Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 162507

Nüwa (new) by Roja Dove

Surprising absolutely no one, I love the sublime quality of this Nuwa incarnation. A bit quizzical though in note strength in ratio to application. Spray a little to get sweet and salty pungent spice with the merest hint of florals. Spray any more than that then the rose musters up courage to flaunt itself. Not being much of a rose (or white floral) person myself I prefer a light application. Among the Imperial Collection Nuwa reigns supreme in my singular esteem.
12th February, 2021

Gravitas pour Homme by Naughton & Wilson

If you want a detailed review please refer below to the excellent Way Off Scenter.
Gravitas is awful. Smells cheap and verging on the offensive. It opens green and sour becoming slightly more woody in the dry down.
Utterly shameful. I can only assume that the positive reviews are shall we say.... mercenary or not wanting to admit their enthusiastic FB purchase is a mistake. Rather like the global narrative of lock-down where over 20 studies show it makes no difference apart from causing imeasurable harm to economy , society and personal health. Will the governments admit they got it wrong? Or will they make vaccine passports law to be renewed yearly for a common cold virus that the CDC says has a mortality less than influenza. Let's do what social media says then.
12th February, 2021

JV x NJ Silver by John Varvatos

Ugh. That's the review. No really, that's all this scent deserves, so the rest is time and effort I want back from John Varvatos for smelling this hot garbage in a shiny bottle. Obviously perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux checked out of Varvatos as unofficial house perfumer long before the bankruptcy, and EA Fragrances (who maintains the license in spite of that) just slings briefs out to the major chem firms like most of the other players at this market level, so it's uncertain if JV x NJ [Silver] (2019) is still actually a collaboration between Varvatos and Jonas themselves, or just EA exploiting a contractual obligation to allow name usage. In either case, this rounds out a trilogy of pointless stink whose only member so far has had any modicum of creativity being JV x NJ [Crimson] (2018), which was perfumed by Carlos Vinals of Symrise. He returns here alongside Nathalie Benareau, who is known in niche circles as the nose for Phlur. I hate to say it, but JV x NJ [Silver] feels like just another exercise in marketing and consumer-testing perfumery by algorithm, with both perfumers in a figure-four leg lock by the bean counters at EA Fragrances to produce the "smells like X" kind of fragrance that they're convinced their customers (whom they also assume are dumb as doorknobs) will lap up without thinking because the opening is nice. I'm okay with an inherently mass-appeal scent, but you have to put some effort into making it feel relevant in such a crowded field of fragrances all trying to achieve the same goal.

The biggest reason why I hate this is it basically smells like someone dumped a cocktail of Dior Sauvage (2015), Montblanc Legend Spirit (2016), Versace pour Homme Dylan Blue (2017), and Coach Platinum (2018) into a blender, then cut the monstrosity with perfumer's alcohol. I know John Varvatos prefers subtle persistence over strong projection, but that isn't an excuse to serve up diluted "mall smell" and sell it for the same price as the competitors. The opening will go through brief phases of the pineapple of Coach, then the bergamot and fruitiness of Dylan Blue, before moving into the scratchy warmth of Sauvage and the bit of soapy freshness from Legend Spirit. Do I need to read the notes to you? They really don't matter in this case. Bergamot, lemon, mineral accord, and green leaves. Nevermind that. The orris is the soapiness I guess, and the geranium/sage is that bright Sauvage-like bit in the heart, until the ambroxan and norlimbamol take over, with a tiny bit of patchouli terpenes for green edge, but it's all hollow and will need sniffing of your arm to detect after 30 minutes. You could over-spray, but the kind of stuff in JV x NJ [Silver] is prone to cause anosmia in high levels, so it won't help. Wear time is maybe 7 hours and sillage is there, somewhere. Best use is never, but if you end up with a teenage relative looking for a birthday or Christmas gift, get him a certificate to the store where this came from instead.

I'm really hoping this is the last JV x NJ fragrance I have to punish myself sampling just so I can have some misguided sense of closure for this range. The original JV x NJ (2018) that kicked off this trilogy of terror was insipid but tolerable, and did something a bit different from the crowd, basically being the Liz Claiborne Curve for Men (1996) of Bleu de Chanel (2010) clones. JV x NJ [Crimson] showed some hope of originality, setting me up for this colossal troll of a sequel that's even more heartless and cynical than the first. If this is the future of John Varvatos fragrances under EA post-bankrupcy, then I guess we just have another Claiborne on our hands, which EA similarly farmed into oblivion with crap flanker after crap flanker of Curve once the late Ms. Claiborne herself checked out of this mortal coil. This kind of corporate exploitation is what leads to so many fragrance enthusiasts getting calcified in their tastes and unwilling to give major brands any more chances to rob them of cash, plus littering the clearance racks and discount online retailers with junk nobody wants until it's dried up and "rare". I doubt anyone will even praise this once it's inevitably discontinued, as it's just that weak, utterly boring, and tired right from the start. This is literally the kind of fragrance I'd expect in a Russian bootleg bottle of Sauvage shucked to unsuspecting bargain hunters on eBay, but here it is, in an actual legitimate designer release. Thumbs down.
12th February, 2021
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Un Amour de Patou by Jean Patou

The opneing blast is a combination of a green-woodsy notes, with herbal and mahogany wood impression greeting me. This all is brightened up by a bit of bergamot, and, most importantly, by lots of aldehydes. Quite and unusual impression when it all comes together.

