Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rogalal

Total Reviews: 1324

Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss

There are entire genres of music built on the premise of teenagers lying about being rich. I can appreciate a clever lyric or a good beat or interesting production, but there's an age after which listening to teenagers lie isn't fun any more, even though the rest of the world loves it.

This style of fruity aquatic is the perfumery equivalent. 50% "fresh" chlorinated aromachemicals, 25% artificial fruit candy oderants, and 25% woods and spices. To be fair, the mix of cinnamon and candied apple and pine lends genuine interest to the ubiquitous aquatic "woody amber" chemicals (this is markedly better and more nuanced than the overly simple D&G Light Blue PH I wore this morning), but this is still just teeny-bopper pop music in fragrance form.
27th January, 2021

Light Blue pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

Yuck - lemony ammonia, or maybe the chlorinated smell of a swimming pool mixed with fake lemon and fake lavender. Devoid of artistic merit.

I'd say this was precision engineered to smell like a thousand other men's mall scents, but I highly doubt this was precision engineered, because it smells like what you'd get if you mixed a bucket of premade "masculine cologne smell" with a bucket of premade "fresh smell".
27th January, 2021

English Oak & Redcurrant by Jo Malone London

An interesting juxtaposition.

The redcurrant here is of the Diptyqoe L'Ombre dans l'Eau variety: red berries sweetened with rose and citrus, painted in limpid watercolor hues. The oak is dry and almost dusty, like the bark of a tree mixed with lumberyard sawdust.

The two elements don't mix so much as occur in tandem. I would have expected them to bring out clever nuances in each other, but instead, the result is kind of boring, but pleasant nonetheless.

In a way, I'm not sure who this is for - berry perfume fans or woody perfume fans? It does both well enough to merit a thumbs up, but ultimately lacks panache and joie de vivre.
26th January, 2021
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Dior Homme Parfum by Christian Dior

Good, but not amazing. Nicely done, but ultimately not as good as the original Dior Homme.

While the original Dior Homme registers to me as mostly iris brightened with violet and warmed with vanilla and suede, the Parfum smells to me like the focus is shifted to the leathery vanilla. It's a bit animalic, while the iris is relegated to a small supporting role. It's perfectly fine, if not as wondrous as the original, but I feel like it kind of falls apart in the base, where a terpine tonka and smooth pink pepper wrap the vanilla in an unsatisfying clash of rough and fuzzy with just enough cheapness showing through to guarantee that this isn't as good as the practically perfect original version.

Don't get me wrong - in a universe full of smell-alike aquatics and candy garbage, this still merits an enthusiastic thumbs up, but I'd stick with the original.
26th January, 2021

Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein

I'm showing my age, but I wore this back in cologne when it was new, a high school graduation gift from my cousin. It's weird smelling it again now as a perfume snob - I'm having thoughts...

#1. This was SOOOO ahead of its time, like basically the grandfather of the unremarkable fruity aquatic. It's crazy how modern this smells for a 33 year old perfume and how many thousands of copies (and even genres) this has inspired.

#2. But yeah, it's a pretty bad fruity aquatic. Fake melon over salty ambrox devolving into synthetic lavender and metallic chlorine fumes. The ambrox classes things up for a few minutes, but that chlorine "woody amber" drydown is pretty much everything I hate now.

#3. Even though this is responsible for pretty much everything I hate in mass-market men's perfumery, and even though I think it smells bad, I just can't bring myself to vote full-on thumbs down for the true OG, so I'm giving this extra credit for originality and bumping it up to a Neutral rating...
26th January, 2021

Baghari by Robert Piguet

Basically, a beautiful amber with Chanel No 5 aldehydes on top. It's a great combination - warm, smooth, and just sweet enough to be comfortable, but also bright, complex and expensive-smelling.

I think it's more than a No 5 clone. Though it very much incorporates the top 1/3 of No 5, pairing its lemony champagne aldehydes, in all their powdery jasmine glory, with a traditional amber is a stroke of genius that Chanel itself hasn't pulled off, the perfect marriage of an aldehydic floral with a traditional "oriental".

Thumbs way up. Fans of Chanel's Exclusifs, in particular, need to try this.
25th January, 2021

Orange Blossom by Jo Malone

For what it's worth, I honestly believe that this is one of the best orange blossom perfumes out there. Every time I review one of these, I point out that orange blossom oil is so beautiful that the key to crafting a great perfume out of it is largely to let it shine and just not screw it up, and I think Jo Malone hits the nail on the head.

