Perfume Reviews

Reviews by 500DaysofSemmler

Advertisement
Total Reviews: 120

Slow Explosions by Imaginary Authors

Someone else described it as a jammy rose and "jammy" is definitely the right word. That sticky fruity facet reminds me of a fig newton. Or more specifically, a warmed-up fig newton in a leather purse full of roses. Overall it doesn't do a ton for me, but to be honest few rose scents do. Nonetheless it's definitely an interesting scent and I can see people liking it if they're into rose.
22nd July, 2020

Hyrax by Zoologist Perfumes

For a fragrance without leather anywhere in the notes, this is a very leather-centric scent. Specifically the funky kind. That burnt-plastic / new-car-smell leather, but with animalic and mineralic facets.

The scent is an ode to the musky powerhouses of long ago. You will smell a bit like a 70s mustachioed pornstar, and if you're not prepared for that, you're not gonna have the best time. I'd never wear this to work, but I honestly enjoyed lounging around the house in it. It doesn't reek of shit like some more dramatic reviewers would have you believe, but there is definitely something a bit "off" that could lead you in that direction. Personally I don't find it full bottle worthy but it's definitely worth trying.

I don't think every scent out there needs to be broadly wearable to be appreciated. Hyrax has it's time and place, it's just not your next HR meeting.
01st June, 2020

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

Maybe this one just doesn't work on my skin, but whatever it is, I find it really unimpressive. The opening comes off as a pretty unpleasant mix of baby powder and sharp plastic. I really don't know what's causing it. I've tried other ambers which don't do that. I typically associate a baby powder smell with heliotrope, but that's not present here. Things start to blend and calm within an hour, it remains quite a bit powdery throughout, but less so than the opening. Overall, just not what I want out of an amber.
28th February, 2020
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Percival by Parfums de Marly

This is so uninteresting, another "blue frag" like many before it. It's a very clear combination of two well-known, cheap designer scents: AF Fierce and Montblanc Legend. IMO it's no better than either of them (it might actually be worse), and at several times the price that comparison is laughable. Why anyone would spend $200/300 on this is beyond me.
26th February, 2020

Psychedelic Love by Initio

I don't really tend to like Heliotrope, it typically comes off too much like baby powder to me. But, what I know is that enjoy Psychedelic Love, and its chock full of it! It's got this mix of florals and creamy gourmand facets that blend together in an enticing way. It may be a bit too feminine for me personally, but there's no doubt in my mind it's a nice fragrance, would definitely like this on my girlfriend.
25th February, 2020

Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio

This is a bit like Musc Ravageur in that it is primarily a musky vanilla scent, only in AA the clove is replaced with castoreum and a bit of white florals. The end result is something very sweet but also definitely unisex. Others have mentioned there being a strawberry Nesquik scent, and I do get wafts reminiscent of that from time to time as I turn my head, but it's not apparent when you take a whiff up close. Definitely going to give it another wear. Right now it's a like, not a love.
24th February, 2020

Divine Attraction by Initio

Divine Attraction is a funky leather, kinda like a new car smell. It's sharp and smoky with some rubbery and chemical qualities reminiscent of wood sealant. Really powerful sillage as well, I was taken aback at first spray. There's vetiver here too but at least in the opening it is just blown out of the water by the in-your-face leather. Personally it's not my favourite leather I'd probably prefer some that smells a bit more natural, but it at least makes a statement, that I can get behind.
23rd February, 2020

Love, don't be shy by By Kilian

At first sniff I quite liked this one. The gourmand notes come right out of the gate and are nice. Then later on they combine with the white florals in an intriguing way that doesn't quite smell like either category. It doesn't smell bad at all, just very unique. What I will say is that it comes off fairly feminine (and of course is marketed as such). So this isn't quite for me, but I do enjoy the scent and think I'd like this on my girlfriend.
22nd February, 2020

Kalan by Parfums de Marly

I'm not terribly into Kalan. The opening is immediately reminiscent of Baccarat Rouge, with some blood orange and a load of spices. To me that's not entirely a selling point as I'm not super keen on BR540 in the first place. And the scent further devolves from there, getting scratchier, muddled and synthetic as it goes. I'm not a huge fan of the house, it seems they take already popular scents, tweak them and people fall over themselves for it. Herod and Oajan are nice, but there's nothing for me here.
22nd February, 2020

