Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Lovescully

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Total Reviews: 92

Armani Privé Gardenia Antigua by Giorgio Armani

My first impression is a very true to life gardenia heart note with light citrus, a touch of neroli in the top, and creamy musks in the base. Apparently there's Ambroxan here somewhere, but it's not readily apparent to my nose.
Strangely, the notes listed above are missing gardenia, but lists rose, jasmine and ylang ylang; all of which are not readily apparent to me.
I love gardenia, so I'm particularly pleased that Dora Baghriche got this note just right. Upon checking my wardrobe, the only other fragrance I've tried of Dora Baghriche's is L'Artisan's Caligna (which I love). I think she's a perfumer I need to watch a bit more closely to see what else she's done I might like.
Early review is 2 thumbs up.
03rd August, 2020

Armani Privé Laque by Giorgio Armani

This stunning fragrance smells exactly like the notes listed by Armani; that is a top note of aldehydes, middle notes of rose and white flowers, and base notes of wood and musk. It's very beautiful and long lasting.
The opening is very floral and creamy which could come across as quite feminine to some, but on my masculine skin I wasn't bothered by it. The aldehydes behave as I would expect initially smelling like a creamy and expensive French white soap, but not too soapy. The 'white flowers' in the middle are much more dominant that the rose to me.
My favourite part of Laque though is definitely the musky and gently woody base. I'm sure there are other oriental notes used here as it definitely feels like there's more here than just musk and wood. Below I've added a picture of the stunning bottle and presentation. My bottle was numbered 601 from the limited 1300 number released worldwide.
26th February, 2020

Lafayette Street by Bond No. 9

This is another wonderful fragrance from Bond No. 9. The overall impression I get is one of creamy, sweet (but not too sweet) warm woods with a touch of citrus and apple blossom up front. It’s totally unisex and feels appropriate for almost any occasion.

When first sprayed on paper, I do get a very brief resemblance to Dunhill Desire and Diesel Plus Plus, but only superficially. The bergamot and (to my nose) apple blossom are the prominent top notes, but the citrus quickly disappears leaving only the floral component. Although coriander is listed as a top note, I can’t detect it anywhere. Still on paper, after the first 15 minutes or so, Lafayette Street no longer resembles either the Dunhill or Diesel and has morphed into a different scent. Unlike the Dunhill that stays sweet red apple throughout its lifetime, or the Diesel that leans more towards a sweet milky vanilla, Lafayette Street is much woodier and a bit ambery. I think the ‘creamy’ vibe I’m getting comes from a combination of vanilla, tonka and (synthetic) ambergris.

The only difference between the experience I have on paper and that on skin is that the bergamot is non-existent. On skin I get the apple blossom first, then the warm, creamy, woody and amber base. The floral component hangs around for a while, but as the base notes really take hold, the florals all but disappear.

Like the other Bond No. 9 fragrances I have experienced, Lafayette Street’s performance is fantastic. It lasts all day on my masculine skin and projects quite nicely. This gets 2 thumbs up and 4 & a half stars.
02nd January, 2020
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Jones Beach by Bond No. 9

As noted by the brand, Jones Beach is a fragrant representation of sand, surf, sunshine, bare skin and bare feet. In this reviewer's opinion, Bond No. 9 has remarkably and very successfully achieved its goal.

Like the similar (but noticeably different) Fire Island, Jones Beach conjures up coastal breezes, salty air and most cleverly the lightly sweet musky scent of skin that has been in the sun. Where Fire Island goes heavily for a just applied 'sunscreen on skin' vibe, I think Jones Beach instead opts for how your skin might smell at the end of a day at the beach. That is, once your sunscreen has mostly worn off.

Looking at the brand's published notes, aside from the white musk, you would not expect a combination of Calone, Orange Flower Absolute, Ambrox & Violet to achieve such a clear representation of skin that is not shower fresh clean, but not dirty either. It's the smell of skin that has been in and out of salt water and since dried in the sun. Although not listed as a note, I swear that I detect a small amount of tuberose here as well.

As I have come to expect from Bond No. 9, the performance is outstanding. On my skin it lasts an entire work day and I can still clearly smell it when I'm changing out of my work clothes at the end of the day. I've now worn this several times to work and out on the weekends and at least a few of my friends and colleagues have commented positively about how nice it smelt. It's not nearly as powerful as Fire Island, but that OK with me. I think that Jones Beach is meant to be a more understated fragrance.

