Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Devin by Aramis

Bought a bottle of this in the late 70's.It was quite bold in flavour and projected well,had marvelous sillage and longevity. The quality of the the pine and cedar was superb and captured an ethereal, conifer quality I have rarely witnessed until recent.
Heeley's Phoenicia.
I have yet to taste the contemporary. It is a prize if it has retained the magic.
I suspect not as I looked at the price so dear for the Vintage and the inexpensive contemporary.
07th February, 2016

L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme Sport by Issey Miyake

I don’t know why L’Eau d’Issey PH would need a sports version – it has been pretty much of a sports-like fragrance since its inception. But, then. Issey Miyake has produced only seventeen or eighteen flankers of L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme, so maybe they aren’t overdoing the flanker thing…

The first time I tested L’Eau d’Issey PH Sport, the opening presented to me a full, piercing citrus note. That was the note that stayed with me through almost the complete run of the fragrance. I think the piercing quality of the citrus was helped by the vetiver and cedar from the base. It was not an impressive demonstration because the citrus was somewhat of the the Lemon Pledge variety. The next several times I tested it, I would have preferred the first version… Instead of a direct citrus, all I could smell was a very synthetic grapefruity version - something reminiscent of several Calvin Kline scents of the past two decades.

This sport version does remind me a bit of the original L’Eau d’Issey PH, except that Sport seems to be missing the aquatic (or possibly aldehydic) notes that fill out the citruses of the original. More’s the loss: This one doesn’t have any of the quirky character that of my old tried and true L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme. It’s not a bad fragrance, but it’s totally redundant.
07th February, 2016

Roberto Cavalli Black by Roberto Cavalli

The tarragon and vetiver combine to make Roberto Cavalli Black too soapy for me: I often like soapy fragrances but this soap gets a little close to artificiality – it’s not clean-soapy. It would be cleaner if the bamboo note came through more strongly. The geranium, too, could have been a savior, but it also does not clean up the light miasma of the musky lavender-tarragon. What R C Black needs is more green, or perhaps even some aquatic layering. It needs some sharper points to increase its bass depth... it needs more layers of interest.

Roberto Cavalli Black is not unpleasant; it smells fine, just as so many of the moderately priced men’s fragrances do. But its lack of depth (and its lack of longevity) makes it inadequate… you can find many better even at this price point.
07th February, 2016
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Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens

Bas de Soie is a pleasant iris scent – much fresher, less complex than Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist. Bas de Soie’s light iris note is coupled with the sharper hyacinth and a clean galbanum with provides a pleasant green floral accord.

It could perform better in the longevity department. It’s an adequate light scent even though it doesn’t seem to fit with the typical Lutens’ line-up of dramatic syrupiness. I guess my mind-fix has made it kind of disappointing for me, but Bas de Soie is well-made and highly wearable.
07th February, 2016

L'Arbre de la Connaissance by Jovoy

Eye-opening top notes… Such an outrageously bright, fruity, aromatic accord… My first thought was that this is some sort of parody of the opening of Chanel’s Beige – only instead of Beige’s aldehydes and bright florals this one presents gaudy, plasticy tropical fruit with a tingly camphor-and-prickly-mint sparkle. I suppose that this is a love-it or hate-it opening and, while I don’t exactly hate it, I cannot imagine that my universe would be any the less had I not experienced it.

The opening doesn’t last long because after fifteen – twenty minutes, the fragrance morphs into a neutral coconut–figgy texture which retains the primary characteristic of plasticity. This heart of the fragrance is a slickly smooth plastic coco-fig and soft sandalwood composite… and it is …not unpleasant. But it seems to be too obviously lacking in relevance – I mean, it doesn’t project more than a basic skin scent, and it is fairly short-lived.

Just what is the relationship between the aggressive, Tropicana opening and the artless tropical fruity texture of the remainder of the fragrance’s life-span? Damned if I know… Apparently, there is enough substance to L’Arbre de la Connaissance to keep me from dismissing it off hand, but I haven’t figured out what that substance is…
07th February, 2016

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum by Chanel

Not much to say here because this is exactly what Chanel claims it is: Chanel Bleu Eau de Parfum is a stronger, richer, longer-lasting version of Bleu de Chanel. There are some differences between the two, but those distances fall well within the parameters of a genuine Chanel-Bleu-Intense-concept. If you, like me, enjoyed and purchased Bleu de Chanel, you will likely enjoy this one. It is an excellent fragrance.

