Perfume Reviews

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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Sunshine by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is essentially a vanilla scent; a vanilla ice cream scent that is.

Initially freshened up by a touch of lemon, it is a rather linear creation, except for touches of a light powderiness being present towards the end.

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

This is a spring creation that it quite synthetic and generic. Not bad, but nothing special. 2.5/5.
21st November, 2017

Sycomore Eau de Parfum by Chanel

I had cut and pasted this from the EDT web page:

15 November 2016

I just received my bottle of Sycomore EDP today. I purchased it on Chanel's website.

Having not tried Sycomore EDT previously, I had no preconceived thoughts about this fragrance, other than having read that the EDT is more smoky and the EDP is more woody.
In other words, this is an unbiased review.

I have been wearing Sycamore for about 7 hours now. I must say, Sycomore smells great!

It is a dark woody fragrance, with fresh green and a warm medium smoky scent. The notes seem to switch back and forth between the vetiver and cypress, with a slightly spiced tobacco and juniper poking out here and there.

Though it is listed as unisex, this is seems to be more of a masculine scent. Due to its refined scent, I would gauge this best for age 25+.

With two sprays, the sillage was about 6 feet (2 meters).
If you feel like wearing this to the office, I would suggest limiting yourself to only one spray, as it is nicely potent.

The scent had a really strong sillage for about four hours, and then mellowed out a bit. It is not as potent now, but is is still detectable from about 3' (1 meter) away.


Note: I read on the Chanel website that all the EDTs from the "Les Exclusifs de Chanel" line have been reformulated into an EDP. The only one that was not reformulated, was Les Exclusifs de Chanel Eau de Cologne.
21st November, 2017

Credible Noir by Louis Cardin

A first blast of Credible Noir on skin and it seems to deal with a new Creed Aventus-clone with all its citric/smokey/fruity/coniferous "repertorio". I detect a touch of fruitiness, possibly hints of peneapple, huge bergamot and a tad of grapefruit. Probably the Louis Cardin's list of notes is just partial, aiming to veil the larger (in number of elements) perfume-composition. I detect fir-resin, pink berries and a sort of leafy-earthy-rooty presence (patchouli, herbal notes, jasmine-leaves??) as well. A rosey/piney/peppery-twist keeps "swarming" under the nose while (along the way) a less sharp and gradually smoother spark starts jumping up from the "backstage" in a way conjuring me intensely the Mazzolari Nero's final "outlook" (musk, rose, synth ambergris and vanilla, overall smoother than the current Aventus dry down). Hints of leather (a la Aventus/Royal Vintage) come up along the journey but in a pretty minimal way. The juice is surely fresh, "projectful, "modernly classic" and fancy but by no means seriously groundbreaking. A nice virile concoction (finally rosey/lemony, smokey and amberish) which is anyway far to be "credible", original and innovative. Another lost occasion, sorry.
20th November, 2017 (last edited: 21st November, 2017)
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Acqua di Parma Colonia Club by Acqua di Parma

Fresh, classic and green.
Good, bad, neutral, addictive.
Welcome to Basenotes.
20th November, 2017

Gold Man by Amouage

Stardate 20171120:

A floral of bygone era. Lots of white flower and indoles. Aldehydes are the right amount here (not crazy like No 5).
A great solid juice.
Not going to be popular with men for sure.
Reminds me a lot of Joy
20th November, 2017

Oud Wood Intense by Tom Ford

A dark spiced oud wood that has tobacco with charcoal aroma at opening which evolves into a leather scent which stays to some degree throughout the fragrance life. Oud is shrouded in dark tar and birch stained leather that smolders in the background and lasts well. I am surprised at how dark this fragrance becomes. The character seems to seep up from the depths. This perfume is very different from the original Oud Wood with leather and tobacco tones as well as a darkness here which offers enough difference to carry its own identity rather than riding on coat tails of its predecessor and less interesting scent - Oud Wood. Tom Ford continues to impress with renewed exploration of variations in the aromatic arts.
20th November, 2017

Portraits : The Uncompromising Sohan by Penhaligon's

The Uncompromising Sohan is a brass eagle capped, 2017 arrival to the Penhalgon's Portraits fragrance series. This bottle is another in Penhaligons collection of rose centric fragrances that pair rose with berries, contrasted with saffron, pink pepper, vetiver, and mellowed with amber and oud. The variety of ways to spice up and incense a rose masculine perfume dates back to the original, 1872 Hammam Bouquet Penhaligon's that started the concept. Today Penhaligon's has many male rose beauties that are tuned slightly different from one another, filling the spectrum from soft subtlety to rich bold and savory. The variety goes from Savoy Steam (mild), Something About the Duke (civil spices), Hammam Bouquet (fruity rose oriental), Halfeti (spice trader, woody), As Sawira (mystical) and Uncompromising Sohan - very bold, expressive, uncompromising but pleasant.

