Perfume Reviews

Reviews by lapel roll

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Total Reviews: 20

Quorum by Antonio Puig

I remember first smelling Quorum in mid-1985 when christmas shopping with my mother. We wandered around the snowy city until it became dark and almost lost hope in finding suitable gifts for everyone. In a dingy department store, on the brink of closing down, there were bottles of fragrance going rather cheaply. One of them was Quorum and I was drawn to the bottle (the aftershave) because it looked like a large, green jewel. The contents, a spicy, smokey forest. I used my saved pocket money to buy it for my father.

I hadn't smelled it since that time, until today. To be honest I can't properly recall the smell of thirty-one years ago to compare, but I like it. There's no denying that it is similar in structure to Pino Silvestre, but more like Pino enveloped in several more layers of aromas: its bergamot tempers the lavender better; the peppery note is more refined; the pine is more subdued and woody. The separating note is really the tobacco, perhaps also the amber. Like someone else remarked, you also get shades of Polo (green) from this.

The overall impression can be conjured up by the fantastical vision of a tobacco-drying hut in the middle of a forest, where the lone, leather-aproned occupant has a sideline in griding spices and growing lemons.

Old-fashioned chic that hasn't gone out of fashion for men who like to smell like old-school men rather than aqua-perfumed boys.
26th July, 2016

Denim by Denim

In the 1970s and early 80s Denim had a higher status than it has now. Currently it can be found for very low prices in budget shops (here in NL for €2.99). For some odd reason it has two concurrent sources: it is still marketed by Conter, in boxes with a hole cut-out to show the bottle's medallion, yet it is also sold in different boxes marketed by Swiss Codaa. Both are made in Italy.

Denim is a fougere with rough edges. It's main note is clearly leather, preceded by a choppy bergamot and clary sage. It has a fairly prominent vetiver, an amber note and a soapiness accompanying the leather. That is basically it, but the blend is good. Old-school masculine; the complete antithesis of metrosexual scents. Personally I don't think it is fresh enough to be a barbershop scent; its slightly dirty Azzaro vibe disqualifies it.

It's not particularly sophisticated, but it's not supposed to be. Its original marketing campaign wasn't a man in a dinner jacket at a cocktail party, but a man in a denim shirt being manhandled by a woman. That's what you were supposed to wear Denim for.
14th April, 2016 (last edited: 20th April, 2016)

Denim Musk by Denim

Denim Musk is perhaps an improvement on the original Denim formula. Like Darvant's review notes it has a mild minty top blended with lavender above a woody, mossy and light patchouli base. I don't discern any leather notes, this is a mossy-based scent. It has a mere tinge of the rubberiness evident in many musk-based scents; far less so than Brut's Musk. The coumarin, geraniol etc aromas pop through regularly, giving that slightly generic aftershave smell at times.

However, the mint freshens everything up and blends well will the lavender. Like Denim original it's not sophisticated in the way higher-end scents are, but for the price it is very good indeed.
14th April, 2016
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Eau d'Orange Verte by Hermès

Lovely cologne this one. If you like Hugo Boss's orange, you'll like this one better - or at least you ought to.
The initial orange is a superb recreation, far different than the citrus top notes of many other perfumes. Strange that the notes list lemon and mandarin, but no actual orange. It took me several wearings before I could make out the mango, but like one of those magic eye 3D images, once you've got it, it reveals itself to you effortlessly. Soft and peachy.
It's woody and earthy too when it develops. Luckily the middle and top notes never really disappear, they politely make way for the oakmoss and patchouli, but you keep bumping into them.

All this winds down into a lovely, soft, powdery finale. Chic and refined.
17th March, 2016

Blue Stratos by Parfums Bleu

The EDT of Blue Stratos seems to be more rapidly faithful to the notes than the aftershave (which is foolishly offered in a spray rather than a splash). The aftershave has a sharper alcohol opening before anything starts to happen and I can imagine impatient people leaving it on the shelf after testing it. This review is for the EDT, though the two do have the same scent. All new bottles no longer have the sleek shiny cap, instead having a clumsy anodised matt cap.

