Perfume Reviews

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Brooksfield Men by Brooksfield

Brooksfield is an Italian menswear company with a rather English-sounding name, and comes across rather "casual dad" in nature with clothing that focuses on the usual trousers and overcoats look, turtleneck sweaters and tartan patterns galore. The brand launched a men's fragrance in the early 90's just called Brooksfield for Men (1993), and it's a rather conventional "fresh fougère" which at the time probably seemed pretty novel, as the newest iteration of the genre has just started picking up speed into the 90's. This fragrance is nice, and it's of the rarer breed of fresh fougère that sways more traditional fougère than freshness, but there are (or at least were) a ton of things that could also serve in the same place as Brooksfield for Men, so it never really had a chance on the market. The other problem here is few people outside of Italy or the EU even know of Brooksfield, as the brand doesn't get around much outside of a select few distribution channels beyond those areas, so most people haven't heard of the menswear brand let alone this fragrance unless they are from continental Europe, mimicking in some ways the semi-local nature of US designer brands like Tommy Hilfiger. The bottle is kind of neat, with a medallion in the front and giving me big time liqueur vibes, but all that comes with the territory when you aim for a mature menswear audience.

The opening of Brooksfield for Men is rather quiet, with bergamot, juniper, and a nice tart green apple coming to the front, very fresh and semi-fleeting as a soft lavender barbershop medly of tarragon and clary sage enter. There's some muted plum notes here, and a bit of vetiver that rests on a backdrop of cardamom, giving a dull spice and slight smoky sweetness to the mixture, but still feeling very fresh. Oakmoss, musk, and a noticeable cedar fill in the void, and overall Brooksfield for Men rests somewhere between Gilette Cool Rain (1993) and future releases like Quartz pour Homme by Molyneaux (1994), American Crew Classic Fragrance (2000) or the even-later Cabaret de Grès Homme (2004). All of these scents rely very heavily on clary sage for their aromatic backbone and all but the Quartz are fougères. Everything I've mentioned is also discontinued outside the Gilette, so the "fresh clary sage" masculine style as a whole is just about extinct in the mainstream realm, but I have a feeling nobody really misses it. Once more, this is a nice fragrance, and a different kind of clean compared to the aquatics and ozonics of the period, or modern ambroxan fragrances, but nothing about it leaps out and says "gotta have" unless you have a fetish for mild-mannered masculines. Wear time and performance on the lower side of average, and Brooksfield feels best in warmer weather social functions with strangers. Back then this stuff read like it was made for older guys, but now it just feels like an EdT adjunct to a shower gel/soap range.

Back in 1993 masculine perfumery as a whole was headed into an age of apology that wouldn't relent until all the retro-chic stuff Tom Ford was brewing at the time over at LVMH hit the market (also all doomed to discontinuation), and the super-shrill Y2K millennial male foghorns started ruffling feathers, meaning for the next decade or so, scents like Brooksfield for Men were the norm. Under these circumstances, Brooksfield is probably one of the better options because the alternative was tons of fruity shimmery metallic calone and aldehyde fragrances on soft green wood bases or aquatics riding a wave of laundry musk into your nightmares, at least beyond the fresh fougères. Semi-oriental fresh tobacco styles and gourmands became a thing then too, but these weren't the versatile daily wear solutions men wanted then and with standard fougères being ushered out the door along with chypres while animalic powerhouses sank into tar pits of their own making, Brooksfield for Men had all the makings of a successful middle option between the transparent aromachemical stuff and the old guard, if only it wasn't from a menswear range that sounds English but is from Italy. If you like these kind soft-spoken fougère exercises, grab it if you find a deal, otherwise your time spent excavating discontinued treasures is better spent elsewhere. Thumbs up.
18th September, 2020

Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Eau Fraîche pour Lui by Lacoste

A simple but pleasant summer fragrance. Very fresh, citrusy-sour and peppery opening. Similar to D&G Light Blue pH Eau Intense.

