Perfume Reviews

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Tyrannosaurus Rex by Zoologist Perfumes

A roaring monster T-Rex stomping on a apocalyptic volcanic ashy land, drool dripping from between his teeth, his leathery hide singed. This is the image that comes to mind here.

Scent wise, there is a lot of smoke. A LOT of smoke. The smoke piggybacks in some cedar and pine. I feel like this can be classified as a leather fragrance. I just don't really think "burnt" is its own category, so I'm gonna say this is a burnt leather. There is just a small pinch of something sweet that I can't pinpoint, and whenever I'm smelling for it I can't find it. It does smell a bit like burning plastic, which is super interesting, though not always pleasant. Performance is just beyond. 12 hours easy, everyone can smell you. I could never see myself reaching for this bottle if I owned it, but this is an nevertheless, a most impressive scent. Was an experience to wear, that I would recommend to enthusiasts. Thumbs up here for Zoologist.
19th February, 2019

Vogue 125 by Comme des Garçons

kind of disappointing...was expecting something a little more daring, exciting and avant-garde from the CDG laboratories...yeah, there is a little taste of something like old photo film or glossy magazine pages...bottom line though, is that, this is just a fairly nice floral fragrance...don't really get much else out of with a little background mish-mash of ink, vetiver, tobacco and leather all coated with flowers...nothing to write home about...
19th February, 2019

Le Baiser du Dragon by Cartier

awesome exotic Oriental...opening makes me think of Opium Homme with a huge blast of Amaretto...smoky/incensey flavor...very nice projection on me...goes through a lot of nice subtle changes throughout it's life and keeps things interesting...get an occasional whiff that brings to mind Jaipur like a couple of others have mentioned...has a green quality to it...a sheer rose that is barely there , but adds just the right touch...a little woodiness...for me, it dries down to a very moist feeling smoky vetiver with just a dab of patchy resin/amber...great stuff all around...totally genderless in my book and I love wearing it...
19th February, 2019
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Costume National 21 by Costume National

The opening is light and herbal, but not green. As it dries down I get a dusty tonka bean. Futher into the drydown, it's sweet and powdery, kinda like 1 million but in a distant way, definitely not the bubble gum or screaming loudness. As it becomes a skin scent, it's just dry, sweet amber-vanilla.

Because of the opening, it could be more versatile than what I'm thinking, which is cooler weather and more dressed up. Just just keeps getting warmer as it dries down.

I get good projection and all workday longevity.
18th February, 2019 (last edited: 22nd February, 2019)

New York for Gentlemen by Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers is America's oldest ready-to-wear designer brand, formed in 1818 by Henry Sands Brooks and then entering the field of ready-made suits in 1854, which was a revolutionary concept at the time since most suits were bespoke. The house grew into a designer brand with its own boutiques, featuring a logo that stems back to the Knights of the Golden Fleece of the 15th century. Brooks Brothers has always been centered around conservative men's fashion, often being the brunt of jokes as the sweaters and socks of choice for doctors and lawyers all up and down the Eastern seaboard, which is where their market is strongest. They've only dabbled in fragrance a handful of times prior to 1998, with an earier bay rum-based wet shaving cologne dating from their formative years being re-orchestrated as Brooks Brothers 1818 (2010), but Brooks Brothers overall has maintained a painfully classic vibe for most of their olfactive efforts since entering the market in earnest. Brooks Brothers New York for Gentlemen (2008) is no different, and was a brand new (at the time), honest-to-goodness aromatic citrus chypre seeing release twenty years past the genre's prime, going up against modern aquatics, gourmands, sweet woody ambers, and other freshies. Seasoned hobbyists and vintage guys were probably both elated that something like this was seeing release in 2008, but likely also scratching their heads as to why Brooks Brothers would be so obstinately old-fashioned with their fragrance designs in the face of almost certain failure, but that's not to say New York for Gentlemen isn't entirely without its modern touches. With that having been said, it takes a special kind of person to fully embrace what is on display here, since New York for Gentlemen exists in a strange neutral zone between niche, vintage and designer, with a price point meant to be reasonable when bought new, but with the presumed prestige of the Brooks Brothers name behind it, and a certain level of niche-like rarity combined with its throwback design, making this something you can't just buy anywhere.

