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Oud Stars : Zafar by Xerjoff

The smell of a barnyard, horse and hay, over a contrasting layer of musk. Quite potent. Interesting, but not for me.
07th July, 2015

Alèxandros by Re Profumo

This is the story of a secret agent who after a few years of honorable work is to become a conqueror!!!

Bond, Alexandros Bond (n°9), was soon to blend himself in among hundreds of teenagers in the footsteps of a scandalous topic gay! It was a concert of Bleecker Street Boys where he knew Hephaestus, a young charming unemployed, and the two fell in love! Alexandros, said Magno (but we will not know how and why), launched for the last time his hat on somewhere, and with a martini cocktail in the right and Hephaestus in his left, rode to the East, taking the reins of his macrocephalic horse with his tooth.

My opinion about the film Alexander is that the sensationalism of the homosexual aspects of the film at the end was not able to prevail over the stilted dialogue, the ridiculous speech, and harrowing downtime devoted to pose for models, furtive glances and double meanings from soap operas.
This scent is the same! A soap opera perfume where the drydown is very similar to the one of Bleecker Street (2005)!

The jasmine is in the center, waiting Cedarwood, Cinnamon just to make something! And when the party is starting here is the end with Patchouli, Amber, Vanilla, Sandalwood and maybe birch too.

Another "masterpiece" of Italian storytelling!

Another way to lock the books as long as they do not weigh too much!

by your amazing "interesting man in conflict"

This reviewer may have conflicts of interest

06th July, 2015 (last edited: 07th July, 2015)

Méchant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Time to show myself up as the novice I am. Tested it this morning, then re-applied this evening, from a small sample. Then just read some other reviews and I think I must have completely misunderstood this. The first image that flashed through my mind was water, a freshwater lake with the sun glittering on the water, wet skin, a woman, not a man, summer, and the colour blue. Sweet, fresh, watery, feminine, very pleasant, happy scent. I don't get forest, or darkness, or complication and I certainly don't get anything lupine or even canine in any way at all, except to admit that I do love the warm, nutty smell of the pads on dogs' feet! :). After reading the ingredients, I got the hazelnuts, and tasted in the back of my mouth, rather than smelled, the liquorice. Lots of honey. And something fresh I don't recognise. I don't think it's cedar, I know what that smells like. For me it's Red Riding Hood flopping down on her towel after a refreshing swim by the lakeshore, still in her swimming costume, in relaxed, holiday mood, her wet skin drying in the sun. Nothing big, hairy or menacing in sight... Very sweet, pleasant smell, but not for me. Still a thumbs up though.
(Apologies to those who say I've got this so completely wrong: you may be justified. But I resolve to be honest). :)
06th July, 2015
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Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

Vintage GG is all about raunchy civet and patchouli masterfully smoothed with an airy velvet touch of honey and spice. The patch and civet remain front-and-center but are joined in the background by a classy suede accord and a touch of soapy lavender and rose. This says plainly: "old school." But then I ask myself: to what vintage scents is it closely related? No clear answer springs to mind and, from what I gather from my reading, GG largely was viewed as a singular offering back in the day because it stood on a dangerous knife-edge of being indecorously racy. Needless to say, if vintage GG stood apart from the crowd as too overt back then, in these days of chaste whistle-clean fragrances, vintage GG is practically a bottled carnival of human depravity.
06th July, 2015

Periplo by L'Erbolario

Periplo (together with scents as Corteccia, Magnolia or Vetiver de la Reunion, to quote just a little bunch) is another example of averagely synthetic "decent quality" craftsmanship at the fair cost from the italian brand L'Erbolario. A fantastically cheap aromatic accord of hesperides (mandarine and bergamot more than others), smoky herbal pattens, jasmine and woods (sandalwood in particular), overall surrounded by a mossy-herbal, smoky and citric aura. Periplo puts in a corner tons of far more expensive similar fragrances around and performs quite greatly in balance and distincion. This fragrance is a diaphane example of how is not indispensable spending lots of money to smell refined. I don't catch the "aquatic" elements in here (despite a touch of saltiness exuded by woods imo) while all is woodsy (woody-mossy), vegetal and citric, with a final tad of soothing balsams and (not listed) leather (at least under my nose). Really herbal and intensely woody-hesperidic in its central stage, subsequently soapy-woody-musky along dry down. The Periplo's woody accord conjures me vaguely (with all the necessary proportions in terms of quality and structure) the exquisite Etro Sandalo (especially due to a common smokey/bitter/dusty undertone) but the great Etro's one smells less hesperidic, drier and more spicy-incensey on my skin. Furthermore, scent a la Geo F. Trumper Sandalwood, Versace Versus Uomo or V&A TSAR come vaguely on mind for several of their characteristics. Anyway, a great scent if you are on a budget.
P.S: You will surely appreciate Periplo in case you like scents as Cartier Declaration, Cacharel Pour Homme, 7 de Loewe, Boss Elements.
06th July, 2015

