Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Justin Case

Total Reviews: 137

Sorriso by Profumum

When I apply this on the back of my hand, I get a vanilla waft as I'm sitting on my desk typing on a keyboard, and a strong acetone/chemical facet if I bring my nose close to my skin. To me, this is Profumum's vanilla offering. I get no chocolate and no orange. It's a nice vanilla, though, as long as you resist the urge to sniff your skin where you applied it.
18th September, 2020

Acqua Solaris by Dua Fragrances

This is a good fragrance that many people will probably like. I'm not giving it a thumbs up because it comes with an implied promise to be a cheaper substitute for Profumum's Acqua Viva. As far as that promise goes, AS has a similar opening, but longevity and development are different from AV.

Solaris starts more refined, if I may, than AV in that the citrus blast has less intensity. But an hour later, you realize the reason why AV starts out with its overt intensity. AV keeps its strong promise of citrus for several hours while AS turns into a high quality cologne. Viva follows the strong citrus phase with beautiful, refreshing neroli/floral facets while Solaris retires into a woody masculine base.

What's more is that, ounce for ounce, Solaris is not really all that much cheaper than Viva. If I had to choose, I'd go with Viva for sure, even if I have to pay a little extra.

In summary, Solaris needs to work on longevity and quality if it's looking to catch up with Viva, but it is still a pleasant and worthy perfume on its own. However, if you're looking for the ultimate citrus, perfume, give Acqua Viva a try. In my wardrobe, Solaris is Viva's little brother. I use it when I want to smell fresh for a short time.

I would have said "try Aqua Solaris" but Dua does not offer samples, unfortunately.
11th September, 2020

Oceania by Roja Dove

I would have given this a neutral rating if it weren't for the inaccessible price tag. Oceania's opening doesn't remind me of the ocean or of water, but of citrus fruits. On my skin, the sandalwood dry down arrives in less than 2 hours, way sooner than I would expect from a fragrance that costs this much.

Even the citrus opening is too subdued and shy both in quality and in projection.

If you're looking for a citrus scent, do not blind buy this one.
11th September, 2020
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L'Air du Désert Marocain by Tauer

Another overly, insanely hyped fragrance that does not deliver. Its main problem: the rose note. Not all roses are created equal, and this rose is a medicinal, eucalyptic-licorice rose that is neither friendly not airy. It maybe your type of rose, though, so it's worth trying for sure.

Like all the other Tauers I've tried so far, this is well composed and thoughtful. It is pleasing from beginning to end, although I really wish the rose note can be improved, which is unlikely given all the strange, inexplicable hype around this fragrance.

The distant dry down brings down the volume of the rose note and amplifies a note that smells like vanilla to me. Still welcome, still not mind blowing.
10th September, 2020 (last edited: 11th September, 2020)

Oud Alif by Shay & Blue

Oud Alif is Arabic for "tame oud" or "friendly oud", and that is a faithful description of this fragrance.

OA is a good oud fragrance, but not really much more. The dry down loses its oud and keeps its sandalwood. It's a safe, traditional oud to my nose while being clean and slightly refined. The price point makes perfect sense.

If you're introducing yourself to oud, this is a nice starting point. Just don't expect it to blow your mind.
10th September, 2020

Classic Collection : Celebration by Royal Crown

This is so intensely hyped that I was close to blind-buying it. Thank God I didn't.

There are many adjectives that can describe this fragrance, but natural is certainly not one of them to my nose. This is a menthol-citrus combination that smells acutely synthetic. It lacks harmony while being loud and screechy. Add to that the exorbitant price and you have yourself a clear loser.

Definitely try it before you buy it.
10th September, 2020

Sabbia Bianca by Profumum

This is an example of when a niche fragrance house becomes too complacent after initially receiving plenty of praise.

Many houses have made attempts at invoking tuberose, which is a valiant endeavor that I fully support. Diptyque's Do Son nails it nicely to my nose. Other houses make an implied admission that their tuberose offerings are unable to replicate the real thing, so they market their tuberose scents by saying "this is tuberose, but with something else", which could serve to make interesting combinations while hiding the fact that they are unable to make an honest-to-God tuberose. Two birds with one bottle.