The actual orange blossom note is perfect, like the smell of an orange tree in full bloom. It's supported by a touch of petitgrain, which gives a quiet woody depth and may very well account for the realistic "tree" smell. There's also a touch of bitter honey to cut the sweetness and a perfectly measured hint of cumin to add just a bit of spice. It's clean and soapy, but not too much, but also bright and citric like a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

I know many serious perfumistas don't really bother with Jo Malone, but this is a must-sniff. Thumbs way up!
22nd January, 2021 (last edited: 26th January, 2021)

English Pear & Freesia by Jo Malone

From what I've read, of all the smells used in perfumes, pear has the smallest molecules, so it dissipates extremely fast, meaning that it's chemically impossible to make a perfume that smells like pear for more than a minute or two. So the real way to judge a pear perfume is on what it does for the rest of the day.

English Pear & Freesia does a good job using an apple note to continue the feeling of the pear on top, while something (ginger? aldehydes?) gives a subtle effervescence. There's also a smell that reminds me of the aroma of a good French champagne - mildly yeasty with nuances of stone fruits. It's this apple/champagne smell that's the real star of the show, while a very quiet hum of hairspray aldehydes simulates the freesia underneath.

I don't really detect a proper base, but the apple/champagne mix carries on much longer than I'd have expected. It works, but its eventual linearity is honestly better suited as a soap/candle scent than a proper perfume. But I do enjoy what this does, so I'm voting thumbs up anyway.

Oh, and for the record, I think the best pear perfume is Goutal's Mon Petite Cherie, though this is a confident second place and a bit less weird...
21st January, 2021 (last edited: 26th January, 2021)

Sweet Lime & Cedar by Jo Malone

That plasticky wood smell of assembling Ikea furniture, lightly minty and herbal. Maybe a mojito made with vodka instead of rum. Sawdust mixed with industrial glue.

I've said in other reviews that thin, synthetic woods are some of my least favorite perfume tropes, and this is no exception. The sawdusty mint is ok, but the plastic fume haze surrounding it negates what little charm I was feeling. I'd stick to Guerlain Homme, which does what this is trying to do, but MUCH better.
21st January, 2021

White Jasmine & Mint by Jo Malone

Green tea essence with mint on top. I don't smell jasmine, but there's a generic milky floral quality that registers to me more like a creamy ylang.

I don't really like green tea perfumes or mint perfumes, so I suppose there was never any chance of this winning me over, but I have to admit that the creamy floral aspect is nice. That being said, this smells more like an inexpensive candle than a proper perfume to me.
20th January, 2021

Amber & Lavender by Jo Malone

It's got the basics you'd expect from the genre: sharp lavender over leathery patchouli and myrrh, over a minty, herbal chypre core.

Things that smell like this are usually much stronger and longer-lasting, but this is a fairly thin cologne strength, so it takes a few sprays to get much out of it and it doesn't have much longevity. It's also worth noting that this does the bare minimum required to be acceptable, but nothing more. It's perfectly competent, but doesn't do anything to make itself feel special. As such, it's fine and I have nothing against it, but I can't imaging reaching for this when, say, Derby is available and so much better and more considered.
20th January, 2021

Douglas Hannant by Robert Piguet

Citrus and pear sweetened with bubblegummy jasmine over Piguet's signature pink tuberose, with orange blossom to provide continuity to the citrus topnotes. Once the pear fades, it becomes quite creamy and rich with hints of tropical ylang.

The end result a perfume that pretends to be a fruity candy perfume, but is actually a proper mixed floral in disguise. It's deceptively smart, using sweetness as a clever invitation to actual depth. Honestly, this is quite beautiful - the "pink" sweetness of jasmine lifts the tuberose while the ylang adds creaminess, while the orange blossom gives citrusy brightness that acts as a fantastic counterpoint to the creamy richness. Well done!
20th January, 2021

Vanilla & Anise by Jo Malone

A remarkably nuanced vanilla, and not what I'd expect from Jo Malone. The star of the show is an amber-inflected vanilla, lightly smoky and honeyed, with a pinch of frankincense for creamy depth. There's a hint of ethyl maltol here giving a nutty smoke nuance, but not enough to push this into marshmallow stupidity.

There's also a full-on musky lavender fougere going on, so the end result is something obviously inspired by Shalimar, but moderinzed with the smoke and amber. It's not really a gourmand as much as a classic "oriental" smell.

This seems to be largely discontinued (it's probably a bit old fashioned and its complex muskiness doesn't really fit the Jo Malone line, so it's not surprising), but still available on the Jo Malone website. A pleasant surprise and definitely worth a sniff if you're into complex, Guerlain-esque "oriental" vanillas.
15th January, 2021
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French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone

On first spray, this is beautiful, but it loses its charm as its component parts come into focus. It's essentially a standard white flowers accord mixed with artificial melon. The clove in the background adds a dusty, fusty quality that feels like it's supposed to echo classic perfumes but mostly adds a layer of grossness under the pretty flowers.

