dirtier in my recollection. They've a dry, leathery commonality, though I need to retry the Montale.

Very good stuff overall, though.

7 out of 10
30th November, 2017

Wood Haven by Kerosene

Wood Haven, like Santalum Slivers, is a pretty agreeable, slightly masculine-leaning citrus/woody blend from Kerosene. Wood Haven definitely leans more toward cold weather use, as while it contains a similar blend of mixed citrus and woods (cedar and guaiac), some of the other contributors of vetiver, ginger, and especially pepper are more prominent. So it's also spicy in addition to being woody and fresh.

Like Santalum Slivers, Wood Haven is certainly a fragrance I would happily wear on many occasions, but I'm just not quite inspired to buy it. $140 for 100ml is more than reasonable niche pricing, so Kerosene always has fair price points, but this fragrance is safe and agreeable when I enjoy the more daring, bold options from the house.

Fine on performance but not boastful, Wood Haven is noticeable but not imposing, roughly average for both projection and longevity. Usage occasions are yearround, and while it leans slightly masculine, this is realistically something that can be worn by anyone.

Certainly one I'll revisit over time and see if this review changes.

7 out of 10
29th November, 2017

Santalum Slivers by Kerosene

Santalum Slivers is one of a few entries from Kerosene that seems geared toward warm weather wearing rather than cold weather wearing, and as a woody/citrus blend, it can even lean toward year-round usage.

Its main characteristic is a blend of sandalwood and several citruses to create a fresh woody/citrus mix that leans slightly masculine but is really quite unisex, then is blended with pepper, musk, and vetiver in the dry down.

It's predictably a very pleasant mix overall, perhaps the most inoffensive offering from Kerosene, and, with Summer of 84, the only offering that seems more geared toward warm weather usage.

It performs pretty well, perhaps on par with Summer of 84, so more like a warm weather option that's a little fleeting but with some good base notes, but not up to the performance of most of the line.

For me it's a "like" not a "love" though, much like Summer of 84. I would like to continue to wear it but don't feel inclined to buy a bottle of it.

7 out of 10
28th November, 2017
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R'oud Elements by Kerosene

An oud/citrus combination primarily as advertised, Kerosene's first offering (I believe) in R'Oud Elements involves a heavy use of orange bitters to offset the oud, and this mixture is also smoothed over by a melange of creamy ingredients like amber, vanilla, lavender, and iris.

It doesn't have much evolution, though I never think of this as a bad thing, necessarily, but it usually seems worth pointing out. Except for a slightly harsher opening few moments, the balance between the oud and citrus remains the main story for the life the of the fragrance, with the creamy notes sitting in the background. I get vanilla and iris more than amber and lavender, but I can vaguely detect bits of all four.

This is a nice fragrance, an under-discussed offering from a house with some more boastful options like Copper Skies and Broken Theories, and more pronounced gourmands like Follow and Blackamil.

I'm not yet sold on R'oud Elements to the point of wanting to buy a bottle but with some additional sampling, I might eventually be on board. I see this is as a slightly masculine option for cold weather days. I doubt I'd wear this in the summer or at night. It seems to be cold weather scent that is also bright, usually a combination that I don't perceive in fragrance, but one that nonetheless makes me think of this as a casual or daytime wear for colder days.

Performance is solid, not quite as beastly as some of the other cold weather options but reasonable close.

Overall, at $140 for 100ml like the others, a reasonable consideration for a winter option that I'd recommend that others try.

7 out of 10
27th November, 2017

Hyacinth and a Mechanic by Tauerville

My final try from the Tauerville stories collection, Hyacinth and a Mechanic is the only entry that preceded the 2017 re-release for Luckyscent, having been available in 2016.

It's certainly the most provocative of the trio, as I regarding it as primarily a floral / animalic mix, but the note listening is curiously more benign, a mix of hyacinth, rose, leather, and woods, and based on that list, I'd expect something a little bit smoother, frankly.

But Hyacinth and a Mechanic comes off slightly biting, skanky, and even a bit funky, suggesting that the note list omits some key contributor(s).

