Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Wild Gardener

Total Reviews: 573

M7 by Yves Saint Laurent

You could hardly call this an Oud. There's that medicinal note, but it's dressed with herbs and cherry syrup; and when that fades, it goes down to a creamy brown amber. And while we’re talking about herbs and amber, it makes me think of Ambre Sultan (1993).
M7 is well made, but as an Oud it’s pretty tame. On the other hand it was the first Western Oud, and as such it broke new ground - even if that ground was pretty soft. This gives it an interesting, if minor role in the history of perfume; and, as well as that, it gets plenty of attention from Basenoters. So does M7 deserve any kind of special status - and all those words that have been lavished on it?
First of all I must say I'm not an Oud head, it's just another genre to me; and so, looking at it from a general perspective, and with no Oud axe to grind, how does M7 appear?
Not bad is the answer. The obvious thing is how sweet it is. A creamy smooth mixture of gourmand, amber and oud - which is not really oud at all but synthetics : ood I call it.
After the disinfectant syrup, the profile fades down through amber to finish on a white woody - and slightly cheesy note, possibly what they call mandrake - but surely not the real thing which is toxic and hallucinogenic. It does smell a bit weird though, and has some likeness to Goutal's Mandragore.
The much talked about Oud is only one part of M7, and not even the main one. The core is amber with some odd things going on each side of it, so I see this as a strange amber, and not really an Oud at all.
It’s a good novelty for now and again, but I soon get tired of it.
05th February, 2021 (last edited: 06th February, 2021)

Azzura by Azzaro

A blast of fruity cat piss and a faint musky drydown. Fun while it lasts.
04th February, 2021

Nuit de Tubéreuse by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I remember reading a story about two perfume lovers. They took a vial of Iris Silver Mist and added some peach. Drop by drop went the C14, and nothing happened, until – another drop – and suddenly like a ghost before their noses was the scent of Iris Gris, that legendary lost fragrance by Fath.
This feels like the same thing has been tried with tuberose and orange blossom, but the tipping point was never found and the resulting blend is a bit out of focus.

02nd February, 2021
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Rose Oud by Body Shop

Not Rose and not Oud but never mind, it was costume perfumery, a tongue in cheek ornament of glistening red, dark woods and powder - like a huge fake ruby on a black velvet dress.
31st January, 2021

Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens

CAPITAL SANDAL. It smells a lot like Jeux de Peau, which Lutens released in 2011; making this another version of his oily shortbread theme.
If this were a student project at the Ecole supérieur de parfumerie, I suspect the mark would be
29th January, 2021 (last edited: 07th February, 2021)

Repetto Le Parfum by Repetto

Vile mix of Red Bull and ashtray.
29th January, 2021

Aoud S by Mancera

It starts with a fruity note that goes from plastic pear to Concord grape, and there’s an old fashioned powdery floral, and a fake woody ood. The combination of fruity floral and fake oud makes for a weird illusion of green-apple shampoo and leathery chypre. It's good stuff, a modern streamlined ‘oud’ that doesn’t give a fig for tradition. Aoud Shampoo anyone?
28th January, 2021 (last edited: 07th February, 2021)

Tabac Rouge / Turkish Blend by Phaedon

Chergui, updated for the spiky woods generation.
24th January, 2021

Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo

Amber is the least ambitious of perfumes; it's basically just labdanum resin and vanillin (and a few other bits and bobs) and all it wants to do is please.
There are usually no difficult notes and no harsh contrast, just an olfactory bonbon - sweet and simple, the kind of thing you put on to kick back - and forget about your worries and your strife...
But I can't.
Alambar is too sickly sweet ... and sour. A too heavy, too heady mix that doesn't let me room to breathe.
Perhaps it's the cocoa, or the plastic nuance, but this just doesn't work on me.
There's a word in the French language - écoeurant; which defines as <<gâteau, odeur>> and means 'sickening to the heart'. That's what this does to me.
22nd January, 2021

Kouros Eau de Sport by Yves Saint Laurent

A similar body, statuesque and dirty-clean but no hormonal grunt.
Kouros the castrato.
20th January, 2021

Aziyadé by Parfum d'Empire

The opening is hard to resist; candied citrus in liquid syrup, and dried fruit and spices beyond.
The problem is, even with a piquant and resiny undertow, Aziyadé doesn't change much. It hangs on to the gourmand thing for so long, the 'sugar and spice and all things nice' start to get a bit threadbare.

