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Joop! Homme Wild by Joop!

The Wild edition of Joop! doesn't really need to exist. For starters, it is nearly the same fragrance as Joop! Jump. The body weight, longevity, and projection are the same and the only real change is swapping out the airy orange blossom for 'rum absolute,' which comes off as sweet and foody, like a version of Rochas Man that trades in the coffee-mocha tone for marshmallow yet remains mocha-colored. Wild is pleasant and can be had for quite cheap, but there are many better scents out there like it.
Having said all that I do enjoy wearing this one, and others seem to like it on me. I just get bored with the composition easily because there is no real movement. If you already have Rochas Man, Jump, CK Intense Euphoria, Apparition Homme Intense, or Oak by Bath and Body Works you'd be better off passing on this offering. If you do not own any of those give it a go, as these aromatic semi-gourmands are currently well-favored by the vast majority of people I meet and I feel every enthusiast should own at least one.
Joop! Homme Wild is not at all a bad boy scent. It is not hardened or mysterious. It certainly doesn't break any rules. It's actually a velvety-smooth Mr. Nice Guy and pairs well with sweaters and cappuccinos.
02nd June, 2015

Eau de Charlotte by Annick Goutal

I've had a small bottle of this for a while and finally tested it today. I do not know if my bottle had "turned" or if it was simply not to my liking, but I had to wash it off after thirty minutes. It was sickly sweet, and it made me unhappy.

I did not get any green notes, only gourmand. Just not good gourmand. It really takes something amazing to be a likable gourmand for me, though. I was expecting a lot more green based on comments.
01st June, 2015

Giorgio for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

Giorgio for Men BH may well be brazen, unregenerate schlock, which I confess I love without reservation. Wearing too much of this certainly will result in you being greeted by others as a long lost (illegitimate) son. And its air-raid siren decibel level only increases in warm weather. Nevertheless, for some reason I decided to wear it to an informal early Summer garden party at a country estate in Virginia this past weekend. All I did was spray once on each hem of my jeans. Normally even two sprays would be constitute heavy ordnance of Giorgio, but the outdoor setting, the distance afforded by this oddly remote application, and lack of contact with body heat made Giorgio just the thing -- improbably breezy and slightly transparent but clearly present for hours. For what it is worth, I recommend this as a great way to have this old warhorse up and running like a colt. No mosquito bites on my ankles either.
01st June, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Good Life by Davidoff

Good Life for Men opens with relatively sweet green fig leaf coupling with an aromatic bergamot and lavender co-starring tandem. As the composition moves to its early heart the green fig leaf and aromatic lavender remain now as co-stars adding slightly tart grapefruit to the mix with additional subtle melon support. During the late dry-down the composition eschews most of its sweetness turning distinctly ambery with supporting green oakmoss and dry woods through the finish. Projection is very good and longevity good at about 8-10 hours on skin.

Ever since Good Life for Men was discontinued I have read many praising the composition, and demand must be there as prices have steadily increased. Just like many other discontinued compositions, however, the legend is often larger than the actual result so it is time to see if Good Life for Men really deserved its stellar reputation. I have worn the composition three days in a row and am again wearing it as I write this review. I am afraid despite my love of its classy bottle, for me Good Life for Men is really not so good. Oh yes, it does have some green aspects that are appealing, like the slightly synthetic smelling fig leaf, but the clover derived green sweetness that makes itself known early and hangs around with the fig through the mid-section is too sweet for my tastes. The woody amber dry-down is nothing new either, with only some green oakmoss adding an interesting twist, though far from original either. At the end of the day, this composition must have been designed to appeal to Davidoff's Cool Water crowd, as that really was their big hit (by the same perfumer Bourdon, no less) but alas, lightning rarely strikes twice and Cool Water in its original vintage form is a lot better composition than Good Life for Men. The bottom line is the approximately $170 per 125ml bottle on the aftermarket Good Life for Men is a valiant attempt by Davidoff and Bourdon to revive the house's greatest commercial success, Cool Water, but while appealing this "good" 3 star out of 5 rated composition comes up a bit short.
01st June, 2015

