Zegna Italian Bergamot is a pure lemon bergamot that has a bit of bubbling life that other lemon or bergamot perfumes miss on. The slight sweetness and almost edible, candied lemon smell is delightful. There is a clean buttoned up clarity to this that works with the Zegna brand nicely. This fragrance is immediately knowable as a high quality product. It may cost a bit more but is worth it.
Opens with beautiful dry woody tart lemon citrus scent. From very early on this scent shows its dry mineral base which may be white musk and vetiver. The unique quality of Bergamote 22 is the cooling bone dry lemon, yes bergamot aroma that lasts for quite a long time for a light summer citrus. No bergamot is listed as a primary note which gives me a clue that by reconstructing the aroma of bergamot with petitgrain for dry woody orange, grapefruit for tartness, and vetiver for green tinged base of the bergamot construction the perfumer was able to reassemble bergamot with more density than is there by nature. Petitgrain+grapefruit+vetiver=a big bergamot scent. Also a very dry base. This is the best smelling lemon fragrance I've tried.
On opening you smell a nice combination of lemon and mandarin orange citrus that is juicy and bright. Shortly after there is an abrasive light note, violet, that adds some disruption to the smoothe bell toned ring of the citrus. Other than for character I don't know why this note is here because it is a disruptive presence as the scent is strongly influenced by cooling dry violet and dry rasp of musk ambrette. This plus the other woods in the base add a dry woody finish which separates this citrus scent from its opening warmth. This is a very different take on a summer citrus that I like overall but recommend testing before buying.
I felt compelled to leave a few notes on Mojave Ghost because there are so many negative reviews for what I think is a very innovative and fresh - in every sense - fragrance. Named for the Mojave Ghost flower which grows in very dry desert areas the fragrance resembles the flower in concept only but that works because the scent is very dry and ethereal, ghost-like and also hauntingly dry in a mystical desert floral manner. The opening smells like a light sugary melon ball syrup shaken with magnolia flower essence which is an extremely light sweet floral but there is a slight purple slash of violet that sends a small dark cloud over the sunny sky. This light airy floral is carried outward on an inflationary burst of synthetic cedar and ruggedly sunny ambroxan. The result is a dry sun baked desert air scent with a slightly brooding reclusive floral tone.
Though very different in name, Mojave Ghost reminds me a bit Gendarme which is similar but has a less dry slightly greener presence. The primary limiting factor of Mojave Ghost is that its floral essence causes it to lean slightly feminine in character. Otherwise it is good for a 7/10 rating.
Nightingale by Zoologist is a light coral hued perfume that smells somewhat like a Japanese tea garden which must be an intended tone from perfumer Tomoo Inaba. The combination of sharp saffron spiced incense violet woods and plum wine floral notes layered over oud wood, patchouli, sandalwood, frankincense and labdanum base gives an aroma of fine dry Japanese style incense imbued paper. This is a spectacular incense floral scent that maintains a purity and lightness of being that is uplifting to be around. I expect to see kimonos, hot tea and gently bubbling waters in the garden when wearing this one. The name Nightengale and the imagery on the bottle does not give a hint at the wondrous mystical dry floral incensed woods that follow after slight application. This is a beautiful fragrance that even though is lightly floral I consider it perfectly unisex.
The opening of Eau is the same bergamot, grapefruit, coriander accord used in DH Cologne which is a very clean and crisp citrus opening. Dior uses grapefruit here to impart a clean, crisp, watery "eau" feel which is a commonly used note in many oceanic or "Sel de" ocean fragrances for salt air. The coriander adds to the oceanic sharp dry feel but is completely sublimated into the crisp grapefruit giving it a clean ozonic edge. This crisp tart citrus is top layer of a thick iris heart note which is sweet almost as if it were covered with crystalized sugar. The essence of this scent is a sugar coated iris with a slight oceanic clean air aura. If you are looking for an iris scent, this one will do fine but realize it has this sweet coating that gives it a floating innocence - almost fairy tale sweetness. Dior Homme Eau is a sweet and dry iris scent citrus cologne that is slightly sweeter and thicker in iris than other iris cologne style scents it might be compared to. I'm thinking of comparisons to: Zegna Florentine Iris which is much less sweet, Thirdman Eau Moderne which is smoother lighter citrus/iris cologne, Petit Malin which also lacks the sweetness here, and also the dry very transparent Nomenclature Iri-Del which is in the same category as Eau but much more ethereal. Still I like what Dior has done here. I don't like this as much as Dior Homme Cologne but for an iris Eau type cologne it is a nice addition to the world of possibilities.
