Reviews

Reviews by teardrop

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Mauboussin by Mauboussin

This opens with ripe, plummy, autumnal fruits underpinned with amber. And also, for a few disconcerting minutes, I get the distinctively sweet-tart, piquant scent of Branston pickle! Two hours in, the fruits fade, leaving a woody, creamy, soft amber, & five hours in all that's left is a faint vanilla base.
Fruity scents are not really my thing, & although I quite like the drydown of this one, it didn't especially grab me. I will try it again when autumn comes though, as I think it might work better for me then.
08th May, 2015

Romantina by Juliette Has a Gun

This has a fresh, soapy, aldehydic opening, giving way to a pretty, spring-like floral accord. I get a little orange blossom, but to my nose it's mainly lilac, along with something creamy & pollen-heavy, akin to lilies or perhaps gardenia. The patchouli here is very muted, only peeping out shyly from beneath the florals every so often. From here there's no real progression; it simply fades over the course of around five hours, then it's pretty much gone.
From the twee name I expected an equally twee fruity-floral aimed at the youth market, but I was pleasantly surprised to find such a lovely spring floral fragrance here. It's somewhat lacking in projection & longevity, but nice nonetheless.
08th May, 2015

Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has a Gun

This opens with a big, red rose, almost immediately engulfed by an equally big dose of patchouli, of the old-school hippie variety - no bad thing, in my book. Over the next couple of hours, the patchouli fades & the scent slowly sweetens, revealing a wine-dark rose in the heart, underpinned by woods & a faint vanilla. Eleven hours in, the base of woody, vanilla-musk is still going softly.
This is not a very unique or complex fragrance, but it appeals to the hippie chick in me, & I find it a pleasant wear for an autumnal day.
08th May, 2015

Bombay Bling by Neela Vermeire

The opening is strongly fruity & aldehydic. The volume decreases quickly, but the scent takes a little while to change. First the subtle spices creep in, then hints of jasmine & tuberose, before it settles into a heart of smooth, creamy fruit yoghurt, reminiscent of Calvin Klein's Euphoria. Later on, there's woods, vanilla & moist tobacco in the base.
I don't really do fruity, & so this isn't something I'd buy, but as fruity scents go, this is of better quality than most. It's sweet & cheerful, but has a bit of depth, & I rather enjoyed that yoghurty mid phase.
08th May, 2015

Enchant by JoAnne Bassett

In the vial, this perfume oil smells quite medicinal, herbal & aromatic, probably from the agarwood & basil listed among the notes. After hitting the skin, it's much more richly floral, with champaca the most prominent note, & a little dirt from the ambrette seed. It's warm & peppery, but with a bracing edge from the lavender & galbanum, & there's an earthy patchouli providing some darkness beneath it all. The projection is strong for the first hour, & then it doesn't so much fade as melt softly into the skin. There's a creamy sweetness from the vanilla, & amber & woods adding depth to the base. In the final phase I detect incense smoke, & something animalic, almost leathery. After six hours it appears to be almost gone, but there are still traces left after eleven.
This is a complex & many-faceted composition, which I suspect will reveal different aspects on repeated wearings, & in different seasons. I look forward to exploring it further.
08th May, 2015

Flowerhead by Byredo

This opens with a bright, effervescent, slightly fruity jasmine, quickly joined by a rather shrill tuberose. I don't detect any rose at all. There's a grassy accord in the heart, but otherwise there's not much development until the ambergris base begins to show itself, around six hours in. Ten hours in it's still going softly.
I really love the name of this one, & I expected something far more exotic, given that it was apparently inspired by the elaborate floral headdresses worn by Hindu brides, but the scent is just ok to me. I can think of many jasmine and/or tuberose fragrances that I've enjoyed much more.
08th May, 2015

Kerbside Violet by Gorilla Perfume [Lush]

