Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Wild Gardener

Total Reviews: 675

Eau du Ciel by Annick Goutal

Eau du Ciel is old fashioned and rather stately; imagine, the swishy green stockings of Y on the shapely legs of Diorissimo.
And like many of the best ideas, it's very simple, basically a marriage of oil and alcohol: hydroxycitronellol - the fresh muguet-like floral, and the oily-dry varnish of rosewood.
But, why is a woody green lime-flower named sky water? It smells nothing like rain...
18th July, 2021

Perid'eau by Robert Beaulieu

A fruity white flora,
like pear drops and hairspray.
16th July, 2021

Talisman Eau Transparente by Balenciaga

A vague blend of fruity sweet, woody and floral smells,
it becomes something like apple crumble and nag champa before it dives into musk.
Hardly a perfume, more like a flavouring gone wrong.
14th July, 2021
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Jardins de Toscane by L'Artisan Parfumeur

An butterfly garden of mixed flowers and Parma Violets.
13th July, 2021

Latitude Sport by Olivier de Kersauson

On finding out that Olivier de Kersauson is a Breton yachtsman, it all makes sense: the name, the blue bottle, even the oval motif looks like a boat.
And surprise surprise! - the 'fume is aquatic.

This is basically another Cool Water clone, but - of course, Nejla Barbir (who worked on Dune) did something a bit different. The basic structure is there, marine crab apple, but it's dusty-woody-sweet, and lighter, and also quite spiky.

Now, in 1997, doing any kind of Cool Water thing was totally passé. But the spiky wood angle seems to be ahead of its time (1 Million – 2008, Bleu de Chanel EdT – 2010, Invictus – 2013 etc) and that makes Latitude Sport feel like an early bend in the road from Cool Water to Sauvage.
But, speaking personally, I think this particular route is a short one, and downhill all the way. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
12th July, 2021

Le Parfum de Thérèse by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

If Diorella is a sonata for over ripe melon, this is a symphony; a mobile, subtle masterpiece.
There's no point trying to name the chords in Parfum de Thérèse, it's a kaleidoscope of merging colours. But what you can say about it is : it's not pretty. It's fascinating, strange, beautiful even, but not a bauble to garner compliments of the 'smell good' variety. Perhaps more likely it would draw comments like "What's that weird smell? I've never smelled anything like that."
And you could tell them "It's a love song by an olfactive philosopher."
11th July, 2021

Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren

A variation on Cool Water, where the marine note has seaweed, and the crab apple is fruity gourmand.
It's well made, but seems to be going through the motions; like a Hawaiian shirt that’s only seen the beach from an air conditioned bar.

Sample vial and hence old
09th July, 2021

Aquaman by Rochas

A strong, powerful, synthetic, grapefruit, camphoraceous-minty, aromatic, aquatic, sweet, spicy, woody, long lasting citrus.
08th July, 2021

Rykiel Homme by Sonia Rykiel

Anorexic Cool Water clone.
07th July, 2021

Sport de Paco Rabanne by Paco Rabanne

Paco’s green fougère lightened by an Italian cologne.
It’s a more wearable flanker which blends urbane poise with rustic simplicity.
05th July, 2021 (last edited: 06th July, 2021)

