Perfume Reviews

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Les Heures de Parfum - XI L'Heure Perdue by Cartier

I’m getting a distinct fragrance echo with L’Heure Perdue. The perfumer said the fragrance refers to childhood, Proust and memory; a riff on home, via vanilla. She said it may carry the ghost of a L’Heure Bleue for the 21st century, that ability it has to play with memory.

So, saying that, the upfront association I get is with Jicky, minus the civet. Sitting with L’Heure Perdue a bit conjures up a wafting thread back to LHB, because of a vague heliotrope. And perhaps that is the deeper path with this. The vanilla here isn’t the trite foody one, or a sweet comfort note, but the vanilla of Jicky. It seems a little like a meander through Guerlain vanilla; a deconstruction, then reconstruction into a 21st century perfume, a little playful. I don’t usually follow such a tenuous theoretical thread like this, yet it makes sense of this fragrance to me, given the Jicky vibe and the L’Heure Bleue echo.

The strong Jicky vibe permeates this fragrance. It opens with a kind of vanilla-rubber chord, easy-going and easy to wear. Along the way it starts picking up heliotrope and mimosa. The drydown is a soft slide to a slightly vanillic nut at the end,with a smidge of sweetness. The Jicky association stays until the end. I like this fragrance more, the more I wear it - on my first wearing I was neutral. Comfortable to wear, suitable probably everywhere. Very unisex. Subtle and clever.
It last around eight hours - after seven hours the drydown gradually starts fading into an echo.
09th April, 2019 (last edited: 11th April, 2019)

Chrome Aqua by Azzaro

Opens up with salty citrus. As it dries down you start to get that soapy Chrome scent but I don't feel that's it's overly metallic. Very fresh, very clean. Pretty casual and probably best for warm weather.

Projection is decent for the first 3-4 hours. Skin scent hangs around for 7-8 hours.
09th April, 2019

Escada Homme by Escada

Stardate 20190409:

An old school masculine. A copy of Chanel PM Concentree (vintage version).

Citrus+Lavendar with powder (SW/Vanilla)
Nothing new. Not bad a t all but for the price pass.
09th April, 2019
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Times Square by Masque

After an ineffectual and inoffensive fruity boiled sweet opening, which led to some head-scratching on my part regarding why this was masquerading as niche while its heart clearly belonged to the dime store, Times Square became a bit more shaded, taking on the mauve moroseness of violets – so sad, so vague and somehow also moreish. It’s a consumed, wan spirit calling from this perfume to my nose rather than the intended gutsy NYC denizen – but no matter, such things have a kind of aftermath-of-decadence appeal. It’s cool, it’s right for a certain kind of inert mood, and it’s backed by a steady hum of the opening fruit candy, traces of vinyl and wood foam. But does it move in mysterious ways? Nope.
09th April, 2019

Tempo by Diptyque

Diptyque pulls a clever trick with Tempo – they take a head-whirling patchouli creation, all hippie flares and caked make-up and dial it down so it becomes something a bit sophisticated rather than just a throwback. So, the first thing to note about Tempo is its well-judged sillage – you’re unlikely to have the person next to you run for cover, gasping for breath, a reaction some patchoulis can provoke.
And then there’s the bouquet – this is a unashamedly ‘perfumey’ patchouli. By perfumey, I mean it isn’t just ‘Ah, patch – tick!’, but seems to have an orchestra of floral elements, soap bubbles and fatty litpsticky notes surging within it. Patchouli lovers will feel shortchanged on the earthier, sultry and dark aspects, which are missing here. The herbal zing of sage brings a touch of ‘gents cologne’ freshness to the mix and the accent of dusty bitterness from the mate provides moderate intrigue.
Tempo’s essentially temperate nature is perhaps a drawback for thrill seekers, but here is a well put together patchouli suitable for everyday wear which is likely what Diptyque were after.
09th April, 2019

The Only One by Dolce & Gabbana

Oh cookie, this is so blatantly obvious. A caramel fudge and vanilla base (not unlike a legion of other gourmands) paired with a bit of mauve violet diffusion at the top – shorthand for mall-hopping wannabe sophisticate. The only point of any depth here is a dark grumbling of coffee in its bowels which adds a margin of interest, otherwise this is just rather late in the day chewy sweetness by numbers. Pleasant, undoubtedly – just remember to forget to think.

