Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Rashômon

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Total Reviews: 17

Incense Flash by Tauerville

Incense is a note with titanic proportions, pretty much like vetiver. It also is a multifaceted material with hints of citrus and evocative of smoke (through its primarily use). I love incense and own many compositions, others more minimal others more plethoric. Incense flash is of the former type. Tauer utilizes an accord of high grade frankincense, dry woods and ambroxan. The scent opens with incense and features mostly the dry vein and character of this material feeling very crisp and piney. Then comes the brilliant ambroxan which pairs ideally with the incense providing an ambery, musky (salty skin like) warmth for a surprisingly ultralong-lasting and greatly distinctive drydown.
Tauer is certainly one the most charismatic perfumers of the new age. His L’Air du Desert Marocain proves this beyond doubt. Incense Flash is simple (not simplistic) but ingenious, very classy and goes on forever. Frankly after testing and owning many incenses I was a bit disappointed with the lack of novelty throughout the genre. Incense Flash is the best incense fragrance I have tested in years. Not in the league of Bois D’Encens since it lacks its complexity and nuance but the most brilliant Tauer I have come across since LAdDM and certainly full bottle worthy. Excellent work.
29th October, 2016

L'Envol by Cartier

Mathilde Laurent’s work for Cartier has been impeccable. Many of the Les Heures collection show a modern approach with classic structure. The same is L’Envol a deep, extremely well-proportioned and balanced composition light years ahead from mainstream releases.
L’Envol starts with slightly powdery florals (woody ionones/iris), musk and honey. The musk is clean and modern and the honey devoid of any heavy sweetness or animalic nuances. So far so good. Being used to mainstream releases with empty hearts and low flights in the drydown I expected more or less something similar. I was struck by a lightning when the fragrance revealed a fougere vibe, a short of Cool Water/Or Black mix paired with a slug of smoky gaiac and some patchouli. Things here turn soapy but with a strong woods presence. The lightning stroke twice and the evolution continued by revealing nuances of citrus fruits and spice like cardamom. Deeper in the drydown the fragrance takes a turn to the drier and reveals some vetiver and incense with hints of moss. I kept sniffing since there are so many things going on here that if you take a five-minute break to relax your nose you may miss them.
The fragrance has an oriental manner but it remains always fresh and woody and its orientalism is transparent and crisp and boosted by powdery florals. As mentioned it is extremely multifaceted and I frankly don’t remember a recent mainstream release to have such complexity and nuance. L'Envol can’t be understood upon first sniff. It is an intellectual and multilayered scent that needs time and careful appreciation. Excellent modern release from Cartier, against the mainstream and worthy of praise.
30th September, 2016

Déclaration Essence by Cartier

A drier variation on the original excellent Declaration, Essence is meatier, smokier and less bright than its brother. The citruses and spices are there but balanced shrewdly by a warm ambery body odor accord in the heart of the fragrance. I also get some geranium (a citronella kind of smell) on top and birch. A superbly elegant fragrance, virile and somber. A great masculine in my book.
06th May, 2016
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Arsène Lupin Dandy by Guerlain

Along with its twin brother Voyou, Arsene Lupin Dandy is the last fragrance the great Jean-Paul Guerlain made for the Guerlain House.
In Dandy, Jean-Paul has taken a classic streamlined chypre form and infused it with a luxurious leathery oriental structure, the boldest violet note I have smelled in recent years along some galbanum, smoky woods and aromatic spices. In simple words, he made a highly elegant modern chypre. The whole scent has a cool green and slightly powdery ambience and dries down leaving a memorable aura that is neither overpowering nor absent. Dandy has a discreet quality to it. So discreet that it may seem elitist or snobby but it veers more towards the romantic and debonair instead.
Jean-Paul Guerlain is a perfumer that was never fucking around. He made perfumes not cosmetics. He stated that this was a perfume for him. I don’t doubt it since Dandy is aimed to people that love perfumes. With Chanel’s Pour Monsieur dusted, PdN’s New York ruined this could effortlessly be the heir of the masculine chypre tradition a genre that epitomized masculine elegance and has become increasingly spare. Only Amouage still dares to have Gold and Dia floating around and I suspect them not to be their best sellers. However, Guerlain in its “wisdom” decided to discontinue this graceful masculine. Buy it while you still can if you want to wear something of high-class and distinction.
22nd March, 2016 (last edited: 09th May, 2017)

