Fragrance Reviews from July 2011

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    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Baladin by Nicolaï

    While I can't count Baladin among the most distinctive releases in perfumery I surely can classify it as an honest and dignified masculine fragrance. A nice concoction of culinary herbs (mainly thyme) introduced by a very classic citrus-lavender opening. Birch tar and vetiver add some edge and a pleasant twist to this subtle composition.

    Discreet, easy to wear but not banal. A perfect office fragrance that's still head and shoulders ahead of today's masculines. Reasonably priced and honestly crafted. Very nice.

    28 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 05 August, 2011)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Shalimar by Guerlain

    We can easily say that the house of Guerlain is french perfumery personified and, possibly, Shalimar is among its most successful and legendary creations. If you smell it for the first time you immediatley notice its outstanding quality and complexity. Wether you'll like it or not this is, by any means, an outstanding fragrance and one of those perfumes you encounter every once in a 100 years.

    An huge amber/vanilla driven composition that is particularly remarkable for its kaleidoscopic aspects. Animalic and smoky, oriental and penetrating, delightfully sweet, mysterious, intriguing....simply immense.

    If you happen to wonder if "objectivity" is appliable to perfumes you should try Shalimar as it's one of the most successfull examples of how a good fragrance can go beyond genres and even personal taste.

    28 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 05 August, 2011)

    CardaGiorgio's avatar

    Spain Spain

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    A*Men Pure Havane by Thierry Mugler

    This fragrance can be called A*Men Pure Honey. It has a lot of honey mixed with original A*Men base and a little bit of tobacco leave in the background. It smells very good, but it´s nothing special.

    28 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 12 August, 2011)

    Fleurine's avatar

    United States United States

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    Breath of God by B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

    Well it started off like Juniper schnapps, and then turned into a smoky violet fruit salad with wood in it. I read a review that said "a lawn mower with freshly mown grass on it in a cool garage," and I can see that. This is weird and I like it although my husband does not particularly. Indeed some people find it vile, but I own the 30ml vial and do wear it. Take a sample out side the wall of scent of Lush, and see for yourself.

    28 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 12 September, 2011)

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    212 VIP by Carolina Herrera

    A fruity, slightly smoky, irish cream leaning on the womanly side in my opinion and with a touch of initial citrusy "vintage" hidden somewhere that in a first time reminds a bit the  potpourri of some great classics as Paris, 24 Faubourg, White Diamonds and some Van Cleef & Arpels even if with a more creamy beat. The mélange is sophisticated by flowers and is glamour in its valzer of alcoholic zabaione, gardenia, passion fruit and whisky . The Passion Fruit and the gardenia are detectable by an unprofane nose and impress exoticism and sophistication to this nightclubbing scent. The are some spices (nuttmeg?) in composition in order to sweeten the milky final cloud of musk and exotic fruits. The end is a sort of creamy-alcoholic musk a touch smoky but not heavy or cloying because the vanilla is well balanced and combined with musk, rum and mild smoke and that balance prevents the scent to become a sort of gourmand juice. The fragrance, dedicated to the creative and glamour youth of NYC, is interesting but certainly not innovative because its intoxicating milky-talky final dust is a bit in the same vein of One Million, The Dreamer, Etro Eliotrope and many others although with addition of the nightclubbing ingredient of rum. Longevity and projection are good for sure.

    28 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 20th February, 2012)

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Geir by Geir Ness

    It is hard to describe the scent of this... Definitely fresh and unique, but that said, I dislike this stuff immensely. It may be fresh, but the fresh smell is not like anything I want to smell, smelling quite similar to cloning the scent of liquid Pepto Bismol! Kind of smells like a medicinal laced spring breeze... Disgusting stuff, scoring a horrendous 1.5 star out of 5 rating.

    28 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 02 January, 2013)

    pansylady's avatar

    United States United States

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    Orange Star by Tauer

    This fragrance is intriguing- I smell honeyed incense, rather than any of the notes listed-the longevity is fantastic!

    Seems to belong to the same family as Miel de Bois and Alien Liqeuer- deep, throaty, very sensual-

    29 July, 2011

    glitteralex's avatar

    United States United States

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    Cabriole by Elizabeth Arden

    I was lucky enough to stumble upon a vintage new miniature bottle of Cabriole Cologne, with absolutely no evaporation, discoloration, or deterioration. Such a rare treat to find the top notes intact in a bottle easily 30 years old.

