Perfume Reviews

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No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

I’ve been wondering what the difference between Eau Premiere and the new L’Eau might be – after all, Eau Premiere was launched to do exactly the same job as L’Eau, which was to update Chanel No. 5 for a younger generation. I thought that Eau Premiere had cornered that task with aplomb – it is a sparkling floral lemonade to No. 5’s heavy satin. I absolutely love Eau Premiere. Like many other women of a similar age, it is MY Chanel No. 5. So how is L’Eau different?

In a way, it’s even younger and more sparkly than Eau Premiere. Perhaps Chanel is moving past me and down the line towards 16-year-olds? I don’t know. It’s hard for me to imagine that Eau Premiere has anything to repulse a very young woman.

I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but L’Eau does go one step further than Eau Premiere to cast off the onerous mantle of its grandmother, No. 5. The aldehydes, although already toned down greatly in Eau Premiere, have been almost completely done away with here, leaving the bright lemon and mandarin to provide enough lift and sparkle to carry the opening.

It is a beautiful, joyful opening – clean, scintillating, with the fresh twang of freshly peeled citrus fruits. It has the same washed-and-scrubbed radiance to it as Eau Premiere (thanks to hedione, an aromachemical that gives the jasmine in scents such as Eau Suavage, Chypre 21, and Eau Premiere its green, radiant, ozonic lift). And it is not weighed down by the creamy soap of the original. Even Eau Premiere has a tiny bit of soapy sparkle from its small portion of aldehydes.

The rest of L’Eau feels similar to Eau Premiere – it has the same creamy, abstract swirl of iris, rose, jasmine, and ylang – but being a cologne rather than a perfume, it whips past its floral heart rather quickly and doesn’t linger there.

The florals feel as bright and as synthetically “plastic” as in Eau Premiere and the original No. 5, but that has always been part of No. 5’s appeal to the modern girl, who wants to perhaps smell more of an expensive French perfume than of a rose in a vase. We want to attract more than bees, after all.

The base is a bit problematic for me, being mostly a white musk that lends a clean, diffuse texture. It’s not bad quality, or anything like that – this is not a cheap laundry musk. But its bland muskiness seems to swallow up the brightness of the citrus and the twang of the florals, meaning sometimes I can smell nothing at all past 45 minutes and sometimes I can smell vague traces of it in the morning after applying at night. In general, I’d venture a guess that the longevity of L’Eau might depend on individual sensitivity to white musk.

Still, very nice work by Chanel on this one. I feel certain that I will pick up a bottle of this next summer, and use it in much the same way that I use Eau Premiere, i.e., as a replacement for a summery eau de cologne (I much prefer a proper perfume over an eau de cologne any day, no matter how hot it is).

No. 5 L’Eau is a wonderful update on the Chanel No. 5 model. It retains the classical beauty of a Greek statue, yet is beautifully bright, radiant, fruity and crisp – a sort of pencil sketch of the real thing that still manages to satisfy all the pleasure-firing synapses in the brain.
26th September, 2016

L'Envol by Cartier

I am still not sure if L’Envol is just plain great or if it stands out simply because it’s swimming in a sea of male designer dreck. Mostly I think I am just relieved that a designer is finally giving men a fragrance that has obviously very high quality raw materials, and has a coherent beginning, middle, and end.

Also, it is joyfully clean of the harsh woody-ambery aromachemicals that get hurriedly stuffed into male designer perfumes these days to boost its power and projection. Give me natural-smelling and quiet over screaming power top any day. Please.

Of course, this was done by Mathilde Laurent, who has authored all the perfumes in the beautiful, uber-pricey and exclusive Les Heures collection for Cartier. So we should assume that a designer fragrance would contain some of her hallmarks, such as rendering a striking idea in a classical, easy-to-catch manner but not strictly commercial per se.

