Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli by Dame Perfumery

This is a really lovely scent. I never would have guessed these three would go together so well!

Although this particular scent did not last very long on my skin, it is great to spray on clothing - I tried both, and found it to be the ideal type of scent for a scarf or cardigan. My skin is hard on lighter scents, as it tends to eat them, no matter how much I should slather myself in all manner of creams and oils.

This is my first Dame full bottle purchase and it was a complete blind buy, based solely on the notes and suggestions of others and Mr. Jeffrey Dame himself. I plan to purchase a few other bottles in the near future.

If you enjoy Patchouli, and you appreciate Heliotrope, this is definitely one to test out.
05th September, 2015

Bulgari pour Femme by Bulgari

Flirting with both J'Adore Voile de Parfum and No. 5 Eau Premiere recently, I thought to myself, "I wish one of these wore as well on me as Bulgari used to, as it was always so versatile and pretty in the same kind of well-bred way these are."

So I just sought out a replenishment bottle of Bulgari instead. Not having smelled it in a very long time, I was floored at how much raspberry is in the opening! And also by how much the opening gave me a little snapshot of pre-reformulation YSL Paris, also by Grojsman. Paris was a favorite of mine when it launched; I hadn't realized that on some level I was pre-disposed to like Bulgari the first time around because I had only pleasing associations with Paris.

Bulgari really is an interesting one. It's a tasteful feminine with conventional, demure floral notes, yet the musk...on skin, it gives the fragrance so much radiant warmth. While I'd never call it rude, if this musk likes you, it interacts with your chemistry in such a way that it goes really intimate. You can wear Bulgari in a polite setting and no one will accuse you of impropriety, yet the effect CAN be alluring, because the musk creates the sense that you're smelling the skin of the woman who's wearing the perfume, not simply smelling the perfume.

Overspray and it won't be good! It's sweet and has the potential to go cloying. While I've read reviews that say it has no lasting power, I find it to be very tenacious, just one modest spray and it's quietly there 10 hours later. In that way it really does seem powerful like a Grojsman! For reasons similar to what Way Off Scenter has said, I find that most of her work isn't my thing, though Bulgari really is. Again.
04th September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Passion for Men by Elizabeth Taylor

I call this one 'Fantasy in Mauve', inspired by the garish box. A powdery lavender/heliotrope scent, spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. The epic musky/vanilla drydown is delish.

Overall, a sort of 'barbershop oriental' akin to Guerlain Cologne du 68 and Maharadjah by PdN, combining traditional gents' grooming cues with more exotic elements (et une touche de plastique, pour être honnête).

If you are one of the sweaty swathes preoccupied with the need to boost your inconsiderable masculinity, you should probably skip this one. It's too vulnerable and pretty for desperate mingers pretending to be cowboys.

A proud relic from 1989, whilst not a real powerhouse, it is written in bold. 5 sprays from that ugly kitsch bottle last well over 12 hours. So inexpensive that you too can smell like a self-made millionaire, even on a budget.
04th September, 2015
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Cuir6 by Pekji

Interesting, but not for me.
I don't really like the start, which is boozy (rum?), spicy, medicinal and sharp leather. I can also smell something like animal dung (horse or sheep) underneath, which is very slightly nauseating. Maybe this is what a tannery smells of, I don't know.
It definitely improves later. I get a smell that reminds me of new Tarmac being laid, and full-on leather. As time goes on I still get full-on leather and a faint animal smell. To me the smell of leather is really quite authentic, and in a weird way it's kind of sexy, but I can't imagine when I would ever want to smell like this. Actually, I can: mid summer, the English countryside, mucking out the horses, long leather boots, stripped to the waist, the sweat is trickling down my sun-browned back, my long, dark, wavy hair sticking to my brow, I pause to smoulder at some beauty that walks by... However, as I'm now at an age when I should really think twice about removing clothes in public, my hair is no longer long or dark and never was wavy, I'm actually a bit scared of horses, and, unfortunately, am not living in a Mills and Boon novel, this will probably never happen.
Sillage: don't know, nobody said anything apart from my Newfoundland who barked at me. Longevity: moderate.
04th September, 2015

