Perfume Reviews

Reviews by tonileefiore

Total Reviews: 89

Rose 31 by Le Labo

Le Labo Rose 31 is a beautiful, alluring, ethereal fragrance for those of us who adore the contained fragrance notes. While marketed as unisex, to me Rose 31 leans feminine, which is something I look for whenever I attempt an oud fragrance, or a perfume with oud listed as an ingredient. Lovely, calming, embracing...I just love this fragrance.

So yes, Rose 31 opens with the expected blast of rose, sharp cumin and the usual spices...notes that give the perfume a very spicy, bitter introduction. But within 30-60 seconds, Rose 31 morphs with drier, more subtle rose, some cedar, a beautiful oud scent, etc. The dry-down is more lovely, grounded "old" ROSE...a rose fragrance like something you might expect if you pressed a rose between the pages of an old book, cedar, woodsy notes, musk...and ROSE.

The end result is lovely for me, as many rose-oud-musky-woodsy fragrances tend to remain too "fresh," or too "green" on me. Not this one. The interplay between the various notes makes this an interesting, non-linear, peaceful & soothing fragrance. As an aside LL Rose 31 is not at all powdery, which is another note I dislike in many rose, violet, iris, jasmine, or other floral fragrances.

So, Le Labo Rose 31 is "old rose world" without becoming too "old-lady"-ish, or victorian. I like this fragrance a lot. Just wish the fragrance had more staying power, especially at this price point.

Now I'm torn between buying a full bottle of LL Rose 31 or Bella Freud 1971...

Le Labo Rose 31 is truly a unique and beautiful twist on the much tried, saturated rose fragrance perfume market!
03rd October, 2019 (last edited: 04th October, 2019)

L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens

I've never been a super-gigantic Serge Lutens fan; however, I do like a few of his fragrances and over the years, I've worn one, or two on a regular basis (Vetiver Oriental, Santal Blanc).

L'Orpheline leaves me feeling frustrated. No matter how much I apply, or how often I apply the fragrance, I can barely detect any discernible notes. Beyond "a watercolor painting" as one reviewer cited, this stuff reads more like "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Incense, patchouli and musk? Upon application, this fragrance emits the usual Lutens spicy, over-the-top "top" notes that quickly dissipate while one sneezes. The middle of L'Orpheline is frustrating, as I sniff and sniff and sniff and receive nothing but a powdery, musty odor. Fortunately the powdery and musty notes are too weak to make any difference and are barely detectable.

Within 20-30 minutes, L'Orpheline settles as a linear, muted, powdery bore with faint licorice notes.

Not for me and certainly not at the Lutens price-point.
02nd October, 2019

Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne

So, initially when I sniffed this cologne from the bottle, I liked it. And after initial application some 7 hours back, I sorta liked it. Here I am now, nearly 8 hours post-application and I'm starting to wonder if this fragrance will ever wear off, or dissipate.

Rose Anonyme starts off with a stinging, almost harsh opening of bergamot and ginger, the kind of opening that nearly makes one sneeze. That's okay 'cause within seconds, a beautiful, full, dark Turkish rose note appears, quickly joined by something I can only describe as herbal, woodsy, or balsamic...the oud?

Perhaps it is the emergent and ever-present olibanum and oud that do it; however after a while, I found this cologne to be nearly choking...almost cloying. Another reviewer mentioned "patchouli" as the note giving Rose Anonyme its "green" fragrance; and green fragrance notes are those of which I am not fond. However, in my life, I've never smelled patchouli to be quite so balsamic or "green." Seems like no matter how hard I tried, after some time all I could smell was balsam...probably oud.

Several hours in, I began smelling like the old, original green "Clairoil Herbal Essence Shampoo." Silage with Rose Anonyme is high, longevity is beyond...cannot imagine the extrait, which apparently packs even more of a punch than the cologne.

As an aside, I absolutely adore Frederic Malle "Portrait of a Lady." One reviewer experienced Rose Anonyme as a fragrance one might appreciate if they favor Portrait of a Lady. Sadly, this was not my experience with Rose Anonyme.

I like the Turkish rose notes in this cologne a lot. I just wish the Turkish rose, incense, patchouli and papyrus developed more thoroughly on me than the woodsy, earthy oud.

While nice enough, I'm afraid I'm giving this one a huge pass.
01st October, 2019
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Gothic II by Loree Rodkin

I couldn't quite make my mind up about this fragrance after wearing it for a few days. I like it, I really do but I don't love it. Before writing this review, I tried my utmost to identify what exactly it is I favor, or not about this fragrance, Gothic II. After giving this a lot of thought, I still have difficulty clarifying & articulating my experience.

The stated notes are positively present with Gothic II. On me, this perfume opens with prominent notes of smooth, velvety, warm & boozy vanilla, along with a touch of weak patchouli. I detect boozy, bourbon vanilla and mild patchouli more than any other notes. Extremely linear, this perfume did not change or develop on my skin. Notes of bourbon vanilla interplaying with mild & pleasant notes of patchouli, back 'n forth, back 'n forth...that's it. At times, this fragrance smelled powdery & almost musty on my skin. Gothic II is a very linear, dry and extremely subtle fragrance. This fragrance plays very close to the body, very much what one might expect with a fragrance oil. Silage is negligible, staying power is poor. IMHO, I found this fragrance kinda boring.

