Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
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    Mimosa by Czech & Speake

    This is a gorgeous floral scent. It is so heady that it briefly has a slightly volatile, rubbery aspect. It is an ornate cloud: somewhat sweet but not cloying or heavy. The impression is that of lily of the valley – on steroids! A dry, earthy note emerges in the dry-down. Here’s a floral that I could wear once in a while and enjoy. I'm surprised at all the negative reviews. I'm no big fan of florals but I can appreciate this.

    25 February, 2010

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    Monocle Scent Two: Laurel by Comme des Garçons

    Laurel and other herbs, pepper, cedar, patchouli, frankincense, amber

    I'm revising my review. There are parts of this I like and parts that have trouble endorsing.
    I've tried this many, many times in the shop.
    Good points: very green and aromatic, a dry and powerful peppery-herbal mix.
    Reservations: on my skin, it gets tiresome after a while. For me, it is a very powerful and assertive one-note wonder. No grace notes. No subtlety.
    I love dry herbal scents. The fact that I keep trying this, and wanting to like it... and don't quite like it, says something to me.
    It is a marvelous, challenging, dry and aromatic scent. Try it and see how it suits you.

    17 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 26 February, 2011)

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    Marc Jacobs for Men by Marc Jacobs

    Notes: Italian bergamot, Tuscan cypress, cumin, cardamom, ginger, fig leaves, Provence fig, rose de mai, cyclamen, tonka bean, cedarwood, nirvanolide musk, Indonesian patchouli, musk
    This is a smooth, easy-going fig-leaf scent. It is green, and not as crisp or edgy as some fig scents. The usual creamy coconut hint is here. The elements are well blended. The dry-down is nice, clean-soapy, and with hints of wood and incense. I think this is a good introduction to fig scents.

    16 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 08 April, 2011)

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    Elixir by Penhaligon's

    In my estimation, this is a poorly designed scent. The reason? There is an over-emphasis on rosewood. Rosewood is a heady, *extremely potent* scent. A tiny bit goes a long way. I find that the rosewood (with its furniture-polish connotations) simply overwhelms the other potentially interesting ingredients. The opening has much promise. Languid florals, deep woods and peppery spices engage in a shimmering interplay which is fascinating! If it only lasted for more than a minute! Then the rosewood portcullis gate slams down and the scent seems one-dimensional to me. The scent remains stuck in that groove for the remainder of the time.

    16 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 31st March, 2010)

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    LP No.9 for Men by Penhaligon's

    I find two stages here. The first is masculine and dark. It has dark flowers and deep spices which are brightened by a citrus edge. This strikes a romantic note and I like it. The second phase is a spicy, animalic musk. It is too rich for my blood. It reminds me of Kiehl’s musk oil. It is OK until the vanilla and patchouli kick in. A sweet vanilla note is the death-knell for a scent on my skin. I will give it a neutral rating because I recognize my prejudice against vanilla and because (even for me) it has flashes of brilliance.

    16 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 31st March, 2010)

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    Macchia Mediterranea by Borsari

    I’m disappointed in this scent. I like Aqua Classico by Borsari, and the imagery of “macchia” mentioned by Quarry is very appealing. This had the potential to be a garrigue-style of scent. It didn’t work that way on my skin. I found three distinct phases. The first was a fruity, sweet musk. The second was the VERY dusty dry smell of old herbs and spices that is mentioned below. I like this part! It is very interesting, but too brief. The third phase, that of the dry-down, is violet, sweet spice, and musk. This phase has the unfortunate connotation of rancid nut paste for me, and it has severe tenacity. So, the scent just doesn’t work for me.

    12 February, 2010

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    Charmes et Feuilles by The Different Company

    Notes: aromatic herbs (sage, marjoram, serpolet/wild thyme), Indian jasmine, peppermint leaves, grapefruit, clementine, patchouli
    This is a nice scent in two distinct phases. The first is citrus and herbs. Lovely orange blossom-like notes are here. The scent is very zesty, refreshing, and slightly soapy in character. The mint leaves give it real green freshness without a “toothpaste” aspect. The second phase is introduced by jasmine which is closely followed by patchouli. I find that the jasmine and patchouli together here produce a tobacco-leaf chord. At times I find a hay or coumarin sort of note. This is the distinctive feature of the dry-down. It seems like a summery, natural sort of scent to me.

    12 February, 2010

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    Lalique pour Homme Blue / Faune by Lalique

    The juice is slightly blue, as befits an aquatic scent. I find this to be simple stuff: crisp, fresh, blue-aquatic. It starts slightly sweet and gets bigger and sweeter. There is a bit of wood and spice in the dry-down, but nothing particularly noteworthy. In my opinion, this smells a bit cheap and loud.

