Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

Total Reviews: 164

Spanish Cedar by Czech & Speake

Expecting to like this for a number of reasons, I've had to contrive circumstances to do so. On its first trial, it seemed rather too birch tar-laden. So much so, that there seemed little to do with cedar about it. Could you call it Spanish Birch? Perhaps, if you wanted it to sound like a form of medieval corporal punishment.

Being careful on second application to reduce the number of sprays, this worked much better. Rather than the austerity of the birch and somewhat exaggerated fruitiness of the plum, it settled down much more quickly to a nicely smoky, woody, and ever so slightly spicy scent. Perhaps this is the secret, as it's the only variable that was changed between the two tests. Certainly among the best of the dry woods that I've tried recently, but not yet a contender for my money until further testing shows it to be more consistent.
14th March, 2018

Tabac Rouge / Turkish Blend by Phaedon

Can't believe I didn't review this the first time I tried it. I find there's a real dearth of properly good tobacco scents, and this is up there in that category.

First of all, this to me is a blonde tobacco. It doesn't really recall pipe or cigar smoke, perhaps a lighter pipe tobacco before it is lit. And certainly not (ahem) plug or shag, or anything heavy. This is at the most civilised end.

It is pleasing that many of the stated notes are present and correct, particularly the honey and cinnamon. In addition there is a very slightly menthol-y, herbal edge in the early stages. But this is all about the tobacco itself, in addition to the benzoin that keeps things going (on my skin) for hours on end with good projection. Something this smooth doesn't really appeal to me in the long term - I'd prefer my tobacco scent to be a bit rougher around the edges, and 'darker' - but the quality is there.
13th March, 2018

Blood Sweat Tears by Atelier de Geste

I acquired a sample of this as a freebie after a full bottle purchase of something else. Among other things, I looked up this scent on the firm's web site to find information on it. If you can get past the odd tie-in with performance dance and suchlike (I admit, I had some problems doing so), you might well come to the conclusion that I did, which is that Blood Sweat Tears is a good fig-heavy fragrance with a notably clever structure.

BST starts with tea notes, but quickly moves to a fig accord redolent of Philosykos and - let's face it - any other fig scent. I do find this a good alternative way of producing friendly and refreshing scents for high temperatures, but it's not really my style. BST adds, at this stage, some generic spices that fit well. The notion of tobacco is good and would work in its development, but isn't really discernible. An underpinning of sandalwood is certainly the obvious thing to add as the base, and works nicely. However, dry, woody notes, as promised by the listed notes, are again notable by absence.

All in all, nicely put together, wearable (not by me), and definitely well-designed. On the debit side, not all the parts of the jigsaw that would make for a splendid overall picture are there. I wish there were more obvious tobacco and bark notes - that could have been spectacular. But if tea, fig, and sandalwood is up your street, this is well worth a try.
11th March, 2018
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Adventurer by Aramis

A very modern and very boring interpretation of something not quite like Aramis. Acceptable at the start, awful by the drydown.
10th March, 2018

Floris London + Turnbull & Asser 71/72 by Floris

If the conception here is to reproduce the starched white-shirt accord that these sartorial tie-ins often talk about, then 71/72 is a definite success. To rein in both iris and oud while providing a clean and only lightly sensual scent is no mean achievement. The pay-off seems to be that it remains a skin scent throughout, much as the other reviewers have noted. If, then, you are happy to pay north of £150 for a scent that is something akin to your amplified natural smell and clean attire, this could be for you - and given there's nothing new under the sun, there will be such people out there. The rest of us will be wondering why something as good as this can't be more assertive.

Note: the Floris web site at present talks only of small batches, and makes no other claims.
07th March, 2018

Equisetum by Pell Wall Perfumes

Well, a funny thing here: I could have sworn that I had already provided a negative review of Equisetum. I can't see it. I am assuming this is just my memory, and the review was something I had intended to write but never got around to.

