Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Shifty Bat

Total Reviews: 627

Majestic Woods by Juicy Couture

This may be the most misleading name in perfumery that I have so far experienced. There is nothing woody about this scent; it smells almost precisely like a fire-toasted marshmallow. Perhaps the 'woods' part is just an allusion to all the camping that the average Juicy Couture buyer enjoys?
In any case, if you are looking for a cloying version of Joop! Jump marketed toward females who love fur-lined collars, tiny dogs in purses, and an absurd amount of pink in their attire, start here.
23rd February, 2018

Collection Grands Crus : Assam of India by Berdoues

Citrus and tea reminiscent of Duel by Annick Goutal. Excellently fresh opening but lacking finish, as there doesn't seem to be much, if any, of the touted sandalwood. This would make for an excellent room/pillow/bathroom spray, but may let you down on your person. Even so, I really enjoy the quality and brightness of the opening.
23rd February, 2018

Gentlewoman by Juliette Has a Gun

The mathematical mean between 4711 and Emeraude, Gentlewoman is a breezy and affable orange blossom scent with a wisp of surprisingly unobtrusive almond. You may almost think you smell lime, linden, tree moss, and several other things not actually present, which is probably my favorite aspect of this scent. It is staid and unexciting, but certainly well-built. It is, in a nutshell, "nice."

Not at all a flirty or 'notice me' kind of scent, but one of respectable, quiet confidence and unwavering direction.
03rd January, 2018
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Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has a Gun

Lady V. is a simple affair. The quality and depth of ingredients immediately brings to mind a couple of releases from the Histoires line, particularly the interplay between a very bright and dry rose and patchouli duo which together evince an orangey, potpourri sort of accord. I would rather do without the vanilla myself, but it does serve to temper the spikier aspects of the former parts. This is a cheery, well-lit mood enhancing frag with another silly name. Nothing worth shouting about, but not one to be written off without trying.
03rd January, 2018

Decibel by Azzaro

Azzaro tries to do Lempicka.

Decibel smells like you've been drinking Italian liqueurs at church. The incense note is the same cheap and soggy type you'll find in equally affordable moderns like Dunhill Custom; it's not bad, per se, but you get what you pay for, certainly. The lemon is sweet, and is an unexpectedly lovely partner for the licorice, reminding me of the time I confounded a bartender by asking for one part Sambuca, one part vanilla vodka, and three parts sour mix over ice (which tastes oddly like a cupcake).

This is an affable fragrance if you like them sweet and don't mind a little powder. Fans of Ted by Ted Lapidus and Apparition Homme and the like will find in this a familiar sweet fuzziness. Mercifully, the violet heart tones down the sugar after a while, but the base seems vague, as though it was watercolor bleeding through paper rather than bold pen lines. A very ephemeral, ethereal sort of gourmand, I suppose.

I would have preferred more aldehydes and less vanilla myself, but Azzaro never thought to ask me.

In summation, this is a licorice gourmand for those who felt that the Lempicka line was too overbearing and the Ungaro too thin.
27th December, 2017

Perry Ellis Citron by Perry Ellis

A great bitter bergamot opening is followed by a creeping, tempering sweetness brought on by the emerging apple, at which point I get a meyer lemon feel. Sadly, despite the title here, citrus is not to be the star of this show. The pepper and apple together smell extremely similar to Dunhill Custom, but with more going on in the periphery. As the geranium begins to pop out I am reminded of another Dunhill - the signature release from 2003. Eventually the composition is made annoyingly trite by what smells like orris or tonka in the base, though neither are listed, but it is this powdery vanillic dismount which sours me to the whole thing. the first few minutes are delicious, but they certainly are fleeting. Like the rest of the 'colored dot' line of PE scents, Citron is derivative and has a short lifespan, but it is still probably the best of the lot.
If you can find this for cheap it may make a suitable replacement for Eau de Rochas.
10th December, 2017

Perry Ellis Red by Perry Ellis

Every generic and false-smelling aromachemical featured in men's best-sellers over the last decade except (thankfully) for vanilla. It is mercifully weak but terminally boring; kind of sweet, kind of spicy, kind of bitter, ad infinitum. It is the fragrance equivalent of being described as a 'nice guy' when one friend asks another if they are interested in dating you.
10th December, 2017

Perry Ellis Cobalt by Perry Ellis

PE already made 360 Black, so I'm not sure what purpose this is supposed to serve. Gross, cloying almost-vanilla in the vein of original Penguin. Definitely not for me.
10th December, 2017

