Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Toujours Moi by Dana

I have been sniffing the Corday version of Toujours Moi and just marveling at how strong the presence of smoky vetiver was in this concoction in proportion to the rest of it. You don't see too many fragrances being marketed to women these days with this much smokiness. TM smells to me like burnt amber - it is vanilla-sweet like Emeraude, with that dusting of powder at the end, but without the bright orange (just a touch of the blossom). It is a bit like Shalimar but is not at all animalic. SOmething floral in the background - is it hiding or has it just been crushed by the vetiver? Its presence is slight. Yes, this is the smoldering remains of a lump of amber resin which has had a single lilac flower gently brushed over its surface. It is surprisingly soft, a case study in restraint, where I was expecting gaudy and heady. I have not yet tried the Dana version.
09th February, 2016

Chapeau Bleu by Marina Picasso

Delightfully lush and a little abstract, like many crossbreed florals from the early 90's, CB smells like walking along a flower garden of great variety, placed close to the sea, while eating dulce de leche ice cream. It is like a salted peach atop an impossibly crowded bouquet drizzled with caramel (the tuberose is poking out). It is a busy thing, bringing to mind the similar thicknesses (but not quite aromas) of Catalyst, Nicole Miller for Women, or perhaps Ysatis. This is not a serious fragrance. This is a day on the town, skipping in public, Harold and Maude kind of scent. If you remember clothing patterns from '90-'94, colors and shapes crammed together with childlike abandon, know that Chapeau Bleu smells the way that looks - fun, uninhibited, and a bit embarrassing in retrospect. I consider this the feminine counterpart for the original Kenzo Pour Homme.
09th February, 2016

Dia Woman by Amouage

I hope you like aldehydes. The rosy and orangey aspects of dia serve to prop up the tanginess of the top, elongating its opening statement through suggestion. Peony and peach soon after help this pinpoint impression bloom out on the sides into an orangey, daylight blush. The peaking frequency from the beginning is swallowed in slow motion and absorbed into the body. Woods and a thankfully soft incense emerge - a play in three acts, delicately layered to produce a certain sense of passing time; sunrise, sunset. Dia sings softly of intentional beauty.
09th February, 2016
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Vetiver Veritas by Heeley

This is a very natural Vetiver fragrance. Magnificent root,clean soil. A solid study of the plant and will be interesting for Vetiver aficionados.
A little to minimal and literal for my taste.I prefer the light airiness of Roger & Gallet and like a few others, the smoky conifer perfumed complexity of Sycomore.
Neutral as I would not purchase a full bottle.
09th February, 2016

Malabar by Crown Perfumery

WOW. I haven't been this impressed with the first sniff of a woody floral since I got my hands on Flora Danica. This juice is potent. Bursting at the seems with ylang and jasmine, Malabar is a veritable tug of war between green stems and white petals. I'd bet good money that, if the '89 version is anything like the original, Guerlain's Samsara was created with this in mind, as there is an extreme similarity in ingredients, texture, and volume. That's right - this stuff is pretty loud. Funny enough, this was re-released the same year Samsara came out. But, while Samsara is a bit more paired down to the essentials (with heavy emphasis on jasmine and sandalwood, like a somehow beautiful caricature), Malabar possesses the rosy-cheeked hue of English rose lurking in the mix, along with the bitter green stems. This would most certainly be perceived as old fashioned but it is undeniably well-executed.
09th February, 2016

Cologne Sologne by Nicolaï

Super pleasant, airy-citrusy white floral scent which makes great subtle use of rosemary; It's like 'almost-lime.' Little here in the way of movement or progression, but its a suave, natural splash-on for the warmer days of the year. Highly recommended for those looking for a slightly better 4711.
09th February, 2016

Saat Safa by Al Rehab

When I first applied this, I thought, this is so close to my Ex Idolo 33. Close, but no Cigar!

It lacks the balance, 3 dimensionality and tannin of the Thirty-Three.

I get Rose, something citric and vaguely medicinal iodinic and oud.

As others have said before, a pleasant scent and at a very pleasant price.
08th February, 2016

Salamanca by Olympic Orchids

This is a mixture that is more like a monochrome beige picture,dusty. |It first of all comes off scent-wise like flat pulp paper and then textures out on variations of beige collage, again dusty.
Clever idea, as I have created culinary dishes monochrome beige to artsy effect.
To wear this as a perfume. Uh,no. I don't think so Ms.Covey.
08th February, 2016

Douglas Hannant by Robert Piguet

Had I read the notes pyramid before applying this to my skin I would have steeled myself for disaster. Instead, I was greeted with a hyper-pleasant and saturated opening that smelled equal parts miscellaneous bouquet and edible arrangement, with the interplay of pear and jasmine lending a sticky-sweet accord like honey or brown sugar. Sadly, this tacky yet fun barrage dwindles rather quickly to the likable but less outgoing floral heart. The end stage is unimpressive but I got a little chuckle when I realized I was thinking about Smarties candies ground to powder. This would probably make for a decent work frag, because the opening gets you really pumped up, and then DH settles in for the day and lasts a good long while, like a sweet, quiet little hum around you. Certainly worth a try.
08th February, 2016

