Great reviews, thanks Nukapai!
Now I'm even more intrigued....
A couple of weeks ago I ordered some samples from Neil Morris fragrances and here are my impressions on them (thought I'd share here in one go before posting the individual reviews):
Le parfum d'Odette
On opening it evokes a blend of Poison and Samsara (without the sickly berry flavoured cough-mixture of Poison). In just a few minutes, it turns into an incredible fragrance! It's sugared Tuberose, blended with alcoholic woods and blackberry & blackcurrant wine gums. Wow. (On drydown there is more than a passing resemblance to Guerlain's Jardins de Bagatelle). Despite the nod towards all these loud perfumes, Le parfum d'Odette manages to be rounded and wearable, but retains the moorish and addictive qualities that the somewhat OTT perfumes often develop into. I will need a whole bottle of this. After wearing Le parfum d'Odette for one day, I kept wanting to go back to it and not test any other perfumes from my pile of samples.
This, like all the other Neil Morris fragrances, has a curious magic perfume-bubble quality; at first you smell the outside of the bubble, at which point the other notes are hidden and you get an impression of "ah, this is what the fragrance will be like", but then the bubble bursts and all the other notes come gushing forth. In the case of Zephyr, the effect is "the smell you get on your hands after picking wild strawberries", then "fairly synthetic, but very pleasant girly shampoo with a hint of strawberry leaves". I'd recommend this to fans of any of the Ralph fun & fruity scents (although this is more refined). I would definitely wear Zephyr in the summer, or at any time I felt frivolous. I can't help wishing for a more complex base (what would happen if you took some of the base from Gotham and laid it under Zephyr? For instance).
A gorgeous pool boy who wore Kouros yesterday. Very nice men's fragrance - perhaps it could also work on a woman, but my mind is firmly transported to glowing pecks.
Aldehyde galore; unfortunately the very type of ironing-smell aldehydes that give me an instant migraine. I've dubbed this Midnight Migraine.
Very accurate patisserie scent; almost exactly like the Crabtree & Evelyn patisserie room fragrance I was recommended to buy for selling my house (apparently if you spray some around, viewers are more likely to buy). I think this is fun, but not a perfume I would wear.
A very nicely done, grown-up lily of the valley. The other notes bloom out as the fragrance develops and leave the almost soliflore feeling behind. I had hoped for more prominence from the Casablanca lily, but that's the only disappointing thing about this perfume. I'd definitely recommend this if you like Diorissimo or maybe even if you've once loved Blue Grass on someone else, but want something much less stuffy for yourself.
The first impression is "storm in a bath tub" - the opening is surprisingly soapy. When the soap bubble bursts, the scent changes to a fairly sombre affair; powdery, ozonic, quite heavy - if the oppressive feeling just before a thunderstorm had a smell, this would be it. Storm would be more wearable if it had leaned more towards the smell right after a storm, but this fragrance could still lend a mysterious quality to the wearer. My worry is that evoking the before-a-storm sensation could make the wearer feel sluggish, but perhaps it'll work perfectly for some. An interesting and successful artistic exercise nevertheless (just not sure how commercial).
Hi, I'm from the 80s and I'm wearing Rumba.
Very accurate fir tree sap, blended with mosses and and a general smell of being in a Finnish forest. (I'm from Finland and Neil's description of Dark Season was the clincher for my decision to order samples from him). I tried this on my husband's skin and it felt like a temporary tattoo of a forest scene, rather than a part of him. Very good piece of olfactory storytelling, but I'm not convinced of its wearability as a perfume.
I really wanted to fall in love with this, given the inspiration behind the perfume, but something in here jars when I wear it. The opening is beautiful and fascinating; a transparent melon-like fruit burst mixed with crushed leaves, but it's either the civet, or something else that brings a sour, sweaty quality out on my skin, which really didn't suit me at all. I get the impression that Neil has tried to capture the smell of a fruit that has nestled in a young virgin's armpit for a while (which, on the right wearer, would be very tantalising). I'm sure this would work on many others, but for me, it's a no.
Hippie Labdanum and pals. I like it! The Neil Morris bubble effect I've mentioned in my other reviews for his scents is here too; this time the bubble is sweet and pretty, but when it bursts you're hit with a very strong labdanum supported by well loved suede boots and some joss sticks. Gotham feels comforting and nostalgic for me and I'd wear it very happily (but perhaps not to work).
Great reviews, thanks Nukapai!
Now I'm even more intrigued....
