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Total Reviews: 160798

Perfect Oud by Mizensir

A surprise and honour to be the first one reviewing this here. This is a gentle clean crystalline Oud on a base of subtle cedar and the barest hint of rose. A masculine masterpiece. Linear and lasts 2-3 hours and skin scent after that for another couple of hours.
FBW and I did. The second FB in addition to Celebes Wood.
If you want something almost identical but with a much heavier Rose that ended up being off putting to me then the more expensiven newly released Golden Oud is the choice. However that is made completely redundant by MFK Satin Oud Mood Extrait (not the EDP) which is effortlessly better smoother and longer lasting. That is talking from a guys perspective. I can see Golden Oud being an interesting choice for a lady. Just.

Fragrance: 7.75/10
Projection: 7/10
Longevity: 7/10
26th November, 2020
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Ta by O'Driù

Ta eschews distinct top notes, instead opening at its early heart with a slightly sweet, strawberry infused melon fruit accord that gradually folds in supporting woody vetiver, relatively sanitized tuberose and powdery oakmoss rising from the base. During the late dry-down the fruity accord vacates with the tuberose fading considerably, as the powdery oakmoss takes on the starring role, with the powder growing in significant intensity and the slightly sharp, woody vetiver remaining through the finish. Projection starts out good, but increases to excellent as time passes, with longevity excellent at well over 12 hours on skin.

Ta is the final part of a three part perfume edition by O'driu. I will eventually review the other two parts separately, but in the case of Ta, the key heart accord that resembles an almost strawberry-like infused melon is very different than the usual culinary herbs used by Angelo Orazio Pregoni in his perfumes, and I can't say that it is in a good way. What it *is*, like it or not, is quite innovative and distinctive. The use of tuberose and vetiver here meld with the fruit more as support, almost as thickeners. While not particularly pleasant, the overall effect is at least decent and wearable until the extremely powdery oakmoss takes hold over time. It is no secret that this writer is a *huge* oakmoss fan, but not when used to emphasize its powdery green facet as in Ta. By the time the perfume gets to the late dry-down, the oakmoss is powdery to the extreme, and the sharp, woody vetiver seems to only call more attention to it. At this point to this powder-averse writer, it is time to start scrubbing. The bottom line is the discontinued Ta starts off somewhat strange but wearable, but turns into a loaded powder puff, earning it an "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and an avoid recommendation to all but those craving powdery oakmoss and odd fruit.
26th November, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Wild Pears by Montale

The opening is fruity, with melon and coconut is the foreground; in the background a banana impression is evident, with a touch of pineapple added in for good measure.

The drydown shifts it a bits towards the floral realm, with some muguet vying for attention also; whiffs of
hyacinth a making an appearance very briefly. An apple aroma - fresh apples that is - adds a but more fruitiness at this stage.

The base develops a light tea note, that is weak black tea, with a light vanilla note added in the background, which is superimposed once a calone-related freshness of a sea breeze.

A pleasant scent for cooler summer days, that is balanced skillfully and display a nice pear fruit at its core. The performance is good. 3/5
26th November, 2020
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Amber Vanilla by Regina Harris

The basis for this review is a Luckyscent sample I ordered. Readers interested in Regina Harris oils should note I have a good number of this form factor; a concentrated perfume oil. Sometimes reviews will refer to an attar or mukhallat, but I will use CPO to abbreviate concentrated perfume oil.

Let’s roll through some points.

1. Regina Harris is not a name I recognize in perfumery or cosmetics. My interest piqued due to notes and CPO form factor. Based on knowledge from other domains unrelated to perfumery, I believe this may be a white labeled product made to order. Her bio remains blank so if there is some backstory out there I am naive as of the time I write this review.

2. All information points to a total of two perfumes in her brand’s portfolio, both CPO that don’t greatly diverge from many basic note compositions amber/vanilla/bakhoor and rose/myrrh/frankincense. The plot thickens I suppose. Odd truncated portfolio of fairly standard offerings in the genre and form factor.

3. Rarely do I find or describe a scent as sexy. The same holds true here: not conflating incense-y vanilla with sex. These sorts of scents aren’t considered feminine in relation to my ethnic cultural background, nor my partner’s.