The drydown is floral, mainly muguet, but a slightly powder jasmine, and rose stems; I get not that much of the rose blossom here.

the base is characterised by a continuation of the wood, although more sandal than mahogany now. There is a darker musky component, synthetic for sure, but quite pleasant with its slightly dusty undertone.

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

A good spring scent with a touch o creativity and unusual mixes. At times a bit dull in the second half, but of subdued refinement at the beginning. 3.5/5




12th February, 2021

Accenti by Gucci

This makes complete sense if you think of it as perfectly 1995, halfway between the loud white florals of the 80's and the cheap laundry detergent fruity florals of the 00's.

So what does it smell like? Well, there's a floral core that seems to incorporate jasmine, rose, and lily, but in an artificial way that's still pretty, but pretty like soap instead of gorgeous like a grand perfume. There's fruit, especially on top. It reminds me of faux apple, but you could say cherry or fruit punch or strawberry soda and you'd still be correct - it's more like an artificial fruitiness than anything direct.

It's definitely got a musk component going as well. It's simultaneously soapy and like the smell of a fabric softener sheet in a hot dryer.

Given time, it greatly improves, as the artificial fruit fades, making way for creamy sandalwood to melt into the musks, creating a really nice Chanel-esque richness beneath the floral elements.

In a way, I find this frustrating, like there was a really grand perfume hiding underneath that fruity/laundry cheapness. That being said, even without the questionable fruit, the artificiality of the florals themselves means this can't hold a candle to Joy or No 5 extrait, so I just can't get onboard the Accenti hype train for multiple reasons. As such, it looks like I'm going to be the only non-thumbs-up. My apologies to Accenti's fans...
12th February, 2021

Legend Eau de Parfum by Montblanc

Montblanc Legend Eau de Parfum (2020) is something nobody really asked for, but now that we have it, I might as well give it a fair shake. Olivier Pescheaux was asked to return and update the original Montblanc Legend (2011), the "upper-class Axe/Lynx" fragrance that snobs love to hate and FragBros love to dismiss as cheap, but average Joe and his teenage sons seem to love. Making a relatively balanced general purpose "one cologne kinda guy" fragrance is more difficult than it may seem, as just being fresh or long-lasting isn't enough, since it has to touch generational lines with a bit of "classic" appeal to bring in older guys, plus have a full body and modicum of sweetness to it that smells like it can tackle cold weather or romantic/social situations young guys usually wear fragrance for, and Montblanc Legend achieved that. Granted, it did smell a bit like someone took Calvin Klein Eternity for Men (1989) and ran it through the Abercrombie & Fitch ventilation system to pick up traces of Fierce Cologne (2006) along the way, but that's part of the "all ages" charm of it. As an accessible fully-synthetic fruity twist on the fougère, it's gonna ruffle feathers and make friends alike. So what does this Eau de Parfum bring to the table that isn't already covered by the original? Well, nothing really, and that's the biggest problem I have with it. You get a variation on a theme with Legend Eau de Parfum, but it might not be enough for owners of the original Eau de Toilette release (that isn't going away).

The opening of Montblanc Legend Eau de Parfum is much the same as the original Montblanc Legend, so much that you might be confused about which version you sprayed. You get a similar fruitiness with synthetic bergamot and pineapple, but the verbena and pomarose have been switched out for violet leaf and an increase in lavender, making Legend Eau de Parfum feel marginally more mature and sharper after a few moments. Geranium also seems minimized to reduce the floral aspects of the original, with the apple still present in the mids but everything else swapped out for woody amber molecules which introduce more warmth but at the cost of some scratchiness. Haters of modern-day woodyamber ACs need to check out right here as it doesn't really go away, although cashmeran, evernyl and a touch of akigalawood molecule borrowed from Montblanc Explorer (2019) in the base do much to smooth them out. A bit of that "raspberry leather" aromachemical that Tom Ford likes is also in the base, which moves the Eau de Parfum further away from being a fougère and closer to just being the usual abstract designer. This leans more cold weather use but otherwise can serve all purposes much like the original Legend. Performance is sadly just about identical to my nose, and the barrage of synthetics make it possible to become anosmic to Legend Eau de Parfum just as with Legend, so spraying more only makes things worse. Expect about 8 hours of moderate to fleeting sillage depending on how much body heat gets under that cashmeran akigalawood in the core of the skinscent part of it.

