Latest Perfume Reviews

Coach Leatherware by Coach

Coach had a different men's line in mind when they launched the original Coach Leatherwear (2009) in cooperation with Firmenich and Estée Lauder. Honorine Blanc was the perfumer here and she went in a fairly traditional citrus chypre route with the fragrance, which produces the resultant "leatherless" leather fragrance that was not a big success for the brand. Some markets would just call this Coach for Men (2009) and sell it alongside the original Coach the Fragrance (2007) as a his/hers pair, but the juice inside is the same as its "Leatherwear" counterpart. In fact, the failure was such that the pendulum would swing the other way in 2013 when Coach broke the nameplate down into three separate numbered fragrances for men simply called Coach Leatherwear No. 1 (2013), Coach Leatherwear No. 2 (2013), and Coach Leatherwear No. 3 (2013) a few years later. None of those would be very successful either, and Coach would end up scrapping the entire "Leatherwear" concept for men and instead go more into a "generic mass appeal designer" vein with the "new" Coach for Men (2017) almost a decade after this scent dropped, coming full circle. I don't absolutely hate Leatherwear, although I do not see the point, especially now with it being long-gone and "rare" on the second-hand market.

Coach Leatherwear rides in a similar vein to Brooks Brothers New York for Gentleman (2008) with grapefruit, in its attempt to be a classic chypre with a modern twist. In this case, the modern twist is darjeeling tea, something we would also see to a degree with a lapsang suchong note in the obscure Jean-Charles Brosseau fragrance from the Collection Homme series, called Thé Brun (2005). The mandarin note here mixed with oakmoss and patchouli in the base also reminds me of Eau d'Orange Vert by Hermès (1979), which is probably not the intended vector of a scent from 2009. Like New York for Gentleman, this anachronism was likely an attempt to jump on the same retro-chic bandwagaon Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent (2003) and Tom Ford for Men (2006) was likely trying to capitalize on; and while the market was there for retro revisionist automobiles, music, and clothes, the same cannot be said of fragrances. The petitgrain here is another classic touch I enjoy, and at least the cedar (via Iso E super) and juniper are handled in a somewhat modern way, although it wasn't enough to stave off boredom for a hobbyist's nose, or garner interest from trend-conscious mainstream buyers. Performance is moderate, and best use is going to be warmer weather for the most part, in casual settings. This doesn't smell expensive, so don't wear it places where that's the expectation.

The big problem with Coach Leatherwear beyond the fact that it is not a leather fragrance, is just how boring and conservative it is, at a time when people were wearing loud and sweet things from the mall, or synthetic oud treatments were just starting to take off, not to mention niche brands were starting to really gain mainstream attention as a higher-level option for mass-appeal buyers (hence the proverbial "death" of niche as we once knew it). This whole thing left Coach Leatherwear stuck in a revolving door it could not leave, neither able to move forward or really live in the romanticized past. We have a competent but uninteresting grapefruit-lead aromatic citrus woody fragrance, with an odd use of tea and a really old-school patchouli oakmoss backbone, dotted with modern fresh juniper and cedar hints that make Leatherwear smell like the cologne you buy for the in-law from Ross or TJ Maxx, and considering Coach had almost no brand cachet with men anyway due to their primary market being women's handbags, Coach Leatherwear further just stuck out like a pointless market exercise. Nobody wants their men's fragrance to look and feel like something made just to be a token placeholder, but that's effectively what this became. Neutral

White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum

Imagine strolling through a grand garden, hearing soft whispers of young girls laughing from between the trees. That's what this is like. An elegant floating creamy but clear white floral.

The top of this scent makes me think of aromatic and bitterish. The heart is beautiful. Gardenia and a whisper of citrus. The gardenia mixed with a wet green note that i think is bamboo. The base is quite interesting to me you would think with such a delicate fragrance there wouldn't be any more developments but here is where the wood&amber comes to shine mixed with a faded accord of every other note that I've mentioned.

It's not fleshy or intense. Rather, it is gardenia petals blowing in the breeze. This feels like an evergreen valley, without intense colours. A feeling of permanent calm. If you like monster silllage of vanilla sweet, aldehydic flowerbombs, heavy spicy or fruitchouli stuff don't bother to try this.

