Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

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Total Reviews: 817

Vťtiver by Creed

I'd not sampled Creed Vetiver 1948 (the actual original vetiver, not Original Vetiver, which was released in 2004) in some time before procuring a decant recently. I would describe it as a fresh, classic citrus/vetiver scent, certainly fresher than Dior Vetiver but not as fresh as Eau Sauvage, somewhere in between. Its main note list consists of citruses, ginger, vetiver, cedar, and ambergris. It smells very natural, fitting for a refreshing throwback, though it does not perform particularly well, which is my experience of most freshie or semi-freshie Creedsógreat scents but a little light on performance relative to the cost, and certainly thatís the case with this hard-to-find, discontinued offering.

Overall, itís very nice, but not as unique or interesting as some of the other discontinued grey-cap-era EDT Creeds like Epicea or Baie de Genievre. Still, Iíd nab a bottle at the right price as a semi-collector. It's classy stuff, signature-scent worthy, and harkens back to a different time.

7 out of 10
09th April, 2019

Le Parfait by Armaf

Armaf Le Parfait Pour Homme is a cheapie from the noted clone house thatís actually a mix of its clones of Creed Green Irish Tweed and Avenuts, respectively, Tres Nuit and Club de Nuit Intense Man.

First off, the value and appeal of clone houses and specific offerings like this is palpable, as a standard 100ml bottle of Le Parfait runs about $18-20 US on FragranceNet.com or FragranceBuy.Ca, contra a creed bottle of similar size costing several hundred dollars retail or maybe $150-200 via the grey market.

Cost notwithstanding, itís still a very interesting fragrance, involving both fruity freshness and crisp freshness with sweet and woody tones throughout. Like many have said, itís a bit more GIT/Tres Nuit than Aventus/CDNIM, maybe two thirds the former and one third the latter. The formula feels right, though, and without violet in particular, thereís considerably less bite than in GIT, though I imagine its absence could be a major detractor for some fans.

Le Parfait is bright but has a density that helps the fragrance be a lot less faint when it fades from its initial robust projection to being mostly a skin scent after 3 hours, but thereís a considerably difference btween skin scents that are airy and weak versus those line Le Parfait (and like Feuille Verte, which I tried yesterday) that dry down to be dense and rich, but without a ton of projection. Le Parfait is not as strong as Feuille Verte, but it matches and probably surpasses many Creed freshies.

Overall, Iím quite impressed with this, both value, creativity (in terms of blending two scents, albeit still cloning), and, of course, unusually great value.


7 out of 10
29th March, 2019

Feuilles Vertes by Creed

Creed Feuille Verte, originally released in 2006 and then re-released in 2011 (both times as a limited edition), has been talked up as one of the best Creeds and Iím really quite taken with it, myself.

Itís a citrus floral bouquet thatís densely arranged, feeling a bit more robust and less transparent than most offerings (many of which I love), and has a savory and soapy quality that makes it feel so well-though-out and refined. The note breakdown is a relatively simple list of mandarin, lime, oakmoss, vanilla, rose, and jasmine. I suspect the oakmoss/rose combination is what gives the fragrance more heft than some of its freshie counterparts, and renders it an instant classic in my book.

Iím very impressed with this and would love to try and find an atomizer / 75ml of it at some point. Itís no slouch of a performer, either, giving fairly robust projection for several hours.

8 out of 10
28th March, 2019
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Citrus Bigarrade by Creed

Creed Citrus Bigarrade is a nice semi-fresh, semi-bitter, musky/woody offering that Iíd certainly classify among the more accessible discontinued freshies from that era. Iíd describe it as not quite as sharp as Bois de Cedrat, not quite as green as Selection Verte, and not quite as orangey as Orange Spice. Itís more of a semi-bitter lemon freshie with some woody undertones.

The note listing by some sources is deceptively simple: bergamot, citrus notes, neroli flower, and ambergris.

Its performance is sadly lacking, as even with a fairly robust application from a decant sprayer, the scent is barely present after a couple of hours, so I wouldnít advocate tracking down a bottle at an exorbitant cost, though Iím glad Iíve a decant to enjoy on occasion.

7 out of 10
26th March, 2019

Mortal Skin by Stťphane Humbert Lucas 777

My first try from Stephane Humbert Lucas, but perhaps the house's best-known entry, Mortal Skin, is primarily a resinous fragrance, but with some interesting quirks.

Admittedly I didnít think it would smell like skin, but through the semi-animalic resinous dominance of the fragrance, it does vaguely have that vibe. Some florals, the musk, and sandalwood bring the resins to a more comforting, semi-feminine place but there are other elements that frankly complicate the mix like blackberry, ink, and civet. So its center is the resin/wood/musk dynamic but it does veer off interestingly with almost a powdery lipstick mix, so it seems a little feminine on my skin, but I like it.

