Fragrance Reviews from July 2012

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    Vartan's avatar



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    Bang by Marc Jacobs

    I like pepper a lot, and this cologne has tons of it. My only complaint about this is that the pepper is overpowering in the beginning along with a strange sort of synthetic quality, and then it quickly drops off and there isn't much left other than a faintly woody scent couple with the remnants of pepper that stays fairly close to the skin and wears off after a short while.

    It's still a good scent even if it's short lived, and one that will get comment; as a bonus I've found that I can layer it with Burberry London which it is compatible with, at least on me, and the two together complement and prolong each other's strong points fairly well and last throughout an average day, and takes just a hint of the excess sweetness off of London's base and emphasizes the woody/tobacco portion.

    However, I also agree with the others that the bottle design is totally impractical. It's interesting looking, but it's always falling down at the tiniest jostle and I had to move it away from my other colognes because it was constantly toppling a good portion of them in the process. Unless it's meant to be stored on its side? I doubt it, though.

    18th July, 2012

    Vartan's avatar



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    Halston Z-14 by Halston

    I bought this on the recommendation of a friend, knowing that I liked leather, citrus, and wood scents, and in the hopes of getting me to look into lower cost classics instead of pursuing Tom Ford, Creed, etc, to save my wallet; especially as a semi-newbie to this whole fragrance-hoarding
    -thing.

    It's pleasant enough, you can definitely smell a quality to it that dates it, but not in a way that makes out outdated, it just marches to a different beat compared to today's colognes, though I'm never sure when it's appropriate to label something "classic". It does seem to dance slightly on the edge of "too mature for the under 40 crowd" to me but that might be partially due to childhood associations and not the scent itself...not sure. I can still wear it and get compliments as a 30-something, even if it reminds people of a long-ago family member from time to time. Such is the side effect of wearing a cologne introduced almost 40 years ago.

    My only complaint is that I don't smell much of the leather, or the patchouli, cedar, or amber for that matter. It fairly quickly dries down to a scent that I have heard others refer to as "the barbasol scent", it's not offensive or anything, it's a rather clean, somewhat generically manly smell that is only faintly projected, and it doesn't have a certain masculine "oomph" I associate with other colognes, especially leather ones. I also definitely smell the "coca cola" smell that another person commented on, though I hadn't known what to call it before. Wondering if this is yet another frag that got dumbed down a bit over the years, as I don't find this having nearly as forceful of a macho personality as others are saying.

    Either way, for the price it's definitely worth picking up, it's found for $20-25 in many places and is far better a choice than whatever frat-boy-du-jour cologne is on the shelves for the same price point. Well, in my opinion.

    18th July, 2012

    rogalal's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sikkim by Lancôme

    I've really enjoyed Sikkim. On me, it's an animalic floral that was clearly influenced by Joy. While I understand that this smelled kind of cheap decades ago (it lacks Joy's expensive-smelling realistic flowers), we're now at a point where only expensive classics and pricy, classically influenced perfumes like the old Amouages dare to smell like this, so you'd be forgiven for assuming that this was something fancier than an old Lancome.

    It kicked off with a burst of nose-tickling powder over a fairly standard white floral mix, but with the spotlight put on the interplay between the rose and the waxy ylang. This played out over a creamy, lightly sweaty civet musk, which welled up quickly, adding richness to the topnotes in a way usually reserved for more expensively-concentrated perfumes, so big points to Sikkim for this.

    After a couple of hours, the loud powder burned off, leaving my favorite part, the exposed florals playing against the musks while a chypre base crept in underneath. My one technical nitpick with Sikkim, if forced to make one, is that the powder was so loud that the whole perfume was a bit too strong (in an 80's style) while it was there, and then too weak once it burned off, but that's a very small complaint about a very good perfume.

