Perfume Reviews

Reviews by mikeperez23

Total Reviews: 93

Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate by Hermès

I have none of the childhood gustatory memories of eating rhubarb or rhubarb pie or anything rhubarb flavored for that matter. I came to rhubarb as an *adult* in life. I read recipes, and figured out how to make it sweet and every summer I spent way too much time seeking it out at the grocery store and preparing it.

Sure, there's that wonderful Comme des Garcons Sherbet scent that smells a tiny bit like rhubarb (awash in cream and white musks) and even the often-ignored Comme des Garcons White has a here-and-then-gone whiff of rhubarb after the spice burns off. But this Hermes cologne...this is the real deal.

The problem is...that zany rhubarb note doesn't last longer than a few minutes before it quickly transforms to a mildly citric, slightly wood and fresh/musk type scent. I even tried layering it with Shower Gel and then an over-application of the Cologne: a few more minutes of rhubarb were added - but that's about it. I tried even spraying on clothes. This didn't help the rhubarb 'stick'. :(

Which is unfortunate, because this is perhaps the BEST rendition of rhubarb in perfumery that I've ever encountered.
31st May, 2017

Bluebell by Penhaligon's

Spray this on one, and judge it from those first few seconds, and it would be easy to dismiss this scent as screechy, synthetic and offensive. Images that popped into my mind were scented all purpose household cleaners or those small aluminum tins (with the tear-off lid) of air freshener for your car.

Several wearings of Buebell later, I realized that Bluebell replicates a very realistic hyacinth flower (in nature) with a mild mix of spicy (not creamy spice...much more muted) and slightly soapy notes. For me personally any time I smell a soapy floral I can't help but think of lily of the valley and Diorissimo - but now after having worn Bluebell I can wrap my head around other soapy floral accords. The texture is one of freshness, sparkling cleanliness and...for lack of a better word 'pretty'.

Well done and worth the price of admission!

This guy can comfortably wear a hyacinth fragrance (I love wearing Anais Anais by Cacharel - not a hyacinth fragrance per se...but another soapy floral) but perhaps other guys might be a bit uncomfortable wearing this one as a stand alone fragrance rather than 'butch' hyacinth fragrances like Hyacinth And The Mechanic by Andy Tauer and/or Chamade Pour Homme by Guerlain.

Don't expect this one to last too long though...longevity and sillage are below average. I am totally okay with that: A lingering cloud of flowers all around me for hours can be a bit annoying.
29th May, 2017

Join The Club : Shunkoin by Xerjoff

It's got coconut, lots of almond (not in a cherry sort of way, more woody) and a deep rich sandalwood note. Sometimes Xerjoff scents don't always smell tremendously well blended or unique or complex but my God, the ingredients they use are top-shelf. The sandalwood note is fantastic. The whole thing reeks of quality and deep pockets. I was tipped off to try this by the SA at Scent Bar, he said he'd been wearing it for several days in a row & was falling under it's spell and when I sampled it in the store I could see what he was talking about. I'm glad I asked for a sample. Perhaps the most regal and luxurious tropical scent I've ever worn.
16th April, 2014
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Floral Curiosities : Briar Rose by Ineke

The notes listed above is missing 'apple'.

A dry, tangy rose scent with slightly soapy undertones and average longevity/sillage. It is nowhere near as gourmand as the list of notes would have you believe, it is however very much about rose although it's not as 'garden' smelling as the 'Floral Curiosities' line might have you believe. Nice, but definitely not essential nor groundbreaking.
04th September, 2012

Pure Oud by By Kilian

I cannot add more than has already been said from the previous reviewers - the top notes smell JUST like real oud oil that i've smelled (animalic, turpentine, woody, thick) but the it's leanness, synthetic/chemical middle and top notes start to show their true side and leave one feeling underwhelmed, bored and sort of hoodwinked at By Kilian's prices.
08th January, 2012

L'Eau by Diptyque

As a lover of cinnamon and spicy scents, this one was always on my radar, even before I bought a full bottle. I remember reading the glowing review it got in Perfumes: The Guide and that was all the prompting I needed to spring for a bottle when I was at the Diptyque store in NYC.

After having worn the scent for almost a year now, I finally understand where this fragrance is coming from. Basically it's a spiced rose scent, evoking the smell of dried flower petals, woods and barks - basically potpourri. Of course, many people find the smell of potpourri a bit 'cheap' or matronly. Not me. To me it perfectly captures a feeling of comfort. A warm room that you step into, from the cold. A cup of hot tea, spiced, warm in your hands. The way your kitchen smells a couple of hours after you've baked a dessert. These sort of images.

It took a while for me to 'get' the rose, but it's definitely there. Subtle, so that when it blends with the clove, it almost becomes a spicy rose scent rather than just a spicy scent. I find it lasts and last when I over apply it just a bit.

