Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Andy the frenchy

Total Reviews: 20

Noir Premier : Or Intemporel 1988 by Lalique

This is really a great tobacco fragrance. The dry tobacco note is beautiful, and the supporting coffee, balsamic and vanilla notes are clearly noticeable (the vanilla is a little too forward for my taste, though). Not my favourite scent, but I can tell it's complex, niche quality, and performs well. It's the well behaved sibling of Lutens Fumerie Turque, without animalistic notes.
This one and Terres Aromatiques are the only 2 fragrances of the Noir Premier line worth of interest imho.

A must for tobacco lover!

Fall/Winter evenings, 30+
16th May, 2019

Noir Premier : Élégance Animale 1989 by Lalique

I totally agree with Darvant's review: nice, but nothing new or groundbreaking here.

Like Darvant, I get a jammy rose/saffron combo with woody background and a shy hint of leather.
It's kind of a less refined Guerlain Santal Royal.
Original pricing at ~$300 was just a joke, and current pricing at ~$85 is ok, but still high since this fragrance is a linear carbon copy of Charriol Royal Platinum's drydown that currently retails for ~$30.
Average projection but short lived.

Not bad, but deja-vu. A pass for me.
Fall/Winter evenings, 30+, unisex.
16th May, 2019

Black Touch by Franck Olivier

Has vibes of Encre Noire and Terre d'Hermes, but even darker than EN. Don't misunderstand me: I make this comparison just to give a vague idea of the scent, but in terms of quality, we're far from these two. It shouts synthetic!

It's harsh, powdery, and irritates the throat. (no joke, I coughed each time I wore this one - I gave up).
I blind bought this one at the very beginning of my fragrance journey, and even at that time with my untrained nose, I right away understood that it was a mistake, in spite of the low price tag. Like for most of the cheapies I own, there has been no magic in this case: I got what I paid for. Good performance, but is it worth mentionning since it smells cheap?

In summary, it's pretty original, but drugstore quality. Too bad!

14th May, 2019
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Mon Numéro 10 by L'Artisan Parfumeur

On my skin this fragrance starts with a cinnamon bomb, balanced by bergamot and a hint of pink peppercorns.
The drydown is quite linear (and similar to the opening), with the cinnamon still leading the show, with the support of a shy vanillic leather. The pyramid is very promising by listing notes rarely used in perfumery (heliotrope, hyrax, cabreuva wood, fennel, ambergris...). Unfortunatly, I do not get any of these, nor any incense, nor all the funkiness others reviewers may smell. Overall, to my nose it's a sibling of Histoires de Parfums 1899, that I'd recommend over Mon Numero 10, should you look for a sweet spices frag.

L'Artisan clearly has 2 departments: the party-funky-innovative agitated kids that made the brand famous (Dzing!, Dzongkha, Timbuktu, Al Oudh...) and the well behaved parents who try (and fail) to stay young, pretty mainstream and boring, that capture the value from mainstream crowds (the larger amount), but largely needed for the brand to survive. This one, is clearly part of the 2nd category. A "nice" fragrance for the holidays, but nothing groundbreaking here. Furthermore, aside of the early opening when the projection is decent - at best -, overall both projection and longevity are below average.
07th May, 2019

Higher by Christian Dior

Great scent, fresh/spicy with a fruity backbone. Great for mildly warm Spring and Summer days.

Unfortunately it is much weaker than what I remember from the bottle I got as a present the year it was issued (nearly 20 years ago).
Indeed it projects moderatly for 30min, before settling as a skin scent and fully disappearing after just 3hrs.

Worth it at discounted price, but I m sad they destroyed my memories...
04th May, 2019

Night Veils : La Botte by Byredo

Badass biker black leather jacket. Fahrenheit-ish but with in-your-face leather and a very gasoline-ish violet that will never show its floral side.

Great scent, but totally overpriced, thus only a neutral ranking.
Not sure why the feminine classification, as this one is unisex leaning masculine imo.
03rd May, 2019

Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

A beautiful refined leather frag, elegant, that some sweetness may allow for a woman to wear it.

I agree in saying that it is a more airy/thinner version of Tuscan Leather, with the rasperry being substitued by a jasmine note (that results smelling pretty similar to the rasperry). The drydown gives the impression of a subtle smoky note.

It is less aggressive, less in-your-face than TL, and for sure a more elegant version. It has a more suede leather than dark leather feeling.
That said, there is no compromise in performance, as it project strongly in the first couple of hours, and then stays moderate for another couple of hours.

Pretty linear, but still another win for me together with Tobacco Oud, after a long series of "meh" from the house of Tom Ford.
Worth considering if you can get it under $100 (look around, it starts to show up for that price!)

