Perfume Reviews

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Kotori Show all reviews
United States

Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain

Whoah! Aldehydes! Those are new for Shalimar. It takes me a minute or two to be able to recognize any Shalimar here. At first it's a sharp-sweet aldehydic floral and while I know there is likely bergamot, it's hard to detect. After a bit that tonka/leather/vanilla thing that is Shalimar's base arrives, and I can make the flanker connection. The citrus is brighter-- more like a tangerine note than the lemon/bergamot for which Shalimar is famous. The citrus I can detect is more reminiscent of the bright, aldehydic citrus in No. 5 L'Eau. Later, a heavy dose of white musk announces its presence loudly. Finally, a patchouli note sashays in and steals the spotlight.

This is a far less citric and astringent Shalimar, with the tonka and white noise turned up and the smoke, citrus, and rich vanilla turned down. It's not as dark, bright, or sweaty as Shalimar. I like this better than Shalimar Soufflé; it's not as thin. It's fine-tuned to attract the gourmand-loving 20- and 30-somethings to whom things like Black Opium were directed. It's lovely, and I think I'd like it a lot if I weren't expecting it to be Shalimar.
19th October, 2017

Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

Montana Parfum d'Homme, on the surface, is a spicy aromatic fragrance with an emphasis on the herbal-spicy aspects. It's difficult to discern it in terms of notes, as it is densely blended and very well-crafted; there is a floral note in there, but is wrapped in all the dense, green and dry elements, and an accord that hints at tobacco and leather. On my skin this tobacco-leather accord takes over after the initial burst of spices, and persists into the later stages of dry down, where it becomes more leathery. This is leather component is spicy, rustic, akin to spices and tobacco wrapped in leather, and there is a green element that accompanies throughout, eventually revealing a slight mossy character. On my skin Parfum d'Homme lasts a good six hours, and sillage is close but persistent.

Parfum d'Homme appears very similar to Havana, one of my favourites, but there are some differences. Havana is oilier, while Parfum d'Homme is more dry. Havana has a greater emphasis on tobacco, even more dense and spicy (prominent bay), and the tobacco makes Havana just a tad sweeter (relatively). Parfum d'Homme is slightly more refined in demeanour, and the leather is more pronounced in the late development.

While I am partial to Havana, Parfum d'Homme is an excellent choice for anyone looking to spice up slightly their daily perfuming regimen.

18th October, 2017

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

I've worn this for around 20 years now.This one is hard for me to put into words.

Let me just say...masterpiece.

18th October, 2017
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Shooting Stars: Kobe by Xerjoff

My first Xerjoff and one I am surprised has remained below my radar for a while.

A gorgeous floriental. One of the most long-lasting neroli (orange blossom) scents I can ever imagine, with a slightly oud-like woody/ambery dry-down.

I went through a 20ml decant over this summer and have already cracked open my 100ml bottle. Projection is superb as is longevity.

It will possibly be my last Xerjoff though as well as my first. I haven't been impressed with the new bottles, neither does the smell of a reformulation excite me much. A definite thumbs up though.
18th October, 2017

Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

Everyone knows of or has smelled the original Acqua di Gio. It was the smell of the late 90s for quite some time. Some teenagers still swear by it. A great summery aquatic.

Profumo however is Acqua di Gio for year-round, all ages, all occasions enjoyment. I first tried and bought my bottle in the spring and it went down really well. Now that the weather is getting cooler though, I really see the benefits of this one.

Acqua di Gio with ambrox as I like to call it, Profumo is for those that hated the original. Like me, I don't like smelling like everyone else, but it's definitely unique enough given what is currently out there.

Another one where 'a little goes a long way', so try not to overspray. It tends to disappear and reappear throughout the day, but I can still smell whiffs of it on me at evening shower point (usually 12hrs plus since applying).

If there is incense in the base, it has been blended very well with the sage and rosemary notes (which I love by the way), though I can't pick them out individually.