Of course there are a ton of other spicy scents, many of which are much more complex and balanced than L'Eau. I hope to explore all of them, but in the meantime L'Eau is more than satisfying.
19th October, 2011

Eau Frappée by Iunx

Once I figured out that this was the smell of three different kinds of lemons, I gave it more of my attention than the initial cursory glance that the previous numerous wearings were like.

On skin, it's hard to figure out where Giacobetti is going with this. Lemon is always present, but the pink pepper veers on smelling grassy/soapy and the combination of the two contributes to a muted, soft texture - that combined with the already tremendously low sillage and longevity make it easy to become bored by.

It is only in catching gentle whiffs of this, coming off of your body, that you could truly appreciate something like L' Eau Frappe.

This 'water' is supposed to smell 'cold', and it does, without resorting to any mint, menthol, camphor or eucalyptus. Not an easy task.

Still - I can't imagine spending the luxury $ for a fragrance 'water'.

Artistic, yes. Practical, no.
23rd April, 2011

Bazaar by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

As a fan of spice dominant scents and orientals, I was expecting to like this and I do. But unlike some of the more sharp and biting spice bombs I own (L' Eau by Diptyque, White by CdG, Splash Forte by IUNX) or the full on orientals (Opium, Shalimar, you-know-what-I'm-talking-about) Bazaar mixes the spices with an equally solid woody and resinous aura.

Underneath both of the spices and wood is a third element, that is hard to describe: aged, aroma-therapeutic, ancient, holistic. I am not sure if this is due to the base that uses, or perhaps the natural essences that make up the fragrances - whatever it is, I love the way it smells and the overall impression it yields: one of relaxation and a zen-like serenity.

Longevity issues are nonexistent when over applied. In addition, there is very little sweetness to the scent, so I can comfortably wear it all year round.

Fans of Mecca Balsam, also by, owe it to themselves to try Bazaar also. It is just as good, if not better.
05th April, 2011

Poopoo Pidoo by Ego Facto

Can you really take a fragrance seriously, that’s named after a Marilyn Monroe song (‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’) and that markets itself in the ad with a picture of a hunky guy holding a feather-boa-wearing-Barbie doll? The answer is: no you cannot.

It's a fun fragrance to wear, in fact when I first sprayed it on, I actually laughed out loud and spent the first few minutes speaking to myself “What is that!? I know what that is…??!”. I know I’m not the only person that does this (right guys and gals?) but still…it took me a couple minutes to figure out that the combination of salty powdery notes combined with that quirky ‘rice powder’ note smells exactly like you’ve opened up a bag of Frito’s brand corn chips and inhaled. I am dead serious: corn chips.

Of course, once it dries on skin this skips along it’s merry way, ramping up with equal dosages of powdery effects (corn-starch?), subdued florals (some white floral…orange blossom or jasmine?) and a fresh, watery note with a touch of green in the background that fades as soon as the nose registers it. There is a bit of citrus that rushes along in the top notes, that sort of resembles biting into orange pith (that white stuff, right underneath the skin), and isn’t nearly as bright and juicy as I expected. It has a strange (and alluring) tartness that I find fascinating, humming along underneath the salt and powder. An edible tartness that held my attention the entire time I wore it.

It also manages to utilize some razor sharp aldehydes that become evident at the base notes, simply because they started to give me a head ache every time I wore PP - perhaps others, not quite as hypersensitive to aldehydes as I, won’t notice them as much.

The base notes are my least favorite part – a non-sweet vanilla, musk and woody accents mixed with hint of rice powder – more like a flavor than a fragrance. It smells a bit animalic too…which doesn’t surprise me, as I remember reading somewhere that the smell of dogs paws remind some people of the smell of corn chips.

Overall, the giggle-inducing fun isn’t enough to save PP from coming off a bit too transparent and a bit unfinished. The perfumer, Dominique Ropion (Vetiver Extraordinaire; Carnal Flower; Alien) should have taken the main accord idea in this and worked it a bit more solid.

As is, it's very hard to pin down where I would wear something like this: It is casual? Fresh? Can it be worn to the office? Is it sexy? Who the heck knows but it sure is fun! So, for someone like me who has a large wardrobe of scents and is constantly testing new fragrances, this fragrance is nothing more (and nothing less) than a mild, edgy and silly olfactory diversion.
09th February, 2011

Homage Attar by Amouage

The ultra exclusive (ultra expensive) Homage by Amouage is quite a work of art. Every single time I wear it, it reveals a little bit more of itself to me.

One of the most unique parts of Homage is the tart explosion of citrus notes that are incorporated into the top notes. It is an effect you rarely smell in attars and the smell reminds me of Turkish Delight candy (the original rose flavored ones) with lemon juice squeezed over top. Sweet and sour. Dusty (the confectioners sugar) and chewy (sweet rosy gelatin). Just delicious smelling, not too sweet and perfectly diffused onto the skin.

