Latest Fragrance Reviews, Updated Daily

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    Captain's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Liquid Cashmere by Donna Karan

    This reminds me of Michael Kors Sexy Amber. It's more sweet and floral, less sandalwood and musky where as Sexy Amber has no musk. Liquid Cashmere though is essentially an amber scent- it's soft, warm, blankety and touch of powdery sweetness. It's also extremely long lasting. I can still smell it strongly after a shower!

    I wish I could put my finger on why I don't enjoy it though. There's something about it, I couldn't wait to shower it off. It's very...thick. Cloying almost.

    It's a well made and blended fragrance and it is an improvement over Cashmere Mist. Not a safe blind buy, crowd pleaser or gift though.

    29 August, 2014 (Last Edited: 30th August, 2014)

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Uomo? Moschino by Moschino

    Uomo? Moschino.

    In the middle between Le Male Gaultier, Blue Chanel and Heaven Chopard this supremely balmy-soapy concoction connects in a unique pale recipe the fresh "splashing" balmy muskiness of the first one (huge musky lavender/coriander accord), the initial aqueous metallic floral accord of the second (citrus, hedione, floral notes, dry cedarwood) and the salty-"sweaty-like" final soapiness of the latter (amber, cinnamon and soapy patterns). The outcome is a sort of sporty "after shower" "bath foam-like" aroma without texture and refinement. Banal and boring.

    29 August, 2014

    juanderer's avatar

    Mexico Mexico

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    Sådanne by Slumberhouse

    Sådanne opens tart and winey with green berries - not that this smells green, but the tartness of the berries brings to mind not-quite-ripe fruit. Shortly after the initial smell, a waxiness comes through that intermittently suggests an iris-like makeup note before settling into a rose that smells much like the color of the fragrance in the bottle suggests.

    There is an animalic tinge to it; one that you initially have to look for it to really notice with what's going on at the top with the more effervescent components. The transition to the heart presents a fermented fruits vibe that goes more in line with the wine feel which together with the effervescence of the composition brings Prosecco to mind. There is also a mild coniferous resins presence that suggests a woody accord of pine, cedar, and juniper.

    There is a definite musky skank in the background with an ambergris sweetness to it as the composition progresses into the dry-down. The later facet of this stage (approximately 7 hours after applicaiton) is dominated by a waxy rose
    over the ambergris base.

    This Slumberhouse offering is one dynamic affair. Especially considering how 'light' it is compared to the latest examples from the house.

    Sådanne tilts more towards feminine than Slumberhouse's offerings of late, but is still within the unisex realm. If you are a fan of quirky roses and Belgian raspberry lambics, you will thoroughly enjoy this.

    28 August, 2014

    Lovescully's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    Kouros Eau de Toilette Tonique 2014 by Yves Saint Laurent

    Although there's very little of the original Kouros in this, it is still very nice. It has more in common with Ice Men by Mugler than the original. It's a frosty patchouli scent with a hint of wood and incense.

    Although geranium is listed in the notes I cant detect any florals at all in this.

    27 August, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    cK One Shock for Him by Calvin Klein

    Any veritable shock since the CK One Shock's aroma is common like having a coffee at morning. A synthetic well appointed and well rounded (tobacco/cocoa veined) dark amber with a faint citric herbal opening (orange and aromatic herbs, here the reference to Dark Obsession), a sheer spicy and barely intoxicating central dustiness (black pepper, namely the main darkening element of the recipe together with patchouli and dark chocolate), musky floral accents and a peaceful final (vaguely animalic) talkiness. I detect for sure the tobacco along the dry down and something cool like fir resins, lavender for sure and may be vetiver. I see the references to juices a la Piguet Casbah (far more stormy/resinous) and Varvados Vintage. Decent but unpretentious. The synthetic vibe is under control in my humble opinion. The aroma wins over more renowned and expensive dark ambers around. Tasty, attractive but un-textured. Not bad but not more.

