Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Antihéros by Etat Libre d'Orange

Wow! Lavender overload. A high quality lavender explodes out of the bottle. It is a little musky, I think, which contributes nicely to the quality. The lavender tones down, as a normal lavender does, to a point where it acts smoothly in conjunction with the musk and cedar. The new accord is far too normal for Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance – it is also rather generic… excellent quality and very pleasant, but not unique. Later, the woods move further into the accord, and the lavender is pretty much gone.
Antiheros lasts quite well for a lavender fragrance; the initial lavender blast is temporary... it settles down nicely. The remainder of Antiheros is quite discreet and perfect for a pleasant, quality office scent. I enjoy the fact that this fragrance doesn’t add vanilla to the lavender – I dislike that combination. Lavender isn’t my favorite, but this one deserves a thumbs up.
28th August, 2015

Light Blue Pour Homme Living Stromboli by Dolce & Gabbana

Rather attractive opening accord – a sharp, sweet, aquatic, plus a direct lychee note provide for a likable simplicity. I don’t get musk, per se, but there is something sweet augmenting the lychee’s sweetness. The movement to the “floral” middle makes for a bit lowering of the timbre of the opening… the scent has come to operate at a lower sharpness level. I’m not sure I can identify either the iris or the Osmanthus, and the deeper timbre doesn’t do much to lessen the aquatic character of the scent, which by now are getting a bit annoying because the aquatics are even more synthetic that most aquatic notes. The base lowers the vibrations of the fragrance even more, and to the point where I feel the scent has finally settled into a comfortable feeling… the aquatic has finally given up, much to my relief. Light Blue Living Stromboli is pretty much an average aquatic. I don't have very high expectations for aquatics, so I'm going neutral on this one.
28th August, 2015

Tam Dao Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

I own and love the first Tam Dao, and I’m well aware that it is not really a sandalwood fragrance… it is a cedar fragrance. As far as sandalwood goes, this EdP is much, much closer to the real thing. This is a classic Mysore sandalwood and it is superb… Although this is not a SOLO sandalwood, it features a clean, creamy sandalwood note that plays no games. On my skin, the sandalwood rules, assisted by a quite subtle cedar. The other notes – lime coriander, ginger, musk, vanilla, and amber play only minor support roles to the sandalwood – noticeable but non-interfering with the sandalwood. The wood accord has a gentle projection and a rather short longevity. Outside of that understandable and forgivable flaw, this is pure sandalwood enjoyment. I doubt I’ll be wearing the EdT very often anymore.
28th August, 2015
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No. 5 Eau Première by Chanel

I recognized this as similar to N° 5 at first sniff – must be the aldehydes… there’s quite of hit of it, but they don’t last long before the opening settles down to a more-modern-than-no. 5-tenor. The floral (rose and jasmine) heart is beautiful… and of the quality I would expect from Chanel. I think what makes the heart so outstanding is the influence of a delicate vetiver from the base upon the balanced, quality rose / jasmine accord. The base is a simple, clean vanilla and vetiver – excellent... might be a little too transparent for my tastes, still I cannot fault it. N° 5 Eau Premiere is simply beautiful and it's a more casual and wearable presentation of the original N° 5: This is how flankers should be made.
28th August, 2015

La Vaniglia by Bois 1920

They do rock! Lively opening… aromatic and strangely rich. The listed top notes – citrus, mint, and pepper – don’t account for the depth of the opening. It must be that the patchouli and incense from the heart accord are showing up upon spraying, giving the opening a wood / resinous platform for the bergamot and mandarin to do their citrus stuff and the amazingly restricted mint to provide just enough contrast to make this rocking top of the pyramid.

Oddly enough, it’s the mint that first backs off of the top accord leaving a citrus, pepper, patchouli and restrained incense to form the dominant accord of La Vaniglia along with a clean vanilla note from the base.

I don’t smell much of the pepper of the opening – I never do. I don’t smell the heart’s listed ginger– I don’t miss it. I don’t get much incense, but I would swear that there’s more than a touch of labdanum or myrrh with amber shadowing the whole fragrance – I haven’t decided which, but it is there!

