Fragrance Reviews from December 2008

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    Sahasrara: The Crown by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab


    This is Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra. This is the Glory of Shiva… The Thousand Petaled Lotus – inspiration… consciousness… transcendence… bliss.

    I guess bliss is a fruity sweet opening – bubble gum, if I remember my Bazooka. I’ve encountered it in several of the BPAL fragrances before, only in this one, I think it’s actually intended to smell this way, whereas in the others, as far as I’m concerned, the smell was an aberration. The sweetness has an herbal background that goes a little way to ground the excessive sweetness, and the juxtapositioning of the two is genuinely interesting. Sahasrara: The Crown of the Chakra Series is one of those fragrances that doesn’t really develop into the heart notes, it simply lessens in projection and intensity, and it begins quite soft to begin with. For the drydown there is a light incense that moves in and joins with main sweet accord to produce an accord that reminds me a bit of Encens et Bubblegum by Etat Libre d’Orange, which I have never thought of as any kind of crown chakra. After the incense disappears, the drydown takes on a long-lasting creamy texture that I find the most enjoyable of the whole fragrance. The fragrance is definitely light and subtle all the way through its movement. This is a pretty good fragrance, but I’m not thrilled with that primary bubble gum accord that runs all the way through it.

    Sahasrara is the top, the Crown, the last chakra…. To begin at the beginning of the chakra journey, start with the base, the Root, Muladhara.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Snake Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

    Snake Oil, which BPAL states is their best selling fragrance, is a very interesting scent. It opens with a dramatic spicy / resinous / smoky accord that I find enjoyable in its exotic uniqueness. I can clearly identify cloves and myrrh but there are many other notes in the mix and the whole accord is underlined by a darker, almost woody, but rather sweet vanilla. It doesn’t seem to last as long as it should before the notes begin to change places: The spices and myrrh grow weaker while the vanilla comes on more strongly. All this morphing within the accords makes for an interesting wear. The drydown is almost pure sweet-but-not-too-sweet vanilla with only a touch of rather medicinal spices in the background. Spicy resinous scents are my thing so I enjoy the opening, and I am a bit surprised at my acceptance of the loss of the spice resins and the growing dominance of the vanilla. My tolerance might be explained by the type of vanilla that is presented: I find it somewhat woody and its sweetness is a thicker, more burnt or caramel sweetness than in most fragrance vanillas, and it is nicely augmented by amber. Snake Oil has abundant sillage and decent longevity. I think it is a genuine unisex scent and it’s the third BPAL fragrance I’ve tried that I’m actually thinking of purchasing.

    16 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 19 June, 2009)

    foetidus's avatar

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    Swadhisthana: Sacral by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab


    Swadhisthana: Sacral. The glory of Vishnu. The house of Varuna. The six-petaled lotus… the unconscious… desire… pleasure… procreation… the sweetness of life…

    Apparently the sweetness of life has a lot to do with jasmine. Swadhisthana is essentially a white floral. It’s less bright and sweet than many of the white florals, so it has some darkness and depth. I believe there is some gardenia in there and a little spice. The florals have a medium sillage and they last for well over an hour until they meld into the musky drydown, which also has a decent amount of sillage and longevity. Swadhisthana is both the most ordinary and the most feminine of the chakra scents. It’s a nice white floral and there are probably 200 fragrances that I could say that about… Nice but not unique.

    The next chakra up is Manipura, the Solar Plexus. If you want to begin at the beginning of the chakra journey, go to Muladhara, the Root.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Vishuddha: The Throat by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab


    Vishuddha is the Throat Chakra. “The Joy of Sarasvati, The Akashic Essence." The sixteen-petaled lotus… creativity… communication… vibration…

    Vishuddha’s vibration is lemony – an unusual gentle, almost creamy lemon: enjoyable and uplifting. There’s a soft shadow of herbals in the background along with some florals, but the primary accord throughout the run of the fragrance is that unique lemon note. As a counterpoint to the lemon, there is an incense like smoke spiraling in and around the other accords. And the various accords seem to float in, out, and around each other as the scent hugs the skin. As with the other chakra scents, this is a light, gentle, meditative inducing presentation. I quite enjoy this and I could see it as supportive of meditation.

