Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rum

Total Reviews: 94

Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I can't believe I am writing a review for this stuff, given how much I hated this when I first tried it. I am no lover or liker of sweet scents, so my initial reaction is unsurprising.

This is really were perfumery breaks the boundaries of harvesting fragrance from flowers or extracting essences from natural sources. Baccarat Rouge 540 is pure and simple synthetic from top to bottom.

There is no development here. The scent is literally a very sweet candy floss note (caramelised brown sugar) with ambrox.

So why am I reviewing this scent? The answer is a very firm "I have no idea!". What I do know is that I just keep coming back to it. I still don't like the sweetness, but it is addictive and if it keeps saying to your mind "come back and smell me" it has to be a good thing.

I am holding back giving it top marks though as it has to be said that there is nothing natural about this. The marketing blurb suggests a note of saffron, but I simply detect a highly sweetened strawberry-like note. That's not saffron. It's a bit like how you get strawberry-flavoured yoghurts, which might well be pleasant, but taste nothing like strawberry, yet you keep wanting more.

That said and not being an oud fan, this is clearly one of the brand's better creations to my nose. Is it worth the asking price? I'll let you be the judge of that.
05th December, 2018

Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I can't believe I am writing a review for this stuff, given how much I hated this when I first tried it. I am no lover or liker of sweet scents, so my initial reaction is unsurprising.

This is really were perfumery breaks the boundaries of harvesting fragrance from flowers or extracting essences from natural sources. Baccarat Rouge 540 is pure and simple synthetic from top to bottom.

There is no development here. The scent is literally a very sweet candy floss note (caramelised brown sugar) with ambrox.

So why am I reviewing this scent? The answer is a very firm "I have no idea!". What I do know is that I just keep coming back to it. I still don't like the sweetness, but it is addictive and if it keeps saying to your mind "come back and smell me" it has to be a good thing.

I am holding back giving it top marks though as it has to be said that there is nothing natural about this. The marketing blurb suggests a note of saffron, but I simply detect a highly sweetened strawberry-like note. That's not saffron. It's a bit like how you get strawberry-flavoured yoghurts, which might well be pleasant, but taste nothing like strawberry, yet you keep wanting more.

That said and not being an oud fan, this is clearly one of the brand's better creations to my nose. Is it worth the asking price? I'll let you be the judge of that.
23rd November, 2018

Ginsberg is God by Bella Freud

Tried this by chance in a store. The scent caught me by surprise when I sniffed the cap.

The opening was quite strange but at the same time somewhat familiar. A quick spritz to the hand and it is very clear that this is almost identical to CdG 2 Man, which is an incense-rich and cedarwood scent. It's packed full of ISO E Super, which gives the pencil shavings-like odour that is all too often referred to as 'cedarwood'.

All in all, this is a love it or hate it scent. I get no leather or incense: just a slightly aromatic 'cedarwood', albeit a strong one. For me this is a thumbs down as it fails to deliver something unique or even something with a development of some kind. Other than a brief opening and a long-lasting strong cedarwood, this is nothing to write home about.

If you really fancy this, you are better off getting the much cheaper CdG 2 Man scent.
15th November, 2018
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Black Orchid by Tom Ford

As original and ground-breaking as Tom Ford's scents are, at least under his own brand, Black Orchid certainly ticks that box. But in no way does this work in TF's favour.

Black Orchid is as hard to pin down from smell as it is from the description. I find it hard to pin-point Black Truffle for starters and the over-load of powder and dark, often mothball-like accents, make it hard to distinguish any note. Patchouli is certainly there as are some vague-smelling florals (jasmine perhaps?). It's almost as if the perfumer thought 'might as well throw some of this in there as well'. The result is an unfinished cacophony of notes, all working against each other. It's the opposite of 'perfect harmony'; a bit like getting five year olds to follow strict rules of football in the playground.

In terms of longevity and projection, Black Orchid goes on far too long and projects by miles. Anything it comes into contact with will smell of it for hours and this is only a good thing if you'd like everything around you to smell of it.

