Perfume Reviews

Reviews by landshark321

Total Reviews: 1055

Signature Rosť by Zaharoff

This is my first try of the most recent release from Zaharoff, Signature Rosť (and pardon me if I leave off the accent subsequently), the fourth incarnation of the Zaharoff Signature DNA, with the original as the base and inspiration, and, as its name suggests, pivoting toward a rose-intense experience thatís also evocative of the rosť beverage.

Itís pretty remarkable from the onset, and I rather quickly get several intersecting types of rose fragrances that Iíve experienced beforeóthe jammy/syrupy rose, the incense/resinous rose, the fresh roseóand robust inclusion of aldehydes that creates some effervescence ala a sparkling rosť wine. Itís very well-blended in that the rose aspects do not come off sharp, and no particular characterization (jammy, fresh, resinous) seems to stand out too much.

Also, itís clearly dense but does not feel overpowering, great performance with being too overloaded in any particular aspect. It feels like the result of a long, patiently-approached process of blending several roses. Beyond the roses (Turkish and Bulgarian), there are resins (amber, myrrh, oud, olibanum), mostly, along with sugarcane, vanilla, and sandalwood. In this respect, it feels like a pretty straightforward note breakdown but the execution is simply excellent, not surprising in that in comes from Zaharoff, but still a bit remarkable in that few rose fragrances seem this balanced. The rose notes themselves arenít overwhelming (even with rose being the dominant aspect of the rose) that itís so bluntly a rose fragrance; even the typically rose-averse may greatly enjoy this due the resins and effective blending of the roses with the resins.

Again, it performs very well, and is priced in a similar range to the rest of the collection, at $145 for 60ml via the Zaharoff website.

Overall, itís really a superb fragrance, period, and is a wonderful rose offering that generously provides a blended rose (and rosť aspect) for those of us that really enjoy rose.

Iíd certainly recommend that everyone check this out!

8 out of 10
22nd July, 2021

Brass & Soul by Zaharoff

This is my first try Brass & Soul from Stay Fresh Productions x Zaharoff, one of the three perfumes from the Zed Creators that were released recently. Brass & Soul fittingly takes its inspiration from jazz, and the composition is fresh, spicy, boozy blend that has a strong, aromatic, gin/juniper blend to it, along with lavender, vanilla, citruses, patchouli, and woods in the main mix, though the note list, like anything Zaharoff, is quite extensive.

I get the vibe of a busy club immediately, and the fragrance itself harkens back to older gentlemanly fougeres while, like Zaharoff Signature and Business Over Pleasure, having a modern, up-to-date quality thatís really seems befitting some current trends. Itís slightly sweet, also, but noticeably less so than the other offerings in the Zaharoff catalogue, even Signature Royale and Noir, though there is a certain booziness and vanilla/amber sweetness that counterbalances the sharper, spicier, more floral sides of it. Itís really delightful while being a good balance between provocative and familiar, new and old, opulent but very much down-to-earth in a lot of respects. In fact, it might be the most down-to-earth and seemingly most real-world-inspired of any offering in the Zaharoff catalogue, effectively conjuring the scents and environment of a busy club, a club I want to be at.

Brass & Soul comes in EDP concentration and is priced at $119 for 60ml, like the other Zed Creatorsí releases, and again, I feel that this pricing is very reasonable, especially todayís market, given the creativity, wearability, uniqueness, and, yes, performance.

8 out of 10

21st July, 2021

Business Over Pleasure by Zaharoff

This is my very first try of Business Over Pleasure by TLTG Reviews x Zaharoff, one of the recent releases of the Zed Creators collaboration with Zaharoff. Business Over Pleasure overtly has some of the DNA of the original Zaharoff Signatureís fresh/sweet/spicy mix, but blended with a bit a fresh floral almost cocktail-like side to it. Itís a little fresher, smoother, and less sharp than the original Signature while being comparably sweet, and it strikes me instantly as a more warm-weather-friendly variation to enjoy, for example, in the current hot summer than many of us in the US are experiencing.

Looking at the note breakdown between BOP and Signature, there are common notes of iris, patchouli, amber, and gingerónot a ton of overlapówith some of the key substitutions (in my vague estimation) being that the lavender being removed from the original represents a movement toward a less sharp opening. The sweet elements are similar but BOP is a little less creamy than Signature as it dries down. Both have a strong floral heart, though, with a delicate use of iris, not too heavy-handed.

