Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

Total Reviews: 736

Avant Garde by Lanvin

Lanvin Avant Garde is an agreeable sweet/spicy/pwodery/woody men's fragrance, very much in the spirit of the half decade of fragrances that preceded it. I'm thinking of YSL La Nuit de L'Homme, Burberry London for Men, and Mugler A*Men Pure Havane. Like these, it's an agreeable men's choice for nights, but also days, particularly in cooler weather.

Tobacco is Avant Garde's featured note, rendered spicier by additions of pepper and cardamom, given a hint of freshness via lavender, and sweetness by resins, and woodiness by, well, woods.

It's reasonably safe enough of an offering for those who fancy sweet tobacco scents, as the powderiness of it is limited enough, not really quite in the YSL L'Homme or Dior Homme category, very much remaining somewhat of a darker sweet/spicy combo.

Performance is quite solid, but, as it's been discontinued, I suspect the Lanvin Avant Garde, being available primarily through eBay and other sellers, is dramatically overpriced. Pure Havane is a better choice by far, and I suspect many others would be satisfied similarly by a recent formulation of LNDLH or London, for that matter.

A nice fragrance, a like but not a love, and really a statement, but as agreeable and reliable as most men's nighttime options that are viable for 6+ months of the year.

7 out of 10
11th September, 2018

Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille offers something special as far as a vanilla fragrance. Surely it's sweet, but it's a sweet, woody mix with nuances that keep it from being over-the-top. Vanilla, benzoin, beeswax, and the mix of sandalwood and guaiac wood create an easy-to-love, albeit all too familiar, vanillic/resinous/woody blend, but this blend is modified by the quirk of almond, tonka, and licorice, giving it some bite, some slight bitterness, and keeping it from being altogether too sweet for the enjoyment of many.

Rather, what results is a nuanced, interesting take on vanilla, well-performing and also modestly-enough priced (at $52 for a standard 50ml bottle size on FragranceNet). It's an easy win and a slight deviation from most sweeter vanilla offerings that lean boozy, cake-like, or extract-like.

8 out of 10
10th September, 2018

Tea for Two by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I'm glad to have finally smelled L'Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two, among the house's best-know scents, though I concede that I simply do not know the house well despite its significant catalog.

Tea for Two fittingly gives a tea-dominant vibe, somewhere in the chai or lapsang souchon range, teas that I don't like drinking but of which I enjoy the smell.

It's spicy due a mix of cinnamon and ginger that I can only describe as appealing but nonetheless slightly challenging to my nose, as ginger, in particular, sometimes is. Certainly more at the onset of application and first couple of hours than the later dry down does the ginger say, provoke me.

Fortunately, the honey aptly mitigates some of the spicy effects throughout the life of the fragrance, and the cinnamon, at least, is an ever-so-slightly sweet-leaning spice due to associations with dessert foods more so than savory items.

Performance is decent, certainly some nice projection for hours and for $102 for 100ml on FragranceNet, it's certainly a reasonable-enough price if one loves it, especially given its versatility and innovation.

8 out of 10
28th August, 2018
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Sabbia Bianca by Profumum

Profumum Roma Sabbia Bianca is a 2018 re-release of a prior 2011 release. A sweet white floral, it comes off as a warm weather daytime women's option, a mix of ylang ylang, tuberose, violet, and tiare.

It's nice, albeit a bit too feminine-leaning for my taste, but the care and quality are palpable in Sabbia Bianca as in other Profumuma Roman creations. Fortunately, it's not too sharp; rather, it comes off as pretty smooth, particularly in the dry down, an effortless wear, and a nice option that feels sufficiently versatile, but for women, at least, to me.

Performance is strong, as is the expectation of Profumum Roma offerings, and with a higher price point of $310 for 100ml (contra the usual $250 or $265)

7 out of 10
24th August, 2018

Bluebijou by Piotr Czarnecki

My second try from the new Piotr Czarnecki trio, Bluebijou, is a fairly unique blueberry mostly-gourmand fragrance.