Kenzo Power by Kenzo

Another example of a “potential niche sensation” in a “neglected mainstream bottle”. Give this an obscure hipster name, make 50 bottles per batch when you feel to and get rich (if not in money, in praise and hype). Jokes aside, Kenzo Power is an extremely interesting fragrance, surely one of the most creative ones by this brand, and most important, tremendously easy and enjoyable to wear regardless of any added value. Power is a really bright, white, talc-like powdery scent with a fantastic bergamot opening, a sort of gassy-spicy vibe and a really recognizable tolu balsam note, which brings it really close to that other tolu bomb – Escada Magnetism for Men. Both share that same exact sort of “creamy-powdery-medicinal Cola feel”, and while in Escada it was bolder and more predictably integrated in a YSL M7 kind of structure, Kenzo Power brilliantly and perfectly fits it in a completely different, almost opposite ambiance – a delicate, weightless, futuristic sort of abstract floral whiteness, which gets some “substance” and a sweet darker shade precisely thanks to this odd balmy feel coming and going, cleverly balanced by a subtle but persistent feel of aromatic zesty freshness (bergamot). The only far comparison that came to my mind at some point was some sort of translucent lab hologram of a grandnephew of Jaipur Homme and Escada Magnetism for Men – fresher than both. Quality-wise the blend smells synthetic in a really pleasant, creative way, somehow soothing and somehow aloof, the kind of synthetic which you quite never smelled before (who said syntethics don’t require as much talent and creativity than naturals?). The result is a really clean and bright scent with a ton of personality, some really charming and enigmatic shades, decidedly androgynous, creepy and comforting at the same time. Fantastic for summer days. Really well done.

8/10
06th July, 2015
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Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum by Aedes de Venustas

Aedes de Venustas (original 2008 version) goes on with very gently peppered carrot-like stark iris with a tinge of clear benzoin-derived sweetness. Moving to the early heart the gently spiced iris remains, now joined by fine co-starring radiant frankincense and natural smelling cedar, with relatively sanitized patchouli rising from the base in underlying support. During the late dry-down the iris and frankincense both recede, with a newly emerged patchouli infused vague woody accord taking the fore, with significant support from the remaining benzoin that now showcases its powdery vanilla-like facet through the finish. Projection is on the low side of average with the composition appearing close to a skin scent at times, but longevity is excellent at about 12 hours on skin.

Aedes de Venustas by L'Artisan is the kind of composition that is hard not to like. It has a great nose behind it in Bertrand Duchaufour, and he certainly didn't hold back on his skillful blending techniques here. The iris immediately makes itself known right on skin application, but this is not your powdery make-up like iris seen in so many compositions today. Rather, this iris is more clinical and carrot-like. Joining the iris is just the slightest hint of peppery spice and sweetness, neither of which detract from its natural impact. Adding to the rather impressive natural effect of the composition in its key mid-section is the arrival of a gorgeous cedar wood and frankincense tandem that meshes perfectly with the iris with none of the notes overpowering the others. During the late dry-down the benzoin that was so subtle and lacking powder earlier, used as a slight sweetener to the iris turns slightly powdery as it joins what can only be described as "vague woods." Usually when one hears those words it is a precursor to mentioning the use of the dreaded woody synthetic norlimbanol, but honestly if it is used here I can't detect it, with the woods coming off as completely believable, just not easily identifiable. The late dry-down is less impressive and more mundane on the whole than the rest of the composition's development, but really this is an extremely minor quibble as in the end the whole thing is pretty darn good. The bottom line is the $185 per 100ml 2008 L'Artisan version of Aedes de Venustas is a fine example of Duchaufour at near the top of his game, earning it an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and an enthusiastic recommendation to all.
05th July, 2015

