Fragrance Reviews from May 2011

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    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Aqua Allegoria Anisia Bella by Guerlain

    The perfumer having been let out of the closet, so to speak, allows perfume hobbyists and enthusiasts to focus on particular perfumers. Cellier, Roudnitska, Robert, Chant. It allows us to recognize the history of the ephemeral and unspoken, give credit, and explore artists whose work has meaning for us. I think the precedent here is cinema, and its move from the focus on the studio and producer to the director. ‘Art film’ of the 1950s-1960s (Kurasowa, Truffault) could be likened to early niche perfumery (Laporte, Lutens.) 1970s-1980s and onward is where mainstream American film highlighted the star director (Scorsese, Spielberg.) I suppose the comparisons here would be Ellena and Kurkdjian. (Sorry, very broad strokes here. I’ve never studied film.) Whether the perfume/film analogy holds, and for better or worse, the perfumer as auteur is our current paradigm.

    It’s fascinating to focus on the remaining work of the great, dead noses, but how about those still with us? I’m a great fan of Aurélien Guichard. He is prolific, his work has ongoing themes, his play with history and innovation is wonderfully smart, and his perfumes are beautiful. I find the connections between his contemporary work (Chinatown, Love in Paris) and his reconstructions/reorchestrations (Baghari, Azzaro Couture) utterly fascinating, and his mastery of genres admirable. (Chinatown is a fruity chypre, Future a green floral and Andy Warhol silver Factory a transparent woody insence.)

    So, Anisia Bella (2004.) Creating an Aqua Allegoria must have been an interesting challenge to a perfumer whose future work would show a thorough grasp of classical perfumery in all its complexity. You know, the Aqua Allegorias---the Guerlain perfume training bra, the realm of the almost metaphysical ‘Is it a scent or a perfume?’ question. Guichard’s solution is witty and smells great.

    The AA’s are light and easy if you like them, simplistic and possibly trite if you don’t. AB uses simplicity to its advantage. It is light but substantial, and complex enough to hold interest over time. Simple and facile, but not unsophisticated. Creating a two-tiered perfume is like the Goldylocks solution to the linear vs top/heart/base debate. AB keeps anise from start to finish, but starts with a cold, sugared citrus violet and transitions to a tea-like cedar. With herbs, perfumery tends to follow cuisine’s lead. Herbs are an enhancement, an embellishment. Fruit, flowers, woods are the lead. AB subverts the order and the flower serves the herb. Anise is the lead performer and ostensibly follows the ‘simple smell’ idea of the AAs. More often than not, though, he complexity of the floral and woody notes catches me when I’m not paying attention and gives me a wink.

    See the Aqua Allegoria bottle, soulless through repitition, as the Trojan Horse to the beautiful set of ideas contained in Anisia Bella.

    22 May, 2011 (Last Edited: 03 May, 2012)

    silentrich's avatar

    United States United States

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    Joop! Jump by Joop!

    Can see the comparisons to Allure Homme Sport with the difference being the fruitier opening and less of the orange/vanilla in the drydown. Joop did a really good job on sillage, projection, and longevity with this fragrance. Problem is that it isn't better than Allure Homme Sport or Versace Pour Homme (which resembles AHS).

    22 May, 2011 (Last Edited: 22 January, 2013)

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Patchouli Antique by Les Néréides

    The best "patchouli antique" of the classic perfumery will always be under my nose the baroque and boldly retro Habit Rouge old formula that is the fragrance of Palais Royal with its vintage aristocratic beat. Patchouli Antiques is a good soft patchouli that despite of being enough earthy lacks that complex baroque articulation that could be provided by a citrus-neroli-cedarwood-rose-patchouli accord supported by vanilla, a touch of tobacco, resinous amber or benzoin. This fragrance is a woodsy-musky patchouli civilized by a touch of amber and vanilla, not particularly original or complex. Patchouli Antique is basically a real patchouli slightly resinous and moderately sweet, nothing else apart a touch of musk and balsams final silkiness. A good real patchouli but not a sumptuous or literally "antique" one.

    22 May, 2011 (Last Edited: 06 July, 2014)

    NonScents's avatar

    Croatia Croatia

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    Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

    Sickly, sickly, sickly. Literally makes myself and my wife want to be sick. How strange, all the positive reviews! Have tried it twice now. Never again.

    Who would have thought people would have different noses?(!) ;o

    23 May, 2011

    DonnaDixon23's avatar

    United States United States

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    Visionary by Body Shop

    I was so heartbroken when this scent was discontinued- I treasure what remains of my large bottle purchased in Dusseldorf in 1999. It has retained it's integrity and I keep it sealed tightly to prolong it's longevity. I agree completely with the previous reviewer- to me Visionary is a largely sexual scent for me.

