Reviews by Diamondflame

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

    Showing 1 to 30 of 684.
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    Grand Néroli by Atelier Cologne

    No overbearing musks, no spiky synthetic-smelling blond woods. Just an affable bergamot/neroli-based eau de cologne that is well-supported. It's probably a little too sedate for some, with zero sillage, low projection and average longevity. While I do enjoy its lightly mossy drydown, I simply can't see how Grand Neroli could ever replace the vintage Eau de Rochas Homme in my wardrobe.

    06th May, 2015

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    De Bachmakov by The Different Company

    So ephemeral it's tough to get a good fix on De Bachmakov. Which is probably why the reviews seem to be all over the place with this one. I detected a faintly figgy note hiding behind a faintly aromatic greenery, before transitioning into talc-like freesia for most of its rather brief lifespan. It's so soft and restrained, you might be better off smelling freshly-shampooed hair or laundered clothes. In other words, INFURIATING.

    05th May, 2015

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    Jardins d'Amalfi by Creed

    Exactly how many of these Amalfi Coast- or Portofino-inspired fragrances do we really need?

    Jardins d'Amalfi is Creed's 2011 entry into what must now be a hackneyed marketing sub-genre. As radiant as bottled sunshine, with a blindingly eye-watering price tag to match. Unfortunately it brings nothing new to the picnic, only more fruits, more flowers. But I'd be lying if I say I didn't enjoy the exuberant dance between these elements.

    Does Jardins d'Amalfi then represent a significant step-up over its closest scent cousin, Millisime Imperial? Some fans seem to think so though I remain unconvinced. I felt the blending of cedar and white musk could benefit from further refinement, for a more 'au naturel' feel.

    05th May, 2015

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    Cuir Cuba Intense by Nicolaï

    Cuba? Cuir? Intense?? WOW! Talk about name-dropping! Do not blame me for having my expectations raised prior to sampling this. This is not the dense, uber masculine tobacco-leather I was hoping for but rather a translucent, gender-neutral (or should I say neutered?) aromatic woods (cedar mostly). Projected aura is predominantly minty-floral (geranium, magnolia, patchouli) with nary a trace of leather even up close.

    That I was left disappointed is probably an understatement. Not that it's a bad fragrance; just that it wasn't meant for me. Too clean, too mainstream, nothing remotely 'intense'. If you like MFK Amyris Homme, chances are you'll enjoy this too.

    05th May, 2015

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    Anubis by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

    Smells like a god. Up close that is. Wonderful use of saffron and labdanum, the smoky salty leather working a real treat amidst the smoldering incense and floral patterns. I don't find Anubis particularly dark or mysterious. It's more of a warm leather-incense oriental that is surprisingly intimate, projecting a little too modestly after a confident opening.

    30th April, 2015

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    Rose Cut by Ann Gerard

    I wasn't expecting this but Rose Cut impresses me. A wine-y, rum-laced rose accord hums over the light powdery oriental base. It almost smells like an airy /incensey, rose-infused Spiritueuse Double Vanille, albeit with a far more restrained elegance.

    Kudos goes to Duchaufour for coming up with Rose Cut. It is clearly a cut above, very classic in style (aldehydic rose-patchouli-vanilla) and would not look out of place in a full Chanel line-up.

    29th April, 2015

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    Patchouli Absolu by Tom Ford

    Hiding under the guise of dry woods, this smells like a patchouli with an identity crisis. It's not earthy or gritty enough for classic hippie appeal, yet not quite polished for the modern office. A missed opportunity.

    29th April, 2015

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    Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

    A sultry oriental fragrance structured around resins, spices, dried fruits and woods. It's wonderfully warm, spicy (cinnamon, pepper) and a tad resinous with a hint of something edible in the background. Smells very much like a Serge Lutens fragrance circa 2008. Nothing ground-breaking here obviously but who cares when it smells this good? Arguably one of Tom Ford's best, Private Blend included, with stellar projection and staying power.

    29th April, 2015

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    Flanel by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    Violet leaves on a bed of sandalwood and oakmoss. A predominantly dark green scent with shades of grey, like shadows on a forest floor. There is a hint of warmth underneath and a thin veneer of citrus over it.

    Apparently this was originally a bespoke for a Basenoter. I'm just surprised it didn't work as well as it could have given the featured components which happen to be some of my personal favorites.

    28th April, 2015

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    Cold Water Canyon by Surrender to Chance

    Opens refreshingly like a splash of cold water to the face before transitioning swiftly to an atmospheric scent faintly redolent of jasmine sambac. Well-executed as a concept but as a wearable fragrance? Absolutely perfect. Especially for fans of jasmine who find many soliflores too strong or too indolic. Projection and longevity are probably not its strong suits.

    28th April, 2015

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    Surrender by Surrender to Chance

    An elegant white floral centered on jasmine and muguet. This is a bridal bouquet for the blushing bride, not the scent du jour of the oft-imagined femme fatale. The initial disappointments surrounding this fragrance are clearly products of misplaced expectations; the animalic hyraceum purrs in the background when many expect it to growl. I feel the addition of a liquorice note brings an unexpected yet sensual twist to the composition.