Virtually unknown perfumer Richard Herpin composed this for Brooks Brothers, and he seems to know what their mostly middle-aged haute bourgeois clientele likes. The opening is the usual chypre salvo of bergamot, with sharp pangs of petitgrain balanced out by lush verbena, and a sweet mandarin tone to bring the opening away from being overly-compared to 50's, 60's, and 70's greats from the genre. New York for Gentlemen doesn't try to step on the toes of something like Christian Dior Eau Sauvage (1966), even if it does borrow some of its hedione in the transition to the heart. Carnation and orris root phase in next, the former being an unusual choice given the genre type, but it works well when flanked with that soapy orris and the dirty cumin which counterbalances said orris. That cumin note isn't strong enough to impart a severe sweat funk like Cartier Déclaration (1998) or Eau d'Hermès (1951), but it does add a stroke of virile manliness to an otherwise clean scent. Clary sage adds a bit of barbershop recollection to the dry down of New York for Gentlemen, while fresh and non-smoky green vetiver, musk, dry sandalwood, and a slight but convincing oakmoss base note anchor the composition to skin. The mandarin maintains the lightest touch of modern sweetness to make this not feel like a total anachronism but still clearly an aromatic citrus chypre, while the vetiver dances with the cumin to make the scent feel a tad more earthy alongside the light oakmoss application. Wear time will be decent at eight hours plus, and this is too serious with it's near-lack of florals (save that carnation) to be anything but a formal or office scent, although maybe it can pull some casual usage for guys into such a mature vibe. Sillage is not wild with New York for Gentlemen, showing that discretion is the greater part of valor with an understated but persistent glow of scent around the wearer. Spring through early fall are the best seasons to use New York for Gentlemen, unless you spend most of your time in climate-controlled spaces, in which case anything goes.

New York for Gentlemen proved that the well hadn't yet run dry with fresh ideas for a what was a nearly-dead genre at the time, and although almost no one has really heard of this stuff, a lot of East Coast "old money" guys would have bought this love letter to classic male perfumery in 2008 over any thing Yves Saint Laurent or Calvin Klein was putting out at the time in lieu of knowing about prestige houses like Creed. Vintage colognoisseurs believing an equation of "bergamot + sandalwood + oakmoss = masterpiece" is the prime directive of male perfumery still might find New York for Gentlemen lacking because the scent is not made on the same budget as the mid 20th century greats it emulates, but tries to hide that fact with impeccable blending. New York for Gentlemen sits in the lighter side of the chypre spectrum, and is comparable to 1881 Pour Homme by Nino Cerruti (1990), Monsieur de Givenchy (1959), and Armanu Eau Pour Homme (1984), so another potential snafu may arise for guys with wardrobes loaded down with scents of this ilk, since this Brooks Brothers entry may be lost in the mix. Furthermore, that one touch of modern mandarin sweetness may just be a touch too much for the dyed-in-the-wool purist wanting a traditional bone-dry chypre experience. Lastly, availability seems sporadic at best, with the original argyle-patterned blue bottle being discontinued, then a new version using Brooks Brothers' current rectangular bottles periodically going out of stock on their website, meaning eBay sellers are constantly between tripling prices after a drought and lowering or ending listings when more stock arrives at Brooks Brothers, placing an annoying "yo-yo effect" on the scent. Thumbs up from me for this underrated "modern classic" gem, but with the caveat that as an old-school citrus chypre with a touch of new-school sensibility made on a modern designer budget to be sold only at boutiques, New York for Gentlemen may be hard to like for some, and even harder to find for testing.
18th February, 2019

Rêve d'Ossian (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

A big ol' face slap of bold top notes. Wow! I am immediately smitten. Notes well mixed, give a breezy, fresh vibe. The aldehydes stick around as the top begins to settle. The heart notes are somewhat dark - somewhat damp. They remind me of an old house I've visited in my dreams.

They are kind of flat, these notes. Slight cookie crumbs, the sweet note I smell. There is a woodiness here; an old book or paper accord. Old, dusty perfumed curtains hang in this dream house.

A resinous buzz begins to rise. Incense and balsam airs arrive with muted fanfare. As far as stand-out notes, Tonka, benzoin, and opoponax do it here for me.

After time this smells less old and mysterious; becomes more modern and awake. It reveals itself as a fine oriental for either man or woman.

A well-blended bag of notes. Lightly sweet, smoky, resinous. I like!
18th February, 2019
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Euphoria Men by Calvin Klein

A pleasant, slightly sweet, slightly watery and thinned down opening blast, with a nonspecific hesperidic touch that is combined with a light white pepper.

The drydown adds a pleasant, slightly sweet, slightly watery herbal element, that is combined with a nonspecific woodsy undertone.

The base is characterised (not meaning it had actual character!) by a pleasant, slightly sweet, and thinned down mix of a nonspecific white amber impression with a soft patchouli. The patchouli is light and lacks any harshness or darkness.

I get moderate sillage, limited projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a pleasant spring scent that is quite thinned, anaemic and without any intensity or colour. It seems anaemic and watered down to an extent that it looses whatever personality it might have developed - certainly it has less character than Eternity for Men! Add to that the fact that it’s is super-synthetic and bland, then it is clear why this represents olfactory tedium and mediocrity at its fines.

Not bad - just very dull.

