Reviews by blueyezz

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Oud by Maison Francis Kurkdjian


Not worth the price tag (for me, anyway) but its beautiful. Refined, warm, sensual but without the skank, its probably "signature worthy" if the price wasn't prohibitive. It doesn't seem to last very long, however. About 3 hours, max, before turning into a gentle skin scent, which is lovely in itself.

Pros: it smells really good
Cons: Price!"

01st September, 2013
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Black Afgano by Nasomatto

Well, its OK

Wondering around Liberty, when I should be working and not trying fragrances, I was drawn to the perfume hall.

There was the shelf of Nasomatto frags. As a brand, I've always been a bit reticent to give them a go. I don't like the bottles. In the same way that I find CdG rather art school and Tom Ford too vulgar-luxe, I've decided, in my mad little brain, to associate Nasomatto with annoyingly designed bottles, leading to prejudices about style over content. Why these things are important to me is open to conjecture - possibly because I'm old and grumpy.

So anyway, intrigued by the name and colour of this juice, I sprayed some on.

I quite like it but there is something in the drydown, some berry, ribena-like note that I find disappointing. I would prefer it to be darker, more gothic, dirtier, more oud. The edge of the oud is too rounded off by the fruity tang and it brings the whole construction down a notch.

Now I'm quite pleased, really, as its super spendy and I still don't like the bottle.

Pros: Dark and strong
Cons: Could smell nice - particularly at that price"

19th August, 2013
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Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d'Orange

More an experiment than a perfume

As an exercise in a trying to transform a concept into an odour that can be tried and sampled, its interesting and partially successful. But as a fragrance to be worn and enjoyed its totally unsuccessful to my nose. These days I try to evaluate if a fragrance is "good" as well as determining if I personally like it. And I think its a "No" on both counts.

Its sour milk, slightly metallic edge isn't particularly interesting and a long way from challenging. My feeling is that, if you ignore the hyperbole and reputation, its simply meh - not particularly anything other than a fragrance thats not that "nice".

I was slightly put off by the retail environment, the new ELdO boutique in Shoreditch. It featured a large Tom of Finland book, perched on the unit in the middle of the shop, as well as a couple of S&M accoutrement, as if to hammer the edgy point home. It all felt a wee bit puerile and dated, bringing back the Madonna Sex book era.

I've sat on the fence with the stars rating as its important that perfumers - and the people that wear them - take these risks.

Pros: I'm pleased perfumers are taking these sorts of risks
Cons: As a fragrance, it simply isn't that good

05th July, 2013
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Leather Oud by Christian Dior


Maybe its just me but I can't help feeling that this is like draft that somehow managed to slip past the price-justification Monitor. Should be all the things I like, smoke, wood, leather, oud, but somehow it just goes flat as a pancake on me. Where's the development, complexity or in the absence of this, obviously good quality ingredients? This smells like I've rubbed a bar of Imperial Leather soap on my wrist. While I've never been a fan of monster sillage (I'm looking at you, Kouros) projection is non-existant to the point of pointless.

Others clearly love it, so maybe it it just me.

Pros: Nice bottle
Cons: Just not up to scratch

03rd June, 2013
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Tribute Attar by Amouage

Sexy, buttery, easily wearable anytime anywhere. Its truly wonderful. Its got all the notes I love, rose, tobacco, incense, leather, vetiver and delivers it so masterfully blended its hard to work out were one note ends and another beings.

I've decided not to buy it though. I already have Cuir de Russe extrait and CdG Avignon and these two together sort of tick all the boxes in two fragrances that Tribute does in one. Plus I have a couple of rose soliflores (including Mukhallat Al Emirates) that keep me happy on that front.

In that context, I simply can't justify the eye-watering price. If money were no object, I'd have snapped it up.

If you love Cuir de Russe extrait but find it a bit too floral or feminine, this is like a more masculine equivalent.
12th May, 2013
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Lumière Noire pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Beautiful - really beautiful. But there in lies in problem. Rather like a too good looking person, there is nothing to catch my interest, no sharp angles or imperfections.

Its the polar opposite of wabi sabi, too perfect, inhuman, and I could never imagine a circumstance where it would be appropriate for me to wear it. I feel it was not made for someone like me. Better suited to the hero of a Barbara Cartland novel.

It has two of my favourite notes - rose and cumin. They are blended so well its hard to work out where the rose ends and the cumin begins.

I prefer my fragrances to grunt and sweat just a little, have some angles and edges.

I can understand why people love it though.

I'll stick to Une Rose for rose and Eau d'Hermes for cumin.
06th May, 2013
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parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Kyoto by Comme des Garçons

Wonderful. A far less literal interpretation of incense than Avignon, more radiant and uplifting. Whilst many incenses seem to go down the dusty church and ecclesiastical route, this one showcases the resinous sharpness redolent of a pine forest.

