Perfume Reviews

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Bulgari pour Femme by Bulgari

Flirting with both J'Adore Voile de Parfum and No. 5 Eau Premiere recently, I thought to myself, "I wish one of these wore as well on me as Bulgari used to, as it was always so versatile and pretty in the same kind of well-bred way these are."

So for the first time in about 20 years I bought a little bottle of Bulgari. Not having smelled it in a very long time, I was floored at how much raspberry is in the opening! It really is an interesting one, on the one hand a very classic and tasteful feminine floral, yet the musk...on skin, it gives the fragrance so much radiant warmth. While I'd never call it rude, if this musk likes you, it interacts with your chemistry in such a way that it goes really intimate. You can wear Bulgari in a polite setting and no one will accuse you of anything racy, yet the effect CAN be racy, because the musk creates the sense that you're smelling the skin of the woman who's wearing the perfume, not simply smelling the perfume.

Overspray and it won't be good! It's some seriously tenacious stuff, and has the potential to go cloying.

04th September, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

I Miss Violet by The Different Company

I Miss Violet opens with smooth carrot-like iris and bright slightly aqueous, semi-metallic violet leaf. Moving to the early heart the composition turns mild to moderately powdery, as the violet leaf gives way to a floral violet and supple suede leather starring tandem with the iris remaining in significant support. During the late dry-down the leather turns somewhat more rugged and more pronounced as it joins a deep, natural smelling vague woody accord and dark musk with just a hint of underlying vanilla-derived sweetness through the finish. Projection is below average and longevity just above average at 9-10 hours on skin.

The Collection Excessive offerings have been the real standouts in The Different Company's line-up, so any new release bearing that moniker demands attention and I Miss Violet is its latest entrant. The first thing one notices when the composition is applied on skin is it has a very different presentation of violet and violet leaf than one might expect. The presentation here is just as much about smooth iris and suede leather as it is about the violet, semi-metallic leaf and all. The last time I was this surprised in a violet presentation (in a good way) was Violette Fumee by the late, great Mona Di Orio. The two compositions really are dissimilar for the most part, but both commendably take the violet and show true innovation in its presentation and use with other materials. The late dry-down on the other hand is a more mundane though competent leathery woody affair, but the journey getting to it is quite worthwhile. My main gripe with the composition is its performance metrics are far from stellar. At this kind of price point, one expects a bit more oomph than the near-skin scent found here, and a bit more tenacity wouldn't go amiss either. That said, middling performance metrics aside, I Miss Violet is a fine creation by the talented Bertrand Duchaufour that while maybe is just a hair behind the other offerings in Collection Excessive, holds its own against most peers rather well. The bottom line is the $245 per 50ml I Miss Violet is a largely successful, innovative release marred only slightly by its semi-dodgy performance metrics, earning it a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation to all except those seeking a powerhouse (or those hunting superb value, as $245 per 50ml with this kind of performance is a bit of a tough sell).
03rd September, 2015

Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors

This fragrance is not just a resinous take on vanilla but is far more, imo. Imaginary Authors Memoirs of a Trespasser unfolds by soon its cozy/comforting temperament in terms of extremely resinous stuff. There is some green-herbal earthiness and almost liturgical smokiness but the aroma is mostly about seasoned resins, "sweet woods" and benzoinic vanilla with a secret touch of spicy-silky leather "on the dark back side". In particular the not listed leather is something dodgy and smooth that my investigating nose is able to catch somewhere in the blend. I actually detect indeed a sort of "Indie-Slumberhousesque" kind of sticky-sugary/bitter accord of leather, benzoin, "perfumed woods", beeswax, tobacco and a touch of mossiness (Jeke, Baque and Sova jump vaguely on mind). I detect furthermore the typical Memo's smooth accord of soft leather, resins, vanilla and aromatic musks that I get for instance in Italian Leather. Resins in here are seriously warm and kind of organic on my skin while gaiac wood (joined with tobacco/vanille) provides "ambiental" roundness. The juice smells/looks really oily on me and there is in the general perception something pleasantly sticky and rubbery-amberish with a tad of dirty/acid dissonance. I get also a sort of cozy elicited atmosphere all around the wearer, something conjuring antique books, fireplaces, refined tobacco (kind of vanilla flavoured tobacco), old-style wooden fornitures, some fine scotch whisky and leather. Gradually the warm-animalic resins slightly recede in intensity while vanilla starts jumping on the stage with its charge of spicy-seasoned flavour and dark-smokey warmth. Anyway the main accord of ambrette seeds as joined with something waxy-honeyed and spicy-resinous (a touch of frankincense?) is responsible about the seriously thick and massive (though finally smooth) general consistency. I get the connection with scents a la Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille and Mona di Orio Vanilla (I get also several "conjurarions" about the Amouage Interlude Man/Jacques Zolty by Zolty's dry down with its resinous dusty-herbal and weirdly woodsy-mineral backbone) but in here the aroma is pleasantly peculiar and finally warmer (a warmth about fur, soft leather and woods). A really dark and sensual resinous fragrance. I see a rich gorgeous accord of resins, balsams, tobacco and leather with perfect balance, the fairest level of sweetness, a well calibrated touch of spices and a great amount of multifaceted mystic elegance. The synthetic dimension is never beyond the average. Finally I weirdly detect (in the middle of resins and musks) a sort of aromatic-anisic stormy undertone a la Spazio di Krizia Uomo andò a pencil shavings vibe a la Montana Graphite. A beautiful little creation with a touch of nostalgic "old-fashion".