Application of an oil like this can be tricky for most of us guys - I admit, some mornings I grab, spray and go. Homage is an oil, and it needs to be applied by dabbing it on, which can feel awkward. Also over applying is also easy to do with an oil based scent. For this scent, you need a very little amount of this scent to pack a wallop of sillage and longevity. I found myself dabbing it on my wrists, behind my ears (I know, I know...), the inside crooks of my elbows and a tiny bit on my chest.

The rose arrives somewhat quickly after the citrus burns off and as I've said before it smells like a huge garden of roses and flowers have been collected and distilled into this scent. Roses, white flowers (something slightly indolic...jasmine?), lillies, and a ton of other flowers I can't pinpoint. At one point I get a little dusty texture to the floral element that evoked a feeling of flower pollen in the air. Lovely. I think this is the part of the scent, that scares most men testing Homage. You have to be comfortable wearing a strong floral, to like this part of the development.

The rose is said to be a taif rose. Other scents I've encountered with this note are Ta'if Roses by Montale and A.maze by People of the Labyrinths. TR is hard to 'get' the taif rose accord in because it has that HUGE Montale medicinal, aoud accord cutting through it. A.maze was incredibly good, but also gothic, vampire dark, animalic and didn't smell of other florals. I enjoyed A.maze immensely (the parfum is much better than the EdT) but because it is a alcohol based scent it tends to create potent and invasive sillage. It also features saffron and this is tricky on my skin. Homage on the other hand, applied discreetly, is rather rich and complex. I don't feel a trail of floral leaving my body when I step up and walk across the room. However closer to my personal space the rose, frankincense and aoud beam off my skin quite nicely.

It smells fantastic when my body temperature rises, which surprised me. I took a walk alongside the marina next to my office this morning (it's a hot Miami day) and Homage didn't get cloying or too heavy. The sweat and fresh air kicked up the salty frankincense a bit more. A good thing.

Is it worth $350 for 12 milliliters? Hard question to answer. It is not more than 10 times better than A.maze parfum ($215 for 100 ml), but it is more than 10 times more expensive. However, I've never personally advocated owning only scents I think are 'worth it'.

The category of rose scents is a crowded one. Homage deserves a place very close to the top.
29th August, 2010

Cowboy Grass by D.S. & Durga

Cowboy Grass continues the olfactory theme of most of the D.S. & Durga line - resinous, pungent, raw fragrances that are mostly dry, texturally scratchy and not easy-to-like.

CG is all grasses, dirt and dry woods - a sort of supercharged vetiver note with no iodine-salty notes - rather a flat, grassy and roasted smelling leaf note.

I used to work cutting grass during my summer vacations, as an adolescent, to earn money and when you've spent a day in the sunshine, sweating with bits of dried grass, leaves and dirt all over your body and work clothes the smell sort of reminds me of CG. Strangely enough, swirling around in the middle of all of this, is a mint note - that adds a bit of depth to the scent (sort of like the mint note in Derby does). And then, unexpectedly, the scent starts to disappear rapidly on skin. For such a strong vetiver top note I expected this one to last a bit more. I would have over applied it if I could...but the way this pierces the nose when applied I don't think anyone could actually tolerate over applying this one - it's very tough and gritty.

Fans of Lorenzo Villoresi, Andy Tauer's harsh, strange and difficult-to-get-the-first-time approach to perfumery, should check out Cowboy Grass and a few others in the D.S. & Durga line.

I love sampling this sort of scent. It's sort of an extension of the CdG Leaves Series, which I love. I am weird like that. :) But I can't imagine wanting to reach for CG on a regular basis: I have no idea in what sort of setting I would wear something like this.
09th July, 2010

Aqua Allegoria Lemon-Fresca by Guerlain

I am a citrus lover and I am a fan of Guerlain so I came to this scent with high expectations. Perhaps too high.

The lemon note is a bit muted and not quite as juicy as the box/packaging picture might imply. Sort of a muted, non-pareil lemon-after-dinner-mint kind of lemon. After this dries down, the sweetness is amplified by a fruit note (pear?) that tends to animate the citrus and (at least to me) smell like something young girls spray on at Sephora with abandon.

It doesn't really transition much from there, since AALF is a very linear scent. It is not entirely surprising as many of the AA are structured this way, but it is no excuse for a Guerlain release that smells wholly unoriginal, uncreative and a bit cheap.

06th July, 2010

Granato by Omnia Profumo

Wow...sort of a masculine oriental with camphor iciness to it.

It has that same tangy citrus spice, that I recognize from Opium Pour Homme by YSL and/or Sushi Imperiale by Bois 1920 - but much more floral. I'm a sucker for any oriental fragrance, I admit, but this one is definitely intriguing.