As Ross Carlos describes in his YouTube video focusing on the fragrance, some of the touches are quite subtle (he notes the guaiac wood and palo santo in the base), and Iíd throw the iris in the bit, as its inclusion does not lead to a buttery or powdery result but rather a bright white floral element that stands out while not overshadowing the spices (ginger, pepper, coriander) or woody/sweet/resinous dry down component.

Business Over Pleasure is priced at $119 for 60ml in EDP concentration, and seems to perform quite well, perhaps not quite as well as Signature or Signature Noir or The Siren, but comparably enough, especially considering its slightly fresher character.

In conclusion, I have to step back and figure that my reaction to BOP would be the same as when I tried Zaharoff Signature itself for the first time last year, even though Iím noting some of the shared DNA and comparing the two. BOP is instantly innovative yet practical, and I want to wear it more and more. In the vein of Signature, it feels like highly-interesting take on a modern menís signature scent but itís not stereotypically masculine per se, and I expect that anyone could enjoy this.

8 out of 10
20th July, 2021
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The Siren by Zaharoff

This is my first try of The Siren by Curly Scents x Zaharoff, one of the recent trio releases from the Zed Creators, described (as I understand it) as the heaviest, most cold-weather-leaning, and most gourmand-like of the three releases, and without even comparing it the other releases, I can confirm that it lives up to the billing of being a robust, mostly-gourmand scent, and it is, as its name suggests, quite alluring.

Upon first spray I immediately feel inclined to classify it as a ďgourmand leatherĒ (itís really the first quick catchphrase that comes to mind), with more parts gourmand (coffee, cognac, chocolate, almond) than leather (and spices: ginger, cardamom, coriander, patchouli). A fragrance like Davidoff Leather Blend, by contrast, is more parts leather, fewer parts gourmand, but Iíd still grossly characterize it similarly as a gourmand leather; still, the distinction is important.

The note list seems accurate, showing that The Siren is a sweet, spicy, boozy, leathery mix, an example (like Piotr Czarnecki Sensei/Shihan, albeit less masculine) of a multifaceted blend of cold-weather-fitting notes. In that vein, this strikes me as a scent I would wear more in the cooler weather or perhaps in the nighttime rather than on a warmer day. Itís dense but overwhelmingly so that one could comfortably pull it off throughout the year, but I wouldnít personally opt for it in the current high heat in much of the US. And, as most gourmands are, The Siren is also quite unisex, something anyone with a sweet tooth and an love of booze and chocolate could enjoy.

Priced very reasonably at $119 for 60ml, under the $2/ml mark. Like the rest of the Zaharoff catalogue, its concentration is EDP and its performance is quite great. I believe that one can request a sample as well.

Overall, Iím really impressed. This is an indulgent, pleasing mostly-gourmand-with-some-leather fragrance that will get major wears by many in the winter, especially, but really can work year-round as a nighttime / seductive option for anyone.

8 out of 10
19th July, 2021

River FougŤre by Dua Fragrances

River Fougere is the 2020 Dua inspired expression of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche from 2003, a special menís barbershop fragrance thatís since been reformulated and discontinued. Upon first spray, the resemblance is very strong, the sort of fougere-meets-champagne-cologne vibe being very prominent, as Rive Gauche is one of the fresher of the variety, albeit less fresh than Dior Eau Savauge but still fresher than the heavier versions of Chanel Pour Monsieur, Ralph Lauren Safari, etc. With some dry down, however, River Fougere is a little spicier and less fresh than the original, and thatís the main difference that makes River Flougere feel a little more appropriate for the evening or cooler weather. Overall, though, River Fougere is a nice embodiment of the original even though it shifts the balance slightly in favor of the heart and base notes, namely the anise, rosemary, woods, and vetiver, away from the top notes of lavender and geranium. Plus, River Fougere is on the more affordable side of the Dua catalogue, at $55 for 30ml, with discounts regularly available, and itís quite a strong performer.

7 out of 10
07th July, 2021

23 by Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan 23 is a 2005 release, one of the many follow-ups to the original, more famous Michael Jordan cologne from 1996, and, as with most of the follow-ups, itís not quite as agreeable as the original. I gave the original modest marks, its sport-musky mostly-fresh vibe being middle-of-the-road but very affordable. 23 has a bit of a funkier vibe, pairing the citrus/musk in the original with purported notes of fig and geranium, so itís less, fresh and less bright than the original while still having a reasonably similar character of the 90ish sporty cologne, a less sophisticated offering along the axis to the Polo Sport. And its performance leaves a lot to be desired, but since the scent itself is only so agreeable, itís probably best that projects and lasts modestly.