It opens with a sharp, semi-green hint of violet leaf, coupled with blueberry, before the violet quickly fades and gives way to the more gourmand concoction of the still-dominant blueberry along with cacao, coffee, and cognac, along with a fairly agreeable dry down of amber and woods. I don't detect oud specifically in this dry down, though it is a listed note.

Its performance is strong, certainly worthy of its pricing ($175 for 100ml on Luckyscent, the exclusive source in the US).

Bluebijou is certainly a bit more unique than Venom of Angel, as blueberry is a more unique featured note than coconut, but Venom of Angel, Bluebijou ends up in a sweet spot that is, in the scheme of gourmands, pretty agreeable.

Overall, I'm a big fan of this one and imagine it'll be full-bottle-worthy for me as a neat, sweet, blueberry gourmand option.

8 out of 10
23rd August, 2018

Venom of Angel by Piotr Czarnecki

Venom of Angel is my first try of Piotr Czarnecki's sophomore trio of releases some four years after releasing Sensei and She Sensei, since renamed Shihan and She Shihan, the former particularly making waves (I still owe it a thorough review).

Venom of Angel is a sweet scent dominated by coconut but featuring an elaborate array of sweet and boozy notes, ranging from the extremely sweet sugar cane to resins, rum, and white chocolate. Again, it's sweet, but it's not overwhelmingly sweet, as there's some bass and depth to it.

It's a very nice fragrance and easily lovable for a fan of sweeter fragrances like myself. I'd classify it as a mostly-gourmand, dominated by food notes but nevertheless modified importantly but non-food notes: in this case, olibanum and cedar.

Performance is strong, albeit not as strong as Sensei/Shihan. Pricing is $175 for 100ml, a slight uptick from the Shihan pricing of $160 for 100ml.

8 out of 10
22nd August, 2018

Nejma 7 by Nejma

Nejma 7 is my first try from Nejma, and seemingly one of the line's more discussed entries, and certainly one that sounds like it'd be my alley, as a sweet gourmand.

The experience is very much the same, as it's a coconut-dominant gourmand with darker elements as well. A mixed boozy feeling accompanies a mix of cocoa and and patchouli/oud base but for me, this is quite sweet still hours after applying.

It feels tip-of-the-tongue sweet, though. A deep, rich sweetness is lacking, as is multidimensionality. It's enjoyable but leaves me wanting more.

At $138 for 100ml at Macy's, Nejma 7 is a tough sell since, as far as gourmands go, it feels far less elegant that the higher-quality entries in this category. It feels far more analogous to Zara Tobacco Collection Rich/Warm/Addictive with its similar coconut dominance (at $20 for 100ml, granted, a steal for its quality) than it does a Guerlain Gourmand Coquin (at $260 for 75ml).

Good but not great, and I'm content with a decant in lieu of a bottle.

7 out of 10
21st August, 2018

Mandarina Duck Black Extreme by Mandarina Duck

Mandarina Duck Black Extreme is my first try of this house, and allegedly this entry is now discontinued.

It's primarily a dark, sweet, powdery blend that is a semi-gourmand, dominated by notes of tonka, vanilla, pepper, and woods, with citrus in the opening. It's slightly provocative but does not remotely test the boundaries of standard gourmandish designer scents for men.

It reminds me somewhat of Rocawear Evolution in it being a dark, overtly-synthetic but overall well done semi-gourmand fragrance. It's enjoyable and many, especially men, would no doubt find it enjoyable.

Performance is decent, with significant projection for a couple of hours beyond which it gradually descends into being a skin scent.

Most Mandarina Duck fragrances seem inexpensive, including the similar Black, at $20-30 for 100ml, but at potentially exorbitant discontinued pricing, Black Extreme could prove more trouble than its worth, in which case I'd just pivot to the still-cheap Evolution. And if you want to pivot to leather and oud somewhat, Bvglari Man in Black is a solid option that's comparably priced.

