Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Total Reviews: 143191

Givenchy III by Givenchy

Vintage eau de toilette.

It's like I remember, from decades ago. Well-blended, "old school" fragrance. I can pick out gardenia, galbanum, carnation, hyacinth, amber, patchouli, and vetiver. The aldehydes on top are great. Not overly "buzzy" to my nose.

Not a to-die-for fragrance but, very enjoyable.
25th April, 2018

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Diesel-wood leather
Bound patchouli mysteries
Require no answers.
25th April, 2018

Le Gemme : Gyan by Bulgari

Gyan is a sexy cloud of smoky patchouli with a sweet jasmine sambac radiating from the center. The patchouli is not that "hippy smelling" patchouli; this is a rich and refined patchouli. If I ever had to choose a a signature fragrance, this would probably be it.

Gyan is a smooth non-cloying fragrance (unless you really over do it) that can be worn anywhere - Black tie events, office, out with friends, or on a date with that special someone. Gyan gets a lot of unsolicited compliments and smells fantastic.

Gyan projects around 2 meters (6ft) and leaves a nice smoky sweet jasmine trail of fragrance in your wake.

As far as I am concerned, this is a year-round fragrance. Hot or cold weather, you will smell great.

Gender-wise Gyan would smell great on men and women 25+. Younger people that prefer fresh scents will probably not appreciate this as much.

Gyan as well as the rest of the Le Gemme collection can only be purchased at a Bvlgari boutique online or in one of their brick and mortar locations.

Yes the Le Gemme men's line is a little pricey ($310 for 100 ml) but honestly, you are also paying for presentation as well as the amazing juice. The box is very nicely padded. The sleek black bottle is topped with a blue gem. Each Le Gemme fragrance has its own gem color. I have tried each one and all are worth trying out.


Gyan is a solid 10/10
25th April, 2018
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Ombre Rose L'Original by Jean-Charles Brosseau

I have always loved this perfume. It starts as a powdery, floral woody thing. The notes that stand out for me are heliotrope, iris, musk, cedar, orris root, rose, and vanilla. Feminine, to the extreme. As the middle settles in, this begins to smell like lipstick. The base? More lipstick. I adore that, about Ombre Rose. Lasts for an eternity on my flesh.
25th April, 2018

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

Great combo of green, bright citrus in the opening and then drying down to a clean, classy and masculine violet.

GIT is versatile and classic and should work well for most occasions, climates, and ages.

Longevity is good, lasts all workday but the projection stops after the first 1-2 hours on me. After that time, it's still there but sits closer to the skin.

24th April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Royal Princess Oud by Creed

The opening is pleasant: a slightly sweetish bergamot, with a soft violet and a good jasmine making a gently fresh-floral mix.

The drydown adds a smooth patchouli - no harshness here - with a restrained aldehydic - at tunes nigh-fruity-ozonic undertone, which is not too synthetic. The base adds vanilla - neither cloying nor dominant- on a woodsy background that is spiced up with a bit of benzoin-infused styrax.

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

This is a floral spring scent that is not bad, but overall a bit nondescript at times and not structured particularly well. The name is complete deception: there is no oud, not even any synthetically derived oud, in in this composition. 2.75/5.
24th April, 2018

Russian Oud by Areej le Doré

Unisex!? Maybe. I would say this is pretty, certainly, however, in a way that matches to the Masculine skin. It starts with a rude barnyard and transitions like an Oud Oil to the body of the story. I hoover and identify a great wack of Labdanum, wrapped in a Honeyed Dark Chocolate Smoke-iness that is, well, Leather. The Myrrh adds it's sharp vaguely bitter angle and then is softened by the.... Oh ya, give me that Castoreum. Musk certainly, however the Star is the Chocolate and Leather.
Full bottle, for me.
My wife is likely to shake her head, unless she catches the whiff of the Chocolate.
I don't really identify the Sandal, however the Cedar offers it's sharp edged stroke.
It's all vaguely, gourmand, caramel, edible, similar to PG Aomassai, however, this, is Truffled and buttered, by the Animalics.

