Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Ed Wardian

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Total Reviews: 27

Patchouli Eau de Parfum by Molinard

Surely patchouli deserves more love, compassion and understanding than the peacenik stereotype it generally garners. The enhancing power of this ‘green leaf’ continues to enrich perfume blends with its resinous, dark, musky, earthiness that resembles metallic, peppery wet soil; yet it barely receives any enduring love apart from being a retro comb-over for cannabis odours and hippie naturalism. More in part to its scent intensity, even in diluted form, a bit of patchouli does have a vigourous pull. Truly, its testament lies as a fixative note that often extends the life of other starring notes of the spectrum... Here from Molinard’s “les éléments exclusifs” line, we have a featured patchouli theme conveniently placed in the heart of the bill that is genuinely balanced. Molinard Patchouli upgrades itself as an EDP concentration that is pleasing, sensual and mysteriously androgynous. The opening kicks off with the soapy, honeyed blossom of neroli and the rosy green nuance of geranium bursting out of the gate, snared heartily by the engrossing star patchouli that culminates into a hypnotic coppery aura; a truly, deeply, madly kind that resonates throughout the accord, revealing sexy leathery nuances till a base layer of a sweet musk, a dusty sandalwood, and a tasteful vanilla transition towards a ghostly cocoa finish. What remains is an alluring shadow play of magic that is seductive, bewitching and measured. Aww, to be tantalized!
29th December, 2020

Encre Noire by Lalique

Encre Noire altered the scape for vetiver scents with a daring, rustic minimalism that bordered on niche; proving that a modern masculine perfume of this nature could break against the conventional tide of sweet appeal, as well as the traditional soapy-centric lemonades, and strike a chord with the masses. Imagine the smoky, dank peat of Islay fermenting on an aura of dry, earthy cypress and sensual wood musks as a contemporary scent of fashion, beyond vogue. Truly, the unconventional became a new convention that distanced itself from the definitive 20th century mossy, citrus, spicy hay where vetiver seemed to be gift-wrapped as an elegant barbershop (ex. Carven Vetiver, Guerlain Vetiver, Givenchy Vetyver, distinctively notable in their own right). This 2006 release brought a futurist rendering to a finicky genre that seemed so boxed in and limited to these classic templates. Encre Noire merely opened the box and let the dark cool vapour of vetiver breathe as a new urban hip that was fittingly sober and all business... It begins with a cypress opening that is dry, earthy, sharp and green, along side a vetiveryl acetate, giving off a citrus-like conjuring that transitions towards a hearty possession of an ethereal, clean Haitian vetiver and its Bourbon brother, whose smoky streak is nutty, leathery, and soiled in flavour. Each a complementary, each a contrast, each a vetiver strain, that functions in dualistic fashion, beating harmoniously with its linearity. This one-way direction heads towards a base of cashmere wood musks, shaped by Iso E Super, that surrender to the vetiver rush, giving the design its inky billing. The mere absence of any floral or citrus notes in the accord is remarkably audacious, and its strictly vetiver theme is astonishing given its wrinkled nose reputation. Encre Noire is a pure work of art, a standard to be judged by, from a masterful perfumer and a house that continues to remain beautifully edgy and refined within the designer orthodoxy. Bravo!
23rd December, 2020

Ombre Noir by Lalique

Ombre Noire opens with a refreshingly, slight tartiness due to an amalgam of mint, fig leaf and bergamot, that smoothly transitions toward a heart straddled with rich tobacco strains and a powdery cinnamon bark, nimbly rounded by papyrus that notably delivers an Eastern, distinctive, arid earthiness to the entire accord. This dry nuance is sumptuously ripened by the plummy depth of cognac, and the ritual blessing of myrhh and incense on a dry cedar tableau of sprinkled coumarin. The end result is a dulcet oriental of an opaque 'masala' richness, thankfully far from the kitchen variety, and more in line with a graceful trail of opulence... The underrated Lalique continues to impress with its nearly borderline audacity and its fluid creativity to the designer game. Ombre Noire was a Middle Eastern exclusive yet deserves to be sought out and universally embraced especially by those who appreciate redolent fragrances. Beautiful!
16th December, 2020
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Baldessarini Ultimate by Baldessarini

