Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 150106

Layton by Parfums de Marly

Very green and bitter. Patchouli and cardamom pod skins. Fruit pith without the fruitiness. Bond number 9 New Harlem with less coffee? Unpleasant.
08th February, 2019

Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

Wow. As someone who loves and wears a wide variety of leather fragrances, I have to say that I am gobsmacked by the stellar reviews this one is receiving. To me, this smells like a highly, stridently-synthetic and sharply-ambered version of Cuir Ottoman (on a REALLY bad day). Cold, bitterly pungent, plastic-y, and artificially harsh are some of the descriptors that come to mind when I spray this on. I find nothing redeeming in this fragrance and I'm sad to think this is how modern noses interpret the glorious and (normally) varied smell of "leather."
08th February, 2019

Nightingale by Zoologist Perfumes

The initial blast of this is a temporal throwback: a powdery chypre, complex florals and plum. It goes against my preferences to like a mid-20th century scent like this, but the rose and oakmass present a green contrast that gives it an updated 21st century feel. I'm not sure I enjoy the combination, they seem to pull at each other instead of naturally fuse. It's a feminine scent, no doubt: something to be worn in spring/fall. A dry-sweet Oriental with a good deal of longevity (8 hours) and moderate silage.

Zoologist is without a doubt my favorite niche fragrance maker. Victor Wong has truly created something special. It isn't a smell for me, and it isn't my favorite from the line: it is, however, complex and unique. Just a bit too feminine and retrograde for my tastes. Nor is it necessarily a smell I would like on a woman, but I appreciate the effort.

7/10
08th February, 2019
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Oajan by Parfums de Marly

One of the best gourmand fragrances I have ever smelt.

Succulent honey, cinnamon, cherry, tonka, vanilla, ambergris, osmanthus, musk, patchouli, labdanum, resins, and a wisp of smoke combine in a pretty astonishing blend. It's sweet, but not overly so, being restrained by its smoky, balsamic facets and the florals. I don't get any kind of "apple pie" vibe from this (or from Habdan either, PdM's supposed "apple pie" fragrance). It honestly doesn't smell like any kind of pie or cake in particular to my nose, but it does smell very edible, almost like a syrup with which you would douse a baklava or halva in a Middle Eastern bakery. I can't really attest to the comparisons it draws to Ambre Narguile, as I haven't smelt that fragrance, but it definitely does not smell like Tabac Rouge, Tobacco Vanille, Pure Havane, or really much anything else, including other PdM fragrances.

In my view, this is the best offering from the house, along with Layton, and the best gourmand fragrance I have smelled, along with Feve Delicieuse. Longevity, sillage, and projection, as is typical with PdM, is beast mode.
08th February, 2019

Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Fresh orange peel on a wooden chopping board - zesty but delicate. Ends up in no-mans land with cool clean vetiver pulling one way and warm woods the other. It doesn’t quite have the ‘cold water sink-wash’ feel of grey vetiver/original vetiver/muegler cologne; and doesn’t have the full warm woods richness of Comme des Garçons or L’occitane’s Cade. Plus I’m not the biggest fan of orange fragrances. Probably needs a particular type of day to make this work - when you need slightly warm, slightly fresh (or can’t make up your mind).
08th February, 2019

Russian Leather by Molton Brown

Wonderful birch tar and leather combination that smells luxurious and expensive but is sadly spoiled with edt concentration ..the alcohol burns away the notes far too quickly and what began as a classy pine and leather ended 2 hours later as a leather and pine skin scent..dam what a shame.
08th February, 2019

1861 Renaissance / 1861 by Xerjoff

A very natural grapefruit note dominates the beginning, reminding me of Pomelo Paradis from Atelier. As it dries down, floral notes appear and eventually become the majority scent.

Feels very unisex and casual, like a scent meant more for a room.

