Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Ghost_Goat

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Total Reviews: 29

Hommage à L'Homme by Lalique

I'll be the note of dischord here. Another reviewer mentioned that the violet note had a grape soda quality to it. I detect that "grape soda" and hasten to add that the note or accord that gives that impression is what makes this a detestable fragrance to me.

This isn't a freshly popped can of grape soda. It's grape soda that's been mixed with cheap rum and served warm in a red solo cup, quickly pushed out of mind when the cops arrived to bust up the party, left by the beer pong table, sitting out in the unrelenting sun for at least a week, heat and evaporation removing any trace of effervescence, reducing what was once a horrifying mix of a cocktail into a dustily flat, utterly cloying, and hugely vile syrup.

It's a repulsive thing to find in a perfume. And, for me, it's an omnipresent and indefatigable part of L'Hommage à L'Homme.
09th July, 2017

Mauboussin pour Lui by Mauboussin

Headache-inducing Ozonic sea scum in a bottle. The shrill brackish watery notes have a way of pinpointing one's synapses with a laser-like focus. The worst tendencies of early aughts men's designer perfumery taken to an incredibly horrific extreme. I would laugh at the audacity it took to release this upon an unsuspecting public if I wasn't in so much brain pain. It saddens me that this carries the Mauboussin name.
20th March, 2017

Vert d'Encens by Tom Ford

The first Tom Ford fragrance that I truly adore, and very unlike anything else that I've tried from the house.

This reminds me of arriving at home from an incense-choked midnight mass on a cold Christmas Eve and having a nightcap near a most impeccably-decorated Christmas tree. A really sexy Christmas tree...well, a particularly elegant and resolutely gorgeous Christmas tree, at the very least.

Vert d/Encens naturally associates itself with the holidays to me, but it certainly works outside of them too. This is a brighter resin than the deeply sticky stuff found in some other pine-centric scents (like Slumberhouse's Norne, Olympic Orchids' Arizona, or House of Matriarch's Blackbird, for example). While I love all three of those fragrances, I find Vert d'Encens to be a bit more refined, slightly less literal, and thus, more easily worn.

Still, there won't be mistaking this for anything besides a pine and incense fragrance. Conifer lovers should check this one out.

A big thank you goes to the always generous and eerily intuitive Steven G. at Scent Bar for the recommendation.
09th September, 2016
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Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf

A fairly horrific mess that goes for overkill is nearly every respect. “Bomb” is an appropriate name for this toothache in a bottle. Massively synthetic-smelling, incoherent, and frighteningly popular, Spicebomb unsettles me. Just thinking about having smelled it gives me a headache.
15th July, 2016

Cereus pour Homme No. 11 by Cereus

All of the others in the Cereus line seem to get all the glory. I’ve tried all of them, and there are certainly some real standouts. But No. 11 is easily my favorite. It manages to be both unique and familiar. Or, more appropriately, unique IN its familiarity, like the funhouse mirror sensation a childhood haunt can inflict upon a now-grown adult.

The anise perhaps has something to do with it, and it certainly is a lovely note here. No. 11 is blended supremely well, with no one note shouting above the others. So, anise is here, bright and noticeable up front, but ultimately assuming its crucial but reserved role in the excellent blend, where it stays until the end.

An easy scent to wear, day or night. No.11 is about as close I'll get to having a signature scent partially because it's so eminently easy to wear.
08th July, 2016 (last edited: 08th September, 2016)

Cuir 28 by Le Labo

Cuir 28 is a fine enough fragrance, and it’s, without a doubt, a leather-forward scent. But, at the price point Le Labo’s playing in, “fine enough” doesn’t cut it.

I don’t find this one to be all that refined. The birch tar/smoke aspect overwhelms at the opening, and it seems at odds with the rest of the composition throughout. On paper, they make sense together, but, in practice, they seem to maintain a tense relationship with each other, never quite settling into any sense of cohesion.

The effect doesn’t ruin the fragrance, by any means, and in some ways it seems quite fitting for a Le Labo scent to behave in this way. It’s something that simultaneously amps up a sense of more-than-adequate sillage, and it hearkens back to Le Labo’s all-natural bent and individual approach to order fulfillment.

