Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Andy the frenchy

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Total Reviews: 66

Monsieur de Givenchy by Givenchy

Fresh/tart bergamot and verbena combo in the top, shortly followed by a sweet lemon supported by lavender probably supported by a hint of incense or benzoin. In the base, the lavender leaves, the lemon tones down and leaves the front stage to a slightly smoky moss, and a hint of woods (vetiver for sure, possibly cedar also) and spices (coriander? pepper? a micro dose of cumin maybe? or is it the civet?)
Overall a simple citrus fragrance, that will unveil a controlled complexity during the journey. Performance is not its strength, since it results being closer to an EDC than an EDT from that point of view, but that is not what is expected here anyways. Powdery? Yes, probably with some benzoin involved in it, providing also some sweetness. Soapy? Also a bit, but 'powdery' is the term that fits better, imo.
How to describe it? I would say it's a mix of Eau de Guerlain and AdP Colonia, with a drop of Jicky in the base. It's classic without being dated, it's elegant without being boring, it's gentleman-y without being macho. It might not tick the uniqueness box, but it fits for sure the image of the house: It's very Givenchy.
If if a masterpiece in terms of smell, it'll only get a 4/5 mark in view of its abysmal performance.
Warm to hot days, 30+
27th May, 2021

Dervish by La Curie

Opens with an orange-y tobacco, beautifully made. In the heart, you'll get a beautiful hay note similar but dryer than Chergui's and a suede-ish leather note. In the base, a great mix of balsam and incense and resins (mostly myrrh and labdanum to my nose), accompanied by a strong smoke note. That smoke note might possibly but its only downside, as it sharpens a bit the juice in the base, in an aggressive manner, giving a plastick-y feeling.
Still, overall a great green tobacco leaves fragrances, with a projection that might seem soft in the beginning, but that will go on the heavier side when it warms up on skin. Great longevity, and unbeatable ratio pleasure/price for tobacco lovers.
Like for Chergui, it will bloom best on warmer days. A beautiful all year round fragrance, that might please best tobacco lovers.

24th May, 2021

Sunrise Vetiver by Franck Olivier

Opens with a beautiful blast of citruses. Then, the heart will develop a strong green facet thanks to the verbena (the main player here) and a subtle creaminess, thanks to the orange blossom. The base will have a smoky (but not earthy/dirty) vetiver develop supported by nutmeg (getting similar to Guerlain Vetiver's tobacco/vetiver opening at that stage).
Some say that Mark Buxton is the nose behind this one, and given the great result, it might be very true.
This one reminds of the thin (but well defined) citrus-y structure of PE Vetiver Indien. While it shares (some) common facets with other vetiver fragrances, it is the clone of none, and has its own story to tell.

Projection is on the softer side, but at just $20, one can spray generously to bring it to a moderate level, and the very nice presentation (heavy glass bottle with magnetic cap) is more than expected at that price point. I would still recommend Guerlain Vetiver over this one to people on a budget, because for just $5 more, you'll get the benchmark, but I have to admit that the Franck Olivier brand did a great job, and it might even be more suited than the Guerlain on hot Summer days. I consider it a solid addition to my vetiver-centric 50+ bottles collection, and highly recommend it to whom is looking for a lighter verbena/citrus forward fragrance, with noticeable vetiver in the base.

Spring/Summer days 25+
04th May, 2021
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No. 19 Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Designed for women, but probably more unisex than many current unisex frags, and for sure the most unisex of the 4 versions of No.19 . Green iris, galbanum and white florals with a hint of leather, vetiver and rose in the drydown. A masterpiece, but is it necessary to repeat it?

The vintage opens a bit more aldehydic, with a noticeable floral leather note and incens-y undertones, overall giving me an impression of 'green olives'. The current will show its leathery tones in the base, and its a better defined/less blurry leather note. In a nutshell, the vintage smells a bit more 'dirty', while current smells very clean. I'd say that the vintage is green/brown in colour, while current is green/grey.
The vintage results being a tiny bit more feminine compared to the perfectly unisex current juice. Still, both are easy to wear for confident men.
I just wish, in both cases, that the performance would be a bit improved.

