Perfume Reviews

Reviews by mistersurgery

Total Reviews: 87

Sauvage by Christian Dior

I rather enjoy writing my reviews, and I think it best to have fun with them, as I try to do with most things in life. That said, those of you who may read my reviews will get a rare treat with this one, as my wife is the unintentional reviewer this go-around.

I am quite familiar with Sauvage due to its ubiquity but have never taken the time to review it, mainly because I find it abrasive and I'm not really a fan at all, though it is well-made and its sales numbers prove its popularity. While I was looking through a desk drawer, I found a sample of it, decided I'd do a review on it because I was sort of bored at the time, and then sprayed some on the back of my hand and headed downstairs to where my wife was, in our family room.

As a preface, my wife wears fragrances but is not a connoisseur by any stretch. She can't identify specific notes, but she has a pretty decent nose when it comes to those things which we as "fans" might try to consider objectively good or bad. She was sitting on the couch, working on her computer, when I stuck the back of my hand towards her face and said "What do you think?" She sniffed, winced and then recoiled. She then slowly inched back towards my hand, much the way a timid puppy might slowly approach the hand of a stranger and sniffed again:

"Smells like something a douche would wear."

Ladies and Gentleman, Sauvage Eau de Toilette by Dior.

11th June, 2020

Solarissimo : Levanzo by Azzaro

For the sake of brevity, I'll describe Solarissimo: Levanzo thusly:

Take Pasha (1992) by Cartier, add some norlimbanol, lobotomize and neuter what's left over and sell to the general market.

On the other hand, if this is a rookie perfumer's first attempt, I'm impressed.

There is no reason to buy this as although it isn't bad, it also isn't good. I'll give it a neutral as I didn't find the stuff to be offensive, at least.
11th June, 2020

Baba Yaga by Sixteen92

Baba Yaga is one of the Sixteen92 "darker" scents that has a little more versatility to it.

When the sweetness of the dragon's blood incense fades down, the incense is remains the dominant note coupled with the candle wax and "herbal" notes. HouseOfPhlegethon nailed the similarities of this to a head shop. When you think of the Sixteen92 brand and smell this, you conjure up more of a gothic image in your head. But were I to spray this on you, hand you a bong and play "Terrapin Station" by the Grateful Dead, you'd see that it fits perfectly. That's why I think this has more versatility than some of the other Sixteen92 scents that I've sampled.

It's not something that I would wear, but for the right hippy/goth/witch/stoner this could be right up your alley.

It's a well-done scent all in all.

Thumbs up.
26th November, 2019
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Vlad Dracul by Sixteen92

If you're familiar with the story "Dracula" by Bram Stoker, you may remember that when Count Dracula sleeps, he must sleep in the earth of his homeland. When he emigrates to London, he has a ship bring crates of his native soil with him. In real life, Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad Dracul, aka Vlad the Impaler was a nobleman and warrior known for impaling his enemies on the grounds of his castle, and even having lunch while watching them slowly die. I think either of those backgrounds lends a good backstory to Vlad Dracul, the scentm and it's theme of scorched soil.

Vlad Dracul is a dark, musky affair that I find to be sweet and earthy with hints of fir. The sweetness gives this a warmth that keeps the fragrance from smelling too much like dead earth, yet the musky warmth of it is unnatural, so it has a strange vibe to it. It's not off-putting at all, but this is certainly not a conventional scent. I would avoid wearing this to the office and instead wear it to your next demon summoning or blood ritual. It's very dark and a bit foreboding, but that's the point of it, right?

Thumbs up for creativity on this one.
26th November, 2019

Baldessarini by Baldessarini

Classy, old-school vibe.

Baldessarini is a scent that seems a bit out of place at the time of this writing, but that's because it manages to smell uniquely old, yet Y2K-era at the same time. Its spicy, bitter orange opening reminds me a bit of Terre d'Hermes (2006), but this brings an older impression due to the licorice-like mint, subtle fir, and somewhat meaty tobacco. This is the type of scent you would expect to smell in the Harvard Club. Very classy and refined. This has a skew towards more mature gents, but a refined, younger gent can certainly pull this off. This is a scent that smells of confidence, wisdom, and sophistication.

Performance is good, and the scent stays relatively close to the skin, but with a scent like this, that's a good thing. This is good for date nights and cooler weather. You could wear this to the office, but I think it works best if you have the corner office.

Definitely sample this one. It could most certainly be a signature scent for the right man.

