Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

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Total Reviews: 972

Aqua Allegoria Coconut Fizz by Guerlain

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Coconut Fizz is new acquisition / community blind buy, a 2019 release in the vast Aqua Allegoria line with a fresh floral coconut milk vibe, lightly pleasant and, as the name implies, slightly effervescent, kind of like a crossover between fresh coconut soda and a fresh floral (probably womenís) summer scent. In particular, the freesia stands out as the only actual floral note listed, with some added freshness from bergamot and a sweet dry down of sandalwood and tonka, and tonka especially pairs well with coconut. Itís fresh and easily enjoyable, slightly feminine but overall so pleasantly unisex as to defy convention a bit.

Itís a decent performer and there are deals to be found, Iím sure; I was lucky to buy my own bottle for a reasonable price. The retail pricing is $130 for 125ml, $95 for 75ml via department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdaleís, etc. so itís pricey if considered more of a designer / entry level fragrance but more reasonable within the context of a perfume house with niche / higher-end offerings.

7 out of 10
10th August, 2020

Chameleon by Zoologist Perfumes

Zoologist Chameleon is a 2019 release from this Canadian house of many animal/habitat-inspired fragrances, fittingly woody, green, and floral as chameleon themselves are arboreal and are often green in appearance. Yet, like its color-changing lizard inspiration, itís multifaceted and I could easily see this coming off differently to different individuals.

I get a woody/floral mix with floral touches, the effect being a slightly sweet, slightly powdery, maybe midway between white- and yellow-floral, with a sort of salty, ambergris-like dry down. Of the listed notes, the standouts to me are starfruit, mango, frangipani, jasmine, opoponax, salty skin accord / sea breeze (which I liken to ambergris, albeit less animalic), sandalwood, musks, and vanilla.

I like itóI find it easily likable and unisex, a very modern, variable blend of a lot of different elements. I donít think itís likely to scare anyone away; instead, I think itís more probable that its various features will draw fans in. Iím not as a big on floral fragrances in general but find the woody/fruity/sweet/salty aspects interesting and the florals blend well with that.

Chameleon performs well, appropriately, at extrait concentration, and like most of the line, Chameleon is priced at $165 and is available not only via the house website but also through boutiques like Perfumology. The house website also sells a travel spray size ($45 for 11ml) as it does for most fragrances in the line.

7 out of 10
23rd July, 2020

OSA by Note di Profumum

Perhaps the oddest of the Note di Profumum collection, OSA is composed of, per the notes list, Ylang-Ylang, rose, patchouli, and chopped grass. It certainly has a certain sharpness that screams ylang-ylang and chopped grass, but the rose and patchouli do at least anchor the mix in something more familiar to me.

Still, this one isn't quite for me. It leans feminine and is mainly a floral/green mix that doesn't quite suit my interests, bunt it's not as if it's intolerable. I could see it quite nicely suiting others, and the care and quality are obvious as with pretty much all Profumum fragrances I've tried.

It's my least favorite of the Note di Profumum collection, but since the collection is, on the whole, quite good, that's not intended to be aninsult

6 out of 10
17th July, 2020
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Meraviglia by Note di Profumum

Meraviglia is my fifth try from Note di Profumum, and as with the rest of the line, the notes listed have produced a reasonably fresh and bright result, and the note breakdown has been limited, as with other Profumum offerings in their main line.

In Meraviglia, the mix is rose, coriander, incense, and patchouli, another fairly simple note breakdown, as is characteristic of Profumum Roma in general and of the Note collection in particular.

The rose is most prominent, with the coriander perhaps being the second most noticeable note, with the incense and patchouli being somewhere in the background. It feels like 50% rose to me, though I realize I just have a nose for rose.

It's quite agreeable, a phrase I've been using to describe most of the Note di Profumum line. It has bold elements at times but for the most part, it explores features of the rose (its brightness, its tartness, its greenness) in homeostasis.

I liken it to a fresher take on Calligraphy Rose by Aramis, at least in terms of general genre of rose and scent.

It's a good performer, not among Profumum's best, but very long lasting with moderate projection.

Like most of the other Note, it's so easy to like but difficult for me to fall head-over-heels in love with.

7 out of 10
17th July, 2020

Luci Dell'Est by Note di Profumum

Luce Dell'est is my fourth try from the Note di Profumum line, and it's quite agreeable, a mix of cardamom, sandalwood, violet, and cedar.

