Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Total Reviews: 143134
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Jasmal by Creed

This is a lovely jasmine composition. The jasmine is present right form the start, is rich but elegantly restrained and never sets a foot wrong.

In the early stages the bergamot adds a fresh touch, being in the background on my skin at least. This is never a refreshing creation.

In the drydown the ambergris - often used by Creed - is present indeed, but is is smoother and softer than in many other products of this House.

Towards the ends, a gentle woodsy impression together with whiffs of galbanum add another pleasant twist to this Jasmin-centred mix.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

A delightful Jasmin scent with a few uplifting touches, ideal for spring and blended well of high-quality ingredients. 3.25/5.
22nd April, 2018

Lost in Flowers by Strangelove NYC

Kind of like someone covered the barnyard with flower petals to mask the smell...being a huge fan and collector of animalic fragrances I find this fragrance very my slowly learning nose this smells like a quality oud...not sure if its real oud or a synthetic , but if it is synthetic , its top of the line...This is pretty much overall a flower flavored oud , but not linear...morphs through various versions of this composition...and what makes me think that this is some really good oud is that I get all those nice little real oud nuances...a liitle ocassional whiff of tobacco...and it has this feeling of great depth...the flower smell is very realistic and gorgeous...hey , did I happen to mention that this projects like a beast...wonderfull olfactory journey...a big thumbs up...whats really strange is that , here and there I get a babershop soapy quality , overall structure and vibe this , to my nose , brings to mind that this could come from Chanel or Guerlain if they were to do a flower/oud composition...
22nd April, 2018

Un Homme by Charles Jourdan

Charles Jourdan, much like Christobal Balenciaga, would ultimately become much better known for shoes in the modern era than anything else, and just like the late Balenciaga, would not live to see any masculine perfumes bear his name (although Balenciaga was alive to witness a few feminines at least), meaning this creation was made entirely without his input. Another uncanny similarity to Balenciaga is the fact that this debut masculine from the house would be an equally mild, traditional, almost palatial aromatic fougère to Balenciaga's Ho Hang (1971), both at a time when bold and brash was the standard. There are differences however, and owning one doesn't rule out the need for the other, and if one enjoys either than one should possess both, for they are of a unique style that was rarefied even when new. The house of Charles Jourdan wouldn't explore perfume very far, as the children of the late house master would inevitably run the company into the ground after a series of very controversial stiletto heels marked the brand. Only a singular masculine was made and Un Homme is it, being released in 1979 right on the cusp of the powerhouse era, making it even further against the grain than perhaps Ho Hang was, but those in the know often favorably compared it to the barbershop standard of Azzaro Pour Homme (1978), which preceded it by a year. I can definitely see what those folks are on about, because there is a similar anise and lemon top to this fragrance, but it is buried under a much more complex pyramid of herbal notes that merge with a base that borders between chypre and fougère, while Azzaro stays in it's neat and tidy fougère fast lane. The nose here is Françoise Caron, sister to the more prolific perfumer Olivier Cresp, and herself the nose behind the famed Hermès L'Eau d'Orange Verte (1979) which debuted concurrently with this obscure gem.

When I tell people what this is or show them the bottle, they either have zero idea who Charles Jourdan is, or didn't realize he had fragrances if they remember the name, always citing the shoe boutiques inhabiting high-end shopping districts as where the name rings a bell. The scent opens with that familiar anise and lemon, but it's far more subtle than Azzaro or even the later Aramis Tuscany Per Uomo (1984), which is far brighter yet. The lemon/anise accord in Un Homme is quickly swathed in an herb bath of tarragon, majoram, and cradled in piquant bergamot and gentle lavender. Before you know it, the anise is barely present in the company of all the greens, allowing the heart quicker access to the nose of the wearer. Supposedly the note breakdown of this heart contains patchouli alongside carnation, cyclamen, geranium, and cedar. I smell the last two notes here, as they're unmistakable, but the rest in buried in blending. The base here has leather and sandalwood, both which are present but quiet compared to how they're usually presented, with oakmoss and musk doing most of the talking, with a dot of coumarin for body. This is still clearly a fougère, but it's chypre-like gentle dryness sure blurs the lines, and when combined with the soft citrus/herbal top, draws this closer to the aforementioned Ho Hang than Azzaro to my nose (outside of the anise), and with the geranium/lavender mix, incidentally pairs very well with many vintage mid-century after shaves as well. It's not mega-classy, super macho, or particularly romantic, but Françoise Caron delivered a very relaxed and understated brand of masculinity that was most certainly an underdog in an age of baroque aromatics and bulky leather scents. People who fell in love with this upon release likely used it as a signature and stood apart from the crowd of guys using more popular scents at the time, and it easily could be still due to it's relative subtlety for it's style and the era in which is was made, if not for it being long discontinued.

