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Thread: Skarb: a review

  1. #1
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    Default Skarb: a review

    I'm not normally one to post reviews on this board, but with the directory down for the duration, I'll post a few. All will appear in the directory once it's resurrected.

    Skarb by Humiecki & Graeb

    Notes: Absinthe, myrtle, lovage, barley extract, musk, carrot seeds, incense, myrrh, patchouli, orris, chamomille, prune.

    I can't remember when I've laughed so hard at a piece of fragrance advertising copy. "Men crying?"... "eruptive?"..."star shaped" structure? What kind of nonsense is this? Humiecki & Graeb must use the same ad agency as Etat Libre d'Orange, but this twaddle makes Etat Libre sound positively sober. I wonder how many fragrance pundits will fall all over themselves as they attempt to prove they are "sophisticated" enough to like Skarb?

    Me? I know a buck naked emperor when I see one.

    Skarb starts out with a blast of raw alcohol that's harsh enough to singe your eyebrows. Could that be what they mean by "eruptive?" Once the rubbing alcohol dissipates I'm left with a bittersweet (very sweet) woody scent loaded with what smells to me like immortelle, but must be the listed prune and carrot seed. This is spiced up with a myrrh so sharp as to resemble black pepper. The extreme bitterness, the blunt, heavy sweetness, and the lack of any "high notes" for relief do make Skarb distinctive, if not particularly pleasant.

    Skarb is also absolutely linear. Perhaps this is what Humiecki & Graeb mean when they say "The form of the composition departs from convention as the scent is not constructed pyramidally..." Why not cut the crap and just admit that Skarb is flat, being composed almost entirely of basenotes? With its unrelieved heavy sweetness, its harsh, bitter edge, and its utter lack of development, Skarb is the olfactory equivalent of being locked in a small, stuffy, featureless room. In fact, I find it downright depressing. I can't imagine a single circumstance under which I'd want to wear this stuff, much less wear it in public.

    Skarb is obviously an attempt to shock and provoke, a la Secretions Magnifiques, and while the two smell nothing alike, both succeed less in smelling shocking than in smelling bad. Someone may have had fun concocting and marketing Skarb, and maybe offering it to the public at $220 a bottle is meant ot be some kind of expensive Dadaist practical joke. I'm certainly laughing.

    Now pardon me as I wash this off.
    Last edited by Off-Scenter; 3rd January 2008 at 08:11 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    so have you read the blogs where there are allusions to the tears men cried as Nazis rolled into Czechoslovakia? Or that the name Humiecki & Graeb is taken from the maiden names of the owners Grandmothers? Or how the pepper gives the wearer a feel for what it was like to be tear gassed? All of these thoughts conveyed to bloggers by the two Czecks themselves and
    verbatim

    "A resinous quality emerges that conjures up a witch's hut in a forest whose doorstep is announced by bunches of tied up herbs drying upside down. The area feels vaguely magic and enchanted but also dangerous. The forest motif here suggests also a place of liminal danger in reference to it having been a locus of traumatic experiences during WWII. It signals hidden executions and refuge places for escapees from concentration camps or Nazi raids (perfumer Christopher Laudamiel worked with historical photographies we are told, but we do not know if this type of reference was included)........"



    I had asked about this a month or so ago when I saw decants available and it being compared to Mark Birley for Men. I'm glad it was a very small decant I got.

    yes tears are now rolling down my eyes... and my ribs hurt

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Oh yeah, I read it all. There's just only so much of that tripe that I'm willing to rehash. Anyone looking for a good laugh should go over The Scented Salamander or Aus Liebe zum Duft and read under "Skarb."
    Last edited by Off-Scenter; 3rd January 2008 at 08:36 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    I agree. Skarb is one of the bigger jokes of a fragrance that have come out recently. This stuff is complete crap.

    As for that Scented Salamander -- i couldn't even finish reading it. Talk about awful writing. I think someone ddn't do so well in descriptive writing class. I think it has my vote for Worst Perfume Blog!
    Last edited by ajmc; 3rd January 2008 at 09:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by Vibert View Post
    Skarb is obviously an attempt to shock and provoke, a la Secretions Magnifiques, and while the two smell nothing alike, both succeed less in smelling shocking than in smelling bad.
    I smelled it at Scent Bar and if you remember in my post, I did compare a note in Skarb to Secretions Magnifues - it's that 'standing, dank, moldy water' note that I 'get' in some fragrances (I've smelled it in Coney Island by Bond No. 9 also...) and it really ruined the Skarb experience for me.

