Latest Reviews

Amber Aoud by Roja Dove

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this came out of the same machine that makes the Clive Christian stuff. It’s your standard ostentatious rose / oud / saffron combo that’s so rich and overstuffed it feels like being force-fed truffles. The only noticeable difference from the slew of other scents in this style is that this one is spun a tad sweeter up top with a slight maltol-esque note, and there’s a slight smokiness tucked away in there as well. Aside from that, there’s nothing that makes this stand out from legions of other Orientalist compositions doing the same thing. Polished and competent, but redundant and blingy; it’s a gaudy aesthetic that would go well with massive gold jewelry and rhinestone-encrusted clothing.
01st July, 2015

Enslaved by Roja Dove

Like most of the scents in the line, Enslaved sounds like it was inspired by an E.L. James novel. The scent is a xerox of a classical chypre: herbalized citrus and spicy florals over a mossy base. The opening is sharp and bitter, and then it dawdles along on vetiver and lavender for much of the middle. Over time it sweetens up into a vanilla ice cream thing, but I’d still file it as a chypre over an oriental. Although it seems polished overall, it’s derivative and soulless — all veneer with little substance, and frankly, it’s boring. Decent construction, but uninspired and anachronistic.
01st July, 2015

Vaniglia del Madagascar by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

Farmacia SS Annunziata Vaniglia del Madagascar is an unusual take on the vanillic theme which is in this case connected to a (nowadays mainstream) musky-ozonic-aromatic marine (lemony and simil ozonic) accord yet performed by Hyle from the same brand and particularly runned by scents a la Profumum Roma Acqua di Sale, Reminiscence Sea-Rem, Laboratorio Olfattivo Salina or Il Profvmo Pioggia Salata. In here the performer seems to combine a light aqueous vanilla with a salty-airy floral muskiness. The vanillic presence is here (liquid, lemony and spicy) but the core of this fragrance is musky-ozonic (at least kind of ostensibly mineral-ozonic), silky-soapy, salty-sugary, floral and aromatic. The out come is a light muskiness somewhat fluidy and vaguely salty-airy. A wearable "non vanillic" vanilla, really balanced and organic.
01st July, 2015
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Escapade a Byzance by Olibere Parfums

Escapade à Byzance by French newcomer Olibère is for me sadly nothing more than a worthless addiction to the endless galore of Duchaufour’s creations, and particularly one of the most negligible. I guess the budget was tight here, both for the materials and for the nose, so the result is both cheap and uninspired. To cut it short this smells to me as an extremely synthetic blend of ambery-woody incense with... well, not much more. Something sweetish, spicy-dusty, vaguely similar to cinnamon but so generic and artificial that it does not trigger any specific association to notes for me. The few notes I can “recognize” with some stretch are the abovementioned amber (nothing warm, rather the ubiquitous greyish ambroxan), woods (the usual synthetic cedar stuff) and a really cheap incense note. That’s it. It doesn’t stink, but... 2015, niche? This smells like something Jil Sander could have come up with in 2001 at a third of the price. Meh...

01st July, 2015

Virgin Island Water by Creed

Freshly squeezed limes, rum, coconut….it’s not an overly complex smell but it does what it says on the tin. Creed Virgin Island Water has to be the fragrance equivalent of the sentiments expressed in those 90’s Lilt adverts, where the running joke was about how laid back life in the Caribbean was, and how the only thing that got people stressed over there was how to pull your dinghy up from the sea to the beach bar in time for happy hour.

It smells like a cocktail with lime, Malibu, rum, and well, that’s about it. I think it’s massively over-priced and would be more suited to a body spray rather than a niche fragrance. But the smell is so good-humored and promising of drunken relaxation that I can’t see how anyone could actively dislike it. If you’re the kind of person who wrinkles their nose at a good cocktail, then I don’t want to know ya.
01st July, 2015

Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The ultimate in sweet nothings. Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdijan is a fresh, summery fragrance that sparkles with zesty citrus, a green, crisp jasmine, and a whisper of tonka. There are massive amounts of hedione in this – about 50%, according to Kurkdijan himself – and this is what creates that green, crispy effect overlaying the citruses at the start.

