Perfume Reviews

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Corto Maltese Show all reviews
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

I've always had difficulties to find the words for describing the most beautiful of perfumes.

Overproduction in perfume industry resulted with hundreds of new perfume houses whose offer has already been seen. Too many leather and oud combinations made people smell like worn off russian counts and desert bedouins, and almond, coconut and vanilla are just waking nutritional scents.

Sadly, today one can rarely find a perfume which is strictly made for male or female. New directions are being formed in which undecided perfumes are preferred, so both males and females now smell the same. Just to be straight, I have nothing against this kind of perfumes, because many of them smell really nice and some of them I have in my collection, but first of all I'm an old school kind of guy and my opinion is that a perfume has to have a 'side'. However, as time goes by, and by judging by the offer, the expectations are low that a new perfume, that will impersonate either male or female, will emerge.

In rush of aggressive propaganda which puts niche production in forefront, Fahrenheit still firmly holds its place on top by its originality, beauty, quality and, the most important, masculinity. If there is a male perfume which holds the essence of a real masculine man, then this is the one. It is a cult perfume you can either love or hate, nothing in between, which gives you a feeling that the perfume chose you and not the other way around. I own the first formula, dated in 1987, and every formula that came after it. It has been a bit 'damaged' by reformulations, but still it kept its style and recognizability.

I will finish this review by quoting one man who gave the best description of this masterpiece: When man becomes of my age and looks behind him.. he sees all kinds of things. Ups, downs, joys that take over your being, sorrows that rip you apart strongly enough that you think you can't take it anymore. And now, if I were to sit down and describe that kind of human life on a piece of paper, I would put that paper in an envelope and seal it with Fahrenheit.

The smell of life has the same notes as this perfume...
13th October, 2015

Forbes of Forbes by Castle Forbes

At a first sniff, Forbes of Forbes seems quite close to, if not falling within the broad “British barbershop” family of scents comprising Taylors of Old Bond Street, D.R.Harris and Geo Trumper type of compositions – traditional masculine accords and some old-school distinguished feel of restrained edginess. I thought of Trumper’s Curzon, for instance, with a hint of Eucris’ ghastly herbal mossiness too. The quality here seems a bit higher though; Forbes of Forbes is a quite bold “eau de parfum”, and for once you can definitely get it in terms of thickness, richness and longevity if compared to Trumper’s or Taylors’ lighter (and often, duller) “eau de toilettes”. And most important, there’s quite much more going here also in terms of creativity... in a just partially compelling way for me, but it’s there.

Now, the blend. Honestly I don’t get some of the notes mentioned in the “pyramid”, while I get others. There’s surely a tangy, but quite tame citrus-fruity orange-pineapple head accord which goes away quite quickly leaving just a subtle, yet pungent and fruity persistent sort of herbal-damp feel smelling as much acrid as disturbingly cozy; and there’s a rich, dusty patchouli-ambery base, “ambery” meaning here both vanillic amber and a camphorous, salty, quite realistic ambergris-like note. But I also get a whole dry woody-mossy-pine accord which connects Forbes to several old-school powerhouses of the Seventies and the Eighties (think of any dry mossy-woody fougère).

Nonetheless, what I get above and beyond all of this, is a bold note of leather (which is mentioned on the box of this fragrance, so I’m not dreaming this): polished, contemporary, slightly ashy leather, a bit designer-oriented too. “Polished” means here nothing like Knize Ten or other raw, tanned, “unprocessed” old-school leathers, and also nothing like modern, over-smoothened soft suede leathers à la Tuscan Leather. This is nothing like them, and a bit like both – say, halfway between them: a dry, smooth, even slightly boozy sort of clean leather which has just been polished with a hefty dose of shoe polish, so showing a sort of chemical, varnish-like pungent aftertaste together with a sort of ashy-powdery feel, which to this extent, makes it smell slightly similar to leather’s rendition in Moschino pour Homme (I said “slightly”, and I refer solely to the leather note – contain your enthusiasm...). Quite realistic overall, but a bit pungently synthetic too, with an almost odd combination of tropical, herbal, ambery and camphorous notes and a salty-vanillic base acting altogether as a quite double-edged sword here – they surely make Forbes of Forbes smell quite interesting and unusually elegant, but also almost a bit screechy.

Overall this fragrance feels halfway really traditional and really unusual to me; it has definitely an old school chypre kind of vibe (besides the leather-powdery combo in Moschino pour Homme, Krizia Moods comes to my mind as well, minus the floral notes, and a bit of Polo Green too), it also has undoubtedly a “barbershop” feel, it has a really enjoyable warm leathery-ambery drydown... but at the same time, a few key nuances make it smell just a tad more “bizarre” than any of the references I mentioned above. More exotic-tropical, somehow more “gothic”, maybe more natural too – a quite raw, austere kind of “nature” with a really fascinating kind of lukewarm feel of somber, even animalic dampness. That’s probably the most interesting feature of this fragrance, which is there also on the drydown – this turbid feel of mossy-woody moisture. I’ve never been to Scotland but well, I guess this fragrance may surely fit the image many people (me included) have of Scottish foggy and humid natural landscapes. Ambergris even provides a sort of “wet stones” feel which surely fits the atmosphere. So far so good, you may say: now add to it some astringent feel of “salty tropicalness”, and you get why I called this scent “bizarre” and “not entirely compelling”.

I’m a bit torn about this distinguished mess, it feels like wandering through the Scottish hills on a moody cloudy day and stumbling upon the wunderkammer of a lunatic explorer. But for some reasons, I think I like it.