Holy Shit by Pekji

A "not for the faint of heart" fecal combination of beastly secretions, forest resins (probably oudh too) and spicy frankincense. According with my experience Holy Shit is the closest "redolent" thing to the La Via del Profumo's Zibetto (Civet) pure oil. This is the juice of "anti-heroes" since is pratically unwearable and could be an immensely daring (and brashly provocative) solution for people wishing to make a really individual statement (a controversial status symbol) in the most aggressive of the ways. The boisterous fecal temperament is in here as much pushed up to turn the infamous C&S Cuba's fecal note out as an holy balmy-soapy essence for catechists. I'm sure a castoreum's appointment is set down in order to "sweeten" the general fecal atmosphere and this seems a tragicomic paradox that is anyway a true story since the first impression you have in the top (for less than one minute) is to inhale a mild combination of castoreum, dryed fruits, spicy frankincense, woods and forest resins (something vaguely a la Slumberhouse Vikt and Lutens Fille en Aiguilles). Sweet resins, musks and fir "glue" jump up (vaguely spicy and fruity) for a while at the opening in order to unfortunately be soon "teared to pieces" by this visceral "catacombal" crap-like miasma which is frankly (but respectfully) too much for me. Assumed it I just wanna tell that people which wish to give its contribution by reviews here on Basenotes might be more respectful and less scurrilous if wanna be welcome by the other reviewers (respecting whatever each creator must be free to appoint without be vulgarly attacked by anybody and respecting whatever each reviewer have to express without undergoing the risk to be defined a perfumer's dog), this forum is basically ideated to welcome everybody, self-proclaimed artists and more humble alchemists.
P.S: along the way (Thank God) the power of civet slightly decreases leaving a part of the stage (just a little corner) free for mild resins and musks. Is it enough? Not for me.
01st June, 2015

Blanche Immortelle by Atelier Cologne

A tasteful whitewash job on one of perfumery's most distinctive and challenging notes, retaining the savory and curry-like facets of immortelle, but none of the cloying syrup. It smells almost edible although it lacks the heft of a true gourmand. Unfortunately the transition from top notes to base notes is fairly rapid with a mildly smoky sandalwood base bringing up the rear within the hour.

A lukewarm thumbs up for this mortal immortelle.
01st June, 2015

Holy Shit by Pekji

Wow! Now yes! We do provocation! What a fantastic idea! What an original idea! A punk perfume to meditate! I need to medite to Niche world!
01st June, 2015

Cuir6 by Pekji

All things already done, seen, smelled! How boring! Give me a toilet that I want to die for a holy cause of diarrhea! Ops, this isn't "holy shit"!
01st June, 2015

Eau Mer by Pekji

Either you have courage or you have not! Either you are an artist or you're pathetic! This looks like a job badly copied.
How boring! Another perfume for bloggers!

There are many unpretentious perfumers because they can't be pretentious as they demand the "dirty work" to bloggers!

In fact it seems that bloggers know perfectly to define what is beautiful and what is ugly! The both, perfumer and blogger, are a combination as dog and owner, where the dog is obviously the perfumer.

Bloggers, you need dogs! A dog/perfumer is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.
01st June, 2015

Paul Smith Man 2 by Paul Smith

Completely derivative but (barely) decent enough citrus-sandalwood-lavender Oriental fragrance ten years later on the trends. Smooth, soft, slightly “dark” and quite sweet, a bit powdery and mildly spicy (sweet, “round” notes of tonka and cardamom), reminding me of so many other fragrances I have a hard time staying focused on it. Trying to blend the crisp Oriental elegance of Declaration & friends, the “feminine” powderiness of Dior Homme & friends, and the “archetypal alpha male coworker” feel of Armani Code & friends. With echoes of Body Kouros too, and maybe Bulgari Man. The only note which doesn’t smell plastic is tonka. A bit juvenile and depressingly cheap but there’s worse around – anyway I think it’s discontinued, so nevermind (and don’t bother looking for it).

