Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

Total Reviews: 146

Cuir Tabac by David Jourquin

I had thought in the early stages of Cuir Tabac that I would be giving a negative rating, for its unexceptional development and overall clunkiness. However I have to admit that over the course of the day is has grown on me, and the drydown has revealed a much better quality than the frankly cheap-seeming opening did. Not sure I will end up buying this, but the competitors that come to mind in the winter scent slot are not quite up this standard.

So what's changed my mind? Probably the tobacco accord, which I find better delivered than in other, comparable fragrances. There is little leather to speak of, and the space is filled by something akin to cocoa and/or vanilla. Patchouli provides a touch of spice and structure. There is also something resinous and oddly fresh about the whole. In short, when reduced to the backbone, CT performs nicely and ends up supporting the main actor in a well balanced way with a decent cast list. Shame they couldn't find the script to start with.

I would suggest trying as a winter scent if you like tobacco scents, and have the money and patience to give it a full try. (Note: available as an extrait only on the Jourquin web site at the moment; samples are expensive to my eyes.)
25th November, 2017

Grafton by Truefitt & Hill

Pleasantly bracing aromatic fougere-themed cologne, with adequate performance for the concentration.

However, given that it could use a big slug of oakmoss to finish, a bit of a shame it's not constructed somewhat more robustly.
15th November, 2017

Royal Court by Anglia Perfumery

Somewhat odd. Promises to be something along the lines of an English cologne, but never really gets there, and perhaps that's what we should expect from the note pyramid. I liked the florals that appeared early on and stuck around for a while, but that's really all there is to it. Thumbs down from the wider FWF family, but I thought the florals were well done, if not really masculine enough for my tastes.
24th October, 2017
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Suède et Safran by Nishane

The limited number of notes work together well here to contribute something of the same soft leather genre as Tuscan Leather and Arquiste's Aleksandr. SAS is a little more linear and perhaps a little "cleaner" in delivery than those two, a touch dryer maybe, with all the listed notes discernible. I feel the musk is what turns it into unisex territory. Overall, though, this is probably going to appeal to men more. I see it as an interesting addition to the genre.
14th October, 2017

Le Parfume Paris / Fragrance 31 pour Homme by Micallef

A bit of an oddity. The early stages transition from rubber to burnt plastic. The early heart notes present some very pleasant toasted spices, particularly cumin, not in too great a proportion, and there is the creamier side of lavender present.

Later on, after another odd bitter phase, the biscuity-coumarin aspect of lavender takes over again, this time subtly supported by some woods.

I can't get enthusiastic about this but I get why others might do.
13th October, 2017

Aramis Modern Leather by Aramis

I'm surprised that the Aramis name is used here. You would expect something from this house with those notes to have promise. Unfortunately, someone has taken "modern" to mean "hardly detectable". Have some courage and ramp everything up.
12th October, 2017

Richard James by Richard James

Having read the reviews here and seeing a UK chain selling this off dirt cheap a little while back, I thought that £10 for a 50ml bottle was good going and made the purchase. I wasn't that impressed with the smelling strip, to be completely honest, feeling that it was too much of a melange and perhaps a little old-fashioned to be inspired. However, I put it away for cooler days, and I am now glad that I have dug it out, tried it, and worn it several times in recent days.

Savile Row starts off with a punchy and perhaps even camp rose, with a touch of detectable ginger and spices. Over the next few minutes the tuberose is accompanied by a very good tobacco note, moving the scent quickly into masculine territory. Over time the transition is to one of a spicy leather-tobacco, with hints of moss and vetiver. The final stage approaches something akin to Imperial Leather talc: soft, powdery, but with a spine. I don't find Savile Row to be cloying or linear, as some reviewers; rather providing the right kind of performance and subtle development suitable for an autumn/winter scent. Nor does the highly populated note pyramid translate into a confused olfactory experience. It's a very stylish and understated masculine with quite possibly something for everyone.

So for the money, incredibly good value; and perhaps just a great scent full stop.
12th October, 2017

Cefiro by Floris

There are some differences between the sample sent to me by Floris and the information here in terms of notes, and I think this is worth recording. The notes on the packet are, then:

Top: bergamot, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange
Heart: cardamom, jasmine, nutmeg
Base: cedarwood, musk, sandalwood

I have to say that the notes provided above are much closer to what is detected by the nose; the overall composition on paper hints at something along the lines of Bulgari Pour Home Extreme. I wonder if some reformulation has taken place.

In any event, what ends up presenting itself is a fresh fragrance with prominent citrus but also a persistent floral accord much closer to neroli than to jasmine, backed up by a light take on musk and woods. It is reminiscent of ELO's "You or Someone Like You", and where it might be seen to have an advantage over that scent is in the musky backbone, which sits better on me that the long-lasting and somewhat aggressive rose of YOSLY. As befits the name, there is just the suggestion of wind blowing through washing on a breezy day. Performance in good in terms of sillage and longevity.

