Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Room Service by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Wait, I've smelled this before! The lobby of a certain hotel I've stayed at numerous times is always well dressed with fresh cut flowers, green spiked stems which precedes fastidiously pressed linens in the room for an overworked cleanliness - exactly what Vilhelm is reaching for here. Room Service smells very green, slightly floral with a steam pressed refinery of freshly done laundry. If you have in mind the need for a spring white floral and green fragrance, Room Service is one to try. Blackberry musk adds a tartness and green bamboo and violet leaves a dry cleanliness - a purity. The black amber and musk base is a bit of a Vilhelm Parfumerie signature that adds a Baltic Sea fresh woods and depth to the base. This is all fresh linen and spring floral greens. Rating is slightly lower for me than others I've tried from Vilhelm - 7 / 10 stars.
02nd December, 2015

Black Citrus by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Black Citrus has a cool biting patchouli that is very dry and soft and feels synthetic in some way but I think it may just be the cold Scandinavian aesthetic here. The effect of this scent is similar to fragrances such as Byredo M/Mink less the funk, or Mister Marvelous, or Bruno Fazzolari Lampblack which bears the closest resemblance with its cool otherworldly biting sharp cool dark tones. With the combination of violet leaf, birch, patchouli and cardamom how could this be anything but a sharp cutting edge wood blade with bergamot softening the path slightly. The scent lasts a very long time for a citrus, but its character is mostly of a dry biting wood incense. This is an excellent fragrance. One of the best I've tried this year.
02nd December, 2015

Smoke Show by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Typical of most Vilhelm perfumes, Smoke Show is a very dry, spartan, strident pure clean leather that is cold and warm with qualifying notes of vetiver, cedar wood and oud. There is a slight warmth at the opening which is influence from rose and pink pepper. Saffron leaves a high pitched chord with the rose but this is a smokey, powdery high toned leather all the way through. There is smoke but no fire, no tobacco. The only similar fragrance to it I recall is Frederic Malle's Dries Van Noten but without the sandalwood. The smoke is more powder from saffron and pink pepper - again no sandalwood. I like Smoke Show and recommend it. It is subtle and never shouts but keeps a very soft low profile. Very enjoyable and easy to live with.
02nd December, 2015
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Morning Chess by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Morning Chess (sub titled Verdant Swedish Summer) has a very clean, ethereal, vinyl, perfectly synthetic, sanitized otherworldly aroma at opening which is very nice to smell. It starts out clean and of the freshest leather ever smelled and just keep getting cleaner and more refined. It moves past leather into clean green but very dry and soft areas. I have to really stretch my imagination to believe the notes pyramid of: bergamot, tuscan leather, galbanum, patchouli and black amber although after I think about it for awhile I might be able to see these. The feeling or sensibility of Morning Chess is scandinavian, no frills, pure. Similar scents to this one? Mister Marvelous from Byredo is kind of similar, and both are from Swedish makers - interesting. The perfumer is Jerome Epinette who also has authored most of Byredo's perfumes as well as many for Atelier and Tom Ford. This is a very high quality fragrance and it is very original. If you like clean green scents and dry leather and abstract new scents you will probably like this one as much as I do. I had to have the bottle!
02nd December, 2015

Arctic Jade by Agonist

I'm not an Agonist's preconceptual detractor but this fragrance is not a stuff I'm comfortable to deal with by any way, at least since I tend to look for perfumes and not for moisturizing lotions or vanillic bath foams. Pleasant for sure (kind of soapy/cottony and with a secret translucent/iridescent radiancy) but zero structure and a general balmy collapse under my unsanctified (but usually more than tolerant) southern nose. First of all, I really don't get any arctic "nuance" in this vanillic/resinous/fruity basically sultry-exotic accord, apart an initial almost anisic/bitter/herbal/mentholated spark conjuring me far more an apothecary curative mixture than properly an aromatic northern atmosphere of the boreal Svalbard Islands. The Agonist Arctic Jade's first blast is indeed a bewildering cacophonous experience risking to kick you far away in the middle of an oceanic depression, a sort of soapy-resinous-spicy/vanillic (vaguely herbal/minty) geyser waving from Guerlain Shalimar or Habit Rouge Edp "first Edition" (the one with red leather wrapped bottle) to a bitter-fruity cough syrup. I get an "hopefully but invain guerlainesque" accord of hesperides, spices, earthy elements (patchouli for sure), resins (I get hints of olibanum) and balsams but overall the combination is turned out kind of massively by this overcharged presence of red fruits and sultry resins (synthetic ambrette seeds, Iso E Super woods and galaxolide). The general amalgam is linear, soapy, indeterminate, unsophisticated. Another juice jumping vaguely on mind could be Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre, a superior rosey-resinous combination of elements far more structured, multifaceted, subtle and velvety on my skin. Finally I get this flat juicy/soapy/powdery vanilla-opoponax accord basically fruity (red fruits/exotic fruits) and monothematic. May be hints of creamy tobacco are there while I don't get leather for sure in the general mess. It seems to get the aroma of a Badedas milky exotic bath foam (with vanilla, exotic fruits, ylang-ylang and something kind of coconutty in the mix). There is anyway a sort of secret chyprey talky/earthy/musky background partially redeeming the whole olfactory fatigue. Out of me discerning specific floral patterns (geranium, jasmine?? Boh). Sorry but this scent does not reach the honorable full mediocrity imo.
01st December, 2015
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Bois d'Argent by Christian Dior