Itís not a huge performer, though, at least on me, and so at its pricing of $290 for 50ml is a bit steep as far as a full bottle. Iíll enjoy trying this some more but with resinous fragranceóthough I love themóI can be pretty picky, and Mortal Skin in particular is a ďlikeĒ not a ďloveĒ for me, at least for now.

7 out of 10
21st March, 2019

1903 by J Peterman

The name commonality of the J. Peterman brand with the beloved Seinfeld character notwithstanding, 1903 is a very agreeable menís cologne, somewhere in the middle, intensity-wise, between a very citrus-heavy freshie (i.e. Dior Sauvage, 4711) and a heavier fougere or spicy offering (i.e. MDCI Invasion Barbare, Chanel Pour Monsieur, Antaeus).

Itís a pleasant blend of citruses, tobacco, clary sage, cardamom, leather, and olibanum. For me, the clary sage is the main standout, its semi-dirty / semi-green quality working well with the tobacco to create an outdoorsy vibe to accompany the standard citrus cleanliness.

Itís a nice offering, overall, and gives a different ďcologneĒ vibe from others that Iíve tried. Its pricing is reasonable, too, per the house site: $62 for the 100ml vintage cologne (splash) and $45 for 100ml spray cologne . I believe these are the same but the former comes with the pictured wooden container around the bottle.

Good value and a neat item that Iíd not previously heard of.

7 out of 10
20th March, 2019

Desert Dust by Dua Fragrances

Desert Dust is a now-valuted original creation from Dua Fragrances that is a rather straightforward, simple blend of vanilla, sugar, and tonka. Certainly it feels vanilla dominant, but to me, it does not smell of a bourbon or Madagascar vanilla but truly a blended influence of the slightly sharp tonka and also a bit of the super tip-of-the-tongue sweet sugar.


I love this one and itís among my favorite original creations from Mahsam Raza, another great vanilla offering being Chateau under Michael Veneís Eighteen Fifty Parfums label, though thatís more of a straightforward boozy bourbon vanilla, contra the sugary tonka mix in Desert Dust. Itís a great performer as well with the characteristically dark juice of most 2016 Dua releases. It remains one of my favorite vanilla creations period and favorite Duas.

8 out of 10
07th March, 2019

The Mobster by Dua Fragrances

The Dua Fragrances original creation that first caught my attention almost three years ago and started whatís been a great affair with the brand, The Mobster, is almost blatantly a bold cold-weather sort of concoction that I suspected I would like, a suspicion that was immediately validated when I bought my first bottle.

The Mobster combines several effective winter-, arguably masculine-leaning notesótobacco and whiskey, namelyówith the trendy oud and supporting patchouli, sandalwood, and ďspicy notes.Ē The whiskey/tobacco/oud trio really tells most of the story, though, as The Mobster addresses my appetite for tobacco and booze and oud in fragrances, and these three are especially useful in the colder weather.

Also, the juice is dark and strong, a trend that Dua has followed in many of their winter-leaning items. Itís boastful, projects loudly for hours, and lasts for hours more. Its high concentration and rich notes make for powerful wearing experience.

The pricing is reasonable and The Mobster has remained on the lower end of the Dua spectrum of pricing, initially only $40 for 30ml in 2016 but now not too much more at about $50 for 30ml, usually subject to at least a 15% coupon. It's a strong value for a strong fragrance.

The Mobster remains a mainstay of the brand and bold reminder to me of what got me interested in Dua Fragrances in the first place: their original creations. Itís not my favorite or even top few favorites, but itís one Iíll always enjoy and that serves me well, particularly on colder days and nights.

8 out of 10
06th March, 2019

Ganache Tonka by Zara

Ganache Tonka from Zara flew relatively under the radar against the Tobacco Collection Rich/Warm/Addictive that captured the attention of the online fragrance community, seemingly for months.

Ganache Tonka was brought to my attention only by chance and it's another interesting cold-weather-leaning release from the designer that, like Rich/Warm/Addictive, is well-crafted, a decent performer, and a great value in light of its typically low retail pricing ($30 for 100ml).

Ganache Tonka is a sweet, sultry blend of the eponymous note of tonka, along with cardamom, vanilla, cacao, sandalwood, and musk. Itís quite powdery and also a bit spicy by way of the cardamom. Itís pleasant, but just craftily provocative enough in the right ways to be interesting. It provides the powdery bite of tonka (certainly more than in Le Labo Tonka 25, for example), but rendered creamy with the vanilla and a spicy/woody blend to keep the end result from being a gourmand.