Projection is pretty good during the first few hours and then is pretty much faded out to a skin scent after 5 hours.
18th September, 2020

Wanted Tonic by Azzaro

Wanted Tonic doesn’t smell bad. In fact, it’s very pleasant. However, I’ve smelled many better options in the same genre.

It’s sweet but nowhere near the sweetness of the original Wanted. I really don’t even get much of the Wanted DNA. The one oddity is I get a coconut smell from this, similar to something like Joop Homme Wild. I prefer the Joop though, it’s a better, more distinctive smell and better performer.

Speaking of performance, that was the biggest disappointment. Light projection even right after spraying for me. Also, it doesn’t last all that long, maybe 4 hours.
18th September, 2020
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Chevignon by Chevignon

Chevignon Brand is a ready-to-wear fashion arm of Les Établissements Charles Chevignon, founded by the former and Guy Azoulay, and has always been centered around minimalism and a certain brusque aesthetic that seems more suited to men (even if they have had items for women in the past too). Perhaps best known for its jacket, denim, and leather accessories, Chevignon set its sights on businesses outside of fashion as early as a controversial (and failed) cigarette arm in 1990, then later a fragrance division launching in 1992 with the Bogart Group handling composition, manufacturing, and distribution. If this sounds familiar, it's because Bogart Group is home to both the Ted Lapidus and Jacques Bogart lines, producers of the most unapologetic and masculine fragrances on the planet, meaning the debut masculine Chevignon (1992) would be right at home there. Other critics in the past called this a cut-rate Ralph Lauren Polo (1978), and they wouldn't exactly be wrong, since Chevignon has strong similarities, but this is no clone. The whiskey flask bottle and old-timey writing on the front go hand-in-hand with the faux-Americana the brand tried to channel in a decade that was back-to-basics compared to the preceding one, although by 1992 stuff like Polo was the furthest from what young guys looking to grunge it up actually wanted.

The opening is very familiar to Polo fans, with artemisia and galbanum, dry bergamot and aromatic notes like caraway, swapping Polo's coriander for basil. The differences are slight at this phase, as Chevignon does not have the pine of Polo in the heart, although it has just about everything else save muguet and leather, the latter of which is moved to the base in Chevignon. This includes jasmine, carnation, rose, geranium, filling in the heart, leading to a transition into a lighter less-dense base spearheaded by that leather note. The leather is very rounded and spicy like Hermès Bel Ami (1986) but much softer, and some may say Chevignon veers closer to Ralph Lauren Polo Crest (1991) by this stage. Cedar, oakmoss, amber, musk, and that leather form the base of Chevignon, with the telltale tobacco and vetiver from Polo absent in Chevignon, using increased patchouli to bring in some resinous green feeling that steers more towards something like Givenchy Gentleman (1974) or Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men (1984) but with traces of the Polo "vibe" filtered through from the top and heart. Chevignon becomes its own beast by this stage, but just barely. Wear time is average at about eight hours but unlike most of what I've mentioned above, this is not a powerhouse fragrance at all, bringing the 70's/80's masculinity in line with 90's sillage. Best use would be formal situations where something green and mossy feels apropos, and likely more mature.

I like Chevignon but with stuff like Jaguar for Men (1988) still out there as cheaper viable alternative to vintage Polo, I see no reason to pay the steadily-increasing prices of the discontinued Chevignon. When this stuff was viewed as the cheap Polo alternative, it probably did Chevignon no favors which is probably why they chose to discontinue it in the first place. People who wanted Polo were going to buy current Polo regardless of formulation because brand cache matters to the average consumer, while fragrance collectors will either spring for the vintage Polo because "ermahgerd muh oakmossuses" or vintage "wood cap" Jaguar for Men, which is now the cheaper alternative for Cosmair-era Polo than the near-unicorn prices for the Chevignon. Logic dictates if you're going to overpay for a "rare and precious" vintage, get the original and not the reputed imitator right? Back in the day when Chevignon was new and common, I would have recommended it as a slightly lighter and perhaps more summer-suited alternative to fans of heavy green stuff like Polo or Givenchy Gentleman, especially since leather bases tend to shine in hot weather, but now I'd say only go in on a bottle of this if you're a collector. As it is now, Chevignon is a neat little historical blip, a transitory piece sitting between 80's power and 90's apology, but not worth the price of admission for any functional purpose beyond completing a display of such fragrances. Thumbs up.
18th September, 2020

Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Marketed as a fragrance for women, but I really dig wearing this one in cooler weather. Exceptionally rich, well blended and very long lasting without any trace of noxious chemical sweetness.

4 stars.
17th September, 2020

Jacomo de Jacomo Original by Jacomo

Surrounded by a sea of insecure, hostile candyland niche frags, reeking of jelly donuts and vanilla candles, Jacomo de Jacomo stands alone on the hill raising his fist high and proud. Zero sweetness, 100% black awesomeness.

Jacomo doesn't need your attention, he demands it.

4.5 stars.
17th September, 2020

Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein

Neutral. Upon release, I wore this fragrance in deference to Carlos Benaim, who authored my beloved Polo Green. Ultimately, it never fully resonated with my tastes and the bottle was relegated to under the sink forever more. Despite the annoying, wrecking ball level of mass marketing - this frag deserves it's place amongst the best of 1989 releases.

3 stars.
17th September, 2020

Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger

A subtle frag that should be treated more like an aftershave. Overall, a Neutral rating for me because it was absolutely everywhere and unapologetically over-sprayed by everyone in the mid-late 90's. In this case, less is way more.

Released the same year (1994), and ironically by the same house (Aramis), I personally prefer to reach for this timeless gem of men's perfumery - "Havana".

2 stars.
17th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tuberose Angelica by Jo Malone

This starts out with a tuberose, and this really the main thrust of this creation. Quite a bright tuberose, neither thick or heavy but with a touch of levity and trim. At here is a restrainedly indolic undertone with just a light waxiness.

The angelica it weak in me and somewhat on the perfunctory side, as is the amber that appear just before the end.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a nice tuberose for warmer spring days, unusually light-hearted and bright, but the rest is a disappointment. 2.75/5.
17th September, 2020

L'Ombre des Merveilles by Hermès

I wasn't overly familiar with this line when going to sample L'Ombre des Merveilles (2020) in Nordstrom, but after taking wearable decants of the line home to test in my own time, I've discovered that this entry not only has zero DNA with the rest of the line, but perhaps the weakest performance of the bunch. In a rare move of cynicism from the brand, Hermès has given everything the modern mainstream fragrance user (that isn't a performance-obsessed dudebro) wants in a scent: brightness, freshness, cleanliness, and not smelling like anything they can negatively associate with something else. Imagine your typical "Karen" if you will, prattling off a laundry list of things she doesn't like and expecting the perfumer to work with whatever is left unnamed to make something for her, that is this fragrance. Abstract clean, brightness, warmth, transparency, and an undefinable "modernity" that really smells of nothing to me. Even smelling like water would be more definitive than smelling like this.

The opening of L'Ombre des Merveilles isn't so much an opening, as it is a thud of rounded clean. A flurry of laundry musks and a slight tea note greet the nose, and something that smells like the late dry down of a 90's perfume to say the least, but presented as the opening of this one. Seems we're not back to the old "upside-down note pyramid" of the original Eau des Merveilles (2004) however, as after this clean laundry attack subsides, we move into norlimbanol "incense" territory, a bit like Bleu de Chanel (2010) without the violet leaf, then a rounded semi-sweet slug of tonka in the base with the usual linalools and limonenes to polish the scent until it glows. This is utterly boring, and goes absolutely nowhere, but you'll smell "modern" for sure. Wear time is maybe six hours and performance is terrible. Either that, or I get anosmic to this stuff too fast. Wears unisex I guess, and best use for summer, like most of the line, but easily the worst to date. I just can't get over how much like nothing this smells, even more so than something from the Escentric Molecules line. Sigh.