Bois D’Argent is a very strange and unique fragrance, but difficult for me to describe. In the initial blast I get a green floral that seems almost compressed on the skin. These top notes don’t last long and at first your nose may not pick up any scent at all. Give it a few minutes though and a very warm amber starts to come out, jump starting the middle and base notes. This is when Bois D’Argent starts to really shine. The scent starts to open up with a complex blend of honey, leather, Myrhh, and delicate vanilla. It’s unlike anything I have smelled before and has such a comforting feel to it, almost ethereal and cloud-like. My best description is homemade ice-cream, mixed in with hay and wood shavings, drizzled with honey and burnt sugar. I get a lot of compliments on this one, and many of the people can’t describe what they smell. I see a lot of comments mentioning BDA not lasting long, but I disagree – It floats around like a cloud for hours on my skin, giving me sudden whiffs and morphing throughout the day. Amazing.
01st December, 2015

Cologne Indélébile by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Frederic Malle scents are really a mystery for me. Some smell nice, some smell cheap, some smell just as designer in a cheeky sleek-chic disguise. Cologne Indélébile falls halfway the last two categories for me – it smells a bit cheap, and it smells like something nearly any low-mid level cosmetics brand could make. Or probably has already made. Following the “eau de cologne” trend which seemed arising among niche brands in the past years – ah, the luxurious realm of creative freedom and pure artistry with no boundaries gifting us with long-awaited ripoffs of drugstore classics – Cologne Indélébile is, well, a very classic, very flat neroli-musk fresh scent with a delicate “laundry” feel of lavender and orange blossoms and an odd sort of nondescript aldehydic-woody base.The “grey” musk notes are rather strong, as soon as the zestier and rather pleasant citrus-neroli head notes tame down, that’s pretty much what you remain with. Sort of a clean, gentle, pleasantly dusty blossoms-infused musky drydown reminding me of Kurkdjian’s style, just tamer and drier. Just to be clear, Cologne Indélébile smells nice, but... I don’t know. I just really don’t see the point of paying so much for an astonishingly dull and uninspired sort of muskier take on 4711, or any (I mean it - any) other clean neroli-musk “eau de cologne” with no added value or higher quality - and surely no “niche” facet whatsoever, excluding the ridicolusly overpriced tag. It’s even wryly short-lasting. But who am I to judge - if it worked for Tom Ford, why shouldn’t it work for Fréderic too.

01st December, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Rose of No Man's Land by Byredo

I think this is one of the nicest 'roses' that a man can buy or smell of. POAL is gorgeous but quite feminine imo.

This rose is almost etiolated, but projects in a refined understated way -- more like rosewater than rosejam.

The peppers and amber are likewise enhancing like a whisper.

A lovely winter fragrance for men and the best thing from Byredo in a long time.
01st December, 2015

De Profundis by Serge Lutens

From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord!

Despite the chilling despair of Psalm 130 from which the title De Profundis (“From the Depths”) was taken, and the gloomy death poem that Oncle Serge sent out with it, there is nothing melancholic or funereal about De Profundis the perfume. That’s the problem with back-story in perfume – one association from the perfumer and our mind rushes to meet it, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Oncle Serge hadn’t mentioned death, nobody would be talking about this perfume using words such as death, sadness, melancholy, or funerals. But he did, and they do…

Actually, De Profundis is a rather classical piece of work, its chilly, wet green floral opening recalling in particular the muguet dampness of vintage Diorissimo and the hyacinth dewiness of Chamade. The opening notes are vivid and naturalistic – they made me gasp! You get the impression of a clump of flowers being ripped from the earth and being held up to your nose to inhale them, dripping wet roots, crushed stalks, stamens, clinging earth, dewy petals and all.

