Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Proust_Madeleine

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Total Reviews: 45

Magus by Teone Reinthal Natural Perfume

This might secretly be the most interesting floral Oud on the market. Don’t tell anyone, ok?
04th August, 2020

Eiderantler by January Scent Project

It took me a few times to really get this one but now I love it. Super high quality Bulgarian Lavendar Absolute and White Champa Leaf.
21st June, 2020

MEM by Bogue Profumo

Antonio Gardoni is the most talented perfumer on earth and this is his Magnum Opus. An absolute treatise on Lavender. Herbal, sweet, floral, fresh, warm... Bogue makes holographic future florals for the next century.

If I had to choose one fragrance to wear for the rest of my days, it would be MeM. Pure happiness.
19th June, 2020
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The Night by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Portrait of a Lady's first flanker ;-)

Adorned with a wonderful Indian Oud note, The Night is a brilliant take on the classic rose/oud combo. It's quite refined, though full of the cheesy/barnyard notes that oud connoisseurs will recognize from a certain distillation process of oud(sometimes with mild fermentation). This is a great crossover scent for the luxurious lovers of East-meets-West opulence.

Many Westerners will find it too loud and beastly, many serious oud connoisseurs will find it overly-indebted to the POAL base.

The price is absolutely obnoxious but I'd wear it if I had it!
10th June, 2020

Vetiverissimo by Fzotic

A nice clean, woody Vetiver. Very reminiscent of the lovely Vetiver original from Guerlain, were they to scrape out the citrus and replace the tobacco with clean white woods(cedar, sandal). The ingredients here are much higher quality than the current iteration of Guerlain’s Vetiver and it is a bit darker, though not as funereal and scratchy as Encre Noir(another favorite), even if there is a BIT of ISO-e type synth wood in here, and even so it is incredibly subtle, lending only a shear lift to the woody aspects of the scent.

Overall it is neck and neck between this and Heeley’s excellent Vetiver Veritas... I find the Heeley slightly more true to the material of Vetiver, though as such, it cycles through some less pleasant phases (menthol, smoky and earthy, respectively) on its journey around the nice soft grass note that anchors both of these fragrances.

Overall, I’d say this is the most wearable, gentle Vetiver reference of the current niche.
07th June, 2020

Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A legend for a good reason. Bertrand Duchaufour practically invented this style and his work for L’artisan is some of his finest. Timbuktu(as well as the sister frangrance, Dzongkha) is incredibly evocative: it achieves its aim of conjuring a “temple”(perhaps the famous Djinguereber Mosque) without resorting to one-dimensional incense. The mango note, here, is the real surprise and it gives the perfume an opening that hints at its many contradictions: wet and dry, rich yet austere and, most poignantly, meditative while sensuality indulgent. And it smells great!
23rd May, 2020

Sloth by Zoologist Perfumes

I really like Prin Lomos and I love Zoologist but, sadly, this is a massive miss, for me. Recalls the least pleasing aspects of Dodo and the florals feel extremely synthetic in a way that gives me a headache. Was hoping to love this one and would give it a thumbs up if it felt new. But alas.
12th May, 2020

Allegretto 7.2 by Berceuse Parfum

Wonderful, glowing minty Vetiver. Antonio Gardoni does it again. This time with a 3-dimensional psychedelic Vetiver unlike any I’ve ever smelled before. Much in the way that Gardoni reimagined lavender in MeM, here he not only dresses Vetiver in all of the minty, herbal, woody hues that it embodies naturally, he lifts it upon a custard-Ylang-benzoin-vanilla base that acts holographically on the root-notes of the grassy materials, giving it the brightest, most high-definition reflection it might ever hope to see.

This is fresh, fun, futuristic. An easy-pleaser, like a surreal remake of Le Male.

An easy 5/5 for me. If a larger house has released this it would be an immediate grail. If Berceuse can hold it together through this Coronavirus crisis, Allegretto 7.2 may achieve modern masterpiece status. Time will tell!
24th April, 2020

Santal Royale by Ensar Oud

Harsh animal breath opening typical of real mysore sandalwood. Quickly sweetens and becomes creamy and lovely. Woodsy warm. The best of ensar’s sandalwood oil and just behind Rising Phoenix Deep and Buttery Mysore for my tastes.
14th April, 2020

Bois d'Ascèse by Naomi Goodsir

Is Jeke by Slumberhouse not smoky enough for you? Is Hyde by Hiram Greene too friendly? Does Le Labo’s Patchouli 24 seem like a root beer float?

Then Bois D’ascese might be made for you. Almost laughably masculine. It smells like a bonfire. With a bottle of whisky sitting open next to it. Maybe someone is smoking a pipe? Hard to say. At a bonfire you notice one thing: the blaze.

