Perfume Reviews

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Precious Woods by April Aromatics

If like me you enjoy woody scents, you may be forgiven for asking the next question on the list: "which woods do you like?". A hard to answer question as there are so many out there - patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver (or is that a grass?) and the more well-known cedar and sandalwood.

Precious Woods takes all of them together and presents them to you in one go. The first puff of this scent is woods overload. Dark and balsamic at first, you could easily judge this one as a scrubber. But good things come to those that wait, so the more patient frag-heads will appreciate what happens next.

The deliciously woody and hazelnutty (is that a word?) dry down is pine, cedar and santal. Creamy yet not sweet, smooth and refined. The 'hazelnut' aspect comes out quite prominently, but it isn't immediately obvious which ingredient(s) is/are causing that effect.

This well-blended scent is hard to find as the brand is not very well known and the 30ml bottle is a disappointment. Also the 'new age' feel of the brand with its associations to yoga and glass "pearls" in the bottle (you read that correctly) does not warrant full marks from me (it's a perfume - juice in a bottle - and nothing else!). But it still performes well as the blend is well-crafted.

There are definitely many other superb woody scents out there from many niche brands, but this is certainly one to spritz before you buy.

Overall 4/5
05th February, 2016

Leather by Franck Boclet

I recall I tried this once a couple of years ago and was more pleasantly surprised than I would have liked to admit – it’s niche, it’s quite overpriced, for a die-hard “anti-niche” like I was (and partially still am) it’s sometimes hard to admit that something smells nice. Now I got the chance to smell this again and yes, it smells definitely good. By “good” I mean here my favourite interpretation of the term, applied to perfumes: “solid and creative”. This is in fact something quite different and finally, quite more unusual than the majority of today’s niche leathers (which smell either like bitter rubber or whatever other ill, unwearable idea of leather, or just like Tuscan Leather clones). It opens with a sort of medicinal-nutty accord of amber, mild patchouli and some quite good saffron, mixed with a delicate sort of salty, salicylic-musky “polished” leather with a hint of rubbery oud, topped with a crisp, very mild yet perceivable “fresh” balsamic whifff of woody-floral notes. Quite unusual, as I said: it blends some clean, musky-modern leather as in Lang’s Cuiron with M7’s “nutty-medicinal amber” (actually, the resemblance to M7 is quite bold here for many aspects, and that just hits a soft spot for me), perfectly blending them under a sheer floral-balsamic light. The result is extremely pleasant, compelling, flawless and totally nice to wear. It feels nutty and woody (or better say mostly “cedary patchouli”), quite spicy but in a smooth crisp way, at the same time also feeling “musky” clean with a hint of salt. Overall it does convey a sense of modern, clean, freshly-polished “leather” without involving the usual clichés of these types of scents (and without basing the concept on a load of uncooked rubbery aromachemicals). I’d also mention Cuir d’Ange as a distant reference for the musky-powdery leather part, although Boclet’s Leather goes on a totally different path – nutty, ambery and medicinal as I said. But in a way, it also has this “breezy” powdery side which definitely echoes Ellena’s masterpiece, too.

Just to be clear, I dropped some really big names here – Cuiron, M7 and Cuir d’Ange. It’s not that Boclet’s Leather can be compared to them, as it definitely can not: it’s just that the inspirations seem to me recalling these works, whether that’s intentional or not, and that’s really a plus since the majority of leathers today seem often pointing towards other, vastly more trite directions. This one instead tries at least to think leather out of the box and do some - at least, partially - creative work on it, with just the right touch of 2000s nostalgia. And the materials work fine too, it smells very nice, rich enough yet totally smooth and discreet as a proper “modern refined leather” should. Partially synthetic too, sure, but it fits the concept and there’s some work around it. Still a bit overpriced and with a slightly disappointing longevity, but a more than worthy addition to any leather fan’s wardrobe.

05th February, 2016

Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

For many people, the smell of hot cocoa and vanilla is a cosy winter warmer - I imagine a soft comfy rug in front of an open wood fire with a steaming hot mug of cocoa and Christmas carols going on in the background. I just can't for the life of me understand why, but this fragrance just remidns me of Christmas! Could it be my childhood or too many winter films? I have no idea...

Whatever the case, the scent is the most absurd mix of notes! Spicy lavender (although short lived), iris (those who don't know the note refer to it often as the 'lipstick note'), gorgeous woods and delicate sweetness (i.e. vanilla). Somehow, when François Demachy waved his magic fragrane wand over this mix, arguably one of the most gorgeous scents in the world came about. Don't ask me why - a cacophony in music sometimes can be made to sound pleasant - maybe the same can be said for Dior Homme Intense?

I don't actually detect a cocoa note per se, but I think the effect the ambrette seed, iris and sweet/delicate woods mixed together make a cocoa-like effect. It's almost delicious enough to eat.