What flowers? Hard to tell, only that there is a wet, green, stemmy feel to them all – I sense the bitterness of crushed dandelion stalks, tulip bulbs, lily of the valley (the sweet, slightly soapy “white” scent of the flowers), sharp hyacinth, and later on, the fruity sweetness of violet petals. I don't know what chrysanthemums smell like, but perhaps they smell like a mixture of all these flowers. I find it to be a joyful, cheerful opening – akin to spring flowers pushing their way through the frozen earth and snow and into the sun.

Yes, the opening is great – wet, green, a bit wild, and definitely earthy. I am not really into purely floral fragrances, but I have to admit that more often than not it is the vivid, naturalistic florals that move me almost to tears – De Profundis achieved this, as did Ostara, En Passant, Sa Majeste La Rose, and Carnal Flower. There is something about the purity of the flowers in these perfumes - I get the same rush of emotion smelling them as I do smelling the flowers in nature. It is perhaps a long-buried spiritual drive within me, something that says, look here, look what nature created for you – look, smell! These perfumes move me because they replicate a tiny piece of that awe I get from nature and capture it in a bottle.

Ah, there I go, despite myself, talking about God and nature, etc., etc. Oncle Serge’s marketing for De Profundis must have worked on me after all.

Anyway, after a thrilling opening, De Profundis starts to deflate under the weight of its own gorgeousness. Floral notes of such dewy, crystalline beauty are very hard to keep aloft – they wilt as quickly as the real flowers do. Even as you are enjoying the savage, wet greenery of the start, the perfume starts to desiccate and shrink back onto itself, like the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East shriveling under the house that Dorothy dropped on her. An ocean of white musk rises to take the burden of the florals on its shoulders, and one hour in, only hot breathing on your white-musked-up skin will revive the ghost of the stupendous green flowers you were smelling before.

It’s such a shame! The same thing happens with Ostara, but that has a much better, creamier dry down that makes the experience more satisfying from beginning to end.

Nevermind. We live in an era where perfumers have to reformulate and take short cuts, and I suspect that this is the sort of gutting that has happened to De Profundis. I don’t mind re-spraying to get that initial burst of beauty, because it really is an opening that deserves to be relived over and over again.

To me, the opening of De Profundis spells out a message of hope – that alive things may emerge from the depths (“De Profundis”) of the black, cold earth after a long, hard winter. That life may begin again.

Despite myself, then, I am making the connection to Psalm 130. Of course, De Profundis is also the name of the letter that Oscar Wilde wrote in an agony of despair and rage to his former lover, Lord Alfred Douglas (“Bosie”), while in prison on charges of moral indecency (Lord Alfred Douglas being the same person who put him there). Tired and nervous from two years in jail under the ever-watchful eyes of cruel guards, Wilde wrote this letter page by page a month before his release, handing each page off at the end of the day because he wasn’t allowed to have books or papers with him in his room.

His letter is full of anger, hatred, and blame (for both himself and Bosie) but ultimately it seeks to lay out the terms for forgiveness. Just like Psalm 130, where the supplicant begs for God’s mercy to lift him out of the depths of his misery, so too is Wilde’s letter a plea to be allowed emerge once again into the light. I like to think that Wilde was able, one day, just outside his barred window, to smell the spring flowers pushing through scads of icy earth, and that he too sensed that there was hope for new life to crawl out of the depths.
01st December, 2015

Turtle Vetiver Front by LesNez

I can't smell the turtle in here. Vetiver, yes but turtle? Nada. Earlier reviews were indeed spot on - I get the same vetiver experience: raw, rooty-earthy and smoky-woodsy in the beginning but swiftly transitioning to a plush and somewhat creamy vetiver note.

Performance-wise it is acceptably average.