On a par with the exemplary Jubilation XXV.
08th September, 2011
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Cuir by Lancôme

Wonderful leathery opening, drying down to a polite woody oriental. The reviewer who said the drydown was like a Shalimar pour Homme is dead on.

My first blind buy and I'm slightly disappointed. I was hoping - rather stupidly - for something as animalic and plush as Cuir de Russie and its certainly not that. However, its less than quarter of the price so daily application won't cause me the emotional and spiritual pain I feel when I dab on the Chanel extrait.

I'm giving it a thumbs up. It only just achieves this (a 7.5 out of 10). I hope to enjoy it more on successive wearings.

08th September, 2011
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Eau d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

As already stated by many below, a very citrus lemon smell in the top, heart and middle notes that is clean and uncomplicated. I find myself wishing for a muskiness to give it some spine or bite.

Its a shame there isn't more going on but its ultimately a one-trick pony. In my opinion Eau Savage is a far better example of its type.

Pleasant but hardly exciting. I can imagine wearing it to an job interview.
06th September, 2011
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Coromandel by Chanel

This has that gourmand-y sweetness going on that I just don't get on with. The spices are barely evident on my skin, with my least favourite perfume aroma, vanilla, taking centre stage. The patch is a supporting player to my nose. I wish it were stronger.

Try as I might, I just don't like it very much but I'm giving it a neutral as its clearly a good example of its type.
06th September, 2011
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Jubilation XXV by Amouage

Fantastic - an accessible but artful incense made with top-notch ingredients.

Not as literal as Avignon and manages an almost citrus lightness not obtained by any other incense I've tried. This lends it a radiance, rather than the dusty, churchy heaviness of other fragrances in this genre. Don't get me wring, I love that ecclesiastical vibe but its good to find a fragrance that manages to subvert the obvious and create something different.

Good longevity, moderate sillage.

Its expensive, comes in a hell of an ugly bottle and right now I can't justify buying it. But I will.
02nd September, 2011
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Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé by Hermès

I really really don't like this one. Tooth achingly sweet, it starts off with that burnt caramel and marzipan notes and dries down into something that smells to me like vanilla essence. Obviously expensive materials, made to smell cheap.

I've decided to give up on the gourmand genre. Anything sweeter/more edible than Musc Ravageur is repellent to me.
02nd September, 2011
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Azurée by Estée Lauder

Strange - this is Bel Ami that dries down to Bandit. I don't like Bel Ami and Bandit does Bandit better than Azuree.

The leather note here - and the one shared with Bandit - smells more like leatherette, as in a plastic or vinyl simulacrum of leather. This note is better supported in Bandits green, bitter and edgy structure. Here it smells more chemical than I'd like.

Its OK, reasonably priced, smells like it could be made by a niche house, and is better than just about any aquatic you care to mention. But then, smelling of nothing at all is infinitely is better than smelling of them.

I'm pleased I've tried it, but don't feel the need to buy it.
29th August, 2011 (last edited: 05th September, 2011)
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Bois des Îles by Chanel

A thing of great beauty. The praise heaped upon this fragrance by BNers is truly justified. Along with CdR, this is what perfumery should be about. Together, they define a standard, or benchmark, that all students of perfumery should study and aim to reach. That way we could reverse the trend for mediocrity and lowest-common-denominator dross that so often passes for perfume these days.
29th August, 2011
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Rocabar by Hermès

Very "perfumey" - and normally I have no problem with that, but this doesn't work for me. II find it cloying and the vanilla in the drydown unpleasant.

That said, I could imagine a suave man or woman in their 50s/60s really pulling this off. Old world sophisticated but too powdery and sweet for my tastes.
29th August, 2011
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Cuir de Russie by Chanel

I’ve got the 15ml parfum along with a tester of the EDT.

CdR smells equestrian to me - elite, decadent, burled wood, artisanal saddles socked with sweat, manure. All in a paddock surrounded by flowers. Magnificent. I bet Hermes wished they’d made this.

The parfum is richer, more heady, it amps up the old-world eroticism by walking the fine line between refinement and brutality. The edt is more aldehylic, thinner, more modern and immediate. Still great though.

Suitable for men and women. Ideally the wearer will be aquiline, haughty, probably loaded, possibily slightly cruel. I’m none of those things, but I love it and I’m going to wear it. It doesn't really "fit" my lifestyle - I'm too ordinary, but this is the stuff of dreams, and I when I wear it I dream about The Ballet Russes, polished samovars and dangerous Cossacks with leather riding boots.

