Perfume Reviews

Reviews by David Ruskin

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Total Reviews: 74

Le Lion de Chanel by Chanel

Very nice. A threesome between Jicky, Obsession and the original Lagerfeld fragrance for men. Somebody has created a modern version of Ambre 83, an amber base that was used extensively in 1980's fragrances, and has used it beautifully. I did not think that such Amber-Orientals were still popular, but I'm glad that this fragrance has proved me wrong. Having smelled Gabrielle (shudder) I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I'm sorry that it doesn't last as long as I expected it to, but it works just fine whilst I can smell it.

Not at all original, but very well done; beautifully blended and smooth as silk.
12th May, 2021

She Was An Anomaly by Etat Libre d'Orange

A somewhat weak and flimsy musk/iris fragrance; powdery and dry. It smells rather chemical, and has a similar effect as tasting Alum or Epsom Salts. If you want a proper fragrance of this type try Luten's "Iris Silver Mist", and weep.

It is pretty linear, slightly warmed by some fuzzy musk, made slightly complex with something woody.

It's not ghastly, just not very interesting. It isn't very strong, nor does it last very long. After a minute or two I can smell something sweet and fruity, and synthetic. I guess that's the plum.

This fragrance is a good example of why AI is yet to replace the Perfumer.
03rd May, 2021

Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange

Being a bear of very little brain I wish someone wiser than I would tell me why anyone would want to smell like Vic's vapour rub. Vic's that has gone ever so slightly off.

I can smell something peppery, something a little bit musky, something, even, a little bit floral. Every note showing the same ELDO care for the quality of its ingredients (hem, hem). And every note swamped in Camphor.
01st May, 2021
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Cologne by Etat Libre d'Orange

As I understand it, the perfume type called "Cologne" is derived from 4711 Eau de Cologne ('cos that's where it's made). Colognes should be refreshing and cooling. They don't necessarily last a long time as they are based on short lived citrus notes.

ELDO's cologne smells neither refreshing nor cooling. It smells like orange squash. Very synthetic orange squash, with maybe a touch of an orange flower base, to take the curse off it.

I lost interest long before the, very short lived, Cologne gave up.
01st May, 2021

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

On first spray I thought this was going to be an Eccentric Molecule type fragrance full of dry, hissy Iso E Super. It started off with Pepper and dry woods. Had it continued along those lines it would have been acceptable; dull but acceptable. Unfortunately ELDO did it again. Shortly after, a new note appeared. A harsh, green ozonic marine note which got stronger and more unpleasant as the fragrance dried down to the base notes. I could not smell anything floral, or herbal, only a harsh, dank, watery, ozonic power house. I am very familiar with Geosmin and I guess that was part of what I could smell. I have never smelled Calypsone, but from its description that was what was causing the problem.

Even after 24 hours I can still smell this ghastly mess, with maybe a little hint of Ambroxan, which doesn't help at all.

Of course it is very strong, and of course it lasts for ages.

Actively nasty.
15th April, 2021

Dangerous Complicity by Etat Libre d'Orange

After an initial bit of nonsense, with boozy citrus notes this turns into a not bad copy of Ombre Rose. I like Ombre Rose.

Like most ELDO fragrances it doesn't last too long, certainly Ombre Rose lasts longer. I guess this is because Ombre Rose is a better constructed fragrance with more and better quality ingredients.

This is the last of the 20 samples that I bought from ELDO that I have smelled, and the first one that I liked. Such a relief.

I do wish ELDO would spend less time trying to be provocative with their silly names and odd-ball marketing, and spend more time in trying to get some half decent fragrances.
14th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)

Russian Leather by Molton Brown

Molton Brown's "Russian Leather" shower gel is one of my favourites, so when I had the opportunity of getting a sample of the EdT, I took it. The sample lead to me buying a full bottle.

A rich warm leather with, to my nose, sweet tobacco and hay. It is complex and comforting, lasts for ages and keeps on giving.

One tiny negative; I think there is a tad too much birch tar and/or Cade which gives slightly too much of a smoky barbecue feel. This doesn't detract from the overall quality of this fragrance, but if it were toned down a little, I think the fragrance would be even better.
14th April, 2021

You Or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d'Orange

Whilst it is important for perfumers to experiment and try out new and original ideas, I think it is even more important to remember that all perfumes have a function. Fine fragrance perfumery should be all about creating a pleasurable sensation, creating a fragrance that it is enjoyable to wear. Now, call me old fashioned if you will, but I really don't want to smell like Wrigley's chewing gum, or a tube of toothpaste.