No Euphoria here! 2.5/5
18th February, 2019

Red Tobacco by Mancera love a good tobacco fragrance...this is a great tobacco soon as I dabbed it on for the first time I smelled the rich odor of fresh tobacco leaf drifting up to my nose...a nice , thick, rich's definitely not the same smell, but the " feel " and spicy richness of this fragrance, and the cinnamon makes me picture this bad boy hanging around with Furyo and Witness...projection is awesome, and being an old school powerhouse lover, the intensity and smell of this is right up my alley...this would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe...along for the ride are nice touches of fruit and wood/ winner in my book...just enough of an oud note to add a nice flavor, but not enough to push this into being categorized as being an oud fragrance...
18th February, 2019

Rêve en Cuir by Indult

smooth and sophisticated leather...not a powerhouse or animalic gasoline vibes...not any huge projection, seems to sit pretty close...kind of plain...not finding anything to really get excited of those millennial-friendly " transparent", " I'm really not wearing anything " scents...semi-aromatic in a fresh/spicy sort of way...almost like just the illusion of leather, not the real thing...kind of heavy on the clove, but it is well blended in is pleasant, but hat's about it...just a touch of citrus floating around...that's about it...nice to have had a chance to sample it, but that's enough for me...
18th February, 2019

Cuir de Russie (new) by Godet

This is by far the best one of the three (Chypre and Fleur Bleue) that I've sampled from Godet. Similar to Chypre and Fleur Bleue, Cuir de Russie is Godet's take on russian leather that seems to mirror Chanel's although it was released in 1924. Godet's version I got bergamot, soft iris and violet florals combined with birch, styrax, and of course leather. A tart bergamot note can be detected immediately at the opening before being subdued by the birch and powdery florals. The base was dominated by the leather with the styrax that added some resinous feel. Compared to Chanel's this one lacked the animalistic fecal note that added a strong punch to the scent. This one has good longevity and silage. I do think the animalistic accord is needed for this scent, without it does lose some of its magic. A nice take on leather although Chanel's Cuir de Russie is much better. As for Godet and of the three that I've tried so far, I do find this house inferior to Chanel and Guerlain along with Coty. A good experience overall but not memorable.
18th February, 2019

Odeon / Petite Fleur Bleue by Godet

I believe this is Godet's take on a blue floral after Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue 1912 release. Similar to their fragrance Chypre, Godet was clearly trying to compete against Guerlain, Chanel, and Coty. The opening consisted of heliotrope and fresh florals with a dab of sparkling bergamot. Interesting on Fragrantica heliotrope is not a note that is featured in Flueur Bleue but instead rose and freesia. I do pick up the freesia but not the rose. The florals hold one for a time before notes of incense and chypre emerged at the base. Fleur Bleue isn't as smooth as L'Heure Bleue, it's a bit jagged and obnoxious. Compared to Chypre, this one has much better longevity and stronger silage. As with Chypre, Fleur Bleue has a quality that is inferior to L'Heure Bleue. Not a memorable scent for me unfortunately but I'm glad to have tried it.
18th February, 2019

Soul by Costume National

Lots of dark, rich amber and vanilla, with some oud and incense in the background. Not a young or playful scent, this is mature, dressed-up and serious. It also feels better suited to cold-weather.

Good, basic projection and longevity.
17th February, 2019

Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez

Copied from my Fragrantica review ~2018

-BASED ON THE ORIGINAL 60's FORMULA (15ml extrait)- (Apparently BaV was a reissue of "debutante a versailles", allegedly released in France in 1941, but then marketed for international release in 1958. BaV was most likely an improvement to the original due to the constraints of wartime conflict and trading difficulties being lifted, over time the quality of ingredients disposable to the perfumer would have been restored)

I was so so lucky to find this a few months ago, a pristinely preserved 15ml, still wrapped in its golden silk rope. The jus (no evaporation) was a light golden orange (golden yellow when in front of light), not a dark brown like I have seen of the ill-preserved 70s-80s vintages. It only takes me the smallest dab from the end of my finger to get the full effect. A lovely earthy, dark bergamot that has a very distinct but pleasant petrol facet, far removed from the more brisk and linear bergamot in today's compositions. This perfume is full of contrasts being melded together and smoothed over perfectly, the civet is the star of the show, it eases the bergamot's potency as the perfumes settles into a slightly herbal state, sinking further into an exceptional bouquet of orange blossom, rose, jasmine and ylang ylang. The spiciness of the ylang plays well with a tickle of eugenol, reinforcing the deep bouquet even further. The herbal element resurfaces, with a strange slight sourness, but not off-putting as a contrasting castoreum-like leatheriness appears, smoothed over by the civet. At this point a powdery diffusive nitromusk element also shows up, feeling like an animated cloud puffing from my wrist, all from this exceptionally tiny dab. As the bouquet and herbal spiciness melts away, a very sudden animalic earthiness takes over, there was not just nitromusk here, but a nicely diluted genuine deer musk essence! As the nitromusk puffiness softens, the real McCoy becomes earthier still, gaining a sweetness of its own before the resinous base fights for presence, with a whisper of velvety rooty orris, and subtle earthiness from patchouli, oakmoss and vetiver. At this stage the perfume has pushed the boundaries often, trying to repel you at times but you can't help but be drawn in, its the perfect chaos, completely balanced despite being feral in its own way. The resinous accord comprising of mostly vanilla, labdanum and subtle ambergris eventually runs its course, the party is over, at least you think it is, except the musk never left. At this point it is a exceptionally soft, dirty, slightly sweet muskiness hitting a soft patch of soil, this animated furry quality is different from the nitromusk, it blends with your skin and practically becomes one with you. You have to twist the angles of your wrist and nose to switch between extremely gentle earthiness and slight sweet feral.