Senteurs Fraîches by Eau Jeune

Plain woody citrus and mint. Of little interest.
04th July, 2021

Eau Ensoleillante by Clarins

A 'orange coloured' scent; Eau Ensoleillante is like an overstuffed cologne. There's a lot going on here : citrus, green, floral, powdery, sweet, woody and musky notes are all part of the formula.
And, as well as the usual ingredients it contains Griffonia seed (cf which is not a perfume material but a herbal remedy. The plant contains a precursor to serotonin, a hormone that effects the nervous system, and extracts have been used to treat obesity and depression.
Which means Ensoleillante is where perfumery meets the pharmacy. It's a sort of therapeutic perfume, or high class aromatherapy. But not only that, as well as containing a natural remedy, Ensoleillante is sunny and uplifting, it aims to cheer you up; which is aromachology - the science of altering mood with scent.
Ensoleillante is like an Hermès Eau or an Aqua Allegoria - but with therapeutic intent. The idea of which is all good. Whether it has a healing value or not is something I can't say, but as a perfume it’s not on the same level as an Hermès. Sadly it’s more like a Guerlain: there or there abouts.
And being like a sunny, orange, Eau Dynamisante, it was also a bit derivative. And maybe because of that, or some other reason, the people that run Clarins decided to pull it from the catalogue.
Pity. I'd like to see more perfumes that walk the line between making you smell nice, and helping you feel good when you need a boost. Many perfumes seem to do the opposite these days...
03rd July, 2021

Eau de Memo by Memo

A lemon green tea that fades to musky spice
in the cool - warm style of Déclaration.
Spray it on cloth to keep the head notes alive.
02nd July, 2021
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Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia by Guerlain

French perfumers use the word solaire, which I've never quite understood - until now.
It means sunny, of course, and there is also a connection to crème solaire - sun cream. You can smell the sun cream in Pierre Bourdon's Jil Sander Sun, but here, Lys Soleia is a charming lily; sunny, 'orange' and sweet.
It's such an innocent thing I can't help liking it, even though I hate lily scents and their toxic molecules.
So, mixed feelings about it's disappearance, it was good but at the same time it's no big deal that it's gone.
01st July, 2021

L'Homme Cologne Bleue by Yves Saint Laurent

'Those who like L'Homme Cologne Bleue often also like Sauvage, Acqua di Gio and La Nuit de L'Homme.'

And why?
Because it's a spiky and aquatic Homme flanker.
And a Cool Water clone.
29th June, 2021

Eau Tropicale by Sisley

Don't be fooled by the burst of tropical flowers.
With a puckering acidity, this fruity - woody combo is more
blue stocking than blue lagoon.
Sulphurous blackcurrant, musky flowers and grainy wood, it's boring and not very nice.
27th June, 2021

Caligna by L'Artisan Parfumeur

L'Artisan's Second Figuier which is sharp to the point of spiky.
A very different fig which shows how the times had changed since the first one; how the maison had moved away from niche experiments and closer to the mainstream.
Caligna means 'flirt' in Provençal, something Tommy Girl might have done had she lived among fig trees and not shopping malls.
26th June, 2021

Batucada by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Batucada is pleasant enough, a milky - aquatic version of the acid cologne.
But, 15 years after Tommy Girl it seems a bit irrelevant. And anyway, in the light of Francis Kurkdjian's minimal brilliancy - Green Tea Arden, I think filling out the profile with more notes is the wrong way to go with this style.
25th June, 2021

Terre d'Hermès Alcohol-Free Body Spray by Hermès

Body Spray is a water based perfume, an Eau de Senteur in the jargon. On the skin it's slightly more oily than the Eau de Toilette, but that's most likely the emulsifiers, which are there bind the oils to water.
The smell is close to the EdT but there are subtle differences. It’s less bright and forceful, but it’s hard to say if the formula has changed, or the difference is because the oils don’t lift from the water as well as they do from alcohol.
Whatever the reason, the impression is like looking at the same landscape but this time through glass.

If you already own the EdT there would be little point in buying this - unless you’re a completist, or you want a slightly more mellow and rounded version of an old favourite.
23rd June, 2021

Vuarnet by Vuarnet

Like Cool Water mixed with battery acid.
20th June, 2021

Eau Fraîche by Christian Dior

The batch code, the basket weave label and the name eau Fraîche (and not Eau de cologne Fraîche) all point to the early 80's. But unlike's intact sample, my mini with no box has lost it's head notes. Where you'd expect to find citrus, there's only lemongrass. And then there's a light floral with rosewood.