Ultimately TURTLE VETIVER FRONT is a gender-neutral fuss-free vetiver-centric scent, one that is easy to enjoy. And I did. But where's the turtle? Perhaps it lurks in the damp faintly musty algae-like note somewhere in the drydown.
01st December, 2015

Sandalwood by Yardley

What an interesting trick! The very opening of this Sandalwood is a mish-mash of citrus and spice but the progression moves very fast. Like actors taking places on a stage or a marching band spelling out letters with lines of students, the whole body quickly clicks into place and Voila! It's picture-perfect sandalwood - powdery, dry, woody, yet somehow a little creamy at the same time. At this point the citruses are so far receded into the composition as to be nearly unrecognizable, and the smooth amber-cinnamon-nutmeg team-up smells just like an isolated accord from the base of Bogner's beautiful Deep Forest. Projection is small and close as far as I can tell, and, being a Yardley release, the longevity is less than outstanding, but this is doubtless one of the best sandalwood recreations I've come across, and I would endorse it in a heartbeat if it wasn't all but extinct on the market.

Simply excellent stuff.
01st December, 2015

Aviation Club by Monsillage

The olfactory dimension of chaos. Monsillage Aviation Club opens by soon "problematically" with a "nondescript" (I mean ruffly) blast of soapy/resinous aromachemicals, mellow fruity tobacco, fizzy citrus, herbal/spicy-herbal notes (kind of citrus grove/green citrus peels-like), piquant spices and patchouli. As soon as the citric/herbal/juicy tartness slightly recedes it seems to vaguely get a sort of "Guerlain Heritage-like" bergamot/vanilla/patchouli/spices combo but overall in a wilder, less refined, more pungent, fruity and synthetic way. Anyway, along the journey (as well as the note of leather starts emerging from the "backstage") is actually La Martina Cuero the juice that most of all takes rising on mind with its fresh/herbal leather-patchouli accord (Michael Kors for men jumps partially on mind as well for several of its shades). I'm quite sure that at least one of the first two previous juices has been a source of inspiration for the Aviation Club's inception. What exactly this "metallic accord" is made of is not properly given to know, I just get citrus and probably red berries/fruits (raspberries, pomegranates or "stuffs like those) providing a quite juicy/tart kind of citric/berrish fruitiness all around. Honestly I don't get a specific floral pattern despite it seems effectively to detect a floral presence in the generally "collapsed" destructured juicy/seasoned/leathery amalgam (may be lily of the valley, rose and jasmine). I've honestly tried in every possible way to detect a coffee's presence but frankly I don't catch this note at all (may be a minimal touch of bitter licorice feel as undertone, counteracting the juicy/mellow general sweetness, could be provided by the note of coffee). Probably hints of frankincense are minimally included in the blend. Dry down is still mastered by this Heritage-like (a disnatured Heritage in basketball shoes, green fluorescent hairs and Superman t-shirt) central accord (put finally upside down by a general incoherent lack of balance) which is basically less refined/classy (far, far less), more fruity, less structured, tobacco-veined and basically mastered by this artificial fruits/leather intense twist. A courageous experiment which turns finally out as a sort of messy hybrid hardly due to be located in a specific olfactory dimension.
30th November, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Opus Kore by Vilhelm Parfumerie

One of the loveliest, crispiest floral citruses out there. A gentle hint of 'berries' midway followed by a subtle amber and woody finish [can't detect Sandalwood per se].

I think this can be worn by a man quite easily.
30th November, 2015
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Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Blomma Cult by Room 1015

A peek into the future? The opening is crazy, like vanillin plus some turbo charged slug of aldehydes -- it's amazing.

The drydown, when it eventually appears, is like a whining, hissing Dior Homme with some added florals.

Parts of this fragrance feel like it's 'fizzing' and has been plugged into the mains.

Worth trying, at the very least.
30th November, 2015
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom

La Haine by Folie à Plusieurs

Now, as a 'work of art', I am sure some members here will lavish praise on this fragrance and that's fair enough. But, just like the film, this is a brutalist offering that I can only imagine wearing alone in a room. Maybe Mark Buxton created it to be admired rather than worn?

