Opus XIV : Royal Tobacco by Amouage

Extremely disappointed.
Upon first spray, I was taken back, not with just mere utter and immediate dismay, but also with shock and confusion. How could this fragrance get such amazing reviews? Have “they” just never smelled pure oils and parfums produced by world class artisans or is my nose broken? Definitely not the latter. I move my arm to my wife who says: “You smell like a Hobby Lobby vestibule” then on to my children who unanimously describe this scent correctly: “You smell like bathroom spray.” YESSSS! A Glade air freshener is exactly what I smell. Or, one of the lower end, cheap synthetic smelling dollar store/Walmart “tobacco and birch” candles. I have only been truly repulsed 3-4x in over 12 years of niche fragrance collecting and this is absolutely one of those times. 2/5 stars. Scrubbed off in less than 10 minutes. Nothing more to say..

Cambodi Cologne by Ensar Oud

Citrusy, vibrant, fresh, sparkling, effervescent, pungent aroma of eucalyptus, menthol, camphor and pine, fresh-spicy, floral, all above a layer of Cambodian (clean) Oud wood. Potent and extremely long lasting, this is a pure parfum composed @ 30% concentration. Cambodi Cologne is the antithesis of any “cologne” you’ll find on the mainstream market. Finest aromatics on Earth.

Suriranka by Ensar Oud

Herbal, zingy, crisp, cool, citrusy, and bright. The essential oils work their magic, waking the brain in an uplifting and mentally stimulating manner. Much alike the buzz one receives upon inhaling eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor. However, there is a component to this scent that dims the glow, preventing it from becoming too playful. A resinous, gentle smoke lingers throughout, from top to bottom, and pairs so perfectly with its energetic counterparts. A stunning creation that is not to be missed.

Fougère Noire by Sultan Pasha

I have become ultra picky in my old(er) age and after years of purchasing niche fragrances/attars, only the unavoidable get purchased nowadays. I have made only two purchases this year. This being one of them. Fougére Noire by Sultan Pasha Attars which is truly something special.
Henry Jacques Fabien Absolute *used* to be my #1 Fougere but this has taken the lead and quite frankly may never be surpassed. It truly is the perfect scent.
A perfect rating in all categories (scent, longevity, and projection.) The tiniest drop/swipe will suffice.
Fresh, green, invigorating, smooth, citrusy, bright, dark, vegetal, crispy-yet soft, gentle but strong, obscure…however universally appealing (my wife’s eyes lit up when she smelled it.) Envision a fragrant deep forest, crushed pine needles, the sap that leaks from the trees, damp moss, the ground within, warmed citrus, narcotic florals, and so much more. Literally nothing I’ve experienced compares to it. Words simply do no justice. A true masterpiece (and I use those words sparingly) that must be experienced by the most finicky connoisseurs.

Mr. Pink by Blackcliff

An incredibly tenacious opening that falls right in line with the performance you'd expect from Mancera or Montale. Loud (nuclear) and long lasting (until it is scrubbed off.) A spray (mine from a sample) will last all day and create a scent cloud that encompasses you and stretches several feet beyond.
It opens bright (yuzu and bergamot), fruity, and fresh ... with a whisper of the tropics followed by an intensely sweet and soft candied/comforting vanilla. A light resinous smoke swirls behind it all. The smoke isn't overbearing. I am intrigued because normally I'm turned off by such potently sweet gourmands yet I'm not here and I cannot tell if I love or hate what I'm smelling. To my nose, It's very pleasant yet it is on the verge of being obnoxious. Although, Mr. Pink never quite crosses the line of being cloyingly sweet. It teeters that line and pushes the envelope for my senses. It's a cacophony of fragrant notes hitting your olfactory system from all sorts of angles. I think it works but again, I'm unsure. If you read the note breakdown, you can envision and detect each accord that is listed in this scent breakdown. I am nowhere near ready to buy it but also not writing it off as a pass. To be continued.....

The Exception Azure by Micallef

Fresh, floral, powdery (soft), and spicy. Really dig the artistry here with a swipe of paint across the glass/box, and glass engraving. Perfect for this 🌧 warm spring day.

