Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Miss Hesta Jones

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Total Reviews: 69

Muse by Sospiro

Lovely fruity leather, leaning fem of unisex. Projection and sillage are both moderate, with longevity also moderate at around 6-8 hours.
As far as fruits are concerned, this is a predominantly raspberry scent, with a bit of sour plum thrown in as balance; they blend well and avoid being over-sweet or syrupy. I think there's a bit of jasmine in there - it adds a billowing quality in the heart. The leather is powdery, but has just an edge of roughness, avoiding it being a straight-up feminine frag. In the base, patch, benzoin and labdanum are all apparent and are all lovely and well-blended.
It's a lovely frag and I wear it often - it's a great all-rounder, wearing as easily in the daytime as the evening and works well anytime except high summer, when it is perhaps just a little too sweet and sits a little too heavily. In terms of style, it's fairly mainstream and has mass-appeal - it gets the odd compliment.
It's clearly synthetic, but the it's of decent quality and well-blended. Would I pay full-price for it? Hell, no. Nuh-uh. It retails (being from the house of Xerjoff) at stupid prices, but wears like a high-quality designer frag. The 100ml bottles are nothing special, considering the price-point; find a deal and split with a pal or two.
19th February, 2019

Rentless by Lush

Big, boozy opening with fir balsam, settling into equally big patchouli over a sweet vanilla base. Fantastic performance. This frag outclasses many at 3x the price. I’ve a massive love for Rentless - it’s unisex and super-wearable. Both thumbs up for quality, performance and price.
28th January, 2019

Jicky Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

The thumbs down I’ve given isn’t for quality - I couldn’t bear to keep it on my skin long enough to ascertain that - but for wearability. On me, it’s ‘Icky Jicky’, smelling of nothing other than poop, pure poop. I scrubbed after about 5 mins: that’s all I could take. That’s only on *my* skin, though, and this stuff gets plenty of love from those who know what they’re talking about, so I’m not going to criticise it, just say that on me, it’s unwearable. Even though I’m a fan girl for the classic Guerlains, this is a tricksy one. Blind buy at own risk...
25th January, 2019
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Psychédélique / Psychedelic by Jovoy

Opens with a huge boozy note; the patchouli has green notes without any dust. The patch is big and charges solo through the heart before kicking back on a lovely vanillic-musk base. It’s obviously of great quality and has fab performance, perhaps leaning just slightly to the masculine side of unisex. At this price point, I’ll turn it down in favour of the slightly more femme Rentless by Gorilla, which does all of the same things for one-fifth of the price. For patch-fiends who love a bit of booze and prefer a slightly less sweet drydown, this is a great option.
24th January, 2019

Silvan by Rouge Bunny Rouge

If this were a designer release, it’d be quite something. For a niche release at this price point, it’s nowhere near original or interesting enough. It’s a lovely soft and round fragrance, woody with a dash of spice, totally unisex (the masculine branding is a bit of a mystery) and with moderate performance.
23rd January, 2019

Casamorati 1888 Lira by Xerjoff

Almond, salted caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, musks. There’s a bit of fruit in there too, although I can’t quite place it. Smooth in texture, sweet without being cloying or sugary. Pretty linear, once the initial caramel blast has settled. Definitely feminine in character.
Projection moderate, but sillage is good. I wasn’t disappointed with the longevity - it was still alive at the 10 hour mark.
It’s clearly high-quality and expertly blended and the sweetness is well-managed enough that despite my being pretty picky with gourmands, I enjoy this very much and find it quite compelling, as well as luxurious. It’s expensive, but it’s not out of its league in that regard, not at all. For me, the only thing it’s really missing is a quirk, a bit of character. Hence, probably not FB-worthy but there’ll be a decent-sized decant (also, bleugh, I really don’t like those fussy Casamorati bottles).
09th January, 2019

Delina by Parfums de Marly

Big, bright pink rose, spike of green, RHUBARB!!! Vanilla-musk base. Has a light, carefree feel and a similar vibe to NR For Her EdT, but with subtler musks and no patchouli - less distinctive in style perhaps, but it feels more luxurious than the NR. The one stand-out feature is how well the rhubarb pops, but it settles quickly and my excitement was short-lived.
Projection and sillage moderate; longevity decent, but I’d expect better at this price-point. It’s a really nice and pretty perfume, but it doesn’t feel particularly original and I can’t help feeling that it’s probably been done better elsewhere. Given it’s price, I’d expect it to feel a little more accomplished. Definitely a thumbs up - it’s a great scent and I’ll be getting a larger decant, for sure.
09th January, 2019