L’Envol does contain these hallmarks. It is quite smooth, blond, and easy to wear, but features a bite in its tail that surprised me and struck me as gutsy for a commercial male designer. Putting aside all the talk of honey and powdery patchouli (of which there is a lot, in a subtle, sheer way), what really struck me about L’Envol was the strong violet leaf presence it has.

It is not obvious straight away, but in the base there is a HUGE violet leaf note, which joined to the slightly musky tobacco-like feel of the patchouli, made me think of both Cuir Pleine Fleur by Heeley and “1000” by Patou. By association, therefore, there is a slight Fahrenheit vibe to L’Envol – not really similar but inexorably linked through that sharp, green “petrol”-like violet leaf note.

The base notes really stick out for me here because in comparison to the relatively light and airy topnotes and middle notes, it is quite heavy – thick, earthy, tobacco-like, with that slightly pungent violet leaf exerting its pleasantly bitter presence.

Moving backwards from the base upwards, the general tone is one of gentle, powdered translucence. The honey note is cleverly layered with a silvery iris for space and air, and thus doesn’t read as heavy, boozy or animalic. At the top, I thought I smelled a very good quality bergamot oil, because it opened on a bitterness I associate with citrus. However, bergamot is not listed, so I must assume that the bracing, bitter freshness comes from the violet leaf or some unlisted fruit note.

In the middle, the (clean) patchouli and the honey formed a pleasant sort of ‘honey tea’ note - a translucent chamomile tea with a spoonful of honey. It is very subtle, refined, slightly powdery, and not too sweet.

The power of the scent really belongs to that base, though. Does nobody else smell the violet leaf and tobacco-ish tone to this at all? It might be just me, but I sense a massive violet leaf presence here. Anyway, I think L’Envol is a fabulous male designer release and worth checking out for fans of violet leaf in perfumery, such as Cuir Pleine Fleur and “1000”.

26th September, 2016

Angel Muse by Thierry Mugler

Honestly, I think I’m in love. A softer and more wearable version of Angel, Muse manages to drown out the high-octane Maltol shriek of its predecessor with a velvety blanket of hazelnut cream.

Edible? Yes – it smells like gianduja, that silky marriage of ground hazelnuts and chocolate they make in Turin. There is also a berryish undertone in the first few minutes, as well as a hint of citrus (chocolate orange anyone?). But it’s not trashy. The edible component doesn’t make me think of fairground food like candy floss and red berry Kool Aid. With the teeth-gnashing sweetness of the sugar molecules tamped down and an addition of nutty, grassy vetiver, it smells less like food that the original Angel.

Well, ok, it does still smell of food. But there is something perfumey and inedible in there that brings it back from the edge, like a posh truffle mashed underfoot into the warm, sweet grass of a polo pitch.

I have often noticed that vetiver can smell like ground hazelnuts, most particularly in Vetiver Tonka, Sycomore, and even Onda. It adds a savory, mealy element that feels warming, adding a special thickness and body to a composition. That effect is noticeable here, and matched to the soft chocolate of the patchouli, the inevitable result is that of a creamy, nutty chocolate truffle (gianduja). Unlike the original Angel, Muse holds on to the briny element of vetiver, which makes it seem more nutty/savory than sugary.

It is still recognizably Angel. More so in its overall feel than precise arrangement of notes, but it definitely retains that sweet, room-filling bombast for which Angel is famous. But whereas I can’t bear Angel, I could see myself wearing this version on a regular basis. The sour harshness of the patchouli and the screechy Maltol of the original have been sanded away, and replaced with creamy, nutty, chocolatey softness. And that suits me.

It’s got va-va-voom sillage and presence, but on balance, it’s probably a little quieter than the original. It’s still more sillage than I’m used to, though – I’m beginning to realize that Thierry Mugler perfumes are just built on a bigger scale than most other designers and even niche. They are the pointy Madonna bras of the perfume world.