5/10
01st June, 2015

Holy Shit by Pekji

Nothing particularly bold or challenging here for me: like many other contemporary “dirty” scents, on my skin Holy Shit seems way more mild and mannered than one may assume by reading the notes. Initially quite pleasant, too: a sort of aromatic-woody-animalic concoction with a really well-put harmony between a leathery-tar-animalic base stuffed with lots of cloves, ultra-dry smoky woods (so smoky and salty they smell almost “meat-y”), a hint of civet, contrasting with something on top that I can’t detect precisely, but basically a sort of really graceful, velvety sage-lavender-incense breeze with some resinous warmth, maybe with a bit of vanilla. It will tame down and vanish (too) soon, but it’s nice until it’s there. Somehow close to several works by O’Driù, mostly for the same contrast between “angel and devil” – dirty/dry/dark notes versus aromatic/soothing/smooth ones. And also to some artisanal brands like AbdesSalaam Attar, just with a more modern and “dark” twist – so again, as for Cuir6 by the same house I’m thinking also of Sonoma Scents, Kerosene and that new indie family mostly for a sort of common ground of inspirations (“post-modern desolation” blended with “archaic nature”). Holy Shit smells more natural, less avantgarde, kind of more amateurish than them (not a flaw per se), but fans of these brands will probably enjoy this.

So, catchy at first but... well, a bit short of breath for me overall. Like for Cuir6, moving past the intriguing opening, Holy Shit kind of “loses” its magic soon, revealing itself as a competent, yet not completely successful sort of exercise (I guess around “contrasts” this time) rather than a proper, consistent “full” work of perfumery – at least as I like to consider perfumes. Once the nice opening moves on, you remain with an extremely linear and discreet accord of cloves, dry-salty smoked woods and a hint of civet, which means a smell at the same time “monolithic” and “basic” – kind of bland for me, in other words. Or “scarce”, if you want, both in terms of projection and texture. There’s plenty of scents managing to get the most out of a really basic but totally creative texture; this doesn’t for me, at least not completely. Mostly because it isn’t really either creative or bold/daring enough. It feels more like a really ordinary base for an animalic/leather/woody fragrance, waiting for a whole creative work to come giving it a meaning and some drive. Compare this with any vintage civet/leather scents in terms of texture and evolution to get what I mean, or even just to more contemporary similar stuff by any other brand I’ve mentioned above. Not a matter of classic taste versus modernity – I don’t really get anything “modern” here, and I surely would crave for that. Don’t get me wrong, Holy Shit is decent and surely promising, but also considering the price, kind of half-baked and maybe a bit premature in my opinion. Worthy a sniff more for the clearly nice quality of the materials.

6-6,5/10
01st June, 2015

Armani Privé Sable Or by Giorgio Armani

This new Armani Privé Sable Or is an entirely different creation to Armani Privé's Sable Fumé which is being released at the same time.

Instead of Sable Fumé's smoky frankincense, the star of this show is a quite creamy iris with a tonka/vanilla/benzoin base. It begins with a recognisable (but clearly high quality) and intense iris which reminds me somewhat of Zegna's Florentine Iris.

I do not detect any violet at all but the sandalwood and the tonka/vanilla/benzoin are clearly present which lends this an almost gourmand feel. Together these accords leave the impression somewhat of (not too sweet) white chocolate.

Although this may not be as 'interesting' as Sable Fumé this is a bit more my style of fragrance and I suspect that I will get more use out of this one; especially in cooler weather.

As expected the presentation of Sable Or is stunningly beautiful (see photos below)! The bottle is gorgeous and is wrapped and tied in an Armani fabric sheath. There is a small metal plate on the front of the bottle which I think resembles a sand dune swept by the wind.

Like all of Armani Les Éditions Couture releases this is limited to only 1000 bottles worldwide so if you are a collector grab it while you can.
01st June, 2015

Isparta 26 by Parfumerie Generale

Isparta is a turkish city in the snowy mountains of Taurus, with its aromatic forests of pine, juniper and cedar. Isparta is an agricultural town surrounded by lakes and beautiful areas rich in wild flowers.

The ingredients for making a great perfume were all here!