If you like a fresh citrus scent mixed with florals and want max performance, this may be the fragrance of choice. It really projects and lasts all day on my skin.
08th February, 2019

Blackmail by Kerosene

Blackmail is my favorite Kerosene fragrance today, and really perfection for someone who both enjoys oud scents and loves gourmand/amber scents.

I can understand why its extremes--a reasonably heavy-handed use of oud but still an abundance of sweetness, overall--could each be a bit overwhelming to fans of more modest fragrances, but I love these extremes, and find them to be worked well with each other, as it leans slightly sweeter than oud-intensive, as would generally be my preference.

The sweetness is also interestingly a great mix of creamy amber, vanilla, and fruits—specifically, mixed berries that lean toward raspberries, mostly. It’s a solid blend, not too fruity or too heavily vanilla-only.

And at least on my skin, it’s strong—very strong—I’d give it a perfect 10 out of 10 as far as performance though it might be a smidge weaker on my skin than, say, the dark Slumberhouse juices (Ore, Jeke, Norne, Sova) or perhaps a couple of Tom Ford Private Blends, but it’s basically perfectly strong. I really only used a modest few sprays from what remains of my original decant from a couple of years ago, considering I’m at work, and it’s still beastly. The Kerosene atomizers are fortunately pretty strong and consistent but not, say, as overwhelming as Creed atomizers.

Blackmail has the peculiarity of only being sold via the boutique of the same name in Austin, TX, and it must be ordered over the phone, as the boutique does not have an online shop. Needless to say, a little added effort is worthwhile if you love the fragrance as much as I do. And $140 for 100ml remains a great price for what generally are pretty strong perfumes from the Kerosene line.

This is a superlative fragrance, a nod to both gourmand- and oud-lovers, and a fun, bold expression that reminds me why I love fragrances so much.

10 out of 10
08th February, 2019

La Fumée / La Fumée Classic by Miller Harris

I love smoky balsamic scents, and I'm really into this one. It's a spicy/woody incense that stays fairly linear on my skin but that's okay with me. I enjoy cumin in perfume and here the warm-skin scent it imbues is for me enhanced by the cardamom and coriander. And these spice notes feel dry like the seeds in my kitchen jars which helps give this scent a dusty aged character that I like. I have a jar of dried chamomile too, and here its creaminess, along with the labdanum, goes beautifully with the resins and smoke. The lavender plays a bigger part in the meld than I first realised - I can pick out this note among the others throughout, but like I mentioned, I get a fairly steady linearity from the start. Elemi up top and amber at the base ensure resinous tones through this too. The arid parchment-like quality eases after an hour or so and gives way to a woodier vibe with sharpish cedar sap; leathery birch; creamy sandalwood, and a beautifully restrained drop of oud. As it moves further into dry-down a slight sweetish floral tone comes out in the woodiness. Overall, this starts as an ancient book might smell, then later reminds me of inside a dusty old chest of drawers that once had lavender drawer-liners. Not a great deal of development but I really enjoy wearing it all the same.
08th February, 2019

L'Envol by Cartier

What a beautiful unusual fragrance that within ten minutes of smelling the sample I just had to purchase this. Lovely fresh airy honey and woods with hints of iris and violet on a bed of patchouli. It's light and bewitching and the smooth honey musk just has your head spinning.

The beauty of this fragrance is how it develops on your skin. After the honey musk recedes and the woody notes come to the forefront a beautiful violet accord just blooms from the composition and becomes the star of the show.

The whole scent is enveloped in this airy breeze that just surrounds you with a gorgeous cloud of a hazy violet accord. It's smooth, bewitching, classy and simply stunning!

Now it lasts for several hours or so and totally worth it. Perfect for a evening out to a restaurant or a night on the town. The bottle is a real beauty too.

Have not smelled anything like this, so refreshing when a scent comes along and renews your faith in fragrances. Love it!
08th February, 2019

Bally Masculin by Bally of Switzerland

Screechy citrus fougère only one step up from the dreadful Chevalier d'Orsay. No point chasing unicorns like this when there are better things on the highstreet.

