Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

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Total Reviews: 288

masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

To be honest, I find the opening of masculin (lower case?) Pluriel a bit of a mess. It smells fine - that is to say, pleasant - but it doesn't have any of the gaps, the rise and fall, of classic fougeres. This puts all the notes out there at once.

The drydown is fairly well done and there is a strong and effective lavendar accord that pulls the scent, not only together, but within the boundaries of the genre.

It's just a bit boring. It doesn't add to the fougere genre at all, in my view. And I kind of get on with those reviewers who think this is a bit too "modern".
18th August, 2020

Papyrus Oud / 71 by Parle Moi de Parfum

I've tried a few of these PMdP scents over the course of my holiday and the themes that seem to be emerging are of somewhat linear scents missing traditional top notes, but with good performance and everything speaking of high quality basic materials. Another theme is that I consistently pick up fewer notes than listed (apart from the specifically minimal Milk Musk).

PO is a case in point. There is definitely a woody accord, definitely a patchouli note for spice, and discernible incense. However, I do not detect oud, nor any of the listed comestible accords. There is something that provides an overall smoothness and sweetness that offsets what might otherwise be an overly dry and arid scent, so there is some skilful composition going on.

I don't have any compunction about giving a thumbs up here, but I would say that on this evidence, if you want to enjoy PMdP scents, you will need to get on with a particular kind of minimalism in terms of accords and development that relies upon the evolution of these few notes to keep interest, as opposed to following the transition of one set of discrete notes to another.
14th August, 2020

Milky Musk / 39 by Parle Moi de Parfum

A very nice musk and sandalwood scent, very comforting and enveloping in all the best ways, with the odd minimalism that I am coming to expect from this brand. Possibly a touch of Philosykos about it. Good stuff.
09th August, 2020
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L'Insoumis by Lalique

I've had this on for about 10 minutes and already it's clear that I have about as much understanding of this linear, phoned-in scent as I need. In a word, depressing. A brief fresh opening utterly bypasses any of the aromatics I was expecting and hoping for and goes straight for the "cashmere wood" that doesn't appear in the note profile here but is prominant on the sample break-down. Is there also a touch of that lineny, shorthand-for-freshness violet leaf? A pale imitation of other fragrances that I don't care for anyway. Lalique has done much, much better than this.
09th August, 2020

Café Cabanel by Téo Cabanel

The listed notes suggest an absolute melange, as many gourmand notes as one could possibly fit into a scent. As a result it's not a terribly serious fragrance, but to my nose, this is no worse than the likes of Angel, Bond No. 9, or Valentino. The quality is at least on a par with many of these.

CC opens with a bright tangerine with an instant whiff of creamy notes. The remainder is very stable and does not develop for many hours. The end of the drydown is a comforting gourmand, cocoa-heavy, with a hint of musk. This is not a favourite genre of mine but this last stage is enjoyable. Overall I find CC a little overwrought and overworked, but nice enough for what it is. For a better review, you'll just have to find someone more interested in it than I am.
13th July, 2020

Marcel by Marie Jeanne

Interesting that this is described as a unisex scent when its stablemate, Marcelle, so clearly bears the French feminised version of the name. Well, whatever pleases you.

Marcel itself is what I would describe as a fairly traditional cologne with a definite French touch of flair to it. There are the usual fleeting citrus notes that give way to a heft dose of ylang. The base notes are bolstered by sage from the heart, although I would hesitate to say there's anything approaching leather here. The dry down is familiar to the genre, but ever so slightly sweet and ever so slightly balsamic.

I'm a little confused as to who would wear this and why, but it's pretty well done for what it is. Personally I prefer my colognes more austere and with fewer notes, but on the basis that I may never come here again, credit where it's due.
09th June, 2020

Chypre-Siam by Rogue Perfumery

I think I'm at the end of my Rogue journey, and it's been a good one. Not sure if I've covered all the releases in review, but I was leaving this one to near the end. Sadly, my last 0.5 ml or so seems to have gone missing, so this is partly from memory. I hope it turns up.

In short, Chypre-Siam is just magnificent. I'm not in the market for a chypre right now, and if I had the money to spare I'd be buying Tabac Vert and Fougere l'Aube from this house without a pause. But Chypre-Siam is, for me, the artistic high point of Rogue's current offering. It's right up there with Pour Monsieur EPD and Eau Sauvage EDP in the genre. In fact, I think I like this better. The green opening is complex and fresh. The heart is woody and assertive. And as the last act, some animalic notes thread through the mix to give a leathery and somewhat dirty sign-off. When we're allowed to again, this fulfils the office-to-night brief admirably.

