Perfume Reviews

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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

The fresh, summery opening notes are heavily weighted towards citrus, with hedione and aldehydes forming an underlying carpet of crispness that combines very nicely with the citrus components. This is, however, not a direct burst of invigorating freshness but more a restrained freshness with a touch of elegance. This opening is done nicely. Alas I am not so sure all the subsequent notes are too.

The paradigmatic and iconic rose chord that is a central part of the original No.5 is quite toned down hereand additional floral tones are added, mainly ylang-ylang on my skin. The base is really a weak spot here, with the woodsy as well and the musky constituents being too generic to be able to follow on with the standards set by the top notes; it is quite a disappointment.

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

This is a bloodless shadow of the original, but it is quite nice overall. Chanel certainly has created worse scents in the more recent past, and this is definitely not one of their best works. It is hard to score, hovering just between the border between neutral and positive. Unfortunately, the outright generic synthetic character of the base really spoils it a bit, whilst on the other hand there is a touch of elegance permeating the whole development, albeit only a far-flung echo reflecting from the grand original version. In the end it - just - scrapes home by the skin of its teeth. 3/5
29th September, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Love Me by Victoria's Secret

A nonspecific white floral note - sweet and quite permeating in this - is followed but a fresher drydown. A light neroli impression do it's the drydown, but it is not very a very typical neroli and it lacks any texture.

Later an very bland ambery-musky base develops that fades out gradually.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent and the longevity seven hours on my skin.

Victoria's Secret has a penchant for penetrating my and nauseatingly sweet creations - that is no secret. In its sugary candy quality this spring scent is quite typical for this house, and its very generic and synthetic nature does not help. 1.75/5.
29th September, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Night Eau De Parfum by Victoria's Secret

This is a refreshing detour from the sickly sweetening usual VC offerings. It starts with a fruity mix, with fresh plum, hints of apricot, and is not unpleasant.

The drydown consists of a nonspecific woodsy impression, with an underlying fruitiness still less present, but overall lacking prominent sweetness on my skin.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and six hours of longevity.

A pleasant spring scent, not particularly sweet but quite synthetic. Still, not bad for VC albeit nothing special either. It has a touch of being less frivolous and is suitable for evenings, but in spite its name it is not restricted to that time of the day. 2.75/5.
29th September, 2016
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

cK one Red Edition for Her by Calvin Klein

There is a fruity-green top note duo that starts off quite pleasantly, but pleasantly without being special in any way.

The drydown is hailed by a bouquet of nonspecifically floral nature, which is leading to a patchouli-lite impression; this combines with a very dull white musk.

He sillage is soft, the projection adequate and he longevity four hours.

A rather bloodless spring concoction, generic and synthetic, not unpleasant but without individuality. 2.5/5.
29th September, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

cK In 2 U HEAT Him by Calvin Klein

The lemony too note is the cor accord is this creation, together with an underlying green tint. This is quite pleasant.

In the drydown a woodsy component develops, which is paired with a fruity vibe and a rather generic white musk base.

The sillage is soft, the projection limited and the longevity three hours.

A pleasant summer mix, very synthetic, generic and quite mediocre. 2.75/5.
29th September, 2016

Oud by Robert Piguet

Nice complexity, and a strong, long lasting fragrance. It has an edge that's almost too much; I'm torn between thumbs up and neutral, but the ambition pushes it into thumbs up territory. I'm wearing the last of the sample, but I think this is something that would grow on me more over time. The oud this is named after is a minor player. This smells like something that could gather a following.
29th September, 2016

White Flowers by Creed

I suddenly realized which perfume is the soul sister of this- it is the crisp green apple of 'D&G Light Blue'. And the sharp clean Jasmine with the white musk. I'm surprised at the lackluster reviews for this one. I first fell for 'Jardin D'Amalfi' but this one has moved into first place. I just love the sharp green violet leaf here. Such tang and spark. The surprise here is that for a white floral, this is fresh, not cloying. A real springtime treat. I get good silage and longevity, too. 2-3 hours.
29th September, 2016