Still, while it may function as something of a calling card for the house of Le Labo, it does so at substantial cost to overall smoothness and sense of refinement. And that’s not something I’m willing to spend $290 on.

But, the most shocking thing about Cuir 28, especially after experiencing that almost assaultive opening that seems to suggest this scent will last on you for a week, is it’s awful longevity.

I applied a good amount of C28 just about 3 hours ago, and all that remains is a slight/powdery skin scent. So, while this beast might snarl when first approached, it also whimpers away with its tail between its legs far too soon. I feel like a broken record here, but I find that unacceptable at this price point.

If Cuir 28 cost a fraction of it’s going rate, I would consider giving it a neutral rating. But, I expect near-perfection at this price point, and Cuir 28 is resoundingly imperfect, earning it a thumbs down.
28th April, 2016

Cedre Atlas by Atelier Cologne

Just after I’d first applied this one, I was nearly certain it’d be a definite buy. The initial impression is that of a classy citrus/woody scent, not far removed from (though a little sharper and more defined than) Terre d’Hermes.

Soon, this classy accord was joined by something more unpleasant: a slightly sour and overtly “chemical” note that, while not altogether ruining the fragrance for me, did make for an omnipresent distraction from the accompanying beauty. Ultimately, it also makes this a “no buy” for me.

The unpleasantness departs towards the end, and the whole thing devolves into a fairly innocuous and pedestrian whiff of powdery woods.

It’s by no means a bad scent, and I suspect that the acrid note has more to do with personal chemistry and taste than anything else. Try before you buy, and you might not be unhappy.
13th April, 2016

Pulp by Byredo

I like Pulp. I really do.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s an absolutely gorgeous parfum, and a unique and quite individual achievement that justifies both its status as one of the more remarkable fragrances affixed with the elegant Byredo label as well as much of the positive hype it’s garnered (if not necessarily the egregious price tag, but then, I’m no chemist, so perhaps it does).

The only problem is, more often than not, in my wearings, Pulp isn’t the radiating splendor I remember, and instead I find myself confronted with it's bratty little bitch side. It’s easily the most temperamental fragrance I’ve ever worn.

If the temperature that day isn’t just so, it’s either *poof* gone without a trace or overbearingly, embarrassingly, ever-present.

A little warm AND humid? Gird yourself for a noxious candied fruit explosion and some dirty looks from co-workers.

Cooler and drier says the weatherperson? You’ll drive yourself crazy debating whether you’ve lost it because you were absolutely certain you’d put something on that morning, but inhaling deeply from all application points reveals no clue as to what.

BUT, when the atmosphere decides to keep her end of the bargain, Pulp is an absolute stunner that almost makes the trials and tribulations worth it. Almost.

Maybe if I lived in a place that’s temperate year round with little variance in humidity...

Wait, I already live there.

If I can’t make Pulp work in Los Angeles, I can’t give a thumbs up to this fragrance that I actually love.

Alternately, find me a place more temperate than Los Angeles (What would that be? Like a vacuum not quite at 100%?), and I’d revel in Pulp's lightly sweet and optimistically green grandeur amongst the stasis of that impossibly boring world.
03rd April, 2016

Oud by The Motley

It's nice stuff that treads familiar ground for a non-assertive "oud" scent. The oud note is blended well and still recognizable, but there's nothing untoward or imposing about this innocuous oud. There's a pleasant smokiness to all of it, and the whole thing feels gentlemanly and masculine, if not particularly unique. It really is a pleasant scent, and that's about it. I don't think there's much to hate or obsess over, but I could see this being generally well-received. An ambivalent thumbs up.
08th December, 2015

Gujarat by Olympic Orchids

Has a fizzy root beer thing going on, like Willy Wonka root beer bottle cap candy...but better and with huge effervescence.

In execution and performance more than anything else, Gujarat is quite unlike anything else I've smelled. the scent wafts up almost three-dimensionally, a carbonation that refuses to be ignored and finds its way to your olfactory system whether you like it or not, undiminished by the amount of time and/or space it took to get there. Like many Olympic Orchids scents, it's powerful stuff.

