Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Candy Aoud by Roja Dove

Like Sweetie Aoud, the opening of Candy Aoud bridges the sickening with the fascinating; you get something that resembles a mouthful of gummi bears crossed with soapy florals. Also like Sweetie Aoud, this scent ditches the sugary namesake in under a minute and ploughs headlong into stemmy floral territories countered by something that borders on vegetal. There’s a outlying citrus note thats mixed with oak moss to produce a shadow of a chypre that builds as the sweeter notes fade. After thirty minutes, you’re left with a fairly uninspiring mush of ideas with a prominent rose jutting out against what smells to me to be a kind of tobacco leaf. This really isn’t a scent about candy, and it’s certainly not about oud. But the main problem I have with it is that it doesn’t seem to know what it trying to accomplish. It’s kind of an insipid, pointless leafy affair that, while not awful, contributes surprisingly little.
28th July, 2015

Fruity Aoud by Roja Dove

So, the gimmick with this tutti-frutti trio seems to be that the top notes reflect the first part of the name, but they burn off fast leaving only a slither of the namesake behind. This one is indeed fruity and the fruit accord is predominantly berries but with the faint tropical spin of grapefruit and strawberries. I actually do detect something oud-like in this one (a tad barnyard and a bit cheesy), but it’s dialed way back in the mix. However, when placed next to the berry leaf (a note that naturally runs a bit pissy), there’s a subtle suggestion of a restroom. Ordinarily, a fruity melange over restroom-ish notes is bound to smell like air freshener, but Fruity Aoud navigates that trap reasonably well by creating a decent tension between pleasant / unpleasant. With that said, it’s a bit of a garish scent in the vein of Bond No.9, but no more garish than anything else the line has put out.
28th July, 2015

Sweetie Aoud by Roja Dove

The name’s deceptive as there’s nothing oud-ish here, and the sweetness — while overpowering at the start — burns off within minutes to reveal a bread-like accord that quickly (and I mean quickly) gives way to an earthy patchouli and cardamom. This movement takes place in under five minutes, and so I’d be more inclined to refer to this scent as patchouli-dominant with a pastry undertone. The opening blast reflects the usual Roja cavalcade of ostentation, and the pastry that follows is pitched somewhere between brown sugar, bread, and a fried donut. Jeux de Peau is the closest analog at this stage, but the Lutens is more reserved and tasteful whereas the Dove keeps the gaudiness of the opening in sight. But the point that Sweetie Aoud settles at — an herbalized earthy patchouli with just a touch of donuty sweetness — isn’t as hideous as the name would suggest or as vulgar as this line can get. The asking price, however, is as hideous as the name, but I think we’ve come to expect that from these guys now. Better than expected, but the bottom line is that it’s working with themes that have been done better elsewhere.
28th July, 2015
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Santal Royal by Guerlain

A modern classic. Nostalgia about the great velvety french/italian chypre. Guerlain Santal Royal is an amazing resinous-fruity/floral sandalwood's rendition straight from this glorious french maison still preserving nowadays its "Grandeur" despite the new "financial" management. A modern sandalwood's rendition really far from the classic straightforward woody "saltals" around. Santal Royal strikes soon for its balmy-musky (almost lipstick)- floral contemporary sophistication running a really delicious woody rendition which is anyway at once "soaked" of classicism. Is like the hyper modern floral-musky-resinous recipes from Francis Kurkdjian or Laurent Bruyere meet the more traditional chypre french/italian school. In here woodiness is never gassy or plastic-cedary but more properly darkly resinous, rosey, specifically balmy and softly leathery. Rose is heady by soon and provides a classic twist of victorian western diaphane classicism paired to a mystic coexistent oriental (leathery-resinous) wake extremely balmy-floral and vaguely fruity (simil-berrish). Jasmine grows up gradually and royal. There is a wonderful balanced contrast between oriental mystery (from candied delicious oudh, never bitter or medicinal) and the luminous floral notes of rose and jasmine (as joined by light spices and secret fruity patterns). I detect something lacteous, waxy and musky-plummy-floral in the resinous mix, a touch of amber and incense, overall in a combination vaguely conjuring me the resinous Armani Onde Mystere's musky-rosey accord (the latter anyway lighter, earthier and more fluidy). It seems to catch in the air (as olfactory undertone) a minimal touch of earthiness, hints of hesperides, ghostly aldehydes, a touch of "barber-shop" and a final tad of classically rendered oakmoss (I get indeed vague elements in common with classic masterworks from V&A, Fendi, Estee Lauder or Versace while even modern chypre renditions as Tom Ford Arabian Wood jump vaguely on mind for several of their modernly classic hallmarks). The note of oudh, yet synthetic, is fantastically rendered (always creamy-musky and spicy). The orange-cinnamon accord (intense, kind of berrish and penetrating) reinforces the almost edible widespread fruitiness and the general voluptuousness of the creation. Leather rises up gradually and softly (it seems soft and silky-velvety leather-suede more than classically stout or animalic leather), graciously complementing balmy sandalwood and exalting floral notes and subtle plummines (peaches, plums, apricots??). The deliciously balmy dry down is pure orangy-plummy resinous bliss. Velvety mystic deliciousness from Guerlain.

