Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Voyage by Hiram Green

I purchased my first bottle blind - the write-up on Twisted Lily just made me salivate. I took a chance and was very well rewarded.
The entire experience from start to finish is one of the most beautiful sensory experiences I have had since initially smelling House of Matriarch's Blackbird (now known as Black No. 1).

There is an elegance to this scent, something rather hard to explain. I have attempted to type a more technical review, but each time I realized it did nothing to truly explain this tour of scent. I'm at a loss to be more descriptive, and I fail readers by just typing out my emotional response. Truly, I am sorry. Since there are only 250 bottles made, and I now own two, it might not be so important to offer much more detail. I'd like to think this scent will be offered more readily in the future, however I could not in good reason resist a back-up. If there really are only 248 bottles remaining, my best advice would be "buy it now".
26th November, 2015

Jimmy by Bruno Fazzolari

For me,and my tastes, this is the only shining star of this Group of Eight Samples. I find it far away from being carefree. It speaks to the lure,indeed intoxication of the Feminine. Most potent.

The others strike me as dated "Reservoir Dogs" Parlor Games. Designed to sell Pseudo-Art to the masses.

That being said, I am likely, because of "Jimmy" be drawn to visit Fazzolari's other work.

26th November, 2015 (last edited: 25th November, 2015)

Acqua di Parma Colonia Ambra by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Colonia Ambra basically re-interprets in a specifically amberish (synthetic salty ambergris) way the main Acqua di Parma Colonia Oud Concentree's mossy-resinous-leathery formula, finally performing a more succeeding and balanced recipe imo. The juice is indeed smart, sleek, urban, modern and darkly classy but most of all is more discreet and balanced than its predecessor in its final velvety ambery performance. Let's go gradually, first of all let's say that the juice lacks genuine originality since I can detect in here a nowadays almost mainstream typical accord of saffron/rose/oud a la Dueto City Oud and stuffs like that (Y by Avery, Ducalis by Angela Ciampagna, Xerjoff 40 Knots etc, etc). Second, Colonia Ambra shares a common foundation of bergamot, wet-citric/grassy/aromatic "hydrated" musk, spicy rose, patchouli, resins and synthetic woodiness with its older cousin Colonia Oud Concentree but while the latter is firmly set on a main leatherish/oudish/mossy (more kind of gassy-woody and bombastic) accord Amber morphs finally towards a more specifically salty ambery and delicately musky (vaguely classic/chypre) accord quite comforting and musky modern. While the Oud Concentree's base notes morph down basically leathery and mossy/resinous (with a more marked woody-gassy-saffrony synth oppression) the Colonia Ambra's final trail is less properly woody and more delicately musky-vanillic and spicy-ambery (with secret salty marine nuances? I don't think so, probably saltiness is prevalently musky/leathery and sandalwood-"infused"). Frankly I prefer Ambra over Oud Concentree and could not easily stop smelling my wrist (despite I smell everything but a terrific potion). Dry down is warm and ambery but I still catch in the background that plaguing synth saffrony/rosey cedary woodiness that represents a mediocre "taking the world by storm" accord nowadays (in this case tamed and "embellished" by a warm salty/spicy/musky synth ambergris). I get a ghostly (and saffrony) floral presence in the final wake but the aroma is all about amber, musk and "little" vanilla. In conclusion, do you wanna really standing out by wearing a synthetic urban/chic amber? I toss out just one name mastering over so many: Costume National Scent Intense, this is my night out pop/rock amber oh guys.
25th November, 2015
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Criminal of Love by By Kilian

I have had an interesting time getting to know this juice. My first impressions were not the best, I'll admit. It comes out very powerful and overwhelming - that would be the "criminal" part, I suppose - I nearly felt as though I had been robbed of all my sensibilities as well as senses!

I placed it carefully in my decant container, and waited...

It has been about three months since I tried this the first time. I am not sure if its the change in the weather, or my opinion, but I'm truly enjoying this. Yes, it still comes out very powerfully - and this is not a short-lived sort of power...but it does eventually mellow out. Thank GOD!