Un Homme Charles Jourdan must be a well-kept secret by perfume collectors in any case, as it still retails for at or slightly above modern designer retail, although there are some shameless types trying to charge niche prices for surviving stock, so don't jump on the first offer you find for this if it sounds like something you want to explore. It's an underdog in the same barbershop family as anything mentioned above, but is definitely greener and more herbal than any of the vanillic stuff such as Canoe (1936), Brut (1963), or Sartorial (2010) in the same category. To be sure, something this relaxed and confidently masculine can be an everyday wear but will date you unless you work around folks who love really old-school compositions (or just work alone), but as a weekend day wear in spring or fall, this won't let you down. It's not sharp enough for summer and loses power in cold weather, so keep that in mind. Fans of vintage smells won't need much further convincing to try this, but for those of you out there running more streamlined wardrobes, this may seem a needlessly expensive and precious variant of something already owned that's much easier to replenish, so that's some food for thought too. I just love an underdog, so this is definitely right up my alley, and I also love barbershop smells, particularly herbal ones as they're less common and so smooth, so it's double-down on that for me too. My roommate commented that I had that "just shaved" smell when I put this on before going out for food, and I said "that's exactly what I love about this", and perhaps you will too. A certified obscure classic here, and unlike Charles Jourdan's vintage stilettos, it won't give you varicose veins from wearing it too much.
22nd April, 2018
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Patchouli Intense / Patchouli Homme by Nicolaï

This is good. It gives me a memory of being in France. It works as a masculine fragrance, as labeled. It would make a virile aftershave. Maybe I've encountered someone in France wearing this. This definitely smells like being in France: in someone's house, in a car.

This came in a sample pack with some Etat Libre d'Orange samples, including Je Suis un Homme, which I preferred to this for being more wearable in my style.

This one, Nicolai Patchouli Homme, is strong, and makes a statement. It smells of essential oils, thick and concentrated. I could imagine it being too much for some people to feel comfortable trying to pull off. I could also imagine people being elated to have a bottle of this, and feeling extreme confidence and mood elevation wearing it. Because of my associations with the smell, it feels like a better fit for someone over 40, even a woman. It's so good.

I could imagine someone who wears Yatagan liking this. There's something similar in the boldness, bordering on brash, this one even more so, perhaps.
22nd April, 2018

Fire Island by Bond No. 9

Although I've never actually been to Fire Island (I wish!); when I smell this I am immediately reminded of Euro sunscreens such as Ambre Solei: the association is undeniable.

Growing up in Australia, we were always exposed to every type of sunscreen protection there was to offer, and Fire Island smells almost exactly like an expensive European sunscreen. There's nothing tropical here; no coconut or Tiare Flower, just the sense of a really lovely sunscreen.

For me, this almost has too much tuberose, but thankfully, once it dries down, I'm left with very realistic representation of sun kissed skin and body lotion.

Despite the above this is a wonderful fragrance, and for me, quite a departure from Bond No 9's usual fruity, patchouli/amber/oud scents. This reminds me more of what L'Artisan Parfumeur used to be about; quirky fragrances that absolutely reminded you of a particular place or thing.

