Perfume Reviews

Reviews by LiveJazz

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Total Reviews: 212

Kelly Calèche Eau de Toilette by Hermès

I completely agree with Diamondflame's review of Kelly Caleche: this should not be considered a floral leather with greens. It is more of delicate, sheer floral, which happens to contain a combination of floral and green notes that give the illusion of something a little waxy and leathery. I do enjoy this strange rendition of leather, which takes some time to appear.

However, the overall synthetic/handsoapy feel of the scent keeps my enthusiasm at bay, and I sort of wonder how many aromachemicals this shares with Un Jardin Apres La Mousson, which I do not like at all.

14th December, 2010 (last edited: 21st March, 2011)

Aventus by Creed

This is good, as long as you don't approach Aventus expecting it to be a "fresh" Creed. Oh, I suppose it's fresh for about 20 minutes, as the opening pineapple and tartness burst forth, but Aventus rapidly matures and becomes more luxurious and classical.

After the opening fruits die down, we're left with some residual sweetness, helped along with a dash of patchouli, for about an hour as one of the more literal cyphre bases in a modern scent emerges. The base is surprisingly mossy...this is not where one would expect this fragrance to go, after having blindly smelled the juicy opening. I was expecting Aventus to bitter up a little, so I was impressed with the extreme evolution on display here, and the quality of the notes.

That said, I can't say I'm particularly attracted to scent Aventus evolves into. It becomes very stark, and is just a tad too bitter for me, though the entire construction is very tasteful, smooth and generally impressive. When testing, just make sure you're aware that this doesn't stay fresh for long.

If you know you like mossy, earthy cyphres, you will love this. If not, just be aware, and do not judge the scent harshly for not being something it's not meant to be. So, thumbs up. It may not be for me, but I admire it and will continue to test it.
16th October, 2010

Bang by Marc Jacobs

Great juice, here. Bang has been compared to Terre d'Hermes, Poivre Samarcande, and Gucci Pour Homme. These comparisons are all correct in part. Bang features Gucci's smooth wood notes, the glowing pepper of Poivre Samarcande, and the angular lines and versatility of Terre d'Hermes, minus the flinty notes.

That is some good company to be in, and Bang hits the sweet spot, surpassing these peers by taking advantage of the best qualities of each, and offering those qualities - and an overall feel of rounded, smooth, high quality tones - at a very good price. Sillage and lasting power are both about average on me. Does the strange marketing mesh with the scent? I don't care. The bottle is pretty nifty. I just know that this stuff is certainly in my future. Bravo to Bang!
15th October, 2010 (last edited: 20th October, 2010)
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JHL by Aramis

[See edit below - 6/11]

I'm not terribly impressed with it, to be completely honest. And no, I don't think it smells like an old lady. I'm not going to say it's not my style either: I like Hermes Equipage, which shares many traits: spice, carnation and other flowers, resinous wood notes, etc. I was prepared for the intense aldehydic floral/fruit opening, too. I fact, I kind of liked the opening and cinnamony early heart. No, the part that let me down is the part I expected to enjoy: the late heart and base.

I never expected to say this, but JHL feels a little empty, like something is missing. The spice feels rather sheer and soapy, the amber and woods that are supposed to bolster the spice and provide some body seem thin to me. The whole thing just seems shockingly transparent for this kind of scent...and this is not an accord that benefits from minimalism.

Judging my the other reviews - "rich!"..."luscious!"..."intoxicating!" - I think I'm probably in the minority. Opium Femme is much more satisfying in this category.


EDIT: I take it back, JHL! I've had the opportunity to wear this scent a few more times in the warmer weather, and I must say this stuff is really in its element when the body heats up. The same qualities I complained about a few months ago - the soapy lightfootedness of the spices - make JHL a perfect summer oriental. The heat brings some of the warmer, more substantial base materials out, and it moves away from smelling so much like a lightly spiced soap on me. An excellent choice for summer nights. I suspect it smells like this all year round for some people, but for me it seems to be a little thin in the winter - but this is my skin's fault, not JHL's.
14th October, 2010 (last edited: 13th June, 2011)

