Perfume Reviews

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Empireo by Onyrico

Onyrico Empireo (appointed by the perfumer Luca Maffei) is a fragrance "hard to remain not inebriated by", especially in its top side before a tad of woody restraint starts draining the general talkiness. This juice is nothing new under the sun but surely is a well made classic resinous-powdery-floral accord arousing (around the wearer) clean talky brightness and resinous organic woodiness (with a tad of chic waxy soapiness). Its bright-lacteous slightly poudre pureness is at same time simple in structure but rich and nuanced. The general feel is talky-rosey and pure with a tad of final woody-salty fruitiness (a sort of mango-driven effect or something similar). An initial connection of resins and bergamot provides soon a classically gorgeous articulated welcome. There is all around an organic talkiness typical of the best amber-oriented concoction but this feel possesses a wet-resinous background extremely deep and "greedy" (just a step before the boudaries of gourmandish territories). The resinous benzoinic/eliotropic accord of frankincense, airy lavender, white rose, sweet spices and opoponax provides indeed an irresistible heavenly extramundane aura just partially "humanized" by a subtle cedary undertone. Lavender is a key element, the main source of rosey freshness and talky cool dryness. Sambac jasmine and musk hang out "at distance" providing a spark of chic subtleness and modernity. I detect a kind of fruity/salty and fleshy/cedary spicy undertone pairing in presence talky resins and floral notes in the general turnover of immaculate nuances. There is something more than vaguely musky-animalic in the mix, something finally sounding salty-wet and fruity-hesperidic. Many juices jump on mind for several of their characteristics (several Farmacia SS. Annunziata, Maria Candida Gentile, a bunch of talky/eliotropic floral ambers a la Boucheron Jaipur Saphir or Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux). Dry down is softer (but at same time more enygmatic, darkly misty and opaque), finally remarking this cedary/talky saltiness probably elicited by amberish/incensey animalic undertones, synthetic woods, bergamot and a tad of pepper (hints of vetiver?). This fragrance fits finally really warmly with my skin's natural saltiness. I'm sure Empireo could be a sultry (also in the warm climates) alternative for all those sensualists loving to attract with something organic and erotic.
02nd October, 2015 (last edited: 03rd October, 2015)
kbe Show all reviews
United States

Flame by Burger King

A rare fragrance to be sure, one radiating a medium of freshly ground anamalic mitochondrial debris whilst a background of smoking flat-top grease gently plays with one's nostrils. But on the whole I consider this scent to be well done.

"Two all-beef patings, specially saucey, let us cheesily pick it (oh-yums!) while on one's safely-seated bum"--Booger Kink
02nd October, 2015

Montana Initial by Montana

Montana Initial is quite an odd scent for me. It smells as much cheap as quite unique, and with some stretch, fairly pleasant overall. It’s plastic, but fun. Out of the notes listed, I actually get just tonka (the powerful synthetic sweet-dusty-almondy tonka note featured in hundreds of cheapos/low-class designer scents), cinnamon for sure, some really generic crisp woods (“cedramber” and the likes), some citrus, a really faint cardamom, and most of all, a true ton of a really peculiar accord of, basically, spicy musk and ambery orange (which then evolves into “orange-infused amber”). This accord, which is basically the bone-structure of Initial’s first and mid phases, smells really powerful and bold, and I’m surprised it is missing from the “pyramid”. Now, I am not sure about the “orange” since it’s more likely due to the interaction of bergamot (which has surely some citrus-orange nuances) and cinnamon, but I am quite sure about amber and musk. They give Initial an almost overpowering feel of synthetic-soapy “laundry” cleanliness with a warm, dusty, slightly talc vanillic-ambery-woody vibe supporting tonka and cinnamon, with a whiff of syrupy fruitiness too, enhancing and taming them down at once (enhancing their power and the volume, taming down their, say, identity and their nuances).

Still I admit it’s not a tragic scent; if I had to compare this, and it’s not an easy task since as I said, one of the few positive features of Initial is that it smells quite peculiar, I would probably think of a funky, ultra-spicy, sweeter flanker of Armani Code or similar fragrances. Sort of a cheap downtown sweet Oriental bomb. Actually it reminds me a bit of Zegna Intenso too, just sweeter, with double the power, half the refinement and more spices. The projection is powerful and the longevity is as much linear as impressive. A bit harsh and flat, probably a tad too much sweet and slightly tacky overall, but it works. Kind of the equivalent of a $10 tracksuit you can wear home or for some local grocery shopping. Quite unworthy its original retail price in my opinion, but Montana fragrances are usually sold in many grey-market stores for pennies – in that case, it may be worthy a sniff.

02nd October, 2015
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Gujarat by Olympic Orchids

Has a fizzy root beer thing going on, like Willy Wonka root beer bottle cap candy...but better and with huge effervescence.

In execution and performance more than anything else, Gujarat is quite unlike anything else I've smelled. the scent wafts up almost three-dimensionally, a carbonation that refuses to be ignored and finds its way to your olfactory system whether you like it or not, undiminished by the amount of time and/or space it took to get there. Like many Olympic Orchids scents, it's powerful stuff.

A playful yet somehow blissfully sardonic scent that I doubt many (myself included) would be willing to try to pull off that often.

