Perfume Reviews

Reviews by drseid

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Italian Censored / Italian Angel by O'Driù

Italian Angel opens with a warm ylang-ylang derived banana, with hints of natural citrus fruit and underlying dark chocolatey coffee before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the banana and citrus vacate, leaving the dark chocolatey coffee remaining as star, but gradually folding just slightly sweet pipe tobacco into the mix with a subtle dulled rose floral undertone. During the late dry-down the perfume morphs into a relatively gentle woody vetiver affair, as the tobacco gradually recedes and finally vacates before the finish. Projection is average, but longevity is very good to excellent at just under 12 hours on skin.

I have had a sample of Italian Angel lying around for about five years now... I think the negative impression received when I tried the Ven-Det-Ta trio of duds from the house directly before it, made me question if the extremely talented Angelo Orazio Pregoni had finally "lost it," and resultantly I passed over trying the perfume back then. Now coming back to my sample all these years later, I confess I made a mistake. All the deficiencies I found in the "terrible trio" are avoided in Italian Angel. Instead, the perfume is not only quite wearable (something that O'driu, despite my love for the house is frequently lacking), but does a very good job of presenting the wearer with a true fragrance journey. The composition starts out with warm banana and citrus fruit, but then turns into an almost semi-gourmand with its chocolatey black coffee, then brings things back from gourmand territory by adding the natural smelling pipe tobacco sans the typical hyper-sweetness one frequently finds. By the time the wearer gets to the late dry-down, the perfume morphs yet again to focus on the woody facet of vetiver, while toning down the sharpness usually found. In short, I love it. The bottom line is the approximately $200 (160 Euros) per 50ml bottle Italian Angel is an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated interesting and exciting perfume journey by Angelo Orazio Pregoni that is highly recommended to both classically structured perfume lovers, and fans of innovative perfume brands like Slumberhouse alike.
29th November, 2020
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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 outstanding at nearly 24 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 (last edited: 27th November, 2020)
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Drone by Ephemera by Unsound

Before beginning the review, it should be noted that Drone (and its sister compositions Bass and Noise) are compositions that are each inspired by pieces of synthesizer music from presumably top artists in the space. The music composition related to this specific perfume is by artist Tim Hecker and can be found at http://vimeo.com/90461558.

Drone opens with relatively fresh ozonic aldehydes with just a touch of underlying sweetness. As the composition moves to its early heart the ozonic accord remains as subtle, jasmine-like airy hedione joins in along with slightly sharp vetiver. During the late dry-down the composition shifts gear as relatively soft, smooth patchouli joins what amounts to a synthetic light musk accord with traces of smooth vague underlying woods and maybe just a hint of a tonka laced white floral accord for minor added sweetness through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity very good at around 11-12 hours on skin.

Coming off one of its scary sister scents, Bass, it was with great trepidation that Drone was applied on skin. Luckily, it became clear early-on that Drone was considerably easier to accept than Bass, with a more sedate demeanor. The composition is quite airy and ozonic early, gradually working in slightly heavier facets like synthetic musk and vetiver as time passes. Nothing comes off as overpowering or unpleasant but the composition definitely keeps to the intentional synthetic theme of the Unsound project. In some ways Drone has some passing similarities to last year's Serpentine from the premiere brand known to feature synthetics quite effectively, Commes des Garcons, but this is nowhere near as impressive. Drone is the most easily digestible composition of the three Unsound project sister scents, but something about it just seems a bit too mundane to quite set it apart. The bottom line is the 80 Euros per 30ml bottle Drone is easy enough to wear and is a welcome relief from the heavy-handed presentation of Bass, but it just does not do enough to distinguish itself, earning it a very "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rating. My recommendation is that if Drone appeals to you; give Serpentine a sniff first before making a purchase.
22nd November, 2020
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Bass by Ephemera by Unsound

Before the official review begins, it should be mentioned that this composition (Bass) and its sister scents Drone and Noise are part of an innovative coupling of synthesized music by presumably notable composers in the space. The piece of music Bass interprets is from Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) called "Vacuum Burn". The link to the music it was created to accompany is http://vimeo.com/92393790.

Bass opens with a blast of hardcore sharp woody cedar and smoky vetiver before gradually transitioning to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart the sharp woody accord remains, now joined by very strong pine-like mastic with a piercing synthetic metallic undertone. During the late dry-down a growing rough and rugged leather accord grows in intensity, melding with the sharp woods and screeching metallic aspects through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at between 13-15 hours on skin.

On first application Geza Schoen's Bass composition initially impresses with its sharp cedar and vetiver that isn't that unlike the primary heart accord of Anat Fritz and its Schoen tweaked re-release Classical, sans the aromatic lavender. Things were off to a great start, but unfortunately it is all downhill from here... During the heart phase as soon as the pine-like mastic and synthetic screeching metallic aspects are added into the mix, the composition goes from appealing to unbearable in short order. The rugged leather accord in the base is nicely done, but really can't salvage the downward spiral caused by the mastic and metallic aspects that refuse to give way. Bass starts out well-tuned, but unfortunately rages out of control, turning into a synthetic catastrophe not unlike the piece of music it was based on in this reviewer's opinion. In this case, Schoen stays true to the music piece the composition was inspired by, but unfortunately when the inspiration is a bizarre creature in its own right, the resulting accompanying work likely follows suit, and certainly that is the case here. The bottom line is the 80 Euros per 30ml bottle Bass stays true to the synthesized music from Goodman it was inspired by and from that perspective Schoen's work is a success, but when the inspirational source is not to one's taste and sounds truly outlandish, the resulting perfume composition based on it most likely will also not be to one's taste, and the 2 star out of 5 "poor" rated Bass definitely proves the hypothesis true here. If you love Kode9's music by all means give this one a try as it may be just your kind of thing, but for those who enjoy their music more on the classical side of the spectrum Bass may prove quite unnerving.
22nd November, 2020
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Noise by Ephemera by Unsound

Before beginning the review, it should be noted that Noise (and its sister compositions Bass and Drone) are compositions that are each inspired by pieces of synthesizer music from presumably top artists in the space. The music composition related to this specific perfume is by artist Ben Frost and can be found at http://vimeo.com/90983123.