Regardless, it performs well, is year-round and unisex friendly also, and remains a decent deal at $89 for 100ml for a well-above-average strength for an EDT.

The animalic vibe makes me not a huge fan of it but I'm nonetheless very intrigued by the blend and partly want to keep smelling it like one nags a toothache---just to see what continues to happen, even if a negative result seems probable.

6 out of 10
21st November, 2017

Captured By Candlelight by 4160 Tuesdays

Captured by Candlelight is a majestic scent, and marks another successful gourmand/sweet foray by Sarah McCartney and 4160 Tuesdays, though I confess I've mostly tried sweet scents from her thus far.

CBC is inarguably a gourmand, though, conjuring the sticky toffee pudding vibe, the holiday dessert laden with sweet, bready, and spicy elements.

CBC also has some sweet booziness from the cognac, in addition to the more solid food elements of cinnamon, toffee, fruits, hazelnuts, anchored with an inedible base of oak and candle wax.

Overall the experience is sweet cinnamon/toffee pudding with a cognac vibe and some underlying woods. Very pleasant, very sweet, and rewarding it its comfort.

I confess I don't specifically get candle wax from this but it does have a slightly waxy attribute overall and one could easily consider it similar in overall scent to a food-like candle, though I ultimately do not: it's far closer to actual food than to a candle imitating food, and in that respect, Sarah has created a superbly realistic and fun to wear gourmand.

CBC seems to me to be a versatile cold weather scent, as I could see myself wearing it just casually around the house all the same as I could see myself wearing it on a holiday.

It's also not heavy or dark enough that I'd totally shy away from wearing it on a summer evening, even. And perhaps it goes without say but this very true gourmand is quite unisex.

Performance-wise, it's very good, perhaps not quite as boastful as Eau My Soul or Maxed Out but comparable. And the price point is fair, at $100/$90 for 50ml via Indiescents and Olfactif, respectively.

I certainly intend to track down a bottle of this. Really delectable stuff.

8 out of 10
15th November, 2017

El Cosmico by D.S. & Durga

D.S. & Durga El Cosmico purports to evoke a dry woody desert, and in this respect I find it to be quite successful.

It entails the woody notes of oak and pine but without their lively fullness.

Additional contributors that add a certain spikiness are pepper and creosote. Pepper provides conventional spiciness but creosote is an odd, almost synthetic-smelling note that is almost dirty in its smokiness. Very odd stuff that I've only seen used a few times, in my estimation.

The projection of El Cosmico is pretty boastful to start and longevity seems to be quite good as well.

This is mainly a cold-weather scent for men but can really be used as liberally and by whomever sees it fit. I rejects being taxonomized in a traditional area, so it gets a nod of versatility above the burnt but more woody-heavy entries like Dasein Winter Nights or La Curie Incendo, which lend themselves pretty much exclusively to cold weather wearing.

I want to like El Cosmico more and I daresay that I'm close to that, but it just doesn't draw me in quite that much.

6 out of 10
13th November, 2017

Black Velvet Café by 4160 Tuesdays

Black Velvet Cafe marks yet another interesting entry from Sarah McCartney via her house 4160 Tuesdays.

It very much hits on its intended encapsulation, an antique wooden cafe with lush velvet interiors. It rings sophisticated, woody, and timeless, and calls to mind such a room and the things in it.

Its notes consists of tobacco, oud, leather, coffee, and according to some sources, chocolate. The effect is particularly a woody one and not that sweet, conjuring what such an environment might really smell like. The chocolate, if it's there, is a subtle, dark chocolate, and the coffee surely leans toward the earthy and bitter rather than sweet.

The overall mix might surprise some people, as the notes are well-blended together that fans of all of the notes might not disappointed to see their favorites featured. The presence of oud and coffee, for example, does not make them prominent.

Again, the effect is of a woody interior, antique or perhaps rustic, not necessarily dirty but at least worn in, saturated, time-tested.

Performance is great, as with most entries of hers that seem to be geared more toward cold weather wearing, like this is.

Pricing is $110 for 30ml EDP so not bad at all, especially if you regard it as a nice departure from the norm as I do.

