Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Funwithfrags

Total Reviews: 338

Tobacco Absolute by Molton Brown

A good neroli/citrus opening, with a herbal aspect and some late, light leather. I don't particularly get the tobacco connection, and although it develops, lasts (in a very light-wearing way), and is liked in the house, I can't get too excited about it. Perhaps if you're just thinking of experimenting with the tobacco/leather spectrum it's a decent gateway; personally I'm on harder stuff right now.
13th September, 2021

Mesmerising Oudh Accord & Gold by Molton Brown

A very light oud, strongly suggesting the absence of any genuine oud component in the ingredients. There is no skank or cloud from this. It does becomes a vaguely tobacco scent after some time, mildly spicy and wearable throughout. "Gold" presumably connotes some combination of spice, warmth, and texture, but is perhaps not a term that would come to mind had it not been suggested by the nomenclature. All in all a good wear with decent longevity, clearly better suited for the colder months.
02nd September, 2021

Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel by Molton Brown

A more than adequate aquatic fougere type. Unlike many with this kind of designation, the front-and-centre presence of cypress does afford it genuine claims to fougere-hood. The drydown avoids an overly musky accord; in general, CCASF provides much of what its co-generic competitors should, and avoids its pitfalls. There is a good green presence. This genre is nothing I can get really excited about but this is a good instance of it.
22nd August, 2021
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Brooklyn by Gallivant

Excellent fresh, floral musk with individual character and excellent longevity. More a feminine, so not something I will revisit, but I imagine would be terrific as casual wear for those who like their white musks to do something interesting. A whole range of hesperides, plus a hit of iris, but not too much so.
22nd August, 2021

Bushukan by Molton Brown

Opens with a warm accord. I like the idea of the scent - citrus notes overtaken by aromatics and finally bolstered by a resinous-balsamic accord, but i. it goes nowhere after a short time, and ii. the net result of the above notes and accords makes for a rather sweet, confectionary-style effect at all stages of development. So at the moment, marks for concept and design, rather than execution. I note that many of the MB scents I am trying are likewise low in power, so mitigation there, but a pass for me.
22nd August, 2021

Bad Boy by Carolina Herrera

An olfactory panic attack brought about by sensory overload in a crowded airport.
11th August, 2021

Bowmakers by D.S. & Durga

Oh, this is good, and really rather clever at the same time. The effect is one of woods - planks, cuttings, shavings - but also an effective "varnish" accord, made up of various fresh components. Add to that the rosin/resin accord, and you have yourselves not only a superb account of woods and aromatics, but a "variation on a very real theme". From the sound of it, complete ignorance of the marketing on my part is worth it.

Tried on skin and paper at Liberties of London.
01st August, 2021

V for Men by Clive Christian

Am I missing something? Described as an "amber fougere". I get a fresh opening with the amber ever-present, as it always is for me with amber-themed scents. It dries down to an unexceptional, non-fougere amber-balsamic scent with a touch of incense. I wouldn't recommend it to start with, and then one mentions the price... The amber is smooth enough but this wouldn't be out of place in the Monotheme series. A bit of a non-event in my book.
20th July, 2021

Berlin by Gallivant

I'm not sure how this scent pertains to Berlin, but there is a light/dark theme going on. This is largely a scent of the light, citric-but-not-Cologne type, an ongoing freshie with a decent woody base. The whole composition is stiffened by a good tea note, redolent of Bulgari, pepper and vetiver. Good longevity and a friendly companion to a summer's day.
02nd July, 2021

Gentleman Cologne by Givenchy

Fresh while it lasts but not interesting, not original, and not present after a few hours. Bergamot and the hint of an idea of iris.
28th June, 2021

Bukhara by Gallivant

I've been to the former Soviet republics once in my life. I stayed in Bishkek on work and visited one of the ethnic markets. My guide, one of the ethnic Russian elite, told me I had to barter with the stall-holders, so I ended up paying the equivalent of about 3p (GB) rather than 5p for a little newspaper packet of spices used in "plov", the pervasive rice and lamb dish. That's quite a big saving, so I'm sure you'll agree it was worth it.

Anyway, perhaps it's a trick of the imagination, but Bukhara does a very smart job of picking the right notes, and then presenting a very serviceable dry wood and spice scent with some authentic dried fruits. As I write a get a terrific whiff of something like spiced, stewed fruit. A little bit unusual, and in my view comprising a high standard of creative vision. It brings back some memories, that's for sure.

