Fragrance Reviews from April 2009

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    Kevin Guyer's avatar

    United States United States

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    Kohdo Wood Collection: Dark Amber & Ginger Lily by Jo Malone

    A cedar dominated floral that mysteriously, as Luca Turin has pointed out, creates the illusion that you're wearing Mysore sandalwood: alchemy at its finest! I sure hope it loses its Limited Edition status and becomes a perennial!

    04 April, 2009

    Andrewthecologneguy's avatar

    Nigeria Nigeria

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    The One for Men by Dolce & Gabbana

    Smells like a much weaker version of Versace Blue Jeans. It does have some merit in that VBJ is hard to wear because it is sooo strong. The One allows you to enjoy the scent without suffocating in the process, so for that, I give it thumbs up.

    04 April, 2009

    Andrewthecologneguy's avatar

    Nigeria Nigeria

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    Unforgivable Black by Sean John

    I really like it. I love the original, or I should say I have grown to love it. The black version includes some rum and cream licqour quality to it that brings to mind Miami Beach. It is playful, definately for night time and worth the purchase. It is a stand-out frag amidst all the mass market junk that's out there, even if it is mass amrket itself.

    04 April, 2009

    odysseusm's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Euphoria Men by Calvin Klein

    Bore-ia, snore-ia.
    I'll concede that it does have some mildly interesting pepper notes. Nothing remotely resembling ginger is here. The light patchouli gives a sweaty-sour tang in the drydown. Synthetic and quite uninteresting.

    04 April, 2009

    odysseusm's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    The sample packet lists bergamot, ginger, and vetiver as notes.
    This opens with a "fresh," sweet, synthetic blast and continues in that vein. Very generic, quite unexceptional, not irritating and not interesting. Certainly there are no distinctive notes. Bland, unremarkable. Might make an acceptable room freshener.

    04 April, 2009

    scentsitivity's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d'Orange

    I recently acquired a sample out of curiousity and applied it lightly to my skin in view of the strong negative feelings expressed many . I smell a potent iodine note with light sweetness in the background. Then a slightly sulfurous note emerges on top of the iodine. I did not like it at all. It gave me a headache and a slight bit of nausea. If I applied it liberally I suspect the ill effects would be amplified. One of the worst fragrances I have ever smelled.

    04 April, 2009

    HORACIO GONZÁLEZ's avatar

    Argentina Argentina

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    Casran by Chopard

    rich, it's all i can say, a great perfume!

    04 April, 2009

    Sugandaraja's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

    I'll likely be the first in saying I don't find this at all reminiscent of De Sade, but the fragrance itself more than makes up for its incongruous name.

    This is a warm, comforting, happy scent; a curiously sweet and savory gourmand with a leather base. A curry-inflected immortelle plays a starring role here, but there is a slight fruitiness to it, too. Some have described it as prunes, but to my nose dried apricots fit the bill better. The leather is present, but mellow and understated.

    Don't let the leather and apricot description remind you of SL's Daim Blond - the two fragrances are nothing alike.

    In general, it's all very edgeless, smooth and seamlessly blended; a fragrance of polish and charm rather than daring.

    The sillage is good and the longevity is excellent.

    Highly recommended.

    04 April, 2009

    TaraYvonne's avatar

    United States United States

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    Midnight Violet by Ava Luxe

    Yay, I get second review! I agree with Galamb. Midnight Violet is really something-a shocking, smoke-infused violet like non-other. Like violets thrown into the ashes of a fire which are still smoldering and red (fish the violets out of those smoldering coals and smell what's left of them and you'll have Midnight Violet) I love it, I love smoke scents though. If you don't you won't like this so don't even bother. This is highly unisex and would smell wonderful on anyone. When I wear this I feel mysterious and vampy. I smell as if I've been somewhere around a fire and had some type of late night forest experience I shouldn't have had ;) It has that type of vibe to it, it takes you someplace and I love it when that happens! I bought the Parfum Extrait, so that's what I'm reviewing. I don't as of yet know if there's a difference.

