Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

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Total Reviews: 670

Parfum De La Nuit No. 1 by Roja Dove

Roja Parfums Parfum de la Nuit trio is mostly a try out of curiosity, as the retail pricing ($1,400 for 100ml) means I'll never buy a full bottle.

As expected from Roja, the blend is sophisticated and powerful.

I suspect that the main contributors that give it a certain sharpness are the cistus flower and styrax, two notes that I do not know well, as the rest of the blend gives of woody, earthy, sweet, semi-spicy mix. Benzoin and labdanum resins mix with vetiver and patchouli and guaiac. Additionally, tonka could contribute to the powderiness, but I get a nearly lipstick-like vibe that comes from iris, mostly, in my expereince, so I'm borderline confused as to why the blend has that acidity to my nose, almost disturbingly so (I don't become anosmic to it but just become overwhelmed if I repeatedly smell it too close to my skin, and that's just from a small Luckyscent dabber).

If nothing else, it's obvious that this extrait concentration juice is even stronger than most of Roja's other offerings, packing a special punch usually not provided from what I deem a rather light application (a few strokes of a .7ml vial dabber on each wrist, and on neck).

I like the fragrance somewhat, but certainly not enough to lend credence to it being worth its retail value.

7 out of 10
16th April, 2018

Caravelle Epicée by Frapin

Another fun entry from Frapin, Caravelle Epicee blends the easy duo of tobacco and amber with touches of pepper, coriander, and caraway over a bed of woods to create an effortlessly masculine option. It's easy to wear, serious enough but still relaxing like a comfort scent, and while probably more apt for the cooler weather, is porous enough that it can be enjoyed in warmer weather, as well.

Unfortunately, Caravelle Epicee suffers from the same lack of performance as 1270 (and L'Humaniste, for that matter), another somewhat boozy scent that might be regarded as wonderful if a bit bolder and stronger, but is really only "good" not "great" otherwise.

7 out of 10
13th April, 2018

Britannia by Roja Dove

Roja Parfums Britannia was created by the man himself as a nod to the goddess Britannia and the both the exploratory and accepting nature of the island.

To my nose, it is primarily a floral exhibition, a citrus opening giving way to what seems like a mix of champaca and heliotrope, and to a lesser degree, rose and jasmine, eventually giving way to a base of patchouli, vetiver, and ambergris, with some woody elements as well.

The composition is a mostly-floral with some citrus on top and in the heart with an earthy, woody base. Very sophisticated, somewhat agreeable, albeit overall a bit feminine-leaning.

Performance is very strong on longevity but not so noteworthy on projection.

$1,050 for 100ml is a tough sell by most standards, but this could fit the bill for a lot of people, I imagine.

7 out of 10
12th April, 2018
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Sultanate of Oman by Roja Dove

Sultanate of Oman is another rose/oud entry (aren't they all?) in the Roja Parfums collection of 2016-17 of which I'm quite fond. It is quite heavy on woods and saffron, sweetened by raspberry, brightened by citrus, and sitting over a resinous base.

It's most similar to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the use of raspberry but it's a bit sharper and more resinous. Like most of the collection, it appeals to the sweet-loving side of the wearer, so while it's not overall as sweet as, say, Kuwait, it's still quite enjoyably sweet to my nose. Apart from that, it's woody with tinges of citrus and other non-rose florals, but it's a pretty safe rose/oud to wear.

At $555 for 50ml, the pricing is steep so I'm not sure I'd ever really consider making a move on a full bottle at retail price for this. The collection is really quite excellent, a variety of rose/oud fragrances that have varying merits, but given the abundance of rose/oud fragrances in the market, this collection should appeal only to a select few, and I'd be surprised to find owners of say, more than two. Still, it's impossible to the deny the quality and the power of these juices, which are very impressive.

8 out of 10
11th April, 2018

Qatar by Roja Dove

Roja Parfums' Qatar reminds me most closely (in this collection) of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it is a rose/oud with some sweetness but not as significant as the fruity sweetness of Kuwait.