It might be a bit too sandalwood prominent, for it to be entirely unisex. But you women out there who love woody orientals should enjoy this one also.

And thumbs up for the bottle - I just want to hold that gold-finished orb in my hand. :)
14th May, 2010
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Idylle by Guerlain

Idylle, the brand new feminine from Guerlain, is not a chypre - regardless of what Guerlain’s marketing says.

Okay. I said it.

Nonetheless it is a sweet, fruity musky rose – one that plays hard-to-get: a handwritten love letter, written on thick stationary that fades away quickly, as if written with invisible ink.

The bottle is gorgeous: a hybrid of a miniature genie’s lamp and some sort of bronze plated onion. The glossy, metallic finish (pink gold?) contrasts with the gently tinted glass bottle and rotating it in light it gives off an optical illusion…tiny, gold bubbles appear to be floating inside the bottle. Even the atomizer is strangely ‘invisible’ - only visible when you hold it up to the light. It feels expensive and luxurious in your hands – the attention to the littlest of details is evident in all of the marketing/branding.

Idylle begins with a rose note wrapped up in a varnish-like aldehydic mixture of sweet and dusty nuances. For the new few minutes the scent simultaneously gets fruitier and the florals became more sharply focused – which start to balance out the sweetness and add depth and fullness. The sweet facet is not an edible sweetness – I’m overjoyed that it avoids smelling like a dessert (or a flavorant). The fruity aspect confuses me, since the pyramid lists no fruit notes yet an acidity exists…on the edges of the rose: a hazy, stone-fruit-like juiciness mixed with a tart, berry-like smell that mixes perfectly with the rose and freesia (I smell very little lily of the valley). The mixture conjures up a very vivid fruit/floral, sweet/sour, yin/yang combination – like some futuristic, Asian, hard candy that keeps changing flavor as it dissolves in your mouth. It’s fascinating.

Nonetheless, all I kept thinking while this hummed along on my skin was, ‘So… when am I going to smell a chypre?’ As I mentioned, it doesn’t smell like a chypre. The Guerlain chypres I love (Mitsouko, Chant de Aromes, Derby) capture so well that vibrational mix of citrus, resins and oak moss – an obvious element that is absent in Idylle. Instead the musk base that the scent relies upon, supporting the florals and fruit, is missing a strength or solidity that chypres exhibit. In addition, musk heavy floral fragrances instantly smell feminine on me(and I hate using gender to describe a fragrance), but I smell Idylle and I imagine: boudoirs, lingerie, a woman at her wardrobe…the like.

Yet it still maintains a sexy, sultry aura – which is probably the image Guerlain was trying to convey, in the advertising. They succeeded! Not smutty – but a scent that draws you in flirtatiously with small, tiny details. And it lingers. Until all of a sudden, it up and disappears. When it is gone, it is totally gone. I am not sure if this is because of my musk anosmia (is there a lingering base note that I just cannot smell?) or the scent – or maybe skin chemistry. I tried spraying lightly and heavily – either way, the longevity of the scent was only about 6-7 hours. Sillage, though, is very strong. Strategically applied, this is one scent that I will enjoy smelling in the air, on the right woman.

Me, I’ll stick with my Mitsouko. :)
13th February, 2010

Jasmine Musk by Tom Ford

Hate it. It has to be the worst Tom Ford fragrance I've smelled (well, besides Purple Patchouli which gave me a skin rash).

The top notes are deceptively full and expansive jasmine notes and it's hard not to resist the urge to smile when you spray it on. But almost within minutes, the very synthetic white musk combines and shortly thereafter the scent implodes upon itself to become a faint musky skin scent with a slight plasticky edge to it.

It smells unfinished and actually comes across as more of a flavorant. I was thinking someone should use this scent profile for some kind of food. I've seen jasmine tea and there's those musk flavored Life Savers. Perhaps this smell could be better put to use as something one eats, not something you spray on skin.

Very disappointed.
13th February, 2010

Monocle Scent Two : Laurel by Comme des Garçons

As a lover of spice prominent fragrances, I find it extremely easy to enjoy this. I remember focusing on the laurel (bay leaf) accord in two other fragrances and being slightly disappointed: Aqua Allegoria Laurier Reglisse by Guerlain and Acqua Della Macchia Mediterranea by Borsari – the former being almost all licorice and no spice; and the latter being a wonderful fougere in it’s own right (in the vein of the fantastic [but discontinued] Calvin by Calvin Klein) but a bit too simple.

With Scent Two: Laurel I have found what I always hoped for in a laurel prominent scent. Realism, pungency and complexity.