09th April, 2019

Toukka Ta Tao by House of Matriarch

An opening of tropical lushness, as if one had stepped into a hothouse of exotic plants. The impression is not so much of green leaves or fruit or even flowers, rather a more co-mingled plant smell, sappy, a bit oily, with highlights of coconut and a pine-like resinous undertone. I can imagine it being divisive, but I enjoy being taken to an olfactory place I’ve not visited before. Slowly the nose adjusts and a sharp yet gummy fruitiness rises in the mix – the closest approximation I can think of is a not-quite-ripe banana. Floral accents of tiare emerge. I like the natural warmth of this perfume – it seems sun-kissed without making one feel hot and bothered. The eventual transition via a chest rub kind of phase is towards a more resinous woody base.
Toukka Ta Tao is one of those ‘interesting’ perfumes that somehow don’t interest quite enough to get passionate about.
09th April, 2019

Moth by Zoologist Perfumes

Gothic is Zoologist’s claim for this fragrance and gothic it sure is. Dark, heavy, and with an intensity of feeling expressed by its honeyed florals that may not be for everyone. The opening is one of those ‘wait for it to settle’ affairs – discordant, and if one were to identify a main theme, it would be smelling mainly of a petroleum oud. But soon enough it begins to relax and a rich, embellished floral begins to open its wings, quite animalic what with the beeswax languor of honey and the funk of the oud, but also with a sweaty dab of cumin lurking in its depths. I would say that if this perfume has an antecedent it’s Amouage’s Gold Man: it is similarly deep, layered and animalic, shares a strong glug of jasmine, and has an unctuousness and sheen to it that seems addictive to some wearers and off-putting to others. Where they depart – apart from different notes – is in intention: Gold is a sunburst, Moth is the smouldering passion of a dark star. With lovely smoky effects and fatty ambergris lingering in the background, it’s the perfect accompaniment to skulking around in the shadows and playing out queen/lord/ruler of the night fantasies.
09th April, 2019

Leather Patchouli by Montale

An all-grown-up Montale perfume – I was taken aback by how *serious* this cured leather and aged patchouli combo is. It’s like Les Néréides’ Patchouli Antique in an assassin’s long leather coat. All the further rounding out is of a similarly mature nature – dark, almost bitter vanilla and something feral, a kind of conjoined oud-ambergris accent. Craggy of visage, Leather Patchouli seems to be saying, ‘Have you got what it takes to wear me? Otherwise, I sure as hell am going to be wearing you.’
09th April, 2019

Iris Prima by Penhaligon's

Penhaligon’s (and the overproductive Morillas) go the whole hog with utterly clichéd perceptions of what ballerinas are supposed to be about – ethereal grace, delicacy, subtlety, blah-de-anodyne-blah. The result is a perfume centred on a watery-powdery ‘iris’ note, citric-tinged at the start and utterly unremarkable, puffed by some light musks and airbrushed floral synthetics.
None of this reflects the reality that ballet is hard work – years of training, straining, eventual physical deformity for some practitioners, sweat and tears. This perfume conveys not a speck of that gutsiness – and, of course, one shouldn’t be limited in one’s appreciation by marketing backstories. But when Penhaligon’s habitually turns out perfumed waters of little distinction or emotion, one gets a bit desperate in trying to say something about the utter banality of the offerings. Even the slightly sweaty leather and sandal base here seems to be going through the motions, rather than providing a dynamic contrast.
09th April, 2019

Oud Dream by Montale

A butch number by Montale – with a highly spicy-smoky oud construct (pretty cypriol-heavy to my nose) hogging the limelight. The declared list of notes is short – oud, rose and patchouli – but even so, this is so busy whooping ‘I got wood!’ that the rose and patch retire to the wings to spare their blushes. There is a sourish-sweet edge around it – ‘something floral something bergamot’ is my best guess, which gets stickier and a bit more prominent in the heart before fading back completely. Blustery stuff, reminiscent of the more aggressive drugstore spicy-woody masculines, thus not for me.
09th April, 2019

