Latest Fragrance Reviews, Updated Daily

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    ConvertedByWetShaving's avatar

    United States United States

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    Esencia Loewe by Loewe

    Alas, I don't presently have the knowledge/capability to provide detailed descriptions like other, more experienced members helpfully offer us, but I wanted to offer that a number of people here suggested this one to me because I'm a big fan of Polo "Green", and I'm grateful for the suggestion and that I followed through. By comparison, it's more subtle, yet not only does it still certainly have presence, it... at least on me, it seems to have a nice long drydown that at some point starts to present itself as if it's simply an extension of your own natural scent, not necessarily inconspicuously, but... it has a certain blend of a strong presence and poise/grace. If I may humbly suggest, appreciate it for itself in its own identity, but for those who approach it as I did - a lover of Polo "Green" seeking similar fragrances to enjoy - this is something that's great for when you want to wear Polo "Green" but feel that the settings you'll be in perhaps call for a bit more tact. Don't get me wrong, I certainly reach for it because I just happen to feel like wearing this one on a given day, not simply because of reaching for a substitute. Like I said, enjoy it for its own identity. I just wanted to draw those comparisons. It was suggested to me as "a better version of Polo 'Green'". No. They're... kinda like brothers, maybe even twins - very similar yet each has its own nature.

    17 October, 2014 (Last Edited: 16 October, 2014)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Resist Me by Liaison de Parfum

    If you like Naomi Goodsir's Bois D'Ascese or Mad Et Len Black Afghan, you might want to give this a chance.

    A dry and smoky woody leather with a strident citrusy opening. Less meditative than the Goodsir and more centered around woody notes than the Mad Et Len but still pretty good if you like rough smoky stuff. Kind of a *go-to* interpretation of the main theme.

    Perhaps not completely exciting but good nonetheless.

    Edit: Ok, I changed my mind. This is completely good.

    16 October, 2014 (Last Edited: 19 October, 2014)

    superfluousPastry's avatar

    United States United States

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    Jovan Ginseng NRG by Jovan

    Very clean and sunshiney fragrance. There really is a ginseng note in there which I probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't taken ginseng in various forms over the years. A nutty earthiness. I wear this primarily when I go to the gym or when I want to wear something that barely reads as a fragrance. It could be laundry detergent or deodorant as far as others are concerned. Almost transparent but there's a definite light citrus/musk/earthy/clean thing going on which lets you know it's there.

    16 October, 2014

    Bal a Versailles's avatar



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    Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès

    Ellena translates as ‘The Greek’ in English. Should Jean Claude aspire to being King of Hellena, by virtue of a Mediterranean ancestor, I would be a loyal subject.

    Greek Mythology fascinated my Father, a man whose further education was shattered by WWII during the bombing of London. He became an armchair academic instead and we listened to radio stories before the advent of television, the childrens’ bathed bodies in pyjamas, sitting on the hard bare-boarded floor that was barely covered by an old hessian rug. We ate toast and tomato, or crumpets and jam for supper, as tales of Pegasus, Cyclops, and Narcissus, cadenced by melliflous British voices, shapeshifted in our imaginations.

    Eau Narcisse Bleu,well, the clues are in the name.

    Narcissus, a young man blessed with unsurpassable beauty spurned male and female alike. He and his Mother, Liriope, gave their names to naturalising bulbs of great charm, the trumpet flowers of daffodils and earlicheer and the Grape Hyacinth.

    Using today’s parlance Narcissus was stalked by Echo, a single white female, who, under the spell of an angry Hera, could only repeat his uneasy call of ‘Who is There? She was therefore incapable of captivating Narcissus with scintillating conversation. She faded away, (anorexic probably) from unrequited love and only her echo remained in the glades of their sylvan abode.

    Narcissus came upon a glistening pond where the water reflected not only the azure sky but the plumage of birds on the wing and overhanging trees. He stooped at the waters edge and saw his one true love, a creature so perfect he fell in love, truly, madly deeply, with himself. Unable to tear himself away Narcissus pined away until his soul left his body. The search party found only a nodding daffodil growing at the edge of the pool.

    The perfume is a homage to Ovid's story in my opinion. The elements of sylvan glade, water, blue sky and the slight scent of Narcissus are present. Voila.

    To wear it successfully you will need garments without any laundry detergent scent residue left in them and unperfumed soap and body lotion for your toilette. It is quite fleeting and is easily drowned out. Edmond Roudnitska, at his doorway in Grasse, shouted at a very young Jean Claude Ellena to 'go home and not come back' until his (trademark) white shirt carried no smell of soap. Roudnitska set Ellena the discipline of an unperfumed life; to this day Ellena eschews fragrance on his person.

    Not being such a sensitive nose, I prefer my other JCE fragrances, Kelly Caleche, Apres La Mousson, Claire des Merveilles etc and my husband and son are devoted to Terre D'Hermes.

    16 October, 2014

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Mood Indigo by Folie à Plusieurs

    Mood Indigo, inspired by Michel Gondry's movie *L'Ecume Des Jours* is a nice and transparent woody peppery concoction refined by pale and kind of watery floral patterns with the usual incense in the base. There's an interesting transition from the bright opening to the darker drydown but, given its pedigree, this is for the most part a been-there-done-that type of composition.