Projection was strong at first and became a skin scent within a few hours (very good considering it was a tiny tiny dab), longevity of the perfume approximately 16 hours, longevity of the deer musk afterwards however, its been about two days and after enough showers, hygiene and chemical soap, it seems to have gone.

Overall this is one of the best perfumes I have ever smelled, I cannot speak for the slightly modified 70's vintage (check out MdM's descriptions on Basenotes), but the 80's onwards is more nagcham incense with no animated qualities or as much "animal" in it. The American version (00s onwards?) cannot hold a candle to the original in my frank opinion, it just lacks the magic and the richness overall, lacking in the florals by comparison, and the musk is more a linear powder to me, oh well.

Apart from the florals, the main component that blew me away was the animal essences, all of them extremely smooth and well dosed, the deer musk from what I have read to have been used at the time was the Tonkin/Tonquin variety from Vietnam , I would say it is more smooth, refined and less saccharine sweet than regular Himalayan musk, and does not have as distinct a chocolatey sweetness that Siberian musk has (I have sniffed those two types of deer musk from aged tinctures abroad, ageing before the CITES rulings). Although historically Tonkin was considered to be the most prized musk for perfume, I think that the Siberian variety with its more pronounced chocolate facet would appeal today, if dosed correctly of course. Even the synthetic nitromusk was an eyeopener, as I had no major reference point for it, considering that it has been barely used in a couple decades. I do feel guilty about how good these materials smell, especially when they meld together like they do in BaV.

Dare I say I believe this is an improvement of accords in other vintages, the civet in BaV is dosed far better than I have smelled in fragrances like shocking (also with the spice there is a small nod to L'Origan/LHB). In that regard I believe the civet in BaV to the civet in shocking is like comparing the work of Jacques Guerlain to Coty, what Coty did as a rough sketch with harsher tones and accords Jacques smoothed out, gave a soft focus to, and depending on your viewpoint, made it infinitely more luxurious. And this is coming from a guy touching his 20's, so believe it or not perfumes like this really can appeal to anyone, just depending on memories or emotional connections to the many many reference points in this perfume. Even after this ramble there will probably be odds and ends I have forgotten to mention, it really is something else.

Addendum: I thought the deer musk was gone for good but if I focus and inhale harshly it is still faintly there, rubbing alcohol doesn't seem to remove it either, oh dear!
17th February, 2019
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Replica Beach Walk by Martin Margiela

Nice coconut-suntan lotion opening with heavy musky florals. Sadly the lotion scent lasted maybe 1 hour and it finally died down at the 2 hour mark altogether.

Surprisingly a very nice perfume but longevity was so poor I'm going to place it with the Jo Malone scents - pleasant and agreeable, but bad longevity.
17th February, 2019

Dior Homme Sport (2017) by Christian Dior

Dior Homme (2005) is a line that has undergone more reinvention and reboots over it's life than even the infamous Gucci Pour Homme (1976) with it's reboots and sequels, but to Dior's credit, they have never eliminated nor replaced the original pillar like Gucci have. Instead, this reinvention is confined to the flankers, with the likes of Dior Homme Cologne (2007) seeing a reboot in 2013 as an entirely different fragrance, Dior Homme Intense (2007) being reorchestrated into Dior Homme Parfum (2014), and Dior Homme itself being reinterpreted without the gourmand notes as Dior Homme Eau (2014), but none of them have seen the sheer amount of revision that Dior Homme Sport (2008) has received. This is the review for the third version from 2017, but a previous revision also exists from 2012. Dior Homme Sport (2017) in this state is only a slight tweaking of the 2012 version to include a brighter fruit top so it better fits the sport theme, which is something this line's iris-lead composition is really ill-equipped to handle. The first version was lead with citron, ginger, lavender and red pepper with a sandalwood base, then the red pepper and lavender were removed in the 2012 version while the sandalwood was replaced with cedar. In addition to the fruitier opening, this version sees the sandalwood returning to the base, and pink pepper taking the place red pepper once inhabited in the heart, along with the addition of vetiver. Fans who mourn the smoother and piquant approach to the original will probably be best with this 2017 edition, while fans of the drier and sharper 2012 edition will be unhappy with the changes here.