However, Cefiro moves too far to the feminine for my liking to compel me to do anything more than finish the sample. I would see this working best on women who like the freshness of many male perfume genres and have no wish to wear the latest oxygen-sapping Dior or Chanel. All in all, another success for a house that I tend to get on well with.
08th October, 2017

Amber Tapestry by Aftelier

A spiced amber fragrance. Jasmin seems to be a theme of these scents and it is continued here. This one again has those fleshy florals up front, this time supported by oriental spices. This is big and bold, very up-front, and I would say more suited to a female wearer. Although in wearing this I am very much outside my comfort zone, I find it to be executed with some art. As with Cuir de Gardenia, the florals are foregrounded to just the right extent, with the supporting cast adding colour and tones to the extent that it remains artistry rather than naturalism.
08th October, 2017

Cacao by Aftelier

This is so much fun! It really pervades the room. UK members at least will be familiar with Terry's Chocolate Orange. Well, Cacao is nothing like that. Close to where I live we have "The Chocolate Cafe", which sells among other things a wide range of hot chocolate to drink on the premises. To get the effect of Aftelier's Cacao, you would have to order a dark chocolate drink with orange oil - a much more appropriate comparison. I see there is jasmine among the notes, again, and this works well for at least two reasons: first it counterbalances the heavier and potentially more cloying notes; second, it makes the overall effect more abstract and prevents it from smelling like spilt hot chocolate. I really like this one.
08th October, 2017

Cuir de Gardenia by Aftelier

Straight out of the bottle, big fleshy flowers! It brings me back to very early childhood, perhaps sticking my nose into bunches of those large flowers that everyone seemed to be obsessed with back then - my relatives at least. Getting plenty of air to it (wine-tasting habits die hard) releases some animalic notes. I wish there was a more obvious leather accord, as a gardenia-to-leather transition done more in plain sight would have been right up my alley. On skin the gardenia dies away and there is a sense of development, but I can't help feeling that the scent in my head is better than that in my nostrils. There's also some resin there, but it remains a refreshing scent.
08th October, 2017

Knize Ten Golden Edition by Knize

I've not yet tried the original but am extremely impressed with this flanker. A very characterful and detailed leather with some points of comparison to Equipage, but perhaps with sharper edges and refinement certainly comparable to that great (interesting to note that Luca Turin rates the orginal K10 as 5* in The Guide, where Equipage gets 4*).

I find that many of the listed notes make an appearance - which is good - while also maintaining an overall character - which is also good. A good leather, with some prominent florals, buttressed towards the basenotes by some vanilla and castoreum. I see this genre as largely casual wear, but could you get away with it for work? I think so, mostly. Would it get past Equipage and Bel Ami and get worn if I bought a bottle? Yes, it would. This is a high-quality effort.
01st October, 2017

La Colonia by Oliver & Co.

In my book, this is an excellent take on a traditional cologne. Oliver & Co have done so many things right here, and I will try to set out some of them.

First, the opening salvo of any cologne is the citrus. Here, the citrus is not conventionally sweet or tart, but rather bitter/sour in an attractive way. Second, as the citrus gives way to other accords, this does not turn into an overly aromatic scent, as many colognes do. Of course aromatics have their place, but many colognes can lose it rather at this point. La Colonia rather turns up the volume on a decaying signal, so to speak, and supports the citrus notes with herbs and a touch of woods so that the refreshing opening is never quite lost. Finally, at EDT concentration and according to the web site with this overtly in mind, La Colonia does not fade early but rather returns good performance throughout the day. Ozonic notes? Well, maybe, but very subtle.

All in all, very enjoyable and a contender in my book. Blind testings would probably not suggest any of the futuristic stuff that the house is famed for.
27th September, 2017 (last edited: 08th October, 2017)
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Ragù by Gabriella Chieffo

Variously described in the household as screechy, sickly, and lacking personality. Few of the listed notes are discernible, and displays little development. Essentially, I get some peppers alongside some resins - that's it. The marketing screed brings to mind those people who describe themselves as extrovert and lovably mad. I don't love it and I don't like you saying that I will. One to avoid.
23rd September, 2017

1697 by Frapin

A somewhat odd scent that takes an inordinate time to get anywhere worthwhile. It seems the point of departure is something along the lines of: put everything we can find that's creamy, sweet, and boozy in one pot and hope for the best. Fleshy flowers sit along side rum, musk, and vanilla, but they are not easy bedfellows for much of the development. My only point of reference is Carner's equally off-beat Palo Santo. As with that, I don't really see what is being done and would welcome a more stripped-down and plainer approach. However, it does eventually dry down in its death throes to a pleasantly spiced vanilla, but it's not worth the wait in my book. Enthusiasts for unconventional grourmands - if that's even a thing - might get their kicks here, so you never know.
17th September, 2017