Qatar will likely be lovable to rose/oud fans like me, and starts off as a mild rose/oud blend, slightly sweet and slightly powdery, with a certain spiciness that I might attribute to the clove or possibly patchouli. It gradually becomes sweeter, the idea of the cotton candy emerging more so over a few hours. It dries down more thoroughly into a candyish, powdery, rosy blend without much oud or spices at all.

The performance is very strong, with well above average projection and extreme longevity.

I hold Qatar in high regard, much like UAE and Saudi Arabia, a very agreeable rose/oud scent with a bit of sweetness that emerges in the dry down. Roja's quality and sophistication shine through, as usual, and the hefty price tag of $550 for 50ml.

8 out of 10
09th April, 2018

Noble Leather by Yves Saint Laurent

YSL Noble Leather has a strong reputation in the online community, and after smelling it a couple of times and now wearing, it's easy to see what. It balances a serious leather with less serious elements.

It involves a healthy dose of leather but several sweet components complement the leather: vanilla, amber, and dried fruits. Also, patchouli and saffron add some character an an earthy/powdery blend that modifies the sweetness well. Noble Leather is not an all-out gourmand leather but one with nuance and subtlety: a solid achievement.

It has similar sweetness to the more-affordable Davidoff Leather Blend but involves a pinch of powderiness that pitches it ever so slightly toward Dior Homme Parfum. It leans mostly toward the sweeter, though.

Performance-wise, it's very strong. Not as strong as the strongest leathers I've smelled like Tom Ford Tuscan Leather but surely in the next stratum below that, really one that will do wonders in even the colder weather and requires very few sprays in warmer weather. It's easy to see why it's popular and fragheads see great value in it.

I quite like it, but for the price, I like Davidoff Leather Blend a lot more (circa $60 for 100ml vs YSL at $250 for 80ml). I assume Noble Leather is available for discounts, though, and I might consider a bottle further if cheaper, but not before I do a side-by-side test with Leather Blend.

8 out of 10
02nd April, 2018

Sicily by Mancera

Mancera Sicily seems to have been received positively since it's release last year, and in finally trying out my decant of it, it's easy to see why.

It's a bright, sweet, enjoyable balance of various fruits (citrus, peach, apple, pineapple) with some florals and woods and musk to counterbalance the fruit.

It's mostly fruity, but still feels like it's a good 40% everything else, as whiffs of florals and musk accompany the fruit in significant ways. The ylang ylang stands out to me more than the violet, for one.

Performance is quite good for an overall warm weather leaning scent, with above average projection and longevity for even a citrus-heavy niche EDP.

Overall, I like it but am not utterly smitten with it, so the retail asking price ($180 for 120ml) is definitely high and the FragranceX.com discounted price of $142 for the same size isn't much more appealing, but I can see how this is a versatile crowd-pleaser for men and women alike and can be worn throughout the year, especially shining in the spring and summer.

A very nice scent that lacks the "wow" factor but makes up for it in its composition and performance.

7 out of 10
29th March, 2018

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Roja Dove

My third try in this line by Roja Parfums, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seems to have elements of both Kuwait and UAE. It's sweet with very heavy use sweet fruit elements (raspberry, strawberry, plum, blackcurrant) but it still has a rose/oud mix that is reasonably heavy. It dries down to a base of sandalwood, vanilla, musk, and a few other elements that are well-blended. As with other fragrances in this collection, the note list is intimidatingly long, but it's superbly blended, undoubtedly expected for Roja's pricing ($555 for 50ml, in this case).

I get far more of a tart berry element in the sweetness (strawberry, raspberry) than the bright sweetness of the blackcurrant or quasi-booziness of the plum or apple. It's far brighter at the onset due to a citrus/floral bouquet of opening notes, followed by the fruity blend shortly thereafter (within a half hour of application).

The dry down is still sharp but is a pleasant blend of the sweet, woody, and animalic elements. The rose and other florals are still there, as well, but it's far more about the vanilla, sandalwood, leather, musk, and some lingering combination of fruit at this point (several hours in).

The comparisons to Aventus seem downright odd to me but to each their own--I speculate that the blackcurrant commonality is the main cause.