Still, I could see Gujarat absolutely working on many, and even becoming a signature for some brave soul. There's no doubting it's originality, and coupled with the way it positively dances off one's skin, Gujarat earns a thumbs up from me.
02nd October, 2015

Nirvana Black by Elizabeth and James

I vacillated HEAVILY as to whether or not I would give this a neutral or thumbs up - but I really do love the scent. The longevity is poor, and the projectivity (at least in the rollerball) is poor, but its a nice smell. You cannot really go wrong with Vanilla, Violet, and Sandalwood. Great combination.

I'll admit to being a bit struck dumb when I learned this was a celebrity scent, as I tend to rule them out. Am I being a snobby bitch? Perhaps. However, I can't lie to myself. I enjoy smelling this; it's balanced, and with such an awesome price-point, how can I refuse it?

I have to mention that they now have a perfumed oil, which is delightful. The packaging is pretty cool as well. Sort of an 80's glam look. The twins did well on this, I must say.
02nd October, 2015

Volutes by Diptyque

When I went to Italy to work as a teaching assistant on my gap year, I discovered just how far I could stretch a Lira. The only white wine of drinkable quality I could find within my measly budget was Orvieto Classico, which was roughly the equivalent of €2 back then. Thin, slightly metallic, but oddly quaffable, I found I could live with it.

Now, even though I am no longer a poor student, I wouldn’t be without it. My brother, who is an insufferable wine snob, loves to pick up a bottle of Orvieto Classico from my fridge, run his finger down it with disdain, and mutter, “Jesus, I can’t believe you’re still drinking this shite.”

It’s NOT shite. I am fiercely fond of it.

It’s not a memorable wine, true. But drinking Orvieto Classico is comforting in its familiarity. Pleasant background noise for when you don’t want anything too taxing. Like putting your car into cruise control on a long stretch of straight road.

Like Orvieto Classico, Volutes EDT by Diptyque is not particularly memorable or brilliant, but it sure goes down easy. Like a handful of other perfumes that I don’t think of as masterpieces but still find utterly, almost mind-numbingly pleasant and therefore very wearable – Spiritueuse Double Vanille, Bois d’Armenie, and more recently, Feve Delicieuse, for example – I manage to race through massive quantities of it. It was after my bath a few nights ago that I reached for my bottle of Volutes EDT and realized there was only about 5mls left in the bottle. I had drained 45mls of it in less than six weeks.

Laugh all you like – but in perfumista terms, that practically puts Volutes in the same category as a functional grooming product like a body spray or a liquid hand soap. How did it come to this?

Well, Volutes is mindlessly pretty. It requires absolutely no intellectual input on my part. With a wardrobe stuffed with challenging, amazing, difficult, tempestuous perfumes, Volutes stands out not because it “stands out” but rather because it doesn’t. It’s the battered leather jacket in your wardrobe that you just can’t bear to part with, and reach for over your fancier coats even though it’s falling to pieces. Love isn’t rational. It may not even be love – it may be simply a reflex.

I was thoroughly unimpressed the first time I tried Volutes – a pale, powdered honey and iris thing with a lingering whiff of blond cigarette rolling tobacco. I got nothing of the promised drama of the published notes, such as saffron, hay, and immortelle – hell, it wasn’t even smoky. I always go into a perfume named for or inspired by smoking with an expectation of, you know, smoke. But when I stopped looking for the sturm und drang in Volutes, I found myself appreciating it for its blurred prettiness.

Now when I wear Volutes, I pick up more notes: a cool, starchy iris, warm honey, blond tobacco, a hint of rubbery leather from the saffron (only at the start), and some nebulous resins in the base. These notes all smell quite blurred and perfumey to me, in the same way that baby powder smells like rose, chamomile, and heliotrope all swirled together but never distinctly of themselves.

Volutes sits on the skin like a creamy balm at first, but as time goes on, dries to a texture like fine, powdered sugar. This is not a sweet scent, however. The iris exerts its influence here from top to bottom, reflected in that cold, vegetal starchiness. The tobacco, although not smoky, adds body to the iris and makes it slightly more “of this earth” than irises tend to be.

It is not exotic, but it is even-tempered. I wear buckets of it, carelessly sprayed around my person until it drips, like honey, from the tips of my fingers. I let it run in rivers down to my belly button. No matter how much I spray, Volutes remains this utterly pleasant, low key piece of background music to my day. It’s a fragrance on cruise control.

And you know what, I wear Volutes far more than I do my more artistically-accomplished perfumes. Maybe it’s true what my brother says and I am just a total Pleb. But sometimes, like with Orvieto Classico, you just have to go with what’s familiar and cozy because sometimes it would just kill you not to.
01st October, 2015

Cool Water Woman by Davidoff

I took a very long, and much-needed break from this little blue bottle. I had to, or I would have never been able to look at it again. I wore it so often in the late 90's, that I swore I'd never touch it again.

But, I felt nostalgic this week, and so I purchased a small inexpensive bottle for old-time's sake. And I'm glad I did.

Ok, so I have more refined taste now. Does that mean I can't go a bit more retro and enjoy something I once thought was delightful? Can it not still give me an olfactory jolt? Of course it can! It cannot compete with some of my more elegant choices, but it has its place, and I'm glad to bring it back to my wardrobe.

I think for a while I've thought that if I "graduated" to big girl fragrances, perhaps I had to leave all the old behind. What I realize is I don't really want rules, as I am unlikely to follow them anyhow.

