Perfume Reviews

Reviews by teardrop

Total Reviews: 598

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
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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

Royal Parvati by Ava Luxe

It is immediately apparent that this is a deep, rich & complex wood fragrance. The opening phase is difficult to describe: it's earthy, animalic & bittersweet, somehow both dry & humid, with green facets. It gives the effect of being in the deep undergrowth of a jungle or rainforest, filled with the scents of damp earth & dry wood. After the first hour, there is much more of the lightly spiced sandalwood found in Tom Ford's Santal Blush, & it never turns sweet or creamy, remaining remaining rich, deep & woody right to the far drydown thirteen hours in.
I don't recall ever smelling pure sandalwood oil, but I feel like this is the closest thing to it that I've come across in a fragrance. In a word, it is awesome. It's also firmly unisex, & I can't recommend it highly enough to all you sandalwood lovers out there!
28th November, 2017
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Madeline by Ava Luxe

This opens with a huge burst of spices, predominantly clove, but also nutmeg & ginger. Over the first hour, the licorice note weaves in & out, before the scent becomes thicker, creamier & sweeter. At this point I begin to detect the milky/eggy/custard-like notes that produce the delicious aroma of that classic Yuletide tipple, Advocaat (known to our friends across the pond as eggnog). It dries down to a boozy vanilla five hours in, & lasts a good eleven hours before fading out.
Those who have difficulty with lactonic notes would probably hate this, but I find it utterly yummy, & I'm really looking forward to wearing it this Christmas.
28th November, 2017

Opoponax Intense by Ava Luxe

I first tried this one on a June day, & wasn't that impressed with it. I could immediately sense the deep, spicy resins, but in the opening phase these were overlaid with sharply citrussy, hesperidic notes, along with a toffee or chocolate-like accord, possibly from the amber/benzoin. For me this combination conjured up the taste of those dark chocolates with lime-flavoured soft centres, a combination which sets my teeth on edge, & this was not enjoyable for me. On subsequent wearings in colder weather however, this phase is thankfully much less apparent, & it settles straight into the comfortingly rich, smoky opoponax & nutty labdanum that I previously had to wait forty minutes for. This is more like it, & it all lasts a good eight hours before fading.
I would recommend this one, with the caveat that you wear it in warm weather at your peril! I have found it especially nice sprayed on my bedlinen on cold winter nights, & it lasts softly there for days on end.
28th November, 2017

Ambre D'Or by Ava Luxe

The "Tunisian golden amber" listed here is described on the site as having a thicker consistency, with a sweet & smoky tobacco-like character & incense overtones. There are certainly hints of tobacco & also woody patchouli here. The amber grows slowly sweeter & more caramelised over the first hour, but never becomes too heavy or dense, even on a warm day. One hour in, I detect a smoky quality, & although I don't really get incense, there is a sense of gently glowing embers giving off the sweetest smoke. Eleven hours in, this sensation remains, & although the scent doesn't project far, it does give off nice little wafts when I move.
In my opinion, this is a good option for anyone looking for a medium-weight amber with just a little complexity.
28th November, 2017

Kama by Ava Luxe

This opens with tarry woods, underpinned by a dark amber. A few minutes in, the animalic musk & civet begin to show themselves, until one hour in the amber is sweeter, the labdanum is nuttier, & it's furry, warm blanket of a comfort scent, highly reminiscent of perfumes like L'Ombre Fauve. It's a little powdery, a little salty, & dirty in a very soft & subtle manner. I don't find it anything like as filthy as Salome, for example. It all lasts for a good eight hours before fading.
It reminds me of Neil Morris's Prowl in the opening phase, & I think that fans of animalic orientals, particularly L'Ombre Fauve, would love this one. I'd also say that if you regret missing out on the discontinued MadameX, then you should give Kama a try.
28th November, 2017

Love's True Bluish Light by Ava Luxe

A very nice, natural vanilla, this. Not unlike Tihota, but done with a much lighter hand. To begin with, there are subtle woody, ambery tones, & at around the three hour mark it dries down to a smooth, white chocolate-like accord. It slowly fades to a skin scent over around eight hours.
This one isn't piercingly sweet, & I don't really get musk here, unless it's of the white musk variety, but it's not obvious to me. It's not a heavy gourmand, but it's comforting in a delicate & gentle manner. If this fragrance were a fabric, it would be the softest, fluffiest towelling robe, rather than a thick, furry blanket, & so it works quite well in warmer weather.
Definitely worth a try for vanilla fans!
28th November, 2017

Viva by Ava Luxe

My first impression is that this one is very similar to Tuberose Diabolique, with the most prominent notes being tuberose & coconut. There are hints of ylang & spice in the opening phase, & at around the two hour mark a very nice, creamy sandalwood comes into play. Five hours in it's mainly the sandalwood base that remains, turning the fragrance from sweet & tropical to more of a woody oriental, & I am reminded once again of Guerlain's classic tropical-oriental, Mahora. It all fades out around ten hours in.
This one is right up my street, & recommended if, like me, you love both tropical & oriental fragrances.
28th November, 2017

Gardenia Musk by Ava Luxe

My sample is labelled simply as Gardenia, but the notes are the same as those listed here. Interestingly, there is no musk listed, & neither do I smell any. This is a very fresh white floral in the beginning, dominated by water lily & jasmine. After a few moments I detect hints of gardenia wafting from my arm, but only in a very abstract sense. This is not a creamy gardenia, & it has none of the "blue cheese" or "mushroomy" aspects that are sometimes attributed to it. Over the first two hours it becomes quite heady & sweet, before fading to a green & grassy jasmine base. It did survive being covered with suntan lotion & baking in the sun for a few hours before I went for shower nine hours in, though!
I have other gardenias that I much prefer, but I'd say this is worth a try for those who prefer their gardenias on the less challenging side.
28th November, 2017