Jangala by Pierre Guillaume

Incredibly invigorating...this fragrance opens with clean, crisp eucalyptus, coconut, and it captures the essence of moist jungle air! I can't stop wearing this one. It is perfect for warm weather....In the dry down, the coconut takes a back seat and the eucalyptus is met by vetiver and smooth sandalwood. The fragrance is light and it is nearly impossible to overspray this. I tend to go with 8 sprays (make sure to hit the clothing) and I can still detect a trail several hours later. If you are looking for a great addition to your summer arsenal, look no further. I would also recommend "Long Courrier" from this line...which is an attractive and versatile powdery vanilla.

Oud Sumptuous 75213 by Krigler

A gentleman's oud...
This is a wonderful luxurious blend of lavender, clean oud, woody notes, and spices. Oud Sumptuous is not really overly floral but the lavender is incorporated in a way that gives this scent a clean vibe. The oud is clean (no barnyard/cheese accord.) OS epitomizes class and it smells absolutely amazing in my opinion. The price is steep (50ml $385) but for once, I feel the fragrance is justifiably priced. In other words, there was no hesitation spending the $405 including tax on a 50ml bottle. I wouldn't even split this fragrance, I want it all for myself. There is something about Krigler parfums that is so unique that sets themselves apart from the rest of niche houses.

Limited 71 by Widian

Fresh smoke? Could there be such a thing?
Incredibly gorgeous fragrance. Opens fresh but hang on...here comes the oud, beautiful but slightly animatic musks, incense and smoke. There is an undeniable sex appeal going on here. I will try to describe this fragrance: Alluring-sexy musks, fresh citrus, deep, rich, slightly smokey, and quite powerful. A fragrance which is mysteriously attractive and unlike any others I have or can describe. The only fragrance that comes to mind would be Roja Dove Danger Parfum Pour Homme which contains one of the best ambergris notes I've ever experienced. That fragrance is fresh but very opulent and complex which is an accurate comparison when someone asks "what does it remind you of? Widian 71 performs and evolves over several hours. Projection and Sillage begin to taper after the first three/ four hours ... $345 well spent. (Limited Edition, Bottle #104 of 350)

Majalis by Nabeel

The Spirit of Dubai Majalis
Majalis is complex, stunningly addictive, opulent and very much wearable. Upon initial spray, you are overwhelmed with a wide array of accords....each pulling for your attention. What do I notice? The overall feeling is warm, smoky, spicy, and sweet....and the main accords that stand out: rich pipe tobacco, smoky incense, thick/sticky/sweetness (vanilla & dates?) hints of citrusy sweet fruit, espresso beans, woody notes, and florals. I can't get enough of this house lately...and they spared no expense on the presentation. Performance is stellar! No complaints here

Oud Al Melka by Royal Crown

Simply Irresistible...
I would have to disagree with Hermesh...I can detect some florals (such as jasmine-which surprisingly is a note I normally cringe at when I can spot it)...cardamom, spicy saffron, sage but I disagree because I do smell a slightly medicinal oud. In fact I find the oud to be quite dominant with Oud Al Melka. It is not a barnyard or fecal type oud nor is it cheesy. Royal Crown tells me that this fragrance contains the highest concentration of (Burmese) oud in comparison to their other offerings which contain oud. There is this ultra soft, super attractive, lightly sweetened (Tonka), mildly animalic musc which balances the medicinal oud and takes over the mid and base. To be honest, this slightly medicinal oud presents itself in the opening then merges with a mélange of florals, sexy musc, and warm-soft-spicy accords that is simply irresistible. The performance projects and lasts all day long. One or two sprays is suffice. There is never a need to reapply it. An interesting fact: the juice is actually a light "neon-green" color which I found was interesting. My rating will have to be 10/10 in all categories.