Maybe it's an association thing, but this scent will always remind me of cool fall evenings in Wilmington, NC on Wrightsville Beach. I lived there for a while, and that's when I began wearing this. I think of the beach, and until recently, I never knew it contained any melon. Now, I'll be trying this with a more learned nose...this could go either way. I've only sniffed it, as I was already wearing something else when it arrived today, but I'll add more once I give it a proper wearing.
01st October, 2015
CoL Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Éclat d'Arpège pour Homme by Lanvin

Well this was a surprise! Seems Lanvin have gained access to either the caviar note in Womanity or have found another very like it. This to my nose is what Womanity for men would smell like. Basically imagine Womanity with the generic light masculine smell that seems to be in most designer fragrances at the moment. It's very well done and quite a change from the norm. These are my thoughts from wearing it for the day, I wonder how it will progress?
01st October, 2015

Romanza by Masque

Victorian Narcissus Romanza is the new "fragrant" creation recently appointed for Masque Milano by the telented perfumer Cristiano Canali. Before debating about everything concerning the perfume's characteristics themselves I'd start focusing the attention on the extreme naturalness of the utilised raw ingredients, being indeed the Masque Romanza's fragrance seriously carnal, vivid and indolic, a realistical take on the grassy-animalic floral theme. The latter is mainly centered over one of the classiest and most regal floral note around, the royal narcissus, so foppish, fragile and inebriating with its redolent and almost mineral-vegetal aroma. Narcissus, namely a fragile but at same time tenaciously odorous flower (with its almost obsessive valzer of intense nuances). This perfume is in here "nectarine" and visceral, something quite intense, velvety and fleshy. The aroma of narcissus conjures me vaguely the one typically exhaling from lily of the valley (anyway in here as ideally combined with rose, violet leaves and jasmine) but while the latter seems kind of more angular, linear and sharply pungent the finally more complex narcissus is quite multifaceted, slightly honeyed-lacteous, variegate, smoother, musky, "bodied", all at once grassy-mineral and frankly more regally classy-lofty. The Romanza's Narcissus is superbly articulated, immediately realistical and finally visceral (as wondefully merged with soft balsams, musks, resins and animalic elements, probably civet and honey). Possibly amber, civet and honey turn this redolent floral concert out kind of immensely velvety and sensual. The floral aroma is in here quite kaleidoscopic, initially hesperidic-anisic, grassy, dirty, bitter-herbal, than smoother, milky-honeyed, salty-woody (vetiver) and slightly incensey (yes a tad of something misty-smoky, darkly woody, peppery and dusty-salty). Orange blossoms (included in huge amount in a way conjuring me more than vaguely the same note as operating in Askett&English Absolute) and hyacinth enhance the concert of diverse nuances. I have to specify that the final issue is a quite sophisticated animalic floral twist that is utterly bold, mysterious, vegetal-resinous and naughty. Something sinister encompasses the floral earthiness wrapping it by a misty haze of mysticism. Few brands (Acampora, Bruno Fazzolari, La Via del Profumo, Askett&English, not so many I can resume at moment) have issued around such wondefully visceral floral compositions imo. Dry down is enygmatic, almost misty and sarurnine, never banally floral but far, far more. I'm smitten, the Romanza's type of fatal woman seems to be classy and erotically devastative (but at same time vaguely romantic and Victorian in several little twist of individual style), be ready to apocalyptically undergo her hypnosis guys, be ready to die.

P.S: Along the way (5-6 hours later) the bitter/herbal, merely woody and salty-floral (dry, almost rubbery, dark, grassy-earthy and smoky-piquant vibe) takes the stage (really elusive, dusty and bold) and the scent enhances its pungency and the bitter-dry spicy-floral, slightly camphoraceous, status (mainly peppery narcissus, earthy violet and obsessive hyacinth).
30th September, 2015 (last edited: 01st October, 2015)

Aomassaï 10 by Parfumerie Generale

I smelled Aomassaï several times when I was just beginning my fragrance hobby and I didn’t like it.

It took for me to start experimenting with both cooking in the kitchen – wasting whole pans of sugar in an effort to produce a good caramel – and burning frankincense on a small burner at home for me to understand, and then appreciate, and then finally love the smell of things approaching smoking point when subjected to high heat.

Aomassaï finds that common thread between hazelnuts, orange peel, caramel, and vanilla sugar – the smoky, dark bitterness they all share when approaching smoking point – and emphasizes it with equally dark elements such as wenge wood, resins, and black, soft licorice.

It could have been a treacly mess, a sop to the modern taste for simple syrup in the gourmand category, but Aomassaï is never too sweet. Instead, the foodie elements are subjected to intense heat and distorted beyond what is commonly accepted as “nice” smelling. It is sweet and bitter in equal measure. Furthermore, the smoking resins, grassy vetiver, hay, and dark wenge woods tether the sweet notes and prevent them from becoming cloying.

Barely anybody mentions the vanilla in Aomassaï. I had used maybe a full quarter of my bottle before I realized that it has the most beautiful vanilla in the dry-down. Once I had mentally subtracted all of the burned caramel and incense and nutty notes, I finally noticed it, and the sense of revelation was like finally spotting the image in a Magic Eye painting. Now it’s almost my favorite part of Aomassaï, that deep, dark vanilla. It is both smoking hot and paper dry.

Whenever anyone is asking for recommendations for fragrances that smell like coffee, Aomassaï is always the first one that jumps to mind. But I recommended it once (I think on a Facebook group) and the general reaction was confusion: surely, they all said politely, there is no coffee in Aomassaï. Well, perhaps not. But I still smell coffee.