Dior Homme Sport (2017) smells fresh, clean, and soft with subtle but noticeable honed titanium metallic spice bits amid cool light blue but clear clean synthetics that are the central character of this scent. This fragrance is superior to competitors such as Lacoste Yellow and will even be a test for Bleu de Chanel and Michael Kors Extreme Blue. Dior has made a fine fragrance made up of great smelling parts that all go together well, but never reach to be greater than the sum of the parts themselves. I don't smell sandalwood in the base, or vetiver, but there is a soft musk powder cleanness that takes this fragrance away from the realm of "sport" and more into an modern civilized setting. More a relative of Dior Homme Cologne than Dior Homme Sport??Fragrances are so influenced by their identity and I think Dior would have a winner on their hands if they kept the old Dior Homme Sport (2012) intact and given this fine clean scent a different Dior Homme flanker identity. Maybe "Titanium", "Antarctica", "Glacier" or something similar. A name that adds story and depth to the clean modern sensibility in this perfume. But "sport"? No, I haven't bonded with this identity after finally and slowly accepting the excellence of the old "Sport" version of Dior Homme. The replacement doesn't fit the name in my mind.
Dior Homme Cologne is a simple but amazingly clean bergamot/grapefruit cologne. While fresh and energizing as a grapefruit citrus centered cologne can be, Dior Homme Cologne also manages to sneak in the DH signature background note that is not carroty nor iris leather, but similar and is a light elevating softness that it is Dior Homme DNA enough to claim a spot in line of the Dior Homme family. In my large collection of various colognes from different time periods Dior Homme Cologne has become my favorite summer wearing citrus refreshment cologne. Grab a bottle for posterity sake, just so you can have this classic, before Francois Demachy gets the reformulation bug again and dooms this classic with a replacement "updated version" as he did with the Dior Homme Sport 2017 "improvement" upon the now gone 2012 DHSport Cologne. Hopefully Dior Homme Cologne (2013) will stay with us for a bit longer as it is too good even for Dior to let it go.
All of the distinguishing notes in Boss Bottled are like carefully but infrequently applied water color translucent paints over an already translucent clear sky background. This is a not a distinctly fragranced blend but is an atmosphere of slight bits of pepper, clove, cinnamon and apple that are hard to make out until you read the notes list. These inconclusive bits are spread over a thin background of cedar with touches of sandalwood and vetiver. Bottled is an atmospheric scent. It is all context and very little content giving it a wide frame of reference that is hard to define. The initial impression is it is all iso e super with little touches of bitter flavorings added in here and there. I like this kind of scent and it is a nice collection addition to other transparent woods such as Ecsentric Molecules, Andree Putman L'Original, Kenzo Air, Armani Mania and Boss Bottled. This is a nice background scent. Rated 6.5 of 10.
Bergamot Sage opens with very delicate and quite beautiful sparkling pink grapefruit, bergamot, slight fig and light woods and light musk as a base. The first few sniffs were very nice, then its gone. This fragrance does not have enough contrasts within it for the the delicate and pretty notes to stand up against. I tried it a couple of times and it always disappears quickly after a very nice scented opening. Turn up the contrast and brightness controls please. Sorry it doesn't work for me.