Uncompromising Sohan is an Arabic styled accord of opulent jammy rose essence sharpened with saffron and pink pepper, resting on a warm wizened woods base of Laotian Oud, vetiver and sandalwood. This rose combination soars to the brighter side of the Arabic incense rose range but retires to a mellow but crisp assuring base. It is an excellent fagrance that is bold, long lasting and contains a wide range of tonal resonance from soaring formal red rose to sombre good natured mellow rose and woods retirement, from bright start to softer finish. This may not be my most favorite rose saffron oud scent, but it is a very good one.
20th November, 2017

Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

By rights, I should have liked this one a lot more than I did. It checks off a lot of boxes for me with its incensey/frankincense-woody-synthetic oud-peppery notes. It's decidedly unsweet with an austere dryness from the papyrus note. And at first blast it does remind one of GPH I. But then it fades much too quickly for my liking, becoming a skin scent. Unlike Bentley Intense, this one will require more initial sprays as well. A shame really, because the basic scent is quite good, if a little flat and subdued. A background player rather than a more prominent fragrance. I'm not a fan of layering but in this instance, it might just be the way to go.
20th November, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Thunderstorm by Demeter Fragrance Library

The atmosphere after rainfall or storm has inspired over the years; Après l’Ondée is maybe the most famous one.

Here the focus is on the earth and a woods after the event: earthy, green and in the shade; the ground afterwards. The atmosphere after the rain is represented by a rather synthetic-ozonic impression. After the first hour a dull chemical aftermath remains.

Of note is the lack of any floral components in this composition. The dark forest ground it is, without and friendly blossoms. This is not a sweet fragrance.

I get moderate sillage, good projection - for the first hour - and a total longevity of four hours.

A bit too synthetic overall, the first part is executed well and realistic enough to raise one’s interest. The rest is silence. 2.75/5.
20th November, 2017

Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

Sporty green L'Instant,
Such charms revealed to those who
Spray less and smell more.

20th November, 2017

Cardinal by Heeley

The Incense for us Catholic Lights - i.e. Episcopalians and Anglicans - it's got a "happy" feel to it - we jokingly laugh with our HRC friends that we're just like Catholics - all the fun with half the guilt - and this Incense is a lighter take on heftier predecessors of the same genre, such as Unum Lavs. It is simply gorgeous and I am so glad to finally have it in my husband's wardrobe (though, I might sneak some sprays for myself!).
20th November, 2017

Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent

In the early '80s I was a dedicated wearer of YSL's "Y", but one sniff of Rive Gauche and I remember how prominent it was at the perfume counters and on my friends. And this is in that same green citrusy rose family as YSL's "Y", but with a much bigger rose. This is the scent that Don Draper's second wife would have worn, with her French-Bohemian chic and her batwing Pucci dresses.

I'm getting a Parisian-soap sense from this, and finding it captivating, even though I usually dislike soapiness. There's something so retro about this soap lifted by aldehydes, kind of like original Ivoire. This is also making me recall Rabanne's "Calandre", another great favorite of mine in this era, with its soap-and-metal accord. It's interesting that so many reviewers can't detect the rose here; to me it's large, and I sense none of the other florals some describe. There's nothing sweet about the floral aspect, in fact it's rather spiky. I can picture this fitting right in with the Le Smoking era of androgynous Saint Laurent fashions, even though I'd only ever associated "Y" with those images at the time. In fact, this current version would make a great casual office scent for a man today.

What I'm sniffing is a contemporary version, and Turin gives pretty high marks to the 2003 renovation of this scent, which I presume this is, but I'd still like to experience that resinous quality that he says gave the older stuff a darker background. And other accounts note that there was a sizeable plonk of sandalwood in the vintage aluminum can version.

Sadly, the two sprays I applied had almost vanished after 90 minutes. I'm going to reapply just to experience that green citrus/rose again and to see if I can find any oakmoss in the drydown. But I already know I'm going to add this to my vintage hunting list, and I regret not giving this scent more attention in its heyday.
20th November, 2017

Cadavre Exquis by Bruno Fazzolari

I'm the oddball who actually really likes this one. It's outrageous! It started with blood orange and camphor. Then the dark chocolate cloud blasted my nose. That, lasted for quite awhile. When it slipped away I got some kind of dried fruit thing. I thought I smelled some cypress in there somewhere. Star anise, benzoin, vanilla, and a civet thing took over and remained. Bold and brash. Spicy sweet ending.

