Perfume Reviews

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Green Valley by Creed

Creed has some nice fragrances , but there's a lot I haven't had a chance to sample yet...To give you an idea of my favorite Creeds , I have full bottles of Acier Aluminium , Orange Spice , and Bois de you can see where my main tastes that I've smelled this ultra green citrusy beauty I'm very sad that it's discontinued and going for big bucks because I would have loved to get at least a 30ml split...totally agree with other observations that this is kind of like a blend of GIT and SMW and/or MI...has that overall aura and air about it that , when you smell it , you can right away identify it as a Creed...bottom line - Aromatic Citrus Green
18th March, 2018

Icon Racing by Dunhill

Smells good in a synthetically sweet, fresh way, similar to many modern scents made to appeal to the masses.

My issue with this fragrance isn't the smell but the lack of projection. It became a skin scent very quickly on my skin, which is no good for a scent that should be so mass appealing. If people could smell this, they would like it. Longevity is pretty good, so although it's a skin scent, it does stick around all day.
18th March, 2018

Prelude to Love by By Kilian

I'm on the fence about this day I like it , then I try it some other time , and not so much...its a nice citrusy flavored neroli with a dab of pepper/gingery spice...but , I don't really get anything awesome that makes it stick out from the crowd of similar fragrances...sometimes I get a artificial vibe from it...along with that is the poor longevity and projection that pushes it back even further into the crowd...When I find myself yearning for a neroli fix , a very similar fragrance , that I much prefer over this , is Xerjoff Oroville... bottom line - Mediterranean style citrusy flower...
18th March, 2018
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Tabac Blond by Caron

Caron Tabac Blond Eau De Cologne

With all the wonderful praises of the EDP and Parfum I expected to be wow-ed by this. I have been, however it is in quiet contemplation of the structure, balance and non linear composition.
This opens with a splash of the Peppery Aspect of Carnation. Camphour of the same is subdued. Citric or Acid are minimal. Sugar, of which there is a careful balance, is counterpointed by a tannin, perhaps the Lime Blossom.
The scent takes on the Leather aspect of comparable perfumes,in my memory and direct comparison, to first Shalimar without the Guerlain-ade,Habit Rouge without the Incense,the Vibrant Contemporary lipstick of Cuir Cannage and the Godet Cuir de Russie with a little oomph and sexiness.
A petroleum lilt is provided which I would guess would be Jasmine.
Iris is blended delicately and provides(for me) a gentle rigidity beautiful and I suspect a waxiness in background, which then blends with Vanilla to provide a semi-dry Talc in drying. I feel the light breeze of Ambergris and volume-nizing of the Oakmoss.
In spite of the Eau strength, I have, a three hour longevity, with a beautiful dry Tobacco nuanced accord and non-stuffy powder.
Although I pick up no smokiness in the scent proper, I played, by applying a light spray of a very smokey, linear Contemporary scent, to one of my girly's Leather jackets,(I'll pay for that later)sniffed and was brought back to moments of High School 70's and friends, who were girls.
At 15, as like most,I a boy, viewed girls, largely from a position clouded by sexual desire.
A girl wearing the Caron, smoking heavily, wearing glossy Lipstick and perhaps a Leather Jacket, the Caron would have added an intoxicating, "Womanly" scent to the mix. That would have had me... tormented.
17th March, 2018 (last edited: 18th March, 2018)

Soir de Paris / Evening in Paris (original) by Bourjois

Procured an old bottle of this, literally across the street at the antique mart. It has held up very well. An old-fashioned blend of bergamot, violet, clover, lilac, dark rose, green jasmine, and styrax. Comes off as aldehydic even though none really exists. It lasts only for a few hours (probably because of its age). I poured this into an atomizer bottle for use. It helps tremendously with the notes identification; the dispersion of molecules, I guess you'd say. I'd classify this as a unisex perfume. It isn't sweet at all.
17th March, 2018

Salvador Dali pour Homme by Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was certainly one of, if not the most eccentric and avant-garde artist of the 20th century, extending his artistic expression not only on multiple fronts, but through developing personas of his female muses, and his own self-made persona as well, which he portrayed himself in public with for his entire life, flamboyant upturned mustache and all. Dali entered fashion by the 1950's, with Elsa Shiaparelli (famous among perfume collectors for 1937's Shocking), and Christian Dior by the 60's. However, in the twilight of his years, he entered the perfume world, creating a perfume bottle just for his eponymous scent which was crafted in honor of his wife Gala in 1983, a year after her death. The bottle for Salvador Dali Pour Homme was also designed by the esoteric genius, and like the launch feminine, was based on his painting "Apparition of the Aphrodite of Knidos". This very dark and gothic masculine fragrance would be created by famed and now currently Guerlain house perfumer Thierry Wasser, as his first major designer perfume release; think about that next time you go sniffing a modern bottle of Guerlain Homme (2008). Tragically, this signature masculine for Salvador Dali would be released two years before his death, and by that point his health was failing, so I'm not even sure if he wore this himself. What I do know is this is a very captivating and murky animalic-driven masculine that really suits the style of the late artist, and in unsurprising ways for those who know me, suits me quite nicely as well. If nothing else, this scent will get attention wherever it goes, you just have to be okay with it not always being (nor likely to be) positive attention.