Casta Diva by Nobile 1942

A surprising white floral – with accents of sun cream, some unctuous vanilla, yet kept dry and non-syrupy with a salty ambergris accord. It’s a mixed bouquet with no single floral note prominent (perhaps a touch of coconut-inflected plumeria at the start), non-screechy, with intriguing rum-and-fruit davana tones played off against fresher not quite green ones. Complex and a bit odd upon first wear but has the siren call of the dream of a balmy holiday destination (the reality is usually endless fiddle, according to this reluctant traveler). Weirdly for a perfume supposedly packed with white floral notes, the heart phase seems to leave anything resembling flowers behind and settles as a luxurious beach lotion oriental (if that makes any sense). But much later in the deep drydown a creamy and soft white floral which could be Ylang et Vanille’s (Guerlain) shyer sister emerges.
Subtle in its projection – this diva is no belter. Has something of a cult following here in the Netherlands and I think it deserves it.
09th April, 2019

Vétiver by Creed

I'd not sampled Creed Vetiver 1948 (the actual original vetiver, not Original Vetiver, which was released in 2004) in some time before procuring a decant recently. I would describe it as a fresh, classic citrus/vetiver scent, certainly fresher than Dior Vetiver but not as fresh as Eau Sauvage, somewhere in between. Its main note list consists of citruses, ginger, vetiver, cedar, and ambergris. It smells very natural, fitting for a refreshing throwback, though it does not perform particularly well, which is my experience of most freshie or semi-freshie Creeds—great scents but a little light on performance relative to the cost, and certainly that’s the case with this hard-to-find, discontinued offering.

Overall, it’s very nice, but not as unique or interesting as some of the other discontinued grey-cap-era EDT Creeds like Epicea or Baie de Genievre. Still, I’d nab a bottle at the right price as a semi-collector. It's classy stuff, signature-scent worthy, and harkens back to a different time.

7 out of 10
09th April, 2019
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Signature pour Homme by S.T. Dupont

Dupont Pour Homme (Signature?)

Fragrantica note tree: Rosemary, Artemesia, Coriander, Galbanum, Lemon
Carnation, Cypress, Iris, Cinnamon, Lavender, Jasmine
Sandalwood, Fir, Amber, Patchouli, Musk, Coconut, Vetiver, Frankincense, Cedar

Basenotes note tree: Basil, Grapefruit, Pepper
Birch, Cedar, Frankincense
Amber, Cistus, Benzoin

There are a number of Dupont “Homme” scents out there, but none that matches the words on my sample card, which are simply “Pour Homme.” The Basenotes note tree come closest in my experience to the “Signature Pour Homme,” so I am reviewing this sample under that Basenotes entry. Also Fragrantica pictures the sample card colors and graphics that match my sample.

Note that Fragrantica has an entirely different and more complex note tree for “Signature,” of 2000, which matches more the Basenotes reviewers’ take on “Homme” of 1998.

It is definitely not the St. Dupont Homme of 1998, as this sample bears no resemblance to Cartier’s Declaration, a favorite of mine, and reviewers attest to the similarities between the two.

This “Pour Homme” is dry, peppery, and a bit harsh. I’d swear there is oud in this mixture. As it dries down, there is a lavender which comes forward and moves it into the fougere category. There is nothing to elevate this scent above a million and one other generic men’s scents, so although not repellent, it is not my cup of tea and is in no way out of the ordinary, hence the neutral rating.

09th April, 2019

Aventus by Creed

What can I say that other people have not said already about this magnificent fragrance. (positive reviews).
It took me 9 years to get a bottle of Aventus and I am sorry I waited so long. (I have the 2017 version).
Aventus is an absolutely stunning composition. I have had many compliments when I wear this. It last a long time on me.
09th April, 2019

Explorer by Montblanc

I bought the perfume this afternoon and I was very please and excited of having it and I knew that I made a very good buy.
Infact, I had compared very hard this one with the Creed Aventus and Armaf Club di Nuit Intense.
I care less if other people said it was a clone of Aventus or not.
For myself, I think this Mont Blanc Explorer smells great, has the edge and has the character in his own way. I just love it.
I also like the bottle which is so very manly macho and robust.
and lastly, the price justify the purchased.
Thanks you Mont Blanc for Mont Blanc Explorer.
09th April, 2019
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The One Grey by Dolce & Gabbana

The grapefruit and orangey according the is pleasant, and underlined with a touch of spice. The drydown adds a floral note and touches of vetiver and whiffs of a very restrained hesperidic tone.

The base nonspecific woods and watery amber - well....

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

An agreeable start of this spring scent soon spirals down into the realm of mediocrity, being generic and blatantly synthetic.