Despite the dry, woody flavor contributed by the Iso E Super here, the effect is not overly chemical or harsh, which is to Kurkdijan’s credit. Kurkdijan is nothing if not a skilled perfumer and knows how to dose these synthetics just right. Other perfumers should learn from him. The effect is total radiance and luminosity, kind of like the effect achieved in Timbuktu.

It’s nice, but emphatically not for me. It is far too light to make more than a brief impression, and slides off the skin (and out of mind) in a couple of hours.
01st July, 2015

Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma

Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile follows the same pattern set down for Iris Nobile, which is to say: citrus + white flowers + light musk/woods base. Instead of iris, we have magnolia, which in real life smells like bright lemon notes, mixed with sweet whipping cream. In the Balkans, where I live, every yard has one single magnolia tree, planted there as a sign of welcome. Or at least to say “We will pause before taking out the shotgun”.

Magnolia Nobile dials up the citrus notes of the flower, and so the opening positively fizzes with snappy lemon and sweet orange peel. I like the opening a lot – the cream of the magnolia petals needs to be cut somehow, and this does the job. In fact, I wish the uplifting freshness could hang around a little longer. I’m not so keen on the creamy aspect of the flower that forms the heart.

To me, magnolia always smells a little too sweet and soapy. Unfortunately, in this particular example, it reminds me of an Impulse body spray I used when I was 19. Or a hand-soap, or a shampoo – I wish I could recall exactly. Either way, the smell association is there. Magnolia Nobile ends up smelling – to me – like a banal soap or shower gel or body spray that I used to buy in Marks and Spencers on Fridays with the money from my student grant that I hadn’t spent on booze and cigarettes. Boring and juvenile, therefore, to a nose that is at least two decades past that awkward stage.
01st July, 2015

Bois d'Ascèse by Naomi Goodsir

While I admire the daring of Bois d’Ascese, I find the crackling dry woodsmoke to be overwhelming. It drowns out the creamy, spiky elemi in thick billows of black soot, and makes it very difficult to perceive anything else that’s going on with the scent until the far drydown, when it becomes a 50-50 mix of great-quality frankincense and woodsmoke. Then I can enjoy its mysterious, austere smokiness on my scarf for days afterwards. But up until the dry down, I am choking through a fog of unremittingly bleak, black smoke.
01st July, 2015

Or du Serail by Naomi Goodsir

Or du Serail has a beautiful, honeyed tobacco leaf at its core. But unfortunately, it gets drowned in a fruity, sticky mess of mango, rum, coconut, and ylang, giving somewhat of an impression of a day-old tropical fruit cocktail left out in the sun to develop a ‘bloom’.

It is also unbearably sweet. Ambre Narguile does the fruit-cake-and-honey tobacco thing so much better that I wonder why anybody felt this was necessary. And to be honest, if I wanted a complex, syrupy tobacco fragrance then Histoires de Parfums’ masterpiece 1740 satisfies me on all levels.

To sum it up, Or du Serail is an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ kind of scent where everything is thrown at tobacco in the hope that something sticks. Don’t get me wrong – it is pleasant to wear and technically ‘yummy’ in that round, sweet, bland way of another of Duchaufour’s misses, Havana Vanille. But as in Havana Vanille, Or du Serail contains unpleasantly sour, discordant off-notes like mould on a piece of bread, or rot beginning to set in on a piece of fruit. Or du Serail makes a lunge for that fine line between edible and inedible, and misses the mark completely.
01st July, 2015

Cuir Velours by Naomi Goodsir

Somehow, I had high hopes for Cuir Velours. I love fruit-suede fragrances like Visa and Daim Blonde, and am slowly coming around to the idea of Traversee du Bosphore.

Indeed, there is something in the fruity, syrupy heart of Cuir Velours that reminds me of the cherry-pomegranate-apple syrup in Traversee du Bosphore, and also something of that pink-grey powdered suede with a thick dusting of icing sugar on top. To say that Cuir Velours has something of a lokum feel to it would perhaps be going too far. But there’s a familial connection, and it’s interesting to me.