Legend Eau de Parfum wears darker, a touch drier, and more similar in feel to something like Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 (2015), Initio Oud for Greatness (2018), or Parfums de Marly Kalan (2019) than any Axe/Lynx spray, which may be an upgrade to some but a total stinkbomb to others. Fact of the matter here is if you're not on board with contemporary perfume design lead more by the marketing departments and bean counters than the perfumers themselves, this is yet another reason "perfumery is dead" for you and the only justification for you to be reading reviews on releases like this is to fill time during potty breaks at work. However, if you like stuff such as BR 540 but can't afford the price tag and don't mind a little bit of mainstream Montblanc Legend DNA mixed into it, then Legend Eau de Parfum may be just the designer alternative to it you're looking for, in much the same pattern as Montblanc Explorer is a good alternative for Creed Aventus (2010). I like Montblanc Legend Eau de Parfum but don't think I need a twist of woody aromachemicals in the mix to keep me tuned into the DNA of this line, so I personally will pass on picking up Legend Eau de Parfum, but can strongly recommend it to fans of houses like Parfums de Marly looking for something more economical to use in place of those pesky $350 retail bottles. A clever, although subtle reworking that nobody really wanted, but some folks may enjoy. Thumbs up
11th February, 2021

Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain

This one's a no-go for me. Turns too sour on my skin and reminds me of household cleaner.
11th February, 2021

Solarissimo : Levanzo by Azzaro

On smell alone, I like Levanzo very much. The opening is bright, sweet-fruity, and pleasing. The drydown is clean, woody, and masculine, reminding me of a slightly greener version of Ferrari Uomo.

However, the performance is a big drawback for me. Low projection and average longevity pushes me to only rate as "neutral". That being said, if you need something with a nice, sweet-fruity opening and a clean finish in a situation where a quiet fragrance would work best, this could be a solid find.
11th February, 2021

Blue Rush Intense for Him by Avon

Avon Blue Rush Intense (2008) is an unlikely flanker to the original Avon Blue Rush for Him (2005), which had gone on to become one of the more successful fresh fragrances in the 2000's Avon canon, in addition to being the most popular of aquatic offerings from the house outside of its celebrity-branded Driven by Derek Jeter (2006). Avon is no stranger to flankers but didn't typically do them for their US masculine launches outside the occasional musk variant or new addition to its classic ranges, which were tested in the Latin American market first, where demand for their products was outpacing the US for some time. That fact, combined with the "captive import" nature of Avon Blue Rush Intense make it so unlikely. You see, this is stuff is really Avon Midnight (2007) perfumed by Yann Vasnier and Stephen Nilsen of Givaudan for Avon Europe, relabeled as a Blue Rush flanker because of popularity. If you've already smelled Avon Midnight you can stop here, but if you aren't from Europe or just never got around to it, carry on.

The opening of Blue Rush Intense is similar to the original Avon Blue Rush in the way that it has a similar citrus, aldehyde, sea note, and white floral treatment, but is a lot rounder. While originally composed as Avon Midnight, it's clear that the composition here is cut from the same cloth as many were from Avon in those days, but the rounded spices of cardamom, ginger, and coriander add body beyond the usual Aquatic. The melange of woody-amber notes and vetiver in the heart move this further away from aquatic territory, reaching something closer to the post-aquatic "blue" genre that was only a few years around the corner. The base retains these woody ambers from the heart and is otherwise the usual laundry white musks, with benzoin and amber touches (but not "Avon amber") to make a smooth clean warmth. Wear time is about eight hours and although projection doesn't live up to the "intense" moniker, sillage is nice and persistent during the entire wear. Best use is casual or romantic evenings in spring through fall but Blue Rush Intense may be a bit cloying in summer humidity during the day.

The big buzzkill with Avon Blue Rush Intense, is that since it was a rebadged "captive import" of sorts and relegated to flanker status, it's a bit on the rare side these days since its production was even shorter than the usual short-lived Avon and it was rather popular in that small time available. What stock remains shouldn't be any more expensive than the original also-discontinued Avon Blue Rush, which isn't saying much as the OG seems to be over-valued in the aftermarket and not worth what sellers want considering discounted designer aquatics are cheaper, but the trouble with Blue Rush Intense is actually finding an unmolested bottle for sale. Assuming you're a collector of 2000's Avon and find one, Blue Rush Intense makes an interesting addition that inspires occasional use but isn't really all that special outside of its circumstances and "missing link" nature in the grand scheme of blue juice evolution. I like this stuff, although considering how many blue things Avon was adding to it line-up, I understand how this got so quickly lost. Thumbs up.
11th February, 2021
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Pan Ame by Jean Patou

The opening is simple, but very pleasant: A duo of peaches and pears, fresh, fruity, and realistic characterisations of the aromas of thee fruits. Very good. Soon I get synthetic plastic-like undertone, that is a bit unpleasant temporarily and then comes a pleasant sweet and faintly caramel-like impression.