I don't know what else to say about L'Ombre des Merveilles besides it really does feel like a perfume made for a neurotically dissatisfied person that makes it their life's mission to write corporate every time their coffee isn't perfect, or yell at the kids outside for playing because they have to turn up the rerun of their court drama they've already watched 15 times before. Real "my peas don't mix with my carrots" kind of perfume, and totally devoid of any worldly notes that might remind them of the time they had to eat a coworker's vanilla cookies, or someone spilled a bottle of lavender hand lotion in line next to them at Kohl's, or any perfume that might remind them of an ex they're still not over. Yeah, if you really don't love yourself, you might love L'Ombre des Merveilles, as it's the quietude of the void given fragrance form. Test and see for yourself, but this to me is the worst thing I've ever smelled from both Christine Nagel and Hermès. Thumbs down.
17th September, 2020

Eau des Merveilles Bleue by Hermès

Eau des Merveilles Bleue (2017) is a bit of a capitulation to men, whom found most of the previous Eau des Merveilles (2004) line pretty wearable, in spite of its feminine market copy. Here we see house perfumer Christine Nagel do what Jean-Claude Ellena has done and mostly dispense with the original "upside down note pyramid" theme of pillar entry, and just vibe off of key elements from it. Namely, the ambergris heart and the fresh citric oceanic notes that defined the dry down of that scent, bolstered with additional "proper" aquatic elements to turn the Eau des Merveilles accord into a proper aquatic fragrance, albeit a unisex one that will probably appeal more to men (like I said in the opening). It's always funny when a market segment a house wasn't expecting emerges and they're forced to make a product to meet that surprise demand. What this means to a casual fan of the original Eau des Merveilles is a more oceanic and possibly masculine feeling to the scent, so if a Hermès aquatic with a Hermès price tag sounds like your bag of chips, start munching my friend.

The opening here is a blast of aldehydes and juniper, with those notes quickly folding into the ambergris note of the original's heart. Again as with classic Eau des Merveilles, I can't really say if this is actual ambergris despite the market copy, but it has a breathy mineralic warmth and underlying marine muskiness, so it's a good take if synthetic. Additional "sea notes" are found in the heart, which mostly translate in my head to something ozonic in nature, then a base of denatured patchouli and ambrocenide for that "woody amber" feel most modern things have from the 2010's. Christine Nagel seems to be a fan of just naming two or three notes in her pyramids, so most of what I mention is detected not stated by the house, so your mileage may vary. Wear time is eight hours with average performance all around, best for casual outdoor summer use like at a BBQ or if you work outdoors. This barely feels unisex but leans more masculine to me, and anyone liking the original but not the heavier flankers that followed may appreciate this more since its closest by far to the first Eau de Merveilles in tone.

The bottom line here is this is Eau des Merveilles Bleue, is how it sounds, although could probably be named "Bleu de Hermès" if you really wanted to be cynical, since it has the appropriate house transparency developed since the 2000's but also the blue freshness the dudebros crave. I like Eau des Merveilles Bleue but like with the original, it plays in a crowded field and has a price tag that makes it a hard sell when there are so many things you could have which smell just about in the same ballpark for a fraction, mostly thanks to discounters crammed to the gill with those competitors. Hermès collectors who love these tilted sparkly bottles will jump all over this, and anyone looking for an aquatic that is "a cut above" in most respects to your average Bvlgari or Nautica scent will appreciate what Nagel has dished up here in Eau des Merveilles Bleue, although anyone with more niche-aligned tastes or an aversion to obvious synthetics use will poo-poo even more than the standard Eau des Merveilles. Nice, simple, fresh, but a bit overpriced for what it is. Thumbs up.
17th September, 2020

