Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

Bentley for Men Absolute is a wonderful scent that is darker but similar in character to Gucci PH and Papyrus Oud - both crafted by the same perfumer. It is interesting that Bentley went to Michael Almairac and Robertet for materials, after having such success with Nathalie Lorsen and Firmenich on their earlier hit Bentley for Men intense. To me Intense feels more centered on the labdanum which gives it a non sweet thick amberish quality but still influenced by the black pepper and woods base. Absolute is spiced up with ginger and pink pepper before turning dark with frankincense, oud, papyrus and sandalwood/cedar woods. Both are beautiful mens fragrances, I think I prefer Absolute slightly.
Nov 16, 2021

Wood Infusion by Goldfield & Banks

Wood Infusion is a smooth resinous woods blend - a nourishing and cleansing scent. It smells like a blend of Australian Sandalwood and Palo Santo for a light incense quality but with conifer resin of some type. There is a softness through the middle of this scent, iris maybe?, that elevates this wood infusion from pine floor cleaner simplicity upward into a soft incense woods polished fragrance with a cleansing aroma. I don't smell oud in this scent at all, but I like the fragrance for its simple goodness.
Sep 22, 2021

White Sandalwood by Goldfield & Banks

This is a very light and elevating sandalwood scent that has the attitude you might expect from a white musk and sandalwood combination. The middle note of rose is very noticeable - a better name might be sandalwood rose. The rose is accentuated by amber which is hidden in the smoothness of the fragrance, until the very end when opening woods die down somewhat and the amber becomes more prominent. It has a feminine nature but the fragrance is clearly unisex in my view. The key note listed here is Australian White Sandalwood and I don't know what variety that is but it does smell lighter and cleaner than Australian Sandalwood essential oil which has a more resinous base, absent in this Goldfield & Banks White Sandalwood. If I forget this is named sandalwood I appreciate the scent more for what it is rather than dwell on what it is not, which is a sandalwood scent. It is almost weightless and effervescent in uplifting soft rosy light woods. The support of rose and saffron adds to the weightless softness of the entire fragrance. All this softness and light contributes to the elusiveness of the scent and after an hour or so it has very low projection - almost gone and is all skin scent after the opening. Comparing to other sanbalwood fragrances that are on the market, White Sandalwood is simply without comparison, so it might rate very poorly. But thinking of it as a light rosy sandalwood toned amber and musk scent - I like it much better that way. Thumbs up.

Just a postscript note after several wearings White Sandalwood is much easier to enjoy if I think of it as a very soft and light amber fragrance. The amber doesn't come on very strong, but it lasts for a long time with some light sandalwood and rose highlights.
Sep 22, 2021

Poivre Pomelo by Atelier Materi

This is a truly unusual fragrance. Smooth and flowing green floral that has an emphasis on green notes. Combination of peppery grapefruit that flows into smooth peony light floral that resolves into a vetiver/cedar base. The scent is green and watery in character but includes a dry, bitter pepper against a .smooth lyrical white floral. The combinations smell relaxing and restorative like something you smell in a spring garden after a drenching rain. Very nice.
Sep 19, 2021

Lost Cherry by Tom Ford

Upon opening I smell cherry liqueur and a toasted nut gourmand accord. This is an inviting smell that has a burnt caramel + cherry aroma. The cherry stays as a light facade while losing prominence to toasted almonds and warm powdery tonka and a dry woods base. Tonka has a dryness often interpreted as tobacco leaves, coupled with the cherry liqueur there is a scent of cherry pipe tobacco. This is a masculine scent at the outset with the cherry tobacco but as it wears on the powder dominates, erasing the impression of tobacco and there is considerable sweetness also in the base. This is a very good scent but doesn't live up to the expectation that I had from a label such as Tom Ford. Cute box and colorful presentation. Rated: 3 of 5.