This is a great fragrance--I prefer it to UAE but Kuwait may still edge it out. Roja does it again. I need to try Qatar and Bahrain still.

8 out of 10
28th March, 2018

United Arab Emirates by Roja Dove

For context's sake, I've not smelled the earlier Roja Parfums United Arab Emirates Spirit of the Union, listed correctly as a separate fragrance. This review is for a sampling of the newer 2017 release UAE that has black-faced bottles similarly-styled to other members of the same collection, such as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the Sultanate of Oman.

UAE is definitely more of a standard rose/oud than the sweeter, fruitier Kuwait that I sample yesterday. UAE entails a heavy taif rose--a sharper rose note, I find, than other types of roses, though I still feel the learning curve of becoming accustomed to various rose notes.

Beyond the rose, the blend of UAE is spicy, woody, and a bit animalic. Oud factors in significantly, its animalic side coming out a bit more than its medicinal side in this case. I also get some cumin, patchouli, pepper, and resins, per the note list. There are also numerous florals.

It's definitely at the intersection between pleasant and challenging, mostly pleasant from a cursory sniff but certainly more challenging when taken in more deeply, and I find it a big enigmatic beyond the abovementioned few note.

Much like Kuwait, though, UAE is rather versatile with respect to gender, age, occasion, and season, though its relative heaviness and density at least push it toward more cold-weather use.

Performance is very strong, and as with most Roja Dove fragrances, price is the biggest obstacle, as UAE, like the others from the collection, is $555 for 50ml, steep by almost any standards, so I'm likely content without it in my collection.

8 out of 10
27th March, 2018

Kuwait by Roja Dove

My first try from Roja's collection of fragrances inspired by countries of the Middle East, Kuwait is really quite great, a fruity / resinous top & heart sitting on a base of oud, woods, and patchouli.

The note list, however, is much longer, and from it, I mainly get a melange of very mixed florals (rose sticks out a little), peach, sandalwood, benzoin, labdanum, patchouli, and musk.

I dare say it's sweet but not too sweet, either, the sweetness of the peach in harmony with the florals to give a more balanced sort of heady sharpness as opposed to one that's purely white or yellow floral or purely fruit. Even when it dries down, it's still pretty bright with the florals and fruit, though it feels like it has a little more bass overall after a few hours.

It's a great performer, as expected for its predictably-lofty Roja Parfums cost of $550 for 50ml, and to me, a versatile player, as well, seeming to work well for various occasions (casual vs formal), seasons, and genders/ages.

This an easy win of a fragrance at a price that's not so easy to stomach, but price notwithstanding, I'd have to give this some thought as a fragrance I'd like to own and wear a lot. This certainly makes me to want to try the rest of the line, though, regardless of price.

8 out of 10
26th March, 2018

Grev by Slumberhouse

I was happy to nab Grev in a recent re-release, as, while it's not one of the longed-for short-lived Slumberhouse fragrances that comes up a lot in conversation (Zahd, Rume, etc.), it's a name I'd heard and it sounded pleasant and interesting and unsurprisingly different from Josh's other offerings.

From the note breakdown and prior reviews, I'd imagined a sort-of "lighter Norne with mint" and the reality is not so far-off.

Grev's mix of copaiba and birch contributes to the acerbic, semi-bitter side that I and others seem to analogize to a minty aspect, whereas the clove lends its usual heavy-handed spiciness, complete with powdery orris and the more subdued fir balsam and cedar combination.

Its opening blast is definitely sharper and spicier, with the dry down smoother and a bit more of a creamy/spicy mix along the lines of Montblanc Presence.

Grev is slightly masculine-leaning, given that it's varying degrees of spicy throughout its evolution, but it's unisex enough that I imagine anyonecould enjoy it.

And, as Grev's pale-colored juice might imply, the performance is noticeably a few notches below that of the darker-juiced compositions (pretty much all of the others that I own), though fans of Sadanne, Pear + Olive, and to some extent, Kiste, already know this to be the case.

