If you are offended by harsh negative reviews, please skip this post.
Some things should just never happen: hurricane Katrina, the government of Myanmar, and...Parfums Raffy's house fragrance line. I'd held off posting my reviews of the free samples I'd received from Parfums Raffy, feeling that my vitriolic responses were unjust toward any fragrance. However, after reading the_good_life's critiques of Dragon and Mogul I realized I was not alone, and certainly not crazy. I understand that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and I apologize in advance to anyone who truly loves these scents, but Parfums Raffy's naive blends of artificial flavors are a fine example of niche perfumery's pitfalls: the assumption that if it's "exclusive" and made in small batches, it must be good; that if it's weird, it must be good (see Etat Libre d'Orange); that if it has some precious "concept" behind it, it must be good (see Humiecki & Graef).
I hate to sound like Luca Turin in a bad mood, but these scents turn me into Mr. Hyde. Here are my reviews (I'll duck and cover for the outraged responses):
MogulWhy? Why, I ask you?
Is that as in ski bump? When things come as unsolicited free samples, there’s usually a reason. Sometimes it’s because they smell like Mogul. When I first read the esteemed the_good_life’s reviews of Parfum Raffy’s scents I thought: “They can’t really be that bad.” Guess what? They can. This is a cheap knock-off of a cheap knock-off of Cool Water that smells more like a deodorant stick than anything else. Perfumery hits a new low.
Dragon breath? This starts out as a comically chemical blend of cherry Lifesaver and pink bubblegum, and does not improve one iota with age. Dragon’s best feature is that it doesn’t last, so I don’t have to be subjected to its banal odor for too long.
OK, here’s a new accord: artificially “butter” flavored popcorn and tuberose. It’s just as good as it sounds. Until it gets worse. Holy crap. Emphasis on crap.
Someone ought to lodge a complaint: this is a grievous insult to the Roma people. American Gypsy features the same artificial “butter” flavor as Raffy’s Tropic Princess, but this time it’s paired with cheap licorice instead of cheap tuberose. Like several others from this line, its chief virtue is a brief half-life. Be thankful for small favors.
I tried Dragon and Mogul. I thought Dragon was OK, although uninspired. Mogul was unwearable as it had a strong ammonia note.
II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.
I, too, had been holding back on the reviews because of my respect of the company. I have been keeping the samples of the two men's fragrances in the back of the drawer for about a year, every once in a while rethinking "They can't be that bad" and pulling them out again to retest; then quickly hiding them again. Perfume Raffy is an excellent retailer and I do a lot of business with them but as far as Mogul and Dragon are concerned... what were they thinking?
I hate to derail the thread completely, so let me add my two bits briefly and say that these reviews (for Mogul and Dragon, anyway) are spot-on. I actually paid for my samples, just being very curious, and was very disappointed.
Now for the derailing: my experiences with Parfums Raffy has been a rather mixed bag. Twice now I've ordered something only to find out - weeks later, after I finally get annoyed and call/write them to find out where my order is - that the item isn't actually in stock.
No note to let me know it's not in stock, no communications at all. They take my order, send confirmation and then... nothing. A week passes, more nothing. An inquiry finally informs me that the item is back-ordered. That's really the kind of thing you should get in touch with me about shortly after I place my order, IMO.
Given that I've only ordered from them four times - and half resulted in the above situation - I'm not impressed thus far.
New site for my available dec^H^H^Hsplits: http://www.badgerdecants.com
I wasn't impressed by Raffy's service. It took a while receive my order.
Mogul and Dragon... I just re-read my reviews and I think I was a little anxious and didn't give them a good run down. Apparently I did like Mogul. I gave my samples away a while ago. I don't remember a darned thing about these perfumes, though. *shrugs*
Can't edit reviews now. There a quite a few I want to change.
i got these free too.....i remember thinking they were a bit blah....but nothing worse than the tedium of designer fragrances i'm smelling at the shops regularly......nothing THAT offensive....
Love the reviewers AND the reviews! My fragrance Schadefreude was getting a bit locked up from disuse - it's in fine shape now! I haven't laughed like that since Turin was in a bad mood.
Seriously, I was quite mystified by these, sniffed straight from the vial. I almost couldn't imagine wearing them. When I did put them on skin, I did think they were significantly better than they were from the vial, or on paper. I did wear Mogul once to the office, and I really didn't think it was bad. But I must confess - I have had NO desire to wear either one since. I have too many great scents that vie for my love every morning. I ALWAYS pass these samples over. Average simply doesn't stand much of a chance with me unless it's a guilty pleasure that was somehow just made to order for my idiosyncratic note fetishes. So I would put them on par with a lot of less remarkable designer stuff. Like, say, a forgotten flanker, or a quickly-disappearing niche scent.