Thumbs up.
26th November, 2019

Original Vetiver by Creed

This is the dumb-grab from Creed.

Of all of the Creed scents out there this is probably their best one in terms of quality, performance and versatility. Like Guerlain's Vetiver (1961), this is a fragrance that you can wear anywhere and fit in without issue. It works in the office, works during casual events, would work on a date (warmer months preferred); it would even work at a formal event.

It has a savon accord very similar to Mugler Cologne (2001), but with the addition of vetiver, though that vetiver is a background player in this. I've never found Original Vetiver to be a "vetiver fragrance." What makes this work so well is the soap note made by the combination of a really good citrus and floral combination. It has great performance (by Creed standards) in regards to longevity and projection. Wear this in the spring/summer for best effect.

If you need a cheaper alternative to this, pick up Mugler Cologne. It's not the same, but it's in the same ballpark, much the way Set Sail St. Barts (2007) by Tommy Bahama is the ballpark alternative to Creed's Virgin Island Water (2007). That said, if you have the disposable income, I think that Original Vetiver is the one Creed fragrance that I would go so far as to say is a blind buy. It's difficult not to like this one.

Big thumbs up.
26th November, 2019

CB Musk by CB I Hate Perfume

Be forewarned: This is a very specific scent.

This isn't Original Musk by Kiehl's (1963), nor is it Royall Muske by Royall Lyme (1978). This is some funky, dank musk. More dank than a bag of Critical Purple Kush.

My take on the initial odor of this may sound odd, but I'm reminded of spray paint/permanent marker. The other notes I get are a damp, moldy fungus-like scent, and what we generally think of as "musk." Chris Brosius -- such a quirky guy with a boundless imagination -- certainly wasn't trying to make something for the masses with this. This is very animalic (duh), but not as grungy as your standard animalic (civet/castoreum heavy) scents. It's pretty smooth for being a hyper-focus on musk, and although I wouldn't wear this out in public, as it dries down it becomes even more smooth and warm, making it a little more "civilized," though certainly not civil. This is linear. Don't expect any evolution on this; it is what it is. Longevity is very good while projection and sillage are on the weaker side, but in this case I believe that to be a plus.

I have to give Brosius a hat tip for the creativity and execution of this. He has some interesting -- and some strange -- ideas that he captures in his fragrances, but there is no denying that his attention to detail and the execution on all of his scents is top-notch. This is not something that I would wear, but it's a definite thumbs up.
22nd November, 2019

Black Aoud by Montale

This is what you get when you bury a rose in the "Pet Sematary."

This is a dark rose fragrance, simple as that. I love a well-done rose, and coupled with the medicinal tinge that the agarwood brings (similar to the medicinal note from the agarwood in M7 (2002)), this is a pretty linear trip, but an interesting one at that.

It starts off a bit strong and somewhat off-putting, smelling like a rose-scented medical compound, but as it dries down, the rose becomes more prominent and smooth, and the agarwood fades a little more into the background, balancing this out nicely. It's a very dark scent; one that I think would have been the perfect "official band fragrance" of Type O Negative, for those of you who get that reference. This is something to be worn at night to something intimate or formal, as long as you want to give off a gothic, brooding vibe. Although this is a men's fragrance, I think a woman with a dark, mysterious kind of image (think Eva Green) would be able to pull this off without issue.

This is certainly a try-before-you-buy fragrance, and one that I could see as being in the "love it or hate it" category. It's not something I would buy, but this could certainly be a signature scent for the right person, with my assumption that said person is of the Tim Burton/Rob Zombie variety.

Thumbs up

22nd November, 2019

L'Air du Désert Marocain by Tauer

A good fragrance for the right person.

This, like all of the Tauer fragrances that I've sampled, is of high quality, and the attention to detail and craftsmanship that Andy Tauer invests in his line is quite evident.

The initial sniff upon application is a vetiver-y incense with a faint, soft powdery undertone to it, thanks to the rock rose and jasmine. Then, in a similar vein to Encens et Lavande (1996) by Serge Lutens, the volume increases significantly as the powdery aura dissipates a bit and the incense and vetiver ramp up. Forewarning: Don't overapply this. Spray, then give it a few minutes.