01st May, 2021

Vetiver by Guerlain

Review for the vintage Eau de Cologne (green cylindric plastic bottle with round 'window' in the middle from the early 80's, according to the seller):

In the top, I get a blast of citrus, that will swapped shortly after for a mix of aromatics (probably petitgrain, basil and tarragon, but possibly also artemisia and/or rosemary) and spices (mostly a dry nutmeg, but also coriander and black pepper). Only in the base will the vetiver go a bit more in the front, supported by moss and labdanum, that will give an overall impression of tobacco - with the aromatics still clearly present.

I was expecting a 'dated' version of the current juice, but what I got here is a citrus/aromatic chypre, that stand way closer to L'Homme de Gres, than to current Guerlain Vetiver EDT. In the vintage EDC, vetiver is not the star, but a noticeable note of a perfect blend. Only in the drydown will it start showing similarities with the current EDT. If anything, this one stands as the grandfather of Vetiver Extreme, more than Vetiver.

Guerlain never disappoints. This one is no exception. Unfortunately the price resulting from its scarcity prevents me from buying a full bottle, but alternatives navigating the same waters are gladly still available for decent prices.
28th April, 2021

Vetiver & Petitgrain by Tauerville

Opens with a blast of bitter/medicinal petitgrain, that will stay present during the whole journey. The neroli rounds a bit the edges, bringing it a bit more towards the unisex line, but still, it overall remains masculine to my nose. Some aromatics (tarragon?) brings some further greenness. The vetiver will bloom in the base, with a strong dry/salty facet.
Beautiful, and while probably a bit too simple to apply for the masterpiece title, it remains nonetheless an incredible value for the price. Performance is on the softer side, but so is the price (or 'was' should I say, since it has been discontinued).
An excellent soothing fragrance for warmer days, assuming one loves bitter scents. I personally love it.
⁝
08th April, 2021

L'Arbre by Iunx

Opens with a beautiful creamy wood note (mostly rosewood, to my nose), and drydowns with a nice peppery cedar, supported by some aromatics (possibly laurel and mint), a shy sandalwood accord and probably vetiver. Performance is very average, and could (should) have been better at that price point.
L'Arbre stands on the same shelf with other (sandal) woods centric fragrances, the closest being YSL 24 Rue de l'Universite and Montale Dark Aoud. That said, this one is the one I prefer, and the most refined to my nose, on par with MF Luce in terms of ingredients quality. And surprisingly, it also stands as the cheapest of the bunch (/ml) - except for the Montale (but that one is a clear step below in quality, even if great taken on its own).
When I'll be done with my decant, this will for sure transform into a full bottle! (that implies that I managed to find it, and that seems to be no easy task)

Simple and beautiful. Merci (again) Madame Giacobetti!
Fall days, 20+, totally unisex.
08th April, 2021

1# Nota di Viaggio - Rites de Passage by Meo Fusciuni

Opens with a peppery/fresh fantastic rosewood note. The blackpepper will calm down to let a legendary vetiver note (the main player in this fragrance) lead the show. In the base, the vetiver is still there, but will get support of a noticeable patchouli and a bit of incense.

This stands on the same shelf with AdO Cuir Sacre, Jovoy Private Label, but most of all Monsillage Pays Dogon, that I might replace with this one at some point, since #1NdV does it probably (a tiny) bit better, and might be found for a similar price/ml. Projection is good, but falls after the 2 hours-mark, and the only issue I have with this one is the longevity: totally gone after 3 hours total. Might have to retest it further, as for now, I find it a bit shortlived for a $200 fragrance.

Note: this is a review for the EDP.
30th March, 2021

Cuir Sacré by Atelier Des Ors

Opens with a spicy/smoky cypress, that will cool down to a beautiful suede note. In the base a beautiful vetiver note will steal the show, supported by woods, and still a hint of leather.
The projection is average, but a couple of extra sprays will amp up this one to a strong projection during the first couple of hours, and a longevity of 10/12 hours. That said, a more modest performance might here be a strength, given the bold scent profile.