Regardless of all the musical chairs perfumer François Demachy has forced Dior Homme Sport to undertake, it still does not quite feel like a sport fragrance, but we can squarely blame that on the ever-present iris across all variants of Dior Homme, since it's playful androgyny and formality are the hallmarks of the line and the very things keeping any version of this from feeling athletic. Granted, this is a lighter, brighter, and fresher take on Dior Homme, but so is Dior Homme Eau for that matter, so where this fits is really just wherever you want it to in my opinion. The scent opens with grapefruit, blood orange, and lemon, which is three times the citrus of previous versions, and accounting for the fruitiness. Outside that, it develops as one might expect from a Dior Homme flanker, by going into that lovely iris. Nutmeg and the aforementioned pink pepper flank the iris, making it a bit warmer here than it will be in all other variants save the original or it's more-intense variants, but the citrus fruits keep it vibrant, making Dior Homme Sport feel like the most youthful of the line. Sandalwood and sharp vetiver come in the base, with a touch of the original's leather, but Iso E Super does most of the talking and diffusion in the end, giving Dior Homme Sport a bit of an annoying woody aromatic chemical burn vibe that feels raw and less-sophisticated than its siblings. I guess this is the intended way to achieve the "sport" feeling, and it's not enough to make me dislike the stuff, but worth pointing out. I still think Dior Homme Cologne is the best for sport or hot weather use, but this is a close second with the bright citrus that stays throughout the wear, with Dior Homme Eau following up the rear as semi-aquatic take. Dior Homme Sport will serve well in summer and spring, or for casual get-togethers. I find this a bit too bouncy for the office, but to each their own. Wear time is decent at 8+ hours, and sillage is average.

As mentioned above, where Dior Homme Sport fits in a wardrobe is up to the wearer, since it does not really pass muster as a gym or running companion in my books, but does find favor in warmer conditions much like Dior Homme Eau, whereas the original Dior Homme would suffocate due to the gourmand and oriental characteristics. It all comes down to how many iris-lead masculines one guy needs in his wardrobe, since iris itself is a very challenging note for CIS heterosexual guys used to smelling it in their girlfriend's foundation makeup as is, so wrapping their heads around smelling like it themselves is a toughie. Still, if you're a huge iris fan of any gender that doesn't mind having a bit of an ozonic top and aromatic base mixed in, nor have the gumption to just wear Guerlain Shalimar (1925) out of the house, Dior Homme Sport is for you. In fact, if you are simply in love with the Dior Homme line, collecting the sport flanker might be in order, as it is the brightest and spiciest version of Dior Homme that still manages to keep a strong tie to the original, but without feeling redundant. In some ways Dior Homme Sport reminds me of what merging Creed Millésime Impérial (1995) with Dior Homme could be like, with a bit of surgical alterations. Guys who don't really like sport scents have nothing to fear here, but guys who don't like a ton of flankers and just want the core experience should probably skip this little redressing by François Demachy and stick to Olivier Polge's original landmark work from 2005. Thumbs up from me because I love iris, but don't dive in without testing first, even if you've smelled others in this serious. If anything, this should just be called "Dior Homme Summer" because that's where this seems fit for use the most.
17th February, 2019

Bulgari Man Wood Essence by Bulgari

Bvlgari has been somewhat exhaustive with their male fragrance flankers, making sure every line has an entry that cashes in on some fad or trend, or contains the magic ambroxan note somewhere in the base. Bvlgari Man Wood Essence (2018) is another such exhaustive flanker, that tries to tick all the boxes and fails at most of them, but it isn't a horrible scent overall. We get the "ambergris" base line that carries the scent, piled on top by an array of old-school goodies like cedar, vetiver, benzoin, and citrus, with an honest attempt of merging the "ambroxan bomb" trope that has monopolized male fragrance counters for much of the 2010's with artistic values borrowed from the brief resurgence of late 90's and early 2000's green aromatics. Bvlgari Man Wood Essence doesn't entirely succeed at melding these concepts together because an ambergris accord, whether natural or synthetic, is a warm animalic/mineralic accord that mixes better with floral, oriental, or aquatic tones than with anything herbacious, aromatic, or woodsy. We used to have oakmoss to anchor our green and woodsy things but that has been done away with, so I understand the idea of "making it work" since we all know ambroxan has wiggled its way into every other genre of masculine perfume, but in green aromatic setting like Bvlgari Man Wood Essence tried to provide, the sweet/salty/warm accord of the "ambergris" note clashes.