P.S: dry down is less intensely leathery-resinous and more woody-cedary.
03rd September, 2015
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Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

Absolutely bloody marvellous scent.
I tested today comparing a sample of 2010 vintage and a bottle bought last month from Geneva airport duty free. The review is the same for both except that the one marked difference I found was that the 2010 version held on to its "power" phase much longer before it became a skin scent. Otherwise, frankly, I couldn't tell the difference.
It starts off eye-watering petrol, grease, with leather (or sweaty skin?) underneath. A bit later I also get a medicinal (Germoline) thing going on. You have to get your head round all that, but when you do, you'll want to keep going back and spraying it over and over again. Then, strong leather, the most fantastic leather scent ever. And a bit of lavender.
It's pure cave man in its power phase. Like a super macho, cool, handsome car mechanic putting on his leather jacket after his shift. Yet really classy and unique at the same time. It makes me feel like I'm Marlon Brando on a motorbike.
Longevity: long. Silage: for me, moderate (aka BIG)
Love the stuff. The original is still better than all the flankers.
How could any man not want this?
September 2015
03rd September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Scuderia Ferrari Black Signature by Ferrari

Imagine some overripe fruit sat on a sweaty vinyl car seat on a hot day. Now push your nose into it. Good so far? Proceed to eBay with your tenner and rejoice.
03rd September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Republic of Men by Banana Republic

A nice fruity-woody scent with a light, non-nauseating plum note and a decent sandalwoodish drydown. There's a hint of ripe banana in there but I suspect an olfactory illusion due to the name (or maybe because I ate a banana soon after applying my sample).

Rather sweet, it smells a bit like a less bombastic version of La Nuit de Chav by YSL. However, I would not be ashamed to present this as a gift to one of my grateful goggle-eyed libidinous nephews.
03rd September, 2015

Sauvage by Christian Dior

My expectations for Sauvage weren’t extremely low, but neither that high for sure. I was convinced it was probably better than the undeserved skepticism it seems getting here and there from fragrance snobs, but nothing groundbreaking for sure. Now that I’ve finally snatched a sample, I must say it quite reflects the idea I had about it – and actually, it is slightly better than I expected. First of all, in broad terms, it is probably right to consider this the first “Dior’s Bleu de Chanel” (or name another fragrance like that), as the league is more or less the same; but contrary to Bleu de Chanel (and most of similar scents), besides showing a clearly better quality, Sauvage avoids any boring, pretentious, preppy middle-class mannerism and adds a subtle touch of pungent vibrancy, of “rawness” as the name suggests. It is in fact a compelling contemporary take on a classic green fougère theme, opening with a bracing, peppery, crisp green-bergamot accord with a peculiar sort of “cedrat” heart, something bitter and earthy that provides a really nice sort of musky-sour shade to the crisp, fresh leafiness of the main accord. And then there’s a subtle, yet deep base of synthetic ambergris enhanced by some generic woods – “generic” means here nothing smelling overly cheap, but surely not the greatest woody notes around.