Foodies and those with a sweet tooth beware: Demachy will have you addicted to this scent in just a few sniffs. Please, make mine with two marshmallows.
05th February, 2016
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Sauvage by Christian Dior

Marketing and fragrance are practically two words that sit together comfortably. No one seems to notice either. Yet, along comes a product such as Sauvage, controversial with its recycled name (Eau Sauvage anyone?), but marketed by none other than Capt'n Jack Sparrow and the bottles sell like hot cakes.
Sauvage has been very smartly put together by François Demachy to represent the sun (fresh bergamot opening), earth (patchouli and lavender dry-down) and "blue open spaces" (somehow represented by black pepper and ambroxan). The fresh yet peppery mix of the opening certainly meets Demachy's objective of the citrus fresh opening. Perfect for a scorching hot day. After a while, the scent gradually progresses - this is a slow progression for an Eau de Toilette. It takes quite a while to morph into the pepper/amber base. The freshness is all but gone but a fern-like sweetness remains, leaving a trail resembling a slightly sweetened familiarity of masculinity. Lavender is definitely there too in vast quantities dare I say.
The opening is indeed quite a contrast to the dry down, yet the pepper works really well in the transition process. It's hard to pinpoint the note at times but it is well put together and works well with the lavender. As for the dry down, if you can be bothered to wait for it, it is not designed to be sniffed up close. This one is best experienced from a distance.
All in all, definitely a 'try before you buy' scent. Some may find the opening a bit harsh or synthetic, others may not see the dry down as anything special. To me, this is a definite Caron Pour un Homme variation with a slightly sweeter base and much more lavender!
05th February, 2016

Jolie Fleur Rose by Tory Burch

Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose was ever-present when I was young, and to this day, the scent of tea roses gives me the tingly feelings of being a teenage girl. That said, the last time I bought a bottle of Tea Rose and tried wearing it again, I really enjoyed it, but DID draw attention to myself because it is SO strong. I was actually responsible for sending a few thrilled Russian and Persian women to the drugstore to buy it - not having grown up in the U.S., they smelled me coming and assumed I was wearing a Montale or something! My way of passing through the world is a little more stealth than Tea Rose allows, so a straight-ahead tea rose scent that's more modulated is something that's been on my wishlist for a while.

Jolie Fleur Rose may be it.

Its rose/tea rose accord is gorgeous - the green sap is there, and it's not sweet, but neither is it shrill (Chloe!) either. So I had a really hard time not just running back to Sephora to buy a big bottle five minutes after spraying it on my arm. But I really do know better when musk and Cashmeran are involved - can be love or hate for me - and I'm not sure yet what's going on with the longevity. I wasn't giving it my full focus as it developed, but either it wore like an EDT on me, or I'm a little anosmic to the drydown, because after a couple of hours, all I could detect was a faint old-fashioned soap smell. I love old-fashioned soap smells, but I don't have to spend $90 to get there, you know?

Whether or not I end up deciding it's undying love for me as a composition, it did provide more confirmation that I really like the roses Lauder uses. I already knew that I'm mad for the (very different) Evening Rose from the Aerin line, and Tom Ford's Noir de Noir.
05th February, 2016

Ambra del Nepal by I Profumi di Firenze

I Profumi di Firenze Ambra del Nepal opens "kind of heliotropically" with this almost white musky/poudre/vanillic whiteness quite exotic (sugary-spicy, a la Pane degli Angeli yeast, for those loving the Italian Pasticceria), visceral and gourmandish at same time. A wonderful opening, equally structured (in a traditional chypre way) and "gluttonous" ; I get indeed such like coexisting a classically structured woody-hesperidic backbone (sandalwood, aromatics and hesperides are surely present) with this sweetly edible "resinous coconuttiness" conjuring me more than vaguely scents a la Farmacia SS Annunziata Cara and Chia. Amber (synthetic ambergris and amber) is the key element, kind of carnal-animalic, powdery and salty at same time. Saltiness is granted by a combination of spices (really peppery) and resins (a touch of frankincense, on the side of earthy notes and piquant spices, partake the general longly durable dustiness). The spicy-salty molecular synth ambergris (piquant and carnal) is not so distant from the (synth) one we get in Gabriella Chieffo Hystera. The salty-ambery touch on skin is warm, barely powdery and sensual (virile, pungent and warm). Frankincense enhances its embrace slowly and gradually (neither liturgic nor smoky but surely salty and elusive). I get more properly piquant spiciness (and spicy synth anbergris) than classic ambery powder and anyway the latter is kind of delicately organic (little babies aroma-conjuring), milky, almondy and dusty sugary (powdered sugar). The juice is not supremely articulated or longly (and complicately) evolving but the final outcome is one of the most sensual stuffs I've tested on skins for years. I've slept one night with this devilish stuff on chest (under a cotton t-shirt) and it was like an heavenly warm erotic juice to share with your beloved (likewise with an occasional "mistress"). Dry down is darker, barely mossy and vaguely woodsy but the resinous piquancy is still salty-sugary (rooty) and regnant.
04th February, 2016

Heat Kissed by Beyonce

I rarely happen to try “celebrity” fragrances and am absolutely unbiased towards them – it’s just fragrances, just as legitimate as any other. And in fact, this new scent bearing Beyonce’s name is nothing that different from the majority of contemporary designer “fruitchoulis” aimed at teenagers and young women – whether they actually are, or tragically just feel as such. There’s obviously nothing of what the card claims, Moroccan Rose and whatever other standard cliché. But still it’s a nearly tolerable fruity-woody scent with a thick musky vanilla texture giving it that popular, kind of cheap, still better-than-nothing sort of fruity soap-shampoo substance. Sweetish, clean, conventionally “exotic” yet quite “urban” with its mediocre metallic vibe. It reminds me of so many forgettable designer scents or cheapos for women, that I can’t name any. It’s just beyond generic and artificial with no creative features or qualities whatsoever, but I can’t say it’s that bad for the expectations one may reasonable have. I mean, it’s a trendy celebrity scent and it’s part of its nature to be nothing more than some fashionable cheap garbage. To this extent, not that anyone should care but I oddly respect this way more than pretentious fancy “luxury” stuff pretending to be what it will never be able to be.

04th February, 2016

Lapidus pour Homme by Ted Lapidus

Good economical stuff, this is. I've got a stable of what I call 'my blue-collar cudgels' that smell great, last a good long time, make me feel good, are quite masculine, and are a great value at around $5/oz. This is one of those.

