Perfume Reviews

Reviews by teardrop


Tobacco Rose by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

On first applying this, I get a deeply unpleasant sense that it's turned, like a vintage perfume that's been left too long on a windowsill. Forty five minutes later, just as I'm thinking of scrubbing, the rose finally emerges. At first it's almost smothered by a synthetic-smelling tobacco note, not unlike the one in Body Shop's Red Musk. I say synthetic because it's so dense, & lacking the texture that I associate with this note. An hour later though, the "tobacco" fades, allowing a quite lovely & lush red rose to take centre stage. From this point the rose has a similar feel to that of Malle's Une Rose, complete with the wine dregs, & slowly fades, still going after twelve hours.
It seems that others don't get tobacco here, whereas I get a huge, dense fug of it. The rose, when it's allowed to shine, is beautiful, but as I already own Une Rose I can experience something just as beautiful, without having to get through that hideous opening.
28th January, 2016

Anubis by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

For me this is an almost completely linear smoky leather, similar to Mona di Orio's Cuir, but without the barbecued meat vibe. It slowly fades until, six hours in, the base is a pleasantly soft, fuzzy suede, not at all sweet but salty, with a faint touch of incense. It's still going softly ten hours in.
In common with Salome, I find this to have a kind of dense linearity that I find frustrating. I don't get any of the floral notes in either, & I am left wanting more texture, more complexity, more...
28th January, 2016

Bohemian Black by House of Matriarch

For the first hour, this is deep, resinous, ambery, citrussy goodness. The floral notes aren't obvious at first, but I catch a whiff of honeyed pollen; most likely the honeysuckle note. There's also a touch of incense, & a very nice, smooth sandalwood beneath it all. After this promising initial phase, however, all of these notes vanish to leave a very soft, powdery, white floral accord. Now I love a big white floral, but this one merely whispers, & it's oddly disappointing after that wonderful beginning. It fades fast too, & is pretty much gone six hours in, with no discernable base notes to round it off.
If I were in the mood for a soft white floral, the drydown of this one might do just fine, but the opening phase promised so much more. I am left feeling cheated, & also frustrated by the poor performance of this one.
28th January, 2016
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Fleur Oriental by Miller Harris

This is a classically ambery, powdery, warm oriental, with shades of Shalimar & Imperial Opoponax. It reminds me most of all of Stoned by Solange Azagury-Partridge, one of the stars of my collection, but this one is way less expensive! The orange blossom in the opening reads as candied citrus, atop a plush pillow of labdanum. The floral notes aren't obvious to me, but serve to give depth to the whole. After the first half-hour, the citrus fades, leaving the oriental heart to slowly fade in linear fashion. The projection is medium to good, & twenty two hours after application, I still get delightful soft, powdery wafts emanating from my arm.
This is one of those rare occasions when a fragrance smells exactly as I imagined it! It's very nice indeed, & one I'd consider buying if my bottle of Stoned ever runs out...
28th January, 2016

Ambre Précieux Ultime by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

According to what I've read online, this version contains a higher concentration of incense, coumarin, vanilla & labdanum than the original.
It's quite a while since I tried the original, but this is very different to the thick, sweet, golden nectar that I remember. I actually find the lavender more obvious in this one, certainly for the first hour, & it's darker, leaning more masculine in feel. As it develops, there's a slightly animalic note, a whiff of bread dough, & a little smoky incense, powder & tonka bean. At moments when the skin warms up, after any kind of physical activity, there's also an unexpected marine note, possibly from the ambergris. Four hours in, the already quiet projection fades to a vanillic skin scent, & I have to say, there's little of the dense, resinous, classical amber of the original here. Although I like this fragrance, I find myself missing those aspects.
For a far more detailed & expressive description of the differences between this & the original, please see Kafkaesque's review on his blog; he describes it perfectly!
28th January, 2016

