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Moramanga by Coquillete Paris

Coquillette Paris Moramanga starts by soon as a fizzy-rubbery floral fist in your face, extremely intense and balsamic. I detect a main "central" accord of ylang-ylang and tuberose which (especially in its connection with musk, jasmine, spices, orange blossoms and resins) conjures me powerfully the classic Blu by Bruno Acampora, an historical take on tuberose/jasmine accord (the first of the two notes as central, the second accessorial, either supported by a spicy-exotic ylang-ylang). I actually detect an unquestionable resemblance between Moramanga and Blu; both are intense, musky and (especially at the beginning) fizzy-medicinal, just in here I detect a deepler jasmine's presence while Blu pushed the accelerator over (the in here anyway as well working) tuberose-ylang-ylang's connection. Both the scents smell resinous (somewhat rubbery and juicy) but, while Blu is basically musky (enriched by high quality Acampora's musk) Moramanga smells particularly carnal, sticky and balmy (encompassed by balsams and resins). Both the fragrances share anyway a "secret" sort of almondy-fizzy intensity with candied, floral, fruity and medicinal facets (and with a typical "syrupy tuberose influence"). I detect in here a remarkable opoponax presence providing substance and "massive" depth. In conclusion, if you are on the really visceral and syrupy types of floral accords (waving around a central syrupy tuberose/jasmine combo) give a chance to this fragrance. Despite not my cup of tea this juice deserves a try, especially if you are interested on the main theme. Despite not properly onedimensional, this scent is finally not enough structured for my full pleasure. Really impressive projection and great lasting power.
05th July, 2015

Ferré for Men by Gianfranco Ferré

Ferré for Men (nothing to do with Ferré for Man from 1986) is for me one of the most representative epitomes of “half-baked” fragrances. It’s perfectly split in half, on a time axis: one is really – really! - good, the other is not tragic, but a bit disappointing. The opening is perfect for me, a surprisingly rich buttery iris with a remarkably elegant “lipstick” effect on a musky-mossy base and refreshed with some zesty notes of bergamot, and probably that “pineapple” too, since there’s indeed some really subtle fruity feel that gives some sweet brightness to iris. Less quality than Dior Homme, a bit darker and woodier and with a sort of poliurethane-leather feel, but surely Dior Homme may be a broad comparison. Either that, or even more L’Homme de Coeur by Divine. This is the best part of the evolution, a really elegant opening phase perfectly balanced between “masculine” musky-woody-leathery notes, a hint of mainstream spiciness (tonka above all), a feminine touch of lipstick iris, and a whiff of aromatic freshness.

Sadly though, the progression isn’t really consistent: the iris note tones down quicker than I expected and so does its really nice sort of citrus-fruity support, and Ferré for Men slowly turns into a generic woody-musky scent with a generic spicy accord (tonka again, now more prominent) and a generic touch of synthetic leather, just tinged with a really mild and light touch of iris (mostly soapy musk than the initial “lipstick” iris). Like a good supporting band without its leader. Still better than most of mainstream average of this same “contemporary Oriental” family, nothing bad and totally nice to wear, but surely way less refined and intriguing than the first phase. I still consider this a good scent overall, and I’d even suggest you to grab a bottle if you stumble upon nice deals; just a bit disappointing after a while – so either settle for this, or keep reapplying it.

6,5-7/10
05th July, 2015

Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée by Chanel

I love Chanel, usually, but not Pour Monsieur Concentree. I'm neutral leaning thumbs down. I would describe it as unpleasant and slightly harsh.
05th July, 2015
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Aramis 900 by Aramis

I recently blind bought a 100ml bottle of this because it's one of the scents I remember from my youth, and I felt it had to be in my new and rapidly expanding collection. The last time I tried it was approximately 1990, so 25 years ago. It is and it isn't how I remember. I think I would have recognised it and dare to say been able to name it, but I remember something more fruity, more intensely herbal too.
Now: yes herby at the start. I thought rosemary, but it's not listed as an ingredient I think, so I'm wrong there. Rose from start to finish, but not the flower rose, once I thought Turkish Delight, but mostly it reminds me of old fashioned rose soap. Having said that it's not feminine, definitely masculine. To me it's an honest, clean, wholesome scent.
This is the picture it gives to me: a large but quite stark hotel room, white walls, bright, a B&B, England, about 1950, a bright summer morning, but it rained the night before, the large sash window is wide open to a garden. A man, about 35, clean shaven, dark hair, wearing trousers and braces hanging down, shirtless, standing at a white porcelain sink in front of a small mirror washing his body with the rose-fragrance soap provided by the hotel. The water is cold. The bed behind him is empty. He'll put his white shirt, tie and blazer on, pay at reception and never return.
Silage is good (it always is on me as I'm trigger happy) and it fades completely after about 5 hours. Definitely a thumbs up from me.
July 2015.
Later edit: forgot one thing. The original green fluted bottle was so much better. The current one is a but rubbish in comparison 😞
04th July, 2015

