Perfume Reviews

Reviews by tvlampboy

Total Reviews: 697

Coral by Neil Morris Fragrances

Fruity, almost effervescent feminine fruitbasket/flowerbomb.

Reminds me somewhat of Dior's Dune pour Femme -- is it the fig here? I guess so.

Warm, innocent floral heart, with a long and soft sandalwood dry-down. ( Unlike foetidus, I pick up on the sandalwood quite a bit during this stage of the frag's development.)

Morris has deemed it unisex, but I don't get that at all. This is VERY femme stuff.

Wears very, very close to the skin, btw -- you'd think this would be a sillage monster, but (at least on me) it's not.
25th February, 2009

No. 19 by Chanel

Huge thumbs up.

Greens, roses and powderiness all at once, with a long and sensuous dry-down of musk and oakmoss. (At least in the vintage formulation, which is what I possess and treasure.) The rose shows up throughout the frag's development, so don't expect a fleeting rose note.

Tailored and somewhat formal -- at least to my nose. And yes, it's definitely a first cousin (if not an outright sister) to Cristalle. Also very closely related to Gucci No. 3, and more distantly to Flora Danica.

Great for middle-aged gals, as it's not so "young" as Cristalle can be, nor so matronly as #5 can be (if it's applied with a heavy hand).

Very feminine stuff, in any case -- I only spritz it on occasionally as a "comfort frag" when I'm home alone.
25th February, 2009

Earthtones #3 - North Woods by Neil Morris Fragrances

This is the smell of conifer forest floors, all wet and slightly rotted and yet still full of life and earth. It's a strong juice, this, yet it wears (much like Yatagan, its dryer, Southern cousin) surprisingly close to the skin.

Sensual stuff that makes you want to frolic with fauns and pick up pine cones and do naughty things among the branches and the boughs.

Apply only if you dare.
24th February, 2009
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Signature Collection : Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio

Animalic to the core -- this is raw, deep, dark, and, well . . . odd. I can easily see fans of Knize Ten, Jicky and Mitsouko being drawn to the beautiful juxtaposition of tuberose and (almost distinctly fecal) civet herein.

There's a leathery note here, too, and even somewhat of a rubber "twang" -- both of which should appeal to the Dzing! crowd and the Bulgari Black aficionado. .

Addictive? I can see that, yes, at least for some. Still, at app. $200.00 per bottle, I can think of other frags I'd rather follow to the ends of the earth. In either case, it's a definite try-before-you-buy kind of fragrance. And yes, other reviewers have been quite correct in pointing out that this IS (love it or loathe it) a fragrance from another era. (Think Belle Epoque, folks.)

This one ultimately snags a positive rating from me, but with reservations. Here we go: a) try before you buy, b) ignore Turin's cruel "civet fart" comment and c) try to get a bottle in a swap, or "for cheap" if possible. ($200.00 is, like it or not, a great deal of money to spend on this Italian oddity.)
24th February, 2009

Tocade by Rochas

A slightly wacky gourmand whose fervent dream is to grow up and become an elegant French floral.
Mouthwatering vanilla notes over a warm heart of musky, distinctly feminine roses.
A fascinating juice.

Tocade must be Rochas' best kept secret. (I don't see that it gets much "play" on the Women's Board here, anyway.)

Modestly priced; readily available. I see it often at my local TJMaxx for under $25.00.
A marvelous steal, say I.

20th February, 2009

Tommy Bahama for Men by Tommy Bahama

Leather and spice and all things nice! I half expected an AdG clone when I first saw TB, but, boy, was I surprised! Just enough resinous wood (is that cedar? pine?) to make for a warm, woody dry-down. (But without the cedar headache that Gucci pour Homme (#1), Equus and Heritage can bring on if over-applied. Tons of patchouli, too -- yup, one of my very favorite kinds of dry-downs.