Yatagan by Caron

Yatagan came out in 1976, four years before Bogart One Man Show, but having smelled One Man Show first, that's what this one reminds me of, although this edges the Bogart for pleasant refinement. An excellent choice for cigarette smokers and non-smokers alike. This is great - the woodsy, castoreum base is impressively well done, and the fragrant notes laid over the top add a nice balance.
28th September, 2016

Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain

I had tried and really liked the current formulation, but did not need that much juice, so I hesitated purchasing. About a week ago, I found one of the older 30 ml bottles that were made in the Louis the XVI style bottle (mine was sealed and in a zebra box, so likely from the 80's, though possibly later).

I really LOVE the scent now! It seems brighter (if that could be possible) and the lavender is less heavy (at least that is my impression). Longevity is still an "issue" but as it was never meant to last, I don't really consider it a factor. Projection is minimal, making it a rather personal or intimate scent, perfect to enjoy for the sake of its pleasure, or for the sultriest of summer days.
28th September, 2016

Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

The Brutal start has an accord that has me shy away. Something about it screams sweetish"Generic Leather". Then Whoa!!
Extraordinarily beautiful Masculine Dry Air Landscape bouquet, that has me mounted, boots in the stirrups, Gallon hat, eyes squinted, surveying my Ranch Kingdom.
28th September, 2016

Jaïpur Homme by Boucheron

Stardate 20160928:

A vanilla citrus cake. Very well done. Lemon does not overpower but enhances the vanilla and soft spices. Perfect for chilly days.
Available for cheap so get a bottle and if you do not like it, you can use it as room spray during christmas.

28th September, 2016

Orca by House of Matriarch

Perhaps because this treasure is subtle, personal and is to be dismissed as fluff.
It's structure is of CDR Exclusif. The effervescence Adelehydic assaults like frosting that tops a wavecrest. I am drawn into the centre of the structure, Birch is replaced with an Amber Frankincense rhythmnic waltz, moves with the Moon.
Whispers of Ambergris, the Sea, flow in and out as a dream. I am drawn to the transcendent silence and awed.
Aromatherapy at it's best.
Easily dismissed as "Hogwash" by those cynical of Meshell's fuzzy, feel good slick and yet folksy Advert of her product,all reminiscent of the motions of a Martha Stewart Empire.
Orca is a wonderful, personal, cleansing perfume for me.
It certainly adds that Christi Meshell, is definitive "Eye Pastry" Full Organic Cream.
Nice colouring, design bottlewise except the Caps are faulty. Has me pause on making a larger purchase as the HOM accountant tries to reach into my pocket.
28th September, 2016

Original Penguin for Men by Original Penguin

While Penguin is a very tempting buy for the price I just can't enjoy this style. Scents focused on an accord of vanilla, fir, and pepper are just disgusting to my nose. While the overall presentation here exceeds the quality of the similar Bijan Black, it is still a less-than-favorable fragrance to me.
28th September, 2016
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Azzaro Wanted by Azzaro

The citrus start is infused with a rather dull gingery note. The cardamom in the drydown - there are musky components too - is pleasant but not particularly memorable. The vetiver in the base is light without gray earthiness, and I get a rather synthetic but fortunately restrained vanilla note.

The sillage is moderate, the projection adequate and the longevity did hours.

Pleasant on cooler summer days, this is quite nice quite generic and overall mediocre. The name says it all: to drive sales - that in the intention and apparently the sole intention. 2.5/5.
28th September, 2016

Fracas by Robert Piguet

I'm surprised reading reviews describing this as if it's a soliflore. I get more peach with a soapy, woody, musky base than white flowers. It's challenging, whereas I've been finding other Robert Piguet fragrances invitingly approachable. It's dissonant in a way that works, I think; edgy, but not too much. A nice change of pace, smelling strong and interesting ahead of smelling nice. It's distinctive, smelling nothing to me like a couple mentioned below, Carnal Flower and Tubereuse Criminelle, which I do smell as soliflores. This is complex-smelling with lots of notes. The flowers are more sour than sweet to me, making it smell like an astringent soap, and a strong-smelling one.
28th September, 2016

VIP for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

Stardate 20160927:

It is a clone of Jaguar wooden cap. The one made in Switzerland. Or perhaps the other way around since this came a year earlier.