Anyway, after extensive testing across the industry since my last outing with Equisetum, I am a little more well-disposed towards it. It does have a very natural vibe, and the comparison with Oxford & Cambridge is well made. In fact, on paper it has all the ingredients to take it past O&C... but it doesn't quite work for me. The overriding effect is that of mint pervading a mossy, bitter wormwood base. The result is bracing but I cannot get the smell of flyspray out of my mind. Far from a disaster, but to this reviewer's nose requiring some components to be scaled back, with some (especially the tobacco) to be ramped up.
27th February, 2018

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

This is an unlooked-for pleasure! The Guilty line has been a set of also-rans to this point; and how you can release something called Guilty Black is beyond me. (Hello, Marketing? You're fired.)

This, though, is one of those designer releases that the industry provides every now and again so that we don't despair. More woods than leather for me, which is not unusual given the relative locations in the pyramid. Dry woodiness, particularly from the cypress. Elegant, masculine, simply stated. Why can't this happen more often?
17th February, 2018

Cuirs by Carner Barcelona

Not sure I detect much of the leather that would justify the nomenclature, but after testing I would have to say that the experience has been positive. A woody oriental redolent of the Amouage line and of a much updated version of Jaipur Homme.

Like the latter, there is cumin at the opening, but much, much more subtle. One of the achievements of the Amouage scents I have tried is that they present an oud note in an acceptable and palatable way. This achievement is shared by Cuirs. The listed woods are all detectable, with cistus and a touch of amber, and makes for a dry and slightly spicy drydown. I wonder what a touch of lavender might have achieved?

So all in all, I don't see a problem here. It's clearly not made that much of an impact going by the reviews, but I would imagine those interested in the genre would get something by stopping here a while. Interesting (to me) to note that I tried this on the same day as Gucci's terrific Guilty Absolute, which has points for comparison in the sense of being a dry leather and woods scent, but which takes a much simpler tack with fewer accords and no spice to speak of. If you had to make a straight choice between them (as I asked Mrs FWF), it might come down to whether you prefer the elegance of the Gucci or the slight exoticism of the Carner. At the moment, that would be a difficult, but pleasant, choice.
17th February, 2018

M.O.U.S.S.E II by Oliver & Co.

A very cool, fresh, and refreshing scent. It reminds me of nothing so much as Guerlain's Vetiver, although minus both the vetiver and tobacco. If that therefore sounds like rather an odd comparison to make, shorn of things to compare, it's really not - both provide the illusion of walking in a dewy garden. The difference is, whereas the Guerlain is largely clipped hedges and cigarette smoke, MOUSSE II is more like Kew gardens. A little oriental; another comparison might be Hermes' Jardin de Monsieur Li. However, this is slightly more bracing, with a mint running through most of the duration, with some very green flowers and sap. And rather than the variable performance implicated in Ellena's minimalism, MII has the same solid unwavering performance for many hours.

Not something I would buy a full bottle of, but I am glad to have the 15ml travel version for when I want it. I wish more perfumers provided bottles in this travel size, although it appears that Oliver has ceased to sell them.
02nd February, 2018 (last edited: 27th February, 2018)

Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums

Patchouli is here in spades, and the quality is nice enough. But: this is so dated, and must have been done a million times before in women's perfurmery. Yes, it's much more feminine than not. Not sure I see the point; certainly little for me.
02nd February, 2018

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum by Chanel

I really do not get on with this style of perfume. A good, interesting opening, the "blue" nicely executed in marine notes, ginger, and pepper. But after that... suffocating and uniform. Where are the Chanels that make a statement?
13th January, 2018 (last edited: 27th February, 2018)

Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche by Hermès

I like the original, but I would buy this. Much fresher, more citrus, without losing the flinty, gunpowder background that made the original so interesting. A worthy and well-conceived flanker.
06th January, 2018

Interlude Man by Amouage

Probably the most powerful scent I've ever tried. Mrs FWF had to leave the room to get changed after application. "Stronger than Tuscan Leather?" I asked. "Stronger than ANYTHING", she said.