To start off, fans of Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) and all it's blackened, smoky, and vetiver-rich character will love Salvador Dali Pour Homme. Essentially SDPH is the halfway point between that erstwhile Jacomo scent and Montana Parfum d'Homme (1989) in terms of balancing sweet and smoke. It doesn't have the island spice elements of the Montana scent, but it does have the roundness and body, being less charred than the burnt vetiver of Jacomo de Jacomo and having a small dollop of castoreum for a funk neither Jacomo nor Montana have. SDPH opens with basil, tarragon, bergamot, the odd choice of tangerine with lemon, and a lavender/anise pairing that gives it a slight nod in the direction of Azzaro Pour Homme (1978). All told this is an armistice of barbershop and boudoir as it is, and it only gets better (or worse) as the heart comes in. Jasmine, heliotrope, the expected geranium, and muguet come into play here, presenting a floral core not dissimilar from the original Fougère Royale (1882) and Zino Davidoff (1986) from the previous year, but while Zino really just toys with animalic growl, Dali lunges. Base notes of leather, dirty musk, amber, patchouli, dry vetiver, cedar and sandalwood mix with benzoin which imparts a semi-sweetness of dried honey, before firming up with just a tad of castoreum, but not as much as One Man Show (1980) or Antaeus (1981). I feel the really raw musk here replaces the need for a heavy hit of the castoreum, and instead Wasser chose to blend the two together to make the sensuality here less foreboding and more of that daring "come-hither" stance. Wasser was composing for Dali after all, and Dali was known to have unorthodox sexual predilections, in addition to not always staying confined to his wife, nor even the opposite sex. Dali Pour Homme is perfectly contradictory, quixotic, and in many ways, surreal just like Dali's paintings and the man himself.

There aren't a whole lot of fougères this brooding, heavy, and even against a backdrop of 80's powerhouses, this scent will cut a path through the room, as everyone's fruit-powered civet bombs or brutal bergamot and moss hammers crash to the floor uselessly in awe of the scent trail you leave. You will either make others feel shocked and hopelessly confused, or hopelessly enthralled by it's captivating power as you wear SDPH, with it's leathery soot-ash warmth, and sweet afterglow, like a fire on it's last embers. SDPH is most certainly not an office or casual scent, and the man who appreciates this will find the appropriate time or place to wear it, even if it does last forever on skin if one does attempt an all-day wear from it. I think it's best on a dinner date, much like other darker masculines from this period, or a night at a cozy club. Being another typical 80's oakmoss-heavy fragrance also means Salvador Dali Pour Homme will be good only for cooler seasons, so no summer use with this one please, unless you plan on choking everyone around you. One fair warning: Les Parfums Salvador Dali would do a lot of cheesy things with Dali's own bottle designs after his death, including reusing them over and over with different colored glass or patterns on both male, female, and unisex fragrances. You will see this bottle in different colors for other scents, particularly those of Dalimix (1996), a unisex contender that also spawned flankers, one in a black gloss version of this bottle as well. If the box isn't gray, the bottle matte black or the sicker on the bottle doesn't say "Pour Homme" on it, then it's a different scent, so don't be fooled. If the late Jason Lee's "The Crow" had a scent, this would undoubtedly be it.
17th March, 2018

L'Heure Bleue by Guerlain

I've been wearing samples of L'Heure Bleue edp from various years, and really enjoying it. I get a strong association with nag champa incense sticks, which is the note giving the fragrance so much heft, power, and longevity. It's a note that starts out almost too strong in a way that makes it wonderfully transporting and memorable, and as it develops, it becomes softer, friendlier, and more irresistible.
17th March, 2018

17/17 Symphonium by Xerjoff

Opens up with an amazing mandarin orange then quickly turns into a chocolate/vanilla cupcake type vibe. Truly enjoy this gourmand hopefully Sergio Momo adds this into his full line up and not just an exclusive.

