Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Shifty Bat


Crave by Calvin Klein

Crave is a bold cross between Yohji Homme and CK's Truth for Women, and its death knell was trying to be both at once. Anyone who is familiar with Royal Copenhagen's Viking will recognize a vaguely pleasant yet overly misdirected jumble of notes which almost pan out yet drydown to a great mess. It's fruity, watery, herbal, and refreshing and quite androgynous in the CK manner but it quickly becomes quite cloying. It is almost a good idea but really better left dead.
01st September, 2015

Joop! Homme Wild by Joop!

The Wild edition of Joop! doesn't really need to exist. For starters, it is nearly the same fragrance as Joop! Jump. The body weight, longevity, and projection are the same and the only real change is swapping out the airy orange blossom for 'rum absolute,' which comes off as sweet and foody, like a version of Rochas Man that trades in the coffee-mocha tone for marshmallow yet remains mocha-colored. Wild is pleasant and can be had for quite cheap, but there are many better scents out there like it.
Having said all that I do enjoy wearing this one, and others seem to like it on me. I just get bored with the composition easily because there is no real movement. If you already have Rochas Man, Jump, CK Intense Euphoria, Apparition Homme Intense, or Oak by Bath and Body Works you'd be better off passing on this offering. If you do not own any of those give it a go, as these aromatic semi-gourmands are currently well-favored by the vast majority of people I meet and I feel every enthusiast should own at least one.
Joop! Homme Wild is not at all a bad boy scent. It is not hardened or mysterious. It certainly doesn't break any rules. It's actually a velvety-smooth Mr. Nice Guy and pairs well with sweaters and cappuccinos.
02nd June, 2015

Indian Sandalwood by Crabtree & Evelyn

I feel that this is an apt impression of sandalwood painted with just about every color but the original, like a close gathering of friends at a funeral sharing anecdotes about the deceased; he's gone but we all remember and feel his presence in a way. The cinnamon and lavender combo reminds me of Bath and Body Works 'Oak' with less of the vanilla-myrrh stickiness, and the cedar and cypress keep the dry woody impression alive. This isn't a good replacement for sandalwood (if that's what you're looking for) but it is a good fragrance - It smells inviting and natural, wears close, and never becomes a bother. And, I'll be perfectly honest, smells wonderful layered with sandalwood oil. I picked up the shaving travel kit on the cheap and am enjoying it immensely.
27th April, 2015
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Jicky by Guerlain

Diorella spent the night in the barn!

The dirty green lemon opening is among the best first impressions I can name. If only this one wasn't as fleeting as 4711 it would be a real add to the collection. Comparisons to Ungaro II are fair but Jicky seems like a Summer flanker or something to splash on after a workout or for a walk instead of Ungaro's soiree sort of vibe. It's a dirty fun flash in the pan.
18th March, 2015

Chamade by Guerlain

Chamade is a lovely scent, it really is. Unfortunately it was released on the heels of Norell, which does everything better, save the vanilla. Chamade smells like a feminine precursor to what would become Derby, with its leathery, ambery base and white-and-green floral theme, sort of a dirty version of Balmain's ingenious Ivoire. Now we have Catalyst for Women at a fraction of the cost, which takes this theme to grand new heights, and the original Nicole Miller, which is an intriguing jammy fruity variation. With these more rich and exciting options I don't see many people reaching for Chamade but there is really nothing I dislike about it.
18th March, 2015

L'Anarchiste by Caron

The opening of this one reminds me of the sour apple-and-spices found in Catalyst for Men by Halston. It just relies much less on the spices. Ultimately it just smells like orange blossom with some slightly spoiled fruit. If you wait an hour or two until the juicier aspects have gone you'll find something like a pocket-warmed penny - sort of a Dr. Frankenstein's Pear, which is nothing like Azzaro's Chrome but sort of a robot's version of a Bath and Body Works fragrance. This is, of course, an olfactory trick, so give some credit (it also smells a bit like unsweetened barbecue sauce), but don't be wary of it. Nobody will think you smell undead. Maybe just a little odd. It is, in retrospect, so pleasantly different than most of what comes my way that I can't help but like it. If you like the idea of a ripe, cybernetic pear, give this a go.
17th March, 2015

