Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Kotori

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Total Reviews: 119
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Explosions d’Emotions : Amour Nocturne by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A decidedly unpleasant olfactory experience. My teeth hurt.
22nd October, 2017
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Bois d'Iris by Van Cleef & Arpels

Smooth and cold. Imagine Bvlgari Black and L'Instant de Guerlain for women had a baby. The beginning is all about rubber and woods, and then it calms down to Iris and ambergris with a bit of cedar. There's also a bit of pepper, to my nose. Completely unisex. A gentle cool weather fragrance with a rich temperament and a classy vibe.
22nd October, 2017
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Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain

Whoah! Aldehydes! Those are new for Shalimar. It takes me a minute or two to be able to recognize any Shalimar here. At first it's a sharp-sweet aldehydic floral and while I know there is likely bergamot, it's hard to detect. After a bit that tonka/leather/vanilla thing that is Shalimar's base arrives, and I can make the flanker connection. The citrus is brighter-- more like a tangerine note than the lemon/bergamot for which Shalimar is famous. The citrus I can detect is more reminiscent of the bright, aldehydic citrus in No. 5 L'Eau. Later, a heavy dose of white musk announces its presence loudly. Finally, a patchouli note sashays in and steals the spotlight.

This is a far less citric and astringent Shalimar, with the tonka and white noise turned up and the smoke, citrus, and rich vanilla turned down. It's not as dark, bright, or sweaty as Shalimar. I like this better than Shalimar Soufflé; it's not as thin. It's fine-tuned to attract the gourmand-loving 20- and 30-somethings to whom things like Black Opium were directed. It's lovely, and I think I'd like it a lot if I weren't expecting it to be Shalimar.
19th October, 2017
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Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne

Ahhh... it makes a lot of sense to know Ralf Schwieger created this one. The style reminds me of Fils de Dieu or the Merveilles line. "Insane Vanilla" is a vanilla-dominant cologne (as in eau de) with a contrasting orange peel note and some supporting jasmine, moss, and woods. The jasmine blends well and whispers softly, never once attempting to overthrow the vanilla. It is a cold vanilla, based on the pod, not the extractor any baked goods featuring it. In the sense of coldness and darkness, it resembles Eau Duelle EDT by Diptyque, though not in the actual notes (other than the pod-based vanilla). This is one of my favorite ever vanillas, which I've learned after a two-year long vanilla quest. Very intelligently composed and modern.
16th October, 2017
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Acqua Nobile Iris by Acqua di Parma

Hmm.... This is not iris. I'm not sure I ever located any Iris in several minutes of sniffing it on a test strip. And I know a thing or two about Iris, having visited an Iris garden in full bloom, having them planted in my yard, and having participated in the Iris Sample Pass recently. I've smelled the flowers, the butter, the tincture... and this is sadly not it. Whatever else it may be besides violetty I do not know or care as I was too busy trying to detect the phantom Iris, and too disappointed in not finding it to consider whether it is a pretty fragrance apart from that.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Selima by Bulgari

Saffron and rose has been done before, but there's a reason for that: it's a beautiful combination. My reference saffron/rose is Safron Troublant, and that one is milky and sweet with the rose playing counterpoint. This one has rose playing a duet with the saffron and the spices providing the supporting role. After smelling all day, my nose was fatigued, so I would like to get to know this one better.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Calaluna by Bulgari

Cozy, milky, warm. A cardamom rice pudding made without eggs or an Indian spiced almond marzipan. It gives off a fuzzy aura like an angora sweater. I wouldn't buy this for myself, but I would gladly accept this low-calorie splurge as a gift.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Lilaia by Bulgari

A pure and lovely green floral. The greenness is a bit sharp at first, but wait a few minutes for the galbanum to wind down and the shy orange blossom to peek out. I was hesitant about wearing something with mate and mint in the notes, but I tried it on skin and the drydown on skin is gorgeous. It reminds me of other galbanum lovelies like No. 19 (minus the plushy Iris), Anne Klein (minus the brash tuberose) and Y. Classy and confident. I wish it didn't wear quite so close to the skin or fade so quickly. I got about two hours out of it. In its defense, it competed with sunscreen, an afternoon of Florida heat, and pouring rain before it finally gave up the ghost.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Noorah by Bulgari

Interesting and unusual (which is high praise from an avid Basenoter). It was in my top three favorites from this collection. I sniffed this on paper strips during a long sniffing day and would love to have some time with it. To my nose, the tobacco and Iris were prominent.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Zahira by Bulgari