The drydown turns more floral, with vines and linden blossoms in the background, whilst a violet note plays the main tune. It is a fairly simple violet.

The base s dominated by a reasonable sandalwool, with hints of a darker musk and just a pinch of oakwood and, at times, a nigh camphoric hit.

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

The opening of this spring scent, with its well-balanced fruitiness, is the best part,
but the rest is agreeable too. 3.25/5
11th February, 2021

Hommage à L'Homme Voyageur by Lalique

The opening is a blast of bright and slightly harsh papyrus and clean vetiver. Almost comes off like synthetic cedar. As it dries down, I get more mossy, wet, green notes over the papyrus. The harshness fades and it becomes cleaner and sweeter, almost has a barbershop feel in the late drydown.

For me, this is a fun scent that I would wear for myself because it’s unique and has interesting development. I would not necessarily consider this to be appealing to ladies. The chemical harshness of the opening could also prove to be offensive. I get medium-strong projection during the first few hours and then it fades. Still better than a skin scent for many hours after. Good all-day longevity.
10th February, 2021 (last edited: 19th February, 2021)

Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

I find Mon Guerlain a bit dull. It smells like a Guerlain in terms of the quality of raw materials used, but the composition is just not very interesting. Lavender and vanilla, with not much else going on. Guerlain can do much better. Even La Petite Robe Noire, with its syrupy sweet mix of cherry and almonds, has more personality than this one.
10th February, 2021 (last edited: 11th February, 2021)

Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

GIVENCHY GENTLEMAN EdT.
This write-up is for a 2010-version (silver cap, black collar, single front-label, fat spray-tube).
Doing a sbs with my deep-vtg wrap-around label version, I "could" tell you that the 2010 version is criminally inferior shadow-of-its-former-self yadda-yadda-yadda and that you should only get the wrap-around label versions...but then I'd be a snobby bag of hot air and a liar, 'cause it's simply not true. YES, IT'S ALL SUBJECTIVE, however, the matter of fact is that you're simply not worse off getting a 2010 version. Vtg is beautiful but so is this. The only, to me, really percievable difference is that the patchouli in vtg is more pronounced, clear and defined (of the sweeter Indian kind). The rest is all there. Here comes the rambling part: "But what about the oakmoss and russian leather beep-beep-beep?!!". Yeah, whatabout it? Nothing! I can't smell those things in the vintages anyway. Like those folks saying "Whoooooaaa that's an Oakmoss-bomb! The oakmoss just jumps right out at ya and holds you hostage for hours, and..and..!". Uh, okay. And when does that happen, 'cause it's been a couple hours now and so far we're only talking, like, trace amounts here...? Disappointed...every...friggin...time. BUT this Gentleman delivers just as well as ol'-balls-Vintage! It's all about the patchouli, carnation and creamy woods anyway. Even hammering away better in the longevity department (10+ hrs on me). It's got it ALL! Trust me, it's ALL good with this "inferior" version! Subjective as this is, maybe YOU can smell all of these wonderful restricted and forbidden yummy notes?
Either way, 2010 was still a damn fine year for Givenchy Gentleman! Beep-beep, Ritchie..
10th February, 2021
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Vacances (original) by Jean Patou

The opening transports me into a verdant and fragrant flower garden: Lots of hyacinth, hawthorn and carnation, with touches of sweet clover - an opening of discreet natural sweetness. This is touched up with a sprinkle of aldehydes, which are not in the foreground or dominant like in Chanel No.5, but are skillfully applied to brighten up the other components in a gentle manner. A hawthorn develops a bit later, a discreet hawthorn that remains in the background; this is no Aubépine-Acacia as far intensity and vividness is concerned.

The drydown adds a lilac very soon, and this lilac, which is a good and realistic depiction of this plant's blossom, grows onto a dominant player on this olfactory field. it is a rich lilac with just a tiny bit of an indolic character. Roses and mimosas, less vivid on me, are present in the background. Sweet peas provide a herbal sidekick, and heliotropes with dashes of galbanum add a sweet and restrained spiciness.

The base adds a wood note, a sandalwood, as well as very discreet combination of a soft oakmoss and a smidgen of musks. Towards the end I get transient whiffs of a herbal undertone, like dried basil.