My issue with this is that although the materials are top quality, the vetiver, incense and ambergris make this an extremely dry perfume, one that almost "burns" the nostrils a bit, much as the desert air does. Now, for all intents and purposes, that's "mission accomplished" and Tauer has produced exactly what the name on the bottle is meant to invoke. But, like Incense Extreme (2008), which Tauer would release three years later, I think this is a terrific scent but one that I don't find to be very wearable. Again, this is based on my preference, and again, this in no way detracts from the quality of this fragrance. Tauer did a fantastic job with this. Although this is listed as unisex, I think this leans way into the masculine side of things. I wouldn't want to smell this on a woman, but that's my opinion.

Overall, a great scent, but one that requires a very specific time and place, and truthfully, I can't really come up with either for myself. Give it a try, though. The craftsmanship and attention to detail warrant that at the very least.

Thumbs up, but not for me.

22nd November, 2019

Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Timbuktu is a disorganized fragrance.

By that, I mean that I have no idea what kind of fragrance this is trying to be. The initial smell is a very bright, citrusy mango/berry combo, and a fairly prominent frankincense and myrrh. Those notes clash pretty jarringly, and I think that the removal or at least toning down of the incense would improve this a lot. Fortunately, the incense notes fade relatively quickly, and what's left is a papyrus/vetiver fragrance that I would best describe as "meh." The vetiver in this is a clean one and when coupled with the leftover mango/berry notes, it gives a bit of brightness to the papyrus/wood notes, but the real issue is with that papyrus note. It smells more like treated paper rather than papyrus. The kind of paper that you load into a printer or copier. It starts off smelling niche, and by the time this dries down, it resembles inexpensive designer fare, something along the lines of Encre Noir Sport (2013).

I'll give Duchaufour credit where it's due in the sense that he certainly wasn't following a paint-by-numbers formula, but ultimately the end result is a confusing jumble that ends up being a paper tiger. It's not bad enough to give this a thumbs down, but it certainly teeters close to that edge. Though I'll give this a neutral, I would pass on this one.
22nd November, 2019

Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

Utterly distasteful and pointless.

I guess you could say that this is a competent blend of wood and spice, but I find nothing to enjoy about it. It's very linear, and I smell a very dry oak, cumin, and black pepper. The result of this is that it smells very similar to some of the Indian takeout places I sometimes order food from in "Curry Hill" when I'm in NYC.

You could put cumin and black pepper into a bowl, mix them up and get pretty much the same effect. And in my opinion, that bowl of spices is exactly as wearable as this fragrance is. Ellena has tons of ideas that are unique and creative, and this is certainly that, but it's one of those fragrances that should have been abandoned at the beginning.

This might stimulate your appetite (it doesn't for me), but I doubt it would stimulate anything else. If I were to get wafts of this on a person, I would mistake it for body odor, and I'm not being hyperbolic.

Thumbs down, for sure.
20th November, 2019 (last edited: 21st November, 2019)

A*Men Pure Malt by Thierry Mugler

Possibly the most overhyped fragrance of all time.

Some of the reviews here say that this is a blind buy, and the amount of praise that Pure Malt receives here would certainly lead one to believe that that may be the case, but let me assure you that this is not a blind-buy, and there's a very good chance that it's not a "buy" at all.

It's built on the Type-2 diabetes-inducing A*Men (1996) chassis, and the first blast is an intensely sweet synthetic that reminds me of a dirtier H.M. (1997) by Hanae Mori. Where people are getting the notion that this smells like booze -- nonetheless Scotch whisky, THE booze made from malt and peat -- is beyond me. I am a big fan of Scotch whisky. I have had a lot of Scotch whisky in my time. I know how to spell it correctly. In fact, I've even been to Scotland twice and have worked for a Scotland-based company! This smells like whisky about as much as lime Jolly Ranchers taste like biting into a fresh lime, which is to say "a passing resemblance" at best. As this is built upon the A*Men platform, this is best left to younger gentleman, and old folks north of 40 years of age, such as myself, should probably pass on this. It smells like something that belongs at a club, and certainly not at any place one would consider "elegant" or "refined." You certainly shouldn't wear this in any professional or office setting. Longevity is fair, though projection and sillage are good.

This isn't an objectively "bad" scent, but I almost feel it to be in the interest of the public good that I make it clear that this is not a blind buy, nor is it a crowning achievement, nor is it a classic. It's one of the better A*Men flankers, and that statement alone, parsed exactly as is, will give you all that you need to know.

I'm generous with my neutral on this one.
20th November, 2019 (last edited: 21st November, 2019)

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Zagorsk by Comme des Garçons

This is not an incense-dominated scent, rather, it's a pine/violet/wood fougere with some incense tucked in.

