Perfume Reviews

Reviews by LiveJazz

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Total Reviews: 174

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
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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 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

Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums

An excellent and effortless representation of patchouli. The star note is deftly matched to light/cool spices, giving the whole affair a lovely "chilled" vibe: damp and pure patchouli, shimmering cool spice, and a green-ish mossy leather undercurrent.

A great alternative to vintage Givenchy Gentleman, albeit an expensive one. The overall tone is cool and a bit more sleek, but it's a pretty close cousin overall.
11th August, 2017

Noir Epices by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Synthetic, soapy, abrasively loud floral spicy scent with a sharp citrus backbone. There's an interesting warm/cool juxtaposition going on in there somewhere, but it's simply too cloying and harsh for me to enjoy. High marks for sillage and longevity.
10th August, 2017 (last edited: 01st September, 2017)

Monsieur. by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

With vintage Givenchy Gentleman out there, this fails to do much for me. Monsieur is primarily a very dry, spicy patchouli. It's somewhat astringent, and I just wouldn't particularly want the smell like this. I prefer my patchouli with a bit more body.
10th August, 2017

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Sauvage is...strange. As others have said, it smells alien and unnatural. The Comme des Garcons Odeur scents remind of Sauvage - they're all plastic and electronics and lightbulbs and printer toner and stuff.

Neither take on this ultramodern synthetic theme is particularly pleasant to me, but at least Comme des Gacons did it with subtlety and intention. Sauvage is loud, sweet, and grating. It's monolithic and impenetrable. The notes are incredibly difficult for me to pick apart and describe. The opening I shall call "HyperFruit" with "UltraSpice".

There's this high-pitched buzz to the entire proceeding, like a fluorescent bulb's electric hum, that gradually intensifies through the ambroxan base. This gives me a headache.

I will say that there are some interesting things going with the sillage. Sauvage brings to mind a calibrated transmitter that generates a fragrant force field set to a specific radius and intensity. It's like wearing a machine.
23rd June, 2017 (last edited: 19th September, 2017)

Le Vetiver by Carven

A sharp, somewhat herbal green, citrus opening that reads as cool-spicy to my nose kicks things off, with just a touch of sweetness to smooth things out. Well done and smooth, maybe a tiny bit synthetic here...but in an intentional and modern way. I get where others are coming from with the old school vibes.

The surprising reference that came to mind for the first 30 minutes or so was a modern take on Creed Vetiver '48 (love!), and I wonder if there's some ginger hidden in there.

A short aromatic phase (a very dry lavender) follows, and feels like we're heading in a fougere-ish direction, which may account for the Rive Gauche references, but then it swerves quickly to becoming a pretty dry, surprisingly smoky, woody, pure vetiver to my nose. The closest analog to me is actually Sycomore, or maybe a less intense Encre Noir (which is basically what Sycomore is to me), with a slight spicy barbershop flair. Nothing wild, but purely enjoyable, high quality, uplifting versatility.
23rd June, 2017

32° N by Lili Bermuda

Garden variety Cool Water clone. Move along.
10th May, 2017
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Thé Noir 29 by Le Labo

The Noir 29 opens with an absolutely lovely fig/tea/spice opening that takes the fig note in a uniquely dry and aromatic direction. Unique and highly wearable. I love the opening accord - and it lasts quite awhile.

As the middle and base approach, the dry and aromatic tea very gradually morphs into more of an agricultural hay note, and you don't really realize what's going on until all of the sudden...where did that hay come from? This is a distinctly "wet" and somewhat sweet hay with the addition of tobacco and musk (big contrast with the relatively dry feel of the tea in the opening), and I'm starting to worry that this is going in a murky and swampy I'm not going to like.

Luckily, the hay dries out and cedar as vetiver enter the picture. And there it stays until the end. A (still surprisingly strong) woody hay note with a shading of fig and tea in the background. Longevity and projection are both fairly impressive. Really good and interesting stuff.
08th May, 2017

Indian Wood by Parfumerie Generale

I'm a big fan of using coconut as an alternative to more traditional powdery notes like vanilla, amber, or tonka, and Indian Wood uses it deftly and to great effect.

The opening is a little odd - I get a kind of spicy/green suntan lotion vibe which isn't entirely pleasant, but it soon smooths out and we get an accord I'd describe as "creamy cool spices" - the combo of mint, cardamom, and coconut, I guess. There's a woody/mossy structure underneath, but it remains fairly recessed on me, and Indian Wood remains mostly a sweet/creamy scent - with the kind of light/sweet aura that really sings in summer. Decent performance for this type of scent. Thumbs up.
28th April, 2017

Oud Silk Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

What Oud Silk Mood has to do with silk, I have no idea. This stuff is harsh. It lunges aggressively out of the bottle with searing notes of metal, rubber, smoke, and oh yeah, some thin and medicinal oud and rose in the background.

