Perfume Reviews

Reviews by pocketvenus

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Total Reviews: 29

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Zoologist Perfumes

The carcinogenic Cretaceous

T Rex opens with a full out olfactory assault. It's a fantastic wallop of camphorous, coniferous and medicinal notes. Seconds after, a battle takes shape between burning cade and an out-of-left-field sweetness that's not just plasticky, it's like a giant smack of magenta bubble-gum being lustily chewed. Smolder-smack-smolder-smack. Just as the tension starts to fade, nauseatingly creamy florals with a touch of indolic moth-ball shimmer emerge from the opening violence. If you think you're getting off easy at this point, you're wrong. Underlying all the smoke and flowers is a base with an ever-so-slight fecal note. It takes hours, but the scent does eventually grow tamer wherein the florals, especially osmanthus and rose, take over. It's quite good from this point onward.

T Rex doesn't evoke visions of a primordial world for me. If anything, it reminds me of two contemporary settings, my grandmother's house, full of Chinese medicines, and standing among buses burning leaded gasoline. If you have never walked the streets of Central America, your eyes watering from the choking, black fumes of leaded fuel, you can save yourself a trip, spritz a little T Rex and mentally delete the flowers, gum and medicine.

I also have no idea where you'd wear this today except at some kind of Viennese Actionism themed rubber fetish fashion event. I mean, what does one wear with this other than a Lady Gaga meat dress and a gas mask unless you plan to wait hours before going out? I like my phenolic scents like Bvlgari Black, Black Afgano, Lampblack and so on, but this was too much for me. T Rex also gives me a massive headache. This is a terrifying introduction to Gardoni's work.
01st February, 2019

Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

Challenging but wearable earthy fragrance

Bat has a challenging, kaleidoscopic opening that is dizzying. Sweet, tropical fruit; rich black topsoil; cold, wet, flinty stones; growling animal musks, these are all present from the beginning, vying for your attention. In rapid succession you find yourself with fleeting impressions of peeling open a ripe banana, peering into sunless caves with dripping water, thrusting your bare hands into moist earth, catching a whiff of rotting compost.

The scent settles down into a perfect balance between dank edges softened by fruity, musky sweetness that blend more and more harmoniously as time passes.

The dankness reminds me of another favourite, Dzongkha, as if you had fallen from the shadows of those airy, smoky, mountainous peaks, landed softly in clods of dirt and fallen fruit and slowly rolled into the wet mouth of a cave.
30th January, 2019

Dawn by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

An exercise in the law of diminishing returns

Dawn is not an easy oud, but it's far more "typical" and unimaginative than The Night, the latter of which I recall as having a unexpectedly refined pungency, like a veil of that blue cheese note ouds can have. Dawn has more of an aggressive quality, even though it's not as difficult as The Night.

I was expecting Dawn to be more of a rosy oud, but it is heavily weighted toward oud. From the opening, oud's complexity takes the fore. It is at turns fragrant, leathery, woody, sweet. It flirts at the edges of animalism, but backs off quickly. There's a little bitterness that comes out in the dry down which pairs fantastically with the oud but for the most part, it's mostly a smooth, rich, and nicely filled-out ambery base.

The problem is the exorbitant price. I can think of other luxury ouds that cost far less and are in the same style. These tend to be thinner and more raspy but I can't justify spending 4-5 times more for this bump up in quality.
01st January, 2019
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Jasmine Neroli by The 7 Virtues

An amorphous cloud of synthetic smelling fluff

Opens with a thin, candied neroli. The jasmine peaks out into the forefront for a hot second but recedes quickly. No structure, like sticking one's nose in a laundry dryer sheet. Unpleasantly dense on the drydown.

Jasmine Neroli is not remotely sensual. You could dab this on a baby. But please don't dab this on anyone.
27th December, 2018

Neon Graffiti by Jazmin Saraï

The radiant city streets

Neon Graffiti is not my style but it's really lovely. It's a vibrant and sensual jasmine fragrance enlivened with bright and juicy citrus notes and dense mango that are bolstered by cedarwood and a polished touch that keeps it from veering into tropical/jungle territory. It manages to be uplifting but with heft. It has excellent projection, wafting up from my wrist whenever I move it.

