Perfume Reviews

Reviews by calitrav

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Total Reviews: 12

Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland

I got Patrick for the LA Spring weather after hearing a number of Basenoters say how much they liked it, and I'm glad I did:

I've worn it at least 7 times in the past 3 weeks. It's definitely got that "clean green" vibe going for it. There are some noticebly darker, earthier, oakmoss notes going on underneath the grassy green ferny notes, however I would call it more of a light green scent than a heavy one.

Which reminds me: Patrick definitely has Oakmoss on its official list of ingredients -- so I'm guessing Fragrances of Ireland is a small company and might not be subject to the oakmoss restrictions that have affected the big fragrance corporations. Anyway it definitely has Oakmoss in it.

I find its Soapy notes to be *very* prominent -- but I enjoy them.
That might be because I remember the smell of Irish Spring soap from my youth so well: it's as distinctive as a Crayon. Patrick's soapy smell is a lot like a better, more natural, less overpowering version of Irish Spring.

So -- for me anyway -- that note gives Patrick a "fresh out of the shower" soapy smell combined with the nice clean green earthy notes.

I'm not sure it lasts very long on my skin (it's hard for me to judge that) but it lasts a long time on my clothes, I can say that much for it.

Patrick probably isn't going to blow anyone away -- I was slightly disappointed with it at first because so many people spoke so highly of it and my initial reaction was "well I like it but I don't really love it".

And there are fragrances out there that I do love from the first sniff (such as Vintage by Varvatos, the original Polo, Terre d'Hermes to name a few).

But this is a good quality cologne that smells and performs better for me than most others I've tried. To put it another way, when my finances improve and I can afford to spend more on expensive fragrances, and I sell, swap, or give away the blind-buys that didn't work out so well...

Patrick won't be one of them. It's a keeper for me.

4/5 (very good)

Bonus: the box is really well made and attractive, so Patrick just might make a nice and affordable gift for your favorite Irish person!

I got my bottle for just $40 from Celtic Croft Dot Com llc through Amazon Prime and it arrived in just 2 days (Amazon is amazing like that).
21st May, 2018

Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels

I haven't tried the original, which I hear is better, but the today's version of Tsar is very well done and one of my favorite fragrances.

It's woody and green if maybe not exactly piney. It reminds of a Northern forest full of lush undergrowth and is wonderful to smell on a cool evening. If you loved the original Polo you should really like this.

4/5 or better for me...I wear it frequently.

Here are the notes printed on my bottle of Tsar:

Top Notes: Artemisia, Lavendin, Rosemary, Bergamot, Basil
Heart Notes: Geranium, Jasmine, Cedarwood
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Vetiver, Amber, Sandalwood

You should be able to pick up a full-sized bottle online for about $30.
07th May, 2018

Quorum Silver by Antonio Puig

Initial impression: decent but not so good 2.5/5
Revised impression: good enough to wear 3/5

Quorum Silver took a little time to grow on me. At first I found it to be decent but I didn't like it at first sniff. I probably hadn't waited for enough of the alcohol to evaporate and I found the top notes to be synthetic and unpleasant. What's with the unpleasant openings on some fragrances while others smell great from the very first sniff? If I'd smelled this in a store I would have moved right along and forgotten all about it.

But I noticed that once the worst of the top notes blew off the underlying scent that came out is actually kind of nice.

You get Cedar for sure, of course. You might detect hints of Geranium or Rose or some other Floral. Maybe Ginger or Cinnamon, I'm not so sure.

So there's a bit more to it than just the Cedar.
But all adds up to a "warm" cedar smell for me.
It's kind of comforting, actually.

I don't think this has any actual Cedar oil in it. I have some Cedar essential oil and that Cedar smell is much stronger and richer. So I think maybe a bit of Citrus is combining with a few other ingredients to give us the impression of real Cedar. It's pretty well done, actually.

Still: not bad! Try it: who knows, you might like it!