Neither black nor white, just middle-of-the-road grey. 2.5/5.
09th April, 2019

Allure Homme Sport Eau Extrême by Chanel

This was one of my favorites when I started collecting fragrances around 2014 or 2015. I still like it, but it can be an uneven ride.

The opening is great. As it transitions from the opening to the base, it can feel off to me. When the base is established, it smells good to me again.

During the opening, I think about replacing my 50-ml bottle with the 150-ml. Before the wearing is over, I decide not to replace it.
09th April, 2019

Dominant by Boadicea the Victorious

spicy oudy orange...if I take a nice strong whiff I can sense a taste of some very smooth barnyard in the background...has a feel of elegance and class...a very nice smooth oud that gives me the feel of just gliding along...has a semi-dark and brooding citrus quality...kind of like the dark citrus in Boadicea's Explorer...the ginger/clove combo make an attempt to add some zing and brighten things up a little bit...a slight breeze of jasmine traces a slight trail of freshness through he darkness...comes down to a nice bedding of amber for the citrusy oud to settle down on...not too shabby...very Oriental...
09th April, 2019

Copper Skies by Kerosene

i love a good amber fragrance, and to me , this is a great amber fragrance...aromatic woody amber...just the right touches of spice and honey sweetness to jazz things I picture an American Indian shaman smelling like , out in the dessert, working his magic...very well blended and natural smelling...very decent projection...some tobacco lounging around in the background...a more luxurious, thicker darker relative of of those ambers that feels like you can chew on it...something I , personally , would consider a bottle or large decant of...I can see myself enjoying wearing and smelling this...
09th April, 2019

Spicebomb Extreme by Viktor & Rolf

Spicey and sweet-cloves and cumin to start with. This is quickly joined by a well-balanced touch of vanilla. While not a shy scent, I wouldn't call this a "beast": in fact, it's pretty mild and starts with light-to-moderate projection. It sounds like a reformulation may have occurred because this scent is fairly subdued. While I don't need this to be particularly aggressive as the note-profile is enough to make a statement, it does move to a skin-scent rather quickly. Notes of dark, unrefined tobacco underneath with a sharp-herbal of lavender comes in during the second phase. Overall, I really enjoy this. Particularly I enjoy the contrast of the more sharp-spice notes such as black pepper and cumin with the sweetness from the vanilla and the herbal-sweetness of the lavender.

While this is a men's fragrance, I would say a woman could wear this as well. Nothing yells machismo about this, and the underlying sweetness makes it a pleasant add to anyone's collection. It doesn't break the fragrance mold, but is an affordable and well-blended scent that smells ageless/timeless. This is what a mass-produced, designer modern scent should be.

09th April, 2019

Royal Pavillon by Etro

An extremely funky jasmine perfume, more indolic than floral. The indoles (that weird woody rotting flower smell that jasmine takes on when the flowers die) are front and center, further exaggerated by currant bud's gross green undertones. There's also some quite pretty rose, violet, and carnation supporting the jasmine, but they're definitely relegated to the background.

I know I'm weird because I rather like the smell of indoles, so I've enjoyed Roval Pavillon, but I'm quite aware that a lot of folks will think this is pretty gross. That being said, for the jasmine obsessed, this is a really interesting wear, worth checking out.
09th April, 2019

CH Men Privé by Carolina Herrera

Excellent bottle, mediocre fragrance. Prada Luna Rossa (dusty-spicy) encouters Mont Blanc Emblem and Ysl La Nuit de l'Homme in a sort of boozy-cardamomish aromatic buffet. Lot of cardamom, the watery peppery initial vibe is by soon kind of boozy and definitely dusty/sugary/aromatic. Grapefruit is polarizing during the first ten minutes along with a dusty-watery cardamom. Dry down is far better with a more restrained and virile twist of leather and benzoin (and a fortunately moderate woody - pencil shavings - effect). This juice is a variant of several other woody contemporary appointments. Nothing bad but nothing new under the sun.
08th April, 2019 (last edited: 09th April, 2019)

Ella by Arquiste

High, bright, frisky and pretty. A cross between a girl and a woman. A kind of classic/70’s floral chypre-ish type.

Its ethos reminds me of Diorella (though not it’s construction or genre), that playful irreverence. Ella is a more floral fragrance, more sensual, a bit of a tease. I appreciate its lack of powder - when I wear this outside in cool air (32°F), which always highlights powder in a fragrance, Ella stays clear and bright (its floral accord is heightened by the thinning in cool air). So there’s a certain lightness to it that beguiles and creates a more youthful quality. This isn’t created by citruses, but by its clearness. A swirl of cigarette smoke adds to this fun.

