Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Ezekiella

Total Reviews: 17

Eau Sacrée by Heeley

Deep, layered, high quality, could be labeled "sexy" and "feminine," but seems a little old to me. And I'm old! Not really an incense fragrance, there's a lot of rose in here.
09th October, 2019

Vetiver Veritas by Heeley

I love the smell of vetiver roots. I have a rug that's woven on a warp of vetiver. This fragrance comes very close to the smell of the roots, but there's something else in there, something dank like a damp basement. The roots are always dried before use, so there's no dampness about their smell, just dusty dryness. So the search continues, but in the meantime I'll wear the essential oil, or Terre d'Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver, which doesn't smell like the plant but is awfully nice.
21st September, 2019

Cardinal by Heeley

My initial review was completely wrong. I gave Cardinal a second try, and I love it. A beautiful incense. I was correct that it smells a lot like Avignon, but wrong that Avignon is cheaper. They're about the same price ... although Avignon is stronger and more lasting, so...
20th September, 2019 (last edited: 10th October, 2019)
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Odyssey by La Curie

I've never smelled anything like the top note of this fragrance. Sickly sweet, with an unpleasant plastic undertone that gets stronger as time goes on. I never do this, but I washed it off after ten minutes.
30th August, 2019

Larrea by La Curie

Top: wet laundry, washed in unscented detergent, and left in the machine for one day.

Middle: creosote

Base: one-dimensional sweet musk, bought at the health-food store

Very faint, doesn't last.
24th August, 2019

Ossuary by La Curie

More fragrances should use palo santo, but it's overwhelming, and needs something to tame its strong turpentine aspect. When the wood is burned, the smoke somehow mutes and softens it. Ossuary hasn't solved this problem, but at least it opens the discussion.
16th August, 2019

Incendo by La Curie

I live in New England and have a woodstove. The top note of this fragrance smells like my burnt firewood, not woodsmoke (not a complaint). It's not a Southwestern smell. They burn a different kind of wood there (see below).

Gradually, a generic incense takes over, which is a shame. There a brand of incense called "Incense of the Southwest," made of three types of wood they burn there. Check them out, or visit Santa Fe in the winter. Anyway, the incense smell in this perfume becomes progressively drier, which may be the contribution of the conifer. That's about it. I find the fragrance quite faint; it doesn't last long.

I spend a lot of time in Tucson, and to me, this fragrance doesn't represent it at all. Tucson is a largely low-income, low-rise, dry, sprawling collection of developments, highways, and strip malls in the blinding light, with some wealthy white gated communities north of the city. I've never smelled woodsmoke there. If I were going to create the real scent of Tucson, it would have to involve rubber and air-conditioning.

All that being said, I bought this fragrance on my last trip to Tucson, because I want to support this local perfumer, and the smell is pleasant.

An artist trains her eye by drawing from life, and a perfumer must be attuned to the smells of the real world. If you're going to do an incense fragrance, it's important to know that there are hundreds of different kinds of incense. Thus far, only Comme des Garcons has really examined, experienced, and thought about them.
12th August, 2019 (last edited: 09th October, 2019)

Winter of 99 by Kerosene

The opening accord of spices and old tires dries down to caramel and old tires, and eventually to just an almost ineradicable caramel.

I want to say something about Kerosene's art direction. It trades on its association with Detroit, my home town, and the website is replete with images of chains and beat-up bricks and plaster. The perfumer cites as inspiration "the scent of dirt, grease, oil and sometimes blood...gasoline, stamped steel, plastic, trees, earth." Yet the five fragrances I've tried smell overwhelmingly and unmistakeably of pastry, cookies, and candy. It's a big disappointment.
09th August, 2019

Blackmail by Kerosene

The word "perfume" is derived from the Latin "fumare," to smoke. Anyway, this perfume doesn't smell like smoke to me, and I have a woodstove. But maybe it smells like the smoke in John Singer Sargent's painting, "Fumée d’Ambre Gris." I like its dry, dusty, desiccated aspect; great for hot weather. My favorite Kerosene perfume, so far. Would be even better with a bitter, astringent drydown, if such a thing exists. I wish this perfumer were less of a pastry fiend.
08th August, 2019

Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene

"My mechanic eats cookies in bed!" I'm bemused by this perfumer's attachment to sweets. This one whomps you over the head with a coconut, or more accurately, a gallon jug of Mounds-Bar filling, thinly underlain with lemon. Over time, the coconut remains, with spices supplanting the lemon.

Like other Kerosene fragrances, this one poses the question: where is the line between a perfume and a good smell? If I enjoy the smell of my Trinidadian neighbor's curries, why wouldn't I want to smell like that?
07th August, 2019 (last edited: 09th August, 2019)

Summer of 84 by Kerosene

If there's anything lurking behind the grapefruit peel, it's barely perceptible.
07th August, 2019

Broken Theories by Kerosene

Dries down to the same vanilla-spicy accord as Black Vines, but with incense instead of that scarey metallic-rubbery thing. It's luscious, but so is CdG Avignon, with no vanilla and more edge. I really want to like Kerosene.
06th August, 2019

Terre d'Hermès Eau Intense Vétiver by Hermès

Dry, dry, dusty dry, all the way to the drydown, which is great, because I'm sick of billowing sweet drydowns. It doesn't smell like vetiver -- so far, nothing does, except actual vetiver -- but it does capture its dry dustiness. A perfect feminine for summer, particularly to ward off the miasma of garbage in NYC.
05th August, 2019
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Black Vines by Kerosene

God knows, I worship Luca Turin, but this time he's gone too far. Rubber, metal, and Ben-Gay - an accord, yes, but for whom? Lurking in the deep background is a soft, sweet edible, which eventually takes over, but not till you chomp through tinfoil with a filling in your tooth. I admire this perfumer's nerves of steel, and I'm going to try the rest of his samples, but this way!
05th August, 2019

Blue Encens by Comme des Garçons

I'm so relieved to read the other reviews. I thought perhaps this fragrance had some ingredient to which I was anosmic. After the first exhilarating thirty seconds, I just couldn't smell it at all. But it looks like first thirty seconds are also the last. Back to Avignon.
03rd August, 2019

Gardénia Pétale by Van Cleef & Arpels

The long search is over. This is gardenia with some kind of fizz. I'm not smelling tuberose here -- none of that fleshiness. Elegant, effervescent, any season, day or night. Nice bottle, too.
24th December, 2018

Mississippi Medicine by D.S. & Durga

Women do not have to smell like flowers or food. Commes des Garcons Zagorsk and 4711 were my gateway drugs for this important principle. I moved on to MM because Zagorsk, which I love, has no staying power.MM is strong, fresh, and bitter, with a ton of birch tar on top that doesn't dry down for a long time. You'll smell like a burnt-out campfire for a while. Then it glides into the base of frankincense and some other woody, patchouli-like things that last forever and cling to my clothes, which I like. Like a lot of new flavors, new music, and new thoughts, it's off-putting at first, but give it a second chance. I'm glad I did.
10th September, 2018