8 out of 10
08th November, 2017

She Sensei by Piotr Czarnecki

Certainly embodying the sweetness and sheer power of the original, Piotr Czarnecki She Shihan (formerly Sensei) has many of the same characteristic gourmand notes--whiskey and coffee come to mind, in particular--but with a couple of key twists that do foster somewhat of a feminine-leaning variance from the original.

Violet, for me, is most prominent in She Shihan, and next after that is plum, and beyond that, it's a melange of mostly sweet/gourmand notes but a couple others as well, including whiskey, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and incense.

It feels mostly like the original Shihan/Sensei EDP with a heavy addition of violet and light addition of plum, giving it a more feminine vibe overall but while remaining unisex enough that men will like it as well, especially men that both like violet and gourmands.

Like the original / men's, She Shihan performs exceptionally as well both in terms of projection and longevity, so the $160 for 100ml EDP pricing is great if you like the scent.

7 out of 10
07th November, 2017

The Decay of the Angel by Edition Perfumes

The latest entry from Timothy Han Edition Perfumes, The Decay of the Angel, is a neat one, seemingly taking from both of the prior releases, the floral edges of She Came to Stay and the biting woods of On the Road.

I mainly get a slightly feminine cold-weather-leaning fragrance, jasmine and labdanum standing out above the other notes, which include incense, pathcouli, tonka, oud, cedar and a couple of citruses. I feel like there could be even more florals in the mix, too, but perhaps the labdanum and jasmine simply are enough for my nose.

I could see this working well for many women and men as a winter evening scent. I do not conceive of it being a summer scent at all, though, really. Due to its pungency, it's really more of a cold weather option exclusive as I see it, which isn't a departure from the other two prior entries in the line.

At $180 for 60ml or so (prices seem to vary between TL and LS), it's pricey enough that you essentially need to love it to buy it, as I did love / buy On the Road. I'm not quite sold on The Decay of the Angel. It has some aspects I like of On the Road but aspects I don't like as much from She Came to Stay, not to crudely suggest that it's simply a mix of the prior two scents, as it isn't.

I'd recommend that anyone try this as it might be a patchouli-heavy scent that works dressed up for men and women in the way of, say, Chanel Coromandel, the closest comparison I can make. Try away!

6 out of 10
06th November, 2017

Sélection Verte by Creed

Creed Selection Verte is yet another freshie from the EDT era that is timeless and lovely, really so agreeable and unisex and pleasant.

I detect a mellifluous blend of all the key note elements---citrus, neroli, pepper, and mint---along the abstract Creed DNA of ambergris. It's almost surprising to me that there are no woody notes included since Selection Verte seems so grounded in the dry down especially.

Regardless, this is very well done, along the lines of the better Creed freshies I've tried (there are plenty, though) and another neat entry of the EDT line that seems positively timeless.

Certainly this is more geared toward warm weather wearing but it's robust enough to wear year-round in colder climates, even, though one might need to apply a little more when the mercury dips down.

It performs comparably to most Creed freshies, which never do spectacularly on my skin but are always good enough given teh refinement of the scents themselves.

The green/mint/citrus combination naturally leads me to compare it to Green Valley, and though I've not yet done a side-by-side, my recollection from GV is that Selection Verte is a bit more wearable, the mint more subdued and in harmony with the citrus and pepper than out in front as it is in GV.

Really a great freshie that's underdiscussed and probably not assisted by its availability being limited to the 250ml flacons at $515 rather than a lower price point for an atomizer. Still, try a decant if you can.

8 out of 10
03rd November, 2017

Hyacinth and a Mechanic by Tauerville

My final try from the Tauerville stories collection, Hyacinth and a Mechanic is the only entry that preceded the 2017 re-release for Luckyscent, having been available in 2016.

It's certainly the most provocative of the trio, as I regarding it as primarily a floral / animalic mix, but the note listening is curiously more benign, a mix of hyacinth, rose, leather, and woods, and based on that list, I'd expect something a little bit smoother, frankly.

But Hyacinth and a Mechanic comes off slightly biting, skanky, and even a bit funky, suggesting that the note list omits some key contributor(s).

