Perfume Reviews

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Reviews by Virabhadra

Total Reviews: 7

Quorum by Antonio Puig

Great stuff! Very powerful. I certainly do not envision the clean-shaven type of guy wearing this. I would put this in the same classification as Pierre Cardin PH and Paco Rabanne PH, except it's a bit better than those two. That classification being strong, spicy-woody colognes which are undoubtedly masculine and very much "old school" and carry a ridiculously reasonable price tag. The other common factor among these three scents is they all carry a noticeable "soapy" tinge to them. With the Quorum, it's hardly noticeable, but with the Paco Rabannae (primarily), it can be quite strong.

Overall, though, Quorum beats the other two out. It doesn't smell cheap and it is excellent for layering with transparent or light fragrances as well as some essential oils (if that is your thing). With a little searching, you can find a 1.7oz of this for under 10 bones, and a 3.4oz for under 20. Extremely worth it. Thumbs up.
14th April, 2010 (last edited: 10th March, 2018)

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

I share Bo Darville's sentiments with this one. I was also getting a prescription filled when I tried this out today. There are lots of fragrances I try that I don't like, but that is usually because they do not fit my character or they are a bit on the cheap side.

Grey Flannel was basically a Jabba the Hut sized blast of bar-soap essential oil throughout it's entire life on my skin. It was only later assisted in the dry down phase by a Salacious B. Crumb sized whimper of some synthetic, nondescript floral. If I wasn't so preoccupied with how strong the acidic bar-soap smell was, I may have put some effort into trying to identify the floral. Even the fragrance assistant winced a bit when she smelled it and I didn't even have to give her my wrist.

As other reviewers have stated, this is not easy to remove. I tried to wash it off with water about an hour after application, but that hardly worked. I didn't have any soap, but based on how this smells, I shouldn't need any. Luckily, 2 concentrated blasts of Kouros from a mall kiosk sent whatever was left of this monstrosity back to the depths from whence it came. Thanks to the mighty beast called Kouros I did not smell the soap again, although I would not advise large amounts of K in most circumstances. I'm sure I left a trail of crying children with stinging eyes and hapless shoppers experiencing sudden bursts of spontaneous hair growth on my way out of the mall.

I am actually astonished that this fragrance has as many good reviews as it does.

Thumbs way down.
14th April, 2010

Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

Having little experience with individual notes, I'll do my best to describe this without much to compare it to.

"Exotic" was the first word to come to mind. The opening notes contain a somewhat moldy, stale, ashen quality, yet there is a certain semi-sweet wetness that makes all of those quite alluring.

When I first smelled the top notes, something struck me as vaguely familiar. As the top notes transitioned into the heart, I got the sense that I was standing in some sort of temple or crypt, because I definitely got the impression of being in a dimly lit room that was mostly empty and clean, but not at all dusted regularly. Reverence or sacredness come to mind. My crypt comment is interesting because after smelling this fragrance and reading about myrrh, I found out that it was used by Egyptians to embalm the dead. I want to make clear that none of this is at all a bad thing. Even though I get this impression, the general sense is that of an ingredient that conveys being in existence for a long period of time; being somehow affected by aging, which in this case comes across as a good thing.

Once the top notes begin to dissipate, I definitely get a strong resin as well as burning incense. This is definitely a dry fragrance, at least at its heart. I know resin can be pulpy, but there is no wetness conveyed to me after the top notes are gone. The incense & myrrh seem to be plentiful throughout the heart.

Wow, this is fantastic for me as I am new to the world of perfume and I am sitting here, smelling my wrist and basically "watching" a fragrance develop. Fascinating.

Okay, so the heart is developing, and I think I smell the labdanum pretty clearly. This smells like a thick piece of old leather that has been soaked in a sweet, resinous oil, and held above a cluster of African/Middle-Eastern incense for a while. I still smell something familiar, but can pinpoint what it is. Oh, it's the woods! That's what it is! I wouldn't say it's the pine for sure, but it is most DEFINITELY burning wood. Wow. If there is sandalwood here, it is faint. It smells less common than pine to me, although there may be a hint of pine thrown in there. The incense/myrrh/opopanax accord is too dominant for my poor, untrained nose to examine the woods here. Actually, the woods seem to fade in and out.

