Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 162134

Amber & Lavender by Jo Malone

It's got the basics you'd expect from the genre: sharp lavender over leathery patchouli and myrrh, over a minty, herbal chypre core.

Things that smell like this are usually much stronger and longer-lasting, but this is a fairly thin cologne strength, so it takes a few sprays to get much out of it and it doesn't have much longevity. It's also worth noting that this does the bare minimum required to be acceptable, but nothing more. It's perfectly competent, but doesn't do anything to make itself feel special. As such, it's fine and I have nothing against it, but I can't imaging reaching for this when, say, Derby is available and so much better and more considered.
20th January, 2021

Gianfranco Ferré for Man by Gianfranco Ferré

Gianfranco Ferre for Man (30ml spray) -

I recently discovered long discontinued Charles Jourdan Un Homme and now this one! Wow, they share much of the same DNA with a very satisfying green herbs and fern heart on down to the woods, moss, and leathery base. The biggest difference to my nose is this one has the addition of a luxurious tobacco accord blended in. Really well done, viva 1986!

In addition to the understated, classy vibes the real win with GFM is how affordable it remains on the secondary market. Give it a try and instantly increase the dividend from your "smell 'em who's boss" portfolio.

4.5 stars
20th January, 2021

Tribute by Avon

Avon Tribute For Men Cologne Splash (Frosted Spartan Warrior Bust Decanter) -

Classic aromatic citrus chypre, full stop. Splish-splash with reckless abandon any time of the year.

The Spartan Warrior Bust decanter comes in 3 versions, all with the same juice: Clear glass w/ Ribbed glass helmet, Clear glass w/ Frosted glass helmet, and Blue glass w/ Chrome Helmet (limited edition). Thanks to Zealot Crusader for these details!

3 stars
20th January, 2021
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Clint by Avon

Avon Clint After Shave (Paul Revere Bell Decanter) -

"Aramis Lite" is by far the best description here so I will echo the previous reviewers comments.

I still want this one in my collection though as the 70's era Avon decanters are just awesome. Busts, globes, cars, screwdrivers, broad swords...come on lighten up, this is fun!

2.5 stars (fragrance)
1.5 stars (decanter)
4 stars
20th January, 2021

Black Suede by Avon

Avon Black Suede EDT (2012 formulation) -

Other than Old Spice, Avon Black Suede is by far the safest reach in my wardrobe. With no sharp edges, Black Suede bends itself into more of a warm "aura" around you instead of marching through a particular set of distinct note pyramid phases.

With that said, I wouldn't go for more than 3 sprays as it performs great for a budget EDT. I scored mine new in box for $15, which is an awesome value for the quality presented here.

Ultimately, there is a good reason this one has been in production for decades. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

3 stars
20th January, 2021

Legend Eau de Parfum by Montblanc

This is almost exactly what I would expect from an EdP release of Legend. I did expect more performance, so that's where I feel that it didn't meet all my expectations. The smell is slightly darker and more mature (via a hint of leather) and also less fruity-fresh than the original, almost like you jump right into the heart and base of the original.

It does feel like the original heart and base are amplified but the overall performance does not improve much over the original. In fact, it feels like the scent has lost the sparkle on the top end and is a bit duller, with less projection, which may appeal to some who think the original Legend was too loud or juvenile.

The original EdT is one of my all-time favorites due to its versatility and mass-appealing scent, so I like this EdP release very much since they are quite similar. Due to this similarity, it could be redundant to own both.

20th January, 2021

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Chanel 31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette (2007) was part of the original 6 Les Exclusifs scents launched in eau de toilette by Chanel when they decided to enter the luxury/prestige/niche market. 31 rue Cambon is named after the original Chanel couture workshop, and is an original composition rather than a retooling of an Ernest Beaux composition from Chanel's early years (unlike some of the others in this initial collection of 6), but still exists in a classic floral chypre style that makes it feel far older than it may seem at first glance. What perhaps makes this unique among a plethora of similarly-styled mid-century floral chypres made across all market levels for decades is the inclusion of a black pepper opening in place of the usual blooming Chanel aldehydes, but that isn't enough to really call this a modernized or updated take on the chypre. I think what this is, at least for me, is a strange and artistic twist on a classic and otherwise slightly boring study in traditional perfumery, which may really make or break it in your eyes depending on where you sit with perfumers toying around with convention.

Black pepper isn't super apparent upon the initial spray of 31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette, but it creeps up as bergamot, a mix of indolic jasmine, Damask rose, and ylang-ylang greet the nose. As with most academic floral chypres, the flowers take over for the citrus when the opening moments elapse, but this is around the time when the black pepper first assirts itself in the composition. Iris and a light patchouli come in later to make 31 rue Cambon more powdery fresh amd green, while labdanum, oakmoss, and a tiny bit of the Polge sandalwood note build out the woody chypre finish. By the end, the pepper is screaming over top of the chypre structure, which gives it an odd cold unfeeling nature that is the only real bit of perceived modernity in it, although not on the same levels of cold as the "boss bitch" Chanel Cristalle (1974) by the previous house perfumer Henri Robert. The original eau de toilettes are often cited as stronger than their EdP replacements, but I don't read much strength here in 31 rue Cambon, giving about 7 hours of wear at just medium projection, with most of that being from the pepper woody iris backbone. Best use is in casual situations for spring, summer, and early fall.

The next big question is, get this discontinued EdT or the newer EdP that replaced it? Well, usually I'd say the bite of real oakmoss in pre-2011 examples makes chypres better, or even before 2002 when there were no restrictions on the material whatsoever, but this is so light and so totally not about the oakmoss at all in the finish thanks to that dominant pepper and iris, that I think you might be okay with current EdP. On the bright side, it's likely to last longer even if sitting closer on the skin, but there are bound to be those who feel everything older is inarguably better than anything newer, so I'll let you decide into which rabbithole to toss your money. Either way, you're looking at a stiff retail price tag of several hundred dollars, or several hundred more for a rare vintage, so 31 rue Cambon is an expensive trip for the die-hard Chanel fans only. Chypre lovers will be glad to see Chanel can still make a decent example of the genre into the 21st century, but the Calvanist-level purists worshiping the old dames like Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) will find this an adulteration and are better off sticking to vintage specimens of Chanel No. 5 (1921) or Bois des Îles Parfum (1926). Thumbs up
20th January, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

The citrus opening is a nice one, orange, mandarin - both discreetly sweet in character - underlines by a bright and light neroli.

