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Mr. Burberry Indigo by Burberry

Herbal

This to me goes on as an herbal fragrance. You can tell that this is a Kirkdjian, in that he does a good job blending in with clean overtones in his frags. He's great at balancing. This even smells competent through the openings and mid. In the base it falls apart and smells like a weaker version of D&G K EDT. This can actually be seen as a plus for this, because the basenotes of that one do not smell bad, but they are overpowered to the point of jarring. So this would be something that would be a better version of that there, and then it just smells better than that one in the opening and mid. All in all I could have gone up here, though there is just something about that last transition that just sticks in my craw, so Im going with a neutral. Really though, good for Burberry. I think this is pretty well done for the price. I can see people being very happy with this one. You will smell much more grown up that with the sweet nothings.
17th February, 2021

Jimmy Choo Man Intense by Jimmy Choo

00s updated

I totally get the melon. So I was smelling this, and was getting tons of Kenneth Cole Reaction. I told the wife it smells like an early 2000s fragrance, with some woody amber base from Invictus. Look up the notes, yep. About right. Honestly, its fast food, but it smells really good. They did a good job.

Basically, if you want an updated Kenneth Cole Reaction, with a more ample base on modern chemicals, this is a fine entry. Decent looking bottle. Its cheap too. I don't think I really want this, but I can see this being a good choice for someone in the market for this type of fragrance.
17th February, 2021

Jimmy Choo Man Blue by Jimmy Choo

Middle ground

If you want a lower level designer blue, this is a good way to go. When going up against its contemporaries, such as Calvin Klein and Michael Kors, this is pretty good. I like the bottles. The price is fantastic, at like $35 dollars. This would be a great one for a person who is not into fragrances to pick up and use as a daily driver. The base is some beh woody ambers, but can't avoid that these days.

Neutral
17th February, 2021
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Beige Parfum by Chanel

Hmm!
Haven't tasted the EDT or EDP of this simple,soft, quiet,elegant,luxury Floral delight.

This Parfum carries little of the Sparkly Adelehydic Champagne that you are presented with, in the other, earlier EDT Exclusifs.

This 2015 Vintage would seem to be based with a measured amount of the Chanel WAC to my nose.
This compound is rather overdubbed, in the latest Chanel Exclusifs EDP's and Parfumzzz.

The bouquet of Jasmine, Blossom with the freshness of the Freesia offers a sculpted youthful quality attractive.

A distant,single Rose Bud reminds me this is a Polge creation.

Genderless Gem.
17th February, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Un Amore Eterno by Roja Dove

Spicy and floral - floral and spicy that is how it starts out on me - the lemon purported to be in the topnotes is not detectable here.

The start is dominated by spiciness due to a strong heliotrope note, with softer floral contributors being a dark violet - with the leaves shining through too, a dark soft rose, and a touch jasmine in the background. The spice front is led by s dark and rich saffron, clove, bitter chocolate, and whiffs of nutmeg and a slightly smoky leather impression in the background.

Thy drydown more or less loses the florals, and it becomes an all-spicy affair, with touches of gourmand notes scattered here and there. The addition of a dark and slightly edgy patchouli, as well as a sinister musk gives the spice mix added power, but a hint of brightness is injected by a modicum of ginger.

Woods are added on later on, mainly cedar on me, with cashmere wood underneath; touches of ambergris, bitter black cocoa and a counterbalancing vanilla that is adding some sweetness.

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

An autumnal spice blend with a few gourmand touches and comparatively less of a floral input than is other similar products from this house. The quality of the ingredients is impressive. 3.5/5
17th February, 2021

Kenzo Homme Eau de Parfum by Kenzo

Blue, fresh and aquatic but also a little green and soapy. The lemon in the opening is very evident. The lemon and soapy clean smell in this EdP reminds me of some of the citrusy soaps you smell in Lush stores.

Feels best for summer and casual wears. It is not overly sweet. Reminds me most of some of the blue scents from Zara.

I got very good projection during the first few hours. After that, it does settle but stays with you all day.

Mild thumbs up because it's almost screechy at times but overall, it is pleasant and performs very well.


17th February, 2021

Regent Leather by Thameen

Comme ci, comme ça. Regent Leather is part of Thameen’s Treasure Collection, and is an extrait co-branded with Rolls Royce. I own and enjoy Sceptre from its Sovereign Collection which, like Regent Leather, does not have a floral-intense pyramid. Basel bin Jabr has built quite a brand from lighting up the Tower of London Thameen dazzling blue at night to an ostentatious Selfridges display complete with heavy metal fog. So why are there no green badges here from any reviewer? It’s not a quality issue for Regent Leather. It’s not a blending issue. But it’s also not leather enough for a Subaru let alone co-branded with Rolls bloody Royce. By far I prefer vegetal tannins to a more realistic leather in a fragrance but when the product is defined by luxury car leather I cannot but see how the pyramid as delivered disappoints so many. On a stand-alone basis I enjoy wearing Regent Leather though not nearly as much as Sceptre with both sharing a sweet-salty facet. This goes a little too lemon-vanilla for my tastes.
16th February, 2021

Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

I am struggling here in view of all the great reviews. Basically this is similar to Hugo Boss unlimited so its a freshy on the upper end of the spectrum of mediocrity veering towards the generic less aquatic than HBU and here we have more depth and masculinity so teeters into thumbs up. Could even be a crowd pleaser but you'd feel guilty with the compliments because you know this is the lazy choice. There is just much better out there and its not cheap.
16th February, 2021

Boss Bottled Unlimited by Hugo Boss

Slightly cheap smelling inoffensive generic aquatic freshy on the upper end of the spectrum of mediocrity which is why it gets a neutral instead of a thumbs down.
16th February, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

51 pour Femme by Roja Dove

Straight into the field of flowers: Lots of Muguet, jasmine - not a particularly green or powdery one, a slim and non-waxy tuberose of moderate brightness, with a touch of lily in the background. I do not get a separate top notes, and the bergamot and the raspberry mentioned in the scent pyramid remain quite absent on me. What is present is a dark and not particularly creamy ylang-ylang though.

