Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Kotori

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Total Reviews: 190
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Blossom Love by Amouage

Blossom Love

Well, with a note list that includes cherry blossom, ylang ylang, and heliotrope, I had high hopes. But the opening is powerfully screechy. So high-pitched and pink. Not sure what that pink note is, but itís definitely in a lot of lower-end fruity florals.

Luckily, the opening passes quickly. It dries soon into something that isnít headache-inducing, so thatís a very big plus. A lot of amaretto and cherry blossom here, folks. But also a lot of woody aromachemicals, a lot of cherry cough syrup, and a veneer of the mosquito-killing spray that emanates from trucks in the summers when you live in hot, damp places.

As the heart opens, the rose finally makes an appearance. A thin rose, but warm. And this makes me realize that Iíve smelled the combination of ylang ylang, rose, and almond before in Hanae Mori (Butterfly) EDT. But Hanae Mori most certainly wore it better.

Points for creativity. And certainly points for creating an amaretto fragrance that doesnít smell edible. Unfortunately, it does smell poisonous. But maybe thatís your thing. If so, you do you. But Iíll be moving along.
02nd April, 2021
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Homage Attar by Amouage

Homage Attar

You canít put this on and not notice the quality. Itís syrupy and rich like Extraits used to be. A tiny dab creates a cloud around me. It may even fill the room. I know itís supposed to be a rose, but it just doesnít strike me as rose, for whatever reason. Too rich, too bright? Maybe too fruity? Too much incense and shadow? Itís so complex; thereís so much going on. The opening strikes me as pines. And then pineapples. And then roses, but a lot of other things, too. Woods and resins and incense. Itís headache-strong without being piercing. I appreciate that itís a masterpiece of high-quality materials and design, but honestly I donít like to wear it.
02nd April, 2021
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Ciel Woman by Amouage

Ciel Woman

Ethereal, breezy, bright. A well-blended aquatic floral starring water lily and cyclamen, which are notoriously ephemeral and difficult to pinpoint. You sense an aura rather than smelling a specific fragrance. If you know the feminine Acqua di Gio from the 90ís, this is a sister fragrance with a similar focus on airy/watery notes, violet leaf, peach, dewy florals, jasmine, and sandalwood. Here itís water lily and cyclamen; in Acqua di Gio (femme), itís lily of the valley and hyacinth. Ciel has a bit more substance due to the addition of rose, plus some incense in the base, but the Armani had a peachier, fruitier tang. For the money, stick with the Armani if you enjoy this kind of bright, soft floral skin scent in summertime.
02nd April, 2021
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Jubilation 25 Woman by Amouage

Cumin! Not since Declaration have I smelled this much freshness juxtaposed with this much cumin. Here you have sort of a cKOne freshness like hedione or maybe those notes in the Clean fragrances, combined with some subtle spices such as maybe cardamom and bay or sage... and then so. much. cumin. Much more cumin than Kingdom or Bigarade Concentre. Iím usually a fan of this technique of dirtying something fresh with a dose of cumin or cardamom. I nearly bought the fruity-armit Kingdom when it was being widely sold. I occasionally enjoy wearing Declaration. Bigarade Concentre is one of my favorite orange fragrances. I enjoy Theo Fennelís Scent, and I think Salome is a fantastic piece of art. But this is way too much. And I am not one for labeling fragrances as masculine or feminine, but the vibe is very masculine here. There is so much piercing freshness that it makes my nose tingle, and so much cumin that I smell a sweaty, unwashed male athlete nearby. The effect is like walking into a menís locker room after a game as deodorant is being sprayed on. I feel anything but jubilation.
02nd April, 2021
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Ubar Woman by Amouage