On to the review.

The green header tips my hand to readers that I enjoy wearing Regina Harris Amber Vanilla. It performs comparably to CPOs of well known brands and in my humble opinion appears to be good quality. Amber Vanilla is more expensive relative to the many attars and mukhallats from better known houses, and the vessel is merely on par with CPOs in this price range and lower ranges. There’s not much special going on here, though it is very easy to wear. Does the ‘amber’ shine through? Not really, based on what I perceived compared to say Olympic Orchids Amber, Rania J Ambre Loup, or even Yves Rocher Voile d’Ambre. Expect more of a burnt incense slowly unfolding into a fog that suggests amber and moderate sweetness that could be vanilla if you know it’s called Amber Vanilla.

For those whose first experience with a CPO is here don’t judge in the first half hour of swiping the wand across your pulse points. And if indeed the full bottle itself uses a wand or rollerball application it’s worth discovering application methods that generate sillage with CPOs. Harsh openings can be misleading to where the scent will fully develop. The payoff with CPOs can often be on longevity and restrained projection. I prefer my scents reined in and mixed with skin instead of overwriting it.

Thumbs up but not FBW at full retail. At $125 there are many worthy competitor CPOs. Be aware the volume of Regina Harris oils are closer to one tola than EDP typical volumes of 30 ml or more. Bear in mind the greater concentration of an oil. Overall this is an approachable entry CPO.
26th November, 2020

Rumz al Rasasi 9325 pour lui by Rasasi

A vibrant and zesty peppery/citric/exotic opening evolving into a sort of Aventus-like final mix of woodsy resinous cedarwood, smoky suede and musky synth ambergris. Actually Rumz Al Rasasi 9325 Pour Lui opens energically on fresh/spicy pineapple and lime and (passing through a dry floral transition) settles down to a mix of fir, lemon (throughout present and heady), cedarwood, fir, leather and synth ambergris. This Al Rasasi fragrance is labelled in terms of cheap Aventus-variant/clone along side with scents as Al Maknoon Silver, Armaf Club de Nuit Intense Man and Vibrant Leather by Zara. Rumz is really close to Aventus but smells fruitier, stronger on lime and hesperidic acid bitterness, less prominent on juicy pineapple (in here smelling drier and no way "ripe"), less smoky and basically softer on my skin (with a less powerful sillage if compared to Aventus). If you can't handle with the "boisterous" Aventus-smokiness (especially the one in some batches of Aventus) than this fragrance could be a valid inexpensive alternative. Lemon is prominent on pineapple (and throughout) and the fruitiness is slightly less peppery. Also in here the smokiness is heady but in a more "balanced" way while the zesty/musky fruitiness (with vague ozonic elements) is the real protagonist of the olfactory performance. Dry down is definitely close to Aventus (especially to several of its batches) and Armaf Club de Nuit but smoother, more lemony, fresher and softer on suede, spiciness, rootiness and smokiness. Performances in general are more than satisfactory. Better to be worn in sultry/humid/exotic climates and if applied sparingly on skin.

25th November, 2020

Intimus by Navitus Parfums

This is one of those fragrances where I hate the opening but love the late drydown, making me happy I keep stuff around rather than scrubbing at the first sign of displeasure. Intimus by Navitus Parfums (2019) is part of the launch collection curated by Steven from Redolessence, a popular YouTube reviewer-cum-influencer who typically has little to say negatively about most fragrance he discusses, and instead tries to just objectively break down everything. There's a bit of merit in that, but it lends no insight into what he truly enjoys in a fragrance, so seeing these Navitus Parfums scents at least gives us a bit of an answer, even if creativity is capped somewhat by the evident "built for cost" nature of the line (in spite of the price tag). With Intimus, we have a bit of a mixed bag categorically, but this is generally a sweet fragrance.