A playful yet somehow blissfully sardonic scent that I doubt many (myself included) would be willing to try to pull off that often.

Still, I could see Gujarat absolutely working on many, and even becoming a signature for some brave soul. There's no doubting it's originality, and coupled with the way it positively dances off one's skin, Gujarat earns a thumbs up from me.
02nd October, 2015

König by Yosh

Without question, one of my favorites. But, it may tread familiar ground for many.

Although unlisted here, Konig contains an unmistakable apple note, and that note in combination with the smokiness of the firewood note evokes Creed's Aventus to some extent. It's by no means a replica, but it grants Konig a similar structure and feel. Also, like Aventus, it's difficult to dislike this scent.

Classic, refined, versatile, understated but not weak, sweet and smokey yet never off-putting, masculine but never gauche, Konig is the rare fragrance that is never a bad idea.
15th July, 2015 (last edited: 30th June, 2020)

Burberry the Beat for Men by Burberry

I have an unapologetic love for this scent, and it seems that I'm in a minority on that front. Yes, it's peppery and synthetic, but I find something remarkably attractive about the synthetic notes here. They almost take on a fleshy, latex-y vibe to me, but never in a heavy or earthy way. There's an effervescence, like the pepper is constantly dancing right at the end of your noise, just out of reach, and it's this "lightness" that makes The Beat thoroughly modern and undeniably (for me, at least) appealing.
30th April, 2015 (last edited: 22nd June, 2017)

M/Mink by Byredo

Something with so much supposed stank shouldn't be this fleeting.
03rd April, 2015
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Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

Something about this scent makes me sick to my stomach. And I mean beyond the fact that it's about as tepid and pedestrian as they come.

There's a white floral note that seems to have been sharpened over the years, and it's against this shrill backdrop that we're supposed to experience D&G PH unfold. But it's impossible to notice anything beyond the din until the whole thing just up and disappears.

Obviously this hasn't escaped the era of reformulation unscathed, but how D&G gets away with selling this stuff under the same name is preposterous. I'll admit that I never really liked this scent, but the stuff they sell now is so sharp and terribly blended that it basically assaults you for a few minutes until it just goes away.

It should be noted: I have extremely sensitive skin, and this is one of only a handful of fragrances that will instantly irritate it, AND definitely the only mainstream designer fragrance that's done so.
23rd February, 2015

Bottega Veneta pour Homme by Bottega Veneta

I'm with Colin on this one. I can't think of Bottega Veneta Pour Homme as anything but a gorgeous, classy, gentlemanly scent. The first time I smelled it, I felt like I immediately understood it...which to me is not a bad thing, sometimes. It's a genial, well-meaning scent, and it perfectly imparts the sense of restrained but artful luxury Bottega Veneta wants it to.

It's also a compliment-machine. Everybody who smells it asks about it. I personally know of 5 guys who have bought a bottle after smelling it, including my father who hasn't bought a new scent in decades (he'd worn Pierre Cardin since the early 80's, but now it's BVPH all the way.

As for myself, I plan on always possessing a bottle of this for the rest of my life. I wear it more than anything else. To me, it's a resounding success and I simply adore it.
17th February, 2015

Greyland by Montale

Comme des Garcons by way of Montale, and absolutely worth a sniff whether you're a fan of both or either houses. Even when compared to some of the CDG scents this immediately brings to mind (The oft-mentioned Monocle #2, Wonderwood), Greyland has a clarity of purpose and a laser-like focus that I find wonderfully appealing.

This is brutish austerity. Especially at the opening which asserts Greyland at its most cold and calculating. Though soon enough, the cumin speaks up for itself and the strident austerity of the opening gives way to something just slightly warmer, maybe approaching an impolite indifference.

About the time you realize a cumin bomb is about to reach critical mass and detonate, right there on your arm, a mix of creamy precious woods gessoes over the spaces, diffusing the threat.