Montforte 2 by Mazzolari

Light, fresh, sparkling and feminine floral. The orange and Jasmine combine perfectly to create a tangy, slightly sweet aura. Not powdery. I'm surprised there are no aldehydes listed as the effect is effervescent. Reccomended.
04th September, 2015

Triton by Blackbird

This is quite pretty. And I mean that. It feels pretty. It's well constructed, and it is unassuming. Those of us that enjoy the more earthy scents I think will appreciate this one and enjoy wearing it.

Though it is dry, I think it may be worn in the fall, though spring would be its ideal partner. I'm not sure how it would do in summer, and I doubt it would be wearable in winter - at least not on my skin.

The violet leaf is very prominent to my nose, with vetiver in the deep background. Incense may very well be present, but I think it must be mild because it is not overwhelming. The carrot seed can be detected, but it is nothing like found in ISM (thank GOD!), and the mimosa is entangled nicely with the violet leaf.

Though this is not the next hottest thing on the market, it is quite lovely, and for those who enjoy peaceful fragrances, with earthy feels, this will get lots of wear!
04th September, 2015

Zola Jesus Taiga X Blackbird by Blackbird

Alrighty, then.

Let me begin by saying, on first sniff, I thought this was a possible purchase; it had that House of Matriarch Blackbird feel to it.

But, then I sprayed it on, and all my hopes and dreams dissolved into a puddle of, well, I'm not sure what.

Here's the weird part - if you smell it in just the right way, it is absolutely gorgeous! I mean, I could buy a full bottle! But then, if you smell it the wrong way, it turns on you like that wild lynx you once brought home thinking you were cool and could tame it.

I don't know what happened in the laboratory with this scent - it's confusing. It has all the right stuff, but there is a structural problem that needs to be worked out before I can enjoy wearing it.

It's of course quite possible that when I had the initial impression of HOM's Blackbird, my expectations were raised to an unreasonable height, which left this poor thing flailing, but on it's own, and on my skin, it just doesn't make me run to my savings account and wonder "should I?".

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I never brought home a lynx. It was just a feral cat whose tail had been mangled by some wild animal and had to be amputated. She was pretty interesting, though. First day of my new school in 6th grade, she left me a gift - a bunny she had beheaded. Sweet.
04th September, 2015
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Séville à l'Aube by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Seville a l'Aube is a stunningly beautiful fragrance that is both uplifting and sensuous. It actually gives me goosebumps when I put it on!

I have worn this in the summer months but may well continue into autumn with it as well. The main notes my skin bring out are orange blossom, honey and lavender. I must smell like a bee magnet.

Duchaufour has created another little gem. It lasts well and sillage is good.
04th September, 2015

Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors

This fragrance is not just a resinous take on vanilla but is far more, imo. Imaginary Authors Memoirs of a Trespasser unfolds by soon its cozy/comforting temperament in terms of extremely resinous stuff. There is some green-herbal earthiness and almost liturgical smokiness but the aroma is mostly about seasoned resins, "sweet woods" and benzoinic vanilla with a secret touch of spicy-silky leather "on the dark back side". In particular the not listed leather is something dodgy and smooth that my investigating nose is able to catch somewhere in the blend. I actually detect indeed a sort of "Indie-Slumberhousesque" kind of sticky-sugary/bitter accord of leather, benzoin, "perfumed woods", beeswax, tobacco and a touch of mossiness (Jeke, Baque and Sova jump vaguely on mind). I detect furthermore the typical Memo's smooth accord of soft leather, resins, vanilla and aromatic musks that I get for instance in Italian Leather. Resins in here are seriously warm and kind of organic on my skin while gaiac wood (joined with tobacco/vanille) provides "ambiental" roundness. The juice smells/looks really oily on me and there is in the general perception something pleasantly sticky and rubbery-amberish with a tad of dirty/acid dissonance. I get also a sort of cozy elicited atmosphere all around the wearer, something conjuring antique books, fireplaces, refined tobacco (kind of vanilla flavoured tobacco), old-style wooden fornitures, some fine scotch whisky and leather. Gradually the warm-animalic resins slightly recede in intensity while vanilla starts jumping on the stage with its charge of spicy-seasoned flavour and dark-smokey warmth. Anyway the main accord of ambrette seeds as joined with something waxy-honeyed and spicy-resinous (a touch of frankincense?) is responsible about the seriously thick and massive (though finally smooth) general consistency. I get the connection with scents a la Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille and Mona di Orio Vanilla (I get also several "conjurarions" about the Amouage Interlude Man/Jacques Zolty by Zolty's dry down with its resinous dusty-herbal and weirdly woodsy-mineral backbone) but in here the aroma is pleasantly peculiar and finally warmer (a warmth about fur, soft leather and woods). A really dark and sensual resinous fragrance. I see a rich gorgeous accord of resins, balsams, tobacco and leather with perfect balance, the fairest level of sweetness, a well calibrated touch of spices and a great amount of multifaceted mystic elegance. The synthetic dimension is never beyond the average. Finally I weirdly detect (in the middle of resins and musks) a sort of aromatic-anisic stormy undertone a la Spazio di Krizia Uomo and a pencil shavings vibe a la Montana Graphite. A beautiful little creation with a touch of nostalgic "old-fashion".

P.S: dry down is less intensely leathery-resinous and more woody-cedary.
03rd September, 2015 (last edited: 04th September, 2015)
drseid Show all reviews
United States

I Miss Violet by The Different Company

I Miss Violet opens with smooth carrot-like iris and bright slightly aqueous, semi-metallic violet leaf. Moving to the early heart the composition turns mild to moderately powdery, as the violet leaf gives way to a floral violet and supple suede leather starring tandem with the iris remaining in significant support. During the late dry-down the leather turns somewhat more rugged and more pronounced as it joins a deep, natural smelling vague woody accord and dark musk with just a hint of underlying vanilla-derived sweetness through the finish. Projection is below average and longevity just above average at 9-10 hours on skin.

The Collection Excessive offerings have been the real standouts in The Different Company's line-up, so any new release bearing that moniker demands attention and I Miss Violet is its latest entrant. The first thing one notices when the composition is applied on skin is it has a very different presentation of violet and violet leaf than one might expect. The presentation here is just as much about smooth iris and suede leather as it is about the violet, semi-metallic leaf and all. The last time I was this surprised in a violet presentation (in a good way) was Violette Fumee by the late, great Mona Di Orio. The two compositions really are dissimilar for the most part, but both commendably take the violet and show true innovation in its presentation and use with other materials. The late dry-down on the other hand is a more mundane though competent leathery woody affair, but the journey getting to it is quite worthwhile. My main gripe with the composition is its performance metrics are far from stellar. At this kind of price point, one expects a bit more oomph than the near-skin scent found here, and a bit more tenacity wouldn't go amiss either. That said, middling performance metrics aside, I Miss Violet is a fine creation by the talented Bertrand Duchaufour that while maybe is just a hair behind the other offerings in Collection Excessive, holds its own against most peers rather well. The bottom line is the $245 per 50ml I Miss Violet is a largely successful, innovative release marred only slightly by its semi-dodgy performance metrics, earning it a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation to all except those seeking a powerhouse (or those hunting superb value, as $245 per 50ml with this kind of performance is a bit of a tough sell).
03rd September, 2015

