Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
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    Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma

    Here are the notes on my sample card:
    Citrus fruits, magnolia, jasmine, rose, tubersoe, cedarwood, vetiver, vanilla, patchouli.

    It is a nice scent, though not my style. The thing I admire about it is a quality which I can only describe as "bright". This is something more than just good citrus notes, there is an overall energy here that is quietly zesty, something remarkable in a soft floral.
    The opening citrus notes are very true to life and complex, suggesting lemon skin and orange oil. These open into a soft, deep floral. This phase is subtle, not at all heavy or sweet. I'm not familiar with magnolia, so what I interpret as a kind of peach-apricot note (and also the fuzzy skin of a peach) may be the magnolia. The patchouli is restrained. Overall, I have the sense of fruit as much as floral notes. The final dry-down displays some light wood and vanilla.

    21st February, 2012

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    Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta by Acqua di Parma

    Notes: orange, bergamot, verbana, cardamom, pink pepper, pimento, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, wild orchid, cedar, aromatic Thai resins, patchouli, white musk, amber.
    This starts with a lovely citrus and pepper-spice chord. This is softened by florals (not too sweet) and a touch of wood. The effect is round, smooth, and very pleasant. The florals develop into a lovely cloud, and here the rose and jasmine do stand out. The scent is very well balanced between its various elements. The drydown is excellent, featuring resin and wood notes which are not heavy nor sweet.
    It reminds me a bit of Dior's Eau Sauvage -- a classy, earthy twist on the conventional Eau de Cologne style.

    21st February, 2012

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    Eau de Cologne à la Reine des Fleurs by Piver

    Notes: "a basket of citrus fruits" (oranges and lemons), lavender, "a delicately spiced bouquet" of thyme, bergamot, clove and rosemary.
    This is not solely a female-marketed scent. It is fairly dry, with some heft in the herbs and spices. Any man who likes Acqua di Parma or any of the classic EdC's would appreciate this.
    It has a gorgeous cologne opening of bright lemons and soft orange blossom. A deeply earthly lavender note adds to the complexity. Very quickly, herbal and spice notes appear, and these are most attractive. The spices are assertive but done with a light touch -- mostly clove, perhaps something else like nutmeg as well. The dry-down has great longevity due to the herbs and spices, and it is most satisfying.
    All in all, this is a classy and inexpensive splash. More herbal than Agua di Colonia by Alvarez Gomez, but in that vein.

    21st February, 2012

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    Nombril Immense by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Too sweet, too much patchouli.
    It starts with a fairly sweet and spicy note. Even at this early stage I can detect gooey amber. Very quickly the patchouli appears. I'll grant that it is complex: there are nutty, minty, earthy and funky notes. Yes, the scent gets quite funky and smells like an old unwashed belly-button.

    15 February, 2012

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    Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d'Orange

    I'm neutral on it: interesting but not entirely attractive.
    Good points: spicy ginger and pepper are well done, though at times so fruity that they suggest tinned fruit cocktail. The rose is deep and pretty good. Incense combines well with the rose.
    Poor points: more than a few times, there is the vague suggestion of an old, metallic ashtray. The scent gets a bit metallic and thin in the dry-down.

    11th February, 2012

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    Fat Electrician by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Hate it.
    Unnecessarily vanilla-centric, which prevents anything worthwhile appearing from either the vetiver or opoponax/myrrh. Extremely sweet.
    In my opinion, the sweet + vanilla makes for a rather juvenile character.

    11th February, 2012

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    Olive Leaf by Thymes

    I'll give this a cautious thumbs up. I bought it a couple of years ago on spec, mostly due to the ingredients:
    Olive leaf extract and oil, Sardinian laurel leaf, sage, rosemary, balsamic lavender flowers, rosewood, bamboo leaf, aromatic wood notes, patchouli.
    When I first tried it, it seemed very sweet and patchouli-centric to me. I put it aside for a couple of years and am revisiting it. Now it seems OK to me. Perhaps it also works better for me in cool weather.
    It is fresh and starts fairly sweet (to my taste). It is a bit dense and soapy at this point. The scent opens up and has a green-fruity note which I associate with olive soap. The herbal notes develop nicely as the sweet-soapy aspect burns off. The scent is quite pleasant. It is a bit soft and pretty, not quite as dry as I usually wear. The patchouli now seems OK to me, not problematic.