Ubar

Ubar always struck me as a well-set Jasmine. But today Iím smelling the rose and itís striking me more as Joy by Patouís more opulent sister. Gorgeous. I do wonder if it was tweaked between the old sample I had, and this new one. I think I remember that this one had been reformulated at some point. On to how it smells: itís a nearly piercing soprano of a rose/jasmine combination, with the rose both providing some alto harmony and creating a tart balance for the sweet jasmine. As I look at the note list, I realize Iíve been fooled; there isnít any rose! Something like Rose had been suggested by the combination of Rose wood, violet leaf, and citrus. There is only the smallest hint of powder, which I think is actually ylang ylang, and it retains a mildly piercing quality with its opacity. The patchouli here is so restrained as to provide only a slight shadow. The sandalwood so minimal that it only provides creaminess in the texture. There is nothing sheer about it. It is not spicy, it it is nevertheless an evening gown sort of fragrance. I imagine I could happily wear it to the opera. In many ways it reminds me of Tiffany for Women, which I havenít smelled in nearly 30 years. As I check the notes for Tiffany, I see that they do indeed have much in common- a bright citric tuberose/ylang/jasmine/orange blossom with violet leaf and sandalwood. I suppose they are both from a similar time.
02nd April, 2021
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Esprit d'Amouage by Amouage

Esprit de Amouage

Spicy-fresh. In spirit, it reminds me a bit of Gieffeffe with the airy freshness combined with an overload of spices. The bay leaf provides a nice herbaceous counterpoint to the apricot that I identify merely as stone fruit. Eventually the cardamom gives us the slightly cumin-like funk it is known for, and I really enjoy the juxtaposition of the fresh/airy notes (likely hedione) with the sour fruit and slightly stinky cardamom. I think that loud airiness and slight bit of funk could really work well on a very hot day, without having to delve into citrus or vetiver. Great stuff! Unique, high quality, and wearable. Too bad itís so rare.
02nd April, 2021
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Sunshine Woman by Amouage

Sunshine Woman

The opening is quite the surprise: green apple Jolly Ranchers and Loveís Baby Soft! I would have really loved this as a teenager. Soon, there is a sweet, fruity floral note that reminds me of the fruity rose in Miss Charming by Juliette Has a Gun. (Likely the magnolia/osmanthus/blackcurrant combo) But you can smell a bit of wood or Oud now, as if itís just around the corner. A plushy vanilla/almond supports the the wood as it enters. This wood smells slightly charred. Like bits of wood on a beach where there may have once been a bonfire. (Cade) And then suddenly, there it is: patchouli. And all this time, we are overwhelmed with sweet fruits. Berries, I think. They fooled me: itís a fruitchouli! Though, for a fruitchouli, it is high-quality and complex. Oddly, the combination, especially at the drydown, remind me of One Million by Paco Rabanne. Like the Rabanne, itís most certainly unisex. Even leaning masculine. My 13-year-old would wear this if he could afford it.
02nd April, 2021
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Epic Woman by Amouage

Epic Woman

Powerful spicy rose/incense/oud. This is a style that is endlessly explored; often copied. Once you have it on a blotter, itís really all you will smell. Very high-quality. Very strong. The Oud here is subtle, but nothing else is. If you love Rose and incense, or rose and Oud, but are repelled by the woody aromachemicals overused in most of them, you will enjoy this. Especially if you arenít shy. Me personally, I think Iíd feel as if my perfume were wearing me, and not the other way around, so Iíd be hesitant to wear this one; Especially indoors. It eventually dries down into something wearable, fluffing itself up with a bit of powder. Perhaps just apply an hour before going anywhere.
02nd April, 2021
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Lyric Woman by Amouage

Lyric Woman

Unexpected. The soft, powdery, mildly sweet, yet complex fragrance belies the fierce red packaging. Unlike the Amouage fragrances Iíve tested so far, no single note immediately sings out. This is well-blended, and dare I say unique? Arguably sweet with a slight fruitiness, it is nevertheless not foody. Itís difficult to define, because while definitely an oriental and with all of those hallmarks including spiciness, it doesnít come across as spicy. Spices are a simple structure around the ethereal breeze of tonka and orris, highlighted by bergamot and filled out by white florals. At the drydown, it smells familiar. I canít place it, but I know it reminds me of Dior Addict and Iris Perle by Les Imodables. Pleasant, personal, pretty.
02nd April, 2021
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Figment Woman by Amouage