His latest offering in this series [not listed here yet] is 'Blow Up' based on Antonioni's rather dated film about photography. It harks back to his early work with CDG and encompasses Sequoia, Palisander, Hinoki and even a couple of the more liturgical offerings from CDG like Avignon and Kyoto in a fully rounded very deep 'woody'. It is gorgeous. What it has to do with the actual film is anybody's guess.
30th November, 2015

Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

Interesting fragrance, if not quite for me. I'm sampling from what I believe is a vintage mini. Nothing objectionable here. It reminds me of a nice version of Polo Modern Reserve. It feels like it could grow on me with time, perhaps.
30th November, 2015

Tiffany for Men by Tiffany

I was bouncing around in this while my friends were suave(ing) the young ones with Fahrenheit. My playground was with the older ones. For me, it carries an elegance somewhat beyond, similar to that of Ambre Nuit. I call it a Fred Astaire kind of masculinity. Dries down to a wonderful Sandalwood, a Fine powder, a plus Memories.
28th November, 2015 (last edited: 01st December, 2015)

Fruits of the Musk by Montale

Montale Fruits of the Musk is neither a good creation nor a disaster di per se (there is indeed nothing off-putting or particularly synthetic in its perception, especially in its central and final phase of development). This scent lacks nonetheless overall a yet minimum level of personality and originality, being in substance a further example of the proverbial Montale's olfactory redundancy. I don't bash it mainly for its level of "synthetic implementation" since I don't find its aroma overbearing on this sphere (in comparison with all the olfactive "material" waving all around the market), my humble complaint is prevalently focused on its useless (act of) retracing yet crossed olfactory territories without providing a new remarkable "added value". Basically this soapy-diaphane (more than vaguely lipstick/cosmetical in effects) "white" scent is a simplification of many classic powdery/soapy/aldehydic floral-chypres of the past (scents from Grossmith, Cacharel, E. Coudray, Trussardi, Alyssa Ashley, a bunch of Caron's, Ysl's or Chanel's jump indeed partially on mind, each of them for several of their final powdery/spacious/balmy characteristics). I don't find this juice particularly fruity (the notable red berries's implementation is actually well balanced and moderately dosed), this "poudre et ambre'" kind of scent is (under my vulgar nose) all about bergamot, musky rose and jammy white soapy powder (balsams, powdery woods, synth amber, heliotrope etc) imo. Several Farmacia SS Annunziata's have recently retraced this formula with mediocre results as well. Musk is not the standout note while resins and soapy balsams are the main "topic" in here, side by side with this central creamy/waxy/honeyed rose so close to the one we can easily catch in many nourishing drugstore creamy potions for women. Dry down is almost cottony, it seems the aroma of a rose/milk-based moisturizing cream on woman's skin, in this stage the scent is ostensibly organic and quite creamy-poudre. Dry down is the best part of the job but it lacks nuances and articulated structure. It seems to catch even more the note of powdery/talky amber in this stage. A presumptively "niche" fragrance smelling not as a fragrance, finally an expensive experiment, don't you think so?
28th November, 2015

Acqua di Parma Colonia Club by Acqua di Parma

Tested from a sample this morning and again this evening.
Starts of citrusy with a strong, slightly synthetic, mint note. I could feel the mint oil, or essence, or whatever form it is, tingling on my skin, and the mint was strong enough to clear my sinuses. That description doesn't do the fragrance justice though, because at the start, at least, it's an interesting, fresh and very attractive scent, with the promise of something unusual.
Unfortunately the mint and citrus fade very quickly, as they tend to, and what is left is a very generic, fresh, masculine cologne, dominated by lavender. I really don't get the vetiver, a note I love, but maybe I'm desensitised to it. Nothing out of this world, but nonetheless pleasant. The whole experience makes me think of meeting someone for the first time, attractive, looks interesting, there's a flash of interest, a look held almost imperceptibly too long, maybe a flirtation? But no, my mistake, just a pleasant chat talking about work, or the weather or something, and then a friendly smile and have a good day.
A pleasant, daytime, summery fragrance.
November 2015
28th November, 2015

Baldessarini Ultimate by Baldessarini

It didn’t take much effort to accomplish that, but finally here’s the first decent offering from Baldessarini since their early Baldessarini Eau de Cologne. Ultimate doesn’t really scream quality, but it’s very (thus, surprisingly) nice, surely more than enough for the brand and the market positioning, no snobbery intended. It’s modern, almost slightly “avantgarde”, and could very easily fit in contemporary fashion lines like Comme des Garçons. Actually it smells like something they could have made, and that would have even been better than some of their offerings.