    If you're attracted by modernism and minimalism, this is a pretty likable release even if those who are already familiar with Mark Buxton's imponent work or, more in general, with lines such as Comme Des Garcons, might find it a bit deja-vu.

    Nice but probably a tad dull.

    Note: It would make one hell of a *parfum d'ambiance*.

    16 October, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Tabacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novella

    Initially, Tabacco Toscano ("tuscan tobacco") is more about Tuscany than tobacco, meaning that I smell a mellow, soft and pleasant accord of woods and leather – and Tuscany is quite renowned for both high-quality leather goods, and its stunning countryside landscapes. The leather accord is soft, ambery, quite sweet (vanilla), friendly and cozy, blended with subtle floral notes and a super soft white-musks note, or something similar to that, which gives a feeling of warm plushiness and utter comfort. The wood notes are equally pleasant and aromatic, I detect cedar above all, which provides a well-built nuanced smell of natural, organic, raw wood (not dark or dry, rather quite bright, gentle and aromatic). The tobacco note, as I said, initially it's not much there in my opinion: it's more of a faint and undefined brownish, warm, slightly humid, sweet and hearty feel which initially lies beneath woods and leather. Once it emerges soon after a while, you can smell it better, and if you are used to fresh tobacco (for pipes or homemade cigarettes), that's quite it: mellow, wet, brown, sweet, earthy, even almost balsamic in a way. Overall it's quite a peculiar perfume, and frankly quite much pleasant. What I enjoy the most here is a palpable feel of lazy, but sophisticated quiet: Tobacco Toscano exudes all the pleasure of enjoying your pipe or cigar on a lazy Sunday afternoon in the countryside, in one of those small, silent villages, when everyone's having a nap (which, if you're unfamiliar with Italian rural habits, is quite a sacred moment that at a certain hour in the afternoon makes such villages look like Far West's ghost towns). Class and refinement played on understatement, mellow nuances, gentle warmth, "manly" sweetness and self-confidence, with a hint of "rural" and provincial refinement mixed to a sort of dandified feel (if compared to more conventional masculine scents, which are averagely more dry and austere than this). A bit too delicate for my tastes, even if the persistence is good instead (just quite light), and perhaps not that stunning quality-wise especially if compared to its price, but fascinating indeed.

    7/10

    16 October, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Abdul Samad Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

    Yes, quite pretty, fruity and musky sticky/oily natural feminine aoudh from Abdul Samad Al Qurashi. Abdul Samad Blend strikes me soon for its highly aromatic fruity-floral musky brighteness with a laundry background which conjures me in part the richest Al Hajjar Al Aswad's evocative aromatic muskiness. This aromatic feel is bright-yellow, spicy and soapy, so joyful and carefree. As well as the excellent ClaireV has noticed it seems weird the brand does not list fruity notes since there is a more than subtle apricot/peach-like undertone which seems combined with balmy amber, musk, undiscerned floral notes (rose-jasmine-ylang-ylang??) and a huge amount of yummy spices (saffron, cinnamon, cumin??). The aroma is graceful, versatile and sophisticated, basically unisex but leaned over a sensual feminine side. I detect a bergamot/orange blossoms presence throughout and patchouli backbone. May be hints of benzoin support the smooth amber. ClaireV fairly notices the basic light-musky chypre nature of this fragrance which effectively could revealing points in common with the Narciso Rodriguez for Her's "pink" muskiness. I see the association with the diverse Coco Mademoiselle just in the aromatic (somewhat cool) patchouli presence which, while in the Chanel's concoction is minty aromatic, aldehydic and talky/anisic/balsamic, in here is fruity/spicy fresh and laundry. Anyway a great modern and fruity take over the oud/patchouli theme for all the lovers of fruity floral brighteness and fresh musk.

    16 October, 2014

    gmichael's avatar



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    Eros by Versace

    The fragrance may be a kind of trash - but it is a trash that works! Thumbs up for longevity! Best of all I owned so far, outperforming A*Man and 1 million. Got it as a pack or perfume/deodorant and deodorant longevity is also very good.
    A perfect working man fragrance.
    The only drawback is deodorant being supplied in exactly the same glass bottle as EDT so you have to check what are you putting on. I'd like to have a deodorant in a convenient metal case.

    16 October, 2014

    aquila_2009's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    Magie Noire by Lancôme

    Salutation.

    A memorable occasion deserves a memorable scent like MAGIE NOIRE.when you want to return to memories of the 70's you wear this one(holds a lot of great memories).It is an aristocrat that can do as she pleases.Very unique on each ladies,but distinguishable from all other perfumes. Exotic,Ladylike,Mysterious,Nostalgic, Individualistic,Classy,Sensual and Timeless Classic.

    Bergamot and cassia blend with galbanum over a rich floral heart of tuberose,ylang-ylang,bulgarian rose, honey and cedar,while the base wraps it all with patchouli,oakmoss,civet,sandalwood and vetiver,which create intense,high class and sensual trace.The scent is so lovely and sophisticated just like my grandmother.A perfume that ultimately takes you along a classic journey of the senses.

    MAGIE NOIRE is a perfect signature scent if you want something distinctive that stands out from the usual&modern oriental floral stuff that is everywhere at the moment.It smells like nothing else and definitely is for a classic and self-assured lady.You wear it when you are going somewhere special in the Autumn or Winter.Totally it is bewitch in a classy way.

