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  1. #1

    Question Challenging Fragrances

    I thought I would give my thoughts on a few challenging fragrances and rate them out of 5 for the challenging factor. Also would I wear them to work surrounded by work collegues.lol

    Please let us all know if you to find these or other fragrances challenging or not.

    Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan



    At the start of my fragrance journey years ago I tried this and did not like it at all. Years later and today wearing it for the first time in years I do not find it very challenging to my nose and quite like it. I get a nice floral dark muskness with the smell of fur and there seems to be a dryness at the heart of the scent. Like someone wearing a fur jacket on the desert sands.

    In fact if someone gave me two vials with one containing MKK and the other Leather Oud and asked which one is worthy of the name Koublai Khan I would go with Leather Oud.

    Challenging Factor Out Of 5: 1.5 Wear To Work: Yes

    Knize Ten



    This is another one I have not sampled in years and have dug out a old sample.

    Imagine a truckstop washroom that has been cleaned a few hours ago. As you sniff the air you can smell the oil from the fumes of the trucks just outside mixing in with the florals from the cleaning.

    A few bikers come in wearing their leather jackets which they take off to wash their oily hands. The smell of the truckstop washroom is now one of oily leather and powdery soapy florals from the soap and the cleaning a few hours earlier.

    This is what I get from this, the first two hours are just oily leather before the soft amber/florals kick in. I had a day off work the other day and wore this out shopping and I could see other people holding their nose when I walked past. A very dirty fragrance, anyone who thinks the petrol/oil vibe is bad in Fahrenheit should check Knize Ten out as it will seperate the men from the boys.lol

    Challenging Factor out of 5: 4 Wear to work: Never

    Black Afgano



    A dark smoky dirty incense with a slight cannabis note which I can pick up along with that hash resin aroma. The Oud in this seems to give the fragrance a slight freshness within the dirty green smoky scent which is joined by tobacco . It's a very interesting fragrance and almost captivating but not one I think I could wear.

    Challenging Factor out of 5: 2.5 Wear to work: No


    Leather Oud



    The oud in this smells like smoky burning wood and the leather is more of a light supple saddle leather. Mixed together with the honey and civet gives you a smoky leathery dark sweet musky scent.

    I have a 50ml split of this fragrance and like it very much and it's what MKK should have been. Now the only problem with this scent is if your body temperature rises due to it been a hot day or the aircon at work is on high the civet explodes off your skin.lol And I mean in real fecal way that makes the civet in MKK smell really nice.

    Challenging Factor: 3 Wear to work: No way just in case the aircon temp is hot.

    Black Aoud



    A explosion of overpowering dark medicinal roses that chokes the lifeforce of anyone in the vicinity. I wore this to a family get together one Sunday to give my sample of this a whirl. I felt like a walking bowl of my old aunties potpourri and got so many negative comments from family members. Took me a while to live this one down, never again.

    Challenging Factor: 4 Wear To Work: No Way hosay.

    Anyway I hope you all enjoyed my fun thoughts on a few fragrances that may be challenging to you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Nice Reviews! Tried them all except Knize Ten. Have to check that one out.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Nice reviews, Jack. With the exception of Black Afgano which I never liked and Black Aoud which has way too much rose to my taste, all the others are big winners in my book. With that said, the only one I still find a bit challenging for its sweetness, is Leather Oud.

    Knize Ten is my go-to fragrance for whatever occasion. MKK, after the initial blast turns into a beatiful floral musk that's total comfort for me...


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  4. #4

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Thanks for that entertaining post!

    I agree and disagree: agree that Leather Oud is what MKK is reputed to smell like. I love both, but find them challenging for different reasons. Leather Oud is dirty. I don't find MKK dirty, but it has a furry sensation that actually rasps in my throat a bit.

    Disagree about Knize Ten. For me it's the most wearable of the bunch. I wear it to work often, particularly in spring and fall.

    I don't know Black Afghano too well. Have smelled it in Liberty and liked it, but haven't tested it.