Me? I’m perfectly satisfied with Bleu de Chanel. If I run out of it, or if I suddenly decide that it’s about the only fragrance I want to wear (not a chance!), I will purchase Chanel Bleu Eau de Parfum. I likely won’t be buying because I am content with what I have and do not foresee using up my bottle. Plus I would rather spend my money on a couple of Chanel Les Exclusifs.
07th February, 2016

Bentley for Men by Bentley

Not like the usual automobile fragrances. Bentley for Men is an nice leather scent – deep, brooding, yet light enough to be very adaptable. Its greatest weakness is its rather poor longevity. It’s a must try for those who like leather – i.e. people who are not me.
07th February, 2016

Hervé Léger Homme by Hervé Léger

This is like one of the inexpensive drugstore scents of yesteryear. Not super exciting or long lasting.
For the price, it is a very good wood/spicy cologne.
Nice, and perfect for a person like me who shudders at the first whiff of Calone.
07th February, 2016

Serpentine by Comme des Garçons

Much like Comme des Garcon’s Odeur 53, Odeur 71, and Garage. Serpentine is a continuation of a winning concept: the idea of presenting an olio of miscellaneous odors in an interesting and coherent fragrance. I’ve enjoyed all the odeurs… I find Serpentine my favorite of all of them. I particularly like this one because it is fresh, clean, and up-lifting – for most of its run. Serpentine opens with aldehydes and “oxygen,” I love aldehydes and I sort of depend on oxygen, so how could this opening miss? The fresh green cleanliness is remarkable. It’s the kind of accord that, upon smelling it, a person is obliged to breathe it in greedily. …Love those aldehydes… the opening lasts for much longer than most openings do.

As the opening morphs into the heart notes, Serpentine takes on a warmer (less oxygen-green) aura with a background asphalt note. The asphalt note is not at all dominant so it balances well with the original character of the fragrance, and the oxygen-aldehydes are still quietly coming through the heart notes. At this point, the fragrance has taken on a soapy ambiance not as enjoyable to me as the opening, but still something I find very comfortable to wear. From here, the movement is a gradual accumulation of labdanum and woods which do a decent job of representing the general atmosphere of a city’s pollution… Still, surprisingly gentle, soapy, and highly wearable.

Odeurs 53 & 71 I found intellectually interesting and important. Serpentine I find not only interesting, but majorly enjoyable. I purchased it two days after I first smelled it.
07th February, 2016

Just Cavalli Blue by Roberto Cavalli

Pleasant aquatic/fruity scent… a bit minty, a tiny bit flowery, a lot peppery. Sweet in a slightly screechy way. The “screech” is likely from the artemisia note which is a little too raw because it’s out of place when used with the pepper... the aromatics are a bit too characterless.

Nothing new here, but the whole fragrance is fresh and pleasant. Longevity is about average.
07th February, 2016

Incense Oud by By Kilian

At first sniff Incense Oud appears to be one of those love-at-first-sniff fragrances… how could anything smell this good? Incense Oud presents firm, remarkably refined accords …impressively smooth, elegantly resinous, impeccably balanced. The opening / heart presents a delicate but impossibly complex accord that is lightly aromatic, softly resinous, richly and broadly wood /spice centered. Of the long list of notes, I can definitely identify oud, rose, geranium, cardamom, pepper, cedar. I can believe musk, patchouli, and labdanum. Once or twice I’ve thought that I smelled a hint of papyrus. I’m sure I don’t smell frankincense. The other notes… who knows?

Although the opening carries a beautiful elemental force, the remainder of the scent is simply a not-so-gradual reduction of the intensity of the original accord… or slight variations thereof. Incense Oud is incredibly beautiful in a gentle, refined sort of way - as opposed to the more dramatic, more rustic ways of several of the other rose-oud-resin offerings.

