Perfume Reviews

Reviews by odysseusm

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Angéliques Sous La Pluie by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I find this to be a good, if rather restrained scent. I had to apply more than usual in order to get a distinct impression of it. Dry, flinty, peppery spice. Nutty coriander and also a hint of cumin. Woody, very low-key. Hint of a mineral note -- presumably the scent after a rain.
Doesn't make a big impression on me but there is nothing wrong with it.
27th July, 2015

Notting Hill by English Laundry

Mind-bogglingly bad. Shrill, loud, synthetic, screechy, cheap, artificial. Synthetic bergamot on steroids, lousy musk and not much else.
26th July, 2015

Garrigue by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Mild thumbs-up. The term "Garrigue" is a French (Provencal) word which means "the scent of a breeze blowing through resinous shrubs, herbs, and baked earth." This scent attempts to convey that experience.

MPG's notes are as follows:
Top - lemon, bergamot, juniper
Mid - lavender, sage, rosemary
Base - sandalwood, musk

Has a plummy bergamot opening. A bit of lavender but mostly sage at this point. The scent is a bit sweet, and quite powerfully aromatic. Many MPGs fall into this sort of style. This does have a slight baked-earth note. The herbal notes grow in intensity. The dry-down has a very "fresh" musk note which I feel is a bit synthetic. That sort of brisk, lemony-musk note is also found in Trumper's Wellingon. It reminds me of dusty lemon drops. The final dry-down is cool, lemony and herbal.
For me, not bottle-worthy but interesting.
24th July, 2015
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As Sawira by Penhaligon's

A superb scent. Penhaligons calls it a "woody chypre", and it is oud-centric.
Starts with a green, spicy, oud chord. Immediately an exotic and classy note is established. The scent is rich yet dry, substantial but not heavy. The oud is handled brilliantly, conveying its distinctive nature but with charm, restraint and elegance. The florals soften and add a lovely element to the oud, and woody incense notes deepen the foundation.
Beautiful! Wears very well. Completely satisfying.
22nd July, 2015

No. 33 by Penhaligon's

A mild thumbs-up. The scent is in two phases: the first is excellent, the second is just average in my opinion.
Starts with a green, dusky opening. So dusky it is almost dusty. Bone-dry. Cool and refreshing, yet with some warmth from the peppery spices. Everything is well-blended and subtle. I wish this phase lasted longer. The florals are a very subtle element.
Phase two is a typical masculine dry-down. A bit soft, a bit sweet. Tobacco, vanilla and slight wood tones. Nothing remarkable here, and slightly sweeter than I like.
This is a good scent, not heavy and well made. Many will like it.
21st July, 2015

Levantium by Penhaligon's

This is an excellent scent. I like it very much.
First -- to get some matters out of the way.... One need not fear the spices, floral notes (especially ylang-ylang), peach or vanilla. Sometimes, indeed often, I find these to be overdone for my taste. Not here. They are minor issues, not really notes per se so much as very subtle elements which add to the complexity of the overall scent.
Basically, this is a scent which starts with a marvellous green chord, and finishes with an excellent oud note.
The opening is green, tangy, resinous and slightly rubbery. It is full-bodied, even rich, yet dry. Fantastic! The anise/fennel note is prominent, indicative of the absinthe.
The scent develops into a very well-considered oud. Works well, wears well. More woody than medicinal-challenging. A bit bright and piercing at first. Intriguing, classy. Rose clings to the oud in later stages for a classic, warm combination.
I urge people to give this a try. I think it is a winner, one of the best of Penhaligon's recent introductions.
20th July, 2015

Milk of Flowers by Geo F Trumper

Sweet and very creamy. Spicy-floral with a hint of green. Yes, it smells like carnation and stocks flowers. Quite clove-y and assertive as it develops. Not at all suitable for me.
19th July, 2015

Pure Essence Eau de Parfum No.2 Rose by Neal's Yard

Unremarkable. More fruit than rose, despite all the rose notes listed. When the rose finally appears, it is cheerful but doesn't have much depth.
This scent is NOT the equivalent of the Neal's Yard Frankincense, which is excellent.
19th July, 2015

Shagya by Parfums de Marly

An interesting, complex green scent. Good citrus and spice up-front. The oud adds a tangy note but is not overwhelming or odd. The vetiver and papyrus give a grassy chord. My one complaint is that the dry-down gets too sweet to suit me.
19th July, 2015