    27 August, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Salamah Attar by Amouage

    I actually quite liked my sample of Salamah, despite a few problems. First of all, the opening is quite harsh. The bergamot is so overloaded here that it feels startlingly green and waxy, like ivy or privet hedge. It throws the balance of somewhat. There is a lovely Taifi rose that follows, big and jammy, and after smelling the Taifi rose in Homage only very faintly, I am relieved to see the appearance of the real thing at last in Salamah. I think I was so happy to find a lush rose that I forgave the opening harshness.

    The drydown was really lush: a nice, big white pillowy musk and sweet hay notes, mixed with a small hint of frankincense. There is also a not insignificant amount of faintly medicinal oud here too, although on my skin, this showed up right at the end, as the scent was gasping its last breaths. The rose lasted a good amount of time but I found myself wishing it could have lasted a bit more, that's how much I enjoyed that note.

    Overall, I really liked Salamah. Actually, I liked it a great deal more than the guy who sent me the sample, who was rather shocked that I liked it this much! He himself found a disinfectant note that he found got in his way of enjoying it, but although I noticed something vaguely sterile in the musk and oud notes at the end, it wasn't enough for me to find it unpleasant or distracting.

    27 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Cristalle Eau de Toilette by Chanel

    Cristalle opens with a delicate and slightly metallic herbal accord comprising several "organic" pungent and natural nuances (basil, mint, grassy notes), citrus notes, fresh and lively white flowers, dry resins, a really subtle vanilla-amber-woody base which provides a light, but at the same time elegant and Oriental warmth embracing the "freshness" of the scent. Honestly initially the oak moss is not that perceivable in my opinion, after a while the only thing I could link to it is a vague greenish-mossy note, humid and slightly dark, but without all the stale earthiness of oak moss. However I was surely not expecting a Puig's Quorum in drag, so no big deal. The name Cristalle perfectly fits this scent, which in fact has a "cristalline" personality, where crystal means transparency, freshness, angular cleanliness, almost an abstract architecture. Clean, understated and geometrical, elegant but somehow a bit anonym and pale (not in a good way: imagine the smell of a "faded" scent), plus with a really short longevity. Interesting, but nothing amazing to me.

    7/10

    26 August, 2014

    kumquat's avatar

    United States United States

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    Costa Mediterranea by I Profumi di Firenze

    A great traditional fresh 'cologne' for those who possibly are disappointed in the re-formulation of 'Acqua di Colonia Asoluta'. I very much like the bergamot and Sicilian Lemon combination here. Tangy, tart and dry Vetiver. Great for a man in summer. What's not to like?

    26 August, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Tralala by Penhaligon's

    This is as kooky as the doll's head on the bottle. But whereas the doll would give me nightmares (because those things come to life once you are asleep) the scent itself is extremely likable. Odd, yes, but likable. Tralala is stuffed to the rim with notes, so as usual, it's a total crapshoot as to what I actually smell. My nose ain't all that.

    The opening is all boozey, musky...peanuts. Yes, peanuts. For some reason, the combination of the musk, vetiver, booze, saffron, and powdery orris rise up all the way from the base at the opening to make this kind of mealy, nutty accord that I can only describe as crushed monkey nuts. The dustiness of the saffron and the muskiness of the ambrette seeds could be making my brain short circuit to nut meal. This nut meal accord is immediately joined by this heavy, creamy vanilla and sweet, sweet tonka, so if you imagine peanut meal swimming in a cereal bowl of creamy milk, nougat candies, and melted marzipan, then you have your starting point.

    The tuberose, never a shy bird, pops its head out quite insistently here. The titanic and ghastly richness of this flower adds a dollop of butter to the already too-dairy-rich mess in the bowl. It is also vaguely plasticky, like a doll's head (hey!) but it's not nearly as simple a smell as you might think from this description. This nutty-milky-tuberose accord is joined at the hip to this boozey, musky vetiver, in effect taking it to the brink of extreme gourmand hell and pulling it back from the brink at the last minute with a touch of musky men's aftershave. The sweet myrrh in the base here gives off these shoots of lavender and root beer, adding to the impression of this as half fairground gourmand and half musky fougere.

    If Laura Palmer's secret diary had a smell, it would be this.