13th October, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Sunshine Man by Amouage

Sunshine Man opens with a slightly medicinal smelling combination of moderately sweet lemon, orange and pineapple fruit-laced aromatic lavender before moving to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart, things stay extremely linear with the starring fruity, slightly medicinal aromatic lavender remaining in full force, now supported by a significant dill spice and sharp cedar undertone with powdery vanilla joining the fold as time passes. During the late dry-down the lavender finally vacates, leaving the supporting cedar wood to couple with the now starring powdery vanilla through the finish. Projection is very good to excellent, and longevity outstanding at over 20 hours on skin.

Let me give folks a very quick review for those who are looking for an early verdict on Sunshine Man... The best way to describe my opinion of the composition is in one word, "terrible." With that said, my further thoughts for anyone who really wants to waste more time on this unfortunate concoction are that while the composition is neither derivative nor lacking innovation, it leaves one with a distinct feeling that it was a bizarre lab experiment gone awry that Amouage decided to move forward with despite knowing so, or at least should have. I have enjoyed lavender when coupled with lemon before like found in the great simplistic Living Lavender by the talented Roberto Dario for his own line released last year, but its implementation here with the medicinal orange (what Amouage rather optimistically refers to as "orange brandy" in the official notes list) and even pineapple of all things is scary stuff indeed. Add to this disgusting combination the significant sweetness and *dill,* and you have a really poor end result to put it mildly. The only minor saving grace for this mess is the late dry-down when the sweet fruit and lavender, dill and all vacate, to leave a boring but passable cedar wood and powdery vanilla finish. The truth is Sunshine Man has the word "scrubber" written all over it from the moment of application. As an aside, near equally puzzling to the ultimate question of why this lab experiment gone wrong was released is the company releasing it. It is true Amouage has branched out somewhat from it early roots that lead to most of its best offerings, but if someone had me sample Sunshine Man blind, I would never in a million years have guessed this was an Amouage release as it has absolutely *none* of the hallmarks the house is known for. The bottom line is the $395 per 100ml Sunshine Man is an outlandishly "poor" rated offering from a house that is apparently looking unsuccessfully for a new identity, earning it a 1 to 1.5 star out of 5 rating and an extremely strong avoid at all costs recommendation to all.
13th October, 2015
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Isis by Agonist

I admit to not knowing much about this house or scent. I received this in a packet of samples from ordering something recently from Luckyscent. I'm just now testing it, and I'm pleasantly surprised, based upon the notes.

The top notes suggest a rather brusk and ragged start - thankfully, they are either wrong, or this head cold had blocked out all traces of startling and tangy notes. I didn't smell any of them!

Of the middle notes, I was persuaded to give into believing this was a Caramelized peach desert - and my mouth watered and wanted more! Scrumptious!

The basenotes...dear diary, I am a mere mortal, but thank you that I can reach the stars this night...

I need to fall in love with yet another new scent like Madonna needs to continue wearing revealing clothing and gyrating on stage. But this...I might need this.
12th October, 2015

L'Ombre dans L'Eau by Diptyque

I do not smell rose or blackcurrant anything.

I smell something burnt on an old stove that really needs cleaning.

How can this be worn with joy?

I tried. I hoped for better in the middle notes. Nope. It was still gross.

I even thought I would give it a chance for the basenotes - there is a faint fruit/berry. But it does not redeem the the entire experience.

I gave it two stars because of the base notes - it had some of the actual notes it claimed. Otherwise, it would have been a one.
12th October, 2015
pkiler Show all reviews
United States

M Génération by Mauboussin

I'm rather amazed that no one seems to mention the Oud in the middle notes...?
12th October, 2015

Hummer Black by Hummer

A darker ideal combination of Trussardi My Land and Paco Rabanne One Million. Cheap but decent.
12th October, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Iris Cendré by Naomi Goodsir

Iris Cendre opens with a relatively sharp, carrot-like clinical iris with a tinge of underlying bergamot citrus support. Moving to the early heart, the iris remains the star, now adding a supporting gentle smoky amber accord and a tinge of leathery labdanum rising from the base with barely detectable slightly powdery violet. During the late dry-down the labdanum takes control eschewing most of its leathery aspect, swapping in very natural smelling woods with the very slightly sweet amber remaining in support sans smoke through the finish. Projection is below average but significantly more than a skin scent early and longevity is deceptively very good at over 12 hours on skin.

Iris is a note that this writer admittedly is not a fan of. As such, it was with some trepidation that I applied the sample of Iris Cendre on skin to see if it could buck the trend of others in the genre that didn't impress. I am happy to report that while I may not be a fan of iris focused compositions generally, I certainly am a fan of *this* one. From the open, the composition distinguishes itself by featuring a very high quality iris note that avoids the powdery aspect frequently encountered with the ingredient. This iris is stark, a touch sharp and very carrot-like, not unlike the iris used in reference iris compositions like Iris Silver Mist. While the iris is impressive enough, the deft use of subtle bergamot blended with it by perfumer Rasquinet makes for a stellar tandem. Once the smokiness arrives in the early heart it never overpowers the starring bergamot laced carroty iris, instead providing subtle depth and maybe even a touch of leathery darkness for balance. During the late dry-down the composition shifts gears near entirely, as it turns into a fine natural smelling woody affair, with just a bit of the leathery aspect remaining from earlier to set it apart. The whole development from top-to-bottom is extremely well-done and transitions are seamless. On the negative side to those that find projection important, the composition really is not a huge projector. Early, it almost exhibits average projection but an hour in while certainly more than a skin scent, it definitely hangs relatively close to it. Longevity was a bit of a mystery initially, as the first time I wore the composition I really thought it was all but gone after about 8 hours, and on my fragrance-friendly skin that really isn't very impressive. On the second wearing, and subsequent ones thereafter it turns out I was mistaken, with the perfume hanging around well past the twelve hour mark. I guess I just didn't notice it because of its lack of projection, especially late. All in all, if you are looking for a powerhouse look elsewhere, but if you can deal with its projection issues (which may be a strong positive for many situations) Iris Cendre is a superb smelling iris composition that even an iris hater like me wants in his collection. The bottom line is the $187 per 50ml Iris Cendre transcends the stereotypical aspects of the iris genre, making fans of even some that tend to dislike the ingredient, earning an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and a strong recommendation to everyone except those looking for monster projection.
12th October, 2015