The violet, as it often does in fragrances, gives this a cooling effect. This works with the white musk to give this a very cold, clean feeling that encapsulates being in a mountainous region of Siberia. It's so bright that it lightens the incense notes up to an almost soap-like quality, which is why I think this absolutely presents as a bright fougere. It then dries down to a woody base that almost smells "Christmas-y" for lack of a better word. It's an interesting fragrance, to be sure, but not one that moves me at all. It definitely smacks of something that should be worn in the colder months, but apart from that, I don't know when I would want to wear something like this. Parts of it seem cold and mysterious, and the other parts seem like the background smells at a Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's. Longevity is good, though projection is fair.

I'm not saying that this is a bad scent, but it's certainly not a blind buy. Maybe the right fragrance for someone else, but certainly not for me, and that's why I'll give this a neutral rating.
20th November, 2019
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Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

Raspberry shoe leather!

Others before me have done a good pull-apart of this fragrance, so I won't get too verbose with this.

It's a linear scent that smells like shoe leather with the cardamom and jasmine giving this a slightly floral and sweet touch to it, akin to the faint odor of raspberries. The best way I could describe this would be for you to go to a Nordstrom/Saks, etc., grab a nice captoe, maybe Allen Edmonds or Ferragamo, from the men's shoe department, walk towards the fragrance department, stand about twenty feet from a fragrance counter where the various perfumes can be smelled in the air, and then bury your face into the shoe and take a big whiff. This smells like the midway point between the men's shoes section and the fragrance counters. That's the best way that I can put Ombre Leather into an experiential description.

That said, I like it. I'm not sure if others would enjoy smelling it on my person, but I just dig it. I love the smell of good shoe leather, and this is a solid representation of it. I'm also not sure what situation I'd be in where I would want to wear this or where it would be appropriate, but I do know that it needs to be autumn/winter to pull this one off.

Thumbs up on this quirky number!
19th November, 2019 (last edited: 21st November, 2019)

Ormonde Man by Ormonde Jayne

Ormonde Man starts off with some promise but ultimately doesn't really go anywhere.

The initial whiff is quite interesting. As others have stated before, it starts off green, but I smell it as a waxy, aldehydic green. What makes the intro of this neat is that the oud, and possibly the hemlock (which is a fragrance I'm really not familiar with, so I can't be sure), give this a little bit of funk that serves to counterbalance that bright green blast. The problem, though, is that whatever semblance of oud there is lasts only the first few minutes, and then you're left with a bright top and a pretty standard and relatively uninteresting base that fails to evolve in any way.

This is certainly a scent that can be unisex, as I think this leans way more on the feminine side than the masculine. It's not a bad fragrance, but not a good fragrance by any stretch, in my opinion. It's not bad enough for me to give it a thumbs down, but I'd say it's pretty close.
19th November, 2019

Royall Muske by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

The classic barbershop scent.

For me, Royall Muske and Clubman by Pinaud are THE barbershop scents. Not fragrances that have a barbershop quality; the scent of a barbershop.

cytherean nailed this in his review, so I'll parrot a few points as I do this. I have both (maybe there are more) formulations, so here is the difference between the two:

The vintage (mine is from the 1980s, back when this was produced in Bermuda, and I'm sure this one has some really serious, actual musk in it) is much more animalic, much less sweeter and has better projection and longevity. The newer formulation smells like old-school shave cream, but with a synthetic bent so sweet that almost leans gourmand; the vintage has the same shaving cream smell, but with the caveats I listed above. The differences between the two are stark. I think that the newer formulation is good for today's tastes, and if I didn't have the vintage bottle, I could make do with the newer one. It's more "polite" for sure. The vintage is certainly musky, in the true sense, so it carries the pros and cons of an animalic fragrance. Either way, this is a cologne/after shave lotion, so don't expect to get a lot of mileage out of either as far as longevity. This is good for after the shower, lounging around the house on a cool day, or just wanting to smell as WASPy as humanly possible; this (and other colognes by Royall Lyme) is sold at the counter of every Brooks Brothers store.

It's my favorite of the classic barbershop colognes. Spicy, warm, a bit carnal, yet classy. Even though this was created in 1978, you'll swear that this has been around for at least 150 years. Truly a classic that smells timeless.

Thumbse Uppe!
19th November, 2019

Bulgari Man in Black by Bulgari

The first thing I thought of when I smelled Man in Black is "department store."