This is a very fun, relaxed and not too serious offering from Bond No. 9 and it gets 2 thumbs way up and 5 stars from me.
19th November, 2019

Replica Whispers in the Library by Martin Margiela

I absolutely love this! I bought the 10ml samples of this and Coffee Break so that I could give them both a good try before I decided to buy a full bottle; which I have just done.

Although at first I was a bit underwhelmed, this really is a true representation of the Maison Margiela brand ethic of 'reproductions of familiar scents and moments of varying locations and periods'.

I do get a strong (but not sweet) vanilla but this is quickly pushed to the background by a very true representation of a polished wooden banister; and one that has had many hands pass over it over many years. This is such a comfort to me and reminds me of the building in my high school where the library was located! It's astounding how my mind is immediately transported back to those days in library staircase and hall in the mid 1980's!

The overall feeling is peppery, waxy & wooden and most of all comforting. Although not listed as a note, I think the base has some sandalwood too.

This fragrance puts a huge smile on my face and is worth every cent.
04th September, 2019

Fire Island by Bond No. 9

Although I've never actually been to Fire Island (I wish!); when I smell this I am immediately reminded of Euro sunscreens such as Ambre Solei: the association is undeniable.

Growing up in Australia, we were always exposed to every type of sunscreen protection there was to offer, and Fire Island smells almost exactly like an expensive European sunscreen. There's nothing tropical here; no coconut or Tiare Flower, just the sense of a really lovely sunscreen.

For me, this almost has too much tuberose, but thankfully, once it dries down, I'm left with very realistic representation of sun kissed skin and body lotion.

Despite the above this is a wonderful fragrance, and for me, quite a departure from Bond No 9's usual fruity, patchouli/amber/oud scents. This reminds me more of what L'Artisan Parfumeur used to be about; quirky fragrances that absolutely reminded you of a particular place or thing.

I really love this because of the association with my youth and growing up in Sydney. Its very tenacious though and lasts for ages; so if you want to be transported back to the beach, be prepared to stay for a while. 2 thumbs up and 5 stars!
21st April, 2018

Mandarine / Mandarine Tout Simplement by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A gorgeous, natural smelling and very realistic citrus. Like others before me have mentioned, I too get the entire mandarin here; not just the juice or the peel. Regardless, it's still a very simple composition, that is the literal embodiment of a whole mandarin. It is still stunning and entirely addictive and I cannot stop sniffing my wrist when I wear this.

My bottle is simply labelled 'Mandarine' rather than the original version of Mandarine Tout Simplement. I get about an hour of decent longevity before it becomes a skin scent for about another hour; then unfortunately it's completely gone. Despite the weak longevity & projection, this still gets a thumbs up as it's just so beautiful.
16th April, 2018

Sì Le Parfum by Giorgio Armani

This is a truly beautiful creation and there are simply not enough superlatives to describe it properly; but I'll give it a try.

I don't usually subscribe to following gender designations in fragrance and I will mostly try anything at least once. However, on my masculine skin I have never been able to comfortably wear either Si (original), or the EDT or Intense variations. I did discover the wonderful Si Parfum Oil (that only came in a 30ml bottle with a dropper applicator) and I immediately fell in love and purchased it.

This Si Le Parfum is yet another variation on the original, but at least in my experience is an entirely new creation. Like the Parfum Oil, this is much richer, stronger and deeper than any previous versions but it does differ with the presence of the incense. This adds a beautiful smokey/spicy aspect that marries very well with the fruit, patchouli and vanilla/benzoin. Despite the overall effect being somewhat like a Christmas pudding with lashings of vanilla custard, this never strays into gourmand territory for me. I think it's all down to the incense which keeps this sophisticated and a bit regal.

The longevity is outstanding, lasting at least 14 hours on skin & much longer on clothes. Like a lot of Parfum concentrations, this doesn't offend but leaves a very nice cloud around the wearer. Others will certainly smell this on you, but it somehow seems gentle. Surprisingly for such a small bottle, the sprayer actually projects a good blast of the fragrance; so apply with caution because it is still potent stuff.

For those that care about the presentation, you will not be disappointed with Si Le Parfum! It comes in a heavy 'suede like' fabric sheath and the small yet heavy Italian crystal glass bottle and stopper are truly lovely.