So imagine a quite classic and apparently mannered green masculine scent centered on pepper, citrus notes and dry ambery woods with some mossy patchouli lingering below, and give it a modern shape with an exotic, and slightly sombre touch halfway “organic” and “futuristic” (thanks to the cleverly-fitting warm and “grey” note of ambroxan). I must note that Sauvage feels quite much dry throughout its evolution, which I guess may be taken as a “masculine” added value, and also shows a pleasantly nondescript sort of dark, bitter-fizzy feel with a Mediterranean vibe, which reminds me of the balmy smell of air on a cloudy day in some woodland by the sea. Quite some interesting contrasts, overall: dryness, bitterness, warmth. So, again: an office-safe scent for sure, but in no way cheap or uncreative. Nothing exciting, but nothing bad to say the least. It just offers the right tiny amount of creativity within a “pop”, crowdpleasing frame. I think Demachy did quite a nice job in creating a deceptively generic fragrance with some sparkles of dark rawness. And I also appreciate the fact Sauvage smells really simple overall, almost minimalistic composition-wise, and with no overly cheap nuances. Simply put, it smells nice and it isn’t boring at all. As hours pass the ambroxan-woody-patchouli base takes the main stage, making Sauvage smell darker, warmer, dustier, more (again, “generically” ) classy and less bitter, with also some (good!) vetiver popping out. Still quite dry but at the same time quite comforting and sophisticated.

To cut it short, I think this is a good fragrance, quite more peculiar than it may seem at a first rushed test, and I think it is fully justified for Dior to have something like this among their range. Not everything has to be creative, or flashy, or (more or less faithfully) luxury or make some “statement”. Sauvage is a quality, discreet everyday scent with a seducing dark-organic twist and a nice evolution, smooth enough to appeal classic wearers but quality enough to be worthy a sniff for everybody else, including niche-heads. And it would surely be a mistake to dismiss this too early labelling it mediocre or cheap, since it isn’t either of the two. I probably wouldn’t buy this, but I’m glad Dior introduced it.

7-7,5/10
03rd September, 2015

Polo Supreme Oud by Ralph Lauren

This is a moderately good fragrance and a real surprise from a house like Ralph Lauren. Not since original Polo has such a manly kind of fragrance emerged from Polo. This is a strong oud or agarwood central aroma supported nicely by gaiac wood and vetiver to leave a mossy deep woods kind of base note. If there wasn't a big dose of spice + pepper coating the top notes, this would have been a better fragrance for me. This strong cinnamon, pink pepper (bay?) turns the subtle fragrance to a less sophisticated cousin of Creed Royal Oud. The spice influence here is quite strong and over shadows the excellent oudish green base and also adds some sweetness to the scent. I would give this one a 7 of 10 rating. It could have been better if the aromatics in the opening act were drier and darker - an effect derived from cocoa in Shay and Blue's Oud Alif or also as in PG Coze 04's coffee note. Supreme Oud is a decent effort though, and I am sure many people will enjoy it.
02nd September, 2015

Fahrenheit Absolute by Christian Dior

Tested from a sample today and tonight.
It's true it's a shame this has been discontinued. I have F original and F Parfum and like all three, although they're all different.
F Absolute is closer to the original, especially at the start. It's intensive violets, which I love (reminds me only in this part of the intense parma violet start of the vintage Grey Flannel) and that signature F petroly tarmacy smell. For me too there is a time of a sort of medicinal note that made me think of the antiseptic cream Germoline. I agree with others who have referred to churches, a kind of Medieval/Gothic vibe. At the beginning at least I could imagine a dark-cloaked figure (actually of either sex) pouring over an ancient arcane manuscript in an empty church, the stone cold and dark.
However for me it quickly becomes much brighter with the lovely powdery violets coming through even more. I guess the cloaked figure walks out of the church into the bright autumn sun, flings back her (on reflection a dark-haired woman) cloak and walks briskly and with purpose out of the churchyard. The end is a pleasant, powdery skin scent.
For me the longevity was a bit disappointing: only a couple of hours until the skin-scent stage. A word of warning about the sillage: I got used to the scent incredibly quickly, thinking it wasn't projecting at all....It was!
I also received a compliment about it from a friend who normally gleefully tells me "no" to 9 out of 10 of the fragrances I've tried, so this is a good sign.
Overall very lovely. I don't think it would ever have replaced the original F for me, but if it hadn't been discontinued, I most probably would have bought a bottle eventually.
PS also love the dark and dangerous black and red bottle design.
September 2015
02nd September, 2015

Garuda by Jul et Mad

Garuda is not a bad fragrance per se, but I had been expecting so much more at this price point. The opening notes of cumin, rum, and orange are a drunken, sweaty pirate pleasure for a while, but then it all gets dunked in a bath of sugar syrup.

