Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Buysblind

Total Reviews: 207

Afternoon Swim by Louis Vuitton

A very pleasant and enjoyable take on a modern citrus fragrance, Afternoon Swim opens with vibrant fruity notes, both sweet and tart, resembling orange, bergamot, and perhaps grapefruit. What separates AS from an average, mundane citrus is mostly twofold: First, the notes themselves have a very colorful, juicy, lively feeling and come across as something of a bouquet rather than just one singular note or accord. Secondly, they're infused with a subtle, salty-aquatic quality that recalls ambergris and the marine-like dimension of Creed's Millesime Imperial. It's a quality that's present but subtle--lending a seaside breeze to the citrus and really establishing a connection to the fragrance's name. The citrus blend itself is both sweet and tart. In fact, one negative review of Afternoon Swim succinctly summed things ups by stating, "Smells like Sweet Tarts candy. That's all." While I disagree with the general sentiment of the comment, the comparison to Sweet Tarts is pretty accurate--one facet of Swim's citrus notes do in fact resemble the popular candy. But there's more to it than that, of course.

Regarding its performance, Afternoon Swim is appropriately sneaky. It goes on with a fresh rush, nice and bright and awakening. Then, in about 20 minutes it settles in and becomes pretty quiet at first. But it doesn't end there: Over the course of the next 4 to 6 hours, Afternoon Swim appears, disappears and reappears in pleasant, vivid wafts as you wear it. It doesn't persist with one, linear pulse, but rather it fades in and out in a breezy, relaxed manner that seems to suit the fragrance well. If you're looking for a powerhouse citrus, look elsewhere, but if you can appreciate a fragrance that weaves in and out over the course of its average to slightly above average longevity, this is a good choice.

Overall AS feels very modern and fresh--it's well-suited for the summer and spring--and though I can't imagine using it much in the colder months, I think it could work well in an indoor office environment as a generally casual, pleasing smell that is never too intrusive. The fragrance's presentation is a treat--from bottle to box everything is a high- quality pleasure to behold. A bit more complex and clever than it first appears, Louis Vuitton's Afternoon Swim brings a bright citrus fragrance to the market with enough nuance to make it stand out from the crowd. Final rating 8.5/10
08th July, 2019

Herrera Confidential : Mystery Tobacco by Carolina Herrera

Mystery Tobacco immediately leaves the impression of being very good, and up there among the best/most popular tobacco fragrances that are most often referenced when discussing the genre (Tobacco Vanille, Odori Tabacco, Herod, 18.21 Man Made, Pure Havane, Franck Boclet, etc.). That's just the immediate feeling it gives off--a high quality, natural, well-made tobacco, able to compete with all the rest. And it's probably better than most of them...

What I first noticed about this one, is that the tobacco itself is not adulterated by an overload of gourmands notes, spices, booze, or anything else.. Many tobacco scents are just partially so--they may be 25% tobacco, but contain larger proportions of other notes like vanilla, cinnamon, rum, or leather. Even in fragrances with 'tobacco' in the name, the note itself may only appear in a supporting role, or at most, sharing the spotlight with something else. That doesn't mean that some of these fragrances aren't very good--because scents like Tabac Rouge and Ambre Narguile are some of the best around--but it does mean that you may be left a little unsatisfied, and wanting a little more...tobacco. True tobacco fragrances are rare.

Mystery Tobacco puts the tobacco note right at the front and center of the composition. It's a natural tobacco, and smells like a combination of freshly harvested, golden tobacco leaves, and darker pipe tobacco, a hint smoky, with chocolate-like patchouli accents, and a wonderfully-creamy tonka base beneath it all. The tonka is subtle at first, until you hone in on it and realize its undeniable presence in the overall structure. There's also a fresh, lively spiciness infused throughout Mystery Tobacco which balances the tonka and darker aspects of the tobacco and patchouli. This is an important element in the fragrance as it keeps Mystery Tobacco from becoming too dark and heavy, which can ultimately be a drag to wear--you want your fragrance to have at least some sort of levity and ebullience, and the ginger does a good job of affecting that here. Overall, this is a mostly linear fragrance, with the creamy, roasted qualities of the tonka emerging more over time, along with some of the earthiness from the patchouli. The tobacco remains present from beginning to end.

Performance is better than above average, as it has 12 hours-plus longevity and very good projection. This one gets out there well, though (to its credit) I wouldn't quite describe it as "nuclear," and that's because of the fragrance itself and how it's composed. It's not one loud, thick wall of scent that's going to smack you in the face, but rather a very diffusive, yet substantial and aromatic tobacco with good range and sillage. I sprayed it a few times in a room upstairs and was able to catch sweet wafts of it all throughout my house. But even in the room where I sprayed it it wasn't overwhelming or clogging it up.

I do not think this smells like any other tobacco scent on the market right now--at least that I've smelled--though it may have some qualities that remind you at times of certain other tobacco's. What's really nice about Mystery Tobacco is that it presents a true tobacco fragrance--placing the note right at the forefront of the composition--while embellishing it just enough with other notes to make it interesting, alluring, and enjoyable enough to be something that you would really want to wear. You're not going to smell like a birthday cake garnished with a single tobacco leaf, but you also won't smell like your old uncle when he's glued to his favorite armchair smoking his evening pipe. The tobacco accord is smooth and natural, and given enough depth and dimension to drive the fragrance. Two or three sprays should be plenty with this. If you can find it, Mystery Tobacco is well worth sampling. If it wasn't for its expensive price tag, I'd recommend it as a blind buy. As of now, I'm giving it a final rating of 9/10, with the potential to be a 9.5.
03rd April, 2019

Side Effect by Initio

I have a much lengthier, more detailed review of Side Effect on another website, but rather than copy and paste it here I thought I'd write a shorter, different review for Basenotes.

I went out to dinner tonight to a nice restaurant and I wanted to wear something a little special, a little more elegant and warm than my typical daily wear choices which involve a lot of fresh citrus notes, mint, and clean woods--so I chose Side Effect. It was the perfect choice.