Moramanga by Coquillete Paris

Coquillette Paris Moramanga starts by soon as a fizzy-rubbery floral fist in your face, extremely intense and balsamic. I detect a main "central" accord of ylang-ylang and tuberose which (especially in its connection with musk, jasmine, spices, orange blossoms and resins) conjures me powerfully the classic Blu by Bruno Acampora, an historical take on tuberose/jasmine accord (the first of the two notes as central, the second accessorial, either supported by a spicy-exotic ylang-ylang). I actually detect an unquestionable resemblance between Moramanga and Blu; both are intense, musky and (especially at the beginning) fizzy-medicinal, just in here I detect a deepler jasmine's presence while Blu pushed the accelerator over (the in here anyway as well working) tuberose-ylang-ylang's connection. Both the scents smell resinous (somewhat rubbery and juicy) but, while Blu is basically musky (enriched by high quality Acampora's musk) Moramanga smells particularly carnal, sticky and balmy (encompassed by balsams and resins). Both the fragrances share anyway a "secret" sort of almondy-fizzy intensity with candied, floral, fruity and medicinal facets (and with a typical "syrupy tuberose influence"). I detect in here a remarkable opoponax presence providing substance and "massive" depth. In conclusion, if you are on the really visceral and syrupy types of floral accords (waving around a central syrupy tuberose/jasmine combo) give a chance to this fragrance. Despite not my cup of tea this juice deserves a try, especially if you are interested on the main theme. Despite not properly onedimensional, this scent is finally not enough structured for my full pleasure. Really impressive projection and great lasting power.
05th July, 2015

Ferré for Men by Gianfranco Ferré

Ferré for Men (nothing to do with Ferré for Man from 1986) is for me one of the most representative epitomes of “half-baked” fragrances. It’s perfectly split in half, on a time axis: one is really – really! - good, the other is not tragic, but a bit disappointing. The opening is perfect for me, a surprisingly rich buttery iris with a remarkably elegant “lipstick” effect on a musky-mossy base and refreshed with some zesty notes of bergamot, and probably that “pineapple” too, since there’s indeed some really subtle fruity feel that gives some sweet brightness to iris. Less quality than Dior Homme, a bit darker and woodier and with a sort of poliurethane-leather feel, but surely Dior Homme may be a broad comparison. Either that, or even more L’Homme de Coeur by Divine. This is the best part of the evolution, a really elegant opening phase perfectly balanced between “masculine” musky-woody-leathery notes, a hint of mainstream spiciness (tonka above all), a feminine touch of lipstick iris, and a whiff of aromatic freshness.

Sadly though, the progression isn’t really consistent: the iris note tones down quicker than I expected and so does its really nice sort of citrus-fruity support, and Ferré for Men slowly turns into a generic woody-musky scent with a generic spicy accord (tonka again, now more prominent) and a generic touch of synthetic leather, just tinged with a really mild and light touch of iris (mostly soapy musk than the initial “lipstick” iris). Like a good supporting band without its leader. Still better than most of mainstream average of this same “contemporary Oriental” family, nothing bad and totally nice to wear, but surely way less refined and intriguing than the first phase. I still consider this a good scent overall, and I’d even suggest you to grab a bottle if you stumble upon nice deals; just a bit disappointing after a while – so either settle for this, or keep reapplying it.

6,5-7/10
05th July, 2015

Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée by Chanel

I love Chanel, usually, but not Pour Monsieur Concentree. I'm neutral leaning thumbs down. I would describe it as unpleasant and slightly harsh.
05th July, 2015

Aramis 900 by Aramis

I recently blind bought a 100ml bottle of this because it's one of the scents I remember from my youth, and I felt it had to be in my new and rapidly expanding collection. The last time I tried it was approximately 1990, so 25 years ago. It is and it isn't how I remember. I think I would have recognised it and dare to say been able to name it, but I remember something more fruity, more intensely herbal too.
Now: yes herby at the start. I thought rosemary, but it's not listed as an ingredient I think, so I'm wrong there. Rose from start to finish, but not the flower rose, once I thought Turkish Delight, but mostly it reminds me of old fashioned rose soap. Having said that it's not feminine, definitely masculine. To me it's an honest, clean, wholesome scent.
This is the picture it gives to me: a large but quite stark hotel room, white walls, bright, a B&B, England, about 1950, a bright summer morning, but it rained the night before, the large sash window is wide open to a garden. A man, about 35, clean shaven, dark hair, wearing trousers and braces hanging down, shirtless, standing at a white porcelain sink in front of a small mirror washing his body with the rose-fragrance soap provided by the hotel. The water is cold. The bed behind him is empty. He'll put his white shirt, tie and blazer on, pay at reception and never return.
Silage is good (it always is on me as I'm trigger happy) and it fades completely after about 5 hours. Definitely a thumbs up from me.
July 2015.
Later edit: forgot one thing. The original green fluted bottle was so much better. The current one is a but rubbish in comparison 😞
04th July, 2015