Cuir Cannage by Christian Dior

Although only created in 2014, this leaves the distinct impression of a pedigree that goes back decades. So much so that I can very easily imagine that this was worn by Marlene Dietrich on stage in 1920's Berlin. I get the distinct impression of well-worn leather, smoke, white florals and just a hint of something like brandy or honey.

Of the floral accords, I mostly get orange blossom up front, with hints of jasmine and iris as it dries down towards the somewhat powdery base. There may be a fleeting sense of rose, but it is not distracting or overpowering as I find rose can sometimes be. Florals aside, it is the ever-present leather accord and the wonderful birch base that dominates this creation and keeps it from being too sweet, floral or powdery.

It goes on very strong and lasts on my skin for well over 8 hours, yet it has perfect silage for this style. Despite my earlier reference to Marlene Dietrich, I don't find it to be either particularly masculine or feminine (a bit like Marlene’s persona!); it just is what it is and could easily be worn by anyone who chooses.

If I had to compare it to another fragrance, in my opinion it is much more akin to Serge Lutens' Cuir Mauresque than it is to the heavier and more animalistic Knize Ten. 5 stars and two thumbs way up.
12th October, 2015

Orange Blossom by Penhaligon's

I have to say I really like this fragrance, even though the first hit is really quite astringent - the orange and lemon combo blast is almost overwhelming and the pink pepper tingles the nose.

Those top notes died away fairly quickly. I got a strong waft of tart crisp greens like cut grass and new leaf (possibly the cedar coming through?) before the scent settled down on my skin leaving a really lovely, warming and spicy orange with herby undertones.

I have to admit my thoughts on this scent were probably swayed a bit by the lingering base notes of Annick Goutal's Encens Flamboyant, a strong true incense fragrance which I had on my neck already. Penhaligon's Orange Blossom was on my inner wrist - and when I brought it to my face to smell the dry down, the combination of both was extremely pleasing to the nose; Encens delivering a smokey base to the warm orange spices of the Penhaligon.

I can't detect any "candy" notes, but then it does seem to be a great match to my skin type, as the scent melts in with a soft orange hum. If I have any negatives, it would be the poor sillage - considering the cost of the bottle, I would have expected it to deliver a lot more. It's almost non existent unless someone comes in close to my skin.

Its final notes remind me of hot mediterranean summers, the smell of sun bleached grass and orange trees. I can't stop breathing it in, its just a lovely summer scent.
11th October, 2015
Corto Maltese Show all reviews
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dior Homme Parfum by Christian Dior

This is what a trace of signet smells like, on a paper that says - Dior, the King of all designers.

It's one of the best perfumes that came out on the market these past few years.

I wasn't very optimistic about Francois Demachy making something good out of a very popular perfume Dior made, because we've already had a chance to smell the whole variety of different l'eau's, sport and intense versions of this perfume, and because he already deformed the glorious Fahrenheit by turning it into edp.

Only its wide availability is what makes the distinction of this perfume from the niche concept, but by looking at all components of one perfume, this one really fulfills all of the criteria of high luxury.

Clearly defined fragrance notes and reinforced performances of intense predecessor. Strong, thick, constant, projective, savage, and, at the same time, very alluring for women.

If you've never had the opportunity to see the maniac in a tuxedo, this is your ideal chance. Olfactory orgasm....
11th October, 2015

Navigations Through Scent - Lijiang by Molton Brown

An unpretentious, yet truly delightful fragrance. Lijiang is a really well-crafted, weightless and fairly unique – despite seemingly faint and generic – uplifting blend built on a classy accord of green-floral-citrus notes with an initial dried-sweet vibe (then evolving into dried-spicy) and a subtle but perceivable sort of creamy woodiness. The osmanthus note is the true star here at first, and I think it’s quite well rendered. Osmanthus is an ephemeral marvel smelling like a sort of ylang-infused cold tea, so imagine something sweet, plushy, floral-green, slightly creamy and powdery but also grassy, fresh and slightly citrusy. Here, you get it brilliantly encrusted in a breezy, bracing and thin frame of light spices and a smooth musky-woody accord which as a miniature, comprises on its turn minimal nuances from salty vetiver to some “pencil shaving”. And that’s it. Dusty sunlight, a damp tea bag in a grassy winter garden. Peaceful and comforting, but exceedingly sophisticated too, in a really intimate and cozy way. The projection is really discreet and the longevity is quite short, but for once, they fit the design and the general airy and “evanescent” mood. Nothing outstanding, but really graceful and enjoyable.

11th October, 2015

Summer Hill by Crabtree & Evelyn

Whilst I would never class this - as one reviewer has - as a "toilet freshner spray", I admit I initially fell in love with this scent as a room fragrance burning oil.

The sheer floral intensity, far stronger than most other of C&T's fragrances, has surprisingly long staying power for such an inexpensive EDT.

