Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Melbourne Man

Total Reviews: 41

Noir Exquis by L'Artisan Parfumeur

It took me quite a while to actually figure out why I wasn’t enamoured with the opening of this perfume, but I think something clicked when I got to smell Martin Margiela’s By The Fireplace. Chestnut. My brain simply won’t allow my sense of smell to recognise chestnut as a desirable aroma, and i really think that the omission of this particular note would have made me like this perfume a whole lot more.

The chestnut opens with the sweet tang of orange, which I found a dissonant pairing, and definitely had a negative impact on how i perceived the rest of the perfume’s development. Like having the aftertaste of medicine in your mouth just before you eat a lovely dessert.

From that point, the scent plays out very safely using the old firm of vanilla and tonka, solidified with some dark woods (i guess something was needed for the Noir). I wish the coffee was accentuated on my skin, but i only got the haunting of some distant powdery bitterness. Maple sap was also missing in action, but that could have been me assuming it would smell like the stuff I pour on pancakes.

The thing is, it smells nice on me after the first 10 minutes and I know a few people who genuinely have this perfume as one of their loves. So like all reviews, you need to take my opinion in the context of my personal tastes of the time, and right now gourmands in general are not my, well, jam.

There is one thing, it is the type of scent I really enjoy smelling off clothing. I wore it with a scarf the other day and really enjoyed nuzzling my cold nose into it 8 hours later. It hangs around, but won’t really intrude anyone’s personal space unless they are close enough to intrude yours.

Now if you are a gourmand fan, then I will always recommend you try this. Just because I am a chestnutaphobe, doesn’t mean you won’t love it. But somewhat sadly, Noir Exquis will be finding a new home with someone that can show it more love than I can. It’s not you, it’s me.
09th August, 2019

L'Animal Sauvage by Marlou

L’Animal Sauvage introduces itself with fluttering eyelashes of a powdered, creamy floral accord. But this combination of violet and orange blossom is just a facade for the true personality of this perfume. Within a few minutes i find myself wondering how this pretty opening turned into this still pretty, but quite slutty perfume.

The first sense of “animal” i get is what I can only describe as powdered fur. Some nondescript mammal that someone has sprayed with Shalimar or some other scent of that ilk. Following this stage, the imagery i get from this perfume is more realistic yet no less bizarre.

The first time someone smelled this on me, their immediate response was that this smelled exactly like the décolletage powder their mother used to wear on fancy dressed-up occasions. It is clear that stuff had some smell. But as happens often with me, this suggested imagery has screwed itself securely to the inside of my brain, and I can’t shake it out or imagine it as anything else now. I had a chain smoking, heavily made-up, middle-age aunt as a child in the 70s. Most of the time, this perfume reminds me of her – after she had sprayed some cheap perfume over herself to cover up the smell of the man she had just slept with.

I know I am not making this sound attractive so far but really, this is one of those perfumes that is much better to smell than to imagine. L’Animal Sauvage doesn’t really develop a hell of a lot from the “whore’s bath” stage onwards, but there is a sumptuously blended musk and civet combination that takes centre stage. The tang of the civet like the glowing outline of sun behind the musky beige clouds. Finally deep into the dry down, the musk fog lands softly on a creamy wood base. It is at this point that L’Animal Sauvage spreads its warm hands over your cheeks and through your hair, while it breathes its warm breath on your face.

If you love this type of soft, but still animalic musk with average to soft projection, and between 6 – 8 hours longevity.
09th August, 2019

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

This was a re-release, and presumably slightly tweaked, version of the original 2000 rendition which I have not had the pleasure of smelling. But if people think this current version is inferior, then the original must have really been something else.

I try really hard to avoid assigning perfumes a gender when I am testing them, but I still find things that I simply would prefer to smell on a woman than on myself. The more perfume I try, the easier it becomes for me to just smell fragrance and feel that it is something that works for me. Helmut Lang EDP was a little bit of a breakthrough for me in this sense, because the first time I wore this I decided that it was overly floral, and therefore a bit too feminine. But the beauty here is sublime, and once it seeps into you the enchantment unfolds.

It opens with a soft explosion of orange blossom, lavender, and hint of heliotrope. Right from the beginning there is a foundation of borderline-clean musk, that adds heft to the ethereal nature of the flowers. I find it interesting that sites like Fragrantica don’t list musk as an official note; it is the back bone of this fragrance.