The mix of violet and woods fosters a vetiver-like experience, and the blend strangely reminds me of Roja Vetiver Extrait even though vetiver is not a listed note. For me, this is an indication that the violet is used in appropriate proportion to other notes, as it's not too faint to contribute but not too significant to be an overtly piercing violet that I often find off-putting.

On the whole, it's a woody, slightly earthy, slightly green blend that's unisex and never really that sharp or bassy to push one away from it. Is very agreeable, so an easy one for me to like but admittedly not one I love. Performance is very good as far as longevity, seemingly the case with all Profumum fragrances, but is not particularly loud after the first half hour or so. Very nice for year-round wearing though I'd probably use it more in the spring and summer if I owned a bottle.

7 out of 10
17th July, 2020

Luce by Note di Profumum

Another one of the trio of Note di Profumum collection I ordered, Luce, seemed to have an interesting note breakdown of cardamom, bergamot, pink pepper, sandalwood, and carnation.

Certainly, as one might expect, this is sharper than Amante, the cardamom/sandalwood combination reigning strong in particular, and that's mostly where it lingers through its life. Despite the pink pepper and carnation, Luce isn't overly spicy or floral, and the bergamot doesn't seem to do much except perhaps brighten the opening ever so slightly before fading away. In the dry down, the sharpness diminishes somewhat and the blend becomes a little creamier, certainly a nice, subtle evolution.

Similarities to Amante include notable versatility (gender, season, occasion) and agreeability. I could easily see the majority of wearers liking this, with some loving it.

I rather like it but certainly am not smitten with it like I was with Amante, which is fine. Luce is still a worthy member of the Profumum lineup, classic-smelling and performing well. on the Perfumeria Benegas website, it's listed as being $294 for 100ml

7 out of 10
17th July, 2020

Amante by Note di Profumum

The Note di Profumum collection of Profumum, as of the time of this review in early 2018, is still seemingly only available in Europe, either in-person at the company's boutiques in Italy or online through Parfumeria Benegas (Spain, $296 for 100ml) or Saide (Italy), as well as a few others.

I obtained samples of what I estimated would be my three favorites of the collection of six via an eBay seller from Italy last year.

The notes for Amante, though unlisted currently here, are, per the Profumum website: amber, cedar, oud, and sandalwood. The concentration is perfume / extrait de parfum.

The eBay seller listed a different note breakdown of violette, lavender, amber, and oud, also seemingly credible.

The blend is surprisingly fresh and seemingly citrus-like, no doubt in part by the qualities of the amber specifically, and with the sandalwood, the blend shifts at the top and heart to something along the lines of fine men's shaving products, natural and estimable. Sandalwood, also, I suspect, provides a certain sharpness that might otherwise be created by citrus. This also could be freshness from the lavender if that's truly one of the notes, as it does have a bit of a lavender vibe, that mix of laundry and grooming product freshness. Cedar smooths things out, and oud lends its weight, though not especially animalic or medicinal, just powerful like in YSL M7.

The result is a blend that is truly a year-round winner, both fresh at the opening but with some basso in the dry down, with the cleanness of cedar and sandalwood but the slightly dank power of oud.

Like many fragrances that men might consider to be signature fragrances, Amante balances several tasks (power, and seasonal/occasional versatility) superbly, and it's in an instant love for me, fitting in that its name translates to "lover."

Amante's performance is comparable to other entries in the house from the standard line--that it to say that it is excellent, with robust projection for hours and very long-lasting.

9 out of 10
17th July, 2020

Wash Me in the Water by 4160 Tuesdays

Wash Me in the Water is part of a duo of crowdfunded releases on Indiegogo alongside Take Me to the River. Wash Me in the Water is the lighter, fresher, and more aquatic of the two, a sort of green, grassy, watery, slightly soapy/herbal/floral mix that very effectively conjures being outside near freshwater, perhaps by a meadow or some flowers, with just a hint of soap. I get almost a fresh cucumber quality out of it, at times, though thatís not the main story.

Its key notes are ďwater notes,Ē ďgrass notes,Ē mint, florals, incense, clary sage, and rosemary. It has a brightness and lightness while still having some gravitas, a really lovely option for a spring or summer day, in particular. I like that Wash Me in the Water contrasts the rock ní roll qualities of Take Me to the River; itís a fun juxtaposition.

