Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Total Reviews: 127616

Sheer Beauty Essence by Calvin Klein

My contribution to Basenotes today will be to review a flanker of a flanker, then.

I haven't tried Sheer Beauty, though I remember Beauty as a potent and clear-as-a-bell non-indolic jasmine, and something more literally floral and less abstract than I would have expected from CK.

And along the same lines, I couldn't imagine what CK would do with a lilac note - lilac is so sweet and heavy and old-fashioned and not CK. It turns out they turned the pear WAY up to lift and balance the sweetness of the lilac and rose. The pear has a juicy freshness to it, though the composition doesn't veer into sharp or sour territory, and is smooth and soft-ish in its impression.

I say "ish", because if this is an EDT, I'd find any higher concentration to be unwearable. Given the potency with which it came out of the bottle, I applied only one miniscule spray six hours ago, and it's still going as discernible pear/lilac/musk. With the name and its lovely pale purple color, and the fact that it's called an EDT, I came to it thinking it's going to have an airy feel. And I think that may be the impression it gives to others who smell you in passing, but the fact that they can smell you...There's definitely some craft going on to convey "airy" when it's actually kind of a beast.

Mostly, though, I'm inclined to be supportive of it because somebody dared to use lilac in a slick, modern scent! The result is maybe a little shampoo-ish with all of that attenuating pear, yet it's attractive in a familiar way, too.



01st June, 2016

Grandiflora Madagascan Jasmine by Grandiflora

Grandiflora Madagascan Jasmine by Michel Roudnitska for the florists “Grandiflora” in Australia is a bit of a revelation. It’s a jasmine soliflore but instead of taking the more common grandiflora or sambac types as the starting point, it takes the varietal of Stephanotis floribunda, or the so-called Madagascan jasmine.

This is the type of jasmine that Australians like to use in their bridal bouquets and headdresses because it performs exceedingly well in conditions of extreme light and heat. In terms of aroma profile, Madagascan jasmine is not as sweet as other varieties and features instead a clear, green stemminess that plays so well against the heady, creamy smell of the waxy petals themselves. In order to best replicate the smell of the plant, Michel Roudnitska was sent a plant of his own, and he studied it over a period of months.

And wow, is the end result beautiful. I don't normally like fresh, green leaves but this is done so well. It is sort of euphoria-inducing, which is embarrassing to say, but the aroma of crushed, watery green stems is true to life in a way that is familiar to me. One whiff of this divine elixir and I could be lying in a meadow with my children, absent-mindedly helping them to snap off dandelion and daffodil stalks.

It also has the coolly elegant crispness of freshly cut flowers from a florist – you know, that heavenly, intense scent released by the stems as you chop them down to fit your vase. Here you can smell the dew, the sappy sweetness of plant juice, and the slightly soapier green of the leaves – mixed in with the headier pull of the white flowers themselves.

What is most impressive is the way that Roudnitska has sustained the freshness of the green stem accord while the scent itself cycles through creamy, (slightly) indolic), fruity, and back to creamy. Ít gives you all the advantages of a good jasmine without any of the attending sweetness or bublegummy facets. The green nuance really is handled well - it reads almost like the cool, green watery tone of hyacinth or narcissus without any of their floral or earthy characteristics.

For people looking for dirty jasmines, well, I’d try this one anyway, if only because it’s a perfume of outstanding natural beauty. And while it leans to the fresh rather than indolic side, jasmine is naturally a little bit dirty-sexy-money anyway, and this shines through a little. There are times when I thought this verged on the edge of soapiness but each time it pulled back. For me, this perfume sets the bar on what a soliflore can and should be aiming for – not simply verisimilitude, but the type of wide-bellied beauty that moves you, despite yourself.
31st May, 2016

À la Nuit by Serge Lutens

Technically, this is the jasmine to end all jasmines. And it really is beautiful. The first 15 minutes in particular are like burying your nose in a bridal wreath. And for those 15 minutes, I breathe it in and I think, “Life can’t possibly get any better than this smell, right here.”

It contains all the rich, life-giving aspects I love so much about jasmine – the memory of heat, fleshiness, jammy sweetness, and toe-curling, inky dirtiness all wrapped up in the petals of one gorgeous flower. Impossible to wear this perfume and not feel as happy as a cat stretching under the hot midday sun.

It’s almost too much of a good thing, like gazing directly at the sun, or looking at a photo of Claudia Schiffer in a magazine, a woman about whom Karl Lagerfeld made the remark that it was impossible to take a bad photo of, but whose placid, milch-cow beauty always leaves my eyes a little glazed and my imagination a little drowsy. A La Nuit has, in its utter single-mindedness of intent, a sort of stultifying effect on my senses – it induces me to languor and little else.