It ends its fleeting existence as a vague skin scent, leaving me quite unsatisfied because of its teasing coyness and lack of longevity. Yet I’m voting a thumbs-up for its contemplative, other-worldly quality.
07th February, 2016

Notturno Fiorentino by Bois 1920

I miss the opening bergamot. To me it opens richly with a dignified black current and floral accord quickly joined by an excellent shadowy cedar. The black current provides some of the higher vibes to the accord. It could be argued that the florals – (jasmine and rose, of course) are missing, but I think they are present in disguise… they form the central platform beneath the black current / cedar accord. The cedar carries deep resinous rumbling, which is assisted, I suppose, by a black pepper note. I hardly get any “sweet” from any of the accords. The result is almost visceral… “ALMOST” because this is, after all, a Bois 1920 fragrance.

The sillage is equite light which also should come as no surprise - also because this is Bois 1920. The performance of Notturno Fiorentino is typical of the other Bois 1920s I’ve reviewed: a subtle, almost hidden resinousness, more dignity than playfulness, limited sillage, good longevity as a skin scent. Notturno Fiorentino to me seems more unisex than feminine. It’s a very good scent if its subtle characteristics are acceptable to the potential purchaser.
07th February, 2016

Mistral Patchouli by Atelier Cologne

Remarkably aromatic. A super dose of aromatic emanations open the top: possibly some of the aromatics are from the star anise and the incense, but the main contributor to the potent aromatics is the geranium – an aromatically virulent form of geranium. And it lasts.

As the geranium tones down I get a little platform sweetness from the iris and together they form what I suppose is the aromatic floral heart of Mistral. Gradually the patchouli begins to grow – or at least I suspect it’s the patchouli… this patch is not at all typical; it’s an semi-earthy green pathchouli, obviously working in conjunction with the base’s vetiver, the patch and vetiver are sweetened a little by just the right amount of benzoin. I love it. After an hour or two of this base, I get a small taste of the salt note that others have mentioned.

Mistral Patchouli is quite remarkable in the delivery of its accords. From the dramatic aromatics of the opening through the salty crystal transparency of its base, it is an intriguing olfactory journey.
07th February, 2016
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Grand Amour by Annick Goutal

Plenty of flowers in the opening: lily, honeysuckle, and hyacinth at first then rose, jasmine, and to my nose the strongest one – mimosa. I believe that Way Off Center used the perfect word to describe what’s going on here: “cacophony.” This is absolutely NOT a typical Annick Goutal fragrance. It is missing the usual delicate hand. The opening gives me nothing but a glob of “florals” and at this point my spell-check underlines the word “florals” as if even the spell-check knows there’s something wrong with the floral accord. Okay, I have been analyzing the opening by sniffing Grand Amour close to my skin: At a distance from the skin, the fragrance’s projection uncomplicates itself a bit and manages to become a little less confused… At a distance I no longer smell confusion: I smell “ehh.”

I’m relieved a little when the movement begins into the heart notes, but find that this is a false security. The accord seems to morph into a condensed, concentrated form of the opening accord. It isn’t at all transparent in the opening; it now becomes positively opaque… a solid blob of compacted mimosa. And there it stays… seemingly forever…

I own and highly value several Annick Goutal fragrances. Not this one.
07th February, 2016

Opus III by Amouage

Complexity is the primary characteristic I find in Opus III. The opening is aldehydic, green, neutral, warm, and spicy. It lasts well and provides a fine sillage. My difficulty with it is that it’s not very interesting… But it is complex – I could easily get lost in its maze.

The heart is floral. The only note that I can clearly pick out is violet, the rest of the floral notes are lost on me, which for me makes the heart accord not very interesting. The base is a neutral / wood / sweet platform with the aldehydic violet still fliting about. Again, complex but dull.

I don’t know what happened to Amouage with these Opus fragrances – they seem entirely out of character from Amouage’s usual offerings.
07th February, 2016

Encre Noire Sport by Lalique

I really enjoy the original Encre Noire so I made a blind purchase of this Sport version, and I did not make a mistake. I wasn’t planning to, but I actually prefer this sport version: it has a tamer ink note; also, the potent resinousness of the vetivers has been reduced. These reductions make Encre Noire Sport much more subtle in performance. It is more versatile than the original version.