Regardless, it performs well, is year-round and unisex friendly also, and remains a decent deal at $89 for 100ml for a well-above-average strength for an EDT.

The animalic vibe makes me not a huge fan of it but I'm nonetheless very intrigued by the blend and partly want to keep smelling it like one nags a toothache---just to see what continues to happen, even if a negative result seems probable.

6 out of 10
02nd November, 2017

He Left His Cologne In My Bedroom by Tauerville

My second try from the Tauerville stories collection, He Left His Cologne In My Bedroom is mainly a mix of citrus, mint, and herbs, geared significantly more toward warm weather wearing but just as agreeably unisex as WWCAICSYPOMC but overall not as provocative.

The specific note listing is limited to bergamot and rosemary and presumably some type of mint, and that's it, in addition to perhaps some further undefined citrus and herbs. It's fresh and thoroughly mint, with a slight herbal tinge, but it doesn't stand out that much overall and certainly doesn't elicit as positive as a response from me as WWCAICSYPOMC did yesterday,

Performance seems fine, but even at its decent pricing of $89 for 100ml, I imagine one would only really buy HLHCIMB if one really loves it, since it's easy enough to scratch the citrus/herbal/mint itch in various cheap fragrance options.

Very agreeable, and enough of a winner to be worth trying, though I probably won't ever gravitate toward buying a bottle, myself

7 out of 10
01st November, 2017
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When We Cuddle And I Can Smell Your Perfume On My Clothes by Tauerville

"When We Cuddle And I Can Smell Your Perfume On My Clothes" marks my first try from the Tauerville stories collection, having never tried any previous iterations. I was quite excited to try the new trio, especially this entry, and it predictably did not disappoint.

WWCAICSYPOMC is a sweet, musky, and sort-of-woody blend, a mix of vanilla, benzoin, amber, patchouli, and musk itself.

It's likely that patchouli/musk blend that gives a woody vibe without any woody notes per se but it comes of a bit like cedar or sandalwood overall, the patchouli modifying the general sweetness of the fragrance just enough to make it nuanced and more interesting while not taking away too much from its vanilla-centric appeal.

Performance is a decent, especially given EDT concentration, given the heavier-hitting notes, moderate on projection but holding for at least several hours and likely for several more, so a decent value at the $80 for 100 ml pricing, and one I'll surely consider buying. The only minor detraction is that WWCAICSYPOMC does resemble some vanilla-dominant fragrances, whether boozy ones like Perry Ellis Oud Black Vanilla Absolute or woody ones like Gallagher Fragrances Vanilla Silk or Le Labo Vanille 44, while also being in the same category as, say, L'Occitane Eau Des Baux, mainly a mix of vanilla, incense, and cedar.

Still, WWCAICSYPOMC is a great fragrance at a great value and I recommend that everyone try it, especially vanilla lovers.

8 out of 0
31st October, 2017

Jade by Hendley Perfumes

Hendley Jade is unlike any fragrance I've smelled before, a mix of mint, geranium, star anise, and sandalwood.

It's very green and minty, almost as refreshingly minty is Wrigley's Doublemint Gum, and that's due mainly to the pairing of spearmint and geranium, providing the floral/mint pairing that is bright and pungent in the opening but dries down rather smoothly.

In addition, the star anise provides some bitterness and sharpness early on but dies down and gives away to the pairing of sandalwood with the floral/mint pairing.

Overall, an interesting exploration of what a mint fragrance can be, and surely worth of trying for those that enjoy mint, as this artistic expression is partly pleasing, partly intriguing.

For me, though, it's still a little bit of a mismatch, but I appreciate the great work Hans Hendley does and look forward to his next creation as always.

6 out of 10
26th October, 2017

Whispered Myths by Imaginary Authors

One of the recent releases by Josh Meyer of Imaginary Authors, done semi-secretly on the website and by word of mouth, is Whispered Myths, no doubt promoted substantially less than the release that followed it, "O, Unknown!".

Whispered Myths marks the first occasion in Imaginary Authors of oud being a prominent, and in this case, a dominant one.