Later, as my wife lays her head on my chest in a cuddle.

She says "You smell like an Ottoman Sultan"

I ask "Is it the Myrrh"

She says, in a purr "Yes, it's the Myrrh"

In any case this stuff dries down similar to Fumerie Turque, but better.
24th April, 2018

L'Homme de Coeur by Divine

Quite a pleasant and beautiful scent...A tangy fresh green , slightly woody/ herby iris sitting on a plank of wood...not a big fan of iris fragrances , but i really like how this smells...strrikes me as a very inoffensive fragrance that is perfectly suited for all ocassions...smells smooth and sophisticated and has aspects of both the mens cologne and barbershop schools of thought...it seems rather hard to come up with flower fragrances that most men would feel comfortable wearing , but I don't think any guy would have any issues with pulling this one off...
24th April, 2018

Wind Drift by Dana

Wind Drift is perhaps my favorite of the English Leather flankers, mainly because it really isn't one, and stood on it's own without much link-back to the original besides having "from the makers of" under the title (much like Coty did for every masculine released after Stetson until the 1990's). Legend has it this was an old ultra-luxe men's fougère called "Villa d'Este" released during MEM's days as a Denmark-based perfumer (possibly pre-1940's), and likely competed with Dana's upscale and obscure Canoe Royale (release year unknown), which itself was patterned after a Guerlain fragrance, bottle and all. The Villa d'Este is a 16th century villa near Rome, and that name probably didn't (or wouldn't) resonate well with predominantly American buyers post-move to the States, especially in 1970, when this stuff was relaunched as Wind Drift. I admit the name "Wind Drift" has all the charisma of a piece of flotsam drifting along the wind across the ocean, which might have been the intent, and doesn't grant blind buyers any favors when they stare down a bottle. The real magic here is obviously the way it smells, but I feel it got the least attention of all the English Leather (1949) flankers MEM made to compete with Shulton's Old Spice (1937), because it was just so different. Wind Drift had a large enough cult to survive until MEM's purchase by Renaissance Cosmetics/New Dana in 1996, but was promptly axed afterward, along with all the other flankers in the English Leather stable. It's not super super expensive in surviving vintage formats, but definitely more difficult to find than many vintage designers due to it's slow trickle in sales over the years.

Wind Drift is an interesting creature in it's opening, being one part Chanel No. 5 (1921) with its use of aldehydes, one part traditional fougère like the aforementioned Canoe with it's lavender and bergamot, until it brings in lemon, basil, anise, and rosemary like the much later Azzaro Pour Homme (1978) and Aramis Tuscany Per Uomo (1984), with the gentle herb-cradled chypre easiness of something like Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971) but without the dirty thyme and vetiver bite. There's presaging of both the YSL, and Balenciaga Ho Hang (1971) in this soft citric herb opening, plus Un Homme Charles Jourdan (1979), while much milder than their herbal displays or the anise of Azzaro and Tuscany. Wind Drift recalls the same Italian sunrise as the latter two, which is probably why it was originally called Villa d'Este, but lets the lemon and lavender do most of the talking like the YSL. The middle is classic mid-century barbershop, but considering its composition is much older than it's official release date, I'm not surprised. Geranium, carnation, cedar, sandalwood, with the odd rose make this middle. Base notes are also pretty predictable too, with tonka, oakmoss, labadum, vanilla, and musk, but the vanilla is soft, very docile, compared to something like Canoe. I can totally see why this was advertised as beachy, because we were a little under a decade away from the sunny Italian fougères this uncannily predates, and although it doesn't possess a true marine note in it, the combination of aldehydes, lemon, herbs, bergamot, florals, and a very buttoned-down fougère base allow the citrus top to sing longer while the smooth base notes harmonize with it rather than adding a rich counterpoint bass riff like most things made at this time. I don't get the aquatic association with this outside of perhaps a metaphorical one, but I understand it.