Let's dig into the comparison game: as others have underlined, I can see some similarities with Lalique Encre Noire due to the cypress/vetiver combo, but the absence of a suede note in EN and the difference in quality puts these two on different shelves. As opposed to others, I cannot spot any similarities with Malle VE other than the vetiver note, and thus comparing these two just doesn't make sense. (what's the point of comparing each and every fragrance with a noticeable vetiver note with Malle VE and Hermes TdH, just because of the vetiver note??).
That said, the closest I can compare this one to is Initio Divine Attraction (very close, but it's no surprise that AdO CS is made of way better quality ingredients and is dryer), and DS&D Bowmakers (similar level of quality, but again, AdO CS lacks the sweetness of Bowmakers's drydown). Also some (more remote) similarities with Vilhelm Smoke Show, and others like AC Emeraude Agar, Korloff No Ordinary Man and Gucci Guilty Absolute, with the latter 3 standing a step lower in terms of quality (even two steps lower, in the case of Korloff, but that remains a great cheapie).
Of all the one I listed, this one is the one that stands out the most for me, and that I would highly recommend to who is looking for a dry woody/suede-ish vetiver-centric fragrance. Should you prefer a hint of sweetness/roundness in the base, Bowmakers might tick the box, or also GGA for whom is on a tighter budget.

5/5 Cum Laude for me, right up my alley!
Best in fresh or cold evenings. Leans masculine, 25+
27th March, 2021

08 Seylon by Odin New York

On my skin, it opens with a plastick-y orange , and then the vanillic/spicy elemi (the main player), takes the lead. Some vetiver present in the background, and then becomes very powdery in the drydown. Overall an ok/good fragrance, but that ends up being quite sweet, with the vetiver as a supporting note more so than the star. Dior Eau Sauvage Parfum 2017 works better for me in that category (despite it's not one of my favourites).

I might update this review later, but as of now, I agree with drseid's review: it falls a bit flat and it's just 'meh' in my book.
Colder days, unisex, 25+
15th March, 2021

Amber Kiso by D.S. & Durga

The opening has a strong cypress and incense combo shine right away, with woody undertones. Very dry, and reminding me of Mississipi Medicine at that stage.
Then, it slowly morphs into a balsamic resinous note (probably myrrh, with its typical cola-ish facet), supported by a strong bay leaf note (sold as hinoki?). At that stage it has a sweet undertone, but the bay leaf counter-balances it, and I agree with the previous reviewer that the similarities with SL Ambre Sultan are obvious.
In the base, a benzoin note appears, supported by strong spices (in particular cumin and probably also cinnamon), with a bit of powdery/woody patchouli that will soften (a bit) the balsamic effect without falling into the traditionally uber sweet/vanillic base of some amber fragrances (i.e. HdP Ambre 114). At that stage, it shares similarities with Masque Tango. I don't get any leather in that one, except for a remote vibe because of the 'density'. Great performance, with good projection, and never ending longevity.

It's a complex fragrance, offering a real journey: opens ultra dry and clearly masculine in the top, and closes totally unisex in the base. For me, who found the bay leaf note to be too much in Ambre Sultan, and Tango to be a bit too 'thick", I have found in Amber Kiso the perfect balance, with an added woody/smoky opening which is right up my alley.
A stunning amber, overall unsiex leaning (a tiny bit) masculine, that caresses the masterpiece level for me. Bowmakers fits me a bit better, but this one is definitely a keeper and if one wants a single amber fragrance in their collection this one might be it (tie with HdP Ambrarem, for me). Keep in mind that even if dryer than the average amber frag, it's still an amber fragrance, and some tolerance for sweetness is necessary, as well as for bay leaf and cumin.
Beautiful.

