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The Black Knight by Francesca Bianchi

Only Orris Butter lovers need apply.

I wanted to give this a Thumbs Down, but it is such high quality that I just cannot do it. My personal tastes blind my rating, as I do not get along with prominent Orris Butter.

Great longevity and projection, and high quality materials. If you love orris butter, then this is for you!

2/10 with subjectivity
8/10 without my personal tastes factoring


The Dreamer by Versace

A gorgeous tobacco, in the '90's style, in its own right, but I prefer D&GPH vintage for the extra citrus & creaminess.

This is the perfect tobacco, in my point of view. Centered around a green-ish tobacco leaf profile, this doesn't get the slightest tinge of sweetness, as nearly all in this genre do.

Rouge Perfumery's Tabac Vert is the niche version of this type of tobacco leaf profile, but it veers way to sweet for me, especially in the heat and humidity.

But Dreamer I can wear nearly all year, accept for the hottest summer days.

If you can find the Giver version(original), or a later Made in Italy bottle, it really is worth the cost, at today's prices.

8.5/10(vintage)


Vespero by Jeroboam

An outstanding fragrance, and though I do sense a similarity to Aventus, I would not find them redundant.

Vespero has a cornucopia of notes, with lots of dynamism, keeping it interesting even though the transitions are not so pronounced.

This could be a go-to evening wear for some, but the one day I wore it to work it did get pretty exhausting after 8-10 hours. You could say it's rich, with just a tinge of sweetness.

8.0/10


L'Homme by Roger & Gallet

Vintage version sampled.

A beautiful, bright yet distinguished/polished & with presence, fougere. It is in a crowded field, so you may want to sample before committing to ensure it is the flavor you're searching for.

Great blending & materials, good performance & longevity, and a real treat to wear throughout a workday.

Ultimately, I prefer more aromatic entries in this genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed my wearings and highly recommend this to lovers of chypre-fougeres, or aromatic fougeres.

8/10


Armani Privé Iris Céladon by Giorgio Armani

Very good quality materials and blending, niche level here.

The orris is just too prominent on my skin, with patchouli taking backseat. Because of this, and as orris is not a favorite of mine, my rating is skewed due to personal taste.

That being said, the orris is very tame, creamy, pleasant, and does not speak out of turn.

6.5/10 for my personal taste


Reflection Man by Amouage

A very, very brief hint of pine & juniper quickly morphs into a sweet, light syrup of modern mall counter dribble.

I had high hopes for something much more interesting from this house, but I just get a slightly fruity, sweet blob of "pinkish" hue.

3/10


Chypre Palatin by MDCI

Masculine???

Are you a man whose always wanted to smell like Chanel No. 5, but your grandmother scolds you when you reach for her bottle?

Well, your problems are OVER!

For the Extra Low, Low, Low price of only $300 per ounce, you too can smell like Grandma!!


I'm heading to the shower....

1.0/10, because there are no negative stars to select.

I hope this is discontinued, and the FeeBay market goes to $1k per ounce. Then, maybe Gucci Nobile will drop to $50 per 50ml where it used to be.


Ummagumma by Bruno Fazzolari

Superior patchouli, with plenty of action in the transitions to keep it very interesting. It all "flows" perfectly from Top to Base, over the course of many hours.

More resin-y than most in this general area, so you may want to sample first. But if you're a fan of Le Lebo's Patchouli 24, then you may not need to sample. This is superior in every way, in my opinion. And I'm a big fan of Patch 24.

9.5/10 for me, 1.0/10 for my wife, an eternal tragedy....


VIP for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

Much improved version of Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men, with one of the best "dark" patchoulis out there.

A hint of pine brings images of vintage Polo green, but without the ash, tobacco, and leather. This focus is on the patch.

Great materials and blending, great transitions, and the balance of the materials let's the notes speak. This does not get linear or tiresome.

If found for a good price, and this type of patchouli is your bag, the price is absolutely worth the admission, in my opinion. You have to step into niche territory to find a comparable blast of patch that's handled well.
(And without the chemical drum smell at that!)

8.5/10, would be higher but this smells better in the wake or nozzle than while wearing.


Full Incense by Montale

While a beautiful rendition of incense, this Montale offering seems to settle into a "beige blob".

I can detect a few separate notes in the beginning, but there is not much in the way of development, and nothing to hold my interest.

The material quality is good, but I think something needed to be highlighted more in order to keep the fragrance from falling flat.

Medium to Less-than-average longevity and projection, maybe it's my climate or skin type, but I'll continue my search for the perfect incense fragrance.

7.5/10


Rien Intense Incense by Etat Libre d'Orange

On one hand, the most beautiful, piney incense I've ever sampled.

On the other, urinal cake.

I can't reconcile the two, and it is an absolute travesty. Nuclear performance, great longevity, beautiful notes, but stewing brightly in a urinal cake bowl.

