Xaterian Stormrage

The One for Men Eau de Parfum by Dolce & Gabbana

Tart grapefruit and dark amber on opening, with backdrops of herbal/florals. There is a bit of tobacco in there as well, although I wouldn't classify this as a tobacco-driven scent: ultimately, it runs sweeter than dark. Not that there's anything wrong with that: I find this scent to be very versatile and complex, shifting from amber-heavy notes to basil-herb, than back to heavy grapefruit-orange citrus. In an overly crowded field of synthetic scents, this stands out as being quite natural and well-balanced. All the notes in here add up to more than the sum of their individual parts.

Unfortunately, as others have mentioned, the longevity is just very short. Two hours and it was a skin scent. However, it isn't expensive and it very well-made, so a few reapplications throughout the day shouldn't be an issue to smell very good. Any time of the year this is fine, perhaps better for more formal occasions but given the different layers here, anytime is fine.

May 8, 2019

California Chocolate by Olympic Orchids

Very strong on the opening, like pure alcohol. Unable to distinguish any notes for the first minute, and then it becomes a sweet dark chocolate-exactly what you'd expect. I'm unsure as to whether or not California chocolate has any citrus elements, but here you get a good dose of orange and grapefruit.

Personally, chocolate and citrus isn't my favorite combination and I find the grapefruit/yuzu notes to be a bit too sharp in conjunction with one another. They don't seem to find the proper balance and muddle together:the backdrop of musk doesn't help make it more distinguishable as the scent enters its later phases.

I love Olympic Orchids but this is not my favorite offering. If you have nostalgia, or a like, for chocolate and oranges then this may be for you: however, for me the notes becomes too conjoined to shine on their own and fail to give the scent an identity.

May 8, 2019

1861 Zefiro by Xerjoff

Tobacco-resin darkness, lightened up with lime-citrus. It's a helluva an opening: dusty stoic spices of cinnamon and cardamom come in after the first few minutes to add even more depth to the heavier notes. And to balance it out, about 5-10 minutes in, honey-sweetness rises up to help give the Zefiro great balance and brevity. This brings to mind smells of the Mediterranean during Zefiro's middle notes: what to me smells like basil (certainly herbal) comes into the mix, as well as floral elements like iris and carnation. It's a more mature, slightly masculine scent: this could be the staple of any sophisticated male who is more interested in smelling good than smelling modern.

The projection could be a little stronger, and it doesn't have a long skin life, unfortunately: just a few hours on my skin. It's quite good though, and while it is expensive, it is extremely well-crafted and a timeless scent.

May 1, 2019

Godolphin by Parfums de Marly

Fruity-green leather opening: I find this heavily sweet on initial applicant. Too much so: florals and fruits are predominant and the leather falls back too much. It smells a bit cheap to me, like a Tuscan Leather clone.

Part of the cheapness comes from the overly synthetic nature of this scent: the fruitiness (lime, blackberry) and the vanilla base are too overpowering and the leather smells synthetic and poorly made as well. The florals (rose, saffron and iris?) are a bit muddled and hard to distinguish, as their dark nature mixes in with the leather itself. The best part of the scent is likely the cedar-woody base, which is somewhat rich and heavy that comes during the second phase of Godolphin's evolution.

Projection is so-so, longevity is just a few hours: given the price of this, I find it unacceptable. Maybe with the heavy sweetness this would lean more feminine, but overall I think anyone could pass and find much better leather scents to occupy their shelf-space.

Apr 18, 2019

Join The Club : Ivory Route by Xerjoff

Cinnamon and basil opening, along with some allspice. It's a rather spicy-dusty vanilla as well, brings up a sweetness that serves more as background music for the heavily spiced notes. Slight herbals as well, mint and basil that adds to the heaviness of the scent. It is overall a fairly heavy fragrance, a little too straightforward with the spice notes and without the type of depth and complexity that I generally like in my fragrances.

This isn't particularly long lasting on my skin, and the drydown becomes much sweeter with a bit of amber as well. Projection is slightly above average to start.

There's nothing particularly wrong with this scent, and overall I enjoy it: however, it doesn't stand out in any way and is rather expensive.

Apr 17, 2019

Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince

First impressions is an entrance into a forbidden forest: surreal, hard to pinpoint woody notes (cedar, fir?) with a strong blast of black currant that rapidly rises. Black currant is the star here: velvety fruitiness combined with black pepper spice. Layered over is coriander seed with a soapy-lemon backdrop. There's sweetness around and it intoxicates on first smell.