A half hour in and it seems that the base notes have been established. In fact, it seems to me that the resins were in the top notes, the incense is in the middle and bottom, and the woods take a back seat at the bottom. I do not smell apple at all, which is great, because the only apple I like is the one I eat or drink. What an amazing fragrance. The sillage seems pretty good, and judging by the potency thusfar, I don't see it diminishing any time soon, so I guess longevity is above average here. This stays very close to the skin though. I don't imagine it has much projection once the heart is established. Very interesting and pleasant scent for me. I don't think I'd wear this as a fragrance because it's hard for me to identify with. I definitely get the impression of being in the Middle East and maybe Africa, but not as far as India. For what it is, though, if you are someone who wears these ingredients well, this one gets two thumbs up from me to you.
09th April, 2010
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Beige Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Opening notes are undoubtedly synthetic and alcoholic. Smells like a decent, albeit synthesized gardenia shampoo right off the bat, and transforms into a more acidic synthetic gardenia bar soap at the heart. A little fruity too. It is definitely trying to be fresh. I really dislike fresh scents like this. I can't say that enough.

Previous reviews are right. This is an extremely linear scent. A powdery, acidic, sweet chemical spill. I get more of a danger signal from this rather than a welcoming one. Like antifreeze or scented bleach. As with a good deal of contemporary "fresh" scents, this doesn't smell natural at all. I can take fragrances that are not natural smelling, but this one goes further; it smells unnatural. As if to say "come on... put me on your skin... I'm good for you" and when you oblige, it gives you a nasty blistery rash. Down with fresh scents, ESPECIALLY ones that are offensively and unnaturally so.
09th April, 2010

Inouï by Shiseido

Very VERY beautiful fragrance. I very clearly get the lemony citrus in the top notes. These do not linger and this frag very quickly transitions into the heart. Almost immediately, a strong burst of white flowers comes to the forefront. The jasmin in this fragrance is amazing. It's definitely mixed with other florals here. I'm guessing it is the freesia and the jasmin together that is dominating the heart. I can't put enough emphasis on how beautiful this smells. Most certainly a feminine fragrance. This is the smell of a confident, assertive but carefree woman with an aura of soft sensuality. The heart lasts for about 10 minutes, I'd say, and it transitions into the base over the course of about 5-10 minutes afterward. The musky woods step in slowly and shake hands with the florals and begin to stand just in front of them. The florals are still there, but the scent as a whole takes on a much less ethereal feel and becomes more grounded, but not in a heavy way. There is definitely a bitterness to the woods here. I guess this is the first time I'm smelling civet. Haha, wow, this is great. This smells sort of like a mix between an unripened fruit and a rotten one.

The base is now firmly established. I am most definitely getting the animalic vibe here. Fleeting thoughts of sexual arousal dancing with a sort of bitterness or sourness. Amazing! This smells a little like sex. I don't know why, but it reminds me of "encounters" when I was a teenager and the lingering scents afterward. Sorry... just being honest. I've never experienced a perfume that has done this before. I'm sort of awestruck. After about 15 more minutes, the civet/musk accord steps to the side to reveal what was hiding behind it: the myrrh! The myrrh is plainly there now with the civet/musk influence getting less and less. It's possible that I am smelling oakmoss and cedarwood as well, but they are in the background here.

I am truly impressed with this fragrance and its blatantly exotic and beautiful smell. I still have almost 1/2 of a 1ml glass vial for another test run some other time. Two thumbs way up.
09th April, 2010

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

House & Fragrance: Guerlain, Vol de Nuit
Formulation & Concentration: Vintage, EdT
Type, Source, & Method: 1 ML glass vial, The Perfumed Court, Skin (Inner Wrist)

I've got to give you a brief & concise bit of background so I can effectively explain my point. Please bear with me.