Sep 14, 2021

Virgin Island Water by Creed

Virgin Island Water is a really good summer outdoor by the water fragrance. The opening is juicy mandarin and lime that invites a powerful coconut and floral body. The florals are jasmine, Ylang, and Hibiscus that are the perfect white summer flower that avoids offense by addition of fresh ginger root. Everything about this combination reminds me of fun in the sun, the ocean and gentle tropical floral breeze. The base is powdered sugar and dry white musk with a hint of rum. It all works really well - the coconut, Ylang/jasmine, lime/mandarin, ginger, sweet powder and cool rum base. A great Island cocktail that is hardly a virgin. Unisex. Creed has the best summer fragrance line-up there is with: Millesime Imperial, Erolfa, Silver Mountain Water, Pure White, Virgin Island Water, Aventus Cologne and Neroli Sauvage. Nothing but superlatives for VIW!
Aug 8, 2021

Divine Attraction by Initio

A warm and thick animalistic leather + incense composition that is zhuzhed with ginger, maybe a touch of cumin, flavoring the incense and leather at the opening and then with iso e super in the base. For just the scent of things, Divine Attraction is a winner in my book. It has far less synthetic and musk confusion than some Initio products, and it smells mellow with a low toned tempo and slight hint of animalism that always stays in the background providing a consistent masculine context to whatever is happening at the surface edge of now. This is one of the better Initio creations and I am happy to have a bottle in my toolbox.
Jul 3, 2021

Nuit de Feu by Louis Vuitton

This is a very fine fragrance and a little goes a long way. I was surprised at the amber oud warmth of Nuit de Feu, an element I didn't expect from reading the notes list. The opening has a close relationship to Tauer's L'Air du Desert Moracain but the mid notes reveal a hit of something like Dior Leather Oud. These two elements (LDDM & Leather Oud) are held together with a Roja Dove Amber Oud type scent. When I see white incense and black incense in the notes list, is the white woods incense - sandalwood, palo santo, cedar - mixed with black amber (frankincense, labdanum & birch tar). The results are a smooth and deep warmth of penetrating amber leather incense with a touch of smoke. This sounds heavy but no, it's wrapped up with a carefully finished glow that feels refined and well honed. Definitely one of my favorites from the LV fragrance lab. Rated: 9 of 10 stars.
Jul 3, 2021

Samba for Men by Perfumer's Workshop

Samba for Men is a light crisp mens cologne that is perfect for an everyday freshen up fragrance during spring or summer months. The opening bergamot supported by the very lightest dose of floral lavender which keeps it fresh and adds the slightest green almost melon quality to the lemon bergamot twist. Ylang and freesia adds a sunny middle uplift of attitude while the light musk and cedar base seamlessly smoothes and extends the bergamot opening all the way through to the base. This is one of the simplest fresh colognes I've tried. It achieves this fresh bergamot + spring floral freshness all the way through the clean spare musk and cedar base.
Jun 24, 2021

Coach Platinum by Coach

Thumbs up for Coach Platinum. I agree with Andrew's deconstruction of this it definitely is inspired by several other popular fragrances, but I think of different inspirations. I really don't smell the pineapple as a stand alone note that reminds me of any other scent. The opening reminds me of the first initial inhale of Egoiste Platinum. This shining smooth opening comes from the sharpness of pineapple, frozen with black pepper and smoothed out over deep green of sage and rosemary. This would be a platinum coated green woods if it weren't for the geranium which adds a softness, almost powdery middle note stopping just short of fougere territory. The base is a warm thick comfortableness that reminds me slightly of the ending stage of Dior Homme Parfum with its warm and soft leathery spice notes. All in all Coach Platinum is sharp and energetic at opening but soft, warm and cuddly at the end. Definitely a masculine personality here. Rated: 7.5 of 10 stars.
Jun 15, 2021