Fareb by Huitième Art

A decent take on immortelle and baking spices. Good, with decent performance, but suffers by comparison with the only other immortelle scent I have tried, Dior's wonderful and discontinued Eau Noire. The latter had that coffee vibe that pulled it out of the ordinary. Fareb needs something similar, more of a backbone. It began to annoy me late in the day that this component wasn't there - but I'll commend it for the fact that it lasted long and strong enough for me to make that judgement. Just a little linear for my liking.
12th September, 2017

Citrus Paradisi by Czech & Speake

A pleasant enough citrus with some herbal and most of all animalic components. Thumbs up for the scent, without a doubt, but I am trying manfully to overlook the contradiction involved in producing something this risque with EDC concentration. Why not release it as an EDP and stare down the critics with your best poker face?
03rd September, 2017

Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

The scent here is excellent, lavender, mint, and a touch of moss making for a classic English accord. A little like Troisieme Homme without any of the pretty boy stuff.

However, and to my regret, it's there and then it's not. Some of this can be attributed to the EDC concentration, but not all.

As usual, I will seek to try the full bottle version with a larger atomiser, which may give better results. Until then, a neutral rating for being AWOL. However, if O&C sticks on you, you're lucky. I wonder if the remaining Czech & Speake EDCs will perform in the same way.
31st August, 2017

L'Homme Ideal Sport by Guerlain

Yowch. I mean, it's respectably good for what it is. But what it is is a Guerlain take on a sports fragrance. Something not quite right here... but as the other reviews have noted, it's likeable enough and if you compete with your friends in sports scents, then this is pretty much top trumps.
21st August, 2017

L'Homme Idéal Cologne by Guerlain

I'm quite nonplussed by this. Why you would want to make a cologne strength version of the almond and pastry-rich Homme Ideal is beyond me. The result is non-committal and just plain confusing.
21st August, 2017

Or Black by Pascal Morabito

I came, I read, I blind-bought. After much testing, I have to say - I don't really get it.

You can forgive the burnt rubber / plasticine accord if it settles down to something more recognisably perfumey. On my skin, though, Or Black never goes through those gears. It's a little like spending a night in the woods without proper camping equipment. This is savage stuff. On paper, it dries down to something quite nice in the space of about three days, but that's not really a prospect for skin use.

It's been educational, though. I've figured out that personally, the idea is to smell good, or at least feel as though I smell good. Edginess can come later. Rive Gauche carries me as far in this direction as I need.

Other notes: available direct from France with a very affordable price tag. I like the colour of the juice - deep herbal green - but I find the bottle poor, with a loose cap.
16th August, 2017 (last edited: 21st August, 2017)

Pure XS by Paco Rabanne

Take a hint of Bleu, a pinch of La Nuit, and a shiny marketing campaign... acceptable to start with, quickly dries down to something that puts the "generic" in "generic".
10th August, 2017

Blue Encens by Comme des Garçons

The marketing that came with my sample emphasised the presence of incense, artemisia, and "frozen spices" - whatever they are. To be honest, in the light of that I wasn't expecting much. I've always found "blue" fragrances to be disappointing.

As it happens, Blue Encens takes a fairly original, although unexciting, path towards providing a clean and refreshing scent, relying neither on aquatic accords nor any form of citrus. The result is transparent and pleasant, albeit far from natural-smelling. The artemisia is prominent and the spices, perhaps the least convincing component, provide a mixed and rather chemically coda. It does sit lightly on the skin, though.

The main problem here is the chronic lack of performance. Two separate applications over the course of the day led to at best four-hour duration with low sillage - for fragrances on my skin, this is dismal.

The school report would read: good imagination, but finds it hard to focus. Consider yourself lucky to gain a Neutral rating.
06th August, 2017

Papyrus de Ciane by Parfumerie Generale

A very green fragrance, but not only green. The inclusion of lavender and moss hints at the fougere genre; but (thanks to the galbanum?) it is perhaps the least sharp-edged fougere-type you will find; certainly at the end of some kind of continuum. As other reviewers have noted, there is something reflective and dream-like going on here; some kind of Alice in Wonderland vibe. More masculine than feminine, perhaps, but hinting at the homoerotic in a way more redolent of the "hidden-in-plain-sight" Victorian style characteristic of Oscar Wilde, rather than the bearded lumberjack genre of something like Tom Of Finland. PdC was a good companion to a hot day. From a sample, projection was average and longevity other than as a skin scent the same; but I posit that better performance would be attained from the sprayer in a full-sized bottle. I would wear this again. Straddling the green and fougere genres in an interesting way, it is recommended.
18th July, 2017

Spencer Hart Palm Springs by Floris

Notes: as given above.