Sulmona by Coquillete Paris

One of the best almond's renditions I've enjoyed in my humble experience. Coquillette Paris Sulmona is a simple but decently appointed and surprisingly "polyedral/structured" spicy accord of almond sugary-milky juice (by soon soapy, weirdly syrupy and smooth in to an almost edible way), soft balsams, orange blossoms and (I suppose) ylang-ylang. This fragrance has a spicy sugary/exotic and vaguely boozy temperament conjuring me partially scents a la O.P.S.O Dalila (which is equally structured, less properly almondy but equally sultry-dusty and exotic) and fragrances a la Maria Candida Gentile Noir Tropical (equally exotic but more gorgeous, hesperidic and rum-centered). Vanilla is in here quite irresistible and really silky. Is like to drink an helthful infusion of soja milk and almond juice, is like to get a sticky nectar but at same time I enjoy the structure provided by hesperides, spices and aromatic notes. I appreciate this vanilla's application since it appears magistrally appointed in order to never smell annoying, affected, too much sugary or overwelming. In Sulmona all is balanced and really velvety, just a touch of balminess and this central really "tropical" accord of almond, I suppose musk, animalic patterns (civet?), aldehydes and something properly exotic (an accord of spices and ylang-ylang? Nutmeg in particular?). I get the aldehydes or something close in effect since there is a dusty-aromatic aura (I suppose supported by green-balsamic patterns a la juniper berries or stuffs like that) while I'm almost sure to detect on skin a dirty-dissonant (vaguely rotten-metallic) element couteracting the balanced sugary vibe (in a sort of perfectly aligned trio, sugary, balmy and animalic). Anyway the main hallmark of this gracious fragrance is this lacteous and vaguely yeast-conjuring perfect almond-extrait's rendition (vaguely laundry in effects). A good semi-oriental experiment from this brand and an almond's Ode which I recommend for the "almond addicted".
04th July, 2015

Herrera for Men by Carolina Herrera

I recently acquired a current, allegedly reformulated bottle of this (all brown dotted packaging with silver borders) and without having tried the previous one, all I can say is that this more recent version smells really good for me. Nothing harsher or more “synthetic” than one may reasonably expect - and accept - within this price range; Herrera for Men is actually kind of classy, suprisingly compelling and really enjoyable, and also fairly creative for its era: basically a sort of really smooth, niche-like curry-scented tobacco scent with a hint of honey, some clean musk-lavender tone and the shade of a classic fougère structure. Lots of interesting nuances here, from something tea-like to a really balanced use of cloves (a note that 99% of the times I hate bad). What amazed me at the first sniff is how surprisingly close to tobacco this is – way more than other more praised scents that were kind of a disappointment to me to this extent (e.g. Aramis Havana, which is great but doesn’t remind me of tobacco that much; or inferior juvenile stuff like Michael Kors for Men – not to mention most of contemporary tobacco scents smelling like cheap candies).

Speaking as a long-time cigarettes smoker, I think Herrera for Men quite captures the aroma of a packet of cigarettes – not the raw, dry-earthy one of cigars, not the sophisticated, “humid-sweet” aromatic smell of pipe tobacco, but the mildly sweet, slightly synthetic, maybe pedestrian smell of common cigarettes. There’s lots of this tobacco here, tasty and realistic, together with cumin, a drop of citrus at the opening and something sweet-warm and slightly fruity, like honeyed amber and a bit similar to tea too (think of a grown-up macho version of Gucci pour Homme II), with a really clever accord of more “traditional” masculine notes (musky lavender, woods, geranium) that gives the scent a pleasant touch of “barbershop”. There’s also some really nice sandalwood here, joining the sweet-earthy side of the fragrance. A lot of names come to mind considering the different sides of this Herrera individually, but none would be really a comparison for the fragrance as a whole, as in fact Herrera for Men smells honestly quite new and unique to me. It’s surely a bit close to other early 1990s fragrances (the first Zegna comes to mind in particular) but there’s quite more going on here. The quality isn’t top-notch but it works really good, way better than I expected given that all other Herrera scents I’ve tried were utter crap for me. A bang for the buck if you ask me; it smells good, bold but classy, masculine as a Raymond Chandler villain, totally decent for the price.

7-7,5/10
04th July, 2015
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1000 Miglia Extreme by Chopard

*This review applies to the normal, non-extreme version of this (which isn't listed on Basenotes yet, I will move this accordingly once they add it)*

The composition seemed interesting to me at first, especially that promising “asphalt-suede” combo, so I approached this with slightly more enthusiasm than usual, although I am not really a fan of Chopard fragrances, and well, I was wrong – in being slightly more enthusiastic than usual, I mean. Utter cheapness and boredom in a bottle. The opening comprises mostly a contemporary aromatic fougère bone structure of wood, lavender, citrus scented with tobacco, some subtle smell of coffee, a dusty-sweet feel (amber and violet) and a little sad suede aromachemical lying in the shame corner. 1000 miglia reminds me of a cheaper, subtler, more boring version of woody-coffee scents like Rochas Man crossed with Lanvin’s Arpège pour Homme and similar “violet woodyambers”; just more generic, with more lavender, more (depressingly synthetic) wood, a bit more zest, a hint of green. Basically a dull, slightly confused and more generic version of both (or similar ones) with a persistent sort of soapy-musky-woody feel drowned in plastic. Tragically uninspired, too cheap to be at least “mediocrely refined”, one of those scents you have to sniff constantly to remind how they smell, and probably regret having bought them. Plenty of better options for this non-genre.