5 out of 10
06th July, 2021

Black Jeans by Versace

Versace Black Jeans (1997) is definitely a bit under the radar relative to the more popular, much easier to find, and earlier release Blue Jeans (1994), but nonetheless an interesting fresh spicy aromatic versatile designer menís release. It features notes of lemon, lavender, ginger, geranium, nutmeg, vetiver, and cedar to my nose, though the note listing is fittingly long enough to give it a very blended effect. Most notes donít stand out all that much.

To that point, while Blue Jeans nearly epitomizes the 90s aromatic, Black Jeans actually seems to be the more versatile option, fitting in somehow with 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s trends in menís signature scents, sort of midway in terms of spiciness/freshness between Chanel Antaeus and YSL Rive Gauche. On my skin, it really smells like an amalgam of both, of a sort of barbershop-meets-spice-while-still-being-fresh option, and one Iíd certainly recommend that people try if they get a chance. However, Chanel Antaeus is still in production and Rive Gauche might come cheaper, even in its earlier can release, so maybe Black Jeans isnít the best option, but it feels part of the same family, regardless.

Itís still quite great, and worth checking out, a nice versatile option that harkens back to earlier decades while still feeling relevant, useful, and altogether lovely.

8 out of 10
01st July, 2021

Le M‚le Le Parfum by Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Le Parfum is a 2020 flanker to the iconic original 1995 Le Male. Le Parfum. Whereas the standout 2015 flanker Ultra Male was an intensely sweeter and fruiter version that many, myself included, regarded as a sort of loud 2000s-era ďclubbingĒ fragrance, Le Parfum smells like a more modernized, sophisticated version, sweeter but restrained, with a little less lavender but more vanilla, albeit straightforwardly a blend of lavender, vanilla, iris, and woods. Although darker than the original or Ultra Male, itís still somewhat bright, inviting, and feels like an all-day type of scent in cooler weather. I quite like it, and it seems to perform well.

Le Parfumís current retail pricing is $128/103/82 for 200/125/75ml at Macyís or Ulta Beauty, and I find the pricing reasonable for the product, as it could easily be a modern staple menís scent that someone could get a lot of use of, and itís not so stereotypically masculine that anyone couldnít enjoy it fairly easily. Certainly more of a crowd-pleaser than niche, artistic, or divisive, but itís a useful designer release in that respect.

7 out of 10
29th June, 2021 (last edited: 30th June, 2021)

Idole Eau de Parfum by Lubin

Lubin Parfums Idole de Lubin Eau de Parfum was released in 2011 and is the successor to the initial 2005 EDT release, which Iím not familiar with, and the EDP is so apparently (from its opening) a dark, spicy, resinous scent with a good amount of heady spicy kick but not so much to overshadow the resins. It feels mainly like a mix of the dominant frankincense, spices (cumin, pepper, saffron), sandalwood, and leather. Itís spicy while only being slightly smoky, and really only has the faintest twinges of sweetness, even with listed notes of rum and sugarcane, which may contribute to its balance but do not seem overtly there in their own right. The cumin makes it lean ever so slightly animalic, versus, say, Armani Prive Bois díEncens, which is also woodier, and Idole on the whole does seem a little bit wilder while still have an incense center.

Overall, itís a great fragrance, and performs very. It is priced at $180 for 100ml, very reasonably under $2/ml, and is sold at select boutiques like Perfumology, from whom I obtained a sample. I had smelled this before in store but did not sample it thoroughly and itís such an easy winner, especially for colder weather.

8 out of 10
28th June, 2021

Amalfi Coast by Dua Fragrances

Amalfi Coast is the Dua brandís creation inspired by Creed Jardin díAmalfi, from the exclusives line, and the Dua really nails the concept very well, a sort of fresh garden citrus with slightly sweet hints and the impression of being a floral without being floral dominant, with just the one note of rose and not too much of it in the mix, but just enough to not make it a standard citrus freshie. Combined with a good use of petitgrain and pink pepper, thereís some heartiness to it as well beyond just the utter fresh and tart side of citrus. It feels well-though-out and complete, and is overall a great fresh option within the Dua lineup as well as one of the best inspired expressions. The Creed exclusives line has higher pricing and a more down-to-earth pricing was definitely in order, and Dua delivers.