The opening is very much like a Jean-Paul Gaultier Ultra Mâle (2015) or adjacent style, which is an instant groan for me, hence resisting the temptation to scrub. The bubblegum ethyl maltol sweetness and fruit accords mixed with pink pepper overload me fast, but after about ten minutes, something more enjoyable emerges with sort of gourmand semi-oriental fougère hybrid, seeing muguet and geranium mix with some candied amber and vanilla in the heart. The base is where things get really interesting, as a (rectified) oakmoss sets up with patchouli and for once in the entire line thus far a woody cedar note that actually smells like wood. This strange mature turn near the end pulls its own ass out of the fire for sure, remaining mildly sweet but cozy and aromatic for the day-long duration. Sillage closes in after 30 minutes, which is also when that hellish opening dies. Best use is fall through spring, in casual settings.

I've said it before and I'll say it again that $130+ for 50ml of extrait is still a poor deal when perceived materials quality and blending is this poor, effectively being barely above the modern designer standard. Considering designer parfum concentrations are about the same price for double the juice, Navitus is only for the Redolessence fans looking to support their hero (by way of a SPIFF or commission I'm sure), because you can do way better for the money. That said, I like the smell Intimus ultimately comes but am not particularly happy about the journey there, so I wouldn't get this at any price but can see some using "ends justify the means" logic and dealing with it. Christian Carbonnel was allowed to play with fire here and for that I give props from an artistic perspective, but feel indifferent about wearing an overpriced modern clubber with middling quality and 80's fougère underpinnings. Neutral.
25th November, 2020

Baiser de Russie by Guerlain

I just happened to have tested this after just having reviewed LIDG and LIDGE, so I see how this is really an extension of those. If L'Instant is complex green Guerlainade, and Extrême is that plus nutty smoke, then Baiser de Russie is that with the smoke and ethyl maltol turned way up and joined by pink pepper, with the original green Guerlainade pushed to the background.

If the main complaint about LIDG is that it is kind of artfully, prettily vague, and Extrême grounds it in nutty smoke and chocolate, then Russie takes the formula and makes it almost pedestrian, like layering Extrême with a pink pepper mall perfume. This is a step too far for me personally - this is basically Guerlain's answer to Burberry Brit, which I don't think was necessary or advisable.
25th November, 2020

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme Extrême / Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

I like the way Zealot's review lays out the L'Instant/L'Instant Extrême history. I agree, in that I'm one of those people who likes the original L'Instant pour Homme, the way it combines greens with the infamous Gurlainade of mossy, musky vanilla in a beautifully indescribable way.

Extrême takes that same formula and adds a bunch of ethyl maltol, which adds a smoky roasted nut smell, as well as a pinch of marshmallow and that chocolate illusion. I can see how this takes something unfamiliar and grounds it a bit, and I can see how a lot of men who weren't sure about L'Instant's diaphanous sweetness are more comfortable with Extrême's smokiness.

All told, I prefer the original, but still enjoy Extrême. Thumbs up, of course, but as a second choice.
25th November, 2020

Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain

An unremarkable little perfume. Basically, I smell sawdusty sandalwood with clove. It's oddly vague, like there's a chemical in there that's added to obscure everything and make it seem kind of sugar-dusted. The whole thing is sort of salty and doughy, but also a touch leathery.

There's a tiny bit of Mitsouko DNA in here (that vague dough smell), which is probably why this has the cult following it does, but I just don't care enough about chemical-drenched clovey sawdust to love this.
25th November, 2020

Oud Luxuria by Navitus Parfums

Not for me but might be very appealing for hardcore oud lovers.

This oud is dark, heavy, dirty, animalic, and earthy. Up close on skin, it has that "crotch" smell. In the air, it's not as offensive and has that "barnyard" feel.

Big projection on minimal sprays.
25th November, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Aoud Damascus by Montale

The rose and oud I get in the opening blast are a bit unexpected is ther well-behaved character. The oud is not very synthetic, discreet and a team player. The rose is of good quality, but I am unsure whether it is Damascene as the name might be seen to promise.

Soon I get a frankincense that, again, is smooth and restrained, and at times a with a slightly camphoric background nite. The gurjum develops slowly and convinces with its lovely fresh citrus/fruity thrust.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection, and a superb longevity of thirteen hours on my skin.

