Perfume Reviews

Velvet Rose by Sonoma Scent Studio

Roses. Love them or hate them, they are unique in their sultry, aromatic velvety nature that captures and possesses ones senses. Whether they are soft, pink and dewy or juicy, carnal and red its irrelevant. This is the case of a velvety rose. Soft, yet persistent, mesmerising and deep, with gentle green nuances yet totally fleshy and bold, this is the Velvet Rose!

Rose garden but not in a romantic ideal way but in a literal way. Very realistic and concentrated. The violet leaf enhances the rose and the amber gives it a bit of warmth. There is a whisper of musk but it is overwhelmed by the mighty of flower. Make no mistake, this is not a subtle rose scent. This is an in-your-face rose scent. This scent is a powerhouse. Not in a dated, old-fashioned sense though. It manages to be a throw-back while still maintaining a modern vibe. It's really well done. If you're not a fan of rose, you will most definitely not like this.
27th July 2023

Lucky by Christian Dior

This smells like cheap, fruity shampoo. If you give it time, some of the dumb fruit dies down, letting an especially artificial-smelling lily note in, dripping with aquatic aromachemicals nd fake cucumber.

Seriously, this is what the cheapest of the cheap perfumes smell like - I'm fairly confident I could find something (shampoo, car freshener, whatever) scented like this at any decently stocked truck stop. Please please please don't spend $500 to smell like this...
27th July 2023


51.3N by Dunhill

It's surprising this Dunhill gourmand-ish offering is not more popular. 51.3N (the partial coordinates of London on a map) starts off with a bright green rhubarb floating on a creamy base of sandalwood and vanilla, followed by a silky smooth sotto voce grapefruit accord far more refined than the same high intensity grapefruit note in a certain ubiquitous, instantly-recognizable bro frag (that gives me an instant splitting headache whenever I wander into its cloud. )

The down side? So-so sillage and lasts about six hours on my skin but for the price (currently) it's really a no brainer; just respray and you're good to go for another two or three hours.

Inoffensive, subdued, 51.3N is is a good candidate for day or night, summer or winter, work or play. The bottle is one of the best Dunhill have produced. Solid heavy glass and a machined metal cap.

And did I mention the current price?
27th July 2023

Tai Winds by Avon

If you ever pondered the question - "I wonder what cologne Greg Brady would have worn?" it is.

I do pick up the Brut-ness in the lavender but wow lots of musk. LOTS. Does it smell dated? Yes. Is it pleasant? Subjectively no. Is it an interesting time machine fragrance? Yes on that. Luckily I have the original 'tiki' bottle sans those straps which I don't mind. I just can't do the kitschy car bottles and others.

This isn't office safe or really wearable in public so I'm not sure where this fits other than my first sentence. For me, it's a fun discontinued Avon time machine and I shouldn't give this thumbs up but I can't help it, and I do wear this occasionally . So we'll call it a time machine Thumbs Up.
26th July 2023

Gourmand Bakhoor Dehn Al Oud by Jousset Parfums

Sampling Jousset Parfums Gourmand Bakhoor Dehn Al Oud (a 2022 flanker to the original Gourmand Bakhoor from 2020 and its special edition, Crème de la Crème, released the same year), fittingly a rich mostly-gourmand but with a darker character and the addition of oud, even a slight animalic side, with notes of burnt caramel, oud, almonds / amaretto, honey, and cocoa. Its sweet side is quite sweet but is counter with the dark, resinous, semi-animalic oud. The sweetness definitely wins out overall.

In terms of quality and preference, I find it comparable to its Gourmand Bakhoor predecessors, neither significantly worse nor better, certainly worth trying for both fans of gourmands and oud, and I like the concept very much, of a gourmand-leaning oud, something in vaguely similar concept of Bojnokopoff by Fort & Manle, albeit with a less interesting overall mix. I like this, though.

It’s sold at Luckyscent and Sealed Essence in the US, in parfum concentration, at a price of $230-240 for 50ml, not bad pricing, but not cheap, either.

