Perfume Reviews

Reviews by teardrop

Total Reviews: 635

Ostara by Penhaligon's

A burst of sunshine tinged with green; that's my impression of this one for most of its duration. There's so much in here: sticky buds, tart fruit, citrus juice & petals, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, & I enjoy it more sniffed from a distance than closely analysed. It's slightly sharp, leafy, fruity & floral all at the same time, & doesn't change much in the drydown, except for the addition of woods after an hour or so. There's also an added sweetness to the floral notes later on, when the bitter edge dies down. The projection is low, & seven hours in it's almost gone.
After blind-buying this & wearing it several times, I'm still not convinced that it's for me, as green notes aren't really my thing. There is something compelling about it though, & if you're looking for a bracing green floral for spring, this might be perfect for you. But get it quick as it's already being heavily discounted, & showing signs of being discontinued.
01st June, 2016

Freak by Illamasqua

A fleshy, slightly savoury floriental, with oodles of tropical fruit & rotting jungle vegetation. The datura is there adding a little creaminess, & there's a faint hint of oud. I'm making it sound more interesting than it is, though. Like many of the reviewers, from reading the notes I expected an awesomely dark, gothic floral, but this is actually rather tame, very quiet, lacking in development & pretty much gone after four hours.
01st June, 2016

Bulletproof No. 45 by Tokyo Milk

I haven't seen anyone else mention this, but this one reminds me so strongly of Lutens' Chergui that it's crazy! I don't get any of the listed tea or coconut notes; instead I get Chergui's sweetly honeyed hay & cherry pipe tobacco, layered over a base of warm, milky woods, with the lightest whiff of smoke. It's softer than Chergui, & settles very close to the skin after two hours, but it's so reasonably priced that I'd be happy to reapply as needed.
I think it's gorgeous, & I understand it also comes in the form of a soap & a moisturiser. There may well be a bottle of this in my future!
01st June, 2016
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Fleur de Liane by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A humid, green aquatic with a leafy note akin to papyrus. I've never been to the jungle, but this does conjure up images of steaming, tropical vegetation, rather than being the calone-heavy, marine type of aquatic. There's a touch of creamy magnolia for the first hour, & then it slowly dries down to a green-woody base. Lush & diffusive in the beginning, it fades very close to the skin four hours in, & there's a whiff of oakmoss to round it off.
This one isn't really my style, being rather too green for my tastes, but I think it would work well on a hot, humid day, & is far more pleasant than the swamp monster that is Cacharel's Eden.
01st June, 2016

Caligna by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The herbal, piney scent of a Mediterranean hillside, with fig & a touch of citrus. The "jasmine marmalade accord" lends it a golden intensity, without making it obviously floral, & I think it's easily unisex. It has a similar feel to Goutal's Eau du Sud, although this one is greener, a little darker, & less citrussy. It also reminds me of Sisley's underrated Eau d'Ikar, almost certainly because of the mastic note. Two hours in, it softens considerably, & after five hours it's barely there, but this is another one that I'd happily reapply.
I think it would be wonderful in summer, & if I didn't already own a bottle of Eau du Sud, I might consider purchasing this one.
01st June, 2016

La Chasse Aux Papillons by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is a soft & pretty white floral with orange blossom, a muted tuberose & a touch of green from linden. It stays close to the skin, but gives off lovely little wafts. As it dries down, it smells by turns soapy, creamy, beachy & sweet. Five hours in it's almost gone, but I think it's delightful, & am happy to reapply; the matching body lotion that came with my bottle helps to give it more heft.
01st June, 2016

L'Ete en Douce / Extrait de Songes by L'Artisan Parfumeur

For me this one smells primarily of lilac, although most of the reviews describe it as linden. I've smelled linden in perfumes before, notably in Tauer's Zeta & DelRae's Debut, but those smelled much more sharply green than this. This is soft, pretty & almost creamy at times, with just a vague hint of sugared almonds. I do get the much-mentioned feel of freshly-washed laundry though, & although that might be a deal-breaker for many, for me this makes it a perfect go-to work scent for a lovely spring day. It's linear, but the projection & longevity are excellent on me.
01st June, 2016

Violets & Rainwater by Soivohle (Liz Zorn)

In the vial I smell violets, but on skin, sadly I don't get them at all. The first twenty minutes is dominated by a sharp patchouli, with an almost creosote-like feel. After this, the patchouli softens & is joined by an aquatic note. Two hours in, there's a faint sweetness, but still no florals, & another hour later all I smell is laundry musk. Six hours in it's pretty much gone.
This is not the intoxicating scent of Parma violets & wet earth after a rain shower that I was hoping for, & the projection & longevity are abysmal. Very disappointing.
01st June, 2016