The base darkens gradually, with a shadowy but not very harsh patchouli, a sweetly spicy clove, and a dark and restrainedly edgy benzoin edges into the foreground, resulting in a benzoin-laden patchouli-drenched spice mix. Some orris root comes and goes, and a somewhat generic vanilla with a touch of cinnamon adds further nuances. Woods arise later on, mainly cashmere wood and a soft and slightly creamy sandal, maybe Australian sandalwood. Touches of anise and whiffs of milk chocokate are present, but birth are of a transiently ephemeral nature on me.

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

A lovely spice blend for autumn, rich and complex, and quite original in the overall impression at times. 3.5/5
16th February, 2021
FISS80 Show all reviews
United States

M7 Oud Absolu by Yves Saint Laurent

*Review for the bottle with the dark plastic cover surrounding it

This is a very sexy fragrance and definitely has more than a passing resemblance to its namesake, M7. The longevity and silage is tenacious; one spray to the chest will last all day. It is velvety smooth and definitely one that is great for a night out or dinner date. The notes/accords that stick out to me are Orange, Patchouli, Oud and Myrrh. Similar in vibe to Tom Ford Oud Woid as well although I find Oud Wood to be overall brighter and more work appropriate. Big thumbs up.
16th February, 2021 (last edited: 15th February, 2021)

Florabotanica by Balenciaga

Easily one of the best bottle designs in recent history - why oh why couldn't the fragrance be a bit more interesting?

The opening is weird and off putting - a bitter green herbal accord, followed by a blend of rose and mint. Kind of feels like two different fragrances, and the rose isn't particularly rosy - it’s more synthetic, clean and washed-over. The florals sweeten up a bit, and later something slightly bitter or spicy lurks under them - maybe that's the carnation. I didn't enjoy smelling like this or wearing this - it just doesn't do anything for me. I also don't think I'm big fan of carnation. Such a shame - that bottle is fantastic.
15th February, 2021

Déclaration d'Un Soir by Cartier

The entire Cartier Declaration line needs to be sampled. Based on the success of the original, there are some hidden gems here waiting to be discovered.

Declaration d'Un Soir is quite a way off from the rest of the line. It does have a good rose note that mixes really well with some other interesting notes like nutmeg and woods.

The opening feels like they threw in the whole rose bush: petals, stems, leaves, thorns, heck even some of the soil (I'm guessing that's a patchouli-like note). The whole opening feels like there are some berries in there too (raspberries perhaps?). But a lot of the greens fade away as the scent develops, almost like the rose is blossoming. It doesn't come across as 'feminine' at all, but could easily be worn by both men and women alike.

I agree with the comparisons to Paestum Rose. In fact I can see this as a 'poor man's Portrait of a Lady', given how similar the rose blends with the berry note.

All in all this is a great floral masculine that could work for both men and women in all seasons.
15th February, 2021
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Sultanate of Oman by Roja Dove

An incense creation in its core. Initially a floral opening greets me, with a dark-ish violet and a good jasmine note, although a dark rose is taking over soon ans the lead. touches of grapefruit and orange instill the occasional blip of brightness, whilst a raspberry note mentioned in the pyramid but I don't get it on me.

The incense is complex and the result of many components interacting with one another. Frankincense is at the centre, a rich incense with some elemi in the background. and a slightly camphoric undertone of medicinal brandy tincture at times. Some oud oil is evident too, but not as a main player, which is unusual. The incense is given added depth by a smoother and dark saffron, birch, orris, all characteristic cardamom,and less convincing touch of oakmoss, which all add their own individual shades of spiciness to the mix.

The other group of ingredients that is pressing is a group of wood impressions, with sandalwood being the dormant one. Other woods I get are a good oak impression with cedar, and, more towards the end, some guaiac too. With time the incense cluster and the wood cluster merge, and result is a rather unique overall fragrance.

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

A high quality autumnal incense especially for evenings, blended well and with a creative spark. 3.75/5
15th February, 2021

Gold Rose Oudh by Tiziana Terenzi

Tiziana Terenzi isn't new to perfumes per se, they just spent much of their history until 2012 focusing on candles and other home/room scents rather than personal perfume. All of that seemed to change once the family-owned operation realized the getting was good in the ever-ballooning world of expensive high-end niche perfume, with the swelling ranks of the white-collar elite further moving up the chain away from the former middle classes either drowning in credit/school debt or becoming the working poor, and those socio-economic dynamics making niche the new designer while designers became the new (overpriced) drugstore fare. Enter: The "oud craze". You can blame Tom Ford or further back to Balenciaga/Bogart Group for giving westerners their first taste of virile amber oud (or just oud) accords in their perfumes, but the intoxicating mix of exotica and expense almost overrode any interest in the actual smell of the stuff, almost like how rich people will train themselves to enjoy truffles or caviar because eating them means they're better than you. Chem firms and natural purveyors alike also reacted to this by pumping oud real or fake into the Western market, which leads us to Tiziana Terenzi Gold Rose Oudh (2013). Some conflicting records have this as a house launch scent from 2012, but most other sources say it came out a year later, so I'm going with that. At least perfumer Paolo Terenzi "gets" the point of a rose oud, and doesn't just hilariously sling medicinal synth oud with a powerbomb Turkish rose like Pierre Montale does.