    Sillage?Impressive.

    Longevity?Noticeable on my skin.

    7.5/10

    16 October, 2014

    aquila_2009's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme

    Salutation.

    Incredibly luscious and deliciously sweet.what a hug scent!a delicious vanilla gourmand that is as sensual as it is feminine a delectable scent.Men are attracted to it like bees to honey and women never fail to express love and ask "what is that lovely perfume you are wearing"? these words describe this fragrance: Feminine,Yummy,Tasty,Warm,Surprising, Gorgeous,Sweet and Creamy.

    The pear and black currant on top serve as merely the introduction into more exciting and addictive aromas such as iris,jasmine and orange blossom along with vanilla,tonka bean, praline and patchouli in the dry down.if he is got even a little bit of a sweet tooth, he is doomed!it makes you smell flirty and sensual at the same time.it is too sweet but i love it from the begin until the end.

    You are able to wear it from morning to Evening.you simply want to eat and makes you feel hungry.this lovely EDP is perfect for any occasion especially a cocktail party or Intimate occasion in a cold evening.if you are looking for a perfume to make your boyfriend or your husband notice you,LA VIE EST BELLE is for you.A weet scent for a sweetheart.

    Sillage?Lovely.

    Longevity?About 8 hours on my skin.

    7.25/10

    16 October, 2014

    aquila_2009's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    Hypnôse by Lancôme

    Salutation.

    People smell the air for more when You wear HYPNOSE By LANCOME.It is the Perfect Representation of Lavish Style and Modern Shapes. You can feel Cozy and Comfortable when wearning it. Sweet,Romantic,Feminine,Vanillic, Sophisticated,Hypnotic,Warm and Undeniable Seductive.

    An Audacious Fragrance that blends dazzling Oriental and Woody. Sweet opening like Caramel.The Heart is Charming and The base notes is a Rich and Heavy combination By Vanilla and Vetiver that sit Calmly,Radiation Warmth and Sweetness that i find to be quite Special.

    Great for Every Romantic moment in a woman's life. when You wear it makes you feel Super Special.I definitely suggest it to a Elegant Lady between 30/40 Years old.HYPNOSE is also Suitable for AUTUMN/WINTER Eveninigs.it conjured up a Romantic Dinner for two by candlelight in my mind

    Sillage?Ok.

    Longevity?It is one of the best part this EDP for me.

    Thank You LANCOME.

    8/10

    16 October, 2014

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    Ma Griffe by Carven

    A spicy, floral, dry and fragrant chypre with a subtle leather accord.

    One of the great scents created in the 20th century.

    The name translates to "My Mark" or "My Stamp." It is young, crisp and fresh.

    Turin gave it 3 stars, named it a "green chypre," and saluted its "Miss Moneypenny spinsterish loveliness."

    Barbara Herman found it "more wearable than either Cabochard or Bandit."

    It was once dubbed "the prostitute's perfume." The combination of cinnamon and galbanum gives it a bright, crisp green note.

    Top notes: Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Citronnel
    Heart notes: Gardenia, Jasmine, Ylang, Rose, Orris, Muguet
    Base notes: Cinnamon, Tonka, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Styrax, Oakmoss, Musk, Benzoin, Labdanum

    Wonderful for women of any age, who are young at heart.

    16 October, 2014

    clivejive's avatar



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    Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

    I used this from 1978 until the new cat urine version released a few years ago. I sent a bottle back because I thought it was a faulty batch only to be told that "EU rules" had meant Givenchy had to change the formula! Since when did any French company pay any attention to "EU rules?"
    The new version is a joke! It has not one of the original tones and the patchouli has disappeared all together! If they have been castrated by the spivs in Brussels then surely move manufacturing to another country. I hope they go bust for desecrating the finest male fragrance in history!

    16 October, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    J'ai Osé by J'ai Osé

    This fragrance is a veritable sensual one. Despite it classic structure indeed, the fruity, green and vanillic presence is soothing (soothing the intensity of a classic mossy-leathery-animalic-floral presence), sweetening, brightening and modern. Guy Laroche J'ai Osé vintage is a glorious averagely massive indolic oriental chypre rich of woody, animalic, peachy-mossy, hesperidic, floral and leathery accents. Absolutely opulent and sophisticated but still wearable and musky, a perfume for an "high class" impeccable people struggled by nostalgia, far exotic memories, social image, people considerations and lost occasions. This perfume stands in the same clan with Van Cleef, First, Gianni Versace, Roccobarocco, 1000 Patou and several further rich spicy chypre beasts of that glorious left back age. I detect also points of connection with more modern releases a la Tom Ford Arabian Wood, Cerchi Nell'Acqua Emilie, Bruno Acampora Prima T or Etro Magot. Testing this vintage fragrance on skin I figure on mind refined mature women intent in parlor games, see abat-jour, cozy rooms rich of leather objects, massive frames and furs. The aroma starts with a blast of bergamot, yummy mellow fruits (apricot-peaches ??), fresh aromatic herbs, earthy vetiver, rooty patchouli, musk, probably aldehydes and liquorous accents, revealing finally an opulent exotic floral heart (rose-Jasmine-ylang-ylang-lily of the valley-Violet-marigold??) and a massive (but effectively not overly thick) mossy-ambery-animalic base a la V&A First with leathery-woody and smokey (smoke-dry tobacco) accents. The final classic and mysterious trail "plays" endly a light and vibrant game even surprisingly vearable by a contemporary woman of the new millennium.