But why anyone would want to smell like this, I have no idea. I note that this is a well-loved scent by many - I have known several that wear this as a signature scent. Ultimately there are better versions of this around, such as the much tamer and more floral Black Orchid Voile de Fleur (now discontinued) and 2018's Ombre Leather which takes the Black Orchid theme and gives it a smoother edge.
08th November, 2018

Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

After a hugely successful (and underrated) career at YSL, Tom Ford set out to launch his own brand. To the many, this has been successful too, but in terms of fragrance, a disappointment to say the least.

Having only really owned one or two of his scents (Sahara Noir being by far my favourite of all, which is since discontinued), Ombre Leather comes as a welcome addition. Better still, it is not part of the private range.

It isn't hard to see what TF is trying to achieve here. Ombre Leather is a go-between Black Orchid and Tuscan Leather, with a deliberate appeal to both men and women thrown in. The use of nagarmotha is clearly toned-down here, compared to say, Black Orchid. This is welcome and makes this a controversial leather: it's by no means a traditional castorium-based leather. Instead, the black truffle notes of Black Orchid are apparent, as is TF's distinctive patchouli and jasmine accord. I particularly like the jasmine aspect.

The florals give it an added twist of femininity, whilst still holding true to the unisex badge. In fact, this part makes it quite alluring, yet sensual too. The concept of florals and leather is nothing new mind you: from Chanel's Antaeus in the early 80s to Acqua di Parma's more recent Colonia Leather from the Ingredient Collection, the idea has been hanging around for a while.

Ombre Leather maintains a long lasting trail well into the evening and this should be taken into account by the wearer. Projection is also quite strong. It's also worth noting that this is a "smell me from a distance" type of scent. Up close, it can be overpowering.

Finally, the bottle really fits the scent's overall theme quite well, making this a great addition to the 2018 line-up.
08th November, 2018

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

In the quest for the perfect incense fragrance, Zagorsk often gets recommended.

The raw, lemony-smokey incense that most people in Western countries are used to (Avignon, Sahara Noir) is not to be found in Zagorsk. Instead, a pine-like, cold, crisp, resinous (almost powdery) accord is what Zagorsk offers, which is quite accurately described by the accompanying marketing. The scent is supposed to immitate a snow-covered Russian Monastery in the city of the same name. It remains quite linear throughout and develops little to my nose.

The Russian-style incense is totally justified in my opinion, so most Orthodox people might feel at home with this scent. But this is no 'one size fits all' incense. However, it may well be one of the most appropriate cold-weather scent in a long time: one that is zero sweet and a million miles from oriental ambers or ouds.

Comme des Garcons should be praised for their objective to create a fragrance for each of the world's largest religions, although I wouldn't associate Russian Orthodox with everything Orthodox Christian. That said, this scent is one of the closest things a fragrance can get to without actually burning anything. Therefore, it gets the thumbs up from me.

Other similar scents to check out might be Polo RL for the pine note (although quite different to Zagorsk) and Amouage Jubilation XXV and Breath of God by LUSH for incense in general.
08th November, 2018

Breath of God by B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

Hard to understand how a store such as LUSH can produce such a polarising scent: I've long said how off-putting LUSH is as a store for a man to visit. But in this day and age, this should be no excuse.

Breath of God really surprises. As a totally unisex scent, the scent opens with florals underpinned by a certain smokiness that is fruity-fresh and yet addictive. It is never over-powering, even with several sprays, and lasts well into the night or the next day.

The dry-down though is really sublime. Gentle, incense-like smoke, neroli, ylang-ylang, pepper and rose really do stick out. But the juice is blended together so well, it's hard to tell exactly what you are smelling at any one time.

The trail left behind is really something else and appeals to even the most conservative noses. I find it's one of few scents I would wear again in the same week (maybe even the same day).

I may never find out what God's breath smells like, but this one sure took mine away!
08th November, 2018

Wonderoud by Comme des Garçons

This scent has a sense of déjà vu. Having tried WonderOUD multiple times, it is hard to think of this scent as anything other than WonderWOOD by the same house of Comme des Garcons.

I bought and used WonderWOOD a while ago. I found the soft cedar woods and synthetic sandalwood undertones (read javanol), mixed with a really authentic black pepper note to be quite smooth and relaxing, especially throughout the coolder months.