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

This beautiful scent for warmer spring evenings, complex with good development, blended beautifully, naturally sweet without ever being intrusive of cloying; truly a worthy counterpart to JP Pour Homme. A masterpiece. 4.5/5
10th February, 2021

Oud & Rose by S.T. Dupont

The Kain's review is exhaustive on this umpteenth Oud&Rose fragrance. All I get is a synth generic saffronish flori-oriental connection of rose and resinous musky/soapy oudh with (minimal) hints of smoke from the woods and a ghostly touch of greenness. Faint evolution, the drydown is pleasant and more subtle (with a spark of floral-spicy-woody sophistication). Kind of "Montale/Mancera" in style (I detect connections with Montale Black Aoud which is muskier and greener). Long duration on skin and more than good projection. Nothing new under the sun, dark spicy rose opening + central rosey/spicy stage with a soapy/creamy oudish-woody drydown
09th February, 2021 (last edited: 10th February, 2021)

Eternity for Men Eau de Parfum by Calvin Klein

This is very much still Eternity and has that crisp 90's feel but with more bitter, mossy green and dirty notes. That greenness almost gives it some of that Polo green oakmoss feel. It just feels more serious and mature than the original EdT. I don't hate it and am actually impressed that CK treated this EdP release with more care than some of their other Eternity flankers.

Not a projection bomb but you can catch it in the air throughout the day. Lasts about 6-7 hours on skin, around 8-9 hours on clothing.
09th February, 2021

parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Garage by Comme des Garçons

In agreement with previous reviewers, I do think that this is more of an oddball leather perfume than the smell of a garage.

I feel like there's a tarry juniper berry leather at the core of this, paired with a rubber tire note, and enhanced with spices. The whole smell feels quite green to me, which I think is coming from basil and mint reacting with the juniper berry. Meanwhile, a salty tarragon makes things smell subtly meaty.

In all, I think this smells more "clever" than "good", but I appreciate that it goes beyond being a simple novelty and actually makes the effort to be a proper perfume. Thumbs up, but not really something I'd want to wear repeatedly.
09th February, 2021
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Centuries Verbena Eau de Toilette by Caswell-Massey

Fresh citrus - lemon mainly, a touch of petitgrain and lots of a verbena aroma - refreshing and invigorating.

the drydown presents with touches of earthiness and a herbal undertone, and some orangey impression, with whiffs of an ozonic glimps in the background close to my skin.

I get moderaet silage, adequate projection, and four hours of longevity on my skin.

A archetypical simple and fresh citrus summer Cologne. Not more and not less. 3.25/5
09th February, 2021

Azzaro pour Homme Intense (original) by Azzaro

Vintage Azzaro Pour Homme Intense EDT -

I will say this one could easily be a stand in for the original 1st version of Azzaro Pour Homme (oval cap), but unfortunately it is so rare these days that you actually have a better chance of finding an original partial or even full bottle. Stay in the hunt!

Thankfully, Azzaro Pour Homme Intense is a flanker that actually is what you want it to be. A deeper, more opulent and long lasting take on the original with just a speck more animalic notes in the heart. Basically, if Azzaro Pour Homme is a meat sauce, then Intense is a bolognese.

Azzaro Pour Homme aficionados will without a doubt love this, so if you can find it then pull the trigger as you will not be disappointed.

5 stars
09th February, 2021

Paris-Riviera by Chanel

This is the juiciest, most delicious orange, sparkling and so, so pretty. It's a light citrus-floral, focused around petitgrain, neroli, and orange blossom. The scent has the lightness of an eau de cologne and longevity is therefore not great, but this is summer sunshine and happiness in a bottle, Chanel-style.
08th February, 2021 (last edited: 19th February, 2021)
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Verbena by Caswell-Massey

The opening blast is characerised by lemon verbena through and through. It is invigorating and energising. Whilst the lemon component is strong, there is also a good rendition of the verbana in the foreground too; the latter is not overwhelmed by the lemon on me. I get transient whiffs of bitter orange and petitgrain too.

later on a herbal-minty phase occurs, but it rapidly shifts into a hint of jasmine, to then enter the the realm of a nonspecific woodsiness; although whiffs of young oak with touches of basil are just traceable occasionally.

I get moderate sillage initially, adequate projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

A classic verbena summer Cologne, bright as sunshine, with acceptable performance for this genre of fragrance. Not particular complex or creative, but with a good quality of ingredients. 3.5/5
08th February, 2021

Haitian Vetiver by Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna Haitian Vetiver (2012) was part of the initial launch wave for the higher-end Essenze range the brand released when it switched from YSL Beaute/Gucci PPR fragrance stewardship to Estée Lauder in 2011, after having been with YSL/Gucci since it entered fragrance in 2003. The Essenze fragrances exist as limited edition high-quality studies on individual ingredients or accord styles a la vetiver, iris, patchouli, oud, and so forth, but a lot of these early 2012 launch releases dumped right into discounters and sold for $30, becominh a best-kept secret for thrifty treasure hunters in the online fragrance community. Well, that isn't the case anymore for Haitian Vetiver, which was discontinued and skyrocketed to prices higher than Creed sells at retail due to the fanbase it had acquired when it was dirt cheap. Unfortunately, my opinion must reflect that value (or lack thereof) when evaluation the scent here. Marie Salamagne and Harry Freemont double-teamed on this, making a fairly lucid and fresh version of vetiver, with scant real vetiver in the composition, but somehow pulling it off and making it work. Effectively, we have a better Editions de parfums Frédéric Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire (2002), with the fresh citrus punch and grassy intonations filled with neroli and other goodies, but an actual speck of nutty vetiver in there instead of being total artifice like the Malle scent. This was an absolute steal when in discounters, but now seems just about as silly considering what else is available.

