incense+heliotrope

Concrete by Comme des Garçons

Milky-creamy, rosy, sandalwoody. Synthetic in that typical CdG manner, which is fine. In no way does it remind me of concrete.

Not to my taste, and rather forgettable.
Sep 10, 2021


Eau de Minthé Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

I liked the mint and geranium opening - not as minty-fresh as I feared - almost an orange note, maybe lemony, underlying - both of these being facets of geranium, along with rose.

And the patchouli base, not heavy, but refreshing and camphoraceous.

A modernised (mint instead of lavender in the opening; patchouli in the base instead of oakmoss), and very pleasant take on the classic fougere.

Not as brightly clean and monolithic (thank goodness) as Beau de Jour; more in the drier style of Houbigant's Fougere Royale, and with some development.
Apr 16, 2021


Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

Beau de Jour reminds me of Penhaligon's Sartorial, in its metallic/steam-pressed lavender opening, but is stronger, sweeter and more linear (as TFs tend to be). Clean and somewhat monotonous. Classic fougere territory. Many will like this more than I did.

I prefer Sartorial, and it's cheaper.
Apr 16, 2021


Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis by Caron

Opening is very 'Caron'. If you like the house of Caron, that's a Good Thing. Middle reminds me of Fat Electrician (though a skinny version of that scent's nutty creaminess). Drydown is unmemorable but goes on for too long.

Too sweet a vetiver scent for my taste; although I enjoyed a sample of Fat Electrician, I wouldn't want to wear it : same goes for Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis.



Apr 16, 2021


L'Eau de Merzhin by Anatole Lebreton

L'Eau de Merzhin by Anatole Lebreton opens with strong iris/orris, galbanum and angelica, and then segues into the green, hay, tonka, and the slightly-pissy sweetness of hawthorn and other florals. Violet leaf merely contributes a slight coolness, rather than any metallic. A grassy-floral, bit of powder, and iris is the dominant impression throughout, with a slight hint of dankness in the drydown to give it a wry slant.

Very wearable for spring and early summer days. In the same ballpark as Hermes Hiris (but more greens) or Hermes Eau de Gentiane Blanc (but a touch warmer and less bitter).

Not a projection monster (you'd not expect it to be with these notes), but persistent on skin for long enough as a daytime scent.

btw : I get no cassis (blackcurrant fruit) or blackcurrant leaf (which to my nose smells strongly of cat piss) - that's because the BN pyramid should read CASSIE = acacia/mimosa/something floral (as in Malle's Une Fleur de Cassie)
Mar 12, 2021


Knize Forest by Knize

Knize Forest is a workmanlike fougere, with typical Knize class, gentlemanly, understated. Lavender-prominent, and not as foresty as its name suggests. Not as sweet as Caron Pour Un Homme, so if you prefer your fougeres on the drier side, this is worth sampling. Not as well-known as it should be.
Feb 6, 2021


Champs Lunaires by Rogue Perfumery

Champs Lunaires is a white floral (tuberose), with a slight waxy feel (can a smell have a feel ?). The opening is not overbearing, but the sillage is such that I can smell it faintly on my forearms when typing.

Tuberose is not a flower I have smelled IRL, and the only tuberose scent I have sampled (on card in-store) is Hermes Twilly. Champs Lunaires is far more grown-up.

Now there's something else happening - a smell of metal polish (Silvo, Brasso, Duraglit, that sort of thing). Whatever it is, it provides an airy lift and freshness, which is different to that in Derviche but serves the same purpose. This ushers in a milky, creamy note, almost white chocolate, and a hint of PVC.

Two hours later, and there's something fleetingly salty and a bit weird with the original floral notes, and then something else floral in common with Etro Dianthus (either rose or geranium, or one of the aromachems that make a carnation accord). And woody - that'll be the sandalwood at last. If this is the drydown, I like it, but it is a skin scent on me, after only 2-3 hours.

White florals are not my bag, so I wouldn't want to wear Champs Lunaires myself. Nevertheless, this is very pleasant and nicely balanced/weighted, with an interesting development. Good work !
Nov 23, 2020


Derviche by Rogue Perfumery

I made the following notes initially by blind sampling, and then seeing what the listed notes were when I could not name/ID them.