Les Nombres d'Or : Vanille by Mona di Orio

This is a dry, not sweet, woody vanilla with a touch of incense. Petitgrain serves to cut through any sweetness that there might have been, & lends a delicate citrus-floral edge to the opening. As it develops, a leathery undertone becomes apparent, along with rum & clove notes, & the guiac wood rapidly becomes more pronounced, smoky & dark. One hour in, the vanilla fades slightly, blending into a backdrop of smoky, woody, salty, soft leather; thankfully not the barbecued, meaty leather found in Di Orio's Cuir. The projection is good until around five hours in, but the scent lasts a decent twelve hours before fading out altogether.
There are parts of this fragrance that remind me by turns of both Memoirs of a Trespasser; another boozy, woody vanilla, & the smoky-sweet drydown of Habanita. As stated elsewhere, this is not really a vanilla fragrance in the classical sense. There is a lot more going on here than gourmand sweetness, & it is very nice indeed, but if I were to add another vanilla to my collection, it would probably be Memoirs...
28th January, 2016

Ashoka by Neela Vermeire

This is a gorgeous combination of fig & mimosa, with a soft, suede-like leather hovering in the background. Together the mimosa & suede notes serve to give a delightful texture to the fig, which gradually becomes more milky & creamy over the first half-hour. The scent then remains fairly linear for around three hours, before drying down to a woody base with hints of sweet tobacco. Five hours in, it fades to a skin scent.
I don't detect any osmanthus, & thankfully no blackcurrant. I would say this fragrance is almost more about mimosa than fig, & although it doesn't come close to rivalling Une Fleur de Cassie, it is a lovely rendition of the note, & I think quite an unusual combination. I find the projection moderate to good; I just wish it lasted longer.
28th January, 2016

Salome by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

For the first hour or so, this is an almost suffocating rush of civet, castoreum & cumin. I've tried quite a few of the famously animalic fragrances, & I love a little dirt, but this is too much, even for me. Wearing this, I wondered why I bothered taking a shower, & was glad I had no plans to leave the house. Eventually it settles a little, becoming friendlier & more akin to the animal fur scent of L'Ombre Fauve, but for me the filth remains prominent right to the end. Where are the florals that others speak of? The only one I detect is a hint of carnation, along with a little patchouli & a chypre base. I also get the "metallic goat" that deadidol mentioned. Thirteen hours in it's still going as a skin scent.
As I said, I love a little dirt, but for me it has to be balanced with sexy florals or a powdery sweetness to make it wearable. Here it dominates the entire composition, & feels like a base accord, with no top or middle notes to relieve the sense of feeling like I haven't washed in weeks. I admire the audacity of releasing a scent like this in this day & age, but it is not something I can wear.
27th January, 2016

D600 by Carner Barcelona

This has the feel of a classically French, vintage-style perfume. It opens with vanilla & musk, lightly spiced with cardamom & pepper, & accented with subtle citrus notes. As it develops, there's incense, woods & a salty vetiver, & I swear I detect almonds or heliotrope, although these are not listed. At this point it reminds me of Alien Essence Absolue. There's a lot more going on here, but in amongst it, there's a very similarly incensy, almondy, oriental vibe. Ninety minutes in, this impression fades & I find it increasingly animalic & ambery, like a mix of castoreum & labdanum, two notes that I adore. The projection is excellent for several hours, only beginning to fade after ten hours.
I don't get iris here, & I've never smelled Dior Homme, so I can't make the comparison that others have. But I'm pleasantly surprised to find that this is just the kind of warm, sensual, animalic comfort scent that's right up my street. I'd still like to know what "D600" means, though.
27th January, 2016

Ambre Passion by Laura Mercier

A thick, sweet, gooey amber, with the intensity of Amber Absolute, but without the woods & incense; an impressive & slightly more feminine-leaning version. I don't get any animalic notes at all.
27th January, 2016

Vanille & Narcisse by L'Occitane

A beautiful, prominent narcissus note evocative of springtime, strangely accented with sugared almonds. It's not terribly long-lasting, fading out at around four hours, but I can see how this one could be addictive. I need to go back & try this one again.
27th January, 2016