7 out of 10
26th July 2023

Jasmin Antique by Rogue Perfumery

I not a big fan of this one. I do have to say the ingredients are of high quality. The main reason why I'm not a fan is because jasmine is not my thing. I detect some civet in this one as well (which is also not my thing). I enjoy the florals in this one though. Has that soapy old school vibe. I think this one leans more toward the feminine side. Projection and longevity are above average.
26th July 2023

Forest by Rook Perfumes

Another competent though not wholly exciting offering by Rook. The comparison to Bowmakers is well made, and there is a kind of Durga-ish vibe going on here.

Forest does, figuratively, take you outdoors with an opening of resinous pine. Various grassy, earthy notes come and go. It's somewhat ephemeral in tone, and again I don't detect the base notes. Is this my aging skin? Perhaps.

It's overall a nice experience, but I can't say it compares favourably to another forest-y fragrance, Bottega Veneta, which is more forthright in composition and a cooling prospect throughout the day. Again, lovers of the outdoors theme will want to try this, but that's as far as it goes for me.
26th July 2023

Onthamara by Prin

Onthamara is not a novelty fragrance by any stretch of the imagination -- the animalics are far from cartoonish. In fact it is much more wearable than I thought it would be, not because it is more "ordinary" -- it is not! -- but because it is more refined, without a vulgar shock value. It's floral but lush rather than prim. It's dark but in sophisticated way. It's animalic but more like the spirit of an animal, it's not dirty in the slightest.

Onthamara opens spicy with some cumin and clove, mixed with some lovely fir, violet leaf and artemisia, transforming into a slightly resinous heart, this is where the musk enters. As it develops, Onthamara takes on more oud and incense as well as a mysterious leather note. I thought of castoreum as it smells faintly leathery. It's like a floral-woody-musk that is heavy on amber and animalics and has gourmand accents. At times it seems like an oriental. Not a single moment of this fragrant journey is devoid of rich olfactory depth. If you’re looking for performance you’ll get it here in spades. Big thumbs up!
26th July 2023

Cacao Porcelana by Atelier Materi

Cacao Porcelana is a pleasant milk chocolate tonkabacco, not overly sweet, with good longevity and minimal projection. It’s a cozy scent that would be easier to recommend at a more accessible price point. Good of its type, though, so well worth checking out if cocoa powder is your thing.
26th July 2023

Sycomore Parfum by Chanel

I'm sure the fact that I've never smelled Sycomore before (in EdT or EdP concentration, either one), makes my impressions considerably less valid than those of CHANEL lovers who've tried and/or worn every version of this vetiver fragrance multiple times. So, keep in mind that this review comes with a Sycomore virginity warning label.

The pure parfum opens with the scent of something that smells to me like drying alfalfa. I'm a farm girl from way back and recognize and love the smell of sun warmed hay; along with the smell of horse hair/hide, it's one of my favorite odors. Here, this exquisite agrestic note lasts for only a few moments (sadly!) before transitioning into a much more expected, but still somewhat lighthearted note of vetiver. I swear a bit of some type of mint floats past now, along with some nicely realistic cedar. Both of these notes hold the typical rootiness of the vetiver in suspension, so that the whole scent continues to feel both delicate and fresh, and almost creamy in texture. I know there's supposedly iris and vanilla in here somewhere, but everything is blended so incredibly well that I can't quite ferret out either one. As the perfume continues to dry down, the basenote of vetiver, along with a bit of leather becomes ever more apparent. The fragrance goes on in this lovely and somewhat quiet way for several hours.