I think that, unlike Angel - for example, Aziyadé doesn't give enough weight to the anti-gourmand side - where these food-fancies get their interest. Without it, this is a platter of sweetmeats, and less of a main dish with substance.
18th January, 2021 (last edited: 27th January, 2021)
18th January, 2021

Weil de Weil by Weil

Weil de Weil has been discontinued, and there are two reasons for that. One of them is bad luck, the other is by design.

It was released in 1971, a year when three outstanding perfumes also appeared on the stands: No19, Rive Gauche and Aromatics Elixir. Any scent would be challenged by such world class competition but the Weil had a major disadvantage. It’s a Givenchy III clone, and a rough and ready one at that.

Little wonder then - that it didn't survive on the market; I wouldn’t say it deserved to go, but was there any reason to buy a copy of G-III when there were brilliant new things to be had?
17th January, 2021
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Echo by Davidoff

Shape without form, shade without colour

vehement and bland:
chili metal-aquatic sweet-dusty-woody
a curry with no flavour, just hot

We are the Hollow Men
we are the hollow men

15th January, 2021

Un Air de Samsara by Guerlain

Un Air was released in '95, just as India
stopped the cutting of sandalwood trees.
And it's hard to think : this is a flanker of Samsara - that huge sandal bomb...
it's a weak woody base with a minty pear floral, the type of rubbish that would serve for the new Grès
but not the old Guerlain.
A compromise too far.
12th January, 2021 (last edited: 13th January, 2021)

Équipage by Hermès

Equipage gives the impression of fine marquetry; rich woods inlaid with sweet amber, spices and herbs. It's ornate, old fashioned, even a bit rococo, and could be a rival to Aramis for best grandad scent.

Vintage sample
11th January, 2021

Cuir de Russie Eau de Toilette by Chanel

An excellent leather but suspiciously like No5 in boots.
10th January, 2021

Rumba by Ted Lapidus

It’s hard to imagine Jean-Claude Ellena as a rookie. But we all start somewhere, and from time to time in his early days he was paired with more established names. In this case it was Ron Winnegrad who shares the credit, and together they created a strapping oriental. It’s a pretty standard sugar fest of orange blossom - heliotrope - vanilla, but there are some interesting grace notes: incense and moss, cool acid blackcurrant, a fruit syrup of runny boiled sweets, leather, tuberose, plum and peach, a green/citrus note with a fizz like sherbert.

For Ellena, this was the peak of his career as symphonic composer. As the 80’s came to an end, and the Berlin Wall was brought down, Capitalism no longer needed to flaunt it’s opulence in the face of our Commi-Bloc neighbours; the fight had been won and the whole Big Hair - Big ‘fume - Big Shoulders thing was now surplus to requirements.

Having served its purpose the Loads-a-Money jibe - and the stonking fashion that went with it - was thought to be embarrassing and overstated. And sure enough, this kind of florid schmaltz was soon replaced by Eau de Watery scent and Nirvana T-shirt. (Ellena’s contribution being the notable Eau parfumée au thé vert.)

Fortunately for him, because Rumba was a joint enterprise and he was the junior partner, he can just shrug and say It wasn’t my fault guv, honest... !