Scent: 9/10
Longevity: 10/10
Sillage: 6/10
17th March, 2018

Charlatan by Fort and Manlé

This is wonderful. I don’t get much chocolate from this, but I do get sweet musky rose, juicy pear, a beautiful sandalwood and an absolutely stunning amber. Longevity is amazing – one spray from my sample bottle this morning, and eight hours later I could still smell it, and it still smelt as great as it did when it first went on. This is a scent you just want to nuzzle into – lovely, cosy, warm and so delicious. I haven’t been able to stop sniffing this all day. A winner for sure.
17th March, 2018

Harem Rose by Fort and Manlé

Beautiful. A soft, musky, dusty rose, underlain with a slight woody note and a touch of incense. It’s not your usual rose scent, not by a long shot. This is not a young, fresh rose – it’s a deeper, darker, more mysterious rose scent. I don’t picture red roses with this – I see fat, fully blown dusky pink roses in a beaten silver rose bowl. Got a compliment on this from a lady in the shop earlier today. Definitely full-bottle worthy.
17th March, 2018

Gucci by Gucci Sport pour Homme by Gucci

Similar to other sport flankers with it's sour, green, fresh citrus. The citrus is there throughout but most prominent in the opening. The drydown is soft and mellow, the cardamom and amber come out to play.

I prefer this to Dior Sport, but it doesn’t perform near as well. The opening projects for the first couple hours and then it sits close to skin for the rest of the workday.
17th March, 2018

Mambo for Men by Liz Claiborne

Mambo seemed to be released at a time when everything Liz Claiborne made for men smelled like Curve (1996), regardless of whether or not it was a Curve flanker. Lucky You for Men (2000) was a licensee scent that was effectively "greener Curve" (and thus better), and Mambo was "spicier Curve", which is a really crass summation of the stuff, but so close to the truth it hurts. The itchy facet of Curve which bothered me so much was also present here, and exacerbated worse by the synthetics and spices on display, making this a big "no-can-do" for me. The problem with Mambo is it obstinately tries to maintain that "90's clean" but head into a full-bodied, more complex direction that orientals or gourmands were starting to take by the early 2000's, and it's a compromise that maybe could have worked (Burberry for Men did it pretty well in 1996), but was gone about in all the wrong fashions by nose Carlos Benaim; certainly not his best work. Laurent Hainaut appears to havd made no other fragrances bottle designs according to basenotes information, and it has me wondering why, because Mambo does get served up in a cool bottle, which was the reason 20-year-old me picked up the thing. Ultimately this went to a best friend who ended up falling in love with this, Curve, and the follow-up Bora Bora (2002), which I was loathe to try after striking out so much with Claiborne.

Mambo has the usual 90's/early 2000's hyperbole exotica notes so I won't list them, as some sound like attempts to put lace on a pig (such as saying lavandin in place of lavender), but what you get here is a very barbershop Curve-like opening that doesn't need describing a second time here. The middle notes are where the spices live, with clove, cinnamon, and cumin joined by geranium, rose, orange blossom and muguet. The cumin here is the only ingredient with a sense of purpose, adding that tell-tale sweatiness that denotes this as "sexier" than it's Curve patriarch, but it's too buried in business anyway. The base is all synthetic sandalwood, patchouli, musk, and fir basalm, the latter of which is too green and throws all the other floral/spicy/vanillic ingredients off course. This was almost a good scent if you took away the itchy chemical top and confused heart/base notes. Remove the florals, remove the green, and bam; this could have been a decent oriental cheapie. As it stands, it's the Toys "R" Us kid of oriental hybrid fougères (ironic that Toys "R" Us goes defunct as I write this), meaning it doesn't want to grow up into a solid masculine, but rather keep meandering with musings, inspirations, and ideas, but never commit to a direction. It's not a very good mambo dancer with two left feet.

This might be okay for the guy that wants to color just barely outside the fresh fougère lines, or the kind of person who just occasionally bumps up from the mild salsa to the medium for a rare bit of pleasure outside the comfort zone, but I've never been that guy to be honest. Even if this thing didn't cause a rapid-fire sneeze fit that lasts all day, I still don't know if I'd be able to handle it's confused and mediocre blending of synthetics and mid-tier elements rebranded as luxury ingredients. This is the fully-loaded entry-level Hyundai of oriental/fougère hybrids. It's certainly no Boucheron Pour Homme (1991) or Dior Fahrenheit (1988), and isn't even on the level of an Avon in terms of risque note interplay. It's blending bites in all the ways it shouldn't, and fails to impress in all the ways it needed to for it to be anything more than a "spicy Curve". I remember seeing this on the clearance counter at the perfume section of Sears (which says a lot), next to other Claiborne men's staples, and it was the only product placement with not a single box touched. I really don't think I need to say any more than that.
17th March, 2018

Rose of No Man's Land by Byredo

Stardate 20180316:

I suppose if you are an injured soldier stuck in battlefield, nothing would smell as sweet as a red cross nurse.
Byredo, tried to create that smell and I think did a good job of it. Rose, soft white florals (no indoles), musk and sweet candy(amber?). I have small complains (too sweet, not dirty enough, little development) but on the whole a nice fragrance. Leans feminine.

