Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rum

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Total Reviews: 109

Perfecto Fino by Czech & Speake

Rarely does something this good turn up in 2020. Love the likes of Bel Ami, Knize 10, Quorum, Sycomore and Polo Ralph Lauren? Smoke & leather powerhouse fragrance lovers, this is one new scent that you need to at least sample.

Perfecto Fino opens with what is quite possibly the most enormous thump of (birch) tar, ever used in a fragrance this side of the Millennium and the new age of ingredient restrictions. Smokey as a smouldering camp fire, it calms down after a good 30-45 minutes or so, releasing its tobacco, leather and woods combination. The extreme dry-down is smokey woods, likely vetiver, representing what remains of the preceding fire.

The simplistic and quite cheap-looking bottle doesn't do the fragrance justice, as what is inside is unique and very nicely woven together. Even the packaging which is supposedly similar to a Central American cigar-box is very elegantly crafted. The bottle however resembles a potion bottle that was hastily put together in the back room of a very questionable medieval pharmacy.

The scent is long lasting and projects well throughout the day. Its progression is very noticeable - you won't mistake this for a 'linear' scent. Pricing is a bit of a joke; it is considerably more expensive per ml than any other scent in the otherwise venerable C&S range.
01st October, 2020

Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Despite trying quite hard to research what Amyris actually is (a plant? a herb?) the best information I could find is that it may also be known as American or Jamaican sandalwood. My review of the EdT of 2009 describes it as a woody scent, with accents of iris and tonka (coumarin).

Both versions of Amyris Homme have common notes to other scents, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call either a copy of anything. I find Chanel Allure Homme Sport (loaded with tonka bean) in any version and the Dior Homme series (based around iris) hard to wear. Not long after the release of Amyris Homme Extrait, I ended up with bottles of both the EdT and the Extrait. And I have put quite a dent in both. This says a lot - they are both easier to wear than any other similar scent.

Whilst the EdT appears light and becomes a mess with too many sprays (no more than 2-3 with this one and it lasts all day), the Extrait is more polished and has less of the harshness from the dry down of the EdT. Whilst the tonka is a big player in the Extrait as well and supports the scent throughout, the aromatic, woody accents are amplified above the iris even more so than in the EdT. Once again though, the scent is not an "in your face" scent with no single note being unbalanced. If there was a slight hint of coffee in the EdT, there is definitely no such note in the Extrait.

The Extrait is however a highly concentrated interpretation of the EdT, meaning even less of it is required than the EdT. Any more than 1-2 sprays could be too much. Projection is easily a few feet and a typical application should last well beyond 12 hours. A 70ml bottle should there last years.

Both EdT and Extrait share some enormous similarities and as such should be thoroughly tested before committing. I couldn't decide between either and both were a love, so I proudly own both and change between them according to season and mood. Your mileage may vary and I can probably guess most would be happy with one or the other. Another all-star creation from MFK.
22nd September, 2020

Bleu de Chanel Parfum by Chanel

In a time where one new fragrance release leads to another four or five flankers - first the EdT, then the EdP and now the Parfum - Bleu de Chanel is a welcome addition.

Having tried the previous two iterations and being completely underwhelmed, Bleu de Chanel Parfum enters as the crowd-pleaser that Chanel is so good at putting together.

Inoffensive and totally versatile as anything I have ever put my nose to, the top notes of BdC Parfum mesmerise even to this day. Some list mint, others geranium and others just call it Blue (it's not! it's Bleu!!!). Whatever the top notes comprise, I get some very good synthetics combining freshly-squeezed citrus-grade freshness with luscious woods that I can't stop smelling. Some of the citrus is clearly dihydromyrcenol (DHM), but it is so tamed here and used very sensibly so as not to offend (I'm looking at you Dior!!).

The woods and indeed the classic Chanel tonka note in the base of BdC Parfum are what sets it apart from the EdT and EdP. Yes, there is amberwood here, but no harsh "incense" (if that's what you call it), just a classic men's scent - citrus/fresh top with a woody base. Admirers of classics like Chanel Pour Monsieur, YSL Pour Homme, Armani Eau Pour Homme should pay attention and sample this, as should anyone crazy enough to want to spend on Roja Dove's Elysium.