Such a pleasant, satisfying scent this is. My first thought was that an accord this pleasant, light, and clean can’t possibly last very long, but its longevity is average – more proof of the myrrh.
28th August, 2015

Azzaro Duo Women by Azzaro

Very fruity opening. And the fruity nature sort of continues into the floral heart notes by means of the passion flower and orchid, so it remains sweet and rather yummy. This is pretty much of a pleasant linear scent from the opening to the base where it turns patchouli / cedar woody and generically but pleasantly sweet. Nothing extraordinary about Duo Women except its unusual bottle. Nice fragrance.
28th August, 2015

Animale Temptation Man by Animale Parfums

Temptation begins with an enjoyable citrus / coniferous accord accented by a clean lavender. Nice… but after fifteen minutes, there’s a dry period when not much seems to be happening… I suspect it’s when the musk has moved in (I am anosmic to some musks). The fragrance basically dies for me at that point, only to be picked up again about twenty minutes later when a peppery wood scent takes over the aroma duties. I guess this accord is the “exotic woods” accord – it’s quite nice, but it is extremely reticent. This base accord hangs on for an hour or so as a subtle skin scent.
Temptation would have been a good scent if it had a bit more substance at its core and a little better projection at the end.
28th August, 2015

Opus II by Amouage

A pleasant woody, spicy, amber reinforced by a quality (but recessive) frankincense note in a non-distinctive fougere structure: If you think that’s worth $350, go for it. Me… I’ll pass…
28th August, 2015

Opus I by Amouage

I don’t know… Opus I comes to me as one big glob of miscellaneous fragrance. Yes, it’s rich – might even say “opulent,” but I don’t sense any distinct form or function to its presence – it’s a big glob of a what I have come to feel is a disagreeable aroma. As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t ascribe an identifiable persona to the fragrance. It’s like Opus I is saying “opulence is enough…” I have problems with several notes in fragrances – leathers, birch, violet, and water lily – but there is nothing in the list of ingredients of Opus I that I tend to dislike. I can’t explain my aversion to this particular smell. Opus I is quite sweet; it is not really pleasant smelling; it is strong; but mainly for me it’s 350 dollars worth of “no thank you, I prefer not”…

Now I have to go and wash this off now…
28th August, 2015

Fate Man by Amouage

Woods, resins, deeply dry spices, frankincense, absinth, and cistus… this is serious stuff – about a serious as I’ve experienced in years. I’m rather intellectually awed by the opening, but as interesting as it is, it’s also a bit intimidating, I find that the saffron makes the undertone a tad too grungy for my tastes – but, unlike some of the other reviewers, it isn’t the cumin that I dislike – it’s the saffron… I still appreciate the depth, spiciness, and resins, but I’d enjoy the excellent Absinth note even more without the saffron.
The middle accord cleans up things for me. Again the accord is resinous, but this is the smoother resin. The aggression of the opening has ameliorated in the presence of everlasting flower, frankincense, lavandin, and copahu which come through cleanly, clearly, and richly. The accord is more intimidating that loveable, but it keeps drawing me back into its miasma.
The base presents more variety and depth and less resin than that which preceded. First there is a controlled sweetness that arrives by means of tonka bean and licorice, providing just enough sweet to broaden the diminishing resin. Then the excellent labdanum, cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk join in to complete the basenotes. The drydown is extremely long lasting and one of the best accord I’ve smelled in ages. I love the concept of this scent… but I’m not so sure about wearing it. I feel it might be too intimidating.
28th August, 2015

Curve Kicks for Men by Liz Claiborne

When I saw the note pyramid which included almost everything but the kitchen sink, I expected a synthetic bomb and I cringed before I applied it to my skin. I didn’t need to cringe – it’s not that bad… in fact, it comes across as a more or less pleasant scent. It’s synthetic but the synthetics are tolerable.
In spite of the seventeen ingredients mentioned in the pyramid, Curve Kicks seems a bit thin to me. If all those notes are there, you can’t prove it by me. The top accord depends on aquatics, mint, and ginger with a tiny help from some citrus synthetic. It’s not bad… but I can tell immediately that there is not enough substance in the accord to keep it going very long – in fact, “lack of substance” is the main problem or the entire fragrance.

