Perfume Reviews

Reviews by scenting prey

Total Reviews: 61

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

Donít 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, ďLetís take a trip back to 2001.Ē Yes and no, as it turns out.

Itís bold (okay), itís unapologetic (sure), and itís not at all attempting to do anything but stay on beat announcing a ďwomanĒ is present just follow your nose. Thereís 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 youíd want to actively avoid the whole cougar baggage. Iím 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 canít see purchasing a full bottle but I can absolutely see someone who doesnít 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

Angťlique by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Good because itís 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 Schoenís use of champaca leaves this one wanting by comparison.
20th February, 2021
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Regent Leather by Thameen

Comme ci, comme Áa. Regent Leather is part of Thameenís 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? Itís not a quality issue for Regent Leather. Itís not a blending issue. But itís 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 itís 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 letís 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

NŁwa (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

Bengale Rouge by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Bengale Rouge was sent to me instead of my requested Anubis. Christmas pine cones meets Bit O Honey candy bar. Hard pass.
06th February, 2021

XJ Oud : Black Sukar by Xerjoff

Powerful. Beautiful. Excellent balance between fruits, florals, and oud-musk base. This is everything I want in a perfume oil.
06th February, 2021

Ilham by So Oud

Buckle up for the first and last review of SoOud Ilham because it has gone the way of the dodo. Haphazard inventories of SoOudís three-tier eau fine/nektar/díor continue to exist across discounters and independent boutiques but Ilham was the most popular and therefore scarce.

Unlike other entries of the SoOud line, Ilham has no current counterpart in SHL 777. Youíre either going to have to take your chances ordering from an independent Dubai shop during a pandemic, or look to other peach-saffron-woods-amber possibilities in other lines. The closest I own and wear is Thameen Sceptre though I feel Sceptre is more gourmand despite the depth of its Somali myrrh than the slightly dry Ilham. Ilham wears more incense on the back end, but the sample for this review was only the eau fine rather than nektar or nektar díor. I would love for SHL to bring Ilham into the 777 family at nektar strength in the lovely SHL bottle.
06th February, 2021

Nýr by So Oud

So Oud is a soon to be extinct line from Stephane Humbert Lucas. As of this review it has been discontinued making it available in irregular inventories across discounter and independent boutiques. There are several notable quirks that likely contributed to So Oudís brief market presence. The first and most obvious is the redundancy between many of So Oud and SHL 777 offerings which probably bred confusion leading to cannibalized sales given the price difference between So Oud and SHL 777. Another quirk that Iím sure sounded great in the business plan is So Oudís internal triple-tiered product line. Nur, for example, comes on eau fine (EDT/EDP?), nektar (extrait), and nektar díor (??). To indulge in a bit of pure speculation I believe the bottle hurt sales. SHL 777 bottles are stunning, recognizable, and can be associated with perfume. So Oud bottles look like nail polish or office supplies.

The Nur sample for this review is the Nur Nektar Díor tier. In classic SHL blending there are subtle shifts in development starting with a bright opening highlighted by slight spicy greenness then sweet musk and very slight woods. Always present is chamomile. The rest comes and goes but the chamomile stays put. Pursuing Nur Nektar Díor will run at least $275 for 30 ml assuming you find it at retail at all. Nur and Ilham were the first two in the line to sell out so both are unlikely to show up at discounters. As a reviewer noted above Soleil de Jeddeh would be most analogous from the same perfumer.
05th February, 2021 (last edited: 06th February, 2021)

2022 Generation Homme by Stťphane Humbert Lucas 777

Easily unisex despite the name. How high am I holding my thumbs up? Not very. GH 2022 is casual, smooth, and has a universal appeal, which are a lot of words for generic. SHL has his characteristic nose-catching opening with what smells to me as davana serving as an anchor throughout development. Oud? Where? I guess thereís a slight woodiness on the back end or at least the suggestion of it. What GH 2022 has going for it is modern and fresh, easy to wear. No one needs to be afraid of this one.
05th February, 2021

Kazimi by House of Matriarch

When it lists concrete as a note, believe it. HoM and I might be in the same geographic zipcode but in tastes we are worlds apart. This is quintessential Pacific Northwest if thatís what you are in the market for. Kazimi captures dusty tilled fields and freshly prunes hedges. Both this and Ambre Vie are not at all what I want in perfumery though I think it is not a matter of quality or execution. I simply donít like this style or this houseís offerings, so green on one hand and red on the other. Altogether neutral, moving on, and will sample pass to a loving home. My gratitude to the kind BN member who sample passed to me.
04th February, 2021
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Shaghaf Oud by Swiss Arabian Perfumery