Maybe 75% of Cuir Velours is attractive to me – in particular that hushed, plushy suede and spiced fruit compote note. The immortelle is nicely folded in, and I can only pick up that strange, savory syrup note in the heart of the fragrance, where it adds a necessary point of interest.

But two things throw Cuir Velours way off track – the overwhelming sweetness and the burnt-woods aromachemical lurking underneath, which is most definitely Norlimbanol. Believe me, I know my enemy well. And it is he. To me, it sticks out like a sore thumb and I don’t understand why a perfumer would think it necessary to use such a brutal material in what is essentially a plush-toy sort of fragrance. Another Naomi Goodsir fragrance written off for the sake of one element that just doesn’t work for me.
01st July, 2015

Bois Farine by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I thought I had the measure of this the minute I put it on. Aha, I said to myself, ok, Bois Farine, I understand you completely. You are less a perfume than the collected smells of a health food store: crushed peanut shells, sawdust, wood shavings, bags of whole-wheat flour, quinoa, big jars of tahini, and chunks of halva lined up in the cooler section. Dust, oil, flour. It’s all there.An olfactory joke, sure, but a wry, knowing one.


But wait. The journey isn’t over yet. We may have started in the health food store, but the scenery is whizzing past us now, to primary school and the delicious smells of the art supply closet. I can smell the cheap almond glue smell of heliotropin, and it reminds me both of salty playdough, warm vanilla, and the standard-issue, non-toxic glue they let kids use.

There is finally a dry, warm vanilla – dusty, like the smell of realms of paper in the closet. I smell the blue-white milk, tepid and fatty, already put out in cups lined up behind the teacher’s desk, ready for our snack time, collecting dust as the school room clock’s long hand inches inexorably slowly towards 11am and freedom.

I see now why so many people find this a comforting scent. It starts out as an olfactory joke and ends up as a f^&*%g time machine.

It’s like watching Cinema Paradiso and holding out until the last scene where they play all the cut reels and then ending up howling on the floor. Bois Farine, you are such an asshole.
01st July, 2015

Kenzo Pour Homme Boisée / Woody by Kenzo

This “woody” flanker of Kenzo Homme is one of those fragrances you can’t really go wrong with. It has for me a remarkable balance of generic safeness and decent quality, and above all, it is really pleasant to wear. You won’t keep sniffing your wrists and you won’t hear underwear garments fall at your side, but you’ll smell nice, fresh and effortlessly, discreetly classy. Plus this fragrance is also extremely simple and clean, which is another “added value” in terms of versatility and wearabilty. Basically on my skin it smells literally of three or four bold and clear notes: some citrus, an initial ton of sharp minty-aromatic leafy green (the fairly realistic basil-mint accord) which will then slowly fade away, a really tiny hint of some soapy musk and a really enjoyable vetiver base which will emerge more clearly on the drydown – which is basically nearly only vetiver and some musk again. The vetiver here is grassy, fresh and woody, nothing forcedly “dark” or inky/smoky. I’d dare to compare it with the marvelous grassy vetiver note in Guerlain Homme Intense, just with a lower quality (surprisingly not that lower though, it smells actually really compelling). That’s it: nothing groundbreaking or memorable, rather the epitome of clean versatile safeness – something solid (and it really is for me, quality-wise) you can generously overspray on the rush in every situation with every weather, when you’re not in the mood of wearing something more fulfilling or complex.

01st July, 2015

LAVS by Unum

To cut to the chase: I’m not thrilled by Lavs.

Since its release, this scent has seen everything from serious praise to unenthused shrugs. In fact, when one of my friends who likes incense perfume as much as I do told me that he wasn't impressed by it, I thought he must have received the wrong sample given the scent’s buzz up until that point. For me, I think it gets a few things right, but not enough to win me over.