Eau des Merveilles by Hermès

I'm not the first person to bring it up I'm sure, but the point of Eau des Merveilles by Hermès (2004) is to create a feminine market fragrance that does not contain florals. This was apparently just before Jean-Claude Ellena picked up the reigns as house perfumer for the brand, so Ralph Shwieger and Nathalie Feisthauer were put to task on it, and their solution to the problem of a flowerless feminine perfume was rather unique: make a citrus and woods fragrance upside-down. Yes, that's right, the notes of Eau de Merveilles are positioned and proportioned so that notes typically on top are instead in the final dry down, and notes usually associated with the base come out of the sprayer on skin. I'm guessing this concoction worked, because it spawned a series of flankers, some inventive and some not so much. I don't think Hermès Eau de Merveilles smells much like genius, but it is good, and unisex despite the market copy. The Jean-Claude Ellena and Christine Nagel eras full of transparent nothingness and one-two punch accord structures have made erstwhile minimalist freshies like Eau de Merveilles seem redundant, even if they came first.

The opening salvo of oakmoss and vetiver is quite strange to the unsuspecting first-time sprayer, but the smell is quite aromatic and nice, being green and a bit woody, with a perfect set up for a transition into a nice cedar in the heart (which can sometimes be in the heart in normal fragrances too), flanked by what is claimed to be a rare use of true ambergris in a designer fragrance. I can't verify this claim, and to me it would seem cost prohibitive, beyond skirting various laws in various countries, but there is a sort of mineralic breathy muskiness that is a tell-tale of ambergris, but could just the same be a high-quality ambroxide compound. A bit of "watery freshness" that can only be described as a properly-chlorinated pool (some of you will know what I mean) merges into the citrus base of lemon and orange, given heft by a large dose of pink pepper and a hidden unlisted musk component, because no amount of citrus will anchor to skin for long. The smell is fresh and clean, not exactly "aquatic" nor really floral, but nice. Wear time is about eight hours, and performance is average all around. Suggested use would be summer for me, as a casual scent.

I don't think many people really pay attention to this line beyond Hermès fans or influencers on Instagram and YouTube, who get sent the latest bottles from this line to push onto their following, because I literally see nobody talking about this unless they're someone with professional-looking bottle photos taken with a Leica camera and at least 10,000 followers to their name. Most "average Joe/average Jane" types are stuck on main-line Hermès perfumes like Terre d'Hermès (2006) or older classics like Calèche (1961), but if you're the kind of person to veer into the Hermèssence, then you're also likely to enjoy this scent and its brood as well. The quirky built-in sprayer head and "tilt to the side" bottle base are nice to look at, as is the starry sort of bottle design that reminds of the later and discontinued Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris (2011), but none of that matters unless you just collect to display. Ultimately, this is a light and harmless freshy with a sunny citrus disposition and a bit of marine vibe throughout, but ends up being a bit of a high-priced alternative in a saturated market segment. Try before you buy! Thumbs up.
17th September, 2020

Tommy Into The Surf by Tommy Hilfiger

Very sweet, bright opening. Has a youthful, vibrant feel. The drydown does calm down a little, bringing in woods and violet. I’m reminded of Hollister Wave for Him mixed with Montblanc Legend in the drydown.

Good projection for the first few hours. You can still smell on skin for most of the work day, 6-7 hours.
17th September, 2020
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Gardénia by Guerlain

Guerlain's take on Gardenia takes on darker approach compared to others, specifically the one from Chanel. The opening had some tart bergamot that added a brief moment of brightness before plunging into the deep. The gardenia note soon appears and receives support from other florals. I'm sensing some of the skanky jasmine and deep rose notes in the heart which contributes to the darkness in Gardenia. The florals are met with even darker notes in the base. Present are the notes of civet and musk which contribute to the animalistic qualities, vanilla which adds a minimal amount of sweetness, and wood notes which adds a supporting backbone to the base. The gardenia florals never fully disappear but is blended by the other notes present in the drydown. Performance for Gardenia is good. It's fairly strong early on before staying closer to the skin in the later stages of the scent. For those who enjoy gardenia this is one worth trying.
17th September, 2020