Perry Ellis Cologne for Men by Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis the Mall Frag. Definitely one for the Abercrombie crowd. I enjoy the fern-like mint and fir duo but could do without the obnoxious and now ubiquitous cardamom and synthetic wood.
10th December, 2017

Professional by Pecksniff's

A decent but rather staid, bordering on insipid, scent which smells like a hollowed-out Burberry London. Citrusy and a bit gummy, dwindling to a pitiful nothing in under two hours. Nothing exciting here.
08th December, 2017

Good Girl by Carolina Herrera

Somebody thought it would be a great idea to (once again) make a lackluster copy of Hypnotic Poison but add both a foody and a medicinal angle. This stuff smells as fake as its target demographic, and the bottle and the title's suggestive marketing are beyond atrocious. Another entry in the line of what I refer to as "Perfume for people who don't actually like perfume." It's fun for the first minute and then refuses to tone down or go away. I generally don't gel with that personality type.
08th December, 2017

Mon Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

To think everything from this house used to floor me. Mon Paris is all peony and cheap musk. The packaging claims it boasts an 'exceptional patchouli,' but apparently this patchouli was so exceptional that it was offered a position in another composition and has left the bottle. While not a terrible scent, Mon Paris is dreadfully boring at best and slander upon its namesake at worst.
08th December, 2017

Halston Man Amber by Halston

I picked this one up for a scant thirteen dollars so I could get a feel of where Halston's line now stands in terms of quality. I was not expecting much, to be honest. However, the juice in C-3PO's flask here is surprisingly pleasant. It is a cross between two camps of fragrance I already own, so it is nothing new to me, but I do enjoy it for straddling this line and not teetering to far in either direction. The first camp is the spicy cedar and labdanums: Fever by Celine, Zirh by Ikon, etc. The second is myrrh-centric frags like CK Intense Euphoria and Prada Amber Intense. Halston Man Amber is neither as dark and inky as the first group nor as sweet as the latter; It is warm, spicy simplicity which dwindles in volume in lieu of changing over its lifespan. I think what I like most about it is that the initial blast smells of black pepper. Well, little flask, time to meet your new Halston family.
12th September, 2017
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Rykiel Homme Grey by Sonia Rykiel

Opens with a very dry rosewood which, with the added spices, comes off smelling as much like cedar as itself. The citruses are just there to add dimension, and are hardly noticeable in the projection. The nutmeg heart is blessedly quiet, like Kenzo's Jungle spoken at whisper volume. The finish is all about tonka and musk, as the sandalwood is quite synthetic and is mostly masked by the other base elements. I find this powder-dry, hazy focus offering to be extremely similar to the now grossly overpriced Zanzibar by Van Cleef & Arpels. Both will leave you wanting but are each faultlessly pleasant if you are not concerned about projection. Certainly a wear for warmer weather. I feel like the brief for this creation (and likely Zanzibar) was to create a soft accord which mimics real sandalwood, much like Yardley's take on the material.
01st July, 2017

Versace pour Homme Dylan Blue by Versace

It was bound to happen eventually - someone was going to take the citric incense of Habit Rouge and turn it into a loud and annoying aquatic. Part of me is okay with it because it smells like the core of Tommy Bahama's Martinique, but the rest of me is repulsed. I am praying for a sea change that will bring aromatics and chypres back into the designer fore to replace the unabated waves of vanillas and aquas, but I am not holding my breath.
15th May, 2017

Le Beau Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

Stretching so far across the idea of 'le Male' that it circles around and catches up with all of its copycats, Le beau Male manages to smell more like Ambro de Jacomo and Ghost Man than its predecessor. The mint and orange blossom make for a breezy, airy duo, while the rather unexpected sage note keeps things anchored to the earth. Lavender and vanilla are slightly recessed from before but remain the overall stars. 'Absinthe' still isn't a single note. Altogether it's a bit of an odd duck fragrance, but I do prefer it to the original, and might recommend it to anyone who thought Ghost Man was too sweet or featured too much aniseed. Interestingly, I get a sort of 'afterscent' reminiscent of cucumber.
15th April, 2017

Sud Magnolia by Atelier Cologne

Atelier does Juicy Couture. Pleasant enough orange-floral opening, followed by a whole lot of nothing. Though it is not a very exciting experience the ingredients are once again excellent. Atelier has a knack for making average scents that soar to the top of their class by using very natural and lasting components, and this is one of them. Nothing really stands out here, but nothing offends, either.
26th February, 2017

