Perfume Reviews

Latest Perfume Reviews

Total Reviews: 159914

Eleventh Hour by Byredo

I like this. I don't want to, but I do. Byredo is a house of smoke and mirrors for the most part, the price tag on their perfumes egregious, but this is one case where I enjoy what's being served up. Is it worth the price? Never, but that's not the point of a review is it? Eleventh Hour by Byredo (2018) covers the grim and edgy concept of the "last perfume possible on Earth", conceived at the end of time, or at least the end of life as we know it on the planet, when sea levels have engulfed most of the land and temperatures have made all but most extreme northern and southern places inhospitable to life. The ingredients chosen in Eleventh Hour signify the kinds of things that can still grow and produce perfume, like the Nepalese Ban Timmur, a plant related to Sichuan pepper that provides a minty citric spice tone to the perfume. The rest of this is going to be the prerequisite aromachemical wizardry that most niche labels of this tier produce, with frequent niche perfumer Jerome Epinette. I admit I'm not the biggest fan of his sometimes-derivative work, but he seems to be on his A-game here.

Eleventh Hour opens with that Ban Timmur note and a nice dry bergamot with some sort of aldehyde. A plum rum note comes through, with traces of fig and carrot seed. This boozy dry hay-like structure with the fruits and pepper transitions well into the tonka and oakmoss base of Eleventh Hour, boosted by cashmeran for a smooth woody feel and the glow of Iso E Super. Labadanum lends a chypre feel and overall this could be a cousin to Terre d'Hermès (2006), but with more fruit and spice. Oddly, I get something of an apple ghost note in here, but more like a mulled apple cider sort of vibe, enhanced by the tonka in the base. Eleventh Hour sits in a weird nowhereland between the chypre and the fougère in terms of structure, but it's very satisfying. Eleventh Hour lasts about eight hours on skin, with above average performance in terms of being noticeable to oneself or others, and feels best used in cold weather or indoors where humidity and sun won't make the warmer elements swelter. Eleventh Hour also feels pretty cozy/casual to me, but could make do in an office environment if it isn't a very structured sort of workspace with a strict dress code.

Eleventh Hour by Byredo doesn't 100% conjure "end of the world" imagery in its smell, but perhaps that's the point, since at the end of the world, people would look to something comforting to help them forget their imminent demise. Probably so too, does this perfume in our current (possibly ending) world help the wearer forget their own doom for just a bit, as it wraps that wearer in a dry fruity spicy woody "wool blanket" of scent. This is one case of a Byredo perfume where the conceptualization of a time or place is sort of irrelevant to the smell of the perfume being good or bad in my eyes, since if I caught whiffs of this on a collar or a passerby, I would immediately think of something joyous, welcoming, and festive, rather than a perfume simulating the state of the art during the end times. Yeah, this is fairly synthetic and won't please hardline worshipers of vintage oakmoss chypres or artisanal ouds, but do I really have to keep saying that anyway? Elitist cliques are tiresome and I grow tired of inserting caveats into my reviews for them. If the price is right, this may be worth checking out. Thumbs up.
15th September, 2020

Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf

Spicy? Yes.
Soulless? Yes.
Soyonara? Yes.

1 star.
15th September, 2020

Polo Crest by Ralph Lauren

One of my all time favorites. Polo Crest is essentially the daytime or summer version of Polo Green.

In my mind, RL never intended for this flanker to be more than a “limited edition” as they weren’t going to directly compete with themselves. Upon release in 1991, Crest’s big brother Polo Green was the undisputed heavyweight of the RL men’s line.

That wasn’t going to change and RL either didn’t know how to market Crest to its consumers, or more likely, intended it to be a limited run.

Lurking in development, a new heavily marketed flanker, Polo Sport, would go on to dominate the aquatic side of the pond in 1993.

Dollars and scents.

Polo Crest has an excellent composition with a very similar DNA to Polo Green, minus the tobacco, with an emphasis on the herbs / florals in the heart and cedar in the basenotes.

Make no mistake, Polo Crest is an unparalleled treasure of masculinity in the world of fragrance. 5 stars!
14th September, 2020 (last edited: 15th September, 2020)
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Vintage by John Varvatos

An easy one to reach for when you can’t decide what you’re in the mood to wear. This frag will serve you well day or night.