But whatever – I could live with its slightly boring grandeur if only for those narcotizing 15 minutes. I don’t mind re-spraying. The greater problem is, however, that A La Nuit does not last very long on my skin. I suspect that I am anosmic to the type of musk used in the base because past those glorious, slightly stupefying 15 minutes, all I get is a white blur of something amorphously perfumey.
31st May, 2016
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens

Fleurs d’Oranger by Serge Lutens is a perfume that I’d consider as a real benchmark for orange blossom in perfumery. I do not like orange blossom at all as a note, but I have a sneaking fondness for how it’s done in FdO – at first juicy-sweet and dripping with honey, and later on, its sweetness reined in by quite a nice dose of cumin.

If it were not for the cumin (and the sultry tuberose in the base), Fleurs d’Oranger might come off as most orange blossoms do on my skin – far too sweet, bubblegum-like, and juvenile. The cumin gives the happy-go-lucky, sunny orange blossom an adult, sexy edge, a shot of much-needed sweaty armpit, let’s say.

However, I hear the reformulated version took away all the cumin and left behind a simple orange blossom. My decant was the pre-reform version; when I went to retrieve it to send it to a friend as part of a swap recently, I noticed that the bottle had smashed and the contents leaked out all over the box. I felt kind of sad, because although I didn’t like it enough to keep it, I did like its sunny, sexy, slutty goodness every now and then as a mood-enhancing drug.
31st May, 2016

Sa Majesté la Rose by Serge Lutens

Confession: I don’t actually like soliflores. I mean, I don’t like to wear them. I like sniffing them from a sample and I consider them useful to have around as a reference, but wearing them simply wears me down. Soliflores say one thing, and one thing only. I admire the single-mindedness of their message, but as the day goes on, it grates. Flowers must be part of a more complex composition for me to wear them.

I will say this, though, and my apologies if this sounds like a contradiction – there is nothing like a good soliflore to move me to tears. The smell of a Bourbon rose, a tuberose bloom, or newly opened jasmine flowers are so astoundingly beautiful in nature that any successful attempt at recreating their smell in perfume has a similar effect on my senses and emotions.

Sa Majeste La Rose by Serge Lutens is one such perfume. It harnesses the blowsy scent of dripping wet, yellow and pink tea roses in a bottle. The smell is somehow “fat” without being overly rich or exotic – this is definitely not the rich, red rose of Persia and Turkey but the waxy, nostalgic domestic roses growing in damp gardens all over Ireland. Ever stick your nose into one of those overblown, loose roses after a shower? Sa Majeste replicates that smell with precision.

I love its superb literalism for all of five minutes, and after that it is torture. Roses like these have a greenish, cat-pee acidity to them even in nature, and here in Sa Majeste it is a pitch that rises higher and higher as the day wears on.
31st May, 2016

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

This was a big loser for me. I don't know why anyone would want this on their skin. It smells old and musty... I had this washed off my wrist within 10 mins of being sprayed... tried it on a card thinking that I would see after it dried that it was a nice scent... WRONG still smelled old... kinda a medicinal vibe that I do not like... avoid.
31st May, 2016

Blu pour Homme by Bulgari

Strong ginger, tobacco, cedar and musk scent. The first Bulgari I ever owned and it is a fantastic winner. Longevity close to 7 hours on me in the humidity of the southern US. It is a unique scent so I would sample before you buy... Still available for a GREAT price online... will always be in my collection. Enjoy!
31st May, 2016

360 Degrees Blue for Men by Perry Ellis

A weak copy of Drakkar Noir. I know Perry Ellis was going for the "cheaper alternative" crowd but this is but a weak copy of a classic scent. Of course Drakkar isn't really that expensive so I don't know why you would need a rather cheap copy of it but Perry Ellis thought you would lol.
31st May, 2016

Baldessarini Del Mar by Baldessarini

I find this to be a rather bland scent from the Baldessarini / Hugo Boss line. I sure wouldn't call this a flanker of the original Baldessarini for sure. It is similar to many of the early 2000's scents that were going for some sort of aquatic main stream smell. It is similar to Chrome which others have mentioned. Doesn't last very long on my skin either.
31st May, 2016

Woodland by Bath and Body Works

I know why it was discontinued... awful abrasive fragrance that could strip paint.... Ok it's not that bad but it isn't in the least bit good.
31st May, 2016