Aldehydic Oakmoss is a middle toned scent that has a continuous hollow toned metallic vegetal green aroma that occasionally slows down to a warm toasty cocoa but then returns to the metallic green. This ringing and changing vibrancy is from the nature of aldehydes upon scent which creates a revolving and changing tonal circle of green tartness and then toasty tonka cocoa tones that returns back to each other. This creates kind of a changeling leather aroma. It is an elliptical frequency of changing aroma that is pleasant but very difficult to pin down because there is no start and stop points. The inability to identify specific notes makes the fragrance hard to remember. It is nice to wear and smell, but soon it is "what was that smell again?" I dunno. This fragrance has an invisibility cloak quality due to its generic tonal range and changeability. It is pleasant but hard to identify/or remember. I would rate it 6/10.
Cognesenti created a fragrance called Hay Incense. The initial opening aroma is hay and this warm lazy straw aroma is surrounded by a variety of almost hay like elements that causes the hay scent to move back and forth and side to side giving it depth and mass and an incense of sorts of hay aroma. Birch leaf, Immortelle, benzoin, oak, leather, labdanum - these are all very low toned almost sweet dry hay type smells. The leather is noticeable in the base too. I would change the name to Hay Leather to more accurately match the scent with the name. I like the end result of this fragrance but I think it's lack of opening notes keeps its low profile, rhetorical incense, almost invisible presence from the outset straight through to base notes. It is all same - all the way through. This fragrance would make a good base accord on which to add totally new top notes and heart notes. There is potential here. I would rate this one 7 of 10.
Warm Carrot is a very stable warmed smiling skin fragrance made of multi faceted pleasant to smell ingredients. This scent is a mood upflifter but is slow and steady in action. The amber accord here is a base uplifted with Ylang Ylang which can and does also have some slight narcotic indolic muskiness. Benzoin and vanilla also add sunshine the mix. Vetiver keeps it grounded and carrot seed oil gives it a slight rooty personality, a nod to the garden, that is far less of an influence than the name implies - very slight. I doubt I would pick out the carrot oil ingredient if it were not posted in the fragrance name. The overall result is the impression of sun smacked, ozone warmed bare skin which has been working earnestly and with good intentions about the garden. That smell - it is nice!
Tomato Leather opens with tomato leaf green tartness and finishes with a very dry powdery and leafy leather accord. The tension and story line of this fragrance is all about how to bridge the gap from tart green tomato leaf to dry dusty leather. It sort of works as the leather remains with some dry tobacco leaf support and the green tartness also stays around too. You end up with Tomato Leather. I am reminded of Neil Morris Leather Garden and Memo Irish Leather as two very green leather scents that also struggle to bridge this gap of green plants and aged leather. This gets a begrudging thumbs up from me as it almost doesn't work, but ultimately it is what it is, and THAT is interesting.
Blue Oud opens with cool lively blue cypress airiness that leads down a hidden pathway into a shaded mossy woodland clearing revealing the hollow aroma of vetiver grass and ancient decaying Aquilaria tree mold which is the central note of Blue Oud - agarwood. This is a direct hit of the type of cold oud backed by vetiver for a classic dry oud aroma. The blue cypress opening goes away in a short pause and all that's left is this pure and simple oud wood that is similar to MFK Velvet Oud Mood and TF Oud Wood, only this is lighter, simpler but equally as impressive. This is a nice summer oud - not pushy or heavy in any way and cooling and relaxing in temperament. This is an impressive fragrance from a mostly overlooked artisanal perfume house - Cognescenti!
Il Poupre is a mildly sweet, medium toned woods fragrance that has bits of fig, davana, iris, shiso, ginger, angelica with an ambroxan and cashmeran base to add warm cuddliness to the final impression. There is a large variety of various fragrant bits which form a complex but very generic smelling scent that lacks specific character, but is never offensive or unpleasant. This reminds me of the aroma of a freshly polished wooden cabinet that is pleasant but also not too,special. Il Poupre is a "jack of all trades and master of none" kind of generic unspecific woods tonal fragrance. Nice name, great bottle and a richly colored dark ruby purple scent that I really wish I could rave about, but, it doesn't really happen for me.