Still, fans of Montale Black Aoud (2006) should take note, because there are striking similarities between it and Gold Rose Oudh. Black Aoud is enjoyable despite its harsh "whips and chains" dominatrix aesthetic due to that brutal one-two punch of rose and medicinal oud, but Gold Rose Oudh feels like a more complete fragrance using its blueprints as a framework off which to continue development. For starters, there is a bit of barnyard sourness in the opening, alongside the bergamot, balsamic resins, and black pepper. Then it comes: a huge sweet jammy Turkish rose, not at all dried and pressed between book pages like the gothic love story rose in the Montale. I hope you like Turkish rose jam because that's what this is beyond the oud in the base, and this jammy rose dominates most of the wear with tiny ambery animalic bits of spice clinging to the rose. The medicinal oud and petrol patchouli vibes reminiscent of Montale Black Aoud back up this jammy rose, offering a sharp chemical counterpoint melody to it in practice, with bits of benzoin honey, sandalwood, and civetone to complete the Arabia-by-way-of-Italy feeling. Yeah, Paolo really knows what he's doing here, Pierre should take notes. Wear time is forever, and projection is weapons-grade as you'd expect. If Black Aoud is used to tame, Gold Rose Oudh is to keep your gimp enthralled after conquest. Best use for this is anyone's guess. You're going to send shockwaves through the air as you walk, and you've been warned.

In a tired genre that is literally the poster child for the nadir of late-stage capitalism and all the corporate oligarchy dystopia that implies, I have to admit that I still rather like Tiziana Terenzi Gold Rose Oudh. It doesn't quite try to grab anyone by the unmentionables like a certain former US President, nor will it chase you down a high-rise apartment corridor naked wielding a chainsaw like Patrick Bateman, but you will know it when you smell it on someone after you've smelled it for the first time on yourself or on paper. Similarly, if you're not the ultimate stereotype of yuppie greed; rich, shallow, and addicted to sex, drugs, and conspicuous consumption; and if you don't delight in pedantically prattling off every brand of everything you own while sizing up your next murder victim, you'll probably prefer something like this over any rose oud Montale or sister ship Mancera makes. That being said, regardless of its appeal to Middle-Eastern opulence over Western in-your-face sociopathic gauche, Gold Rose Oudh is still clearly a punchy synthetic oud that will have none of the chocolatey warmth or virile "soiled knackers" vibe of the real deal. If you're someone who started on Gucci or Versace takes on rose oud however, this is a superior next step over Black Aoud or nearly any other in the same price range, which is what it's really about when comparing apples to apples in a genre with so little variety like this. If you already own a dozen Montales, you could also just pass on this all the same. Thumbs up.
15th February, 2021

Invictus Victory by Paco Rabanne

Paco Rabanne Invictus Victory (2021) is a loaded gun pointed at your self-respect, but I'll get to that in a minute. I used to think that ever since designers realized there's more profit in pushing perfume as the bottom line over ready-to-wear apparel, that putting out one shamelessly commercial focus-group made fragrance to fund every half dozen or so more creative things (usually taking the form of flankers to the main less-interesting pillar) was okay, because business is business. You look at Chanel for a good example of this practice being maintained, with a Bleu de Chanel (2010) or Chance Eau de Toilette (2002) powering a dozen or more Les Exclusifs and flankers, but it seem some designer brands like Paco Rabanne have increasingly gotten greedy and decide to live in the moment rather than maintain any long-term respect with buyers. No better case for this has there been than the exploitation of their biggest successes on the men's side of the perfume counter, with inane flanker after inane flanker of Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008), or Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013). completely ignoring the legacy of their classics like Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973) or dumping b-sides to these same garbage flankers as flankers of "lesser" lines instead, a la Paco Rabanne Pure XS (2017). Here with Paco Rabanne Invictus Victory, we see another stab at the DNA of 1 Million, but cross-pollinated with "Invictus DNA" and given a bit of what made Versace Eros (2013) so special. I guess this is marginally better than the insulting Invictus Onyx (2020), which was just the OG in a limited edition bottle with a single note tweak.