And - get this - I received compliments when wearing this. You know what I mean by compliments: when someone unbidden says something pleasant or positive; as opposed to tapping someone on the shoulder and shoving your forearm up their nose. So this could be you, too, should you wear C-S. And the quality... it just shows that ignoring the rules can be a sign of vision, rather than a test of vision.
31st May, 2020

Champs Lunaires by Rogue Perfumery

I don't have that much of a point of reference for Champs Lunaires, and with it seeming more of a feminine not something I would go for again, but as usual it's been interesting to try it.

It opens up into a milky, abstract floral, and develops over the course of a day into a more creamy sandalwood drydown. The florals accompany it to the end and it makes for a pleasant wear on a hot day, which we're having plenty of in the UK right now.

Overall, it feels like a genteel, ladylike scent for those who want to get off the beaten track a little.
31st May, 2020

Flos Mortis by Rogue Perfumery

Decent indolic scent with a surprisingly pleasant (given the theme) and sweet musky drydown. A rare footnote-quality experience from this house.
27th May, 2020

Via Camerelle by Carthusia

Normally I would come to an "aquatic floral/citrus" expecting not to like it. This seems to me as good as the genre gets. Something - I think the jasmine and aromatics - acts as a bridge between the citrus in the opening and the "sea musk". It's refreshing and what some might have down as low performance is actually quite welcome to me, as it means that I never get overwhelmed by nautical-themed notes. Highly wearable on a hot day.
25th May, 2020

Special No. 127 by Floris

Thankfully I can make this quick.

My review: Quite a sad experience. A very light floral with some musk, rather undistinguished, and with pitiful performance. Not a patch on No. 89.

Mrs FWF's review: nice, pleasant, understated scent that's a bit of a grower. It would suit most people.

I'm taking the average.
21st May, 2020

Derviche by Rogue Perfumery

Derviche starts off in a slightly medicinal fashion, but soon moves into the territory where it stays thereafter: cherry tobacco with a definite "red" theme, as reviewers have already noted. For these reasons, it reminds me of a more cultured version of CK One Shock, with elements of Guillaume thrown in: certainly Aube Pashmina (for its vegetal sheen) and Naiviris (for its red iris) come to mind. Not sure I would buy this over tobacco-themed stablemate Tabac Vert, but this is pleasant and a grower once you've come to terms with it. It has excellent longevity and a terrific, comforting drydown which has received positive noises in the FWF household.
18th May, 2020

Fougère Nobile by Nobile 1942

Lockdown is bringing a hot streak. A few days after testing Fougere l'Aube, this is another great example of the genre. Sweeter, creamier than Rive Gauche, but still retaining that barbershop DNA. And, strangely, excellent value compared to its recently-reviewed-by-me stablemate, 1001.

In a sentence: taut Rive Gauche masculine assertiveness with a dash of Histoires-style dandyish decadence.
13th May, 2020
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Tabac Vert by Rogue Perfumery

An enjoyable tobacco scent on the surface of things. One would expect a fresh, perhaps sharp tobacco, going by the name. In fact, although I am one of the reviewers who *does* detect tobacco, I would have this down as more of a light leather. It's rather similar to my favourite Spanish Leather (the Trumper one); TV is rather stronger in the drydown with prominent cedar, pepper, and moss, whereas Spanish Leather doesn't include leather but is meant to replicate the leather perfuming concoctions used for curing and maintaining that material in days gone by. Equipage might be another good comparison.

TV to my nose is rather similar in theme - florals buttressed by some strong, very masculine ingredients. In no way is this a very pungent leather, but it marks its turf in a way that the cologne-strength Spanish Leather does not. Personally, I am a sucker for this kind of thing, although I know many are not. If I hadn't just obtained a new bottle of SL, would this be a contender? Maybe, as it's not taken long to grow on me. But as I write there is a virtue to buying local; also TV is pretty much twice the price of SL. Oh, and Manuel Cross has temporarily ceased overseas orders! Hope that's back soon. In any event, it didn't take much to sell me on this. Added to the wish list.
12th May, 2020

Addictive Arts : Chasing the Dragon Euphoric by Clive Christian

The law of diminishing returns shows it is alive and well in the form of CC's Euphoric. At first it appears to be a musty rose/suede accord. The comparison with Richard James' Savile Row is well-founded and valid throughout its life on the skin. Although I don't see rose (or leather) among the listed notes, CCE is undoubtedly pulling off a similar trick here. For male wearers, this would be the trick of producing a properly wearable floral. Savile Row achieves this through a very involved and note-heavy cologne direction; CCE is more of a proper floral oriental.