In the drydown the iris develops; it is a pleasant green iris, which dominates the heart notes. It is accompanied be a very discreet galbanum, which adds a gentle spiciness in the background. A soft vetiver comes and goes, whilst a cedarwood impression develops further in the development that lead towards the base.
With times the iris develops a clean and powdery undertone. This is a fresh and bright powderiness with a slight lipstick accent, which lacks any dowager-style boudoir-mustiness. Glimpses of frankincense and a restrained benzoin appear closer towards the end, with the spiciness and the powderiness of the iris creating an interesting finale.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection, and an excellent eleven hours of longevity on my skin.

A very agreeable scent for warmer spring days, with a citrus-floral first half that changes into a gently spicy second stage. Is has some original features, shows good development and texture, but some components can be a bit synthetic at times; the performance is excellent. Overall a good creation. 3.25/5
20th January, 2021

Douglas Hannant by Robert Piguet

Citrus and pear sweetened with bubblegummy jasmine over Piguet's signature pink tuberose, with orange blossom to provide continuity to the citrus topnotes. Once the pear fades, it becomes quite creamy and rich with hints of tropical ylang.

The end result a perfume that pretends to be a fruity candy perfume, but is actually a proper mixed floral in disguise. It's deceptively smart, using sweetness as a clever invitation to actual depth. Honestly, this is quite beautiful - the "pink" sweetness of jasmine lifts the tuberose while the ylang adds creaminess, while the orange blossom gives citrusy brightness that acts as a fantastic counterpoint to the creamy richness. Well done!
20th January, 2021

Musk Lave by Areej le Doré

I've never done such an about-face as I did on Musk Lave. I've been working through some of ALD's offerings, trying full bottles of War and Peace (amazing) and Agar de Noir (stunning). Nothing I've come across in the past prepared me for the strange accords that make up Musk Lave. I started by reading a rather negative review by the very articulate Kafkaesque, which focused on the 'marshmallow' lavender sweetness of Musk Lave. I took multiple wearings for my mind to sort out what was happening. Reading another review that described the notes in more detail really helped, especially concerning the sandalwood. The effect of verbal descriptions on our perception of smells is a very interesting thing. Initial impressions aside, here's what I get now.

First of all it does smell like lavender! Surprise surprise. And it is a smooth, pillowy soft lavender, not the sharp woody side of it that you get in Lavender frags. It's hard to separate it in the early stages from the very strong and beautiful real animal musk that pervades the juice. It's the musk-lavender accord that my mind initially rejected as bizarre. It smelled like some sort of sweet plastic, very strange. But over repeated wearings I find this increasingly addictive. I realize that I'm actually smelling lavender. The sandalwood contributes to this initial accord as well, but I can't distinguish it as a distinct note at this point. It's just this creamy delicious accord, with a dark pissy-stinky undercurrent from something like Civet? Not listed in the notes?

Only when the lavender and musk have died down, does the sandalwood come into its own. After a couple of hours, the sandalwood is glorious. Once I understood that, it all resolved in my mind. I still don't get the labdanum, oakmoss or 'iris accord' but perhaps with time, my mind will discern these as well. Notice that I say, 'mind' and not 'nose'.

What I love about ALD's offerings is this smell of real things. The mind is slow to sort out what is going on, but this one was really worth the wait and effort. It's almost impossible to find now, and getting rarer with each passing day. I wonder if there will be a Lave Musk II?
19th January, 2021

Iris Torréfié by Guerlain

Pencil shavings opening followed by a dried fruit and makeup iris drydown. I like the opening very much but the drydown is too thick and heavy for me, so test the drydown before buying.

Unisex? Sure but leans fem to me, especially in the drydown.

Excellent performance on my skin. Projection is loud at times and it lasts all day.
19th January, 2021

Innovation by Jaguar

Masculine, mature, old-school scent. Not my thing but I've smelled other revered classic scents that this would compare to favorably, so could be an excellent value.

Lots of spicy patchouli, woods and leather. It's not heavy or overly musky, just very spicy.

I get solid performance. The projection is noticeable and above average and the scent lasts pretty much all workday.
19th January, 2021

Evolution by Jaguar

Fresh, clean, and modern-masculine sweet. Has that shower gel top mixed with a woody amber base that you find in many men's scents today. Smells good and should be well-liked but very unoriginal.

My biggest issue with this scent is the performance. Projection is very light from start to finish. Longevity is also poor, maybe 2-3 hours.

19th January, 2021
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Infusion Mandarine by Prada

The opening in drenched in delightful citrus aromas: an orange that is of the acidity and discreet bitterness of a diluted orange peel, which merges with a slightly acidic mandarin impression.

Later on a soft neroli is added with some orange blossom and whiffs of a light and transient bright woody undertone.

The aftermath is a very restrained opoponax, which is really more faint shadow on me and just adds a touch of depth to the whole mix. The end adds a whiff of fresh laundry smell to it.

I get soft sillage, limited projection, and five hours of longevity on my skin.

This summer citrus scent is - especially in the beginning - a gorgeous and quite bright composition, which is not of the refreshing invigorating type like Hermes' original Eau d'Orange Verte, Monsieur Balmain, or Penhaligon's Extract of Lime. This is a composition that is more glowing than shining refreshingly brightly. On the whole this is quite a nice creation, with the ingredients mostly of good quality, albeit lacking intensity and depth; the performance is limited. Summertime fun. 3.5/5
19th January, 2021

Bois d'Iris by Van Cleef & Arpels

Lovely, soft iris - cool, just barely sweet, with gentle woody/powdery facets. It strikes me as seasonless, though I have yet to test that theory by wearing it in the summer. It is not a strong fragrance - I'm happy the bottle is 75ml because you could spray this one liberally.