Ultimate opens with a stunning, tasty, pink pepper along with a mandarin and bergamot one-two punch that jolts the olfactory with a palpitating rush that one feels when there is something wickedly beautiful in the making. Thankfully, it is just that… The sweeping floral heart, particularly, the dusty freesia shapes the whole accord by rounding the citric waxiness of magnolia and the pissy dryness of jasmine, into a garland of airy delight till a leathery, earthy base enters and put its full weight down. The smooth leather note, with a thin suede finish, is augmented by the resinous exchange of labdanum and amber, that gives the accord a softly refine animalic timber, balanced out with an incense, possibly masked as ISO E Super (merely an assumption), that strips the tone out of the earthy, woody green patchouli while retaining the spicy bits. All this consequential action in the base gives Ultimate its divinely masculine gravitas. Citric, floral, spicy and beautifully refreshing in a male genre overfilled with cavities. Ultimate is revelatory and a dare release for a designer house that let Geza Schoen do his thing. Sexy, manly, classy, elegant and worthy!
12th December, 2020

Pour Un Homme by Caron

This harmonious dance from 1934, begins with a sour, metallic screech that stems from a richly, sharp lavender being polished up by a rosemary, bergamot and lemon underbelly, sending this lavender knight towards a bare, floral heart that skips a wooden beat in anticipation of an oncoming brush with a vanilla laced queen, spellbound in coumarin. Together, the plushly forward lavender and the largely velvety vanilla enter the amberous bed of musk, with a bare-bottomed moss, to eagerly interweave as one… This baroque lavender of propriety crossing illicit stares with a bracing vanilla of seasoned sensuality was a bold risk at the time of its release. As a perfume targeted for men, it played seamlessly with a feminine grace, that gave way to a new urbane feel and a distinctly new signature. The barbershop medicinal cleanliness meeting the radiating sugar warmth and its lush comfort was strictly understated to keep within social mores, given that women’s perfumery was generally at a louder volume. Pour un Homme de Caron was a pioneering scent of gender interplay, that remains timeless and thankfully, an ambiguous male signature. I can only tip my bowler to Ernest Daltroff and his muse, for this 86 year old classic appears effortlessly simple, given the two note harmony on the surface yet it is complex in its rounding hints that truly make the lavande-vanille transcendent… Simply, a ground breaking classic that continues to be felt in the works of today (JPG, Killian, Molinard, here’s looking at you kids!).
09th December, 2020

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

This 1973 game-changer refined the fougère as we know it. With a likely template that stemmed from 64’s Brut Fabergé, Paco Rabanne brought a newer fit to the genre with a soapy green to its laundry floral, along side a dirty, honeyed, mossy chest of musk, that was strictly tighter. Paco Rabanne was the adulated, the emulated, the simulated, and the hated standard for tobacco greens of the seventies, the indolic powerhouses of the eighties, and the status quo scent for men’s grooming for decades. Surely, it was the lynchpin, before the 90’s Cool Water age ushered a new kind of squeaky for a whole new conservative. Yet, it still trudges along like an aging kingpin in this century, remaining faithfully adored particularly within the barbershop realm and the wet-shaving flock. Described in a nutshell, this is a bottled mantra of ‘a cleanliness is next to godliness’ for that steamy butt-wiggling out of the shower feel. Anyone familiar with the Irish Spring advert way back, that featured a rugged, young buck in suds bathing in grassy pastures, sums up the gist and drift. Basically, a disco clean of green with a balsamic soul, Paco Rabanne pour Homme still resonates and remains the figurehead of its fougère class, despite being out of step. All power to it for just that!
06th December, 2020

1000 Miglia Vintage by Chopard

A limited edition flanker, from the 1000 Miglia series, that pays homage to the inaugural 1927 Mille Miglia, the Italian cannonball run, with sumptuous flair and daredevil confidence. The racing heart continues to beat with the signature throttle of asphalt and violet, revving the series’ engine with thematic fumes that remain fetching. Vintage 1927 opens with a slightly sharp, sweet guise of a lavender being reined in by an eager juniper onto the hearty violet tarmac, where doors unlock to a smooth Connolly leather and an airy ambre 83 base built around labdanum and vanilla, bringing forth a sensual, suede finish to the adage. Shades of Le Male, Pour Un Homme de Caron, Fahrenheit and Black hover in the bitumen. Vintage 1927 is a tribute to an illustrious past that is modern and simply riveting from start to finish. A fine, warm leatherette!
04th December, 2020