Specifically, to me, it smells like someone peeling an orange in a coffee shop fragrant with the aroma of burned coffee grounds and old newspapers strewn everywhere on dark, rickety wooden tables. In my mind’s eye, this coffee place is intimately dark and cozy. It’s not the kind of place you’d wander into casually. You’d have to mean it. But once you’re there, you’re one of the regulars.

Although they are very different scents and perhaps nobody except me sees the connection, but I think that Aomassaï has much in common with both Serge Lutens’ Un Bois Vanille and Dior Privee Eau Noire. They all share strong licorice/anise notes, have dark wood notes that could be loosely interpreted as burnt coffee grounds, a smoky atmosphere, and a dry, papery vanilla in the far dry-down. And as it so happens, all three of these fragrances exemplify exactly the type of gourmand approach I appreciate – inedible but still incredibly appetizing.
30th September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Salvatore Ferragamo pour Homme by Salvatore Ferragamo

I blind-bought 100ml of this for the princely sum of £20, from The FragranceShop's bargain bin after hearing rumours of discontinuation (which naturally serve to heighten a scent's appeal) and reading largely positive reviews. Mind, I had sore misgivings, based on remembrance of dubious responses to fig-heavy scents like Philosykos, but happily on this occasion the talcum powder was not required.

Fig is the loudest of the notes (green or barely ripe, not sugared or stewed), accompanied by grapefruit and a grassy vetiver base. There's a sort of ghostly clove note hovering in the background, but it's really nothing to be afraid of. The overall impression is clean, bright, fresh and uplifting. It doesn't smell cheap like that awful plasticky Ferragamo F Black. Longevity is excellent, especially of the fig and vetiver notes. Projection is limited, though, and I give it 8 sprays.
30th September, 2015

Mauboussin Pour Homme by Mauboussin

Mauboussin Homme is a fragrance which could effortlessly sell well in today’s niche or high-end designer market. I would definitely pay a higher price for it, since for the quality, its price a complete steal. The composition smells quite “new” and really sophisticated, the materials are clearly good and vibrant, there’s almost zero “designer cheapness”, and the scent shows all the solid skills of a great nose like Morillas. It’s a win to all extents, and I can’t see a reason to dislike it – except maybe for the slightly disappointing longevity, and the fact that they reformulated it – I assume that happened somewhere in 2005/2006 when Diana de Silva (which manufactured the first version) closed down. I haven’t tried the second version, which seems easier to find today, but the earlier bottles (with the purple bottom band) are still quite widely available, so no panic– in case of doubt, I’d look for those. And anyway my review is based on that first version.

Now, the juice: a surprisingly consistent, compelling and elegantly comforting smooth blend opening with a fresh and distinguished – but somehow “youthful” too – accord of bergamot, lavender and cinnamon soon joined by a sort of “phantom of Azzaro pour Homme” bone-structure (anisic sage and other “culinary” herbs, woods), recalling itself YSL Rive Gauche pour Homme, and also Cristobal pour Homme; together with a crisp, tasteful accord of something like ginger and spiced sandalwood which, as other reviewers noted, does indeed recall Carven Homme a bit. All brilliantly dusted with a subtle sweet accord of vanillic patchouli (smelling basically almost like cocoa beans) which considering the presence of citrus, herbs, sandalwood and musk, seem somehow anticipating some chords of Guerlain L’Instant pour Homme. But it's not over yet: there's also something dark around, dark and medicinal too, which joins the aromatic herbs in a really far souvenir of vintage YSL M7 (in the end, Morillas just composed it the year before).

You get the picture: a modern, spicy-balsamic (almost minty at first) Oriental fougère with a really crisp and smooth vibe and a dark shade, rounded by a surprisingly odd but perfectly fitting sort of sweet-fresh frame (I think it’s due to some nuances of cinnamon and lemon blending together), quite complex actually but perfectly harmonic and really easy to pull off. An elegant and uplifting fragrance to say the least, with a perfect evolution bringing it towards lukewarm woodier-muskier territories as hours pass, still keeping the lavender-cinnamon-vanilla combo up and running (joined by a whiff of cedar-infused incense, maybe due to the aromachemicals commonly used to built sandalwood notes).

Some of the facets of Mauboussin Homme show indeed many references to other fragrances, but considered as a whole, this scent is actually quite unique. It brilliantly puts together several inspirations, and it does it with versatility and effortless class. It smells like a bridge between classic aromatic fougères like Azzaro pour Homme and post-2000s Oriental woody-spicy gourmands. I’d define it quite “laid-back”, sophisticated by with a really carefree and relaxed vibe. And smelling just good, really good. It has just something “right” and inspired, which I really enjoy a lot. Recommended.

