Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
    Canada Canada

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    L'Eau de L'Artisan by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Lemon, verbena, basil, mint
    This is as light and refreshing as a breeze on a sunny day! The ingredients are simple and true to type. They are rendered in a cheerful, tonic and yet delicate style. The lemon and basil are excellent, with verbena complimenting and bridging those two notes and adding a typical baked bread note. The mint and basil combine to give a leafy herbal cool green air.

    10th March, 2009 (Last Edited: 08 June, 2009)

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    Maestrale by Profumi di Pantelleria

    Bergamot, lavender, rhubarb, rum
    Jasmine, iris, cardamom, coriander
    Cedar, vetiver, ambretta seeds.
    This is an uber-cedar scent, and not much else. There are tiny little hints of citrus and rum at the beginning, but they are almost instantly overwhelmed by the aggressive cedar. I like cedar, and wood, but this is too simplistic. CdG’s Sequoia has similar notes but is more fragrant, complex, and attractive. It’s not often that I won’t endorse a dry woody scent, but this is just not doin’ it for me.

    09 March, 2009

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    Halston 1-12 by Halston

    I love green scents, yet this one had flown under my radar. It has a dusky-herbal green opening: basil and galbanum are doing their work. The other notes are blended into the presentation. The drydown sits close to the skin; and it has somewhat soapy character.

    (second revision of review) This has a galbanum blast in the opening: it is herbal and spicy. For me, the secret is to not over-apply the scent! In very small doses 1-12 has a cool, airy, pine and moss/fern character which I appreciate. But I can see that in larger doses this would become sweet and tiresome. That is typical of these old powerhouses -- they have a heavy character. I wouldn't say this is a great scent, but it is OK.

    05 March, 2009 (Last Edited: 10th October, 2012)

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    Aegean by Neil Morris Fragrances

    What a disappointment! It simply doesn't work on my skin. The ingredients looked so promising. The style (Mediterranean, garrigue) seemed ideal. However, this scent sits like a muddled lump on me. No bracing citrus, no greenish basil (flower or herb), no aromatic lavender. On me, it is not delicate or translucent, it is thick and indeterminate with no stages that I can detect. And what do I get? A fairly sweet benzoin/vanilla and musk drydown. Failed potential.

    03 March, 2009 (Last Edited: 22 July, 2011)

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    Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

    This is an excellent and distinctive dry aromatic lavender-herbal scent. When I say dry, I mean bone-dry. It is cool, crisp, bracing, at times medicinal. I love this sort of scent, and find it to be bracing and enjoyable. At times, lavender can have an evergreen aspect, and that combines here with the rosemary to create some fantastic pine-like notes. The drydown is mossy, almost salty. This is a cool British scent, very similar to Penhaligons Blenheim Bouquet with lavender replacing the lemon note. Superb! I recommend this highly.
    Update -- the mint combines well with the lavender, it makes for a very refreshing scent. Good longevity on the lavender. Dry sandalwood and moss in the final stages, the scent wears very well. Simple but effective.

    01st March, 2009 (Last Edited: 03 January, 2013)

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    Dark Rose by Czech & Speake

    Dark Rose is a distinctive, other-worldly sort of scent, due to the mysterious oud note and also the brilliant rendering of fresh rose. The oud here is very bright as others have said, it gives me an image of yellow and sunshine. (The scent doesn’t seem at all ‘dark’ or brooding to me.) The oud has its typical medicinal, astringent, piercing aspects; but these are not excessive. When the oud mellows, a truly lovely rose emerges, very fresh, delicate and yet assertive. The drydown is enjoyable and slightly soapy. This is certainly a scent that can be enjoyed by men as well as women.

    23 February, 2009

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    Cuba by Czech & Speake

    Cuba is intriguing and complex. Each time I try it, I get different aspects. It uses elements I normally don’t like (tobacco, tonka) and yet wins me over! There is an aromatic, lime-green and bergamot opening blast. The citrus freshness is very quickly followed by an appealing, slightly ‘dirty’ chord of clove spice and tobacco leaf. This chord is freshened by mint and herbal bay. This scent is powerful but not heavy or sweet. There’s lovely frankincense in the dry down, giving a heady, soapy-medicinal air. The mint persists for a long time, joined by a sweet hay note from the tonka. The interplay of elements is fascinating. This is definitely worth checking out, it surprised me by how good it is. (revised)

    22 February, 2009 (Last Edited: 30th December, 2010)

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    Black Sea by Martine Micallef

    Pink pepper, clove, saffron
    Muguet, carnation
    Cypress, gaiac wood, sandalwood, cedarwood
    Incense and ciste (labdanum)
    Vanilla
    This is luxury. The scent opens in a distinctive way. Most scents have a bright and crisp opening. Black Sea starts as very rich, dense, soft and cushiony. It is like encountering the base of the pyramid at the beginning. Then the clouds thin somewhat, and interesting notes emerge: clove from the spice and carnation; and resinous wood tones. The scent becomes a bit soapy and like a barbershop (the clove-y spice). And then it gets rich again, quite beautiful. The vanilla brings out a sweet note. Finally that burns off and some deep cedar notes remain. I’m not a fan of vanilla, but I can say that this is a lovely scent.