[B]Derviche[/B], using a dabber to swipe onto forearms.

Opening seems familiar, somehow. It reminds me of a scented candle, something like "citrus and 'black' amber". Nicer than the average scented candle, though. The opening citrus tones down after minute or so. At the very start, there is a fleeting burning plastic note - what is this ? (wtf is wrong with my nose, I also got this with CdG Parfum in the blind sample pass?).

Guessing bergamot, with vanilla+labdanum for the amber accord - and is there oud in this ? A dark, dirty note but with something high-pitched at the same time - if not oud (having read the notes), is this the civet and saffron ? A bit boozy (similar note/combo to Bentley for Men Intense ? in my mind - have not done a side by side comparison)

After the initial drydown, I'm getting leather and booze/rum with the amber. A bit of incense. Also reminding me of Bel Ami Vetiver, but lighter and not quite as 'burnt', which is a very good thing. What makes the boozy note ?

Now it's quietened down a bit, I get a floral I can't ID but I know what it is not so it's probably a white floral (jasmine, according to the list of notes), and another note that freshens / lightens the overall feel (geranium would be my first guess; but perhaps mint or clove? - none of these are listed - Manny, what is the cooling/freshening note ?)
If it is jasmine I can smell, it is not like the skanky L'Heure Bleue jasmine that I dislike. This jasmine is very pleasant (non-indolic ???).

A bit later on, the scent is lighter again, but still with the dirty dark underpinning. Just recognised a sweet pipe tobacco accord (vanilla, tonka?, and a tobacco note I guess). This is not like the tobacco note in Aramis Havana, which is greener and more sour - cigar tobacco rather than pipe ?
Later... sudden whiff of honeyed floral. The dark stuff still lurks at the very deepest base of the honey. Where's the civet gone ?
Far drydown is sweetish vanilla tobacco with that deep base, which is also woody? (could be the sandalwood, going by the notes).
By this point (5-6 hours), it's a faint skin scent. But I did dab. Longevity and strength are less than I expected. Perhaps I did not apply enough ?

I need to try this again, because I find the opening a bit much (though I did enjoy it), but the drydown is faint, though quite pleasant.
This is a scent I would not have sampled because of the stated notes of jasmine and civet. I'm glad I did, and glad I sampled semi-blind.
It's interesting, and I don't hate it. The civet+saffron give it presence/form.
I think it is a scent that would take several wearings to grow to love, that its complexity would repay persistence.
Nov 23, 2020


Chypre-Siam by Rogue Perfumery

Opening smells like lime powder, and perfumey. Then fruity in a different way. 1960s hair salon, with smells of setting lotion, perming agents. Cinnamon, then cloves. Something ammoniac from time to time.

Do I like this or not ? It's not to my tastes, but I can admire it.
Nov 23, 2020


Tabac Vert by Rogue Perfumery

I really like the opening : it's fresh, with green, citrus (bergamot?), is there some jasmine/white floral to lighten it ? smell of dry twigs, dry oak leaves, tobacco. A leather note. Now sandalwood, and another wood (pencil shavings). I get the amber (sweet amber, rather than salty-skin ambergris), but not the pepper. This is a YES.

This is my favourite Rogue now, by a long way. I'm glad I am enjoying this so much, since I wanted to like Manuel's scents, but hadn't really got a feel for any of them until this one.
Nov 23, 2020


Le Canotier by Rogue Perfumery

I get an opening of (1970s) floral gums, the really tiny perfumed kind, citrus and violet, slightly soapy, geranium, artemisia/tansy. I don't get the vetiver, but there is a green tobacco. The violet note lasts throughout.

I really like this.
Nov 23, 2020


40 Rogue by Rogue Perfumery

Opening is kinda familiar from other Rogues in previous sample pass : citrus; 1960s slightly nose-puckering acetic alcoholic hairspray/hair salon vibe; something fruity apart from citrus; fresh - fresher than I was expecting - nice (almost minty/herby). Settles down to smoothness, hay/grass (?), slight plastic/heliotrope note. Mid and base very well blended but faint. It subsides , and although it lasts on my arm, it is not - I think - throwing out massive sillage, nor is it projecting for ages (unlike Mousse or Derviche).