A few minutes in, something really lovely happens in the heart. The orange blossom seems to bloom after the lavender and other aromatics recede, and it leaves this impression of fizzy orange flavoured musk that really becomes the soul of this fragrance. The powdery elements of the heliotrope never cross the line of suffocation, but you sense its presence as if the breeze had blown the odour back through an open window.

It all comes to rest on a creamy cedar base – my guess is the atlas variety – and slowly dissipates like fog being burnt up by sunshine, as opposed to progressing through a series of accords to ita final resting place. This billowing perfume lasts on me a good part of the day and doesn’t project loudly, and yes, at first glance you might perceive it as something you are used to smelling on women. But all you manly men, sometimes you need to let yourself feel beautiful.
09th August, 2019
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18.21 Sweet Tobacco by 18.21 Man Made

18 months after this fragrance was ubiquitous on youtube, and having now owned a bottle for 12 months, i can safely say this is not a like for me.
Opening is probably the best part of this fragrance where i get a rich dark chocolate and port wine combination. I can see why the opening may have impressed people, but after 5 to 10 minutes it is tonka-dominant, and not a great one at that.
Another deal-breaker for me is that i get an underlying smokiness from the heart of a burnt plastic and this stays but thankfully weakens all the way to the final dry down.
Obviously, to my nose, this facet alone makes it unpleasant for me to wear.
There are other better smelling alternatives in this genre at the same price point.
14th January, 2018

Chergui by Serge Lutens

This isn't the east wind that picks up spices, dust and heat. It is the east wind that infiltrates nomadic tents and absorbs the odours of honey, tobacco, animal bedding and dusty iris and rose.
Chergui is a cozy, dusty blanket seeping sweetness. From afar it stays linear, but as i am want to do when i wear this, i cannot stop smelling close and recognising its various elements taking turns at showing themselves.
Moderate projection and excellent longevity.
Try this in warmer weather as well. It blooms.
06th January, 2018

Reflection Man by Amouage

This opens clean, fresh, luminous.
Everything used here fom the top down is clean, crystalline and yes, reflection is the right name for this.
There is a fresh, high pitch, breath-mint note that carries this scent from start to finish and the partivular rose note here lends an underlying sweetness in conjunction with the other white florals. A creamy sandalwood (again clean), reveals itself in the drydown and finally some minty patchouli and cedar.
My main issue with this fragrance is that i find it quite linear and something that i might find boring to wear given that it also has very good performance.
As an older guy in his 40s the other thing is that this feels 'young' on me.
8 hours longevity, good projection.
A like for me.
10th October, 2017

Elephant by Zoologist Perfumes

This re-creates imagery on your skin, and as with others from the house, it is more about the environment and habitat of the animal that inspires what you smell.
In this case we can imagine starting in an asian rainforest. The opening is lush green leaves and that green-ness dominates until you slowly start to transition into a lactonic, tropical, white-floral field. Less shad and more sunlight. As the day wears on and tbe sun gets higher, the basenotes come into tbeir own. Amber, musks and a dominant, dusty sandalwood complete the olfactory journey. Every aspect different, evocative and enjoyable.
This is not what you would describe as linear, but smells very natural and very well composed.
Longevity of around 8 hours, soft projection.
Unisex and most suitable spring through to fall.
22nd September, 2017

Héritage Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

A fragrance with a foot in the old world and yet at the same time, modern masculinity in a bottle.
It opens with that fresh combination of bergamot and green notes, which is a whole fragrance in itself, but a few minutes later this morphs into masculine florals dominated by jasmine and rose. This has a true heart and that heart is soft and spicy at the same time. The fragrance itself plays like a symphony on the skin where you ride out all the dynamics of citrusy, spicy, floral, amber, powdery and finally, woody.

Again the spices work to sharpen any of the pillowy powder this might turn into, but it doesn't end there. On my skin, just as I think i have reached the lovely settled base notes, a strong cedar and sandalwood combination shows itself.
For an edt i get great performance (8hrs), which is good for a Guerlain on my skin.