Wears very close to the skin and doesn't last long, so a VERY expensive luxury. I don't regret it at all. I was going to get Bandit. This is twice the price but I enjoy it twice as much.
11th July, 2011 (last edited: 18th July, 2011)
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Bandit by Robert Piguet

Intense citrus and greener than green top notes, then a violet floral heart. I was waiting for the leather basenote....and waiting. Nothing. What a shame.

My skin chemistry seems to eliminate leather notes, leaving the supporting, less interesting accords behind. This only seems to happen if the leather is in the drydown. I'm allowed brief moments of leathery pleasure in Chanel's CdR and Dzing! as the leather makes a welcome appearance from the get go. But they to they disappear on me in the drydown, leaving either a rather dull floral or simply nothing.

EDIT: OK, I'm revising my review from neutral to a thumbs up. I've got over the fact that I struggle to find the leather. This stuff is greeeeeeeen on me in a rather sharp and bitter way. Its also a sillage monster, so I go easy on that trigger.

What perplexes me is the seemingly numerous formulations of this stuff. I can only get the EdP here in London which smells good. Am I right in thinking there is more than one formulation of the EdP? Are the EdT and pure parfum very different?

Anyway, the EdP I've tried is excellent.
15th May, 2011 (last edited: 06th August, 2011)
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Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

Citrus, cumin, leather - a perfect mix. The leather isn't the ripe barnyard accord of CdR or Dzing! (which I also love) but rather the smell of old leather chairs in traditional but upmarket barbers, with an undercurrent of Brylcream and sweat.

Rather wish I hadn't read Turins "monogrammed slippers" description as I now find it hard to shake that association. Still, a favourite that I'll always have in my collection.
15th May, 2011
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Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

Maybe I don't get it - it just smells like cinders that have been doused in chemicals.

Its rare that I find a fragrance so disagreeable, but this is truly hideous.
15th May, 2011
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Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

Starts off well, with similar but milder, less complex notes than MKK. The drydown fades into something vaguely reminiscent of the stuff they use to clean urinals. Maybe my skin chemistry.

Shame as this is reasonably priced and readily available.
15th May, 2011
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Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Simply stunning.

Initally I get red rose in its entirety with roots, thorns and fecund earth. This is no English Country garden, rather somewhere wild and untamed. The truffle accord adds musky depth making this suitable for men and women

With the wine dregs accord comes a geranium astringency. This beautifully counterbalances the lush, plush top notes.

The drydown is all about the musks. The rose is still there, winey rich and starting to decay and, amazingly, smelling better and better – the same way vegetables like tomatoes or mushrooms taste at their best just before they go “off”.

Nothing twee or sweet here, instead an uncompromising and challenging rose. I love it.
07th January, 2011 (last edited: 08th January, 2011)
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Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain

A fragrance in three distinct phases.

Initially a citrusy eau de cologne with old-world sophistication as the civet throbs below the surface.

The top notes evaporate, the citrus retreats into the background and the civet takes centre stage. Here its “noble rot” pungent, sweet and slightly decayed. This is the challenging heart of MdM and it can be difficult to match to modern life. An almost fecal sweetness, emphasized by the vanilla and lavender long distances it from anything modern. Its not edgy or sexual, its refined and urbane, with top hat and tails, and a fragranced handkerchief. Enchanté.

Finally the civet dries down and the scent deconstructs itself into elements of lavender and vanilla.

Yes, the fragrance of the Belle Epoque, wonderfully rendered, probably wafting from a carriage hand-tooled by Hermés.

I liked it enough to pony up the cash. Actually, I must really like it as Guerlian is owned by LVMH and I try to avoid buying anything LVMH.

Very nice Bee bottle too.
04th January, 2011 (last edited: 08th January, 2011)
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Yatagan by Caron

I wanted to like it and I hate to be a naysayer, but I just don’t get on with this. It must be my chemistry playing tricks but all I get top, middle and bottom is celery. Not a fresh, green and crisp celery but something unpalatable and dank with an oily synthetic bitterness.

The barely-there wood and leather base doesn’t redeem it for me.

I’ve only ever tried this in Fortnam and Masons Fragrance Hall, which is a bit of a mecca for hard-to-find fragrances. I normally test it in conjunction with others so maybe I’m not giving this a fair go but there are so many other fragrances to try I think I’ll move on and leave it to the many who clearly love it.

03rd January, 2011 (last edited: 20th May, 2011)
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Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez

Good heavens - this really is a skank monster. A Libertines damp underwear, which is apt as the name and bottle evoke decadence of the powdered wig variety, with a dab of rouge, here and here. This is fragrance as costume drama.