As it lingers, I feel wrapped in a delicious blend of various warm scents, but none stands out more than the very jammy rose. "I need some toast, with this", methinks.

Heading into the drydown, it evokes the impressions of being in a tobacco barn, with the curing and smoke. It's a lot like driving in downtown Durham, NC back in the 80's, which is my hometown, incidentally. Definitely a positive scent!

I'm not sure if I'm up to taking the chance with a purchase overseas (Russia, to be exact), however I am grateful for this decant, and I'll enjoy it while I can.
24th November, 2015

Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf

I don’t have a problem with sweet fragrances, but Spicebomb is just really too much for me. It’s pure, crude, nondescript plastic sweetness which I have a hard time considering a grown man’s fragrance. Or actually a “person’s fragrance”, of any kind. Again, sweetness is not the issue, neither the “generic” factor, which I’m very fine with most of the times. The problem is that Spicebomb smells like if they accidentally switched the nozzles with a barrel of something meant for a candy factory, and bottled that, and sold it. Leather? Saffron? Elegance? This is a juvenile, sticky bubblegum cascade of cinnamon, vanilla, musk, nonsense synthetic gummy bear stuff all wrapped in a bare “masculine” frame of woody musk and spicy amber. All in the worse quality you can imagine – flat, cheap, extremely linear synthetic stuff as in any drugstore shower gel, with no qualities whatsoever except the ability of making you feel in a time machine ready to throw you right into Justin Bieber’s arms in 2005. I’d choose lifetime chastity over any woman complimenting this abomination.

24th November, 2015
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Perfume Calligraphy Rose by Aramis

Calligraphy Rose is a very appealing, slightly sultry scent. Rose takes centre stage but is nicely supported by the saffron and myrrh which give it a mysterious,desert-like feel of the Orient.(I do mean desert, not dessert!)

Longevity is good and sillage average.I would wear this in the cooler months for more formal gatherings.
It doesn't strike me as a "fun" perfume but rather one that has a more serious,measured side.
24th November, 2015

R by Révillon

A "mass-enjoyable/easy-going/go to down town for a noisy night out of fun" barely more than mediocre scent performed by a skilful perfumer (Maurice Roucel) for an historical respectful brand. A captivating casual, sporty, juvenile and versatile formula evolving from its initial freshly floral fluidy/gymnic (90's mainstream) opening to a final mossy-leathery dry down, passing across a central (to me quite unpleasant) amberish/spicy semi-oriental stage. A remarkably 90's in style woody-floral Revillon's creation with a lily of the valley/violet leaves/jasmine (supposedly) based intense floral presence, a typical fluidy-aqueous-citric (vaguely aquatic?) 90's accord, a fair dose of synthetic soapiness and a final touch of pleasant mossy leather. Oakmoss provides earthiness, a tad of "resinous bitter stickiness" (a la Acqua di Biella Ca' Luna) and complexity, "emancipating" (in its link with leather) the juice from the status of real mediocrity. The main introducing R's accord conjures me initially more than vaguely mainstream floral/aquatic 90's scents a la Joop Nightflight or stuffs like that but Revillon R develops soon a quite evident central spicy (kind of dusty cinnamonic) semi-oriental synth-amber/leather's presence leaning on the side of warmer (aromachemical-infused) scents a la Davidoff Hot Water, Creed Original Santal, Vince Camuto Pour Homme, Gaultier Le Beau Male or Prada Luna Rossa. Honestly, mostly in its central phase, this fragrance is not enough interesting to me, I find it versatile, salty-sugary-spicy, probably appealing to younger crowds but not enough structured or particular to reach a full thumbs up. A lavender/violet/herbal notes/citrus initial elegant twist ends to gradually morph towards an amberish-spicy-leathery boring develop with a salty/sporty/floral undertone quite common and mainstream (finally fortunately "elevated" by something mossy-earthy). In this phase it seems to wear a sort of less salty and spicier (more amberish and leathery) Gaultier Le Beau Male, with a quite similar sporty-floral-herbal main vibe. Honestly I have to say that the more a mossy-leather emerges (and spicy ambroxan recedes) the more I appreciate the juice (but probably is too late or not enough for a full thumbs up). Inhaling deeply my skin in this final phase I get leather flanked (and supported) by a sort of likeable mossy (oakmoss) resinous earthiness which I really appreciate. The worst aspect is anyway that boring spicy-amberish-salty/floral central sultriness that I find fulsome and nowadays redundant. Dry down is slightly powdery (because of the yet operating spicy ambroxan) but endly mossy, comforting, virile and leathery. This stage provides a partial redemption for the whole olfactory "fatigue". Average is anyway my final humble rating.
23rd November, 2015

Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums

This is nonsense. Patchouli? All wrong! Leather? Purchase a bar of Cussons. Florals and Musk? Close your eyes and pick anything off the Feminine shelf at your local Sephora. Price? Are you kidding?

I am not done with this house, as Ambre 114 is a charmer to be sure.
Noir Patch is no match for the likes of Givenchy Gentleman Vintage, Coromandel, Giorgio For Men, Led IV.
23rd November, 2015

Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa by Acqua di Parma

Meh. Contrary to other flankers of this Colonia line, such as the beautiful Assoluta version and the at-least-wearable Leather one, this Intensa variation is quite disappointing for me. Actually much disappointing, even if my expectations with Acqua di Parma are never that high. It starts off as a sort of cheap dupe of a herbal-citrus fougère played on lemon-musky chords, tinged with a depressingly flat synthetic leather note and a surprisingly bold, and kind of harshly dissonant generic woody note (it takes a talent to make cedar smell this bad). It’s basically a “darker”, here meaning woodier and muskier take on the Colonia, but hasn’t really the quality and the class to succeed for me. It’s just... a shrug in a bottle, almost a scrubber. It’s uninspired, too cheap to be at least elegant and enjoyable, as it smells on the contrary almost tacky for how lousy and mediocre the notes smell. And even if they’re just a few and are all quite “classic”, for some reasons at some points their balance smells almost wrong. Too lemony at first, too harshly woody, too cheaply musky on the drydown. But well, I know “balance” is a rather subjective matter, so I guess someone may like that. Still a less than mediocre scent, whether the balance is fine or not. Anyway once the initial citrus and herbal notes start to vanish off, you realize that was the nicest part, and you basically remain with a simple, bland, immobile, surprisingly cheap soapy musky-cedar accord still tinged with a bold detergent-like debris of citrus and a remarkably irritating long persistence, as charming and pleasant as remaining stuck in a lift with that bald stinky colleague of yours.

23rd November, 2015

Armani Privé Vétiver Babylone by Giorgio Armani

Vetiver? What vetiver? Ah, the power of suggestion. There is probably as much vetiver in here as there is genuine aged oud in your average Montale.

Without a doubt the stars of the show are the scintillating hesperidic topnotes. They elevate the fragrance as much as they lift my spirits. But once they leave the stage within the first hour as citrus notes are wont to do, the extraordinary show becomes painfully ordinary, the melange of pale, lightly earthy base notes swiftly taking the composition from its giddy heights down to a grounded, more mundane existence.

"Houston, we have a problem. This rocket is out of fuel."

But it's not all doom and gloom for Giorgio Armani. There is still an element left behind in the stratosphere - its price tag.
23rd November, 2015
jujy54 Show all reviews
United States

Knize Ten by Knize

Whoa. This IS a masculine. My souvenir of Vienna. I love it but feel a bit self conscious wearing it straight up, so I fem it up a bit with half a spritz of the redoubtable Perfumer's Workshop's Tea Rose layered under this sharp, tobacco-redolent leather. I'd love to smell it on a guy, especially after he's been out on a run or playing sports. ohlala.
23rd November, 2015
jujy54 Show all reviews
United States