Loved your reviews, Nukapai. I'm testing NM too, and I'm going to do my second set of samples today. I think we're on the same wavelength on these, too. You have mostly ones that I haven't sampled yet, so your comments are very interesting to me.
[Meanwhile, my split-down-the-middle-hair photos are holding a gun and telling me to order this or the disco ball comes out of the basement.]
Thanks again for the great reviews!
LOL!Ooooo! My bottle of Kouros is jealous. Bring it on!
Hehehehe! I perhaps should have added that the fragrance wasn't bad at all (which is English for: "It was quite good"), but somehow... the one sentence said it all
[Meanwhile, my split-down-the-middle-hair photos are holding a gun and telling me to order this or the disco ball comes out of the basement.]
Interesting, interesting! I'm probably going to try the Dark Season over a period of time (on my husband) and see what happens.I had the same feeling about northwoods, which I bought instead of this. I was going to wait for fall, but we got a cool day so I wore it to work last week. I was not disappointed. Applied lightly under the shirt, I got excellent closeness and a scent that's like a cross between YSL Jazz and pinesol. This is my current bottle candidate - I have absolutely nothing like it.
There are SO many others to try...
Thanks for the reviews. Odette sounds great.
I've spent so much on perfume in the last 2 months that it'll be a while before I place my next order, but I will get a full bottle of Odette and a few more samples the next time! There are at least 3 more of the vault collection that really intrigue me and some others that could turn out to be big surprises. Can't wait
These are great, precise reviews. Now I do not want to try any of them, and I do not mean this sarcastically. I just find, in your plain and honest descriptions, nothing of interest. This is brilliant, but is not to say that I am in the least swayed by the "romantic" perfume review, since I am more turned off, tuned out, to those than any other type.
I'd be open to trying NM scents other than these, but the truth is I am always detached from the small and momentary mini-cults that spring up. It is anti-marketing and I think an affliction from which some small minority suffers: instant excommunication based on nothing more than the lather of hype
Thank you, Orion (and I don't think there is anything odd about, hmm, fad-fatigue if you like I'm just not convinced Neil Morris is a fad! I guess he is on the various online perfume boards ).
I'll be posting more reviews when I get the next batch of samples (but that won't be for a couple of months, sadly).
PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather
I just want to take this opportunity to thank Nukapai and all our Basenotes friends for your continued support and friendship. We appreciate it! And we're doing our best to avoid fad-dom!
Fantastic reviews Nukapai!
Neil Morris was the first niche perfumer I had ever worn. I had gotten a sample pack of his original retail line back when I first started this madness/obsession/hobby.
Here are my thoughts.
I haven't had a chance to try some of his newer stuff or the vault scents yet. Gotham, in particular, is looking mighty interesting
Sakecat's Scent Project
"Wardrobe" and Reviews of everything I've tried to date. Please come visit and let me know what you think.
There are so many Neil Morris threads, but I decided to post this here, since this one is the most recently used. After a particularly frustrating bout of testing fragrances which didn't agree with me, I went and spent some money on more samples. If anyone's curious about the following fragrances, I will post my thoughts on them when they arrive.
1. Flowers for Men: Lilac
2. Earthtones #3: North Woods (I like woods.)
3. Woodland Strawberries
4. Intimate Wisteria (I like white amber.)
5. Intimate Vanilla
6. Rose of Kali (I'm wondering if I actually like rose.)
8. Spirit of Water
9. Burnt Amber
If anyone else has had any trials with these, I would love to read them, because as of this post, there are virtually no formal Basenotes reviews of any of these fragrances.
Last edited by Aiona; 13th September 2008 at 06:56 PM. Reason: added a link to another Neil Morris thread
The Neil Morris samples arrived today, and I was impressed by the fact that the vials are pretty full. (In fact, the Prowl one was a little bit too full, and in the Texas oven of my mailbox a little bit seeped out as it expanded.) I also appreciate the spray vials. I prefer to sample stuff by spraying. I save money on Q-tips that way!
I was surprised by the fact that the colors of the liquid matched what I would think they should be from their names.
I apologize for the largeness of the images.
Wednesday: Flowers for Men: Lilac
The color of this one really reminds me of Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir, for some reason. Orange! And so when I sprayed it, I couldn't help but think of Boudoir! I have to go back and sample Boudoir and see if that note that I couldn't place was maybe lilac? But is it really lilac essential oil? Or is it just lilac -- the note? I can smell that soapy smell that I've come to believe is vetiver. And that makes it have that "round" (I don't have a better word to describe it) smell that fresh lilacs have. But it's not just lilac. It's also really musky. Almost like Boudoir in that viburnum/fish-sauce like smell. I would really love to meet a guy who would wear this one! But it's not for me.