About 10 minutes after I applied it for the first time, my wife said, "What the hell are you wearing?! It's so strong I can *taste* it." I agree; it sticks in your nose and leaves a lingering taste of pennies on the tongue for about 30 minutes.

It does settle down a little bit as we enter the heart, but I still fail to see this is as a rose and oud dominant scent. The primary accord is arid like an industrial dryer: a papery (papyrus?), herbal (burnt chamomile?) accord with a backbone of, oh I don't know, but the word "acid" comes to mind. I can imagine a paper manufacturing facility smelling something like this. There's a twist of medicinal woody oud in there somewhere, and really very little rose to speak of.

In summary, I find it aggressive and unpleasant throughout.
28th April, 2017

Back to Black by By Kilian

Back to Black smells attractive when sniffed periodically, but it remains unflinchingly dense, heavy and sweet, and doesn't display the kind of deft evolution required for this kind of scent to remain interesting and wearable for me.

As others have mentioned, what you smell on top - basically a big, wet pipe tobacco note with burnt sugar and honey - is what you get until the end. Minimal evolution. The accord is nice, but it quickly gets cloying, and I wish the scent would dry out a bit more. The strong honey note makes for a compelling experience in that it brings out a distinctly wet and animalic tone in the tobacco note. I think there's a great opportunity here to keep that animalism alive and tone down the mushy, wet sweetness. Performance is strong, but at this price point, I simply expect a more dynamic experience.
27th April, 2017

Petit Matin by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

This is primarily a modern, bright, orange blossom perfume, backed by a good but fairly standard wood/musk base (ambroxan, I guess, used with deftness). I enjoy it. It's a little synthetic at times - like smelling orange blossoms in full bloom next to a very classy laundry facility in a nice part of town.

Contrary to the listed lemon and litsea cubeba (citrusy smelling plant) notes and the references to Lemon Pledge in other reviews, the orange blossom jumps out at me immediately and stays front and center throughout, though I will say there's a general tartness that brightens the orange bloom - a good move for a note that can feel a little heavy as a true soliflore. If you're a fan of the note, this is a very nice option.

It's nothing exciting and not something I'd purchase at this price point, but not a bad scent at all for summer or fans of orange blossom. Performance is strong for this type of scent. Reserved thumbs up from me.
27th April, 2017

Le Vetiver Itasca by Lubin

Le Vetiver Itasca is a high-quality fragrance with one jarring accord that sticks out to my nose just enough to keep me from giving it a thumbs up.

The top is great, and refreshing. I mainly get a floral grapefruit with a backbone of something slightly nutty, smooth and satisfying. I wish this phase lasted longer. It's unique and really works for me.

Scent Detective mentioned astringent note in the middle, and that sums up the problem for me. It might be the mixture of clove and nutmeg, very sharp spices that complete with the lingering grapefruit in a kind of sour tug of war that I don't find pleasant. This phase lasts too long.

The base is a perfectly nice woody, somewhat spicy, fougere-ish barbershop-ish vetiver that's very versatile. No fireworks, but a really high quality accord. Longevity and sillage are both average.

I'm on the edge of a thumbs up, but can't fully recommend Itasca to the extended astringent/sour phase in the heart.
13th April, 2017

Oud Palao by Diptyque

This is the oud I've been waiting for! Are there too many rose-ouds on the market? Yes, but this is the best I've smelled, so I'm happy.

Oud Palao starts in a somewhat predictable manner: a big, sweet, somewhat animalic, medicinal oud note takes center stage, accompanies by a nice rose note. Here we go again, same ol’ stuff, I thought. Wrong. The jammy quality of the oud subsides quickly, and the rose, while present, largely recedes to the background.

The oud note is simply the driest and most natural I’ve smelled. Now, I’ve never actually smelled a hunk of oud or pure oil, but I can tell when an oud note is smothered, often to mask deficiencies. Oud Palao’s oud is dry, resinous, and smells like a fantastic wood note, that just happens to be oud.

And it sticks around…the accord never morphs into a generic woody-oriental base. It’s oud all the way, baby, in all its glory. Because it’s so pure smelling, it’s very versatile…while of course maintaining the inherently unique nature of the oud note itself. Realistically, the sandalwood note probably helps create this uniquely woody feel, but it never actually smells like sandalwood. A light patchouli backbones lens a bit of depth, but doesn’t call attention to itself.