Tea Olive by Hové Parfumeur

I took me down to NOLA
In search of Quarree
I found her in da Quarter
A place call Hovee
And when I smell Tea Olive
Da spirit move me
To say Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

I visited da graveyard
Da one in da air
I seen da sista's tomb and
I left her a prayer
I tipped my hat to Charlie
Who showed me da where
Because Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

I tried da Fascinator
I liked it real fine
But missy showed Tea Olive
Da flower like wine
Da wifey give da nod and
It had to be mine
You know Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

I couldn't smell da Pearlies
Dat strip in da store
So brung it home and five sprays
Was givin' me more
An' den I read da Claire words
Dey open da door
O Lord, Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

It like Leffleur was sayin'
Tea Olive, oh boy
Of all da fruity floral
Da re-al McCoy
Dem honey singin' peaches
Dey bringin' me Joy
Oh babe, Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

I like Ellena's daughter's
I like her old man's
I like da Diff'rent ones and
I like da Yunnans
But now I smell da party
At Louisianne's
I know Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

Da Cook'un an' da Claire'un
Dey head da parade
Da party's down on Bourbon
Our Quarry be laid
Tea Olive singin' glory
No more be afraid
Because Osmanthageddon
Comin' for you, child
Osmanthageddon comin' for you.

Rien Intense Incense by Etat Libre d'Orange

Smells exactly like the original Rien...for the extra money, and uselessly large bottle (considering the brute strength), this seems totally unnecessary.

Versace pour Homme Dylan Blue by Versace

To me this a very simple fragrance. Blue, blue blue, all the way through. It is smooth and the notes in each phase tend to 'cancel' out any peeking through and the ambrox really keeps everything in check and linear. I don't really feel the need for multiple crowd pleasing 'blendy blue' frags in my collection, so this covers that base for me, and I do prefer it over Eros. It is completely versatile, safe, all ages, all climates/seasons, and borderline axe/laundry detergent generic. However there is a market for that, especially with it having solid performance. This may all come across as negative from an artistic/collector standpoint, which is true. I am not, however, negative on Dylan Blue. It just means I like it, but it's not a 'love' and I'm not attached enough for this to be required in the collection long term. It's likely a one-bottle fragrance for me, but still a thumbs up.

10 Roam by Odin New York

Roam somewhat resembles Lubin Idole Eau de Parfum; imagine subbing Idole's orange and rum for milky coconut and you're close.

Here, though, the "ebony" is more exposed than it is in Idole, with a strong dose of ISO-E that calls to mind Dirty English (which is harsher than this, but still in the same family).

The quality is more mid-tier than high-grade, but I kinda dig the combination of "coconut" and "ebony" with the saffron/pepper top.

Hera by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Starts off as a green floral slightly reminiscent of No. 19, only less crystalline, with a dominant iris note that eventually fades as the perfume takes on an increasingly resinous, oily character (the ambrette?). Bits of florals occasionally peek out, but just when you think it's for sure going to turn lush and luminous a la its notes list, it retreats back into that mushy heaviness that to my nose is a hallmark of Spell 125, Anubis, and Salome. An anti-wedding perfume wedding perfume, it's more blurry than radiant, more contemplative than outgoing, more difficult than sunny.

And ultimately not for me. I think Dryad is the more successful composition in this vein, and one I'd happily have in my collection if I was currently spending that kind of money on perfume. And I also have plenty of perfumes in this style, many of them just as assertive but also more focused in the story that they tell.

Après L'Ondée Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

I smiled the first time I smelled this. I always liked the idea of a very french interpretation of violet but could never find one that was not childish or cloyingly sweet. This is young but elegant , clean but not naive . Powdery with fresh waves of green violet keeping it alive
Just beautiful. For days you want to be discreet but not unseen

Liù by Guerlain

I discovered Liu in the Guerlain Boutique on Champs Élysée. At first wiff I got enamoured with this golden aristocratic blend of blossoms , warm vanilla and fresh aldehydes. True french elegance. One of this artworks that can never go out of production without the world losing sth great. Luckily Guerlain knows this and keeps it in the collection of the Légendaires.
Class in a bottle

Feminity by Mancera

The name says it all, for it is aptly named. Delicate and ephemeral - when you think about this particular moment when a woman sends a glance to a man and after a second he is not sure anymore if it has happened or it was his dream. This is femininity. Starts off rather opulent, rich and decadent, then it develops into a smooth, almost creamy sex appeal, to end radiating well all it's got like a whitening flower.

Creamy, warm, powdery, feminine and cuddly. It is in a refined, elegant and relaxed sort of way rather than 'clubbing and skimpy dress' way. The tangerine and pink pepper are heavily present at the opening. I prefer the dry down to the opening, where the leather paired with the caramel, coffe give the scent a buttery sweet vanillic aroma with a subtle kick to it from the musk. It is warm, feminine, and comforting "cashmere sweeter" is a good descriptor. This is the scent of the woman who is wife/mother material. Kind, loving and charming.