Whether or not Shaghaf Oud meets the criteria for gourmand this is the sweetest, most foodie perfume I actually like. Itís pungent enough to make me tolerate the praline note and because the rose never asserts itself I can ride out the rough 30 minute opening. The oud, if you can call it that, isnít really distinguishable within the chemical chorus that makes up Shaghaf Oudís long, loud arc. Donít spray unless you can commit for at least 12 hours and for your sake do not spray more than once the first time. Nothing special overall though for my purchase price of around $25 a welcome addition.
04th February, 2021

Mysterious Oud by Bortnikoff

Mystery solved. Place moth balls and tiger balm in a teak box then place in the hot afternoon sun and there you have it, Mysterious Oud. There is something familiar about it that reminds me of summers in Asia, in fact the more I get to know the Bortnikoff line the more it (to me) smells like mundane tropical flora without much refinement. They are all pleasant with an earthy, organic touch but thatís about it.
04th February, 2021

Oud Stars : Al-Khatt by Xerjoff

An ultra-smooth refined jasmine that managed to charm someone so averse to white florals. I donít find the oud strong, just smooth.
02nd February, 2021

Oud Assam by Rania J

Oud Assam is like wearing a pub brawl. Full bottle worthy. Itís everything awful and wonderful all the others have said. So, so gooey good, and not without options for those inclined. I have an ASQ red saffron attar and Korres Saffron Amber perfume. When I want the pub brawl to turn into a knife fight I reach for the ASQ red saffron attar. To sweeten up some I mist Korres Saffron Amber, which by itself is typically too sweet for my tastes. To each their own but I personally work with my partner on when I will wear this because it is not pleasant for him. Best worn on your own time outside easily offended noses.
02nd February, 2021

L'Autre Oud by LancŰme

What a resinous beauty! A fabulous companion to attaining a ďcontext switchĒ in a hectic work and learning in-home balance. Líautre Oud has a wonderful cypriol and saffron counter to a weighty oud with the rose here understanding its supportive role. Spending nights glued to Neal Katyalís IG Courtside and huffing soulless fact patterns I feel Líautre Oud reanimates me a bit as wearable art allowing me to connect once more to the living. I place this amongst my SHL 777, Rania J Oud Assam, and Pekji.
02nd February, 2021

Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Oof. The ginger, basil, and citruses killed the incense for me. This came across like the salad one of my friends makes, an old school NYC Greek who puts ĎJust F-k Me Upí amounts of ginger and basil. The sour dry down does not improve the experience for wearers not favorably disposed to the initial cooking savories. I was here for the incense, something SN delivers in excess, and parts of SN are recognizable to TF fans. However, I feel there was actually more in common with Jubilation 25ís tarragon + incense.

Bottom line, since this has been discontinued for quite some time and was marketed as a feminine fragrance, Sahara Noir is not remotely safe blind buy territory despite holy grail reputation. Thumbs down on me individually. I might appreciate this more on a male who could wear it well and may very well sample pass to a male BNer willing to review de novo and publish for some balance.

Review from a carded spray vial.
01st January, 2021

L'Ambre des Merveilles by HermŤs

The version I own is the bespoke limited edition Calligraphie bottle HermŤs commissioned Wissam Shawkat to design. My understanding is same juice, different bottle. I think most people know where they stand on ambers so hereís what I think interested parties might want to know.

First, the pyramid here on BN as it is on the date of this review is off. Missing are woods, incense, and some resins. Notes: Amber, wood, peru balsam, vanilla sugar, sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, siam resin, caramel, oak, incense, orange peel and cedar.

Second, this is a spray away all day in that sillage, projection, and longevity are relatively discreet. Where you stand on those preferences should factor in.

Third, the Shawkat bespoke edition is no longer in production. Some discounters had it but I believe they are gone for the time being. Standard editions in production are the same juice.

