Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li by Hermès

Nuanced… sheer. Such a light, yet appealing fragrance. Le Jardin de Monsieur Li is an exercise in minimalism, and it succeeds masterfully. It’s difficult for me to discuss the makeup of the fragrance because I lack the Zen vocabulary to describe it. The pyramid lists three notes: Jasmine, Kumquat, and Sichuan Pepper. My nose can tell that the list is… accurate. But my experience tells me that, although I clearly recognize it as such, this jasmine is like no other jasmine I’ve smelled before… it is insubstantial – and yet it is present and recognizable. The same for the kumquat… this delicate citrus in the accord is near nonexistent – but it is there nevertheless. The pepper is the note with the most substance and the most recognizability – for a time anyway; still, even the pepper is unbelievably subtle.

Since this is a “Le Jardin” and not a “Un Jardin,” I’m not sure that it is meant to be a an official member of the Jardin series – a series that I have had various thoughts of contempt about, (except for Un Jardin Sur le Toit). Unlike the rest of them, I think that Le Jardin de Monsieur Li is phenomenal. I can understand the negative reviews about it, because its subtly and discretion are pushed beyond realistic limits. But I love it… I appreciate its delicacy and nuance. I see this as a fragrance that could be very successful in the newer Asian market. Remarkable.
07th February, 2016

Sycomore (new) by Chanel

As if you needed it, this is another review saying that Sycomore is pretty near perfect… and that it’s similar to Lalique’s Encre Noire but much more refined. I can see the refinement as a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t value the rawness of Encre Noire. Encre Noire is excellent and fulfilling just as it is… its roughness is part of its character. I own Encre Noire and I wear it often, and plan to continue with that program.

Sycomore is pretty near the perfect smoked vetiver fragrance. As perfect as it is, I don’t see my wearing it very often, and there are other Exclusifs that are calling out to me to fill some empty spaces in my fragrance wardrobe... I already have more than enough vetivers.

But there’s no way I can get away from it: Sycomore is truly, truly beautiful and certainly worth every penny.
07th February, 2016

Kanøn by Kanon

The Vintage was extraordinarily unique. It had fresh clean lines like my Grandmother's 60's Scandinavian hand rubbed wood furniture. It carried a perfume that
evoked a polished austere nobility. I wore it through the 70's and into the early 80's when my mood was that of being alone in a stark landscape, tuned with my Viking Warrior.
I don't know if I'd want to taste the contemporary as it could shatter the spell.
Thump's up, certainly for the vintage.
07th February, 2016
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Les Nombres d'Or : Eau Absolue by Mona di Orio

It’s been over seven years since I’ve reviewed a Mona di Orio fragrance, and today, the first sniff I took of Eau Absolue completely erased those seven years: “Oh yeah, now I remember her signature style: Clean, elegant notes, strong rich accords, traditional construction, perfect transitions between accords, nothing out of place …nothing challenging …what you smell is what you get.”

Eau Absolue opens with a near perfect citrus accord – rich, clean, precise, balanced, and so sniffable. Quite soon a perfect geranium note hovers over the citrus to round out the opening to ...perfection, I guess. After the appropriate time, the citrus / geranium gives way to a precisely smooth soft-spicy heart accord dominated by that heart-breakingly lovely geranium note.

I love an excellent geranium note so I am really enjoying the geranium’s being carried into the base, which, of course is smooth, rich, and balanced with its geranium, wood, musk, and labdanum composition. It is elegant and lush. Possibly it should cast a better sillage, and it seems to evaporate too soon off my dry skin, but it provides a fitting swansong to this fragrance.

Except for its lack of perfection in sillage and longevity, this is a technically satisfying and fulfilling fragrance – a quality that I tend to undervalue. I prefer more creativity, surprise, and even a bit of rawness in my fragrances; however, I can’t deny that Eau Absolue is a fragrance of quality and beauty.
07th February, 2016

Pétale Noir by Agent Provocateur

Petale Noir isn’t floral. It is FLORAL!!! Eight flowers and violet leaves are the only notes listed in the top two levels of the pyramid – not a herb, spice, wood, or sweetener in sight. It’s difficult for me to separate the individual floral notes out of the massive bouquet accord, and, considering the power of the florals, I don’t want to try to separate them. I’m not sure how I feel about such a militant attack from the garden world: The floral tidal wave gets easier to take as it settles down, which is about a half hour. But it also gets more characterless: Hmmmm... Maybe I enjoyed the flower power more than I realized.