It’s the tone and tenor or Tam Dao, filtered through an oud lens. And that’s a great thing.
12th April, 2017

Oscar for Men by Oscar de la Renta

I have a long history of buying and enjoying underappreciated cheapies, and as a pepper lover, I thought Oscar for Men would be right in my sweet spot.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. The citrus and pepper opening (and really the entire evolution) feels harsh and chemical to me. I'm OK with dry and sharp scents, but it's a category where the composition really needs to be top notch.

If shortcuts are taken, what would otherwise be a bracing, pointed statement of resolutely masculine freshness, turns into whining dental drill of sharpness. And that, I'm afraid, sums up Oscar for Men.
21st March, 2017

Memoir Man by Amouage

One of the very first Basenotes reviews of Memoir Man calls it "Sycomore on steroids." I thought the same thing, and I'm glad to have company. In four words: green powdery vetiver tobacco.

After reading so many reviews calling Memoir Man dark, inky, black, unforgiving, etc., I was surprised to find a soft, well-behaved, leafy tobacco and powdery woody/vetiver accord with (to me) a relatively demure frankincense presence that serves more to lend a kind of cool-chalky-powdery feel to the development. I get just a hint of sandalwood.

The opening is fun and pleasant and even a little refreshing, and not challenging at all for me. A little alcoholic absinthe mixed with a bracing mint. This, along with the cool frankincense note serves as a great counterpoint to the dry vetiver and sweetish tobacco and musk in the heart and base.

My only quibble is that, as others have pointed out, this isn't terribly unique after the opening. But I can't hold the fact that there are many good vetiver/woody/incense scents against Memoir Man. It's certainly at or near the top of the bunch.
21st March, 2017

Bois des Îles by Chanel

Bois des Iles the best sandalwood fragrance I've smelled, and one of the best fragrances I've experienced, period. There are aldehydes, florals, and semi-sweet fruit and spice notes in the opening - but they're so well blended that it's nearly impossible to pick them apart from the perfectly harmonious whole. There's an unbelievable sensation of smoothness.

The accord morphs fairly quickly into a surprisingly direct sandalwood phase. The florals recede, and we're left with a semi-dry, somewhat powdery sandalwood note. It's glorious. So many sandalwood scents bury the note with fillers and try too hard to augment some facet of the note, with often unfortunate results. For that reason, I've been underwhelmed by most sandalwood scents I've tried. Bois des Iles lets the sandalwood augment the character of the rest of the accord, instead of the other way around. The sheer quality of ingredients here is what makes that approach work. Few scents in this price range are so clearly worth their price.

Men and women can easily wear it. Quality is top notch. It's unique, yet extremely comfortable to wear. People love it. Outstanding.
03rd March, 2017

Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man by Caron

Caron's Third Man is an almost unbelievably well-composed and beautiful fougere. The opening is rather intense, with buckets of gorgeous lavender and florals, and a very slight animalic background note. The accord settles into a bright yet sleek, relatively sweet and powdery heart as the tonka and moss of an ulta-smooth fougere base come into focus. The lavender - and this is a lavender note for the ages - sticks around and lends the evolution just the right amount of "bite".

While Third Man is quite sweet throughout its evolution, there's a bright coolness - from what, I don't know - that keeps it from feeling heavy or musty in any way. Excellent quality and a pleasure to wear year round. Outstanding longevity and sillage. Highly recommended.
22nd February, 2017 (last edited: 08th April, 2017)

Sagamore by Lancôme

Sagamore is an impeccable floral cyphre with a well-judged oriental component. Absolutely top quality ingredients. After a somewhat bright lavender/floral opening and heart, we get a very literal mossy cyphre structure in the base.

There's a strong connection to Caron's Third Man through the floral heart of jasmine and lavendar, but where Third Man verges toward a sweetened fougere base, Sagamore goes for a deep mossy cyphre profile, augmented just the right about with amber and possibly a drop of civet. Much like Third Man, a butter smooth, fantastic lavender note is along for the ride through most of the evolution.

Projection and longevity leaves a bit to be desired, but this is a case where outright quality trumps performance. If you want to know what a great masculine cyphre smells like, look no further.
22nd February, 2017

Quorum by Antonio Puig

Do you like big, mossy, woody, leathery tobacco scents that take no prisoners? Do you enjoy cumin? If you answered "yes" to both of these questions...or even just one of them...you need to try Quorum.

