Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Lovescully

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Total Reviews: 76

Armani Privé Rouge Malachite by Giorgio Armani

Before beginning I just need to admit that I am a complete and willing slave to the Armani Prive line. With only 2 exceptions (Rose Alexandrie & La Femme Blue) I own and adore the entire collection. So please read the following 'review' with that prejudice in mind.

Despite my love of Armani Prive, it was with some trepidation that I approached Rouge Malachite as tuberose is not a note that I usually enjoy. There's usually something fleshy and (almost) a bit rotten about the accord, like fruit that is just about to turn, or even in some extreme cases like a bodily musk.

In contrast Rouge Malachite is a very safe and restrained interpretation of tuberose. Like others have said before me, the rather sweet and very prominent amber base (which is actually present very early on) is the likely culprit keeping the usually somewhat offensive (at least to me) aspects of tuberose at bay. It's still very clearly a tuberose fragrance but for those of you like me who tend to shy away from tuberose, this very well might suit your taste for heady florals.

It's a somewhat simple fragrance and beyond the tuberose and amber there are only hints of jasmine and benzoin to be found. I couldn't detect any orange blossom or clary sage. There's maybe a hint of the pink pepper in the opening.

I don't find this (or Vert Malachite) to be particularly masculine or feminine and think that it clearly falls into the unisex category with ease.

Longevity is stellar at at least 11 to 12 hours and actually I can smell traces of it way after that. It doesn't scream out loud though and has respectable sillage and projection.

All that aside, I did purchase a bottle (let's be honest unless it was a stinker I was always going to add this to my collection!) and what a bottle it is. In person this very beautiful marbled red glass bottle appears as if it was made for and should only belong to royalty.
15th April, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Club Extreme by Mercedes-Benz

After a very brief citrus start, amber, sandalwood and patchouli are the main stars of this show. The supporting players are the musk, wood notes and a very soft leather accord, that is more suede than actual leather.

It's a very pleasant oriental woody composition that is like a combination of some of this house's earlier work. I get some resemblance with the base of Mercedes-Benz Le Parfum and also find it contains some similarity to the sweetness of Mercedes Benz Club's Addictive Oriental and the spicyness of Infinite Spicy (the 1st and last also by perfumer Olivier Cresp). It also gets points for at least being a good performer in the longevity and projection stakes.

I was pleasantly surprised by how nice this sits on my skin. It's much nicer than the original Mercedes Benz Club which I found to be too screechy, sharp and a bit plastic.

While it certainly won't shake the world with its arrival, this is a really pleasant and very well put together fragrance from the house of Mercedes Benz.
11th April, 2016

L'Homme Ultime by Yves Saint Laurent

I happily admit to being a fan of the entire L'Homme line including both the recent L'Homme Parfum Intense and La Nuit De L'Homme L'Intense.

This latest Ultime EDP version is probably the one that strays the farthest from the original line the most. Although I suspect the rose accord is the reason, I really don't get that strong a representation of an actual rose accord. The rose is not a heavy rose as you might find in say Amouage's Lyric for men, it's more like a representation of a 'rose' like note. I find the rose to have a creamy vibe and it works really well with the woody notes.

The sage, cardamon and ginger also work well providing a spicy aspect that reminds me much more of La Nuit De L'Homme than the original L'Homme. It's not sweet like L'Homme Parfum Intense, but it's a bit spicy, warm and woody.

The whole composition is very well blended and probably come across as quite 'safe' from an originality perspective. Nevertheless, I'm very happy to have added this one to my L'Homme collection.

As far as performance goes the longevity on this is as to be expected from an EDP (8 hours), but it has soft projection and wears quite intimate. As it's just heading into Autumn here in Sydney I suspect that this will get a lot of wear from me in the coming months.
31st March, 2016
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Sì Intense by Giorgio Armani

This is a review of the Si Huile de Parfum (perfume oil) sold in 30ml bottles.

Simply stunning! A wonderful, rich and fully satisfying creation. A perfume oil that reminds me of Si Parfum but takes it to a much higher level.

There is almost a sense of chocolate and rum in this; it's so divine that it really is hard not to keep smelling yourself!