    28th April, 2015

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    Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna

    WOW! The more time I spend with Italian Bergamot, the more I grew to love it. Nowhere is the line's signature note more perfectly showcased than it is here, all balmy and breezy, with herbal nuances giving it a quintessentially Mediterranean character. While the central citrus accord is not quite as zesty as the one in Sicilian Mandarin, the overall scent more than holds its own, coming across confident and suave, like a classic Italian gentlemen's cologne, particularly as it coasts towards the dry down.

    To the legions of Armani Eau Pour Homme fans, I'm issuing a mandatory sniff recommendation on this fragrance. Get ready to splash the cash.

    28th April, 2015

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    Haitian Vetiver by Ermenegildo Zegna

    An amazing achievement: a transparent vetiver that somehow manages to encapsulate the entire spectrum of notes commonly associated with this grass. Well-supported by bergamot and iris, it shifts character constantly, rooty-earthy and musky one moment, grassy and floral-soapy in the next. There is a cool dampness about it that in my mind places it firmly in the 'eau' category.

    Is there a better vetiver than this? Probably, especially for vetiver purists. But in my opinion the vetiver-bergamot tag team in Haitian Vetiver will take a beating and even dish out some of their own. So step aside Vetiver Extraordinaire, there is a new sheriff in town.

    28th April, 2015

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    Sicilian Mandarin by Ermenegildo Zegna

    How do you give a thumbs down to a classically structured citrus eau de cologne? Simple. You don't. There's very little in the olfactory world more uplifting than the zest of a citrus peel. And here you get it in its full glory, augmented in no small part by a little mint and a good woody-bitter dose of petitgrain.

    That said, the drydown is unfortunately somewhat lacking in character, not quite as mossy as I'd hoped. Whether the blame should lay at IFRA's collective feet for restricting the use of oakmoss is not something I'd get hung up on.

    Nor would I knock points off it for lasting as long as it did. It compares favorably with its rivals, smelling more natural than Xerjoff 1861 but projecting more modestly. Its closest scent twin is probably Frapin L'Humaniste, which makes Sicilian Mandarin a bona fide contender in my books.

    28th April, 2015

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    Indonesian Oud by Ermenegildo Zegna

    True to the house aesthetics, this oud bandwagon cruises along the same clean linear path taken by the rest of the Essenze line. Which could easily be disappointing for anyone whose preferred oud style is on the more animalic end of the spectrum. Luckily I'm not one of them, favoring casual wearability over the intensely meditative facets of certain oud blends.

    Rose-oud-patchouli combination is probably as cliched as they get. But what makes this version wonderful is the sophisticated aura it creates, with barely-there hints of rose amidst the animalic purr of the oud. If Armani Prive Rose d'Arabie is sung in beautiful soprano, Zegna Indonesian Oud is a seductive hum in baritone.

    27th April, 2015

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    Florentine Iris by Ermenegildo Zegna

    A fresh transparent woody iris and clean musk fragrance rendered in the razor-sharply tailored style of the Essenze line. Perfectly suited for the office or a day of fun in the sun, Fiorentine Iris is extremely wearable, seemingly calibrated for the iris-phobic guy who shies away from lipstick-ish Dior Homme.

    26th April, 2015

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    Peruvian Ambrette by Ermenegildo Zegna

    Cashmeran or cashmere woods almost always gets a bad press in reviews but here it is more judiciously used, meshing seamlessly with the starring ambrette seed to create a transparent woodsy musk, with faintly animalic nuances and an oddly compelling glue-like note. The featured iris is regretfully too transient but it offers a suede-like introduction to this unconventionally attractive scent. A sexy sleeper IMO.

    26th April, 2015

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    Javanese Patchouli by Ermenegildo Zegna

    Somewhat reminiscent of Ulrich Lang Nightscape, Javanese Patchouli is another urbane take on patchouli. Scrubbed and stripped of its dirt and earth, the sanitized patchouli thankfully retains its faintly musky facet albeit one laced with the same bergamot that runs like a luminous vein through most of the Essenze line. Warm hints of pepper act as a suitable counterpoint to the cool kiss of bergamot, keeping it comfortably smooth and dry, pretty much like a freshly pressed dress shirt I suppose.

    Modest projection, decent staying power, impeccably office-appropriate. Another confident outing by a sartorial powerhouse.

    26th April, 2015

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    Bayolea by Penhaligon's

    It's been a while since a fragrance makes me smile from the very first sniff. Bayolea's opening is bracingly green and aromatic with the lightly spiced citrus and a courageous use of lemongrass. The herbal hints of lavender dovetail nicely with these topnotes before segueing to a warm woodsy base. While the moss lacks the depth you find in a vintage, it does not diminish the fragrance's conservative yet dignified aura. With a tip of the hat to the gentleman's old school Bay Rum, Bayolea is arguably Penhaligon's strongest release in recent times.