Neroli 36 by Le Labo

I'm fairly unimpressed. Neroli 36 doesn't remind me much of other neroli scents. There is a vague floralness, beachyness and loads of aldehydes. Anything good here is done better by Margiela's Beach Walk
21st February, 2020

Atlas Garden by Yves Saint Laurent

I had sat with this one a while before ever looking at the notes list. At my first impression, this reminded me a lot of Jasmin 17 by Le Labo. Jasmin 17 relies on a sweet creamy jasmine note that for some reason reminded me of a big bowl of Froot Loops cereal. I get a very similar impression here, but it looks like those elements are created in a different way. The sweetness and creamyness must come from dates and tonka beans. And of course that citrus fruit comes from mandarin, bergamot, and orange blossom. This is definitely the better of the two scents, it hits those gourmand qualities even harder, making it quite unisex, where as Jasmin 17 felt strictly feminine. It's nice, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for that same creamy, fruity, white floral vibe. But it's still not quite my style.
20th February, 2020

Bigarade Concentrée by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Opens as a very realistic orange smell, but there's something else there too. It goes for a similar vibe to the dirty orange of TDH but replaces the earthyness with some cut grass greenery. Funny that, since the perfumer behind this one did TDH as well. Seems he's put out a lot of citrus scents over the years.

The performance on this is lacking. Immediately after settling on the skin it becomes a skinscent, no big wafts of this are going to come up throughout the day. I cannot fathom spending hundreds on something with such subpar performance. If you like the opening of this, try TDH Parfum, you'll get a lot more mileage at half the price.
17th February, 2020

Back to Black, aphrodisiac by By Kilian

Back to Black is a sweet honey tobacco scent. I don't know if I get everything that's in the notes list. I mostly get honey, tobacco, cherry, and tonka. It's a bit powdery and insubstantial, would be much more enjoyable if it had gone a bit richer and deeper with the honey and cherry.

In the world on honeyed tobacco scents there's this, Mugler's Pure Havane and Xerjoff Naxos. I haven't tried Naxos yet. The scent of B2B itself I think is a bit better than Mugler's Pure Havane, but the performance is worse. When you consider that Pure Havane is about a tenth of the price the comparison is a no-brainer. But, my rating stands on the basis of the scent alone. Back to Black is still pretty nice in that regard.
15th February, 2020
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Godolphin by Parfums de Marly

Godolphin is a strangely neutered and sweetened leather. Kinda like a leather fragrance that's afraid to be one. Some say it's a clone of Tom Ford Tuscan Leather which also has similar fruity notes mixed in. I haven't tried TL yet, but I've heard that it is one of the more challenging Tom Ford scents. Challenging this is not. All of the rougher, masculine facets of leather have been pulled away and I'm left with something soft and synthetic feeling. The drydown is especially lacklustre, once the sweetness falls away its harder to ignore how plasticky the leather base is. Overall it's just not for me.
15th February, 2020

Fève Délicieuse by Christian Dior

Feve Delicieuse is another of the 2018 reformulated Maison Dior scents, and sadly it seems like the reformulation took a toll. The performance here is similarly weak to Ambre Nuit. The scent itself is decent. It's a substantial gourmand, with lots of tonka, caramel and cherry. There is also a plasticky vibe, common to all 3 scents I've tried from the line so far. Other reviewers have said it's a bit like play-doh, and I'd agree with that. It reminds me of the plastic in Mugler's Pure Tonka, which I liked but was similarly confused by. However, Pure Tonka was a beast, and at $70/100ml! In all, even if the scent was really nice, I can't spend hundreds on a fragrance that requires me to douse.
10th February, 2020

Ambre Nuit by Christian Dior

Ambre Nuit is a bit of a meh experience for me. It's a rose and amber combo with a little sharp citrus sitting at the top. Not feminine like I was expecting it to be. The rose doesn't stand out sharply. I also get a bit of plastic or rubberyness that I normally associate with oud, however it's not a listed note here.