5 stars out of 5 and 2 big thumbs up.
16th November, 2017

Mulholland by Keiko Mecheri

As I slowly make my way through testing (& happily buying) some of Keiko Mecheri's collection, it has become clear that there is something very special about this house. Aside from the obvious beautiful presentation in crystal-like clear & dark glass bottles, each and every fragrance I have tested has been carefully thought out, constructed, and is a joy to wear and experience. Mulholland is no different and I truly relish the experience when I wear it.

While Mecheri describes Mulholland as an olfactive immersion into the era of psychedelia and the hipness of Hollywood, I really struggle get that association. It's primarily a fresh citrus opening with only the very vaguest hint of patchouli, then a lovely sandalwood/amber style drydown. To me, Mulholland is very much in the same style as Armani Prive's Vetiver Babylone/D'Hiver. That is to say that although they don't smell very similar they do evoke the same sort of feeling. A bright, natural and lovely citrus followed by a slightly spicy, dry and warm base. Mulholland is not as dry as the Armani and has a noticeable sweetness. Truthfully I would have preferred a bit more patchouli to give Mulholland a touch more earthiness, but this is still very nice as it is.

I agree with others that this is truly unisex and probably very nearly appropriate for most occasions. I get good longevity at about 6 - 7 hours maximum, but sillage is quiet. At retail prices, this may be a bit expensive, but if you can get it on sale like I did, it's worth every cent.
18th September, 2017

Un Jour d'Eté by Keiko Mecheri

The 'other' main fragrance website lists coconut as an accord, but I don't really detect any noticeable coconut in this very fresh and floral uplifting fragrance. The notes listed on Keiko Mecheri's own website are: Sicilian lemon, petitgrain, mandarine, floral accord, aromatic notes(?), amber notes(?) and white musk.

I did expect (and hope for) a decent amount of coconut based on the aforementioned website, but for me this is all about jasmine (one of my favorite notes) and very juicy citrus top/mid notes, followed by a healthy dose of musky woods in the dry down base.

Although it's not comprised of very unique notes, it's done in such a careful and beautiful way that I do find the overall feeling to be unique for this type of fragrance. There's a salty edge to this (similar to Creed's Millseme Imperial, which this vaguely sort of reminds me of) which I guess can only come from either the non-specific aromatics or amber notes.

Despite my disappointment at the missing coconut, I really do like this and each time I wear it I find that I like it more and more. The gorgeous bottle presentation just adds to the overall positive feeling I have towards this one. It truly uplifts my mood each time.
04th September, 2017

Embruns by Keiko Mecheri

From Keiko Mecheri's own website: "A masculine composition inspired by Keiko Mecheri’s passion for her native Japan.....fresh citrus notes into a bouquet of toasted spices and marine notes, before drying down to Indonesian patchouli leaves, incense and driftwood."

Whether it's masculine or feminine I absolutely love it. This is one of my most favourite recent discoveries (along with at least a few others from Keiko Mecheri - Mullholland & Loukhoum!). It's a warm, earthy, woody and slightly sweet leather/oriental.

On my masculine skin, the yuzu quickly departs within mere minutes and the main top notes I detect are the pepper and spices. I can't detect any real 'marine' notes in the mid stages and once the spices subside, the beautiful patchouli and incense and vanilla kick in. At this stage, I am reminded (somewhat) of both Bvlgari Black and Van Cleef and Arpels Midnight in Paris. It's only a vague reminder, but there's no denying a strong and sweet vanilla and leather accord at the drydown stages.

As the sweetness mellows out, I'm left with a gentle and comforting incense. This warm and comforting scent also has a vague gentle muskiness about it.

On my skin I get excellent longevity and the sillage is just right for a fragrance of this type - it won't invade anyone's personal space but it is detectable at an arms distance for at least a few hours. I have received several positive comments from co-workers.

For me, this really comes close to an almost perfect fragrance. I will be sure to purchase a back-up bottle as soon as I can afford it.

14th July, 2017

Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

Unlike my mediocre feelings towards Bentley for Men Intense, I really love this one.

As many before me have already noted this is a very similar fragrance to Gucci Pour Homme 1; but there are some subtle differences. For one, while this has very respectable longevity on my skin (especially in today's market) it doesn't match the sheer magnitude of the 24 hour plus longevity I still get from the Gucci. That said, this is by no means lacking in longevity. I still get a good 7 or 8 hours out of the Bentley.

