Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 140697

Pure XS by Paco Rabanne

Candy/powdery sweet (like one of those chalky valentines candies) with some fruit-citrus in the opening. The vanilla is so harsh it's almost not detectable as vanilla. The drydown drops the fruit and you're just left with powdery sweetness. It's pleasant overall but very synthetic and loud.

Feels a little heavy, so probably best for cooler months. Casual might be best but not the worst for a dressed up event.

Very good projection, so couple that with the sweetness and it will probably garner some compliments.
23rd January, 2018

Al Widad Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

Stardate 20180123:
My expereince with oil blend has been rather limited and I assumed that oils are generally woodsy, dense and serious. Not so wit Al widad. It is more "sporty" and sparkly. Carnations and Amber bring out a freshie vibe.

Has a Globe Rochas type character. Nice
23rd January, 2018

Storm Flower Noir by Cheryl Cole

A floral fruity fragrance that isn't too obnoxious. The rhubarb gives just enough tartness too balance the pear and orange notes. Tuberose is gentle here. Base is brown sugar and musk, mostly. I can't smell any sandalwood. Overall, this starts out strong but, fades rather quickly.
23rd January, 2018
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United Kingdom

Leather by Demeter Fragrance Library

There is a leather note that is quite simple in its concept: a plasticky leather with a synthetic character. At times a beef jerky aroma is present too. The longer I wear it, the more the synthetic side comes to the fore.

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

An autumnal, rather linear leather scent that is not bad, but at best described as mediocre. 2.25/5.
23rd January, 2018

Aramis by Aramis

Aramis is such a landmark masculine fragrance, such an icon, that like many seemingly immortal perfumes and colognes, it remains as relevant now as it did when introduced. The scent was Estée Lauder's entry into the masculine world, nearly a decade after competing US cosmetic companies like Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, and Avon all entered that same water, but maybe this truly was a case of saving the best for last, as it easily outmatches any of the debut masculines created by those other companies. In the case of all it's preceding competitors, the Estée Lauder Company sat back and watched them all attempt emulating what was fashionable among French designers and perfumers, with varying degrees of accuracy (Revlon came closest with "That Man" in 1958), but Lauder took a different and bolder approach by making not an aromatic citrus chypre like it's peers had done, but an undeniably macho leather-type chypre that still had oodles of class and suave. It released exclusively in NYC in 1964, then worldwide the following year, but what many don't know is it was the first US masculine fragrance in it's high-end class to see widespread distribution among all competing department stores, not just as an exclusive at brand boutiques or at counters of X or Y department store licensee, which helped put it in more hands than it's competition and is a trend the others would soon have to follow. Like it's much-older distant relative Alfred Dunhill for Men (1934) it was a contradiction of alpha male posturing and uncompromising poise, which made for confusion that caused the cologne - and it's wearer - to be that much more alluring.

Bernard Chant, who was practically Lauder's house perfumer for years in all but title, sat down and made this without a single drop of lemon like all it's fore-bearers, focusing instead on an intense aldehyde, bergamot, artemisia, and an incense-like note that sharply cuts the air when first detected. This extreme aldehyde sparkle makes some compare Aramis to Chanel No. 5 (1919) favorably, calling it the "No. 5 for Men", which is a bit of a reduction for the Chanel scent, but we won't hold it against anyone. After this beautiful opening comes an animalic quality, the "man sweat" facet not really present in older leather-type masculine chypres such as the aforementioned Dunhill or MEM's English Leather (1949), which immediately sets this apart from any predecessors save maybe Eau d'Hermès (1951) and it's profuse use of cumin. The animal note (which is likely castoreum) isn't quite the crotch funk of the Hermès scent, nor the gym bag odor of something like Kouros (1981), but it's a hairy bare-chested man on a Naugahyde couch that promises only snuggles but intends to do more once you've both finished your drinks. The naughtiness of the middle is balanced by sage, clove, mrytle, plus what I can only detect as orris and jasmine, all in very slight doses, before the chypre base warms it all up and mulls it over with sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, moss, musk, and most obviously leather. At the end of the day, that's all this is: a sparkling shimmery leather fragrance with florals and animalics doing battle in an arena of classic chypre base notes.
Go easy on this one because those aldehydes will recur all day long, bringing wisps of the top and heart notes back from the dead alongside the ever-present strum of the throbbing base.