Odalisque by Nicolaï

Purchased at the shop on Rue des Archives, on my first ever trip to Europe, Odalisque simply *is* Paris for me. A perfect floral, not dominated by white flowers, but rosy and a little powdery. Perfectly soigné and chic. Yes, Paris itself. What a great scent memory I've curated!
23rd November, 2015

The Secret by Antonio Banderas

yes, there is a resemblance to 1 Million, but to my nose no 2 fragrances are exactly alike...the bottom line is that I get a sweet/bubblegummy spicy leather with a hint of mint/grapefruit freshness and a whole lot of thick syrupy cinnamon with just a touch of apple liquor...not a bad smell...I really do get a pretty strong presence of leather...just a little too sweet for me to put this in rotation, but for the price you can't go wrong with this if it works for you...
for me, decant/sample worthy
Sweet Spicy Leather
23rd November, 2015
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Habit Rouge Dress Code by Guerlain

What a beautiful opening – delicate and sweet, a cloud of bergamot, rose, and vanilla dust just hanging in the air like a rose-gold halo. And in it, I instantly recognized the ghost of Shalimar.

Well, actually, that’s not true. If Habit Rouge is the male equivalent of Shalimar, then its flanker, Habit Rouge Dress Code is the male equivalent of (a mash-up of) two of the Shalimar flankers – specifically the Parfum Initial L’Eau and the Parfum Initial EDP. The Shalimar flankers stripped Shalimar of its leather, smoke, incense, and dirty bergamot, and used her structure to turn out streamlined, sweet versions flushed with sweet lemonade, fruit berries, and that smooth pink patchouli that modern girls love so much. Likewise, Habit Rouge Dress Code takes the rose-leather combination of the original Habit Rouge EDT, strips it of its fresh lemon-and-herb-strewn opening, and fluffs it out with sweet notes that modern tastes love, like praline, caramel, and tonka.

But I don’t just mean that Dress Code smells like the conceptual twin of the Shalimar flankers, I really mean to say that it lifts entire sections from these fragrances. Dress Code has the hazy but effervescent citrus-rose combo from the opening of the L’Eau, giving off the delightful effect of a huge pitcher of limeade dotted with pink rose petals. Later on, when the sweet praline and caramel come in, it starts to smell a lot like the dry down of the Parfum Initial EDP (minus the iris and berries). The overall feel is pink, balmy, and slightly resinous, so there is obviously a lot of the Guerlainade here too. In fact, at certain points, it reminds me of a sweeter, less complex version of Cologne du 68, which itself is basically an essay on the famous Guerlainade, with anise and angelica stalks added on top.

Two notes take Dress Code away from being a mere pastiche of these other fragrances, though. First, a warm nutmeg note provides a brown, spicy aura that is very striking. It acts upon the vanilla and caramel to produce a sweet, nutty effect very similar to that in Black Flower Mexican Vanilla. Second is a rather strident citronella-like note, probably arising from the geraniol or citronellol compounds in the rose oil used here. Both the nutmeg and the citronella notes die way back in the dry down.

Dress Code is extremely well-done, and is a striking example of a modern gourmand take on a classic. It will suit modern male tastes, I am sure, as it is extremely sweet and has that praline note that people like so much these days. But for me, it runs into “too sweet” territory, and to be honest, I can’t stand the boatloads of caramel poured into this – it has that syrupy “catch” at the back of my throat that put me off ever buying Parfum Initial EDP. The opening is beautiful, and I’ll admit that within five minutes of applying, I was scouring the net to see where I could find it. But on reflection, I only find the opening alluring because it reminds me of the one Shalimar flanker that I really rate (and own), which is the Parfum Initial L’Eau.