As my time wearing this fragrance passed, I kept waiting for something spectacular to happen, which for me never occurred. As I tested/wore this, the fragrance quickly dissipated & floated away. For the brief time this perfume remained with me, whatever notes I detected seemed extremely restrained. While nice enough, this perfume did not "develop" enough for me. From start-to-finish, Gothic II seemed to fall flat.

I imagine if you are a patchouli & vanilla fan, if you enjoy the experience of a fragrance oil and if you like an extremely subtle fragrance that plays very close to the body, you will like Gothic II a lot. I guess I prefer fragrances that have more presence, a bit more of a boom.
01st October, 2019

La Religieuse by Serge Lutens

I recently tried La Religieuse in an attempt to expand my go-to wardrobe...guess I am feeling a bit bored, so I purchased several perfume samples.

My experience with La Religieuse is one of total disappointment! I anxiously awaited the arrival of this perfume and chose to wear it over the past few days. Not sure how & why the Serge Lutens PR folks are describing this (as they are) but I do not detect many (if any) of the listed notes...jasmine (yes, yes, yes) but civet, musk and incense? No way!

From opening to end, I sadly detected nothing but an over-powering almost synthetic jasmine note...that's about it. I waited throughout each day and from opening-to-dry down, I sadly could not detect any additional mid-or base notes. No complex, or variant notes of any kind...just jasmine.

I absolutely LOVE a lovely jasmine fragrance that is complex, moody, dark, dirty, earthy...a jasmine scent balanced by other notes that is complex & mysterious. I adore Jasmine Imperiatrice Eugenie by Creed, which is a beautiful, mysterious & complicated fragrance. But La Religieuse is ho-hum, nondescript and actually boring.

If you seek a jasmine fragrance that is unique & hypnotic (almost dark), please try Creed's Jasmine Imperiatrice Eugenie...a much nicer fragrance, in my opinion...jasmine fragrance, that is.

And if you are like me, La Religieuse will disappoint as an "incense" fragrance. Very little incense, no smokiness, zero earthiness/civet, etc of any kind.
27th September, 2019

Gold Incense by Mancera

I decided to purchase several new samples from the various on-line sites because I've grown a bit bored with my usual go-to fragrances...needing a change.

I do favor specific scents and fragrances, those with incense notes, patchouli, rose, oud, smoke, florals, etc. I applied Mancera Gold Incense with excitement and moderate expectations. For me, this fragrance is a total disappointment.

While nice enough I suppose, I agree with others about the absence of incense, or smokiness of any kind. I agree with "smokywhiteowl" about the presence of vanilla, musk, some patchouli...that's about it.

The opening is quite intense and peppery. Fortunately, the opening notes last for 15 seconds. Afterward, IMHO this fragrance smells like "just about any old mainstream fragrance with said notes that can easily be found at Ulta, or any department store fragrance counter."

Longevity is poor, silage is poor. A very ho-hum fragrance that will surely appeal to the masses. Quiet, safe, ordinary and basic.
27th September, 2019

Thirty-three by Ex Idolo

Not a whole lot to say, or add to what has already been said. Another rose 'n oud fragrance in an increasingly crowded category.

This one is inky, dark, rather resinous with more oud than rose. Not overly outstanding.

Projection is fine and longevity is good. agree with many of the other reviewers. This is reminiscent of Montale Black Aoud. It has a more Inky Aoud smell than Black Aoud, and a less quality rose. Great projection, great longevity.
27th September, 2019

Frankincense - Myrrh - Rose Maroc by Regina Harris

Not sure what all the buzz is about. Sticky, resinous mixture that fringes on boring. Primarily frankincense with very little rose, or anything else, for that matter.

I recognize I am not a fan of resinous, close-to-the body oils. Staying power is nil, silage is zero. Any fragrance seems to fade within 30 minutes, or so. While I suppose there is a bit of a "more authentic, pure oil fragrance" to this dark mixture, it still smells like "suburban mall kiosk" oil that has lost pungency. Fragrance seems to hit a wall. After a few minutes, I could barely detect any scent.

You would think at this price point, there might be something utterly pleasurable, or unique about this oil.

This is a total pass.
24th September, 2019

Samharam by Arte Profumi

No need to poetically wax about this one. Very beautiful perfume straight-up loaded with frankincense & myrrh. A smoky, linear beauty. Peppery opening with an instantaneous dry down to lovely, church-y incense, frankincense and myrrh. More myrrh than frankincense.

Deeper and more authentic than many of the others in this incense category. Has a more genuine linear dry-down than say, Etro "Messe de Minuit." Perfect.
24th September, 2019

L'Eau Gothique by Reims Parfums

Hey... I am by no means a Jovoy Parfums fancier and I am pretty particular about the perfume I purchase and wear. So, Reims Parfums (for Jovoy) is a new and young brand created by Jean Philippe Vidal, theater actor and lover of perfumes. With Bertrand Duchaufour, Vidal introduces three new parfums: L’Eau des Sacres, L’Eau Gothique and L’Eau de Reims.