I'm fortunate that I was able to find an online discounter that still had bottles in stock; I have a feeling this is not going to be around much longer. I've now tried three fragrances from this line and liked them all. It's a shame I wasn't able to try Lys Carmin and Muguet Blanc as I bet they are lovely, but now seem impossible to find except on eBay for highly inflated prices.
18th January, 2021

Faunus by La Curie

This is spectacular. I smelled Faunus blind, without any context, and it immediately took me to relaxed walks through the forest with pine trees looming overhead and soft earth beneath my feet.

I've long sought a coniferous fragrance that felt like it actually evoked that experience. Many have hinted at the experience but few have caught it so perfectly as Faunus.

What's lovely is that this fragrance is immaculately polished, too, retaining the forest impression while remaining eminently wearable. I envision myself wearing this regularly.
18th January, 2021

The Visionary by Gap

The Gap has made in-store exclusive fragrance for quite some time, and like many mall chain boutiques that do, they can be here today and gone tomorrow. However, unlike Victoria's Secret, The Express, or Zara, The Gap at least seems to try putting more artistic effort into what they stuff near the checkout lines, even if the materials quality is still mostly paper thin. The Gap introduced a 5-piece series of unisex fragrances called Gap Individuals, each named after an defining a type of individual, even if that seems silly coming from a brand that used to have uniformly-dressed dancers in its TV ads. This particular scent is The Visionary (2007), and tends to get the most talk of the five. The spray head of each one was a different color, although with the metallic cap on, you'd not know that immediately into going to use them, meaning this is one time a capless tester may look better in a displayed collection. More on that little tidbit later, but in addition to the themes of each bottle, there is a three-note focus that feels artistic in its simplicity, almost like many niche brands employ with their rose and this, sandalwood and that, like Jo Malone.

The focus of The Visionary is geranium, fennel, and caraway, but there is more going on here than them. The opening has that 2000's ozonic rush like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2002) or Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce (2006). Unlike them, this ozonic sharpness is not paired with fruit in The Visionary, but rather geranium. The geranium on display here is rather floral like the later Diptyque Geranium Oderata (2014), and not at all metallic like one may be used to in something such as Creed Himalaya (2002) or Paco Rabanne XS pour Homme (1994). This may be because that geranium is really just pure geraniol at the end of the day, since materials here are super cheap. Fennel and caraway come in before long, offering a green "spice rack" feel which comes to define The Visionary outside that florid ozonic geranium note, resting on an unmentioned bed of Iso E Super and vetiver that gets inexplicably powdery late in the wear. Performance leaves something to be desired, coming across like an eau de cologne with 30 minutes of push then six hours of quiet sillage, plus that late stage powdery feel comes across incongruent with the rest. The Visionary is unisex, casual, plus easy to wear otherwise. Best use would be in summer or spring, outdoors or after a hot shower, perhaps as a shared scent between romance partners even?

Something like this repackaged with better materials, performance, and presentation could sell for about five times what this sold for in stores originally, and since it is discontinued, sells for more than it is worth unless you're okay with the uncapped testers I mentioned earlier, since they seem to have flooded discounters at some point and cost less than a value meal at McDonald's. Since having no cap shows off the cool colored spray heads of each bottle, perhaps this is for the best, and at these prices you could very well just load up on backups then spray to your heart's content to mitigate the performance woes. I'm usually on board with geranium presented in a floral way, but The Visionary just sort of smells like the filler used to pad out the formula of cheap rose perfumes, spliced with the top notes of Fierce, then watered down to an eau de cologne. The concept is cool and very "niche-like" in it's thematic and note subject focus, but the dime store execution of the juice itself makes The Visionary feel more like The Daydreamer, with the same relative forgettable nature as most fragrance efforts put forth by The Gap both prior to and after this went away from that front checkout shelf. Neutral.
18th January, 2021

Chrome by Azzaro

Azzaro Chrome (1996) is the best-selling Azzaro masculine fragrance of all time, even if the original Azzaro pour Homme (1978) holds the title of best-seller in Europe, and is arguably far more iconic from a historical perspective. Azzaro Chrome was also just the right kind of fragrance to revive interest in the brand from young men in the 90's, who shrugged off Azzaro pour Homme as dated along with its original intense flanker released in 1992. The extremely artful and genderbendy Azzaro Acteur (1989) was also a commercial disaster, despite being a low-key masterpiece of jammy Turkish rose and leather chypre that would only be appreciated by collectors decades after it's arrival, so Azzaro had nothing relevant to offer until Chrome came along. The secret here was to deliver clean and fresh modernity with a heavy amount of synthetic abstraction as was fashionable in the 90's, and to deliver it without the heavy-handed wall of sillage that 70's and 80's fragrances became notorious for to the youth of the day, but also to be strong enough to stand out amidst dozens of competitors trying to do the same thing. Enter one Gerard Haury, a perfumer who worked with Harrmann & Reimer (now Symrise) and who was a master perfumer often going uncredited, no doubt because he likely worked for a lot of large-scale ignominious clients like then Azzaro owner Clarins, who probably had him perfume most of their many costmetic lines. Gerard is only known for Chrome, and being the father of Raphael Haury, who also did work for Clarins and Azzaro. His work in Chrome is deceptively simple at first glance, especially since everyone from Avon to Xerjoff abuses his techniques here, but leads to a comfortable clean that isn't your average blue fragrance.

In some ways, Gerard couldn't have picked a better fragrance to be his sole credit, as Chrome is quite literally the epitome of white linen shirt fragrances for men. The basic theme of Azzaro Chrome is as an aquatic white floral woody musk, crossing the streams between scents like the original Nautica (1992), Calvin Klein cK One (1994), and Bulgari pour Homme (1995). Chrome is also more of a men's floral fragrance than it lets on, which is kinda fun. The opening is fresh, clean and uplifting with neroli, lemon, rosemary, aquatic notes, and a huge dose of benzyl acetates for a massive synthetic floral rush. The latter is rather common in most floral fragrance now, and often gets cited as such by people who have knowledge of perfumery, but back when Chrome came out, cranking it up this high as a top note was uncommon in a Western man's fragrance. Similarities to ck One abound as another smash of hedione joins these acetates in the heart, pushed and pulled around by lucid notes of jasmine and a very light cyclamen joined by a dusty coriander. Chrome deviates from cK One and Bvlgari pour Homme in that it doesn't rely just on white musks and an ethereal tea note, but moves into that ultimate "white shirt" territory with green cardamom and the crispness of a wood note with a sliver of oakmoss, which when pressed against those clean laundry musks give the impression of washed linens starched after drying. Azzaro lists rosewood, sandalwood, and cedar as the wood notes responsible, but it's all too synthetic to really be sure, although I can recognize the tonka which lends that tea-like leafy hay facet. Wear time is good enough for a work day at over eight hours, with earlier bottles having marginally better projection thanks to real oakmoss, while later bottles rely on evernyl and fall a bit flatter sooner, like newer bottles of Azzaro pour Homme. Best use is pretty much year around.

