Perfume Reviews

Reviews by scenting prey

Total Reviews: 84

Kagiroi by Di Ser

Essentia Limited is an agricultural research and development company based in Hokkaido. For those who do not know, Hokkaido is like the Alaska of Japan seated as the northernmost island just outside Russian territory. Only a ferry ride separates Hokkaido from Sakhalin. I don’t recall much of Japanese history but I believe the Ainu were most populous in Hokkaido and Sakhalin prior to the Yamato people who are what are now considered Japanese. Japan isn’t even a Japanese word, it’s the import of the Chinese pronunciation of Japan.

So why the info dump? Because Essentia is two product lines that are twin brands: Di Ser and Yuragi. Both lines use distillations of the Hokkaido botanicals. The same ag lab produces materials for natural fragrances. In the case of Di Ser the materials are made into perfumes and advertised in English. Yuragi is primarily in Japanese selling room sprays and interesting vegetal cellular water, a sort of herb-based medicinal pharmacology.

One of my relatives has worked in Hokkaido ag labs for a very long time. Di Ser uses pharmacology grade distillations from an incredibly pristine land. You may like Yuragi products as well though there isn’t much English on the website as of the time of this review.
09th April, 2021

Black Orchid Parfum by Tom Ford

Rum + plum = umeshu (梅酒) or plum wine. Black Orchid parfum takes the EDP to an izakaya for some drinks and okazu. Am I using a little too much Nihongo here? Sorry, Basenotes. Blame Big Daddy Tom Ford for going plum crazy. I’m assuming, and perhaps even rushing to judge, Plum Japonais bears more than casual resemblance to this parfum edition of Black Orchid. The truffle still shines through over the sweet base but what the umeshu contributes is increased masculinity in the opening compared to the EDP. By drydown you’ll be in the same zipcode as EDP.
09th April, 2021

Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford

Soleil Blanc is very ill-suited for me. It was a blind buy based on how easily I wear Black Orchid and Noir Pour Femme. Once I use up my travel atomizer I am never looking back. The coconut is overwhelming for me.
09th April, 2021
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Shooting Stars : Cruz Del Sur II by Xerjoff

Too sweet and fruity. Cruz Del Sur II has an artificial food flavoring core that never makes the jump to perfume for me. A lot of Asian malls have fruit smoothie stalls in the middle of the food court and I love going to them so I was hoping Cruz Del Sur II would be more like that. It’s not. It’s more like the syrups you put on Hawaiian shave ice.
09th April, 2021

Golden Powder by House of Oud

What we have here in Golden Powder from The House of Oud is essentially Bouquet Ideale 2.0 if it was issued under Oud Stars. Sight unseen I would have believed someone if they had said it was a Xerjoff. Golden Powder is well blended with a slight oud touch that might smell like plastic or rubber for those more naive (as in new to) oud, but in no way a Montale-style. I also would not compare to PdM based on my sampling of Oajan, Hamdani, Habdan. Those run a little more overt chemical to my nose with some harsh synth cinnamon or cardamom pseudo-spice. ThoO Golden Powder cinnamon note is nearly indistinguishable from Bouquet Ideale and by that I mean it’s not identifiable really by “cinnamon” only the suggestion of supporting spice and woods.

I don’t see a lot of men going for this for the lack of “oomph” as Sniffers cites. Golden Powder is pleasing and shy, one that goes into my Peloton Wife yoga bunny set of vanilla orientals. How does Golden Powder rate against competitors? At what price point is it worthwhile and does it merit a separate purchase? My purchase price from a discounter with codes, credit card offers, and points applied to purchase leveraged the price paid by me to about $98 for 75 ml. Retail at boutique is about $220. Xerjoff Bouquet Ideale at 100 ml is $305.

My advice is to consider Rasasi Sharina for this category. You’ll get everything THoO and Xerjoff (or even YSL Magnificent Gold) offer with nuclear projection and eternal longevity all for about $38-$50 in concentrated perfume oil. The runner up or companion here is Lattafa Raghba with the trade off less blended, more sugary than Sharina and you have EDP vs. CPO.

One last note: THoO official pyramid differs from Basenotes.