Jump in!
13th April, 2020

Fucking Fabulous by Tom Ford

My mother gave me this scent as a candle for xmas and thought it was hilarious. I wondered why she didn’t just give me one of the many Tom Ford scents that I already liked. The name came off tacky to me. Maybe funny but come on!

After burning it a few times I became somewhat obsessed with this strange Tonka/orris/almond sweetness. It’s extremely comforting but makes some sort of accord that still manages to be distinctive.

I bought a bottle and it reminds me of an amped up Issara(by Dusita) that you can actually smell from a foot or two away. So a sweet Tonka fougere(thanks clary sage) with a leather bottom.

Smells even better on my lady than it does on me. But I still wear it. Smells like Easter Sunday mixed with singles night.
12th April, 2020

Nuit Persane by Sultan Pasha

I really like this one. It’s like Aurum D’Angkhor with the Oud and Jasmine swapped for a double dose of honey and beeswax. Has a light incense facet which diffuses the heavy sweetness and a nice spicy/smooth drydown. Lovely and very rich.
31st December, 2019

Lignum Vitae by Beaufort London

I’d say there are quite a few notes missing from the tree above. Madeleine Cake accord and caramel, in particular. Beaufort London is known for canon smoke, riding leather, horse hide, shipping strap, beard oil type scents, redolent of early Industrial Revolution era Britannia. This is the one that breaks away from the rest. A great sweet/salty gourmand with strange woody/smoky facets. Really strange. Really pleasing.
07th November, 2019
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Hyde by Hiram Green

Thumbs up all the way. I like them smoky and sweet AND I LOVE HYDE. Patchouli 24 was my former favorite smoke bomb and Hyde takes the crown, easily. No contest. This Hiram Green masterpiece makes Le Labo’s most interesting scent seem thin and timid.

There is so much honeyed beauty laying in wait behind the veils of smoke... a T Rex sized floral impression, some brûléed lemon and bitter orange... on a table between sweet sugared blackberries and big bodied wine.

This scent is a villain. It fills up the alleys and growls in the shadows. It revs like a motorcycle. Ride it.
08th September, 2019 (last edited: 05th September, 2020)

Oud Maximus by Bortnikoff

The ultimate symphonic oud for true natural oud lovers. The initial blast is intense, funky, creamy Indian Oud. All animalic facets exploded with an acidic kick from the Bergamot and sweet Orange, than tweaked with the pepper and cardamom kick. The Jasmine rushes in to hit you with an Indole and BAM, before the first 20 seconds are up, the whole thing turns itself inside out and you get all the smooth polished aspects of the floral heart: magnolia, Frangipani, several types of rose, and a squeaky clean Jasmine... then finally the woody aspects of the oud come out in the base over a carpet of fluffy deer musk and vanilla. Birch tar and civet keep things growling, even in its purring stages.

My favorite oud of the Bortnikoff like and maybe of any. A beauty. As regal and shocking as Malle’s The Night but at a fraction of the price. Truly superb.
04th September, 2019

Erawan by Parfums Dusita

An exceedingly delicate, yet sophisticated, floral green over a persistent, though never cloying, coumarin base. Beautiful, subtle work. Not gendered in any serious way but too light for my tastes. On the right person, it would be the most lovely, fragrant skin scent. Between this and Issara, I am getting how much Pissara loves coumarin.
24th August, 2019

Musk Khabib by Bortnikoff

Deceptively simple— at first it presents as a rather inconsequential floral, of the bubble-gummy, pretty-not-beautiful type. But if you apply enough(I’d say at least three sprays) and give it five minutes, it starts to dance on the skin: bright citrus flits back and forth with creamy-custardy-almost-coconuty ylang ylang in a figure eight above the vanilla/vetiver/tonka base, with a light cedar/tolu impression gathering the whole thing together like a fine wooden frame.

The musk is very unobtrusive(especially for being present in the name) and lends things a soft focus romance, a sigh of satisfaction as the hours slip by.

Musk Khabib, along with Amber Cologne, shows a welcome light side to Bortnikoff’s celebrated oud-centric offerings.
19th August, 2019

Oud Assam by Rania J

A beauty that swings wildly along the repellent/attractive axis, tilting fully into the barnyard-Bleu-cheese-buffet before softening into a tonka and honey amber base. This is a highly refined, almost French interpretation of the brutal, punishing aspects of Indian Oud... it conveys the notion of the “dirty” while actually smelling quite sweet and well behaved. In that way, it does for animalic oud, what Musc Koublai Khan does for naughty Musk: takes it to prep school and polishes it up.
18th August, 2019

Jeke by Slumberhouse

This is a LOVE for all you smoke fans out there. Light Tom Ford on fire and he might smell like this(NO ONE WOULD OR SHOULD EVER DO THIS, have you seen Nocturnal Animals??? Worn one of his suits??? Smelled any of his classics perfumes?).