And here is the excerpt from the original poem ('s_Land) :

It's the one red rose the soldier knows,
It's the work of the Master's hand;
Mid the War's great curse, Stands the Red Cross Nurse,
She's the rose of No Man's Land.
16th March, 2018
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Shiny Amber by Anna Zworykina Perfumes

Shiny amber is a quite pretty spicy/watery amber-based fragrance introducing itself with a sort of neo-victorian (hesperides, poudree amber and jasmine) "aplomb" which is immediately kind of soapy-hesperidic and vaguely anisic at same time. Resins are counteracted by citrus and light/airy watery spices, overall in a quite light and versatile sort of fluidy combination. The citric presence smells classic, structured and more than vaguely "cologney" (conjuring in part a sort of "Guerlain Aqua Allegoria's royal atmosphere"). Ginger provides the initial kind of airy/aromatic/minty/anisic twist. I detect cardamom enhancing the fluidy light spiciness while a benzoinic ambery base is a perfect kind of talky shelter for a dominant jasmine's presence. Dry down, though never groundbreaking, smells more than dignified, drier, mossier and delicately refined. A vibrant, light and versatile amber's implementation which (though always organic and warm) smells kind of neo-classic but at same time cleaner, simpler, vaguely rubbery, delicately powdery and essential. The overall effect smells as a kind of synthesis and re-interpretation of two traditional olfactory dimensions (cologney/hesperidic/naïf and powdery/talky chypre).
16th March, 2018

Boss Bottled Intense by Hugo Boss

Sweet, synthetic apple plus vanilla opening. Drydown becomes quite powdery but the woody notes reign it back towards a masculine scent. Very pleasant and the sweetness goes all the way through the life of the scent. A good mix of 1 Million and the original Boss Bottled.

I'd say the projection is close to the original in strength, which is to say it projects above average. Longevity is definitely improved over the original. It lasts all day and into the next.
16th March, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Barbados Cherry by Demeter Fragrance Library

Starting sweet with a strong and artificial sweetness, with time an aroma akin to a somewhat candied cherry struggles to emerge. For a while it succeeds, then the sweetness suffocates it to a large extent.

Towards the end the cherry is more evident again, this time with a caramelised undertone.

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

Synthetic and generic with only a few redeeming features. 2/5.
16th March, 2018

Massive Patchouli by Soivohle (Liz Zorn)

Tries so hard to live up to it's name...starts with a blast of heavy patch that knocks me in the nose, then very quickly dies down...robust with a heavy woody/earthy quality...dark dusty vanilla flavor...decent enough, but i've smelled a lot of patch better than this...for myself, I find this to be more of a layering agent to add a touch of patch to another fragrance...seems like the closest thing I've smelled that reminds me of your typical hippie/head shop patch smell...
15th March, 2018

Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga

Cristobal Balenciaga was once called "The Master of Us All" by Christian Dior, who alongside the late Hubert de Givenchy, had great esteem for the pioneering designer. His daring designs redefined a woman's silhouette in the mid 20th century, for better or worse, but his perfume gets very little attention, especially with the way the house kept stopping and starting over the years, with the masculines even less recognized. Cristobal himself closed Balenciaga's doors in 1968 due to clashes with Chambre syndicale de la haute couture parisienne, but a year before his death, the house was re-booted by the company Marbert as a ready-to-wear label only, heralded by the first masculine scent Ho Hang (1971), before the clothing side went dormant again. 1986 would see another house reboot with the Bogart Group being the new stewards, and with their expertise in male perfumery, Balenciaga would release several very distinct but sadly unnoticed masculines alongside their feminine lines, starting with a new Ho Hang in 1987. This "Ho Hang Club" would feel less like a flanker and more like a rebirth, as all indicators point to it smelling nothing at all like the original from which it borrows both name and form factor. First of all, the amount of notes in this is ridiculous to the point of it being impossible for me to separate them, so I won't try. It's a dark, semi-sweet honeyed floral chypre that was a real rarity even in 1987.