30th September, 2015

Habit Rouge Dress Code by Guerlain

Habit Rouge Dress Code is sweeter than any other Habit Rouge version but at the same time the distinctive Habit Rouge individuality is immediately recognizable and more prominent that ever before. In bringing this "praline" toned version Thierry Wasser has managed to present a rebirth of the vintage Habit Rouge worn light leather aroma we had in the EDC versions from the 1970's - an aroma that is not easy to find in todays HR versions. Collectors take notice! I would not normally want a sweeter Habit Rouge, but along with the sweetness there is also bold mid notes which balances the praline with a salty outdoor riding coat aroma. Habit Rouge is back! I think I like this Habit Rouge version as much as the last edp version which had agarwood in the base. Praline which is a candied pecan substitute for agarwood here, but the combination works! A fine fragrance for lovers of vintage Habit Rouge - a probable classic collectible scent because this is apparently a limited edition release. Be warned it is sweet and has plenty of powdery guerlinade, but also it is all Habit Rouge masculine character.
30th September, 2015
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L'Homme Idéal by Guerlain

The opening is quite sweet citrus, orange blossom coupled with an almond amaretto accord that turns the initial sweet almond to powdery tobacco soon after. Cedar and vetiver add some balance to the opening for an hour or so before this light warm tobacco note emerges. The notes list says leather in the base and possibly the tonka and leather combined gives the illusion of tobacco. This is a smooth well made fragrance. I can see a distant relationship to Guerlain Tonka Imperiale, but for some reason Ideal does not carry the subtle quiet power of this excellent predecessor. I think Ideal will appeal to women because of the mid toned comforting notes but it lacks the masculine character to hold my attention. In short this fragrance is just a little too civilized for my taste.
30th September, 2015

Santal Blush by Tom Ford

Santal Blush is a light veil essence of sandalwood that lasts and radiates for many hours. Potent stuff. I like the hint of cumin at the outset to add some depth and background grounding character - could have had more of that for my taste. Every note listed for the fragrance expresses some aspect that is part of and from within the spectrum of a pure sandalwood idea or concept of what sandalwood is all about. Is this a great fragrance? No, but it is an excellent sandalwood story. The notes: Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Cumin, Fenugreek, Carrot seed, Jasmine, Rose, Ylang ylang, Benzoin, Agarwood, Musk - all play a part. In comparison to other sandalwood fragrances I've owned it is much milder and more unisex than Santal 33, less cedar than Tam Dao, and has not nearly the Indian culinary spices of Santal Mysore. But it is true to the aroma of real sandalwood oil only amped up to be much more radiant than the real stuff ever was. Best applied lightly so it hides in the mysteries and the recesses but lasts as a blush of sandalwood aroma that radiates on liquid light dust through the ethers. Sandalwood is a difficult scent to reproduce as the pure oil is so light, creamy and ethereal that it almost escapes notice when worn by itself. But it is extremely resilient as is Santal Blush. This might have been a better fragrance if Yann Vasnier had not tried to replicate sandalwood aroma so realistically and created a metaphor using bolder punctuation of spice, incense, tar and woods. I like Santal Blush, since I do enjoy sandalwood and wood scents in general. Do I like it more than the other sandalwoods mentioned above? Not sure I would go that far, but Santal Blush is an adequate portrayal of sandal wood that is flying under the radar of most wood fans. Check it out.
29th September, 2015

Unguentum by Onyrico

Onyrico Unguentum starts with a freshly-exotic, wet-aromatic and mild intoxicating splash arousing on me for a while a sort of Versace The Dreamer/Opium Pour Homme Edp's "interplanetary" atmosphere. An inebriating blast of fresh-wet spiciness full of doping power and turning on "brio". There is a plain juxtaposition of freshly humid and powdery warmer elements in the air. Something freshly herbal, barely boozy (Pastis/Pernod conjuring) and vaguely art-deco waves in the air, an aura of bohemian literature, parisian cafe and debauchery. I detect balsam fir, something kind of eliotropic, ylang-ylang, may be star anice and blackcurrant. This spiciness is quite aromatic (in a fougere style) and gradually all at once rooty-piquant in a way conjuring me more and more progressively the classic Spazio di Krizia Uomo in a sort of ideal blend of it with the great L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme Edt (Unguentum is quite close to this languid Guerlain's composition in this phase and more faintly while going on). L'Instant Pour Homme (just the EdT) is more particularly nutty, cocoa-veined and structured while Unguentum smells finally fizzy-soapy spicy and resinous. I detect a sort of "L'Instant Pour Homme's conjuring" accord of cedar, anise, lavender and patchouli but in here the scent morphs finally towards something suede-oriented and silky (with nondescript floral sparks). I catch also a more than vague Dior Dune/Dune Pour Homme's typical freshly musky-aromatic (strong aldehydic lavender) and kind of musky-rosey-nutty languid twist (not so distant from the main GP Gaultier Classique's spicy-gingery muskiness). Finally the herbal-aromatic (vaguely aqueous) vibe is more and more evident (around and over a sort of rosey-creamy-honeyed basic sandalwood). Unguentum is neither original nor luxurious (or complex) but I can't say it isn't a well appointed fresh oriental with a decent level of elegance and dandiness. Another Onyrico's endorsed by my "thirsty" yet candidly enchanted "inquiring" nose.
28th September, 2015 (last edited: 29th September, 2015)

Bond-T by Sammarco

Men – step away from the A*Men and your L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme Eau Extreme, and pick up a bottle of this little beauty instead. This is sexy stuff. Bond-T by Sammarco is just the type of release you hope to see coming out of indie perfumers on their first outing – a smart re-thinking of common tropes, in this case the hyper-masculine patchouli-cocoa-tonka bean combo.

This one does everything right. It pairs a brown, dusty cocoa note with a dirty, castoreum-driven leather – and manages to come off as its own beast. Although it shares similarities of tone with Serge Lutens’ wonderful Borneo 1834, there is none of Borneo’s oriental richness. Rather, underneath the cocoa-patchouli skin of Bond-T there beats a heart of what smells like a wad of fruity, slightly fermented tobacco leaves and grimy leather. It smells rich and tannic, and just off-putting enough to stop it from being fully gourmand.

