Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Miss Hesta Jones

Total Reviews: 64

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
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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

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
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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 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'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

Goodbye Piccadilly by 4160 Tuesdays

I've worn this fragrance several times and always liked it a lot, but I put it on this morning and it really blew me away for the first time - I've been in raptures all day. I've recognised it as a predominantly violet scent - and that violet has amazing tenacity, lasting all the way through the fragrance on my fairly dry skin and remaining the dominant note from start to end.
It opens with violet, lavender and what I think is described as a leather note, although I don't get leather so much as wet paper (violet leaf earthiness, perhaps?) and vanilla; this note smells better than it sounds, working to impart a nostalgic, vintage feel. The opening florals are ever-so-slightly medicinal (in the friendliest of ways) and patchouli adds a peppery twist of spice. In the drydown, the lavender drops back and a smooth, sweet violet-vanilla creme comes to the fore. The wet paper dries and leather becomes noticeable in full drydown, more as a texture than a solid note.
This frag is so many different things at different times and is incredibly versatile. It behaves quite differently as the weather changes, wearing very differently in summer to winter. The development is smooth and engaging with the texture developing as fully as the scent. Projection and longevity are both top-notch - on me, it's still going strong after 10 hours. It's a noticeable scent, a little unusual and a lot of fun.
30th June, 2017 (last edited: 01st August, 2017)

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d'Orange

A (slightly) more tenacious version of Guerlain's Herba Fresca - fresh, green, aromatic and totally unisex. Relatively linear, with a dab of fresh sweat in the heart, becoming a skin scent within 90 minutes. Where HF has citrus, this has the addition of rose, but both are predominantly minty and aromatic.

I do quite like the sweaty aspect here, which is the main difference (to my nose) of the two. I think it's due to there being some basil - it's sunbathing-sweat rather than work-sweat and is not at all butch or sour, rather it works well with the aromatics, smelling like sunblushed skin lying in a herb garden.

IMO, this is as good as Herba Fresca, despite feeling more synthetic (same concept, different angle), but for me, they're not different enough to warrant having both. If the performance were *a lot* better, I'd choose this over Herba Fresca in a blink. As it is, HF is cheap enough to spray liberally and make up for the poor performance. The same can't be said of this stuff...
13th June, 2017

Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez

NR's trademark musk layered with gardenia. Super-smooth and somewhat linear, but with decent projection and excellent longevity. It's easy to wear anytime and anywhere and is completely inoffensive - I'm aware this makes it sound like the perfect bland office scent, but it really is much more than that. It's *almost* as good as NR For Her EDT - there's a certain sparkle to For Her which is missing from Narciso, but what it lacks in sparkle, it makes up for in texture, being smooth right from the start and entirely without the screech or hairspray quality that some Big White Flowers can have. It's a great early spring frag - soft, warming musk with a promise of voluptuous blossoms.
13th June, 2017

Lemon Sherbet by 4160 Tuesdays

Crowdfunded in small batches from a wonderfully quirky British niche house, this little sweetie does *exactly* what it says on the tin!
It's a lovely bright, radiant, fizzy, sweet lemon sherbet, drying down to a gorgeous smooth vanilla base. Definitely leans gourmand rather than citrus; its sweetness lands it on the femme side of the fence, IMO. Projection is moderate, longevity of 6+ hours on my dry skin.
An easy-wearing, light-hearted summer scent, sweet but definitely not cloying. Uplifting and happy with a twist of nostalgia, it layers well with Sunshine and Pancakes, from the same house.
13th June, 2017

Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca by Guerlain

Lovely green and aromatic scent - nothing to add to what others have said here in terms of notes. I really enjoy it - it makes me feel instantly refreshed. Unfortunately, despite reasonable sillage (considering it's a fresh EDT), the performance is pretty poor. Over-spraying can get me 30 mins of a relatively full scent, but witin another hour, it's vanished without trace. Despte this, it's a lovely fragrance - easily good enough to warrant a thumbs up - and I'm happy to spritz it with abandon, considering that it can be found as cheap as chips on auction sites.
13th June, 2017