Sulmona by Coquillete Paris

One of the best almond's renditions I've enjoyed in my humble experience. Coquillette Paris Sulmona is a simple but decently appointed and surprisingly "polyedral/structured" spicy accord of almond sugary-milky juice (by soon soapy, weirdly syrupy and smooth in to an almost edible way), soft balsams, orange blossoms and (I suppose) ylang-ylang. This fragrance has a spicy sugary/exotic and vaguely boozy temperament conjuring me partially scents a la O.P.S.O Dalila (which is equally structured, less properly almondy but equally sultry-dusty and exotic) and fragrances a la Maria Candida Gentile Noir Tropical (equally exotic but more gorgeous, hesperidic and rum-centered). Vanilla is in here quite irresistible and really silky. Is like to drink an helthful infusion of soja milk and almond juice, is like to get a sticky nectar but at same time I enjoy the structure provided by hesperides, spices and aromatic notes. I appreciate this vanilla's application since it appears magistrally appointed in order to never smell annoying, affected, too much sugary or overwelming. In Sulmona all is balanced and really velvety, just a touch of balminess and this central really "tropical" accord of almond, I suppose musk, animalic patterns (civet?), aldehydes and something properly exotic (an accord of spices and ylang-ylang? Nutmeg in particular?). I get the aldehydes or something close in effect since there is a dusty-aromatic aura (I suppose supported by green-balsamic patterns a la juniper berries or stuffs like that) while I'm almost sure to detect on skin a dirty-dissonant (vaguely rotten-metallic) element couteracting the balanced sugary vibe (in a sort of perfectly aligned trio, sugary, balmy and animalic). Anyway the main hallmark of this gracious fragrance is this lacteous and vaguely yeast-conjuring perfect almond-extrait's rendition (vaguely laundry in effects). A good semi-oriental experiment from this brand and an almond's Ode which I recommend for the "almond addicted".
04th July, 2015

Herrera for Men by Carolina Herrera

I recently acquired a current, allegedly reformulated bottle of this (all brown dotted packaging with silver borders) and without having tried the previous one, all I can say is that this more recent version smells really good for me. Nothing harsher or more “synthetic” than one may reasonably expect - and accept - within this price range; Herrera for Men is actually kind of classy, suprisingly compelling and really enjoyable, and also fairly creative for its era: basically a sort of really smooth, niche-like curry-scented tobacco scent with a hint of honey, some clean musk-lavender tone and the shade of a classic fougère structure. Lots of interesting nuances here, from something tea-like to a really balanced use of cloves (a note that 99% of the times I hate bad). What amazed me at the first sniff is how surprisingly close to tobacco this is – way more than other more praised scents that were kind of a disappointment to me to this extent (e.g. Aramis Havana, which is great but doesn’t remind me of tobacco that much; or inferior juvenile stuff like Michael Kors for Men – not to mention most of contemporary tobacco scents smelling like cheap candies).

Speaking as a long-time cigarettes smoker, I think Herrera for Men quite captures the aroma of a packet of cigarettes – not the raw, dry-earthy one of cigars, not the sophisticated, “humid-sweet” aromatic smell of pipe tobacco, but the mildly sweet, slightly synthetic, maybe pedestrian smell of common cigarettes. There’s lots of this tobacco here, tasty and realistic, together with cumin, a drop of citrus at the opening and something sweet-warm and slightly fruity, like honeyed amber and a bit similar to tea too (think of a grown-up macho version of Gucci pour Homme II), with a really clever accord of more “traditional” masculine notes (musky lavender, woods, geranium) that gives the scent a pleasant touch of “barbershop”. There’s also some really nice sandalwood here, joining the sweet-earthy side of the fragrance. A lot of names come to mind considering the different sides of this Herrera individually, but none would be really a comparison for the fragrance as a whole, as in fact Herrera for Men smells honestly quite new and unique to me. It’s surely a bit close to other early 1990s fragrances (the first Zegna comes to mind in particular) but there’s quite more going on here. The quality isn’t top-notch but it works really good, way better than I expected given that all other Herrera scents I’ve tried were utter crap for me. A bang for the buck if you ask me; it smells good, bold but classy, masculine as a Raymond Chandler villain, totally decent for the price.