8 out of 10
16th July, 2020

Tabacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella Tabacco Toscano is a sweet, spicy, semi-woody, and semi-fresh tobacco scent thatís very accessible and agreeable and not particularly dark. Its main notes are tobacco leaves and vanilla, with a mix of spices that is not specified, as well as jasmine, bergamot, and cedar. The fragrance is by no means groundbreaking but offers a refined take on a sweet tobacco fragrance with a reasonable use of vanilla that is not too spicy or biting. In that respect, itís not particularly masculine or feminine based on stereotype, but rather comfortably in between, nor is it so strong for one to hesitate applying it in the summer months. Itís easy to enjoy and feels appropriate for various occasions. Itís a nice option, certainly more robust than many of the freshies that comprise the Santa Maria Novella catalogue. Still, it stands out less than many of those options within its class, as I get something similar (albeit without tobacco) in LíOccitane Eau Des Baux for half the price, and there are scores of bolder, more robust sweet tobacco options that are more expensive (Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, Parfums de Marly Herod, and By Kilian Back to Black, to name a few).

Tabacco Toscano is offered in the standard eau de cologne concentration with the similarly standard pricing of $135 for 100ml, in line with most fragrances in the Italian house. It is sold through the house website as well as the boutique Aedes de Venustas in Manhattan, from whom I obtained my sample.

I quite like but doubt Iíll pursue it further. Overall, itís nice, but not outstanding.

7 out of 10
07th July, 2020

Russa by Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella Colonia Russa, or simply Russa, is one of the houseís many colognes and probably the example that I liked most when visiting the houseís downtown Manhattan boutique several years ago. Russa is a well-executed, fresh, semi-citric, semi-herbal blend that is agreeable and accessible yet has some intrigue.

Its note listing consists of some expected fresh/citrus players (bergamot, bitter orange, lemon, neroli, petitgrain, verbena), but also rose, lavender, and rosemary, with a dry down to clove, castoreum, civet, benzoin, and tolu balsam. I find the civet and castoreum to be surprising, since the mix is not particularly animalic and what I get out of it that is most interesting is the thread of clove, petitgrain, lavender, rose, and rosemary that gives the mix a bit of intrigue. Still, it does not come off especially animalic, leathery, funky, barnyard-like, etc. to me so I suspect that these pieces are very minimal in terms of the construction of the fragrance.

Unlike Sicilia, which favors the rosemary, Russa leans more so on the clove, mixed with the florals and citruses, and the sort of quirky spicy effect it has on an otherwise more mainstream garden of fresh elements. The blend feels carefully-executed and is very satisfying, perhaps ever so slightly masculine leaning but really quite unisex in the way that most aquatic, fresh, Eau de Cologne types are. Itís easy enjoyable, not unfamiliar to fans of designers but intriguing enough for those who adhere to niche offerings.

Performance-wise, Russa is not as strong as Sicilia. Itís lighter and fresher, albeit similarly warm-weather-friendly, apt for a summer day, especially. Its pricing is similar to much of the line, however, at $125 for 100ml, so it leans toward being a fragrance that one needs to love to buy, as an EDC with moderate performance is a tough sell at $1/ml, sometimes, even.

Overall, Iím impressed, though Russa demands some more tries from me, certainly preferably out of a spray of some kind rather than a dabber sample, but it remains a recommended try for others looking to explore the house, as itís an easy winner.

8 out of 10
02nd July, 2020

Acqua di Sicilia by Santa Maria Novella

A long overdue sampling Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Sicilia, or simply Sicilia, one of their many colognes available at their NYC shop and through boutiques like Aedes de Venustas, where I obtained my sample.

Itís fresh, citric, and green, but with spicy nuances that add intrigue and resonance. Its main notes are bergamot, lemon, neroli, petitgrain, rosemary, and benzoin. I get a lot of the petitigrain and rosemary in the heart, especially, with a sort of herbal vibe. Fittingly, these notes make the fragrance feel hearty, rather than light, richer than what Iíd expect from an Eau de Cologne.

I think itís very well done overall, walking the line between being highly agreeable/versatile and being a bit more niche and interesting, and it performs reasonably well, with decent density. Certainly it seems most appropriate for wearing on a summer day but itís certainly pleasant and sophisticated enough to wear any time.

Sicilia is offered in EDC concentration, like most of the line, and is priced at $135 for 100ml, sold at Aedes and its own house site. I like it a lot and will have to give it some more thought but I could see it being a nice item to have in the rotation, as Iím a fan of petitgrain especially, but also rosemary.