The note pyramid contains some of my absolute favorite notes, except for two notes that when not put into the proper ratio can completely derail the train for me, and that would be iris and tuberose. With its boozy, pencil-shaving notes from the rum and guaiac wood, there are some similarities to Gucci pour Homme (2003), one of my favorite designer scents. The cardamom and cinnamon give this a nice, cool spice to it, and the base is a spicy oriental; well done, but not groundbreaking. I rather enjoy the entire formulation...except for the iris and tuberose. They just seem to be two vocalists in the choir who sing everything a quarter-step sharp. I'm enjoying the whole vibe of the fragrance while trying to not pay attention to the iris and tuberose. That said, as Man in Black dries down, the tuberose starts to fade (it's the note that bothers me the most), and the iris turns its volume down to an acceptable level. After thirty minutes or so, I can actually enjoy the fragrance without any real issue. Towards the end, this has an iris/vanilla-dominant odor that's "okay" at best.

Performance is good, longevity is decent, not sure about sillage. This is not a unique scent, in my opinion, but it's well-designed, and a nice option for the colder months. I see this as a date night fragrance, unless your plan is to let the people in the office think you're a lothario. This isn't a blockbuster by any stretch, but I can't really knock it as being poor. I'll give it an unenthusiastic thumbs up.
12th September, 2019

Narciso Rodriguez for Him by Narciso Rodriguez

I guess I seem to be one of those people that don't see this scent as so completely unique as to be some kind of unicorn. That said, I do enjoy the creativity within its simplicity.

I can see why some people would say that this smells like wet concrete, though that's not the description that I would use. To me, it's a musky violet. Combined with the patchouli, that balance creates a dulling, wetting effect that would lead one to imagine that this is the smell of the city streets on a cold, rainy day. The amber and musk create a bit of a buttery warmth to this, making sure it doesn't become so drab that it ceases to become a fragrance and becomes more of an odorous chemical. It's pretty linear, performance is very good, sillage is decent and longevity is strong,

I'm a fan of violet in fragrances, and I think that Kurkdjian did a great job with this. For a scent with only four notes, it doesn't come across as anemic at all. As far as when and where to wear this, I would say at night and during the fall and maybe winter. It does have a dreary vibe to it, so outside of autumnal funerals, I'm not sure when I would decide to apply this one. All in all, a very nice fragrance that I really enjoy, but one that needs a very specific time and place to be worn.

Thumbs up.
12th September, 2019

Eau de Cartier by Cartier

A very nice, subtle eau de cologne!

I'm a fan of yuzu, and the yuzu and bergamot opening is wonderfully blended. Not too sweet, not ozonic, not overly citric. The "leaves" note does a great job of cutting out the sharpness of a normal citrus opening, giving this a fresh, airy feel. It's like standing in a grove where you pick up not only the fruits on the tree, but the fresh green smell of the leaves, as well. The lavender and patchouli are dialed back in a tastefully restrained way, leaving this with a "white musk" kind of base.

Sillage on this is weak, as is projection, and the performance is about what you'd expect from an eau de cologne.

This is a really nice entry in the eau de cologne format. It maintains a very fresh, breezy, feel to it with a more vegetal quality replacing the citrusy quality normally associated with fragrances of this ilk. This is not a fragrance that shouts; rather, it's a fragrance that speaks softly and elegantly. Well-made, very refined, and very much a quality "dumb grab" for the warmer months for when you want an eau de cologne that breaks free from the standard format a bit.

Thumbs up on this one.
11th September, 2019

Gentleman Eau de Parfum by Givenchy

Gentleman EdP comes off to me like the bastard child of iris-showcase Dior Homme (2005), and some old-school '70s powerhouse thanks to its sharp patchouli and lavender.

It's interesting when you smell it evolve. It has a yin-yang quality as the iris has that smooth, almost feminine, earthy floral, and the patchouli is...well, patchouli. Lorson and Cresp are certainly giving a hat tip to the more rambunctious scents of the '70s and '80s, while maintaining the more restrained and safer tendencies of the modern fragrance world. It lists "floral notes" in the profile, and I'm not sure that they work too well in this. The black pepper gives this a bit of a spicy, oriental feel, but something in the "floral notes" -- it almost reminds me of carnation -- is not jiving with the whole theme for me.

It's an interesting fragrance for sure, but one that seems confused to me, and lacking a cogent theme. This is best used on a cold, romantic evening, as there is nothing about this fragrance that seems suitable for the office, casual wear, or warm weather. I'm sure that Gentleman EdP has its fans, but this is not my cup of tea by a longshot. I'm not a fan.