Like Baque, I quite like Grev and am intrigued by it, but I'm not enthralled by it and wouldn't say that I love it. I wouldn't recommend it as a prime representation of the best that the brand can offer. Still, like Baque, I'm happy to keep my bottle and wear it from time to time, and also, like Baque, it's not as overpowering as most of the house's scents are (generally an asset, don't get me wrong), so it has a time and a place where it can be useful contra Sova, Zahd, Norne, Ore, Jeke, etc.

7 out of 10
23rd March, 2018

Bell'Antonio by Hilde Soliani Profumi

Hilde Soliani Bell'Antonio involves a simple pairing, coffee and tobacco, and doesn't add much else, not that that's a bad thing. For example, unlike many other coffee and/or tobacco scents, this fragrance is not noticeably sweet. So if someone has a problem with the sweetness of, say, Mugler A*Men Pure Coffee or Burberry London, Bell'Antonio offers an option that takes the coffee and tobacco without the sweetness.

Certainly this is a cold-weather-leaning option, as well, but since it's not a tremendous powerhouse, one can try to pull it off on a summer evening if they so dare.

Performance is very good and this could easily be a winter signature scent for a man, but at the standard HS pricing of $160 for 100ml (on Luckyscent) it's a tough sell for, but I could easily see it being quite popular and its consensus seems positive, accordingly.

7 out of 10
22nd March, 2018

Ciocochic by Hilde Soliani Profumi

Hilde Soliani CiocoChic is an elegant mix of chocolate and salt only, so very simple and straightforward.

It's a pretty agreeable mix for gourmand lovers, and I assume uninteresting to those that would rather not smell sweet at all.

I've not quite smelled a chocolate composition like CiocoChic before so I can imagine it could be regarded as quite appealing given the salty edge.

In some senses, it's similar Dame Perfumery Chocolate Man Cologne, itself a basic yet smooth rendition of pure dark chocolate, balanced between airy and overly dense.

Performance is good, not quite as good as Buonissimo but certainly satisfactory for the type of scent it is. At the cost of $160 for 100ml, it's not unreasonable, but not unique enough for me to consider buying, really, but it's affirmed that Hilde Soliani has a knack for gourmands so I intend to order some more samples.

7 out of 10
21st March, 2018
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Noun by Bogue Profumo

Noun is my first try from Bogue, and as an exclusive Luckyscent release to celebrate the boutique's fifteenth anniversary, it's a particularly daring entry.

It's a gourmand, but not a sweet one, as Sebastian Jara notes, its particular ensemble of green, woody, and spicy notes conjuring spicy vegetables and meat to my nose.

Mostly, the spicieness stands out with an undercurrent of resins to render the blend slightly creamy and at the same time still a bit animalic.

In the dry down, I get more of the floral/herbal side of it, the lavender in particular, and it smells a bit more like a traditional men's fragrance.

Performance is strong, but it comes pricey, at $210 for 50ml, so one really needs to love the stuff to splurge for it.

7 out of 10
20th March, 2018

Buonissimo by Hilde Soliani Profumi

Certainly as presented, Buonissimo, Hilde Soliani's release that celebrates Luckyscent's 15th anniversary, is a gourmand lover's gourmand, and its note breakdown supports such a forecast.

From the opening I get more of a cocoa vibe before it dries down into its stated mix of croissant, vanilla, sugar, butter, cappuccino, and caramel, though frankly the last two contribute the least. It's really not a caramel or a coffee scent at all, even though they both might very well contribute in the background. Rather, Buonissimo has the combined effective of smelling like a confectionery shop and a bakery at the same time.

Performance is quite good overall, and the pricing is fair ($160 for 100ml), especially relative to what the niche market is like now.

I'd offer the general admonition that Buonissimo might be unbearable for those who do not like sweet scents, predictably, and might prove redundant for some gourmand lovers like myself, but that it's not so vanilla-centric and features a bready/buttery side renders it a bit of a departure from everything in my catalog. It's not the least bit resinous, either, so it fails to overlap the vanilla/amber subgroup that.

It's delectable and playful, clearly unisex and year-round friendly, though admittedly I'd be careful about when I wear it during the warmer months, and most of all, it's a satisfying wear that works for me. I'll certainly give some thought to nabbing a bottle.