First, I’d be more inclined to describe this as a green-leaning soapy-clean scent with a tinge of metallic rootiness before I’d even utter the word “incense.” It's almost disinfectant-clean, but the cleanliness is closer to the laundry effect that you get from certain musks than the shampoo-in-the-mouth sensation that certain soapy accords can produce. It’s metallic and bitter, but it manages to stay on the right side of acerbic. What’s behind this is a specific aldehyde that’s used over and over in incense fragrances (as well as virtually all cleaning products that carry a “pine” smell). The aldehyde in question is immediately recognizable once you’ve smelled the note in isolation (C12 MNA), and it comes up in Avignon, Cardinal, La Liturgie des Heurres, Craft — pretty much every sharp, pine-ish incense fragrance on the market. It’s overdosed in Lavs to produce the clean effect as well as to bolster the green / metallic facets of the scent. But whereas an overdose of the stuff can easily send a fragrance into the realm of “pine car freshener,” here it’s mitigated by a wall of frankincense/olibanum’s distinct lemony facets and some elemi to further soften the sharp edges. Even though the dosage is far too high, the perfumer did a nice job of cushioning it within the scent.

For the first few hours (seriously), I find Lavs too sourly metallic to enjoy — almost to the point of scrubbing it off. But, over time, it softens up to reveal a nicely done, enduring amber-ish base that’s mainly ambrox-style chemicals merged with a smooth, anonymous resin accord. At this stage, Lavs is basically a good, durable incense without the harshness of the aldehyde. The cleanliness sticks around, and I can certainly see why this was used as a room / clothing spray in the past, but I don’t think it’s quite translated into a wearable incense perfume. There’s nothing smoky, nothing floral, nothing woody, nothing goth, nothing dramatic about it — it’s just a clean incense with a metallic tinge to it. The problem is that it takes hours to get to that point.

When compared to all the other fragrances in this style, it’s the cleanliness that makes it stand out. I wore Lavs for two consecutive days exclusively, and even in hot temperatures it kept its cool. And while there’s some depth to the scent, it’s got more than its fair share of the usual synthetic suspects in it as well. This isn’t a bad thing, but it really keeps the scent from elevating beyond Iso E / C12 hits like Bois d’Encens, Avignon, Cardinal etc. — it’s really just an elaboration of that same effect. In fact, Jo Malone (of all lines) just released a wholly unoriginal take on the same style, and I would harbor that it’s actually smoother than this. Also, I compared Lavs directly to Avignon (the touchstone, really), and I personally prefer Avignon simply because the patchouli note in that scent adds just the right earthy contrast to the bitterness of the C12. This has no contrast, and while it outperforms the CdG by a long stretch, I still prefer Avignon over this.

I don’t dislike Lavs, and I don’t think it’s a bad scent overall, but I think there are plenty of better options out there for incense fragrance (Sahara Noir, Avignon, Bois d’Encens etc). I’ve enjoyed spending time with this one and exploring its nuances, and I’m glad that I finally got to check it out, but ultimately it’s left me cold.
01st July, 2015
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drseid Show all reviews
United States

Soul by Costume National

Soul opens with moderately sweet vanilla infused black pepper spice. Moving to the early heart the composition remains moderately sweet as cardamom joins the black pepper to support an emerging synthetic Oud accord that takes on the starring role, with traces of relatively sanitized patchouli and rough leather joining in subtle additional support. During the late dry-down the sweetness fades while remaining in modest fashion as a salty ambergris accord takes control of the composition with the sanitized patchouli remaining in support through the finish. Projection is average to slightly above average and longevity very good at about 10-11 hours on skin.