8 out of 10
25th June, 2021

Rouge Sar‚y by Atelier Des Ors

Atelier des Ors Rouge Saray is a dense, sweet, woody, and ever so slightly powdery/floral blend featuring a big heart of dates, patchouli, and heliotrope with support of cinnamon, guaiac, jasmine, and plum. It definitely gives a bit of the ďspice marketĒ vibe while being nuanced and different from other examples of this, somehow both plenty sweet (a little vanilla, a little fruit) while also floral and also spicy. Itís an odd intersection but one thatís well-achieved via a good balance, as none of the aspects seem to especially outshine another. I also get a bit of a resinous vibe throughout, though no resins themselves are listed in the note breakdown.

Its concentration is EDP and itís sold at Luckyscent for $275 for 100ml. It performs quite well, better than Larmes du Desert, even though I prefer the LDD scent itself.

To me, itís good but not great, a like not a love, but surely still worth trying as I could see many people loving this.

7 out of 10
24th June, 2021

Larmes du Dťsert by Atelier Des Ors

Atelier des Ors Larmes du Desert is a 2015 release my very first try from this house, and itís instantly a sweet, resinous, slightly spicy and even seemingly slightly fruity mix thatís both fun and a bit intriguing. The resinous quality leans toward incense, albeit not heavily smoky, with some contribution from guaiac wood, and some punchy, spicy bits from cypress and patchouli, but I feel like Iím missing something sweet in the mix, or perhaps the benzoin is just that sweet in this case.

Itís an easy winner for fans of resinous fragrances, especially those that like their fragrances to lean more toward incense or sweet instead of animalic. Itís not at all an animalic amber, in my opinion, even if there are spicier and woodier aspects of it, and in total, itís decently sweet on my skin, which I love.

It performs reasonably well, albeit slightly less than I wouldíve expected, given the prominence of resins in the description and note breakdown, but surely still satisfactory. It comes in EDP concentration and is sold at $275 for 100ml at Luckyscent.

Overall, I love it, and would love to have a bottle.

8 out of 10
23rd June, 2021

Azzaro pour Homme Amber Fever by Azzaro

Azzaro Amber Fever is a 2018 release that is part of the Sensual Blends collection, fitting a resinous mix, with a bit of a sharp honey, sugary blend with just a hint of provocative herbal spiciness in the form of an opening of clary sage. Then its dry down has the more understandable mix of resins as well as cocoa. So it achieves the sweet, resinous dominance (frankly, almost too sweet) with just enough of a counterpunch from the onset in the opening with the clary sage. It strikes me as a logical formula, putting just enough contrast into an otherwise fairly homogenous blend of notes that get grouped together quite often (gourmand / resinous.

Amber Feverís concentration is EDP and it performs quite well, and, like many Azzaro fragrances, is available at a very reasonable priceóin this case, only $31 on FragranceNet, a real steal.

Itís definitely just a ďlikeĒ not a ďloveĒ but itís enough of a bargain that Iíd suggest fans of sweet, ambery fragrances give it a shot if they get to try it, or feel inclined to do a blind buy.

7 out of 10
22nd June, 2021
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Gin Fizz by Lubin

Lubin Gin Fizz is a fragrance Iíve smelled before at Perfumology but of which I havenít previously done a full review. Originally released in 1955 but then re-released in 2009, Gin Fizz is a fresh citrus burst, not too gourmand-like, and not too sweet, so it has a timeless vibe to it in that it does not pivot toward either more modern trend, though it was a forerunner of many fragrances to follow that were explicitly inspired by alcoholic beverages.

Inspired by the cocktail with which it shares its name (as well as the inimitable Grace Kelly), Gin Fizz is fittingly effervescent blend featuring a generous use of aldehydes, a blend of citruses, and mix of florals (most notably, juniper), with white musk and oakmoss in the base. It triggers the classical response in me, ďwhatís not to like?Ē along the lines of a Dior Sauvage or Guerlain Shalimar, albeit with more of the play and fresh versatility of the former and a bit less of the gravitas of the latter.

Itís unisex, easy to wear, versatile, and not underwhelming but can be applied liberally without penalty, and itís one Iíll have to put some more thought into buying. Lubinís catalogue is quite deep, and Gin Fizz should be at the top of the list for many to try. It is priced at $160/130 for 100/50ml like some of the houseís other offerings, priced well in a designer realm, under the $2/ml mark at the 100ml bottle size.

Overall, itís an outstanding fragrance that feels classic but still relevant and invigorating, all the same, with all the grace of Grace and a fun aldehydic concoction of a cocktail.