1873 Colette by Histoires de Parfums

Quite a polarising one, this, it seems. Like Colin Maillard, I find the opening really nice, save the pissy aspect of the grapefruit (which passes within 30 mins and is redeemed by the zingy bergamot and lime). In the heart, orange-blossom and a hint of herbal green are underpinned by a light sweatiness as the grapefruit deepens - giving a mildly carnal aspect which settles over bog-standard lightly-sweetened white musks.
It's nice, but not massively interesting and has only moderate performance. All that said, I'm not at all a fan of grapefruit in perfumery so it's nice to find that note presented in a way which I find wearable. This would be a great post-gym scent in the summer for days when a different frag is planned for the evening. There's a place for 1873 in my collection but it's as a safe and relatively short-lived summer staple. I'm gonna give it a weak thumbs-up.
08th January, 2019

Rituale by Mendittorosa

The spicy Roman Catholic incense of my childhood, the sweaty patchouli of my youth, the hippie nag champa and cleansing white sage of more recent years; the incenses which have enveloped myriad moments of contemplation throughout my life - all are here in Rituale, full in texture and rich with high quality ingredients, beautifully blended.
One of the finest frags in my collection.
06th January, 2019

Replica Lipstick On by Martin Margiela

In the lipstick-rose category, this is the slightly trashy, late-teen/early 20s entry. Projection and longevity are insane, due to an overdosed synthetic base. The heliotrope is super-doughy. It’s unrefined and cheap-smelling - a caricature of the genre - but I like this (I’m not sure why as I have a bottle of Misia EDT, which makes this smell like it should be consigned to the dressing-up box); Lipstick On has a certain trashy charm. I wear it when I want the lipstick vibe to last for, like, 3 days. Post-apocalypse, all the prettiest cockroach girls will be wearing this. Pre-apocalypse, maybe just me and the local drag queen...

Neutral for quality, even though I love it.
31st December, 2018

Pillow Talk by 4160 Tuesdays

I love this fragrance and am powering through a 50ml bottle at quite a rate. A clean jasmine with a hint of anise sits on top of a woody vanilla base. It's both comforting and sexy and is supremely easy to wear. Sillage is moderate and longevity around 6 hours before the vanilla and sandalwood dry down to a skin scent.
31st December, 2018

Nightingale by Zoologist Perfumes

A light pink-white floral tea. Opens with a blast of saffron, which imparts quite a heavy texture for the first few minutes. I found the weight of this to be a little surprising, but it settles quickly and is replaced by a dry tea and woods with juicy, fruit and berry notes and soft, powdery florals. It's a complex and beautiful opening, evocative and transporting.
Long-lasting (7+ hours) with moderate projection.
Lots going on with the violet. It makes a variety of partnerships through the development - with dusty saffron, sweet rose and sour plum blossom - and it really is the key player of the top and heart of this fragrance. It has an oriental drydown which should appeal to fans of classic Guerlain feminines - rose and white musk with a hint of oudh and incense. Leans femme.
31st December, 2018

Mitzah by Christian Dior

The mystical Mitzah - often spoken of, rarely sniffed. Closer by the day to becoming a creature of myth.
On me, vaguely floral-suede, vaguely gourmand-biscuit. Vaguely vague. I had to douse myself in this stuff before I got anything from it. Perhaps it has a heavy musk base to which I’m anosmic. Who knows... I was genuinely disappointed.
31st December, 2018
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Maduro by Fort and Manlé

Kudos to Melourne Man for articulating that opening - I get red apple slices dipped in melted milk chocolate - childhood camping treats!
Somehow, the pineapple doesn't come through directly as pineapple - the sweetness and the juiciness come through, but as the rose comes in, there's the illusion of strawberries dipped in rosewater-laced chocolate.
The fruity opening drifts into the heart on a waft of basil. The beeswax, rose and tobacco heart is well-blended and avoids being as sweet as either TV or Back to Black, for instance. The beeswax buddies up with benzoin for the transition into an interesting drydown showcasing the interplay of two distinct but harmonious halves - like partners in a dance, there's a clear delineation of masculine and feminine elements, represented by a medicinal benzoin/cedar pairing and a sweeter combination of patchouli/vanilla respectively. The partners each swirl though a soapy vetiver, adding a bright edge to a somewhat mysterious fragrance. All the way through, drifting in and out is a slight fecal note - and it's very slight indeed; it's not at all off-putting, rather it adds depth and interest.

It's a contrary and interesting scent, totally unisex, with the masculine and feminine aspects interacting with each other, rather than being blended. It's one of a handful of frags I've tried where I've felt the transitions through the wearing are very consciously managed and deserving of attention.