Small niche houses like 4160 Tuesdays, DS & Durga, or Kerosene can tend to smell a little raw, rough, or off-kilter. These are not necessarily negative qualities, and the name Neon Graffiti suggests it's offering something similar. In actuality, it smells surprizingly careful and considered.
03rd December, 2018

Chypre Palatin by MDCI

A weary beast

Chypre Palatin is surprisingly tame, given the reviews I have read. In fact, I was expecting something positively beastly. But if we are to call it that, this beast is tired and neutered, like a weary circus lion who can no longer be goaded into jumping through rings of fire.

Chypre Palatin’s architectural opening is promising, leaping out all bright and bitter greens and chic aldehydic edges. This is fleshed out nicely when blooming florals join the scene. But already I find it somewhat weak in projection. I would say this is the best stage of the fragrance and it does not last long. Its depth and structure rapidly fades until it dries down into something sweet, ambery and powdery within the hour. It’s nice but I was hoping for something far more challenging, especially with the notes pyramid. Shadowy green depth, sweaty leather, territorial musks, I don’t know, something other than vanillaic fluff. If I sniff very close to my wrist, I sometimes detect a hint of something a little animalic, but to be honest, I don’t know if I’m just deluding myself with the hope of experiencing something more.

Not Duchaufour's best.
28th November, 2018

Trayee by Neela Vermeire

A sensuous undulation of scent

Trayee is a seamlessly blended perfume offering a powerful oriental melange buoyed by a gorgeous, to-die-for sandalwood. With the opening, you are treated to a rich panoply of notes with excellent projection.

There's no ganja to my nose, which I associate with skunk, so that is a positive. I also do not detect much oud here. What I do smell is an intermingling of lush rose and jasmine, forming the densely muscled heart of this scent, while herbs and spices dance around the edges. My favourite part of Trayee is the stunning sandalwood. I'm not a huge sandalwood fan but I find it very evocative here. It's not simply smooth and creamy, it is bright and aromatic as well.

I would describe Trayee as multifaceted, but that implies hard edges. Rather, Trayee's notes undulate swooningly slow, waves of notes slowly rolling into the foreground and then receding. I'm reminded of a mood ring changing colour in slow motion or light installations of colour gradients gradually shifting hues.

This is an incredibly sensual scent. "Sensual" is often used euphemistically in perfumery to describe something sexy or dirty, but I use the word precisely. Trayee is pure sensual, eye-rolling pleasure. The problem with a scent like this is I simply cannot wear this anywhere. It is far too distracting as I keep wanting to smell it.
27th November, 2018

I Am Trash : Les Fleurs du Déchet by Etat Libre d'Orange

A clean cut marketing gimmick

Fleurs du Déchet/I am Trash is a pretty fragrance despite its name. It has a fruity and fresh opening dominated by strawberries before growing more abstract and blurred out.

The original ad copy referenced earthworms but there is absolutely nothing earthy or dirty about this scent which would have made it more interesting. I was imagining a little fermentation as well, like a touch of Byredo's Pulp. There's none of that. Instead, it's generically pleasant, clean and safe, leaning a little on the young side but not overly sweet. When I smell my wrist, the only thing I can think is, "entirely pointless."

But what of the scent's concept? Isn't there any value to its environmental message? I'm not going to belabour any criticism of the scent's marketing campaign, which leaves me smh. All I will say is the sample Luckyscent sent me came in two separate packages, one for the size of the sample enclosed within a needlessly large 10cmx10cm printed box covered in branding, which necessitated a larger shipping parcel. So much for championing the reduction of waste.
25th November, 2018

Monogram Collection : Dōjima by Mona di Orio

Neither a tribute to rice or Osaka

Of the Mona di Orios I've tried, Dojima is the most disappointing. The opening is musty, rather than musky. Instead of Japanese rice, I have the distinct impression of vintage clothing that has been stored for years and could use some airing out.

The scent improves as it develops and the jasmine begins to open up. But you need to wait for it to meld with the rest of the scent which remains a dusty, musty orris for some time. It takes a couple hours for the fragrance to become more enjoyable and softer. But overall, it frustrates. It brightens and lifts at points to become quite beguiling, but those moments are fleeting and one feels like Dojima could be any nice iris-powder-makeup scent.