The opening - boosted by hedione - is rather transparent but it's not wan or weak; in fact, it can be a bit overpowering.
Spices and moss develop as it opens up, and there seems to be aldehydes in there - the only thing left of the citrus oils. And then as things settle down eau Fraîche becomes a sheer floral with a touch of sweetness in a woody chypre.

I can't say it's great because the juice seems damaged and shapeless at the top, but even though it's vague and elusive, it doesn't lack presence.
It's just a pity this eau Fraîche is so stale; such is our fragile heritage.
17th June, 2021 (last edited: 28th June, 2021)

Eau de Cologne by Caron

Plain orange cologne.
16th June, 2021

Eau Vive by Carven

Wanna buy some Eau Morte?
I got two vintage mini's if you wann'em, they smell like wood that's had the paint stripped off 'em...
14th June, 2021

Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

Acqua di Giò was nothing but 'Cool Water lite'.
It's a fruity-mossy aquatic where citrus takes the lead instead of crab apple.
The texture is smoother, and it's less bitter; it has less impact than the more grinchy Cool Water.
Despite - or because of - being more bland, Acqua di Giò was a big success - like its role model.

Pre-allergen sample of Acqua di Gio V Lancaster Cool Water mini
14th June, 2021

Yendi by Roberto Capucci

It's not often you smell a fruity aldehydic, the two styles are opposed. The fruity is simple and immature, and the aldehyde is mature and sophisticated.

This is one is like No5 with a flash of peach, and then a rasberry-like iris with a dry lipstick finish.
It's good, but then so is No5.
07th June, 2021 (last edited: 08th June, 2021)

Eau de Givenchy (original) by Givenchy

Eau de Givenchy was released one year before Giorgio, but it could have been a decade.
It's rooted in the 70's and bears more than a passing resemblance to Givenchy III (1970).
But the difference is, with a feather touch of mint and a dusting of castor sugar, Eau de Givenchy lowers the age profile by a generation compared to her older sister. O de G is somewhere between a green chypre, a white muguet and a sugary gourmand but it doesn't lean too much on any one style. It's a nice balance; carefree but not frivolous, old but not dated.

With its light gourmand, O de G anticipates the more youthful perfume that emerged in the 80's. Young women had more disposable income than their 70's counterparts, and when this was allied to an extrovert fashion style, it promoted the use of a more flamboyant perfume than was the case in the economically challenged and somewhat drab 70's. For a sober skirt you might wear a chypre, but with a pink tutu the old codes no longer worked.

O de G moved on from the classic trope of it's 70's sister, but what it didn't do was to predict the intensity or direction of the themes that were about to emerge. These were - broadly speaking - reflected by the two big hits of the 80's, the hedonistic tuberose of Giorgio, and the gothic floral of Poison.

O de G was more innocent than either of these, a pretty - and still wearable issue of a classic era.

(Based on a vintage miniature)
04th June, 2021

Chrome United by Azzaro

Bland peppery woods and powder.
02nd June, 2021

Miss Worth by Worth

Miss Worth is the introvert sister of Opium. Without the attention-grabbing spice of Opium this creamy oriental is easy to overlook, a snuggly sweater to Opium’s silk and finery. There’s bergamot and aldehydes to brighten the profile but it stays rather timid. Where Opium is provocative, Miss Worth is reassuring.

It works like some of the Shalimar flankers, which, shorn of the dirty great civet it used to have, are more acceptable to germ-free sensibilities. If you like Souffle de Parfum for example, you may like this, an easy alternative to the more strident oriental.
01st June, 2021

Chunga by Weil

Some people have called Chunga a masculine. Personally I couldn't see that being the case; at least, not in the West.
But - as Serge Lutens says - painting and sculpture isn't made for men or women, why should perfume be any different?

Regardless of gender ascription, this rose-iris bouquet had a natural quality that's rarely seen these days. The drydown was a bit weak though.
31st May, 2021

Tardes by Carner Barcelona

Plastinated flowers dipped in saccharin.
30th May, 2021