Reviews by Diamondflame

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

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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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    Hermèssence Rose Ikebana by Hermès

    A pale lightly fruity rose scent with undercurrents of what smells like grapefruit to my nose. And I concur with Rickbr with reference to its thematic similarity to JC Ellena's past work in Kelly Caleche. Rose Ikebana however doesn't excite me. There were times when I enjoyed its serene nature but there were more times when I simply felt indifferent towards it. Compared to the vibrant elegance of Creed's Fleur de The Rose Bulgare, this feels positively sedate. A neutral rating for this scent is probably as Zen as it gets.

    25th September, 2014

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    Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare by Creed

    The rose accord is crystalline in its clarity - fresh, dewy-green and so realistic it could never be mistaken for anything other than a rose. Projection and lasting power are both first rate. Closer to skin, once the intensity has subsided some traces of warm and mildly sweet hints of what smells like chamomile tea grew more noticeable, further enhancing my appreciation of the scent.

    Yes, it may seem a little pricey for a singular and linear rose scent but Fleur de The Rose Bulgare is a beautiful fragrance fit for royalty (lol) and should be at the top of every rose soliflore lover's sampling list.

    25th September, 2014

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    Ta'If by Ormonde Jayne

    The opening may seem a tad perfumey to some, with a melange of notes that to my nose are far too well-blended for individual components to be identified with any degree of certainty. I could not tell if saffron or date are actually part of the picture. What is in evidence however is its ascerbic floral piquancy that gradually resolves into a soapish if slightly fruity rose. A desert rose in its early stages of bloom, as I imagined.

    And what an elegant rose this is! The beauty lies in the way the Ta'if rose is presented and supported. It stays fresh yet deftly sidesteps the intensely green shrillness of tomato stems, with a dash of spices sustaining its peppery vibrancy. The ambery oriental base provides a more than adequate foundation but thanks to the perfumer's judgment, it remains subservient to the central floral accord even long into the dry down. Projection and longevity on skin are both excellent.

    Can a man wear Ta'If? Absolutely. But on the right woman, it could well be a weapon of mass seduction.

    22nd September, 2014

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    Rose d'Homme by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Talc-like powder, gobs of baby lotion, an animalic hint of rawhide and some dusty roses. While Rose d'Homme's fragrance development keeps me guessing, the easy manner in which it switches gears makes for a smooth if somewhat unexciting ride. It does eventually settle into a cozy fuzzy barbershoppish scent that to my mind whispers 'grandpa' more than it says 'dandy'.

    Overall this is a pleasant though not particularly rosy nor masculine scent but nothing to write home about, really. Perhaps men who get all uneasy about rose accords should stay clear of rose fragrances altogether.

    21st September, 2014

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    masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    If you're the sort who likes simple clean aesthetics as I do, you'll probably enjoy this recent offering from MFK. With Masculin Pluriel, it seems Francis Kurkdjian has taken a leaf or two from Jean Claude Ellena's book on fragrance minimalism, weaving a few synthetic accords together with an equally synthetic patchouli in the base drydown. The results is a short-lived scent reminiscent of faux leather car seats, sterile if mildly soapy, devoid of passion or emotion. But as history has proven yet again, I find myself inevitably drawn to such 'too-cool-for-school' aloofness.

    18th September, 2014

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    Or du Serail by Naomi Goodsir

    In the beginning I thought it smells like a Serge Lutens' reinterpretation of By Kilian Back to Black, what with a prominent candied fruit accord threatening to overwhelm its honeyed tobacco counterpoint. Thankfully it settles down fairly quickly. The overall fragrance is warm and sweet but never toothache-inducing, the ubiquitous woody amber in the base steering it firmly away from syrupy territory. There is also a boozy-woodsy quality about it that reminds me of Lubin Idole. Scent projection is more than decent but IMO the tobacco note could do with a little more heft.

    While Or du Serail does not quite fit in with my preferred style (I'm rather averse to honey notes), there is much to admire in its light-but-sure-footed take on what must surely be a tricky genre.

    18th September, 2014

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    L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I get the saltish vibe right from the start and it made me wonder if it was my sweaty skin that was the culprit. It was a sultry afternoon after all. But I already had a good long shower a couple of hours before wearing L'Orpheline. So back to sniffing. Clean musks bolster a somewhat austere incense note which at times smells more like heated rocks. But the star of the show IMO has to be the nutmeg for it brings in a wonderfully nuanced spice and fruit accord without reverting to Lutens' signature 'stewed fruits and woodspice' syrup.

    Projection may be on the weaker side. But this is certainly not a shortcoming as L'Orpheline's natural affinity for skin makes it a fantastic date-worthy, close-wearing skin scent. I could already picture a full bottle in my future wardrobe.

    18th September, 2014

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    Diaghilev by Roja Dove

    A flawlessly executed classically-styled floral chypré of impeccably elegant proportions. No further explanation is necessary if you're familiar with this genre. With Diaghilev, Roja Dove didn't exactly re-invent the wheel. He'd carefully repackaged the old wheel, sold them to a generation of fragrance wearers who lost their holy grails through discontinuation or reformulations, and laughed his way to the bank. Genius.