This scent didn't do anything for me. I'm not a vintage aficionado.
Nov 23, 2020


Ishtar by Rogue Perfumery

Much anticipated, having long wondered what Manny's take on an incense frag would be. The opening is very soapy/shampoo-y/clean-fresh, and I don't know where that is coming from, given the notes pyramid. Then the incense, quite dark, not ecclesiastical, almost charred at one point. Once the opening settles, and the soap dies down, the frankincense and myrrh combo is very pleasant.

However, I then get wafts of soapiness coming back again, and these continue for the duration. I have to put my nose to my arm to get the incense : this smells like one thing from afar, and another close-up. That could be quite interesting : someone thinks you smell all clean, soapy, and ordinary, and as they get closer, you smell differently and unexpectedly of incense. Neat trick. I also get sandalwood, and lily in the drydown; but not the juniper. Despite benzoin, this is not particularly sweet. Am not entirely convinced by the soap-incense combination. The far drydown of incense, slightly sweet and powdery, and when the soapy note is not present, is awesome.

Longevity is excellent on skin - I imagine it would be even better on fabric.
Nov 23, 2020


Jasmin Antique by Rogue Perfumery

Jasmine Antique does not smell like as much of a soliflore as I was anticipating. The jasmine is a very clean, very pure, creamy-smooth, white floral, which blooms as it opens. No skank about it for me, much to my relief. However, I also get a fruity note in the opening, it's peach/apricot/nectarine, something like that, maybe even a hint of redcurrant. And not just jasmine as the floral. There's a narcissus accord that reminds me a lot of the opening of Penhaligon's Ostara; possibly a tuberose (with mentholated vibe) note as well. The drydown seems to be more of the same. It's like a chord reverberating on and on, in a rich auditory space like a cathedral, finally melting into silence.

Again, it's very well-balanced, well-blended. Really pleasant; quality ingredients. Doesn't have a vintage vibe.

It's not projecting massively, in fact it's become a skin scent after three hours, and perhaps longevity is not huge (but I'll update tomorrow). But you could always spray more, or again. This perfume doesn't need to shout to be heard. For lovers of white florals, and jasmine in particular, this one should be a must-try.

It was still on my skin in the morning, so longevity better than I thought. Also lasted even more strongly on my sleeve, including a lemony aspect. Clearly the array of notes I was smelling were the various facets of jasmine, in which case, Jasmin Antique is even more remarkable as a soliflore.

I ended buying a large sample. That's how good this is.
Nov 23, 2020


Flora & Fauna by Rogue Perfumery

Just for the hell of it, I'm doing this blind. This morning, I got an awesome! opening of something leathery, animalic, and sheeny/glossy (which is how my nose reads civet). Almost passing through territory of Bianchi's The Lover's Tale, but not as musky. Animalic but light; deffo not castoreum. Then a hint of white florals (those big white florals again), with something mentholated, so tuberose rather than jasmine, I think. Blows a fresh breeze through the animals, keeping the whole,thing very balanced/restrained. Quite dry, gaining in earthiness. Here's where it got weird : I could have sworn there is patchouli and the sweetness of myrrh in the base, and this became stronger, reminding me of the current version of Etro's Messe de Minuit, of all things. When the ambery, vanilla/labdanum drydown showed up, I was even more strongly reminded. In a good way (surprising seeing as MdM is not one of my favourite Etros). More fauna than flora. As with Tuberose and Moss, I was getting wafts all day.

Now, either I missed the opening this morning, or Flora and Fauna has the capacity to wear differently on different occasions, but I did a respray this evening, and got an opening of bergamot, and the big white mentholated florals, and nothing like as much in the way of leather/animalics. Tonight it's flora rather than fauna. Anyone else get this change in emphasis ? I'm sure the drydown will even it out. Ah, here comes the earthiness, so yes. it's going to the same place.