    I like Black Aoud for about five minutes, then feel like it's trying to kill me.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Thanks for your take on these Jack. I enjoyed the read...

    I personally like and would have no problem wearing Knize Ten or Black Aoud anywhere as I don't find either particularly challenging.

    Leather Oud is a good scent that is indeed a bit challenging and not really to my personal tastes so I doubt I would wear it often but can appreciate it. The other two are tremendously challenging, IMO, and I dislike them both. I would never wear Black Afgano anywhere in particular (including my home) as that is just a giant weird stink bomb, IMO.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Great reviews. I agree with you on the automotive vibe of Knize Ten - which is good, of course. I still find MKK suitably dirty throughout - but then perhaps I perceive some particular musk in it more intensely. Oud 27 is dirtier though.

    cacio

  7. #7

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Oddly enough, I find Fahrenheit more challenging to wear nowadays than K10. Nice reviews and I agree otherwise.
    Is the juice worth the squeeze?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Personally find Black Afgano and Knize Ten unpleasant and wouldn't wear them period. The others I have no issues with.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I haven't tried Black Afgano. Of the others:
    Knize 10 - easily wearable, one of the go to in my collection. I'll give a 5* for this any day as giving 6*'s are not allowed
    Serge Lutens - MKK - next on your list of wearable one's - however, as Alfarom states, u'll need to wait past the initial blast. Again a 5*
    Montale Black Oud - Wear it at least 1.5 hrs b4 u head out, if anyone smells the initial blast, they are not coming close to u for the day! 3* just bcoz of the initial harshness.
    Dior Leather Oud - A bit difficult, I keep this for very cold days and 1 0r 2 sprays at the most and abt 2 hrs b4 I head out. 2.5-3*.
    While not on your list, the one I have found the most difficult ever is Montale Cuir de Arabie (got the bottle as a gift) - the leather stank as soon as it hit my skin and I couldn't get my hands near my nose for the next 3-4 hrs, b4 scrubbing it off (three scrubbings ). I have other leathers - Or Black, Knize 10, Cuir de Russie, Cuir Ottoman, Mono di Orio Cuir, Tuscan Leather, Dzing, Bandit, Cuir Mauresque etc, none of them came close to the Montale Cuir in challenging my nose...I actually love every one of the one's I've listed. Maybe its just me / my dry skin...I am yet to find courage to try it again.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Comme des Garcons - Tar
    Comme des Garcons - Tea
    Yosh - Sombre Negra

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Cool thread, Jack.

    Black Afgano is a 4 for me. It's too weirdly offputting for me to enjoy.

    The easiest of the lot for me is Knize 10and MKK.

    Black Aoud needs a lighter application to shine. But not good for warm weather.

    Leather Oud is a 3.5 for me. A little too 'barnyard' for my taste. Same goes with Dzing!. Interesting, yes. Just not versatile to be easily wearable.
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 14th February 2013 at 04:59 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    You've reminded me of how addictive Leather Oud can be...I know my scent of the evening!

    This was actually the fragrance to tame the idea of wearing a fragrance with any kind of skank. I've upped my game to Musc Tonkin. I still can't appreciate MKK though...but that's not due to the musk.

  13. #13
    Dependent The Smelly Scientist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I agree on all counts!

    ... with the exception of Leather Oud. I don't find it challenging in terms of the notes, but definitely challenging in that it projects so much that you have to be careful where you wear it.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Another vote for Knize Ten - indeed interesting, uncommon yet so impressively stylish, it is set out to leave almost nobody indifferent (either love or hate, luckily, I belong to the ones who are pleasantly surprised, stimulated and rewardingly intrigued by this scent).

    Other scents I would qualify as intriguing, mostly due to a non-linear, non-generic, slightly theatrical (even baroque? mannerist?) beauty, yet still retaining a pronounced sense of style and of classiness, are: Esencia Loewe, Aramis Tuscany, Ungaro II and III, Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur, Ambre Sultan, even affordable yet still unexpectedly rich and multi-layered Halston Z14, Penhaligons Endymion and quite a few others not coming to my mind right now.