    01st September, 2014

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    Cuir Cannage by Christian Dior

    Smells like a watered down version of Leather Oud, if you ask me. The barnyard animalics are still patently evident with the addition of florals brightening it up somewhat. I don't find it to be overtly masculine either, particularly in the absence of birch tar. Texture-wise it feels buttery and soft, not so much as suede-like but more like nubuck. Apparently the scent was inspired by the inside of a leather bag? *Yawns*

    Dior has finally paid homage to Chanel's Cuir de Russie.

    31st August, 2014

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    Givenchy III by Givenchy

    *** This review is of the original vintage ***

    Greener than the earlier reviewed Jolie Madame, Givenchy III opens with bergamot and galbanum. The central floral accord gets more noticeable with time but its sweet floralcy and intensity is held firmly in check by the deeply earthy-mossy base. The balance is immaculate, the structure holding its form remarkably well. I must agree with earlier suggestions that this is one helluva chypre that could be easily worn by either gender.

    12th August, 2014

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    By Man by Dolce & Gabbana

    A soapy lavender and herbaceous peppery start gives way to slightly leathery woods and ambery resins, with a slight gourmand touch that seems reminiscent of Penhaligon's Endymion. On skin By Man transitions swiftly across the phases and smells wonderfully aromatic but it is short-lived. Unfortunately, so was its run.

    12th August, 2014

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    Jolie Madame by Pierre Balmain

    **** This review is of the vintage. ****

    I am charmed if not smitten by this rather easy-going floral chypre from the '50s. Unlike Patou 1000, the florals are present without overwhelming, the civet modestly applied, blending in beautifully with the chypre's lightly mossy base. Like sun rays filtering through the foliage, there is a radiance that glows from within. Oh, to smell this on a woman!

    12th August, 2014

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    Montecristo by Masque

    Montecristo's opening is not something I particularly care for - it's like stumbling upon an old codger's smoking hideout in the attic, the air dusty and musty, with a warm tinge of sweetness redolent of stale cigar smoke and dry tobacco leaves. To my mind it has this raw yet cozy if somewhat unpolished quality that steers it away from 'sophisticated gentleman' right into 'grandpa' territory. Evocative composition it may be but not necessarily something I would want to wear.

    12th August, 2014

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    Speakeasy by Frapin

    Smells of minty cocktails, faux leather and suede. The best part was probably the first 5 to 10 minutes when the perky waitress brought me the house special. Thereafter everything started to go hazy with whispered voices and snatches of conversation. Perhaps I should have sprayed this one on rather than sipped.

    29th July, 2014

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    Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior

    A somewhat poised rose-oud composition which treads gently on the genre. The rose patchouli accord is well executed here, very smooth with just a smidgen of animalic oud similar to the one I found in Leather Oud, lending it additional depth. Oud Ispahan projects very well and has above average longevity but there is a certain dryness about it that to my nose is reminiscent of the ubiquitous woody amber found in many masculine fragrances of late. While far from spectacular, still a solid offering from the house of Dior.

    29th July, 2014

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    Gold Leather by Atelier Cologne

    Straight to Heaven meets Leather Oud as Gold Leather opens with a boozy-fruity rum accord over woodsy hints of guaiac wood, something herbal-minty and something subtly animalic or barnyard-like. No leather yet but I'm enjoying this phase too much to complain. It takes the better part of an hour before the tops taper off and the leather grows a little more noticeable- it's warm if slightly salty. Like a well worn jacket it hugs the skin closely and seldom projects beyond a few inches. Perhaps my nose is jaded but by this time I'm almost bored to tears. Despite its promising start, Gold Leather chooses to play it safe and ends up right smack in the middle of the road where it quickly gets overtaken by other leather scents with more verve and personality.

    10th July, 2014

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    Nawab of Oudh by Ormonde Jayne

    In case anyone is still wondering, oud only plays a supporting role in this gender-neutral composition. Much as civet does in certain vintage fragrances, the oud accord exists only to lend an animalic facet albeit fleetingly to an otherwise well-behaved spiced floral. It is a surprisingly comforting scent, the temperate and textural elements working harmoniously to create an invitingly warm and fuzzy vibe for that nice little snuggle with a loved one.

    29th June, 2014

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    Tsarina by Ormonde Jayne

    Wow. This lady certainly knows how to make an entrance. The enveloping melange of piquantly spiced vanilla and powdery iris delivers a statement with all the impact of a royal decree. This is not a fragrance for shrinking violets and bashful wallflowers but a scintillating jewel worn by the bold and the beautiful. It projects confidently, the constant tension between the spiky/edgier spice and the cashmere/velvety vanilla-iris heart holding me spellbound. I like Tsarina a lot; it wears like an improved version of Lanvin's Arpege pour Homme.

    28th June, 2014

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000