As you make your way further in after the first hour, florals spring up all around you: dark flowers, rose and carnation. You can smell a danger around the corner, wine (stronger) and rum (weaker) are part of the base here trying to intoxicate the senses and make you lose your footing. Animals are hidden, there's musk but it's hard to pinpoint, enough to keep you questioning yourself and your progression.

As you make your way towards the exit, herbal-amber begins to haunt and settles itself down. Dark and light at once, a wonderful combination. This is a hell of a scent: lots of layered complexity that blends wonderfully, painting the exact scene that I imagined when I saw the name and description. It has strong staying power and moderate projection, and while a bit on the pricey side, is a very good scent for any occasion.

Apr 14, 2019

Mandarino di Amalfi by Tom Ford

Bright mint-grapefruit-lemon opening, tart and fresh. When Tom Ford is good, he's good and this is one of the finer points from his brand: natural neroli comes through with herbal-acquatics to give you an elegant image of a summer by the sea. It's sharp and vibrant while refined, this could be a staple in anyone's summer scent catalog.

Alongside the bright citrus notes are very pronounced tarragon, sage, and basil: the greenery and the lemon-orange notes are skillfully blended. It is, however, quite linear: a little musk and amber come through during that latter half of the fragrance's life but it's barely distinguishable from the beginning. That is no reason to shy away from this: what it does, it does very well. Extremely unisex, projection is slightly above average and longevity, sadly, is below: 3-4 hours tops.

One of Tom Ford's top warm-weather scents, a bit of an underrated gem actually that is very seasonal, spring/summer is there this will truly shine.
Apr 14, 2019

Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

Spicy bergamot with the herbal-floral notes of the sage at the start. It's very pleasant, this smells timeless. Even the floral notes that embody the middle stages (rose, lily of the valley) are all refined and come across as masculine, as they aren't particularly powdery or sweet and are offset with sandalwood and cedar. It's a spicy-herbal fougere that ring with hints of sweetness under the core, the vanilla and tonka are there to brighten the scent. Those notes play skillfully in the backdrop: this never becomes to sweet, or cloying, or synthetic. It is a LITTLE synthetic, which given the very low pricetag I expected, but it's a great, great value for the price. Don't apply it like a madman and you'll be fine. This smells just excellent.

Unfortunately, the projection (after what I'm assuming has been several reformulations-I have a new batch) is below average and the staying power isn't particularly strong either. However, there is nice depth and complexity here and this scent smells sophisticated, refined and unique. It has been some years and I haven't touched Cool Water in awhile, but it's my belief that this is a signature smell from Davidoff and should be in just about every man's collection, no matter what their age.

Apr 11, 2019

The Scent Of Peace for Him by Bond No. 9

Middling synthetic citrus opening. I'm getting a cheap pineapple (unlike Aventus, which smells much more natural) along with artificial smoke and bergamot. I'm surprised that anyone finds this to be particularly powerful, as it becomes a skin scent very quickly for me. For me, the best part of the scent is likely the vetiver, which does add a decent greenness that is reminiscent of Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver: but again, like comparisons to Aventus, this smells like a cheaper and watered down alternative. There's a bittersweetness to this from a very cheap juniper berry that makes me want to recoil.

This feels like a muddled, mixed imposter of scents that themselves are not very impressive. Furthermore, there is nothing in the projection or the duration of the scent that would recommend even for a cheap purchase (which this is not). Hard pass.

Apr 10, 2019

Spicebomb Extreme by Viktor & Rolf

Spicey and sweet-cloves and cumin to start with. This is quickly joined by a well-balanced touch of vanilla. While not a shy scent, I wouldn't call this a "beast": in fact, it's pretty mild and starts with light-to-moderate projection. It sounds like a reformulation may have occurred because this scent is fairly subdued. While I don't need this to be particularly aggressive as the note-profile is enough to make a statement, it does move to a skin-scent rather quickly. Notes of dark, unrefined tobacco underneath with a sharp-herbal of lavender comes in during the second phase. Overall, I really enjoy this. Particularly I enjoy the contrast of the more sharp-spice notes such as black pepper and cumin with the sweetness from the vanilla and the herbal-sweetness of the lavender.

While this is a men's fragrance, I would say a woman could wear this as well. Nothing yells machismo about this, and the underlying sweetness makes it a pleasant add to anyone's collection. It doesn't break the fragrance mold, but is an affordable and well-blended scent that smells ageless/timeless. This is what a mass-produced, designer modern scent should be.