The city is located in the southwest of Turkey. Known as the capital of the rose, it gives rise to an important production of roses: essential oil, rose water and soaps, detergents, jams, candy, liquor, rose colonies.
This perfume opens the way for a new toothpaste for children!

Like all religious people, even the Turks like the rose, which in Turkey is called "gul", which also means "smile".
In Turkey, when you are a guest in someone's home you will serve with traditional rose water on your hands.
Now the friendly Turks will also serve you a toothpaste after meals!

So, GUL or better Glu…glugluglu!

Smile! With your ambroxan blueberry teeth!
01st June, 2015

Duc de Vervins L'Extreme by Houbigant

The same, but different. If you already own Drakkar Noir, Azarro Pour Homme, Brut, Aramis Tuscany, Tsar or even Gucci Nobile you will enjoy this as a variation in the Fougere style. All of these share the same lineage with minor personality differences that offer a pleasing variety to anyone's collection.

L'Extreme is the most basic and straight forward of this group with bitter bergamot up front, coniferous lavender in the middle and closing with a trail of clean oak moss. To my senses, L'Extreme has a simpler construction with an improved longevity over the EDT. The EDT flirts with rosemary and geranium in the heart, which to me pushes it into "Brut" territory.

Don't overthink it. A mature, masculine choice that performs in any season and just "smells good." Pick this one up, set the standard and let the other guys worry about batch codes. Thumbs up.
01st June, 2015

Armani Privé Sable Fumé by Giorgio Armani

Although the Armani Privé line does have its detractors (excluding me) if there is a consensus among the commentary it is usually that the one thing the Privé line does well is incense; notably in its original offering – Bois d'Encens and to a lesser extent the more recent Encens Satin.

In Sable Fumé the Armani Privé line once again highlights incense in all its glory with frankincense the star of the show. It starts out a touch sour/salty which can come across almost as the presence of citrus, but if the notes listed are to be accepted (& I have no reason to doubt their validity) it must be a combination of the frankincense and iris that creates this effect.

As stated in the Armani press on the www.parfuma.com website Sable Fumé evokes “grains of sand carried by a warm breeze” which is as apt a description as any I could conjure up.

Despite the initial and quite short lived sourness, this evolves into a very warm, smoky, and sweet frankincense and iris scent that reminds me very much of the style of an Amouage creation. The benzoin and Ambroxan add the warm sweetness needed to provide a counter to the ever present (but still wonderful) frankincense. I’ve only worn this once so far but my initial impression is that it’s long lasting and the sillage is perfect.

In keeping with previous Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances, Sable Fumé’s presentation is absolutely beautiful (see photos below)! The bottle and the colour of the golden olive liquid inside are gorgeous and it also comes with a purple stopper that has a smoky stainless steel aspect and is wrapped and tied in an Armani fabric sheath. There is even a small lacquered plate on the front of the bottle with sand imbedded inside!

Due to its (1000 bottles only worldwide) limited availability and hefty price tag, this is probably just for serious collectors; which is a crying shame. This beautiful fragrance should be able to be enjoyed by all. If you get the opportunity to test this out at an Armani boutique don’t hesitate.
01st June, 2015

La Fumée Maroc by Miller Harris

Miller Harris La Fumee Maroc is a sort of Tom Ford Sahara Noir's fancy cousin (despite notable differences) with its hyper plummy-liquorous-burnt sugary opening and the "by rose-woods-cashmeran veined" highly resinous final evolution. I detect a touch of something rubbery-synthetic (or may be connected with a partially "aromachemically oriented" fruitiness) but the general atmosphere is oriental, exotic and mysterious (despite an hidden urban background) with a final plain incensey smokiness (and a touch of rooty-herbal bitterness) pervading all the elements. Really voluptuous and rich aroma with a touch of chic, anyway I still prefer the first La Fumee.
01st June, 2015

Cuoio by Odori

Nothing really leathery here, rather vetiver, some pine-herbal notes, and a sort of sweet-spicy amber accord, a whiff of licorice which I guess is due to vetiver and patchouli. Musk on the base. A really classic balsamic-spicy-woody fougère quite reminding me of Haschish for Man by Veejaga, and to a lesser extent, Snuff by Schiaparelli and many other similar “old school drugstore” fragrances for man, just a bit darker on woods and patchouli. Same really average quality too, if not more mediocre. Niche at its best – ripping off lesser known stuff at three times the price.