If we set out misgivings aside for just a second, and focus on the rest of the fragrance, Bvlgari Man Wood Essence isn't half bad, starting off as most things in years past have with some citrus and coriander spice. They didn't use the obvious choice of bergamot here, but I believe that is mostly an attempt to stray away from the old-school dry nature that note usually puts forth in scents like these, mixing in something more akin to a slightly-sweeter grapefruit and tangerine mix to go with that coriander. The heart notes of Haitian vetiver and cypriol continue the green theme, adding a bit of grassy nuttiness from the particular strain of vetiver used here mixing with the spice. The cypriol moves us into benzoin, which thickens things up and allows the cedar accord of the base to form, but the ambroxan will not go quietly amidst such aromatic bedfellows, sticking out like a sore thumb and dragging the rest of Bvlgari Man Wood Essence into some weird sort of "fresh sweet" designer finish that is very much at odds with the other 90% of the fragrance. The way the ambergris accord shows up to dominate and cast the rest of the composition in an entirely different light is the biggest failure of Bvlgari Man Wood Essence, and the biggest reason I can't go above a neutral on it in rating; it really is like shoehorning something such as Salvatore Ferragamo Pour Homme (1999) on top of the base of Bleu de Chanel (2010) and calling it a day because it's what the house asks of the perfumer, and by extension, what "the people" want according to the marketing team. Wear time is somewhat low for an eau de parfum, although sillage is about what is expected: denser and less projecting. This has office use written all over it.

Alberto Morillas of all people was assigned to this, and although he is quite capable of genius when left to his own devices, it's clear he also knows how to bang 'em out to order faster than a fry cook Five Guys Burger and Fries. It's kind of sad, because I'm sure he probably saw this as being a mistake when making it, but also probably excepted the challenge of trying to merge the ubiquitous "bro juice" dry down of all the big commercial players with a composition that is otherwise against the grain. If graded by merit of sheer experimentalism, Bvlgari Man Wood Essence is a resounding success, but it really isn't the risk taker I make it out to be because regardless of how this opens or develops, it dries to the same chemical thud of everything else made in the wake of Bleu de Chanel or Dior Sauvage (2015). Bvlgari themselves have been striking misses left and right anyway, with nothing really of much interest since the last Bvlgari Pour Homme (1995) flanker dropped under the name Bvlgari Pour Homme Soir (2006). Still, taste is subjective and for those who like the Bvlgari Man (2010) line thus far, this one is worth a sniff. For everyone else, don't expect to be wowed, and if you dig the awkward mesh of tones on display here, you're probably a tad more eclectic than the average fellow anyway, which can only be a good thing in a day and age of homogenity. Odd, interesting, but not really enjoyable for me, but don't take my word for it, Bvlgari Man Wood Essence gets a solid E for effort.
17th February, 2019
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Les Heures Voyageuses - Oud & Musc by Cartier

Yes, oud and musc indeed are the two core notes of this creation - but choosing these two as the pillars that carry this olfactory edifice is not exactly prima facie evidence of overflowing creativity; at least not these days when the release of a product without oud in it seems to have become the exception to the norm.

The oud is encouraging in the sense that it is not the commonplace hyper-synthetic screeching and loud oud that is currently so popular.

At times other notes come up - the occasional very soft patchouli touch, and whiffs of a more nonspecific woodsiness - but otherwise it is the dyad that gives this scent its name.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

Another oud composition good for cold autumn climes; mercifully rather a civil oud but the whole does not reach beyond mediocrity. 2.75/5.
17th February, 2019

Accento by Sospiro

love it....after i sampled this i wound up buying a bottle...elegant and fresh...juicy mouthwatering pineapple note...general fruity/floral presence...touch of green and wood...just the right touch of pepper for a little spicy accent...dries down to mostly a sweetish musky patch/vetiver...doesn't strike me as a casual scent...more for formal events, a night out on the town, romantic encounters...recommended to try...
17th February, 2019

Papyrus de Ciane by Parfumerie Generale

Beautiful green morning fragrance ideal for summer holidays & beach wear.

There is a prominent bitterish note of lentisque that I love...

Longevity is average for a summer fragrance that invites to be re-sprayed often.

Thumbs up!
16th February, 2019

Ostara by Penhaligon's

I wandered lonely as a cloud

Like Wordsworth we are in the middle of the English landscape surrounded by daffodils, breathing fresh air on an April early morning.
The sky is clear but there's a big cloud over us - is that the Poet?

The beautiful green opening that seems to transport us to the English countryside soon melts with the sweetness of the daffodils. It's an ethereal sweetness, never cloying, never heavy, but light, untouchable. It's sustained by wisteria and hyacinth and a distant hint of vanilla. It's a maternal embrace, like the one Wordsworth had to miss almost all of his life. There's a pensive feeling in the composition: without being sad or melancholic, it's as if we were wandering among the grass, caressed by the air, immersed in Nature and away from any distress.

I love this composition as it captures more than olfactive sensations, it's evocative, rich, multidimensional and utterly beautiful.
I do also love Wordsworth's composition, but it would be impossible not to, would it?

