Perfume Reviews

Reviews by LiveJazz

Total Reviews: 198

Dirty Ginger by Heretic Parfums

Dirty Ginger lives up to its name. The dominant notes during the opening are ginger and cumin. The ginger smells fresh and somewhat earthy, and the cumin is clear as a bell. Black pepper and lime are less obvious, but there a definite green, high-register, almost astringent brightness present, highlighting the ginger's fresh-spicy nature. Perhaps the shiso also contributes to this, but I don't know what shiso smells like.

There’s a surprising amount of cumin. It doesn’t scream sweaty/dirty to me; it’s almost culinary in nature. The image I get is "Mexican Moscow Mule". Perhaps I'll attempt to make one when the weather is right!

Moving into the heart and base, Dirty Ginger's structure reveals itself to be simple, which I suppose we should expect if the ingredients are all-natural, as claimed. Essentially, we have a dry, woody backbone. Palo Santo wood (listed in the base) apparently has a sort of citrus-mint/green-pine profile, which feels about right. Most of the heavy duty fireworks happen in the first hour, but the dirty-fresh-spicy spice profile lingers on for quite some time, aided by this particular wood accord.

Dirty Ginger is entertaining to wear, and my wife surprisingly fell for it as well. It's a fun and unexpected choice for those who want an oddball summery spice option.
03rd December, 2018

Sung Homme by Alfred Sung

Sung Homme is one of those "simple pleasure" scents. It's basically pure unadulterated soapiness, true to its reputation, and as far as I'm concerned, more power to it.

It's an honest, refreshing, pleasant scent. It smells a little harsh up close, but creates a nice clean, classy sillage aura that's hard not to like. Smelling Sung Homme's soapy bubble simply makes me feel happy and good, and ultimately, that's what matters. I'll wear it often. Technically it's an amplified green, herbal, aromatic fougere, but the notes are rather beside the point here. It smells like soap.

If you're looking for pure soapy scent, this should be on your list. If nothing else, it shows how far $10 can go. Love the bottle and the purple liquid.
07th November, 2018

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I belatedly sampled Absolue Pour le Soir with high hopes, and alas, was let down. TL;DR, the problem for me is the level of gourmand sweetness, and how it presents in a rather sickening way against a strong cumin note.

As a huge fan of animals (civet, musk, castoreum, cumin, you name it, I'm game), I have a high tolerance for what others consider frighteningly raunchy scents. And sure enough, the opening of Absolue lives up to expectations, with a strong cumin and musk presence in particular. And it's actually pretty nice. The opening is the driest and most straightforwardly animalic phase of the scent...kind of a modernized Bal a Versailles to my nose.

The problem starts as the scent becomes more dominated by honey and benzoin. This is not a "dry" honey. It's an oozing honey that smells like it's coming from baklava or something - a sweet, sticky desert. That accord with a big hit of cumin, sweat and musk is incongruous, and not in an interesting or attractive way. I think the cumin (normally one of my favorite notes!!) is where it goes off the ledge. Musky gourmands like Musc Ravageur tend to work fairly gracefully. Musk can be a fluffy/sweet kind of dirty accord, essentially acting as a powdery note in this context. Cumin either smells culinary or (usually) pleasantly body odorish...and neither of those cumin variations belong with a sweet dessert.

So I guess the moral of the story is, cumin goes with powder, cumin goes with musk, cumin goes with leather or wood. It goes with all kinds of things. Cumin does NOT go with syrupy pastries.

24th October, 2018
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Pear + Olive by Slumberhouse

What a delightful and interesting creation! I bought a split with a little trepidation based on some reports that it's extremely sweet, smells like a cheap pear shampoo, etc.

Yes, the opening is quite sweet and it's fairly rich throughout, but I'm relieved to get quite a strong creamy/salty presence to offset it, and I don't find it cloying, though I'd hesitate to wear this in humid, hot weather. The savory aspect is most fascinating to me. The association for me is air-popped popcorn with a drizzle of olive oil and salt on it. So it's "buttery" but not in the nastily overbearing movie theater popcorn way. Textually (and yes, maybe this is the name guiding my nose), I can totally get on board with a reference to that plush, soft, velvet-buttery texture that you get with high end, mildly brined green olives, which are one of my favorite foods.