Noise opens with a dash of soft black pepper before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart a highly synthetic, acrid metallic floral accord emerges and completely dominates the composition, obscuring all but the underlying harsh cedarwood in support. During the late dry-down the extremely irritating synthetic metallic floral accord mostly dissipates, leaving its remnants to meld with slightly sweet amber-infused rough leather to finish off the composition's development. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at well over 12 hours on skin.

The early heart phase of this composition is quite the eye opener, and not in a good way. The extremely strong and irritating synthetic metallic floral accord has "scrubber" written all over it. The sheer annoyance of how bad the primary heart accord smells cannot be emphasized enough, and had wearing the composition not been needed for this review it absolutely would have been "end game" right there. Alas, we soldier on... Luckily things get better about three hours in as the composition gradually moves to its late dry-down. At this point the worst of the floral metallics are spent, and while the composition never quite breaks free of their influence, the late dry-down is much more focused on the leather and amber aspects as they thankfully take center stage through the finish. There just is no getting around the harsh reality that "Noise" the composition is just that, loud, harsh, annoying noise lacking all the building blocks of good music that one's ears perk up to listen. This is the kind of noise you immediately search for ear plugs to block out, or in the case of the composition, a nose clip. The bottom line is the 80 Euro per 30ml bottle Noise proves the least appealing of the three Ephemera compositions with its horrendous smelling floral metallics, earning it a "horrible" rating of 1 star out of 5 and an extremely strong avoid recommendation unless you are a big fan of Ben Frost's music and are willing to subject your nose to all sorts of unending torture to have its fragrance companion piece.
22nd November, 2020
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Nocturnal Poetry by Prin

Nocturnal Poetry opens with a dry beeswax and warm cumin spice tandem with underlying supporting oud before slowly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the dry beeswax and warm cumin spice focal tandem remains, joined as co-stars by very strong warm, animalic, musky hyraceum and supported by dull rose and slightly fecal civet with the initially supporting oud hanging around for most of the heart phase. During the late dry-down the beeswax and cumin finally vacate, leaving remnants of the diminished hyraceum to couple with soft, moderately animalic musk as co-stars with supporting rosewood from the base adding balance through the finish. Projection is very good, as is longevity at 11-12 hours on skin.

I was a bit worried initially when I applied Nocturnal Poetry on skin, as the beeswax and cumin spice combination comes off as very dirty and somewhat animalic from the off. I am not a fan of dirty cumin spice at all, as it frequently presents itself like body odor, and unfortunately it does so here. Luckily, while the composition starts off rather dirty and unpleasant, it gradually recedes as dull rose in the heart balances the cumin, beeswax and musky hyraceum as time passes. By the time the composition reaches its late dry-down, the animalics while ever-present, are smoothed out considerably sans the cumin, swapping in rosewood to balance them perfectly despite their strength, never letting them get out of control. The bottom line is the $190 per 30ml bottle Nocturnal Poetry can be a bit hard to handle early-on, but Mr. Lomros deftly balances all the animalics and dirty spice with careful attention to yield a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rated effort that ultimately impresses and is recommended.
21st November, 2020
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Flora & Fauna by Rogue Perfumery

Flora & Fauna opens with a tangy apricot and bergamot fruit tandem with just a touch of underlying supporting green oakmoss before gradually transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the bergamot recedes, but the oakmoss enhanced apricot fruit remains, adding moderately dulled rose and slightly powdery orris to the mix, with just slightly sweet, leathery, ambery labdanum, and a hint of animalic civet support. During the late dry-down, the fruity floral aspects recede though never completely vacate, leaving the leathery, ambery labdanum from the base to take on the starring role, with the slightly animalic civet also remaining, bolstering the labdanum's leathery facet further with a touch of earthy patchouli and the remaining oakmoss support to round things off through the finish. Projection is good and longevity excellent at around 12 hours on skin.

I tend to shy away from all-natural compositions, as usually the perfume lacks depth, performance metrics or most commonly both. It was with that pessimistic outlook that I tried Flora & Fauna, the first all-natural release from the extremely gifted perfumer Manuel Cross. Now having worn the composition on skin a few times, I can safely say both composition quality and performance are *very* much intact. At its core, Flora & Fauna has old school classically structured floral-leather chypre written all over it, with its fruity apricot and bergamot open with oakmoss never the star but detectable throughout, and its sublime leathery labdanum led dry-down. Some have compared it to classic Guerlain masterpiece compositions like Mitsouko and L'Here Bleue, but while I can see where they are coming from, I find Flora & Fauna to be distinctive enough that it stands on its own, while staying reverent to those past greats. The fact that Mr. Cross could accomplish all this without using any synthetics to at least bolster performance is nothing short of a marvel. The bottom line is the $150 per 30ml bottle Flora & Fauna owes some of its classic structure to past greats, but the "excellent" to "near-masterpiece" 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5 rated perfume blazes new distinctive trails of its own to impress anew, earning it a strong recommendation to any lover of classically structured floral-leather chypres (all-natural or not).
15th November, 2020
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Porpora by Tiziana Terenzi

Porporo opens with a mild raspberry tinged thin, slightly airy rose underpinned with moderate clove spice and animalic musk support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the thin, airy rose turns piercing green as it adds a clove-laced incense facet, shedding most of its raspberry accompaniment with slightly earthy patchouli joining as co-star with the musk remaining in support. During the late dry-down the composition remains highly linear, as the rose and patchouli gradually recede, leaving the remnants of the musk and piercing clove-laced incense combining with amber from the base through the finish. Projection is good and longevity outstanding at over 20 hours on skin.

Looking at the ingredients list, many have compared Porpora by Paolo Terenzi to my favorite perfume, Portrait of a Lady by the great Dominique Ropion, finding it an excellent alternative for far less money... Money aside, it was with great interest that I secured a sizable spray sample to see if I agreed. To save those that want an immediate verdict from reading further, the answer is "not even close."