I'm also at a loss to review Dojima because I feel very biased. I sampled Dojima primarily because of the hyped "rice accord." Theoretically, I can imagine jasmine and powdery iris recreating the scent of rice, but they never blend together in this way on my skin. If you are hoping for something reminiscent of fragrant jasmine rice, you are better off trying Etat Libre d'Orange's Fils de Dieu. I also wish to point out that the rice in Japan is not jasmine rice! It's a short-grain variety that is firm, chewy, and a little sticky. It's very different from the fluffy, aromatic long-grain varieties like jasmine or basmati. I was really hoping for Japanese rice, but I suppose I should have known from the notes pyramid that this was not to be.

When I try to set my expectations aside, I am left with an interesting but wearable gauzy jasmine-orris with a dusting of spice and hint of cream. It might take me awhile to appreciate this. It's not a travesty. Faint praise for a house I usually enjoy.
23rd November, 2018

Macaque by Zoologist Perfumes

A pale jade green ice faerie

Macaque was unexpected. The nose behind this scent is Sarah McCartney, founder of 4160 Tuesdays, a house that makes quirky, indie perfumes that remind me of listening to lo-fi, shoegaze tracks. I was expecting something along the same lines, but Macaque is both more difficult and much smoother than the 4160s I’ve tried.

The opening is bright, sharp and clean. It’s a little too chilly for my taste, and high pitched, but it’s just on the right side of challenging. It reads pale green to me rather than a deep mossy forest green as the ad copy suggests. There's bitterness, but there's no weighty earthiness to it. Tart green apple emphasizes the scent’s crispness while galbanum intensifies its hue. I’m not a fan of the “green tea” accord which is a kind of transparent, floral soapiness we find with a number of green tea fragrances on the market that are as alike to smelling loose tea leaves or freshly brewed tea as smelling cherry lozenges are to real cherries.

The scent thankfully softens during its development, balancing the perfume’s sharp edges with a touch of sweetness and some blurring from the musk. “White oud” which I’m guessing here is a slightly fruity, clean take on oud wood, provides a little more depth, but on the whole, there's no satisfactory baseline drop to this perfume.

What impresses me most about Macaque is its contradiction between a smooth texture that plays against its colour. Imagine the drape of a soft silk with a gentle sheen that’s been dyed the colour of a frostbitten green jade.

This is not a scent I would wear. I’m having a difficult time even imagining where this could be worn. I personally prefer a development with more heft. I wish the galbanum here was more earthy and grounding. Despite softening, there is a severity to it. Macaque is not easy to pull off. But it has definitely piqued my curiousity about Zoologist. This is on the good end of "neutral" for me.
23rd November, 2018

Black by Bulgari

An extraordinary machine among clones

I believe that anyone who becomes obsessed with perfume, particularly those who maintain a strict budget like myself, eventually starts making a list of white whales. Difficult to find or discontinued Moby Dick-ian perfumes you build up in your mind and chase, fragrant phantoms in your imagination, haunting you when you least expect it.

For me, one such fragrance has been Bvlgari Black. I first read about it years ago in Tania Sanchez/Luca Turin’s Perfume Guide in which Turin waxed rhapsodic and anointed the scent with a coveted 5-star rating. Its pyramid hit all the notes for I love smoke, woods, rubber, jasmine. And then there were the descriptions. Innovative and modern yet wearable. Complex and perfectly balanced. Scintillating, smoldering, daring, original. More CdG than CdG, more L’Artisan than L’Artisan. Black has been described as all of these things and so much more.

In my mind, Black began to take on mythical proportions. I read reviews as if they were travelogues from Atlantis. I imagined the burning asphalt of Nasomatto’s Black Afgano, but with subtlety and grace. The effortless cool of CdG’s Black, but something more innovative and daring. The patent-leather insouciance of Etat Libre d’Orange’s Rien, but without its brattiness. You get the idea. Black was the Alpha and the Omega. Holy Grail status before I'd even smelled the thing.

Of course I've had Black sightings in online stores and flash sales over the years. I’ve always known samples and decants were readily available. But I never bought it. I told myself this was because of prohibitive shipping costs but the truth was, I was avoiding the crushing disappointment of getting what you want and finding you don’t really want it afterall. What’s more valuable? A wonderous fantasy of the most perfect fragrance, THE Platonic Angelus Novus ur-fragrance, or 40 bucks plus shipping for the real thing?

Well, I came across a tester of Black today. I hesitated. They say you should never meet your idols. But it was time to kill a god. I sprayed my wrist, and inhaled.