Oud For Greatness by Initio

Initio Parfums Privés’ takes a highly stylized and tempered approach to the traditional agarwood niche here. This is designed to sway the flock and to appease. From the aesthetic pop of the third-eye trance, to the masonic bottle and its accord, the modus operandi is one of pretty persuasion and possibly the wool being pulled over a frag-head; unfortunately at a luxury premium. Labeled as ‘greatness’, the theme feels a bit hollow due to the oud being reduced to an ornamental note, whereby the ‘greatness’ is attained with a surprisingly bright lavender and spicy suede of saffron rubbing their spirited zests with zeal and emitting burnt sugary vapours that eventually bring ‘the great’ when entering the hearty mouth of this particularly toothless yet fragrant one-eyed agarwood beast. The result is a gracious release of a sensual, savoury barbershop air that is saccharine and chocolaty; only to be further augmented by a sweet musk, and then lessened by a patchouli vinaigrette. The result is a mango-esque toothache of a finish, not far from a certain ‘creed’. Overall, ‘Oud for Greatness’ is mass appealing, refined, measured (longevity/projection to the heavens) and merely in line with Western tastes for boring luxury sweeteners. Certainly, this fragrance will sit well with a select hip or those willing to ape or pay a heft for something that plays so safe. Despite the perceived quality, it comes across as pretty vacant, devoid of any soul and simply one for the chorus line... What to do, when birds of a feather flock together.
30th November, 2020

Encre Noire à l'Extrême by Lalique

The masterfully rustic Encre Noire is reimagined with a sensual, creamy, velvety touch as an EDP concentration that softens the original dank yet stays true to its mysterious essence. Truly, the magic lies in the heart where a lovely note of orris along with frankincense heighten the smoky earthiness of Java and the fresher Haitian vetiver accents with a powdery, leathery edge that is almost petrol like, creating a distinguished sort of gravity to the accord that allows the benzoin resins, sandalwood and patchouli to pass a sanctimonious edict (very much like the role of musk in the original finish) to the dry, smoky heart with an affirming woody balsamic bouquet that is primal, seductive, dark and creamy. The overall feel is of a nocturnal sexiness that is naturally warm and inviting. L'extreme is an evolution from Encre Noire, respectably retaining its core yet refining the accord with a mystique and fluidity of its own… A work of art that truly deepens the original mystery. Bravo!
30th November, 2020

One Man Show Oud Edition by Jacques Bogart

A dark, dirty, woody, latigo of a powerhouse that screams:

“I’m a man, dammit,
I am beautifully rugged like bovine leather,
I am elegantly fine for cooler weather,
I am a sweet thing for all those Heathers,
Like a dirty confession, I am a spicy revelation,
Like a midnight rider on a rockin’ horse, my presence is loud,
My floral, so proud and my essence is NOW...
For I’m the one man show… Meoww!,”

Recommended for a selective mature audience or those who need a boost of attention; though more appropriate for those with strong character and personality… All in all, a worthy dare of scent. OMS Oud Edition is an anomaly in its nuclearity and its audacity, not at all with the zeitgeist. This is pungent and for the wild, not for the tame... Simply put; a bargain basement leather oud that is delectably, detectably masculine and perversely, too good to resist.
24th November, 2020

Hermann à Mes Côtés Me Paraissait une Ombre by Etat Libre d'Orange

‘Hermann’ is a scent that was made for solitude; its freedom, its mystery, and hum. This is an olfactory ode to the self and simply being. There is a line from a REM song,“E-Bow the Letter”, “Aluminum, it tastes like fear… Adrenaline it pulls us near”, that merely sums up the feel of ‘Hermann’ for me. Its cool air giving off a green petrichor of pepper patina overtaken by ozonic clouds of rose stems and frankincense, heightening the sharpness of the metallic capsicum, till a fresh, camphorous earthiness finalizes the linearity into noteworthy stony adage to deep thoughts… Wonderfully fresh, personal and mysterious.
22nd November, 2020