Whenever I’ve sampled this perfume, people have noticed. I can’t go anywhere without my husband, my mother, the crèche workers, the supermarket ladies, and so on, all commenting on how good I smell. I am unused to people commenting on my perfume or taking much notice of me. But I could get used to it! Sexy, warm, and edible….Angel Muse is a success in my book.

26th September, 2016
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Galop d'Hermès by Hermès

The EDP tester.
Very much a refined balanced Hermes offering. As ClaireV says a pleasant syrupy opening, cut by a Citric. Nice. Leather?
Well I don't get it. It certainly doesn't smell like the Hermes Bag I sniffed in the Boutique yesterday.
I get the Rosy-ness for a while. Longevity was 3 or 4 hours for me. Full bottle? I don't think so.
On my Left arm I sprayed the latest offering of Eau d'Hermes. Different story here!! FBW for sure. A beautiful reconstruct of the Copper Top. Fresh and Vibrant!
26th September, 2016

Bel Ami Vetiver by Hermès

Just tried the latest BA Vetiver.
It's lost its soul. A Gentrified Watercolour on a chemical wood base. Lost it's growl. A technique similar in the reform of Eau d'Hermes and the original Bel Ami.
In this case as with the Bel Ami it has not been successful. Deconstruction of the Original and reconstruction missing some of the pieces. Bah!
Shaker and Broad shoulder are the way to go for us Old Guys now.
25th September, 2016 (last edited: 26th September, 2016)

Joop! Homme by Joop!

I give Joop the highest rating that I have ever given any man's cologne. A YouTube reviewer recommended Joop Pour Homme as a clubbing fragrance. One that a guy might wear while going out to play pool. This is my recommendation as well. There is nothing like Joop! I recommend it to everyone who likes to collect cologne.

Thank you,

25th September, 2016

Envy by Gucci

I was given a big bottle of this for Christmas several years ago, and initially I really liked it, but after a while, for some reason, it started to irritate me. So I shoved it to the back of my perfume collection and haven’t touched it for a couple of years. I hauled it out yesterday and dusted it off. It’s still pretty, but it’s very white-flowery on me – I don’t get any pineapple or rose or sandalwood or pretty much any of the other notes. And I think I’ve figured out why it irritated me – a) the white flowers take over after half an hour or so, b) it barely lasted four hours and c) what was left took on a rather sharp, almost-but-not-quite sour green edge. I’m going to try layering it with something else to see what happens, as the first half hour of this is rather lovely. If anybody has any suggestions, I’d be happy to try them.
25th September, 2016

Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

I deliberately didn’t look up the notes in this before I tried it, as I wanted to see what I could pick out. Straight up I got the leather, the sandalwood, the lavender and the cardamom – sharp and smoky and spicy. Then once it warmed up, I got a beautiful tang from the bergamot. This seems very cool initially, but after an hour or two, the vanilla and sandalwood start to show through, which warms it and gives it a lovely creamy note. I also got a slight BO smell from this – not an offensive BO, but more a clean sweat, like you’ve showered and put on deodorant and then gotten really sweaty. It’s weird, our last cat HATED perfume – he’d duck his head away and glare at me every time I went to pat him after I put some on. Our new cat seems to like them, as he spent a good ten seconds giving this one a damn good sniffing after I put it on, then gave me the lovey eyes. He is a weirdo though and he loves human smells (especially BO), so maybe it was that note that caught his attention. Me, I really love the lavender and leather in this – it’s a beautiful combination and the slightly animalic, dirty edge to this just makes it even more intriguing. I only put a dab of this on my arm initially, then after a couple of hours, I put a dab on my neck and between the girls. Aaaaaaand now I get why people are saying sweaty sex – holy heck, it’s gotten rather smutty here all of a sudden! I totally get why people are calling this a classic, so purecaramel, thanks very much for the sample. It’s a beaut!
25th September, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Love Is Heavenly by Victoria's Secret

Floral artificiality galore - a very generic mix of a floral component that can only be analysed by means of chemical formulae. A super-sweet musky undertone does not really improve things here. Just smelling it appears to raise my blood sugar levels into the range of diabetic coma....