A similar vibe to Drakkar Noir, but toned down overall with less moss and the addition of tobacco in the basenotes. There’s no reason to overthink this one.

A masculine fragrance at an affordable price point that just smells good.
3 stars.
14th September, 2020

Halfeti Leather by Penhaligon's

Halfeti Leather is a dry wood and leather scent. Quite mature and no fresh-sweetness to be had. Its performance is impressive, reminding me of many rose-oud-saffron scents that can linger for hours and fill a building. The original Halfeti is there but this flanker lets the leather shine through, appropriately.

Solid projection and next day longevity.
14th September, 2020

Lys 41 by Le Labo

I was having a lily craving this spring so I ordered a couple of lily scents to compare. This one takes the cake, as far as recreating the experience of having a vase full of lilies in the house.

It does a great job emulating the sweet, heady, almost tactile scent of lilies that can completely take over a space. It does not achieve photo realistic likeness; but uses other flowers as well as a spiced, sweetened vanilla to create that luscious, thick, full bodied scent that typifies lilies. Smelled side by side with the real thing, the opening of Malle's Lys Mediterranée comes closer, but in overall feel, Lys 41 is my favourite.

14th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Sweet Lemon by Jo Malone

The name is fitting: it starts with a clear sweet lemon; not that bright but quite intense. A good sweet lemon.

Very swiftly a nine of fruit is added. A pleasant pineapple arises, very balanced and not too sweet. Ripe peaches are also present, and a lovely impression of ripened Williams pears appear transiently too.

Toward the end a woodsy undertone is detectable - cypress and whiffs of pine - the latter very faint though.

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

A nice scent for cooler summer days, with a Good rendering of the sweet lemons. Fruity, a bit linear and lacking depth, but crafted well. 3/5.
14th September, 2020

Eau de Rochas Homme by Rochas

Eau de Rochas Homme (1993) is a peculiar perfume in regards to how it came about, but an amazing alternative to the usual "blue" aquatic or citric fruity laundry musk thing that was around at the time. Edmond Roudnitska created Moustache by Rochas (1949) as a then-unconventional citrus aromatic chypre for men, with a cologne-like arrangement of citruses and a sour musky civet note to enhance the sandalwood oakmoss base so it wouldn't feel too soft or feminine. Years after the men's citrus chypre was starting to run its course (mutating into aromatic or animalic chypres with added leather or balsamic bases of patchouli and benzoin), the green chypre was subverted and taken over by the women's perfume market, which was serving a population perhaps starting to tire of sweet aldehyde chypre perfumes living in the shadow of Chanel No. 5 (1921). The original Eau de Rochas (1970) came about as a retooling of Moustache by Nicholas Mammounas to make it universal in appeal. The scent itself was hot on the heels of Ô de Lancôme (1969), and would compete in time against Balenciaga Ho Hang (1972), Sisley Eau de Campagne (1974,) and Yves Saint Laurent Eau Libre (1975), but this early unisex bubble would fail thanks to stubborn male patriarchy and all of these would be shifted to the women's market save Ho Hang, which found popularity among men, and Eau Libre, which would be aborted. Eau de Rochas in time started seeing more use by men, so someone had the bright idea to reconfigure it for a proper masculine release to compete with aquatics, alongside the original 1970 version by then marketed to women.

So what is then Eau de Rochas Homme? A masculine born from a erstwhile unisex feminine market itself born from a masculine? It's hard to really say but what we got here is a chypre composed by Gilles Romey that reads almost like an eau de cologne, minus the usual hit of neroli. The opening is lemon, bergamot, mandarin, lime, and a smooth basil pushed forth by a puff of sharp metallic aldehydes. The heart is a slightly-dusty mixture of white florals, with far more listed than what is actually detectable by the nose. I get hedione and a bit of muguet over some dry rose and coriander myself, with that basil and tart citrus above squishing it into almost a Tom Collins-type effervescence. The base is a light sharp oakmoss and vetiver with traces of cedar, labdanum, an unlisted myrrh note and musk. Missing from the men's version but present in the original unisex/women's version are carnation, patchouli, and amber, all which really hit home the chypre feeling. Without those ingredients here in Eau de Rochas Homme, this is a few missing sea notes away from being an aquatic like Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani (1996), but barring those aquatic elements, feels like the granddad of Versace Man Eau Fraîche (2006), bringing in the Mediterranean freshness albeit in a more traditional fashion than Versace does. All in all, this is a wonderfully bright, dry, crisp and clean fragrance perfect for after a shower, devoid of the usual soapy shower gel laundry musk smell that most things from both this era and this style tend to have. Wear time is sufficient but overall projection is close to skin after the first hour, with moderate sillage you can detect on yourself in fits and starts. This stuff is the definition of casual to me.