I had the fortune/misfortune to be raised as a Hare Krishna. We would get up early in the morning, go to the temple and chant and dance in front of an altar. Every day, someone would come around with a Q-Tip dipped in Indian oils and wipe them on everyone's inner wrist. There were only a variety of maybe 5-10 different vials in constant rotation. They were these little glass bottles, about 2 inches tall with a plastic cap coated in gold metallic paint. When you opened the bottle, there was a white, semi-transparent plastic rod that was attached to the inside of the cap that reached to the bottom of the bottle and was, of course, used for application (sort of like the tube in an atomizer, but not hollow). All of them contained one or more of the following ingredients in varying concentrations: Jasmine, Vrindabana Flower, Amber, Patchouli, Gardenia, Champa/Nagchampa, Sandalwood, Saffron, Musk, Rose, Lotus, Magnolia, Radhey Shyam, Myrrh, Sage, Bergamot, Lavender, and other (hard to pronounce) essential oils.

I am extremely accustomed to these smells. Each one was either a single oil, or a combination of some of the above ingredients. Each one had a distinct character.

Are they all natural? Yes, the Indian manufacturers generally won't use alcohol for several reasons. Are they imported from India? Yes. Are they common in the USA? No, not really, but you can sometimes locate them at new age stores or head shops. Do they cost a lot of money? No, they are very cheap; you can buy them as singles for around $6 per 20ml glass vial or in lots. Does Guerlain's VdN smell EXACTLY like one of those vials? Yes---EXACTLY. Upon application, I do smell alcohol, but as soon as that evaporates, it's a dead-on replica of one of these cheap and, to me, common vials of imported oil. There is no distinction whatsoever. Once the alcohol is gone, I detect no change from the scent's top notes to the dry down to the base. One of the most linear perfumes I've ever smelled, but it actually does smell good---the problem being that it is entirely unoriginal, and lacks the character and depth that so many fragrances have (even the cheaper ones!).

My experience with Frederic Malle's Noir Epices was similar; the immediate and distinct recognition of a very familiar fragrance (those oils from childhood) with no trace of anything else! To my relief, though, NE eventually changed, shedding its top notes to reveal something much more elegant and mysterious---a shy, bashfully aroused girl in eastern garb.

VdN smells great to be sure, but I'd rather buy 15 little vials (approx. 280ml) of the Indian oil than spend the same amount of money for a 50ml bottle of this.

So many sparkling reviews, and not only here either. This fragrance was one of the few that got a 5-Star rating from Turin in "Perfumes: The A-Z Guide". To quote Turin, VdN "is by Guerlain's standards a somewhat shapeless perfume, lacking a legible structure". And it got 5 stars? Whatever. I think I know why, but this review is already long enough.

It makes me wonder what the rest of the Guerlains will smell like to me. Hopefully nothing like this one. The only Guerlain I own, L'Instant de Guerlain PH, blows VdN out of the water as far as an in-house comparison goes. It's like standing Leonardo DaVinci next to Bam Margerra. There's no comparison to make! I'll try this again sometime down the road just to get some closure in case there is some factor involved here that I have not taken into account.

It boils down to something quite simple: VdN smells great, but it's not a perfume. It belongs on cotton balls stuffed into the back of kitchen cabinets for a gentle, pleasing house scent.
09th April, 2010

Pasha by Cartier

I get the spice very clearly with this one, from top to bottom. I'm still unsure what I smell in the top notes (the combination is a bit overwhelming), but the dry down is very fast and the bottom notes are intense. I would describe this as a very linear scent. Contrary to the other reviews, this one comes across as very warm to me. Almost like a still-burning pile of coals sprinkled with Indian oil. The first time I smelled it (on paper), I loved it, but on my skin, it's just too bold and not mysterious at all. In fact, every time I smelled it, I got a rush of light-headedness and almost passed out! The strongest notes, for me, are the sandalwood & patchouli, but they are not elegantly used as in some other fragrances. As I sit here and sniff my arm, I am still getting a light-headed rush every time. It feels like every sniff pops a blood vessel in my brain.

I would put this one alongside YSL's Kuoros in the way too in-your-face-spicy category (and Kuoros is even more in-your-face than this one). Even though I love eastern scents, this one smells a bit like a common bottle of essential oil from India.

I'm giving this a neutral rating because I'm saving my thumbs-downs for the "fake-sophistication" fragrances that I smell on preps after I run them down with my car.
01st April, 2010