20th March, 2017 (last edited: 21st March, 2017)
Dom Rosa succeeds in the creation of a rose champagne toned warm woods fragrance. The champagne opening is a cleansing freshness while the rose, pear and pomelo light tones bubble up through the rose incense wood base. Frankincense warms the multi toned fresh cut woods to complete a long lasting aroma that is convincing as you inhale from inside of a well aged recently emptied wine barrel. Dom Rosa has a blended character that is cheery but somber at the same time and encourages a "lift your glass" attitude that deepens and improves as the night goes on. This is a nice warm incense rose that is not overly complicated but has solid wooded character traits that I enjoy. Well done!
Tellus opens with a deep earthy aroma. Reminds me of mushroom soil, damp leafy forest earth of slowly rotting dead wood, roots and emitting a composted earth aroma. There is a funky rotting scent that is apparent at opening but doesn't last long. This earthy damp composted aroma has bits of green fir resin and moss that coupled with the ambroxan and cistus labdanum base gives the fragrance a very dark masculine incense fougere kind of scent. Tellus is made even bolder and more serious by a big patchouli and gingery costus note. The amber base keeps a mellow warmth that adds a civilized side to the fragrance that feels like a fine woven glenn plaid fabric of damp earth + mossy resin + patchouli + warm amber. A very nice fragrance that stays close to the skin but lasts a long time.
Gosha is a sharp, sour green perfume that functions like a slap in the face with an awakening tartness. It also has a secondary note that smells like a gum rubber eraser, those old big blocks of crumbly soft rubber, which is an oddly reassuring scent from my younger days. So there are contrasts here and pleasant resolutions to the startling opening scent. The smell reminds me of a Jolly Rancher Green Apple candy, a relic of my youth, with its sour green mouth puckering taste. It's like that only on skin.
Gosha Rubchinskiy is a fashion designer, photographer and film maker. His fragrance is a tribute to the new Soviet style and youth aesthetics which leads to - of course - skateboarding on a summer day. Wheels burning on hot concrete, scorching rubber and road asphalt all colliding to create a scent of youth and freedom on the fly. Comme des Garcons has enabled Gosha Rubchinskiy to create his fragrance, an artwork, in celebration of the New Soviet youth and attitude. Brief fulfilled.
With "Gosha" I like that you get a very clean and good scent, smells of pure prickly green woods, skateboard wheels on tar pavement - packaged in a solid clean bottle and box for an easy everyman's price. This is the way to launch a fragrance so all of the people can enjoy it.
Back to the scent - it opens bold and crisp with all types of green but settles down into a pleasant smooth key lime pie tone with hints of vetiver. A Thumbs up! Rating: 7 of 10.
Succus opens with tart slightly sweet citrus that has an airy feel as if it will stay aloft and never be affected by gravity, drifting further into the upper layers of ozone air mixed with sunshine. This melon - grapefruit scent has an odd compatibility with the dry incense and woods aroma that makes a base note counterpart. The fragrance moves through different harmonies of these three elements of grapefruit tartness, sunny melon and scratchy dry woody musk for an interesting combination that is not offensive. It's not offensive but doesn't really stand out either. I don't really smell anything extraordinary in this scent. There is nothing inspiring for me so I initially rated this thumbs down, but after giving it time to come together into a harmony I see the elements do create an atmosphere that is nice and it works. That is to say it smells OK, results could definitely be worse, but I wonder why would someone choose to put this on skin and wear it day after day as an everyday favorite? Not me.
Succus, when evaluated from a full wearing is a palette cleanser kind of fragrance. Like a sorbet of melon and grapefruit that is served to punctuate a pause from other more complicated fragrances. Succus dries down into a slightly more rounded sunny citrus scent that smells like melon and grapefruit with a slight dry woods base. It is not bold or projecting but subtle and sort of cleansing. This is a passable scent that I would rate 2.5 of 5 stars.