Azzaro Chrome is perfectly well-composed, but also perhaps perfectly boring, as are many top-sellers from the "beige age" that is the 1990's for men's fragrance. What really separates Chrome from the competition is that bite in the base mixed with the massive clean floral rush in the top, as dozens of masculine scents had huge doses of linalool and limonene, dihydromyrcenol, and other clean shiny synthetics by that point thanks to pioneers like Calvin Klein and Davidoff, but not really a massive floral push. Chrome would end up with both a ton of flankers (just like Azzaro pour Homme) and a ton of use, but one thing it got that Azzaro pour Homme didn't is placement in just about every store that sells fragrance from Macy's to Wal-Mart. This extra push of ubiquity does patina the "chrome" of the scent's prestige in ways that Azzaro pour Homme has not had to suffer in the public eye, but like with Liz Claibrone Curve for Men (1996), that hasn't seemed to have tarnished people's disposition towards it outside the sometimes "over-scrupled" online fragrance community. Honestly, if you're getting poo-pooed by snobs that claim your fragrance sucks because too many people like it (and therefore must be only for "common" undeveloped tastes), you're likely doing something more right than you realize. My only bone to pick with Chrome is the sometimes itchy powderiness it leaves behind late in the drydown, something it shares with Versace Blue Jeans (1994), but both fragrances seem to have toned that down in later formulations so it's a non-issue for me now. In short, Azzaro Chrome may not be very exciting or unique, but when you just want to smell good and not fuss about it, you can't go wrong. Thumbs up.
18th January, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Infusion d'Iris L'Eau d'Iris by Prada

The first impression is a mix of a semi-bright mint that is intertwined with a smooth neroli, which displays just a touch of gentle earthiness. There is not harshness or earthiness in this neroli. A laurel- herbal undertone evolves after a short while, which gives an interesting twist to the top notes..

The drydown changes to a floral phase, with an iris and some orange blossom present. Touches of a rose with some muguet are arriving a bit later.

The base is basically a set of dominant white musks, with hints of vanilla and a nonspecific woodsiness arriving towards the end.

I get soft sillage, limited projection and an overall longevity of five hours on my skin.

The initial phases of this summery scent are quite pleasant and not without a creative touch, but after about half an hour is collapses rather rapidly on me. Not only does it become very generic, but the base is only perceptible when I burrow my nose deep into the subcutaneous layers.
Overall 2.75/5
18th January, 2021

1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

When you name a fragrance after the man from which the words "sadism" and "sadist" are derived, you're making a clear statement. 1740 Marquis de Sade (2008) is most certainly a statement, and a very strong, controversial one at that. Compared to some others from the house I've smelled that don't quite paint their historical target appropriately, 1740 Marquis de Sade is a dead-ringer for a perfume modeled after the infamous French figure known for spending more time in prison than out during his life, due to his notorious sexual predilections and how vocal he was about their advocacy. I won't really go down the rabbithole of whether he was a misunderstood revolutionary or psychopath with a noble title that kept him from otherwise being executed, but as a perfume depicting a man in and out of prison his whole life for his carnal urges, this is a fascinating composition. To be clear, this is a not a perfume you can "appropriately" wear anywhere, and for those who want a niche fragrance that lives up to every bit of the definition, look no further. This is "classic niche perfumery" if there ever was such a thing, being challenging, attention-grabbing, for the connoisseurs only, and fully thematic. 1740 Marquis de Sade is what everyone thought niche perfume was before they discovered it's really just designer perfume from the mid/late 20th century re-dressed with modern materials and deluxe packaging, and what indie/artisanal perfume for all intents and purposes became, to fill the role of being truly "niche" by design. However, this is a "be careful what you wish for" scenario in that regard too, as this is so "niche" it hurts.

The opening of 1740 Marquis de Sade is a punch to the face of davana, surfing on a wave of powdery handbag style leather and bergamot, probably with some aldehydes in tow. This attack on the senses is bewildering at first and you might have a knee-jerk reaction to it if not prepared. Davana is an oil that comes from a specific member of the artemisia pallens family, but different from the bitter artemisia, or mugwort/armoise members of the same family in that it has lactonic fruity qualities like osmanthus and musky indolic tones like ylang-ylang that mix with a sort of bitter powderiness from the artemisia, and is overdosed here to that effect. This powdery funky muskiness is met with patchouli and spices of coriander and cardamom halfway into the dry down, pronouncing the leather facets of the rather complex davana further. Birch smoke and pasty labdanum mix with elemi resin and immortelle, which when combined make an animalic aroma, like skin on skin, lightly washed with vanilla and cedar but not sweaty quite so much, meeting with a castoreum leather note that adds a bit of dry warmth to the whole. When 1740 settles on skin, it feels a bit like the "Guerlinade" underpinning Shalimar (1925) from a twisted, dark parallel dimension, where it is devoid of the almost gourmand delectability found in the actual "Guerlinade" in perfumes such as Habit Rouge (1965). Instead, this yumminess is replaced with a sexual raunch that slithers and belches smoke like a dragon through the resinous powdery leather whole. You feel "wrong" wearing 1740, but also are drawn to it in ways you don't want to admit, and that's likely the appeal. Wear time is until you sandblast it off skin, and I won't mention projection, just use with caution wherever and whenever you deem fit. I do like 1740, but holy moly even a small bottle would be a lifetime supply for me with how much I'd dare use it.