By the way, not that it matters, but if I were smelling this blind, I would swear that Dress Code was a feminine release. It’s a good example of how the line between feminine and masculine fragrances is really a thin one these days, and that it essentially doesn’t matter at all – if you’re a woman and this smells good to you, just wear it.
22nd November, 2015

Cuir Mandarine by David Jourquin

David Jourquin Cuir Mandarine is basically a powdery/musky/resinous patchouli. The latter is "fat", smooth, ambery and temperamental, never particularly angular, earthy or sharp in my humble experience on skin. Cuir Mandarine opens with a vibrant accord of aromatic/splashing lavender (the main theme along the first five minutes of trip), earthy-spicy patchouli (black pepper is quite piquant under my nose in the top while earthiness is fleeting), (almost oily) mandarine and unmistakable synthetic tobacco. The latter, merged with the mandarine's substantial fruitiness, is one of the two main themes of the story. I have to say that probably the real protagonist is actually this fruity/musky central patchouli conjuring me far more sort of dense musky (slightly fleshy/resinous or animalic patchoulies a la Mazzolari Lui, Nobile 1942 Patchouli Nobile, Lutens Borneo 1834, La Via del Profumo Patchouli or Il Profvmo Patchouli Noir) than sharper spicy/fougere-like aromatic patchoulies a la Givenchy Gentleman, Yosh Sombre Negra, MPeG Parfum d'Habit or Guerlain Heritage. Finally the leather emerges strictly connected with fruity-spicy tobacco (a la Don Corleone La Via del Profumo) and patchouli while the aromatic piquancy (still anyway lurking around) progressively starts receding. The connection between leather, tobacco, patchouli and mandarine is responsible of the typical aroma of this juice. It seems to detect a floral (neroli-like) presence as subtle undertone. Honestly I find this fragrance pleasant, decently constructed, basically simplistic, not particularly evolving and tolerable on its synthetic approach (quite ordinary and never disturbing or overly on the edge). It seems to detect hints of resinous smoky frankincense on my skin. Dry down smells like a really musky, warm, leathery-resinous and dense mandarine/patchouli accord surrounded by an almost exotic mellowness provided by musky-fruity tobacco, resins and powder. I'm sure amber is combined in the mix with its charge of woody cedary powder. The final envelop is warm and sexy, quite elegant and virile. Probably dry down is kind of "collapsing" and is not ideal for all those looking for a more structured aroma (I get also a sort of sultry-greasy tad of acidity on skin) but the aroma is still in its complex pleasant and sexy. A solution for all the lovers of those fat/dense (orange/brown) patchoulies around.
22nd November, 2015

Coven by Andrea Maack

Are you ready for the millionth sort of post-modern “soil-concrete” scent squeezing the desperate hell out of an idea which was barely enough for one scent? Yay. Coven opens with a particularly irritating smell of something halfway uncooked rice and damp paper on a rather confused sort of earthy-spicy-floral base accidentally spilled on wet soil. And so remains for a while. But when you’re almost ready to let the last bit of hope go, there’s a nice slow transition revealing a sort of weightless, synthetic floral-green heart with a warm albeit rather cheap sort of tobacco-infused designer woody-boozy feel (that reminds me so clearly of a scent I can’t remember at the moment – maybe Versace Man on steroids). Overall decent, but basically it evolves from a boring wannabe avantgarde thing, to a boring ordinary designer thing. Either it’s genius or...

22nd November, 2015

Pentachord Verdant by Tauer

Pentachords Verdant shares the same issue I personally detect in many fragrances by Andy Tauer. They’re intellectually very fascinating and thrilling, they’re exceedingly evocative and realistic, they succeed very well in keeping a decided, peculiar sort of artificial vein well combined with a truthful organic nature; but they don’t smell like something I would wear. Ever. Or that I think anyone would want to wear. Tauer hasn’t admittedly a formal training, and while that is surely a plus when it comes to creative freedom and composing “out of the box”, it sometimes turns into a disadvantage for him. And that is the case for Pentachords Verdant in my opinion.