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

Absolutely bloody marvellous scent.
I tested today comparing a sample of 2010 vintage and a bottle bought last month from Geneva airport duty free. The review is the same for both except that the one marked difference I found was that the 2010 version held on to its "power" phase much longer before it became a skin scent. Otherwise, frankly, I couldn't tell the difference.
It starts off eye-watering petrol, grease, with leather (or sweaty skin?) underneath. A bit later I also get a medicinal (Germoline) thing going on. You have to get your head round all that, but when you do, you'll want to keep going back and spraying it over and over again. Then, strong leather, the most fantastic leather scent ever. And a bit of lavender.
It's pure cave man in its power phase. Like a super macho, cool, handsome car mechanic putting on his leather jacket after his shift. Yet really classy and unique at the same time. It makes me feel like I'm Marlon Brando on a motorbike.
Longevity: long. Silage: for me, moderate (aka BIG)
Love the stuff. The original is still better than all the flankers.
How could any man not want this?
September 2015
03rd September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Scuderia Ferrari Black Signature by Ferrari

Imagine some overripe fruit sat on a sweaty vinyl car seat on a hot day. Now push your nose into it. Good so far? Proceed to eBay with your tenner and rejoice.
03rd September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Republic of Men by Banana Republic

A nice fruity-woody scent with a light, non-nauseating plum note and a decent sandalwoodish drydown. There's a hint of ripe banana in there but I suspect an olfactory illusion due to the name (or maybe because I ate a banana soon after applying my sample).

Rather sweet, it smells a bit like a less bombastic version of La Nuit de Chav by YSL. However, I would not be ashamed to present this as a gift to one of my grateful goggle-eyed libidinous nephews.
03rd September, 2015
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Sauvage by Christian Dior

My expectations for Sauvage weren’t extremely low, but neither that high for sure. I was convinced it was probably better than the undeserved skepticism it seems getting here and there from fragrance snobs, but nothing groundbreaking for sure. Now that I’ve finally snatched a sample, I must say it quite reflects the idea I had about it – and actually, it is slightly better than I expected. First of all, in broad terms, it is probably right to consider this the first “Dior’s Bleu de Chanel” (or name another fragrance like that), as the league is more or less the same; but contrary to Bleu de Chanel (and most of similar scents), besides showing a clearly better quality, Sauvage avoids any boring, pretentious, preppy middle-class mannerism and adds a subtle touch of pungent vibrancy, of “rawness” as the name suggests. It is in fact a compelling contemporary take on a classic green fougère theme, opening with a bracing, peppery, crisp green-bergamot accord with a peculiar sort of “cedrat” heart, something bitter and earthy that provides a really nice sort of musky-sour shade to the crisp, fresh leafiness of the main accord. And then there’s a subtle, yet deep base of synthetic ambergris enhanced by some generic woods – “generic” means here nothing smelling overly cheap, but surely not the greatest woody notes around.

So imagine a quite classic and apparently mannered green masculine scent centered on pepper, citrus notes and dry ambery woods with some mossy patchouli lingering below, and give it a modern shape with an exotic, and slightly sombre touch halfway “organic” and “futuristic” (thanks to the cleverly-fitting warm and “grey” note of ambroxan). I must note that Sauvage feels quite much dry throughout its evolution, which I guess may be taken as a “masculine” added value, and also shows a pleasantly nondescript sort of dark, bitter-fizzy feel with a Mediterranean vibe, which reminds me of the balmy smell of air on a cloudy day in some woodland by the sea. Quite some interesting contrasts, overall: dryness, bitterness, warmth. So, again: an office-safe scent for sure, but in no way cheap or uncreative. Nothing exciting, but nothing bad to say the least. It just offers the right tiny amount of creativity within a “pop”, crowdpleasing frame. I think Demachy did quite a nice job in creating a deceptively generic fragrance with some sparkles of dark rawness. And I also appreciate the fact Sauvage smells really simple overall, almost minimalistic composition-wise, and with no overly cheap nuances. Simply put, it smells nice and it isn’t boring at all. As hours pass the ambroxan-woody-patchouli base takes the main stage, making Sauvage smell darker, warmer, dustier, more (again, “generically” ) classy and less bitter, with also some (good!) vetiver popping out. Still quite dry but at the same time quite comforting and sophisticated.

