Perfume Reviews

Reviews by teardrop

Advertisement
Total Reviews: 616

Forbidden by House of Matriarch

I get a fleeting impression of earthy florals in the opening, swiftly overtaken by the woody patchouli accord that seems to be ubiquitous in this house's perfumes. In this one it seems more subdued though, & there's a hint of menthol or camphor here, too. Thirty minutes in, it settles into a crisp, dry white floral with green, woody & slightly animalic aspects. I have difficulty picking out the tuberose from among the other notes. After ninety minutes, it's warmer & earthier with oakmoss & amber, & later there's a touch of green leaves in the base. Five hours in it's very soft, & nine hours in it's barely there.
I don't dislike this, but it doesn't really appeal to my tastes, either. It probably would appeal to fans of floral woody chypres, & I see it has inspired some tremendous reviews here.
13th June, 2018

Toukka Ta Tao by House of Matriarch

This opens with a brief whiff of cedar, before the "house signature" patchouli-creosote accord takes over. This is underpinned by something green & vegetal, perhaps the listed kava kava, a root whose name apparently means "bitter". This lasts around thirty minutes before morphing into a beachy floral with tropical fruits & coconut milk. The listed fruit notes are lychee, mango & lilikoi (another name for yellow passion fruit), but two hours in as the woods recede & the ylang-ylang becomes more prominent, what I get here is a banana daquiri. Five hours in, the base is an more ambery, oriental, sandalwood accord, with maybe a hint of oud. Projection is on the low side, & it all fades out after around nine hours.
I've rarely experienced a perfume that changes so dramatically between the opening phase & the drydown. It's like two completely different fragrances; one dark, woody & green, the other sweet, fruity & tropical. It's strange & perplexing, & I'm not sure if I enjoy either phase, but it's certainly an interesting ride.
13th June, 2018

L'Arrivée by House of Matriarch

In the opening I get a strong impression of woody patchouli, which seems to be a signature accord for this house. Within five minutes, however, it gives way to an indolic jasmine underpinned with woods. Twenty minutes in, it smells very similar to the honeyed, ambery jasmine of Moon Breath by Ayala Moriel, one that I already own & love. From here it doesn't progress much, apart from a slightly animalic note in the base. But it projects well, & lasts a good fourteen hours before fading.
I've only tried a handful from this house, but this is my favourite so far. A purchase would seem unnecessary though, as I already have Moon Breath.
13th June, 2018
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Coco Blanc by House of Matriarch

This one goes on with a fleeting impression of sweetness that's quickly overwhelmed by massoia wood spiced with cumin. I also smell patchouli here, but only for the first ten minutes. After this, it settles into thick, buttery sandalwood, but retains that element of spice. From here it slowly dries down to a nutty base, very soft after the five hour mark, but still there eight hours in.
I expected more coconut/white chocolate/vanilla here, but I don't really detect them. As other reviewers have stated, this is not a sweet, yummy gourmand, but something more grown-up & complex. I'd prefer it to project more strongly, but I'll have to try dousing myself with it to see if that makes a difference.
13th June, 2018

Woo by House of Matriarch

In the opening phase I get a kind of woodsy-patchouli-creosote accord, with an impression of creamy tropical florals beneath. As it develops over the first hour, there is a sun-warmed skin vibe, the leather note becomes more pronounced, & the florals more indolic. The projection is low to moderate, but it gives off nice little wafts of fragrance as I move. After three hours it's more of a skin scent, & there's a soft, smooth tobacco subtly laced with sweet vanilla in the base. Nine hours in there are still traces of it on my skin.
This one reminds me a little of Suntanglam by SP Parfums, which I already own & love, although the projection & longevity aren't as impressive. I guess that's the drawback with something classed as "all natural". I would class it as a leathery, animalic, tropical floral, & as it has very little sweetness, I'd say it could easily be worn by either gender. It wasn't quite what I expected, but I did find myself compulsively sniffing my arm, for the first few hours at least.
13th June, 2018

Fig-Tea by Nicolaï

I only get a very fleeting burst of actual fig, before it's overtaken by the woody, faintly tobacco-like note of davana blossom, & an osmanthus that smells more like peaches than the usual apricot. I'm not sure what mate smells like, but this perfume could be said to resemble a fruit tea. The lemony-herbal note of coriander drifts in & out, before it all begins to turn milky, with the slight crispness of fig leaves. At around the ninety minute mark, the milky accord begins to dominate, & sniffing up close I detect a little dessicated coconut. From here it simply fades, & is barely detectable after five hours.
Anyone looking for a fig-dominant scent will probably be disappointed with this one, but for me it makes a suitably light, fresh & inoffensive summer work scent, easily wearable by either gender. You just need to carry some with you so you can reapply.
13th June, 2018