Mildly cold evenings, 25+
25th April, 2019

Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford

After Oud "Air" Wood, Tobacco "girly" Vanilla, Tom Ford "Pimpy" for Men, Noir "Oldy", Noir "sweety" extreme, Tuscan "Shitty Rasperry" Leather, I finally found something I'm interested in from Tom Ford...

TOBACCO OUD: a masculine dry pipe tobacco and spices, with a boozy/oudy support. The tobacco is unapologetic, nearly animalic in the opening, with a round woody whisky note in the background that amps up the tobacco without taking the lead.

Linear, but well blended. A lower level cousin of Lutens Fumerie Turque. Should I have to choose, I would go without hesitation for the Lutens, but still, I like this one.

I have TO on one arm and Ombre Leather on the other: tonight, it seems that Tom Ford wants me to change my mind on his house. Good job Tommy! (but still, imo, the fair price should be no more than half the current price, and projection could be be improved. TO Intense? To be continued...)

Colder evenings, 30+
25th April, 2019

Oud Wood by Tom Ford

Opens with an wet woody accord widely used in designer oud fragrances to give an impression of oud. This accord quickly vanishes to leave the stage to a creamy sandalwood, supported by a hint of cardamon, spices and vanilla. Very linear, but lacks the complexity expected at that price point.
I like it, and I am not surprised this fragrance is so successful, since Oud Wood is a crowdpleasing sandalwood fragrance, and has little to do with oud, aside of its name.
That said, that doesn't impact the fact that it is a nicely blended fragrance, that may fit the bill for a pleasant unoffensive office fragrance.

While it may have been unique at the time it was released (2007, a few years after YSL M7), it does not anymore. Indeed, I have to echo other reviewers in underlining that this one is very similar to Versace Oud Noir (with the orange note being substituted by sandalwood, which gives a slightly more elegant feel to Oud Wood).
That said, I cannot justify spending 6 to 8 times more than Oud Noir for just a extra hint of elegance. Unfortunately, I also have to confirm observation made in many other reviews in regard to Oud Wood's poor performance.

I loved it when I first tested it on paper at the beginning of my frag journey, now after having smelt 500+ frags, it's just a I like for me, but really, nothing groundbreaking. Factoring-in price, average quality (absence of oud, unlike Amouage frags that are currently sold for half the price of OW), low performance and strong similarities with a fragrance that costs 6 times less, I cannot see any valid reason to get a full bottle, and will stick with Versace Oud Noir. Just my 2 cents.
When it will be priced under $75 for a 100ml bottle, I may rethink my choice. In the meanwhile, there are way more interesting frags around for the $300 it currently retails for.

Fall/Winter days, 20-40yo.

Note: while I like it, it gets a thumbs down rating because of the lack of complexity and poor performance, both unacceptable at that price point.
24th April, 2019

Emeraude Agar by Atelier Cologne

A beautiful fragrance with a nice oud accord (warm, present but not in-your-face or pungent), supported by a noticeable eucalyptus note, and other notes that are not identifiable individually, but give a round and warm support (guaiac wood, sandalwood, rose). I also get an impression of saffron (Angelica, black pepper and geranium I guess).
It reminds me of several fragrances without being able to link it to a specific one. Not unique, but masterfully blended.

The scent is heavenly, that said on my skin the projection is soft and the longevity moderate at best (disclaimer: I tested it from a decant, not a full bottle).

The scent is heaven-level. If performance was better on my skin, I would have already gone for a full bottle, but I'll first test it further and finish with my decant before making a decision (and edit this review). For now, because of that weakness, it'll be only a neutral rating.
Still, a great oud accord fragrance, that is office safe (strong point).

Fall/Winter/early Spring days, 30+, unisex
23rd April, 2019

Cologne Noir by Van Cleef & Arpels

Probably the most masculine of this line.

Fresh and spicy opening, with an elegant floral-woody drydown.
Like others have said, I would definitely not pay the $200+ it retails for. Indeed, it is nothing new or groundbreaking, especially 10 years after it has been issued. Some similarities with YSL L'Homme, but a step higher in quality, and targeted to more mature crowds.

That said, the quality is here, and at $55 for a large bottle on ebay, it was a no-brainer for me!
It gets a neutral rating because projection is very soft on my skin, and becomes a skin scent after just 30min.

Fall/Spring days, 30+
23rd April, 2019

Colonia Sandalo by Acqua di Parma

Unlike other reviewers, I have been disappointed by this one. For sure, it performs, and the sandlawood is there. But to my nose it smells very synthetic, and I'm not sure that the pairing with lavender and cardamom works well here.

Feels a little rough and unrefined to my nose. Too sharp.
For twice less money, I opt for Tam Dao EdP without hesitation.
18th April, 2019

Cuir Eau de Parfum by Molinard

What a great surprise!