CCE achieves one thing that Savile Row does not, though, and that is to pull off a genuinely impressive transition. The latter is a good scent in its own right and remains very decent value. Once the florals are out of the way in the first phase of CCE, the wearer gets a beautiful drydown that works through spices and ends with a Guerlain-style amber-musk-vanilla accord. It achieves this without some of the brashness of many Guerlains, but with excellent longevity and discernible notes. Very, very impressive work.

And here we get to the difficult bit. If I had written this review after a few hours or wear, I would be saying that Savile Row gives you 95% the experience of CCE, so don't bother - buy Savile Row. If I had written it after a few more hours, I would be starting to doubt myself, and thinking that you get maybe 80% of the CCE experience from Savile Row. And now, a few hours before bedtime, all maths has gone out of the window.

The trouble is - if the maths serves - CCE is something like 2000% the price of Savile Row. There are obviously questions that could be asked that address how this can be justified; especially in these times when luxury goods just don't have the same cache that they did even a few months ago. Of course, if you have the money and the nose of the cognoscento that Clive Christian would like you to have, you can purchase it and feel like you're doing the right thing. Frankly, though, it beggars comparison. It reminds me of the old joke: two drunks are sitting together. One says, "I'd like to have enough money to buy an elephant". The other asks, incredulously, "Why would you want an elephant?" - to which the first replies "I don't - I just want enough money to be able to buy one".

Worth trying, worth a positive rating for artistic achievement.
10th May, 2020

1001 by Nobile 1942

I'm rather impressed with this. First impressions are of a musty accord with immediate florals and then piquant spices, which can be traced to the ginger. Saffron provides additional, elegant warmth. Perhaps an attempt to replicate the notional flavours of the stories in the Arabian Nights flying off the very physical pages?

In any event, this remains a creamy, spicy, rose-tinted dream for several hours. I've had it on for about 16 now and it shows no signs of abating.

I find 1001 thoroughly satisfying in terms of both quality and artistic realisation. It's just beautiful and one of the few scents priced north of £200 that I wouldn't immediately dismiss in terms of price. Try it. Please.
05th May, 2020

Le Canotier by Rogue Perfumery

I've worn Le Canotier on three consecutive days (sample now ended) as I wasn't sure I was getting the full picture. Day 3 confirmed this - let me explain.

On the first two days of wearing, I was getting some citrus and violet but not a lot else. Nice quality, but that's it. On day two, a hint of some dry woods, perhaps guaiac or even oud. Today, though, I at last perceived the vetiver and I think the concept became clear. First, though, I'm at a loss to explain the different experiences on these three days. Perhaps some of the heavier notes needed time to settle after decanting? Plausible, I think, but I've never had this before.

So from reviewing the Day 3 version, by far the best rendition, it's a vetiver with pleasant additions, very much as Jack describes. On this basis, it puts me in mind of my favourite Root of all Goodness, by Parterre, but LC, good as it is, is not going to displace that any time soon. And I have to say, for a scent that lists ambergris, moss, and tobacco, they're extremely subtle if there at all. I do wish I had a large bottle with a proper atomiser to continue testing, as when the vetiver makes an appearance, it's really very good, but I doubt that will happen in the foreseeable.
28th April, 2020 (last edited: 14th May, 2020)

Lacoste pour Homme by Lacoste

Can't believe I didn't review this before. A versatile, somewhat sporty scent, but in a crisp, outdoors fashion, rather than a ridiculously sweet or aquatic way. I remember it as good for work - fresh, but long-lasting. I'll have to try it again for old times' sake. A very solid purchase for the price. Flankers generally worth avoiding, if only to save on confusion.
23rd April, 2020

40 Rogue by Rogue Perfumery

Here's a hoary one. My point of reference for 40R, after some thought, turned out to be the Truefitt range, especially where they pull off this same menthol followed by florals trick. And - while I hate to quote myself - this bit of a review of Truefitt's Grafton provides an excellent stepping-off point:

"...given that it could use a big slug of oakmoss to finish, a bit of a shame it's not constructed somewhat more robustly." [I should also reference Freshman here for its menthol opening, while Grafton has tarragon as its starting point.]

The pay-off to this review is that 40R doesn't really represent a big advance on the Truefitt scents. A properly animalic or mossy drydown would have worked wonders. Sadly, on me it dies away before getting anywhere near. It's still beautifully constructed, with the tarragon giving way to the florals and then something a little dirty at the back end. But for this reviewer it never quite lifts off - and it's *so* old-fashioned.