Au Delà Narcisse by Bruno Fazzolari

A crisp & bittersweet blend of crushed green leaves, earthy oakmoss & animalic florals make this a rich, full-bodied & retro-style chypre. An hour in, I smell iris & mimosa rather than narcissus. After around three hours it fades closer to the skin, & six hours in there's a soft base of oakmoss & amber. Eight hours in it's a skin scent.
I'm not usually a huge fan of oakmoss, but the skillful blending with the rich florals here won me over. It's really quite stunning, & if you love vintage chypres, you have to try this.
13th June, 2018

Zephyr by Neil Morris Fragrances

This opens fresh & zesty with citrus rind, & quickly settles into a sweeter fruity accord. There's an edge of "fresh masculine cologne" here, & I don't really get the floral notes, apart from perhaps some lily, so I'd say this one is easily unisex. After a couple of hours it's very soft, & six hours in it's faded to a skin scent of oceanic musk. It's probably the least long-lasting one that I've tried from this house.
It might make a refreshing pick-me-up on a hot day, but for me this is nothing terribly special. I definitely seem to have a preference for Neil's "darker" fragrances.
13th June, 2018

Clear by Neil Morris Fragrances

This opens like a summer morning, with refreshing linden blossom & juicy grapefruit. There's only a tiny, fleeting impression of the bitterness that I sometimes get from grapefruit in fragrances. After thirty minutes, it becomes sweeter & more dominated by fruity notes, with faintly floral undertones. I don't get the mint at all. Seven hours in, there's a clean laundry musk in the base, which hangs around on my clothing for days afterwards. On skin, it's still going softly after fourteen hours.
The overall feel of this is like sitting outside on a midsummer morning sipping fruit juice, while your freshly-washed linen dries on the line in the breeze. I'm not generally a fan of very fruity fragrances, but if you are, you could do worse than this bright & cheerful little number.
13th June, 2018

Aegean by Neil Morris Fragrances

This is a fresh, herbal citrus-aromatic, with mandarin, basil & lavender dominating for the first couple of hours. It leans quite masculine, but thankfully does not resemble a mainstream "sport cologne" or a household cleaning product. The projection is good, but not overwhelming. Neil himself admits that he's never been to Greece; speaking as someone who has been there many times, I can say that this is only a very rough approximation of the scent of the maquis, & I don't get anything evocative of the sea here. After the first hour, it turns more resinous & sweet, with the addition of benzoin, & later a touch of neroli. From here it gives off a golden-brown warmth, slowly fading over the course of around nine hours.
This one leans a little too far to the masculine side for my taste, but I recommend trying it if you enjoy a traditional "barber shop"-style scent.
13th June, 2018

Asea by Neil Morris Fragrances

This one isn't listed on Neil's website, & I can't find a notes list anywhere, but I did read somewhere that it was created to evoke the feel of an ocean cruise.
It's a strong citrus-aquatic, with lemon, marine notes, & perhaps some lavender deep in the mix. It's sharp, bracing, & to my nose very reminiscent of a masculine sport/fougere scent. It has massive projection, but no real development, except for some neroli deep in the base. It calms down three hours in, but lasts a good thirteen hours.
This isn't something I'd want to wear, but I gave my sample to my partner, who says it reminds him of L'Eau d'Issey. It must be the calone!
13th June, 2018

She Belongs There by Olivine Atelier

Oil version:

The first hour is dominated by a bright pikake jasmine, joined after this by a hint of woody sweetness. Three hours in, it all smooths out into a soft, creamy tiare with coconut. At this point it's a classically beachy scent, evocative of suntan lotion & hot skin. The projection is moderate, & it's still going softly twelve hours in.
As a lover of beachy scents, I find this one pleasant but not unique, & there are others that I've loved much more. I wouldn't mind trying the EDP version, though.
13th June, 2018

Olivine by Olivine Atelier

Oil version:

My first impression here is of the fresh, green floral, melon-like note of pikake jasmine (Hawaiian sambac). But within five minutes this is joined by a rather lovely, creamy gardenia, blooming on my skin like a warm breeze from the tropics. There's no mushroom or blue cheese here, just a clean & very feminine version of this beautiful flower. Slowly the pikake recedes, until three hours in the gardenia remains, underpinned by a soft vanilla sweetness. I don't get the listed musk note at all. It projects reasonably well for an oil, beginning to fade around six hours in.
As true gardenia perfumes go, I think Dame Perfumery's Soliflore Gardenia has the edge over this one, but even so, this is one of the better ones that I've tried.
13th June, 2018
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Gigi by Olivine Atelier

Oil version:

I mostly get pear in the opening, supported by warm, soft, creamy florals, more ylang than gardenia. Over the first hour, the fruit fades, leaving a very sweet, almost sickly vanilla-floral. Another hour later, the green tea comes forward, adding a crispness that balances the sweetness nicely. Four hours in, the base is a milky sandalwood with vanilla. As you might expect from an oil, the projection is very soft, but it's still going faintly nine hours in.
This is a little too fruity for my taste, but if sweet, fruity florals are your thing, this would be a pleasant pick for spring or summer.
13th June, 2018

Pistachio Ice Cream by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is a deliciously nutty & completely natural-smelling pistachio, with a dash of almonds or marzipan. There is, however, none of the cool, creamy vanilla that one might expect from an "ice cream". There's no discernible development, but it lasts well, slowly fading over the course of around eight hours.
Recommended if you crave authentic nutty scents, & perfect for layering.
13th June, 2018

Coconut by Demeter Fragrance Library

The bottle I have is labelled "Fresh Coconut", so I'm not sure if this is the same fragrance, but I'll post this here anyway.
A sweet, artificial-smelling coconut in the style of a Bounty bar, this has surprisingly strong projection for the first hour. After this, I detect a more woody aspect, & it slowly settles to a soft, milky base over around four hours. Seven hours in, it's almost gone.
As with most of the Demeter line, this isn't a fully-formed perfume as such, but it is a pleasant hit of the tropics, & I think it would work well for layering with other tropical fragrances.
13th June, 2018

Rose Jam by Gorilla Perfume

Just like the cult limited edition shower gel of the same name, this does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a thick, sweet, jammy, rose & lemon Turkish Delight of a fragrance. It goes on more like an EDP than a body spray, with a powerful projection & sillage. Geraniol adds a greenish edge to cut through the sweetness, & sniffed up close there's a slightly "turned" aspect. It reminds me of Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Rose, without the woody-ambery base. Two hours in, it's less fierce; more of a soft, sweet & gentle jammy rose, & later I get the feel of the powdery coating of those little cubes of loukhoum. Seven hours in, it's faded close to the skin, but is still going after fourteen hours.
I'd advise anyone interested in this one not to be fooled by the "body spray" label; it's actually a real heavy hitter, & needs a light hand on the trigger. Lovers of traditional rose fragrances might find it too sweet, but if you love Turkish Delight, you'll adore this.
13th June, 2018

Khôl de Bahreïn by Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777

This goes on warm, resinous & faintly floral with a smooth, rounded iris. It's sweet but not sugary, musky but not animalic, & retro in style without smelling "off". It quickly takes on a powdery aspect like that of high end cosmetics, along with a touch of vanilla or white chocolate. I wouldn't call it a gourmand, though - there's no suggestion of edible baked goods here. It's really a very clever blending of seemingly disparate accords, giving the effect of emerging from a luxuriously scented bath, padding across a deep-pile carpet in a thick, fluffy robe & then applying the finest, silkiest talcum powder to one's warm, clean skin. There's also a distant echo of Camay soap here, even though this doesn't come over as a "soapy" fragrance. It all slowly fades to a soft, resinous base over the course of six hours, & still smells sweetly balsamic fifteen hours in.
I'm really impressed with this one. It feels opulent without being heavy or dense, & it's something I'd wear when I want to feel pampered.
13th June, 2018

Leather Garden by Neil Morris Fragrances

A soft, subtle leather with spring floral notes of hyacinth, narcissus & lily of the valley. The green feel is accented with basil & underpinned with vetiver, & the blackberry note is barely noticeable. Five hours in, the leather has receded, leaving a chilly but pretty floral accord, fading out after around twelve hours.
Lovers of green floral leathers might find this delightful, & I think I'll enjoy wearing it in springtime.
30th November, 2017