I really love this because of the association with my youth and growing up in Sydney. Its very tenacious though and lasts for ages; so if you want to be transported back to the beach, be prepared to stay for a while. 2 thumbs up and 5 stars!
21st April, 2018

Enigma by Wajid Farah

A little too much leather, for my tastes. It's slightly sweet. Woody, too. Skip this one, folks.
21st April, 2018

Zeste Mandarine Pamplemousse by Creed

Odd, dry citrus, like
Complimentary insults,
Not soon forgotten.
21st April, 2018

Remarkable People by Etat Libre d'Orange

Juicy, beverage accord on top. Slightly sweet and savory in the middle, like a food condiment. It has a pipe-tobacco vibe. The base is rather subtle. Overall not bad. Leans more towards the masculine.
21st April, 2018

Sean John by Sean John

Very sweet, fruity gum or candy opening, reminds me of a much better version of Eternity Now, but that kind of sweetness. Ladies will like how this smells, while it lasts, which brings me to...

Sad performance. Soft projection that only lasts maybe an hour. The scent then sits close to skin for 4-5 hours.
21st April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Spring Flower by Creed

Fruity-floral is indeed the core of the opening phase. Apricot and bergamot are prominent initially, with the fruity side outweighing The bergamot; the latter keeps up a bright atmosphere.

The drydown reverses the ration, putting the floral side upfront. A rose impression arises, quite intense but remaining on the brighter side and expressing some characteristics of a restrained tuberose in the background. This is given added depth by a pleasant jasmin in the background.

The base displays mainly the jasmin, and combines it with the ambergris so typical for this house. White musks appear towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

An agreeable spring creation for day and evening, this scent is not particularly creative, but most of the notes are nicely done. At times the fruity component can appear a bit too artificial, but overall it is solidly crafted. In total, it - just - deserves a positive rating. 3/5.
21st April, 2018

Pink Heart by Map of the Heart

This is an interesting, different little perfume. I state little, as this isn't loud or brash or obvious. It has a gorgeous opening of a sweet, herbaly tea accord. That's the shiso, neroli and basil, doing that nicely. The middle is earthy sweet, with narcissus, jasmine, broom, and a touch of iris.

The base is not loud. In fact it is barely there for me. I get sweet (again!) tobacco. More earthy at the base, too. I can't put my finger on any particular base notes. Overall, this is kind of unique. I'm not a huge fan of "tea" in a perfume. This one is good though. I like it much better than Tea For Two by L'Artisan Perfumeurs.
21st April, 2018

Baladin by Nicolaï

I'm less excited for this Nicolai fragrance than I have been about the last couple I tried, Odalisque and Musc Intense, especially Odalisque.

This is interesting. It's interesting to see leather listed as a note. I'm not thinking of a better way to describe it - upholstery, maybe, some newly-manufactured product - and a box of crayons. I get visions of an elementary school with recent refurbishments.
20th April, 2018

Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel

Thirty-some years ago I had a miniature bottle of this. Recently I obtained a vintage sample. It is like smelling this for the first time, as I do not remember it from long ago.

I am able to pick out many notes, even though they are all mixed together well. I get a touch of citrus. Rich honeysuckle, lily, jasmine, carnation, tuberose, muguet, and a hint of rose. The base doesn't take long to emerge, for me. Sandalwood, amber, patchouli, oak moss, and incense seem to hug the florals. I won't even entertain the thought of a purchase of a modern bottle or decant. I seriously doubt it would be this rich, dark, and dreamy. It is greenish, slightly animalic (probably from the jasmine and patchouli), and has je ne sais quoi. Nostalgic.
20th April, 2018
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Musc Intense by Nicolaï

This house makes some nice perfume. I do smell pear. It's blended into a classic-smelling accord, quite delicious and alluring.

After pear, which is almost a boozy, eau de vie (clear brandy)-type pear, sandalwood seems to be the most assertive of the listed notes.
20th April, 2018

Wild Country Outback by Avon

Avon hadn't put out a flanker for it's legendary cowboy cologne since the musk version landed in the 80's. The 1967 original Wild Country had become the mass market direct seller's oldest continually-produced scent period and most popular male fragrance because men just had a tendency to keep buying it, passing it down to their sons, and etc. since it's inception during Avon's first big push for male clientele. The musk version faded from sight in the 90's outside the Latin market, and the seller decided to release a new version in 2003 for it's now-shuttered Australian market, but released the flanker in the US too. Avon was rather daring in the 2000's, a gambit that lead to some great underrated cheapies but also lead to their fiscal decline, and this is one such unsung gem. Avon Wild Country Outback is at it's core, an old "fern" style barbershop scent reinterpreted with modern synthetics and white florals, released smack dab in the middle of an aquatic glut. I can see why it didn't work on the mass level Avon needed it to, since it really didn't have an audience, but it hung around a few years so I guess it did better than some things from the period that had just one bottling run. It's original packaging duplicated the beaker-like dimensions of the original Wild Country, but it soon moved into the 3.0oz 88ml "pill sprayer" that most masculines getting a second bottling run received at the time. Both are the same formula, so "deep vintage" fanatics need not hunt unless they want the cooler bottle.