Gandhara by Neil Morris Fragrances

This is a warm, rich concoction that opens with patchouli, subtle spices & woods. The only floral I can identify here is mimosa, but it's well-blended into the mix & not prominent. During the initial phase, I kind of get the "rotting vegetation" referred to in some of the reviews; a combination of indoles & earthy musks? After this, there's a couple of hours where it all retreats into an almost nondescript, retro-style, "perfumey" smell, as if it's old stock that's aged badly. And then thankfully it emerges on the other side as a soft, musky floral. From here, the castoreum begins to slowly strengthen, & is joined by ambery notes to form a smooth, sensuous skin scent in the base, still going softly eleven hours in.
Apart from that weird couple of hours in the middle, I enjoyed this one, especially the warm & comforting final phase.
27th January, 2016

Phantom Rain by Neil Morris Fragrances

The opening is aldehydic, fresh, floral & fruity, dominated by what I assume is the papaya note. To me it smells a lot like passion fruit, & it remains prominent for several hours, along with an aquatic vibe. There's also a green, slightly sour & very diffusive note here that I slowly recognise as linden. Three hours in, something warmer & darker joins the mix, & at this point I get a nagging feeling that it reminds me strongly of another scent. I think it's somewhere between the incense & lily accord of Passage d'Enfer, & a Tauer fragrance; either Zeta with its linden, or Carillon pour un Ange, with its earthy, metallic lily of the valley. There's a softly animalic musk in the base, still going twenty hours after application.
This one is fruitier than I would usually like, but I enjoyed the drydown, & the unexpected direction it took. I think it might be even lovelier in springtime.

Fascinating fact on the inspiration behind this scent: apparently a "phantom rain" is one that falls in a climate so hot that it evaporates before reaching the ground, never getting it wet.
27th January, 2016
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Rainflower by Neil Morris Fragrances

This opens with a burst of rain-soaked flowers & wet earth, very much the scent of an English garden in springtime. For the first hour though, I detect an off-putting note that I can't quite identify; a kind of sharp greenness not unlike vetiver, & similar to a raw patchouli. After this stage, it all settles into an accord of floral notes that I can't pick out individually. Except for the jasmine, which I can't help feeling doesn't really belong in this English garden along with the hyacinths & tulips. Five hours in that out-of-place jasmine disappears, a soft, aquatic musk comes along to soften the edges, & finally I can clearly smell lilac. It's still going softly eighteen hours in.
There are parts of this fragrance I like, others not so much. I'll try it again in the springtime, in the hope that it will grow on me.
27th January, 2016

City Rain by Neil Morris Fragrances

In the first few minutes, I get an odd mixture of aldehydes, patchouli, heliotrope & green tea, which somehow coalesce into a kind of pickled vegetable accord! Just as I'm thinking this isn't for me, I get a momentary whiff of wet pavement, before it slowly settles into a scent of crisp, wet greenery along with soft floral notes, mainly heliotrope. At around the two hour mark, a clean musk joins the mix, & five hours in, the base is softly sweet, floral & faintly ambery, with a hint of a marine note. It all fades to a skin scent eleven hours in.
This one does the scent of a wet garden far better than Demeter did, but I would have preferred to smell more of the "city" part here. That smell of rain hitting the pavement after a long dry spell is as intoxicating to me as any garden, but its appearance here is disappointingly fleeting.
27th January, 2016

Storm by Neil Morris Fragrances

This opens with a fresh, ozonic accord, somehow mineral & faintly metallic. I'm not sure what papaya smells like, but there is a juiciness here that suggests lime, & after ten minutes the whole thing becomes much more fruity. One hour in, delicate floral notes combine with the fruit, creating a kind of 'pale green' aura. After three hours, there's a soft musk which is slowly sweetened by tonka in the base. From here it all fades to a skin scent, but is still detectable eleven hours in.
This has none of the tension or darkness that I would associate with a storm, & is much more subtle in its approach than the similarly-named, acrid scent that is Demeter's Thunderstorm. It does, however, suggest the freshness of a dew-laden orchard, & although it's a little too fruity for my taste, I think I might enjoy it more in the springtime.
27th January, 2016