Ylang ylang and cinnamon make a unique and interesting combination, and the cinnamon is done with a very light hand. I like ylang ylang a lot, and this is no exception, however there are loud aromachemical that spoil it for me and bring on a headache. For my money I'd prefer Ylang Astral for a solid ylang ylang fragrance.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Tygar by Bulgari

Very similar to many other things, such as Ambre Tigre by Givenchy. It lacks the thick resinousness of Ambre Sultan or Amber Absolute. It focuses too much on the Ambroxan I recognize from Sauvage. It is not smooth and gourmand like Ambre 114 or Ambre Narguile, and it lacks the intelligence of Amber Flash. There are more unique, witty, and attractive ambers for much less.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Maravilla by Bulgari

If there is patchouli in this, I didn't notice. Perhaps it becomes more obvious on skin. This is a bright, cheerful citrus without much else going on. The citrus notes are a mixture of different fruits and are not as juicy as those of Atelier Colognes or as pithy as those of Hermes. Pleasant but forgettable.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Gyan by Bulgari

A Marine Floriental? The oriental notes are dark and interesting, but this fragrance maintains sheerness through the use of some marine notes. The drydown on skin would probably bring out the incense and patchouli, which I imagine is really nice, though I didn't try it on mine. I think that if this were a mainstream release, it would be a best seller. And indeed the Bvlgari SA tells me this is the best selling men's fragrance of the line. It's got something in it for everyone, and it has a lot more going on in it than the stated notes. I feel that this is Bvlgari's answer to Bleu de Chanel: something clearly masculine and strong with a bit of an aquatic cleanness. I like it. My husband would love it. But for over $300, I think he could do better for less.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Ashlemah by Bulgari

Unexpectedly nice. Lavender is one of my favorite aroma therapy elements, but it is quite hit or miss for me in perfume. I love it in 1725 and Pour Une Homme by Caron and appreciate it in Jicky, but in most other fragrances it is loud and doesn't play well with others. This one is blended well. Bonus points for that. The heliotrope softens the lavender and binds it to the violet. Related by notes to greats like L'Heure Bleu and Apres L'Ondee, it executes a good concept well. It nevertheless fails to thrill me.
09th October, 2017
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Le Gemme : Amarena by Bulgari

Fruity and juvenile. A cherry/rose/violet concoction made sheer and approachable through the use of laundry musk. Initially likeable, but instantly forgettable.
09th October, 2017
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FlowerbyKenzo L'Elixir by Kenzo

Gourmand Flower. I don't hate it, but it don't like it, either. It's like Flower with Craisins or cranberry jelly. It smells more like an unusual holiday candle than it does a beautiful personal fragrance. Pass.
09th October, 2017
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FlowerByKenzo Eau de Lumière by Kenzo

Bright and fruity, this is still a Flower flanker, but it represents a significant departure from the original Flower DNA. The fruit is mostly vague citrus, and I do not perceive it as the listed Bergamot. The jasmine also significantly changes the Flower character. This is pretty and summery, but it's like a lot of what's out there, unfortunately.
09th October, 2017
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Chamade by Guerlain

Current version:

Really lovely. A golden, opaque aldeydic floral in the style of No. 5 or Liu with a good dose of ylang ylang and a classic persona. I feel this might be an ancestor of modern fragrances like J'Adore. When I smelled this I imagined times when everyone smelled this good. It wasn't one that I imminently need to have, but I enjoyed its polish nonetheless.
09th October, 2017
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Chypre Caresse by Givenchy

Not a chypre. No oakmoss, first of all. But even as a modern chypre with patchouli, it falls short. It attempts to update the structure of lighter chypres like Diorella and Y, but adds too much vague citrus to the top, and the effect is thin. It does not have the requisite roundness to be considered a chypre, in my opinion.

But regardless of its category, this ditty did not particularly appeal to me. By the notes, I should love it, but I find it disappointing. It adds nothing new.
09th October, 2017
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Ambre Tigré by Givenchy

An opaque and aggressive amber that is truly unisex. The labdanum note provides some complexity and an olfactory break from the heady amber.
09th October, 2017
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Ylang Austral by Givenchy

A cheerful and clean ylang ylang soliflore. Simple and pretty.
09th October, 2017
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Jasmin Full by Montale

An ice water bucket to the senses-- this jasmine will wake you up before you're ready. It's lovely and loud and so jasminey that it's almost medicinal. Fruity and grapey and heady without being particularly creamy. The accents of orange flower raise the pitch and thin it out a bit. A licorice note provides structure after a few minutes. Love and Tears, Jasmin et Cigarette, Jasmin Rouge, and even Alien pale by comparison. The perfect jasmine for jasmine lovers. Layer it over aoud for drama.
30th September, 2017
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Tocade by Rochas

Spirited and fun and not at all shy. Tocade is for women who are young or in touch with their younger selves, and who carry a certain joie de vive.