Anyway basically Ultimate is a sharp, quite fresh, intentionally (I guess) heavily synthetic sort of metallic-crisp woody-peppery fragrance with some nondescript yet fairly pleasant “juicy-floral” feel and some peculiar, sharp herbal-metallic nuances. It’s like a mix of Comme des Garçons 2 Man, Rochas Aquaman or Lanvin Oxygene, and any fresh citrus fragrance. It’s a contemporary “ transparent woody-peppery” scent with fresh herbal-citrus and slightly fruity tones. And some sort of watery-aquatic feel – not ozonic, I really mean “watery”. It then evolves on basically the same path, just becoming a bit warmer with amber, olibanum (Iso E Super, basically) and leather (sort of, an unperceivable thin whiff of suede) unfolding their velvet touch over the initial tangy pepper-green head notes. And so remains for some hours, aseptically warm yet breezy and pleasantly classy, quite “youthful” and even sort of hipster-ish despite the marketing claim you read on the box (“Separates the men from the boys” – seriously?).

So, that’s it. A totally decent, even interestingly multifaceted modern designer with a “niche-avantgarde” feel (so again, basically something à la Comme des Garçons). Which is a very positive sign from Baldessarini – they could have kept going on with that Del Mar and Private Affairs cheap garbage, while they decided to do this. It isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s still on a whole different level if compared to any other offering by this brand, except as I said, the first Baldessarini cologne. It has some sense, it has a definite personality, and the quality seems very respectable. Nothing you can’t skip safely, but it’s very fine. Surely worthy a sniff for me.

28th November, 2015

Eternity Now for Men by Calvin Klein

The card defines this a “juicy oriental fougère” balanced with “exotic woods”. Pretending I didn’t read the “fougère” part in order to keep my lunch in my stomach, what I get out of Eternity Now is basically only the “juicy” and the “exotic” parts, both in the tritest and cheapest way you can imagine - as juicy and exotic as a tin can of sweetish synthetic drugstore tropical soda. Juvenile, shabby and – ok, you get it.

28th November, 2015

Bruce Willis Personal Edition by Bruce Willis

A pleasant surprise, really. Bruce Willis Personal Edition opens quite classically with a typical aromatic/herbal chypre (floral) accord kind of reminiscence of virile classics a la Borsalino by Borsalino or Basile Uomo (Henry Cottons, Trussardi Action etc). I get citrus, herbal woodsy "refreshment" and melancholic sharp floral shades (jasmine, cyclamine, geranium?). Sharp spices are included in the mix and black pepper in particular provides a sharply shadowy atmosphere a la Gucci by Gucci Homme. Gradually, along the way, tobacco and leather jump up, the first of two quite mild (moderately), rounding and flavoured, the second quite mastering and characterizing the real substance of the aroma. Dry down is indeed really leathery and with woody-floral-herbal nuances. I can surely say that Personal Edition's neo-classic dry down is not so distant from Ungaro III's final trail (just more properly nuanced by leather, less spicy and "kind of diluted" at same time). It seems to detect shades of lavender, musks and fern in the background, something still conjuring the superior (and more articulate) Borsalino, a scent from which Personal Edition could ideally (or effectively) have been inspired (being Borsalino, less leathery, more floral, more angular, ambery, herbal/aromatic and in general more nuanced). Honestly I don't get oud at all. The final wake is leathery, hyper masculine, slightly ambery, musky/cedary and "seasoned" by a warm tobacco's presence. An honest take on a classic leather (aromatic/chypre/fougere) theme, a fragrance potentially attractive for all kinds of women looking for a protective figure of man.
28th November, 2015

Nirvana Black by Elizabeth and James

Nirvana Black smells incomplete to me, but maybe I am just looking for too much. The violet is very much in the vein of Eau de Cartier Concentree and keeps the whole thing from smelling trite and foody. The sandalwood constitutes most of the fragrance,which is fine, but the overall quality of materials leaves me wanting.

This kind of product isn't likely to please anyone with a collection like mine but for the easy-to-please, the younger crowd, or those who honestly enjoy the unfussy and simple design of scents by Victoria's Secret, there may be something in this interpretation of Nirvana.
28th November, 2015

Les Exceptions : Cuir Impertinent by Thierry Mugler

Cuir Impertinent belongs in the collection of any diehard fragrance collector, but with a caveat. The presentation (black box and silvertoned bottle) are luxe and a joy to behold. Some vendors even offered engraving.

The scent, sadly, is not what one would assume from the makers of Angel as an exclusive offering.

I have several bottle of the Angel Cuir (I love it!) and it was only offered in the 30 ml bottle to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Angel, so I stocked up when it was released to discounters.