Ho Hang Club is definitely late 70's/early 80's super-macho "kitchen sink" construction, but in 1987 when this virile style was starting to get edged out by brighter, spicier, and often fruit-topped powerhouses that had moss in the base for a sauve attitude rather than an aggressive one, with the similarly domineering Lapidus Pour Homme of the same year being an exception of late-showing chauvinism as well. Ho Hang Club definitely is not on the level of One Man Show (1980), Antaeus (1981), or Kouros (1981) like Lapidus was, but it does have a similar "piss-take" opening and a dry base, with a styrax/amber/musk trifecta being the most powerful elements in dry down. The top is bergamot, lemon, basil, and coriander; it's pretty standard-fare 80's but it gets honeyed by the styrax (which is a source of benzoin), in a similar way to Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men (1984), but without the patchouli growl. Instead, a bouquet of florals similar to Révillion's French Line (1984) or Azzaro Acteur (1989) come into play, but the rose presence in Ho Hang Club is way muted by comparison. Some call this a leather scent, but to me the leather is even less present than it is in the oft-compared Maxim’s Pour Homme (1988), which itself barely qualifies for that title. Ho Hang Club is just a true abstract in a class by itself. Sillage is not on a typical 80's powerhouse level, but this faithfully waft off collars and skin all day long, so it's certainly a performer.

Fans of the "Noir/Gothic" style will likely love Ho Hang Club regardless of age, as it has that honey-sweet opening, muted flowers in the middle, and murky base full of unearthly darkness and understated sexual tension. It's in a vein similar to Salvador Dali Pour Homme (also 1987), Eucris by Geo F Trumper (1912) or Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) but without the smoke. Ho Hang Club trades in it's pipe and loafers for a pair of wing tips and a brandy cordial, making it rest between Dali and the aforementioned French Line. It's unmistakably masculine but it won't rip off it's shirt to prove it like it's classmate Lapidus, and like all surviving Balenciaga masculines, nobody will have any idea what you're wearing. Sadly Coty purged all male perfumes from Balenciaga when Kering handed them the perfume license after buying Balenciaga from Bogart (who were idiots for selling it), but Ho Hang Club seems the least-sought of all the old male lines because it is indeed so dark. It's a Guillermo del Toro movie in a bottle: Esoteric, gorgeous, but a little bit unsettling. Suggested use is formal romantic wear, evening use, or just personal time in spring or fall. This one isn't casual enough for work or day wear, but might be nice for a night at an opera, play, concert, or movie.
15th March, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Sex On The Beach South Beach by Demeter Fragrance Library

An unspecific fruitiness with a bit of a nonspecific fruitiness: this is the gist of this creation.

A slightly boozy and slightly sweet fruit aroma that bears some reminiscence to ripe melons and berries. The whole mélange is thickly and sticky.

The performance is good: I get moderate sillage, very good projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This spring scent is very synthetic and generic. Nothing to do with a good cocktail in Miami. 1.75/5.
15th March, 2018

French Line by Révillon

French Line is a lark of 1980's design: it holds itself to the barbaric bergamot opening and heavy moss thump of most 80's powerhouse masculines, but it doesn't roar with civet, castoreum, styrax, or heavy woods. Instead, French Line relies on a dark floral heart and uncommonly forward-thinking blend of citrus and coconut to give it a unique character which stands out without needing to shout. Sadly, Révillon Frères would cease to exist after the venerable fur maker and perfumer was absorbed into the Cora chain of French "hypermarkets" around 1982 (think Walmart in scope), and then spun off into the Cora-Révillon Group just to have a shell company to sell it's products outside of the Cora stores. Some time after the turn of the millennium, this whole venture ceased to exist and Révillon perfumes all poofed from existence outside of unused old stock. This masculine was released two years after this corporate absorption, so we should count ourselves lucky it exists at all. French Line's leathery dry down gets compared to Antaeus (1981) quite a bit, but I don't really see it personally, as the "fruitiness" of French Line never goes away and thus this never gets to play dirty. To be honest, it's almost a dandy scent, much like the later Azzaro Acteur (1989), with a prominent rose note floating throughout the entire wear, but French Line is actually sweeter and even darker than that later Azzaro mystery, with a stronger leather component to boot. French Line is indeed very French, and not afraid to flaunt it with it's historic title, as the SS Normandie, one of the most celebrated cruise lines ever built (Saint-Nazaire 1932), was often just referred to as "The French Line" itself since it was the flag ship, being seized and renamed the USS Lafayette by the US during WWII before it sadly caught fire and capsized at a Hudson River dock in 1942. The bottle's singular red stripe and overall design mimics the motif of the ship, which is really cool.