Well worth a try, although it -will- cost a little more than those plov spices.
18th June, 2021

Bergamote Soleil by Atelier Cologne

Atelier consistently blindside us with their naming. If I were to consider this from a sociological point of view, I would say that their names become "instructions for understanding". Bergamote Soleil, so just bergamot, right? Wrong! There is in fact a very nice thread of jasmine, amber, oakmoss, lavender and vetiver that support the eponymous note. I don't detect bigarade. I do detect the synthetics that others note, but these are not really a problem for me.

Composition is therefore excellent. BS really falls down in performance. This could be a genuinely outstanding cologne-type scent in the narrow sense, but it has no strength or power. So I'm left thinking: could do better. Ramp up the lavender and moss for a better mark.
14th June, 2021

L.12.12 Jaune / Yellow by Lacoste

How excited can one be by trying a Lacoste? At least they give you all the info needed for a good guess at what you're going to get, and expectations were met here. Sampled on two consecutive days. On the first, there was little to write home about. There was a lack of strong top notes, which at least is faithful to what you might expect from "grapefruit".

The drydown is certainly akin to Chanel's Allure Homme Blanche, although you will certainly get better quality from the Chanel. And I detect something of an affectation in the lack of notes listed: surely something along the lines of AHB is not going to be achieved with these notes alone?

Not particularly long-lasting, but a good take on a summer freshie and jaunty enough, so worthy of a redeeming, day-two neutral rating. Personally I would save up the pennies and buy the Chanel.
07th June, 2021
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Only The Brave by Diesel

Some really apposite insights from previous reviewers. So much depends upon the wearer and the context here. Someone wrote that while not critically acclaimed, or indeed acclaimable, it's a good choice as a present for a young lad receiving their first proper fragrance. That was exactly my son's (13) experience at Christmas, and although I would not wear OTB myself, it suits him down to the ground.

We took the chance earlier to try an olfactory test. We correctly identified leather, amber, cedar, labdanum, and lemon. It's notable that the base notes are easily discerned. The top is a bit of a mess and I can't say I would isolate the supposed citrus and aromatic notes. The "single accord affect" is evident here, whereby you seem to get everything at once.

There's worse out there, and it's bold and kind of endearing in a sweet and brainless way. It suits the wearer in my household, and as that's the point, it gets a thumbs up from me.
03rd June, 2021

Eau du Sud by Annick Goutal

This is a very interesting and to my nose pleasant take on an eau de cologne. I appreciate the idea as noted in reviews here that this is a lighter take on Pour Monsieur, and that is clearly a reference point. However, given the dry, sour, and grapefruit notes, I'm a little surprised not to see Terre d'Hermes referenced as well. You could just as easily say this is a cologne version of Terre as of PM.

EdS opens with dry citrus, definite grapefruit and a hint of that sour minerality that in Terre would be described as gunpowder. Florals come in quite quickly. The last act is one of a touch of violet, a touch of woods, and a fleeting appearance from oakmoss. I would say that this is more a masculine than not.

For my money, this is superior to the other Goutal eaux, although I would rank it below Villoresi's Theseus in terms of priorities for my own wardrobe.
21st May, 2021 (last edited: 18th June, 2021)

Tobacco Nuit by Atelier Cologne

I find most tobacco scents err towards the "blonde tobacco" theme, which I find a little irksome for at least two reasons: i. I prefer the smell of a good honest pipe or strong cigar; ii. no-one I've come across since returning to the UK has smoked anything like the blonde version of the weed. This means that the likes of the prominent tobacco scents by Tom Ford and Phaeton, among others, trade on an ideal type that is not be found anywhere in (my) reality.

Atelier's Tobacco Nuit takes a valiant stab at bolstering this somewhat weedy (pun intended) take on tobacco and darkens it with the use of spiced accords; you'll see them all the way through the pyramid. The opening has that spice drawer/cupboard effect, to the point where some may sneeze on exposure. Through whatever means, the tobacco accord is darker and to my nose more pleasant than many others. A touch of vanilla makes for a smooth and long finish. A definite win in my books.
11th May, 2021

C for Men by Clive Christian

CC'C' is another pleasant, well-constructed and opulent leather along the lines of AdP Colonia Leather, Cuir Sacre, Tuscan Leather, La Yuqawam, and many others. Frequent readers of my reviews - hi both! - may be aware that I am the proud owner of a large bottle of Colonia Leather, as purchased by Mrs FWF. It is her comments on CC'C' that perhaps provide most purchase here.

To start with, her thought was that I was wearing my "Christmas" scent that she likes so much. I told her this was not the case and to sniff again. After some surprise that two fragrances could be so similar (I told her it's not that unusual), she managed to detect some of the differences. CC'C', then, is more purely leather, has less birch, and more tobacco. Although far more notes are listed than detectable, it does have that dry-red-fruit type of accord going on, which is more notable in Tuscan Leather than in the AdP. It is more A to B than the latter, which turns the usual progression upside down somewhat. There is a hint of resin here. The drydown is soft and very comforting, with none of the harshness that comparable leathers can provide.