    18 February, 2009

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    Cedre by Esteban

    Cedar, rock rose (= cistacae/labdanum), cinnamon
    Note that the ‘rose’ is the shrub rock rose, not the flowers rosaceae commonly known as roses.
    This is an excellent woody scent! It comes in two formulations: EDT (dark brown box) and EDP (light brown box). I have the EDT. It starts with a twist of lemon. Then it develops a lovely cedarwood note that is dry, attractive, and aromatic. This is basically a soliflore, not much else here apart from the cedar. I don’t mind when the note is so well done. Such cinnamon as there is brings further woody bark elements to the scent. I like this.

    17 February, 2009

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    Lonestar Memories by Tauer

    This is an odd industrial scent, and I find it quite unpleasant. There is an initial note something like burnt coffee and sticky chocolate, mixed with warm rubber. This develops into a more piercing note, something like the acetone of an over-ripe banana. Maybe if I really use my imagination I can smell a worn leather jacket here… maybe. This gets sweeter and heavier, and after half an hour I couldn’t wait to wash it off. Don’t know what sort of cowboy this is… unconventional, I guess. More at home in a garage or laboratory than in the wide-open spaces.

    17 February, 2009

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    Citrus Paradisi by Czech & Speake

    I see a polarization of responses to this scent. For me, it is a lovely light grapefruit scent, with a bit of distinctive depth. The grapefruit is very natural-smelling – quite delicious – and it has amazing longevity for a citrus note. There are hints of a dusky green (clary sage) and peppery-woody spice (coriander). Then, indolic and animalic notes appear, courtesy of the civet and ambergris. These somewhat rare items move the scent out of a ‘linear’ shape and into something more ‘rounded’ and complex. Grapefruit reappears, amazingly, as the scent settles into a gently mossy drydown. I don’t find this to be a classic EDC sort of scent. Both the straight-forward focus on grapefruit and the brownish depth components move it into a distinct category. Perhaps Dior’s Eau Sauvage is the closest analogue in style.

    17 February, 2009

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    Carré d'As by Nicolaï

    This is a subtle and complex scent. It has a beautiful citrus-wood opening. There are light brown herbal notes which are a bit dusky. These probably are from the tobacco and frankincense. The spices are muted. At times there is a kind of ozonic or metallic note which gives a misty, cool quality. Generally, the elements are well blended, being smooth rather than very distinct. My caveat here is that the scent is intended to be a "modern take on fougere" and yet it has no lavender, moss or coumarin (the traditional elements of that sort of scent). It does not smell mossy, green or "ferny" to me in any way. This plus that ozonic note keep it in the neutral category for me, but there is really nothing wrong with this scent.

    17 February, 2009 (Last Edited: 31st January, 2010)

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    No. 88 by Czech & Speake

    This is a magical and very distinctive scent! It is boldly new and yet it has a quirky old-school aura about it. It is deep and yet bright. It opens with a perky bergamot and geranium-rose blast, and then moves into an opulent floral heart which is balanced by a somewhat sharp edge. Many have identified oud at work here, and I agree. Oud combines so well with rose and the other languid flowers. The geranium rose makes this very British and suggests a rounder, smoother version D.R. Harris's Arlington. Might be some moss here too, and incense. Lovely drydown as the oud combines well with a creamy sandalwood note. good longevity. Gets rich, languid, slightly decadent. Oscar Wilde could have worn it. This is sometimes compares to Washingon Tremlett's Black Tie -- this has a more forward oud note and a lesser rose note. (revised)

    15 February, 2009 (Last Edited: 23 March, 2011)

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    Neroli by Czech & Speake

    Magnificent! An utterly gorgeous evocation of bitter orange blossom. This is a beautiful woody-floral scent. It seems light, ethereal, even delicate; yet it has depth and substance. It is floral and yet not sweet; certainly it is not heavy and cloying. The ylang ylang gives an interesting, luxurious and earthy note. I like this very much.