    This is a beautiful Aldehydic Floral Chypre in the style of Snob by le Galion. Aldehydes over Bergamot lead into fresh floral notes of Jasmine and Rose, and Beeswax. The heart has a floral Spice note, likely Carnation, and an Elmer's Glue funk that I believe is a true animal base peeking through. The base is sturdy but soft spoken: Roses, Violets, Powder, and Wood. Perfect for spring or summer.

    If you like Casaque, No. 5, Snob, Arpege, Y, Joy, or other classic aldehydic florals you will enjoy this on a day you want something light, but still substantial. Cabriole is a polite contrast to the domineering green chypres that dominated the 70s.

    29 July, 2011

    HDS1963's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Absolutely fascinating and beautiful rose fragrance this one.

    This smells like a dirty rose, one that's not the kind of virginal rose that a beautiful young woman would wear. The patchouli gives it that kind of dark, knowing smile of one that knows just a little too much of the ways of the world.

    It has a kind of enchanting boozy quality to it at as well.

    Easily carried off by a man this one, it is a dark, utterly captivating fragrance and was the first of the L'Artisan line I ever bought.

    I love it. Highly recommended.

    29 July, 2011

    glitteralex's avatar

    United States United States

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    Mandragore by Annick Goutal

    This review is for the edt from a vial on card.

    Mandragore possesses so few ingredients that it almost presents as a linear perfume. Fresh Bergamot dominates the entrance, if only for a short while. Within a minute, the fragrance settles into what it remains for about 4 hours; a sharp, simple, spicy melange of Bergamot, Black Pepper, Mint, Ginger, and (barely noticeable) Star Anise. The Bergamot and Mint are lovely, and manage to stand up well to the potentially overpowering Pepper. This is one of the more exemplary uses of Bergamot I have encountered. It is used throughout the composition to create balance, rather than existing solely in the top notes. The Star Anise is lost in the mix; I can't discern it. However, with so few ingredients, it must have some subtle effect. The Ginger is almost edible, and supports the Pepper in its role. The drydown is woodsy, similar to Sandal or Cedar, but more subtle, as it cannot compete with the Spice and ubiquitous Bergamot. I have never had the opportunity to smell the Mandrake Root, or Mandragore, so cannot comment on its presence or lack thereof. Due to its potent hallucinogenic effects, I can only imagine that it is used in minute amounts as a marketing tool...like cocktails containing Absinthe.

    This is almost a gourmand, like gingerbread without the sugar. Mandragore gives the impression of being created predominantly of natural materials, but very carefully, and with some synthetic boosters. I see this on both men and women, but would prefer it on a man. This fragrance lacks roundness- without the addition of a voluptuous base like Tonka, Vanilla, or Amber, it requires the oilier skin of a man to have depth. I find it sits atop my skin, but never melds into it, even on a warm day.

    Compare to current Idole by Lubin, which is both creamier and boozier, and has more character.

    29 July, 2011

    joey86's avatar

    Malaysia Malaysia

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    Albi by Laura Tonatto

    +1 delightful play of lavender, lemon and a nice mossy drydown
    - 1 for similarity to CkOne.
    = 0

    Albi greets your nose with happy notes of lemon zest and lavender, before going into a still-zesty sweet and non cloudy moss base. However for an EDP, Albi behaves more like an EDT (and thus requires a generous amount of sprays to actually smell what it is supposed to smell like throughout the day) and given the price, i'd expect more from my bottle.

    Every time i wear this, people who smell it would ask me "are you wearing a CK perfume?" or "is that a CK you're wearing?" which is pretty much a moot point if you ask me. It does smell a bit more complex than CK, but the general aura is that of CKOne. This scent could very well be named Laura Tonatto's version of CKOne.

    I like it, but not enough to give it a +1 due to its connotation.

    29 July, 2011

    paolo_alcantara's avatar

    Philippine Philippine

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    Envy for Men by Gucci

    gucci envy smells like a true classic. period. This definitely does not smell modern, but instead, you get a woody, spicy, luxurious, and rich scent that does not fail to impress at any given time. I can use it almost anytime except for summer. Longevity is quite good, about 8 hours or more. projection too is a bit above average on me. overall, good stuff.