The scent itself has already been described in great detail, so I will just say that I agree that it is predominantly a woody incense scent with a touch of sweetness (but not as much as the Gucci).
18th May, 2017

Aqua pour Homme Atlantique by Bulgari

Thankfully I don't detect even the slightest hint of anything remotely fishy in this. But then again, I have never detected anything fishy in any of Bvlgari's Aqva line (where other people clearly have). I also don't sense much resemblance to Dior's Sauvage (which I happen to like). In my opinion this is much more similar to Bvlgari's Aqva Tonique & Aqva Marine Tonique. It's a bit sweet and a bit salty.

While it's undeniably an 'aquatic' style of fragrance, there is a sweetness to this (like the definite and clear pear top note in Tonique) that the note pyramid listed doesn't seem to support. A combination of sandalwood and benzoin could possibly produce the sweetness, but these are listed as base notes and I'm detecting the sweetness from the very top notes.

If the note pyramid is correct, then it's an odd mix of notes that unsurprisingly comes across as a bit of an oddity on my skin. Combining earthy notes like patchouli and vetiver, with creamy sandalwood and benzoin, then unspecified 'water' and 'sea' notes just doesn't seem like it would work. Yet to some degree I think Bvlgari and Mr Cavallier have pulled it off. I like it well enough, but I don't think I'll grow to love it, like I do the original Aqva or some of the other Aqva flankers.

I don't find this to be particularly synthetic or cheap smelling (compared to other similar fragrances in market). While it performs well enough, it doesn't match the longevity of the original Aqva or even the more recent Amara (which is a powerhouse on my skin).

As this was a gift and didn't cost me anything, I can live with my mediocre feelings towards it and I'll definitely get some fair use out of this bottle. I'd give it a solid 3 out of 5.
17th February, 2017
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Le Gemme : Ambero by Bulgari

I was lucky enough to recently try a tester of this at the Bvlgari display in David Jones store in Sydney. The bottle itself wasn't on display as they will not be selling these until late February 2017, but the SA knew that I would be interested, so he bought out the tester bottles of this one, and the Onekh leather one and the Gyan jasmine/patchouli one.

The bottles are stunning in person and are a nice counter-point to the female Le Gemme series.

Ambero starts out very Oriental. The ginger, saffron and pepper are all distinguishable and soon the fragrance settles on the skin as a comfortable and familiar amber style of fragrance. Unlike a lot of other amber fragrances on the market, this one is not paired with tonka, vanilla or any type of dried fruit. However the familiarity I think comes from the recently released Colonia Ambra from Acqua di Parma.

As to longevity and sillage, I can't yet comment as I've only been wearing this for 2 hours. However, these are all EDP's so I would hope both would be considerable.

Of the 3 I tried I think that Gyan is the most unique and probably full bottle worthy.
19th January, 2017

Z Zegna Milan by Ermenegildo Zegna

This is interesting and a million miles away from Zegna's original Z fragrance.

It's a very dry woody fig with some smoke and a touch of sweetness. Unusually for a fig fragrance, it is not paired with any sort of coconut, or vanilla, or other fruit. The representation of fig here appears to encompass the whole fig tree, rather than just the fruit and/or leaves. In that respect it is unique, however on my skin it does remind me of something that I wish I could recall (but not necessarily another fig fragrance).

Although there are only 3 notes listed above, it certainly seems to have additional notes other than just those listed. I can absolutely detect a very specific smoke note that wouldn't ordinarily come from either fig, clary sage, or sandalwood (unless you were burning sandalwood incense). I also clearly detect an amberish (not ambergris) resinous quality to the drydown that appears to come from either Labdanum, benzoin, or even myrrh. I guess it could be sandalwood, but not how I would ordinarily recognize it.

Longevity for an EDT is average to moderate at about 6 or 7 hours and projection is fairly soft. While I can smell it on myself quite clearly, when I asked a work colleague what she thought of it, she did need to come pretty close to detect it. She liked it well enough but commented that it was quite soft.

Overall, this is a very pleasant (if a bit unusual) new scent from Zegna and appears to be a bit of a departure from its usual non-Essenze line. If like me you are a fig lover, I would suggest getting your hands on a tester to try this out. If however you don't like fig, I would stay well away.
28th October, 2016

Armani Eau de Nuit Oud by Giorgio Armani

This new Armani fragrance is like a sweeter, more floral and not as dry version of Armani Prive’s Oud Royal, with just a dash of Rose D’Arabie’s liquor like warmth. In fact, if not for the bottle, it could easily have fitted in to the Prive line of the gold capped ‘La Collection des Mille et une Nuits’.