Although the berry note is supposedly missing from this oil, I definitely detect a 'berry' note of some kind; although its not forefront like it is in Si.

As I sit here sniffing my arm I am totally captivated by such a luscious and divine aroma. I know Si is marketed for women but I can tell you that this is totally a unisex perfume oil that any man can wear.

The perfumer Christine Nagle is a downright genius!

Edit: When I said "There is almost a sense of chocolate and rum in this" I did not mean that there was an actual chocolate or cacao or rum note, what I was trying (badly) to convey was that this has a sense of a chocolate with a liqueur centre. That is to say that there is a chocolate 'like' sweetness together with the rum 'like' liqueur feeling.
09th January, 2016 (last edited: 08th April, 2016)

Mauboussin Pour Lui In Black by Mauboussin

This is my first full bottle of any Mauboussin fragrance and I must say that I am impressed. A glance at the notes listed above and you might expect Pour Lui In Black to be some kind of sweet, syrupy and woody mess; but on the contrary this is a very well-constructed and nicely blended oriental scent.

Despite the presence of a dominant caramel fudge note, Pour Lui In Black does not come across as even remotely sweet (think Prada’s Candy, Mugler’s Angel, or Pink Sugar) rather it is more in the vein of Hermes’ Elixir des Merveilles, but without the orange peel. It also reminds me somewhat of Dior’s Privée Fève Délicieuse, in that it’s a bit dry and dusty with a touch of smoke. It’s definitely a salty and buttery caramel.

Although guaiac wood (which is usually quite a strong note to my nose) is listed as the woody component, Pour Lui In Black does not feel particularly ‘woody’ to me. Instead I feel that the use of the wood note is just to counter balance the buttery caramel. The presence of the violet is fleeting at best, but there is just enough of a hint that it prevents this from being all about the caramel. Make no mistake though that the caramel top note is still detectable throughout the entire time that this lasts on my skin.

For an EDP concentration, the longevity is as I would expect at between 9 and 10 hours. The sillage provides a nice soft cloud that can be detected throughout the day. For those that care about compliments, it is worth noting that as soon as I walked into the office this morning my female colleague who sits about 2 metres away immediately commented on how nice my choice of fragrance was. The presentation of the flacon is also very nice with its solid frosted black glass.

I doubt that this will be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are in the market for a nice non-sweet caramel and can’t afford Dior’s Privée Fève Délicieuse, this is a great and more affordable alternative.
06th January, 2016

Bentley for Men Intense by Bentley

Although I rarely blind buy full bottles these days (despite living in Australia where so many fragrances just don't get released!), I made an exception for this based almost entirely on the overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Unfortunately, this just doesn't work for me which is perplexing and disappointing. Looking at the notes I would have expected to fall head over heels for this. I love bergamot, clary sage, geranium, rum and woody notes; and I adore leather, incense, cedar and patchouli. I've tried to like this and given it several full wearings but I'm just not feeling the love. I can't detect any real sense of leather, incense or patchouli in the drydown and I guess that is what I was expecting. Instead I get a semi-gourmand, slightly sweet amber and wood.

There is just something in this that I really don't like yet I can't quite put my finger on it. It's not too sweet, not too boozy, and certainly not poorly or cheaply made.

The only thing I can suggest is that it just doesn't smell like I imagined it would, and this has clouded my perception of what I'm actually smelling.

Despite my own perception of this, I can absolutely understand the praise it gets as it's clearly a quality product that has great sillage and longevity.
01st January, 2016

Baldessarini Del Mar Caribbean by Baldessarini

Del Mar Caribbean is the sweetest of the Del Mar line of fragrances. The blackcurrant is the standout here and really dominates for a good length of time. The bergamot does make an appearance, but to my nose it’s quite fleeting.

I found that in the drydown, this one resembles the original Del Mar the most. It’s not as linear because of the sweet beginning, but it doesn’t stray too far from the original. The spicy heart is still there, but it feels a bit more subdued than the Seychelles and Marbella editions.

