Perfume Reviews

Reviews by LiveJazz

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Total Reviews: 215

Original Vetiver by Creed

This is too soapy. To me, it doesn't smell natural, it doesn't smell like vetiver, it doesn't smell like freshly cut grass, and it's not particularly smooth. It smells like a VERY nice soap. Maybe the body wash would be a good investment...this would certainly wake you up in the morning. If you're looking for a nice soap scent with good longevity, this is a top option, but I'm just not a fan of the genre. I was hoping for more vetiver and/or grass.

My favorite aspect of OV is the peppery dryness, but that note is done much better in Ormonde Jayne's Isfarkand, a similar but much more interesting (read: less soapy) scent.
13th December, 2007

Lime, Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone

When I smell this is scent, the image that comes to mind is a violent battle between three very respectable and astute gentlemen: Mr. Lime, Mr. Basil, and Mr. Pepper. After a friendly handshake and amiable introduction, the trio sees that they have irreparable differences and begin squabbling. This escalates into an all-out war. Mr. Lime, a likable firebrand thrillseeker, takes the early lead and overtakes his competitors, but he soon becomes tired and frustrated with Basil and Pepper, who are sneaky bastards. They form an alliance and pummel Lime to death, leaving him to rot, which he does, judging by his smell. Pepper and Basil are tortured by guilt, and become harsh and bitter with age.

Everyone loses, including the poor fellow who made this stuff his SotD.
13th December, 2007 (last edited: 31st August, 2009)

Acier Aluminium by Creed

I've spent quite some time trying to wrap my mind around this one. I really expected to like it, and it was the most anticipated of my recent Creed decant binge. I don't think I'll be able to like it though.

I get a dirty vibe from it, which I usually don't mind. But I get an inescapable connection to that blue juice that they use to flush airplane toilets. Weird, I know, but I can't help it. It's the sanitary nature of Kouros plus a bunch of fake-smelling fruit and spices. I don't get a whole lot of evolution out of it either, and the drydown is basically a bland version of the top. It does, however, last days. I'll give it that.
06th December, 2007
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Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone

Wow, this is one of the more unique fragrance experiences I've had in awhile. I think everyone's comments so far have been valid. Depending on what you're thinking when you smell it, it can smell like Vicks, fruit, cloves, pepper, patchouli or frankincense. However, it does not smell overdone; despite its many opposing characteristics, it strikes me as rather minimalist and dry. I must admit that I was slightly put off by the (it's true) harsh opening. I thought of a minty and smoky version of L'Anarchiste, and I smelled a strong clove note. But where L'Anarchiste puts me off, this intrigues me. It doesn't have the same sickly aura about it. The drydown focuses more on the frankincense and patchouli, while the fruit peeks from the background. This is a wonderful, wonderful drydown. I'll have to sample it a few more times to make up my mind, but there is a very good chance this is bottle worthy for me.
02nd December, 2007

Bleecker Street by Bond No. 9

Many have commented on the supposed ambery vanilla drydown of Bleecker Street. I get nothing of the sort. Maybe it's just my skin, but this one is all green all the way, plus a bit of wood and powder in the drydown. Still mostly green, though, all the way through.

The top is sharp and herbal. So sharp that at first I thought it was spicy. But if you really concentrate, it's just a very prickly green accord. As someone already said, there is something like lime zest in there, but that isn't listed as a note. All kinds of herbs (thyme, notably), but the most striking element of Bleecker Street for me is the violet leaves in the middle. This note lends a strong and definite earthy note in the heart of this one, like nothing I've smelled before. It's almost like dirt. Grassy dirt. But the way it's blended in the various herbs and greens is hypnotic.

Overall, I think of Kiton Men (in terms of the sharp, prickly, "spicy" greens) with dirtier, richer feel to it. I like it. Kiton's the one you wear with a suit. This is what you wear to play frisbee at the park.
10th November, 2007

Polo by Ralph Lauren

[Edit 9/25/2017: I smelled the reformulated Polo recently. It's cold, thin, ugly and sad. I'm not usually much of a vintage snob, but the calls to go vintage with this one are pretty much mandatory.]