Saying that however, the first hit almost knocks the nose off with strong green aldehydes that make my nose tingle and eyes water - its almost medicinal. However bear with it, because when it dies down (and it does so quite quickly), those intensely floral notes come singing through and just last forever on my skin. Heavy, warm white forals that waft with movement, evocative of a hot summer night in a mediteranean garden. Very feminine, very summer.
10th October, 2015 (last edited: 11th October, 2015)
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En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

An early promise fulfilled with the initial strong and heady hit of "wet" lilac, like someone has just swiped their hand across a bed of dewy and newly opened flowers. It is achingly lovely, and so evocative of early spring.

But like that bright and shimmering period between the last snows and the early hesitant buds, it hits the skin and is gone within a few hours - far too soon. Heart notes dry down to a sweet powdery floral which, with little sillage, quickly dissipates to an almost soap-like and barely-there essence on the skin.

I'm giving it a thumbs up, but it only just scraped it for its initial beauty. Because at £100 for a 50ml EDP, the whole isn't worth it, no matter how sublime those top notes are.
10th October, 2015 (last edited: 11th October, 2015)

Fragonard by Fragonard

The original and the best of all Fragonard fragrances IMHO. Fragonard's signature scent is a clever piece of chemistry, in that it presents itself as a simple floral, but I think there is far more going on here than meets the eye. It's no "youthful, girly" fragrance, gone in a flash. It needs to be worn by someone who appreciates the journey.

The scent comes out strong and kicking, enveloping the body with an incredible sillage that keeps it lingering for a good long while. The lily and honeysuckle are the strong front presence, ably supported by warm, lingering amber tones on dry down. Eventually those delicious base notes come through; hugging the skin all milky-musky and piquant, strongly reminiscent of the head of a sleeping newborn baby - there is just no other way of describing it. At this stage, it is both delicious and addictive.

Be warned - Fragonard EDP is a deception. You think it's going to be a one or two note jockey, with those strong initial standardised florals; but it's smooth evolution into new and equally powerful heart and base notes, and its sheer scent longevity (7-8 hours +) makes it so much more than that.

A very sophisticated scent, when seen through to the end. I will buy a new bottle of EDP direct from the factory in Grasse at least once a year. Stay clear of the EDT (which M&S stocks) unless you are only after the initial floral hit. But in this case don't expect to pick up those marvellous milky, musky base notes with anything less than the EDP. It's worth the extra for this reason alone.

This traditional smelling classic is currently my everyday go-to perfume.
10th October, 2015 (last edited: 11th October, 2015)

Ryder by Ex Idolo

An erotic symphony of notes in crescendo at the start!

I respectfully disagree with the reviewer who stated that this was Tom Ford's Amber Absolute merged with Dior's Feve Delicieuse, though I can see how he arrived at this perspective. There are interludes of both, and the references are undeniable. However, this is not all that encompasses this exquisite collection of notes and movements, at least in my experience.

Perhaps it is the addition of jasmine that saves this composition from becoming simply a nice "cover" for the afore mentioned giants. Jasmine weaves in and out over and over, like a melody that never gets played enough, so you enjoy it when you hear it. It is simply well-done, and a joy to wear.

I'd like to mention that this was a complete blind purchase (as many in my wardrobe are), and anyone who enjoys these notes should not be disappointed.
10th October, 2015
Corto Maltese Show all reviews
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Italian Citrus by D.S. & Durga

On the trail of Armani Acqua di Gio and Acqua Azzurra Ferre, and for those who are a little more modest they can find a similar scent in Oriflame Ascendant Aqua. Small nuances that make the difference are felt in a slight smell of oranges. Perfume of moderate stability and projections, but the most popular summer perfume style of all times, which already says enough. Based on knowing the content, comparisons, highlighting key wearing time, place of application and continuous monitoring, and taking care not to jump to conclusions, I'm reducing the subjective impression, not giving importance to rumors that it reminisce of chewing gum and that it smells like an ordinary summer citrus edt, and I'm giving the strongest recommendation for wearing this perfume at all summer occasions.
10th October, 2015

Michelangelo by Onyrico

Onyrico Michelangelo, appointed by the talented performer Maurizio Ceriza, is a profoundly italian concoction, silent and evocative, from the diaphane top "welcome" to a spiritually elusive mossy bottom. Is hard to represent on the olfactory sphere such a huge creative personality and the main olfactive distinctive features from its tuscan homeland (a land rich of figs, forest fruits, nuts and trees of forests) but I have to say that Onyrico manages in its languishing goal to arouse a "Rinascimental" dazzling artistic atmosphere, eliciting it seriously right by creating this evocative fragranze. Michelangelo is modern despite its "other era" general aura. The overall experience burst by an exquisite boise humid/aromatic yet soapy-laudry blast of fig leaves (the olfactory artistic pillar of the whole aromatic journey), calibrated citrus, hyper aristocratic magnolia (the Queen of aristocratic class) and dark berries, something in the middle between Battistoni Marte Arte (another italian "artistic in inspiration" concoction, the closest perfumed thing to Michelangelo in my humble experience) and the diaphane fairy-boise Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio, overall with the classic fougere structure we get in amazing italian classic gentleman's creations a la Salvatore Ferragamo Pour Homme for instance. We don't get in here a typically powdery-cedary or eliotropic linear monothematic figgy dust a la Diptyque Pholosykos since figs are by no means catalyzing, on the contrary a figgy molecular presence (herbal-leafy before than balmy) is just part of a far more harmonious distinguished mélange rich (especially in top and core) of resins from the dark woods, roots, humid earthiness (mainly provided by wonderfully grassy resinous cypriol oil), berries, nuts, grapefruit (providing classic structure) and languid (sharp and forbidding) floral elements supported by a subtle enigmatic fruitiness from masterfully dosed cassis which provides impenetrable soapiness and elusive class (playing a role not so distant from the one performed by blackcurrant in Ysl Opium Pour Homme Edp). We get in here cedary-resinous soapiness and figgy balminess but the main theme is further since the basic aura is (likewise in Marte Arte) aromatic, grassy, herbal, fruity, floral, resinous and even more. The atmosphere is by soon poetic, hyper rifined and centered on a juxtaposition between dark and bright presences. Going on with development dark fruitiness from the forest grows up higher becomig the main theme side by side with fig leaves and resinous mossiness. Darkness is indeed gradually enhanced by a stout association of mossy galbanum (oakmoss, galbanum and labdanum) and subtle olibanum supporting a super languid connection of dark fruity berries, fig leaves and magnolia while vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli imprint final balance and structured substance. Dry down is hyper solid and mature guys, all at once classic and modern, polished but surprisingly structured, sensual and rich of evocative tradition. Michelangelo is ambivalent and disorienting, aromatic bitter wildness and more minimalistic mild-soapy modern musky sensuousness manage to co-work merging their energies in a yet timeless creation (traditionally chypre/fougere and more lightly and modernly musky-chic). Roaming for Tuscan's sweet hills, ancient country houses and golden countryside routes, while leaded fully blissed out by birdcall, you will be teleported in a gravid creative past that any part of our planet earth can nowadays resume (and preserve) with such an hypnotic power. Let your mind to be conveyed back at time of Michelangelo Buonarroti and the city of Florence to be intended such the centre of spiritually creative universe.
10th October, 2015