When I initially heard about Soul I really didn't know what to think. On the one hand, it is by Costume National, a brand that has produced some really great compositions previously, this one composed by my favorite nose Dominique Ropion. On the other hand, the last few Costume National releases were disappointing, and the published notes list looked uninspired. It was time to give the stuff a sniff to see if Ropion could work his magic on a brief that most likely would not have been his first choice... Unfortunately, one of the first things I noticed when Soul was applied on skin is the significant sweetness level. This sweetness comes from the vanilla in the base, but it permeates every aspect of the composition's development and not really in a good way. At least the early relatively sweet vanilla is not powdery, as that would have been the death knell early-on. Countering the unwanted sweetness is a pretty decent implementation of synthetic Oud. This stuff will not fool anyone who has smelled the real thing that it is not a synthetic concoction, but Ropion to his credit utilizes the faux Oud in a way that it blends pretty well into the spices and patchouli, never calling too much attention to itself even though it is the star for most of the composition's development. The most disappointing part of that development, however, comes during the late dry-down as salty and slightly musky ambergris takes over from the faux Oud as star, with the vanilla eschewing some of its sweetness, swapping it for a subtle dry powdery sheen late. All in all Soul does smell good, but somewhat ironically, apart from its note list being unimpressive it comes off as soulless. My guess is Ropion really didn't enjoy composing this one. The bottom line is the $150 per 100ml bottle Soul is lacking precisely that despite still smelling good, earning it a "good" 3 star out of 5 rating and a hesitant recommendation.
30th June, 2015

No. 5 Eau Première by Chanel

Simply a well re-orchestrated version of the great original with a reduced aldehydic/animalic presence, an equally woody-poudree-rosey exotic dry down but with this alluring long lasting soul full of bright-shimmering sharp floral sophistication (jasmine more than rose in this phase and "apparently" peony), a more angular-watery citric presence (sharp, vaguely bitter and sensual) and a fresher general aura (aromatic and spicy). Anyway, Eau Premiere preserves that "trademark" N. 5' s poudree-hesperidic-chypre (still rosey-soapy) chic aura which turned its predecessor out in to such a legendary way. Thumbs up.
30th June, 2015

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

A blogger well defines this perfume, just knowing how to read!

The superhero, the celebrities, the famous person are not famous just because they are called Batman or Captain Paris.The difference is their social position, that is, the comparison between mine and their position, between ours and theirs. This is real life. We can consider this diversity as a recent conquest of modern sociology: a social group is rich or poor, or disadvantaged only in relation to another group, and the same is for every man...
In this case the world of comic could become an unprecedented scope for this theory to show that even a costume or a myth is nothing if we are not willing to recognize them as such. Then, here is a superhero as Captain Paris who is compared to O'driù! O'driù is not the measure but the disproportion the imbalance! And the blogger has the absolute advantage of being unnecessarily banal and complacent!
Just read this post while you're carefree, just relaxing! It is a kind of “soda”, nothing more.

Absolutely, you might consider this perfume a good fragrance, but the detail of the diversity, the difference between luxury and art, make this fragrance tiny!
The scent, including synthetic ingredients and little brave notes, could be considered the final Epic Fall of the Niche.

by your amazing "interesting man in conflict"

This reviewer may have conflicts of interest

30th June, 2015
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Eau de Rochas by Rochas

There's something about this wonderful scent that makes me want to wear a floaty, diaphanous dress and sit by a pool sipping a cocktail. It perks me up and relaxes me at the same time with its beautiful blend of lime, grapefruit, lemon, carnation, coriander a smidgen of patchouli, oakmoss, musk and sandalwood.

I really can't imagine a more suitable concoction to spritz on when the heat is on and the days are long.
As it melds with my skin it becomes very sensuous and could easily be unisex in the way the Eau Sauvage became in the 70's.

French chic at its very best!
30th June, 2015

Euphoria Gold by Calvin Klein

The citrus and honey combo in the top remind me of a discontinued L'Occitane honey EDT, though that one was really just those two notes throughout, and they're only the beginning here - Euphoria Gold really blooms on skin.

Honey is up there with vanilla as something people like, so apart from the comments I've seen that it can go cat pee on some, I don't understand why the honey note hasn't been featured all that much in recent years. For Lord knows there have been enough sweet and gourmand fragrances released that MIGHT have featured it!

There are florals here, but I get them sort of subconsciously. On me, Euphoria Gold is primarily apricot, honey, patchouli, and musk for the long haul. Sweet, but with the Calvin Klein urban polish, which keeps it from veering completely into the super heavy hippie incense kind of scent that it could have been with its combination of notes. I think I'd like a heavier version, actually. While I adore Euphoria Gold and don't have anything bad to say about it, I will admit that I harbor a desire for a Tom Ford execution of the same pyramid. I think it would be a better Velvet Orchid-like thing!