I really like this one. I put off testing on myself for a really long time because of the many naysayers, but I really should have known better. I like green scents. It smells absolutely majestic. I think of Yatagan made more accessible with the addition of more conventional notes of pine and subtle tobacco. This is one of the more wearable of the power scents. Not a hint of sweetness here, but it still has a touch of something gentle in it. It smells trustworthy and honest...like a leader who does not choose to lead, but ends up leading by default. I think I'll get a bottle for the winter.

[Edit: As I've continued to wear Polo, some very discordant and medicinal notes have begun to lash out at me in the heart, and I'm much less attracted to it than I was before. I am changing my review to a neutral. Halston Z-14 and Yatagan are both somewhat similar and superior fragrances introduced the same year.]
05th November, 2007 (last edited: 25th September, 2017)

Bois du Portugal by Creed

Wow, this one absolutely deserves every bit of the raving hype it gets. I have a definite weak spot for dry spicy woods fragrances, and this once certainly fits the bill. It's the best in the category that I've smelled. Like Caron's Third Man, this one changes an unbelievable amount through the drydown. Both start out dominated by lavender, but while Third Man turns warm, sweet, thick, and almost damp, Bois du Portugal is like a sauna.

I get a very strong incense accord after the lavender fades, and this sticks around and gets spicier for a few hours. I felt like I needed a glass of water. Gradually, a very light powder note appears. This stays completely in the background though. The spice and woods definitely dominate, but now they take on a soapy oakmoss character. I've smelled an accord like this before in Divine's L'Homme Sage. It's a sweeter drydown there, but both are oakmoss beasts as far as I can tell.

I find BdP to be very charismatic and wearable in small doses...a streamlined beast that never tries to be too many things at once.
24th October, 2007

Polo Double Black by Ralph Lauren

I am very impressed by the topnotes. I'm definitely a sucker for spicy accords, and black pepper notes in particular. And mango is my favorite fruit. This is a very unique, refreshing, and compelling combo. Unfortunately, the drydown is less than spectacular. I suspect that this has to do with skin chemistry, because rather than warming up and smoothing out on me, as others have said, this turns sour, bitter, and unpleasantly sweet. I didn't smell coffee in it at all. Just some basic woods and sweetness. I would give it a thumbs down, but the topnotes are just so damn delicious, so I can't.
20th October, 2007

Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

Updated review:

I gave this one another chance, and my opinion of it has improved slightly. The topnotes truly are beautiful. I get more lime and than lemon, and this combined with the basil and rosemary smells outstandingly natural, refined and pure.

But after about an hour of pleasure, there is just something about the way the moss and citrus and the basil mix that just doesn't sit right for me! The basil starts smelling wilted and old. I'm really beginning think it's my skin, because I don't get any jasmine to speak of, and rather than vetiver, I just get a damp, stale mossy note. It turns harsh and bitter and sour, with some sweaty animal notes thrown in. I'll give it a neutral for the topnotes and because I really suspect that it might be excellent on the right person.
24th July, 2007 (last edited: 08th October, 2009)

Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermès

Well, I just can't make up my mind about this one. On the one hand, it smells pretty. Pleasant enough, and unlikely to offend. But if I think about it too much, I start to notice elements that remind me of a cheap womens' perfume from the likes of Escada. Then I snap out of it and stop thinking about it too much, and it smells modern, weightless, stark, and transparent (as we've come to expect from Ellena) again. You can easily convince yourself either way on this one. Is that part of its genius, or is it an expensive unisex perfume that borders on the mundane? I'm not going to buy a bottle just to figure it out.
20th July, 2007

Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

A violent concoction of lavender and spices attacks the nose to start, followed by a sickeningly sour heart and a dull base...

...if you spray it on a card.

If you spray it on your skin, however (well, my skin anyway), it blossoms into a rich, spicy/herbal, subdued, slightly musky aura...and what really sets Azzaro apart is is this virile, savory/salty skin dimension that vibrates beautifully against dry fougere base.