    12 February, 2010

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    Encre Noire pour Elle by Lalique

    This is a lovely floral scent. It opens on a rather sweet note, but this sweetness quickly burns off. What is left is an airy, refined floral accord bolstered by hints of very light vetiver and wood. The rose and jasmine-like osmanthus are very elegant. The vetiver is nowhere near the grassy intensity of Encre Noir (men’s version). Certainly worth a try – and men could wear this. Interestingly, I don't see any 'dark' aspects to either this scent or the men's version. They both seem 'bright' to me.

    11th February, 2010

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    L'Eau de Jatamansi by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Notes: Jatamansi (spikenard), grapefruit, cardamom, clary sage, rose, ylang-ylang, Indian papyrus, incense, guaiacum (champaca wood oil).
    This starts with an aromatic note which features good grapefruit scents. It is spicy and soapy, and the spices are smoothly blended together. The florals are also very pleasant: first to appear is the ylang-ylang, followed by the rose. There are some light woody-incense notes, and the scent becomes a tiny bit sweet. The spikenard gives a tangy, aromatic note which comes off a bit like cold tea. The rose and champaca notes develop, yet the fresh-woody aspect also hangs in there. This is an exotic, floral, lightly-incensed scent: quite interesting and distinctive. The dry-down gets a bit more sweet but not problematically so. I find this to be a unisex scent: not too woody for a women’s market and not too floral for a men’s market.

    11th February, 2010

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    Un Parfum des Sens et Bois by The Different Company

    Notes: white violet, black papper, ginger, elemi, Chinese cedarwood
    This is a great scent, in the gentle woody-spice category. The florals are attractive; soft but not sweet or heavy. The pepper is rendered very accurately and is excellent. The cedar is marvelous, giving the impression of a cedar chest full of spices. At times there is an interesting salty note, like salty skin. Good longevity here. I like this and recommend it. (Note: not to be confused with Miller Harris’ En Sens de Bois which is also very good.)

    04 February, 2010

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    Riverside Drive by Bond No. 9

    It is difficult for me to be objective about this, since sweet aquatics are not my style in any fashion. I can say that it has a slightly green, translucent opening. There are hints of silvery violet leaf. The scent is smooth, and it is hard to pick out many individual notes. In fact, there is not much that is distinctive here. I find the dry-down to be sweet and synthetic-smelling, with very vague notes of patchouli and wood.

    04 February, 2010

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    Hanami by Ayala Moriel

    This is an intriguing scent. Attention vanilla fans (female and male) -- this is something you want to check out! I am not a vanilla fan, so this scent can only take me so far. However, I can recognize the marvelous artistry here.
    The scent was part of a poetry project, in which perfumers were given the task to create a scent to evoke the vivid imagery of Ezra Pound's minimalist poem "In a Station of the Metro"
    The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
    Petals on a wet, black bough.

    Ayala categorizes this as a "wet woody-floral" and it is exactly that.
    It opens with haunting and piercing floral notes, and very woody vanilla. So far the scent is powerful but not particularly sweet. It is very woody, yet it has a translucent, sheer quality. Grassy vetiver adds to the mix. Gradually the tuberose and attar become more prominent, and these add an exotic, other-worldly quality. The dry down gets much more sweet, and the vanilla reappears.
    Vanilla isn't my particular sort of note. However, I give this a good rating due to the care and creativity here. I'm sure that vanilla fans will love this!

    01st February, 2010

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    Lalique pour Homme Equus by Lalique

    I find this to be an improvement over the LpH (Lion’s head) scent. However, it rates a neutral at best for me. There are some attractive elements: juniper and violet leaves add fresh, bright notes to what is a very smooth and fairly rich scent. No complaint with the spices, although they are not distinct enough to identify as specific types. The woods are very good, in particular the cedar/sequoia is well done. My issue with this scent is the sweet musk, which threatens to overpower the proceedings. When that finally burns off several hours later, a great cedar note remains. This is a smooth, rounded scent with no real edges. Many might like it.

    26 January, 2010

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    Knize Ten by Knize

    This is a complex and intriguing scent. The opening is too brief on my skin. It is a short burst of bergamot and pine-like rosemary. The middle has some woody notes but is mostly floral (orris and rose in particular) and spicy. The combination of scents here is a bit soapy (even rubbery) and barbershop-like; it is pleasant in an old-school way. The scents deepen. I wondered if the sweetness would become overwhelming… then it stepped back and a most interesting bitter-aromatic note took over. Perhaps this is due to the castoreum. I like this note, it is beautiful and even haunting. It is a good counterpoint to the sweetness of the amber and vanilla. The overall effect is poised and elegant. The final dry down is old leather and a return of the orris. I’m not a fan of those elements, and yet I enjoy the scent. At this point I can’t say it is bottle-worthy for me, but I certainly find a lot to appreciate.