For starters, you get a nutty burst of the "Haitian Vetiver" note right out the starting gate, flanked by dry bergamot and neroli. After a few minutes, a carrot seed note enters alongside a very dry tobacco-like tonka and makes me think of a few scents I've smelled in the past, like Guerlain Vetiver (1960) and Parfums D'Orsay Eau Fringante (1969), particularly the latter. The carrot seed treatment also reminds me of Sisley Eau d'Ikar (2011), which could very well be a replacement for this knowing the price disparity, albeit with a mastic twist in the Sisley which changes the focus from vetiver just a touch. I can see how several people consider this a faux vetiver, and like Creed Original Vetiver (2005), the Zegna has very little focus on the vetiver note, choosing instead to dance around it like a point lost in tangential conversation, but this dance is one I like. A bit of powdery iris likely from an ionone enters the heart too, and then Iso E Super "cedar" notes and dry patchouli which remind me of the transparent earthiness in Terre d'Hermès (2006) show up. Terre d'Hermès is also vaguely a vetiver scent depending on how you view it, so it too shares some intertexuality with the Zegna, which sits at a crossroads of all these fragrances I've mentioned. Performance is decent but projection won't win over any volume contests, which is fine by me because a loud vetiver would seem annoying on skin after a number of hours. Speaking of that, wear time clocks in at around eight, so this can hang during a workday.

Zegna Haitian Vetiver was a nice little fresh modern vetiver shindig, although probably a hard sell at its original MSRP, and certainly worthy of riotous mockery at its inflated "unicorn" pricing. I wouldn't pay Creed or Roja Dove their asking prices for their particular vetivers (even though both lovely in their own ways), so why would I buy this thing for $500? I just default to suggesting good old Guerlain Vetiver as the affordable stand-by, with real lasting vetiver vibes if you can handle a bit of smoke. Probably the one thing missing from Haitian Vetiver if I was to nitpick, is the total lack of smokiness in the presentation, as the dry vetivers of this type (unless you're that abominable Malle thing) tend to have some smokiness to adjoin the nuttiness and earthy grassy facets. Vetiver "soliflores" if you will, do tend to run the gamut with everyone from Art of Shaving to Latin market mailorder brands like Jafra having a take on the classic green note, so when you package one in a bottle then include it in an exclusive prestige range, you'd better bring something to the table that justifies the exclusivity. As such a prestige fragrance, Ermenegildo Zegna Haitian Vetiver failed, but found a new purpose as a low-cost but reasonably unique alternative to more basic staple vetivers on the market. It's too bad that when a prestige scent becomes a discounter darling, the writing in on the wall for it becoming a unicorn, since there's no point in making it if you can't get the price you want for it. Thumbs up.
08th February, 2021

Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio

Initio Absolute Aphrodisiac (2015) comes across as a mix of several styles common in the "masstige" segment, aka the mass-produced luxury or prestige designer tier that dwells midway between your rank-and-file designers and the full-blown one-percenter jus that costs the price of a car payment for a 75ml bottle. As such, you get a bit of "luxury" performance here, with some mass-appeal style, and a drop here or there of something different to satisfy the checkbox for being appropriately "niche". Initio itself is basically the sister label of Parfums de Marly, and sits a bit above it in price point, being to PdM as the Les Royales Exclusifs range is to Creed in cost per ml. Similarly, Initio claims full artisinal quality and artistic freedom, but delivered a pretty mixed message upon launch (and a mixed bag) with creations like Absolute Aphrodisiac alongside higher-quality offerings like Blessed Baraka (2015). The gist of Absolute Aphrodisiac is to be the Initio take on the phenomenon of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Masc Ravageur (2000), with bits of the chewy synthetic saffron amber notes swirling around at the time in scents like Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Rose (2013), but made popular in stuff like Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 (2015) which released the same year. Honestly, if it wasn't for much stronger marketing zeitgeist behind the MFK, this one may have won out and went on to become the synth oriental "amberwoods" that everyone copied ad infinitum ad nauseum after BR540 became so successful.