    18th July, 2012

    Zut's avatar



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    Coromandel by Chanel

    Top: citruses, bitter orange, neroli
    Heart: jasmine, rose, patchouli, orris
    Base: incense, olibanum, benzoin, woodsy notes, musk, Tahitian vanilla

    The moment I tried Coromandel, I fell head over heels in love with this fragrance. For about 2 hours, I kept smelling my wrist. The rich, sweet and exotic oriental concoction was so divinely intoxicating I almost rushed back to the Chanel boutique to buy the 200ml bottle. Then, with no warning, the musk note that had remained rather discreet up to that point suddenly appeared and ruined everything for me. As I often said before, I am not too big on animalic notes and musk is most certainly an ingredient that does not agree with me. I believe it is the combination of musk and jasmine that reacts badly on my skin. To my utter disappointment, this exclusive EDT I was so crazy about minutes before had turned into a rather uninteresting cheap-smelling musk-based fragrance.

    The friend who accompanied me to the store also tried Coromandel but with very different results. On her skin, the fragrance developed much better. The fresh yet zesty citrus notes were very present. More importantly, the dreadful musk note did not show up at all. However, it failed to do what any animalic note is intended to do i.e. give the fragrance longevity and stability. We both found Coromandel extremely pleasant on her but she did not buy it either due to its unfortunate lack of staying power. A third party was supposed to be with us that afternoon. Who knows? Maybe Coromandel would have fit him to a T!

    18th July, 2012

    theperfumedallotment's avatar



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    Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio

    Forest Walk has some kinship to Ormonde Woman, but overall it's a sweeter scent with a less moody character. It keeps the hemlock note for longer as well and dries down to a gentle piney-woodsy base sweetened by the soft violet that SSS uses so well. Overall I find the effect very calming, like taking a walk in the woods on a cool day. If you like other woods-type fragrances from this brand, it's highly likely that you'll like this one too.

    18th July, 2012

    theperfumedallotment's avatar



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    Nostalgie by Sonoma Scent Studio

    Ah, Nostalgie. If I could give this two thumbs up I would. Creamy, perfectly blended florals with a touch of sparkling aldehydes over a classic sandalwood base that is just the slightest bit animalic. It was love at first sniff for me. Very long lasting, too - I dab it on lightly and it lasts all day. Laurie Erickson has conjured up the spirit of grand French perfumery with this one.

    18th July, 2012

    flathorn's avatar

    United States United States

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    Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio

    I'm having problems with this fragrance. I love every single note listed - I have most of them as essential oils because I love the smell of roots, resins, and woods in their natural state.
    The drydown though, is so distinctly, solidly labdanum that I'm having a problem getting past it. Though I said I loved it, it's not my favorite as a stand-alone. Labdanum has that amber/high note that is reminiscent of oud, and predominates at the end.
    I really liked the top and middle of this fragrance, and thought I was in love, but it is the drydown that endures and endures.
    Not bad - I'm not offended, but I was mistaken about it being my incense love.

    18th July, 2012

    flathorn's avatar

    United States United States

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    Atelier d'Artiste by Nez à Nez

    Wow, this is great - boozy, leathery tobacco and some semi-sweet dark fruit. It's like a smoking room (at least the one in my fantasies). Sort of masculine, sort of sexy, with a dollop of dark gourmand that keeps things interesting.

    18th July, 2012

    Primrose's avatar

    United States United States

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    Mayfair by D.R. Harris & co.

    This is an overlooked fragrance in the D.R. Harris line. Admittedly, it's not for everyone as it is very strong, floral and musky.

    One might consider this a classic scent since you won't compare it to a modern aquatic. It is warm and pleasant.

    Very strong, so use a light touch.

    18th July, 2012

    Vartan's avatar



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    Aventus by Creed

    Went to the Creed store in NYC to sample Feuilles Verte and Royal Oud and got a sample of this by mistake, the SA had recommended it when I had mentioned that I had GIT but found it a little overbearing at times, then I mistakenly gestured at it instead of Royal Oud when asking for a sample. Was a little hesitant because of how incredibly fruity it smelled in the vial and on the test card, but of course no need to waste a Creed sample (plus he was limited on samples so that was all I was getting that day so may as well make the best of it).

    Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I got around to actually wearing it. The overwhelming pineapple is a very short burst at the beginning and the fragrance immediately settles down into a nice, long-lived, pleasant scent. There is an undertone of a slightly acrid smell in the middle but it also quickly diminishes unless you really smell for it close to the skin, perhaps the oakmoss? it sort of reminds me of vetiver but I don't see that as a listed note... All in all it wears well, it has a bit of the classy feel of GIT without being as brash as GIT can seem at times and a bit of the freshness of Himalaya without seeming as light and slightly generic, with an extra "something" from the fruity notes to tie it all together. I don't know that it would be an every day scent for me, but it would definitely be a good summery scent that is a bit versatile for that "what to wear" mood that strikes us all from time to time.

    18th July, 2012

    Marais's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Kinski by Escentric Molecules

    Horrible. I had to scrub this one after 4 hours. Grim, musty, depressing. Rotting forest-floor vegetation on a damp day. Encre Noire's self-absorbed suicidal pot-head teenage cousin. An insult to the memory of a great actor. Commercial cynicism at its worst.

    18th July, 2012

    Oh_Hedgehog's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Rose by Czech & Speake

    Crisp, green and... rosey, albeit with a marked geranium bent. No complaints from me, but if given three seconds I could name other roses I'd rather wear for their greater worldliness: Une Rose (Frederic Malle), Paestum Rose (Eau d’Italie), Nahéma (Guerlain), Rose Poivrée (The Different Company), Incense Rosé (Tauer), Black Aoud (Montale), Rose 31 (Le Labo).

    18th July, 2012

    cid1204's avatar

    Czech Republic Czech Republic

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    Charriol pour Homme Eau de Parfum by Charriol

    Very close to the Paco Rabanne1 million... more intense version for more "friendly" price.

    18th July, 2012

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    Kelly Calèche by Hermès

    I wanted so to like this mix of Mimosa, Iris, Tuberose, Rose, Muguet, Geranium, Pepper, etc., but unfortunately my sample (worn on four occasions) does not do for me what it does for other reviewers.

    I get only the green note, mixed with a peppery under scent. I get no florals and the leather for me is only wishful thinking - or perhaps I am not familiar with the bottom of a woman's leather handbag, for the melange of scented leather evoked for others.

    In any case, I find it a very light green accord that lasts for a few hours - nice for summer wear, but in no way outstanding or unique.

    18th July, 2012

    shamu1's avatar

    United States United States

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    James Bronnley Gentlemen's Eau de Toilette by Bronnley

    "Gentleman's Cologne" is right - this is an extremely refined scent. This is simply a lovely dry, very green floral cologne that smells like a light green floral chypre.

    What I particularlly love about this is how it manages to sustain the green essence of lime, well past the opening. It dries down to a gentle dry base of oakmoss and coumarin. Very subtle spicy and wood notes can be detected in the background throughout it's development, like a smell that is way off in the distance.

    This is beautifully crafted, and I'm impressed with how everything is handled with a light hand, resulting in a truly lovely scent. This is the definition of timeless and classic.

    MY RATING: 8.5/10

    18th July, 2012

    Marais's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Vétiver by Creed

    A natural-smelling, grassy vetiver, well-blended with citrus and bergamot, giving it a classical barbershop flavour. No trace of nose-wrinkling rootiness here. The lightly-applied ginger adds a touch of fizz and sparkle. Very clean-shaven & 'Mad Men'-esque; some might find it a little dated in style. I love it. Longevity: it behaves much like an EdC; 4 hours on skin, considerably longer on cloth.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Black Aoud by Montale

    Want something fresh and light? Soap up a helium balloon.
    This is a strong, attar rose (far removed from the real thing due to the concentration/amplification) layered onto a serious resinous and sweet wood backdrop, with a touch of musk and cured tobacco for additional warmth. End of story. But what a story. It has the consistency of fudge, yet darts up the olfactory passages like some mentholated fiend. The richness is velvety, pitch black and head-spinning, and acts as the prompt to heightened emotion and lust for extremity that some drugs must achieve for some people. Warms and softens beautifully over time.
    In me it evokes memories of gutka – the mixture of highly perfumed sweetened betel-nut and little sugared bits that our parents warned us would crack our teeth and give us throat cancer (and to be honest, it does), but which we as junior school kids found irresistible. I’m sure it was the fumes that went through one’s being when consuming the stuff that had us hooked and high. Elevatory.
    (The bottom of the box contains the injunction to ‘consume without moderation’, which, given this perfume’s strength and staying power, is surely the company having their little joke. On the other hand, this is definitely not the knock-you-dead perfume some have suggested – it may give that impression on a card, but it blooms exquisitely on the skin and I can usually wear two or three sprays without anyone complaining or getting a headache myself. )