The sweetness I’m detecting must originate from the pink pepper, but to my nose it appears as if both the tonka and a hint of saffron listed in the base notes are quite detectable at the opening. The floral heart of this is reminiscent of the original Eau de Nuit with the iris easily the stand out. The rose note is definitely there but more in the background than the iris. Oud, with the tonka and saffron keep this warm and oriental right through to the conclusion about 8 hours after first application. Both the bergamot and geranium were missing in action and I couldn't detect a trace of either.

As it’s an EDP concentration it performs as I would expect, giving of a decent (but not shouting) sillage and projection and it lasts a good 8 or more hours on my skin.

As yet another Westernised version of an oud, this is not an entirely original offering from Armani. It has more than a passing resemblance to nearly all of the recent spate of oud releases such as Icon Absolute, ADP Colonia Oud, Varvatos Oud, Polo Supreme Oud, etc. Still this is a nice addition to the Armani ‘Eau’ family of masculine marketed fragrances and as it’s a good quality scent that is approximately half the price of the Prive line, it’s also fairly good value for money in my opinion.
26th August, 2016

Armani Privé Rouge Malachite by Giorgio Armani

Before beginning I just need to admit that I am a complete and willing slave to the Armani Prive line. With only 2 exceptions (Rose Alexandrie & La Femme Blue) I own and adore the entire collection. So please read the following 'review' with that prejudice in mind.

Despite my love of Armani Prive, it was with some trepidation that I approached Rouge Malachite as tuberose is not a note that I usually enjoy. There's usually something fleshy and (almost) a bit rotten about the accord, like fruit that is just about to turn, or even in some extreme cases like a bodily musk.

In contrast Rouge Malachite is a very safe and restrained interpretation of tuberose. Like others have said before me, the rather sweet and very prominent amber base (which is actually present very early on) is the likely culprit keeping the usually somewhat offensive (at least to me) aspects of tuberose at bay. It's still very clearly a tuberose fragrance but for those of you like me who tend to shy away from tuberose, this very well might suit your taste for heady florals.

It's a somewhat simple fragrance and beyond the tuberose and amber there are only hints of jasmine and benzoin to be found. I couldn't detect any orange blossom or clary sage. There's maybe a hint of the pink pepper in the opening.

I don't find this (or Vert Malachite) to be particularly masculine or feminine and think that it clearly falls into the unisex category with ease.

Longevity is stellar at at least 11 to 12 hours and actually I can smell traces of it way after that. It doesn't scream out loud though and has respectable sillage and projection.

All that aside, I did purchase a bottle (let's be honest unless it was a stinker I was always going to add this to my collection!) and what a bottle it is. In person this very beautiful marbled red glass bottle appears as if it was made for and should only belong to royalty.
15th April, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Club Extreme by Mercedes-Benz

After a very brief citrus start, amber, sandalwood and patchouli are the main stars of this show. The supporting players are the musk, wood notes and a very soft leather accord, that is more suede than actual leather.

It's a very pleasant oriental woody composition that is like a combination of some of this house's earlier work. I get some resemblance with the base of Mercedes-Benz Le Parfum and also find it contains some similarity to the sweetness of Mercedes Benz Club's Addictive Oriental and the spicyness of Infinite Spicy (the 1st and last also by perfumer Olivier Cresp). It also gets points for at least being a good performer in the longevity and projection stakes.

I was pleasantly surprised by how nice this sits on my skin. It's much nicer than the original Mercedes Benz Club which I found to be too screechy, sharp and a bit plastic.

While it certainly won't shake the world with its arrival, this is a really pleasant and very well put together fragrance from the house of Mercedes Benz.
11th April, 2016

L'Homme Ultime by Yves Saint Laurent

I happily admit to being a fan of the entire L'Homme line including both the recent L'Homme Parfum Intense and La Nuit De L'Homme L'Intense.

This latest Ultime EDP version is probably the one that strays the farthest from the original line the most. Although I suspect the rose accord is the reason, I really don't get that strong a representation of an actual rose accord. The rose is not a heavy rose as you might find in say Amouage's Lyric for men, it's more like a representation of a 'rose' like note. I find the rose to have a creamy vibe and it works really well with the woody notes.

The sage, cardamon and ginger also work well providing a spicy aspect that reminds me much more of La Nuit De L'Homme than the original L'Homme. It's not sweet like L'Homme Parfum Intense, but it's a bit spicy, warm and woody.