Actually, the sugary, boozey oud-vanilla feeling I get from Garuda is almost identical to what I get from Arabian cheapies such as Ameer al Oudh,Raghba Wood Intense and even 24 Gold. The sweetness and woodiness of Garuda are on par with those.

The Cambodian oud note, when I can isolate it, is lovely - honeyed, with hints of dried fruit, and darkly woody. I have no idea whether any real oud was used or not, but at this price, one can only hope...

Unfortunately, the delicate oud note used here is somewhat swamped by a charred, woody aromachemical called Timbersilk. After the first few hours, all I can smell is the Timbersilk.

For me, Garuda is therefore a rather pedestrian "Western" oud fragrance with a strong woody ambery chemical aftertaste, and although I'm sure the materials used are top notch compared to Arabian cheapies, the difference (in smell) is not so great as to justify the price demanded for the Jul et Mad version.

I know I'm in the minority here because everyone seems to be going ape%^& over Garuda, but honestly, I would rather go for any of the more honestly-priced Arabian cheapies over this, or save up for a really amazing Western oud interpretation, such as Oud Shamash by The Different Company or MFK Oud.



02nd September, 2015

Black by Comme des Garçons

I left Ireland for Bosnia when I was 22, without so much as a backwards glance. Over the following 16 years when people asked me if I missed home, I would always be startled and say yes – automatically – but it wasn’t quite true. I just never thought of home as being anywhere other than wherever I was right then.

I never realized that the gene for “home” was carried deep within my DNA until one dark night when I stepped out of a snow-stalled car into the deserted crossroads of a tiny village in Bosnia and was hit in the solar plexus by a waft of smoke from a coal fire.

Not just one – dozens of coal fires. All sending plumes of sweet-smelling smoke into the black, starless sky. In my mind’s eye, I could see walls covered with centuries of soot, men huddling round the heart smoking cigarettes, and the fingers of women putting more coal on the fire.

My mother’s fingers, black with soot. In that moment, every cell in my body ached to be back home, watching the familiar sight of her white fingers gingerly placing another coal on the flames, egged on by her always-cold children. Was she sitting beside her fire now, thinking of her first child, wondering if she was cold?

Comme des Garcons Black is the smell of home to me. It smells of coal dust, sweet woodsmoke, frankincense, dry cedar logs, licorice, and finally, in its dying moments, a salt-encrusted leather belt. Not of these things directly but of these things burned on a fire and sent out into the crisp, cold air of a Northern night sky as a single curl of smoke. Every time I spray it on, I experience a joy like that of launching into a sudden run.

If I were being picky, I’d say that the projection and longevity and projection of Black leave much to be desired. But I’m content with this in a quasi eau de cologne format. I’d be afraid that any attempt to make Black stronger would compress all the air out of its airy weightlessness. I like that Black takes the form of coal dust mites, shifting as you move; acting as your own personal force field.

I’ve long been looking for a smoky, woodsy birch tar fragrance that hits this exact spot – the coal-fire-in-Bosnia spot. I love Le Labo Patchouli 24 for coming close, but the vanilla syrup makes me pause, and Bois d’Ascese is far too dense and acrid. Memoir Man does smoky, charred woods and Frankincense beautifully, but it has a somber, sulky feel that might prove difficult. Black, to me, is what you might get if you were to put all these perfumes through a Photoshop filter and apply a filter to reduce the density by 70%. Black does indeed smell truly “black” but it’s more a sheer wash of color rather than a thick daub of oil.

I love it. It’s the first Comme des Garcons perfume for which I’ve been able to locate a heartbeat. I admire their modernist approach but something in their stripped-down aesthetic usually leaves me cold. Here there’s both an emotional core and a minimalism that’s entirely in keeping with the house signature. Maybe the heart bit is all me, but I do feel there’s something warm and human about Black.

02nd September, 2015

Nahéma by Guerlain

I first made a point of searching out Nahema in the early 90s, after reading an interview of Shirley Manson (from the band Garbage) in which she said Nahema was the ONLY perfume as far as she was concerned.

At the time I remember thinking that it was too loud and too full of aldehydes for me personally. And searching for a rose I can wear well - that doesn't go too shrill - I wanted to see what I thought of it all these years later.

It's definitely in the Chamade camp, more green and hyacinth and juicy and tart than the musty/mossy vanilla powder of the earlier Guerlains. This time I had been assuming "bombshell", so I've been impressed by its tenderness and innocence, though when you first spray it, it's got such presence that it sure can make you feel a bit high!