I usually lean towards my preferred fragrance notes; I adore ethereal, not overly-churchy, slightly woodsy, patchouli, rose, etc INCENSE fragrances. I heard about Reims new L'Eau Gothique, so I purchased a sample and gave it a try.

WOW and LOVE are all I can say! Undoubtedly for me, this new Reims fragrance is beyond worthy of a full bottle purchase. Yes, I have totally fallen in love with L'Eau Gothique and will soon be purchasing my first full bottle!

The Reims website says...with L'Eau Gothique, "Duchaufour revisits his earlier masterpiece Avignon but captures the splendor of High Mass incense by way of an altogether warmer, spicier, and woodier route, effectively giving the scent a ‘human’ tone that’s missing in the Comme des Garcons scent." And while I'm not able to completely recall my experience with Avignon (I wasn't a fan), I am beyond certain this fragrance is much warmer and woodsier, less harsh and rough, friendlier, more appealing and much more wearable than Avignon (or practically all of the Commes des Garcons Parfum Series 3 fragrances).

L'Eau Gothique definitely opens with a whack of bergamot, coriander & spice...I imagine for some this could be sneeze inducing! However within minutes, frankincense notes pleasantly emerge...primarily resinous balsam & pine...quickly blending with the coriander & citrus opening. Shortly thereafter, beautiful & fragrant floral notes break through and seamlessly blend with the spicier and more balsamic opening notes. Twenty-to-thirty minutes in, this fragrance pleasantly expands even further introducing smooth & gentle patchouli incense notes. With this, the balsamic scent fades backstage only intermittently appearing throughout the next several hours. Overall, the coriander and citrus are gone.

This beautiful fragrance is subtle, soothing, calming and warm. Musky, resinous, slightly balsamic & woodsy notes re-emerge and mingle with lovely florals & patchouli throughout the wear. At times, the dry-down is slightly powdery, yet not overwhelmingly so (like what one might encounter with many Serge Lutens perfumes). L'Eau Gothique is a beautiful, non-mainstream, highly wearable fragrance. And while this fragrance is not overly complex, it certainly is not simple, linear, or boring. I would say L'Eau Gothique is definitely a "niche" fragrance and not one for the masses.

On me, L'Eau Gothique seemed almost meditative. Silage was mild-to-moderate and longevity was moderate-to-good. I doubt you will smell anything even close to this fragrance at your local department store perfume way.

And at approximately $180 for a 100 ml bottle, L'Eau Gothique is a bargain. If you are a lover of gentle, feminine leaning, patchouli, frankincense, floral incense fragrances, please go ahead and give L'Eau Gothique a try! I do not think you will be disappointed.
24th September, 2019

1970 by Bella Freud

So, Bella Freud 1970 is the embodiment of just about EVERYTHING and every fragrance note I love in a perfume. For certain, 1970 is a feminine, gorgeous and ethereal fragrance with definite rose, saffron, sandalwood and musk notes. My signature fragrances are things like Kilian "Incense Oud," Frederic Malle "Portrait of a Lady," or "Musc Ravageur" and Chanel "Coromandel." I adore fragrances that are complex with combinations of patchouli, rose, musk, oud, INCENSE, woods, some resin, florals, etc, etc, etc.

Bella Freud 1970 is ALL of the above, yet presents in a lovely light, airy, ethereal & gentle way. After a few minutes, the gorgeous opening of ROSE, saffron and slight musk beautifully morphs with frankincense, myrrh, some patchouli, woods, resins, etc...AHHHHHH, INCENSE! The brief dry down is an exquisite blend of all the aforementioned notes with rose, patchouli and sandalwood dominating. Bella Freud 1970 is truly a very dreamy, feminine & beautiful fragrance.

Upon application, I was in love. I felt although softer and different, this fragrance was oddly similar to my "signature" scents and in many ways, much more wearable. In many regards, this fragrance felt more "wearable" as a summer and daily wear scent because of the fragrance's light, wafting & ethereal nature. My above Kilian, Chanel and Malle fragrances can occasionally feel over-powering and heavy.

Perhaps my sample was a "dud." However, problem is after 15-20 minutes or so, sadly the fragrance notes just dropped on me...dead...gone. My husband entered the house shortly after application and I asked him to come near me, asked if he could smell anything. After whiffing, husband clearly stated, "NO...not really."

So, disappointment set in. And at this price-point and with this price tag, I clearly expected more longevity and silage from Bella Freud 1970. On me, the most pleasant aspect of the fragrance was the first 5-15 minutes following application.

Four Star rating is due to the lack of silage and longevity, nothing more.

I'll rethink purchasing a full bottle because I do love the fragrance. However, at nearly $150.00 for 1.7 ounces, I think sadly, this may be a pass (unless I can purchase it affordably and reapply it every hour, throughout the day-smile).
20th September, 2019

Oud Palao by Diptyque

So, I recently tried this fragrance after purchasing a small sample. With the exception of Kilian's "Incense Oud," I imagine I am still on-the-fence about oud fragrances. With that said, I decided to give Oud Palao a try. For me, this fragrance is just a big fat "NO!"