It's a very nice entry in the house, relatively easy to wear, particularly in the colder weather, and a nice companion to the more blatantly sweet Rich/Warm/Addictive, a honey/coconut tobacco scent.

7 out of 10
04th March, 2019

Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Tom Ford Sahara Noir is probably the best-known resin-dominant fragrance from the brand apart from Amber Absolute. Sahara Noir involves a variety of resins--described as amber, frankincense, benzoin, and labdanum--and in so doing facilitates a varied resinous experience. The fragrance is roughly equal parts smoky, animalic, and sweet. Often resin-dominant fragrances are accompanied by a strong woody component, for example, or lean toward the smoky, sweet, or animalic sides, but Sahara Noir is reasonably balanced; it's a bit of each.

There are other elements, tooófresh bergamot mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit blossom and orange blossomóthat create a bright opening and sort of acidic vibe throughout much of the life of the fragrance, as well as some other heartier contributors that I unfortunately do detect a lot of, like tobacco, black pepper, patchouli, oakmoss, and leather.

Unsurprisingly, itís a nice winter option and a good performer; though its projection is not boastful as far as distance, Sahara Noir has an obvious density that creates a fairly pungent effect within a foot or so. Itís good value, in that respect. I have only the 50ml bottle and feel fine with that, though I believe it comes in a larger bottle as well.

Overall, the balance of the various resinous elements is very good, but still not as subtle or elegant as in, say, Benjoin 19, the Le Labo Moscow City Exclusive, which is similarly balanced (though a little more woody than smoky) but seems to fit together more neatly. Granted, the retail pricing of Benjoin 19 is several times that of Sahara Noir. I believe Sahara Noir is now discontinued, though, but it used to retail for roughly $125 for 50ml or so. If you enjoy resinous fragrances, itís certainly worth tracking down a sample/decant of, as it seems to be a favorite of many. Iím glad I have a bottle but itís not among my very favorite resinous fragrances.

7 out of 10
27th February, 2019

Sensei by Piotr Czarnecki

Surely among my favorite cold weather fragrances, Sensei (now named Shihan) is a wonderful mix of several favorite notes, or categories of notes, specifically: whiskey, coffee, and tobacco.

The dancer-turned-perfumer released the original 3x33ml (in EDT/EDP/Extrait) presentation in 2014, but by the end of 2015, when I finally ordered a bottle, the presentation had switched over to the single-concentration 100ml EDP variety, which very much smells like the EDP in the original arrangement. Since then, the scent has been renamed ďShihanĒ due to what I assume was some sort of a legal dispute, but I still like calling it Sensei.

In short, this is a winter, masculine-leaning delight, not that itís strictly for men (despite the existence of a later release, the more feminine-leaning She Sensei, now She Shihan). It includes familiar notes that are somehow rarely all together in one fragrance: whiskey, coffee, and tobacco are the main players, an amalgam of bold winter contributors that play off one another superbly in this dark, dense concoction.

The main trio is supported heavily by resins (incense, labdanum, amber, myrrh) along with the curious ambrette seed and some musk, though I donít especially detect these two. The main story is the boozy tobacco coffee with a healthy dose of resins which satisfies several vices in one bold fragrance.

I get exceptional performance on my skin, beast mode for hours and then moderate for hours beyond that, exceptional longevity and very good projection overall, certainly what I expect for high-quality niche juice that suits the colder weather, particularly.

The pricing has consistently remained $160 for 100ml (in the US, sold only by Luckyscent) for the past three years, and this value is great, in the same range as Kerosene, 4160 Tuesdays, Hilde Soliani, Phaedon, etc., particularly as his more recent releases have increased in pricing to $175 or $195. While the intrigue of the original presentation will always remain high, and Iím glad to have one of those, the 100ml EDP is still excellent, and the basis for my review / recommendation. Also, for what itís worth, the name change does not seem correlate with any change in the actual juice as Iíve tried the 100ml EDP Shihan and itís the same as Sensei.

Sensei is a supremely excellent release, nearly-perfect, in my opinion, and a winter staple, in particular. It both conjures cold weather times and also reinforces those occasions when wearing it. Truly a majestic scent.

9 out of 10
26th February, 2019

Passion Boisťe by Frapin

Frapin Passion Boisee opens with some bite, a citrus burst anchored by spices and woods. It feels somewhat classic, masculine, and reasonably formal. After the initial citrus/mint/menthol burst fades, the connection becomes clear: it reminds me of Creed Spice and Wood, is a more provocative version to the relatively smooth and easy-to-wear Spice and Wood.