P.S: at the very end of the run the Santal Royal's agarwood starts to be kind of "volatile and molecular", something rare, rosey, spicy and light a la Heeley Agarwood or Maria Lux Deeply (but in a less gourmandish way), still with this intense orangy-peachy fruitiness which is anyway never fleshy but basically dry and airy.

P.S 2: finally sandalwood turns out more evident and ordinary but still soft and vaguely leathery.
27th July, 2015 (last edited: 28th July, 2015)
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Quadrille by Balenciaga

*This is a review of the original formula vintage Quadrille EdT.

Quadrille (vintage) opens with a nose tingling blast of deep, boozy plum wine with significant musk and mossy green oakmoss support. Moving to the early heart the boozy plum recedes to a supporting role, leaving the animalic musk and mossy green oakmoss as co-stars with hints of dulled peach fruit and cardamom spice. As the composition moves further through its mid-section, the musk fades as the oakmoss switches gear, now featuring its powdery facet while maintaining some of its prior mossy green nature. During the late dry-down the composition stays linear with the gentle powdery oakmoss remaining almost through the finish, as hints of earlier obscured jasmine show up towards the end of the composition's development. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at well over 12 hours on skin.

Balenciaga has a fine history of releasing outstanding compositions, and vintage Quadrille shows off what the house can do at its best. The opening boozy plum wine assault is extremely intense and I loved every minute of it. Adding to the opening barrage is the musky oakmoss that melds perfectly with the boozy plum, amplifying its impact and depth, while ratcheting up the brilliance factor exponentially. The composition then impressively shifts gears from its boozy open to a more green powdery oakmoss led accord with the animalic musk playing co-star. I am not a huge powder fan, but the powder level never gets out of hand, and the mossy green facet of the oakmoss somehow holds things together throughout. The last surprise well after the composition was little more than a skin scent was when a fine, slightly sweet jasmine emerged right at the end of the composition's life cycle, and it is one of the best jasmine notes I have ever sniffed. How the jasmine was hidden for most of the development is a mystery, but smelling it at the end made for a very fine finish indeed. Quadrille (vintage) is the kind of composition that makes one really long for the "good old days" where IFRA regulations and focus group testing weren't the rage. Yes, it smells like it is from another age, but by saying that I mean it with the highest respect and compliment. They just don't make 'em like they used to. The bottom line is Quadrille (vintage) checks off all the boxes as to what makes a perfume classic and great, earning a "near masterpiece" rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and a strong recommendation to vintage perfume lovers of either gender.
27th July, 2015

Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

Dirty musk. Really dirty musk! It is an intriguing fragrance, and it is not that I don't like it. But when to wear it? Upon application, it will make most people run. Perhaps a SM club might be a suitable environment with the smell of heavy leather and rubber equipment blending in.
27th July, 2015
CoL Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Green Tea Lavender by Elizabeth Arden