Astor by Geo F Trumper

Gentry from Kent, but he's always preferred the city. Eton, Cambridge, Sandhurst, some years in India, diplomatic service in Italy, Berlin, then at Whitehall. Very well read, one hears, patriotic, but quite the cosmopolitan - he loves caraway, apparently. Knows Elgar personally. Suits by Anderson & Sheppard. Very low key, quite elegant, but mind the pocket squares, he does indulge in slight eccentricities and has quite the sense of humour. An aesthete as well, always wears a jasmin blossom on the lapel - yes, he has contacts at Kew - and he has old regimental chums sent him very fine sandalwood from Mysore. At the Liberal Club mostly. Yes, quite the gentleman Astor is. Very fine chap indeed.

Atlas [00:00 GMT] by Tumi

Meh. A fairly generic aquatic "woody amber" masculine scent clearly destined to be really cheap at the discounters once the initial push is over.

The big star of the show is that overused buzzing aquatic ammonia note, paired with ginger on top and artificial apple flavorant in the heart. There's something spicy in there that reminds me of walking through Chinatown herbal shops, but the buzzing ammonia is so strong that there's no room for anything truly interesting to happen, so don't get excited at the thought of clever spices or anything. Unless you collect mainstream men's scents and like it when they all smell the same, I don't think this is worth seeking out.

Madison Square Park by Bond No. 9

A pretty basic fruity floral that smells to me like juicy sour apple on top, joined by a red berry cassis note, with a pinch of violet underneath. Given time, it just sort of unravels more than progresses, which is a bit of a disappointment. Bond is usually good at better-than-average fruity florals (for what that's worth), but Madison Square Park spends hours as thin, salty, fake apple before the ionone violets finally dry down to suede, but even then, it's kind of weak and nowhere near achieving the promising apple/leather juxtaposition that I was hoping for.

Sorry, but I think I'm going with a thumbs down, even though the initial apple note on first spray was well done...

Franck Olivier Women by Franck Olivier

This is such a nice fragrance for the price point. Franck Olivier is a truly lovely and topical floral fruity 90's.This is a Sophia Grojsman type fragrance to me. A strong romantic scent for a woman who is really trying to get noticed. This wears like an adult Cinderella fragrance, but this Cinderella is not coy, shy or pretending to be princess. She is a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it.

The peach, plum and grapefruit, along with blackcurrant makes this such a sweet fruity perfume. The fruit is not sugary gourmand fruit in today's perfumes. It was very common in the 80's and 90's. The lovely mix of fruits is still prominent in the heart note, at which point the vanillic shandes of heliotrope come into play. On my skin, rose and jasmine are a no-show. Vanilla and sandalwood are the key notes in the cuddle dry down, but the fruity notes from the top are still there. There is also a hint of musk, and cedar, which provide the creaminess. The performance is good.

Virtual by Lomani

By today standard of designer's fragrance, Virtual would be categorized as ancient, but this is a good value fragrance for a cheapie.

It has a strong smokey opening with an aromatic burst of soapy freshness from the bergamot and lavender. Then follows the next phase: the smokiness diminishes and a ot of tonka bean appears. The tonka goes down heavy, but behind an rich tobacco sweetness, there is something stylish, and a little retro that makes appreciate it.

As it settles in, it gets more powdery and the vanilla base becomes more prominent. It is best suited for events where button-up shirts and sport jackets are the norm.

Ice Blue by Original Penguin

This review was originally posted at the following link, during a "haiku and limerick sync".

The fragrance supposedly has a muguet note, but it's weak IMO, and lilial isn't even listed (by its usual alias). Unsurprisingly, this is nowhere near any of the better "ice" fragrances, to my nose. In fact, it may be the "broken air conditioner" of the lot. Nevertheless, the fragrance has some odd charms, and got me interested in the lilial ban. Digging into it, as usual, I found myself in disagreement with other people's scientific policy.

The result? Voila! Or Viola! Your mileage may vary.

The mystery train
With peculiar seating
Bound by parts unknown.

Only ten dollars!
Why don't you get on board, son?
Costs of growing up.

Jazz band warming up
Instruments all out of tune
Conifer madness

Did I just pay for
Lilial's last dying gasp?
Murdered by showmen

And lovely ladies
In Dinner Train Thee-A-Tur
Playing Miss Muguet?