Seems as though every time I try a Diptyque fragrance, it is a no...a strike out. For me oud fragrances seem to be "hit-or-miss." After applying just a wee-bit of this fragrance on my inner wrists and neck, I was afraid to leave the house. One of my cats, who was sitting with me at the time of application, thought this perfume was cat repellant (like Boundary Cat Repellant Spray). My cat, Crush took off running and gagging. I mean, apply, gag, streak...Crush was gone.

Yes, Oud Palao opens with an EXTREME scent of bakhoor oud. I guess I wasn't quite ready for the application, so the fragrance nearly choked me. I found the opening note to be rough, harsh and extremely intense.

After an eternity, I can say that for me, all I continued smelling was rough, thick, resinous, dirty oud. Disappointingly, the patchouli never made an appearance. Thick, dense, overpowering and nearly cloying oud is what I encountered for a few hours.

Finally, after a short scrub, I applied Kilian Incense Oud to the same areas I'd applied the Diptyque. For certain, the rose, patchouli and additional notes in Kilian calmed the Diptyque Oud Palao down. Finally, I felt it was safe to leave the house.

For me, this is a total fail.
20th September, 2019

Patchouli Impérial by Christian Dior

So, every once-in-a-while, I go through phases whereby I wish to expand my go-to fragrances. Patchouli, rose, oud, incense, musk, jasmine, smoky, etc blends (unisex or leaning towards the feminine side) are what I crave. I read some stellar reviews about this fragrance, so I decided to purchase a sample.

As others have stated, this fragrance performs exactly as promised. For me, it is a fairly linear, straight-forward, clean, more "green versus dark" patchouli fragrance that lays against a gently composed sandalwood back-drop. Period.

No hippie-level noted here...not dirty, not earthy, not grungy, IMHO. I dislike "hippie" patchouli smelling know the oily, resinous, dark, heavy, heady, boozy, dreary stuff...yuck. However, I do prefer patchouli fragrances that are a bit more complex, & moody than Patchouli Imperial. For me, Patchouli Imperial is a bit too fresh, chipper, clean & bright...not exactly what I look for in a patchouli fragrance.

And as others have also stated, while this fragrance is attractive and appealing, it also seems to go "dull," or "dead" after a while. On me after an hour or so, the fragrance just "dropped."

I say for the "general masses," Patchouli Imperial is extremely wearable. I prefer the above mentioned notes combined in a more complex way, a way that packs more of a punch. For me, I prefer patchouli blended fragrances that are a bit more "niche-y."

Patchouli Imperial is a great choice for someone who opts to wear a reserved, refined & tamed patchouli fragrance.

Nice enough...just not for me!
20th September, 2019
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Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

I do not consider myself a parfum expert; however, I know what I like and that which I dislike. I am always reluctant to leave such a negative review 'cause I do not wish to offend. But there are enough positives on this here it is:

In one word: Blecccchhhhh!

Bought this with a few other incense, patchouli, woodsy, rose, floral, etc samples. Was recently re-introduced to Le Labo after staying at a hotel that supplied us with Rose 21 items. So, among Rose 21, I figured I'd sample a few other coveted Le Labo fragrances...

On me, on my husband and on the dog (who gagged), this fragrance was absolutely horrible awful. Burnt motor-oil, hot rubber, smokey ash, dead body...smells like the bottom of an ashtray that someone spit in...just horrible. Cannot imagine walking around smelling like this!

Sadly, the sample is in the trash, never to be inhaled by any of us again...ever...just awful IMHO!
04th July, 2017

Coromandel Eau de Toilette by Chanel

WoW...that's all I can say when I wear this perfume...and that seems to be what others around me say, as well. On one of the first days I wore this perfume, I had about 12 strangers or acquaintances come up to me and say "what are you smell incredible!"

I was turned on to Coromandel when someone told me it might be a more affordable alternative to "Portrait of a Lady" or "Musc Ravageur" both by Frederic Malle. Does it smell similar to either...yes! Is it an affordable alternative to either...sadly, no!

It's the jasmine that captures my nose (I adore Creed's Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie) but this is "thick" or heavy jasmine, which at times smells almost like rose. I'm sure the introduction of patchouli is what makes this stuff smell so "heady" to me...not hippy dirty like heady...heady in a good way! The overall blend and balance between all the glorious notes is what makes this fragrance work so well, IMHO. And (fortunately) on my skin, I do not detect many gourmand notes (chocolate?) at all...don't even wish to think about it...the chocolate that is...a bit of vanilla in the dry-down is there for sure!

To me, at no time does one singular note seem to over-take or overwhelm the fragrance (okay...perhaps the patchouli does try from time-to-time). However overall, this fragrance is a wonderful balance of all the main notes, beginning to end.

And YES...this stuff is costly but longevity is great, silage is (obviously) superior and the overall experience is lovely.