Sillage and longevity are average. Probably not worth a re-purchase for me, but if you prefer your woody summer type fragrances more on the sweeter side, this one is worth a look.

For what it’s worth my personal order of preference for the Del Mar line goes:

1. Del Mar Seychelles – 5/5
2. Del Mar Marbella – 4/5
3. Del Mar Caribbean – 3.5/5
4. Del Mar Baldessarini – 3/5
18th November, 2015

Armani Privé Pivoine Suzhou by Giorgio Armani

On my (masculine) skin the mandarin citrus and raspberry dominate the opening for a good 45 minutes but neither is sweet at all; instead it opens very fresh, a little spicy and a bit tart.

After about an hour I can begin to detect the musk and amber, but I'm yet to get much of a definite sense of either rose or peony (which I admit to being not very familiar with). The heart is sort of floral in nature, but to me the floral aspect is less noticeable or specific than the fruity opening or the musky amber drydown stage.

There also appears to be some kind of green grass type of accord that on my skin almost turns minty. I guess it could be the patchouli, but it smells rather more like a type of vetiver to my nose.

This is a very unique scent from the Armani Prive Les Eaux collection.

I had been scratching my head about what this reminded me of when all of a sudden it came to me; Manifesto Isabella Rossellini. Although this is a bit fresher and Manifesto is missing the raspberry note, this new Armani Prive is in the same style. Beautiful!
14th October, 2015

Cuir Cannage by Christian Dior

Although only created in 2014, this leaves the distinct impression of a pedigree that goes back decades. So much so that I can very easily imagine that this was worn by Marlene Dietrich on stage in 1920's Berlin. I get the distinct impression of well-worn leather, smoke, white florals and just a hint of something like brandy or honey.

Of the floral accords, I mostly get orange blossom up front, with hints of jasmine and iris as it dries down towards the somewhat powdery base. There may be a fleeting sense of rose, but it is not distracting or overpowering as I find rose can sometimes be. Florals aside, it is the ever-present leather accord and the wonderful birch base that dominates this creation and keeps it from being too sweet, floral or powdery.

It goes on very strong and lasts on my skin for well over 8 hours, yet it has perfect silage for this style. Despite my earlier reference to Marlene Dietrich, I don't find it to be either particularly feminine or masculine (a bit like Marlene’s persona!); it just is what it is and could easily be worn by anyone who chooses.

If I had to compare it to another fragrance, in my opinion it is much more akin to Serge Lutens' Cuir Mauresque than it is to the heavier and more animalistic Knize Ten. 5 stars and two thumbs way up.
12th October, 2015 (last edited: 30th December, 2015)

Armani Privé Sable Or by Giorgio Armani

This new Armani Privé Sable Or is an entirely different creation to Armani Privé's Sable Fumé which is being released at the same time.

Instead of Sable Fumé's smoky frankincense, the star of this show is a quite creamy iris with a tonka/vanilla/benzoin base. It begins with a recognisable (but clearly high quality) and intense iris which reminds me somewhat of Zegna's Florentine Iris.

I do not detect any violet at all but the sandalwood and the tonka/vanilla/benzoin are clearly present which lends this an almost gourmand feel. Together these accords leave the impression somewhat of (not too sweet) white chocolate.

Although this may not be as 'interesting' as Sable Fumé this is a bit more my style of fragrance and I suspect that I will get more use out of this one; especially in cooler weather.

As expected the presentation of Sable Or is stunningly beautiful (see photos below)! The bottle is gorgeous and is wrapped and tied in an Armani fabric sheath. There is a small metal plate on the front of the bottle which I think resembles a sand dune swept by the wind.

Like all of Armani Les Éditions Couture releases this is limited to only 1000 bottles worldwide so if you are a collector grab it while you can.
01st June, 2015

Armani Privé Sable Fumé by Giorgio Armani

Although the Armani Privé line does have its detractors (excluding me) if there is a consensus among the commentary it is usually that the one thing the Privé line does well is incense; notably in its original offering – Bois d'Encens and to a lesser extent the more recent Encens Satin.