This is sweet old-fashioned Parma violets with an urban edge. Sniffed from a distance, it's a sweet, green, floral violet perfume. Sniffed up close, there are elements of tarmac or asphalt, a hint of burning rubber tyres in the heart, & a little of the doughy note that I smelled in Dans Tes Bras. The projection is good for a couple of hours before settling closer to the skin, & it's still going softly after seven hours.
I'm still undecided about this one. It may be just a little too edgy for my taste, but if you're all for bringing a good old-fashioned violet scent up to date for the twenty-first century, there's a good chance you'll enjoy this.
07th May, 2015

Rose Cut by Ann Gerard

Sadly, on my skin this is a hot mess of synthetic rose, strong patchouli, pepper & something syrupy-sweet, combining to form a headache-inducing, monster-fruitchouli-from-hell with huge sillage & longevity. It does quieten down after a couple of hours, & eventually dries down to a tolerable amber base with a hint of tea, but it was a struggle resisting the urge to scrub long before this. I see that other reviewers love this, but personally I cannot recommend it, & will not be subjecting my nose to it again. Ever.
07th May, 2015

Vanilla Marble by Agonist

This is a rich, tropical vanilla with lots of depth. The scents of almond macaroons, milky white florals, tiare & fig combine to produce a delectable & mouthwatering confection evocative of exotic islands like Tahiti, at least in my imagination. lt dries down to a sweet, woody coconut base over the course of around eight hours. As a lover of tropical scents, this one is right up my street!
01st April, 2015

Parfum Sacré by Caron

This is a warm, comforting oriental, with woody patchouli in the opening, underpinned by a soft amber, & a light dose of pepper that weaves in & out through the entire duration. The heart is powdery, with the retro feel of a rosy cosmetic face powder, fading to a floral musk, & ending in a puff of powdery pepper thirteen hours later. The projection is low, but it's such a fluffy cloud of a fragrance that its intimacy only adds to its charms. Very nice.
01st April, 2015

Messe de Minuit by Etro

ln the opening l get a dense accord of bittersweet candied citrus peel with spices, soon joined by dark woods & patchouli. Over the next couple of hours, a thick, labdanum-rich amber comes to the fore, dominating the rest of the drydown, & reminding me of heavy, sweet ambers like Anne Pliska or Ambre Precieux. Projection is low, but it's still going thirteen hours in.
l am sure this is the most recent formulation, but l still expected to find something of the meditative, damp, cold stone vibe that l've read about, or at least some incense. This, however, is a warm, rich winter scent rather evocative of Christmas, & nicely done.
01st April, 2015

Impossible Iris by Ramon Monegal

l get a soapy, fizzy, aldehydic opening that tickles my nose & makes me sneeze. As it settles, l detect a powdery, fuzzy floral note, more akin to mimosa than iris. Gradually, however, the iris comes through, & a couple of hours in the raspberry note adds a little tartness without giving the scent an overly fruity feel. l don't get ylang or jasmine here, & there's no discernable base. The projection is medium, & it fades out around seven hours in.
l'm not an iris afficianado, but l find this one to be a bright, cheerful spring floral, in a similar vein to Byredo's La Tulipe, although they don't smell the same. For me though, La Tulipe is the more beautiful of the two.
01st April, 2015

Mademoiselle Piguet by Robert Piguet

This is a very pretty & fresh orange blossom fragrance, opening with a whoosh of aldehydes. A vanillic sweetness weaves in & out through the duration, but never overwhelms the floral notes. Around thirty minutes in there's a hint of the metallic note that l sometimes get from neroli, but fortunately it doesn't stick around for long. A fairly linear progression with low to moderate projection, it's still going softly after twelve hours.
lnnocent & naive in feel, this would make a nice, easy to wear spring/summer fragrance, for those times when nothing but simple prettiness will do.
01st April, 2015

Leva by O'Driù

The opening phase is strongly lemongrass, part sweet (thanks to the vanilla) but also part sour. The sourness is more obvious when sniffed up close, & l find l prefer to sniff it from a distance, which isn't hard as the projection is pretty impressive. At a distance l detect a pleasantly woody, smoky, incensy vibe, & l quite enjoy this stage. After thirty minutes, however, this is overtaken by an accord of immortelle (although it's not listed) & spices, which is what remains right to the very end for me. lt's rich, full & syrupy, & although l don't altogether dislike immortelle, after a few hours it becomes decidedly dull, & it's still going twelve hours in. l also smelled immortelle in Ladamo when l tried it, so l guess it makes sense that its more feminine counterpart should have it too, but this kind of kills it for me.
01st April, 2015