Linear fruity/boozy is what I get - pineapple, honey, floral, and patchouli? Sure. I don't overthinking these things.

Sashka Black is pretty much a ringer and Vermeil for Men is similar yet with more of a tobacco feel.

Good, but not in the same class as Kouros, BpH, Ungaro I, etc.

I'm 50+, for reference, and own or have owned bottles of all the scents mentioned above.
04th February, 2016

Café V by Olympic Orchids

This is one of those scents, that for me, is reminiscent of something way, way, back in time. It carries a wood base that seems a trademark Covey.
It's colour is of brown crackling Leather pair of Chaps. The Cardamon adds a dry, dusty, spicy almost paperlike smoke that parches slightly.
It carries a tone similar to Heeley's Phoenicia.
Unisex? I would say it is the kind of thing us boys like.
04th February, 2016

Café Rose by Tom Ford

My only gripe with Cafe Rose is that it doesn't stick around long enough. The opening, a fuchsia-toned rose blend with a bare hint of spice is accented beautifully by a synthetic but warm coffee and wood base as seen previously in Polo's underappreciated Double Black. It is a showcase for rose (not the bright English variety, but the more dark, smooth, and less cheery Bulgarian or Damask)and an easy wear for men and women, and as of late one of my favorite releases from the Tom Ford line. This is not a scent for casual samplers, but a nod to the real rose fans sampling niche scents. There are countless fragrances out there which straddle the lines of commercial and gender acceptability but this is not one of them. If you do not enjoy the smell of roses, do not enter here. If you are a rose fan, welcome home.
04th February, 2016

Sotto La Luna Tuberose by Tauer

The only online reviews of SlLT I could find were so negative, I wasn't in any rush to seek it out for myself. However, when I saw a partial bottle for sale on eBay, I took a leap of faith. I'm so happy I did, because I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Some reviewers have compared this new Sotto la Luna to the first one, Gardenia, claiming they're too much alike to bother owning both. I concede they share a commonality (in addition to Andy's legendary 'Tauerade'), but they're certainly not interchangeable. SlLG has a noticeable candied gardenia in it. SlLT does not.

I can't say that I smell tuberose in SlLT. I have worn many different kinds of perfumery tuberoses (Fracas, Tubereuse Criminelle, Caron's Tuberose, Poison, etc.), but none of their familiar notes are discernible here. Perhaps I need to smell a real tuberose blossom before my brain 'clicks' to this aspect in SlLT? In any case, I don't care, because SlLT simply smells wonderful (and nostalgic) to me!

None of SlLT's listed notes stand out to me: they are so harmoniously blended. It simply smells like a particular memory: a hazy vision of being a child standing in the vestry of the local church our family once attended, St Mark's Church of England in Leopold, Aust (built in the 1860s). Being a non-Catholic church, there would not have been incense (it wasn't until my adulthood interest in perfumery that I discovered 'incense' accords - which I adore - but cannot associate with churches, or even smoke!).

So, to me, SlLT is the smell of the interior of an old, but regularly used, Anglican bluestone church, and whatever was inside it a century after it was built.
04th February, 2016

Coromandel by Chanel

This big 200ml Coromandel bottle stands, no towers beside my 30ml draw of Dior Ambre Nuit. My girl likes to wear both interchangable, as do I. My view says the Dior is leaning Masculine and the Coromandel Feminine. Both are Unisex, both are equally luxurious.
Astaire's body dances, partner to the music.
Streisand's voice dances, partner to the music.
04th February, 2016

John Varvatos by John Varvatos

smellwise, this is a pretty good fragrance...I had a small decant that I've enjoyed wearing around the house...reason being I'm in the group that seems to get minimal projection and longevity from JV fragrances in general, this one being no exception ...I get maybe 2 good hours tops - and then it's almost like I never put anything it would not work for me for when I need an all day scent...the fragrance itself smells pretty good...I get a nice ripe/sweet/juicy/rich/syrupy fruit accord sitting on a thin layer of wood which then leads into a nice sweet/ambery/leathery vanilla....and then....poof!!!...gone...
nice while it lasts and I do enjoy the smell for the time it hangs around for me...
FBW...if you can get a good discount...because chances are you will have to reapply
Sweet Fruity Woody Leather
04th February, 2016
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drseid Show all reviews
United States

French Line by Révillon

French Line goes on with an aromatic mix of mild, slightly powdery rose, carnation and jasmine with hints of subdued coconut and more substantial sanitized patchouli support, before quickly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the now supporting rose, carnation and jasmine floral melange gains slightly more powder as it pairs with powdery amber from the base, now joining a significant co-starring moderately rough leather and patchouli tandem that takes the fore. During the late dry-down the amber-laced florals take a back seat, as remnants of the sanitized patchouli and subdued coconut join slightly animalic musk through the finish. Projection is excellent and longevity very good at around 10 hours on skin.