Side Effect occupies the Tabac Rouge, Tobacco Vanille, Ambre Narguile, Herod dimension. It's largely centered around cinnamon, tobacco, vanilla, and rum. As a matter of fact, when I look up at the top of this page at its note pyramid, I see that those are the only notes that are listed in its pyramid. So it's a pretty simple fragrance. To break down by percentage, I'd say that it's 30% Cinnamon, 30% Rum, 20% tobacco, and 20% vanilla. My favorite note among these is the rum. Side Effect has an excellent rum note--it strikes the perfect balance between booze and spice and ends up smelling quite realistic as well. Its prominence in the composition is what sets it apart from the fragrances I mentioned previously, as none of them feature rum at all, let alone as one of the leading accords. The other notes are also very nice. The cinnamon has a good, piquant bite; the tobacco is smooth and fresh and resembles a quality pipe tobacco or perhaps even more, golden tobacco leaves rolled in a premium cigar; and the vanilla is smooth and creamy, like a dark vanilla ice cream, emerging later in the base and giving everything a nice, gourmand sort of finish. And of course everything works in harmony.

This is a time-tested and true combination of notes that always smells good together and it's no different here with Initio Side Effect. But what I like about Side Effect, and why it worked so well for me tonight when I went out to dinner, is its strength and how its projection is calibrated. Side Effect is not a loud, strong fragrance. It's politely restrained, never shouting or interfering with things outside its space. At the same time, it has persistent, steady presence. I was able to smell the fragrance all throughout dinner, but it was never even slightly distracting or intrusive .In the cold night air walking to and from the restaurant, it caught the breeze and escorted us on our stroll, lending just enough of its scent to be charming and enjoyed. And when I eventually came home, I didn't even want to take my sweater off because it smelled so good with the couple shots I sprayed under my shirt. This is what I think you will either like about Side Effect, or dislike about it. In my opinion, Side Effect is an example of how this combination of notes should be presented--never too loud or overwhelming but always steady and present. Its restraint shows class, and reveals the elegance of the notes. Too loud and they feel cheap and obvious, a tacky gourmand thrill meant to impress the novice; too soft and they're charm is lost, never to be fully enjoyed. Surely, some will find its restraint too subtle for their own tastes. They'll be looking for the wallop of Tobacco Vanille or the high intensity of Herod. They won't find it here. Side Effect is a grown-up's gourmand and don't get me wrong--you'll definitely smell it and it definitely has solid presence--it just doesn't beat you over the head with it. The ingredients are top notch, without a scratchy or discordant note in sight, and its classic theme is sure to be enjoyed by many. And again, while the previously mentioned fragrance seem to mostly focus on tobacco in combination with some of the other notes, Side Effect has a unique rum accord playing a central role throughout which makes it somewhat unique. Final rating: 9/10, and a definite Thumbs up.
17th March, 2019
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Elysium pour Homme Cologne by Roja Dove

And...*poof*’s gone.

Elysium Cologne smells absolutely wonderful for the 20 minutes that it lasts. I do not believe I’m exaggerating or employing hyperbole here either—I can smell this on me for about 20 minutes with the standard 4 sprays. If I want to make it last an hour, I need to apply 8 to 10. While it’s more substantial than Guerlain’s classic, Cologne Imperiale, it’s not by much. And while I give the Guerlain a pass considering it costs about $35 and I can spray it with reckless abandon, it’s hard to pardon a cologne that lasts just a little bit longer and costs nearly 10 times as much. But it is specifically called Elysium COLOGNE, so it’s not like we haven’t been warned. And it does smell so fuggin’ good that part of me wants to give it a pass. It really smells good. I’m not even going to attempt to describe its smell here. For one, I kind of already did in my review of the Parfum, and even that seemed like a futile effort to some degree. So all I can say about this one is that it smells like a lighter, brighter, watered down version of the Parfum—not as round, not as full, not as complex. It really seems like something that’s intended to accessorize the Parfum, used to top it off and embellish it with a little brightness, or to be used as the mid-day re-application. The Parfum is better. But this one’s nice. The other reason I’m not really going to try to describe its smell is that it’s such an odd, quirky example of a citrus accord (grapefruit?), that you really need to smell it to understand it at all. It’s fresh, natural but infused with an odd chemical smell, sticky sweet but breezy and transparent all at once. It’s definitely interesting...for 20 minutes. If you have money to blow and it’s just burning a hole in your pocket then I would tell you to buy this in addition to the Parfum and go have a ball. If your budget-conscious and are looking for something that performs well and will get you through a day at work, then look elsewhere. Honestly. Otherwise every time you spray this $3/ml juice you’re going to wonder what on earth you were thinking.

Dominant smells: Citrus, sweet ambergris, Vetiver, odd pleasant chemical

Final rating: 8/10 on smell alone. If it performed well this could easily be a 9. Sample first.
07th March, 2019

Polo Red Extreme by Ralph Lauren

A good contrast between fresh and warm, with the tart, refreshing blood orange and grapefruit up top and the roast coffee and ebony wood in the base. It actually creates a really nice smell that, while a bit synthetic in nature, comes across with notes that are distinct and easy to identify. A lot of these modern mall designers just have these very vague fruity notes over darker and equally vague sweet tonk-related notes. But that's not the case here. It seems as though some care and effort went into creating notes that are actually reflected in the pyramid. If you don't mind the general synthetic quality of modern mainstream designers (which I don't), then this is a really nice option to explore. It smells a lot better than the other Polo Red fragrances in the lineup and works as a scent that is both fresh enough for daily wear while possessing enough dark, alluring qualities to make it appropriate for a date as well. Thumbs up, with a final 8/10 rating. I'm not a fan of Polo fragrances in general, but this one surprised me.
23rd February, 2019

Pour Un Homme L'Eau by Caron

The good thing about Caron Pour Un Homme L'Eau is that it's the true-to-the-original, lighter L'Eau we've all been waiting for. While I enjoy Sport and think that it's well made, it was quite a departure from CPUH and probably not what most people were expecting. L'Eau remains true to form, comprised mainly of the same sort of lavender/vanilla combination as the original, only made much lighter and with some additional citrus notes that make it more of a warm weather option. Indeed, this is a lighter, airier, more watery version of the original, with soft citrus notes infused throughout and a cooling, partly mineralic/earthy geranium twist laid over the same green, herbal lavender of the original As it develops, L'eau takes on something of a more dry, ozonic air with a warm, salty accent, most likely a result of the ambergris that's listed in its pyramid. There are times when this dry saltiness almost comes across smoky, and it's a unique quality to L'Eau--one aspect which helps give it distinction and personality. In fact the entire scent, despite its lightness and airy structure, is quite distinct. The embellishments that have been added while creating L'Eau do enough to give it its own profile and personality while never straying to far from the theme of the original. And just like the original, everything concludes in a base of soft vanilla, a smooth, easy landing that's comforting and relaxing.