Figment Woman

This is spicy, mildly anisic tuberose. Itís hard to define as a tuberose at first because of the significant role played by jasmine and ylang. The pepper nicely balanced out the creaminess of the white florals so that they do not come across as cloying. But there is really probably too much pepper and saffron at first for my tastes here. The opening really couldnít be further from my tastes in perfume, other than my preference for saffron. However, it does eventually calm down. I do think someone whose skin amplifies white floral notes might do well with this.
02nd April, 2021
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Shalimar Souffle de LumiŤre by Guerlain

Vaguely citric dryer sheets
21st March, 2021
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Crystal Noir by Versace

An opaque cashmeran bomb that in its later stages projects a pleasant synthetic sandalwood about 10-30 feet away while smelling like gardenia up close. A creation very much of its time, bearing similarities to Tom Ford Black Orchid.
17th March, 2021
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L'Ombre Fauve 8.1 / Private Collection - L'Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Generale

It opens with what smells to me like tobaccoó a sweet one such as in Derviche or Vanille Havane. Then it dries down to a powdery, slightly spicy amber with a supportive musk. The animalic here are furry, rather than fecal, and remind me of fragrances I smelled as a child in the 80ís. Itís subtle, and not too sweet. Fantastic.
16th March, 2021
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Chypre Azural by Les Indťmodables

Chypre Azural

To get the obvious out of the way, this is not a chypre; itís a citrus. An Eau de Cologne. It is also decidedly not blue. Not even a little. With that reset of expectations, I can now enjoy it for what it is: an excellent, naturalistic orange with a slight bit of greenery. You know, I was looking for something like this last year when I tested maybe 30 citrus fragrances.

I put a dab of this next to a smidge of several other orange-centric fragrances to kind of place it within its genre. I tested it this time alongside the following:

-Entre Naranjos by Ramon Monegal
-Orange Alhambra by Armani Prive
-Iskander by Parfum díEmpire
-Eau díOrange Verte by HermŤs
-Mandarino di Sicilia by Perris Monte Carlo
-Oranges & Lemons by Heeley
-Mandarino di Amalfi by Tom Ford

Of these, I think Chypre Azural definitely holds its own, holding its orange note longer on paper than most of the others, and having a more realistic orange note than most, to boot. Itís most similar to Eau díOrange Verte, but lasts longer and is brighter. But the orange note itself resembles that of Orange Alhambra.

Itís best characterized by what it isnít, compared to others. It isnít dryer-sheet musky like Mandarino di Amalfi, or starched shirt Neroli, like Oranges & Lemons/St. Clemens. It isnít woody/minty like Entre Naranjos or Concentre díOrange Verte. Nor is it hay/cuminy like Mandarino di Sicilia or Bigarade Concentree.

On skin, like most citrus fragrances, it fades to a skin scent very quickly. But it does stay on longer than most, and without the woody aromachemicals utilized in say, Atelier Colognes.

Bottom line: Iím a big fan. And despite the wide array of options available in this genre, some of which are much more affordable, this is so high-quality that it might even be worth the price.
16th March, 2021
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FougŤre Emeraude by Les Indťmodables

Fougere Emeraude

At the outset, the tuberose is loudly singing soprano. The clary sage, which was strong on paper, is barely enough to undergird all the tuberose. Itís a fatty tuberose such as the one in Fracas, not a cold tuberose like Champs Lunaire by Rogue. The clary Sage and other green notes provide a smoky, earthy, mossy, leathery accompaniment beneath the white floral solo. The leather Chypre base reminds me of Eau de Sud by Annick Goutal. Utterly fantastic. If I didnít very nearly despise tuberose in perfumery, this might be a purchase for me. Substitute the tuberose for frangipani and Iíd be hooked.