It's also super soft. I've heard that many of the maison Dior line have been watered down over the years, and my experience with AN falls in line with that expectation. I'll be sure to give it another few wearings and see if I can get a bit more oomph out of it. But for now, the performance doesn't match the price. I also have Feve Delicieuse, Spice Blend, and Oud Ispahan to try, to see if they've fared a bit better.
09th February, 2020

Aventus by Creed

The Emperor (or "The King", rather) Has No Clothes. The hype around Aventus is unlike anything else in the fragrance community. People are so sure this is the perfect juice they're buying up different batch variations, because who can survive with just ONE bottle of Aventus?

The reality? It's ok. Nothing special to my nose. Maybe its formula was novel in 2010, but now that there's a host of imitators out there, it feels practically generic. The opening starts with a blast of fruit. Pineapple, blackcurrant and bergamot. Then within minutes, the fruity notes give way to woods and musk underneath. I also think that Creed has some common DNA between it's fresher fragrances, the drydown of this reminds me of the drydown of SMW which reminds me of the drydown of MI.

Sadly, the Emperor also has some poor performance. I sprayed myself 5 times and I'm getting very little projection, outside of that initial 5 minute fruit blast. It sticks on clothes a bit but dies pretty quickly on bare skin. Doesn't live up to the hype. But also, what could?
28th January, 2020

1270 by Frapin

For as interesting as the notes list of 1270 is, it doesn't impress me terribly. For the first hour 90% of what I get is pineapple, with a hint of cocoa. So, I'm reminded primarily of the slew of Aventus clones that have flooded the market. Then, after a little I start to get more cocoa and guiac wood, which adds a bit of depth but doesn't do enough for me to catch a ton of interest.

The performance is also just terrible. I think this is the worst projection out of any scent I've tried. I ended up using the entirety of my 1ml sample over the courses of a couple hours because it just would not come off my skin. Just sat there the whole time. An overall disappointment.
26th January, 2020

Civet by Zoologist Perfumes

Civetone, while a staple of perfumery past, isn't much appreciated in the modern era. That's why I was a bit at unease with the concept of a Civet-based fragrance. That's of course until I tried it. Looking at the notes list you can see that this gives the impression of the lifestyle of the cute little cat, far more so than the molecule it's known for could. The flowers and greens give and idea of the habitat, and the coffee nods to Kopi Luwak.

This isn't a heavily animalic fragrance, and I appreciate that. I can only really notice the harsh parts of the civet note in the first thirty seconds. Past that, everything blends really well together. I will say though that this really needs warmth to bring out some of the special aspects. My wrists dim into dry resins and incense quite quickly whereas my chest projects sweet honeyed florals for longer.

Overall I would say this is a modernized version of an older era of perfumery, and done well. The kind that makes me appreciate things I wouldn't normally. It's not one of my favorites, personally, but I definitely see the value here.
24th January, 2020

Moth by Zoologist Perfumes

At first sniff, Moth and Bee seem like the yin and yang of the bug world. Both are dry and dusty. But whereas Bee is sunshine and sweetness, Moth is spices, smoke and skank.

I was kind of at unease with my first sniff. Someone at the shop described it as beating all the dust out of an old Victorian dress, and mixing it with honey. It was dusty and smoky for sure, but there was also something sharp and unpleasant dominating the profile. It may have been the oud, which can be hit or miss for me. It vaguely reminded me of the burning plastic smell of some of Montale's more hefty ouds. That sharpness kicks around for about the first hour, particularly strongly on my wrists.

Then things start to open up, and Moth becomes less of an opposite to Bee, and more of a sibling. Honeyed florals warm up and sweeten the whole affair. What was once a harsh abrasive scent becomes much more pleasant. Is it worth sitting through an hour of grossness to get to? Maybe. At least just to try. But IMO everything that this does well, Bee does better.
23rd January, 2020

Macaque by Zoologist Perfumes

Macaque won't turn heads, but it really is quite nice. Green tea and sour apple are very clear, and are wrapped in a blanket of flowers and herbal notes. I can't say I've ever smelled galbanum before so it's hard for me to know how much it dominates those herbal notes. But there is something familiar here I can't quite put my finger on, so maybe it's that. I don't tend to like oakmoss but it works here in a small amount.

