Perfume Reviews

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Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

Sporty green L'Instant,
Such charms revealed to those who
Spray less and smell more.



20th November, 2017

Cardinal by Heeley

The Incense for us Catholic Lights - i.e. Episcopalians and Anglicans - it's got a "happy" feel to it - we jokingly laugh with our HRC friends that we're just like Catholics - all the fun with half the guilt - and this Incense is a lighter take on heftier predecessors of the same genre, such as Unum Lavs. It is simply gorgeous and I am so glad to finally have it in my husband's wardrobe (though, I might sneak some sprays for myself!).
20th November, 2017

Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent

In the early '80s I was a dedicated wearer of YSL's "Y", but one sniff of Rive Gauche and I remember how prominent it was at the perfume counters and on my friends. And this is in that same green citrusy rose family as YSL's "Y", but with a much bigger rose. This is the scent that Don Draper's second wife would have worn, with her French-Bohemian chic and her batwing Pucci dresses.

I'm getting a Parisian-soap sense from this, and finding it captivating, even though I usually dislike soapiness. There's something so retro about this soap lifted by aldehydes, kind of like original Ivoire. This is also making me recall Rabanne's "Calandre", another great favorite of mine in this era, with its soap-and-metal accord. It's interesting that so many reviewers can't detect the rose here; to me it's large, and I sense none of the other florals some describe. There's nothing sweet about the floral aspect, in fact it's rather spiky. I can picture this fitting right in with the Le Smoking era of androgynous Saint Laurent fashions, even though I'd only ever associated "Y" with those images at the time. In fact, this current version would make a great casual office scent for a man today.

What I'm sniffing is a contemporary version, and Turin gives pretty high marks to the 2003 renovation of this scent, which I presume this is, but I'd still like to experience that resinous quality that he says gave the older stuff a darker background. And other accounts note that there was a sizeable plonk of sandalwood in the vintage aluminum can version.

Sadly, the two sprays I applied had almost vanished after 90 minutes. I'm going to reapply just to experience that green citrus/rose again and to see if I can find any oakmoss in the drydown. But I already know I'm going to add this to my vintage hunting list, and I regret not giving this scent more attention in its heyday.
20th November, 2017
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Cadavre Exquis by Bruno Fazzolari

I'm the oddball who actually really likes this one. It's outrageous! It started with blood orange and camphor. Then the dark chocolate cloud blasted my nose. That, lasted for quite awhile. When it slipped away I got some kind of dried fruit thing. I thought I smelled some cypress in there somewhere. Star anise, benzoin, vanilla, and a civet thing took over and remained. Bold and brash. Spicy sweet ending.

I doubt I'll seek out finding a full bottle to add to my collection. Too many other scents I love more. I'm glad I had a sample to try.
19th November, 2017

Black by Bulgari

Love that new car smell!
19th November, 2017

Guerlain Homme L'Eau Boisée by Guerlain

Iso V Super
From limes of grass trees shading
Thierry's Savanna.
19th November, 2017

Samsara by Guerlain

I have a weird thing with sandalwood fragrances: when I spray them on a card, I smell no sandalwood at all. This is the reason it took me over a year to try Samsara, because on the tester strip it smelled very unappealing.

However, trying it on skin is a completely different story! It's a gorgeous, creamy, sweet sandalwood; unapologetic, sexy, and bordering on garish, for a Guerlain.

The current EdT gives me the most pencil-shaving-sandalwood, which I love, but the base is too vanillic and plastic-ey. The current day EdP is massive in projection and sillage, almost too much for me. The vintage EdP is the baby bear of Samsaras for me; rounder and slightly more chic, and the sandalwood in this reminds me a bit of Bois des Iles.

The only thing that's missing is the lovely pencil-shaving note from the EdT, so I'm going to experiment with layering this with Diptique's Tam Dao, which has that in spades.

It's the loudest, least subtle fragrance I own, but I absolutely love it.
19th November, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Poison Ivy by Demeter Fragrance Library

The opening is a nice way of an olfactory depiction of poison ivy. Quite green in a darker and shaded way, leafy and later on with the woodsy and earthy undertones of the stems.