7-7,5/10
04th July, 2015

1000 Miglia Extreme by Chopard

*This review applies to the normal, non-extreme version of this (which isn't listed on Basenotes yet, I will move this accordingly once they add it)*

The composition seemed interesting to me at first, especially that promising “asphalt-suede” combo, so I approached this with slightly more enthusiasm than usual, although I am not really a fan of Chopard fragrances, and well, I was wrong – in being slightly more enthusiastic than usual, I mean. Utter cheapness and boredom in a bottle. The opening comprises mostly a contemporary aromatic fougère bone structure of wood, lavender, citrus scented with tobacco, some subtle smell of coffee, a dusty-sweet feel (amber and violet) and a little sad suede aromachemical lying in the shame corner. 1000 miglia reminds me of a cheaper, subtler, more boring version of woody-coffee scents like Rochas Man crossed with Lanvin’s Arpège pour Homme and similar “violet woodyambers”; just more generic, with more lavender, more (depressingly synthetic) wood, a bit more zest, a hint of green. Basically a dull, slightly confused and more generic version of both (or similar ones) with a persistent sort of soapy-musky-woody feel drowned in plastic. Tragically uninspired, too cheap to be at least “mediocrely refined”, one of those scents you have to sniff constantly to remind how they smell, and probably regret having bought them. Plenty of better options for this non-genre.

5/10
04th July, 2015

Captain Molyneux by Molyneux

Finally I re-test today on skin this fragrance after many years and a soapy/barber-shop mossy-chypre-fougere universe starts again disclosing its massive inlayed doors (mossy, laundry, powdery, minty-aromatic, honeyed, rooty, aldehydic, metallic) under my nose, an olfactory-temporal "space" studded by perfumed pièces of history as several Geo F. Trumper or Penhaligon's, further scents a la Cabochard de Grès, Arrogance Pour Homme, Monsieur Rochas, Azuree Pure Estee Lauder, Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Oscar de La Renta Pour Lui, YSL vintage Kouros, Balenciaga Portos, Dunhill For Man, Robert Piguet Bandit, Patou Pour Homme, Bogart by Jaques Bogart, Original Denim for Men etc, etc. Captain de Molyneux is a powerfully anisic-aromatic and mossy-aldehydic chypre accord, restrained and uncompromisingly virile. I detect a minimal touch of soapy-visceral substance (civet, honey, ambergris??) but Captain is not basically an animalic mossy-chypre while more properly an herbal barber-shop accord with a cedary-mossy core and soapy-waxy nuances. The aldehydic presence is in here really temperamental despite not properly "boosted" till those "vintage Kouros levels". Anise and lavender (supported by spacious-airy-irony aldehydes) release a deeply aromatic mentholated vibe since the beginning while dry woods, roots, oakmoss and may be arid tobacco exude a sort of bitter/herbal "licorice-kind" undertone counteracting a dominant (mild) soapy "minty milk". Don't be fooled from the "milk" word (related to a minimal touch of soothing balsam in the original recipe) anyway, the soapiness is basically sharp, dusty-woody and powdery (with just a minimal hint of soothing elements). Captain de Molyneux is all about the 80's barber-shops "molecules", a pièce of gentleman classicism and a supreme lavender accord with an hesperidic presence, a general sense of muskiness and restrained metallic floral notes. Dry down is bold, old-shool, yet measured and discreet. There is a general sense of fresh-airy and clean-musky soapiness around the wearer, a fresh soft accord anyway restrained by this rooty/licorice-type of effect providing sensual forbidding erotic masculinity. Despite not properly original or revolutionary (and despite today less opulent in its current version), this fragrance is nowadays incontestably a left over great fougere/chypre classic combination with a glorious story to hand down.
04th July, 2015

Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

As another reviewer stated, this is a cold and stony scent - which in itself is not that bad, but I don't connect with it. And it is not because it is cold and stony - I actually am ok with that - I can be that at times, and reach for an aloof scent on occasion, when I am feeling my most introverted self. But this scent is just...dare I say it...boring!

I tried...oh how I tried to like it! I wanted to so bad - the notes were all right, the tone was right...why could this not work for me? It seemed the be everything I wanted for this genre, but it just sat on top of my skin...it never danced. It never gave me a performance. I waited. And waited. I wanted to feel the angular insanity others felt. I wanted to feel...ANYTHING! I nearly felt insane with waiting for something - anything to happen! the anticipatory anxiety nearly required a script!

