Perfume Reviews

Reviews by ThVH

Total Reviews: 2

Luna Rossa Sport by Prada

My Fragrance Journey, #002

Luna Rossa Sport, or Clenching Fists

When I purchased the fragrance that eventually would lead me into this hobby, although I was unaware of that fact back then, of course I also received some samples. One was Luna Rossa Sport. Upon getting home, I was thrilled — two more scents to try, whoa!

When I sprayed it on my arm, I was irritated right away. The “Sport“ label had me mislead, and although I didn‘t know exactly what would be associated with that moniker, I instictly expected something somehow fresher; not necessarily in an “aquatic” way, but definitely not that sweet smell that now found its way to my nose. It was cloying, right away. I have worked in nightclubs a lot during my university days, and back then basically everything was filled with Le Male. Don’t get me wrong, I like(d) Le Male, I actually had a bottle during my teens when it still really was the bomb and was fascinated by the scent. But being exposed to so much sweetness over hours night after night made me quite sensitive for vanilla/tonka-heavy orientals as well as for screaming frags of guys that ultimately were only there to, well, what do you do in a nightclub anyways? So, back to the Prada, my first thought was: “This is the cheapest wannabe Le Male I have ever smelled”. It was startling. I did not get any ginger, juniper berry, or lavender, three notes I would, even then, have had no problem to make out in a scent that ultimately does not contain many others. But all I got was a very generic vanilla tonka mix that stayed and stayed and seemed to grow worse every ten minutes. I really tried to sit it through. Usually, I’m that way, I don’t judge fast but try to reasonably make up my mind — like when you watch a movie and know it’s considered to be a masterpiece by many, but find it boring upon first watch. I would be the guy to really try and “get it”, and if I didn’t like it in the end, at least I would have an opinion based on close examination and not on some fleeting and ultimately lazy emotion. So, I sat. Nothing changed. It was sweet. It was generic. It wasn’t even a nice vanilla but really just smelled like vanillin with some cheap tonka mixed in. After three hours, I had a headache, and enough. Washed it off.

Still, Luna Rossa Sport told me an important lesson: A nice designer name does not equate quality fragrance. And 25 years later, there still seems to be a market for this downright vile sweetness. That overly sweet bases are a general problem nowadays is a fact that I, fortunately, was not aware of then. Still, sweet bases are one thing, but this scent to me is downright lazy since it practically constists of not much else.

10th July, 2020

Aventus by Creed

My Fragrance Journey, #001

Aventus, or A New Scope

I have decided to review every perfume on my way since the day my love with this hobby started, in chronological order. Doing this, I can simultaneously reflect on my own little baby steps as a newbie fragrance lover, for example when I learned to single out a new note or something the like. Since Aventus was the perfume that started everything for me, this review might be a bit longer, as it is meant to set context for the following ones.

As with many fragrance enthusiasts, it all started when I needed a new one. Before, I was the kind of guy who would buy a bottle and... you know how the story goes. Flashback to December 2019, my bottle of Aigner’s Statement had ran out and I started to research for something pleasant, distinctive, and versatile. Googled a little, found Basenotes and could not stop reading for 3 weeks straight. Flash forward, it’s January 4th, 2020, and I’m on my way to Douglas bearing in mind the names of supposedly well liked frags to try. The first thing I saw there was actually Dior’s Sauvage, and I truly believe to have unknowingly passed the 1st Basenotes test in that moment — I grabbed it, sniffed the bottle and must have looked as if someone just kicked me in the back. Never in my life would I put that on my skin to try. Then I saw the Creeds and first sprayed some Aventus on paper.

Aventus is known for its very distinctive and pleasant opening that most people seem to like — and mind you, despite my research, I was still pretty much unaware of any controversies surrounding the house of Creed, the existence of YouTube-channels for perfume, or this scent‘s reputation that made avid readers of men’s magazines or websites frantically save for a bottle of this juice, hoping for great effect on whatever sexually preferred gender. So, I smelled the opening, and MAN... was I not overwhelmed! It smelled okay to me. Quite good. I didn’t even put it on my skin (super beginner back then). But I bought it. What on earth made me shell out retail for 50ml of this expensive stuff without even being floored by it is still beyond me, but looking back, I am so grateful. When I got home, I put it on my skin, sniffed, and now I liked that famously fruity and slightly smoky opening, all of a sudden. Mmmhhh! It felt refreshing, but mature, and just very interesting. I didn’t get an awful lot of pineapple, but it was there, and the bergamot and apple notes were in the foreground, smoothly caressed by the birch tar, which made it so interestingly smoky. And then, it was gone. Not completely gone as in nose blindness, which Aventus is also very likely to induce, partly to the presence of moderate amounts of Iso E Super and the facts that some of its notes kill your smell quickly anyway, but I would only learn about that later. No, the top just faded, and I was left with a heart that, although nice, seemed nowhere as interesting to me as that awesome head. Plus, I started to detect vanilla, and a note that I imagined to be the musk from the note pyramid, although I was still used to the heavy animalic musks worn during the 80s and well into the 90s by some people around me. During the next days, I got to know the fragrance better.

So, some maybe seven or eight weeks followed during which I wore my new Aventus happily and every day. It really had an effect on me! When I put it on in the morning and went to work, it put a big smile on my face. It boosted my confidence, woke me up and I felt superb. It was a ritual. It gave me a good mood every single morning. In my naivety, I though I had some kind of secret thing on that nobody knew or would be wearing, so that also was a plus for me. Only later I really got to know the massive hype around this and all the things it would be associated with, and this leads to the part of my review that might actually shed some new light on this modern classic: I do not think it smells like alpha males, like business men, like a disguise for an ultimately insecure personality, or anything the likes. Not at all. My scent socialization does not connect fruity-floral-musky scents to these types. I find Aventus actually almost daring for people who might search for something in that vein. It is pretty, it has rose and jasmine (I love the heart now, by the way), it is slightly sweet, and the smoke, I mean, come on. This is not a smokey scent per se. I never had the chance to try the first two formulations where the smoke (as well as the oakmoss) are said to be way more pronounced. But this... no traditional concept of über-masculinity present here, to my nose.

Later on, Aventus taught me another important lesson: Batch variations exist, and the differences are noticeable, at least in this case. I bought a 100ml backup of this in April with a coupon, and of course, it was a different batch. And what can I say, it’s different. The top seems to last longer and, above all, fades more gradually into the heart with my second bottle, which is something I appreciate a lot. Also, this bottle has less vanilla, which also comes in handy.

Some last words on the presentation. I’m not fond of Creed’s present bottle design, but thankfully this one is at least okay and not a total pain in the eyes like that tacky golden Millesime Imperial bottle. Still, for this kind of money, leaving personal design preferences aside, I think you could at least expect a cap that fits (it clicks and clacks around like crazy) and is not made of super lightweight, cheapo plastic. The sprayer, while also rumored to be prone to failure, is something I’m fond of, though. It puts out a lot of juice (the infamous “firehose”), so you can move while spraying and, for example, cover your chest from left to right, albeit maybe not all the way. Older Creed sprayers are said to have been fabulous in this regard.

All in all, this scent was the gateway drug for me, and I’m glad it was.

06th July, 2020