    16 October, 2014

    aquila_2009's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    Hypnôse Homme by Lancôme

    salutation.

    This is one of my favorite fragrances.
    Hypnose is really seductive and sweet.
    This scent is great for classic man.the bottle is very elegant too and longevity and sillage is good for me but nothing special.

    7.5/10

    16 October, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Costume National 21 by Costume National

    CoSTUME NATIONAL 21 is what you'd imagine robots in a lab in far future would come up with if asked to produce a cashmere sweater scent, and they only had access to a boatload of synthetics and a handful of ‘vintage’ natural materials. On the surface, it’s warm and fuzzy, but there are dark currents and sharp edges underneath. I like it because it’s exactly the kind of thing I want to wear when I want to feel comforted but don’t want to be lulled into complete torpor. It's cozy but edgy.

    This fragrance has layers and layers, not all of them easy to make out, so I’ll start at the top and work my way down. The opening is fruity, spicy, and woody, like a spoonful of mandarin jam spiked with dusty saffron and cinnamon. The mandarin rind and saffron combine with woody accents in a way that suggests booze. In fact, every time I put it on, I’m reminded (initially) of the orange rind and rum opening of Idole de Lubin. Immediately, though, it moves on from the boozy opening and this spoonful of fruity puree is dropped into a warm glass of milky white musk and sweet amber, and stirred through. Cashmeran, tonka beans, and vanilla join the party, and this whole layer becomes a white noise of fizzing but creamy white musk, orange-tinted milkshake, vanilla custard, sweet amber, and cozy wood accents. The texture is a thing of wonder – almost fuzzy to the touch, warm, silky, expansive – and yet, put your fingers to the wool and you will feel little spikes sticking out.

    In fact, 21 would be a soporific, over-simple gourmand treat were it not for the incredible base that the robots put together to fit underneath the cashmere sweater layer. Somehow, they stumbled across a small cache of organic, vintage materials on some planetary outpost, probably stuff used to make men’s powerhouse colognes in the 1970s – vetiver, moss, patchouli, clary sage, cedar, and caraway. The base provides a bitter, mossy, earthy counterpoint to the vanillic layers floating on top of it, and the scent is all the better for it. In fact, there is a musky, mossy feel to this that recalls the dark undertow of Caron’s musky Third Man, minus the fougere-ish elements of courmarin and lavender.

    The overall effect is therefore of a thick blanket of fuzzy, synthetic, sweet ‘white noise’ overlaid on a natural-feeling, organic base of mossy woods, musk, vetiver, and herbs – light and dark, natural and synthetic, female and male. The drydown is a protracted affair of salty, mineralic moss and a masculine musk. It’s a truly modern marvel of yin and yang. The robots done good.

    16 October, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Chypre Palatin by MDCI

    I am a big Henry James fan. Or at least I used to be until one day at school, my fifth form English Lit teacher pulled a copy of The Golden Bowl out of my school bag and gasped, “You’re reading this? Oh dear me, no – this is far too difficult for you. It will put you off James for life.” But I had already read The Golden Bowl. In fact, I had waltzed through it, not realizing that it was supposed to be difficult. But do you know what? From that day forward, I have struggled with Henry James. Once someone points out that something is difficult or complex, it becomes so. Like someone flipping that switch in your brain between unthinking enjoyment and sudden, painful self-awareness.

    I love Chypre Palatin with my unthinking part of my brain. I know, on a purely intellectual level, that it is a Henry James type of scent – grand, complex, full of moving parts clicking into place. The notes list on Basenotes alone contains twenty separate notes, about two thirds of which I can’t pick up at all. It doesn’t matter. I slip into Chypre Palatin with a shiver of unadulterated pleasure every time, just as easily as my unthinking brain once slid into Henry James.

    Chypres are not usually so easy for me – there is something about them that require me to switch the analysis part of my brain on. Something about the bristling bergamot beginning and the bitter backbone of mosses has always called to mind that scene in Titantic where Rose sees a mother is tapping her six-year old daughter on the spine to get her to straighten up. I admire the formality of chypres, and their immensely ordered, complex structure, but I find it difficult to breathe easily within their confines.

    But Chypre Palatin, I am beginning to understand, is one of those strange hybrids between chypre and oriental that manage to combine the grandeur of the former with the comfortable, sweet, oozing sensuality of the latter. A soft landing for the bitter Chypre DNA, so to speak. Chypre Palatin belongs, therefore, to a special group of perfumes that includes Puredistance M, Jubilation 25, Une Rose Chypree, and even Guerlain’s masterpiece, Vol de Nuit. What these perfumes have in common is a chypre-like dressing of moss and bergamot, and maybe some other green, bitter, or herbal accents (usually up top), but combined with a base that feels utterly oriental, so that the fragrance starts its journey in an upright position and ends it in a supine position on a soft divan covered with furs and minks in a Sultan’s harem. These chypre-oriental hybrids are massively built, bristling with ambition, and big enough feet to stand in (and tower over) several genres at once – chypre, oriental, leather, animalics, and so on. They are not so much unisex as they are omni-sex.