The oud used in Whispered Myths is seemingly neither toward the animalic nor soberly smooth extremes of what oud can be, resting somewhere in between. And in that respect, it seems to both a nod to true oud-lovers as well as a movement toward the middle as far as ease-of-wearing. Even at first smell, it's one of the easiest oud fragrances to wear that I've smelled, and one need not be a fan of rose (as in the many rose/oud combos) or another pronounced note to like the fragrance as a whole.

The other contributory notes, minor players by comparison, of cantaloupe, cedar, and honey, sweeten and smooth out the oud further, harmonious making it even more wearable.

It's sweet and enjoyable while still being bold and oud-intensive.

Performance is quite great, stronger than average in terms of both projection and longevity, albeit not quite the beast of some of its Imaginary Authors siblings, such as A City on Fire, Cape Heartache, and Memoirs of a Trespasser.

Higher than the usual pricing (of $95 for 50ml), Whispered Myths is priced at $120 for 50ml, due likely to the cost of oud, I imagined, and this was confirmed by Gents Scents on YouTube.

8 out of 10
25th October, 2017

Ossuary by La Curie

My final sample from the current quintet of La Curie fragrances, Ossuary is surely closest in overall impression to my last try, Larrea, in that it's a woody/spicy mix that, through the influence of violet and orris, rings rather leathery in the dry down especially.

Fortunately, it's not too powdery or floral but rather the orris and violet are well-blended with trio of charred wood, incense, and balsam. It feels natural and even comforting.

It's slightly masculine, surely geared toward colder weather, and overall quite pleasing, despite the morbid name.

Performance is probably the second-strongest after Incendo, which still remains the mainstay of the line in my opinion in terms of both performance and scent profile.

7 out of 10
24th October, 2017

Larrea by La Curie

Larrea by La Curie starts out pretty boastfully sharp and animalic but quickly dries down into an agreeable masculine leather/vetiver pairing with some hints of herbal notes. Surely more apt for cold weather than warm, this hints as similar spots as other vetiver fragrances but I confess the leather/vetiver pairing is smoother than vetiver alone, with some exceptions (i.e. very fresh vetiver fragrances).

I could easily see Larrea being a man's fall/winter signature scent

Performance is decent but doesn't quite approach that of Incendo.

An interesting offering overall but to me not quite unique enough to merit collecting it. I get something similar enough out of the smokier Lalique Encre Noire a l'Extreme that I wore last night.

Certainly a recommended try, though, especially for men.

7 out of 10
23rd October, 2017

Faunus by La Curie

It's difficult not to like La Curie Faunus. An agreeable mix of cedar, oud, bergamot, and what must be just a pinch of hay, it's a nice year-round semi-masculine blend that reminds me significantly of Banana Republic Black Walnut, but a better performer.

I barely get any hay, so mostly this is cedar and bergamot with hints of oud, and it does very much remind me of the tobacco/citrus pairing of Black Walnut. Faunus is similarly easy to wear, a slightly masculine fragrance that can be donned year-round in a variety of situations. Very nice and easy, but probably not one I need to add to my collection.

I'm certainly not as moved by this as Incendo overall but quite like it and would wear it plenty if I owned it, but feel I have something similar already in Black Walnut.

7 out of 10
19th October, 2017

Incendo by La Curie

My first try from La Curie seems to be the house's most celebrated, and winner of 2016 Art and Olfaction Award, likely it's most awarded.

Incendo puts forth the "burnt pine tree" vibe excellently, a blend of pine, fir needles, embers, incense, and sage yielding a robust blend that rivals some of the better examples of this concept that I've smelled. It has some bite but not a ton, not as much as, say, Timothy Han On the Road.

It partly embodies Imaginary Authors A City of Fire but perhaps with a little less spicy smoke, and partly embodies Profumum Arso but with a little less woods overall. To me, Incendo sits somewhere between these two.

Certainly it inherently is geared toward cold weather wearing, so I'd be reluctant to don this in the summer. Also, it's slightly more masculine than unisex but certainly it's unisex enough that many women will gravitate toward it. These are just stereotypes, anyway, and anyone can wear whatever they want.

At $95 for 50ml, this is wholly worthwhile, especially given that it performs robustly, very strong on projection and slow to diminish while also lasting a while.