8 out of 10
21st June, 2021

Amberland by Happyland Studio

Happyland Amberland is one of my favorite perfumes from this Ohio-based independent house of many hits. Its dominant orange blossom note is rounded by citruses, resins, sandalwood, vanilla, and patchouli, which is more or less the full list, the result being a great mix of sharp, sweet, citrus, hearty, resinous, and just a wee bit spicy. Itís refreshing yet bold, something that wakes me up in the morning and feels safe enough while still being noticeable and provocative.

Like the rest of the Happyland catalogue, the pricing on Amberland is very reasonable, at $55/42 for 50/30ml, and it performs very well, maybe not the very best of the house (I might get the best performance out of Se7en, myself), but outstanding, regardless of price.

And, like several other Happyland releases, Amberland is quite versatile, bold while still feeling year-round appropriate, comforting yet invigorating and provocative, a sort of unisex modern niche signature scent that somehow still demonstrates an awareness of the classics. Se7en remains my favorite from the house but together with Happyland Signature, Amberland is a close second.

Itís an excellent release and one Iíd recommend that everyone try.

8 out of 10

14th June, 2021

Over The Chocolate Shop - Dark Cherry & Almond by 4160 Tuesdays

The ďAftersĒ Dark & Cherry Almond variant of 4160 Tuesdays Over the Chocolate Shop very well-conceived slight departure from the original, cocoa-heavy OTCS that reminds me of dry cocoa powder, with just the right amount of syrupy cherry and almond to give it a slightly different twist. A welcome variant and nice to have as an option when I feel like deviating from the brilliant original ever so slightly. Still with the same great performance of the original, just with the slight flavored twist.

8 out of 10
11th June, 2021

Lippizan by Parfums de Marly

Parfums de Marly Lippizan is one of the pre-Herod releases (2009-10 or so) that flies a bit under the radar, a fresh spicy aromatic entailing a fairly sharp citrus/floral/spicy ensemble of notes, including a medley of citruses, and some standout spices like clary sage and cardamom and florals of rose and iris, with some bassier supporting notes of vetiver, leather, and oakmoss. Vanilla is listed as well but itís really not a sweet mix, which is perhaps why it is not as often discussed in the current market.

The overall effect is that of a slightly fresh and invigorating (due the zest of the citruses/spices and brightness of the florals) but is mostly woodier and spicier, and slightly dark. To its credit, though, itís not overwhelmingly spicy, floral, or citricóit maintains some semblance of balance.

I donít regard it as particularly masculine (Shagya, by contrast, feels more like a menís signature scent), as thereís something floral, leathery, and resinous that sort of fits the unisex cold weather mold of a lot of niche scents, or is it something Iíd recommend reaching for in warm weather.

Lippizan is interesting but is a notch below some of its kinóNisean, Shagya, and Carlisle are more interesting, for exampleóbut Iíd still recommend that fans of the brand, especially, give it a try.

It performs fairly well and is priced at $153 on FragranceX and $149 on FragranceNet for the standard 125ml size, which is reasonable, given the quality, in my opinion.

7 out of 10

10th June, 2021

Shagya by Parfums de Marly

Parfums de Marly Shagya is an earlier release from this French house of many hits this past decade, though there are still some older offerings in its catalogue that Iíve never tried. Shagya smells like a woody oud with a slightly heady citrus/floral/spicy mix that gives it some attitude, versatility, and freshness. The standout notes are lime, pink pepper, oud, geranium, vetiver, and cedar. The oud and vetiver arenít particularly dirty, instead of forming the bassier part of the sharpness throughout, achieved on the higher/brighter end by the geranium, especially. It feels constructed like a menís signature scent, perhaps a bit more for the colder weather than warm.

I quite like Shagya as a more year-round-friendly alternative to the also-under-discussed Nisean, a darker mix featuring patchouli and oud, but Shagya falls slightly short of Niseanís richness/boldness, though this makes sense, given that Shagya is surely the more agreeable of the two.

Shagya performs very well, perhaps not as well as the stronger PDMs (Herod, Nisean, etc.). Currently the best price I see for it on the market is $170 for the larger 125ml size on FragranceX, generally about half of the retail pricing of most PDM perfumes.

7 out of 10
08th June, 2021

Notting Hill for Him by English Laundry

English Laundry Notting Hill for Men is an agreeable, fresh spicy mix of citruses, pepper, jasmine, and sandalwood, primarily. Itís just a wee bit sharp but mostly like a citrus-heavy fresh black pepper with sandalwood a sandalwood base, very easy to like, gentlemanly, and seemingly quite practical as itís not too heavy or too light, not completely fleeting but not too dark, either.