As usual with CC, there's nothing wrong with the quality. However, given that the Venn diagram of the notes shows more similarity with a series of fragrances such as those above than it does with their respective prices, I wonder what the appeal of this scent will be other than to die-hard fans. However, props to the house for making sampling fairly accessible.
09th May, 2021

Gentleman Eau de Parfum by Givenchy

I didn't really realise what had happened to this "Gentleman" line until I tried it. Gone is the old-school, animalic scents I remember from earlier years. In their place is a range of Dior Homme-style wood-and-iris fragrances. YMMV in terms of whether you think it's a good move, but I think it's undoubtedly a safety-first marketing decision.

In this parfum version, there is pretty much nothing of interest going on. The opening is frankly a mess of artificial woods, a touch of pepper, and that iris note. In fact it does dry down quite nicely with a little vanillic accord, but it provides nothing of note along the way. Not bad, but of little aesthetic value.
27th April, 2021

Urban Hero by Jimmy Choo

First thought: Angel Men. Second: Explorer, or literally any scent of that ilk. This is the equivalent of a commercial fishing expedition: cast the nets far and wide, and don't be discriminate in what you are reeling in.

I get some kind of citric opening at the outset (caviar? I would say not). This sticks around on clothes but on skin almost immediately dissipates into a musty, dry accord. The drydown is completely recognisable, by-the-numbers amber/ambroxan.

Second thought: I have to admit UH made me smile, but that was out of sheer admiration at the chutzpah of releasing something this unoriginal. I don't find it particularly pleasant, thanks to the Scylla and Charybdis of a strong astringent note in disjuncture with the ambery base, but I imagine others would get on with it. For sheer cynicism and confusion in composition, a thumbs down from me.
28th March, 2021 (last edited: 13th May, 2021)

Gardens of India / 79 by Parle Moi de Parfum

In the name of full disclosure, I try nearly all reviewed scents on skin, but a la Turin/Sanchez, some are reviewed from the test strip only. That is the case here.

If I was being charitable, I would say GoI is a strong feminine floral. If I wasn't, I would want to say there is a definite similarity to an air freshener. I would probably err on the side of the former and my general inability to rate feminine fragrances.

The tuberose and jasmine combination is lovely, and there is a touch of sandalwood to add some backbone. There's not much else to say, but if that combination has the potential to float your boat then this would be well worth a try.
28th March, 2021

BR17: Oud Mosaic by Banana Republic

In short: redolent of many famous leathers, with the austere accord of oud/leather in tandem with floral-fruity components. Not much lacking in quality and composition given the price. Well worth looking to. Notes: oud, leather, rose, plum, musk, labdanum (to my nose). Great value, if you can still get it.
22nd March, 2021 (last edited: 13th May, 2021)

Eau de Monsieur by Annick Goutal

A decent citrus opening gives way to not much in particular. I don't experience this as overly sour or bitter, and it is certainly "natural" in some sense...I get oakmoss and musk in the same volume after many hours as at the beginning.

However, it's so low-powered that it reminds me of those Warner Bros cartoons where the protagonist's body turns to rubber, having encountered some mishap, and the bottom part struggles to catch up with the top. Here, it's as though the composition is struggling to communicate a coherent whole at any volume. For these reasons, and for reasons of unremarkable construction, I don't see this as superior to most Trumpers, at less than half the price.
17th March, 2021 (last edited: 13th May, 2021)

Cuir Sacré by Atelier Des Ors

A very quiet leather. It could almost be said to be without top or middle notes. On my skin, it did a terrific impression of Escentric molecules, being notable by absence. It was therefore cruising for a negative rating for a long time. However, over the course of the day, I picked up an impeccably mannered, smooth and distinct scent. That was of course Cuir Sacre, although it took me a while to realise it. The note profile suggests a spicy, aromatic profile - not a bit of it at all.

So what you get, at arm's length so to speak, is a good leather accord that hums along, with a slightly woody-musty late drydown. And at this stage I want to use the term "spicy" - having already said that this term does not easily apply. How to square this contradiction? Not easily, is the answer. I've got one spray left and I am going to remain strictly "blue pill" on this. Rather than cutting through the Gordian knot of this enigma, I'm just putting down my gladius carefully and going for whatever refreshment Iskander would have taken.