Eau de Rochas Homme is a total summer relaxation scent and I still think this reads unisex even when stripped down into "homme" cladding. The original Eau de Rochas could really be worn side-by-side with this as it's slightly more-floral and artsy cousin, while this "Homme" version serves as built-for-service utility without the fussiness of florals. I like to think of this as the answer to the question of "What if Guerlain Eau de Cologne Impériale (1853) lasted longer?", and although it misses some of the Earl Grey vibes of that classic, it still gets you in the same ballpark, which is all you can really ask for in something with the same basic structure but literally 5 times the performance. To think in the coming years it would be a game niche houses played, in all trying to create fragrances that took a traditional eau de cologne and suspended it in time with artificially-extended performance, then sending it back out into the world as "luxury" saying "oh look we can do this at great cost but it is worth it". Here is Rochas, basically doing the same thing almost by accident a few years before Bond No. 9 or Penhaligon's did it, selling it as competition against freshies like Davidoff Cool Water (1988) or the original Nautica (1992). In short, if you're looking for a fresh citrus fragrance that doesn't smell like soap or shampoo, and punches way above its weight in quality, Rochas has provided you just that by way of evolutionary happenstance. Also, don't worry so much about IFRA restrictions or reformulations, as this one was always light and never an oakmoss bomb. Thumbs up.
14th September, 2020

Herod by Parfums de Marly

Test wearing from a 5 ml decant -

I wouldn't categorize this as a masculine tobacco frag. For me it is just another overpriced unisex, sweet, honey, tobacco, blah blah blah...add it to the long list of frags riding the coat tails of Tobacco Vanille. I am a huge tobacco fan, so this has been on my list for a test drive. No doubt this will garner many compliments, so if that is your goal, go for it.
2 stars.
14th September, 2020

Blacks Club Leather by Shay & Blue

First thing's first, Shay & Blue London is what I like to call "Nouveau-Niche", or a niche house founded in response to the interest in higher-priced and more-exclusive perfumes rather than one born from any true desire for artistic expression via perfume and whatnot. Shay & Blue London is the brainchild of former Chanel Senior Vice President Dom de Vetta, who was also Global General Manager of Jo Malone London before he decided to take his ball and go home. So many executives with zero knowledge of how perfume is made end up taking this "I can do it better" path, and it does get tiresome, especially when they end up hiring a nose then asking them to make pretty much slightly less-derivative versions of all the same stuff already on the market, just with a higher price, a heavier bottle, and a puff piece to sell it. Blacks Club Leather (2014) really is not so different than that unfortunately, and it smells like something that could sell for $60 in a mall boutique (or $20 from Avon), but amped a bit in strength and going for $140+ instead. The official market copy reads: "Sophisticated, tasteful, avant-garde, traditional, egalitarian. These are all words that apply equally to Black's Club, the renowned members-only club in London's Soho district." Let me stop you right there. Egalitarian and members-only do not really get along well when describing the same thing, like rich Hollywood fake-progressives that pretend to have everyone's interests at heart but lunge for their lawyers on speeddial the instant someone asks them to be as charitable as they say they are.

