Perfume Reviews

Reviews by LiveJazz

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Total Reviews: 212

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Domitille Michalon Bertier by IFF

A modern rendition of a musky oriental fougere. It smells very Annick Menardo-ish, which is a compliment. I get echoes of Jaipur Homme and Body Kouros in particular. Sweet, powdery, simple and streamlined, but very nice. A bit of a sweet tobacco tone a la Pure Havane in the background, but a little higher pitched in its tobacco tone.

Apparently, this is supposed to be animalic, with variants of civet and castoreum involved. Judged on those terms, it does not succeed, but that said, I have to say I enjoy it. I get a sweet musk, but nothing more rapacious than that. It seems clean to me.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Dominique Ropion by IFF

Upon application, I am immediately reminded of spiced cola. Go nuts at the soda machine and mix all the fruity cola flavors, and add some Hawaiian Punch and Sunny-D for good measure. And then add some...cinnamon? Clove? It's all very spiky and fizzy. And then there's a hypermodern metallic sheen to the whole thing, which makes it seem even more fizzy.

Honestly, I'm not sure I like it, but it's pretty fun to smell. It feels like a rough first sketch of Escada Magnetism, which I like very much, was given to an AI to try to complete as it sees fit. No smooth tonka-leather base here, though. I'm not sure what the base smells like, really. Something like a sweet modern woody laundry musk, metallic and remote. I don't love it.

According to the card on this one, one of the captives listed is called "Cosmofruit" - sounds about right to me! And apparently the spice accord is meant to reflect saffon (ah ha! Magnetism!), cardamom and ginger, but they don't read as anything specific to me. Cosmospice.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Bruno Jovanovic by IFF

For the most part, I read it as a plasticy floral to start. A big overblown synthetic rose. For a good deal of the opening, my general thinking was that it smells like something you'll smell at the mall, probably marketed to teen girls if you could get teen girls into rose, but with the "mall" aesthetic turned up to artistic, ironic levels. I envision a bottle with giant cartoon smoochy lips on it.

As it evolves, it turns into more of a laundry musk, still basically floral, and with a spicy-fresh sharpness to it, like it's playing with the border between mega-market feminine and masculine archetypes. Can't say I like it much, but I suppose I respect it. It feels like a statement.
07th January, 2019
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Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Nelly Hachem-Ruiz by IFF

It's immediately sweet, with nondescript florals. Hazy, blurred, not defined to my nose. The sweetness seems purposefully unadulterated, like powdered sugar. It doesn't smell like a specific sweet thing, but like the smell of the word "sweet", if that makes sense, which it probably doesn't.

It starts feeling a little thicker as we go, more opaque, like condensed milk combined with an imaginary edible white flowery confection. Really strange scent, but a pleasant and unique take on the gourmand genre.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Julien Rasquinet by IFF

Incense. Frankincense? Warmer than that. Myrrh. I have trouble pegging incense varieties.

Plummy and/or boozy and a little spicy with a hit of saffron. This is a bit sweet on top but still mostly dry and resinous, reminding me somewhat of the opening night of Amouage Jubilation XXV.

This is a simple creation; it follows this spiced incense trajectory to the end, becoming more of a pure incense. Extremely dry; it conjures desert imagery.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Fanny Bal by IFF

Immediately upon application, it reminds me of Slumberhouse Pear + Olive, with that oily-sweet "nosefeel". It reminds me somewhat of salted/buttered popcorn (kettlecorn, perhaps), with a coconut flair.

The popcorn-butter element fades and it starts reminding me more of a spiced-coconut pastry, with a dark-syrupy undertone I can't quite place. It fades in this general zone, staying gourmand/amber, pleasant and easygoing.

An entertaining and creative scent! The base is fairly typical, but I like the salty-sweet top.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Sophie Labbé by IFF

A bright green opening that reminds me of something like angelica: spiced, bright, zesty green. Very synthetic, but I enjoy the top.

After that, sadly, it goes downhill for me. I get a quickly progressing melting plastic note that I've come to associate with overdoses of ambrox. It gets sweeter with a soft laundry-type musk going in the background, but that plastic ambrox accord just ruins things for me.

Oddly, this note is more evident in my sillage than sniffing up close. Every once in awhile I just get this sharp plastic waft. Putting that aside, this scent feels polished and streamlined, and those interested in such a take on a zesty green-fresh cologne maybe interested.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Epicene Gamma / Nicolas Beaulieu by IFF

It starts with a blast of very dry, earthy, somewhat reedy/weedy green with a slightly sour undertone, like maybe lime rind. I'm guessing there's some kind of modified galbanum-like note here. I enjoy this opening very much. This is what reminds me of Corsica Furiosa, or perhaps a more barren, less damp-earthy-mossy take on Frapin Paradis Perdu's opening.

The greenery gradually smooths out, with the sour citric element fading first. Then it goes to spicy/dry green, then spicy/dry leather. I cannot identify the spice note, with there's a definite warmth coming from somewhere. Is it a bitter cinnamon? Maybe some white pepper? I don't know. The leather note reminds me quite a bit of the base of Cuiron: pure, spare, pointed, and somehow "crunchy" - best word I have for it. Green Cuiron with a mysterious spicy element.