I love this fragrance and I've taken to wearing it 3-4 days a week.
03rd July, 2017

Myrrhe Ardente by Annick Goutal

Ugggghhhhh...almost a scrubber. Whoever categorized this as an Incense Fragrance when packaging a recent sampler of "Incense Fragrances" that I ordered really missed the mark.

Perhaps if the anticipated myrrh was center stage, well then...incense perhaps. But OMG...what IS this? Root beer...I wish. Myrrh...none to speak of (not to my nose).

Only scents I detect are a sour benzoin and Gaiac wood. On me, this fragrance smells like I am camping in the woods for days (un-bathed) when I finally trip over a discarded rubber tire and a wood log, promptly falling face first into the ivy and dirt ground underneath me.

Awful. Fortunate for me (and those around me), the fragrance has little longevity and therefore, didn't linger.
10th May, 2016

Eau Lente by Diptyque

Oh no...just not for me. Received this fragrance in a recent sampler of Incense Fragrances. Incense? Perhaps I'm missing something but this fragrance has little to do with incense, IMHO.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves...not in a good way. Smells like Glade Air Freshener, yes the cinnamon type.

Thankfully, it all fades away within 45-60 minutes. Uggggh. Not sure who would want to walk around smelling like this.
10th May, 2016

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Kyoto by Comme des Garçons

Wasn't initially certain about this one upon receiving it in a sampler pack of "Incense Fragrances." To me, Kyoto wears more like a straight Oriental Floral versus an Incense fragrance. Despite not being what I expected and as time wore on, I grew to adore this scent.

It's funny 'cause upon application, I essentially smell nothing, really...blank's odd. Within a few minutes, a blanket of pine forest grassy green takes over, which isn't at all my thing. Soon afterward, a combination of resins, amber, vanilla, some smoke, woody teak, etc rises...but not a lot of incense. Frankly, the wafts of smokiness managing to rise are almost offensive...ashtray like.

But the hours and hours of dry-down are my favorite development. On me, Kyoto morphs into the sweetest, subtlest resinous woody floral one might imagine. The fragrance is almost ethereal and meditative. Wafts of amber, teak, sandalwood combined with everlasting flower play for hours...some patchouli. Truly the beautifully balanced sum or combination of the parts is what works for me.

Not yet certain but this may be full-bottle worthy at a cost of approximately $95 for 50 mls (1.6 ozs).

Surprisingly, I like this fragrance a lot. In many ways, CdG Kyoto reminiscently reminds me of Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental, a fragrance I loved 'til it was discontinued (may be in reproduction).
10th May, 2016

Evening Rose by Aerin

Aerin Evening Rose...someone directed me to Aerin Fragrances because I recently decided I LOVE rose fragrance when well-blended or grounded with darker scents and notes. Unlike it's relative "Rose De Grasse," which is actually a quite nice, linear rose soliflore, Evening Rose is extremely different from almost anything I've ever tried but a fragrance I do not like at all.

Evening Rose opens with a definite blast of discernible jammy blackberry booze...sweet blackberry cognac, as listed in opening notes. Like Rose De Grasse, Evening Rose is not a complex fragrance but a very straightforward EDP with clearly identifiable phases and notes.

The mid phase is rose, rose and more rose; however this fragrance is not harsh, loud or shrill in any way, as many rose fragrances tend to be. If anything, this fragrance smells "absent" because I can hardly detect I am wearing it and neither can anyone around me.

Honestly, I find the mid-notes of Bulgarian rose (or any rose for that matter) hard to detect. And when I do sense wafts of rose, I smell older, weak and rather nondescript blossoms that frankly, smell past their prime.

And I love incense fragrance when well-blended with other notes. But sadly, I detect no incense or smoke in the dry-down (hours following the initial application). To me, Evening Rose wilts into a barely detectable, powdery & (slightly) sour floral-musk fragrance of "I cannot tell what it is I am wearing and what I do detect is not pleasant." Close to the skin, the scent is unbearable...a scrubber! I finally decided to wash off the scent because I feared I was about to become ill.

Silage is poor; longevity is fair. Was hoping this might be an affordable alternative to my other beloved fragrances, something I could enjoy and afford to wear every day...

On a bright note, while waiting for this generous sample of Evening Rose to arrive, I decidedly purchased 100 ml bottle of Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady-YES!

While I like Rose De Grasse, this is a pass. Evening Rose is totally forgettable and I am extremely disappointed.
26th March, 2015

Rose de Grasse by Aerin

I have never been a huge fan of singular rose fragrances because on me, they all seem to morph into cheap department store scents. And while Rose de Grasse is primarily a soliflore, this is a very beautiful perfume.

As others have reviewed on various websites, Aerin Rose de Grasse is very unique when compared to other rose scented perfumes. Opening notes are very appealing with fresh green, slightly watery (but not aquatic, not salty) and light ethereal rose notes. The opening is quite linear with lots of green, fresh rose.

Shortly after application, a full rose note is dominant. Not your usual synthetic, harsh, overpowering or shrill rose note equated with most rose fragrances, the mid-note of Rose de Grasse is mature, smooth, velvety and kind.