Bleu de Bleuism
On Penguinissimo Rocks
Going full d'Issey

In violation
Of Roudnitska's Roudy Rule
That it just smell good

Lean back in the seat
Red can sleep on any bus
Sorry, I meant train

Daydreams of women
Beautiful like cheap fragrance
Not smelling quite right

Sweaty shoulders cool
To the cheeks of crew-cut boys
Damn it sure is hot

Where's the AC, Mom?
Hands me a blue glass bottle
Is this all there is?

Ceiling fans turn, in
Exquisite tragedy of
Southern injustice

"She deserves the noose!"
Yelled Ms. Ratte Fink Overdose
Wolfed down Lilial

At four grams daily
Based on her healthy beagles
And the science lit

That nobody read
Oh, except for those who did
Artfully dodging

The science of GRAS
The joy of derivatives
When honestly sniffed

Across DNA.
"Would you please tell us again
Ms. Ratte Overdose

What Doctor Science
Told you on that fateful day?"
Lilial in tears

White Dior dress ruined
After years of mistrials
And legal abuse.

"She killed the babies!"
"She might have accomplices!"
"Rats need equity!"

"Did Science not say
That Lilial didn't know
Of the pregnancy?

That harm to the child
Only happened because of
Harm to her mother?"

"I don't remember!"
"Didn't Science also say
Ms. Ratte Overdose

That rats more than most
Hate Lilial, but beagles
Are quite fond of her?

Even your own dogs?"
"Doesn't matter! She killed them!"
"Or that you could eat

Four grams Lilial
Every day, quite safely
Based on those beagles?"

"Objection!" the cry.
"Defense is speculating
To a new species!"

"EU's entire case
Is based on speculation!"
"Order! Overruled."

"You may continue."
"Would not those four grams imply
That any number

Of accomplices
Could not harm human babies
With more Lilial

In massive amounts?"
"But she's a skin allergen!"

Said with chess-sure smile.
"But unknown accomplices
Might kill the baby!"

"And unknown agents
Might save that baby as well.
Indeed, to that point

I remind you of
Prior testimony by
Nurse Tocopherol."

"Objection!" "Basis?"
"Allergens!" "And your response?"

"Explain to the court."
"Safening agents exist
In both medicine

And agriculture.
Tocopherol's example
Is one of many.

I can call her back
To explain the idea
Without allergens."

"Objection is dropped."
"Can we move this thing along?"
Red in his bow tie

The Gulf Coast Penguin
Waddling becomes Atticus
"I submit to you

Ms. Ratte Overdose
And to the court and the state
That you understood

What Science told you
But pretended not to know
The implications.

Your years of pursuit
Of Lili and her sister
Had proven fruitless

But you had her now
On a technicality
If you just ignored

Some of the science.
There is no written record
Of bureaucrat's crime

Because in essence
You cornered the science to
A darkened alley

But the evidence
All the things that you ignored
Are right there in print

Where honest Science
On payroll of neither side
Can see what you did

For your media
To ignore along with you
Or to hand over

To paid fact-chequers
Bearing no allegiance to
Science or logic."

"Next stop, Willoughby!"
The boy wakes from his slumber
"South Is Moving North"

Blares the Apple News
Silent smooch in synth pixels
"Profs Blame Climate Change"

"Sure is a warm one"
The lady in the white dress
Sitting next to me

"Yes it sure is, ma'am.
They said it would be cold, too."
"They say lots of things."

"You gettin' off here?"
"I'm bound for Perfume City.
So how about you?"

And thus the boy learned
He could learn a lot from a
Ten-dollar fragrance.

Moschino by Moschino

One of the quietest and in some ways most reserved of the balmy orientals of the 80's, Vintage Moschino is unlikely ever to offend, it is an exercise in good manners. A great place to start exploring older styles of fragrances. Moschino is an elegantly sensual bright spicy warm oriental without the dark sultry overtly vamp nature of Magie Noire. It's spiciness is not as heavy as Coco's. It's fruitness is not as dark or as boozy as Opium's. The heaviness of the vintage is gone, and thickness is transformed into into light but still substantial aura. So if you compare the reformulation with the vintage, adjective "pale" comes to mind, but if you are comparing the reformation to whatever in today's high-end designers section this is perfectly ok. It is a light oriental, that is character can be versatile, depending on how much you are sprayed.

Moschino is a living thing, with startling twists and turns, green and slightly bitter in the beginning. Then you experience the warmth of carnation, pepper and the fierce presence of sandalwood, along with the other florals. It's heart is spicy, sensual but light and elegant as well. Florals melt with patchouli and woody tones to a balanced and semi-sweet outcome, not gourmand, but sophisticated. It has an underlying powdery note which only shows itselfat the "end" of the trail. I don't get a lot of balsamic. There is a sweetness, but not like the modern cotton candy scents. Moschino is sexy, but in a soothing way. It is a scent for a sophisticated, reserved and confident lover. Someone who knows the thrill is in the chase and in the anticipation. Someone not infected with the modern world's neurosis and culture of cheap, undignified instant gratification.