I've said in reviews of other linden perfumes that, as a genre, I have yet to find one that smells like the amazing smell of a lime tree blooming the the night air, because they usually end of smelling like linden-scented soap instead of actual linden trees. French Lime Blossom falls into that same soap trap, but worse than usual because of the weird clove funk.

To echo Nile_Etland, I've had this as a candle and really enjoyed it, but I don't like it as a perfume after the first minute or two.
15th January, 2021

Vogue 125 by Comme des Garçons

A rosy lily perfume with a bit of acetone/nail polish remover on top. The acetone note, while intended as a source of CDG's signature weirdness, actually makes Vogue 125 feel a bit old-fashioned, as it calls to mind classic perfumes that used acetone in lieu of aldehydes.

It's not bad, but there's a blackcurrant note in there that gives a tinge of urine, which I don't like, and the whole composition is oddly thin in that way where it feels like it quickly fades, but when I spray a lot of it, hoping to smell it more clearly, the acetone haze burns out my nose and leaves me smelling even less. Frustrating and not really worth the effort, though not terrible.
13th January, 2021

Clash : Radish Vetiver by Comme des Garçons

A fun, clever vetiver.

I'm not sure what radish is supposed to smell like, but this smells like dirt. Not the fecund forest dirt in so many ouds, but the sweet smell of a freshly opened bag of potting soil. If you're familiar with Demeter's Dirt, this smells like that, but evenly matched with vetiver.

It's a good pairing. The iodine facets of the vetiver compliment the dirt's mineralic elements and amplify a salty overtone, while the dirt smell brings out a mustard greens quality in the vetiver, a clever trick I've only encountered elsewhere in attars.

Overall, I'm impressed. My only gripe is that it fades quickly, leaving a mossy vetiver base that really could have been stronger. But it's still a definite thumbs up for a really clever juxtaposition.
11th January, 2021

Clash : Celluloid Galbanum by Comme des Garçons

Fresh green fabric softener.

This is a lot like Chanel No 19, with its leafy greens and galbanum, but with laundry musks instead of 19's classy iris. As such, it smells like really good laundry detergent. But as a proper perfume, while I like the greens and the nod to Chanel, the fabric softener base (while it definitely modernizes the composition) makes it a touch more pedestrian than its inspiration.

Thumbs up, because it smells good and performs well (these fabric softener molecules are strong and seem to last forever), though I'd personally stick to No 19.
07th January, 2021

Orange Calabria by Première Note

Everything here melts together into a sweet, fake orange smell, like an orange Starburst. It's fine if you like smelling like artificial candy flavorants. I don't, so this isn't for me.
02nd January, 2021

Mimosa Austral by Première Note

A really pedestrian fruity floral based on that overused combination of fake strawberry, peach, and citrus. This smells like 200 other perfumes I've sniffed.
02nd January, 2021

Mademoiselle Piguet by Robert Piguet

Piguet's specialty seems to be combining fruits and florals in a way that turns out better than your average fruity floral. Mademoiselle fits that mold, but not quite as successfully as some of their other offerings. To me, it basically smells like orange blossom with a mix of citrus and peach on top, with a hint of the house's signature tuberose humming underneath, while a hint of anise or fennel gives a sour, boozy green undertone. Combined, the loudness of the flowers, the sourness of the greens, and the pedestrian cheapness of the fruits come together to create something that's fine in passing, but doesn't really stand up to close inspection. It's harmless and pleasant, but I don't think it's particularly noteworthy or good.
01st January, 2021

Java Wood by Première Note

Kicks off with peppery bergamot before settling into vetiver. The violet leaf makes things a little abstract and "silvery" while a tiny pinch of neroli acts as a sweetener and also provides a continuation of the citrusy topnotes. Smelled up close, I can sense the licorice, but it's subtle.

In all, this is fine and exactly as advertised. It reminds me of the sort of perfume I went nuts for 15 years ago when citrusy vetivers were a niche trend. I wish it had a more substantial base, but it's a nice smell. Thumbs up.
30th December, 2020

Sel de Vétiver by The Different Company

Unpleasant vetiver. I understand this as a think piece: reinvent a perfume convention by highlighting vetiver's mineralic and iodine facets instead of its greens and inherent freshness. But the end result smells like ground-up rocks mixed with the sensation of a mouthful of blood, topped with a milk and cardamom. It works as an art project and as a thought experiment, but not as smell I want to wear.

As much as a want to give this a thumbs down for being unwearable, I have to promote it to a neutral just because of its artistry and the thought put into it. But I still don't like it as an odor.
28th December, 2020

Rose Poivrée by The Different Company

A sweaty perfume, thick with cumin and old-man body odor, almost leathery in its animalic intesity, played against woods, and with a struggling rose on top creating the illusion that this is supposed to be beautiful instead of compellingly repugnant.