There's some vague spiciness via the nutmeg and clove, and it's spicier than Spice and Wood throughout its life. It mainly has the citrus/woody pairing, though, of tangerine and cedar, that make it a semi-fresh, year-round friendly option that's not likely not overwhelm even in hotter months.

Even though it immediately strikes me as a work scent--not so casual but still not so daring or sensual--Passion Boisee is reasonably versatile as far as situation and certainly season, as it's not a superlative performer, nor is it particular loud after its brief opening (less than a half hour). For most of its lifetime, it's unobtrusive enough to be "office-safe," as some say.

7 out of 10
21st February, 2019

Colonia Sandalo by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Colonia Sandalo is another solid entry from the darker bottle line, formerly known as Colonia Intensas. It follows in the tradition of Colonia Oud and Colonia Leather before it as being an interesting albeit not too divsive entry, a blend of the "eau de cologne" concept mastered via the now-antique original Colonia as well as a mix of various other notes.

In the case of Sandalo, the blend is overall a bit lighter and fresh than in Oud or Leather, just based on the nature of the signature of note. The fragrance consists of the predictable ensemble of citruses, paired with spunky additives like lavender, cardamom, and petitgrain, with a predictable base of sandalwood and amber (and allegedly tonka bean, though I don't get much of this, myself).

The fragrance is refreshing and invigorating without being too loud, and somehow comforting without being too boring. It's palpably versatile, wearable day or night, winter or summer.

It's a decent performer but probably not quite as good as Leather or Oud, but still satisfactory. Like the others, retail pricing ($260 for 100ml at Neiman Marcus) feels like a tough sell for a relatively safe offering, but it'll no doubt become cheaper on the secondary market (i.e. FragranceNet) with time.

7 out of 10
14th February, 2019
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Vaniglia del Madagascar by I Profumi di Firenze

I've long heard good things about Il Profumi di Firenze Vaniglia del Madagascar, Madagascar vanilla being, in my understanding, perhaps the sweetest type of vanilla, and the experience of smelling it a couple occasions on skin (finally) does not disappoint.

The fragrance both has distinction of both being unusually tip-of-the-tongue sweet but also somewhat floral as well, but subtly, via lily-of-the-valley; usually floral vanillas back off on the sweetness somewhat, at least in my recollection. Despite its sweetness, thoughónot usually a problem for meóitís very smooth and I regard it was one of the easier-to-wear floral vanilla fragrances out there, a little less strident than, say, Dame Perfumery Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, another great example of a floral vanilla fragrance, and more modestly priced, in fairness.

It performs quite well, so thereís no value lost in that respect. The retail price ($190 for 100ml at Barneyís) is a bit higher than Iíd pay for it but if there are grey market deals to be had, Iíd certainly recommend checking this one out or at least procuring a decant. Vanilla lovers should find this to be pretty effortless wear, but it may not dazzle or stand out enough to merit acquiring a bottle. Thatís more or less my stance. Still, itís very nice and Iíll enjoy the decant that I have.

7 out of 10
13th February, 2019

Sensual Amber by Bath and Body Works

I first tried Sensual Amber as a now-retired body wash but then discovered the also-discontinued EDT, very much the same scent as the body wash. The fragrance is boastfully fruity, sweet, floral, and softly musky. Very easy to enjoy and love, slightly feminine, but totally works for me.

The note variety is paramount--bergamot, plum, and berries all factor in heavily to foster a sort of fresh-and-fruity long-lasting top, anchored by a dry down of orange flower (and a coupel other subservient florals), sandalwood, musk, praline, and vanilla. Sure, maybe there's patchouli, but it's overall a sweet/woody/vanillic dry down that's accented by the orange flower, more than any other one aspect.

It's a good performer, quite good, I'd say, not great but it feels great for the price and type of fragrance it is, and that I knew the body wash first and had, say, managed expectations of how it would do as a perfume.

It's slightly unrefined, I'd say, feeling incomplete or perhaps not perfectly well-rounded, but that's a minor complaint for a fragrance that's fun, loud in a lot of good ways, and modestly-priced. I obtained the 75ml bottles from an eBay seller for $17.90 each including shipping, really a steal.

7 out of 10
12th February, 2019

Blackmail by Kerosene

Blackmail is my favorite Kerosene fragrance today, and really perfection for someone who both enjoys oud scents and loves gourmand/amber scents.

I can understand why its extremes--a reasonably heavy-handed use of oud but still an abundance of sweetness, overall--could each be a bit overwhelming to fans of more modest fragrances, but I love these extremes, and find them to be worked well with each other, as it leans slightly sweeter than oud-intensive, as would generally be my preference.