Wind Drift has suffered from poor reviews in what few places list it due to the shock most people have when smelling it, since it really isn't a proper English Leather flanker, but rather an older standalone masculine rebranded as a flanker for catalog-padding purposes. The first thing anyone seems to say when they give it the thumbs down is "oh this smells nothing like English Leather" and "it's too mild and soapy", because without foreknowledge of things like Azzaro, Un Homme, Tuscany, etc., there's no point of reference to see what this really is: a prototype of the anisic lemon and herb barbershop style but with strong DNA connecting it to older fougère styles. I actually love the stuff quite dearly and will continue refilling my big 4oz bottle with surviving minis and partials for as long as I can. It's just a nice, smooth, mellow and bright barbershop fougère that was likely doomed by it's renaming and aquatic associations. It may not be able to "almost hear the sea" like the old advertisements for it claim, but on a casual spring, fall, or mild summer day, this is just several ticks shy of perfect as a work scent, play scent, or weekend errand-running scent. I'd go so far as to say it deserves relaunching under it's original name as a niche scent (but upped to parfum concentration or eau de toilette at least), as the only real chink in the armor with this is it's performance. An unsung, misunderstood, under-appreciated classic, and I really hate saying that because discontinued vintage and niche fans abuse it, but if ever it was true, I think it's here. You'll have to reapply this a bit more than I'd like if you want a full day out of it, but the same holds true for any drugstore cologne of the period so it's not really a design fault, just a consequence of it's economy. An all-time fave!
23rd April, 2018 (last edited: 24th April, 2018)

Furyo by Jacques Bogart

Ever have an "Oh my God" moment when spraying on a fragrance and taking it in for the first time? Well, I certainly had one with this little doozy, but more on that later. Bogart brought in some big guns with a young pre-Firmenich/pre-Guerlain Thierry Wasser, fresh off his perfume debut with Salvadore Dali Pour Homme (1987), coupled with Ron Winnegrad, the late-70's wonder perfumer who brought us both the original Lagerfeld/Lagerfeld Classic cologne and Dunhill Blend 30 in the same year. The two combined crafted a masculine floral that was part of a brief late-80's resurgence of the old Victorian style, but like several of it's contemporaries, was augmented with powerful animalics, building up and making more sophisticated the basic one-two punches of earlier powerhouses such as Kouros (1981) or Bogart's own One Man Show (1980). Furyo was part of a new but short-lived generation of slightly more unisex and friendlier powerhouses that were meant to carry men into the 90's in place of the heavy bergamot/oakmoss/woods battle axes they were still wearing, but history would see to it otherwise. Furyo, just like classmates Balenciaga Ho Hang Club (1987), Paco Rabanne Ténéré (1988), Azzaro Acteur (1989), Balenciaga Pour Homme (1990), and Jacomo Anthracite (1991), would be swept away mid 90's after their competition for the future of men's fragrance defeated them: aromachemical aquatics, ozonics, and "fresh" fougères. These much lighter, simpler, easier-to-understand fragrances rebooted men's perfume aesthetics back to all the smell-alike barbershop fougères of the 60's, but with the added plus of being cheaper to produce and eventually focus-group-tuned for mass appeal. Poor old Furyo and friends would be lumped into the same dinosaur exhibit with the stiff oakmoss powerhouses they sought to replace, but with even less chance at legacy buyers because they were on the shelf for not even half as long. It's a crying shame really, but ultimately I can see why, as like with everything else in this special club, Furyo is very much a niche scent, just before ultra-high-end niche-interest perfume was even a thing. Furyo has a similar built-in sprayer like most Bogart bottles, but comes in a gorgeous red glass presentation with faux-gilded details on the sprayer head/cap mechanism, giving it an ultra-high-class feeling compared to other bottles at this time which were going for modern art aesthetics or blocky 80's industrial minimalism. Not only does the juice inside smell profound, but the visual presentation is one of Bogart's classiest and most profound as well, without looking pretentious like bejeweled Lalique bottles of ages past.

