Perfume Reviews

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Rouge Avignon by Phaedon

A sweet touch of spiced rose and raspberry jam at the top takes the opening ever so slightly into gourmandish territory but on skin Rouge Avignon settles quickly into a cozy fuzzy-musky fragrance built around a tenacious base of warm amber and creamy sandalwood.

Nothing groundbreaking by all accounts. But when a fragrance hugs you like a soft cashmere sweater in the autumn chill you know you have a winner on your hands.
27th February, 2017

David Yurman Limited Edition by David Yurman

Stardate 20170227:

A Tuscan Leather clone that can stand on its own. I think this is better done than the original and its clones (La Yuq, AdP Leather, PdM).
It has a nice development that the others lack. Had this used better quality ingredients it could have been the best of the pack.
Starts with rose and greens. Then fruits appear followed by the TL type drydown. I wish the development took longer than the quick 30mins but for price I am not complaining.

At $40 this is a no brainer.
27th February, 2017

The Fragrance Journals : 1962 by Floris

Floris 1962 opens up with plenty of lemons/citrus and verbena, just like Bouchron Pour Homme or Cerruti 1881. Soon enough though it changes to a mellow cypress, a la Italian Cypress, as has been mentioned before. Nothing too strong, nothing overpowering, just a long-lasting aroma that is crisp and clean throughout. Wonderful woody trail.

It's quite an unusual scent given Floris' history and its association with Ian Flemming (No. 89 was a favourite of his). Heavy reformulations have ruined old classics by this brand, so the new private range is a welcome addition.

I have to say though, this scent's marketing blurb is totally irrelevant. There is nothing about London in 1962 that this scent brings to mind. Perhaps a bottle of cloudy smoke would be more relevant, mixed with some sort of illegal drugs from the time? A more accurate description would be a Mediterranean garden, full of sun-soaked trees, perhaps with some lemon or orange groves thrown in.

All in all, ignoring the marketing hoo-hah, it's a great all-round fragrance, worthy replacement of IC that should be versatile enough to warrant a full bottle purchase.
27th February, 2017
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Irish Leather by Memo

A cold if somewhat harsh bitter-green birch leather barely held in check by a dollop of buttery iris and ambery tonka.

I too took a sniff of the hefty price tag but it revealed nothing. They say - fear has a smell? Well, so does bullshit.

Anyway, I can see how Irish Leather's modern construction might come across as 'industrial' or 'synthetic' to certain noses particularly up close but if you're after a green leather, this could well be your leprechaun. And if you're as lucky as I was, it wears amazingly well like a sharply masculine Chanel No.19.

A fearless thumbs up from this reviewer.

27th February, 2017

Cozé 02 by Parfumerie Generale

Warm. Aromatic. Bittersweet. Narcotic. Hypnotic. Dusty. Woodsy. Musky. Masculine. Sweaty. Leathery. Raunchy. Dangerous...

I wore Coze for the first time the other day and it wasn't long before I had to stifle a chuckle. It was giving me a high.

"Gosh! This smells like...uhh...like you've been up to no good!"

Girls, remember those guys your mama warned you about? They smell like this.
27th February, 2017

Diva by Ungaro

Stardate 20170226:

Starts almost like nahema but get better very soon. It is a great classic floral (not much rose I get) and a nice honeyed drydown
27th February, 2017

Ungaro III by Ungaro

Stardate 20170226:

A fresh male inoffensive generic scent. Avoidable.
27th February, 2017

Sud Magnolia by Atelier Cologne

Atelier does Juicy Couture. Pleasant enough orange-floral opening, followed by a whole lot of nothing. Though it is not a very exciting experience the ingredients are once again excellent. Atelier has a knack for making average scents that soar to the top of their class by using very natural and lasting components, and this is one of them. Nothing really stands out here, but nothing offends, either.
26th February, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Vacances (new) by Jean Patou

On my skin the opening blast is a fresh blend of lilac with a hesperidic undertone, which makes the lilac much brighter than it normally would be. Very nice! This freshness evaporates with time, a growing galbanum component restores the crisp edge after some time to some extent.

The drydown leads to a floral-centred phase, mainly jasmine and hyacinth, but never does it turn really sweet on me. The base adds a soft civety impression that is, however, quite tame and does not brandish any faecaloid claws in my direction.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent and the longevity eight hours.