    The next chakra up from Vishuddha is Ajna, The Third Eye. To begin at the beginning of the chakra journey, Start with the base… the Root, Muladhara.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Cult of Helios by Voluspa


    The name, Cult of Helios, refers to the heliotrope in the fragrance, I would guess. The heliotrope is prominent and comes across with a clear, catchy greenness: this is an excellent and enjoyable accord – uplifting and refreshing. I don’t get much of the vanilla in the base, but it’s there in the background, along with the musk, which is also diminutive to my nose. The total package delivers a delightful aroma – a surprisingly fresh floral accord that is too pretty and feminine for me as a personal fragrance. I would love it as a room fragrance… it is so warm, charming, and graceful.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Enfleurage by Voluspa



    The aromatic lavender totally dominates the opening to my nose, while the vanilla and florals remain in the background. It takes a long time for the lavender to die down enough for me to get an adequate impression of the other notes in the fragrance, and when it does settle down enough, I lose the florals and get primarily vanilla and rosewood already at the drydown. Enfleurage’s drydown is quite nice – not very sweet, just a warm vanilla, a soft wood, and a little bit of lavender left from the top notes. An adequate fragrance but not too exciting.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Clean Warm Cotton by Clean


    Clean Warm Cotton gave me a headache in less than three minutes. It is strong, but I can’t figure out why it is headache inducing because it smells just like those laundry products that don’t give me a headache. Warm Cotton is just synthetically unappealing to me.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Clean Fresh Laundry by Clean


    For the fifteen minutes it lasts, it smells like fabric softener, but it’s a heck of a lot more expensive than fabric softener. If you want to smell like this, rinse your clothes in fabric softener and then hit your pulse points with a few drops from the bottle – you’ll get better longevity and you can spend the money you saved on a decent fragrance.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Folie de Figue by Esteban


    I enjoy this fragrance, but I don’t think it smells as natural of fig leaf or tree as Diptyques’s Philosykos or some others I’ve tried. Esteban’s Folie de Figue is more of a stylized, abstract fig concept than it is “fig.” It represents the leaf, but also there is the bark and probably the fruit in the background. The basically green accord is well grounded in a neutral woody base. But there’s something else besides fig in the mix: Something that changes a standard fig leaf green note to a brightly aromatic fig leaf green note. There’s something like aldehydes in there, but it’s not aldehydes. There’s just a touch of synthetic in the mix but it’s an interesting creation... for a while. Folie de Figue is pleasant and highly wearable. The striking green note lasts on my skin for about a half hour, but then the fragrance falls apart and for all purposes, disappears. Excellent beginning but lacks longevity and development.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Ferruccio Blue by Tonino Lamborghini


    I think “Blue” is probably just the color of the box, but as far as I’m concerned, this IS a Blue – Blu – Bleue – Blv fragrance. There’s a bright and lively (somewhat synthetic but no big deal) feel to the first fifteen – twenty minutes after the fragrance is applied. It’s so bright and citrusy that I could swear there’s some verbena in there. There is also an airy lavender tint to that opening, which is a little bit too strong, but it quickly calms down to the pleasant, fresh, almost-skin scent. In the middle, the lavender is present, but doesn’t come through very strongly, and the cleanliness of the rosemary and neroli seem to set the tone for the whole accord. I can’t directly smell the thyme or the clove, but they are probably responsible for the tiny bit of sharp edge that frames the middle accord. I am not used to these clearly defined notes in automobile fragrances and Ferruccio (Blue) is a breath of fresh air in the quality it exhibits. It has a nice drydown; even though it is a trifle ordinary, it’s very pleasant. The fragrance has a soft sillage and a little less than average longevity. I like it.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Agua de Rosas by Campos de Ibiza