    Oh yeah - the bottle is gorgeous. Too bad about what's inside of it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Does the "precious bodily fluid note" make you visualize a Nazi tank rolling over your foxhole while the Russian in the hole with you is making Borscht?

    Anyone?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    So, if I understand correctly, this is in fact the perfume equivalent of Lou Reed's infamous 'Metal Machine Music' album.

    Can't wait to try it out. Not...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by ajmc View Post
    I agree. Skarb is one of the bigger jokes of a fragrance that have come out recently. This stuff is complete crap.

    As for that Scented Salamander -- i couldn't even finish reading it. Talk about awful writing. I think someone ddn't do so well in descriptive writing class. I think it has my vote for Worst Perfume Blog!
    It's written by the owners of Skarb probably from translation and English is not their first language. Maybe?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    The idea of marketing a luxury perfume as encapuslating bitter memories of National Socialism etc. pp. is ludicrous, tasteless, and an insult to the victims of NS & WII. As to the gibberish on the Scented Salamander site: people read five 5 pages of Derrida and think their consummate poststructuralist philosophers?! It's embarrassing (and, in terms of academic trendiness, so incredibly passé). I'm pretty sure this project will be buried before it has even really started.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Does no one like this scent?
    I find it smells really good on me....of course JMO...
    Anyways, the price is a wee bit too much...but it
    I like it.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    I truly wanted to like it, but simply could not.
    I found it to be very like Maria Callas and Tijuana donkey shows: interesting to hear about, but NOT my cup of tea.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 4th February 2008 at 07:20 PM.

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
    Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
    *****
    "Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
    Auntie Mame
    [/B]

  12. #12

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by rjrober22 View Post
    Does no one like this scent?
    I find it smells really good on me....of course JMO...
    Anyways, the price is a wee bit too much...but it
    I like it.
    Me 2 like it and would have purchased a bottle, if only did it cost less! Skarb actually reminds me of another fav of mine, H.N. for men. I have to admit that I prefer H.N. over Skarb though and luckily that one is cheaper too

  13. #13

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by GGA View Post
    Me 2 like it and would have purchased a bottle, if only did it cost less! Skarb actually reminds me of another fav of mine, H.N. for men. I have to admit that I prefer H.N. over Skarb though and luckily that one is cheaper too
    What is H.N. Sorry....

  14. #14

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by rjrober22 View Post
    What is H.N. Sorry....
    It's actually HN men without the dots (my mistake sorry). See here:

    http://shop.harveynichols.com/fcp-pr...for-men-100ml/

    -Tero-
    Last edited by GGA; 5th February 2008 at 03:41 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    I think we've killed this puppy, points taken, time to move on to more interesting things. Thanks for the caveat emptor notice.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    The idea of marketing a luxury perfume as encapuslating bitter memories of National Socialism etc. pp. is ludicrous, tasteless, and an insult to the victims of NS & WII.
    Sue them!
    Lovesick the wind that carries it

  17. #17

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Has anyone fallen in love with Skarb since February?

    I tend to suspect the answer will be ... NO, but I was just curious.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Yes. I find it to be a nice soft woody scent with a dash of incense. It starts off herbaceous then settles as the myrrh gives it a slight bitter dry quality. Overall I really like this. I find its development interesting. Nothing linear about this. I'm not in love with it but I do like it.

    Cheers,
    Al

  19. #19

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Would love to hear some more opinions about this. I'm planning to pick up a sample after reading the review in the directory by ValentinaMaltese who wrote:

    "I'm surprised that, according to its creators, this perfume should express "sadness". It's very herbal and woody. It makes me think of a quiet medieval abbey in Alsatia, where the friars cured people with herbs, cooked vegetarian meals during lent (due to the presence of lovage) and brewed excellent beer (due to a barley extract notes). To me It gives a sensation of wisdom and peace of mind. Due to it's high concentration (more than an eau de perfum) it is very long lasting, even too much: it'doesn't fade until you wash. It's the ideal scent for a mature, cultured gentleman."
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    I had a sample of it and oddly enough, it did kind of stir a sentimental feeling.

