Reviews by Clayton

    Showing 1 to 30 of 34.
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    Holy Smoke by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Not exactly what I was hoping for, but not exactly terrible either. This strikes me as unlit stick incense, after the South Asian style, combining florals, light spices, sandalwood, and something like dried fruit or honey. For me, it's too sweet and perhaps borders on those cheap, quasi-exotic, oil-dipped incenses with names like "Egyptian Midnight" and "Lovers Ritual."

    28th March, 2007

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    Zegna Intenso by Ermenegildo Zegna

    An indistinct haze of pointless fruity-ambery nonsense.

    26th March, 2007

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    Polo Double Black by Ralph Lauren

    Dull, fruity, cheap, characterless. Smells as if it was made by the same cynical committee of accountants and brand managers that pumps out scents for Mary Kate and Ashley Olson.

    26th March, 2007

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    Comme des Garçons 2 Man by Comme des Garçons

    Yes, this is kinfolk of Gucci Pour Homme, but that is no big crime. (How many citrus colognes has the world seen in the last two hundred years? The devil is in the details.) To my nostrils, 2MAN is both distinct and distinctly Comme des Garçons. In fact, I agree that it has a "Best of CdG" feel to it -- the medicinal spices of the original CdG Parfum, the smokey inkiness of CdG2, and the monstrously good incenses of Series 3 (particularly Avignon and Ouarzazate, in my mind). Unfortunately for me, it also retains one element from CdG2 that I've never been fond of -- namely, the "perfumey" direction of the drydown. (Is it aldehydes? Tonka bean? I'm not entirely sure.)

    26th March, 2007

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    Coriander Tea by Demeter Fragrance Library

    This is "tea" only in quotes, in the sense that it refers to other cheap-smelling green tea accords in air care products. I get not a whiff of coriander. To me it reads as a needlessly sweet, needlessly synthetic fruity-floral. Flashbacks to those deoderising toilet roll spindles with the rubbery scented beads tumbling around inside. Unexpectedly repugnant.

    21st March, 2007

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    Frasier Fir by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Exactly what you get when you tear a handful of needles from a Fraser Fir tree.
    A big, beautiful, authentic blast of coniferous outdoorsiness. In true Demeter fashion, its longevity is inversely proportional to how much you are fond of it. For me, that means about 10-30 seconds.

    21st March, 2007

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    Tumulte pour Homme by Christian Lacroix

    Greatly confused by this one. I was anticipating a deeply pious festival of cedar. Got cedar chip in pickle brine instead.

    10th March, 2007

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    Fireplace by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Neither unflinchingly smokey nor unflinchingly woody, Fireplace forgoes bottling a fire in favour of telling a little story about one. An ephemeral moment of savoury smoke and booze (the fire that cooks your food), giving way to a longer bout of something like the remains of cooling incense (the fire at which you worship), joined in the end by clean, soft musks (the ashes with which you make your soap). All in all, a nice, unassuming little tale.

    24th January, 2007

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    Vinyl by Demeter Fragrance Library

    A hologram of vinyl fashioned out of bitter almond and licorice – the queer chemical freshness of the former combined with the inedible, sideways sweetness of the latter. A bit like washing down marzipan with shots of ouzo. Not quite the festival of plastics I'd been holding out for, sadly.

    24th January, 2007

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    Muschio Bianco / White Moss by Acca Kappa

    Detergent-like musks in a haze of floral vagueness. From that whole laundered white linens vein that leaves me wondering why I shouldn't just skip the cologne and put on some clean clothes.

    23rd January, 2007

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    Snow by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Every bit as noxiously ozonic-aquatic as Demeter's Rain, but since it forgoes Rain's melony sweetness in favour of a less familiar metallic tang, it does manage to be marginally more interesting. It's still profoundly not to my taste, however.

    08th November, 2006

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 1 Leaves: Shiso by Comme des Garçons

    Dead on, in my estimation. A daring burst of much-maligned cumin, a whisp of mint, and a watery green undercurrent. But in the fashion of the most frustrating Demeters, it's great while it lasts but it doesn't last long.

    22nd September, 2006

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    Comme des Garçons Parfum by Comme des Garçons

    This explodes from the bottle like something straight from a medieval apothecary -- familiar, but wickedly anachronistic. After the initial medicinal exuberance fades, though, a more conventional spice and sweet woods feeling takes its place.

    22nd September, 2006

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    Blu Mediterraneo Tuscan Cypress / Cipresso di Toscana by Acqua di Parma

    I'm generally crazy for conifers (pine, cypress, juniper, I like 'em all), and I have no fear of the household cleaner / car deoderiser association that many seem to dread. But this is really more about citrus, with aromatic herbs and cedar bubbling up from underneath. Overall, a nice, undemanding cologne that's suffers from its innacurate handle.

    14th September, 2006

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    Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella

    A truly curious entry that opens up with an unabashed tribute to fresh rubber cement. I wish I could say that it stays this brave to the bitter end, but the adhesive is too rapidly swept aside in favour of noncommittal vanillic leather with a pale wash of generic fruitiness over the top.