It seems like an homage to the some of the transitional 90s fragrances from 80s menís powerhouses to more modern offerings, almost immediately reminding me of Ralph Lauren Safari for Men, albeit without the depth or performance, as Notting Hill fades pretty quickly from its opening, not only in terms of performance but in terms of balance / composition, in which it leans lighter and less spicy than Safari.

I found a bottle unboxed for $13 at Marshalls but itís sold for $40 (in the standard 100ml bottle size) on FragranceX. It still retails for $85, as well. Even the $40 price point feels ever so slightly high, given what we know other fragrances go for; for example, one might be able two buy TWO bottles of comparable fragrances for a little over $40. Still, at $40, itís not a bad buy; itís highly versatile for all situations and weather, particularly for men, and in that respect, spending $40 for one fragrance to wear in a lot of situations is a great use of money.

I still prefer Tahitian Waters to this as far as English Laundry offerings and certainly prefer Safari, but Notting Hill is overall a good fragrance.

7 out of 10
07th June, 2021

Wood Blend by Davidoff

First try of Davidoff Wood Blend, one of a handful of similarly-named fragrances (along with Leather, Agar, and Amber) that seem to be difficult to track down despite being listed on the Zino Davidoff website. Itís spicy, resinous, woody, and frankly a bit leathery, almost the spicy leather counterpart to the rather sweet-and-spicy Leather Blend itself. The main standout notes are leather, nutmeg, cardamom, olibanum, amber, and vetiver. Itís just a touch sweet, and spicy without being particularly animalic, just not purely woody per se, despite the name. ďSpice BlendĒ might be a more fitting moniker, even though thatís now occupied by a Maison Christian Dior offering.

It reminds me of a slightly less spicy, slightly less animalic version of Salvatore Ferragamo Oud, which pivots more toward a castoreum-type animalic quality, whereas Wood Blend leans a little more resinous and ever so slightly sweet, perhaps midway way between Ferragamo Oud and Leather Blend.

Overall, itís curiously spicy, resinous, slightly dark, without being dirty or animalic nor pivoting to something on the sweeter side, which is what I love about Leather Blend, but Wood Blend is a bit closer to a somewhat mainstream/masculine that feels especially appropriate cooler weather and/or evening, possibly a menís cold weather signature scent.

It performs well above average and testers are sold on FragranceX for under $60, with free shipping, so itís actually the easiest of the Davidoff ďBlendĒ line to find, currently.

8 out of 10
27th May, 2021

24 Elixir Ambrosia by ScentStory FZE

This is my of Elixir Ambrosia, from the now-discontinued 24 line by ScentStory, a primarily floral and sweet creation, including notes of rose, vanilla, musk, as well as some other spicy notes that may include patchouli, tarragon, and saffron. It leans sweet and bright but not over-the-top / juicy sweet, and still with plenty of floral burst. I think itís a solid, robust floral option for anyone and for any time of the year despite inherently leaning feminine. Frankly, itís the only release from the 24 line thatís slightly feminine and presumably marketed to women, unless Iím forgetting one.

Its performance is very good, its concentration is EDP, and it is sold via the NY-based discounter FragranceX at a reasonable $51 for 100ml. Iím not blown away by it but itís very agreeable and Iíd certainly recommend trying it if you come across it.

7 out of 10
25th May, 2021

Cologne pour le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

First long-overdue try of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Cologne Pour Le Soir, a honey/resinous 2009 release thatís powdery and semi-sweet with just a slight animalic bit. Its note listing (per some sources) seems apt as simply a blend of benzoin and honey, and it just feels well-put-together, not excessively sweet or dark or sharp or animalic. Itís a bit bright and invigorating while being somewhat seductive and potentially nocturnal.

The 2010 release that followed, Absolue Pour Le Soir, by contrast, is denser and more animalic, but, as many have said, CPLS is an easier wear, and though I would gravitate toward wearing it in the cooler weather and evenings primarily, itís still a mostly-year-round-friendly option, something less likely to scare people away than APLS. And, as some have noted, despite the similar name, amber centricity, and juice color, CPLS is quite different from the sweeter cinnamon Grand Soir, recently more recently in 2016.

CPLS performs reasonably well, and though itís not nearly as strong as APLS, it creates a good scent bubble and has good lasting power. It looks like CPLS, like APLS, is discontinued, though, which is a shame, as itís a very nice fragrance.