Among all of Histoires de Parfums original "historical" creations from the 2000's, 1740 Marquis de Sade gets the most talk because it naturally turns the most heads. 1725 Cassanova (2001) is viewed by some as the polar opposite to this, a romantic exercise that places lavender, vanilla, and powdery notes into a sensual comforting hug with kisses on the back of the neck. Here in 1740 Marquis de Sade, those hugs transform into rancorous grips on your waist, lewd thrusts, and chewing on the earlobe from behind. I smell the same tones found in Michael for Men by Michael Kors (2001) and Keith Urban Phoenix (2011) way late in the wear of Marquis de Sade, but amped up to ten times the strength of what they are in those commercial releases. I can't identify what they are exactly, so if you've smelled those scents, you may know something of what the skin feel is like on 1740. All told, this must be the most divisive and argued-about release in the Histoires de Parfums catalog, their attempt at a modern niche YSL Kouros (1981) but with none of the sweaty soapiness that at least makes Kouros get a hall pass out in public. Even if you're not a hedonist that enjoys massive orgies or bacchanals that last a fortnight, 1740 Marquis de Sade is a perfume that can put you in the headspace of someone who does, and is basically liquid libertine. As I understand it, older batches were even stronger than current bottles are now, but I can't tell you if I've smelled original or reformulated versions since I'm working from a decant. If this is the reformulated juice, I'm almost afraid of what a 2008 bottle smells like, so ether way you're in for a true "niche" experience. Thumbs up.
18th January, 2021

1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums

Have you ever come across a fragrance that you want to like, but just can't because of one thing? 1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums (2001) is one such fragrance for me. 1828 seemingly does everything right from the onset, being a fragrance inspired by the famed adventure fiction novelist of the 19th century, mixing marine and citric freshness with a woody aromatic background, and being a "marine breeze over a wild heath" to paraphrase the market copy. Indeed, this perfume must have been amazing in 2001, combining the popular marine themes in the mainstream masculine fragrance market at the time with a deeper aromatic twist that would be bound to please fans of the richer garrigue masculinity found in fragrances from the 70's and 80's, but in now it just smells a bit too plain for its price tag. For me, this is caused by the inclusion of either a single material, or single accord made from materials that are now nearly universally featured in many high-end floral fresh musk fragrances, that while likely not cheap, are so common as to be expected now, but smell okay in their relevant context. When you start mixing this ubiquitous "luxury fresh floral musk soap" note with more burly green notes and woods like pine, and it sends confused signals to my brain that makes me go "no please", even if at the time this came out it may have been a novel combination. Context changes everything in time, but let me explain.

The opening of 1828 Jules Verne is initially very nice, coming out of the gate with a dry pencil shavings pine note similar to Pino Silvestri (1955) or Acqua di Selva by Victor (1949), surrounded by slightly more-modern citrus aquatic cocktails. There is a nice minty eucalyptus note here joined by grapefruit and orange, tangerine and a big hedione lift into the heart. The hedione here is very reminiscent of fragrances like Dior Eau Sauvage (1966) without the jasmine flavor or 1881 pour Homme by Nino Cerruti (1990) without the rose, so you get a creamy white floral clean but without any identifying flowers to give it form. This is mistake one for me, because this "nondescript florality" (not a word but bear with me) rubs me of Calvin Klein cK One (1994), which is nice at $30 but not at $200+. Nutmeg supplies dustiness to the floral feel in the heart, while a bit of black pepper counterbalanced the eucalyptus. The dihydromyrcenol aquatic note is here too in small degrees, but this is no Cool Water (1988). The base is where mistake two occurs, as a very fluffy white musk like I've seen Annick Goutal, Xerjoff, and House of Sillage use a million times shows up here, but in the context of those other houses blends well with the florals, but here with the pine and citrus, clashes and dominates the aromatics. Some late stage Iso E Super "cedar" woods, vetiver, and some form of incense note (likely timberol) join this fluffy clean musk, but it takes over everything. Wear time is 10+ hours with moderate sillage, and this feels like it could be a year-round signature for someone.

So for me, the big deal breaker is that 90's unisex hedione "grayness" found in now-discounted surviving examples of the unisex craze mixed with the 2010's luxury floral soap musk used in $300+ examples as a way to pad out performance on a dime but avoid smelling like it is. In other words, this smells like a modern niche fragrance where shortcuts were made to enhance performance, but without the benefit of being a modern niche fragrance where those bare seams are more cleverly hidden in redolent top and heart notes, since we're talking early 2000's where niche houses were very much still in experimental mode. For this reason, I can't totally flunk out 1828 Jules Verne, since it's not trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes, but I also don't fully enjoy how this thing is constructed. I enjoy the fluffy white musk bits in a fragrance that's built around them, but not when they are juxtaposed against citrus and green aromatics like this, giving 1828 a weird ghostly sweet richness it doesn't feel like it should have. Likewise, that huge hedione lift is right at home in something like the aforementioned cK One or even Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani (1996), but here just kill the magic of a scent trying to evoke a famous author from the 1800's. You could have shoved this in a Guerlain Aqua Allegoria bottle with reduced performance and I would have gone "okay sure", but here as 1828 Jules Verne, I feel misled smelling this. Neutral
18th January, 2021

Duro by Nasomatto

Dark, wet, musty, mossy cedar wood. Dry down has a fair amount of smoke, similar to Pardon.

For what it's worth, my wife said it reminded her of being in the Haunted Mansion or the pre-ride at Tower of Terror at Disney World. That would be the dark musty scent coming through.