5/10
31st May, 2015 (last edited: 01st June, 2015)

Jasmin Rouge by Tom Ford

Oh how I wanted to fall in love with this one! With a name like "Jasmin Rouge" I imagined a naughty side to the lovely white flower I adore. However, on me, it was meek, kind, and just sort of sat there.

Today, was a very humid day; a rather perfect day for experiencing a scent such as this, but still, it only rested on my skin, and never really did much for me. I could smell the Jasmine note, but it was nothing even close to what I experience when I wear Serge Lutens' A la nuit. I searched for the Labdanum, something I absolutely adore, and never found it. Perhaps the Clary Sage ate it?

Sigh. I am going to give my sample another go at a later date, and I will update once I do. For now, this will not make my purchase list.
31st May, 2015

Dunhill Black by Dunhill

A really bland and sharp woody-violet fragrance mostly built on musky notes, synthetic cedar, something slightly fruity reminding me of blackcurrant, a subtle minty head accord and not much else. Nothing “black” for sure, the mood is rather bright and cold. Tons of other similar designers come to mind, but while most of them at least try to smell different, Black instead feels so lazily generic it almost smells like an archetype of woody-violet fragrances. The strong feel of harsh synthetic cheapness doesn’t really help – adding the “unpleasant” to the “boring” factor.

5/10
31st May, 2015

Kiste by Slumberhouse

I've been a huge fan of Slumberhouse since day number one when I originally interviewed Mr.Lobb for both my blog and Basenotes but, admittedly, it took me a while to warm up to Kiste. Not because it's challenging but because it includes a bunch of my most despised notes in perfumery. Well, with much of my joy I've to say Josh Lobb nailed it once again and made me like something I would have never thought I'd do.

Kiste is probably the more *friendly* Slumberhouse to date. I've read people consider it almost mainstream but I've to disagree here. It's surely one of the *easiest* in the house's range but it's still way far from being a simplistic department-store kind of fruity thing or a tonka bomb for sweet-tooth kind of fragrance bros. It still shows several of the house's hallmarks including a certain post-Lutens sirupy quality, the deepness of Lobb's best works, a certain sweetness that never really borders into gourmand territories. All of these aspects have been mastered through several fragrances that have undergone countless tweakerings during the past bunch of years and Kiste smells like the result of all this work. It basically takes all of the best elements that made Lobb's style of perfumery popular amongst fragrance-aficionados and paired them together in a little masterpiece that speaks of maturity, wisdom and, finally, self-awareness.

From the addictive boozy-peach opening to the patch-driven, tea-infused woody tobacco base, Kiste never relies on weirdness or over the top accords. It feels effortlessly exceptional more than for its originality, for how it behaves on skin and how it wears. It constantly claims the wearer's attention without feeling intrusive or overly complex. It's easy to wear without giving up on complexity and in this context it feels easy just like a master musician makes the most complex Stravinsky's piece look like it's easy to play. Slumberhouse's style is becoming pure and if Kiste is the next step, I can't wait for what's next.

My support for lines such as Slumberhouse will never end. A natural outsider that have been able to create one of the most innovative and exciting range of fragrances of the last couple of decades without selling out to the market pressure. A range that, without following any trend, has reached an incredibly coherent aesthetic and now reeks of perfection. Again, contemporary perfumery needs more *Josh Lobbs* and less pretentiousness and bull****.

Highly recommended.