The very fact that this has a much more vanilla and musk lean, combined with the little-known stature of Initio in that first year as yet another luxury-priced brand among many in an increasingly-crowded market, is probably why it was glossed over by the influencers looking to profit in clout returns on finding the next hype train. As they say on Twitter, this ain't it chief, and it probably never was from the start. Calling Absolute Aphrodiac "Musc Baccageur 540" is a bit of a disservice to the scent, so here is the breakdown: Confectionary vanilla and generic white florals burst forth from Absolute Aphrodisiac. I detect something trying to role-play as ylang-ylang in here, with indoles cranked up to the ceiling, and that fatty musky floral riff further beefed up with the aforementioned gummy amber infused with saffron and synthetic bits like cashmeran. It's all very much a Phil Spector "wall of sound" for the nose, echoing off every part of your nose brain and not letting you really process what's going on until the base shows up. There is no heart here, just a bang of musky vanilla synthetic indole mash before the castoreum leather base appears to let you know "hey, we can afford naturals because we're niche", but it falls on deaf ears since it comes across like someone using artisanal parmasan cheese on Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti. Overall, this smells pleasant, if a bit too rich my tastes, and wears all day at about 12+ hours with good sillage, being a vanilla bomb just like Musc Ravageur. I'd call this unisex too, but it is certainly romantically inclined like the name suggests, feeling best in fall through early spring.

I think the gummy saffron amber accord thing was done better in Trudi Loren's hands with Perfume Calligraphy Rose than Alexandra Kosinski. Absolute Aphrodisiac is far from absolute anything and definitely no aphrodisiac, at least not to me. The fragrance is nice if by nice you mean decent for a $50 fragrance or maybe at a stretch, as a $100 designer bought on discount. This is the same sort of feeling I have about most top-heavy Tom Ford Private Collection scents that go ham on a single accord and never let up for 12 hours on that introductory handshake, mistaking power of singular purpose for refinement and luxury. There are plenty of powerhouses new and old (hello from Jacques Bogart and Ted Lapidus) that do what Absolute Aphrodisiac does for a tenth of the price, some of which even have a semblance of civet or castoreum for the animalic musk and/or leather growl that Absolute Aphrodisiac tries to use as its niche calling card. Sorry Initio, no dice on this one, because some of us know better. I feel like outside Blessed Baraka, the best this house has to offer would come in later years anyway, when Initio realized it had to bring more to the table than amped-up "masstige" accords and nuclear performance. Oud for Greatness (2018) and Rehab (2018) are probably the best this ultra-luxe PdM offshoot has to offer, before sliding back into overpriced aromachem territory again with Atomic Rose (2019) the very next year. Absolute Aphrodisiac is really just overpriced olfactory Ambien. Neutral
08th February, 2021

Gucci pour Homme (original) by Gucci

The guys at school who 'discovered' cologne in my junior high school years all seemed to discover the same thing: Polo. After Christmas 1978, it seemed everyone got a little green bottle in their stocking--or at least it smelled that way. Polo as a powerhouse in its original formulation and my peers had yet to learn discretion in the use of scents. I quickly came to loathe the stuff.

An aunt who was always up on the current trends had gifted me a bottle of Polo that same Christmas, but I didn't keep it. Instead, I exchanged it at a local department store for the original Gucci Pour Homme. More than 40 years on, I still love Guy Robert's franco-Italian gem. I am still in possession of the last bottle I was ever able to buy (on a clearance rack in a drug store) and I almost never use it for fear that it will prove irreplacable.

I now own Polo Green, a vintage Kourous and many other scents of the era from which this GPH emerged, and I have come to appreciate all of them. But GPH is still my favorite from those days and was undoubtedly the root cause of my current fascination with fragrance in general and the more esoteric of current men's scents, in particular.

As others have noted, the juice is a chypre whose lemon top note is special and whose once relatively ordinary ingredients seem special today because we are generally denied them by regulations and because they are certainly not on trend today.

So in today's world, this stuff is extraordinary and, for me, it carries so many find memories that it is a cherished part of my collection. Does that fact mean that you should pay the extortionate prices asked for one of the remaining NOS bottles? Good heavens no. But the original GPH is certainly worth smelling if you get a chance if only as a reminder of how good some of the less celebrated chypre scents of the late 70's really were.

(I must also note that given the cult following GPH has among those "in the know", it surprises me that no one in the niche/indie world has, so far as I can tell, recreated it. I would think doing so could be something of a sound business proposition for someone with the skills. Particularly in light of Parle Moi Dr Parfum's Papyrus Oud's successful recreation of the follow-up, Gucci Pour Homme I.)
08th February, 2021

Neandertal Light by Neandertal

I always begin reviews like this one by noting that I like conceptual but wearable scents. Here, let me also add that I am a sucker for particularly cool bottles. On both counts, Neandertal qualifies.

Light, considered purely for what it delivers as a fragrance, is a slight thumbs up for me.

The opening blend of dry spices has a light floral note & is interestingly underscored with hinoki and ozonic notes from the listed violet leaf. As things dry down, an intriguing yin and yang middle where oris' buttery softness contrasts sharply with a pronounced metallic aromachemical slowly overwhelms the top notes. This phase is in turn displaced ever so gradually by dry leather accented by a vaguely sweet amber.

