Perfume Reviews

Reviews by duncanw

Total Reviews: 51

Amber Oud by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

I wish I liked the opening more, but it's too playdough and rubber for me.
The drydown is excellent: as Darvant says, it's like ASA's Castoreum, but I prefer it to that in so far as it is less sweet.
17th September, 2020

Black Phantom "Memento Mori" by By Kilian

A muddied sweetness. Nothing is clearly itself but that isn't a virtue here: it just isn't at all interesting.
17th April, 2020

Vert d'Encens by Tom Ford

The accord of pine with a creamy heliotrope is unusual and I'm never quite sure it's for me. But I enjoy it when I wear it so I guess it is.
Something about it conjures flashbulb childhood memories of climbing in cypress. That's the "vert" I guess. The incense I don't get and can't say it's missed.
A nice oddity.
25th March, 2020
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Bond-T by Sammarco

I came to this via Borneo 1834. That is a well-rounded mug of cocoa compared with this. Gimmegreen is exactly right that there’s a medicinal level of patchouli here which makes it so forceful compared with the Lutens. I need to be feeling high energy to reach for Bond-T but the reward is great: a deep, dark, dry-yet-musty aura. I too wouldn’t want more sillage than there is.
16th February, 2020

Five O'Clock Au Gingembre by Serge Lutens

Milky-sweet ginger woods. That’s not anything I’m looking for so I wouldn’t seek it out. But it’s certainly nice enough and better than lots of things out there. Lasts all day, though with pretty modest projection.
05th November, 2019

Savoy Steam Eau de Parfum by Penhaligon's

A fresh, sweet and clean floral: rose. If that's what you want, probably good for you. Not much rosemary, pepper or incense around.
21st October, 2019

Endymion by Penhaligon's

Agree with david black: this is confused and confusing. The sage seems to strangle everything somehow. Doesn't last long.
21st October, 2019

Neroli 36 by Le Labo

Jasmine calone. This is the first time I've not had a violently negative reaction to calone so there's that. There's something pleasing: sunscreen on a salt-sprayed beach perhaps. Nostalgic, synthetic. Wouldn't buy it.
20th October, 2019

Concentré de Pamplemousse Rose by Hermès

Light bright vetiver. Opening minutes have a fresh grapefruit zing along with the so familiar Hermes thing that’s common to the Jardins series. Fine if you like that. Grapefruit is good but brief; no match for AA Pampluna. Only the faintest trace of rose in the woody vetiver. That vetiver is the main event here: light and bright and good as it goes but too whispered and fleeting for a neutral rating.
12th October, 2019

Armani Privé Myrrhe Impériale by Giorgio Armani

An oily vanilla that starts too bluntly strong and stays that way. For ‘ ambery woods’ I guess norlimbanol. Certainly clings for days like that molecule does.
Not for me.
04th October, 2019

Armani Privé Vétiver Babylone by Giorgio Armani

What JDBIII said. If inoffensive vaguely citric woodiness is your thing you can do better for less almost anywhere.
29th September, 2019

Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

PS made me give up looking for a pepper-focused fragrance. It offers a great snapshot of pepper and initially I was wowed. But a few more wears revealed a quite muddied structure and this same queasy drydown I get from Poivre 23, Piper Nigrum and to a lesser extent Poivre Piquant. Oh well.
29th April, 2019

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

Not unpleasant just joyless; a monotone ashtray experience.
24th April, 2019
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Jil Sander Man (2007) by Jil Sander

Meh. Hard to dislike this inoffensive wood and violet. But pretty hard to be interested too.
13th April, 2019

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Once I make it past the bandaids-and-dettol opening this is truly unpleasant, nauseatingly synth. Clearly it has lots of fans, not a few of whom give it 10 while saying they don't like it and wouldn't wear it. Huh.
Me? It induces a blinding headache. It is very loud and lasts a very long time, come what may.
08th April, 2019