I'll note that I like P+O a LOT more when I get a waft of sillage, and that's when I get more of the savory/creamy/salty aspect. The sweetness really dominates when I sniff right off the wrist, so just be forewarned of that.

Really fun scent! Anyone who wants something creamy and/or savory and isn't opposed to a good helping of background sweetness should definitely check it out. It's a very "culinary" scent, and reminds me of the creativity on display when a talented chef inventively pairs ingredients to make an unexpectedly cohesive dish...takes guts and skill to pull that off.
14th September, 2018

Ambergreen by Oliver & Co.

Ambergreen recalls to me the piercingly direct green/sharp angelica opening of Malle's French Lover to me, but made bright and shiny, instead of dark. Where French Lover goes in an incense/musk direction, this stays resolutely GREEN, with the barest hint of florals and softening amber deep in the base to smooth it. I'm not sure if angelica is actually used here. This is a stew of all things green, the pure olfactory representation of the color. I don't know what specific notes are responsible for this effect. Angelica is simply the closest single reference point I can think of.

I have a strong memory/emotional response to this accord, though again, I can't place the exact plant(s) involved. I grew up with a lush a greenbelt behind my house, and scents like this generally recall that lush, sharp, ionized, cooling, wet environment. Not the dirt, just the greenery.

I know the extended green effect is achieved chemically, and the fact this doesn't smell like a nuclear meltdown is remarkable. At times, it does toe that line. It smooths out as the heart and base arrive, notably with jasmine/hedione but it's actually fairly linear to me, and that sharp greenery is always evident.

After a long search for a scent that pulls off an extended, focused take on that spiky, bright, pure vegetal/grassy structure, I've finally found it.
13th September, 2018

Resina by Oliver & Co.

Resina features a list of notes that look like they come from a heavily spiced Christmasy oriental. But they're dry, spare and have the "shimmering," refreshing presence I now associate with Oliver & Co. Not what you expect, given the notes.

The spiced opening fades and we're left with a really nice dustry, ambery, woody incense, a hint of satisfying bitterness, and light but persistent sweet anise note. It's all very buzzy and energetic - purposefully synthetic. If you're in for a straight-ahead oriental or incense, this isn't it. It would be very wearable in summer, and is amazing versatile for its genre. Nicely done!
09th July, 2018

La Colonia by Oliver & Co.

La Colonia - It's quite citric in the opening, but to me it's pretty far removed from a simple citrus splash/modern eau de cologne. There's a distinct orange-y sour/green presence, and a pretty noticeable fizzy ozonic background that lingers through the base. These two facets combine to create this radiant energy: electrified herbal citrus. This tone is displayed to an even greater degree with the addition of mineral/earth notes and grapefruit rather than orange in Fazzolari's Five.

Where La Colonia loses me a bit is with the dill. This is the first scent I've ever smelled (I think) with dill as a listed note, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Nobody else has talked about it being prominent, but it sticks out to me like a sore thumb (especially in the heart), and I can taste it when I smell my wrist up close. I like dill in some scenarios (pickles, salmon topping), but this evokes the taste of the fresh herb for me, which I oddly can't stand. It, along with fresh fennel, have ruined many a salad for me. I think the note is actually very light, and I'm sensitive to it. And I think it's responsible for part of the unique green/sour electricity accord - but it's just outside my "like it" threshold.

I do recommend sampling if you have no qualms with dill and want a unique and very modern take on citrus and greens. Objectively, it's an interesting composition.
09th July, 2018

M.O.U.S.S.E II by Oliver & Co.

M.O.U.S.S.E. II strongly references Slumberhouse Grev, to me. I suspect Grev was a direct inspiration, actually. It's a "cool" clove - accented with lots of mint and watery notes. As the name might imply, it shares a similar underlying bright fougere base with M.O.U.S.S.E. The cooling notes lend it a more modern, refreshing vibe. I also detect the cool/warm, slight astringent presence of cardamom. The cool, bright, green cardamomy opening calls Voyage d'Hermes EDP to mind, just a little. Plus clove, of course.