I think the salty-skin aspect is related to the subtle dash of ambergris. The accord is versatile, clean/dirty, with the slightest hint of sweetness from the anise opening lingering through - just fantastic. Azzaro Pour Homme smells like it's made with high quality ingredients, despite the value price.

Mental image: clean man enjoying the sun on an empty, rocky, dry Meditteranean shoreline. Even the (supposedly) watered down modern version has decent longevity, but relatively subdued projection, which is fine with me.

There's a reason this stuff has been outrageously popular for several decades.

18th July, 2007 (last edited: 26th September, 2018)

Baldessarini by Baldessarini

Well, I got this one blindly in a swap. I was expecting to be underwhelmed, but this is quickly joining Bvlgari PH as my standard work fragrance.

Sure, it's a little sweet, but it's such a transparently clean sweetness. Baldessarini is to sweet what Bvlgari PH is to musk. Very sheer and very easy to handle. Sillage isn't great (I don't want it to be if it's going to serve as a more formal selection), but longevity has been fine on me. This is one of the few scents featuring tobacco that work well on me. It's very well blended and smooth.

No, it isn't groundbreaking or particularly interesting, but I think there's something to be said for a cologne that just smells damn good all the time. This one certainly fits the bill.
03rd July, 2007

Vetiver by Guerlain

[Edit 10-2011: All is forgiven. My nose has apparently evolved. This scent is beautiful. Just bought a big bottle of it. It's a true pleasure to wear, and a great example of a fresh scent done right.]

I've had my decant of it for close to a year now. Every time I select it as my SotD, I'm a little excited because I think that THIS will be the day that Guerlain Vetiver (new formulation) finally clicks for me. Alas, it has never happened. Which is odd because I like vetiver, and I like citrus.

The dealbreakers for me are the nutmeg note and the strong tobacco note. I already knew that I didn't like these notes when I decided to give this scent a try, but I thought that since they're basically supporting notes in the generally terrific cast, I could deal with it. But no, the suffocating tobacco and noxious nutmeg hijack the accords and ruin the whole thing for me. It's like watching an amazing movie in a theater and knowing that it's an amsolute masterwork, but the sound is slightly off and there projector is making a big blotch in the corner of the screen. You just can't appreciate it anymore.

If you like vetiver but are not fond of the heavier notes that Vetiver makes use of, I suggest something like CdG's Vettiveru, Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire, or Creed's Original Vetiver. These are "brighter" rentitions of this theme, and work much better on me.

All that said, I can't give this a thumbs down. The evolution is too perfect, the balance of the notes too impressive, the sillage just right. No, I don't like it for myself, but it is certainly a noteworthy blend.
28th June, 2007 (last edited: 28th October, 2011)
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Kiton Men by Kiton

I've never truly liked a green scent before. It seemed that they were always too sharp...too dry...too grassy...too something. But Kiton Men just NAILS it. Perfect 10.

It starts out with a spicy zing that immediately catches your attention. You think for a second that this might be a Fahrenheit copy without the gasoline note. But within a few seconds it morphs into more of a floral green, and all but a hint of the spice has vanished. Kiton stays at this stage for quite a long period, announcing its utterly refreshing and smooth elegance with respectable sillage. The drydown is actually quite different from the rest of the scent for me. Almost powdery in an irisy kind of way. But I don't see iris on any scent pyramids, and I'm not sure that iris has the stamina to show as a basenote anyway. It's probably a subtle tonka note that's "greened" by everything around it. It’s Perfect for any situation and any season, though it's probably best for summer and spring. I love it.
05th June, 2007

Body Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

This is one of the few sweet scents that I like enough to give it a full-fledged thumbs up. I think it's because, although the sweetness is quite pronounced, it isn't the point of Body Kouros. It's just so many things at once: cool, spicy, smoky, modern, powdery, and yes, sweet too.