As an almost-50-year-old man, this smells almost identical to my armpit odor at the end of a long day, so it feels strange to wear this as a perfume. But if you're a fan of other cumin/wood stinkers like Déclaration or Rose 31, this is the natural apex of that style, though it lacks Déclaration's artsy basenotes and the limpid prettiness of Rose 31's vetiver/rose combo acting as a foil to all the sweat. Ultimately, this is a deeply interesting perfume, but not for me.
28th December, 2020

Charmes et Feuilles by The Different Company

Mint on top, then a few kitchen herbs. 15 years later, this style of minimalism isn't aging that well - this feels more like a quick sketch than a fully realized perfume. Meh.
28th December, 2020

Jasmin de Nuit by The Different Company

A jasmine gourmand, this opens as an orange vanilla creamsicle with with an especially bubblegummy jasmine giving it candy sweetness. There's some ethyl maltol marshmallow, and after a while some clove comes through.

This is the kind of candy marshmallow gourmand I truly dislike, and while I'll admit it's a clever way to use jasmine, I'm not enjoying this at all.
24th December, 2020

Bergamote / Divine Bergamote by The Different Company

Hmmmm... Yes, there's bergamot, and somehow it combines with the ginger to simulate candied lime. It's also kind of sour, hinting at a chypre smell as well, and there's something else in there (verbena? green tea?) that gives a hint of tea smell.

As stated in other reviews, it behaves like an old fashioned citrus cologne and just sort of fades away quickly. In all, this feels passable, but not special or anything I'd pick, given the many citrus cologne options. Meh.
24th December, 2020

Luxury Overdose Pluie d'Osmanthe by Absolument

I should have known better than to believe that a perfume that actually says "Luxury" in its name could possibly smell truly luxurious. Unfortunately, this is just a bog standard fruity floral, with sweet citrus and cassis on top and lily-esque faux greens coming in underneath. Given time, it ends up as a shrill chemical smell that sort of reminds me of grape, but really just smells like a bunch of artificial flavorants clashing. I never smelled any osmanthus, though this eventually ended up as a melon/linden soap. Honestly, this is just another cheaply concocted fruity floral, albeit an expensive one.
17th December, 2020

Diamond Jubilee Bouquet by Grossmith

Despite the notes list, this smells to me like a mixture of rose geranium and cardamom. It's dark and green (I feel like there may be some vetiver supporting), with the distinct fruity smell of freshly cracked cardamom pods. There are rosy florals on top, but they quickly melt into the geranium/cardamom mix and amplify the fruitiness of the cardamom and the rose element of the geranium. The tonka comes through as a undertone of toasted bread, mixing with the vanilla to give the illusion of rice pudding.

I like kheer, the Indian rice pudding made with cardamom, and this reminds me of it, but it's only like 10% kheer and 90% rosy, dank geranium. Hours in, as the geranium fades, the mix of vanilla and toasted bread becomes the focus. By the base, I'm left with pie-spiced tonka and vanilla, with cardamom lingering to the end.

This is well composed, long lasting, and has clever twists and combinations of smells. My only gripe is that the geranium is a bit overwhelming. It smells good, if darker than expected, but I feel like the whole journey could have been more gratifying if the rest of the elements had their opportunity to shine more. But anyway, this is still definitely a thumbs up!
16th December, 2020

Sens & Bois / Un Parfum des Sens et Bois by The Different Company

Peppery wood, and that's about it. It's not full-on cedar - it doesn't have that distinctive "red" smell. It's close to oak, but not as dry and dusty as oak, though it still smells more like bark than lumber, which is a hallmark of oak, to my nose. Honestly, it's probably some aromachemical that smells generically "woody". I don't smell any flowers or other notes. I guess they're just adding to the abstract woodiness.

I'm having trouble loving this - it smells good, but pretty uninspiring. Like it does everything right, but lacks character and panache. I think I'm going to have to vote neutral and move on.
15th December, 2020

Dior Homme Sport (original) by Christian Dior

At least in theory, this is a lemony citrus cologne supported by lavender, ginger, and herbs. Yes, those are all there, but there are also strong aquatic components, both a 90's "marine" note and a chlorine undertone that gives the illusion of a hot swimming pool. The marine/aquatic elements are very much the star of the show, as the lemon and herbs fade quickly. This all happens on top of a rich, creamy faux ambergris.

I think 2nosedtwin hits the nail on the head, describing this having elements of L'Eau d'Issey (that "marine" note) and Cool Water (lavender over aquatics), though the creamy base attempts to elevate it a bit. That being said, this very much smells like a cheap cologne with a fancy base, which is awkward for me. Simultaneously trying too hard and not hard enough, I find the combination of smells unappealing.
15th December, 2020