Very good performance with plenty of projection on minimal sprays and around 10 hours longevity for me.
17th January, 2021

Ricci Club by Nina Ricci

Ricci Club by Nina Ricci (1989) is an early example of a men's tobacco style that would become popular into the 90's and 2000's, adding a bit of green citrus herbal/floral chypre feel carried over from the mid-80's to the genre that others made in its wake would avoid as that style faded from mainstream favor. Perhaps this old-school nod to traditional French perfumery is what doomed the otherwise ahead-of-its-time Ricci Club to discontinuation in later years (it died sometime in the late 2000's), but on the other hand, so many fragrances would end up doing the dry down of this scent equally as good if not better that it's easy to see it getting lost in the shuffle. This is especially true once you start considering the Nina Ricci house itself did not have the best luck with the male perfume buyer into the 2000's, having not even bothered to make a new masculine since Mémoire d'Homme (2002) failed to make a dent, another scent which is also discontinued. Like Balenciaga and Escada, it would seem what remains of the Ricci operation has completely abandoned catering to men, which when looking at the competition, may be for the best. Sadly, this one has also long since "gone unicorn" in the second-hand market, so getting to smell what I'm talking about is difficult, although I could also see Ricci Club doing well as a niche fragrance knowing its relative unorthodoxy suits that market. I enjoy the smell of Ricci Club, but it touches too many familiar corners of my mind to ever be a favorite, just barely eking out approval.

The opening of this is going to be your typical citrus herbs and white florals blast of bergamot, lemon, dry lavender, galbanum, and some bitter artemisia. If you're a fan of the way artemisia is treated in classics like Chevalier d'Orsay (1911), you'll pretty much be at home here, but things don't stay in that turn-of-the-century lane for long, as the florals come pouring into the heart. Rose, jasmine, carnation, muguet, and dusty spice remind me both of Lauder for Men (1985) and later niche fragrances like Parfums de Marly Lippizan (2010), creating a bit of a fussy dandy feel in the process. A floral tobacco note very similar to the later Versace The Dreamer (1997) and Frapin l'Humaniste (2009) is what marks Ricci Club as an early pioneer in the modern tobacco style, with some ambery light oriental tones like Baldessarini Cologne (2002) also showing up to sweeten things a bit. Vanilla, patchouli, more spice and woody touches, then "tonkabacco" sweetness appear decades before Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille (2007) made it a smash. That herbal chypre dandy floral feel is what "dates" this in most eyes of modern tobacco fans, but also why vintage enthusiasts love it. A bit of old, and a bit of what was then new, that's Ricci Club. Once more, this would be easy fodder for a niche house to release now. Performance isn't amazing, but you'll get 7 hours of detectable sillage with projection for the first hour. Best use for Ricci Club casual or office wear in temperate seasons if you spring for it, especially if you're able to get things like the aforementioned Frapin or Parfums de Marly at retail prices. Ricci Club is every bit as "quality" as them for the money, in any case, but if you already own them, you won't really see need for this.

Back in the day, this stuff came in all kinds of formats from aftershave (with and without menthol), balm, shampoo, deodorant sticks and aerosols, soap, you name it, telling me Nina Ricci went all in on trying to make Ricci Club a signature scent for men who shopped the brand. Most of that accessory stuff is now also pretty overpriced too, but at one point must have been the go-to grooming solution for at least a few guys, since so much of it seems to still exist despite the price (guess nobody is biting). I came across my bottle as a tester donated by a store owner I am friends with, so I'm able to approach reviewing this without the bias of having spent a ton of money just to experience it. I'm able to confidently say that this stuff is good, and definitely as must-try for tobacco fans if it was sold around $30-$50 like most of the things (save the niche items) I compared it to, but at an extra zero on the price, is total bunko. Ricci as a house in general tends to go for big bucks where all its discontinued masculines are concerned, as it has that "dead house" appeal just like all the aforementioned Balenciaga and Escada masculines those houses sent to the grave under new management. Ricci Club is a fresh green floral tobacco scent that represents an unconventional whole spliced from conventional parts, straddling an ambiguous line between the gloriously overwrought perfumes of the late 80's and paired-down futuristic freshies of the 90's. This is something many long-gone masculines made on the cusp of that tectonic stylistic shift also did, which is why they're gone and perhaps better remembered than regularly enjoyed. Thumbs up
17th January, 2021

Tabac Blond by Caron

Caron Tabac Blond (1919) is easily the stuff of legend among collectors and worshipers of "the old guard" in perfume: The Guerlains, the Carons, the Houbigants; the early Cotys, Ardens, Danas, Myrugias, Lanvins and Chanels; the golden-era perfume names like Schiaparelli and LeLong that didn't survive into the current day and are only spoken about or traded between the deepest pockets and most committed of vintage enthusiasts. For all intents and purposes, a fragrance like Tabac Blond is extinct in the consciousness of the greater fragrance buying public, but the perfumers who still serve that public whisper its name like godhead between themselves and endlessly cite it as part of their education or inspiration for their modern works worlds apart from it in every way but the medium. Caron itself has had mixed success staying alive (let alone relevant) in the century or so since this fragrance launched, and among the original works by house founder Ernest Daltroff, Tabac Blond is the best fragrance of his that you just cannot feasibly buy. Part of that is likely the materials used, although at least up until the 70's most of what went into this perfume remained in it, and part of that is also just a lack of care in preserving legacy on the part of the various owners who have come and gone from Caron. Like most Daltroff compositions, Tabac Blond is built on "broad stroke" principles, with a few standout materials supported by minor players, all blended and blurred together until they vanish into a dance of big bold accords that take turns making their presence felt, but also collapse into each other making a "whole". This technique is pretty opposite to the endlessly filigreed method rival Jacques Guerlain used, placing a kitchen sink of materials and sometimes entire complete perfumes into other perfumes (a la "Guerlinade" to make something impossible to pick apart.

Tabac Blond was made as a "smoker's perfume" when launched in 1919, because at that time, smoking filter cigarettes (usually unfiltered cigarettes on long plastic filter stems) was considered a fashion statement for women. Naturally, the perfume had to be able to appropriately mask and blend with the smell of burned tobacco, accumulated nicotine and tar in hair or clothes, and still smell good. Tabac Blond was Daltroff's answer to this need, since other early chypres, fougères, florals, and orientals of the day were decidedly not focused on that, so they either clashed with the smoke or died within it. The structure of Tabac Blond is at its simplest a near-fougère, containing everything but lavender from a proper fougère accord, but it's really more abstract than that. The opening contains notes later perfumes would have in their bases, like an early use of coumarin to simulate tobacco, since tonka was used to flavor cured tobacco (and the note is still used to this day to simulate tobacco in modern fragrances). A carnation/clove-backed leather note (based on eugenol) also joins a lovely linden blossom note in the top, with a puff of aldehyde. The heart gets a bit creamier and more floral, with ylang-ylang providing musky indoles along with powdery iris and smokey vetiver. That last note is likely there on purpose to help convey the tobacco "smoke". Base notes are also of the bygone-era type, with sandalwood, breathy ambergris, oakmoss, and patchouli rounded by vanillin, then a new aromachemical toy (created by Haarmann & Reimer, now a part of Symrise). The overall effect is sweet, dusty, a bit spicy, and profound yet quiet; an assertive but soft-spoken confidence with all-day wear. Best use for those lucky enough to own Tabac Blond is as a precious special-occasion scent, but in a perfect world, likely a postmodernist signature that reads unisex to my nose.

