Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Starblind

Total Reviews: 164

Grandenia by Areej le Doré

This feels like beautiful new ground for Russian Adam. There's a gorgeous sprightly and tangy greenness here that I LOVE and haven't smelled in anything else he's done. (I'm guessing it's a combination of the lemony bergamot and rosemary and nutmeg.) I'm pretty much a goner for this surprising and unexpected beauty! It's actually my favorite from this series, and reminds me of Hasu-No-Hana or vintage Shalimar, but minus the cloying sweet powder and enlivened with some stunning and natural-smelling greenery.

Simply and greenly gorgeous!!
14th February, 2021

Hasu-no-Hana by Grossmith

Intoxicating and bewitching.

No matter how many times I smell this, I am always struck anew by its unusual beauty. Its opening salvo alone could be used to revive the fainting, thanks to its bracing top notes of bergamot and bitter orange. What an amazing olfactory! As others have noted, Hasu No Hana is a mash-up of Shalimar and something amazingly green and chypre-ish. Or of Shalimar and some old fashioned, spicy shaving creme. And for someone like me, who is averse to Shalimar's uber-feminine charms, it is the vetiver and combination of wood notes here that keep this firmly in unisex territory and also provide a piquancy that I adore. There is something about this combination of notes that reminds me of sticky pine sap resin--a scent I relish.
29th November, 2020 (last edited: 05th January, 2021)

MAAI by Bogue Profumo

IF I had never smelled the original version of MAAI, I would appreciate this scent all the more. Unfortunately, I bought a bottle when it first came out, and its strikingly green and resiny animalic qualities floored me. Now however, this wild cat of the jungle has returned from the vet minus its testicles and claws and wearing a plastic cone of shame.

MAAI is still an interesting and lovely 'fume, highlighting some musky florals (primarily tuberose), undergirded with spicy, soapy woods. It's even a bit aftershave-y in an old school way, but it ain't a patch on what it used to be. So know that when you read reviews referencing and reveling in its strikingly animalic nature, you're hearing about a beast from the past, now sadly neutered and safe for the furniture.
12th October, 2020
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Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens

STRONGLY synthetic and very similar to something you'd find in the CVS perfume section for $13.99. Whatever floral note is in this smells like a highly plasticized and artificially sweetened muguet of some sort. The "musc" present in this one was something cooked up in a lab in the same beaker that produced Miel de Bois.

Utterly chemical and slightly and sweetly repugnant.
19th August, 2020

Chêne by Serge Lutens

Now I remember why I never bothered with this one. The sweet and licorice-y immortelle combined with the piercing and sharp woodiness of Chene makes me feel slightly nauseated. Plus, this unsavory and binary combination goes on seemingly forever in the same unrelenting fashion.

This smells like nothing found in nature. Thank god.
19th August, 2020

Casamorati Corallo by Xerjoff

I'm infatuated with this one.

The herbal greenery here adds an entirely new aspect to what would have been a traditional and vintage-seeming feminine. Instead, what you get is something like L'Heure Bleue mixed with Mississippi Medicine, and focusing on all the best aspects of each. The opening salvo of Corallo is truly a thing of effervescent beauty--a gorgeous, uplifting mixture of bergamot and and lavender and a magical concoction of herbs. The scent then slides into a more floral mixture that features Xerjoff's typically beautiful iris. The base notes of amber and vanilla show up a bit too early for my taste, and the whole thing is a trifle ephemeral for its price, but overall, it's a wonder.
15th June, 2020

Arbolé Arbolé by Hiram Green

I don't even like patchouli, but here, I find it utterly beautiful. What a surprise to discover this particular scent and its oddly intriguing mixture of olives and sweetish greenery. There is something about the combination of the slightly salty with the powdered woods that makes this fragrance both calming and sensual. There's a tiny bit of menthol and anise (combined with the patchouli) that also makes the entire thing sing on a slightly lower and sexier register than you would expect.

Everything about Arbole is unusual and unexpected: its warmth and dry greenness, plus the addition of tonka/vanilla turn it into the perfect scent for sunny afternoons in the countryside. Somehow, this Hiram Green creation is both bucolic and bedroom-y.