Certainly Nahema is beautifully done and even transcendent; so maybe this is blasphemy, but I actually like it best layered sparingly over a foundation of something a little dirty, even Shalimar! When I wear Nahema on its own, it's a sustained peachy rose until it's nothing at all, and it's actually quite linear for how kaleidoscopic it is, if that makes sense.

02nd September, 2015

Sauvage by Christian Dior

Quite surprised I like this as much as I do because at first sniff I was very disappointed. I guess the bergamot layered over ambroxan gives too much a metallic citrus rind tartness to the opening. But this leaves quickly. I have rarely met an ambroxan fragrance that I didn't like and Sauvage stays on my good side right through the black pepper mid notes that reflect a darker nature of the Johnny Depp poster for Sauvage. The black pepper, ambroxan and geranium are pleasant while taking me down the dark and mysterious path leading to the vetiver and patchouli base. Nice clean finish. The patchouli was noticeable with its cool subtext and that's a good thing for me. Sauvage is a thoroughly enjoyable fragrance without being too generic which I thought it might be. Everyone won't love this fragrance, but that's ok, I don't want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Sauvage is different enough to avoid getting lost in designer dreck while allowing its wearers to keep some individuality. As if Dior needs a decent fragrance to sell, with Johnny Depp's endorsement it sells itself - and quickly. My sales associate confided in me that "Johnny Depp actually designed this fragrance himself and Dior just put their name on it!!!" I was glad to know this little secret! I might get a bottle anyway, or might not. Arrh!
02nd September, 2015
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BalMan by Pierre Balmain

Balman de Balmain opens "familiarly" with an almost intoxicating (herbal-aromatic, synthetically amberish, slightly plastic, spicy-resinous, bitter-sweet, vaguely salty and kind of spicy-humid) blast conjuring me "invigorating openings" a la Lancetti IL, Cassini for Men by Oleg Cassini, Ca' Luna by Acqua di Biella and on a certain extent recalling scents a la Gaultier Le Male Beau, Kiton Black (less spicy-resinous), Trussardi Inside For Men and Paco Rabanne One Million. Under this dusty-wet (synthetically benzoinich-resinous) stardust I get a basic angular, subtle and classic accord of citrus, grapefruit, green notes, bergamot and woods (mostly cedarwood) a la Roma Uomo by Laura Biagiotti/Kiton Black (both surely close in part to Balmain Balman in aroma in spite of their less resinous consistency). There is a sort of "mastic tree/leather-like" herbal-plastic-peppery aura all around which makes me to think in particular at scents a la Acqua di Biella Ca' Luna with its combination of fresh-spicy herbal notes, mastic tree/galbanum, pepper, sharp floral notes (geranium in here?), pencil shavings woods and musky-rubbery leather (overall surrounded by a minimal touch of intoxicating-rubbery balsams a la One Million plus kind of marine saltiness and soft gummy leather). Frankly I find Balman kind of generic and decidedly synthetic despite I can deny these type of warmly plastic modern juices turn out appealing to vulgar standardized crowd. I can't deny to catch on my skin a partially stimulating "synthetically visceral" amberish sensuality which knows to be warm, pungent and vaguely sultry. Balman is a typical clubbing modern scent, anyway versatile and easy to wear. Along dry down, as soon as spiciness and herbal-benzoinic dust are faded away, I get a chemical "Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet-like" sort of aura around the wearer (slightly "silicone veined", namely kind of metallic-plastic and artificially leatherish). This is the part I almost dislike while I find the "Lancetti IL-type" of opening far more interesting and multi-veined. Anyway not my cup of tea despite I can't write about a total failure. Pass by.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Covent Garden by Jack

This is only half a review as I couldn't wear this for more than 20 minutes.

The opening and heart are too much for me -- like sour booze with a slug of ginger - made my eyes water.

For all I know, the drydown may be lovely, but I will let others find that out.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Millésime Impérial by Creed

This is about the fifth time I have tried this. I thought I might stumble into a wonderful batch.
MI just doesn't work for me. The opening accord tanks imo -- sweet and saline jut means hissy in my book.

The drydown is ok and lasts a fair while on me, but this overriding salty screechiness just won't go away and it comes across as just too synthetic.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

So wrapped up in the wonder of Cuiron then and now, I never gave the original EDP much of a look in.

The re-issue is just wonderful in a powdery, musky, ambery type way.

Think of a cranked up Ambrette 9 with a touch of spice.