The citrus top is spot on: Lemon, lime and bergamot, quickly caught up by lavender, geranium and a light patchouli. Initially it smells very unisex, powdery; like 'posh soap' and bath cubes. It broadens out, however, and becomes somewhat richer and deeper, with a slightly creamy edge to it. It's a very clean smell, but softer and with less punch than e.g. Tabac, even though it sometimes mimics parts of that fragrance's aroma.

The base notes settle into woody vanilla, with faint citrus and florals still discernible. The scent is well-rounded and becomes mellow, quite refined and more masculine during the transition between middle and basenotes. Many children of the 70s and 80s will have an olfactory memory of Blue Stratos; either aftershave or talcum powder and if the scent has been reformulated at all, it hasn't changed all that much.

It's probably a daytime scent, though this is a matter of taste and what works for a person's skin. Someone's review referred to it as 'inoffensive' and it is. It's cheap (in price), but it certainly isn't nasty. And so I give it a thumbs up.

Sillage - probably weaker than it should be. For you and people close to you to enjoy. Spray more if you want to project more.

Longevity - quite decent, but close to the skin for the final stretch.
01st March, 2016 (last edited: 04th March, 2016)

Brut Oceans by Fabergé

Brut Oceans...my word what were they thinking?

If you want to experience the scent without buying it, get out your coloured pencils, sharpen them all into a cellophane bag, shake it and inhale the resulting aroma: plastic, chipboard, wax and paint.

There are no notes listed and I suspect it is either because they don't want to make unsupportable claims or they didn't really do much blending at all.

This is perhaps the worst incarnation of Brut in the entire line of products. It smells cheap, artificial, generic, very linear and too heavy on the coumarin. It is teenage deodorant and body-wash; a room being stripped of old wallpaper; an old, rotting shed after a garden flood.

If the aroma doesn't offend you it will work as an aftershave if you have nowhere to go for a good few hours afterwards. That is how I will finish my bottle and it won't be replaced. I will stick with the proven Brut original, which is miles ahead of this unnecessary latecomer to the range.
22nd February, 2016 (last edited: 28th February, 2016)

Noble Vetiver by Chopard

This lightly spicy vetiver has a lot going for it. In another review (for Guerlain's vetiver) I rated it above a number of other vetiver scents for several reasons. The opening is a mild, greenish lemon - which makes sense as vetiver is related to lemon-grass - along with a burst of pepper. Spray this on your wrist and within minutes you will have a private little sun-drenched hay meadow alongside fragrant, peppery flowers over a delicate gourmand sage aroma. It's simply delightful.

The base is the fragrant leather of a woman's floral scent-infused leather jacket, which together with the vetiver and pepper produces a spicy woodiness. It's not a weak scent, but it's not overpowering.

On my skin at least, a lot of vetiver scents can have a metallic tinge producing an overly-sharp tone, but Chopard's offering remains softer, rounder. The relatively sparse and simple blend of complimentary notes allows the vetiver to shine in its best light.

The affordability alone of Chopard vetiver is an attraction, but not the only reason for recommending it as a chic, refined scent for a warm evening in late spring, summer and autumn.

Sillage is gentle yet discernible and longevity is admirable from just a few sprays. A definite thumbs up.
07th February, 2016 (last edited: 10th February, 2016)

Henry M Betrix City by Betrix

I'd never heard of 'City' by Betrix. In fact I'd never heard of Betrix before I found this bottle, still boxed and untouched, in a second-hand shop for the princely sum of 50 cents. The box - embossed to look like leather- has no barcode on it, so it's possibly from around the time of the perfume's original release in 1979.

It was 50 cents well spent. It's a very classy aftershave. A nice, rich, spicy citrus opening; more bergamot than lemon. Within minutes the vetiver appears, followed by sandalwood and cedar(?) and the patchouli. In some ways the middle is like original Paco Rabanne, but less soapy; less 'disco' more casino. There's more sophistication, but it's still 1970's man-about-town.