This one opens with typical 80's bergamot but also some juicy lemon. The rose and coconut are apparent right away even though the former is in the heart and latter in the base, forming an odd ghost note of black cherry schnapps, which immediately makes this striking as no typical 1980's masculine. From there, artemisia, basil, coriander and honey form the rest of the opening. The heart note of that very aggressive rose is joined by an almost equally aggressive carnation, with orris root, jasmine, and caraway softening things up in that classic French floral bouquet way. If you couldn't tell, this one really isn't a "man's man" kind of masculine perfume, and has very fuzzy gender lines, if any. Leather, subtle amber, musk, restrained oakmoss and only a slight patchouli note mingle with that extraordinary coconut in the base, and when the whole thing lays to rest comfortably on skin, one might almost feel delicious. I wouldn't exactly call this a prototype gourmand, but with honey, lemon, and coconut well... you get my point. French Line isn't a go-getter, and it doesn't pound you over the head with sillage, but rather just hums along nicely, being dark, juicy, leathery, and very sensual without the raw lust of it's peers. It's the powerhouse with performance measured in stamina and technique rather than brute force, and is definitely dinner date material rather than night club sex juice. If you're going to take somebody dancing in French Line, it had better be a ballroom or a swing dance. I find the leather is very restrained here, another oddity given it's time of release, and compares very favorably to more suede-like modern leather compositions. There's no nose tinge in the leather note at all, and alongside the immaculate blending of moss, musk, and amber, almost becomes a smaller part of a larger whole, much like Maxim's Pour Homme, coincidentally another ode to French history made in the 1980's, but that's the only way in which they compare. This is much more of a rose-dominated scent otherwise, so fans of the elusive masculine rose genre take note. The coconut is awesome too. Think I mentioned that already. Oh well, it's so strange and beautiful, I'm mentioning it again.

In conclusion, French Line is one weird little chypre. It has gourmand notes, it has floral notes, it has lots of traditional French class and structure, bound into the body of a beating, throbbing 1980's masculine. The commanding bergamot/leather/moss triad are forced to engage in mortal combat with more charismatic honey, lemon, coconut, and rose, with no clear victor in sight. It's 1930's Clark Gable teleported into 1984 France, and forced to trade in Brooks Brothers duds for gaudy 80's Haute Couture. He's still quite keen on keeping his dapper appearance and gentile manner, but he's working with 1980's materials and making the best of a situation for which he's unprepared. That to me is the nature of French Line: a legacy fragrance made with what were modern sensibilities for it's era, giving it uncharacteristic amounts of class and poise compared to it's competition, but also angular dynamics, thrusting it into the kind of obscurity deserving of a cult following, especially now that both it and Révillon itself are just historical anecdotes for collectors to wage fiscal war over on auction sites. This is another one that I say could easily be re-released as a niche scent to widespread acclaim. Definitely for fans of the aforementioned Azzaro Acteur, Paco Rabanne Ténéré (1988), or even something like Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet (1872). Coty would try something like this more than 20 years later when they made Stetson Black (2005), but it's just a pale shadow of this idea. Now if you excuse me, my cruise is about to depart.
15th March, 2018

Obsession Night for Men by Calvin Klein

Light, spicy cardamom opening. No pear or fruit for me. I do get a little of a coconut smell but very faint. Dries down to a skin scent within 1 hour. Some vanilla and a light incense-amber after that, very soft, lasts for 5-6 hours. Does have some resemblance to Black Orchid. I like the way it smells but the performance is too light.
15th March, 2018

Le Vetyver by Lubin

There was a point in Basenotes history when this was consistently mentioned as one of the "important" vetivers alongside Guerlain and Sycomore and such, though its star seems to have dimmed a bit over the years. It's a shame, as this is a really nice vetiver that's true enough to the note to deserve its place at the table, while still being unique enough to stand out from the pack in its own way.

Of course, it smells like a proper vetiver, grassy and green and lemony with that signature iodine sharpness played against nutmeggy sweetness. It calls to mind candied lettuce and celery soda, as well as sparkling tonic water. In a way that's hard to describe, it also has a "pretty" undertone that implies flowers without being particularly floral.

In terms of placement, I'd say Le Vetyver lives halfway between Guerlain's Vetiver (astringent purist vetiver chypre) and their Vetiver Pour Elle (flowery sweet candied lettuce), incorporating the best of both while the soda freshness gives it additional character. Definitely worth a sniff for vetiver fans.
15th March, 2018

Brut by Fabergé

So I've been writing these reviews for over ten years now and it's taken me this long to review Brut. I guess it's just that Brut needs more than just a summary of its notes. It's an iconic smell, in the strongest sense of the term, right in there with mom's apple pie or Thanksgiving dinner or the smell of a Christmas tree. It's written into our consciousness and our collective memory in a way that no other perfume is (except for maybe Chanel No 5).