Porpora opens immediately with a *faint* similarity to Portrait of a Lady with its rose and raspberry tandem, but the ingredients and implementation are completely different. In Porpora, the rose is thin, slightly synthetic smelling and the raspberry very subtle, with an odd smelling musky undertone that is rather off-putting. By contrast, in the original formula of Portrait of a Lady the rose is jammy, huge, natural smelling and the raspberry much thicker and more intense, with patchouli already playing a key role in the development. In the middle of Porpora, the synthetic thin rose joins modest earthy patchouli with the odd animalic musk remaining, but now adding a sharp-pitched, whiny green tinge from poorly implemented clove and incense. Portrait of a Lady keeps perfect balance of the jammy rose and patchouli, with ambroxan from the base by contrast. The late dry-down of Porpora is very linear and that high-pitched green tinge to the remnants of the rose with the odd musk remains through the finish, only adding in slightly sweet amber to the mix that doesn't improve things. Portrait of a Lady, by contrast, also remains linear, but in its case the perfect balance of rose, patchouli and ambroxan remains through the finish. Both perfumes have unbelievable longevity at nearly a full 24 hour day, but Porpora is much less vociferous. The bottom line is the $170 per 100ml bottle at discounters Porpora may have an ingredient list similar to Ropion's greatest masterpiece Portrait of a Lady, but passing similarities are all that overlap, and the "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rated Porpora comes up *way* short both by comparison, and unimpressive when judged independently, mustering a neutral recommendation by itself, and a *huge* avoid if being considered as an alternative to Portrait of a Lady at any price.
08th November, 2020
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Jasmin de Pays by Perris Monte Carlo

Jasmin de Pays opens with yellow marigold to meld with underlying white floral jasmine before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the jasmine highly intensifies, taking over as the star while eschewing the yellow floral's green tinge and gradually adding mild supporting clove. During the late dry-down the jasmine remains though subdued, as it slowly fades to reveal subtle, just slightly animalic musk in the base that hangs around through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at around 12 hours on skin.

It is no secret that I love jasmine when done right. In truth, a different jasmine soliflore (Jasmin Antique by Rogue Perfumery) released this year (2020) with similar listed notes impressed even beyond my wildest dreams. As Jasmin de Pays, a soliflore from the prior year has almost the same official notes (except the added marigold) would it too impress? Are the two compositions nearly interchangeable?

Let's answer the key question right away for those that don't want to read further... The answer is absolutely, "No." As a matter of fact, for two jasmine soliflores with similar notes, the fragrance profiles are about as dissimilar as can be. It turns out that despite the similar notes, the materials used and the implementation of the two different perfumers (Mr. Manual Cross for Jasmin Antique, and Mr. Jean-Claude Ellena Jasmin de Pays) couldn't be more striking. Jasmine de Pays comes off as seeking the scent of jasmine tea, Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea in particular. It has a bit of an airy floral nature, presenting as somewhat thin and sanitized. This actually is a very close approximation of the Dragon Pearl Tea I love so much. That said, while in short doses while brewing and drinking the tea it can be quite appealing, but it tends to annoy as time passes, and Jasmin de Pays doesn't really develop much to add new revelations to the mix save for an unwelcome piercing green aspect not present in the tea from the marigold. By contrast, Jasmin Antique (reviewed separately) is deep, heady, narcotic, more nuanced and evolving, capturing the smell of jasmine grandiflorum in the field complete with its indolic presence perfectly. Each will appeal to jasmine lovers to a degree with no overlap, but for *this* jasmine lover, only one is a "must have," masterpiece, and it isn't Jasmin de Pays. The bottom line is the $200 per 100ml bottle Jasmin de Pays captures the scent of Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea quite well, but it wears thin as time passes with its lack of development and nuance, earning it a "good" 3 stars out of 5 rating and a neutral recommendation except to Dragon Pearl Jasmine tea lovers that can't get enough of its fragrance.
01st November, 2020
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Mriga (มฤค) by Prin

Mriga goes on with a moderately aromatic and slightly bitter, deep, dark green wormwood and fir balsam focal tandem with sharp woody vetiver support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the dark fir led green accord remains, coupling with an emergent strong animalic musk that permeates and enhances it, supported by gothic dulled rose and a touch of gauze-like Oud. During the late dry-down the dark green aspect vacates as remnants of the residual musk join slightly powdery amber-like labdanum with an added leathery facet through the finish. Projection is average and longevity very good at around 10 hours on skin.

Going into trying Mriga I had heard that the composition was musk focused. As I tend to dislike heavy animalics, I had a bad feeling the perfume would not be my cup of tea. It turns out, however, that perfumer Prin Lomros has composed a real winner that is the perfect balance of animalic musk with a very convincing dark green fir balsam. The supporting dulled rose adds a very nice additional facet to the composition that is subtle, but extremely effective in achieving the balance sought. It should be mentioned that the musk used here is synthetic, but it never comes off smelling that way, instead rounding out some of the most off-putting aspects of real deer musk, while maintaining the realism of the "good stuff." I strongly prefer it to real deer musk and would love other compositions to follow suit if they can pull it off as well as in Mriga. If there is a weakness to the composition, it would have to be in the late dry-down, as Mriga turns a bit bland with the gentle powdery amber-like labdanum finish that while pleasant smelling, is somewhat of a letdown after a great aromatic open and the balanced musky green heart that impressed so much. The bottom line is the animalic expectations of the $190 per 30ml bottle Mriga may scare off some, but the perfume is actually very approachable and is a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 rated effort by Prin Lomros that is recommended to all but the most animalic perfume averse among us.
25th October, 2020
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She Came To Stay by Edition Perfumes

She Came To Stay goes on with a highly aromatic natural smelling lemon spiked basil spice with hints of underlying clove before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the deep, smooth clove remains, now as co-star, joining slightly sharp, aromatic natural cedar wood as the focus, with cinnamon-like nutmeg spice, woody vetiver and earthy patchouli support. The composition stays highly linear through the late dry-down, as the clove and cedar remain co-stars through the finish shedding their supporting notes as the development runs its course. Projection is average, as is longevity at around 8 hours on skin.