Thursday: Intimate Vanilla
I love vanilla. I had to restrain myself from spraying the entire vial in one sitting. The first hour is bright lemony vanilla. I have a hard time reconciling the name "Intimate Vanilla" with what seemed like a really extroverted vanilla. It's kind of an oriental vanilla, and I almost compared it to Pink Sugar, but it's different from Pink Sugar. But it has that same effect on me, of making me salivate and want to eat my arm. After 10 hours, the scent changed to a more tobacco-y vanilla, almost like Vanilla Bean Noel, which I love so much. By then, it was only detectable up close. So perhaps Intimate Vanilla is only intimate once she gets to know you a bit. Still very edible. I love it. It makes me want to eat a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream.
What I liked most about both of these is that after the first hour or so, the sillage is moderate. Not monstrous. And that's something I appreciate. The scents stay relatively close to my skin, and they last a long time. AND BEST OF ALL, no headaches.
Sunday: Intimate Wisteria
At first blast, yes, it smells like wisteria. Although I'm not back at my parents' house, where their nearly 20-year-old wisteria has overgrown the trellis my dad built, so I can't compare it directly. (The only thing I have growing on my trellis is the ever-more-annoying trumpet vine, which I am at my wits end about how to keep it from spreading and damaging everything in sight. We actually had vines growing up into our air-conditioning ducts. But I digress.)
After that first 30 minutes, it seems more of an aquatic scent to me. Like Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden, but again, I don't have any Sunflowers here to directly compare. How is it that a floral can imitate an aquatic? Anyway, it's lovely, just as with Intimate Vanilla, I had a hard time not using up the entire vial in one sitting.
After a few hours, it really warms up and gets more intense (sillage-wise), so I'm glad I didn't spray more than 2 sprays, or I might have felt rather overwhelmed. It's a "round" scent. (Don't have a better word for it.) Maybe it's some vetiver? I dunno! I'm horrible at notes. All I can say is that this is one I am considering purchasing (when my pocketbook recovers from my last splurge).
Monday: Spirit of Water
I *expected* from the name for this to be an aquatic-like scent. Perhaps Neil Morris mixed up Spirit of Water with Intimate Wisteria, because this is not aquatic. Nor does it remind me of water. It is, however, a very clean, light oily kind of fragrance. It reminds me of baby oil or baby lotion. Sort of the same way Prada's Infusion d'Iris does. I can't name the notes, so all I can do is compare it to things I've tried. Although Spirit of Water makes me think of Infusion d'Iris, they do not smell alike. But they have that same "clean" innocent kind of smell.
The drydown is lovely. Is there white amber in here? I'm on the fence about this one, as to whether it's bottle worthy. It's certainly wearable, and thankfully does not give me a headache (a factor which is majorly important to me).
Tuesday: Woodland Strawberries
I love this one. It's really not so much strawberries as much as woods, and I guess that's why it's named "Woodland Strawberries." With the word strawberry in the name, I fully expected this to be a typical fruity scent. The kind of smell I get from Glade candles that have similar fruity names.
But in fact, this one surprised me, and in a pleasant way. The opening is really harsh and it kind of burned my nose. ("I smell burning.") Vitalis-like. . . that's the only word I know to describe it. But that lasts about an hour, and then suddenly I'm giving off a strong cedar scent. 'LOVE IT. Kinda peppery, and a little bit of strawberry. I think I mentioned in my Basenotes review that I think this is actually a strawberry scent that would smell really nice on a guy, particularly guys who are scared of smelling fruity or too flowery. This is NOT a fruity floral. In fact, I really couldn't smell ANY floral in it. Just strawberry and woods.
So after the cedar calms down, the sandalwood comes out. This happens about 10 hours into it. Lovely sandalwood and strawberry. *THIS* might be a little feminine for some guys. But, I still think it smells good. It's a woody strawberry. I thought the name was not appropriate because I really don't see the strawberry as a predominant scent. But now, I agree, it really is woods and strawberry. Totally loveable by me -- someone who doesn't normally dig fruity scents.
Wednesday: Rose of Kali
From the opening, down to 11 hours later (good staying power), Rose of Kali totally reminds me of BPAL's Snake Oil, although I don't have Snake Oil anymore to directly compare them. There's patchouli in here, but it doesn't scare me away. Still, it's really not me. If one likes Snake Oil, I think one would find a loveable oriental in Rose of Kali.