Alas, the love did not last long and I discovered WonderOUD by accident. The similarities are quite astonishing. The black pepper is a little more pronounced and the cedar and other woody notes (vetiver, patchouli and plenty of javanol or synthetic sandalwood) are all there.

Others tell me (and yes that includes strangers in shops!) that they get an 'oudy' note coming off this one from 2-3 feet away, but I get no such vibe. Instead, the bone dry woods are much more pronounced in this scent compared to the aforementioned WonderWOOD. Whatever the 'oud' note used in this one, it is subtle, blended in very well and unlike any other oud scents available today. There are no sugary sweet or rose accords whatsoever.

I put a tester card in my top pocket and I can get relatively strong whiffs of this one two days later. So the longevity is there, but it is either my skin type or olfactory fatigue not allowing to detect this scent in its full glory.

That said, I think this scent would be superb for layering with other scents, oils or notes. I have had some good results experimenting with this and intend to get a bottle soon.
24th October, 2018

Acqua di Parma Colonia Sandalo by Acqua di Parma

I managed to try this new scent at Harrods in London when it was exclusive to them. Now that it is finally available to all, I thought it was time to write a review!

I'll begin by saying: it really depends on what you are judging this fragrance by. I gave it a thumb's up on the basis that it is a pleasant, crowd-pleasing scent. Nothing special but nothing offensive either. That said, if my criteria for judging it is whether it is actually a sandalwood scent, it would be a disappointing and overwhelming thumbs down.

It's definitely a sandalwood-themed scent, but I don't actually get the raw woody, creamy and slightly smokey vibe from a sandalwood scent, such as the now discontinued Crabtree & Evelyn "Extract of Mysore Sandalwood" scent. You can expect a scent that opens with an atomic explosion of citrus (read bergamot) and mainly lavender. Not unpleasant like some new/recent creations, but this one does appear overwhelming. It's along the same lines of Colonia and Colonia Essenza at first. Once the top notes burn off, there is no rose as per the classic Colonia. There is a huge tonka note (that's also known as "coumarin" and is often listed as part of the ingredients on the box or packaging) in the base with a hint of cardamom before it dries down to a subtle, slightly powdery/woody/tonka base.

There are plenty of comparable scents if you like tonka bean: Chanel's Allure Homme Sport range, Chanel Egoiste Platinum and Montblanc Legend all have a similar woody/tonka dry down.

Personally think the price is excessive, but for that you do get a nice bottle and different style cap. The box is huge and probably a bit OTT.
08th August, 2018

Eucris by Geo F Trumper

Review for the new Eau de Parfum, 50ml spray

It's one of my favourite releases so far in 2018! After sampling it, I bought a bottle as soon as my preferred store had it in stock. It's a huge improvement on the cologne-like EdT, which only comes in a splash bottle.

First impressions were "this stuff is potent!". The scent is an oakmoss overload. There is plenty of it in there. Others have commented how they "can be allowed the release a scent with so much moss in this day and age". I'm puzzled by this too but it is a welcome scent.

To me it also comes across as "inky", dark, thick and mysterious, yet it maintains a certain freshness in the opening. The blackcurrant and cumin are both muted compared to its predecessor, but the association to Aventus is justified (to my nose) because of the oakmoss.

50ml of this though is ample as you won't need to spray a lot to get a good long-lasting scent into the evening. Two sprays max should do it.

I personally have worn it to work a few times and its staying power is big. I've also worn it in the evening and can detect it on me well into the morning the next day.
20th March, 2018

Cacharel Pour L'Homme by Cacharel

Relatively 'under-the-radar' until now, this is a scent that I've seen on the shelves of local chemists that I ignored far too long. Its simplistic looks and packaging have been crying out "come and take a sniff", but alas it was only in 2017 that I discovered this hidden gem. This could easily be the find of the year for me!

Cacharel Pour Homme really is THE fragrance for winter. Who would have known the humble nutmeg could be the centre point of a fragrance? I am reminded of chef Rick Stein's comment that nutmeg is "the scent of Byzantium" - it definitely comes off as noble and ever so classy.