The middle accord hands itself over primarily to the cedar note – and, oh yes, there’s a little labdanum synthetic underscoring the cedar. Very little amber there – it’s not too sweet, and I applaud that, what sweetness appears, seems to come from a light, pleasant musk. Again, the main problem with this accord is its lack of solid olfactory substance.

The base peters out way too quickly. What I can catch of it is a neutral wood base sweetened by a mild musk. It’s okay, but very generic, quite synthetic, and a bit too short-lived. I would think that this should probably be more than a skin scent. I noticed what sentimus said about Iceberg Twice, so I got out my bottle of that… He’s right on all accounts – Curve Kicks is similar to Iceberg Twice; it is less complex, with poorer sillage, and less lasting power than Iceberg Twice; and Iceberg Twice does not have the synthetic aura that Curve Kicks has. Still Curve Kicks is not terrible – but there are many, many better ones out there.
28th August, 2015

Ocean Rain for Men by Mario Valentino

To say the least, Ocean Rain is very interesting scent. It is green, citrus, lavender, artemisia, and three-day-old sweat. I’m not sure how I respond to it except to say I am a tiny bit disgusted and a lot intrigued. After a couple minutes, when I pick up the marine notes of the middle accord, it’s fairly clear that the sweat comes from some combination of those marine notes in conjunction with the thyme, cyclamen, and artemisia. It’s not pretty… but I am still intrigued.

The marine notes grow to prominence for a while in the middle accord but relatively soon backs off to a spice / floral accord. Here’s another built-in conflict: the thyme and to a lesser extent, the recently introduced fir seem to contradict the tone-value of the florals – rose and cyclamen. The conflict is very real when sniffed on the skin but the sillage reacts differently… it carries a shifting pattern of florals and dry spice with the marine notes faded a bit into a cool background – it’s actually an impressive experience.

Ocean Rain’s drydown is a light amber / leather /moss affair that eventually becomes a slightly resinous skin scent: rather rich, rather masculine with moderate sillage and moderate longevity.
28th August, 2015

Carbon [6C] by Nu_Be

What a surprise! The last Nu_be fragrance I tested – Nu_be Mercury – made me nauseous. This one, Nu_be Carbon, is not only tolerable, it’s quite desirable. It opens spicy and bright – ginger, cardamom, chili pepper, iris and resins. They are all there in an effervescent, wearable accord. It is a seriously spicy-resinous accord, and yet it is not over-the-top… and it is beautifully refined. This first accord lasts about an hour with ebbing sillage, and then continues on as a heart and base with an iris / sandalwood texture backgrounded by a soft ginger / cardamom. This subtle, elegant textured aspect lasts for another two or three hours on the skin (longer on clothing). It eventually tapers to a dry sandalwood / maybe-floral conclusion – I love the smell. I’ve smelled the heart / drydown before – it was a local product – it was my favorite body wash when I lived in Taiwan – it was called 碳 … “Carbon.”
28th August, 2015
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Clean Skin by Demeter Fragrance Library

Yes, it does smell like clean skin – clean skin that hasn’t been rinsed completely after a bath or shower – there’s still a trace of soap there – not that I mind the soap. I smell mainly a combination of orange and white rose, and it is remarkable how it smells like skin. The scent is very light and lasts for about forty-five minutes or an hour. I enjoy this one. (Using the perfume oil version.)
28th August, 2015

Lumière Noire pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The first thing I smell is a combination of cumin and cinnamon – a rather unusual combination that I would have a difficult time getting used to if it remained for very long, but no problem there. Then the Artemisia enters in along with the patchouli and the accord becomes downright enjoyable: and this turns out to be primary accord.

Five notes – cumin, artemisia, rose, cinnamon, and patchouli – dominate an accord that holds elements of each in an excellent balance. To me one of the sides of the aromatic pentagon is lesser that the other four – I find the rose side lacking in intensity, it is hit and miss in performance on my skin. The other four form a shimmering interplay that unfortunately doesn’t last very long.