In Sable Fumé the Armani Privé line once again highlights incense in all its glory with frankincense the star of the show. It starts out a touch sour/salty which can come across almost as the presence of citrus, but if the notes listed are to be accepted (& I have no reason to doubt their validity) it must be a combination of the frankincense and iris that creates this effect.

As stated in the Armani press on the www.parfuma.com website Sable Fumé evokes “grains of sand carried by a warm breeze” which is as apt a description as any I could conjure up.

Despite the initial and quite short lived sourness, this evolves into a very warm, smoky, and sweet frankincense and iris scent that reminds me very much of the style of an Amouage creation. The benzoin and Ambroxan add the warm sweetness needed to provide a counter to the ever present (but still wonderful) frankincense. I’ve only worn this once so far but my initial impression is that it’s long lasting and the sillage is perfect.

In keeping with previous Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances, Sable Fumé’s presentation is absolutely beautiful (see photos below)! The bottle and the colour of the golden olive liquid inside are gorgeous and it also comes with a purple stopper that has a smoky stainless steel aspect and is wrapped and tied in an Armani fabric sheath. There is even a small lacquered plate on the front of the bottle with sand imbedded inside!

Due to its (1000 bottles only worldwide) limited availability and hefty price tag, this is probably just for serious collectors; which is a crying shame. This beautiful fragrance should be able to be enjoyed by all. If you get the opportunity to test this out at an Armani boutique don’t hesitate.
01st June, 2015

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme Intenso by Dolce & Gabbana

I was suprised by how much I really liked this new D&G release. I'm not really a big fan of D&G fragrances (including the original 'Pour Homme') and apart from this new Intenso fragrance, I only have 'The One' in my collection. Although The One smells wonderful, its projection and longevity are a major issue so it doesn't get nearly any use at all from me.

This new fragrance from D&G is completely different as on my skin the projection is respectable and the longevity is very good at about 10 hours.

I really enjoy the opening mixture of herbs, lavender & a mild wood. The middle stage is clearly a soapy lavender but not offensively so. After the top and middle notes fade I'm left with a very classic masculine base of slightly sweetened tobacco and a deeper sandalwood.

Although this is clearly a polarising release from D&G and it is not the most original fragrance to come along this year, I think you should at least give this a try.
30th April, 2015

Armani Privé Ombre & Lumière by Giorgio Armani

Of the 3 Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances that I own (Nacre, Nuances and this one), Ombre & Lumiere is by far the most floral heavy. However it's the Jasmine and Freesia that I detect the most, rather than the Iris which Armani lists in its press materials as the star of the show.

Luckily for me I adore Jasmine and the Jasmine in this creation is wonderful. To my nose it's not even slightly indolic or skanky and it reminds me mostly of the species of 'night' Jasmine found in abundance in Sydney Australia in suburban household gardens. The scent is only present after dusk and is quite heady and rich (for want of a better description). For me it's this Jasmine that is the star of Armani's creation.

The Iris and musk do make an appearance after about the first hour and then it dries down beautifully to a more familiar musky, floral and amber combination.

Like all the Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances, the presentation of Ombre & Lumiere is simply stunning! The bottle is gorgeous and it comes wrapped and tied in the same deep coloured fabric as seen in the advertisement.

Although this is a 5 star fragrance, I don't think it will get nearly as much use as my Nacre or Nuances do; mainly due to its floral heavy nature.
26th February, 2015
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Leather Blend by Davidoff

This is a seriously great fragrance from the once fabulous house of Davidoff.

The main notes that I detect are leather and amber, with a smattering of pepper and saffron. I can't really detect the rose and I don't sense any papyrus; but that doesn't detract from this intoxicating perfume.

To summarize the overall effect of this fragrance I would describe it as a slightly sweet, somewhat spicy amber and leather combination. It doesn't resemble Tom Ford's Tuscan leather and it's nowhere close to Knize 10's ferocity. The closest I could come to another fragrance that this is even remotely like would be YSL's Noble Leather.

The sillage is respectable for a fragrance of this type and the longevity is superb at 10 hours. At a fraction of the cost of a niche leather scent, this is superb value for money.