Right from the fragrance's webpage, Profumum Roma's description of Sabbia Bianca is annoyingly confusing. "Traces of pure white sand"? Sand that smells like white flowers? Where is that sand in Italy? Where is it in the Milky Way?

And the fragrance itself is true to its confusing marketing. I expected tuberose, but the sweetness of ylang ylang brought the fragrance closer to a sad, nauseating botched attempt at replicating gardenia.

I bought the sample of SB hoping to find the tuberose scent that my wife would like to wear, but it was instantly off putting to both of us. I felt bad for applying it on her wrist. It didn't get better with time, either.

Profumum, this is in dire need of a reformulation. Please test it on as many people as possible and make sure that your test subjects know nothing of the hype surrounding your name.
10th September, 2020

L'Air des Alpes Suisses by Tauer

If vintage Fahrenheit did not exist, I would give this fragrance a thumbs up. Alas, the similarity with VF is to stark to my nose that it makes it hard for me to rate it.

I also expect fragrances to be true to their marketing, and this has nothing that brings air, alps, mountains, or Switzerland to mind.

I'm not giving it a thumbs-down because it is still a well composed, nicely made fragrance. Green, powdery, and a little rough, it retains its green powderiness throughout its life while without revealing any ugly sides like some niche offerings do. It may be too reminiscent of the 80s to some while being a welcome departure from current trends to others. Definitely worth a sniff if you have a chance.
10th September, 2020

Phtaloblue by Tauer

This is Tauer's fennel offering. The prominence of fennel is why I cannot wear it, but that doesn't mean that it's not a well composed fragrance that many people will undoubtedly like.

I appreciate when a fragrance's dry down is not so woody that it becomes an entirely different fragrance. Phtaloblue's dry down retains its opening facets while adding a clean, aquatic vibe that lasts very long on clothing. It is pleasant and put together thoughtfully from start to finish. Too bad I'm not a fan of fennel and I cannot make a link between fennel and the color blue.

Overall, this is a very clean, cool, slightly metallic, moderately aquatic creation. I would definitely try it if you have a chance. If anything, it's a worthwhile olfactory experience.
10th September, 2020

Moroccan Fig by Malin + Goetz

I'm starting to think that I am, perhaps, the most exhausted seeker of a true fig scent - one that transports me to the shade of a fig tree upon first whiff. My conclusion after smelling literally tens of fig samples from old to new to cheap to niche: No one has done it yet. No one even got close enough to making me smile in olfactory satisfaction. This is so disappointing to me, but should also be very inticing to a new perfumer in search of a market breach: make that true fig scent and yours will be the glory of succeeding at what no one has done in the history of perfumery. There is a open gap in the perfume market and it's still wide open as far as I'm concerned.

One day I will grow up to become a millionaire and I'll place a bounty on the illusive scent of a fig tree.

As usual, I was hopeful when I read the few reviews on Moroccan Fig on Fragrantica. Some described it as "deeply moving" and others did not like it because it was too much like a fig tree and not enough like a person. Could it be my long sought after scent? I hoped and dreamed and, as usual, was filled with anticipation when I received my sample from the nice lady at Nordstrom who shipped it to me.

And as usual, I was disappointed. Moroccan Fig screams in every moment of its life on my skin that it's just another take, another attempt, another stumble. It's as if the world of perfumers is simply impotent and helpless when it comes to the fig tree. I really hope and pray that no perfumer would congratulate themselves on their fig recreation thinking that they're fooling anyone. You're not even close.

Moroccan Fig completely forgets about what makes the scent of a fig tree so sought after: the crisp, bright, jolly quality that makes fig trees and sunshine come together in everyone's mind as if they're twins. This is overly, unnecessarily subdued and humiliated, making it smell more like coconuts and lipstick than anything, with an incessant ashy quality that tries to replicate the fuzz on fig leaves but only replicates the disgust that I felt with Phylosikos and all the other figs.

My search will probably continue forever.
06th May, 2017

Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio

Fig scents can never escape being exposed for the coconut they contain. Fig Tree is no exception, but it makes up for it by its natural composition and clever addition of green notes to better mimic fig trees. Fig Tree does not have the soapy dry down of Philosykos, which makes it better than Philosykos to my nose. I'm very close to adopting this as my one fig scent.