Furyo starts with a bizarre dandy-like fruits and flowers opening that instantly sets it apart from anything else in it's rare class. Traditional opening notes of lavender, artemisia, coriander, and bergamot are joined by fig leaf, juniper berries, and laurel. The berries and fig make themselves readily apparent right away, with the more conventional top notes blurring into a smooth accompaniment. Before long, you realize just how floral this actually is, and how it's predominantly a rose scent much like Ténéré and Acteur, sitting somewhere between Ténéré's dry rose (and unfortunate slight carpet deodorizer vibe for that reason), and Acteur's sweeter near-feminine damask rose. The middle is where this rose lives, supported by indolic jasmine similar to another rare latter-day masculine dandy scent called Aramis 900 (1973), but unlike the grassy galbanium used to slightly neuter the femininity of the rose, here in Furyo it's augmented further with geranium and spicy cinnamon. The top and middle are pretty wild, but in the base we get both urinous civet and the sharp, almost waxy castoreum, imbuing Furyo with the projection and sillage of Caesium-137, just without making your skin glow like a drum of nuclear waste after you've sprayed it on. This sumo wrestler base has it's twin animalics further buffed with amber, patchouli (which definitely comes through after some skin heat), vetiver, vanilla, oakmoss and white musk. The end wear of Furyo is rich, sweet, inviting, yet frighteningly muscular and challenging, making me wonder if this was made to be both attractant and passive vetting of potential romantic liaisons all in one. He or she who dares is he or she who wins when approaching a person wearing Furyo, that's for damned sure. Several people who tried this before me warned of a heavy nag champa note, and I have plenty of various nag champa incense (most of it from Shrinivas Sugandhalaya and the like), but I've burned enough of it to say that maybe this slightly compares to the smell of the box, but not the actual product when burned, and I don't really get that powdery-piquant nag champa vibe at all after the opening, although I do understand that such a swirl of fruit and heavy florals in the top and middle could make a nag champa ghost at the very end, where I can finally detect it.

What I do get here is the Alpha Male of the late-80's masculine floral pack. It's strong where Ho Hang Club isn't, sweet where Ténéré isn't, animalic where Acteur isn't, and is only really rivaled by Balenciaga Pour Homme, which also has a respectable animal growl but only with one such ingredient and not two like Furyo, making it the beta if anything to Furyo's alpha. Furyo deservedly gets recollections of room-clearing might from folks who used it back in the day, and despite it's floral delicacies, is every bit the horny monster -if not more- that the earlier powerhouses were. I don't believe I've smelled much stronger. Perfumer Thierry Wasser seems most likely responsible for the very flirtatiously floral top and middle, while Ron Winnegrad, knowing his past work, was likely responsible for the monster base that has not one but two scary animalics in it. The key underlying difference between Furyo, and something like Antaeus (1981), is Furyo achieves it's massive power without being overly macho, since the animalics work under the other notes and not over top them, making it strong in a more general way like some of the siren-song feminine powerhouses of the decade. This is easily my favorite of this late-80's transitional floral crowd, because it doesn't even try sitting on it's hand, but rather just goes out and gets what it wants, with a rose corsage to soften the blow it lands. It's easy to see why this is the among the most difficult to find and more expensive of the universally-discontinued lot, since it's got both performance and unique character (with Balenciaga Pour Homme again being the only rival), while the rest usually have just one or the other. If you do end up tracking this down and buying a bottle, please be careful with application, as even a standard three-spray to neck, chest, and face will leave you gasping in a cloud for a good hour. You don't have to apply this to your shirt to extend the top notes either, as just having that shirt touch skin will inevitably scent it, this stuff is that potent. I mean, what do you want for a fragrance with a name that translates roughly from Japanese to "prisoner of war"? I was excited, enticed, and scared all at once, hence my reaction. Epic stuff for sure but really very niche in interest, especially in the 21st century. Furyo doesn't feel made with a context in mind, but just as "perfume for art's sake", which is a mindset not typically afforded perfumers working for designer houses, even highly-reputable ones like Bogart, which makes this that much more of a gem. Just please, whatever you do, sample this if at all possible before you believe all the hype (including mine), or you may regret it. This stuff pulls no punches AT ALL.
23rd April, 2018 (last edited: 24th April, 2018)