Although I own and love many Davidoff fragrances (Silver Shadow Private, Zino, Relax & the original Davidoff), this is hands down the best release from Davidoff since Zino. Two thumbs way up!

23rd February, 2015

Armani Privé Figuier Eden by Giorgio Armani

This beautiful Armani Prive’ creation is probably my current favourite of all the fig fragrances I have, just beating out Premier Figuier Extreme by L`Artisan Parfumeur.

I think the absence of any kind of coconut (which is usually paired with fig in fragrances) or sweet gourmand notes is what currently attracts me to this so much.

It’s very fresh, but not in the least what I would class as either aquatic or insubstantial. I can clearly detect the presence of orange oil, a little bit of tea and some fresh cut grass notes, but I do have trouble picking up any iris whatsoever.

The amber and pepper in the base are also clearly detectable and are what I think gives this its definite unisex appeal. While the sillage is light I have no problem at all with the longevity which does last well over 7 hours on my skin. It’s also a compliment getter if you care about such things.

This is going to get a lot of use from me in the coming Australia Summer.
24th September, 2014

Kouros Eau de Toilette Tonique 2014 by Yves Saint Laurent

Although there's very little of the original Kouros in this, it is still very nice. It has more in common with Ice Men by Mugler than the original. It's a frosty patchouli scent with a hint of wood and incense.

Although geranium is listed in the notes I cant detect any florals at all in this.

27th August, 2014

Fahrenheit Parfum by Christian Dior

Like all of Fahrenheit's flankers, this actually works better on me than the original and I find that I enjoy it more.

It's definitely sweeter than the original but I do easily detect Fahrenheit’s DNA in this Parfum version. I also agree that this has more in common with the Absolute version than the original, but the Parfum does not have any of Absolute’s strong myrrh and incense notes and I detect very little wood. The drydown of Parfum is much more about vanilla.

On my skin I get very good sillage and longevity out of this.
12th June, 2014

Armani Privé Nuances by Giorgio Armani

Absolutely one of a kind!

This is such a different take on iris that it almost doesn't 'feel' like an iris fragrance. At first I detect a very non-sweet cinnamon and vetiver combination that just rocks my world! This early stage is so divine that I just want it to last forever.

The next stage of Nuances' development on my skin is a striking iris and sandalwood combination that is very comforting and dries down to a nice gentle benzoin/caramel/vanilla; but never too sweet. This is a dry and dusty benzoin.

As far as value for money goes, despite its outrageous price tag, this is worth every single cent. It projects just the right amount and lasts almost 12 hours on my skin. On clothes it lasts days! I have received a compliment nearly every single time I have worn this.

I find this combination of notes and the way in which they play out on my skin very original and unique. I can honestly say that of the over 330 frag's I own nothing smells like Nuances. 5 stars and 2 thumbs way up!
14th May, 2014

Chrome Bois Precieux by Azzaro

I was lucky enough to find a 125ml bottle of Chrome Bois Precieux relatively cheaply, so I bought it blind. Of course I was aware of what the original Chrome smelt like, but I was intrigued by the addition of ‘precious woods’ to the original’s formulation (and I liked the bottle too).

In truth, this doesn’t seem to differ too greatly from the original. It still has that fresh somewhat metallic opening feel about it, but this version does appear to pull back a touch on that famous (or infamous) metallic sourness.

The fruity sweetness of the lychee combined with just a hint of bitterness from the tea note gives a wonderful lift to the middle phase, but I wished this stage lasted a bit longer!

I’m not sure what kind of ‘precious woods’ have been added to the base, but I do like the overall effect that this leaves with me. Where the original Chrome has a definite Spring/Summer & soapy/aquatic vibe, Chrome Bois Precieux has a little richer and a deeper more balanced presence. I think it’s suitable for all year round and any occasion use.

Overall I’d say it’s a great option for those who love the original, but want to try something a touch different. For me, I have to admit that although Chrome wasn’t a ‘must have’ or top 20 in my collection, I always enjoyed it when I chose to wear it. I find that this Chrome Bois Precieux version is more to my taste and will probably get more use than the original.