Colder nights, 30+, unisex (a tiny tiny bit masculine)
15th March, 2021

Tam Dao Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

Musky/creamy/spicy sandalwood (if not real sandalwood oil, the accord is done at perfection), with a subtle support of cedar and vanilla.
The performance is quite poor on my skin (I needed 3 sprays in a single spot to reach soft projection and barely 3 hours of longevity...). Real sandalwood oil has a quite subtle aroma, a dilemma for a perfumer. Here, the decision has clearly been made to keep it as the main player without crushing it with other ingredients, and probably without amping it up with synthetics either, to keep its purity. Might fit the bill for who looks for a linear 'scent bubble' kind of fragrance.
Who is looking for better value might want to go with a CdG fragrance (Wonderwood or Blue Santal) that are more synthetic smelling but also cheaper, with similar or better performance.
Overall an excellent sandalwood accord for a candle, but not really what I would call a perfume (as I would expect some development). Also, poor performance at Diptyque pricing doesn't help loving it and I cannot recommend that one, unless you get a great discount (but beware of the many russian fakes on ebay!!). Thinking that I paid half the price of this one for a tester of LV Sandalo makes the bill even more bitter. In a nutshell: just a like that gets downgraded to just ok because of poor performance.

Spring/Fall days, totally unisex, any age.
⁝
12th March, 2021

Atman Xaman by Lorenzo Villoresi

What I get is a blast of immortelle (aka everlasting flower), supported by a hint of mandarin. The immortelle will show a its delicate sandy/sweet-but-not-sweet facet, supported by Villoresi's signature spice blend (mostly cloves, black pepper and a bit of cumin probably, but gladly no crushing cinnamon!). Then, the tobacco absolute will create a royal blend, showing some leather-y undertones. In the base, a thin but very noticeable vetiver will give the fragrance a salty twist (nearly incensy) and, coupled with a hint of amber and musk, will have the tobacco lay on an old Florentine leather couch. The only downside of this EDT might be its modest performance, but it is my guess that the EDP might have corrected that (looking forward to try it).

This is a more masculine take on HdP 1740, that tones down the sweetness but results in being surprisingly moe wearable than 1740. This is the tobacco fragrance I was waiting for a whole fraghead's life, to finalize my 'holy grail triad' of tobacco fragrances, together with Eau d'Italie Bois d'Ombrie and Guerlain Vetiver.

Whaaaat a journeyyyyyy..... Grazie Lorenzo, grazie di cuore!
Cold seasons, 30+
26th February, 2021
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Brioni Eau de Parfum by Brioni

Non-descript fresh/soft florals over a non-descript synthetic woody/ambery base. I wish I could write a 3-page review, but unfortunately that's pretty much all this fragrance inspires me. D&G Pour Homme sells that scent profile as lemon+lavender+tobacco, and Brioni here sells it as citrus+iris+oud: the D&G results more soapy, while Brioni is drier, but at the end of the day these 2 play in the same ballpark.

Similarities to Oud Wood? I don't get any, to be honest. If any, it is limited to the ubiquitous woody aromachemical that many brands use and sell as oud, and the fact that both are designer-quality - that said, I'm not sure why people consider a fragrance similar because of a single note... whatever. Overall nice-ish, but don't expect much more than an ok/good mainstream fragrance. Not bad per se, but at $1.50/ml (at discounters) it just shoot way below its price range. Still, will do the job as an unoffensive/one-size-fits-all fragrance for office environments, but there are many other better choices in that price range imo. Dramatically poor projection doesn't help either to like it.
For these reasons, I cannot recommend it, and will downgrade it from 'ok' to 'dislike' in my book. I should have gone for KC Signature, that many find similar to this: at least, at $25 for 100ml, the mistake would have been more acceptable. Unfortunately, Max Forti's hype train has again reached its final destination: Disappointment City.

Spring days, 20-50
24th February, 2021

Vetiver by Just Jack

The smell is nice and reminiscent of the original with a dominant vetiver/nutmeg combo, like the TF (that TF copied from Guerlain - on a side note). That said, while the grapefruit is noticeable, it misses the sparkling/zingy invigorating top of the original. The performance is lacking too, even worst than the original (this is a skin scent right from the start - in spite of the 10 sprays I appplied - but will give some wafts occasionally when it will warm up after ~1 hour).