Palais Jamais by Etro

Etro Palais Jamais is distinctly personal and freeing. I liken Palais Jamais to the beginnings of each season, particularly spring and fall, where the landscape is reborn to eventually decompose; the evolving beauty taking evocative turns along with the ensuing scents that emanate from this ethereal cycle. There is seductive pull to this wonderland where the wooing is innate and fully whole, resulting in an uplift and a reset for all… Palais Jamais is a bottled aromatic of that process. With its initial citrus spritz shaped by a sharp coriander and a cardamom hint, there is a some kind of wonderful in the making towards a naturally dry, yet refined floral greenery. The leathery birchwood, the fragrant jasmine sambac, and the bitter orange foliage of Paraguayan petitgrain shape the tobacco hay slight of the maté absolute into a smoked, herbaceous green tea only to be augmented with a tasteful pepper, before the mossy dews, the rich vetiver strains and the soft sweetness of clary sage elevate as an ensemble towards a dusty green aura of freedom and change. Ahh, to begin the begin… Lovely!
20th November, 2020

Oscar de la Renta Gentleman by Oscar de la Renta

A posthumous tribute to the most impactful designer of the 20th century, Oscar de la Renta Gentlemen feels quiet, reserved, and 'nice'. The loud and proud ‘Pour Lui’ past and the head turning of “He’s here”, this is not. Sadly, this is strictly in line with the muted expectations of the present epoch of designer scents. Despite the potential and the imagined possibility, Gentlemen make its entrance in rather quiet fashion, opening with a cool bergamot and ripe grapefruit spritz that wears a cardamom cuff on one hand and a champagne toast on the other, before a minty green, herbaceous accord of Egyptian geranium, rosemary and black oolong tea take the floor, where eventually, a base of amber resins with sweet musky hints, a relatively sharp vetiver and bare honeyed leatherwood finish off the salute in almost a creamy sandalwood likeness... The powerhouse aficionado would probably be adding more unruly accents to his language due to the reduced presence of ‘nice’. Gentlemen is a partial fit to an iconic figure, not a whole kind of love; especially one who set legendary precedents and lived up to the Oscar de la Renta adage of “what makes a women beautiful”. Worth owning? Certainly, a citrus vetiver, that is sparkling, spicy, creamy and 'nice'. If the ode is more in part to Oscar in his stylish house robe and pajama enjoying a concentrated game of dominoes in the parlor before bed, then Gentlemen succeeds. Truly, a larger than life figure would have warranted a perfume grander and apropos to a timeless past, present and future rather than join the heap of discount bins. Nonetheless, a lovely cheapie that deserves to be owned for the gesture and for being 'nice'!
16th November, 2020
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Acteur by Azzaro

Loris Azzaro’s Acteur takes the stage with a plum swagger, waving to the cheap seats with a spicy sweet flag, and shaking a heavy rose rump with peppery zeal and a bergamot bite; followed dutifully by a cast of jasmine dancers, carnation strippers, patchouli tamers and cedar mimes; giving way to a mercurial leathery oakmoss finish that is outfitted with shoulder pads of amber and musk. Take a bow, dear Acteur for celebrating the rose carny... The dark rose leather of Acteur remains cultish, out of step then and now, dandy-esque, and simply to be embraced. A Jacques Brel meets Marc Almond kind of number...
15th November, 2020 (last edited: 20th November, 2020)

Dark Aoud by Montale

The immeasurably Dark Aoud encapsulates the Montale designer oud essence with a whole lotta of Mysore and spicy bits. The opening rush is a dance of honeyed saffron and black pepper that rumbas cheek to cheek to an ambery shake with leathery fumed teakwood and vetiver, whereby the resulting vapour of coffee-esque petrol makes its way into the Montale ballroom of leather-oud chaps and widely parched santal hips. The final number is dusty dry yet chocolaty rich and full of an opulent presence. This is scent that wears nicely in the cool with eternal abandon and adds more than an inch to one's wooden heel. I would say it is a darn priestly come hither of a scent!
13th November, 2020