    29 July, 2011

    Larimar's avatar

    Austria Austria

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    A Taste of Heaven by By Kilian

    This is the only By Kilian that I really like. It smells of quality and a fantastic blend of notes, indeed. It is flawless, as others have stated, from top to the heart. The only fault in my opinion is a slightly too sweet-vanilla-y and therefore, interchangeable or generic drydown. This is the only reason why I don't own a bottle yet.

    29 July, 2011

    The Duke's avatar

    United States United States

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    Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

    I am a self professed lavender-phile and Oxford and Cambridge hits on multiple levels for me. It is clean and refreshing on the top, but peel back a layer and it has a creamy musk that steers this fragrance to an almost incense like depth. This fragrance (along with Encens et Lavande) earns top marks from me and is a definite favorite.

    29 July, 2011

    Koi-Sashuu's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Azzaro pour Homme Elixir by Azzaro

    I experienced this as a very dark scent.
    I really liked it. Smelt a basic at the very beginning but dried down as a very masculine fragrance.

    Lasted really long on me!

    29 July, 2011

    silentrich's avatar

    United States United States

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    Himalaya by Creed

    While not my favorite Creed it's still a really solid daily wearer and versatile. I don't get much citrus in this and to my nose it's mainly a creamy musk with a hint of pepper. Sillage is average and longevity isn't that great on my skin, but usually I get 5 hours out of it. Comparisons to Paco Rabanne XS are valid and it is a similar scent, but Himalaya has more going on and of course the quality is evident. It resembles MI more than any other Creed fragrance so if you like MI you'll probably enjoy Himalaya. Overall I'd recommend it if your looking for a masculine work fragrance or if you enjoy musk.

    29 July, 2011

    Oslo-Fjord's avatar

    Norway Norway

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    Jaïpur Homme by Boucheron

    -One of the best male orientals on the market! A classy attention-grabber.

    29 July, 2011

    thatmakesscents's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tom Ford Extreme by Tom Ford

    I just tried this today. The first whiff made me go back for more and more but once the initial blast of greatness wore off on my skin it faded away to something very average and a not so average price. $125 at saks 5th ave.

    They were def going in the right direction with it but it is DOA.

    29 July, 2011

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Héritage by Guerlain

    Heritage is one of those perfumes where we focus so closely on the iteration and version. EDP, EDT? Recent formulation? Vintage? Which bottle? What year? For what it's worth, I have the EDP, likely from 2006-2008.

    Woody amber? Chypre? Floriental? I'll take any/all of the above. But most of all, it's the spiritual successor to its great-aunt, Shalimar. It has Shalimar's citrus/amber opening, skips its animalic, rather noir tones and then rides out that glorious radiant vanilla, tonka, amber, sandalwood parade-float of a heart and basenotes quite similarly to Shalimar. The difference is that Shalimar's harmonies revolve around a purr and a growl. Heritage's harmony is on a far larger scale. It has fewer low-decibel notes than Shalimar, hence no snarl, and actually doesn't quite hit some of Shalimar's high sweet notes either. But, oh, that large middle range. It is so full, so overlapped on itself. It's so densely composed that it feels as if there is a redundant set of harmonics built-in.

    This is a bit of a stretch, but I find the closest analogy that captures the experience of Heritage is a song by George Harrison called, "What is Love?" It was from his first solo work post Beatles and you can just hear the exhilaration at being out from under all the Beatles' drama and infighting. But structurally the song, produced by Phil Spector, was the height of the Wall of Sound recording and production method. Dozens of overlapped horn, guitar and vocal tracks create a sound that has as much a quality of physical force as sound. This captures Heritage as well: exuberance and an almost palpable wall of harmonious aroma.

    If Heritage is a spiritual heir to Shalimar, and shows a genetic similarity, it is not retro by any means. A 1992 fragrance might look dated, or at least era-specific from the perspective of 2011, but it was also groundbreaking at its release. Large, unabashedly pretty, neither soft-spoken nor cool/fresh like the bulk of the releases of the early 90s, Heritage was out and proud. It falls in line with that anthem of the era among my people: "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it."