The remainder Petale Noir is nice enough but…unremarkable.
07th February, 2016

Curve Chill for Men by Liz Claiborne

Curve Chill: I’m a little surprised by this. Because of the pyramid-listed aldehydes: I was expecting a blast of off-putting synthetics magnified by an abundance of aldehydes. But that didn’t happen. The synthetics were there but they were tame and rather pleasant... the aldehydes didn’t reach my nose (YEAH!). The opening gave me a kind of clean, synthetic aroma that was, although generic, basically acceptable.

In spite of all the components listed in the note pyramid, this is a very simple modern conglomerate fragrance. It is very similar to what the mall designers have been producing for twenty-five years. It provides an aroma that is pleasant if not natural or sophisticated. Its longevity as a sillage-maker is definitely substandard, but if applied with care, it can act more like a clean “just-showered” scent that can last four hours.
07th February, 2016

Giorgio for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

Givenchy Gentleman's brash young stepbrother who moved and fit into the U.S. jet setters scene.When this came out everyone in my peer group, climbed aboard Virgin's 747-200. I stayed lost in the Concorde years.
My latest taste of this confirms it will always be one of the greats!!
07th February, 2016

Bel Ami Vetiver by Hermès

Like the original Bel Ami, Bel Ami Vetiver is leather heavy. To my nose that means that I don’t smell the citrus in the opening and I don’t smell the vetiver – all I smell is leather. It’s a decent leather and I’m sure that true leather lovers will enjoy this scent. I can tell that it is a scent that is constructed beautifully and has excellent quality components. But to me it is rather boring.
07th February, 2016

Mon Numéro 10 by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Attractive opening – bergamot and booze with a pink pepper bite (well… more like a nibble)… It’s quite fresh and unique. Maybe it’s the incense (olibanum) from middle level that gives that smooth resinousness to the boozy (cognac) opening accord… whatever… it’s remarkably enjoyable, and I’m in love. Ah… This is L’Artisan at its best… delivering a fulfilling yet eccentric opening that does an excellent job of setting the groundwork for the remainder of the fragrance.

The middle level provides a much fuller and almost as enjoyable heart accord: The cognac sparkle is reduced a little, but it’s there. A sophisticated floral accord with rose, geranium, and jasmine is added... I wouldn’t call the florals prominent; they are more like a textured layer within a well-structured accord. I also get a slight background of spice and they are the spices I love: cinnamon and cardamom. Again, this is L’Artisan very near its best… offering a full, warm, attractive accord that doesn’t call attention to itself, rather it is aimed at providing a sophisticated and rich aura for the wearer.

I don’t get the amber and sweet until the base begins to form. The base lists a lot of notes but what it forms to my nose is an amber / cedar / sweet accord. I don’t get leather or musk and I labeled the third element “sweet” because the base lists musk, benzoin, vanilla, and tonka bean – and there’s no way I can separate individual notes from the accord. With all those sweetening agents listed, the result is certainly not an overload of sweet … The “sweet” level is perfect as far as I’m concerned.

Mon Numero 10 has unbelievable longevity and it retains the pleasant booze (or is it incense?) note to its distant end as a mannered skin scent: Complex, sophisticated, comfortable, lively… another sure purchase for me.
07th February, 2016

Acqua Fiorentina by Creed

It’s a pleasant fragrance. What I get out of the top accord is a very clean, clear, rich-ish version of D&G’s Light blue. It’s almost as if this is not a Creed but a Bond No. 9 version of Light Blue. Acqua Fiorentina has the same effect on me that most Bond No. 9s do: I appreciate the mechanical precision of making a smoothened version of a another perfumer’s creation, but it lacks poignancy because of its lack of originality.