How you view this fragrance really depends on your frame of mind when you put it on. At times, it smells refreshingly clean, like something I'd put on after a workout. At other times, it's hot, sweet, and ragingly seductive. Most of the time, it has a nice spicy/powdery cutting edge feel to it, which is helped along by the striking addition of eucalyptus.

It might give you some trouble in the heat, but I still feel that it’s appropriate for a summer night if applied sparingly.
05th June, 2007 (last edited: 02nd September, 2009)

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

The topnotes: banana tree leaves. Exactly. When I was young, I used to have to prune my family's banana plants for the winter, or else all of the leaves would turn brown and make a big mess. I would take a big clipper and go at it. The juices that oozed out of the plants smelled like the topnotes of Philosykos. Period.

The midnotes: fresh figs, right off the tree. If you've ever smelled one, you'd recognize it. They don't smell fruity, they smell creamy/green. Just a hint of something coconuty in there.

I don't pick up much change after this point. The midnotes just soften and gradually fade to nothing. Total evolution is about 3 hours for me.

A remarkable achievement to be sure. No idea how Olivia pulled this off, but it is amazing! I've never smelled something so authentically natural. Unfortunately, I don't want to smell like a tree-ripened fig all day, as amazing as the effect might be. I won't be wearing it much, but I will be marveling at it in private regularly. Thumbs way up for the perfumer!
25th April, 2007

Dune pour Homme by Christian Dior

I really wanted to like this one. It smells pleasant. It's nice and dry and versatile, and it smells very natural. But there just isn't much substance there. It's too transparent. When I smell it, I think of a veeeery light shade of green. Almost white, but not quite. It's not one to get excited about. It needs a little more...something. Beef.

So, I give this somewhere between and neutral thumb and a thumbs up, but closer to the neutral. I might even consider buying it for summer, just because I like much more than most light scents.
22nd April, 2007

Cuiron by Helmut Lang

Cuiron. My favorite leather. I admit that I have rather limited experience with the category, but still. Wow!

Absolutely nothing smells remotely like it, and very few people wear it. In most cases this means that a fragrance is abstract and difficult to relate to. Not so with Cuiron. It's warm and inviting, yet clean and crisp. It's constantly there, but never overbearing. People love it on me. It's wearable in every season. I see this as the very definition of a great signature scent.

The top is strong and can sting the nostils somewhat, but the plum (which is hard to actually ideantify as plum, but there is definitely a fresh note there) is reassuring and keeps things grounded. After that, you're left with a dry, subdued, manly leather aroma that refreshes, surprises, and lends confidence in equal parts. It's a bit linear after the first hour, but I wouldn't want it to change anyway.

10/10, my favorite fragrance at the moment.
14th April, 2007

Euphoria Men by Calvin Klein

After reading all these reviews I couldn't believe that a fragrance could really be THAT bland. Well, it is. One of the things that makes a fragrance great (or at least good) is its ability to make you think. When I finally had the chance to put this on, I put everything I'd heard about it out of my head and prepared to appreciate it for what it is. And I thought nothing. There it was...a fragrance. On your wrist. A benign smell. Not really citrus, not woody, not ambery, not barbershop. Impossible to hate, impossible to love. And saddest of all, I think that was CK's goal.
14th March, 2007

Clean Men by Clean

Gendarme gone wrong, in my opinion. It's sharp to a fault, which is normal in topnotes, but in this case the obnoxious and unchecked citrus notes continue their assault on your nose for hours. If you mean to smell like a clean man, just get Gendarme.
14th March, 2007

The Dreamer by Versace

It reminds me of a mix between two of my least favorite scents - Le Male and D&G PH - but it's better than either of those. It has Le Male's minty-sweet synthetic opening - but that fades pretty quickly. A lingering synthetic, light sweetness from the top remains to lighten the tobacco base, making it more tolerable than D&G's loud, wretched take on the note. As nice as the development is, the topnotes are just so synthetic, thick, and unpleasant. I can't give it a pure thumbs up, but I respect it.
14th March, 2007 (last edited: 01st September, 2009)

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

This one is hard to review. On the one hand, I love the smell of it. I love the idea of it. And I love how well Dior executed it. It brings back memories of my family's lawn shed. It always smelled of dried grass, dust, and tractor. I actually used to go in there just to revel in the smell. Even before I'd developed this hobby, I swore that I'd like to smell like that shed did.