The aftershave is basically a weaker version of the cologne, only it has a bit of Witch Hazel and Menthol in it as well. It doesn't last, of course.

There really are no safe blind buys, because you never know what you'll like until you actually try it, but this is a super-cheap one to blind-buy.
30th April, 2018 (last edited: 19th May, 2018)
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Tres Nuit by Armaf

First impression after about an hour of wear (will edit in the future):

I bought mine on Amazon from "Hammad's Bargains" for a mere $25.

I was pleased to see the bottle was weighty and solid (even the cap) and the new packaging was good as well. The packaging of the past dozen or so new bottles I've bought or tried at this price point ($30 or less) was minimal and flimsy. Probably because quite a few of them were Testers.

And of course in the case of the vintage bottles I've picked up 2nd-hand off eBay there was no packaging, just bubble wrap and the like. So it's nice to see Armaf puts a proper effort into its presentation of Tres Nuit.

A new bottle of this could actually make a good gift for the right person: one would assume it cost $50-$100 in a store.

Btw, the bottle is indeed blue, but it's such a dark blue that it looks black unless there's a strong light on it or better yet shining through it.

The back of the bottle says "fragrance made in France" in small print (along with the manufacturing date: 2017 for mine). The leather casing has more writing on the bottom which proclaims it's an EDT. The box it came in says it's 80% alcohol which I assume means 20% perfume oils.

The initial impression is the projection is decent-to-good but it's too early to be sure or comment on the longevity. I've noticed some scents don't last too long on my middle-aged skin, which is noticeably drier than it was in my youth. I discovered that some of my frags which I had thought had weak longevity (like my Varvatos Vintage) actually last a long time on my clothes (overnight or longer).

So the next time you think a scent is under-performing, you might want to try spraying it on your shirt and see if you can still smell it there in the morning. If you can, then its longevity is obviously fine, and you might want to try applying a moisturizer before spraying on your favorite frag.

As far as the smell: it's quite nice: I like it but can't say I love it.
Initial impression is it's scent is a 3/5 for me. Not because of the quality, which seems good and a 3.5 or even a 4/5 but because of my personal taste. I'll have to spend some time with it to see if it grows on me or not.

I got it because I thought it might make a good Springtime scent, and I've heard it's a very good GIT clone, so I was curious to see if it's good enough to wear instead of spending $200 or whatever on GIT. I figure I'll get a sample of GIT at some point and see if it's worth upgrading or not.

Tres Nuit actually smells vaguely familiar, which makes me wonder if I've smelled GIT before without knowing that's what I was smelling, or if it's some other ingredient that's tickling my memory.

It's a little more floral than I ideally prefer (I think I smell geranium, which isn't my favorite fragrance to wear or even smell although I do have one on the porch which is nice to look at when it blooms in the spring).

Some people are mentioning lemon, but I'm definitely not getting the impression of a lemony opening like my bottle of vintage 4711 gives me, nor am I getting anything like the big neroli opening my sample of Terre d'Hermes Fraiche gave me. (I loved the opening of TDH Fraiche, the dry down not so much). According to the ingredients on the box, there's citral, citronellol, and limonene in it, so I assume I should be smelling more citrus scent than I am, but maybe it's there in the dry down.

As far as Tres Nuit's comparison to Cool Water, I really don't get it.

I actually have a little bottle of vintage Cool Water which I enjoy using several days a week, and in fact I like it so much I'm planning to purchase a bottle of vintage Cool Water cologne at some point.

I could never confuse the two fragrances. In fact if I hadn't read about the similarities I never would have noticed any difference between the two. Maybe it's there in the dry down but right now I'm not picking up on it.

EDIT: After 6 weeks of wearing Tres Nuit and learning to enjoy its very prominent violet note, I've begun picking up on the violet note in Cool Water and now I smell it every time I wear it. Now I don't know how I missed it before, but I guess I my nose didn't know what to look for!
Point is there is indeed a similarity between the two fragrances.