It is a bit sweeter than what I expected, and with time the woodsy side becomes more dominant.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

Initially quite convincing, it soon becomes a tad too generic and synthetic. Not bad though. 2.75/5.
19th November, 2017

La Nuit by Paco Rabanne

Darvant pretty much explains the story of this beauty. It's structure is classical. I recognize the Civet, Oakmoss supported Honey Bouquet expanding, tarted by the Citrus.
The Canvas is dense and a Savon of Rose Chypre. Honeyed Leather indeed. Perhaps because of the Basil Anisic in this, I find ever so slightly more, wearable as a Male,than the "Shocking". It carries the Civet-Oakmoss laden start billowing and dries to almost a dirtier Pour Monsieur.
Then again, my wife would wear this, most nobly, as it is Reminiscent of it's cousins Paloma Picasso and Armani.
18th November, 2017 (last edited: 19th November, 2017)

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

This spicy fresh breeze,
Quintessentially Guerlain,
Wakens my senses.
18th November, 2017

L'Instant de Guerlain by Guerlain

You boys might enjoy
This spicy floriental,
Mama to your LIDGE.
18th November, 2017

Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger

The moment I put this on my skin I am transported back in time, to my last years in high school. It doesn't remind me of anyone specific, but rather brings to mind a certain type of girl I went to school with. Pretty, well mannered, glossy haired girls, dressed in crisp white shirts, lamb wool sweaters, and trendy jeans. They got decent grades, were popular with a certain type of boy, and never skipped class. They traveled in cliques and wore tinted lip balm. They may have played field hockey. I guess there was nothing to actively dislike about them, other than their complete lack of distinctiveness. We attended the same school, but lived in parallel universes. Wearing this scent feels wrong, like I've skipped back in time and morphed into one of them briefly.

Other than the associations, it's a pleasant fruity floral; clean, sparkling, up. I don't get much tea out of it.
18th November, 2017

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

This one is special, and it has taken me quite some time to put my thoughts on it into words.

I first encountered this as a sample I received with the purchase of a bottle of Cuir de Russie, which I fell madly in love with. On first smell, 31 Rue Cambon didn't wow me. I seem to remember finding it pleasant, but a tad "generic perfumey". I kept going back to the sample though, and that one sample led to a 10 ml decant, a 50 ml decant, all the way to a 200 ml bottle.

I would describe it as a very plush, iris-patchouli; soft in texture, but quite assertive in presence. Due to the luxurious Chanel treatment these main ingredients seem grounded, rather than earthy. It certainly registers as a chypre to me, but a warm one, if that makes sense, probably due to the vanilla. It also has a very classical vibe.

This is a scent that speaks to me on an emotional level. It has a warm, personal intimacy that I find hard to describe. The best way I know how is to liken it to holding a t shirt that has just been taken off by the man I love; the warmth and scent of his skin still clinging to the soft fabric.

It has been slowly creeping up the ranks of my most beloved scents ever. It is also the only scent that I have experienced an irrational fear of running out of, which is why I have snatched up a 200 ml EdT bottle before even smelling the EdP reformulation.


18th November, 2017
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tomato by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is tomato indeed: tomato leaves, stems, the plant. Fresh and green initially, then richer and a touch less fresh, with an undertone of dried grass.

The drydown reveals a fruity touch, whiffs of peachy impressions than beans in with a somewhat generic floral impression. This all is on top of the dominant features of the tomato truss.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

This spring scent is quite original and in its core well executed. These might not be fried green tomatoes, but the whole composition is not without a surprise. 3.5/5.
18th November, 2017

Dove Grey by Régime des Fleurs

I give this one 3.5 stars. Intense. Spiced herbal vibe briefly, at the beginning. Some dark, dirty tea. For me, the orris, tuberose, lavender, and violet are luxurious. Way on down the line I smell musk and something woody. Oh! I forgot about the soil note. I detect some of that, upon first spray. Overall, this is a weirdo. Just my style.
17th November, 2017

Séville à l'Aube by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The petitgrain- olive blossom opening is interesting to say the least: slightly citrus; almost resinous; and olivey but not blossomy. I like it – it’s almost green, a bit fresh, and extremely easy to live with. What makes the opening accord interesting for me, is the tinge of lavender that sneaks into the accord from the middle, which, somehow, makes everything seem reminiscent of the Mediterranean. And this opening accord lasts incredibly… petitgrain has that tendency.

