I found a lone bottle of Lui sitting on the shelf of a fragrance kiosk in the mall when I was traveling. The shop keeper said it was $65 CdN for a 100ml bottle, which is a steal considering the prices this goes for on eBay. I decided to blind buy it because of its reputation and reviews.
I haven't spent a ton of time with this but trust me, it's fantastic. As described, it's a clash of two different olfactory genres: vibrant citrus notes meets soft, cozy oriental notes of woods, vanilla, and amber.
The perfumer behind the long loved but gone Gucci Pour Homme (2003) is behind this, so if you like that, you'll likely like this. Think of Lui as a fresh or summer flanker to it.
Having smelt close to a thousand scents over the course of 10 years, I think I've found a handful of scents to be truly disgusting (ie. Japon Noir, Vetiver Dance ...) and wonder why would anyone think this smells great?
I'm guessing with the Leather line from MEMO, they're trying to mix leather with notes that are more unconventional. Although, it sort of works with Irish Leather, with Italian, it smells like a horrible mess.
Leather meets a touch of "fresh" with something gourmand. I get a "choco" note or a dry powdered chocolate note but I guess it's the vanilla.
I guess they were going for refined brown Italian leather but this stinks bad.
So I grabbed a sample of this while picking up some other samples from Heeley, even though I hate vetiver, mainly because of the description on their site.
It's described as a 100% natural perfume made mostly of organic ingredients. And the notes of mint, lavender, and grapefruit accompanying the Haitian vetiver sounded intriguing.
This is pretty much a straight up extract of vetiver. Dark, dry, rooty, a bit of dirt thrown in. Where's the other notes?
If you're one who likes wearing vetiver oil, this one's for you.
A masterpiece in my opinion that was sadly ruined by poor marketing and an even uglier bottle. Seldomly you'll come across a designer fragrance that smells more akin to something from a niche avant-grade house, but this is one of those fragrances.
In terms of presentation and structure, Bang heavily reminds me of a cross between a Comme des Garcons and Escentric Molecules scent. Linear, minimal, and just plain modern, cool (cool as in hip) smelling. It's just a blast of soft woods and pepper on an even softer base of vetiver. Call me crazy but it kind of smells like "tea." With a name like "Bang" expect the opposite, this one is a soft whisper behaving more like a skin scent.
If this came in an elegant, simple square bottle aimed less to the teeny-bopper crowd, it would of been a solid release. Sadly, it's discontinued now but you can still find it at discounters (at least for now).
01st April, 2016 (last edited: 08th July, 2016)
Released after the EdP (which I prefer) the initial blast of Grey Vetiver EdT resembles Eau Sauvage EdT. After Grey Vetiver dries down, you're left with a faint whisper of fresh cut vetiver with something chalky - think that's the wintergreen note.
Not awful but not exciting either.
Not a bad scent, unfortunately it falls into that category of fragrances that have been done before and much better that there doesn't seem to be a distinct place for it in the scent world. To my nose, it's a cross between Jubilation XXV and M7. I've been reading about similarities to the Montale Aoud's, Duro, and Black Afgano. I can see that for sure.
As for the scent...it's soft, smokey, with a tinge of dry amber-y sweetness. Again, not bad if you like smokey, incense-y scents. Though, I don't find it predominately leather dominant to be considered a leather scent.
There seems to be some dislike for Oud by Maision Francis Kurkdijan. I wouldn't say it's because of the scent itself, but many were expecting something different - an oud prominent scent. Like many, I don't get much oud from this, or if there is any, it could be muted or a variation I'm not familiar with.
Expect a sweet, woody scent done all in a transparent manner. Take the sweet facets of elemi resin (honey) mainly with cedarwood built all on a sheer base of saffron and patchouli. To the untrained nose, this could definitely pass as a refined, niche version of Angel Men/A*men. Though don't get this scent all wrong, it's done in a very opulent manner. Unlike many high priced fragrances I've smelt, this smells like $300. Worth every penny and long lasting to boot. One of Maision Francis Kurkdijan best.