Tabac Blond inspired Habanita by Myrugia (1921), and perhaps to an extent Knize Ten (1924), which when combined with early "Cuir de Russie" fragrances, in turn later inspired orientals like Dana Tabu (1932), Shulton Early American Old Spice/Old Spice (1937), then leathers like Piguet Bandit (1944) and MEM English Leather, finally leading to the modern aldehyde leather and/or tobacco oriental/chypre genres that gave us Tabac by Mäurer & Wirtz (1959) and Grès Cabochard (1959). Smelling Tabac Blond in it's pre-revival form, you can even see echos of it in cheap "plebian" men's colognes or aftershaves of the 60's and 70's like Avon Bravo (1969) and Swank Royal Copenhagen (1970), meaning it would take quite some time for the impact of this prewar ultra high-end perfume for socialite smokers to finally trickle out of the common DNA of Western fragrance design. Yet, a modern nose might find something like Tabac Blond overly floral, powdery, or cloying for something meant to be a cover-up for tobacco smoke, especially since tobacco fragrances have gotten increasingly rich with overdoses of tonka and other sugary materials a la Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008). Still, the bloodlines are there, and there is an undeniable gorgeousness of design that belies the "butch" appeal this fragrance may have had with flappers of the roaring 20's. In conclusion, Caron Tabac Blond is indeed every bit the masterpiece its remaining fans claim it to be, deserving the praise heaped upon it by writers of perfume reference guides and trusted personalities within influential online taste spheres. Even if this stuff were somehow in production and attainable at prices a bit more down-to-earth, I don't know if I'd be up to the task of actually pulling it off, but that's okay. Maybe I'll grow into a person fit to smell of (let alone afford) Tabac Blond. Thumbs up.
17th January, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Newport (new) by Caswell-Massey

The opening is a fresh mix of mandarin and bergamot, which makes for a fresh start. After a brief while it assumes a slightly ozonic character.

The drydown turns floral. Initially I get mainly a pleasant geranium, with an agreeable lavender-lavandin in tow; these two work together well. Later on a muguet develops, enriched by a bright impression of rose petals, but the latter two notes are rather weak and flat on me.

The base is constituted a woodsy syrup, sandalwood and cedar purportedly, but rather nonspecific on me, with an undertone of slightly fruity-sweetish white musks at times.

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

The first half of this spring scent for cooler days is quite agreeable it is fresh and floral composition, but the second half degenerates into a generic and synthetic epithet of mediocrity. Overall it does not go beyond a middle-of-the-road product. The accompanying triple-milled bath soap is nice, and the shaving soap gives off a very good scent and excellent lather. 2.75/5
17th January, 2021

Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (1971) is claimed to be the greatest floral aldehyde perfume of all time by esteemed critic Luca Turin, and was deemed so important by Tom Ford in 2003 that he went through great pains having it reformulated by 2 perfumers (including the son of an original perfumer), in order to maintain its integrity without precious natural ingredients that could no longer be feasibly used. To place such value on a fragrance says a lot about it before ever sniffing the sprayer, so what's really happening on the original "left bank" of the late Mr. Laurent? Well for starters, this was made to christen the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutique, opened on the left bank in Paris, originally being composed by both Michael Hy and a young Jacques Polge back when Parfums Chanel was still under stewardship of Henri Robert. Indeed, while Robert was making the final signature perfume for Gabrielle Coco Chanel in the form of Chanel No. 19 (1971), Polge & Hy were creating this "griffe" masterpiece for YSL, meant to be an eye-catching accessory to the "prêt-à-porter" collection of the same name aimed at young women. Today, the cold and metallic aldehydes and dry soapiness of Rive Gauche come across old-fashioned and grandma-ish to the noses of women used to sweet "fruitchouli" and watercolor fruity floral perfumes, but back in 1971 when this was released to the public (a year after being exclusive to the Paris boutique), this was a daringly youthful perfume in strict contrast to the powdery florals, green leathers, or thick oriental patchouli fragrances worn by gals in the 40's, 50's, and early 60's.

In a way, this was a continuation of what Yves Saint Laurent started with Y (1964), infusing inspiration from Paco Rabanne Calandre (1969) and Fidji by Guy Laroche (1966) before it. Also, if we want to include the blue collar perfume champions Avon in the conversation, we can say Charisma (1970) also presaged this by some degree, with a similar soapy aldehyde rose countenance, just minus the coldness and adding some civet musk. The introduction to Rive Gauche is really just ravishing grimness in the form of those freezing aldehydes, like an iced peach lactone with stiff bergamot sprayed from an upside-down air duster. Green galbanum leads the way into rose and jasmine savon with muguet, musky indolic ylang-ylang, and cool orris. Fans of cold iris perfumes such as Lutens Iris Silver Mist (1994) owe existence of such perfumes to Rive Gauche. The base comes on with a plonk of quality Mysore in vintage, but something else taking up the slack of the missing precious wood in 2003 bottles and beyond, but the difference is less exaggerated than lovers of the vintage would extol, although I understand they'll see differences thrice as much. Lighter woody aromachemicals do leave other notes to come up more in the modern version, but they're also there in vintage, just squished down a bit by the sandalwood. These include oakmoss (or evernyl in modern), a sliver of tonka, vetiver, and a dry amber. Rive Gauche wears very clean, and very "chypre", lasting for hours on skin with a slight bitterness and late-stage powdery "boss Bitch" feel that makes this perfect for the Miranda Priestly in everyone. Best use is work, social events, and day wear through all but the winter months.