Aramis endures culturally like no other scent from it's decade because it indeed endures physically like no other as well, giving you day-long enjoyment until scrubbed. It's virility is more understated than anything else which contains said swagger, which is how it gets away with being both unerringly manly and still come across as refined. It's also the smell of money and power in the 70's much the same way Ralph Lauren's Polo (1978) would be in the 80's, but manages to avoid stuffiness or fussiness by not drowning itself in vanilla, tonka, moss, or spices like the powerhouse fragrances that would follow. This stigma did (and still does) prevent it from being a big clubbing favorite, as the alpha male chest beating of it's animalic and leather notes would not scream out with the addition of real sweat like the others thanks to those aldehydes keeping everything bright and chipper. That isn't to say this didn't make it into discos, but it wasn't the "it" scent for many guys of that scene. The success of Aramis would also see the launch of a company that bears it's name, creating both flankers and stand-alone scents in the following years, resulting in some of the best scents men have available to them, and all of them (including Aramis itself) having a feminine counterpart either from Estée Lauder or the Aramis sister company Clinique, which would launch in 1971. Easily a perfect score for me, but understandably too bold for some in a modern era of calone, ambroxen, and ozone. However, for those looking for a rich manly experience in modern times, think twice about that oud fragrance and give this one a try, you might see why it still goes strong even 50+ years later.
23rd January, 2018

Oriento by Jeroboam

On me, Oriento is mostly a saffron perfume, but ornamented interestingly. There's the supporting cast you'd expect with saffron - a pinch of rose for depth, quinoline and pine tar for leather, and a swirl of oud for exoticism. But there's also a fruity sweetness that makes Oriento stand out a bit from the pack of luxury oud perfumes - It's a bit like apple, but more candied and floral, so it smells more to me like a mix of peony and lychee. It's clever - the saffron is clearly saffron in all its leathery glory, but the whole thing is candied. My only real nitpick is a pinch of that "woody amber" aquatic basenote hovering deep in the background, but it's not enough to really put me off. Nice!
23rd January, 2018

Halloween Man Shot by Halloween

Very sweet synthetic and modern. Reminds me of La Nuit with the cardamom and then Prdad L’Homme or DH with the iris. Doesn’t feel heavy enough to be like DHI.

Good performance, projection and longevity.
23rd January, 2018

Velvet Exotic Leather by Dolce & Gabbana

Smells similar to The One but more smooth and refined. Boozy, orangey-ambery, incense and leather in the opening. The drydown is just a soft incense and leather.

Feels formal but good for all weather except hot days. Definitely date night approved.

Projection is good to start but then goes to skin scent within 4 hours on me. The skin scent drydown lasts all workday.

22nd January, 2018 (last edited: 23rd January, 2018)

La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme

La Vie Est Belle

The candy is abundant. (The maturity, redundant.)
The fruits are glacée. (The passers-by will surely pay.)
The flowers are limp. (The meek demeanour of a wimp.)
The width is a mile. (The people request exile.)
The depth is a micron. (The classic perfumery is gone.)
The patchouli is... where? (The hippies say a prayer.)
The sillage is choking. (The perfumistas are all balking.)
The persistence is relentless. (The wearers, all repentless.)

The Julia Roberts is smiling. (The sheep are single filing.)
The cash registers are ringing. (The fat cats are all singing.)

The life may be beautiful.
The fragrance is a bore.