Encre Noire Sport by Lalique

From the weighty glass flacon design to the olfactory flare, the Encre Noire series is bewitching, bedazzling and beguiling. Its linear, mysterious, dank nature shines with more travel through its flankers. This particular “Sport” version lets the rainfall seep into the peat which brightens the original’s dark notoriety. The opening is a spiced citrus waft that enters a cypress and lavender ozone before settling into its woody signature base albiet in a lighter, fresher aromatic form. Encre Noire Sport takes a tamed, fresher and distinctly 'aquatic' approach that does not stray from its woody, inky vetiver roots, only brightens them into palatable wear for the warmer months. This is a crystallized version, where the mystery continues to weave its magic softly and brilliantly throughout the day.
12th November, 2020

Touch for Men by Burberry

Touch is a light yet ever present trail of a scent that transitions from a brushing sweet feel into a sensual embrace of freshness. It opens with a watery violet, a sharply bitter artemisia and a pulpy orange rind of a trio that is sweetly pure, purely light, and beautifully ozonic; before dashes of pepper and dry cedar bring forth a warmth to the blooming powder puff, only to be further cozy-upped by a doe-eyed and pretty white musk leaning over for a tonka bean whisper. What comes to mind is an aura of genteel cleanliness of barbershop talc, clothesline laundry; fresh and perfectly set for spoiling. This woody-musky aromatic of soft, sweet powdery caresses is all love and cuddles past and present.
11th November, 2020

Pure Oudi / Khalis Oudi by Lattafa

Lattafa’s Khalis Oudi/Pure Oudi has the opulent mystique of an oriental niche due to a nice hefty bottle design that is marked in golden calligraphic print and contains cinnamon bark edges swimming inside the flacon. The presentation is beguiling given the lower price tag. For the most part, this fragrance is mellifluous with its cinnamon, vanilla, ambery musk flow of woody richness. Yes, the oud is there but more in a star cameo among the creamy resinous dancers, particularly guaic wood, sandalwood and cedar. Despite the limited role, the oud leaves a kinky presence on the rest of the stage players whereby the scent flourishes into a honeyed wood floral musk. The opening is an Eastern allspice with a tempered oud that is intriguingly familiar yet distinct, with an intervening soapy note of jasmine florals wrapped in creamy sandalwood, that gives way to a soft vanilla musk filled with amberous wood resins that would rub nicely in a cold setting. What potentially seems like a loud saccharine performance is a bit muted in actuality and balanced enough to be not cloying. Khalis Oudi/Pure Oudi is an an inexpensive gateway for those who like their Eastern syrup slightly gourmandy, sweetly soft as cuddles, and for those who are overwhelmed by the niche strength of the agarwood barnyard.
09th November, 2020

Supremacy Silver by Afnan

Simply boggles the mind how Creed Aventus has become the standard bearer scent of perceived excellence. From the neo-barbershoppers, hair shapers, to balm shaping beardos and the sort, all things that smell Creed seem to be spawning exponentially in the male grooming circuit. Naturally, given the hefty price tags along with the unpredictable short wisp batches of Aventus, dupes are gaining favorably with anyone looking to flaunt their peacock in an illusory measure. Afnan's Supremacy Silver might be another one that lives up to the Aventus illusion. A smokier, less juicy fruit edge with an elegant close to the bone drydown, Supremacy could reign supreme over other like-minders and possible be a stand alone for some. There is a moderate trail with mileage, I reckon. Certainly, anyone looking for a filler could do no wrong with this one.

Note: this impression is based on a sample I was gifted.
Note: the texture is that of a perfume oil.
08th November, 2020

Hommage à L'Homme by Lalique

Hommage à L'homme is a tribute to the dashing elegance of violet and its re-imagining as a bold male signature. Wonderful, classic and inventive, it is... The homage opens with a petrol nuance of sweet violet leaf, a tarty bergamot and a leathery saffron, that gives way to a pepper-pimento exchange and a violet floral pungency, only to be piquantly held in check by a warm decorative oud and a honeyed musk of cistus. The overall effect is a violetly cool talc of warm rich resins, pulsating with soft sultry and dark steely edges. This is a beautiful ode to masculine panache, and a fitting commemorative for the man whose grace is innate and beauty, seasoned and sophisticate.
06th November, 2020