I'm being generous with my neutral rating for this, in my opinion.
11th September, 2019

Black by Bulgari

Fragrances are a "subjective" thing in that we all can smell the same odor and interpret it in different ways. I never wore Black when it came out, and the only version I'm familiar with is this more recent iteration. This must have undergone a significant reformulation, because the famous "idiosyncrasies" of Black seem to be absent in the bottle that I'm smelling.
I purchased this on Fragrancenet a while back, so I know that this isn't a Canal Street knockoff shipped in from Shandong Province.

Upon first spray, and for a while, the intro to this is dominated by sandalwood, cedar, vanilla, and amber. Two of the three mid notes are cedar and sandalwood, two of the three base notes are vanilla and amber. Minus tonka bean, those four notes make up the base of Jean Paul Gaultier's Le Male (1995), and I have to tell you that the similarities between Le Male and Black are pretty darned apparent. Instead of the smoky Lapsang tea, I'm getting only a hint of the smokiness -- not so much tea -- and I'm only picking up a tiny bit of the leather. Since the leather and the tea notes are responsible for Black's infamous "rubber" note, and they seem to be basically neutered in this formulation, the rubber note is almost undetectable, and what's left is a semi-darker version of Le Male after it dries down a bit.

They must have really mucked around with the reformulation because this scent is not bad, but at the same time it's not interesting at all, save for coming across as a more restrained, smokier Le Male. I'd like to get my hands on some vintage Black, as I'm assuming this version underwent the same kind of castration that Dior's Fahrenheit (1988) did, except that Fahrenheit still retains it's diesel-soaked leather vibe, but just not as well as it used to.

All in all, this is a fair scent. I hope that the original iteration is better than this one, because for all intents and purposes this is a relative snoozer.

I give it a neutral, as I am truly indifferent to this scent.
11th September, 2019

Salem by Sixteen92

Salem starts off more Christmas-y than expected, mainly due to a big wallop of a quite sweet clove on the first sniff, giving this a semi-cheerful vibe. It smells like a Yankee Candle store, to be honest. Patience is a virtue in life and a necessity in perfumery, so I wait to see what unfolds.

Slowly but surely the sweetness in the clove, and then the clove itself, begins to fade and I pick up wisps of what's listed as "bonfire smoke," though it smells more like standard, wood-burning fireplace chimney smoke, in my opinion. Less Christmas, more early-mid November at this point. The birch wood note becomes more apparent, reminding me of old homes I've been in; those that were made in the 19th century. That really old, unfinished wood smell. The scent doesn't really evolve any more beyond that, and just starts to fade from then on.

I didn't pick up on the leather, but I did pick up some of the church incense. This brings me to real the crux of the issue I have with Salem: I think this would be a wonderful fragrance except for the fact that the clove note is just chewing up the scenery here. If that clove was dialed back enough to give the other notes the room to sing, this could be really good.

As is, I'll give it a neutral. It's almost there.

09th September, 2019

Necromancy by Sixteen92

Necromancy starts off very sweet and dark. The "funeral flowers" note -- carnation, as astutely pointed out by Shycat -- is the loudest voice in the opening, but doesn't really get to its crescendo right off the rip. A couple of minutes after spraying, it picks up strength and becomes more pronounced and brighter, overshadowing the benzoin and incense that dominate the initial few minutes. As far as the smell of a funeral home during a viewing...I'd say that this is a pretty good representation.

The benzoin and incense give it a warm backdrop, though it does eventually lose that warmth, becoming, in my opinion, very similar to the scent of an empty funeral home. Imagine fresh floral arrangements in an empty, old house. Clean, but without the smell of cleaning supplies. Flowers surrounded by utter stagnation.

I'd say it's unisex but leans on the feminine side, though I'm not sure if I really want to smell like a mortuary outside of a Halloween party. This falls under the category of "experiential fragrances" for me, and as far as taking an olfactory voyage, Necromancy certainly did its job. Like a good horror film, the trip was a bit unpleasant and brought up some not-to-happy memories...but that's the whole reason I wanted to try it. Nice creativity.

Thumbs up on this one.
09th September, 2019

Emporio Armani He by Giorgio Armani

To be honest, I love this scent. There's not a single note in the profile that I'm not a big fan of. There are a bunch of fragrances out there that try to be multifaceted but end up suffering from the "jack of all trades, but master of none" syndrome, and Emporio Armani He should fit into that category, but it manages to pull off being competent enough in all categories for my taste.