5/10
04th July, 2015

Captain Molyneux by Molyneux

Finally I re-test today on skin this fragrance after many years and a soapy/barber-shop mossy-chypre-fougere universe starts again disclosing its massive inlayed doors (mossy, laundry, powdery, minty-aromatic, honeyed, rooty, aldehydic, metallic) under my nose, an olfactory-temporal "space" studded by perfumed pièces of history as several Geo F. Trumper or Penhaligon's, further scents a la Cabochard de Grès, Arrogance Pour Homme, Monsieur Rochas, Azuree Pure Estee Lauder, Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Oscar de La Renta Pour Lui, YSL vintage Kouros, Balenciaga Portos, Dunhill For Man, Robert Piguet Bandit, Patou Pour Homme, Bogart by Jaques Bogart, Original Denim for Men etc, etc. Captain de Molyneux is a powerfully anisic-aromatic and mossy-aldehydic chypre accord, restrained and uncompromisingly virile. I detect a minimal touch of soapy-visceral substance (civet, honey, ambergris??) but Captain is not basically an animalic mossy-chypre while more properly an herbal barber-shop accord with a cedary-mossy core and soapy-waxy nuances. The aldehydic presence is in here really temperamental despite not properly "boosted" till those "vintage Kouros levels". Anise and lavender (supported by spacious-airy-irony aldehydes) release a deeply aromatic mentholated vibe since the beginning while dry woods, roots, oakmoss and may be arid tobacco exude a sort of bitter/herbal "licorice-kind" undertone counteracting a dominant (mild) soapy "minty milk". Don't be fooled from the "milk" word (related to a minimal touch of soothing balsam in the original recipe) anyway, the soapiness is basically sharp, dusty-woody and powdery (with just a minimal hint of soothing elements). Captain de Molyneux is all about the 80's barber-shops "molecules", a pièce of gentleman classicism and a supreme lavender accord with an hesperidic presence, a general sense of muskiness and restrained metallic floral notes. Dry down is bold, old-shool, yet measured and discreet. There is a general sense of fresh-airy and clean-musky soapiness around the wearer, a fresh soft accord anyway restrained by this rooty/licorice-type of effect providing sensual forbidding erotic masculinity. Despite not properly original or revolutionary (and despite today less opulent in its current version), this fragrance is nowadays incontestably a left over great fougere/chypre classic combination with a glorious story to hand down.
04th July, 2015

Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

As another reviewer stated, this is a cold and stony scent - which in itself is not that bad, but I don't connect with it. And it is not because it is cold and stony - I actually am ok with that - I can be that at times, and reach for an aloof scent on occasion, when I am feeling my most introverted self. But this scent is just...dare I say it...boring!

I tried...oh how I tried to like it! I wanted to so bad - the notes were all right, the tone was right...why could this not work for me? It seemed the be everything I wanted for this genre, but it just sat on top of my skin...it never danced. It never gave me a performance. I waited. And waited. I wanted to feel the angular insanity others felt. I wanted to feel...ANYTHING! I nearly felt insane with waiting for something - anything to happen! the anticipatory anxiety nearly required a script!

I won't give this a negative/thumbs down because the notes ARE there...they just are not working for me...clearly they work for others, though. My bottle is sailing on the bay of e...
04th July, 2015

Vétiver by Annick Goutal

I've been eager to test on skin this infamous vetiver for years since several vetiver lovers used to prize it as a fizzy-salty "eau de cologne" type of structured cedary-"marine" vetiver. Effectively Annick Goutal Vetiver is a really visceral kind of warmly organic vetiver (earthy, green and piquant) with a classic "cologny" structure and distinguished "intimate" elegance. Yes, an excellent salty vetiver, really iodate. The "stressed" saltiness, on the side of an airy-exotic "spaciousness" and a restrained classic approach, contribute to bind this vetiver to another favorite of mine, namely the great The Different Company Sel de Vetiver (which is, if possible, a tad more stressed over the salty-ozonic side) while a spicy/lightly incensey/tobacco-tonka veined accord connects this scent to the vintage Guerlain Vetiver's exoticism (the latter finally more soothed, resinous and far less salty). The Goutal Vetiver's dry down is immensely sensual and virile, ideal for a sultry southern summer time out.
03rd July, 2015 (last edited: 04th July, 2015)

Red Musk Oud by Body Shop

I had hopes for this. Granted not high ones, as this is the Body Shop. But I gave it a try, and at first, it was nice - top notes were powerful and edgy. Oud-like scent. Not barnyard, but westernized and nice. But then a nasty synthetic blast reached my nose and my migraine kicked in with a powerful start. ARGH!