The basic gist of Blacks Club Leather is to be a cleaned up and polished leather scent of some strength and character, just without the winching animal growl of classics like Hermès Bel Ami (1986). Since oakmoss is untenable and isobutyl quinoline out-of-fashion as a leather note, that really just leaves the usual soft suede smell of modern ambery leathers or the bootstrap and raspberries shtick of Tom Ford, but Shay & Blue doesn't go that way. Instead, they actually serve up something which to me doesn't feel like a leather scent at all, opting to use the same medicinal compounds as most designer oud-themed fragrances, stirring in some heavy woodyamber aromachemicals, and then gussy it up in the usual way these houses do. Problem is, I've smelled this before too many times, just not in a "leather" scent. The opening reminds me very much of Yves Saint Laurent M7 (2002), or at least the "oud note" element of it, surrounded by some peppery notes. There is a "boozy" cognac note in the heart but to me that just smells like sugar in contrast to the grit on display in the opening, until it is followed by some kind of benzoin and ambrocenide/amber xtreme style molecule. Bogart One Man Show Oud Edition (2014) uses a bit of this, but luckily focuses more on the leather and oud aspects, while Avon Premiere Luxe Oud (2017) goes in more of a peppery traditional amber direction. Any "leather" that is supposed to be here just isn't, but this isn't bad. Wear time is over 10+ hours and sillage is steady, even if projection is thankfully not enormous. You know the drill, winter use or formal use, because this is a woody punch to the face if not used carefully. High heat in particular would make this mighty scratchy and unbearable, and may feel a bit too stiff for casual use.

I like Shay & Blue London Blacks Club Leather, and might even love it if it wasn't called a leather scent, but points must be deducted for delivering a very synthetic smell that comes across like the seventh son of a seventh son to M7 or even Gucci pour Homme (2002) from the Tom Ford era of LVMH. Shay & Blue has a lot of renown product in their catalog, and house perfumer Julie Massé is a talented woman, but this is perhaps unintentionally an insult because of the delivery. In essence, we have a scent named after a frou-frou gentleman's club in London, claiming to be a leather fragrance, smelling like a cut-rate synthetic woodyamber typically identified as "oud" instead, but still somehow coming out pleasant, solid-performing, and elegant if unoriginal. Again, if this was shopped by a mailorder house like Jafra or Oriflame, all would be forgiven, or even perhaps as the latest Zara Intense-Something fragrance, but it's in a Shay & Blue bottle and goes for the price of anything Montale sells at retail, which is a deal-breaker. If you are a collector of the house, this may be worth sampling, but if you're looking for something of this style, you have tons of more-affordable options. Likewise, if you're looking for a leather scent, you won't find one here so don't get burned by diving in blind, but if you like it, you could do far worse. I'll spare this one the axe because objectively it is nicely constructed, it just talks "the talk" of niche then fails to deliver on the promise of its own market copy, especially when the brand overall gets hyped to death by influencers on social media. Neutral
14th September, 2020

Rue de la Paix by Guerlain

The opening consisted of a well blended mixture of florals, some I was able to identify while for others not at all. Lavender, ylang-ylang, and rose were the ones that I could distinctively identify. I couldn't identify the jasmine or orris root. Aside from the florals there was a citrus/bergamot note to brighten the scent. Very bright and invigorating early on. The rose eventually develops becoming more deep and sensual in the base. The rose is accompanied with some woods and musk. There's a touch of amber and honey to provide a minimal amount of sweetness and oriental feel in the base. Very sensual and comforting. This is something both women and men can enjoy. Performance was pretty good overall: It was fairly potent early on before staying closer to the skin for the remainder duration of the scent. I recommend this to anyone who appreciate Guerlain classics and for any individuals who are passionate for vintage fragrances.
14th September, 2020
drseid Show all reviews
United States

Iquitos by Alain Delon

Iquitos goes on with a honeyed rose and a hint of supporting mandarin orange before quickly moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the rose takes over as the focus with the honeyed aspect receding though still quite present, revealing its slightly powdery facet as a moderately animalic musk and civet duo join fine white floral jasmine and mossy green oakmoss from the base providing significant support. During the late dry-down the animalics and rose all but vacate, leaving remnants of the now dry honey to join with a slightly sweet amber and sandalwood tandem with leather support through the finish. Projection is very good, as is longevity at around 11-12 hours on skin.