A must have imo.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Mr. Vetiver by Une Nuit à Bali

I love these sort of vetivers -- fresh, bracing, full of life. Almost the complete antithesis of the Tauer and MPG versions.

Second only to the Lubin vetiver and reasonably priced, it has a lovely long lasting drydown.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Lights by Roads

I am not sure who this is aimed at but the top notes almost floored me.

There is just too much going on and seems like an exercise in bombast.

Ylang, clove, violet -- in nuclear proportions.

Not for me, but worth seeking out just to try.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Cloud 9 by Roads

Austere packaging (nice) hides an unexpectedly rich, clean fragrance, especially in the opening, which is fresh and floral. This soon gives way to a sort of soapy mix of vanilla and a woody type musk. Not what I call a 'serious' fragrance, but it sure is comforting.
01st September, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Aqua Universalis Forte by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I agree with the 'aromatic' label here rather than a 'citrus'. The rose and jasmine create a wonderful accord which surprisingly lasts a very long time. Slightly veers towards a 'feminine' but not enough for me to worry about it. The EDP is much better than the original imo.
Versatile and gorgeous.
01st September, 2015

Vibrant by Boadicea the Victorious

The opening of Vibrant is indeed quite vibrant, and quite peculiar too. At first, it strongly reminded me of some vintage fragrances by Etro; not a specific one, just rather that same sort of exotic and mysterious allure many of them had, centered on musky spices and dusty resins. There’s patchouli (quite à la vintage Etro Patchouli), some odd animalic amber, musk, a – for me – nondescript moldy and camphorous note with a subtle floral shade (rose?), some tingling spices, earthy woods, and also a subtle layer of quite well-crafted and tobacco-infused leather. All feels “antique”, nostalgic, dusty, quite gloomy – I see other online reviewers mention Mona di Orio, and in fact I agree with some similarity to her world (well, the world she was able to express in the 2-3 scents which aren’t parodies of a scent). No fresh citrus and no whatever “bright” side for me, although I do get a slight and completely non-fresh citrus note – rather musky and pungent, more a “cedrat” note than an ordinary citrus.

The blend smells simple and complex at once; there’s not many notes involved here, but each of them seems presented under a creative and unusual light. And also their, say, imaginary displacement in the overall design is creative and evocative, in a way that for some inexplicable reasons, makes Vibrant strongly remind me of a closet which once contained scented clothes, their sillage still exuding from the wood walls. A sort of dusty, melancholic, smooth yet pungent stale aroma which contains a sort of distant “echo” of the composition you read – say, it feels like a sort of “desatured”, washed-out version of the fragrance you would imagine by reading the notes. And by this I don’t mean it feels light or dull, on the contrary it’s quite bold and clear, but all feels imprisoned within a decadent cloud of camphorous and musky nuances, and an interesting, realistic frame of dusty, and again moldy hard woods. I don’t know how they did that, but the final result is quite intriguing. It’s classy, dark and seducing. Sadly though, the scent is quite linear, quickly reaching a way less interesting drydown smelling mostly of musky woods, and both persistence and projection aren’t top notch. Still surely one of the nicest Boadicea out there.

7-7,5/10
01st September, 2015

Crave by Calvin Klein

Crave is a bold cross between Yohji Homme and CK's Truth for Women, and its death knell was trying to be both at once. Anyone who is familiar with Royal Copenhagen's Viking will recognize a vaguely pleasant yet overly misdirected jumble of notes which almost pan out yet drydown to a great mess. It's fruity, watery, herbal, and refreshing and quite androgynous in the CK manner but it quickly becomes quite cloying. It is almost a good idea but really better left dead.
01st September, 2015

Royal Oud by Creed

For me, this is hands down the best thing Creed has to offer. It’s a simple perfume based on cedar, pepper, and various earthy notes (vetiver, patchouli, and cypriol for sure). There’s not a lick of oud in it (obviously), nor does it smell as gaudy or ostentatious as certain “royal” scents can get. It’s basically a sturdy green cedar that that wears beautifully with minimal effort. Also, it’s super versatile; it would work just as well with jeans and t-shirt as it would with a jacket and tie. Creed’s not a line that I look to for depth or complexity, and Royal Oud doesn’t offer anything new in that regard, but it does emphasize the fact that sometimes a straight forward scent is all you need. Probably not worth paying retail prices, and look elsewhere if its oud you seek, but for an easy-to-like earth-and-woods modern aromatic, it’s hard to beat the directness and refined stability of this scent.
01st September, 2015