Pomélo Paradis by Atelier Cologne

Delicious hyperreal juicy pink grapefruit with hints of passionfruit. As others note, this fades fast to a much too long-lasting and not so pleasant metallic-amber base: is it norlimbanol or ambrocenide? Dunno; reminds me of the former. Anyway that structure doesn't work for me. The vivid realism of the top notes is both fun and raises interesting "what are the goals of perfumery?" type questions I spose.
29th March, 2019

Aedes de Venustas (new) by Aedes de Venustas

I wouldn’t have predicted a rhubarb frankincense would be a delight but it is. In its homes of origin frankincense has a strong association with clean clothes. The tart rhubarb shimmers over that vision of fresh-pressed, blue-embroidered white linen as on a spring morning’s breakfast bowl.
24th March, 2019

Issara by Parfums Dusita

Surprised at the love for this one. Inoffensive and not merely forgettable but virtually unnoticeable. I wear frags for myself so don’t mind low sillage. But even at the skin scent level this fades from view in moments.
09th March, 2019

Korrigan by Lubin

I'd like to like this. There's a lovely creamy woods in the heart, and a delightful dry down. But also in the heart--as I found with Akkad too--is something that repels me: old dishrag or something.
04th March, 2019

Dark Lord "Ex Tenebris Lux" by By Kilian

Acrid medicinal smoke. I'd rate it an interesting not-always-pleasant onetime ride if it were just 12 hours but the nasty base takes a couple of days to scrub out.
03rd March, 2019

Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

I love Iso-e in many other fragrances, especially those by Schoen for Ormonde Jayne. It’s like a varnish bringing intensity and vividness to the other notes. Here, without other notes, one might think of John Cage’s 4:33 and how one brings one’s own. Which is fine the first time... but after that it starts to feel like a missed opportunity more than anything else.
28th February, 2019

Aziyadé by Parfum d'Empire

PdE: You see, most fragrances, you know, might have fruitcake at ten – you’re on ten here, all the way up ... and where can you go from there? Where?
Me: I don’t know.
PdE: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, for Aziyadé, we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Me: Put it up to eleven.
PdE: Eleven. Exactly.

Don't think I'd wear something this gourmand, but too much fun not to give thumbs up.
25th February, 2019

Solaris by Agonist

Unpleasant opening: stale garbage smell I associate with cascalone. I guess that’s the ozonic accord. Happily none of it lasts long.
19th February, 2019

Black Orchid by Tom Ford

Cloying horror.
28th January, 2019

Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

Does what it says on the tin. Very vivid dry unlit cigarette. Jasmin.
For me the combination makes the jasmine interesting and unisex. Only drawback: quite fleeting.
27th January, 2019

Marrakech Intense by Aesop

Starts off with a huge hit of cardamom. Then cloves come through, adding to the impression of Indian paan masala (betel quid) just before you chew it. Perhaps the rose & neroli are part of that impression, though they're still barely discernible background players.
Looking forward to using my sample occasionally: almost as good as a holiday. Can't imagine buying a bottle however.
24th January, 2019

Mark Birley for Men by Mark Birley

Can’t work out whether this is a 2 or a 4 star. First try my reaction was a little Ike Himalayan odyssey’s: rubber band oddness. Second try was more in line with Collin Maillard’s. so neutral from me but will try again.
26th June, 2018

Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

Initially green, dry, unsweetly resinous, like a cracked branch of cypress. For me this makes it much more wearable than Heeley's Cardinal, vividly close as I find that one to neat frankincense smoke.
Unfortunately have to agree with others about the low mileage from this, especially for something as inherently tenacious as frankincense.
Thumbs up while it lasts.
13th June, 2018

Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain

An extraordinarily vivid breakfast grapefruit, it makes for a joyous trip to work. It might be pitched at women but it's not sweet and I think I pull it off well. Don't really care, it makes me happy. The dry down shifts towards vanilla. By lunchtime it is suddenly gone. After such a fine morning that's quite ok.
12th April, 2018

Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

Not horrible. Not interesting. As others have noted it starts 4711 and quickly progresses to an alkaline musk. Soap.
30th March, 2018