I think real fans of the original and die-hard fragrance enthusiasts are going to appreciate this, though I could see there being one main issue with the more mainstream crowd---it's very light. There will no doubt be some complaints about both projection and longevity, as this is a very airy, and at times subtle fragrance. At its peak, L'Eau projects about 1 foot off the skin, though it does create a pleasant sillage when it catches the air. It's all but a skin scent in about 5 hours. For some, this will not be enough, but as a lighter option to CPUH, at least to me, this really seems like the perfect execution of the concept.

Just to review, L'Eau is an airier, citrus-infused, salty-ambergris-tinged, dry-ozonic and at times even waterier version of the original, with a cooling/earthy geranium accent and overall a much lighter, diffusive density. It's very well done although it may be too light for those expecting something with more power and presence. For true fans of the original who like the idea of a lighter, l'eau option, I recommend this as a blind buy--it will most likely satisfy your expectations and maintain the essence of the original. For others, who are just casual fans of CPUH, I recommend sampling this first. While it's very good, it may be perceived as "weak" by some. Thumbs up, and a final solid rating of 8/10.
22nd February, 2019

I am King by Sean John

This is a great cheap fragrances with a fantastic opening accord of cranberry and tangerine that is tart, fruity, crisp, refreshing, and just a touch watery. In fact I love the opening. It's so addictive. If I give myself about 10 sprays I can make it last for a good hour before it settles in to a nondescript base of light woods and white musks. But traces of it still remain for several hours before the scent basically disappears. Longevity isn't I Am's strong suit, but it's the kind of fragrance that is really easy to reapply. What's nice about it is that the aroma chemicals used to comprise the base notes aren't very strong or harsh, so that abrasive, headache inducing quality never really comes out even you put on 10 sprays in the morning and another 10 at lunch. I like fragrances where you can do that--just spray away with reckless abandon amplifying the opening notes and not worrying about anything after that. This is the kind of scent I throw on before running errands or in the morning before work when I want something very light for the day that will still provide me with a quick morning pick-me-up. Anyway, don't expect too much from this one and it will treat you well in return. I have fragrances worth 20 times what I paid for I Am King, yet this is one of my most used. Why? It's just so easy. And while it lasts, it smells so nice, so refreshing, and isn't complicated in any way. If something like that sounds appealing to you, check this one out. You may be pleasantly surprised. And don't forget--spray away! You really need to get that opening going for this one to work its magic. Don't be shy!
07th February, 2019

Sådanne by Slumberhouse

Along with Pear + Olive, this is the brightest Slumberhouse by far. It opens with a big blast of animalic funk before the other notes begin to emerge and takeover. When the animalics recede (still present but more suppressed and lowered in the base) a big strawberry/champagne accord starts to show up and color the overall flavor of the composition. It begins with the bitter/sour, fermented quality of wine and while it never really loses this influence, it does sweeten up and become a bit fresher over time. In conjunction with the strawberry champagne, there is a notable red rose which seems to paint the whole in a soft floral shade. The rose in Sadanne feels spread-out, almost as if a soft red rose powder was given a dusting over everything, sprinkled throughout the composition without ever taking firm root in any one place. By the time it reaches the heart, Sadanne has achieved a relative balance among these different aspects--it is part musky/animalic, part white wine with its fermented, champagne bite, and part fruity fresh, a big red strawberry sitting right in the middle of it all. While I know its useful for review purposes and those considering this fragrance to classify a scent as masculine or feminine, Sadanne is difficult to pin down, and it seems for the most part, truly unisex in nature. I think it could smell beautiful on a woman, but also avant garde and mysterious on a man. As with most of Josh Lobb's creations, there is a distinct "Slumberade" accord or quality running throughout Sadanne. If you're familiar with the brand, you could most likely sniff this blindfolded and know where it came from. Overall, Sadanne is an interesting scent with a dynamic contrast between 3 key accords (animalic/wine/strawberry) and it is completely unique as far as my experience goes. Definitely worth checking out. Final rating, 8/10.
02nd February, 2019

Gentlemen Only by Givenchy

I love this stuff. It's a solid fragrance to wear to work and to smell good while remaining somewhat discreet and not attracting unwanted attention. The overall smell is something like the pink pepper accord you get in Spicebomb, but it's crisper, less-sweet, and a bit more brisk and airy as well. Thus it wears less heavily and has a very fresh quality about it that balances the sweetness. Before I tried this, I thought it was going to be a lot more conservative and "boring" in its impression, but it's really not that at all. Although it's somewhat safe, overall it's quite uplifting and feels rather modern. While the fresh-spicy-sweet pink pepper accord generally drives the fragrance, it's supported well by a woody vetiver accord in the base that emerges later in its development, and a kind of gray, smoky incense that that keep the pink pepper and mandarin orange in check, lending a needed and slightly bitter more masculine element to the mix. On the whole, it's a well-polished and blended fragrance with very smooth transitions and harmony and balance between the notes. You'll feel crisp and fresh wearing this and will be able to enjoy it throughout the day even if you're not intruding the space of those around. Longevity is solid and projection is on the better side of average. Quietly becoming a favorite of mine, I'd give Gentlemen Only a final rating of 8.5/10, and I'm going to recommend it as a blind buy for those in the market for a fresh, safe, and modern casual-office fragrance that gets the job done.
11th January, 2019

