Perfume Reviews

Reviews by tvlampboy

Total Reviews: 697

Or des Indes by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Bal a Versailles' rich older sister, with opoponax added and more sandalwood for sheer exoticism and more complexity. Also a distant cousin of Shalimar.

Truly one of the most beautiful leathery, powdery dry-downs in the fragrance world. Easily unisex -- I have no earthly idea why MPG ever labeled it as a "women's" frag in the first place.
03rd April, 2008

Bijan Black for Men by Bijan

A boring little floral for men -- nothing particularly "black" about it. Sweet vanilla is sort of synthetic. Snore.
19th January, 2008

Riverside Drive by Bond No. 9

GIT and MI here, with no hint (that I can see) of SMW.

Not my favorite among the Bond No. 9 frags, no, but that's really because of personal "frag type" preferences and not because of the frag itself.

Vibert's right, btw, about the longevity -- it does outlast others in this family, and features a more interesting dry-down as well.
19th January, 2008
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Sweet Absinthe by Ava Luxe

I've only smelled absinthe once, and I remember it having been far more licorice-y/anise-y than this. What I'm picking up here is more caraway-ish in nature, possibly with hints of some green herbal note -- lovage, perhaps, or maybe even tarragon? Would love to see the pyramid on this odd little beast. There's a definite streak of mint here, as well.

Don't know quite what to make of this one, really. It goes on smelling very medicinal and quite herbal (in a savory way -- think caraway) and soon dries down to a sweet minty smell with woody undertones.

Not unpleasant at all. In fact, I rather like it. Thumbs up? Yes, especially after having smelled another herbal concoction -- Skarb -- this past week and having found it much less pleasant. Still, this one is a definite "try it before ya buy it" frag, no question about that.
18th January, 2008

Spezie de Medici by I Profumi di Firenze

Hmmm -- I think we used to make pomanders like this in Sister Elizabeth's first grade class. We stuck cloves in oranges and then let the oranges dry. We then gave these clove-studded oranges to our mothers. The smell was marvelous, you bet, but for FAR less moolah.
18th January, 2008

Déclaration by Cartier

Fairly spartan pyramid, with a citrusy/woodsy opening and a woody/spicy dry-down.

Cumin haters and cardamom foes need not apply, btw -- just be forewarned. (As with Rive Gauche pour Homme, Kingdom and other frags, these two spices can have a "sweating Pakistani cabby after having eaten curry" effect on some wearers' skins.)

I think of Déclaration as TdH's predecessor. This is odd, esp. since Déclaration came out at a time (a decade ago) when the diluted little Tommy Boys ruled the roost.
18th January, 2008

Ginger Essence by Origins

Imagine Happy with more ginger and less grapefruit, all on a bed of amber and light sandalwood. The ginger is strong and zesty, but not strong enough to keep the longevity where it needs to be. (Expect fairly frequent re-applications with this one.)

Beautifully blended, yes, but (again) the longevity sucks. Moderate sillage. Easily unisex, but leans just a hair toward the feminine.

Thumbs up, but with the things above duly noted.
18th January, 2008

Amarige by Givenchy

An explosive flower bomb that came around long before the Viktor & Rolf frag of that same name. As has been amply noted below, this is potent stuff, so do apply with caution. (The edp is easily the equivalent of most perfumes -- a double spritz or daub should suffice.)

Very green and fruity in its opening, with a luscious tuberose and jasmine filled heart that soon gives way to soft musk and sweet spices.

Many detractors, yes, but many more fanatical followers. (Myself included.)
18th January, 2008

Charogne by Etat Libre d'Orange

Yummy!!! A nasty little ylang ylang and leather number that has a vanilla-laden opening with hints of rubber, an opening that's remarkably reminiscent of Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur.

This is a little sex bomb, truly -- one of the very few frags with heavy jasmine that I could ever find myself wearing. (Creed's Royal Delight falls into this camp as well.) The vanilla? It just PURRS on my skin!

A totally unexpected (albeit X rated) pleasure -- it's almost like a scandalous leather-and-latex boutique in Paris exploded and landed on top of a posh florist's shop.
17th January, 2008

Domenico Caraceni 1913 by Domenico Caraceni

In all candor, I had expected to fully hate this one. Simply put, it's because most rose-based frags for men don't work well on me (Black Aoud the obvious exception, with a few other Montales in the exception category.)

Iquitos I find wonderful but cloying (on my skin); L'Ombre Dans L'Eau is beautifully constructed but far too green for my taste. I could go on, but you get the general idea.

Caraceni, though, totally took my breath away. The remarkable use of frankincense and tobacco here was/is nothing short of genius, and the rose absolute used was/is anything but cloying. (I grew up in the funeral industry, so trust me when I say that I know how cloying the wrong rose scent can be. There's a vast gulf between embalming fluid rose/memorial wreath rose and Black Aoud rose.)

