Reviews

Reviews by jbordeau

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Fougères Marines by Montale

Yes, it's kind of Tommy, kind of Baldessarini, boldly unoriginal

I sort of like the way this fragrance smells, but it's rather strong in an uninviting way. Harshness is not the way to get my attention. After a while I realized it has much of the base of Baldessarini but without the fruit that makes that one delicious. It has the tenacity of Tommy and all its charm (or lack thereof). I feel I've smelled this already a hundred times on every kind of man. At this price point, the lack of anything interesting is criminal. I love the bottle though; not to be commended otherwise.

Pros: smells pretty good
Cons: fairly nondescript for this premium price

01st July, 2013

Ylang 49 by Le Labo

Pretty, serious, but not necessarily a chypre

Would someone finally mention to perfume critics that it is their job to critique a perfume? I understand that you need to get people to offer you free samples to do your job, but it seems that some people have taken sides or are allowing some extra-fragrant cues influence their reviews. Case in point, Ylang 49. It smells great, it really does. But it has that "new chypre" feel, meaning there really is not much oakmoss here if any. Second, I first smelled this idea (it may be older than this) in 2009 with Etat Libre d'Orange's Rossy de Palma: a nice vegetal, patchoulic rose. I can't mention every fragrance I've smelled since that reminds me of this, but it's apparently the new fruity floral: spicy patchouli roses. It is a wonderful idea. It has also been done a lot, most recently in Juliet Has a Gun "something" Extreme, whatever the name was. That's how memorable it is.

This is a superb fragrance, but you can have exactly this for far less cash. Sure, you won't have it compounded by hand and have that written on the label, but did you need it? And if you want a true chypre, I think you may have to dig deeper. I will give this one more time to macerate or whatever it needs, but it does not seem to be the product described by reviewers or the manufacturer. Get a sample first, if you can spare the six bucks.

Pros: Great fragrance, nice sillage and longevity
Cons: extraordinarily expensive and derivative

30th June, 2013

Yatagan by Caron

Great stuff. If you love natural materials, this is for you. Go crush a eucalpytus leaf and a few sprigs of rosemary in your palm and you have the opening notes of Yatagan. This is rather bold and uncompromising (meaning there are those who will not like the opening). It eventually ends up as a burnt woody-leaning fougere, fairly dry. It shares some common ground with both Azzaro and Giorgio Red for men in that it is a complex fougere. I cannot commit to this as an every day scent as it is demanding, but it is a terrific alternative to have in your arsenal when you're feeling somewhat misanthropic but sexy too!
07th April, 2013

Indolice by Providence Perfume Co.

I bought a sample of Indolice merely because I'd heard there was a mushroom note, and that it is a chypre. Both these are true, but much was not mentioned!

Indolice certainly begins with a note of mushroom, but also something rather sulfurous, as well as something cocoa-like I recognize from other Providence offerings. Within a couple of hours, though, anything that might be unpleasant has vanished, leaving a really ravishing chypre base in the classical style and dosage. Sillage is very good, and longevity is all day in normal wear, and on fabric at least 3 days! Beautiful stuff, and a gorgeous color to boot.

I ended up buying a half bottle, even though it is no longer offered on their site. Just ask and they'll bottle some for you.
07th April, 2013

Doulton by Royal Doulton

Lovely feminine I received as a gift from an estate recently. Fruity, much like Annick Goutal's Passion without the fruit, if that's reasonable! I get a lot of apricot from this, green apple as well. Not complex, but not a ditzy fruity-floriental either. Fairly clean and green, fresh and lovely.
28th December, 2012 (last edited: 07th April, 2013)

Angel Garden Of Stars - Violet Angel by Thierry Mugler

Four stars cuz it's Angel, and I don't detect anything else. Some of these fine fragrance distinctions are beyond me for whatever reason. Could I be anosmic to violet, and many other things? Lack experience? Likely. Anyway, nice bottle, nice smell. Wish they'd lose the blue in their marketing materials, or find a more appealing shade...
18th December, 2012

Womanity by Thierry Mugler

Pay close attention: this perfume is both pretty and nice to smell, but it is simply a longer-lasting version of an AXE Body Spray for men. If you doubt this, go to your local big box retailer. I don't remember if this was the Phoenix or the Cool Metal, but definitely one of them.

I like this fragrance: to me it is a 3:10 dilution of a fruity floral, diluted in something herbal. It is really interesting how women's fragrance is moving to bases that are masculine formulations (Angel, Coco, this stuff most assuredly). I think you can achieve this effect for less money with AXE (the Mugler lasts longer, and that is a serious consideration). What's doubly confounding is the unmistakably feminine marketing: pink juice and the form of a woman on the bottle. Hmmm.
16th December, 2012 (last edited: 18th December, 2012)

Black Afgano by Nasomatto

Perfect cross between Chergui and Anvers 2. It's been done before, and more economically. If you buy, you're buying for the (admittedly) cool bottle, not for the (easily-replaceable cheaply) juice.
10th December, 2012 (last edited: 18th December, 2012)

Verveine / Lemon Verbena / Eau de Verveine / Verveine d'Eugène by Heeley

Not a scent most people will fall for deeply because thoughtful, but completely reliable and imminently wearable.