The projection of the middle accord is a little shallow and the fragrance has longevity problems: Lumiere Noire PH simply doesn’t last very long before it’s a skin scent which lasts a couple of hours. It is an intriguing accord… translucent, warm, sensual, and a bit mysterious. It is the thumbs-up kind of aroma I would be able to enjoy over an extended period… too bad its longevity is so it's a neutral for me.
28th August, 2015

Lucky Number 6 by Lucky Brand


I like several of these inexpensive fragrances – but this isn’t one of them. I think it’s the combination pineapple / watery note in the opening that turns me off – just too plastic for my taste. And then there’s the gingerlily… I never did get along with them. These synthetic ambiances hang around for the total run of the fragrance, so I pretty much have to sign this one off on Lucky Number 6. I guess “6” isn’t my lucky number. One thing about it: it smells much better on my clothes than on my skin.
28th August, 2015

La Collection Croisiere : Paris Seychelles by Pierre Guillaume

I've always considered the "yet classic" Kenzo Pour Homme a quite original take on the woodsy-ozonic theme and I still outline it, anyway...this Pierre Guillaume's Paris Seycelles seems to be (at least along its "front side", just before to deflect towards a ridiculously tropical-synthetic grassy/coconutty/syrupy-floral stuff) the closest "thing" to Kenzo Pour Homme I've ever smelled (despite this fragrance is still far to be considered such a Kenzo Pour Homme's twin or clone). A top blast of galbanum/labdanum, salty notes, fruity notes, floral notes (lily of the valley, tuberose and jasmine in particular), fir balsam, spices and a Kenzo Pour Homme's flashback activates my olfactive synapses. The effect is anyway fleeting since while Kenzo settles on a sort of aromatic-woodsy dimension surrounded by a "salt-seaweeds driven aura", Paris Seycelles morphs down in to a sort of aromachemical-based warm/plastic fruitiness longly kind of lactonic/xerox toner-like and more than vaguely acid and grassy. It takes a while before a more tamed sort of soapy-floral dimension starts performing its balmy-greenish overly-synthetic effect. It seems to detect a sort of ylang-ylang's presence all around. Unfortunately I tend to dislike all these sort of sultry-soapy experiments, even more if fruitiness (kind of peachy in this case) is intrusive and the floral presence is kind of "saccharinic" (as in this case). The floral dry down smells like a syrupy sort of tuberose/jasmine/musk/orange dominant accord (with ylang-ylang's traces) vaguely (but in a far worse way) a la Bruno Acampora Blu. Not for me despite I appreciate generally Pierre Guillaume, especially in its earlier performances for Parfumerie Generale (Intrigant Patchouli, Coze 02, Aomassai 10, Harmatan Noir, L'Ombre Fauve).
28th August, 2015

Villa Ocre by Pascal Morabito

Given the name and the slightly outdated packaging echoing (probably unvoluntarily) Haschisch Men by Veejaga, I was expecting some mild and uninteresting sort of herbal/pine fresh fougère. Well, Villa Ocre is a whole another story on the contrary. It opens as a surprisingly pleasant kind of carbon-copy of many “cold”, sharp incense-cedar fragrances like Comme des Garçons Kyoto, or Christian Lacroix Tumulte – and like for the Lacroix, the packaging has quite nothing to do with the fragrance. Albeit a bit derivative, Villa Ocre is quite much enjoyable; slightly warmer than the two (and similar) abovementioned fragrances, extremely smooth and nice to smell on yourself, unobtrusively simple and refined in its crisp incense-wood structure. But there’s something more going on, which makes it slightly more peculiar than it seems at first – it’s not just about a couple of smooth woody aromachemicals. There is a warm, spicy, mildly sweet vibe coming from an orange-infused accord of cardamom and I think some mild resins too, which as the evolution progresses, takes a bit more prominence slowly turning Villa Ocre into a mellow, and quite interesting blend of a Kyoto-style “contemporary” balsamic incense with something spicier and warmer like Cartier’s Declaration - finally to the point it ends on a drydown which is basically a more transparent, balsamic and incense-y version of Declaration tinted with orange and cheap vetiver. Nothing groundbreaking, but informally elegant and pleasantly compelling to say the least.

7/10
28th August, 2015

Tango by Masque

I like it.....but. Well, it is certainly a rich fragrance with lots of spices, balsams, and some faint animalic note. It opens boozy and vanilla plays along for a long period. It smelt rather perfect when I tried it on paper.

However on my skin, there is a huge rubbery note that appears quite soon after the opening and lasts for a long time. I didn't sense it so much on paper, but on my skin it is prominent. The note becomes somewhat annoying and overpowers the other notes....unfortunately. I recommend to try it on your skin before you commit.