It has soft projection perfect for day or night in cooler months and shines as an office scent.
This one truly billows of the skin and displays all its wares.
05th September, 2017

Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Quite easily the number one fragrance in my collection.
The main things i get are vetiver, incense and that green mango. But for me this is not about the individual notes and how they blend together. There are no real stars of this composition. It is at once clean, bracing, juicy, exotic and a little bit mystical.
Opens like you are walking through 100% humidity in a tropical rain forest and then transforms to an earthy, green grassland with the humidity turning to enchanting smoke.
This is voodoo for the nose.
20th August, 2017

Selperniku by January Scent Project

Sunshine and warmth from a bottle.
This is something that you don't expect, and i certainly did not expect the green/citric opening from the petitgrain and lemon to beautifully counter-balance the creamier sweetness of the apricot and butter. My el-fresco continental breakfast never smelled so good or inviting.
For me this has 3 distinct phases that work and blend well with ine another; the longest being the sumptuous buttery apricot heart.
Cypress and Juniper berries help keep this from gourmand territory and guide this composition through its development to a creamy warm woody/tobacco base. The use of saltiness in this also gives it the illusion of an extended skin scent. Some of the best skin you will smell.
10 plus hours longevity and excellent projection and sillage.
Wearable year round but would shine in the warmth.
16th August, 2017

Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Opening for this is very pretty and you certainly get a sense of solidified burnt sugar, crushed back into granules.
And then to my nose, not much else happens here. It is certainly different, but the one thing that makes this a no for me is something in the base. I will have to guess it is the fir balsam. I am getting something stale and sour and not enjoying it at all.
The way this thing was hyped last year may have contributed to my disappointment here.
Tested from official MFK sample purchased on website.
09th August, 2017

White Sandalwood by Goldfield & Banks

On me, the dominant accord here are rose and saffron, with the Australian sandalwood providing a beautiful creamy base for this floral heart. I get very little if any spice and a light amber deep in the drydown to stop things from ever getting to heady.
The quality if evident here as it smells very natural and longevity/sillage exceptional.
It is unisex with a slight feminine lean. For those who like something like Chanel's Egoiste without the heavy spice, i would recommend.
07th August, 2017

Harem Rose by Fort and Manlé

A lovely white musk infiltrates this pink rose-dominated beginning. You still get green stem and buds that have yet to bloom. This is more delicate to me than this house's over rose dominated fragrance, Charlatan.
Harem Rose evokes purity that will potentially be exploited and mature into what Charlatan is. Charlatan, the mature adult who has been there and done that, Harem Rose, the innocent about to lose their innocence.
This develops nicely into a light woodiness, and i pick up what might be cedar, in young spring-time forest. I also get something akin to unripened fruit here in the middle.
As lovely as this scent is, i couldn't see myself wanting to wear this more than wanting to smell it on someone else.
06th August, 2017
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Maduro by Fort and Manlé

To think of Maduro as just another sweet tobacco fragrance would be doing it injustice.
This opens with the juiciest of red apple notes, and somehow along with sweet pineapple and cinnamon, manages to give the illusion of a chocolate accord.
All this might sound to sweet to some, but it is perfectly pitched to then develop into a fluid rosey beeswax. For my nose, it is very similar to the beeswax you can find in Antaeus. As it does in many compositions, the rose accompanies us to the final transition where vetiver and patchouli add a tinge of green to this fresh, damp tobacco.
It isn't the Pure Havane sweet tobacco and not Havana spicy tobacco. This is new and this is quite a beautiful, complex scent eith plenty of depth.
06th August, 2017

Mr. Bojnokopff's Purple Hat by Fort and Manlé

Quite unique and mysterious to me, so it seems to have met its brief. I initially mainly get oud and a very natural lavender here, just like i would smell if i was holding a fresh cut bouquet.
After this, the gaiac wood introduces a mild smoky accord which also evokes a slightly skanky leather. Hours later just when you thought chocolate and vanilla didn't get the invite, there they appearin the waft of still lingering smoke, like an illusion.
Definitely a very impressive scent that will probably reveal more character with subsequent wearings, so definitely a must to sample first.
05th August, 2017

Confessions of a Garden Gnome by Fort and Manlé

I was lucky enough to grow up living in places with gardens large enough for a boy and his siblings to have hours of imagined adventure; and memories that hide in your subconscious until something teases them out.
In this case the Fort and Manle's Confessions of a Garden Gnome has penetrated my mind through my nose.
In a single wearing, you get sensations of sunny late winters where stepping from shade to sunshine warms your skin by several degrees. It opens with a singing violet leaf that stays in a high register guiding you through the seasons.
You get white floral early spring bouquets and already you get a sense of the chameleonic nature of the fragrance. When florals subside it's time for the ambergris, musk and patchouli to take over and represent the cooler months of the year. The birch here is more dry bark than tar, and you can almost smell the carpet of wet fallen leaves that is laid on the brick pavement.
If this was a painting it would be a Monet study of the same thing at different times of the year.
One of the best things i have smelled.
04th August, 2017