    23 May, 2011

    eyelineronacat's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tom of Finland by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Tom of Finland is, by my standards, the ultimate Antoine Lie masterpiece (forget Secretions, not my thing). It is thoroughly genderless, heartbreakingly beautiful and transcends the boundaries of traditional perfumery in all the right ways. It is my favorite perfume using vetiver, as well. It wears fairly close to the skin, so this is one I'm always lifting my wrist to my nose to sniff. Over and over, obsessively.

    23 May, 2011

    bokaba's avatar

    United States United States

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    "Vintage" Tabaróme by Creed

    "Vintage" Tabarome exemplifies everything that is great about Creed. No marketing scams, no low grade ingredients, no games--this is the genuine article. Tabarome is strong with great longevity and sillage yet still refined, restrained, and gentlemanly. I believe Creed may have reached its high point with Tabarome though it plays host to a number of other timeless classics from yesteryear including Royal Scottish Lavender and Citrus Bigarrade. The leather, tobacco, and peppery aromatic components are superbly integrated and balanced. The tobacco here is not honeyed (i.e. Acqua di Cuba, Tobacco di Toscana, etc) but stark, authoritative, and staunch. The base is a gentle though synthetic cedar of respectable quality that keeps ambiance of the tobacco and leather going long after they have departed. Is this a cigar? Perhaps, but the driest and most regal. I would think of Tabarome as more of a time and place--a high end social club in Victorian London perhaps on the Pall Mall where wealthy industrialists and earls tend to congregate. Do not bother with the newer Tabarome Millesime as it has nothing to do with this beautiful Tabarome except a slight tobacco note in its base.

    23 May, 2011

    Pollux's avatar

    Argentina Argentina

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    Squash by Dana

    I have been given a huge bottle of this one by a very generous fellow Base Noter; since it is a splash bottle I decided to decant it into an atomizer.

    S is a blend that cannot be classified as a powerbomb, thus it has been blended with those launched in the 1970's in mind. There is bergamot, but not in fashion with what was later set by CK's Eternity, thus the lavander and the petitgrain can be the reason why the opening, although harsh as in the aromatics, feels original when worn nowadays. What follows is not very complex in character, but the geranium, the carnation and the vetiver lead the way - these feel pungent to the nose. Talcum-powder basenotes follow, finally setting in the very light animalic notes. In summary, not the way "bold" would mean as in classic scents launched during the 1980's, but it certainly can be described as such, albeit with a twist that could be described as original maybe due to the fact it was blended under the fashion of its time: after all, this is the kind of scent that wearing it makes me travel to the past.

    I can't assure anyone that blends in the 1970's shared much of S attributes, but I experience a sort of feeling that tells me this might not be far from the truth.

    23 May, 2011

    obscura's avatar

    United States United States

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    Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    If you aren't familiar with what benzoin smells like, just catch a whiff of Absolue pour le Soir. AplS is a dense, sticky overdose of resinous/vanillic benzoin paired with miniscule touches of incense, cumin, and woods. To me, the overall impression from start to finish hovers somewhere in between snuffed-out candle and pastry dough, as if you were baking croissants in a claustrophobic room in the basement of a cathedral.

    While I normally love the warmth, depth and illusion of salt that benzoin brings to perfumes, Kurkdjian overdoes it here, resulting in a heavy, cloying composition. AplS seems to be composed almost entirely of base notes, with nothing effervescent or ethereal to balance off the darkness, but as a result the fragrance lasts forever. Despite what some of the other reviews say, I don't find this particularly animalic or bodily, but it is far from squeaky clean. As a work of art, I find AplS admirable (it is definitely not boring), but in the end I don't find it as finessed as similar heavy orientals in the Lutens line.

    23 May, 2011

    obscura's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

    Is this a joke? Tobacco Vanille is nothing other than a bottled version of the masculine fantasy of sitting in a tufted-leather wingback chair in front of a fireplace, with a cigar/pipe in one hand and a glass of 25-year-old scotch in the other. This isn't art, it is caricature, albeit pretty well done.

    TV is huge and loud and cloying, shouting, "TOBACCO! CLOVES! VANILLA!" at the top of its lungs. To be honest, though, after it settles down about three hours later, I find it quite enticing (but that is mostly because I like to imagine myself inside the aforementioned fantasy). Would I ever buy this? Probably not, but I will probably never need to--TV is so loud two drops out of my 4 ml sample lasts for days.