Original review by
Greek chorus rhymes by Suspended
22nd January, 2018

Acqua di Portofino Donna by Acqua di Portofino

Acqua di Portofino Donna is a radiant multifaceted fruity-floral creation oozing out a joyful and optimistic sense of life. A carefree and full of "brightness" kind of woman appears with all her dose of energy, juvenile sensuality and willfulness. There is a languid, balmy and almost edible (juicy and creamy) smooth soapy floral twist in its aroma. This kind of almost edible vibe is enhanced by olive-oil's presence, a common thread for Acqua di Portofino. Magnolia is dominant and provides its unique kind of grassy/floral refinement while lemon and ginger (may be even cardamom) imprint a fresh, vaguely fizzy/sparkling, energy. I detect a kind of peachy fruity presence which is kind of ghostly and hardly discernible. A summery and dazzling type of creation eliciting the image of a dreamy, gaudy and relaxed mediterranean summer.
22nd January, 2018
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Caramel by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is a good caramel impression: nice typical aroma, buttery, quite creamy and rich. At times a hint of toffee shows.

I do not get much development here; is gradually fades out and does not lose much of its richness until the end.

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

A pleasant and convincing wintery gourmand that is not too synthetic. A tad too linear maybe, but performing very well and convincing enough as a caramel composition. 3/5.
22nd January, 2018

Mortal Skin by Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777

The opening of Mortal skin smells like blackberry and rose with a dark attitude. Then a very bold salty and sweet ambergris follows through with inky dark berries with a sweet but bold amber base. These two don't really go well together for me. They are both heavy and dark and need more quiet or softness in there to prolong the mystery. There is a disconnect here somewhere at lest for my taste. I believe amber lovers might appreciate the unusualness of Mortal Skin, but it misses the mark for me. There is quality but it is trying to hard to be mysterious.
22nd January, 2018

Polo by Ralph Lauren

I give this a pass with a caveat: it's one of the most inadvertently stifling and condescending male scents on the planet, not because of the way it smells, but who generally wears it, at least in it's home US market. Ralph Lauren's debut masculine was meant to deliver a fresh green respite from all the soapy, rosy aromantics or heavy spice-laced musks of the 70's. Chypres were mostly dead after YSL's Pour Homme put it's nail on that coffin in the disco era, so guys who wanted something breathable, respectable, and not dripping with sex could turn to this instead. Polo's thematic focus was equestrian, much like the jockey-themed scents of the 1800's and pretty much everything Hermès, but sportier than those because Polo was a sport, and indeed RL's "Polo shirts" were patterned after what actual Polo teams wore. This juice would create a casual menswear and fragrance dynasty, the likes which America pretty much lacked up until then, which is why the polo shirt is worn by more people who've never seen (let alone played) the sport than those who have. The scent itself was fairly unique, with the only competition in town being Aramis Devin (1978) and it's galbanum-powered grass bomb, which played a lesser-loved Pepsi role to this one's Coke in the "ultra-green smell" department. Polo's nuclear-fission green was achieved instead with a lethal pine dose that was buried in Baskin Robbin's 31 flavors of green notes and buried in a heap of moss at the bottom.

Polo opens with that signature pine, which is a much richer and sappier whole-tree pine than stuff like Pino Silvestri (1955) which seems to go for more of a dewy needle kind of pine smell. From that unmistakable opening accord joined by florals and odd herbal/spice choices like cumin and basil, comes a heart of florals like carnation, rose, jasmine, and more herbs before finalizing in that mossy swamp. Musk, amber, cedar, and leather all exist in the base too, but the most recognizable note besides the pine top and moss bottom is patchouli, which sits in the base as well. It's a very woodland-fresh bouquet that would quickly become the antithesis of all the sweaty, spicy, and virile stuff swarming the disco scene at the time, being the epitome of business suit scent-craft in America, the ultimate Wall Street power broker in a bottle that wasn't deliberately a powerhouse. Polo may have indeed turned up at clubs and discos, because not so many guys then nor now really know when to wear a fragrance, and for many back then this would have been a signature scent to be worn every day, and not part of a larger collection. It's popularity spawned over a dozen flankers, the first few of which tried to emulate facets of the original in some way, the most recent bunch since the 90's which have just carried the brand but little else to connect them, and even had a contemporary remake in 2008 (which didn't last) made by the same perfumer, Carlos Benaim. Because of the variance in the line, it's important not to write off one Polo because of a bad experience with another, since outside of the remake, almost none of them bare much similarity to the original outside of some attempt at a sporty olfactory theme.