Replica Whispers in the Library by Martin Margiela

Not exactly terrible, but not anything to really write home about, Maison Margiela Replica Whispers in the Library (2019) is supposed to conjure images of old paper and fragrant wood shelves mixed with candles. The scent doesn't really do that for me personally, but what it does manage is pretty enough if you're looking for a calming scent to wear while reading. I'm not the biggest fan of the house going in, so my expectations were tempered thus, but even then I just barely "break even" with what's being presented.

The most simplistic of accords is this, opening with mainly an aldehyde and a bit of pepper. Supposedly cedar is here but if anything it's just Iso E Super adding woody volume, because beyond that, all I smell is vanilla. In fact, after about 30 minutes, this is primarily a vanilla scent, with no trace of old books or wooden shelves. I can see the candles comparison if those candles are vanilla, but that's it. Performance and wear time are teetering on below average, and I'd only use this as personal scent for home if at all. Best time of year is winter but you could get away with a scent this light in warm weather too.

Whispers in the Library is apologetic like a 90's light oriental, aimless to the point of insipid, but unerringly pleasant in spite of it. There are many better and more powerful vanilla fragrances plus Byredo does a thing about libraries that gets much closer than Maison Margiela Replica, so I'd check that one out instead. Not much more to say, a short review about a scent that by design has little to say itself. Any Sephora in the US should have this and elsewhere a perfume boutique, so it shouldn't be hard to track down, just try not to get too excited. Whispers in the Library is no page-turner. Neutral
17th September, 2020

Cigar by Rémy Latour


No tobacco fragrance captures the smell of a cigar box inside of a cigar lounge better than Remy Latour Cigar.

The "aura" of sweet fruits combined with cedar, tobacco and more are all there throughout every phase of this awesome cocktail. 4 sprays, sit back, and relax.

At $15 bucks online, it's the easiest no brainer blind-buy of all time for tobacco enthusiasts.

4.5 stars.
17th September, 2020
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States

L'Homme Idéal Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

When L’Homme Ideal first came out I sampled it at a Guerlain boutique and didn’t especially like it. I am not into sweet gourmand scents which is why, while I can appreciate L’Instant it was just too confectionery for me. I have revisited L’Homme Ideal, buying a bottle to wear in the fall and it is growing on me. The top notes quickly give way to the amaretto accord which dominates the fragrance throughout its lifespan. The base notes do a good job of grounding the amaretto and give it that new Guerlainade note. As is often the case with Guerlains, there is also a Marzipan, patisserie note (as found in L’Heure Bleue) that reminds me of those amaretto biscotti (children love it when you burn the wrappers). However, the almond aspect of the amaretto also gives this a slightly barbershop quality which I like and helps make this fragrance more masculine. Over all, a very nice scent for cooler weather which will work as well with a cashmere sweater and leather jacket as it will with a suit and tie. I am especially fond of the Cologne flanker although I have not yet tried the other flankers.
16th September, 2020 (last edited: 22nd September, 2020)

Eros by Versace

2 sprays and you will be transported back in time to your early teens, you know, the insecure glory days.

Hanging out at the donut shop, sporting tight trousers and applying half a can of Axe body spray with an itchy trigger finger. Good times.

0 stars.
16th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Magnolia Folie Extrait de Cologne by Roger & Gallet

The magnolia is in the foreground indeed. Pleasant, bright and representing a good rendering of this soulful flower.

A nice jasmine arises soon, a jasmine with a m green undertone and no powdery characteristic. Hint of orange blossom and just a whiff of muguet add to the white floral basket.