Valentino Uomo Acqua by Valentino

This was a creative and daring idea from Valentino and has largely gone under-appreciated since it's release in 2017. It smells fantastic. Before we go into its construction or discuss its performance or whether or not it's a true summer fragrance or masculine enough, let's just make this clear--it's a pleasure to smell. Uomo Acqua tones down the gourmand elements of the original until they're simmering just below the lines of perceptibility, while leaving its recognizable iris accord largely intact. Without the chocolate and hazelnut upfront as they are in the original the iris takes on more of an airy, higher pitch, and here it's met with a vivid, juicy, clear mandarin note and slightly bitter-green tomato leaf. The combination works beautifully, and the resulting smell is almost along the lines of a barely ripe pear--fruity and refreshing with a trace of vegetal bitterness to keep it all in check. This is the dominant accord, backed by a discreet, but oh-so-smooth suede, that plays out for the first couple of hours while wearing Uomo Acqua. It's completely enjoyable and has an interesting effect, as these notes manage to convey a fresh, unique approach that balances a casual springtime, summer appeal with a bit of a dressy, semi-formal character due to the leather and iris. Hues of pale yellows and greens swirl gracefully among whites, and soft, translucent beiges.

This is a different kind of scent--void of sharp citrus notes and white musks, not too swept away into the ambery depths of its sturdy iris accord or over-concerned with its leathery base--it masterfully creates a relatable "Acqua" out of its original elements. Performance is where this one falters, perhaps, but to what extent? I think there have been a lot of snap judgments in this regard, both over-exaggerating its lack of performance and also forgetting the category into which this scent ultimately falls, and that being a warm weather "aquatic." To begin, I get a reliable 4 to 6 hours from this. With at least 2 or 3 hours of solid, above average projection. If I spray more heavily than usual, I'll get 6 to 8 hours of longevity without a problem. So it really doesn't disappoint me in this area considering the majority of summer citrus fragrances last no longer than it, and usually even less. Another gripe about this is that it's not masculine enough. Well, those are probably complaints coming from the same kind of people who wrote off Dior Homme when it was first released, or who believe that men's fragrances have to feature sharp citruses, bold leathers, and traditional aromatics in order to feel masculine. Who cares? I mean of course, if you feel that way, than indeed this one might not be masculine enough for you, but if you've been enjoying men's fragrances in the 21st century, then you've probably gotten over this.

To conclude, Uomo Acqua's combination of green, slightly bitter, fruity-fresh notes over Dior's lipstick-like, cosmetic iris and soft, designer suede is a success not only because it's sort of daring, but also because it works. The fragrance smells great on a warm spring day, and it really begins to shine just when the temperature goes above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While it might feel too heavy in really hot, humid climates, that's not really a knock against, as I find 90% of my fragrances don't work in that kind of environment, and I usually just opt for something very light anyway. Overall, I'd give this a very solid 8.5/10 rating, as it brings something quite new and unique to the table while also providing a fragrance that's easy to wear and that smells good. Props to Valentino for taking a chance on this one--you should too, as you may be surprised by this mostly overlooked gem.
02nd January, 2019

Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

A flat-out classic. A verified and sworn in member of the men’s fragrance hall of fame pantheon. Along with Fahrenheit, Rive Gauche, Terre d’Hermes, and Dior Homme, there is Egoiste. Without a doubt this is one of the best smelling, most refined and elegant woody orientals for men. It is eons beyond anything you typically find on mall fragrance counters today and hearkens back to a time when creativity and distinction meant something. It’s hard for newbies who’ve come up in the 2000’s to get this one and love it at first sniff. They don’t understand it. It has smells and an aura that houses are no longer producing. That’s okay. It took me about 8 years to come back to this, and today I can fully recognize it for the marvel that it is. But 10 years ago, when all I wore and owned was a bottle of Lacoste Essential and AdG, Egoiste beat the crap out of me. I was way out of my league and I wasn’t ready for it. I thought I was slick writing it off as “weird” and “old fashioned.” I was an idiot, naive with crude and limited taste. Few fragrances truly deserve to be called a masterpiece, Egoiste is one of them.
15th December, 2018

Sixes & Sevens by Slumberhouse

While many Slumberhouse fragrances are incredibly complex, consisting of many moving parts and shapeshifting tendencies, Sixes in comparison seems fairly dialed-in and focused, a fairly singular presentation of a warm, spicy sandalwood with cozy and comfortable animalic facets and a buttery, leathery texture. What immediately struck me about Sixes is its warmth--the sandalwood accord (which drives the heart of the fragrance) is ensconced in a very much living, warm-blooded musk, and such its presence is deep and rich, the olfactive equivalent of a fur coat or soft winter blanket. In my experience, Sixes avoids the more off-putting facets of animalics. While there's certainly a touch of funk among the musk, and the fragrances is literally pulsating with vibrant, living heat, the really sultry elements and strong barnyard components are, for the most part, absent. In turn, Sixes & Sevens is a comfortable and easy wear, and it feels like it could be appropriate in a variety of situations.

The sandalwood seems to be of a high quality. I find it has a buttery, luxurious texture, cloud-like at times though altogether very deep and present. One of the interesting things about Sixes is how the sandalwood develops, and over time it seems to become much drier and takes on a fiery intensity at times. I was also reminded of Gucci Pour Homme while wearing this. A smell similar to GPH's signature bold "pencil shavings" accord is at play here, perhaps even more waxy at times, but delivering much of the same dusty rawness as the original.