This is basically a flatened, subdued 2-dimensional version of the original. This is the 3rd JJ fragrance I buy: while the first 2 were real winners, taken as a clone, this one is just ok in my book. That said, it might very weel tick the boxes for whom prefers intimate scent bubbles, and if seen as Grey Vetiver aftershave/EDC (instead of EDT or EDP), it is great. It's indeed the use I will make of this one. Not bad, but not quintessential for 'vetiver collectors', and since Guerlain Vetiver and several others great vetiver fragrances retail for around the same price as this one, there would be no real justification for me recommend this one to 'vetiver beginner' either.

Spring days, 25+
14th February, 2021

Santal / Sandalwood by Floris

Overly sweet lavender, that will be first supported by a strong cardamom in the top, and the usual synth amber (and tonka?) in the base. Sharp, unbalanced, and no news of the sandalwood to my nose (a hint of vanilla at most). I seriously question if who is praising the sandalwood note in this one has ever smelt a decent sandalwood-centered fragrance in their life - I don't say high-end stuf with real Mysore sandalwood, no.... I mean even just a frag with a pleasant sandalwood accord made of aromachemicals... How can this one be remotely compared to Tam Dao?
I admit that wearing Villoresi Sandalo all day long before testing this one for the first time might be a bit of a show killer, but since both navigate in a similar price range, I expected a similar level of quality. To my nose this one shares strong similarities with mainstream crap like A&H No.1, D&G The One and TF for Men. The comparison with Penhaligon's Endymion and Lothair are way too generous towards Floris. The poor performance doesn't help either.

My first experience with Floris (blind buy based on reviews and raving forum posts). This is just a first impression review, that will be updated later, but I have low expectations as my first impressions are usually quite in line with my later perception. But everyone deserves a second chance and I hope that my next date with a different Floris frag will provide me a different experience.
Still cant believe my nose... seriously? $75 for that? The same as I paid for Villoresi Sandalo? Seriously buddy??

Might fit the box for who looks for a sharp sweet/spicy floral/amber thing, but if it's sandalwood you're looking for, look elsewhere!
20+, Fall days (if really you should have to...)
14th February, 2021

Moroccan Green by Just Jack

A stunning spicy incense and cypress fragrance, with cedar, resins and vetiver support in the base. This reminds me a bit of Lalique Encre Noire a' L'Extreme and Nishane B612.
I have never smelt TF Bois Marocain (the one it is inspired from), but according to what I read from reviews of the BM, it seems pretty much spot-on. The performance is on the lower side (but so seems to be the TF). But honestly, I don;t feel the need to smell the TF, as this one is really a beautiful fragrance taken on its own, that compete very well with many other woody incense fragrances I own... at $25 for a 100ml pop, it's a no-brainer!
Just 4/5 stars, as I wish it projected more.
Just Jack? No... Just beautiful!
Colder days, 30+
30th January, 2021

London Eye by Just Jack

The early opening will have some citrus, cardamom, pepper and coriander stop-by quickly. Shortly after, it morphs into a stunning spicy combination (mostly cumin and saffron) with an fecal facet. The heart will develop a noticeable incensy labdanum note (even if soft). The base is all about an animalic musk and saffron-y wood, giving a great impression of oud, in the same manner as Guerlain - Bois Mysterieux.
Performance is often the weakness of affordable fragrances, and this one is no exception, with a soft projection. That said, its democratic price point will allow for overspraying, and thus to reach a longevity of 3-4 hours max.

I have never smelt the original London by Tom Ford, but what I smell seems to be in line with the numerous reviews and the pyramid of the original. Anyways, even if I'm unable to compare it to the original, it has little importance, because it's a great fragrance taken on its own, that will get ****/* (missing the 5th star because of its sadly low performance - but I understood that the original is not a beast either, so...).