French Line is a real find. On first glance, one sees a relatively unimpressive looking bottle that doesn't inspire confidence in its contents, but looks can be deceiving and indeed in this case they are. As soon as one applies the composition on skin you get a quick whiff of wormwood before the sublime rose and carnation florals take over. When the jasmine, patchouli and leather join the fold, the composition smells absolutely heavenly and probably is at the best part of its universally great development. The powder, shortly thereafter, gains some steam, firing a warning shot that it might go too far, but the perfumer skillfully stays just under the "danger line" for the powder averse like this writer to enjoy the composition while providing enough of the stuff for powder fans too. The late dry-down is probably the least interesting aspect of the composition's development, not because it smells anything less than exceptional, but rather because it is rather subdued, as the aromatics largely vacate to shift to a slightly animalic musk driven finish with patchouli and coconut support adding subtle depth. Speaking of the coconut, while it never is a huge player in the composition's overall fragrance profile it deserves special mention. When one envisions coconut they probably are thinking tropical drinks and climate, but the stuff used in French Line is much more subdued and skillfully used than that. There is no "tropical island" vibe in French Line at all, with the coconut used more as a softener to the aromatics and later to the musk. At the end of the day, French Line proves that one should not let a fancy bottle (or in this case the opposite) drive whether one should or shouldn't try a composition, as if you skip sampling French Line due to its unimpressive housing you are missing yet another one of the 80s wonderful smelling greats. The bottom line is the long since discontinued French Line is very difficult to find and will most likely cost one dearly to acquire on the aftermarket, but with its extremely polished mix of florals, leather, patchouli and even coconut, this "excellent" to "outstanding" 4 to 4.5 star rated rare gem is absolutely worth the effort and cost to acquire. Superb!
04th February, 2016 (last edited: 03rd February, 2016)

Versace l'Homme by Versace

I have a bottle dated to 2005 and a few bottles of the 'thin-script' earlier iteration, which I prefer, although the '05 is very good as well.

'Thin-Script' - I get a predominant lemon/citrus that lasts surprisingly the duration, which itself is quite surprising. There's a mossy, soapy, powdery freshness to it that works well with carnation in the heart along with a bit of pesto-type spice. A mossy, dry cedar base and that's about it. I don't get much leather.

In urban mid-west america, this scent was in the air back in the late 80s and 90s. Didn't know what it was then... now I do, thanks to this hobby and BN!

I'm in my 50s, for reference, and an old-school wetshavin' fool for the mossy leather chypre. Quality 'thin-script' can still be had off eBay for around $20/oz and I consider that A Bargain, [one of] The Best I Ever Had. 5/5
02nd February, 2016

Voyage by Hiram Green

Voyage has an opening that is both strange and familiar to me. It features a sour (but also candied) citrus note dusted so thickly with the powder of a saffron-like spice that it doesn’t register as fresh or sharp the way hesperidic notes normally do. The effect is of a golden sun shining through a dust cloud of vanilla and spice, with something bright lurking underneath.

Sometimes I spray this on and I get a hint of the tannic peach skin, moss, and spices from Shangri La, and it’s like unwrapping a tiny sliver of chypre hidden in the folds of a dusty, oriental brocade. Sometimes I get no fruit, but a rubbery suede. It is murky and intimate, like the smell of a moist wrist directly under a rubber watch.

Very beautiful and very familiar. Where do I know this scent from?

Immediately, I race off through the library of smells in my brain to see if I can place it, but it remains frustratingly out of reach. I don’t think it is a perfume that I’m remembering so much as a chord in a larger orchestra of smell. Or maybe it’s the whole orchestra of a smell funneled through one chord, I don’t know.

The best I can do is say that the opening has an interesting dissonance to it that reminds of the older Guerlains – Jicky perhaps most of all, with its stomach-churning clash of cymbals between the fresh, clean lavender and the rich, civet-soaked vanilla crème. But there is also the dark rye bourbon bitterness of Mitsouko’s cooked peach skin. Voyage is much simpler and more direct than these perfumes, of course, but it shares with them the impression of a ribbon of bright gold slicing through plush velvet darkness.

The dry down only confirms the familiarity (and the appeal) of this style of retro perfumery – it is a warm, luscious vanilla-amber, heavily laced with what seems to me to be a heavy dose of heliotrope and perhaps orange blossom, although these notes are not listed. It has something of the spicy, floral vanilla feel of L’Heure Bleue, albeit less pastry-like in tone and more tending towards the more resinous, cinnamon-inflected Tolu or Peru balsams. I have to admit that I do not pick up on much of the patchouli – to my nose, if it’s there, then it is only there to add shade and earth to the vanillic dry down.

In a way, Voyage reminds me of Ciel de Gum, by Maison Francis Kurkdijan, not for any similarity in the way they smell necessarily, but for the retro manner in which they present the vanilla note - not clean or sweet, but fudgy with spice, civet and indolic flowers. There is a close, intimate feel to vanillas like this that recall human skin to skin contact. Voyage, Ciel de Gum, Opus 1144 (UNUM), and even Musc Ravaguer all hark back to that Guerlain-like clash between a bright, aromatic side (lavender, bergamot, cloves, cinnamon) and a dark, velvety side ( vanilla, musks, indolic flowers, and civet).

It’s this clash what makes Jicky, L’Heure Bleue, and Shalimar such masterpieces even today – at first so repellent and odd that wonder what kind of drugs the perfumer was taking, and then everything suddenly “works” in the perfume and you think it’s great - addicting almost. Hiram Green’s Voyage has that clash down nicely, and this is why it works. I love this perfume because it gives me a taste of what I love about the classics but in a stripped-down, more legible format that doesn't make me feel as if I am wearing an entire history of grand perfume on my back. Which is sometimes what I want.
02nd February, 2016
jacona Show all reviews
United States

Silk Way by Ted Lapidus

I've seen this described as a floral fruity fragrance on another site, but I do not get that at all. I find it a soft, comforting, elegant scent - milky vanilla, musk and incense are the notes that are most apparent to my nose. If you were ever a fan of Tan Giudicelli's Annam, Silk Way has a very similar personality, enough so that I'd recommend this if you are mourning the loss of Annam.
02nd February, 2016

Les Nombres d'Or : Tubéreuse by Mona di Orio

This is one of the most beautiful takes on the Tuberose I have ever tried. That is quite a feat, as I have tried just about all of them, the good, the bad, and the quite ugly.