7 out of 10
20th August, 2018

Ferrari Leather Essence by Ferrari

Ferrari Leather Essence is another solid example of a fragrance from the company that comes at a good value, generally in the $30-40 for the standard 100ml.

It's a crafty leather, somewhat sweet and spicy but mostly pivoting to the powdery tonka that, along with the leather, dominates my experience of the scent. Elements like clove and cinnamon add a certain spiciness, with the lavender/citrus pairing gives it a burst of brightness at the beginning that quickly fades.

While it's objective a nice composition, it's overwhelmingly powdery on my skin for the first 2-3 hours of wearing, after which it mellows out somewhat. So in that respect, it definitely performs well, with significant projection for a while. Again, an excellent value, but for my money, I'd rather enjoy a sweet leather in Davidoff Leather Blend.

7 out of 10
17th August, 2018

Ferrari Noble Fig by Ferrari

Ferrari Noble Fig is another cheapie that makes quite a splash Its performance isn't as boastful as Radiant Bergamot in terms of either projection or longevity but it's surely as interesting.

Fig has proven a challenging note for me to enjoy, despite it being one I'd specifically love to enjoy. The blend in Noble Fig is superb, as the blend of citrus, patchouli, iris, and musk serving as an apropos backdrop to the fig.

The blend remains sweet while simultaneously being fresh and woody with just a hint of powder and herbs. Overall, it's quite pleasant and agreeable, an inoffensive, versatile fig fragrance. It's not bound to be everyone's cup of tea, since fig remains an idiosyncratic fruit note, but it's one of the most enjoyable expressions of the note that I'vet tried to date, and it feels easy, not challenging, despite having a little bit of depth.

At $25 for 100ml on FragranceX, this is an example of yet another humbly-priced offering from Ferrari that seems borderline unreasonably good. Like Radiant Bergamot, this is another cheapie bottle I'll be adding to my collection.

7 out of 10
16th August, 2018

Ferrari Radiant Bergamot by Ferrari

A well-hyped offering with high expectations, Ferrari Radiant Bergamot is primarily a bright burst of bergamot and lemon with some herbal, spicy undertones--namely, rosemary and ginger--as well as hints of sweetness from nutmeg and labdanum.

The composition feels bold while being refreshing and agreeable all the same. Its density isn't lacking for a warm weather daytime wear, and it fittingly projects for a couple of hours before becoming more of a skin scent.

The elephant in the room is the pricing, which is, obscenely, only $25 for the standard 100ml bottle size on FragranceX, a steal by most measures.

Radiant Bergamot's quality and price render it an elite cheapie, certainly worthy of owning for casual, warm-weather, daytime wearing. Very impressive.

8 out of 10
15th August, 2018

Armani Privé Rose d'Artiste by Giorgio Armani

I was delighted to receive a sample from Bergdorf Goodman of the new Armani Prive Rose d'Artiste before it's released in the US (only appears to be on Harrod's and Armani's Canadian site so far)...

...but I must say that it's quite an odd fragrance at best and near-sickening at worst.

First, in fairness, the note breakdown isn't so unusual, its mix of florals, incense, citrus, and ambroxan seeming rather innocuous.

Somehow, though, it comes off like a plastic, almost play-doh-like scent with the violet and iris screeching over the top. I don't really get much of the citrus, incense, or myrrh, just a synthetic mess of ambroxan, florals, and that odd plastic / play doh smell.

Allegedly it's part of a release of only 1,300 bottles that seem to range in price from $600-700 US, which is steep, as the highest I'd seen in the Prive line otherwise is for New York at $360, with th rest of the collection being $310 or lower. It's obviously an impossible sell for me since I don't care for Rose d'Artiste but it's still a tough price to swallow for anyone.

Rose d'Artiste may please some but it simply doesn't work for me at all. Sample carefully.

