Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Hob Dobson

Total Reviews: 11

Brisingamen by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

A glittering mantle of rich golden notes: five ambers, soft myrtle and apple blossom, myrtle, and carnation.

A slightly soapy, warm amber that's easily wearable for a guy ( it even reminds me a bit of Old Spice ) but I'll bet it would smell sexy on a woman too. An easy thumbs-up.
10th July, 2010

English Leather Musk by Dana

Knowing it's sold at EdC concentration, I'm not disappointed in English Leather Musk's longevity or projection. What I do get is a warm leather that soon enough gives way to a warm, somewhat sweet and balsamic scent that I assume is the referenced "musk". If you do find some (I scored a 1/2-oz. bottle for $1 on a closeout,) it's worth buying as a casual scent for home or office.
20th December, 2009

Sheol by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Two things are certain with Sheol:
1. According to BPAL's site, the notes are "Vibrant gladiola, graceful stargazer lily, triumphant iris and bright heliotrope flare, and is finally made somber by heavy copal, a drop of labdanum, and tonka"
2. It's among the Ars Moriendi line of perfume oils, along with Deep In Earth, The Ghost, and Midnight. Excellent company in my opinion.

Up front is a beautifully sweet, soapy accord that I think may be the heliotrope and iris, bouyed by the copal resin, powdered a little by the labdanum and tonka. This could be a beautiful evening fragrance for a woman - too dark and quiet for a girl - or a somewhat formal floral for a man.

I'll give it a thumb's-up for the fragrance and a neutral for the name. It's quiet, maybe melancholic or rueful, but by no means joyless and dead.
07th December, 2009
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No. 5 by Chanel

While No. 5 is not my favorite fragrance, or even my favorite Chanel, I admire the way the slightly fruity aldehydes blends with the florals to float over the powder notes, themselves over soft woods, and possibly a buried hint of leather or warm skin. And while it does not project loudly nor build quickly, the perfume does embrace quite a bit of space over time. Perhaps another hallmark of just how well No. 5 was executed? This is good stuff.

As dated as Chanel No. 5 may seem to some, I think it (the perfume at least) truly is suitable for women of nearly any age. Some men may find it easier to wear than some of the more omnisex Guerlains.
17th August, 2009

English Leather Lime by Dana

English Leather Lime is very much a 1960s American splash cologne.

On initial application, ELL has much of the same "just-opened can of Coca-Cola" accord that Eau d'Hermes has. Whether it's natural lime oil or not, that tap of lime quickly fades, as it was intended to. That's followed up with a bright spice note that reminds me of cumin more than sage, over a wood/musks base. One source listed cedar as a note, but I'm again I'm reminded far more of a synthetic sandalwood than Iso-E or No.2 pencils.

Thumbs up because English Leather Lime still is a nice fragrance that's easy on my nose.
25th July, 2009

Two, Five & Seven by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Per BPAL, the notes are "A huge bouquet of squished rose petals: Bulgarian rose, Somalian rose, Turkish rose, Damascus rose, red and white rose, tea rose, wine rose, shrub roses, rose, rose, rose…

…and just an itty bitty bit of green grass."

And indeed, that cool bit of green grass anchors what would have been just another rose soliflore. This ends up a must-try for anyone who enjoys that moment when L'Ombre dans L'Eau shifts from green to rose. It should also work for those times when layering with a rose scent would be fun.
24th June, 2009

London by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

A tea rose that isn't a twee rose!

I'm giving London a neutral rating, as I'm not sure that I'd want to wear this by itself very often. Also, I really cannot place what's being used to "darken" the tea rose note. Either I'm anosmic to the additions, or they don't project near as much from the oil base as the rose does.

I have enjoyed layering a small amount of it with other fragrances, like Knize Ten, so it may be bottle-worthy as a way to change things up. London is definitely worth sampling anyway - an imp is inexpensive and some folks may value having it for a reference.

16th April, 2009

Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Breathing in the scent from the sample vial - and who doesn't? - I was impressed by strong, rich combination of tuberose and jasmine. This is a light-year ahead of the tuberose-scented bath and body products in volume and intensity. Certainly, this would be worth a try.

Then I put a drop of this on the back of my wrist. My first impression was that even for someone who likes tuberose, this must need a light touch on the application. Five minutes later, as the indole component made its presence fully known, I decided that I would never buy a full bottle for anyone I knew and that I needed to get it off of me soon.

At least now I know why the tuberose products in wide distribution use only a sparing amount of the fragrance - because too much of a good thing can be truly unfortunate.
28th March, 2009

The Ghost by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Notes from BPAL's site: "white iris, osmanthus, Calla lily, tomb-crawling ivy, and a coffin spray of gladiolus, lisianthus, and delphinium"

Instead of the powdery iris of some of the more mainstream fragrances, this is a bit more green, rounded, and almost-but-not-quite-sweet. Retiring and meditative, like a well-tended, shaded, old graveyard.

BPAL lists this as more feminine than unisex, but it might work for a guy in a more formal setting, or anyone at home in a quiet mood. A tentative thumbs-up: it may not have a broad appeal, but it's a nice floral as it is.
05th March, 2009

Breath of God by B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

Inhale too closely or too deeply while the juice is drying, and the initial impression could well be that of being smashed in the face with an incense tree. Some folks might find that a bit off-putting.

Patience and more respectful distance is rewarded, as the more obvious notes settle down (Perhaps the cade oil, as at one point I'm reminded of new tack & harness) while the sandalwood, cedar & rose drift in and out of focus. For me, this Breath of G_d is by turns intriguing and intoxicating.
23rd February, 2009

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

On the tester paper, Kouros has a long-lasting sour pine scent that reminds me of freshly crushed pine needles. There is a faint whiff of a male animal nearby, but just enough to ground the composition.

On my skin, it just seems to burn off to a faint echo of the top notes; the pine scent and an aura of soft musk seems to linger in the room better than it does on me. Excellent sillage then, but this just doesn't work for me.
22nd February, 2009