The sweetness is also interestingly a great mix of creamy amber, vanilla, and fruitsóspecifically, mixed berries that lean toward raspberries, mostly. Itís a solid blend, not too fruity or too heavily vanilla-only.

And at least on my skin, itís strongóvery strongóIíd give it a perfect 10 out of 10 as far as performance though it might be a smidge weaker on my skin than, say, the dark Slumberhouse juices (Ore, Jeke, Norne, Sova) or perhaps a couple of Tom Ford Private Blends, but itís basically perfectly strong. I really only used a modest few sprays from what remains of my original decant from a couple of years ago, considering Iím at work, and itís still beastly. The Kerosene atomizers are fortunately pretty strong and consistent but not, say, as overwhelming as Creed atomizers.

Blackmail has the peculiarity of only being sold via the boutique of the same name in Austin, TX, and it must be ordered over the phone, as the boutique does not have an online shop. Needless to say, a little added effort is worthwhile if you love the fragrance as much as I do. And $140 for 100ml remains a great price for what generally are pretty strong perfumes from the Kerosene line.

This is a superlative fragrance, a nod to both gourmand- and oud-lovers, and a fun, bold expression that reminds me why I love fragrances so much.

10 out of 10
08th February, 2019

Sugar by Franck Boclet

Sugar is my second try from Franck Boclet, after Tobacco, and it's sweet, as its name suggests, a mix of vanailla, marshmallow, several white florals, fruits, and white musk. It's one of the more pleasant "floral vanilla" fragrances I can recall trying in recent memory, but this is a category that seems to regularly have new entries, and while Sugar is better-blended and overall more pleasant than, say, Mancera Black Vanilla, it's not groundbreaking.

It's a pretty good performer but not extreme, and feels versatile with respect to season, and for a floral vanilla, is not all that feminine-leaning, at least not to me.

It does not seem to be sold in the US currently but runs for about $200 for a 100ml bottle on some non-US sites, not bad if you love it, but certainly a stretch if you don't. For me, it's a like, not a love, but I'd encourage floral vanilla fans to try it.

7 out of 10
07th February, 2019

Kiviskin by Piotr Czarnecki

Kiviskin is my third and final first-try of the trio released in 2017-2018, which includes Venom of Angel and Bluebijou, both good.

Kiviskin is perhaps the most idiosyncratic of the trio, though, a curious, appropriately greenish sweet/spicy/nutty/woody mix that is mostly comfortable. It's like the whole spice rack was dipped in vanilla and amber, a noticeably sweet side contrasting a variety of spices. The note listing covers it all but the main vibe I get is a blend of saffron, tobacco, nutmeg, amber, and cedar. There's a vaguely green, fresh, vegetable concept to it, but it's slight and only noticeably in the opening hour or so.

Due to the spicy and nutty sides of it, Kiviskin feels more appropriate for cold weather. I don't have a remotely stereotypical read on gender, though--it's not particularly feminine or masculine.

If you're one to be in the market for unusual fragrance offerings, I imagine Kiviskin might be very rewarding for some, and on the other hand, it would defy norms, like Bluebijou, especially, but not really conforming to a preconceived notion (i.e. designer) of fragrance.

Piotr Czarnecki fragrances seem to be still exclusively sold at Luckyscent with standard 100ml bottles, with Kiviskin being the most expensive in the line at $195 for 100ml; Bluebijou and Venom of Angel are both $175 and the originals, Shihan and She Shihan, are $160.

For me, Kiviskin is a like not a love but I'll enjoy occasionally reaching for the decant for something interesting and different.

7 out of 10
28th January, 2019

Profumo e Gusto in Libertŗ : FRaaagola Saalaaata by Hilde Soliani Profumi

Fraaagola Saalaaata by Hilde Soliani is described simply as a mix of strawberries and salt, and the pungent, nearly-biting opening certain corroborates the acidity of this opening combination. It's very much as described, a sort of salty strawberry, which I admit intrigued me from its description, but I never really conceived of how that might actually smell, and as usual, Hilde's creation is quite accurate. It has all of the shock that one might expect from initially tasting a salt-covered strawberry.

Unsurprisingly, I find it far more pleasant in its dry down, where some of the harsher edges are more toned down. The opening is sufficiently acerbic that I find it a little challenging to wear, overall, despite it becoming more palatable and tame in the dry down.

I wouldn't say that she misses the mark, but rather, the mark itself is simply not as desirable as her other creations that I love like Buonissimo or even the similarly fruity/tarty Una Tira L'Altra (the smell of fresh cherries, but with no added salt).