Rarely does a scent like BdC Parfum come to the market this side of the millennium. I bought a bottle the day it was released in 2018 and received a couple of compliments from work colleagues not long after from just 1-2 sprays. Given how versatile/easy to wear this is, I doubt I'll ever be without a bottle. If only I'd gone for the largest size bottle. Top marks, Chanel!
10th September, 2020
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Moschino pour Homme by Moschino

It's hard to believe a brand like Moschino could create a fragrance like this. But of course that was 1990, when everything was unique and manly smelled, well, manly.

Despite some harshness in the top notes (probably due to the age of the bottle that my sample was drawn from), Moschino Pour Homme smells like the love child of Hermes Bel Ami and Caron 3rd Man. Why? Because Bel Ami gives it the leathery-woody dry down (very aromatic) and the Caron has the clove/carnation heart which the Moschino maintains right the way through the heart to the extreme dry down.

Sadly, scents are no longer made like this, but the scent is reminiscent of better times - no sugary/syrup-like sweetness. Just bitter, dry, earthy/leathery goodness.
10th September, 2020

Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Despite trying quite hard to find research what Amyris actually is (a plant? a herb?) the best information I could find is that it may also be known as American sandalwood. Regardless, the EdT that I’m reviewing here is indeed woody, but has accents of iris and tonka beans (coumarin).

I have read a lot about Amyris Homme and have tried very hard to give an unbiased opinion. There are obvious parallels to other scents but I wouldn’t go as far as to call this a copy of anything. I find Chanel Allure Homme Sport (loaded with tonka bean) in any version and the Dior Homme series (based around iris) hard to wear. However, after a good month of testing Amyris Homme, I already have a bottle which I am really getting along well with.

The scent is light, but it becomes a mess with too many sprays. No more than 2-3 with this one and it lasts all day. The tonka supports the scent throughout but some very aromatic, woody accents interweave the scent throughout its development. The iris is also there, though not as in your face as other iris-heavy scent. I get no coffee note despite the note pyramid, although I can see how some may perceive a coffee note.

All in all, the EdT is a very under-rated scent. I discovered Amyris Homme in the cooler months, but this could easily work in warmer seasons as well.

Having tried the extrait which recently went on sale, I find that too heavy, less balanced than the EdT, even in cooler weather. I will revisit it of course in the warmer months, but for now I think the EdT is quite good that I would number among the ‘Holy Trinity’ from MFK along with Lumiere Noir and APOM Pour Homme.
25th November, 2019

Lumière Noire pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The men's MFK line has recently caught my attention. Lumiere Noir is not one I would normally tend to even try, but right now I am very glad that I did. Lumiere Noir has become my most worn cold weather scent so far this season.

This herbal-chypre EdT is strong yet not overpowering and the notes of artemisia (mugwort), cumin/spices, rose and patchouli blend well together to give a calming and relaxing scent that is very long lasting. Artemisia comes off as most prominent but once the scent settles down, the rose and patchouli come through every now and again, accented by the cumin. The rose is definitely definitely not floral, but more like the rose you'd expect to find in Le Labo's Rose 31 or Penhaligon's The Duke. Overall the scent is unlike other artemisia-rich scents such as Puig's legendary Quorum and Caron's Yatagan (my least favourite).

As far as sizes go, the 70ml bottle may seem small, but only a litle is required for each application which goes a long way. 2-4 sprays in the morning last well into the evening, making this a 'dumb-reach' for me. Top marks, MFK - well done!
15th November, 2019

Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man by Caron

One not to be ignored by fans of woody scents, Third Man really shines in many ways. Way ahead of its time (it was released in 1985), it is bright and bold, warm and comforting, reminiscent of cloves and carnation flowers and very long-lasting.

Whilst most scents these days contain enough sweetness to make the wearer wonder wether they need a health check, Third Man remains dry as a bone throughout the day and yet remains restrained and does not overpower.

The opening lemon notes can feel rather strange at first but once the opening calms down, the pleasant aroma of cloves and spicy carnation flower accord sinks through, the opening is a distant memory.

The scent may dry down further, however I find the clove accord stays right to the end. Patchouli may enter in the mix as well somewhere but it is hard to notice behind the other notes.

All in all, a wonderful masculine that is clearly a classic. Perhaps one of the best scents to wear to an interview or an office setting.
21st October, 2019

Fougère Royale by Houbigant

The word “fougere” apparently translates to “fern” in English. However, this doesn’t say much to most people. A fougere scent will come across as fresh, woody and distinctly masculine. Some may even use the phrase “barbershop” to describe the genre.

