Perfume Reviews

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Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio

Anything by Sonoma Scent Studio is as rare as a hen’s tooth over here in Europe (distribution problems) so when I got the chance to buy a decant of Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods untested, I just had to go for it. I rarely buy blind anymore, but I’m a committed fan of anything Laurie Erickson does, so I knew that the risk factor was low.

In the end, I think I’m going to have to ask one of my U.S. friends for a big (and perhaps illegal?) favor, because 4mls of this dark elixir is just not going to be enough. I need more. How much more? Technically, let’s say it has to be enough to stop those feelings of helpless rage and sorrow every time I see the level in that decant bottle dip any further.

Winter Woods goes on with a whomp-whomp of a hot, dirty castoreum note married to the cool, sticky, almost mentholated smell of fir balsam. Immediately, you are plunged deep into a dark woods at night, all around you silence and the sticky emanations of sap and balsam and gum from the trees. There is an animal panting softly nearby – you don’t see him, but you can smell his fur and his breath.

But it is warm and safe there in the woods. As a warm, cinnamon-flecked amber rises from the base and melds with the animalics and the woods, the scent becomes bathed in a toffee-colored light. There is sweetness and spice here. It smells like Christmas, and of the pleasure of breathing in icy cold air when you are wrapped up, all warm and cozy.

In the heart, a touch of birch tar adds a smoky, “blackened” Russian leather accent, and this has the effect of fusing the heavy, sweet amber with a waft of sweet incense smoke. It’s as if someone has opened a valve of SSS’s own Incense Pure in the middle of the woods – a dry, smoky outdoors incense for a pagan ceremony perhaps. I also sense some dry tobacco leaves here, reminiscent of Tabac Aurea, another SSS classic.

I love the way that the heavy layers of the fragrance – amber, woods, animalics, labdanum, and incense smoke – have been knitted together to form one big angora wool sweater of a scent. It is heavy, but smooth, and a total pleasure to wear. If I could get my hands on it, I would buy a big bottle of it in a heartbeat.
07th October, 2015

Parfums des Beaux Arts Cimabue by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz was originally asked by a fan on to recreate her favorite perfume, Safran Troublant, because she had heard it was being discontinued (it wasn’t) and was distraught.

Cimabue is not a faithful rendition of Safran Troublant, but instead a loving tribute that ends up taking the delicate saffron-infused rice-pudding-and-cream accord of the original inspiration and spinning it off into a far more complex, oriental result.

A creamy, dessert-saffron takes center stage here. But a significant clove, ginger, orange, and cinnamon combination lends it a spicy pomander feel that makes my mind wander more in the direction of Pan d’Epices and other European Christmas treats, rather than in the direction of delicate, dusty-floral Indian milk puddings.

There is rose too, and whole ladlefuls of a dark, molten honey – not sweet, but rather bitter and grown-up, like the slight edge of bitterness on a candied peel or a raisin that rescues a taste from being too sugary. There is a charming medieval feel, overall, like a rich golden tapestry hanging on a banquet hall or the taste and smell of those sticky (but dry) honey and almond cakes studded with nuts, cloves, and dried orange peel that are still popular in Siena and Pisa today, such as panforte and ricciarelli.

Cimabue is no simple gourmand, though. It’s a fully-fledged oriental. It’s as if the simple, gourmandy custard of Safran Troublant got dipped into the clove-studded orange and booze of Chanel’s Coco, rubbed in the spicy velvet of Opium, and rolled around in the ambery dust of Fendi’s Theorema, and emerged twelve hours later all the better and wiser for it. It’s the pomander-cross-spice gourmand I had hoped Noir Epices by Frederic Malle would be (but wasn’t). And best of all, it features my favorite note – saffron – in perhaps by favorite guise, that of a sweet, creamy, exotic dessert saffron.

I own two bottles of Safran Troublant, because I love it mindlessly and wear it as a simple comfort scent. But Cimabue is a step forward in the perfume evolutionary chain, and as a piece of art, I prefer it.

Cimabue, by the way, was the Italian artist famous for breaking with the flat Italo-Byzantine style of painting icons and frescos in pre-Renaissance Italy by introducing more naturalistic, true-to-life proportions of figures and shading. And I like to think that the name of this fragrance was deliberate. Because Cimabue takes the basic model of Safran Troublant, animates it subtly with shadows and highlights, and renders it in living, breathing, 3-dimensional form.