A scent for warmer autumn days, composed of ingredients of a decent quality . 3.5/5
25th November, 2020

Musk Deer by Zoologist Perfumes

Musty sweetness on top. Spicy, like an incense. The heart has a woodsy-floral aroma, with some raunchy patchouli and labdanum. This fragrance has the "signature" tell of most Zoologist scents. To me, this seems more linear, and mellow, than most others of this house.

The base is woody and dry, like an old wood furniture aroma. Ambrette hovers above the skin.

Overall the top notes are louder than the heart notes or base notes. It has an echo, for lack of a better word, as it settles. One of the least pungent of this house IMO.
25th November, 2020

Eau Qui Pique by Iunx

Very warm, spiced mix. Loads of coriander. Muddled mint. Savory, with a hint of ginger in the background. Coriander remains strong for some time.

Pepper blend moves in later; hints of hot chili pepper and a smell of lightly blanched, red bell pepper. Still, remains savory.

Freshly cut cedarwood, finishes this off, many hours later.

A scent more suited for warm months.
25th November, 2020
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Oud Imperium by Navitus Parfums

Oud Imperium by Navitus Parfums (2019) is one of two obvious ouds launching the brand and part of the inaugural collection curated by Steven of Redolessence (in the Roja Dove Parfum Cologne knock-off bottles). I like this one marginally better than Oud Luxuria (2019), which feels like a drugstore interpretation of a rose oud with over-amped sillage by way of a really harsh woody amber incense note, that literally borks the whole composition into being unwearable. Oud Imperium avoids that route but in so doing doesn't really smell like an oud either, using a combination of florals, tonka, and clean laundry musks that make me go "where's the oud?" in the same way the old lady in the Wendy's commercial asked "where's the beef?" back in the 80's. I'm going to say that with oud not really being in the "bigger picture" of this scent, I think the name does it a disservice, especially to oud fans, but that's just me being fussy I guess. Oud Imperium isn't terrible but also feels like it wants to be 3 different scents all at once.

The opening of Oud Imperium gives us a strange combination of lavender and medicinal oud, which reminds me a tad of Initio Oud for Greatness (2018), but without the rounded synthetic cashmeran saffron note of that scent. Instead, we move into white florals in the heart like muguet, jasmine, and linden blossom. The medicinal synth oud note is very reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent M7 (2002) or even Roja Dove Creation-E Parfum Cologne (2019) with a similar Dr. Pepper vibe, eventually fading into a tobacco-like floral tonka structure surrounded by white musks and cypriol to give a sort of pillow clean but slightly chypre nature. The woody amber molecule here is toned down and Oud Imperium remains mostly soft, round, with hints of woodiness and musk. Was Christian Carbonnel really on deck for this? Oud Imperium feels pretty confused. Wear time at extrait strength is all day but sillage falls out faster than with most of these Navitus dealie-o's, poofing into a skin scent in under an hour. Best use is romantic evening wear and for me, this reads more feminine than masculine, for what that's worth.

I've smelled many an oud fragrance that isn't really, from a host of Amouroud scents that ended up being Tom Ford Black Orchid (2006) b-sides to Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 (2015) clones, and even rose patchouli combos with only the faintest trace of oud like Aramis Perfume Calligraphy (2012), but what makes or breaks an oud that isn't oud is what it offers up once you come to terms with the fallacy itself. In the case of Oud Imperium, this is a floral tobacco musk with arbitrary woody amber and trace synthetic oud elements there just to make it heavy, feeling like it could have been sold in any number of fancy decorative bottles from brands such as Asgharali or Armaf, and sold for $40 under some name like "Glorious Night" or something at a mall. Instead, it's an extrait sold for $130+ at 50ml and endorsed by a YouTuber with some clout in the online community. I like Steven, but pretty ambivalent about this scent, as it feels pretty shoe-horned into the line compared to some others. Neutral.
25th November, 2020

Lautus by Navitus Parfums

Lautus by Navitus Parfums (2020) is from the second series under the creative direction of Steven from Redolessence, but sees the usual perfumer of Christian Carbonnel switched out for longtime niche perfume hero Bertrand Duchaufour, which promises to make things a bit more classical in nature. Surely enough, Lautus feels far more French than many of the previous Navitus fragrances, and doesn't try to stuff oud, incense, or amber into weird places like some of the original 2019 line. Lautus feels dry and semi chypre-like, and is the traditionally aromatic one from the line, also swinging slightly more masculine for that reason, and is likeable enough to fans of vintage styles reworked as upper-ten luxury niche experiences. I'm not keen on the $130+ price for 50ml, because ultimately this just feels like "designer +" to my nose, but you could do worse.