The dry down finishes with a dominant rose note that only slightly recedes to reveal musk and very faint amber (thankfully). Silage is great and longevity is superb, too.

Rose de Grasse is a lovely fragrance, particularly for those who love rose scents. Definitely worth a try!
23rd March, 2015 (last edited: 24th March, 2015)

Aoud Damascus by Montale

Thought I would try another Montale fragrance, as I am in search of an affordable, resinous, "dark rose" (with oud, which I like a lot but not as a stand-alone note) fragrance. I guess I am missing something because I do not get what all the excitement is with Montale fragrances but this is just another "no-go" or "meh" for me.

I agree with RennGrrl that Aoud Damascus is a relatively common woodsy-rose-oud fragrance and rather "old school" in nature with a "been there, done that" character.

This is my fourth Montale try and like the others, I found the opening notes extremely harsh, almost aldehydic and very synthetic in nature. Overwhelming rose notes (which are alright 'cause this IS a rose fragrance) blast onto the skin with no mercy upon application. Montale fragrances actually hurt my nose. With lots 'n lots of rose, frankincense and spicy notes do try emerging. The entire potion is quickly grounded by a resinous wood. That's about it. After 90 minutes or so, it was all over...done.

Expecting great silage and incredible longevity, I experienced adequate silage but poor longevity. Also similar to RennGrrl's experience, the entire concoction landed as a powdery, rather linear, cloying rose fragrance that ended quickly.

Perhaps it is just my chemistry but Montale fragrances and I do not seem to get along. This is a pass.
20th March, 2015 (last edited: 20th September, 2019)

Black Aoud by Montale

So...this is my fourth Montale experience and I hate to buck the trend but I just do not get it. I really want to LOVE one of Montale's offerings because I am searching hard for an affordable dark rose fragrance. And I like oud when blended (not as a solo note). Unfortunately, this fragrance is a major no-go for me.

In one word, this fragrance seemed "messy" when applied. Like others, I was curious about Montale's "ouds" and I hoped to experience a few fragrances...try to understand the hype. Like ALL the Montale fragrances I try, the opening of Black Aoud smells like an aldehydic, alcoholic, almost medicinal concoction that literally hurts my nose. Sensing a headache, I feel confused & dizzy...almost sick. I can barely tolerate the development of this fragrance on my skin because for nearly 30 minutes, Black Aoud is all over the place but consistently harsh harsh harsh...LOUD and almost vulgar.

After 20-30 minutes, I detect a bit of rose and BOAT LOADS of patchouli (which I really dislike as a primary note). As others have noted, Black Aoud is a loud, over-whelming, synthetic rose-oud fragrance that is not dark, rich, complex or mysterious. Resinous patchouli...that's about it. Pretty linear in the end with little development and no complexity.

But unlike the other Montale fragrances I tried, the longevity on Black Aoud is strong and silage is pretty high. Hate to say this but I had to scrub, eventually shower and wash all my clothing. And still, this fragrance persisted.

The house of Montale and I do not get along. This is another definite pass.
20th March, 2015

Les Nombres d'Or : Violette Fumée by Mona di Orio

Soooooo...not quite sure about this one & the jury (the one in my mind) is still out! But the fragrance DID grow on me after a few days. Still, I'm giving it a "THUMBS UP" after wearing it.

The opening of this fragrance is a bitter, sour, earthy citrus-fruit approach that is akin to an orange peel thrown on a dirt pile. Bergamot-yes. Oak-moss-definitely! Opening notes are quite sour and acrid...not the best, frankly.

Eventually, mid-notes develop that (for me) are not quite lavender but GRAPE. At one point, I detect notes mimicking Stewart's Grape Soda in the most definite way!!! Eeeeeeew, I thought. Definitely detecting notes of leather, some tobacco...but dry, old grape SODA!

After an hour or more and with continued development, violet notes emerge but not in the way I hoped for or imagined. Not dreamy, dark, Gothic, mysterious or complex, this fragrance dries in a rather linear, faint, dusty violet manner.

The fragrance definitely lands with slightly acrid, somewhat (very faint) citrus-y violet notes. What's interesting though is a smoky, gray cloak that embodies the violet fragrance, toning it down and balancing the violet out in the nicest way. Also, for a rather "linear" dry-down, this fragrance is "still" complex and quite lovely, actually.

This is NOT a sharp, potent, shrill or pitch-y violet fragrance. In general, this is a very subtle, gentle wear. I applied a LOT to detect any fragrance, which isn't a good thing. And with all this said, silage is low and longevity isn't great. And the price? YIKES!

Guess I was expecting more of a flowery incense fragrance, which this is not. Smoke-yes. Violets-yes. Cashmere-yes. Incense-no. But please note: this is NOT our grandmother's violet perfume! This is different & unique! It's the reason I love niche fragrances!!!

Reminds me of a cloudy, gray day. Don't think I will be purchasing a full bottle of this at the going retail price of (what???) $350.00/3.3 ml.
19th March, 2015

Incense Rosé by Tauer

This fragrance is the real deal and IMHO, the reason why niche perfumes & their designers/creators are so special (way beyond commercially prepared & marketed mainstream fragrances). This is a very unique, special & beautiful fragrance. In general, I like this fragrance a whole lot!