I was mooching around Fenwicks Perfume Hall and tested this along with Mouchoir de Monsieur, so I was working the Belle Epoque, liberally doused with the royal court of King Louis XIV.

I sprayed this on my arm and got on the Tube home, feeling very self conscious due to the intense animalic element, which is the strongest I've experienced. Now, later, its dried down to something a little more conventional, floral and powdery but still the rudest Oriental I’ve ever had the privilege to try.

For Christmas I got the Roi Soleil candle from Cire Trudon, which apparently smells like the polished wood floor of the Mirror Room at the Palace of Versailles. The combination makes for a wonderful and evocative olfactory experience.

I’ll have to buy it at some point in the future, although I’m not sure I’ll have the guts to wear it.
03rd January, 2011 (last edited: 04th January, 2011)
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Déclaration by Cartier

A surprising fragrance from a luxe brand like Cartier.

To me Declaration is more than animalic, it’s ‘humanalic’. Once the citrus top notes burn off I’m left with the smell of human skin, a lovers embrace. This lover is probably a smoker and certainly hasn’t showed in the last few hours. Its the smell of saliva on a lovers neck after a snogging session. Through the magic of perfumery, this smell of salty skin is quite wonderful.

As to the relationship to Eau d’Hermes, I find it a more muted affair, without the clearly defined citrus, leather and cumin. Cardamon replaces cumin in the top notes but after that Declaration is thoroughly blended and seamless.

After a few hours all that’s left is a gentle aroma of Iso E Super. A two-for-one offer, Declaration eventually morphs into Molecule 01.

Don’t let the naff bottle top mechanism put you off.
03rd January, 2011
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Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

Part of me doesn’t want to like Molecule 01. If the art of perfumery is all about the application of arcane knowledge, the careful blending of dissonant notes and accords to create something beautiful and coherent, then simply putting an aroma chemical in a bottle and selling it is like an “anti-perfume”.

Well, whatever, it smells good and that’s a prerequisite for a perfume.

Yes, its gimmicky, what with magazine editors claiming it has a pheromone like quality, disappearing shortly after application and reappearing again later, only to add an allure to the wearer. They talk about it “hovering over the skin like a stealth bomber”. It available in the more trendy outlets and seems to be considered a bit edgy and clever.

That said, I will say from my own experience that this fragrance is slightly odd. Many people seem anosmic to it. Indeed I put it on and it seems to disappear on me in an hour or so. But some women seem to be able to smell it on me very clearly and they all seem to love it (presumably those who can smell it and don’t like it are too polite to say so…).

When I can smell it I love the warm, woody simplicity that doesn’t shape-shift but glows with a low-light.
03rd January, 2011
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Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

I purchased this last year when it was released from the Paris boutique, briefly becoming available on the general market.

I was shopping with a friend and, never having tried it before myself, I told her about its sweaty thighs and unwashed reputation. She sprayed some on her arm, said “Hmmmm…” and promptly bought it.

Since then she has stopped wearing it as she finds it troubling.

Tania Sanchez describes it as “a lost-world fantasy of firelit palaces with the soupy sleepy warmth of two beneath a quilt”. In this lost-world, the king and queen smell of Bois Des Illes and everyone else smells of MKK. They share a deep ambery warmth - the civet in MKK reeks of toil in the stables whereas BdI is a story of opulence and decadent ease.

I don’t wear this fragrance out - I wear it to bed. It makes me feel warm and content. It smells of skin and fur, cozy and safe, with a human or animal smell that is comforting and familiar.

If this frag was a book it would by Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter.
28th December, 2010 (last edited: 07th January, 2011)
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Sycomore (new) by Chanel

I’ve been on a quest to find my perfect incense fragrance and I may have found it in Sycomore.

From the monochrome architectural box to the tactile flagon with minimalist label and magnetised stopper, everything about this is quality.

On me this is a linear scent, rarely straying from the grassy, woody vetiver, incense and unlit cigarette tobacco those dry/moist-magic materials suggest.

There is a simplicity not given to flights of fancy or historical recreation like other frags in this line. When I wear it I feel like I radiate a warm aura of smokey, pungent intensity.

To my nose this comes from the same incense-y family as Ormonde Jayne Man, but without the cloying sweetness. It could also be compared to Malle’s French Lover, which goes flat on my skin but can be intoxicating on others. C d G’s Avignon is a too literal for me, no interpretation, just High Mass and pew polish. Beautiful in a church - and extraordinary to have available to sniff from a bottle - but too fancy-dress for me to wear with confidence.

I wear Sycomore more than any other fragrance in my collection. Sillage is average and a couple of sprays lasts about 6 hours, which is fine for an edt and remarkable on my perfume eating skin.

25th December, 2010 (last edited: 07th January, 2011)