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  1. #1
    Dependent OctaVariuM's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Coastal Massachusetts

    Default Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    So, I'm relatively new to the fragrance world, but I felt like I should grow my nose and expand what I know. I'm a writer by trade, so I figured I'd write up a quick first impressions review sort of deal for a few samples I received a week or so ago. Know that I had not smelled fragrances from these houses before purchases these samples, so my opinions are free of house bias.

    What I received (this is half of what I got, I'll do the other half probably next week):
    --Amouage Memoir Man
    --Amouage Jubilation XXV
    --Creed Original Santal (this is actually the only house I had smelled before, since I own Aventus)
    --Tom Ford Tuscan Leather
    --Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

    Now for the short first impressions:

    Amouage Memoir Man:
    This opened up on my skin with a very vibrant basil note with some wormwood in the background offering a licorice like scent (wormwood after all is one of the main ingredients in Absinthe, a licorice-esque spirit). It was as if I was walking through a forest after it rained, and I was cutting through some vines with a machette. After that, I noticed the incense and most of all, the pepper. Boy is this peppery! It washed over the green notes in the opening rather violently, and unfortunately, I didn't get much licorice from this point onward. The pepper started to tickle my nose, and not in the best way. While I generally like pepper, I've never experienced pepper in a fragrance, so I didn't really know what to expect. Let's just say I hope this is not how all pepper smells in fragrances.

    After the pepper bomb is dropped, the incense comes back and I definitely get a nice vibe from it. Within the incense, I swear I could smell some tobacco lingering in there, accompanied by some vanilla, though it was very subtle and easily overpowered by the former. By the time Memoir Man dries down, the incense persists, with notes of mint and oakmoss there to compliment what I can only describe as faint woody notes. Overall, the experience was nice, and it lasted forever on my skin. I applied this before heading out for the night around 6:30, and it was still on my skin and on my shirt (which I picked up and checked) at 9 in the morning when I woke up. Very impressive! I didn't get any comments, so I can't really judge projection, but I'd say it was fair since I was able to smell it when I bent over or moved out of a room.

    Amouage Jubilation XXV:

    Off the bat, the first thing I notice is blueberry. It's not listed in the notes, but I definitely get blueberries. They were not fresh blueberries though, more of a frost-bitten blueberry or blueberry jam type deal. Alongside those are blackberries, offering a sharper contrast that I found very appealing. I've heard people mention florals and orange, but on my skin, the opening is mostly berries and incense with a little bit of spice thanks to the coriander (though I wouldn't have been able to tell you that without looking at the note profile). After the opening, the middle notes are more distinct. I got lots of cinnamon that pairs superbly with the berries and incense. Speaking of the incense, I found out later that it's not listed in the notes, so it may just be a strong combination of other green notes and spices that give it that impression. It's worth noting that the "incense" I'm describing here is noticeably different from the incense in Memoir Man.

    I got some florals in the middle notes as well, but they were akin to picking fresh flowers of mixed varieties from your home garden, rather than any particular flower that I could detect. The base continues with the "incense" notes and the berries start to die down, when along comes some patchouli, oud (though not a lot), and a faint bit of music that does a great job of blending all of the scents together. This lasted just about as long as Memoir Man on my skin, though it died down maybe an hour or two earlier. As for projection, again I got no comments, but I was getting nosefulls of goodness for hours upon hours. Overall, I loved this fragrance from first sniff. The interplay of the berries and spices, the freshness of the florals, and the subtle but lovely base notes caused me to want to start saving money for this one.

    Creed Original Santal:

    This one is going to be a much shorter impression, since the fragrance was only detectable for a few hours on my skin, then it turned into a generic vanilla smell that was hard to differentiate from any other vanilla oil. When it first was applied, I got a heavy punch of cinnamon, alongside some coriander and, rather obviously, some sandalwood. The sandalwood and cinnamon continued to the end of the fragrance, but it was quickly dominated by vanilla and a bit of ginger (which was not sharp). I didn't love it overall, as it felt pretty boring and it didn't really impress my nose much. I hesitate to wear it again, but I will just to get a better impression.

    Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather:

    Let me start off by saying that this fragrance is a god-damned enigma. I tried my very best to figure it out, but I fear I may not be able to do this justice. But I digress. When I first applied Tuscan Leather, I was transported to a Sicilian tannery, seeing orange walls and tanning racks filled with freshly finished leather. This was the predominant smell, and I couldn't really detect much else outside of some tobacco rounding off the pretty harsh leather. The leather is not like pleather seats or footballs, as it is not fake or plastic-like. It's definitely fresh and very unique. After smelling it for an hour or so, I finally figured out where the raspberry was hiding. Now, this is the coolest part of the fragrance for me. It is essentially attached to the leather, with it following immediately after, within a few milliseconds of the leather passing by the nose. It's amazing!

    After the first few hours, I started getting some more woody notes, but that was mostly on my shirt. While it was on my skin, it turned into an oddly creamy blend of leather and florals (saffron?) that I really enjoyed. I can't say I would have seen myself purchasing this very manly scent if it smelled like it did on my shirt, but it apparently loves my skin. I'll definitely be using all of my sample of this one. Oh, and this lasted very long on my skin, giving me a solid 6-8 hours of noticeable wafts, and another 4 or 5 hours of a lighter scent.

    Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille:

    The very first thing that came to my mind upon application of Tobacco Vanille was not tobacco, nor vanilla. Instead, it was sweets. I could have sworn someone was in the kitchen baking up sugar cookies (yum!). After the initial shock of sweetness, I started noticing the two notes for which the fragrance is named. The vanilla comes the forefront, which is odd for vanilla (every scent with vanilla I've ever experienced has used it on the dry down). I really enjoy the vanilla, since it's not boozy or vanilla extract like. You can really smell the orchid and all of the hard work it took drying it in the sun for weeks, freshly split and bottled by Tom Ford. Naturally, the tobacco is also noticeable. It rounds out the fragrance, and reminds me of my many, many fall days on my porch smoking Monte Cristo cigars and watching the leaves turn.

    After a while, I started to get a very familiar spice, which could only be cinnamon, along with a bunch of other spices that remind me of my mothers favorite house freshener (which is make of apples, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme among others). It's really lovely, and helps make the fragrance seem less linear. Overall, I really enjoyed this fragrance, and it's going to take a few more wearings to figure out if it's worth purchasing alongside Burberry London.

    What do you guys think of my reviews? Do you agree?Disagree? Would you like to see more in the future, or should I stop while I can and stick to food writing?
    Last edited by OctaVariuM; 8th October 2012 at 11:03 PM.
    Currently wearing: Fur by Madhat Scents

  2. #2

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    Great reviews man. Look forward to reading more when we can.
    Currently lawyering and DJing in Tokyo. Still obsessed with smelling good

    Founder of the Fragrance Potency Index (FPindex)
    Providing real, unbiased data on fragrance potency! Check it out

  3. #3
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    Of the ones you reviewed (good reviews by the way) the only one I like is Original Santal.

  4. #4
    Dependent OctaVariuM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Coastal Massachusetts

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    Thanks for the words of encouragement you two. I'll work on the other samples as well. It was pretty fun to write.
    Currently wearing: Fur by Madhat Scents

  5. #5

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    Really enjoyed your reviews...easy to tell you're a writer! . You really paint a nice picture of these. Out of the ones you reviewed, I'm most excited/interested in testing TV.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    Excellent reviews OctaVariuM. I could almost smell them myself while reading your post. I wasnt sure before what to expect from most of them but now I feel tham I am much closer to real picture. Thank you.

  7. #7
    Power Where You Need It
    alfarom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    Thanks for your thoughts. The only ones I like from your samples set are Memoir Man and Jubilation XXV. If you like Amouage, don0t miss the chance to test their feminines as well..most of them do great also on a man.

    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  8. #8

    Default Re: Octa's sample "haul" #1--First impressions

    I enjoy Original Santal and love Tobacco Vanille. I enjoy the opening of Tuscan Leather, but my feelings on it go south after about 20 minutes.
    Current top 10 (No order):

    1. Pure Havane
    2. Menthe Fraiche
    3. Tobacco Vanille
    4. L'Air Du Desert Marocain
    5. Green Irish Tweed
    6. Fahrenheit
    7. Musc Ravageur
    8. Tonka Imperial
    9. Gucci Pour Homme II
    10. Dior Homme Intense

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