Perfume Reviews

Reviews by firehorse


Rose Noir by Byredo

Open an old ceder sweater chest that's been heating up over the years in the attic. In the chest are once laundered sweaters, and old books that once got wet but are now dried to the point where the pages break apart. Inside the book are faded old pressed roses. Take a deep breath -- and this is what to expect from Byredo's Rose Noir.

The overall effect is a very light dry rose, slight bilge accord which I associate with other Byredo concoctions, and laundry (musk). Sillage is low, fragrance is linear and minimal in structure.

It's pleasant, unoffensive, and utterly unremarkable. It's too tame to have the word "Noire" in its name - and not enough rose to warrant rose in its name. If you are used to the noire of Czech and Speake 88 this will come across feeling pedestrian. If you like the lush and deep meatiness of Lyric woman, this will feel like the equivelent of re-using a tea bag 10 times over. If you are a rose lover and need realistic rose, or expect a rich deep complexity of either of Serge Lutens offerings, -- this no doubt will a disappointment.

I gave this a neutral because its pleasant enough and not awful. For the price though, this fragrance should have an identity that distinguishes itself from the competition.
19th January, 2012

Fan di Fendi by Fendi

Synthetic dry leather fruity floral that dries down to a generic boring vanilla.

The bottle is the best thing about it. The juice is a safe pleasant non offensive fragrance - perfect for the office or riding the subway.

It would be a safe gift for someone not that into fragrance but just needs something to wear and not have to think about it. It's not horrible, but kind of forgettable.
11th November, 2011

Calypso Marine by Calypso Christiane Celle

Thumbs down, -- aquatic painful mess. Based on what I'm experiencing, compared to other reviewers, I'm wondering if what I ordered has gone bad as it was onsale at TPC.

As a female who likes unisex fragrances, I can attest that this is my least favorite marine scent I've tried so far on my exploration of sampling ocean/marine scents. It blasts on with an aggressive harsh synthetic peppery floral mixed with some salt and ozone but the floral and the salty ozone seem disjointed and not blended well. For a good 15 minutes it hurts the back of throat, followed by a headache.

If you are looking for the calm and serenity of beach, this is not it. If you want to gargle with thistles, pepper and synthetic ozone, then this is your beast.

On the positive side, it gets a little bit more tolerable after 20 minutes as the initial harsh beginning fades into the backdrop, and its ocean accord takes center stage. At this point I can totally understand why some men like this as it dries down to a peppery aquatic sports fragrance. But there is still nothing remarkable about it, and it smells cheap and generic. At the 2 hour point it is almost gone. I can not recommend this fragrance.

For a much, much better (slightly fem) marine scent I recommend this: Profumi di Firenze: Brezza di Mare. It's leagues above Calypso's Marine.

And for a realistic salty marine fragrance, I recommend Heeley's very unisex Sel Marin, and Profumum Aqua di Sale over this.
04th April, 2011
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Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

amber, butter, powdery vanilla drydown

Wanted to love it, but it was just OK. Its a comfortable, respectable, and unchallenging smooth amber fragrance and I can see why its a classic favorite.

So far in my exploration of this note there are 3 other fragrances I prefer over this because they are more bumped up with spice or something medicinal added to it. Worth testing though for historical value, and I'm glad I did.

I give it a 3 stars because there is a distinct "butter" smell I get from this, and I don't mean: "buttery" as in creamy. Maybe what is butter to my nose is "play doe" to another poster below this.

That and the powder vanilla drydown is why its a neutral rating for me as I'm not a vanilla fan.
04th April, 2011

Forêt de Bécharré by Nez à Nez

Just OK. Light candied synthetic forest, kind of soapy.

This would be a good scent for a little kid.
24th March, 2011

L'Ether by Iunx

L'Ether by Olivia Giacobetti is a wonderful fragrance. It smells very, very similar to another Giacobetti fragrance: Passage d'enfer. Which is kind of weird because the notes are different.

I'm wearing them both right now to compare, but I'd give 5 stars to L'Ether and 4 stars to Passage d'Enfer. L'Ether wears close to the skin, it starts out with a burst of sandlewood but very quickly the myrrh steps in with the rosewood. It's a light woody scent, that some people might think is too light for them, but for me its a perfect for everyday and I wish I could get a big bottle of this.

L'Ether is almost impossible to get as there are no stores in the states selling it, but I got a sample from TPC and fell in love, and then I got lucky and found a 20 ml on e-bay. Because I could blow through the 20 ml in a month, I ended up buying Passage d'Enfer to wear as a 2nd choice substitute but I'm not as happy with the musk part of it.
22nd March, 2011

Vanille Intense by Nicolaï

I was really looking forward to trying this after reading the notes. Unfortunately on me this was a very light powdery cinnamon scent. The vanilla is there sitting on the side and something about it for me is metallic, flat and sickly the way bathroom sprays are. There is a bit of woods in there which saves it from a total disaster, but its more like an afterthought thrown in at the last second. The only thing intense about this, is the queasiness the fragrance invokes, and the compulsion to scrub it off. I've tried sampling this about 5 times, and it just gets worse.