On first spray the overwhelming note is Spearmint, Spearmint cranked up to 11. That, on its own, would be just about tolerable as a fine fragrance, but shortly after a nasty mix of ozone and a something harsh and green appears. I thought at first the green note was Triplal, but it carried on for far too long. The stronger this note got the more unpleasant it became. And that I thought was that.

I smelled this on a smelling strip ( thank goodness I didn't spray it on my skin), and was surprised that the following day I detected something sulphurous and Grapefruit like.

This could be used as an air freshener in a public toilet but I hope I will never get it on me.

I guess it does require a certain skill to take a fairly pleasant oil, Spearmint, and use it to create something actively nasty.
11th April, 2021 (last edited: 18th April, 2021)

Une Amourette Roland Mouret by Etat Libre d'Orange

This starts with a blast of Eucalyptus, Cardamom and Pepper. This camphoraceous effect would work well in a cleaning product; a hard surface cleaner or something to clean the toilet. However this top note doesn't last long as almost immediately the smell of Patchouli appears. I like Patchouli.

Unfortunately the Patchouli is spoiled by something else which makes it a little cloying sweet. It is not a strong fragrance after the initial eucalyptol note, which is probably to the good.

The Patchouli oil I used to buy in the head shops was stronger, and much cheaper.
09th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)

Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

If you want to smell a classic Jasmin based fragrance search out some vintage Joy. Jasmin and Cigarettes ain't no Joy, it isn't even very cheerful. I cannot smell any Jasmin absolute, just lots of poor quality Benzyl Acetate.

This fragrance is built around a synthetic Jasmin base (I'm guessing), with some added extras to try to shoe horn in the "cigarette" vibe. All I get is burnt paper, and cold wood ash.

I cannot smell any tobacco, nor much that is fruity, although I thought I caught a faint whiff of something sickly sweet.

I do wish that ELDO spent a lot less time in trying to be provocative, a lot less time on marketing puffery, and spent more time on improving the quality of their fragrances.
09th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)

Divin'enfant by Etat Libre d'Orange

Weak, sweet and sticky; much like a new born I guess. I don't get any Orange Blossom, or indeed most of the descriptors in the fragrance notes. There is a heavy, sweet milk or marshmallow accord which is there from the beginning and just carries on. There is a coffee cream note ( furfuryl mercaptan?) and maybe some Tonka, but I don't really care.

This seems to be going on forever, unchanging, cloying and dull.
09th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)

Attaquer Le Soleil Marquis de Sade by Etat Libre d'Orange

I love Labdanum and Cistus, but not, apparently when mixed with a slug of Cumin.

The divine Marquis deserved better than this.
09th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)

Tom of Finland by Etat Libre d'Orange

One should never make assumptions. When I heard that ELDO were selling a fragrance called Tom of Finland I expected something special; the summation of Tom's work in a bottle. Something that smelled of leather, oil, changing rooms, bars, stables and any other fantasy that flesh is heir to. Instead what I got was a shy mimsy little damp smelling thing that seemed to have been locked in a forgotten closet for years.

It wibbles along in no particular direction. It seems not to have any point to it. There is a bit of suede leather, a bit of herbs,, some aldehydes, a bit of sweetness, some flowers; blah, blah, blah.

I wonder if Antoine Lie had ever seen any of Tom of Finland's work. Apart from anything else Tom's drawings are hugely celebratory, and full of joy and enjoyment of a particular sexuality. This fragrance does not, in the least, show this joy. Seems to be ELDO trying to be provocative, and failing.

Not very strong, with fairly average longevity; it isn't even bad enough to get a "thumbs down".
08th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)
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Putain des Palaces by Etat Libre d'Orange

Seems like this good time gal has been overdosing on Haribo and violet creams, and has returned from the palace somewhat sticky and grubby, and maybe a little nauseous.

I found this fragrance to be thoroughly unpleasant; loud, synthetic and chemical. If there is any Rose absolute there I cannot smell it. I can smell lots of Ionones however. I suppose it could be used to cover even more unpleasant smells although it is difficult to imagine what they could be.

Of course it is very strong and lasts forever. It bloody would do, wouldn't it?
08th April, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)

Ajaccio Violets by Geo F Trumper

I was looking for a straightforward Parma Violet type; and almost found it here. After a somewhat hysterical opening, which to my nose is too sour and citric this fragrance then settles down as a fine powdery violet. I don't find it especially strong, although violet fragrances are notorious for dulling the sense of smell. I am aware of the smell, not continuously, but in little bursts.