Molecule 01 + Patchouli by Escentric Molecules

Of the three Molecule 01+ scents this one - Patchouli, is my favorite. Like all of Escentric Molecule fragrances this is a spare, transparent and minimal fragrance. It is a blend of iso e Super + Indonesian patchouli + Patchouli Coeur. Patchouli Coeur is a Firmenich refinement of patchouli that removes some of the natural opening aspects and results in a patchouli note that is minimal, clear, clean and cuts through air in perfect harmony with iso e Super which also has a clean but quite expansive cedar base tone. Added to these super clean ingredients is Indonesian Patchouli which makes no mistake to inform us that this is patchouli++. The heaviness is completely gone. Patchouli expanded and diffused into a cloud surrounding you with clean sharp medicinal patchouli scent. The persistence and concentrative qualities of natural patchouli is thankfully replaced by an expansive but insightful blend of the best of patchouli and the cedar of iso e super. I like the results. A couple sprays works well and resolves into a skin scent after a few hours, but with a bit of movement it reactivates and refreshes itself. Cool.
Jun 2, 2021

Molecule 01 + Iris by Escentric Molecules

The compilation of Iso e Super with Iris kind of makes sense as a thing to try with Molecule 01 + Iris. But, sadly for me this doesn't work very well and I did not enjoy it. Iris is a beautiful note that adds a thick neutral soft quality to any fragrance. Iso e Super expands and radiates whatever it combines with and so it does with Iris. Initially the expansion of iris is beautiful but as it progresses through the ravages of iso e super expansion, the parts separate and this thinning out of iris doesn't hold up well for either. The base smells synthetic and very floral while the opening is papery and dry. I will need to try this another time, but initially I am pushed back by the combination of these two parts. I like iris and I like Molecule 01, but not sure I want to smell them together.
Jun 2, 2021

Armani Privé Cuir Zerzura by Giorgio Armani

Zerzura is a warm velvety violet and saffron toned leather fragrance that has a dried leafy texture with hints of what I guess might be osmanthus at first and iris towards the base. The base is reminiscent of soft napa suede with a honey sweetness as well as cedar bark rough background texture. This is a very outstanding leather scent befitting the Armani Prive label but other than filling a hole on the shelf for a warm leather which is needed in the Armani Prive lineup, there is not much that is outstanding or unusual here. The perfume smells quite good, masculine without animalism, and balances a slight synthetic polish on top of the leather, but stays on the good side of natural. Rating: 8 of 10.
Jun 2, 2021

Molecule 01 + Mandarin by Escentric Molecules

This combination of Mandarin and Iso e Super is a true blending of very different ingredient types for a stellar new view of mandarin. Unlike the Molecule 01+Patchouli scent which focuses upon and frames the patchouli scent, Molecule 01+Mandarin is a dematerialization of mandarin into a new scent made up of its parts that have been opened up for viewing. Mandarin is perhaps the most interesting orange variety and by itself is a wonderful scent but needs other notes to make it perform in more than a one note story. The role that Iso e Super plays in its dance with mandarin here is to expand and explode the note of mandarin so that you experience the juicy sunny opening, the soaring fruity orangeness, along with a decaying dry musk like background aroma: all are exposed parts of the construction of mandarin oil. These aspects are normally hidden inside and bundled up with mandarin as the unseen umami or essence of the whole mandarin aroma. Iso e super expands the interior of mandarin so that the insights of and secrets hidden inside are now exposed. The subject becomes objectified and understood in a new way. Iso e Super is a very potent floralizer of other ingredients and thankfully mandarin holds up well to this spacial dematerialization of mandarin into an all new experience of the ingredient. Simple, sunny and pleasant to wear.
Jun 2, 2021

Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio

Ok, a lot was expected from Initio when they arrived on the scene several years ago and Absolute Aphrodisiac has suffered mediocre reviews after extremely high expectations. I think what we have here is an extraordinarily good amber fragrance that progresses and changes from a gourmand opening through a weightless caramel amber heart that is as great an amber as I've tried and a very complimentary base of musk tinged with castoreum. The castoreum strangely adds the slight gourmand almost edible quality in the opening but blends with the musk/amber for a very dry polish on the warm caramel base. This is a very nice perfume, one of the best, if you love amber scents. Very unique in its class. Rating: 7 of 10.
May 29, 2021