To cut it short, I think this is a good fragrance, quite more peculiar than it may seem at a first rushed test, and I think it is fully justified for Dior to have something like this among their range. Not everything has to be creative, or flashy, or (more or less faithfully) luxury or make some “statement”. Sauvage is a quality, discreet everyday scent with a seducing dark-organic twist and a nice evolution, smooth enough to appeal classic wearers but quality enough to be worthy a sniff for everybody else, including niche-heads. And it would surely be a mistake to dismiss this too early labelling it mediocre or cheap, since it isn’t either of the two. I probably wouldn’t buy this, but I’m glad Dior introduced it.

03rd September, 2015

Polo Supreme Oud by Ralph Lauren

This is a moderately good fragrance and a real surprise from a house like Ralph Lauren. Not since original Polo has such a manly kind of fragrance emerged from Polo. This is a strong oud or agarwood central aroma supported nicely by gaiac wood and vetiver to leave a mossy deep woods kind of base note. If there wasn't a big dose of spice + pepper coating the top notes, this would have been a better fragrance for me. This strong cinnamon, pink pepper (bay?) turns the subtle fragrance to a less sophisticated cousin of Creed Royal Oud. The spice influence here is quite strong and over shadows the excellent oudish green base and also adds some sweetness to the scent. I would give this one a 7 of 10 rating. It could have been better if the aromatics in the opening act were drier and darker - an effect derived from cocoa in Shay and Blue's Oud Alif or also as in PG Coze 04's coffee note. Supreme Oud is a decent effort though, and I am sure many people will enjoy it.
02nd September, 2015

Fahrenheit Absolute by Christian Dior

Tested from a sample today and tonight.
It's true it's a shame this has been discontinued. I have F original and F Parfum and like all three, although they're all different.
F Absolute is closer to the original, especially at the start. It's intensive violets, which I love (reminds me only in this part of the intense parma violet start of the vintage Grey Flannel) and that signature F petroly tarmacy smell. For me too there is a time of a sort of medicinal note that made me think of the antiseptic cream Germoline. I agree with others who have referred to churches, a kind of Medieval/Gothic vibe. At the beginning at least I could imagine a dark-cloaked figure (actually of either sex) pouring over an ancient arcane manuscript in an empty church, the stone cold and dark.
However for me it quickly becomes much brighter with the lovely powdery violets coming through even more. I guess the cloaked figure walks out of the church into the bright autumn sun, flings back her (on reflection a dark-haired woman) cloak and walks briskly and with purpose out of the churchyard. The end is a pleasant, powdery skin scent.
For me the longevity was a bit disappointing: only a couple of hours until the skin-scent stage. A word of warning about the sillage: I got used to the scent incredibly quickly, thinking it wasn't projecting at all....It was!
I also received a compliment about it from a friend who normally gleefully tells me "no" to 9 out of 10 of the fragrances I've tried, so this is a good sign.
Overall very lovely. I don't think it would ever have replaced the original F for me, but if it hadn't been discontinued, I most probably would have bought a bottle eventually.
PS also love the dark and dangerous black and red bottle design.
September 2015
02nd September, 2015

Garuda by Jul et Mad

Garuda is not a bad fragrance per se, but I had been expecting so much more at this price point. The opening notes of cumin, rum, and orange are a drunken, sweaty pirate pleasure for a while, but then it all gets dunked in a bath of sugar syrup.

Actually, the sugary, boozey oud-vanilla feeling I get from Garuda is almost identical to what I get from Arabian cheapies such as Ameer al Oudh,Raghba Wood Intense and even 24 Gold. The sweetness and woodiness of Garuda are on par with those.

The Cambodian oud note, when I can isolate it, is lovely - honeyed, with hints of dried fruit, and darkly woody. I have no idea whether any real oud was used or not, but at this price, one can only hope...

Unfortunately, the delicate oud note used here is somewhat swamped by a charred, woody aromachemical called Timbersilk. After the first few hours, all I can smell is the Timbersilk.