An instant love, a bottle I now want, Incendo ranks among the best of I've tried in this burnt pine realm. Superb stuff!

8 out of 10
18th October, 2017

Mr. Bojnokopff's Purple Hat by Fort and Manlé

My final sample to try from the present seven-sample pack of Fort & Manle, Mr. Bojnokopff's Purple Hat undoubtedly has the best name, but it's also perhaps the most interesting blend of the lot.

Composed of vanilla, chocolate, lavender, oud, cedar, guaiac, and vetiver, this is a great take on the "sweet meets dirty" concept, but admittedly not that dirty, as the oud and vetiver don't nearly match the sweetness of the vanilla and chocolate (and to some extent, guaiac) but rather play off of those key notes.

The main players here are the vanilla, chocolate, lavender, and oud, the woody notes adding some grounded evenness in the background, mainly.

It's overall a sweet experience with a fresh, floral edge from the lavender and dark, earthy undertones from the oud, anchored by the vetiver, cedar, and guaiac.

How fascinating a blend this, appealing to both gourmand lovers like myself and perhaps oud lovers, and woody-note lovers.

It's strong, performance-wise, perhaps not quite as strong as Amber Absolutely but comparable, and so it's roughly the second strongest offering from the house.

Bojnokopff scratches a similar itch to what Kerosene Blackmail does, similarly pairing oud with a whole lot of sweetness, but surely the lavender throws off the balance from being essentially the same as Blackmail.

It's certainly geared more toward cold weather wearing but it's nice enough that I must just darn well wear it anytime. And I can see these being pretty unisex, too, without any real leaning as far as masculine vs. feminine. Very impressive overall, and it concludes a sample of a very nice up-and-coming house with an already-strong catalog.

I'll tentatively be adding this to my "to buy" list along with Amber Absolutely and Maduro. Do check it out!

8 out of 10
17th October, 2017

Maduro by Fort and Manlé

Fort & Manle Maduro is best characterized as a sweet, fruity, woody tobacco fragrance but this is surely a bit of an oversimplification, as it has a long note list, from which much can be taken away.

Tobaccos is certainly a dominant accord here but not so dominant that it's not part of a far more interesting medley, comprised of, mainly, to my nose: apple, cinnamon, benzoin, vetiver, and cedar.

This note arrangement is very harmonious. I'm able to enjoy almost boozy, creamy aspects of the benzoin and amber without being disturbed by vanilla, and I'm able to detect apple and cinnamon without those interfering with the tobacco, and grounding the fragrance is the cedar/vetiver combination, soft and sober as cedar is, but with ever so slightly the earthy edge that vetiver provides.

I don't detect the patchouli, which is fine, as too much of that might ruin what I enjoy about Maduro---namely, the abovementioned balance. I don't detect any basil, either.

It's mainly a cold-weather leaning fragrance, particular the autumn, for which apple and cinnamon conjure this season, at least in my part of the world.

However, the fragrance is comforting enough that it could really be used year-round.

Performance is very good, not as robust as Amber Absolutely but still quite solid---a modest projector but seemingly long-lasting.

The standard pricing of 230 AUD / 178 USD for 50ml isn't cheap, but this is a great creation I'd like to add to my collection, along with Amber Absolutely. Really superb stuff.

8 out of 10
16th October, 2017

Crimes of Passion: Maxed Out by 4160 Tuesdays

My second try of Sarah McCartney's house 4160 Tuesdays, Maxed Out is creation by Sarah for Max Heusler, a prominent YouTube reviewer, to commemorate his younger life of debauchery, and I for one am amazed by how many of the indulges fit so well together in one perfume.

At the opening, I'm greeted by a harmonious tropical trio of coconut, lime, and rum, followed by a dry down into more winter and stereotypically masculine elements of tobacco, coffee, and vanilla.

The wildcard here is the cumin which adds its characteristic spicy, animalic vibe without interfering too much with the overall rather sweet concoction that is the rest of the fragrance. Some other supporting characters balance the fragrance out with some smoothness and softness---specifically, cedar and musk.