Dunhill Custom by Dunhill

Custom begins with a simple apple and pepper opening which, on paper, might suggest a mall fragrance, but is actually very well-delivered and almost delicious. The amber and incense body is extremely similar to that of Mr. Blass by Bill Blass, minus the coriander and vanilla, and costs about as much. Both are seriously good for their price range, but Custom suffers one fatal flaw - While the opening is lovely and full of promise, there is almost no projection. I tried two sprays to the chest and two to my scarf and still could not detect the slightest iota of Custom after a couple minutes. The idea is sound, but the execution is feeble. As a skin scent, however it lasts until the next day, so if you are looking for close-quarters allure this may actually fit your style. This is a Venus fly trap of a scent, in that it basically doesn't exist at a distance, but can be fatal at proximity, and it's an absolute steal at the current going rate. The projection issue is the sole reason I can't give a thumbs up, and I'm sure some readers won't mind much at all about that. This isn't the kind of scent that calls for attention; this is a soft scent reserved for the one closest to you, a love note rather than a mating call. It's beautifully simple, especially if you harbor a bygone love for old school musks but wish they had a touch more English class.

Anyone looking to graduate to a richer take on this would do well for themselves to try Catalyst by Halston. There is a solid chance Custom was meant to be a reworking of Halston's apple-Oriental blueprint, but Catalyst is a rich intoxicant with none of the decorum exhibited by Dunhill's version. It is also equally inexpensive.
25th February, 2017 (last edited: 27th March, 2017)

Oud Saphir by Atelier Cologne

Suede, pepper, and the olfactory illusion of spruce needles - If I didn't know better I'd swear this was a nod at the original Burberrys for Men. Linear stuff but you know what you're buying right away, and you know it's good.
21st February, 2017

Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne

Rose Anonyme pulls off what I have only thus far experienced in the now woefully rare Arena di Roma - A quiet Oud. The blend of rose, bergamot, and soft spices makes the whole smell more than a little like potpourri, but in a pleasant manner the likes of which I would normally associate with Histoires or Strange Invisible Perfumes (Lyric Rain in particular). Compared to the usually straightforward and simplistic scents being churned out by Atelier this comes across more like a proper designer fragrance. It is soft but warmly radiant, it doesn't change much during its lifespan, the ultimate drydown is a bit banal, but the overall experience is one of fleeting pleasure and exuberance, and I like that plenty. Anyone who has enjoyed smoking blue lotus should give this one a wear.
21st February, 2017

Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne

If you want to smell like singed, buttered tonka this stuff will knock you out. The quieter dimensions at work (especially the moss) keep things in check as best they can, but it's a tough sell to make a truly interesting vanilla-centered fragrance. Not at all a bad scent, overall. Fans of VI looking for a little more dimension may have some fun looking for old samples of Scott McClintock.
19th February, 2017

Royall Muske by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

Upon smelling this I immediately understood what several other releases were trying to do. The core of Royal Copenhagen Musk, the basis of Magnetism by Escada, and who knows how many others were trying to capitalize on the almost grape-like, sweet musk at work here. I wish it was a stronger scent, but at the same time realize that could produce some dire consequences.
09th February, 2017

Joint by Roccobarocco

Joint is a lost and looked-over gem of a fragrance on par with Anthracite or (to a lesser extent) Ungaro III. The late 80's and early 90's saw a tremendous shift which left many worthy releases without the inertia they deserved, and the oddly-named Joint is one of them. Many have compared it to Bogart's Furyo, and I can agree to an extent, but it lacks the deep and resinous incense and amber to match up. That same dried out basil and coriander theme still exists here, but this one focuses more on the spicy side. This is red bell pepper wearing an Arrow collar shirt and wearing a retro musk. It might not suit today's kids but it is sexy. I can't for the life of me figure out how the base can at once be so old and so nonexistent - It's like the base dissolves into the mid to keep the peppery spice rolling along. Overall it's like wearing Furyo without the Head Shop smell, or like Giorgio's Red For Men devoid of any sweetness (the civet is really something). Eau Cendree and the early Jil Sanders spring to mind. Joint is a rather strange scent in that it is like wearing a raging storm which only roils an inch off your body: nearly nonexistent from afar, but irresistibly good up close.