8 out of 10
19th March, 2018

Orca by House of Matriarch

Composed of honey and ambergris, House of Matriarch Orca seems to aspire to embody amber in all of its greatness, and in that respect, I find that it succeeds, showing the creamy and sweet sides of amber as well as the dull animalic side of it that makes the accord so alluring.

Orca is certainly slightly saltier at the opening, but quickly dries down into the rich amber / honey combination that constitutes the listed notes of the fragrance according to the HOM website. Comparing to other fragrances that feature amber/resins, it's not as woody as Le Labo Benzoin 19 nor is it really that animalic along the lines of Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe nor as dark AND animalic as Profumum Ambra Aurea.

Like most amber-centric fragrances, it's functionally unisex and cold-weather leaning, despite having a bit more versatility due to its more modest projection than say, the heartily animalic Ambra Aurea or sweetly boastful Tom Ford Amber Absolute. Orca is nevertheless bold and long-lasting but not loud in terms of projection a sign of a high concentration of natural ingredients.

As seemingly with a lot of other House of Matriach fragrances, Orca does not come cheap, at $330 for 50ml / $120 for 15ml per the house's website.

It's a tough sell per volume but the fragrance is a wonderful expression of amber, and I'm happy to have a decant of it, if nothing else. A recommended try for amber lovers.

8 out of 10
16th March, 2018

Patch Flash by Tauerville

I admit that Patch Flash is not an entry I expected to enjoy much. While I regularly enjoy patchouli as a heart and base note, as a component of a larger collection, I generally do not gravitate toward patchouli when wielded in dominating fashion by a perfumer. So in Patch Flash, as of now the latest entry in Andy Tauer's more affordable Tauerville series, there is a mix of elements that renders the fragrance quite agreeable.

It's some amalgam of fresh, green, spicy, woody, and even leather/animalic. As with the entire Tauerville series, a note breakdown is not provided so I can only speculate but it's a pleasant expression of patchouli that is dense but not too dense nor too focused on patchouli.

Performance is solid and the price point is reasonable, $63 for 30ml EDP. Patch Flash leans slightly masculine but is still quite unisex. Worth a try for anyone. I can't imagine most would dislike it but clearly the feedback is a bit mixed overall.

7 out of 10
15th March, 2018

New York Intense by Nicolaï

Parfums de Nicolai New York Intense is another great interpretation of the fougere genre. I've not tried the original, but surely the Intense packs a punch and delivers a fresh spicy formula that is on-target as a year-round signature for men.

Its note listing is formulaic but brilliantly reliable: lemon, bergamot, and petitgrain present a citrus-dominant opening that gives way to a spicier, sharp heart of lavender and pink/black pepper, settling into a base of patchouli, leather, cedar, and vanilla, though admittedly I don't detect much vanilla, even with hours of wearing.

It comfortably fits into the classic men's category is a worthy member of the group that features some big names. It's closer in style to the spicy Chanel Pour Monsieur EDP and Grey Matters Parfums Uno than the more barbershop-like YSL Rive Gauche or citrus-intensive Dior Eau Sauvage. Still, it's in this continuum and deservedly so.

It performs quite well with very good projection and longevity given its EDP concentration. I quite like the way it works with my skin even with a dabber, so I can imagine via atomizer it's an even better experience, especially at the opening.

The price points aren't great, retailing at $175 for 100ml and $62 for 30ml on Luckyscent, so I'd be reluctant to add this to the list with such great aforementioned entries already well established, but at the right price, I'd be happy to have New York Intense as another option.

8 out of 10
14th March, 2018

Calling All Angels by April Aromatics

April Aromatics Calling All Angels, my first try from the house, is exactly as advertised: a resinous collaboration of benzoin, labdanum, amber, incense, honey, and hordes of other resins that I might have no idea of. Additional sweetness and perhaps sharpness are added via vanilla and tonka, but the main story here is one of resins with slightly woody undertones.

It's sweet but not as sweet as, say, Le Labo Benjoin 19, let alone Amber Absolute, but not remotely as animalic, as Ambre Russe. Calling All Angels leans mostly sweet but ever so slightly animalic as well.