Well, I've had the opportunity to smell like that shed, and I didn't like it. It just made me uncomfortable, smelling like dust, grass, and tractor. Sure there are some woody floral notes in there, but that isn't what you notice, is it?

So, thumbs up because it is an amazing scent that I admire and love. I just won't be wearing it on a regular basis.
-----

Edit: Many years later, March 2018. It's fantastic, and I wear it all the time. I did, in fact, end up wanting to smell like my childhood lawn shed. A work of genius.
12th March, 2007 (last edited: 30th March, 2018)

Michael for Men by Michael Kors

I can see how one could like this scent a lot. It has many likeable characteristics. It's quite sweet. It's very distinctive. It's sensual.

But to me it's just too brash. It's like a multitude of hyperactive notes are trapped in a tiny cell trying to escape. If the cell were bigger or if the notes were not so energetic, the scent would work. But as they are, they form a clashing, searing, annoying mess.

The tobacco and the plum are big, sweet notes. Incense seems like it would help dry the composition out and smooth the progression a bit, but the incense in Michael reminds me of wet, sweet hookah smoke rather than dry fire-smoke. On top of all this, there's some ugly, medicinal, synthetic note that I can't place in Michael. I can't stand it.
12th March, 2007

L'Anarchiste by Caron

Pfff L'Anarchiste my foot!

On the contrary, I find this scent to be very orderly and pleasant, as far as notes are concerned. It starts with a nice little minty orange spice accord that sticks around for a good hour. As the orange and mint tapers off, I'm left with very pleasant, soft spices and musk.

I think all the ado with this one is about the mint/orange scent in the topnotes. Those two aren't thrown together often. They might might not get along too well, but seriously, they aren't anarchists. Eventually they simply make friends and part ways, leaving the always calm and dependable spice and musk notes to take over. Great, great scent...just don't overthink it.
07th March, 2007

Sandalwood / Santal by Floris

I've done a bit of a turnaround on this one. It's very temperamental in terms of sillage, but it does last longer and project better than I used to give it credit for. Case in point: I was testing several scents on cards one day. At one point I was sitting and relaxing with about 5 cards in front of me, including a few Bond no 9s, some Jo Malone, a Hermes, and on a whim Floris Sandalwood. I kept distinctly smelling the Floris from a distance over the others, but when I stuck my nose in the Floris card to get a good whiff, it really didn't smell that strong. Weird, but interesting. Further testing revealed that the fading in and out effect even more noticeable when the scent is alone.

Behavioral discussions aside, it really does feel like a single-note sandalwood. It starts very alcoholic and gradually - in fits and starts - morphs into a fuller and fuller sandalwood note, with little else there. I used to think it didn't have enough depth...but I failed to realize that you aren't going to have a single-note sandalwood with depth. You want depth, get Santal Noble. At trying to convey the smell of pure sandalwood, Floris succeeds in a way that even Tam Dao can't match.
02nd November, 2006 (last edited: 21st November, 2009)

Bois d'Argent by Christian Dior

Congrats, Joel_Cairo, on an excellent review there. I don't have a whole lot to add that wasn't in that eloquent review, other than this iris note is AMAZING. It really does smell like a freshly blooming vase of irises to me. As a whole experience, this almost brings down the fragrace a bit. The iris is rather overwhelming at times, and the honey doesn't temper it one bit. It's very sweet and powdery. Although I suspect that I will not be wearing a lot, I'll give a thumbs up for sheer quality.
31st October, 2006

No. 88 by Czech & Speake

If you like rose, get it, period. On me, this is like a stronger Voleur de Roses, in which the patchouli and spices are replaced by bergamot and sandalwood. Obviously, the rose takes center stage. Honestly, it's only the top and early heart notes that beat you over the head with rose stems. Mind you, these are freshly snipped, still wet with dew rose stems. If I had to choose any rose stems to be beat on the head with, these are them. But that still doesn't make it an enjoyable experience.