    My late mother was from Hungary and she used to cook a desert called compote with dried prunes, apples, cloves, wedges of lemon, sugar and probably one or two more ingredients I forgot. This perfume reminded me of this desert so it was kind of my childhood memory. However, it's not the type of scent I'd like to wear but interesting enough to experience as a sample

  21. #21

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Hmm, that desert doesn't sound very woody or like ale or lovage (which smells like celery!). It seems this one is all over the map.

    I always love to check out the weird frags, so I'm going to have to sample this. It'll be my first real exposure to some of Christophe Laudamiel's work (well, ok, I've encountered A&F Fierce in passing a hundred times, but never actually sampled it).
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by brokenose View Post
    I had a sample of it and oddly enough, it did kind of stir a sentimental feeling.

    My late mother was from Hungary and she used to cook a desert called compote with dried prunes, apples, cloves, wedges of lemon, sugar and probably one or two more ingredients I forgot. This perfume reminded me of this desert so it was kind of my childhood memory. However, it's not the type of scent I'd like to wear but interesting enough to experience as a sample
    Brokenose, did you find the scent to have a natural or synthetic character to your nose? Also, did you find it linear (as some have) or did it seem to evolve quite a bit (as some others have noted)?
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Brokenose, did you find the scent to have a natural or synthetic character to your nose? Also, did you find it linear (as some have) or did it seem to evolve quite a bit (as some others have noted)?
    I found the sample and tried it again. The top note I sense is a sort of dusty Patchuli but after that, it's that dried prune like scent with a syrupy feel to it. I can't say I find any wood notes but I do sense a wood lacquer like note in it. Other than the first few seconds, this is pretty linear, I don't find much change here and originally I wrote in my notes that I could still smell it after a few hours.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Interesting. Thanks for the update. So you don't pick up a water, or as some perceive it, stagnant water note?

    I am really hoping that on me a bit of a salty/grassy note will come through because of the lovage. I'd love something that is green/brown/grassy/earthy/herbal and natural smelling.

    Is there anything else you've ever smelled that is similar?
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Mmm, concentration camps, just the smell and imagery I want in my fragrance!

    I'm glad it apparently smells awful, though. What would I do if the best tuberose ever came out as Tuberose Treblinka or something...?

    I'd prefer the Holocaust and fragrance marketing to remain separate, but I know I'm in the minority on that one.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    Mmm, concentration camps, just the smell and imagery I want in my fragrance!

    I'm glad it apparently smells awful, though. What would I do if the best tuberose ever came out as Tuberose Treblinka or something...?

    I'd prefer the Holocaust and fragrance marketing to remain separate, but I know I'm in the minority on that one.
    While the official ad copy, about men crying and a star shaped composition, is definitely out there and a bit silly, it should be noted that the extremely over the top stuff was not the official ad copy but instead comments taken from the review of Skarb from the always melodramatic Scented Salamander.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Interesting. Thanks for the update. So you don't pick up a water, or as some perceive it, stagnant water note?

    I am really hoping that on me a bit of a salty/grassy note will come through because of the lovage. I'd love something that is green/brown/grassy/earthy/herbal and natural smelling.

    Is there anything else you've ever smelled that is similar?
    I just sniffed my hand again and the scent is nearly gone. The only note left is the note I associate with wood lacquer (brand new furniture scent).

    One sample that I liked a lot and I find to be in this 'neighborhood' is Lubin Idole. If you look at the DIY forum, I started a thread about Oud-Vetiver and the final formula might be in your 'alley' as well

  28. #28

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    I've got samples of both Skarb and Idole on their way. I look forward to comparing and contrasting them, and would love to smell your scent when you get it done. I too am a DIY perfumer, although I've not had the time to really work at it for some time now. I do have about 200 oils/absolutes that I still use as reference to help me understand scents and help break them down when reviewing.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Wow, 200 is a lot of oil. I only have about 30 (but many more samples) and can't imagine myself buying a perfume anymore since it's so much more satisfying to make my own. I hope to read about your findings.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Heh, yes, I went a bit overboard when I was buying oils. I was always worried I'd be missing 'the perfect oil' if I didn't have nearly all of them.