    08th December, 2014

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    Knot by Bottega Veneta

    A soapish green/white floral with a splash of neroli and a boatload of laundry musks. Ok maybe I am exaggerating a little about the musks but Knot is not the sunny, balmy Amalfi Coast-styled fragrance it was cracked up to be; it doesn't project and sits rather heavily on my skin. On a more positive note there is none of the harshly synthetic wet towelette vibe you get in some other similarly styled fragrances. Which makes it an excellent candidate for that 'freshly scrubbed after-shower scent' category.

    08th December, 2014

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    Criminal of Love by By Kilian

    A mildly jammy rose set against a warm toasty backdrop of what smells a lot like cured tobacco leaves. I'm not so certain if there is any tobacco leaf in use or if it's more of an olfactive illusion created from a clever combination of patchouli, cedar, incense and immortelle. The narcotic vibe is clearly missing. Still it's a thoughtful if not entirely original deviation from the Rose-Patchouli, Rose-Oud or Rose-Incense sub genres. Average projection but impressive longevity, lasting over 10 hours on my skin. No worries over the use of immortelle either.

    07th December, 2014

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    Journey Woman by Amouage

    Oh my, the opening is indeed something special. Maybe I was subconsciously drawn to the mimosa of my childhood memories but this is one delicately spiced floral I wish I could smell on more women. Journey Woman may have shied away from the house's customary ostentation but it retains a presence nevertheless, the scent oscillating between the mildly intoxicating floralcy of jasmine sambac and the drier aromatics of tobacco leaves.

    Someone once asked me if I could choose to be with either a beautiful woman or an attractive one, whom would I rather pick? My answer is always the same: the attractive woman. Journey Woman is no ravishing beauty but she is undeniably attractive.

    17th October, 2014

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    Journey Man by Amouage

    I wasn't expecting this. Resinous and herbal, this feels decidedly like a throwback to those uber-masculine spicy fougère from the last century, albeit one done with finer ingredients and more modern synthetics. Perhaps Christopher Chong was sprucing up his basement and found his old stash of fragrances. Anthracite pour Homme, anyone?

    17th October, 2014

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    Noir de Noir by Tom Ford

    Dark chocolate truffle? At least that was my initial impression of Noir de Noir. Unlike many other Tom Ford blends, this one goes unexpectedly temperamental on my skin. On most days I get the lush, deep burgundy rose note that compliments the warm bitter-chocolatey patchouli base rather wonderfully. But there are days when the rose note goes completely MIA and all I had left was something faintly bittersweet and not altogether pleasant. I suppose it performs like a box of assorted chocolate truffles, you never knew what each tastes like until you've unwrapped one and take that first bite.

    17th October, 2014

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    Attar by Montale

    ATTAR opens with a distantly smoky scent of smouldering oud chips. But there is a syrupy sweetness about it that grows increasingly floral as the rose comes into play, before receding into something more resinous, if a little soapish and musky-powdery. It continues to cruise at this altitude for the better part of its development before touching down to a faintly woodsy drydown. Not the finest Montale has to offer but certainly one of the more affable compositions.

    17th October, 2014

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    Bulgari Man in Black by Bulgari

    The opening is a rum-laced woods and spice accord that distinguishes it from the original. Rather promising. Or so I thought. Within the hour, the scent recedes significantly like it ran out of gas, turning into a light yet warm, ambery woods with mildly fruity nuances. To some extent Man in Black as it approaches its drydown reminds me a little of Gucci Guilty pour Homme but a lot less synthetic. I certainly didn't get any iris, or tuberose or leather nor do I expect them at this level. While I find this flanker to be more palatable than the original, the aromatic woods-and-spice genre's leading designer release is still Burberry London for Men way back from 2006.

    15th October, 2014

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    Artisan Acqua by John Varvatos

    A pleasant if not utterly pointless homage to Acqua di Gio pour Homme, with its fresh citrus tops, barely there herbal nuances and a moderate dose of melon-y calone. The most interesting aspect of the fragrance is probably the intricately woven bottle cover.

    15th October, 2014

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    Lipstick Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    More lipstick than rose if you ask me, the candied violet offsetting the rose's jam-like nuances. I do not know what chemical is responsible for this but there is indeed a certain waxy feel to it that reinforces the lipstick image. While it does recede eventually into a lightly musky floral that passes muster, I can't imagine why any woman would want to smell as if she'd put on way too much lipstick.

    15th October, 2014

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    Scandal by Roja Dove

    A demure floral bouquet which is surprisingly talc-y with freesia dominating the first few minutes. Nothing remotely scandalous about it, save perhaps the price. Even the indoles are tame.

    14th October, 2014

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    Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Far from your average pretty rose soliflore, this rose has seen better days. Its beauty wanes in its twilight, the petals a little dry, withering around their edges, its scarlet hues noticeably darker with the inevitable decay. There is a certain element of darkness or intrigue about it, like a fading beauty flirting with danger. I can imagine why the mature fragrance wearers could appreciate this better than novice noses.

    Earlier references to rose chypres are well-deserved for Rose de Nuit smells like a fallen rose on a bed of moss and dark earth. While I didn't enjoy the somewhat animalic opening its last few hours kept me enthralled. That it often evokes compelling stories is testament to the genius behind this composition.

    14th October, 2014

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