I guess I can see a bit of why Paco Rabanne would want to copy Eros, since it is the biggest competitor to 1 Million in the club circuit where these fragrances do battle while their wearers dance and try to "scoop up chicks", but like when Coca-Cola launched New Coke to be more like Pepsi, Paco Rabanne is basically throwing the fight by doing the same thing with Invictus Victory. The opening here is familiar territory to all Invictus fans, and probably the best part, with that telltale grapefruit and mandarin showergel ethyl maltol and calone blast mixed down with less ozonic or aquatic properties this time around because we're not going for "fresh" in quite the same fashion. This fruity sweetness is instead shored up with thickening pink pepper that bridges to what feels like an entirely different scent upon the initial dry down. A really synthetic lavandin note similar to what is in Calvin Klein cK One Shock for Him (2011) comes into play, but it isn't joined by lovely cocoa or tobacco notes like in the Calvin Klein, but is instead made scratchy with the usual woody amber nonsense you find in designers going for "incense" in fragrances made for cost. Luckily, this doesn't turn into sandpaper because a very sweet vanilla tonka note joins that lavender to make something very similar in tone to Eros minus the mint, with the "Invictus DNA" replacing the apple. Wear time is about 8 hours but projection is shockingly poor, which further detracts from value. Best use if you were to use this at all (woe be to you) is probably just at home, since you're the only one who is going to smell it, and barely that after an hour.

As a would-be clubber, this sucks. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Invictus Victory is marketed as "Eau de Parfum Extreme", like it's supposed to be some thermonuclear warhead filled with ultimate swag that makes everyone in the club uncomfortably aroused and scared simultaneously. When you think that Paco Rabanne already has a half dozen fragrances that could serve in this purpose including many 1 Million flankers such as 1 Million Privé (2015), you start to wonder if this exists with a purpose in mind, or just a shameless "in the now" cash-grab for all the knuckle-draggers out there who live and die by having "the latest and greatest". You know who I mean, the kind of guy that sells off a fragrance when his favorite spin-clapping YouTuber tells him it's played out, whether he still likes it or not, or the kind of guy that makes it a point to tell me they wear a Detroit T-shirt and leather jacket with the fragrance in rebuttal of me disliking it, as if somehow completing a "look" with the fragrance makes it objectively smell better. If you are a fan of these thick and sweet tonka bomb clubbers (and I indeed like the aforementioned genre-defining entries in this style myself), you can do far better than Invictus Victory. Paco Rabanne themselves could have done better than this, simply by not doing it at all. We honestly have enough "Invictus DNA" fragrance be they flankers or competitors, so rather than shoving it into a competitor's formula and calling it done, Paco Rabanne should really be thinking: "Where do we go from here?" Thumbs down
15th February, 2021

T. Habanero by Rania J

Oh T. Habanero it’s no wonder the lads are besotted with you. Rania J finessed the punchiness of Oud Assam with the warm base of Ambre Loup sprinkling in some subtle tobacco that blooms from the fermented spice. On the right guy this could be killer in the mid to end. Sadly, not for me so I will have to sample pass this glass slipper onto another candidate.
15th February, 2021

Eau de Cologne d'Orsay by D'Orsay

Eau de Cologne d'Orsay (1910) does not have a lot to say for itself, and there is scant information surviving about the antique lineup of Parfums D'Orsay when they were first formed by Leo Fink, Siegred and Sally Berg, and M. Van Dyck. These years just prior to when Jeanne-Louise Guérin would buy D'Orsay in partnership with Théophile Bader are really blurry, and almost lost to time. Part of this may be due to Bader leaving to found Parfums Chanel with the Wertheimers and Coco herself in just a few short years, leaving everything in the hands of Guérin, who effectively rebooted D'orsay and appointed Henri Robert house perfumer for a few years until he was replaced by Guérin's son Jacques in both that role and later as president. The earliest years of the house almost saw it fail before even being launched, as everything was outsourced to Molinard, Puig, Baccarat, Lalique, and other firms and nobody even knows who perfumed what outside the tale of Alfred D'Orsay himself being the perfumer, with leftover formulas upon which all of D'Orsay's then-modern releases were based. In essence, they were Creed before Creed as a perfumer was even a gleam in the eyes of Olivier Creed's father.

Whatever the case may be, Eau de Cologne d'Orsay is just a cologne concentration of Etiquette Bleue (1908) from two years back, the latter being an eau de toilette/toilet water and sold as a recreation of formulae from Alfred D'Orsay himself. As such, there is very little difference in smell from Eau de Cologne d'Orsay and Etiquette Bleue other than the usual tricks a softer formula plays on the nose. Eau de Cologne d'Orsay opens with the same bergamot, orange, lemon, petitgrain, and rosemary, which is as I mentioned in the review for Etiquette Bleue pretty standard for eaux de cologne from the era, especially ones that couldn't afford expensive neroli oil. The petigrain makes this eau de cologne feel sharper and more powdery than something like the fresh zippy 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser by Muelhens (1792), and without the heft of the peru balsam and sandalwood in Etiquette Bleue, Eau de Cologne d'Orsay must instead just rely on the rosewood and oakmoss to keep it on skin, with a bit of what smells to me like nitromusk. Wear time is a brief 6 hours but this is an eau de cologne afterall, just a powdery musky one from a time when heliotropin and nitromusks were starting to sneak their way into everything.