Les Compositions Parfumées : Silver by Lalique

Lalique Silver requires great patience unless you are so fond of cardamom that you are willing to smell like over-spiced and over-steeped masala chai. The initial blast is a hissy sharp lemon/lime and cardamom, but the citrus fades within ten minutes or at least it is completely smothered by close to 90 minutes of a cardamom bomb the likes of which I have never experienced. Cardamom is almost always framed by more opulent surroundings, and I have heard that, from a technical perspective, it is a difficult note to sustain. Not here; at this phase of Lalique Silver, nothing gets close to casting a significant shadow on this single dominating note. If this is all there was to Silver, it would be an obvious scrubber in my book. Fortunately things ultimately look up. At around the 90-minute mark, the silver lining of Silver is achieved, with a more balanced cardamom moderately spicing what is principally a high-pitched lemon and clean Haitian vetiver combination. This is a quite pleasant and unique result which has good staying power.

I am not a huge fan of “metallic fresh” scents but this is precisely what Lalique was aiming for. Each of the fragrances in the Les Compositions Parfumées series is named after and is intended to evoke a specific metal. When Silver finally comes into balance, with the spice adding the right amount of patina to what might otherwise be an overly harsh metallic tang, it is superior to things like Creed Silver Mountain Water, Royal Water, and Bond Hamptons -- and it is on this basis that I give it a mild thumbs up. I can find some use for Lalique Silver but it requires some interesting timing issues to let the cardamom bomb phase pass before going out in public.
01st September, 2015

La Religieuse by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

The profane attempt (by Serge Lutens) to introduce a sort of assumedly mystic-religious jasmine's representation by combining the main floral note with synthetic musk, liquid Iso E Super frankincense, citronellol, ambroxan and a touch of pseudo-animalic fat. The olfactory outcome is kind of vulgar since the chemical pungent general vibe submits each idea of dusty mysticism and drama. Civet (or an idea of civet) provides a touch of sultry grease and pungency (pungent floral intensity) but the main vibe is musky, kind of coconutty-floral (or better kind of syrupy floral, despite at once harsly chemical-astringent) and sort of fluidy-resinous with a touch of herbal earthiness. I get a similarity with several Elisabeth Taylor's concoctions, Passion in particular) but in here the outcome is almost misere and devoided from any trace of logic articulation. I get indeed a "soliflore spasmodic insistence" and a sort of aggressive industrial juicy-floral muskiness all around (kind of dirty, un balanced, fizzy-astringent, citric, finally slightly syrupy-fat and powerful). Any trace of goth, any trace of the earlier Lutens trademark mystic orientalism, just an aggressive deodorant-like jasmine that seems to fit perfectly to such a squallid foul-mouthed aggressive young blonde with huge red lips and kind of punk ripped pantyhoses.

P.S: if you'd like something conceptually similar but far better appointed stick possibly to Armani Onde Mystere (hard anyway to find and probably discontinued).
31st August, 2015 (last edited: 01st September, 2015)

Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

I've barely sniffed the current, green juice, but a Basenoter sent me a sample of an early 90s vintage of Pour Monsieur "Cologne," and I was impressed. It's a beautiful, straightforward fragrance; polite and inoffensive.

I'll try to update after testing the current formulation.
31st August, 2015

Zegna Intenso by Ermenegildo Zegna

It took me quite a while to make up my mind about Zegna Intenso. I own it and wear it quite happily from times to times, but any time I tried to approach it more thoroughly from a “reviewer” point of view, I always felt something was missing in my, say, perception of it. Like when you enjoy something, but any part and aspect of it seem dull and negligible, and you are unable to get a global, comprehensive idea of it. And yet you reach for it and enjoy it even if you can’t really explain why. Zegna Intenso does precisely that effect to me. At first I was ready to dismiss it as a boring mainstream scent, but each time its discreetly enjoyable presence on skin was telling me it would have been a mistake. Now I think I got why. The main key of this scent is that it smells so nicely and perfectly generic and discreet, it serves more as a sort of ideal silent and distinguished servant than a “statement” accessory. Any time you wear it, it’s ready to do and “tell” you exactly what you want it to, to suit your mood, your style, the situation you’re in. It can smell formal and dark, or lively and “young”; sometimes it feels simple and warm, sometimes elusively exotic, sometimes dusty and vibrant like a club downtown. A perfect Zelig in a bottle (Woody Allen’s Zelig, I mean). And I think this is due to Daniela Andrier’s ability to bring out the best off the concept of “safe and generic” – something soothing and comforting designed to make you want to wear it just for the pure sake of it, and then forget about it. Zegna Intenso brings that to an unexpectedly high level.