The laurel note smells sundried, almost roasted in texture - with a bit of that oregano and/or thyme tickle and then starts off immediately blending with a strong and persistent ground peppercorn accord – all swirling underneath a sharp cedar note. It is this definitive sharpness that lasts for the first hour – a trademark of the Monocle x CdG fragrances that that showed up in Scent One: Hinoki, as eucalyptus and fresh cut wood. But this new release is much more aromatic. Fans of Lorenzo Villoresi’s heavy-handed aromatic fragrances (Spezie, Uomo) know exactly what I mean, because many of the LV scents typically smell raw, almost shockingly intense, and it is a style of perfumery that polarizes colognoisseurs. You either enjoy it or you don’t.

Hidden among the intensity of the spices, is a fresh-turned-earth accord: dirt, moss, and branches of trees on the ground. Certain types of vetiver conjure up that feeling for me, and yet STL has no vetiver at all. It’s more a feeling of natural, rugged earth. The spices smell like they have a bit of dirt still left on them – they are not in the kitchen to be used for food…they’re still being harvested in their raw, dry state.

If I smell my skin up close during the final dry down, I can make out a quite wonderful patchouli note and a tiny hint of crisp, salty amber. Pulling my nose away, the scent shifts back to its spices. Later on, I’m able to smell the incense, hovering in the background. I think it’s what Antoine Maisondieu (the perfumer) added that gives it an aura of calmness & tranquility. Supposedly the scent is based upon the scent of a vacation to Lebanon and that regions handmade, laurel scented soaps. I have not smelled these soaps but I do know the feeling a hot, soapy bath give me…especially one that leaves traces of fragrance on skin: refreshment, relaxation and simplicity. The same feelings evoked by this wonderful scent.
22nd January, 2010

Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

It is easy to love the fougère-oriented top notes – reminiscent of violet leaf, angelica and something slightly watery and pungent. Imagine holding your breath in an outdoor pool, under the surface, and then once reaching the surface to fill your lungs the air smells of grasses, plants and leaves…mixing with the scent of dripping water. Not an aquatic fragrance (thank goodness, the men’s fragrance counter has more than its share of this kind of scent), yet the smell of wet and thriving plant life clearly define the beginning notes of Grey Vetiver.

The vetiver note seems as if it has been genetically spliced – all of the dirty and soiled bits have been removed leaving a shiny, metallic and distinct vetiver accord that increasingly gets richer, smoother and softer as it dries on skin. Grey Vetiver belongs to the clean vetiver family, of which Encre Noire by Lalique and Series 3: Cologne Vettiveru by Comme des Garcons belong – yet it also leans a bit towards the theme that Frédéric Malle and Dominique Ropion strove for in Vetiver Extraordinaire (loads of vetiver, crisp, no sweetness). Ever so often, I got a whiff of acidic lemon.

My first thought, after I enjoyed wearing this scent was: do I need another new vetiver scent? The answer is, no! Yet, there’s something entirely unique about this one.

It’s barbershop-oriented top notes will make it easy for men to love this on first sniff (my hunch is, this will be a big hit for Tom Ford Beauty), but the modern salty vetiver and spiced woods should appeal to those who like to mix it up a bit (think KenzoAir, minus the anise-headspace radiance). Even though Ford is releasing this as a masculine fragrance, it has a delightful fresh-as-a-summer-breeze manner which defies being categorized as only for men.
11th December, 2009

Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens

Fille en Aiguilles might be too bold for you if you are uncomfortable wearing something that walks a thin line between: room spray and fragrance. The synthetic smell of pine needles has been introduced to most of us from those large aerosol cans, which you spray in your home during the holidays – not something you splash on your body after a morning shower.

FeA is different. The strong pine needle, resinous top notes are intermingled with fresh cut cedar wood, gentle fruit notes and a tiny wisp of incense. From top, to middle to base notes, the entire fragrance evokes the smell of place(s): forests; wood lined walk in closets; a home with fruit pastries baking in the oven; an apothecary store filled with balms, ointments and elixirs; a single wisp of incense smoke in a moment by the Christmas tree and fireplace.

Unlike many of the woody Serge Lutens scents (Chene, for instance, is a close relative) FeA is gentle and polite due in part to the way it dials down the sharpness with vetiver and a tiny, savory bit of laurel. Instead of feeling like you’re trapped inside a wood closet, the smell of woods diffuses around me: as if the trees I smell are in the distance…a circle of pine trees, if you will, that hovers and travels with me wherever I move. This might lead you to believe that FeA is a fougere but it’s not - perhaps it’s best categorized as a woody oriental.

The bitter medicinal edge reveals itself at the very initial spray but then quickly becomes reserved and hushed - allowing me to enjoy it without a disturbing, loud or hissy synthetic smell (I smell no aldehydes). Perhaps because of this – it only lasts 5-6 hours before it starts to fade and give off a subtle tannic aura…like warm, mulled red wine.