Jardins d'Amalfi by Creed

Normally I cringe at the idea of wearing fruits...I eat them. But my goodness this is just splendid! I do not care if the genre has been done. So has rose - for centuries!

The blend of Rose, Neroli, berries, apples, and some woods (they say its Virginia Cededarwood, and having lived there a couple of years, and visiting quite regularly even now, I have no idea what they intend by that - I know the plant, I don't get its connection here) is a really nice and well-balanced composition. Very adult. No teens here.

Somewhere between the middle and basenotes, there is a weird skank isn't exactly "skank-sexy", but rather "skank maybe sexy"...sorta odd, and makes me want to spend more time with it, but then the dry down begins...

Because I own a rather large bottle of Haitian Vetiver, I can speak most clearly on that - it's here! And it is lovely. Sadly, I never smelled any cinnamon.

Warning: you may want to ignore this last part...I've somehow assumed the role of my husband's Italian way of telling a very short story very at your own risk of severe boredom!
I look forward to getting my husband's response. Earlier this summer he was asking if I had any fruity scents, which I emphatically said no, and he looked a bit startled and I may have shut down that conversation a bit too quick. However, you must understand, this is the wonderful man who purchased Blenheim Bouquet for me for Mother's Day, thinking it was exactly what I wanted. Poor man. I thought giving emphatic negative feedback was a logical way to go, but I think I frightened the man. Anyway (dear Lord, I think I've become a bit of an Italian from living with him for 10 years!), lately he has been really into the Slumberhouse stuff! Like really excited about pretty much everything I try, and when I compare it with stuff he previously liked...well...lets just say his taste in scent has altered dramatically! You had no idea you were a narcoleptic, did you?
10th October, 2015

Arabian Horse 3.1 by Parfumerie Generale

My first horse was an Arabian gelding named Brigadeer. Brig was quite a character and gained a following at shows, not because he won blue ribbons, but because watching him get off the trailer was quite a thrill for everyone who happened to be in the vicinity. Brig never did anything small - no, it was grandiose, all the way. He also made it a point to let the judges get to know him very well - by running them over. We were excused from as many classes as we finished.

I am not much of a fool for names, but I'll admit I wanted to love this juice when I heard the name. When I read the notes, I imagined the many days spent at the barn, cleaning stalls, feeding horses, bathing horses, handwalking horses, and just enjoying the scents that a barn holds for those who care to embrace the joys of the outdoors and the magnificent creatures housed in the beloved wooden structures.

I have searched for the perfect feminine leather for quite sometime. I've owned a few, and tried many more. What I have found frustrating over and over is the failure to capture the truest scent of a fine leather, such as the leathers used to make the custom saddles, bridles, and tall boots I wore. The feel and smell of fine leather - quality leather that allows you to feel the horse, yet that has the strength to move thru time and harsh treatment is rather unlike most leathers you see daily. I cannot describe the beauty and suppleness that comes with a fine English, French or Italian leather. The tanning process is much more refined and subtle. The chemicals less harsh, and the scent much more pure. It is an art. It is this scent I compare all leather perfumes to, and it is why so many fail for me.

When I stumbled across a tiny decant of this juice, I knew I had to have a full bottle. That was the worst part - getting a full bottle meant ordering directly from France, which is not cheap. The dollar is still not as strong as it used to be, and shipping is awful. But, I started selling off multiple bottles, and placed my order, and now I have my Precious!

When that box was delivered, I cried a little. I'm not joking at all. You see, I no longer have a horse. I gave up my most recent horse when my husband found out he had a rare form of cancer (all better now! Full remission!). I know I did the right thing, but I miss riding. Getting this bottle, well, I finally had an Arabian horse again. :)
09th October, 2015

Salome by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Wearing Salome is like listening to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice and wondering why the opening bars sound so familiar. You know you’ve heard it before, but even while your brain is scrambling to retrieve the reference, you’re enjoying the hell out of the song.

Half the pleasure comes from that feeling of “I know this tune…. don’t I?”

The thrill of the new is over-rated anyway. A friend of mine once said that the older he got, the more ok he was with buying multiple variations of a fragrance he loved. In other words, as long as it was a fantastic rendition of something he already loved, he didn’t mind if it was original or not.