When the petitgrain / olive blossom accord calms down, the orange blossom / lavender begins moving in and the result is a smoother, more floral, lower-key texture which still retains the edges of the petitgrain / olive core. I’m not sure how the competency of this heart accord is accomplished: I can’t separate out the beeswax / tobacco from the middle accord, but the heart is definitely a worthy successor to the opening IMO.

With the base, the incense moves in and out of the still-familiar accord that has been performing from the beginning... This base accord performs with a definite loss of strength from the heart. It is reticent… near skin scent, actually, and its slight aromatic eminations are quite beautiful… very nice but sadly, demure.

Séville à l'Aube is an accomplished fragrance. I admire its originality and its performance – especially through its opening and heart... and I’m not too put off by the demureness of its base.
17th November, 2017

V pour Homme by Valentino

Nice opening… citrus, fruity, a touch of green and a touch of pink pepper. There is a suggestion of synthetic ambiance that doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of it… Quite enjoyable in a sweet, contemporary, youthful way. The opening exhibits decent sillage and a very nice longevity, too. The sweetness makes way for a neutral floral that takes control of the heart notes: Simple, soft, textured, not overly sweet, and not flowery. V Valentino’s base is a soft, complex multi-note affair that is not at all original, but is done quite well. Too bad it’s discontinued.
17th November, 2017

Private Collection - Corps et Âmes by Parfumerie Generale


Strong aromatics in the opening – it’s the result the leather, assisted by the geranium and the immortelle. No other element comes through for me in the opening… It’s just one big aromatic emanation… and not that attractive to me because I dislike a rampant leather like this, especially when the leather note seems magnified by geranium and immortelle.

When I ordered the sample, I was hoping that the chypre quality of Corps & Ames would outweigh its leather delivery – it doesn’t, the leather is there in full force, overpowering the chypreness, the jasmine, the sandalwood and anything else in its constitution. I would recommend Corps & Arms to a leather lover – it must be a good one because I dislike all the best leather fragrances.
17th November, 2017

Armani Code Ice by Giorgio Armani


To my nose, the mint contributes much to the lemon / ginger opening – together the three notes create a very interesting accord… cool, fresh, and refined... probably why the fragrance is named Code Ice. Unfortunately the spicy part of the opening diminishes quite quickly, leaving a somewhat uninspired aroma platform to simply sit there until the geranium shows up… not unpleasant, but the ice disappeared too quickly. When the geranium and lavender show up, they do so quite subtly, as does the wood base. With the base, I get the dose of the chemicals mentioned by some previous reviewers. The base is a disappointment – too weak and too chemical, but not entirely disagreeable.

Code Ice does have things attractive about it, but when all is said, it is basically like most other Armani fragrances – subtle, predictable, and a bit too expensive for what they deliver.

17th November, 2017

Versace pour Homme Dylan Blue by Versace

It’s like every note in Dylan Blue’s extensive list of notes is hyperactively buzzing all over the place. Dylan Blue is way too busy; it is awkwardly synthetic; and it is void of focus. Such an unpleasant, unimportant chaotic thing…
17th November, 2017

Tabac Original by Mäurer & Wirtz

Smelled objectively, without the packaging, this is an old fashioned feminine perfume closely similar to Chanel No.5. But in its context it is a well accepted and popular male line, one of the most successful German brands and probably few make the connection.
17th November, 2017

Eau Rose by Diptyque


I smell the rose immediately upon spraying: It’s a clean rose with underlying bergamot and lychee notes, creating a full rose accord which is quite nuanced, full, and very enjoyable without being too strong… The rose subtly changes as the fragrance proceeds, getting even cleaner and lighter with a tinge of a geranium edge to it: this more diminutive rose I enjoy even more than the first rose accord. The remainder of the fragrance is a silky rose / musk – very light and clean… an excellent skin scent.