Thumbs up. I like it a lot. Wish it projected a bit more.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Anne Flipo by IFF

My first thought out of the gate was "spicy woody floral". But it's also a little gummy and sweet, with a bright synthetic tone. I had a brief vision of Azzaro Acteur (woody rose), and then it passed. With time, it moves more toward spice and something soapy and cool. There's a neat hot/cold dichotomy going on here.

The soapy/cool side reminds me of the seldom-discussed Ulrich Lang Nightscape, which is a cool, sharp, woody patchouli. This is like a spiced, intense version of that, to my nose. It's an interesting one, and hard to pin down!
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Alexis Dadier by IFF

I found this one immediately repulsive, but also familiar. I think there's an unpleasant scent memory at play here, or maybe a combination of memories. The vision I get is the swampy, steamy scent of crowded Disney World after a rain storm. There's the smell of moist, dirty concrete and moist, dirty people mixed with the odor of a trash can full of soggy, greasy amusement park food, particularly doughy funnel cakes. Steaming, greasy, abandoned funnel cakes, yum. And that's about as far as I got before scrubbing.

The included card mentions a few really odd savory/foody notes (almond milk, rice, matcha) that maybe shouldn't be combined with whatever other aromachemicals are at play. I applaud the effort but simply dislike smelling this.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Caroline Dumur by IFF

A fresh spicy floral, maybe genarium? Synthetic, but recognizable as a floral for sure. It smells simple, brisk and soapy. I'm reminded of the tone of Diptyque's Geranium Odorata, but a more spicy and clovey/peppery. So maybe carnation instead of geranium, or a mix of the two. (According to the card, it is indeed intended to be carnation).

There's a clean woody/musky/incensey backbone. The floral feeling fades and spicy-incense aspect comes to the fore. It feels very composed and market-ready, and could totally see this coming from a house that specializes in simple, honest constructions...like Diptyque. I like this one and could wear it easily in a variety of venues.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Juliette Karagueuzoglou by IFF

A dry cocoa and vanilla-amber-incense, dusty and quite faint after a short amount of time. It feels kind like a lazy Jo Malone attempt at something like Borneo 1834 or maybe Ummagumma. The opening is pleasant but uninspiring.

After some more time on skin, the base is a bit harsh and thin on me.
07th January, 2019

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Jean-Christophe Herault by IFF

Fruit brandy, yum! This one opens feeling almost carbonated, reminding me of the fizzy-fruit opening of the Ropion scent from this collection. The fruit simultaneously subsides and becomes more tart to my nose, though I can't identify the specific fruit(s) are involved. Grape passed my mind for a short time, but then it became something more like pomegranate, but I wouldn't bet on either. According to the card, cherry is the fruit. I can see a tart cherry.

The fruity opening started out a little high pitched, but the accord has smoothed out and deepened into a very nice heady, rich, and lifelike booze accord; I like this a lot. It isn't too sweet, and maintains a certain fruity-alcoholic purity for a long time, with a very slight dry ambery accord gradually joining the party later. Obvious references include Idole EDT and Ambre Russe, two excellent booze scents. This is like they extracted the most boozy aspects of both and laser focused on them. So mostly this feels like a great booze accord exploration, with not much evolution, but still perfectly wearable as-is.

Big thumbs up!

07th January, 2019
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Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Loc Dong by IFF

Right out of the gate, a blast furnace of Yankee Candle Factory butterscotch aroma, right in my nose like a candied ice pick. Immediate take: Lord help me. The color here is a radioactive yellow. This waxy-candy-overload impression is so strong I can't pick up much else for at least 15-20 minutes. I'm just about ready to scrub and pray for relief when a faint light starts emerging at the end of the tunnel, so I stick it out:

Something oddly clean, medicinal, and mineralic is growing, and I think there's something sweetly floral going on here, like Immortelle. This is one hell of an odd scent when these two personalities are at war in the heart.

After another 30 minutes or so, the clean personality has won out, and there's a faintly antiseptic vibe, but also sweet and bubblegummy. The color is now purple-ish green, and there's an icy-cool metallic streak running through it. There's a trace of modern designer familiarity in there, but this still mostly a surreal experience. If you've ever swished that harsh-sweet-antiseptic fluoride stuff at the dentist, it's like they somehow carved out the unpleasant parts of that and made the rest into a palatable smell. I should hate this, but instead, I'm oddly drawn to it. Not that I’d wear it - hell no - but I can’t look away.

This is *by far* the most "postmodern" scent of the 2017 Mostmodern Speed Smelling Collection for me, contorting itself into some strange shapes and pulling the nose in wildly different, somewhat disorienting directions during its evolution.

I love this fact that this is supposed absurdly "bad" in a winky way, perhaps with a tacit middle finger at IFF and other companies behind increasing ridiculous aromachemical abominations: "this is what you’ve allowed me to create, enjoy!" I get no tobacco and I don't specifically pick up tuberose, but I guess that combined with the dihydromyrcenol is responsible for that purple-green mineral/metal fluoride thing.

Fascinating, but totally unwearable. I think that was the point, though.
07th January, 2019

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

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.

TL;DR:
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)

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