The opening is going to have a bunch of sharp and floral citrus notes, citing lavender, neroli, yuzu, and lemon verbena. The lift-off from this is impressive, but a touch artificial. I hate re-using "built for cost" so much when reviewing modern fragrances regardless of price point because it feels like a cop-out, but that's what it is. Juniper in the heart with hedione and other nondescript florals move this further along until the slightly camphoraceous patchouli finds home in the base. Here we see ambroxan, Iso E Super, and cashmeran mingle with the patchouli, giving me huge "Nü" Dior Homme (2020) vibes, but with a more-complex aromatic floral interplay on top. This isn't an exact analogy and Lautus is the far better "nü-chypre" scent, they just have similar base DNA that makes the late dry down near indistinguishable, which is a bit of a bummer. Wear time is all day and sillage peters out after a few hours due to the extrait format. Recommended use is fall through spring for formal occasions.

Lautus by Navitus Parfums is a good scent if gotten at a good price for people into revisionist traditional perfume and aren't picky on materials. The extrait concentration means one bottle will last ages in larger collections, which may mitigate the price some, and I see this line as mostly for wealthy or intense-hobby collectors already with large collections anyhow, or the kind of people who follow Steven's channel. Beyond my price nitpicks and the bottle design looking too much like a store brand Roja Parfum Cologne, there isn't much else to dock points off of besides the fact that Lautus doesn't feel exciting. This is relatively safe and reverent yet left-of-center niche perfumery with dubious ingredients quality the likes of which niche fans have known for years by now, and had Duchaufour made this for L'Artisan Parfumeur say 15 years ago, it might have been a head turner like Timbuktu (2004). A solid if slightly unremarkable release from Navitus. Thumbs up.
25th November, 2020

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

This feels like a softer Spicebomb with the vanilla and cinnamon being smooth and subtle. This is more of the floral/potpourri vanilla+cinnamon smell than the pure foodie vanilla+cinnamon. There is some tonka listed in the notes, which usually that combo gives me a vanilla cookie feel. The other thing that stands out is the benzoin.

Projection is light, should be good for close encounters.
24th November, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Crystal Aoud by Montale

Whilst there is a touch of oud in the opening, a fruity component - melon and green apple add a pleasant fruity aroma, which is augmented by a tangerine note with whiffs of sweet oranges. The wood notes added a bit later include teakwood and a touch of sandal.

Later the fruitiness recedes, and a soft and restrained saffron arrives, and it is mixed with a slightly creamy saffron, as well as a soft and restrained patchouli. A discreet vanilla adds just the right amount of sweetness, which is underscored by some white musks.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a splendid twelve hours of longevity on my skin.

An agreeable Montale for cooler spring days, quite complex and with excellent performance. 3/5.

24th November, 2020

Opulentas by Navitus Parfums

Okay, so this is a weird one. Opulentas by Navitus Parfums (2020) is part of a second series using the fake Roja Dove bottle designs, and thus part of the portfolio controlled by Steven from YouTube Channel Redolessence, and delivers a "designer plus" luxury perfume experience akin to Parfums de Marly, with mixed results. Price is about $140 for 50ml of extrait, and some of these become woefully synthetic and harsh in the base, while others maintain some poise throughout. Luckily, Opulentas shows a bit of the latter and is enjoyable from start to finish. What makes this so weird is it comes across like a fougère with oud in the base, a bit of east-meets-west, and if this is from the mind of Steven himself, he gets a round of applause for being novel. I still think the ingredients quality and finish leave a bit to be desired for the price, but if this came at a steep discount, I'd end up with one, and may if that ever happens.