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 01st August, 2011)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Gin Fizz by Lubin

    A thin and almost unscented concoction of juniper and citruses aimed to reproduce the infamous cocktail's smell. Maybe in 1955 it was sort of groundbreaking as one of the first "light" perfumes, but today we're getting sick of inconsistent scented-aquas! 30 minutes lasting power.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 05 August, 2011)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Domenico Caraceni 1913 by Domenico Caraceni

    Nothing bad to say about 1913 but nothing perticularly exciting either. It's a good rose centered scent where the main note is orchestrated to smell very aromatic. The frankincese add some depth and perfectly balance the soapy vibe given by the rose-tobacco combo. Well crafted, elegant and versatile but not exactly what I'm into.

    Overall, if you like rose, this is a good fragrance and could make a valid alternative to heavier perfumes in the same vein.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 05 August, 2011)

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    L'Heure Bleue by Guerlain

    Describing Vol de Nuit once, I said I can't analyze or dissect the classic Guerlains. This holds true for l'Heure Bleue. I get an anise-like vanilla and orange blossom, but it seems like one of those immensely complex orientals of its era. Beyond my analytical skills. Still, it is my favorite of the classic Guerlains. It's been described as melancholic, moody, shadowy. Maybe this is a distinction without a difference, but for me it's less about affect or emotion than it is about a contemplative state. I tend toward reflection when I wear l'HB.

    I find the simple prettiness of l'HB always affecting. This prettiness, sort of beauty on a low flame, burns its way into you. Capital-B Beauty with its drama might infatuate for a moment, a day. But l'HB's attractiveness entices over time. L'HB has no gloss, but looking at its matte finish over time, you come to realize it's your favorite color.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 22 August, 2011)

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Arpège by Lanvin

    My mother only wore perfume occasionally. Out to dinner, to an event of some sort, to a family gathering she wore Lanvin's Arpege. To a wedding or Something Special, she wore the Eau de Joy that her brother had brought her from Paris immediately after WW II. She still had it in the 1970s. That's how infrequently she wore it.

    God, that Joy was lovely. Put me on the couch, get me talking and you'll probably find that that's where the perfume fascination started. But it was the Arpege that suited my mother. It was simple, didn't require any effort or reaching. If the Patou was called Joy, the Lanvin could have been called Contentment.

    As my mother's dementia advanced, I bought her a bottle of Joy EDP hoping it would prompt a reactions or that she'd simply enjoy it. I was disappointed when it didn't actually elicit any response at all from her. But then again, perfume is my thing. It was never hers. What I've done since is to buy an ounce of Vintage Arpege extrait. Every now and again I'll put it on, put my feet up, sniff my wrists and remember this remarkable woman.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 10th September, 2011)

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Diorissimo by Christian Dior

    I'm torn on this perfume. Roudnitska. He was a genius and I'm an admirer of his other work. His works typically seem to have the thoroughness that denotes a masterful technical proficiency, but also an integrity of concept and intention.

    I've only smelled the recent Diorissimo EDT, and I've tried to dissect the floral notes he's used to compose this ostensible lily of the valley soliflor. I get a green jasmine, a watery hyacinth, a languid ylang ylang. No base, no underbelly, no shadow. But what I get when I step back from dissecting it smells remarkably like an air freshener. Not a chic parfum d'ambiance. I mean the electrical socket plug-in variety.

    A moment of seeing how the geometric lines come together to recreate the watery yet oily feel of muguet. A moment trying to sense what Diorissimo must originally have smelled like. A long sigh. Put the strip away for a few hours and then check again. Distressing reassurance of everything I initially thought. (And yes, I tried it on skin, too.)

    Sad.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 28 September, 2011)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Le Vetyver by Lubin

    Among the good vetivers this is my least favourite which means that is good but not exactly up my alley. Loads of citruses (mainly grapefruit) and some "green" tobacco bring Le Vetiver towards the fresh-woody territory. The fragrance has good depth due to the presence of a remarkable frankincense note but, unfortunately, it suffers from a few stereotyped aspects (mainly concerning its strong classic masculine vibe). Yes, this is an old-fashioned type of fragrance which is usually a "pro" for me, but in this case turns to be a "con". It smells sort of Guerlain wannabe (expecially the grapefruit-centered opening which reminds me of Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune). Whenever I look for a classic masculine in the same vein I directly go for Tuscany Per Uomo.