Black Coconut by Ava Luxe

This is a true coconut "soliflore", on the dry side to begin with, but slowly turning sweeter & creamier. I don't pick up on the rum at all, but perhaps this is what gives the coconut a bit of depth here, rather than being flat or one-dimensional. The projection is very good for the first five hours or so, fading out around eight hours in.
I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an authentic coconut fragrance, & if you're into layering, this would probably work quite well.
28th November, 2017

Nag Champa by Ava Luxe

This really is the exact head shop scent of Nag Champa incense! For the first hour, it's a little smoky & leathery, with a faint hint of patchouli, & then it settles into a soft, powdery champa incense with an ambery base. The projection seems quite low while indoors, but walking around outside on a damp & humid day, I get lovely little whiffs of it through my leather jacket. It's still detectable on my skin twelve hours in.
Not everyone loves that head shop smell, but being a hippie chick at heart, I absolutely do. And even if I didn't want to wear it as a perfume, I'd be happy spraying this on sheets & curtains, just so that I could surround myself always with that glorious, comforting scent.
28th November, 2017

Tuberose by Renée

In the beginning, this is a big & fruity tuberose, more similar to Beyond Love than Fracas, in the sense that it appears rather one-dimensional at first. However, it slowly calms down & develops a tropical feel, with orchid, ylang & vanilla rounding out the tuberose. The mid phase reminds me strongly of Guerlain's Mahora, with its happy marriage of tropical & oriental accords. Six hours in it becomes much softer, but hums along nicely for a good while after.
I enjoyed this one, & I'd recommend it to fans of tropical fragrances, white florals, & Mahora in particular.
28th November, 2017

Lily & Spice by Penhaligon's

A very sheer & soft lily fragrance, slightly woody & indolic in the opening, with the lightest touch of spice. The most interesting part comes at around the three hour mark, when it's dried down to the distinct "wet stone" note of petrichor. Sadly though, the projection is so low that I have to put nose to skin in order to smell anything, & six hours in it's pretty much gone.
A pleasant enough fragrance, but the performance is annoyingly poor. Another miss from this house for me.
30th May, 2017

Beloved by American Beauty

This is a warm, pretty white floral, mainly tuberose & orange blossom, with a fruity overtone from the orange & apricot notes. Over the first hour, the fruity notes fade, leaving a clean, non-indolic, white floral accord to take centre stage. Three hours in it fades close to the skin, & six hours in I detect a faintly ambery, oriental base.
Nothing unique here, & the performance isn't great, but it's a pleasant fragrance for warmer weather, which I could imagine wearing at work without offending anyone.
30th May, 2017

Alien Eau Sublime by Thierry Mugler

This is a soft, creamy floral version of Alien, falling somewhere between Eau Extraordinaire & Eau Luminescente, both of which share the same tiare note. I don't get the citrus or the galbanum. It becomes a little crisper three to four hours in, but fades fast after this.
I don't dislike it, but I'm just not sure what the point of this flanker is. It doesn't bring anything new to the Alien "universe", & seems redundant in its similarity to the others already mentioned.
30th May, 2017

Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

My immediate impression is that this smells just like Christmas, with notes of plum pudding, spices & woods. Slowly it dries down to a spiced sandalwood, perhaps less sweet than in Bois des Isles, definitely more spicy, & more on the masculine side. It projects & lasts well, still going after more than twelve hours.
I tried this on a hot day & it felt entirely out of place for me, but I could see myself really enjoying it in winter.
30th May, 2017

Ancient Resins by Aftelier

Pine resin & the warm glow of labdanum produce an aura of dark-green & brown, transporting me to the shady pine woods of a Greek mountainside in the heat of summer. There's a hint of something herbal in here, too, perhaps the sage used in mountain tea, which is used for medicinal purposes, after all. I can see why many describe this as contemplative or meditative; it did evoke a feeling of comfort & calm on a day that was dominated by bad news. The projection is low, but then it is a body oil, & not a perfume as such. Two hours in, it's sweetened a little by benzoin, & later the lemony aspect of the frankincense comes through. It lasts around seven hours before fading entirely.
As an oil, it's not at all greasy & sinks nicely into the skin. I can see myself reaching for this when in need of comfort, & to satisfy my longings for Greece. Its quiet presence is like a voice softly telling me that everything will be alright.
30th May, 2017

Vanilla Smoke by Aftelier

My main impression here is of smoked rubber, underpinned by a very natural vanilla, i.e. not cupcake-sweet. It's very sheer though, not overly acrid. And that's about it. I don't get any citrus, booze or spices. This is far more subtle than I expected, & about as elusive as smoke, with very low projection. It's barely detectable after three hours, despite having applied several sprays, & although it's still there after ten hours, by this time I'm thoroughly bored with it.
I'm fine with vanilla not being sugary-sweet, but I would have preferred much more richness & intensity here. Instead I find myself unmoved, & rather disappointed by this one.
30th May, 2017

Cassis by SP Parfums Sven Pritzkoleit

Yep, it's definitely blackcurrant. Jammy fruit balanced with a little bitterness from the leaves & stems. The "cat pee" note that I associate with blackcurrant bud is thankfully not obvious here, but it does appear about an hour in. It sweetens a little though, just as it fades closer to the skin five hours in.
I am not a lover of fruity notes (except for citrus & fig), & so this isn't for me, but it is well done. I can see fans of L'Ombre dans l'Eau enjoying this one, especially in late summer/early autumn.
30th May, 2017