Cool Water by Davidoff

It's nice, cool, clean and familiar. Not as green as GIT and not as rich but this still gets compliments and is enjoyable to wear. Also, there is something about it that makes it stand apart from GIT so that you know which is which when comparing side-by-side, might be the mint.

Leans a little old school but completely inoffensive. Great for work.

Good projection and lasts all workday.
23rd April, 2018

White Collection : Rain by Commodity

This is not an earthy rain, but instead a tropical rain with lush aquatic florals wafting up from my wrists. It is beautiful, but I was hoping for more of a dirty scent, like that loamy smell that rises up after a summer thunderstorm. No, indeed, this is much more delicate; not that it is a bad thing, just not I’m looking for.

I’ll happily use up the rest of my decant, but it’s not full bottle worthy for me.
23rd April, 2018

Wildfox by Wildfox

Like everyone else, the bottle is absolutely STUNNING. The problem is, the book is not as interesting as its cover.

Wildfox is a nice and inoffensive scent, bordering on being uninteresting. I get the florals and the honey, very clean throughout the dry down.

I live in the southern US, and while this is perfectly fine for spring and early fall, the honey notes would be too much for a muggy summer day. Definitely not a summer scent for me.
23rd April, 2018
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Eau Papaguéna by Élisire

Eau Papaguena is a bright, catchy, citrusy floral. I only catch a tiny whiff here and there of the herb-y notes. It's a clean scent that warms up as it dries down. If you like green scents, this is definitely one to try.

Moderate sillage, and sticks around for 7-8 hours. Great for the office, won't offend anyone, and is just straight up PRETTY.
23rd April, 2018

Maharanih Intense by Nicolaï

This is another great fragrance from Nicolai, interesting and balanced, wearable and memorable, an alluring smell. Looking at the notes, sandalwood and civet seem to describe what I'm smelling. It's slightly gamy in a way that could almost be too challenging. On the right person it could be stunning.

This definitely has a vintage quality, the gravitas of quality ingredients.
23rd April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

2000 Fleurs by Creed

The floral blast that greets me during the opening blast sets the tone: floral, floral, floral!

The top notes are dominated a lovely magnolia, that is supported by a fairly gentle violet with a light touch of a rose.

The drydown sees the rise of a soft jasmine - less intense than in Jasmal of the same House - that is accompanied by a haunting narcissus, an ingredient used only rarely and then not always convincingly, but here it finds in beautifully. It is mixed with iris in the background and this dyad works very well.

The base skips the usual Creedy ambergris for a softer and smother ambery variant, but the floral representatives, especially narcissus and jasmin, play important roles right up to the last minutes.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a - for Creed - sensational thirteen hours of longevity on my skin.

A delicious spring scent for daytime as well as evenings, this Creed, whilst clearly traditional in its core, is nonetheless with not without a creative twist, is composed of ingredients of very high quality, and is blended very well. 3.5/5.
23rd April, 2018

Akaster by Parfums de Marly

Well, another entry into the world of rose-oud...I'm really liking this entry though...very classy smelling western oud with some added woody oomph from the cypress...a very smooth and slick feeling fragrance...spicy tasting and get a nice hint of lemon in the background...aromatic/light/airy...i find this to be very pleasurable to wear...projects very nicely...semi-linear , which I find to be not a bad thing because i enjoy smelling this as is...decent life span too...overall , a nice addition to the rose-oud army...
23rd April, 2018