For me, Garuda is therefore a rather pedestrian "Western" oud fragrance with a strong woody ambery chemical aftertaste, and although I'm sure the materials used are top notch compared to Arabian cheapies, the difference (in smell) is not so great as to justify the price demanded for the Jul et Mad version.

I know I'm in the minority here because everyone seems to be going ape%^& over Garuda, but honestly, I would rather go for any of the more honestly-priced Arabian cheapies over this, or save up for a really amazing Western oud interpretation, such as Oud Shamash by The Different Company or MFK Oud.

02nd September, 2015

Black by Comme des Garçons

I left Ireland for Bosnia when I was 22, without so much as a backwards glance. Over the following 16 years when people asked me if I missed home, I would always be startled and say yes – automatically – but it wasn’t quite true. I just never thought of home as being anywhere other than wherever I was right then.

I never realized that the gene for “home” was carried deep within my DNA until one dark night when I stepped out of a snow-stalled car into the deserted crossroads of a tiny village in Bosnia and was hit in the solar plexus by a waft of smoke from a coal fire.

Not just one – dozens of coal fires. All sending plumes of sweet-smelling smoke into the black, starless sky. In my mind’s eye, I could see walls covered with centuries of soot, men huddling round the heart smoking cigarettes, and the fingers of women putting more coal on the fire.

My mother’s fingers, black with soot. In that moment, every cell in my body ached to be back home, watching the familiar sight of her white fingers gingerly placing another coal on the flames, egged on by her always-cold children. Was she sitting beside her fire now, thinking of her first child, wondering if she was cold?

Comme des Garcons Black is the smell of home to me. It smells of coal dust, sweet woodsmoke, frankincense, dry cedar logs, licorice, and finally, in its dying moments, a salt-encrusted leather belt. Not of these things directly but of these things burned on a fire and sent out into the crisp, cold air of a Northern night sky as a single curl of smoke. Every time I spray it on, I experience a joy like that of launching into a sudden run.

If I were being picky, I’d say that the projection and longevity and projection of Black leave much to be desired. But I’m content with this in a quasi eau de cologne format. I’d be afraid that any attempt to make Black stronger would compress all the air out of its airy weightlessness. I like that Black takes the form of coal dust mites, shifting as you move; acting as your own personal force field.

I’ve long been looking for a smoky, woodsy birch tar fragrance that hits this exact spot – the coal-fire-in-Bosnia spot. I love Le Labo Patchouli 24 for coming close, but the vanilla syrup makes me pause, and Bois d’Ascese is far too dense and acrid. Memoir Man does smoky, charred woods and Frankincense beautifully, but it has a somber, sulky feel that might prove difficult. Black, to me, is what you might get if you were to put all these perfumes through a Photoshop filter and apply a filter to reduce the density by 70%. Black does indeed smell truly “black” but it’s more a sheer wash of color rather than a thick daub of oil.

I love it. It’s the first Comme des Garcons perfume for which I’ve been able to locate a heartbeat. I admire their modernist approach but something in their stripped-down aesthetic usually leaves me cold. Here there’s both an emotional core and a minimalism that’s entirely in keeping with the house signature. Maybe the heart bit is all me, but I do feel there’s something warm and human about Black.

02nd September, 2015

Nahéma by Guerlain

I first made a point of searching out Nahema in the early 90s, after reading an interview of Shirley Manson (from the band Garbage) in which she said Nahema was the ONLY perfume as far as she was concerned.

At the time I remember thinking that it was too loud and too full of aldehydes for me personally. And searching for a rose I can wear well - that doesn't go too shrill - I wanted to see what I thought of it all these years later.

It's definitely in the Chamade camp, more green and hyacinth and juicy and tart than the musty/mossy vanilla powder of the earlier Guerlains. This time I had been assuming "bombshell", so I've been impressed by its tenderness and innocence, though when you first spray it, it's got such presence that it sure can make you feel a bit high!