The whole composition is very well blended and probably come across as quite 'safe' from an originality perspective. Nevertheless, I'm very happy to have added this one to my L'Homme collection.

As far as performance goes the longevity on this is as to be expected from an EDP (8 hours), but it has soft projection and wears quite intimate. As it's just heading into Autumn here in Sydney I suspect that this will get a lot of wear from me in the coming months.
31st March, 2016

Sì Intense by Giorgio Armani

This is a review of the Si Huile de Parfum (perfume oil) sold in 30ml bottles.

Simply stunning! A wonderful, rich and fully satisfying creation. A perfume oil that reminds me of Si Parfum but takes it to a much higher level.

There is almost a sense of chocolate and rum in this; it's so divine that it really is hard not to keep smelling yourself!

Although the berry note is supposedly missing from this oil, I definitely detect a 'berry' note of some kind; although its not forefront like it is in Si.

As I sit here sniffing my arm I am totally captivated by such a luscious and divine aroma. I know Si is marketed for women but I can tell you that this is totally a unisex perfume oil that any man can wear.

The perfumer Christine Nagle is a downright genius!

Edit: When I said "There is almost a sense of chocolate and rum in this" I did not mean that there was an actual chocolate or cacao or rum note, what I was trying (badly) to convey was that this has a sense of a chocolate with a liqueur centre. That is to say that there is a chocolate 'like' sweetness together with the rum 'like' liqueur feeling.
09th January, 2016 (last edited: 08th April, 2016)

Mauboussin pour Lui In Black by Mauboussin

This is my first full bottle of any Mauboussin fragrance and I must say that I am impressed. A glance at the notes listed above and you might expect Pour Lui In Black to be some kind of sweet, syrupy and woody mess; but on the contrary this is a very well-constructed and nicely blended oriental scent.

Despite the presence of a dominant caramel fudge note, Pour Lui In Black does not come across as even remotely sweet (think Prada’s Candy, Mugler’s Angel, or Pink Sugar) rather it is more in the vein of Hermes’ Elixir des Merveilles, but without the orange peel. It also reminds me somewhat of Dior’s Privée Fève Délicieuse, in that it’s a bit dry and dusty with a touch of smoke. It’s definitely a salty and buttery caramel.

Although guaiac wood (which is usually quite a strong note to my nose) is listed as the woody component, Pour Lui In Black does not feel particularly ‘woody’ to me. Instead I feel that the use of the wood note is just to counter balance the buttery caramel. The presence of the violet is fleeting at best, but there is just enough of a hint that it prevents this from being all about the caramel. Make no mistake though that the caramel top note is still detectable throughout the entire time that this lasts on my skin.

For an EDP concentration, the longevity is as I would expect at between 9 and 10 hours. The sillage provides a nice soft cloud that can be detected throughout the day. For those that care about compliments, it is worth noting that as soon as I walked into the office this morning my female colleague who sits about 2 metres away immediately commented on how nice my choice of fragrance was. The presentation of the flacon is also very nice with its solid frosted black glass.

I doubt that this will be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are in the market for a nice non-sweet caramel and can’t afford Dior’s Privée Fève Délicieuse, this is a great and more affordable alternative.
06th January, 2016

Bentley for Men Intense by Bentley

Although I rarely blind buy full bottles these days (despite living in Australia where so many fragrances just don't get released!), I made an exception for this based almost entirely on the overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Unfortunately, this just doesn't work for me which is perplexing and disappointing. Looking at the notes I would have expected to fall head over heels for this. I love bergamot, clary sage, geranium, rum and woody notes; and I adore leather, incense, cedar and patchouli. I've tried to like this and given it several full wearings but I'm just not feeling the love. I can't detect any real sense of leather, incense or patchouli in the drydown and I guess that is what I was expecting. Instead I get a semi-gourmand, slightly sweet amber and wood.

There is just something in this that I really don't like yet I can't quite put my finger on it. It's not too sweet, not too boozy, and certainly not poorly or cheaply made.

The only thing I can suggest is that it just doesn't smell like I imagined it would, and this has clouded my perception of what I'm actually smelling.

Despite my own perception of this, I can absolutely understand the praise it gets as it's clearly a quality product that has great sillage and longevity.
01st January, 2016

Baldessarini Del Mar Caribbean by Baldessarini

Del Mar Caribbean is the sweetest of the Del Mar line of fragrances. The blackcurrant is the standout here and really dominates for a good length of time. The bergamot does make an appearance, but to my nose it’s quite fleeting.