Not much woods here - mainly green fig leaves and fruits. The opening reminds me a little of Grey Flannel, which is a good thing.
20th June, 2015

Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio

This is a nice scent, but there is no forest here. The middle phase smells like what I can only describe as black tea boiling in a kettle with a hint of spices. The dry down is very reminiscent of Lagerfield's classic Lagerfield for men. Basically an older gentleman's scent.
19th June, 2015

Bois Naufragé 16.1 / Private Collection - Bois Naufragé by Parfumerie Generale

This is the second PG I tried and I cannot help but feel that the perfumer is unable to hide the chemical quality of his creations. The fig here is laced with an obvious face makeup (blush powder) note, making this too unnatural smelling for a fig and too feminine to my nose.
12th June, 2015
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Siskiyou by Juniper Ridge

A cardamom bomb with coniferous sap. Projection is surprisingly good for an EdC but longevity is poor.

Natural perfumes are quite susciptible to batch variation so it's possible that I just got a bad batch, but whatever I got smells like a spice mix, not much like a hike in the woods.
12th June, 2015

3# Nota Di Viaggio - Ciavuru d'Amuri by Meo Fusciuni

This is decidedly feminine to my nose. At first sniff, I thought: "soap". Then I looked at the notes, saw jasmine and fig and thought: "I guess that's how you make a soap scent".
11th June, 2015

Vanitas by Profumum

A sweet, light vanilla with not much depth and no woods to my nose. Perhaps slightly more feminine than masculine. Doesn't smell natural enough for me to recommend it.
11th June, 2015

Ambra Aurea by Profumum

Pure, strong, very long lasting amber (not ambergris). If you're an amber fan, you should try this.

The notes can simply be stated as "amber" or broken down into the constituents of amber: vailla, benzoin, and labdanum. That pretty much sums up Ambra Aurea, with extreme projection and longevity.

If I ever have to wear Ambra Aurea, I would wear no more than one dab on the tip of my finger, otherwise I can see myself getting quite lethargic with a full spray.
11th June, 2015

Ichnusa by Profumum

One of the acceptable fig scents out there. Not very natural smelling, which is why I decided not to buy it. Philosykos succeeds in evoking a much more natural fig in the opening but its dry down is almost pure soap to my nose. Ichnusa opens with a strange sweet chemical fig but the dry down is more true to the opening than Philosykos. Worth sampling.
11th June, 2015

Fiore d'Ambra by Profumum

I don't see where the confusion on this fragrance is coming from. To me it's simply Amber (perfumer's amber, not ambergris) and carnations. Slightly more feminine than masculine IMO.
11th June, 2015

Mahogany Woods by Bath and Body Works

A nice soothing nighttime vanilla with great longevity and projection from just 2 sprays. Most people who smelled it on me said there's a clear presence of woods but to me it's mainly vanilla.

Great for the price and works for experimentation with layering. It's described as masculine on the box but can easily be worn by a woman IMO. Definitely worth checking out.
20th May, 2015

Acqua Viva by Profumum

This fragrance finally achieved what many others could not: a strong citrus fragrance with good longevity, a lemon that stays fresh and lemony for hours without giving way to a base that changes its direction.

Apparently this has been an illusive goal for many perfumers, with Eau d'Hadrien coming close to achieving it, albeit with less longevity. Profumum nailed it here. This is lemony satisfaction that will stay with you all day.

The secret to this lemon longevity? I'm not sure, but perhaps something as simple as jacking up the concentration. It sprays oily, almost like an essential oil, which comes close to justifying the price tag without actually justifying it.

There is a mild flowery softness that kicks in after the first few minutes, giving AV a slight sweetness, but it only serves to augment the realism of lemons. There's also a very mild earthy tone that just makes the concoction more endearing. The cedar and musk base doesn't make much of an appearance on my skin.

This just might be the perfect companion for hot humid summer days.
16th May, 2015 (last edited: 11th September, 2020)

Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal

At first sniff, it's clear to me that this is a fig scent. Therefore, I will judge it based on how well it achieved its figginess.

The purpose here seems to be replication of a meditteranean garden with fig and citrus trees. The citrus notes help tremendously, but sadly the fig accord is not a very realistic one. I could easily tell that it was a benzoin or perhaps a massoia substitution.

Sorry, Annick Goutal, but Philosykos still wins.
16th May, 2015

Monsieur Balmain (new) by Pierre Balmain

This could have been a great lemon scent. The main reason I will not buy this is the protracted cheap sandalwood note that resembles BO.