Highly recommended. Just Jack? No... just wow!
28th January, 2021

Cologne Intense by Houbigant

Opens with a blast of petitgrain and lemon. Shortly after I get a beautiful bitter aromatic/earthy stage (probably the tarragon and mate), giving a strong impression of spices (caraway/cumin). The citruses, greenery and florals will tone down in the base, letting the mate dance with incense, labdanum and oakmoss (the pyramid is not complete here). Moderate projection and longevity.

A stunning classic chypre-sque spicy/aromatic citrus fragrance (or more accurately: a citrus-y chypre, imho), on the same shelf with L'Eau d'Hermes, Armani Eau pour Homme and Lancetti Monsieur. I am not sure where people are getting some fecal, urinal or BO facets,(nor any similarity with Fougere Royale - it is totally different)... The name 'Cologne' might be misleading - the only point I might concede to the negative reviews - as It is clearly not a summery light citrus EDC, and is probably more suited for Fall than Summer, given the spicy undertones.

While the full retail price is definitely steep for that one, it can be found for 3-4X cheaper online, and it's a no brainer at these prices if you like that style of fragrances.
Mature? Not really... I'd say, for grown-ups, independently of age. Basically: lovers of Layton and Eros might want to pass and stick to the newborn department, independently of age :)

Masterful craftmanship in my book, and again a hit by Luca Maffei.
Fall days, 30+
26th January, 2021 (last edited: 01st February, 2021)

Vêtu de Vert by Motif Olfactif

In the opening, I get a blast of gin and celery (probably bergamot and sharp geranium combined with the evaporation of the alcohol). Quickly after it blooms with a juicy yuzu, supported by ylang-ylang and a hint of florals. Then, in the drydown, the citruses tones down and it will (very) slowly morph into a dry hay-ish vetiver supported by a freshly cut dusty cedar and cypress. Projection is good in the first 2 hours before getting moderate/low, while the longevity is very good - a performance as expected for an extrait concentration.

The early opening reminds me of LV Theseus (with its celery note), then transforms into a pure yuzu centered fragrance, and drydowns in a way shockingly similar to Etro Vetiver. Etro Vetiver costs half the price/ml compared to MO VdV, but totally lacks the beautiful celery/yuzu top/heart of VdV - even if it's nothing really new afterall. That said, despite I love them both, I could not imagine having any of these as a daily wear, because of their "greyness" (especially in the drydown). I'd recommend getting both, but vetiver beginners might want to look for a "brighter" type of vetiver fragrance

Overall: highly recommended to vetiver addicts. Bravo, Mr Oz!
Best (imho) for Spring days, 30+, unisex leaning masculine.
23rd January, 2021 (last edited: 01st June, 2021)

L'Eau Trois by Diptyque

Many speculate of the name of this fragrance, that means "Water Three" in English. There's no real mystery here, though: it is simply the third fragrance that Diptyque issued. I tried it ~2yrs ago on the skin after a visit in a Diptyque store in Paris, and remained so impressed that I kept it on my wishlist for all that time, even if my precise memory faded out a bit. So, when I spotted a great deal and ordered it recently, it was a half blind buy and I was a bit nervous.

Opens with a blast of spiced aromatic/balsamic notes (an impression of rosemary/oregano given by myrrh and spices I guess). Then the spices tone down a bit to leave the front stage for the myrrh to shine, but are still very present (probably caraway and/or cumin, possibly some cloves and/or allspice), and at that stage, it vaguely reminds me of Goutal Ambre Fetiche.
The myrrh will dance during the whole drydown, back and forth, with a very dry dusty (non-smoky) olibanum resinoids note (with a blackpepper facet, but not a sharp blackpepper like in Bois d'Encens) and the ladbanum that will envelop the whole creation with its resinous greeness. While I have an issue with SL Ambre Sultan's bay leaf note, I love it in Guerlain Bois Mysterieux. Same for the oregano/rosemary note, that I struggle with in Amouage Interlude, but love in PM Or Black. Here, it's all an interplay, perfectly tailored, and I love it! Performance is nothing exceptional, nor nothing to complain about, as expected for an EDT.