Cassis en Feuille by Miller Harris

Starts well, gets a bit sweet in the dry-down. Light enough to be "unisex" but due to its sweet nature I'd class it as feminine.
Starts with a fresh, bright bergamot -- very cheery, crisp fruit. The rose is pleasant, at first green and then deepens somewhat. Combines well with the green blackcurrant note. Hints of wood, but these are very faint. Where is the tomato leaf? That would add a note of interest, but I can't find it. Dry-down is a bit sweet and metallic.
19th July, 2015

Lentisque / Spanish Bush by Phaedon

This has a very green opening. The mastic and galbanum combine to give a leafy, refreshing, crisp and resinous accord. At times there is a hint of a dusky green note, like clary sage. Superbly dry, classy and wears very well. Arguably one of the best of the mastic-oriented scents on the scene. Lovely hint of dry woods. In the dry-down, a well-rounded vetiver note appears, presenting grassy, smoky and earthy tones. A pleasure to wear!
19th July, 2015

Jack by Jack

Disappointed in this. Had expected a better than usual celebrity scent, given the person involved (Richard E. Grant) and the assertion that he was quite involved in the design and development, rather than just lending his name.
Interestingly, marijuana was originally listed among the top notes. But I don't see it here in BN.
This has an extremely assertive mandarin opening note -- almost overwhelmingly monolithic for a very long period of time. It smells a bit faux and boring. Eventually a somewhat grassy, resinous note emerges in the dry-down. But here, it is a bit too sweet to suit me.
18th July, 2015

Corsica Furiosa by Parfum d'Empire

Not bad, but there are better mastic/lentisque scents out there. Phaedon's Lentisque for example.
Green and grassy, with very hay-like aspects. Unfortunately, for me the mastic here smells exactly like cooked celery leaf! And that note remains very strong throughout. It dominates over the tomato leaf and mint, which would be good notes if they were more foreground. I think this scent is not very well designed.
18th July, 2015
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Gorse by Laboratory Perfumes

VERY disappointed in this. A scent called "Gorse" should be green, resinous, scrub-like herbal and dry.
This is feminine, soft, a bit metallic, foody and rather floral. There is an odd, buttery-nut note which I've encountered in other scents and which I don't like. Tuberose? Iris? Whatever it is, I find it irritating.
18th July, 2015

Pardon by Nasomatto

No, too foody/gourmand to suit me. It delivers on the listed notes, and flowers-chocolate-spice is not something that appeals to me.
18th July, 2015

Duro by Nasomatto

A hypnotic and very assertive oud note. Bit sweet, bit woody, hint of intriguing spice. But overall, not my cup of tea.
18th July, 2015

Absinth by Nasomatto

Pretty good. Perhaps a bit rich and sweet which kept me from pulling the trigger, hint of vanilla/balsam also contributed to my hesitation. However, it does deliver a very good green-absinthe note (wormwood, licorice, fennel) with a woody dry-down.
18th July, 2015

Majestic Cedar by Bella Bellissima

Very good opening note of woody cedar. Then it takes on a buttery amber note which doesn't suit my taste.
18th July, 2015

Vetiver Spice by Bella Bellissima

Bright, energizing, good vetiver note. Then it gets a bit too sweet and spicy to suit me.
18th July, 2015

Vetiver Veritas by Heeley

A well-done, classy vetiver.
Grassy and true to form. Good quality.
However that's about it. There are better vetiver scents available -- Chanel's Sycomore for example.
18th July, 2015

Esprit du Tigre / Spirit of the Tiger by Heeley

An accurate rendering of the lineament.
I like the camphoraceous opening with its medicinal note and bright minty aspect. Very invigorating.
However, the clove and cinnamon chord, though accurate, is not at all to my taste. Too sweet and clove-y to suit me.
18th July, 2015

Sugi by Comme des Garçons

I've tried this several times in a store. Each time I get a somewhat different take on it -- yet it never seems bottle-worthy to me.
First of all -- don't be distracted by the lemon-yellow colour. No citrus notes listed or to be found.
My beef is this: no coniferous notes. Where are the cypress and pine?
It mostly focuses on a peppery, mineral, rubbery note. Now, this isn't bad, and it is consistent with some other CdG forays into the industrial realm.
Longevity is poor.
Nothing remarkable here.
30th June, 2015