In any case, a powerful masculine of the era when cigarette smoke had to be pierced.

Recommended but only if you are the CEO (or work from home).

At the current price I would get Jaguar instead.
28th September, 2016

Orca by House of Matriarch

This actually takes me back to my childhood, attending Easter Mass at my church – I get a very strong frankincense hit from this (I guess from the choya loban). A tad sharper and a bit spicier than I’m used to, but that said, I like this a lot. We had an independent perfume store (can’t think of the name) here back in the mid to late eighties – they made all of their own scents and they had a fabulous range, and this reminds me very much of one of their fragrances that I had, and which I loved and missed terribly when they shut down. It’s a lovely warm scent, especially after a couple of hours when the honey and amber show up. I’m also getting a touch of vanilla, even though it’s not listed in the notes. Eight hours in, it was still there, but more of a soft amber scent, and sitting closer to the skin. I’ve got to say that although I’ve only tried three of Christi Meshell’s scents, I’ve liked them all – the girl’s got talent!
27th September, 2016

Mr. Burberry by Burberry

Generic mall scent. Nothing to get excited about in the least. Synthetic spicy opening which I similar to several scents already on the market that are done much better IMO. The scent continues in the synthetic vein towards the dry down of vetiver and woods. For the price I would avoid.
27th September, 2016
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

L'Envol by Cartier

Claire has really nailed this one and for me too I tested it after a period of trying a host of 'masculines' niche and designer in Harrods which all failed to move me (was probably retrying most of them to be honest)

I was told beforehand that it contained violet-leaf and I feared the worst but that note blended with whatever does produce a strong tobacco feel. It reminded me a bit of the Lalique L'Homme.....?, which I also like.

It's the addition of the honey note that sets it apart though and takes it to another level -- it works like a dream.

What a scent for winter!

I have the 50ml version as it avoids the tricksy bottle cap mechanism.
27th September, 2016

Number 3 / Le 3me Homme / The Third Man by Caron

For the seventh installment of 'Where did my review from several years ago go?' I will be looking at The Third Man.

It sounded great on paper, so a few years back I purchased a small decant from the Perfumed Court. My immediate impression was wonder of sorts, concerning how a perfume could come off as so natural and suave while also being that strong. In most cases you might get one or two of the three, but this really has it all. We see here the vanilla and lavender of Pour un Homme matched with some bright-as-day bergamot, a licorice-y anise ( a mixture which would be often copied in the decade to come), a swoon-inducing floral heart starring carnation and rose, and a deep, rich bed of tonka and moss. I echo here what many have said before, in that I wish the opening lasted longer (if not forever), but the total experience is decadent and lavish, with a natural yet manicured build like an English country garden in a velvet evening suit. I can think of few parallels to this level of quality in terms of blending, progression, and overall scent. I have tried two vintages so far, both of which are almost frustratingly attractive, like I am insulting the brand by not having a perfect face to match. This is one of the greatest lavenders out there, a real fougere paradise. My only caveat about its use is that, if over-applied re-applied throughout the day, the base becomes thick and stagnant, so watch the trigger.
27th September, 2016
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States