Oud Wood by Tom Ford

There is almost a suede-ish opening to Oud Wood, but from there it quickly transitions to beautifully polished daek wood like you would find in some kind of old library or study.
It is clean oud wood, i don't find anything "dirty" here, but what i do find is age. This scent feels like it was discovered in a flacon hidden away for centuries and over that time all the ingredients blended together that you can no longer distinguish individual notes, or maybe it is vecause i have a poorly developed nose.
The vetiver, cardamom and amber actually lend a sense of airyness to this that prevents it from getting heavy and i dont really get much sichuan pepper or vanilla. It is an ancient, distinguished scent and in my opinion the best in the private blend series.

31st July, 2017

L'Air du Désert Marocain by Tauer

This is the best you can hope for in a fragrance that evokes an imagined memory.
Beautiful petitgrain/lavender opening dressed down by the cumin morphing into a resinous jasmine accord.
Suddenly it gets spicy/dusty dry like you have left the oasis and are now smack bang in the desert proper.
The oakmoss cedar patchouli base is like the beautiful haunting soundtrack of a cinematic masterwork. There are no individual starring performers here but the greatest ensemble cast gathered together making this fragrance/film the epic masterpiece it is.
This is ever changing and evolving during its development but always maintains its continuity. Enigmatic, enchanting and exciting.
19th July, 2017

M7 Oud Absolu by Yves Saint Laurent

Only ever tried this iteration of M7 so i have no refernce re original.
This is one of the best smelling oud-dominant designers on the market. I especially love how the citrus-sweetish, chinotto opening develops into a patchouli/oud cooling middle. The trick is that it opens warm and develops to almost a cool minty patch within the first hour.
This i think makes it not just a cold weather scent, but wearable in most spring weather.
Eventually it transitions to a lovely syrupy, myrhh and oud combination.
It is a beautifully composed scent given the minimal accords used.
The one let down on my skin, is that i am luck to get 6 hours maximum longevity. Thus sits close to skin from the outset, and i find myself craving to get wafts of it as the day progresses.
At this point, i'll keep it in my colection because it lasts long enough for evening wear, and reasonably priced enough that i am not going to be stingy with sprays.

Scent: 8.5/10
Performance: 5/10
03rd July, 2017

Tom Ford Noir Extreme by Tom Ford

I find it difficult to describe this fragrance.
A couple of hours into wearing it i am wrapped in the warmth of the amber and vanilla, but it 's the opening that i wish would stick around.
Saffron, nutmeg and cardamomis such a lovely smooth spiciness rather than the alternative of a sharp citrus/peppery opening, and i think that is what this fragrance is boiled down to. Smoothness. It goes on like a warm, gooey, exotic dessert but never going too overboard on gourman elements. Perfect balance of oriental and gourmand.
Good longevity, enough projection (this is a proven compliment getter) and great for cold nights.
29th May, 2017

Bois du Portugal by Creed

When you break it down, this is a very simple fragrance when it comes to note breakdowns.
A bergamot that is the right balance of biterness and sweetness opens this up and almost works like your first coffee of the day in awakening your senses.
This citrus transitio s and blends perfectly with the always soothing lavender in the heart. What the lavender seems to do is carry the bergamot with it until we get to the sublime drydown of one of Creed's best. Cedar and creamy sandalwood dominate the base, all the while keeping remnants of the opening, and i think the ambergris is the thing binding it all together.
There are other fragrances in this general theme but here the ingredients smell like quality, and it's all blended beautifully while still picking out individual notes.
3 sprays maximum for this because i get 1w hours longevity very easily and it projects a few good feet for a couple of hours at least.
Not the most versatile, but i enjoyed it every single time.
28th May, 2017

Portraits : The Tragedy of Lord George by Penhaligon's

Tragedy of Lord George is one of Penhaligon’s Portrait Series released 2016.

$268 AUD can get you a 75 ml bottle of this. That is one of the better prices I’ve seen quoted.

Listed notes are brandy, amber (ambroxan), woody notes and tonka bean. Other sites also list shaving cream, which I do pick up.

I was keen to smell this because of the brandy, but boy was it a fleeting whiff in the opening. Brandy for about 30 seconds and then straight into a heart of, well, shaving cream. Not even really classy smelling shaving cream of the Rive Gauche variety, but cheap shaving cream. I got no real wood notes and now in the dry down all I get is a sickly, plasticky ambroxan and tonka puddle.