    23 May, 2011

    elmatador75's avatar

    United States United States

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    Hugh Parsons (Blue) by Hugh Parsons

    Gin and tonic with a bit of pencil shavings. I first encountered this at Nordstrom's a few years ago and it made me realize I was heading toward a serious, nuanced appreciation of fragrances. Looking back, I now admit that Blue is a bit linear. But, the lead and juniper scent I discovered years ago still invokes positive feelings. This is a business man's fragrance. Masculine, crisp, direct, refined and understated. My only qualm lies with the notion that it needs something more in the middle to make it a true classic. I enjoy wearing this with a grey suit and white tie. It is not a fragrance to attract the ladies at a club. But, you will convey authority and sophistication at the office with this one. If only Hugh Parsons could create a flanker and release a mixture of Blue and Guerlain's Vetiver, a new classic will be introduced.

    23 May, 2011

    aoe's avatar

    Austria Austria

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    Ambrette 9 by Le Labo

    The opening with a distinct note of apples that lingers all the while is nice, but soon the powdery smell of (I assume) the amberette dominates. It's a smell I could tolerate in others, but would not necessarily use on my own. I could imagine using it in solidarity with a baby powdered up to the ears, though I'd more likely try to find unflavored powder.
    I bought this with lots of other Le Labo samples, admittedly without realising the intended use - then again I'm all against reading and assigning labels anyway, trying to become androgny incarnate ;-)

    23 May, 2011

    sarıpatates's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    It begins very sweet and cloying, and frankly loses me right there and then. I like sweetness only when I think it's balanced.

    Naturally there is bias, as I wouldn't mind over the top spices, resin or green fragrances that would choke other people. Sweetness is what makes me call for some citrus, bitterness, smoke or something contrasting.

    This is in essence a gourmand musk, which sounds like a terrible idea to me. This combination also cost me Caron's 3me homme, which employs gourmand musk in its composition. I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but to my nose it is also very cloying and it almost physically blocks my nostrils.

    Subjectivity is what matters here, so a thumbs down from me without regret.

    23 May, 2011

    redrose's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    En Avion by Caron

    Well named, this scent certainly smells like the inside of a plane, and not in a good way. As I sniff, I imagine I'm on a cheap holiday jet with not-very-clean bathrooms and leaking aircraft fuel. Someone has just plonked a smoky leather jacket on the seat next to mine, and it reeks like an ashtray. Add to that the smell of cheap soap from the open bathroom door, and I begin to feel quite literally sick to my stomach. This is the reformulated version and in EdT form, but even so, I can't believe this was ever a good fragrance or that anyone would want to wear it. I smell like a stranded holidaymaker who's been forced to sleep in the airport lounge for several nights! Never again!

    23 May, 2011

    rickbr's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Nombre Noir by Shiseido

    If you expect Nombre Noir to be a fragrance from another world, considering the amazing reviews available elsewhere, you may get disappointed after paying considerably for a small mini of the edp or even a sample of the parfum. My advice is to approach Nombre Noir considering that it`s a fragrance aligned with the tastes of that era - the beginning of eighties, with big, dramatic aromas and the late aldeihidic florals of the 70`s. Nombre Noir seems to have something of both worlds. What amazes me in Nombre Noire is how classical it`s and how true to the lutens expression the fragrance remains. It`s a complex fragrance, with several layers, starting with a sparkling-candle aldehidic aroma, going to the rose phase and ending in a woody-chypre base. The aldehidic floral aroma makes it remember classical fragrances, like the original Madame Rochas. But Lutens twist the structure by doing the saturation of notes that would be his signature to the other fragrances he would create. There is an intense amount of rose and osmanthus, which gives the fragrance a dark, winey and dramatic aroma.
    The edp and parfum have difference on this interpretation; the edp seems more classical, less intense on the dark rose aspects, while the parfum seems more saturated, with a galbanum-like beginning and the base more in evidence to hold the wine intense rose accord.
    Nombre noir will probably live up the expectations if you are a fragrance coinosseur or like fragrances in this vein. It`s, with Feminite du Bois, a good way of understand the characters of lutens' style that would be explored in his fragrances. If it`s a legend, well, i`m not capable of judge it, but if it`s a solid and elegant classic fragrance that i`m happy to had a chance of try it and that i would wear if it were still produced today.

    23 May, 2011

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Jaïpur pour Homme Fraîcheur by Boucheron

    Not very interesting yet quite pleasant. The citrus-bergamot opening of the original version is here emphasized to give the "fraicheur" effect. Spices have been brutally smoothered to almost disappear. Lighter powdery drydown. Nice but unneeded.

    Go for the original!