Finally, the whole thing begins its slow descent into a methodically-fading and devastatingly lovely ennui. The last gasps are all discontented malaise, a graceful yet bittersweet (emphasis on the bitter) disappearing act.
04th February, 2015 (last edited: 06th May, 2015)

Rêve d'Ossian (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

Simply a gorgeous scent, but never an assuming one. For as beautiful as this scent is, it also carries with it a humility and grace that makes it so easy to enjoy. Unlike the related (to me, at least) Relique d'Amour, Reve d'Ossian begins immediately with an approachable incense in place of the floral austerity. It's a casual scent that references hallowed moments past, but trades in the sense of melancholic grandeur. In other words, whereas Relique d'Amour keeps me at a cold arm’s length, Reve d’Ossian welcomes me with a warm embrace. Both put incense and the according religious associations into sharp focus, but only Reve d'Ossian does it in a completely relatable and unassuming way.

Having served in the catholic right of mass as an altar server as a child, this fragrance appeals to me directly, and never in the impersonal (but, still lovely in it's own right) way Relique D’Amour goes about it. This is the chapel removed from the fantasy of an ethereal gray lily forest, and brought into the palpable reality of personal memory.
27th January, 2015 (last edited: 18th August, 2016)

Set Sail South Seas for Men by Tommy Bahama

I enjoy all of the Tommy Bahama scents I've tried, with the exception of this one. I have grown to hate the bitter citrus note that so many of the citrus scents seem to utilize now. It smells to me like a rotting lemon congealed to the side of a garbage disposal, hung just out of the reach of the blades that would easily shred it to bits if they could. While that's a pretty specific description, it's wholly what I smell with that note; From the rot, to the "dank" quality of air in that environment, to the acrid note of metal shaving against metal. Some people love this bitter citrus note, but it's a supremely foul thing to me. And it's the exact thing that destroys my opinion of fragrances like Bois 1920 Agrumi Amaria di Sicilia, Acqua di Parma's Fico di Amalfi from the Blu Mediterraneo line, and, yes, Tommy Bahama's Set Sail South Seas.

(Btw, I have nearly-full bottles of all three of the aforementioned fragrances and I'm ready to dispactch them on the cheap. Message me if you're interested.)
26th January, 2015

Knize Ten by Knize

An opening like a urinal cake in a well-used and unventilated public restroom. It's an easily-recognized scent, heretofore thought to be unique only to those circumstances. It's not the kind of familiar smell I'd ever call appealing in any way, nor one I'd ever planned on encountering in perfumery. And once you smell it in Knize Ten, you can't unsmell it.

True, the public restroom aroma fades slightly over the course of Ten's evolution on skin, but it remains omnipresent even in it's reduced state. I scrubbed this one the first two times. It took a third chance on it (on an out-of-the-way patch of skin) to feel like I'd actually let the scent develop to it's end. I finally catch a few whiffs of some classically sophisticated and genuinely gentlemanly stuff there, but never without the company of industrial restroom fresheners. And now my sample goes bye bye.
25th January, 2015

Amazing for Men by Bill Blass

Amazing fails to amaze. In fact, it hardly makes an impression at all. Far from cringe-worthy, it remains anonymous, aloof, and is gone before anybody has a chance to notice it. Five minutes after applying, Amazing, like a high school senior with a full-ride scholarship in the second week of June, leaves the faintest impression of itself and little to no evidence it had, in fact, actually been there. The worst part is, while it may stray towards the pedestrian and banal end of the fragrance spectrum, it's not a terrible scent. As for the name, it's a complete misnomer. "Below-standard" or "Opposite of Amazing" would have been more accurate. However the name came to be (Bill Blass had a particularly dark sense of humor? An exercise in post-modern marketing? A knowing wink to the irony-laden hipsters and cynical bastards who would pay for something "amazing" in name precisely because they knew it wasn't?), the scent elicits nothing but ambivalence and antipathy. And that, to me, is its greatest crime and most-telling indictment.
19th January, 2015