    26 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Roma by Laura Biagiotti

    The initial notes of Roma are quite on the sweet-creamy side; ylang, vanilla, a hint of fruits, a balsamic-resinous breeze (myrrh, apparently: basically an Oriental spicy-incense-resin smell like olibanum), a minty note, heliotrope, delicate and aromatic citrus notes, aldehydes, supported by an earthy-animalic velvety base, refined and understated, which gives just a tiny touch of "animalic" à la Jicky but quite soft and hiding like a shadow behind a cloud of silky spicy soapiness. As minutes pass it darkens becoming smokier and more resinous, the balsamic incense is now more prominent together with woods and patchouli, always surrounded by a sweet talc creaminess of ylang, flowers and sandalwood. So in short it's all about flowers, resins, woods, quite on the sweet-bright side despite some interesting darker corners. Undoubtedly a pleasant scent, simple, friendly and elegant (not that sophisticated, though), versatile and iconic – you smelled this everywhere some fifteen years ago in the streets of Italy. The drydown is dry and unexpectedly more greenish, almost grassy and a tad metallic. It may sound weird, but given the similarity of the notes, it almost resembles to Zino Davidoff or Guerlain Héritage's "blond sister". Good and easy-going.

    7,5-8/10

    26 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Eau de Givenchy by Givenchy

    Eau de Givenchy is a nice, pleasant, relaxed chypre which brilliantly manages to combine a fresh, minty, summery breeze, almost "iodine" in a way, with a denser, darker and stickier base line of notes more typically found in classic chypres – the usual musky/animalic mossy base, not particularly earthy or heavy here, but still carrying that kind of slightly skanky-sweaty smell. In the middle, a bouquet of flowers ranging from carnation to rose, then sandalwood, patchouli, perhaps vetiver. Shortly a classic Oriental chypre on the mossy-woody side with a remarkable fresh twist – halfway mineral and fruity, azure and refreshing, played not on calone but rather on a combination of balsamic, floral, fruity notes which delivers a colourful, fresh breath, slightly aqueous too. Totally refined, a kind of "weekend" relaxed elegance. Perfect elegant drydown (which despite the name "Eau de...", is quite long-lasting). A good one for sure!

    8/10

    26 August, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Ambre & Santal by L'Occitane

    A great amber-powdery woods accord which doesn't fail in comparison with more renowned and expensive amber "recipes". By soon bright, translucent and deliciously talky-figgy L'Occitane Ambre&Santal performs well for daily and night time with the support of balsams, musks, refined sparkling/aromatic opening bergamot and neutral floral patterns. Along the dry down the (yet present) typical talky animalic amber vibe slightly recedes and sandalwood jumps on the stage supported by a subtle rosey spark. A more than decent "royal" aroma (with a traditional recipe- amber/bergamot/rose) in which the synthetic side remains under control and with a surprising level of texture and subtleness. Recommended.

    26 August, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Asrar Attar by Amouage

    Very thick, sweet, and spicy in the first hour or so - almost overwhelmingly so. Orange blossom isn't listed anywhere in the notes, either here or on Fragrantica, but this is most definitely all about the orange blossoms. There's a harshness cutting through the sweetness, though, coming from the saffron and oud, which are presented here in their more medicinal aspects. But in general, the opening is like a big old sledgehammer to the nose - nothing subtle or nuanced about it. It's actually kind of pungent.

    After the first hour, the attar slowly loses most of its medicinal, syrupy intensity, and relaxes a bit. A big, jammy red rose rises up to meet the oud, and for a long while, Asrar takes on the more conventional feel of a rose and oud pairing. The best is yet to come though. In the drydown, the scent seems to do a 180 degree turn from where it started,and morphs into a smokey, woodsy affair with what feels like a vetiver-leather accord buried deep within the base. It's like someone tacked on the Tribute attar onto the end of Serge Luten's Fleur d'Oranger, with a detour to visit Black Aoud in the middle. I liked the masculine-leaning, leathery, smokey bit at the end very much. I just wouldn't be willing to wade through the syrupy start and uninspired middle every time to get there.