Oajan by Parfums de Marly

I get a vanilla flavored cherry pie drizzled wth honey and then sprinkled with a ton of cinnamon...one of those scents to reach for when its time for winter holidays , parties and family get togethers...not a super big fan of gourmand type fragrances , but I enjoy wearing this...has a nice semi-smoky resiny touch...I can see this guy hanging around with the likes of Burberry London . Bogart Witness , Wazamba , John Varvatos and his older brother JV Vintage...only drawback for me is the lack of longevity and projection on my skin...happy with the decant I have of this , no need for a full bottle...
23rd April, 2018
Kotori Show all reviews
United States

Parfum d'Été by Kenzo

I’m reviewing the current version, as I haven’t smelled the original in twenty years.

Breezy and fresh in a very 90’s way, with Lily of the Valley playing the diva, and Hyacinth and Freesia singing backup, it’s in the same genre as Gucci Envy and Cristalle Eau Verte: a green floral revival. I tend to think of it as Diorissimo modulated for Generation X.
23rd April, 2018
Kotori Show all reviews
United States

FlowerbyKenzo Le Parfum by Kenzo

I’ve been on my second bottle of this for about 10 years. It’s got similar DNA to Flower the original, but a medicinal almond and opoponax take center stage. And it isn’t as powdery. It’s languid and resinous. Syrupy, even. But it’s more Robitussin than Log Cabin. I like wearing this one along with Flower as a base layer for it. It’s also cozy in the winter as a stand-alone.
23rd April, 2018

Mitsouko by Guerlain

It's been about 10 or 12 years since I've tried Mitsouko, back when my Dillard's used to carry all the classic Guerlains. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. But I didn't really like it, either. I did groove on the initial brightness of it, the juicy peachiness interwoven with citrus, but then after the first few minutes it devolved into something more harsh, yet at the same time kind of vague. I figured I just wasn't sophisticated enough to appreciate it, and yet I never revisited it.

Until recently, when I was gifted with a bottle of the EDP, which turns out to be from 2014, supposedly a very good reformulation year. The peachy/citrusy opening still really sparkles, and the middle sings a very fine spicy (cinnamon? clove?) tune on my skin for about an hour. But after that it just falls off the cliff and muddles itself into a big ol' bunch of fusty/dusty/musty-ness, and not in a way that I would normally champion, like, say, the way Joy’s symphonic florals turn to rot or Djedi's mix of damp-basement and lemony roses or Youth Dew's balsamic orange blossom weirdness. Here, and at least on my skin and to my nose, Mitsouko is kind of a mess—an expensive, beautifully made, historically significant mess, to be sure. But still a mess.

The good news is, if you love it, it will last forever. It's still wafting from the T-shirt I had on when I spritzed it two days ago.
22nd April, 2018

Patchouli Intense / Patchouli Homme by Nicolaï

This is good. It gives me a memory of being in France. It works as a masculine fragrance, as labeled. It would make a virile aftershave. Maybe I've encountered someone in France wearing this. This definitely smells like being in France: in someone's house, in a car.

This came in a sample pack with some Etat Libre d'Orange samples, including Je Suis un Homme, which I preferred to this for being more wearable in my style.

This one, Nicolai Patchouli Homme, is strong, and makes a statement. It smells of essential oils, thick and concentrated. I could imagine it being too much for some people to feel comfortable trying to pull off. I could also imagine people being elated to have a bottle of this, and feeling extreme confidence and mood elevation wearing it. Because of my associations with the smell, it feels like a better fit for someone over 40, even a woman. It's so evocative.

I could imagine someone who wears Yatagan liking this. There's something similar in the boldness, bordering on brash, this one even more so, perhaps.
22nd April, 2018

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

This is a review of the 2009 version. It is pretty much like I remember wearing, back in the 90's. Less spice though. The top is briefly sweet then quickly turns flowery. Carnation and jasmine are prominent for me, in the middle. The base is darkish for awhile, then the amber and vanilla kicks in. I will enjoy the decant I have but, a full bottle isn't in my future. I DO have a vintage sample around somewhere. That review will follow later, at some point...
22nd April, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Jasmal by Creed

This is a lovely jasmine composition. The jasmine is present right form the start, is rich but elegantly restrained and never sets a foot wrong.