I won't give this a negative/thumbs down because the notes ARE there...they just are not working for me...clearly they work for others, though. My bottle is sailing on the bay of e...
04th July, 2015

Vétiver by Annick Goutal

I've been eager to test on skin this infamous vetiver for years since several vetiver lovers used to prize it as a fizzy-salty "eau de cologne" type of structured cedary-"marine" vetiver. Effectively Annick Goutal Vetiver is a really visceral kind of warmly organic vetiver (earthy, green and piquant) with a classic "cologny" structure and distinguished "intimate" elegance. Yes, an excellent salty vetiver, really iodate. The "stressed" saltiness, on the side of an airy-exotic "spaciousness" and a restrained classic approach, contribute to bind this vetiver to another favorite of mine, namely the great The Different Company Sel de Vetiver (which is, if possible, a tad more stressed over the salty-ozonic side) while a spicy/lightly incensey/tobacco-tonka veined accord connects this scent to the vintage Guerlain Vetiver's exoticism (the latter finally more soothed, resinous and far less salty). The Goutal Vetiver's dry down is immensely sensual and virile, ideal for a sultry southern summer time out.
03rd July, 2015 (last edited: 04th July, 2015)

Red Musk Oud by Body Shop

I had hopes for this. Granted not high ones, as this is the Body Shop. But I gave it a try, and at first, it was nice - top notes were powerful and edgy. Oud-like scent. Not barnyard, but westernized and nice. But then a nasty synthetic blast reached my nose and my migraine kicked in with a powerful start. ARGH!

I don't know or cannot recall the musk note(s), as my migraine pushed everything out from that point on. I returned the bottle as soon as I was well-showered and the migraine had passed.

It may be that they used all natural stuff, but as there are grades of naturals, perhaps it was low-grade stuff? I don't know. This was my last straw with Body Shop scents. Too many let downs to keep trying.
03rd July, 2015

L'Eau des Hesperides by Diptyque

Eau des Hesperides by Diptyque starts off with a sharp, almost acrid minty-citrus-grass accord, which smells as much green as really pungent and balsamic. Invigorating and bracing on one side, quite artificial on the other, ending up in smelling a bit like a nasal decongestant – balsamic for sure, but also decidedly “medicinal” in a literal, non-fascinating meaning. The musky base, subtle but substantial, doesn’t help in minimizing this plastic feel. Still if it’s smashing green freshness what you are looking for, regardless of quality and charm, then this will probably suit your needs. Personally I find this a bit too loud and artificial, with way too much acrid-synthetic stuff going on - speaking of contemporary green citrus scents I tend to prefer more discreet, natural refined stuff like some Hermès “concentrés”, but to each his own. Like many other Diptyque fragrances, a nothing bad-nothing good quintessence of negligibility.

6/10
03rd July, 2015

Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d'Empire

Parfum d'Empire Osmanthus Interdite opens with an utterly crisp and vegetal accord of musk, green tea, citrus and earthy osmanthus. The first approach is bitter-herbal, fizzy (vaguely medicinal), somewhat lemony (bergamot?) and gradually floral. This phase is bitter-pungent and intensely penetrating. Jasmine starts gradually to merge its substance with rose and hyper lush osmanthus in order to appoint an uncompromisingly sophisticated botanic floral accord (leafy and lymphatic). Progressively the aroma morphs towards a (just a tad) denser, more soothed and "solid" amalgam (is like to catch pollen and floral essence) despite the basic outcome keeps on being kind of grassy and musky. You will be actually encompassed by a musky floral pungent embrace extremely sensual and almost organic (kind of pheromonical and intimate). I get the comparison with the equivalent osmathus-centered concoction from The Different Company which is anyway more grey-mossy-laundry and finally less grassy-crisp in substance. Anyway both exude that sort of tea-mimosa kind of "fluidity" which seems a facet of a huger ideal "kaleidoscope of the olfactory sharpness". A great take on my favorite floral note (osmanthus) and an extremely sophisticated concoction for a deeply sensual kind of woman (elegant, impeccable, voluptuous, forbidding). Hands down, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. Perfect for spring/summer.
02nd July, 2015
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Herat by Coquillete Paris