As most masculines from the 80s were winners, I guess it shouldn't be a great surprise that Iquitos is another fine example of the period's amazing output. The composition is a animalic honeyed rose at its core, but the oakmoss within adds an element to the composition that just couldn't be replicated easily in today's IFRA regulated world, making one appreciate just how good things were back then. While it has been quite a while since I have worn it, for some reason I feel like there is a similarity to Oscar de la Renta pour Lui here, and if so, that is far from a bad thing. Similar or not, Iquitos smells superb regardless. The bottom line is the discontinued $340 per 100 ml bottle on the aftermarket Iquitos may not prove the best smelling masculine of the great 80s, but that title is not necessary to still claim an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 rating and a strong recommendation to vintage perfume collectors.
14th September, 2020 (last edited: 13th September, 2020)

Bois Mystérieux by Guerlain

Myrh Leather Saffron

It has the same smell as Songe, but it is a bit different. It is less challenging, and a bit more massly pleasing in the base. Ultimately the breathy animalic nature is gone, but the medicine still remains. Myrh is kind of overdosed in the opening. The base smells a little cheap. I was wavering on up or neutral. I like the bottle, I like to wear it. It is just not my favorite in the line. And when you've smelled Songe this one kinda smells like an imposter. But it is much better than the average dreck, so I went thumbs up. Pricing, it should be $120 or less for the 4.2 oz bottle. Performance was pretty heavy. Longevity good.
13th September, 2020
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Aoud Cuir d'Arabie by Montale

Fake real oud

I've always thought this one would just be another of the Montale ouds, so harsh and synthetic that it makes me wish to get it off. But this one is one of the only synthetics that seems to go after the actual smell of oud. Its got some cheesy opening, animalic. The leather is the chemically tan stuff. Astringent tobacco of the best kind, not trying to smell like a cigar, but giving that bitter medicinal vibe. The oud is synthetic smelling, but the addition of the leather and tobacco start to give it a more realistic profile. I find this rather enjoyable. A couple hours in it reaches a more polite profile, though it is still leather, tobacco and oud.
This is a really good one. I hate metal bottles, but I may make an exception for this one if the price is right. Thumbs up.
13th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Violet & Amber Absolu by Jo Malone London

The opening is dominated by two components.

Firstly a violet that is nice, not really dark, and quite well done; I also get a bit of violet leaf here.

Secondly, a patchouli that is a bit shadowy, with a bit of crispness, and that takes on characteristics of some of the predictable and egregiously synthetic oud notes that are pullulating the fragrance shelves of many department stores these days. Both notes work together quite well, but one wonders whether less ‘oud’ and more violet would have been preferable. Still, the oud is less shrill or intrusive than many of its contemporary specimens.

The amber is a bit tardy in making an appearance, and when it arrives it does not take over, but blends in with the others. Touches of labdanum and whiffs of nutmeg round it off.

The later parts of the development of this olfactory journey sees the addition of white musks, which add sone discreet sweetness but are a bit nondescript otherwise.

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

A passable scent for autumn, which is a tad too generic and too predictable; additionally, some notes could do with a bit more vibrancy. The performance is excellent for a Jo Malone. 2.75/5
13th September, 2020

Essence No. 6 : Vetiver by Elie Saab

Good vetiver

So this is half bright vetiver half rooty. Im no expert on V, but id assume hatian and java are combining to that effect. Its got some citrus up top. Papyrus is dry ad dusty, the clove is bacground noise. Those who hate clove should be ok, though its noticale. The blending is master level. This is a top shelf vetiver. Thumbs up.
13th September, 2020

John Varvatos by John Varvatos

Voted “Best gym fragrance” by Introverts Unite! Magazine, 2004.
Noticeably unnoticeable. A squeaky clean shower gel wrapped in a dryer sheet. The only thing less offensive would be a tepid glass of water.
13th September, 2020

Aramis Special Blend by Aramis

The opening is sharply green and spicy with a mature, unisex vibe. The heavy florals and tonka remind me of Black Orchid. This is an interesting, nice scent but it's a little too mature for me. It's not the usual freshie, sweet, modern scent and you cannot make a sport flanker out of this.

Feels best for cooler weather and has the performance to go with it. Good projection and all day longevity.
12th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Oolong Tea by Jo Malone

A light note of tea and minimally bitter hot cocoa develops slowly at the beginning. The tea is actually more in the background, is spite of the name of this product; it is a weak milky and rather nondescript tea.

Fairly soon after the start a vanilla develops, mixed with some tonka. Faintly herbal undertone appears transiently. A very restrained smooth and slightly sweet pipe tobacco is added at a later stage.