I doubt I'll seek out finding a full bottle to add to my collection. Too many other scents I love more. I'm glad I had a sample to try.
19th November, 2017
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Black by Bulgari

Love that new car smell!
19th November, 2017

Guerlain Homme L'Eau Boisée by Guerlain

Iso V Super
From limes of grass trees shading
Thierry's Savanna.
19th November, 2017

Samsara by Guerlain

I have a weird thing with sandalwood fragrances: when I spray them on a card, I smell no sandalwood at all. This is the reason it took me over a year to try Samsara, because on the tester strip it smelled very unappealing.

However, trying it on skin is a completely different story! It's a gorgeous, creamy, sweet sandalwood; unapologetic, sexy, and bordering on garish, for a Guerlain.

The current EdT gives me the most pencil-shaving-sandalwood, which I love, but the base is too vanillic and plastic-ey. The current day EdP is massive in projection and sillage, almost too much for me. The vintage EdP is the baby bear of Samsaras for me; rounder and slightly more chic, and the sandalwood in this reminds me a bit of Bois des Iles.

The only thing that's missing is the lovely pencil-shaving note from the EdT, so I'm going to experiment with layering this with Diptique's Tam Dao, which has that in spades.

It's the loudest, least subtle fragrance I own, but I absolutely love it.
19th November, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Poison Ivy by Demeter Fragrance Library

The opening is a nice way of an olfactory depiction of poison ivy. Quite green in a darker and shaded way, leafy and later on with the woodsy and earthy undertones of the stems.

It is a bit sweeter than what I expected, and with time the woodsy side becomes more dominant.

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

Initially quite convincing, it soon becomes a tad too generic and synthetic. Not bad though. 2.75/5.
19th November, 2017

La Nuit by Paco Rabanne

Darvant pretty much explains the story of this beauty. It's structure is classical. I recognize the Civet, Oakmoss supported Honey Bouquet expanding, tarted by the Citrus.
The Canvas is dense and a Savon of Rose Chypre. Honeyed Leather indeed. Perhaps because of the Basil Anisic in this, I find ever so slightly more, wearable as a Male,than the "Shocking". It carries the Civet-Oakmoss laden start billowing and dries to almost a dirtier Pour Monsieur.
Then again, my wife would wear this, most nobly, as it is Reminiscent of it's cousins Paloma Picasso and Armani.
18th November, 2017 (last edited: 19th November, 2017)

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

This spicy fresh breeze,
Quintessentially Guerlain,
Wakens my senses.
18th November, 2017

L'Instant de Guerlain by Guerlain

You boys might enjoy
This spicy floriental,
Mama to your LIDGE.
18th November, 2017

Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger

The moment I put this on my skin I am transported back in time, to my last years in high school. It doesn't remind me of anyone specific, but rather brings to mind a certain type of girl I went to school with. Pretty, well mannered, glossy haired girls, dressed in crisp white shirts, lamb wool sweaters, and trendy jeans. They got decent grades, were popular with a certain type of boy, and never skipped class. They traveled in cliques and wore tinted lip balm. They may have played field hockey. I guess there was nothing to actively dislike about them, other than their complete lack of distinctiveness. We attended the same school, but lived in parallel universes. Wearing this scent feels wrong, like I've skipped back in time and morphed into one of them briefly.

Other than the associations, it's a pleasant fruity floral; clean, sparkling, up. I don't get much tea out of it.
18th November, 2017

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

This one is special, and it has taken me quite some time to put my thoughts on it into words.

I first encountered this as a sample I received with the purchase of a bottle of Cuir de Russie, which I fell madly in love with. On first smell, 31 Rue Cambon didn't wow me. I seem to remember finding it pleasant, but a tad "generic perfumey". I kept going back to the sample though, and that one sample led to a 10 ml decant, a 50 ml decant, all the way to a 200 ml bottle.

I would describe it as a very plush, iris-patchouli; soft in texture, but quite assertive in presence. Due to the luxurious Chanel treatment these main ingredients seem grounded, rather than earthy. It certainly registers as a chypre to me, but a warm one, if that makes sense, probably due to the vanilla. It also has a very classical vibe.

This is a scent that speaks to me on an emotional level. It has a warm, personal intimacy that I find hard to describe. The best way I know how is to liken it to holding a t shirt that has just been taken off by the man I love; the warmth and scent of his skin still clinging to the soft fabric.

It has been slowly creeping up the ranks of my most beloved scents ever. It is also the only scent that I have experienced an irrational fear of running out of, which is why I have snatched up a 200 ml EdT bottle before even smelling the EdP reformulation.