**
08th February, 2019

People Are People by Christian Siriano

Jasmine, sandalwood and vanilla is oversimplified. This is a lot like other frags out there now but has nice projection within arms length and lasts nicely. It also is fruity and dark with a lot of fruit up front (maybe black currant or plum) with some light florals in the mix but it is mainly patchouli, sandalwood and musk with a bit of vanilla. I like but don't LOVE it.
08th February, 2019

Interlude Man by Amouage

This one I imagine is not for everyone. The sweet, smoke and spice will come at you hard, so u have to like that kind of thing, or else. It's my favorite Aoumage scent.
08th February, 2019
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

J'ai Fait Un Rêve Lui by Majda Bekkali

The initial blast combines white pepper, saffron and a tonka note that combine to a medley of a sweet gourmand spiciness. The pepper is gentle initially, but with time it grows stronger and moves gradually more into the foreground. The saffron is surprisingly prominent in the beginning and only slowly decreases in intensity. Whiffs of bergamot add brighter touches.

Later on a nonspecific woodsiness develops, but the main addition is an oud impression. This oud is rather smooth, dark but not too sinister, and lacks any harshness our rough edge.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a pleasant autumnal scent, spicy and restrainedly sweet, well-crafted and with an original touch. 3.25/5.
08th February, 2019

Racquets Formula by Penhaligon's

Penhaligon's Racquets Formula (1989) was an early men's revival scent attempt from one of the house's many owners during the "hot potato" period from when Sheila Pickles - who had resurrected the brand - divested herself of the operation, until it was later picked up by Puig to be taken upmarket as a niche luxury brand. Unlike competitor Geo F Trumper, who kept Penhaligon's on life support throughout the mid 20th century just so they could make and sell the ever-popular Blenheim Bouquet (1902), Sheila Pickles was interested in using the house as a vehicle for her own dabbling in perfume, which resulted in mostly new feminine-market creations throughout the 70's outside of reissued barbershop classics and once-bespoke original formulas. However, once she handed the reigns to Laura Ashley, it was decided to make an entirely new masculine for the house but to also keep it in line with the traditional aesthetic of their masculine barbershop vibe. Francis Pickthall, founder and CEO of CPL Aromas, was a business partner to Laura Ashley and huge fan of Penhaligon's, so he composed Racquet's Formula in a rare turn as perfumer (and his only documented one). The theme of the scent is Racquetball, a popular upper middle-class sport at the time in the UK, and the style is squarely in the dry traditional Victoria barbershop genre but with a mossy mid-century fougère foundation more typical of the American barbershop, since racquetball was invented by the American Joseph Sobek in 1950. The powdery and classic "sport" vibe of Racquets Formula is entirely intentional, albeit very anachronistic being released at the very tail end of the powerhouse era, but since this is Penhaligon's, nobody was really surprised and the scent enjoyed some moderate popularity with gents who still dug the aesthetic of wet shaving.

The opening of Racquets Formula is pure American neighborhood barber-on-the-corner with a bright bergamot, lemon, smooth lavender, and the surprise addition of linden blossom. Linden is the "x factor" that really keeps Racquets Formula from being too much of a Fabergé Brut (1964) clone despite in those opening phases, and a healthy dose of geraniol courtesy of a rose/geranium blend awaits in the heart to further that separation when the ylang-ylang which also recalls Brut starts to appear. Clove enters the fray after a few more minutes, adding that spicy "brown" tone American bay rums and the evergreen Shulton Old Spice (1937) are known to have, but Racquet's Formula leaves America behind by the time the base comes on to stop by France on its way back to the UK. The use of vanilla and oakmoss to establish that proper French fougère accord a la vintage Dana Canoe (1936) or Caron Pour Un Homme (1934) is to blame for this. There isn't very much tonka here like one might expect - because again - the final destination of Racquets Formula is in the sharp dry down typical of a UK barbershop fragrance but dry amber and olibanum help achieve an incense-like warmth in the partial absence of tonka. Touches of vetiver add that green element which helps keep Racquets Formula in its fougère lane, and that's a wrap. Wear time is the typical Penhaligon's standard 8 or so hours with mild to moderate sillage. Warm weather is actually a friend to this in spite of the vanilla thanks to the sharp incense accord in the base, but overall I'd call Racquets Formula something better enjoyed indoors, much like the sport after which it is named. This could be a good daily office scent or casual use affair after a good shave, but there is a slight problem with frequent use for Racquets Formula, and that problem is a total lack of availability. This scent is very, very, very discontinued, and nobody even talks about it anymore, much like the sport of racquetball itself, so perhaps there is a bit of irony present.