    10th February, 2012

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    Eau de Vert by Miller Harris

    I am of mixed mind on this. Like others, when I hear "vert" (green) I have certain high expectations. This scent is not very green, at best only slightly green.
    Second, my personal preference is for bright, translucent scents. This is one of the most dense, heaviest scents I have encountered. It is not particularly sweet, but it is just so "weighty" that it doesn't totally appeal to me.
    Points in its favour... It is aromatic, with some herbal notes. These notes give a complex, interesting character to the scent. On me, the scent has great longevity, lasting many hours. The dry-down is a bit hay-like, actually suggesting a mellow-dusky sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) note.
    I don't know what makes this so dense. Might be the musk. I don't get any pine here, nor vetiver as I understand the latter.
    I used to really dislike this scent, primarily for its heaviness. Now I am neutral on it. Perhaps I'll further change my mind in time...

    09 February, 2012

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    Set Sail St. Barts for Women by Tommy Bahama

    I have tried the St. Barts for Men. In comparison, the women's version is a soft, pretty floral-citrus rather than an interesting herbal-green scent. It has a light, tropical vibe. At times, there is a vague nutty-toasty note which is not at all present in the men's version.
    This is a pleasant scent, but not as interesting as the men's version and not particularly distinctive in its own right.

    06 February, 2012

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    Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

    Sooner or later every reviewer worth his salt must try Kouros. I have, and I can say that this was an intriguing experience.
    As many have noted, this is a very, very retro scent. Quinessentially macho 80's. Very spicy, sweet, rich, and heavy. The exuberant oakmoss gives it a leathery twang and the ambergris delivers an intense baby-powder sweetness. Yin-yang: tough guy with a sensitive side.
    There is no doubt that this is an absolutely beautiful scent. I applied one little spritz and that was plenty!
    Even a little too much and we could be in the gold chains, shirt open to the navel, leathery tan scenario. The coriander/clove could (in larger applications) suggest a sweaty body. If judiciously applied, they merely convey a barbershop.
    This scent is not at all my style. I would never wear it. But I do recognize that it is a classic.

    04 February, 2012

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    Set Sail St. Barts for Men by Tommy Bahama

    Here's a citrus-aquatic that I can endorse. It is fresh and breezy, but it does not have tiresome or screechy synthetic notes.
    The bottle is blue, the juice is clear.
    It starts with some pretty good citrus notes, suggesting peel and juice. Good green notes, perhaps a combo of tequila and other greens, add a nice herbal touch. The scent is pleasing, certainly nothing here to offend anyone. I'm not a fan of aquatics at all, but I like this one. The dry-down has a salty-herbal-soft musk chord. Would be a good summer evening scent on a tropical beach somewhere, sipping Pina Coladas...

    01st February, 2012

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    Haute Provence by Nicolaï

    This is an interesting scent, and if the notes appeal to you then I recommend that you try it.
    It starts with a rather powdery and dusky lavender. Next to appear is an unusual note: it is very green, herbaceous, and complex. At times it is a bit spicy/peppery and at other times a bit rubbery in a pleasant way. I attribute this to the myrtle. There may be very faint hints of minty rosemary. At this point, this is an ideal "garrigue" scent -- evoking the dusty herbaceous hills of Provence. The early dry-down continues in a green/earthy vein, and I like it quite a bit. The later dry-down gets sweeter, and amber/powder notes appear. I like these less, and they keep the scent from being bottle-worthy for me. However, overall it is a good scent.

    26 January, 2012 (Last Edited: 05 February, 2012)

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    Wild Lavender / Inglese by Lorenzo Villoresi

    This is an excellent masculine lavender.
    It is very dry and dark in tone -- no pretty florals or soft musks here. It starts off rather herbal and then picks up earthy notes from the clove and sage. The lavender recedes but does not disappear as the spice core develops. This spice core is expertly blended, and has an affinity with Piper Nigrum. The scent is somber and serious in style -- lightened and cheered a bit by some rosemary mint. The ultimate dry-down has spice, dry musk and little hints of lavender.