No. 89 by Floris

I have been a pushover for Floris ever since I entered their premises for the first time, which was long, long ago (Jimmy had just handed the gavel to Maggie that very year….). They have some really good scents but more than that, they have character and stamina and charm. Well-made and… well, very British. Now, of course, Floris is pushing boundaries and making a new heritage for themselves; back then, they were just as pleased as Punch with the status quo. Squarely in the middle of that is No. 89. Launched in 1951, it is perfectly in sync with its time—a nod to the past, a hope for a better tomorrow and—hopefully, a return to business as usual (remember, there was still rationing in England as late as 1954). The fact that it became Ian Fleming’s favorite scent didn’t hurt….. One of the few scents that I could imagine both Anthony Eden and Anthony Armstrong-Jones wearing. And Quentin Crisp, for that matter.
Floris No. 89 has a soapy, eau de cologne/Neroli opening that smells as if you had just bathed with 4711 soap. How reassuring that must have seemed to a generation for whom simple things like soap and hot water were a luxury. Luxury? Do you want luxury? As if on cue, a luxurious note of roses and nutmeg enters the scene, reminding us that glamour is not just in the purview of the ladies. Before you can say ponce, the manly woods and grasses bring the whole thing home, safe as houses. Old school? Oh, yes. I feel a glass of port coming on even as we speak. For a younger man who wants to get his Jermyn Street rocks off, this would be just the thing. For the rest of us, this is a clean, discretely luxurious classic scent that speaks to the pinstriped spycatcher in all of us. And don’t fool yourself—he is there within us all. And he is wearing Floris No. 89.
27th September, 2016

Zagara e Patchouli by Dr. Vranjes

An exquisite balsamic soapy-orangy patchouli rich of cologney naïf exoticism, citrus-flowers, Mediterranean arcane remembrances and barber-shop clean (lauderette) classicism. Zagara e Patchouli is surely one of the top Dr Vranje's performances exuding precious discretion and victorian structured aristocracy. There is a touch of dry-bitter orangy/licoricey piquant vibe as olfactory background in the central stage and along dry down and it contributes to build final restraint and mysterious virility. I get a sort of minty-balsamic (molecular) kind of musky-pheromonal twist conjuring me vaguely Aqua Flor Sultan or further mystic italian apothecarian dodgy diableries (down there the neo-classic animalic/musky apothecarian range -- Aqua Flor, Bogue, several old school Farmacia SS Annunziata's, I Profumi di Firenze's or Ortigia's issues jump as well vaguely on mind). The neroli/bergamot-centered aromatic combo is hyper classic, mossy, laundry and soapy-chypre in a way you can report on mind the most straightforward pieces of the old-school soapy-chypre (british in style) era. This juice is quite peppery till the end and super aromatic. Dry down is quite balmy, spicy and delicious (but still stiff, kind of aldehydic and restrained). In conclusion Zagara e Patchouli is all about measured discretion and old-style idea of virile toiletries. A fragrance for a man of honor, soul of integrity. Solid structure and forbidding class. Medium durability on my royal skin.
26th September, 2016 (last edited: 27th September, 2016)

No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

A nice, fresh No. 5 flanker, unisex enough for me, with a soft, fruity smell. It dries to a beautiful floral, agreeable and easy to wear.
26th September, 2016 (last edited: 27th September, 2016)

Fahrenheit 32 by Christian Dior

A dark, harsh, chemical-smelling Fahrenheit flanker.
26th September, 2016

David Yurman Limited Edition by David Yurman

I’ve had to re-test this fragrance several times, because in the very short time it takes for my mind to wander off, the scent performs such a 180 on my skin that I keep wondering what perfume I actually have on.

The second part is so completely removed from the first that it’s like wearing two different perfumes. If you’re not sniffing your arm like a hawk and focusing intensely, you might miss the transition completely and wonder what the hell just happened to the dark rose fragrance you originally put on. Because what I end up with is a smooth, boot-polish leather that feels texturally very close to Tuscan Leather.

And I know I didn’t start out with Tuscan Leather. David Yurman Limited Edition starts off on a beautifully rose note, roughly hewn and set in a dry smoky haze of oud and spices. It feels slightly green and herbal. That rose is really excellent quality. I can tell that the oud is the standard synthetic variant out of either Firmenich or Givaudan, but the rose smells like a really high quality Taif rose oil. It is bright, sharp, and lemony – almost harsh at first, but then loosening out into something sweeter.

Quite quickly. I lose the moist, fleshy parts of the rose, but what remains of the rose oil are the germanium-green and lemony-sharp facets, leaving their high-pitched, oily traces on all the other notes.



The base – which comes on very fast and surprised me every time – is a dusty vetiver leather with a fruity, boot-polish note lent by the raspberry. The combination comes off as dry and slightly musky and is very close to the way Tuscan Leather smells in its far drydown.

