The opening is an excellent musk/barnyard oud that does not disappoint, though this phase only lasts for a few minutes before the concoction dries down to an ambery leather virtually identical to Chanel Cuir de Russie. While Musk Aoud was good for what it is, I had higher hopes for this fragrance considering how much it costs.
Scandal PH is good for what it is--namely an aromatic herbal citrus fragrance much like Dior Eau Sauvage--perhaps with better quality ingredients. The opening citrus (lemon, verbena, orange, grapefruit, etc.) is quite good and last quite some time with mammoth projection. After some time, the fragrance dies down to a mossy herbal base.
Not much different from Eau Sauvage or Aeroplane by Detaille, but much longer lasting--insanely longer lasting. Probably not worth the price though.
Before sampling, I had been under the impression this was a barbershop style fougere per other reviews and discussion. Upon sampling, I found Beau de Jour to really be more of almost a smoky lavender soliflore with a mossy/powdery base similar to Czech and Speake Oxford Cambridge with minor floral and citric elements.
BdJ is not a bad fragrance by any means, but just rather plain (and a bit strong for me--almost headache-inducing). The signature line bottle also looks great!
Ungaro II is a bright, hesperidic chypre with a powdery/musky drydown very similar to vintage Chanel Pour Monsieur EDT. Their s some civet in here that you can smell at first whiff, but it is not too pronounced with a conservative application. The civet here reminds me a genuine tincture to some extent. It smells a bit of bad breath and sweaty scalp like the real thing. I would recommend this as on par with Chanel pour Monsieur and it has better longevity.
Having never tried a Franck Boclet fragrance, I approached Musc with a sense of anticipation. The notes appear to be something that would interest me greatly: musk, orris, balsams, rose, and leather.
However, Musc turned out to have very little perceptible musk and was entirely dominated throughout by woods and incense (similar to many of the Amouage fragrances). Unfortunately, the woods and incense smell terribly synthetic (ISO E), but have reasonable sillage as not to overwhelm the senses.
I feel the name is not appropriate to what the fragrance actually entails. Not worth the price, in my opinion.
Probably one of the best Iris Gris re-creation attempts. Moon Valley opens with a blast of peach periscol and icy iris butter and mellows down to a lightly mossy base of musk and balsams and Virginia Cedar.
Moon Valley is similar to the sample of Iris Gris I tried several years ago from the Osmotheque in Versailles. The main difference is the green floral heart, but otherwise, this should be on the radar for any Iris Gris fan.
Xerjoff's Kobe exhibits superb quality citrus, namely neroli and bergamot, in its exquisite opening. The neroli is on par with some of the finest eau de colognes available. After a few minutes, the citrus subsides to a slightly powdery, woodsy/mossy base with just a dash of oud and tonka. This reminds me of the long lost Berdoues EV no. 444 minus the base. Very expensive, but worth it if you like superlative citrus colognes.
Sampled from vintage bottle (c. 1990s-early 2000s)
Fleurs de Bulgarie (not be confused with the tea version) is a rich and unctuous heady mix of Bulgarian rose absolute, sweet/soapy amber, and a bit of musk. The opening is a brief citrus quickly followed by the star of the show, the Bulgarian rose, loud but not obnoxious. The rose is superbly natural with all its defects including a slight metallic note.
The base quickly makes itself known in the form of a soapy/sweet amber. It is listed as ambergris, but most folks don't know the difference between ambergris (fermented whale vomit) and the trade name amber (here, an in house blend of tonka, vanilla, balsam woods, etc.).
Were it not for the base, the fragrance would be a beautiful rose soliflore, but the base keeps it antiquated and Victorian in style.
Overall, very good, very feminine, and very old-fashioned. Once again, golden age Creed quality ingredients.
Cuir de Russie is one of finest Russian leathers out there. The opening is a dark citrus zest that quickly gives way to the star of the show: the birch tar and leather.
Neither the tar nor the leather are particularly strong, but just enough to make their point. Creed's interpretation of Russian leather is poignant and extremely well-balanced. Cuir de Russie would not be out of place with Victorian Era Russian aristocrats.
It is clear that Creed spared no expense in its ingredient use. I would put Cuir de Russie (along with Bois de Santal) in the same class as the vaunted vintage Tabarome.
I approached Epic Man with high expectations since Amouage billed it as a fragrance that embodied travels across the Silk Road--spices, leathers, rare woods, incense, and balms of antiquity--rich and unctuous worthy of kings, emperors, and forgotten gods.
Alas, Epic Man falls terribly short of this expectation though it is not an entirely terrible fragrance. There is a brief herbal opening spiked with cumin that gives a super brief animalic, sweaty component. After that, Epic Man gives way to synthetic oud and incense.
Decent, but nothing great. Certainly over-priced. I would look to Jubilation XXV or l'Air Desert du Marocain for your Silk Road fix.
Opus VI displays much different character than I have come to expect from the House of Amouage as of late. Most are woods, dry incense, leather, and spice. VI opens with a subdued blast of rose (possibly Moroccan rose) and sweet yet slightly powdery amber. There is little development throughout and the fragrance dries down to a skin scent of slightly vanillic amber.
