Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

Total Reviews: 188

Eau de Quinine by Geo F Trumper

Nothing here to suggest the astringency of aromatics or tonic water, as suggested by the name. Rather, this is a powdery floral, and not a bad one, with hours 1-3 showcasing some rather good performance. But if you're going to call something Eau de Quinine, don't be surprised if I end up craving something different.
13th July, 2018

Vetiver by Murdock

Well, I bought a bottle and I'm going to see it through to the end, so on that basis it's a thumbs up... but I have to say, this is the minimum I would tolerate for something I will be wearing as personal fragrance. The idea of vetiver and moss together is very appealing, but in my view they're done best when they have rough edges, a bit of texture. Murdock's Vetiver smooths all of this out, so that it ends up being a little flabby; it's kind of a hipster version of a classic barbershop fragrance. In fact, it reminds me of Chopard's Noble Vetiver and Noble Cedar, both of which bored me towards the end. This however is refreshing, has just enough spiciness in the drydown to set it apart from those two, and is liked by Mrs Funwithfrags. That's important. It also has a good sprayer, so I'll be able to get through it quickly. Could have been a contender with a more vintage feel to the heart and drydown.
08th July, 2018

Azzaro Solarissimo : Levanzo by Azzaro

This is one of a range of three fragrances that left me feeling underwhelmed. They are obviously aimed a summer market, something inexpensive that you can throw into a suitcase, and wear at the other end with the certainly that you won't be out of place. The packaging in all cases - bright primary colours - suggests a competition with the likes of Rituals or Banana Republic and other non-specialist brands.

This one incorporates citrus, basil, and cedar notes, with no nuance whatsoever. Everything up front, very linear - really, if it weren't for the fact that these three notes tend to work in most contexts, it wouldn't have much going for it. Pretty pointless, but I can't say it smells bad.
08th July, 2018
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Freshman by Truefitt & Hill

Decent enough Cool Water-style offering. Nice-ish musky drydown, refreshing in the opening stages in an aquatic way without being cringeworthy. From 1815? You have to wonder.
01st July, 2018

San Remo by Geo F Trumper

I find this very odd. A somewhat cloying eau de cologne with much more amplified performance than one would expect from this level of concentration, it bears next to no relationship to the English-style colognes produced by Trumper nor indeed by any other established English house (no obvious comparisons can be made with any masculine at least by Truefitt, Floris, Anglia, or Czech & Speake, although there might be something among the feminine scents by these houses). The blurb rather speaks of a Mediterranean influence, and suggests "Palm Trees, Cactuses, Carnations, Begonias and Roses", not so much as notes, but influences. The first thing that came to mind for me was not such much southern Europe as California, and I would say that San Remo suffers very much by comparison with the best of, say, the Acqua di Parma and Tom Ford ranges that also play on this kind of influence.

It is extremely sweet and extremely floral, with a touch of the flaccidity that can be found in the likes of Xeryus Rouge. Palm trees - well, perhaps, if I had an idea of what that would be in a personal scent. There could be a touch of musk in there; certainly something does do a fixative job of holding the florals together.

The odd thing is, I like the scent, but have no idea what its purpose is. Having done my duty and tested SR for review purposes, I won't be wearing it again. I wouldn't use it as a room scent. I wouldn't want it as a shower gel or bath soak. But for some reason, it's cheerful and puts a smile on my face. It's good that Trumper has done something new with the cologne format, but I can't honestly say that this is a creative success in my book. There are too many well-grooved formulae to try before anything this outre needs to come along.
10th June, 2018

Eau de Cologne by Geo F Trumper

A nice, quintessential English cologne, with good citrus, herbal, and woody components, but with the potency one associates with an EdC concentration. Good neroli and rosemary notes.
25th May, 2018

Cédrat Enivrant by Atelier Cologne

Terrific citrus with little that can be said against it. Refreshing cedrat with a touch of mint, giving ways to some resins and woods. Perhaps a little short in duration, but acclaimed for a reason. A superb choice for a hot weather olfactory pick-me-up.
19th May, 2018

Polo by Ralph Lauren

I vaguely remember the original Polo from the days when I was far too young to wear any personal fragrance myself. I can believe those who say the original was better. This version is not too bad at all, but a little too dirty to be properly green and refreshing.
12th May, 2018

Pour L'Homme by Roger & Gallet

This is a bit of a mess, in my view, far too sweet and unbalanced. I'm not sure how this fits with the existing reviews, but the version I tried is clearly trying too hard to be de jure. It fails, or succeeds, in this, depending on how you see it... but one to avoid, in my view.
12th May, 2018