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity five hours.

Death by hyperglychaemia and toxicity from leaking factory chemicals. 1.5/5.
24th September, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

xo Victoria by Victoria's Secret

A profusely sweet concoction of a fruity rose core - bmcery synthetic, with the laboratory impression being the predominant component in this creation.

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

A biochemistry fest with an utterly impersonal and exchangeable sweet candy mix - 1.5/5.
24th September, 2016

Gianfranco Ferré for Man by Gianfranco Ferré

I have a 50ml glass bottle like the one pictured above. Apparently it is the "New Vintage" issued in the early 2000's, Diana de Silva house. Mid 2000's it was moved to ITF Milan I believe, with a reform.
This is the third De Silva produced scent I have tried and it has a house styling distinctively elegant.
I have little to add to all the poetry of those before me, except to say, Raiders of the Lost Scent has an excellent piece on the De Silva house.
This nectar makes it very clear, the value of using High Quality Oakmoss.
I imagine the first issue of this is Absolutely out of sight Dee-luscious!

By the way, this is the perfume of "Cleaned and Groomed"
None of that Calone driven nonsense here!
24th September, 2016
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States

Deux Amours by Jean Patou

In 2014, Jean Patou--under the auspices of its new parent, Shaneel Enterprises--relaunched Henri Alméras’ 1925 creation Amour Amour as Deux Amours. The relaunch was overseen by Patou house perfumer Thomas Fontaine. With its fresh opening citrus and neroli, a heart of jasmine, rose, tuberose and ylang ylang, anchored by a woody base with resinous styrax, this is a classic floral perfume. Very French, very classic, tres comme il faut. This smells like dozens of other fine French perfumes we have all smelled before but this is from 1925, when there were fewer classics in the starting lineup. The violet note that seemed to characterize the original appears to have vanished in the reformulation, leaving the new launch slightly updated. Yes, there is a connection to Patou’s star perfume Joy, but whereas that masterpiece exists primarily as a rose and jasmine construct, Deux Amours is a rounded floral bouquet, lightened with bergamot and orange blossom and a grounded in woods and resins. This is classy, feminine and very French. Ladylike and yet….. There is an underlying note that is almost civet-like in its feline sharpness, but then what would a fine French perfume be without a little underlying malpropreté?
23rd September, 2016

Comme une Evidence by Yves Rocher

Cottony neo-victorian floral patchouli with a soapy dreamy soul. Rosey, light and poetic. The rose-lily accord, initially earthy and angular, slides gradually towards a balmy exotic patchouli quite romantic and airy-fairy. Yves Rocher Comme une Evidence is a gracious suave floral accord. The body lotion is a balmy dream. An "easy" shy little pearl by Annick Menardo.
23rd September, 2016
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Five by Bruno Fazzolari

Not that it needs to be said again, but for good measure, this is a fantastic modern take on the classic EdC/citrus aromatic genre.

The opening of this and some others from Fazzolari (Monserrat, Room 237, Seyrig) contains some sort of aromachemical that jumps off the skin in an aldehydic fashion but with more warmth, a warmth that I could swear is actually exothermic. It's fascinating to sniff. I've never experienced a true analog of this sensation from another house.

As previously mentioned, it's a very creative take on a classic structure. Five is full of crystal clear fresh green/herbal notes that are simultaneously futuristic and realistic. I agree with what Colin details about the "ozonic/watery" feel. There is something in here like that, but it's no where near the "ozonic" that we've grown to know.

Everyone else has nailed most of the specifics, so I won't go any further except to say I found the drydown disappointing. About 90 minutes in to this, on my skin it turns into something a bit mundane, similar to (gasp) the drydown of Green Irish Tweed. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but a familiar end to such a brilliant opening is a bummer. It almost landed this in neutral territory for me.