In the early stages the bergamot adds a fresh touch, being in the background on my skin at least. This is never a refreshing creation.

In the drydown the ambergris - often used by Creed - is present indeed, but is is smoother and softer than in many other products of this House.

Towards the ends, a gentle woodsy impression together with whiffs of galbanum add another pleasant twist to this Jasmin-centred mix.

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

A delightful Jasmin scent with a few uplifting touches, ideal for spring and blended well of high-quality ingredients. 3.25/5.
22nd April, 2018

Lost in Flowers by Strangelove NYC

Kind of like someone covered the barnyard with flower petals to mask the smell...being a huge fan and collector of animalic fragrances I find this fragrance very appealing...to my slowly learning nose this smells like a quality oud...not sure if its real oud or a synthetic , but if it is synthetic , its top of the line...This is pretty much overall a flower flavored oud , but not linear...morphs through various versions of this composition...and what makes me think that this is some really good oud is that I get all those nice little real oud nuances...a liitle wood...an ocassional whiff of tobacco...and it has this feeling of great depth...the flower smell is very realistic and gorgeous...hey , did I happen to mention that this projects like a beast...wonderfull olfactory journey...a big thumbs up...whats really strange is that , here and there I get a babershop soapy effect...in quality , overall structure and vibe this , to my nose , brings to mind that this could come from Chanel or Guerlain if they were to do a flower/oud composition...
22nd April, 2018

Un Homme by Charles Jourdan

Charles Jourdan, much like Christobal Balenciaga, would ultimately become much better known for shoes in the modern era than anything else, and just like the late Balenciaga, would not live to see any masculine perfumes bear his name (although Balenciaga was alive to witness a few feminines at least), meaning this creation was made entirely without his input. Another uncanny similarity to Balenciaga is the fact that this debut masculine from the house would be an equally mild, traditional, almost palatial aromatic fougère to Balenciaga's Ho Hang (1971), both at a time when bold and brash was the standard. There are differences however, and owning one doesn't rule out the need for the other, and if one enjoys either than one should possess both, for they are of a unique style that was rarefied even when new. The house of Charles Jourdan wouldn't explore perfume very far, as the children of the late house master would inevitably run the company into the ground after a series of very controversial stiletto heels marked the brand. Only a singular masculine was made and Un Homme is it, being released in 1979 right on the cusp of the powerhouse era, making it even further against the grain than perhaps Ho Hang was, but those in the know often favorably compared it to the barbershop standard of Azzaro Pour Homme (1978), which preceded it by a year. I can definitely see what those folks are on about, because there is a similar anise and lemon top to this fragrance, but it is buried under a much more complex pyramid of herbal notes that merge with a base that borders between chypre and fougère, while Azzaro stays in it's neat and tidy fougère fast lane. The nose here is Françoise Caron, sister to the more prolific perfumer Olivier Cresp, and herself the nose behind the famed Hermès L'Eau d'Orange Verte (1979) which debuted concurrently with this obscure gem.