Cèdre by Fragonard

A Hugo Boss clone that somehow achieves the near-impossible feat of making one wish for the original.
12th May, 2018

No. 88 by Czech & Speake

No. 88 was the object of one of Turin & Sanchez's most apposite reviews in The Guide, described as something like "instant Victoriana", if memory serves. And that is spot on: I can see this being worn by Pip and the other gents in Great Expectations and other literature set in that era. It's the instant masculine take on florals that gives off this characteristic Gothic vibe. As the scent progresses, there is a slight almondy influence which adds sweetness but never detracts from the freshness of the whole. And the base carries on in the same vein, with vetiver and sandalwood working in harmony to create a dry-sweet accord. Although listed as an EDC, this has much better longevity on me than the other C&S colognes. Direct rivals are likely to be Floris' No. 89, Trumper's Eucris, perhaps something like Encre Noire for its sheer darkness, and perhaps Richard James for that well-healed English thing. This is good, though, and after two days on skin I can easily imagine dropping money on it.
03rd May, 2018 (last edited: 08th June, 2018)

Nebula 1 : Orion Eau de Toilette by Oliver & Co.

My word, this is odd. It really seems to have a life of its own, and I've only really dared to try it on the testing strip, on which this review is based. Orion starts off with molten rubber and plastic, and really rather nauseating, but then morphs into a hesperidic freshie - for a while. It then moves into a woody phase before concluding with some quite nice florals, accompanied by printer ink and paper (although that might be the testing strip). So far from a completely negative experience, but little to tell me what kind of "experience" this should be.
30th April, 2018

Rudis by Nobile 1942

Not worth a thumbs down for the scent alone, which is a baffling but not altogether unworthy woody-incense spice offering, which, once it has shaken off a distinctly odd dried-fruit offering in the opening, has some pleasing features. The problem is that is hardly sticks around, so that as soon as you feel Rudis has turned the corner, it's disappeared. And to procure 75ml in the UK you'll probably have to spend the best part of £200. Why?
28th April, 2018
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Greyland by Montale

Well, there is a lot of smoke here, and woods - but not the kind of smoke you get from burning logs, with those pleasant ashy and resinous smells. This is rather like burning twigs. Very dry, a touch of spice in the late dry-down. Impressive accords for what it is, but not a great success in terms of personal perfumery for me. Perhaps something to spray on the audience for your school's home production of The Lorax.
24th April, 2018

No. 89 by Floris

I'm having a little trouble characterising this as a cologne. I tend to find that Floris, as with Trumpers, Truefitt and the other prominent English requisite companies, make things in a house style with definite commonalities among the various lines. This, though, I see no real way of comparing with something like, say, Elite.

89 has a musky, dusty rose and nutmeg opening with very brief citrus. There is a progression of sorts but not a "wide" kind of transition, if that makes sense. It's more the kind of fragrance where it's good enough to move through the gears but where the envelope is rather narrow. For that reason, it comes over as rather quiet on my skin and without the performance benefits of something such as Pour Monsieur, which should be an obvious comparison via the nutmeg. Some woods join the mix later on but the rose and nutmeg never depart.

If that all makes it sound like I'm not keen - not a bit of it. 89 is very likeable, not to mention 007-approved, and masculine enough to deserve that designation although I don't see why women shouldn't also enjoy it. It's not full of colour but rather, in my experience, a staid and satisfying scent of good quality. And if you don't fancy paying retail, there are currently some great deals on Ebay and the like. I do wonder, though, how it would win a head-to-head against any of my existing wardrobe for most purposes.
17th April, 2018

Allure Homme Sport by Chanel

Not really why I got into this hobby, but AHS stands in relation to other sports fragrances in the same way that a high quality pub lunch stands in relation to most English cooking - very similar in general characteristics but carried out well and getting the details right. Citrus, creamy base, longevity and projection calibrated just right - for this kind of fragrance with its limited aims. Better this than pretty much any of its direct competitors, I would say.
14th April, 2018

L'Homme Cologne Cedrat by L'Occitane

Hm. A case of L'Occitane chasing the trends, in my book. LHCC opens with a picture-perfect bitter-sour cedrat note, as does its eponymous EDT stablemate. It follows this with the du jure accords of violet, ginger, pepper, and amber, creating a very flat and almost physically cloying structure. It's almost like I'm in groundhog day, wearing YSL l'Homme once again, except with better top notes.