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Eau de Camille by Annick Goutal

    Grass, green hedges through which tiny white flowers peek – Eau de Camille’s opening will be pretty evocative to some. At the start of the day, this could turn me into a nature boy. As the perfume starts to settle it loses amplitude – closer sniffs will bring indole farts. I digress – perfume isn’t really meant to be sniffed up close. Slowly the green thins and thins and a soapiness emerges – at this point this becomes merely pleasant and somewhat pointless. Has a life of about 4-5 hours.

    18th July, 2012

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Strong powerful masculine leather - the truest "leather" scent I have yet found. For me it's one note, but that's no problem as it is true and long lasting.

    Can't imagine anyone finding all those negative scents in this, but to each nose his own.

    I love it - if you are into leather, you MUST at least sample this.

    Very masculine, sexy and smooth.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Golden Cattleya by Olympic Orchids

    An amazing opening, like a sustained organ chord where lapping overtones create a world of nuance – orange (both flesh and candied), hints of green among spring flowers, bass waves of resin, all dance against the predominant sweet floral chord. A linden theme emerges in the heart, rich and honeyed, and the vanillic cream soda mousse. This is hugely sweet, but not a puddle of syrup; it remains well-textured and layered. There’s a central tension between an underlying almost-sticky density and lighter notes which have the fruity tones of just-bloomed yellow flowers. A touch of dirt or earth may well have achieved great things.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Kingston Ferry by Olympic Orchids

    Quite a few of the Olympic Orchids perfumes start off as if someone has opened the door of a cabinet of essential oils – this is no exception. The effect is a bit like Nico’s harmonium, an all-encompassing but rather shapeless drone. However, out of the embrocation-like qualities of this offering there emerged for a brief burst a fully-fledged sandalwood accord (no, it’s not in the notes), after which the fragrance hit its stride. Mainly a somewhat herby-resinous green ringed with sappy wildflowers, I cannot perceive an aquatic theme. Most seaweed (a listed note) I’ve smelled stank, and I’m glad this does not. Instead this is intriguing and fairly light. The deep drydown (about three hours in) is almost purely resinous and returns us to that essential oils cabinet; something of a disappointment.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Live Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

    Glorified citric urinal tablet. Has that headache-inducing hypersynthetic piercingly-citric canned ‘freshness’ that blights far too many masculines. Boredom in a bottle. My most regretted blind buy – even the person who took it off me for free did so grudgingly.
    Jazz? Muzak for public lavatories more like.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Not a Perfume by Juliette Has a Gun

    Like it says on the tin.
    Ricci got so excited by the synthetic amber Ambroxan that he decided to bottle it (in the right dilution, of course). Now Ambroxan is not without its virtues. Andy Tauer writes of it thus: ‘Ambroxan is a single molecule, but is smells very complex (amber, vibrant wood, floral tobacco) and not cheap like other synthetic ambers that you find in washing powder.’ It has a soft and polished satin-like feel about it. So far so good.
    However, most synthetics on their own – even fairly complex ones – don’t have the variability over time that makes naturals exciting and lively. This is like a musical chord prolonged for hours on end stripped off any of the harmonics that would normally begin to dance around it. Or as my non-perfume-wearing partner announced rather bluntly: ‘quite insipid’.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Parfum Sacré by Caron

    The luxuriousness of some Caron blends prompts a ‘just can’t get enough’ urge. What is it about Parfum Sacre that makes me want to bathe in it, regardless of whether this would actually be a good idea? I don’t know. It’s like an exquisitely crafted object which has been meticulously polished and burnished until it’s difficult to believe human hands were involved in the making. Here we have a balmy, woody, myrrh which radiates comfort; there are satiny powders lurking and delicate spices that please even my low tolerance; the floral elements sing off-stage (I can’t spot a rose or jasmine note, just the breath of something fresh and sweet); the whole is like an aura cocooning the wearer. Glorious exhilarating stuff. Has risen swiftly into the ranks of my all time favourites.
    (Review is for EDP.)

