Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

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Total Reviews: 234

Sandalwood / Santal by Floris

This is somewhat different to the review I was going to write, as I realised after the past few days in which I've re-tried both Egoiste and Santal, that I really don't get on with sandalwood-centred scents such as these (although I still fine Trumper's Sandalwood to be truly excellent and wearable).

So here, a slightly fresh and spicy opening with few of the notes listed in the card - certainly no "cut grass" or whatever - but a consistently good creamy dry-down with a touch of tonka and vanilla to keep the volume up during the day. I find Santal very similar to Egoiste, but it also touches a cap to No. 89, also by Floris, by virtue of the presence of nutmeg, which fits the scent well.

Good quality, but I suppose the caveat emptor is whether you would pay a bit extra for this over Egoiste. Not a dilemma that faces me, as I've sampled, done my duty, and will move on.
04th April, 2019

Nox by Angela Ciampagna

An interesting, bracing scent based around salty florals (think also Fleurs de Sel) and some nose-clearing cedar in the base. Frankly I think some of the other notes are lost. Good development, interesting concept, and certainly demonstrable high quality, but not my kind of thing.
24th March, 2019

Wild Fern by Geo F Trumper

The obvious connection to make in testing WF is to compare it to the fougere genre, "fougere" well-known for meaning "fern-like". But no-one has ever smelled a fern like this scent - not that fougeres smell much like fern anyway.

Trumpers don't tend to provide atomisers for their testers, so the 1ml comes in a vial that has to be decanted into an atomiser for the purposes of application. During the decanting, the available top notes of the scent come across as exceptionally sharp and harsh, and not at all pleasant. At this stage, the connection to other toiletries or home products is unavoidable. For me, this is not a good experience and the scent comes across, early doors, like a bleach or window cleaner that has had too much money spent on its perfume.

Later in the day, the musk and patchouli come through more clearly and provide a much better balance in the dry-down. The irony is that, at cologne strength, WF has pretty much worn out by that time.

So a clean but very astringent scent that to this nose is a long way short of the high creative standards of Trumper's best lines. It avoids a negative verdict by a very narrow margin.
18th February, 2019
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Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

The world needs another Azzaro review like a hole in the head, but I managed to get a sample for next to nothing, so here goes:

A warming, aniseedic fougere, good to smell but lacking in performance. I'm sure that this is another scent that has suffered through reformulation. Less assertive than I remember from the days of my youth, it remains pleasant but has lost some of that raison d'etre.
18th February, 2019

Vierges & Toreros by Etat Libre d'Orange

I'm a little surprised to see the slightly equivocal reviews here given my positive experience with it. Although it doesn't quite have the character of fellow animalic and stablemate Je Suis Un Homme, this is a good effort. Brief liaisons with citrus and spice in the opening give way to a consistently warm dose of animal notes prominently supported by ylang-ylang. Good performance and consistent lasting power. Not much wrong here.
04th February, 2019

Wander by Miller Harris

A full-bodied green scent that encapsulates all the least interesting parts of Papyrus de Ciane. But my son likes it, it has good longevity and wears well, so thumbs up it is. Consistent performance and little development, but you know what you are getting early on.
14th January, 2019

Aube Pashmina by Huitième Art

According to the promotional material: "Sunrise in a dew-covered garden: basil, rosemary, tomato leaves, geranium and fresh blackcurrant extracts mark the shythm in the delicate 'jasmine-orange' vibrations of Satinwood".

That pretty much covers it. Aromatics, tomato leaf, and some subtle woods go to make up for a pleasing fragrance that is otherwise noteworthy in my mind for me not being able to say anything interesting about it.

Oh, here's one: If you are going to claim the dewy morning garden thing, I would prefer the Hermes approach. Such gardens don't have the sillage or longevity of this effort.
13th January, 2019

Polo Supreme Oud by Ralph Lauren

I see Polo Supreme Oud as occupying a slightly odd niche (sorry, market position) as it's by no means cheap but also by no means convincing in its oud credentials. That is to say, I gather that despite a definite "oud accord" that there is no genuine oud in this scent. Rather, it is a "Western" take on oud, and competes against several other designers who have taken the plunge into oud. Taken on these terms, I would say that PSO succeeds.

Personally, although I find genuine oud frequently fascinating and compelling on other people, I still haven't found a version that I could wear. PSO, though, I got on with throughout its wear time. The opening is a very brief whiff of spices - akin to the puff of air that opticians blow into your eyes now and again - instantly gone and followed by the main event of the oud accord and its frequent fellow flyer, guaiac wood. This accord has been toned down for general public use, and to the right level to my nose. Late in the day, woods come to the fore.

