Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rogalal

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Total Reviews: 1224

Dominica Bay Rum Lime by California Antilles Trading

Nice, proper bay rum, but with a twist. It's that unmistakable mix of sugary bay tree oil and clove, made just a touch meaty with kitchen herbs (there may be oregano, basil, or something in here that's making me think of food). I think the kitchen herbs are, in a way, taking the place that's usually occupied by upfront clary sage in a traditional bay rum formula, making Dominica Lime smell more like something's cooking instead of the round tea-ish smell most bay rums have.

I honestly don't smell lime. My guess is that it's just brightening everything up.

I quite like the way the herbal elements are used here. It smells like a proper marinara or something slowly steaming on a stove, while the sweet clove reminds me of Christmas, so this evokes a happy aura of cooking with family. That being said, this may be a touch too quirky for some purists, but it's definitely a thumbs up from me.
23rd September, 2020

Lime Aftershave Cologne by Colonel Ichabod Conk

A mix of lemon, mint, lavender, and musk that smells like some sort of outdated cleaning product at first, then melts together into a pleasant sugary, minty lemon/lime/bergamot.

As a genre, these sorts of old-fashioned lemon splash barbershop colognes often rely heavily on civet for longevity and end up smelling awful as a result - Conk manages to avoid that, which earns him a thumbs up. But remember that this is an aftershave, with no real basenotes, so enjoy it as a splash without expecting more.
23rd September, 2020

Royall Lyme by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

This kicks off with a delicious sparkling lime soda note that lasts about 15 seconds, before getting oddly leathery, like someone spilled club soda in a leather satchel. Given a few minutes, that leathery smell turns out to be a combination of herbs, spices, and musk that calls to mind bay rhum, with its mix of sugary bay oil, clary sage, and clove. Given an hour or so, I'm left with sweet, faint clove.

All told, I don't expect longevity from something like this, so the lack thereof doesn't bother me. As a lime scent, this disappoints because the lime is so fleeting, but as an interesting take on bay rum, this is great, so I'm voting thumbs up.
23rd September, 2020
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Fior di Chinotto by Abaton Bros.

A big, pretty white floral. Smelled closely, it feels like a big, loud mix of tuberose and orange blossom, but with rose and jasmine added to make it smell like a white floral accord more than any specific floral. It's temporarily orangey on top and gets soapy over time, and even a touch woody in the base, but the big floral mix is definitely the focus.

This feels Italian in that it's quite beautiful, but it screams its beauty at the top of its lungs. As an aside, this smells nothing like chinotto, the small, sour citrus fruits that are candied and eaten whole or used to make bitters. But it's still a nice floral perfume, so thumbs up.
16th September, 2020

Bee by Zoologist Perfumes

Can I just quote thrilledchilled's review and use it as my own??

Yes, this is honey and I like honey perfumes, but instead of playing the honey against bitter, woody, or smokey notes, Bee sweetens it further with marshmallowy flowers, so it feels unbalanced, like it just screams "SWEEEEEEEEEETTTT!!!!" instead of trying for artful juxtaposition.

Like thrilledchilled says, I'll stick with Slowdive.

All that being said, this isn't a bad perfume, just not what I'm into, so I'm voting neutral instead of a full-on thumbs down.
16th September, 2020 (last edited: 15th September, 2020)

Panda (2017) by Zoologist Perfumes

This is awful. Like seriously, just terrible.

5 seconds of cheap apple/raspberry topnotes leads to a couple of hours of dreadful, cheap-smelling aquatic "woody amber" Axe body spray smell.

Even cheap designer scents at least have better performance than this. Aside from the cute panda on the bottle, there's no reason anyone should seek this out.
15th September, 2020

Extract of West Indian Limes / Extract of Limes by Geo F Trumper

Sparkly, sugared lime. Sweet enough to start smelling a bit fake, but the uplifting lime jellybean aroma is fun and pleasant.