Eau Rose is an uncomplicated, clean and light rose scent. Though not a soliflore, it comes across to me with an aura of delicate, feminine minimalism. Very nice.
17th November, 2017

L.12.12 Blanc / White by Lacoste


The initial accord is a soft, freshish, plastic aroma that is pretty much enjoyable. It’s a clean, texture-scent of the kind that is available in all kinds of products now days. The accord is principally accomplished by a fresh, light, almost-creamy cedar and cardamom combination on a light, creamy floral from the heart. The translucent, creamy cedar is the dominant note throughout the run of the fragrance, even though the base where it joins with vetiver and suede to continue the smooth linearity.

L.12.12 Blanc is an adequate scent. Its fresh, synthetic ambiance is pleasant and non-obtrusive, and it actually projects a little more than one would think for such a quiet, fresh scent, but it a little short on longevity, which is not a surprise for such a quiet, fresh…
17th November, 2017

Perry Ellis Cologne for Men by Perry Ellis


Yes, this is a Bleu de Chanel rip off. The opening smells pretty much like BdC, but it isn’t as rich or complex, and it fades into the mid-notes much more quickly. The middle accord is thinner, a bit more herbal than BdC. And the bass gives me significantly more pepper than BdC has, as well as significantly less length of performance.

This is not a bad scent, but its accords are not as rich and complex as is Bleu de Chanel; nor does this one come anywhere near the performance of Bleu de Chanel, after all, what is remarkable about BdC is its ability to carry a quality aqua-aromatic scent for a full six hours. I’d be lucky to get two hours out of this one.

Still, if cost is important, one could do worse than this Perry Ellis offering.
17th November, 2017

Polo Red by Ralph Lauren


Fairly generic opening: the grapefruit and cedar are quite common in openings and the synthetic atmosphere is also common on cheaper fragrances. The exception is the cranberry, which provides a contrast to the more typical grapedfruit / cedar opening. It’s almost an adequate opening for its price level, and certainly nothing special about it, especially because it morphs to the heart notes very quickly.

The combination of saffron, lavender, and sage in the heart is so typical of the drug store plus scents today, especially because a super sweet amber is drifting up from the base. Except for the sage and amber, I can’t separate out the lavender or saffron; and all combined, these heart notes make it not worth the effort to individualize. To maintain a consistency, an un-obnoxious synthetic aura inhabits the heart notes, while the heart notes fade into the base at an exceeding fast pace.

The base is dominated by the already familiar amber combined with an artificial wood note which I assume is the redwood. The coffee is there lightly in the background but basically has no effect.

I’m not sure why I went out of my way to review Polo Red. I’d guess it has something to do which my abiding love for the original Polo green and my grudging respect for Polo Double Black and Polo Supreme Oud. But Polo Red is simply a typical modern, drugstore-level synthetic-sweet mess with astonishingly poor longevity.
17th November, 2017

L'Homme Idéal Cologne by Guerlain


L’Homme Ideal Cologne strikes me as being different from most Guerlains. It is a bright, pleasant citrus-almond confection that’s a little shallow, a little plastic, but quite a good performer. It lacks depth and complexity; it presents a superfluous personality, yet there is something about it that makes it likable. Oddly enough, the opening reminds me a bit of Terre d’Hermes Parfum (probably due to the orange) – not quite as good, but still quite wearable.

The middle retains the orange note while melding with an almost tasty almond-Neroli accord – nothing dramatic or even notable but very easy to live with.

The base, in its own way, is the best level – an unremarkable combination of white musk and vetiver that somehow manages to present a decent sillage and a winning longevity.

I find L’Homme Ideal Cologne more desirable than Guerlain Homme and its flankers. L’Homme Ideal is pleasant and wearable, having just enough character and authenticity to earn a mild thumbs up.