I might buy another sample, but I won't be buying a full bottle.
23rd September, 2016

Le Mâle Essence de Parfum by Jean Paul Gaultier

Nice fragrance but full of aromachemicals so one minute you can smell yourself but can't the next; those around might smell you but prefer to be the interested party.

I shall stick to the original...
23rd September, 2016

Sudestada by Fueguia

This is coming across as pretty light to me, synthetic and forgettable.
22nd September, 2016

Mustang Blue by Mustang

Mustang blue is a surprisingly competent herbal musk. The opening of lemon, mint, and basil brings Hugo by Hugo Boss to mind, and when the clove and pine of the heart peek out I can't help but wonder if this was a cloning attempt. Blue walks the line between foresty and aquatic, and comes off as very fresh for a short while. It is the blurry, indiscernible, 'Abercrombie' woody musk of the base which condemns the fragrance to mediocrity. It's just too vague, too unexciting, and too much like an over-sprayed mall fragrance for the ending to match the crispness of the opening. In the end, however, it is an exceptional fragrance for something which can be had for ten dollars.
22nd September, 2016

Classic by Pecksniff's

Another quality scent with limited longevity and hardly no projection but while it lasts it is great. Classic gentleman's fragrance. Smells of classic citrus opening with a nice musk / lavender dry down. Wish it lasted longer. Enjoy!
22nd September, 2016

Professional by Pecksniff's

Classic gentlemen's scent. Nice citrus opening which quickly drys into a cedar/amber finish. The only drawback is the longevity which is roughly 2 to 3 hours on me even though it is a EDT it acts as an Eau de Cologne. Still a thumbs up for what is there but only slightly... Maybe you will get lucky like myself and find it for less than $20 dollars. Enjoy!
22nd September, 2016

1 Million Privé by Paco Rabanne

Well this is a disappointment but not that bad. Starts with, and I am being serious, a stale draft beer smell with spice and some sweetness. Does transition nicely in the middle notes but the dry down is a little lame IMHO. Overall a neutral.
22nd September, 2016
Dr. Z. Show all reviews
United States

Amber Mystique by Estée Lauder


This along with Wood Mystique are... to say the least, one of the best "bangs for your buck" that have come around in quite some time.

I was quite surprised .. as it's name implies, that there really is a "Mysterious" amber note in here. Although lurking in the base ( sometimes a bit too much, for my idea of an "Amber- frag) is, some spicy woodsy notes (& co).
Especially the wood. Still nice.
Is it a TF AA? No. But at the price of $27 for the 1.7 oz, who could complain?

Basically on my skin, from beginning to end it's more or less warm, spicy and as others have noted..a well balanced charming fragrance. "Attractive."

That mellow oud accord is not very shy either. It peeks out now and then (more now than then) but doesn't get too harsh albeit synthetic (no.. really?)

I even pick up the floral & raspberry notes but on me, they fade after an hour or so.
Again, as I said, overall it all works well together. Especially for $27!

With all the above stated I'm getting the incense and that, blending with the patchouli, musk and a "suede- like" leather, make for a very pleasant dry down. A bit seductive even.

However, on my skin the amber takes a slightly back seat which makes it more of a "woodsy-leather" frag during the last couple of hours. I could even call it a "woodsy-incense".
But the amber won't let me. (Ambers... they think the world revolves around them).

Wearable and well received, as stated by those who compliment my wearings.
Speaking of which... are becoming more and more frequent thanks to a more than acceptable performance on my skin.

Good silage
Good longevity- 7+ hours
Great price.