Blue by Niven Morgan

First off, dispel any of the associations the name "blue" may have conjured up for you based on other fragrances with the same color in the title. This is not an ozonic, "sporty", produced-for-mass-appeal scent. This one has a definite identity, and it's way more than the sum of it's parts. Very unique and beguiling even, the whole mix conjures the freshest, non-powdery floral edge to me, even though no florals are listed. The citrus jumps out at the top, but the amber is already apparent. Everything about this scent screams tempered freshness to me. The citrus is lovely and fresh, but rounded out instead of spiky, with a suggestion of orange blossom. The dry down finds the Amber solidifying its presence without ever going sweet, while gorgeous wafts of lemon and bergamot persist. Overall, a beautifully blended and wearable fragrance, equally suited to a man or a woman. Not the easiest to locate, but worth the search.

I first experienced this scent at a gorgeous hotel called The Saint in New Orleans' French Quarter, so if you're ever in The Crescent City (and if you haven't been, you owe yourself a trip), by all means...
27th November, 2014

Aoud Lime by Montale

I had serious issues with this one for awhile. The oud note felt present, but hollow, but still slightly overwhelming. And the lime contingent...well, who even knows if there's any lime in it? Sometimes I feel like I get lime so strongly in this one, as if it's front and center, vying with the oud for star of the show. Then I smell it another time and slap myself for ever having been so silly to think it was there. To me, it boils down to this: The lime is incredibly difficult to pinpoint, until you do, and then it messes with your head because it seems so plainly apparent. This scent is a rotten little minx.

But what a minx it is! After many wears, I have to say, unequivocally, that this Montale is a winner. This scent embodies Montale's modern approach to oud scents. The oud and rose are thinner, almost "plastic-y" in nature. The lime may exist more in theory than anything else, and I'm ok with that. I get the sense putting lime in the name of the scent possibly has more to do with its psychological sway than its use as an olfactory note. And maybe it works that way, because it gets me thinking about this scent through the lens of a chypre.

The rose comes out more and more throughout the wear, but while this rose is right up front, it helps comprise one of the more restrained aspects of the scent. This glammerpuss of a rose shines like a fading starlet, all class and beauty quietly surrendering to the ravages of time.

A study in contradictions, It's at once dirty and clean, deep yet approachable, and quite unlike most everything else. As startling as this might sound, this has become an office scent for me...one that almost instinctively knows its place in the world and has the ability to approach almost every situation and environment with just the right amount of bombast. It's a crash course in the proper blending of seemingly disparate notes; an utterly compelling fragrance that showcases a studied, heroically balanced sense of traditionalism and modernism.
11th September, 2014 (last edited: 02nd May, 2015)

Valentino Uomo by Valentino

Not as soul-abusive as you might deduce from reading the reviews here. Yes, a gourmand (UPDATED BELOW), and it's a pleasant enough one at that. And while the scent has a certain degree of refinement, it comes at the cost of retreading familiar ground while mistaking a sense of restraint for elegance. Others in this realm (A*men, Givenchy Very Irresistible) might be more uncouth, but they have personality for ages while this shrinking violet disappears almost completely. Not bad, but needs to grow some teeth, luxury be damned.

UPDATE: The more I wear this, the less I want to call it a gourmand. It has a floral (Iris?) note that almost pervades the scent to me, while the hazelnut has faded far into the background and the cocoa almost completely disappears to me. I actually find the combination to be quite jarring. Jarring but inoffensive in the worst way.

I don't like the combination in the same way I abhor orange and vanilla together. A lot of people adore the creamsicle/orange julius thing. To me, the first thought of orange and vanilla paired enters my mind as extremely acidic orange mixing with sickly sweet vanilla creaminess, and I visualize it as the sharp acid curdling the once-unctuous cream into something resembling the contents of a warmed-over puke bucket stationed at the most notorious small-county carnival ride on a steamy summer day. That's a combo that surely should exist only in the bowels of Hell.