My definite favorite from this house.
10th March, 2020

Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens

I have fallen in ridiculous love with ISM.

Why 'ridiculous?' Well, because it is difficult to find, my husband doesn't really like it, it costs a pretty penny, and it has no half-life to speak of.

And, yet... there is nothing in the world of perfumery that smells remotely like it. (If you've found something, please PM me.) It is also unlike anything else in my previous perfume collection: it has zero animalics, it is not in the least seductive-smelling, its opening is almost bitterly, freezingly ozonic, and yet now I can't go a day without smelling and re-smelling it.

I have already gone through two of the 30 ml travel sprays and my interest and infatuation shows no signs of lessening. If anything, it's becoming a slightly worrisome obsession.

I guess, perhaps, the most powerful love interests are those that are somewhat inexplicable. It's becoming ever-more apparent that a bell jar of this weirdly haunting and magical scent is definitely in my future.
26th February, 2020

Antiquity by Areej le Doré

As a lover of all things deeply vintage and leathery, Antiquity should be my favorite scent of all time. And the only reason it isn't is because it tends to "vibrate" only in the lower portion of the octave scent-register. In this way it reminds me of Anubis by Papillon. The two frags smell nothing alike, but they both seem to consist primarily of base notes with very few top notes to add lift or a bright dissonance and contrast. The peach aldehyde and bergamot here, last mere seconds before drifting away, so what you are left smelling is a rich and oud-y oak moss that is intriguing in a dark and low-toned way. As the scent lingers on, I am most reminded of vintage Mitsouko (minus the everlasting peach) and Cuir de Russie (minus the florals). Since I adore both of these scents, I find Antiquity quite intriguing, but I am also willing to admit that I would love this fragrance even more if it contained a wider octave range--say one that included some notes above middle C.
24th November, 2019 (last edited: 12th December, 2019)

17/17 Irisss by Xerjoff

This is, by far, the most stunningly beautiful iris scent I have ever smelled: somehow both elegantly luxurious and yet rooted and earthbound. It is slightly more petal-soft and buttery than its close cousin, Iris Silver Mist (which truly feels a bit sharp and cold in comparison).

And now that I have smelled Irisss, I have zero interest in any other iris fragrances and this is unfortunate for two rather important reasons: the price of this gorgeous perfume more than matches its extraordinary beauty, and worse yet, it has now been reformulated and is a shell of its former beauty. I consider this particular change one of the perfume world's major crimes and I am deeply saddened that Xerjoff has seen fit to pass this current iteration off as the same fragrance. I would have happily continued to mortgage my home for the original iteration, but refuse to pay $$$ for this new, definitively inferior version.
08th September, 2019 (last edited: 11th July, 2020)

Joy by Jean Patou

After falling very hard for 1000, I knew I had to try Joy. And, now that I have, I find that I do appreciate this scent and its creation and history, but I have very minimal desire to actually wear it. It's simply TOO much for me in every way: too floral-laden, too rose-y, too heavy and "thick," and much too traditionally feminine.

I would love to smell this on a young, very butch tomboy because the dissonance would be wonderful--but on a 40-something female from Dallas with bleached blonde hair and lots of gold jewelry...well, it would seem simply stereotypical and uninteresting.

(Nothing against Dallas, y'all!)
09th August, 2019

Private Collection by Estée Lauder

Utterly green and utterly divine!

Whatever nymphs or goddesses or dryads live in the forest wear nothing but Private Collection in vintage parfum.

Lauder's ad campaigns did this scent a disservice. The last thing I think of in connection with this fragrance is wealthy WASPs hosting lavish patio parties or yawning with boredom in their box seats at Wimbledon.

This is a perfume for pagans with wildly tangled hair and witchery on their minds.
19th July, 2019 (last edited: 25th July, 2019)

Yendi by Roberto Capucci

A beautiful and almost-innocently green fragrance that simply invites neck-nuzzling. It opens fizzily and then progresses to a slightly fruited and balsamic green that conjures the best parts of CHANEL No. 22 and CHANEL No. 19, combined. If this is, indeed, a chypre, it is the softest and most lovely one I've ever encountered. Like dreamily-green and downy feathers floating on a languorous sandalwood breeze, I am utterly enchanted by this vintage scent!
17th July, 2019
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Givenchy III by Givenchy

I loved the reviewer who said this could/should be called "Black Moss." This is precisely what this scent smells like to me: something darkly and vividly green from the very most shaded part of the forest. I have never encountered such a deep and almost stark and angular chypre and one that showcases oak moss in such a beautifully classical way. I'm amazed that this was marketed to women, but would be so impressed by any female who would wear this with casualness and aplomb.