Apr 9, 2019

Casamorati Italica by Xerjoff

By the Gods, I'm pretty sure I'm about to chew off my arm. Wow does that smell delicious. Strong scent of almond milk (which is hard to believe but it's true), toffee and vanilla with a woody base. Opens lusciously sweet, the milkiness of the almond makes it very smooth. This isn't overbearingly sweet, the wood notes and the dusty-earthiness of the saffron help give Italica more of a reserved gourmand quality. If I had to give it a comparison, I would say this smells like a very high-quality cookie dough batter. Which to me is just fantastic.

Since this isn't overly sweet, it's very unisex. This is good for any occasion, really: but given the price, you're probably going to want to save it for something special. This is...VERY expensive. It's very prohibitive for a casual fragrance user but believe me...this is blind buy worthy. Projection is slightly above average, longevity is 7-8 hours.

Really special. You'll just have to save up to afford it! Or find others to split it with as I did.

Apr 7, 2019

Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

My first experience with Maison Francis Kurkdjian-strong stringent citrus-cedar opening. Slight iris-floral that adds to the sweet notes themselves: it's overbearing and cloyingly sweet. Moderately to heavily synthetic and not in a pleasant way: like many a "modern" fragrance, this smells artificial and unnatural. Unfortunately, that isn't overset until the drydown, a good hour in: at this point, the notes become muddled and hard to distinguish. I believe I pick up some creaminess of coconut and chocolate but they're barely able to be detected. I'm getting no oud at all. Those notes in particular could have used additional strength to balance out the rest.

Very limited projection and longevity is 5-6 hours on my skin, most of the time as a skin scent. For the price, which is very expensive, this is completely unnecessary. Spending a lot of money to smell similar to floor cleaner isn't something I'm inclined to do. If this is what passes for good smelling cologne today, fear for the future.


Apr 6, 2019

Cédrat Enivrant by Atelier Cologne

Very tart, bitter lime-bergamot opening: the strong alcohol opening makes it smell very close to a cleaning product, which is in no way pleasant to me. In fact, I found it somewhat nauseating for the first five minutes because of this mental association.

After that initial stomach-turning moment, the greenery of the mint and the softness of juniper berries do their best to help even out the jagged citrus edge. That edge, however, is always there and never disappears: even as the projection wears down (which it does rather quickly), that tart, stringent scent remains. I enjoy it, but only to a degree: if it were more natural smell and less medicinal, I think I'd love it. As it is, I'm more ambivalent overall as the other notes help out settle down the fragrance.

This is a scent that you'd want to combine with something else: it has very interesting elements but it feels incomplete. It needs something to refine its blow, but what to mix it with? Something for me to think about...cost is very affordable, projection is kind of poor and longevity is average. The synthetic quality of the prominent note would make me very reluctant to wear this in a more formal setting. Unisex, likely for an informal outdoor occasion.

Apr 5, 2019

Oud Stars : Al-Khatt by Xerjoff

Wonderful opening. Xerjoff got this right, you better believe it. Jasmine-floral softness combined with sweet natural vanilla. Also, nice bergamont-grapefruit tartness and creamy sweetness to add to the equation. You quickly get some incense-smokiness from the base, perhaps an oud of unknown origin to me? Light synthetic wood (cashmeran) adds a dark solid base to the sweetness of the overall scent.

As it reaches its second stage, the sweetness takes over the dark-floral elements and it becomes a bit much to my nose. Nothing overwhelming but a bit linear. For me, who likes sweeter scents, I have no issue.

The ingredients here are finally made and this is very good juice: expensive though, Xerjoff doesn't come cheap. However, this stuff lasts quite awhile and the projection is...pretty good (slightly above average), which is almost universally the case from this line. A good spring/summer nighttime scent, although light and sweet there is a sensuality here that underlies everything else. Worth a full-bottle purchase.

Apr 4, 2019

African Leather by Memo

Very nice! I see many people mentioned the cardamom, and I do get the spicy-sweet notes from that: however, this must be a very good quality bergamot and saffron because I'm getting natural sweetness there as well, and quite a bit: the sweet-floral aspect of this pairs just excellent with the leather. For the record, the leather here is dry and light: a touch synthetic but nothing that is offputting. I enjoy this scent quite a bit, as it dries down the cumin becomes more accentuated and the musk comes to the forefront, adding a prominent spice to the final hours of African Leather's projection.

Many leather fragrances make you feel like you're at a cheap bondage party: offputting, over the top, and try-hard with their ridiculous machismo. Here, I find the lightness of the other notes with the leather blend to make African Leather very nice for just about any occasion. Furthermore, this is very unisex. Anyone for any time wear.