New York Oud by Bond No. 9

60% cheap aquatic "woody amber" chemicals
30% strawberry/patchouli/rose jam
10% rubbery oud

In a way, this is terrible, because it relies so heavily on cheap aquatic chemicals, but I have to admit that it smells better than the sum of its parts. Somehow, the mix of chemical buzz and the rubbery smoke from the oud works, while the sweetness of the jam makes it much more wearable than it would be otherwise.

I'll vote neutral, because I just don't like aquatic chemicals in my perfumes, but this makes better use of them than the usual.

Burberry Brit for Men by Burberry

Soft, powdery, slightly spicy, not overly masculine. Burberry Brit straddles many lines and isn't especially great in any area, except being very versatile. You can wear this anytime, anywhere, so you won't have to worry if you picked the right fragrance. There will always be better fragrances for what you are doing or those that perform better, but this is so good at being competent in all areas. It is somewhat modern but also feels a little mature. Kinda clean but also powdery and sweet.

Performace is soft and subdued, but does last most of the day. Again, this lends itself nicely to so many situations.

L.12.12 Blanc / White by Lacoste

The junior varsity basketball game just ended. You've hit the gym shower. You and your teammates are about to head to the local pizza parlor to get a slice and a soda. You might even whisper about a girl across the room.

1899 Ernest Hemingway by Histoires de Parfums

A bit more opulent clone of V&R Spicebomb and maybe a bit more creamy at that. Unfortunately redundant in case you own Spicebomb. I've noticed for wuite a while that paradigm shift in niche house logic. The designers used to copy niche houses, but now it's often the other way around. Niche houses too recognise the good designer work and realise that there's money to be made by using better quality ingredients for the same appeal.

I have nothing against this, but to be in the situation someones compliments you on this with "uuu you're wearing Spicebomb, that's nice", and you give them the "nah huh, you never heard of HdP?". I mean, Spicebomb is a good fragrance for that type of fragrance, even reformulated it's not "mutilated". I'm not implying here that people shouldn't like or buy HdP 1899, but buying it solely for the reason it's HdP and not a "designer" is kind of...I don't know, maybe "insipid" is too harsh term.

All that being said, I can't vote negative or neutral because it's a damn well made clone, but I have to repeat - a clone!

Originality: 4/10
Scent: 7/10
Longevity: 8/10
Projection: 8/10
Overall impression 7/10

1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums

I have to admit that the only reason I'd give HdP 1828 a chance is because it reminds me of the discontinued Ferre Lui, albeit 1828 is less creamy. Secondary there are facets here that connect this scent to Givenchy Very Irresistible for Men Fresh Attitude, however lacking the gourmand touch.

In the initial wave, 1828 is quite citrusy, but early on you catch the whiff of pine although it's in the base, while the nutmeg gives it that dry vibe. This scent likes to play the game of warm, not fresh citruses, combined with vetiver and cedar which is very prominent. So, how well or good this fragrance is only on the account being made by HdP is up to you.

I'd take because of the already mentioned reason in the beginning of the review and because I generally like this type of scent. HdP 1828 is a daily fragrance, wearable for the entire year, lacking the evening/night character.

Originality: 5/10
Scent: 7/10
Longevity: 8/10
Projection: 6/10
overall impression 7/10

African Orchid by Olympic Orchids

Initially, this is a battle between jasmine, clove, and something sticky sweet that I assume is the "nectar" mentioned in the notes list. After about 30 minutes this melange is overpowered by something fresh and grape-fruity (the passion fruit?) and then takes on a slightly tropical edge. But not creamy tropical like suntan lotion, more like overripe-to-near-rotting fruit left to bake in the sun at an outdoor buffet at a tropical resort.

I like the dry down best, when, about an hour or so in, a very lush, white floral-like scent begins to waft off my skin. Oddly, I don't smell it when I press my nose to my wrist—that remains bitter rotting fruit. I have to wait for the molecules to come to me. And when they do, African Orchid transforms from experimental weirdo to an achingly lovely bona fide perfume.

Tilleul by D'Orsay

Walking through a hay meadow
you sup lime cordial and dried linden tea
Bees are busy with honey, and build their homes with wax
Someone gives you a cigarette; you don't smoke it.
The afternoon passes like a Monet
as flowers tumble into dusty night air.

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