Even though being a reformulation, which usually - not always though! - means a drop in standard and quality, this is a nice creation for warm spring days, and worthy of taken seriously as a freestanding creation. 3.25/5.
25th February, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Patou Pour Homme (new) by Jean Patou

The new formulation tried in the Paris flagship store:

The opening has a fresh bergamot-driven characteristic - not without being a bit restrained - and is mellowed by a fair dose of galbanum. He greenness I am also getting is a mix of tarragon with whiffs of a grass-like aroma. The result is a pleasant, but certainly not a WOW opening.

Lavender is present here too, and in the drydown it adds jasmine - not bad - and a rose impression that is really quite unimpressive in its lack of complexity.

Towards the end amber - average - and a soft patchouli- are appearing, but on my skin they are quite bland and never develop any individuality of note.

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

The top notes are the part hat are well done in this spring day scent, but the rest never transcends the impression a certain level of blandness.

Compared to the original, the sandalwood, the gorgeous geranium and the oak moss are missing, partly due to being IFRA-sanitised. The new formulation is no longer a floral chypre, but a floral with a questionable attempt to mimic the chypre ingredients - hence the rather generic patchouli towards the end.

By itself it is all right. As a re-interpretation of an iconic classic, it falls short. 2/75/5.
25th February, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Magie by Lancôme

This is a review from a small vintage bottle, which was purchased in Southern Japan about fifty years ago; it appears to be a parfum.

Whisky - a delicious whisky is filling the room with a malt whisky-like boozy note that initially is endowed with a sprinkle of gentle aldehydes. In the opening stage I also get a dark lily that soon is underlined by a delicious rose, which has a dark tendency.

This rose glows beautifully, rich and intense but neither heavy or intrusively sweet. It defines the beginning of the heart notes, together with a jasmine impression that blends in very well.

The heart notes continue the jasmine and the boozy parts, including a fairly contained natural sweetness that fades to some extent over time, as does the booziness of the opening stage.

This results in the the base being only minimally sweet, and then it develops a pleasant violet that gives space to a very discrete amber impression; the latter constitutes the core of the base note stage now.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and seven hours of longevity in my skin.

This spring evening creation boasts ingredients of amazing quality - absolutely superb! The blending is beautiful too. Maybe the base is a bit pale but otherwise it is a very impressive scent. 4/5.
25th February, 2017

Snow by Demeter Fragrance Library

Moldy, old cellar. Dirt notes. Old library book smell. Not for me...
25th February, 2017

Dunhill Custom by Dunhill

Custom begins with a simple apple and pepper opening which, on paper, might suggest a mall fragrance, but is actually very well-delivered and almost delicious. The amber and incense body is extremely similar to that of Mr. Blass by Bill Blass, minus the coriander and vanilla, and costs about as much. Both are seriously good for their price range, but Custom suffers one fatal flaw - While the opening is lovely and full of promise, there is almost no projection. I tried two sprays to the chest and two to my scarf and still could not detect the slightest iota of Custom after a couple minutes. The idea is sound, but the execution is feeble. As a skin scent, however it lasts until the next day, so if you are looking for close-quarters allure this may actually fit your style. This is a Venus fly trap of a scent, in that it basically doesn't exist at a distance, but can be fatal at proximity, and it's an absolute steal at the current going rate. The projection issue is the sole reason I can't give a thumbs up, and I'm sure some readers won't mind much at all about that. This isn't the kind of scent that calls for attention; this is a soft scent reserved for the one closest to you, a love note rather than a mating call. It's beautifully simple, especially if you harbor a bygone love for old school musks but wish they had a touch more English class.
25th February, 2017
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Fig by Aftelier

This is one of the nicer head-shop-style incense fragrances I've tried.
24th February, 2017

Bergamoss Solid Perfume by Aftelier

The Bergamoss solid perfume smells as much like citronella to me as bergamot or oak moss. I like the consistency of the paste, but I didn't get very good longevity from it.
24th February, 2017

Nombre Noir by Shiseido

A big thumbs up for this one: an impressive dark rose and carnation fragrance, a little like Balenciaga Ho Hang Club: a rich, bold, pleasing scent.
24th February, 2017