30th June, 2015

Eau de Quinine by Crown Perfumery

Besides the Crown Perfumery’s Eau de Quinine (EdQ), two other "modern" fragrances bear this name: Geo F Trumper's and Pinaud’s. I have not tried Pinaud’s so I will compare the Trumper and the Crown Perfumery renditions here. Both have the quintessential quinine note: bitter aromatic, not citrus but perhaps a satisfying alternative to those craving tartness. The GFT rendition is tempered by a powdery accord. The Crown rendition doesn't have this nearly so much, so the bitterness is more pronounced, albeit mingled with floral notes that are stronger in the Crown rendition.

EdQs have a barbershop feel of a former age. Still they are interesting fragrance and worthy of trying. I prefer the GFT EdQ, but this is quite wearable, albeit discontinued some time ago.
30th June, 2015

Salome by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

When I tried Anubis, I was admittedly bummed. I'd read so many good things about it and I loved the tropes that it was engaging, but ultimately, I didn’t feel that the composition had the structural sophistication to carry the scent. I ended my review by noting that even though I wasn’t quite on board with Anubis, I was looking forward to see what perfumer Liz Moores would do next. I’m glad I did.

The perfectly named Salome is a monster. It’s like a deeper, more dramatic Muscs Koublai Khan that folds in aspect of Musc Tonkin, Fleur Poudrée de Musc, and Anubis and manages to pull it off perfectly. Given the references I just laid out, I’m sure you can already guess that this is animalic scent. It’s essentially a floral chypre with a salacious, lurid musk attached that knows the limits of decency and just how far it can push up against those limits. Expect grandiose, weighty floral notes suspended over a full, woody-chypre base. The musk splits the difference between MKK’s cozy civet and Musc Tonkin’s metallic-goat shimmer. Some of the more aggressive textures of Anubis — specifically the gasoline jasmine and the leathery motor oil — make cameo appearances, but they’re part of a larger, more cohesive whole. Salome hits some of the same melodramatic chords of the line’s other releases, but the form is more refined without coming off as overly coiffed. There's some textural action going on (meaning that it’s not a perfectly smooth blend — so prepare yourselves, purists), yet overall Salome is far more tucked in than that of Moores' past releases. Over time, the musks turns a bit scratchy-powder akin to the Les Nereides scent noted above, but the carnality holds strong and the scent persists for long time. At points, it reminds me a little of Neil Morris’ Gotham. It’s less-rose driven, but Gotham’s excellent moodiness is all there. Adding this to her line was a smart move, and, although there are plenty of musky florals already buzzing around, there’s always room for something with this much sex and drama involved — and this has both in spades. A castoreum, gasoline, resinous, civety, lurid floral musk with the right amount of imperfection in all the right places. It’s dark, risky, and supremely moody — it’s fantastic.
29th June, 2015 (last edited: 01st July, 2015)

Hyle by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

A loop, I mean that same old record (Profumum Roma Acqua di Sale, il Profumo Pioggia Salata, L'Erbolario Fiore di Loto, Reminiscence Rem/Sea Rem, Laboratorio Olfattivo Salina, Chieffo Acquasala and God knows what else). Farmacia SS Annunziata Hyle is really close to almost all the previously outlined juices (overall connected by a common soapy-ozonic musky edge), I mean a plethora of particular (mainstream nowadays) ozonic juices which stand out (especially all around the trendy summer southern seaside venues) for their sort of silky soapy-salty trail, the aromatic-anisic muskiness (myrtle, lavender, anise etc.) a touch of fruitiness and the great projection. The aroma is utterly synthetic, sort of weidly balmy-candied and salty aromatic. Hyle is anyway discreet and balanced. A sort of assumedly "posh" kind of recipe. Do you want to have a similar feeling but in a far far better way (and without the chemical ozone)? Ok try to find Must the Cartier Pour Homme Vert Anis, you will get in Paradise.
29th June, 2015