Petitgrain by Manos Gerakinis

Easy to reach for...
Manos Gerakinis Petitgrain belongs to the Parfums de Jour collection along with Oud (discontinued)and Gardenia. These are "easy-to-wear" fragrances that can be worn any time throughout the year for any occasion. Black Oud will soon take the place of Oud (which has been unfortunately discontinued.) Petitgrain opens with an incredibly soft and smooth, mildly spiced, woody vanilla accompanied by powdery iris and sweet coconut. This scent is somewhat reminiscent of Infusion d' Homme in that both are fresh and clean but contain a strikingly similar powdery soft iris accord. I also find that Petitgrain is equally as opulent as it's relative Manos Gerakinis "Oud." You can definitely tell that Petitgrain and Oud share the same DNA. I really enjoy having fragrances like this in my collection because I tend to find myself reaching often for fragrances that require no consideration of the weather or occasion. Petitgrain is in the same vein as Santal Carmin by Atelier. Both have this velvety, soft-spiced, mildly sweet woody alluring and addictive trail. It took a few wearings before noticing a slightly jammy rose and after seeing the red rose listed as a note, I can confirm, it is undoubtedly there. Overall, I would describe Petitgrain as a versatile, unisex, warm, incredibly soft, smooth, powdery, sweet comfort scent. I usually have a hard time with fragrances that are sweet but this really isn't cloying at all. Mr. Gerakinis has blended the notes so well that I don't find any of the accords stand out over the other. I purchased this fragrance on the spot after testing a sample. This fragrance has impressive projection and longevity.

Marine Vodka by Alyson Oldoini

Definitely nice...but hardly "niche"...
Marine Vodka opens very fresh with an intense honeydew or melon accord. Also hitting the nose is a culmination of zesty-sweet-tangy fruit (smells like a mixture of tangerine, lime, bergamot, lemon, and pineapple.) The fruit is blended quite well actually and dominates the fragrance. Underneath all of these fruity nuances is a clean musk, very light peppery spice, and incense. The fragrance is quite masculine. As far as the description goes, I am at a loss for words. The fragrance has impressive longevity and projection. Far better than most citrusy fragrances I've worn. There isn't much more to the review. It's not complex and not really that unique but it is quite pleasant and a solid offering. If you are a fan of citrusy/masculine fragrances, I would recommend getting your nose on this. But, just like By Kilian "Vodka on the Rocks", I do not quite get the "Vodka" accord.

Heritage by Fragrance Du Bois

Here Here! Attention Fans of: Aldehyde 44 and LM Parfums Aldehyx.....
The first thought that came to mind upon spraying Heritage was...Aldehyde 44 by Le Labo (which happens to be my favorite in that line.) To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised...in fact..I was floored. This has the "wow factor" for me. I am attracted to clean white musks and fragrances that smell "pure", air-y, and refreshing...(think along the lines of LM Parfums Aldehyx.) Heritage is all about soft aldehydic-florals. If you take a look at my collection, you could easily assume that I have an aversion to floral scents. This is absolutely true. I am extremely picky when it comes to florals and consistently avoid fragrances that are feminine (yes I said it-I do not want to smell like a girl) and those fragrances that are dominated by jasmine, tuberose, carnation, gardenia, etc. Heritage is the exception. Imagine that smell of luxurious soap emanating from your skin fresh out of the shower. The scent is incredibly calming, gentle, crisp, clean, soapy, powdery, and enhanced so mildly by an unsweetened vanilla. Sandalwood, cedarwood, and oud provide warmth and depth. The oud is quite noticeable in the opening in my opinion but as the fragrance evolves, you really have to search for those woody notes. As you can expect, I am giving Heritage a perfect 10. I've had it on for about 8 hours and the scent is still swirling around (5 sprays.) Another masterpiece from the house of Fragrance du Bois.

Gaiac 10 by Le Labo

Subtle yet Persistent...
Incredibly attractive, clean, light airy woodsy, mellow, lightly peppered, so smooth and a little creamy. There is a laundry like effect. This fragrance is incredibly long lasting and subtle but tenacious. Gaiac 10 pairs perfectly with Vanille 44. I almost always receive compliments when wearing this fragrance and it is one of my wife's favorite pick from my collection. It's in an entirely different league than Molecule 01. I have a hard time understanding how one struggles to smell it. I find it quite potent. 10/10

Genre by Edward Bess

Suede Jackets, Handbags, and Stallions...Oh My!?
Since owning Cuir Ottoman and Ann Gerard Cuir de Nacre, I have been on the hunt for that realistic suede, handbag-esque, refined niche leather scent. The hunt comes to an abrupt halt with Genre. This is clean yet slightly resinous-sweet, very smooth, warm and reminiscent of brand new suede jacket. It is a mixture of that handbag-esque leather, suede, and only a whisper of raw "living stallion" accord they call it. Which is another way to describe a raw-animalic-leathery nuance. Arabian Horse by Pierre Guillaume was a prime example of a pronounced "stallion" accord. None of these notes stand out over the other which really sets this fragrance apart from the 3 aforementioned. I would probably describe the Main Accords to read as such: Leathery, Musky, Sweet, Powdery, Balsamic, Animalic. I would not call this masculine nor would I would call it feminine. It is somewhere in between, different from the rest of the leather scents I've come across, and a overall...a successful blind buy.