Jubilation XXV by Amouage

One of the most beloved, if not the most beloved, Amouage Jubilation XXV is simply put the most beautiful and comfortable not only Amouage but also incense perfume in the market. I have a fondness for incense perfumes and tend to misjudge them as fragrances because I like the note very much but in this case as an incense synthesis and as a perfume in general Jubilation XXV stands really high, royal as some would say.
The most majestic light and transparent frankincense paired with spices, flowers, fruit and amber in a rich, powerful and noble composition. The perfume opens with a smoky fruity vibe but soon settles in an airy atmospheric drydown that lasts all day and envelopes its wearer in a cloud of romance and adventure. Bertrand Duchafur did his best here and as an expert orientalist he hit all the right buttons. The fragrance is classy but also easily wearable making it an ideal choice for lovers of incense but also for people looking to just smell great without necessarily having to resort in intellectual compositions. Jubilation XXV has brains but it isn't simply a technical exercise or a perfume that speaks to the mind. It is foremost a beautiful and heartbreaking fragrance and thus strikes straight in the heart of the wearer.
Perhaps some find that the ISO-E Super is a bit foul but as in most cases mentioning a well-known aroma chemical doesn't really destroy a composition. I am sure there are other synthetics too which because unknown don't bother its critics that much. To me this is a superb perfume. The ultimate heartstopper.

29th September, 2015

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Dior Sauvage was released with an unprecedented rage from the world. Well simply put it is neither the best perfume around nor the most innovative but I don’t think it poses as one. Personally I find it very sincere in its intent, a pleasant fresh scent for everyday use. Also with a market full of flashy Creeds and Chanels the mockery it receives is at least provocatively hypocritical.
Sauvage starts with a rich and opaque bergamot note very uplifting and fresh, crispy and bright. The sichuan pepper is markedly pronounced adding a spicy current that follows the fragrance throughout its lifespan and backing up the crispiness of the opening. Things get simpler as the fragrance evolves with a heart of aromatic lavender and geranium (a certain oily rosy note) along the lines of some subtle patchouli creating an abstract musky barbershop vibe. The muskiness is caused by the star of the fragrance, the magnificent ambroxan, a synthetic compound evocative of the aroma of ambergris. This wood amber occupies most of the drydown and its multifaceted character (highlighted in Geza Schoen’s Molecule 02) has a sweet, salty, warm nuance that reminds soft velvety skin. Hence the aura Sauvage creates smells carnally alluring.
Sauvage seems to compete with the current fresh, ozonic anti-perfumes that propagate a certain stereotype of masculinity, which to me is a faceless, lukewarm kind of thing, safe and dull above all with no angles or “scars”. Everything is civilized and nothing ventures outside the trademark clichés. However Sauvage manages to do something unique and instill some heart in this genre (the thing that’s most emphatically absent from these scents) without becoming crude. I don’t doubt that it will appeal to people but not exactly an ideal example of what perfumery really is, as perhaps its name and father would make one think.
12th September, 2015

Gold Man by Amouage

Perhaps the greatest release from the house of Amouage Gold for men is a rich, dry luxurious chypre with a massive floral opening (lily-of-the-valley is what I mainly get), a magnificent, expansive and at the same time ethereal frankincense note and an immensely beautiful and mysterious drydown of musk, sandalwood, moss and patchouli. The overall tone is lemony, slightly sour and balsamic with a powdery feel and a dry vein. Civet is present but I don’t find it annoying at all and the repulsiveness or supposed femininity of the fragrance is much exaggerated. Certainly it doesn’t conform to the current “masculine” rules of how a man should smell, but I’d say that wearing this makes someone smell great so what is there more for a man to ask. I like Gold for a dozen reasons but mainly because it is a chypre and sophistication and elegance come naturally to this genre (although most men have difficulties in pulling the genre off), it exudes heavy class and higher ideals, it is highly original, distinctive and bold and it has a quixotic and romantic character. Most importantly though I am most impressed with the concept of making a fragrance for men that defies the stereotypical masculine smell and olfactory culture introducing something totally novel and provocative. Too bad most fragrances today fly low in all of the above. God bless amouage for releasing and keep making this perfume.
07th August, 2015

Dia Man by Amouage

Amouage Dia pour homme was an exquisite surprise. Amouage is known for its bombastic, powerful fragrances. Dia paradoxically is very elegant and understated but equally powerful in character and execution as the rest of the brand's perfumes. Dia to me is mainly a vetiver composition, plummy and slightly floral with a high end ambergris presence, some smoky incense and a soft dry suede facet. Some make the comparison with Guerlain's Arsene Lupin Dandy but to me this isn't very similar at all. The leather and powdery violet feel are more frontal on the latter and its drydown is much different. Dia is one of the most sophisticated, assured and deliberately quiet fragrances I have come across, its materials are stupendous and the composition wondrous. The best Amouage male by far.
20th July, 2015