    14 January, 2010

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    Magnifico I: Mirto Imperiale by I Profumi di Firenze

    Apart from myrtle, I don’t know what fragrance notes are here. Essentially this is a soliflore.
    It starts off green, aromatic, fresh and invigorating; and it at this point it is a classically Mediterranean masculine sort of scent. Since it is an EDP it is powerful and has good longevity. It becomes more aromatic and develops a powerful (and pleasant) soapy note. Myrtle essential oil is reported to have a spicy, nutmeg-like quality; and I do get a bit of a spicy aspect here. If you like a very distinctive, fresh, substantial, green and soapy scent then you will enjoy this – as I do.

    18 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 16 February, 2010)

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    Polo by Ralph Lauren

    First of all – the juice is green! A pale, blue-green colour (this is not apparent unless you have a decant, since the glass bottle is an emerald green colour). I wonder why they bother to colour the liquid.
    The list of notes is complex. In theory, it should start with a pine-y, coniferous opening, supported by herbal-green notes. The herbals should continue into the mid, augmented by spices and florals. The base looks old-school, with all the heavy-hitters of the era. Here is how it performed on me:
    The opening is big, zippy and aromatic. There are green notes, in particular a gin-like juniper and a dark green absinthe/artemesia note. I also get spices at this early stage. Don’t get any pine. Very quickly, a patchouli-leather note takes over. It is tangy, and a bit sweet (but not bad). A nice hay-like smell of pipe tobacco settles in, perhaps due to some coumarin. It remains that way into the dry-down, perhaps with the faintest of resinous frankincense lurking at the edge and a slight and pleasant soapy quality from the oakmoss.
    This is not a bad scent, and I like it more than I thought I would. I regret the short-lived green notes and (for me) the non-existent pine notes. I’m not a fan of patchouli, but if this scent is applied in small doses the patchouli doesn’t become obnoxious. I’ll give it a thumbs-up for the interesting ingredients.

    16 December, 2009

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    Cuir Mauresque by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    For a while, I could find things to appreciate in this scent. As it dried down, it turned into a scrubber.
    The opening is sweet and aromatic, and rather interesting. The aldehyde florals were very bright and zippy. Spices (cloves and cinnamon particularly) and some woods were good. There was also a bright metallic note: at first I thought it was violet leaf, but some have suggested aloe wood (oud) and it may be that. The combo of all of these was smooth. It was a round, opulent scent but not problematic. It was more floral and sweet than I like, but I found it interesting. Then cumin, something like indolic iris, and leather emerged. These got oppressive and rather fusty. I got the image of a very aged and somewhat eccentric aunt, wearing loads of makeup and too much scent. Exit, stage left, scrubbing all the way.

    13 December, 2009

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    Pancaldi by Hanorah

    Overall, this is a nice scent. I’m not a fan of patchouli, but although it is present here I think it is used with restraint.
    This starts with a beautiful citrus-green note. It quickly morphs into a slightly soapy and spicy chord. Cloves are the dominant spice, giving this an old-school barbershop character. Dusky green notes lurk at the edges. Moss and leathery notes start to appear. The patchouli hints at salt, leather, and tangy leaves. The dry-down is an aromatic, slightly acidic blend of patchouli and herbals.
    I’m slightly more than neutral on this. I think it is well-made and classy in its late 80’s way. So the thumb points up – although I don’t think I’d seek it out for myself.

    09 December, 2009

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    Chevignon by Chevignon

    I think this is a very interesting scent. First, real approval for the lemony opening. It is so intense, and so long-lasting! I’ve rarely encountered such a note. The citrus has a round quality: it is more like a lemon tart than simply lemon zest. This gradually deepens into light greens. Now it is what I call a sporty, golf-green type of scent. Herbal, grassy notes abound. There is also an unusual and interesting salty note. The grass develops into hay-like notes, and moss makes an appearance. Likely there is oakmoss and also vetiver at work. I see this as a yellow-green fragrance. The dryd-down lasts a long time, and is satisfying. Oddly, I don't get the spice or wood notes others have mentioned.

    09 December, 2009

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    Piper Nigrum by Lorenzo Villoresi

    I have revised my previous review, I now give this a neutral.
    It has a sweet, and somewhat floral opening. The scent is somewhat green in style, but it could be more green and have more pepper.
    I certainly get the peppermint, which gives a bright and cool note.
    The styrax and myrrh give a rubber-glove quality, a bit medicinal and powdery.
    The scent isn't as dense as Spezie, but it is similar.
    Just too sweet to really appeal to me.

    30th November, 2009 (Last Edited: 23 December, 2012)

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    Nemo by Cacharel

    I’ve seen more extensive fragrance notes, which include patchouli, leather and vanilla. Alas, those definitely are present.
    The fragrance starts off OK, there is a distinctive combination of warm spicy wood with a briskly cool note. Then the patchouli and vanilla monster kicks in. Sweet, cloying, brown and tangy, headache-inducing. Guess I’ll register the first thumbs down on this one.