Nutmeg, Cinnamon

Sandalwood, Guaiac Wood, Virginia Cedar wood

Musk, French Labdanum, Vanilla, Coumarin, Tobacco Blossom, Burma Oud
03rd April, 2021

The Cora by Thameen

The Cora is part of Thameen’s Treasure Collection, a wisteria-anchored floral bolstered by notable light musk. Anyone caught wondering to themselves this sounds not unlike other florals musks, well, you’re not wrong. I doubt The Cora was ever meant to be groundbreaking, and as I work my way through Thameen refinement does seem to be what they are offering rather than anything else. Those that are huge fans of Bright Crystal, Fatale Pink, Brit Sheer, and Lanvin E’clat de Arpege but wished for a refined extrait version might find their holy grail here. I’d like potential buyers to note my bottle is labeled extrait strength while the box is labeled EDP. I bought from a reputable boutique we all frequent and this label variation appears at large luxury retailers. Whether EDP or extrait - it’s strong. Thameen spray nozzles create some of the finest mist of the perfumes I have. If your targeting is accurate you may apply more than intended.
03rd April, 2021

Sceptre by Thameen

The line of demarcation between well blended and pulverized is blurred in Thameen’s line. Sceptre is one of the Sovereign Collection, an interesting standoff between gourmand and savory I am guessing comes from the use of ambergris playing against the peach, florals, coriander and cloves. It smells like a perfumer took an olfactory snapshot of high tea in Kowloon then pulverized it all from seafood to dessert into baby food texture. Sceptre is a demi gourmand smoothie of mainly peach and myrrh with sweet-salty background. I see amber in the pyramid but I would not describe it as such. What Sceptre is without a doubt is strong. Some Thameen are labeled EDP on their box but labeled extrait on the bottle. You may see the same scent advertised as extrait or EDP from authorized retailers. Whatever the case may be my bottle of Sceptre is so strong on a warm day it will reactivate from a jacket or shirt with residual spray. Tame, but not timid.
03rd April, 2021

Omnia Crystalline by Bulgari

This does not smell like bamboo. I don’t think it smells like lotus or nashi either. And just to drive the point home I eat bamboo, lotus, and nashi. What this does well is deliver no more and no less an ethereal fresh commercial scent not too far off the beaten path of agreeable shampoos, deodorants, and the like. It’s easy to sell me on nearly any scent that is green tea, pear (nashi), lotus, bamboo, osmanthus, especially with artful discretion. Omnia Crystalline EDT gets the job done nicely.
01st April, 2021

Oud Stars : Fars by Xerjoff

Light and spicy. While there’s no rose in the pyramid the sum of the parts doesn’t stray far enough from basic rose-oud to fully distinguish itself. This is one Xerjoff didn’t jam syrupy fruits into, an unfortunate proclivity I find ruinous among their expansive portfolio.
01st April, 2021

B683 Extrait by Marc-Antoine Barrois

Potion of Charisma +2. Gentlemen, have the decency to come with a warning label if you wear this one.
31st March, 2021

Saffron Amber by Korres

For around $20 for 50 ml at the time of this review you can do a lot worse than Korres Saffron Amber. It’s fresh, light, and sweet with discernible saffron, lemon, and berries. Alone it’s far too sweet for me but for those seeking a non-challenging natural freshie I think this would be a fine purchase. I like to use it with strong oud if and when I would like to lighten the experience up a bit. Persons who may want to hard pass on Saffron Amber are those who do not like realistic saffron. While it is nowhere oil strength like ASQ Red Saffron, Korres does seem to use an appreciative amount to potentially turn you off. The dry down is a lot like a pomelo-flavored rice candy so if you’ve had that before, or maybe even drank ramune, you might find yourself in familiar territory.
21st March, 2021

Opus VI by Amouage

Worth a 2 ml carded spray but not even close to FBW to me. The bay leaf was not overplayed as I had feared. The opening reminds me of Ormonde Jayne’s Ambre Royale pepper but it is much dryer like roots or underbrush. Pekji’s Odoon has more ash and soot though I think there’s room in there to compare the woodiness. Dry twigs or kindling for those who are either outdoor types or grew up with wood stoves.
21st March, 2021

Amber Oudh by Rasasi

This review is from a brand-new-in-box purchase with my own money from a reputable merchant. I also own a few other Rasasi, as well as ASQ attars and oil blends. Context provided.

Wash your hands with Ivory soap and you’ll get the same scent. There was no other note, no development, in any part of the arc. I wrote a civil inquiry to the merchant why this might be. No reply. I stopped short of a charge back because it was sealed. Caveat emptor.
21st March, 2021
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Osmanthus Blossom by Jo Malone

I use this as a room scent and love it. To be candid, I get no peach or osmanthus or any sort. There’s a generic floral that could easily be identified as rose by anyone who didn’t know this was named Osmanthus Blossom. It reminds me a lot of what mid-tier hair salons in the suburbs would use, or weddings, maybe an open house for prospective buyers. It’s appealing in a commercial way.