Now please, Mr.Lobb, do something for the overseas distribution.
31st May, 2015
Emoe Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Interlude Man by Amouage

thimbs up because i like the scent, and the notes.

however, amouage normally has this amazing ability to just duracell any frag (goes on and on and on) but strangely, im not getting that monster sillage and longevity with Interlude.
its gorgeous to use, and im glad i have a big decant, but probably wouldnt buy a full size over other amouage scents.
31st May, 2015

Kouros Fraîcheur by Yves Saint Laurent

Excellent. I' ve never been along years a huge fan of the classic Ysl Kouros (despite the undeniable genius behind) but I have now to admit that this ostensibly fresher version (yes neither "sporty" nor ozonic) is far more wearable, decidedly more subtle/classy (somewhat exotic) and finally more connected with my personal taste. I'm not saying the differences are huge, just the brand has modulated the "combination of balancements" in order to issue an equally fresh but finally less musky, less angular (less visceral despite still "by civet" oriented) and at once more discreet and multifaceted recipe (elegant, still persistent, lighter, "less wildly oriented", a touch more hesperidic, finally superbly balmy-soapy). The civet's presence (as previously outlined) is toned down, a wondeful exotic grapefruit is perfectly appointed, patchouli more classic-earthy and the soapy-resinous dry down is superbly elegant (ambergris veined, "fluidy woody", balmy, restrained). Totally endorsed.
31st May, 2015

Cedre Atlas by Atelier Cologne

Cedre Atlas is a very interesting perfume that I like quite well but with some reservations, and I can understand how some people might not enjoy it at all. Without looking at the notes I smell a very clinical clean cedar + astringent smelling woods that is accentuated by a few mild fruit notes. This could be a well conceived glass cleaner in aromatic heritage. The similarities with Mister Marvelous by Byredo are apparent in the same astringent almost dry woods although it doesn't have the wildness of the Byredo. It is also somewhat similar to Mistral Patchouli by Atelier in the clean clear cedar aspects. Now studying the notes I can make out black currant bud as a lead in to the shrill wood scent - cedar - and apricot gives a slight back of the palette twinge with its fruity tartness which connects the opening notes to the papyrus and vetiver base notes. Neither the black currant nor apricot leaves behind a fruity smell, barely noticeable actually, but are lead in notes for the main scent story which is the woods. I don't smell amber at all but this may be because my nose is very sensitive to the ultra dry and clean woods which I believe are a chemically sanitized version of cedar mixed with papyrus and also I get a hint of new declawed "clear patchouli" which might be present. The vetiver note listed also smells very clear and clean almost two dimensional - no dirt, no earth aspects at all. Only clean clear cooling astringent woods remain as an impression.

Jerome Epinette, the perfumer who created this fragrance also authored Mister Marvelous for Byredo so the similarities with these two cousins makes sense. I happen to like this kind of abrasive cleanliness in a fragrance although I can understand how some might find it too unfriendly and impersonal. Not much warmth or friendliness in this fragrance. I would give it a rating of 7 / 10. There is an obvious creative originality in the scent, but there are also flaws. This is not for everybody, but I enjoy it for the sterilized cleanliness.
31st May, 2015

Lôence by Santi Burgas

Loence is the base for all the fragrances in the Santi Burga's Loant Collection. Stating to the brand's website, it can be used as a standalone or as a layering base to mix with other compositions from the aforementioned range. I opted for the stand-alone option and there you go...

A blast of dry, camphorous and almost minty patchouli joined by loads of cashmeran and incense. There's some of the aromatic quality of the juniper but for the most part, it's all about patch, incense and synth woods. If you like dry stuff, it smells nice but I don't see any particular twist to make it properly stand out. As simple as it sounds and with a sort of mainstream-ish texture. Not much to add.

30th May, 2015

Chypre Mousse (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

This is a joke, right? I swear to god I tried to warm up to Chypre Mousse but I really couldn't. It smells like a mediterranean salad with a chypre-dressing instead of olive oil. I'm all for bizarre, over-the-top fragrances and olfactive experiments but this one smells plain gross, weird and completely unpleasant….and it lasts forever.