Last, I have no other experience with other Merveilles and therefore can offer no comparison. However, this is no Amber Absolute or Grand Soir. The Shawkat edition is beautiful but I would have liked the woods and resins pumped up a bit to offset caramel sweetness.
18th December, 2020

Halston Woman Amber by Halston

For $9 this is a great freshie more amber-toned than actual amber. The red currant and aldehydes had me needlessly worried at the beginning. My experience wearing this is mostly rounded and blended, sort of like the scents shampoos or body washes in Asia have (Shiseido Super Mild comes to mind). Unisex and suitable for most weather. Itís very inoffensive, unassuming. But donít pay more than ten dollars.
17th December, 2020

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

Ambre 114 is often named as a reference or benchmark amber. I found it thin and odd, but more plastic and old lace than powdery as other red badges have noted. Thumbs down is not an indictment nor is it meant to dissuade others from trying Ambre 114. Merely, interested parties should not consider this a safe blind buy despite its reputation as a well-received reference amber. No real cautionary tale here except sample first and check discounters for availability in the $80-$90 range. Review from a purchased sample.
16th December, 2020

Ambre Khandjar by Une Nuit Nomade

This *might* be worth sampling for the tobacco aficionados. Normally, I donít like ďshisaĒ or ďnarguileĒ notes because they come across like cherry cola or Dr. Pepper. Ambre Khandjarís mid to base leans more tannins than cola. It is not a strong representation of tannins but I did have an impression fresh sweet tobacco though no tobacco note is listed. Not an amber I cared much for overall.
13th December, 2020

Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior

notspendingamillion laid bare most of my issues with Oud Ispahan, so I wonít belabor those points. Itís long lasting. Depending on where one falls on like/dislike that becomes a bug or feature. Neutral, but barely at that. I will struggle to finish my 2 ml sample due to the heavy chemical character of the rose. It is not a cheap smelling rose by any means, but a decidedly monotone one.
13th December, 2020

Raghba by Lattafa

Raghba is so unassuming itís all too easy to dismiss when first worn. Its sugar cubes soaked wood with slight musk formula is a simple linear champ that keeps chugging along a straight track. Like Baby Yoda, Raghbaís soft sweet presence is hard to dislike.

The sweet tea ó woody sugar cube juice is less interesting in isolation than it is when you begin group with comparable scents. As mentioned by other 24 Gold, Kalemat, and I would add Rasasi Sharina, Casamorati Bouquet Ideale, Berdoues Oud Wa Vanillia, Jo Malone Silver Needle Tea, Elisire Desired, and maybe even Montale Arabians Tonka. Some like Jo Malone outright claim a tea note, but I think the oud-light sweet woodiness profile of many trade woodsmoke for a smoked tea. And for context I do not lightly ascribe tea to many scents.

Raghba is very competitively priced and widely available. If you donít need strong florals (or like me eschew them in favor of more prominent saffron and cumin) then Raghba makes sense even for a blind buy as long as you have well-grounded expectations. Raghba does not have Sharinaís or Arabians Tonkaís pungent saffron to curb the sweetness, but the woods and musk are not entirely declawed. If I did not already have Sharina mukhallat (and prefer it due to saffron inclusion) I would enthusiastically acquire FB Raghba.
05th December, 2020

Ambre d'Alexandrie by Boucheron

Shisa. Narguile. Tobacco. These linguistic markers seem to converge on the same note I encounter with such frequency that oversaturation is on the near horizon if not closer. Neutral from my wearing because it is still a quality, pleasant blend. Tobacco lovers would be wise to take heed of rogalalís observation of the sweet wood dry down. Boucheronís Ambre is quite long-lived with a tenacious sweetness that is the last to leave the party. Amber? Alexandria never heard of her.

Review based on a carded spray vial. As of the time of this writing discounters have this about $85-100 for 4.1 oz.
03rd December, 2020 (last edited: 02nd December, 2020)

Memoir Woman by Amouage

Calling all Suicide Girls come get your Dimetapp-laced absinthe. The quality is there, no doubt, but Memoir is a young personís game in my opinion. Yeah, I had Poison back in the early 90s I wouldnít argue thereís no likeness although I think Memoirís dampness gets a little swampy in overall feel. And itís an Amouage if youíre not going to commit donít bother. On me itís going to be less bar association and more ready for the Slytherin PTA meeting. Thereís already more than enough genderbended Geralt of Rivia vibe for me to tone down, I donít need to wordlessly convey my evil plan to marry the princessís father and run her out of the kingdom.

Thumbs down, then? Hell no, thumbs up! It a challenge I couldnít meet, doesnít mean someone else canít.
02nd December, 2020

Amber Vanilla by Regina Harris

The basis for this review is a Luckyscent sample I ordered. Readers interested in Regina Harris oils should note I have a good number of this form factor; a concentrated perfume oil. Sometimes reviews will refer to an attar or mukhallat, but I will use CPO to abbreviate concentrated perfume oil.