    A rather straightforward fruity floral: Campos Ibiza’s Agua de Rosas opens with a fruity accord. The pyramid says green apple, tangerine, and bergamot... errr, okay, I guess. It IS fruity and it’s rather sheer and quite sweet. The opening notes are unsatisfying in the sense that they are simply light without the usual delicacy or subtlety that usually goes along with lightness: It seems to be a watered down drug store fruity floral. The middle accord is almost totally floral except for the remnants of the fruit accords of the top. I don’t really get the rose that gave the fragrance its name… I get the sharpness of freesia and violet. But then again, this sharpness is a subtle, vaporous sharpness – very little substance to it. For the drydown I get musk and moss. There is supposed to be sandalwood in there, but I don’t smell it, and again I am disappointed by the lack of substance of the accord. The accords in Agua de Rosas are a little too light for my tastes, but the individual notes are identifiable and natural smelling and feminine. The longevity is not good, but that pretty well goes without saying in a fragrance as light as this one. The fragrance seems well put together and it might very well be of interest to someone looking for a well made, very light rose water fragrance.

    16 December, 2008

    foetidus's avatar

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    Palisander by Ava Luxe


    Palisander opens with a clear, direct, and quiet rosewood note. The note is so pure and clean that it is unnecessary to add anything more to it to make an interesting opening. It is a tiny bit powdery and creamy, and it projects less sharply and more restrained than rosewood notes I’ve encountered in other fragrances. After a long time of the opening’s gradually lessening in power, I get a slight incense note, or maybe it’s the pepper note. Whichever it is, it doesn’t last long at all but the original woodnotes continue and last for hours. Eventually the drydown enters in and here’s where I pick up some vetiver and a touch of amber. I don’t really pick up several of the notes listed in the pyramid: I’m missing the musk, the cinnamon, and I’m not sure that I picked up the hiba wood. Palisander is a very good wood scent, but it is very woody and you have to like wood to enjoy this fragrance.

    16 December, 2008

    JaimeB's avatar

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    M7 by Yves Saint Laurent

    Strange and wonderful, a congeries of exotic notes, from agarwood (oud) right down to mandrake root. Along the way, there are such commonplaces as bergamot, mandarin, rosemary, amber, musk, and vetiver, but the exotics really transform the usual suspects into strange beasts in and of themselves. The overall effect is one of mysterious, slightly pharmaceutical exuberance and sensuality. Mandrake is a plant steeped in lore, a member of the deadly nightshade family (along with belladonna), a plant that induces delirium; and whose resemblance, because of its bifurcated root, to a human figure with arms and legs, caused it to be used in arcane magical rituals. John Donne, the 17th century Anglican priest and mystic wrote in his famous Song: "Go and catch a falling star/Get with child a mandrake root,/Tell me where all past years are/ Or who cleft the devil's foot,/Teach me to hear mermaids singing,/Or to keep off envy's stinging,/And find/What wind/Serves to advance an honest mind." Like the lyric, M7 is mystical, magical, and profound.

    16 December, 2008

    kitty meow's avatar

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    360 Degrees for Women by Perry Ellis

    What can I say? It smells like nauseating & disgusting plastic flowers with some floor cleaner thrown on them. This is 360 in a nutshell.

    I'm wearing it now, and it's simply gross. My first thought upon smelling the bottle was that I shouldn't put it on. I need to listen to myself more often.

    Wait here while I wash it off... Oh no, it won't come off, ugh!

    16 December, 2008

    kitty meow's avatar

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    Amor Amor by Cacharel

    Not being a florally sort of girl, I was surprised at my high hopes for Amor Amor. For the first 30 minutes I was convinced this was a winner. I loved it’s sweetness & rounded berry scent. Other people in my office loved it too.

    Then the headache came… OOOH.

    Then the stomach ache… OUCH.

    Then the mad dash to the sink to wash this cloying, icky-sweet stink off my arms because I knew if I didn’t I would‘ve been vomiting soon enough.

    BTW, it was the eau de toilette.

    16 December, 2008

    kitty meow's avatar

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    Escada by Escada

    Escada (2005) is sweet & pretty but not a fave of mine. I applied it just 1 hr ago & I can barely smell it now. Hey, but it has a nice bottle & cool cap. It's a no for me.