4 out of 10
14th August, 2018

Tobacco Collection Rich Warm Addictive by Zara

Zara's 2016 Tobacco Collection, specifically, Rich/Warm/Addictive, was atop the hype train of the northern hemisphere winter 2016-17 season, the characteristic quick scarceness of which prompted prices to escalate from the retail $20 (maybe $30) to multiples of that.

I never saw it in my relatively small local store at the time but acquired it secondhand and found it to be quite a nice fragrance, a neat entry in the "sweet tobacco" subgenre.

The combination of tobacco, coconut, and honey provides something different from most of what I see on the market, the coconut specifically creating an unapologetic sweetness, albeit synthetic, that still works very effectively against the tobacco and woods, with honey cementing the fragrance's status as sugary sweet, a far reach from an actually tobacco-dominant scent.

Performance is decent, moderate on projection and longevity, but in fairness, for their prices, that is all one can expect of even a more cold-weather-leaning Zara scent.

The use RWA for me is primarily casual wear, but it's inoffensive enough to wear to the office or even in warm weather.

7 out of 10
13th August, 2018
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Les Elixirs Charnels - Gourmand Coquin by Guerlain

My sampling of Guerlain Gourmand Coquin is long overdue. Upon initial smell (even on paper, when I first got a whiff of it in BG), it's obviously an elegant, carefully-crafted, high-quality gourmand fragrance, the vanilla and chocolate accords standing out the most. Still, there is the faint booziness of the rum and spiciness of the pepper (and vaguely listed "spices"), but I admit I don't detect the rose directly. Rose is generally welcome at the table as far as I'm concerned, as when it's not a standout, it can be a neat nuance to incorporate.

Gourmand Coquin mostly gives the air of sweet sophistication, not an over-the-top, indulgent gourmand that smells of actual food, but rather, the artistic representation of the given notes, especially vanilla and chocolate.

Its performance is superb, quite a standout, like the other high-end heavier Guerlain offerings I've tried.

Pricing for Gourmand Coquin and the rest of the Elixir Charnel collection is on pair with L'Art et la Matiere collection (i.e. SDV, TI) at $260 for 75ml, so it's surely in that $3+/ml category of probably needing to love it to consider buying a full bottle. I do love it, though.

Certainly on my list to be acquired--simply put, one of the best gourmands I've ever tried.

9 out of 10
09th August, 2018

Kilsbergen by Zara

Unlike Norrland and Tiveden, seemingly modeled after Hermes Terre d'Hermes and Le Labo Santal 33, also released in 2017 and seemingly of the same men's collection, Zara's Kilsbergen does not seem to be an obvious clone of any men's fragrance, at least, not to me.

Its note breakdown is simple: bergamot, orange blossom, and tonka--and its feel is just that simple and effortless. It's sweet, creamy, fruity, and ever so slightly spicy, perhaps a nuanced corner of the tonka.

It makes for a pleasant wear, and with mediocre, not terrible, performance, its US in-store price ($30 for 100ml, I believe) is more than justified. Sadly, after its initial run, it's difficult to find in stores but is readily available on eBay and such, albeit generally at inflated prices.

7 out of 10
08th August, 2018

Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

Armani Prive Bois d'Encens is yet another solid offering in the Prive line, understandably a staple in the line since its 2004 inception as it offers a bold, mostly-wintery, mostly-masculine contribution to the line that seems otherwise slightly lacking in the current line-up.

It's extremely spicy at its onset with lots of pepper and woods, and then almost immediately begins to calm down to be only very spicy, but still quite spicy and woody, as a resinous, semi-sweet base starts to unfold. It feels like the sweet rather than the animalic side of resins, though, nothing too untamed, the pepper perhaps being the wildest aspect of the whole risk.

The result is a masculine winter fragrance that's elegant for formal and nighttime wear but still has the air of being a men's anytime signature scent for cold weather, especially.

Performance is solid, well above average on projection and great on longevity.

I definitely recommend trying this out. I waited far too long to try my sample.