This too is very wearable, very well-blended. More approachable. Thumbs up.
Not all scents have to be challenging (stares pointedly at sample of Hiram Green's bad boy Hyde, which I've been wearing recently).
I have to say that I'm liking the current batch of samples better than the original batch of samples (C-S, Fl'A, D, TV, MI, LeC). This is probably heresy. They seem less shouty and CAPSLOCK nose-searing. Better balanced, and blended ?? Less bergamot ? Or maybe I'm getting the hang of this house. I'm not a vintage perfumes aficionado. T&M and F&F don't strike me as having a retro/vintage vibe.
Nov 23, 2020


Tuberose & Moss by Rogue Perfumery

This starts out like straight tuberose, with a slight peachy (peach melba yoghurt, to be precise) note. If there is bergamot here, it isn't harsh or overpowering. This is very smooth and creamy, and I like it by far the best of Manny's three tuberose-oriented scents, especially with regard to the opening. It doesn't have anything mentholated about it to freshen it, but comes over as very pleasant and of an 'appropriate' weight.

Much more tuberose than oakmoss, though there is more moss in the mid and drydown. At the same time, in the drydown, I get a vanilla, ambery note (labdanum) rounding things out, though it's not a sweet scent by any means. And something woody in the base to anchor it, or that might be the oakmoss providing underpinning. Some kind of clean musk too - is that white musk ? (very Body Shop 90s). Very, very well-blended.

I'm not a tuberose/big white flowers fan or connoisseur, and I probably wouldn't choose to wear this, but it was a delightful, uncomplicated easy wear. I kept getting wafts off my arm all day, and thinking 'well, this is nice; rather nice'. It wasn't demanding my attention in the sense of 'oh no, what's it morphed into now ?' Those of you who enjoyed Champs Lunaire and Flos Mortis might have found this a bit unchallenging (or did you ? I haven't read the reviews, so this is semi-blind testing on my part), but for me, it works the best of them.

Congrats, Manny.

FWIW, the weather is cool and showery here. Typical Scottish summer : 13-14C.
Nov 23, 2020


Flos Mortis by Rogue Perfumery

First impressions : ew, omg. Sour (lemon) + solvents / glue / menthol. A most alarming colour. Is this some kind of embalming fluid ? Impressions of a funeral parlour ? Something floral stirs in the depths. Jasmine emerges, and something white and blunt-edged. Has sillage and projection. Getting something fruity from it (the redcurrant, perhaps) along with continuing menthol. I hope this improves, because I want to scrub it off rite nao. Something decaying, sour and animal, with the menthol over the top as though trying to cover it up. No leather. Flower of death indeed.
Interesting, but there will be time enough for me to smell like this when I'm dead. Not yet.

This is nothing like Champs Lunaires, which I quite liked.
Nov 23, 2020


Fougère L'Aube by Rogue Perfumery

Lots of camphor to lighten the scent. Almost radiant; opens very cool and refreshing with citrus (lemon, bergamot, also petitgrain ?). I get the ashy galbanum too. Lavender appears a bit later.

The costus (dirty hair) hides discreetly in the middle notes; smells like hair combs used to when people washed (their hair) less often : of scalp and hair and their interaction with the comb.

Strong, good projection. Very nice. This is another yes, and possibly my favourite of all the Rogues. However, at the moment, Jacomo de Jacomo has this role in my wardrobe. Fougere L'Aube has more citrus and brightness than the Jacomo - it's not goth.

Very smooth - all melds nicely into a classic fougere within a fairly short time. Extremely wearable.
Drydown has sweet honey note (not pissy at all)
Nov 23, 2020


Iridium by Tom Daxon

Rooty, unsweet iris, amplified by carrot seed note. Woods in the base.

This really does remind me of the legendary and hideously expensive Xerjoff 17/17 Irisss, though not quite as good/rich, nor having quite the longevity. Nevertheless, it's rather pleasant, and much easier on the wallet. Not as sweet as the other Irisss nearly-similar, Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue (but that is discontinued, and perhaps commands stupid prices), and not nearly so reminiscent of wet cardboard as Hiris.
Nov 12, 2020


Mémoire d'une Odeur by Gucci

Tasteful bottle/presentation; I find the scent slightly unpleasant, but thankfully forgettable. A camomile note could have been an interesting component to some kind of gentle hay-like aromatic (in similar vein to Anatole Lebreton's L'Eau de Merzhin, or a Parfum d'Empire creation, for example)- this one is a wasted opportunity.
Sep 24, 2020


Like This / Tilda Swinton Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange

I wanted to like this because of the Tilda Swinton connection, and ELdO have produced some frags I quite enjoy (though none that I consider FBW for me) - such as Fat Electrician (a bit sweet and cloying, and I already have vetiver frags), Je Suis Un Homme, and Eloge du Traitre (I already have Caron's Yatagan, which to my mind is better).