Stupendous stuff -- I finally understand what all the hooplah is about.
17th January, 2008

Moustache by Rochas

This classic really takes a bad rap on this review board, friends.

Imagine, if you will, Dior's Eau Sauvage with lime added to the lemon. Throw in some tangy fruits (an odd but workable addition, trust me) and then a very masculine dry-down of vetiver, tobacco (very slight) and moss.

Moustache is bracing and tasteful. Very good in the longevity department, but not a sillage beast. (At least not on my hide.)

This is a handsome and tailored French fragrance, appropriate for office and casual wear alike.
17th January, 2008

Immortelle L'Amour by Ayala Moriel

An immortelle fragrance for those who hated Sables. Really. Very food-y take on the note without the "syrup" effect of Annick Goutal's much loved/much hated rendition on the same theme.

The tea note is prominent, and its tannic quality helps to mute (what would otherwise be) the cloying sweetness of the cinnamon and vanilla.

A comforting, sexy, intimate frag that Ayala should, by all rights, be marketing to men as well as women. GORGEOUS stuff!
16th January, 2008

parfums*PARFUMS Luxe: Champaca by Comme des Garçons

Decadent and lush indeed! Massive amounts of tuberose here, so opponents of white florals had best beware.

To quote the inimitable Vibert, "while wearing Luxe Champaca I feel a bit like a debauched and aging drag queen who's trying just a bit too hard to channel Lauren Bacall." LOLOLOL -- I couldn't have said it better myself!

All that aside, suffice it to say that this one is a) far too feminine for me for everyday wear and b) too expensive for everyday wear, to boot. (But I'm sure going to enjoy the hell out of my sample!)
16th January, 2008
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Steam Aoud / Oud Hoggar Mota by Montale

A very pretty oud-based frag, albeit more subtle than Black Aoud, that powerhouse. Imagine Black Aoud with less rose and more sandalwood. The oud is equally medicinal, yes, but its incredible dry-down is equal to that of the other Montale ouds I've sampled (including BA). The cumin note is a tad off-putting at first (as in Rive Gauche pour Homme and Greyland), but you soon figure out why it was necessary in the first place (i.e., to help cut the sweetness/sharpness of the oud and roses in the opening).
16th January, 2008

Moss Breches by Tom Ford

Mean green sexy machine! A classic chypre, with a blast of tarragon and sage to open your sinuses at first. From there, it's all about the labdanum, spices (can't quite put my finger on them, though), patchouli and benzoin.

What comes to mind first and foremost for me is the old Givenchy Gentleman -- I get much of that with the patchouli-heavy drydown. Still, this has no civet that I can detect (unlike Gentleman) and a slightly more unisex dry-down.

Gorgeous "dark" green frag, but the price tag (as with the other Tom Fords in this line) is, for me, prohibitive. (A huge thumbs up, though!)
16th January, 2008

Fougère Marines by Montale

Stardust it is, with just a nod of the head in GIT's general direction.

Fan of Llewellyn but don't want to pay the price? Snag a bottle of Fougères Marines and spritz away!
16th January, 2008

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

I seldom do this (seldom if ever), but here's where I have to step in and say, "Basically what foetidus just said." Really.

The chocolate/patchouli mixture in Borneo 1834 is very handsome, granted, but the chocolate itself falls short and the patchouli just smells like good quality, uncut patchouli oil. I just kept expecting more from this fragrance, esp. since it's from Lutens' ultra-premium non-export line.

Those who know me know how much I am repulsed by A*men, and it's true that Borneo is a stripped down version thereof. But what's missing (obviously) is that vile burnt tar note that makes A*men so utterly unwearable for me. (Small doses I can take -- witness Black Jeans. Huge doses make me ill, esp. when coupled with tonka.)

The camphor doesn't bother me, but it's not even strong enough to notice -- at least not on my flesh. Same with the honey, and it's something that I usually love. Here (as opposed to Miel de Bois, obviously), it just barely factors into the equation.

I really, really want to love this Lutens frag -- it got me lots of compliments today! (And I AM a frag whore deluxe.) Still, though, I just find it lacking at the end of the day, especially for the exorbitant price it commands.
16th January, 2008

Cannabis Santal by Fresh

Bogart pour Homme and A*men, after a night of forbidden passion, produce a gorgeous child. The child is born without A*men's disgusting burnt tar notes -- fortunately, that gene wasn't passed on.

Because the couple had smoked some ganja and eaten some fruit during their first night of connubial bliss, the kid smelled ever so slightly of pot and plums. Roses adorned his cradle.

All was well in Stork Land.
14th January, 2008

1270 by Frapin

Where's the French court painter when you need him? This is a decadently Bourbon banquet of brandy soaked fruit, nuts, honey and wine.