Oud Stars : Alexandria Imperiale by Xerjoff

Alexandria II vs. Alexandria Imperiale....
I could not wait to rip open the package and spray this fragrance. Yes, like you may have heard...you will notice similarities to Alexandria II upon first spray. The differences were quite apparent however, I find that Alexandria Imperiale has significantly more deep-wooody nuances and it has less of that sharp spiciness present in Alex II. Alexandria Imperiale opens oily then quickly turns balmy and charred. I have to dig hard for florals in Alexandria Imperiale. There is this thick and mildly- musky-sweetness (vanilla?) enveloping a pungent and smooth-spicy-rose- oud juxtaposition. There is a lot going on here! It's not animalic or barnyard but the oud is much more pronounced, "raw".....and easily identifiable. It evolves and transforms whereas with Alexandria II, what you see is what you get for the next 16-24 hours after application! Make no mistake about it, Alexandria Imp..is still a strong fragrance with great projection and all day longevity but it is more intimate, overall smoother, more opulent, warm, and softens as it dries down. For serious fans of Alexandria II (like myself), I say you will find this scent is also worthy of your money and while there are similarities, the differences are substantial enough that you will still want to keep Alexandria II. Get your wallet ready and treat yourself to Alexandria Imperiale...

Imperial Desire by Abdul Karim Al Faransi

A white musk lovers dream...

This is an incredibly powdery, strong projecting, and long lasting attar. One swipe from the sticky, thick, creamy attar lightly dabbed to the pulse points is more than suffice for an all day wearing. It opens hyper-sharp-powdery fresh (a blend between orris, baby powder and the talc applied at the barber shop after a fresh haircut.) I detect a fresh (lush) rose joined by subtle hints of fruit and very crisp florals. In the opening the scent profile seems bright, fresh, crisp, then transforms quickly to a culmination of accords that work in harmony producing a scent that can be best described as very warm, musky, and sweet. There is this mildly smooth-spiciness that hums throughout the dry down. Almost within a matter of five minutes this transformation takes place. So, in the opening I can see one describing this as somewhat feminine but as it dries, I consider the scent evolves on the more masculine side. I prefer to wear this attar after the shower at night to bed and to the barber. For those needing a clean scent for the office, this is an appropriate solution but tread lightly. I’ve been told by the perfumer Maison Abdul Karim Al Faransi that some of the ingredients are no longer available and therefore it is discontinued. 9/10

Dubai Ruby by Bond No. 9

"Finally, have I found a Bond No. 9 that's here to stay?"
Several months ago, I picked up a discovery atomizer of Bond No. 9 Dubai - Ruby in hopes that I would finally find a Bond No. 9 scent which is worthy of purchase. I've sampled (and owned) many from this house and none have stood the test of time on my shelves. The short end of the story is that I will be purchasing a full bottle when my discovery atomizer is empty (and no, it is not worthy of the $550 full retail price.) It opens citrusy and tangy then segues almost immediately to a fruity, slightly-candied, tart and rosey scent. There is a delicate touch of animalics present as we approach the spicy-dense-warm-woody-soft-powdery (floral) and addictive dry down. Dubai Ruby is versatile in that it has a fresh component appropriate for warmer weather and it also has some significant depth in the base which many individuals seek in their perfumes in the cooler months. The fragrance is tenacious and will project easily over the course of an 8 hour shift. My rating is an overall 9.5/10

Kings Wood by Shay & Blue

What were they thinking???
I have never and I repeat never smelled such a terrible fragrance. (Wait a second, I recall another strong negative reaction to Zoologist Bat, read my review on that one but this ranks up there.) This gets a 1/10 only because I’m sure there are worse fragrances on the market. After sampling this, the first thing that came to mind was: WTF is this? Someone urinating on a fruit scented urinal puck OR a dirty wet urine soaked diaper with the scent of a fruit cup lingering in the back ground. These were my first thoughts. At first, I thought I had mixed scents on my skin with another fragrance, surely this cannot smell this bad....but when I sampled the next day, the same thing urine + fruit. Terrible. Where’s the wood??? Zero wood. There isn’t anything else here: “fruity and pungent/freshly peed on urinal puck. I’m wondering if the perfumer was suffering from a sinus infection while making this scent?