I have to say, it's not bad. An opening of citrus and oregano, the latter very strong, makes for a somewhat sweet and childish opening. But once the incense kicks in, things start to become more serious, and it ends up after some hours in a pleasing smoky-woody territory, quite similar to LADDM, but much more potent. A literal touch of oud and leather.

Not for the faint-hearted, but as others have pointed out, the sheer performance it makes for decent value from this high-ticket fragrance.
03rd January, 2018
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1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

It works for me. A strong citrus quickly followed by a spicy heart. The base is immortelle, nicely tempered by vanilla and to my nose not too overpowering. Perhaps not to the standards of Eau Noire as an immortelle "vehicle", but good. A possible contender as a date-night scent, although I am due to revisit 1725 by the same house and that is some serious competition. For me, solid and wearable.
02nd January, 2018

1828 by Histoires de Parfums

A somewhat disappointing experience. I can see how a citrus aquatic emerged from the notes listed, but I must admit I had something different in my mind. Dries down to a pleasant enough musk, but pyramid promises much more than it delivered. Essentially, if I wanted something like this, I would buy a random masculine Galimard and save myself the money. On the other hand, if you want a good quality mainstream-style fragrance with a bit of a story, this would fit the bill... but personally uninspired, and I hope the remainder of the Histoires turn out better than this.
13th December, 2017

Chambre Noire by Olfactive Studio

I can't get excited by this, nor spend precious time on an extensive review. Zero's review below speaks for me, nearly word for word. A stange kind of fruity violet, something like vegetal life from another planet, offsets some rather pleasant woods. No development worth the name.
10th December, 2017

A*Men / Angel Men by Thierry Mugler

I've always taken against Mugler for their ridiculous bottles and poor (in my experience) customer service. A* Men, although as subtle as a brick through a window, does the job that is evidently sets out to do. After a day's wear, which largely consisted of me catching wafts of A* Men and thinking it was someone else's scent, my conclusion is that it has a 20+ year shelf career for a reason. It will create the exclusionary zone around you in that nightclub, and it will cut a swathe should others around you dislike it. For all that, it doesn't smell bad as such. An odd lavender to begin with, quickly moving into tar, and drying down to coffee and cocoa. The drydown isn't that bad at all, and reviewing it on its own terms means that it gets a thumbs up from these quarters.
03rd December, 2017

Vetiverus by Oliver & Co.

It took me a while to understand the love here - but not a long while. I bought Vetiverus blind, although in the same purchase as a bottle of La Colonia by the same producer, which was not blind. Good for Oliver & Co that they have worthwhile sales from time to time; I managed to obtain these for about a third of the list price.

The initial question was where Vetiverus was placed on the vetiver scale. It is not one of the dank, mysterious vetivers such as Encre Noire; but it surpasses even Guerlain in its freshness. In addition there is a strong floral influence from the osmanthus. There is the strong resinous note that we find in Resina from the same house, and some amber. This ensemble takes some getting used to.

As with the other Olivers, longevity is excellent and this provides a good opportunity to get a proper idea of how the scent develops. After some reflection, I think the success of Vetiverus, in terms of the fragrance construction, is that it manages to meld an extremely wild-fresh, almost minty and "freshly-cut" vetiver with a spicy oriental, "fleshy-flowered" accord (although osmanthus is obtained, as I understand it, from the blossom of a small bush). The result is something easily wearable by a man, although surely amenable to both/any/all genders, and coherent beyond all my attempts to describe it. Put it this way - if you marketed Vetiverus as "Vetiver de Guerlain au Fleur" you would get a good idea of what it is about, and it wouldn't, I think, be an unreasonable description. Rather than evoking the image of a gardener lighting up in rural France, Vetiverus suggests his Oriental counterpart cutting back some foliage on a bracing morning.

Another Oliver win, then, this one extending my personal understanding of vetiver.
30th November, 2017

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

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