Relique d'Amour (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

This opens with the scent of pine woods, giving way after ten minutes to a quite beautiful & realistic lily note; creamy, heady, lightly peppery & green. l wish this phase lasted longer, but after two hours it fades into a backdrop of cool, very subdued incense. There's very little projection at this stage, & after only four to five hours the scent is completely gone.
l'm giving this a neutral rating because although l do like it, l found it disappointing in comparison with Passage d'Enfer, which does pretty much the same thing only better. Although the lily note in this one is lovely, the incense is nowhere near as satisfying, the performance is poor, & it just didn't move me in the same way.
01st April, 2015

Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This one is quite a surprise. Having expected something funereal, or, from the name alone, something like burning sulphur, l find it's a rather fresh & beautiful breath of spring. The incense has a shimmering quality, with a pronounced green floral note running through it, more like lily of the valley than lillies, to my nose. l get a strong impression of green shoots peeking through the cold, wet earth, & l even smell the stone slabs forming a path between the flower beds. lt's soft & quite linear, with just a hint of musk in the base, & lasts around nine hours before fading.
Delicate & quite lovely, for me this would make the perfect incense for the transition from winter to spring.
01st April, 2015

Journey Woman by Amouage

There aren't many non-citrus fruity notes that l enjoy, but the golden, apricot-like note of osmanthus is an exception. Here it serves to enhance what for me is mainly a tobacco fragrance, laced with mimosa & spiced with nutmeg. ln the heart there's a honeyed sweetness to the tobacco, suede-like in texture, that reminds me more than a little of Chergui. The fragrance doesn't so much project as surround me with a fuzzy, golden haze, giving off divine little wafts as l move. lt's quite intoxicating, but not at all overpowering. There isn't much progression, except for a suggestion of vanilla, & a soft musk deep in the drydown eight hours later. A beautiful fragrance of exceptional quality, it's perfect on a sunny autumn day.
31st March, 2015 (last edited: 10th April, 2015)

Calling All Angels by April Aromatics

On first hitting the skin, this strikes me as a thick, sweet, spicy, ambery incense, with perhaps some cinnamon or nutmeg lending it a kind of Christmassy feel. The sweetness & spices pass quickly however, & it settles into a dense, woody incense reminiscent of Sahara Noir or lncense Pure. After an hour or two, l detect a hint of burnt caramel, & from here it slowly fades to a plush, suede-like base of incense, benzoin & tonka bean. lt all lasts a decent twelve hours. An impressive incense with a definite progression, this has just enough sweetness to prevent it from feeling too austere or liturgical.
31st March, 2015

Private Collection - L'Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Generale

ln the beginning this is a thick, non-sweet amber with a very vintage-style, slightly musty feel. The projection is impressive. l detect some patchouli in there which never overwhelms, & possibly some labdanum. Over the first hour the fragrance becomes woodier, & then later on it's more of a powdery, sweet amber with a decidedly animalic musk adding depth & interest. lt lasts well, only just beginning to fade after the eight hour mark.
This is a warm, furry, soft & fuzzy blanket of a fragrance, that feels deliciously cosy on a cold winter's day. lt's dirty, but more sensual than shocking, & l absolutely adore it.
31st March, 2015

Cuiron by Helmut Lang

This review is for the reissue.

The opening is light, transparent, only vaguely citrussy with perhaps some aldehydes. To begin with, the leather is on the "faux" side, conjuring the smell of a new car with vinyl seats, & a cheap lemon-scented air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror. Some people love the smell of a new car; l personally hate it. After fifteen minutes or so, it all smooths out into a more realistic but soft, subtle, suede-like leather, with a faint touch of incense. After four hours, it's faded to a rather clean & nondescript base, & overall it lasts eight or nine hours before disappearing.
For me the middle phase of this one is a fairly acceptable rendition of leather, but it's too cold & distant, lacking any kind of warmth or charm. lt's also one-dimensional & rather dull. l prefer my leathers far more complex & animalic than this, but if you shy away from anything too dirty or complicated, this could be just the leather for you!
31st March, 2015

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

This review is for the reissue.