Still, Iíd recommend that those interested try it out, since its overall feedback on Fragrantica is positive and others outright love it, in contrast to my more blended take on it. Overall, a very interesting creation from the queen of gourmands, though, and as with all of her offerings, theyíre only available in the US at Luckyscent at $160 for 100ml.

6 out of 10
25th January, 2019

Gli Invisibili : Cristina by Hilde Soliani Profumi

Hilde Soliani Cristina is, like many of her creations, a relatively straightforward blend--in this case, of patchouli, vanilla, and labdanum. The creamy, sweetness of vanilla and labdanum artfully contrasts the herbal, earthy, vegetable quality of patchouli, and in that respect, it's a pleasant blend of contrasting elements.

The patchouli / vanilla pairing specifically is one that seems to work well in a lot of cases. I recall liking it a lot in the Tauerville limited edition 15th anniversary release for Luckyscent, When We Cuddle and I can Smell Your Perfumes on My Clothes. Like this, Cristina pairs the raw, herbal, earthy qualities of patchouli with the creaminess of a resin and vanilla. Itís a nice performer and feels pretty versatile, though Iíd much prefer to wear it in cooler weather.

Iím not sure if Iíd buy a full bottle of this, but Hilde Solianiís value as a brand is very good, in my estimation, with inventive, rich, generally well-performing scents all bottled at $160 for 100ml (sold only through Luckyscent in the US), roughly on par with a house like Kerosene (whose offerings are all $140 for 100ml).

Cristina is a pleasant scent, quite good but not quite as outstanding as some of her other offerings like Buonissimo, Sweet Home, Una Tira L'Altra, and Orgasmo.

7 out of 10
24th January, 2019

Rehab by Initio

Rehab is among the most interesting offerings I initially smelled from the relatively Initio Parfums Prive collection. Apart from it standing out like a bride with its white bottle and box, the scent is noticeably the most agreeable among the lot which includes many single-note concept fragrances based on inspirations like ambergris that are generally more challenging.

Rather, Rehab takes a fresh spicy approach that blends tobacco with a fresh opening of citrus and lavender followed by a dry down of woods, patchouli, and vetiver, with some general spiciness of something like pepper all throughout, almost like a white/black pepper that reminds me of Lalique White or Armani Prive New York.

It's spicy yet fresh, sharp yet sort of smooth and comforting to wear. It's a weird contradiction, but a fun wear and one that I quite like to try on. It's also almost borderline clean; there's something oddly clean about it, as pepper has that sort of effect on fragrances for me sometimes when mixed with the other correct contributors.

The scent is said by many to mimic Spicebomb (or the Fresh or Extreme flankers, even) by Viktor & Rolf but I don't get that, really, at least initially, though perhaps a side-by-side is warranted.

The juice is pricier than most of Initio, even, albeit at a higher concentration: $330 for 90ml extrait, while most of the houseís offerings are EDP.

Its performance is very good, though, certainly reasonable while not being exceptional for the type of scent it is. Overall, it's a darn good scent but its pricing just exceeds its ingenuity. At a more modest price, a fraction of its retail price, it'd be one I'd consider buying.

7 out of 10
22nd January, 2019

Vanille Exclusive by Mancera

Vanille Exclusive is one of the three new releases from Mancera, along with Jardin Exclusif and Aoud Exclusif, and it's a pleasant floral vanilla with some fruity touches, namely, peach, itself seemingly a common additive to floral vanillas (is it a floral-leaning fruit, I wonder?).

In Vanille Exclusive the floral blend (violet, osmanthus, tuberose, jasmine) has a similar effect to the blend in Jardin Exlusif of simply seeming like a well-blended/varied white floral mix, without any in particular jumping out at me.

The dry down involves identical notes to Jardin Exclusif: vanilla, sandalwood, white musk, and amber. Like Jardin Exclusif, the sharper, brighter spots in the opening are expectedly tempered during the dry down with each hour on skin.

Itís agreeable, fairly well-blended, leaning heavily on the eponymous vanilla but still blending in the florals and fruits as well. Itís a nice experience to wear it. Very pleasant, and a good offering of a floral vanilla fragranceósome can come off too candy-like, or too feminine, but this is well done.

It's not a huge perfumer but significant enough that its performance is not a detractor (I've never really come across Montale or Mancera offerings that I'd classify as weak performers, anyway). Surely worth trying for most of us that can enjoy vanilla and/or floral fragrances.