If I wanted to wear something in this refreshing style I would opt for Nishane’s Wulong Cha (strong) or Oribe Côte d'Azur (light) instead. For more osmanthus I would opt Ormonde Jayne’s Qi Intensivo, which is oddly more osmanthus than the actual Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus standard or elixir. Then there’s always Amouage Journey Woman if you are at go big or go home.
21st March, 2021

Magnificent Gold by Yves Saint Laurent

YSL Magnificent Gold (MG from here on) came to my attention from reviews posted on YSL from Kuwait, Istanbul, and the Netherlands. Primarily, the reviews lamented MG’s poor performance for the price while pining for opening notes. In short I knowingly purchased a very flawed product, which was also my first YSL to date. As an encore I ordered a backup bottle a little over a month later. Do not take my purchases, or my thumbs up, to intend any endorsement.

Issue #1: Price. One purchaser calculated her purchase price in Kuwait came in at around $250 USD, and yet another in GBP cited £250. I purchased mine at around $132 USD from Neiman Marcus. Currently, at well-known discounters 75 ml YSL MG *with* 35% discount code is roughly $213. Check size (75 ml or 125 ml) when evaluating prices.

Issue #2: Sillage & Projection. I tend to go light on application or stick to extraits that nicely rein in personal scent bubbles. This may or may not be in response to higher body heat. When a fragrance is light then I feel a bit more free to apply liberally, it takes some of the anxiety of projection out for me. One person’s bug is another person’s feature.

Issue #3: Longevity. Some of my fragrances transfer more easily than others. MG, in my opinion and use, is one of those that transfer onto nearly anything and everything. If I wear it to bed at night the sheets and my spouse will smell like MG by morning. I don’t know much about perfumery, and certainly near nothing about aromachemicals, but I would hedge a guess some of what makes the pink pepper, woods, and vanilla accords like to find surfaces. Larger surface area perhaps reduces concentration. Who knows. I think many will find this sticks more onto their clothing than skin.

Summed up YSL Magnificent Gold is a big vanilla oriental with a so-called white oud that comes across more like a non-plastic oud impression. Society most likely finds mature women wearing white oud vanilla soothing and meeting expectations so this one works for me at $130~. I can then keep my barnyards to myself on my own hours.
20th March, 2021

L'Eau d'Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum by Issey Miyake

Agree with rbaker about honey so I imagine this is origin of the nectar namesake. Unfortunately, honey is one note I intensely dislike to spend hours with uninterrupted. Joining the honey or nectar are some fresh accords that signal to humans a manmade fragrance is present. My spouse loves this particular fragrance and the category of light fresh feminine florals with musk from designers like Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Versace, Lanvin, and so on. It’s possible Pure Nectar is a compliment-getter from males if you can look past N=1 and unreasonably generalize. I did not care for Pure Nectar from the moment of application onward but I’d hazard this is a safe choice and if you are seeking male compliments this may work. Then again, two reviews with two neutral ratings. You can’t say you went uninformed.

Review from carded spray vial. Shiseido, I thought we were better friends than this.
19th March, 2021

Fetish pour Femme by Roja Dove

Lime, lime, and more lime. There might have been a smidge of leather towards dry down. What I sampled is thumbs way down but I am going to leave this as neutral because I’m not convinced my sample was (1) correct; (2) legit; (3) full strength. I can’t say I am awash in disappointment to not care for either Enslaved or Fetish, neither is one I would like to say aloud to someone who might ask what I’m wearing. It’s not sexy sounding, it’s goofy.
19th March, 2021

Méharées by L'Erbolario

Meharees smells pleasantly like a snickerdoodle made with dates by someone with a heavy hand for ginger. I have no experience with MR but I have tried Zoologist Camel, and Meharees does remind me of Camel both in general scent profile and a neutral shrug. Based on the reviews here I am hopeful I can eventually connect to someone who appreciates Meharees.

L’Erbolario does interest me still and I did have a quite satisfactory experience ordering from the sole US-based authorized online retailer. Looking at their shop I think I would love to browse for soaps and shower products. It was wonderful to have an independent retailer to do business with rather than the increasing wilds of auction sites. Like many reviews of L’Erbolario, there is much to enjoy about the line.
17th March, 2021

Féminité du Bois by Serge Lutens

Shiseido products have been my mainstay for decades. Where many went to K-beauty in the last few years I’ve always stuck with J-beauty. It’s hard to beat Shiseido skincare and cosmetics. Dedicated Shiseido perfumery, on the other hand, is new territory for me and I’m not sure I took a good turn down Serge Lutens lane.