It is a long lasting fragrance with medium projection. Unisex, but leans more towards masculine I would say.
28th August, 2015

Rocco per Lui by Roccobarocco

Actually the review I'm going to "draft" in here is appointed for the amazing and nowadays kind of mysteriously dodgy (supposedly discontinued) Rocco Barocco Edt for men (silver box) and not for Rocco Per Lui which could also possibly represent a reformulation of the classic Rocco Barocco for men (I just may suppose it since I'm not sure about). Actually I detect in here a floral incensey-aromatic (musky-honeyed-ambery-aldehydic) fougere which could abstractly "recall" the noted listed below for Rocco Per Lui. Anyway this fragrance smells under my nose (for the main part of its development) really close to vintage Ysl Kouros being actually aldehydic-aromatic (kind of minty-soapy), dirty-animalic, cold, incensey, sharply floral and musky. Rocco Barocco is less bombastic and probably "easier" than kouros but the central musky-honeyed-soapy-aldehydic structure is almost identical. The Rocco Barocco's aroma conjures me remarkably the one of Kouros anyway since I get in here all that aldehydic power (oozing a sort of cold soapy vibe), the animalic dirtiness, the cold-incensey spiciness, the aromatic herbal Ysl's performance and all that classically chypre "vintage" barber-shop soapy/animalic (slightly honeyed and leathery) muskiness a la Paco Rabanne classic or stuffs like that. The dry down smells like the most classic neutral-soapy and musky-green gentleman "cologne" with a touch of tonka-vanilla, an honeyed-waxy soapiness and probably hints of leather. In this phase the aroma is less close to Kouros and more connected to a traditional mossy-waxy-aldehydic chypre a la Monsieur Rochas, Arrogance Pour Homme or to neo-classic experiments a la Cologne Reloaded Maai. Excellent ensign of a disappeared golden age.

P.S: the more this juice evolves the more its aroma turns out dirty, ambery, vaguely "acidic", darkly mossy and animalic (it seems to detect a blend of honey, ambergris, black musk and castoreum), really compelling and pheromonal. Fantastic.
27th August, 2015 (last edited: 28th August, 2015)

Love by By Kilian

If I had read the reviews before trying it, I may have been persuaded to concede that the initial impression was "damnit, now I need a shower!...and a metformin!"

However, that not having been the case, I allowed the notes to unfold, and found my skin accepted this as a beautiful neroli (what TF's only wish it could achieve!) and jasmine flower bomb (no reference to that hot mess). I suppose I should count myself lucky as some reviewers found this to be a toothache in the making, and having suffered through many of those scents, I can surely empathize...just not with this one, this time.

It is truly rare for a neroli to "stick" to me like this one is doing...is it a trick of synthetics? Will I suffer a migraine later? Who knows...only time will tell...I'll keep testing this one, and update this review as I make more observations.

9:21 am the next morning: HOLY COW! This thing does now wear off or wear down! I'm not sure I can handle it! Also, this morning, it smells like marshmallow fluff!!! What in the name of Sam is happening?? Why did it smell like neroli and jasmine last night and now I feel as though I'm in a fun-house? This is wrong. I will not be able to handle this. Maybe I could cut it with some lemon pledge?
27th August, 2015

Bleecker Street by Bond No. 9

One of those ubiquitous grassy-green pseudo-aquatic designer scents that smells rather pleasant from a distance, but gratingly annoying up close with the house trademark woody amber base fixative overload. Yes, it succeeds in extending the scent's longevity but considering the base's abrasive and overbearingly synthetic profile? No, thanks. I'll pass. My non-perfumista wife sums it even more succinctly - with a sneeze.
27th August, 2015

Shalimar by Guerlain

My family is mostly show people and jazz musicians, and when I was little there were often colorful characters hanging around, HOW colorful I didn't find out until later.

One of them was an older English lady named Mae, who had a white poodle. Apparently she was the madam in a high-end brothel. Sometimes we'd go to Mae's apartment, which had the most extraordinary smell of years and years of Shalimar permeating every surface + unwashed dog. That was my first Guerlain experience. (The second was a Pekingese that smelled of Mitsouko. True - not trying to be funny.)