Citrus, flowers and spice is what it’s been described as. Often this description is enough to put me off even trying a scent, but with Cacharel, the nutmeg comes across as smooth yet spicy, strong and long-lasting yet never overpowering or cloying. Totally refined and good enough to wear dressed up or dressed down, you will have people wondering “what IS that smell? I know it somewhere”.

Without a hint of sugar, syrup or honey, this is a bone-dry scent along the lines of Malle's French Lover / Bois d'Orage. In fact, it’s good enough to make you wonder why niche scents exists. Cacharel Pour Homme dates back to 1981 – an important year to me – and this is the quality of scents made back then.

I’ve worn it as a scent on its own or as a base for layering with other contrasting scents. Strong and long lasting, classy and quite unique, I wouldn't be seen dead without this in my fragrance wardrobe. Easily a 5/5 for me.
13th November, 2017

Halston Z-14 by Halston

Halston is clearly a less well-known name in the UK, but alas the joys of these boards is easy to hunt out scents that you've never heard of. Z-14 is one such scent, as is the designer house of Halston.

Not wanting another cypress/chypre, I reluctantly tried the current version. Let's just say the connections to big red gum are totally justified. Cinnamon in a bottle. You might be forgiven for wanting to dust your rice pudding with it!

Vintage on the other hand, even something I would class as semi-vintage, is clearly on another level. Woody, resinous, potent and long-lasting (and yes, with some cinnamon in there - but not a truck load), this is another one of those scents that any chypre lover should vie to try at least once in their life time. It’s hard to believe that this scent is so affordable. Two sprays are enough to last a whole working day. Projection is quite strong. Wearers should expect their clothes to smell of the mossy accord for days later.
19th October, 2017

YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration by Yves Saint Laurent

An oakmoss-rich, packed full of light herbs, citrus and luscious woods, YSL Pour Homme Haute Concentration is perhaps one of the longest-lasting designer scents of all time.

It's been well over 30 years since this gem came out and in my opinion was way ahead of its time. Chanel had Pour Monsieur, Dior had Eau Sauvage, Givenchy had Monsieur de Givenchy, so the bar was set quite high for YSL to compete with. But they came out with this!

Of all the 'homme' or 'monsieur' fragrances this one cuts above them all in my opinion. Fresh yet slightly dirty, smooth yet herbaceous, strong but not overpowering and very long lasting, Haute Concentration oozes quality and class.

I have the first edition bottle, with the large YSL letters on the bottle and the box. But despair not! Vintage is not the only way to go these days. The regular YSL Pour Homme in the La Collection square bottles is remarkably similar to the vintage and now long-discontinued Haute Concentration.

I'll never be without a bottle of this as it is just too classy to skip over. A thumbs up and an easy 5/5 for me.
19th October, 2017
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Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Sahara Noir is easily Tom Ford's best scent. And not just in his favourite category, the oriental.

With a ludicrous marketing campaign Sahara Noir was doomed to fail from the beginning, so thank heavens for the vintage market! What was going through their heads when this was brought out, I can't even come to imagine.

This is an incense (frankincense) scent through and through. In fact I waited for ages before writing this review until I could get to try some true incense (the type that is burned, usually in a church) before reviewing this scent. There is little else going on here - it's frankincense from beginning to end and hence the progression is minimal, if it’s even there. Incense, medicinal, meditative and to me the sort of gift a wise man would be carrying on the way to Bethlehem.

Projection and longevity are both nuclear, which makes it a shame that this scent is now discontinued.

For those looking for incense, this should be your starting point and it may well be where you end up staying. It's just a shame this house can't produce anything quite as good and keep it on the shelves.
19th October, 2017

Sélection Verte by Creed

Without a doubt, one of the hidden gems by Creed. Just unfortunate that you have to invest in 250ml in order to get some from them.

Selection Verte is one of the few fresh summer scents that contain little or no citrus. The focus here (to my nose) is mint and ambergris (read ambrox). The mint is put together very well, long lasting and yet bold and ready to make a statement.

It's silage and longevity are quite good. It's easy to overspray which only results in anosmia, but otherwise the scent could easily last 6-8 hours.

I get a really strong menthol-like cooling sensation when I first apply it, meaning this is strictly a summer scent for me, but it could work as a comfort scent after a warm bath or shower.