7 out of 10
18th January, 2019

Jardin Exclusif by Mancera

One of the new Mancera releases, Jardin Exclusif, is somewhat floral, as its name suggests, but it's mostly fruity. The ensemble of fruit notes (lemon, orange, blackcurrant, green apple, pear, peach) is significant and has an almost candy-like sweetness. It's bright, varied (only the blackcurrant sticks out significantly), and overall pretty playful, as most fruit medleys tend to be.

The florals and mixed dry down, therefore, serve mainly to temper the otherwise nearly-overwhelming fruity component. The florals (jasmine, rose, violet) aren't particularly provocative, nor is the base (amber, white musk, vanilla, sandalwood), but predictably the fragrance becomes less fruit-forward and more nuanced/blended over time. Still, it remains pretty darn fruity for hours.

Pricing is $180 for 120 ml retail through standard outlets like Osswald NYC and Beverly Hills Perfumery. Presumably, like most Montale and Mancera offerings, it'll end up end up with discounters.

Despite the slightly heady feeling of the opening, in particular, Jardin Exclusif is an interesting enough fragrance that's frankly easy enough to wear, but I don't regard it as special within Mancera/Montale's immense catalog. It's good, but not great.


7 out of 10
17th January, 2019

Aoud Exclusif by Mancera

Aoud Exclusif is one of a trio of new releases from Mancera that are similarly named (the others are Jardin Exclusif and Vanille Exclusive) and have seemingly been very well-received.

The Mancera/Montale empire contains a plethora of "aoud"-named fragrances so while I expect good performance from these, as from the brands in general, the expectation of being blown away by the latest release is not realistic. There are familiar oud partners in this: rose, patchouli, saffron, and pepper. However, what sticks out to me and is not explained by the notes is the vague sort of fruity sweetness that balance s what seem to be mostly be more savory- or spicy-leaning notes. I assume itís the labdanum that does is.

I'm quite impressed by Aoud Exclusif, though, mainly due to how balanced and pleasant of an oud creation it is. It performs well, like most Montale and Mancera offerings, and Iím reasonably impressed overall with how nice it is, and that the pricing is the same as usual at $180 for 120ml. Iíd recommend that rose/oud fans or those who usually like Montale/Mancera stuff try this out.

8 out of 10
16th January, 2019

Emporio Armani Diamonds Club for Men by Giorgio Armani

Armani Diamonds Club is the latest men's flanker, and refreshing variant of the original Diamonds, sort of in the opposite direction from Black Carat.

Club replaces the original's faux strawberry vibe with fresh spicy bits of lavender, geranium, and cardamom, so it has a sort of traditional fresh men's cologne vibe but still with the DNA of the original. Like the original and Black Carat, Club is sweet but not as sweet as these other two.

Like the original and Black Carat, Club too is a good performer, certainly greater than what I'd expect for a designer release like this. Now available for $31 for 50ml on FragranceNet, Club is a nice little deal.

7 out of 10
15th January, 2019

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Zoologist Perfumes

From the daring, innovative house of Zoologist comes perhaps their most boundary-pushing, testy release, in Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Its burning power is pervasive beyond anything I've smelled. The most logical comparison when smelling it in the first time was Imaginary Authors A City on Fire, due to their common smoky/burning focus and generous use of cade oil as a key note. It's surely more of an intense burning experience than ACOF, to put it modestly, as ACOF by comparison smells more animalic than burning, with T-Rex being the clearly more burning-focused scent. In that respect, T-Rex feels a little more one-dimensional but I imagine those seeking a more intense burning leather, almost barbecue-smelling sort of scent will find in T-Rex a creative offering that might suit them well.

Overall the composition feels like it's roughly half made up of cade, with the other half coming from leather, black pepper, and patchouli. Not infinitely complex but not at all boring, either.

It's a superior performer, on the high end of projection, particularly for its first couple hours, and especially longevity.

The value in T-Rex is palpable, though--it's a very strong fragrance in extrait concentration, and $175 for 60ml is a reasonable-enough price if one very much likes or even loves it.

Still, I'd give ACOF the nod over T-Rex fairly easily. It takes something of T-Rex's audacity to put ACOF in perspective, as, at the time of its release, I thought of ACOF perhaps in the same terms in which I regard now regard T-Rex. Go figure.

7 out of 10
14th January, 2019

Oud Wood Intense by Tom Ford

Tom Ford Oud Wood Intense is a significant misnomer, as the fragrance does not correlate with the original Oud Wood all that much. However, it is a great fragrance that merits smelling and enjoying wholly apart from the Oud Wood that preceded it by a decade.

Oud Wood Intense is mainly an animalic woody leather sort of fragrance, the mix of cypress and oud being almost taken over by the additive of castoreum that most dramatically separates it not only from the original Oud Wood but also from the rest of the Private Blend collection through 2018. The castoreum fosters a sort of "dry leather" smell that more or less characterizes my experience of the entire fragrance.