This is a pleasant fragrance… the aquatic tenor in it is probably the best “aquatic” accord I’ve smelled. But since I’m not enchanted by aquatic notes, “the best aquatic” doesn’t mean very much to me. The purpose of the rest of the fragrance seems to be that of avoiding anything that interferes with the aquatic note or the cleaned-up Light Blue accord.

In business, imitation isn't flattery - it's cheating, and Creed should know better because they have been stolen from too often. To me, imitation isn’t very exciting… I prefer the vintage Light Blue, so Acqua Fiorentina becomes for me somewhat of a bore… But I do understand anyone’s enjoyment of this fragrance because it’s a very well made and enjoyable; and it is a top-of-its-class aquatic.
07th February, 2016

Devin by Aramis

Bought a bottle of this in the late 70's.It was quite bold in flavour and projected well,had marvelous sillage and longevity. The quality of the the pine and cedar was superb and captured an ethereal, conifer quality I have rarely witnessed until recent.
Heeley's Phoenicia.
I have yet to taste the contemporary. It is a prize if it has retained the magic.
I suspect not as I looked at the price so dear for the Vintage and the inexpensive contemporary.
07th February, 2016

L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme Sport by Issey Miyake

I don’t know why L’Eau d’Issey PH would need a sports version – it has been pretty much of a sports-like fragrance since its inception. But, then. Issey Miyake has produced only seventeen or eighteen flankers of L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme, so maybe they aren’t overdoing the flanker thing…

The first time I tested L’Eau d’Issey PH Sport, the opening presented to me a full, piercing citrus note. That was the note that stayed with me through almost the complete run of the fragrance. I think the piercing quality of the citrus was helped by the vetiver and cedar from the base. It was not an impressive demonstration because the citrus was somewhat of the the Lemon Pledge variety. The next several times I tested it, I would have preferred the first version… Instead of a direct citrus, all I could smell was a very synthetic grapefruity version - something reminiscent of several Calvin Kline scents of the past two decades.

This sport version does remind me a bit of the original L’Eau d’Issey PH, except that Sport seems to be missing the aquatic (or possibly aldehydic) notes that fill out the citruses of the original. More’s the loss: This one doesn’t have any of the quirky character that of my old tried and true L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme. It’s not a bad fragrance, but it’s totally redundant.
07th February, 2016

Roberto Cavalli Black by Roberto Cavalli

The tarragon and vetiver combine to make Roberto Cavalli Black too soapy for me: I often like soapy fragrances but this soap gets a little close to artificiality – it’s not clean-soapy. It would be cleaner if the bamboo note came through more strongly. The geranium, too, could have been a savior, but it also does not clean up the light miasma of the musky lavender-tarragon. What R C Black needs is more green, or perhaps even some aquatic layering. It needs some sharper points to increase its bass depth... it needs more layers of interest.

Roberto Cavalli Black is not unpleasant; it smells fine, just as so many of the moderately priced men’s fragrances do. But its lack of depth (and its lack of longevity) makes it inadequate… you can find many better even at this price point.
07th February, 2016
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Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens

Bas de Soie is a pleasant iris scent – much fresher, less complex than Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist. Bas de Soie’s light iris note is coupled with the sharper hyacinth and a clean galbanum with provides a pleasant green floral accord.

It could perform better in the longevity department. It’s an adequate light scent even though it doesn’t seem to fit with the typical Lutens’ line-up of dramatic syrupiness. I guess my mind-fix has made it kind of disappointing for me, but Bas de Soie is well-made and highly wearable.
07th February, 2016

L'Arbre de la Connaissance by Jovoy

Eye-opening top notes… Such an outrageously bright, fruity, aromatic accord… My first thought was that this is some sort of parody of the opening of Chanel’s Beige – only instead of Beige’s aldehydes and bright florals this one presents gaudy, plasticy tropical fruit with a tingly camphor-and-prickly-mint sparkle. I suppose that this is a love-it or hate-it opening and, while I don’t exactly hate it, I cannot imagine that my universe would be any the less had I not experienced it.