She Came To Stay is somewhat tough to evaluate for this writer. On the one hand, the composition smells superb, with its lifelike approximation of cedar wood and deep clove spice, not wholly unlike a personal favorite underrated Edouard Flechier perfume from 1991 called Vendetta pour Homme by Valentino. This is not a copy, but it does have the two primary notes that dive that one, with She Came To Stay also having a couple key supporting notes of basil and patchouli, then swapping similar nutmeg for the cinnamon in Vendetta. Similarity aside, another thing She Came To Stay lacks is any real development. This is not a major weakness (especially since it smells incredible), but Vendetta, while similarly incredible smelling, has much better performance, is the more complete perfume... and it came first. While discontinued, Vendetta pour Homme also can still be had on the aftermarket for a relatively inexpensive sum in comparison. The bottom line is the $160 per 60ml She Came To Stay is a fine all-natural perfume effort by Mr. Timothy Han, but it comes far too close to a superior release from a superior perfumer to earn higher than a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rating and an avoid recommendation due to the similar, but superior smelling and performing Vendetta pour Homme being easily obtained for less.
19th October, 2020
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Haxan by Parfum Prissana

Haxan opens with a relatively dry cedar wood and woody vetiver starring tandem, tempered by a tinge of slightly sweet sandalwood and aromatic patchouli before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the slightly sweet sandalwood and patchouli remain, now supporting a strong, damp mushroom accord that takes the fore, with additional green spruce and earthy aromatic cypress support. During the late dry-down, the woods and mushroom accord vacate leaving remnants of the patchouli in support of a focal aromatic, slightly sweet green fir balsam that emerges and remains strong through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity is excellent at around 12 hours on skin.

Haxan has a laundry list of notes, some rather exotic and the truth is the more objective note breakdown above doesn't cover even a tenth of them. I found myself struggling, especially in the mid-section trying to identify individual notes and eventually gave up and just "went with it." One accord that really sticks out, however, is the mushroom. I am not a fan of mushrooms at all, and when paired with the patchouli and the aromatic slightly sweet greens it was quite unsettling and not particularly pleasant smelling. On the flip-side, the disappointing middle is flanked by an impressive woody natural smelling cedar and vetiver led open, and a fine fir balsam led finish that makes grading Haxan quite tough, but in the end they just can't overcome the odd musky mushroom dominated middle. The bottom line is the $140 per 30ml Haxan proves a bit too ambitious to succeed due to its laundry list of odd notes that don't quite come together well in the critical mid-section to yield anything more than an "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and a neutral recommendation.
11th October, 2020
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Relax by Davidoff

Relax opens with tonka bean sweetened spearmint supported by grassy tarragon spice before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the mint remains, now supporting an emergent prominent mossy green oakmoss that takes the fore, with additional aromatic patchouli and thyme-like bay leaf spice support. During the late dry-down, the composition morphs to a relatively dry, slightly powdery vanilla and amber focus as the mint and spice vacate, leaving remnants of the patchouli in support through the finish. Projection is below average, and longevity on the low side of average at around 7 hours on skin.

Relax is the kind of composition that can easily be overlooked. On the positive side it smells relatively good with its rare, sweet mint focus not too unlike the Edouard Flechier composed Jean Luc Amsler Homme that came out a full decade later. That said, unlike the latter that in many ways is superior smelling by adding an interesting cucumber note to the mix, Relax starts out near equally impressive, but has a very ho-hum late dry-down with equally disappointing performance metrics. Maybe in 1990 when it was the only choice of the two to be had I might have found Relax more compelling, but nowadays it just seems to be a "good enough" release from thirty years ago that didn't distinguish itself enough then, and even less-so now. The bottom line is the long-since discontinued $300 per 75ml bottle on the aftermarket Relax is a "good" 3 stars out of 5 rated effort, but it comes nowhere near close to distinguishing itself from its 90's peers (and Jean Luc Amsler Homme) to justify a recommendation to seek it out at any price (let alone the crazy cost it currently commands).
04th October, 2020 (last edited: 05th October, 2020)
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Iquitos by Alain Delon

Iquitos goes on with a honeyed rose and a hint of supporting mandarin orange before quickly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the rose takes over as the focus with the honeyed aspect receding though still quite present, revealing its slightly powdery facet as a moderately animalic musk and civet duo join fine white floral jasmine and mossy green oakmoss from the base providing significant support. During the late dry-down the animalics and rose all but vacate, leaving remnants of the now dry honey to join with a slightly sweet amber and sandalwood tandem with leather support through the finish. Projection is very good, as is longevity at around 11-12 hours on skin.

As most masculines from the 80s were winners, I guess it shouldn't be a great surprise that Iquitos is another fine example of the period's amazing output. The composition is a animalic honeyed rose at its core, but the oakmoss within adds an element to the composition that just couldn't be replicated easily in today's IFRA regulated world, making one appreciate just how good things were back then. While it has been quite a while since I have worn it, for some reason I feel like there is a similarity to Oscar de la Renta pour Lui here, and if so, that is far from a bad thing. Similar or not, Iquitos smells superb regardless. The bottom line is the discontinued $340 per 100 ml bottle on the aftermarket Iquitos may not prove the best smelling masculine of the great 80s, but that title is not necessary to still claim an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rating and a strong recommendation to vintage perfume collectors.
14th September, 2020 (last edited: 13th September, 2020)
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Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

Acqua di Gio Profumo opens with a blast of orange bergamot and a black peppery sage and geranium tandem with a soft aquatic accord in support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the peppery sage and geranium tandem remains, as does the supporting soft aquatic accord as the composition is infused by woody incense rising from the base. During the late dry-down, the peppery woody incense infused accord recedes then vacates, unveiling subtle patchouli in the base that combines with remnants of the supporting aquatics through the finish. Projection is below average to average and longevity is very good at around 10 hours on skin.

