Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

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Total Reviews: 222

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

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
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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 successfuly translates their natural and organic credentials into a refreshing and likeable scent. At least, that's how it smells. 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

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)
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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

Esencia de Loewe Sport by Loewe

"Sport" can be a four-letter word in perfumery reviews. This is pretty good, a fairly distinguished freshie, but pales by comparison with its more sedentary progenitor. And priced at a level to discourage most who are still young enough to purchase such a flanker.
08th August, 2018

Rochas Man by Rochas

As mentioned in The Guide and elsewhere, an alternative to the twice-defunct Yohji Homme, the lesser-known Jose by Eisenberg, etc. This masculine appears at good prices in Spain and shares the Yohji trick of being a masculine fougere at the same time as including warmer, gourmand notes. And really, it pulls it off pretty much as well as Yohji does to my nose. The difference is, this is still on the shelves.
08th August, 2018

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

A bit of a strange one for me. I was about to write a critical piece bemoaning the milksoppiness of this supposed masculine, not to mention the dismal performance. And yet after some hours, the drydown comes through comprises a quite decent cedar and sandalwood combination. So a bit of a mixed bag, but if you like the idea of Prada, are prepared to wait and bit and not think too much, this may be a (barely) acceptable option for you.
08th August, 2018

Bergamotto Positano by Floris

First, just a note to say that all the other sources available include the "di" (of). As mentioned in the previous review, this is an ill-named fragrance and those after a refreshing, summer scent with a Meditteranean tinge are liable to be very disappointed. Rather, this is a melange of more substantial notes that might forgivably be categorised as a gourmand. Ginger, vanilla, and some florals / blossoms predominate. Not altogether a failure, but a) not for me, and b) not what it says on the tin. Surely you have to make the name not completely misleading if want to maximise the success of your product?
08th August, 2018

Hombre by La Martina

As it were, "warm" woods and "heated" spices, very pleasant but agonisingly underpowered. It appears at first glance that it will be one of those contemporary "clean" scents reliant upon violet, of which Carven Homme is one of the worst offenders I have come across, but it doesn't fall into that trap. Some very good herbals, but one of the few fragrances that immediately becomes an instant skin scent on me. A bit of a shame, as as treading on the gas might have made all the difference. As it is, this is just an also-ran.
07th August, 2018

The Fragrance Journals : 1962 by Floris

Cited as "citrus woody". Starts with citrus and clove, which makes it a little old-fashioned to these nostrils, but perhaps that's what they were aiming for. The fragrance is sustained, though, by a floral and cypress heart. The drydown is not so much woody as it is incense, rendering 1962 reminiscent of several CdG numbers. I like this more, though. Amber rounds the performance to make this very wearable, although it was later eclipsed in testing by its 1976 stablemate (q.v.).
06th August, 2018

Eau de Rochas Homme by Rochas

Another Mediterranean freshie. In a crowded field, but nothing wrong with this on a hot day in Spain. Lemon, verbena, incense, perhaps. And at local prices, comapares favourably with Cerruti 1881 and Loewe Para Hombre.
05th August, 2018

Vodka on the Rocks by By Kilian

All things considered, I suspect an artificial vibe here, and it duly delivers; and it is annoyingly on-message and "modern" to boot, all "aldehydes" and "ambroxan", "creating the vibe", or whatever, of chilled clear alcohol. So pretensions abound, but for all that, if you can get past these things, it's not too bad at all. It is refreshing, it does create with some success a simple and sophisticated chilled conktail, and it does dry down to some recognisable and pleasing masculine perfumery materials. Applying the "how would I feel it I had been allocated one random fragrance to wear for the rest of my life" test, I'd be happy enough with this. Expect mild spices and florals, with some woods and a healthy dose of all things chemical. Full of artifice, but strangely good on a hot day.
05th August, 2018

Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari

Gentle and approachable tea scent. It transmogrified quite startlingly on me into Eau Sauvage shortly after application, but this phase lasted for about ten minutes before it returned, puzzlingly, to a tea-and-roses confection. The tea is realistic and of good quality, calming and suitable for the hot weather it seems we are all experiencing at the moment. Not enough, though, to make me want to part with my money. Solid bottle and packaging, made to look expensive. At the moment, though, I am craving more masculine offerings than this.
05th August, 2018

Agua de Colonia Concentrada Barberia by Alvarez Gomez

Tried in conjunction with other Spanish masculines, and other than Loewe's Esencia, this is the best. This is slightly darker in tone than something like Agua Brava, more cedar here and a good hint of coriander - really very good (although poor value when buying locally).
05th August, 2018

Agua Brava by Antonio Puig

Another terrific Spanish cheapie. Honestly, every time I holiday there I fall in love with four or five masculines for their complexity and unashamed take on what male perfumery should be. This one is heavy on citrus, aromatics, evergreens, and the usual suspect base notes at a concentration that is not overpowering but has good longevity - i.e., just right. At the time I tried it, it was going for - in some local boutiques that tended to overprice everything, including Spanish scents some of Puig origin - around £20 for 200ml. So if you are in the market for a top-value Iberian-style barbershop cologne, it's a no-brainer.
05th August, 2018

Naïviris by Huitième Art

A good one for me, reminding me of Dior Homme. I would rather wear this, though it is probably too feminine for my tastes. Only two accords, as noted: African red iris and zebra(n) wood. The former provides the DH lipstick effect, the latter a much more austere and masculine counterpart. A proper unisex, then, if you count up the supposed "masculine" and "feminine" ingredients, but I would say more suited as a somewhat forceful and powerful feminine. I got on well with its composition and performance.
05th August, 2018