Good Life by Davidoff

It was a total brain meltdown that let me to selling my bottle of The Good Life. One of the few mistakes that I have made as far as selling/trading scents. I was in a different frame of mind as far as what I was looking for in a scent. Now that I am older I do appreciate the scent more. The opening is a standard citrus open with a slight twist to my nose of the grapefruit and fig. The fig flows throughout and I get a hint of vetiver but I do not see it listed but I do smell it... or at least think I do lol. If you have a bottle hold on to it... if the price EVER comes down I will get it again. Enjoy!
31st May, 2016

273 Indigo for Men by Fred Hayman

An absolutely awful scent. Not sure what they used as far the quality of the ingredients but nothing about this scent is a positive for me. I still have a bottle sprayed 10 times... anyone want to swap anything for it let me know lol.
31st May, 2016

Aramis Life by Aramis

Not the best effort from the Aramis line of fragrances. I find it to be very very light and lasts about 2 hours if you are lucky. Very forgettable fragrance.
31st May, 2016
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Véga by Guerlain

I came into sampling Gueralin Vega as a fan of aldehydic florals, and I have loved it from the initial spray to the dry down; a new coequal favorite with Guerlain Sous le Vent among perfumes I have tried marketed to women.
31st May, 2016

Bal d'Afrique by Byredo

I have absolutely no idea why this one is labeled Feminine.
I have maybe 75 bottles in my collection. This is the only one officially sanctioned to the fair gender. Out of the 75 bottles, maybe 20 smell decidedly more masculine than this.
Byredo claims that this is a vetiver scent....i'd say maybe a touch but not to the point of domination. They also point to the meeting point of Paris life in the 1920's and African culture. Sounds poetic...not sure what that would smell like.
To me this is a decidedly masculine floral with hints of musk and cedar.
Perfect Summer frag with solid longevity.
31st May, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Poppy Rouge by D.S. & Durga

The opening with its whiff of freshness is overpowered by an aldehyde cloud, resulting in a somewhat unexciting generic opening phase. Soon thing improve though, and a pleasant basket of violet and other floral notes, especially immortelle, make the drydown an agreeable flowery mix, that is, surprisingly, never really very sweet.

The floral tune continues into the base, where a pleasant and soft civet is present, but the most interesting component towards is a rather sparingly applied vanilla. Vanilla is mostly applied as a thick and rich sweet power note, but here it is just sprinkled in and blends in very subtly. The last hours are so close to my skin that I have to dig my notes into the subcutaneous tissue to notice it, but the last phases have a lovely balsamic undertone with a very spurious powderiness.

The sillage is moderate, the projection initially good and then towards the end abysmal, and the total longevity about ten hours.

A mildly-sweet floral, and less sweet than, for instance, Dior Homme, with a disappointing start but then picking up, although not reaching above the ordinary overall. Still, nice in spring in the drydown particularly. 2.75/5.
31st May, 2016

Désarmant by La Parfumerie Moderne

What an inebriating classy fresh creation is it!!! Muskiness, radiant-bright floral grassiness and resinous soapiness are in here (by a modern cleaner approach) provided with the top level of neo-classic grandeur. La Parfumerie Moderne Desarmant strikes me immediately with its flashback of something classically musky-chypre and aristocratically floral. Yes, a jump back at time of my youth with its huge background of floral-chypre conjurations waving helter skelter on my nostalgic mind. I detect in here elements reporting in my mind scents a la Ysl Paris (the effervescent general green-floral sense of hyper class and the musky/aldehydic/honeyed soapiness balancing the initial angularity of bitter leaves and grass), the more recent Floris Royal Arms Diamond Edition (a similar structure, a marked ylang-ylang's presence, a similar musky-rosey-powdery dominance anyway finally mastered by an iris/violet royal presence) or Giorgio Armani Onde Mystere (rose, ylang-ylang, musk, laundriness, resins). There is anyway probably something far more familiar in the air which I'm not unfortunately able in this moment to connect to this Corticchiato's piece of hyper refined vegetal-musky floral. Lilac, osmanthus and rose are heady and royal in here, providing a general sense of freshly-musky floral courtisan refinement. Rose (probably connected to hints of benzoin and frankincense) provides a tad of fresh subtle soapiness while the muskiness is waving all around, supported by vegetal grassy patterns and well modulated resins. Gradually a sort of dry-fresh darker ambery/honeyed powder starts taking the stage with a role of co-protagonist (even supported by this magnificent fresh floral bouquet basically mastered by the supreme elegance of trio rose/lilac/osmanthus). There is a general sense of musky-incensey-rosey (soapy) "neutrality" which I've yet detected in Onde Mystere and in several fresh musky floral parisian accords of the past. This musky-floral neutrality is supported by a dominant ylang-ylang (really notable in here) sapiently flanked (by the alchemic work of an insuperable connoisseur of classic perfumery like Corticchiato) to musky resins and florals in order to project all around a supreme level of neo-classic sophistication. Ylang-ylang (supported by exotic spices) enhances this widespread sense of soapy-cosmetical dreamy subtleness. I appreciate the specific realistic projection of each single note (to me easily noticeable as individual part of a perfectly orchestrated soapy-musky-floral composition). Yes, each single note seems clear in its peculiarity but as part of an harmonious amalgam. I detect in here as well the Corticchiato's landmark musky association of rose and osmanthus we've admired in Osmanthus Interdite but while in that accord the "fluidy" freshness seemed mostly provided by a green-tea's presence in here you can detect mostly this fresh accord of musk, lymphatic-leafy floral presences and resins. The final issue is simply gorgeous, devoted to tradition (classic, measured, lofty and luxurious) but at same time surprisingly modern, radiant and joyful. Highly recommended.
30th May, 2016 (last edited: 31st May, 2016)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Boston Ivy by D.S. & Durga

