Perfume Reviews
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Reviews by Grungevig

Total Reviews: 8

La Vierge de Fer by Serge Lutens

I tend to prefer unpretty, rough around the edges stuff from House of Matriarch, Juniper Ridge, Caron (Yatagan), D.S. & Durga, Santa Maria Novella, Mazzolari, and the like, and so feel utterly silly wearing this light, "fruity," white musky offering from Serge Lutens. I smell like lotion infused with scents that belong in dryer sheets or candles available for sale at dollar stores. I don't EVER aspire to smell like lotion infused with such scents.

11th January, 2021

Bonsai : Fragrance of Zen by House of Matriarch

I lack the technical ability to analyze the scent's notes or evolution, but can describe generally what I experience. The first few minutes remind me a little bit of Slumberhouse's Mare, i.e., a mix of bright greens (I'm pretty sure I pick up juniper and evergreens) with fruity (not "fruity" - this is 98.5% natural according to HoM's website) undertones, perhaps from the aglaia (with which I have no known experience). I also smell something mildly smoky - probably the black copal - that adds a little haze to the greens.

Heretofore, my "go to" green scents are several from Juniper Ridge, Euphorium Brooklyn's Wald, Parfumerie Generale's Papyrus de Ciane, Dior's Granville, and to a lesser extent Pino Silvestre's Pine Gems Essence. Bonsai is different from these scents - less intensely (or perhaps "assertively") natural than Juniper Ridge's offerings, less dense than Wald (and Mare, mentioned earlier), lacking the lavender of Pine Gems Essence, and less bitter than Papyrus de Ciane. I find the greatest similarity to Granville, which is a high, high compliment from me. Bonsai is quieter (barely registered above a skin scent whisper even with 8 sprays - 2 to each wrist, 2 to my neck pulse points, and 2 to my chest), greener up top, and perhaps a little smokier, but I do find similarities in scent and "feel". And for those of you more experienced, I wonder if Bonsai's chrysanthemum smells at all like Granville's gorse - I smell a little "thistle" in each.

Bonsai is a remarkable fragrance, one I could see myself wearing when I want or need to decompress and rejuvenate (or whenever - I don't put too much stock in fragrance seasons or occasions).
24th May, 2020

Vetiver / Vetyver by Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella is my favorite house, hands down, including because of its masterful takes on single item-dominant fragrances, such as Patchouli, Verbena, and Opoponax, to name a few. I expected this vetiver to be a love. Nope. I smell nothing even close to the grassy, oily, woodsy, rooty, nutty iodine-y qualities I love in a good vetiver-based fragrance. All I smell is rosewood.

Just like Jerry didn't want to be a pirate, I don't want to smell like rosewood.

17th March, 2019
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Mountain High by Smell Bent

Big thumbs up for this offering from Smell Bent. I love the smell of cannabis and was delighted with the potency of the cannabis note in Mountain High - it is up front, juicy, sweet, and strong. Because I love this note so much, I layer the oil with the EDT spray and get at least 1-2 hours of it. Without layering the two, I get a soft 15-20 minutes with the oil and a louder 15 minutes with the EDT.

Shortly after application, the fir and lavender notes emerge and combine with the cannabis exceptionally well, such that the cannabis becomes less pronounced and the overall effect both woodsy and a bit powdery. This is my favorite stage of Mountain High, which lasts a couple of hours with the oil/EDT layering.

Before the cannabis/fir/lavender accord wears off, the vanilla and tonka emerge and combine to sweeten the scent quite a bit. I enjoy this stage quite a bit but it's a wee too bit sweet for me.

The last several hours of Mountain High consists of the sweetened lavender accord with some sandalwood - although the notes pyramid lists patchouli, I don't smell any. This, too, is an enjoyable experience, moreso than the sweeter middle.