8 out of 10
03rd August, 2018

Armani Privé Iris Céladon by Giorgio Armani

Armani Prive Iris Celadon is a nice, classy unisex iris scent, a mix primarily laden with cardamom, musk, patchouli, and bergamot. Slightly spicy, fresh, and sweet, it leans mostly to the powdery iris without being overwhelmingly powdery.

It has an air of sophistication and, like Armani Prive New York, seasonal versatility. It doesn't really strike me as a scent too weak for winter or too heavy for summer. Like New York, it leans slightly feminine but is quite unisex, and performance is good. Unlike New York, its pricing is very much in line with the rest of the line at $270 for 100ml.

Very good but a "like" not a "love" for me, overall. Still, a recommended try from this line, show the range of Prive.

7 out of 10
02nd August, 2018

Armani Privé New York by Giorgio Armani

The Bergdorf Goodman exclusive Armani Prive New York struck me as unassuming and not too outstanding at first, especially for a BG exclusive priced above-the-norm for Prive at at $360 for 100ml.

The scent, is overall, modest---a blend of white pepper, white musk, white tea, iris, vanilla, some florals, and incense. It's quite white, as the note list allows me to imagine, and it's an even-keeled, balanced impression of the various elements. It's sharp but not too sharp, and smooth but not so smooth as to be boring or too sweet. It evolves from the sharper to the sweeter, eventually remaining on my skin as (predictably) the vanilla and white musk, primarily.

Classy stuff, four-season and gender versatile, surely leaning slightly feminine but not enough to move the needle for me, at least.

Performance is well above average on projection and quite great on longevity, impressive given that it's not a particularly heavy scent, but it is a rich scent, nonetheless.

The price is a lot to swallow but this could be a unisex signature scent. Certainly something to think about. At least for the time being, it does not appear to be slated to be discontinued.

8 out of 10
01st August, 2018

Agar Blend by Davidoff

Since trying and loving Leather Blend, I've been itching to try the other extant Blends from Davidoff--Agar, Amber, Wood--and am pleased to try Agar.

This is a nice sweet oud fragrance, a blend that starts out sharp and dries down sweet, opening with more of the spicy elements of clove, pepper, and it dries down with a healthy dose of amber and guaiac.

It's spicy and sweet throughout, the amber coming out especially to give a creamy / sweet aspect.

Performance is strong and if it can be found at a good price, this is a worthy buy. At one point, Agar and Leather Blends were available on the US site for Notino at around $60 for 100ml, but the site has since shut down its US operations, and so the scents have again become de facto Middle East exclusives. Is it worth $200? Probably not. But $60? Surely.

8 out of 10
31st July, 2018

Nuit de Megève by Eight & Bob

Nuit de Megeve walks the line between provocative and sober vetiver, a curious iris/tonka blend creating a semi-sweet, powdery vetiver experience that is fresh yet deep and rich as well.

Stylistically, it's a curious use of vetiver, not particularly dirty, but rather, quite sophisticated, yet odd enough to seem unhinged at times. I don't specifically get tobacco or clove but rather, some blend of the two, slightly dirty, spicy, even green.

It vacillates between bright and dark but in that respect it's a good four-season fragrance.

Performance is decent but as with most of the fragrances in the line, the obstacle is pricing, in which the standard bottle price of $175 for 100ml feels a tad much for what one is getting. Nuit stands out as perhaps the most sophisticated, formal offering of the lot, and perhaps the single scent (Egypt also, maybe) that transitions best from day to nighttime wearing.

7 out of 10
26th July, 2018

Champs de Provence by Eight & Bob

Eight & Bob Champs de Provence is a light, fruity, floral, musky mix that immediately seems to be a similar category to Memoires de Mustique but distinguishes itself more so for its varied fruitiness and champagne-like brightness and effervescence. In that respect, it's fresh, fairly agreeable, and apt for warm weather wearing.

It's rather linear to me, unlike some of the house's other offerings. A fun opening of bergamot, pear, and orange gives way to a dry down of jasmine, musk, and ambroxan ever so slightly but it's pretty consistent throughout. I still get much of the top notes after several hours of wearing, albeit close to the skin. I don't get much rose and am not familiar with maté tea.