    26 August, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Ubar Woman by Amouage

    Ubar by Amouage is a shimmering floral mélange so massively radiant that its heat signature can probably be picked up from outer space. Like its progenitors in the grand old French perfumery tradition, Chanel No. 5, Joy, and Arpege, the floral accords are so complex and blended to the point of abstraction that it becomes a guessing game as to what flowers exactly you are smelling. It just smells like a thousand different flowers (all of them hellishly expensive) gave up their life for a greater cause.

    Cutting through the richness of the floral notes is a knife edge’s worth of bitterness from bergamot and civet, giving it that balance between rich flowers, bitter citruses, and the whiff of gently-used lady undergarments that all those good French class perfumes have. It is not, however, as animalic as reviews had led me to believe – oh, it may have been, but a reformulation is suspected. On the scale of animalic dirtiness, the needle moves towards the gently dirty Bal a Versailles – in other words, it is not the roar of a lion but a purr from a kitty.

    Past the classic, rather overwhelming start, Ubar starts a slow but exquisite transformation from French floral chypre to a relaxed, creamy oriental. It’s like watching a beautiful woman take down her hair for the night. All the floral notes collapse with a sigh into a milky, ambery heart, calling to mind those oldies but goodies from the 1950’s, like the original L’Interdit by Givenchy. The sharp notes from the beginning fall back quite a bit, although they don’t disappear completely, so the impression you get is of a rich, creamy softness from the amber and sandalwood, but without any added sugar.

    It’s beautiful, but emphatically not for me. I wore Ubar for the first time on an outing to the cinema with my small son, and as we sat there in the dark, watching the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, I realized with a sense of mortification that I am clearly not the person for whom Amouage envisaged this perfume. Like a Hermes Birkin bag, I can admire the shape of it, the engineering, the skill, everything – but if someone were to gift me one (unlikely, I know), I can say with almost 100% certainty that it would never see the outside of my closet. Because to wear it would require me to suddenly be a different person altogether – more put together, classier, and without a perennially scuffed pair of ballet slippers. Ubar is beautiful, but I am just not up to the effort it would take for me to deserve her.

    26 August, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Dark Obsession by Calvin Klein

    First of all I respectfully disagree who with dares to assert that CK Dark Obsession is a more mature Obsession's version since on the contrary the great predecessor is a far more "lofty" complex concoction (classiest, sexiest, more mature, unique and refined in my humble opinion). Dark Obsession is a fancy synthetic dark suede-vanilla accord (synthetic glamour-chic and metrosexual in nature) introduced by herbal and fruity nuances which last for more than a half of the short evolution run. At the beginning the aroma is angular, citric, vaguely rooty and herbal indeed (yes absolutely herbal and slightly minty-earthy with notes of absinthe and guarana) but by soon mastered by a central soothing dominant accord of dark patchouli, oakmoss and vanilla (may be synthetic tonka in addition). Vanilla takes gradually the stage finally completed by a suede tobacco vein and probably by a touch of cocoa (still featuring notes of orange, cinnamon and may be further fruity notes). Several juices jump on mind in a while (partially Azzaro Decibel, Polo Black, CK Encounter, Black Suede Leather by Avon and vaguely the far better appointed Kenneth Cole Black for instance). The final fruity (delicately leathery) accord is subtle, vaguely chocolatey and slightly sultry. The aroma in the complex is pleasant but not such a dark beast could imprint that bold "quid" contradistinguishing the wearer from the vulgar crowd of the down smoky venue.

    26 August, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Cologne de l'Empereur by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    La Via del Profumo Cologne de l'Empereur unfolds by soon its classical hesperidic "eau de cologne" outlook recalling easily in style (in a hyper natural way) historical pieces of perfumes a la Eau Sauvage, Blenheim Bouquet, 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser, Roger&Gallet Open, Gold Medal Atkinsons, several Guerlain Aqua Allegoria, Mugler Cologne, Eau de Rochas Homme and more (but also the more recent Il Profvmo Imprinting, partially the Meo Fusciuni's "Note" di Viaggio, Askett&English Essential etc etc). You can easily detect a solid main accord of minty lavender, oregano-basil (probably further aromatic greens), bergamot and neroli. The floral heart is refined and romantic, so royal and aristocratic with a stout rose-hesperides (may be jasmine) ethereal hyper Victorian dominant accord. A minimal final touch of animalic civet provides warmth and rounding appeal affording a twist of vibrant sensuality. The outcome is virile, stiff and classic but somewhat dynamic and encompassing. Natural, charismatic and comforting.