Pentachords Verdant is basically a tremendously intriguing “smell” which brilliantly evokes the smell of damp grass, wet soil, freshly-cut branches, all with a sort of dark, cold, sharp feel, brilliantly combined with an artificial sort of quite heavy oily-gasoline greyish note that smells basically like someone pouring fuel on grass – you and your lawnmower, a romance by Andy Tauer. As usually with most of Tauer fragrances, the smell is quite sharp and almost harsh at first, stuffed with cold salty ambroxan and a thin, cutting layer of nondescript metallic spices giving the natural side of the fragrance that peculiar “artificial trim” which characterizes many scents by this nose. I don’t get any tobacco actually, to me it’s all a cascade of nose-tingling spicy sharp greenness seasoned with steamy gasoline. The evolution is just more about the volume decreasing, but I detect no particular transitions or movements – just the same identical thing losing strength and projection as hours pass (but that’s fine, and it actually gets almost pleasant after a while).

And, well... you may guess my conclusion (there’s not much else to say about the notes or the evolution, so we can skip to the end). I can’t help it, call me a tight-ass “classicist”, but this is too much on the very extreme fence between a perfume and a smell – not a stink, just an experimental smell which has little to do with perfumery. I mean, it’s not that any smell can automatically turn into a perfume just by a linguistic transition. It’s just too edgy, unstructured and crude to work as a fragrance in my opinion. It’s great to spray it and smell it, it’s amazingly realistic and it’s fantastic how it evokes the combined smell of wet grass, soil and gasoline, truly a hyperrealistic portrait of Mr. Smith’s Sunday morning mowing the lawn. But why on Earth shall I want to smell like that?

22nd November, 2015

Salome by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

This is a powerful animalic fragrance that is rich in civet, castoreum and similar carnal smells. Animalic fragrances are always polarising - either you love it or hate it. But also - they do smell differently on people's skin, and this needs to be taken into consideration.

I find animalic fragrances interesting...challenging sometimes. If I find one I really like, I would have no problem buying a full bottle. My current favourite is Montecristo by Masque. Salome is quite similar, though somewhat more powdery, dusty and more stale.

I do catch references to older people who have not showered and I would not like to be associated with smelling like an old, dusty man who has not washed. Thus, this is not a perfume for me to enjoy.
22nd November, 2015

Kuhuyan by Parfums de Marly

I happen to like Kuhuyan for the reasons that some don't like it. It is a smoky leather floral that reminds me of Cuir de Lancôme. Instead of jasmine, as with the Lancôme, Marly uses violet. This scent had longevity and sillage, and is enjoyable to wear. It is a unisex and not bound to be worn by everyone.
22nd November, 2015

Aventus by Creed

Finally I get to experience the famous Aventus. Tested from a sample this morning and again this evening.
Unmistakable pineapple right from the start. The pineapple note is so dominant that I found it hard to discern much else underneath. I thought I got a kind of camphory smell too at the start, and woods later on.
After a couple of hours the scent becomes mellower, smoother, but it's still hard to get past the pineapple.
My preconceptions of this scent were of a crazy, totally-tropical thing, like a hawaiian shirt, that would just make me feel silly: so not my thing. However it wasn't at all like that. Actually it's a fresh, fruity, very modern, and extremely pleasant scent. It grew on me throughout the day, and was complimented too. I can see how young guys would want this - it's upbeat, very attractive, clean. It's the kind of scent a younger guy would completely expect to appeal to the opposite sex. Whether it actually does or not is for the women to decide. In this sense for me it's absolutely a young man's fragrance.
Longevity : ages, about 8 hours (maybe too long to smell of pineapple?). Sillage : moderate to a bit more than moderate.
Is it worth the price tag? Who am I to say, maybe it is.
Overall a thumbs up.
November 2015
21st November, 2015