09th February, 2017

Beautiful by Estée Lauder

Another old tuberose monster brought to heel by changing times, tastes, and restrictions. It is still good, and richer than most florals of today, but I kind of liked the bawdiness of the original, which stopped just shy of becoming a terror the likes of Knowing (which strangely came afterward). In any case it's quite the impressive bouquet.
07th February, 2017

Pleasures by Estée Lauder

What else need be said? It's as though Balmain's Ivoire mated with a bar of old white soap and had a lovely daughter. It works as intended and is deservedly esteemed.
07th February, 2017

Clémentine California by Atelier Cologne

Like most Atelier offerings so far, Clementine is quite natural-smelling, and composed quite well, but ultimately suffers from Boring Base Syndrome. It is surprisingly bitter throughout, and its strange complements of juniper, star anise, and cypress make it smell a Lot like an alternate reality's version of Eau de Grey Flannel in which the grey musk of the base was traded out for a much larger dose of orange in the top. Thumbs up for the first half hour, certainly, but don't expect to be engaged for much longer.
07th February, 2017

Nirvana Bourbon by Elizabeth and James

The playful innocence of Bourbon here is like a young girl wearing her mother's things while she's out of the house. She's parading about, pretending to be luxurious like that older Dior woman she once saw. It's a decent scent, really; soft and warm, comes across as fairly natural, and the tuberose is just a brush of rouge in the mix - it is not part of the outfit, but helps complete the 'look.' I might even give this a wear or two myself if I tire of the thickness of Bath and Body's Oak or vintage Obsession. I seldom wear prominent vanillas, but this really has just enough dry wood to soak it up.

I could have just said, Unisex Corduroy by Zirh," but that would be little fun.
07th February, 2017

Dunhill Icon Elite by Dunhill

If you've been looking for a take on Perry Ellis 360 Black, Bijan Black for Men, or Perhaps, by a farther stretch, the first Penguin release, Icon Elite might be for you. While the suede accord and fake sandalwood bring its composition dangerously close to the brink of vanilla which ruins the former three for me, the threat is just narrowly reined in (but never quite goes away). The quality of ingredients and the body and motion of this would have me guessing that it was a Nest release were I to blind-test it. Nothing I'm clamoring to acquire but it's a neat redirect from the usual citrus and wood, and is far more pleasant to me than the original Icon. Still smells like Dunhill are trying to copy Zegna, though.
07th February, 2017

Dunhill Icon by Dunhill

Why is Dunhill trying to be Bulgari or Zegna? Their theme hasn't been being 'in' since the 50's. I love their old lineup of fragrances up until about 2003, but this is just not up to snuff. Acridly bitter bergamot/pepper opening tainted with a now trendy overdose of cardamom, and of course we have to throw some 'oud' in the base, just so we've covered as much ground stylistically as we can. Whenever I read ad copy for top-loaded releases like this they always seem to have a phrase like,"a touch of modernity," which I am starting to read as, "We got rid of all the real-smelling ingredients so nobody will mistake you for an old man." Icon is painfully disjointed and burnt to my nose. Among the company's roster it feels like a 50 year-old businessman mimicking a college club-goer. Odds are that the folks who like this stuff best will be wearing entirely too much of it. A bit long-winded here, but my rant's over.
07th February, 2017

Rock 'n Rose Pret a Porter by Valentino

I'm not entirely sure why this flanker exists, as it is incredibly similar to the original. What has changed is the presence of black currant now equals that of the starring rose, and the overall body feels more creamy instead of sharp. This interpretation of RnR really scratched at my brain for a while until I finally recognized what it smelled like - Halston's Halston Couture, minus the sunflower. It does hearken back to the early to mid-nineties stylistically, with its brave attempt at pairing juicy odd fruit notes with white florals. I can't say I like this any more or less than the original, but it lacks (according to my Lady) the 'Play-doh' vibe of the first one, so that can only bode well. So, if you like the idea of a big currant-orange-blossom-rose with a syrupy feel and a hint of vanilla, like Victoria's Secret suddenly had a better budget, you can still find this juice on the cheap.

As an aside, I received this by mistake, as I had planned to order another bottle of Rock N Rose, but the vendor apparently couldn't tell the difference between them. Pret-a-Porter looks much the same, but has a pink cap and a hanging tag, while the original boasts a black cap. The bottles are otherwise identical.
31st December, 2016