    16 December, 2008

    Mekanic's avatar

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    Love, Ralph Lauren by Ralph Lauren

    One of the most fantastic scents I've ever encountered, the Amber and Goji Berry run throughout all notes, and the rose note is simply stunning.

    I have not yet gotten to try this on my skin, but am dying to, as from the paper I smelled, I (a straight man who likes a rose note) would wear this in a heartbeat, and be seduced by any woman in my presence who had this on.

    A definite must try, and hopefully own.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

    Sparkles with citrus as it leaves the atomiser, turns into a wonderful spicy rose followed by vanilla and a very soft woody base. Yum.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Vetyver Lanvin (new) by Lanvin

    OK fresh and aquatic opening. The Jasmine here is very unclean, and offensive to my nose. Mixes with something salty and dirtier, but not in a good way.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Midnight Fantasy by Britney Spears

    Midnight Fantasy smells like a bag of skittles. Very sweet. Smells too young.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Don't Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don't Swallow by Etat Libre d'Orange

    I'm beginning to think that if the fragrances didn't have names that got people talking, these fragrances wouldn't sell or get anyone interested.
    This is remarkably similar to 'pleasures'. I assume the 'pleasures' girl doesn't swallow either.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Nombril Immense by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Starts nice, a fruity note covered in icing sugar, then smells of a lemongrass sauce I once had in a restaurant that completely overpowered my nose and tastebuds. Scrubber if I ever met one.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Slightly citrus, very metallic, and a little bit salty. Doesn't smell particularly like "secretions" to me.

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    Vraie Blonde by Etat Libre d'Orange

    This assault on the nose smells like a mixture sugared almonds and throwing leftover alcohol down the sink (when hungover).

    16 December, 2008

    Gblue's avatar

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    1 Million by Paco Rabanne

    With Black XS being very popular, and Ultrared doing very well this summer, I'm not surprised that another sugary-sweet male fragrance appeared from Paco Rabanne.
    Perhaps I do not recognise blood orange or grapefruit here if they are muddled with the mint. But I don't think I can smell anything citrus about it. There is a soft suede and wood note underneath the sugary topnotes.
    Altogether, it's ok.

    16 December, 2008

    Bigsly's avatar

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    Spirit by Antonio Banderas

    I found this about the notes (I haven't tried it yet): "Top notes of bergamot, neroli oil and citrus mingle with a spicy cinnamon middle and a complex base that includes musk, amber, patchouli and incense."

    16 December, 2008

    lizzie_j's avatar

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    Winter 1972 by CB I Hate Perfume

    I get a very different impression of Winter 1972 compared with the previous 3 reviewers. Dirt, snow, wet leaves, cold air. It smells like a time I recall making snow angels as a child with my brother, and as we moved our arms and legs we dislodged enough snow to uncover the wet brown leaves underneath the snow. What a great memory! Love this scent. Not sure I want to WEAR it, but it sure is fun to sniff!

    16 December, 2008

    everso's avatar

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    Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

    this is BY FAR the sexiest musk scent in the world.....EVER. forget all the Musc Ravageur overhyping nonsense....THIS is the real deal. the creamiest, most well balanced, complex, and dynamic musk you'll ever smell. The people behind these Helmut Lang scents were geniuses.....HUGELY recommended.

    16 December, 2008

    everso's avatar

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    Escada Homme by Escada

    for the money...one of the best scents you can buy! i scored a bottle for $12, and often when i'm wearing it----it FEELS like i'm wearing some really expensive niche fragrance. Boozy, slightly spicy, and smooth light amber and leather make this a fantastic fragrance. Very versatile and easy to wear. If you see a bottle cheap----just BUY IT.

    16 December, 2008

    everso's avatar

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    Green Irish Tweed by Creed

    save yourself some money and buy a bottle of Cool Water. GIT is probably THE most overrated modern scent......there is nothing special, unique, or interesting about this scent at all. It's the equivelant to dumping Ragu spaghetti sauce into a gold dish and selling it for $50. worthless.

    16 December, 2008

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