For me this starts out as a sweetish, clean musk with a metallic tinge & a hint of florals. l'm not especially keen on that metallic edge, but it quickly dissipates, & over the next few hours a more animalic musk nudges its way to the fore. This musk is soft, warm & friendly, not overly dirty or offensive, & lasts to the very end around ten hours later.
A very nice, intimate skin scent, this is just animalic enough to satisfy, but still just polite enough to be worn in public.
31st March, 2015

Tabac Rouge / Turkish Blend by Phaedon

This is a sweetish tobacco with a kind of coconutty feel, & a little spice. After around thirty minutes, a soft & dusty incense mingles with the tobacco. Many hours later, there's sweet benzoin & a clean musk in the base. The projection is low to moderate, & it all lasts around eleven hours before fading out.
Comparing this side by side with Tobacco Vanille, it is indeed difficult to differentiate between them, as they are both high quality tobacco fragrances. lf pushed, though, l'd say that TV has more depth, more power, is more rounded & more vanilla-sweet. TR is dryer & less dense, but it is very well done indeed, & recommended if you're looking for a slightly less sweet tobacco fragrance.
31st March, 2015

Montecristo by Masque

This is indeed animalic, but not in an offensive way. Kind of like the scent of an animal's fur, rather than its excrement. l smell a lot of cumin here too, although it's not listed. There is also the feel of a dusty attic room, filled with old wooden furniture, perhaps a used ashtray & a glass containing the dregs of some unidentified liquor. lt's dark & subdued, with barely any sweetness. After twenty minutes or so, it settles into a smoky, strangely comforting animalic scent, & from here slowly fades without developing further, finally leaving just a trace after twelve hours.
For me, the only potentially challenging part of this fragrance is the strong dose of cumin, which to some can smell like sweat. lt's quite possible that this isn't far from the way Edmond Dantes smelled after thirteen years in the Chateau d'lf. Otherwise l find it quite soothing & contemplative, & actually nowhere near as dirty as scents like Rien or L'Air de Rien. lt's interesting that so far all of the reviews here have been written by men; it is a quite masculine-leaning fragrance, but l don't see any reason why a woman couldn't wear this.
31st March, 2015

Lyric Woman by Amouage

The opening l can only describe as "perfumey", meaning that it smells like a very old-fashioned perfume in which the notes come at you all at once, & none of them can be directly perceived or appreciated. After a moment or two, there is a strong hit of cumin that dominates the other spices. Over the first hour, the spices settle & gradually the fragrance becomes more floral. When the rose arrives, though, it is almost smothered by a strangely fruity, powdery dustiness. lt's not sweet, but in fact almost savoury. As it progresses over the next few hours, l get moss, a little smoky incense, musk, & in the base a non-foody vanilla-tonka accord. The projection is moderate, & nine hours in it begins to fade.
l really wanted to love this one, but the drydown is just "ok" to me, & that opening very off-putting. lt's not the full-blown, wine-dark, red rose that l hoped for, & l guess l have to face up to never finding a rose that l love more than Une Rose.
31st March, 2015

Magnolia Grandiflora Michel by Grandiflora

l can say that this one definitely does not smell like magnolia. lt smells like jasmine & ylang ylang, with just a little rose filling out the background. For the first ninety minutes, it's an unexciting & rather generic floral, until the citrus note finally arrives. Later on there's a touch of green from the vetiver, & then at around the six hour mark it closely resembles its sister scent, Sandrine, as a similarly woody, citrussy white floral. There's more vanillic sweetness in the base of this one though, & it has similar lasting power at around ten hours, with somewhat less projection.
lf l had to choose between Michel & Sandrine, Sandrine would definitely win. lt gets into its stride much earlier, & doesn't try to fool one into thinking that jasmine smells like magnolia. Malle's Eau de Magnolia is far superior to both, though, because the wonderfully fresh, lemony floral accord lasts from beginning to end.
31st March, 2015