Bulgari Man by Bulgari

This is a scent that just doesn't work on me, and I think this is due to a certain sweetish green-amber basenote chemical...a sharply synthetic green amber. Narciso Rodriguez for Him EDT is also ruined by an accord like this, though it is much, much worse there than it is in Bulgari Man. Both scents share a violet leaf note, and violet leaf may accentuate the issue, but I don't think the violet itself is the problem, as there are other violet-heavy compositions I like. I enjoy the dry and bright floral-green topnotes, with just the right amount of pleasing sweet nuances, but Man went downhill from there, and now I kind of want to scrub the remaining stale mess off.
14th October, 2010

Aramis Cool Blend by Aramis

Indeed a very cooling opening. I could swear I get some brisk effervescent minty notes in the opening, but I could be imagining things. The warmer and smoother notes of cinnamon and sage in the middle are a pleasant surprise, and must be Cool Blend's tip of the hat the original Aramis. These do not weigh Cool Blend down at all, but rather just smooth it out and give a gentlemanly twist to the more common citrus and wood notes. This is not sharp at all, and I love the transition from coolness to glowing warm (but not heavy) notes.

The problem here is the longevity. It's very hard to detect after about two or three hours. Still, I'll give it a thumbs up for the smell, and because it would be great in the summer heat
14th October, 2010

Un Jardin Après La Mousson by Hermès

Ok, no. I can't ignore the reality here and the reality is that this Jardin smells like cheap melon-scented soap. The opening is kind of nice and spicy, but in about 5 minutes, poof, melon soap. A blight on Ellena's record.
14th October, 2010

Devin by Aramis

This is good...one of my favorites in the Gentleman's Collection, I think. I'm a sucker for green scents, and I like leathers, so this is a natural fit for me. Standard-issue citrus herbal topnotes give way to a bracing and dry green heart. The outdoorsy green notes of the heart become softer and gain a tiny bit of sweetness as the amber and musk notes start to show through a bit. But this phase, too, passes, and the scent adopts a more bitter, mossy green nature in the later base. Throughout, animal leather notes softly rumble in the background. I think the pyramid of this scents should really be divided into four parts, as the evolution of Devin is quite extreme.

I do find some major similarities with Yatagan: the animalism of the leather (toned down here), the outdoorsy greenery, and nice balance and evolution. Yet here, Yatagan's tone as been cleaned up. The top doesn't smell like a steak. Imagine Yatagan brought in from the wilderness and scrubbed up with the bracingly fougere-ish nature of Azzaro Pour Homme, and you might have something like Devin.
14th October, 2010

Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren

I like the cucumber note in the opening. The aquatic tone is more on the "watery" side, versus the more grating and sharp (to me) marine accord. This is offset by a nice herbaceous/woody heart. It's a bit synthetic, yes, but it smells really nice, and is a great representative of the melon-aquatic trend of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Longevity is mediocre to poor on me.
13th August, 2010 (last edited: 25th September, 2017)

Anvers 2 by Ulrich Lang

I glanced at Anvers 2's pyramid awhile back and almost ran away without looking back. I tend to dislike "everything but the kitchen sink" scents. They usually come across as an unfocused mess of notes in disarray. Looking at the pyramid, Anvers 2 should fall into this category.

Thankfully, it does not. I was convinced to get a sample after reading Off-Scenter's excellent review, in which he alludes to the simplicity/complexity paradox of Anvers 2.

In short, he is right. It is complex, but never bludgeons your nose with chaos like, say, Antidote. Anvers 2 reveals a whiff of greens here, florals there, tobacco, pepper, woods, amber and more. This concoction should collapse under its own weight and project a swampy, dismal cloud. But instead, it's an agile, cat-like fragrance. None of the elements conflict. Light on their feet, they dance around each other, perfectly synchronized.

Anvers 2 manages to smell rich, fresh and ethereal all at once, and it's a great experience for almost any occasion.
09th August, 2010

Shalimar by Guerlain

Vintage (1960's?) EDC:

This is one of the most indisputably beautiful and pleasant fragrances I know of. Everything about it is as smooth as fine silk or velvet. A brief spark of citrus gives may almost immediately to a glimmer of florals, and everything is always backed by understated opoponax and that signature smoked vanilla Guerlainade base. There's just the barest hint of something animalic in there, too. Everything is incorporated so clearly and seamlessly that notes are almost irrelevant. The whole thing is just beautiful and mysterious. You just have to try it. No matter how you think it will be, it will be better than that.