The realization that Vanilla Ice simply (shop) lifted entire sections from Queen’s Under Pressure doesn’t stop me from loving Ice Ice Baby. It is its own creature, even though it plays off a chord that is deeply familiar.

Salome is a tour of the greatest hits of the fragrance skankiverse, sampling riffs from well-loved songs such as vintage Bal a Versailes, Musc Tonkin, Femme, and Theo Fennel Scent, and spinning them off into something that, while not new or wildly original, is an utter pleasure to wear. And it is such a beautiful and accomplished riff on those fragrances that one might be tempted to replace some or all of them with just Salome.

It is a ludicrously dense, packed fragrance. A super-saturated supernova of a scent with layers and layers of heavy musks, fur, flowers, spice, and sweat.Let me try to unpack the layers.

Right away, I smell a layer of vintage Bal a Versailles floating on top – honeyed orange blossoms, tobacco-leather, and a refined urine note (possibly civet). Salome’s take on Bal a Versailles is – dare I say it – an improvement on the original, because it completely removes that odd, cheap note I like to call “Plasticized Air” that always pokes out at me from Bal a Versailles. The sleaziness I always pick up from orange blossom slots in perfectly here with the cumin.

And wow, Salome is also super-cuminy. This layer strongly recalls Rochas Femme – not the softer, muskier vintage version, but the modern version which fairly shrieks with cumin, put there to give Femme back the sex curves it lost when all manner of nitro musks were banned. The cumin gives Salome a crude sexuality, reminiscent of a musky, female crotch – not unwashed crotch, just, um,….. heated, shall we say. If you’re someone who thinks that Amouage’s Jubilation 25 (the woman’s version) or Al Oudh smell like the armpits of a New York cab driver, then avoid Salome at all costs.

Under all this, there are heavy, animalic musks providing a sort of subwoofer effect, amplifying and fluffing up the other notes. I can easily identify two of my favorite musks here.

First to reach my nose (and then fade away very quickly) is a rich, furry musk strongly reminiscent of Muscs Khoublai Khan. This is mostly the effect of a rich, warm castoreum soaked in rose oil, but the similarity is impressive. MKK and Salome share this unique effect of the musk almost taking up a physical presence in front of your nose – like the swelling scent of damp hair or a damp fur coat being dried off in front of an old-fashioned electric bar heater. I can’t quite explain it, but the musk here has a tactile quality quite like sticking your nose above an agora sweater and feeling the static pulling the fine angora hairs towards your nostrils.

Underneath the short-lived MKK-style musk is the almost painfully animalic musk from Musc Tonkin – one so utterly redolent of the fur and animal fat of a marine animal that it comes off as faintly briny. Thankfully, though, it never quite approaches that metallic edge that Musc Tonkin has (which fascinates me but also repels me in equal measure). But that salty, fatty animal aspect of Musc Tonkin’s musk is present in Salome to a large degree. It accounts for the scent’s overall savory profile (as opposed to sweet).

More than anything, though, Salome reminds me of the female-sweat-soaked, musky Scent by Theo Fennell. In fact, what unites Salome, Theo Fennell Scent, and to a lesser degree, Musc Tonkin (in my mind) is the mental image I have of a group of ladies visiting each other in a formal front room in the early 1900s. It is a picture of repressed Victoriana – a room almost suffocating under the weight of dying flowers in vases, a certain “closed in” feel of an over-heated room, and stiff, rustling garments that haven’t been washed or aired recently.

And just below the surface, a massive wall of scent roiling off damp, heated womanflesh too long cooped up in restrictive brassieres and corsets. Although the room is heavily perfumed with roses and jasmine, there is something unhealthy and morbid about the atmosphere.

It’s just the type of perverseness I find sexy.

Overall, Salome has a very vintage vibe to it. If one were to subtract the brash cumin and one of the saltier animal secretions, then it would take up a more recognizably French, classical form. Underneath all the animal howling and beating of the breast, Salome is a chypre and as such has a dark, abstract structure to it that stops the dirtier elements from being a total pork fest. In its last gasps, Salome takes on the 1970’s feel of La Nuit by Paco Rabanne with its dank honey and moss tones.

Salome might be a remix rather than an original, but it reminds me that, in terms of sheer enjoyment, remixes can sometimes surpass or replace the original.
09th October, 2015

Equipage Géranium by Hermès

Among the most prominent designer brands, Hermès is currently probably the only one which is still able to deliver solid products on a consistent basis, at least for the masculine/unisex side – good, sometimes great, decently boring in the worst cases. This new addition to their classic series confirms that commitment to respect customers’ taste and intelligence. Equipage Geranium is in fact, briefly put, a very solid fragrance. It pays all respects to Equipage’s heritage, cleverly reworking its bone structure by giving it a sharper, colder, more floral yet somehow drier shape – shortly, a fresher, more contemporary look. And also a sort of more transparent, edgy texture. I must say that globally it is very similar to Equipage, even almost too much, and you easily get it since the very opening. “Equipage in spring”, so to speak: all that timeless, distinguished, smoky herbal-woody refinement tinged with a shade of cold, yet cozy an breezy geranium and a sprinkle of spices, topped with a really enjoyable citric accord – citrus was there in Equipage too, here it seems a bit stronger and more persistent. The evolution is equally enjoyable, the scent – which turns out to be quite more long-lasting and bolder than you may assume – gets drier, a bit darker and woodier as a base blend of bitter mossy woods (vetiver mostly) and, I think, some cloves-leather accord gets a more prominent position, with even a touch of grey, slightly powdery smoke arising and giving some dusty, refined warmth to the blend. Still a sharp herbal blend, just a bit moodier and more somber. Oddly enough, as we’re talking about two opposite types of fragrances, the emerging of a general sense of dusty-sweet warmth brings in a really distant echo of the very drydown of Tiffany for Men, too.