The pine, moss, and patchouli power trio that comprises this scent doesn't in and of themselves denote the condescension mentioned in the beginning, but the problem here is the same kind of social stereotyping that effects people who wear ultra-popular fragrances, especially ones that have remained relevant for this long. Polo was made to be fresh, sporty (by 70's standards), and not particularly sexual, so it was adopted as an office scent by pretty much every guy ever working an office job into the 80's. There were obviously a lot of choices both contemporary to this and older (or newer), but this became just so ubiquitous among successful professionals that it stuck. What's worse is those guys aged, got promotions, moved up, and suddenly became bosses, executive officers, or started their own businesses etc, so "old rich guy" became forever linked to this, despite there being much more status-oriented and expensive scents on the market (hello Creed, looking at you buddy). It's an unfair burden this juice has to bear, as it really is quite a nice, sophisticated, and long-lasting scent. However, if you grew up in the 80's and even 90's, "Polo Green" as it became known to us then, was wafting off many a blazer jacket to the point that the yuppies in high school would buy this "just to smell like money" even though much newer and more elite designer options existed (which they probably couldn't afford). Reformulation has done a lot of damage to this one's mossy dry down, so hunt down Cosmair-produced bottles if you want the original experience, and at 40+ years old, it's no longer the smell of success it once was, but regardless of how it's perceived, I recommend it strictly for fall through spring casual or office day wear only. This one couldn't be romantic even if you packaged it with a box of chocolates.
22nd January, 2018
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The Big Bad Cedar by Atkinsons

Atkinsons new crop of heritage fragrances are by and large a disappointment, being mainly a competition as to who can come up with the silliest names, the scents being instantly forgettable.

This elegant woody note seems to have got in by accident. I can't say I'm keen on the pink colour which looks artificial, as it is. But the fragrance is nice. In the direction of teak I would say, also recalling Cedarome, for those familiar with that Firmenich speciality. A clean rosy-woody smell in the same bracket as Kyoto from Comme des Garcons. With perhaps a passing nod to the classic Cedar Wood from Goya, of 50 years ago.
21st January, 2018 (last edited: 22nd January, 2018)