Just be sure to try an EDC version if you can. I sampled the EDP, and did not find it as enjoyable. The citrus notes from the opening seem to stick around longer than they're welcome.
13th July, 2010

Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

Contrary to the normal reactions to this scent, I'm much more impressed with the opening of Eau d'Hermes than the mid and base evolution. It does NOT need time to settle; it needs to keep the spunky opening accords longer!

The opening reminds me of being on a farm after all the animals have been freshly cleaned for display at the county fair. But this is a farm, after all, and animals are going to smell like animals. I really enjoy this. I love cumin, and it's used here with some sort of musk or civet to great effect, along with citrus and lavender. Dirtier than cumin or cardamom could be alone, but not too dirty.

After that, the scent calms down and cleans up. The citrus and lavender fade, followed by the wonderful cumin and animal-ness, and we're left with a like powdery leather base that's really quite proper. Clearly of another time, and really enjoyable to wear.

This review was of a copper-top semi-vintage bottle.
12th July, 2010 (last edited: 18th May, 2018)

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

This stuff is heavy and serious. Harsh greens turn into spicy powered rose turns into overpowering bitter powder. Stifling and unpleasant all the way through for me. I prefer my green cyphres to have some spring in their step, like Diorella.
09th July, 2010
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Yohji Homme by Yohji Yamamoto

Oh my gosh this smells good. Unbelievable! If you want a play-by-play, please refer to pluran's excellent review. He accurately describes Yohji Homme's gentle balancing act between dry fougere, spiced rum essence, and gourmand notes of coffee and anise (sweetened primarily by the rum note). I have nothing to add to his dissection. Here are my personal observations:

I am one of those people for whom gourmand fragrances are often too sweet and cloying, so I really appreciate a gourmand with a groomed character and some restraint. Even this one toes the line, but stays just on the safe side by implementing that outstanding fougere accord, which lends just enough class to balance out any potential crass.

Those who like their gourmands to be bombastic, like A*Men or Rochas Man, will be disappointed. As others have noted, Yohji really doesn't compare to them, and I hesitate to strictly define it as a gourmand. This is a gentleman's scent which happens to dabble with edible notes. Projection is low but longevity is high for me. The base really seems to react to body heat, so I recommend wearing it under the shirt, on the chest, in warm weather. This creates a subtle, warm, sexy glow. Enchanting.
08th July, 2010 (last edited: 27th October, 2011)

J'Adore by Christian Dior

So, I am the second person in a row to think J'Adore smells like shampoo. And no, I didn't read Off-Scenter's review before I smelled it. It doesn't smell bad. I guess I just don't see the point. I expect much more from Dior.
08th July, 2010

Sycomore Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Wow, Sycomore has just catapulted into my purchase shortlist.

After a startling opening that reminds me of cigarette wrapped in grass for about 30 seconds, Sycomore beautifully morphs first into a smoky green vetiver (the smoke provided by burning cypress, IMO), then the smoke fades out, revealing and iris-flavored sandalwood and vetiver accord, with just a hint of plush tobacco in the background, working with the iris to soften things. As the base deepens, smoke fades out completely, and we're left with a powdered sandalwoody vetiver.

Other than the iris, I'm not getting a lot of florals out of this...in fact, I'd say that, along with vetiver, creamy sandalwood plays a dominant role on my skin. Imagine a pure vetiver-iris accord layered on top of Tam Dao's pure, green, creamy woods. That's the impression I get, and it's perfect.
07th July, 2010

Ambre Canelle by Creed

I was so looking forward to smelling Ambre Canelle. A stately amber with cinnamon, one of my favorite notes. But alas, it did not agree with me. Ambre Canelle doesn't strike as particularly ambery, and I don't notice much of a cinnamon note, either. Mostly, I get stale soap and ambergris.

Stuffman has described my experience with it perfectly, and I will quote him:
"At first whiff, it seemed to lie somewhere in the generic continuum between Youth Dew and Chanel No. 5, full of powder with no discernible masculinity whatsoever. As the scent dried down, the most prominent note to my nose was rose, overlayed on delicate powder with traces of cinnamon."

Very soapy, and the soap clashes with the heavier spice elements in a way that just bothers me. This isn't what I signed up for.

For a masculine Creed with comforting sillage and a very nice, toasty cinnamon note, look to Baie de Genievre, which beats this stuff in every way.
06th July, 2010

Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma

I admire Acqua di Parma's outstanding quality. Each accord flows smoothly (but quickly) into its neighbor, and absolutely nothing smells synthetic, out of balance, or out of place. The topnotes, in all their sparkling herbed citrus glory, are a particular pleasure.