Woods and patchouli toward the end. Cedar, a whiff of oak, and a soft and light patchouli that blends in well with the other notes.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

For spring a scent, definitely, a bit traditional but skinned down to become a lean and modern floral. A bit bland at stages though. 3/5.
16th September, 2020

Burvuvu by January Scent Project

Cedar overdose at first. Smells great! Good amounts of flowers, too. Fizzy patchouli, ginger, and amber. You gotta love rose and wood to wear this one. Eventually I smell fresh, store-bought, potting soil and mushrooms.

I mostly smell cedar throughout the life of the fragrance. Rose and patchouli are still fairly dominant. Hours later I get a dose of the castoreum - not too much, just enough. This frag vaguely reminds of one I already have in my collection. Aramis Calligraphy Rose, maybe - but better!
16th September, 2020

Oolong Mountain Ti by Soivohle (Liz Zorn)

Concentrated, sweet orange (juice) mixed with a variety of strong tea notes. I'm not a big fan of tea notes but, here, they are excellent. They smell "real". Eventually mixed berry smells and a hint of peach merge with the teas.

Kind of a smoky, musky Tonka later. Mellows out considerably. Overall, an interesting, creative scent. A different take on tea notes. Best tea-centric scent I've ever sampled.
16th September, 2020

Ruh by Pekji

Interesting note combo. For me, the notes bounce off of each other, taking turns revealing themselves. It's dark, smoky, in a way... Smells of various incenses mixed together, burning in some faraway mountain temple in the forest, I imagine. It softens, melds beautifully. I enjoy it more as it wears on.

Smells like creamier later, if that makes any sense. No one note overpowers the other. Magnificent blend!
16th September, 2020

Fior di Chinotto by Abaton Bros.

A big, pretty white floral. Smelled closely, it feels like a big, loud mix of tuberose and orange blossom, but with rose and jasmine added to make it smell like a white floral accord more than any specific floral. It's temporarily orangey on top and gets soapy over time, and even a touch woody in the base, but the big floral mix is definitely the focus.

This feels Italian in that it's quite beautiful, but it screams its beauty at the top of its lungs. As an aside, this smells nothing like chinotto, the small, sour citrus fruits that are candied and eaten whole or used to make bitters. But it's still a nice floral perfume, so thumbs up.
16th September, 2020

Fior di Chinotto by Abaton Bros.

Fior di Chinotto by Abaton Bros. (2018) is one of three themed fragrances based around the chinotto planet, a type of citrus imported from China by Savonese sailors to Italy. The chinotto plant is called "citrus myrtifolia" outside Italy, or the myrtle-leaved orange tree, and the "chinotto" fruit themselves are typically used to flavor aperitifs and sodas. The bitter aroma of the chinotto lends it an almost "dark neroli" quality that becomes the primary facet of all perfumes in the Chinotto line by Abaton Bros. With Fior di Chinotto, we see mostly the blossom of the planet become the focus of a white floral musk composition, one that is marketed feminine but can really almost be considered unisex in tone. Two version of this fragrance exist; a parfum and an eau de parfum, and I am reviewing the former. Floral musks are a dime a dozen in the realm of niche perfumes, and all invariably overpriced, so what really sets this one apart from all the other option at the price point of a niche fragrance is theme.

The opening of Fior di Chinotto is fresh and sweet, with chinotto blossom, damask rose, and the chinotto fruit itself. This "dark neroli" aspect I mentioned comes out in full force, and can be seen as a halfway between blood orange and neroli in tone. Put another way, you get the sweet florality of neroli, but the dark deep uncanny-yet-still-citric vibrato of blood orange, which itself is typical more found in gourmands for that reason. After this dark sweet floral opening, jasmine and tuberose come in softly, to lift up and liven the mixture. Tuberose is very well-controlled here, barely musky or fleshy at all, and a big dollop of denatured patchouli (without terpenes) comes in to add a rounded nose feel. The base is surprisingly 1980's in tone, with a honeyed musk note over layed on top "white woods" (some kind of aromachemical again). The honeyed musk makes me think of powerhouses like Estée Lauder Knowing (1988) or Lapidus pour Homme (1987) but with a more-polite musk in place of their civet. Wear time is over 10 hours with moderate performance all around. Fior di Chinotto feels casual spring through early autumn to me, and fit for anyone.