Wild Country Outback opens with bergamot and a light bamboo note, white pepper, calone and cucumber, with some unidentifiable synthetic green notes that make it reminiscent of Calvin Klein's Contradiction for Men (1999) but lighter and drier. From that stark and frugal opening comes a dainty middle of lovely cypress, a touch of iris, muguet, geranium and pale lavender, making Wild Country Outback smell almost feminine or at least dandy in the way of the old 19th century piquant men's florals used to, before those notes disappear on a bed of white musk, some synthetic Iso E Super for the "wood" accord, and vetiver. Surprisingly, I don't get the "Avon amber" here like I'm used to, but I guess in a masculine unafraid to feature a prominent cucumber note, it's not on the agenda unless it's there in very miniscule quantities. Wild Country Outback is definitely budget-conscious artifice but artfully done and a great alternative to an aquatic or other "freshie" on a bright or warm day. Wild Country Outback isn't even a lick like the original and I wonder if it had been named differently, if it's success would have been greater? It's so daringly different that it was never destined to be anywhere as ubiquitous as it's venerable namesake, but as an early 2000's reinterpretation of what a wild frontier man would wear, it's a fascinating 180 degree shift from the carnations and rawhide of the first Wild Country. We'll never know the answer to that any sooner than we'll know the nose behind this little sweet-talker, but that's the way it works for Avon.

Wild Country Outback won't blow the doors off anyone to be sure, and it didn't sell by the bucket, so despite a respectable few years run, Avon gave it the axe globally sometime in 2007ish or so. However, here is another example of Avon having "gotten their s**t together" on the front of male fragrance after nearly two decades of banal or downright bizarre creations. The fresh bamboo, cucumber, white florals, and cypress notes are really what makes this stand apart as "fresh but different", giving me a lovely springtime wear that has staying power and subtle sillage without being indolic or ozonic. Wild Country Outback is more than a skin scent, but barely. Sure, there are better barbershop ferns, or you could jump strait to the original Fougère Royale (1882) for the most consummate experience, but I'm going against the usual grain here by saying that the bargain bin synthetics are actually what gives this crisp, sharp, and chipper scent it's charm; it's quite literally the antithesis of niche in the way it embraces synthesis rather than disguise it's own chemicals unde ar crowded note pyramid of exotic flora. I also highly doubt anything about this evokes imagery of the Australian bush, but Avon is about as culturally authentic as a Taco Bell, so expecting that is setting yourself up for failure. Worth a try for the fan of dime store charms and recently-deceased vintages or just more modern smells overall, but if you're not a kook in that way like I am, you best move along.
19th April, 2018 (last edited: 20th April, 2018)

Marc Jacobs Splash Cotton by Marc Jacobs

Mine, is the 2016 version. Has the same notes / ingredients. Light, breezy, fresh, modest, clean. Decent water notes here. A light peach, for a change. The wood is light, too. It DOES remind me of cotton. I'm glad I got a decant of this to finally try. It is quite different, from all the dark, heavy hitters in my collection.
19th April, 2018

Vetiverus by Oliver & Co.

Oliver and Co's Vetiverus is a potent Vetiver. It rides in medicinal and herbal...the first night that I tried a sample, my nose was a little bit stuffy, and I couldn't quite place the herb until I tried it the next day. It was absolutely clove! But mysteriously, clove is not listed as one of the notes so I did some research. Turns out that concentrated carnation can smell like cloves because carnation (Dianthus caryophyllata) contains eugenol, the same scent molecule found in the oil of clove. Very interesting.