It might prove difficult, to disassociate the smell of FeA with the holiday season. I can’t see wearing this in the heat of the summer. Just like Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain, this just feels more appropriate and comforting worn during the holidays.

11th December, 2009

Aqua Allegoria Grosellina by Guerlain

Who knew that I could fall for a fruity scent that was released just a few years ago – when so many other designer and celebrity scents are horrible fruit nightmares? Just goes to show me that I can't make sweeping generalizations about a fragrance until I give it time on my skin.

AAG features the sharpest and most mouth watering red currant note I've ever smelled. The sensation is tart, almost like a cranberry, with a fleshy and liquid sweetness. Yet, in the way that it's blended with the white tea and florals it manages to not smell like a flavor (like so many fragrances smell from this genre and category). The fruity whiffs of the main accord evolve very little - as it warms on skin it starts to add a bit of transparent floralcy, but the dominant red currant note never fully left my skin. Constant fruity whiffs keep lingering just on the edge of my skin, for amazing tenacity as an Aqua Allegoria scent.

With the top selling masculine fragrances already loaded with fruit (I Am King by Sean John, anyone?), scents like AAG are entirely unisex and can be pulled off easily by men. Regardless of the classification AAG is a fun, laughing-with-your-mouth-open, scent.

Celebrities sure wish they had a fragrance that smelled this good.
15th September, 2009

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique manages to simultaneously fascinate me with its complex mix of rose, patchouli and synthetics – and at the same time I find it unbearable. I hate it. I think I love it. It smells so encroaching and stifling. It smells soft and sensual. What was I thinking? Why don’t I own a bottle of this yet? What am I trying to convince myself of?

AE has many long time fans (Burr gave it 5 stars; Turin did also) and supposedly it also has a twin brother scent (Aramis 900 is supposed to smell like an EDT version of AE – I cannot confirm this). Nonetheless, I feel a deep seated and hard-to-ignore respect for the fragrance. But…is this enough to push me to wear AE? I must admit, the answer is no.

Yes, AE has rose. And patchouli. Along with a host of other florals and elements overall combining to create a crisp, almost toasty chypre effect. Fascinating! But the overall scent is heavily doused with a large amount of energetic synthetics – acetonic, or like a whiff of mineral spirits mixed with a freshly painted wall. Later, I came running back to sing its praises when a co-worker wore it as her signature scent and knocked me out (in a good way) with her sillage (all around the office when she walked through the front door). I want to smell like that! On her skin it’s filled with a bit more airspace, my nose has the pleasure of creating a bit of beautiful background music, from the scent. On me the strength of the floral and wood combo and the volume it plays at, around in the air quickly becomes uncomfortable - like a week-old, scruffy beard that’s growing out: scratchy, cloying in the heat, sensitive. Combined with the above average longevity and tenacity of the scent to skin, the combination is scattered…a tangled mess of accords.

Bravo to Lauder (Clinique’s parent company), the perfumer, the late Bernard Chant (who’s creations Aramis & Devin, I adore) and to all of you who can wear AE with success. Not me. I am reminding myself that, with a wardrobe as full of bottles decants and samples as mine, I don’t need to convince myself to love AE.
15th September, 2009

Aoud Leather by Montale

I have come to the conclusion that this scent is much better when worn with another fragrance - not worn alone.

The linear scent of leather (very similar to Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford) starts with a very raw (yes, iodine like, as Trebor mentions below) top note that gets softer and simultaneously more realistic the longer it remains on skin. The absence of florals, powder or cigarette ash gives the scent a solitary minimalism - that I appreciate. It is the olfactory equivalent of slipping on a leather jacket and to me, this gives the scent a fashionable opulence. It also feels just as comfortable worn dressed up as it does worn with a white T-shirt and jeans.

However unlike other opulent scents I own, AL's linear accords bore me quickly worn alone. So, layering the scent (I've layered it with everything from Mugler Cologne to Youth Dew) is where it true magic shows.

Not a fan of layering scents? You might want to pass on this one, then.
04th September, 2009

Artisan by John Varvatos

Do not be fooled by the fantastic fresh-as-Spring-air orange blossom top notes. This scent, once it has dried on skin, becomes a highly synthetic and cheap smelling nitromusk, detergent-esque fragrance. Very disappointing - for a fragrance with such a great bottle!
04th September, 2009

Peace by Creative Scentualization

Apparently the original title of the fragrance, Peace, was not enough for Ms. Horowitz - because now the fragrance has been given the mythic title, Peace Comes From Within.

This is a thin, very veiled white musk is thin, lifeless and barely there. I dumped the entire 1 ml sample on me - and still felt no peace. Just frustration.
03rd September, 2009

Burnt Amber by Neil Morris Fragrances

A sharp, jumbled together mixture of woods, smoke and sweetness. The sharpness of the fragrance detracts from the overall dark theme, but nonetheless Burnt Amber turns the amber category on it's head.