Longevity is extreme but projection is still quite great. Surely this is unisex and better for cold weather, but since it isn't a crazy projector, it might work on summer nights as well. Overall, a great resinous entry but one that suffers from some redundancy with and similarly expensive pricing ($170 for 30ml) to Le Labo Benjoin 19 ($300 for 50ml).

8 out of 10
12th March, 2018

Baque by Slumberhouse

I was glad to obtain Baque via blind buy after it was reintroduced in 2017 and while it's not up to the very high level of most the house's perfumes, it's still strong and leaves an impression.

I echo the reviewer who likened it to stewed fruits, as I repeatedly turn to this analogy. Genre-wise, it's boozy and woody more so than fruity, though, and while I get hints of tobacco leaf, it feels wholly dominated by the apricot and vanilla that render the final product so sweet.
It's slightly creamy and spicy as well but these are lesser descriptors.

Baque's longevity is still excellent like most Slumberhouse fragrances but its projection is certainly slightly lower than most of the house's other offerings.

Certainly this is one I'd recommend fans of Slumberhouse trying as there's a thread in it that connects it Josh's other creations, but for those new to the house, it does not represent its best, in my opinion. Still, a bottle I'm happy to hang onto and occasionally use.

7 out of 10
11th March, 2018

Les Echappées - Shams Oud by Memo

I'm glad to finally try out Memo Shams Oud as it has a good reputation in the fragrance community. Slightly spicy hints of ginger and pepper in the opening give way to a blend that's sweet and woody, mainly,the resins of labdanum and tolu balsam taking center stage, flanked by vetiver and oud on onside and the curious tonka on the other.

After the initial spicy blast, it's noticeably sweet throughout its life, primarily due to the resins but also the tonka lend its signature sharp sweetness, and this group contrasts the oud and vetiver and keeps the whole blend in homeostasis.

It's sweet, woody, creamy, and slightly earthy. Pretty pleasant and unisex, though I figure this to be a cold weather fragrance more than a warm weather fragrance.

Shams Oud is a great performer, strong on projection and even better on longevity. At relatively standard pricing for the line of $250 for 75ml, though, it's surely in the category of one needing to love it in order to buy it. I do think I love it but am not sure I'm in need of that much juice for this fragrance in particular, which would fit in among an assortment of quasi-similar resinous cold-weather-ideal scents.

8 out of 10
08th March, 2018

Casamorati 1888 Lira by Xerjoff

Xerjoff Lira is immediately sweet and caramel-dominant from the opening onward, making it delicious and almost alluring at the same time throughout its life.

The caramel is colored by various citruses, florals, and spices, which add character and depth. The citrus remains pretty strong throughout, which creates a similar result to Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene, predominantly a caramel/lemon pairing. Lira seems a little more complicated but it's difficult not to make the comparison. Lira pivots more to vanilla and musk, as well, in the dry down, features absent from UP.

Lira boasts a strong projection and longevity, as well---a pleasing performer.

Lira retails for $290 for 100ml, $105 for 30ml at Luckyscent but I recall the 100ml size being available at Notino for under $200, though their website is currently down for maintenance.

Certainly this is one I'd consider buying if it weren't so similar to Unknown Pleasures, though I certainly need to try both side by side.

8 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Vanilla Lemon Gelato by Dua Fragrances

Dua Fragrances Vanilla Lemon Gelato is, as expected, a strong burst of lemon and vanilla in creamy gourmand balance with one another. It's bright and sweet, though the lemon is overall more dominant than vanilla. The notes listing shows vanilla extract, though I get a far lighter vanilla experience overall, not a heavy cake-like or extract-like or boozy experience. It creates a a lighter (in terms of character, not strength) gourmand experience.

Other listed notes include bergamot, orchid, tonka, and geranium, and while the bergamot (as part of the sharp citrus component) definitely makes sense, I don't get much of either floral note, though they could certainly be in the background, smoothing things over between the contrasting vanilla and lemon.

Unsurprisingly ideal for warm weather wear, I'm not sure I'd wear this for a formal occasional but it could be all-day useful for a wedding since it maintained a lot of intensity through the first hour or two. It does eventually dry down to to expose the vanilla a little more than the lemon, as would often be the case.