Further on, the scent dries out, and I start to wonder if it’s tobacco I smell, or instead black China tea. It is astonishing – at this stage, the perfume really does smell as if I put my nose into a tin of the blackest tea leaves from China – those utterly matt black, loose-leaf ones. Tea leaves do have some of the bone-dry, tannic qualities I get from tobacco leaves – and a sort of leathery, smoked flavor.

Of course, there is no tobacco or tea or even leather listed as notes in Bond-T. All those notes have been conjured up by the leathery castoreum, and maybe even the osmanthus, which in China is commonly used as a flavoring for tea. Either way, I really like this dry, leathery tobacco smell, and find it similar to the effect that Tabac Aurea from Sonoma Scent Studio achieves – a full arc of notes ranging from wet and fruity/fermented to bone-dry, tannic, and almost dirty.

At the end, a nice surprise – the tonka and vanilla smooth out the earthy patch notes, leveling it off into an incredible “malted chocolate powder” sort of aroma. At this point, it smells more like Ovaltine than a full-on chocolate patch. Longevity is pretty great, too.

I don’t hesitate to say that although a woman (including this woman) would have no trouble in wearing Bond-T should she wish, it is a very masculine take on the cocoa-patch quasi-gourmand theme. I like it on my own skin – but I can’t help thinking that this would be very sexy on a man’s skin.

It could be summed up a little lazily as a cross between Borneo 1834 and Tabac Aurea (with a teeny bit of Mona di Orio’s Cuir thrown in for good measure), but I think I will just say that men who have been looking at stuff like Dior Privee’s Feve Delicieuse, A*Men (original), A*Men Pure Havane, and LIDGE might want to consider this as a great alternative in the patchouli-tonka-cocoa field.
28th September, 2015

Zafferano by Odori

This line is fun. Not because of the fragrances, which are decent, but because their names are consistently, completely misleading. I got not the slightest hint of leather in “Cuoio”, not a gram of tobacco in “Tabacco”, and now I don’t really smell the saffron here in “Zafferano”. At all. To me this smells just like a nice, not-overly-thick, slightly smoky and powdery rose blend with spices, something similar to pollen, and a smoky-camphorous base infused with vanilla. Lightly sweet and pleasantly dry. Basically a sort of sweet rose with some moody shades, showing an inspiration close to Aramis Calligraphy Rose and to several Middle-Eastern inexpensive fragrances similarly built on rose, resins, spices and vanilla. More or less, the ballpark seems the same to me, although Zafferano smells slightly more discreet, more floral, less heavy on sweet-resinous notes. It smells somehow more breezy, more sophisticated and more light than most of those (probably, more natural too, although I get a suspiciously crisp Iso-E note). It’s still decidedly soapy, but there is a really nice sort of dusty-airy texture which makes it smell quite more “spacious” and thus a bit more refined than several heavier Middle-Eastern scents. Nonetheless, they surely come to mind as a close comparison. Pretty linear and not that long lasting, with quite a boring drydown (mostly woody-soapy) so there’s not much else to add. Not the most creative blend around, not the most astonishing quality on the market, but nice and unpretentious enough (except for the price, which is quite a joke). If you’re into Oriental smoky-sweet-resinous roses, you may like this – just don’t expect any saffron.

28th September, 2015

Allure Homme Sport by Chanel

The only positive thing about this fragrance is that the name is perfectly self-explanatory and truly true to faith, so if you’re aware that most brands use “sport” as a synonim for “pathetically cheap and metallic”, you can guess what to expect here and can start to roll your eyes. A deeply nondescript fresh mishmash –Adidas-esque kind of metallic-woody freshness – stuffed with cheap ozonic-minty notes, the only tolerable nuances being a really subtle sort of smooth sandalwood-musk base accord, something sort of powdery-leafy floating around, and some ordinary (but at least, not screechy) lemon. A few hints of decency (basically, the only connections to classic Allure) buried into an almost futuristic mess of pungent artificial stuff which shall be supposed to connect with the concept of “fitness”. I never understood why most of “sport” fragrances smell like this – I wonder what kind of “sport” brands think to specifically, since I think more of a gold medal perspirator washing a car while wearing a Calvin Klein dupe. But well, to each his own. Horrid for me.

28th September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

New York Sandalwood by Bond No. 9

For me, this is the worst sandalwood I have ever experienced. The top notes are shocking and the accord manages to produce a sour, astringent, alcoholic car crash of a smell, which never really goes away. I gave this plenty of time as the SA completely drenched the blotter and faint hints of sandalwood and fig made an appearance very late on. This is a dry unforgiving take on a naturally creamy wood and, in my opinion, Bond have ballsed it up bigtime here.
28th September, 2015

Bastet by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

I feel a little strange reviewing BPAL scents in the same context as commercial frags, because often they're a lot of fun and very evocative as smells, but not necessarily something I'd want to wear on my person. And they're specifically for an audience that often couldn't give a fig about commercial frags, so it feels a little unfair to judge them on the same criteria. All that said, there are a few of them that I love and wear often as skin scents and as bases/fixatives for lighter frags, and Bastet is one.