18th November, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tomato by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is tomato indeed: tomato leaves, stems, the plant. Fresh and green initially, then richer and a touch less fresh, with an undertone of dried grass.

The drydown reveals a fruity touch, whiffs of peachy impressions than beans in with a somewhat generic floral impression. This all is on top of the dominant features of the tomato truss.

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

This spring scent is quite original and in its core well executed. These might not be fried green tomatoes, but the whole composition is not without a surprise. 3.5/5.
18th November, 2017

Dove Grey by Régime des Fleurs

I give this one 3.5 stars. Intense. Spiced herbal vibe briefly, at the beginning. Some dark, dirty tea. For me, the orris, tuberose, lavender, and violet are luxurious. Way on down the line I smell musk and something woody. Oh! I forgot about the soil note. I detect some of that, upon first spray. Overall, this is a weirdo. Just my style.
17th November, 2017

Séville à l'Aube by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The petitgrain- olive blossom opening is interesting to say the least: slightly citrus; almost resinous; and olivey but not blossomy. I like it – it’s almost green, a bit fresh, and extremely easy to live with. What makes the opening accord interesting for me, is the tinge of lavender that sneaks into the accord from the middle, which, somehow, makes everything seem reminiscent of the Mediterranean. And this opening accord lasts incredibly… petitgrain has that tendency.

When the petitgrain / olive blossom accord calms down, the orange blossom / lavender begins moving in and the result is a smoother, more floral, lower-key texture which still retains the edges of the petitgrain / olive core. I’m not sure how the competency of this heart accord is accomplished: I can’t separate out the beeswax / tobacco from the middle accord, but the heart is definitely a worthy successor to the opening IMO.

With the base, the incense moves in and out of the still-familiar accord that has been performing from the beginning... This base accord performs with a definite loss of strength from the heart. It is reticent… near skin scent, actually, and its slight aromatic eminations are quite beautiful… very nice but sadly, demure.

Séville à l'Aube is an accomplished fragrance. I admire its originality and its performance – especially through its opening and heart... and I’m not too put off by the demureness of its base.
17th November, 2017

V pour Homme by Valentino

Nice opening… citrus, fruity, a touch of green and a touch of pink pepper. There is a suggestion of synthetic ambiance that doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of it… Quite enjoyable in a sweet, contemporary, youthful way. The opening exhibits decent sillage and a very nice longevity, too. The sweetness makes way for a neutral floral that takes control of the heart notes: Simple, soft, textured, not overly sweet, and not flowery. V Valentino’s base is a soft, complex multi-note affair that is not at all original, but is done quite well. Too bad it’s discontinued.
17th November, 2017

Private Collection - Corps et Âmes by Parfumerie Generale

Strong aromatics in the opening – it’s the result the leather, assisted by the geranium and the immortelle. No other element comes through for me in the opening… It’s just one big aromatic emanation… and not that attractive to me because I dislike a rampant leather like this, especially when the leather note seems magnified by geranium and immortelle.

When I ordered the sample, I was hoping that the chypre quality of Corps & Ames would outweigh its leather delivery – it doesn’t, the leather is there in full force, overpowering the chypreness, the jasmine, the sandalwood and anything else in its constitution. I would recommend Corps & Arms to a leather lover – it must be a good one because I dislike all the best leather fragrances.
17th November, 2017

Armani Code Ice by Giorgio Armani

To my nose, the mint contributes much to the lemon / ginger opening – together the three notes create a very interesting accord… cool, fresh, and refined... probably why the fragrance is named Code Ice. Unfortunately the spicy part of the opening diminishes quite quickly, leaving a somewhat uninspired aroma platform to simply sit there until the geranium shows up… not unpleasant, but the ice disappeared too quickly. When the geranium and lavender show up, they do so quite subtly, as does the wood base. With the base, I get the dose of the chemicals mentioned by some previous reviewers. The base is a disappointment – too weak and too chemical, but not entirely disagreeable.

Code Ice does have things attractive about it, but when all is said, it is basically like most other Armani fragrances – subtle, predictable, and a bit too expensive for what they deliver.

17th November, 2017

Versace pour Homme Dylan Blue by Versace

It’s like every note in Dylan Blue’s extensive list of notes is hyperactively buzzing all over the place. Dylan Blue is way too busy; it is awkwardly synthetic; and it is void of focus. Such an unpleasant, unimportant chaotic thing…
17th November, 2017

Tabac Original by Mäurer & Wirtz

Smelled objectively, without the packaging, this is an old fashioned feminine perfume closely similar to Chanel No.5. But in its context it is a well accepted and popular male line, one of the most successful German brands and probably few make the connection.
17th November, 2017