    04 April, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    Alessandro Dell'Acqua Man by Alessandro Dell'Acqua

    Watery soapy floral accords that feels very, very synthetic. A very badly made sandalwood aromachemical was used in the drydown and I don't like it one bit. Good thing I sampled it first instead of going off the reviews and buying it blind.

    04 April, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    Mandarina Duck Man by Mandarina Duck

    Orangey and peachy top with a bitter grapefruit accord mixed in. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was beginning to become a wonderful fruity aquatic like Versace pour Homme. It then turns to a herbal heart keeping the fruity qualities like Z Zegna. This is neat and unique but these accords don't last long and goes into a bland drydown of vetiver and musk rather quickly. Nice for a "refresher" pick-me-up type scent but not something I would wear daily.

    04 April, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    I am King by Sean John

    Wow. This stuff is BITTER in the opening. I'm wondering if that accord has anything to do with the creator's attitude towards his critics? I kinda liked Unforgivable and its Black flanker... but this just is too harsh. It's also very, very familiar. Instead of wearing something that has a very BITTER grapefruit-esque accord, go with something more upbeat like Cinique's Happy for Men. This is a very judgmental review and not very analytical... I just really don't like this stuff.

    04 April, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tuscan Soul by Salvatore Ferragamo

    Light herbal spices on a floral heart with a whimsical drydown of light iris and fig accords. Very Italian, very unisex. When I first tried it, I thought it was an Italian-spiced perfume meets the American made ck One. Very night and casual. Very, very "spring. Love it!

    04 April, 2009

    ortho123's avatar

    United States United States

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    cK one by Calvin Klein

    Let me compare this to another mass market womder and say I like it better than Aqua di Gio. Why? This scent is about every day but not as forced in its clean approach without any need for status (no prolonger citrus/floral here). Better for me than Chrome? Probably. Closer to the skin and much less headache provoking.

    Linear not bad here but good.

    04 April, 2009

    Bigsly's avatar

    United States United States

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    Cuba by Czech & Speake

    On me, the mint just lasts too long, and obscures everything else (though there is a bit of muskiness that is clear). There is also the "abrasive" or "synthetic" quality that others have mentioned. I simply don't find this nearly as good as Michael for Men (Kors), and while wearing Cuba I can only think that I would rather be wearing MfM. I also have other fragrances with strong mint that I prefer to this, so Cuba really has no place in my large rotation. I don't find it especially pleasant and I like other fragrances with similar qualities more. Perhaps those with different skin chemistry will find this is smoother and more balanced that I did. If I took price into account, I'd give this a negative. Since this is not terrible and others seem to have better experiences with it, I'll choose the neutral rating.

    04 April, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Grain de Plaisir by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    Maitre Pafumeur et Gantier Grain de Plaisir

    Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier was formed in 1988 Jean Laporte, after his stint at L'Artisan. M. Laporte's vision for MPG was to create a line that hearkened back to Paris of the 17th century. These scents almost all have that sense of being from another time. Grain de Plaisir was one of the last scents M. Laporte designed before turning over the reins at MPG to Jean-Paul Millet Lage. Grain de Plaisir feels like a blast of freshness that one could belive being worn by a male courtier of the 17th century. The top of Grain de Plaisir is the most amazing citrus herbal mix. It is mostly lemon but I also detect some grapefruit along with a very green note which according to the note list is celery seed. This is the bite of lemon with a blend of green that is beautiful. The top of this lasts for an amazingly long time on me, which is unusual for citrus scents but this top is still in control on my skin two hours after application. Since the top is the best part of this scent, this duration is a good thing. The descent in to the heart begins with an almost minty pine accord which mixes with the remains of the citrus and celery quite nicely. The base is a sweet amber which is nice contrast to the tart beginning. Grain de Plaisir translates as a "moment of pleasure". For me this is much more than a moment of pleasure and the top notes of this are spectacular.