My experience with Sixes & Sevens so far has revolved around 2 interesting developments and changes that occur during its course: To begin, there is a curious element of heat in this composition. I find that Sixes begins with a very comforting human warmth, and that it persists in this for some time, but then it gradually becomes hotter as the composition becomes drier. The heat can get to very intense levels, almost as if a fire is occurring in its heart, and as the heat intensifies and really begins to cook, a smokey component joins the sandalwood which is now dry and desiccated. This transition regarding the heat occasionally goes back and forth. Things will seem to cool down for a moment only for the fire to catch again until everything's burning with a hot intensity. The other interesting development that I've already alluded to is the "dryness" of the wood. Though Sixes begins with a very cozy warmth, it's a deep, alive sort of feeling that's soft and reassuring. The sandalwood is creamy, waxy, and buttery. But once the heat kicks in, it's like it saps the composition of all of its moisture. The sandalwood becomes extremely desiccated (as does the fragrance in general) and we are left with heat and smoke, almost as if a forest has been burned to the ground and all that remains is scorched earth. And it still smells good.

I really enjoy this fragrance overall. I like the fact that it's dialed in. Everything works together seamlessly and all the parts seem to operate with a singular, unified purpose. The fragrance itself smells very nice. It's a great woody composition to wear in these colder months. It would be perfect for a cold December night around the fire, and it doesn't really contain any off-putting, controversial elements that could otherwise ruin the enjoyment of wearing it or turn other people off from wanting to be close to you. At the same time, it's an interesting, dynamic composition. I haven't smelled a sandalwood this good in a long time, and the animalic components, particularly the musk, lend a very luxurious and rich dimension to its quality. Before becoming fiery hot and bone-dry, Sixes feels like donning an expensive furl-lined leather jacket or some kind of alluring fur coat. Performance is just as it should be--slightly stronger than mid-range projection and stellar longevity. One of my favorite Slumberhouse releases in a while, hopefully Sixes & Sevens will see a second release at some point in the future. If it doesn't, I'm sure glad to have gotten a bottle while it was available.
11th November, 2018

Emporio Armani Diamonds Club for Men by Giorgio Armani

A semi-sweet fresh spicy geranium scent with excellent performance. This one fits in among the modern mainstream crowd, and more specifically among scents like Invictus which combine a fresh quality with a vague, benign sort of spiciness and some sweetness. Diamonds' smell reminds me a bit of fresh, pink bubblegum, but it's done in a mature, elegant way so it never comes off as juvenile or just "fun." As it develops it becomes a bit darker, and a sensual powdery quality emerges in its texture, which seems like the cardamom at play. These transitions make it a bit more elegant and sensual in the end, and really appropriate for a club or night out. The obvious notes you can pick up on in this are geranium, cardamom, and lavender. I also believe there's hedione, as I can detect some of its trademark sweet and uplifting floral punch. The hedione is tastefully restrained here, as it's a note that can easily become overpowering in a scent. Overall, I really like this. It's composed well and smells good, if not a bit familiar at times. Thumbs up, and an 8 out of 10 final rating.
11th November, 2018
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Eau Sauvage Cologne by Christian Dior

Good...a solid citrus-centered fragrance with above average longevity and projection. The citrus notes are bright, vibrant, and natural. They have a realistic smell to them and comprise the majority of the scent. Cologne is mostly linear until it reaches finality in the base--a light vetiver that's just enough to keep it on a masculine plane while providing some backbone. This is a nice flanker, imo, and very different from the original classic as it lacks all of its herbal, floral, and musky components and instead focuses on the citrus notes. It's very similar in style to Dior Homme Cologne, and I'd really be just as happy wearing either one. The white and clear bottle looks very nice in person too (as do all the other Eau Sauvage bottles). From what I understand, this has been discontinued for sale in the United States, though still in production overseas. Thumbs up, final rating 8/10. Add half a point if you're a big citrus fan.
22nd June, 2018

Invictus Aqua by Paco Rabanne

This is a great scent, albeit relatively simple. Take the heaviness out of Invictus, but keep its trademark sweet smell, bolster it with a nice aquatic note to give it a buoyant, aqueous feeling, and you have Invictus Aqua. It's a fragrance that's enjoyable and easy to wear and seems to spread cheer wherever it goes. Performance is solid, about 8 hours of longevity with good projection for the first four. Unfortunately the 2016 version was discontinued.
11th June, 2018

Erolfa by Creed

Although aquatics have become somewhat dated, the quality of Erolfa's ingredients and the degree to which they're balanced result in a sort of timeless naturalness which makes wearing it today as easy and enjoyable as ever. And despite the plethora of aquatic releases on the market, there really aren't many (or any) that smell like it. Erolfa's success and distinction, lies to some extent in its simplicity. It is simply a salty, watery scent with light citrus accents and nothing much else. All of those ubiquitous, chemically-tinged "blue" notes--an unavoidable standard in your average aquatic--are absent. In turn, Erolfa feels spritelier, less bogged down with synthetics, and possessing more of a sparkle akin to sunlight in the mist. There are also no attempts to add vague fruit and floral notes either. Although these are often a given when designing aquatics, Erolfa rightfully abandons them. Here, it's just the ocean breeze, some salt, and your skin. Finally, Erolfa also avoids becoming too marine (an occasional error in niche-market aquatics), choosing to leave all the seaweed, plankton, and decaying fish out of it. However, it maintains its realism, smelling more like a fresh, misty breeze near the ocean than the air hovering directly over it, close to the shore, or the ocean air during low-tide. In a lot of ways Erolfa smells like Millesime Imperial minus its melon and sometimes metallic edge, with added salt and a dry, crisp clarity. While I'm sure Erolfa relies on the aromachemical "calone" to achieve some of its aqueous texture, it's handled deftly here, and doesn't become close to overbearing or abrasive. Calone is one of those notes that can cause headaches when overdone, and that's certainly not the case in Erolfa. Overall, I think it's a great scent, especially if you're somewhat a fan of aquatic fragrances. I am, and I find Erolfa is unique in that it provides a crisp, unadorned simplicity that isn't as apparent in my other favorite aquatics like Sel Marine, Aqua di Gio, and Bvlgari Aqva. Those scents I appreciate for different reasons. Longevity and projection are fine--just about where I like them--and Erolfa's sillage hangs very nicely in the air, settling slowly but maintaining a light, well-dispersed feel. Somewhat overlooked and no longer in-step with what's trending, Erolfa is actually a very solid release within the Creed pantheon. Recommended for sampling or as a blind buy for true, die-hard fans of aquatics. Final rating 8.5/10. Add half a point on especially hot, summer days.
12th May, 2018