Certainly Nahema is beautifully done and even transcendent; so maybe this is blasphemy, but I actually like it best layered sparingly over a foundation of something a little dirty, even Shalimar! When I wear Nahema on its own, it's a sustained peachy rose until it's nothing at all, and it's actually quite linear for how kaleidoscopic it is, if that makes sense.

02nd September, 2015

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Quite surprised I like this as much as I do because at first sniff I was very disappointed. I guess the bergamot layered over ambroxan gives too much a metallic citrus rind tartness to the opening. But this leaves quickly. I have rarely met an ambroxan fragrance that I didn't like and Sauvage stays on my good side right through the black pepper mid notes that reflect a darker nature of the Johnny Depp poster for Sauvage. The black pepper, ambroxan and geranium are pleasant while taking me down the dark and mysterious path leading to the vetiver and patchouli base. Nice clean finish. The patchouli was noticeable with its cool subtext and that's a good thing for me. Sauvage is a thoroughly enjoyable fragrance without being too generic which I thought it might be. Everyone won't love this fragrance, but that's ok, I don't want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Sauvage is different enough to avoid getting lost in designer dreck while allowing its wearers to keep some individuality. As if Dior needs a decent fragrance to sell, with Johnny Depp's endorsement it sells itself - and quickly. My sales associate confided in me that "Johnny Depp actually designed this fragrance himself and Dior just put their name on it!!!" I was glad to know this little secret! I might get a bottle anyway, or might not. Arrh!
02nd September, 2015

BalMan by Pierre Balmain

Balman de Balmain opens "familiarly" with an almost intoxicating (herbal-aromatic, synthetically amberish, slightly plastic, spicy-resinous, bitter-sweet, vaguely salty and kind of spicy-humid) blast conjuring me "invigorating openings" a la Lancetti IL, Cassini for Men by Oleg Cassini, Ca' Luna by Acqua di Biella and on a certain extent recalling scents a la Gaultier Le Male Beau, Kiton Black (less spicy-resinous), Trussardi Inside For Men and Paco Rabanne One Million. Under this dusty-wet (synthetically benzoinich-resinous) stardust I get a basic angular, subtle and classic accord of citrus, grapefruit, green notes, bergamot and woods (mostly cedarwood) a la Roma Uomo by Laura Biagiotti/Kiton Black (both surely close in part to Balmain Balman in aroma in spite of their less resinous consistency). There is a sort of "mastic tree/leather-like" herbal-plastic-peppery aura all around which makes me to think in particular at scents a la Acqua di Biella Ca' Luna with its combination of fresh-spicy herbal notes, mastic tree/galbanum, pepper, sharp floral notes (geranium in here?), pencil shavings woods and musky-rubbery leather (overall surrounded by a minimal touch of intoxicating-rubbery balsams a la One Million plus kind of marine saltiness and soft gummy leather). Frankly I find Balman kind of generic and decidedly synthetic despite I can deny these type of warmly plastic modern juices turn out appealing to vulgar standardized crowd. I can't deny to catch on my skin a partially stimulating "synthetically visceral" amberish sensuality which knows to be warm, pungent and vaguely sultry. Balman is a typical clubbing modern scent, anyway versatile and easy to wear. Along dry down, as soon as spiciness and herbal-benzoinic dust are faded away, I get a chemical "Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet-like" sort of aura around the wearer (slightly "silicone veined", namely kind of metallic-plastic and artificially leatherish). This is the part I almost dislike while I find the "Lancetti IL-type" of opening far more interesting and multi-veined. Anyway not my cup of tea despite I can't write about a total failure. Pass by.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Covent Garden by Jack

This is only half a review as I couldn't wear this for more than 20 minutes.

The opening and heart are too much for me -- like sour booze with a slug of ginger - made my eyes water.

For all I know, the drydown may be lovely, but I will let others find that out.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Millésime Impérial by Creed

This is about the fifth time I have tried this. I thought I might stumble into a wonderful batch.
MI just doesn't work for me. The opening accord tanks imo -- sweet and saline jut means hissy in my book.