If you're looking for a lighter take on Etiquette Bleue, which itself is a marvelously light and elegant fragrance, I can see no harm in adding this one if a good vintage specimen can be found. Being devoid of aldehydes or other materials notorious for breaking down with age means that this stuff keeps rather well, although once more, it is an eau de cologne with expected "cologne" performance. Some people have the notion that everything was just automatically made stronger back then, and that can be true to an extent because coal fired stoves, early manufacturing, early automobiles, rampant smoking, and not exactly the best sanitation meant everyone's noses were duller than they are today, so what may have been a light fragrance in 1910 may smell just about average in 2010. However, Eau de Cologne d'Orsay is not an example of such, and the sweet artficial orange blossom accord created with petitgrain and various citruses will burn off leaving just a bit of rounded musk and oakmoss after a time, so most people liking this as a practically-worn fragrance will likely stick to Etiquette Bleue and keep Eau de Cologne d'Orsay for vintage collection and display only. Thumbs up.
14th February, 2021

Grandenia by Areej le Doré

This feels like beautiful new ground for Russian Adam. There's a gorgeous sprightly and tangy greenness here that I LOVE and haven't smelled in anything else he's done. (I'm guessing it's a combination of the lemony bergamot and rosemary and nutmeg.) I'm pretty much a goner for this surprising and unexpected beauty! It's actually my favorite from this series, and reminds me of Hasu-No-Hana or vintage Shalimar, but minus the cloying sweet powder and enlivened with some stunning and natural-smelling greenery.

Simply and greenly gorgeous!!
14th February, 2021

Impact by Tommy Hilfiger

Impact by Tommy Hilfiger (2020) is an interesting anachronism in modern form, one that will likely go completely ignored by most of your clout seekers chasing the dream in the fragrance community, alongside the usual "snobbourgeois" niche taste-makers that can only suffer the peasantry of designer fragrances if they're over 40 years old and discontinued. The average Joe who doesn't care about any of that, and will likely only read a review or watch a YouTube video to confirm their interest in something they were likely to buy anyway, might actually be happy with this. For the most part, Impact seems to take some of the best elements from the past 20 years of masculine perfumery before it, mixes them up into a pleasant soup of "oh I recognize this", then sprinkles them over a "modern woods" aromachemical base that is definitely par for the course at the price point it sells. However, this is not a Creed Aventus (2010) clone, doesn't contain "Invictus DNA" from Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013), and isn't 100% a post-aquatic "blue fragrance" treading in the footsteps of Dior Sauvage (2015) and the like. All in all, I wouldn't really want to wear this because it crosses the streams of too many things I have already, and could just layer to get much of the same effect, but I don't find fault in it either. I guess what I'm saying is if this found a way into my collection, I'd likely reach for it when drawing a blank, but I'd not seek a bottle out for myself.

From the onset, Impact smells a bit like Parfums de Marly Greenley (2020) with a juicy tart apple in the opening, mixed with some vacuum-distilled "smooth" bergamot like most modern things with the note, then adding a bit of widely-abused pink pepper that puts some body into it. Some folks compare this to the classic Hugo Boss Bottled (1996), which is where the 90's feel will come from for those people, but the freshness is quickly joined with aromatic sage and elemi, which creates a bit of a lemony pine type woody scent that acts like a transition for the dry down. This dry down, which will surprise few, is a combination of Iso E Super "cedar", some very dry and light patchouli whispers, with some thickening akigalawood (which is derived from patchouli anyway). You get hints of Terre d'Hermès (2006) in this woody presentation, but the "modern woods" of this akigalastuff and some ambrocenide (for woody-amber effect) remind you this is made in 2020, and not 1996 or 2006. Still, the long hair and denim "I never left the 90's" indie rock stereotypes still lurking at your local open mic will identify with (and probably wear) Impact, as these same guys still probably rock the original Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (1994) too. As with all general-purpose scents, you could use Impact in any context, but I also feel like this doesn't especially "fit" anywhere, being tape hiss for the nose after a few hours. Wear time is about 8 hours and projection is in the pocket like a good drummer, so performance isn't lacking.

Summer, winter, spring, fall, day or night, I think this one tries to be the "I see all good people" of fragrance, and even has a neat travel atomizer hidden in the cap to refresh before a gig. I really think this fragrance is geared more toward the established Tommy brand loyal guy than trying to tackle the big boys in this segment like the various blue Chanels, Diors, Versaces, YSLs, or other some such designers. Tommy Hilfiger Impact is ironically rather laid back for a fragrance with such a name, being fresh and fruity, spicy, woody, and just all around chill like a roadie burning a Marlboro backstage who "forgets" to check your pass so you can get a peek at the band all for the cost of a beer. Tommy Hilfiger overall still seems to try keeping the "American dream" alive, despite it barely having existed even in the 90's, and being all but a joke to millions of oppressed minorities and poor now. Still, if Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" starts playing in your head whenever you hit the freeway in your salvage title pickup, and your favorite place to eat is an old streetcar diner next to on-ramp that pays off the health inspector to stay in business, then Tommy Hilfiger Impact with it's blurry mix of the past 20 years is probably your signature scent. For everyone else looking for something more relevant or just plain more distinct, this one is best left to discounters where it'll end up eventually. Thumbs up
14th February, 2021

Le Dandy by D'Orsay

Le Dandy d'Orsay (1925) is something of a lost fragrance, as the original composition was completely replaced for reasons unknown, although a lost formula or a pre-made base from a long-dead supplier like with many discontinued Carons is likely to blame for Le Dandy's disappearance. Whatever the case may be, the fragrance known as Le Dandy until the company's initial demise in 1983 was created by Henri Robert before he joined Chanel to replace Ernest Beaux as house perfumer, and itself released during a tumultuously competitive time in Western perfume where florals and chypres like Chanel No. 5 (1921) and Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) had respectively just set new standards for the genre. In comparison to those, Le Dandy must have felt more like "le dowdy" as it was an exercise in traditional floral scent craft even by the conventions of the 1920's, but somehow garnered a fan base that kept it in existence unchanged for almost 60 years. Many of the D'Orsay fragrances released during their golden period would feel like exercises in 19th century style anyway, but I guess most of them were themed after the fashion predilections of Alfred Guillaume Gabriel Grimod d'Orsay, which meant delicate floral bouquets with powdery or woody bases. In this way Le Dandy is really no different, and being somewhat directly named after the count himself (often considered the first dandy), I can see why Henri Robert chose not to paint outside the lines. Another thing of interest here is the particular composition of Le Dandy's soapy rose core almost feels like a presage to Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (1971), which is spooky considering that the Rive Gauche perfumer Jacques Polge would later replace Henri Robert behind the wheel of Chanel shortly after making it.