    04 April, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Frederic Malle En Passant

    One of my favorite scent associations is the smell of lilacs and the assurance that that smell lets me know winter is over for another year. Lilac is one of those notes that is notoriously hard to execute well. Most times it is used with a heavy hand and it comes off smelling like a heavy-duty air freshener. Then you have someone like Frederic Malle give Olivia Giacobetti, in 2000, the opportunity to create a scent around lilac and you get En Passant. Ms. Giacobetti has had transparency used to describe many of her scents and in En Passant that quality reaches its apex. From the top the lilac comes across boldly and for a moment I worry that the air-freshener quality is about to take hold. I needn't have worried because the heart is where Giacobetti's trademark transparency takes hold. She tones down the lilac and pairs it with a watery accord. This is how lilac smells to me after a spring rain as the breeze wafts the scent through my window. It is at once heady and close but yet subtle and far away. The brilliance of this scent is that this level of delicacy is maintained for hours on my skin. In other perfumes these kinds of delights are fleeting, in En Passant it is not. As this develops I finally begin to get hints of the wet earth the lilacs are planted in as there is a noticeable greenness that appears. The note list would seem to make cucumber the note responsible for this but it has much more of a wet soil quality to my nose. The one funny note that peeks in and around this scent as it develops is the wheat note which smells like freshly-baked bread, it never lingers for long but it plays peek-a-boo with my nose throughout the heart and base of En Passant. Once again the freedom Frederic Malle has given a perfumer has resulted in one of their best pieces of fragrant work. En Passant translates to "in passing" but it also refers to a chess move which, is not often seen and, is the only occasion in chess where the capturing piece does not move to the square of the captured piece. Olivia Giacobetti has also created a transparent lilac masterpiece that is also a rare piece of artistry.

    04 April, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Noël au Balcon by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Etat Libre D'Orange Noel au Balcon

    Noel au Balcon is the beginning of a Freanch proverb "Noël au balcon, Pâques aux tisons." Which translates to "If the weather is mild at Christmas it will be cold at Easter". In November of 2007 Antoine Maisondieu created Noel au Balcon as an exclusive to European Sephoras for the holidays. It was discontinued with the close of the holiday season in 2008. That's a shame because this is one of the best scents I've tried from Etat Libre D'Orange and with a wider distribution could have been a mainstream winner for the line, I think. The beginning of this is a beautiful honeyed fruit as the honey drenches a mix of orange and apricot. This is a restrained sweetness and it is a hallmark of this scent as M. Maisondieu uses notes throughout that if used with an unsubtle hand would've ruined this scent. This scent then takes a turn into the spices and pepper, cumin and cinnamon are the prominent notes in the heart. This could be a jarring transition but in this scent it is not. The progression is unusually smooth and the spices are a refreshing contrast to the sweet beginning. The base returns to a mix of sweet as vanilla and musk bring this one home. M. Maisondieu has created a beautiful interplay of sweet and spicy here. One thing is for sure this is not a "mild Christmas" so I can look forward to a less chilly Easter.

    04 April, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Kohdo Wood Collection: Dark Amber & Ginger Lily by Jo Malone

    Jo Malone Dark Amber and Ginger Lily

    Jo Malone is a British perfumer known for their simple one or two-note fragrances. As a line they are usually very high quality and they are ideal for layering. That is why the 2008 limited release Dark Amber and Ginger Lily was so surprising to me. For the first time this was a Jo Malone which felt like it was meant to stand all on its own. So much so that I couldn't possibly think about putting anything on top of this because it is so nice it would ruin it for me. The top of this scent begins with a light combination of spices. First to my nose was cardamom followed by pepper and then ginger. This leads to the heart where the ginger slowly morphs into a lily accord combined with incense. This scent was inspired by Japanese incense ceremonies and it is here where that mood is most evoked as the combination of floral and incense comes off near-perfect for me. In the base is where the amber finally makes its appearance and it is combined with a suede-like leather and sandalwood. I'm not sure this is a "dark amber" but it is a deeper less sweet amber than is usually present in the base of most scents. For me this scent is a complete triumph as it mixes almost all of my favorite things and does it in a way that keeps it from being jarring or banal. From spice to floral incense to woody amber this scent pleases me on every esthetic level I hold for perfume. As mentioned above this was a limited release in 2008 but it was brought back in 2009 also in a limited release and is as the time of this review still available. For me this is the best Jo Malone to date and is one of my favorites in any line.