Overall a lovely fragrance, great performer, and solid versatile option, especially for warmer weather.

9 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Honey Havane by Dua Fragrances

Dua Fragrances' Honey Havane is one the house's newest and limited edition fragrances, and as its name and note breakdown suggest something vaguely along the lines of Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Havane. Maybe they're in the same general category, but Honey Havane is a different experience for me overall.

Honey Havane is dominated by honey and tobacco leaf, the balance between the sweet honey and sharp tobacco leaf being the front-and-center duel. With some sniffs, I get more honey, and with others, I get tobacco leaf. And that the tobacco is tobacco leaf is somewhat of a distinguishing characteristic, as its smell is somewhat greener than pipe tobacco or a burnt tobacco type of scent.

Other notes include vanilla, which I find to pretty limited relative to the presence of honey as the sweetness-driving note, and perhaps some oud and amber, but they're surely in the background as well.

Again, comparisons to Pure Havane are valid, though I don't get the "cherry" sweetness with which many (including myself) associate Pure Havane. Certainly the honeyed tobacco aspect is somewhat consistent between the two, as is the strength. Also, as with most of the A*Men line, patchouli factors in significantly, and this not the case in Honey Havane. Lastly, Honey Havane is not (at its sweetest point) as sweet as Pure Havane or even Wiseguys' Vegas Cologne, which might be the sweetest of the three. Again, they're all in the same general category but each has its own merits, and I'm happy to have all 3, including the latest, Honey Havane.

HH's performance is outstanding---very powerful projection and outstanding longevity, which are becoming the norm for most Dua Fragrances in their extrait concentration, especially cold weather-leaning options like this.

8 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Caribbean Waters by Dua Fragrances

Dua Fragrances' Caribbean Waters is a fresh mix of coconut, rum, and a mix of citrus, anchored mainly by lime. In that respect, it smells like a tropical island vacation, fruity with light booze.

To address the elephant in the room. certainly the similarities to Creed Virgin Island Water are strong (not quite as cloney as Sweet Tabacum to TF Tobacco Vanille,) but I'm not such a VIW worshipper (I own 10 Creeds and VIW isn't one of them) that I would even approve wholeheartedly of an exact clone, anyway. Rather, I find that Caribbean Waters has merits outside of its similarities to Virgin Island Water. It's fresher and not so rum-intensive, to my nose.

CW is also quite strong, performance-wise, whereas I've not been overwhelmed by VIW the few times I've tried it out. For the standard Dua pricing of $45 for 30ml extrait, CW is a steal relative to VIW.

8 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Cafe Oud by Dua Fragrances

Cafe Oud by Dua Fragrances is certainly an interesting mix of the three listed signature notes--Colombian coffee, milk chocolate, and agarwood (oud)--and they're in excellent balance, as none of the listed notes seem to overpower the others. It's not too sweet from the chocolate, nor too biting from the coffee or especially the oud. It's a slight gourmand without being, say, quite as a much of a gourmand as Belgian Choco Truffle. But it doesn't let down a gourmand-lover like me because neither the coffee nor chocolate are all that subdued. The biggest forewarning is that the coffee note is not dominant, since the first word of the fragrance is Cafe.

Unsurprisingly, as a cold-weather-leaning Dua at extrait concentration, Cafe Oud is a powerful performer with respect to both projection and longevity and a welcome addition alongside the other strong mainstays of The Mobster, Sweet Tabacum, etc., and yet another great value.

9 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Belgian Choco Truffle by Dua Fragrances

Belgian Choco Truffle, after Vanilla Lemon Gelato, is the second true gourmand fragrance from the house that I purchased and now have worn, and like VLG, it does not disappoint. As expected, the chocolate forms much of the experience of the fragrance, though to me, the chocolate itself is more like a top note that begins to fade within an hour of wearing, and the plum emerges as a more dominant note, though I'm reasonably sure I can smell the plum at the opening as well.