22nd February, 2017 (last edited: 23rd February, 2017)
Like many of Liquides Imagainares scents Saltus is wrapped around a resinous incense note, Somalian Incense is here which has an earthy deep mystical presence. The eucalyptus adds a salty menthol contrast in the opening moments and castoreum leaves a dry leather feel to the woody depths of this scent. I like the feel and rounded aroma of this almost perfect woody, incense leather - one of the best offerings from this house. I find similarities to Heely Eau Sacree, Profumum Olibanum, and DS Durga Freetrapper, but I like Saltus more. A fine scent for earthy incense enthusiasts.
The opening of Peau de Bete is dry as an incense that has all the charm of freshly cast concrete pavement. This dry and cold character is given life by a warm organic spice that keeps the tone low and husky before a very dry leather emerges. All this has a strong indolic undertone that is very animalic and is very alluring and intriguing at opening and through the mid notes but falls apart toward the base of the scent. The base notes take the scent into a synthetic plastic aroma that is a less pleasant side to the synthetic skatole listed in the notes list. This is an unusual scent for sure and I think many people will like it, but I really did not enjoy the very ending of the scent when the various notes just didn't hang together well. Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars.
EL is a soft green leafy fougere, that upon opening draws you into its verdant garden aroma with shaded green plant essences that are similar to the character of Patrick Cologne and also Villoresi Pour Homme. But after the green is established El takes a strong fougere turn with a warm, not too sweet honey + coumarin hay fougere base accord. This is what the really old fashioned "fern" fragrances were meant to smell like! At this point in development I'm thinking it's a re do of original English Fern, but no the story does not end with green and green fern. Providing solid ground for this soft green fougere is a very dried suede leather type base that stays consistent with very traditional masculine, old world perfumes. The base is provided by patchouli, oak moss, castoreum and civet for a warm low purring softness that provides sophistication and pinache for EL and without it this fragrance would be not too much more than a pleasant drug store fougere. The very good fougere fragrances of the past along with their warm herbal hay coumarin character always had the option of a bitter dark oak moss full stop ending that gave these fragrances balance and contrast. With the regulation of oak moss I am impressed to see the bold combination base notes in EL to add that much needed grounding for this type of scent. EL is a deep green fougere with a dusty suede finish that would be a great signature scent for any style confident lady or man. Rating is: 8 of 10.
16th February, 2017 (last edited: 20th February, 2017)
I like the way all of these elements go together for Eau Sanguines: Bloody Wood - dodgy name - but the fragrance just smells really good. The tannin dregs of red wine go very gothic with the violet bitterness in the background. Punch up the wine with red berries then toss roses on top of a dry oak very direct and true resinous base. It is a tart dark red wine with a rose aura, casked in oak wood. There is a sanguine aura to these wine and wood aromas that calls from long past memories; and this is the extent of the fragrant charms of Bloody Wood.
The name - Bloody Wood - repels more than attracts, but still this is a pleasing fragrance to be around and brings back calming well aged memories. Could this fragrance do with a little incense or secondary agarwood in the base? Yes it is a little thin and lacking in development or complexity. Possibly, hmm . . . but presented as it is, there is harmony and pleasure enough to warrant a "thumbs UP" from me.
09th February, 2017 (last edited: 13th February, 2017)
This is an incense and amber fragrance of truly excellent proportions. The combination of warmth of labdanum and benzoin seamlessly blended with the radiance of a patchwork variety of resins is pure cozy comfort. The scent is rich dense fabric of layered cedar wood, patchouli, gaiac wood and cypress woods woven tightly with self radiant golden strands of ambered frankincense and benzoin. What a mesmerizing product. There are similarities to Sahara Noir as well as L'Air du Dessert Marocain but Larmes du Desert lives up to any comparison. Rating: 8.5 of 10 stars.