It doesn’t make me love Safran Troublant any less, but it is only when I wear its more evolved descendant that I become aware of the progenitor’s serene flatness.
07th October, 2015

Peety by O'Driù

This fragrance famously comes 49ml to the bottle, with the final 1ml to be topped up using a drop or two of one’s own urine. I only had a small sample vial, though. I gave it my best shot, logistics not being my strong point and all, but there I was, crouched furtively over the small vial when the horrid thought occurred to me: WHAT IF THE PERSON WHO GAVE ME THE SAMPLE ALREADY PEED IN IT?

I thought quickly – who had given me the sample? Ah, that’s right – Colin Maillard. So off I waddled to my computer, my panties around my knees, and past the living room, where my husband looked up from his newspaper and called out mildly, “Everything alright, dear?”

Colin had not, it turns out, adulterated the sample. I was free to pee. But in the end, I chose not to. I’d like to say it was logistics, but really, I am a wuss.

So what does Peety smell like?

Surprising (to me). I don’t know why but I had expected something comforting and stodgy, like a piece of marmalade pudding with custard on a cold day. It’s something about the listed notes that made me think that – tobacco, tonka, honey, oranges. I had been imagining Tobacco Vanille mixed with a little bit of Absolue Pour Le Soir and rounded off with a touch of Feve Delicieuse (or Pure Havane).

No such thing – this is the opposite of comfort. This is startling. Uncomfortable even. In a good, on-the-edge-of-your-seat way.

The first whiff corresponded with the notions of tobacco comfort I’d nurtured: a deep waft of whiskey and tobacco and even hay, and there I was with a grin on my face and getting ready to sit back and enjoy the ride.

But then in rode this wave of licorice-like herbs and citrus fruits, all drenched in this dark, bitter honey with a deep piss-like nuance to it. Bitter oranges and lemons might indeed explain some of the sharpness, but here the citrus is not fresh. It smells like a cross between a bunch of dried herbs and a lemon, like lemongrass or singed lime peel. The herb-citrus mélange covers the fragrance with a deep medicinal gloom that seems almost black to me, like viewing a pile of luridly-hued fruits under a thick brown preserving glaze in a museum bell jar.

The sharp atmosphere that this almost toxic stew of pissy-honey, civet, medicinal clove, herbs, and preserved lemons creates forms the central character of Peety – and it never quite leaves. But that is what is fascinating to me. It reminds me of something caustic you’d use to lance a boil or dress a war wound.

Actually, this sort of barbershoppy, herb-strewn, musky character is something I associate with a certain style in Italian perfumery. I have experienced the same herbs-and-citrus-on-steroids openings in many of the other O’Driu’s, including Eva Kant, and in Bogue’s Maai and Ker. There is a sort of hyper-masculine, but self-conscious retro barbershop style at play here, as if these perfumers are trying to re-imagine the traditional Italian barbershops and apothecaries they might remember from their childhood.

The style is specifically Italian to me, and although I didn’t grow up in Italy, I did live there, and I recognize the atmosphere of those old, dusty places where traditional healing remedies, tisanes, and unguents sit right next to little white boxes full of Swiss-precise modern medicines. The whole of Italy is kind of like that; this weird and charming mix of traditional superstition and ultra-modern moral mores. So when I say that parts of Peety remind me of those Ricola honey-anise throat pastilles you see at every cash register in Italy, I don’t mean that it literally smells like that but that there is a memory association there for me.

Later on, a musky tobacco accord emerges, rich and glowing. The end result, on my skin anyway, is a sort of “old leather” aroma redolent with male musk and warm, stubbly cheeks (the type on a man’s face, one hastens to add). The aura of rich male skin and musk is bolstered by a warm, almost sick-smelling castoreum, and while there is never sweetness, there is a feeling of sharp edges being rounded off and sanded down – a sleepy warmth.

Funnily enough, it is only in the very later stages, when the bitter herbs and spices have banked down a bit, that I can smell the flowers – a rose and jasmine combination that smells both sultry and medicinal. Joined with the cozy ambroxan or amber-cashmere material in the background, there is an effect there that is quite similar to Andy Tauer’s Le Maroc Pour Elle (although this is not as sweet). The dry, papery (and hyper-masculine-smelling) tobacco accord in the dry-down is a real delight. It is not fruity or sweet like other tobaccos – this is dry and leathery. Persistence is extraordinary – I could smell this on my face cloth for four days afterwards.