Balenciaga version
08th January, 2021

Elle by Yves Saint Laurent

Elle is misnamed. It's a dry woody floral that hardly falls on the feminine side, and that's only due to a watery-pink note of lychee and some red fruits. Everything else; the scratchy pink pepper, the lemon, the gritty indoles of sambac, papery flowers, what Luca Turin calls the Feu d'Issey bread-milk note, the patchouli and dark woods, all of them are not Feminine. The only other feminine note is a sweet powdery-woody in the base.
This isn't a criticism of the profile, just the name the marketers gave to it.
It actually works quite well, just not under the name She. 'He' might have been less incongruous, but either way, with it's inherent weirdness, this was always going to be an outlier, a non-conformist luking in it's square cut androgenous bottle.
Elle, this gritty 'feminine' with a hipster beard, should have had a metrosexual twin called Lui; with lavender and not lychee, and keeping the papery florals, but swopping out the dark woods for a plush oriental base. This suitably mixed up affair would be packaged in a bulbous curvy bottle in pink and grey. These two could have been the first Mix & Match pair, to be layered as you feel.
Like Alan Turing, Elle is a Code Breaker; unconventional, an outsider with a different point of view.
But is it a good perfume? I'm not sure.
As a feminine, it's adventurous, but the form - as well as the theme - is rather crude, and this would normally point to a masculine perfume. When seen from this perspective though, Elle seems to function rather better, and guys, it could be worth checking out. Just don't let the name put you off, because after all, gendering perfume is just as arbitrary as it is conventional.
07th January, 2021

J'Adore Infinissime by Christian Dior

J'adore's plastic flowers are bad enough but this is ten times worse.
In this lamentable flanker they're covered by algae, toffee, cat fur and ash, and trod into a mouldy carpet.
It makes me wanna puke.
06th January, 2021

Ambro by Jacomo

Sour ambery take on Le Mâle.
03rd January, 2021

Vacances (original) by Jean Patou

I love the enthusiasm of this. A green field of flowers fruits and grass, Vacances is a bit gauche but really delightful.

It's a celebration of summer, and the first paid holidays in France - which began the year Vacances was released. It seems designed to channel the joy of urban workers on discovering the countryside.

Those who know Ma Griffe will find echoes in Vacances with it's light green aldehyde style, but in fact it was ten years ahead of the Carven and it's gaity is more infectious; an all round better perfume, and the only sweet pea I know - except for the real thing...

Some perfumes by Henri Alméras don't really hit the target, feeling like they were made to reflect - and exploit - a socio-economic niche, like the pineapple smell of Colony for instance. But while Vacances was clearly aimed at a new market, it is truly felt; a limpid impression of summertime, and a wonderful perfume.
It is, if you like, Patou's Pastorale ...
02nd January, 2021

L'Heure Attendue (original) by Jean Patou

L'heure attendue, the Longed-For Moment; sadly an anti-climax. Mawkish orange syrup and glacial chypre with a touch of oriental, this is part teenage fantasy - part disdain - part desire.
It feels confused; a decent orange floral but there's no clear lead, no direction. You are enveloped in sweetness and bullied by aldehyde and patchouli. There seems to be no way out from this quagmire of mixed emotions.
Be careful what you long for.
01st January, 2021

Amazone (original) by Hermès

A green chypre by the old Hermès, with a rosy heart and their habitual note of leather.
Amazone was composed in '74 by Maurice Maurin, long before Ellena kicked out the saddle fétiche.
30th December, 2020

Fantasia by Fendi

Tart fruity-floral, belting it out with a sweet powdery chorus in tow. It has the same virtuous air as Tommy Girl, but here it's more like green apple shampoo.
29th December, 2020 (last edited: 02nd February, 2021)

Burberry London by Burberry

Like muzac in the waiting room that doesn't hide the dentist's drill; London's citrus, papery floral and syrup is spoilt by the high pitched whine that goes with it.
27th December, 2020

Fantasme by Ted Lapidus

The remarkable thing about ionones is they smell of violets on one side and raspberry on the other.
Pierre Bourdon first brings out the violets, and then the raspberry, but the rest is rather stodgy, thick and powdery-creamy. A basic oriental.
25th December, 2020 (last edited: 26th December, 2020)

Vive La Mariée by Les Parfums de Rosine

Orange flower in a ton of syrup.
24th December, 2020

1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

This is a description of Davana oil from Good Scents :
'A fruity note of syrupy liqueur on a woody, animalic base.'
Mention a cool overtone at the top, and a burnt sugar drydown of immortelle, and you've just about nailed it.

1740 is a robust boozy leather, a gentleman's drinking club, nary a dungeon in sight...

It's a good perfume but in practical terms I never wear it.
23rd December, 2020