While being a little more interesting than Memoires, Champs is a little too safe, too under-performing to warrant the standard Eight & Bob price tag of $175 for 100ml. It's also fair to note that it's less replaceable than Memoires, as well. I'd love it at a lower price point but might only consider a travel size at this rate.

7 out of 10
25th July, 2018

Mémoires de Mustique by Eight & Bob

Memoires de Mustique is the freshest, most agreeable offering from Eight & Bob that I've yet tried, but it's also the least provocative, deep, and interesting.

It's mainly a mix of the orange plant notes at the top (neroli, orange blossom, petitgrain)--and it's true that I more or less get a bit of each, probably a little less orange blossom than the other two--which dries down to a musky woody resting place within the first couple of hours. Jasmine, woods, amber, and musk provide an agreeable, balanced base.

Performance is a notch below the others from Eight & Bob that I've tried so far, which, at $175 for 100ml, when compounded with its lack of flair, makes Memoires de Mustique an especially difficult sell. Still, it's pleasant, and I'd certainly wear it a lot if I owned a bottle; I just regard a cheaper alternative like John Varvatos Artisan Pure or Dior Homme Cologne as more viable.

Very nice, but probably a bit pricey for what it is.

7 out of 10
24th July, 2018

Egypt by Eight & Bob

Eight & Bob Egypt is a spicy, semi-sweet, semi-fresh, masculine-leaning scent that seems to be both a nod to classic fougeres and more modern spicy/sweet men's scents alike.

The fresh opening of lavender, lemon, and moss shapes the freshness of the blend, the lavender in particular standing out, as it often does, the lavender and moss blend providing the foreground of a fougere while the rest comes together. Nutmeg and cardamom provide a spicy heart, while the base is composed of a familiar balance of leather, patchouli, and sandalwood, a relatively safe landing spot.

Somehow, the blend comes off as somewhat sweet, and I attribute this mainly to the nutmeg and sandalwood, but still, the sweetness is surprising. Nevertheless, Egypt is spicier than it is sweet. I get hints of the leather and sandalwood but not so much the patchouli in the dry down, myself, which perhaps keeps it smelling sweeter rather than dirtier on my skin, at least.

Performance is solid, much like the others I've tried from this house (original and Cap D'Antibes), and the pricing is fair enough ($175 for 100ml) given that Egypt, like the others, is versatile, and can be worn, in my opinion, year-round except perhaps on a hot summer day. Otherwise, though, Egypt is an easy winner, a fragrance that strikes me as universally flattering on men based on traditional norms but certainly wearable by women. The scent leans ever so slightly more mature than youthful, but is really balanced enough that most could find joy in wearing it, either for formal or casual situations.

High on versatility, to say the least.

Another solid entry from Eight & Bob and one I'll have to consider.

8 out of 10
23rd July, 2018

Sundrunk by Imaginary Authors

The latest Imaginary Authors creation by Josh Meyer comes fittingly at summer, when a fragrance laden with neroli and a generally citrus-intensive element is apt to wear.

I’ve not been a fan of rhubarb previously but it’s used in Sundrunk in what I can only describe as the right proportion, and, when mixed with neroli, the perfume reflects a superb balance between the freshness of the neroli and the tart, herbal qualities of rhubarb. Orange zest adds a further sharp citrus edge without taking much attention away from the neroli or rhubarb, and frankly, I’d have easily attributed any sharpness to the rhubarb itself in the absence of being shown orange zest on the note list.

Rose water and honeysuckle add further flavor, floral contributions that foster nuance and depth without taking over. Rose is among my favorite notes and in rose water, it’s generally diluted thinly enough to be a rather fresh, semi-transparent addition. Honeysuckle is a note I’m still learning to enjoy and have a difficult time detecting but in general, I quite like it and certainly approve of its use in Sundrunk.