    25 November, 2009

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    Vintage Naturals 2009 Lavender by Demeter Fragrance Library

    I should like this more. It is a very sharp, herbal lavender… almost pine-like. Yet, there is a hard-to-identify element here, something kinda stinky, analogous to parmesan cheese. I just can’t dismiss that element. The dry-down is persistant. Not a compelling lavender scent.

    23 November, 2009

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    Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

    Well, any scent which claims to have a mojito accord should do a better job on the lime note! The citrus here is very weak, not green and zesty. The scent opens with a cool and minty note. It is a bit sweet. The scent conveys a rather thick and cloudy air – not translucent. It also seems a bit “dirty”, like a dirty or dusty sugar bowl. It develops into a soft and rather bland scent. Finally, very faint wood and vetiver notes appear. Overall, it is on the sweet side, and is quite underwhelming.

    23 November, 2009

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    Coeur d'Ete by Miller Harris

    This is a lovely floral scent. It starts crisp and yet soft, and gradually develops into a rich and heady cloud. I find lilac to be the dominant floral note. And like scentsivitity, I don’t get any of the food elements. They simply deepen the florals. Thus, it is a simple and cheery, spring-like scent.

    23 November, 2009

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    Cypress Bark by Skeem

    I picked this up at a remainders store for a very modest price. This is a very solid (heavy) and woody scent. It is advertised as both a room and skin scent. Well, I find it to be very powerful, a bit more than I would want to wear on my skin. It is a very woody, and also kinda boozy sort of scent. Reminds me of an inexpensive version of CdG Sequoia or Palisander. Even one spritz in the room lingers for hours and hours.

    20th November, 2009

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    Thé Vert au Jasmin / Green Tea with Jasmine by L'Occitane

    This scent starts off very well, but has a somewhat tiresome conclusion. The opening is wonderful. It has really gorgeous jasmine notes which marry well with a very fresh green-tea note. The effect is exactly like a nice cup of jasmine tea. As the florals burn off, we have an herbal-tea and light wood chord. So far, so good. Then the tea note hangs on and on, like a cup of cold tea on a windowsill. It is not the most satisfying of dry-downs, and on me it got somewhat thin and irritating. So – a neutral rating overall for this scent.

    19 November, 2009

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    YSL pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    Check foetidus' notes down the line for a more extensive list of fragrance notes.

    This is an interesting scent, a somewhat quirky combination of aristocratic cool notes with bohemian earthy notes. I like it. The opening has great lemony aspects, really quite citrusy. This deepens into a dusty green aromatic middle. It is quite herbal, and immensely DRY. Cool and herbal, and still recalling some citrus notes, it conveys an aloof, serene air. Further cool notes come from minty rosemary. Then, by way of contrast, some sour musk and patchouli notes strike a Kouros-like chord. The slightly “dirty” or animalic aspect lurks at the edges of the scent. At this point, it seems like a slightly skanky and dissolute sibling of Blenheim Bouquet. The drydown resolves these disparate elements, into a cool, earthy vetiver with the slightest hint of patchouli. This is certainly a scent to ponder, and to learn more about with repeated wearings.

    19 November, 2009

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    Versus Uomo by Versace

    This opens with good citrus-spice notes. There is a silvery hint of violet leaf. This softens into a pretty cloud of spice, floral notes and more violet leaf. So far the scent is smooth, a bit sweet but pleasant. The spices and violet give a clean, slightly soapy character. The dry-down gets more sweet. The tonka gives a hay/vanilla combination, and the musk adds to the sweetness. I lose interest due to the sweetness, but it wasn’t bad up to that point.

    17 November, 2009

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    Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Update on my review below. Starts with a resined and somewhat sugary chord. The cool resins very quickly give way to the typical Lutenesque rich, somewhat foody scent. I never do get pine here. After a couple of hours most of the sweetness burns off and the scent is pleasant in a herbal-woody way, but it is not outstanding.
    ----
    F&A is an exercise in patience and speedy reflexes. The initial pine notes are so quick, so ephemeral, so fleeting. On my skin they are done in about 3 seconds. For the next hour or so, there is the typical Lutens foody-spice chord. It is OK, not cloying. I get cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg... a Christmas sort of vibe, along with some candied peel. Just when I'm beginning to despair, and around the 2 hour mark, the spiced sweetness abates and some woody and pine notes shyly emerge. The scent winds up as a near neighbour of Fou D'Absinthe. F&A is a bit sweeter, and not as woody.
    I wish the frankincense was more prominent, and given a green, resinous profile.
    And I definitely wish the pine had more oomph and presence.
    Those seeking a distinctive pine scent are hard-pressed to find it here, in my opinion.

    07 November, 2009 (Last Edited: 01st November, 2012)

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