It smells altogether very familiar. There's also something cooling about the mix, when I take a close sniff, it feels like it's gently soothing and opening up my sinuses like Vick's VapoRub. Compared to Panda 2017 it's by far the better apple/tea scent. Much more natural feeling. Not a favorite but it's pleasant. Easily one of the most wearable in the collection, while still not boring.
22nd January, 2020

Panda (2017) by Zoologist Perfumes

Panda (2017) starts with a blast of ISO-E super. Which is disappointing, because it's shared by so many generic men's fragrances. You can smell a bit of the tea, citrus and apple, but that synthetic dry wood note cuts strongly through everything and dominates the scent. So sharp and irritating, it kinda burns my nose, and I liked T. Rex haha. This keeps going for a while, it isn't until about 3 hours in that the synthetics start to calm down and you get a bit more of what's underneath. Still there, but softer. And to be honest by that point my nose is already kinda blown out.

I'm also struggling to figure out where others are getting earthy notes from. This is an uncharacteristically fresh fragrance for the house. I don't get anything earthy, skanky, or challenging. It doesn't remind me of a forest, or anything else out of the natural world, it just reminds me of other fragrances. Longevity and sillage are both huge, but no point to that if I don't like the scent. Is it wearable? Sure, but so is Bleu de Chanel. Zoologist has far more interesting scents.
21st January, 2020

Squid by Zoologist Perfumes

I was so excited when I found out Zoologist was doing a marine animal with Squid. I love marine life, and thought it was a long time coming (and that they should make more of them!).

I definitely get the ink here. Something about this is decidedly "viscous". It's not light or refreshing like Acqua di Gio or a host of other aquatics, this is dark abyssal water. There aren't any blue resins out there to my knowledge, but that's the impression I get. Rich, smooth, dark blue resin.

I wouldn't describe it as a particularly bombastic scent. It's well-made and evokes the Squid imagery well, but it's actually pretty laid back. A squid is muted in terms of personality, stoic and aloof, and I feel the same way about this scent, so I guess it's pretty appropriate. Maybe it's just that I'm coming from the blood and chaos of wearing T-Rex yesterday. This is certainly wearable, and is a bit softer projection wise. For now it's quite pleasant but not a favorite. However, I definitely want to sit with this one a bit longer. I have a feeling it will grow on me.
20th January, 2020

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Zoologist Perfumes

T-Rex is a beast of a fragrance. It will swallow you whole. The notes list doesn't look that unusual, but the effect produced is something else entirely.

They wanted to create the scent of a dense, hot jungle. Humid greenery, ripe indolic flowers? Check.
They wanted the scent of a giant, mauling its prey. Animal musks, blood accord? Check.
They wanted the scent of prehistoric chaos, lava and wildfires. Smoke, tar, burnt flesh? Check.

Everything they wanted to do they did, and I commend Zoologist for it. In a purely artistic sense this fragrance is a 5/5. It creates insane imagery. I could never wear this to work, but it has a special place as something for me to enjoy all to myself on the weekends.
19th January, 2020 (last edited: 02nd February, 2020)

Bee by Zoologist Perfumes

The opening of Bee is so unique; dry, dusty and faintly floral. It recreates the scent of pollen so realistically I half expected myself to start sneezing at my first sniff. I've realized I don't really enjoy heliotrope that much, or the babypowder vibe it has. Luckily, while I can tell that it's present in the pollen accord here, it's not that noticeable and the accord is very pleasant to me.

After a little while the pollen calms down, and the scent starts to get heavier and more resinous (with beeswax), and sweeter (with honey). The honey is also super realistic, as well. Not just a sticky sugar syrup, but reminiscent of the fancy stuff where you get a hint of the flowers that were pollinated as well. I don't get too much of the ginger and orange, maybe a bit on my chest, but I don't mind terribly, the rest of the scent is good enough on it's own.

The projection isn't nearly as strong as some other scents in the house, but it's also an extrait so I guess you can expect it to sit a bit closer to the skin. I do wish I got a bit better performance overall, but in the end there is nothing out there that smells quite like this.
18th January, 2020

Dodo by Zoologist Perfumes

"A peculiar fougere" is a good way to describe Dodo. It isn't swamped with soapyness or oakmoss. Instead, it combines fruityness (primarily lychee), ocean air (ambergris) and fresh greenery (fern / fir / geranium). You can tell it hearkens to the fougere style, but it is so much more than that. I don't like fougeres all that much, personally. But I like Dodo.