Bat (original) by Zoologist Perfumes

Bat droppings in a damp cave
Please, Please, Please do not make the mistake of blind buying this fragrance. It is extremely earthy as if you've just stuck your nose into a cave littered with bat droppings. What actually came to mind when I smelled this was......Weed and Feed chemicals and the scent of a dirty Fish Tank. It is that realistic. Have you ever been to the zoo and ventured in their "rainforest" wet tropical area where it's hot as hell, moist with water droplets everywhere and that feral scent of animals (and their feces) mending with the soil? Yep, that is how I would describe this scent. After about 20-30 minutes, the scent begins to soften and you are left with real moist (strong) soil. The soil becomes somewhat palatable in the dry down by the incorporation of faint notes of florals and fruit. I can tolerate challenging scents (many comme des garcons and strong barnyard ouds) but this right here was immediately headache inducing. I do not get any tropical accord. If you don't mind smelling like you just rubbed yourself with the damp soil from inside of a wet cave, this scent is for you. My wife cringed and begged me to wash it off. You might be one of the few who really enjoy this fragrance so if you are of the really daring type, go against my recommendation and take the plunge blindly for the full bottle....just don't say I didn't warn you! :)

Quintessence / Silver Oud by Manos Gerakinis

1000° Silver
Manos Gerakinis Silver Oud (vintage Silver Oud-Not Quintessence) has been long discontinued and Quintessence is the sequel to Silver Oud. Both are part of the Haute Parfums Collection (Along with the discontinued Gold Rose) and contain 100% pure silver flakes which, when atomized, spray a fine mist of silver. If you asked me to pick between the two, Quintessence would be my selection. It’s a superior scent overall. Mr. Gerakinis pays close attention to every little detail and if you get to know him, you’ll learn that he has a serious passion for perfection in all of his endeavors. Silver Oud & Quintessence are two totally different scents yet share some similarities in that both are fresh-spicy with a smooth-leathery (Saffron), luxurious feel, and both are accentuated by vanilla. Silver Oud has a more pronounced vanilla accord and it is much more peppery, thick, soft, sweet, and dry whereas with Quintessence, I find that it is a more cohesive blend, and neither note stands out over the other. Silver Oud retains that peppery vanilla infused rose throughout the entire dry down. In that regard, it leans on the linear side. I also find with Silver Oud, it I s more masculine. Personally, I think both are full bottle worthy fragrances with outstanding performance.

Oud Extrait de Parfum by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Incredibly strong & a perfect 10/10 rating across the boards. This doesn’t happen often. I really try not to toss around 10’s unless I am absolutely certain.
Warm, unisex, very alluring, with exotic woods and spices melded in such a velvety smooth and soft yet massive scent cloud. There is an underlying sweetness which isn’t cloying, coming from a very dry accord of vanilla. Fans of the original Oud Eau de Parfum will find this to be an even more addictive scent. Longevity.....?.....until you shower!

Aranyaka by Pryn Parfum

Opens Promising, Finishes....

Tenacious and composed of highly concentrated dark and damp oils and absolutes...This scent is evocative of a deep dark forest. Crisp, prickly on the senses at first, with a strong mentholated-like mossy green opening which immediately leads into an abundance of earthy-dark-rich soil tincture. As the scent calms in the dry down phase, a strange animalic accord emerges. Things begin to go downhill (fast) from here. A slightly dirty animalic accord (reminiscent of a freshly manicured animal straight from the groomers) takes over meeting a smokey base accompanied by intense lavender oil. I cannot help but to think of the wafting scent of a flock of farm animals that were just shampooed in the barn. Aranyaka has good longevity and above-average projection. Personally, I was unable to ignore or overcome the “goat hair tincture” and found this accord ruined the scent for me. I also found a significant difference between testing this fragrance on paper and on the skin. Overall rating.....opens promising with a solid 9 and rapidly declines to a 6/10 as it begins to dry.

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