A fascinating experience, this perfume, and just one of those things you feel richer for having experienced. Very few moments of wide-eyed delight come about for me these days, so hats off to Angelo Pregoni for Peety.
07th October, 2015
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Shangri La by Hiram Green

Oh me, oh my, you make me cry, you’re such a good-looking woman….

Can chypres be sexy? I never thought so until I fell in love with Femme. Femme is sexy with a capital S. I love both versions of Femme – the vintage one with the musky plums and oakmoss, and the current version, all sharp and woody and armpit-cuminy. But I thought that Femme was an outlier. Chypres are just too upright and stiff-backed to be sexy in that low-down, guttural-growl kind of way.

Enter Shangri-La by the British indie perfumer, Hiram Green. I admire Mr. Green’s approach to making perfume. He does it slow, releasing only two perfumes in two years – and he does it right. Named for the fictional land described in James Hilton’s novel ‘Lost Horizon’, Shangri La is his second fragrance, released in 2014 after Moon Bloom, his extremely well-received tuberose soliflore in 2013.

Shangri-La, at the risk of being painfully literal here, is indeed a Shangri-La for the chypre lover. It restores my faith in the belief that modern perfumery can still turn out perfumes that rival the old greats from the past, and perhaps even surpass them now and then. Shangri-La does not surpass Femme or Mitsouko for me, but it was and is a beautiful surprise that evokes strong emotion in me.

It is also pretty sexy, in a carefully-contained way.

It opens with the traditional chypre sally – a bitter, bracing bergamot – except here it feels more lemony and sparkling than the Mitsouko bergamot, which has an aged, darkened feel to it no matter the iteration or vintage. A wave of champagne-like bergamot, then, to usher in a velvet heart of peach, rose, and iris, held aloft by a bed of what smells like real oakmoss.

The peach and spices develop into a sticky compote that darkens and thickens with time – part jammy fruit, part leathery peach skin. It smells delicious – not fully gourmand thanks to the bitter facets of the iris, bergamot, lemon, and moss – but also not as forbidding and dusty as Mitsouko.

Beyond the peach and the lemon, Shangri-La is actually all about the jasmine for me. I wore it to bed one night and woke up in the middle of the night surrounded by the unmistakable, creamy scent of night-flowering jasmine petals.

Bubbling just underneath the skin of this peach and jasmine combo is something enticingly dirty-sexy and musky. Could it be a touch of castoreum, perhaps, or a not-so-clean musk? The mystery note is not explained, although I am sure it is not civet, because the dirtiness is warm and round, not sharp or urinous. Possibly it’s the jasmine, although I don’t think the more indolic Sambac jasmine has been used here – there’s a smooth fruitiness that suggests jasmine grandiflorum.

Either way, the overall effect is of a deep, sensual fruity-floral chypre that does indeed feel like a true chypre from top to bottom, but also has a welcome sexiness to it that would make me want to wear it in more relaxed situations than would normally call for a more uptight chypre.

It’s on my hit list, for sure.
07th October, 2015

Panama 1924 : Daytona by Boellis

A guilty pleasure for me. Boellis is a traditional shaving/grooming brand based in Italy, finally really connected to an actual historical boutique and an actual Boellis family, the current owner being an actual skilled and renowned barber. Now, obviously this means nothing as regards of their perfume range since they are not producing the scents themselves and rather just sold the license to a production and distribution company based in Milan (Profumitalia); but at least, the brand is honest and doesn’t need to boost its image and mock customers’ intelligence with made-up nonsense. And the fragrances seem reflecting that attitude actually, since the ones I tried seemed all as much unpretentious as quite solid. Maybe unremarkably, if not mediocrely good, but still (almost) worthy the price tag if you are into non-groundbreaking, non-luxury, but nice, well-made, compelling and slightly designer-oriented stuff with a refined old school, typically “Italian” twist.

Now, Daytona is a fresh, elegant, comforting, maybe slightly dull but totally competent leafy-zesty-woody scent with a metallic fruity twist bearing quite a clear resemblance to Creed Aventus, with some key differences for me (besides the elephant in the room – the price tag). There is surely a tiny bit of that same department store feel, the dihydromicernol-driven kind of pungent-metallic-aquatic citrus-fruity note blending with dry, musky, ambroxan-infused and again quite “mainstream” crisp woods; but there’s no pineapple first, less cassis-driven fruitiness, and there’s more musky smokiness with a cozy minty-lavender accent and some more nondescript “grassy” feel, which seems connecting Daytona more tightly to the old school aromatic-green fougères tradition, making it smell a bit more barbershop-oriented, more distinguished and more mature than Aventus. And overall, aside from the notes, Daytona smells also more breezy, more smooth, and surprisingly more natural than that in my opinion. Still that’s the ballpark, so nothing really new; but if you feel something like that (like Aventus I mean, or in broader terms, like a safe and tame enough contemporary aromatic fougère balancing “charme” and a “crowd-pleasing” attitude with a really good persistence and projection combo) is missing from your wardrobe... then Daytona would make a really classy and quality choice, with a decent value for the price.