When the original Acqua di Gio was released in the 90s I, like just about everyone else bought a bottle. I always thought the stuff smelled good, but I never understood its amazing sales success, as it seemed to be missing something with many better options in the crowded genre. A couple decades later with the introduction of Acqua di Gio Profumo, perfumer Morillas has accomplished an extremely rare feat in releasing a flanker that smells much better than the already successful original. The sage and incense utilized here add the missing peppery/woody component to the perfume that counters the all too familiar Acqua di Gio DNA that appealed to many from the start. Now the composition is much more appealing and complete in the opinion of this writer, while never ceding the perfume's already winning formula. The bottom line is the $130 per 75ml bottle Acqua di Gio Profumo takes an already good smelling perfume and by adding a couple key notes makes it an "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 rated one that is recommended to tepid fans of the original that wanted just a bit more.
05th September, 2020
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Adjatay Cuir Narcotique by The Different Company

Adjatay opens with smooth yellow floral ylang-ylang at the fore with a hard leather accord undertone before quickly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the moderately sweet banana-like ylang-ylang remains, now in support of indolic white floral tuberose that takes the fore, infused with significant rough leather rising from the base and a touch of indolic jasmine. During the late dry-down the white and yellow florals gradually dissipate then vacate, leaving remnants of of the rough leather, now softened by woody-leathery styrax and slightly sweet sandalwood smoothing it through the finish. Projection is very good and longevity excellent at well over 12 hours on skin.

Adjatay was love at first sniff for this writer. Tuberose, which is the focal note through most of the composition's development is usually a challenging one for me, but the leather balances the normally difficult white floral quite well, as does the soft leathery styrax and sandalwood in the base. The ylang-ylang also is quite prominent, playing a key role in adding a fruity floral banana aspect to the heart that melds perfectly with the tuberose. The late dry-down is probably the best part of the composition as the florals vacate to allow the now softened leather and smooth woods to sing. On the whole, the development is relatively linear (in a good way) and near-perfectly controlled. One non-perfume smell related comment is the solid metal cap on the 100 ml bottle at least is not particularly well-designed. It has a tall graduated structure that makes gripping it extremely difficult, and it snaps tightly and firmly into place to the bottle, making for quite the challenge in getting the darned thing off. Well-built, but *not* good. The bottom line is the possibly discontinued $119 per 100 ml bottle at discounters Adjatay is an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated perfectly unisex floral leather perfume that is recommended to everyone, even those that usually disdain wearing white floral tuberose.
23rd August, 2020
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Salted Green Mango by Strangers Parfumerie

Salted Green Mango opens with subdued bitter orange and moderately sweet hybrid pineapple and melon smelling mango before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the moderately sweet pineapple and melon-like mango remains, now adding a synthetic smelling salty, aquatic accord with sharp vetiver support. During the late dry-down the salty aquatic aspect dissipates and finally vacates, leaving the remnants of of the moderately sweet mango to pair with relatively dry sandalwood through the finish. Projection is average and longevity excellent at over 12 hours on skin.

I have had tremendous positive experiences with several other Prin Lomros compositions, finding the perfumer extremely talented. Knowing this perfume was a Lomros composition I fully expected to love it, but Salted Green Mango turned out to be a mega-stinker. The open immediately is off-putting, with the green mango's odd mixture of a sweet melon and pineapple hybrid that is quite unsettling. That said, the worst aspect of the composition is in the early heart phase, when a disgusting synthetic smelling salty oceanic accord is added to the mix, bringing the composition to scrubber territory in near record time. Things do improve considerably in the late dry-down when the salty oceanic accord finally leaves, allowing a fine, relatively dry sandalwood to balance out the remnants of the mango creating a rather pleasant finish. Pleasant late dry-down aside, had I not been forcing myself to continue wearing the perfume for this write-up, I would have never reached it as the middle is truly unbearable. The bottom line is the $80 per 30 ml bottle Salted Green Mango is easily the worst thing I have sniffed from talented perfumer Lomros (and one of the worst I have sniffed period), earning it a "poor" 1.5 stars out of 5 rating and an *extremely* strong avoid recommendation to all.
09th August, 2020
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Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligon's

*This is a review of vintage Hammam Bouquet

Hammam Bouquet goes on with nose tingling bergamot spiked natural rose before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its heart the rose remains sans bergamot turning dark and dull, now pairing with co-starring animalic musk rising from the base with slightly aromatic lavender and subdued jasmine support. During the late dry-down the musk laden dulled rose gradually recedes, unveiling soft, slightly powdery amber in the base that takes the fore through the finish. Projection is good and longevity excellent at just under 12 hours on skin.

When I first sprayed Hammam Bouquet on skin I was quite excited, as the bergamot laced natural smelling rose open is truly quite impressive. If I could bottle that open and make it last into the heart section this review would be much more positive and enthusiastic... Alas, things go south quite quickly, as the composition's key heart section has "mortuary" written all over it with its gothic, dulled, musky rose presentation that falls flat. The late dry-down restores things back to life in relative terms, but it is really just a quite typical pleasant amber led finish that normally would go unnoticed, save for its rescue of a perfume that was previously coffin bound. The bottom line is the approximately $100 per 100 ml on the aftermarket vintage Hammam Bouquet is a relatively disappointing offering that contains quality ingredients but gives new meaning to the words "dated" and "lifeless," earning it an "above average" 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5 rating but an avoid recommendation to all except vampires.
02nd August, 2020
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Santos by Cartier

*This is a review of vintage Santos de Cartier

Santos opens with a moderately aromatic lavender and basil spice tandem before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, a fine, natural smelling cedar note emerges melding with moderately sweet, smooth sandalwood rising from the base, supported by warm nutmeg and cumin spice. During the late dry-down the cedar takes the fore, with remnants of the warm spice and sandalwood adding a touch of supporting sweetness and balance through the finish. Projection is relatively minimal, and longevity on the low side of average at 7 hours on skin.

Santos is far from the typical powerhouse style compositions that were all the rage in the 80s. The composition sits relatively close to the skin, and unlike many of its bold, brash 80s contemporaries, it comes off as very classy and sophisticated. The sandalwood and cedar wood combination is the real focus, but the warm spice plays a large supporting role. With respect to the spice, when I detected cumin, I feared it would present like body odor as in many compositions containing it, but in Santos it is very natural smelling and in perfect balance with the woods and nutmeg, melding with the perfume ingredients sublimely. There is a soapiness that is most likely a derivative of the sandalwood but never calls too much attention to itself, just adding an additional touch of refinement. All-in-all the perfume is a winner to be sure, but I really wish it had better performance. I guess one can't have everything. The bottom line is the $30 per 30 ml bottle on the aftermarket vintage Santos de Cartier is an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated anti-powerhouse perfume offering from the 80s that save for its lackluster performance metrics does just about everything else right, earning it a strong recommendation to vintage lovers seeking sophistication.