The dark brown juice is a sign this is going to be a scent very 'brown' smelling and it is. But rather than smell musty and tar prominent, the smoke and oud notes darken the mood with a lasting almost yeasty-like quality to the wood. Oak wood never smelled so edgy.

Longevity is average and sillage is slightly above average, but mostly due to a particularly annoying aldehyde that annoyed my nose. I assume I am just hyper sensitive to this particular aromachemical.

Weird and clever. But unwearable as a daily scent for me.
15th July, 2009

Splash Forte by Iunx

Notes for SF are: black cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg, red cedarwood, musk and quinine wood.

It was created by Olivia Giacobetti in 20003 for IUNX, a niche line that is only sold at Hotel Costes in France (after the IUNX boutique closed). I was able to get ahold of a decant of SF from a generous Basenoter and found myself jumping-up-and-down excited to try it because it sounded like everything that I love. An online blogger mentioned it smelled like cinnamon mouthwash. I love cinnamon mouthwash! :)

First of all the color of the juice is tawny brown - in a muted, milky sort of shade. And it smells brown: spice, wood, something dried and old world smelling. I used to smoke clove cigarettes when I was young and after you smoked a kretek and licked your lips the lightest trace of spice could be tasted by licking your lips. SF smells a little like that. As it warms on skin it becomes increasingly more spicy (well, that is, if you over apply it like I did!) and for a second it smells spookily similar to the spice accord in Tea for Two by L' Artisan Parfumeur (another Giacobetti creation I love) as if it has been removed from T42 and isolated into a fragrance all by itself, minus the smoke and milky, watery notes. The quinine wood adds a distinctive smell to the overall dry down - almost like a mate tea or exotic dried pepper might smell. Musk? I don't smell musk...I'm musk handicapped sometimes.

This wears incredibly light and sheer - perfect for today's hot summer weather. Yet, I could easily see SF wearing just as nicely on a cool, crisp Sunday afternoon outside. If you're a fan of the Korres Body Water, Cinnamon Vanilla (which is much sweeter and slightly more biting) or White by Comme des Garcons (longer lasting, fruitier) would love SF.

Sounds great, right? Well it is.

But here's the thing - it's REALLY light. I wore it two times and sprayed almost 14 sprays & even with this type of application SF faded in a couple of hours. The main reason I think this happens is that the aforementioned spice notes don't have a grounded base to hold onto and project from. They just kind of burn off into the air and all that's left is a breezy whiff of spice/skin scent. Today, to prove my theory, I applied it this afternoon after wearing Bois du Turquie by MPG all morning. The myrrh, florals and woods in BdT provided just the right solid base for the SF to project and hold onto. Today I could smell it for more than a couple hours! Which, I know I a little ridiculous to think that one would want to spend this kind of serious $ on a luxury, Paris exclusive scent...only to wear it layered over other fragrances?? Ridiculous.

Since I cannot afford to liberally apply a luxury fragrance like this one, I'll have to enjoy this one from a fast dwindling decant. Or hope Santa Claus knows where to find Hotel Costes when Christmas rolls around.
27th June, 2009

Muguet by Molinard

I previously used Diorissimo, to 'get' what lily of the valley smells like (since here in Miami, it's not very popular). Muguet by Molinard is different, from the Dior, from the first spray.

Sturdier, much greener - the top notes evoke a stem prominent floral accord (not dirty, but leafy) and a residual citrus tang (lemon) that balances out the green notes and keeps it from smelling too soapy. I say soapy, because that is the overall effect one gets from lily of the valley scents: mostly because so many popular soaps and detergents are scented with lily of the valley fragrances. So the soap=lily of the valley connection is easy to make.

The scent is extremely linear, after its initial green-ness, the only slight evolution is a honeyed effect of the florals. The dry down is a light musky wood.

Longevity is fantastic - it lasts more than 4-5 hours from only a few sprays.

This is NOT my favorite type of fragrance category, but nonetheless I'm intrigued by it and would easily recommend it for someone looking for a clean, crisp and unisex lily of the valley scent.
01st June, 2009

Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

The name, Eau de Hermes conjures up an image of a somewhat 'house' cologne for Hermes. Something that is classic to the brand and smells like eaux cologne (citrus top notes, quickly refreshing, short longevity). I was completely unprepared for the scent that I sprayed on. Happily unprepared.

EdH is just a wonderful marriage of citrus and cumin - and this lovely, animalic combination is clearly evident from the beginning all the way to the base notes. It manages to wear extremely close to the skin yet its conservatism fools the wearer since animalic whiffs of the scent can be detected all day while wearing EdH.