I eagerly awaited a rather large sample of Tauer Incense Rose and applied it on a few consecutive days. I did this after (sadly) experiencing a few Montale fragrances. The opening is quite strong and to my nose smelled like fizzy wet earth, dewy grass and citrus. Upon application, I detected lots and lots of bergamot, clementine & orange that was well blended with fresh green grasses (definitely vetiver), earth and a little bit of spice (cardamom).

The opening quickly morphed and the well-blended fresh, dirty-green, citrus fragrance developed into a barely detectable mustiness, which I imagine was the beginning of the oud & cedar notes. Quite resinous, this was not my favorite part of the development; however continually changing, the fragrance continued to amaze.

It takes a while and (for me), it was difficult to detect; however after 45-60 minutes (or more), the musty-woody almost moldy aroma receded into the background giving way to one of the most gorgeous antique, dark, dewy, dirty rose incense fragrances I have ever experienced.

On my skin, the dry-down and basenotes remained pretty constant with wood, patchouli, frankincense, resin and rose notes. The darkness prevailed, which I liked a lot. For several hours, I detected faint but pleasant wafts of creamy & subdued patchouli, frankincense, cedar-wood & spicy dark rose...all perfectly blended and balanced, practically harmonious. Fortunately on my skin, any ambergris or amber that is present never choked out the other fabulous notes.

Unlike many other reviewers, Tauer Incense Rose played very close to my skin with minimal silage. Of course, longevity was great.

Without doubt this is a gorgeous fragrance that is never vulgar or cloying. Not certain yet if this suits me (or my pocket book) but I really do like Tauer Incense Rose a whole lot.

In conclusion, I too will say this is NOT a fragrance that is suitable for everyone! Give it a try because it definitely is worthy!
18th March, 2015

Psychédélique by Jovoy

Purchased a sample of this EDP and wore it all day. I'm not disappointed in the fragrance; not in love. In general, I had another "meh" experience.

I am beginning to think I may be anosmic to rose & floral notes (notes I seek in darkness, only when combined with wood resins, musk, earthy notes), ESPECIALLY when rose is blended with dense woods (oud, amber), or strong plants (patchouli, vetiver) or spices, I fail to detect ROSE!. Once again for me, the promise of a "complex, rose & floral patchouli fragrance" ended on a linear, rather singular note...straightforward patchouli.

Psychedelique definitely opens with a sweet, STRONG, candied-booze note (like many Jovoys) and I even thought I detected honey and chocolate at one point (honey...a note I REALLY dislike in fragrance). Within literally 5 minutes or less, the fragrance develops into a very heady, deep, dark & STRONG patchouli, again with notes of amber, candied honey & a wee-bit of musk...very bold & dark, rich. After 15-20 minutes or so, I "thought" I detected some rose or other floral but the notes (if present) seemed fleeting.

Throughout the dry-down, I may have detected wafts of that elusive floral...a very deep, dark resinous rose cloaked in amber & smoke, almost incense like...but wafts only...not sure. As the fragrance evolved, I smelled patchouli & amber over any other note or scent.

Silage is great, projection is great, longevity is superb...again rather typical with all Jovoy fragrances.

I wouldn't say I loved this fragrance and I definitely didn't dislike it. Not sure but it is definitely on the "Neutral" side...initially thought about giving this a "Thumbs Up" but couldn't do so..

Going to try the fragrance again on another day, with another mood. All-in-all, this is an alright fragrance; however for me, it developed into a very linear, non-complex patchouli that reminded me of the stuff we all sniffed 35 years ago in head-shops.
14th March, 2015 (last edited: 20th March, 2015)

Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I imagine there is not one perfume I would (likely) not adore that is designed & manufactured by Frederic Malle. I'm on another quest to expand my limited "signature" and "go to" fragrances, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile (to name my favorite two). I like incense, I like vintage rose, I like musk, I like patchouli; however as I've often noted, I do not like solo scents or linear fragrances one little bit. I prefer dark, moody, complex fragrances with a few precious notes that play on my skin and favor my nose (and others' noses, especially my husband's).

IMHO, this potion is about as perfect as the above mentioned notes can get. Definitely the Holy Grail of a rose-incense-patchouli-wood-musk fragrance. Diamond flame said it well: a lush rose opening obscured in a cloud of incense and smoke with an under current of black currants.

Lush, luxurious, rich, enigmatic, fragrant, delightful, passionate, complex, sexy. What more can I say??? Like all FM perfumes, silage is divine and longevity is great.

I LOVE this stuff! So why am I having trouble justifying $395.00 for a 3.5 ml flacon? I'll make it last, I swear I will!! Ugggghhhh...seems like such an indulgence. One of my VERY FEW vices...expensive niche perfumes.

I am going to try Ex Idolo "Thirty-Three" before I purchase this fragrance. Thirty-three has recently been compared by some as a "less expensive" PoaL. Waiting for my sample to arrive. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it does; however, I sincerely doubt anything compares to this divine delight. Seems to me NOTHING can hold a candle to this stuff.