So it took a very long time before I could really consider Shalimar on its own merits, and even then, its skanky facet was off-putting to me, because I kept smelling unwashed dog! In retrospect, Mae's poodle may not have been that dirty, and it might have just been her vintage Shalimar. I really never thought I'd become a Shalimar person, even though I have lots of history with the other vintage Guerlain greats.

The Ode a la Vanille (Mexique) ended up being my gateway drug, because the vanilla in that version is so smoky and dense and wonderful that I could stick with it, and now I've learned to love even the skank of Shalimar proper.

I do continue to prefer that limited edition, yet I've come to own and love the EDC, as well, because that version also features a very smoky vanilla, and ends up wearing as mostly that. Plus it's often available inexpensively in the drugstore! Coming around to Shalimar has actually had a fantastic effect on my perfume spending habits, for while I still find new things that I like, when I ask myself, "but would you be likely to NOT wear Shalimar to wear this instead?" it's just a no.

27th August, 2015

Bohemian Spice by April Aromatics

I struggled to find the appeal in Bohemian Spice other than the fact that it is very well constructed for an all-natural composition. It features a melange of dry herbaceous spices over a base of vetiver and patchouli. Well, so do a half dozen others with more wallet-friendly price tags. It brings nothing new to the table.

Coming off the back of my recent review of Sharif, Bohemian Spice feels decidedly less refined, more organic. Aptly named perhaps but for what it does I can't help but feel it is ridiculously priced.
27th August, 2015

Sharif by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

'Sharif' is an aspirational composition that attempts to capture the the spirit of nobility in its refined approach to crafting what I feel to be a private, almost bespoke fragrance. It feels luxurious yet without any of the customary ostentations, deftly weaving together natural essences that at one point or another comes across as herbal-spicy-floral-leathery, warm-resinous-ambery, even chypre-like mossy.

What I admire most about Sharif is its well-articulated sense of refinement, its quiet confidence and almost retro-traditional masculine appeal. For the strong and silent types out there, don't miss out on this hidden gem of a scent.
27th August, 2015

Patchouli Impérial by Christian Dior

This opens very spicy - it's a good spicy! Heavy, and could be a bit surprising if you were not prepared, though.

The spicy subsides and flows easily into a beautiful patchouli. It is truly BEAUTIFUL! Ladies, do not be afraid of this! It is creamy, elegant, and really nice!

There is some wood...yes...wood...not sure that I would say I smell sandalwood, but what do I know? The patchouli may be mixing with it in such a way that I'm not able to identify it as sandalwood, but there is some sort of wood in here...

I like this. I really do. If anyone offers a split, I'll probably participate. I won't purchase an entire bottle, though. Not because I don't really enjoy it, but because I cannot imagine wearing it enough to justify 4.2 oz!

OK!! This just keeps getting better! Labdanum?!! Is that AMBER!!??? Good grief! I think I love this! Definitely unisex!
26th August, 2015

Bis by Rodin Olio Lusso

So, I received this in a sample trade, and decided to give it a spin without reading up on it. I thought it would be interesting to just sample it completely blind, unknowing of the notes or the expense.

The initial application is powerful - I get a blast of many notes, but all are surrounded by heavy powder. I don't get Iris specifically, but I can assume it is meant to be there (right?). There are a lot of sneezes after application. Mine and the dog's. I'm not so sure about this.

This is a busy day, so this review will be mainly written after the wearing, nit in real-time...which may be a good thing.

So, I've had the day, and it's still on me, so longevity is good. I could smell myself, so sillage is good (this was a bit of concern for me, as I felt a bit self-conscious, thinking if I can smell myself, others can certainly smell me!).

I really cannot pick out the notes in this. It feels "crowded". I'm not sure exactly what I'm smelling, but it is VERY powdery, and I am not smelling orris butter. I don't smell violets and I don't smell any clear-cut typical notes at all. Either I'm having a really off day, or this fume is just not well-structured. I suppose I could also be too green a nose to understand what I am smelling.