Nomade by D'Orsay

The current version of Le Nomade by the formerly relevant French house of Parfums d’Orsay opens as a professional floor and windows cleaning detergent accidentally mixed with a drugstore spicy-woody scent, plaguing your nostrils with a brash slap of denatured alcohol scented with creamy lime, a cheap musk-rose note infused with synthetic vetiver and a sort of sweetish-spicy accord smelling halfway a powdery fudge praline crossed with dry culinary herbs and spices. Sweetish, woody, musky, spicy, slightly floral and milky-greenish, each facet pointing to a different direction as a multi-eyed cross-eyed fella. Once it settles on skin and stabilizes a bit, things won’t get that better - or well, just a bit, as it basically becomes a dull and cheap powdery vetiver-musk scent with a nondescript spicy head accord and a touch of musky rose, but at least it’s wearable. And so remains for hours. I don’t really see the connection to Déclaration though, to me this smells just more like a clumsy musky-spicy variation around synthetic vetiver, with a persistent sweetish-powdery feel and an unrelated touch of lime-green milkiness (reminding me quite a a bit of Kenzo Jungle pour Homme). Calling this “aromatic” is a stretch beyond generosity anyway, it’s just a cheap flat nonsense which may have been done by any low-key designer. It’s so sad to see such clueless people running ex-glorious brand like this.

21st November, 2015

Sidi Bel-Abbès by Serge Lutens

This is in a similar vein as perfumes from brands like Clive Christian, Montale, and Roja Dove: over-stuffed and ostentatious in a manner that borders on trashy, only here the volume has been dipped down a few notches. In no specific order, this flip flops between (what smells to me like) notes of wine, suede, chocolate, iris, incense, jasmine, and some citrus for punchy aeration. It shifts around a lot, and that’s really what tanks it: it’s too hard to tell what you’re smelling at any given moment. If I were to describe it, I’d say that it smells like a vodka cocktail served on a leather tray. There’s something environmental about it, but it’s such a mush — a grey-smelling semi-industrial scent cloud, that, for whatever reason, makes me think of a fog machine. Out of focus and moody, but not entirely unappealing, if the price weren’t such a joke, this is the one that I’d consider following up with again. I’ll wait until it hits the Fragrancenet clearance bin for $50 or so.
21st November, 2015

Renard Constrictor by Serge Lutens

A plush white floral that’s mainly orange blossom over a lactonic tuberose that wears tastefully light, yet is spun full-bodied and cozy through a nifty use of resins. There’s a throwback elegance to it — mostly because it’s not blaring off the skin — but it’s still hoofing it down hackneyed paths. Pleasant and surprisingly subtle, but wholly unoriginal and redundant. It smells more like an extravagant lotion than a perfume. Friendly enough, but not worth a fraction of the asking price and not even remotely on par with past Serge releases.
21st November, 2015

L'Haleine des Dieux by Serge Lutens

The most fascinating of Serge’s D’oh line, but also the grisliest. There’s a bit of L’Orpheline in this — that same vomity-plastic benzoin — but it's cast medicinal through something coniferous. The opening notes clash totally and completely reflecting the bizarro opening of Serge Noire, however there’s also lime note tucked in that makes the scent smell unnervingly close to Malbrum’s Shameless Seducer — one of the most disturbing scents I tried last year. The best way I can describe this is that it’s part-earthy, part-foody, with chemical lime cleaner note added. But after an hour, it becomes vanilla and not much else. Surprisingly unpleasant, but weirdly evocative in its hideousness. I can’t see anyone voluntarily wearing something that smells like this, though.
21st November, 2015

Cracheuse de Flammes by Serge Lutens

An olfactory platitude, this is little more than a plumped-up rose perfume over a light vanilla and tuberose base. It’s huge and migraine-inducing, smelling like a cross between some ‘80s power-dresser fragrance and something from a tween-celeb line. Although I’m sure it’s loaded with top-shelf materials (well, not so sure actually), it delivers very little given its brazen price tag. I can’t see any need for something like this to exist.
21st November, 2015

Cannibale by Serge Lutens

This smells like Portrait of a Lady sprayed on cardboard. It’s the same sparkle rose and incense effect that’s been done plenty of times before. Myrrh drags the scent down play-dough paths, but for the most part, it’s the same concept as POAL, Nevermore, Cuir Garamante, and about 30 Montales. The difference here is that Cannibale turns into a more yogurty tuberose after an hour or so whereas others in this genre tend to be more robust (especially POAL). Cannibale is a nice enough scent if you like this style of buzzing red neon-incense, but once more, the price point is just silly for what it is and there are far better versions of the same concept available elsewhere.
21st November, 2015