When I say discontinued, I don't mean "search eBay for a moderatly-plentiful number of overly price-gouged listings and bite the bullet to own it" kind of discontinued, but rather the "this scent is so far gone from circulation that you'll have to know a friend who hoarded it when it got cleared out and beg them for a bottle" kind of discontinued. You won't see this stuff on eBay, Etsy, or any backwater seller site that stumbles upon unsold stock of perfume, and if by chance you do, it's gone in 60 seconds worse than Nicholas Cage's acting career after he remade The Wicker Man. Seriously, this is one of those few scents that I classify as "extinct in the wild", and my review comes from a OEM sample given to me by a kind friend who wanted me to experience and write about it, but be not sad. Racquets Formula is nice as a neat little "bridging of the barbershops" kind of shindig, but a 1990's (or newer) bottle of the re-orchestrated Dana Canoe has about the same vibe, since the tweaks to the formula involved mainly sharpening up the top, and drying down the base, removing the blob-like qualities of the richer original Canoe formula. So if you miss Racquets Formula, just plunk down a few peanuts on modern Canoe, and I know it's not the same (nothing ever is), but it will scratch the same itch this once did. Penhaligon's Sartorial (2010) as composed by Bertrand Duchaufour seems to use much the same formula as this, but with some of the top notes smashed down into heart to make room for his aldehydes and synthetics to create that "hot ironed fabric" effect; Racquets Formula was in essence the same scent minus all that wizardry. Thumbs up, and hats off to this long-gone love affair with classic gentleman's grooming.
08th February, 2019

Vanderbilt for Men by Gloria Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt for men has become one of my favourite “go to” fragantes in autumn & spring.

It is just so pleasant & comforting that I really enjoy wearing it often on days out.

I would categorise it as a masculine fougere with bergamot, geranium & a sweet vanilla/tonka drydown.

Good longevity overall and a must for a fougere lover.
08th February, 2019

Tam Dao Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

A woody scent in the spirit of Comme des Garçons Hinoki or Sugi. It's nice but the Iso E Super is too present to my nose and once I smell it, it spoils my enjoyment. Projection is a bit weak.
08th February, 2019

Hermann à Mes Côtés Me Paraissait une Ombre by Etat Libre d'Orange

(Le Capitaine) in The Wild Boys by Bertrand Mandico 2017
08th February, 2019

Castile by Penhaligon's

Similar to other cologne style fragrances with its fresh, citrusy neroli and petitgrain opening that drys down to a soapy musk. There is, however, a nice deviation that happens shortly after the fresh, green opening...some nice, dry sweetness from the orange blossom appears and starts to build a bridge to the clean musk finish.

While it does have better performance than most in the genre, it’s not something that will fill a room or only needs to be sprayed lightly. This can be sprayed quite liberally due to its pleasant nature and light-handed projection. Longevity is fine on my skin, pushing into them 6-7 hour range.
08th February, 2019

Whispered Myths by Imaginary Authors

Wow, got WM in a sample pack awhile back, and now I’m not sure if I ever tried it?!? Found it in the drawer today and used a good amount...and glad I did! It’s real, quality, Oud! It’s easier for me to decipher between real and fake Ouds since I’ve been purchasing a few real Oud oils lately. The cedar and honey aspect really balance out the medical sharp edges of the Oud. FB worthy imo!
08th February, 2019