Great value for the price, I'm very pleasantly surprised by this. I will have to give Memo more of my financial attention moving forward. :)

Apr 4, 2019

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

EDP formulation:

Somehow, I just entered the biggest powder party in the world. Oof. I guess I might be a product of modernity, but these heavily powdered scents smell very dated to me: the smell of a dandy, a man about town. This, to me, is hardly timeless.

After temporarily feeling like I might be my grandfather, 10 minutes in you get a good citrus-cedar opening combination with florals (rose and sage?) for a light, semi-sweet scent. It's not natural, this is very artificial smelling and not in a pleasant way: I'm not sure if it's because this is a newer bottle or not...citrus scents that have elements of artificiality is a particularly dangerous game, and here Habit Rouge is on the losing end. As it further dries down, the patchouli and vanilla combine to make a dark sweetness on the very base that is probably (definitely) the best feature of this for me.

I don't care for this, and likely won't wear it again. There are a lot of ingredients in here, but they smell rather cheap. Some of the elements work well and some don't, but for me ultimately, and at least with the new formulation, time has passed this by.

Apr 4, 2019

Chypre Palatin by MDCI

Amber, aldehydes and galbanum opening-green almond to start with, heavy creamy green with very light projection. The opening is the best part, very promising. However, the opening dries down very quickly to a semi-sweet-floral backdrop, heavy iris and light lavender mixes well with Chypre Palatin. It's finely crafted but very tame. After about ten minutes, you get the creaminess from aldehydes and vanilla and tonka. It becomes sweeter during the drydown. It's all very....average. Not challenging and not really in any way engaging. And it becomes a skin scent almost instantly, which is rather infuriating given the strong start.

What's more, this is very expensive: hundreds of dollars for 100 ML. Completely not worth it to me. This isn't a particularly masculine fragrance, I'm not sure why it isn't marketed as unisex.

I could give this a neutral, but really for the price: save your money. A very middling chypre with a very extravagant price-tag. For this much money, I expect something much more special.

Apr 3, 2019

Zafeer Oud Vanille by Alexandre.J

This is a very straightforward vanilla and oud. More vanilla/toffee on opening, the oud is much lighter. Light leather and musk as well, both very light, but this is a gourmand through and through: make no mistake about it. The sweetness of the vanilla is masked somewhat by the creaminess of the coconut on opening, as it dries down you can pick up some spice from the clove as well and these elements together are very appealing. It's very close to being cloying but for me, it's a perfect level of sweetness for a vanilla foodie without being overbearing.

This isn't anything sophisticated, so I won't become overly verbose in this review: vanilla-coconut-toffee sweetness with just a little bit of oud in the background. Projection is below average, which is unfortunate: it sits at a skin scent rather quickly. Cost is very affordable though, around $60 for 100 ML. I do enjoy it: however, don't expect much depth or anything other than what it is. Enjoy the sugary ride.


Apr 3, 2019

Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone London

Bright citrus (lemon I'm guessing, and grapefruit) opening, aquatic and extremely light. Very, very light: as in, dries down to a skin scent in 15 minutes light. As in, disappears from your skin completely in an hour or two light. I get sea salt, yes: and slight florals such as the sage and possibly lavender. Almost no wood, however: if it's there it is gone as quickly as it started.

Completely forgettable, performance is absolutely terrible: unforgivably bad. Maybe the worst I've had yet in a fragrance. Hard to even make a complete evaluation when I have scent that dissipates so quickly. What more can I say?


Apr 3, 2019

Javanica by Olympic Orchids

Another winner from the Olympic Orchids house. Sweet-spicy-frankincense runs the show here at first, giving a heavy herbal musk. On top of this is a bright yet soft citrus: orange or mango perhaps, and just a bit of lime to add tartness with the sweetness. Oh, this is good. All of the aforementioned elements are in conjunction with heavy florals, a strong dose of orchid: the scent is named after the Phalaenopsis Javanica flower, which is an orchid that blooms in the forest of Java. You can easily smell the inspiration for this, light vanilla sweetness.

And still, beyond that, there's so much more. As you get to the middle notes, you can smell the nutmeg, the woody base that is wonderfully blended with the rest of the notes. During the dry-down, you get incense with...green tea? It smells milky and green, although the milkiness could be coming from the nutmeg as well. The incense and nutmeg give it a dark base that works to perfection with the sweeter notes. Just nothing short of superb.