07th October, 2015

Kalemat by Arabian Oud

Kalemat represents (after the fully enjoyed Gentleman Secret) my second olfactory approach with this "taking the world by storm" new "orientalish" brand (with the european main seat in London) named Arabian Oud. Kalemat is a spicy oriental honeyed amber/oudh combo with rubbery-leatherish exotic facets, a stout cashmere woods' presence and hints of leather-tobacco. It is absolutely not a new experience for me since I catch in its delicious (sugary-honeyed) recipe many olfactive stereotypes yet encountered around in my humble experience (for instance in several compositions appointed for Sonoma Scent Studio, Lutens, Neela Vermeire, Lubin, Puredistance, Slumberhouse, Nasomatto or By Kilian). Scents a la Nasomatto Pardon, Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea, Winter Woods and Amber Noir, Lutens Ambre Sultan, Roya Dove Fetish Pour Homme, Majda Bekkali Fusion Sacree For Him, Clive Christian C For Men, Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum, Tom Ford Youth Dew Amber Nude jump vaguely on mind (initially in here in a sweeter disguise) for several of their characteristics. There is anyway a secret which bewitches me under this nowadays mainstream (for the niche universe) sugary orientalism and it is a stunning old school chypre hidden substance jumping out at distance as sophisticated mossy/woody-salty/waxy classic spark (something a la Estee Lauder, La Perla, Ungaro, classics Fendi/Versace/Armani, feminine Hermes or V&A), a sort of neo-classic twist recently re-introduced in scents a la Tom Ford Arabian Wood or in several Bertrand Duchaufour/Montale/Francis Kurkdjian's musky-resinous new experiments (a chic classic rosey-musky feel to be intended as a long term "fil rouge" with old masterpieces a la Fendi classic or Gianni Versace, an old chypre accord of sandalwood, ambergris, oakmoss, fur and honey). This immensely sophisticated western twist (hidden under a more simplistic spicy-honeyed-resinous orientalism) turns me out as huge worshipper of this mysterious masterperfumer ingeniously performing behind Arabian Oud. A classic massive vibe under a more banally "fluorescent" spicy/honeyed/resinous accord (basically an easily runned amber-tobacco-sweet spices-woody resins combination) providing this new fragrance with vintage preciousness and classic complexity. At the end of the trip the spicy honeyed hyper sweet vibe recedes and an amazing (almost misty-incensey, hyper lush and still mossy/fur-like) spell of classic wisdom starts taking the stage with all its charge of charm and mystery. Kalemat is a tremendous example of neo-classicism in disguise and an oriental master work with a long and satisfactory evolution full of charm, parisian sophistication and high class.
06th October, 2015 (last edited: 07th October, 2015)

Domenico Caraceni 1913 by Domenico Caraceni

This is not a full review but a brief update to remark only on the 2015 re-release of Domenico Caraceni 1913. I performed a focused old versus new two-hand test for a several hours and, as is often the case with reformulations, the exercise sadly became the murder of a beautiful theory by a gang of brutal facts. Honestly there is no contest. After a period of time the vintage seems like it has about twice the stuffing and projection. The base of the vintage is far richer and, unlike what you might expect with a vintage/new comparison, the vintage has a subtle but sustained top-note layer featuring a sort of clove-y menthol vibe that the new version completely lacks. This difference in the high notes is just one of the factors that suggests to me that the variances at issue are not merely a function of ingredient concentrations given the relative age of the juice.