31st July, 2020
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Bois du Portugal by Creed

*This is a review of vintage Bois du Portugal

Bois du Portugal opens with a smoothed out aromatic bergamot and lavender tandem with natural smelling cedar support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the natural cedar takes the fore, adding moderately sweet and slightly powdery supporting sandalwood and rubbing alcohol-like ambergris rising from the base, with the opening aromatic lavender remaining, now in an additional supporting role, adding a touch of sharpness to the woods. During the late dry-down the aromatics (both lavender and cedar) vacate, leaving the now relatively dry, slightly powdery sandalwood sans its earlier sweetness to take fore through the finish. Projection is very good, and longevity excellent at near 12 hours on skin.

Creed is a house that I rarely get along with. Most of the perfumes offered, save a couple notable exceptions that others rave about I find mundane and uninteresting at best, and outright disappointing at worst. Due to my many disappointments over the years with the house I put off trying Bois du Portugal for literally decades fearing I would find yet another Creed offering a bust... Having now sampled the original formula of Bois du Portugal on skin a handful of times, I can honestly say I was very wrong to avoid this one. The perfume draws one in immediately on application, as the aromatic lavender, bergamot and cedar wood meld together perfectly in a smooth almost liquid-like fashion. The segue to the slightly powdery woody heart is perfect, and some real sandalwood makes its way into the mix to add sweetness and balance. If there is a slight weakness to the perfume it is in the darker, relatively minimalist woody late dry-down that still smells quite good, but as the aromatics vacate, so does the distinctiveness to a degree. No, Bois du Portugal will not bowl anyone over with innovation, but it wholly succeeds at smelling pleasant and sophisticated at all times. As an aside, I have heard that the current stuff does not compare well to the original formula reviewed here, and if that is indeed true I would strongly recommend seeking the vintage out; this writer surely will! The bottom line is the $180 per 30 ml bottle on the aftermarket "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated vintage Bois du Portugal is a fine departure from the normally shoulder shrug worthy offerings from Creed, earning an easy recommendation to perfume lovers seeking a mature sophisticated woody composition.
19th July, 2020
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Kolonya by Rasei Fort

Kolonya opens with just a tinge of citric orange bergamot coupling with moderately sweet plum infused rosewood before quickly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the bergamot vacates, leaving the plum infused rosewood to meld with slightly sweet, natural pipe tobacco and subtle jasmine and lavender florals with clove spice in support. During the late dry-down the tobacco and florals gradually diminish as smooth, slightly sweet amber takes the fore, bolstered by supporting natural cedar and sandalwood unveiled from the base through the finish. Projection is below average but longevity is excellent at around 12 hours on skin.

With a name like Kolonya, I really expected a different perfume profile than encountered, but in this case the change was a very pleasant surprise. The perfume turns out to be a fabulous mix of natural smelling tobacco, florals and woods that wear like an Eau de Cologne, but have impressive endurance. The perfume really focuses on the tobacco and woods primarily, but they never turn too deep or overpowering, adding a very different spin to the genre while keeping to the "easy to wear," casual presentation one might expect from an EdC. The late dry-down is probably the weakest aspect of the perfume, but even there the amber led finish never stands out in a bad way or gets too sweet as the cedar and sandalwood balance it nicely. I rarely mention bottles, but in this case the beautiful real wood bottle makes for exceptional housing, though the very wide "splash on" opening could indeed lead to *splashing* on the cologne unintentionally, so consider wearers forewarned. The bottom line is the $120 per 60 ml bottle "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rated Kolonya may not be the typical Eau de Cologne expected, but instead the wearer gets a more distinctive offering that never veers *too* far from its historical "easy to wear" EdC peers, earning it an easy recommendation to just about anyone.
10th July, 2020
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MCM Success by MCM

MCM Success goes on with a ton of deep, musty oakmoss with significant animalic musk and dark, dulled rose support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the super-strong oakmoss remains, as the animalic musk grows in strength to become co-star, now adding an alcoholic honey and smoky tobacco accord into the fold in significant support with hints of the previous dulled rose and now carnation florals. During the late dry-down the oakmoss gradually recedes, leaving remnants of the now diminished animalic honeyed musk sans booze to swap in just slightly sweet and powdery vanilla through the finish. Projection is excellent and longevity below average at around 5-6 hours on skin.

I have tried to warm to MCM Success, but alas it is not going to happen. I never thought I would say a composition had too *much* oakmoss, but there is no getting around it here. The wearer is inundated with the stuff immediately on application to skin, with the musk and relatively dry boozy honey from the base adding a highly off-putting odd gothic aspect not unlike what one might expect to smell in a crypt. The heart only exacerbates this dank, near rotting organic material accord to the point of the composition approaching scrubber territory though never quite reaching it. The late dry-down is thankfully much better composed and pleasant smelling in comparison, though most may have given up well before its arrival, and it is far from worth the early nose torture. The bottom line is the $100 per 100 ml bottle on the aftermarket MCM Success delivers the oakmoss goods in spades, though the "below average" 2 to 2.5 stars out of 5 rated 80's perfume goes *way* overboard with its liberal odd animalic musk and honeyed booze accompaniment that could scare away the dead, yielding an avoid recommendation to all but perfume loving necromaniacs.
08th July, 2020
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Aura for Women by Jacomo

Aura for Women opens with a light shampoo-like grapefruit and lychee driven accord before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the perfume turns fruity-floral, as sour, almost rotting raspberry fruit melds with peony and lily-of-the-valley light florals. During the late dry-down the composition turns musky and woody, as the fruity florals mostly vacate to reveal slightly sweet sandalwood and slightly animalic musk in the base, softened by supporting slightly powdery vanilla through the finish. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at around 12 hours on skin.