Sillage and longevity are on a par with the original version of Chrome.
20th April, 2014

Armani Privé Pierre de Lune by Giorgio Armani

As one of the last Armani Prive's I tried I have to say that I was oh so pleasantly surprised!

What a wonderful and whimsical fragrance to dedicate to the moon! Pierre de Lune is quite multi-facetted despite the constant references to 'clean soap'. It definitely has a French soap aspect to it but it has oh so much more going on than just soap!

I detect all of the following in no particular order (than what my mind has naturally ordered them in) grass, violet, iris, cinnamon, talc, jasmine (or something similarly just as indolic!), and of course a type of ambergris or similar.

This is the best darn white soap smell that I've ever had the pleasure of smelling!
04th March, 2014

Luna Rossa Extreme by Prada

This is a lavender & spice bomb!

Despite its popularity I never really liked the original Luna Rossa. I found it to be a bit watery and insubstantial and certainly not worth the retail price for a full bottle.

With this extreme version there is nothing insubstantial about it. The opening is a bit nose stinging with citrus, very strong pepper and lavender all making an appearance. It quite quickly calms down to a nice spicy and warm lavender scent.

There's not a lot of progression between the notes and apart from the appearance of some vanilla about 30 minutes in it pretty much smells the same for the life of the fragrance; which on my skin was about 7 hours maximum.
26th January, 2014

Armani Privé La Femme Nacre by Giorgio Armani

Beautiful woody and musky iris

First off the name of the fragrance as listed here (and on other websites/blogs) is I believe both misleading and incorrect. Neither the packaging on my bottle (number 136/1000) nor the advertising on Armani's own website refers to this as 'La Femme Nacre'. It is simply called 'Armani/Prive Nacre'. Regardless, in the wearing it is my opinion that it is totally a unisex fragrance.

Although only 2 notes are listed here, I detect more than just iris and musk. It is definitely dominated by those 2, but I can sense a woody aspect that adds depth and character. It starts with a dry and surprisingly earthy note which I suspect is orris root. It quickly develops the familiar powdery characteristic that iris is know for and after about 20 minutes the musk gently appears to compliment the iris. The musk used here is not that familiar to me and doesn't bring to mind any particular feelings that I would normally associate with musk, such as either 'laundry' or 'animalistic'. In fact, I tend to feel an almost gourmand quality to the musk used here. Like a musk flavouring that might be used in a dessert.

When the dry down arrives, it is less iris and more musk and wood. I wish I could give a name to the woody note(s) used here, but it's almost as if they were an afterthought. I guess the best way to describe it is as a 'tree' smell rather than leafy, grassy or smoky; like freshly cut wood.

While Nacre is long lasting, it is understated and fairly quiet.

On the downside, this is outrageously expensive (Retail AUS$650.00) but as only 1000 bottles were produced worldwide, I guess you are paying for the exclusivity as much as the beautiful fragrance, bottle and overall presentation. Luckily for me, as Nacre has now finished its exclusive production run and since the release of the 2013 exclusive 'Nuances', I was able to obtain this directly from the Giorgio Armani boutique at a vastly reduced price with my purchase of Nuances.

Overall, this is a unique and one of a kind fragrance that I will cherish until the last drop.

*As an aside, the Giorgio Armani rep's told me that Armani Prive's Ambre d'Orient and Cedre Olympe are both being discontinued. Of course this could just be in Sydney Australia and not worldwide.

Pros: Elegant, refined, long lasting and totally unisex
Cons: Quiet and outrageously expensive"

28th September, 2013

Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna

A gorgeous and beautiful Italian style citrus fragrance.

I had initially written this off as the least interesting of Zegna's Essenze collection and therefore I didn't think it was full bottle worthy. Well after much testing and sitting on the fence, I went ahead and purchased a full bottle of this (and Sicilian Mandarin).

This really is gorgeous and I can detect each and every note listed in the publicity. It comes across as being in the style of a classic Italian cologne, like ADP Colonia, but it definitely has its own character. I also get a sense of a fresh non-sweet eucalyptus type of note, like freshly scrunched eucalyptus leaves, but it remains firmly in the background. This is not a very complex fragrance, but I get the feeling that it isn't meant to be.