I agree with Scent-e-mental, this is leaning toward the masculine side. It's a simple uncomplicated fragrance which has a soothing calming affect on my mood. I have been spraying it on my bedding and pillows and I have slept so much better! It starts off with a strong blast of lavender but this top note settles quite quickly and then the familiar green tea starts making its presence known. Great for the office, great to help you relax and sleep better. Well worth a try, even if you don't love the fragrance, using it as a bedding spray is really very pleasant and relaxing.
27th July, 2015 (last edited: 26th July, 2015)

Dark Fresh by Desigual

Desigual Dark Fresh combines, in to a really spicy-resinous salty/mild accord, a quite sparkling and citric opening (by soon enriched by herbal notes, seaweeds and musk) with a basic dark accord of synthetic oakmoss, woods from the forest and ambergris. The resinous spiciness, as combined with woods, provides a kind of cedary-ozonic dissonant undertone (something weirdly salty and balmy-woody). Going on down the way a balmy woodiness and a vaguely acid-lemony marine feel solidify their "mainstream" connection lasting till the end of the trip. Seaweeds and saltiness take anyway gradually the stage as absolute protagonists as enriched by a typically cedary temperament. Anyway overall is enveloped by a rich blanket of mild spiciness (even more balmy and mild in conflict with saltiness) in to a sort of bombastic accord a la L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme Oceanic Expedition as ideally combined with the finally balmy-spicy-leathery La Nuit d'Issey (without the crispy-piquant-aromatic vibe and without the leathery accord which anyway is slightly present in here yet). A maistream new creation (basically neither dark nor fresh) in line with the contemporary trend.
26th July, 2015 (last edited: 27th July, 2015)

DKNY Red Delicious Men by Donna Karan

A hypothetical hybrid between Dunhill Desire Red and Dunhill Custom – gone wrong. Red Delicious is a sweet, extremely synthetic “laundry musk” scent infused with discount sandalwood, a bold (and again, utterly plastic) accord of something halfway apple, earthy stuff (coffee?) and booze, finally unexplicably stuffed with a ton of nondescript metallic screechiness which does have a fascinating shimmering nature – smelling halfway rotten cough syrup and floor cleaner. Not tragic overall, and most important not really far from many niche scents playing this same “sweet booziness” card. But the quality is really, really low - too cheap to be taken seriously.

26th July, 2015

Une Voix Noire by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

A boozy-fruity-floral. This is what it smells like to me, and I like it. Not my favouite among SL fragrances, but quite interesting and pleasant. I am not sure it really smells like gardenia since I cannot define its scent. But this is clearly a white floral fragrance which has elements of boozy-ness and a touch of being fruity as well. It is not very sweet to me though, which is good!

Since it is neither too sweet nor too fruity, it works well on men too, in my opinion. Rather long lasting with medium projection. And it does not change much throughout its life on the skin.
26th July, 2015
CoL Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Only The Brave Wild by Diesel

I like all of the OTB range and this one is no exception! It's really rather lovely.It's a mid-weight woody fragrance with a touch of spice and a dollop of green coconut. Not overly sweet sickly and synthetic, actually really wearable and different too. Very pleased indeed!
25th July, 2015

Honour Man by Amouage

Honour Man is for me among the “least Amouage” offerings by Amouage – both in a (slightly) positive and (mostly) negative meaning. The good news is that it smells different from most of their other masculine scents, so at least it’s something new: the bad news is that this “new” smells like a cheap parody of any Comme des Garçons-like balsamic peppery incense stuffed with musk, nutmeg, geranium and discount vetiver. That’s pretty much it in fact, a really artificial and kind of harsh musky incense with a mildly vibrant geranium-green-balsamic vein, which would be even quite nice (leafy, bitter, realistic) if it wasn’t blended with a cheap peppery-musky-incense and ambroxan galore, supported by a really generic, Jil Sander-esque woody base. You can easily guess how this smells on skin: “grey”, kind of cold, annoyingly synthetic, with a lot of plastic-rubbery nuances I wouldn’t really want from this price range. Vibrant and creative as an office cubicle on Sunday. Shortly probably it gives you the same result you’d get by layering Jil Sander Men (from 2000) with any geranium-musky supermarket scent. Now you know why I don’t like most of niche offerings? Because contrary to mainstream/designer brands managing (more or less successfully) to produce anything from socks to fragrances via dog leashes, so having at least the “we’re really busy” excuse, niche houses have one job – making perfumes. They’ve all the time and the resources to do it. And half of the time they make clumsy stuff mainstream brands could make blind folded between a new pair of shoes and a stoneware set. And at a fraction of the price, obviously. Honour Man may be decent, but... what’s the point?