    23 May, 2011

    Ariadne's avatar



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    A*Men Pure Havane by Thierry Mugler

    I am a lady fond of masculine gourmands and Thierry Mugler offers me two phantastic ones to enjoy : Pure Malt + Pure Havane.
    When I bought PH blindly I was afraid at first that it might be too similar to PM and that I would invest my money for the same stuff in two different bottles.
    I can assure you I did not.

    The two fragrances are similar in the sense of sweet-gourmand-extravagant but they differ in their overall notes.
    Whereas PM is pure caramel and dark chocolate on me Pure Havane is honey, honey, honey and a bit of tobacco. To be frank I do not smell much of the tobacco at all. The honey is powerful but very nice. Could not stop sniffing my wrist where I sprayed PH on.

    The strange thing is : I detest the original A*Men, it is harsh, bitter and chemically sweet on me and tarry.

    If you think you might like Pure Havane you should not hesitate too long...otherwise the only supply will be expensive offers at the bay.

    23 May, 2011

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    MCM 24 Morning by MCM

    Interesting! MCM 24 Morning, to me, smells like a mixture of Paco XS and Fierce by Abercrombie and Fitch. While that combination may sound lethal, it actually does smell kind of nice. There's a large chemical note, which is where I notice similarities to Fierce, and there's also a big musk note in the drydown. Alas, it's nothing too exciting, and if you already own XS or Fierce I really see no reason in owning this.

    Longevity and sillage are very good.

    23 May, 2011

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Nobile by Gucci

    I had Gucci Nobile as a gift from a good friend on Fragrantica and what a surprise! It's rapidly becoming one of my favourite non-powerhouse fragrances from the past together with Insensè, Givenchy's Vetiver and Le Troisieme Homme. AMAZING!

    Gucci Nobile is a great alternative to the vulgar ostentation of opulence and to the "straight in the face" attitude of pretty popular and pretentious niche brands I won't name here. In this world dominated by "Greed" and ignorance, GN is the perfect fragrance for the laidback guy who doesn't need to shout out loud his charisma and elegance. He's self confident, cultured, mannered but not affected, generous, traditionalist but not a pharisee, aknowledged, discreet...and noble.

    A CLASSIC fougère with herbaceous notes, tobacco, citruses and a slight touch of lavander that's incredibly delightful. Gucci Nobile surely deserves a place in the "classic fragrances olympus" . Sadly discontinued. I guess Frida Giannini won't hear us...

    Absolutely recommended!

    23 May, 2011

    brightpearl's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Mitsouko by Guerlain

    Mitsouko has become my perfume in a way that no other perfume has before. I adore it. This is the one which fetches the most compliments too. It works as an everyday perfume for me in the climate of The Netherlands.

    I use the EDP. Mitsouko is the only perfume in my collection that I desire to have in the perfume formulation and I can hardly wait to find a bottle.

    I can only imagine what a masterpiece the original formulation must have been.

    23 May, 2011

    TwoWordReviews's avatar

    United States United States

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    Red Aoud by Montale

    Montale. Sweetened.

    It's classic Montale but with a twist. Recall that album when your favorite band took its music in a new direction? You recognized the vocals, recognized the signature guitar riffs, but it just sounded different somehow? That's this fragrance.

    You get the strong, dark, almost rubbery aoud smell so identified with Montale right off the top. But you also get something quite uncharacteristic: sweetness. It's vanilla, it's honey, it's edible, it's utterly delicious, but it's roasting over a smoldering campfire of aoud. Fascinating. Intoxicating. Unexpected. And very, very good.

    23 May, 2011

    aoe's avatar

    Austria Austria

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    Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

    I wouldn't want to wear this every day, but it's a fascinating scent and one that I will likely revisit when the time is right - maybe in somewhat cooler weather, although the opening burning/tarry note has a certain summer feel in that it evokes machinery operating in the hot sun (like some of the older tram cars used here in Vienna - I love the city and vintage public transport, so for me that is not bad).

    After the tar/patchouli I still find more smoke, but the smell gets a distinct tobacco note, I seem to perceive some sandalwood and gorgeous, gorgeous vanilla. With a few quick sprays from the test vial it seems to last for a long time.

    To me the scent starts very unsweet but with the vanilla/sandalwood gets less so (i. e. a bit sweeter) over time. It was clearly noticeable even outside, so there's definitely some sillage.

    23 May, 2011

    fragranceseeker's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Horizon by Guy Laroche

    Discontinued apparently, I bought this as a trial cheapy, costing £5 (around $8?) for 50ml(1.7 oz). I have worn it for the last 3 days, and received compliments from women on each of those days - enough said? maybe not. I do like woody fragrances, and this one scores in spades for me, as does the longevity.I have Givenchy Xeryus in my collection, and this is similar, and maybe was designed to be so, as Xeryus was possibly designed to capture some of the YSL Kouros wearers? Anyway, for me this is ASTONISHING value at the price paid, and I bought lots of it while it was available at this price. I will wear it with confidence.