L'Heure Bleue by Guerlain

Finally sampling this I see where countless others stole their basis. We see here the classic body of a Shalimar/ Emeraude type fragrance with an ephemeral top of violet and (superbly done) aniseed, and in retrospect I see ripoffs in spades in other scents I've tried.
There exists no lack of reviews for this product so describing its evolution doesn't seem too useful. However, when I applied just a few drops of the EDT and, moments later, sniffed my arm I had to stop everything I was doing.

It's no point of pride saying I don't yet know the difference of vintages of l'Heure Bleue but I have wanted to try it for years and it did not disappoint. There are only a handful of scents for which I have felt honest reverence, and this is one - a real testament to the art we all enjoy.
17th March, 2015

Burberrys for Men (Original) by Burberry

For ages I have wanted to try this fragrance because of my love for the few iterations that came afterward with a similar name. It became sort of a 'bucket list' item for me. When I first sniffed the sample I finally wrangled I was utterly dismayed that it smelled like Burberrys #2; I love that fragrance but was immediately convinced the vendor giving me said sample had also been confused by the London-Not-London name game Burberry had created. I noticed a marked decrease, however, in the 'citronella' aspect of #2 which is among its most prominent features.
I remembered it said that the very first Burberry smelled something like what is now called London, and I can now attest this is true - with all the confusion that brings with it.

Here now I will provide a quick guide to help anyone confused as I was for the purpose of navigating this series of scents.

#1 - Much like Guerlain's Derby without the smoky intensity, sort of like Hugh Grant trying to be Clint Eastwood. An herbal, mossy leather which stays close but is quite strong for a couple hours. Despite the pyramid above, a beautifully authentic-smelling sandalwood base which reminds me of Jaguar Mark II without the overbearing patchouli. Contains a flowery, plantlike bitterness which will later be over-accentuated, using tagete, in the mid-90's incarnation. Just beautiful.

#2 - Citronella and spearmint over vanillic wax and woods, like an upscale Pleasures for Men. Endlessly enjoyable.

Burberry for Men ('95) - Very bitter opening, full of marigold and sunflower laid over a then popular vanilla and lavender duo. Well constructed and well dressed but a bit wearisome. The cedar and moss drydown hearkens to the first Burberry, an attempt at recreation following current guidelines and lowered cost. This was obviously an attempt to revive the brand using the early to mid 90's guidelines of floral-fresh. Thank the powers that be they stuck with floral-herbal instead of jumping ship for Calone.

Burberry London - Once again donning the now confusing 'London' moniker we see a boozy port and fir creation which seems like the first one on holiday, like a resinous extract of the original - eschewing dryness for a winey saturation. It is still very similar in structure, (especially the delicious use of pepper) but another attempt at reinvention of the Self, much like a Madonna album.

I was for years confused by the Burberrys series, thinking of each successor as its own entirely different fragrance, but once I finally realized the house was simply tweaking and reissuing its flagship to meet modern standards it suddenly made so much sense and I could see all the dotted lines joining them. I do not like these offerings any less for being rehashes because I feel they were tweaked with a beautiful nuance to fit their respective times. I am, however, confident that any of us who have worn the first two know there is just something special about their make which has largely eluded mainstream perfumers since.

Burberry can churn out all the flankers they want but they are going to need a serious overhaul if they ever wish to return to this level of quality. Burberrys (#1) smells like a personally tailored suit feels, while their new sport juice feels a bit more Old Navy.

Long rant short, five blooming stars for one of the most perfectly proportioned and utterly beautiful creations I've ever sniffed.