Fougere Royale was the first scent in the genre and this modern remake of the original is a superb rendition of the genre. It is a little hard to comment on how close this is to the original of 1882 as samples are... shall we say, a little hard to come by.

The modern version, released in 2010, starts off bold, citrus-fresh, herbaceous and punchy. It’s dry, sour even and lacks any hint of sweetness; perhaps a nod to its origin. There is also a distinct patchouli in the mix and this is apparent right the way down to the base. The fresh woodiness interweaves throughout the development stages whilst still maintaining the patchouli. The scent is particularly reminiscent of Amouage’s Bracken Man, although there are plenty of fougere scents out there that would equally compare to it.

Fougere Royale is an Eau de Parfum and lasts well throughout the working day. It can be enjoyed in all sorts of weather, but I can definitely see this being worn especially in warmer weather.

All lovers of fougere scents owe it to themselves to experience this scent.
21st October, 2019

Duc de Vervins by Houbigant

Lavender and powder haters should probably stop reading now. The less well known Duc de Vervins by Houbigant is a beautiful concoction of lavender, powdery notes, moss and some spices. The latter are certainly not overbearing and are blended in quite masterfully with the other notes.

But it would be hard to say much more about this scent without comparing it to two others scents: firstly, the venerated and cult classic Brut (yes, Brut!) and the equally comparable Caron Pour Un Homme.

The Houbigant comes across as an Eau de Parfum of Brut, with the Caron being an appropriate comparison owing to the similarity of the notes - powerful and aromatic lavender and vanilla on a bed of musk and amber.

Those seeking a stronger or longer lasting version of Brut or perhaps just like aromatic, powdery scents with a hint of nostalgia from a bygone era, should look no further than Houbigant Duc de Vervins.
21st October, 2019

Escentric 02 by Escentric Molecules

I tried this on by accident having been on the lookout for Molecule 02, which is just ambroxan.

I have to say I am quite surprised by the bad reviews on this one. A super fresh and long lasting scent, it is quite unique whilst the ambroxan stays right at the back acting mostly as an accompaniment. It does creep out a bit more in the dry down but without losing the freshness as such.

The lack of marketing and a proper name make this a hard scent to decide when to wear it but it is through and through a summer scent.

The hedione reminds me of original, unadulterated Eau Sauvage which was one of the first to use the molecule back in the 60s. It works really well here and blends superbly in the composition.

All in all not a half bad scent. Ultra fresh and sparkly, never overpowering and totally wearable by just about anyone. What’s not to like?
20th June, 2019

Eau de Minthé Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

Launched in early May 2019, Eau de Minthe is Diptyque's modern take on a classic fougere (fern) accord. The traditional lavender is replaced here with mint; a fresh herb that is usually a top note in fragrances.

As such, I found the fragrance name a little misleading. The mint is not the leading star of the show here. Instead, it makes its appearance from the outset and is short-lived. It seems a little shy and doesn't shout out from the balcony. It is muted, tamed even, yet woven together expertly with earthy patchouli (perhaps there are hints of nutmeg there too) and geranium. On my skin, the patchouli jumps out loudest of all, with the other notes playing their tune quietly in the background. I detect no rose as such.

Eventually the fougere dry-down soon takes over, leaving a relatively strong trail of freshness and just a touch of sweetness creeping through. It was enough to keep me smelling my hands every few minutes and I was soon hooked. On a tester/blotter, the scent retains the accord for several days even with few sprays, so I bet this one will cling to clothes quite nicely.

Diptyque continues its history and obsession with everything to do with Greece or Greeks - from the herbaceous and incense-fumed mountains of Mt. Athos (L'Eau Trois), to the mythological cinnamon-opoponax 'favourite' of Alexander the Great (Eau Lente) and the fragrance of fresh green figs (Philosykos) - comes the tale of Minthe and Hades. If Hades smelled this good, he must have had style. As a Greek, it's hard not to love this brand.

All in all, this is nothing groundbreaking as a new scent. But it is a fresh fougere minus the lavender and for some people this may well be a modern take on a classic and will likely satisfy even the most demanding vintage scent enthusiasts. Just what we've been waiting for. Well done, Diptyque!
31st May, 2019

New York Intense by Nicolaï

There are niche fragrances and niche fragrances. This one is the latter.

It's hard to judge at first whether a fragrance is rightly hyped. Often this is why sampling is a must for this hobby, but this isn't always easy, especially when something this high up on the niche scale is hard to get hold of. I was however, lucky enough to get my nose on New York Intense thanks to the generosity of another member.