Released in 2014 (not 2012) for the now defunct clothing company Spencer Hart, who listed as one of their celebrity part-owners one Robbie Williams. Is there a clothing company this guy can't ruin?! But I imagine that Floris now wish to get rid of their stock to minimise those associations, thus explaining the now better than half price sale on this fragrance as I write.

Anyway, the scent: for reference, think Ambre Sultan (just not nearly as good), Jaipur Homme, Sartorial, and the proprietary No. 89.

It opens with some bitter citrus and aromatics. The usual Floris characteristic is in play - light spraying allows easy discernment of the accords, whereas heavy spraying makes everything more confused and denser. The clove comes through heavily and tends to dominate.

This is a good scent overall, but not evocative of the Rat Pack to me. In my view, if you're going to list these notes, then many of them have to do rather more work than they're put to here. Below average performance. Probably no-one will mourn the passing of this one.
13th July, 2017

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d'Orange

Rose, mint, herbs - yes, they are all there. Applying YOSLO is a little like wandering into a garden centre - a particularly up-market garden centre, mind, where the proprietors have thought about where they position the plants for olfactory purposes as much as anything else. It comprises a particularly floral take on freshness, and was extremely suitable and pleasant wearing on a hot summer's day. Some caveats - this is more to the feminine end of the scale. I would wear this, but would probably not get use out of a full bottle. If such considerations are irrelevant to you, this is worth trying. Another point is that the scent is extremely linear and consistent in performance (on my skin). Towards the end of the day the rose accord became a little tiresome, and I was longing for a subtle development - perhaps a Guerlain-esque touch of vanilla or something similar. I mean, would you really want to spend a day with your nose buried in a bunch of roses? But it was enough to bring positive vibes for the majority of the day. Overall, a good experience.
09th July, 2017

Él by Arquiste

Buzzlepuff's existing review has a lot to commend it. El starts and ends as a soapy/aromatic fougere redolent of many within the same genre. It also makes a dispiriting tip of the hat to Sauvage, Nuit D'Issey and other modern concoctions that claim some connection with the fougere via the "darkness" of its geranium and patchouli notes. Thankfully, what appears in the middle - an animalic-driven second act - completely saves it. El goes on light and then accelerates through the gears to the point where it becomes a masculine that references Kouros, but most of all Yatagan, although in a smoother and more obviously "engineered" way. The final stages become more herbal and show off some of the shyer accords.

I had cause to use the term "humming" in my review of El's stablemate Aleksandr, and Buzzlepuff's use of the term "purring" captures the same feeling I get from both scents - they tick over like a powerful car engine with consistent performance. After a cross-section of two samplings, then, I get the feeling that this is something of a house style. The scents are not ostentatious but feed through enough potency to keep them at a good level for hours.

El is not cheap at around 135GBP or 190EUR for a 100ml bottle of EDP. Personally, I would part with the money for this as it is located at the intersections of all the areas I'm interested in.
18th June, 2017

Aleksandr by Arquiste

Aleksandr reminded me of something and eventually I was able to remember what it was. When I tested Tuscan Leather on skin, it lasted two whole days and the second day, after it had died down and was humming along nicely, was comparable to Aleksandr. The latter is a well-blended leather that might be suitable for leather aficionados as well as fans of Tuscan Leather who could do without the nuclear performance.

Aleksandr opens with prominent violet, quickly bolstered by the neroli. The "iced vodka" effect, in conjunction no doubt with the suggestions of the marketing, effectively bring to mind an early start somewhere outside St Petersburg. As with Tuscan Leather and various other contenders, such as Floris's Mahon Leather, the overall aim is to decorate the tanned skin with some floral or fresher accords. The final hours are those of a prominent but assertive skin scent. Very interesting and rather good. Even, dare I say, conceptually coherent.
17th June, 2017

Monsieur by Huitième Art

Monsieur is constructed with all manner of woody notes, along with, according to the marketing spiel, the freshness of water. It's obviously intended to invoke the great outdoors.

Put simply, for me the woodiness is too great and there is a lack of balance. After about six hours the spicyness of the patchouli and incense starts to come through, and at this stage Monsieur takes on a different character and improves no end. Sadly, it is at this same point that the scent starts to die away and so the better, later stages are far too fleeting in duration. Better results could have been achieved by earlier development and probably some accords to offset the many arboreal components.
16th June, 2017

Happy for Men by Clinique

Fruity and musky, this is not bad in conception, but so muffled in practice that it's hard to tell what's going on. Might be nice for office wear, if anyone is able to tell you are wearing it.
15th June, 2017