17th March, 2015

Encre Noire by Lalique

In my hobbyist study of scent vetiver has proved to be among the highest mountains to scale. It was hard to place, inextricable yet ephemeral. Finding that there exist vetivers of differing profiles did not surprise me but it did lend me some clarity. The type to which I am better inclined is implemented wonderfully in the older vintages of Carven's Vetiver- a rootsy, earthen smell with hints of salted licorice and ginseng. The other prominent type is the smoky vetiver, which to me evokes memories of ivy leaves, dried, smoked meats, and bonfires. This kind is less friendly but vastly more fascinating, and is the foundation for Encre Noire.
Here are a few reasons I have grown to enjoy this scent despite my apprehension for the smoky vetiver: The sillage is gentler and more ephemeral than smelling it at skin level. This took me some time to realize. Most people I've come across like it enough to vocalize their appreciation. The blending is superb, using 'kissing cousin scents' to bolster the many facets of the star ingredients which never overshadow the main player. It employs a vanilla devoid of sweetness, a true rarity in today's market.
I would not usually condone layering designer fragrances because it obscures the original intent and because the blended bases more often than not become a mess, but I have found that combining Encre Noire with Yardley's Citrus & Wood yields an incredible and utterly charming effect, like Terre d'Hermes lit aflame.
04th September, 2014

Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs

This is a baseless fragrance, not in the sense that it serves no purpose, but that it really bottoms out early on. Daisy Dream is easily more palatable to me than the flagship version and I do appreciate its use of negative space - it's hard nowadays to pull this off without being obviously cheap. As for the composition, I feel if they had steered away from the common-as-water 'berry' notes involved this would have been infinitely more interesting, although I may just be wishing some house or other would make a successful reiteration of Balmain's irreproachable Ivoire. As it stands, DD is a fleeting, pleasant warm weather white floral with little fuss, and employs a lovely use of the cleaner version of jasmine. I think this one could be made to shine when layered with a light application of neroli, amber, or oakmoss oil.
15th August, 2014

Horizon by Guy Laroche

A salty fennel and grapefruit scent laid over fresh patchouli. More a 'damp herbal' than an aquatic, it is very similar to the original formula of Kenzo Pour Homme but more naturally friendly-smelling and without the sort of low tide musk that came with. Tucked away in the layers of this composition is some kind of berry (far in the background of the big picture) as well as an accord that reminds me strongly of The Visionary by the Gap, which was a sparse green scent comprised mostly of caraway and geranium. The whole effect is strange but incredibly alluring, especially considering the current asking price. The top doesn't stay too long but the woody drydown is a close quarters, all day affair.
Horizon exhibits one of the greatest utilizations of fennel in a fragrance that I have ever encountered; it is a beautiful, bittersweet watercolor and (despite the vague comparisons) an utterly singular creation.
04th August, 2014

Alien by Thierry Mugler

It's just a cheaper regurgitation and intentionally weird repackaging of Hypnotic Poison, devoid of any of its richness, class, and easy suavity- like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga trying to recreate classic Madonna with added shock appeal. It would be pleasant if the sweetness didn't make the construction so opaque.

If you want to like Alien and Hypnotic Poison but feel they're not quite for you try tracking down a sample of Deep Night by Ghost.
04th August, 2014

A*Men / Angel Men by Thierry Mugler

As the four hundred sixty-ninth entry in the A*Men discussion I have little, if anything, to add but this - I initially, and for years after, found it to be quite revolting. I got around to trying its delicious and more focused predecessor, Animale Animale, and figured I should return to Mugler's offering later on when I understood things a little better. I still find it crassly chaotic in the opening but now I harbor a small appreciation for it for creating an opening that can keep people guessing and interested. The notes involved don't seem to blend together in the first stage, instead radiating alone in parallel lines from the body, unlike similar scents like the later Rochas Man, which is obviously cut from the same cloth but more of an intentional melange.
I'm still not in love with A*Men but I respect any frag that can use coffee and mint together without making a total mess.
04th August, 2014
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Invictus by Paco Rabanne

Invictus is utterly disgusting. It tries to combine a woody vanilla like Le Male with a generic, modern day sports scent and fails so utterly that I honestly can not believe the brief was not only accepted but produced. It comes off as loud, brash, confusing, cheap, cloying, and (most unfortunately for me) darn near unscrubbable. I try hard to be objective and have changed my mind for the better about a great many scents over the years but this one is in no way salvageable. It would be a ripoff even at the $5 mark.