After that, it's much more pleasant. The woody, vetivery qualities begin to shine. As others have said, it's very well made and has a clear progression of notes through its very long life. I like the fact that it doesn't resort to a mish-mash of powder to soften the scent like so many rose scents do. It achives a solid, confident, and very manly drydown that still manages to remain refreshing and versatile. Thumbs down on the top, which is indeed very hard to pull off, and thumbs up on the amazing drydown. So, 3/4. Still a good one IMO.
25th October, 2006

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Avignon by Comme des Garçons

I'm not Catholic and never have been much of a churchgoer, so I can't comment this scent's ability to evoke any religious imagry. But I can tell you this is a very, very well made and complex scent.

It's so much more than just incense! While frankincense and myrrh are certainly dominant notes in here (especially during the harsh and someone shocking topnotes), they would never make an acceptable fragrance alone. In rushes the cistus oil (rockrose), which grounds the smoke and gives the fragrance that "stony" feel that others credit for evoking images of cold, stony cathedrals. Old cathedrals definitely do have a musty, dry, rocky scent about them, whether there was ever much insense around or not, and Avignon expertly recreates this smell of incomprehenible "oldness"...and all the history - good and bad- and goes along with it. Tauer acheives the same rocky, mineralic, timeless effect in L'Air du Desert Marocain. What that fragrance does with spice notes, Avignon does with incense. Soon, some dry subtle vanilla enters the scene and softens the overall accord, finally making it more approachable. It's at this point that we stop seeing Avignon as an esoteric study of insense and start to realize that it's actually a pleasant and wearable scent. I'm not sure I smell much of the roman chamomile in this. There is something green and herbal hiding in it, but this accord doesn't really attract attention to itself. Like the vanilla and rockrose, I think it serves to smooth out the rough edges of the scent and give people something familiar to grasp while experiencing this olfactory journey in time. Avignon may take some getting used to if you aren't used to such unabashedly intense, smoky insense notes (I know it took me some time to appreciate it), but wait is definitely worth the realization that this is a masterpiece. If you get to try one insense fragrance in our life, this should be it. Amazing.
16th October, 2006

Black by Bulgari

Well well well. Bvlgari Black. We meet again. The first time we met, I was astounded that I could be so revolted by a fragrance. You smelled like someone had spilled a cup of stale tea on an old dirty tire.

Now, you smell like someone sprayed a sublime vanilla infused tea fragrance on a fresh, shiny tire. A Ferrari tire. And the Ferrari is at a fancy car show featuring many stylish and rich individuals.

Honestly, I don't know what happened. Was it my nose becoming more accustomed to unconventional notes? This is an amazing scent. It is minimalistic without being boring. Attention grabbing without being loud and obnoxious. Classy without feeling stifled. Sweet without being cloying. And most importantly, unique without being intimidatingly weird. Despite what others have said, I find sillage and longevity to be better than average. This is an amazingly well thought out and expertly crafted fragrance. Try it!
15th October, 2006 (last edited: 12th April, 2017)

Sandalwood Cologne by Geo F Trumper

As far as scnets with "sandalwood" in the name go, this one has a pretty subtle and hidden sandalwood note. This isn't a bad thing, however, if you don't get it expecting another Tam Dao. As others have said, the opening notes start out a rather jumbled mess. For a few minutes it has a sweet/sour note that smells a bit synthetic and very out of place. But, as a chess player set his pieces on a board, the notes quickly organize themselves and start to make some sense. The citrus subsides, and you are left with a floral oriental type smell. Soon after, the florals fade, and some light sandalwood and leather (a sweet, subtle, heavenly barely perceptible leather) takes it place. There it stays, a subtle and not too sweet (i'm very sensitive to sweetness, but this one is one of the rare few that work) brew of magical "citrus-leather-sandalwood harmony".
11th October, 2006