The green of the grass, the watery breeze, the intense scent of the daffodils, all of this is captured in the bottle .... yes, Ostara is a poem more than a scent. Or, not only a scent but poetry as well.

16th February, 2019

Epilogue by Coryse Salome

Beautiful powdery scent, similar to Madame Rochas with which it shares the same class and elegance.
I ignore what Epilogue was like in its original formula, I bought it a few years ago and I love its creamy loveliness brought by iris and oakmoss under a sparkle of aldehydes. The drydown is rich in musk and a soft hue of amber which makes the composition quite sensual after the tame elegance which has taken us so far.
Not very original or innovative, perhaps, but beautiful and comfortable scent for every occasion.
16th February, 2019

Armani Eau pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani was just finding his stride as fashion mogul by the early 1980's, having done his time as a designer for Nino Cerruti in the 1960's before launching his eponymous house in 1975. From this launch, came a diverse line by the 1980's, consisting of Emporio Armani (higher-end trend-conscious fashion and fragrance), Giorgio Armani (more conventional Italian fashion and fragrance), Armani Collezioni (more value-conscious clothing-only brand), and Armani Privé (haute couture and eventually parfumerie). Armani by Giorgio Armani (1982) kicked off the perfume venture, and was followed by this two years later as a men's companion scent. Armani Eau Pour Homme (1984) was composed by Roger Pellegrino, a fellow who also created the seminal One Man Show by Jacques Bogart (1980), but went against the 80's grain of loud juice with this creation. Armani Eau Pour Homme recalls a great number of French and Italian citrus chypres from the 50's through 70's, and just like those, is a soft-spoken aromatic experience meant to exude a quiet aura of class and maturity. Those versed in classic chypres will identify Armani Eau Pour Homme as nearly academic in composition, much like Capucci Pour Homme by Roberto Capucci (1967), but coming across lighter, rounder, and less tart. Roger Pellegrino was not without his tricks, and a bit of French influence creeps into the heart and base of Armani Eau Pour Homme, correlating it to classics like Dior Eau Sauvage (1966) or Monsieur de Givenchy (1959) every bit as much as the debut Capucci masculine. Smelling vintage Armani Eau Pour Homme also lends insight into why Armani would desire Acqua di Giò pour Homme (1996) to be so citrus-charged (and distinctly not blue) for an aquatic, showing some continuity. Citrus chypres themselves were an "evergreen" genre into the 80's much like fougères continue to be, and likely the choice of older men who refused to reek of animal gland like the young cats sporting Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981) at the time, but somehow this Armani example has remained popular enough beyond the final curtain-call for genre in the early 90's as to actually spawn flankers 30 years after launch, which is puzzling.

What is perhaps more puzzling, is why this particular example of chypre has remained while other superior ones in the field have gone the way of the dinosaur, but perhaps that has more to do with the strength of the Armani name as a brand over many of its competitors. In any case, Armani Eau Pour Homme opens like one versed in men's citrus chypres might expect, with a salvo of bergamot and lemon, but Armani adds a twist of petitgrain as a callback to the French style, recalling the opening of Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955) ever-so-slightly. This is a similar trick that the debut Versace masculine Versace L'Homme (1984) would also perform, but Armani Eau Pour Homme doesn't go in the same powdery "gentleman's night out" direction that the Versace scent takes, keeping it from being a link to later powdery oakmoss semi-oriental chypres like Guerlain Héritage (1992). The heart sneaks in a bit of jasmine hedione with the expectant lavender, and a slightly-nutty arrangement of spices also kick in, with cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and clove blending so seamlessly, that only the clove really sticks its head out. I also get hints of rosemary, neroli, and sage connecting the top to the heart and smoothing everything out until the chypre base appears. Dry cedar and grassy vetiver accompany the telltale oakmoss bite of Armani Eau Pour Homme's finish, while sandalwood and patchouli act in the base much like the herbs and neroli do in the heart, smoothing out the rough edges. The final effect of the dry down is one that glows to a lesser extent as Eau Sauvage, but with herbs, oakmoss, and aromatic spice doing all the talking in place of any proper florals once the citrus and lavender burn off in the first few hours. The style Armani Eau Pour Homme represents might be downright antediluvian to guys who didn't come of age until after the year 2000, but that hasn't stopped this stuff from persisting as mentioned above, and I find it perfectly pleasant if not a bit formal. Suggested use is office or casual spring and summer outdoors, since something this bright and mild-mannered would take a beating and go invisible in the cold air, with wear time is adequate for an eau de toilette at about 7 hours max.