Trance (new) by J.F. Schwarzlose

Interesting, you have so much character, Trance, I will gladly hang out with you. You are intoxicating and seductive as hell.
Decadent roses aren’t supposed to be this sweet. You’re nostalgic. Berlin is not like this at all.
08th February, 2019

Gomma by Etro

The sage and artemisia in the top notes make me drink in this fragrance like fragrant desert air. I also love the refined and somewhat rubbery leather notes that make up Gomma's base. On days when my supply of Cuir de Russie is running dangerously low, this Etro fragrance fills in nicely. And yes, it is similar to Knize Ten, but I find it far more complex and sophisticated, plus the dry down is far more beautiful. My only complaint is its projection and longevity. I spray it on my clothes and this helps retain the scent some, but in an ideal perfume world, this one (and Cuir de Russie) would both last to infinity.

(This is the vintage version. I've heard less than stellar things about its reformulation.)
07th February, 2019 (last edited: 10th February, 2019)

Aventus by Creed

Having owned this fragrance for a little over a month i finally got a big compliment from the most beautiful woman serving us at a work meeting. After buying a round of beer she said someone smelt 'ridiculously amazing' then asked if it was me, having a partner i played it down but boy it felt good! Living in New Zealand i have not yet come across anyone who has even heard of Aventus so for me its hands down a cut above the rest.
I have had many compliments with this but none like this.

Personally i love this fragrance from the first time i smelt which was almost a year ago to owning 2 bottles within the last month. I really struggled to justify the price but now i don't think i can ever look back. The performance is great on me even long after i can no longer smell it my partner will say she can. I've even smelt it the day after applying it and even after a shower the next morning. The dry down is one of the best in my opinion and no clone i have tried has been on par with Aventus. It is also very versatile i have found.
The sillage is good also. Though i only seem to get the compliments when applying 5+ sprays to really hit that projection limit.

Scent 9.5/10
Sillage 7.5/10
Longevity 8.5/10
Versatility 8.5/10
Overall 9/10
07th February, 2019 (last edited: 08th February, 2019)

Luna Rossa Black by Prada

A rather generic dark amber and tonka fragrance with a bit of patchouli and tobacco thing going on. Sweet and a bit powdery (maybe some iris in there?). Is it going to win any awards? Hell no. But do I like it? Yes! Even though it's basic and straightforward, there's just something about this that I enjoy. There are better options if you're in the market for a dark designer fragrance (something like the Man in Black series by Bvlgari or Valentino Uomo Intense/Noir Absolu), but this certainly a competent fragrance. Performance is good, compliment factor is good. If you can find a deal on it, it's not a bad option for a fall/winter designer.
07th February, 2019

Twilly d'Hermès by Hermès

Perfumer Christine Nagel has made no bones about Twilly targeting young women, and in many ways its millennial-market styling is spot-on. The juice is pink, the bottle twee, and even the tuberose is stripped down, scrubbed-clean, and tamed to near-minimalism—the Stepford Wife of tuberoses.

And, yet, this isn’t a standard fruity floral. A hefty slug of ginger gives Twilly much of its initial sparkle and freshness before mingling with the other notes to create something way more butch than the initial presentation, like one of those colognes that barbers slap on their customers after giving them a shave.

I really like that bracing aspect, which translates just as impressively into the air. Twilly’s sillage is assertive but never offensive—I get busloads of compliments when I wear it. Once, forgetting myself, I spritzed a good bit of it before visiting my stepfather in the hospital and instead of side-eyeing me, his nursed thanked me for “making the place smell better.”