I will say that Cool Water smells like more of a fougere-style scent and a lot more "me" and "masculine" than Tres Nuit does upon a first wear.
But then I'm in my late 40s and a bit of an "Old School" man.

Blind buys are always a bit of a crapshoot, and if you can try before you buy then that's obviously the smarter choice. But if you can't find any to try, and can pick this up for just $25-$35 you can't go far wrong.
03rd April, 2018 (last edited: 17th May, 2018)

4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser by 4711

I might try a proper review of this at some point but I'm not sure what I can add that hasn't already been said.

But for me, it's a nice refreshing aftershave marketed as a Cologne.

I'll give it a 3.5/5 for the scent, the performance a 1/5.

I got a little vintage bottle of it (no idea how old it is) and it's projection seems subpar-to-decent: it's certainly not strong. It's longevity seems somewhere between weak and ok. It seems to last an hour, tops.

But it's perfect to put on after a shower and a shave.

I've read of someone who kept his in the refrigerator to cool off after coming home after a long hot day and I can see it would be good for that.

For me, due to it's subpar strength, it's a "cologne" in name only and I only use it as an aftershave. It's masculine but I wouldn't wear it on a date: it's not romantic or sexy. Just nice, lemony, pretty clean and refreshing.
03rd April, 2018

Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche by Hermès

This is a good quality fragrance. I like it, but I'm only rating it a 3 out of 5 in part due to my personal taste: I don't like Geranium much, and you can definitely smell it in the mix after the opening notes die down a bit.

Geranium just isn't a very masculine scent to me. I happen to have one on my balcony that I water because the landlady left it here and it looks nice. But I don't like their scent much. They reminds me a bit of old ladies (whether because they like to grow them, or wear geranium-scented perfume I couldn't say). I have fond memories of my dear old Grandmas but I wouldn't want to smell like them! Geranium also reminds me a bit of the smell of a cat litter box! I love cats, litter boxes, not so much :-D

But despite my biased against Geranium, I think I can say it's a perfectly good Geranium, and if you like that or at least don't dislike it then you might well rate this frag at least a 4 out of 5.

It's got a big bright opening others have mentioned that you might like or might not. It's a little bit strong for me but it might be a nice way to start your day if you like what it offers. This is only my first day of wearing my sample so I'll see how I feel after a week of wearing it. Basically it's a lot like regular Terre d'Hermes only it's a bit sharper and has more of a fruity smell -- citrus for sure, perhaps lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.

The longevity seems to be quite good: even after about 8 hours, I could still smell the two small sprays on my wrists but at that point I would say it was a skin scent.

I actually tried this quite by accident today when I was testing frags at the Sephora at Hollywood and Highland here in LA. One of the first ones I tried was Terre d'Hermes and I sprayed it on my wrist and liked it a lot.

After that I tried a dozen others frags by spraying them on the little test strips. When I came back to the Terre d'Hermes to give it another sniff, I wondered why it smelled so much better on my skin than it did the second time on the testing paper -- and of course it's because the second time I had picked up the Tres Fraiche! So I definitely prefer the original to this, but this one has a lot going for it.

I could definitely see how this might make a good choice for wearing in the mornings and switching over to the regular scent in the evenings, however, or making this one your warm-weather terre d'hermes.
11th February, 2018

Vintage by John Varvatos

This is the first cologne I bought in many years after having fallen out of the habit. I wanted something masculine that reminded me of the strong frags I grew up smelling and wearing in the 70s and 80s. It's not a "green" scent like vintage Polo or Tsar but if you liked those you might like this.

I did some research to see what would be an affordable "starter cologne" and Varvatos Vintage doesn't disappoint, especially considering I only paid $25 for it on eBay.

It's got spicy-woody-leathery scent to my (uneducated) nose.
It smells masculine and pleasant and comforting and I believe one of the spicy scents in the mix might be rhubarb. It seems better suited to evenings and cooler weather than warm days.