The table is groaning as this gorgeous gourmand weighs it down. Before too long, though, the fruit-laden opening slowly winds down and a gentle after dinner glow commences, with vanilla and honey and coffee for all.

The drydown separates this heavenly fragrance into two distinct parts: a) the ebullient gourmand laughing and eating having a good time and b) the sophisticated gastronome smiling shyly after what can only be described as one hell of a feast.

This is the first Frapin frag I've tried to date, and now I can't wait to sample the others.
14th January, 2008

Private Collection - Bois de Copaïba by Parfumerie Generale

A lovely leather, very much along the lines of the much praised Tabac Blond (but for considerably less $, even at niche prices). There's a floral element here, too, that speaks more of Bellodgia than Tabac Blond, even -- is it carnation? I'd love to see the pyramid on this one.

Goes on very sharp and sweet (perhaps overly so) and soon turns a tad soapy, but then (OH!) it dries down to a gorgeous leather. This is one of those frags that's only marginally unisex, though -- it's like Tabac Blond in that a fellow can pull it off, yes, but only if he's got major globes. (And I do.)

Can't believe that there aren't more reviews of this one yet -- maybe I've pounced upon a real sleeper here.
13th January, 2008

Oscar de la Renta pour Lui by Oscar de la Renta

Spicy, masculine, sharp Eighties powerhouse -- be careful of this sillage monster.

Just as soon as you think it's "safe to leave the water" after the coniferous/bergamot-laden opening blast, along comes the spicy carnation shark on your tail. Cute little cinnamon sharks circle along, and pretty soon the really big fish (moss, vetiver and incense) devour all.

Potent stuff that makes for one helluva swim.

13th January, 2008

Navegar by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Foetidus really nailed it -- this is Bois Farine's older brother. I suppose one could add "seafaring" in that description, but the "aquatic" nature of Navegar is truly debatable. There is a green cucumber note here, yes, as well a pepper note for a little "punch." Still, it's all layered over that funny peanut note (what IS that?), with more greens and leather below. Either my nose is terribly unrefined and/or this one's a helluva chameleon.

A big thumbs up for complexity (enigma, even), but longevity COULD be better. Low sillage, IMHO -- this one sits very close to the skin. That's OK, though -- I think that this is a frag best enjoyed in solitude.
13th January, 2008

English Leather by Dana

Warm, woody and masculine stuff, but minus the "gasoline" notes of Knize's leather and the price tags of Tabac Blond and REL. Am I comparing it to those giants? Not really -- only marginally, maybe, as it IS a leather frag. But for the guy seeking a "man's man" frag with excellent sillage and very good longevity? I don't know why I'd hesitate to recommend English Leather.
13th January, 2008

Création by Ted Lapidus

I don't know if it's the peach or the ylang ylang (likely the former), but something in this brew is too sweet for my tastes.

I love Création's musky, animalic dry-down (must be the civet note), but the opening half-hour to hour can be and often is devastatingly sweet. A thumbs up, but with that proviso in place.
13th January, 2008

Oscar by Oscar de la Renta

Soft powdery floral, slightly dated and unmistakably feminine. Definitely demure -- not a frag for the vamp.

A great buy, too -- this is what happens when old designer frags stick around 30 years. Ugly bottle, though.
13th January, 2008

Lutèce by Dana

Gorgeous for a bargain frag. Perish the thought? I couldn't disagree more.

I find this one almost a dead ringer for Ombre Rose (another great bargain) -- warm and powdery floral that will never go out of style.
13th January, 2008

Toujours Moi by Dana

Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? This inexpensive, complex little Oriental is damn close!

Re-bottle it and slap a niche label on it and few would hesitate to pay a much higher price for it.
13th January, 2008

Oceanus by Body Shop

Another one of the very few aquatics I can abide, but still nothing I'll ever clamor for. I smell a lot of bergamot here, so much so that I can certainly understand the "soapy" conclusion drawn by 891.

Really a pretty good frag for the price and (to the best of my knowledge) one of The Body Shop's best sellers for years. (And this time for good reason.)
12th January, 2008

David Beckham Instinct by Beckham

Aside from the brief piquancy of the pimiento and the almost as brief sharpness of the star anise, there's nothing here to distinguish this one from so many other "fresh" fougeres on the market.

Beckham should stick to bending it on the ball field. Then again, perhaps this latest perfumery deal of his -- the one that came out in '07 -- will work out better. (Or not.)
12th January, 2008

Nobile by Gucci

Drakkar Noir and Loewe para Hombre after a night of passionate love-making, their glassy limbs and sprayers all entwined.

An old school Eighties power frag whose cult has plenty of adherents across the board (and in the larger world) for plenty of good reasons. I won't be paying the eBay premium for it anytime soon, no, but can certainly understand why Nobile fans would/do.
12th January, 2008