My olfactory memory then bounced between these heart notes and the leathery-musk-vanilla-moss base. In that base labdanum adds the woody-leather aromas and the musky vanilla must come from the castoeum, which may also be the source of the leather notes. It isn't mentioned in the notes here, but there is definite tobacco-like aroma. It's a little rough, smoke-on-leather-jacket tobacco, masked by geraniums, but it's there. Likely a product of the admixture of those base notes mentioned.

This is a masculine classic. Fleetingly citric, spicy, musky, woody, leathery and an undertone of vetiver. It ought not to have been discontinued, but it has been subsumed into P&G who have streamlined their range.

From the meagre application (a small splash) the longevity is astonishing - nine hours and counting. Sillage is very respectable too. Perhaps it is improved by being a 30-odd year old vintage.
03rd February, 2016 (last edited: 04th February, 2016)

5th Avenue by Elizabeth Arden

This is from a male perspective. I like this fragrance very much indeed, though I may be biased as this reminds me of two very important women in my life. When my mother passed in 2011 (at the comparatively young age of 50) I had to go through her things and found over 200 bottles of perfume. This was among them, standing tall, and I picked up the bottle and spritzed it onto my forearm. Its a little rough when it first goes on, but within minutes I felt as though she was there.

It's a wonderful aroma. Florals mingling with lightweight citrus notes in the beginning and moving to the spicy, oriental heart notes that really conjure up an evening at the height of summer. They're not heavy, they float in a sort of dance with the floral notes. For me it took a while for the musky base to come through. This is also a light white musk, flanked by sandalwood and rich vanilla.

By pure chance I discovered that my ex-girlfriend also wore 5th Avenue and yet I hadn't associated it with my mother at all. Which makes me think that this perfume is not at all age-dependent; just a marvellous perfume that might well be worn in more than one season. Very elegant and demure, and yet fresh and flowery. A winner in my book.
06th August, 2015

Bulgari pour Homme by Bulgari

There are a lot of notes listed for this one and I wondered quite where they were all hiding because the first blast is lemon, lemon, and lemon again. Or maybe it's bergamot and orange because there's no lemon listed. Nevertheless it's a brisk citrus entrance that lasts for some time.
I think I get the darjeeling tea, but I'm not sure. My experience was the aroma of well-steeped tepid tea (or even used bags taken from the pot), rather than the lightly bitter fragrance of darjeeling. Not necessarily bad. It's peppery too and mildly spicy in the fleeting middle notes.
I wore this on a summer day that had some dampness in the air, there'd been a storm in the early morning and the dry-down mingled perfectly with it; mimicking the after-the-rain aroma with a mossy-woody backdrop. The muskiness rounds everything off nicely.

I liked this scent even though it is pretty low-key, though rather gentlemanly too. It's a good all-rounder and would likely work through the seasons if chosen with care.
01st August, 2015

Pino Silvestre by Silvestre

Pino Silvestre... a pine wood, 'scots pine'. This is one of the few fragrances that lives up to its name and actually reflects the notes that are listed here at basenotes.
PS also requires something that is in short supply in the 21st century: patience. You have to be patient with a fragrance; things take time to develop.

The opening of Pino Silvestre is indeed a citrus-based mélange of bitter lemon, bergamot and lavender. It also has a black pepper note running through, which may well be the sage already appearing. In my opinion there are traces of the heart notes after 5-10 minutes, particularly the geranium and a resinous pine. It is slightly nutty at that point and levels out, blooming into a very appealing aroma indeed. Reminiscent of heavy white tree blossoms.

There's no denying that Pino Silvestre can have a slight tinge of the herbaceous-medicinal about it, but it subsides in waves and is replaced by rich cederwood and clove spice, with pine nuts which give it a slightly oriental flavour. The moss and musk add the earthiness to this potent mix and as it matures and dries down it becomes rather a genteel fragrance. Quite 'old school' and refined, but with an unusual edge.

Yes, pine is used in disinfectant and air fresheners, but then so is lemon and lavender and people still like these scents, because they are pleasant. The difference is that the cleaning products don't have a cedar-wood, amber, moss and musk base, or a clary sage-geranium heart. The pine in PS is more like a refined blend of pine resin, with faint menthol and mint.