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

Not bad as a scent for warmer autumn days, but the notes have an unfortunate tendency towards being a bit anaemic and lacking vibrancy. Furthermore, I cannot get any convincing Oolong in here. Where is my Bulgari Black?
12th September, 2020

Ganymede by Marc-Antoine Barrois

Department Store EDP

This smells exactly like the Gap store, and the upstairs of Younkers at my mall. Its like new clothes, shoes, carpet, cleaners, the whole works. I find it super strong.
If I try to pick out notes I get saffron, violet, musc, and etc. This could be a distinct great signiture. It is ultra versatile. It has an accord feel that is entirely hard to nail down. It smells good. Price is a bit steep. Might buy it eventually. Would work well for times where you are not looking to make a statement, though it is certainly unique. I've gotten quite a few moments while wearing it that I've mentally connected Narciso Rodriguez for Men from the Musk and violet. It is impecably blended, but down feel a bit "6 note composition" at times. Thumbs up. Its one to try. Even if the notes dont speak to you, this may be something that suprises you.
12th September, 2020

Ormonde Man by Ormonde Jayne

This is a good fragrance for me. And in the opening it is really great. Spicy cardamom (which I don't normally find spicy, but it lends here), with some coriander, a smear of pink pepper and some powdery waxy fatty aldehydes, built on an airy base of vetiver, in the vein of dry bitter leaves. I found the performance a bit light after the first hour. It initially feels like it will have heft, but the airy nature takes over, and it fizzles.
12th September, 2020

Aramis Tobacco Reserve by Aramis

Aramis Tobacco Reserve falls right in line with the classic bottle it's housed in and meets expectations as another well blended flanker in the Aramis line. Simple in composition, after around 15 minutes, this EDP brings the slightly powdery, sweet tobacco front and center and keeps on truckin'. Longevity on my skin with 2 sprays was 10 hours. Recommended for night time wear in cooler weather. 3/5 stars.

Note: Only 2 years old, this one already seems to be on it's way out and is getting scarce online. A 2oz bottle is currently at around $60; 3.7 oz $80; 3-5ml decants $6-10.
12th September, 2020

Sopra il Mare by Bois 1920

Sopra il Mare by Bois 1920 (2018) is part of the "Collezione Youth" which is pretty obviously aimed at younger people (I hated typing that out). Perfumed by Christian Calabro (Bois 1920 and House of Oud), Sopra il Mare means "above the sea", and the idea was to impart saltiness of the ocean with the sweetness of white florals and tonka, offering a fresh/soft contrast that would appeal to younger people. This is mostly achieved through the novel use of fenugreek, which is an herb used in the Mediterranean to hide the taste of medicine or to flavor confections, having a maple-like taste/odor. I can see the appeal here for someone into sweet perfumes, but I'm not entirely sold, although I will say the idea of a 90's designer-style gourmand floral in 2018 from a niche house called Bois 1920 is not something I'd expect to be writing about, but here we are.

The opening is a salty marine note followed up by huge billows of jasmine hedione. Supposedly rose and lilac are here but the generic white floral blast here is very 90's, and if you told me this was either an Angel by Thierry Mugler (1992) or Calvin Klein cK One (1994) flanker, I'd have believed you. The fenugreek comes next, offering a gourmand twist that is love or hate really, but at least offers the most-intersting part of the scent profile. Beyond that, it's white musks, ethyl maltol, and tonka bean whipped up into a fluffy cloud with vanilla and a bit of patchoulol. Sopra il Mare reads very feminine to my nose and also feels romantic, too warm for hot weather, and not very sea-like beyond the brief opening salt. Performance can be cloying and oppressive, so beware the sprays. Best use for me would be fall and winter, although I wouldn't really want to wear this anywhere anytime personally. Angel was interesting because it had this metallic x-factor from helonial, and that added a mature edge, something this fragrance likely lacks on purpose.

Sopra il Mare by Bois 1920 is a fragrance where I cannot fault the quality so much (no harshness, no obvious seams or falling apart in the dry down), but it does read very 90's designer, in particular as something on the women's market at the time when sweet poofy fragrances were becoming the rage with schoolbound girls. I have nothing against the cotton candy perfumes of the day, but they're not something I'd wear, let alone pay niche prices for 20+ years removed from their peak in the market. What goes around comes around, so this style may get a second wind in the niche market (if it ever fully went away in the mainstream), but it isn't one I'd put my nose on intentionally, I just happened to run across access to a tester and here's your review as a result. Sample and see for yourself, although that may requite buying a decant due to Bois 1920 not being a found outside niche boutiques. Neutral.
12th September, 2020

Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf

Pink pepper fun

Its not the spice cabinet I wish it was. Its a pink pepper frag, pretty sweet, pretty loud. The only aggressive thing about this grenade is the strength of the projection and juice in general. Not the composition, which I find nice and people pleasing. No one smells this on someone and thinks its daring. But thumbs up, since I think they did a pretty good job overall.
11th September, 2020 (last edited: 13th September, 2020)

Cannabis Fruttata by Bois 1920

Cannabis Fruttata by Bois 1920 (2019) is a flanker launched alongside the original Cannabis by Bois 1920 (2019), both perfumed by niche nose Christian Calabro. As with Cannabis, this doesn't fully resemble any marijuana I've smelled in my life, fresh on the plant, in a baggie, or burned in a joint/bowl/bong, and I've "been around" so I know the variations of smell different strains can have. Instead, we see the green citrus chypre that was Cannabis infused with some fruity lactonic notes, interestingly bringing this closer to a feminine market 1970's chypre like Charlie by Revlon (1973). The rounded feel this fruit note gives Cannabis Fruttata makes it smell a bit more like the "real deal", as some pot strains can have a bit of fruitiness to their "stank", but it's still not close to accurate. Lovers of stuff like Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal (2010) or Diptyque Philosykos (1996) may have a bit more to love in Cannabis Fruttata over Cannabis, but that just about defines the major differences between these perfumes. I still don't get how a cannabis fragrance relates to a claimed short-lived 1920's perfume house brought back from the dead, but I may just be cynical about the oft-abused historical market copy.

The overall vibe of Cannabis Fruttata is a classic exercise in chypre without the use of the critical ingredient oakmoss, which as I mentioned in my review for Cannabis, can be a huge deal breaker for the artisanal-fartisanal demographic or the folks who won't wear a fragrance made after 1990. An uptick of labdanum does veer this closer to smelling like a "proper" chypre, but I don't know if I enjoy it more. The dry bergamot in the top is met with galbanum, then is met with the same "garrigue" herbal melange which makes this smell like a cross between kitchen herbs and yard clippings. A milky fig and peach lactone bring in the "fruttata", then a heart of clary sage (less dominant than the original Cannabis) appears. There is some floral nuance here in the heart too, but the base is the same cashmeran, patchouli, and labdabum but with more of the latter, and a breathy ambergris vibe caused by ambroxan. Wear time and performance are average but a bit heavier than original Cannabis, and best use is casual spring and summer wear, preferably outdoors where smelling like an herb garden will be à propos with whatever you're doing.

What Bois 1920 here has made is another abstract ode to a substance I am still shocked people want to smell like, especially considering that marijuna isn't universally legal and smelling like anything even remotely resembling pot (even if woefully innacurate) can still end up giving you unwanted attention from police. Considering the political climate of 2019-2020, that may seem like an even bigger faux-pas depending on where you live, and a potentially dangerous one at that. Still, if I smelled this on a person, I'd not think of doobies or dimebags, but rather some old musty fruity citrus chypre sitting in grandma's closet (and I do love stuff like that by the way), which is the furthest thing from hippie commune there is in my mind, because if grandma was a hippie back in the day, she would know the smell of pot too, and this ain't it. Still, nice for what it is and if the price is right, worth looking into, although sampling may be tough without purchasing a decant. Luckily, splitters seem to love doling out this house's products in decant vials on eBay so that shouldn't be too difficult if you don't have a niche perfume store near you. Thumbs up.
11th September, 2020 (last edited: 12th September, 2020)

Cannabis by Bois 1920

Cannabis by Bois 1920 (2019) doesn't really smell like pot to me, but neither do many of the fragrances seeking to channel the vibe of marijuana, possibly because I lived around so many who grew or smoked it most of my life coming up on the streets of Baltimore. Despite that, the smell is pretty good if green grassy chypre accords are your thing, or old-fashioned interpretations of vetiver a la Guerlain. Bois 1920 is supposedly a revived perfume company from 1920 that only survived 5 years in its original incarnation, but has since expanded into a mid-tier niche outfit (inbetween $100-$200 at least), long past the point of claiming to recreate anything from its alleged history. So many houses in this market segment take this play straight from the Creed handbook of "how to niche" that I am no longer riled up by it, I just gloss over the backstory and go right to the perfume. At the heart of it, this is a "nu-chypre" devoid of oakmoss, but containing everything else that would earn it an academic gold star for an aromatic citrus chypre, so if you approach it that way, Cannabis is easier to process.