25th July, 2015

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

As an avid equestrienne, I had VERY high hopes for this fragrance. I imagined it would transport me to the tack rooms of my youth and more recent years. Instead, it left a retched stench on my hand that made me wish I could take a second shower.

Usually, I can deal with a scent I dislike, but this one turns my stomach. I am neurotic about high quality leather. The saddles I have purchased over the years could have been a VERY nice down payment on a very nice home. I have owned Italian leather boots, custom made for my foot and legs. I have owned Italian saddles. I have owned French saddles. What I am trying to impress upon the reader is this: I know leather and I know it WELL. This scent is NOT leather. I do not know what it is, but it is not properly tanned, high-quality, desirable leather.

This, it will not make the shelf.
24th July, 2015
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Antaeus by Chanel

Tested from a sample this morning, and again this afternoon. Ueber-powerful lemon soapy, like biting into a bar of lemon soap. I can not only smell it, but taste it on my tongue and soft pallet. Powerful, masculine, in your face, smells like a big, blonde or red haired hairy-chested rugby player fresh out of the shower. Reminds me of Kouros (maybe the animalic notes), but Kouros doesn't smell like lemon air freshener, like this does. After a minute or two it suddenly reminds me briefly of Polo green, which I love. It then goes through a stage where it's actually fresher than before, nice. The fade-down is sweet, powdery, sherbety. Gone in 4 hours.
This is not for me, but it isn't a negative review. It's an alpha male scent. Someone who likes Kouros and lemon soap, and expects to have scored by the time the "dry down" comes. But this guy didn't even notice the soap or the name of his spray. He's paraded unashamedly naked around the shower room talking about the game, and now he's clean shaven, smart shirt and trousers on, off out on the town with one thing on his mind. Be grateful he slapped you on the back on his way out - at least he saw you.
Thumbs up, cos I'd love to be the guy who wears this for a day (or better, night) :)
July 2015
24th July, 2015
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Classic Sanctuary by The Sanctuary

I find this scent very suitable for a relaxing day at home. It feels therapeutic and relaxing but could be worn in the evening too, as it is subtly sensuous.
The overall feel is of a citrus, slightly spicy floral oriental and my only issue is the lasting power, which on me is minimal (2 hours tops!)
24th July, 2015

Park Avenue South by Bond No. 9

Light green apple scent for young girls

Another disappointing release from Bond.

Thumbs down!
24th July, 2015

I'm Trendy by Sweet Years

I'm Trendy Sweet Years for Men, with its "heavy metal street flighters" flacon, smells surprisingly aromatic and piquant. It combines the Faconnable by Faconnable's minty aromatic approach with a more mainstream and virile (rosey) accord of amberish-tonkinian leather/patchouli a la One Million or stuffs like that. I get also a sort of CK Euphoria-Lancetti IL-Spazio di Krizia's spicy-cool semi-oriental aura and vague metallic-aquatic-fresh pattens a la Lolita Lempicka Au Masculine. Really spicy, I suppose cloves, cinnamon and a touch of cardamom providing fluidity. Leather finally is dominant as combined with sweet spicy-aromatic elements and a calonic-metallic (vaguely citric-aquatic) undertone. In conclusion, nothing new, a typically synthetic juvenile appealing stuff but something averagely pleasant under my nose.
23rd July, 2015

Royal Mayfair by Creed

Windsor has always been my #1 fragrance and I remember being mesmerized from the first moment I sniffed it. Nothing has been able to top it. Still to this day, I am blown away by it. As far as Royal Mayfair goes, this is the best smelling batch to date. There are some significant differences yet Royal Mayfair still resembles Windsor. For starters, the fragrance is overall a brighter, easier to wear, more fresh & vibrant fragrance. Eucalyptus, lime and pine dominantes the fragrance whereas the musky rose we normally see in Windsor is well hidden. In terms of performance, I am already finding that Royal Mayfair is superior to Windsor. Higher sillage and longer lasting top notes....Windsor fans get your nose on it!
23rd July, 2015

Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

Aqua di Gio' Profumo combines a perfectly balanced and conceptually "eastern" aquatic accord (actually more a la L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme and Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme than to a la classic Acqua di Gio) with a kind of "silent/muffled/mystic" sort of smoky dustiness (a la Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme) really aromatic, grey, woodsy, hyper refined and sharp. I detect a profoundly sharp and more than vaguely fumed accord of dust (black pepper, a touch of dried simil frankincense??), cypress, dry woods and earthy floral notes which is fully "fancy", modern and charming. An idea of minimal and sober fresh elegance of the new Millennium. Geranium, rosemary and marine notes are heady and perfectly combined. Despite its infamous genre we can't deny this is a temendously classy and modern creation.
23rd July, 2015

Lalique pour Homme Equus by Lalique

Tested from a small sample today.
This test started off on the wrong foot. I made a point of writing my own notes before even looking at the ingredients and other reviews, and then couldn't believe how badly wrong I was in every possible way. The reason was because I thought I was testing Chanel Antaeus - no wonder the reviews didn't match up!!
So Equus: I got green Mediterranean herby, spicy and a little citrus at the start. I thought the citrus was orange peel, but the ingredients say citron, bergamot and lemon. I also thought I got lavender, but that was the juniper blended with other ingredients. That's really annoyed me because I know juniper very well from my garden, and of course I can smell it now, not that I know it's an ingredient. After a short while it went a bit more powdery, sweeter, in fact it started to remind me of a particular kind of confectionery that I just can't place at the moment, something like Edinburgh rock.
It's a not-unpleasant, green, conifery scent. But on me it lasts about an hour tops, actually more like half an hour. I can't speak for the sillage because I've been alone all day, but I suspect it's soft.
If I had to conjure up an image, to me it brings to mind someone insipidly nice, pale and weak, someone rather easy to overlook, unfortunately. The opposite of everything I would associate with all things equine. I was wearing it when I went to the supermarket this afternoon, and I actually felt oddly shy and self-conscious (quite rare for me). I've still not given it the thumbs down, because there's nothing to dislike about it, but it's not really for me, unlike my other Lalique, Encre Noir which blew my socks off and transformed me into a Dark Lord....
PS I would almost (but not quite) buy Equus just for the beautiful Lalique glass bottle! :)
July 2015
23rd July, 2015

Vaara by Penhaligon's

I smell almost all rose in Vaara and a beautiful rose fragrance it is. The pyramid says three kinds of rose and I believe it. Magnolia gives a clean purity and iris a creamy aspect that are accents to the central rose theme. I smell the coriander and saffron when sniffing the outer parts of the silage wake where there is slight texture and bite, but up close it's still a nice long lasting rose scent with a slight hint of woodiness and leaves (carrot seed and quince). Beautiful rose and a fine fragrance. 7/10.
23rd July, 2015

Endymion by Penhaligon's

Endymion is a lavender, pepper, vetiver, leather, vanilla fragrance. Its not as sweet as Caron pour un Homme, and not as green as Villoresi Uomo but similar to both. It is also similar to MFK Pluriel but has a little more barbershop influences with the pepper and sweetness. Endymion is a very special fragrance whose aroma is comforting but is also complicated enough to offer some hint of fine breeding. I like the smell of it but the sweetness is a bit much for me.
23rd July, 2015

Sikkim Girls by Gorilla Perfume

Lush perfume sprays are no longer available where I live, just the solid perfumes, so my experience with Sikkim Girls is only with the solid, which I'm guessing is a bit quieter than the spray as an experience.

As a longtime Lushie, it smells very identifiably Lush to me. I haven't seen patch listed as a note, but I can smell the familiar rootbeer-y patch from Karma as well as the super indolic jasmine from Flying Fox/Lust. Initially it's white floral-sweet and soapy on my skin, but about an hour in it's less soap and more dusty floral headshop incense, which I say as a compliment.