This does share SOME similarity with Tobacco Vanille but the Tobacco in Jeke is definitely on fire, thanks to the heavy hit of Cade(don't worry, the blending is heavenly and it doesn't overpower the sweetness or herbal qualities of this little gem).

I'm a smoke man(HYDE, Patchouli 24). I love this. I want it. I probably won't buy it. Slumberhouse price increase looks to be brutal and I need a bottle of Norne, so Jeke probably loses out.

I'm putting all 10 of my thumbs up(I'm all thumbs).

EDIT —- it’s available now at the lower price point. GO GET IT.
15th August, 2019 (last edited: 31st October, 2019)

Sel Marin by Heeley

Lovely Citrus-salty ocean fragrance. An absolute masterpiece of a SKIN SCENT—- Several people have claimed good performance on this one and all I can think is: reformulation??? Because this sucker lasts about a minute before going full on nose against wrist, ghost juice on me.

I love the way it smells. Was hoping for a cheaper, lighter Acqua di Sale... be careful what you wish for: ITS SO LIGHT!!!

I wish I saved the money towards another bottle of the Profvmvm.
15th August, 2019

Issara by Parfums Dusita

A strange paradox. A completely dreamy, ultra-sweet, coumarin-forward fougere, with extremely disappointing projection.

I have to add my voice to the chorus of people who love the scent itself but can’t believe the performance, especially at such a steep price point. It’s a strange feeling to spray yourself in $20 of perfume and wonder if you need to apply more. And that’s just for your own personal enjoyment. If you are on a date and hoping someone gets a good impression of your style and sophistication, or Hell, even general grooming habits, look elsewhere.

HOWEVER: A high performance version of this might push all the notes together in a claustrophobic cloud and yield something like, say Black Afgano by Nasomatto. It’s a real conundrum. But Pissara has shown herself to be a talent to watch, so I remain hopeful that Issara is a puzzle she can solve.

Thumbs up because it really is lovely, though I won’t be buying at this price & performance.
12th August, 2019

Black No. 1 / Blackbird by House of Matriarch

I like to think that perfumer Christi Meshell was channeling the goth-metal legends, Type-O-Negative, when she thought up this small masterpiece—Black No. 1 being the title of their most ubiquitous song– even though I know the scents original title was Blackbird.

This perfume is gothic and romantic, in many of the ways that the Brooklyn band were, in their heyday: classical allusions abound, reimagined in surprising, modern ways. Here leather sits atop a woody, almost metallic lavender before settling down into the House of Matriarch ambered incense base.

The first spray of the scent is pure class. Lovely rugged-yet-refined masculine vibes.

Unfortunately the performance leaves much to be desired, at least with my chemistry. It disappears within 3 hours with just traces left on clothing.

The composition is entirely natural so the price point is VERY HIGH. A tough sell for a short experience. But undeniably beautiful and a must for any fans of smoky mysterious leathers, like Papillon’s Anubis.

A thumbs up with caveats for price & performance.

Edit: The travel atomizer bottle leaks in every position, even standing straight up. For this much money I should get more than 6 wears out of it(especially when the tester sample size gives you 2-3 wearings easily). Disappointed.
04th August, 2019 (last edited: 25th April, 2020)

Fougère Noire by Sultan Pasha

Never would I have guessed that my favorite Fougere would take the form of an attar. But Sultan Pasha is full of surprises. His earlier Etude en Fougere was a bright green delight: full of turns and citric sunshine. As a “study in ferns” it noted the bitter, bracing aspect of green scents and the freshness of pine and floral notes.

Fougere Noire leans on the deep greens of the forest floor, representing the depth of soil in the clean/dirty facets of mushroom and patchouli, while brilliantly accenting the salty-aquatic aspects of morning dew, through the use of seaweed absolute. Make no mistake, this scent is fresh and clean, full of life and the top notes of lemon, bergamot, pine and lavender would be enough to wake you up, even before the touch of coffee crept in.

But the striking aspect of Sultan Pasha’s Noire take on the Fougere, all revolve around the Tonka/coumarin/ambergris/musk sweetness in the heart and drydown.

Let’s not forget the Rose, geranium, carnation heart. Along with the aromatic nutmeg and tobacco, these flowers bring us into the classiest barbershop I’ve ever dreamt of.

I can’t get enough. Also, performance is brilliant. All day longevity and several days on clothes.

All the thumbs in the world point up on this one.
02nd August, 2019

Aurum d'Angkhor by Sultan Pasha

This scent is almost painful to talk about: its beauty is not only beyond my ability to express but beyond my power of comprehension. This is easily the most elegant and lovely floral that I own. Incredibly masculine but not in a macho way. Whenever I reach for it, I have to decide whether I can stand to lose anymore precious drops of this attar. I ask myself: Is the occasion equal to the scent?