A proviso: still certainly worth trying. And perhaps this tells us more about the long-term successes of the Truefitt scents than I had realised. But, not something I hanker after trying again.
16th April, 2020

Mousse Illuminée by Rogue Perfumery

I had MI on my test list rather before I had a full concept of the Rogue brand and aims. It just sounded so up my street. As a matter of fact, it's not, and if I wanted a near pitch-perfect fougere (and I always do), then I would go for Fougere l'Aube by the same house. However, there's no denying that this is another strong effort.

Essentially, MI starts out as a barbershop style scent with overtones of Rive Gauche. As it develops, though, it is dominated, on my skin, by artemesia (and so, similar to the scent of the same name by Pell Wall) and white musk. This turns it into feminine territory in my book, but not so that it could be worn by both or any gender. As other reviewers have noted, it's a genuine unisex scent. It's just that white musk note which turns me off a little. But testing recommended nonetheless.

And I have to get into one or more of these reviews that Rogue offers a genuinely good value, prompt, and nicely packaged sample set.
10th April, 2020

Quorum by Antonio Puig

On to my second lifetime bottle of Quorum. The first I had, certainly more than 15 years ago, was a 100ml bottle and the type of seasonal present that clearly ticked the boxes of "it's aftershave" [sic] and "it's not that expensive". (Other scents that did this job over the years include Beckham Instinct and Cerruti 1881 Amber.) I definitely miss these random gifts from my late parents.

However, I do remember the Quorum of 2005 or so being an uncompromising beast and something that at the back of my mind made me doubt whether it was a good fit for office wear...anyone, in those days it was my only fragrance and so I got through the 100ml.

In recent times I was happy to pick up 30ml for a song in TK Maxx. The scent has the same melange of notes as before, as if Sebastian Gomez thought that he might as well just throw everything in that could be included in an aromatic fougere. The result is definitely masculine and fun in its way. But after a few hours it has died down to next to nothing. Quorum therefore achieves neutral in the face of victory. If you're not buying this hoping for an old-school powerhouse fougere, what exactly are you looking for?
06th April, 2020

Fougère L'Aube by Rogue Perfumery

I've tried but not yet reviewed Chypre-Siam by the same house, which I will leave until I can do it justice.

Today, though, is Fougere L'Aube. An equal achievement? Perhaps not, but very, very good. The opening provides citrus and galbanum, making for a wistful and summery accord, much in the mould of Papyrus de Ciane. After a little while, the florals come through and this is where the barbershop, starched-shirt impression is formed. References at this point might be Sartorial, Carven pour Homme, and Floris's Jermyn Street. That's not in fact my favourite part of the fougere spectrum; thankfully the final act of Fougere L'Aube is a slightly sweet, slightly biscuity lavender making for the warmer scent that personally I am happier with. If there is amber, sandalwood, or oakmoss at this stage, they are very much in the background. But the notes I discussed are easily sufficient for this reviewer.

So in short, traditional but original, lovely construction, not "beastly" by any means, but very wearable and utterly bottle-worthy. Post CV-19 I intend to shift those parts of my collection that don't get worn and replace them with those that will. This could easily be a contender.

Near immediate update: there is a definite connection to GIT here, but FL'A uses violet in a way that's acceptable to me. Normally I can't stand it. And that base note - some here have it as sandalwood. I'd say more biscuity (so lavender) than creamy, but, well, it could be both, or neither.
30th March, 2020 (last edited: 08th April, 2020)

L'Homme Idéal Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

One of the few positives of the CV-19 outbreak is that I can wear and try what I want, and only run the risk of disturbing my nearest and dearest. Hence the second wave of trialling a whole range of samples.

This one leaves me hovering over the thumbs up and neutral categories. I think it just about deserves the former. It's by no means perfect, though. For a start, anything that might stiffen the mix is absent. Any hint of sandalwood is missing or drowned by the more gourmand notes. Leather? laughably absent.

For all that, given a concoction based on rose, vanilla, tonka, and almond, it does somehow work as a masculine. The rose note fades nicely and is well done.

And what might you say to someone wearing this as a conscious choice after testing? That they have at least a rudimentary idea of the high street offering and that they aren't averse to taking minor risks.