Encre Noire Sport is easy to recommend: If you liked the original, you will likely enjoy Sport. If you disliked the original, you will probably not enjoy this. Oh, and in this case, the name “sport” really means “reduced strength.” I will not use this as a sport fragrance…
07th February, 2016

Versace pour Femme Oud Oriental by Versace

Freesia and heliotrope and violet, oh my! I wonder why they included “oud” in the name of this oriental. All I get is huge floral triad that lasts for a couple of hours. I don’t smell the saffron that might have toned down the flower trio; I don’t even smell the roses. This floral accord linearly hangs on from the opening through the middle, losing some potency, but being hardly affected when in the base it is touched by a diminutive patchouli and a modicum of leather. With the development of the base, the leather turns out to be hit and run, while the sandalwood and oud are missing in action as far as my nose is concerned.

Versace por Femme Oud Oriental is a disappointing fragrance in total. The masculine version of Versace Oud is a decent fragrance, but this one is just superfluous.
07th February, 2016

eo01 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

Totally, delectably woody-gourmand (but not foody) opening. a complex spicy-fruity accord hovering over a woody platform. The fruit are primarily citrus but with a strong mitigating, screech-lowering coconut which seems more coconut husk than pulp or milk. This is one of the first coconut notes that I’ve enjoyed in fragrances… The spices – cardamom and a restrained nutmeg are quite neutral and provide heft and substance rather than typical spice-drama. Also aiding the spices in neutralizing and maturing the sweet top level platform is that discreet platform of wood wafting in from the mid and base levels.

Neutrality and texture continue dominating the middle level of a tamed-rosewood / floral. Again, like the spices of the opening, the florals exude texture rather than drama. I guess “neutrality” is the word for this level – it has lost the gourmand reference of the opening and even that hint of vanilla that had been suggested. As undramatic as it is, I keep being drawn to sniffing and enjoying it. It is enjoyable even with a large part of the middle’s “neutrality” includes its reduced sillage. It doesn’t broadcast as well as the opening.

Speaking of not broadcasting – the base is quite recessive, too. And too bad; it is an excellent complex wood base. I don’t get any sweet in the base. Besides the wood setting of sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, and patchouli, about the only identifiable note I get is a sparkly but not sweet cinnamon. The base is rich and sophisticated, but it could definitely use greater projection.

I love nearly everything about eo01 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke, but its extreme discreetness gives me pause in completely surrendering to it… I see it as having a place as both a sophisticated office scent and a warm sensual body fragrance for either gender. Its beauty is almost silent.
07th February, 2016

Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur by Pierre Cardin

This was the signature of my best friend in the early 70's. It smelled absolutely stunning on him. It seemed to me a gentler Aramis. At the time I was stuck on my Eau Sauvage and the Cardin was not my style. It was inexpensive and worthy fragrance then due to the relative abundance of quality Sandalwood.I have not tasted the later production, so will refrain from comment until I have a nip.. The Vintage was very good.
07th February, 2016

Uomo by Lorenzo Villoresi

This is so beautifully balanced, musically harmonious, aromatically calming, that all I can say is,un vero gentiluomo.

10 outa 10 for this un.
07th February, 2016

Lapidus pour Homme by Ted Lapidus

This is something that I own. I wear it only once in a while. It is so f$%&ing brutal, tenacious and ugly in the first 8 hours, even with one spray. It's almost cartoon.
After 8 hours it has a perfume, so utterly beautiful,it takes my breath away. Blissfully Masculine. Little dabble dooya.
07th February, 2016
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Eau de Néroli Doré by Hermès

A heavy neroli of medium brightness dominates this creation for beginning to end, with the saffron providing a background and some counterweight.

The neroli is as chemical as it gets, intrusive and at times of a nauseatingly synthetic quality. This is miles from being a good, convincing neroli. In this case clever chemical substitutes backfire and create a parody of a good neroli. This is a shame, as Hermès has, of course, produced sublime scents over the years, and Ellena's drive to replace nature with petrochemical molecular minimalism had produced some convincingly noteworthy successes in the past.