I've gradually used up a bit from my bottle, which I think speaks for itself. Nothing seductive or out-of-the-ordinary about it, just a perfect scent for warm weather that I won't be bored of for some time. I've used it in hot Mediterranean climates year in, year out and it works a treat. Just what you need in the heat when you don't want to be drowned in a warm scent. Delicious!
19th October, 2017

Pour Un Homme Millésime 2014 by Caron

The Caron Pour un Homme line has long been a respected classic. Arguably one of the first men's scents, Pour un Homme definitely beats the norm of a traditional cologne. No citrus as such, traditional woods like patchouli or oakmoss (that's obvious) and no hint of vetiver either.

Instead, it mixes three simple 'notes': lavender, vanilla and amber. Yet it still remains a classic fougere, comprising of the usual notes that make up this genre - that is, lavender and coumarin/tonka bean (that's the vanilla/amber to you and me). What's even more strange is that I can detect each and every note.

I have no idea what past editions or vintages may have smelled like, but having tried the current EdT of the classic, this Millesime 2014 special edition is definitely more pronounced and holds quite well. I've struggled to find a time to wear this scent, though originating in the early 20th Century I can see men in bow ties wearing this to the opera or formal dinners.

I wasn't necessarily a fan of lavender but got a bottle as I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Alas, Pour un Homme is a classic cologne for men - lovers of lavender will drool over it, as will fans of raw vanilla scents.

Progression is good but the scent doesn't change much, other than the amber becoming a little more pronounced.
19th October, 2017

Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland

Having received a sample of "Patrick" from a fellow BNer, I was taken back by this classic green fougere. Basenotes has opened my eyes to plenty of scents over the years and Patrick has filled yet another void.

From the description and other reviews, I compared this one to Castle Forbes 1445 which is in fact very similar to Patrick. However, Patrick is more wearable, projects better and lasts longer. Sort of strange given its price point, but it goes to show that a good perfume doesn't have to cost the earth.

The pine and "green" moss notes fit the description perfectly. It's an ideal scent to wear on wet or murky days which are just all too common in the British Isles.

Here's to "Patrick" and Ireland!
18th October, 2017 (last edited: 28th September, 2018)

Shooting Stars : Kobe by Xerjoff

My first Xerjoff and one I am surprised has remained below my radar for a while.

A gorgeous floriental. One of the most long-lasting neroli (orange blossom) scents I can ever imagine, with a slightly oud-like woody/ambery dry-down.

I went through a 20ml decant over this summer and have already cracked open my 100ml bottle. Projection is superb as is longevity.

It will possibly be my last Xerjoff though as well as my first. I haven't been impressed with the new bottles, neither does the smell of a reformulation excite me much. A definite thumbs up though.
18th October, 2017

Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

Everyone knows of or has smelled the original Acqua di Gio. It was the smell of the late 90s for quite some time. Some teenagers still swear by it. A great summery aquatic.

Profumo however is Acqua di Gio for year-round, all ages, all occasions enjoyment. I first tried and bought my bottle in the spring and it went down really well. Now that the weather is getting cooler though, I really see the benefits of this one.

Acqua di Gio with ambrox as I like to call it, Profumo is for those that hated the original. Like me, I don't like smelling like everyone else, but it's definitely unique enough given what is currently out there.

Another one where 'a little goes a long way', so try not to overspray. It tends to disappear and reappear throughout the day, but I can still smell whiffs of it on me at evening shower point (usually 12hrs plus since applying).

If there is incense in the base, it has been blended very well with the sage and rosemary notes (which I love by the way), though I can't pick them out individually.

All in all, a great year-round, crowd-pleasing scent at an affordable price point if you look around a bit.
18th October, 2017

Antaeus by Chanel

I've often gone through many bottles of scent before settled on something for sure. Often this means much sampling, wearing in different settings, weather and so on. It takes a while for me to like a scent but alas we often get the kick when we least expect it and from the least obvious person or association.

Antaeus to me was dismissed many years ago as a "grandpa" scent as a cousin of mine once said. But that's when Chanel produced duds and before I became a fragrance freak.