Sniffed in the bottle, it's a lot of synthetic almond, so for years I'd overlooked it. But I'm able to go to a local BPAL event every full moon, so knowing I liked the other components, I tried it again on my skin, and am so happy I did, because the almond burns off quickly. I'm left with a gorgeous warm ambery/musky skin scent. It's simple, but when it works with your chemistry, very sensual indeed.

BPAL is a line where if you fall in love with one of them, nothing else really does smell quite like it.
28th September, 2015

No. 18 by Chanel

I have had this scent rolling in the back of my mind for months. I finally purchased a full bottle. I'll do my best to tell you why:

This is one of the most unexpected samples I have ever received. That's saying a lot, considering some of the oddities I've discussed in previous reviews. As another reviewer already wrote, if I had tested this one blindly, I definitely would never had suggested it came from Chanel. Not that I don't believe Chanel could not have created it, but it differs in many ways from my current understanding of the house and my experience thus far.

This is the juice you try, think about, try again, think about some more, and then end up using the entire sample, and cannot stop thinking's so simple it's exquisitely challenging yet wearable. A greener rose than No. 19, little to no powder (at least for me), and doesn't scream "vintage". It stands on its own. Probably a spring/summer scent, but I may try it on warmer fall days.
28th September, 2015

Zephiro by Onyrico

Onyrico Zephiro (Maurizio Ceriza perfumer) sounds on my skin as one of the best spicy accords of tuberose, neroli and oakmoss around on the side of presenceful scents a la Bruno Acampora Blu. Tuberose is in here (as joined with spicy gardenia and mossy-resinous-moldy galbanum) kind of irresistibly indolic and initially almost animalic. The indolic floral mark is as much intense to seemingly elicit for a (fortunately short) while a sort of fecal/rotten (stale flower pot water conjuring) undertone. Galbanum (joined to musk, resins and a touch of vanilla) provides a sort of "candied gumminess" as well as it equally does in the profound Bruno Acampora Blu (despite they don't properly list this note in the Blu's parade of elements) and as well as we have yet enjoined in conceptually homologous concoctions a la Cacharel LouLou or the more sophisticated-chic Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia. Zephiro is an intensely carnal and multicoloured composition aimed to appoint a tribute for the equally iridescent masterpiece of art Primavera del Botticelli. There is a brightly exotic spiciness in the composition and is like to catch in the air a sort of ylang-ylang's tropical twist really intense in its being joined to a real floral nectar/serum. I have to furthermore add that patchouli and galbanum provide, by their vegetal connection, a tad of barely camphoraceous greenness which enhances the variegate refinement of the whole creation. As soon as the erotic carnality of the tuberose-gardenia duo recedes a well bodied structure (afforded by bergamot, amber, patchouli and citrus) jumps out with all its charge of glorious musky-chypre classicality. Dry down is a wonderfully smooth and redolent-candied musky-floral accord with silky nuances of spicy amber-patchouli, coconutty apricot and silky vanilla. I highly recommend to everybody, which are on the specific genre, to give a try to this conspicuously visceral musky floral concoction which (on the right person, better a right femme fatale) could turn out as the sexiest of the erotic olfactory weapons.
27th September, 2015

Satyricon by O'Driù

This is far more powerful than the Eva Kant I am sampling on my left arm today. The silage is quite incredible!

Lots of citrus, but there is something else...I'm not sure, but it makes me like it, because citrus is typically not my thing for smell. When I breathe really deep, I smell some resins. Perhaps some pine?

This leans masculine. I wouldn't mind smelling this on my husband.
27th September, 2015

Eva Kant by O'Driù

This is my second wearing of this beautiful concoction. This is also my first experience with this artist's work, and I am sad he is no longer with us - he's not dead yet! But, you all know what I mean.

So, I was gifted multiple samples from a lovely basenoter, Purecaramel, and his love for art has invigorated my love for art once more (sometimes I allow the mundane to overwhelm). The day the samples arrived from Italy was like Christmas morning! The Clown wraps his art so well, and I appreciated it and smiled a lot!

Eva Kant opens with fresh meadows. Peaceful in springtime. Then it moves into fall, where there is warmth, and wooded walks. I can still smell the meadow nearby every now and then, but the spice of the darker season is more prevalent. This scent is such a juxtaposition for me regarding the packaging and the juice; how can something smell so relaxing with a bottle that prepares me for futuristic death?

There is something "days past" that this juice has going on...not vintage...but a reminder of such. It has a classic feel. I really like it.
27th September, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Scent And Chemistry Kiss My Ass by O'Driù

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Angelo Orazio Pregoni's perfumery skills. His first limited edition all-natural line in particular set the standard for modern innovation and brilliance. The original releases were at once potent and to some off-putting, but complex, off-the-beaten-path and for the most part absolutely amazing smelling perfume to those that "got" them. To this day, while Pregoni has expanded his lineup considerably, adding in small quantities of synthetics while branching out sometimes into slightly more easily accessible offerings, the original releases represent his best work. The challenge, as one who owns many of these compositions, is they can indeed be polarizing to the public, and while I may love wearing them, at times a bit more of a lighter touch would work wonders for their versatility as long as it didn't sacrifice their brilliant uniqueness in the process... Enter Scent and Chemistry Kiss My Ass (mentioned hereon-out as "S&C KMA").

