Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 150106

Vetiver Extreme by Guerlain

A beautiful, fresh vetiver. But a flanker that's considerably more rounded and soft than Guerlain's Vetiver. The citrus in Extreme is toned down a lot, and the incense note certainly softens it and gives a creamier feel. There's still a fair amount of soapy fizz to this mind. Yes, a bottle-green bar of soap would be a fitting mental picture here (lime green or yellow for it's sister Vetiver). I love them both, but this gentler, less astringent one edges it for me.
07th February, 2019

Viper Green by Ex Nihilo

Where’s the viper? Brilliant emerald slithery thingy loaded with venom this ain’t. It’s a cool, pale green floral which, if one is feeling generous, has a certain just-showered charm, and, if one isn’t, smells like air freshener, pleasant but a bit mono.
Viper Green settles quickly – opening with a squirt of citrus, one gets musked up greens (a kind of galbanum-lite without any of the characteristic bitterness and some watery angelica) merging with vague white florals. Once settled, this reads – to me – like the umpteenth wispy attempt at rendering lily of the valley, nice enough if you’re a noob where perfumes are concerned, but with little to lift it above the cheaper and just as refreshing drugstore variants.
07th February, 2019

Olympéa by Paco Rabanne

Pretty identikit designer white floral that ticks a lot of boxes – overall powder-puff softness, a touch of pulpy fruitiness, vague, airbrushed ‘floral’ notes, some aquatic cool blue in an air-freshener stylee with ethyl maltol cotton candiness soaking through. The purpose of this kind of thing seems to be about providing the olfactory equivalent of empty calories for perpetual dieters. The usp is allegedly a salted vanilla accord – and yes, one briefly registers some such thing, a kind of dry deflection on a vanilla sugar note – but it soon gets subsumed by the sweet fog such contourless creations end up as, which feels paradoxically both anaemic and full-on.
Stuff like this sells by the truckload, which leads me to the rather depressing conclusion that I am rather out of joint with the times because I find it utterly grim, representing a vision of femininity that is pink fluff, tacky bling, nail extensions and goopy lip gloss: affectation as a mode of life. I see that there are two Aqua, one Intense and an Extrait de Parfum versions of this horror and a dupe shop in my neighbourhood prominently advertises a cheaper clone. There truly is no hope for humankind.
07th February, 2019
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Cicuta by V Canto

Cicuta is cake for the nose – deeply satisfying (if you love roses), without being particularly ground-breaking. It essays a Lyric (Woman) style rose lifted in the opening by citrus peels, before blooming in the full bodied but soft manner often characteristic of Bulgarian rose compositions, here held aloft by woody musks. There’s a powdery vanilla in the base that is one of those just-right decisions that signals that there’s nothing else needed, this is complete. Very moreish. Do try, especially if you love Lyric.
Anecdote: I wore it to a gathering where a co-participant walked into the room and said: ‘It smells heavenly, like roses, in here.’ She looked a bit doubtful when I said it was probably me – notions of what is considered ‘men’s perfume’, I guess.
07th February, 2019

Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

If you buy into the backstory, then this bat is doing some serious flitting, from dank and musty cave to the green canopied forest and back. But, in reality of course, the earthy aspect of this scent comes nowhere close to a bat cave rank with the creature’s droppings; it’s more like freshly turned earth rich in humus, a scent that catches a bit at the back of the throat, matched with a powerful humidity. This is Bat’s overriding theme – challenging for sure, but thrilling to see it so well captured; and its counterpoint is a singing crisp, vetiver, dressed in bright green notes.
For a large portion of its life on my skin Bat is a bit of a tropical rainstorm of a perfume, not one I’d wear for the usual pleasures of olfactory indulgence but because it takes me places. There’s a basketful of fruity notes mentioned in the declared list, but on my skin there’s really no trace – my bat’s got them safely trapped in its gut and ain’t about to burp.
But it’s after a good 6-plus hours that it really begins to take flight for me. The soil tincture effect dies down and a thrillingly sour vetiver-woody reveals itself. It’s a zinging tartness that the nose can’t quite place (it’s not really citric) that has me going ‘mmm’ with pleasure and wanting to zip about with renewed energy.