    Moderate lasting power.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 25 March, 2012)

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Bulgari Black by Bulgari

    I've just written about Shalimar and Heritage and their lineage in the evolution of the amber fragrance. There is a strong sense of through-line. Although separated in origin by about 70 years, similarities of composition and intent are far more apparent than their differences. Then Black, the evolutionary jump. This fragrance captures the best of post-modernism: the breaking down of form, a grasp of the tools of abstraction, the value of simplicity. It also avoids postmodernism's traps: colloquialism, cleverness posing as consideration, default irony.

    And there's the additional factor that I'll chalk up to perfumer Annick Menardo. Similarly to her Lolita Lempicka, Black is fun. Not trite, not a divertissement. Truly fun--enjoyable, exciting, something to engage you, something you want to share. Rubber, something outside the pharmacopoeia of perfumery, smells good. No shock value, no in-joke smallness, no irony. Who knew?

    I think it's telling that every person I've shared this perfume with, 1) finds it beautiful, and 2) then wants to talk about it. I couldn't ask for more in a perfume.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 04 May, 2012)

    Swanky's avatar

    United States United States

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    Gin & Tonic by Demeter Fragrance Library

    The maligned Demeter line is like a Cliff's Notes version of niche fragrances: the presentation (bottle and label) is uniform; the price is the same for all fragrances (per size); they are not available everywhere; and they have esoteric contents such as "Dirt", "Snow" and "Mesquite." Relatively speaking they smell like the element they purport to mimic. Finally, they are quite inexpensive which makes them a good primer route to non-designer aromas.

    That said, they are not masterpieces and the quality is quite variable. Gin & Tonic is among those I enjoy the most, along with Humidor and Whiskey Tobacco. Longevity is not stellar but not as fleeting as some have experienced (I get about 5 hours at least from the better offerings in the line). The juniper in this one is not unlike that in, say, Guerlain Homme; I paid $2.99 for a 1 oz bottle on clearance so I can't complain about the financial investment. Demeter presents a low-cost, low-risk opportunity to get outside the aquatic/sweet designer box.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 13 July, 2012)

    barclaydetolly's avatar

    United States United States

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    Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain

    Lately, I've been on a quest to find the definitive vanilla fragrance to wear. I've tried them all. Many smell cheap. Many smell fake and plasticky. Many try to deflect from the bad vanilla note they have by masking it with other notes. But if you are looking for a vanilla based fragrance, don't fear: this is, to my nose, the only one worth owning (okay, maybe this one and Eau Duelle). Is it worth it? Only you can say. I'd go with a yes. I figure it this way: I am not going to wear DV every day; more like once a week at most. At that rate, one bottle will easily last me years. And for something that gives me this much pleasure, I'd say it's worth a buy.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 10th August, 2012)

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Bogart pour Homme by Jacques Bogart

    Pow-pow-POWERFUL strength and longevity with Bogart pour Homme. I am getting 15 hours and still counting with just one spray (and that is even post shower). This has got to be the longest duration, sillage and potency I have gotten from any scent to date. Oh yeah, the scent's smell? The mentions elsewhere of pipe tobacco are spot-on. The cherry component is more subtle, but also there. As I am a sucker for cherry pipe tobacco it should come as no surprise that I really like BpH. I also get the passing similarities to Burberry London (another scent that I enjoy) but find the two quite different on the whole. BpH is more potent, more linear and synthetic in its nature, and I find it more of a pure tobacco scent than London. While I would enjoy this 4 out of 5 star scent at any price, it should be noted that it can easily be acquired for well under $20 delivered online for a 100ml bottle, making it an outstanding value!

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 02 January, 2013)

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Cuiron Pour Homme by Helmut Lang

    A great scent discontinued well before its time (which should have been never). The notes I get are pretty much just as listed in the pyramid... Plum and suede leather primarily. Cuiron is smooth, sweet leather that is a bit creamy. Longevity is excellent but silage is average. Out of all the leather scents I have tried including other greats like Knize 10 and Puredistance M, I still find myself reaching for Cuiron first (and luckily I bought a 100 ml bottle when it was very inexpensive). A 5 star out of 5 suede leather masterpiece for sure.

    29 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 02 January, 2013)

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