Black is good. It starts off innocuously, but give it time to breathe and that smoky, rubbery, synthetic accord starts to come alive. It’s nothing like the acrid smoke monsters I often flirt with, burning a black swath through the air with cade and birch tar. In fact, there’s a transparency to Black that contrasts well with the smoke. It’s also a lot less cerebral and more approachable than one might expect. It's the vanilla, which manages here to impart a soothing quality to the composition. The jasmine seems gentle, the leather becomes friendly. There is an attractive warmth to Black that reminds me that synthetic arts can in fact be very human, kindly even. This is a fragrance for urban types who do not find cities intimidating or overly exciting, but rather, welcoming and familiar.

After 4.5 hours, Black dries down to a warm vanillaic wood skin scent. My chief complaint is that Black seems weak overall and does not last very long to the point where I was tempted to knock my rating down to neutral. And if I am to be honest, I personally prefer something more aggressive. I'm afraid this was not FB worthy for me.

So there we have it. What was once limitless potential has been met with finitude. Although it was not a hollow disappointment, it’s strange to think that the chase for Black is now over. How shall I comfort myself, murderer of all murderers? Why, I shall steep a pot of tea, curl up with a book of poetry with my nose to my wrist, send in an order for another round of perfume samples and call it a day. Because I'm just a lady who enjoys smelly water. And it's one white whale down with countless others to go.

If you have read up to this sentence, thank you for indulging me with this unnecessarily long and tangential review. Le parfum est mort. Vive le parfum!
09th November, 2018 (last edited: 15th November, 2018)

M by Puredistance

A remastered release of a classic hit.

M has been one of my favourite leathers for quite some time. Its stereoscopic, spicy opening features a bright citrus that lifts the scent while hinting at the depths that are to follow. The leather here is well worn, polished to a gorgeous patina while warm spices add textural interest and lends the fragrance breadth. Imagine the dark sheen of a supple leather conditioned with oil infused with florals and spice.

I think it is fair to describe M as derivative of Bel Ami. It clearly replicates the same citrus, spice and leather accord. But the term derivative has negative connotations and I don’t mean it in this way. M is not a slavish cover version. If you think of it as a copy, it is more like a remastered track. It’s almost as if Roja Dove managed to secure the master recordings for Bel Ami and then proceeded to massage the entire composition, significantly boosting and dropping the bass line, adding more sonic colour and texture, and taking the ending in a different direction. Where Bel Ami fades out, M develops the scent further into muskier, richer territory.

If you are a fan of Bel Ami or just leathers in general, M is recommended. If you would like it dirtier than M, consider Roja Dove’s Fetish Pour Homme, which is my favourite out of all three, although be forewarned, it is a more challenging wear!
05th November, 2018

Hermèssence Cèdre Sambac by Hermès

The taming of the shrew

Cèdre Sambac is an unusual fragrance that recalls the zinging interplay of another Hermessence, Épice Marine. Plush jasmine finds an unlikely partner in the clean, hard edges of cedarwood. The rich floral dominates for me in the beginning, but it is given an unexpected structure and discipline with the wood. As the scent develops, the cedar becomes more assertive. In the dry down, the notes have melded together and Cèdre Sambac gives me the impression of wood furniture that was once finished with jasmine oil.

Of the three Hermessences by Nagel, I would say this one would be the most difficult to pull off. However, it shares the same elegant quality.
03rd August, 2018
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Hermèssence Myrrhe Églantine by Hermès

Still waters run deep

Myrrhe Églantine is an unusual rose. A soapy wild dog rose comes to the forefront, but myrrh plays an indispensable role, rounding out the rose with its sweet, resinous qualities. It imparts luminosity, depth and character to the rose. What I like is that Nagel didn’t create a more predictable spicy-smoky character to the rose. As such, I find it to be emotional without being dramatic, as the more bombastic, spicy roses can be. Having said that, I don't think I would wear this. I like my roses with a little more drama.
03rd August, 2018

Hermèssence Agar Ebène by Hermès

An agarwood fragrance as subtle as Japanese incense

If you were hoping for a deep, pungent wood offset by powerful coniferous notes, Agar Ebène will not fit the bill. I think even a smoothed out, westernized oud a la Kilian or Kurkdjian, would not suit the house aesthetic. The wood here is gentle and refined, nothing like the more abrasive oud scents on the market. It is then combined with a mellow balsam fir to form a warm, supple and refined leather that dries down to a balsamic, smoky scent.