In this respect it feels masculine and boastful while being slightly sophisticated, as well; it contains just the right amount of an animalic leaning that it works quite well to satisfy an interest in leather without being too oud-intensive or borderline fecal.

At the time of its release in late 2017, Oud Wood Intense (and Tobacco Oud Intense, simultaneously) joined FF and Neroli Portofino Forte at the higher price point of $310 (now $320) per 50ml, with only the re-release of Bois Marocain having been higher at that point ($330 in 2016).

So it may seem like a steep price for the juice, but it's available on secondary markets like FragranceNet, where a 50ml is at $227 with the 30% off coupon.

Its performance is excellent, as well, just a tad bit behind the beasts of the line like TV, TL, NDN, AA, etc. It's also perhaps the strongest Private Blend that isn't at least somewhat sweet, either (another example being Italian Cypress).

Overall, Oud Wood Intense is a great option, not the superlative offering that I regarding NDN, TV, and AA as, but still, one or two notches below that. Really excellent juice.

9 out of 10
11th January, 2019

Euphoria Men Amber Gold by Calvin Klein

The latest Calvin Klein Euphoria men's flanker, Amber Gold Euphoria, follows well from my favorite flanker to date, the one-time hard-to-find Liquid Gold Euphoria, and is comparably dense and sweet.

Amber Gold is, as its name suggests, centered around the note of amber, a resinous incense type of dry down taking over most of the fragrance after a relatively limited opening of citrus, florals, and herbs. It's ambery but certainly leans more toward a mainstream designer release than it is the likes of Amber Absolute, Ambre Sultan, Ambra Aurea, etc.

I see Amber Gold as a nice alternative for those that find niche and/or high-end amber-centric fragrances to be offputtingly quirky or unviably expensive. That said, it's certainly not on par with the quality of better amber fragrances like the aforementioned. It does perform well, though, with loud projection for an hour and modest to slightly loud projection for another couple hours thereafter. It feels reasonably dense, if not quite as dense as Liquid Gold.

Now, neither Amber Gold nor Liquid Gold seem easily accessible, though there seem to be a few bottles scattered throughout secondary markets.


7 out of 10
10th January, 2019

Liquid Gold Euphoria Men by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Liquid Gold Euphoria was allegedly released only outside the US in 2014 when it came out but luckily it has become available on BeautySpin recently ($72 for 100ml) so I was fortunate enough to grab a bottle. Its mainstay notes are vanilla, pepper, and balsam fir, but I get an element of sandalwood as well. The result is a very nice cold-weather-friendly composition that stands out from the rest of the Euphoria line.

To that point, Liquid Gold is the best expression of Euphoria I've tried--the sweetness of the line, with the spiciness of Gold, peppiness of Intense, yielding a truly interesting gourmand creation. Warm, spicy, sweet, smooth--this could be a cold weather mainstay for many.

Liquid Gold Euphoria also has the distinction (for me) of being the only EDP concentration Calvin Klein's men fragrance on the market that I'm aware of, though I could be neglectful here.

Accordingly, performance is very strong in terms of both projection and especially longevity. And although I'm testing it in the day, this is definitely preferable for nighttime usage, and can dress up well for formal occasions. I almost find this worthy of being kept in the cooler, though it's not terribly expensive.

Certainly a compelling blind buy and something you ought to check out if you like the sound of it---the consensus seems to be strongly in its favor.

8 out of 10
10th January, 2019

Safari Extreme by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

ASQ Safari Extreme has a strong reputation and the experience of it mostly lives up to it. In the scheme of sweeter oud fragrances, this is has various touches that keep it interesting and slightly dissimilar from other offerings I've tried before.

Surely it's sweet and has oud, but with the sandalwood, rose, and jasmine, it's floral and woody, and the animalic side of the oud comes out in this, as it's slightly acerbic and funky.

I expect that fans of Ajmal Rose Wood or Santal Wood would fine something in Safari Extreme that they like.

Its performance is solid, with quite robust projection for several hours before becoming a more modest scent thereafter, albeit still dense.

Only seemingly officially available on the house website for 367.50 AED for 75ml, which comes to roughly 100 USD, the price is not unreasonable if it can be obtained for that amount, though, it seems to run 50%-100% higher on secondary markets like eBay.

Overall, I like it and would argue that fans of the general sweet oud or rose oud genres should check it; it just does not specifically dazzle me except for being a bit more multifaceted than most examples in the genres that I've tried to date.

7 out of 10
09th January, 2019