    Chypre Palatin, for example, has a brief bergamot beginning, like a blush of first light over the horizon at dawn, and a heart of authentic oakmoss that goes on forever, but these accents are married to a lush vanilla and a warmly animalic castoreum in the base, ensuring that the whole thing feels comfortably sensual. It is very masculine in feel, like Puredistance M, but the vanilla and castoreum in the base make it so cozy and sensual that I really can’t imagine its testosterone-fueled heart would put any woman off. It feels grand, dusty, old-school, reassuringly masculine, and solid.

    Chypre Palatin strikes me as a modern-day Vol de Nuit, in a way. Not in terms of smell, but for the fact that they are both grand, baroque-scaled perfumes recalling a more romantic past than the time in which they were created. Also, despite all of that ambitious scale and reach, they both feel perfectly intimate and suitable for quiet, homebound pleasures. Chypre Palatin might be the Golden Bowl of its genre, but I enjoy it in that simple, instinctive way I used to enjoy Henry James before the thinking part of my brain was switched on. Just don’t listen to anyone who tells you it is a difficult or complex thing.

    16 October, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Kalemat by Arabian Oud

    I can count on one hand the number of times I've put on a fragrance and thought, “I could wear this and only this for the rest of my life”. In case you were wondering, the perfumes in question were as follows: Chypre Palatin by Parfums MDCI, Blackbird by House of Matriarch, Lyric Woman by Amouage, and Bois des Iles by Chanel. Now, Kalemat by Arabian Oud joins them.

    Now, I’m not saying that Kalemat is wildly original (like Blackbird), complex (like Chypre Palatin), or so beautifully composed that it brings tears to my eyes (Bois des Iles and Lyric Woman). But it’s one of those rare instances when you can just put on a scent and know that it smells damn good, and that you smell damn good, and that other people (all of the other people, believe me) will think you smell damn good too. It reminds me that things don’t have to be wildly expensive or original to give you pleasure. In fact, every time I spray Kalemat on, I think of what Agent Dale Cooper tells Harry, the local sheriff in Twin Peaks:

    “Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”

    Kalemat is a present I make to myself. It’s just damn fine coffee.

    It’s difficult to describe Kalemat without making it seem simple or boring. It opens with a brief berry note, before sliding into a golden, honeyed, lusciously-spiced amber riff that swirls around you like a delicious second skin for a whole twelve hours. There’s a gently smoked oud feel to the base that stops the whole thing from diving off a cliff into gourmand territory. It’s not real oud, of course – not at this price point. But for once, the synthetic oud or cashmeran or whatever they’re using here for that smoky oud note is not obnoxious or dominant – instead, it adds a pleasurably smoky but unobtrusive buzz to the backbone of the fragrance. It’s there to support the spiced, honeyed amber, not to shout all over it.

    I see Kalemat as the Swiss Army Knife of my collection: it works in all situations. Going out to dinner, a date night, a walk in the park, picking up the kids at daycare, sweating it out at the gym – Kalemat is always the right choice. It’s easy going. It doesn’t lay any demands on you. It just smells good, and sometimes, that’s all you need. I look at my collection, and I realize that I am surprisingly short on Swiss Army Knives. Shaal Nur by Etro and Kiehl’s Original Musk are the only other candidates I can come up with. But tellingly, I reach for Kalemat far more.

    Kalemat does not smell like anything else, to my nose at least. However, I recognize that it has many things in common with fragrances such as Ambre Narguile by Hermes (a general translucency, but also the cinnamon, amber, and somewhat ‘delicious’ feel to both), Barkhane by Teo Cabanel (spiced amber accord) and Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford (the dry, woody vanilla in the drydown). But I actually rate Kalemat slightly above Ambre Narguile because of the price factor, above Barkhane in terms of longevity and sillage, and quite a bit above Tobacco Vanille, purely in terms of smell.

    In terms of how Kalemat wears, on the other hand, I can say confidently that it occupies the same territory as Histoire des Parfums’ wonderful Ambre 114, Dior Privee Ambre Nuit, and Amouage’s Fate Woman – not in terms of how they smell, exactly, but in terms of how each of these particular fragrances seem to hover around your skin like a haze of fuzzy, warm, golden light, and radiate outwards to fill a room, like sunshine.

    Actually, the real beauty of Kalemat lies in its sillage. I like the Muslim idea of using perfume to scent not only yourself but also the air around you, as a gift for others. Kalemat spills out over your skin and into the air around you, leaving a trail of honeyed, gently spiced amber and vanilla and woods for others to enjoy. I’ve had women in the supermarket stopping me to ask what I’m wearing. Dogs follow me. Little children ignore my asymmetrical face and smile at me. Kalemat is a gift you give to yourself, yes, but also to others.

    16 October, 2014

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    03. Apr. 1968 by Rundholz Parfums

    When Rundholz originally launched its first collection of clothing in 1993, it striked as a sort of Comme Des Garcons wannabe but, with time, the brand deservedly gained its own space and solid identity amongst the most avant-garde fashion brands.

    Just like most fashion brands, at one point Rundholz decided to launch its first fragrance which, unfortunately, has been undeservedly overlooked by many perfumisti. 03. Apr. 1968 is possibly the most bombastic incense-centered composition since the infamous Norma kamali's Incense. A mix of dark and smoky resins, slightly lightened up by a smooth heliotrope note. A minimalistic bomb which smells anything but minimalistic. Assertive, insanely potent, straight forward and undeservedly under the radar.