The opening of Le Dandy is aldehydes, cold spice, carnation, and fruity lactones. No surprise there, as borrowing a bit from Chanel and Guerlain to keep things contemporary for the time was good for a budding luxury perfumer like D'Orsay to stay "in the game", since it competed for counter space at the same stores abroad. The aldehydes here are duller than No. 5, which may be a good thing for those who don't like the "grande dame" treatment, and we get an expected round of familiar floral notes from there. Rose, jasmine, soapy neroli, and powdery orris all move as one into the base, feeling both prim and pretty, with a touch of indole but not on the same level as something like the later Lanvin Arpège (1927). Base notes also appear really conventional given the period, with oakmoss, sandalwood, coumarin (feigning tobacco), balsam fir, and something a bit sharp and leathery, giving a "Mousse de Saxe" vibe of many fragrance from the time. The effect of Le Dandy is "properly dandy" and most likely to be worn by a mature woman with a sense of propriety and transcontinental spech, although it was worn by fancy guys with the same "lockjaw" and sold as-is without gender in most cases, with ads stating things like "blends well with furs but goes equally well with tailored suits", showing a total ambivalence about sex. Wear time and strength vary by concentration, but what I have went over 12 hours and stayed very present for most of it, trailing off into sandalwood savon and moss only at the end, so I guess they don't make'em like this anymore. Where you'd use Le Dandy now is open to debate, as such a filigreed and old-fashioned floral built on your once-common "stamp'em out" oakmoss and sandalwood naturals from that time is going to communicate to the world that at very least you're a postmodernist with deep pockets, even if not an outright artisanal coffee-swilling hipster elite.

Weather wise, I feel this one works better in spring or fall, but is too powdery for summer and not warm enough for winter, but find your path on that. Plus, you factor in the growing scarcity of something that's already been out of production for decades, and can't really be produced again thanks to oakmoss being the bogeyman and sandalwood being worth more than the blood of Christ, and you end up with something better savored as a collector's piece than functional perfume anyway. Being the walking version of The Osmothèque as you leave a precious trail of century-old scent as you go, rife with either the aforementioned Mousse de Saxe or gobs upon gobs of real sandalwood and oakmoss does have it's appeal, but you're likely going to be the only person who knows the value of what you're wearing, unless you walk into a niche perfume store and intimidate the help. As for what happened to Le Dandy, Group Marignan couldn't save it like they did Etiquette Bleue (1908) or Chevalier d'Orsay (1911), so they created two new scents instead. The "pour Homme" and "pour Femme" pair of the new Le Dandy were noteworthy for being made by Dominique Preyssas and Francis Kurkdjian respectively, but were not well-received and are both discontinued too. The person who likely wore Le Dandy in its prime valued the reserved poise of a perfume with both an aristocratic pedigree and bent on interpreting beauty as a form of moral superiority in the face of daring or scandalous fashion. As for today, the nearly-lost nature of Le Dandy just reminds us that playing it safe, regardless of the era, perfumer, or quality of materials being used, can sometimes also mean being forgotten; so forgotten that you are replaced, then forgotten again. Thumbs up
14th February, 2021

Joy by Christian Dior

I wouldn't be so hard on this if a great perfume house didn't have to die in order to give this its name. Dior Joy (2018) literally only exists in legal terms because LVMH bought Patou (then shuttered the entire perfume arm) just for the name Joy. Yes, you heard that correct. Jean Patou Joy (1928), one of the greatest florals ever made, was literally murdered for its name. Jean Patou 1000 (1972), one of the finest rose fragrances in existence, and a master work of Jean Kerleo, also dead. Likewise, since Patou has been bought and shuttered literally for the name of one single perfume, the bulk of Kerleo's work is now technically discontinued as well; a living perfumer with a dead legacy. All for what? Some snotty pink fruit fizzy water garbage in a bottle that looks like Dior Sauvage (2015) in drag? I can't begin to express my disappointment in the height of callousness on display here by Dior, so I'll spare you the agony of reading through paragraphs of ridicule about the insanity of this decision, cutting to the chase and just talking about the perfume itself.

This is Chanel Coco Madamoiselle Eau de Parfum (2001) meets Chanel Chance Eau de Toilette (2002) with a dash of Gabrielle Chanel (2017) mixed in. If I didn't know different, I'd say François Demachy called up his old friend Jacques Polge and called in a favor from back when he worked with him as creative director for Wertheimer, or at very least nabbed an unused formula variant for one of the above then tweaked it so Dior could have some fruity fresh derivative scent for trust fund teens shopping with their parent's credit in department stores. Translated into note breakdowns, this means the opening is a similar ozonic sour candy blast, not altogether unpleasant really if you like fresh fruity sweet candy smells (they have their place), but perhaps a bit quieter than the Chanel examples. A touch of candied rose a la Parfums de Marly Delina (2017) enters, although watered down, then proceeds onto a mostly white musk base with whispers of woody aromachemicals. Wear time is about 7 hours, and projection is moderate. Where to use this? Pretty much use whenever as it's barely there anyway.