It was the concept brought about by "Ambra" of Acqua di Parma's signle note collection that made me wonder "rose and leather - really?". I hated the AdP for its content of norlimbanol but the idea stuck in my head that this had been thought of before. Reading a blog later that month dawned on me that this was indeed a case of deja vu - Antaeus!

The slightly rosey, beeswaxy, leathery and soapy-clean scent that I dismissed before, trying and re-trying to understand or like is what caught my eye (nose?) not long before.

As luck would have it, I stumbled on a vintage bottle of the regular EdT (not the Sport version). It's not that far off the current stuff (2017 - well done Chanel!) and the strength of this means you need to go easy on the trigger. It's perfect for casual or formal. You get whiffs of it throughout the day and my young kids think it makes me smell like I've just got out of the shower. What a scent! Way ahead of its time and that soapy clean/rose/beeswax combination make this quite unique. Perfectly balanced and do be enjoyed responsibly (i.e. in reasonable doses).
18th October, 2017

Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

It's impressive what perfumers can do. They don't always bottle what they say they are or they can create an effect, an accord.

One such example is Musc Ravageur. You'd be forgiven for thinking this has musk in it, or even any of the dodgy associations some have suggested the opening of this scent contains.

Ultimately, the effect the lavender/bergamot combo creates in the opening, combined with the spices of cinnamon and clove (in true Malle style) from the heart, it's very easy to mistake Musc Ravageur for a musk or animalic powerhouse. Yet it is what it is. And to the untrained nose it's easy to be fooled into thinking there is nothing there.

This is a true gourmand. Slightly powdery, ambery (vanilla & tonka bean dry down), spicy and long-lasting projection monster. Fans of Egoiste should take note as this has a structure that's surprisingly similar. It isn't a replica by any means, but the similarities are hard to ignore.

It definitely projects but doesn't get cloying if you know how much to use. Less is clearly more with Musc Ravageur. Don't be tempted to over spray unless you want to head for the shower later on.

All in all the fougere comparison is also justified as it ticks all the boxes, but the added spice and 'harsher' smelling opening make it far from a traditional aromatic fougere.

Expect this to last for weeks on clothes and fabrics from any version. So be sure not to wear the same clothes with another scent the next day as you'll still smell of Musc Ravageur!
18th October, 2017

Luna Rossa Carbon by Prada

It's hard not to start this review without referring to 2015's big hit, Dior's Sauvage. Prada Luna Rossa Carbon, is an almost identical rendition of Sauvage. It makes no effort to disguise this fact from beginning through to the basenotes.

If we are going to talk notes, I get a clear citrus/bergamot in the top. Many have described this as a "shower fresh" vibe and I couldn't agree more. There is lavender there too, before this dries to an almost sweet and yet slightly dirty metallic-like note. The synthetic note used here, ambrox, is distinctively a lighter dose than Dior's Sauvage. I can vividly detect it on me a few hours since first applied (at least) and have no trouble at all with projection, though I am guessing projection may be a bit toned down compared to the Dior.

Comparisons aside, Prada's Luna Rossa Carbon makes for a very easy to wear 'barbershop' scent; I would say this is ideal for the office. Something familiar, yet modern and perhaps a bit classy. I love the bottle too.
27th September, 2017

The Fragrance Journals : 1962 by Floris

Floris 1962 opens up with plenty of lemons/citrus and verbena, just like Bouchron Pour Homme or Cerruti 1881. Soon enough though it changes to a mellow cypress, a la Italian Cypress, as has been mentioned before. Nothing too strong, nothing overpowering, just a long-lasting aroma that is crisp and clean throughout. Wonderful woody trail.

It's quite an unusual scent given Floris' history and its association with Ian Flemming (No. 89 was a favourite of his). Heavy reformulations have ruined old classics by this brand, so the new private range is a welcome addition.

I have to say though, this scent's marketing blurb is totally irrelevant. There is nothing about London in 1962 that this scent brings to mind. Perhaps a bottle of cloudy smoke would be more relevant, mixed with some sort of illegal drugs from the time? A more accurate description would be a Mediterranean garden, full of sun-soaked trees, perhaps with some lemon or orange groves thrown in.