Givenchy pour Homme by Givenchy

With all the individual character of an airport terminal, Givenchy pour Homme runs the scintillating gamut from Ho to Hum. I acquired this one in a lot that contained what I was truly interested in - another bottle of vintage Gentlemen. A test of the orphan bottle of Givenchy PH revealed it to be unobjectionably fresh and mannered yet insubstantial, somewhat in the style of Creeds of the light and very frail-structured variety.
29th June, 2015

Zegna by Ermenegildo Zegna

Like many other masculine classic fragrances from those years, the first scent by Zegna tries to blend some classic “powerhouse” notes from the 1980’s (leather, cloves, oak moss, carnation) with a “younger”, more refined powdery Oriental vein of amber, spices and something floral-musky. A “gentler” powerhouse, maybe broadly comparable to Guerlain Heritage, just way less sophisticated than that, more herbaceous, sharp, still more leathery and “virile”. Say, more than a similarity, I think they could share some similar inspiration – to “brighten up” the rather gloomy realm of masculine fougères of the preceding decade with something spicier and more powdery. And that’s it, you can easily imagine how it smells and sadly for me, with all respects, it falls within the “boring” side – I mean that it is a perfectly decent and elegantly masculine fragrance with no particular quality or creativity or “added values” to make it a “gem to re-discover” (unless you’re really obsessed with Italian fougères).

29th June, 2015

273 Rodeo Drive for Men by Fred Hayman

Brut at half volume!

Disliked Brut in the 60's.

Stayed away in the 70's.

Thought it had disappeared in the 90's.

Now to 273.

Once you get past the Bergamot, Lavender

blast. Things get better.

In the drydown, I find quite a pleasant touch of

Oakmoss. Mmm.

This seems much simpler in composition to the Brut..

I kind of like it.

Sampleworthy. Yes! Bottleworthy. No!
29th June, 2015

Usmar Venezia by Cerchi nell'Acqua

A fragrance for poets and travellers. Usmar Venezia is (in my humble opinion) the Enrico Buccella's masterwork (on the side of Emilie and Atelier Marrakech), a superior resinous rose/patchouli costruction and one of the very rare artistic creations I've tested on skin in the last two years. The lecherous exhalations appear by soon immensely aristocratic, classically "conceived", resinously rosey, vegetal and decadent and it seems to catch for a while on your skin the history of the glorious Repubblica di Venezia, a story of travels, explorations, cultural loftiness, noble buildings and supreme art. A fragrance for the Dames at Court, a mystic and elusive potion waving as a ghost for secret rooms of the venetian buildings. This amazing fragrance could immedialtely be elevated on a status of classic, imo. Rose, patchouli, resins/balsams (frankincense, amber , benzoin, opoponax and more) and spices appoint a magical olfactory atmosphere, a valzer of velvets, a whirlpool of aristocratic and exotic nuances grounding in the past their essence. In the same league with scents as Tiziana Terenzi Gold Rose Oudh and Malle Portrait of a Lady (the more incensey La Via del Profumo Mecca Balsam jumps on mind just in part for its resinous waxy golden aura) anyway in here the aroma seems to go further towards a more complex, "flamboyant" (warm salty castoreum and velvety resins) and nuanced pièce of baroque art. This aroma is rosey-waxy, vaguely incensey, spicy, hesperidic and vegetal. A woodsy-animalic basic accord is on the line of the classic floral feminine mossy-waxy (vaguely honeyed) chypre of the french/italian tradition while vegetal patterns provide throughout a touch of lymphatic-camphoraceous grassiness connected with the spiciness of patchouli and rooty dry spices. An exotic accord of spices and ylang-ylang enhances the general silky-soapy mysticism of this languid elixir. Usmar Venezia is a "palatin" fragrance, something with a story to tell, an extremely refined and "mannered" construction rich of articulation and "dodgy eroticism". Recommended.
28th June, 2015