After admission first few minutes, when a somewhat bland citrus impression hit my notes, the full gamut of the opening notes develops: a green, herbal and woody combination evolves, a successful mix that evokes the outdoors.

Later in the drydown the ivy note arrives, a note of green bushes and convincingly done. At times slightly spicy clover-laden moments come and go, citrusy whiffs of lime alternate with more ozonic impressions.

The drydown takes on earthier mossy characteristics, but the moss is not the real thing and fairly flat on my skin.

All this reminds me of the likes of Geoffrey Beene's Bowling Green or Crown Perfumery's Town and Country, but less refined and less intensive than especially the latter. Boston Ivy is less rich and more restrained.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and eight ours of longevity on my skin; after that the occasional transient glimpse of a slightly balsamic afterthought remains for another few hours but it is too close to my skin to be counted.

This is a nice spring scent, and whilst not without its weak points it is overall a successful realisation if what he name promises. The ingredients are mostly of respectable quality. 3.5/5.
30th May, 2016

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

I enjoy some sweet, modern synthetics, and L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme (2004) is not a world away from Polo Red (2013), to my nose, although I prefer the Guerlain.
30th May, 2016

VV Man by Roberto Verino

This is a surprisingly good scent. This is a linear scent to my nose. I also find that as the scent heads towards the dry down it becomes a drier woody scent. I do like it a lot and find it to be a pleasant fall / winter scent. Enjoy!
30th May, 2016

GrigioPerla Hedò White by La Perla

La Perla Grigioperla Hedo' White is a pale gingery-tonkinian synth accord "good at chess and no slouch at bridge, either". While the "classic" (just a tad less mediocre) Grigioperla Hedo' is a sultry (I'd say somewhat cloying) synth amberish/tonkinian patchouli this White brighter version pushes the accelerator on the longer (lasting till the base) citric/gingery/cardamomish introducing accord pretending in here to prolong throughout the Hedo's initial twist of freshness (finally in the "original" Hedo' absorbed by a sweetish chemical powdery-musky and ambroxan-dominant sultriness). What can I add? Ginger, grapefruit and cardamom unfold a sort of watery-aromatic kind of lemony dominant feel (just minimally supported by a soothing benzoinic muskiness). This is a mediocre and more than generic designer fragrance with any trace of originality or sophistication (and how much I regret the classics Grigioperla and La Perla), with a dominant cedary-lemony freshness, a subdued patchouli (compared with the "first" Grigioperla Hedo') and a final pale muskiness. Not a bad juice di per se' but something kind of "lost with no hope to survive in the relentless ocean of the market".
29th May, 2016 (last edited: 30th May, 2016)

Nebulae 2 by Oliver & Co.

Fresh, citrus, woody. Conveys a clean sensation like an Eau de Cologne but is very powerful and longlasting. Others in this category include Jardin du Poete and Eau Radieuse. Masculine or unisex.
29th May, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

The Architects Club by Arquiste

The opening is a very nice citrus woodsy combination. This citrus is mainly orange with a good dash if lemon and more on the dark side, not al all refreshing but constituting a good accompaniment to the wood notes. The wood has a dried timer, a somewhat papery characteristic with touches of guaiacum and oak wood, and it all blends in very smoothly with the fruit side in the opening. A slightly boozy juniper accent is noticeable in the background.