This is the answer to Fracas if you have ever worn it and felt self-conscious in a crowd or wondered if a man might approach you and ask "how much?" Not that Fracas is bad, but she is far more daring and "come hither", which does make a woman think twice about if she is NOT looking for male attention. Of course, this beautiful concoction might lead to male attention anyway, as it is suggestive of a quieter sensuality that might suggest a longer term interest...or the old saying "it's the quiet ones you have to look out for".

I definitely get the pepper in the opening, which for some may be bothersome, but I find it a nice balancing feature that illuminates the scent and doesn't last for me as a "pepper", but smooths out and lays gently in the background. The tuberose is bright, green and herbaceous, but somehow still sensual. How did Mona do it? It is a juxtaposition of scents that somehow work. Truly artistic!

As the scent wears on, the creamier facets of the flower start to come forward, and the reward is a gorgeous aspect of Tuberose that embraces the beauty while keeping the notorious skank at bay. There is something else happening here...but I cannot quite speak to it...yet. But I like it. A lot!

02nd February, 2016

Vanilla Flash by Tauerville

Review of Vanilla Flash
By Frankie Chocolate © 2016


Not quite the shivering willies but close. 1/10
02nd February, 2016

Incense Flash by Tauerville

A perfume story: Review of Tauerville Incense Flash ©
Frankie Chocolate

Ok. Ok. I get it. After too many private messages to count, three offers of violence and one bravo—thank you Pure Caramel—you are my only true friend amongst these savage wolves—I get the message. Take Frankie out of the chair and stop the slapping. Killjoys.

Okay. So we’re gonna review incense flash, one of Andy Tauer’s newer frags.

Opening notes: Plastic under friction, chrome tanned leather, doctor’s office medicinally swabbed with iodine based sanitizer. Think of your self or maybe your parents as a kid with big rash from wiping out on their bike and making like a broom though the loose asphalt gravel with your chest. Your folks or grand folks pulled up the shredded shirt brought out the trusty red orange labeled little brown bottle of iodine, twisted it up with that smell coming out that was only slightly less offensive than Listerine original mouthwash—but only slightly—maybe and laved on that little glass applicator all over the owies.

That one of the strong smells I get from this frag. On dry down there is some powdery something but not enough to forgive the plastic iodine tag team that’s taken my nose hostage. I get the flash though. When the tag team flashes up and slaps you. The end. 2/10
02nd February, 2016

Phi - Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer

A perfume story: Review of Phi Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer.
Slapfest continues
(For my friend Darvant.)

Frankie Chocolate sat bent over in a chair. Tied up like a chicken for the roasting pan. In front of him Humphrey Bogart, his jacket off, his tie pulled way down with a cigarette tray filled to overflowing on the table. A half filled glass of single malt whiskey sat next to the ash try. The bottle nearly empty was next to it.

Bogie playing Sam Spade had been hired to get to the bottom of Phi Une whatever and Frankie knew something he wasn’t telling.

“Wake up cup cake,” He patted me on the head because my cheeks looked like ripe watermelons from him slapping the last review, Incense rose outta me.

“What is it now Spade. I told you all I know.”

“Not all. Not everything. Now we’re gonna talk about Phi Une Rose de Kandahar.”

“That’s a really long name. Can we just call it Phi?”

“What ever you like.”

“Can I get a shot of that whiskey first?”

I held the glass up to his parched cracked lips and he slurped it down.

“Hey, you lipped it. You got this big grimy white lip print all over the glass. How am I gonna drink outta this glass now?”

“Sorry. Say Bogie…”


“Could you please get the chap stick out of my vest pocket? That hooch was a little stingy.”

Grudgingly he fished it out being none to careful he applied it the way a three-year-old girl would her mama’s lipstick not bothering to say within the lines. I ignored it and said nothing.

I smiled brightly then began. “At first I didn’t like this one. Many of Andy’s frags have a sharp metal chemical thing going on but after putting it aside for a while I came back to it and tried it again. I like it. It’s got a sweet rose opening that unfolds into a powdering dryness. The metallic note is still there but in the back ground, sitting maybe a third of the way down in a pew on the right. When I first opened the decant it was looming as large as two power swords coming down on Kanye’s neck. There is still a chemical thing going on as well but I think Andy puts it in there just to be different. Love or hate his stuff you can never say it’s run of the mill or boring.” Overall I like this.”

Bogie/Spade told me, “That was a really good review,” then slapped me so hard I saw stars and crashed over to the floor. I was going to complain but the title up there said clearly slapfest continues so I really couldn’t kick. 7/10 The end.

02nd February, 2016

Incense Rosé by Tauer

A perfume story: Review of Incense Rose by Tauer © 2016 Frankie Chocolate “When you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it.”
(For Collin)
I was tied up and sitting in a chair. I was dressed in an impeccable black tuxedo with a crisp white vest and black bow tie. My hair was piled high in tight little curls like Sal Mineo…
My hair was piled high in tight little curls like Justin Bieber.

He wears his hair in waves slicked back like a young Elvis.

“My hair was piled up high in tight little curls like Justin Timberlake when he was younger.
Ok. That works.
“I was sitting in a chair in a room that looked like it had been decorated in the forties.”
“When was that?”

“I sat in a room that looked like it had been decorated when your grandmother was a young girl. Next to me in another chair sat Brigit O’Shaughnessy in a sleek dress. She wore short hair combed over in a wave, a sleek a pouty mouth and big hopeful cow eyes which darted as she weighed her options.


“Next to me was an older babe probably over a hundred now if she’s still alive but back then she was pushing thirty five. Standing over me in a sharp suit and tie with his hungry long hangdog face was Humphrey Bogart. He was grinning a sadistic little grin as he stood over me panting; his normally straight tie was askew.