I experience this one as mostly herbal. Very little of what I recognize in verbena do I find here. I chose it hoping for a citrus, and I was wrong. BUT, as a verbena + really light floral, it is terrific. I find this one great as a composed, well-put-together man's fragrance without any of the cliches common to the genre (woody amber, citrus, and now this Raid-smelling tonka note best typified by Midnight in Paris).

I think this shares some common base with some other Heeley's I've smelled: Sel Marin and Esprit du Tigre, as different as they all seem.
02nd December, 2012

Volutes by Diptyque

EDP: basically a cross between Chergui and Idole. Sorry if you expected more. In fact it is also not ten yards from Antaeus 2 in that rich vein.

Having grown up playing in a tobacco barn and having it harvested all around me, and having a dad who chewed, I think this "tobacco" idea exists principally as a fragrance fantasy. This istuff is really sweet, with that lingering quality you get from dark honey, and this is not entirely pleasant and wearable. Oh it is interesting, even captivating if you've never smelled it. But to live one's days with this on the wrist would eventually annoy me. It is lightened by the "spicy" notes, and they are appreciated, but it would open up a different audience if a bit drier. I've not tested the EDT, and perhaps this was the one closer to my taste.

No new ground broken here, and I will be more skeptical of new perfume hype in the future. I tried it because I love Diptyque's Eau Lente so much (still in a class by itself, as it resolves the sweet problem with eventual soapiness).
02nd December, 2012

Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d'Orange

Most reviewers are interested in communicating how this fragrance makes them feel rather than what it smells like. As such, several of its notes are not mentioned at all.

What it smells like: the fragrance could fall into an "aquatic leather" category if such existed. I think they have done something akin to Angel: married notes that are not usually seen as having something in common. I smell a lot of a certain variety of leather (help with this, please?), which brings to mind that I've also seen no one mention this fragrance's initials (S.M.) in the context of the use of leather in the practice of S/M. I also detect something like a sweet but hissy, piercing cherry, possibly the smell of leather conditioner (another S/M reference, since you have to care for these expensive items). There is also cheap incense here, a possible source of the revulsion expressed here. I think much of that response is due to mixing florals, leather, and aquatic notes. Finally, all the drama vanishes about 2 hours in, and you get the smell of lipstick/facepowder/inside of elegant lady's purse. This accord is really pleasant and fashion-forward, and reminds me of other Etat Libre d'Orange fragrances (Incense and Bubblegum, Jasmine and Cigarette).

I may have an advantage here, since I sampled all the EldOs when they came out, and have lived with a full bottle of Secretions for about 2 years, wearing frequently. I like it, and others tell me they like it on me.
18th September, 2012

Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

No one mentions the prominent Sherlock Holmes's pipe smell of this. It has that, something sweet that could be honey or tobacco, and then the same fecal note you always notice in Grey Flannel. For so many people to identify so many nouns they associate with this fragrance is telling. Complex and worthy of sampling repeatedly.
14th September, 2012

Curve Crush for Women by Liz Claiborne

Vanilla/coconut/vaguely floral/cotton candy oriental. Eminently affordable and ubiquitous. I cannot even accuse it of being overly gourmand, since it is a confection but not a cloying one. Perhaps late drydown is not perfectly pleasant, but getting there is really fun. I'm a sucker for its color as well.
10th September, 2012

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Starts out musky/animalic and sweet: hay and vanilla? Dries down to only vanilla, but a complicated and interesting vanilla. Delightful to experience, and most assuredly fine fragrance. Easily worn by any sex or gender, and nice sillage (but not as much longevity). Smart scent.
16th December, 2010

Aoud Leather by Montale

Great, refreshing stuff. What I imagine Hai Karate Lime to have smelled like if I hadn't tried it already. Bracing, a lime note in there, definitely some soft leather (suede?). I hear unisex, but I'll call masculine. Nicer by half than three quarters of scents available on shelves where I live. These guys do fine work.
16th December, 2010

UR for Men by Usher

UR is an exact copy of half of what you find on mall department store glass counters: Kenneth Cole Black, L'Homme, etc. It is the fruity/woody/citrus mess designers have decided we as men merit for shopping on foot. Honestly it is not terrible, but the cheapest things smell better by a mile: Aramis, Brut, English Leather, Halston Z-14. Additionally, all of these are available in your local Walgreens or CVS (in U.S.). Try harder, men!
16th December, 2010

Visit by Azzaro

Open a bottle of Tang (orange powder drink mix sold in U.S.) and the aroma of Azarro Visit (homme) is what you'll get. Nothing especially complicated about that: artificial orange, vitamin C, some other functional citrus essences. It is hard to label this a fine fragrance, but it is interesting when so many masculines veer toward fruity/woody/aquatic. Still, I wouldn't chance it in an interview (with either a potential employer or a potential lover).
16th December, 2010