Cuir Impertinent is a warm, spiced leather with amber and tobacco. On me, it does not have the sillage or longevity of the Angel Cuir, so sampling is a must as mileage may vary.
28th November, 2015

Etienne Aigner by Etienne Aigner

This is the scent of my Ivory DB9, if I had one.

In fact this is the scent of my Ivory DB9 after years of wearing Vintage Bel Ami within and I am dead and gone.

It is a smoothed out, gentrified 60's Avon Leather, Musky thing.

It doesn't light up, it glows a warm caramel.

And yes, I'll take that Ivory one over there. The one with the Caramel leather and unglossed Mahogany dash.
27th November, 2015 (last edited: 28th November, 2015)

Theorema Uomo by Fendi

Fendi Theorema Uomo is a sadly discontinued italian glory "leaking" straight from a luxurious still in activity brand yet responsible of real olfactive pieces of tradition a la Fendi by Fendi classic (the house's masterpiece), Asja, Fendi Uomo, Life Essence etc. Theorema Uomo opens somewhat conventionally (eau de Rochas, several 4711, Lancome Trophee or Mugler Cologne jump partially on mind among many others waving from Roger&Gallet to Meo Fusciuni across Paul Smith) with a fizzy-zesty and evidently peppery citric accord more than vaguely classical, quite sparkling, lemony-balsamic but immediately kind of grassy-salty (lemon, vetiver, geranium in a sort of tart/lemony/salty odorous valzer). Geranium, especially as joined to lemon and greens, provides a dose of green astringent-salty leafiness (it seems almost to detect genuine earthiness for a while). Overall the olfactory experience is permeated by this green/leafy lemony (vaguely salty) tartness really virile, dry, spacious and hyper balanced. Probably cardamom affords a sort of fluidy spicy refreshing (almost minty) consistency while a touch of petitgrain (connected to spices) enhances the typical lingering green fizziness. It seems to detect traces of basil and mint as well in moderate amount. Synth ambergris (well connected to pepper) imprints a final reassuring and confidential sense of warmth, while the "bottom" woodiness is mostly cedary (astringent cedarwood) since vetiver is prevalently catchable in the top. Frankly I hardly detect labdanum while may be nutmeg provides "mild balance" to the otherwise overly tart/salty main accord. Airy, dynamic, essential, a typical kind of sporty/gentlemanly and casual-hyper versatile fragrance usually prefered by rampant offsprings, lovers of outdoors activities, golf clubs habitué and white clothed young managers.
27th November, 2015 (last edited: 28th November, 2015)

Moon Bloom by Hiram Green

A mildly camphoraceous jasmine came out flying like a bat out of hell. As minutes passed, I understood why the jasmine was so eager to leave the party. What got left behind was a boring, mildly sweet floral that smelled somewhat greasy, like a coconut oil-based tanning lotion.

And then it hit me. MOON BLOOM describes a scene on a crowded tropical beach where rows after rows of exposed butt cheeks can be seen baking in the sun, gleaming with tanning oil.
27th November, 2015

Bois d'Iris by Van Cleef & Arpels

I must admit it: I’ve a penchant for iris fragrances. As long as they’re even just decent, I always like them a lot. It amazes me how versatile this material can be, and how many nuances it offers. It can smell warm and luscious, dusty and cold, “grey” and “red”, plushy and earthy, and always so refined and mysterious. Anyway, Bois d’Iris is surely a remarkable must for any fan of this material, probably even more than other more praised ones in my opinion. It explores the colder-dustier and more balsamic side of iris, pairing it with dry resins, warm amber, a very peculiar sort of “greyish”, massively incense-driven crisp woody note, and a sort of rarefied foggy pine-forest feel. So imagine a breezy, balsamic, woody and above all, dusty-powdery incense scent, completely unisex and actually quite dark somehow, or better say “cold”, peaceful yet somehow aloof. Almost “lunar”, I’d say. And extremely refined: the dustiness has some very fascinating sort of sparkling texture – “silver powder”, so to speak. Dior named a scent “Bois d’Argent”, but that name would be so better for Bois d’Iris actually. By the way the two scents are indeed quite similar, but I prefer Bois d’Iris, for a couple of very simple features: less pretentious, more substantial.