For me, the medicinal quality opens Vetiverus, but then recedes to be replaced by a sharp vetiver over thick ambergris. Very rich. A slightly bitter floral enters that has the tonality of osmanthus pollen interwoven with a more true carnation note. In the mid-period, hints of orange came through the powder and the vetiver/ambergris became mildly salty. In the close, the clove shows through again, leaving a strong herbal base. Quite a unique scent, but I wasn't as taken with it as Vaninger. This is a house to watch.
19th April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Acqua Fiorentina by Creed

The opening combines apple and pear notes very nicely, fruity and with an added restrained freshness owing to a lemony bergamot in the background.

The drydown gives it a floral turn, with a light rose notes and whiffs of carnation and muguet moving in, but the fruitiness remains into the base. The rose is simple and neither rich nor heavy.

The base loses the fruity parts, and sees the emergence of a woodsy layer that is mainly cedar in nature, but I get again touches bergamot interwoven with the wood and the florals.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

A pleasant spring scent for days and warmer evening, which is classic in the selection of its good-quality ingredients. It is blended very well. 3.25/5.
19th April, 2018

1932 Eau de Toilette by Chanel

As a huge fan of powdery scents I enjoy this - for at least twenty minutes. Then this fades quickly away. The only notes I smell here are minimal aldehydes and neroli, then jasmine, rose, ylang, lilac, orris root, and musk, all blended so much I really had a hard time telling these notes apart. And even now, I am beginning to wonder if I smelled them. At any rate, this is lovely but not worth the high asking price. I have many other perfumes in my collection that are similar and last longer.
19th April, 2018
JBS1 Show all reviews
United States

Ferrari Bright Neroli by Ferrari

I got two colognes from Fragrance Split today. One was GIT,and it was spot on,and the other was this one, Bright Neroli.
Let me first say that what I got from Fragrance Split was good, and the service was also solid.
That said ,when I sprayed Bright Neroli on it was OK. The name is what it is.I thought to myself, wow, I should get a bottle of this,especially what Bright Neroli is selling for. Then it started to change .All this began about 10 minutes in.About 15 minutes past and I said,no,I'll pass on this one,for it's getting into the overly synthetic side of colognes.20 minutes and I was getting pissed.My thought was this stuff is starting to stink.One hour latter and I was trying to wash it off.
I just took a smell from the twist up sprayer that Fragrance Split gives you,which is nice,and if only Bright Neroli stayed that way I would be happy. Sadly though,it doesn't. You get what you pay for.
Myself I would rather pay up for Acqua Di Parma's Colonia or Annick's Neroli . Both are nice. Then there's Le Gallion's Cologne too.
Sad to say it, but I am afraid to even give Bright Neroli away.I will though.It might work for someone else,just not me.
I would like to add that I generally shy away from reviews,but I thought that I should regarding Bright Neroli .
19th April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

My Queen by Alexander McQueen

The initial mix of orange blossom and heliotropes - with hints of a dark lime-neroli mixed in at times - offers shaded freshness of a restrained nature. Nice.

The drydown takes a floral turn, with iris being given richness by a darker violet impression. Soon the base rings in with a pleasant vanilla impression, which has caramel characteristics initially.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

A scent for spring days and evenings, this composition is not particularly creative, but it is blended very well of ingredients of very good quality. Very solid. 3.25/5.
18th April, 2018

Odalisque by Nicolaï

This stuff is heavenly. It has a beautifully classic, musky floral smell. It reminds me a bit of Armani by Giorgio Armani (1982). It has a wonderful pepper-type note. I agree with the reviews below that mention a resemblance to Patou 1000, and that describe it as a leather fragrance.
17th April, 2018 (last edited: 18th April, 2018)

Essences Insensées 2015 (Jasmine) by Diptyque

Very pretty and satisfies my need for a creamy, lovely realistic jasmine. I am surprised there are not more reviews for this. It's a "must-try" for jasmine lovers.

The indoles are not in-your-face, but take a back-seat, though are more present than, say, A la Nuit.
17th April, 2018

Vaninger by Oliver & Co.

Vaninger sparkles like champagne in the opening with a hint of grapefruit and lemon. I was worried the ginger might be too strong for me, because I'm not a fan of ginger in food, but it primarily carries the effervescent quality in the opening and then as the scent evolves it becomes a candied ginger. During the mid-period, an herbal note comes to the fore (which must be the turmeric note listed), briefly something sour that dances in and out and then the fruit transforms from the opening citrus to a deeper fruit that to my nose was plum although it seems to be listed in the notes as kumquat. After the ginger transforms to a sweeter candied ginger note, the base opens up to a gentle white musk or cashmeran at the end.

