Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Scarce

Total Reviews: 36

Bull's Blood by Imaginary Authors

An odd one for me, since the first time I wore it I felt assaulted by a pungent odor, not unlike strong body odor and recoiled from it. As that died down, the dark rose-patchouli becomes more prominent, but also less daring and interesting than the arresting opening. After a few wearings, I've become accustomed to the opening, and though I wouldn't say "I like it", or would choose to wear it, I do have a grudging admiration for the perfumer's choices as inventive. No doubt some -a daring few- could wear this, as the drydown seems perfectly fine for polite company. I am not one of those people, however. A neutral rating but something I return to from time to time, just to remind myself what it smells like.
09th October, 2019

Intense Cafe by Montale

An odd one from Montale, known for their powerhouse scents. This one smells more like a cookie than coffee. Instantly forgettable.
09th October, 2019

One Man Show Oud Edition by Jacques Bogart

I reckon this is one of my better blind buys. For literally pennies, you get a better than respectable "oud" (synthetic, of course) that is better than many others I've tried that cost several times more. The only drawbacks I can see are that the opening is really harsh, a synthetic blast of pure alcohol that will curl your nose hairs, and it takes a while to subside. That is not so pleasant and is an instant reminder of what you paid to acquire it. Give it time though, and Bogart's One Man Show Oud Edition reveals a quite loud, unapologetic animalic oud that vaguely resembles Dior's Leather Oud, albeit not as barnyard or as leathery. Doesn't really do much after it settles down, as it is linear, but if you want an absolute steal for an oud-y fragrance this is it. Recommended.
30th August, 2019 (last edited: 06th July, 2020)
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Goddess by Gorilla Perfume [Lush]

My expectations weren't that high for this one when I'd read that Lush had turned one of their popular bath bombs into a perfume. Soap as perfume? Umm, ok. But I was pleasantly surprised and even a bit shocked to smell real oud with assorted florals (mostly an indolic jasmine) and creamy sandalwood. I found it feminine with the highlighted jasmine, while the female shop assistant said it smelled quite masculine to her. And all that is just as Lush intended. A playful study in contrasts, one that has a lot of fun with various perfume tropes. Quality ingredients, perhaps not blended well, but I wouldn't doubt that was also intentional. The perfumers had fun with this one, you can tell. Good stuff.
17th May, 2019

Nar by Jazmin Saraï

I quite like this one and knew it immediately, which is always a good sign. Starts off smoky but unlike many 'campfire perfumes' doesn't stay there, instead moving into a woody-cedar-guaiac with some spicy coriander. That is supposed to emulate burning embers, and I think it's successful. Relatively simple construct of just five ingredients according to a blurb on her website. The simplicity is part of the charm with this one though. It's warm and comforting, unlike some smokier perfumes which come across as dry and acrid. Reminds me of an old farmhouse, a bit musty from age but where a wood stove is always burning, with some aroma always emanating from the kitchen. A homey smell, in other words.

As a natural perfume it doesn't last forever, but then burning embers never do I suppose. After perhaps 3-4 hrs it becomes a skin scent and is gone altogether by eight. Worth checking out if you're partial to this type of perfume and can find it.
13th February, 2019

Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

Really interesting stuff - for about 15 minutes. Then dissolves into a generic mall scent of limited interest. No staying power either. Probably demands a large number of sprays to last a sufficient amount of time. Highly synthetic too. Neutral, but could easily be negative for the anemic performance issues.
18th December, 2018

This is Him! by Zadig & Voltaire

A surprisingly good and inexpensive designer. Smoky and creamy vanilla, which I suppose reminds one of Sandalwood. The incense keeps this one from being cloying, though it's probably not suited to hot and humid weather. Would that many younger men were wearing stuff as good as this rather than the usual dreck foisted upon them.
04th August, 2018

Replica By the Fireplace by Martin Margiela

Lightly smokey, but not a fireplace smoke. More the scent of a roasted, caramelized marshmallow, with just enough woodiness to keep it from being overly cloying. Still quite sweet, but fine for autumn or winter. Completely unisex. Lasts quite a long time and really projects with body heat.
06th March, 2018 (last edited: 22nd July, 2018)

Citrus & Wood by Yardley

Yes, similar to Terre d'Hermes. But much lighter, more a cologne/aftershave than perfume. A shame really, because the citrus is both natural and clean. It just doesn't last long and requires multiple sprays to detect beyond a skin scent. And though the price is quite low and the quality of the scent itself quite high, I just can't in good conscience recommend it for the anemic performance. If you're fine with that, and multiple sprayings then go ahead and purchase. But for me, quite disappointing.
11th December, 2017

Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

By rights, I should have liked this one a lot more than I did. It checks off a lot of boxes for me with its incensey/frankincense-woody-synthetic oud-peppery notes. It's decidedly unsweet with an austere dryness from the papyrus note. And at first blast it does remind one of GPH I. But then it fades much too quickly for my liking, becoming a skin scent. Unlike Bentley Intense, this one will require more initial sprays as well. A shame really, because the basic scent is quite good, if a little flat and subdued. A background player rather than a more prominent fragrance. I'm not a fan of layering but in this instance, it might just be the way to go.
20th November, 2017

Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

One of the softer, more feminine patchoulis you're likely to find. The floral aspect is quite unusual, and gives it that light, airy aspect rather than the typical earthiness so often found in patchouli. There really is nothing to dislike here, as it's skillfully blended and executed. Those, like me, who enjoy a stronger more forceful interpretation can look elsewhere. But for those who appreciate something lighter, this is quite good.
13th November, 2017

Patchouli by Mazzolari

Deceptively simple (patchouli-amber-honey) that is on the softer side rather than the strident like more hardcore patchoulis. The quality is top notch though. Always soft, thoroughly unisex, with very good longevity. A quality, real patchouli fragrance.
13th November, 2017

Civet by Zoologist Perfumes

Surprisingly good, perhaps even great, and not at all what you'd expect from the name. This is not some animalic powerhouse that reeks of piss or fecal matter, but rather a multitude of seemingly disparate smells that emerge and recede as the fragrance progresses, some that you might not think would work well together (coffee, spices/fruit, flowers and woods, etc) but they just do. What civet there is in this is well into the background, only emerging later, and then only accentuating the other elements. Quite a lot of craft and care went into making this one, reminding us again that perfumery isn't just commerce, but can aspire to be true art.
05th April, 2017 (last edited: 11th April, 2017)
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Blackpepper by Comme des Garçons

Those looking for a dark, peppery fragrance that's done right will have found it in CdG's Black Pepper. It's blended well, and is never over-powering. Certainly does share Wonderwood's base, but is quite a bit better than that. Vaguely reminiscent of Or Black in feel and tone, but whereas that was in leather, this is in pepper and a woody-cedar, the same dark vibe is present.

I'm going to give this a mild thumbs up because though the scent is really great, it's just not strong enough and requires more sprays than I think it ought to. Somewhat overpriced also, but aren't they all these days.
23rd March, 2017 (last edited: 28th March, 2017)

Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

I have to agree with what others have said. Somewhere in the middle of those oh-so-clean laundry musks, and something a little skanky like Muscs Koublaï Khän. Much safer though, with minimal skank. Pleasant enough that it could be a work scent, but could be worn for more intimate encounters. Hard to dislike something like this, but not really very exciting either. A mild thumbs up.
21st March, 2017

Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

Recently repurchased this and was initially somewhat disappointed. The ferocious birch tar and smoky opening is no longer as overwhelming as it once was when I initially smelled it, and only finally grew to love after some initial apprehension. But on the other hand, the vanilla in the drydown is not as pronounced either, resulting in a smoother, perhaps more versatile fragrance than it used to be. Overall, despite these perceived differences, Patchouli 24 remains a great fragrance, and well worth pursuing for those who like smoky fragrances, as it's still one of the best.
17th February, 2017

Bentley for Men Intense by Bentley

Ridiculously good for the price. A sort of boozy (rum)- incensey - spicy mix that recalls several other niche fragrances that cost many times more. Yes, a tad synthetic, perhaps too sweet for some, and more than a bit linear, but those are relatively minor criticisms in relation to the quality of the scent. Very good in cooler weather, and outstanding when it's cold.
12th February, 2017

Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker

After much hemming and hawing about this (a blind buy), I'm going to give it a mild thumbs up. It definitely smells "good", in a CdG cedarish-incensey sort of way. And the price point is much lower than the actual quality of the scent (far better than almost any celebrity scent I can think of). Only a mild thumbs up though, because performance is a bit sub par, with more sprays necessary than I usually care for. "Ambiance perfume" essentially nails it for me as well, as this seems to inhabit a room rather than a personal space. I actually got better, more focused performance from the oil than the edp spray.
03rd February, 2017 (last edited: 21st February, 2017)