The raspberry note doesn’t smell like a fresh raspberry, but adds this strange, solvent-like tone to the leather. I have noticed this plasticky, boot-polish like effect of the raspberry note in two fragrances thus far: Tuscan Leather and Impossible Iris (Ramon Monegal). It is very appealing, because it adds a modern edge to the musky, sawdusty leather accord.

I like this perfume very much, and I’m given to understand that it’s not that expensive either. It is extrait-strength, so it is long-lasting. Unusually for an extrait, it projects quite powerfully too.

Many quote this as a great rose-oud-leather fragrance for men, and I agree. In fact, it’s a creditable alternative to Portrait of a Lady or Tuscan Leather if you’re on a budget. It might also do the trick for fans of Atelier Cologne’s Oud Sapphir. I’m not saying it rivals their quality, but for the price, it gives you a smoky, oudy rose over leather that lasts all day. For most, that will do the job.

26th September, 2016

Oud Wood by Tom Ford

I’m surprised that nobody’s mentioned the fact that Oud Wood smells a lot like Dzongkha. Specifically, the oily, rubbery cardamom that adds a green, celery-seed-like note to the composition in both fragrances, setting their character dial at once to the savory (as opposed to sweet).

It’s interesting to me the way the different facets of the fragrance – the green spice of the cardamom, the smooth woods, and the oily/industrial facets – add up to a smell that is recognizably “oudy” without ever really smelling like oud when you smell it up close, on the wrist. Once you draw your head back, the disparate parts seem to coalesce into one amalgamated flow of fresh, green oily oud wood.

It smells wonderful – smooth, integrated wooden parts with a rich fleshiness or milkiness to the base. It smells impersonal, too, like a much-admired building in an award-winning industrial complex. It doesn’t have a soul, so it’s easy to make it one’s own. There is something creepy about it, and yet also mesmerizing, like that video that’s been doing the rounds lately with the papier mache, robot-controlled faces biting and licking at each other.

It strikes me easily as masculine but not in a butch way that would preclude me from wearing it. Actually, I guess it is truly genderless, or rather, sexless – as sexless as a Ken doll. I love its creepy, putty-like texture. It’s almost off-puttingly smooth.

My husband liked this sample. It smells expensive and luxurious, he noted. I should mention that my husband loves pure oud oil, and because I test a lot of it, he is familiar with many different oud profiles and has come to love the fiercely animalic ones.

These are his comments: “I really like this. But that’s not oud. It is very safe-smelling. I would recommend it to people who wear suits. Real oud oil smells crazy, wild. It doesn’t have limits. This fragrance does have limits. I suppose that’s what makes it perfect for the workplace.”
26th September, 2016

Tasmeem by Rasasi

Tasmeem Man doesn’t start out too promisingly, with a sweet, powdery floral musk that feels utterly generic and faceless. But I know that some Arabian cheapies (both oils and EDPs) need some time to settle before revealing their true character, and this was the case with Tasmeem Man.

Eventually the scent smoothes out into a sweet, powdery tonka-based scent, with a trace of rose and vanilla. I thought I also picked up a bit of cumin, which my husband confirmed when smelling it blind.

I quite liked Tasmeem Man, and it is excellent value. Tonka is a trendy note in modern masculine designer scents, so it reminded me quite a bit of other men’s fragrances, in particular, the tonka-heavy Midnight in Paris. However, there is something pretty cheap and generic about it that puts me off. It is partially the source material – there is often something a little cheap-smelling about the almond aspect of tonka and/or coumarin, to my nose at least. I also find it excessively sweet and powdery (with a hint of sweaty armpit lurking beneath).
26th September, 2016

Tabac Rouge / Turkish Blend by Phaedon

Many people prefer Tabac Rouge over Tobacco Vanille because it is much lighter, has ginger instead of clove, and more honey than heavy vanilla. Oh, and the price, of course – although not massively cheap, Tabac Rouge costs far less than Tobacco Vanille.