    Big thumbs up!

    16 October, 2014

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Cuir Cannage by Christian Dior

    Cuir Cannage is basically a super classic floral leather in the same mold of Chanel's Cuir De Russie and Knize Ten. Now, while I'm a total freak for this style of fragrances and while Cuir Cannage smells definitely competent and refined, I also believe we all smelled this accord way too many times in perfumery. In a few words, Cuir Cannage is good, very good but ultimately a bit redundant and overly polished.

    With that said, if you're up for a classic leather with animalic facets, my suggestion would be to go either for Knize Ten or the Chanel which you can get for a fraction of the price of the Dior.

    Rating: 7.5/10 because it smells good but be aware it's just an old fragrance with a new label slammed on the bottle.

    16 October, 2014

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Russian Tea Ritual by Masque

    My first instinct would be to start with "what a surprise!" but then, if I think about it, this is more like a confirmation than actually a surprise. The work Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi are doing with their Masque line is definitely something not to overlook and Russian Tea represents just the newest chapter in their already important and noteworthy path started with humongous releases such as Montecristo, Tango and Terralba.

    For Russian Tea they worked with cult-perfumer Jacques Rasquinet who previously collaborated with the likes of Naomi Goodsir (for whom he delivered what have become one of my all-time favorites, Bois D'Ascese) and Andrea Maack amongst others. An extremely talented perfumer who's rapidly becoming the undisputed master of smoky notes. The result of this collaboration strikes as a sort of hypothetical lovechild of Guerlain Herba Fresca and the much overlooked Eau Du Fier by Annick Goutal…well, this is honestly kind of a stretch but it might give you an idea on the axis this fragrance moves on, anyway. Smoky, aromatic, dark, fresh, leathery and…bittersweet.

    There's clearly a mint note up top which while completely skipping the typical (and annoying) toothpaste effect, it's immediately joined by the most realistic smoky black-tea rendition I've experienced in quite a while. The pairing of the two gives birth to a fantastic juxtaposition all played around moderately sweet fresh notes and darker smoky ones. It's funny how in this phase, while smelling somewhat refreshing, the fragrance doesn't fail to show its darker side with an overall wintery vibe. It's a modern accord made out of bittersweet juxtapositions and just a hint of red-fruitiness. A modern accord where smoke it's relevant but not overwhelming and where tea is left to express and unveil all of its aromatic and evocative qualities.

    Slowly, the base starts lurking in the back…

    The evolution from the opening to the middle phase and the drydown is slow, smooth and completely flawless. A much darker central accord of smoky woods remarks it presence and takes form while joined by a leather-incense combo with some immortelle providing extra body. It gets darker and darker with time. Deeper and deeper, warmer and warmer, drier and drier… At traces, it made me think of a more aromatic version of Comme Des Garcons Black (the immortelle-leather-incense combo is really not that distant) but whereas the CDG feels urban and sort of punk-ish, Russian Tea pushes on melancholy and coziness by evoking immense rural landscapes during winter. Traditional rituals, historic buildings, fireplaces and time spent meditating and traveling.

    Now, I'm impressed for way too many reasons. First of all, this a fragrance which is a total pleasure to wear on many different levels. It'd make one hell of a signature as well as something distinctive for special occasions. It's easy to like but has so much substance. Daring but not weird, solidly built and conceived and, most of all, perfectly sized. Longevity is beyond good while silage is discreet but remarkable. An entirely elegant composition that's able to standout and feel distinctive without being necessarily odd or pretentiously *arty*. Masque's Montecristo was one of my favorite fragrances of 2013 and Russian Tea will most definitely be amongst my favorites of 2014. With that said, there's really no doubts on my side that Masque is rapidly becoming one of the most interesting and solid outfits of this second decade of 2000.

    Kudos!


    16 October, 2014

    cacio's avatar

    United States United States

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    Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Finally another full expression of Nagel's signature rotten citrus. That extremely sweet, sticky, overripe, sickly, almost fermented fume, curiously reminiscent of the olive oil used to cure vegetables. Almost disgusting at first, but intriguing, it makes you go back again and again until you can't help buy buy the perfume.

    In the sadly defunct Theorema, a rotten orange gave depth to an oriental gourmand. Here, a rotten mandarin injects interest in a fruity floral modern clean chypre. Without the rotten citrus, it would be a well crafted but uninspired piece. With it, it's a fun ride.

    It feels like the intelligent sister of Nagel's nearly contemporaneous Armani Si', a potently sweet, annoying clean fruity-woody floral, which lacks Archives's lusciousness and fun.