Sycomore (new) by Chanel

I think I'm becoming a bit of a vetiver addict. I've also tried Encre Noir (like many) recently, also Guerlain Vetiver. Of course there are strong similarities. For me this hasn't the clean, honest, freshness of Guerlain, and it hasn't the dark, sinister drama of the Lalique. But this is mellow, subtle, refined, tentative, fleeting, delicate. Beautiful, in fact. I get the soft spiciness at the start and of course full-on lovely vertiver throughout. For me rather soft sillage (although I was wearing Polo yesterday, so I might revise that comment later!) and soft to moderate longevity. Someone else I read said "otherworldly" - I agree, and in fact the scent of vetiver is always like that for me. But whereas Encre Noir, for me, is a malevolent, cold and dramatic spirit, Sycomore is an intelligent, refined and absolutely benevolent alien being. Someone I read said that the character from the film Avatar would wear this. Yes, bravo, perfect! I so wish I'd thought of that image, but it's completely right. A benevolent, intelligent, otherworldly, beautiful, forest dweller.
I've just noticed it's listed as a feminine fragrance too. Yes! (lightbulb moment....) of course it would be lovely on a woman, but I'm also claiming it too. In fact this scent is not about sex at all for me.
No doubt at some point in the future I will be surrounded by far too many bottles on the theme of vetiver. Heaven! Of course Sycomore is on my "want" list. I'd wear this when I felt I needed support and kindness not of this world. Lovely.

27th June, 2015

Eau des Baux by L'Occitane

This has a coniferous-vanilla/amber accord that works. Doesn’t feel especially complex or high end, but would you expect that for the price? It has good longevity. I own a bottle. Not a wardrobe favorite of mine, but every now and then I like wearing it. Reasonably priced.
27th June, 2015

Armani Eau de Nuit by Giorgio Armani

Halfway Paul Smith Man and Dior Homme, a sort of spicy-dusty “grey” iris-tonka fragrance loaded with synthetic amber nuances, a ton of cheap soapy musk (you’ll get it all on the drydown) and a hint of smoke. Clearly similar to Dior Homme – the kind of “similar” connecting a counterfeit PU leather replica of a Hermès Birkin bag to the original one. A strong will to be content with very little, a bit of imagination and really low pretenses can make the purchase worthy. The same here; Eau de Nuit smells heavily and almost annoyingly cheap and not exactly “inspired” from the point of view of the creativity... but well, it works somehow, especially since the prices seem quite low. It’s warm, slightly sweet, dark but gentle, a resemblance with the drydown of Body Kouros pops out on the drydown. *Indifferent shrug*.

27th June, 2015

Original Santal by Creed

Trying not to be judgemental here, but Original Santal by Creed is really a depressing fragrance given the price and the pretenses it has. I can accept the fact there is no (I mean: no!) sandalwood here, and obviously no “original” sandalwood therefore, but even putting that aside, it smells really, clearly and desperately mediocre. Don’t expect any luxury out of this, it is basically a really generic herbal juniper-lavender blend with a lot of spices on the smooth-sweet side, mostly cinnamon and tonka, and that’s it. Pleasantly outdated if you want, but that’s a really miserable cold comfort to pay that money to feel like a wealthy distinguished connoisseur while actually smelling like a lower-class accountant from the early 1990s. Not saying Original Santal stinks; it is decent, in the least enthusiastic meaning ever, something which I would consider acceptable for a 15/20 EUR fragrance. “Drugstore/chainstore-decent” as any Montblanc and similar fragrances would be. Sadly I am given to understand Creed fans are most of the time so devotedly stubborn that my review will just appear as some snobbish grumpy opposer bashing the brand for the sake of it... well I am not. I admit this would be fine with a way lower price, so I do see some margin of acceptability with this fragrance, but as-is (over 2 EUR/ml?) it’s objectively preposterous - this being in the same broad price range of, say, Hermès Cuir d’Ange? Insulting.

27th June, 2015
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United Kingdom

Uomo Essenza di Capri by Pal Zileri

I got this for a silly price but the reviews made me take the little chance. At first spray I thought to myself 'yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn. This has only been done 2500 times before' yet 10 mins later it dries down to a very lovely aquatic! A surprisingly lovely aquatic given the price. Subtle, gentle aquatic with a fruity edge. No one could find this offensive so suitable for the office too. A surprise blind buy, glad I got it in the sale now!
27th June, 2015