With one spray, Agar Ebène demonstrated excellent projection that is subtle but far reaching. I’ve read somewhere that Nagel wishes for her scents to be enveloping and this is a perfect description of the experience of wearing Agar Ebène. As it is an EDT, it dried down to a skin scent for me after four hours.

To be honest, this is not to my taste as I do prefer a rougher wear. Subtle and elegant.
03rd August, 2018

Viper Green by Ex Nihilo

A high pitched whine

Viper Green is a bright scent that is very high pitched, uncomfortably high for me. The opening is piercing. I appreciate the sharpness of galbanum but I'd like it at least an octave lower. I also love vetiver but when it's very grassy and earthy. It feels like any trace of that has been stripped away with an industrial cleanser. The scent that remains is fresh and its floral notes unsentimental. It softens up in the dry down and the iris helps to tame the edges somewhat, but the scent continues to irritate me, like the whine of a mosquito. I'm relieved I didn't spray this on my skin. Just the thought of smelling it for hours is exhausting.
30th July, 2018

Le Sillage Blanc by Parfums Dusita

Courtney Love cleaned up for the Oscars

Le Sillage Blanc bears more than a passing resemblance to Piguet's Bandit but it's free of the latter's harsh and animalistic side. What it does share is a fantastic whip-crack of galbanum which it proceeds to soften up with gentile florals and a mellower base without losing those green edges.

The best way I can describe this fragrance is to reference when Courtney Love, of smeared red lipstick grunge hair stained babydoll dresses LIVE THROUGH THIS fame, showed up all demure and polished in a white Versace gown and clean-cut bob on the red carpet. For weeks, the press continued to reference Love's transformation, but we all knew she could still cut a bitch.
21st July, 2018

L'Histoire Oubliée De Dunhuang by Auphorie

An impressionistic daydream

L’Histoire Oubliée De Dunhuang opens up with a gentle fruity rose, mild spice, and a dense orris butter. The notes of the scent have many turns, shifting in and out of focus. After a couple hours, the spices grow stronger and a clean musk emerges. The musk reminds me of a laundry dryer sheet, a fragrance I strongly dislike, but the earthy spices keep it from becoming overly synthetic or overpowering. Near the end of the scent, after six or so hours, it has blended quite close to the skin and shifted again into a spicy floral with the hint of mandarin rind.

Despite its longevity, the scent is quite gentle and unassuming and does not project very far. While this suits the introverted nature of the scent, it’s ultimately too soft on me and it's mainly a skin scent after the first couple hours or so. Just a little more projection would make this a truly wear, both comforting and elegant.
19th July, 2018

Grapefruit Lime by The 7 Virtues

A bang and a whimper

The opening for Grapefruit Lime begins with a burst of juicy grapefruit that is quite nice. However, after about an hour, the hespiridic notes fade away, leaving a more generic and unremarkable feminine combination of musk and abstract florals. Suitable for a mild-mannered teenaged girl.
10th July, 2018

Vetiver Elemi by The 7 Virtues

Dirty pretty vetiver

Vetiver Elemi was a pleasant surprize. On paper, it smells like a luminous, citrusy-clean vetiver. However, the second I sprayed VE to my skin, an unexpected dirty cumin note burst through that bright opening. It's briefly reminiscent of body odour but then shifts into L'Artisan P Timbuktu territory.

As the scent dries down, the cumin recedes into the background, blending into the vetiver which develops a grassy, earthy and slightly smoky character. Prettier, faint and abstract florals and woods also soften up the scent. Lasts roughly four hours before drying down to a cleaner, woodsy skin scent.

Gentle enough for the office without being boring, very affordably priced, and manufactured without animal products, parabens and the like. Recommended to vetiver fans unless you don’t do well with cumin.
09th July, 2018 (last edited: 08th January, 2019)

V for Women by Clive Christian

edit: this review is for a different fragrance, I think, with the same name V for Women Fruity Floral with Dark Plum, released in 2017, but I can't find it on basenotes

An amped-up, spectacularized version of Le Parfum de Thérèse.

I received a sample of V for Women from an SA. It wouldn't be my first pick as fruity florals are not to my taste, but I asked her for samples of the best from the house.

V opens with a strange, cool and damp, melony accord. The suggestion of fruit on the verge of going bad, but without any rotten sweetness. The hespiridic notes are not sharp or high pitched, rather they provide a warm and mellow background hum paired with something earthy/grassy or dark, which I'm guessing was the palmarosa. There was nothing here to remind me of insipid sweet fruits or pretty florals. So, off to a good start.