“When you’re slapped you’ll take it and like,” he told me then slapped me three times across my smooth face.

Wack. Wack. Wack.

“You’re gonna give me what I want and what I want now is a review of Tauer’s Incense.

“You’re Sam Spade right? I asked him.

“In the flesh,” said Bogie.

“Well if you’re Spade I thought we were doing the Maltese Falcon just now.”

“This is a prequel.”

“Got it.”

“I need that review of Incense Rose and I need it now Chocolate.”

Brigit stepped up and wafted her curvlicious wrist under my bitch slapped nose.

Sniff. Sniff.

“It smells …………..nice?”

Wack. Wack. Wack.

“That was a terrible review. That’s the kind of review someone from Chicago would give.”

“But I am from Chicago.”

“That’s no excuse.”

Wack. Wack. Wack.

I was so loopy I was seeing double which was nice when I looked at Ms. O’Shaughnessy. Not so much when I looked at Spade.

“I need something to clear my sinuses then I’ll go again.”

“You want some fresh ground coffee beans?”

“No. I think maybe a slap or two should do it. “

“Huh. Oh. Okay”

Wack. Wack. Wack.

“I said ‘Or two.’”

“Okay. Sorry. So you want to try again?

I nodded. Brigit waved by again.

“There is a duality of dryness both inviting and fatiguing. There are hints of mandarin orange slices in heavy syrup, there is cardamom, there is rose but it pirouetted through in silk slippers. It’s floral dry down is bright with geodesic forms spinning madly in space and time.”

“You pretentious wanker.”

“You wanted a better review.”

“I wanted a real review. This is something Darvant or Maillard might have written—after a hang over—on a bad day. ”

Wack. Wack. Wack.

“You can wack me all you want but I don’t like it.”

“Then just say that.”

“Orange tang. Two metal poles coming straight out of a fog at me. Tang breakfast drink. St. Joseph’s aspirin for children. 7-up after you pour some lick-a-maid citrus powder in it and it fizzes all up and all that’s left if the flat warm taste of weak citrus. Oranges. It’s the taste of barbed wire across my back as I crawl through the fence. But it is complex. If you like complex this is good. If you just like pleasant scents then not so much. Are we about done?”

“Clearly were’ not getting anywhere. No. We’ve got three more scents to review from Tauer. Phi une Rose de Kandahar.”

“Putting an exotic name on it won’t make it smell better.”

“Tauerville Vanilla Flash.”

“I’d like some vanilla ice cream.”

“When this is over I’ll get you some.”

“To put the cold container next to my sore cheeks.”

“And we’ll finish up with Incense Flash.”

“I should have a snappy rejoinder at this point something to close the scene out with.”

“You got anything.”

“Nothing. You?”

“I am as empty as last nights bottle.”

“Trite but it will do.”

“Ok. Trite it is then.”

Id’ get the goods outta Chocolate. He’d cough it up. He’d come clean. We had all night and I just worked some Cornhusker’s Lotion into my stinging fingers and palms. I was ready for the next review, Vanilla Flash. If Frankie’s face held up we’d get through them and the others but I looked at him and had my doubts. His cheeks looked like two slices of watermelon on a hot summer day.

“How bout you get tied up in the chair and give the next review,” he asked hopefully.

I felt as empty as last night’s bottle as I finished the review and uploaded it. 4/10
The end.
02nd February, 2016

Olympic Amber by Olympic Orchids

Amber is my favorite and this one is VERY good. It strikes a perfect balance between spicy and sweet and the labdanum is just right. Resinous with good sillage and longevity.
02nd February, 2016

Lyric Woman by Amouage

If I was not such a lazy individual as well as forgetful, I may have written off this scent as too old fashioned for me. The opening is a distinct reminder of 1980's home decor using potpourri as a bombastic icon of glamour and hopeless home scent experimentation. I know this because I was raise in the South by a proper Southern woman. I'm pretty sure one of our cats regularly attempted to eat some of that gloriously weird composition and yacked it up all over the carpet. But I digress.

So, the opening was not attractive at all. Cinnamon and overdone red roses with a candied feel...too syrupy and too much. This was going nowhere fast, and I was so disappointed! I had gone from making a space on my beloved antique silver serving platter for the bottle, to swiftly placing it back into the box from which it came, and stowing it safely within the confines of my dark, cool closeted shelves. You know the ones...those boxes can get sorta piled high, can't they?

I gingerly kept my left hand away from my nose throughout the rest of the day and evening. It was not until around 10:30 pm that I chose to give my nose another chance at this scent I had wanted for so long...and to my surprise, I had a most gorgeous scent on my left hand! It is all at once a sandalwood, with deep and resinous tones, lifted with Vetiver and vanilla, as well as arcs of dark rose flowing in and out. There is more here, but I cannot explain what I am smelling - perhaps incense in the base? faint, but something reminds me of some of our Holy Eucharist services.

I'm going to give this a proper wearing later this week, as I want to understand this scent fully before deciding whether I can get past the opening. If it lasts more than an hour, that will be tough. Hopefully, it will be less! The dry down really is quite nice!
02nd February, 2016

Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels

A perfume story: Review of Midnight in Paris
Four minutes till midnight © 2016 Frankie Chocolate
(For Tracy my office manager)

The klaxon is screaming out Ahh—ooo—gaaa, Ahh—ooo—gaaa and its frying me. It’s four minute till midnight and the end of world. I’m sitting at the console in the dense pack hardened bunker and there are a thousand blinking lights. In the center of all those lights is a huge slammer button shaped like a mushroom with a steady red light. Next to it is another slammer of black. We just passed Defcon 4 and are rising fast.