The performance is good, with strong sillage, excellent projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

This fragrance induced nausea and a headache in a person sitting next to me that usually has no problems with scents, so people sensitive to fragrances might try a very small sample initially. 1.5/5.
07th February, 2016
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Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate by Hermès

This is rhubarb all right, from he beginning to the end. A heavy, synthetic and at times distortedly shrill rhubarb that is not really very nuanced in any way.

The performance on my skin in good, with strong sillage, excellent projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

Worth a try in soring if you love petrochemical rhubarb. I will now enjoy some real stuff. The stuff that grows in nature.
07th February, 2016

Bottega Veneta Pour Homme by Bottega Veneta

When this came out, it was a SA must have. They all seemed to have a bottle glued to their hand, a twitch in their forefinger and a crazed look in their eyes. Tried it once, one to the chest, one to the wrist. Never got it.
Had to stay away from the Perfume Counters for a while.
Read Deadidol's review. It's spot on.
07th February, 2016

Italian Cypress by Tom Ford

Take Polo, turn down the volume to 1/3, add that dollop of shaving cream mentioned in another review, add a smidge of cinnamon and basil and make it last a good long time. Voila, good scent but much too expensive for what it is and compared to other conifers. My decant's at least 5 years old.
07th February, 2016

Bandit by Robert Piguet

Outstanding unisex, slightly animalic, floral leather, the circa 2000 parfum version.

The floral and the leather are the same smell, as if a zealous tanner made a dark, heavy leather jacket floral and shiny. A thick leather, but soft.

The base isn't a million miles away from the effect in Antaeus, I think they may have a similar patchouli.
06th February, 2016 (last edited: 07th February, 2016)

Fico d'India by Ortigia

Excellent Suspended's description. The Fichi d'India (Opuntia Ficus Indica) are averagely common plants in south Italy, especially in Calabria and Sicilia. This quite stout plant (Barbary Fig), growing up in arid/semi-arid areas, is a species of cactus, possibly native to Mexico, which has been able to adapt its "status" to really hard (waterless) conditions. The fruit, which is enjoyed "frozen" by many (I actually don't crave for it), has a taste similar to sweet watermelon. Ortigia has (also in this case) once again been able to extrapolate the hidden essence of an indigenous peculiar friut finally appointing a quite pleasant fragrance which, despite the lack of complex structure, is able to stand out for gracefulness and delicacy. Fico d'India is figgy, soapy, floral, ethereal and musky. There is a connection (thin red edge) with scents a la Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio, Ferragamo Pour Homme and Diptyque Philosykos but this fragrance possesses an its own "southern" (hard to describe) fleshy particularity. It is indeed at same time balmy-ethereal and fleshy-juicy (kind of simil berrish/orangy/mellony/plummy), powdery and musky. There is an intense (juicy-acid) black/red cherry-like fruitiness jumping as well out and it is quite irresistible end erotic. This fruity vibe is anyway basically figgy like a classic fig-vibe enriched by berry/melony fruitiness. Fruitiness is anyway finally dry and powdery (after the initial tart-vibe's recession). Powdery woods close the round of this really original creation. This creation is not surely creative but ends to smell peculiar and temperamental. Another Ortigia's evocative performance for us.
06th February, 2016

Precious Woods by April Aromatics

If like me you enjoy woody scents, you may be forgiven for asking the next question on the list: "which woods do you like?". A hard to answer question as there are so many out there - patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver (or is that a grass?) and the more well-known cedar and sandalwood.

Precious Woods takes all of them together and presents them to you in one go. The first puff of this scent is woods overload. Dark and balsamic at first, you could easily judge this one as a scrubber. But good things come to those that wait, so the more patient frag-heads will appreciate what happens next.

The deliciously woody and hazelnutty (is that a word?) dry down is pine, cedar and santal. Creamy yet not sweet, smooth and refined. The 'hazelnut' aspect comes out quite prominently, but it isn't immediately obvious which ingredient(s) is/are causing that effect.