The opening is a little scattered. There's a lot going on. The actors are all trying to find their place on stage, and it takes a few moments for something pleasant to emerge - but oh, when it does, we get this amazingly deep herbal/piney/smoky/dusty/leather/tobacco chord that basically forms the backbone of Quorum until the end. It's brighter, with more emphasis on the herbal/pine in the opening, and gradually deepens into a dry-ish leather/moss/tobacco accord that feels very "alive" and dynamic on skin. Totally masculine, but not a caricature.

Cumin is present to varying degrees throughout. It contributes to the "sweaty" impression, depending on the circumstance. Quorum can easily turn into a thick, gloomy, smoker-BO nightmare if applied heavily in warm weather.

But when applied in moderation in cooler weather, it's dusty, crunchy, savory and just very satisfying. So on me, it's a fall and winter scent *exclusively*, though it could be my skin. I do love cumin in general, but it's a little temperamental here, and requires the right conditions. With that caveat, Quorum is one of my favorite cool-weather scents.
08th November, 2016

Acqua di Lavanda Ambrata / Amber Lavender by Santa Maria Novella

Extremely natural, clear lavender opening. One of the best I've smelled. It's not piercing or sharp as some lavenders tend to be when presented in a colder, more soapy format - or when ingredient quality leaves something to be desired. This is a life-like, three dimensional lavender.

The closest relative here (and really, throughout) is Caron Pour Un Homme...but Santa Maria Novella seems much simpler and drier to me. The Caron is a shape-shifter, sometimes augmenting the lavender, sometimes smelling quite herbal and spiky, sometimes too high on the vanilla cream side. The SMN is more predictable - maybe slightly less interesting, but something I'm more likely to reach for.

The amber drydown is of the dusty, almost mineralic sort that's easy to wear in any weather, and on any occasion. The overall impression basically formal and traditional - filtered through a minimalist, elegant, modern prism that really highlights the high quality on display here. Great stuff, and a favorite of mine in both the amber and lavender categories.
19th October, 2016 (last edited: 21st November, 2016)

Salvador Dali pour Homme by Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali Pour Homme opens with a sharp, herbal, astringent, rubbery gunshot that opens up to reveal a whiff of something just starting to ferment. Whether we're about to get a nice batch of kim-chi or a rotten jar of funky sewage, we don't yet know. Oddly addictive for the same reasons we stop and stare at a burning car on the side of the road.

The scent very slowly softens to reveal notes that are a little more approachable. A touch of sweetness from (I assume) the jasmine in the heart shows itself, and a surprisingly soft burnt leathery fougere accord comes to dominate the lower heart and base.

The questionable fermentation process has resolved itself, and luckily, we ended up with something savory, and not rotten.

To compare Salvador Dali's genius base with the profiles of a few other scents you might be familiar with: think of Azzaro Pour Homme's classic anisic fougere base combined with Yatagan's bone dry, savory musk and leather foundation. Add good dose of funky earthy patchouli. Toss that on a smoldering charcoal fire and singe lightly.

This is definitely one that lives up to its challenging, dark, weird reputation. But it's captivating and beautiful in its own way.
10th October, 2016

L'Ombre dans L'Eau by Diptyque

The fantastic top of L'Ombre dans L'Eau contains a zingy and thrilling blend of citrus and wild brambles. For a time, it gets better: damp soil, moss growing on trees, roots, a wild rose hidden in the greenery. Perfect. One of the best openings ever. I almost bought a bottle outright at this stage, but my better judgement prevailed and I waited for the base.

Unfortunately, what emerged was not further earth, woods, and soily goodness, but a banal, sweet-synthetic floral green note. Out of the "Shadow" and into the "water" phase, I guess. Not rose...just that sweet shampoo-y floral note that perfumers apparently think represents "water," because I've smelled this in more than a few scents that purport to represent water/fresh gardens/rain. A waste of a bewitching opening. Neutral just because of the opening, which everyone should try to experience.
05th November, 2012

Bulgari pour Homme Soir by Bulgari

For those who like the restrained Bulgari style and find sweeter scents difficult to wear, Bulgari Pour Homme Soir could be a great option.

Soir is as an earthy, powdery, semi-sweet green scent. Typical Bulgari class and restraint. The earthy note is really what makes the scent for me - a sort of sweetened, chalky, mineral accord. It's synthetic, sure, but really cool - sort of a chilled version of Terre d'Hermes' mineral note with a dash of Creed Vetiver '48's wet rocky note thrown in.

The top is the weakest point for me, but not unbearable. It starts off with a somewhat bland, sweet detergent presence, and beautiful mineral ambiance gets going about a a half hour after application for me. Lasting power is surprisingly strong. I recommend it.
14th November, 2011 (last edited: 16th September, 2016)