Jeke by Slumberhouse

Found the remnants of a sample buried deep in a drawer, so I dutifully smeared on the green, viscous liquid which would stain any clothes I'm sure. For whatever reasons, I wasn't as impressed with this on first wearings as I am now. I'm still not convinced this is a 'perfume', but as a wearable smell (scentscape?) which instantly conjures and evokes memories of other places and times it's top notch. Quite smoky, but not as forbidding as some others by Lobb. Definitely not for everyone, and a good example of something that could wear the user, rather than the other way around.
03rd January, 2017

273 Rodeo Drive for Men by Fred Hayman

Rather simple aromatic fougere from the late 1980's that can be had for next to nothing. Bergamot and Lavender blast of an opening but soon settles into a musky cedar that, while not strong, is pleasant. In fact, my only gripe with this one is the stupid packaging that makes me want to drop the bottle every time I pick it up. A mild thumbs up for this relatively simple and straightforward scent. Probably won't get worn much, as there are better alternatives in a similar vein, but this one isn't bad at all, and worth owning for fans of 80s fragrances.
26th December, 2016

Halston Man Amber by Halston

Trying this out right now. First impressions: smells really good and lacks performance. I can't see this lasting much more than 4-6 hrs at most. Linear too, if that makes any difference. Those are the bad parts. The scent itself though more than makes up for it. I get a quality oud note, that's surprising, since this cost next to nothing ($20 for 75ml). Ambery oud, with myrrh.

I'd recommend this one, given the excellent quality and the ridiculously low price (it should cost 3-4x this). Just spray liberally and enjoy.
10th October, 2016

Bulgari Man by Bulgari

Smells like a Sephora store on a busy Saturday afternoon. Completely uninspiring.
05th October, 2016
02nd October, 2016 (last edited: 18th August, 2018)

cK one Shock for Him by Calvin Klein

Wearing from a travel size/sample. Definitely made for a younger crowd, and has that 'mall vibe' I generally detest, but this has just enough things going on in addition to the cherry tobacco to keep one's interest, for awhile anyway. Not my thing, as it's too sweet but not quite cloying either. Just enough black pepper (as well as patchouli and dark chocolate) to lift it up and keep it from being stifling. Reminds me of a body spray or maybe a decent room freshener.

I'll give it a neutral rating because it's just not good enough to fully endorse for anyone other than teenagers, but it doesn't smell "bad" either. Hasn't given me a headache yet anyway, which is always a bonus.
09th September, 2016

Narciso Rodriguez for Her by Narciso Rodriguez

Found a sample of this in a drawer, and never having worn it decided to spray it on. Quite feminine and 'girly' of course, but also quite nice too, especially in the opening. Getting a lot of musk from this, along with the florals (rose and iris, two that I can live with). Younger or older women could wear this, and probably a man could too, if he were so inclined. Not sure that's me, but this is quite a good designer release, in my opinion.
28th August, 2016

Mat; Very Male by Masakï Matsushïma

Quite pleasant. Light, ethereal woody-liquorice scent. Fans of Comme des Garçons/Yohji homme would probably like it.
31st March, 2016

Cumming by Alan Cumming

An attractive leather-based, boozy, cigar-smelling but not smoky fragrance. Quite abstract too, for all those 'concrete' notes. A bit medicinal in the opening, but that dries down to a comfortable aromatic. Modern, urban, and masculine. Thumbs up.
29th November, 2015

Salvador Dali pour Homme by Salvador Dali

One of those rare fragrances I knew I'd like even before I sprayed it, simply taking the cap off and catching a whiff of this beast brought a smile to my face. On initial spray, it reminds me somewhat of the original Givenchy Gentleman (before it was totally fucked up), but with much stronger animalics and a dark, earthy patchouli. Florals (mostly lavender) and herbs come into the mix next, reminding me faintly of Zino by Davidoff, but this one is not as civilized as that. A dark, brooding gem of a scent which eventually turns into a dirty musky-leather.

Longevity is enormous (I could still smell it on my skin the next day), so a single spray or two should suffice. Vintage version as tested and preferred.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy these type of scents.
20th November, 2015

Patchouli Nobile by Nobile 1942

Another high quality, Italian-made patchouli which to my own embarrassment I didn't really appreciate fully until I wore it many times. Rather discreet for the often unruly patchouli, and perfect for a late October day, with its reminiscences of hay, woods, and barn. Manages to smell completely natural, which is a feat in itself these days in the contrived and synthetic world of perfumery.
31st October, 2015

Patchouli by Des Filles a la Vanille

Patchouli and vanilla. Powdery, not at all earthy. Really more an oriental than a strict patchouli. Could be quite cloying in the summer heat. A bit too 'perfumey' for me to wear, or recommend.
30th October, 2015