The interesting thing is that after that cheap BOness goes away, the lemon returns in a nice way - close to the skin but still wafting every few minutes and making itself noticeable. This is unusual for a citrus accord.

If MB did not have the sandalwood note and just settled for the lemons, it would have been my quintessential lemon scent for such a great price.
16th May, 2015

Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St Clement's by Heeley

This is a thoughtful composition of mainly citruses, neroli, and the creative combination of ylang ylang and vetiver at the base. The opening is a fresh lemon blast made a little sharp by the petitgrain.

I start noticing the vetiver about 5 minutes later, with the neroli and ylang ylang making it almost feel like a spice. This vetiver is a clean, lifeless one almost borrowed from Etro's Vetiver.

Therefore, the resulting dry down to me is literally Etro's Vetiver plus neroli. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it is quite innovative and unique. The problem for me is that this dry down is not a welcoming one. It feels desolate and lonely like an old memory of being lost as a child.

Try it. You may love it. If not, you just might appreciate it.
16th May, 2015

O/E by Bogue Profumo

The opening here is a harsh mix of citruses and pine/juniper berry. The rest of the time, O/E is dominated by a clever dirty animalic rendering made possible by combining benzoin with lavender and resins to create a strong leather illusion that stays throughout the life of the scent. Longevity and projection are great. However, O/E has an old powdery predilection that makes it very reminiscent of "old man" fragrances. If you're like me and you have an aversion to older scents, beware.
16th May, 2015

Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior

A classical oud with not much to offer in terms of creativity.

That said, it smells like good quality stuff and it has the Dior name. I see this a a great gift for an oud lover. Longevity and projection are great. Definitely a night scent to me.
30th April, 2015

Jardin d'Amalfi by Creed

I agree with the reviewer who said JdA is bursting with life. That's what this fragrance is about: a garden full of good energy. Many fragrances claim to capture a garden scent but few succeed as much as JdA.

The opening is a strong lemony-mandarin citrus with florals - perhaps rose and neroli. I can pick up the vetiver immediately and into the dry down, which is a slightly woody earthy one with the neroli and rose still dominating.

I think I need to address the perceived projection issue with this fragrance. This is a scent for which people will go anosmic pretty quickly due to the intensity of the opening, so they may feel like it lost its projection within an hour. Not so. The projection of JdA is excellent. Try spraying a person with it, leave them for a couple of hours, and come back and you'll know what I'm talking about. Although you may feel that you need to spray a lot, you may want to start with just 2 sprays to avoid projecting too much and not realizing it.

Longevity is perhaps a weak point here. 4 hours is probably the most you'll get out of the 2 strongly projecting sprays. I'd carry a small decant to keep it fresh.

More feminine than masculine to my nose. Thankfully, my wife loves it so I get to smell it on her quite a bit.
30th April, 2015

Knize Ten Golden Edition by Knize

It's unfortunate tha this fragrance could not escape the association with bug spray to my nose. Bug spray at the opening, bug spray in the middle, and dry bug spray at the dry down. Makes me wish I never smelled bug spray so that I can have a more objective opinion.
28th March, 2015

Bayolea by Penhaligon's

Any aspiring "lumbersexual" should try this. The pine and lemongrass combo makes a man blend seamlessly into a lumberyard after mowing grass.

To me, Bayolea is reminiscent of climbing on a grapevine pergola and picking unripe grapes, with their sour, seedy taste, which I used to do as a kid. Add to that the mature mix of patchouli, cedar, and pine, and the result is quite transportive. It's very clean, which is why some reviews describe it as soapy. But then again, there's a soap that smells like any given scent.

If there's a con, it's probably that sillage could be better.
27th March, 2015 (last edited: 18th June, 2015)

Jardin du Poete by Eau d'Italie

A vibrant citrus green opening bursting with life, followed by a calmed-down tomato leaf and basil resembling a cucumber mediterranean salad. More masculine than feminine. With its envigorating, sunny predilection, It would be perfect for playing an outdoor sport.

The only con is that it smells too familiar to me. I bet there are many cheap frags that open just like it, but probably don't perform as well.

I guess the other con is that it's priced like an EDP when it's actually EDT.
27th March, 2015