I don't know or cannot recall the musk note(s), as my migraine pushed everything out from that point on. I returned the bottle as soon as I was well-showered and the migraine had passed.

It may be that they used all natural stuff, but as there are grades of naturals, perhaps it was low-grade stuff? I don't know. This was my last straw with Body Shop scents. Too many let downs to keep trying.
03rd July, 2015

L'Eau des Hesperides by Diptyque

Eau des Hesperides by Diptyque starts off with a sharp, almost acrid minty-citrus-grass accord, which smells as much green as really pungent and balsamic. Invigorating and bracing on one side, quite artificial on the other, ending up in smelling a bit like a nasal decongestant – balsamic for sure, but also decidedly “medicinal” in a literal, non-fascinating meaning. The musky base, subtle but substantial, doesn’t help in minimizing this plastic feel. Still if it’s smashing green freshness what you are looking for, regardless of quality and charm, then this will probably suit your needs. Personally I find this a bit too loud and artificial, with way too much acrid-synthetic stuff going on - speaking of contemporary green citrus scents I tend to prefer more discreet, natural refined stuff like some Hermès “concentrés”, but to each his own. Like many other Diptyque fragrances, a nothing bad-nothing good quintessence of negligibility.

6/10
03rd July, 2015

Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d'Empire

Parfum d'Empire Osmanthus Interdite opens with an utterly crisp and vegetal accord of musk, green tea, citrus and earthy osmanthus. The first approach is bitter-herbal, fizzy (vaguely medicinal), somewhat lemony (bergamot?) and gradually floral. This phase is bitter-pungent and intensely penetrating. Jasmine starts gradually to merge its substance with rose and hyper lush osmanthus in order to appoint an uncompromisingly sophisticated botanic floral accord (leafy and lymphatic). Progressively the aroma morphs towards a (just a tad) denser, more soothed and "solid" amalgam (is like to catch pollen and floral essence) despite the basic outcome keeps on being kind of grassy and musky. You will be actually encompassed by a musky floral pungent embrace extremely sensual and almost organic (kind of pheromonical and intimate). I get the comparison with the equivalent osmathus-centered concoction from The Different Company which is anyway more grey-mossy-laundry and finally less grassy-crisp in substance. Anyway both exude that sort of tea-mimosa kind of "fluidity" which seems a facet of a huger ideal "kaleidoscope of the olfactory sharpness". A great take on my favorite floral note (osmanthus) and an extremely sophisticated concoction for a deeply sensual kind of woman (elegant, impeccable, voluptuous, forbidding). Hands down, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. Perfect for spring/summer.
02nd July, 2015

Herat by Coquillete Paris

Well, Herat is my first approach with Coquillette Paris and I have to say that the scent is pleasant despite not properly original. I've read somewhere about an assumed resemblance with Nasomatto Black Afgano and I humbly nail down in here that could agree just partially with this olfactory association. There is for sure a common foundation of synthetic notes (as woods, vetiver in particular, amber, tobacco, frankincense, hashish, jasmine etc which contributes to "push up" an aromatic connection and a similar aroma itself). This shared foundation leads somebody to point out the previous comparison but I have to firmly outline that structure, sillage and density almost utterly diverge imo (I mean the consistency of the general combination of notes, their body, the general intensity, sillage itself). First of all Herat is a feminine floral semi-oriental (I respectfully disagree who with asserts it is a masculine creation) while Black Afgano is a perfectly unisex rubbery-sulphureous oriental and where the latter is highly resinous and dense Herat is kind of aqueous and light (fluidy floral and delicately soapy). Vetiver is piping up by soon in here, immedialtely supported by a "huge" ylang-ylang (aqueous, spicy and exotic) and wet woods while a gradually emerging frankincense seems scarcely resinous and basically humid (almost translucent). The floral notes are gracious and particularly feminine in approach while the hashish's presence seems closer to the similar one yet enjoyed in Il Profumo Cannabis than to one tested in the misty Black Afgano (in which the note of cannabis is not fluidy/floral and wet but rubbery and sticky). A gingery and fluidy spicy presence seems to connect this juice (on the level of sillage and consistency) to scents a la Mark Buxton Devil in Disguise or Black Angel, Acampora Nero (especially for a musky simil dimension) or Meo Fusciuni Notturno. Woods, musk and floral notes (jasmine, violets, lily of the valley??) seem to be the mail elements (a red berry's presence as well ??) of this finally sensual experiment which seems conceptually closer for instance to scents a la Biagiotti Venezia/Venezia Pastello or Guerlain Samsara than to stouter accords a la Fortis or Black Afgano. A nice musky-piquant floral scent with a woody and powerfully spicy intensity, a liquid-resins presence and a smooth vetiver accord. To be tryed.
02nd July, 2015