On my skin, it dries down slightly less sweet than it opens, with the cumin in particular outlasting some of the sweeter notes, so while I enjoy the balance of the fragrance more during the first few hours, it remains quite interesting beyond that.

Overall, it's sweet, boozy, slightly woody, with hints of citrus and spicy bits throughout.

Performance seems pretty strong overall. It's not a huge projector but seems very resolute, not losing much steam after some hours.

Pricing is higher than most of the house as this is an extrait, not an EDP, so it's $150 for 30ml, in realm of being only purchasable if you really love it, which I believe I do.

Certainly one you should try if the great note list is appealing, as it does work out quite well.

8 out of 10
14th October, 2017

Harem Rose by Fort and Manlé

It's always nice to see a rose-dominant entry in a collection, and Fort & Manle's Harem Rose, their latest offering as of today, does not disappoint.

It's mostly rose, as expected, and I get a subdued almost incense-like vibe with semi-powdery and woody elements in there, as well. I can mostly attribute this the cashmere and woods, I imagine.

Additionally, there's some smooth, creamy sweetness from the amber and vanilla but it's relatively subtle.

This is another agreeable, unisex, practically year-round-wearable entry from the Fort & Manle, but I'm not quite so moved by Harem Rose as there are many roses out there, and the pricing (230 AUD / 178 USD for 50ml) remains a bit of an obstacle when there are also more moderately-priced rose options. Definitely a "like" not a "love" at this point but a recommended try.

7 out of 10
13th October, 2017

Fatih Sultan Mehmed by Fort and Manlé

Fatih Sultan Mehmed is the second entry I've tried in the house that distinctly strikes me as something that should be worn in the colder weather strictly, and mainly seems suited for men, though I imagine people of all sorts could enjoy this.

It's starts with a burst of citrus but quickly becomes a mix of amber, oud, iris, patchouli, cedar, and vanilla. Sweet, woody, and every so slightly dirty, this is a blend that would work for most men and many others. An agreeable wintry mix, it could satisfy fans of many genres, of various tolerance. It's difficult to think that this would be disliked.

On the other hand, I'm not smitten by it really since it's not all that daring in any one area. Perhaps accentuation of one of the notes would give it an edge.

Still, it's a very good performer (probably not quite as good as Amber Absolutely), yet with the standard pricing (230 AUD, 178 USD for 50ml) it's not cheap enough to hastily buy just for the heck of it, but it merits some trying for sure. I could see it fitting the bill well for many.

7 out of 10
12th October, 2017

Confessions of a Garden Gnome by Fort and Manlé

Confessions of a Garden Gnome, a curious name, aptly suggests the garden itself, and the fragrance effectively conjures ideas of the garden and vegetation, its scent profile dominated by the floral trio of lily-of-the-valley, violet, and rose, to my nose. The pink pepper factors in significantly for most of the life of the fragrance, as well, giving way to a dry down of cedar and white musk, prominently, so smooth and soft.

It's fresh, and mainly floral, yet also a little sweet and woody. An agreeable, unisex option, better suited for warmer rather than colder weather, as it does have somewhat of a fresh, daresay clean vibe, even.

Unsurprisingly, due to note composition, it's a less significant performer than Charlatan and (certainly) Amber Absolutely, and so, at the same pricing of 230AUD / 178USD for 50ml, it's a tougher sell than those. Still, I think many might enjoy it quite a bit. It's surely worth of a try at least.

7 out of 10
11th October, 2017

Charlatan by Fort and Manlé

My second try from Fort & Manle, Charlatan is aptly described, a mix that comes off as a wee bit earthy despite being sweet, fruity, and floral primarily.

To my nose, it's mainly a blend of the chocolate and pear on top, with a host of florals in the heart---specifically, tuberose, rose, and osmanthus, an odd blend---and a mix of sandalwood, amber, and vanilla in the dry down, though frankly, the dry down isn't so sweet as it is floral for me.

For me, it goes from fruity to earthy/fruity, to floral/fruity, to sweet floral. It's not bad, but certainly unless one is impressed by it, it's not worth the price tag, the same as most in the line, of 230 AUD, roughly 178 USD.