    25 August, 2014

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Azemour les Orangers by Parfum d'Empire

    Azemour opens with juicy orange citrus over traces of underlying cumin spice. As the composition moves to its early heart the initial juicy orange morphs to sharp relatively dry, slightly bitter, fresh green grapefruit-infused neroli as the underlying cumin spice grows slightly in its intensity. As the composition makes its way through its middle the cumin dissipates as the composition turns more green through the infusion of a mossy accord rising from the base that couples with orange flower and the green neroli, resulting in a slightly dirty bitter-green orange accord. During the late dry-down the cumin spice completely vacates the composition leaving remnants of the green moss to add additional support to the starring slightly sharp woods and supporting coumarin derived hay base notes. Projection is minimal with the composition just a little more than a skin scent and longevity average at about 7-9 hours on skin.

    Azemour les Orangers is a very different composition than I expected. Yes, the orange fruit is definitely there early-on in particular, but the composition is much more about the fresh green neroli aspect of the orange tree, incorporating even aspects of the tree itself late. The presentation is quite a welcome departure from the usual "orange". Something *not* as welcome is the subtle to moderate use of dirty cumin spice through the early heart of the composition. The cumin is never intrusive, thankfully, but it does seem unnecessary and the composition shines brightest when it is unnoticeable. The late dry-down is quite different than the rest of the composition, with the moss and coumarin in the base completing the chypre structure but its focus turns quite woody with almost a sharp vetiver-like bent, and an extremely slight saltiness noticeable only if one pays close attention. Save for the unnecessary cumin the whole thing is quite well put together and exudes some of the spirit of the great Monsieur de Givenchy at times (without the orange, of course). The bottom line is the $145 per 100ml bottle Azemour could have been truly excellent had it not marred its presentation slightly with its relatively minor use of dirty cumin, but even "as is" the end result still merits a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation to all.

    24 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Casmir by Chopard

    Casmir opens with a bag of fruits on sandalwood, vanilla, ylang, Oriental flavours of spices and cinnamon. Briefly, a sweet and creamy fruity bath soap, which however is restrained and complex enough to smell better than most of other scent of this genre. Despite smelling a bit like Fructis shampoo, in fact, Casmir reveals some more structured and intriguing nuances and a compelling deepness of notes: it's plummy, sweet and creamy, but in a sophisticated, mellow, decently-executed and polite way (in other words, it is no sickening teenagers' gourmand and does not smell too much artificial). Not a masterpiece for me, but in that disgraceful family – the "fruity-floral bombs" – surely among the nicest I've ever tried.

    6,5/10

    24 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Chamade by Guerlain

    Chamade (vintage mid-'80s bottle here) is a dark, powerful herbal chypre opening with a foggy, grey, masculine austerity all over: a bouquet of herbs, humid flowers, musky notes, a powdery side, a dry leather base. But most of all, herbs, like in a man's fougère. The reference here seems to be halfway classic chypres à la Guerlain or the (unfairly underrated) great Guy Laroche, and Cabochard or Habanita, that family of "bitchy", skanky feminine scents, although more refined and adorned here by a beautiful, impalpable cloud of lively, radiant, graceful hyacint-soapy talc notes which are not "on skin" but you can clearly smell them in the sillage (an "effect" I totally love). Basically a classic structure which recalls echoes of memorable chypres, with flowers, woods, herbs and resins, just fairly darker, greener, bitter, more ambiguously sensual and nastier, especially for the first hour or so, almost like a chypre for gentlemen if it wasn't for an overall subtle but perceivably soapy-talc softness and a dark, carnal but feminine sensuality running underneath the blend (aldehydes, flowers, vanilla, musky notes). Classy and compelling like "the great ones", perhaps a little less original as to me it smells pretty much a "déjà-vu" to most extents, but surely worth a try if you are a fan of the genre.