The opening doesn’t last long because after fifteen – twenty minutes, the fragrance morphs into a neutral coconut–figgy texture which retains the primary characteristic of plasticity. This heart of the fragrance is a slickly smooth plastic coco-fig and soft sandalwood composite… and it is …not unpleasant. But it seems to be too obviously lacking in relevance – I mean, it doesn’t project more than a basic skin scent, and it is fairly short-lived.

Just what is the relationship between the aggressive, Tropicana opening and the artless tropical fruity texture of the remainder of the fragrance’s life-span? Damned if I know… Apparently, there is enough substance to L’Arbre de la Connaissance to keep me from dismissing it off hand, but I haven’t figured out what that substance is…
07th February, 2016

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum by Chanel

Not much to say here because this is exactly what Chanel claims it is: Chanel Bleu Eau de Parfum is a stronger, richer, longer-lasting version of Bleu de Chanel. There are some differences between the two, but those distances fall well within the parameters of a genuine Chanel-Bleu-Intense-concept. If you, like me, enjoyed and purchased Bleu de Chanel, you will likely enjoy this one. It is an excellent fragrance.

Me? I’m perfectly satisfied with Bleu de Chanel. If I run out of it, or if I suddenly decide that it’s about the only fragrance I want to wear (not a chance!), I will purchase Chanel Bleu Eau de Parfum. I likely won’t be buying because I am content with what I have and do not foresee using up my bottle. Plus I would rather spend my money on a couple of Chanel Les Exclusifs.
07th February, 2016

Bentley for Men by Bentley

Not like the usual automobile fragrances. Bentley for Men is an nice leather scent – deep, brooding, yet light enough to be very adaptable. Its greatest weakness is its rather poor longevity. It’s a must try for those who like leather – i.e. people who are not me.
07th February, 2016

Hervé Léger Homme by Hervé Léger

This is like one of the inexpensive drugstore scents of yesteryear. Not super exciting or long lasting.
For the price, it is a very good wood/spicy cologne.
Nice, and perfect for a person like me who shudders at the first whiff of Calone.
07th February, 2016

Serpentine by Comme des Garçons

Much like Comme des Garcon’s Odeur 53, Odeur 71, and Garage. Serpentine is a continuation of a winning concept: the idea of presenting an olio of miscellaneous odors in an interesting and coherent fragrance. I’ve enjoyed all the odeurs… I find Serpentine my favorite of all of them. I particularly like this one because it is fresh, clean, and up-lifting – for most of its run. Serpentine opens with aldehydes and “oxygen,” I love aldehydes and I sort of depend on oxygen, so how could this opening miss? The fresh green cleanliness is remarkable. It’s the kind of accord that, upon smelling it, a person is obliged to breathe it in greedily. …Love those aldehydes… the opening lasts for much longer than most openings do.

As the opening morphs into the heart notes, Serpentine takes on a warmer (less oxygen-green) aura with a background asphalt note. The asphalt note is not at all dominant so it balances well with the original character of the fragrance, and the oxygen-aldehydes are still quietly coming through the heart notes. At this point, the fragrance has taken on a soapy ambiance not as enjoyable to me as the opening, but still something I find very comfortable to wear. From here, the movement is a gradual accumulation of labdanum and woods which do a decent job of representing the general atmosphere of a city’s pollution… Still, surprisingly gentle, soapy, and highly wearable.

Odeurs 53 & 71 I found intellectually interesting and important. Serpentine I find not only interesting, but majorly enjoyable. I purchased it two days after I first smelled it.
07th February, 2016

Just Cavalli Blue by Roberto Cavalli

Pleasant aquatic/fruity scent… a bit minty, a tiny bit flowery, a lot peppery. Sweet in a slightly screechy way. The “screech” is likely from the artemisia note which is a little too raw because it’s out of place when used with the pepper... the aromatics are a bit too characterless.