All in all, ignoring the marketing hoo-hah, it's a great all-round fragrance, worthy replacement of IC that should be versatile enough to warrant a full bottle purchase.
27th February, 2017

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

It's hard to imagine a composition as simple as this isn't sold under a simple and bland name of 'eau de cedre' or 'the cedars of lebanon'. But I guess marketing is a factor here. And Malle somehow has to keep things cheesy (well, at least for the European market).

This is a scent that brings to mind tropical jungles, sawdust and pencil shavings (as was my first impression of this scent). Masculine it is, but by no means impossible for a female to pull off.

I would call this a fairly linear scent: French Lover doesn't ooze much else other than a distinct cedar/vetiver note that is bold - yet not overpowering - and relatively long lasting (though by no means ground-breaking). I do detect some very light musks and patchouli perhaps, but the overall lingering note is a cedar/vetiver mix.

The quality isn't bad and the scent can be worn casually as well as formally. I would say it's a good scent to layer (due to its simplicity) with something sweeter or floral even. I would try it with Paestum Rose.

I find the whole scent extremely dry: don't expect any sweetness here. It's not far off Diptyque's Tam Dao (parfum version), less the sandalwood and any coconut milkyness.

In that sense, if you like that sort of thing, it's a thumbs up. Otherwise this may not cater to all. Definitely a love/hate type of scent.
04th August, 2016

Eau Lente by Diptyque

A scent from the past

Diptyque's journey and region-inspired scent library is a unique concept in its own way. But recreating scents based on historical accounts is in a totally different world, in my opinion.

As historical accounts go, Pedanius Dioscorides, a physician, pharmacologist and botanist (c. 40-90AD), wrote De Materia Medica in his native Greek - Opoponax is described in it several times for its "medical properties".

Whether or not Alexander the Great or his generals enjoyed the scent that Eau Lente is today I'll leave up to you to decide. But I will say that I have struggled to find an incense or myrrh-based scent that reminds me of anything close to Orthodox incense. The sweet, baby-powder like scent of opoponax, spices and cinnamon are very strongly reminiscent of Orthodox Church incense. To me the scent instantly conjures up images of ancient Greece, Byzantine churches and indeed the landscape of a once Imperial Empire.

Don't get me wrong though. Eau Lente is not everyone's cup of tea. You could easily mistake this for a sweet incense scent; it's simplicity is what is most notable as is the quality of the ingredients. I would struggle to wear this at times, but perhaps my most envisaged moment would be to church during Holy Week.

Those who like Eau Duelle's mystical vanilla or Tam Dao's woody-ambery base could easily be seduced by Eau Lente's powdery-soapy trail. May your journey through history be as fragrant as the churches of Mystra!
27th July, 2016

Azzaro pour Homme Limited Edition 2015 by Azzaro

A flanker, that's a flanker of a flanker.

Nice idea Clarins company, but I'd much rather get a bottle that actually lasts and smells of something even! What were you told to do? Get a classic scent and mess it up as much as you can?

This version of APH Intense is a complete mess - it barely lasts after a few seconds of being sprayed and is a far cry from the current version of APH classic EdT (2015).

Those even remotely interested in this scent should seek the vintage 'Intense' version without hesitation and leave this one on the shelf.
25th February, 2016

Precious Woods by April Aromatics

If like me you enjoy woody scents, you may be forgiven for asking the next question on the list: "which woods do you like?". A hard to answer question as there are so many out there - patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver (or is that a grass?) and the more well-known cedar and sandalwood.

Precious Woods takes all of them together and presents them to you in one go. The first puff of this scent is woods overload. Dark and balsamic at first, you could easily judge this one as a scrubber. But good things come to those that wait, so the more patient frag-heads will appreciate what happens next.

The deliciously woody and hazelnutty (is that a word?) dry down is pine, cedar and santal. Creamy yet not sweet, smooth and refined. The 'hazelnut' aspect comes out quite prominently, but it isn't immediately obvious which ingredient(s) is/are causing that effect.