The total effect of the base is cousin to Dryad by Papillon. Remove the sap from Dryad, add an acrid leather note, and youíre in the neighborhood.
16th March, 2021
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Musc des Sables by Les Indťmodables

Musc des Sables

Perhaps I like animalic fragrances more than I thought? This is an 80ís type of Musc- enveloping and warm. It does remind me of Helmut Lang EDP, which is my momís signature. This one is particularly sweet. Thereís a definite sweet almond note that Iím personally partial to, but I know a lot of folks canít stand. It strikes me as a cloud of almond-flavored cotton candy. Very enveloping. Very sticky. The musk note is similar to the one in Labdanum 18, another Maurice Roucel. Antoine Lie definitely took inspiration from Maurice Roucel here. Sort of Tocade-meets-Helmut Lang EDP, with a dash of Hypnotic Poison.
16th March, 2021
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Cuir de Chine by Les Indťmodables

Cuir de Chine

Oh how odd! This is exactly the smell of hugging my smoker aunts when they came in from the cold! More ash tray than leather, I think. But as Etat Libre díOrange thoughtfully pointed out with their Jasmin et Cigarette fragrance, thereís something about the acrid smell of stale cigarette when combined with florals.

I do get more leather as it dries down. Leather of the minty type found in Kelly Caleche. It appears that the leather note is from a hefty dose of Osmanthus.

Despite my odd comparisons, I do enjoy this and appreciate the materials and execution.
16th March, 2021
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Iris Perle by Les Indťmodables

Iris Perle

Iris is one of my favorite notes in all of perfumery. Itís a shape-shifter that is at times powdery and luxe, at times peachy-floral, and at other times earthy-woody. I love it in all its forms, I think. I love Guerlainís gaudy iris-chocolate bon-bon, Iris Ganache and its pillowy richness. I love how Iris 39 smells like the actual flower- peachy and exotic. I love the crisp rootiness of Iris Silver Mist, Infusion díIris, and Masque LíAttesa. And the way it cushions harsher ingredients in compositions like 31 Rue Cambon and Traversee du Bosphore.

But I donít think I love this one.

Having smelled the butter and the extract in the Iris Pass some years ago, I donít really smell it here. There are some notes that remind me of LíHeure Promise, which is a deft combination of carroty iris and invisible sandalwood. I especially smell the acrid woody note used by Cartier in that one. And I smell a rose note that I recollect from classics like Knowing and No. 19.

Eventually, after a wait, there is iris, a fluffy cloud of it. But why do I feel itís playing a supporting role? I do sense a bit of fruitiness in the heart that alludes to the flower in bloom, but it isnít the indolic, nearly raunchy peachiness of the irises I grow.

Overall a compelling, well-blended unisex fragrance, and if I hadnít come into it expecting an iris soliflore, Iíd probably really enjoy it. But Iím confused by it, as if I had a sip of plain soda water when Iíd been expecting Sprite.

EDIT: I guess you have to wait for the drydown to get the iris. Once all the other flowers have faded.
16th March, 2021
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Oriental Velours by Les Indťmodables

Oriental Velours

This is a hard one to pin down. It fits in the genre of ďcold oriental,Ē where it sits in the company of Bvlgari Black, Eau Duelle, and HdP 1725. And not much else. There is definitely a thin vanilla, and something cool like juniper or anise or perhaps lavender. After a few minutes, there is a distinct industrial note, like plastic or metal. Maybe both. The combination suggests bitter almond. It starts to remind me of Hypnotic Poison, without all the sugar and fat.