For the last couple weeks I've been sampling other sweet woody fragrances and other vanillas to compare while searching for something to fill the void of my craving - of either a sweet woody fragrance or a deep and rich Vanilla. I started my vanilla search with SDV, a couple Montale's, M. Micallef's, Diptyches's Eau Duelle, and Le Labo's Vanilla.

After sampling those, this fragrance just falls flat by comparison.

For instance M. Micallef's Gaiac is deeper, richer, more mysterious.... even spiritual .... and much, much more satisfying. Both can be compared in that they are anchored to a similar clove and cinnamon base but the Gaiac is so much better in that it has the power to convert a clove hater into a true devotee, as it draws the wearer deeper into bliss with every wearing.

If you are looking for a deeply rich and sensuous vanilla, this is not it, look elsewhere.
20th March, 2011

Indu Kush / Hindu Kush by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Soothing, spiritual and uplifting.

My favorite fragrances have resinous woods and incense, and I'm loving this. 5 stars, full bottle worthy.

Others here are better at describing the notes as I'm new so I'll just comment experience wearing this - because wearing this is: an experience. It's the kind of scent I reach for when I'm in meditative or contemplative mood, or for when I want to feel calm and grounded. I have a little collection of calming resinous scents and this so far is my favorite go to of the bunch.

I've sample about 10 from this "house" and this and Hindu Kush so far are my favorite.
14th March, 2011 (last edited: 07th September, 2011)

Brezza di Mare by I Profumi di Firenze

4 stars

Vacation marine scent on a summer day... not a manly "deadliest catch" sailor on the rough seas kind of scent.

Starts off with a touch of watermelon, and within 10 minutes it changes a lot. Some "melon" scents can be annoying, this is not. After the watermelon a salty marine scent comes takes over. And then within 10 minutes, it dries down to fuzzy and soft and slightly sweet mixing with a ocean and bergamot.

I like it. Very unisex, but perhaps leaning on the feminine side. It doesn't have sharp synthetic edges like some other ocean scents. I'd maybe buy a bottle of this after my bottle of Le Labo's Neroli runs out -- In terms of wardrobe, I file them in the same aquatic slot.

I recommend this to someone looking for a well made and relaxing, summer marine scent. It's also not that expensive.
14th March, 2011 (last edited: 04th April, 2011)

Gaïac by Martine Micallef

I'm on a mission to find an alternative to Le Labo's Gaiac 10, so I tried this. The Le Labo Gaiac is more minimal, austere and a bit drier, exactly what I'm after, but do to its annoying exclusivity, I have to enjoy my small sample instead.

The M Micallef Gaiac is completely different, IMO not even similar enough to compare the two, but I put the comparision in here, in case there are people like me wanting to distinguish the difference between two fragrances both named after Gaiac.

The M Micallef version is a very good soft and sweet woody scent that gets more captivating each time I wear it. It's calming, rich and well blended, and I look forward to sampling other scents from this line. Very unisex, not too sweet, just right .

My only complaint is that for a good one hour its too clove heavy for my tastes, and thats the only reason I rate it a 3.5 instead of 4.0. (At first I rated this a neutral, but changed it to thumbs up.) Clove lovers should really give this a try. After the clove fades away, it is replaced by a smokiness, and at this point this is when I love this fragrance. It becomes sweet, but not too sweet, a little bit resinous and smokey. It's a snuggle worthy fragrance that my boyfriend should wear.

Added bonus: sniffing it all day has calmed and soothed my nerves. I might have to get a bottle of this.

06th March, 2011

Encens Flamboyant by Annick Goutal

Incense light.

Starts off with a blast of cigerette smoke but quickly settles into a dry, but bright, light incense. As mentioned below, there is a bit of rubber and spice. About an hour into it, the rubber, spice and cigerettes give way to a slightly sweet comforting wood. 3 hours later its almost gone.

I've tried a few other incense fragrances that are more popular, but this was the only one that as a woman felt right for me, not too butch, full bottle worthy. Agree with others that its minimal, I'd call it l'eau d'encens.

If you are curious about incense fragrances, but don't want to smell too much like a church or don't want to go full throttle, try this one. It's really nice, easy to wear.

04th March, 2011

Fleur d'Oranger 27 by Le Labo

Summer in a bottle. Sweet, thirst quenching citrus floral.

I absolutely hated this the first time I tried it. It was so sickly sweet to my nose that I had to scrub it off. Even my neighbor's kid said it stunk. There was something about it that reminded me of the sweetness smell in vomit. I hated it that much.