8 out of 10
26th June, 2020

OBO Batch #302 (Smoked Oud Aged in a Bourbon Seasoned American Oak Barrel) by OK Fine

Sampling OK Fine Fragrances OBO Ė Oud Bourbon Oak, and like AMO, which I previously sampled, OBO is very likable from the startóboozy, woody, and semi-sweet. The description is curiously complex, a mix of blond oud, ginger, sandalwood, juniper berries, and olibanum, with smoky oak hints as well. I donít detect the juniper in particular but thereís definitely a bourbon-meets-woods-and-smoke vibe to it, somewhat springy and spicy via the ginger, but not to the point of being overwhelmingly smoky and/or spicy. And thereís a sense of richness and subtle sweetness to it without it being wholly sumptuous or over-the-top. Itís restrained and refined, with resinous that give a sort of creamy vibe, bridging the bourbon and woods.

Like AMO, OBO is an easy winner for those who enjoy hints of spirits played on in a fantastical way. Like most boozy fragrances, OBO does not smell a lot like bourbon, but it plays off of the bourbon note and builds something interesting around it, making for a great fragrance for cold weather wearing, especially, though I wouldnít mind wearing OBO (or AMO, for that matter) on a summer evening to make an impression.

OBO performs well and is priced at $165/90 for 54/30ml and is sold by Perfumology. The newer batch is slightly pricier, it seems, through the house website itself, at $95 for 30ml.

Overall, Iím impressed and will have to give both OBO and AMO some serious thought, along with trying more fragrances from OK fine

8 out of 10
24th June, 2020

Kajal Homme by Kajal Perfumes

Kajal Homme by Kajal Perfumes seems to have gotten a lot of buzz lately despite being released in 2015 so Iím happy to finally try it out after obtaining a decant. It instantly strikes me as a sort of menís signature scent with niche touches, a mixed fresh/warm spicy cologne-type fragrance with sweet bits. Itís well-blended, with relatively few standout notes, in my opinion. Its citrus opening of grapefruit and mandarin fades into a mixed heart of guaiac, cardamom, orange blossom, and cashmeran, before a soft, woody, sweet base of oud, musk, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka, and vanilla.

Perhaps the biggest standouts to me are cardamom, vanilla, and muskóthat becomes a prominent trio after the opening few minutes of citrus. Overall, the mix feels classy, sweet but not too sweet, fresh but not too light, and has gravitas without being heavy. Again, it seems partly like a menís signature scent but itís certainly unisex, as thereís something fairly universally cozy and familiar about it.

Kajal Homme is in EDP concentration and is priced at $185 for 100ml per their website, and is also sold in the US at the Philadelphia-based Perfumology. It performs quite well albeit not outstandingly, but the performance is fair given the under $2/ml price point.

The care here is evident and the result is an easy winner, even if it does not dazzle or amaze. For me, itís a like, not a love, but it definitely makes me want to sample more from the house. Itís a great judgment call to have a fragrance like this, and even though I see it as being reasonably unisex, itís a solid name choice to imply that itís a sort of year-round menís staple, though I probably wouldnít reach for it on a summer day.

7 out of 10
23rd June, 2020
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Accord No. 3 Woody by Zara

Zara Accord No. 3 Woody is a release from 2017 of which I had a chance to grab a decant of, and like most Zara fragrances, itís agreeable even if mostly unremarkable. Itís a fresh, floral, woody blend with powdery touches, sort of like a white floral and musk mix with a woody underpinning of cedar. The main listed floral notes are violet and freesia, and especially the former makes sense as thereís a bit of a sharp/powdery vibe. Itís a twinge sharper in the opening than my usual preference but it becomes smoother in the dry down.

Its performance is quite good, a loud burst at the opening but becoming fairly modest in terms of projection thereafter, roughly on par with most of Zaraís offerings. Like most fragrances from Zara, itís no longer available in store (I had not seen it in stores in recent memory before COVID-19) so it probably has to be acquired on the secondary market. My guess is that it was between $20 and $30 retail for the 100ml bottle. Itís really a quite nice blend overall, something worth having in the mix at a good price.

7 out of 10
17th June, 2020

Meet Me on the Corner by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Meet Me on the Corner is described as the product of mandora (a blend of sweet orange and mandarin), magnolia flower, and magnolia leaf. Itís fresh and citric but also green and floral, a lovely exploration of the sweet magnolia mixed with sweet orange, but not too sweet.

I feels delicately assembled, carefully put together, with a lot of nuance, not too similar to any other fragrance in my recollection. And it feels balanced between the floral and citrus, green and sweet, but is really wholly fresh and evocative of an outdoor fruit tree aside a field of flowers.

It performs nicely, and feels like a good blend with a rich quality to it, not that itís oily, per se, but it has the feeling of containing a good concentration of perfume oil. Its performance is comparable to some of the other robust freshies in the house (i.e. Freeway). Itís priced slightly lower than most 4160 Tuesdays offerings, at $110 for 50ml.