07th February, 2019

Under My Skin by Francesca Bianchi

It’s criminal that this perfume hasn’t garnered a single review as yet – an oversight that must be corrected immediately.
Under My Skin belongs to a perfume family that I often have issues with – the leathers. They can tire my nose; they can make me smell unwashed; they can try too hard (revved up with spices); they can say to me: ‘Seek your pleasure elsewhere’. So good ‘uns are always cause for celebration.
Bianchi’s intention was to work on an animalic theme that was not too loud, more human animal than the beastie variety – and she gives us a perfume that is leather and yet like a second skin, dabbed with soft powders, with just small traces of salt to suggest previous exertions and rude health and with the most amazing bloom of orris at its heart, whose mild yet pervasive fatty sweetness is glimpsed fully at the opening and then merges back into the composition providing a steady, reassuring pulse. And then there’s ambergris – probably responsible for that lick of salt, but also a perfect complement to the orris, its glow subtly suffuses everything.
Under My Skin is a perfume that harmonizes perfectly with one’s skin, even reminiscent of its odour, and yet it’s a complex creation, silky smooth and full of suggestion. I particularly admire the gorgeous milky sandalwood that is by now so unfamiliar in perfumery, where more raspy avatars of this noble wood are the norm. There’s the gentle spicing supporting the main floral note – the naturally spicy carnation – and an array of balsams carefully deployed.
Under My Skin is the scent of human closeness, of touching, of lying next to a loved one, of the gentle caress rather than the carnal heave. Admittedly towards the end of the day, the resinous base becomes more evident as some of the other notes die back, as does the salt, bringing in a sultry aspect after all. Nonetheless, I commend it to you.

07th February, 2019

Norne by Slumberhouse

Sticky smokey pine resin. The sauce is this and stained my skin green. After it dried for a few hours the pine burned off a bit faster than the smokey incense. High quality, natural smelling. Strong strong. Not full bottle worthy full me because it is price prohibitive.
07th February, 2019

Fuel For Life pour Femme by Diesel

Slightly sour mandarin. Perky pink pepper. Big, dirty jasmine. An almost boozy black current. The jasmine brightens. It loses its dirtiness. black current gets louder. It's very pretty. I smell musk later. Patchouli is weak. This has a bit of masculinity in the background. This is a "safe" fragrance.
07th February, 2019

Traversée du Bosphore by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I could swoon every time I wear this... An autumnal-like fruit mix on top. Iris shoots at you straight away (and never leaves). It's dry. Iris dominates. A touch of rose lies beneath. A smidge of pistachio. Vanilla and musk and iris all stand strong further on, at the base. Iris lasting forever.
07th February, 2019

Les Nombres d'Or : Cuir by Mona di Orio

Very strong leather right off. Cade, too. Both notes combined resemble a tobacco accord, for me. Cuir is a cold, dark scent. It is a dark room with only a single lit candle for illumination. Bowls of smoldering ancient incense. Smoke, nearly choking anyone present. It's narcotic, like a bitter pill. Very evocative for this woman.

A smokiness continues with an addition of a deep, resinous creature. Settles as an animal itself. Overall fairly linear.
07th February, 2019

Paestum Rose by Eau d'Italie

Spicy, peppery rose straight away. The spices really pop. An almost creamy osmanthus. This is a lively rose fragrance. It borders on sweet really. It doesn't take long for the rose to begin dancing with the base notes. Myrrh, incense, and wood do not overwhelm the rose - they compliment her.

Rose fades later leaving an almost dark incense-like base, with still a hint of spice. An earthy spice.
07th February, 2019

Waikiki Pikake by Pacifica

An inexpensive fragrance that's fun and easy-to-wear. Freshly tropical. Bright and sunny. Vibrant jasmine. Freshly chipped sandalwood. Linear - it is what it is. Short longevity.
07th February, 2019

Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès

Mango and grapefruit make for an unusual, lovely top combo. A refreshing fruit mix. Then, green bitter, sour sun-drops. Lotus & calamus sparkle here. A faraway garden dappled in midday sun. The sycamore note here is a good, woody note. It doesn't seem to cover up the "garden" accord - it adds to it. Incense isn't noticeable for me. UJSLN is summery without a doubt.
07th February, 2019
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Invasion Barbare / SB by MDCI