This was very disappointing from a house that I keep wanting to like, but apart from a couple of fragrances, has continued to disappoint.

Don’t let the impressive looking bottle and cap fool you, I think it’s meant to be a distraction from how cheap this fragrance actually smells.
16th May, 2017

Millésime Impérial by Creed

Melbourne man
This one has been a sleeper for me.
First wears i didn't really notice it and thought i'd finish my decant and be done with MI.
But with each time i've worn it, the fragrance has revealed aspects of itself (that or probably my nose has developed ;)). Regardless, for me this is now an essential warm weather fragrance for me. Not for others though, because projection is not strong, but sometimes you want the fragrance to yourself.
Beautiful, exotic fruit blended with the right amount of mediterranean sea water and then thatdrydown. One of the loveliest clean musky drydowns i have in my collection.
My second favourite Creed behind GIT.
19th April, 2017

Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum

This is a cool, mysterious, citrus-spicy wood.
It opens up with a boisterous lemon note, but as implied by the name, vetiver is the guest of honour at this party.
If we equate shades with temperature and determine that white is cold and black is hot; the ‘grey’ in the title is a perfect pitch for this fragrance.
The citrus, orrisroot, nutmeg and pimento provide the refreshments for the party; while the woods, oak moss and amber bring the warmth.
What you’re left with is a finely balanced fragrance that never becomes screechy or overpowering. This is why it’s perfect for both power dressing at the office or a casual weekend get-together. This can also work in a huge range of weather conditions, dressed up or dressed down. It will adapt to you.
One of the best warmer weather fragrances from Tom Ford; including the blue-bottled private blends.
This has layers if you get to know it.
One of the best introductions to vetiver.
28th March, 2017

Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker

I am only testing this on the back of my hand and don't have the other fragrance at hand to compare, but for some reason this brings Chanel's Egoiste to mind. Even if i later realise that it's nothing alike, i like this a very lot. Even though no sandalwood is listed, i get a nice creamy one about 30 minutes in, along with with the leather tip of a riding crop and a touch of booze thrown in. Great value for money at the moment ans the best celebrity scent i have smelled.
02nd March, 2017

Desert Rosewood by Goldfield & Banks

One of 4 fragrances from this new Australian house.
Desert Rosewood opens up with a burst of boozy amber and quickly settles into woody vanilla vibe.
But what i really like about this is that it is a dry sweetness, probably assisted by the cardamom note.
After about an hour this has settled nicely on the benzoin and rosewood base all the while with a hint of sharpness from something, maybe the listed mandarin and cardamom notes hanging around.
It may have been because i was sniffing them both the night before, but this is almost what you would get if a fragrance had the same bloodlines as both Chergui and L'air du desert Marocain. It certainly has the dry desert air vibe with a touch of sweetness.
4.5 out of 5
30th January, 2017

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

Firstly, this review is based on only a few wearings and now that my small sample is finished i really want to decide if i get more. At this point it's in the i don't really care if i wear this again.
The verdict is really more based on the fact that i do appear to be indifferent to the fig note because there is certainly a great representation of fig here.
The other big (and important) factor for me is that it is just a tad weak and performance is not enough for me to invest in this. I am wearing the edt and not even sure if there is an edp version, but still.
Others obviously love it and i definitely don't hate it. Just don't want it.
22nd January, 2017

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

I have gone from really really liking GIT to absolutely loving GIT.
For my nose, this scent has it all; lovely, evocative opening; green, sensual mids and almost a warm, sexy base.
I know that this is supposed to evoke green fields (doesn't need to be Ireland either), but what it conjurs for me is my boyhood summer days spent lying on the lush lawns of our local suburban swimming pool. Great fragrances reach into our subconscious and remind us of things that we thought were only imagined, but actually experienced.
I have received a compliment from someone 6 feet away, 6 hours into a wear, so sillage is there. I smell it on me after 10 hours.
Best thing is that it's versatile and i would wear this in any weather, for any occasion.
19th January, 2017 (last edited: 13th March, 2017)

$CAM by Xyrena

I get nothing.
31st December, 2016

Virgin Island Water by Creed

Such an evocative scent.
Beautifully blended in a way that doesnt create a mess. You pick up the lime, transition to cocunut rum and then the rest of the dry dowwn is a day dream.
If only this could last longer so i could get wafts of paradise in my nostrils all day.
Overall 8/10
Longevity 4/10
20th November, 2016