It's no longer sold in stores but then I wouldn't be thrilled at paying the full price of $90 for this. However at only $25 or so online a 4.2 ounce bottle is a very good value for something wearable.

It doesn't appear to project much or last long, but it's inexpensive, so you can always use more or touch it up without worrying about the cost.

I like it quite well and enjoy wearing it in the evening.

Overall: 4/5
Scent: 5/5
Performance: 3/5
Value: 5/5

EDIT: I discovered it actually lasts a long time on my clothes -- if I spray it on my shirt I can still smell it there the next day!

So, considering I bought it in the LA Winter when my skin was drier than usual, perhaps that's why it didn't appear to last long on my skin. It might perform better on me in normally-humid weather or with a moisturizer.

I really enjoy the fragrance, it's one of my favorites, though I find I never use it in the daytime.
07th February, 2018 (last edited: 03rd April, 2018)

British Sterling by Dana

The original version of this was a perfectly decent-to-good cologne to splash on after your morning shave. I used it a bit in high school back in the 80s and liked it just fine.

But from the reviews here I'd steer clear of the modern formulation as it sounds like watered-down 100% synthetic junk.
07th February, 2018

Ysatis by Givenchy

I haven't encountered a woman wearing this in many years, but at one time Ysatis was my favorite perfume to smell on a woman.

My memories of this are from the vintage version circa 1992.
I read the modern formula is weaker and more floral.

The vintage version was strong, feminine, sexy, and a bit mysterious.

The kind of perfume a high-powered professional lady would wear if she were bold in her private life. Floral and feminine on the surface, yet with woody and even slightly animalistic undertones.
05th February, 2018 (last edited: 07th February, 2018)

Canoé by Dana

My memory of Canoe isn't good after not having smelled it since the mid-80s. I liked it alright, but not nearly so well as my Uncle or my brother, who both liked it well enough to make it their signature scents.

I think of it as very dated at this point, but it's cheap now so you might give it a try as a budget cologne or try the aftershave.

I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5
05th February, 2018

Chloé (original) by Chloé

Very femme and floral.

My high school sweetheart wore Chloe in the 80s and I quite liked it.
05th February, 2018

Royal Copenhagen Musk by Royal Copenhagen

There was a strong alcohol smell when I first sprayed it on that I didn't like -- like an old aftershave -- but after a few minutes it faded down to a "Clean and Powdery" scent like an old-fashioned Barber Shop.

I can't really smell the Musk or any of the other scents this is supposed to have. I'm not sure what the original version of this old-fashioned cologne smelled like, but my bet is it smelled more musky and less synthetic than this latest version does.

In the old days the best scents seemed to have two ingredients: Parfum and Alcohol. This has a few unpronounceable ingredients.

Note: Although I do have a good sense of smell, my nose isn't well-educated re: colognes because I fell out of the habit of wearing colognes some years ago. I decided to order this along with a higher-end cologne (Varvatos Vintage) to see if I want to start wearing them again.

I can't say I like this anywhere *near* as much as I liked any of my old favorite colognes from the 80s and 90s. Those were popular mass-market brands like Chaps, Polo, Eternity, and Acqua di Gio -- nothing unique or terribly expensive.

I could maybe call this pretty good if it were just an Aftershave, but as a Cologne it fails me. It's decent at best.

I had heard this was old-fashioned before I bought it, but it's REALLY old-fashioned. I live in hip and trendy West Los Angeles and have a hard time imagining myself wearing this as anything other than an Aftershave.

Or using it as an Air Freshener. "Clean and Powdery" does beat "Doggy and Musty" after all, when I'm airing out the apartment.

Sillage is pretty poor and it dies down quickly.

I do like the bright blue color and the bottle: the cap is just plastic.

I'll give it a 2 out of 5.
02nd February, 2018 (last edited: 05th February, 2018)