Today I am wearing the vintage as my SOTD and the intensity and projection from two spays is almost uncomfortably strong for at least the first three to four hours. Perhaps the reformulation, therefore, is somehow easier to wear, but I do worry a bit that it lacks character. In particular, I wonder if it is as distinctive a rose-centered masculine fragrance as other options such as Lyric Man, Egoist, Déclaration d'Un Soir, or others – not that this is a large category. It may well be, however, that the new Caraceni looks puny only when placed next to the giant of the original. Alternative comparisons may well prove more felicitous.
06th October, 2015

Cuir Pleine Fleur / Fine Leather by Heeley

I've fallen hard for this, all the more so because I didn't get it the first time I smelled it, on card. Then I got a sample when I bought Iris de Nuit and it's gorgeous. It starts off with a subtle leather, hay and flowers, never crude or sweet. It's natural enough to wear at home with jeans and sophisticated enough for a conservative office, on a day when you want to remember the world outside. The really clever trick is the soapy note which appears deep into the drydown; not a crude aldehydic soap (and never just soap) but an expensive and beautiful leather one. So the scent gets progressively fresher and cleaner on your arm as the office day wears on. Definitely worth a bottle.
05th October, 2015

Tom Ford for Men by Tom Ford

I’ve never been much of a fan of Tom Ford’s masculine offerings, as I find them either nice but overpriced, or fairly dull (Noir, for example). For some reasons I always never cared for this one, maybe unconsciously thinking, given the name, that it was a sort of epitome of all of that, and... bingo, this is instead the first one which works for me. Mostly because it’s finally something solid, with a fair price (well, sort of). Maybe a bit boring, surely too discreet for the needs of the average “bros” building pools to bath in their Private Blends, and however miles away from being ground-breaking: just solid and mature, unpretentious and versatile, with a remarkably decent quality and overall, extremely pleasant to wear. The composition smells simple and clear, and notes seem all built with really decent materials: the spiced, gingerish orange-citrus notes are sparkling, tangy and juicy; the floral-infused musky-ambery base smells compellingly warm, slightly creamy and slightly salty too, the whole woody-herbal accord is a bit aseptic and nondescript (I only get some faint, weakly mossy vetiver), but working fine within the composition, providing an office-safe “boisé” feel which will get some more credit on the drydown, and the suede-ish tobacco smells, well, like most other tobacco notes on the market - which means “nothing like real tobacco” for me, but nice anyway; smooth, sweet, “brownish” and affably, youthfully distinguished.

Like for some other reviewers, two fragrances came to my mind while wearing this the first time: Hugo Boss Baldessarini and to a much lesser extent, yet worthy a mention, a sort of spicier and watered-down version of L’Instant pour Homme by Guerlain. Maybe Carolina Herrera for Men too, just for the tobacco accord (an “orange-amber” flanker of that would be close to this Ford’s, I guess), and Kenzo pour Homme Boisée just for a similar citrus-scented light woody accord. Above all I’d mention Baldessarini though, and I would say Tom Ford for Men smells quite a bit better than that – more crisp, more appealing, definitely more quality too. So, anyway: a zesty, classy, politely self-confident fragrance with just the right hint of musky tackiness and a pleasant spicy-woody drydown with a warm whiff of amber. Surely a mild, maybe pedantic, kind of “generic” office-safe fragrance based on a really conventional and mainstream concept of “tart-spicy Oriental cologne” with pretty much the sole scope of making you smell nice in the most mannered, discreet and crowd-pleasing meaning possible... but hell, it does it impeccably good (sadly with a short persistence, but it does).

05th October, 2015

Acqua di Parma Colonia Club by Acqua di Parma

As a long time fan of the AdP range (Colonia was my first 'niche' fragrance that really pushed me into this hobby) I have been pretty disappointed with the AdP offering of late. In 2010, I was stunned by the freshness and neroli-hit of Colonia Essenza. But by the time Oud and Ambra were launched (the mid-term Leather launch wasn't too bad) I thought AdP had hit rock bottom. Along comes Club and I now think they've started to dig.

Club is aptly named for a sporty cologne that's as loud as a teenager that's overdosed on sugar in the middle of the local library's "quiet zone". It explodes right from the start; the notes bare no progression from the start, although the neroli, lavender and bergamot are quite obvious. The powdery fougere that this settles into is just too common for anyone that knows all too well what a drug store cologne is. I am no snob that likes perfume to cost six figures or requires a personal assistant to go and pick up a bottle. I equally like my Colonia Essenza as I do my Boucheron or Chanel. But this scent is really a turning point for AdP, as others have mentioned - a turning point downwards...