Whilst I was immediately taken aback by the uniqueness of this modern masterpiece, it really did take me a while to come to pulling the trigger on a bottle. And boy was the wait worth it!

The work of a master here lies in the stitching of all the bits and pieces together. There's a lot of freshness, some pepper (not too prominent), patchouli, styrax (I detect this in abundance) and a sweet but delicate aura throughout (which never gets too much unless you use too much). It's hard to imagine this smell in your head without actually trying it. What's more interesting is the perfumer describes NYI as an oriental spicy citrus on their website, but the official card that came with my bottle refers to it as an amber. I would describe it as a modern vintage men's cologne done so well that it is a must try for any gentleman that is serious about this hobby. Of course a lady could easily pull this off as well.

The association to a city is quite frankly absurd - I can only picture pollution when I remember my sole visit to the Big Apple. But it is what it is: a superbly crafted fragrance with great longevity and projection. Its freshness will appeal to many, whereas the blending is bound to be noticed by vintage lovers. One not to be over-sprayed at any cost, it lasts and projects very well for the best part of a working day: two sprays are enough to last me past the 10 hour mark.

Recommendation: sample first in different settings. Full bottle worthy for me - and the bottle is quite special too.
07th May, 2019

Fetish pour Homme by Roja Dove

Men's scents owe a lot to the iconic and legendary Bel Ami by Hermes. For many of us the benchmark leather scent, it is one I have come to love and think of as something as close as possible to a signature scent as a frag-head can get to.

Fetish by Roja Dove fails to impress on originality right away. Its opening notes are a relatively good interpretation of that original smoky-leather-chypre called Bel Ami that we all know and love. I for one wouldn't be able to distinguish the two early on in a side-by-side comparison.

The similarities unfortunately end there. The heart contains bucket loads of cypriol - perhaps Roja Dove's scent DNA - which makes the scent reminiscent of moth-balls. By the dry down, the smooth and crisp vetiver note joins the party and the curtain draws to a close. There is sadly no encore.

There is a well-known obsession among niche perfumers recently to rip-off classic scents and this reeks of a lack of originality. Uninspired is an understatement. What else could they do? Roja has intentionally borrowed the top from Bel Ami and then made a complete hash of the rest. Surely if you're going to make a copy, you should do it right? Or improve it at the very least?

I am surprised a house that is obsessed with bling is able to create a fragrance with such a bland and uninspiring heart and dry down. With this level of cypriol, it makes me wonder who Roja thinks he's kidding.

The current edition of Bel Ami should be in every man's wardrobe and costs a fraction of Fetish. Fetish (and it's not too distant cousin Puredistance M) are redundant in this sense and all fragrance enthusiasts, including any millionaire readers, should steer clear of this one.
10th April, 2019
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Elysium pour Homme Cologne by Roja Dove

As fragrance houses go, Roja Dove's is one that continues to focus on bling, ignoring the fact that those in this hobby actually care about the juice above all.

The Elysium bottle however is nice; which is a shame as the juice is not worth the asking price. A distinct similarity to Chanel's well-established Bleu line makes Elysium the most pointless creation ever to grace the shelves of Harrods, Fortnum & Mason et al.

The opening is fresh and zesty - sparkling with aldehydes even. As it settles, the similarities to Bleu are obvious. Elysium's composition may well be of a higher quality, but to my nose the scent is obsolete given the three Chanel versions - EdT, EdP and Parfum.

Elysium settles with a crystal clear vetiver note that for something of this price point should emit gold leaf petals at you throughout the wearing.

But alas, this is after all juice in a bottle. It may be a high quality juice of something already out there (zero marks for originality once again, Roja), but at nearly £600 retail (at the time of writing) for the 100ml Parfum, this is a distinct 'nil point' from me.

The fragrance could have stood on its legs at a much lower price point. But alas, Roja chooses to market his scents at those living on yachts off the Southern coast of France. Pass.
10th April, 2019

Eucris Eau de Parfum by Geo F Trumper

Review for the new Eau de Parfum, 50ml spray

It's one of my favourite releases so far in 2018! After sampling it, I bought a bottle as soon as my preferred store had it in stock. It's a huge improvement on the cologne-like EdT, which only comes in a splash bottle.