My main issue with it, really, is that it isn't Grev. Clove plus cool watery notes must be a difficult thing to pull off, and M.O.U.S.S.E. II just isn't quite where it needs to be:

Whereas M.O.U.S.S.E. II smells like "clove plus cool notes," Grev smells like clove that has somehow been inverted to smell chilly, and then dropped in a misty, otherworldly forest. And there's a chewy, boozy, chalky/mineralic bitterness to it. It's hard to explain, but it blows M.O.U.S.S.E. II out of the water in terms of being an interesting composition. So perhaps this is a little biased by my affinity for Grev, but I'll give it a side-thumb.
09th July, 2018

M.O.U.S.S.E by Oliver & Co.

M.O.U.S.S.E. feels bright, zesty and soapy, with a prototypical kind of clove accord that reminds me somewhat of a spicy shave foam. I'm honestly struggling to deconstruct it very effectively because the clove is so dominant to my nose.

Other listed notes include sandalwood, lime, aldehydes, oakmoss, lavender. I can't deny the an underlying fougere structure (hence the shave foamy imagery) - and I think the lime and aldehydes serve mainly to brighten the accord. Sandalwood probably lends a slight creamy aspect, though the note doesn't leap out at me.

It trends in a pleasantly bright, woody direction (ISO E Super, I guess) as it dries, but never loses the clovey-foam aspect. It's a simple but pleasant scent, and should be top sampling target for clove fans.
09th July, 2018

Vaninger by Oliver & Co.

The first thing I smell out of the gate is unmistakable and for me, evocative of my childhood: sweet wintergreen (I swear I didn't read our esteemed Camel's review before sniffing, but he's spot on with this point).

Specifically, it reminds of those candy cigarette things, which I used to buy with my friends from the ice cream truck as a kid. Totally unexpected, and unexpectedly pleasant to smell. This calms down to more a identifiable candied ginger, but still with some of that wintergreen-ish effervescence, which never entirely leaves the scent, even in its final stages.

It just seems to fizz and buzz pleasantly...I think of ginger-vanilla pop rocks, with a gradual smoothing to a relatively simple vanilla ginger and eventually, mostly just vanilla...but still cool and light and somehow buzzy. It's very synthetic, but this to me is an example of synthetics effectively and to an artistic end.

Bottom line: nose glued to wrist, and I bought a bottle.
09th July, 2018

Grev by Slumberhouse

Reading some of the previous reviews here, thought I knew what to expect from Grev: basically a modern forest scent with clove, a Norne lite. There are forest references in Grev (an obvious fir note in the opening), but my overall impression is decidedly angular, abstract, futuristic almost, full of bright, cold, refracted light.

There's a good helping of bitter green booziness with a lightly sweet undertone. I think of an alpine bitter, like an icy Fernet-Branca: chewy, bitter, leafy, minty spice combined with something like wet clay.

Clove is an important note in Grev...but its a deconstructed, weightless, cryogenically frozen clove that has somehow been filtered and inverted to feel "blue" and airy. It ends up lending more of a fizzy, sparkly zest than the traditional warmth you think of with clove. This is some fascinating stuff.

I can't say I get much of a barbershop fougere tone here...maybe a barber in a wintery holodeck scene on the Starship Enterprise (nerd alert). I do smell a good dose of the cold dustiness of a slightly metallic orris note with a hint of smooth sandalwood, which becomes more dominant as the base arrives, and lends a certain degree of soft, chilly, airy powderiness. It may also be responsible for the earlier "clay".

This would be fantastic on a frigid, snowy day, but it's fairly versatile for any season or occasion.
09th July, 2018

Lui by Guerlain

Lui opens with a dusty, almost smoked clovey/light fruit combination that quite caught me off guard. I didn’t get much of the listed pear note in the opening, which is probably a good thing.

This ashy, dry spice (clove/carnation) structure offsets the underlying sweetness beautifully, so the composition never comes off as overwhelming or "thick" - but it has a definite, extended presence. The evolution is not extreme: Lui comes across as a dry-sweet, lightly spicy leather/benzoin scent from top to bottom, with more spice and smoke on top, and dusty, almost papery, leathery benzoin on the bottom.