Dear Polly is one of the better scents from Vilhelm Parfums and I recommend it highly along with Morning Chess and Black Citrus. The scent tree says green apple plus bergamot, black tea and black Amber. If you think about these notes the result is a very dry green and smokey, deconstructed vetiver style soft green scent. A smokey green vetiver is what I get from Dear Polly - a smokey green like in Sammarco's Vitrum or one of the Turtle Vetivers but the dryness of black tea smoke keeps it softer, off the ground and more in the air. The green is tart green apple and the black tea is dry and bitter but with little intensity. I am reminded of a Japanese garden in character and politeness. A beautiful soft green natural aroma with a soft dry dark smoke aura is the result - very successful!
04th February, 2017 (last edited: 05th February, 2017)
Radio Bombay is a sandalwood inspired fragrance similar to all the other sandalwood scents around but with some differences. The opening is much spicier and lively with a ginger like prickly spiced peaches accord that leads into an iris leavened sandalwood heart. The copper note listed is possibly a co2 fractionated ginger but gives this opening a soda pop sparkle as if it were sandalwood ginger ale. Boronia, an Australian flowering shrub, adds a dusty sweetness kept in the woods with fir pinene and layered with coconut aroma as radiating as the finest dark coconut suntan beach oil. There is nothing unpleasant here at all. The idea of sandalwood is achieved and I like the scent. This fragrance smells spicier and warmer than Tam Dao, also more gingery than Wonderwood and really smells not a bit like a pure sandalwood oil. But this is not sandalwood itself but Radio Bombay conjures Bollywood Pop . . . or Bombay Beats, Indian Deep House chill where the sound, beats and heart of India pop culture are alive and electronically driven joyfulness.
28th January, 2017 (last edited: 30th January, 2017)
Noorolain Taif is immediately knowable as a rose and an oud fragrance, and a very nice rose/oud at that. Named after the Noor-ol-Ain, famous pink rose hued diamond, Thameen uses two varieties of rose oil with some hard spices + agarwood + cashmere amber base for a soft backdrop for this diamond tiara inspired rose scent. Rose is what you smell at the very first sniff, but expanding nature of this rose beauty is held in place by cold coriander spice, agarwood and pepper. The two rose varieties used are a Saudi taif rose coupled with Damascus Turkish Rose, these are paired with black and pink pepper seeded with a dose of coriander for a dry but cold spice effect to open the warm rose for a moment before settling upon the cool agarwood tone. Below the rose and oud, the base notes almost escape notice with invisible cushy softness of cashmere wood and amber. This fragrance is not big and bold but careful, precise and beautiful. After the opening rose the smell is more of oud and wood. A very nice scent, polite and responsible in character and one of the best fragrance from Thameen.
Like all Thameen fragrances I've tried Carved Oud is a finely tuned, carefully calculated cool fine woods fragrance. This scent speaks in whispers and in hushed tones. Initially the smell is a very clean oud wood and nothing much more. The name "carved oud" gives an idea of the smell because their is no smoke, no animalics, little earthiness, but a clean pure feeling of floating medicinal and sweet oud wood as if it might had been freshly carved from an ancient piece of aged oud wood, wood shavings scattered about. This is a sacred aroma that is familiar. This oud aroma is light and thin, but the quality and purity of intent is unmistakable. The oud is backed by cedar, guaic, patchouli and white musk. All of these aromas support a very light silvery oud and quiet woods aroma. If you are looking for a big oud or bold perfume, this is not for you. I like it though. Very nice.
26th January, 2017 (last edited: 27th January, 2017)
Rose de Taif smells exactly like pure rose essence. It manages to maintain this rose aroma for quite a long time and I am impressed with how wonderfully simple it smells. It smells like rose essential oil with a slight dry wood base. I realize there are a couple types of rose here along with lemon, nutmeg, geranium and light musk but these are complimentary to the rose scent which stays light, ethereal and center stage for 6-8 hours. This is the first rose scent that I've tried that is this close to the simple beauty of a live rose flower. White musk at the base adds some dry radiant quality without distraction from the main story. I can easily see why Rose de Taif is the favorite rose perfume for many who have tried it.