Notte by Acqua di Portofino

Notte Eau de toilette Intense is my first approach with the refined italian niche perfume-House Acqua di Portofino, a promising exclusive brand counting among its ranks an experienced high perfumer the caliber of the great Maurizio Cerizza (Roccobarocco, Cale Fragranze d'Autore with the amazing creations Preludio d'Oriente and Mistero, Onyrico, Panama 1924, Profumi di Pantelleria with the supremely weird and boisterous Maestrale, just to quote several). Well, this fragrance is really amazing guys, I'm impressed. Despite not properly being my ideal kind of perfume-style Notte Intense has fully caught up my pleasure and attention. The great quality of this fragrance is the Cerizza's skillful ability to conjugate mediterranean "seaside kind of nostalgic" poetry and super-virile traditional italian olfactory masculineness, overall in a quite impeccable creation that inspires at same time either the idea of a "reserved" (almost shy and surely refined) mediterranean dreamer (inclined to loneliness and nostalgia, with love for the poetry and the sea enlightened at night) and the image of a reassuring virile well tailored protective man, strong, broad minded, mondane, unapologetic and full of charm (with appreciation for the impeccable italian style, a la Caraceni 1913). Notte Intense is indeed at same time a fragrance with a poetic Mediterranean meditative (kind of introspective) dry musky-floral temperament and with a quite warmer spicy/herbal/woody/leafy virile vibrant (gentlemanly and mondane) appeal. Another quality of this fragrance is that it combines a typical classic woody-herbal (aromatic fougere) tradition (a la Borsalino by Borsalino) with a more recent 90's woody-floral (slightly marine) "melancholic" execution a la Guy Laroche Horizon or Joop Nightflight. This is the scent of an endless italian summer night populated by ghosts and fairies, islands and swinging boats, couples in love and unrequited loves, far memories and secret pains, bonfires and struggling songs played by guitar on the shore next to the sea. This is a fragrance that whispers all the secrets of an italian seaside summer night, the coast's promenade illuminated by the Portofino's shimmering lights, something really close in style to romantic summery scents a la Joop Nightflight (like ideally encountering in a game of "amorosi sensi" scents a la Bleu de Chanel Edp, Bond N. 9 Wall Street, Guy Laroche Horizon, Henry Cotton's in Blu, Chopard Heaven, Byblos Uomo and Cool Water Davidoff) but far more refined, complex, virile and mysterious. I detect the marine accord (well calibrated and connected to hesperides, which I'd define aqueous and not throughly ozonic-marine) but I even pick up a kind of fougere herbal tone, a soapy spiciness, a really piquant/ambery/woody more restrained masculine dry down (with powerhouse nuances and conjurations in style). There is a floral soft poetic twist in the air (aqueous and moody) while I get a pungent (almost animalic) salty-organic vibe conjuring the warmth of a mature man-skin's "pheromonial" aroma under the bed sheets. What else? A deep and encompassing (even aromatic) earthy-herbal-vaguely smokey hidden soul (olive wood, butterbush and further aromatics) conjuring me vaguely scents a la Borsalino Chapeau, Clive Christian X for men and Pomellato Uomo. The olive oil-presence introduces a soothing soapy refined element which (connected to warm musk) counteracts the hidden grassy/leafy rootiness while the "aqueous floral presence" fills the wide residual olfactory space. Dry down is really bold and virile since olive wood, musk and ambergris provide an extremely charismatic and commanding spicy/earthy, organic and musky-rough restrained trail. I recommend to purchase this great fragrance to all those dreaming gentlemanly free-spirits with good taste, mediterranean sense of class and refinement, love for the sea, the yachting marinas, the little ship's stores, for the starry italian summer-night (with its boats, fires, the seaside little family -run restaurants, the moonlight reflected on the sea-water) and with the supreme belief that life must be fully enjoyed by travelling, exploring new lands, tasting excellent foods&wines and following love relentlessly till the end all over the world.
21st January, 2018

XS pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

Citrus, clean and pleasant but ultimately dated. Something kinda green and bitter in it too. Its get sharper and more bitter into the drydown. It feels like a transition scent from some of the classic 80's scents into the cleaner, sweeter more fresh 90's.

I get good projection and longevity from XS pour Homme.
21st January, 2018

Reveal Men by Calvin Klein

Smells like other CK fragrances with that soft, sweet synthetic opening. Reveal Men smells like it has something with fruity, burned sugar in it. Later, the drydown is powdery and musky.

I can't tell if this leans younger or older but it does feel casual. It just very generic so it's quite versatile.

Projection is just fine but longevity is actually pretty good on me.
21st January, 2018

I Love New York for Fathers by Bond No. 9

Smells like a nice hand soap with florals in the opening. Very fresh and leans feminine to me. Becomes more synthetically floral into the drydown with a little musk thrown in. I like the opening better than the drydown. It has a sharper bite to it and isn't as generic.

The whole think leans feminine to me, ironic that it's named "for Fathers".

I only get soft projection but longevity seems decent.

21st January, 2018

Original Vetiver by Creed

Soapy clean and fresh. Good amount of green citrus upfront and does remind me of Mugler Cologne. The drydown really doesn't change much on my skin.

Feels pretty universal because it's so clean. Refined or casual wear seems appropriate. I think it would be just fine in colder months but it's probably better in warmer weather.

Average projection and longevity.
21st January, 2018

Guerlain Homme Intense by Guerlain

Definitely smells like a mixed citrus drink in the opening. Something with lime. Fresh and clean. Pretty linear throughout with just some more woody notes coming in later.

Feels best for casual wear in warmer months.