Rouge Royal by Marina de Bourbon

The strawberry and current are very prominent. Candy-like scent. Great for summertime.
24th February, 2017

Riviera Nights by Jacques Bogart

This is a spicy fragrance with a hint of musk & vanilla, a classy scent that is ideal for more formal situations. It is not overpowering, which is a bit unusual for Bogart. Very pleasant, I like this.
24th February, 2017

Rose Absolue by Annick Goutal

Stardate 20170223:

This one starts like a synthetic rose smell of toilet spray/laundry detergent. But then it gets better. Much better. After 30 mins it is a blooming rose bouquet and as it dries down it goes through the various stages of rose bouquet as it decays.
Just avoid first 30 mins and you are good
24th February, 2017

Rose Splendide by Annick Goutal

Stardate 20170223:

This starts nice with rose and citrus and some milk/vanilla. But then the top note fades and it becomes linear with rose almost gone.
Not bad but the other one - Rose Absolute is better.
24th February, 2017

Lumiere by Aftelier

After this dries down, it reminds me of lilies, but that smell is masked in the opening. Reading the notes, I like seeing green tea, which sounds right. It's a nice perfume, bright, sweet, and floral.
23rd February, 2017

Gosha Rubchinskiy by Comme des Garçons

Gosha is a sharp, sour green perfume that functions like a slap in the face with an awakening tartness. It also has a secondary note that smells like a gum rubber eraser, those old big blocks of crumbly soft rubber, which is an oddly reassuring scent from my younger days. So there are contrasts here and pleasant resolutions to the startling opening scent. The smell reminds me of a Jolly Rancher Green Apple candy, a relic of my youth, with its sour green mouth puckering taste. It's like that only on skin.

Gosha Rubchinskiy is a fashion designer, photographer and film maker. His fragrance is a tribute to the new Soviet style and youth aesthetics which leads to - of course - skateboarding on a summer day. Wheels burning on hot concrete, scorching rubber and road asphalt all colliding to create a scent of youth and freedom on the fly. Comme des Garcons has enabled Gosha Rubchinskiy to create his fragrance, an artwork, in celebration of the New Soviet youth and attitude. Brief fulfilled.

With "Gosha" I like that you get a very clean and good scent, smells of pure prickly green woods, skateboard wheels on tar pavement - packaged in a solid clean bottle and box for an easy everyman's price. This is the way to launch a fragrance so all of the people can enjoy it.

Back to the scent - it opens bold and crisp with all types of green but settles down into a pleasant smooth key lime pie tone with hints of vetiver. A Thumbs up! Rating: 7 of 10.
23rd February, 2017

Musc by Molinard

Reminds me of Habanita. Long lasting. Elegant.
23rd February, 2017

Eaux Arborantes : Succus by Les Liquides Imaginaires

Succus opens with tart slightly sweet citrus that has an airy feel as if it will stay aloft and never be affected by gravity, drifting further into the upper layers of ozone air mixed with sunshine. This melon - grapefruit scent has an odd compatibility with the dry incense and woods aroma that makes a base note counterpart. The fragrance moves through different harmonies of these three elements of grapefruit tartness, sunny melon and scratchy dry woody musk for an interesting combination that is not offensive. It's not offensive but doesn't really stand out either. I don't really smell anything extraordinary in this scent. There is nothing inspiring for me so I initially rated this thumbs down, but after giving it time to come together into a harmony I see the elements do create an atmosphere that is nice and it works. That is to say it smells OK, results could definitely be worse, but I wonder why would someone choose to put this on skin and wear it day after day as an everyday favorite? Not me.

Succus, when evaluated from a full wearing is a palette cleanser kind of fragrance. Like a sorbet of melon and grapefruit that is served to punctuate a pause from other more complicated fragrances. Succus dries down into a slightly more rounded sunny citrus scent that smells like melon and grapefruit with a slight dry woods base. It is not bold or projecting but subtle and sort of cleansing. This is a passable scent that I would rate 2.5 of 5 stars.
22nd February, 2017 (last edited: 23rd February, 2017)

Palimpsest by Aftelier

This is potent floral, with what smells like some animalic - maybe from the Ambergris, or perhaps some especially spunky flowers. The listed notes of peach, ylang ylang, and vanilla sound believable. This is a beautiful, challenging perfume. I would guess it might appeal to women more than men, at least outside of Basenotes. I love the beautiful, complex smell up close.
22nd February, 2017

Lolita Lempicka L'Eau Jolie by Lolita Lempicka

I must agree with others, as this is disappointing, coming from this house. All I smell is Neroli, even after the dry down. I'm glad I only purchased the one ounce size. As with other fragrances I find I don't care for, this will be blended with another to make it wearable.
22nd February, 2017

Vetiver Dance by Tauer

BLUF: Different from all other vetivers I've tried.