Today I had success layering a little of the Sikkim Girls solid with Goutal's Gardenia Passion EDT, for the tuberose notes in both share an earthy, bittersweet quality.
23rd July, 2015

Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

Tested from a small sample today and again this evening.
My (as usual amateur) review: like it very much.
I'm a vetiver freak now, so obviously got full-on vetiver from the start. I have Guerlain Vetiver and Encre Noir, and all I can say is that with Grey Vetiver I get the vetiver freshness but at the same time something kind of "cloudy/muddy " in the background at the start. This goes, and then it's slightly soapy, clean, fresh. It's already gorgeous by now, but it gets better. Clean, refined, subtle, delicious, it reminds me of "watery light". I know it has many other ingredients apart from vetiver, and I'm sorry I can't divide these from each other. I would have to use the word "beautiful" - I think in my limited experience I've only ever used that word before once and was describing Chanel Sycomore. As with the Chanel this is for me "not of this world" and definitely kind and benign, but the Chanel has more life and physicality. Which is why I'm still saving my pennies for the Chanel one day..... Here comes the weird descriptive bit: Grey Vetiver for me is me sitting in a large ground-floor room of an old house, empty, dusty and light, I'm watching the light summer rain on the windows trickling down outside, all the while in the presence of a ghost, a quiet, kind, but lost spirit that can be sensed but not seen.
Weird stuff aside, in any case it's a lovely, light, pleasant vetiver scent that I will definitely add to my collection. It lasts about 6 hours on the skin, soft to moderate silage. A daytime scent, I think I will wear this a lot.
July 2015
22nd July, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Miracle Homme by Lancôme

A light oriental with a nice coffee note, something vaguely peppery, and a sweetish woody base. A goofy aquatic note provides a mildly arresting amuse-nez, akin to seeing a fat man in a pair of red slacks.
The only 'Miracle' is the price this discontinued juice now commands. No masterpiece, but a cut above the standard treacly designer horrors of more recent issue.
22nd July, 2015

Pierre Cardin pour Homme by Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin Pour Homme starts freshly aromatic, cedary and vaguely calonic (salty fruity and with a sort of grapefruit/mellon-like feel) in order to morph down a classic soapy accord of tonka and cedarwood. This fragrance combines all the contemporary mainstream vibes (salty-ozonic, cedary, ambery-tonkinian) but in a really balanced though synthetic way. Actually sillage is almost "unreported" while longevity is more than good. Really discreet fragrance. Somewhat anonymous.
22nd July, 2015

Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince

Tested from a sample over 3 days. "Newbie" amateur review:
Definite LIKE.
The first blast is full-on fruity blackcurrant, a bit like fruit gums or blackcurrant herbal tea. Then after only a few seconds the smell changes and becomes really authentic blackcurrant, not just the berries, but the whole bush: the fruit, the leaves and stems and the earthy roots in the soil. I have blackcurrants in my allotment at the moment and I went out to compare - this is a really good simulation of the real thing. (Tip: don't attempt to walk through nettles wearing Havaianas....)
I think I read someone said it reminded him of body odour. I got that too, but it's by no means a criticism. The overall effect is to give an earthy, sour quality to the blackcurrants, that makes it seem more like real life. I don't get the fir/conifer smell too much (or much else actually) that everyone else gets. The body odour/earthy part also makes it a very sexy scent, in my opinion. I'm not an expert, but I would say it doesn't develop very much, except that I can smell a little vanilla in there right at the end before it vanishes. Lasts 6-7 hours on me, with quite soft sillage.
For me it's not really "enchanted", it's very in-your-face human. The image I get is of a person on a long walk in the country, on a hot summer's day, sweat on skin, hiking shorts, T-shirt, walking deeper into a wood (ok I got influenced by the name..) with some kind of opportunistic sexual motive. I would wear this if I was in the habit of having illicit trysts in the woods (I'm not in the habit of that at all), and unlike many other reviewers, I would wear it outdoors, in summer, if I was walking, working in the garden or doing some kind of manual work. It's one of those I think I'd only wear rarely, but I like it enough to buy a bottle, so it's going straight on my "want" list.
July 2015
Later edit. I decided that I am still in two minds as to how often I would really wear this, so I decided to get another small sample before investing in a bottle.
21st July, 2015 (last edited: 22nd July, 2015)