Projection is average, and sillage is quite good. I just love this: the note combination is eclectic, certainly, but it all works in seamless conjunction. This is my new favorite floral, really and truly.

Apr 2, 2019

South Water by Lili Bermuda

Very light opening of sea salt and vanilla: too much sweetness but the coconut offsets it (a bit). Almost immediately it sits as a skin scent: there's some level of fruity-musk but you're going to have to really dig at your wrists to get to it. Light fruit, peach-mango. Almost indistinguishable.

There's too much resemblance here to a tanning lotion: for 75-90 dollars for a 3.4 ounce bottle, there are cheaper (and better) ways to get your summer scents. While it smells more natural than say, Hawaiian Tropic or something of that ilk, and is certainly much lighter, they're too close for me to recommend. Furthermore, the performance is an absolute dud and disappears as quickly as it was put on. Not unpleasant but too expensive and generic.

Apr 1, 2019

Aventus by Creed

Has anyone heard of this little niche scent before? Oh, everyone has. Nevermind.

Pineapple-citrus blast to start: a powerful pineapple, very heavy dose of sweetness. Way too much for my liking, and I enjoy sweet scents more than the average male. At least I thought I did, but I do see many men raving about this so maybe that's not correct. Smokey musk, very natural, help offset the sweetness a bit but...this stuff gives me a headache after too long. It's cloying. Bits of rose and jasmine come through to help accentuate the floral background. Drydown doesn't make it any less sweet: the citrus notes do begin to blur a bit though, and the apple comes through which does help improve the overall scent somewhat by adding tartness.

I hear about large differences between batches: I have a batch from 2017, and the projection is very strong for a spring/summer fruity scent. Longevity is average: I find it neither nuclear or weak. Five hours, maybe six? The price on this is extreme. It is very expensive, in my opinion. Too expensive for what amounts to be a somewhat linear fragrance: but so is just about everything from the Creed house.

I debated between giving this a neutral or a thumbs up, because of the price and the constant barrage of fruity sweetness that is never offset. However, it is very natural and, ultimately, pleasant smelling. It does what it does, and it does it well. It certainly isn't groundbreaking by any means. Leans a bit feminine in my opinion, but really completely unisex.

Apr 1, 2019

Cedrat Boise by Mancera

Odd that I just happened to review Aventus today as well, as it was completely unplanned and next in my rotation to review. Serendipitous!

Spicy citrus-cedar-the bergamont comes through, as does the lemon. The lemon does smell very synthetic to my tastes. Unlike Aventus, which smells very natural throughout, this has a strong artificial element to it which I, unfortunately, do not care for. There is little sweetness here: almost undetectable currant that is very faint. I don't find that this projects anymore than Aventus, nor do I find it any more long lasting: very similar in their duration and action. I'm not sure I'd say I care for one more than the other: would I trade a synthetic lemon-cedar scent with a woody base to town down the sweetness, or a cloyingly sweet but natural smoky pineapple fragrance? Either way, I find them both above average. Although they may be used for similar situations, they are different scents altogether.

Linear, perfectly acceptable summer fragrance that is probably (definitely) more expensive than it should be. Very forgettable, but not something you'll regret wearing.


Apr 1, 2019

Gujarat by Olympic Orchids

I just can't get enough from Olympic Orchids. Wow. Spicy turmeric, cardamom and curry are unleashed in conjunction with hints of saffron. It's smokey, spicy and floral all at once-I've never been to an Indian celebration but this feels like it's transporting me there. In particular, the cumin adds a nice layer of smokiness that smells entirely sensual. Citrus (lime in particular, and peach-mango) come through as well to give Gujarat some much-needed sweetness to help round out the musky-spicy top. This is a very complex experience: I'm getting a multitude of "smellsations" at once. Spicy, floral, sweet, savory: it's intoxicating.

One reason I love this house so much is you can tell that they don't use cheap ingredients: everything smells high-quality, is well-made and natural, and is almost shockingly cheap. Here again is the case: projection is above average, not enough to fill a room but past arm's length. Longevity is very good as well, 7 hours and counting.

After the first 30 minutes, the resinous dark base plays a more active part in the overall experience. With this, hints of oud come through as well. This is one of the best woody Oriental juices I've ever come across. As a note: this isn't a gourmand in any way, despite the curry and cumin. The drydown remains spicy and smokey, and here all the notes slowly become less distinguishable.

Just fantastic. Get a full bottle if this sounds like something you may possibly enjoy, I promise you won't regret it.


Mar 31, 2019

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