All in all, a great year-round, crowd-pleasing scent at an affordable price point if you look around a bit.
18th October, 2017

Antaeus by Chanel

I've often gone through many bottles of scent before settled on something for sure. Often this means much sampling, wearing in different settings, weather and so on. It takes a while for me to like a scent but alas we often get the kick when we least expect it and from the least obvious person or association.

Antaeus to me was dismissed many years ago as a "grandpa" scent as a cousin of mine once said. But that's when Chanel produced duds and before I became a fragrance freak.

It was the concept brought about by "Ambra" of Acqua di Parma's signle note collection that made me wonder "rose and leather - really?". I hated the AdP for its content of norlimbanol but the idea stuck in my head that this had been thought of before. Reading a blog later that month dawned on me that this was indeed a case of deja vu - Antaeus!

The slightly rosey, beeswaxy, leathery and soapy-clean scent that I dismissed before, trying and re-trying to understand or like is what caught my eye (nose?) not long before.

As luck would have it, I stumbled on a vintage bottle of the regular EdT (not the Sport version). It's not that far off the current stuff (2017 - well done Chanel!) and the strength of this means you need to go easy on the trigger. It's perfect for casual or formal. You get whiffs of it throughout the day and my young kids think it makes me smell like I've just got out of the shower. What a scent! Way ahead of its time and that soapy clean/rose/beeswax combination make this quite unique. Perfectly balanced and do be enjoyed responsibly (i.e. in reasonable doses).
18th October, 2017

Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland

Having received a sample of "Patrick" from a fellow BNer, I was taken back by this classic green fougere. Basenotes has opened my eyes to plenty of scents over the years and Patrick has filled yet another void.

From the description and other reviews, I compared this one to Castle Forbes 1445 which is in fact very similar to Patrick. However, Patrick is more wearable, projects better and lasts longer. Sort of strange give its price point, but it goes to show that a good perfume doesn't have to cost the earth.

The pine and "green" moss notes fit the description perfectly. It's an ideal scent to wear on wet or murky days which are just all too common in the British Isles.

Here's to "Patrick" and Ireland!
18th October, 2017

Halle Pure Orchid by Halle Berry

More fruity than floral, to my nose. It's pretty. It is another "safe" celebrity fragrance. Nothing "rocks-the-boat" here. I barely detect any orchid, unfortunately. A satisfactory workplace perfume.
18th October, 2017

Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

It's impressive what perfumers can do. They don't always bottle what they say they are or they can create an effect, an accord.

One such example is Musc Ravageur. You'd be forgiven for thinking this has musk in it, or even any of the dodgy associations some have suggested the opening of this scent contains.

Ultimately, the effect the lavender/bergamot combo creates in the opening, combined with the spices of cinnamon and clove (in true Malle style) from the heart, it's very easy to mistake Musc Ravageur for a musk or animalic powerhouse. Yet it is what it is. And to the untrained nose it's easy to be fooled into thinking there is nothing there.

This is a true gourmand. Slightly powdery, ambery (vanilla & tonka bean dry down), spicy and long-lasting projection monster. Fans of Egoiste should take note as this has a structure that's surprisingly similar. It isn't a replica by any means, but the similarities are hard to ignore.

It definitely projects but doesn't get cloying if you know how much to use. Less is clearly more with Musc Ravageur. Don't be tempted to over spray unless you want to head for the shower later on.

All in all the fougere comparison is also justified as it ticks all the boxes, but the added spice and 'harsher' smelling opening make it far from a traditional aromatic fougere.

Expect this to last for weeks on clothes and fabrics from any version. So be sure not to wear the same clothes with another scent the next day as you'll still smell of Musc Ravageur!
18th October, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Green Tea by Demeter Fragrance Library

In the first moments I am hit with a slightly sharp ozonic blast that is not necessarily a pleasant one. After a while, when the biochemical blast settles, gradually the green tea emerges. Initially it is very faint, develops overtime into a recognisable and at times pleasant free tea impression, with a gentle honey undertone and whiffs of mild spiciness.