The opening is right away a classic semi-oriental fougère tone that also reminds me of several Roja Dove creations, themselves upmarket reimaginings of past glorys from Guerlain. Lemon, petitgrain, and a tart dry lavender merge with apple and a sour cypriol in the heart, flanked by patchouli, geranium, and rose. The oud is medicinal here, and likely synthetic as with other oud scents from the house (thank Firmenich), and classic oakmoss joins the fray in the base with hay-like coumarin that feeds into the camphoraceous patchouli. The result here is one part Perris Monte Carlo Oud Imperial (2012) and one part Amouage Bracken Man (2016), but spun through the Roja Dove prism of luxury. Wear time is all day but sillage quiets down after about 4 hours, being every bit a close scent bubble as you'd expect from an extrait. Opulentas feels very mature so be warned if you like sweet youthful scents, because this is defintely not that at all. Best use is fall through spring in formal situations.

Christian Carbonnel is a clever perfumer here, spinning a web of several different perspectives on luxury masculinity, with Steven's help of course, interlocked into a perfume that is pound-for-pound in the Nordstrom realm of affordability for the average white collar dude who won't spring for Creed but likes something better than your standard YSL. Navitus Parfums as a whole comes across like another "fleece the cult of the Frag Bro or the rich, whichever comes first" kind of an operation, and Steven may just be falling into a trap baited by the exploitation of his own influencer hubris when offered to creative direct the line, but a brother's gotta eat too so if he's getting paid, power to him. At least Opulentas smells decent enough to not feel embarassed owning, but I don't expect the "oudgére" to become a thing because of it. Sample first and buy discounted if you like it. Thumbs up.
24th November, 2020

Oud Imperium by Navitus Parfums

Smells like cola and cedar. Reminds me of M7 Oud Absolu. In the dry down, there’s a cumin note when smelled up close on skin. In the air, the cumin note is fine though, just smells like woods, not offensive. The late drydown becomes more powdery, sweet, and soft.

Pretty good projection, not overpowering. I get over 10 hours of longevity.
24th November, 2020

Oud Luxuria by Navitus Parfums

Oud Luxuria by Navitus Parfums (2019) really just smells like a more-concentrated Jovan Secret Oud (2012), which was itself a phenomenal steal when it was in production, but amping it up to extrait and selling 50mls of it for $140 is a bit of a stretch for me. In a similar move to Parfums de Marly, Navitus seems to go ham on top and heart notes, but then moves not-so-seamlessly into cheap but potent aromachemicals for the bases. Sometimes this works fine, as we've seen with some PdM releases that pass muster, but it mostly leaves me feeling unfufilled when I love the way something opens, but hate the way it irritatingly sits on skin after an hour. This is what happens to me when wearing Oud Luxuria, as it's really just "Norlimbanol Luxuria" after the semi-barnyard synthetic rose oud comes and goes. At least Jovan had enough sense not to make its cheapie oud dead-ass strong, so the fact it's fake never really grates on the nerves much.

The opening of Oud Luxuria is bergamot, plastic rose, and the recognizable Firmenich oud compound used in Le Labo Oud 27 (2009), Dior Leather Oud (2010), the aforementioned Jovan, and a few others. The difference with Oud Luxuria is there isn't a lot of it, and soon we see pink pepper, geranium, and hedione take this into more-familiar masculine-approved territory. Oud Luxuria is supposed to be unisex, but the stuff goes into "designer masculine" mode after about 30 minutes, then settles onto a scratchy norlimbanol "incense" base with some other sharp woody amber molecule and some musk doing a bit of talking. A green dry patchouli flits and flicks, but this stuff is basically all norlimbanol and woody amber scratch, irritating the Hell out of me once it dries. Built for cost they say, but sold at a premium (in a bottle suspiciously close to what Roja Dove uses for his parfum colognes). If you wear this, expect days-long longevity (if you choose to allow it on clothes especially), and best use I'd say is in winter for formal situations.