Surprisingly, I'm still not 100% thumbs down on Uomo though. But it's getting pretty clashy to me.
11th September, 2014 (last edited: 14th November, 2014)

cK In 2U Him by Calvin Klein

It's an innocuous naive little scent. I find it surprising that it seems to elicit such vehement negative reaction up here. It's actually quite sweet, and while that's usually something I despise, I have no problem with it here. For some reason, the opening constantly reminds me of a sweeter, fruitier Ferre for Men, although the scents diverge significantly on dry-down when Ferre's rose begins to assert itself big time and CKIN2U remains pretty much as is. It's definitely not the most exciting scent, nor is it the most offensive (although, you'd be forgiven for thinking so after seeing the reviews here). Heartily agree with those folks who say summer opens this one up.
20th August, 2014

Tom Ford Noir by Tom Ford

Dreadful, headache-inducing dreck. You'd think they'd be able to nail the mainstream fragrance considering their altogether more-positive-than-not and occasionally astonishing private label output. In fact, not only does it fail as a mainstream fragrance, it makes me want to reevaluate the Tom Ford line's other work. Surely a fragrance in this position was created to do the opposite.
22nd April, 2014

Halston Man Amber by Halston

An absolute stunner from top to bottom. It's a crime that this has become so hard to find. Never really being a Halston fan, I was floored upon my first meeting with Amber Man. It's embarrassing the riches this fragrance holds.

If you can find a bottle of this, pay whatever is being asked and give a higher power love and devotion for your supreme good luck. I looked everywhere before I found my bottle. Update: It appears as if HMA is becoming slightly more available again. I've now seen a bottle for purchase here and there on Amazon and a couple bottles on eBay.

This just smells RICH. It oozes sophistication. Easily the best amber I own, and I'm an amber fan. Smells like it was made from someone with high-end niche appreciation, and none of the niche ambers surpass it IMO. It's that good. It still surprises me now that I'm singing the praises of a Halston fragrance, but this one deserves it.

It's a crying shame more people haven't been able to experience this gem.
24th March, 2014 (last edited: 03rd June, 2014)

Marine Sel No. 54 by Tokyo Milk

Lovely scent. This is fast becoming one of my warm weather favorites. I definitely get the mineral salt and the white woods. Also, almost the smell of a birch grove which is slightly acrid. And it also has a rhubarb/red clover slightly bitter note that makes this utterly compelling. Longevity doesn't seem great, but at the price I don't mind doubling up on sprays to get a little more length out of it. Drys down to something a bit more unremarkable, but pleasant nonetheless. This scent mixes incredibly well with others. The bottle is small, but the price is cheap. I'm ordering a second right now. Summer will be here before we know it.

UPDATE: Just discovered this one has been retired. Not sure why Tokyo Milk retired one of their most popular scents, but fair warning to anyone who would like to try it! I've seen a few still reasonably priced on eBay.
19th March, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2017)

Bigelow Barber Cologne Elixir White No. 1585 by C.O. Bigelow Apothecary

I must agree with the other reviewers here: It's a wonderful scent let down by a too-brief longevity.

Citrus up front, with a musky- lightly woodsy dry down with the slightest hint of powder (nothing that detracts from the overall freshness of the scent, while it sticks around.)

It's a scent that I simply don't find many corollaries to. While it plays in the same ballpark as Mugler's Cologne and Odin #6 Amanu and even Hermes' Gentiane Blanche to an extent, it marries the white floral and green astringency of those with a soft roundness that is both generally appealing and less austere.

At the price, the White Elixir is a unique scent and a positive steal. If it had greater longevity, I could easily see it become a person's go-to daily-wearer.

FYI: I also own a bottle of the body lotion, and layering it with the cologne aids the scent's stay while subtly adulterating it in a conspicuous but still pleasant manner.
21st February, 2014 (last edited: 14th November, 2016)

Kenzo pour Homme Boisée / Woody by Kenzo

I've tried this one twice, and it smells fine, almost likeable upon opening. BUT, about a minute after it hits my skin, all hell breaks loose. It becomes this acrid, metallic, nose-melting beast. It's a very specific smell, one I feel like I've known, and it's absolutely horrendous. It could be my chemistry, but I cannot recommend this one by any means. This is the first time a scent nearly made me narf. And, I typically like woody and smoky scents.
04th February, 2014