The best part of this fragrance is that it has hidden elements that sneak out and delight you. Sometimes it kicks up an oud, sometimes it kicks up smoke. But always it displays a regal, crystalline clarity that I’ve never smelled anywhere else.
02nd August, 2019

Ambrette 9 by Le Labo

Incredibly sexy smelling on the right person. Musky and delicate, innocent and naughty at the same time. I don’t know if it’s my lady’s skin chemistry but NOTHING smells as good as this on her. Not Shalimar, not AE or White Linen. Not niche scents. Not classics.

I’m not sure if different people perceive different aspects or if this turns sour on some people’s skin.

But damn, this is a 10/10 under the right circumstances. Good one, le Labo.
02nd August, 2019

Vétiver Nocturne by Bortnikoff

A perplexing, dazzling take on vetiver. Despite its name, Vetiver Nocturne is not an inky Black Vetiver, like Encre Noir or even a pure earthy Vetiver bomb, like Frederic Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinare.

Instead, Bortnikoff uses a base of oakmoss and sandalwood(with some oud and ambergris) to amp up the creamy, minty facets of Ruh Khus(a pure Indian Vetiver) and a great burst of Jasmine and Champaca absolute to balance some sweetness against the earthen aspects of the grass.

At times the whole thing skews fruity-indolic, like very ripe bananas, papayas or mangoes. And at other times the various contrasts of fresh, floral, deep earthen, sweet fruit pushes it into Bortnikoff’s somewhat familiar territory of bubble gum fit for a king.

This may sound off-putting but the whole thing is unexpectedly beautiful and wears like an exotic fougere from a undiscovered land. Old world, yet Sci-Fi. Very high quality naturals and meticulous blending. The perfumer, Dmitry Bortnikoff is surely a genius or an obsessive —or both. He spends all his time building castles in the sand: they exist for one batch and then are lost to history. Ephemeral even by perfume standards.

Vetiver Nocturne and the popular Bonheur exist in their own little subcontinent of Bortnikoff offerings, far from the Oud mainlands that have made this house’s name(Dmitry co-owns Feel Oud, with russian adam of areej le dore, and is well respected in the oud community). I love Oud Maximus and Oud Monarch and yet I can’t wait for more of these green scents from Bortnikoff.

Thumbs up!!!
02nd August, 2019

Fougère d'Argent by Tom Ford

A quite nice skin scent to remind you how much you used to love classic masculines. Spicy sweet cologne-tipped fougere.

But.

Abysmal performance. Wore a 5ml decant twice(2.5ml worth of sprays each) and could barely smell it on myself. For Tom Ford it’s a performance shocker, as one his scents usually project! Sometimes to the dismay of people who hate perfume.

Finally.

For the price, this is a rare NO from me. Stock up if you live it. I can’t imagine this sticking around long.
21st July, 2019

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

Isn’t it funny how we all react differently to certain scents. I myself have an insane sensitivity to some synthetics and am anosmic to most of Invasion Barbare. I see some people get Pinesol from Grey Flannel. Crazy.

On me, this is a lovely, refined bitter floral: cobalt grey clouds over a green garden. Possible the best masculine drug store cheapie in existence.

It evokes different feelings on different days but my favorite is the rainy day wear: this is what Burberry raincoats should smell like.
18th July, 2019

Yohji Homme by Yohji Yamamoto

In an alternate world, Yohji Homme could have been a brilliant Fougère. Substitute licorice for lavender, rum & coffee for coumarin and patchouli and musk for oak moss. A counterintuitive bone structure for an entire olfactive genre, but so is a classical fougere(or Chypre for that matter), if you really stop to think about it.

What I mean is, this scent is a titan and could have easily been as big a hit as something like A*men, which rightly has 23,000(and counting) flankers and more imitators, given the right circumstance.

It’s sad that the Patou version is disappearing. People are using their bottles and even now the top notes on my bottle are starting to disperse. But this ephemeral nature only makes me love it more. Wear it while you still can!
11th July, 2019

1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums

I think I must be anosmic to this scent. Somehow super bright citrus scents often blast me for about 1/2 a second and then disappear, completely. My partner will say, “ooooh lots of bergamot” or “wow! Lime and grapefruit.” And I’ll be thinking, “does this have any scent beyond perfumers’ alcohol?”

It’s a strange feeling, as I can almost smell the scent coming from the closed bottle(let’s say near the cap) but as soon as I spray it’s like the world of smell goes quiet around me. It’s like when someone fires a gun next to the TV detective’s ears and the ringing is so loud that it blocks out all the other sounds as the character(I’ll be honest: I’m thinking of Archer) stumbles around looking dazed. That’s me in my living room right now.

I’m sure it’s lovely. Histoires is one of those houses that consistently marches to their own beat. I’ve read good things. But no. I can’t wear a scent that I can’t smell.
30th June, 2019