The drydown is a bit of a let-down, it goes out with a whisper of perhaps macaron.
16th March, 2021
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Rose de Jamal by Les Indťmodables

Rose de Jamal

This one opens with a fruity rose (pear or quince maybe) that is nevertheless not at all jammy. Itís slightly medicinal.There is a supporting cast of flowers, too. Iím not detecting jasmine, but it is something familiar. Maybe violet. Itís pretty; classic, even. But thoroughly appropriate for male wearers. Then there are woods. Oud-like, medicinal woods. Maybe there is even actual oud, though in a tiny amount. A few hours later, the drydown is not so much rose as woody aromachemicals. Of the type in Sauvage. Canít abide the drydown, though the opening is lovely.

EDIT: [looking at listed ingredients] Ah, I see! Itís the combination of lavender and pink pepper creating that fruity-medicinal thing. Makes sense. Well-blended, and no wonder it all felt so familiar.
16th March, 2021
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Vanille Havane by Les Indťmodables

Vanille Havane

This is like if Derviche by Rogue Perfumery and Vanille by Mona di Orio had a baby. Rich, spicy, sweet, earthy. Not at all just a vanilla. I get clove and perhaps oppoponax, tobacco, and that buttery-rich Dominican vanilla note.

Thereís a savoriness that makes it compelling. It occurs to me that this is somewhat what I had been hoping for when I first smelled Tom Fordís Tobacco Vanille, rather than the caramel corn affair that it actually was. But note that itís powerful. I squeezed the smallest drop from the sprayer, and it is potent.

While honestly the first minute or so is a bit too much, after a few minutes, we have a refreshing, light smoke note. More burning incense than woodsmoke. This would be great on a cold night in front of the fire.

Update: I did have to wash this off in order to sleep; itís that strong. It can have a nausea-inducing effect even at low concentrations. Use with caution.
16th March, 2021
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Soliflore Gardenia by Dame Perfumery

This is the exact smell of a two-day old, plucked gardenia flower. Quite the opposite of more mentholated interpretations with which most people are familiar, it retains the fetid, blue-cheese and mushroom aspect throughout the composition. Itís a big floral, with large sillage, and so accurate I nearly purchased it. Upon further analysis, I note that its aura of rot often causes me a touch of nausea. I can only imagine its impact on others within my cloud who are more sensitive to fragrance. Accurate to a fault, and one that must be sprayed cautiously.
16th March, 2021
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Soliflore Narcissus by Dame Perfumery

Soliflore Narcissus starts out with a bang of rubbery, mentholated sweetness so sharp that Iím almost certain it utilizes eucalyptus. I knew that practice was common for tuberose fragrances, but I didnít expect it in a narcissus fragrance.

It mellows somewhat into a rubbery vanillic scent after the fashion of Bvlgari Black or, perhaps more appropriately, Penhaligonís Ostara.

I grow many types of Narcissus/Daffodil on my property. I probably have 1000 bulbs of various kinds, planted various years. This isnít as fluffy-sweet as my pink double-daffodils, or as indolic and white floral-like as my baby moon daffodils. It smells most like my Red Devon (yellow with red center) and Ice Follies (white with yellow center) daffodils: rubber and woods and sharp sweetness.

It stays rubbery throughout, and while some may not enjoy that aspect, as a lover of this type of flower, I find it strangely addictive.
16th March, 2021
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Soliflore Orange Flower by Dame Perfumery

A realistic orange blossom. While not so citric in its profile like a typical Neroli fragrance, itís definitely citric and spicy. After a few minutes, you also get a lactonic, slightly decaying white flower note that realistically represents a tree with some fresh, citric new blossoms, and some aging, petal-drooping blossoms with brownish tinges on the edges.

This is no high-pitched orange blossom like Serge Lutens Fleur díOranger; itís just subtle and accurate, without any particular fluorescence or photo realism.