60 years old this year and still decisively wearable. It matters to where your tastes incline. If you're a younger man not afraid to try a fragrance that would be described as "classic" (probably implying 'old-fashioned'), it's an inexpensive experiment. Mature men may benefit the most.
30th June, 2015

Vetiver by Guerlain

Guerlain's Vetiver is clearly a popular classic fragrance that no doubt has some good qualities for many people, but is not beyond criticism. I look at the top- and basenotes listed and quite wonder where they are hiding because from the first application to well into the middle this is a sharp, somewhat astringent concoction heavily dominated by the vetiver and cedar. This gives it a bitter and almost metallic aroma, like a school metalwork room or a metal drilling workshop.

It takes a while before that calms down and anything resembling the cut grass or 'new-mown hay' comes through. When it does it mingles with the bergamot and coriander. In-between all of this are bursts of residue from empty coffee cups, the nutmeg, the pepper and a quinine-like undertone. Any earthiness is more disused wasteland than summer meadow

It's somewhat of a relief when it dies down because my nose tired of this after a while.

Sillage and longevity are quite strong, which may be good or bad depending on how much you like it. My opinion would be to save yourself some money and try Chopard Vetiver, which is a fraction of the price and in my opinion has a better blend of aromas alongside its vetiver.
27th June, 2015 (last edited: 28th June, 2015)

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

Imagine Guerlain's Vetiver with added basil, vanilla, cinnamon, leather and amber and you have Habit Rouge.

It's a complex and interesting blend of aromas to be sure. It's worth waiting after application because although it starts out very gourmand (going through phases of smelling like a communal dining hall and a Chinese take-away), it broadens out to fragrant, oriental spiced woods atop a deeply earthy base. In that base the vanilla, leather, amber and moss work very well together.

It's a mature scent and would not be chosen by the twenty-something man out on the pull, which is a pity because under the right circumstances it would have an effect beyond the cookie-cutter fragrances of the last 15-20 years. It's darker and more mysterious. Though I prefer cleaner, barbershop-style scents, I rate this over Guerlain's other 'classic' vetiver by a country mile.

Good sillage and decent longevity.
27th June, 2015
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Brut by Fabergé

If you're over thirty, Brut is a cruel master. It knows that it is a fragrance of yesteryear and that better (and yet some worse) fragrances have taken its crown and yet it captures you. It does this because it is intertwined with your memories of a time when things seemed better. It conjures up for you a father, a brother, an uncle, in their prime and how much you wanted to be part of that grown-up world they inhabited while wearing this pungent, masculine elixir.

37-years after having first encountered this scent as a child and having it weave itself into many cherished memories, I'm approaching it from a user's point of view. When I started using fragrances Brut was already on its way out. It seemed dull and blunt against the sharper, fresher fragrances.
I purchased the aftershave splash (100ml for very little money) and the cologne splash with medallion. After a weekend shave I applied the aftershave and almost welled-up with tears at how evocative that aroma is. It has a fresh opening. The aniseed, lavender and basil initial burst is enough to drag you back in time. It's powerful stuff too, that first application fills the room. Jasmine in a scent harks back to older fragrances, from the 19thC up to the pre-war years, when perfumes were heavier and more oriental. There is a touch of that in Brut, hovering beneath the barbershop quartet of topnotes. It has doubtless been reformulated to some extent and the entire range of notes listed may or may not be present. It smells less complex than the the notes suggest. The sandalwood, patchouli, powdery vanilla are there as it fully settles after 1/2 an hour to an hour, as is an aniseed sweetness throughout. It's a pleasant experience.

Brut is really more than the sum of its parts. It has a cultural history that makes it transcend its own over-familiar aroma. You know you're not supposed to like it and yet the scent bewitches you. It lasts for a few good hours and the sillage is decent. People of a certain age who get close enough to catch the scent are momentarily stopped; they feel what you feel.