    26 January, 2012

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    Esencia Loewe by Loewe

    This is a delightful green, aromatic, herbal chypre. The opening is centered on a dusky and slightly soapy artemesia. Clary sage and other herbs, along with galbanum, make this quite green. The second phase is marked by an assertive tarragon note, basically a hay-grass combination. Finally, a low-key patchouli appears, slightly minty and metallic and thankfully not heavy.
    I say this is quite nice. My one caveat is that I am looking for coniferous notes and I can't find any. I see that others do find such notes. I have high expectations for that type of note, and for me it may be buried under the other green, herbal notes.
    Nonetheless, this is a very nice scent. It is a product of the late 80's but it is not heavy nor macho. It wears very well.

    24 January, 2012

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    Juniper Sling by Penhaligon's

    I've downgraded my earlier review. I still like the scent, but I don't find it to be outstanding.
    It has a brisk, aromatic opening. If applied liberally, one finds a good and accurate juniper note: tonic, energetic, bright, coniferous, green and herbal. Just what I'm looking for. I enjoy it, and wish it laster longer. It is regrettably short.
    The spices open up and a hint of leather emerges.
    The scent is not at all sweet -- it is masculine, restrained and dry. It offers a low-key leather-wood combo as it dries down. I don't know where the brown sugar and black cherry are... and I'm glad! I don't miss them at all!
    I summary, this is a pleasant, masculine scent. It is smooth, and primarily a peppery wood sort of scent -- and thus my reservations emerge. A scent called "Juniper Sling" should feature and maintain the green-aromatic juniper note much more than this scent does.

    23 January, 2012 (Last Edited: 13 June, 2012)

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    Esprit du Roi by Penhaligon's

    HEAD NOTES: Citrus Accord, Bergamot, Mandarin, Cedrat, Mint, Tomato Leaf, Davana Essence, Aldehydes, Cardamom Absolute

    HEART NOTES: Clove, Egyptian Geranium, Madagascan Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Honeysuckle

    BASE NOTES: Vetiver, Cedar, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Raspberry Absolute, White Musk, Ambergris, Oakmoss, Africa Stone

    ... and a partridge in a pear tree. So many ingredients, such wasted potential.
    On me, this is a overly "bright" and quite generic fresh-spice scent. Like many drugstore scents, a heavy hand with aldehydes dominates and ruins this. It is supposed to be a "lush woody citrus" but none of those aspects really are presented.
    Given the price and promise of quality which does not appear, I find this to be very poor value and I do not recommend it.

    21st January, 2012

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    Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka by Hermès

    I approached this with mixed feelings. I like vetiver very much. But the dried fruits suggested the potential for a Serge Luten opulence, and the grilled hazelnuts suggested a foody sort of scent -- neither scenario immediately attracts me.
    My fears were groundless. This is a suave, restrained unisex scent.
    It has slight toasty-nutty aspects. Although it starts a bit sweet it is not heavy, and the sweetness recedes very quickly. It has a dry, rootsy-earthy aspect -- not gourmand at all in my opinion. The dried fruit is so subtle that I don't really notice it. I'd say that the vetiver - toasted nut - tonka (hay) melange is held in perfect balance. This sits close to the skin. In the final dry-down, a satisfying light vetiver remains.
    Now, this is not a jaw-dropping vetiver. If you are well stocked in that style, you may not need to seek it out. But it will appeal to many, I'm sure.

    20th January, 2012

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    Hermèssence Vanille Galante by Hermès

    Well, I'm one of those people who hates vanilla -- and I gave this a try.
    Verdict: well done for its type. My antipathy to vanilla keeps me from endorsing it but I won't slag it.
    It starts with a green, slightly sweet floral note. Vanilla provides a counterpoint, here a creamy-woody vanilla. The scent gets a bit gourmand -- like a cookie or pastry. In style this is more rich than sweet, and certainly not cloying.
    If you like vanilla, then do check it out.
    But this isn't the one to move me off my position.