This is the best simple Violet that I have come across. If there are any others that are better, do let me know.
23rd November, 2020

Bijan for Men by Bijan

From what I had read about this, I was expecting a much stronger, more potent fragrance than the one I experienced. I have just bought a bottle of this (influenced by Basenotes reviewers) and was somewhat underwhelmed. I enjoy the fragrance, a lot, but it seems rather weak on me. Maybe the reviews I read were referring to an earlier version, maybe It's me.

On smelling strip the fragrance is quite strong, and lasts, a long time. Starting with an almost Fougere opening of Bergamot and, possibly, Lavender it segues into a more spicy (Nutmeg and Clove). The dry bitterness of salicylates getting stronger all the time. Eventually it dries down to Musk, Moss, Salicylate and Clove. Most enjoyable.

Actually, what the dry down remind me of is Youth Dew.

On me, after an hour or so I can barely smell it. Shame.

I give it "thumbs up" because of its performance on smelling strip. Evaluating, just on me, it would get a neutral.
04th October, 2019

Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A fairly unimpressive fig, and I would have given it a neutral score but I detected a particular sour milk note which I recognised as one of the very few perfumery ingredient smells that I detest. There is a strange dusty matting (almost jute like) note in the dry down which shouldn't be there either.

After a less than inspiring opening, a rather disappointing end. Shame.
03rd September, 2019

Joy by Christian Dior

At last all is clear, I now understand Dior's fragrance policy. After Chanel launched "Bleu", to somewhat lukewarm reviews, Dior popped out "Sauvage". "Sauvage" was in the same odour area, but was even worse than"Bleu". Now, after Chanel came up with "Gabrielle" Dior has launched "Joy". "Gabrielle" is a screechy fruity floral; "Joy" is even worse. Sticky, fruits, synthetic florals with no charm, no panache, and none of the characteristics of classical Dior fragrances ( those that haven't been butchered that is). It's a horrible mess and the owners of Dior should be ashamed of themselves.

And I haven't even mentioned the stealing of the name from another classic fragrance.
28th November, 2018

Gabrielle by Chanel

I just smelled this today, and was deeply disappointed. After an initial pleasant opening which reminded me of an attempt to modernise Cristalle (and smelling the opening I wondered "Why bother?") the fragrance developed into a vulgar fruity floral (mainly fruity) mess. The sales assistant who insisted on spraying the sample for me claimed the fragrance contained Jasmine and Neroli. If it does they are both synthetic, with a heavy dose of Hedione, and something screechy and irritating to my nose. "Calyx" is a much better attempt at a fruity floral, I wonder why anyone else bothers to compete. Comparing "Gabrielle" to "Calyx" shows what a wonderful perfumer Sophia Grosjman is. "Calyx" is well blended; "Gabrielle" isn't.

Such a shame.
05th September, 2017

M/Mink by Byredo

This is such a weird one! Animalic Patchouli, with a metallic nasty top caused by the overdose of Adoxal, an aromachemical usually used sparingly. Every now and then I feel the urge to wear this, and when that happens nothing else will do, as there is nothing else like it. If I could give this a thumbs up and this down at the same time, I would. A true love/hate unique fragrance.
08th August, 2017

Wild Fern by Geo F Trumper

A traditional Fougère, with a perfect accord of Lavender, Geranium and Bergamot. IFRA and the EU have caused modifications of this (I have smelled several versions ), and of course I prefer the Oakmoss- rich older formula. A little too much Anise or Tarragon now for my taste, but it still one of the best classical Fougères going. This and Penhaligans are (or were) the best of this type of thing.
03rd April, 2017

No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

When I heard about this launch I was worried, when I smelled the fragrance I knew that my worries were justified.

Some time ago Jake and Dinos Chapman caused an (intended) uproar by displaying some Goya prints they had bought and then scribbled over, in the way a child would scribble in a book. I feel that this Chanel palimpsest is a similar "work". The faint shadow of the original masterpiece struggles to make itself known, but has not a hope of succeeding. Most of what made Chanel 5 what it was has been removed, leaving just a vague impression. Then to make quite sure that it is possible to ruin a once great fragrance, there is added a dollop of something so sweet and synthetic that one sniff induces tooth-ache.