In general attitude/vibe, I am reminded somewhat of Arsen Lupin Dandy. Add some smoke and spice to that suedy leather, and you’d maybe have something like this. Fairly unique in today's market, Lui is satisfying, versatile and unique. Thumbs up!
31st May, 2018

Yatagan by Caron

This is a comparison of vintage mid-80s Yatagan (grey bottle sticker/box with a sword motif) and the current formula, purchased in I believe 2014.

Vintage = more bitter, green, mossy, cool, earthy, better proportioned animalics; a clear cyphre. Modern = warmer, sweeter, more powerful, full animalics and leathery feel, but with less grace and proportionality without the offsetting moss.

OK. First off, both are wonderful scents, but there are very clear differences.

Compared to the modern formula, the opening and heart stages of this vintage feel considerably more green (stronger galbanum and moss notes, I think), bitter and vaguely poisonous (more wormwood and/or artemesia), earthy and damp, like forest greenery and soil. It feels more "cool" and slightly sinister. The bitter mossy green tone reminds me of a smoother Aramis Devin, which is not a parallel I ever drew with the modern formula. I think there's less celery, or it's more of a raw celery vs. toasty celery salt.

The modern version feels more arid and has a warmish sweet tone that I never picked up when not comparing with the vintage. The forest notes are there, but this is a dry forest in summer. They both feel rich, but in entirely different ways. The modern version feels considerably more powerful in the opening and beyond, but in an almost bloated, unfocused way, like they're replacing the lithe richness of the bitter mossy green notes with a warm, musky personality that's slightly blown out of proportion.

That basic difference continues through the evolution: the vintage stays greener, mossier, and cooler, and importantly, smells more clearly like a cyphre with a greater moss element. The modern replaces the natural moss that makes the cyphre personality so compelling with an amplified castoreum/musk/leather chord. The vintage is more woody/mossy/dry leather, with a quieter but better-integrated animalic accord.

The gap nearly closes deep in the base, but never disappears entirely. The differences are very apparent for a long time - like at least 4-5 hours.

The vintage version is a lot quieter, and actually strikes me as the more versatile, well-behaved sibling. The modern version is entirely respectable, but I can't deny that my nose is naturally drawn to the more natural and well-proportioned earthy-cool environment of the vintage.

Both versions are among my all-time favorites.
25th May, 2018 (last edited: 27th November, 2018)
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Oud Zen by Areej le Doré

I fall somewhere between ClaireV's and Darvant's astute impressions of Oud Zen.

The opening is quite a ride: richly sour, smoked, vividly and sharply animalic, and medicinal all at once. I do not know enough about the nuances of different oud varieties and preparations to comment on which specific ouds are present here, but suffice it to say the oud smells sharp, tangy, a tiny bit fruity and in the initial stages of decomposition - moldy is a good word for the effect. This opening roar is both heightened and smoothed by a sharp civet and a bass chord of castoreum and woodsmoke. It's a fascinating smell, and my nose keeps returning to it. In the opening stages, I identify with Mr. Darvant. It's challenging, but rewarding.

The evolution is a slow burn, but Oud Zen does gradually dry out and become a more approachable spiced woody oud, a la ClaireV. But the animal backbone is always very present. It's *just* tame enough to be approachable, but it's right on the border, and you get the sense the beast could easily go rabid and escape. But it stays contained. When it does perk up - which has a tendency to do - the richer, sweeter nuances of the leathery, balsamic, civet profile come to the fore in a pleasant fragrant bloom. But at its core, it remains primarily a woody, smoky oud.

As always with Areej le Dore scents, the materials are absolutely top notch, and from a personal perspective, this is among my favorite of the Russian Adam compositions I've smelled.