Oud 27 by Le Labo is one of those very unique fragrances. It varies from dislike to enjoyment depending how many sprays you use. Application is key with this one. Spray just enough, 1 or 2 sprays under the shirt, and it becomes a beautiful, sweat, musky oriental. Put too much on, and it becomes rancid, sour and pungent, like wet socks. Beautiful fragrance, you just have to know how to use it. This one needs some taming. I find the oud note in this, very close to the authentic middle eastern oud oils I've smelt. It probably has one of the most authentic oud notes in any mainstream or niche perfume. The true, dirty, barnyard kind.
I can quite place it but Absolue pour le Soir heavily reminds me of something I've smelt before. Or at least I've smelt parts of it through out various scents I've come across over the years. It's thick, syrupy, and it has the same eastern spice market vibe reminiscent of many Serge Lutens scents. Then there's the dirty barnyard note. I don't think it's a bad scent, but something about it really bugs me. It screams sex. Kind of like a desperate young chap at a nightclub that reeks of "I just want to get laid tonight." I much prefer the cologne version of this, which is more seductive and less trying too hard.
I stumbled upon Cashmere for Men by chance when I was given a free sample with a purchase. I never heard of it and I wasn't expecting much. I gave it a quick spritz and it initially reminded me of something I've smelt before, but couldn't place it until I read the review a few spots down. It's definitely in the same style as fragrances like Gucci Pour Homme (the first one, smokey-woods fragrance by Tom Ford) and 2 Man by Comme des Garcons. Cashmere for Men fits somewhere between the two. More refined than the Gucci, without the Comme des Garcons weirdness. If you're looking for a balance between the two, this is perfect. It smells like sweet white smoke. It smells like it has sandalwood, but it's not listed as a note. I think the sweetness comes from the mixture of the various wood notes, like the gaiac, teak, cedar mixed with the rose bay. You might expect it to wear really woody or abrasive, but it's very soft and comforting, almost like wearing a cashmere sweater. The name is really fitting. A fragrance which I believe needs to get more attention.
I think much of the disappointment that comes from Sublime Vanille is that people are expecting a heavy, rich, sweet vanilla, which is what 90% of vanilla fragrances are in perfumery. I don't know what the aesthetic behind the Royal Exclusive line is, but after testing both Sublime Vanille and Spice & Wood, I'm gaining the sense that Creed's trying to do more easy-to-wear fragrances based on themes that are commonly quite heavy or strong in perfumery. It fits well with the brand, and I see them being a commercial hit, but for most perfume enthusiasts, I gather they would probably think they wear thin and frail.
Sublime Vanille is a diluted vanilla fragrance, with lemon and a soft clean musky undertone. It smells like a lemon sorbet. It's wonderfully blended and composed of exquisite ingredients. It reminds me of a classic Guerlain in terms of presentation and structure. As much as it's a good fragrance, the overall scent lacks something interesting to the nose. I think the entire Royal Exclusive line is best suited for people who have reserved personalities or are looking for alternative scents in those public, close-countered situations. For example, I like wearing vanilla to the office, but I don't want to offend anyone. Sublime Vanille might be a nice choice. Stored in a gigantic bottle, it's a soft, light scent that's meant to be sprayed quite liberally.
If you truly want spice and woods by the house of Creed, try Bois du Portugal. As mentioned in my review of Sublime Vanille, another Royal Exclusive, the line tries to do themes that are generally quite heavy and strong in perfumery, and make them more versatile and easy-to-wear. Spice and Wood is a light, sheer take on the spicy and woods genre. Well blended, exquisite cedar note, soft fruits, and the lightest use of pepper. All smoothed out with iris and musk. It's not bad, but not overly interesting. A very light, modern spice and woods fragrance, which can be sprayed endlessly without smelling overpowering.
Only Chanel can manage to make patchouli, which is often dirty, earthy, hippy head shop like in perfumery, and turn it into something opulent and rich. There's patchouli, you get its facets, but it isn't concentrated. It's almost puffy, airy or transparent in Coromandel. I get something rich and creamy, with a soft, spicy gingerbread sweetness. One of the best in the Les Exclusifs line.
Gaiac 10 is a minimalistic, transparent woody-incense with a clean musky undertone. Think about that cool incense in Kyoto by Comme des Garcons, but obviously with the use of much better notes. Although, Gaiac 10 is a very stripped-down, bare scent in terms of composition, the incense is tranquil, soothing and very calming. I love to wear Gaiac 10 if I'm in an introspective mood, when my day requires a lot of concentration, and I don't want to wear anything heavy to distract me. I wore this when I was doing my entrance exam for graduate school, and I love to wear it when I'm at the art gallery staring at the abstract paintings for hours.