Féminité du Bois comes across to me as a grape pixie stick mixed in with papier-mâché. It has a half life of about one hour, is pleasant if a bit thin (not a dealbreaker), and unfortunately follows up my horrid experience with the one other Serge Lutens I tried to love, Ambre Sultan. I am 0 for 2 with Lutens and not sure that I can make peace with this line. The upside may be a good upcoming deal on AS + FdB in the sale forum. I am glad to have tried them if for no other reason than reference.
15th March, 2021

Voile d'Ambre by Yves Rocher

Voile d'Ambre is no longer in production despite the profile stating otherwise. For a hot minute it was available at online auction sites for modest pricing as flippers picked up it up on clearance. Now I think it’s going for a bit higher as the remaining stock dwindles adding a snowball effect among reselling flippers. It’s an interesting ecosystem to say the least.

I thought Yves Rocher Voile d'Ambre was a wonderfully balanced ‘amber’ in that the citrus, myrrh, woods, and incense kept any sweetness well in check with the citrus assuming the lead. It then gives way to incense and resins, but remains present enough to act as level, sort of like a well placed fulcrum with sweet on one side and incense on the other. Any cardamom that might have been present was either extremely shy or a real team player because I did not notice it.

You’ll likely note all the green badges here, most due to performance and blend in relation to its price point—this was a heckuva bargain for the quality. Though I did not give it the intimate test drive one of the reviewers did with his spouse, I would hedge a bet this is not typical of a compliment-getting fragrance for a woman. It smells good, is comforting, and quite satisfying as cello notes in a prior review.

Chase it? For the time being I think some sellers have remained in touch with reality. Those sellers are the ones I cherish, the ones who have spent time finding quality inventory and price ready for a quick transaction. One small bottle of Voile d'Ambre was enough for me, but it has opened a door to Yves Rocher. I wish I knew more about their offerings because the current line up leaves me both a bit confused by a paradox of choice and concerned about redundancy.

Two moderate-to-high thumbs up (depending on what you pay). It’s a safe choice.
14th March, 2021

Essence No. 3 : Ambre by Elie Saab

What makes Elie Saab’s Ambre stand out is its kinship to the more expensive Grand Soir. Although I am a long time enthusiast of Kurkdjian’s compositions, starting with Green Tea, neither No. 3 Ambre nor Grand Soir set my world on fire. I by far prefer Xerjoff Alexandria II, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux, or even Amber Absolute, if I opine on which ambers resonate with me.

So it is this Kurkdjian genealogical asset that begs comparative valuation turning the question away from value in its own right to a relative value. Saab’s Ambre has become scarce at discounters in the last year or so driving the price up by enterprising flippers who are counting on the inflated relative value to motivate buyers. Only a buyer can determine if the flipper’s white-knuckled grip on price is worthwhile. I am here to say it is still available at discounters if you are patient and resourceful at around $80 including shipping. Online auctions would have you believe differently, and given No. 3 Ambre develops discordantly between a bubble gum opening to a rather cookie or cake-like vanilla with resins, $150 is questionable.

I passed twice on this at $80 through discounters. No. 3 Ambre is pleasant and does the job nicely of conveying a comforting amber, and in a monotone I would assume intended to layer with the other numbers, making it possibly more of a base than stand-alone. While not eternal, I did find the longevity to last overnight turning into a faint ‘dark’ vanilla by morning. But quite sweet.

To those looking to a sweet, mellow amber and are not dissuaded by a bubble gum smell, $80 for this slightly less than grand soir is where I recommend a purchase point. Mild thumbs up.

Review based on decant from The Perfumed Court.
12th March, 2021

Delina by Parfums de Marly

Delina is overwhelming to me at EDP strength. One spritz from a spray sample was enough to send it off to a more loving home. But lo! Delina also comes in hair mist concentration, a product category that may give rise to instant judgment and associated lowered expectations. Delina hair mist is strong for this product category effectively making it the unofficial Delina EDT, and as such the sweetness is toned down significantly allowing the peony and tart rhubarb to express themselves in zen garden watercolors. If the option of a Delina EDT sounds promising to you then rejoice the 75 ml is readily found at discount around $59. PdM has never hit my niche radar despite trying many from the line. Delina hair mist worn as an EDT has been the sole exception.
28th February, 2021