The top is leaning masculine. Despite being listed in the base, I get a very nice round, warm oud-ish wood note right at the opening. It's clearly a synthetic oud accord, but more realistic than in other designer fragrances (YSL M7 Oud Absolu or Versace Oud Noir, to cite just a couple). I also spot a shy cacao note in the background, like in L'Instant de Guerlain. Here, Molinard seems to take the same approach as Acqua di Parma, by balancing traditionally warmer/heavier notes with fresh ones: in this case a sharp bergamot, that will keep an aldehydic touch from top to base. Great start!
The heart is totally unisex. After 15-30 mins, it morphs toward an excellent ballet of nutmeg, verbena, lavender, chili pepper and saffron, in which each note is individually noticeable (note that black pepper is unaccurately listed in the heart notes instead of chili peppers).
The base leans feminine. After an hour, it softens, and the base notes (vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli) give a great impression of suede leather, with a hint of smoke.

Women should not be scared to wear that one: despite oud and leather notes are listed in the pyramid, it's not at all a "masculine woody/leather" fragrance (unlike Dior Fahrenheit or TF Tuscan Leather for example).
The only drawback is the very low performance (skin scent after a few minutes, and a 2 hours longevity), and thus the use of moisturizer as well as heavily overspraying with a double-layer is recommended - if not required - to get just a soft/moderate projection and 7 to 9 hours of longevity. This is one of the "I wish it had a better performance" shelf, like Pal Zileri Sartoriale for example... in that hypothetical case, both would have been in the masterpiece category.

While Molinard usually targets more the feminine crowds, here it delivers a totally unisex (and fantastic) oud-y/fresh/spicy suede fragrance. At just $40 online, it's a steal!

Imo, it's best worn in Spring and Fall, maybe even in moderatly warm summertime, thanks to the bergamot. It may be preferable to pull it off during evenings, but I can totally see women wearing this one also during the day, in office (low projection is a strength in this case). 30+.

My first buy from Molinard, and for sure not the last one. Despite the bad performance, congratulations to Célia Lerouge (in-house perfumer and chief executive of Molinard) for this great scent! (And the very sexy commercial campaign in which she puts her face... and not only)

14th April, 2019
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Sartoriale by Pal Zileri

Beautiful creamy sandalwood fragrance. Round but clean, smooth, reassuring.

Unfortunately I have to echo other reviewers in stating that the projection is soft in the first hour, and the fragrance totally disappears after a couple of hours or so. It's really bad, because it's a 5-stars scent in my opinion, of the same quality level as Dyptique Tam Dao.
How I wish it performed better...
12th April, 2019

Cuirs by Carner Barcelona

Blind bought a 50ml bottle, that I thought was a good deal.

All I get is cumin and saffron on top, and a blend of patchouli, labdanum, woods and pepper which give an idea of oud. Like previous reviewers stated before, if you want to smell leather, look elsewhere.

As for similarities, to my nose it's 20%LM Black Oud and 80% Gucci Intense Oud. Similarities to Nasomatto Black Afgano is vague and limited to the chocolaty/oudy drydown. Don't expect a clone of NBA, but a copy of GIO reminding of LMBO.

Sounds good, except that... the projection is VERY soft. Unacceptable at this price point.
I had Terenzi LN and LM Black Oud on the other arm, and as stated before it's similar to BO in the top and drydown, but has no similarity at all with LN (nor in scent nor in performance).

Thumbs down for me.
11th April, 2019 (last edited: 10th April, 2019)

Essence No. 6 : Vetiver by Elie Saab

Beautiful take on vetiver signed Francis Kurkdjian.

It opens with a fresh citrusy vetiver. Shortly after, the vetiver goes back behind the scenes and the papyrus takes the lead, supported by cloves, and a hint of grapefuit to sharpen the edges. Then, the vetiver comes back (without being loud) in the drydown.

A poem that would deserve to be recited louder... indeed, this creation misses the masterpiece grade because of its modest projection.
Not a revolution here, but - like the other fragrances of this line - a perfectly tailored blend, using both haitian and indonesian vetiver oils.

Like a litterature masterpiece that happens later to be just a good movie, this juice is a fantastic composition that fails to enter the perfume history because of its poor performance. Still a love for me, though.

Spring/Fall days (and summer mildly hot days), 30+. A slight sweetness in the background makes it unisex, but still, it leans on the masculine side.
10th February, 2019 (last edited: 11th February, 2019)

Essence No. 8 : Santal by Elie Saab

Just beautiful in my opinion...

Like the other fragrances of this line, it's not groundbreaking, but tailored to perfection. Apricot and Osmanthus are perfect original twists to the sandalwood. The only downside is the modest projection, but that makes it a luxurious fragrance for closed environment.