S&C KMA has all the fingerprints of the best O'driu earlier offerings... It has the trademark culinary herbal mix, the fiery capsicum, the natural smelling cumin-driven spice, the olive-like oily undertone, the dulled florals and spunky vetiver underpinning it all. In short, this is classic O'driu through and through. What it intentionally *doesn't* have is the super-strength and potency of most other O'driu releases, eschewing the projection and density for a much more light and airy but relatively close to the skin nature. Lest anyone believe that Pregoni has just watered down past compositions, while the projection is subdued, longevity does not suffer with a very good 10-12 hours on skin.

S&C KMA is a tough composition to describe to those unfamiliar with Pregoni's early work. It would be all too easy to reference brilliant earlier works like Laltrove 1001 and others, but as few have had the privilege to smell that highly limited edition work it doesn't do much good to the uninitiated. All I can say is that like most of the initial series releases that I would encourage anyone to sniff if they get the chance, S&C KMA is another that really can't be described well in writing, requiring one to get their nose on the composition to sniff for themselves. To those who *are* familiar with Pregoni's early work, you should be well-prepared for what you are in for here, as all the good stuff fans of the original line love is present. The key difference is now you can wear those greats for personal enjoyment anywhere with relative ease. It shouldn't really matter what others think, but when working in close quarters sometimes you have to make accommodations, and with S&C KMA you give nothing up on the longevity or the composition smell at all, only the projection. To me, this is a major step forward for Pregoni in showing he can stay true to his uncompromising roots smell-wise, while showing a deft touch by making the composition much more versatile for daily wear. I'll wrap this up with saying that some of the most recent O'driu releases haven't quite clicked with my tastes like the earlier work did, but with S&C KMA, Pregoni has shown that when he wants to he can whip up true genius, and at least as of the time of this review, S&C KMA is the best new release I have sniffed this year. The bottom line is the $260 per 75ml 16 bottle limited edition S&C KMA is a brilliant return to form by extremely talented Pregoni, earning an "outstanding" 4.5 stars out of 5 rating and a super-strong recommendation, especially to lovers of his earliest work.
27th September, 2015

Ultraviolet by Paco Rabanne

It literally smells like "nothing." I cannot identify a single note and whatever is there disappears within a few minutes.
27th September, 2015

Dunhill Icon by Dunhill

Opens with a fresh mandarin and juniper berry note that is sweet in the aromatic sense and stands out quite a bit as it's fairly unique and unto itself as far as openings go. It's the kind of opening accord that probably needs to be experienced to be fully understood and I was pleasantly surprised by it. This is layered over a soft cedar note comprised of what smells like Iso-E Super and warm cardamom, which in turn creates a bit of the shaved pencil/curry aroma that's become common among the woody genre harking all the way back to the release of Declaration. Despite its familiarity, it's well-done and blends effortlessly with the opening accord. Icon is marked by a clean, soap-like sheen as a pale lavender note permeates throughout. Overall, this is a very good fragrance and reminds me a lot of a cleaner, brighter Terre d'Hermes. Both share similar orange notes over woods with cedar/Iso-e playing an important component and more or less maintaining the base. The main difference is that Icon opens sweeter, and a little less dirty, and Hermes features what feels like a deeper, more substantial woody base. While I would not place this on an equal level with Jean Claude Ellena's masterpiece, it can certainly hold its own, and I'd rank Carlos Benaim's latest offering perhaps just a step below. A solid daily-wear fragrance for work and casual nights out (or in). Projection is moderate and longevity is around 6-8 hours. It features a great bottle and solid, Dior-like atomizer as well. I look forward to wearing Icon a lot this fall. Thumbs up!
26th September, 2015 (last edited: 27th September, 2015)

Miu Miu by Miu Miu

Maybe not extraordinary, but.. it's pleasant. Simple, clean, and in my opinion, one of the most inviting LotV-based fragrances I've ever smelled. The LotV pairs very well with the rose, and the rose doesn't overpower it at all (which is pretty rare in my experience with rose notes in fragrances). The green notes complement the florals carefully. It's really a nice harmony of these elements, and it's, well.. it's nice! So, if the notes/bottle/description/brand appeal to you at all, definitely give it a shot!
26th September, 2015

Nanette by Nanette Lepore

Instant love for this one.

Sometimes I'll read a review and something gets called a "warm, spicy Oriental", and I smell it and crack up at how our descriptions are all relative to our references. For me, a warm, spicy Oriental would be Youth Dew or Opium, not Poppy Wildflower by Coach.

But you know? Nanette really does go in a spicy Oriental direction, and it's well done! I say "direction", because it feels to me like it's spicier than most, yet still working with the Euphoria model (which I know is working with the underlying butch/femme Angel structure.) So there's the trendy pink pepper, perhaps a bit of Euphoria-like pomegranate syrup (not listed) and a certain sweet tobacco-ishness in the base that I also notice in J.Crew + Arquiste No. 57.

What makes it more than another uninspired dupe, though, is the counterpoint of sweet, powdery, retro rose/violet/LOTV heart with the warm, incense-y, more gender-neutral base. I mean, these florals were right at home in 1915, and they make the whole thing come off as softer and friendlier than it otherwise would be with all of the wood and pepper and incense.

I know it's sacrilege to mention Caron in the same breath as an EA-produced frag, but...Parfum Sacre. Not saying Nanette is comparable in a literal sense - its edges are rougher and it doesn't have the velvety floral depths of vintage Sacre - and yet they're both balsamic, peppery, powdery rose fragrances, and for those of us who adore that theme, it's enough to make us love both of these variations on it!
26th September, 2015