Givenchy lll in vintage extract would make an amazing and oh-so-striking signature scent for an independent and idiosyncratic woman. I'm picturing Charlotte Rampling, for some reason or another.
15th July, 2019

Inouï by Shiseido

This is the soft green scent I've been searching for and the closest I've come to smelling Eve's garden: gently fruited, slightly herbed and piney, and yet somehow warm and sun-dappled.

The sun-warmed pine needle scent in Inoui's opening is unlike anything I've encountered before. And this combined with juniper and thyme makes me feel as if I am trekking deep in the woods on a summer's day. I am aways thrilled whenever I find scents that hint at the natural world of dirt and wet stones and forest floors, and Inoui reminds me of all of these, but done up in a surprisingly sophisticated and delicate way. The dry down, with its hint of myrrh, jasmine, and musky civet drops the register just a bit, and whispers that there may be furry animals hiding somewhere in this bewitching woodland.

Of course it's discontinued and costs a fortune. But what price can be placed on magic?

12th July, 2019 (last edited: 25th October, 2020)

Koh-i-Noor by Areej le Doré

Take generous helpings of ylang ylang, tuberose, and gardenia and whip them all together in a blender with a bowl of the most delicious lemony, banana custard. Add in a tincture of deer musk, a slight bit of oud, and some real-smelling sandalwood, and--voila!--the most gorgeous, deeply satisfying scent I have smelled in ages.

If you enjoy the vintage nature of indolic florals and/or slight animalics in your fragrances, Koh-i-Nor truly satisfies this itch. There is nothing overtly "stinky" here, although the florals seem almost like ones that could eat you if they wanted. The whole thing is richly dense and custardy, but not overwhelming. The sillage is strictly personal and doesn't send others scurrying for cover. It reminds me a bit of Inferno Russo, but I can definitely wear this one with more ease.

Also, in the dry down there is a note (or two) that smells both "cheesy" and slightly like beeswax. I have no true idea whether this is the gardenia or the oud, but regardless, it fills me with the most intense and warm sort of smelling-pleasure.

07th June, 2019 (last edited: 20th December, 2019)

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

I have sampled 31 Rue Cambon several times now, but I can never discover the delight that others seem to find here. I am one of the most rabid fans of Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles; they are simply two of the most beautiful things I've ever smelled, but, sadly, 31 Rue leaves me cold. I'm not sure if it is the strange/odd (almost cold) use of patchouli that I object to, or the overdose of indolic iris, but either way, I find this Chanel scent almost disturbing, and awkwardly sweet. I know that Luca loves scents that achieve pure "abstraction," but I tend to want to recognize at least some facet of what I am smelling, or to be able to connect a part of a fragrance with something with which I am familiar. Here, however, the combination of notes results in a scent that I would be forced to call merely "perfume-y." And, yes, I know that labelling a scent thusly is the first impulse of the novice-nosed.
11th February, 2019

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

There's something in Y that makes it different from the other classic green chypres I've tried (and perhaps I just haven't tried enough), because while it contains the same sharp, citric signifiers that immediately spell GREEN and CHYPRE, the honeysuckle and peach and civet give Y both a sweetness and depth that genuinely enchant. There is none of the expected stridence or prickliness here, instead there are tiny flickers of fruited honey and oak mossy depths that provide both nectarous AND animalic components that keep me smelling my wrists over and over.