Marchal Design & Créations Indépendantes - or Parfums MDCI - is another perfume brand born of the 21st century "prestige brand boom", which is unofficially the period from roughly the year 2000 onward where growing wealth inequality in Western society has caused an increasing desire among the swelling upper classes to spend their money more conspicuously on luxury, like they once did in the "Gilded Age" just prior to the original London and New York stock market crashes of 1929. With demand higher than ever for "cut above" brands that dwarf even long-established couture houses in exorbitance, brands like MDCI have replaced once-premium designer fragrances as top of the food chain, while they inadvertently slide downmarket due to inflation, rising ingredient costs, plus their perception as aspirational accessories placed at "entry-level" to a couture house's larger catalog of wares, making them sit status-wise where perfumes by the large cosmetic companies such as Coty once sat. The brainchild of Claude Marchal was formed to be a "perfumes as art" concept like so many others in this price tier, including Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, and was later absorbed into the umbrella of Jovoy Paris in the same manner that Frédéric Malle was absorbed into The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Originally, the house was launched with 5 perfumes each bearing the initials of their perfumer as their name, with Francis Kurkdijan having FK1, FK2, and FK3 for the feminine selections, and Pierre Bourdon making PB for the house alongside Stéphanie Bakouche making SB for the masculine selections all in 2006. Patricia de Nicholai also created PdN for the house in 2009. Invasion Barbare is really just a renamed SB, since MDCI switched to actual perfume names some time after 2010, and Invasion Barbare represents a classic barbershop fougère style if the play on words which represents its post-2010 name didn't give that away. Hype from the "Broletariat" of upper-middle class overachievers hooked on YouTube fragrance reviewers and dissatisfied with the "plebian" nature of designer juices have led many to wander MDCI's way looking to "level up their game" with a bottle of Invasion Barbare, and while the stuff is genuinely nice, it is truly nothing special since barbershop fougères don't cost a ton to make and have been done to death.

The opening of Invasion Barbare is a bit of the old and a bit of the new, with tried-but-true bergamot merging with sharp aldehydes and a slightly softer grapefruit note that tends to start off many things calling themselves fougères in the 21st century. Violet leaf also finds its way into the equation early on, but it's nothing on the level of Burberry Touch for Men (2000) or even Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985), yet it adds that dandy flair iris, rose, or carnation would otherwise add in older examples of the genre. Thyme, cardamom, and ginger all add a bit of earthy and nutty spice which also comes across a bit dusty to my nose, until the lavender shows up to complete a traditional fougère accord even if it takes a bit of a backseat to that violet. The overall feeling of the scent is rather sharp and acidic thanks to the aldehydes, which usually don't find their way into these kind of fougères, but perhaps keep this from becoming too vanillic and nondescript like a classic bottle of Caron Pour Un Homme (1934) or Canoe (1936). The spice and lavender have it feeling a bit more familiar but the rather opaque violet leaf in the top of Invasion Barbare keeps its flamboyant thumb down on most of the otherwise conservative barbershop action of the heart. Base notes for Invasion Barbare are rather par for the course with patchouli, vanilla, cedar, musk, and just a tiny sliver of oakmoss to "keep it real" but not real enough to satisfy lovers of vintage masculine barbershops previously loaded down with it. I get mostly a dry cedar out of this base next to a powdery vanilla and musk, so if there is patchouli here, it must be that chemical "white patchouli" which just adds thickness without flavor, similar to having a thin line of mayonnaise on a sandwich. The aldehydes and violet are the only things really separating Invasion Barbare from its lower-priced peers, and I see nothing about that which is particularly premium nor exciting. Wear time is over 10 hours and projection is not monstrous thanks to the typical tight sillage of an eau de parfum concentration, but Invasion Barbare is very noticeable to the wearer and a fairly pleasant experience. I'd make this an office fragrance if I was going to wear it regularly, or one for formal occasions if it was relegated to special use only, which for the price it sells is the likely fate of most bottles out there.

This one is very much for the mature crowd, making me scratch my head even more at all the young go-getters blowing up forums about this stuff, since none of them would be caught dead wearing the fragrances that do what Invasion Barbare does but better, because they're all either too old or too "cheap" in their eyes. If you're a guy into fragrances for "The Game", then I probably can't dissuade you from thinking this juice is pure liquid greatness, but I still strongly urge a sampling first. For somebody morbidly curious about what such a ubiquitous category as the barbershop fougère can smell like in the realms of prestige luxury perfume, Invasion Barbare is an interesting excursion if you can stomach the price point. If you sample Invasion Barbare, then decide it isn't worth the cash but wish to stay within the realms of niche, you might want to check out Penhaligon's Sartorial (2010) or Replica At the Barber's by Martin Margiela (2014), which do similar things with fougère accords and sharp openings, switching out the dry aldehydic anise tone Invasion Barbare carries for a metallic or peppery one respectively. For me personally, the original Houbigant Fougère Royale (1882) that started it all is still the one to beat for somebody wanting this style all dressed up in "hoity-toity" fashion, but if you're of the "hoi polloi" as I am, then I'd stick to good old Fabergé Brut (1964) or Avon Wild Country (1967). Hell, even Yves Saint Laurent Jazz (1988) or Pasha de Cartier (1992) will give you a similar, albeit richer version of same desired effect as Invasion Barbare, but for much less coin. However, style or performance at a good value isn't the reason perfume brands like this exist, is it? I give Invasion Barbare a thumbs up for being a solid and slightly novel take on "dad's cologne", but otherwise its dime store style with a deluxe price tag prevents my recommendation, since at least other prestige brands like Creed strive to have mostly unique perfumes. As a bit of an aside, MDCI love to create ridiculously fancy packaging to go with their perfumes, so outside the usual Greco-Roman busts that adorn their bottles, MDCI have also released Invasion Barbare in Middle-Eastern "Silk Road" editions and a host of coffret sets since they pitch their lineup at wealthy collectors.
07th February, 2019