I know we all have our own take on what "powdery" means, but I perceived this as a powdery, white floral, clean take on vetiver. It doesn't smell at all like Dior's Privée Vétiver, but I feel like they are painted on similarly dry vetiver canvases.

The vetiver starts off in the background and seems to be of the grassy/green sort, and is joined by soft florals and sweetness (smells more like vanilla, but tonka is listed) and some hesperidic top notes. Some hours later, it takes on the more smoky/crunchy aspects that I associate with Java vetiver (the kind listed in the notes here), and at this point most of the "powder" and florals have died down considerably and it's primarily a woody/vetiver scent with a touch of dry aromatic herbs of which I cannot pinpoint.

Nice overall, not your typical take on the namesake note, but not compelled to pursue any further than my sample. Worth sampling for any vetiver fan, as I know of no analogs.
22nd February, 2017

Anabasis by Apoteker Tepe

BLUF: A style of fragrance that is usually a snooze-fest for me, but this I found exciting. A super clean, grassy, green, minty, clean, clean, clean woody offering, with a very, very light touch of something smoky/resinous (birch? incense?).

Expectations were not high here, but at first sniff I was hooked. In a handful of ways it is similar to another fragrance I also love - Tindrer (Baruti), but this is much more transparent and less compact, if that makes any sense. Anabasis is also much more natural smelling. The perfumer/proprietor of Apoteker Tepe, Holladay Saltz, purportedly makes a point of using some naturals in all her work and having smelled them all, I believe that. For me personally, having both Anabasis and Tindrer might be redundant, but I’m tempted to prove myself wrong. The initial sniff caught me off-guard, because the photo of the bottle on Basenotes has brownish/amber colored liquid (Pavlovian response) and incense and cedar are listed in the notes...but it smells completely bright and green. Turns out that's because it is the wrong photo (instead The Holy Mountain is pictured at the time of this review).

Certainly not a groundbreaking fragrance, but seems to be to be made with quality materials and by someone with a clear vision and skilled hand. Longevity in a vacuum is on the low side, but relative to this genre, pretty on par – about 4 to 5 hours before becoming a skin scent. I admit that the top notes are by far the most compelling part, but I think it’s a solid structure from start to finish, the base losing some of that hyper-fresh minty feel and taking on a more familiar woody/musky one.

Recommended sampling if you are bored with the same old fresh fare like I am. Fairly priced at $110/50ml. Thumbs up.
22nd February, 2017

Eaux Arborantes : Saltus by Les Liquides Imaginaires

Like many of Liquides Imagainares scents Saltus is wrapped around a resinous incense note, Somalian Incense is here which has an earthy deep mystical presence. The eucalyptus adds a salty menthol contrast in the opening moments and castoreum leaves a dry leather feel to the woody depths of this scent. I like the feel and rounded aroma of this almost perfect woody, incense leather - one of the best offerings from this house. I find similarities to Heely Eau Sacree, Profumum Olibanum, and DS Durga Freetrapper, but I like Saltus more. A fine scent for earthy incense enthusiasts.
22nd February, 2017

Peau de Bête by Les Liquides Imaginaires

The opening of Peau de Bete is dry as an incense that has all the charm of freshly cast concrete pavement. This dry and cold character is given life by a warm organic spice that keeps the tone low and husky before a very dry leather emerges. All this has a strong indolic undertone that is very animalic and is very alluring and intriguing at opening and through the mid notes but falls apart toward the base of the scent. The base notes take the scent into a synthetic plastic aroma that is a less pleasant side to the synthetic skatole listed in the notes list. This is an unusual scent for sure and I think many people will like it, but I really did not enjoy the very ending of the scent when the various notes just didn't hang together well. Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars.
22nd February, 2017
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