First impressions were "this stuff is potent!". The scent is an oakmoss overload. There is plenty of it in there. Others have commented how they "can be allowed the release a scent with so much moss in this day and age". I'm puzzled by this too but it is a welcome scent.

To me it also comes across as "inky", dark, thick and mysterious, yet it maintains a certain freshness in the opening. The blackcurrant and cumin are both muted compared to its predecessor, but the association to Aventus is justified (to my nose) because of the oakmoss.

50ml of this though is ample as you won't need to spray a lot to get a good long-lasting scent into the evening. Two sprays max should do it.

I personally have worn it to work a few times and its staying power is big. I've also worn it in the evening and can detect it on me well into the morning the next day.
11th February, 2019

Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I can't believe I am writing a review for this stuff, given how much I hated this when I first tried it. I am no lover or liker of sweet scents, so my initial reaction is unsurprising.

This is really were perfumery breaks the boundaries of harvesting fragrance from flowers or extracting essences from natural sources. Baccarat Rouge 540 is pure and simple synthetic from top to bottom.

There is no development here. The scent is literally a very sweet candy floss note (caramelised brown sugar) with ambrox.

So why am I reviewing this scent? The answer is a very firm "I have no idea!". What I do know is that I just keep coming back to it. I still don't like the sweetness, but it is addictive and if it keeps saying to your mind "come back and smell me" it has to be a good thing.

I am holding back giving it top marks though as it has to be said that there is nothing natural about this. The marketing blurb suggests a note of saffron, but I simply detect a highly sweetened strawberry-like note. That's not saffron. It's a bit like how you get strawberry-flavoured yoghurts, which might well be pleasant, but taste nothing like strawberry, yet you keep wanting more.

That said and not being an oud fan, this is clearly one of the brand's better creations to my nose. Is it worth the asking price? I'll let you be the judge of that.
05th December, 2018

Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

I can't believe I am writing a review for this stuff, given how much I hated this when I first tried it. I am no lover or liker of sweet scents, so my initial reaction is unsurprising.

This is really were perfumery breaks the boundaries of harvesting fragrance from flowers or extracting essences from natural sources. Baccarat Rouge 540 is pure and simple synthetic from top to bottom.

There is no development here. The scent is literally a very sweet candy floss note (caramelised brown sugar) with ambrox.

So why am I reviewing this scent? The answer is a very firm "I have no idea!". What I do know is that I just keep coming back to it. I still don't like the sweetness, but it is addictive and if it keeps saying to your mind "come back and smell me" it has to be a good thing.

I am holding back giving it top marks though as it has to be said that there is nothing natural about this. The marketing blurb suggests a note of saffron, but I simply detect a highly sweetened strawberry-like note. That's not saffron. It's a bit like how you get strawberry-flavoured yoghurts, which might well be pleasant, but taste nothing like strawberry, yet you keep wanting more.

That said and not being an oud fan, this is clearly one of the brand's better creations to my nose. Is it worth the asking price? I'll let you be the judge of that.
23rd November, 2018

Ginsberg is God by Bella Freud

Tried this by chance in a store. The scent caught me by surprise when I sniffed the cap.

The opening was quite strange but at the same time somewhat familiar. A quick spritz to the hand and it is very clear that this is almost identical to CdG 2 Man, which is an incense-rich and cedarwood scent. It's packed full of ISO E Super, which gives the pencil shavings-like odour that is all too often referred to as 'cedarwood'.

All in all, this is a love it or hate it scent. I get no leather or incense: just a slightly aromatic 'cedarwood', albeit a strong one. For me this is a thumbs down as it fails to deliver something unique or even something with a development of some kind. Other than a brief opening and a long-lasting strong cedarwood, this is nothing to write home about.

If you really fancy this, you are better off getting the much cheaper CdG 2 Man scent.
15th November, 2018

Black Orchid by Tom Ford

As original and ground-breaking as Tom Ford's scents are, at least under his own brand, Black Orchid certainly ticks that box. But in no way does this work in TF's favour.

Black Orchid is as hard to pin down from smell as it is from the description. I find it hard to pin-point Black Truffle for starters and the over-load of powder and dark, often mothball-like accents, make it hard to distinguish any note. Patchouli is certainly there as are some vague-smelling florals (jasmine perhaps?). It's almost as if the perfumer thought 'might as well throw some of this in there as well'. The result is an unfinished cacophony of notes, all working against each other. It's the opposite of 'perfect harmony'; a bit like getting five year olds to follow strict rules of football in the playground.