So Steven from Redollesence was creative director for the original line, but ultimately he's not the accountant paying forward for the R&D cost, just the guy telling the labs what he likes and them making something to suit based on his input, so he's not to blame for the cheapness. As it stands, Navitus Parfums Oud Luxuria smells good 75% of the way (even if not great), then plummets into nose-searing chaos like a typical designer oud take done wrong, so I'm guessing he did his best based on what he had at hand. Same for perfumer Christian Carbonnel, who was the hands and nose to match Steven's brain, both likely hobbled by budgets set forth by the Middle Eastern conglomerate company (look it up) that funded this whole thing. If they bad both been given the kind of budgets Roja Dove enjoys, this could have been great, but would also be even more expensive, like three times more. Thumbs down.
24th November, 2020

Havana Reserva by Aramis

Aramis Havana Reserva EDT -

Released in 1996 as a “concentree” flanker to the original, this one has been long discontinued and can be tough to find. The bottles are identical, shaped as a conga drum in blue frosted glass, with the only difference being that Reserva has a silver topped cap.

Havana Reserva is definitely a different animal than the original, however the backbone and DNA are the same. The opening is much less aromatic / boozy and instead dives right into a thick, oily blend of spices over a dusty vanilla. They are both mildly sweet.

After an hour, your head will be placed squarely inside the bouquet of the humidor's chopping block as the leafy, earthy tobacco and cedar sharpen their collective axe. Your smile should be a mile wide at this point!

Reserva is an amazing composition, BUT truthfully, only dyed in the wool Aramis Havana devotees (like me) need apply. The overall differences are not going to be worth it for the casual fan of the original.

If you are interested in applying for admission as a Brother of the Leaf, then polish up your V-cutter and expect to pay north of $125 for a 100ml bottle.

4.5 stars
23rd November, 2020 (last edited: 24th November, 2020)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Amber & Spices by Montale

A wood festival to kick of the olfactory sojourn: oud in the foreground; a smooth, quite rich and well-rounded oud - little of the screeching and intrusive characteristic of most synthetic ouds. A pleasant sandalwood shines through, accentuated by a nice ebony in the background that expresses whiffs of dustiness at times. The oud makes itself felt for sure, but is well-integrated with the other wood notes. Soon some nutmeg is evident that moves more into a more central position onto the scentre stage in the olfactory performance.

A light amber is also present, maybe an unexpectedly light one given that it features in the name of this product rather prominently. A dark and soft rose note develops a bit later, but this rose blends in well with the other constituents of this creation. Towards the end a cumin impression adds an additional spice delight, not too strong nut not weak either.

I get moderate sillage, good projection, and a superb longevity of approximately twelve hours on my skin.

This autumnal scent is mixing standard notes with some original thoughts, and it is blended well. Nothing sensational and no brilliant notes or impressions, but crafted well. The performance is excellent on me. 3/5.
23rd November, 2020

SoCal Sport by Hollister

Generic shower gel mixed with a powdery freshness. Has a bit of a 90’s feel to it. Decent woody, muskiness in the late dry down.

Projection is okay during the first 3-4 hours. I was able to smell it in the air without having to go looking for it. The skin scent lasts most of the workday.
23rd November, 2020

Absolutio by Navitus Parfums

Sweet, cherry cordial with a dry, spicy, woody (think a mild oud/saffron) base. Seems closest to BR 540 in feel but there are some differences. It feels a bit more masculine and heavy than the MFK (maybe some leather?). Doesn't have some of the light, "sparkly" aroma-chemical magic that I associate with BR 540.

I get big projection and all-day longevity with minimal sprays.

23rd November, 2020

Altamir by Ted Lapidus

Altamir by Ted Lapidus (2008) is one of those fragrances that doesn't get touched much by prominent or "serious" critics, influencers, "tastemakers", or most 100k+ subscriber YouTube reviewers because like most things from this house, it's a cheaply-made but high-performance "cologne guy" scent from a brand that seems to have such a guy at heart. I mean come on, Ted Lapidus was a once-prominent designer couture house that like so many, was converted into little more than a licensed badge for perfume and accessory makers looking to get into the game after the maison itself entered a twilight fugue. Fans of 80's powerhouse fragrances will always remember (or be introduced to) Lapidus pour Homme (1987), but beyond that, the relevance of the brand in perfume is anyone's guess. This is especially true since The Bogart Group has owned the label and used it to release fragrant B-sides to its own cheapie power sauces like it used to do with Balenciaga until that license was snatched away when the latter was rebooted as a couture brand. So what should you expect then with Altamir? Well, a lot of things, but none of them really all that mind-blowing. Just know that everything here is louder than everything else you could compare it to, on purpose.