    23 May, 2011

    fumes4ever's avatar



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    Gaiac 10 by Le Labo

    I can't get too excited about this stuff and certainly wouldn't spend a fortune to own it. It smells like something but I can't recall what, another fragrance, I mean. Somewhere out there there's somethin' a lot cheaper you could be wearing instead and smelling pretty much the same. I just can't put my finger on what it is

    23 May, 2011

    Dame Piglet's avatar



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    Dream Angels Heavenly by Victoria's Secret

    I have a mini bottle and tried it just to figure out what all the hoopla was about. It opens with a very harsh cleaning product smell. I didn't wash it off because I was hoping some great reward was waiting for me at drydown.

    It dried down to a banal, slightly floral, slightly powdery scent. Not offensive, but not alluring either. Perhaps my chemistry is very different from average and the scent is wonderful on others. I will not buy a full sized bottle unless someone specifically asks for it as a gift.

    23 May, 2011

    adrienn99's avatar



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    Miele Rosa by I Profumi di Firenze

    this smells really weird on my skin, most probably chemistry. but it smells like a woman who did not bathe down there for a while. :s sample before go full bottle.

    23 May, 2011

    Sly88's avatar

    United States United States

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    Angel by Thierry Mugler

    I like this its very masculine and feminine equally so it should be Unisex because Im a man and I wear it all the time and its more masculine than some of my other colognes lolz but its great it smells like a chocolate candy shop with a hint of berrries and plums and some patchouli and little bit of honey. If anyone like gourmand scents this for U but becareful this thing projects like a titanic so watch how much u spray on U or U will suffocate but im very happy to own this fragrance!

    23 May, 2011 (Last Edited: 30th May, 2011)

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma

    Great fruity-floral with a very feminine temperament and a slightly green bold substance. The smell is natural under my perception and the outcome very feminine and lush, with a lot of distinguishable nuances. The transition among the elements is natural and progressive without any trace of plasticity or gummy artificiality. I smell, as Off-Scenter does, the similarities with several of the green Annick Goutal's florals which use to be less floral, more marshy and boise. The opening is decidedly lemony (in to a luxurious and somewhat classically aristocratic way), hesperidic, vaguely aldehydic and sour but not in a bursting muscular way. In a while infact the woody floral heart starts to develop its feminine softer edge. The suavity of magnolia appears prominent and its femininity is enhanced by the "perfumey" classic link between jasmine, rose, tuberose and woodsy patchouli. The sensuality is clear and an hint of vetiver increases the autority of the aroma. A stable cedarwood affords substance and severity while the insertion of final vanilla provides soft silkiness for the woody floral mildness. The presence of magnolia, rose and vanilla turns the jasmine in a suave and dreamy way and this approach reminds me the softness of the darker Jasmine Noir. Magnolia Nobile is a well crafted fragrance with all the olfactory knowledge of the renowned italian brand.

    23 May, 2011 (Last Edited: 06 July, 2014)

    Redbeard's avatar

    United States United States

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    Oscar de la Renta pour Lui by Oscar de la Renta

    Kind of a fruity powerhouse? It opens with some of Herrera for Men's pomegranate / berry, fruity christmas-wreath vibe, but on top of much darker, sharper woods and herbs. This, like Calvin, is a powerhouse that for me is redeemed by the relative lack of the most bitter, acrid notes often found in this genre. As it goes on, it gets more leathery and less piney, starting to resemble Bel Ami quite a bit, but while Bel Ami brings warm colors to mind (brownish orange?), Oscar Lui has more blue and purple notes from the cool fruitiness. I also like the fact that I don't find much anise, but a lot of clove and nutmeg; the spice mixture is fairly in-line with my tastes. The main objection I have by the base is that it's too medicinal, like the fruit is from berry-flavored cough syrup. Still, intriguingly complex. While this genre isn't really my thing, I think it could be quite a good pick for a leather lover! [P.S.: based on numerous threads, my mini is the vintage version.]

    24 May, 2011

    SexPanther's avatar

    United States United States

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    Artisan by John Varvatos

    I walked into sephora and walked out 5 mins later with this colonge. I sprayed it and fell in love with this scent. It lasts abt 4hrs on my skin so i refresh during the day, but i cant complain because its such a soothing scent.

    24 May, 2011

    Showing 631 to 660 of 905.