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine by Grandiflora

For me this one has a weird opening that l find hard to describe. lt's kind of vegetal, almost like iris, but more like steamed vegetables with a dash of vinegar. After a few minutes l get more condiments in the shape of salt & pepper, & at this stage, when sniffing from a distance, it reminds me of the marine-infused lily of Malle's Lys Mediterranee. Twenty minutes in, a zesty grapefruit note comes forth to dominate the fragrance for the next hour, before it all settles into a soft & woody white floral. From here it doesn't develop further, but projects moderately, & slowly fades over the course of ten hours.
Apart from that opening, this is a pretty & unexpectedly tenacious fragrance. l can't say whether it resembles a real magnolia grandiflora, but the heart smells close to how l'd imagine it to smell.
31st March, 2015

Eau de Magnolia by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

This opens with a bright, lemony-fresh floral accord not unlike Le Chevrefeuille by Annick Goutal. This one has a slightly sharper edge, though, due to the aldehydes. This effervescence lasts for a good hour, before settling into a heart of smooth, lightly mossy white woods underpinning the still-lemony floral notes. There is a green & crisp feel here, & l can see how it works as a cologne, but this cologne has a subtle backbone. Although after three hours it appears to go quiet, it is still very present & still going after six hours.
Sadly l have never smelled a real magnolia grandiflora, so l cannot compare this to the scent of the flower, but l think it would make a beautiful spring & early summer fragrance, & l suspect it would really bloom in the heat. lt reminds me a little of Wit by DelRae, a lemony floral based on the daphne flower. Where the lemony note only lasts around fifteen minutes in that one, however, in this one it lasts for the whole life of the fragrance. Very nice, & l look forward to using up my sample now that spring is here!
31st March, 2015

Gardénia by Robert Piguet

This one does have a true gardenia note, but it takes a little while to get there.
ln the beginning, it's a fresh white floral, citrussy with a quite sharp edge of green. l get a distinct whiff of lily of the valley, followed after a few minutes by the tropical touch of ylang ylang. From here it's slowly sweetened by vanilla, but the projection stays quite strong for a good three to four hours. At around this point, l smell something like latex or rubber rather than the listed leather note. The effect is subtle, however, not unpleasant, & it heralds at last the arrival of the rich, soft & creamy gardenia at the heart of this fragrance. This note lasts & lasts, still going beautifully after eleven hours.
l've become quite picky about gardenia fragrances; so many of them don't live up to their billing, & turn out to be mainly jasmine and/or tuberose. This one appeared at first to be another of those, but l'm so glad l waited for the drydown, because when it arrives, this gardenia is one of the loveliest l've encountered!
30th March, 2015

Sotto la Luna : Gardenia by Tauer

First off, l have to report that this is not a true gardenia to my nose, & truth be told l wasn't really expecting one.
ln the opening phase, l get an accord of green jasmine & tuberose. After half an hour, this settles into a creamy white floral, sweetened with a touch of vanilla. Then something interesting happens; l get a distinct whiff of rice pudding. This is, however, completely devoid of cloying sweetness or stodge; it's more of a light-as-air dessert with the flavour of rice pudding, & the floral notes still hover in the background. From here the whole thing fades, becoming very soft at the three-hour mark, & barely there after nine hours. l don't really get a base to speak of, except for maybe some sandalwood.
l rather enjoyed the middle phase of this one, but was a little disappointed that it didn't really develop on my skin, surprising for a Tauer fragrance. lt is nice though, & l'll try my sample again when the weather hots up, to see if it behaves differently then.
30th March, 2015

Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez

The opening is fresh, crisp & green with no sharpness or stridency, with a clean & very modern gardenia. The gardenia becomes creamier in the heart, not unlike VC&A's Gardenia Petale, & there's a little vetiver there, too.
lt's rare in my experience to find such an authentic-smelling gardenia among designer offerings, & this one has a discreet sillage unlikely to offend those who are nervous of most Big White Flower perfumes. l think it's quite beautiful, & l have to add that the bottle is very tasteful & attractive, too.
30th March, 2015