Now, I wouldn't buy this, but then I wouldn't buy any of the other designer "alternative ouds". I would be tempted to write that, if I were in the market for such a thing, I would pay the extra for a good Amouage or similar - but that would be double the price. Given that there are alternatives at any price point, it's a difficult one to conclude on, especially when it's not going to be happening for me. At any rate, PSO obviously has a minor fan club and given the composition and performance, probably looks like good value for its adherents. It's pretty good and delivers.
08th January, 2019

Percival by Parfums de Marly

Tried much of the Marly line over the break, and wasn't at all impressed. This was the worst of them. Just look at that note profile and tell me it's not chasing the dollar of the Sauvage / Profumo genre.
31st December, 2018

Milano Cento Him by Milano Cento

A decent offering that has less to do with Italian country produce than it has with English style colognes. This could easily be in the stable of a Trumper or Truefitt. A brief sojourn with citrus leads into the aromatics of sage and rosemary. This heart is very powerful and lasts for most of the duration; it recalls the violet leaf of something like Carven Homme. That is not up my street, but MC rescues the day with a last-knockings sandalwood drydown. So: very clean, wearable if you want something undemanding and generically clear, with a decent volume knob available. I won't be buying, but it would make for a decent present or an uncomplicated choice for work wear, etc.
30th December, 2018

The Afternoon of a Faun by Etat Libre d'Orange

A rather strange, oddly and disturbingly old-fashioned conconction. I like immortelle in the fantastic Dior Eau Noire, but here it doesn't work for me. The combination of iris and immortelle with leather overtones smells like what might be left on a bed after the tryst of a dowager and a male escort.
23rd November, 2018

L'Eau Magnetic by Miller Harris

Language is a discrete combinatorial system, according to Chomsky, and it allows the construction of sentences that have never been heard before in the history of human experience. Here's one:

"I want to wear a generic aquatic scent, but to have it put together with an eau de parfum concentration, to be slightly overpriced, and to be sold by the requisite company Miller Harris".

See? You have never heard this, and probably never will again. This is fine as far its genre goes but will surely never attain a significant fan base.
17th November, 2018

The One Grey by Dolce & Gabbana

If it's not bad enough that D&G denude the original, they then give us this latest offering, following the latest lavender and vetiver trend by numbers. No tobacco and nothing interesting here. And underpowered in a big way. Liable, I'm sure, to be a hit at Christmas time, but I can think of literally nothing to commend it.
11th November, 2018
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Civet by Zoologist Perfumes

Interesting this, a three-dimensional scent typical of this house with plenty to keep the wearer interested. What is doesn't have in an obviously authentic animalic component it makes up for in clever composition, not least the gourmand aspects, notably the coffee - it's fairly widely known that some of the most expensive coffee beans are those pre-digested by the civet, so that is a good if self-referential turn. On application, it is musky and assertive. Returning to the room where I sprayed it, I found loud florals and spices that had somehow escaped me. After many hours, there is a leathery dry-down with some stiff woods suggesting vetiver and birch tar. Although long-lasting, it's never over the top or aggressive. And it lasts and lasts. I think Zoologist are one of the better houses for actually delivering on the promises of "niche", in the sense of boldness, risk-taking, and quality, and this is a good example.
11th November, 2018

Shaman by Brocard

Provided by Bloom Perfumery in London, who suggest it was inspired by Terre d'Hermes. It's available for a song, and when I asked how this was, I was told that the Russians don't see much point in paying over the odds for their fragrances... well some of them do, but many others clearly have their heads screwed on.

I like Terre but I would pass on this. There is good minerality (ha, like a white wine) and decent citrus, but there is a dominant rose note to my nose that is off-putting. As a result, it's not to the same standard as a masculine as something like Yardley's Citrus & Wood (almost identical price, although no doubt a different experience sourcing the two). I would imagine the market for those wanting a cheaper version of Terre with added rose is very small, but you never know. So not without merit, but I would stick with the original.
04th November, 2018

Le Cèdre by Miller Harris

Certainly inspired by Bleu de Chanel, and therefore not my cup of tea from the outset. However, there is decent note separation, with cedar and florals up front, even before the peppers, ostensible top notes, kick in. Later it becomes a little screechy, and at the end I detect something birch-like about the woods. So not for me; but if you start or read the threads along the lines of "niche version of X?", and have the need to investigate Bleu alternatives, this might be interesting for you.
03rd November, 2018