If you like subtle leather, try this and maybe you'll be able to make more sense of it that I was. Choosing a more or less random rating.
17th March, 2021 (last edited: 13th May, 2021)

Santal Sky / Santal Park by KIERIN NYC

This is an interesting sandalwood-based scent that makes a decent attempt at bolting on two other distinct notes: saffron and vetiver. The first connects at the top through its lack of edges and inherent woodiness; the second, at the drydown, adds a fresh textural feeling that sandalwood sometimes lacks.

For this scent to have been fully effective in my eyes, it needed more contribution from the vetiver. As it stands, it is straightforwardly a fairly linear sandalwood scent. But it's pleasant, so it passes that test, and would find use as an office-friendly masculine that dispenses with the usual citrus. 13/05/21 update.
07th March, 2021 (last edited: 13th May, 2021)

Ferragamo Eau de Toilette by Salvatore Ferragamo

Yet another musky-violet mass-market effort. It's not as screechy as some, so I've definitely had worse. As other reviewers note, it's a generic blue semi-aquatic (amphibian?) thing, which might do decent service in any half-decent Med nightclub.
07th March, 2021

Hegoa by Téo Cabanel

A floral-musk thing that almost seems as though it desperately wants to be the natural skin scent of someone too young to be wearing mainstream perfume. It could qualify quite easily for Hermes' Jardins range. Decent longevity on me and a nice tea note, but nothing to keep my attention that much. I could understand others liking it; mostly as a feminine in hot weather.
05th February, 2021

Woody Perfecto / 107 by Parle Moi de Parfum

Vetiver has a good presence here. It's warm, but also fresh and a little resinous. There aren't many notes and as a result those present need to do some heavy lifting. The result is a consistent, safe trajectory. I have to say that comparing WP to many vetiver or leather counterparts, I found it a little uneventful. But using my usual thought experiment test - if aliens compelled me to wear a single scent for the rest of my life, how would I react if it was this one? - I have to say, I'd be well pleased.
05th February, 2021 (last edited: 04th February, 2021)

Kasar by Téo Cabanel

Cabanel really do some lovely wood notes. Here, the oud works in concert well with the other base notes. It's not overpowering but it does have depth. There is a little freshness at the top, some spice (with prominent nutmeg - I'm with Turin in that this is rarely done well in perfume, but it is here) and a little smoke.

I think this actually better as a feminine, as it's soft in texture and somewhat "perfumy" in the later stages. It doesn't have that stiffness I would look for in a true masculine and so I wouldn't be in the market for Kasar, but I do think it is very good. An easy thumbs up.
25th January, 2021

Replica Jazz Club by Martin Margiela

With the liquor and tobacco, this reminds me of Frapin's Speakeasy. I note a number of other good comparisons in the prior reviews. While I enjoyed getting through my sample, I have to agree that there's not much jazzy or Avant Garde going on here. It's very smooth and almost trying too hard to be liked. But did I like it nonetheless? Yes. An easy-wearing, consistent masculine.
18th January, 2021

Milk Musk by Molton Brown

An obvious and interesting comparison for this scent is the near-namesake "Milky Musk" by Parle Moi de Parfum. While I don't think that Milk Musk is quite in the same league as that, it is nonetheless good and I imagine those comparing the two might well come down 50/50 in terms of preference.

Just a quick word by way of introduction, though: I've been aware of Molton Brown for the best part of 20 years, and while they've always produced good-quality shower gels and the like, often in excellent packages for gifts, I don't recall them selling any personal perfumes - and certainly not worthwhile ones - until recently. Over the last few years, though, they've come up with a whole range of interesting scents that deserve scrutiny. These are variously EDTs and EDPs, largely follow the formulations of their other products (though perhaps not uniformly), and are kind of priced to be in that "kind of niche / high street / toiletry" segment - more expensive than L'Occitane, not as exclusive as Czech & Speake. A 100ml EDT is often 85 GBP when at retail, whereas an EDP of the same volume is generally 120 GBP. Given my experience with trying many of these in-store, with that long experience of the high street shops, it seems to me that the release of these perfumes has had the effect of making the entire brand proposition somewhat more alluring. So I would say well done for not dumbing down or diluting the brand, which is a common move nowadays.

MM comes in both EDT and EDP editions; I am writing about the EDT although the EDP bottle is pictured above. It's a little like wearing a creme brulee: sweet, creamy and completely comforting. Whereas the Parle scent uses musk and sandalwood (perhaps the better way of arriving at this outcome), Molton Brown make much of tonka, as well as a slightly resinous feel. As a result I feel the Parle has a little more texture to it and a slightly more satisfying outcome. However, that is the production of a genuinely niche house. I suppose what I am getting at is that, for a brand familiar to many high streets to think of conceiving and executing a scent like this, is a real win. Excellent longevity and a good pick for a dismal British winter's day.
08th January, 2021