Nope.
30th May, 2015
Emoe Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

this is for me, an utterly fantastic scent, such a nostalgic and well refined male fragrance, which i think embodies everything about a strong male.
i find it refreshing, both in the feel of the scent when i apply it, (i have the splash) and also as a refreshing change from the deep dark ambers and woods and ouds I tend to wear more often.
this doesnt give me any fruity notes, and honestly, im at a loss for words on how to describe it properly. i dont get soapy in the way some are Lye sickly soap, more CLEAN fresh smell. theres ferns in there, which bold up the scent, and an icy top note.
all in all, its my cheapest, but very much loved fragrance, just wish they would do this in a decent Parfum to give it a little more projection.
30th May, 2015

Beloved by Amouage

Beloved is beautifully done. But what strikes me most about Beloved is that it is Amouage’s homage to that great classic, Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir, just as surely as Jubilation 25 is a homage to classic French fruity chypres such as Rochas Femme or Diorella.

Beloved opens up with a bitter, powdered clove, lavender, and sage combination that smells as aromatic and as talc-like as one of those quaint gentlemen’s colognes you might find at Penhaglion’s, or indeed a modern interpretation of a Dandy perfume, such as Histoires de Parfums’ 1876. There is a certain spicy, resinous, talc-like feel that links all these fragrances in my mind.

But more than anything, the rose, the hay-like chamomile, the sage all sing a tune that is familiar to me from my lovely, pagan, mother earth Aromatics Elixir. AE is earthier, dirty with patchouli, and far more ‘deep down in the forest’ than Beloved. Beloved is a fine lady, and AE is a hippy mom. But the essential bone structure is there. One was like the other in a different life, and all that.

The rose note in Beloved is pretty remarkable. Hidden behind the aromatic powder of the opening, you might miss it at first, but then it swells in intensity, rising up from a crumble of dusty potpourri rose petals to become a big, juicy rose fluffed out by moisture. The rose lingers for a while in a pool of boozy, hay-like immortelle, for a combination that is simultaneously syrupy and dry, sweet and savory. The immortelle adds a lovely ‘baked grass’ note to the florals and makes it feel less rarified than the start.

The dry down of Beloved is more pedestrian and standard-Amouage-oriental fare than its ‘Classic French’ opening and heart. After the herbal chypre dressing gown is dropped to her ankles, Beloved lurches off into a dry, resinous base made up of cedar, a heavily spiced musk, and a fairly bitter olibanum (Frankincense). This part’s a bit of a snooze after the impressive first half, but it’s still an Amouage base, so you know things weren’t done on the cheap or stuffed full of nasty, cheap woody ambers.

Beloved is unquestionably a beautiful, almost intoxicating perfume, but I won’t be spending any money on it. For one, it is over-priced, even within the usual standards for an Amouage fragrance, and for my money, Aromatics Elixir performs a similar trick of making the wearer feel womanly, powerful, and in control of her own fate, but at almost ten times less the cost of one bottle of Beloved. That said, there is an uneasy beauty about it that moves me, and I put it down to the bitter-liquorish, golden afternoon note of immortelle, casting its warmth over the cool, forest-like tones of the rest of the fragrance.
30th May, 2015

The Afternoon of a Faun by Etat Libre d'Orange

Doesn't smell like any of the listed notes in my opinion! I just read the note pyramid they have here on Basenotes, and I honestly don't know what the hell they are talking about. Myrrh, leather, benzoin - I give up, because I don't smell any of that.

Afternoon of a Faun is NOT an oriental, powdery, spicy leather as the notes might suggest. Nope, this one muscles its way into the green chypre category with an overall vibe halfway between a drenched forest and a bowl full of crushed iris roots. It’s described as an aromatic, spicy scent on Fragrantica and as an incense-leather oriental here, but actually, it comes off as a scorched-earth chypre.

It shouldn’t work. But the contrast of wet, bitter green iris and the dry woods is all kinds of addictive.

I love the way it takes me on a ride every time I put it on. It reminds me somewhat of a vintage No. 19 pure parfum I had from the 1950’s which had turned badly – it shares something of that singed woods and burned coffee smell the parfum had. But in contrast, Afternoon of a Faun smells really good to me.