In terms of longevity and projection, Black Orchid goes on far too long and projects by miles. Anything it comes into contact with will smell of it for hours and this is only a good thing if you'd like everything around you to smell of it.

But why anyone would want to smell like this, I have no idea. I note that this is a well-loved scent by many - I have known several that wear this as a signature scent. Ultimately there are better versions of this around, such as the much tamer and more floral Black Orchid Voile de Fleur (now discontinued) and 2018's Ombre Leather which takes the Black Orchid theme and gives it a smoother edge.
08th November, 2018

Ombré Leather by Tom Ford

After a hugely successful (and underrated) career at YSL, Tom Ford set out to launch his own brand. To the many, this has been successful too, but in terms of fragrance, a disappointment to say the least.

Having only really owned one or two of his scents (Sahara Noir being by far my favourite of all, which is since discontinued), Ombre Leather comes as a welcome addition. Better still, it is not part of the private range.

It isn't hard to see what TF is trying to achieve here. Ombre Leather is a go-between Black Orchid and Tuscan Leather, with a deliberate appeal to both men and women thrown in. The use of nagarmotha is clearly toned-down here, compared to say, Black Orchid. This is welcome and makes this a controversial leather: it's by no means a traditional castorium-based leather. Instead, the black truffle notes of Black Orchid are apparent, as is TF's distinctive patchouli and jasmine accord. I particularly like the jasmine aspect.

The florals give it an added twist of femininity, whilst still holding true to the unisex badge. In fact, this part makes it quite alluring, yet sensual too. The concept of florals and leather is nothing new mind you: from Chanel's Antaeus in the early 80s to Acqua di Parma's more recent Colonia Leather from the Ingredient Collection, the idea has been hanging around for a while.

Ombre Leather maintains a long lasting trail well into the evening and this should be taken into account by the wearer. Projection is also quite strong. It's also worth noting that this is a "smell me from a distance" type of scent. Up close, it can be overpowering.

Finally, the bottle really fits the scent's overall theme quite well, making this a great addition to the 2018 line-up.
08th November, 2018

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Zagorsk by Comme des Garçons

In the quest for the perfect incense fragrance, Zagorsk often gets recommended.

The raw, lemony-smokey incense that most people in Western countries are used to (Avignon, Sahara Noir) is not to be found in Zagorsk. Instead, a pine-like, cold, crisp, resinous (almost powdery) accord is what Zagorsk offers, which is quite accurately described by the accompanying marketing. The scent is supposed to immitate a snow-covered Russian Monastery in the city of the same name. It remains quite linear throughout and develops little to my nose.

The Russian-style incense is totally justified in my opinion, so most Orthodox people might feel at home with this scent. But this is no 'one size fits all' incense. However, it may well be one of the most appropriate cold-weather scent in a long time: one that is zero sweet and a million miles from oriental ambers or ouds.

Comme des Garcons should be praised for their objective to create a fragrance for each of the world's largest religions, although I wouldn't associate Russian Orthodox with everything Orthodox Christian. That said, this scent is one of the closest things a fragrance can get to without actually burning anything. Therefore, it gets the thumbs up from me.

Other similar scents to check out might be Polo RL for the pine note (although quite different to Zagorsk) and Amouage Jubilation XXV and Breath of God by LUSH for incense in general.
08th November, 2018

Breath of God by B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

Hard to understand how a store such as LUSH can produce such a polarising scent: I've long said how off-putting LUSH is as a store for a man to visit. But in this day and age, this should be no excuse.

Breath of God really surprises. As a totally unisex scent, the scent opens with florals underpinned by a certain smokiness that is fruity-fresh and yet addictive. It is never over-powering, even with several sprays, and lasts well into the night or the next day.

The dry-down though is really sublime. Gentle, incense-like smoke, neroli, ylang-ylang, pepper and rose really do stick out. But the juice is blended together so well, it's hard to tell exactly what you are smelling at any one time.

The trail left behind is really something else and appeals to even the most conservative noses. I find it's one of few scents I would wear again in the same week (maybe even the same day).

I may never find out what God's breath smells like, but this one sure took mine away!
08th November, 2018

Wonderoud by Comme des Garçons

This scent has a sense of déjà vu. Having tried WonderOUD multiple times, it is hard to think of this scent as anything other than WonderWOOD by the same house of Comme des Garcons.