Well, Herat is my first approach with Coquillette Paris and I have to say that the scent is pleasant despite not properly original. I've read somewhere about an assumed resemblance with Nasomatto Black Afgano and I humbly nail down in here that could agree just partially with this olfactory association. There is for sure a common foundation of synthetic notes (as woods, vetiver in particular, amber, tobacco, frankincense, hashish, jasmine etc which contributes to "push up" an aromatic connection and a similar aroma itself). This shared foundation leads somebody to point out the previous comparison but I have to firmly outline that structure, sillage and density almost utterly diverge imo (I mean the consistency of the general combination of notes, their body, the general intensity, sillage itself). First of all Herat is a feminine floral semi-oriental (I respectfully disagree who with asserts it is a masculine creation) while Black Afgano is a perfectly unisex rubbery-sulphureous oriental and where the latter is highly resinous and dense Herat is kind of aqueous and light (fluidy floral and delicately soapy). Vetiver is piping up by soon in here, immedialtely supported by a "huge" ylang-ylang (aqueous, spicy and exotic) and wet woods while a gradually emerging frankincense seems scarcely resinous and basically humid (almost translucent). The floral notes are gracious and particularly feminine in approach while the hashish's presence seems closer to the similar one yet enjoyed in Il Profumo Cannabis than to one tested in the misty Black Afgano (in which the note of cannabis is not fluidy/floral and wet but rubbery and sticky). A gingery and fluidy spicy presence seems to connect this juice (on the level of sillage and consistency) to scents a la Mark Buxton Devil in Disguise or Black Angel, Acampora Nero (especially for a musky simil dimension) or Meo Fusciuni Notturno. Woods, musk and floral notes (jasmine, violets, lily of the valley??) seem to be the mail elements (a red berry's presence as well ??) of this finally sensual experiment which seems conceptually closer for instance to scents a la Biagiotti Venezia/Venezia Pastello or Guerlain Samsara than to stouter accords a la Fortis or Black Afgano. A nice musky-piquant floral scent with a woody and powerfully spicy intensity, a liquid-resins presence and a smooth vetiver accord. To be tryed.
02nd July, 2015

Infusion d'Iris by Prada

A classy gem I neglected for too long, I used to own Infusion d’Homme some years ago and got rid of it since it smelled too light and a bit dull for me - and I thought this was just its feminine counterpart (therefore even lighter and – not to sound sexist – probably duller). I was so wrong! This is so better than that – and ironically, way more suitable for men. Easily however this is one of the nicest iris-based scents on the market for me, especially of the fresher/gentler sub-family. And even more easily, the best offering by Prada so far, but it didn’t take much for that. Infusion d’iris is a tremendously radiant, bright and bracing blend centered on a minimalistic structure of iris petals (no buttery/waxy/lipstick orris root), bergamot, something slightly and elegantly candied-fruity, soft incense and a silky, really discreet base accord of musk and bright vetiver. The notes seem common, their smell isn’t at all: the quality is clearly high and unique, particularly more than usual, and you can definitely feel it. All smells clean and light, but decidedly more intense and substantial than one may expect.

The evolution is also really catchy and irresistibly pleasant, moving from a zesty pastel opening of fresh bergamot and bright iris petals through a soapy, stronger central phase centered on iris (blossoming in its earthier-leafier side) and musk, ending on a beautiful vetiver drydown still infused with a powdery touch of iris. Like a really consistent three-movement piece of intimate piano music, with iris being the recurrent theme. And aside from its brilliant evolution, it just smells great - period. And persistent, too: very few perfumes manage to smell this crisp, weightless and luminous keeping some intensity and persistence, and also ending up in being exceedingly perfect for men and women. Probably only the best Ellena’s for Hermès managed to do that – and Infusion d’Iris could easily stand among them in fact. Together with Rush for Men, probably one of the best works by Roche-Andrier, showing that exact same feel of discreet, bright, extremely clean sense of quality, refinement and sophistication (now let’s all wait until Prada discontinues it to realize that!).

8,5-9/10
02nd July, 2015

Geranium Odorata by Diptyque

Nothing more than a barely decent and kind of loud (not to say screechy) synthetic geranium scent with a rose nuance and a dull cedar-ambery base, also tinged with a whiff of something reminding me of ambergris – something salty, musky and slightly animalic. Maybe some incense too. No relevant evolution and quite a long, annoyingly artificial persistence. I wouldn’t define it “tragic” but it is really a bit too much close to an overpriced floor cleaner or a really, really cheap mainstream fragrance to make some sense as a niche perfume – especially for the price.

5/10
02nd July, 2015
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Dear John by B Never Too Busy Be Beautiful

Gather round kiddies, whilst uncle relates a serendipitous tale of fragrant derring-do. My quest begins in John Lewis, fruitlessly seeking a sample of the new AdP. As usual, no sign of it. Crestfallen, I repair to the top floor cafe, seeking solace in an overpriced bacon sarnie. Loins girded, it's back to the fragrance section for another look-see. There's that new Spicebomb Intense! Not bad at all...bit much for summer though.