M2 Black March by CB I Hate Perfume

In the vial, the smell conjures a vivid image of dark, soaking-wet soil along with jonquil or narcissus. On skin, it's less vivid, but still incredibly evocative to someone like me who loves gardening, especially during those early spring days after being cooped up all winter. One hour in it warms slightly, & the floral notes become more prominent, but otherwise this is a linear fragrance, & that earthy accord remains all the way through. The projection is low, & the texture of this "water perfume" is oddly oily, but it lasts well.
Comparing this with Demeter's Dirt, I'd say this one is similar, but wetter in feel. Whereas in Dirt the soil is enjoying the first drops of rain after a long dry spell, here the soil has been deeply soaked over the course of a cold, wet winter, & is only just beginning to warm with the spring. Both are brilliant, & recommended if you crave that earthy, outdoor smell we gardeners love.
31st May, 2016

Perfume Calligraphy Rose by Aramis

A sweet, jammy, Turkish Delight of a rose, this smells very much like Lush's cult limited edition Rose Jam shower gel, laid over an ambery, woody base. I get this effect much more clearly by sniffing my arm from a foot or more away, though. Sniffing up close, for the first three hours, I get a kind of "off" note; perhaps this is the saffron and/or the myrrh, as I'm still not sure what these smell like. After this, it softens into a fuzzy, musky rose, & six hours in I get a little incense in the base. Eight hours in it's still going as a skin scent.
All in all, very nice, if not hugely long-lasting, & if you love Rose Jam, you have to try this.
31st May, 2016

Tihota by Indult

In the beginning, this is pure vanilla extract on me, & three sprays on my arm gives it a powerful projection, which lasts all day. Sniffed up close, during the first few minutes I get a strange, very faint vinegary note, although this quickly disappears. What follows is a smooth, creamy, very natural-smelling vanilla; nothing artificially sweet or saccharine here. I don't smell the musk, but I do get a lightly toasted tonka bean. Kafkaesque describes this as like a buttery, eggy cake batter, & I have to agree. This makes it sound cloyingly sweet, but really it is not. It's still detectable an outstanding eighteen hours after application.
Part of me thinks that this is really too simple & linear to be worth the price or the rave reviews. On the other hand, it really is a wonderful vanilla of great quality, & I doubt it would be easy to find one this good on the cheap. If you love pure vanilla, this may well be your Holy Grail; sampling it should at least be mandatory.
31st May, 2016

Mohur by Neela Vermeire

A delicate, milky, almondy, slightly vegetal rose, with a whisper of violet, this is a very pretty fragrance. If it were a colour it would be the pale pink of sugared almonds. Two hours in, the rose is sweeter & almost edible, like a rose-scented sugar icing. Another three hours later, it has more of a fruity, jammy quality, before sinking into a warm & smooth vanilla base, & fading to a skin scent. Twelve hours in it's just detectable.
Considering the lengthy notes list for this one, it comes off as quite a sweet & simple fragrance, but its subtle delicacy prevents it from straying into cloyingly sweet territory. Nice, if possibly a little too subtle for my taste.
31st May, 2016

Trayee by Neela Vermeire

This opens spicy with ginger, elemi, clove & cardamom, but there's a strange coolness here. As the initial phase progresses, there's incense & oud, which gives it that "band-aid" vibe when sniffed up close, & lends a masculine feel. One hour in, these notes are joined by creamy sandalwood, & then a slight fruitiness, but not sweetness. I don't get the listed "ganja effects", which disappoints me as I've never smelled this in a fragrance. After three hours, the spicy notes fade & the base of amber & oakmoss kicks in. There is something in this final phase that I smell in both Une Rose & Un Matin d'Orage, that I've never been able to identify, & these are three completely different fragrances, with very different notes lists. Ten hours in I detect the ghostly presence of the spices again, just as it's fading.
An interesting & quite complex fragrance, this isn't really my style, although I did enjoy the excellent quality of the sandalwood in this one. And after the first three hours, the lack of any further development means that for me, it's just not interesting enough for the price.
31st May, 2016
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La Fumée / La Fumée Classic by Miller Harris

Incense with a touch of dry herbs, smoke, & the subtle sweetness of amber way in the background. After a couple of hours I get something softly leathery & animalic, but otherwise this is a linear fragrance on me, fading out after around ten hours.
This puts me in mind of a softer, quieter, more smooth-edged version of Goutal's Encens Flamboyant. Very nice, but since I own a bottle of the Goutal, I won't be needing to buy.
31st May, 2016

Angélique by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

A delightful spring fragrance which, after several wearings, has really grown on me. A crisp initial phase, consisting mostly of iris & mimosa with a little cedar, gives way after thirty minutes or so to a milky, lactonic accord that reminds me of fig, although this note isn't listed. A couple of hours further in, the creamy white champaca flower takes over, & from here the fragrance slowly fades. The projection is low to moderate, very close to the skin after seven hours, but detectable after twelve.
This one is very different from the rest of the line. It doesn't come over as an impenetrable wall of scent like the others, it's much lighter in mood, more textured, & I would say it leans much more feminine. The trait that they all share, at least for me, is a certain lack of development once the mid phase is reached.
In terms of scent though, Angelique is by far my favourite of the four, & I wouldn't say no to a decant of this one.
31st May, 2016

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

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

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