Much like what current American radio is for people with no real interest in melodic music, Invictus is a fragrance for people who don't like fragrances.

People who bought this item also bought: Gold-plated chain necklaces, barbed wire tattoos, chinstrap beards, Pitbull cd's.
04th August, 2014

Jaguar Mark II by Jaguar

This model Jaguar is a muscle car compared the nuanced original, and it roars.
The entire composition revolves around patchouli, and the type used makes Mark II like the day to Salvador Dali's night. The patchouli in both is bright and multifaceted, and smells like the freshly cut plant, unlike many of the heady, hippie-associated oils in the world which mask and overpower instead of charm. Now, where Dali's version is dark and more moody it is still a thing of great beauty with its strange dirt and flowers vibe. Jaguar's interpretation skips the fine lines, and in broad strokes paints a portrait all in mellow brown and bright orange tones- a simple, straightforward, and utterly potent mix of woods and sweetness that teeter on the verge of smelling like diesel exhaust. Lasts for ages and, despite being completely linear, the sandal in the end stage smooths out into a real beauty.
08th July, 2014

Black Orchid by Tom Ford

I knew it! I knew there was ylang in here, poking its head through the stage curtain with its quiet impression of banana. Black Orchid is a plush, velveteen oriental that stacks white florals (funny) on a nearly-edible woody base. It smells 'purple' to me, likely because of a good dose of currant (which, in concert with the balsamic vanilla base, reminds me of Opium Pour Homme). I was discussing this one with a friend and he brought up comparisons with Obsession Night by Calvin Klein, for which we share an affinity. We concluded that Black Orchid is the crushed velvet to O.N.'s smooth suede. It's well-made and lasts ages. A bit oppressive in hot weather but we'll forgive such minor trespasses.

To anyone interested in trying this one on - go light on the application or you risk becoming the scent equivalent of costume jewelry.
24th June, 2014

White Patchouli by Tom Ford

This smells heartwarmingly close in composition to Strange Invisible Perfume's captivating Lyric Rain, but doesn't exude the same weary melancholy. It is a spicy, very natural patchouli supported by a touch of bright bergamot and a soft tea rose heart. There is also a spicy melange of an accord that comes off as 'white pepper potpourri.' An excellent and simple spiced white floral with decent longevity and quality ingredients.
24th June, 2014

Insensé by Givenchy

It's got the dirty, raw, floral herbality of Rochas Globe, the amber and fir base of Jil Sander's Feeling Man, and the sparkling, nearly-citrus aldehydes of a classic Chanel. So what's wrong with this little overachiever, this 'everything wannabe?' Nothing. I was just leading you on. Insense is a beautifully crafted and surprisingly spare floral scent made for men and enjoyed by anyone with a right mind. It strikes a humming, middling chord so even and so sensible that it could be worn easily in any clime or time of year. I really lament the failure of the attempted resurgence of the masculine floral from 1990-95 because it spawned several of my favorite fragrances, and I do appreciate a well-built, non-fruity floral. Insense is an 'everyman's floral,' and it hits all the right notes and never leans too hard. It is a Beyond Paradise for 'aquatic' haters. It should have been a classic.
I'd rate this among the best of Givenchy's work, just under Ysatis, and right alongside Xeryus and Givenchy III. Beautiful stuff.
21st June, 2014