While it doesn't smell good, it doesn't smell bad. Giving it a neutral.
26th August, 2015

Égoïste Cologne Concentrée by Chanel

I read enough hype about this one to pay big money on ebay, but I don't like it more than Egoiste. It's a darker, maybe slightly sweeter, less-projecting version of Egoiste, similar in performance to the parfum versions of Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie; where I also prefer the less concentrated, greater projecting eau de toilette versions.
26th August, 2015

Oleg Cassini for Men by Oleg Cassini

Vintage Oleg Cassini for Men (1976) is a quite heavy classic chypre for man with an uncompromisingly virile and animalic woody/patchouli-centered soul and a plain sort of "vintage honeyed-spicy-mossy" temperament perfectly retracing the classic animalic-woody chypre tradition (Mitsouko, La Perla, Arrogance Pour Homme, Monsieur Rochas, Captain Molyneux, Moustache Rochas, Aramis Denim, Aramis, Geo F. Trumper Eucris, Gianfranco Ferre for man, Denim classic, Estee Lauder Azuree Pure and Knowing, 1000 Patou, Piguet Bandit etc). It smells like a mysterious, herbal-hesperidic, aromatic/barber-shop and retro mélange of wax, musks, roots, aromatic hesperides, amber, aldehydes and woods, overall encompassed by an almost liturgical and moldy spicy-incensey blanket. I get the Givenchy Gentleman's reference (due to a remarkable dry patchouli's presence) despite Oleg Cassini is richer and more focused on honey, waxy patterns and hesperides. In particular Oleg Cassini for men seems combining on my skin the classic Denim's stout bitter patchouli (Denim is the fragrance smelling closer to Oleg Cassini imo) with a final Gianfranco Ferre for Man's woodsy-mossy-leathery luxuriouness (I get the mossy-spicy vetiver in here) and a soapy-aldehydic kind of waxiness (and a mossy-aromatic patchouli as well) a la Arrogance Pour Homme. The miracle is how the final evolution manages to perform a quite balanced and light honeyed-animalic-aldehydic-rosey accord rich of forbidding class and old-school honeyed mossy classicism. I get a rich combination of sharp floral notes (a severe rose-geranium combo), oakmoss-labdanum, a dry spicy-aromatic-resinous patchouli and a luxurious accord of honey, animalic notes, hesperides, soft leather, woods and tobacco. Dry down is surprisingly aerial, translucent (almost dazzling a la Helmut Lang Cologne) and still softly honeyed and musky (yet at same time warm and visceral). There is anyway a darker dodgy soul kind of vintage and rooty-mossy (softly leathery). Slightly out of time this fragrance is anyway an example of perfectly orchestrated complexity in which a congeries of diverse notes seems ending down a softly flowing whiff of solemnity.
25th August, 2015 (last edited: 26th August, 2015)
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Empireo by Onyrico

Empireo opens with radiant, slightly sharp frankincense, supported by a brief blast of nose tingling orange bergamot citrus. Moving to the early heart the citrus vacates, leaving the remnants of the frankincense to support an emerging vague woody accord that takes the fore with additional almond-like heliotrope and dulled rose florals. During the late dry-down the composition turns moderately sweet as the florals give way to a relatively dry vanilla and amber led dry-down with the vague woods remaining in support through the finish. Projection is below average, but longevity is excellent at over 12 hours on skin.

Empireo is a tough composition to evaluate. The bergamot spiked frankincense open really smells quite good, and the heliotrope and rose florals in the early heart are certainly interesting and more than a bit different. The main problem with the composition lies in its use of slightly synthetic smelling vague woods. The woods have a bit of a dry sandalwood bent to them, but the accord doesn't quite smell like the sandalwood I am familiar with. Additionally, during the late dry-down the vanilla smells just a bit "off" from what one might expect. In this case "off" doesn't mean "bad," but it does smell quite different than most presentations of the ingredient and not particularly in a good way. The composition does smell reasonably appealing on the whole, but it is hard not to feel with some more tweaking it could have been significantly improved. At least one aspect is a vast improvement over other offerings in the Onyrico line, performance. Empireo's woods in particular are relatively tenacious, something severely lacking in the other Onyrico releases tried to date. The bottom line is the 160 Euros per 100ml bottle Empireo presents an almost split decision based on its up and down fragrance profile, but it has slightly more ups, earning it a "good" rating of 3 stars out of 5 and a modest recommendation.
25th August, 2015
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