The big kicker about Fior di Chinotto besides the novel top note is that sweet honeyed musk in the base, adding a bit of unexpected sexiness to an otherwise innocent fragrance made for picnics in the park. This is the kind of thing you'd catch in the air and go "oh what is that?" but think nothing of it if you couldn't find the owner, yet might consider snuggling up to said owner if it was someone in your company. For me, this makes Fior di Chinotto a dual-purpose kind of scent that could feel appropriate among strangers, or worn places where you'll bump into Mr. or Ms. right, yet nothing is overtly sexual about it. There's just something about a well-mannered citrus blossom and tuberose musk that feels both unassuming yet also passively come-hither, like everything hinges on context. The bottom line here is the scent sells for near the $200 price point for the parfum and closer to $150 for the EdT, which isn't horrendous for a niche fragrance, but can be a big bite to take for subject like this, no matter how exotic the source of your fruit. Still, worth a sniff. Thumbs up.
16th September, 2020

MAAI by Bogue Profumo

Modern Chypre Extrordinaire

Its really good. Initially kind of camphorous. Civet aldehydes jasmine. Its awesome. 5 stars, top 10 for me.
16th September, 2020

Extreme Speed by Michael Kors

Herbal Updated Fragrance

As designers go, and on the lowish end of the designer spectrum moving toward cheapy, the Michael Kors line just isn't something that gets love. This one is pretty nice though. Its really got some herbal smooth suave thing in the opening. Sage, in all its sageness, not one of those clary sage notes that just is for filler, this one is very present. Cypress is the main player. Its got some of that violet ambiance. I like this one a lot. Dumb name, but the bottle is actually pretty nice. Pictures don't look as nice as it does in person. Feels good. I found it lasted well into the evening, though in the drydown it became pretty aromachem, but hey, its a Michael Kors. This would be a step up from most of the stuff you see in this realm. Pretty well blended, but the materials in the backend show some of their cheapness.
16th September, 2020

Eternity Flame for Men by Calvin Klein

sweet blah

Its not good. It smells like something from the early 2000s not well done. Kenneth Cole Reaction melon, its sweet. They say pineapple, but its not pineapple. Its melon. Pineapple is sharper. Lasts well, sweet. Really cheap. Nothing flame or fire like.
16th September, 2020

Bee by Zoologist Perfumes

Can I just quote thrilledchilled's review and use it as my own??

Yes, this is honey and I like honey perfumes, but instead of playing the honey against bitter, woody, or smokey notes, Bee sweetens it further with marshmallowy flowers, so it feels unbalanced, like it just screams "SWEEEEEEEEEETTTT!!!!" instead of trying for artful juxtaposition.

Like thrilledchilled says, I'll stick with Slowdive.

All that being said, this isn't a bad perfume, just not what I'm into, so I'm voting neutral instead of a full-on thumbs down.
16th September, 2020 (last edited: 15th September, 2020)

Panda (2017) by Zoologist Perfumes

This is awful. Like seriously, just terrible.

5 seconds of cheap apple/raspberry topnotes leads to a couple of hours of dreadful, cheap-smelling aquatic "woody amber" Axe body spray smell.

Even cheap designer scents at least have better performance than this. Aside from the cute panda on the bottle, there's no reason anyone should seek this out.
15th September, 2020

Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 pour Lui Eau Fraîche by Lacoste

A simple but pleasant summer fragrance. Very fresh, citrusy-sour and peppery opening. Similar to D&G Light Blue pH Eau Intense.

Projection is pretty good during the first few hours and then is pretty much faded out to a skin scent after 5 hours.
15th September, 2020