However. The opening of Like This has a familiar harsh, burnt feel to it - possibly a vetiver aromachem (as in Bel Ami Vetiver), but that wears off quickly. At the same time, it is quite sweet. And fleetingly salty. Well-blended, as in I can't pick out individual notes to start with. Doesn't take long before it settles down and becomes floral-ish (I get the rose), mild spice (cinnamon, ginger) and a bit of pumpkin. It's inoffensive. Meh.

In the far drydown, I finally get a recognisable vetiver, somewhat similar to Fat Electrician

It's not often my sampling selection misfires, but this was a dud. I might wear it on autumn nights out when something discreet and sweet-spiced would suit. But why bother ?
Sep 13, 2019


Io Non Ho Mani che Mi Accarezzino il Volto by Unum

Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino il Volto
'there are no hands to caress my face'

Notes :
Top : petitgrain, bergamot, galbanum, myrrh
Mid : cedar, geranium, clary sage, cinnamon, styrax, ylang
Base : incense, tonka, ambrox, tobacco, sandalwood

On first wearing, this fragrance provoked strong olfactory, visual and emotional impressions. Vivid memories of my Anglican childhood and church. This scent is complex, and I think it will take several full wearings to appreciate.

Immediately, I get a close-up image of a hair parting, very sharp and neat, dark hair, short back and sides. The back of a neck and ears scrubbed pink, washed in cold water with that coarse red soap, dried on a rough towel. The nape scraped further raw by a razor, as the young man's neck is shaved by the seminary barber.

The initial smell evoked was so familiar, I was astonished : clean, medicinal, male-institutional, boarding school, institutional shaving and barbering. Lifebuoy soap, Germolene, old-fashioned sticking plasters, embrocation, though not actually smelling quite like any of these things.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness. This is a grooming ritual, but you are not supposed to enjoy it.

And yet, under these circumstances of celibacy and new separation from the world, whether freely-chosen or compelled, barbering is one form of permitted physical contact. And so you have to find what sensory pleasure you can derive from it. Even the rawness. Perhaps especially the rawness. This rough institutionalised cleansing is all there is, in this moment. Because at least it is a feeling, and feeling means that you are still alive, and human.

A qualified opening freshness (petitgrain and bergamot, rather than brighter lemon etc) blends down to an impression of thick, dark, woollen clothing; the black cassocks and undyed undergarments of these future priests. The outer garments are not as newly clean as the bodies they cover, there is a tinge of mustiness, of clothing long-worn without laundering (similar to a note I pick up in CdG Man2), and a fleeting hint of urine (which might be how my nose reads jasmine).

The fragrance develops again. I get polished, dark wood church furniture, the grain illuminated by candlelight. Floor and furniture polish. The vestry, with its great cupboards for hanging the robes of priests, verger, choristers. Everything imbued with the scent of incense. The vestry rather than the church itself, after evening service; the cloth and the wood.

The drydown is calmer; incense and woods, with the geranium breaking through, and a lick of ylang. The opening notes make a reappearance. There's a hint of Brasso or silver polish. A lot of tobacco.

Years have passed, and the young seminarian has become a parish priest, somewhere in the west of Ireland, perhaps. Sitting in an old leather armchair by the open fire in his study, reading and thinking. The door closed. A den, a place of refuge and safety, warmth and fug. Pipe tobacco in the pouch, and always the all-pervading incense. The comfort of what you know; all you know. Is this acceptance or resignation ?

Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino il Volto

This stuff is awesome, and far more wearable than my 'first impressions' review might suggest. I get a lot of tobacco in this on subsequent wearings, and a lot less angst and melancholy. I find it tremendously evocative. It's very tenacious on clothing, and two sprays on skin will last you all day.

It is a serious-minded, introspective fragrance, but not quite meditative or liturgical. Perhaps closer to the Kirk of Scotland minister alone in the Orcadian manse of George Mackay Brown's stories and poems.
Feb 21, 2018

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