Very good projection and longevity.
21st January, 2018

Euphoria Men by Calvin Klein

Spicy, synthetic, fruity-fresh opening. Not terrible but is terribly generic (pleasant). The drydown goes sweet and musky. Again, smelled this many times before in cheaper fragrances.

This smells casual and unrefined. Could be worn day or night and seems okay for most seasons except colder months.

Average projection but it is noticeable.
21st January, 2018

Epic Man by Amouage

I get a spicy but pleasant cardamom in the opening. Also, there's a sharp floral or fruit note. The drydown comes in quickly with cedar and leather. Keeps getting woodier as it goes further into the drydown.

Feels mature, refined and dressed up.

Decent projection and longevity.
21st January, 2018

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Slightly juicy, spicy beginning. Warm woody floral. Smells powdery at the end, on my skin. An enjoyable Chanel. Wish it lasted longer.
21st January, 2018
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Angel Food by Demeter Fragrance Library

A good rendering of the sweet that the title promises: a lot of coconut in the opening blast and the first hour, but later in the drydown vanilla-cum-bakery impression gradullay moves into the foreground. At times I get some almond aroma too.

Towards the end it all is merged into a somewhat nonspecific sweet note.

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

A pleasantly comforting autumnal gourmand that, in spite of a weaker ending, is a good transformation from the cake into a scent. 3/5.
21st January, 2018

Solaris by Agonist

Comes out of the gate with a blast of fresh/aromatic melange of fruit...this jammy fruit salad is dominated by a lemon/grapefruit/peach accord...can't say I can smell pepper but do get a zingy nosefeel from it...very nicely spiced fruit...nice stuff for the summer wardrobe...dries down to a woody/watery kind of effect that makes me think/feel like I'm standing on an old wooden pier in a small quiet lake...good stuff...only reason I had to give it a neutral is for weakness in throw and life...
21st January, 2018

French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I can't find the complex mix of animalic notes that Rogalal notices, nor the poisonous aspect that Gimmegreen describes. I'm not saying they are wrong, better noses than mine have reached similar conclusions, notably Katie Puckrik in the States and Luca Turin in the UK.

However most of us seem to be agreed that it's in no way a French Lover, the name Bois d'Orage or Stormwood suits it much better.

It's a nice angelica roots note. If you don't know what angelica roots oil smells like, you do now. There is a rank "methylated spirits" aspect, which may be what Puckrik was referring to when she described her association to her father in his dirty overalls.

In short, Bois d'Orage - I can't think of it as French Lover - is a great fragrance, dry, daring, and different. It has more character than its close cousin, Angeliques sous la Pluie, and I like that one well enough, but Bourdon's creation just caps it.

20th January, 2018 (last edited: 22nd January, 2018)

Uomo Noir Absolu by Valentino

Big, loud, spicy/pepper iris opening . This lasts for 3-4 hours. Afterwards, the drydown is a smooth, creamy sandalwood. Feels best for date night in colder weather.

Excellent projection and longevity lasts into the next day.
20th January, 2018 (last edited: 21st January, 2018)

Onyx Pearl by Agonist

Oh gawd no! This kicks off ultra-mainstream with that lame Axe body spray top with the mix of grape candy and Windex, with a bit of artificial oud hiding beneath. Given time, as the grape fades, you get a bit of clary sage in its place, still engulfed in a buzzing fusion of ammonia and fake oud.

This is a really generic men's mall scent pretending to be a $1300 art perfume. Just say no...
20th January, 2018

Shades Wood by Armaf

Hmm, I don't hate it but it is tough to love.

Lots of spicy oud and rose in the opening. Reminds me of many middle eastern scents that I've tried. In the style of a Montale. I see cumin listed but don't detect it, which is a good thing for me. Also, something boozy or like a mixed drink in there somewhere?

The drydown is a little smoother and woodier.

Big projection and longevity. Not many sprays needed here.

20th January, 2018

Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

An odd scent for me since it reminds me of a truck stop gas station bathroom with the cigarette and florals, kind of like how they try to cover up bathroom smells with floral deodorizers. It's quite linear as the drydown stays the same.

Below average projection but decent longevity.
20th January, 2018