1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums

A nice aromatic citrus and woods fragrance marked by a cooling eucalyptus note in the opening and a juicy, natural combination of grapefruit and tangerine. 1828 takes an old theme--the aromatic fougere--and places it in a modern context through a tightly constructed composition and bright, vibrant ingredients. It has the heart of a classic men's cologne with stylish, subtle embellishments that bring it right into the 21st century. Powdery nutmeg lends a touch of a spicy, barbershop appeal while a gentle Incense in the blends masterfully with 1828's aromatic, coniferous woods. Since Lorenzo Villoresi's masterpiece, Uomo has suffered an unfortunate reformulation, 1828 is now my go-to "modern-classical." Thumbs up for sure with a final rating of 8.5/10.
25th January, 2018

Emporio Armani Stronger With You by Giorgio Armani

This seems like an excellent alternative for someone who finds scents like Invictus, Eros, or Azzaro Wanted enjoyable in some respects, but in the end, just too crass and juvenile to wear consistently. In other words, Stronger With You is a sweet, somewhat synthetic modern men's fragrance with a nice, toned-down elegance which separates it from scents like those described above. The main notes to my nose are pink pepper, cardamom, and vanilla, so it comes across in the style of a sweet, semi-spicy oriental. There's some freshness present as well, which keeps the sweetness from becoming too heavy or cloying, and helps give it some buoyancy. In my opinion, this is a great "date night" scent--alluring, affable, upbeat, and nice and cozy up close. But it's also easy to wear in other situations due to the freshness it brings along. At fist, Stronger With You may strike you as sort of generic (been there, done that), but wear it for a day and you'll realize that its quality sets it apart from the rest. It's really a very good fragrance. From its structure and ingredients down to its performance and longevity, everything's in place where it should be, and Stronger seems like the kind of scent which will gradually grow in popularity over time. 8/10. Thumbs up.
24th January, 2018

Chrome Pure by Azzaro

I think this is a pretty good release. It has a great fruity orange note in the opening and the combination of akigalawood and make for a unique, interesting heart accord. Pure is also accented with aquatic marine notes which really work well here and bring a watery, sea-like dimension to its edges. There's a bit too much Tonka in the base, and part of Pure has a somewhat generic, "Macy's fragrance counter" smell to it, so these aspects bring it down a bit. Still, it's pretty good, and its performance is solid. Overall I'd give Pure a 7 out of 10 and recommend it for sampling to those who enjoy modern, somewhat synthetic scents.
23rd January, 2018

Armani Mania by Giorgio Armani

A pleasant neutral....

Armani Mania suffers two main problems, in my opinion. The first is its performance: It simply doesn't project or last all that well. And while it's not the kind of scent that calls for beastly projection, it's probably too dialed-in here. I have a friend who used to invite my wife and I over to watch movies. He had a nice TV and a surround sound system. But he insisted on keeping the volume so low that we had to strain our ears just to hear it. It's like squinting your eyes when you're barely able to see something. We were squinting with our ears. It drove me crazy, every spoken word falling right between the threshold of audible and inaudible, every explosion a staticky tinkle that sounded more like someone shushing me than a bomb going off... "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? WHY CAN'T YOU TURN THE VOLUME UP?!" I wanted to shout into the tense, imposed silence. And that's what I want to shout at Armani Mania when I'm wearing it, "Turn the volume up!" It's too quiet, and not in a good way, just an unsatisfying, itch-you-can't-scratch, incomplete sort of way. You crave more but you never get it. The second problem involves its development, or lack thereof. The first third of Mania is great, a beautiful fresh blend of woods and light citrus notes, some white musk giving it a pleasant ozonic fuzz. But then it doesn't really develop at all or even stay solidly linear long enough to be satisfying. If Mania's first 45 minutes persisted for 3 or 4 hours I'd be fine. But it doesn't. Instead, around the one hour mark it becomes a pretty bland, uninspiring cedar smell. The fresh spritely goodness from the opening is gone but there's really nothing that emerges in the base to take its place and keep this one fun. So then you get boring, been-there-done-that cedar for another measly hour or so before Mania completely craps out into a thin veil of woods and white musk, nothing more than a skin scent if that. Ugh. Mania had so much promise. The beginning is really wonderful, but it neither holds nor develops and instead peters out like a dying car on its last lap. Putt putt putt putt putt......that's the sound of Mania, petering out at 2 1/2 hours.

While I give this a neutral I have to be honest and say that it's a positive neutral. I like Mania. I even love it for a little while, it just suffers from a couple serious issues. But when it's first applied, it really smells nice, maybe the nicest "fresh woods" scent I've smelled. And that's really what it is, fresh woods. Think of a much better version of Mr. Burberry or something, Kumkat Wood minus Mancera's perfumey nonsense to ruin it. Also, it holds up on fabric so if you spray Mania liberally onto your clothes you'll have a better ride. But that's kind of like me pushing my closer to the TV so I can hear it while watching movies at my friend's house--it kinda works but shouldn't be necessary. Therefore I give Mania a 6.5/10 in the end--still neutral--but on its positive side at least.
18th January, 2018

Sorriso by Profumum

A blend of chocolate and vanilla with a soft, cushiony, fluffy feeling. It wears like one's ensconced in a cloud. As is the usual case with Profumum Roma, the ingredients are obviously of a very good quality--rich and robust despite being used in a simple manner. Furthermore, Sorriso is impressively, and almost dangerously, strong. While wearing just about two and a half light sprays I filled the room I was working in. I knew I was choking out anyone around me with a gigantic gourmand cloud that followed my every move. I ran home during lunch to wash some of it off me it was so strong. And even after scrubbing and rinsing myself in warm, soapy water the fragrance is still very present. In fact I received 3 comments AFTER I washed myself off, none of which were negative, and one of which was a compliment. So that may tell you a little bit about how it wears. If something can be both "soft" and bombastic, this is the one. As mentioned before, Sorriso blends chocolate and vanilla, and for the most part I don't smell (or care to smell) anything else. If there are a couple of other notes there, they're not too important. I have one chocolate scent--this is it. It's my holy grail chocolate. When the rare mood strikes me and I need a cocoa fix, Sorriso's the one. While not especially masculine, it's not particularly feminine either, and seems to hover right in the middle of the gender scale. A great quality fragrance of exceptional strength and impressive longevity, my final rating is a 9/10.
03rd January, 2018