Like some early reviewers have stated, there is a fruity acord, which mainly would be from the plums, but I also get a cherryish (or simply vaguely berryish) vibe. The dry down is very balanced between the chocolate, plum, this cherryish vibe, and the vanilla/caramel/almond mix. I don't get an especially strong amount of vanilla, caramel, or almond specifically, but they contribute to a general sweetness that's secondary to the chocolate and plum.

Performance is solid--very powerful projection for the first couple of hours and then a medium projection scent for hours after that. Another beast from the house, perhaps not quite as much as Sweet Tabacum or The Mobster, but quite strong nonetheless.

Overall a pleasant gourmand experience that is not too sweet but still decadent in its blend.

8 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Water of Arabia by Dua Fragrances

Dua Fragrances' Water of Arabia is said to bear a close resemblance to Creed Silver Mountain Water and I've now worn Aater of Arabia several times with that in mind, as with many Creed freshies, one would look for a more robust rendition, performance-wise (I very much like but don't get outstanding / all-day performance out of SMW, Aventus, GIT, Himalaya, Bois de Cedrat, etc.).

My experience of WOA is very similar to SMW in some areas but is distinguishable in other areas. The use of bergamot is heavy-handed in both, but the tea is much less significant in WOA than SMW. WOA is overall a fruitier, heavier experience, and SMW is the lighter, fresher experience.

In this vein, WOA is not a clone of SMW by any means, but an interesting similar expression in its own right. It surely smells like SMW, particular in the later day down that is less citrus-intensive (for both), but otherwise, the experiences of smelling the two are different enough that no one familiar with both would mistake one for the either. This isn't like the Armaf CDNIM vs Aventus level of similarity.

WOA's performance surpasses SMW in both projection and longevity, though, so if you're looking for something similar and more powerful than SMW, WOA might be just what the doctor ordered. And of course at $45 for a 30ml extrait (with other discounts usually floating around), this is a steal. A very nice fragrance, especially for warm weather wear.

7 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Forest Oud by Dua Fragrances

Forest Oud is, as promised, a lot of pine, but certainly not comparable to the pine-intensive fragrances I own (Creed Epicea and Imaginary Authors Cape Heartache). Forest Oud is much greener, almost to the point that the pine itself is subdued entirely by the green and herbal notes. It's a little biting at its opening but dries down to be much more mellow, as one might expect.

It's inoffensive but not particularly attractive to my nose, perhaps something suited better for a room fragrance than a personal fragrance, at least on my skin. I can certainly imagine how, with minor tweaks, this could be a green summer winner for men or women (though it leans ever so slightly masculine in my opinion).

In fairness, the greenness shouldn't come as a total shock since the juice is literally green-colored. I just don't get any oud or amber (as listed notes) either, and the experience is a little less pine-intensive than I'd perhaps hoped for.

Performance is decent for what seemingly is a warm-weather-designed fragrance, as its initial projection is strong for at least several hours before becoming closer to the skin.

I sort of like it but am not fully on board, and perhaps another wearing after another couple of weeks (as Dua Fragrances are said to age somewhat the first few weeks) might reveal something different, but as my batch was blended at least 10 days ago, I'd infer that this is simply how it works on my skin.

6 out of 10
02nd March, 2018

Hypnotic Santalum by Dua Fragrances

Hypnotic Santalum by Dua Fragrances is an interesting combination of florals, woods, leather, and oud. For me, this is very floral heavy, with a strong burst of neroli and rose to a drydown of leather, sandalwood, and oud. In the drydown, the florals calm down a but are still part of the mix. The oud and leather really never take over but remain supporting acts to theh sandalwood that dominates the drydown.

Hypnotic Santalum strikes me as a very unique mix though it's purported to smell like Guerlain Santal Royal, with which I am not familiar.

Performance is decent but not as good as many of the heavier beast entries in the line (The Mobster, Sweet Tabacum, Belgian Choco Truffle, Cafe Oud), probably on par with Caribbean Waters and a little stronger than Water of Arabia or Forest Oud.

It definitely wins points for uniqueness but in my case surely is just a "like" not a "love"--still, a very fun and interesting fragrance that should be versatile and unisex.

7 out of 10
02nd March, 2018