    I'd think twice before wearing them to office/work, were it not for my current home office, yet again, if the office building was large and sufficiently ventilated enough and/or not officially fragrance-free and/or a working environment which would even recommend some fragrance wearing (e.g. maybe in fashion or so) and/or I would apply lightly and/or my colleagues would be OK with it, I might wear even these scents for work, at least on some more special and/or more formal workplace/social occasions.

  15. #15
    Dependent
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    alfa, you find Leather Oud sweet? I mean there is a tiny dollop of balancing amber to my nose, but I do find it quite dry indeed. Actually I didn't find LO (dry resin and wood) or Black Afgano (patchouli, benzoin, musk) all that challenging. Even MKK smells rather pleasant to me. Perhaps that's because musks don't smell all that animalic or dirty to me. I find it a bit lifeless like all of SL's compositions, but nice. (SL claims not to like green notes, while they are my favorite.)

    Challenging for me are very animalic scents more like Secretions Magnifiques, Untitled #8, and Absolue pour le Soir. I can't really wear those. Ungaro II is probably the most challenging scent I own and wear regularly.

  16. #16
    Dependent The Smelly Scientist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyBars View Post
    alfa, you find Leather Oud sweet? I mean there is a tiny dollop of balancing amber to my nose, but I do find it quite dry indeed. Actually I didn't find LO (dry resin and wood) or Black Afgano (patchouli, benzoin, musk) all that challenging. Even MKK smells rather pleasant to me. Perhaps that's because musks don't smell all that animalic or dirty to me. I find it a bit lifeless like all of SL's compositions, but nice. (SL claims not to like green notes, while they are my favorite.)

    Challenging for me are very animalic scents more like Secretions Magnifiques, Untitled #8, and Absolue pour le Soir. I can't really wear those. Ungaro II is probably the most challenging scent I own and wear regularly.
    You don't find Leather Oud sweet?! It's like filthy honey to my nose.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    How about SMN-Peau d'Espagne An obnoxious leather if ever there was one.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I find Linari Fuoco Infernale (purgatory) as a challenging fragrance to wear.

    Short Description:
    Herbacious-earthy aspects of cinnamom bark and birch raisin are surrounded by sweet-spicy olibanum and tonka, yet
    with a leathery-woody base note.

  19. #19
    Dependent
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    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    What is birch raisin?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by The Smelly Scientist View Post
    You don't find Leather Oud sweet?! It's like filthy honey to my nose.
    Nope. I don't find most honey accords particularly sweet either. To my nose they're more animalic than sweet. Interesting to hear such different perspectives on it. I do find Leather Oud a bit one-dimensional, though likeable. Almost like a Montale with the oud turned down.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Leather Oud sweet? Honey? I get none. Its bone dry.

    I own and enjoy most of what you mention Jack. I don't find them every challenging.

    I find Rien and Complex - Boadicea The Victorious very challenging.

    And on a mini scale, Cruel Intentions.

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  21. #21

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by The Smelly Scientist View Post
    It's like filthy honey to my nose.
    Yep. I wouldn't class it as a primarily a sweet scent, but it's plenty sweet. That honey note goes really well with the smell of baking bread...

  22. #22

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Surprised Knize Ten is considered challenging. I find it turns quite sweet, perhaps even a tad too sweet, and is pretty pleasant.

    I find Fahrenheit Absolute somewhat challenging. That strange mix of cumin, vanilla, etc...interesting but somehow a bit murky and dark, like some of the darker Rothko paintings (he killed himself in the end).