So what does it smell like? A fusion of mint and violet leaf melting into a lavender/tonka fougere, sweet with mace and neroli, balanced with a pinch of fusty bergamot. But really, the notes don't matter because it smells like Brut. It smells like Grandpa visiting for the holidays. It smells like your dad taking your mom out for dinner and bowling. It smells like you putting on a splash of your dad's cologne when you're dressing up for your first homecoming dance. It smells like gross 70's singles bars, and it also smells like family and love.

If you haven't smelled Brut lately, please give it a sniff.
15th March, 2018

Bucoliques de Provence by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A pleasant mix of lavender and tonka, sweetened with pie spices and deepened with iris, with just a hint of funk underneath to reference classic fougeres.

It took me a few wears to really appreciate Bucoliques - it has a chemical effusiveness that seems simultaneously thin and loud which kept me at arm's length for a while. And it's just not insistent, content to be pleasant without loudly claiming its own brilliance, so it's easy to overlook.

But after a while, it caught me on just the right day and the cloud of sweet spices and lavender over the suede-wrapped iris felt absolutely perfect hovering around me in the first warmth of early Spring and it won me over.
15th March, 2018

Lui by Guerlain

An interesting combination of vanilla and greens. Lui has a lot of the dna of L'Instant Pour Homme, notably the mix of vanilla and vetiver and Guerlain's signature sweet pea note. But then it's also got a lot of ethyl maltol, that candied toasted nut cigar smell, as well as a shot of papery tobacco leaf. The end result is nice, the mix of greens and that roasted smell over the marshmallowy vanilla works better than I'd have expected - this could have been a Pink Sugar nightmare, but the greens go a long way to prevent that and land Lui in specifically Guerlain territory. That being said, I'd still pick L'Instant over this, and I think Cologne du 68 does what Lui (and L'Instant, for that matter) does with much more panache and complexity.
15th March, 2018

Cacao Aztèque Extrait de Parfum by Perris Monte Carlo

Cacao Azteque is a fine cozy comfort fragrance with peppery spice and cardamom opening a soft dark chocolate + tuberose and leathery musk soft finish. With cacao in the name you expect a chocolate flavor, however chocolate is not a stand alone note in the world of scent and this cocoa is comfortably absorbed into a melange of pepper, cardamom, rum, chocolate, tuberose, sandalwood, and leather. The leather provides a dry soft finish but the character of the scent is cozy and warm fuzzies all around. A camphorous and mentholated tuberose floral adds depth to the spiced chocolate before the finish turns dry and slightly prickly before the sandalwood, leather and soft musk base. The blending is so complimentary that it is difficult to pick out any one note as dominant but they all take turns getting noticed while cocoa lays underneath. The long lasting base is a warm darkly spiced Mexican cocoa drink of ancient origins. Cocoa Azteque puts a smile on the face and is one of Perris Monte Carlo's best fragrances - maybe the best one.
14th March, 2018

Aromatics in Black by Clinique

A beautiful floriental, winterish fragrance! Smooth plum tree and bergamot on top. Jasmine, osmanthus, and neroli middle that's well-blended. Realistically floral. Smoky, smoldering base of myrrh and Tonka bean. A hint of vetiver there, that peeks out now and then. Blurry sweet; slightly balsamic.
14th March, 2018

Maxim's pour Homme by Maxims

Maxim's Pour Homme comes from quite the unexpected place: The most famous French restaurant in the world. Whether or not you ever plan to go, or even care about such things, the initial pair of fragrances spawned by a joint venture between Maxim's and American Cyanamid (onetime parent of Shulton and Pierre Cardin fragrances) are both quite remarkable. The feminine has seemed to survive, while the much less popular male counterpart sadly has passed into obscurity, but it's of a quality surprising to the nose, considering it's corporate parentage. The 1980's was a time for corporate exploration of fragrance branding, and everyone from Hollywood celebrities to auto makers were making deals with perfumers, with most of the results quite forgettable as expected. Maxim's seems to go against this grain, and commissioned prodigious perfumer Dominique Ropion (most known for her work with Lancome) to create something befitting of the time period in which the restaurant originates. Indeed Maxim's Pour Homme evokes images of the Art Nouveau style and La Belle Époque in France, with it's finely decorated bottle and smooth leathery finish. Granted, this is still a mostly modern fragrance (late 70's/early 80's definition of modern anyway) and doesn't have the raw bite of some older, less compromising leather scents, but in the greater scheme of things, one could almost not be told this is a leather fragrance and believe it, since there is so much else going on in the well-blended base. If there is any reason this wasn't more popular, it's probably because it was named after a restaurant, which is something I don't really see resonating with the general public as a place of inspiration for fragrance. Quite sad really, as this little floral mossy chypre is very nice, just born at the wrong place and wrong time, by the wrong parents.