    16 October, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Sheikh Abdul Samad Al Qurashi Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

    Sheikh is an almost pure-oud offering from Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, which features this natural woody marvel in a more shady, raw, straightforward and animalic way than other oud-based blends that I have tried so far from this brand, which were somehow elaborated in a more "wearable", friendly and refined way. The opening is quite bold and pungent, not cloying but remarkably moldy and indolic, rich in the usual fascinating nuances of our beloved "rotting agar wood" note: a balsamic breeze, the warmth of amber, a slight sweet roundness, and then stale notes, salt, herbs... I also detect an amber gris note here, with its peculiar sort of animalic-camphoraceous saltiness. Overall the smell here is decidedly exotic, savage, growling, ghastly and mysterious: the smell of a pure deep wood forest with its shades and threats (or, if you want to take away all the charme, the stink of uncle John's abandoned barn). Initially fecal and raw, sure, but that is part of its marvel, as that is only the door to a world of facets and nuances (and however it's at no point "sickening" or discomforting, like many synthetic aromachemicals can be instead). Whereas other ASAQ blends like Royal or Jewel are considerably more "civilized", polished, humanised by elegant and gentler notes, here there's no room for fancy delicacies: rather it's all about Stevensonian echoes of deep nature, uncontaminated cults, animals, exotic rituals (and other clichés, I am terribly sorry for my lack of narrative taste). Still this does not imply Sheikh ASAQ is not equally elegant if compared to other more complex blends from this line: it is, just in a different and perhaps more selective, challenging way. It's all about being tasteful and self-confident enough to wear this - bearing in mind it is also meant to be layered, that is something which, again, requires taste and knowledge enough: a positive way for a perfume to act "selective", unlike the pointless elitism based on cost... Anyway, as hours pass Sheikh does not lose a gram of power, it becomes increasingly drier and woodier to the point it reaches a true, austere smell of an antique wood closet, with no other aroma except the pure, moldy, stale smell of aged wood. An imaginative, evocative scent, for sure, gloomy and hieratic, fascinating and somehow off-putting and unfriendly – in a charming way, the charme of savage creatures. So far among the ASAQ oils I've tested, Sheik is probably the best one for layering purposes, as it smells less complex than others - or at least, it's more centered on oud, offering a broader variety of possibilities of layering. The quality is outstanding as usual, so if you want to experience what real swearword smells like and want to discover it and play with it, you're in for a treat.

    8/10

    15 October, 2014 (Last Edited: 16 October, 2014)

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

    The opening of Patchouli 24 is rough, dry, dark, tar and smoky, an ultra-dry and sour birch woody accord, quite synthetic in a way (a good way: synthetically "post-industrial"), but at the same time rich, thick and realistic, with a nice and almost ghastly nuance of "smoked meat", like alfarom noted below. I also detect the patchouli note but it's quite understated and restrained, hiding behind this exhaust campfire of black woods, yet creating a nice and elegant contrast between its velvety, dusty, slightly cocoa-earthy feel (the patchouli, I mean) and the woody-ashy overall mood. On the very base, just a thin "rounding" layer of vanilla. Much refined and utterly pleasant with its austere and sophisticated look, just a tad artificial, but nice, a contemporary vision of "black" like Bois d'ascèse or CdG Black. After a while it starts to "warm" and open up, becoming softer and gentler, with a smooth and soft yet dark leather note arising - and at this point, while the similarity with the abovementioned scents becomes weaker, the closeness to La troisième heure by Cartier becomes quite evident. It's exactly the same structure: smoky, mellow, dark leather blended with dusty vanilla. Perhaps there's no leather and it's the birch wood, still that's the smell. Pure class and pleasure for sure, although nothing new. Plus, the patchouli (which was barely detectable at the opening) is completely vanished at this point, so bear this in mind in case you came here mostly for patchouli. Nonetheless, the scent is much good even if the main character is missing: it's pleasant, sophisticated, a bit overpriced and not that unique (the Cartier is not the only "reference", basically any other contemporary leather-vanilla scent would work), but "it works" quite well. I enjoyed wearing it and – for what it's worth – I'd wear it happily if I had a bottle. I wouldn't pay for this, but I'll do my best to have someone buy this for me (lucky me, Christmas is not that far).

    7,5-8/10

    15 October, 2014

    superfluousPastry's avatar

    United States United States

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    Musk for Men by Coty

    I saw a bottle of this at Wal-Mart today while shopping for groceries. I hadn't worn any fragrance today and figured I'd spritz some on. I'm really loving it! I stopped by my mom's before hitting home and she commented on it, saying it reminded her of the 70's and that she liked it. It DOES bring me back to the 70's when I'd get cologne sets for Christmas with soap on a rope and talcum powder sets.

    It's definitely a one-noter. The one note is good. Sweet. Clean. Masculine...but in an old school way, not like today's 'masculine' which is metrosexual and fraught with androgyny. Nothing wrong with being 'metrosexual' at all. Don't get me wrong. This is just straight up 'guy getting a shave at the barber'. Something very charming about it however dated it is.

    It's not lasting very long. I sprayed the one blast on at 1:30 and at 5:30 it's barely hanging in there. At less than $10 for a bottle, I'm going back later to pick up a bottle. It'll be great for after the gym.