A few minutes later, the lime is overtaken by earthy, musky lavender and the whole thing gets a bit soapy. I can smell the remnants of the lime, but this is really a lavender scent for most of its life.

So, I think the topnotes are fun but kind of silly and short-lived, and the lavender is acceptable but unremarkable. I think I have to vote neutral.
08th September, 2020

Lime by Caswell-Massey

Eeeeww.... Soapy lemon & lime with undertones of bleach, ammonia, and poop. This smells like someone cleaning a stinky toilet with a lime-scented cleaner. Or maybe someone throwing a lemon into a hot washing machine full of stinky clothes.

I'm familiar with the concept of classic British musky civet citrus colognes (Trumper and Czech & Speake come to mind), and I can see that's what this was trying for, but this is a mess.
08th September, 2020

Shem-el-Nessim by Grossmith

Yup, this smells a lot like L'Heure Bleue. That being said, L'Heure is really difficult to pick apart, thanks largely to the powder that cloaks it. Nessim, however, isn't very powdery, so it's less mysterious. That being said, it's still a hard smell to describe.

So what does it smell like? Sort of like yeasted bread dough with hints of pie spices, with touches of clove, suede, and iris. There's vanilla in there, and honeyed beeswax and sandalwood. It's also got that old-fashioned leather from Knize Ten. But really, it all melts together into rich, honeyed dough. It's too leathery and "perfumey" to be a gourmand, but it has the sweet richness of the genre.

I'm a huge L'Heure Bleue fan, and I can't see needing a bottle of this when I have my Bleue extrait close at hand, but there's no way I can give this anything other than a thumbs up. Nicely done.
08th September, 2020

Dark Purple / Black Purple by Montale

In the pantheon of Montale's rose/saffron/patchouli/oud/violet perfumes, Dark Purple is their goth fruitchouli.

It's clearly inspired by the Feminite Du Bois genre, featuring that dark, jammy, beautiful sludge that happens when rose, violet, and plum meet patchouli. But instead of Feminite's aldehydes, Dark Purple uses sharp saffron and lightly fecal oud for sharpness on top. As such, it's darker and decidedly more goth than it's sisters.

Personally, in these sorts of perfumes, I find the counterbalance between sparkling lightness and dark to be the most interesting part, and Dark Purple lacks that - it's painted in all dark tones. That being said, for fans of Tom Ford's Purple Patchouli or Noir De Noir, this could be a good fit.
07th September, 2020

Roses Elixir by Montale

Roses Elixir seems to be Montale's fruity floral version of their signature rose combo.

It's very difficult to make a fruity rose perfume that doesn't smell cheap, and Roses Elixir does a decent job incorporating blackberries and jasmine into its usual rose/violet mix to give fruity sweetness without smelling dumbed-down. Meanwhile, their signature saffron and patchouli are used in measured doses, adding depth without pulling too much focus.

It's interesting - of the Montale rose perfumes I've tried, this is probably the most well orchestrated, but also the most pedestrian. Frankly, this is what Florabotanica wishes it was. There's something to be said for being a well-made crowdpleaser, so thumbs up.
07th September, 2020

Rose Night by Montale

Montale's signature rose note, supported by metallic saffron and a pinch of patchouli for jammy richness, but mostly just the rose. This smells fantastic in its sillage, but a bit muddled up close, though unfortunately it dries down to a cheap aquatic "woody amber" base.

I think Montale's house-specialty rose note is fantastic, but I just don't have the patience to wade through 100 of their rose perfumes looking for the one I like best, so they're really frustrating to get to know. But, as far as Rose Night is concerns, thumbs up for the pretty rose + thumbs down for the cheap base adds up to a neutral.
07th September, 2020

Crystal Flowers by Montale

Montale's near-endless exploration of the slight variants possible using rose/saffron/oud/patchouli/violets continues. Crystal Flowers is a bit more violet-heavy, so it's brighter than their usual, which probably accounts for the good reviews.