    7,5-8/10

    24 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    L'Arte di Gucci by Gucci

    L'Arte di Gucci is a remarkable forgotten classic, a robust aldehydes-floral scent with carnation, geranium, benzoin, white flowers, sandalwood and vanilla, a dense juiciness and a luminous, pleasant and refined subtle carnality. Initially it's all – deceptively - about brightness, flowers and spring liveliness, rich and dense but tending more towards a soapy-powdery kind of denseness. After less than a hour, though, it then starts to evolve and change; a dark and austere base accord arises slowly like a stormy cloud, a powdery-waxy leather with salty and earthy notes of vetiver, discreet and understated but shady and animalic. The transition is great, perfectly executed; it's still a rich, romantic floral scent, just with a bolder darker shade below. I've rarely experienced such a smooth, mellow, effortless and refined change of mood in a scent, with the right among of consistence and "fil rouge" of notes from one stage to another. Rich, sophisticated, terrifically good-smelling.

    8,5-9/10

    24 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Vendetta by Valentino

    Vendetta opens with a beautiful blend of juicy, plummy fruity-floral notes, dense and bright, with pleasant aromatic hints of bergamot and green notes on a soapy base of ylang, sandalwood, vanilla, a lively cloud of luminous sweetness and gentle flowers brilliantly blended with a shady, sticky and carnal side of benzoin and leather – initially hiding behind this deceptive overall sweet fruity-floral "plushiness". A balsamic-herbal breeze completes the landscape. A classic architecture embellished with a golden, luminous and radiant brightness which then progressively darkens towards a more austere and refined chypre territory. Simple, romantic, solid and classy.

    8/10

    24 August, 2014

    Francois Blais's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Sculpture Homme by Nikos

    I'm so happy I discovered that one!
    Bought it blindly and don't regret it!

    The scent is quite close to Minotaure, my very first scent about 20 years ago.
    It's lighter, and it's a good thing because you can easily wear it in the summer.
    The tobacco trail is lovely.

    Two thumbs up!

    24 August, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Fougère Royale by Houbigant

    Houbigant Fougere Royale 2010 is not properly an updated version of the original hyper-aromatic and truly green-mossy vintage formula but a sort of brand new "re-issue" which strikes for simplicity, discretion, mediterranean airy-tasty initial light greenes (culinary herbs), suave romanticism and "clean" modern balance (but also in my opinion for its lack of innovative inspiration despite there are no doubts the whole olfactory fatigue is masterfully executed). The aroma is not that aromatic green vigorous master-work which the original used to be since I detect far more a sort of general floral aqueous woodiness throughout (more than that herbaceous stout temperament several reviewers talk about and which I absolutely don't catch) in a way the juices jumping me in a while on mind are not properly renowned fougere a la Azzaro Pour Homme or Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (with all the huge respect for the hyper qualified Way Off-Scenter) but more markatedly ultra dry fluidy chypre a la Romeo Gigli Sud Est, Gucci Pour Homme, Nino Cerruti 1881 (ok aromatic mediterranean fougere finally ultra-cedary) and Cashmere For Men by Cristiano Fissore. The initial lavender/mediterranean herbs accord is pale (I detect far more bergamot at the beginning which conjures me indeed far more the hesperidic Givenchy Monsieur's opening than for instance the aromatic Drakkar Noir) and in a while you can forsee the "melancholic" floral-woody-soapy upcoming evolution somewhat pleasant but faintly articulated. There is by soon something like a sort of tea-chamomile hesperidic fluidity (well combined with rosemary in particular- but also with further aromatic herbs) conjuring at the beginning scents a la Bvlgari Pour Homme and Roger&Gallet The Vert. Woods, orchid, musks, may be cinnamon and heliotrope are soon hallmarking as finally rounded by a touch of vanilla while I hardly catch a noticeable herbal aromaric vibe (the herbs seem indeed by soon like diluted in a dry spicy woodiness). The dry down is dry, musky woody, warm, softly spicy, delicately floral (vaguely rosey), balanced and discreet. I appreciate this final outcome for measure and comforting warmth. An interesting "Chypre Royale" for us.