Every man should try it at least once.
23rd June, 2015 (last edited: 24th June, 2015)

Brut Musk by Fabergé

The current aftershave version of this can be picked up for very little money (in Europe at least) and it is no longer made by Fabergé; the company was bought out by Unilever ages ago and it is distributed under the name 'Parfums Prestige'. Fabergé was resurrected by some entrepreneur or other but they don't make Brut (or anything at all it seems).

Okay...I got the aftershave and the EDT of this and the aftershave was the more expensive. The EDT cost me...1.99 (euros)! Astonishing. Both were in the new curved bottles. I sprayed the tester of the EDT on my hand in the shop and aside from the initial blast it remained the same sort of aroma from start to finish; apart from the very end. It's not that fresh, it's more like a warm glow with touches of vanilla and moss and, I suppose, the musk it is named for. There was, dare I say, the odd pale faecal note at times and I panicked a few times in case anyone caught a whiff of it. Right at the very end it turned to a caramelised sugar smell, which was a bit odd. I'm going to try again on a day when I can stay at home all day.

The aftershave is a slightly different beast it seems to me. It's fresher when it goes on and actually smells a little like Brut 33 used to smell like in the late 70s: greener, some lavender, a little powdery, a touch of vanilla. Actually a quite decent and masculine aroma in the way Denim is. A worthy aftershave splash.

For the price the aftershave is worth it, but the EDT seems to be a bit hit and miss for some reason. If you're a Brut user the musk aftershave is a good rotation for the colder months.

Pros: price, nostalgic fragrance, masculine in an old-school way. Not plasticky.
Cons: a bit linear and generic.
20th June, 2015 (last edited: 23rd June, 2015)

Eau Sauvage Parfum by Christian Dior

Eau Savage Parfum is a marvel because it is simple, yet complex. I don't know if those are all the notes listed above, but if they are, then Francois Demachy has magic up his sleeve.

Very masculine and self-assured. Like a man who is successful, but doesn't boast about it. It's probably what the soap smells like in the wash-rooms of a Fortune 500 company.

That citrus bergamot in the top is enough draw you into the rich, deep aromas lurking underneath, the herbals and spices and the aromatic woodiness. It's quite gourmand as it dries down, even though the bergamot remains in the mix.

There are people who clearly think this is not a patch on the 1966 classic, but it shouldn't have to be a competition; when you have two good things there is room for both, it's a great scent.
20th June, 2015

Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

Guerlain homme is not bad, but it's not brilliant either. It's problem lies in the fact that it merely delivers what some other cheaper and less distinguished scents deliver and not much more.

It has a florals on top, something in between (I catch no lime or mint) and then a woody undertone, but it doesn't make you go 'wow'. It doesn't make you want to repeatedly sniff your wrist and luxuriate in the aroma. The dry-down is merely a pleasant light-woody powder. It's just short of refined, just short of distinguished and in that respect it has failed because I believe it was supposed to command both of those positions.

This house has better things in its portfolio. It would be better to discontinue just so that people don't come to it for the first time and assume this is the best Guerlain can do.
20th June, 2015

Floïd by Floïd

Floid has a bit of a name among the wet shaving aficionado community as one of the classic 'barbershop' preparations. Every country has its traditional classic and this is one of Spain's. It has the provenance: history going back to the 1930s, which is always mesmerising for traditionalists, the glass bottle, a well-groomed gentleman on the label...but what about the fragrance itself?

Well, like many other classics it has been through the modernisation process and aside from their core product there are a few offshoots. When I bought this, at a wonderful old-fashioned chemists's shop, I unknowingly picked up the newest formulation which is in a black box and with 'Nueva Fragancia' in the top corner. This version has moved away from the typical barbershop aroma and smells almost identical to Avon's, surpisingly good, but sweet, fragrance 'Tomorrow'. This version of Floid is a sweet fragrance that I didn't really take to. Luckily I had already applied some of this from a tester in the shop and decided I didn't want to keep this version. The shop happily exchanged the bottle for the Floid classic preparation in the orange box (masaje genuino, mentolada vigoroso). It's a 150ml bottle and I paid 14 euros for it.

