Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Andy the frenchy

Total Reviews: 54

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

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
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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

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)

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

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 hour before falling to moderate/low, while the longevity is above average - 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

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.
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
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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

Géranium by Franck Boclet

Opens with a very nice sweet lavender and geranium duo, kept fresh by a noticeable lime note, with an overall mint-y feeling. The lavender then leaves the stage, to make space for a nice creamy orange blossom, and still, geranium. The base is a no thrills, but again nicely done, vanillic/musky wood note, with a hint of lavender coming back.

The consensus on Boclet's regular line seems to be "nicely done, even if not groundbreaking". This one makes no exception, and that's a great point. That said, the projection is terribly poor on my skin, and I had to spray 5-7 times on my hand in order to be able to perceive the skin scent and do this review.

It's nice overall, but because of a lower-than-EdC performance, I feel that the price tag is not justified, not even at discounters. Too bad, because the smell is very nice, and should it have had better performance, it could possibly have been a serious competitor to rockstar geranium frags, like the ones of Malle and Creed.
23rd April, 2020

Zemfira by Bortnikoff

Spicy/powdery rose water-ish rose supported by a strong cedar note. The base will unveil a nice and well behaved (too well behaved?) oud note. I usually never say that, but this one definitely feels a bit grandma-ish. Projection is moderate, at best.

Good, but underwhelming, and modest performance is not compensating for its unsurprising scent profile. Doesn't meet - for sure - the expectations in terms of creativity and complexity set by the price tag, and would not recommend anyone to spend big Bortnikoff dollars for that one. That said, if budget is not an issue, it may please who is looking for a good rose water-like fragrance.

Colder days, women 40+
18th April, 2020

Moroccan Amber by Dunhill

A gingery/peppery fresh top, with a spicy cardamom (the main player here) heart and a touch of blurry fruit-y/vanillic sweetness giving an impression of hazelnut. The drydown is the usual woody/leathery amber accord widely used in Sephora/Macy fragrances. Below avergae performance (especially the poor longevity). Overall a nice designer amber-y fragrance, but clealry overpriced at discounters (full retail price is simply a joke).
As opposed to my first sniffing, this one got downgraded after I could properly wear it. Still my second of the four in my ranking of this line, but a distant second, a big step lower compared to British Leather. Still, it might appeal to who is used to mainstream-quality amber fragrances, like D&G The One, Michael Kors for Men or Alford&Hoff No.1, but I would suggest not to spend more than $50 on this one. Very "meh" in my book, and pass for me.
Fall days, 20+
29th July, 2019 (last edited: 31st January, 2021)

British Leather by Dunhill

The masterpiece of this series of 4 frags, together with Moroccan Amber. Absolutely great and interesting given the low profile of Dunhill.

I'll get a full bottle for sure (but will wait for discounter prices!)
29th July, 2019

Indian Sandalwood by Dunhill

It's nice, but not groundbreaking. It's mostly a linear javanol.
Just a like for me.
29th July, 2019

Arabian Desert by Dunhill

A great fragrance from Dunhill. Not my favourite of the 4, but still, really good. Maybe not so original given the huge current offering of the rose/oud dept.
29th July, 2019 (last edited: 28th July, 2019)

Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma

You get what is written on the bottle: the definition of "eau de cologne". Fresh citruses, with an aromatic heart, and a musky/ambery base.
As expected for an EDC, it quickly falls to a skin scent, and longevity is poor (2-3 hours at most). This has been designed to be sprayed on handkerchief, so that make sense.

That said, the pricing is not ok. Indeed, and EDC - especially a typical very light one like this one - should not cost more than $40-50 for a 100ml bottle.
For this reason, it will only get a neutral rating from me.
10th July, 2019

Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna

A very well blended bergamot fragrance. That said, it's very linear, and what you get on top, is what you'll get all the way.
Overall, a 4* fragrance that looses one because of its below average performance, unacceptable at that price point. That said, Zegna has discontinued the EDT (what I am reviewing), and re-issued it in EDP (that I haven't tested yet on skin). So that may have solved the performance issue. To be continued...

Summer days, 20+
01st July, 2019

Le Vetiver by Carven

A great old-school opening, that ends similar to Guerlain Vetiver.

Previous reviews described it well, so I'll just say that for me it's a 5-star vetiver that looses one because of poor performance (and a design flaw in the sprayer that made it broke at first use - many had the same experience).

20th June, 2019

Nightscape by Ulrich Lang

A great patchouli + honeyed leather, with noticeable hints of bergamots, basil, geranium, tonka and amber.

Not groundbreaking, but still, very well blended. A 4-stars fragrance, that looses 1 star because of its ridiculously low performance, unacceptable given the original retail price. This makes it very wearable in the office (best for Fall days imo), but would only recommend it if you can find it heavily discounted.
20th June, 2019

Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

Great incense scent, with a vetiver/pepper twist.
Probably one of the best, maybe even the best (in terms of scent).
Unfortunately it has poor performance, unacceptable at that price point, thus a neutral rating.
01st June, 2019

Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I share the opinion of other reviewers, that this one is not a convincing vetiver fragrance.
The drydown is very similar to Givenchy Vetyver's drydown, but imo Givenchy does it better for a fraction of the price.

Neutral opinion on this one, but factoring in the niche price point and a dollar store fragrance-like performance, it will be a thumbs down and a hard pass for me.

Colder rainy days, 30+
01st June, 2019 (last edited: 31st May, 2019)