17th November, 2017

GF Ferré Bluemusk by Gianfranco Ferré


In the top and the heart level, Blue Musk has enough aquatics in its primarily fruity – floral structure to make it qualify as both an aquatic and a musky fruity floral. Blue Musk is one of the more natural smelling aquatics that I’ve encountered – Probably the one I would buy if I were at all interested in owning another entrant in the aquatic category. The opening is definitely and pleasantly fruity, and the middle is definitely and pleasantly floral; and both fruit and florals are presented in a rather traditional blue musk accord somewhat reminiscent of the good old Versace Blue Jeans. Blue musk is a decently constructed fragrance which boasts good sillage and longevity and excellent adaptability – three fragrances in one – what a deal.
17th November, 2017

Rose Oud by By Kilian


The opening is pretty much the whole story: Rose, saffron, and oud… Although it certainly doesn’t win any awards for creativity, it is a quality accord that is almost painfully beautiful in a By Killian sort of way... Not a surprise. This one is perhaps as well done as any rose-saffron-oud fragrances I’ve smelled… The quality of the combined accord is excellent, but I have difficulty discovering the quality of the individual notes. A problem I have is that I’ve smelled so many of this combination of notes that I’ve become jaded… I find nothing special here to separate it from the rest of its ilk. And yet it is an admirably presented fragrance.

Not much changes from that first sniff… there some are variations in the development as Rose Oud continues, but they to not call to be pointed out. The entire run of the fragrance is a beautifully assembled, balanced accord of quality rose, saffron, and (artificial) oud. Its sillage performance is easily adjustable; its wearablity is remarkable; and its longevity is more than adequate.

This is one fine fragrance.
17th November, 2017

Love by By Kilian


Love (…don’t be shy): Heavy duty bergamot, Neroli, and pink pepper opening… so heavy duty that, instead of citrus, it comes across as a strong, smooth spice accord with a soft resinous twist – the uniqueness of the accord is accomplished through the use of the oil form of the constituents which results in an accord that projects depth, silkiness, character, and sophistication.

The remaining actions of the fragrance seem to rest too much on the laurels achieved by the opening. The florals – jasmine, rose, and iris – do appear, but not enough to augment the waning power of the opening. And, as the beginning accord weakens, the fragrance loses as much interest as it loses potency. It needs those florals to keep up the drama and complexity. The resins of the base also fail to provide needed interest: I cannot find the civet, and the labdanum is much too discreet – this is not the time or place for transparency. The white musk is white musk so it does what is expected of white musk – very little.

Love began as a potently sweet caramelization. Its initial drama was achieved by the combination of the depth and strength of its vegetal oils. It was suggestive of resin and was unembarrassed in its projection. The promise of this impressive opening, however, has not been carried through the remainder of the fragrance… As soon as the opening began to weaken, it had not a substantial enough augmentation of middle tones of florals and resins, and this fragrance with its cheeky name, became just a rather ordinary long-lasting caramel skin scent that would have a difficult time competing with a typical designer gourmand.

17th November, 2017

Armani Eau de Nuit Oud by Giorgio Armani


Smooth, restrained opening even though its elements have the potential to be potent… bit I sprayed lightly. I get primarily pink pepper, cardamom, iris, saffron, and a shadowy oud note; and even though the combination is rather generic and identifiably synthetic, its quiet balance and warmth makes it a plus accord for me.

The middle level is a let down from the opening: the spices from the top and base flatten out with the addition a very dusty iris note, so the heart accord turns out to have only powdery, dusty spice-cabinet ambiance. It would help if I could smell the pyramid-listed rose or geranium, but, the only floral that is clear to me is the iris. Even the barely-present oud note doesn’t bring much interest.

In the base, along with the exhausted oud, I get a modicum of tonka and saffron... This accord is no more than a pleasant skin scent.

Eau de Nuit Oud seems to me to be a genuine Armani product, and that is not necessarily a bad thing… but in this case I was expecting much more than it delivers. It’s certainly is not an offensive scent, and I do respect its discretion in the beginning, but the scent kept fading both in strength and interest. Its longevity is unacceptable.
17th November, 2017
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