I am convinced Opus VI must contain some amount of natural labdanum as it smells much like my natural samples though it is not as powdery. One of the main problem with amber attar type fragrances is that rose overpowers the amber, which is the case here, especially in the opening. I would recommend this fragrance unless more competitively priced similar offerings are available. Staunchly unisex.
Dzing is a gourmand/leather type fragrance. It is a good effort, but the fragrance has little development and is only two-faceted.
First, there is an initial blast of a rather animalic musk/civet/castoreum that sadly has a rather harsh, synthetic edge. This is coupled with cedar, hay, and a gourmand caramel type note that is a bit to "foody" for me.
After about 45 minutes, the animalics wear off leaving only a faint sweet gourmand candy that quickly fades away.
This fragrance was originally called Desir du Cirque I believe (Desire of the Circus?). It supposedly captures the hay, concessions, performers, and animals that are part of the circus. I think it captures this a bit but for the synthetic edge.
Many complain Dzing smells of cardboard, but this a good sign that some amount of natural castoreum is being used because castoereum is preserved in a chemical that smells like wet cardboard.
Dia Man is an interesting fragrance no doubt. I enjoy light, airy eau de colognes, but Dia Man (in its current forum) is even too light and airy for me. The fragrance is very linear with little to no development.
The whole fragrance is nice citrus cologne with a smattering of fruit and frankincense that last perhaps 30 minutes. Very nice, but not worth the $$$.
Note this review is of the newer EDC concentration in the rectangular bottle, not the older EDT in the ribbed bottle (ribbed bottle is a different fragrance by the same name).
Goutal's recent Neroli EDC (part of the Les Colognes series) is a brilliant, bright, and crisp orange blossom fragrance.
It is really only two-faceted. The brief opening is a fresh burst of the romantic orange groves of southern Spain and Italy. This opening is succinct an to the point. The neroli oil used is of the highest quality. If the fragrance stopped here, it would be perfect.
The drydown, while brief, is a very light white floral musk, which would usual be a buzz kill for me, but here is light enough that it essentially compliments that neroli and helps it last more than the few minutes it would on its own.
Overall, I feel Neroli is nearly a perfect fragrance that is highly unisex. Lovers of orange blossom and neroli unite! Goutal's neroli reminds me of what Penhaligon's Castile should have been--beautiful neroli without the synthetic musky/soapy vibe.
Goutal's neroli is truly the meeting an 18th Century eau de cologne (say Farina Gegenuber) meets early 20th Century cologne (say Acqua di Parma). Anyone who loves traditional colognes owes it themselves to try this.
Iris Ukiyoe is merely a lighty, transparent white floral fragrance with no detectable iris and a bit of powder and violet. I don't see the connection to the Ukiyo-e (浮世絵) art genre popular in Japan in the 18th Century that depicted beautiful artisans, Kabuki actors, and the like.
Aresene Lupin Dandy's opening reminds me of the leather/patchouli opening of Aramis, but quickly evolves into a light leather/iris accord that dominates throughout most of the progression similar perhaps to Dior Homme and MPG Iris Bleu Gris. It does last for several hours.
Arsene Lupin Dandy is a nice fragrance in its own right, but the $250 price tag for such a concoction is a bit off-putting when similar fragrances can be had for much less.
Lyric Man is a decent albeit expensive masculine rose if you were to only have one. The opening is a spice rose with incense gums and herbs showing up soon. The heart is a rosy/incense interplay with a a woody base. Lyric does not have a whole lot of development. The materials are top notch as are most Amouage fragrances.
I feel Lyric was trying to play into the masculine rose trend at the time of its release rather than staying true to its Arabian roots (XXV as an example).
All in all not a bad fragrance and certainly sample worthy. I would suggest other masculine roses as Hammam Bouquet (vintage of course), CS no. 88, Washington Tremlett Black Tie, etc.
I was hoping Musc Nomade would be a truly Oriental musk reminiscent of Arabie, the steppes of Central Asia, or the Western Lands of the Silk Road.
The opening is a boozy citrus. The heart and base emerge quickly and dominate. The whole fragrance is overpowered by grassy patchouli and vetiver. Whatever musk there is is mute and largely undetectable.
Sadly, Musc Nomade is little more than a grassy patchouli "head shop" type fragrance that might have been popular in the 1960s. At this price, I would recommend the much more affordable Molinard Musc, which is nearly identical and 1/4 the price.
I certainly respect the Amouage line and its focus on high quality ingredients in the tradition of oriental perfumery. Gold has likely been reformulated for the worse in recent years (though I have not smelled the original). Gold opens with a light citric blast followed by white flowers, a pink rose accord (perhaps Turkish or Rose de Mai), followed by a light civiet/powdery base. The white florals are too strong and make the fragrance to feminine overall especially in the opening and heart. The drydown is much more pleasant.
At this price, one could do better with Rose d'Homme, Creed Fleur de Bulgarie, No. 88, etc. The rose note, which here is fabled by Amouage, is not the dark, brooding Bulgarian Rose absolute it is made out to be.
Amouage Gold is probably better than 95% of current perfumes, but still doesn't excite me.