It's a fresh fougere that doesn't get into those screechy, turn of the millennium spaces that were popular at the time, and although that era suffered from a bunch of fragrances that were so "safe" as to almost be banal, He manages to have just enough character to make it a win. It's not too spicy, not too thin, not too's Goldilocks' bowl of porridge for me. The yuzu gives it a fizzy splash of brightness, while the cardamom and vetiver both tame the yuzu's sharpness, with all of it resting on a wonderful base of sandalwood, guaiac, cedar and musk. It's this superbly smooth base that is the star of the show here. The further it dries down, the smoother and more enjoyable it gets.

This is not a fragrance that will offend, and is wearable anywhere, including the workplace. This may be a little too anemic for a formal affair or date night, but it would still work just fine. Wear this during moderate to warm temperatures, as this does not have the power to hoof it in the cold.

It's not a revolutionary scent by any means, it probably won't blow your socks off, but it will be a dumb-grab generalist that you can feel safe wearing at any time, and still enjoy a very comfortable and pleasing ride.

Big thumbs up for this one.
06th September, 2019

Extreme Speed by Michael Kors

Blind-buying is always a risky proposition, and I was in a TJ Maxx and saw that they had Extreme Speed in a 4.1 oz bottle for $29.99. Not being familiar with it, and looking up the note profile on basenotes while I was there in the store, I saw that ES has a few notes that I'm partial to; cardamom, violet, and cedarwood. So, I figured "what the hell" and bought it.

I really like it! It opens up with a nice dose of cardamom, with the cypress and sage not as pronounced. The violet is nicely represented, as well. My worry was with the cinnamon, as perfumers sometimes go too heavy on it, and it creates a "heating" aspect to fragrances that I don't enjoy. Luckily for me, the cinnamon is very restrained, and for that matter, not really noticeable. The cedarwood is solid and the patchouli is also restrained; again, that's good for me as patchouli can easily overpower a fragrance if not reined in. The tolu balsam gives this a very "buttery" feel to it that makes it both spicy, yet creamy and not too sharp. During the drydown, the more pronounced cedarwood base is not too dissimilar to that of St. Kitts (2015) by Tommy Bahama, another well-done fragrance that can also be found in Marshalls/TJMaxx/Ross, etc.

The only thing I don't like about this fragrance is the name. I have come to dread anything with "extreme" in the name, and "speed" is the last thing that comes to my mind when I smell this. This is a much classier scent than its moniker suggests, and for the price I paid, I think it's a steal.

Thumbs up for this dark horse.
05th September, 2019

Hugo by Hugo Boss

If there are any scents that bring me back to my high school/college years, this is certainly on the short list.

You couldn't walk into any mall, school, or building without smelling this on someone. It was a ubiquitous '90s fragrance . It straddled the border between smelling classy and at the same time utterly plebeian. It was worn by both successful dads and their numbskull sons. Long story short, this is a fruity fougere/aquatic. More sweet and vibrant than Cool Water (1988), but not as fruity as Nautica Voyage (2006), which, in my opinion, is a spiritual successor to Hugo. The note list in this is impressively large and exotic sounding, but quite misleading, as I don't smell or can barely smell at least one third of the listed notes. It has traces of fougere qualities for sure -- they show up more as Hugo dries down--, but they're muddled into a very synthetic dihydromyrcenol/calone stew that somehow manages to work.

For someone who is more "into" fragrance than your average Joe or Jane, you're not going to get your socks blown off by this. It's a fragrance very in line with the time in which it was created, and it's an easily wearable scent that certainly could qualify as a dumb grab in that you can wear this pretty much anywhere at any time and not feel out of place, but it doesn't excel at anything. Hugo Boss stuck the landing with Hugo, but it was like watching footage of old WWII bombers limping back to base with their fuselages full of holes from AA guns, and the wings near blown off. They made it back, but barely. In that same mindset, Hugo Boss is a thumbs up for me, but barely.
04th September, 2019

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

Fahrenheit is a true example of a fragrance being more than the sum of its parts. I don't smell each component individually (I can if I try, but that's NOT the point of Fahrenheit); I smell three distinct "scents," each of which I will describe below.

First, as Fahrenheit is renowned for, the opening smells like diesel fuel. As a car nut, and as someone who used to race and who still works on cars in my spare time, I can't help but love it.

Second, it smells like leather. Not fine leather like you'd find on Coach gloves or Bottega Venetta leather goods; the kind of leather you smell on engineer boots or a biker jacket. Workingman's leather.