I don't get the feathery musks all that much, which is probably a good thing. But I really like the imagery here, the windswept island, coated in ferns, with lots of fresh lychee berries. My wrists tend to push greener and more fougere like, whereas my chest tends to stay fruitier. The longevity isn't the best, it doesn't project after the first two hours and starts to sit close to the skin. But it still chugs along as a pleasant skin scent for a good while. Not my favorite of the line so far (that title still belongs to Chameleon for now) but I definitely like this one.
17th January, 2020

Dragonfly by Zoologist Perfumes

The opening is an exceedingly powdery floral. Not in a makeup-powdery iris kind of way, but more of a babypowder way. I figure I mostly get the heliotrope and peony. It comes off a bit too old-womanly for my tastes. The opening is also very dry, I don't get much of the rain or rice at all.

Then after about 45 min things start to get "wetter" per se. The florals get less sharp, and the scent overall gets a bit deeper with the "rain notes" coming in. But the vibe still stays primarily very floral and powdery.

My overall impression is that this is a bit too feminine for me. I don't think my nose is as tuned to this kind of fragrance as others, most Zoologist scents have something that separates them from the pack, but I personally struggle to differentiate this from the other few scents in this category that I've tried. Despite the fact that there's no white florals to be found in this, it reminds me quite a bit of Serge Lutens' Datura Noir. Given that, I would say to take my lukewarm review with a grain of salt, as I may not be able to pick up on some important nuances. The house is a favorite of mine, so if this is your style of fragrance, still be sure to give it a sample!
16th January, 2020

Vodka on the Rocks by By Kilian

The opening is a realistic clear liquor for sure, though I actually get a bit more gin from it than I do vodka. Then quickly (and I mean within 15 minutes) a lot of synthetic notes come to the forefront. Aquatics, ambroxes, what have you. This could be an intentional transition, or it could be that the initial vodka impression they've created can only stay stable so long, and as it starts to unravel the synthetics used become more and more apparent.

By the 30 minute mark it's hard to tell this apart from a host of other designer freshies. Is it good for one of those? Yes. But, at nearly $6/ml the comparison is pretty embarrassing. This isn't an awful scent, but ultimately it smells similar to so many things that are a tenth of the price.
10th January, 2020

Yesterday Haze by Imaginary Authors

Yesterday Haze is a strong and somewhat funky gourmand. It's not cloying, but right away it hits you in the face with a tart figs, rich cream, and sweet tonka. I've tried other fig fragrances and thought they were too green and not fruity enough. Well now I've gotten what I asked for and it's almost a bit more than I need.

After about an hour that tart sweetness is cut with an especially buttery iris note, as well as some nuttiness a bit later. The profile is constantly shifting as each note comes into or out of the mix. Ultimately I don't think the scent is for me, but I really appreciate how unique it is, there is a lot going on here. Some could say it's all over the place, but I appreciate that. There are too many boring fragrances out there.
09th January, 2020

O, Unknown! by Imaginary Authors

O, Unknown! I wish I knew you long ago. This is such a clean refreshing orris. That's a sentence I never thought I'd say. I used to hate the note, but now it's something I like quite a lot. This isn't a rich buttery orris along the likes of Dior Homme Parfum or Givenchy Gentleman EDP, this is light and sweet.

I was excited to try another tea fragrance after really enjoying Winter Palace by MEMO. At first I couldn't pull out the tea note all THAT strongly, but then I realized where it was hiding. After about the first hour the orris started to subdue a bit, and the fragrance smelled more and more like a mix of Dior Homme and Silver Mountain Water. I hadn't smelled SMW in a while so I looked up the note list... blackcurrant, musk, and green tea! Mystery solved. There are plenty cheap SMW clones out there at this point, but anyone who really likes the scent ought to give this a try. It is by no means a clone, it's unique and very much it's own thing, but it might surprise you.

Also, in my last Imaginary Authors review I talked about common DNA between IA fragrances. That surely doesn't apply here. To me this doesn't smell at all like anything Josh has ever put out.

Overall this is a super pleasant fragrance. Unique enough to stand out, but also pleasant enough to be an office work daily-driver. My only complaint is the projection is a little weak. It sticks fairly close to the skin. If this was as strong as my DHP, I'd be hemming and hawing over which I'd really like in my collection. But, as it stands I'll keep my DHP.
08th January, 2020