The only thing that Club can provide a prospective buyer on the high street is a relief from all that yellow packaging. The green coloured Club is quite well suited to the nature of this scent, although it provides little else in terms of scent. Perhaps the prospective buyer should ocntinue to walk past the AdP counter...
05th October, 2015
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Bally Masculin by Bally of Switzerland

Bally Masculin opens with aromatic, slightly powdery lavender and underlying anise. Moving to the early heart, the composition stays relatively linear as the lavender and anise remain the focus, with soft patchouli and a supporting soapy, leathery accord joining the fold. As the composition moves further through its middle, the lavender largely vacates, leaving the remnants of the now supporting anise to join the remaining rough leather and newly arrived green, slightly powdery oakmoss rising from the base. During the late dry-down the composition turns to a woody vetiver focus with hints of the oakmoss remaining in subtle support joined by slightly sweet soft amber through the finish. Projection is average, as is longevity at about 8-9 hours on skin.

Bally Masculin is a composition that took quite a while to completely win me over, but win me over it has. The aromatic lavender smelled quite pleasant from the get-go, but the anise was keeping me from completely embracing the composition despite liking it immediately. It is rare that my opinion changes to a large degree on any composition, positive or negative, but with Bally Masculin every time I would wear it new elements that I initially missed behind the lavender and anise fougere front emerged. Over time, the leather that was hiding under the aromatics reveled itself, and later the oakmoss that I completely missed the first few wears is now unmistakable. I could go on and on, but what appeared on first sniff to be a classic fougere that was competent and likable, but relatively unremarkable is actually *quite* remarkable. In short, I stand corrected. The bottom line is the long-since discontinued Bally Masculin is difficult to find nowadays and will most likely cost about $100 for a 100ml bottle on the aftermarket, but it has a lot more going on than what is smelled initially, earning it an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation to classic fougere lovers.
05th October, 2015

1775 by Royal Copenhagen

I am surprised to be the first reviewer here. I bought a bottle of 1775 when it first came out a year or two ago and I like it. It is utterly different from the classic Royal Copenhagen, which I only hang on to for the sake of curiosity. 1775 I can actually wear. There is a kind of battle between warm and cool notes, in which cool seems to prevail. On the one hand you have the warmth of bergamot, lime, and mandarin, and I assume on the other hand it's the lavender and cypress. The musk also is fairly prominent. It's nice variety from the woods/ tonka bean fragrances that most guys seem to be wearing, though I like some of them too.
05th October, 2015

Riviera by English Laundry

Spiced butter on wood.

Has been done before but this is very well done, just like most of the rest of the English Laundry line.

This could easily be someone's only fragrance as it covers a good varieties of genres and can work in all weather.

Very nice.
05th October, 2015
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Oxford Bleu by English Laundry

I really want to thumb this down, but it is well constructed and does everything well except the type of fragrance it is should die.

Loud, uninhibited, vanilla, spice and wood, very much like Eros and 1 Million. These fragrances have their place, and I would wear this to a club for example...but I think we've had enough of this type.
05th October, 2015

Signature by English Laundry

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male with British flare.

Neutral only because of the name Signature. As good as most of the rest of the line is, this one should not be the signature scent. Other than this it is a very good/better Le Male.
05th October, 2015

Horizon (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

Impressive sometimes how much two fragrances can be so mutually resemblant. When I spray on skin Oriza L. Legrand Horizon (New) I get for more than ten minutes the olfactive photocopy of Il Profvmo Patchouli Noir, namely a fresh-humid (hesperidic) accord of dark patchouli, amber, faint frankincense, floral notes, green aromatic (somewhat mentholated elements), cedarwood and hints of soft suede. Another juice jumping more than vaguely on mind is surely Nobile 1942 Patchouli Nobile because of its structural accord of patchouli, resins, dusty spices, aromatic greens and hesperides. The well rounded (darkly chocolatey) patchouli's vibe conjures me as well Lutens Borneo 1834 which I basically find less resinous, less balmy-vanillic and more musky. I get in here a luxurious noir twist created by honey and seasoned (tobacco nuanced) booziness which I catch (in a less prominent way) also in the Il Profvmo's "noir patchouli prominent" concoction. As well as happening in Il Profvmo Patchouli Noir the ambery-vanillic presence is in here featuring and central, providing a sort of powdery decadent/cyprian "elixir vibe" of "Nobiltà Decaduta", a "debauched" feel enhanced in here by frankincense, calibrated cocoa (with its "greedy/gluttonous" touch), smoke (peat) and an aromatic/cedary faint booziness (a touch of cognac close to peaty scotch and a twist of seasoned spicy tobacco). The overall effect is quite saturnine and neo-baroque, an atmosphere of old british castles, steaming waxiness (aromatic candles), precious tapestries, chapiters and bas-reliefs. Sandalwood jumps finally up imprinting a deeper woody-salty feel which is even supported by a wet spicy earthiness coming from humid tobacco and roots, roasted nuts, by leather and by a quite virile/organic "push" somewhat ambery/animalic (synthetic ambergris, honey, may be castoreum). I detect surely floral notes but I'm hardly able to isolate rose. Dry down is darker and more rounded (cocoa/tobacco/vanilla). Frankly I hardly get neither a collapse towards a sort of salty-leather linearity (the juice is finally indeed still earthy, luxurious, floral, sandalwood rounded with a touch of saltiness and averagely articulated) nor an aromachemical-oriented particularly infesting presence. The final outcome is gorgeous, exotic, piquant, salty, sexy, a great oriental fougere mainly based on patchouli, bitter cocoa, leatherish sandalwood and tobacco. A beautiful aristocratic noir patchouli ideally smelling for old aristocracies as an olfactory tribute to the end of their era.
04th October, 2015 (last edited: 05th October, 2015)