  23. #23

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    For me it has to be Kouros. As a piece of scent art it's a masterpiece and Pierre Bourdon is undoubtedly a genius. But wearing it for me is like a full time job lol it's just so powerful it's like I'm lugging around a giant back pack on my work day.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Interesting thread Jack

    I have all of the one you've mentioned and really enjoying wearing them, and i don't find it challenging wearing them at all.

    i work in an environment that majority if my clients are female.

    personal fav, MKK & Knize Ten
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Daze View Post
    Comme des Garcons - Tea
    Really enjoyed my sample of this one. Wish it was a bit cheaper then I'd get a bottle. And Leather Oud. And Dark Aoud. Must try to keep the wallet shut lol.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I wear Leather Oud often to the office but I don't feel its that challenging. It's probably my most complimented fragrance I wear to work.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Thanks Jack, enjoyed reading your thoughts on them and enjoyed the photos.
    The only one I know of these is Knize Ten, (I tend to steer clear of niche because of the horrendous prices).
    " Only wimps swim with the current "

  28. #28

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I don't like any of them but if forced to wear one (an unlikely scenario, admittedly), would choose Black Aoud.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I wear black aoud nearly every day and love it. I wear it to work, socially, by myself and in crowds, in cold and heat and only occasionally does anybody make any comment that they can even smell it strongly

  30. #30

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Narcisso Rodriguez for him and Amouage Memoir Man. I find them both challenging in that they both force my mood to become somber.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rüssel View Post
    I find Fahrenheit Absolute somewhat challenging. That strange mix of cumin, vanilla, etc...interesting but somehow a bit murky and dark, like some of the darker Rothko paintings (he killed himself in the end).
    I agree! I find it surprisingly challenging. I find myself constantly shifting between love and hate with this one.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  31. #31

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Knize Ten and Black Afgano , I am not a fan of at all, the others are wonderful and easily wearable especially in fall/winter.

    My whole family loves Black Aoud, and I get lots of compliments on it.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    How much Knize Ten did you put on? Less is more with this wonderful fragrance.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Two I personally find challenging are SL Musc Kublai Khan and YSL Kouros. And when I say "challenging" I mean it's a challenge to not throw up on my shoes when I smell them. Just horrid, horrid creations.......

    As to those the OP mentioned, I quite liked Black Aoud. Probably just below my "to buy" standard, but in fairness I'm pretty selective and minimalist in my collection. Knize Ten is definitely not my taste, but I could see others liking it. Black Afgano is on my short "to-try list" although at that price for that amount, I kind of hope I don't like it!
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  34. #34

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    I agree! I find it surprisingly challenging. I find myself constantly shifting between love and hate with this one.
    I used to pick up mainly on incense, which I like, and the vanilla, but lately I mainly notice the cumin. Even though it does smell like cumin to me, not body odour, it's one of the few scents where I could see that others might think the smell could come from a failure to bathe. Never thought that about other scents that are sometimes seen as a bit stinky, e.g. Declaration or Yatagan.

  35. #35

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    Nice reviews, Jack. With the exception of Black Afgano which I never liked and Black Aoud which has way too much rose to my taste, all the others are big winners in my book. With that said, the only one I still find a bit challenging for its sweetness, is Leather Oud.

    Knize Ten is my go-to fragrance for whatever occasion. MKK, after the initial blast turns into a beatiful floral musk that's total comfort for me...
    Ditto what you've said with a side bar on Knize Ten. I recently ran out of Xerjoff Homme and bought a bottle of Knize Ten because i thought it would be close enough considering the price difference. I was wrong, Homme is so much better I had to resort to getting in on a split. The new bottle of Knize is no Homme to my nose.

  36. #36

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    Narcisso Rodriguez for him and Amouage Memoir Man. I find them both challenging in that they both force my mood to become somber.



    I agree! I find it surprisingly challenging. I find myself constantly shifting between love and hate with this one.

    +1 Sombre? They all make me gag. Knize Ten is nice used sparingly, but I prefer Nostalgia. All Nasomatto fragrances seem very synthetic and chemical to me, but all are foghorns.

  37. #37

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    where are the black afgano fans? it is on many top 10 lists and seem to be hyped up already…………
    “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”

  38. #38

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    I love Leather Oud on these freezing, clear mornings. I find it a struggle to wear Memoir Man most of the time, every now and again I can do it but it is definately a challenge!

  39. #39

    Default Re: Challenging Fragrances

    Knize Ten

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