I'm getting very tired of trying this kind of scent and hoped for something better from L'Occitane. Nothing wrong with the quality of the ingredients, and one can forgive the short longevity, and below average sillage for a cologne-strength scent. But in my book, a true cologne leaves a lot more space for notes to ring out. The later stages here are rather a "splat". And I'm worried to see a few redolent reviews of the Cedrat EDT - I must revisit as I remember that being a darn sight better than this.
11th April, 2018

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

I don't usually go in for discussions around reformulation and similar, but there are a lot of reviews here and so a real corpus to work from. The consensus around 2012 in the negative reviews seems to be "too green". Well, when trying GIT on paper strips I did have the experience of smelling something green, and rich, mossy, and salty, to boot.

On the skin, though - it's not so much green as "violet". I really do not pick up much in the way of greenery here, and I wish I did. Rather, I feel as though I've just been through a tumble dryer with one of those fabric conditioning sheets they used to sell. I am essence of laundry.

To make it clear, there is nothing wrong with the quality here. The accords are bold and long-lasting. I would venture to say that this is different in kind from Cool Water. The problem is that iris and violet are two of my least favourite notes. The base notes do their job as fixative almost too well here, so while I get a good helping of salty ambergris, the main function is to amplify the clean violet leaf. You can see that your money goes on good ingredients but these are simply ingredients that I don't hanker after.

In short, for me, not green enough. And that bottle - I'm unaware of whether the clear glass has replaced the black flacon, but what odd packaging that black thing is. A classic masculine packaged as a steampunk prop.
09th April, 2018

Silver by Al Rehab

Very piercing and metallic. A definite blackcurrant note. Hugely artificial, but fresh in an unusual way. An odd confection to be sure, and not really up my street.
09th April, 2018

L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Really not my kind of thing at all. So redolent of any other number of designer masculines. I'm caught between admiring it for its well-calibrated, unashamed achievement of mundanity, and wishing that it was being worn by someone else. But putting it in the company of Sauvage, La Nuit from the same stable, Prada Luna Rossa, and so on, this is one of the best from that genre, although I do rather like La Nuit and prefer it to this. The trouble is here is that as soon as you feel something interesting is going to happen, the tonka and violet take over again and place l'Homme back exactly where it was designed to be. That will work for some, but I will pass.
08th April, 2018

The Fragrance Journals : 1988 by Floris

Very much like ELD's You or Someone Like You - that is to say, florals and herbal. Unfortunately, though, there is the promise of more here. The woods never come through to stiffen the mix - a shame.
31st March, 2018

Solo Loewe Platinum by Loewe

Adequate vaguely Bulgari-esque tea, cedar, and incense composition. Clean, starched-smelling, definitely modern but definitely unoriginal. A good present for someone who will be impressed by a name they don't know but who doesn't care a jot about finding something individual.
26th March, 2018

Fruit Wood by Pell Wall Perfumes

At last I am able to provide a positive review for a scent from this house, and what a pleasure it is.

First, a few caveats. "Fruit Wood" is an unappealing name. The company's web site refers to various notes that are not present in the pyramid (in particularly, the eponymous woods: rosewood, sandalwood). And the idea of there being "two scents in one" here could alternatively be accounted for by the usual development and movement through the notes of any personal fragrance.

That aside, FW certainly delivers what it claims to. The opening is a fizzy, lemon-citrus burst, with a slightly herbal tinge. The woody base comes on slowly, with just the right amount of sweetness and spice to counter the dryness of the woods. This makes it a rewarding and interesting wear for the duration. It is little more than a skin scent on me (although my usual observation applies, that is, the scent was applied through a sample atomiser), but has good persistance and evident good quality across all stages. So many woody scents become too austere in the base for my tastes, but FW escapes this trap. An extremely well crafted fragrance in my book. A shame that the name is descriptive rather than evocative, as the scent could surely have wide appeal.
18th March, 2018

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite by Tom Ford

What's going on? First Gucci Guilty Absolute, now this Tom Ford offering - some real winners in the designer realm.

This one is eighty percent 80s powerhouse, twenty percent dark noirish spices. Completely contemporary, but with a sense of its history and heritage. Arquiste's El is a good comparison, but El wishes it was Noir Anthracite. As others have noted, there is only a vague relation to the rest of the Noir line.

I will say, though, that it's damned expensive at the moment. Looking forward to seeing those prices come down. Highly recommended.
17th March, 2018

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

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