When first applied on skin Aura doesn't impress, as a weird relatively cheap smelling shampoo accord hits the wearer right off the bat. Things don't improve much directly afterwards, as the rather odd decaying fruity floral accord while not unpleasant still smells a bit "off." By this point I was convinced Aura for Women was going to be the sole perfume composed by the great Edouard Flechier that merited a pan, but then came the late dry-down to the rescue. It is rare that a perfume can be salvaged by the late dry-down when the rest disappoints, but Aura for Women is the exception, as Flechier skillfully uses a sandalwood and musk driven finish that smells quite good and also is distinctive enough to separate Aura for Women from its peers. The material quality of the perfume is generally poor, but Flechier makes the most of what was probably a very tight budget. The bottom line is the $11.50 per 75 ml bottle Aura for Women smells about as inexpensive as its relatively low price tag, but perfumer Flechier is far too talented not to work wonders even on a tight budget, yielding a "good" 3 stars out of 5 rated effort with a strong finish to counter its relatively poor start. This composition is only recommended to patient budget perfume seekers willing to wait hours for a payoff.
05th July, 2020
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Öland by Avon

*This is a review of early 1970's Oland.

Oland goes on with moderately sweet bergamot-laced smooth, almost liquid leather before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the bergamot vacates, as does most of the early sweetness, leaving the now slightly rugged leather as the focus, supported by warm nutmeg-like spice and an underlying musty labdanum and tobacco accord. During the late dry-down the composition eschews the remaining sweetness as the remnants of the leather and warm spice remain through the relatively brief finish. Projection is below average, as is longevity at around 4 hours on skin.

Oland is the kind of composition that definitely has strong roots to the past, but unlike many others of its time, something about the perfume comes off as "dated." I really enjoyed how the bergamot citrus meshed with the moderately sweet liquid leather early and would have loved for that accord to remain, but alas the composition quickly morphs into a warm, musty, spiced leather kind of thing with a slightly soapy bent that while far from unpleasant really is not particularly appealing. The potency of the composition should be mentioned as it is extremely watered down to the point that the 6 ounce bottle may not last as long as one might think as you need to really *splash* Oland on skin to get even passable performance. The bottom line is the $6 per 6 ounce bottle on the aftermarket "above average" 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5 rated Oland represents strong value, but proves only slightly compelling to collect, unless one covets the subjectively "cool" Packard Roadster collectable bottle a lot of it is housed in. Recommended for the nostalgic bottle, not particularly for the perfume.
04th July, 2020
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English Leather by Dana

*This is a review of the vintage English Leather Cologne by MEM.

English Leather opens with an aromatic lavender and bergamot tandem before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the aromatic lavender remains, joining natural smelling lemon, and orange, woody-green petitgrain early, then gradually adding a play doh-like accord with musky green oakmoss and hard leather late that as time passes eventually takes the fore. During the late dry-down, the play-doh accord and aromatic lavender vacate, as the remnants of the hard leather join significant sharp woody vetiver in the base that becomes co-star, with the musky-woody oakmoss accord now once again in support. Projection is below average, but longevity is quite tenacious at an excellent 12 hours on skin.

I have fond, vivid memories from my childhood where one could browse the grocery store personal care aisle and find many "drugstore" aftershaves and colognes like British Sterling, Jovan Musk for Men, Aqua Velva, Chaps... and of course, English Leather. There were testers galore, and while I had little money to buy just about anything, I always looked forward to sampling every one - again, and again. Fast forward to present day, with not having worn English Leather (aftershave or cologne) for at least 35 years and only my nostalgic memories to lean on, I decided to buy a vintage English Leather Cologne to see how the real thing measures up. Well, the top notes definitely are missing the nose piercing bergamot I remember from my youth (almost certainly burned off due to age), instead the bergamot, while present, is quite diminished in comparison to the aromatic lavender. I also don't remember the play doh-like accord in the heart, that when combined with the relatively hard leather gives off an overall smell not so unlike the current formula of Or Black. About two and a half hours in, the composition returns back to what I remember, as it morphs into its final sharp woody, leathery focus through the finish, with the vetiver giving the woods a piercing quality. Like most things it is almost impossible to live up to nostalgic long since past memories, and it holds true here too. That said, I don't regret the "cheapie" purchase, and still enjoy the stuff. The bottom line is the under $15 per 55 ml bottle English Leather Cologne (MEM version) may not live up to its impossible nostalgic heights, but the "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 rated composition shows it holds up well nostalgia withstanding even after many decades, earning a solid recommendation to classic "old school" composition lovers who value getting excellent "bang-for-your-buck."
22nd June, 2020
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40 Rogue by Rogue Perfumery

40 Rogue opens with an odd, dark narcissus floral and rotting orange fruit led accord with underlying green oakmoss before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the rotting fruit gives way to an aldehydes spiked floral accord that is predominantly carnation with just a hint of rose. As time passes, the aldehydes become more and more assertive, as they meld with the carnation to become co-stars over time. During the late dry-down the aldehydes finally vacate to leave the remnants of the carnation to pair with only slightly animalic musk through the finish. Projection is below average, as is longevity at around 7 hours on skin.

This is a tough review to write... Not because the notes are particularly complex or difficult to pin down. No, it is tough because 40 Rogue is supposed to be a resurrection attempt of the long since discontinued 40 Love pour Homme by Jean Desprez. Not having sniffed 40 Love it is difficult to comment on whether the resurrection attempt is successful from a replication perspective. On this, I can only say that the aldehydic carnation accord is quite recognizable to a similar accord in many Desprez compositions I *have* sniffed. So maybe 40 Rogue succeeds in its attempt? Having said that, while potentially succeeding to resurrect 40 Love, if it smelled like this stuff, what a stinker it must have been! The open is completely off-putting, with its very bizarre mixture of narcotic florals and rotting fruit. While the open is horrific, the aldehydic carnation development which is substantially more appealing and near-surely on point to the original still is not much of a lure, nor is the musky late dry-down. Add in some relatively poor performance metrics and from a pure smell perspective 40 Rogue flops and is the least appealing offering from the house to the nose of this writer. The bottom line is the $125 per 60 ml 40 Rogue may be successful in its attempt to resurrect 40 Love, but if 40 Love smells like this "below average" 2 to 2.5 stars out of 5 rated mini-stinker, I would think it better off left dead, yielding an avoid recommendation to everyone except fans of 40 Love.
15th June, 2020
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Tuberose & Moss by Rogue Perfumery

Tuberose & Moss opens with with an only slightly indolic white floral tuberose supported by bright bergamot citrus and a tinge of relatively light green oakmoss before transitioning to its heart. As the composition reaches its early heart the slightly indolic tuberose remains the focus, with the green oakmoss taking a supporting role, melding with moderately powdery, slightly sweet vanilla rising from the base. During the late dry-down the tuberose remains, but yields to the now more potent relatively powdery slightly green oakmoss and vanilla mix that takes the fore through the finish sans sweetness. Projection is above average and longevity excellent at over 12 hours on skin.