8 out of 10
24th May, 2021

24 Elixir Azur by ScentStory FZE

ScentStory 24 Elixir Azur is a 2017 release and one of the ďElixirĒ flankers of the now-discontinued 24 line, and it seems referential to several ďblueĒ fragrances. It feels like a mix of Versace Dylan Blue, JPG Ultra Male, and even Bleu de Chanel (perhaps the EDP), and in that respect, it feels a bit like a designer formula, somewhat synthetic, but still reasonably dense, and an interesting variation of that formula. The note listings seem to vary by source but what I get from them in common is lavender, fruits, woods, amber, tonka, vanilla, and musk. So itís a little sharp, sweet, woody, and musky, but does fit a somewhat modern interpretation of the menís ďblueĒ fragrance.

Even though the US-based FragranceX carries most of the ScentStory line, Elixir Azur is not currently available on that site, but IS available on the Canada-based PerfumeOnline for $60CAD for 100ml.

Itís a good fragrance but Iím not particularly moved by itóstill, the performance and value are both good, and itís another good entry from the line.

7 out of 10
21st May, 2021

24 Ice Gold by ScentStory FZE

Finally sampling ScentStory 24 Ice Gold, a long overdue try from the now-discontinued 24 line (that is still available), and as the ďiceĒ moniker usually goes, Ice Gold is a fresh, sharp, citrus-dominant fragrance, quite different from most of the 24 line that preceded, much closer to the original 24 than Go Dark, Platinum, or Gold.

Ice Gold avoids the orange zest dominance of other ďicyĒ fragrances, specifically, and feels more like a lemon/bergamot-dominant citrus opening, with plenty of woods, as well as unsurprisingly listed notes of ambroxan and white musk, as it has that rather clean dry down. And there is just a touch of apple in the mix to keep things a bit more interesting that a formulaic freshie. Still, this is an easy formula to like and enjoy, and itís an easy fragrance to wear, but it just fails to dazzle beyond being good. Still, whatís not to like? This just feels like an easy winner on a hot day, especially,

Ice Gold is EDT concentration and performs decently, and is sold via FragranceX at $55 for 100ml, not a bad price, though other versions like Gold and Rise of the Superb are much better values on account of their being more creative and higher-performing.

7 out of 10
20th May, 2021

Prada Amber pour Homme Intense by Prada

This is my first wearing and successful blind buy of Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense, the 2011 flanker to the original 2006 Prada Amber Pour Homme, which I only just tried for the first time last week and loved, and Intense is similarly very nice. Whereas the original is more of a soapy fresh amber, Intense is slightly spicier, albeit still fresh, but less soapy.

Intenseís note listing is relatively straightforward: bergamot, myrrh, vanilla, patchouli, amber. I frankly get a bit of the champagne fresh spicy cologne vibe of YSL Rive Gauche with some of the darkness of Armani Attitude, and I sense some lavender without it being there, though perhaps Iím just smelling the bergamot and patchouli. Like the original, itís not an amber fragrance in the sense that itís especially sweet or thick or animalic, but has an amber base with some other additives. Intense has a good balance of resins quirksónamely, some spice and some smokeówith just a hint of sweetness, to complement the fresh and green vibe of the bergamot and patchouli.

Like the original, Intense is very reasonably priced on the secondary market, about $65 for 100ml on FragranceNet, and it performs decently well, though the original perhaps performs better, despite the greater concentration of Intense (EDP, to the originalís EDT).

Overall, Iíd say that I prefer the original but enjoy the Intense as a darker, slightly spicier variation.

7 out of 10
10th May, 2021

B683 Eau de Parfum by Marc-Antoine Barrois

A long-overdue proper sampling of Marc-Antoine Barrois B683, the houseís first release, the initial version of B683 from 2016 in EDP concentration, not the more recent Extrait released in 2020. The original instantly hits as a modern gentlemanly creation, a woody, leathery, spicy blend with just a hint of sweetness, slightly fresh but still appropriate for a night out. Its note variety is interesting, a mix of spices (peppers, nutmeg), resins, woods, patchouli, and violetóproviding the sharp and fresh bits, along with ambroxan and musk. Itís a very fashionable yet still classic-enough signature scent for a man, a more toned-down alternative to something like Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme, which, by many accounts (albeit not mine), employs leather and patchouli in excess to the point of smelling petrol-like. Now, 683 has no listed leather note, but the effect is that of a leather fragrance but with a slight pivot toward sweetness and freshness.

This is an easy recommendation for all to tryóit may not be groundbreaking but it incorporates useful elements and achieves a very nice, agreeable blend. A modern menís signature scent is an appropriately moniker.

Marc-Antoine Barrois fragrances are sold at great boutiques like Perfumology, and the B683 EDP pricing is $195/115 for 100/30ml (Ganymedeís pricing is the same; B683 Extraitís is higher).