25th May, 2018

Vétiver (new) by Carven

Whatever merits this release may have are buried beneath a massive note of Windex glass cleaner. I really can’t concentrate on much else. Who greenlighted this? I expect much more from Carven. It’s one of those scents that’s so poor it’s almost comical. Nothing like Lubin or Guerlain, not even close to my nose.
20th May, 2018

Blu Mediterraneo Cedro di Taormina by Acqua di Parma

Really unattractive to me. I like black pepper, but something about this rendition combined with the lemon reminds me of an industrial disinfectant: harshly soapy and abrasive. The woody base is moderately more attractive, but the ride to get there isn’t worth it.
04th May, 2018

1725 Casanova by Histoires de Parfums

1725 Casanova reminds me strongly of Boucheron Jaipur, with less spice. The lavender and overall fougere structure is minimal to my nose. I get a very straightforward sweet citrus/anise opening that morphs into a powdery amber/vanilla base with a somewhat syrupy almond undertone that reminds me a great deal of Jaipur's heliotrope note against its vanilla base.

It's smooth, and I suppose it's pleasant, but there's not much to add interest or depth, or keep my nose engaged.
11th April, 2018

Eau Noble by Le Galion

I own a small vintage bottle of this one. If you enjoy woody citrus cyphres, jump on this. The opening citrus positively sparkles, before moving in a classic greenish herbal and woody direction with a clear, robust (real!) oakmoss backbone.

It commands respect, but isn't standoffish. It creates an impression of ease and competence. This is a formal, straightforward, traditional men's scent done just about perfectly. Big thumbs up.
10th January, 2018

Royal Mayfair by Creed

Well this was disappointing. A crisp, green, eucalyptus/rose/citrus opening had my hopes sky high. This could be a stunner - the green equivalent of the excellently crisp Neroli Sauvage.

Instead, it goes all mushy and soft - a thick, lazy, flat accord of bad rose and something between shampoo and laundry musk dominates the heart. The base dries out a bit and becomes a relatively simple but pleasant woody accord, but the lengthy and unpleasant heart ruins it for me. Really unfortunate - so much potential.
07th January, 2018

Equipage Géranium by Hermès

Thumbs up on its own merits, but I'll take the original.

Equipage Geranium is quite similar to the outstanding Equipage, but a sparkling green top of mint and I guess geranium replaces the spicy/smooth citrus and floral burst of the original. My nose simply interprets it as a refreshing and well done green accord.

The underlying structure heading into the heart and base smells extremely similar to the original, but takes a lighter, woodier, and somewhat soapier tone, compared to the rather rich and spicy warmth of its big brother. More versatile. A bit less interesting.

The thing is, one of the most attractive aspects of the original is the light, sparking nature it maintains despite its strength and spicy floral nature. It doesn't feel heavy at all, despite impressive strength. So I'm not sure a lighter/soapy flanker was needed in this case.

Sillage is rather muted, but longevity is an adequate 6 hours or so.
01st December, 2017

Tabacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novella

Tabacco Toscano is an enjoyable, lightly sweet, dry tobacco fragrance that's unique in its versatility and light approach to an often heavy, thick note. It's a high quality "sparkling" tobacco, if you will.

The accords themselves have been described in good deal already (see ClaireV's review in particular). I've been happily wearing this during all seasons for years, and my wife wears it effortlessly as well. I do get a slight hint of Bulgari Black's rubberiness, but it isn't overwhelming. It acts more to add a modern twist to the overall profile.

Really wonderful stuff - undeniably attractive to the wearer and those around them.
20th November, 2017

Kenzo Homme Night by Kenzo

Blegh. A screechily sweet opening that reminds me of a "tropical" themed cheap home air freshener dries down to a bland sweet-woody base, which still has this nails-on-a-chalkboard high pitched sweetness to it. Synthetics overload. Easy and definite thumbs down.
03rd October, 2017

Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

If you like ozonic, airy scents with synthetic backbones, you like vetiver, and you want both of those qualities in one scent, Vetiver Extraordinaire is made for you. Be warned: this is not a natural-smelling vetiver, and the marketing claim of high natural vetiver oil concentation is questionable.

Personally, whatever aromachemical is responsible for that "ozone" effect doesn't work for me. It comes across as metallic, thin, a bit sour, and robotic, and frankly, I just prefer a raw, rooty, natural take on vetiver. If we're modifying the note, give me something less chilly and remote.