Fetish by Neil Morris Fragrances

After a sharp opening, the initial phase is mostly leather, with patchouli & an odd note that reminds me of sour milk. One hour in the benzoin kicks in, turning things more softly powdery, but not too sweet. Shortly after this, I detect a mineral note, like the cold stone of ancient catacombs. I'm not sure exactly how oudh is supposed to smell, but I'm guessing it's this in combination with the myrrh that conjures up that image for me. From here it all slowly fades, lasting around twelve hours overall.
I must admit I'm not all that keen on this one. The drydown is interesting, but that sour milk note is a turnoff for me, & the fragrance is not as animalic as I'd hoped.
30th November, 2017

Afire by Neil Morris Fragrances

Straight off, this reminds me of two things: Christmas, & Karma by Lush, with its thick orange liqueur & suggestion of patchouli. For me it is not the scent of passion, but rather the scent of plum pudding soaked in Grand Marnier. This plum pudding has not yet been lit, however. The only association with fire here is the orange colour it conjures up. Neither is it chock full of spices as one might expect; it's dense, sweet, powerful & possibly cloying to some. If you hate the smell of a Lush shop, I'd say steer clear of this one. I happen to love that smell, but this might be too much even for me. After three hours, it becomes more caramelised & less about the sticky fruit, & five hours in I detect something resinous, like labdanum or opoponax. At this point it's a more wearable & cosy winter comfort scent, still humming softly after fifteen hours.
I might enjoy wearing this again when Christmas comes around, but I'll certainly go light on the trigger!
30th November, 2017

Chasing Autumn by Neil Morris Fragrances

This opens with a cloud of black pepper, cedar & birch woods, burning leaves, & the scent of damp earth in a deep forest. It creates a dark & unsettling atmosphere, reminding me of that "dull, dark & soundless day in the autumn of the year", which sets the opening scene for Edgar Allen Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. The burning smell intensifies over the first hour, but it's not unpleasantly acrid, it's the scent of woodsmoke mingling with the mist that drifts through the trees in the gathering dusk. At around the three hour mark, it slowly begins to mellow, with hints of incense, tobacco & powder, but it never sweetens. After feeling lost in the immense, dark forest, in the distance I sense the presence of a cosy cottage lit from within by a blazing fire, & the terror recedes as I make my way towards it...
It's not often that I get such powerful images from a scent, but this truly is an outstanding work of poetry in perfume. It's softer after the seven hour mark, but lasts a good fourteen hours before fading. Incredible stuff!
30th November, 2017

Geisha Vanilla Hinoki by Aroma M

This review is for the EDP.

This has a warm, spicy opening with nutmeg, clove, a faintly sweet eggnog vibe, & patchouli humming along beneath. It puts me in mind of a scented Christmas candle, but after the first half hour it gets more interesting. There's a deliciously nutty note in the heart, joined a little later by smooth, sweet smoke. And suddenly it reminds me of the smoky vanilla base of none other than Shalimar! I could swear there's some opoponax in here, too. It all fades to a skin scent after four hours, & is pretty much gone after five, but that base is a very pleasant surprise indeed. I look forward to wearing this one over the festive season.
28th November, 2017

Royal Green Fig and Vanilla Woods by Lucy B

This one opens both sweet & sour, with the green pepper note counterbalancing the sweetness of the overripe fig. In fact the green pepper note isn't obvious to me, but I think it's the only thing that could account for the slightly sour note I'm getting here. In fairness, though, I can only detect this up close. Slowly this accord sinks into a base of woody amber over the first three hours, & then later I get hints of leather & a soft vanilla in the base. Projection is moderate, & overall it lasts around seven hours before fading out.
For me this one is an odd mix. As a fig fragrance it doesn't really work, especially compared with a masterpiece like Philosykos, which I own & love. Philosykos has the wonderful coolness of the leaves mixed with milky, sweet fruit which is so perfectly refreshing in summer. This one attempts to pair fig with a vegetal note which I find jarring, & then morphs into something that for me is too ambery to be worn in the heat.
28th November, 2017

Dirty Flower Factory by Kerosene

This opens as a huge, technicolour rose with massive projection, & for once I don't have to put nose to skin to detect its nuances. It's a neon-bright, orangey-red rose, as opposed to the wine-dark rose of Une Rose, or the pastel pink of Stella. The chilli & pepper notes aren't obvious to me, but it's possible that they serve to enhance the brightness of the rose here. There is a bittersweet vibe that I also found in Unforsaken, & I wonder if this is a trademark of this house? An indolic jasmine soon appears, almost petrol-like in its industrial strength, & then half an hour later it all turns soapy, probably thanks to the orange blossom. Three hours in the volume is turned down, & it's a clean, white floral-musk, with a softly jammy rose weaving in & out. Fourteen hours in there are still traces of it left on my skin.
Because of the name, I expected something more earthy or urban-smelling here, but the fumes pumping out from this floral factory are far more clean than dirty, to my nose. That day-glo opening did put a big smile on my face though, & if you love your roses loud, I highly recommend this enjoyable ride!
28th November, 2017