Ah, yes, just what I need: another rare vintage to seek out and pine for!
09th February, 2019 (last edited: 10th February, 2019)

Signature Collection : Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio

My worst criticism of this scent is that it feels a bit "ancient" and clunky, as if the movement from one note to another is made by walking up a rickety staircase, rather than by taking the escalator. The civet is a bit front and center here and its dry down on clothing gets a tiny bit musty and somewhat fecal-smelling, but I definitely appreciate N.N's nod toward vintage animalic scents, and I find its use of orange blossom fairly enchanting. As wearing-time goes by, I recognize Mona's signature base which seems absent only in her Cuir, so if you're bothered by that set of notes, be forewarned. This definitely leans toward the feminine side of things, and if you're someone who longs for the floral animalics of a bygone age, give this one a try. Just understand that this smells nothing like any modern or contemporary scent, but seems more of an homage-of-sorts to a different era and to glamorous silver screen divas like Norma Desmond.
09th February, 2019

Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

Wow. As someone who loves and wears a wide variety of leather fragrances, I have to say that I am gobsmacked by the stellar reviews this one is receiving. To me, this smells like a highly, stridently-synthetic and sharply-ambered version of Cuir Ottoman (on a REALLY bad day). Cold, bitterly pungent, plastic-y, and artificially harsh are some of the descriptors that come to mind when I spray this on. I find nothing redeeming in this fragrance and I'm sad to think this is how modern noses interpret the glorious and (normally) varied smell of "leather."
08th February, 2019

Gomma by Etro

The sage and artemisia in the top notes make me drink in this fragrance like fragrant desert air. I also love the refined and somewhat rubbery leather notes that make up Gomma's base. On days when my supply of Cuir de Russie is running dangerously low, this Etro fragrance fills in nicely. And yes, it is similar to Knize Ten, but I find it far more complex and sophisticated, plus the dry down is far more beautiful. My only complaint is its projection and longevity. I spray it on my clothes and this helps retain the scent some, but in an ideal perfume world, this one (and Cuir de Russie) would both last to infinity.

(This is the vintage version. I've heard less than stellar things about its reformulation.)

After wearing this for a while, I'd say it smells like an amazing mash up of Knife Ten and vintage Tabac Blond. Wonderful stuff!
07th February, 2019 (last edited: 05th December, 2019)

Rien by Etat Libre d'Orange

This, for many reasons, takes top honors as my least favorite fragrance of all time. (I'm sure there are other possible contenders for this title, but I have yet to sample them.) Rien is everything I don't want to smell or smell of: synthetics that simply won't quit, sharp and (yet cloying) notes of cumin and civet, peppery incense that smells heavily industrial, and something that smacks of burning glue/plastic.

For a brief period of my life, I worked as a finish carpenter, specializing in installing carpet, tile, and laminate. Rien instantly takes me back to that dreadful year of wrangling buckets of toxic glue, underlayment, and rolls of rebond. The smell is so similar that it's uncanny.
05th February, 2019

Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

As someone who loves leather scents, I had to try this, and try it I have--several times, in fact--but somehow I still can't quite make up my mind. I admire this fragrance for its rather determined and single-minded approach to leather. In fact, I don't think I've smelled any other scent that replicates bag and shoe leather this realistically; I'm just not entirely sure I want to smell like a Coach or Hermes store. But maybe I do! Maybe this scent if the classiest thing going, and I'm just too much of a plebeian to realize it. Or possibly, I have just been spoiled by my close relationship with CHANEL's version of leather to genuinely appreciate this unadorned, unanimalic iteration. Perhaps I just need to meet this fragrance at its own level. Hmmmm....
02nd February, 2019

Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

As an animalic-lover of the first order, how on earth did I not experience this when it first came out? Well, I guess I'll be making up for lost time now.

In my particular dream-world, this is what ambergris smells like: briny and saline, but underpinned by the most divine mammalian odor possible. Here we have sun-ripened skin, a tiny bit of body odor, some gorgeously indolic florals (tuberose? ylang ylang?), and a completely furry, 3-D musk. There's a bit of something almost urine-like and a tiny smidgen metallic-seeming in the top notes, but it is all combined in such a way that none of these individual notes stand out on their own, unless you are sniffing in a second-by-second frenzy (as I am currently doing now). Overall, this simply smells gorgeous and oceanically sensual, like a beautiful mermaid's underwear.