I have yet to buy a bottle, but have really enjoyed wearing the samples I've had. Big thumbs up for this modestly priced, terribly masculine frag.
19th February, 2009

Pontaccio 21 by Gianfranco Ferré

Very dry, very herbal, very retro. (If you like Sud Est, please queue up.) I find the cardamom in the opening notes a little off-putting, but I don't mind it so much as it does dry-down and tame itself pretty quickly.

There's quite a bit of sage here, too, hence the "dryness". There's also a bit of angelica in the herbal mix, thus adding a touch (but just a touch) of powdery sweetness to the final parts of the dry-down.

Very Italian stuff, but I, too, can see why this one wasn't a massive hit in this day and age. This ought to have been introduced during the late Eighties at the latest. if it is, in fact, discontinued, well, I'm not surprised.

Cool bottle, btw, with a chrome finish and faux alligator "wrap."
19th February, 2009

Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

Spicy chypre of the old school -- about as French as one can get without putting on an Edith Piaf album and lighting up a Gauloise.

Marvelous, crisp neroli in the opening -- but don't be fooled by the innocent top notes. There's a masculine, slightly naughty, remarkably spicy heart here. The amber-y drydown is, granted, fairly weak and less than spectacular, but this is no sillage monster. (For that, try the 1989 concentrated version, with its opopopanax-laden dry-down. By the way, I staunchly refuse to "dis" the 1989 version, which -- contrary to popular belief -- is not a knock-off, but rather a re-interpretation of the original.)

Wonderful choice for a discreet, elegant office or school frag. Perfect for interviews, funerals, weddings etc.
19th February, 2009

Stetson by Stetson

An aggressive, powdery, drugstore cheapie with way too much lavender and cheap amber and far too little patchouli. (If you're going to be an oily beast, at least come to the table slathered in patchouli.) Screaming sillage -- absolutely screaming. Very little, if any, complexity in the drydown.

Often sold very close to Fleet enemas in Walgreens across America. How appropriate.
17th February, 2009

Bijan for Men by Bijan

The nutmeg in the opening will bowl you over. (If you have nostrils, that is.)

Still, this one's worth waiting on, as it possesses a pretty darned good Eighties take on sandalwood, oakmoss (LOTS OF IT) and amber. I pick up only a little lemon and even less musk here.

Make no mistake, though -- no matter what you may think of our boy Bijan, it is undeniable that over-applying may result in the loss of limbs, as your colleagues and friends will tear you apart for having bathed in Bijan. In short, apply with the greatest of caution.

I'm going to give this one a neutral, though, as few out there will apply it lightly. Most will spray on too much, thus rendering their homes, cars and offices uninhabitable for hours on end.
17th February, 2009

Trésor (new) by Lancôme

The Oriental dry-down on this over-marketed French frag is simply gorgeous, but only if one is made of very strong stuff and can (and will) endure the sickeningly sweet fruit notes that precede the dry-down for HOURS. There's a cloying, possibly synthetic, unbelievably persistent fruit note here. (Is it the peach? the apricot? the pineapple? Hell, for all I know it's durian . . .).

The soft, musky dry-down is, again, really something else. So wait. But only if you're a huge fan of sickly sweet fruit in the waiting room.

At the very least, go easy on the atomizer, ladies, lest this "treasure" turn into a dragon.
17th February, 2009

Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills

Tuberose overdose? Yes. And what's wrong with that? I find Giorgio Beverly Hills to be positively intoxicating even today, all the way from its incredibly feminine, neroli-laced opening to its piquant, carnation-filled heart to its musk-laden, sexy-as-hell drydown. And, you bet, all throughout is that persistent and ever-present tuberose.

Good stuff. Good stuff, indeed.
17th February, 2009

Shisha by Ava Luxe

Urine? URINE? I just don't get that -- not at all. (And not that I mind a little "pee pee" note once in a while . . . after all, I AM a huge fan of Kouros. But I digress.)

I seldom find myself liking jasmine heavy fragrances, but this one's really quite nice. There's honey and spice mixed in alongside the jasmine, and there is, therefore, no mistaking this one for anything but a feminine fragrance. Sorry, guys, but unisex it ain't. Sensual, yes, but unisex? No.