Right away, the strangeness of the immortelle note is apparent. It adds a sticky, savory syrup note, like sugared hay boiled down in whiskey. This has the effect of injecting the chilly green halls of No. 19 with streaks of autumnal warmth. So, for once, you have a damp, mossy chypre that smells….warm, human, sunny almost. It makes this an exceedingly comfortable wear without sacrificing an ounce of its stylish swagger, like a pair of fabulous, wide-cut slacks that are both comfortable and capable of making you look like Marlene Dietrich.

I love, love, love the textures at play in Afternoon of a Faun too. The opening is sort of damp and glazed, like the patina from old wood that you’ve just loving rubbed with oil. The immortelle adds a spicy, vegetal syrupy feel, and orris butter a creamy, rooty smell and texture. It is sweet, but also dry and slightly spicy, like good old wood.

In the dry down, the most amazing transformation in texture takes place – it sheds any sticky or wet feel it may have add, and becomes dry and smoky, like ash smoldering in the grate. At this stage, the immortelle smells like slightly burned coffee, which is a wonderfully dry, aromatic smell that I really enjoy.

In fact, I feel comfortable characterizing this as a dry, smoky iris perfume with a significant green/woody aspect to it. It smells like a real chypre too, even without oakmoss, so hats off to the folks at ELDO for proving that you can still produce a fantastic perfume that smells like the real deal rather than a sad sack imitation of what once was.
30th May, 2015

Dunhill Custom by Dunhill

My expectations for this scent where really low, as I am not really the biggest fan of Dunhill fragrances except for a couple of them, and the reviews aren’t surely encouraging. Well, on the contrary this fragrance surprised me. It is really decent, almost quite good, and surely one of the best of their range (this including the – for me – unexplicably hyped “vintage” ones, such as Edition). The opening is quite all about apple: and what I really enjoy is the fact that it is not overly fruity or sweet, rather quite sharp, pungent, bitter, dark, whiskey-like. Obviously a bit of fruitiness is there, but it’s really subtle and providing just a hint of restrained “syrupiness” – just like in some spirits. It’s a quite realistic rendition of apple cider more than a fresh slice of apple, and this makes Custom surely closer to boozy fragrances rather than fruity ones. Which is surely a “pro” in my book, as I can’t think of many other fragrances playing the “dark, dry & sophisticated” card using apples. Distinctive and well put.

The magic basically stops there, as apart from that, there’s a really bland and generic woodyamber-pepper base accord which is, I bet, *exactly* the same base they used for Dunhill Fresh. It smells a bit rubbery and artificial, but it works, creating an “office-safe” frame of smooth silky woods and peppery incense. Now add this to the well-executed apple-boozy top note, and you’ll get Custom: a refined, half-distinctive half-generic almost “minimalistic” boozy-woody fragrance in the same league of Gucci pour Homme I, to which is resembles because of the same kind of weightless woody-amber-incense accord. Just with apple, less “pencil sharpener”, (way) less quality, and sort of more juvenile overall. Warm and acceptably classy, with a nice sharp twist. The longevity is not that bad for me, surely a bit close to skin but I get a decent bunch of hours. The only real bad thing is that for me (like pretty much for any other Dunhill scent) Custom clearly lacks in quality: the concept is really nice, but the notes smell a bit flat, unsubstantial and, well, cheap. With some more budget, this could have been one of the best designers of the last decade. As-is, it’s still quite good, just feeling a bit like a “missed chance”.

6,5/10
30th May, 2015

CH Men by Carolina Herrera

A plushy sugar-suede fragrance, as much decently put together as completely dull. I surely get why young fellas like this – it is sweet, safe, inoffensively and uncreatively pleasant, long lasting and with a bold linear projection. Nothing really leathery here, just a sort of mild and smooth vinyl-PU suede kind of leather note topped with something sugary-plummy, a hint of citrus and an unremarkable artificial woody base accord (on the smooth-sweet side). Cheap, but decent. The ideal “club scent” in the same league of YSL La Nuit de l’Homme and that type of “bro” fragrances showing no points of interest for fragrance enthusiasts, just a well-engineered aromatic tool specifically aimed at contrasting body odours and picking up undemanding one night stand partners. Uselessly nice bottle with a real leather label – the only good leather smell you’ll get out of this.

5,5-6/10
30th May, 2015
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