I appreciate the studied contrast between elements of each layer in the scent and note that in spite of the manufacturer's statements about linearity and function as a snapshot suspended in time, the scent does progress through a marked transition between disparate layered notes over time. I think that considerable skill is on display in the blending here and, to my nose, each of the top, mid and base layers can be perceived as a comment upon, and perhaps amplification of, the contrasts in the layer preceding it.

Overall rating is just an OK, however, since the metallic element is not as deftly handled as the others and is too forward in most of the mid, diminishing the effects of the overall composition.

This one is ultimately similar to many of the CdG scents (Odeur 71, 2 Man & Hinoki come to mind) and just not quite as good as most of them.

Worth sampling (and perhaps bottle worthy for lovers of conceptual art scents in fantastical artistic packaging).
07th February, 2021

Spice & Black Vanilla by Cremo

Cremo has amazing fragrances for the price, typically around $22 for 3.4oz/100ml. I have four and they all are really nice. Spice and Black Vanilla is inexpensive Spicebomb Extreme, and it does it accurately, albeit longevity is relative to the price point. In the long run I may try to collect all 8 or so of their fragrance line as I have yet to be disappointed by any of the four I have(Blue Cedar/Cypress, Bourbon/Oak, Silver Water and Birch, and Spice/Black Vanilla). Definite Thumbs Up for Cremo.
07th February, 2021

Hypnotic Poison Elixir by Christian Dior


Tendre Poison 1993

She's the quintessential woman, loving and supportive and nurturing.she always does the right thing.she's a very Great lady with a very great perfume.it smells like the warmth of sauna wood(think sandalwood but drier), the watness of a log after rain, the sweetness of maple syrop and the freshness of melting snow. this is simply gorgeous.a worthy girl of Legendry Queen Poison.

TP is a magical connection of white floral embrace, mixing their citrusy, resinous scent with blackened vanilla pods, powdery heliotrope,faintly woody notes and a melody of spices, gives you feeling like laying your head on a velvet pillow as you drift away to dreamland on a cloud.very surreal and fantasy like.The dry down is sweet, comforting vanilla with nuances of the spices and is utterly delicious.

What i love most about this scent is how fresh it is an unconventional way.it isn't overly soapy,powdery and white florals.warm heat from a paramour's skin,a hot breath of delicious whispers of affection in your ear.a garden of magic. timeless and bewitching.very good sillage&longevity.
07th February, 2021

La Nuit Trésor L'Eau de Toilette by Lancôme


La Nuit Trésor à la Folie

The scent of Valentine's.inspired by an attractive woman in a romantic dress with a playful print.knee-high red boots help add the perfect amount sultry. with a deep plum standout shade her lips.her scent like a sweet Kisses of roses mixed with chocolate.

The seductive scent subtly blends the spontaneous spice of pepper with a bed of hypnotic night booming florals at the heart and mesmerizing vanilla and alluring tonka bean& benzoin at the base and she go for date night.
A sultry night when lovers embrace with absolute love. goddess of night adorned with a starry veil.This is like the smell of lady's bag who let her lipstick melt inside.
07th February, 2021

Colonia Vaniglia by Acqua di Parma


Like wearing a light blue soft calf leather jacket perhaps with vanilla in the pockets to be dramatic Colonia Vaniglia hands down the best launched in 2018 for me.romance and young love wrapped in mystery and intrigue. delectable,sensuous,warm,with a bit of dark seductively quality.

Smoky vanilla but the stickiness isn't the typical headachy incense smell.it's totally unisex.indulges the senses with sumptuous silk tree flower and luscious bourbon vanilla combined with musk to evoke a feeling of desire in the daringly seductive man who wears it.in fact the scent has a wonderful bracing green citrusy opening before the sweet vanilla note takes over and lingers for eternity.makes me ready to take the world to achieve my dreams!
07th February, 2021

Green Irish Tobacco by Happyland Studio

To my nose, this kind of just smells like a more powdery Green Irish Tweed. There's a distinct sweet candied lemon note up top, which I'm assuming is what they're calling lemon verbena here. The tobacco is in the background to the other notes. It's not bad but it's kind of strange. Though I can see this appealing to the Basenote crowd very much. You can buy samples for pretty reasonably priced on the Happyland site. I bought this and 2 others that I will be reviewing, for around $22 shipped, they are 5 ml samples. I wouldn't recommend blind buying a bottle of this one though. Or most of their stuff. It seems they are weird enough to be considered Artisan, but still, on the safer side. Still though, the samples are fair enough priced per ml, that it's not a rip off to sample. It's always the preferred choice for me, so you don't spend more if you wind up not liking it. Performance on this one is really good. I get about 8 hours, mostly with a tonka sweetened dry down, with a little bit of what they are calling ambergris, I'm not sure if it actually is or not, but it does sort of smell like it. It has this clean, musky, slightly salty and metallic vibe, just has I expect ambergris to smell. Odds are they are putting just a minuscule amount in the base.
07th February, 2021
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