Personally, I have two issues. First, there's a chemical here that's blocking my nose and making it hard for me to smell anything. Second, I think saffron has to be used very judiciously in florals. When used carefully, it can add leathery depth, but when overused, it adds a synthetic sharpness that I just don't like, and that's happening in Crystal Flowers.

In all, this is passable but troubled, so I'm voting neutral.
07th September, 2020
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Pure Gold by Montale

I have really enjoyed getting to know Pure Gold - it's become a fast favorite in the weeks I've gotten to know it, as it's one of those rare perfumes that just makes me smile happily when I smell it.

It's got gourmand elements, but equally balanced with bright florals, so it doesn't doesn't just smell like a dessert. On me, it smells like slightly burnt caramel and butter played against a honeyed, pollen-laden floral (I'm assuming mimosa) and Tang orange-flavored drink mix. It kind of smells like popcorn, but in a good way. Honestly, this should be a horrific mess (seriously, that fake orange ruins almost everything it touches but shines here), but somehow gets the balance just right and ends up gorgeous. Thumbs way up!
07th September, 2020

Roses Musk by Montale

Peppery saffron rose sweetened with patchouli and violets. There's a fecundity that hints at oud, while there's also a sour green undertone that brings to mind 70's chypres.

I'm not really enjoying this. The saffron kind of drowns out the rose, making everything quite jagged, while the sour, sickly greens and poop are unbalanced and just smell bad instead of adding needed counterbalance to beautiful topnotes, the way they should.

If you like these ingredients, Montale has another 90 perfumes made with the exact same stuff in slightly different ratios, so I find no need to convince myself to like this.
05th September, 2020

Intense Cafe by Montale

If you go into this expecting an intense coffee scent, you'll be disappointed. Instead, it's Montale's signature rose mixed with that sweetened condensed milk note from Angel, with chocolate and coffee and musk along for the ride. The roses and powdery musk keep it from going full-on gourmand - it's quite floral, which keeps it from smelling like just another Angel flanker. Meanwhile, the roasted quality coming from the coffee makes this smell different from other milky florals.

I can see how this is one of Montale's more popular perfumes, but I can also see why some people don't like it. It's not really what I enjoy wearing personally, but I think it's well done and I bought it as a candle and thought it made for a compelling room scent, so thumbs up from me!

04th September, 2020

Oud Wood Intense by Tom Ford

I like this. A confident mix of band-aid oud with a forest campfire, but with a salty, almost chalky perfumey quality holding it together. It belongs in the same smoky westernized oud genre as Killian and many other excellent niche ouds, so there's not a lot here to make me recommend this over its competition, though it's nicely done.
03rd September, 2020

Fougère d'Argent by Tom Ford

This is clearly based on that lavender chemical that blows out my nose, leaving me unable to smell it. While I trust that I smell of metallic lavender to passers-by, all I can smell is a very faint cinnamon amber, followed by a cheap aquatic "woody amber" drydown taken straight from an Axe body spray.

Thumbs all the way down. Bad composition, bad chemistry, and a terrifyingly cheap base all combine into a complete failure.
03rd September, 2020

Vert d'Encens by Tom Ford

What an utterly bizarre smell. Mostly, I smell that tarragon note that's often used to simulate fig, but there's also fresh-mowed grass and an lilies and maybe vetiver. But then there's also this huge salty flour note that smells like play-doh, and the whole thing has a weird milky quality.

It's like someone tried to mix together a bunch of green notes that shouldn't work together, and then they didn't really work together, so they added a truckload of salt and just said "screw it" and put it out.

Don't get me wrong - I like weird scents, and would much rather smell something odd than something commonplace, but the way the tarragon smells meaty while some sort of aloe smells sappy and that play-doh... This is a mess.
03rd September, 2020

Ultimate K'Oud 75214 by Krigler

The sweet smell of old newspapers and hamster cage cedar. It's interesting in that I can technically smell just about everything this says it is, because it's sort of fruity and peppery and sort of leathery, vaguely animalic, and with a hint of sawdust, but it all just blobs together into this smell of yellowed old paper and pencil shavings.