I've been sick lately, so rather than sampling and wasting samples on my clogged nose, I've been wearing old stand-bys. But Sunday, I was actually able to smell a little bit, in between the hacking cough, and the delirium.
So maybe I was just imagining it, but at first spray, Drifting sure smelled a whole lot like Smarties. Those little circular, tart, multi-pastel colored candies that come wrapped in cellophane, and are ubiquitous around Halloween. Don't get me wrong, cuz I love Smarties. But, it was odd smelling it in a perfume.
Anyway, that was the first hour, and in my stupor, I fell asleep, and when I woke up 2 hours later it was just a pleasant floral. And that's all I remember. And I'm sticking to my story!
Drifting was not an aquatic. And that was surprising, given its description and its name. But it's not surprising considering that every fragrance I've sampled from Neil Morris seems different from its chosen name. Well, except one. I still think Woodland Strawberries fits its name perfectly.
Last edited by Aiona; 16th September 2008 at 03:58 AM. Reason: I really don't know if I had a fever. For a few hours, I think I might have, but was too weak to get the thermometer.
Intimate Lily convinced me to eventually order more Lily fragrances. I absolutely loved it.
For Woodland strawberries, I actually couldn't detect strawberries very clearly on the first wearing. Same for the second wearing's first hour or so.
But then, I inhaled it very strongly. When I test fragrances, I usually breathe them in slowly, over 2 seconds. But when I'd inhale a full breathe in under a second, it became so obvious that these were strawberries that I didn't understand why I couldn't detect it by breathing slowly. Oddly, it made me think of a MacDonald's Strawberry milkshake and I had to stare at Mac's nutrition calorie calculator to convince myself not to eat one after. I really enjoyed the fragrance anyway.
Here are excerpts from my "perfume reviews.txt" file. This was all for personal use, and don't trust my opinion on anything since my nose is completely broken from smelling stuff too much
=== Priority #2 to buy ===
Neil Morris - Clear - like it as much as Intimate Lily and great when worn on the neck. Makes me feel confident about it in public too despite being flowery.
Neil Morris - Intimate Lily - LOVE the lily smell, very flowery and feminine but I would still wear it anywhere. Good duration but no dry down... good for reapplying every 3-4 hours.
Neil Morris - Zephyr - reminds me of strawberries. I really enjoy it on myself.
=== Priority #4 to buy ===
Neil Morris - Rainflower - smells like wet lilacs. It's really good and I love it on myself, but not as fresh in public as intimate lily and clear. Average duration.
=== Good but not worth buying ===
Neil Morris - Coral - Pleasant and sweet, but don't love it. Prefer Intimate Vanilla which is similarily "shaped".
Neil Morris - Intimate Vanilla - I don't love this vanilla, but it lasts long and is still pleasant overall.
Neil Morris - Izmir - coffee and very pleasant, but doesn't last, no sillage and not amazing either.
=== Fragrances I do not like ===
Neil Morris - Afire - smells like tandori spices. Supposed to be berries and caramel but if its caramel, it's in the same way as "Safran" brulant which was gourmand, but disgusting due to smelling more like cooking spices than dessert.
Neil Morris - Storm - just no fun. Fresh but not interesting at all.
Wednesday: Earthtones #3: North Woods
At first spray, I felt like I'd taken a clod of Scott's potting soil and mashed it onto my arm. Earthy. Neil Morris ain't kidding when he decided to call this Earthtones. And then after about 30 minutes or so, it stopped smelling like a potted plant, and I could smell woods. Cypress, cedar, and just lots and lots of loamy woods, with mushrooms growing in it. And it stayed like that for maybe 3 hours or so.
Then it became a really nice spicy scent. Kind of like BPAL's Coyote, but different. Coyote smells of champa and teak wood to me. The weathered, slightly-damp teak that one finds in old sailboats.
While I was wearing North Woods, I caught a whiff of Woodland Strawberries that was still lingering on my lab coat. Seriously, Woodland Strawberries smells like nothing else. I am not good at differentiating smells, but I will always be able to pick out Woodland Strawberries in a host of other scents.
North Woods is mostly cedar and other earthy woods. Woodland Strawberries is more cedar with sandalwood. That's what I think, anyway.