    07th September, 2006

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    Piper Nigrum by Lorenzo Villoresi

    Perhaps if I had approached this scent with fewer expectations, I would not have been quite so let down by the thing in the flesh. Piper Nigrum has very little of the livelier and more savoury aspects of freshly ground black pepper for which I had been hoping; instead, it zeroes in on the warm, sweet, and menthol-like notes. Still, it remains worthwhile, particularly if you are searching for a masculine oriental with an uncommon yet natural feel to it.

    06th September, 2006

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    Chergui by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Chergui is by no means a terrible fragrance, but it's so painfully not my thing that I have difficulty formulating anything worthwhile to say about it. A nice resinous quality paired with an overwhelming, and ultimately distracting, syrupy sweetness. Strictly for those who like to smell sticky.

    06th September, 2006

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    Odeur 53 by Comme des Garçons

    I'd love to be able to affirm that Odeur 53 is even near as strange as it presents itself, but the reality is that this is the olfactory equivalent of a Rorschach test – a vaguely defined shape, crucially accompanied by the expectation of all manner of bric-a-brac. It's fresh, lightly soapy, floral in an abstract sort of way, with a bit of mineral saltiness; a gentle, comfortable, and frustratingly familiar smell that recalls fabric softeners and the nice, unassuming handsoaps that your grandmother likes. All in all, fascinating as an experiment in suggestion and perception.

    11th August, 2006

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 5 Sherbet: Peppermint by Comme des Garçons

    Comme des Garcons' surprisingly straightforward Peppermint manages to dodge the toiletries associations that make mint a tricky note in fragrances. Watery and green, with only a very slight confectionary quality, this brisk, short-lived tonic would make an ideal splash cologne -- unfortunately, it's only available in tiny spray bottles, which puts a major damper on my enthusiasm for it.

    09th May, 2006

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 2 Red: Carnation by Comme des Garçons

    A nice, unpretentious carnation with a sort of untutored, peasant feel to it. The smooth clove confidently makes its presence known, and there's a bit of dusky spiciness that lends the whole thing more depth. It's just a touch too sweet for me to wear, although by no means gaggingly so.

    09th May, 2006

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    Pino Silvestre by Silvestre

    I'm a big sucker for the kitschier side of classic men's colognes, so it is with a heavy heart that I have to second the previous reviewer's observation that Pino Silvestre does an excellent spaghetti sauce immitation. Somewhere between the astringency of the citrus and the savoury herbs emerges a phantom can of tomato sauce garnished with a whack of oregano. Awfully cute bottle, though.

    09th May, 2006

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    Rain by Demeter Fragrance Library

    A nauseatingly effusive melony-aquatic that only succeeds in evoking other cheap-smelling efforts to recreate after-the-rain. Note to functional perfumers and candlemakers: stop trying. Actual rain smells great because it is too ephemeral and subtle to capture in a aerosol can.

    29th April, 2006

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    Gingerale by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Effervescent ginger & citrus for the first several minutes, then it deepens and picks up a pepperiness that is more Jamaican ginger beer than ginger ale. Unfortunately, the tale end flattens out considerably, leaving you with a synthetic sweetness that is a let down after the glittering first act. Pleasant enough, and far more successful than many of Demeter's beverage-inspired attempts.

    29th April, 2006

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    Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca by Guerlain

    Starts off as an auspiciously convincing fresh-torn spearmint, not chewing-gum-like at all. Regrettably, it swiftly veers off into a soapiness that feels out of place on a garden walk. In the end, it becomes a nice, slightly sweet, green floral -- but by then it's too late for me.

    19th April, 2006

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    Mojito by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Unexpectedly appalling. The marketing for this fragrance sets up an expectation for something fun, refreshing, summery, and ultimately edible. Instead, I get no mint, no rum, and only the most inaccurate and cheaply synthetic of limes backed up by the kind of musky, powdery sweetness that doesn't belong anywhere near a beverage. To top off the insult, the powder proceeds to overstay its welcome by several hours after everything else fades.

    02nd April, 2006

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    Wet Garden by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Freshly crushed leaves dominate the opening, eventually giving way to humid earthiness and light florals. Very evocative -- though more of a flower shop than of a garden -- with respectable tenacity for a Demeter.

    02nd April, 2006

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    Dirt by Demeter Fragrance Library

    A moist, loamy potting soil. Quite accurate and quite pleasant, though it fades alarmingly fast down to a transparent and undemanding patchouli-like note.

    02nd April, 2006

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    Humidor by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Pretty much as advertised: a cigar, unlit, sweet, and humid. It opens with a baked apple angle that recalls a hookah more than a humidor, then gets somewhat chocolatey as it fades. On me, the longevity is considerably better than most of the flash-in-the-pan Demeters -- perhaps 4 hours, tops.

    26th March, 2006

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    Bonfire by Demeter Fragrance Library

    A wood smoke fragrance marred throughout most of its short lifespan by boiled hot dogs. Once the wieners have faded, however, you are left with an attentuated simulation of having just come from standing around the campfire.

    26th March, 2006

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    Bulgari Black by Bulgari

    A scarily convincing imitation of one of those latex condoms that comes packaged in artificially sweetened lube. After a while, the condom makes its exit and is replaced by an even sweeter vanillic talcum powder. Completely perverted, which I admire, but the sweetness is just too nauseatingly tenacious for me to stomach for long.

    22nd February, 2006

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