Emerging happier yet ultimately unfulfilled, I make my way to M&S, having heard tell of another sale. En route, I spy the Lush store and chance my arm, recalling great things about that new sandalwood, Smuggler's Soul. There it is! One spray to the right arm, jolly good. Oooh, bit skanky innit! Hang on, what's this? 'Death and Decay'. Sounds right up my olfactory alleyway. Two sprays to the left arm. Hmmm, that's nice. I'll see how this develops. Now on to M&S, before those heavily discounted green/beige t-shirts/slacks are sold out. Hello, a teapot for a tenner! Yes please! Lid's a bit fiddly but you can't argue with the price.

Oh my, this 'Death and Decay' is rather good! Shall I treat myself? Why not! I've paid more for samples! Back to Lush it is. What! There's an oil in the same scent! Dab, dab. Funny, smells nothing like it! Eh? I see... I misread the label earlier. I've been wearing 'Dear John' all along! Odd name, same as that limp 80s sitcom. Not sure I like this Death and Decay one. Lilies and jasmine. No, I don't. Shall I get Smuggler's Soul? Not today, don't be greedy.

Right, enough fannying about, I've run out of space for further testing anyway (goes to till).

My lucky find is a delightful, fresh, classical-styled citrus/vetiver, made more interesting by a dry, spicy foil provided by light clove and coffee notes. Nothing groundbreaking, no, but very decent. Safe as houses (except for cloveophobes, maybe), and would make a good inexpensive gift for any male relative who has outgrown his sweet tooth. Longevity good, projection lowish but adequate (from 8 sprays). Great for summer.






02nd July, 2015

The Smell of Freedom Part 3 by Gorilla Perfume

Alongside Fire Tree and Old Delhi Station, Oudh Heart is the third component in The Smell of Freedom perfume. This part is minimal, but the materials are fascinating. Although I really don’t get anything oudh-y from it, I do get a top-shelf orris note that’s combined with incense to good effect. The orris is clean and slightly bitter, but it has all the richness that one would hope to find in the material. Having said that, to my nose, Oudh Heart is really more of an orris soliflor with a bit of incense thrown in, all cast over a decent-enough sandalwood that’s clearly authentic, but not quite as beefy as some other sandalwoods I’ve tried. Nice enough, but it’s not a full composition and it’s certainly not worth going out of your way to find.
02nd July, 2015

Let Me Play The Lion by LesNez

This is quite a distinctive scent, and I can’t think of much else that smells like it. It’s basically a sharp cedar that smells almost like vetiver with some minor herbal nuances and a peppery smoke accord. The whole thing's spun green, but moderately so. The incense lends it an industrial quality — almost like a cardamom molten plastic effect that you'd expect from Nu_Be — but it’s handled in a way that hints at rather than mandates industrial imagery. Given that it’s cedar, which is usually a fairly heavy base note, the scent is pleasingly delicate and transparent — and I like that about it. Last, the scent has an arid dustiness to it. As the result, I picture cacti and sage scrub and long roads stretching out across a Road Runner-style landscape. LMPtL is a simplistic composition, but that simplicity is what opens it up for wide interpretation.
02nd July, 2015

Amber Aoud by Roja Dove

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this came out of the same machine that makes the Clive Christian stuff. It’s your standard ostentatious rose / oud / saffron combo that’s so rich and overstuffed it feels like being force-fed truffles. The only noticeable difference from the slew of other scents in this style is that this one is spun a tad sweeter up top with a slight maltol-esque note, and there’s a slight smokiness tucked away in there as well. Aside from that, there’s nothing that makes this stand out from legions of other Orientalist compositions doing the same thing. Polished and competent, but redundant and blingy; it’s a gaudy aesthetic that would go well with massive gold jewelry and rhinestone-encrusted clothing.
01st July, 2015

Enslaved by Roja Dove

Like most of the scents in the line, Enslaved sounds like it was inspired by an E.L. James novel. The scent is a xerox of a classical chypre: herbalized citrus and spicy florals over a mossy base. The opening is sharp and bitter, and then it dawdles along on vetiver and lavender for much of the middle. Over time it sweetens up into a vanilla ice cream thing, but I’d still file it as a chypre over an oriental. Although it seems polished overall, it’s derivative and soulless — all veneer with little substance, and frankly, it’s boring. Decent construction, but uninspired and anachronistic.
01st July, 2015