Coming to the main feature and the “raison d’etre” of this flanker – the geranium – I am sadly not familiar enough with it, so I can not comment on the specific note extensively. Never been a fan of it, actually. But it seems, well, really good to me here. It smells crisp, tolerably acrid, even slightly fruity and powdery while remaining bracingly sharp and minty. And it shows some evolution, which is often a sign of quality of materials – it doesn’t simply decrease its presence, but it changes and evolves, getting unexpectedly warmer and more “powdery-floral” before leaving the stage to the mossier-woodier drydown, with sandalwood and salty vetiver as nearly-main notes – both quite thin, but fulfilling and solid.

So overall, you surely get the “Equipage” first, and only then, the subtle, brighter floral-spicy variations. In other words, don’t expect a geranium-based scent; rather a subtle, elegantly executed spicy geranium-based variation on Equipage. Whether you care for or know Equipage already, the final result is an extremely pleasant, refined “old school” fragrance with a palpable “vintage” feel (the mossiness, the virile and restrained dryness, the austere herbal-woody structure with that nondescript sort of citric-metallic feel so many classic masculine scents had, and so on – several classic names come to mind, from Monsieur Carven to, obviously, vintage Equipage itself) and a more contemporary tangy accord of spicy-grassy notes. Quite a mature, “over-30” discreet fragrance fitting like a bespoke glove, lasting longer than I expected and projecting just perfectly. Maybe just a tad too close to Equipage to make sense for Equipage fans, but... well done, Hermès.

09th October, 2015

Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

I don’t know the current version of this gem, and given Givenchy’s descent into mediocrity of the past couple of dozens of years, I am not sure if I want to; but the vintage incarnation of Gentleman is by no means inferior to many other timeless vintage masterpieces – and I mean the true Olympus of those, next to Tiffany for Men or vintage Chanel Antaeus. I personally find Gentleman extremely distinguished, extremely high quality, and extremely unique, if not really innovative for its era. My review could (should?) really end here, but well...

The thing I find innovative here is above all the way the combo patchouli-vetiver is used in the composition, and the notes which Léger’s genius decided to surround it with. Basically, the “frame” here is an earthy-smoky texture rich in herbal, hay and woody-leather nuances, which is brilliantly paired with a traditional aromatic lavender-infused fougère bone structure (think of Azzaro pour Homme, although it came later) and a touch of tangy and grassy citrus (similar to verbena). All of this surrounding then the true star of Gentleman, the patchouli-vetiver accord I mentioned above, which gets brilliantly enhanced by earthy, musky, smoky and sweet nuances; the dampness of hay, the indolic smokiness of leather and civet (just a hint, but you definitely smell that little devil rambling beyond the base notes), and a subtle yet perfectly perceivable smooth touch of warm, sweet-powdery-musky floral notes with a shade of vanilla.

Now, it may seem a heavy or complex scent with a lot of nuances ranging from herbal, to smoky-leathery, to woody and sweet-powdery, but it isn’t really. Or well, it is complex indeed, but not too “powerful” at all. It’s a refined, almost tame fragrance, perfectly reflecting its name, delightfully gentle and discreet, cozy and elusive at the same time. It’s so well put-together that it smells perfectly crisp, bright, even fresher than it may seem despite there is many “dark” notes. Truly a perfect uplifting harmony by no means “heavy” to smell – on the contrary, extremely easy to wear and to like. It’s amazing how the notes are there, clear and rich, and yet this fragrance has a remarkably weightless presence on skin – it’s substantial, but really mannered.

Surely a “vintage gentleman’s scent”, probably one of the most sophisticated around, but quite unique and actually, maybe more modern than others, if not slightly more “youthful” too (maybe thanks to the “hippie touch” of patchouli). Needless to say it smells rich, persistent and clear for hours, with a perfect projection and an impeccable drydown which gets gently drier and woodier (that vetiver again!) as hours pass, still keeping a touch of floral muskiness lurking in the background. What else to say? An amazing modern classic of masculine elegance perfectly showing the old school French taste for “classy dirtiness”, that unique ability of many classic French masculine scents to smell refined and cozy still keeping it dirty, complex and even subtly “raw”. Fantastic.

09th October, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

The Swan Princess by The Vagabond Prince

Swan Princess goes on with a tinge of bergamot citrus and slightly metallic floral cyclamen before quickly transitioning to its early heart. Moving to its heart the cyclamen and bergamot vacate as an absolutely huge super-powdery near almond-like heliotrope rises from the base, obliterating everything in its path save supporting cedar wood, and faint peony and rose florals. During the late dry-down the powdery almond-like heliotrope remains, coupling with semi-sweet, smooth sandalwood and slightly animalic musk through the finish. Projection is very good, as is longevity at 10-12 hours on skin.