I found that in the drydown, this one resembles the original Del Mar the most. It’s not as linear because of the sweet beginning, but it doesn’t stray too far from the original. The spicy heart is still there, but it feels a bit more subdued than the Seychelles and Marbella editions.

Sillage and longevity are average. Probably not worth a re-purchase for me, but if you prefer your woody summer type fragrances more on the sweeter side, this one is worth a look.

For what it’s worth my personal order of preference for the Del Mar line goes:

1. Del Mar Seychelles – 5/5
2. Del Mar Marbella – 4/5
3. Del Mar Caribbean – 3.5/5
4. Del Mar Baldessarini – 3/5
18th November, 2015

Armani Privé Pivoine Suzhou by Giorgio Armani

On my (masculine) skin the mandarin citrus and raspberry dominate the opening for a good 45 minutes but neither is sweet at all; instead it opens very fresh, a little spicy and a bit tart.

After about an hour I can begin to detect the musk and amber, but I'm yet to get much of a definite sense of either rose or peony (which I admit to being not very familiar with). The heart is sort of floral in nature, but to me the floral aspect is less noticeable or specific than the fruity opening or the musky amber drydown stage.

There also appears to be some kind of green grass type of accord that on my skin almost turns minty. I guess it could be the patchouli, but it smells rather more like a type of vetiver to my nose.

This is a very unique scent from the Armani Prive Les Eaux collection.

I had been scratching my head about what this reminded me of when all of a sudden it came to me; Manifesto Isabella Rossellini. Although this is a bit fresher and Manifesto is missing the raspberry note, this new Armani Prive is in the same style. Beautiful!
14th October, 2015

Cuir Cannage by Christian Dior

Although only created in 2014, this leaves the distinct impression of a pedigree that goes back decades. So much so that I can very easily imagine that this was worn by Marlene Dietrich on stage in 1920's Berlin. I get the distinct impression of well-worn leather, smoke, white florals and just a hint of something like brandy or honey.

Of the floral accords, I mostly get orange blossom up front, with hints of jasmine and iris as it dries down towards the somewhat powdery base. There may be a fleeting sense of rose, but it is not distracting or overpowering as I find rose can sometimes be. Florals aside, it is the ever-present leather accord and the wonderful birch base that dominates this creation and keeps it from being too sweet, floral or powdery.

It goes on very strong and lasts on my skin for well over 8 hours, yet it has perfect silage for this style. Despite my earlier reference to Marlene Dietrich, I don't find it to be either particularly feminine or masculine (a bit like Marlene’s persona!); it just is what it is and could easily be worn by anyone who chooses.

If I had to compare it to another fragrance, in my opinion it is much more akin to Serge Lutens' Cuir Mauresque than it is to the heavier and more animalistic Knize Ten. 5 stars and two thumbs way up.
12th October, 2015 (last edited: 30th December, 2015)

Armani Privé Sable Or by Giorgio Armani

This new Armani Privé Sable Or is an entirely different creation to Armani Privé's Sable Fumé which is being released at the same time.

Instead of Sable Fumé's smoky frankincense, the star of this show is a quite creamy iris with a tonka/vanilla/benzoin base. It begins with a recognisable (but clearly high quality) and intense iris which reminds me somewhat of Zegna's Florentine Iris.

I do not detect any violet at all but the sandalwood and the tonka/vanilla/benzoin are clearly present which lends this an almost gourmand feel. Together these accords leave the impression somewhat of (not too sweet) white chocolate.

Although this may not be as 'interesting' as Sable Fumé this is a bit more my style of fragrance and I suspect that I will get more use out of this one; especially in cooler weather.

As expected the presentation of Sable Or is stunningly beautiful (see photos below)! The bottle is gorgeous and is wrapped and tied in an Armani fabric sheath. There is a small metal plate on the front of the bottle which I think resembles a sand dune swept by the wind.

Like all of Armani Les Éditions Couture releases this is limited to only 1000 bottles worldwide so if you are a collector grab it while you can.
01st June, 2015

Armani Privé Sable Fumé by Giorgio Armani

Although the Armani Privé line does have its detractors (excluding me) if there is a consensus among the commentary it is usually that the one thing the Privé line does well is incense; notably in its original offering – Bois d'Encens and to a lesser extent the more recent Encens Satin.