When I tell people what this is or show them the bottle, they either have zero idea who Charles Jourdan is, or didn't realize he had fragrances if they remember the name, always citing the shoe boutiques inhabiting high-end shopping districts as where the name rings a bell. The scent opens with that familiar anise and lemon, but it's far more subtle than Azzaro or even the later Aramis Tuscany Per Uomo (1984), which is far brighter yet. The lemon/anise accord in Un Homme is quickly swathed in an herb bath of tarragon, majoram, and cradled in piquant bergamot and gentle lavender. Before you know it, the anise is barely present in the company of all the greens, allowing the heart quicker access to the nose of the wearer. Supposedly the note breakdown of this heart contains patchouli alongside carnation, cyclamen, geranium, and cedar. I smell the last two notes here, as they're unmistakable, but the rest in buried in blending. The base here has leather and sandalwood, both which are present but quiet compared to how they're usually presented, with oakmoss and musk doing most of the talking, with a dot of coumarin for body. This is still clearly a fougère, but it's chypre-like gentle dryness sure blurs the lines, and when combined with the soft citrus/herbal top, draws this closer to the aforementioned Ho Hang than Azzaro to my nose (outside of the anise), and with the geranium/lavender mix, incidentally pairs very well with many vintage mid-century after shaves as well. It's not mega-classy, super macho, or particularly romantic, but Françoise Caron delivered a very relaxed and understated brand of masculinity that was most certainly an underdog in an age of baroque aromatics and bulky leather scents. People who fell in love with this upon release likely used it as a signature and stood apart from the crowd of guys using more popular scents at the time, and it easily could be still due to it's relative subtlety for it's style and the era in which is was made, if not for it being long discontinued.

Un Homme Charles Jourdan must be a well-kept secret by perfume collectors in any case, as it still retails for at or slightly above modern designer retail, although there are some shameless types trying to charge niche prices for surviving stock, so don't jump on the first offer you find for this if it sounds like something you want to explore. It's an underdog in the same barbershop family as anything mentioned above, but is definitely greener and more herbal than any of the vanillic stuff such as Canoe (1936), Brut (1963), or Sartorial (2010) in the same category. To be sure, something this relaxed and confidently masculine can be an everyday wear but will date you unless you work around folks who love really old-school compositions (or just work alone), but as a weekend day wear in spring or fall, this won't let you down. It's not sharp enough for summer and loses power in cold weather, so keep that in mind. Fans of vintage smells won't need much further convincing to try this, but for those of you out there running more streamlined wardrobes, this may seem a needlessly expensive and precious variant of something already owned that's much easier to replenish, so that's some food for thought too. I just love an underdog, so this is definitely right up my alley, and I also love barbershop smells, particularly herbal ones as they're less common and so smooth, so it's double-down on that for me too. My roommate commented that I had that "just shaved" smell when I put this on before going out for food, and I said "that's exactly what I love about this", and perhaps you will too. A certified obscure classic here, and unlike Charles Jourdan's vintage stilettos, it won't give you varicose veins from wearing it too much.
22nd April, 2018

Fire Island by Bond No. 9

Although I've never actually been to Fire Island (I wish!); when I smell this I am immediately reminded of Euro sunscreens such as Ambre Solei: the association is undeniable.

Growing up in Australia, we were always exposed to every type of sunscreen protection there was to offer, and Fire Island smells almost exactly like an expensive European sunscreen. There's nothing tropical here; no coconut or Tiare Flower, just the sense of a really lovely sunscreen.

For me, this almost has too much tuberose, but thankfully, once it dries down, I'm left with very realistic representation of sun kissed skin and body lotion.

Despite the above this is a wonderful fragrance, and for me, quite a departure from Bond No 9's usual fruity, patchouli/amber/oud scents. This reminds me more of what L'Artisan Parfumeur used to be about; quirky fragrances that absolutely reminded you of a particular place or thing.

I really love this because of the association with my youth and growing up in Sydney. Its very tenacious though and lasts for ages; so if you want to be transported back to the beach, be prepared to stay for a while. 2 thumbs up and 5 stars!
21st April, 2018

Enigma by Wajid Farah

A little too much leather, for my tastes. It's slightly sweet. Woody, too. Skip this one, folks.
21st April, 2018

Zeste Mandarine Pamplemousse by Creed

Odd, dry citrus, like
Complimentary insults,
Not soon forgotten.
21st April, 2018

Remarkable People by Etat Libre d'Orange

Juicy, beverage accord on top. Slightly sweet and savory in the middle, like a food condiment. It has a pipe-tobacco vibe. The base is rather subtle. Overall not bad. Leans more towards the masculine.
21st April, 2018
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