Sillage and projection are moderate, with good longevity.
31st December, 2018

Confessions of a Garden Gnome by Fort and Manlé

Stunningly blended - depth without weight; wears beautifully.
Like all of Fort and Manle’s fragrances, it’s a storyteller, describing the seasonal flow of light and texture though a garden. The opening is light, sparking green, smooth blonde woods and fresh watercolour florals - it’s spring, bringing to mind (for me, at least) the pastel shades of sweet pea blooms. As the heart settles, the greens get deeper and sharper - wetter, and with a hint of the sour bite of crushed stems. The florals step back from the foreground and drift into the periphery, becoming a musky floral halo; a hint of sweetness to balance the green. Underneath all this is something mineralic and mossy - wet rockery stones.
One of three from this house (along with Mr Bojnakopf’s Purple Hat and Fateh Sultan Mehmed) which are on my hitlist.
31st December, 2018

Sable Marocain / Morocco Sand by Phaedon

Boring, flat incense with something overripe and foodie-ugly in there. I’d pitch it unisex rather than masculine, but I’d go scentless, given the choice.
EDIT: I’ve got it...Heinz Salad Cream. Fruity vinegar.
30th December, 2018 (last edited: 31st December, 2018)

V. Intense by Robert Piguet

Medium sweet and fruity, the bergamot, pear and plum blend well, with the pear sweetening and dominan t. Saffron imparts a dusty texture, while rose and ylang-ylang give a warm and round floral vibe, supported by a smooth and slightly spicy sandalwood. The dusty aspect balances the sweet pear nicely, keeping it from becoming syrupy. As the topnotes fade, it becomes powdery (which, as I test more and more Piguets, seem to be something of a house trademark) and the florals become dominant. They drydown sees a dramatic change in character, citrus-soapy juxtaposed with the creamy texture of sandalwood. An odd turn, for sure. In deep drydown, a smooth and powdery musk returns, with the rose and ylang-ylang still very present at the 12 hour mark.

Easy-wearing and undemanding while still an interesting pleasure. Not a major triumph and not among the best from the house of Piguet, but a lovely scent nevertheless. For me, not FBW (for a powdery floral, I prefer Calypso), but one I'd consider buying for someone who wants their signature day scent to be more than mainstream without being especially challenging.
Longevity 12+ hours with moderate projection.
30th December, 2018

Civet by Zoologist Perfumes

I've no experience of real civet, but this is definitely animalic, although it's furry, rather than pissy.
A bittersweet coffee and vanilla opening with a full texture, leather and a furry musk coming up dry and a little dusty through florals, predominantly tuberose and heliotrope with a tropical frangipani/ylang-ylang accord. Although each of the florals are identifiable, they're blended to give just an edge of softness and beauty to a somewhat grainy texture. Within 20 minutes, it's settled into a vanilla-coffee, ambery musk with the florals drifting by on a soft breeze. Cool, smooth labdanum is a great base for spicy frankincense with vanilla keeping the basenotes from becoming too dry.
In low doses, it's powerful but stays close to the skin. After 6 hours, it's barely there. It's totally gender-neutral and I find it very sexy. Scent is often akin to framed moments of foreplay - like the glamorous, saturated city lights of Tom Ford, or the rich mystery of vintage Guerlain - but this is the smell of *actual* sex, not the evening that came before it.
30th December, 2018

Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

Opens musty, earthy, damp, mineralic - exact image of the interior of a cave, rocks dripping water onto an earthen floor, the atmosphere close and damp.
The fruit in the opening is over-ripe, sweaty and boozy - bananas and papaya spring to mind - with a note of sweet hay, too.
The mineralic notes vanish first but the heart retains an earthy note. The fermenting fruit sticks around for a while too, but as the transition to drydown continues, it dries out and becomes leathery.
The drydown is less challenging to wear - it says closer to the skin but is quite animalic. Oud, vetiver and a barnyard musk.
The tale of a journey into the depths of a cave on a hot day - leaving the dry grass for damp earth, moving through wet rock and rotting fruit into the depths of the cave where the furry creature hangs, warm body wrapped in leather wings.
Projection and longevity are both above average. Leans masculine imo - while I would enjoy the leather-musk smell of a man in a cave, I'm not sure I'd find it so alluring on a woman.
30th December, 2018

Après L'Ondée Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

As fleetingly and hauntingly beautiful as everyone says. Personally, I find it contemplative more than melancholic. I’ll never be without a bottle of this.
30th December, 2018

Angel Muse by Thierry Mugler

Reminds me of nothing so much as coffee-shop hazelnut syrup. Tooth-achingly sweet praline confection with atomic reach and unreasonable endurance.
30th December, 2018

Fatih Sultan Mehmed by Fort and Manlé

Sweet brandy, jasmine, mandarin amber, vanilla, benzoin. Settles dry and a touch salty. Exotic and a little aloof. The introverted sister scent to Amber Absolutely.
30th December, 2018