This is more or less instantly a bottle what I want to have. Itís a freshie that won me over on first wearing, mimicking my experience with the mostly-freshies Freeway and Red Queen. In short, I love it, particularly as a warm weather option that feels like something wholly new from this house.

8 out of 10

12th June, 2020

T. Habanero by Rania J

T. Habanero is my fourth try from the house of Rania J, and like the others Iíve tried so far, itís great, a spicy tobacco accompanied by a mťlange thatís highlighted by black pepper, mostly, to my nose, with an ensemble involving pink pepper, cardamom, oud, incense, myrrh, and leather. Iím not sure I get too much of any of these but I can sort of see them all being involved. Itís not overtly animalic but there is a dry varnishy aspect that hints at leather and oud. Similarly, itís not sweet, but thereís a resinous side, sort of a resinous/woody dry down that seems in line.

T. Habanero is pretty serious, like Lavande 44, and feels gentlemanly though conceivably unisex, albeit more suited for the colder weather than the more year-round-friendly Lavande 44. There are an abundance of sweeter tobacco-heavy fragrances, a number of which I love, so itís nice to have something on the spicier side. It certainly reminds me of other spicy menís fragrances, as well, but itís not wholly classic, as it has a modern, artistic vibe to it, though it seems to walk the line between indulgent and restrained.

Like the rest of the Rania J line, T. Habanero is priced at $149 for 50ml retail and is only sold officially in the US through Luckyscent, and it performs well, slightly better than Lavande 44,

I initially sought out about half of the houseís seven fragrances to try, but theyíve all been quite outstanding, so Iíll probably look to try the other three (Cuir Andalou, Jasmin Kana, Music Moschus) as well.

8 out of 10
11th June, 2020

Lavande 44 by Rania J

Rania J. Lavande 44 is a fresh and spicy lavender mix featuring bergamot, petitgrain, cedar, and vetiver, with hints of tonka and labdanum to sweeten the mix. Patchouli is a further listed note but I do not particularly detect it. It leans fresh/spicy/woody but there is a faint sweetness to counterbalance those ideas, but even with tonka, specifically, the mix is not remotely as sweet or powdery as Tom Ford Lavender Extreme or Molinard Lavande, to give some perspective.

Lavande 44 is centered around the floral note of lavender but well-blended like a barbershop/cologne vibe, albeit with some more weight, really a year-round ďsignature scentĒ type of fragrance, but certainly unisex and artistically interesting, divergent from the standard formula. Itís not as spicy as menís wintery fougere types (i.e. YSL Jazz, Chanel Pour Monsieur EDP) but not as fresh as more summery options (Chanel Pour Monsieur EDT, Dior Eau Sauvage, YSL Rive Gauche).

Iím impressed by the composition, which, like Ambre Loup and Oud Assam, is refined and clearly shows some care. Itís not the most daring scent but balances idiosyncrasy with a winning formula. I imagine the lavender-averse might find it off-putting but it really strikes me as a tasteful and restrained, albeit fulfilling use of lavender, which can sometimes come off a little too sharp and screechy (ala verbena) if used excessively. The fragrance seems to perform quite well, as well, though maybe not much so as Oud Assam or Ambre Loup.

The pricing of Lavande 44 and the rest of the Rania J brand is $149 for 50ml, at EDP concentration. The only US boutique that sells Rania J. fragrances is Luckyscent, from which I obtained my sample, but Iíve learned that another grey market site sells the brand, as well.

8 out of 10
10th June, 2020

Oud Assam by Rania J

Rania J. Oud Assam is a peppery smoky woody oud mix with very slight animalic touches but mostly a centeredness of woods around the oud, which is not a prominent oud note in the medicinal or animalic sense. It starts out spicier but dries down mellower, a sort of dry, stereotypically masculine mix that almost has an herbal side to it. The standout notes are the oud, cedar, vetiver, and black pepper, with hints of tonka and musk, as there is something sort of smooth and sweet about it under the surface.

Most of the suggestion of an animalic side is gone within the first hour and Iím left with a very balanced, fulfilling mix of woods and spice, primarily. Itís interesting, for sure, while not demanding quite as much attention as Ambre Loup. Still, I imagine Oud Assam is more wearable for more people given that it lacks an attribute that some would find especially off-putting like Ambre Loupís frankly-decadent sweet-and-spicy blend.

I reapplied a dab just to reacquaint myself with the opening again and it is very much a slightly animalic sort of wood varnish / leather mix that predictably calms down, and I like that evolution: more initial provocation followed by a more wearable, agreeable blend. The pepper of the opening gives way to the tonka of the drydown, though both aspects are present throughout.