Edit: Now that I've worn this for a few days, I've come to notice (and strongly dislike) the calone-like dry down Musc Tonkin leaves on my clothes. It isn't as noticeable on skin, but after an hour or two, my shirts definitely give off the odor of artificial melon. :-(
02nd February, 2019

Hyde by Hiram Green

I would never wear or buy this, BUT, I still think it's a fantastic scent. It's deeply smokey with capitals D and S, and reminds me of the most intriguing parts of Fumerie Turque (back before it was reformulated). The only reason I wouldn't indulge in this myself is the same reason I never bought the Lutens: it feels a bit overwhelming and monolithic. For those of you who desire to smell like last night's campfire into which a few marshmallows have fallen, this is your baby. I like this far more than the Goodsir smoke scent or frankly, any other smokey scent I've tried. There's something genuinely attractive here, especially in its opening salvo. Would love to smell this on a sophisticated someone of either gender.
29th January, 2019

No. 19 by Chanel

A few weeks back, a wonderful BN friend (thank you, Maggie!), sent me samples of vintage No. 19, and one evening while watching The Third Man for the umpteenth time, I absently sprayed on a bit of the extrait. As Joseph Cotten proceeded to fall ever deeper for the mysterious Anna, I became subliminally aware of the most bewitching, mossy-green scent--a sophisticated and seemingly morally-ambiguous fragrance that felt utterly a part of the whispery, rain-shadowed streets and alleyways of vintage Vienna. The only question was whether Anna would ever forget Harry and how had I lived for so long without this intriguing and extraordinary scent.

And since I haven't seen it posted much anywhere, I just have to repeat Luca Turin's summation of No. 19 here: "Chanel's mastery of raw materials and orchestration shines through. Starting with a tremendous leafy-peppery green as of the earthy breath of a lush jungle after a storm, the genius of 19 lies in maintaining this unripe greenness like a tense unresolved musical chord to the very end, without succumbing to sweetness. The rigor of intellectual elegance and restraint. An absolute masterpiece."

For once, I agree with LT unequivocally.
27th January, 2019 (last edited: 07th October, 2019)

Dia Man by Amouage

Amouage Dia Man is pretty damn gorgeous and if I were one (a man, that is) I would wear the hell out of this. Dia Woman seems like a dumbed down/lessened version of Gold Woman (to me), but the male version of Dia has a personality all of its own. Elegant, powdery, floral, spicy, and yet extremely wearable on a daily basis, thanks to the airiness of its touch. There is something about the cardamom and ginger(?) here, that adds to its effortless breeziness, and yet, the base notes of leather and wood anchor it and hold the whole thing together. Really nice stuff!
27th January, 2019

Homage Attar by Amouage

I utterly expected to swoon over Amouage's Homage. Everything I'd ever read sang its praises to the heavens. Unfortunately, for me the dry down is far less interesting that its soft and beautifully rosy and rounded opening. I would describe this base as being surprisingly crystalline and almost, but not quite "soapy." For me, this lemon and saffron base becomes the focus of the whole thing, and it irritates instead of pleases. I find it slightly thin and somewhat sharp and screechy. (You may now feel free to throw large rocks in my direction.)
27th January, 2019

Rose TRO Attar by Amouage

This is a pure, unadulterated rose delight, made for those who genuinely love rose soliflores. There may be hints of other notes here, but nothing that interferes with the utter, beautiful, undiluted rosiness of this thing. This is soft, creamy, gorgeous stuff and if I loved rose I would be all over this. A true rose lover's dream. FOR ROSE FANATICS ONLY.
27th January, 2019

Tribute Attar by Amouage

The Red Box version is definitely a bit softer and a tiny bit rosier (especially in the dry down), while the Black Box version is definitely smokier and somewhat darker. I think it was sciencegirl who said the Red Box was a cigar to the Black Box' cigarette. I think this is a perfect analogy. They are both really amazing if you are into smokey, campfire scents. They also feel a bit monolithic to me, with not enough changes to keep me interested indefinitely, so neither is something I would invest in, ALTHOUGH, the longer I wear them and the softer they become, the more I find myself thinking, "Hmm, maybe..."

Now that a few hours have gone by, I (pure blasphemy, I know) actually enjoy the Black Box version a bit more than the Red Box. BB is a bit less sweet, and seems to emphasize the frankincense more. (By the end of the day, I'll probably have reversed my position, so take my impressions here with a large grain of sea salt!)
27th January, 2019