After a couple of hours this dies down and evaporates, but towards the end it is resurrected and appears once more. On my skin the green tea notes is very nice and now expresses a truly convincing green tea aroma for about an hour, albeit close to my skin - then it is over and gone.

I get weak sillage, just adequate projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

The eventual green tea note in this spring scent might be worth waiting for, but overall this weakly performing creation needs more to fully convince. 2.5/5.

18th October, 2017

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

I remember smelling the tester in store, it has a somewhat sweet green grass note on top. Not as ethereal as Apsu, and sometimes I can't perceive it at all.

Back home, it then fell to the very peppery woody heart (black hemlock?). Except that, it has an oily facet. If you've smelled violet leaf essential oil, you'll know what I'm talking about. Sometimes it has a dry-tea leaves scent.

The opening sweetness didn't disappear completely, it's lurking somewhere in the background. In the meantime, the main note is still a bit sour and astringent, as you can imagine from a dry cedar base. It even turns to the slightly bitter side after dry-down.

18th October, 2017

Mitsouko by Guerlain

I read another fragrantica review about Guerlains, which propose an explaination why this truly legendary brand not as popular as it was: they're not those over-the-counter 5-minutes-fame perfumes, they're mean to be take-home and appreciated in a longer time frame. Most people don't have the patience now.

Now that I've experienced mitsouko, I can't agree more with this review.

First time I tried mitsouko at counter, the sales person burst into laugh when they saw the grimace I made: the opening is a bit off-putting. It has a rather medicinal note which appears in a lot of old Guerlains, and I still don't know what caused it. I also get that inky/wet oakmoss tone on top. The rest of it is soft-fresh spice smell, not sweet, not warm, not harsh.

I just let it sit on my arms and went home, planning to scrub it off as soon as I can. By one accident sniff I was captured: it turns into something divine. The only note I can pick out is peach, not in a realistic way——frankly speaking, a lot of realistic peach only make me feel they tried too hard——but rather...lazy and comforting, not unlike a beauty lies blithely on the bed of aforementioned spicy accords, as if she did not know how charming she is.

So Guerlain teachs me a lesson: never judge a perfume by its opening, especially old classics like mitsouko.
18th October, 2017

Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Every time I tried it on I get different ideas. This perfume is a Rubik's cube, my dumb brain can only work out one face at a time.

The most current version I got is: vivid rose blast at opening, accompanied by something strongly reminiscent of oud(incense?), with some sort of spicy animalistic undertone. A panther hide in rose bushes. If I get close enough, there is a soothing aspect of aldehyde.

The rose, thankfully, doesn't have the indolic feel as in Une Rose, possibly due to some fruity softener that I couldn't tell. My skin stays a battlefield between army of red rose and slightly pungent musk. After an hour or so, rose is utterly defeated and the musk decimated, a vast land of patchouli finally reveal itself.

If it really is a portrait of a certain lady, then it's the portrait of Rebecca, the devious and charming mistress of Manderley.
18th October, 2017
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Cèdre by Serge Lutens

This is Serge Lutens does Le Labo, as in the name is not at all indicative of the perfume. What I smell in cedre is syrupy amber, tuberose, spices and generic wood notes, in that order. It begins with a nice promising blast of tuberose that is rich, slightly spicy (clove and cinnamon), but is soon drowned out by a syrupy amber. This amber accord dominates and prevails into the late dry down, where barely discernible sweet woody notes emerge. Sillage and duration are more than adequate.

I'm always ready to look past names (what's in a name?), but Cedre leaves me cold. There are tons of better tuberose fragrances (including one from Serge Lutens...), better amber fragrances (again, including one from Serge Lutens...) and the amber accord here is monotonous. Sure, Cedre smells nice, but is also one of the most boring scents I have encountered, especially beyond the first thirty minutes. All in all, severely underwhelming.