Number 3 / Le 3me Homme / The Third Man by Caron

Now this is male perfumery. Usually in the perfume industry us men are treated inferiorly and arrogantly, but here this is reversed. Caron knows how to make men smell good and I am overwhelmed with the fact that they put great effort in this task. The vintage juice is slightly better but the new one is also very identical. If you can get both please do so, you will never regret it. This not only smells great but it also taught me many things about how a man should wear and use perfume. Not for gaining attention but for smelling great. On this account this the most fashionable fougere ever. It starts citrusy and then dries down in a musky, sweet, floral way reminiscent of pouring romantic florals on aftershave. Collector or not get it, wear it and learn from it. After that you will understand that 75% of fragrances aiming men consider you a blunt bloodless stereotype.
19th March, 2015

Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

My favorite Tom Ford. This was a surprise since it is a vetiver that is both a very elegant wearer and a sophisticated fragrance that doesn't become a bore after repeated wearings. It is more modern than the classics and it isn't done on the cheap. This is actually a complex and rich composition with a soapy quality and some powder (orris) in the dry down. It also has a spicy, mossy feel and leaves a very alluring trail. I find it very classy and satisfactory and go for it very often. I can't recommend this enough to both vetiver enthusiasts and newcomers to the genre. Perfect for all seasons and occasions and one of the scents that I have repurchased many times.
01st March, 2015

Encre Noire by Lalique

A monumental release. People are predisposed by the name and bottle and find this dark. It is not that dark but rather green and fresh. The cypress top note is fantastic followed by a strong vetiver heart and a musky dry down. Surely a synthetic composition (mainly ISO E Super) which stands among the best of the last years. It's bottle is also magnificent although this doesn't add to the scent and the prices so low that any vetiver lover must have a good reason for not having it. I've been wearing this all year around and have received compliments by both men and women. I would love to smell this on women too.
21st February, 2015

Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford

I made a mistake and bought this. This is actually a cologne that is ... expensive. That's about it , it gets feedback if that means something to you. I personally prefer Mugler Cologne or Eau de Guerlain. Trying desperately to get rid of it.
21st February, 2015

Cool Water by Davidoff

An ingenious accord that in decent dosage hits and never misses. Its misuse and wide audience have made it lack in sophistication and charm, a shame for such a distinguishable marvel. Its price has also positioned it very low in the perfume ladder hence the indifference or hate it gets. A few facts concerning its comparison to GIT 1. it is not as believed by many more synthetic than GIT, 2. instead of having the soapy vibe of GIT this is actually like caring the whole shower water around you and 3. it is less powdery and musky than GIT but more youthful. Perfectly unisex so ladies since perfumistas consider it cheap and avoid it, is about time you claim it for you.
21st February, 2015
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French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Well this scent combines ingredients that would actually make their co-existense seem like "the clash of the titans". Incense, pepper, galbanum, vetiver all in one borderline green composition that resembles the odour of green grass and dirt while you have placed your nose a few inches from the ground. The incense is present throughout and there is also a muskiness and smoky "cigarness" to it. A personal favorite form the Malle line composed by the great Pierre Bourdon.
20th February, 2015 (last edited: 21st February, 2015)

Eau Sauvage Parfum by Christian Dior

Actually there is eau savage hidden in this. Whoever has a familiarity with the latter's accord can't miss it. In fact this is a rich citrus with an underlying myrrh that is somehow sweet and balsamic. I notice jasmine in this composition also. The vetiver is present mostly in the dry down and leaves the final trail. Very long lasting and with power silage.
20th February, 2015

Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

Thumbs way up for this one. This soapy, green, musky cologne actually pulls the ear to many "niche" compositions (you know who) and stands as an excellent everyday choice when you don't feel like wearing perfume but want to really smell good. I don't like to evaluate a fragrance by the compliments it gets but since I know that many men value this I let you know I have received many compliments with this one. Also it sells for pennies so go get some.
20th February, 2015

Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

An excellent, mysterious incense fragrance, actually my favorite, it realy is a skinscent so if you are looking for "statements" avoid. It starts of peppery and then follows a pungent ambery, slighlty animalic note (labdanum) along with a light airy franckincense which also reveals a citrusy vibe. Then it dries down to a mainly musky cedar with some vetiver. Personally I find all the phases extremely beautiful and I adore the fact that it wears as a cologne. If you like incense BLIND BUY IT.
20th February, 2015