Neal's Yard Cologne by Neal's Yard

A decent offering from London-based organic remedy provider Neal's Yard. This is a masculine cologne that successfully translates their natural and organic credentials into a refreshing and likeable scent. There are several unusual notes here, but my experience is of a short-lived citric and eucalyptus opening, followed by something that I think might be yarrow (not listed above), which I at first assumed was a root vegetable but turns out to be an edible flower. This stage in any event is slightly floral, and somewhat vegetal, reminiscent of a wildflower meadow. The base is interesting, comprised mostly of the woody as well as floral parts of lavender. This gives the end phases of NYC a somewhat Caron-esque feel.

However, you have to get to that stage. My early experience was that NYC dies under formal wear and won't be there by the end of the day. With more skin on show, through shorter sleeves and so on, longevity seems to improve. Thankfully, the duration is in direct correlation to application, so simply apply more if you want it to last.

I think this won't be up everyone's street, but I like it for the natural vibe and refreshing top notes, as well as the interesting take on lavender. I imagine it will be too far from a regular cologne for the taste of some, but with obvious relations to English cologne, fougeres, and barbershop scents, it should find an audience. And despite recent re-packaging, it's not bad value at all.
13th October, 2018 (last edited: 20th November, 2018)

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

A nice amber with a spicy top and excellent performance. A really comforting scent to have with you at the end of the day. It really rewards testing on the skin, where the promised 114 ingredients can be noted (well, some of them at least), as opposed to on paper, where it just smells like amber. Certainly among the best of the HdP samples I have tested recently.
26th September, 2018

Emporio Armani Stronger With You by Giorgio Armani

Nothing much wrong with this. OK, it will be bought by Gen-Y-ers who don't realise that Armani is a bit lairy as a brand these days. But as/for a nightclub accessory, it's not bad at all, and the faux-caringness of the name will appeal to some. It's a heavy, semi-gourmand from the outset, but it smells fine if extremely unchallenging.
16th September, 2018

Eau de Citron Noir by Hermès

Move on, nothing much to see here. An excellent citric opening is followed not by the promised "smoky woods" of the marketing, but by an ambery accord of low duration. All in all, there's little to like and less to recommend it.
16th September, 2018

Eau Sauvage Parfum (2017 version) by Christian Dior

I bought this pretty much on a whim, knowing broadly what I was getting into from the EDT. I've quickly come to appreciate it, and/but the similarities to Pour Monsieur EDP have occasioned an extended period of testing and comparison, not to mention the thread I started on this.

I tend to see ESP and PMP as very similar; really the parfum versions of two of the most prominent masculine chypres. The thread, though, suggests that most do not see that much of a similarity. Investigating this has taken me to the present limits of my descriptive capabilities when it comes to perfume.

So, as best as I can manage it, despite an overall similarity of effect, PMP certainly has more of the "furniture polish" accord, whereas ESP is fresher, with more prominent citrus, and more of a resinous, chewy and textured conclusion. This is not surprising given the presence of vetiver and elemi in ESP; compared to nutmeg, heavier vanilla, and what I think must be sandalwood in PMP.

The difference, then, to use an analogy, is like visiting a stately home: PMP is what you smell indoors, the result of well-cared for interiors. ESP is a walk in the grounds, more outdoorsy and rougher, in the spirit of that "dirty citrus" that we read so much about. Both have excellent duration and sillage, but all in all, right now I am favouring Eau Sauvage for its all-round excellence and clarity of accord. Very versatile and a mark of good taste (if I say so myself).
02nd September, 2018

JF by Floris

I was very keen to try this, not least as I currently have the shower gel and that is superb: orange, musk, slightly sweet, slghtly woody. Sadly, when decanting my sample of the EDT into an atomiser, I ended up de fact wearing it for a while and I am afraid that the scent is rather different: definitely a GIT/CW clone. As I am not a fan of either of those scents, JF fails to make a mark on me. I suppose you might see it if you want to save a little money on GIT, but I just can't shake the memory of the shower gel and what could have been.
25th August, 2018

Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein

Well, I'm sure this has got worse over time. I remember it being extremely popular back in the 90s, no doubt due to that period of CK marketing when they could do no wrong. And there were some good scents, to be sure. However, this is now the smell of fresh laundry. And to be sure, there's a place for fresh laundry. But ... well, you can fill in the rest for yourselves.
25th August, 2018

Agua Fresca Citrus Cedro by Adolfo Dominguez

We've probably all got our own favourite low-cost lines, and this is one of mine. AFCC is a flanker of the original Agua Fresca, which is a faultless aromatics-and-woods effort. It bears the name of the quirky Spanish mid-range clothing supplier, and as with many mainstream Spanish scents is produced by Puig. I say mainstream, but although this is available in the UK you tend to have to go through Ebay and the like. The original is perhaps my favourite scent at around the £20 mark, so when this flanker became available in the shops on holiday it was an easy purchase.