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Roadster Sport by Cartier

    Has the clarity of intention of a Heeley (which can be no compliment as he slips into banal mode from time to time). Fundamentally this is a mega-citrus (orange, lemon, bergamot) sweetened with a touch of orange blossom and patchouli: the appeal lies in the cleanness of the notes and their safe distance from air-freshener. If one is paying particular attention there are herbal hints in there, but their effect is mainly to round out the citruses rather than drive this thing into a grassy verge. If one is into crisp colognes, suppress the gag reflex brought on by the ‘sport’ appellation and make a small detour to try this out. Things get more woody two hours in (although the earlier notes do persist) and this is, alas, a turn in the direction of the generic. Does it make my heart beat a little faster? No.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Tilda Swinton Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Creamy and breezy, this opens with a flourish of old-school sophistication, all chiffon scarf and sunglasses. It has the pleasure of being like nothing else, incorporating the burnt sugar meatiness of immortelle perfectly in a beautifully foamy surround. The ginger is unobtrusive, the pumpkin mellow and a bit boozy – really this fragrance is not about the notes at all but the overall effect which is light yet lingering, and poised but also playful. Slight nuances (mere hints, really) of vegetal and earthy tones embellish its sweet mousse without distracting. When the perfume has settled, it seems like a notion of what a godlike person’s skin must smell like. (You know, the kind of radiant person who makes you inhale deeply as you pass them on the street just to experience their aura.) Confidence in a bottle, and subtle about it.
    This drove at least one acquaintance mad with joy when she smelled it on me.
    Disclaimer: About 8 hours in, most of the distinctiveness is gone and a somewhat mushy sweetness is left, but that’s pretty good going.

    18th July, 2012

    gimmegreen's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Zen (new) by Shiseido

    Soft yellow fruit skating on a marine-ozonic-anisic vibe. Freshened-up ferment. A little too baldly chemical for my taste.

    18th July, 2012

    Swanky's avatar

    United States United States

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    Aramis Impeccable by Aramis

    As a fan of the original Aramis, I very much wanted to like this addition to the line. The tuxedo-inspired packaging spoke to me with its nod to classic masculine accoutrements. The name, while not extraordinarily creative, also alludes to a vanishing breed of scents; it could have been a Sixties-era title. I like it, but don't love it.

    Alas, the fragrance itself simply doesn't live up to the promise of the presentation. By no means is it a dud. It is a pleasant and mild take on a modern woody-citrus. For once, the note breakdown seems accurate. It starts with a quotidian citrus and is soon joined by a pepper note and a wood element listed as cedar but almost approaching a dry vetiver, to my nose. It is shot through with a juniper and here the fragrance falls firmly into step with Guerlain Homme, Bulgari Man, Bang and other such recent masculines. Impeccable has, ahem, impeccable longevity but it simply isn't special.

    This would be a decent introduction to this type of fragrance if one had none of the others mentioned above.

    18th July, 2012

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    Isotta Fraschini Profumo Uomo by Isotta Fraschini

    I think the previous two ratings were a little harsh. I aquired some of this recently but only the shower gel. I could see it was expensive as the packaging/printing methods were costly to produce (used to be in that field). When my husband used this for the first time, the whole house was filled with the fragrance, this does not happen with most other brands of shower gel, and it was a nice sharp, fresh smell. The kind of smell that women like to smell on men (as apposed to the kind that men like to smell on men, like JPG Le Male). Even though it was only the shower gel the smell lasted on his skin all day. Have been trying to get hold of more products in this range but cant track it down.

    18th July, 2012

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    It's Me for Him by Jacomo

    It's Me smells of fruity woody and flowers, with a light scent of musk mixed in. Many times men's fragrances are extremely intense and over powering, but this one is more on the lighter side which I found refreshing. Available in a 50 ML Eau de Toilette, this is one of the better fragrances for men that I have smelled in a LONG time. My boyfriend took to the smell right away, and the bottle is almost gone. The way a guy smells can really effect your attraction towards him, much more then a perfume can do for a woman. The way a man smells is extremely important, (at least to me) and it can be a deal breaker.

    18th July, 2012

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