Arsène Lupin Voyou by Guerlain

The first 30 minutes of Voyou might fool you into thinking it's just one of those really generic fragrances on mall counters. Indeed, it has a "been there done that" fresh and sweet vibe during this stage. But Voyou evolves into something completely different, dominated by sage, pepper and sandalwood, with a touch of sweetness (from the benzoin) to give it a playful character.

The melange of herbs, pepper and woods captures the magic of a master perfumer as the composition conjures up unmistakably Guerlain. It's definitely not a strong scent, it actually whispers. But the times when I catch occasional whiffs of it really are breathtaking, which makes me wonder if the herbs and spices are from exotic lands.

Voyou, the thief with many disguises, takes me on a journey I wish would never end.
21st November, 2015

La Collection Croisiere : Mojito Chypre by Pierre Guillaume

The strawberry note blends into a punch bowl cocktail of lime, mint and aldehydes that is layered upon a very green fresh vetiver patchouli. This opening is very fantastic. I wish it lasted longer than 30 minutes because as this strawberry mojito aspect wears off so does my interest in this fragrance. It evolves into a fruity, green strawberry tart candy flavor which is unusual in a fragrance but also kind of simplistic and one dimensional. The mint and sparkle leave quickly, then just smells like a fruity hard candy. Doesn't smell bad, but just not great anymore. Like the others in the series, the blue color and presentation is really a distraction more than a benefit for Mojito Chypre and it doesn't really add to the peach strawberry smell. Meh!
20th November, 2015 (last edited: 21st November, 2015)

Black by Martine Micallef

M. Micallef Black is a fruity (plummy) tuberose/ylang-ylang dominant mélange with a basic musky-chypre classic twist a la Caron, Lancome or Givenchy. Try to ideally combine a tad of Givenchy Organza/Amarige, Lancome Tresor Elixir, an addition of CK Secret Obsession (or a Lutens fruity-oriental), may be a minimal (fortunately) whiff of Cavalli Nero Assoluto with a final twist of Acampora Jasmine T and (as if by magic) you will carry out this sultry concoction with an exotic-dark spiciness, a creamy-fruity tuberose/jasmine connection and a vanillic-oriental background. The citrus/plum/peaches/neroli-dominant accord provides a lurking edible-juicy-mellow tropical "vaguely papaya-like" fruitiness well combined with floral notes, woods, classic muskiness a la Tresor Elixir and balsams. The aroma is modern and sultry despite it possesses a classic honeyed-mossy-soapy chypre background (modern and classic at same time as for the less fruity Acampora Sballo to quote just one). While orangy-peachy tuberose is dominant along the initial and central phase of development jasmine emerges royally towards the "end" of the trip and masters elegantly the dry down's wake. The juice is well balanced and never oppressing, finally rich of oriental-fruity-woodsy nuances and quite sensual. Not a masterpiece but a well costructed luxurious creation for a contemporary femme fatale.
20th November, 2015

Darcy by Parfums de Marly

Apparently this fragrance was named after a famous mare in the British monarchy. The price tag certainly makes you wonder if you are indeed buying a horse!

DARCY is for the most part a clean and green floral. Emphasis is on 'clean'. I wish it isn't so. A 'horse mane' accord a la Cartier L'Heure Fougueuse would be more on point. Even a little barnyard vibe or a whiff of horse manure would make for a welcome distraction from its scrubbed, sanitized, almost astringent presentation.

But the Queen wouldn't have it any other way, would she? The Royal stables must be kept pristine at all times even if it means dumping a shipload of synthetic (aroma) chemicals on the greenery.

In all fairness, it's not a bad scent. But I'll leave the hysterical gushing (and historical neighings) to the 'thoroughbreds' at Fragrantica.
20th November, 2015