    20th January, 2012

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    Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès

    I have to register a negative vote, not because the scent is unpleasant but because it is so subtle as to barely register. I have a sensitive nose but this is beyond subtle, into the "attenuated" category, or almost invisible.
    The opening has promise: a somewhat substantial fruity apricot with some respectable orange blossom notes. Other florals of a delicate nature appear. As is typical with orange blossom, sometimes there are creamy notes and sometimes there are woody-stalky notes. The tea note is so subtle as to be non-existent. The scent is not sweet and certainly not heavy. The apricot, as is so often the case, has a slight metallic tinge.
    Poof! The scent recedes into the background and one is left sadly searching for even a ghostly impression of what had been.
    When it was present, it was mildly pleasant but not compelling. When it is absent, it is ... absent.

    18 January, 2012

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    Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermès

    This is an odd-ball scent. Props to it for being something kind of off the charts. I can't decide what I think about it. It will never be bottle-worthy for me, yet I don't hate it. There are moments when I sort of like it and moments when I sort of don't like it.
    Cutting to the chase -- my problem is the vague suspicion or impression of a green cantaloupe note. This likely arises as the syncretism between the grass and basil notes with the fruit notes. Don't know how others feel about green cantaloupe; for me it is not a go-to note.
    I appreciate the green, grassy notes. They are herbal and very bright.
    The fruit is OK, just OK. On the plus side, it is not teeny-bopper or cutesy-poo. It is as bright and cheery as the herbal notes. On the down side, it is not really an identifiable fruit, certainly not "pear" or "apple". Rather, it is a generic crisp fruity sort of scent, obviously lab-concocted but not obnoxiously synthetic.
    Translucent, as I'd expect from Ellena.
    Sometimes I think the herbal notes work well with this Franken-fruit note; other times I'm not so sure.
    Certainly this is a spring-summery scent, both in style (light) and in mood (cheery).
    Perhaps, if I really use my imagination, I get the merest hint of a very shy young rose, just barely budding.
    Some have suggested that this scent is a somewhat jumbled or unreconciled melange of various notes, and I agree. Whether this crazy salad is to your taste is for you to decide.

    18 January, 2012

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    Notre Flore Neroli by L'Occitane

    Intensely sweet and sugary. Powdery and candied.
    No neroli that I can detect. No orange blossom.
    A bland, sweet, floral with no distinguishing features.

    15 January, 2012

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    Sycomore (new) by Chanel

    Oh my, this is a very, very fine scent.
    If you have any interest at all in vetiver, then you must try this.
    The scent starts with beautiful wood notes, along with the haunting traces of smoke from a distant fire. The combination is irresistible and lovely. At this point, the scent reminds me of Cartier's Declaration -- grassy, woody, but arguably leaner and drier which suits me. Those grassy woody notes are from the vetiver, perhaps in combination with cypress. Any scent with a good cypress note gets my commendation and this has that. I love the style: austere, intriguing, introspective yet at the same time warm and attractive. Not at all sweet or heavy, everything is handled with a light but sure touch. The juniper and cypress give a resinous or coniferous brightness from time to time. The scent settles into a very satisfying vetiver: lean and bright, and it wears well.

    13 January, 2012

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    31 rue Cambon by Chanel

    Hmmm, a patchouli-centric scent which I can endorse??? Must be very well made.
    It is.
    Starts off with an aromatic, slightly sweet note in which fruity bergamot plays a large role. At times metallic, other times fresh and bracing. Then (surprisingly) the merest touch of a sweet chocolate / vanilla note appears. The crisp metallic balances this rich note. Hints of a leathery patchouli emerge... and yet all is sprightly and even translucent. The scent simply does not get heavy or cloying in the drydown (which I often find in patchouli scents). Indeed, the dry-down is quite interesting, as the herbal rather than the leathery notes of patchouli emerge, slightly refreshed by revived citrus notes. OK, the scent at times has slight powdery aspect (to be expected) and hints of floral sweetness. Eventually the patchouli settles into its usual nutty-earthy chord. Yet even here, it is handled with restraint.
    An intriguing, complex scent. Try it and see how it works for you.