Altamir at face value smells like a clubber; no surprise there, considering who Bogart and its licensed brands makes perfumes for and generally how they're worn by those clientele. A lot of different clubbers come to mind, some of them technically proto-clubbers from the late 80's and early 90's like old Lapdius pour Homme, and a similar house DNA follows suit. People with some knowledge in this area will compare Altamir to Minotaure by Palomo Picasso (1992), Sculpture Homme by Nikos (1994), or more-recent such scents as the discontinued semi-venerated Gaultier 2 by Jean-Paul Gaultier (2005). Maybe Altamir was meant to be a competitor? The opening is a sweet blast of neroli and pineapple, the last one reminding me most of Lapidus pour Homme, the former reminding me of Nikos, but also oddly of the as-yet-created Maison Francis Kurkdjian APOM pour Homme (2009). The neroli ends up stealing the focus from the pineapple, as the warm jasmine indole swimming in ethyl maltol vanilla of the heart takes over. Base-wise, this is tonka, amber, "fruitchouli" grade patchouli isolate, a dirty musk, and a woody-amber. That last part adds a bit of itch to an otherwise smooth sugary bomb, but I'll let it slide. Wear time is until you take it off, with context being up to you.

It goes without saying that sillage and projection are monstrous, and Altamir gets cloying fast with a heavy hand, as is probably intended by the trolls behind all Lapidus and Bogart fragrances. The bottom line is you get mostly an amber fragrance with patchouli, musk, and tonka in a creamy-sweet neroli-forward bomb that will only feel moderate in wear during the coldest winter. Entering the club with this will make the concurrently-released Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008) feel like it came off the dollar menu at McDonald's, while those wanting a classier and more-balanced take on this idea should spring for the MFK. It's funny when you think about it, as stuff like Gaultier 2 was a springboard for Francis Kurkdjian (who composed it) to make APOM, while this takes the same leap of logic but cheapens out on the blend and dials straight up to Ludicrous Speed in performance, overshooting its target effect by light years. As mentioned earlier, that's likely on purpose and in the end, we still have a rather wearable if sweet floral amber for men (but smelling unisex to me), with a nice price. I'm hit or miss with sweet ambers like these and Altamir works for when I want to let my inner "cologne guy" out, although I suggest sampling if you're unsure. Thumbs up
23rd November, 2020

Hemera by Gallagher Fragrances

Opening is a lemon house cleaner and musk. Jasmine comes out later. The scent isn’t the worst ever but it’s not something I would wear or recommend to others, male or female.

Performance is a mixed bag with soft projection but good longevity, lasting most of the day.
23rd November, 2020

Virtus by Navitus Parfums

Virtus has an interesting boozy-fig opening. The fig remains into the development but then you get a nice, light honey and floral tobacco. Pretty refreshing and completely unisex.

Decent projection, not a huge bubble. Longevity lasts most of the workday.
23rd November, 2020

Primas by Navitus Parfums

A very woody version of Cedrat Boise. The citrus is green and bitter. In fact, the woods seem kinda green and mossy too.

Good projection and longevity on minimal sprays.
23rd November, 2020

Intimus by Navitus Parfums

Starts off a little dry and harsh but with plenty of cotton candy sweetness. As it develops, it becomes more juicy and fruity sweet, drawing comparisons to UltraMale. This is more mature than UltraMale. Also feels like some vanilla and makeup iris in the drydown, becoming more pleasing. Definitely unisex.

Very good performance with room-filling projection and all-day longevity.
23rd November, 2020

Navus by Navitus Parfums

This is a dry grapefruit/citrus and woods scent. Musky and peppery. Reminds me of L'Humaniste or Nio, my two favorite citrus summer scents. I think it lacks some of the development of those other scents and feels a little thinner. However, performance is very good with good projection and all-day longevity.
23rd November, 2020