I bought and used WonderWOOD a while ago. I found the soft cedar woods and synthetic sandalwood undertones (read javanol), mixed with a really authentic black pepper note to be quite smooth and relaxing, especially throughout the coolder months.

Alas, the love did not last long and I discovered WonderOUD by accident. The similarities are quite astonishing. The black pepper is a little more pronounced and the cedar and other woody notes (vetiver, patchouli and plenty of javanol or synthetic sandalwood) are all there.

Others tell me (and yes that includes strangers in shops!) that they get an 'oudy' note coming off this one from 2-3 feet away, but I get no such vibe. Instead, the bone dry woods are much more pronounced in this scent compared to the aforementioned WonderWOOD. Whatever the 'oud' note used in this one, it is subtle, blended in very well and unlike any other oud scents available today. There are no sugary sweet or rose accords whatsoever.

I put a tester card in my top pocket and I can get relatively strong whiffs of this one two days later. So the longevity is there, but it is either my skin type or olfactory fatigue not allowing to detect this scent in its full glory.

That said, I think this scent would be superb for layering with other scents, oils or notes. I have had some good results experimenting with this and intend to get a bottle soon.
24th October, 2018

Colonia Sandalo by Acqua di Parma

I managed to try this new scent at Harrods in London when it was exclusive to them. Now that it is finally available to all, I thought it was time to write a review!

I'll begin by saying: it really depends on what you are judging this fragrance by. I gave it a thumb's up on the basis that it is a pleasant, crowd-pleasing scent. Nothing special but nothing offensive either. That said, if my criteria for judging it is whether it is actually a sandalwood scent, it would be a disappointing and overwhelming thumbs down.

It's definitely a sandalwood-themed scent, but I don't actually get the raw woody, creamy and slightly smokey vibe from a sandalwood scent, such as the now discontinued Crabtree & Evelyn "Extract of Mysore Sandalwood" scent. You can expect a scent that opens with an atomic explosion of citrus (read bergamot) and mainly lavender. Not unpleasant like some new/recent creations, but this one does appear overwhelming. It's along the same lines of Colonia and Colonia Essenza at first. Once the top notes burn off, there is no rose as per the classic Colonia. There is a huge tonka note (that's also known as "coumarin" and is often listed as part of the ingredients on the box or packaging) in the base with a hint of cardamom before it dries down to a subtle, slightly powdery/woody/tonka base.

There are plenty of comparable scents if you like tonka bean: Chanel's Allure Homme Sport range, Chanel Egoiste Platinum and Montblanc Legend all have a similar woody/tonka dry down.

Personally think the price is excessive, but for that you do get a nice bottle and different style cap. The box is huge and probably a bit OTT.
08th August, 2018

Eucris by Geo F Trumper

Review for the new Eau de Parfum, 50ml spray

It's one of my favourite releases so far in 2018! After sampling it, I bought a bottle as soon as my preferred store had it in stock. It's a huge improvement on the cologne-like EdT, which only comes in a splash bottle.

First impressions were "this stuff is potent!". The scent is an oakmoss overload. There is plenty of it in there. Others have commented how they "can be allowed the release a scent with so much moss in this day and age". I'm puzzled by this too but it is a welcome scent.

To me it also comes across as "inky", dark, thick and mysterious, yet it maintains a certain freshness in the opening. The blackcurrant and cumin are both muted compared to its predecessor, but the association to Aventus is justified (to my nose) because of the oakmoss.

50ml of this though is ample as you won't need to spray a lot to get a good long-lasting scent into the evening. Two sprays max should do it.

I personally have worn it to work a few times and its staying power is big. I've also worn it in the evening and can detect it on me well into the morning the next day.
20th March, 2018

Cacharel pour L'Homme by Cacharel

Relatively 'under-the-radar' until now, this is a scent that I've seen on the shelves of local chemists that I ignored far too long. Its simplistic looks and packaging have been crying out "come and take a sniff", but alas it was only in 2017 that I discovered this hidden gem. This could easily be the find of the year for me!

Cacharel Pour Homme really is THE fragrance for winter. Who would have known the humble nutmeg could be the centre point of a fragrance? I am reminded of chef Rick Stein's comment that nutmeg is "the scent of Byzantium" - it definitely comes off as noble and ever so classy.

Citrus, flowers and spice is what it’s been described as. Often this description is enough to put me off even trying a scent, but with Cacharel, the nutmeg comes across as smooth yet spicy, strong and long-lasting yet never overpowering or cloying. Totally refined and good enough to wear dressed up or dressed down, you will have people wondering “what IS that smell? I know it somewhere”.