Infusion d'Iris by Prada

A classy gem I neglected for too long, I used to own Infusion d’Homme some years ago and got rid of it since it smelled too light and a bit dull for me - and I thought this was just its feminine counterpart (therefore even lighter and – not to sound sexist – probably duller). I was so wrong! This is so better than that – and ironically, way more suitable for men. Easily however this is one of the nicest iris-based scents on the market for me, especially of the fresher/gentler sub-family. And even more easily, the best offering by Prada so far, but it didn’t take much for that. Infusion d’iris is a tremendously radiant, bright and bracing blend centered on a minimalistic structure of iris petals (no buttery/waxy/lipstick orris root), bergamot, something slightly and elegantly candied-fruity, soft incense and a silky, really discreet base accord of musk and bright vetiver. The notes seem common, their smell isn’t at all: the quality is clearly high and unique, particularly more than usual, and you can definitely feel it. All smells clean and light, but decidedly more intense and substantial than one may expect.

The evolution is also really catchy and irresistibly pleasant, moving from a zesty pastel opening of fresh bergamot and bright iris petals through a soapy, stronger central phase centered on iris (blossoming in its earthier-leafier side) and musk, ending on a beautiful vetiver drydown still infused with a powdery touch of iris. Like a really consistent three-movement piece of intimate piano music, with iris being the recurrent theme. And aside from its brilliant evolution, it just smells great - period. And persistent, too: very few perfumes manage to smell this crisp, weightless and luminous keeping some intensity and persistence, and also ending up in being exceedingly perfect for men and women. Probably only the best Ellena’s for Hermès managed to do that – and Infusion d’Iris could easily stand among them in fact. Together with Rush for Men, probably one of the best works by Roche-Andrier, showing that exact same feel of discreet, bright, extremely clean sense of quality, refinement and sophistication (now let’s all wait until Prada discontinues it to realize that!).

8,5-9/10
02nd July, 2015

Geranium Odorata by Diptyque

Nothing more than a barely decent and kind of loud (not to say screechy) synthetic geranium scent with a rose nuance and a dull cedar-ambery base, also tinged with a whiff of something reminding me of ambergris – something salty, musky and slightly animalic. Maybe some incense too. No relevant evolution and quite a long, annoyingly artificial persistence. I wouldn’t define it “tragic” but it is really a bit too much close to an overpriced floor cleaner or a really, really cheap mainstream fragrance to make some sense as a niche perfume – especially for the price.

5/10
02nd July, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Dear John by B Never Too Busy Be Beautiful

Gather round kiddies, whilst uncle relates a serendipitous tale of fragrant derring-do. My quest begins in John Lewis, fruitlessly seeking a sample of the new AdP. As usual, no sign of it. Crestfallen, I repair to the top floor cafe, seeking solace in an overpriced bacon sarnie. Loins girded, it's back to the fragrance section for another look-see. There's that new Spicebomb Intense! Not bad at all...bit much for summer though.

Emerging happier yet ultimately unfulfilled, I make my way to M&S, having heard tell of another sale. En route, I spy the Lush store and chance my arm, recalling great things about that new sandalwood, Smuggler's Soul. There it is! One spray to the right arm, jolly good. Oooh, bit skanky innit! Hang on, what's this? 'Death and Decay'. Sounds right up my olfactory alleyway. Two sprays to the left arm. Hmmm, that's nice. I'll see how this develops. Now on to M&S, before those heavily discounted green/beige t-shirts/slacks are sold out. Hello, a teapot for a tenner! Yes please! Lid's a bit fiddly but you can't argue with the price.

Oh my, this 'Death and Decay' is rather good! Shall I treat myself? Why not! I've paid more for samples! Back to Lush it is. What! There's an oil in the same scent! Dab, dab. Funny, smells nothing like it! Eh? I see... I misread the label earlier. I've been wearing 'Dear John' all along! Odd name, same as that limp 80s sitcom. Not sure I like this Death and Decay one. Lilies and jasmine. No, I don't. Shall I get Smuggler's Soul? Not today, don't be greedy.

Right, enough fannying about, I've run out of space for further testing anyway (goes to till).

My lucky find is a delightful, fresh, classical-styled citrus/vetiver, made more interesting by a dry, spicy foil provided by light clove and coffee notes. Nothing groundbreaking, no, but very decent. Safe as houses (except for cloveophobes, maybe), and would make a good inexpensive gift for any male relative who has outgrown his sweet tooth. Longevity good, projection lowish but adequate (from 8 sprays). Great for summer.