This is vile and Chanel should be ashamed.
04th December, 2016

Mon Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

I took one sniff of this and gagged. How horrible can a fragrance be? What was once the quality of Saint Laurent fragrances is utterly lost here. A tooth rottingly sweet synthetic Raspberry. Utterly vile.
11th July, 2016

Tea Rose Eau de Toilette by Perfumer's Workshop

I remember when this came out, Selfridges reeked! Its launch coincided with the first time that people from various Middle Eastern countries visited Europe, and especially the UK. All the Arab men went wild over Tea Rose. I did too. This was the first fragrance, designed for women (apparently) that I bought and wore. I loved it then, I love it now. A fantastic Rose, superficially simple, but hiding a wonderful complexity.
27th June, 2016

Yatagan by Caron

I remember buying this in 1976, when it had just been launched. I was in Selfridges and tried a spay of Yatagan on my wrist. I recoiled in horror, and left the store. I thought it was the most unpleasant fragrance I had ever smelled (Kouros was yet to be released). 20 minutes later I was back and had bought a bottle. I have never experienced such a quick and complete 180 degree change of opinion before, or since.

Such a complex fragrance needs to be learned. I still own some of an old bottle of Yatagan, and, trying to keep it for as long as possible, wear it rarely. I also have a more recent bottle which I wear a lot. Comparing the two shows how this beast has been tamed. The later is a shadowy caricature of the former, and whilst still good is as nothing when smelled side by side with the original. If you like leather and Patchouli, then this is for you. If you hate the smell of Celery (and those that do, hate with a passion) avoid this (especially the vintage version).
12th June, 2016

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Normally I dislike milky notes in a fragrance (Feu d'Issy made me feel physically sick), but this is the exception to the rule. The milky note works so well in Dzongkha, and combines perfectly with the dry powdery Ionone and Cedarwood accord. This is a lovely complex but subtle fragrance.

I have noted the comments made by others that this fragrance lasts for a very long time, and is very powerful. I do not experience this. Maybe I have bought a reformulated version, but I don't find this especially strong, and I don't think it lasts longer than many other fragrances I own. However, I am not complaining. It is no where near as diffusive as Timbuktu, but is much better blended (not that I'm knocking Timbuktu).
24th May, 2016

Grès pour Homme by Grès

I still own a very, very old sample of this fragrance (from the 1980s). It has mostly turned although I still wear it occasionally for the wonderful old fashioned dry down. Masses of Moss and Musk Ambrette. A good Lavender Fougere; bitter and aromatic, citrus and agrestic, mossy and musky. I wish there were more fragrances of this quality made today.
18th March, 2016

Le Pamplemousse by Miller Harris

This opens with a wonderfully balanced blast of Grapefruit, which seems to last longer than most other blasts of Grapefruit. However, there is something about this fragrance that no-one else has mentioned; how very green it is. It is almost as if the Grapefruit note, it is called Pamplemousse after all, is an irrelevance , and it is the Green that dominates. A bitter Galbanum which works so well with the Grapefruit. The first hour or so of this fragrance is quite wonderful. After that, unfortunately, things start going down hill. This is why I have given it a "neutral" rating. There is far too much Hedione in this fragrance, and after those first wonderful hours, Pamplemousse starts turning in to a smell that is in a hundred other Perfumes. What a shame that such an enjoyable Top should become such a boring Base.
21st February, 2016

Je Reviens by Worth

I smelled the most recent version of this the other day. How very horrible it is. I can remember this fragrance from the 1970s, and whilst, then, I did not like it, I realised that it was a very clever, well put together, original fragrance. There was, at the time, nothing like it. What has happened? It is now a badly constructed, aldehydic mess. After, maybe ten minutes, all I can smell are Aldehydes. After that, I gave up and threw the smelling strip away.

What I smelled recently should not be called "Je Reviens".
30th January, 2016

Anubis by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

This just does not work on my skin. From the moment I sprayed it on my wrist, all I could smell was Styrax; indeed at first all I could smell was Styrene. It may well have all the other notes as claimed, but they were wasted on me. After a few hours, the fragrance had faded into a soft suede/leather, but I could still smell the Styrene. Not good, badly composed and badly blended. There are many better leathers.

ADDENDUM. I tested the fragrance on Monday, it is now Wednesday and I can still smell traces of it. And yes, I have washed in-between! Remarkable!
11th January, 2016 (last edited: 04th April, 2021)