Twilly’s eventual evolution into what I like to call a “wall of scent” is both its strength and its weakness, depending on your expectations. I nearly traded or sold it a good half-dozen times before eventually giving in, realizing that moving along in its white noise cloud becomes an exercise in Zen-like acceptance that sometimes a perfume that just smells GOOD is good enough.
07th February, 2019

Oud Essentiel by Guerlain

This is a beautiful scent for lovers of wearable ouds. It's not harsh or challenging as some synthetic or higher-end real ouds can be - no 'Barnyard' or 'Skank' here, to my nose. It's not cheap (but not exclusively elitist) so there may be some real oud in it but this is tempered by a touch of rose, saffron, and resins. A reasonably strong leather note reigns in the harsher elements of the oud also, as well as the presence of Cedar, another wood note perhaps diluting the potential of Argarwood to overwhelm.
I love Guerlain's perfumes. This particular fragrance's sister, Santal Royale, is equally good, but quite similar in many respects, but I ended up going for this one out of the two.
It lasts for a long time on my skin and has a continual billowing energy wafting it around, although this does not fill the room or cause folk to edge away, at least not in my experience. Having said that, it would be easy to overspray with this.
Overall. a lovely, quality blend for the cooler months and/or special evenings. Captivating.
07th February, 2019

Guerlain Homme L'Eau Boisée by Guerlain

A fragrance that is greater than the sum of it's parts. The start is a burst of tangy lime with peppery cedarwood which smells like pencil shavings, cannot shake the association.lol..... A grassy Vetiver accord soon emerges and you have a fresh lime, woods and vetiver all coming together to make a very nice fragrance. Longevity is pretty good on my skin for this type of scent though it does stay close to you, six hours and it's still going. This is going to be good for the Spring and especially the summer.
07th February, 2019

Fève Délicieuse by Christian Dior

Fabulously gorgeous gourmand fragrance, edible but immensely wearable. A massive payload of creamy vanilla, tonka, cherry, praline, and almond is lightened and slightly mentholated in the opening by mint and lavender. Sweet, powdery, balsamic, heavy but light. This one gets compliments galore and should not be worn without forethought. I think it would be better suited to formal or semi-formal occasions, but it has this warm coziness to it that makes me think it'd be a great date night or close encounter fragrance as well. Fantastic projection, longevity, and sillage.
07th February, 2019

Sugar by Franck Boclet

Sugar is my second try from Franck Boclet, after Tobacco, and it's sweet, as its name suggests, a mix of vanailla, marshmallow, several white florals, fruits, and white musk. It's one of the more pleasant "floral vanilla" fragrances I can recall trying in recent memory, but this is a category that seems to regularly have new entries, and while Sugar is better-blended and overall more pleasant than, say, Mancera Black Vanilla, it's not groundbreaking.

It's a pretty good performer but not extreme, and feels versatile with respect to season, and for a floral vanilla, is not all that feminine-leaning, at least not to me.

It does not seem to be sold in the US currently but runs for about $200 for a 100ml bottle on some non-US sites, not bad if you love it, but certainly a stretch if you don't. For me, it's a like, not a love, but I'd encourage floral vanilla fans to try it.

7 out of 10
07th February, 2019

Cabochard by Grès

This is for the EDP. A beautiful aldehydic leather. The notes are very similar to Aramis obviously, but with a sweeter opening. I get the fruity notes on application along with a hint of dry tarragon.
I'm a bloke btw, so it may seem different on my skin, or not. But either way, I deem this to be, as all 'fumes will soon be, completely unisex. Truth be told that's why I got it (along with Tabu, Aromatics elixir etc.). Reviews here and elsewhere from experienced perfume lovers tell of how well these reacts to male chemistry and that's what I'm finding. For what it's worth, I'm in the camp that believes fragrances have no gender they're just marketed toward one or the other, and often bought so 'I' can 'be that'. So it's down to money (for the manucaturers) and identity (for the end-user).
Anyhow, Cabochard smells great on me. Lasts well too. There's quite a floral mid to it, but the spicy leather/tobacco vibe is prominent throughout, as is the sparkly/soapy aldehyde buzz, even into the mossy cream drydown.
A lovely perfume for us all.
07th February, 2019
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