Warm, almost smoldering base of sandalwood. Flirty only in the coyest way, but not really sexy. Just comforting and (again) a tad flirty.

16th February, 2009
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Vamp by Ava Luxe

Geezus Louizus! This is the sultriest sandalwood I've ever encountered! This is the pure, sweet sandalwood of Indian temples and old fashioned fans, not the cloying and synthetic crap we encounter so much of today.

The exotic spices here make Vamp a true Oriental -- lush and complex and deep.

Unquestionably unisex and definitely worth seeking out.

HUGE thumbs up.
16th February, 2009

Royall Spyce by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

Nutmeg and cloves abound in this inexpensive bay rum concoction. And yes, it's very like Old Spice. (Something which, we must remember, was also spawned by bay rum to begin with.)

Expect the clove note to linger and linger, but much else here fades fast. Pity.
16th February, 2009

Royall Muske by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

Dry and soapy musk with just enough spice to shake things up. This is Kiehls without those "suntan lotion" notes of sweetness that can be so off-putting. There's also a hint of something vaguely synthetic (think Jovan Musk for Men) here.

Damn good buy for the money -- about half the price of Kiehls.
16th February, 2009

Royall Bay Rhum by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

Not so clove-y as Burts Bees Bay Rum, but with better longevity. Very masculine, very bracing and (yes), tgl is spot on in his analysis: VERY medicinal.

Like Santa Maria Novella's Pot Pourri? (And I do.) If so, then you'll love this modestly priced gem. If not, avoid it as you would the bubonic plague.
16th February, 2009

Furyo by Jacques Bogart

The bitter artemisia and strong, earthy patchouli open up the sinuses right away, but then the civet begins and the honey comes in. I liken this one to Ted Lapidus pour Homme, and (to a lesser extent) Givenchy Gentleman. I don't get the Kouros connection, if any, although both frags (along with Lapidus and Gentleman) DO belong to a larger "power frag" clan. (Antaeus is in the same clan, btw, as is Balenciaga pour Homme.)

Problem with Furyo is its price now that it's discontinued. This rich, masculine powerhouse is worth seeking out, yes, but I daresay it's not worth the exorbitant prices I've seen on the secondary market. If you want the same general "feeling" for less dough, try Gentleman or Lapidus pour Homme (the original). If you can get Furyo without taking out a second mortgage on your house, though, you should definitely take the plunge. It's good stuff.
12th February, 2009

J'Adore by Christian Dior

Femme and fruity Dior offering that will probably appeal most to women between 40 and 60.

Inoffensive enough for office wear but pleasant enough for casual wear as well.

The sweetness of the champaca can be a bit much upon application, as can the fruity notes. Soon, though, these die down and the fragrance really opens up into a lush floral heart. Nice woody dry-down.

Diorissimo it ain't, friends. But it's darn good for what it is, you bet.
12th February, 2009

Noa by Cacharel

The adjective "airy" best describes Noa. This Cacharel catch features crisp green notes (without an abundance of them, and without cloying clouds of aldehydes), coriander (just enough to spice up the mix and to even out the sweetness), carnation (but not nearly so much as Anaïs Anaïs, granted), lily (but not so much as to be cloying, overly exotic, or funereal) and what can best be described as one of the softest and most feminine white musks I've smelled to date.

Oddly enough, this most feminine and airy of fragrances is appropriate (IMHO) for office, casual OR evening wear. Very few frags masculine or feminine can make this claim.
12th February, 2009

Havana Reserva by Aramis

Very hard to tell from the original, save in its greater longevity and sillage. The tobacco notes aren't quite so harsh, either.

Still, don't spend the moolah unless you just really want a discontinued original. For all intents and purposes, you're going to get the same thing minus a little "rumminess" with the equally sexy Montana Parfum d'Homme. (And for a helluva lot less.)