I've tried two other cannabis-based scents - Demeter's Cannabis Flower and DSH's Rocky Mountain High - and the Smell Bent beats them both. The Demeter's cannabis note (very dry compared to Smell Bent's) is good for the first 10-15 minutes then turns harsh and chemically. It also is very linear and has none of the depth that Mountain High has. DSH's Rocky Mountain High is a great scent, but it is more wood-based and less nuanced than the Smell Bent. It is extremely dry and has very little sweetness. Because it is less dimensional than the Smell Bent, DHS's Mountain High is a great scent to layer with others (e.g., SMN Patchouli, I Profumi di Firenze's Tabacco).
30th October, 2015

Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain

This is an exquisite lime-based eau de cologne housed in an exquisite bottle that fades depressingly quickly. I spray this on hard (12-15 times on skin and clothes) and the scent might last two hours. Because of the terrible longevity, I cannot recommend Eau de Cologne Imperiale over comparable (in price and style) scents that last longer or otherwise perform better. Said another way, Eau de Cologne Imperiale does not hold a candle to Eau de Guerlain, which can be obtained at the same price point, packaged in a similar bottle, and lasts 8-10 hours with 3-6 sprays. Nor can Imperiale compete well with Santa Maria Novella's Acqua di Sicilia, which is an EDC like Imperiale, but lasts hours longer.

Despite its poor longevity, Eau de Cologne Imperiale smells fantastically classy, bright, uplifting, and leagues better than "fresh" or "sporty" scents that intend to provide only a few hours of scent. For this reason, I give it a thumbs up
21st September, 2015 (last edited: 03rd September, 2018)

Verbena by Santa Maria Novella

Big thumbs up for this bracing offering from my favorite house, Santa Maria Novella. The other reviewer is right - the opening is very sharp, but that's exactly the reason I love it. I splash this on in the morning and instantly feel alert, awake, alive, and happy.

As far as the scent, I find SMN's Verbena an equal parts amalgam of soap, citrus, and dirt. Conceptually, it's what I imagine a lemon rind might smell like after a soapy waxy coating was applied, then the rind dragged on the ground.

For an Eau de Cologne, I get exceptional longevity - 8-10 hours. I don't notice much development in the fragrance, but that's okay by me.

Another reason I love this fragrance is that it layers exceptionally well with other fragrance in my wardrobe, including Diptyque's Virgilio, Guerlain and Mirato's Vetivers, Santa Maria Novella's Aqua di Siciliia, several Juniper Ridge fragrances, Smell Bent's Green (and Frankensmellies Dark Green Citrus and Green Patchouli), Slumberhouse's Norne, Jo Malone's Lime Mandarin and Basil, and really most of my citrus- or herbal/green-based fragrances. Don't get me wrong, SMN Verbena capably stands on its own, but its ability to layer well with others adds to its versatility and value in my wardrobe.
16th January, 2015

Dead of Winter by Smell Bent

I am a big fan of the Smell Bent line and so was happy to give this seasonal release a whirl (I tested the perfume oil). The licorice/anise note was super strong in my vial but quite mellow on my skin, even from the get go. After an hour or so, the anise was all but gone and "One" remained. One is another Smell Bent fragrance and smells of dusty paper, vanilla, and musk. I adore One and so enjoyed this "without anise" phase of Dead of Winter. The dust/vanilla/musk phase remained the same scent but decreased in strength from hour one to ten. To my nose, the scent did not really evolve or change much.

Respectfully, I part company a bit with silentrich in that I do not smell anything particularly sweet (could be the oil vs EDT/EDP experience). I also question whether I would reach for Dead of Winter if I wanted an anise fix. I don't think it would, as the anise is fairly fleeting on my skin. Rather, since I already own One and Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin (in which the anise remains for several hours), I would probably choose to layer the two to achieve a longer-lasting anise experience than found in Dead of Winter. However, if you don't own One or LLAM, and you enjoy anise, musk, vanilla, and "dust" (apparently from the cedar and heliotrope), I strongly recommend you give Dead of Winter a try.
24th January, 2013

Vintage Black by Kenneth Cole

To my nose (concededly less trained than many that post reviews on this site), Kenneth Cole Vintage Black is a a decent but uninspiring fragrance, an mixture without form or character that remains such (merely a mixture) throughout its mediocre lifespan. It teases with interesting notes (as well as an overall notes pyramid) but delivers something shapeless and generic.
19th March, 2012