Vaninger is a delightful, energizing fragrance that took me on a unique journey.
17th April, 2018

Shooting Stars : Cruz Del Sur II by Xerjoff

An extraordinary blast of mango and pineapple with a pinch of apple drying later to vanilla base. It's THE best summer frag I ever have tried with silage and longevity. A true masterpiece
17th April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Kingdom by Alexander McQueen

The opening note is based on a citrus mix. Orange and bergamot, with an undercurrent of a somber but bright-ish neroli - freshness tampered by a shadowy veil cast over it.

The drydown adds a floral side, with jasmine and a rose in the foreground. At times the jasmine is stronger, at other times the dark rose comes up trump. The slight oriental spiciness of cumin adds additional depth.

The base adds woodsy aromas and myrtle-style herbal impressions giving interesting complexity to the vanilla that forms the core of the last hours of the development of this composition.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This autumnal scent for warmer days and evening is delightful. This is not of stellar quality, but it is a very good creation. It is not without original touches, the quality of the ingredients is high, and the blending is smooth without losing structure. A kingdom, a kingdom for a flâcon! 3.5/5.
17th April, 2018

Nature Millénaire by Yves Rocher

If I had known back then, this was to be a short-lived fragrance I would've bought more.

This was a warm, woody perfume that bordered on unisex, in my opinion. It is a dreamy balsamic concoction. Sweet cedar, with musky, muted iris. It can still be found. For outrageous prices, that is. Nature Millenaire is the fragrance that led me to finding this site called Basenotes.

If you stumble upon this at a sale somewhere, snap it up. It was ahead of its time, in its creation. Oliver Cresp knew what he was doing...
17th April, 2018

Shocking by Elsa Schiaparelli

Vintage sample. Fantastic! I get a heavy beginning with tarragon and aldehydes. Dark, dampish jasmine, narcissus, and honeyed rose, in the middle. I smell in the base civetta, patchouli, clove, and a hint of amber. Very old school. Very seducing. Good longevity. I'd heard of this decades ago; never before had the chance to try it. I am glad I finally got the opportunity.

Others have obviously copied, the bottle's interesting, feminine design.
17th April, 2018

English Leather by Dana

English Leather was initially called "Russian Leather" as the story goes, and was launched sometime in the 1930's alongside a glut of other similarly-named scents, but when the Danish company MEM jumped shores to the US and relaunched it's scent globally from there, they found it wiser to re-name it "English Leather" for it's 1949 relaunch to prevent Americans avoiding the stuff due to cold war paranoia associated to anything calling itself Russian. I honestly think it was a good move in the long run, since even after the cold war ended, there really aren't very many scents calling themselves "English Leather", but there are simply tons going by the name "Russian Leather" or "Cuir de Russie" if using the French. English Leather, much like the earlier Old Spice (1937) and later Brut (1963), would also become so undeniably popular (and thus common), that like the aforementioned, sort of became a victim of it's own economy of scale after a point, gradually getting reformulated to oblivion in the name of profit margins long before IFRA ever made any imposed changes. English Leather was just as good a leather masculine as any in it's heyday, and remained in pretty stable condition until Renaissance/New Dana picked up the property from a failing MEM corp and proceeded to re-orchestrate it as they did Canoe (1936) from the old Dana portfolio they also acquired. From there on out, English Leather became every bit the Walmart-quality scent most know it to be now, and only got worse after IFRA restricted the oakmoss in it's base. This review is based off of 80's MEM (towards the end of their existence), but I've also owned various Dana iterations throughout the years and have smelled the newest, so they'll be touched upon a little further down. Suffice it to say older is better here, but as long as you don't buy stock any newer than early 2000's, you'll at least get to experience the true leather chypre it's supposed to be. Anything after 2011 for this stuff is pure tragedy however, but more on that later.