Rehab by Initio

Rehab is a fougere riff on the Initio formula for fascination which includes a mix of woods and musks in the base. Most of the Initio fragrances I've tried have a thick amorphous, undefinable musk main body to the fragrance and this one follows that path. Along with the musk are several wood and incense type notes - patchouli, guaiac wood, sandalwood, cedar and vetiver that moves the musk into an incense quality and the fougere elements of lavender, bergamot and vanilla yields a healing rehabilitation quality that you might get after a go over in an old fashioned barbershop. The result is a warm creamy woods and vetiver toned musk that stays warm and fuzzy in feel while giving me the feeling that better days are ahead. I like this one from Initio because it avoids that complicated but sweet character that so many of these musk type scents seem to have. Instead of sweet it is spa like rehab and a dry incense afterglow. 8 of 10!
May 28, 2021

Magnetic Blend 1 by Initio

Magnetic Blend 1 has a slight amber warmth at the opening that is consumed by warm musks in the base. There is a hollow and metallic secondary aroma that follows the amber opening and after this it continues on a warm amorphous undefined musk blend that recedes to become all background and context. Any contrasts are smoothed out in the warm complicated tumble of musk that floats around in the background sort of like static inside a mysterious cloud. This Initio is warm and very easy to wear providing an excellent low toned abstract background texture to life. What's not to like? It is hard to pin down these musk scents, but also this undefinable quality makes it hard to find fault with them as well. Magnetic Blend 1 is not too sweet, mildly warm, complicated in texture and enjoyable to wear. Rated 7.5 of 10.
May 28, 2021

Not A Perfume Superdose by Juliette Has a Gun

Not a Perfume Superdose is a stronger dose of Not A Perfume by about double the scent impact. By "double" I mean that Not A Perfume will surround you in a cloud of its freshness about a foot or two before you encounter the person wearing, but Superdose will not only surround you in a cloud of its wonderfulness but it will shake your hand, slap you in the face, fluff up and launder your clothing down to your undies to a sparkling freshness all before you reach a radius of about 6 feet of one who is wearing Superdose. When you smell this I am sure you will recognize it because we have all been assaulted by this super fresh fragrant cloud of wonderfulness surrounding someone as they approach and pass us on the sidewalk. This is ambroxan in the form Cetalox which is a crystaline super floralizing powder mixed with alcohol to form a very powerful cleansing and freshening agent. You smell this as the superpower that emboldens most laundry detergents. Superdose is similar in smell to Escentric Molecules 02, except it is about 4 times as potent and Cetalox is slightly more floral leaning and the freshness is much bolder than plain Ambroxan. I like the smell of it. But, I object to a fragrance being this bold an intrusion into the space of everyone who encounters me. I would rather the scent be discovered by . . . versus assaulted upon . . . those I pass on the street. So for my taste, I prefer regular Not a Perfume over Superdose, and also prefer Escentric Molecules 02 to either of those from Juliette Has a Gun. But, still I like this smell and I am sure it will sell and be popular, and live happily ever after.
May 22, 2021

Nouveau Monde by Louis Vuitton

Nouveau Monde is a bold and aggressive floral, saffron, cocoa and oud fragrance that is definitely a "test it first" fragrance. It is bold, beautiful, in your face, harsh if you abuse it, but also sublime and soft suede around the edges. Nouveau Monde resides in a similar neighborhood of fragrance with Tom Ford Noir de Noir , Vilhelm Parfumerie Oud Affair and even MFK Oud Satin Mood Extrait. There is no mention of floral notes here, however I am picking up aromas of jasmine, rose and violet over a dark oudish wood, maybe a touch of patchouli, softened with saffron and cocoa powder. The cocoa/saffron definitely warms and softens things up towards the consistency of dark soft suede. Don't underestimate this fragrance. It is a bold, fashion forward, even posh extrovert of a fragrance. Usage might require a half spritz used wisely to be sufficient. While this scent is definitely not for everybody, it is a striking statement of sublime beauty, for those brave enough to take this on. Rating: 8 of 10 stars.
May 19, 2021

Météore by Louis Vuitton

The opening thesis of Meteore is all kinds of orange with the delightfulness of oranges, mandarins, neroli and bergamot. All this juiciness is given some depth with pepper, cardamom and nutmeg. A slight undergrowth of vetiver adds ground to stand on for this sharp and tasty summer citrus scent. Meteore is definitely not a new idea in mens fragrance, but it is well done as possibly only Jacques Cavalier can do with these kinds of masculine basics. The aroma is natural and clean smelling, not much in the way of synthetic add ons, and Meteore fills a need in the LV line up for an orange summer cologne fragrance.