Again, an excellent creation signed Francis Kurkdjian.
Note: if someone find this one somewhere under $100 at some point, please contact me! (For a reason I ignore, this one is the only one of the line impossible to find at regualr online stores)
10th February, 2019

Essence No. 3 : Ambre by Elie Saab

Amber has no smell, and even if it had one, there would be no way to perform an extraction. In perfumery, amber is a representation of the well-known golden-brown fossilized resin used in jewelry, supposed to mimic the idea of warm/conforting/soothing feeling felt when looking at it.

It is usually just an easy to blend vanilla+resin accord. While I understand the perfume houses who list it as an olfactive note for marketing scopes, I still don't understand why fragrances websites and databases keep listing an unexistant "amber" note.

Anyways, one of the main differences between the various fragrances in the "amber department" (aside of the nature of oils that can be natural or synthetic) is the nature and blend of the resin(s) used: sweet myrrh (opoponax, the one used here), bitter myrrh (myrrh), benzoin, elemi...
The other main difference (the major one in my opinion, that demonstrate the mastery of perfumery skills) is the extra "twist" added: bay leaf (Lutens Ambre Sultan), tonka+nutmeg (HdP Ambre 114)... Here, Francis Kurkdjian used ylang-ylang, giving a fresh exotic twist, just as a subtle but fantastic supporting note.

In the little note in the box, Elie Saab has the honesty to talk about "amber representation" (not a note). The pyramid here not accurate, as this fragrance has: patchouli, vanilla, labdanum, opoponax, ylang-lang, sandalwood and jasmine.

This "amber" fragrance is pretty simple and linear, but divine, like the other fragrances in the Essence collection: no fireworks, just smooth perfection.
While I am not a fan of Ambre Sultan (it's more about bay leaf than resins), here, Elie Saab Ambre n.3 plays in the same league of HdP Ambre 114, and is the older (slightly shyer but wiser) brother of MFK Grand Soir (no surprise, it's the same nose).
I wish it kept projecting well during the whole drydown, like in the opening, but aside of this minor drawback, the choice of ylang-ylang makes it a magic blend. To note also: This fragrance comes in a sober but luxurious packaging, and the bottle has a magnetic cap.
This rank on top, in front of MFK Grand soir and Ambre 114 in my amber fragrances list. Given the current prices at online discounters, it is really a no-brainer for small budgets.

Ambre n.3? No... Ambre n.1!

Perfectly unisex, 30+, best in fresh/cold evenings
10th February, 2019

Essence No. 4 : Oud by Elie Saab

Stunning fragrance, signed by Francis Kurkdjian.

This fragrance is completely oud-focused. One can spot several expression of oud, typical of the multi-faceted laotian oud that has been used here. (considered by many as the most interesting oud, the reason why F. Kurkdjian exclusively uses it for his creations at MFK, as well as Guerlain in their higher-end fragrances)

It starts with a very medicinal/balsamic oud scent, very vegetal and minty. It is nearly astringent (probably the benzoin), and to be honest, I was worried about my blind-buy at this point.

I have been reassured shortly after, when the green freshness and the mint both disappear, and the oud morphs into an asphalt/rubbery oud, and black pepper starts to show up, (only as a supporting note, not in-your-face).

Then, the oud becomes pure heaven: it tames in terms of scent, but not in presence. It becomes (and will stay from now on) a beautiful dry woody but round oud, with hints of smoke (but not burnt). Hard to describe at this point, this is the smell of laotian oud, pure luxury-smelling bliss. I may suspect the presence of a very light rose, and a hint of saffron, but very subtle.

The notes in this fragrance help the oud to develop, but only as supporting actors. The oud is the main and only star here.
Interms of performance, it's not a beast, but has a great projection in the first hour, then keeps having a moderate/good projection for the follwoing 6 hours (I kept sometimes smelling whiffs several hours on, without placing my nose on the skin).

As of today, THIS is my best oud fragrance, my best blind-buy and my favorite fragrance in my 50+ bottles collection.

In the past, you would have gotten what you payed for ($250). Except nowadays: you get much more than what you pay for, because at currently $55 for 3.4 oz at discounters, it's just the best steal ever!!
31st December, 2018

M7 Oud Absolu by Yves Saint Laurent

It's a powdery-orangey oud, supported by a sweet patchouli in the drydown. I like the comparison with Dior Homme, without Iris and more woody. At the opening, it's a light medicinal style oud (much lighter than Malle's animalistic oud-focused fragrance the Night).
This M7 oud absolu is a masterpiece (and I just got the clear "new" bottle).I don't know M7 (original) or M7 Oud Absolu (1st edition with black sticker on bottle), but I agree that, despite the scent is good and you can smell it at arm's length, it is not a "beast". That said, is it such a bad thing to have an oud perfume that does not scare the people around you? I don't think so! :)

It is unfortunately impossible to test outside of the few YSL flagship stores (maybe 5/10 in the world?), and blind buying is thus the only option.

Personnally, I love it.
Fall/winter evenings, 30+

12th December, 2018