What fascinates me about this scent is how it creates a shimmering, rarefied sort of “silver incense” vibe played on iris powder and resinous-balsamic woody notes, without using directly incense. I mean, this fragrance smells quite incensey to me, but in a peculiar way, “incensey and not-incensey at once”. Maybe more than incense I should say “a whiff of cold, azure-grey smoky breeze scented with iris and luxury resins”, as it feels weightless and airy yet surprisingly substantial, balsamic, enveloping. Truly one of a kind, extremely enjoyable and fascinating. Shortly – if it wasn’t clear already – I really like this scent: it feels quality, it’s extremely sophisticated, it’s delicate but not light or too close to skin – just elegantly discreet. I own other iris based scents, and this has definitely its own personality which makes it worth owning even if you think you’ve “smelled them all” when it comes to iris. Maybe a tad too expensive, but a true class act!

27th November, 2015

Picadilly Circus by Hugh Parsons

I’ve yet to “get” this brand – British name, all made in Italy, zero information about the alleged “heritage”, terrible promotion... and surprisingly nice fragrances (so far for me, at least). Piccadilly Circus is in fact quite good, quite more than I assumed. Basically it is fairly similar to Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta or similar floral-citrus variations on classic “gentleman’s eau de cologne” structure, just a bit greener, edgier, drier and warmer at the same time, with some more salty-musky ambergris on the base. That is the family: a refined, cozy, surprisingly “natural” and rich citrus-floral cologne with some more weight and thickness than usual, and a remarkable quality, also with a very pleasant evolution towards a woody-green drydown tinted with citrus-powdery notes. Quite close to Colonia Assoluta as I said, but not redundant if you own both (as I do): Piccadilly has more citrus, it smells sharper and also a bit bolder, slightly echoing dry green fougères like Grès pour Homme. It’s quite good anyway, it smells very solid, elegant and extremely versatile without smelling dull. A bit synthetic perhaps, especially for the price, but it works fine. The theme would seem a bit trite, but it smells actually very compelling – perhaps for the touch of musky ambergris, or for the way citrus-green notes interact. It smells, say, raw and clean at once, breezy and natural (except for some synthetic musky-soapy feel) but nothing too hippie or “artisanal”. It’s rather distinguished and mature on the contrary. Nothing breathtaking, but very nice with a touch of distinction. Plus it lasts long and projects very well. Not sure if it’s worthy the retail price but it’s very nice.

27th November, 2015

Panama 1924 : Fefè (Dandy Napoletano) by Boellis

This new offering by Boellis is also probably their most creative one so far. The color of the packaging (bright bold orange) and the Neapolitan reference misled me at first, I thought this would have been some bright, lively fresh zesty scent, but the notes intrigued me as it seemed actually darker and rounder. And in fact it is, this is by far the darker and also quite more complex scent by this brand. But at the same time, probably the one I enjoy the less.

Basically Fefé is a patchouli-musk bomb with a massive dusty-powdery-woody feel, truly warm and aromatic (even “culinary” thanks to saffron), barely enlightened by some very subtle whiff of citrus greenness. Patchouli, musk and a dusty woody-ambergris accord sit at the core of this scent like big, bold, humid Stonehenge stones: imagine the smell of some antique, kind of musty Belle Epoque closet, with its earthy-powdery and woody nuances, and that nondescript smell of damp dust and old abandoned garments. Refined and melancholic at once, and I surely get the reference to a Neapolitan dandy – a quite evocative and quality portrait of the Italian heritage of laid-back dapper gents of the early Nineteenth century. Or well, of any gentleman of that era, and this is the smell you still can get in some very old boutiques (dusty barbershop boutiques, again... you can’t really say Boellis hasn’t a very clear “fil rouge” throughout their offerings).

The scent is quite complex for me, as the way the notes interact smells quite new to me, but at the same time it doesn’t evolve that much, so that’s pretty much it – patchouli, musk, amber, earthy-powdery nuances, a dusty sort of “damp stones” feel mixed with a soapy vibe. It smells good, but well... quite a bit cloying after a while, honestly. Not sure if that’s intended, but it does seem a bit static, and given the boldness of the notes and their dusty-damp feel, you would probably prefer it to evolve a bit, to “open” somehow, to lose some weight and strength as it feels quite thick and almost haunting after a while. Or just a bit boring. Nonetheless the smell per se is very good, so if you like it or if you’re looking for an unusual patchouli-powdery scent, then it’s a deal. I do like it, but it’s really not an “everyday scent” or something I’d want to reach often.

27th November, 2015