In my innocence (or perhaps ignorance), I find this particular version of Sycomore gracefully captivating. Based on reviews I've read, I'm guessing the extrait is no longer as smoky or semi-bitterly pungent as the famed Eau de Toilette was/is. And it now probably leans just a tad more toward the feminine side of things, as well. None of this bothers me however, since this beauty is so enchantingly elegant and sophisticated that I really can't imagine what I'm missing.
26th July 2023

Supremacy In Oud by Afnan

I wasn't expecting to like this at all. This is so much smoother than I expected and it's gotta be the saffron & lavender mix that gives it that spicy-smooth kick while the Oud provides this woody-smoky-smooth base that just amplifies the fragrance and makes it sing on my skin!

The mid feels resinous and almost chewy this fragrance is dense. There is this salty, smoky aura that hangs around Supermacy In Oud that keeps your olfactory interests well piqued. It is not linear and changes once more when approaching the dry-down stage. The initial freshness of the lavender and central smokiness of the oud now take a step back and leave room for something more earthy and musky. I pick up a little clean and oriental-like muskiness, instead, the patchouli is a bit more prominent. The oud is still there and alternates its woodiness with the patchouli sweetness.

It is definitely an oud for beginners, a little too challenging and off-putting when you’re first starting out on your scent journey. However, it’s also not too harsh, sharp, punchy, medicinal, rugged, or animal oud. Supermacy In Oud is the type of fun ride you want from a fragrance. Yes, this requires a few sprays but it is such a bargain for a quality fragrance. This is a great buy all day every day. The fact they letting us have it so cheap says a lot. It really does.
26th July 2023

Iris de Gris by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The initial icy pea in Iris de Gris is quite a nice diversion and I imagine is a skillful trickery using pyrazines for effect (there is in fact a green pea pyrazine used in perfumery). It's a pleasure to experience and really is unlike anything else I've come across in perfumery.

This accord does seem to fizzle out as a pleasant, if not somewhat "painted by numbers" iris comes through and just lacks the personality to follow up the dazzling pea. What's more unfortunate is that it takes a turn for the worse when an insufferable woody-ambery thorny thicket invades further into the development, making me want to wash it off entirely. Bisch is so damn hit or miss for me. This one is sadly a miss.
25th July 2023

360 Degrees Black for Women by Perry Ellis

360 Degrees Black trying to be something of a chypre. But it's far too floral & fruity in my opinion to be a traditional chypre. This doesn't smell black or seductive, fruity and sweet and fresh and spicy at the same time - great in both summer and winter.

The opening is fresh with fruity notes. The other flowers are not key players other than that rose but they're clearly there: violet, mimosa, and freesia. If you let your nose do all the work you can also detect sweet notes of vanilla and amber. This is ultra feminine without being too young.
25th July 2023

4 Pillars by Lost Tribe

I have not tried this fragrance, but I'm disappointed to see yet another indie house utilizing materials like real deer musk (or in other cases from other houses, real civet).

I'm not saying "let's ban creativity" or that we all have to be vegan or any BS like that. I just think it is reprehensible that something should need to die for a luxury product like perfume. Folks, it's just perfume, we don't need to support this kind of blatant overreach of resources. Shame.
25th July 2023

Delicious Black Powder by Jousset Parfums

Sampling Jousset Parfums Delicious Black Powder, a mostly-gourmand, semi-floral blend of cocoa, immortelle, saffron, tonka, suede, and vanilla, it’s fittingly dark, provocative, unisex, sweet, and somewhat multifaceted in that there are woody and leathery edges to it. I quite like it, though I generally find the subgenre of sweet floral fragrances a little challenging on my skin, personally, though I find this fragrance very easily likable and on par with the house other’s releases, which have mainly been gourmand-adjacent.

Delicious Black Powder is sold in the US by Luckyscent and Sealed Essence, priced at $175/180 for 50ml in extrait concentration, and it performs very well.

7 out of 10
25th July 2023

Pure Style by Betty Barclay

If this fragrance was a commercial, it would show a brunette, still in her pajamas, stepping onto the porch on an early morning in spring. She might have a soft blanket still around her, sipping her mug of coffee and smiling.