    One thing I do recommend is checking out the different extraction methods for different scents. For instance, davana steam distilled vs davana c02 extracted are two completely different scents; the former is very fruity and raisiny while the latter is almost labdanum like and leathery with just a hint of peach and raisins. Ginger C02 smells much fresher and lemon like than the steam distilled variety which smells a bit like soy sauce. Usually, the C02 extract will smell closer to the original material, although not always. Sometimes there are subtle differences, like with juniper, but even so, I'd hate to only have one of the oils and not the other as they are both unique and both serve a certain purpose.

    Anyhow, good luck with your experiments. It's a ton of fun!
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  31. #31

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    As for me, Skarb is a scent which desperately tries to be different, but without any success. I am not sure I can see any connection between Skarb and Sécrétions Magnifiques. The story behind Skarb is disgusting. What particularly bothers me is that they (ab)used a beautiful and noble term such as "Slavic soul" in such a worthless and blunt story.
    “As if everyone, all over the world, had his daily visually artistic task; the task of being an image for others.” Peter Handke

  32. #32

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    Quote Originally Posted by peevish_yolk View Post
    As for me, Skarb is a scent which desperately tries to be different, but without any success. I am not sure I can see any connection between Skarb and Sécrétions Magnifiques. The story behind Skarb is disgusting. What particularly bothers me is that they (ab)used a beautiful and noble term such as "Slavic soul" in such a worthless and blunt story.
    Finally I agree. As of halfway slavonian ancestry I would shed a tear or two if I would care - obligatorily. The ad copy is hilarious.

    When I first smelled it on blotter the high dosage of helional catched my nose. Now after two "full wearings" the dry down is still fully laden with that aromachemical (to my nose). The top and middle seem to come out different than first expected. On skin the scent prolongates a phase which resembles - to my nose - the aroma of typical Polish gherkins. The Polish are a bit different in that the gherkins are infused by / fermented to lactonic acid. The aroma is dominated spice wise by laurel instead of the more common dill/mostard kernels/onions combo. This is the same practice as with sauerkraut. This time with more laurel of a citric/tannic bitter aroma and a metallic/lactonic side note. The gherkins are usual very salty. The use of helional would be quite self evident here.

    The concoction could insofar evoke childhood memories to a Polish man, thinking of his mother and home cooking for instance. But again - the scoop is hilarious. My physist is Polish, I don't think he would like to be categorized like H&G do with their male fellow countrymen.

    Technically the scent is by no means as tenacious as for instance Etat Libre D'Orange Eloge Du Traitre. The latter comes close in that it plays on the same attitude in the dark, tannic spectrum. The whole scent seems to me more elaborated than Skarb, though. Skarb vanishes after about 3h into plain helional, while ELDOs EDT lasts 6+ hours still brooding underneath.

    The comparison to ELDOs infamous Secretions Magnifique is VERY misleading. Both share a sharp, maybe "metallic" aspect. SM is by far more pungent in that, the term of a demonic twist is no hyperbole here. With Skarb it is more a sour/tannic side note from the "laurel" or even the helional may be. While SM goes further towards a slowly dis-balancing of that ueber Zing and balsamic/floral background (chestnut flower is said to resemble the smell of fresh human semen) Skarb is just linearly fading away. In other words, Skarb is one scent from start to end, letting the boring helional drydown aside, while SM is as short lived but develops from a foul rancid/metallic "bloody" smell over "fresh semen" to a flowery/woody base.

    Skarb is not that bad, but the price tag is a political one. It will ever prevent the masses from buying it. The scent is different enough to be identified as not being a mass product. Both will keep it exclusive. Alas, that is it. I can't see any olfactory revelation that justifies this fragrance to stick out. That's a bit tiresome, vice versa regarding it being hilariously costly and unmotivated odd.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Skarb: a review

    ps: Just read the so called "review" on Scented Salamander. Hey, if that insulting BS doesn't make You think about the business, nothing will.

    pps: a foto of that fore mentioned sour gherkins, Polish/Russian variant - consider the milky look that arises from the fermentation process and the laurel in the left corner on bottom of the jar ... some kind of mamas treasure, literally so ... questionable if that connection is intentional, in that perfuemer Laudamiel used an overdose of metallic milky helional to create a dadaistic joke on the H&G firm?

    Last edited by WildThingy; 22nd September 2010 at 07:55 AM.

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