Unforsaken by Kerosene

A big & bittersweet opening composed of the juicy citrus of tangerine & clementine, paired with a sprinkling of coconut, slowly becomes sweeter & more coconutty over the first forty five minutes. As it develops, there's a creamy, lactonic note, the metallic tang of neroli, & then a delicate orange blossom underpinned with a very soft vanilla. Sadly I don't get the ginger at all. Five hours in it settles close to the skin, then after six hours I get a hint of Johnson's baby powder. The coconut returns just as it all begins to fade eleven hours in, & the base is sweet, soft & comforting.
I found the opening slightly too much on the bitter side for me, but the drydown is pleasant & pretty. I enjoyed the pairing of citrus with coconut, but as an orange blossom fragrance I still prefer Seville a l'Aube.
28th November, 2017

Gardenia by Floris

Aldehydes, tuberose & jasmine, but done in a very flat & uninspiring manner. Two hours in it's a sweeter jasmine, & after three hours there is a hint of gardenia, but it's too faint at this point to move me in any way. There are traces of lily or lily of the valley eighteen hours after application, but the longevity is not enough to save this one for me. There's no depth, very little projection, & virtually no gardenia. In fact it's almost too nondescript to write about.
28th November, 2017

Notre Flore Jasmin / Jasmine by L'Occitane

This goes on with a burst of plasticky aldehydes, which disperse to leave a green note, underpinned with a sweet amber. The green note is listed as "ivy leaves", & perhaps I'm allowing myself to be suggestible here, but I have ivy in my garden, & this does smell a lot like it. The jasmine slowly makes itself known, but is not prominent for me, being well blended into the mix of other notes. The scent becomes thicker & sweeter over the first half hour, & remains that way until around four hours in, when it's a little more creamy & lactonic. At the five hour mark it's become a soft, lemony floral, not unlike Goutal's Le Chevrefeuille. It fades to a skin scent nine hours in.
There's a lot more to this one than jasmine, & the combination of fresh & warm notes is well done & quite unusual. I don't quite love it, but I do like it.
28th November, 2017

Madame X by Ava Luxe

I was extremely fortunate to be sent a sample of the extrait version of this discontinued gem by a generous basenoter; you know who you are, & thank you!
First off, this is a rich, complex, proper "grown up" perfume of the old school variety. I don't detect all of the listed notes, but the initial phase is dark & spicy, with patchouli & the animalic notes of civet & castoreum apparent straightaway. It's salty, fleshy & unapologetically carnal. This phase lasts a good two hours before settling to a soft purr of labdanum & animal fur, & once again I am reminded of L'Ombre Fauve. From here it slowly recedes to a powdery, ambery base, & then later when I think it's gone, I smell a delightfully buttery sandalwood wafting from my arm. Twenty four hours after application, there's a lingering trace of it left. Outstanding performance for an outstanding scent.

And if you lament missing out on the opportunity to try this, I recommend trying Kama from the same house. It's not exactly the same, but the similarities are striking.
28th November, 2017

Kretek by Ava Luxe

Apparently "kretek" is an onomatopoeic word for the popping sound made by clove cigarettes as they're smoked. I've never run across these in real life, but they sound interesting, & some of them have very pretty designs inked onto them, from what I've seen online.
This fragrance does indeed open with a burst of clove, reminding me at once of the dental surgery, but within five minutes this note calms down & floats above the rich, dry tobacco, lending it some lift & adding an edge of freshness. One hour in, it's a smoother, slightly sweeter tobacco accord, but never becomes overly sweet a la Tobacco Vanille. From here it simply fades slowly, & the amber & sandalwood base is very faint. I don't get any incense, & eight hours in it's barely detectable, making it one of the least long-lasting fragrances that I've tried from this house.
I didn't love this on the first try back in July, but on wearing it again more recently I detected a fruity note like apples spiced with cinnamon, which made it a lot more interesting. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an authentic tobacco fragrance with a little freshness, that leans to the masculine end of the spectrum.
28th November, 2017