Does this stuff bring actual joy? Hell no, unless you derive pleasure from gutting masterworks like DaVinci's Mona Lisa from their frames and placing some kind of photo-bashed proxy made with adaptive AI on the wall in their place. I mean really, couldn't there have been two fragrances called "Joy" on the market? Look at all the instances of fragrances with names like "L'Homme", "Sport", or "L'Or" on the market, and nobody seems to have any issue picking out their favorite brand. Even Dior themselves have different iterations of the same fragrance, just with something along the lines of "Original" placed in front of an older formula replaced by a newer one bearing the same name. I just don't see the reason to kill an entire house beloved by many all for the sake of having the name of a single perfume which itself didn't even need to die either just to share that name. You can find much better and cheaper fruity florals than this anyway if that's your main reason for coming to sniff Dior Joy, so the whole thing comes across like pointless destructive vanity. Thumbs down.
14th February, 2021

Challenge by Lacoste

Challenge is easy to like but hard to love for me. It's clean and slightly sweet, very agreeable without being harsh. But there are better scents that itch the same scratch.

Starts off citrusy and then goes powdery sweet and soapy, masculine, clean with a little violet leaf and soft woody notes. Comes off a little like Moschino Uomo but that's just how it feels, not really too much alike in notes.

Average projection but there is a crispness to it that helps you to pick it up easily. Maybe 4-5 hours longevity and then it becomes a skin scent.
14th February, 2021

Silver by Louis Cardin

This Louis Cardin's creation is really "way too much". A sort of Paco Rabanne Invictus on steroids with a quite fizzy, soapy/musky and haunting relentless oversized spiciness. Really unbalanced and pungent. Silver is a leathery/musky accord bombed by citrus and spices (supported by floral pattens, geranium, jasmine??) and flanked by a marine sporty synthetic accord (with a gym-like soapy patchouli a la Badedas Noir but far spicier). Synth ambergris provides resinous dusty sweetness (really over sweet) and a manly dynamic spark (a la Prada Luna Rossa or stuffs like that). Sweetness from balmy/dusty ambergris is juxtaposed to a waving salty/floral marine accord. Dry down is bombastically musky with a shower-foam sort of sporty synth soapiness and hints of plastic leather (but the real star is again this atomic citric salty/sweet spiciness). Pass by.
14th February, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Aoud by Roja Dove

After just a very brief vernena-centred opening with some lemon and bergamot components, a floral blast hit me: Lots of Rose, with a darker and soft ylang-ylang and a gently powdery jasmine - I get very little geranium on me.

The rose dominates, and is soon joined by the oud that the name of this product is promising. This is a strong out but it does not dominate the rose; they are equal partners. The oud is neither sharp, not screechy as so often in ouds released over the last few years.

Other woods assmemple around their oud leader, including some cedar and touches of cashmere wood; a very faint sandalwood comes and goes. A dark bit rather m=smooth patchouli combines with and unusually dark and muslkydaffron ad add a few restrainedly spicy touches, although only at a later stage they are evident. Touches of old saddle leather, with no smokiness present on y skin. There is rhubarb mention in the scent pyramid, but I can't detect any on me.

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

An nice and smooth autumnal out , with and complex, with some of the notes not really developing to the full. The quality of the ingredients is excellent.. 3.5/5
14th February, 2021
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Ungaro pour L'Homme I by Ungaro

Ungaro pour L'Homme I opens with a powerful nose tingling aromatic lavender and sharp bergamot citrus tandem with a bit of the coniferous green pine and bitter-green herbal wormwood from its middle showing early before it gradually transitions to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the bitter-green herbal wormwood (artemisia) takes the fore in a big way, as earthy patchouli and pine provide first tier support, bolstered by slightly sweet sandalwood rising from the base. During the late dry-down the wormwood and other green aspects gradually recede and finally vacate, leaving the slightly sweet sandalwood to pair with supporting relatively dry amber and remnants of the earthy patchouli through the finish. Projection is very good, as is longevity at around 10-12 hours on skin.

Getting right to the point, Ungaro pour L'Homme I is superb smelling stuff. I usually don't care much for the smell of wormwood, and in most of its perfume implementation it can really come off as overpowering and off-putting like in the horrific smelling A Taste of Heaven (Hell, in actuality). Instead of *that* monstrosity, here the perfumer deftly combines it with just the right balance of supporting earthy patchouli and relatively smooth wood to balance its bitter-green aromatic herbal aspect. The late dry-down while much more behaved is no less enticing, as the sandalwood melds perfectly with the dry amber. The bottom line is Ungaro could have easily stopped at the sadly discontinued and hard to find $250 per 75 ml bottle on the aftermarket Ungaro pour L'Homme I, as decades later it remains a classic and the best thing the house ever released perfume-wise, earning it a "near masterpiece" rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and a super-strong recommendation to vintage perfume lovers everywhere.
14th February, 2021

Loewe pour Homme Sport by Loewe

Reminds me of the citrus from L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme and the medicinal woodiness from Clinique Skin Chemistry or even Lalique White. Has some spice and maturity to it but ultimately comes off as light and clean.