After the initial opening, the scent shifts, with jasmine blossoming onto the scene. It's a beautiful jasmine although I wouldn't describe it as clean as the CC website does. You get a delicate jasmine tea like aspect as well as a touch of jasmine's leathery side. If by "clean" this means no ripe bananas, mothballs or rotting indoles, then yes, this jasmine is clean. But it is also lush, complex and sensual and filled out by accompanying notes.

After roughly half an hour, plum starts to come to the fore. I'm not sure why the notes pyramid states peach, as I didn't detect any. I would say there is the weird melon accord from the opening that remains throughout the scent's development and then a dark rich plum emerges, bringing a sweetness. And it is the mellow sweetness of plum offset by a bit of tartness. As the plum strengthens, it brings with it a surprizing turn towards something smoky, incense-like even. How delicious!

I have to admit, at this point in the scent's development, I took a mid-morning nap and woke up to a more generic fruity floral, albeit, a very nice one. At this point the fragrance becomes very pretty and feminine. You have a creamy fleshy-fruit and woods base enlivened by sharper aromatic facets and the barest whisper of smoky leather. I was more impressed by the fragrance's early development in which the notes were continually shifting around, making it very interesting and exciting to wear.

I should probably note here that CC's perfumes are exorbitantly expensive, and in what I find to be a rather crass move, the house's tagline is "the world's most expensive perfume." While CC has more expensive fragrances, at $395/50ml, V is positioned at the high end of what the market will bear. Is it worth it?

Kafkaesque wrote an article awhile ago stating a "Roja Dove rule" which I'll paraphrase as "if the fragrance is opulent with quality ingredients that are expertly crafted together, yes, the price is flagrantly exorbitant, if not arrogant, but that's just a part of the prestige of the scent and the price is justified."

I'd give V a "Roja Dove rule" pass if I were to base it on its initial development. But the rest of the dry-down is not nearly as exciting. More damning however, is the fact that V smells like a much more affordable scent, Frédéric Malle's Le Parfum de Thérèse which retails at almost half the price of V. LPDT shares the odd melon note, warm and mellow citrus, a beguiling, sensual jasmine, a sweet plum, and a leathery base.

LPDT was released 12 years prior to V and while you don't get the twists and turns of V, I think it is the superior fragrance. It's like V takes LPDT and adds unnecessary bells and whistles. They're entertaining, and I imagine V has used more expensive ingredients, but V lacks the emotional tenor of LPDT that makes the latter fragrance in my mind, the better perfume, as well as one of the best from Malle.
02nd July, 2018 (last edited: 07th July, 2018)

Dove Grey by Régime des Fleurs

Screeching candied violets

Dove Grey opens with a brief, promising moment of a cool, wet orris before subjecting you to a piercing cloud of candied violets. This could have worked if it was tempered with other notes? Instead, it hovers upon high with a stabbing intensity. Imagine Barry Hermann's violin score for Psycho. The main improvement with the dry down is that the volume is lowered.

I like the idea of a heady, floaty floral perfume anchored with notes of wet concrete and steel and you can see what the house was aiming for, but it needs work. I'd place this on the cusp of neutral and thumbs down because of the concept, but given its price of $448/50 ml, it is truly regrettable.
29th June, 2018

Iron Duke by Beaufort London

The worn in seat of a saddle just after the well-groomed rider has dismounted the steed.

Iron Duke opens as promises with a sharp metallic clang although it's more polished, like stainless steel rather than iron. Beneath that lies a tough leather that’s slightly worn in and sweaty, a little animalic even, but never overtly feral or unwashed. Although I do have a very high tolerance for skank.

Roughly an hour and a half into its development, a sweet accord, accompanied by a soapiness, becomes more harsh as the metallic note fades. The sweetness remains quite unpleasant and strident for at least an hour before beginning to fade. After a few hours, when the fragrance has died down to a skin scent and its harsh sweetness has disappeared, it smells fantastic bringing my nose right up to my skin: leather with a suggestion of realistic animal warmth and a touch of smoke.