    15 October, 2014

    cbstarker's avatar

    United States United States

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    Al'Molouk Blend by Abdul Samad Al Qurashi

    Molouk means "king" so this is also known as the King's Blend. So now I'm sampling stuff well beyond my budget and it's breaking my heart. The quality of the ingredients in this blend is undeniably and extraordinarily good. Al'Molouk is oud dominant but has a bright rosy opening that disappears in a couple of hours. I noticed in some ad copies that indicate it's "taif rose nakhb al arous," which is the first flush pickings of roses that are distilled slowly giving them a better aroma but longevity is short making this a perfect rose top note that gets out of the way of the oud underneath. There's a touch of spices down there, too, very dry spices, but I cannot pick anything out in particular. The same ad copies mention a "thin flick" or "thin layer" of wildflowers, which I suppose is what I'm smelling. What they are I can't say but the "spice" notes (or wildflowers) are very subtle, never overpowering, but remain deep in the background like a layer of earth. The oud in this blend is very high quality, very clean, slightly woody, not animalic at all, not petrol or vaporous either, just a crisp, clean, aromatic, resinous, and incense-like oud with endless staying power. The sillage is deceptively low key and consumes the air around me. It's gentle and quiet while I'm seated but as soon as I move I can smell it, and when I re-enter the room I can smell it like a light incense. At times my body heat really ramps up the oud projection and at one point while sitting in close quarters in a meeting I thought it was perhaps too strong but I enjoyed it anyway. This blend and this oud in particular is gorgeous. Within several hours after applying it becomes something with a golden aura, a description that doesn't do it justice, but is all I can think of. It is perhaps some of the best oud I've ever tried or at least very much to my tastes. In general, this is amazing stuff - the rose is there in the top but doesn't linger, giving the oud all the room in the world to express itself, and the "wildflowers/spices" do nothing more than put the ground beneath its feet. (The ASAQ site indicates this also includes geranium, vetiver, patchouli, amber, and musk in the blend.)

    15 October, 2014

    Buysblind's avatar

    United States United States

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    Boston Ivy by D.S. & Durga


    The ivy in Boston Ivy approaches mint with it's cooling green sweetness and a crisp, clean air. Beneath it lies the smell of dirt, as if the Ivy has been pulled up from from the ground, shaken off, and a trace of the damp soil remains on its roots. The opening actually reminds me of the opening in Cartier's Roadster, which I like very much. However, Boston Ivy remains mostly linear with its cool, green top while moving gradually in the direction of a soft earthiness with a touch of spice. Roadster goes all over the place and leaves a bit of a chaotic mess in its wake. Anyway, I've really enjoyed Boston Ivy the times I've worn it. There may be a moment or two where a certain mustiness appears in the mix, but it disappears and is actually less apparent the more generously the perfume is applied. Projection is quite good--this is one that creeps up on you, so be careful with how much you apply. Longevity is about 6 to 8 hours. Very nice and I'd say almost perfect if you're looking for a naturally green autumnal scent.

    15 October, 2014

    iodine's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Norne by Slumberhouse

    A precious tiny vial- miraculously escaped from a theft during its long way home from LA to Italy via Switzerland in my sister in law's's bag- delivers a dense, sticky (REALLY sticky, but maybe its due to some evaporation occurred in the meantime), dark green juice. The expectation is high, 'cause I love pine scents and the appreciation of Slumberhouse here on Basenotes is so enthusiastic...
    OK, it does feel like having a walk in a dark, mysterious forest- BTW I love the name!-... just after having had an intense painting session, with the pungent, orangey smell of turpentine still lingering on clothes... And- hey, those people camping must have burnt their bacon! And- don't touch pine resin, it will glue your hands and hair together! Anyway, it smells so beautiful here...
    If I could get past the green sticky stains on my décolleté, the fleeting but definitely present smell of roasted meat- or burnt tyre, the poor availability in my country and the price, I'd say I've found a great forest fragrance. The drydown is beautiful, rich, deep, mossy and it definitely reminds me of my true holy grail in the forest scent category- AbdesSalaam Attar's Hindu Kush. I guess I'll be sticking to it.

    15 October, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Black Cashmere by Donna Karan

    Black Cashmere opens with an incredibly thick and dark accord of ultra-dense amber, ghastly rancid fruity notes, a humid bouquet of flowers right out of a Baroque still life painting, a gloomy fog of dusty incense, balsamic woody notes and on top of all of that, a *load* of spices. Remarkably "niche" for sure, for being a designer scent - where niche means creative and quite "daring", in a way (surely "nicher" than most of today's niche). There is quite a clear similarity with Lutens' style, as other reviewers have noted, notably for example Arabie for the candied-syrupy notes of resinous fruits and spices, carrying the same kind of exotic warmth and mystical sultry elegance. Still, Black Cashmere is far more dark and urban, at the same time dirty and sophisticated, smelling like luxury black velvet stained with black ink. Fascinating for sure, not the most versatile around though: its thick gloominess is as much intriguing as a bit challenging to wear, also given this scent is quite loud in my opinion (in terms of projection and sillage). Finally, the thing I honestly don't enjoy much is that since the evolution is quite monotone (or should I say absent), the scent remains quite like that - that dark, nasty, obsessive bomb of spices - for hours, and it can easily become a bit cloying soon. And in fact it did so to me. Apart from this, a remarkable scent for sure, Definitely suitable for men too. Worth a try!

    7,5/10

    15 October, 2014

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Bulgari Man in Black by Bulgari

    The opening is a rum-laced woods and spice accord that distinguishes it from the original. Rather promising. Or so I thought. Within the hour, the scent recedes significantly like it ran out of gas, turning into a light yet warm, ambery woods with mildly fruity nuances. To some extent Man in Black as it approaches its drydown reminds me a little of Gucci Guilty pour Homme but a lot less synthetic. I certainly didn't get any iris, or tuberose or leather nor do I expect them at this level. While I find this flanker to be more palatable than the original, the aromatic woods-and-spice genre's leading designer release is still Burberry London for Men way back from 2006.

    15 October, 2014

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