Replica At the Barber's by Martin Margiela

I give this a somewhat perplexed thumbs-up.
It is a pleasant scent, and due to its restraint it achieves a mildly classy tone.
It successfully conveys a barbershop vibe, having soapy, mildly spicy, very low-key leather and musk notes.
Why do I have some equivocation on this? Well, it reminds me of a lot of drugstore aftershave balms, with their mildly spicy and gentle musk notes. I used to like that scent, in fact in my much younger days that WAS the scent I wore, and that alone.
So, this scent successfully re-creates that and makes it as good as it can be. Is that your cup of tea? It is no longer mine, but as I say there is nothing objectionable about the scent per se. More the concept, perhaps, and the associations.
Green, simple opening. Some very mild herbs but I couldn't identify them as basil. Don't get any lavender at all. I guess that the spice is coriander.
A "guy" scent for guys who like "guy" scents. :)
30th June, 2015

APOM pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Don't like it.
Very little orange blossom (a note I like).
Too much ylang-ylang (a note I don't like) and amber (which I also don't like).
Starts with a very spicy, peppery powder note. If there is orange blossom here I've missed it entirely. Powerful, assertive. Wood is background.
Don't over-apply this. Even one spritz and I find it quickly becomes loud, thin, metallic and unpleasant. You could be become the "elevator guy" with too much of this.
Hints of vanilla -- bleh.
Ylang-ylang here is sweet, a syrupy floral. Meh.
Scrubbed it off.
29th June, 2015

Coup de Foudre by Delrae

I think this is a charming, lovely scent. It is in a feminine style (pretty florals) so it isn't something I would wear. However, I can certainly appreciate it.
The rose and peony notes are very well done, realistic and attractive. The overall vibe of the scent is of a Spring garden. Green notes lurk in the background. The florals are delicate and graceful, not at all sweet or heavy.
28th June, 2015

Florabellio by Diptyque

If you like sweet fruity scents, then you may see the appeal of this one. I don't.
I think it is a trainwreck, from a usually reliable house.
Starts VERY sweet, and then develops a tinny, shrill and screechy aspect. The fruit note is nasty, heavy and persistent. Odd toasty notes add to the jumble.
When things get sorted a bit, I can detect a liquorice (fennel) sort of note which isn't bad. At this point the scent is now green... but still too sweet to be bearable.
Rushing to scrub it off...
20th June, 2015

Plains of Thistle by Royal Apothic

The concept is attractive -- a plain of scrubby plants and thistle on a wind-swept moor. The list of notes looks OK. But the scent is marketed as feminine, and not listed on the online material (but on the box) is a PEACH note. This is quite apparent, and oddly out of place. Scent becomes too sweet to suit me.
20th June, 2015

Eau de 34 by Diptyque

A very successful flanker, and legitimate in its own right.
Comparing this one's notes to 34 blvd St. Germain, we see more citrus, a bit less spice, and less floral.
The citrus notes give a gentle and lovely (rather than crisp) opening. Indeed, "gentle" will be a theme here. The spices are a gentle blend. The scent is clean, clear, attractive and more unisex in style than 34 blvd SG. The geranium note here is compelling -- a soapy green rose sort of note. The scent overall is well executed, restrained and elegant. The dry-down settles into a chypre style, hints of patchouli with a certain tang but not overdone.
20th June, 2015

34 Boulevard Saint Germain by Diptyque

A lovely, opulent scent. Billed as unisex but perhaps more feminine in style. Sweet but not cloying, rich but not heavy.
Spices are well done and appear early. The floral heart is very attractive and combines the various notes successfully, creating a fresh, beautiful chord. The finale is attractive, hinting at woods and resins.
20th June, 2015

Big Sur by Juniper Ridge

This is a powerful, assertive, masculine scent.
Note that Juniper Ridge forages its raw materials and renders its oils. Thus it is likely that batches will vary from year to year. This is batch 2104-5, purchased in 2014. I say this because looking at this year's product on the website, the bottle is different (cylinder rather than flask) and the notes listed are different.

Has a slightly salty opening, but the main and fairly enduring feature is a HIGHLY camphoraceous note. Brisk, substantial, quite medicinal in style. I like it -- but be warned! Hint of rubber and smoke. Bay-leaf emerges, with a green and dusky style. Scrubby vegetation (the chaparral) is suggested, and hints of sage (another dusky note) appear.

It is a big ol' scent, and not afraid to throw its weight around. Quite distinctive, and certainly conveys a very natural vibe.
19th June, 2015 (last edited: 20th June, 2015)