English Leather in it's original form is another strange example of both chypre and fougère thought processes merging into one. MEM and Dana have always called it a chypre, and it does mostly smell like a chypre to be honest, so we'll keep it at that. Lemon, bergamot, and orange meet with very pale lavender in the top, and the stuff already sets us up for the classic rigidly masculine dryness that most other aromatic citrus chypres in the late 40's through the 50's possessed. Rosemary floats into the picture alongside some iris in the middle, but the base comes on pretty fast afterward. Some sites list a honey note being in the middle but I can't for the life of me sense it. The base is oakmoss, cedar, vetiver, the tell-tale leather note, tonka, and a tiny puff of musk. The leather and cedar give this it's bite throughout, and the oakmoss alongside the vetiver in the vintage give it the thrumming staying power it's known for having. Overall English Leather in all MEM iterations stays bright, a tiny bit soapy (but nothing like an aromatic fougère per se), then gets a tad darker in the end with the vetiver, moss, and tonka, but never gets sweet with that tonka or musk due to the cedar counterbalance. No aldehydes or heavy florals in this leather scent, which may make it seem a tad crude next to other leathers past and future like Knize Ten (1924) or Aramis (1965), but considering this was made to be an affordable signature for the working man, I don't think the unknown nose behind it really was trying for sophistication. The original tag line for this was "Wear English Leather or Wear Nothing at All" so I can see this was just meant to be "the cologne" and not some kind of major artistic statement. It smells as it sounds, of a saddle-quality leather, with the bright opening and dry finish keeping it squarely in a no-nonsense leathery mode throughout the wear. It isn't the best, but it's easy to see why it was popular. Unfortunately, this is where all the praise ends for the original, affable, simple, but effective "everyday leather" scent for men, because once it became a dynasty, things slowly went downhill.

MEM had made a mint on English Leather by the 70's, and had greatly abused the name for an ever-expanding waistline of flankers, much like Shulton did with Old Spice around the same time. I won't bother listing all the various flavors English Leather came in, but there was over a half-dozen of them and they had the same effect of making English Leather seem like a brand unto itself rather than a standalone iconic fragrance, which I feel hurt it in the end. By the 80's English Leather was becoming quickly irrelevant, and so was MEM, which lead to it's acquisition. The first "New Dana" iterations of English Leather were fairly close to the original stuff, just a little brighter with heavier top notes and dwindled base notes, likely for frugality. The first major re-orchestration in mid-2000's made English Leather very powdery and shrill, reducing the base further and removing the soap, giving it that "nursing home talcum" quality that younger people associate with the stuff, damaging it's reputation with potential new buyers. I think the oakmoss was also quietly replaced with generic "tree moss" at the time too. All bets were off after 2011 however, with "Dana Classic Fragrances" as they were calling themselves at this point thinking that they could just substitute a proper mossy chypre base with a super musky and synthetic one from their recent English Leather Black (2007). This last change majorly shifted the scent from chypre back into fougère territory by not only restoring the slightly darker, soapier edge of the original, but by making it dominate, having the base almost entirely musk and coumarin alongside the cedar and vetiver. The top remains mostly unchanged but the end result is a version of English Leather that goes on similarly, but dries down all wrong, smelling like weird leather variety of Axe body spray. There's plenty of vintage left to ensure a proper English Leather experience, but don't expect it to knock you socks off in any form, and being a fan of dry mid-century men's chypres is still a prerequisite to fully enjoying this. In a nutshell, English Leather is a decent "when all else fails" casual/work leather scent, but only in vintage form.
17th April, 2018

BUD Budapest by The Scent of Departure

I get a nice wooden backbone flavored with citrus which , in turn , is jazzed up with aromatic fresh pungy spiciness...i get a peppery/clove/paprika accord , but it's very gentle...overall feel is of a gentleman's type of fragrance...not so much the scent itself but the feel and ambiance it gives me...this house has some very decent fragrances , but overall , almost all the offerings suffer from a lack of throw and lifespan...could have done without the aquatic accord...makes it smell very close to Cool Water...smells like the same ingredient was used for that the end we're left with a quasi-aquatic muskiness...OK , but no big deal...bottom line - a semi-niche fragrance that smells like it could be found at the mall , but would be one of the better offerings...another last minute resemblance that just came to mind as I took in another snort - Bleu de Chanel...
17th April, 2018