The original also ends with a cedar accord, to my nose, but AFCC gets there via a different route. Its essentially a two-part thing: the opening is a photo-realistic grapefruit, all juicy acidity. The transition aims at producing a warm take on cedar, hence the ginger. This works well and produces at the end of the drydown something almost akin to D&G's The One, only without a tobacco note.

It doesn't last too long, but I find this likeable for the duration and will probably get through my 60ml bottle in short order.
20th August, 2018

The Fragrance Journals : 1976 by Floris

Designated a woody oriental, and this pretty much reflects the scent. Opens not entirely convincingly, with a short-lived but over-bearing pepper note, but it soon moves into territory I find redolent of L'Instant de Guerlain - certainly the jasmine and patchouli notes - but with the cocoa replaced with more woods, amber and musk. The result is therefore well-established but somehow moves the scent into more original territory than LIDG, which despite its excellence is perhaps feeling its age. It also makes for a dryer and more traditionally masculine tone, without the sweetness, and so is a very good option if you like the published notes but want them re-arranged to a slightly different tune. I would happily wear this throughout the colder months.
12th August, 2018 (last edited: 19th August, 2018)

Nebula 2 : Carina Eau de Parfum by Oliver & Co.

Genre: "Show me some more of this Earth thing called kissing".

It would in fact be easier to list the notes that aren't claimed for this potion. However, the overriding initial impressions are of something approaching blackcurrant and cassis, with a large dose of orange and grapfruit, bolstered by something of the order of a silky white musk. Later on, some woods appear, with the famous artificial, somewhat metallic proprietary Oliver notes. It's undoubtedly very odd, but wearable in that strange sci-fi kind of way. I would consider wearing this more often, if it could elbow or perhaps hyperspace its way past the legion of more conventional scents that compete for my attention.

A great choice if you get advance notice of "first contact" and want to make a good impression on our guests. Definitely my favourite of the Nebulas, but I note just as writing this that there are EDTs as well. And this EDP seems to have been discontinued.
12th August, 2018

Acqua di Bergamotto by Ermenegildo Zegna

The real USP of this fragrance - yet another citrus tested on holiday - is the inclusion of Zegna's proprietary Italian bergamot. What difference this makes is unknown; but if you're in the market for a refreshing citrus accord, this is of discernibly good quality and pretty good value for the price. Decent vetiver drydown, never loses the zing of the citrus.
12th August, 2018

17/17 Homme by Xerjoff

This is terrific, a powerful leather with overtones of Fahrenheit that somehow upends the usual pyramid and ends up somewhat fresher and rounder than when it started. Applied to instant acclaim from the FWF family, they quickly evinced disbelief through various non-verbal vocalisations when informed of the price (best I could find at the time: 540GBP / 600EUR / 660USD) - and why wouldn't they? Is 17/17 Homme something to aspire to? Maybe. Value for money? Surely not, in any sense. Would I take, let's say, one bottle of 17/17 for seven of Esencia by Loewe? I doubt it. I think the best one can say is that one can be sure of a quality product when spending that amount of money, and this is what 17/17 is, even if overpriced by a factor of 3 or 4.

Leather, cumin, spices, drying down to a woodier leather with herbaceous and hesperidic parts. Really nice - really won't be purchased by me any time soon.
08th August, 2018

Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

I find much of the Jo Malone line to be superfluous. The tea scents are good, but I find it difficult to believe that when your range is this large that there can be consistent quality. This is good, very well-conceived, a nice combination of fresh woody notes and outdorrsy condiments. Sea Breeze through a nearby wood. Performance, though, tends to the abysmal.
08th August, 2018

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

Very modern, very "millennial". Meaning, I suppose, that if your older family members are still wearing Bleu de Chanel you can join the party without seeming to be passe by applying Y. Geranium, pepper, ambroxan. Powerful performance, and less objectionable than some of the scents in whose path it is following; just unoriginal, and undistinguished (and probably, undistinguishable).
08th August, 2018