Like a previous reviewer stated, the quest for the perfect incense will never end. That said, for me, it might have with this one (and Tauer Incense Extreme). On par with Trudon Mortel in terms of style and quality (but Diptyque has slightly better performance).
To note that this one has been issued ~30 years before the trend of incense-centered fragrance was started by CdG...
Whaaaat a journey! Masterpiece by Serge Kalouguine.

Highly recommended (but liking aromatics and spices is a must to enjoy this one).
Colder days, 25+, unisex
23rd January, 2021

Vetiver by Mazzolari

Starts very fresh with bergamot and lime leading. Fresh but not sharp. Indeed, very is, right away, a noticeable presence of a creamy note (sandalwood?) that will smooth the edges all along the developement of this fragrance. Then a spicy tobacco appears. The drydown is all about a grassy vetiver supported a hint of florals and spices.
Overall a very classic structure a'-la-Guerlain (very similar to Mazzolari's drydown), brought to the next level of elegance and refinement. With this vetiver, I'm glad that Mazzolari delivered what De Nicolai was expected, but failed to.
Simply beautiful. Spring and Summer days, 30+
28th December, 2020

Voile d’Encens by Motif Olfactif

In the opening I get a blast of smoky incense. Shortly after, it will be followed by a sharp peppery (bulgarian?) rose (the main player), supported by a great olibanum resinoids note, oak and a hint of fruityness. In the drydown, the rose becomes jammy, because of some sweetness in the back (rhubarb possibly), and a noticeable vetiver note, as well as the consistent presence of the olibanum. Voile d'Encens (that is: Incense Veil) is properly named: the olibanum is present at all 3 stages, without ever taking the lead. A beautiful take on rose, that I would put on the same shelf with JSP Smolderose.
3.5/5
27th December, 2020

No. 2 Sève Nouvelle by Thomas Kosmala

In the opening, I get a strong saffron and pink pepper duo. Shortly after, it will let appear a nice champaca note that will round the edges and give an overall impression of raspberry. The base is more blurry, with an ambery patchouli.

Might seem nearly harsh in the opening, but the drydown is very interesting. Very unique, even if a bit synthetic smelling. As much as I like it, I wouldn't have paid more than $100 for this one.

Best in colder seasons, unisex leaning masculine, 25+. 4/5
20th October, 2020

Divine Attraction by Initio

Very nice leather and frankincense, with a chocolate-y patchouli in the background, and even a subtle cherry-esque tobacco. The drydown is about a beautiful earthy dry vetiver.
This leather/vetiver combo has already been explored in frags like TT Ursa, Kilian StH and Gucci GA, but here it takes a different direction, with some sweetness in the heart and dryness in the base.

Does it deserves its price tag? Imo: no. Even at discounters pricing (~$180/90ml). It’s a step up compared to PdM, but still a bit too mainstream-quality to play in that price league, and below average performance, unacceptable at that price point. (The reason it’ll only get a neutral rating from me)
Still, if just considering the scent, it’s a pleasant surprise after the disappointing Rehab, and I will keep an eye on pricing. When it’ll go below the $100 bar, I will reconsider it. In the meanwhile, there are much more interesting frags in that price range to explore. Glad I got a hard discounted decant.

4/5 for the scent, but overall 3/5 because of poor performance and price point.

Colder seasons, 30+
13th October, 2020

Héritage Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

Starts with an in-your-face citrusy lavender, supported by aromatic notes (juniper and clary sage).
It keeps going with a noticeable dirty patchouli note (supported by an orchestra of notes, noticeably spices and florals (rose and geranium in particular). The base is a vanillic cedar, supported by moss, overall giving an impression of sandalwood (even if I can't spot it clearly, tbh). Beautiful, that said I had to spary something like ~1ml per wrist to reach just moderate projection... But no big deal, it's very nice and versatile, can be had for cheap, thus I recommend it, even if the performance is quite terrible. And yes: the drydown shares clear similarities with Zino.