I'd personally call something this cold and sharp unisex, but like with younger women, a lot of younger guys are going to wrinkle their nose at the total lack of sweetness and roundness this perfume presents. Even when Tom Ford had Daniela Andrier and Jacques Hy (son of Michael) extensively "repair" this in reformulation, he knew that the life of Rive Gauche depended on offering more modern options, releasing a Rive Gauche Light (2003) to accompany the re-launch, and even added a male counterpart simply called Rive Gauche pour Homme (2003). Since Opium pour Homme (1995) came 18 years late, he didn't see any problem with introducing Rive Gauche pour Homme 32 years late either, and evidently YSL would make a men's Y a whopping 53 years late too, so it's just something with Yves Saint Laurent perfumes anyway. Rive Gauche pour Homme would smell like luxury shave foam in a can, which I guess fits the aesthetic more than the original Rive Gauche, even if the point of the metal can in the first place was to express modernity and the then-futuristic "cold" metallic nature of the fragrance. All told, Rive Gauche was the opposite of the raunchy virile "liberated" perfumes postwar housewives wanted, representing a different kind of independence as their daughters, who were entering college and the workplace in record number, wished to express. What's old was new again and another wave of heavily aldehyde-based perfumes would dominate into the 70's and 80's thanks to fragrances like Rive Gauche, just with emphasis on humorless and massively green overtones, tomboyish enough for men decades later to flirt with wearing. Left bank or left-hand path? You decide. Thumbs up.
17th January, 2021

Arsalan (ارسلان) by Prin

One of my favorites from Prin, Arsalan is a slow moving expansion of fragrance through all the notes listed, each taking their turn as the dominant aspect of this beautiful sphere of scent. It seems to constantly change aromas depending on what hour of its evolution you happen onto it. Arsalan opens with a deep dark oud + incense aroma that is very regal, mature and masculine. At this point I am happy, but it keeps getting better. Slowly the higher notes of cinnamon, cardamom, saffron,and patchouli reveal themselves onto a high pitched musk base. Arsalan is an impressive oud perfume that recreates two classic oud oil scents with the opening an elegant impression of rich woody Cambodian Oud and the base a high tuned Indonesian Oud. Longevity is limited to 6 hours. This is a regal, stand out oud perfume creation - one of the best from Prin Lomros.
16th January, 2021
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Emotion by Helena Rubinstein

Emotion opens with an effervescent aldehydic rose before gradually transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the rose remains as star, now turning airy and slightly soapy, as supporting moderately powdery iris joins slightly sweet lily of the valley and green jasmine white florals, with moderately animalic musk and near ashy oakmoss rising from the base. During the late dry-down the rose vacates, as the remnants of the iris become more creamy than powdery, now supported by a subtle woody amber accord through the finish. Projection is average, as is longevity at around 8 hours on skin.

Emotion was a blind buy that intrigued this writer due to its perfumer being the legendary Jean Kerleo (of Patou pour Homme and Patou pour Homme Prive fame, among so many other masterpieces). Emotion appears to be either his first composition, or if not, then one of his first; though unlike his others it gets almost no discussion. So, is Emotion inferior to Keleo's greats that get all the talk? Having worn the perfume several times now it is clear that Kerleo very much was on his game, even in 1960 with Emotion. The aldehydic rose open smells heavenly, with the rose so natural, and the aldehydes kept just enough in check that they enhance the rose, ultimately adding a fine soapy aspect that one might expect to smell with high end toiletries at a five star old school hotel. The composition also uses iris to tremendous effect, where it starts off powdery, but as time passes turns creamy, with the transition so seamless it completely sneaks up on you. Finally, Kerleo proves that a woody amber base can actually smell refined and completely appealing, unlike what almost has become the ubiquitous cop out in so many perfumes today. If there was anything I would improve on it would solely be the middling performance metrics, but this is really barely worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things. The bottom line is the $40 per 60ml bottle on the aftermarket Emotion is an "outstanding" 4.5 stars out of 5 rated first effort by Jean Kerleo that merits much more visibility than it has received, earning as strong a recommendation to classic perfume enthusiasts as I can muster.
16th January, 2021

Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens

This might be my all time favorite scent. It smells super dry and very natural. I am from Seattle and it really brings me into the pine tree trails I miss so much. It gives me a dose of those forest visits from my past, something well needed here in the concrete mazes of Brooklyn.

It smells like the end of a hot summer and an afternoon walk into the forest. I have gone off-trail to sit on the warm earth covered with dried pine needles, looking up I see the tree tops and the sky above. The dried pine needles on the ground are eminating their captured heat and aroma into the air around me.

Sizzling pine needles, pine sap, something sweet - maybe vanilla, and the edge of frankinsense cutting through - elevating my senses to the sky, making it a bit more intense.

This scent is warm and comforting. It is instantly recognizable as something unique and probably expensive. Countless compliments and happy people around me wanting to get closer lol. The sillage is powerful but not pointed and it lasts, seeping into your skin and clothes. Its dry down brings out those pine needles like a dried rusty colored pine tree branch baking in the sun. lovely lovely lovely. So special and daring. Lasts for hours.
16th January, 2021

Nocturnal Poetry by Prin

Nocturnal Poetry is complex fragrance making it hard to describe but the complexity is part of its beauty. There are dark background elements such as coffee, frankincense, leather and cumin that are blended into a dry, dark but rich background mixed with dry earthy parts like hyrax, Civet, tobacco, hay and leather - quite a dark brew underneath but in the background. Soft floral rose absolute and champaca lift and bring an airy aliveness to the density. Other bright bits of contrast arise from cool violet, a sharp turmeric note, and an elevating musk note reminiscent of the Mriga (Prin). Beeswax has a warm exotic presence that is present throughout. The end result is a complex perfume that is slowing changing through its life, and smells somewhat different whether you sniff up close or from a distance. I enjoy Nocturnal Poetry, but it is not my favorite from Prin and is slightly feminine at times which is strange considering all the dark notes employed. It reminds me of a subtler version Nishane Afrika Olifant but with much greater subtlety from a wider variety of similar ingredients. Exotic!
16th January, 2021