Overall, Iím very pleased with Oud Assam. It has an interesting sweet pepper leather oud slightly-animalic mix that Iíve not gotten elsewhere. Hardcore oud fans will likely find it to be underwhelming as oud goes, but I find that itís a tastefully restrained use of oud while featuring some of the other players more so. A solid option for cold weather, especially.

Oud Assam is priced at $149 for 50ml at EDP concentration, like the rest of the line. The Rania J. line is only sold in the US via Luckyscent, I believe, and thatís where I obtained my small dabber sample.

8 out of 10
09th June, 2020

Slowdive by Hiram Green

Happy to finally be sampling Slowdive, the seemingly most publicized release and my first try of the house of Hiram Green, certainly living up to the hype as a sweet/spicy/fresh/floral honey scent, with the honey/amber accord being dominant but excellently accented by the supporting case of notes, and it feels irresponsible to omit them: neroli, orange flower, tobacco blossom, tuberose, honey, dried fruit, resin. I do not detect tuberose or tobacco blossom per se but there is a general floral quality to it beyond simply the orange blossom and neroli.

Its opening is loud, with some of the spiciness especially coming out strong, before drying down to a more agreeable (albeit still strong) blend, still with the honey resin aspect being most prominent but with the dried fruit and spices being complemented by the fresher floral bits.

Also, Slowdive certainly has a slight sweet side but overall leans more to the floral and spicy side than more gourmand-leaning amber/honey scents (Zoologist Bee and Rania J. Ambre Loup come to mind, of recent favorites. Its dry down is quite balanced overall, though, and quite lovable.

Slowdive is in EDP concentration, priced at $165 for 50ml and sold in the US by Luckyscent, Twisted Lily, and Ave Parfum, though is only currently in stock at Luckyscent. The pricing seems very reasonable given the quality and potency, and I can see why Slowdive seems to have a good reputation.

8 out of 10
08th June, 2020

Dark Queen by 4160 Tuesdays

This is my wearing of one of the most recent 4160 Tuesdays releases in 2020, Dark Queen, the third Queen following White Queen and Red Queen in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Unlike the sweet/nutty/floral White Queen and sweet/fresh/fruity Red Queen, Dark Queen delves into animalic territory. Itís still somewhat fresh, fruity, and floral in character, but with some styrax, additional musk, and perhaps some other chemical variants giving a slight, but not dramatically funky, animalic side to it. Most importantly, it feels in harmony, with the animalic vibe not taking over per se but rather being a part of a good blend.

Iím generally not a huge fan of animalic fragrances so I appreciate the restraint and care that Sarah used in Dark Queen, with relatively subtle hints of animalic notes against a more blended fruity, floral, resinous backdrop with frankly some hints of freshness. This is not a fragrance for cold weather and feels really year round pleasant.

Dark Queen feels slightly more referential of the fruity freshness of Red Queen than the nuttier, creamier White Queen but I enjoy both the differences and common thread of the Queens, and Iíd be excited by the prospect of a fourth or more.

It performs well, feeling somewhat between White Queen and Red Queen in terms of density/richness, and is priced at $180/130 for 100/50ml and is sold in the US by Perfumology, which also sells samples.

8 out of 10
05th June, 2020

Fluffy Lemon Top by 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays Fluffy Lemon Top, is a lovely fresh and sweet mix with powdery floral hints. Itís an easy winner, very balanced, the sweetness of the chocolate matched by the powderiness of the iris, with sharpness of the tonka and orange balanced with the calmness of the black tea and oakmoss. Itís sweet and fresh without being wholly either, playful while still feeling somewhat dressed up.

My initial thought was that FLT felt like a cousin of the Clouds family, with a similar sweet/bright/fresh/floral mix, albeit with the citrus and black tea, so it pivots away from the iris slightly toward the sweet. Itís not as bright as Clouds Illusion and noticeably lacks the vanilla of Clouds. Lo and behold, thatís exactly how itís described on the website, so Iím glad I unwittingly guessed correctly.

I think this certainly demands a bigger bottle, perhaps when the next box gets shipped to the US or when FLT arrives at US boutique. Pricing is £127.50/85/55/32 for 100/50/30/15ml, in line with most of her fragrances, though one needs to account for added shipping if outside the EU, and the performance is very good, on par with most of the EDPs in her line that are similarly year-round versatile (i.e. Clouds Illusion, Freeway, etc.).