Coming to the smell itself, many compare Zegna Intenso to Armani Code but I don’t really see the similarity. I mean, of course that is the family, but there’s quite some differences. And anyway, frankly Zegna Intenso smells way superior than that for me to any extent. Tonka and musky iris notes provide a dusty, sophisticated and crisp Oriental frame (a yuppie concept of “Oriental”, obviously – it’s a designer after all...) which is perfectly harmonized with generic - and yet, perfectly nice - clean woods and some nondescript sort of fresh-tart head accord that gives Zegna Intenso a quite enjoyable sort of mildly aromatic fresh twist – fresh enough to keep it more vivid and sophisticated than many similar, and often kind of heavy or cheap Oriental tonka-centered designer fragrances. Diamondflame’s review is really spot on about this interesting “chiaroscuro” effect due to bright head notes versus the general Oriental spicy-smooth “darkness” of the other notes. This whole harmony makes Zegna Intenso smell way more refined and comforting than it seems. Now imagine all this in the hands of an extremely talented nose with an eagle eye for subtle – and again, positively “generic” - refinement as Daniela Andrier, and here’s Zegna Intenso. A true little piece of smoothness and respectability in a bottle. I know many scents already play this “comfort” role (e.g. many classic clean “eaux de cologne”), but well, each does it its way and so does Zegna Intenso. A bit like Bottega Veneta pour Homme by the same nose, it brings that traditional concept of “smelling nice and quality just for the intimate sake of it” to a more contemporary level. You can find discounted bottles of this everywhere, grab it if you stumble upon one.

7,5/10
31st August, 2015

Russian Tea by Masque

Interesting and unusual in a good way.
The start is incredible. The first few seconds are pure, fresh black tea. It's like taking the lid off a tea caddy and breathing in the scent of the contents at close range.
Then suddenly there is a huge, bright, loud, what smells like menthol/eucalyptus/tea-tree oil note. You just opened your tea caddy and unbeknownst to you a female soprano opera singer has crept up behind you and suddenly lets out a bright, loud high "c". The minty note makes me think of olbas oil or some similar cold vapour-remedy in its potency and effectiveness at clearing the sinuses (thanks for that). For me it's still good though: I'm a mint fan.
Anyway, you jump 3 feet in the air when the lady sings and spill the contents of your tea caddy all over the kitchen, and the room is filled with the fresh, lovely scent of tea, mint, tobacco, sweet hay over the next hour or so. Frankly I don't get the strong leather or smoke vibes that others have. After about 4 hours all that's left is a faint, fruity skin scent - I guess that's the raspberry, although I couldn't have pinpointed the fruit to anything specific . I also wish the sillage were a bit bigger and the longevity, well, longer.
Overall though it's a rather lovely, strange thing. It's lovely enough and strange enough for me to put it on my "want" list, but I won't buy it unless the current price, which is just silly, Is more than halved.
August 2015
31st August, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Enygma by Onyrico

Enygma goes on with a blast of saffron, with almost cinnamon-like nutmeg spice support. Moving to the early heart the saffron and nutmeg spice hang around in support, joining faint unidentifiable florals, as the composition adds dry tobacco and synthetic, slightly rubbery woods to take on the role of co-stars. During the late dry-down the spice and tobacco vacate, leaving stark sandalwood paired with slightly smoky vetiver through the finish. Projection is below average and longevity very good at between 11-12 hours on skin.

Enygma is probably the worst of the initial four Onyrico samples I have tried to date. The saffron and nutmeg open starts things off quite nicely, but all positive momentum is lost when the synthetic woods and ill-conceived tobacco arrive shortly thereafter. The dry tobacco and woods mesh quite poorly, and at this point, many will call it a day and scrub the thing off. Fortunately, the late dry-down saves things to a large degree, as the troublesome tobacco and synthetic woods give way to a fine vetiver and more natural smelling dry sandalwood starring tandem. Enygma obviously has some appeal, and on the whole I would have to call it largely successful, but the crucial heart disappoints to a degree that one has to wonder if it is worth waiting for the pretty decent finish. The bottom line is the 160 Euros per 100ml bottle Enygma is just that with its puzzling mid-section that spoils an otherwise relatively impressive start and finish, earning it an “above average” 2.5 to 3 star out of 5 rating and a neutral recommendation with a slight positive bias.
30th August, 2015
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