Maxim's opens with a typical bergamot and lavender top found in powerhouses from this period, but with a rather awkward fruit note disturbing the classic introduction, even if it doesn't really ruin things. It's just a few minutes if even that before what I can discern as fig or tamarind fades from view and lets the bergamot and lavender do it's work into the floral heart. I honestly haven't seen such a floral heart outside of maybe Zino Davidoff (1986), or any number of Victorian fragrances it was based off of, so Maxim's makes another rare use of the "male floral bouquet" trope that wasn't cool since the last time men wore pocket watches, so that's pretty neat. Muguet, jasmine, and carnation are greeted by some fairly austere woods that add dryness, and a slight leafy tobacco note in the middle segment, but things don't really stay "dandy" for long as the rich base takes over once the heat of skin reacts to the wear. Amber, musk, pathcouli, oakmoss -almost a litany of barbershop classics- seem to litter the beautifully warm base, with leather only making an appearance at the very end, almost like an encore rather than a part of the main performance. Would I still call this a leather scent? Well yes. Avon Black Suede (1980), in all of it's makeup compact creaminess, is still called a leather scent because suede is the main note of it. Therefore, why not a rich floral chypre that contains leather but flirts with the avant-garde be considered one? This was modeled after one of the most classically artistic periods in history, so it's only appropriate to be complex. I find Maxim's Pour Homme to a bit out of step with the late 80's, as most of the really high-quality aromatic powerhouses had come out by then. The closest thing I can compare it to is Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme from 1978, and that's still not quite doing it justice, as that scent has a great deal more going on for it in the herbal department than this, which is really devoid of herbs outside the patchouli in the base.

Most things made for men by designers at the end of the decade were either really sharp and virile like Lapidus Pour Homme (1987) or heading into oriental territory like Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentree (1989), plus we were just on the cusp of the aquatic/fresh revolution, with all the experimentalism with florals and fruit that brought, so this wasn't really presaging anything. In the end, it was just a fragrance made on it's own terms, regardless of the times, and perhaps that's what both makes it special, and doomed to obscurity (outside the branding). Ironically, had something like this come forward now, it would be considered niche, and easily have another zero on the price tag, but because it was rich floral leather chypre in 1988 instead of 1888 or 2018, branded after a French restaurant and formulated/sold by a major player at the time, it was relegated to the shopping mall discount perfume kiosks before it ever really had a chance to shine. I wouldn't quite call Maxim's a powerhouse either. It is a pretty aromatic and rich masculine, but it isn't loudness for the sake of it, and will actually give the average 6-8 hours wear time with moderate sillage. It's mossy plonk will definitely make it seem mighty in modern company, but compared to it's competition it's rather mild-mannered outside of the brief funky opening. Fans of mossy scents will love it, but modern tastes raised on candy gourmands or synthetic minimalism will still find it too staunch, so it's definitely for the mature man or fan of the style. It's a good fall and spring office scent, maybe for romance use too if at a classier joint, but definitely no club hopper. Maxim's Pour Homme is like an evening in a 19th century Paris bistro, televised from a 1980's Sony Trinitron TV. Definitely an obscure gem.
14th March, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Vanilla Cake Batter by Demeter Fragrance Library

A pleasant sweetish vanilla accent is the core of this creation. A bit thin and metallic at times, in has a touch caramel to it at times.

The base has an ambery component attached to it.

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

A vanilla-centred creation, a bit to bland and thin at times. 2.5/5.
14th March, 2018

Onda Eau de Parfum by Vero Profumo

A dark sinister aldehydic animalistic citrus opening blast...immediately made me think of Bogue...this smells like it could nestle right in between Cologne Reloaded and MAAI...bitter herbs tempered with a touch of a big fan of animalic blasts from the past, I am thrilled that there are perfumers crafting nostalgic brews such as this....has a slightly piercing minty like nose feel...get an intense flower flavored vetiver...a little spice , a little herb...great mix...there's a hyper-modern industrial edge bringing this classic structure forward...lurking far down in the base I detect something inky/plasticy/asphalty...adds to the edginess and mystique of this somwhat exotic and mysterious brew...definitely also has an aura of the erotic.. but brings to mind something more along the lines of S & M...woody and leathery nuances...little bits and pieces bring all sorts of associations...a liitle bit of Kouros...a slight touch of Macassar...a winner in my book...from time to time the citrus makes a misty appearance...
14th March, 2018