My chargé d'affaires Tracy has gone thorough all the paperwork and she knows what the Rooskies think. She’s so good she knows what Chinese think. She knows what they had for breakfast. She knows what they’ll have for breakfast tomorrow—if there is a tomorrow.

I sign some papers. She shuffles more in front of me and I sign those too.
She looks at me calmly and says, “ Ok. I think that about does it.”
She doesn’t think that does it. She knows that does it.

“Now sir, there’s just one more thing. You must choose the proper scent.”

“How was that Tracy?”

“You must choose the proper scent. Chose the right one and all will be well.”

We moved to Defcon 3 and I am as near to redlining as I’ve ever been in my entire life.

“And if choose the wrong one?”

“You love Jesus don’t you sir?”

“Yes of course I love Jesus. What’s that goy to do with anything?”

“It’ll be ok. You love God you go to heaven. Isn’t that what you believe sir?”

“Yes I love God but I got 300 million fellow Americans plus the almost seven billion other people on the planet to consider and I can’t have a come to Jesus moment with each of them in four minutes.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Boy I’m relieved to hear that. I mean just the thought of…
“You don’t have to because you only have three minutes now.”
Ahh—ooo—gaaa, Ahh—ooo—gaaa. Ahh—ooo—gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

“That’s not helping. Tracy will you turn that off.”


“That’s much better. Thanks T.”

“I didn’t do it sir.”

“Who did?”

“The computer does it automatically when we move to Defcon 2 sir.”

“Defcon 2. What does that mean again?”

“Either the pistol is loaded or…”

“Or what Tracy? Or what?”

“Or sayonara Charlie.”

“Do we got another Defcon to go?”

“I think so sir.”

“Okay. Then lets all just take a deep breath and sort this out. How did I get in this situation anyway T?”

“It’s your story sir…”

“I know it’s my story but I need a little help.”

“Very well sir.” And she sat down and explained it all to me.

“You see the world powers decided if someone could discern the proper scent to wear at a time like this they’d also be able to decide whether to push the button or not.

“That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

“And yet you posted it here on Basenotes sir.”

“I narrowed my eyes at her but had nothing snappy so I let it go.”

“So I have to choose which scent to wear to stop the end of the world. Is that about right?”

“Exactamundo Brainiac!”

“Mm Tracy, not to put too fine a point on it but I usually say that line.”

“Sorry. Exactamundo sir. You say the right perfume and you push the black button and if you’re right then it’s all good.”

“And if I choose the wrong one?”

“You love Jesus right sir?”

“YOU’RE NOT HELPING!” Oh, bye the bye, what if I push the red button?”
“The floor falls out from under us and we’re standing over a pit of half starved crocodiles sir.”

“Got it,” I say. Then my hand, my right button pushing hand starts to shake and of its own accord begins to inch its way towards the panel that will end the world. My other hand shoots out and grabs the rouge agent by the wrist but he’s too powerful. The treacherous hand drags both of them and the rest of the world to the absolute brink of absolute annihilation.

Three millimeters from the surface the bad hand stops. I am quivering uncontrollably from head to foot, soaked with sweat, shaking with terror and relief at what I just avoided.

I turn to Tracy with a crazy look of desperation in my eyes, crying and laughing at the same time. I start to laugh hysterically drained of all energy and emotions.

“Yes! Sir you did it. You did not push the black button. I knew you had it in you. Now if you’ll just pick the right cologne…”

I blurted out, “ARAMIS,” then my bad hand shot out and mashed the black button as hard as it could. I stare wide-eyed in horror and disbelief not believing what I just did. I have a full bottle of Aramis on the shelf I can’t give away.

The ground shook with the roar of ICBM missiles. Earthquakes rent the land, tsunamis the sea. The sun and the moon were darkened and as smoke from the bottomless pit arose around us. From the smoke came a plague of lawyers, locust, infomercials and carpet cleaners.

Walls cracked and fell, people screamed and ran in the streets.
It’s not my fault I shouted but no one was there. They were all gone. There is only me and the lonely radioactive wind left.

I stumble down the stairs to my office and Tracy my office manager was somehow there and I only imagined it. It’s Friday and she’s got the paperwork and checkbook out and ready.

Sign here. Initial there. Sign this form. Date that one. It goes on and on and on. We finally finish. I drag myself out the door to get some Sushi as my consolation price for getting through the worst part of my job. Just before I pass though the door I tell her,
“If I had to do it all over again I’d choose Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels because it yummy. It starts out with leather and almonds and has a touch of burnt rubber but dries to a yummy soft velvety suede. Very calming, soothing and cheery but you have to let the tires burn down first. And somehow the name just fits for this story don’t you think?

Tracy just looked at me and went back to work because she had no idea what I was babbling about.

I thought I heard someone say, “Go back on your meds,” but it mighta just been my imagination—maybe. The end.