Certainly Iíd recommend that fans of Clouds check out FLT given the similarities, but FLT might also be more endearing to the iris-weary. Iíve the same high regard for FLT as I do Clouds, Clouds Illusion, and now, Both Sides of Clouds.

8 out of 10
03rd June, 2020

Meraki by Fort and Manlť

Meraki is the latest release from Fort & Manle, released in 2019 exclusively to Luckyscent in the US, like the rest of the Fort & Manle line as well as Rasei Fortís self-named line. Itís an elegant woody/floral, unisex albeit feminine-leaning, with a prominent heart of jasmine and osmanthus accented by a fruity opening of apricot/peach that lingers for some time into the musky/woody drown with cedar, patchouli, and, of course, musk. Thereís also a vaguely animalic bit in the background but itís subtle, perhaps a mix of the musk and ambergris.

It has a nice modern floral feel to it while also feeling a nod to classic, while still leaning modern, overall. Unisex, appealing, elegant, I quite like it, and it seems to perform well. Itís not so much my personal style but itís easy to appreciate when a floral like this is well put together, and Iíd certainly encourage others, especially fans of the house, to check it out.

Priced at $300 for the standard (albeit gorgeous) 50ml bottle size, Meraki is pricier than its predecessors, though a limited edition.

7 out of 10
01st June, 2020

Rose by Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone Rose is one of the more interesting entries in the line that I've tried so far, mainly a combination of rose in the top and cedar in the base, with very faint touches of pepper, iris, and musk. My experience of it is by far dominated by the various rose accords and the cedarwood in the dry down, making for a soft, woody expression of rose that I find very agreeable as far as gender, season, and occasion, though I doubt I'd wear it anywhere serious (wedding, date, formal business event) simply because it's a little too fleeting on my skin.

At the risk of criticism, I liken Rag & Bone's take on Rose to Le Labo Rose 31, and I prefer Rag & Bone's to the very popular Le Labo creation, as it just wears easier on my skin, the cedar being preferable to the relatively earthy/smoky vibe of Rose 31, at least to my nose.

Frankly, the whole fragrance is pretty faint, especially consider it's a niche-priced EDP (at $140 for 50ml), so apart from liking the scent, this isn't one I could contemplate buying at its full retail pricing.

7 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Oud by Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone's take on oud via their new fragrance of the same name is decent, a relatively safe middle-of-the-road use of the note that is somewhat reminiscent of Maison Francis Kurkdjian's fragrance of the same name, the anchor of his oud quintet, though Rag & Bone's creation is less interesting than MFK's.

I don't detect any bergamot in the opening, but the myrrh is certainly than to be paired with the oud, paving way for some leather and guaiac. There's enough complexity that I'm definitely more interested than I expected to be, but Oud is not nearly as nuanced or peculiar as Oddity, nor as inviting as Amber, so it probably ranks as my third favorite from the line so far.

Performance is pretty good for an EDP as I'd hoped, with significant projection at the onset and not much diminution in the hours since. Overall, one I would pursue if it became a lot cheaper than the retail $140 for 50ml.

7 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Oddity by Rag & Bone

Definitely one of the more unique entries in Rag & Bone's new new octet of EDP fragrances, and the only not named after a specific note, Oddity.

Oddity is a mix of many cold-weather-leaning notes, such as black pepper, cardamom, leather, incense, and vetiver. The opening is dominated primarily by the black pepper, which makes it spicy from the onset, and an animalic sort of spiciness comes from the cardamom.

I get a little sweetness from the amber and vanilla, but these are subdued by the vetiver in the dry down, for sure. The main notes overall are the black pepper, leather, incense, and vetiver, making for quite the wintry beast type of scent.

Performance is very good for a niche EDP. I see this as mostly leaning masculine but certainly some women could and would pull this off, I imagine.

As with Amber, I like the fragrance but definitely not the price of $140 for 50ml, so I'll have to wait this one out, as well.

***EDIT: i've grown to appreciate Oddity a bit more, its balance of woody, spicy, sweet, and resinous elements being a really flattering mix, especially for cool weather wear, so it gets an extra point. My second favorite in the collection after Amber.

8 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Encens by Rag & Bone

Calvini puts it perfectly--there's a surprising absence of incense in Rag & Bone's Encens. I get a mix of pepper, incense, cistus, and a bit of musk. It's not especially fun or wintery or pleasant at all, really, not nearly the interesting creations of Amber and Oddity that I've tried that past couple of days. Certainly try before you buy as the name is a bit misleading.

Not terrible, but mediocre enough that I'll discard my sample.