I've seen many people recoil with a smudged up facial expression when first smelling this scent (including a Hermes SA), only to become a fan of the scent once it's dried down.

Masculine. Very sexual. Extremely ahead of it's time. And still wonderful and non-reformulated by Hermes after all of these years. What more can a Hermes fan-club-member, like I, ask for?
28th May, 2009

Bois Marocain by Tom Ford

Bois Marocain (Moroccan Wood) is an extremely safe and predictable wood fragrance; this is majorly disappointing coming from a luxury line like the Private Blends.

The top notes are a resinous blast of synthetic incense (a very sharp slightly metallic incense – think Nu by YSL) that evolves within less than an hour into a typical linear sandalwood note. Not creamy (or anything remotely trying to smell like Mysore sandalwood) or complex – but a Demeter version of Sandalwood: generic, linear and short lasting.

Rush for Men by Gucci and H&M by Comme des Garcons have walked this line before (pencil-shavings cedar notes lying underneath a raspy incense note) and while I have worn and enjoyed both of these scents before, the fragrance world does not need another, using the same two recycled accords – at almost quadruple the price.
26th May, 2009

Arabian Wood by Tom Ford

The first spray of Arabian Wood is neither woody nor ‘Arabian’ but something imperceptibly fougère-like, herbal and slightly nose tickling (angelica?) combined with a sharp varnish / nail polish remover accord. It took a couple of wearings for my nose to become accustomed to it and then only when it’s warmed on skin for at least 20 – 30 minutes do you start to perceive a warm, ashy gentle frankincense accord.

I’m familiar with a handful of pure aoud oils, which to me vary greatly in overall smell and complexity. A few of the high quality oils are just gorgeous. Arabian Wood conveys this same accord not as an oil, but as a fragrance (not easy to do) while avoiding the typical medicinal (Band-Aid like) sharpness. It reminds me of the dry down of aoud fragrances (the Montales and Amouages) after a couple hours – almost as if 5 to 10 hours of sharp, medicinal notes are fast forwarded and skipped and you instantly arrive at the plush, velvety floral/wood aroma. I love it! The frankincense blends seamlessly with the taif style rose and then a gentle white floral note finishes it off in a luxurious and sensual style.

Arabian Wood by Tom Ford is exclusive to the city of Kuwait (one of the richest countries in the world) and this scent feels appropriately decadent. However, unlike genuine Middle Eastern attars, Arabian Wood diffuses and doesn’t wear thick or heavy – its incense and complexity aren’t trapped close to the body of the wearer. I wish it lasted longer – it is gone in 3-4 hours. I also wish it was more affordable – but compared to pure Arabian attars prices, Arabian Wood is lower priced (for once). Imagine that?

Notes for Tom Ford Arabian Wood: Patchouli, Lavander, Galbanum, Bergamot, Gardenia, Jasmine, Rose, Oakmoss, Orris and Sandalwood
26th May, 2009

Eau de Pamplemousse Rose by Hermès

Eau de Pamplemousse Rose features notes of grapefruit, orange, rhubofix and vetiver. The grapefruit is sweetened with the tiniest rose accord; wet and juicy, very bright and lip puckering. The rose note is quickly buried on skin and in the air and simultaneously highlights the wonderful, flavorful combination of the two…and introduces a wonderful citrus/rose component similar to the brand new Perrier Pink Grapefruit mineral water, but sweeter. A fresh cut grapefruit drizzled with edible rose petal water would smell like this, for a second, right before you swallow it. But then, after you chewed it you’d experience the lingering and delicious presence of both.

The sheer and very light dry down has a radiant and subtle earthy feeling to it (my guess is the vetiver) - as if the citrus has been carried in from a neighboring grapefruit grove and the crates are full of mud or dirt. Yet the overall feeling is light and sunlit, with a rich coolness that must be the rhubofix (aka rhubarb oxirane, a Firmenich molecule described by Hermes as ‘fresh, woody, spicy, floral rhubarb’).

To be enjoyed at its fullest Eau de Pamplemousse Rose must be over applied – just like Eau de Orange Verte. When it is, the juice holds onto skin slightly longer. I think a shower gel of this scent would smell fantastic (Hermes has an ancillary line in the works)!

The grapefruit notes are tarter than those in Terre de Hermes (and sweeter than the white grapefruit in Un Jardin sur le Nil). The rose is considerably more restrained than in Kelly Caleche and/or Hermessence Rose Ikebana. Yes, you’ve smelled Jean Claude Ellena blend these notes before. But Eau de Pamplemousse Rose smells totally unique and engaging for men and women. It is the best grapefruit scent I’ve ever worn.

The high price tag ($125 for a 3.3 oz / $165 for a 6.5 oz) is all that is keeping me, for now, from buying a bottle.
26th May, 2009