Citrusy, musky, aromatic, playful, iridescent, tender, blooming and innocent. Sure, it is not groundbreaking nor award-winning but as far as citrusy florals goes this is a very affectionate one. From the florals i pick up the freesia & magnolia, from the citrus i get some of that fresh bergamot. And the musk is quite prominent. It is soft and warm, fresh and zesty, clean, creamy and cozy.

I wouldn't call is "sexy", but it' s definitely a feminine scent that refers to feminine qualities. Everything always feels good and effortless whenever you wear Pure Style, its a great jeans and t-shirt straight out of the shower fragrance.
25th July 2023

Paris-Édimbourg by Chanel

When I was a young, imaginative kid, I'd collect all sorts of vegetation into a bowl and pretend that I was an herbalist or a warlock creating a potion. I remember examining the smell of these twigs, leaves, berries, seeds, I recall often grabbing the needles of the Leyland Cypress hedges and the berries of the juniper hedges and adding them in. I'd crush them a bit to smell their dry, coniferous, earthy, somewhat sweet aroma.

Paris-Édimbourg gives me flashbacks of this, sending me to where my sense of wonder is domiciled deep in my brain, awakening it. Sure, we can imagine that this would be an attractive wear for someone who wishes to feel well-groomed and well-heeled, and pontificate on its utility and function. Pondering whether it has appropriate sillage for a retreat to the Hamptons would feel so disingenuous for me. Thinking about childlike fascination feels more authentic, so I will go with that.

The astringent, quenching qualities of the top notes simmer into a smokier, herbaceous heart, with the juniper berries eclipsed by rosemary and thyme sprigs, a subtly smoky wood, and a cool, fuzzy green not-quite-berry-sweet musk. This is something I'd wear for a jaunt to Vermont to complement my surroundings and lean into wonder; that's more my speed.
25th July 2023

Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal

It has always been easy for me to appreciate the unique style of Goutal perfumes. Even when a scent went way too far in its riskiness and out there-ness like Duel and Passion, I could usually appreciate the craftsmanship and the perspective they were made from. As a fan of the brand, Musk Nomade surprised me. When I first smelled it I really enjoyed the scent but the longer it stayed on my skin the more bored I got.

While it is very elegant and clean, there is a passionate vibe to it that makes me think of a person who deeply appreciates the small pleasures of life, who likes to dig deep and get "dirty" on them - not necessarily in a sexual way but in a more general passionate and whole-heart way. So, it's not the typical classy/elegant vibe that often feels shallow. This is for the inspiring, genuine and gracious person who creates the trends without even trying, not the one who follows them to try to impress and fit in.

A gorgeous, subtle, sensual musk scent that's extremely wearable. Forget dirty or ultra animalic, but also forget sparkling clean. Far from screechy or aggressive like many musk scents are and it smells niche. At the opening, it almost has sparkling effect, with a slight powdery smell that gives the impression of a light dusting of newly fallen snow, glistening in the sun. Once this dries down, the intent of the fragrance becomes more clear - as the musk rises, the top notes settle and frame it with the wintry atmosphere. This employs labdanum and rosewood. The sweetness from the two combined with ambrette push out along with the musk, but it is perfectly harmonious.
25th July 2023

Mortel by Cire Trudon

There is no denying that Mortel is beautifully rendered, tender and contemplative, with a solemn undertone. However, I have and love Encens Flamboyant, Unum Lavs, Les Liturgie des Heures, Messe de Minuit, and others that wholly satisfy my penchant for incense fragrance.

Mortel also feels so meek and withdrawn that it's heartbreaking. By no means does it need to be room-filler, but its a bit too subdued and intimate for even those like myself who often champion the subdued and intimate in fragrance.
25th July 2023

Nuit Câline by Galimard

Every now and again, a perfume is created that is just so swooningly beautiful beyond belief that you know you must possess it. You smell it on a passer by but never ever get to identify it and that’s the end of that. Well, the gods were smiling on me one day in a Riyadh mall and I found out why this fragrance was their bestseller. It is that miracle that happens when the notes are seamlessly blended. It is a goddess-nectar in a golden cup in a temple filled not with incense but roses and honey. Seductive and spiritual.
24th July 2023

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens’ Ambre Sultan is the Elvis Presley of amber fragrances – it’s left the building, but its influence is still felt everywhere. Its sugar rush of resins playing tag with dry, aromatic herbs is a motif riffed on by countless ambers since, such as Mitzah, Amber Absolute, and, though Chanel would rather die than admit it, even a teeny tiny corner of Le Lion.