Overall, the experience of Sundrunk is great. Its harmonious citrus/floral entourage is sharp and tart but still refreshing, and deviates form the now-routine neroli takeover that we’ve seen in abundance.

I do wonder how Josh continues to find new and interesting formulas to create perfume when there is so much homogeneity in especially summer-friendly / fresh offerings nowadays.

Sundrunk’s performance is decent, but certainly more in line with the more modestly-performing summer-friendly scents of recent years (Saint Julep, Every Storm a Serenade, and Mosaic are my favorites of these) than the heavier, more wintery offerings (my favorites being Cape Heartache, Memoirs of a Trespasser, and A City on Fire), and frankly, this should be expected given the note breakdown.

I remain pleased with the price point, $95 for 50ml, as <$2/ml is sustainable for any offering that I like or especially that I love, though everyone’s budget is different. That a travel size is now part of seemingly every new release, at $38 for 14ml, offers a viable alternative for those who need less and want to pay less. (I realize Whispered Myths has higher pricing but this is currently the lone exception)

Sundrunk works very well for me. It’s a fragrance I want to smell over and over and it just about matches the achievement in innovation that was 2017’s (pre-)summer release, Saint Julep. It’ll be a welcome addition to my collection at some point.

8 out of 10
22nd July, 2018

Cap d'Antibes by Eight & Bob

Eight & Bob Cap D'Antibes is an interesting creation, certainly marketed as a marine scent and immediately embodying a green aspect with the opening of violet and mint, and addition of moss and woody notes in the dry down. Much of this early part of the formula reminds me of Creed Green Irish Tweed, perhaps the archetype for fresh, mossy, green fragrances for a few decades.

Cap's most notable notable departure from GIT is in the dry down, where it mixes in vanilla and becomes a little more of a year-round scent as opposed to a fresh-leaning marine scent. Frankly, though, Cap is pretty dense throughout. Even during its sharp burst at the opening where the violet especially takes a choke-hold of the experience, it does not feel so airy.

Cap, like the original Eight and Bob, is priced fairly ($175 for 100ml, $50 for 20ml), as it's innovative, versatile, and strong-performing, particularly for its rather fresh, warm-weather-leaning genre.

I would still give the original the edge of Cap D'Antibes, mainly as the original is less acerbic throughout, while Cap, even after softening into a sweeter vanillic experience in the dry down, still retains a certain bite that I find a little less inviting that much of the original. Still, Cap defies blue/green norms and achieves something special, and it's no surprise to me that it appears to be a very popular entry in the line.

7 out of 10
20th July, 2018

Eight & Bob by Eight & Bob

I tried the original Eight & Bob creation on paper and was unimpressed, but it has a lot more depth. Opening with a fresh spicy blend of bergamot, lemon, cardamom, and ginger, it has the initial aura of a fresh masculine experience but quickly starts to evolve into a woody, and sweet, almost resinous dry down.

The dry down is curious, especially the base, which consists of ambergris, patchouli, and vanilla, a varied mix that hints at the animalic side of ambergris but mostly provides its characteristic saltiness in concert with the sweetness of vanilla and unique semi-dirtiness that is special to patchouli.

It starts as a men's freshie but drie down to be a versatile unisex fragrance--an interesting evolution.

At $185 for 100ml (or $150 for the 50ml RFK special edition), the original Eight & Bob is in a manageable-enough price point for how well this EDT performs., quite excellent for the type of fragrance (semi-fresh, semi-sweet 4-season), concentration (EDT), and aforementioned pricing. It also comes in a $50-for-20ml travel size.

Overall, quite impressive and versatile.

8 out of 10
19th July, 2018

Mohur Extrait by Neela Vermeire

Mohur Extrait is my first try from Neela Vermeire Creations and it's a lovely sweet, powdery rose on the whole, with hints of iris and a dry down of sandalwood that makes for a nice, balanced offering. Bits of vanilla, tonka, and benzoin provide some depth and character to the sweetness, a certain creaminess, and there are other floral contributions apart from the rose that give it some variance. It's a lot of fun to wear, is certainly inherently feminine but not so overwhelmingly floral as to be stereotypically problematic for men. Rose lovers--sweet rose lovers, especially--should check this out, as it high-quality and surely could be the answer to their search for an ideal rose scent.