As much as I like Gaiac 10, it seems like the type of scent for people who hate wearing perfumes. Although, it lasts for hours, it has little to no projection off the skin. Something about it reminds me of that smell you'd get from sniffing an unscented anti-perspirant gel from Mitchum. It's an exclusive scent for the city of Japan, and if you're ever in Tokyo, you'll most likely not smell a scent on anyone. Gaiac 10 is meant to be very quiet, strictly for those meditative occasions. An interesting fragrance, that probably deserves a thumbs-up, but overall based on my definition of a perfume, I feel neutral about it.
08th March, 2011 (last edited: 09th March, 2011)
Black Aoud seems to garnish more compliments than any other fragrance I've worn. It must be the oud. It's considered to be an aphrodisiac. I initially thought Black Aoud was amazing, like many here, but I've spent quite a bit of time with it, and it's actually a very bland scent in terms of composition. Black Aoud is a dominant concentration of oud, with some rose and leather to round it. Very simple, linear, with very little development. It smells like the perfumer who created this, put it together in a few hours. I like to compare Black Aoud to an extremely attractive person. One you might see from across the room at a party. An instant carnal attraction. Unfortunately, once you start speaking with this person, they lack intelligence, personality and the ability to hold a conversation. An exterior beauty but no depth. I think it's a great scent, and it does the job, but I only occasionally like to wear it. I sort of have a booty call relationship with it. I think most people would consider this a thumbs-up fragrance, but I don't tend to just evaluate a fragrance on how many compliments it gets me.
23rd February, 2011 (last edited: 04th March, 2011)
I first tried Aventus when I was given a small sample spray. Although, I did like it when I would sniff the sprayer, on me it was horrid. The combination of the fruit notes and the sweet vanilla in the base, turned Aventus into a creamsicle on my skin. I also got something metallic, found mostly in sport-themed scents. Almost like a niche version of Boss in Motion by Hugo Boss. I quickly ran through my sample and finished it, but it left me thirsty enough to want to investigate it further. Since Creed's vary dependning on the batch, which they refer to as Millesime, I decided to pick up a bigger sized sample from a batch noted on the community boards as really good.
This time around I get a much better scent. Smoke and fruits built on oakmoss. The smoke coming from the birch tar. It's soft, not overpowering. The pineapple? I really don't get any. The combination of the fruit notes up top gives Aventus almost a tangerine impression. I get an orange vibe and I wonder why the bottle and box is black. I don't see much point in reading reviews. Aventus slightly varies depending which batch you purchase. If a masculine fruity-chypre sounds appealing to you, try it.
Creed tends to produce very simple, almost neutral fragrances, sometimes lacking creativity compared to other niche offerings. Although, this may be true, they produce simple fragrances that are just too good and hard to dismiss. As much as I like Aventus, I just can't find anything mesmerizing within its walls of simplicity. I'm not taken by it as much as some of the other offerings in the house. I almost feel Aventus is the "it" scent right now in the niche perfume world. Maybe because Aventus is the first masculine Creed in 6 years, or because there tends to be a lot of hype shortly before and after a new release from the house, or the use of fruit notes seems to be the current trend right now in perfumery. I don't know, but I'd like to see its popularity in a few years.
Memoir Man reminds me of another Amouage creation, Arcus. The super-pricey niche Middle Eastern version of Acqua di Gio, which is now discontinued. I find them similar in terms of, they're fragrances built on a perfume category that's been done to death, only slightly better using more exotic, quality ingredients. Memoir Man is just another woody-fougere. It's one of those, it's up to the buyer to decide whether they want to spend an extra $200, to buy something that's be done fairly well by a dozen or more fragrances, maybe only a tiny bit better. I know there's some who would buy this, I'm just not one of them. Good scent, but not entirely original.