Vibert - your identification of Mogul seems quite right. I found Mogul to resemble some melon and/or aquatic scents that are almost by definition Cool-Water-oids. However, I much prefer those derivatives to Mogul. Mogul? Wall Street? Oh, man...
Why? We have to start somewhere. Failure is almost a prerequisite for success. Some gifted people just stumble into success from the very beginning, but most others (like me) have to learn by our mistakes. These fragrances are probably better than most people could make, and almost certainly better than anything that I could ever make, but they're still not playing in the show. So I would encourage whoever made these to keep trying. Some very talented perfumers have had bad days like these, so it's entirely possible that the person(s) who made these might create something extraordinary - and I mean that in a good way. So like you said, love the perfumer.
PS - Mogul has excellent longevity - at least for me. If you like it, the scent really lasts. Longevity is meaningless to me, but I know it's really important for some folks.
I just gave my Parfums Raffy samples a sniff .. yea, mediocre they are (can't be bothered to do a detailed review at this point in time), but this is Parfums Raffy we are talking about. The shock value of smelling Outrageous! from Malle or Guerlain Homme was much higher ..
So the question for me, regarding Outrageous!, was "How bad could it possibly be?"
The answer: "That bad."
Thin, harsh, and synthetic from the get-go, I'd guess this was a $12 mass market scent were I to sniff it blind. It's clean and fruity, but with a bothersome chemical mustiness I always associate with the cheapest of synthetics. That must be the "clean laundry" note. Detergent, if you ask me. The development, such as it is, involves citrus and a touch of apple pie over an anemic cedar underpinning. There is nothing innovative here, and nothing very "sexy" either, unless of course citrus air fresheners turn you on.
I rather liked French Lover, despite all the hits it's taken here, but Outrageous! really is, well...an outrage. Utter garbage marketed hysterically as a niche fragrance. Please tell me this is not the future of the Frederic Malle line.
08 January 2008
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Some weeks ago I attended a long religious service, during which my nostrils were assaulted by a thick, cloying, powdery-sweet woody scent of excruciating potency. I was eventually able to trace the source to my wife’s cousin Howie, seated on a bench three rows ahead of us. I spent the remaining two hours of the service alternately wondering what the loathsome fragrance could be, and silently cursing cousin Howie for dumping half a bottle of it over his head.
I take it all back, Howie.
The scent, I now realize, was Guerlain Homme, of which I’ve found mere drops suffice to fill a room with a screaming miasma of crude, banal, overly sweetened base materials. It’s the same base that appears in countless cheap mass market fougeres and woody scents for men, but the magic of Guerlain manages to amplify it to nose hair curling volume.
I will concede that Guerlain Homme opens with a charming boozy citrus accord that does evoke the advertised mojito cocktail. Unfortunately, that accord lasts all of five minutes before it’s bulldozed by the powder bomb base, which plows on in linear fashion and shocking intensity for hours unless diligently scrubbed off. The scent works orders of magnitude better on paper than on my (or cousin Howie’s) skin, as the “mojito” accord persists much longer to balance out the base.
I do, as have others, detect a remote similarity to the discontinued Yohji Homme, which employed a similar sweet, powdery base, but did so with much greater finesse and subtlety. Guerlain Homme has some of the boozy anise flavor that marked Yohji Homme, but Guerlain sets it in more opaque surroundings and thereby robs it of grace.
Guerlain Homme shares with Secretions Magnifiques the remarkable distinction
of being at once boring and offensive, and I predict that men will buy it by the gallon. Please lord, just don’t let them sit near me.
11 October 2008
Last edited by Off-Scenter; 26th December 2008 at 07:41 PM.
I've tried Mogul and Dragon. They're not bad. Not great, but not bad. As I remember, they were pretty inoffensive, and well enough blended with OK ingredients. One of them had a shaving cream vibe with citrus I think. The cheap marketing definitely altered my preconceptions of them, biasing my opinions of both. I'm sure that if they were re-packaged as some trendy company, they might fly a bit better. Either way, I guess in the end, they don't deserve the high price.
Sales thread here
I want to love this one badly. I almost do. But your description if what I experienced, too.
I will give this one another chance, because the opening is so good, but I am otherwise still in a state of shock over the extraordinary level of uncut greenery.