18th October, 2017

Midnight Fleur by Nest

The jasmine hides behind the orchid and wood, for quite some time. I can eventually smell it. The dry down is pleasant enough. A deep whiff reveals patchouli and amber. Overall, it is a milky, floral, oriental. Good, for late winter - early spring.
17th October, 2017

Insulo by Jeroboam

This is lovely. Three simple notes, but balanced and blended so beautifully that no one note shouts over the top of the other. Creamy vanilla, soft jasmine and delicate musk, all playing nicely together. It was quite sweet when it first went on, but that settled after a few minutes, and then I was sitting in a lovely soft cloud of musky, flowery vanilla. Chocolate isn’t listed as a note, but I also got wafts of chocolate. Longevity is pretty damn good – I got a good eight hours out of it. I think a lot of blokes might find this too sweet, but then again, I guess it would depend on the skin chemistry. It’s a super pretty scent, and I have a full bottle winging it's way to me as I type this. Very definite thumbs up!
17th October, 2017

Five O'Clock Au Gingembre by Serge Lutens

I cannot warm up to Serge Luten's take on tea and ginger, because of a couple of points - 1) The candied ginger note overpowers others and causes an imbalance in my experience, and 2) It is too sweet for me, considering its style. I would have preferred a stronger focus on tea, which is absent. My overall impression is of a sweet ginger scent. Now, I always associate and love ginger in fresh scents, which is not the case here. I don't particularly get any prominent patchouli, but more of a woody-musky accord that hints at amber and patchouli. Another issue I have with it is that the second half of its lifespan is unreasonably dull compared to what came before. Sillage is low key but persistent, and duration is adequate at about five to six hours.

Yes, it is perhaps one of the nicer abstract gourmands, but Five O'Clock Au Gingembre simply doesn't click personally, and I also rate several other abstract gourmands ahead of it, including Borneo 1834 from Serge Lutens.

17th October, 2017

Luna Rossa Extreme by Prada

Luna Rossa and
Black pepper extremified
With Prada's best schticks.
17th October, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Zahra by Swiss Arabian Perfumery

The opening notes are fruity: mainly a lovely orange, not really very sweet, with undertones of lychee and berries also present at times.

The drydown gradually turns is to floral mix, with muguet and jasmine in the foreground, but the initial fruitiness lingers well into the heart notes. Whiffs of a faint rose aroma come and go.

He base takes on a slightly honeyed character, which over time morphs into a pleasant vanilla impression. Touches of saffron arise, as does a woodsy background that is comparably nonspecific.

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

A pleasant scent for warmer spring or for cooler summer days, it is well-blended of ingredients of very good quality. Not super-creative, but crafted very well. 3.25/5.
17th October, 2017

Illicit by Jimmy Choo

Positive is my response. Along the first stage it seems to detect a sort of soapier and gentler Thierry Mugler Alien with a dominant (but definitely less "electronic") fresh (vaguely balsamic) sambac jasmine, some creamy orange blossoms and a huge dose of resinous/honeyed white woods. Rose (never earthy or leafy) provides a tad of "cosmetical - pink" delicate soapiness. Amber, musk and honey (a la Elie Saab Le Parfum) grow up gradually with all their dose of fairy elegy. Radiand and well appointed minimalist ambery-floral by Jimmy Choo. Dry down, after several hours is warmer and a tad less interesting.
17th October, 2017

Original Vetiver by Creed

Vetiver reduced
With the aid of soapy musks
To freshness itself.
17th October, 2017

Bulgari pour Homme Extreme by Bulgari

Bvlgari pour Homme Extreme is perhaps not brilliant, but it is remarkably good. It is a reasonably long-lasting fresh fragrance composed around a note of green tea. The whole Bvlgari pour Homme range (the original, this Extreme flanker, and the Soir flanker) centres around fresh takes on tea. Bvlgari Extreme has a similar take on tea (green tea) as the original, but is sharper, zestier and more invigorating. I detect fir, subtle herbs and spices that are typical of classic Italian fragrances, and a base of musk and woods. The note of tea is sustained throughout its development, from the initial herbs and citrus to the late drydown.