I feel as though I am talking to someone who has passed their driving test and taking the opportunity of overall success to talk about the many points for improvement. Go on, you've earned it. Just.
22nd March, 2020

Citrus & Wood by Yardley

Can't believe I didn't review this at the time when I managed to buy a 50ml bottle for £5 in a time-limited Amazon sale. Happily used the lot for work purposes and now it seems to be discontinued other than overpriced rogue bottles on Ebay and so on. The comparison with Terre is well-founded and well honed. Terre has evidently better quality (try, if you can, the residue on testing strips after two days) but in terms of value, this WAS sensational. Given what I know now, I'd buy in a heartbeat. Hard to believe the current Yardley line will get anywhere close.
15th March, 2020

Green Wood by Dsquared2

It's quite difficult to know what to write here. Green Wood promises the idea of freshly cut silvan goodness but ends up petering out into nothing much. It's hardly worth rehearsing notes and development. It's just extremely boring. The negative verdict is more a reflection of its phoned-in artistic disinterestedness than it is of any of the particular false steps in composition. Although dull and generic it does at least avoid the flaccid overtones that some modern woods can provide.

Not angry, just disappointed.
11th March, 2020

Vert Fougère by Floris

Green? Fougere? By Floris? yes please! Ah, we're born for disappointment.

VF goes on with a terrific grapefruit note, but the top notes in concert are medicinal. I can only attribute this to the interaction of the citrus with galbanum, but... well, it's not always like this.

It then decides it wants to become Brut. Once the top has dried off, this is unmistakably, 90%, Brut, perhaps a slightly more powdery version. Once that positive ident has been made, it then decides it wants to be No. 89 and the hairy-chested phase wears off. By the end it has referenced most of the repertoire of Caron and Histoires.

So here's my problem. These are some direct quotes from the sample card: it is "defined by a juxtaposition between dark green notes and smoky, velvety woody accords"; it is "a moody fougere that embraces its green, mossy foundations and adds a sparkling modernity". Mmmmmm: sort of. Some of the time. With these descriptions, I want a return to uncompromising masculine fougere mossy goodness. If I was in the market for what this is, largely a dandyish version of the genre, I'd visit one of the other houses mentioned above.

Here's what I think part of the problem is: it's marketed as a unisex fragrance. Drop the pretence, ramp it up, make it a proper masculine. As it stands, if I want powdery from this house, I'll go with No. 89; board-room assertive, Elite; can't decide, 1976. Not at all bad, but not close enough, in my book.
08th February, 2020

Addictive Arts : Chasing the Dragon Hypnotic by Clive Christian

First of all: I never do this, but is that name really necessary? I remember Zammo "chasing the dragon" in Grange Hill back in the day, and it wasn't pleasant. There really isn't a need for this.

Offense-taking over, and this is a very pleasant oriental that will suit a variety of noses. Nicely sharp and tight, not overpowering, with discernible notes. Nothing wrong with the quality, just a case of whether that magic money tree is fruiting this year.

Pink pepper, moss, balsam, amber.
04th December, 2019

Black Aoud by Montale

Not so much red wine, as another reviewer notes, and more like Turkish delight. Sweet and rose-heavy, with a questionable amount of oud (no matter what its provenance) going by the performance... in short, there are plenty of "black ouds" out there, and this one is certainly inferior to its Dumont namesake, which actually smells like something that deserves the name "Black Oud".
10th November, 2019

Black Oud by Laurence Dumont

Smoky, slighly sweet oud and dry woods. A touch of musk at the end. Possibly just within the realms of what I would consider wearability in a work context. Really rather pleasant on a winter's day and with any luck I will have a chance to add to this brief note with more extended wearing. I understand it's cheap enough, so while not a recommended blind buy, if you get on with it BO is liable to represent good value.
10th November, 2019

Prima del Teatro di San Carlo by Carthusia

The FWF clan spent some happy time in the Sorrento Carthusia shop on holiday and in the end dropped quite a bit of money there. However, it was on the last day when I noticed this on a high shelf and asked if we could try it.

What a revelation that was. Rhodes22 above has it spot on: bergamot, rose, mint, and oud are the headline notes of this composition and they work wonders together. The bergamot opening gives way to mint, and this works with rose to create the most refined freshness. I would be tempted to say that this reins in the oud, which is kind of true, but the oud itself is calibrated such that it never takes over. What you end up with as a long-lasting drydown is the well-grooved eastern combination of oud and rose, tempered by some additional dryness from other woods and the lingering mint acting as a kind of olfactory pedal-point. (I'm almost tempted to say: as a kind of east-west collaboration.) We bought the only size available, a 50ml bottle.

"Prima del Teatro" (I believe, literally, "before the theatre") is meant to replicate the scent on opera night in the San Carlo theatre, with the Carthusia web site seeming to think that it is some kind of theatre-experience-enhancing device. I gather then that it might be intended as a formal scent, surely more for feminine use, but it could be applied in moderation on a day-to-day basis. I look forward to analysing it more as Mrs FWF wears this in the winter months. In short, a terrific, well-thought-through composition with a strong theme that really delivers.
05th October, 2019