Finally, an almost wet, grassy/vegetal smell. The kind you smell on a dewy sports field on a cool morning.

Mix all of three of those motifs together, and you get Fahrenheit. Nothing more, nothing less. It's pretty straightforward, unambiguous, and impeccably done.

Now, the issue is whether or not you want to smell like that. I can't imagine many women wanting their man to smell like diesel-soaked leather, and although I love the smell of Fahrenheit, from a practical standpoint, it's not a fragrance that I wear very often. I don't want to show up to a business meeting smelling like I just replaced a faulty fuel line, nor would I want to go out to dinner smelling like I just stepped off of the set of "Sons of Anarchy." But that's just me.

Although this is not a fragrance I get much use out of, I love it. How could you not? It's so unique and impeccably done. If you've never smelled it, you owe it to yourself to do so. It's a classic, without any doubt, and although I rarely find myself wearing it, there's no way that I could give Fahrenheit anything less than a thumbs up.

04th September, 2019

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

I'm going to get right into this without describing Philosykos from top to bottom, as a lot of people have already done (and have done well) before me.

I get less fig from this and more fig leaf and fig tree. This smells very similar to your hands after pulling weeds. That fresh, semi-sweet, vegetal sappiness...that's what this smells like to me.

And it's recreated quite well. But that leads us to the most obvious question: do you want to smell like you just got finished pulling leaves off a fig tree? I imagine this is the aroma of the hands of a very erudite landscaper.

Impressive construction, but I can't imagine wanting to smell like this in public or private, for that matter.

04th September, 2019

Sables by Annick Goutal

This is another perfume that has a name that I think is quite misleading. When I think of "sands" -- "sables" is the French word for "sands"-- I think of warm, dry, and thin. Sables is certainly warm, but it is thick and sensual. This fragrance is also something I think should be worn in cooler temps, as in the heat this would be stifling and cloying.

This is a strong and thick fragrance. It's very aromatic, and upon first whiff, I thought that licorice was a note in there, though it's just the cinnamon (and a nicely done cinnamon, at that) and tea giving the immortelle a bit of a kick. If you want a very crude description of this, it would be "spicy, aromatic, maple candy" It's like a very sweet barbershop/fougere. As far as immortelle goes, I can only take it in small doses, and Sables has immortelle in spades. I prefer the way immortelle was used in 1740 Marquis de Sade (2008) by Histoires de Parfums, though the "crotch note" (my term; not actually in the note list) made it something I wouldn't wear. As Sables dries down further, the sandalwood makes its presence more known and the immortelle is reduced to speaking loudly rather than shouting through a bullhorn.

This is a great scent for the kind of guy who digs old-school powerhouses from the '70s and '80s. It's not my style, as my nose is on the "sensitive" side and those heavy-duty scents are just too much for my taste. It's a solidly-done perfume, and for the right guy this could be a signature scent. It's just not my cup of tea, but I can't knock it on its quality or performance, both of which are very good.

Thumbs up, but not for me.
04th September, 2019

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

My take on Infusion d'Homme is that it is basically Prada Amber pour Homme (2006), but made less feminine.

What's interesting is that the note profiles listed for both scents are totally different, yet once you smell them both, there is no denying their similarities. It lists "clean notes" and "powdery notes" as actual ingredients, and I would say that along with galbanum, benzoin, and iris, that's what's driving this train. Like Amber pour Homme, this also has the soap-vibe going on, but it's more restrained than the former. Amber would be more the "perfumed decorative soap," and this would be more of a "utility soap," and that's where my issue lies. I can't help but be reminded of the type of low-grade soap and cleaners that they used in my high school art class when I smell this. Norlimbanol seems to be in there, giving this that "scratchy" effect that I have never enjoyed, and it makes this a scent that comes off as something manufactured trying to come across as high class. It's high-end industrial soap trying to pass itself off as luxurious. That's the most apt way I can put it.

Just like Amber pour Homme has its fans, this also has its fans, and they're most likely one and the same. Amber pour Homme was a confused fragrance that seemed to be playing with the idea of androgyny, as it was, to me, neither masculine nor feminine, and purposely so. Infusion is less feminine, but certainly not a "manly" scent by any means. I would choose this one over Amber, but I would choose almost anything over either. I don't think that this scent is bad in and of itself, I just don't like it. I'll give it a neutral, as giving this a thumbs down seems a bit harsh.

Neutral, but I'd pass on this for sure.
04th September, 2019