Over time, there's a long, slow fade from the paper/cedar smell into dusty sandalwood, which I personally think is an improvement, but isn't really enough to win me over. But fans of papery tobacco scents may very well love this.

03rd September, 2020

Oud For Highness 75 by Krigler

A few moments of nice, realistic oud - smooth and rubbery and burnt - quickly washed over by saffron and rose. There's a fecundity that suggests a fancy real oud, but it's very much buried under the saffron.

Hours in, the smell gets more green as the saffron and rose slowly fade into juniper berry, leaving the smell of a slightly musky forest.

When we're talking about expensive luxury ouds, I really want a top-quality natural oud smell to be upfront, and while the topnotes suggest that there's probably one in there, I can't imagine paying $700 for what's basically a saffron perfume. So, while I'm giving this a thumbs-up based on the smell alone, I wouldn't actually recommend it.
02nd September, 2020

Italian Citrus by D.S. & Durga

I find this to be much more green than citrus. On me, I mostly smell peppery clary sage, made sharp with vetiver. The citrus hums quietly on top, adding lift and sweetness without pulling much attention. After seeing that this lists violet leaf, I can pick it out, acting as a sort of a link between the sage and vetiver, while the ambrette seems to be performing a bit of an illusion, making everything feel a bit distanced, like the vetiver and citrus are at the other end of an icy hallway.

I can't help but enjoy this, as it combines many of my favorite elements in a way that I haven't smelled before, though there seems to be a rather steep decline in strength after the sage fades that will likely disappoint people looking for good longevity.
02nd September, 2020

Fleurs de Bulgarie (new) by Creed

This makes total sense for 1980. Yes, it's rose, but it's built on a very late-70's sour green chypre skeleton, complete with plasticky hairspray aldehydes. There's also clearly saffron in here, extending the plastic feel of the topnotes while combining with the rose in a traditional Middle Eastern attar-influenced way. It's also quite soapy, which goes a long way to mute the plastic and the sourness and the sharpness of the saffron.

Like some other Creed's, this smells much better from a distance than up close. In its sillage, it's a beautiful green rose, without the sourness and plastic elements that make it less pleasant up close.

All things considered, I think I'm voting neutral, because I like the sillage but not the smell on skin, and I can't shake the feeling that this smells like something I should be able to find much cheaper. It's not bad, but not that good either.
02nd September, 2020

Carla Fracci by Carla Fracci

It's weird - this is very much a fruity floral for most of its life, but also a big brash 80's shoulder-pad powerhouse.

It kicks off with spiced orange and a whiff of peach, before settling into a very literal cherry lollipop smell (seriously, I can clearly smell the hard candied sugar smell of an actual lollipop). Meanwhile, the whole thing has a huge, loud floral effusiveness reminiscent of tuberose or orange blossom. There's also a peppery green undertone that I think is a clever use of vetiver, which goes a long way to keep things interesting. Hours later, the fruit fades, leaving the orange blossom out in the open, now paired with warm, tropical ylang and cinnamon-dusted vanilla.

This is obviously intended for lovers of big classics like Fracas or Giorgio Beverly Hills, but the fruit focus, using the powerful flowers as a strong but hazy background structure, brings Carla Fracci squarely into this century, though this is definitely not a "fruity floral" in the immature, stupid way - those old-school flowers won't allow this to fall into that trap.

I'm voting thumbs up, because this is well made, even though it's not really what I'm into.
31st August, 2020

Burberry Brit Rhythm for Her by Burberry

As a full-fledged Burberry Brit hater, I really didn't expect to like this as much as I have.

To my nose, it's a mash-up of a full-on lavender/tonka fougere with an iris perfume, as well as Brit's signature fuzzy pink pepper and vanilla.

It's a little unruly at first, but quickly settles into something pleasant. The lavender/iris combo reminds me of something Chanel would do, while the way the iris combines with the tonka and pink pepper is quite warm and comforting. As it gets towards the base, the vanilla comes in and makes everything more rich.