    23 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Gian Marco Venturi Uomo by Gian Marco Venturi

    Gian Marco Venturi Uomo is a traditional herbaceous fougère which exudes late-Eighties from all its pores (although I suspect it's more likely from the '90s judging by the amount of synthetics). Carnation, aldehydes, light leather, herbs, oak moss, perhaps tobacco too, a subtle balsamic-menthol breeze which refreshes and gives a bolder green feel to the blend, on a mossy woody base, slightly camphoraceous too. As much classic as dull, to be honest: it's anonym, a bit outdated, quite artificial/metallic and overall fairly cheap, perfectly reflecting the market positioning of brand (I don't know about how they are placed abroad, but in Italy it is one of the typical brands you find in the "cheap gift sets" section of supermarkets and street markets around Christmas).

    5,5-6/10

    23 August, 2014

    deadidol's avatar



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    Precious Woods by April Aromatics

    Precious Woods is a cedar-dominant scent, but it features a number of other woody components to produce something that smells less like a natural space and far more like the wood aisle of a hardware store. Consider CdG’s Wonderwood done with natural materials and you’ll get a sense of what this is about.

    The cedar is the most prominent note, and it’s the scratchy, dry kind more than the balmy rich kind. This material tends to have a sharp, domineering quality to it, but here it feels deep and boomy—clearly the sub-bass effect of sandalwood. Buddhawood adds a boozy, smoky tone, and there’s a touch of Bohemian Spice’s patchouli involved too (I think), and that what's possibly responsible for making the scent feel more like a workshop than simply a pile of freshly cut planks. There’s a touch of peppery spice, and the overall profile comes off as slightly charred (the burning scent of the saw blade, perhaps?) It’s probably one of the most natural block-of-wood woody scents I’ve run across.

    With that said, it’s not necessarily a pretty or polite scent. In fact, it’s surprisingly dirty and quite musky. Although it’s predominantly cedar, the incense and herbal facets add dimension alongside the boozyness of the buddhawood. The sandalwood is hard to detect because most of the notes in this would ordinarily form a heavy base anyway, and so it's even harder to identify with such heavy materials piled on top of it. In this regard, it feels like a bit of a waste to use sandalwood in this way as the scent is so bottom-heavy that the richness and nuance of this material doesn’t get chance to shine as it should. So, in sum, this is a touchstone scent for the natural wood fragrance fanatic—think Wonderwood or Tam Dao EdP made real. And given how well sandalwood / cedar works with rose, I can’t help but wonder how this would work when combined something like Rosenlust. Anyhow, if you wear Precious Woods, expect to smell very natural, but not necessarily sparkling clean. A very good fragrance indeed.

    23 August, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Cuba Black by Cuba Paris

    Cuba Black smells effectively like an ideal blend of the classic Azzaro Pour Homme (and Tuscany of course), Police Dark, Drakkar Noir, Rive Gauche Pour Homme and Ungaro III. The aroma is mysterious but in a fresh, dynamic, aromatic, barbershop way. Yes, sparkling spicy-anisic bergamot is a key element and is combined with fizzy lavender, orange, fresh patchouli, hints of forest resins, green aromatic notes, jasmine-geranium, a touch of tobacco, dry woods and ambergris-oakmoss. I detect the anisic slightly resinous licorice vibe some talk about (close to the one I detect in Police Dark which shares with Cuba Black a bunch of elements). It seems to catch also that boozy gin-vodka touch we can easily detect in the Ungaro III's top notes (a touch of white rum may be?). Really heady the accord between hesperides, herbs, resins, patchouli and floral notes. Cuba Black is basically a powerhouse despite a touch of final soothing (tobacco veined) balminess absolutely not compromising the general extreme virility. I absolutely agree with Foetidus when he talks about absence of famboyance since this juice smells effectively brooding, "un-lively" and moody. Anyway one of the best solutions around at that price (£ 6,79 in London) and the synthetic level is never disturbing. Fine, dark, charismatic, unexpensive and virile.

    22 August, 2014 (Last Edited: 24 August, 2014)

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Gincense by Oliver & Co.