    15 February, 2009

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    Thundra by Profumum

    Leaves, mint, patchouli, white musk
    This is a delightful and distinctive scent, somewhat delicate and yet having a lot of character. I find it to be very minty, but that is not a problem. No toothpaste here, rather what I find is a great green-leafy sort of mint. Now this is the way to achieve a fresh cool note, a beautiful natural-smelling path rather than the usual tiresome ozonic and synthetic-smelling elements! The mint reaches into every phase of this scent. The opening is a leafy green mint. The brown earth tones of bark, soil and forest floor have a cool tone. The light patchouli is framed by mint. And the gorgeous musk is balanced by mint. I think this is a well-designed scent. Although it is not a fougere, it evokes the same cheery vibrant mood as my favorite Trumper’s Wild Fern. My only reservation is the price! Otherwise, it's a winner in my opinion.

    09 February, 2009

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    Greenbriar by Caswell-Massey

    Mid: French lavender, Russian sage, modern florals
    Base: patchouli, cool musk, labdanum absolute
    Note that the fragrance notes are different from the BN description. I got these off the box, they are the same for the scent and the accompanying soap. Probably the BN reflects the earlier formulation which would have (on the face of it) been greener and more herbal. The new elements, in particular the ozone and cool musk, are a concession to the modern “fresh” market taste. This starts with a an orange-floral and fresh ozonic blast which is a bit sweet. There are some good herbal-green notes, and light patchouli. The drydown is a pleasant dusky green with a slight soapy air. The freshness and ozone is not excessive, and make this a pleasant but not brilliant summer scent.

    08 February, 2009

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    Grass by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Well, no surprise here. This is a simple, grassy, slightly sweet and synthetic scent which lasts about 10 minutes. It is forgettable and because of its simplicity, rather boring and shallow.

    08 February, 2009

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    L'Eau du Navigateur by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Fragrance notes: Spices, exotic woods, strong coffee resins.
    This is a very good, distinctive scent. It has deep spices and dark woods. It is very similar to MPG’s Eau des Îles. EdN is woodier, spicier, sweeter, richer. EdÎ is drier, smokier. They both are warm scents and yet EdÎ has an intriguingly cool aspect. They both have a very roasted espresso note that is quite charming. I didn't detect any tobacco notes. I can’t see owning both, and I prefer the MPG take on this. But Navigateur is a classy scent, to be sure!

    08 February, 2009

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    Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

    The fragrance note list from Fragrantica is LONG! And this is borne out in the scent, which is complex. The opening is spicy-green, accentuated by the aldehydes, and is powerful and slightly sweet. The middle is a floral-herbal-spice mixture. The carnation gives a real clove spice ‘kick’ and also a barbershop vibe. The barbershop theme is picked up in the tangy patchouli drydown. Also in the drydown are pine needles (yay!) and a significant dollop of vanilla (boo!). This is an interesting scent, to me it seems ‘old school’ in a good way. It reminds me of Rive Gauche pour Homme or even a less formidable Yatagan. As noted, this is the original version, in the red box.
    By way of comparison, the revamped Montana pour Homme in the blue box is a simpler, more translucent scent. It is drier, more lemony. It is more fresh and greener than the original – and thus I prefer it. But the original is a very worthy scent.

    30th January, 2009

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    Aspen for Men by Coty

    I like the ingredients. I don’t like the fragrance. I didn’t expect a lot from it, and I do enjoy some inexpensive scents. But this one has something that says “loud and synthetic.” It starts with a lemony, fresh-mint note. Then there is something very powerful and soapy, along with a really fake sort of lavender and vetiver. Very quickly this gets tiresome, even irritating.

    30th January, 2009

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    Gotham by Neil Morris Fragrances

    Fragrance notes: black pepper, yuzu, rose, narcissus, ambergris, myrtlewood, russian leather, amber, labdanum
    This one surprises me. Normally I don’t care for amber, yet I find this to be an intriguing scent. I attribute my interest to the fact that there is both ambergris and (vegetable) amber here – I suspect that the ambergris adds an interesting, animalic complexity. There is peppery spice here, evident rose notes, and a cool, almost minty-green note (probably the myrtle). The amber is rich and buttery, and yet it is compelling in a brooding sort of way. Hints of leather add to the depth. Ultimately, this is not the sort of scent I enjoy, yet I can appreciate the craft and quality here. I’m sure others will enjoy it.

    27 January, 2009

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    Molinard de Molinard by Molinard

    This has a powerful, sweetly floral opening. It is not very green, in my opinion. It is a pleasant and classy scent, though a little too sweet and floral to suit me. The dry-down has substantial patchouli, which gives a soapy/sharp tang that is abetted by a hint of incense resin. There is also a little grassy vetiver in the dry-down. The amber is not problematically sweet, buttery or heavy.