Projection is modest but longevity is superb. It's very expensive at $445 for 50ml (on Luckyscent), but very refined and perhaps nice to own a small quantity of. Nearly $10/ml is a tough sell, though, in general.

8 out of 10
18th July, 2018

Fougère d'Argent by Tom Ford

Tom Ford Private Blends have finally explicitly dipped into fougere territory, this time with the brand's own re-imagining of the formula, oakmoss being replaced with akigala wood, said by one source to be a enzymatic variation of patchouli.

The opening of orange, lavender, and ginger is bright and freshly sharp but very much short-lived on my skin, drying down relatively quickly over the course of 1-2 hours to the sweet, semi-animalic blend of coumarin, labdanum, and the abovementioend akigala wood, which lends the spicy character of patchouli that the oakmoss would have provided.

Perhaps due simply to the labdanum/coumarin pairing, Fougere d'Argent is noticeably sweeter than most fougeres (or even most near-fougeres like Chanel Pour Monsieur), and perhaps that's in the more modern trend of masculine fragrances leaning sweeter. This is branded unisex by virtue of its inclusion in the Private Blend line, but even a deviation from the traditional fougere rings masculine.

Performance is solid, reflective of the price and that, genre-wise, Fougere d'Argent is year-round-friendly and while I regard it as more of a daytime option, it can certainly suit someone at night, and surely for formal scenarios as well.

The lower end of the Private Blend pricing is now up to $235 for 50ml as evidenced by this new release and its sibling, Fougere Palatine, so this is wholly in the category of "need to love it in order to buy a full bottle" and even with one wearing, I expect Tom Ford has won me over with the innovation and versatility of the fragrance, but more wearings of my decants will follow.

8 out of 10
16th July, 2018

Rich Leather by Zara

Zara Rich Leather is one of a handful of Aventus-like clones, the more notable being Vibrant Leather (EDT and now EDP). I was able to quickly try and buy a bottle of Rich Leather, though, and found it quite satisfying.

It's one of the better Aventus clones I've tried, adequately capturing the pineapple and woods of its inspiration. It's only bright at the very opening and then quickly dries down to the fruity, woody, musky, and rather sobering base.

Performance is about what I'd expect for the price. A skin scent within a couple hours but a pleasant, balanced one.

I believe its retail pricing in the US was $29.90 for 100ml EDP, which is as modest as any pricing I've seen for a decent Aventus clone.

7 out of 10
13th July, 2018

Sel Marin by Heeley

Heeley Sel Marin has a top-tier reputation among aquatic fragrances, so I'm glad to finally sample it (via a Luckyscent dabber, albeit). I gravitate toward heavier / cold weather fragrances so it's always a treat to try a new freshie.

As it's name suggests, it's salt water, mainly, with a few interesting hints added: seaweed, vetiver, birch, and lemon, each proving useful to add both variation and depth to the blend.

On my skin, Sel Marin comes off slightly minty, as well, not necessarily good or bad, but it makes the blend more nuanced.

I like salty aquatics like this. One that comes to mind is the rarely-discussed Nautica Oceans that rarely atomizes well but instead is launched in watery bursts and provides the simply scent of salty water but without the dirtiness of calone.

Sel Marin is more subtle, by comparison, but I have reservations about whether it's worth the $180 for 100ml retail pricing. As a premier aquatic offering, it could be worthwhile to anyone who loves it, but I have a difficult time regarding its performance as strong from a dabber, and if it requires a bunch of sprays to last, that could diminish its value.

At minimum, it's a very good entry that I'd like to wear some more, and clearly it was created with care, and is worthy of sampling by anyone, as it's a solid warm weather option.

7 out of 10
12th July, 2018