The first outing from The Vagabond Prince, Enchanted Forest, was a drunken fruit punch focused dud despite being composed by the extremely talented Bertrand Duchaufour. After that fiasco, surely reenlisting Duchaufour for its next release, Swan Princess, must result in a better outcome, right? In a word, "Wrong." As bad as the initial outing was, this one is regrettably even worse. The key culprit is a torturous combination of supercharged powdery heliotrope and near synthetic smelling cedar wood that completely doesn't work. Duchaufour tries to bridge the gap with subtle floral peony, but while he has done a stellar job with that ingredient in the past in his brilliant Rose Cut for Ann Gerard, here it fails miserably. Things at this point become a pretty linear affair, and if one doesn't like what they sniff now, it doesn't get any better late. Knowing what Duchaufour is capable of I have to believe the real trouble with these compositions for The Vagabond Prince must lie in some unfortunate briefs he has had to work with. In truth, I am quite afraid to think what The Vagabond Prince will ask him to come up with next. The bottom line is the $200 per 100ml bottle Swan Princess is a messy floral woody concoction that its talented nose just "phones in," earning a "poor" 2 stars out of 5 rating and a solid avoid recommendation.
09th October, 2015

Hermèssence Cuir d'Ange by Hermès

Hermessence Cuir d'Ange unveils by soon its real substance that is powdery (vaguely eliotropic), decidedly leathery (though soft in approach) and surely floral (at list in the fleeting top side). Actually floral notes perform each of them a diverse sort of substantial role since while earthy-leafy violet is just present in the top, eliciting there for a while a touch of tart/wet angularity, iris is softer (and longly influencing) providing a typically synthetic cosmetical twist joined to musk and leather. Opening is for a while wet, grassy, softly aldehydic and barely hesperidic. Leather, with its supremely smooth opacity, discloses immediately its wings and it plays warmly, in a weirdly floral-mineral temporary way conjuring me shortly several Histoires de Parfums's concoctions a la Rosam, Ambrarem and particularly Petroleum. In particular I get a dramatic (almost gothic) accord of patchouli, powdery woods, lipstick/resinous powder settled by eliotropic-musky-sticky iris, musk and petrol (a leather/resins/rubber/waxy powder opaque -spicy dusty- dominant accord which seems representing a sort of ideal "fil rouge" with a secret Histoires de Parfums' recipe). I can't deny that several lipstick iris/soft leather/musk dominant accords jump gradually on mind (from Dior Homme Parfum to Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur, from Parfumerie Generale Cuir d'Iris to Laboratorio Olfattivo Daimiris, from Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman to Memo Italian Leather and Cuir by Lancome) but in here musk (temperamental floral notes) and waxy iris are ephemeral while leather is dominant in its enigmatic mistiness. Cuir d'Ange is somewhat linear and close to skin, it is a really refined (or better smoothly shy) musky-leather in which floral notes are basically evanescent and just synthetic iris is central with its soft buttery vibe perfectly joined to smooth leather and powder. There is also a sort of cedary-incensey slightly smoky ghostly aura a la Naomi Goodsir Cuir Velours around the general suede-driven softness (it seems to get sort of smoky fir resins and mineral-incensey dustiness), a presence providing an almost liturgical mistiness, grey and moody as a dreary humid afternoon roaming for medieval abandoned sites and arcane sacre venues. A solid (though not precisely original) choice for the lovers of soft leather-genre with a glance oriented to melancholic elusiveness and solitude pursuit.
P.S: along the way leather slightly recedes and something more markedly floral starts coming up.
08th October, 2015 (last edited: 10th October, 2015)

Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

oh...this is good. Really good.

I'm in trouble. I never knew rose could be so violently complex yet so sweet and comforting. It is the whole rose composed, thorns and all. I feel its sting, yet the velvety smooth petals bring me so much joy. This is the BDSM of fragrance.

The blending of the patchouli is a dance of push and pull - like a sensual mating dance. The rose plays hide-and-seek with the patchouli and it's a mystery as to when and why one appears and one doesn't.

The sandalwood lays low, but it not quite demure. It makes me smile even as I type this review. It's a lovely balance. Perfect.

Certainly, this is an expensive fragrance, but one that is most worthy of a full bottle.
08th October, 2015

Acqua di Sale by Profumum

For me, certain oceanic scents are lovely, but they tend to be more subtle or accords that play a role in more complex creations. In this case, neither of those things are true, but it does what it says on the tin rather well. It's linear and rather straightforward, with no implied gender at all.

The longevity and sillage are excellent (which means they were endless and overpowering to me); so there's value in the cost.

There are no shortage of oceanic options, but if you want an uncomplicated, strong sea scent, it's worth trying.
08th October, 2015

Vetiver by Guerlain

As genuine as vetiver gets.

I am intoxicated by this one. I had, on a glorious spring day, vetiver and habit rouge, applied on separate wrists. Pleasure was granted whole heatedly throughout the 8+hours of projection.

To me, vetiver smells as if one had recently weeded out a vetiver root. I smell the dirt and crushed vetiver stems as the top note. Fresh tobacco is second for me with a moist accord. This EDT preserves a freshness unparalleled. The pepper is my third note of choice I pick up on. Possibly a beginner's nose, Vetiver is one of those scents so well blended it'll keep me guessing. Thank you for doing so.

08th October, 2015

L by Lolita Lempicka

I'm gonna be honest, and admit that I purchased this for the bottle. I had no idea what to expect from it scent-wise.

Delightful - truly. The cinnamon was a surprise. For the first 15-20 minutes, I smell as though I walked into a bakery that just finished baking cinnamon bread.

The vanilla that comes thru is not too sweet, and is quite elegant - again, not something I expected.

The bottle is gorgeous, and truly misleading. This has nothing to do with aquatics, summer, sand, or anything you would envision with the likes of such a sculpture. While my brain suffers a bit with this juxtaposition, I do appreciate the comedy.
08th October, 2015

Black Aoud by Montale

Montale's Black Aoud.

I like how BN lists "rose petals" rather than "rose."

I could see this being used to bless one, or to exorcize. Rose petal, Aoud and mandarin are the dominant notes. A heavy ethanol pricks your nostrils initially.

I Enjoy the formula, truly. Very confronting, I picture it being used on the predominantly dressed-in-black type, well structured cheek bones and completely indifferent to opinion. Not for me, I am more into the animalic kind. If you are kind of a Perfume bad ass, buy this frag.

8/10 (purely for admiration of craftsmanship.)
08th October, 2015