    04 April, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    No. 23 by Ava Luxe

    Ava Luxe No. 23

    Ava Luxe is another artisanal House, the creative force behind this House is Serena Ava Franco. One aspect of this type of perume House is the sense of experimentation that takes place. Where a larger House might put out one of two scents a year, an artisanal House might put out one or two scents a month. This leads to more misses than the average big House, but by being able to try different things when they get it right it can be special. Ava Luxe No. 23, released in 2007, is one of those times that its very right. Sandalwood is one of the more widely known notes to anyone who sniffs. In No. 23 Serena has chosen to see what sandalwood can do when paired with different floral notes. From the top the pairing is hawthorn and acacia this gives it a green character to start but still distinctly floral. It is in the heart where geranium and rose pair with the sandalwood that this turns lush. At the end it becomes a sweet amber and incense feeling scent on my skin although neither of those notes are listed. No.23 has been compared to Diptyque's Tam Dao and in construction that is probably not correct as the similarity has mainly to do with the strong sandalwood core of both scents. Tam Dao uses different pairings of notes to explore sandalwood than No. 23 does. One place they are similar is in their quality. As one who likes Tam Dao very much No. 23 holds equal standing to my nose.

    04 April, 2009

    goodlight's avatar

    United States United States

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    Dior Addict Eau Fraîche by Christian Dior

    Is it just me or is this a Bvlgari Eau The Verte clone?

    And I don't mean it in a bad way. It smells less tart/green than Bvlgari, more feminine.

    If I were not on a budget right now I would definitely get this one for the warmer weather months.

    04 April, 2009

    Tony T's avatar

    United States United States

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    PS by Paul Sebastian

    my friend at work wears this and does it reak. terrible basenotes that don't mix well at all. too potent and a very irritating scent. he is a cool young 51 but this is not recommended to anyone.

    04 April, 2009

    bbBD's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sweet Almond / Amande Sucre by Ava Luxe

    I simultaneously received samples of Amande Sucre and Sinfonia di Note Amande Sucree from a kind BNer. The Ava Luxe blows the Sinfonia out of the water! I've began to realize that what Ava Luxe calls 'eau de parfum' concentration would probably be extrait by most houses. This is a simple sweet almond, bright and cheery with excellent sillage and longevity. It's not toothache sweet, nor is too mute or musky (as the Sinfonia is). Ava Luxe fragrances are of high quality, regardless of genre, but the gourmands seem to shine above and beyond the others. For a simple gourmand at a low price I don't think you can do much better - I also suggest you try Doll Face, another inexpensive but slightly more complex gourmand.

    04 April, 2009

    bbBD's avatar

    United States United States

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    Burial by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

    Sharp, tinny, and unpleasant lavender. Not very good at all.

    04 April, 2009

    bbBD's avatar

    United States United States

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    Obatala by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

    This is a bright, vanillic/amber with light woody notes. Very nice.

    04 April, 2009

    Nukapai's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Charmes et Feuilles by Different Company

    Un Parfum de Charmes et Feuilles is described as an "enchanted garden" in the official blurbs. I love the opening; mint and herbs and citrus; just one of the most accomplished and sophisticated openings I've come across and here's the thing I appreciate most - it does not smell of "yet another cologne". With a herbal citrus, you'd usually be heading in that direction straight away (which is not bad; I love a good cologne, but it's just delightful when there's a surprise like this).

    Jasmine starts to come through pretty early; the smell of it here is almost a texture to me - where the opening was jagged green and yellow lines, here comes jasmine, all brown and fuzzy. It doesn't sit there separately from the earlier notes at all; which is great, but one comical thing happens - the addition of jasmine suddenly makes the citrus-herb concoction smell soapy and the skanky undertone of jasmine is (either on its own or together with some added animalics like synthetic civet) creates a bit of a bad-breath and/or bathroom smell that just lingers at the edge of your perception.