Diamonds & Rubies by Elizabeth Taylor

This is a smooth and elegant rose/orchid scent with a wisp of bitter greenness: petals and stems overlaying a milky-powdery sandalwood base. It is really quite pleasant but it's been done much better elsewhere at about the same price point - If you like this but can't find the original make, try vintage Nicole Miller for Women for a richer formula of the same structure plus a ripe plum, or try Perry Ellis f for a stronger rose/cinnamon take.
All in all a solid scent, but the current version lacks the creamy, come-hither warmth of the original.
19th June, 2014

Eau de Cartier Concentrée by Cartier

Violet leaf has become a much-maligned thing in perfumery for its association with the beautiful but un-modern Grey Flannel, its starring role in most of the bombastic Lempicka line, and its rampant use in countless faceless-fresh masculines over the last decade. For me, this rendition of Cartier's lightest masculine is a breath of fresh, purple-tinged air. Although it can come across as overly synthetic, especially in high heat, the opening burst of amber-sweetened violet countered by a hint of coriander is incredibly fresh and uplifting. Most surprisingly, this normally fleeting sort of accord lasts a solid hour, earning high marks from me. Afterward, the scent dries down rapidly, leaving a cedar-amber 'almost vanilla,' much like the powdery almond-like residue of Cartier's Must Pour Homme, with which EdCC shares several bodily similarities.
Though I wish this was longer-lasting I suppose that would defeat the purpose of creating a pretty, light-weight scent. I have found that spraying body and clothes at intervals keeps the show going in a brilliant way, as the musks in this one aren't strong enough to really build up and become oppressive. Nothing spectacular, but this one makes me happy.

After an evening wearing Grey Flannel on one hand and EdCC on the other on a hunch, I am convinced Cartier wanted to basically relaunch the 1976 classic with its own modern twist. Gone is the characteristic galbanum and the rich, milky sandalwood, but the remainder is like the apparition of the former after the corporeal had been discarded. It will never be as good as its precursor but I see it as a pleasant homage to the original champion of Violet.
16th June, 2014 (last edited: 17th July, 2014)

Colette by Tocca

Once you recognize the melody of Colette's song as that of New York by Parfums de Nicolai you can't dissociate them. This a more sparse, sort of Pointilist New York on a budget (minus the herbs) which isn't much of a performer but is well-built and very pleasant, sporting an orange and bergamot opening which extends far into the fragrance care of the sweet woody amber in the base. It is a lighthearted, candied scent which doesn't evolve much in its lifespan but is very easy to like.
Nice enough, but for the money most would be better off tracking down New York, Minotaure by Paloma Picasso, or Guess by Marciano for Men, all of which could be worn easily by men or women.
09th June, 2014

Brigitte by Tocca

A lightly fruity ginger and saffron which reminds me of a few recent YSL flankers for men, Brigitte has poor projection and less longevity, and is largely a waste of time, but I could never say it is unpleasant. This one only disappoints because I know it would be incredibly good if Tocca didn't penny-pinch so hard and dilute the formula so heavily.
09th June, 2014

Givenchy III by Givenchy

Concerning the vintage perfume formula: The bergamot and lactonic peach rested on a bed of greens is very much reminiscent of the other readily-available reference Chypre, Mitsouko, but Givenchy III is Mitsy with a shadow cast over it, or darkness lurking within. The inky, black base of vetiver, castoreum, and oakmoss is always in the front seat for this ride, and doesn't just reveal itself after the top dies off - it looms behind the whole composition, coloring it a darker shade of smoky green, with a smell upon opening not unlike fresh dirt (It actually has a lot in common with Caron's Vetiver). This is as 'classic' as scents get in the modern age - III is very much an Old World kind of scent, one which proclaims class and demands respect, and is a hard wear for anyone not an intriguing socialite. It is a near-cousin to my beloved Norell but is less bright and all-inclusive, more the dark branch of the family. It is stark and beautiful in an angular face kind of way. Whereas this kind of scent used to be more commonplace in the last century it now fills a different role than intended. This is not at all a scent for the casual wearer, nor is it even suited for enthusiasts - Givenchy III is a scent tailored to the desires of scent maniacs and classicists. It is a placeholder for an era that came and went but one which we wish would stay.
I haven't smelled castoreum this strong since my acquisition of vintage Van Cleef & Arpels. This could easily have been called 'Black Moss.' Beautiful stuff.
06th June, 2014