Pegasus by Parfums de Marly

Partially metallic and slightly powdery, Pegasus plays on an olfactory theme previously explored in Amouage's Reflection Man and Lancome's Hypnose. However, here the accords of almond and vanilla are taken to a sweeter level and the fragrance sits in a bit of a higher register than the others. These accords are the focus of Pegasus and drive it for the duration of the scent. Behind it you get the impression of a clean yet kind of vague blend of lavender, amber, and florals of a sweeter variety. For the most part, Pegasus is linear and it uses a fair amount of synthetics in its composition. Personally, this doesn't bother me as I don't find them particularly harsh or scratchy here, they're just sort of the standard Parfums de Marly synthetics that we find in many of their scents. I love the way Pegasus smells. I find its sweet, aromatic composition of almond and vanilla upbeat and, for lack of a better word, kind of yummy. It's fairly versatile, as I've worn it to work and on nights out and found it right at home in both situations. Overall, it has a semi-casual, friendly appeal.

Pegasus performs very well, with strong projection and excellent longevity (over 8 hours). In my experience it works best when applied sparingly with just two, or maybe three solid sprays. Applying it in this manner I catch nice wafts of it throughout the day and other people notice it as well, but it doesn't become intrusive or overbearing. Go heavy on the trigger and you'll pay the price, as the smell can become very annoying and dominant when over-applied. I've gotten several compliments on Pegasus since wearing it, for those of you who care about such things, and haven't received any negative comments or dirty looks. This one gets a thumbs up as it's another appealing, though kind of familiar offering from Parfums de Marly. I recommend it for sampling with the possibility that you may like it enough to buy it. Final score: 8.5/10
24th December, 2017

Bright Neroli by Ferrari

What's not to like? This is my favorite neroli scent for sure, as usually I'm not much of a fan of the bitter, white citrus flower. However, Ferrari's seems to be paired with a wonderfully fruity citrus component and what results is a bright, cheerful neroli fragrance with a bit of a watery texture, and a light, sparkling crystal quality. While I find it a relatively simple scent, and very linear, it's the kind of smell that's hard to dislike. My only complaint about Bright Neroli is that its projection is on the weaker side. While I still catch nice wafts of it from time to time, it could be stronger. While available, this goes for about $40 online, which is definitely worth it, in my opinion. If you're looking for something fresh with a different twist to your standard lemons and aquatic blues, this is a great option. Thumbs up. 8/10
12th October, 2017

Pasha Edition Noire Sport by Cartier

Not to piggyback on another reviewer's thoughts, but speedracer's first sentence really sums it up perfectly. This has a beautiful, refreshing aquatic melon note in the opening which lasts for about 20 minutes to half an hour, and then it is followed up by a very standard, typical synthetic woody-aquatic base which is neither offensive nor impressive. I went against my own rules on this one and bought it in the store after smelling the initial spray on a paper card. It smelled so good! But alas, it only lasted 30 minutes before spiraling into a very generic, simplistic base. I'm giving it a neutral, because it's certainly not a bad scent, but it doesn't quite deserve a thumbs up.
09th October, 2017

Aoud Vanille by Mancera

A rich, woody, high performing borderline gourmand that strikes a nice balance between a vanilla cookie and a pile of lumber. The wood has a dry, almost-dusty natural smell, a mix of oud and other varieties like guaiac, sandalwood, and cashmeran. The vanilla is well-proportioned, not of the cotton-candy, sugary variety but a little darker and drier, and it helps to maintain a relatively mature feeling Aoud Vanille. This one projects and lasts extremely well--I use 2 sprays on my chest and it still gets well out there for hours. At one point I owned about 8 or 9 Mancera fragrances. This is the only one that I still own. I consider it among Mancera's best and one of the more impressive releases in general in recent years. I would rate this a solid 8 to 8.5 out of 10.
21st September, 2017

Luna Rossa Eau Sport by Prada

A bright, refreshing, semi-watery take on Luna Rossa Sport. At first it seems to lack the original's DNA, but sure enough, it's there. This might be the best in the entire line. It's a nice, refined, fresh scent, at times reminiscent of Dior Homme Sport 2008, with notes of ginger and lavender and a clean, laundered finish.. Eau possesses a very light, cooling, and to some extent, delicate character, and for this reason it is suitable for exceptionally hot weather. Thumbs up and worth exploring if you live in a hot climate or are in the market for a summer Eau. Projection is average and longevity around 5 hours.
11th August, 2017

Traversée du Bosphore by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Duchafour has created a unique gourmand with a new and unusual combination of notes in Traversee du Bosphore. Its opening is familiar; a leathery lipstick infused iris reminiscent of Dior Homme with a red, tangy fruitiness gradually creeping toward the forefront. By the half hour mark the iris has taken a back seat, overcome by the tart fruitiness which has grown in both intensity and sweetness. Now a jammy red rose enters the picture as well, coated in a rich, sugary syrup, and we are presented with Bertrand's interpretation of Turkish delight, a dessert I'm all the more eager to try now that I've smelled this. This is the heart of the fragrance, a soft, pale suede note graces the background just noticeable, while on top of it a distinct candy-like sweetness, slightly tart like a red apple, but sugary and delectable, has taken hold blending in with and accenting a rich, honey-rose syrup drizzled over chunky nougat. It is sweet, it is tart, it is very much red, and it is unlike anything I've smelled before in the world of perfumery. The heart persists for some time, and just when you're beginning to feel stuffed, as if you can't take anymore of the rich, treacly, candied-rose, it all starts to settle down and warm elements of tobacco and a nutty pistachio bring a sobering, neutralizing reassurance to the base, grounding Traversee in a warm, savory finish. What an olfactory ride! Du Bosphore may not be loved by everyone, but if you connect with it you will indeed love it. It is completely unique, and the creative, deft hand of Bertrand Duchafour is on prime display in this complex gourmand extravaganza. I've been lucky this year to discover both this and Noir Exquis (another Duchafour creation). Both are among my best discoveries of the year, but more importantly, both are undoubtedly the best gourmand fragrances I've sniffed in at least three years (I haven't been this impressed with a gourmand since Pierre Guillaume released Aomassai). However, while I can wholeheartedly recommend blind buying Noir Exquis, I have to recommend sampling Traversee du Boshpore. It is so unlike anything around I have no reference point to orient potential buyers. In that case, it's probably best to sample this in the unfortunate case that you find Turkish Delight just doesn't sit right with you. Gladly, I don't have this issue, so I'll be wearing this quite a bit in the future with great pleasure. T