    A pungent, green and balsamic incense scent, quite close to Sugi by Comme des Garçons except for the incense – which however is not that prominent in Gincense - or a less mystical and more "organic" Kyoto by the same house. It also has a quite strong insecticide feel (I guess due to a remarkable dose of citronellol) but is nice the same if you try not to think about that. The green notes are fresh and vibrant, with a load of pepper and a pungent hint of what seems juniper to me, all quite dynamic and realistic. Not the most original around, but pleasant enough, and probably good against insects too. For something similar but (far) more interesting, mature, sophisticated, go Comme des Garçons.

    5,5-6/10

    22 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Vanille Absolu by Montale

    As the name suggests quite clearly, Vanille Absolu is, well, absolutely about vanilla. Powerful, round and sweet, with a slight citrus-bergamot breeze at the very opening, a smell of (generic) rose all over, on a dark and dry woody base which I guess may contain a tiny hint of what the guys at Montale's insist on calling oud. Dull and overwhelmingly artificial, with some kind of slight denatured alcohol feel, but I believe the average fan of such type of scents (either "Montale scents", or "vanilla bombs") won't really care. Not far from other low-quality vanilla gourmands like Comptoir Sud, while far from some slightly better and more interesting ones like a couple from Farmacia SS Annunziata. In short, don't bother.

    5,5/10

    22 August, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Caprissimo by Carthusia

    A sumptuous floral scent full of itself which tries to look like a"golden era" Caron or Guerlain, acting all opulent and feminine, while it's basically a dull chypre stuffed with synthetics and aldehydes good for rich and tasteless tourists visiting Capri. The quality in my opinion is really modest, artificial to all extents (synthetic oak moss, synthetic flowers). Not horrible, although the opening is humid, heavy and strong as hell; but a bit cheap and much pretentious.

    5/10

    22 August, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Kashnoir by Laboratorio Olfattivo

    What a little gem this one is! It can be broken down into two clear constituent chapters. The first chapter, which gets started after a brief burst of citruses or bergamot, is mainly a thick, heavy, almost narcotic mix of heliotrope, orange blossoms, and coriander. Bar the coriander, it almost reads as an abbreviated essay on a part of L'Heure Bleue, but re-imagined for the modern age. I didn't get along with L'Heure Bleue, so I am not quite sure why I am so taken with what is basically a blown up section of it - perhaps it's the lack of violets in Kashnoir. Anyway, if L'Heure Bleue is Miss Havesham with a kerchief moistened with orange blossom water tucked in her ample, powdery bosoms, then Kashnoir is Countess Olenka from the Age of Innocence, all streamlined seduction and charming directness.

    And it is most certainly direct - powerful even. Kashnoir blasts out this bitter almond and orange custard smell at high volume for hours and hours. But it never feels medicinal or gourmand-ish, although it does come within touching distance of being "delicious". I guess the best way to describe it is as a rich, complex, comforting smell that is rescued from the edge of stodginess by the bracingly herbal smell of coriander.

    It is coriander that proves to be the sole link between this first half of the fragrance and the next. In the second movement, the heliotrope/almond smell completely burns away, and then this fragrance becomes all about the benzoin, with underlying glints of green herbs. I love benzoin, LOVE it, and for me, this is the best part. It has a sweet, vanillic smell, and I can also pick up hints of toffee, burned sugar, cream, and strangely, hints of lemonade. The texture is dry and powdery, but with a lively sparkle to it, as resins are wont to.

    Of course, since so many orientals depend on benzoin for that sweet, smooth, vanillic base, there is a real danger that Kashnoir could stray into Shalimar territory and come off looking like a weak copycat version, but this never transpires. Actually, it reminds me of a stripped down version of the last part of Ambre Fetiche, although far less gaspingly dry and harsh. I love the scent, and will wear it (applied sparingly, as it is rather strong at first) under my sweater on a cold, blustery day. I have a feeling that this is one of those "snuggling" or "cashmere sweater" scents that one keeps in reserve for when you need special protection from the cold, cruel world outside.

    Edited to add: Duh! I am wearing Absolue Pour Le Soir today, another benzoin-based fragrance, and there are distinct similarities in the drydown between APLS and Ambre Fetiche and Kashnoir. Of course! Wonderful resin, and three wonderful fragrances based on it.

    22 August, 2014

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