Flora Danica by Royal Copenhagen

A lightly honeyed floral, very much late 70's-early 80's in style, Flora Danica bursts from the nozzle with a dazzling palette of aldehydes and white-to green floral notes which sing loudly and happily. This first act doesn't seem to last particularly long but from several accounts I've heard concerning this scent I'd bet overapplication makes the opening here oppressive to standers by.
The heart of this fragrance is charming but proportionally tame, and seems like a well-behaved 'little sister' scent to many similar woody florals or light chypres, as though this were the honeysuckle to the elder sister's jasmine in the formula. As with many such scents made between 1950-80 there is a pleasantly light spiciness added by carnation, like a child doing an endearing impression of adulthood (clove), but the real catch is the amber-backed, slightly green rose, much in the manner of Poivre and its sort. The end phase is light and wears very close, smelling mostly of light woods, amber, and the faintest of white petals. In all this is akin to the marriage of Aramis 900 and Anais Anais, and I actually prefer it to both.
My developed bias aside concerning the Royal Copenhagen line, this is an extremely well-proportioned floral scent, housed in a very likeable bottle-within-a-bottle, is heartwarmingly pleasant to the nose in the middle stages, and is vastly more enjoyable and natural than most fragrances I've sampled this year. Having a bottle of this in my home is like caring for a Unicorn - I want everyone to know about it but there is so little left to go around.
05th June, 2014

Halston Couture by Halston

A liquid which radiates from skin like woody sunlight, Halston Couture is a dry, bright almost- chypre made in a very 70's style. In fact, it is reminiscent of Diorella with half the ingredients but each at double strength, the basic formula still intact. The opening is a brilliant lemony citrus, flanked by a light, pale rose and jasmine, underscored with patchouli. Impressively, the amber which will come to sweeten the heart and lay the base to rest is absent, so the beginning phase is dry and very bitter, and creates a scent illusion like sunflowers. During this opening phase, which lasts anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes, Couture projects quite strongly. When this scent tapers into the heart it's not so much that the citruses disappear but it seems like they hide behind the woods and can still be caught coloring the other accords. Here it becomes sweeter and more pleasant, if less exciting. This soapy and bitter oakmoss, at first a whisper in the chorus, now increases in presence as the top diminishes, and the far drydown is that same sweet amber with the now dominant moss and the backbone of patchouli which seems to be the only instrument set at a constant volume.
Nearly all of Halston's fragrances before the mid 90's were chypres of some sort, and all of them were at least good. Couture is a departure from the usual, as it is brighter and more classical than the previous lot, but I feel this formula was recycled and overly decorated later as the Women's version of Catalyst. In a nutshell it is a super-pleasant lemon-patchouli-rose composition bordering on masculine in approach and very enjoyable throughout all its stages.
04th June, 2014

L'Arte di Gucci by Gucci

L'Arte is one of those magic tricks which employs a twin to act as the performer's double in a separate box; at first impression most might pick up little more than a heady Damask rose, but lurking right behind it to fill out the trick is a similarly colored tuberose. This headlining duo works in concert to dominate a small bitter-green backdrop propped up by a meek amber supporting player. Everyone scrambles to make the stars look good, and whereas most scents which attempt this level of illusion botch the act or fail to impress, Gucci's (unfortunately axed) offering leaves the audience in awe, and everyone gets their money's worth as the performers leave, after a surprisingly long show, in a faint fog of magenta.

Gucci has done away with most of their better offerings but fans of L'Art, or those looking for something similar, would do well to track down the more easily available vintage versions of Aramis 900 and/or Nicole Miller (for Women), as this smells like the exact median of the two.