The original Floid (assuming there has been no major reformulation) is closer to the mark. Upon application it is a burst of menthol and you could initially imagine that you've paid over the odds for a basic menthol aftershave splash. However, this evaporates rapidly and the florals that eventually come through are quite heavy; more like rich, late spring tree blossoms such as horse chestnut. There is also a distinct woodiness in there, perhaps sandalwood, a light muskiness, spicy elements, a soft lavender talc underneath and genuine oakmoss (evernia prunastri) at the base.

It is a very traditional fragrance and distinctly masculine. It has the sort of smell that, if you're old enough to remember, is reminiscent of men who were probably in their prime in the 1940s and 1950s. Young ladies of today would probably not like it in the context of a gentleman's personal fragrance, but the smell is both calming and authoritative. If I could get a concentrate of this I'd use it in a burner to give my house the gentleman's club smell.

The sillage is moderate and after a liberal application it lasts for a maximum of about 4 hours, as might be expected from an aftershave. It is, after all, not an EdT.

If you like traditional, masculine fragrances that take you back to the heyday of the real men's barbershop, but which can still work today, Floid might be for you. For me it's the Spanish Tabac.
07th June, 2015 (last edited: 21st June, 2015)

Sculpture Homme by Nikos

I originally received Sculpture as a gift when it was released in 1995. At the time I was more accustomed to wearing 'greener' or heavier fragrances like Paco Rabanne or Quorum, but the young lady giving the gift probably wanted to change that.
I've now bought it again after 20 years because Kruidvat (a drug-store chain in the Netherlands) is currently selling the 100ml bottle for a reasonable 16 euros. I also wanted a good summer fragrance.

Upon application I recalled why I hadn't initially liked Sculpture which was the very aldehydic and plasticky initial top-notes, but they do mellow into fairly pleasant, though indistinct florals; the geranium is there and coriander is just distinguishable. The cederwood comes through quite quickly; it's not too heavy and it remains infused with a lightly sweet floral background for some time. It's a very mellow, refined and clean smell. I don't really know what tonka bean or ambrette seed smell like in isolation so I don't know if I recognise them, but I do discern the vanilla. The final dry down is vanilla with a fruity undertone.

Sculpture is masculine enough, but seems to me an early version of the sorts of fragrance now commonly encountered that both sexes could be attracted to wearing. With a few good pumps of the atomiser this should last over six hours..

I give it a thumbs up as a very pleasant, modern summer scent (perhaps other seasons too) and the price is definitely an attraction.
07th June, 2015 (last edited: 08th June, 2015)

Old Spice by Procter & Gamble

A late returnee to Old Spice here and the surprise is a pleasant one. I've encountered bottles at varying points in the last 30-odd years, but now it seems the time is right.
I can't remember if the scent of those past bottles differs from the current one I have. This one is the 'original' aftershave, purchased in Europe and apparently made here. Very reasonably priced and in the satisfyingly weighty glass bottle.

Some of the negative reviews have dismissed it as a cheap musk-bomb, but that's a highly simplistic appraisal. As it goes on the first experience is the spiced orange-bergamot with a light talc-like undertone. This rapidly gives way to the cinnamon mingling with roses, but the bottom notes also start to emerge quite early on. Eventually those bottom note aromas of woodiness, muskiness and the frankincense -citrus spiciness, which is really there throughout, give a warming finish. Like warm, spiced brandy and woodshavings dropped into a beautiful lady's leather handbag...if you will!
The top and middle notes don't last quite long enough before the bottom notes take over, which is it's only real fault. The spicy dry-down also manages not to smell like detergent.

Yes, it has the associations with traditional grooming and barbershops and clubs of another era (nearly everyone once wore it), but that is reassuringly satisfying. Old Spice doesn't shout like a modern fragrance, it is subdued and self-assured.

Some young-men under 30 will probably not want to, or be able to wear Old Spice without feeling self-consciously fogeyish; though for others it may just work. The 20-something crowd need not even apply to club Old Spice, but for the over 30s it can work a treat.
04th May, 2015 (last edited: 05th May, 2015)