Thursday: Burnt Amber
I can smell the plums. Burnt plums. Recently, I left an egg to fry in a pan, while I went to take a shower. Bad idea. Charred egg. Burnt Amber smells like plums and the charred residue that was left in my little pan after I heard the smoke alarm go off, and leapt out of the shower to turn off the stove and open the windows. There's amber in there too. There's also some patchouli, and I definitely get a rather campfire feeling from Burnt Amber. It is very much like if I had built a fire in the fireplace and forgot to open the flue. Or as if I decided to wear champa to a campfire in the Berkeley Hills.
Wait a minute here. "Prowl." When I hear the world "prowl" I think of lions, tigers, panthers. What kind of scents would I associate with members of the cat family? Gardenia? Honeysuckle? Vanilla? Amber? Again, this one just doesn't seem to match the name! It's a floral. And a wonderful floral. I usually hate florals. Why? Because they give me a headache. But Prowl does not. It's delicious. Edible flowers. The kind I'd want to candy and put on a cake. A cake shaped like a lion or a panther, I guess.
Last edited by Aiona; 19th September 2008 at 11:53 PM.
I just wanted to say, I really enjoyed Prowl. If someone made me wear a straight floral, this is the only one I would wear.
Thanks, Jillsy! I will try midnight star. It has a new TV commercial last week.
So, I caved and bought myself a bottle of Prowl. (never thought I'd purposely buy something with patchouli in it, but "never say never") With it came some samples! So I'll be reviewing them when I get around to testing them. I also have a sample of Rumba coming my way, just for grins!
That aside, I saw a lovely review about Midnight Tryst on MUA. Has anyone here tried it?
I sampled Flowers for Men: Rose today.
The first part was kind of melon-y. And plasticky. But not the kind of plastic smell that I get from something like Black Aoud. It's kind of a cellophane wrap plasticky smell rather than a baby-doll heads smell. Supposedly there is rose in here, but, I'm not good at really separating that smell from the other flowery smells in Flowers for Men: Rose.
As it dries down, it smells more powdery. Maybe lilac-y? And vanilla. Kind of how Prowl dries down to vanilla as well. There's also patchouli in this, but I don't mind it.
Good sillage and longevity with just one spray to the arm. It's been over 12 hours (16 1/2 to be exact), and it's still going strong.
As for whether it is suitable for men, well, I guess I could see a guy wearing this. But it sure does seem pretty flowery. I like it. I think it smells marvelous on me. However, I do prefer more woodsy scents overall, so if I had to pick between Flowers for Men: Rose and Woodland Strawberries, I'd pick Woodland Strawberries.
Last edited by Aiona; 13th December 2008 at 05:41 AM. Reason: There's patchouli in here too.
Such great descriptions you use
I am not afraid... I was born to do this.
-Joan of Arc
For some time now, I've been meaning to compare Balenciaga's Rumba to Neil Morris' Prowl because of Nukapai's and SMM's previous comparisons of the two.
Well, Tuesday, I sampled Rumba first, and was struck how it reminded me of Norell, not Prowl. So instead of comparing Rumba with Prowl, I dabbed on a bit of Norell. They both have the same opening notes, but they drydown very differently.
Rumba has this annoying musty smell, very similar to what I get out of Estee Lauder's Beautiful. I hate this smell. I find it in a lot of mainstream perfumes for women, which is what led me to Basenotes, because I really had hoped to find something that doesn't have this weird smell.
Rumba and Norell both have some kind of bergamot opening. And some kind of flowery smell. But about 5-10 minutes into it, they part ways. Norell has a very soapy smell. Soapy flowers. Whereas Rumba. . . has flowers, but that weird. . . musty smell.
So, to me, Norell > Rumba.
Today, (Wednesday), I compared all three. For some reason, it was very difficult to manage to spray one limb without getting spray from another scent on that part! I only have four limbs, so messing up one leaves me with no more second chances. Somehow I managed to get one on each limb separately!
Prowl on my left knee: same bergamot opening as both Rumba and Norell, but oh! That vanilla! I can smell the patchouli and I don't care. The vanilla and honeysuckle-like, gardenia-like smell. No soapy smell. No weird musty smell. And. . . I can finally smell this "tea" that everyone else seems to talk about. I could never smell that of itself, but next to Norell and Rumba, it's plainly there in Prowl and *not* in Norell or Rumba.
So, to me, Prowl > Norell > Rumba.
All three are really flowery, and I imagine they have many components alike. But the notes that are different from each other are the ones that make-or-break it for me.
All three have some intense sillage. Like really intense. Longevity for all three is > 10 hours for me.
I am banished to the far end of the house tonight because I reek!
Last edited by Aiona; 18th December 2008 at 06:56 AM.