Performance was average on my skin for both projection and longevity.
13th February, 2021
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Ti Amo by Roja Dove

After a short blip of bergamot with an mandarin-orange aroma, the battery of florals is attacking: a warm glowing neroli, muguet, and a slightly sweet bright rose, with orange blossom, a slightly creamy ylang-ylang adding richness, and a minimally powdery jasmine added it. With a heliotrope adding a darker and slightly spicy side, and touched of a pineapple-derived fruitiness rounding it off, the overall result is quite unique, rich and warm - beautifully crafted.

Towards the base the restrainedly spicy side is complimened by woodsy element, mainly sandal and guaiac, with whiffs of young oak. A traditional slightly caramelised,tonka/vanilla, with hints of cocoa and milk chocolate, add gourmand sweetness s incorporated without dominating the whole. Galbanum labdanum, white peppers, saffron, a dark and soft patchouli, as well as a - rather perfunctory - ambergris support the smoothly gourand-ish scaffolding of hr whole. Towards the end a touch of a minimally powdery iris appears.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection, and ten hours of longevity on my skin.

A hyper-complex sneet for sping or autumn evenings, formal and creative with some beautiful and unique moments. At times the overload of ingredients makes hard for them to develop optimally. It is blended exquisitely well, and the performance is very good. One could love this. Very nice . 3.75/5



13th February, 2021

Wild Country Musk by Avon

Avon Wild Country Musk (1988) seems like something that should be pretty cut and dried on paper, with all signs pointing to it being pretty much like the classic "western" barbershop fougère Avon Wild Country (1967), but with the knobs on the musk amplifier "turned to 11". In practice, this is anything but the truth, and Wild Country Musk shares only the slightest bit of DNA with the original, plus not even having the same type of musk at its core. This isn't to say Avon Wild Country Musk is a disappointment, it's just not the fragrance it sells itself as, and whether or not you end up liking it has more to do with how you feel about classic musk fragrances from the 1970's than whether or not you like barbershop smells. Some may even argue that deep vintage Wild Country with those rich nitromusks is ironically muskier than the musk flanker due to this complete replacement of the musk profile, but compared to the drier and powderier iteration available by the time this rolled out, I can see how this might feel like it succeeds at what it sets out to do, and evidently it was well-liked enough to live on in other markets long after Avon pulled the plug on this in the US where it launched. My review is from a 1988 generic "pill bottle" 3oz sprayer, although I do wish for this line to have integrated spray heads into the original splash bottle.

The first thing you notice when splashing or spraying on Wild Country Musk is that familiar parched bergamot and dry lavender/anise/basil profile which opens the original, showing promise of what's on the label. However, this opening is really the only part of Wild Country Musk that bears any resemblance to Wild Country proper. The sage and carnation of the original's heart also seem to remain, but there's a sweetness here that reminds me of powdery vanilla, something that turns up in Avon Undeniable for Men (1991) in greater quantity. The musk quickly shows its face, but it isn't that slightly animalic ambery sweet tonkin-type musk of the old Wild Country or even what's in Avon Musk for Men (1983), and instead is more like that "oh I'm wearing a musk" kind of profile you find in Jovan, Alyssa Ashley, Coty, and Revlon products of the period that all self-present as musk. Even Avon's own Night Magic (1981) had this type of powdery soft musk. Wear time is a quiet 8 hours and projection is surprisingly low for a musk, but this wears best as a polite winter weather casual option, or if you're snuggling at home with a sweetheart. I wouldn't take Wild Country Musk to the office even with such modest sillage, because this kind of scent will make you a target for "cologne guy" jokes galore; tell'em Ron Burgundy sent (and scent) ya.

Avon Wild Country Musk feels more like a rushed job of trying to put a musk out in the style of other popular drugstore musks from the 70's and 80's, since their original aromatic resinous take on musk from earlier in the decade this launched didn't seem to make any waves. Slapping some top notes from their most popular men's release at the time seemed like a good idea, but they only really roll out the red carpet for what is effectively a different fragrance once they take their paychecks and leave. I really need to hit home that this is more like a Jovan Musk for Men (1973) than Wild Country, although the bits of sage and lavender that remain do make this feel just a tiny bit more fougère-like than the mostly amber-powered Jovan, in case the spicy oriental bits of the Jovan bothered you. Original bottles were brown with a metal badge and gold cap, then when it moved to being a Latin American market exclusive, got a makeover into an admittedly cooler all-black bottle with red badge and graphics. If these powdery musks are your bag, check this out, but otherwise stick with the OG. I like Avon Wild Country Musk and do not regret my purchase, but concede that I was hoping for a bit more from a musk flanker to an already-musky scent. Thumbs up.
13th February, 2021

Arabians Tonka by Montale

You know what? This is an enjoyable casual wear and I have no doubts Montale had that in mind making this riff on the BR540 genre. I am in the minority who dislike Intense Cafe, and everything I disliked (prominent rose, coffee) about it was edited out or weakened to make room for what I do like in this version of Arabians. Easy reach, easy to wear, not unique, so let’s talk about FB price. For what Arabians Tonka is you can get a few Al Haramain that will suffice, or look towards discounters. The redundancy in this genre among multiple brands renders this amber tonka oud fungible in summary.
12th February, 2021
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