I wouldn't classify Vanille 44 as a vanilla fragrance. Although there's quite a bit of vanilla, it's just as prominent as the other notes in the scent. It's a good vanilla but I wouldn't recommend it if you're a big vanilla scent lover, you might be a little disappointed. Vanille 44 is a transparent mix of gaiac wood, vanilla, with some incense, bergamont and mandarin peel. The vanilla is puffy, almost cloud like. It's not thick or overly sweet. You can just smell it, but it isn't dominant. The scent structure, as mentioned already, is fairly light. I had the trouble of first trying it and not smelling anything at all. It seems like the type of scent that needs to be sprayed liberally, so you can actually pick out the notes. If you're looking for a very modern vanilla fragrance, I highly recommend Vanille 44.
Vetiver 46 has nothing to do with vetiver. It's a woody-incense and from keeping it from falling into Le Labo's usual transparent style, the gaps are filled with black pepper and clove. To give you a good idea of Vetiver 46, without going into a ton of detail. It was created by Mark Buxton and it's an EDP concentration of his 2 Man creation for Comme des Garcons. The wood notes in Vetiver 46 are some of the best I've smelt. This isn't your run-of-the-mill lumberyard wood, but something exquisite. It's very concentrated on woods and incense and as much as I like it, I prefer it to have a bit of space. The pepper and clove notes can be sneeze inducing.
Some tar, some smoke, some dryness, something red and fruity. It sounds and smells like something I would have liked considering my love of incense and birch tar, but there's nothing compelling about it. I feel this could have been an extension scent, part of the Red Series by Comme des Garcons. If you like Palisander, almost a more intense version, try this.
Tribute Attar has the most disgusting top and middle notes. It smells like a cigarette ashtray. Very ashy and smokey. I wonder why anyone would want to spend $350 and smell like they just smoked an entire pack of cigarettes. Luckily, it does mellow down to something very beautiful, just give it a few hours. I get a deep smokey copal like frankincense with sweet resins, and cedar chips, with just the slightest hint of jasmine and rose taifi. I love it, but like many Amouage scents, it smells very geographical. If I lived in Oman or Dubai, I wouldn't hesitate to wear this, but I live in a North American suburb. I find Tribute Attar to be one of those works of art in perfumery, but very few would wear or own. Putting that aside, it's still a well crafted scent, that deserves the praise, even though I would just like to admire it.
Baie Rose 26 is rose, rose and more rose, with aldehyde to give it a chemically fizzy retro feel. I would suggest ignoring the note pyramid completely. This is a very dominant, crisp, sweet rose scent. I get a fruity raspberry note in the top, but it disappears quickly, and then it goes back to the roses. As far as the clove, spices and pepper notes, they give the scent a warm soft smokey blanket to sit on, but they are barely noticeable. Rose is listed as a note, but what type isn't specified. The rose in this reminds me of rose notes that run through a lot of the Montale oud fragrances. I think it's damascus rose, but I'm not certain. In terms of texture, Baie Rose 26 is transparent, in a sort of clear nail polish way. I was slightly disappointed, mainly because it was inspired by Al Capone and 1960's smoke filled jazz clubs. I really don't see that association. It's like a modern revamp of a classic rose scent for women.
I'm a bit hesitant to give this a thumbs up, just because I don't think it's that special to warrant a purchase. The city exclusives can get pricey, but putting that aside, it's hard to not say this is a good rose scent, wonderfully blended, and made of quality ingredients. It's also nice to see Le Labo finally have a true rose scent in their line, sadly it's only exclusive to the city of Chicago at a hefty price tag. I don't really see this being a hit with the guys, but the girls will love wearing this. Fans of Aoud Damascus by Montale, Rose (Series 3: Red) by Comme des Garcons, and Rose di Siwa by Parfums MDCI should try this.
07th February, 2011 (last edited: 05th March, 2011)
Incense Extreme is a simple fragrance. It's an extract of Somalian incense taken from Boswellia trees. Although there's ambergris and some wood notes to round the scent, it's still very much just an extract of incense.
What makes Incense Extreme standout, apart from other incense based fragrances, is that it's built on a natural, quality incense note. Very desert dry, with a smokey depthness, yet clear at the same time. I find it less synthetic than what you'll find in the Comme des Garcons Incense Series. And although a clear smelling fragrance, it's the type of scent that lingers on your skin and clothes for days. This is mainly due to its 25-30% perfume oil concentration.
Incense Extreme almost reminds me of that effect you get, when you pour cold water over the hot stones in a sauna. Although a difficult scent to wear, I enjoy Incense Extreme if I'm in need of something calming when I'm doing yoga or meditating.