The feel of Traversee du Bosphore is casual, though it could probably be dressed up a little too. It leans more toward night than day in my opinion, but seems well-suited for almost any season. I imagine the sweetness could become too much in really hot, humid weather, but other than that I don't see many seasonal limits for this one. Projection on my skin is very good and longevity is impressive. Please note that there seem to be altering, inconsistent accounts of its performance, though I find for a L'Artisan this is extremely well-performing and I've have had no issues with it. Thumbs up all the way. It's not every day something like this comes along and for that reason Traversee du Bosphore is a truly special scent. 8 out of 10.
21st July, 2017

Carven L'Eau Intense by Carven

A very clean, aromatic green scent with excellent projection and staying power. Carven L'Eau Intense features a powerful refreshing blast of mint and lavender, a touch on the sweet side with some spicier, peppery characteristics on the back end. It's synthetic smelling but only in the best way possible, as it's taken freshness to the next level and amped up its strength so that it really projects and lasts. In this regard it feels very modern and polished. It's a snappy, vibrant kind of scent, that will go well with a white button down or sharp Polo shirt during the warmer months. In some ways you can compare L'Eau Intense to Acqua di Parma Colonia which also is fronted by a very powerful, synthetic mint note. However, while I find the AdP somewhat abrasive and harsh in the synthetic sense, Carven's is much smoother and well-composed. So between the two, Carven is definitely the better choice. The juice is presented in a nice, pristine white bottle with a clear backing and simple font. It reflects the scent well and looks good on display. Longevity is about 8 hours. Overall, L'Eau Intense is a solid choice for a clean, vibrant summer fragrance featuring mint, and is a pleasure to wear. Thumbs up.
05th July, 2017

CH Men Central Park by Carolina Herrera

Really nice! By far the best CH Men flanker that I've tried (which is all of them except for Africa). This actually reminds me a lot of the original CH Men before it was reformulated, as it really taps into CH Men's fresh spicy sugar/maple sap component which smells kind of like the sap on a pinecone. What makes Central Park special is the addition of ginger, which has reinvigorated it, really creating what feels like a spring version of CH Men. The ginger is bright and aromatic, and the fragrance itself has a nice diffusive levity to it, never feeling heavy or bogged down but instead projecting confidently with a soft, bouyant consistency. It's a very relaxing, comfortable scent to wear as well. While it isn't heavy or dark, for the most part shedding its leather components altogether, it's never sharp or citrusy either, and doesn't get caught up in trying to smell "fresh" by using all the typical tricks of the genre that often appear in 'sports' fragrances and aquatics. It's a relatively simple scent--this sweet, aromatic ginger over CH Men's trademark sugar accord--but it works.

Is Central Park worth owning if you have the original? It depends. Are you a huge fan of the line? If you are, then this is definitely a worthwhile edition that you will enjoy. Are you a big "seasonal" wearer? If so, then I think a good argument could be made for owning both, as Central Park really seems like the perfect spring/summer version of the scent. This is the group I fall into, so I don't mind owning the two. However, if you're just a casual wearer of scents, I could imagine both would get redundant, in which case only owning one would be best. Either way, they're both very good and you can't go wrong with one or the other. Thumbs up for this relatively under the radar flanker, and great seasonal addition to the CH Men line.
05th July, 2017

Black XS L'Excès for Him by Paco Rabanne

What a pleasant surprise! L'Exces features a fresh, candied pineapple and grapefruit accord over a clean, synthetic woody base. It's simple--fresh and sweet--and is perfectly wearable as there are no particular missteps, imbalances, or awkward moments in its development (in fact it's linear for the most part, just moving more toward the woody base as the fresh pineapple accord settles in). Performance is solid, slightly above average with decent projection and 6 to 8 hours of longevity. I was also surprised by the quality of L'Exces' bottle--it's solid glass which fades from black to clear (top to bottom) and features a tiny, dark gray, solid metal skull dangling from its side, with "Black XS L'Exces' in gothic silver writing on the front. Sounds tacky but actually comes across really cool and well done. I'm totally happy with this. There are so many men's scents that have come out recently and have tried to capture what's been so effortlessly achieved here--to create a sweet men's masculine that combines fresh fruity qualities with woody undertones. L'Exces does it without blinking. And rather than incorporating that clumsy, woody-amber chemical that's being done to death in the base of today's men's scents, L'Exces succeeds with a simple synth sandalwood that remains relatively smooth and dry, providing a perfect platform for its fresh top. If you enjoy Bond No. 9 Scent of Peace for Him you will probably like this one. In some ways it's even better, and it costs much less. Thumbs up for this offering from Paco Rabanne, which I recommend as a blind buy as long as you're into this kind of fragrance, of course.

Final Note: In comparison to Black XS, which I also like, L'Exces is fresher, lighter and brighter, substitutes grapefruit and pineapple for strawberry and rhubarb, and has an immediately more wearable appeal. Black XS is darker, more syrupy, and requires a bit more thought before applying it (like, "Where will I be? What will I be doing? Etc.). Though Black XS may be a bit more interesting, what L'Exces loses in that department, it gains in wearability and simple use factor. Good stuff.

28th June, 2017