I agree that Tabac Rouge smells like Tobacco Vanille. But as with Meharees (Musc Ravageur clone) and Dolcelixir (Ambre Narguile clone) and yes, even Oud Black Vanilla Absolute (SDV clone), the resemblance is skin-deep really, based on a superficial reading of the notes. The biggest difference between these clones and their source material is texture and weight. And a whole world of difference can be found in the small detail of texture and weight.

Tabac Rouge catches all the notes of Tobacco Vanille, but in a kind of “skim-reading” type of way. The difference is, like I said, in the small matter of texture and weight. Tabac Rouge has the texture of hot, clear tea. A sparkling ginger note is an improvement over the (frankly) awful, metallic clove note in TV, but that contributes further to the feeling of spicy, lively winter tisane rather than the thick duvet feeling I get from TV. It is as sweet as TV, but derives its sweetness from honey rather than from dried fruit. (Honey is yet another element that makes me think of tea).

I think that it smells great, though, and I would certainly buy this. It would suit warmer weather than Tobacco Vanille, due to its relative sheerness, and for this reason alone, it is by far the more versatile fragrance of the two.
26th September, 2016

Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

Tobacco Vanille is luxuriously, ludicrously rich and heavy – it smells like you are wearing an overstuffed armchair, upholstered with the most expensive materials known to man. It is famously sweet, but its sweetness derives from delicious dried fruits, prunes, and bitter chocolate, all aspects of the rich tobacco absolute used.

People complain about the vanilla, saying that it smells like a holiday candle. Hey! Point me in the direction of a candle that smells as good as Tobacco Vanille and I will buy the shit out of that. Until that happens, shut up. Tobacco Vanille is a thick scent for days when it is so cold you want to never leave the house. There is no better smell to catch for days and days on the label of your heaviest winter coat. I wear it once every 365 days, which is more than enough for one person.
26th September, 2016

New Haarlem by Bond No. 9

New Haarlem is probably one of Bond No. 9’s most iconic fragrances, along with Chinatown (on the female side). It’s a grotesque, “extreme” gourmand that pushes the envelope with a set of roasted, burned, and syrupy notes that walk the line between cloying/intense and appetizing/comforting.

I like extreme gourmands a lot – they are impolite and they don’t pussyfoot around with the idea of food as fragrance. They don’t make any apologies. Done right, they are both satisfying and cartoonishly awful in equal measure. In this category, I place Jeux de Peau, Cadavre Exquise, A*Men, and yep – New Haarlem.

To my nose, New Haarlem smells like roasted black coffee beans over a soapy, aromatic lavender cologne. The lavender here has the same sun-roasted, “garrigue” effect I notice in Eau Noire, that intensely woody, aromatic aroma of crushed lavender buds which is what creates the roasted coffee impression.

It is certainly a very dark and woody coffee smell - very attractive and distinctive. I can’t think of anything else that smells as close to real coffee as this does. I pick up on a creamy vanilla sweetness later on, but I can’t say that I perceive any syrupy notes at all. And I certainly don’t pick up the famous pancake accord.

To my nose, this is all coffee, intensely black and roasted at first, then smoothing out into sweet, milky coffee in the drydown, draped over a soapy, aromatic barbershop fougere. It strikes me as incredibly masculine. I like it very much, but find it too butch for me to pull off comfortably.

My husband, on the other hand, had a completely different experience. That is to say, it smelled the same on his skin as it did on mine, but his understanding of New Haarlem jives far more closely with the majority opinion of the scent on Basenotes and elsewhere. Without telling him what the fragrance notes were, I sprayed it on him and asked him to tell me what it smelled like. This is what he said:

“Nuts, specifically pecans, and that Danish pastry you like with the pecans. There is a lot of syrup here. Yes, it smells exactly like the bakery where I get the croissants and pecan Danish for you guys at the weekend. It is like wearing a pastry. This is far too sweet. I could maybe like this if I were feeling hungry and wanted to smell something a little sweet. But I wouldn’t wear this, really. It’s way too sweet.”



26th September, 2016
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