But as well-constructed as the fragrance is, the middle and base get a little too floral and powdery for me. I really hate to use the "old lady" cliche, but that really is what comes to mind. I mean this is one classy gal with impeccable taste, but still. If only the brilliant aspects of the top could stick around a little longer, at least in part, to temper the outspoken florals. The jasmine must be the problem for me, because I don't mind a good rose. I still acknowledge the quality of these phases of the scent - a super old school woody floral - and I also acknowledge that this is not my style.

Do sample it. Everyone should be familiar with this cologne benchmark. Just be warned that the floral aspect does grow quickly, so if you're seeking a straightforward eau de cologne structure, this isn't it. For that, try Eau de Guerlain.
29th June, 2010

Booster by Lacoste

How I wanted to love it. And I do love the topnotes, with their nose-tingling, high-end spa notes that are so well constructed and blended that they are nearly impossible to identify as such unforgiving notes as eucalyptus and peppermint. I find it to be a very calming, clean, zen-like green accord, which gradually amps up some complimentary spice notes. Liking it so far.

But, right on schedule, 30 minutes or so after application, just as others have indicated, powdery synthetic wood fizz attacks and takes over the addictive opening in the blink of an eye and turns Booster into an obnoxious shell of its former self.

It's sad to see the potential of these topnotes wasted so completely.
28th May, 2010

Yang by Jacques Fath

I like green scents, and I sort of like powdery scents. But green powder? Not so much. I don't know what it is - perhaps it just doesn't agree with my skin, but the smell makes me feel very uncomfortable. And it seems to be the main note in Yang.

I find Yang to be very similar in many respects to Cartier's Declaration, but I like that scent a lot more. They share a strong cardamom presence and both have a rather powdery finish to them. But where Yang verges green and dense, Declaration verges woody and sheer, and that makes all the difference.
13th May, 2010

Erolfa by Creed

So this is supposed to be the uber-aquatic Creed that puts Imperial and Silver Mountain Water to shame with its briney, swashbuckling goodness, a real seaman's scent, made with the sweat off Moby Dick's brow, as per Creed's marketing literature. Must be pretty awesome. I like "real" aquatics!

...but shiver me timbers!! It's topped with sweet fruit a la Imperial, except its sweet citrus instead of sweet melon, and hides the nice Creed ambergris base (yes, overdone, but still nice), with an overdose of ozone-ade. Is that why it has the briney reputation? Don't people recognize this by now!? Blah! Stay away from this generic froot-aquatic. The worst of the Millesimes, IMO.
10th May, 2010

Agua de Loewe by Loewe

Really very nice. Agua de Loewe is aquatic but not marine. Like L'Eau Par Kenzo, it starts with sparkling but soft green/citrus notes and bring to mind not the ocean but a gurgling mountain stream surrounded by wildflowers. When I first tried L'Eau Par Kenzo, I got the same exact image. I absolutely loved the smell but remember wishing for better longevity. Loewe has granted my wish.
04th May, 2010

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

The opening is what I would describe as lightly smoked and herbed (saffron?) raspberry accord with medicinal tendencies. It's a very strange opening which is not unpleasant, but I wouldn't want it to last much longer than it does, which isn't very long.

The smokiness fades first, within minutes. The rasberry follows, and soon we have just a supple, suedey, pillowy leather that seems strangely edible, like leather you'd like to chew on. It's quite dry at this point, but "fuzzy." It's a very difficult leather accord to describe, but it's very very good if you like leather. Maybe this will help: Tuscan Leather is leather antithesis of Cuiron, which is dry and sharp and austere, and which I also like.
18th March, 2010

Antaeus by Chanel

I don't agree with all the butch-80s-juice reviews.

Conversely, I find Antaeus to be one of the most well-behaved 80s fragrances for men. It actually starts out rather feminine, with a good helping of aldehydes and (I think) florals. Could be the myrtle, but the only kind of myrtle I've smelled is crape myrtle, and that was long ago. Not my favorite opening, but it will do. The evolution is worth it.

The florals fade to a smooth, creamy, sandalwood/patchouli combo with a hint of spice, before fading to a dusty-sweet leathery amber base, with a beeswax kick. It lasts a long time, and never fades to chemical drivel. It retains its character.