In Sable Fumé the Armani Privé line once again highlights incense in all its glory with frankincense the star of the show. It starts out a touch sour/salty which can come across almost as the presence of citrus, but if the notes listed are to be accepted (& I have no reason to doubt their validity) it must be a combination of the frankincense and iris that creates this effect.

As stated in the Armani press on the www.parfuma.com website Sable Fumé evokes “grains of sand carried by a warm breeze” which is as apt a description as any I could conjure up.

Despite the initial and quite short lived sourness, this evolves into a very warm, smoky, and sweet frankincense and iris scent that reminds me very much of the style of an Amouage creation. The benzoin and Ambroxan add the warm sweetness needed to provide a counter to the ever present (but still wonderful) frankincense. I’ve only worn this once so far but my initial impression is that it’s long lasting and the sillage is perfect.

In keeping with previous Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances, Sable Fumé’s presentation is absolutely beautiful (see photos below)! The bottle and the colour of the golden olive liquid inside are gorgeous and it also comes with a purple stopper that has a smoky stainless steel aspect and is wrapped and tied in an Armani fabric sheath. There is even a small lacquered plate on the front of the bottle with sand imbedded inside!

Due to its (1000 bottles only worldwide) limited availability and hefty price tag, this is probably just for serious collectors; which is a crying shame. This beautiful fragrance should be able to be enjoyed by all. If you get the opportunity to test this out at an Armani boutique don’t hesitate.
01st June, 2015

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso by Dolce & Gabbana

I was suprised by how much I really liked this new D&G release. I'm not really a big fan of D&G fragrances (including the original 'Pour Homme') and apart from this new Intenso fragrance, I only have 'The One' in my collection. Although The One smells wonderful, its projection and longevity are a major issue so it doesn't get nearly any use at all from me.

This new fragrance from D&G is completely different as on my skin the projection is respectable and the longevity is very good at about 10 hours.

I really enjoy the opening mixture of herbs, lavender & a mild wood. The middle stage is clearly a soapy lavender but not offensively so. After the top and middle notes fade I'm left with a very classic masculine base of slightly sweetened tobacco and a deeper sandalwood.

Although this is clearly a polarising release from D&G and it is not the most original fragrance to come along this year, I think you should at least give this a try.
30th April, 2015

Armani Privé Ombre & Lumière by Giorgio Armani

Of the 3 Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances that I own (Nacre, Nuances and this one), Ombre & Lumiere is by far the most floral heavy. However it's the Jasmine and Freesia that I detect the most, rather than the Iris which Armani lists in its press materials as the star of the show.

Luckily for me I adore Jasmine and the Jasmine in this creation is wonderful. To my nose it's not even slightly indolic or skanky and it reminds me mostly of the species of 'night' Jasmine found in abundance in Sydney Australia in suburban household gardens. The scent is only present after dusk and is quite heady and rich (for want of a better description). For me it's this Jasmine that is the star of Armani's creation.

The Iris and musk do make an appearance after about the first hour and then it dries down beautifully to a more familiar musky, floral and amber combination.

Like all the Armani Privé Les Éditions Couture fragrances, the presentation of Ombre & Lumiere is simply stunning! The bottle is gorgeous and it comes wrapped and tied in the same deep coloured fabric as seen in the advertisement.

Although this is a 5 star fragrance, I don't think it will get nearly as much use as my Nacre or Nuances do; mainly due to its floral heavy nature.
26th February, 2015

Leather Blend by Davidoff

This is a seriously great fragrance from the once fabulous house of Davidoff.

The main notes that I detect are leather and amber, with a smattering of pepper and saffron. I can't really detect the rose and I don't sense any papyrus; but that doesn't detract from this intoxicating perfume.

To summarize the overall effect of this fragrance I would describe it as a slightly sweet, somewhat spicy amber and leather combination. It doesn't resemble Tom Ford's Tuscan leather and it's nowhere close to Knize 10's ferocity. The closest I could come to another fragrance that this is even remotely like would be YSL's Noble Leather.

The sillage is respectable for a fragrance of this type and the longevity is superb at 10 hours. At a fraction of the cost of a niche leather scent, this is superb value for money.

Although I own and love many Davidoff fragrances (Silver Shadow Private, Zino, Relax & the original Davidoff), this is hands down the best release from Davidoff since Zino. Two thumbs way up!

23rd February, 2015