I don’t agree with posts I’ve read stating Iron Duke is a commercial scent. It seems that Beaufort is first criticized for not producing something easily wearable but when it tones things down, it is then deemed uncreative. Iron Duke may not be as extreme as the other Beauforts I've tried but I think the combination of metal and hide is too odd to be a crowd pleaser. For me, my main criticism is that while the Beaufort fragrances are interesting, I’ve yet to come across one that is not markedly unbalanced at some point in its development.
26th June, 2018

East India / Vi Et Armis by Beaufort London

The dregs of a smoky tea in a dark, cramped cabin.

Vi et Armis has a jarring and unpleasant opening of harsh wood varnish laid over smoked meat. After about an hour the notes settle down and learn how to cooperate with each other, making for a bold, evocative fragrance that's slightly sweet. Imagine water has leaked into a leather pouch packed with tobacco leaves and marinated for some time before being mixed into the silty dredges of a stained pot of black tea left out on the counter. The scent continues to improve as the meaty and wet notes fade, the cleanser note becomes tamed into a more fragrant cardamom and the smouldering smoke becomes smoother. Eventually, this fragrance becomes quite fantastic from a distance - but when you get right up to the skin, you'll still be treated to a whiff of barbecue. It takes forever to fade and blend into the rest of the notes.

Neutral suggests a scent that is middling and that one has not been moved, but this is definitely not the case with Vi et Armis. The opening is disastrous but the dry down is unexpected and interesting.
26th June, 2018

Coeur de Noir by Beaufort London

Birch tar beast

If you like birch tar, Coeur de Noir has it in spades. Opens with a suckerpunch of the stuff and a worn biker's leather jacket with a dusting of dry ginger powder. I love the smoky phenolic character of birch tar, but at points it is overpowering. Other notes do peek out during the dry down, in particular, the leather gains a nutty quality and becomes smoothed out with vanilla. CdN eventually grows more tame and enjoyable for me. I would have liked it much more if the other notes were more prominent. It's like the birch tar is a wild, black beast that needs to rage at you for a bit before calming down. I'd have rated this higher if it hadn't given me a smarting headache.
26th June, 2018

French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

A crisp white oxford shirt in a greenhouse that has opened its windows.

French Lover blends lighter notes of brisk, aromatic woods and peppery angelica with the heft of grassy, smoky vetiver and a slug of vegetal, earthy galbanum. It manages to simultaneously convey both clean, confident contours with plenty of breathing room and a dark, rich, if not murky foundation.

Decent longevity, excellent for humid days. The fragrance reads as masculine but I like to pair it with minimalist and monochromatic looks. Would be great with pressed slacks and black patent leather stilettos.
19th June, 2018

Music For a While by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

An approachable fragrance from a mostly standoffish house.

Opens with a burst of juicy pineapple before the lavender appears. I tend to avoid sweet fragrances but this is never saccharine or harsh. The fruit serves as a counterpoint to the herbaceousness of the lavender while warmth from patchouli bridges the two. It's a nice balancing act although I wish the lavender was more pronounced on my skin.

Ultimately, MFAW is not to my taste but it wears well in the summer and the pineapple is surprizingly refreshing on a sultry day. Good longevity and projection.
02nd June, 2018

Santal 33 by Le Labo

Santal 33 opens up as a casual, worn leather on my skin. It's pleasant enough but as it dries down, it completely falls apart into a dense, fluffy cloud of synthetic musk. Unfortunately, at this point the projection is quite strong and enduring. Utterly disappointing and not the only Le Labo to have collapsed like this on me. I have given up on the house.
01st June, 2018

Myths Woman by Amouage

Edith Piaf having a solo smoke backstage after performing La Foule.

The opening is earthy and damp, if not chilly. The galbanum is not as ferocious and vegetal as Opus VII but it has some bite. The opening rapidly segues into the scent’s floral notes with the galbanum providing a subtle edge. It evokes the sense of flowers after it’s rained – there’s something cool and almost stony about them. It remains somewhat aloof, even as the scent then takes a turn into more musky, intimate territory. This more challenging stage eventually fades into a supple, floral leather.

Faded glamour is a great description. There is something sombre and guarded about it emotionally.

Outstanding longevity - the quality is fantastic. The majority of fragrances I've tried dry down to something very blurred and abstract, but after 9+ hours, even as a skin scent, Myths Woman's complexity holds. It still has a structure to it on my skin.

Myths Woman is stunningly beautiful and I love smelling it but ultimately, I must concede that I feel too young to wear it - for now.
01st June, 2018