Letís roll through some points.

1. Regina Harris is not a name I recognize in perfumery or cosmetics. My interest piqued due to notes and CPO form factor. Based on knowledge from other domains unrelated to perfumery, I believe this may be a white labeled product made to order. Her bio remains blank so if there is some backstory out there I am naive as of the time I write this review.

2. All information points to a total of two perfumes in her brandís portfolio, both CPO that donít greatly diverge from many basic note compositions amber/vanilla/bakhoor and rose/myrrh/frankincense. The plot thickens I suppose. Odd truncated portfolio of fairly standard offerings in the genre and form factor.

3. Rarely do I find or describe a scent as sexy. The same holds true here: not conflating incense-y vanilla with sex. These sorts of scents arenít considered feminine in relation to my ethnic cultural background, nor my partnerís.

On to the review.

The green header tips my hand to readers that I enjoy wearing Regina Harris Amber Vanilla. It performs comparably to CPOs of well known brands and in my humble opinion appears to be good quality. Amber Vanilla is more expensive relative to the many attars and mukhallats from better known houses, and the vessel is merely on par with CPOs in this price range and lower ranges. Thereís not much special going on here, though it is very easy to wear. Does the Ďamberí shine through? Not really, based on what I perceived compared to say Olympic Orchids Amber, Rania J Ambre Loup, or even Yves Rocher Voile díAmbre. Expect more of a burnt incense slowly unfolding into a fog that suggests amber and moderate sweetness that could be vanilla if you know itís called Amber Vanilla.

For those whose first experience with a CPO is here donít judge in the first half hour of swiping the wand across your pulse points. And if indeed the full bottle itself uses a wand or rollerball application itís worth discovering application methods that generate sillage with CPOs. Harsh openings can be misleading to where the scent will fully develop. The payoff with CPOs can often be on longevity and restrained projection. I prefer my scents reined in and mixed with skin instead of overwriting it.

Thumbs up but not FBW at full retail. At $125 there are many worthy competitor CPOs. Be aware the volume of Regina Harris oils are closer to one tola than EDP typical volumes of 30 ml or more. Bear in mind the greater concentration of an oil. Overall this is an approachable entry CPO.
26th November, 2020

Sayat Nova by Bortnikoff

Review based on a sample from Luckyscent. I am partial to Rajesh because I value his fragrance reviews and because he is following a difficult path bifurcating an academic career into artisanry. Product development is a never ending cycle of beating back a host of challenges to bring to market, distribute, and breathe life into what was once an idea. Sayat Nova as a concept is something I can fully embrace.

So here are my constructive criticisms with the utmost respect intended. Sampling was not an ideal experience. I think the natural materials do not fare well and perhaps oxidize or destabilize when decanted. The sample I had was authentic, and I could get a sense of the construction; the concept I was already in love with. Upon application there was a bit of fermentation that I donít think was intentional, and I began to suspect this isnít a juice that remains the same under such different storage than intended. I have a few of what would be considered barnyards and itís not that.

The rum, apricot, vanilla, ouds were all there but like a hit of extra fermentation or oxidation, and I got the sense from others around me that the additional off note was detectable to more than just me. Bottom line for persons sampling in the future, Iím not sure the samples are true representatives of the bottle juice. Maybe some who bought FB or tested directly from FB can weigh in. Very interested in reading reviews from those who have the attar version.
19th November, 2020

Aurum by Al Kimiya

Take a good look at the pyramid. Now, toss that away because youíre going to get immense strawberry. What kind of strawberry? Well, I would say a nearly gourmand strawberry syrup. Really dense, sweet, and surprising given the lineís naming scheme involves Al Kamiya (alchemy) and Aurum. For kicks I asked my older teen with his impertinent facial hair to give a hot take on Aurum: pollen and bug spray. I might do that more often for no-filter reactions. Itís a great Zoomer reality check (and hilarious at times).

Aside from common sense recommendation to sample first what can the reviews offer to help connect the right people to this scent? For fans of Manceraís Roses Vanille, you might like this one or find it redundant. Fans of Delina for its syrupy treatment may also like Aurum. Aurum is very strong and will project something fierce in the first hour or so, then quiet down quickly. For those looking at the oud and labdanum donít bank on it making a noticeable appearance.
19th November, 2020