    For the rest of the development, the scent flip-flops between a herbal floral and old-fashioned bathroom soap.

    It manages to be very sophisticated, very moorish, but a little bit unsettling.

    I own it and love it, but I'd change the description to "An enchanted bathroom".

    04 April, 2009 (Last Edited: 17 June, 2009)

    Nukapai's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

    There's a very sharp ethanol-alcoholic-chemical note (seems more than just the alcohol evaporating) in the opening. It smells industrial in an unpleasant way; a real chemical-spill note. Not a good start. I almost can't get anything past it; it sits there in front of the somewhat blousy, but sweet and delicate floral that's trying to get through. Unfortunately, there is no more development on my skin; the "floral chemical spill" impression doesn't go away. So my lovely new blurb for this is "not only a scrubber, but something you could probably scrub with."

    I don't understand this house, really - some of my all-time favourite scents are Goutals and then, occasionally, a real horror emerges.

    04 April, 2009

    Nostalgie's avatar

    United States United States

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    Charogne by Etat Libre d'Orange

    It is difficult to cut to the chase, because each Etat Libre d'Orange fragrance comprises a name, a concept, a drawing, a narrative, a scent, and a cultural reference. If the word "Charogne" [carrion] does not inspire trepidation, then the association with Baudelaire's poem "Une Charogne" will give most scent samplers pause. In Baudelaire's 12-stanza memento mori, the poet recalls a warm summer day when he and his lover came upon a creature rotting in the afternoon sun. The poet points out that one day his lover will be just like that carcass, devoured and decomposed by the kisses of vermin; yet her divine essence will live on in the poet's immortal compositions.

    The sample package of "Charogne" features a rose sketched in black and white with a drop of red blood at the center: perhaps a nod to Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil, or to the theme of death, beauty and the printed page.

    But on to the fragrance.

    Does ELO's "Charogne" smell like the putrid carcass described in the poem? Not at all. It is, like Baudelaire's verse, oddly seductive. Bergamot and ylang ylang provide an almost too sweet initial impression, soon tamed by the softest leather. Vanilla and incense emerge over ambrette and undefined "animalc notes". These are not the heavy doses civet or castoreum I would have expected. There is an undeniable warmth to the base, but it has the strange yet familiar indolic freshness of jasmine. The overall effect is that of layered fragility and earth. Like all of the ELO fragrances I've sampled, Charogne lasts a long time, without loud sillage.

    I leave it to you to enjoy the little narrative in the sample package and on the web site. To me it reads as a metaphor of the scent's development over time on the wearer. I am nearly convinced by the last line: "How could one do without it?" But the scent in itself, without all of the words and images it evokes, would be pretty. Not striking. That's right, the "divine essence" that makes this fragrance transcendent depends upon the art of language.

    Despite the beauty of the scent, I shudder when I think of the name, and in this way , too, "Charogne" echos "Une Charogne."

    For a truly delicious and decadent experience, read the poem as you inhale the scent from your skin, or from the skin of another. You will be transported.

    04 April, 2009 (Last Edited: 13 March, 2010)

    xmen's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Michael for Men by Michael Kors

    I remember I was at an airport duty-free recently and I was testing all different scents like crazy- chanel no.5 Eau Premiere, Egoist Platinum, Nasciso for Him and Michael for Men. I ended up liking Michael the most. There's something special about this scent, at once elegant and stately. In case you're interested to know- my least favorite that day among the distinguished group is Egoist Platinum.

    04 April, 2009

    xmen's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Black XS by Paco Rabanne

    My little guilty pleasure- even now, months after learning from reading Basenotes and trying so, so many different scents and hopefully evolving my sense of smell. Black XS is a little vulgar (how can it not be with such a monster sillage and longevity?), sinfully synthetic but, hey, when it's that good it's simply irresistible. I feel happy wearing this and that is the single most important incentive to wearing any perfume in my book.

    04 April, 2009

    Showing 151 to 180 of 1217.