    13 January, 2012

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    Bois des Îles by Chanel

    I am speaking of the reissued scent.
    It has a GREAT rose opening -- wow, it is warm and inviting, really excellent. That combines well with the other floral notes. It is very attractive. The rose has such depth that it suggests earthy notes. The florals are rich but not excessively sweet. They are handled with panache. The overall effect is round and even a bit creamy. The creamy note is augmented by sandalwood. The vanilla (thankfully) is restrained, and merely adds a further softening note which compliments the sandalwood. I'd say this is lovely for a woman and yet woody and restrained enough for a man. The rose note persists, and makes welcome appearances from time to time. The sandalwood likewise persists, in a fairly dry manner. The scent is subtle, classy -- a real winner sure to appeal to many who appreciate a well-constructed and complex scent.

    13 January, 2012

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    Beige by Chanel

    I think the name is a complete misnomer. When I hear "beige" I think of a light suede leather, or maybe a light wood.
    This is a sweet, floral scent. Cheerful, pretty, young. Perhaps the honey is what is meant by beige but that is a rather obscure reference. Sunny flowers in a meadow give way to further very pleasant light floral notes. But really, how many beige flowers can you name....
    Points deducted for off-kilter name.

    13 January, 2012

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    Coromandel by Chanel

    Notes: amber, frankincense, benzoin, "soulful woody notes"
    Amber from the get-go, zingy benzoin... and yet I like it??? Well, those elements are bold yet delivered with a classy nod to restraint, and they are admirably framed by a very interesting frankincense. The package is complex and intriguing. It is cool and yet has a warm dark chocolate / vanilla / rubber note. Yet, I like it (and I don't really care for those notes normally). The benzoin comes across almost like opoponax, a very sweet and perfumed myrrh. The scent is intriguing, a bit of a shape-shifter as it moves between the various discrete elements. Finally, it settles into a very attractive dry woody scent. In my opinion, this what Guerlain's Bois D'Armenie should be -- restrained yet slightly rich, wood and benzoin, sweet and yet dry. Well done!

    13 January, 2012

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    Citrus & Wood by Yardley

    This is an amazingly good scent! I'm astonished at its quality, given that it sells for a very low price. The opening has excellent citrus notes, with realistic woody notes and a nice peppery bite. The citrus and wood notes have great longevity. Eventually the scent settles into a woody vibe which is dry and translucent. At times, the scent reminds me of a very credible version of Terre D'Hermes. Really, people, if you see this, snap it up. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

    13 January, 2012

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    Artek Standard by Comme des Garçons

    I like it. Admittedly, it is for wood fans only -- it is awesomely and resolutely woody.
    It starts with a lemon twist which interestingly morphs into a bright metallic note. That doesn't last too long. The ginger spice adds a minor note, but it is there and I can appreciate it. Basically, the scent finds and maintains a dry, heart-of-cedar note. Warm and yet haunting at the same time. Not heavy, not sweet at all. I keep checking my wrist and enjoying it. The drydown doesn't have a lot of layers, just loads of cedar wood. And sometimes, that is enough.

    12 January, 2012

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    OM Sensual by Scentsational of Huntington

    Essentially an aquatic -- therefore "Om Sensual" is an odd name for it. I'd have expected something with exotic spices and incense notes. Nope, this is a cheerful, fairly solid and smooth aquatic. Fresh, mellow -- no shrill or screechy synthetic notes. It would appeal to a lot as a safe scent. It has been discontinued, likely due to the mismatch between name and content.

    11th January, 2012

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    Eau Lente by Diptyque

    I'm giving this a thumbs up for its interesting, complex and unusual style. It is a little sweeter and darker than I like but it is a good scent.
    It starts with an usual combination of spice, powder and green notes. Hints of vanilla and dark chocolate also appear. The spice notes are supposed to be cinnamon and cumin. Each of those is distinctive, but here they are smoothly blended into a spice chord. Apart from the initial sweetness, this is a good start. An interesting dusky green note develops, almost a bit leathery in style. Smoky round and sweet opoponax appears in the dry-down, followed by some animalic, slightly "dirty" notes.

    10th January, 2012

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