I have a lemon tree, and the blossoms smell very, very similar to this.
07th February, 2021
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Cap Nťroli by NicolaÔ

[b]Cap Neroli by Parfums di Nicolai[/b]
[b]Category[/b]: 2 Eau de Cologne variant
[b]Rating[/b]: 2/5
[b]Longevity[/b]: 5/5

An extremely sharp bergamot or Cedrat note tingles the nose so much it burns a bit. A few moments later, it mellows to a lemony cereal smell. It reminds me of Trix. Eventually the citrus fades to a fermented background flavor, as a spicy white floral rises, and the texture of it is like the stamen anthers of a lily that was picked a day or two ago. Itís mostly a neroli, but itís waxy and throat-scratchy and deep like a lily with the stamen intact. Itís a very, very floral interpretation, and Iím not sure Iíd recognize it as neroli if I hadnít known. The heart is neroli painted in a new medium. The drydown reveals a throaty orange blossom blended with a sweet, natural jasmine. Itís a pretty floral, but it isnít really neroli and it does not scratch my citrus itch.
22nd January, 2020
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Blu Mediterraneo : Chinotto di Liguria by Acqua di Parma

[b]Blu Mediterraneo Chinotto di Liguria by Acqua di Parma[/b]
[b]Category[/b]: 2 Eau de Cologne
[b]Rating[/b]: 5/5
[b]Longevity[/b]: 4/5 (moss lasts well, not citrus)

In the opening thereís a bright fruit I donít recognize alongside a strong but fleeting cardamom note. After a few minutes, the rosemary takes over and becomes much more herbaceous.The base reminds me quite a bit of Eau de Sud, but lighter. Not as unique as the top notes promise, but the mossy base wins me over. An overall gorgeous composition.
22nd January, 2020
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Blu Mediterraneo : Mirto di Panarea by Acqua di Parma

[b]Blu Mediterraneo Mirto de Panarea by Acqua di Parma[/b]
[b]Category[/b]: 2 Eau de Cologne variant
[b]Rating[/b]: 5/5
[b]Longevity[/b]: 5/5

A shimmery bergamot quickly gives way to a fresh ocean breeze, minus the fish and sand. Itís an unusual aquatic, with a weak kinship to Un Jardin Sur Le Nil in its vegetal aquatic heart with a musky base. The myrtle is refreshing and herbaceous without weighing down the composition. It really does evoke an ocean locale in Europe, and the citrus blend reminds me of Italy. Itís a bright idea thatís well-executed.

Iím checking the longevity, but so far itís been an hour and itís still going strong.
22nd January, 2020
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Blu Mediterraneo : Cedro di Taormina by Acqua di Parma

[b]Blu Mediterraneo Cedro di Taormina by Acqua di Parma[/b]
[b]Category[/b]: 2 Eau de Cologne variant
[b]Rating[/b]: 3/5
[b]Longevity[/b]: 3/5

Bright bergamot with a lavender basil heart that comes across as minty and bracing. The bergamot is fleeting. I like it, but for this style I prefer Eau de Cologne Imperiale by Guerlain, even though it doesnít last.
22nd January, 2020
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Clťmentine California by Atelier Cologne

Clementine California by Atelier Colognes
Category: 3 Bright Citrus / White Floral
Rating: 3/5
Longevity: 2/5

Thereís a bright, sugared tangerine opening thatís very promising, which is supported by white florals and woods. The white floral medley is comprised mostly of a waxy, lactonic orange blossom that is as fatty as whole milk. Thereís a bit of green fig in the heart, along with honeysuckle and gardenia. The woods are woody aromachemicals that I canít directly inhale without a sharp pain between the eyes. What lasts is the white floral/cedar, not the citrus. This is one Iím glad I had a sample of, or I may have bought it based on the in-store experience.
19th January, 2020 (last edited: 25th January, 2020)
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Mandarine Glaciale by Atelier Cologne

[b]Mandarine Glaciale by Atelier Colognes[/b]
[b]Category[/b]: 3 Bright Citrus / White Floral
[b]Rating[/b]: 2/5
[b]Longevity[/b]: 4/5

Eating 3-day-old tangerines in a kitchen where someone has left the freezer open and someone else is heating up some curry in the microwave. Strange.
19th January, 2020