Alternatives to this summer citrus within the Louis Vuitton range include On The Beach and Afternoon Swim. On the Beach livens up the orange notes with addition of Yuzu and Cypress for added crispness wich is refreshing. Afternoon Swim is a compilation of all the best that Mr. Cavalier had learned from composing the huge variety of Aqua and Aqua Marine fragrances for Bulgari. Both these along with Sun Song are more interesting summer perfumes than Meteore.

I can not give this one a thumbs up because it is just too average - What is worth a try first? . . . Azemour, Bigarade Concentree, Historie d'Orangers, LV Sicilian Mandarin, Orange Sanguine, Bergamotto di Calabria, Creed MI, Arancia di Capri, Arancia di Sicilia, Mandarine Glaciale, Mark Birley for Men, Oxford BTV.
May 19, 2021

L'Immensité by Louis Vuitton

L'Immensite is a likable, good friend kind of fragrance at first sniff and through its opening. Initially you notice the tartness of grapefruit with an odd sour pickled ginger accent which is a nice touch providing a bridge to a warm rosemary and wooded amber base. The grapefruit ginger layers onto labdanum and ambroxan base that is very dry and pleasantly warm and smells like grapefruit + spiked ginger in an equal balance with the ambroxan powered rosemary + labdanum base. Overall the smells are interesting and very original giving the effect of natural oil rubbed wooden furniture - kind of a Scandinavian feel to the wood. I have totally come around to this fragrance and changed my opinion after wearing it a few times. Initially i was expecting a fresh oceanic along the lines of AdG and this was from reading reviews by early users. I am accepting of L'Immensite and now I enjoy its simplicity of tartness over clean ginger woods. Currently rated 7 of 10 stars, but trending up.
May 18, 2021

Ombre Nomade by Louis Vuitton

Ombre Nomade is a charismatic smokey incense oud fragrance with a strong juicy rose/raspberry tone that dominates in the opening. I could never wear this every day or as a signature, it is just too big a fragrance, but for special occasions this is a wonderful perfume. The interplay of just a few rich elements (raspberry, oud, incense, benzoin tears) used boldly and in harmony creates a unique and warm smokey oud. If you place benzoin resin tears on a hot charcoal you get this smokey sweet incense cloud that is reproduced so well in Ombre Nomade. This fragrance is intense and it must be applied lightly so it can be discovered - rather than broadcasting its presence. When used this way I give it a rating of 9 / 10 stars. A masterful incense.
May 3, 2021

Cactus Garden by Louis Vuitton

The opening of Cactus Garden shows the lemongrass with tart lemon peel aroma and almost a lime green mint note as well. The mint fades fast and also the lemongrass loses strength quickly as it blends into the dry leafy Mate tea aroma. Through most of the wear this doesn't smell like cactus, and is not green smelling like the bottle color would indicate, but has a dry herbal tea note at the end - exactly like a fresh cup of mate tea with a spritz of lemon. The herbal tea warmth makes this a very easy scent to wear. Totally enjoyable. Rating 7 of 10.
May 1, 2021

Orage by Louis Vuitton

Orage is almost invisible in its seamless combination of notes. I really like this kind of scent. The best blending of bergamot, vetiver and patchouli - maybe ever. The extra boost in this scent is the use of iris as the soft heart that is steady and lifts this scent above average. These notes go so well together and work so naturally to achieve such an effortless balance. I am amazed I have not seen the exact combination before - it is so effortless and wears without friction as if invisible. But it is good. Rating: 9 of 10.
May 1, 2021

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