Not heavy, or serious, something the more hot vanillic fragrances of the 70’s were. I think Ella just has too much air in it to qualify, though really this fragrance can go anywhere it wants. Ella escapes a big woody-amber-musky drydown, so for me it stays true to its ethos. It’s sensual more than sexy, though sexy is in there too. I really enjoy wearing this fragrance - it’s very pretty, not a diva or self-serious, and I like it’s sense of fun.
08th April, 2019 (last edited: 09th April, 2019)

Pineapple Vintage X Batch Intense by Parfums Vintage

When I compare the original X Batch versus this Intense flanker, "Intense" is not the word I would use for this. I tend to think it should be called X Batch Smooth. Everything is rounded off and most of the harshness is gone, leaving this very balanced and clean version of X Batch. It's all about extending those distinctive notes from Aventus and Sauvage as you get the pineapple sweetness mixed with the Ambroxan freshness. No smokiness that I pick up on. I prefer this Intense version over the original because it is smoother and more pleasing to me.

Performance is roughly the same as the original, maybe 4-6 hours of good projection and longevity into the 8-hour mark.
08th April, 2019

Eau de Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford

Tom Ford does Coconut tanning lotion.
every woman I've shown this to has loved it,....women love coconut I guess.
08th April, 2019

Antaeus by Chanel

Fruity - aromatic woody; with a sweet and powdery cushion to soften up the texture. And less obviously there's a myrtle bouquet in the heart and fatty - animalic castoreum in the base to round out the fullness.

To see what a great fume this is, try comparing it to imitators like French Line or Vendetta pour Homme. They get part of the way there but the result is skimpy in comparison.

I'm not sure this 2015 version is the same as it originally was - there being a chemical nuance to the opening phase - but besides that Antaeus has got to be one of the best masculines ever, a real masterpiece by Jacques Polge.

Antaeus does seem loud but I think it's the sprayer, it gives one of the most gargantuan blasts in the business.

08th April, 2019

Vanille by Réminiscence

This scent rings like a high note, in the air. A note played with a flute. It is as though the notes are squeezed into a thin line. Strange description - I know. All the notes are well blended. Sweet, definitely. Perfect bergamot and jasmine. Vanilla is sublime. One of the better vanilla-centric fragrances I've tried... Sweet vanilla-musk lasts.
08th April, 2019

Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens

Deep pine & dark vetiver. Thick notes. Enchanted forest, at night. Earthy feel close to the skin, comes moments later - very dark earth. Dark, balsamic evergreen vibe. Quite linear for awhile. This is good stuff. Right up my alley, as a favorite style of perfume. Dark and wintry like.

I get candied, dried fruit later. It mingles with the earthy incense, as the forest accord settles and mellows. There is a hint of spice for which I can't identify. The incense smolders, then lessens. Tames. This frag becomes powdery, for me. Dry. Overall a very lovely oriental-style. Worth a try!
08th April, 2019

Émeraude by Coty

A strange, citrus-green opening. It reminds me of some sort of cleaning product - in a good way. It's clean; interesting mix of herb and citrus. I went through about a dozen bottles of Emeraude back in the 80's. To be honest, I'd forgotten how this smelled. Guess what? I still love this inexpensive juice. I paid three dollars for my current bottle, that I acquired at a flea market...

Wood begins to blend in, with the top notes. Wood, takes the edge off, rounds out the citrus-green accord. Florals move in, turning this into a more recognizable perfume. The amber-like, oriental notes quickly begin to appear.

I whole-heartedly concur with N.Cal's comparison, to this being a combo of L'Heure Blue and Shalimar, or a halfway similarity thereof. A poor man's Guerlain - that is probably why I wore so much of it in my youth. Still, there are some differences here. There is a bit of dirtiness here - some slight animalic tendencies underneath.

Benzoin, patchouli, and opoponax are the stars of the base notes, IMO. This becomes earthy, like soil. Vanilla shines here as well. More woodiness comes in to play, with the sandalwood.

Emeraude is the sort of perfume most purists decry. Not me. I like its history, cheap simplicity, and the fact that it is still around (for now). It may be a tad weaker than it was 30 years ago - I can't clarify.

Vanilla and amber-like notes last and last.
08th April, 2019