Hacivat by Nishane

After the beautiful, and I mean BEAUTIFUL "Hundred Silent Ways", I decided to go and try Hacivat.

To my great disappointment, I found out that this perfume smells like a citrusy cleaning product, I'm definitely not a fan.

Too bad, I really wanted to like this, since I usually like the pineapple note in fragrances.
07th February, 2019

Limited 71 Extreme by AJ Arabia

Smells good, but too similar to Liwa / Baccarat Rouge 540 on the drydown. Very latex-y.
07th February, 2019

Habit Rouge Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

Take the edt minus the lemon/citrus and then add a bit more depth and the edp is what you are left with. I don't see a great deal of difference between the 2. Maybe the edt is slightly more in your face for the first 10 minutes but they both settle down to the same ballpark. I like them equal.

07th February, 2019

Ambra Aurea by Profumum

I usually like Profumum Roma's offerings but this time... Nope. No bueno.

To my nose, it smells like a Turkish bazaar, in the corner of the dusty old carpets.

As expected from this house, longevity and sillage are beastly.
07th February, 2019
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Liquo by Angela Ciampagna

Licorice and violet are the first thought than go through my mind when the first molecules enter my nasal cavity, and fairly soon aniseed is added to it. This results in a soft and slightly sweet mix, with whiffs of lemon adding some brighter moments.

The second stage adds more floral elements, mainly a restrained lavender as well as a vanilla impression with touches of a gentle spiciness thrown in.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and four hours of longevity, with the last hour or two being very close to my skin.

A pleasant autumnal scent for days and evenings, with clear nods into the direction of the gourmand section of the olfactory spectrum. The main strength is the gery good quality of the ingredients; the main weaknesses are the thinning of the intensity of the notes in the second half of the development of this composition, as well as the limited performance. Still, overall a good product: 3.25/5.
07th February, 2019

Dirty English by Juicy Couture

I have a bottle of the first release batch of this fragrance that came with a leather strap with metallic charms wrapped around the bottle cap.

After the initial spray, the fragrance smells orangey spicy with an added zarzaparrila note which must be the ebony wood note; this olfactory accord is the backbone of the fragrance and persists till the end.

I cannot smell any oud whatsoever here.

The overall feel is light, not too complex and certainly very sinthetic.

Longevity is around 8 hours.

I enjoyed the Aftershave soother better than the fragrance itself.

My 30ml bottle will get used on early morning dog walks after my current Melvita orange cannelle bottle is finished.

Medium Thumbs!
07th February, 2019

Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Dryad is definitely a bonafide green chypre, quite sharp. I smell an accord of oakmoss (moss is prominent and persistent from start to finish) and galbanum, laced with clary sage. I find hints of floral, towards the late dry down, but very reserved. I'm missing completely any woods, resins or musk. Interestingly, I also do not find any note of leather unlike Bandit or Azuree.

Dryad is a commendable choice, but personally fails to hit the mark. I find it too one-dimensional, and lacking in nuances or complexity (unlike, Mito). For this reason, I also find it to be somewhat unfinished and unedited. It comes across as the "green chypre accord" equivalent of one note genre exercises that plague niche perfume lines. If only it had some added depth and dimension - it would have been much more engaging. It is quite abstract thanks to its central accord, but it isn't particularly complex.

I would imagine that Dryad would only specifically appeal to those looking for a specific accord, and even so, sniffing around might prove rewarding. Sillage is close but persistent, and duration is very good at over seven hours based on a moderate application.

07th February, 2019

Russian Musk by Areej le Doré

The first thing you notice... is musk. Glorious beautiful full flavored musk. It hits with a lemon/bergamot combo reminiscent of the juice from a lemon/lime snowcone. The lemon marries to the pine early, and play together beautifully. Strong profile. If I bury my nose in I get just a small tinge of clove in the back. It smells better than this, and is more complex than this, but to get a feel for it, this could be described as a musky lemon pine scent. About 2 hours in I smelled a hint of smoke. It feels like it evolves in the intensities of the notes, while none disappear completely.
07th February, 2019

Amber Gold by Ermenegildo Zegna

Heavy, oily, rose-saffron combo in the opening that doesn't tame down for hours. As it dries down, it becomes less oily, warms up and actually gets more dry, as if you’re sitting next to a heater continuously blowing hot air. The amber is there but it’s not very sweet. The incense is almost smokey and keeps pushing to the forefront the further you go into the drydown.