For a citrus based fragrance the longevity and sillage are pretty good, although not near Zegna's Indonesian Oud. It's a little expensive, but if you are looking for a beautiful citrus that not everyone is wearing, you could do worse than this. As with all the Essenze collection, the presentation and bottle are stunning.

Pros: Exclusive, fresh, classic, and reasonably long lasting.
Cons: Not very complex (but I don't personally find that to be a con)."

09th September, 2013

Mercedes-Benz Intense by Mercedes-Benz

Deep and rich and fresh all at the same time!

This is actually quite stunning! I bought this blind as I got a pretty good deal on it. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I really didn't think it would be so uplifting.

The opening is a bit typical of many masculine marketed fragrances with the usual citrus making a strong statement; but the violet is what makes this a bit different. In the heart I don't really sense any pepper, but the cascalone is prominent (without turning this into an 'aquatic').

The base is a sort of mash up of amber and wood, with maybe a touch of grassy vetiver at the end. I couldn't get a sense of any specific patchouli or cedar per say, but I did enjoy the drydown stage a lot. It somewhat reminds me of both Armani's ADG Essenza and Dior's Fahrenheit in that it is deep and rich and fresh all at the same time. It leaves me with an impression of something greater than just another run of the mill masculine EDT. Longevity was as good as I expected for an 'intense' EDT lasting about 8 hours maximum. The sillage trail was not massive but still noticeable.

The bottle has a heavy glass base and I love how the frosted dark grey looks together with the quite solid metal plated lid. 4 stars out of 5.

Pros: Long lasting and distinctive
Cons:

07th August, 2013

Armani Privé Cuir Noir by Giorgio Armani

A lush and warm oriental

This is a wonderful fragrance. It's a lush and warm oriental that's a bit smokey and quite woody.

The leather aspect here is implied, rather than presented as an actual 'leather' accord. I can clearly detect the presence of the sandalwood, some rose 'like' accord and the various spices. I guess that these combined with the slightly medicinal oud and woody aspects give off a certain representation of leather. It certainly doesn't have the same strong specific leather accord as presented in Armani's other leather Prive' offering Cuir Amethyste.

The drydown is all about vanilla and reminds me slightly of a spicy vanilla egg custard. It's at this stage of the fragrance's development that I've received so many compliments when wearing Cuir Noir.

On my skin I've not experienced any of the longevity problems that others seem to have experienced. While it doesn't have a massive sillage trail, it certainly lasts on me for a good 8 hours or more.

21st July, 2013

Zegna Uomo by Ermenegildo Zegna

Not so bad

This one is not so bad. Whilst I agree somewhat with diamondflame that Uomo follows a well trodden path, I don't find it to be quite so mediocre or derivative. At least it's not another aquatic!

I get quite a strong representation of both the bergamot and violet leaf during the top and mid stages of this and then it does settle into a gentle woody base. I don't find Uomo in the slightest bit sweet like I do with Bvlgari Man. While there's no honey, vanilla or anything even remotely sweet, it does come across as a bit warm in the drydown. If anything, this reminds me somewaht of a lighter version of Dior's Fahrenheit.

Where Uomo does fall down for me is in the longevity and sillage departments. Like so many modern fragrances it feels like this was created so as not to offend delicate sensabilities. 2 or 3 hours after application, it's all but gone. Personally I prefer my fragrances a little more robust.

I was 'fortunate' enough to attend the launch party for this is the Sydney Zegna store, so I was given a 50ml bottle free. Having now worn it a few times, I don't think I would pay retail price for a bottle.

I'll give this 2 and half stars.

Pros: Pleasant and not another aquatic!
Cons: Not very original. Average longevity & sillage

04th June, 2013

Javanese Patchouli by Ermenegildo Zegna

Dark, earthy, woody & musky

While I've never been to the island of Java, I imagine that this is what an Indonesian forest floor might smell like; dark, earthy, woody & musky.  Zegna's Javanese Patchouli is a very distinctive, slightly sweet and solid representation of the core ingredient of patchouli.  At first I detect the patchouli straight up, quickly followed by a sweetness that I'll asume is the pink pepper and tonka.  Like Zegna's Indonesian Oud this is a fairly linear scent that doesn't develop too much from first spray to dry down.  Right through its whole life (of about 8 - 10 hours) I can clearly detect the patchouli.