This well-blended scent is hard to find as the brand is not very well known and the 30ml bottle is a disappointment. Also the 'new age' feel of the brand with its associations to yoga and glass "pearls" in the bottle (you read that correctly) does not warrant full marks from me (it's a perfume - juice in a bottle - and nothing else!). But it still performes well as the blend is well-crafted.

There are definitely many other superb woody scents out there from many niche brands, but this is certainly one to spritz before you buy.

Overall 4/5
05th February, 2016

Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

For many people, the smell of hot cocoa and vanilla is a cosy winter warmer - I imagine a soft comfy rug in front of an open wood fire with a steaming hot mug of cocoa and Christmas carols going on in the background. I just can't for the life of me understand why, but this fragrance just remidns me of Christmas! Could it be my childhood or too many winter films? I have no idea...

Whatever the case, the scent is the most absurd mix of notes! Spicy lavender (although short lived), iris (those who don't know the note refer to it often as the 'lipstick note'), gorgeous woods and delicate sweetness (i.e. vanilla). Somehow, when François Demachy waved his magic fragrane wand over this mix, arguably one of the most gorgeous scents in the world came about. Don't ask me why - a cacophony in music sometimes can be made to sound pleasant - maybe the same can be said for Dior Homme Intense?

I don't actually detect a cocoa note per se, but I think the effect the ambrette seed, iris and sweet/delicate woods mixed together make a cocoa-like effect. It's almost delicious enough to eat.

Foodies and those with a sweet tooth beware: Demachy will have you addicted to this scent in just a few sniffs. Please, make mine with two marshmallows.
05th February, 2016

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Marketing and fragrance are practically two words that sit together comfortably. No one seems to notice either. Yet, along comes a product such as Sauvage, controversial with its recycled name (Eau Sauvage anyone?), but marketed by none other than Capt'n Jack Sparrow and the bottles sell like hot cakes.
Sauvage has been very smartly put together by François Demachy to represent the sun (fresh bergamot opening), earth (patchouli and lavender dry-down) and "blue open spaces" (somehow represented by black pepper and ambroxan). The fresh yet peppery mix of the opening certainly meets Demachy's objective of the citrus fresh opening. Perfect for a scorching hot day. After a while, the scent gradually progresses - this is a slow progression for an Eau de Toilette. It takes quite a while to morph into the pepper/amber base. The freshness is all but gone but a fern-like sweetness remains, leaving a trail resembling a slightly sweetened familiarity of masculinity. Lavender is definitely there too in vast quantities dare I say.
The opening is indeed quite a contrast to the dry down, yet the pepper works really well in the transition process. It's hard to pinpoint the note at times but it is well put together and works well with the lavender. As for the dry down, if you can be bothered to wait for it, it is not designed to be sniffed up close. This one is best experienced from a distance.
All in all, definitely a 'try before you buy' scent. Some may find the opening a bit harsh or synthetic, others may not see the dry down as anything special. To me, this is a definite Caron Pour un Homme variation with a slightly sweeter base and much more lavender!
05th February, 2016

100 - 1914-2014 by E. Marinella

It's this sort of fragrance that separates the baby-faced reviewers from the more mature ones. At first spritz, 100 (1914-2014) is an exact replica of a certain popular fragrance beginning with A that has its own sub-forum here.

Indulging further into the world of E. Marinella (do be mindful of your wallet), one can appreciate the quality of this scent. Morever, it is Italian quality that I am talking about.

The pine and bergamot seem to dominate in the opening, with a beautiful thyme and cypress appearing very soon after. I say beautiful because the two aren't necessarily enemies; though they do need a bit of tweaking before they can sit comfortably together. The progression is actually quite slow from here onwards, especially for an EdT. Going from one phase to another is a smooth transition, yet each and every note comes out just as expected. In the dry-down, the patchouli-vanilla that we're so used to these days (not least from that other scent previously mentioned, beginning with A) comes out distinctively, yet with the thyme and pine increasingly there and going in to a decrescendo.

Overall, longevity is very good. On paper this passed the 48hr mark. On skin it was less than that but I could still smell it on me the next day or so. Very natural smelling overall, without getting cloying. And the packaging and bottle are also top notch, as you'd expect from a luxury Italian brand.

Thoroughly recommended, but definitely sample first.
20th January, 2016