Why ‘left the building’? Well, two reasons. First, I have just drained the last drops from my bottle. Second, for such an immediately thick, knotted muscle of a thing (#thuglife), Ambre Sultan is surprisingly short-lived on the skin.

Ambre Sultan will never not smell glorious to me, though. The love child of a Christmas tree and a lump of cassonade, it smells like a golden resin melting down on your skin on a hot day, then hardening again like a layer of shellac. It is light and dark all at once, its breathy presence one of dusty books, sunlit herbs, burnt incense, and polished wood.

Now that I’ve drained the last drops of Ambre Sultan, I’m eyeing Dior’s Mitzah like it's the last slice of pizza. I am also reassuring myself that, in the absence of Ambre Sultan, I can always suckle at the tit of its genus (Shalimar, according to Luca Turin). But ah! There is a special, rough-hewed charm to Ambre Sultan that is quite different to that of Shalimar, and I will miss it. After all, though Elvis’ music surely owed a great debt to that of Carl Perkins and Little Richard, nobody shook their hips quite like Elvis.
24th July 2023

Eilish by Billie Eilish

Eilish leans heavily into the sweet spectrum. It opens with a prominent vanilla note, reminiscent of a freshly baked shortcake, cheapened by a pop of hot red berries with all the depth and naturalness of the scented hair elastics sold in Claire's. This is quickly followed by a hint of cocoa, adding a slightly deeper, richer tone to the overall scent.

But, honestly, it's quite nice for much of the time, especially when the berrylicious plastic dies down. The fragrance is soft and sugary, but not screechy. However, it also features a strong white musk note, the Maltitol-sweetened type that features in most of the scents carried by Superdrug, which is where I smelled this, incidentally. This particular note is okay-ish, but I've been over-exposed to it and it tends to make me want to nope out of there quickly. Still, there is something to say for the soft, alluring comfort of a cocoa-ish vanilla musk. The angora sweater of the fragrance genres, just slightly discounted.
24th July 2023

Carven L'Absolu by Carven

Carven L'Absolu draws a line of invalidity on this theory that "Sexy scents" should be dark, smoky, super rich, etc... “It’s sexy, but in a clean way.” This is classic sex appeal. It's for a mature sexy woman that enjoys her scents for her age... Not teenybopper over rated Designer disappointments!

The opening is purely floral. Strong, rich mix of jasmine and ylang ylang (equal parts), supported by mandarin orange and tuberose. It settles down about 30 minutes later to moderate projection. Patchouli, labdanum and iris kick in as the fragrance develops through the day to provide an cool, earthy, and menthol support to the florals. Ylang subsides a little leaving jasmine & tuberose to do what she does best... Shine! It's like ylang was somehow holding her on a leash.

After a while they settle down and the scent becomes soft, almost purring like a cat. I find this is quite unique as usually strong perfumes end up being overwhelming or cloying but this is not the case. I admire its being so smooth and gentle despite being so strong.
24th July 2023

Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermès

Un Jardin Sur Le Toit is a roll in the grass, a bite into a Honeycrisp apple, the skin of a Bartlett pear, the wafting of tea roses, and lounging in an Adirondack chair.

Water lilies in a reflecting pool. This is what the dry down feels like. Summer zen, taking notice of the "now," a garden in the height of summer, surrounding the Peace Pagoda, frogs saying "hello" from the water's surface, burgeoning greenery all around.

This is another great watercolor from Jean Claude Ellena.
24th July 2023