Nothing new here, but the whole fragrance is fresh and pleasant. Longevity is about average.
07th February, 2016

Incense Oud by By Kilian

At first sniff Incense Oud appears to be one of those love-at-first-sniff fragrances… how could anything smell this good? Incense Oud presents firm, remarkably refined accords …impressively smooth, elegantly resinous, impeccably balanced. The opening / heart presents a delicate but impossibly complex accord that is lightly aromatic, softly resinous, richly and broadly wood /spice centered. Of the long list of notes, I can definitely identify oud, rose, geranium, cardamom, pepper, cedar. I can believe musk, patchouli, and labdanum. Once or twice I’ve thought that I smelled a hint of papyrus. I’m sure I don’t smell frankincense. The other notes… who knows?

Although the opening carries a beautiful elemental force, the remainder of the scent is simply a not-so-gradual reduction of the intensity of the original accord… or slight variations thereof. Incense Oud is incredibly beautiful in a gentle, refined sort of way - as opposed to the more dramatic, more rustic ways of several of the other rose-oud-resin offerings.

It ends its fleeting existence as a vague skin scent, leaving me quite unsatisfied because of its teasing coyness and lack of longevity. Yet I’m voting a thumbs-up for its contemplative, other-worldly quality.
07th February, 2016

Notturno Fiorentino by Bois 1920

I miss the opening bergamot. To me it opens richly with a dignified black current and floral accord quickly joined by an excellent shadowy cedar. The black current provides some of the higher vibes to the accord. It could be argued that the florals – (jasmine and rose, of course) are missing, but I think they are present in disguise… they form the central platform beneath the black current / cedar accord. The cedar carries deep resinous rumbling, which is assisted, I suppose, by a black pepper note. I hardly get any “sweet” from any of the accords. The result is almost visceral… “ALMOST” because this is, after all, a Bois 1920 fragrance.

The sillage is equite light which also should come as no surprise - also because this is Bois 1920. The performance of Notturno Fiorentino is typical of the other Bois 1920s I’ve reviewed: a subtle, almost hidden resinousness, more dignity than playfulness, limited sillage, good longevity as a skin scent. Notturno Fiorentino to me seems more unisex than feminine. It’s a very good scent if its subtle characteristics are acceptable to the potential purchaser.
07th February, 2016

Mistral Patchouli by Atelier Cologne

Remarkably aromatic. A super dose of aromatic emanations open the top: possibly some of the aromatics are from the star anise and the incense, but the main contributor to the potent aromatics is the geranium – an aromatically virulent form of geranium. And it lasts.

As the geranium tones down I get a little platform sweetness from the iris and together they form what I suppose is the aromatic floral heart of Mistral. Gradually the patchouli begins to grow – or at least I suspect it’s the patchouli… this patch is not at all typical; it’s an semi-earthy green pathchouli, obviously working in conjunction with the base’s vetiver, the patch and vetiver are sweetened a little by just the right amount of benzoin. I love it. After an hour or two of this base, I get a small taste of the salt note that others have mentioned.

Mistral Patchouli is quite remarkable in the delivery of its accords. From the dramatic aromatics of the opening through the salty crystal transparency of its base, it is an intriguing olfactory journey.
07th February, 2016

Grand Amour by Annick Goutal

Plenty of flowers in the opening: lily, honeysuckle, and hyacinth at first then rose, jasmine, and to my nose the strongest one – mimosa. I believe that Way Off Center used the perfect word to describe what’s going on here: “cacophony.” This is absolutely NOT a typical Annick Goutal fragrance. It is missing the usual delicate hand. The opening gives me nothing but a glob of “florals” and at this point my spell-check underlines the word “florals” as if even the spell-check knows there’s something wrong with the floral accord. Okay, I have been analyzing the opening by sniffing Grand Amour close to my skin: At a distance from the skin, the fragrance’s projection uncomplicates itself a bit and manages to become a little less confused… At a distance I no longer smell confusion: I smell “ehh.”

I’m relieved a little when the movement begins into the heart notes, but find that this is a false security. The accord seems to morph into a condensed, concentrated form of the opening accord. It isn’t at all transparent in the opening; it now becomes positively opaque… a solid blob of compacted mimosa. And there it stays… seemingly forever…

I own and highly value several Annick Goutal fragrances. Not this one.
07th February, 2016

Opus III by Amouage

Complexity is the primary characteristic I find in Opus III. The opening is aldehydic, green, neutral, warm, and spicy. It lasts well and provides a fine sillage. My difficulty with it is that it’s not very interesting… But it is complex – I could easily get lost in its maze.