The drydown is ok and lasts a fair while on me, but this overriding salty screechiness just won't go away and it comes across as just too synthetic.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

So wrapped up in the wonder of Cuiron then and now, I never gave the original EDP much of a look in.

The re-issue is just wonderful in a powdery, musky, ambery type way.

Think of a cranked up Ambrette 9 with a touch of spice.

A must have imo.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Mr. Vetiver by Une Nuit à Bali

I love these sort of vetivers -- fresh, bracing, full of life. Almost the complete antithesis of the Tauer and MPG versions.

Second only to the Lubin vetiver and reasonably priced, it has a lovely long lasting drydown.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Lights by Roads

I am not sure who this is aimed at but the top notes almost floored me.

There is just too much going on and seems like an exercise in bombast.

Ylang, clove, violet -- in nuclear proportions.

Not for me, but worth seeking out just to try.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Cloud 9 by Roads

Austere packaging (nice) hides an unexpectedly rich, clean fragrance, especially in the opening, which is fresh and floral. This soon gives way to a sort of soapy mix of vanilla and a woody type musk. Not what I call a 'serious' fragrance, but it sure is comforting.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Aqua Universalis Forte by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I agree with the 'aromatic' label here rather than a 'citrus'. The rose and jasmine create a wonderful accord which surprisingly lasts a very long time. Slightly veers towards a 'feminine' but not enough for me to worry about it. The EDP is much better than the original imo.
Versatile and gorgeous.
01st September, 2015

Vibrant by Boadicea the Victorious

The opening of Vibrant is indeed quite vibrant, and quite peculiar too. At first, it strongly reminded me of some vintage fragrances by Etro; not a specific one, just rather that same sort of exotic and mysterious allure many of them had, centered on musky spices and dusty resins. There’s patchouli (quite à la vintage Etro Patchouli), some odd animalic amber, musk, a – for me – nondescript moldy and camphorous note with a subtle floral shade (rose?), some tingling spices, earthy woods, and also a subtle layer of quite well-crafted and tobacco-infused leather. All feels “antique”, nostalgic, dusty, quite gloomy – I see other online reviewers mention Mona di Orio, and in fact I agree with some similarity to her world (well, the world she was able to express in the 2-3 scents which aren’t parodies of a scent). No fresh citrus and no whatever “bright” side for me, although I do get a slight and completely non-fresh citrus note – rather musky and pungent, more a “cedrat” note than an ordinary citrus.

The blend smells simple and complex at once; there’s not many notes involved here, but each of them seems presented under a creative and unusual light. And also their, say, imaginary displacement in the overall design is creative and evocative, in a way that for some inexplicable reasons, makes Vibrant strongly remind me of a closet which once contained scented clothes, their sillage still exuding from the wood walls. A sort of dusty, melancholic, smooth yet pungent stale aroma which contains a sort of distant “echo” of the composition you read – say, it feels like a sort of “desatured”, washed-out version of the fragrance you would imagine by reading the notes. And by this I don’t mean it feels light or dull, on the contrary it’s quite bold and clear, but all feels imprisoned within a decadent cloud of camphorous and musky nuances, and an interesting, realistic frame of dusty, and again moldy hard woods. I don’t know how they did that, but the final result is quite intriguing. It’s classy, dark and seducing. Sadly though, the scent is quite linear, quickly reaching a way less interesting drydown smelling mostly of musky woods, and both persistence and projection aren’t top notch. Still surely one of the nicest Boadicea out there.

01st September, 2015

Crave by Calvin Klein

Crave is a bold cross between Yohji Homme and CK's Truth for Women, and its death knell was trying to be both at once. Anyone who is familiar with Royal Copenhagen's Viking will recognize a vaguely pleasant yet overly misdirected jumble of notes which almost pan out yet drydown to a great mess. It's fruity, watery, herbal, and refreshing and quite androgynous in the CK manner but it quickly becomes quite cloying. It is almost a good idea but really better left dead.
01st September, 2015