Armani Eau Pour Homme alongside Versace L'Homme, Aramis Tuscany Per Uomo (1984) and the previous year's Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme Haute Concentration (1983), would be a vanguard for a final generation of designer citrus chypres for men, being followed by Penhaligon's Douro Eau de Portugal/Lords (1985), Gianfranco Ferré for Man (1986), and R de Capucci by Roberto Capucci (1986) until the genre was subverted with semi-oriental tones before disappearing altogether into the 90's. Fans of the aforementioned should approach Armani Eau Pour Homme positively, but with curbed enthusiasm because this stuff is the antithesis of a powerhouse. There's not a lot more that can be said about such a controlled exercise in chypre craft, outside the fact that it avoids being a total oakmoss bomb due to it's "eau" lightness in the sillage department. On that note, if you actually want your bottle to contain oakmoss, you need to look for the old design with the black surround on the bottom, as the newer silver-clad stuff is a reformulation without the oakmoss and reduced clove to meet IFRA regulation, plus is also missing the sandalwood because perfumers over-harvested all the Mysore trees and nobody can afford it in their perfumes anymore outside niche houses. Modern Armani Eau Pour Homme feels more like a chypre/fougère hybrid because the hedione shines brighter in absence of the oakmoss bite and complexity afforded by the spice or sandalwood, coming closer to an eau de cologne to boot. Modern production is still a mature scent, but without its key ingredients to balance it out, becomes very nondescript, which the original was already in danger of becoming by virtue of its formulaic design. I'm not usually one to say go chase down vintage and pay what is likely an unfair price, but if you want to play with this Armani in current form, you may actually miss the point since removing base notes from an already-light scent makes it almost die of atrophy. Thumbs up for a solid if staid first effort from Giorgio Armani, and worth a sniff for anyone who loves their other men's fresh scents.
16th February, 2019

parfums*PARFUMS Series 1 Leaves: Lily by Comme des Garçons

I bought a full bottle of this due to my love affair with real Lily of the Valley...this was back in the day when the bottles were green and I was filled with faith.

Initially I was enamored with Lily, but she quickly wore out her welcome. Turns out she's loud, cheap, fake and a bit psychopathic at the core of her being.

I thought about keeping her around for room spray, but I really can't stand to be associated with her anymore.

Life is too short to waste another moment on Series 1 Leaves: Lily

Seriously, leave this fraud behind.

16th February, 2019

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

I've tried sooooo hard to like Coco Mademoiselle.

I keep trying because I adore the house of Chanel, generally speaking.

But man oh man, this is a PILE of cheap plastic froooot swimming in a headache inducing synthetic aquatic mess.

16th February, 2019

Alford & Hoff by Alford & Hoff

I sought this out over a year ago as a fan of Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s work. It didn’t “wow” me then, but Zealot’s review prompted me to get out my sample of A&H to try again. I remembered trying this and thinking it too much reminded me of greased up body builders (maybe it was the marketing I remembered from this).

Perhaps it’s the now-cold weather, or perhaps I’ve come around to this style of fragrance, but I really enjoy this. Zealot’s review is spot-on, so I need not say much more.

I think A&H could be worn in the office. It reminds me of what I would have pictured my father or grandfather to smell like when I was a kid and the word “cologne” was used, just with a slightly more modern, boozey touch.

16th February, 2019

Villa Ausonia by Czech & Speake

A thumbs up so far for Villa Ausonia. I am a conifer lover, so I would like this to be more conifer and less sweetness, but alas the sweetness wins out overall although there is a conifer presence in the dry down. In fact, this is in a similar camp to Tom Ford's Vert d' Encens with the helitrope sweetness of VdE being replaced by a pear like sweetness in the opening and the watermelon keytone/calone note taking on a Jolly Rancher watermelon sweetness in the mids instead of an atmospheric note in my opinion. Overall I prefer the Tom Ford VdE because it has more conifer in the opening and overall I would say, however I've only worn this once and I have enjoyed the dry down a bit. I would definitely sample this one if you have an interest.
16th February, 2019

Aoud Blue Notes by Mancera

Starts out as a zingy/fresh citrusy/fruity/flowery candied concoction , but well balanced and not overly sweet...get a nice semi-aquatic vibe...settles down to a nice woody leather with hints of musk and vanlla...the sweetness pretty much takes a back seat at this point and gets darker...for me, this is a perfect casual scent for summer days...for sure , worth trying out....
16th February, 2019

Scent by Costume National

Smells like a clear hand soap in the opening. The drydown is a pleasant, clean amber, nothing special. The whole thing is very light and airy. Not much projection ever but it does last on your skin all day.
16th February, 2019

Island Life for Him by Tommy Bahama

Other than a pretty cool bottle, there isn't much going on in this one. It opens with a lot of bergamot and lavender, a ton of nutmeg in the mid, and a slightly woodsy but still very nutmeg heavy base. You really need to like nutmeg as a solo note to enjoy this one, which I do not.
16th February, 2019

Magnificent Gold by Yves Saint Laurent

This reminds me of Pi by Givenchy.
16th February, 2019