Performance is decent, roughly average for a fragrance of this price and note composition, though not as robust in terms of either projection or longevity as Amber Absolutely.

A nice entry, and one that gives me continued enthusiasm for the line, but not one I'll be pursuing further.

7 out of 10
10th October, 2017

Amber Absolutely by Fort and Manlé

My first try from my sample set of the house of Fort & Manle out of Melbourne, Amber Absolutely's name certainly reminds me of Tom Ford Amber Absolute, a two-sided coin of a comparison and that elicits fond thoughts of one of my favorite fragrances but perhaps in doing so sets an unrealistic standard.

That said, the comparisons to TFAA should end with their common amber dominance, as the fragrances are quite different.

Amber Absolutely is loaded with amber but also a collection of bright, sweet, interesting notes that I love: specifically, honey, benzoin, plum, and rose, to name the most prominent.

The result is a bright a fruity take on amber that is comparable to Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe, but without the certain animalic vibe of Ambre Russe.

Amber Absolutely, by contrast, remains primarily fruity with hints of floral and woody accords, with the woody acords coming out more in the dry down.

Performance is very strong in terms of both projection and longevity, and this is arguably a more cold-weather-leaning option (though certainly not as heavy as some amber-dominant greats like TFAA or Profumum Ambra Aurea) but still plausible wearible on warm weather evenings, and not particularly masculine or feminine based on traditional norms.

A 50ml bottle, the only size, is priced for 230 AUD (roughly 178 USD) through the house site, and I don't believe this is available anywhere else. It's not cheap, but it's really superb stuff, love at first sniff, and I'll be seeking out a bottle at some point.

9 out of 10
09th October, 2017

Coach Leatherware No. 02 by Coach

Coach Leatherware No. 2 seems to be the most popular of the discontinued trio and, fittingly, somewhere between the more floral No. 1 and more purely-leather No. 3.

No. 2 opens with citrus, leading to black pepper, and eventually a dry down to the leather itself, with patchouli and oakmoss giving an earthy variety. This is mainly citrus at the opening that gives way to pepper and leather in the dry down, though, and it's elegant in its simplicity. Somehow provocative yet relatively safe, it's a stimulating exploration of the leather note that's likely to please but may not dazzle most. For me, though, this is a comfortable leather fragrance that actually smells a bit like leather rather than being an artistic or boastful creation that has a bit too much going on for my leather appetite (i.e. Tuscan Leather). I'm not a huge leather love since I seldom fine ones I deem worth paying high-end money for, especially, but this is an agreeable one worth pursuing, just like No. 1 and No. 3.

Performance is solid, great longevity and above average projection for hours.

This and No. 1 and easier to find than No. 3, so try sampling it and nabbing a bottle while you can!

8 out of 10
27th September, 2017

Viking by Creed

As the first designated men's fragrance since Aventus in 2010, Viking created a lot of hype, and perhaps fairly so, given Aventus' success, which cannot be overstated.

Still, as in most cases, hype can be unwarranted, and my feeling toward Viking is that while it's not groundbreaking, it certainly does the job well.

It's mainly spicy with some woody and fresh elements as well, opening with a blast of citrus (bergamot and lemon) and spice (pink pepper), giving way to more pepper and heart in the mint, and a base of sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver.

My experience of it is a citrus/pepper opening giving way to peppery dry down that eventually becomes woody and earthy. It feels very much congruent with the note listing.

Viking is quite versatile, certainly being geared toward men but no so masculine as to not fit both a lot of men and some women, as well. Also, it's not too light for winter but not too heavy for summer, not too serious for day or casual wear, but not too daring or goofy for nighttime for formal wear.

The caveat, as with many Creeds, is the price, aggravated by the price hike in the case of Viking, which retails for $350 for 50ml and $495 for 100ml, relatively untenable, yet somehow still less than the updated Les Royales Exclusives pricing (from late 2016) of $545 for 75ml, so I suppose Viking has that going for it, if nothing else.

Certainly this is one worth sampling now and waiting out until it eventually appears on the grey market, with Creeds in the US usually being cheapest on Notino or FragranceNet.

7 out of 10
25th September, 2017