Well done Estèe... I'd even pay $27.50 if need be. ;)


21st September, 2016

Beige by Chanel

I'm a fan of this one. It transports me back to being younger, smelling this floral bouquet at various times in the past. I get great performance from Beige, as it forms a cloud of flowers around me for hours.
21st September, 2016

Tiffany for Men by Tiffany

A sweeter, slightly more powdery version of vintage Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentree. I can smell it persistently as I am wearing it, which is nice.
21st September, 2016

L'Homme Parfum Intense by Yves Saint Laurent

This is a great scent for 2 to 3 hours. Then it's gone. The time that I get out of it is great... with performance lacking this is a slight thumbs up. Great suede start with hints of orange. Fades into a powdery suede. For the price I would say try before you buy. Enjoy!
21st September, 2016

Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

A slight thumbs up. Everything about the scent is a winner except for longevity and projection. Dark Rebel is well constructed starts nice but within minutes it is almost a skin scent that lasts around 3 1/2 hours on me. This would be a multiple sprayer all day long. I got rum, tobacco and some slight spice and a great leather note. By the 30 minute mark it is all leather on my skin at least. It is VERY affordable. Would be great as a layering scent to boost the leather note of other juices. Enjoy!
21st September, 2016

Luna Rossa Extreme by Prada

A very well done fall/winter scent. Great for office or casual settings in my opinion. Lasts close to 7 hours on me with solid projection in the 2 hour range (with 3 sprays). I really like the peppery/spicy/sweet start then it settles into a great skin scent of bergamot and amber in the dry down. Through out the vanilla hits me here and there. Overall a winner and available for a decent price. Enjoy!
21st September, 2016

Vetiver by Guerlain

There are good reasons that this is considered the go to for a Vetiver reference. It is soft, soapy, layered and nuanced and balanced. The soapy part has me thinking this would be gorgeous on a woman.
For myself I prefer the more contemporary biting, like Sycomore, Encre Noir or Vetiver Veritas.
Or the more simple and bracing like Roger & Gallet.
21st September, 2016

Herod by Parfums de Marly

Some scents have a large number of ingredients and manage to create something unique, interesting,layered and nuanced. Some, like Herod, do not. It comes off, on my skin,as a big sweet blob, sugar rich, butter lean.
21st September, 2016

Black No. 1 / Blackbird by House of Matriarch

I really, really like this one – for a manly fragrance, this is one I could easily wear again and again. The most prominent thing in this on me is the agarwood – a big fragrant blast, touched with leather, quickly followed by the pine and a sharp green note, which is probably the cannabis (it’s been many moons since I’ve smelled a green, unburnt leaf ;)). It’s fresh and spicy, but not too spicy. Maybe it’s the agarwood, but after a couple of hours wear, I get an almost spiced caramel smell that is quite lovely and quite addictive. I can’t help thinking of a log cabin, in the middle of a pine forest, with a nice, warm fire burning in a big old stone fireplace with all of the smells you might expect after you’d spent the day exploring the forest: wood smoke from the fire, crushed pine needles, warm leather, with a touch of sweetness and something cool thrown in. Six notes, beautifully blended in just the right amounts. Thanks to purecaramel for the sample – it’s lovely!
21st September, 2016

Curium [96Cm] by One of Those

I've to admit Curium left me a bit cold the first time around. As often happens with this brand, it's so easy to overlook their fragrances. Their restrained style and the fact they generally opt for a "everyday-wear" kind of approach to perfumery, doesn't help their fragrances to stand-out at first sniff but I've found that a more in-depth experience usually unveils their subtle twists and charm.

As a matter of fact, after I had tried Curium for the first time, dismissing it as "Not My Thing", I realized I remembered exactly how it smelt like. There's something almost subliminal to it, something apparently irrelevant but that, instead, get stuck in your mind. I decided to give it another chance because something that get stuck in your mind like Curium did, surely deserves further exploration so I grabbed a couple more samples and I'm now discovering I'm growing very fond of it.

How it smells like? Smells like the bone-structure of a modern floral musc that have been devoided of any frill. It's a super-dusty, kind of ambrette-seed-ish / iris-y / non-animalic musc. It's a subtle veil that keeps radiating all around you for a whole day. Smells like a tribute to Marie Curie from, say, Ryoji Ikeda. Something that would probably make perfume purists / classicists recoil in horror. I like it.
21st September, 2016