Performance is great. Big projection and very good longevity. Minimal sprays needed.
07th February, 2019

Prada Amber pour Homme by Prada

Soft, soapy and sexy!
07th February, 2019

I am King by Sean John

This is a great cheap fragrances with a fantastic opening accord of cranberry and tangerine that is tart, fruity, crisp, refreshing, and just a touch watery. In fact I love the opening. It's so addictive. If I give myself about 10 sprays I can make it last for a good hour before it settles in to a nondescript base of light woods and white musks. But traces of it still remain for several hours before the scent basically disappears. Longevity isn't I Am's strong suit, but it's the kind of fragrance that is really easy to reapply. What's nice about it is that the aroma chemicals used to comprise the base notes aren't very strong or harsh, so that abrasive, headache inducing quality never really comes out even you put on 10 sprays in the morning and another 10 at lunch. I like fragrances where you can do that--just spray away with reckless abandon amplifying the opening notes and not worrying about anything after that. This is the kind of scent I throw on before running errands or in the morning before work when I want something very light for the day that will still provide me with a quick morning pick-me-up. Anyway, don't expect too much from this one and it will treat you well in return. I have fragrances worth 20 times what I paid for I Am King, yet this is one of my most used. Why? It's just so easy. And while it lasts, it smells so nice, so refreshing, and isn't complicated in any way. If something like that sounds appealing to you, check this one out. You may be pleasantly surprised. And don't forget--spray away! You really need to get that opening going for this one to work its magic. Don't be shy!
07th February, 2019

Valentino Uomo Acqua by Valentino

Great scent, but, EXTREMELY weak..almost greiviously poor performance! Nice if you want to smell awesome for 30 minutes and that's it. Sort of classy and kind of feminine leaning, definitely not for me. Why is good performance so much to ask for???
07th February, 2019

Aqua Celestia by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Aqua Celestia is an excellent fresh unisex daytime fragrance that sits fairly close to my skin. It sparkles with musk and citrus and it stays pretty linear on me in the dry down. Aqua Celestia has longevity is great too. It smells fresh after 10 hours on my super dry skin. It is a fantastic warm sunny day scent. It makes me feel clean and bright.
07th February, 2019

Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

Barbasol shave cream. The red can.
07th February, 2019

Armani Code Absolu by Giorgio Armani

I just HAD to get a bottle of this, once it became available on the Giorgio Armani Beauty website!

Now that I have a LOT of the flankers of Armani Code now - original, Colonia, Special Blend, A-List, Profumo, Ultimate - and having tried Ice, Sport, et. al...Absolu seemed a logical next buy for me from Armani.

Absolu takes the common theme of aromatic-oriental that was found (more or less) in ALL the prior inceptions of Armani Code, and deepens it further. The rum accord (strangely not listed in the basenotes triangle above), nutmeg and vanilla add a boozy sensuality that has perceived depth. Apple and orange blossom add a fragile fruity-floral touch, with an earthy carrot seed presence ever so lightly accentuating the edges of the tonka bean. The Armani Code DNA is definitely, unmistakably there; but I wouldn't deem this an unnecessary, indistinguishable re-release of Armani Code proper.

This is some nice, classy stuff! Upon my first application of Armani Code Absolu on my wrist, I couldn't stop sniffing it! Also, I can't stop beholding that handsome goldish bottle, and the potion within is definitely worth checking out.

Unlike Aqua di Gio Absolu - which ended up being an overly heady clone of typical men's colognes today, along the lines of its Stronger With You scent - Armani Code Absolu is a legitimate flanker that takes the original and "aerates" and deepens it to something wearable and identifiable as a Code rethink.

Take the unbridled intensity of the Profumo version, and soften the core pungency by 50%, and that's what Armani Code Absolu feels like. And there is a slight resemblance to Uomo by Salvatore Ferragamo, putting it within tasteful access of contemporary tastes.

Excellent for evening wear in cooler temps. Kudos to Armani for releasing this great smelling, great performing big brother to the arguably legendary Armani Code line! :-)
06th February, 2019 (last edited: 08th February, 2019)

Chypre by Body Shop

This was my first signature fragrance as a teenager back in the 1980's and I still miss it.... In fact, it was hunting for this or something similar that led to my discovery of basenotes!
06th February, 2019