Without a hint of sugar, syrup or honey, this is a bone-dry scent along the lines of Malle's French Lover / Bois d'Orage. In fact, it’s good enough to make you wonder why niche scents exists. Cacharel Pour Homme dates back to 1981 – an important year to me – and this is the quality of scents made back then.

I’ve worn it as a scent on its own or as a base for layering with other contrasting scents. Strong and long lasting, classy and quite unique, I wouldn't be seen dead without this in my fragrance wardrobe. Easily a 5/5 for me.
13th November, 2017

Halston Z-14 by Halston

Halston is clearly a less well-known name in the UK, but alas the joys of these boards is easy to hunt out scents that you've never heard of. Z-14 is one such scent, as is the designer house of Halston.

Not wanting another cypress/chypre, I reluctantly tried the current version. Let's just say the connections to big red gum are totally justified. Cinnamon in a bottle. You might be forgiven for wanting to dust your rice pudding with it!

Vintage on the other hand, even something I would class as semi-vintage, is clearly on another level. Woody, resinous, potent and long-lasting (and yes, with some cinnamon in there - but not a truck load), this is another one of those scents that any chypre lover should vie to try at least once in their life time. It’s hard to believe that this scent is so affordable. Two sprays are enough to last a whole working day. Projection is quite strong. Wearers should expect their clothes to smell of the mossy accord for days later.
19th October, 2017

YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration by Yves Saint Laurent

An oakmoss-rich, packed full of light herbs, citrus and luscious woods, YSL Pour Homme Haute Concentration is perhaps one of the longest-lasting designer scents of all time.

It's been well over 30 years since this gem came out and in my opinion was way ahead of its time. Chanel had Pour Monsieur, Dior had Eau Sauvage, Givenchy had Monsieur de Givenchy, so the bar was set quite high for YSL to compete with. But they came out with this!

Of all the 'homme' or 'monsieur' fragrances this one cuts above them all in my opinion. Fresh yet slightly dirty, smooth yet herbaceous, strong but not overpowering and very long lasting, Haute Concentration oozes quality and class.

I have the first edition bottle, with the large YSL letters on the bottle and the box. But despair not! Vintage is not the only way to go these days. The regular YSL Pour Homme in the La Collection square bottles is remarkably similar to the vintage and now long-discontinued Haute Concentration.

I'll never be without a bottle of this as it is just too classy to skip over. A thumbs up and an easy 5/5 for me.
19th October, 2017

Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Sahara Noir is easily Tom Ford's best scent. And not just in his favourite category, the oriental.

With a ludicrous marketing campaign Sahara Noir was doomed to fail from the beginning, so thank heavens for the vintage market! What was going through their heads when this was brought out, I can't even come to imagine.

This is an incense (frankincense) scent through and through. In fact I waited for ages before writing this review until I could get to try some true incense (the type that is burned, usually in a church) before reviewing this scent. There is little else going on here - it's frankincense from beginning to end and hence the progression is minimal, if it’s even there. Incense, medicinal, meditative and to me the sort of gift a wise man would be carrying on the way to Bethlehem.

Projection and longevity are both nuclear, which makes it a shame that this scent is now discontinued.

For those looking for incense, this should be your starting point and it may well be where you end up staying. It's just a shame this house can't produce anything quite as good and keep it on the shelves.
19th October, 2017

Sélection Verte by Creed

Without a doubt, one of the hidden gems by Creed. Just unfortunate that you have to invest in 250ml in order to get some from them.

Selection Verte is one of the few fresh summer scents that contain little or no citrus. The focus here (to my nose) is mint and ambergris (read ambrox). The mint is put together very well, long lasting and yet bold and ready to make a statement.

It's silage and longevity are quite good. It's easy to overspray which only results in anosmia, but otherwise the scent could easily last 6-8 hours.

I get a really strong menthol-like cooling sensation when I first apply it, meaning this is strictly a summer scent for me, but it could work as a comfort scent after a warm bath or shower.

I've gradually used up a bit from my bottle, which I think speaks for itself. Nothing seductive or out-of-the-ordinary about it, just a perfect scent for warm weather that I won't be bored of for some time. I've used it in hot Mediterranean climates year in, year out and it works a treat. Just what you need in the heat when you don't want to be drowned in a warm scent. Delicious!
19th October, 2017