This well-blended scent is hard to find as the brand is not very well known and the 30ml bottle is a disappointment. Also the 'new age' feel of the brand with its associations to yoga and glass "pearls" in the bottle (you read that correctly) does not warrant full marks from me (it's a perfume - juice in a bottle - and nothing else!). But it still performes well as the blend is well-crafted.

There are definitely many other superb woody scents out there from many niche brands, but this is certainly one to spritz before you buy.

Overall 4/5
05th February, 2016

Leather by Franck Boclet

I recall I tried this once a couple of years ago and was more pleasantly surprised than I would have liked to admit – it’s niche, it’s quite overpriced, for a die-hard “anti-niche” like I was (and partially still am) it’s sometimes hard to admit that something smells nice. Now I got the chance to smell this again and yes, it smells definitely good. By “good” I mean here my favourite interpretation of the term, applied to perfumes: “solid and creative”. This is in fact something quite different and finally, quite more unusual than the majority of today’s niche leathers (which smell either like bitter rubber or whatever other ill, unwearable idea of leather, or just like Tuscan Leather clones). It opens with a sort of medicinal-nutty accord of amber, mild patchouli and some quite good saffron, mixed with a delicate sort of salty, salicylic-musky “polished” leather with a hint of rubbery oud, topped with a crisp, very mild yet perceivable “fresh” balsamic whifff of woody-floral notes. Quite unusual, as I said: it blends some clean, musky-modern leather as in Lang’s Cuiron with M7’s “nutty-medicinal amber” (actually, the resemblance to M7 is quite bold here for many aspects, and that just hits a soft spot for me), perfectly blending them under a sheer floral-balsamic light. The result is extremely pleasant, compelling, flawless and totally nice to wear. It feels nutty and woody (or better say mostly “cedary patchouli”), quite spicy but in a smooth crisp way, at the same time also feeling “musky” clean with a hint of salt. Overall it does convey a sense of modern, clean, freshly-polished “leather” without involving the usual clichés of these types of scents (and without basing the concept on a load of uncooked rubbery aromachemicals). I’d also mention Cuir d’Ange as a distant reference for the musky-powdery leather part, although Boclet’s Leather goes on a totally different path – nutty, ambery and medicinal as I said. But in a way, it also has this “breezy” powdery side which definitely echoes Ellena’s masterpiece, too.

Just to be clear, I dropped some really big names here – Cuiron, M7 and Cuir d’Ange. It’s not that Boclet’s Leather can be compared to them, as it definitely can not: it’s just that the inspirations seem to me recalling these works, whether that’s intentional or not, and that’s really a plus since the majority of leathers today seem often pointing towards other, vastly more trite directions. This one instead tries at least to think leather out of the box and do some - at least, partially - creative work on it, with just the right touch of 2000s nostalgia. And the materials work fine too, it smells very nice, rich enough yet totally smooth and discreet as a proper “modern refined leather” should. Partially synthetic too, sure, but it fits the concept and there’s some work around it. Still a bit overpriced and with a slightly disappointing longevity, but a more than worthy addition to any leather fan’s wardrobe.

05th February, 2016

Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

For many people, the smell of hot cocoa and vanilla is a cosy winter warmer - I imagine a soft comfy rug in front of an open wood fire with a steaming hot mug of cocoa and Christmas carols going on in the background. I just can't for the life of me understand why, but this fragrance just remidns me of Christmas! Could it be my childhood or too many winter films? I have no idea...

Whatever the case, the scent is the most absurd mix of notes! Spicy lavender (although short lived), iris (those who don't know the note refer to it often as the 'lipstick note'), gorgeous woods and delicate sweetness (i.e. vanilla). Somehow, when François Demachy waved his magic fragrane wand over this mix, arguably one of the most gorgeous scents in the world came about. Don't ask me why - a cacophony in music sometimes can be made to sound pleasant - maybe the same can be said for Dior Homme Intense?

I don't actually detect a cocoa note per se, but I think the effect the ambrette seed, iris and sweet/delicate woods mixed together make a cocoa-like effect. It's almost delicious enough to eat.

Foodies and those with a sweet tooth beware: Demachy will have you addicted to this scent in just a few sniffs. Please, make mine with two marshmallows.
05th February, 2016