I like Tuberose & Moss, but don’t love it. I am not much of a tuberose fan on a good day (at least not me personally wearing it) except when it is presented in a much lighter, brighter form like the presentation used in compositions like Champs Lunaires and Richard James Savile Row. Unfortunately here the balance is weighted for a good deal of the development towards the tuberose, and in a form that is darker than the aforementioned Champs Lunaires, but not as dark as Flos Mortis, with the oakmoss and vanilla providing quite a bit of powder late (a presentation choice of both notes that I dislike). I wish perfumer Cross would have focused more on the mossy green aspect of the oakmoss then its powdery facet as that would have been a better balance for the moderately dark tuberose. I enjoyed the composition more early-on, but as time passed the powder really got to me and my enjoyment diminished. The bottom line is the $140 per 60 ml bottle Tuberose & Moss impresses early but disappoints a bit late, yielding a "good" 3 stars out of 5 rating and a neutral recommendation except to tuberose and powder lovers who might find it a good match for their taste.
14th June, 2020
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Tabac Vert by Rogue Perfumery

Tabac Vert opens with a tinge of green oakmoss and sharp bergamot-laced relatively dry tobacco leaf before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the dry tobacco leaf remains, though gradually becomes obscured by a focal soapy leather accord with supporting floral carnation, and sandalwood and cedar rising from the base. During the late dry-down the tobacco completely vacates, as the soapy leather accord enhanced by supporting sandalwood and cedar remains, now thickened by what resembles slightly sharp, woody vetiver through the finish. Projection is above average and longevity excellent at over 12 hours on skin.

The name Tabac Vert is a bit of a misnomer for this perfume, as while there is some green early and there is also some tobacco neither really is the focus, at least not to the nose of this writer. At its core, Tabac Vert is a soapy leather focused composition, with the soapy leather not that unlike leather being scrubbed in saddle soap. The late dry-down may not actually have vetiver in it, but it sure smells like it does, and is not so unlike the vetiver infused leather of Private Label from Jovoy, though nowhere near as impressive. For me, this one is well-made but a bit of a shoulder shrug, and in the bottom third of the 11 perfumes I have sniffed from the house to date. The bottom line is the $125 per 60 ml bottle Tabac Vert is pleasant smelling, but the "good" 3 stars out of 5 rated composition is not impressive enough to warrant anything greater than a neutral recommendation to all.
13th June, 2020
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Flos Mortis by Rogue Perfumery

Flos Mortis goes on skin with a huge, highly indolic tuberose and jasmine white floral tandem, with an underlying menthol-like accord before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, development stays linear as the highly indolic tuberose takes the fore with the jasmine remaining in support and the menthol-like accord vacates. During the late dry-down the tuberose remains, though now diminished, revealing just a touch of supporting hard leather in the base. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at over 12 hours on skin.

The name may scare many off even trying Flos Mortis, but in truth, while certainly a hard-core indolic tuberose composition all the way, it really is not off-putting, or at least not to this writer. That isn't to say Flos Mortis is an easy wear... You really need to *love* tuberose in all its indolic glory to enjoy wearing Flos Mortis, as the jasmine and the leather really only bolster the real star. It also doesn't help that the composition is fairly linear. I am not a deep indolic tuberose fan so Flos Mortis is not the kind of thing I would seek out myself, but if you love tuberose in all its indolic glory, the well-made, high quality Flos Mortis should certainly be on your short list of compositions to sniff. The bottom line is the $125 per 60 ml Flos Mortis may have a scary name, but the "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rated composition is much more accessible than expected, and certainly recommended to hardcore tuberose lovers in particular.
09th June, 2020
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Fougère L'Aube by Rogue Perfumery

Fougere L'Aube opens with a tinge of slightly sharp bergamot citrus, with a moderately sweet honeyed-green petitgrain and galbanum tandem in support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart a fine aromatic lavender joins sharp, rosy-green geranium with a combination of the remaining green galbanum, hay-like coumarin and oakmoss from the base in support. During the late dry-down the composition stays relatively linear as the overall fern-like accord from the heart remains through the finish, with the green aspect gradually receding to unveil supporting relatively sweet, subtle sandalwood detectable in the base. Projection is average, and longevity above average at 9-10 hours on skin.

Due to IFRA regulations, real aromatic fougeres (complete with bergamot, oakmoss and "hay-like" coumarin) are a dying breed if not near-extinct. Luckily we have artisanal perfume houses like Rouge Perfumery that refuse to comply with the ridiculous genre killing IFRA guidelines, reminding us what the "real deal" actually smells like and keeping the category alive, if not still on life support. Fougere L'Aube is a fine example of what an aromatic fougere should smell like. It has all the ingredients one would expect to create the classic "fern-like" accord while never (thankfully) straying into modern fougere territory. The mossy-green oakmoss and hay-like coumarin in this case are more subdued, letting the rosy-green geranium take center stage in the heart to drive the relatively linear development. In the end, Fougere L'Aube breaks no new ground, but perfumer Cross has the classic fougere structure down to a tee, coupling great skill with the use of high quality ingredients, making for a fine outing regardless. The bottom line is the $125 per 60 ml bottle Fougere L'Aube may not plow new ground, but is one of the final true examples of a real classically structured aromatic fougere, presented wholly intact and crafted with fine skill and polish by perfumer Cross, earning a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation to old school aromatic fougere lovers lamenting IFRA destruction of the genre.
07th June, 2020