Coco Extreme by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

Pure Coconut...

Coco Extrême, or "Extreme Coconut" is a fragrance (like many in the Comptoir Sud Pacifique line) which is true to it's name.

Now, coconut is the main player here. It's in the name, it's in the composition, it's loud and it's "extreme".

What I get from this is the many facets of coconut throughout this perfume. The fresh aspects, like the juice, the pulp and the flesh... and the dry aspects; the powdered coconut, the coconut butter, the cream. It's like all of these aspects rolled into one. I also get the aroma of coconut biscuits. The ones made with fresh butter and lots of sugar. This is definitely a delicious perfume, a great example of a "gourmand" scent.

Overall though, Coco Extrême can be one-dimensional. It's all about the coconut from start to finish. I think that if you like that sort of thing (i.e. you are someone who enjoys the smell of coconut and has a craving for a purely coconut smell), then look no further, as this is the one. If you are looking for something that is more than just coconut, or dislike the note in general, then perhaps it would be best to look elsewhere.

As for me, I like it! Although I wouldn't reach for it everyday. Again I would have to be "in the mood" to wear something like this, or smell like this all the time. I will say this though, it did bring a smile to my face, and if a perfume can make me happy like that, then it isn't such a bad perfume after all...
04th October, 2015

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

Although I can appreciate Guerlain's Vol de Nuit as a landmark in perfume; I cannot say that I like it on me. I get the green notes which are laced with the sweetness of the narcissus but it is barely an on skin fragrance for me and it has completely vanished within 20 minutes or so. I am referencing the current EDT and all I can wish for is that Guerlain made Vol de Nuit in an EDP formulation. I also get the very lovely drydown of the spice and vanilla but it is all so fleeting on me. I cannot see purchasing this and wearing it if I can't even enjoy it. So, although this scent is a true beauty, I am fairly neutral about it. I give it a thumbs up simply because it is from Guerlain!
04th October, 2015

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Can't remember the last time I've smelled this horrible fragrance. It was an immidiate disgust...Very nasty and harsh, vulgar and vile. And I was near to buy this blind..This has nothing to do with Bleu de Chanel. I suffered untill the middle/early basenotes, then scrubbed it away. I find it simply unwearable. I'm left disappointed and confused as this sort of fragrance comes from a house like Dior. If this is going to sell in the long run, I will be even more confused.
04th October, 2015

Oro 1920 by Bois 1920

In the realm of Tuscan Leather "alike" leathers, this reigns as #1. Incredibly rich and refined. It lacks the smokeyness and rough edges that are present in Tuscan Leather. At one time this fragrance was near $900 and now it is much more affordable in the $175 (discounted sites) and $340 (Barneys) range. If you are a leather addict like I am, this should be in your collection and chances are, it will be your most loved as well.

10/10 in all categories.
04th October, 2015

Monsieur Léonard by Léonard

Aquatic fougère with an identity crisis.