Vaniglia del Madagascar by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

Farmacia SS Annunziata Vaniglia del Madagascar is an unusual take on the vanillic theme which is in this case connected to a (nowadays mainstream) musky-ozonic-aromatic marine (lemony and simil ozonic) accord yet performed by Hyle from the same brand and particularly runned by scents a la Profumum Roma Acqua di Sale, Reminiscence Sea-Rem, Laboratorio Olfattivo Salina or Il Profvmo Pioggia Salata. In here the performer seems to combine a light aqueous vanilla with a salty-airy floral muskiness. The vanillic presence is here (liquid, lemony and spicy) but the core of this fragrance is musky-ozonic (at least kind of ostensibly mineral-ozonic), silky-soapy, salty-sugary, floral and aromatic. The out come is a light muskiness somewhat fluidy and vaguely salty-airy. A wearable "non vanillic" vanilla, really balanced and organic.
01st July, 2015

Escapade a Byzance by Olibere Parfums

Escapade à Byzance by French newcomer Olibère is for me sadly nothing more than a worthless addiction to the endless galore of Duchaufour’s creations, and particularly one of the most negligible. I guess the budget was tight here, both for the materials and for the nose, so the result is both cheap and uninspired. To cut it short this smells to me as an extremely synthetic blend of ambery-woody incense with... well, not much more. Something sweetish, spicy-dusty, vaguely similar to cinnamon but so generic and artificial that it does not trigger any specific association to notes for me. The few notes I can “recognize” with some stretch are the abovementioned amber (nothing warm, rather the ubiquitous greyish ambroxan), woods (the usual synthetic cedar stuff) and a really cheap incense note. That’s it. It doesn’t stink, but... 2015, niche? This smells like something Jil Sander could have come up with in 2001 at a third of the price. Meh...

4,5-5/10
01st July, 2015

Virgin Island Water by Creed

Freshly squeezed limes, rum, coconut….it’s not an overly complex smell but it does what it says on the tin. Creed Virgin Island Water has to be the fragrance equivalent of the sentiments expressed in those 90’s Lilt adverts, where the running joke was about how laid back life in the Caribbean was, and how the only thing that got people stressed over there was how to pull your dinghy up from the sea to the beach bar in time for happy hour.

It smells like a cocktail with lime, Malibu, rum, and well, that’s about it. I think it’s massively over-priced and would be more suited to a body spray rather than a niche fragrance. But the smell is so good-humored and promising of drunken relaxation that I can’t see how anyone could actively dislike it. If you’re the kind of person who wrinkles their nose at a good cocktail, then I don’t want to know ya.
01st July, 2015

Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The ultimate in sweet nothings. Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdijan is a fresh, summery fragrance that sparkles with zesty citrus, a green, crisp jasmine, and a whisper of tonka. There are massive amounts of hedione in this – about 50%, according to Kurkdijan himself – and this is what creates that green, crispy effect overlaying the citruses at the start.

Despite the dry, woody flavor contributed by the Iso E Super here, the effect is not overly chemical or harsh, which is to Kurkdijan’s credit. Kurkdijan is nothing if not a skilled perfumer and knows how to dose these synthetics just right. Other perfumers should learn from him. The effect is total radiance and luminosity, kind of like the effect achieved in Timbuktu.

It’s nice, but emphatically not for me. It is far too light to make more than a brief impression, and slides off the skin (and out of mind) in a couple of hours.
01st July, 2015

Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile follows the same pattern set down for Iris Nobile, which is to say: citrus + white flowers + light musk/woods base. Instead of iris, we have magnolia, which in real life smells like bright lemon notes, mixed with sweet whipping cream. In the Balkans, where I live, every yard has one single magnolia tree, planted there as a sign of welcome. Or at least to say “We will pause before taking out the shotgun”.

Magnolia Nobile dials up the citrus notes of the flower, and so the opening positively fizzes with snappy lemon and sweet orange peel. I like the opening a lot – the cream of the magnolia petals needs to be cut somehow, and this does the job. In fact, I wish the uplifting freshness could hang around a little longer. I’m not so keen on the creamy aspect of the flower that forms the heart.