This is Gucci's finest take on Rose so far, and among the pinnacles of the house's achievement.
They may have traded hands and cut corners but this scent is just another reminder that Gucci used to be one of the smartest and most stylish designers around. It's up to them whether they will reclaim their title or continue to sink further into mediocrity.
03rd June, 2014

Fleurs d'Ombre Ombre Bleue by Jean-Charles Brosseau

Before the Fleurs moniker came into the equation this was simply called 'Ombre Bleue.' I can not attest to the quality of the more recent variation, but the original is a pleasant if simple idea - A pre-aquatic seaside floral.
The opening employs a strange, honeyed 'almost-fruit' which is hard to pin down, smelling at once like green pears, dehydrated pineapple, and that classic peachy lactone that adds rosy cheeks to so many classic chypres. Most of the scent is embodied by a breezy jasmine and neroli duo that manages to evoke memories of damp laundry on a clothesline, and a benzoin/vanilla base that is somehow almost devoid of powder. The official list claims 'sand' and 'sea notes' are in the mix but we all know how creative the PR team can get. Instead of smelling like the meeting of surf and terrain this comes across more like white flowers growing in the dunes nearby; a clean, semi-sweet white floral with an illusory dash of salt. Projection is great for about thirty minutes but most of the wear is a close, breezy aura spanning three to four hours.

While not an exceptional scent I must give due credit to Ombre Bleue for its tastefully unsweetened vanilla and aquatic impression without using calone. I tire easily of vanilla in most scents but a good, clean jasmine like this really gives it a cottony, happy feel. Perhaps best of all, this could be worn effortlessly by men or women of any age, and there are few scents I can name that can fill in that much space. If I can get ahold of some of the new juice I'll give that a paragraph or two as well.
01st June, 2014

L'Interdit (original) by Givenchy

Spending an evening sniffing a vintage vial of L'Interdit dating from the early to mid-eighties, I caught myself thinking, "This is so good it's stupid."
Not the best verbiage for a review, but honest.
In this I smell the traceable root of the sandalwood/plum of Nicole Miller and the strawberry floral of Perry Woman, each another decade after this sample was made.
L'Interdit is (in this incarnation) to smell what suede is to touch, and it balances richness with restraint most beautifully. There is a burst of luscious aldehydes and berries at the fore , the former departing shortly after application, the latter remaining for most of its duration. There is a lactonic peach melding with the famously banana-like ylang ylang and a superb impression of lily-of-the-valley. And then the real stars emerge - the rose and sandalwood, a hazy, soft, out-of-focus duo so beautifully interwoven one wonders why they weren't made apparent from the start.
I had this sample lying around for years, and I had even tried it but never thought of it afterward. I am so impressed by this composition I have to give the reformulation another visit (I was rather harsh). I enjoyed wearing this so much I immediately bought a mini online for further 'study.'

This is a soft, suave, simple fragrance that isn't likely to floor many people but if you want a close fragrance that sings constant praise in an alto voice of supreme quality I would sooner recommend few others.

31st May, 2014

Allure Homme Sport by Chanel

Not the worst 'sport' scent (which is akin to a compliment where things like this are concerned) but a bit predictably banal. I enjoy the (barely) aldehydic opening blast but for a fragrance marketed for metrosexual semi-athletes working up a sweat I think having a synthetic, ambery base is too much. Starts off nice enough but quickly outstays its welcome, much like a boisterous party guest that pre-games on the alcohol. I think the 'Homme' should be replaced with 'Bro.'
28th May, 2014

4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser by 4711

What else can be said about the tried-and-true 4711? It's light, almost too much so, but that's right up some people's alley. It's bracing and even a little fun, a perfect pick me up scent equally ideal for early mornings, gym bags, board rooms, and post-shower evenings. It is so short-lived that it simply can't offend, and (though I rarely condone the idea) layers well with all kinds of classic chypres and fougeres, from Diorella to Pour Monsieur.
If you like lime rind, oakmoss, affordability, and glimpses into history, this one should be in your collection.
28th May, 2014