Elegant without making a statement. That kind of fragrance that is not a real game changer, but that will be missed if absent in a collection. Classic, but still smells contemporary: the magic of Guerlain.

Colder days, 30+
Note: neutral rating because of inacceptable poor projection on my skin.
10th October, 2020

Gucci Guilty pour Homme Eau de Parfum by Gucci

This one doesn't deserve a philosophical essay, so I'll summarize my thoughts in stating that the opening is for sure interesting and creative, but lasts less than 10min. Afterwards, it shifts into a green freshie seen many time before, and performance is below average.
Faithful to the original Gucci Guilty DNA that signed the start of a 10-years of creative desert for Gucci.
Too bad Gucci did not keep up with the creativity recently expressed in Guilty Absolute, Oud and Cologne.
Not bad, but absolutely forgettable. Hard pass!
28th September, 2020

Encens Jinhae by Atelier Cologne

Noticeable smoky incense in the opening, that will morph into a peppery rose supported by a sharp cypriol note. In the drydown, the pepper and cypriol note leave to leave the rose take a soapy facet and a hint of sweetness in the background (what AC sells as cherry blossom).

This is very well crafted, but far from being unique since it reminds me of several other fragrances: AC Rose Anonyme, Cartier Declaration d’Un Soir but most of all De Nicolai Incense Oud with which it shares strong similarities, especially in the top and heart (even more than Rose Anonyme does). Unisex that leans (very slightly) feminine.
The only downside is its modest performance. Still, should you not own any of the ones I listed above, this one could be a great acquisition given the very affordable prices currently on ebay and at discounters. A small love for me.

Cold to mild days, 30+
18th May, 2020

Deux / II by Cire Trudon

In the top, I get a stunning blast of greenness, supported by a strong peppery incense, citruses and juniper.
Unfortunately this exceptional masculine opening a la Beethoven's Symphony No.9 doesn't last long and will morph into an -already-seen-before green-ish accord (very probably a fig leaf accord, with possibly some basil).
This accord will stay until the base, when some creamy- ness/milky-ness will be added to the blend (cashmeran? Musk?), and bring it into the unisex territory - or possibly a bit feminine.

The top reminds of Ulrich Lang Apsu, and the heart of Dyptique Philosykos. I would further add that it is close to Costume National Cyber Garden (minus the vinyl accord) in the heart and base, and even a bit of La Curie Larrea and MiN Onsen.

Overall a body that does not meet the expectations of the opening, even if it is an excellent green fragrance in itself. Like for Mortel (which is a "best-of" incense/resinous fragrances), here it is a "best-of" of green fragrances and like for other fragrances of this house, the performance is below average on my skin. This, added to non-uniqueness does not justify the price tag imo.

Even if a great overall result, this is possibly my least favourite from this house. Just a "neutral" rating for me, but may fit the bill for someone who has not yet any green frag, and looking for a single great one-size-fits-all high end green fragrance. I will for sure enjoy my travel spray until it lasts.

Spring days, women 20+ (men 30+)
17th May, 2020

Montabaco Intensivo by Ormonde Jayne

What I get is an airy bitter green note (supposedly green tobacco leaf?), supported by a noticeable juniper and a hint of cardamom. No heavy pipe tobacco or ashes or cigar here.
I have to admit that it's very well done, and niche quality. Unisex, leaning a bit masculine imo, but wearable by a woman with some personality. Projection on my skin is heavy in the first hour, than becomes moderate for another ~3/4 hours. Lasts for ~7/9 hours total.

Very nice blend, even if linear, and some evolution and a little more creativity would have been appreciated, especially at this price point. Monsillage Aviation Club does something similar for a third of the price (even if not identical at all). For me a great scent I love and would be full bottle worthy around $100. But it will be downgraded to just a like for me, as I have higher expectations at that price point.

Colder Spring/Fall days, 25+
29th April, 2020