In the drydown a medium-dark vanilla emerges, answeet that has definite presence but is not going it solo initially; but with time is moves into the foreground. That would not be bad thing as such, but the other notes are gradually fading away, and the vanilla remains, paired with a rather uninteresting ambroxan impression.

I get moderate sillage, fairly adequate projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

This creation for cooler spring or warmer autumn days is a divided scent as far as the overall impression is concerned: the first part is nice indeed, a citrus/woodsy combination with a twist. The second part is more linear and far less interesting. Overall this results in a neutral score, unless some extraordinary quality or performance elevates it into the next tier, but I cannot see any such redeeming grace, except for the fanatic vanilla lover who adores everything that includes vanilla. On the whole this just misses the mark. 2.75/5.
29th May, 2016

Oudy Woody by Surrati

One screechysombitch on the open! The olfactory equivalent of fingernails down a chalkboard. There are well-constructed perfumes and then there are just scents... honestly, this is a sledgehammer of a just scent and I'm OK with that.

If you've ever had "a scrubber" then this type scent is probably not for you.

Even for those ready and willing for a lumberjack type adventure, this pungent leathery wood may please, yet may still be a little too abrupt and jarring for some. Kind of like riding your favorite grandaddy of a wood roller coaster after riding the new age steel rail monsters all day. It'll throw you around like a rag doll if you forget to remember the differences. It's good that "rickety" is still an option though and, yes, the lumberjacks I know like to ride roller coasters.

Surrati could just as easily have called this Leather & Oud. Upon settling it reminds me a little of Al Rehab - Oudy OIL. Same feel to me, at least, and about the same value as well.

1 or 2 sprays, tops. Please! How much lumber would a lumberjack jack if a lumberjack could jack lumber? The answer: Surrati Oudy Woody.
28th May, 2016

Oudy by Al Rehab

The oil and spray come off as two entirely distinct scents. Both are good, linear, minimalist, and last.

OIL is barnyardy with emphasis more on the wood and hay and less on the fecal however there is a definite edge to it. If you've ever worked poplar cottonwood for firewood, that smell approximates... roughly. A little corky too, of the dark brown chunky pinboard variety.

SPRAY is a pepper & sandalwood.

Given my tastes, two of the absolute best values I found upon the journey. Glad I made the effort.
28th May, 2016

Vetiverus by Oliver & Co.

I'm surprised nobody has commented on the strong costus note in this, although I suppose it's not that well known a material. I don't like costus much which is why this is not among my favourite perfumes. Nevertheless Vetiverus is, like many of Oliver's fragrances, a well executed and interesting creation.
28th May, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Nanban by Arquiste

A black tea note in the opening blast sets the scene, with a spicy element in it that is soon softened by a fairly dark saffron. Early in the drydown a very good coffee impression a arises, a darkly roasted and rich coffee that gradually replaces the tea.

Later in the meddle notes an incense develops with some waxy styrax component present that fits in quite nicely, and at stages takes on a balsamic characteristic that is not very medicinal in nature on my skin.

The base has a somewhat dull sandalwood note mixed with a leather impression. Initially the leather is a bit weak, but with times it grows into a dark old country boot-like impression with hints of tannin and smokiness detectable at times.

As far as the performance is concerned, I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and nine hours of longevity.

This is a very pleasant, rich and deep winter scent, with tea, coffee and leathery notes providing a nice accompaniment to the open fire place in the lounge room. The quality of the ingredients is high, and they are well-blended. A traditional concept but executed with original touches. 3.5/5.
28th May, 2016
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphéa by Guerlain

I love wearing this pretty, green, floral scent in the Springtime. It does seem to attract the bees (sadly) but I will continue to wear it because the drydown is so appealing. On my skin the honey note is prominent (hence the bees!)
28th May, 2016

Liberty Island by Bond No. 9

I tested Liberty Island on a blotter at Harrods Bond Counter 4 weeks ago.

The fragrance had a fresh spicy floral aquatic feel which was indeed very soothing.

I look forward to trying it on my skin soon for a more accurate review.

Thumbs up!
28th May, 2016

Jules by Christian Dior

I have a mid-vintage bottle of Dior Jules, in the clear ribbed glass, and I am a fan. On the first wearing, I was worried that it may be too subtle, but a couple more wearings have revealed a steady performance and winning smell.

"Russian Leather" is listed as a note on this site, and it does remind me of Chanel Cuir de Russie, especially in the opening. It also reminds me somewhat of Chanel Antaeus, more so in the base, which was released a year after Jules.
27th May, 2016 (last edited: 28th May, 2016)
Advertisement