5 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Bergamot by Rag & Bone

My final Rag & Bone fragrance to sample (of the octet) and it's not bad at all. In addition to the eponymous bergamot note, the petitgrain and pepper foster a diverse opening, herbal and ever so slightly spicy, before the orange blossom mixes in rather quickly and transforms this into more of a floral dry down. Woods and musk soften the impact of the dry down and this settles into something pleasant, though I believe I prefer the opening somewhat. Maybe it's the cashmere wood but there's something slightly odd about the dry down after the freshness of the bergamot has faded.

Performance is mediocre, seemingly more the norm than the exception for this line.

The scent is roughly average, but the pricing ($140 for 50ml) is prohibitive for many, not that I'd be springing for a bottle at a lower price point, anyway, but that's me. Sample before buying, as it's OK but odd.

6 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Neroli by Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone's Neroli isn't especially neroli-dominant to my nose, as the lemon and orange flower create a more general floral/citrus mix that, while pleasant, and clearly containing neroli, isn't only neroli.

The dry down is pleasant as the honey and vanilla mix in, but overall, this isn't all that special to me, though I wouldn't mind wearing it, even often, at that.

Performance is subpar for a niche-priced ($140 for 50ml) EDP, but I admit I probably wouldn't spring for this one even at half price, as there are more interesting offerings in the line, for sure.

***EDIT: I ultimately acquired a bottle and grew to enjoy the neroli/vanilla mix quite a bit. It's still not as good as Amber, overall, but is a fun twist on neroli.

7 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Amber by Rag & Bone

I smelled Rag & Bone's new line on paper in the store and of the eight scents, I believe I was most drawn to Amber, especially considering how season-appropriate it is in the cooler weather, but also since it's a note that I've been loving more and more as of late.

Rag & Bone's Amber is certainly dominated by amber, but the booziness created by the combination of rum, cognac, and plum is a pleasant sweetness that provides a sustained brightness to mi that is only countered slightly by tobacco and oud in the dry down. The oud is barely noticeable at all, and the tobacco is rather subdued, especially relative to the sweet, boozy notes. The amber itself seems detectable from the opening so I'm surprised it's listed as a base note, but its lifespan in the fragrance does far exceed the rum, cognac, and plum, so it's appropriate in that respect as a base note.

Amber is a tough sell at $140 for 50ml, even for a solidly-performing EDP, and even as a slightly more versatile option, as this fragrance, while certainly cold-weather-leaning, is nonetheless probably workable for a warm weather night as it's not so heavy-handed with the darker notes, as the case is more or less with Tom Ford Amber Absolute and By Kilian Amber Oud, a couple of my amber favorites.

Rag & Bone's Amber is most analogous to Tauerville Amber Flash (also EDP concentration), however, and in that respect, the price points are very different, as Amber Flash is $65 for 30ml and Amber is $140 for 50ml, so in a smaller quantity, Tauverille's pricing is still better.

Overall, I like this one a lot, and in the absence of other amber-dominant fragrances, I might be more inclined to spring for it, but given the current climate of amber availability, I won't be opting for this anytime soon. While pleasant, it's simply not unique enough to merit the price tag. And it's possible that like as with niche quality fragrances launched by other retailers primarily of apparel, these may not have a long shelf life and may go on clearance soon enough (I'm thinking of the Coach Leatherware trio, in particular). So keep watch.

8 out of 10
23rd May, 2020

Cypress by Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone Cypress is a fresh cypress-dominant fragrance----soapy and green, a bit piney to my nose. The overall experience is fresh and woody, though, so it's akin to many Creeds, Guerlain Vetiver, etc. without being sweet, really. The vetiver and patchouli in the drydown keep it anchored to its natural smell.

Performance is subpar for niche EDP, especially at pricing of $140 for 50ml, but the scent is nice enough that I might seek this out if it eventually becomes slightly cheaper.

Simply because of the pine aspect, it reminds me more of Creed Epicea than anything else---fresh pine keeps recurring as an accord that I get out of this, despite cypress being the dominant note. In fairness, in their freshest state they can smell rather similar.

Cypress ought to be versatile in a lot of ways, for winter and summer, men and women, and perhaps even day and night, though it's not serious enough that I would likely wear it at night except for casual lounging.

Despite weaker performance than I was hoping for, I really like the scent and hopefully will procure it when it becomes cheaper.

***EDIT--upon further tries over the years, the similarity to Terre d'Hermes is noticeable and so it loses a point for that but overall it's still a nice fragrance, just less of a standout from the collection.

7 out of 10
23rd May, 2020