The roses are clear in the top notes, but the vanilla sweeps in quickly and stays til the end. There is a hint of almond here, in the powderiness especially. This smells like plastic roses while also reminding me of a strawberry milkshake, but with more class than either.

So 90's and so full of pleasure.
29th September, 2017
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Alien Oud Majestueux by Thierry Mugler

This is a really fabulous flanker! Wow! I like it even better than original Alien. The oud notes aren't too strong or medicinal, and the jasmine isn't at all shrill. The oud and cashmeran tone down the jasmine a lot, in my opinion. I feel personally there might be a tad too much cashmeran for my liking, but otherwise this strikes me as an old-school beauty. Strong and sexy and very 80's, in a sense. I picture a laughing woman in a pixie cut and glossy lipstick.
15th September, 2017
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Iris 39 by Le Labo

First whiff: Living, growing hybrid irises in a garden with violets, something green, and something... spicy? These irises are alive, but they are no fresh spring irises shaded by a tree and sprinkled with dew: they are exposed in the sun, dying in the heat. They almost smell rooty at first, but not quite. It's a powerful Iris scent such as one might find at the Iris Garden in late spring at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, when they all are growing together.

But it's not just Iris. There is a healthy dose of violet here, which is not candy-like, but is nevertheless sweet. Then there's a sharp, spicy note that reminds me of cassia or camphor. It is reminiscent of the cinnamon note in Mitsouko, and that note persists after the Iris topnotes begin to fade.

The heart comes quickly, ushering a powdery woodiness, and the cassia/camphor note lingers into the final composition, which is less floral, and quite perfumey. At this point, it comes across as rather thinly stretched. The outcome is a cozier scent, but without much actual Iris.

Drydown: Now there is cedar and... is that patchouli?? Yup... Patchouli was the cassia/camphor note. No Iris in sight after an hour.
26th August, 2017
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Cologne Intense Collection : Orris & Sandalwood by Jo Malone

Mmmm... I've been wanting to sniff this. It's a deep lipsticky orris and a smooth sandal undergirded with some cedar. So lovely! All the boys in my family sniffed it and sighed contentedly.

As it dries down, I get a faint breath of vetiver from it in passing, but when I bury my nose in it, it escapes me. Like most Jo Malones, this is not a big, hearty projector. It's the olfactory equivalent of woolen mittens, I think.

This could easily become a new cool weather favorite!
26th August, 2017
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Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I would not at first label this as an "Iris" fragrance. The Iris is clearly part of the orchestra, but in the beginning it is playing harmony, supporting the melody of vetiver and the fifths of incense like a viola supporting the counterpoint melodies of the violin and cello. The piece itself evokes the crunch of late autumn leaves dried by the sun, or yellowed pages crumbling as they are turned. It is a dry, crisp scent, full of age and mystery. It is the smell of a very old forest or the scent of a rectory inside a stone church.

The Iris supports, binds, and provides the nuance. At first it is the face powder Iris of the makeup kit found below the stage after years of neglect. Later, it is the doughy Iris of a loved one's embrace.

It lasts about four hours before disappearing into the skin.
26th August, 2017
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Oil Fiction by Juliette Has a Gun

Wow! This one is weird! Tuberose and Iris, right? But I really don't smell either. It's a good thing, I think, since tuberose and I are kind of frenemies. (I think she's great, but she's not as fond of me.) I do catch the powdery makeup Iris, but mostly Iris is tamping down the noise of Tuberose, I think. Tuberose is usually such a drama queen. But the effect is more of a body product than an actual perfume. It really does smell oily! Like sunscreen oil that's trying to be unscented, maybe. Or baby ointment? Goodness, where have I smelled this before?? It's so strange, but it's growing on me.
26th August, 2017
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Iris Ganache by Guerlain

Iris Ganache opens sweet and violetty, as I imagine violet candies might be if eaten with white chocolate. It's rich and soft and sweet, without inducing a toothache. After a nap, I found it had dried down to delicious, soft, rich, buttery white chocolate. Mr. Kotori was especially entranced. Alas, something lovely that I cannot have!!!
26th August, 2017
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Terre de L'Encens by Cloon Keen Atelier

Top notes of "fresh masculine aquatic" + something rainforesty

Heart notes of something floral + headache

Base notes of incense sticks + "masculine woody note"

Pass.
26th August, 2017