    27 January, 2009

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    Sud Est by Romeo Gigli

    This is a perfect example of a garrigue fragrance (herbs on a warm breeze). It is an aromatic and powerful scent. Many of the notes is distinct and identifiable: bergamot (Earl Grey tea), rosemary (minty freshness), basil (green and soapy), thyme (strongly aromatic), artemesia (dusky and sharp). Together the notes create a herbal mélange which I find appealing. I see the comparison to Yatagan, but I find this closer to (and better than) the thyme/basil Baime. Never sweet, always assertive. Cologny and old-school? Perhaps. This is not a problem for me, I appreciate it.

    06 January, 2009

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    Rose of Kali by Neil Morris Fragrances

    I always get dismayed when the very first thing I smell is a basenote, particularly when it is one I don’t care for. This suggests to me some kind of imbalance in the construction of the scent. Well, here I get chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. It is not a yummy dark chocolate, it is an odd, kind of indolic/fecal chocolate. The chocolate opening lasts for about five minutes. It settles down, and allows some pear and rose notes to peek through. There are some green notes from the myrtle, but not much incense that I could detect. Then the chocolate comes back, accompanied by a sweet and also piercing amber note. This is very powerful oriental, and not at all to my taste. Kali is a powerful goddess, a destroyer of illusion. All that is destroyed here, however; is my interest in this scent.

    05 January, 2009

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    Cédrat by Roger & Gallet

    Notes: cédrat lemon, grapefruit, water fruit, cardamom, basil, mint, ozonic notes, musk, cedar, white amber, vetiver.
    This is a delightful scent: it is light, balanced, and elegant. All the notes are apparent and distinct, and yet they are moderate in amount and natural-smelling. The citrus notes are refreshing and appealing, as are the herbal notes. Special praise to the basil, which is very true to type. The ozonic note adds to the freshness but does not dominate in a tiresome synthetic way. This is a translucent scent. The cedar is pleasantly light and woody, the vetiver is lightly grassy, the amber and musk add some depth but not heaviness. Well done!

    05 January, 2009

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    Vetyver / Vétiver by Givenchy

    This has a sparkling-green vetiver opening that is quite delightful! Green citrus notes (lemon, aromatic bergamot) and green leaves and herbal notes contribute to this excellent beginning. It is refreshing and most enjoyable. The scent develops into a lovely warm, comforting cushion. There is a haunting yet invigorating dusky-tangy quality that is so appealing! Light sandalwood is here: soapy, woody, aromatic. IMO this far surpasses Guerlain Vetiver. Those who like it, like it a lot; and with reason. Re-released recently.

    05 January, 2009

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    Santal Noble by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    This is a dark, rich, very woody scent. The dark tone is very interesting: at times I get hints of espresso coffee, but mostly I am reminded of rich, organic black soil – an attractive smell for those who garden. My goodness, the cedar is prominent and aromatic here! It dominates the sandalwood, in my opinion. The incense notes are pleasing and a bit heady. Like many other MPG scents, this is rich, and at times ever-so-slightly sweet. The vanilla and amber stay fairly restrained, and add a bit of luxury. Very nice stuff.

    20th December, 2008

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    Original Vetiver by Creed

    This is a beautiful, perky and cheerful vetiver. Not heavy or excessively soapy IMO. The bottle has a green tint, and the scent seems green to me as well, a kind of leafy-green opening. I love vetiver scents and this is very good. It is not complex, and I can see the alleged similarity to Mugler Cologne. I think the vetiver here is more pronounced than in the Mugler, and the Mugler has a touch more soft musk in the drydown.

    18 December, 2008

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    Arôme 3 by D'Orsay

    This is an aromatic fougere. Lavender and light moss combine in a classy way, with good barbershop spice notes. I really appreciate the lavender which is realistic, dry and herbal. The scent is not heavy in any way; in fact it is restrained and measured. It conveys a crisp and elegant aura, it is a white-shirt sort of fragrance. As is often the case with well-done peppery/clove scents, there is a slight cool, airy note which is attractive. The drydown is a very light mossy spice.

    15 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 26 March, 2011)

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    Santal by Melvita

    This is a lovely, simple and very natural rendering of sandalwood. It is very dry and woody, and a bit soapy. Sandalwood has a sharp, aromatic quality that makes it different from other woods, and it gets centre stage here. I find Santal to be a very satisfying, go-to sort of scent. Sometimes sandalwood can be tarted-up with excessive vanilla, amber or other sweeteners. Other times it can be done in a very pungent, heavy style. Neither is true in Santal, which is balanced and elegant in its own austere way. This is a simple, quiet performer with good longevity.

    12 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 22 January, 2009)

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