L'Ete en Douce / Extrait de Songes by L'Artisan Parfumeur

L'Eau de Linden?
This is a refreshingly natural creation, starring a grassy, almost lichen-like accord. It is dry but not dead, and quite musky. I almost thought my sample was spoiled at first whiff because I simply wasn't expecting the blend at all. It's like a bottled Summer romp in a Southern American grove. I often find orange blossom in floral compositions to be clawing its way to the top for attention, but here it is polite and lacy as a Jane Eyre side character.
As something I would seldom (if ever) wear I would be inclined to rate this one a 'neutral,' but it's just such a happy fragrance. And even when a cute and energetic puppy is being persistent and annoying, it's still a puppy.
08th February, 2016

Matsukita by Crown Perfumery

Matsukita smells to me a touch green, a tad pink, and mostly white floral in nature. It isn't quite powdery, but so very hazy around the edges. There is just a hint of filth under the prim and cleanly petals - I'm going with indolic jasmine on this one, over a backdrop of carnation. Very old-fashioned and impossibly soft. More of a comfort than an attention piece. Very pleasant, but arguably too quiet.
08th February, 2016

Lonestar Memories by Tauer

Lonestar Memories features an almost overpowering smoky leather note at the beginning, like a leather jacket tossed onto a campfire. Its black, rubbery thrust might seem too monolithic were it not for the minty geranium leaf and an orangey myrrh shooting though it, letting down the density of the smoke to an acceptable level. The opening is thrilling and evocative, but there’s no beating around the bush here - it’s wild enough to scare the horses.

But Lonestar Memories isn’t a perfume built purely on the shock value of its topnotes. The smoke note here is rich, full, and rubbed with sage, so despite the general industrial bent to the leather note (tar, creosote, tarpaulins, motor engine oil), there is a refreshing whiff of the great outdoors too. It’s a macho, dry perfume built on a HUMONGOUS scale, as broad in scope as a prairie. A fragrance for dreamers and wanderers.

For me, Lonestar Memories only really hits its stride when it enters the dry down. The smoke note settles, and becomes just one more layer in the rich leather, a tiny prickle of birch tar there to remind us that this is no ladies’ glove type of leather. There is real beauty in the quality of the myrrh here. It is soapy, antiseptic and slightly bitter in that black, oily way that myrrh oil is, so one gets the pleasant impression of having washed one’s hands with coal tar soap. If you are someone like me who grew up with that soap, then this stage will be a real rush to the head. It also has a licorice-like facet to it.

Teamed with the smoky but now smooth leather, and a gummy floral note (jasmine?), the myrrh provides a shot of almost bitter soapiness that reads as very necessary against the white, creamy amber in the background. The opening is riveting, but the delicious, long dry down is what keeps me coming back for more.

Would I buy a bottle? Probably not. Not because I don’t think it is beautiful or striking, because I do, but because it is such a strongly “environmental” fragrance, by which I mean that it conjures up an entire slice of Americana – a prairie, a dust bowl, a tire shop with oily mechanics – and so I feel it doesn’t really fit in with the type of life I lead.

But I treasure my sample of it. Now, rather than wearing it on my skin, I prefer to soak a blotter in Lonestar Memories and place it into my jeans pocket or underneath the desk lamp in my office so that I can enjoy its rich, smoky, cowboy-chaps scent all day long without the commitment of skin time. Perfect.
08th February, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Agent Provocateur by Agent Provocateur

Rose and saffron are in the leading roles here, with the rose playing the first violin, and at an early stage the floral notes break through - on my skin his is clearly a mainly floral composition, initially with a bit of an aldehydic accompaniment that suits the rose well. This is not a deep, dark, fervent and velvety rose, but more a rose exuding elegance, playfulness and light-heartedness.

The floral notes developing are mainly in the drydown, are a light and bright geranium, blending well with the rose, ylang-ylang and jasmin. In spite of this potpourri this is never really a sweet fragrance on me, and the musk added in the base is not a very sweet version either. The coda of this composition is a light and mild amber impression that fades out gracefully into the end.

The performance is good, with moderate sillage, good projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

This is an interesting daytime spring scent, also good for warmer autumn days, and some the of combinations of notes are quite unusual and implemented quite creatively. Nothing groundbreaking but solid. 3.25/5

08th February, 2016
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

L'Agent by Agent Provocateur

The opening blast displays a nice balance between the floral and the crisp, with the ylang-ylang and the slightly boozy angelica finding their balancing counterpart is a mildly peppery note. Later in the drydown, however, the floral side definitely takes over, with a pleasant geranium and jasmin in the foreground; osmanthus and a nice rose are also present.

The base takes a different direction; here amber and a medium-heavy patchouli with vanilla and musk set the tone; the base is definitely less floral-centric than earlier phases, and in my skin it is a tad more generic and less convincing than its predecessors

The sillage is moderate, the projection adequate, and I get five hours of longevity.

A nice floral spring scent, initially crisper than the original, with the floral core also a bit different form the original version. A pleasant flanker. 3/5
08th February, 2016

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li by Hermès


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

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

Sycomore (new) by Chanel


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

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

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

Kanøn by Kanon

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

Les Nombres d'Or : Eau Absolue by Mona di Orio


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

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

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

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

Pétale Noir by Agent Provocateur


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

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

Curve Chill for Men by Liz Claiborne


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

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

Giorgio for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

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

Bel Ami Vetiver by Hermès


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

Mon Numéro 10 by L'Artisan Parfumeur


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

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

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

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

Acqua Fiorentina by Creed


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

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

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

Devin by Aramis

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

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


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

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

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

Roberto Cavalli Black by Roberto Cavalli


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

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

Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens


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

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

L'Arbre de la Connaissance by Jovoy


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

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

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

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum by Chanel


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

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