Rumi by Neil Morris Fragrances

This is a mostly linear fragrance, being mainly woods, amber & patchouli from top to base. The patchouli fades a little after two hours, transitioning seamlessly into the sweetness of benzoin. Any floral notes here are too subtle for me to pick out, & there's no further development, although, like the others I've tried from this line, the longevity is good at over eleven hours.
From the name, I'm guessing that this fragrance is intended to have a contemplative feel, & I think it is its very simplicity that makes this intention successful. There are no sharp edges here, nothing challenging, just a warm, smooth & comforting scent that I enjoy in cooler weather.
27th January, 2016

Prowl by Neil Morris Fragrances

This has a spicy-woody opening, with black pepper & perhaps some clove, lasting for a good hour before a darkly indolic jasmine comes through in the heart. This is swiftly followed by a softly animalic amber, & five hours in I detect some moss in the base. The projection is moderate to good, & eleven hours in it's still going as a skin scent.
This scent purrs rather than growls. It's more of a comfort scent than a weapon of seduction, but still a lovely warm, vintage-style fragrance that works very well on cooler evenings.
27th January, 2016

Midnight Tryst by Neil Morris Fragrances

Rich, buttery labdanum meets dark, sultry florals on an animalic bed of civet & castoreum. The opening is spicy, with a retro, head shop vibe. The floral notes are hard to pick out individually, but they're thick & dense, & there's a honeyed rose in there somewhere. The whole feel of this is dark & dangerous, slightly bittersweet, a real vamp of a perfume! Four hours in, the florals fade, leaving a warm, fuzzy base of nutty labdanum, subtly animalic but not too filthy. Eleven hours in it seems to be fading, but I'm still getting animalic whiffs from my arm twenty-two hours after application. That's outstanding performance, in my book.
By turns this reminds me of Tauer's Le Maroc pour Elle, Stoned by Solange Azagury-Partridge & L'Ombre Fauve. To combine three perfumes that I absolutely adore is quite a feat, & I've got to say I'm rather blown away by this one! Recommended to lovers of vintage-style orientals everywhere.
27th January, 2016

Intimate Gardenia by Neil Morris Fragrances

This begins as a grassy jasmine reminiscent of scents like Tawaf, softening over the first hour into a white floral accord, mostly lily of the valley. A hint of sweetness like a creamy milk pudding comes to the fore, & at this point it reminds me of Tauer's Sotto La Luna Gardenia. Here it settles into something vaguely resembling gardenia, but like the Tauer, it doesn't represent the true scent of the flower. After four or five hours, there's a clean, slightly aquatic musk in the base, still going softly eleven hours in.
Worn on a warmer, more humid day, a buttery tuberose makes an appearance, & gives off a huge sillage; not so intimate after all!
I don't altogether dislike this one, but as a gardenia lover, it doesn't quite hit the spot for me.
27th January, 2016

Terracotta Le Parfum by Guerlain

This starts out with a bright bergamot top note, before settling into a warm, creamy, tropical blend of ylang ylang, tiare & jasmine, along with a little coconut. Slowly the florals fade until two hours in it's a sweet, creamy blend of coconut & vanilla. There's a touch of almond in the base, & it all lasts around six hours before fading out.
This is a high quality, beachy summer fragrance, reminiscent of scents like Agonist's Vanilla Marble & Nuxe Prodigieux Parfum. I would say if you have trouble getting hold of this limited edition, give the Nuxe a try.
08th July, 2015

Premier Figuier Extrême by L'Artisan Parfumeur

It's immediately apparent that this one is quite different from the original Premier Figuier. It's much woodier, & I could swear there's patchouli here, or perhaps massoia bark. In fact I detect strong similarities with Hermessence Santal Massoia. It's not at all cool or green, but peppery. It quickly settles close to the skin, slowly becoming more creamy & fruity, & ever so slightly smoky, until it reaches a creamy sweet phase around ninety minutes in that I really enjoy. From here it fades to a woody base with a trace of dry coconut, barely there after eight hours.
I find this more on the masculine side than the original, & although I enjoy the drydown, the opening phase isn't what I'm looking for in a fig fragrance.
08th July, 2015

Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This has the same cool, leafy fig as Philosykos in the opening, but is somewhat less woody. It develops & fades more quickly too, becoming sweeter, creamier & fruitier within the hour, & reaching the coconutty stage around three hours in. It fades almost to nothing after five hours.
This is a lovely fragrance, but its lack of tenacity frustrates me, & for this reason I much prefer the Diptyque.
08th July, 2015

Philosykos by Diptyque

This is a green, leafy, woody fig, that captures perfectly the feeling of dozing in the cool shade of a fig tree at siesta time on a hot summer's day in Greece. As it develops, it becomes more milky & fruity, but retains the woody vibe. Five hours in it's warmer, more sweet & creamy, then finally there's a faint coconut note, just as it fades to a skin scent after seven hours.
I think this scent is truly delightful, & I can't imagine anyone being offended by it.
08th July, 2015

Eau du Sud by Annick Goutal

In the opening, the most prominent note is lemon verbena, along with a non-tart grapefruit & minty herbs. After half an hour, this accord is joined by an impression of soft florals. From here, it slowly dries down to a base of crisp moss, with a faintly smoky edge, & still-detectable citrus notes. The projection is quite soft, & three hours in it fades to a skin scent, barely there after eight hours.
This is not a tenacious fragrance, but it is evocative of a thousand memories for me, conjuring as it does a Mediterranean hillside in the heat of summer, complete with the screech of cicadas filling the olive groves. For this reason, I cannot help but love it.
08th July, 2015

Cologne by Etat Libre d'Orange

This opens with a bright & fresh accord of orange blossom, bergamot & zesty citrus peel, that slowly softens into a creamy, floral, slightly woody heart. The mid phase suggests a creamy orange dessert, with just the right balance of sweet & tart. Later on it becomes more clean & crisp, before fading out after around six hours. A lovely & refreshing fragrance, with reasonable lasting power for a cologne.
08th July, 2015

Rien Intense Incense by Etat Libre d'Orange

I tried the original Rien quite a while back & thought it was great, but I used up the sample some time ago. Then recently a generous basenoter sent me another sample along with this one, & so I've been able to directly compare the two.
Initially, Rien seems rather more sheer & more peppery than I remember it, & I believe I read somewhere that it's been changed. Intense Incense, however, has much more of the ashy leather that I recall. I don't actually get a strong impression of incense from it, although there is a subtle smokiness in the heart. The leather here is much more rubbery, but after the first half-hour these actually smell a lot alike; Rien is more like its old self, & both are a warm, fuzzy, salty leather way into the drydown. I don't find Intense Incense to project any more strongly than Rien, & in fact I'd be hard pushed to say which is which in a blind test. To my nose, there's little noticeable difference between them!
07th July, 2015

Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris

This opens as a dry, sharply aromatic, antiseptic-smelling vetiver, & the "grass-topped sand dune" vibe suggests the presence of immortelle, although I don't actually smell it here. After an hour the vetiver fades, making way for a softer accord of salty florals. This accord reminds me a little of Lys Mediterranee, or perhaps Donna Karan Gold, without the amber. It lacks the quality or intensity of either of these however, & it fades to nothing in only three hours.
I'm not a lover of prominent vetiver notes, but that's not my only reason for giving this one a negative rating. There's the lack of projection, longevity or any kind of base. And it just doesn't seem very well-blended; it's like two different perfumes layered on top of one another, neither of which impress me.
07th July, 2015

Scent Intense by Costume National

This is a dark, dense, woody amber with very low projection and, for me, very little interest. There are subdued hints of fruit & patchouli for the first half-hour, but after this it fades fast & in very linear fashion, barely there after five hours. I don't detect any floral notes at all.
I expected something much more special or unique here, but I'm sorry to say I simply found it dull.
07th July, 2015

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

This amber is rich, sweet & slightly boozy, but not at all heavy or dense. I cannot pick out the herbs or spices individually here, but they serve to give interest & edge to the opening. During the first hour I get little whiffs of rose, geranium, woods & patchouli, before it all settles into a smoky, yet still sweet & deliciously comforting amber. The projection is low, but seven hours in it's still going as a skin scent.
I wouldn't call this an outstanding amber fragrance, as there are several others that I prefer, but it's very good & deserves to be included on any amber lover's try list.
07th July, 2015