Then I received it as a gift, relunctantly gave it more tries and surprise !! it really grew on me. It's now become one of my favorites. I wear it often, especially on those kind of dreary freezing winter days when its easy to lose faith that summer will come. It's the crutch that has gotten me through the 2nd sloppiest snowfall in NYC history.

If you are expecting a cologne type of orange citrus fragrance, or a bitter orange, you might get disappointed because this is quite sweet. People who like gourmands and are looking for a citrusy floral should give this a try.
04th March, 2011

Neroli 36 by Le Labo

Sometimes this is a thumbs up, sometimes a neutral.

I enjoy it best when its raining out. Seems to harmonize well with rain in that it also smells like wet sidewalk, a bit of soap, and salt water/ocean.

People who like clean marine scents or get happy associations with the smell of wet sidewalks should give it a try. People looking for Neroli might get disappointed.
04th March, 2011
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Eau d'Elide by Diptyque

It starts off with a blast of bitter orange. ...

Then it settles down into: cupcake

It's a little weird in that it has a doughy quality to it. I found it comforting.
14th February, 2011

Matsuri by Annayaké

Trying this was a strange quick ride.

On first impact, I was blasted by a really strong smell - reminding me of floral bathroom sprays of the 70's after grandma left (god bless her.) It came on strong, sweet and sickly. I got no woods and very little spice like I was expecting.

In 15 minutes, 2/3 of the retro sweetness falls away to a lighter and more tolerable sweet floral with maybe some tea? Some people might like it at this point - and I would have liked it more if the sweetness was replaced with spice.

In a half hour most of it is gone entirely and I have to put my nose directly onto my wrist to smell anything at all -- and what's left to my nose is a very, very light (rosey?) floral combined with something clean and aquatic, -- its almost invisible.

Someone who likes spicier woodsier scents might be disappointed with this. But someone who likes floral soapy scents might appreciate the end of the ride if they can tolerate the first 20 minutes.

09th January, 2011

Mandarine Mandarin by Serge Lutens

This one is interesting and its growing on me, I find myself thinking about it later. On first wearing I gave it a 2.5. now I'd rate it a 3.8.

When I first tried it, I dismissed it because I was on a crusade of finding the perfect light, thirst quenching, citrusy scent to brighten up cabin fever in winter.

If I had to describe this I'd say its a slow moving 40 pound caramel scent, with a plate of spicey orange rind simmering on the side. It's worn as a winter coat and not as a summer blouse.

If you like Diptyque's L'eau de Tarocco, I'd give this a try. Where Tarocco is sharp and spicy and lighter this is its brooding and heavier next door neighbor. Could be worn by a man or woman.
08th January, 2011

Gaiac 10 by Le Labo

I managed to score a sample of this from the NYC store.

This woody fragrance is somehow watery and dry at the same time. It's sweet, powdery ceder with a tiny bit of pepper to my nose. It's very quiet and kind of fragile, and I have to bring my nose to my wrist to smell it, yet it lasts on my skin for a long time.

I absolutely love it - 5 stars, have been obsessing on it for over 3 months now and want a full bottle of this.
26th December, 2010 (last edited: 07th March, 2011)

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

I ordered it from their website about 3 weeks ago after reading reviews and sampling it first.

I'm new to fragrances so I don't have the descriptive language down, but I can say this: its a fairly tame and comforting scent. I read other reviews from perfume blogs that made it sound all witchy and strange and exotic in a foresty way, - yet I get none of that.

To my untrained nose, I get a light woodsy marshmellow smell with slight pepper thing going on that all together is kind of powdery.

ETA: I've been wearing it often over the past month and a half and it has an interesting way of growing stronger throughout the day. It starts off comforting and kind of quiet, and a few hours later its grown stronger and louder. Lasts about 18 hours.
14th December, 2010 (last edited: 04th March, 2011)

Lime, Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone

I bought it for me, but ended up passing it on to my bf. Too manly for me. It's ok, seems good for a man's office scent.
14th December, 2010

Gin Fizz by Lubin

The first couple minutes is great, I was ready to smack down my credit card and get it. It seemed happiness in a bottle.

But impulse control thankfully set in, and I got a sample and tried it. After sampling it a few times I got disappointed. The drydown is shampoo for me and its not long lasting.

I think the only way to enjoy it, is to buy a jug and spray it on every few minutes. But who can afford that.
14th December, 2010

Incense Rosé by Tauer

As a relative newbie, I liked this a lot when I first sampled it. It has the same incense Tauer-esque thing that I like in Orange star.

But over time, and as I sampled other rose fragrances (such as Amouage's Lyric woman) this dropped down to a neutral rating. There are so many better incense fragrances and better incense rose fragrances. Fun to sample as I love quite a few AT fragrances, but not full bottle worthy.

Not bad, but not great.
28th October, 2010 (last edited: 04th April, 2011)