Amber Absolutely by Fort and Manlé

Whisky-amber. Orange and beeswax combo smells like furniture polish over musk. Realistic hardwoods and a whiff of paper. A gentleman’s library in Empire-era North Africa. Lovely concept, not great on my skin; one to recommend, rather than wear.
30th December, 2018

Mr. Bojnokopff's Purple Hat by Fort and Manlé

Booze, leather, violet, chocolate and the bowl of a pipe. Dark, deep and a lot of fun. Oddly, reminds me of the home of a childhood friend.
30th December, 2018

Aqua Allegoria Anisia Bella by Guerlain

Another lovely green freshie from the AA line. Basil works well to keep the anise in check - it's a note that can easily become a little too much. Still, that note and its oriental associations make this a great frag for transitioning between seasons - lovely for early spring and the autumn. Star anise in the heart and liquorice in the base gives the opening character a longevity rarely achieved with fresh/citrus fragrances. While I get a waft of jasmine, I don't get any violet at all and I wonder whether the scent pyramid is referring to violet leaf - there's an earthiness in there, for sure, which could be violet leaf and liquorice in concert.
Decent projection, weak sillage, moderate longevity.
I think it's a lovely fragrance, although it's definitely not one of the big sellers of the AA line - I got mine for next-to-nothing on *that* auction site. I guess anise and its associates are something of an acquired taste, which is fine with me...
16th February, 2018

Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne

Vanilla is a scent I often struggle with, particularly boozy vanillas or anything with even a vaguely cupcakey accord. This is dry, which seems to be a far less common presentation - certainly vanilla isn't something I particularly associate with the cologne genre. As others have said, Insensee means 'insane', rather than 'incense', although I don't find madness or excess in this at all - if anything, it smells rather introverted in character, despite having decent projection; lasts well too, being a Cologne Absolue. I loved it at first sniff and, from the fact that my first sniff was from an amber-coloured, rather ancient-looking sample, I can tell you that it ages well, getting deeper and a little warmer.
It opens with a full and vibrant lime, a juicy opening for a scent which dries down papery, dusty and (as ClaireV so insightfully pointed out) with something of the Communion wafer about it. Maybe it's the lapsed Catholic in me that loves this, maybe it's the bookworm...
It works well as a base under herbal freshies, too - a great way to transition them between seasons. I definitely get a spike of vetiver in the drydown, to my nose it shows as an earthiniess below the papery accord.


Also, am I the only who just loves the Atelier bottles? Like pebbles, there's something really comforting about them in the hand - just the right weight and those rounded corners are lovely.
16th February, 2018

Ambre Loup by Rania J

Both thumbs up high in the sky for this one!
Leathery, smokey, animalic amber: castoreum, oud and a hint of spicy orange, all smoothed out by vanilla and labdanum, sweetening as it dries down. Projection and sillage are perfect for the type of scent it is - you've got to get reasonably close, but when you do...you're gonna want to get *much* closer. Longevity is incredible. I've found it really addictive - it's given Queen Shalimar a run for her money this winter. It's warming, sexy, enveloping, sexy, comforting, sexy, distinctive, (did I mention sexy?!) and 100% unisex.
My panties drop every time I sniff my own wrist.
16th February, 2018

The Hedonist by Cult of Scent

If Bulgari Black, Tuscan Leather and Dzing! had a threeway...
Birch tar and a coarse, dirty leather at the top, castoreum and jasmine in the heart, vanilla and sandalwood base.
24th September, 2017

Liaisons Dangereuses by By Kilian

Opens with red fruit and rose, quite jammy. This is delightful, but the texture soon dries out and becomes a little sour. Remains fruity - theres something juicy and not-quite citrus (reminds me of rambutan), as well as an over-bearing note of peach, although it's rather a dried-up specimen. The cinnamon comes through as spiky to my nose - it's woody, rather than creamy.

As a feminine frag, it would have worked much better if a creamier base had been used, but the drydown really plays to a masculine market. As it stands, both the opening and the drydown are pleasant enough, but together, they seem mismatched and the transition is somewhat jarring as a result.
16th September, 2017

Paithani by Penhaligon's

Opens with realistic mandarin and sweet spices - it's Xmas Lite. Soon, lactones, cedar and nutmeg give the biscuity aroma of a baby's head; the texture is soft and smooth, bringing to mind the classic cashmere cliche - wrapped in a favourite sweater, eating milk cookies. The transition into the heart is lovely; a light, leather grounds the creamy texture and stops it from ever approaching cloying, without adding any heavy grit or smoke. Solid ballast from a balsamic base gives this decent staying power.
It's supposed to resemble masala chai tea and does, very well. Smooth, warm milk blended with sweet spices, sipped beneath a tree heavy with ripe mandarin oranges.
Medium-light, wears close but has decent sillage and lasts 6-7 hours, skin scent for the last three hours. Great light and pretty, unisex summer spice.
10th August, 2017