I look forward to sampling the Extrait as well as Ganymede (Iím behind on my sampling!), which Iíve both smelled in store but have not done full samplings of.

8 out of 10
06th May, 2021

Prada Amber pour Homme by Prada

Today marks my long-overdue sampling of the 2006 release, Prada Man, also known as Prada Amber Pour Homme EDT, its characteristic purple juice being recognizable in the market but a designer release that Iím somehow avoided, and in short, itís great, a soapy fresh amber thatís a satisfying borderline signature scent-type. Itís fresh with citruses and orange blossom, earthy/woody with vetiver and patchouli, and a touch sweet with tonka and vanilla. It does, as its advertising suggests, seems somewhat referential of a fougere and traditional menís cologne, being somewhat on the sharper side of both, but not too sharp to be prohibitive, especially when most of the elements feel connected and well-blended. Even with the fougere and cologne archetypes in mind, itís not overly masculine to me, but rather agreeable in the way that menís fragrances tend to be nowadays.

This is a strong performer for a contemporary designer EDT, and is quite reasonably priced on the secondary market, under $60 for 100ml on FragranceNet, so Iíll have to pick up a bottle, as itís an instant winner for me.

8 out of 10
05th May, 2021

Eau de Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford

Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc was released several years ago as a flanker to Soleil Blanc, fittingly lighter, fresher, and less dense than the original, a light-and-creamy fresh floral that has a hint of sunscreen, the main notes being citruses, a parade of white florals (tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang), and vanilla. It does have a slight aquatic vibe, maybe midway between freshwater and saltwater, helping it be bit a bit more transparent than the original.

Like most of the ďEauĒ-named releases of the Private Blend Collection, Eau de Soleil Blanc is in EDT concentration and priced well below the main lineís EDP entriesóin this case, the retail pricing is $184/134 for 100/50ml. In that respect, itís a reasonable compromise and logical alternative to the original Soleil Blanc, whose retail pricing is at the standard $250 for 50ml.

Overall, itís decent, though I imagine most would lean toward the original Soleil Blanc for its strength, despite the higher price, though Eau does perform reasonably well, also.

7 out of 10
04th May, 2021

The Waft from the Loft by 4160 Tuesdays

The Waft from the Loft EDP is the result of the 4160 Tuesdays Indiegogo campaign, collaboration with the YouTube channel of the same name, conceived in early 2020 and developed and released during the pandemic, a brilliant manifestation of an older building, a mix of wood, stone, and humidity. It feels like a mix of raw nature and industrial influence, a compromise between outdoors and indoors, and even between old and fresh, though it skews older. Note-wise, it feels like a mix of resins, florals, woods, and patchouli, somewhat fresh and green yet mostly earthy and woody with a resinous structure holding it all together, maybe galbanum.

Waft brings the earthy, damp basement vibe of fragrances like Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu and Masque Milano Montecristo and takes it further, making for a committed experience to being in and around an old church in a humid setting of the world. Inspired by the UK locale, the environment seems very familiar to me in the eastern US, which is also a rather humid temperate part of the world.

The perfume is sold only through the 4160 Tuesdays website as of now, to my knowledge, though I believe it should be available in the US via Perfumology and Krystal Fragrance at some point. On the house site, the EDP is priced at 150/100/40 GBP for 100/30/15ml and the parfum is priced at 60GBP for 15ml.

The fragrance is a real gift in an all-time challenging year, a mix of the old and new, a fusing of art and reality, beautifully crafted.

8 out of 10

29th April, 2021

cK one Summer 2014 by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein CK One Summer 2014 is probably still the most popular / hyped CK One Summer version in recent memory, no doubt due to it being one of the best, a margarita-meets-pina colada mix that features a mix of citruses, coconut, tequila, sugar, florals, and woods. Itís fresh, a good balance of salty and sweet, slightly boozy and fruity, with some savory undertones. Certainly it feels most appropriate in the daytime during warmer weather, but itís refreshing and awakening any time.

It compares to Tommy Bahama Set Sail St. Barts well, though St. Barts is a bit sweeter, leaning into the coconut more, whereas CK One Summer 2014 is a bit saltier, referencing the margarita somewhat more.

It performs moderately, but thatís fair, given that the price point was reasonable, especially on the secondary market, though Iím not sure how easy it is to find a bottle nowadays.

Overall, itís quite nice, and Iíd recommend nabbing a bottle if you would like a slightly saltier alternative to St. Barts.

7 out of 10
28th April, 2021