Speaking of the perfume, Cannabis is composed by Christian Calabro, who has mostly worked with niche houses like Bois 1920 and House of Oud, so there is a certain expected element of "olfactive exclusivity" which typically translates to rehashing styles of 40-50 years ago and passing it as more luxurious than the abstraction that stands in for mainstream designer perfumes. In this case, we get dry bergamot right in the top, galbanum, the "cannabis" note (which smells like a garrigue blend of Italian herbs to me), then a heart of clary sage. Lots and lots of clary sage comprise this heart, with zero lavender or geranium to uplift and sweeten it, so you're reminded of a Wiccan shop with baskets of smudge hanging for sale (don't ask where I've been). After that, it's vetiver, cashmeran, labdanum, and dry patchouli boom pow! Wear time is going to be about 7 hours ish and sillage isn't huge, as neither is projection. This feels very spring and maybe summer oriented to my nose, but fall isn't out of the question, and no... this is not work safe. Where I'd use Cannabis? A day spent outside where the extreme green elements feel most appropriate is a likely place.

The big thing about Cannabis is green notes and dry citrus over a dialed-in mossless chypre base that might do well enough for modern noses but without said oakmoss instantly strikes out with artisanal snobs or vintage boomerites caught in an olfactive timewarp. Someone I enjoy talking to mentioned a "futuristic hive nose beyond the reach of IFRA" that is likely more open to abstract interpretation bearing little resemblance to that source inspiration (like Le Labo products not smelling like how they're labelled and so on), and that makes sense to me as the target when smelling Cannabis by Bois 1920. If you like "garrigue" style green fragrances, this is one to look into, but if you're wanting an authentic interpretation of cannabis bud you can wear on skin, this one is not going to get it done. Bois 1920 is a bit tough to sample, but you can order decants from splitters online in the worst case, as the shock value of something like a perfume based around pot makes good profit fodder for decant sellers, since folks might pay for the experience but not want to own a full bottle. Thumbs up.
11th September, 2020 (last edited: 12th September, 2020)

Moschino pour Homme by Moschino

A lovely carnation sueded leather with a prickly peppered mace and rosemary/ lavender entry note. There is a big contrast here of soft carnation versus hardness of mace with a light background leather. Green rosemary/lavender versus warmth of amber and incense. This 1990's scent has a slightly out of bounds vibe while keeping a smoothly pressed demeanor. It is shiny smooth leather over paisley and chrome. I like it so I tried three different time periods of this discontinued gem and they are all more or less the same, and excellent.
11th September, 2020

Idole Eau de Parfum by Lubin

The opening is dark, slightly sweet, and has plenty of spice and incense. Very similar to the EDT having that great rum and coke feel, but it reminds me more of a refined Bay Rum or Old Spice scent. The drydown is the best (for me), being more wearable and pleasant than the opening. But to clarify, both are enjoyable.

Projection is good, not great, but can get heavy if oversprayed. Longevity is 10+ hours.
11th September, 2020
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United Kingdom

Yuja by Jo Malone London

The Yuzu - or Korean Yuja is present in the opening, but the usual citrus freshness is attenuated by a herbal note that casts a shadow over it - mainly sage with whiffs of parsley and dried grass. This is never a crisp and bright fruit.

Fairly soon I get a balsamic impression. It is medium-dark, rich but not heavy, and indeed has a fair fir touch, with but a bit of pine also present at times.

Later on a cedar note arises, but it is a bit weak, serving more as a backdrop to the others that as a main player in its own right.

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

A nice scent for cooler summer or warmer autumn days, crafted quite well and with an unusual combination of notes 3/5.
11th September, 2020

Fidelis by Histoires de Parfums

It appears I’ll be the only nay vote. I’m not getting any distinct notes, only the aftermath of a house fire - smoldering upholstery, hot electrical wiring and incinerated fiberglass insulation. I experienced the same visceral reaction to Purple Love Smoke by Soivohle.
11th September, 2020