So, I begrudgingly offer Brit Rhythm a thumbs-up, thanks to the warm fuzzies, especially given how expensively put together this smells versus its price.
31st August, 2020

Rock Me! by Anna Sui

A bit of a weird one...

The main smell here is a perplexing mix of plastic, rocks, and resinous wood, which I'm guessing from the theming of the bottle and packaging is supposed to smell like leather. There's a moist, limpid green quality to it, and the whole thing smells like someone sprayed a bit of cheap fruity floral perfume next to the weird plastic rock.

I do appreciate a strange perfume, and if this had really explored the plastic/rock/leather theme, I could have really enjoyed it, but the cheap fruity floral elements ruin everything. That being said, I can't imagine a discount-store fruity floral fan liking this at all either. I don't know who this is for...
31st August, 2020

Forbidden Affair by Anna Sui

This is essentially the blackberry note made famous by L'Artisan's Mure Et Musc, but with sparkly aldehydes instead of the musk. It's nice - the aldehydes have a high-pitched honey feel to them, like mimosa flower or a shot of pollen.

A couple of hours in, a subtle suede base comes in (likely the bottom half of a violet note I didn't notice in the topnotes), along with quiet woods. At this point, things are fading and getting a little murky, which I guess is to be expected from the price point and EDT concentration.

This is definitely a perfume that suffers from its own price point, which is sad because all the inspiration and DNA for a grand perfume is in here. So yes, Forbidden Affair is actually good, but with better concentration and a little more work put into a proper base, this could have been great.
31st August, 2020

24 Elixir Ambrosia by ScentStory FZE

An odd metallic butter opening leads to fruity patchouli and violets. It's kind of like someone tried make a more masculine version of Feminite du Bois by using aquatic "woody amber" chemicals instead of it's famous aldehydes.

Does it work? Not for long. While the tried-and-tested fruitchouli elements try their best to class everything up, the "woody amber" mixes with a strong saffron note and ends up overwhelming everything, drowning all the clever elements in a fake oud smell. One of those perfumes that smells like it might be good for a few minutes and then collapses under its own cheapness.
30th August, 2020

White Vetiver by Clean

There's an interesting combination of juniper berry (with its dank green pine smell) and vetiver, but it takes place at the same time as Clean's "clean" notes (an odd mix of rice milk, bleach, and fabric softener).

The first few minutes are a trainwreck, messy but in such a way that it's impossible to stop sniffing. The iodine quality of the vetiver smells like blood, while the mix of bleach and milk smells stomach-curdlingly spoiled and poisonous. It's quite shocking that a company like Clean, whose entire raison d'etre is to be inoffensive, let this slide.

But if you give it a while, it settles into a something like a fabric softener scented with a mix of vetiver and pine. As much as I want to pan this, I'm a sucker for pretty much any vetiver and this is no exception. Late in the day, it ends up with a cheap metallic "woody amber" drydown.

So yeah... Terrifying cacophony followed by vetiver/pine laundry detergent. I wouldn't bother.
30th August, 2020

Clean Reserve : Sel Santal by Clean

This kicks off with the green coconutty Australian sandalwood made famous by Le Labo's Santal 33, topped with apricot and snuggled up in in a fuzzy blanket of hazy laundry musks and salty sea air. It's quickly joined by traditional sawdusty sandalwood.

That's about it - a push/pull between green coconut sandalwood and brown sawdust sandalwood, taking place in fuzzy, milky laundry musks.

I don't love the mix of coconut and sawdust - it seems like they're bringing out the worst in each other. And the milky musk, which is clearly Clean's signature, is a little at odds with the woods. Nothing here is bad, but I can't help but feel like this is screaming "I'M NOT OFFENSIVE!" so hard that it crosses over ironically into offensive territory, while the clash of the sandalwoods is an odd counterpoint. Meh.
30th August, 2020