The heart is floral. The only note that I can clearly pick out is violet, the rest of the floral notes are lost on me, which for me makes the heart accord not very interesting. The base is a neutral / wood / sweet platform with the aldehydic violet still fliting about. Again, complex but dull.

I don’t know what happened to Amouage with these Opus fragrances – they seem entirely out of character from Amouage’s usual offerings.
07th February, 2016

Encre Noire Sport by Lalique

I really enjoy the original Encre Noire so I made a blind purchase of this Sport version, and I did not make a mistake. I wasn’t planning to, but I actually prefer this sport version: it has a tamer ink note; also, the potent resinousness of the vetivers has been reduced. These reductions make Encre Noire Sport much more subtle in performance. It is more versatile than the original version.

Encre Noire Sport is easy to recommend: If you liked the original, you will likely enjoy Sport. If you disliked the original, you will probably not enjoy this. Oh, and in this case, the name “sport” really means “reduced strength.” I will not use this as a sport fragrance…
07th February, 2016

Versace pour Femme Oud Oriental by Versace

Freesia and heliotrope and violet, oh my! I wonder why they included “oud” in the name of this oriental. All I get is huge floral triad that lasts for a couple of hours. I don’t smell the saffron that might have toned down the flower trio; I don’t even smell the roses. This floral accord linearly hangs on from the opening through the middle, losing some potency, but being hardly affected when in the base it is touched by a diminutive patchouli and a modicum of leather. With the development of the base, the leather turns out to be hit and run, while the sandalwood and oud are missing in action as far as my nose is concerned.

Versace por Femme Oud Oriental is a disappointing fragrance in total. The masculine version of Versace Oud is a decent fragrance, but this one is just superfluous.
07th February, 2016

eo01 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

Totally, delectably woody-gourmand (but not foody) opening. a complex spicy-fruity accord hovering over a woody platform. The fruit are primarily citrus but with a strong mitigating, screech-lowering coconut which seems more coconut husk than pulp or milk. This is one of the first coconut notes that I’ve enjoyed in fragrances… The spices – cardamom and a restrained nutmeg are quite neutral and provide heft and substance rather than typical spice-drama. Also aiding the spices in neutralizing and maturing the sweet top level platform is that discreet platform of wood wafting in from the mid and base levels.

Neutrality and texture continue dominating the middle level of a tamed-rosewood / floral. Again, like the spices of the opening, the florals exude texture rather than drama. I guess “neutrality” is the word for this level – it has lost the gourmand reference of the opening and even that hint of vanilla that had been suggested. As undramatic as it is, I keep being drawn to sniffing and enjoying it. It is enjoyable even with a large part of the middle’s “neutrality” includes its reduced sillage. It doesn’t broadcast as well as the opening.

Speaking of not broadcasting – the base is quite recessive, too. And too bad; it is an excellent complex wood base. I don’t get any sweet in the base. Besides the wood setting of sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, and patchouli, about the only identifiable note I get is a sparkly but not sweet cinnamon. The base is rich and sophisticated, but it could definitely use greater projection.

I love nearly everything about eo01 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke, but its extreme discreetness gives me pause in completely surrendering to it… I see it as having a place as both a sophisticated office scent and a warm sensual body fragrance for either gender. Its beauty is almost silent.
07th February, 2016

Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur by Pierre Cardin

This was the signature of my best friend in the early 70's. It smelled absolutely stunning on him. It seemed to me a gentler Aramis. At the time I was stuck on my Eau Sauvage and the Cardin was not my style. It was inexpensive and worthy fragrance then due to the relative abundance of quality Sandalwood.I have not tasted the later production, so will refrain from comment until I have a nip.. The Vintage was very good.
07th February, 2016

Uomo by Lorenzo Villoresi

This is so beautifully balanced, musically harmonious, aromatically calming, that all I can say is,un vero gentiluomo.

10 outa 10 for this un.
07th February, 2016