04th October, 2015

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

Fresh, green, herby, clean. Very strong oakmoss. An old-fashioned soapy smell. Like walking through a wood on a bright, cool morning after a night of rain. Damp moss, ferns, rain-soaked greenery all around. Sweet earth faintly detectable underneath. It makes me feel really clean and fresh. Love it.
Sillage good only for an hour, then a fresh mossy skin scent that continues for a couple more hours. I'd keep this for weekends or days where it's convenient to refresh every now and again. Then it's perfect.
October 2015
04th October, 2015

Aventus by Creed

Just got a 5ml sample and must admit that Aventus is a very good fragrance. It's extremely versatile and masculine. Perhaps Creed's most versatile of their modern options. While my preference is still for Spice & Wood, Aventus is definitely worth owning and I will be purchasing a decant when this sample is used up. Thumbs up.
04th October, 2015

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Starts off as a brisk, not unpleasant, but slightly thin floral then quickly hits a geranium note and doesn't let up. OK if you like geranium but it's not subtle. Not for me.
04th October, 2015

Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein

A one more example of the fragrance that is ruined by a reformulation. Both longevity and sillage has gone. So I'm reviewing the vintage Eternity for men which I have purchased several bottles. That's the original CK Cosmetics version and somewhere in the mid 2000's the Unilever version. (the reformulated current version being the Coty Prestige one.) Ca. 50% of my purchased bottles had turned bad, and I'm left with 3 good vintage bottles. They smell amazingly good and different from the current formula. Much more potent! Based on my own experiences, i'd say Eternity turns relatively easily bad - a word of warning to any other possible vintage hunters.

I find this a refreshing and comforting woody aromatic which has especially very nice sort of sharp top citrus notes (lemon, mandarin, bergamot). The lavender is excellent here. The citruses are not at any phase too dominant. Aloof, clear, sharp, herbal, aromatic. In the middle notes I find an aspect of beautiful sadness/melancholy. Don't know where it exactly comes from, maybe the lavender-other florals-vetiver combo (?). Corresponds well with the name Eternity. For me this works best as a good needed change after some heavier, sweeter, powerhouse fragrances. The times when one needs lighter, refreshing, comforting, cooling, maybe even a bit sporty fragrance. It's not aquatic though, which is a big plus for me. For those who search for compliments, this one works in that sense. Strictly masculine, I find nothing unisex or feminine here. The base woods are vetiver, sandalwood and rosewood.

I go with 3-4 sprays of which one to the arm(s), the rest to neck-chest area. As for vintage Eternity, there's no need to spray more, you'll get noticed by others - and in a positive way! One extra spray from long distance to shirt, or spray to the air and "walk through the mist" is a good idea. Works well as an office scent. Afaik it's not so popular any more (versus in the 90's) - it may offer a certain amount of individuality.

04th October, 2015

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Great scent and last a long time!

Starts sharp and spicy but calms down to a musky sweet scent.

Classic Barbershop Fragrance, just like Barbasol Shaving cream!
04th October, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Classic Cologne by D.R. Harris & co.

Citrus with green notes and a woodsy impression added in the drydown. A classic combination but remaining a bit dull on my skin compared to some other D R Harris colognes on my skin.

Sillage is soft on me, the projection poor with three hours of longevity. For the lover of such a cologne it may be worth trying. 2.75/5
04th October, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Traditional Cologne by D.R. Harris & co.

An orange-laden opening phase, and mainly orange it remains with over time a green fern impression being combined with it. Fresh, summery, well done and refreshing: a classic summer cologne.

With moderate sillage and adequate projection, the four hours of longevity are respectable for such a citrus-heavy scent. 3.25/5
04th October, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Blasted Heath by Penhaligon's

The opening - more a breeze than a blast - is mainly aquatic, with hints of fresh seaweed and green notes, mainly sage, added in. The green side lasts well into the drydown, and a somewhat ninspecific woodsy impression combines with it.

The base does not change very much in my skin, apart from the green side receding and a somewhat bland white musk appearing towards the end. I get soft sillage, quite weak projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

A nice but at times a touch too watery and too generic on me. 2/5.
04th October, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Blasted Bloom by Penhaligon's

The bush-leaf green opening is well balanced by a midly fruity forest berry accord and has an aquatic tilt to it at times. In the drydown I get a pleasant mix of a somewhat restrained rise with a nice hawthorn; the latter is quite well made but does reach the splendid height in hawthorn notes that e.g. Aubépine-Acacia reached. Still, it is a nice drydown.

The case is cedar based, with a somewhat generic moss impression raising up from time to time.

Performance is not bad with moderate sillage, adequate projection and six hours of longevity on my skin. Overall an agreeable spring country scent with a nice and at times original array of notes that are well-blended. 3/5
04th October, 2015