L'Eau Bleue d'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake

L'Eau Bleue is angular in its beak, zesty in its feet and silver in its reach. It all begins with the camphorous shrubbery of rosemary and the heavily devoted fir, whose needles sprinkled with an orange tang, are enlightened by a juniper pepper twist and a zen-like ginger bow, that together graze terrestrial wetlands ordained by sweet green balsamic resins. All this alchemy gives way to an aluminium feel that is cold, still, and yet liberating. Truly, a standout in the Miyake camp and a hesitating beauty of a scent; strange, introspective, minimalist, and futurist. Contrary to belief, blue is the warmest color.
04th November, 2020

Bulgari Man Black Orient by Bulgari

The Bvlgari Man Black bombast comprises of variations on a rich rum note. Of these, Black Orient Man is the most fascinating, brimming with a mystery of Eastern redolence albeit through a tempered Western design. There is a hearty warm presence of a boozy player in refined robes of a spicy oracular mystic at hand here, conjuring an ominous spell of leathery tones over a bed of taif roses and oud cinders, through a dry fixed gaze of want. How sweet it is, under its trance; dark and seductive, full of grace and almost niche. Black Orient is all command and deliverance for those who obey.
03rd November, 2020

Black Soul Imperial by Ted Lapidus

Surely a gem that is most deserving for being a likable dark roast that projects well over its course. Black Soul Imperial is one dark throne that is seductive, sultry, sexy and kingly. The opening introduces a bergamot led charge towards a minty darkness that sacrifices into a middling citrus cocoa ghost, most likely a figment, before pulling up the rears in a leather delectable, balanced with strong hints of wood and amber resins. All of this mystery gives way to a chocolaty spiced coffee full of designer kink and royal intrigue. Bargain or not, Black Soul Imperial reigns supreme and a worthy addition to any masculine wardrobe.
02nd November, 2020

Bon Vivant by Chatillon Lux

Bon Vivant was born for the autumn season. The opening spritz is a bright, screechy birch flavoured caramel that is cough inducing but addictive, thankfully to the pepper, maple syrup and vanilla notes that follow in sequence. The possibility for the saccharine is avoided by the tempered range of citrus bitters and greenery that offers a tart, spicy warmth, not too removed from the comfort of a whiskey flask on a cool day, at least in mind. Inspiration for Bon Vivant might have been chartreuse and orange bitters, but this is a fragrance that captures the glory of fall and its essence, the foliage and its chromatic decay, the embrace and parting of the day, and the wholehearted shift of the mind and heart towards an upcoming season... A pure mood, a joy to wear and perfect for layering.
01st November, 2020

Moustache Original 1949 by Rochas

What starts as a sparkling fresh ode to lemon flavoured candy, momentarily becomes a traditional Eau de Farina cologne, before thankfully mustering into an oakmoss, patchouli, musk grind. There is a nice balance for those who enjoy a bit of sweat to their Farina. This beautiful bottle of heft and design deserves accolades, and Rochas for its audacity to present Moustache Original 1949 as a contemporary scent. More power to those who appreciate timeless and dated tradition. What’s old is new again, at least in essence.
31st October, 2020

Graphite by Montana

Graphite is all autumnal heart, mind, body and soul. This lovely tonic captures the subtleties of a seasonal shift. I liken it to "a letting go" and to "a moving forward". It is a cedar chest of dusty, rusty, misty, creamy hints of peppered violet thoughts and dry resinous etchings. If penciled thoughts had a scent, Graphite would be it. Reflective glory, indeed! Beautiful!
30th October, 2020 (last edited: 31st October, 2020)

Jaguar (original) by Jaguar

Jaguar for men (silver cap) is a clean green masculine scent that surely has utility and can easily be a daily driver. There is a strong yet subtle tug of a basil, thyme, lavender, citric top note, a vegetal fir-floral gardenia middle and a powdery finish of tobacco and leather with hints of patchouli, cedar and musk. This is worthy choice for those who have a penchant for fougère related barbershop scents. Not as sweet as Pino Silvestre, not as soapy/sweaty as Paco Rabanne pour Homme, not as leathery as Quorum, not as minty as Acqua di Selva, not as bitter as Polo, more a kinship with the departed Tsar, Jaguar for men bridges the nooks and crannies between all of the aforementioned. Fern aficionados will appreciate as well as wet shaving enthusiasts. Certainly, in the mold of a traditional, Italian barbershop (think Proraso Green, Saponificio Varesino's Felce Aromatica etc...) and truly comforting.
28th October, 2020 (last edited: 02nd November, 2020)