02nd February, 2016

Rebel at Heart by Thomas Sabo

Thomas Sabo Rebel at Heart starts inebriating with a quite fizzy-spicy-hesperidic-aromatic blast of dry woods (cedary, rooty/earthy, peppery), pungent spices, orange/neroli and liquid incense waving by soon in the middle between a typical Comme des Garcon's woody-dry-spicy accord (Wonderwood jumps vaguely on mind) and vegetal (earthy-citric-aromatic) scents a la Terre d'Hermes, Atelier Cologne Trefle Pur, the "appalling" new Paco Rabanne Invictus (especially considering the central Rebel at Heart's stage), Molton Brown Apuldre, I Profumi di Firenze Legno Amaro and Byredo Mr Marvellous. Opening is frankly misleading, sparkling and illusory to me since I can catch a quite realistic, inebriating and visceral accord of vetiver, bitter citrus peels, aromatic herbs, orange/mandarine, wet/sharp woods and inebriating spices teleporting the mind in the middle of a souther dark-green citrus grove. In a short while resins emerge (incense-amber) as connected with a disturbing strong synthetic-gassy woodiness and hints of soothing patterns (possibly synth ambergris and tonka beans). Starting by this point (and ahead for a bit) I get losing each enthusiasm and the running evolution seems on the point to smell boring and mainstream till the end. Is not properly in that way, fortunately. Anyway I tend more and more to dislike the extremely woody-spicy accords indeed, especially if those creations tend to disgorge in to something finally soapy-resinous and gassy-cedary, exactly what it seems to be caught at this point of the Rebel at Heart's short evolution (the same disappointing phenomenon that I get in I Profumi di Firenze Legno Amaro). Furthermore the central stage, before the aroma starts fortunately to restrain its substance, smells too markedly orangy-woody-resinous for my full pleasure. Anyway I catch in the central stage a cedary amber which is something all at once soothing and chemical (kind of gassy) in a quite orangy way. Luckily the stout woodiness recedes and a final sharper and more refined-subtle (vaguely floral and surely woody-amberish) spark gets waving classically in the air (spicy, warm, earthy, virile, "synth ambergris-driven" and almost powerhouse in style). This final stage is quite better and frankly (almost) satisfactory. A more than decent concoction which is anyway nothing new or fully interesting for my olfactive orientations.
01st February, 2016

Colonia Intensa Oud Concentrée / Colonia Oud Concentrée by Acqua di Parma

Well, nothing more and nothing less than one may expect from an “oud” take on Acqua di Parma Colonia. A wannabe-posh, soapy, sheer, very smooth (and very synthetic) sort of citrus-floral-musk blend infused with a dark, rubbery, bitter yet overall quite tamed down and exceedingly artificial woody accord of oud and birch, becoming drier and muskier as hours pass. I must say that somehow, the initial “fizzy-soapy” frame which comprises the oud accord works, and makes Colonia Oud smell as a fairly pleasant sort of “bright oud” with a laundry vibe. There’s a tangy sort of citrus-geranium accord which fits in surprisingly well. Given the bitter rubbery dirtiness of the synthetic oud note, it creates quite a pleasant play of contrasts – which will eventually fade away and leave the stage mostly to rubber and synthetic woods, but until it’s there, it’s nice. Still though, even considering that, it’s all really too cheap and ultimately uninspired to sparkle some interest. The “Colonia” side is just as flat and artificial as in the Intensa version (I’m still wondering how the Colonia line can comprise gems like the Assoluta next to utter garbage like the Intensa), and the oud accord is for me nothing different from any drugstore oud accord you can find anywhere these days. The price and the “luxury” packaging would let you think we’re in the same ballpark of something like, say, Dior Leather Oud, but truth is, we’re more close to Ferrari Oud, or Versace Oud, a Montale imitation dupe or whatever other lower-key designer ouds. Just a matter of quality: flat, synthetic, as much generically refined as completely “muted”. Nothing against that class of scents by the way, but there’s a reason if they cost three or four times less than this.

Not sure why (or well, reading what I just wrote until now, I can see why actually), but at the very first sniff my mind just came out with a spontaneous association – “what an airport fragrance this is”. Out of the blue, I just imagined a mid-level manager waiting for his plane. Not a wealthy businessman snorting fine complimentary cocaine in some vip lounge, just some ordinary businessman playing with an empty cracked bottle of water, boring the hell out of himself, probably needing a shower after a two hours taxi ride to the airport. Think of focusing your nose on some details – the citrus musky cologne he wore before leaving the motel now mixing with sweat, the cheap smell of his ready-to-wear laundered suit, the rubbery smell of his trolley bag and of the airport seats, the overall sense of suspended, depressing boredom which fills such “non-places” like airports. That’s the mood of Acqua di Parma Oud, basically somehow a sort of slightly more pretentious “office scent” with a professional look (not refined, not sophisticated, just “professional”) and subtle dirtier vein. And by that I don’t mean something “sexy” , just literally dirty, sweaty and rubbery. It’s all filled with a nondescript, quite deep feeling of restrained, unemotional “nothingness”. And well, it smells a bit more cheap than it should anyway. Not blatantly cheap and not completely tragic, but definitely unworthy the price tag. Kind of similar to Indonesian Oud by Zegna (and just as much dull as that).

01st February, 2016

Rose d'Amour by Les Parfums de Rosine

A light rose, punctuated by ginger and orange flower.

This is a very old-fashioned and simple rose scent, light and effervescent, very refreshing and buoyant. A perfect scent for spring and summer wear.

As Tania Sanchez suggests, it would make a good masculine. The rose is light enough to be easily wearable by men and the ginger and orange flower give it an eau de cologne flavor. Ms. Sanchez considers it a "rose chypre," but it is much too light in my estimation for that categorization.

Recommended for all lovers of rose.

01st February, 2016

Loewe para Hombre by Loewe

In 2016 this fragrance can smell either grandpa or iconic.I absolutely love it.
01st February, 2016

Obscuro by Santa Eulalia

This is a well blended perfume. However a bit too strong for my taste.

I got it as a present a couple of years ago, and now finally, 2 years later I started to use it. So it is one of those that doesn't conquer you at first.

In the beginning I found it horrid, and with time I could learn to appreciate it. It is a very good perfume for the winter, sweet and dark, and it lasts in your skin for ever. I got nice compliments too.
01st February, 2016