Thumbs up? Yes, absolutely -- but do take my advice above so long as Aramis keeps Havana and Havana Reserva among its discontinued fragrances.
10th February, 2009

Cigar by Rémy Latour

A tobacco and patchouli heavy cheapie that could -- with just a little reformulation -- be truly good stuff. As things stand, it's dark and smoky and pretty darned sexy. Still, the poor quality of ingredients used render it relatively short-lived on the skin. The mediocre longevity and sillage earn it a "neutral" in my book.

If you want a better cheapie with equally fun, gimmicky packaging, try Cuba Gold.
10th February, 2009

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

A surprisingly unisex iris gem that starts off loud and floral, then quickly settles into a powdery, earthy hum of iris. I find both elements of Coco and No. 5 in this Chanel fragrance, and yet at other times it seems very much its own.

A must-try kind of frag for all serious iris fans.
09th February, 2009

Royal Copenhagen Musk by Royal Copenhagen

Sweet, strong, synthetic Seventies sex sap. A must have for fans of Kiehl's and Jovan. This "Disco Stu" juice may take a lot of flak, but, hey, it's sexy enough to have gotten millions of men laid all around the world.

Buy it -- it's cheap. If you don't like it, you can always pack it up as a little gift for your next Basenotes swap.
09th February, 2009

Oleg Cassini for Men by Oleg Cassini

Dirty, oily, sexy Seventies juice that was best worn in moderation.

In many ways, this was Givenchy Gentleman's kid brother, really. I've no idea why Cassini ever discontinued it.
09th February, 2009

Gucci pour Homme (original) by Gucci

This is the dry, bold, very Italian chypre that Gucci produced long before it turned to the cedar chest for inspiration in its flagship men's frag. If you like the original Equipage, you'll love Gucci pour Homme. I'm not sure it's worth the secondary market price it fetches on eBay, though, especially since so many bottles have now "turned" over the years. Look for old store stock and try to buy on the cheap.
09th February, 2009

Dirty English by Juicy Couture

This bad boy just brags a lot. He starts out terribly nasty, it's true, with booze-y bravado and smoke and mirrors. At first you catch yourself thinking, "Ah, Gucci pour Homme with less cedar and more Escada-ish bourbon and sweat and woodiness."

Soon, though, alas, this bad boy peters out into a pleasant, somewhat citrus-y, slightly green musk that's much more reminiscent of Fahrenheit than anything else.

I still like this fragrance, yes, but its deceptive opening and mediocre longevity do disappoint.

Thumbs up? Oh, sure -- why the hell not? DE's still better than the vast majority of mass marketed frags being churned out today. (That aside, do prepared to encounter more English in this scent than Dirty.)
06th February, 2009

Moschino pour Homme by Moschino

Pure masculinity here -- not for those who seek airy clouds of neroli and subtle wisps of verbena. Think Bel Ami. Think Antaeus. Think spice and leather and something ever so slightly sweaty and raw.

A definite try-before-you-buy powerhouse.
05th February, 2009

Red Vetiver by Montale

What a bizarre little beastie this is!

I agree with foetidus that the vetiver is somewhat obscured here, but what I can't get over is the lack of comments on the creamy/almost gourmand notes I keep picking up on in this Montale. (Is that chocolate I pick up on? No, no no . . . vanilla, then? Much more likely.)

The wood and spice/pepper notes are very linear here, much more so even than in the often compared TdH.

A good Montale? Yes. A great Montale? No. The juice is not, IMHO, commensurate with the posh Parisian price tag. Still, a weak thumbs up for quality ingredients, great sillage, awesome longevity and skillful blending.
29th January, 2009

Hypnôse Homme by Lancôme

Vawallpa has it spot on -- this is Ghost Man's younger brother. It's somewhat more removed from LM, yes, but not by very much . . . you really have the same fairly synthetic sweetness going on here, and the same strong lavender and amber notes. I far, far, far prefer Pi to Ghost Man, Hypnôse Homme and LM alike when it comes to admittedly synthetic vanilla vibes.

Still, I'm going to have to give this one a neutral for its lack of "punch" and its pretty pathetic longevity/sillage over all. Want sweet longevity? Grab a bottle of Pi and shut up already.

Cool bottle design, btw.
29th January, 2009