02nd July, 2015

The Smell of Freedom Part 3 by Gorilla Perfume

Alongside Fire Tree and Old Delhi Station, Oudh Heart is the third component in The Smell of Freedom perfume. This part is minimal, but the materials are fascinating. Although I really don’t get anything oudh-y from it, I do get a top-shelf orris note that’s combined with incense to good effect. The orris is clean and slightly bitter, but it has all the richness that one would hope to find in the material. Having said that, to my nose, Oudh Heart is really more of an orris soliflor with a bit of incense thrown in, all cast over a decent-enough sandalwood that’s clearly authentic, but not quite as beefy as some other sandalwoods I’ve tried. Nice enough, but it’s not a full composition and it’s certainly not worth going out of your way to find.
02nd July, 2015

Let Me Play The Lion by LesNez

This is quite a distinctive scent, and I can’t think of much else that smells like it. It’s basically a sharp cedar that smells almost like vetiver with some minor herbal nuances and a peppery smoke accord. The whole thing's spun green, but moderately so. The incense lends it an industrial quality — almost like a cardamom molten plastic effect that you'd expect from Nu_Be — but it’s handled in a way that hints at rather than mandates industrial imagery. Given that it’s cedar, which is usually a fairly heavy base note, the scent is pleasingly delicate and transparent — and I like that about it. Last, the scent has an arid dustiness to it. As the result, I picture cacti and sage scrub and long roads stretching out across a Road Runner-style landscape. LMPtL is a simplistic composition, but that simplicity is what opens it up for wide interpretation.
02nd July, 2015

Amber Aoud by Roja Dove

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this came out of the same machine that makes the Clive Christian stuff. It’s your standard ostentatious rose / oud / saffron combo that’s so rich and overstuffed it feels like being force-fed truffles. The only noticeable difference from the slew of other scents in this style is that this one is spun a tad sweeter up top with a slight maltol-esque note, and there’s a slight smokiness tucked away in there as well. Aside from that, there’s nothing that makes this stand out from legions of other Orientalist compositions doing the same thing. Polished and competent, but redundant and blingy; it’s a gaudy aesthetic that would go well with massive gold jewelry and rhinestone-encrusted clothing.
01st July, 2015

Enslaved by Roja Dove

Like most of the scents in the line, Enslaved sounds like it was inspired by an E.L. James novel. The scent is a xerox of a classical chypre: herbalized citrus and spicy florals over a mossy base. The opening is sharp and bitter, and then it dawdles along on vetiver and lavender for much of the middle. Over time it sweetens up into a vanilla ice cream thing, but I’d still file it as a chypre over an oriental. Although it seems polished overall, it’s derivative and soulless — all veneer with little substance, and frankly, it’s boring. Decent construction, but uninspired and anachronistic.
01st July, 2015

Vaniglia del Madagascar by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

Farmacia SS Annunziata Vaniglia del Madagascar is an unusual take on the vanillic theme which is in this case connected to a (nowadays mainstream) musky-ozonic-aromatic marine (lemony and simil ozonic) accord yet performed by Hyle from the same brand and particularly runned by scents a la Profumum Roma Acqua di Sale, Reminiscence Sea-Rem, Laboratorio Olfattivo Salina or Il Profvmo Pioggia Salata. In here the performer seems to combine a light aqueous vanilla with a salty-airy floral muskiness. The vanillic presence is here (liquid, lemony and spicy) but the core of this fragrance is musky-ozonic (at least kind of ostensibly mineral-ozonic), silky-soapy, salty-sugary, floral and aromatic. The out come is a light muskiness somewhat fluidy and vaguely salty-airy. A wearable "non vanillic" vanilla, really balanced and organic.
01st July, 2015

Escapade a Byzance by Olibere Parfums

Escapade à Byzance by French newcomer Olibère is for me sadly nothing more than a worthless addiction to the endless galore of Duchaufour’s creations, and particularly one of the most negligible. I guess the budget was tight here, both for the materials and for the nose, so the result is both cheap and uninspired. To cut it short this smells to me as an extremely synthetic blend of ambery-woody incense with... well, not much more. Something sweetish, spicy-dusty, vaguely similar to cinnamon but so generic and artificial that it does not trigger any specific association to notes for me. The few notes I can “recognize” with some stretch are the abovementioned amber (nothing warm, rather the ubiquitous greyish ambroxan), woods (the usual synthetic cedar stuff) and a really cheap incense note. That’s it. It doesn’t stink, but... 2015, niche? This smells like something Jil Sander could have come up with in 2001 at a third of the price. Meh...

4,5-5/10
01st July, 2015
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