Sheikh Abdul Samad Al Qurashi Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Sheikh Abdul Samad Al Qurashi Blend is actually an austere "kind of ritual" moldy aroma more than properly an "accomplished" structural veritable fragrance. Is important to nail down this truth, we cannot get round this fact in its substance, a potion (yet marvellously natural) not always steps on the status of articulated fragrance. You should appreciate this type of potion if completely focused over the seasoned-aged affair. This is an almost unwearable fragrance, a stuff decidedly esoteric in its smoked animalic ancestral substance. Unfortunately I don't get a satisfactory level of "artisanal" structure, no floral molecules and an almost absent evolution. On the contrary the general aroma is stout, profound, doping and almost hypnotic, a scent of bonfire and dark seasoned woods. Not enough to root down a real masterwork of perfumery, in any case. The combination of aged (hyper natural) agarwood oil, black musk, leather and wild ambergris (despite well balanced) exhales an ancestral fume overly gloomy, stable, dirty and smoky. I get the "smoked-fur" effect on my skin, obscure woodiness, dark (pleasantly smoother along the way) resins, warm saltiness and almost no more. Ambergris is the element of real interest with its salty-spicy-aromatic warmth. I get the stale aroma of antique leather and mustiness coming from an old wooden store hidden somewhere down a basement or a cellar. Finally I ideally visualize on my visionary mind just prehistoric caves, burning fires, primordial men minimally covered by bear's furs and dry animalic leather. I've heard the wolves howling there in the obscure forest, a dark moon is the phantasm of my agony.
P.S: gradually, along the dry down, the smell becomes more and more rubbery (gummy-leathery), like a sort of darker and smokier Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia.
21st July, 2015

Mark Birley For Men Charles Street by Mark Birley

A really successful blind buy for me for once. You can safely trust the positive reviews, it is a really nice scent indeed. Solid, masculine, really elegant. Although I don’t get some of the notes listed, what I do get is surely coffee (pungent, dry, austere and earthy coffee beans – don’t think of any diabete-inducing Mugler’s type of coffee), a really well-crafted angelica note smelling leafy and bittersweet (better say bitter-“aqueous” actually), a pungent fruity accord which is actually more boozy than fruity (think of the smell of wine corks) and a really nice, robust leather accord. Now, the comparison to Tuscan Leather is surely correct, although Mark Birley smells decidedly more “virile” and dry for me. But surely that’s the ballpark. Smooth, slightly sweet leather. The thing is Birley costs a fraction of that, and is also quite more interesting, creative and complex, so it’s really easy to see the winner here.

Other comparisons came to my head, basically many recent fruity-leather scents – from Cuir X by La Parfumerie Moderne, to a sort of drier, darker, “gentleman” version of Parfum d’Empire’s Cuir Ottoman and so on. I really, really appreciate the mood of Charles Street, as it brilliantly manages to smell at once contemporary (even “trendy” for its “polished leather & fruity notes” structure) and austere, sophisticatedly echoing vintage dark leather fougères. This is what makes it better than most of the modern leathers mentioned, this really elegant sort of “mature” vibe perfectly fitting the concept (a tribute to Birley’s club?). I think Bourdon did a really good job in blending classic and modern leather inspirations. As regard of the general mood and style, also Bentley for Men Intense came to my mind at some point – the notes are quite different (not completely though, the ambery booziness is quite here too), but I think they share some similar mood, really nailing it in terms of self-confident class and quality. Projection and longevity aren’t really top notch, but apart from this... really good!

21st July, 2015
jacona Show all reviews
United States

Perles de Lalique by Lalique

Official notes according to Lalique:
Top Note: Bulgarian Rose, Orris
Heart Note: Bourbon Pepper, Patchouli
Dry Down Note: Cashmere Woods

My experience with this scent tends to be like Way Off Scenter's. I get a very transparent scent, most of the time. The initial blast smells like cedar and rose. It is apparently heavy on Iso E Super. It then settles into a slightly powdery but sweet, fruity rose. I have noticed that weather affects this scent more than any others I have. On a rare occasion when something drastically different is going on with the weather I will smell more wood or a spicier rose which is more my normal taste, but I like this scent overall.
21st July, 2015