To me, magnolia always smells a little too sweet and soapy. Unfortunately, in this particular example, it reminds me of an Impulse body spray I used when I was 19. Or a hand-soap, or a shampoo – I wish I could recall exactly. Either way, the smell association is there. Magnolia Nobile ends up smelling – to me – like a banal soap or shower gel or body spray that I used to buy in Marks and Spencers on Fridays with the money from my student grant that I hadn’t spent on booze and cigarettes. Boring and juvenile, therefore, to a nose that is at least two decades past that awkward stage.
01st July, 2015

Bois d'Ascèse by Naomi Goodsir

While I admire the daring of Bois d’Ascese, I find the crackling dry woodsmoke to be overwhelming. It drowns out the creamy, spiky elemi in thick billows of black soot, and makes it very difficult to perceive anything else that’s going on with the scent until the far drydown, when it becomes a 50-50 mix of great-quality frankincense and woodsmoke. Then I can enjoy its mysterious, austere smokiness on my scarf for days afterwards. But up until the dry down, I am choking through a fog of unremittingly bleak, black smoke.
01st July, 2015

Or du Serail by Naomi Goodsir

Or du Serail has a beautiful, honeyed tobacco leaf at its core. But unfortunately, it gets drowned in a fruity, sticky mess of mango, rum, coconut, and ylang, giving somewhat of an impression of a day-old tropical fruit cocktail left out in the sun to develop a ‘bloom’.

It is also unbearably sweet. Ambre Narguile does the fruit-cake-and-honey tobacco thing so much better that I wonder why anybody felt this was necessary. And to be honest, if I wanted a complex, syrupy tobacco fragrance then Histoires de Parfums’ masterpiece 1740 satisfies me on all levels.

To sum it up, Or du Serail is an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ kind of scent where everything is thrown at tobacco in the hope that something sticks. Don’t get me wrong – it is pleasant to wear and technically ‘yummy’ in that round, sweet, bland way of another of Duchaufour’s misses, Havana Vanille. But as in Havana Vanille, Or du Serail contains unpleasantly sour, discordant off-notes like mould on a piece of bread, or rot beginning to set in on a piece of fruit. Or du Serail makes a lunge for that fine line between edible and inedible, and misses the mark completely.
01st July, 2015

Cuir Velours by Naomi Goodsir

Somehow, I had high hopes for Cuir Velours. I love fruit-suede fragrances like Visa and Daim Blonde, and am slowly coming around to the idea of Traversee du Bosphore.

Indeed, there is something in the fruity, syrupy heart of Cuir Velours that reminds me of the cherry-pomegranate-apple syrup in Traversee du Bosphore, and also something of that pink-grey powdered suede with a thick dusting of icing sugar on top. To say that Cuir Velours has something of a lokum feel to it would perhaps be going too far. But there’s a familial connection, and it’s interesting to me.

Maybe 75% of Cuir Velours is attractive to me – in particular that hushed, plushy suede and spiced fruit compote note. The immortelle is nicely folded in, and I can only pick up that strange, savory syrup note in the heart of the fragrance, where it adds a necessary point of interest.

But two things throw Cuir Velours way off track – the overwhelming sweetness and the burnt-woods aromachemical lurking underneath, which is most definitely Norlimbanol. Believe me, I know my enemy well. And it is he. To me, it sticks out like a sore thumb and I don’t understand why a perfumer would think it necessary to use such a brutal material in what is essentially a plush-toy sort of fragrance. Another Naomi Goodsir fragrance written off for the sake of one element that just doesn’t work for me.
01st July, 2015

Bois Farine by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I thought I had the measure of this the minute I put it on. Aha, I said to myself, ok, Bois Farine, I understand you completely. You are less a perfume than the collected smells of a health food store: crushed peanut shells, sawdust, wood shavings, bags of whole-wheat flour, quinoa, big jars of tahini, and chunks of halva lined up in the cooler section. Dust, oil, flour. It’s all there.An olfactory joke, sure, but a wry, knowing one.

Clever.

But wait. The journey isn’t over yet. We may have started in the health food store, but the scenery is whizzing past us now, to primary school and the delicious smells of the art supply closet. I can smell the cheap almond glue smell of heliotropin, and it reminds me both of salty playdough, warm vanilla, and the standard-issue, non-toxic glue they let kids use.

There is finally a dry, warm vanilla – dusty, like the smell of realms of paper in the closet. I smell the blue-white milk, tepid and fatty, already put out in cups lined up behind the teacher’s desk, ready for our snack time, collecting dust as the school room clock’s long hand inches inexorably slowly towards 11am and freedom.

I see now why so many people find this a comforting scent. It starts out as an olfactory joke and ends up as a f^&*%g time machine.

It’s like watching Cinema Paradiso and holding out until the last scene where they play all the cut reels and then ending up howling on the floor. Bois Farine, you are such an asshole.
01st July, 2015
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