Amber Musk by Montale

Here’s a review request for persons who can truly detect Amber Musk. I smell nothing. Therefore any further review will become an accidental Suess tale. Not here, not there, no such scent anywhere! Oh dear! Oh dear!
25th February, 2021

Enslaved by Roja Dove

Holy Baby Powder, Batman. Colin and deadidol nailed this already, so all I can add is my utter disconnect with this Roja release. I might have to find a new loving home for the rest of my 2 ml sample. Excuse me while I make a hasty retreat back to Puredistance M and the Gulf Collection.
23rd February, 2021

Yellow Diamond by Versace

Don’t overthink this one. One ounce of analysis beyond its face value will pop the bubble of whimsy Yellow Diamond solicits. This review is from a carded sample vial I purchased with ironic intent. Had Yellow Diamond come loaded in an autoinjector I would have jabbed my leg with a smirk and thought, “Let’s take a trip back to 2001.” Yes and no, as it turns out.

It’s bold (okay), it’s unapologetic (sure), and it’s not at all attempting to do anything but stay on beat announcing a “woman” is present just follow your nose. There’s sort of an enjoyable drag here like a Spring-themed Elvira, Mistress of the Overripe Bloom. For ladies who are in the mature category, this is either target zone for you or you’d want to actively avoid the whole cougar baggage. I’m not judging (you do you), but many others will which is news to nearly no one.

Launched in 2011 according to the Basenotes profile, Yellow Diamond entered the market a full decade later than I assumed. This could make Yellow Diamond dated or a retrospective culmination of the two-thousand aughts itself. A fun fragrance for what it is, I can’t see purchasing a full bottle but I can absolutely see someone who doesn’t know me well gifting me this if that makes sense.

3/5 in temperate US climates skewing 40+
4/5 in tropical Asian climates 25+
21st February, 2021

Angélique by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Good because it’s not bad is not a resounding endorsement. How I wish I had received the Anubis I requested instead of Angelique and Bengal Spice as supposed substitutes. The most I can say about Angelique is its floral green is fresh, is balanced, though great for a soap or shampoo like Aveda products. Angelique wears like a simplified Ormonde Jayne, and in my opinion Geza Schoen’s use of champaca leaves this one wanting by comparison.
20th February, 2021

Regent Leather by Thameen

Comme ci, comme ça. Regent Leather is part of Thameen’s Treasure Collection, and is an extrait co-branded with Rolls Royce. I own and enjoy Sceptre from its Sovereign Collection which, like Regent Leather, does not have a floral-intense pyramid. Basel bin Jabr has built quite a brand from lighting up the Tower of London Thameen dazzling blue at night to an ostentatious Selfridges display complete with heavy metal fog. So why are there no green badges here from any reviewer? It’s not a quality issue for Regent Leather. It’s not a blending issue. But it’s also not leather enough for a Subaru let alone co-branded with Rolls bloody Royce. By far I prefer vegetal tannins to a more realistic leather in a fragrance but when the product is defined by luxury car leather I cannot but see how the pyramid as delivered disappoints so many. On a stand-alone basis I enjoy wearing Regent Leather though not nearly as much as Sceptre with both sharing a sweet-salty facet. This goes a little too lemon-vanilla for my tastes.
16th February, 2021

T. Habanero by Rania J

Oh T. Habanero it’s no wonder the lads are besotted with you. Rania J finessed the punchiness of Oud Assam with the warm base of Ambre Loup sprinkling in some subtle tobacco that blooms from the fermented spice. On the right guy this could be killer in the mid to end. Sadly, not for me so I will have to sample pass this glass slipper onto another candidate.
15th February, 2021

Arabians Tonka by Montale

You know what? This is an enjoyable casual wear and I have no doubts Montale had that in mind making this riff on the BR540 genre. I am in the minority who dislike Intense Cafe, and everything I disliked (prominent rose, coffee) about it was edited out or weakened to make room for what I do like in this version of Arabians. Easy reach, easy to wear, not unique, so let’s talk about FB price. For what Arabians Tonka is you can get a few Al Haramain that will suffice, or look towards discounters. The redundancy in this genre among multiple brands renders this amber tonka oud fungible in summary.
12th February, 2021

Nüwa (new) by Roja Dove

Surprising absolutely no one, I love the sublime quality of this Nuwa incarnation. A bit quizzical though in note strength in ratio to application. Spray a little to get sweet and salty pungent spice with the merest hint of florals. Spray any more than that then the rose musters up courage to flaunt itself. Not being much of a rose (or white floral) person myself I prefer a light application. Among the Imperial Collection Nuwa reigns supreme in my singular esteem.
12th February, 2021