Bvlgari pour Homme Extreme works extremely well for me, and is a seamless composition, perfect proportions, fairly sophisticated and very elegant. Additionally, compared to the original which is a little muted, the Extreme version has just the right degree of sillage and adequate duration. Bvlgari Extreme is an easy recommendation given a lack of quality and interesting fresh fragrances, and its price makes it an absolute no-brainer.

17th October, 2017

Donna Karan Gold Sparkling by Donna Karan

Wintery. Woody and nutty. Woody, like old furniture in a barn. Nutty, from the combo of black locust, amber, patchouli, jasmine, and carnation. My second-hand bottle has none of the fruit / citrus notes, that are supposed to be present. It isn't a perfume I would wear everyday. However, it is unique.
16th October, 2017
MGW Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Vetiver Indien by Paul Emilien

Felt that this started really well and full of promise, but never quite got there and never quite developed. Top notes were so elating - it's worth a neutral but never got out of 1st year and longevity was approx 2.5hrs.
16th October, 2017

Luna Rossa by Prada

Bitter and citric
Is no way to go through life
Unless you're fragrance.
16th October, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Mukhalat Malaki by Swiss Arabian Perfumery

The opening is rose with saffron and amber. Initially the saffron dominates, but soon the amber pulls equal rank.

There is not one specific specific moment when the rose suddenly appears, but is grows very slowly to become an aroma that is, like a gossamer web, covering the whole in a very thin layer, more like a backgound atmosphere than a fully present independent note in the mix.

In the drydown the oud develops; a gentle out, rather soft with the harsh edge reduced to a faint minimum. This oud does not stand out like in so many other products, it is here a well integrated team player. In the base the oud is paired with cedar and small touches of sandalwood, whilst he amber penetrates it all until the end.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and twelve hours of longevity on my skin.

A nice, smooth autumnal scent composed of high quality ingredients that are well blended, and, in spite of being not particularly creative, being a nice creation with excellent performance. 3.25/5.
16th October, 2017

Santos Concentrée by Cartier

Santos rose from our
Table of perfumes and wine.
"Stay fragrant, my friends."
16th October, 2017
Kotori Show all reviews
United States

Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne

Ahhh... it makes a lot of sense to know Ralf Schwieger created this one. The style reminds me of Fils de Dieu or the Merveilles line. "Insane Vanilla" is a vanilla-dominant cologne (as in eau de) with a contrasting orange peel note and some supporting jasmine, moss, and woods. The jasmine blends well and whispers softly, never once attempting to overthrow the vanilla. It is a cold vanilla, based on the pod, not the extractor any baked goods featuring it. In the sense of coldness and darkness, it resembles Eau Duelle EDT by Diptyque, though not in the actual notes (other than the pod-based vanilla). This is one of my favorite ever vanillas, which I've learned after a two-year long vanilla quest. Very intelligently composed and modern.
16th October, 2017

Acqua di Parma Colonia Club by Acqua di Parma

This, to me, is Acqua di Parma Colonia meets a jarring synthetic mint note and a bunch of other fresh aromachemicals, thus rendering the composition loud and even obnoxious (as many other screechy mall fragrances), which is surprising given it's by Acqua di Parma. Then again, that might be an indication of the change of the times. I don't think this is inoffensive, as I am, at times, offended by the harshness. It smells closer to any sub-par designer release, or perhaps even like poorly reformulated drugstore scents that any discerning individual avoids.

More vulgar than dull. Best if avoided.

16th October, 2017

Black Afgano by Nasomatto

Amazing intensity, quality and my favorite from Nasomatto with Duro a close second.
Landshark described it perfectly, I don't have much to add.
Probably not the most versatile fragrance out there and definitely not work safe unless you work in a coffee shop in Amsterdam or undercover at a Phish concert.

One of my guilty pleasure scents.
15th October, 2017