Thanks, Frederic Malle.
08th March, 2015

Mandragore Pourpre by Annick Goutal

I am happy I waited a long time (throughout the day) to review this one! A few hours make a whole lot of difference! Mandragore Pourpre grew on me, it really did...especially when my husband returned home several hours after I applied it and said "VIOLETS...I smell flowers and violets." Who would have thunk?

Someone on another perfume review website summed this fragrance up with "Dies before it gets started!" And YES...that was my INITIAL impression. But oh no...surprise surprise. So, I waited with eager anticipation for this one to arrive in the mail. Happily spritzed on a generous application from a large-ish 2 ml sample. And then I waited some more.

Opening notes of STRONG anise and BLACK pepper...not pink pepper immediately emerged upon application! Strong anise, black licorice & black peppercorn definitely dominate the opening. Okay. But wait I did...and within 10-15 minutes, the perfume seemed to settle down onto my skin as I anticipated the emerging mid-notes, base notes and dry-down.

This IS a pretty fragrance and yes, it IS hard to describe...perhaps because while there SEEMS to be a whole lot of nothing going on, there IS a lot of subtlety occurring.

Unfortunately, I found the mid-notes to be somewhat harsh & unpleasant...not my favorite part of the application. The mid-notes struck me as dirty, earthy and nearly animalic...dirt & moss...little green and lots of dirt. Is this perhaps the much referred to and nondescript aroma (smell) of the elusive Mandrake Root (mandragore)?

The dry-down, which takes at least 30-60 minutes is where this fragrance literally blossoms. Ditto to what others have stated. Not at all perfumy or "BIG," Mandragore Pourpre landed as a soft, powdery, peppery, slightly dirty anise fragrance with faded floral notes. Definitely subtle, the fragrance wears very close to the skin. As "happyscent" stated, I did detect wafts of this 'n that throughout the morning; however not one single not ever seems to dominate this fragrance (after the opening).

Unfortunate for me, I never detected base notes of patchouli, nor did I ever note frankincense or incense or smoke of any kind. Still undecided about this one. More WITCH than GOTHIC, this is a pleasant, very unique interesting fragrance. I can definitely see how this might become someone's "signature" scent.
07th March, 2015

Mon Parfum by Martine Micallef Not at this price!

Tangerine, orange blossom, vanilla, fruits, patchouli, musk, toffee. Notes come, notes stay (shortly), notes go. A pretty, gentle, delicate, utterly feminine fragrance. Lots of orange blossom, lots of tangerine. Dries down to a warm, creamy, fruity vanilla scent.

Wears completely close to the skin. Zero silage, zero staying power. Barely detectable. Totally unforgettable.

There are thousands of fragrances on the market exactly like this one for a fraction of the price.

This is definitely a pass.
04th March, 2015

Cologne Intense Collection : Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone

Eagerly awaited the arrival of this (rather large) sample of Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud. A very very pretty & easy rose & oud wear. I could see this one becoming a real hit with someone just experimenting with oud fragrances.

Overall, this is a lovely fragrance but disappointing. Not much to say. Opens with moderate oud & rose notes...some spice (clove). Remains pretty constant through dry down with oud, rose & clove. A bit creamy in the end, which I suppose is the praline.

Fell rather "flat" on my skin. Pretty but not great. Not much projection or silage, which I like in a perfume. I do not want to be over-bearing when I wear perfume; however, I want to know I have some fragrance on (especially at these prices, which are moderate actually).

Longevity is average to not great but typical based on my experiences with EDP in this price range/category. Wears close to the skin. Definitely great for someone who is a bit shy about wearing perfume, especially an oud. Delicate all the way. After 30 minutes or so, I could barely tell I had applied perfume.

A lovely perfume. Just not distinctive enough for my tastes. Do not think I'll be purchasing this one.
04th March, 2015

Rose Oud by By Kilian

Other reviewers have summed it up nicely and said it all. A nice enough rose oud with a rather sweet, jammy berry & herbal opening. Saffron & cardamom (not my favorites) rip through before the fragrance of a rubbery & resinous oud prevails. Spicy mid-notes seem mis-placed at times and appear odd at first.

The basenotes and dry-down are light, airy, unremarkable notes of rose, herbs, moss. Not a heavy or dark "antique" type rose-oud. More of a light, airy, unremarkable floral-oud scent.

Like other "By Kilian" oud's (and most oud perfumes, EDP, etc) this EDP is made with synthetic or lab-created oud, due to the problems and expense associated with utilizing natural agarwood resin (oud) in fragrances. With that said, neither By Kilian's Rose Oud or Oud Incense smell synthetic to me. But I've never sampled true, natural agarwood (oud) fragrance (scent). At least I do not think so!

In conclusion, I imagine this is a nice enough rose oud fragrance. Longevity is just okay (nothing in comparison to Incense Oud) and per usual with Kilian, silage is good. Just didn't do it for me. Not remarkable or memorable enough for me to put out nearly $400 on this one.
03rd March, 2015 (last edited: 03rd July, 2017)