 

Although Zegna's marketing would have you believe that each of the Essenze collection is built on or contains Calabrian bergamot (from Zegna's own plantation would you believe!), I cannot detect any citrus whatsoever in this composition. Not that it detracts from the wonderful smell; it's just my observation. In contrast, all the other Essenze line (which i have now extensively tested) do contain some citrus notes; including Indonesian Oud which does have a very fleeting representation in the top notes.

 

I don't have a great deal of patchouli heavy fragrances in my collection, but if I was asked to liken this to anything else, it would have to be Luten's and Sheldrake's Borneo 1834.  Like 'Borneo' the presence of patchouli is is front and centre, however Borneo has a sort of camphorous quality that I don't detect here.  Of course Borneo also has cacao, which Zegna's latest does not.

 

The only other fragrances I am familiar with by Frank Voelkl are his RSVP & Signature scents for Kenneth Cole.  As much as I like those two quite a bit, this is a definite step up as far as quality goes.

 

Overall, while this is not as perfect a 5 star a fragrance as I find Indonesian Oud to be (mainly due to its lack of versatility), this Javanese Patchouli is a very solid and delightfully earthy addition to Zegna's new Essenze line up. 4 and half stars.

Pros: High quality, relatively long lasting, distinctive
Cons: Versatility

23rd May, 2013

Indonesian Oud by Ermenegildo Zegna

Wonderful combination of oud and rose.

After testing the whole 'Essenze' collection I finally decided that Indonesian Oud was my favourite; followed closely by Javanese Patchouli.

 

In my opinion, Indonesian Oud begins as it ends, with a wonderful and luxurious combination of rose and oud.  It's a quite linear fragrance that in my experience doesn't really appear to behave in the traditional top, then heart, then base note structure.  The only exceptions are a slight hint of bergamot citrus at the beginning which appears to fade quite quickly, and a gentle amber/myrh background.  For those that are familiar with oud, they will recognise the slightly 'medicinal' traits that oud can sometimes display; but this is in no way a negative observation. 

 

Apart from the beautiful scent itself, the biggest plus is the excellent longevity I get on my skin and clothes.  Despite being only an EDT concentration, this lasts on me the whole day and right through until the next morning.

 

For those that care about such things, the packaging and presentation are also very nice.  The simple, but elegant cube style heavy glass bottle is adorned with a glossy black metal base and a similar metal magnetic cap. 

 

Although this is marketed for men, I suspect that this could very easily be worn by women. Considering the overall scent, longevity, performance & packaging, if I had to choose just one word to sum up my feelings it would be 'quality'.  Two thumbs up!

Pros: Excellent longevity.
Cons: Quite linear (although it's not really a con).

17th May, 2013

Armani Privé Cèdre Olympe by Giorgio Armani

Like odysseum I find this to be a truly lovely scent; although I find it to be anything but gentle.

I've been testing this now for about two weeks trying to decide between purchasing this or Vetiver Babylone which has a similar citrus/woody vibe; albeit much sweeter. Ultimately I made the plunge on a full bottle of Cèdre Olympe. I find this to be a far more interesting and certainly longer lasting and more powerful. For me the cedar note is quite a bit stronger than the citrus but the pungent lemon tree leaves still make quite an impact. This really is a wonderful combination of strong fresh citrus and an earthy cedar with a dash of pine.

While it's listed as unisex, I think this might be a bit cedar heavy for the ladies (not that there's anything wrong with ladies who wish to smell like cedar!).

Big thumbs up!
14th May, 2013

Méchant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Very interesting. I'm immediately reminded of Sheldrake & Luten's Jeux de Peau. Warm, cosy, slightly gourmand and definately masculine. It's a skin scent for sure as there is very little projection, but it does seem to have great longevity.
17th November, 2012