I don't think Vetiver Extraordinaire is a *bad* scent. It is a unique and memorable take on vetiver, and unquestionably fulfills an artistic vision. The goal here is to highlight the green and inky aspects of vetiver, and to paint that picture on a modern, angular, minimalist canvas. This is a sleek, atmospheric vetiver with more in common with Geranium Pour Monsieur than most other vetivers on the market. If that's the tone you want, to me, Geranium Pour Monsieur is the better option. But if those qualities sound good in a vetiver context, definitely check out Vetiver Extraordinaire.
26th September, 2017

Blackpepper by Comme des Garçons

Blackpepper opens with one of the best notes of crisp, freshly cracked black peppercorns on the market. This lasts for about 30 min, and fades into a lightly sweetened, dusty/smoky cedar accord that's very pleasant, soft, dry and versatile. It smells great. The base is indeed reminiscent of Wonderwood, which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, it's a skin scent after about an hour, and has faded to near imperceptibility within 2-3 hours.

So although I think the pepper note is a great addition to the Wonderwood base in terms of smell, I have to advise sticking with the predecessor based on longevity, and cannot in good conscience give a thumbs up.
22nd September, 2017

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Gucci Guilty Absolute is very niche-like - one of the more surprising and daring major designer releases in years. The average mall shopper will likely recoil in horror.

It attacks out of the bottle with an intensely bitter leather/tar/pine accord, which quickly evolves into a dry, woody patchouli, still with a bitterly astringent leather backdrop. Very earthy and austere, and not at all what I expected from Gucci. A dusty vetiver creeps in and softens things ever so slightly, but for the most part, as promised, this is a linear scent after the first 5 minutes. Powerful stuff.

I personally find this more challenging than Pour Homme, Gucci's last dry, woody, uncompromising release.

Kudos to Gucci for throwing a well-made curve ball at the perfume industry. I hope Guilty Absolute does well, but frankly, I'd be surprised.
20th September, 2017

Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Nope, not a fan. I can barely tolerate thorough sampling to give a fair review. I really like the idea of this scent. Saffron is a favorite note, and the listed base including fir and ambergris sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, what I get is a fizzy, super-synthetic spiced floral cola opening accord (not a bad thing in an of itself) backed by a nuclear burnt sugar, Windex and metal accord (which most definitely is a bad thing in and of itself).

I may be sensitive to an aromachemical in here somewhere, but I am not exaggerating when I say this is strongly unpleasant, and borderline revolting to my nose.

Strong thumbs down.
06th September, 2017

Whip by Le Galion

Wonderfully composed citrus/floral/powdery cyphre. Totally unisex and decidedly formal. I get a clear reference to Acqua di Parma in the opening and heart. A fresh powdery accord with a hint of leather rises up in the base. The longevity and sillage is excellent in this category. A great choice for a traditional French style citrus floral cyphre.
11th August, 2017

222 by Le Galion

Totally unisex, borderline masculine. A creamy, soft sandalwood scent with a sweet leather undertone. There are many excellent options in this category, such as Bois des Iles on the more powdery end, and Wonderwood or Tam Dao on the dry side, but this is a welcome addition to the club. Well done woody composition.
11th August, 2017

Special for Gentlemen by Le Galion

Surprising evolution. It starts out smelling intensely herbal and medicinal, almost like Sambuca. This lasts about 20 minutes, then it does an about face and becomes a more typical powdery-spice traditional masculine oriental/leather.

It smells very nice and the quality is high, so it gets a thumbs up, but it competes with some massive greats in this category, which can be had be had at a much better price - such as Eau d'Hermes and Habit Rouge. To my nose, Special for Gentlemen falls somewhere between those two.
11th August, 2017

1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums

The best use of eucalyptus in a composition that I've experienced. Dry, cool, green, woody, refreshing, calming. It smells like a very high end spa. A lovely cedar note comes to dominate in the base, still supported by an all-star cast.

A top pick if you're looking for a robust, green, woody fresh option. I think of a sharper and eucalyptus-dominated take on Bleu de Chanel, with slightly more natural smelling accords.
11th August, 2017