A great fragrance - unlike anything on the market. It's surprisingly wearable, versatile and (dare I say) refreshing..
20th February, 2010

Burberry for Women by Burberry

This is a wonderful scent, and quite unisex, IMO. The opening is an interesting blend of fruits (peach and apple are both identifiable) and harder to define spice notes. This opening is a little bit loud, but relatively unique, and quite pleasing.

I have no idea where the topnotes in the pyramid above came from; they doesn't reflect the opening at all.

As the scent evolves, it gradually dries into a very dry, dusty, almost resinous amber and mossy sandalwood accord, which maintains softening sweet element. I could swear that there's good helping of oakmoss in there, but I could be wrong. This compelling and versatile drydown is why I don't hesitate to wear this scent myself.

My girlfriend likes it (finally, she likes something other than a vanilla-beast oriental!!), but I steal it occasionally. Big thumbs up.
05th February, 2010

Versace pour Homme by Versace

I'm usually a pretty easygoing reviewer, even with scents that are very unpopular or that disagree with me strongly. But I have to say...Versace Pour Homme is just exquisitely bad. It's like someone took Allure Homme Sport, made it project like Kouros, and dumped pesticides in it. Certain scents are so synthetic they make my mouth taste plasticy...this is one of them. Really, really unpleasant for me.
18th January, 2010

Agrumi di Sicilia / Agrumi Amaria di Sicilia by Bois 1920

It smells quite good, with (as expected) with bitter, sour, natural citrus notes, followed by a vague woody dry down. I enjoy the scent itself (pedestrian though it is), but the longevity is pathetic. And this is coming from someone whose skin usually projects and holds scent well.

It was barely there after all of 10 minutes. If I put my nose IN by wrist. I could get just the tiniest whiff of some soft (sandal?)woody notes. Seriously, I get more out of Eau d'Orange Verte.
19th November, 2009

French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I've been trying to think of succinct ways to describe French Lover. The words I keep returning to are “mysterious green fortress,” kind of like a foreboding Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz.

On the one hand, French Lover is an absolutely shimmering, spicy green fragrance that remains resolutely muscular, dry and somewhat transparent throughout its evolution…a big, glossy, immovable green fortress.

I can’t overstate how prickly the opening peppered greens come off. This accord brings to mind a nettle plant, full of the tiniest prickly thorns, growing in a bed of ground black pepper. Incense and dry vetiver gradually join the spicy nettle-like note (probably the angelica, in reality). Eventually some dirtier notes start to show through. This is not a musky, animalic dirty note to me, but more of an earthy dirty note, almost like the enjoyable perfume of freshly decomposed compost dirt.

But on the other hand, there’s a certain other-worldliness to French Lover. There’s a detached wisp of a black rubbery note in with the green that makes the scent feel rather aloof and spacey at times.

It’s an odd duality for sure: the muscular green block and the spacey rubber. But I can’t stop sniffing it! This would be a great scent for gardening. In Oz. Or on a space station.
18th November, 2009

Chevignon by Chevignon

To me, the citrus on top is kept to a minimum; I primarily get a zingy rush of forest-y green and spice notes (possibly cinnamon in there, which may account for the otherwise mysterious "apple pie" comments). The top does smell rather like Christmas. This is followed by a sudden bloom of very resinous, dry, rich wood notes, with subtle piney accents. The green eventually fades out, leaving mostly the resinous woods, a light dose of spice, and a rocky, mineralic amber base.

On me, it's very deep, dry and tenacious base, bordering on powerhouse territory, but never cloying.

I really like it. It provides some real depth and "oomph," but never oversteps its bounds. It smells virile and refreshing, and is suitable for many occasions. This is one of those rare versatile scents that keeps me interested and satisfied.

I think it's discontinued, or at least reformulated, renamed, repackaged, and ruined...but the older version - cardboard looking box, bottle pictured above - can still be had cheaply. Get it NOW.
16th November, 2009

Équipage by Hermès

A sparkling, good natured masculine fragrance that perfectly balances a soft, non-resinous pine note, a refreshing and spicy masculine floral accord that reminds me of clove, and just enough warmth (tonka, patchouli, perhaps a touch of tobacco) mixed with the remaining woods in the base to prevent any notion that this scent might be harsh or austere. Simply wonderful. It's classic, but never dated, and warm but never heavy in the least. I just feel great wearing it. Major thumbs up.
12th November, 2009 (last edited: 30th November, 2009)