06th February, 2011 (last edited: 07th February, 2011)
If you're a fan of vanilla fragrances, I recommend trying Vanitas. A vanilla bomb that lingers for hours, maybe even days, with myrrh, sandalwood, and orange blossom. A bit of caution with it. This smells amazing from afar. It's not a fragrance to smell up close, it's just way too sweet and strong, you'll get a bubblegum vibe. As much as I like it, I find it better suited for women, and it's not complex enough (4 note fragrance) to keep me interested.
Incense Rose is mostly frankincense and orris root, on some woods and resin notes. I find the other notes play a supporting role, but they aren't very present. Although I smell rose in this, it almost smells like it's being overpowered. You have to really stick your rose in there, to smell the roses. The frankincense isn't smokey, but fiery. And the signature orris root note Andy Tauer uses in a lot of his fragrances is earthy and raspy. Almost like you pulled out a wet tomato out of the earth, I see the patchouli playing a part in this. The clementine gives it a dry base to sit on.
Andy Tauer tends to produce very emotional experiences with his fragrances. I almost get this depressing or sad vibe from Incense Rose. I don't think I'd ever own a bottle, mainly because I wouldn't find very many occasions to wear it, but it's a very well done scent. Probably one of my favorites he has done.
Santalum is a sandalwood fragrance, unlike any sandalwood fragrance you'll try. Don't expect a woody or creamy sandalwood. The sandalwood in this almost smells like a spoiled tropical fruit, like a papaya. I'm not 100% sure, but the sandalwood might be of the Hawaiian island species. Not Indian or Australian. It almost has this off-putting pungent note in the top, a little weird, but intriguing at the same time.
With Santalum, you'll get a balance of sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon. None of the notes overpower each other. The myrrh isn't incense-y, but gives Santalum a nice depth and darkness, a little dusty, while the cinnamon adds a little spice, and mainly warmth. It's linear, simple and balanced. I don't see this being an every day scent, due to its potency and un-complexity, you'll either get nose fatigue or get bored with it. Expect a very heavy, dark, thick, oily, one-spray only scent with Santalum.
As for the reformulation, the pale yellow juice, it used to be a dark brown/black, as dark as red wine. I found it to contain less sandalwood, due to its rare supply now. The myrrh lacking the depth and darkness it once had. It seems the myrrh now gives the scent a more airy aspect. Also, that brief weird note at the top is gone. On the positive side, I found the older formulation strictly a cold weather scent, but now it's versatile and light enough for any weather.
Lui is an animalistic combination of raw leather and an earthy patchouli. It's uber-masculine, and makes the 80's powerhouse fragrances pale in comparisons. The leather smells like hot animal skin, and the patchouli, very soil/dirt like. It's fairly simple in composition, and quite linear, though dark, heavy, and potent.
There's a scene in the film, Anchorman, where one of the characters shows off his fragrant collection. His star scent is named Sex Panther, made of real bits of panther. I'd imagine Lui smelling like it.
As much as I appreciate Lui, I find it an extremely difficult fragrance to wear. I'd only see it fitting for a Hells Angels biker type, but guys like that wouldn't spend $200 on a bottle of cologne, so I don't see any market for this fragrance. It's the type of scent that screams, stay the "censored" away from me.
Une Rose Vermeille is surprising because Andy Tauer tends to produce darker fragrances. But this is bright, vibrant, fruity sweet, jammy, tarty, and soda pop fizzy. I personally think this smells/feels like cream soda. As much as I don't like it, I could see some people enjoying it, and it's not entirely awful.
24th January, 2011 (last edited: 25th January, 2011)
S-eX is an abstract leather scent, mixed with florals, and a touch of musk. The leather in this is sheer, somewhat aquatic, and very synthetic. Think fake black leather. It gives off a sort of dust particles in compressed air vibe. It's very futuristic in style.
Some find the name of the scent misleading. I have to disagree. This isn't sex in the conventional way of two lovers under a warm blanket in bed. But the kinky, sadistic kind. A dominatrix wearing head to toe leather, whips, metal handcuffs, and BDSM. Interesting, but not for everyone.
Bigarade Concentree is a niche citrus based fragrance. Dirty, maybe even weird, refreshing orange scent in the style of Terre d'Hermes.