7/10, maybe your skin chemistry and climate will fare better than I


Laudano Nero by Tiziana Terenzi

As with its sister fragrance, Ecstasy, Laudano Nero suffers tragically. Though elegant & eccentric, performance is ephemeral. After over spraying, LN because what I expected from the note pyramid. I tried the same with Ecstasy, but with minimal improvement.

Though dissimilar, I prefer Dzhari to fill the same "slot" in my wardrobe. LN seems to clash, ever so slightly, on my skin, and it's just not in a way to my liking.

Laudano Nero might agree with you completely, but I would recommend a test drive before purchase.

6.5/10, rounded up for quality juice


Herrera Confidential : Mystery Tobacco by Carolina Herrera

Undoubtedly 'Quentin Bisch' in delivery, the aromachems are the main star once again.

This is no way similar to Bois Imperial, but it has the same 'synthetic' feel to it, if that makes sense. Mystery Tobacco is boozy, leathery feeling, with a dark, mysterious 'aura', but the chemical bite was just too much for me.

I seem to be very sensitive to the types of materials that Mr. Bisch' uses, as the sweetness just compounds the "screaming" for me. It's not the garmound sweetness found in modern club scents, but the sweetness derived from certain types of leather. This is "one of those" leathers, the variety you don't want to wear in summer.

All in all, a respectable fragrance that may very well resonate across the spectrum of fans, but this is simply not for me. At this price point, I expect better quality materials, but I haven't found a Herrera that didn't have a chemical bite to it.

5/10, weighed heavily by my personal preferences




Carlos Santana for Men by Carlos Santana

Similar to Rochas for Men, so neutral rating for that. Though this may be more interesting and develops more, it is a sweet garmound

Was told this was an alternative to Basala/Basara by Shisheido.
Not true.

Performance is spot on with celebrity designers, so, not great.

For lovers of the sweet, vanilla type garmound, this may be for you. But not at today's prices...

5/10



Leather by Acqua di Parma

Do you like Ombre Leather, but wish the florals were dialed down and some cigar smoke added?

Then this offering is for you!


A great combination, executed well with good materials and blending, if a little linear. However, the contrast of the notes keeps this from getting boring or pedestrian.

7.5/10-8.0/10


Vetyverio Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

Stunning intro, and a beautiful base, sandwich the carrot seed heart that seems very out of place.

The brightness of the sparkling intro & base are overtaken by a bland heart that mutes the effervescent aura. This also dominates the mood of the base, which would otherwise boast a wonderful vetiver accord.

If you've tried Givenchy Vetyver, then you know of the brightness and effervescentness that vetiver can display, then the Diptyque offering really seems to fall flat in the heart.

This is all subjective, and I'm projecting my vetiver preferences onto this fragrance, which is not fair to Vetyverio, so my own opinion and preference weighs very heavily on my rating.

Vetyverio has great performance, and the heart may be thoroughly enjoyed, but I would recommend trying before buying.

7.5/10


Falcon Leather by Matière Première

Thumbs up, because this is not for me, but I think it's well constructed from quality materials, even if they may be synthetic.

In my opinion, I'd give a neutral rating, because this is ecentric and feels like something Quentin Bisch would've created.

The leather is if the sweet variety, and, thankfully, steers clear of the raspberry variety that Ombre Leather and Colonia Leather use.

This is linear, but has very good longevity and projection. A very modern outing, I think this would receive much praise from those who enjoy Bois Imperial. Not because it is anything remotely similar to Bois Imperial, but that it is the same avant-garde style.

Ground breaking? Maybe, but I recommend trying before buying.

5.5/10 for subjective reasons.


Beau de Jour (2020 version) by Tom Ford

THE fougere for the modern generation. I think it's great that TF came out with this, even though it may be linear & somewhat predictable. Maybe we'll see a swing away from 'pushing the envelope', and 'circling back' to 'the good 'ol days of fragrance'?

This is one of the best uses of mint I've smelled, as it veers away from the gourmand territory, but it also steers clear of the 'toothpaste' factor too. It blends perfectly with the lavender, but there just isn't a lot of development.

Longevity is great, it lasts all work day & then some, and projection seems ample.

For the younger crowd; stop by the mall fragrance counter, assuming it carries Tom Ford, and spritz yourself with BdJ. It's definitely worth a spin!

7.0-7.5/10


Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

Second time to let a bottle of this go, it just stays too sweet for me.

I love the materials and blending - this is a high-quality designer - but really straddling the niche-designer fence.

I just prefer my 2016 formula Dior Homme to any flanker yet. But the Intense version is a close second; just too sweet for my tastes.

But I can see this formula getting traction from a younger crowd, for nighttime use.

7.5/10, personal taste is factored in.


Mousse Illuminée by Rogue Perfumery

Beautiful, green fougere, sheep green aura smoothed by florals that stay in the background.
Hangs on the sweet side of the fougere genre, but not in the sugary, gourmand way - more in the sweetness of florals way.

Great, niche outing into a classic genre.

7.5/10


Byblos Sandalo by Byblos

Great impression of sandalwood, for the money. Yes, it's drug store level product, but the quality of the materials and blending do seem much better than everything on the same shelf.

Thumbs up for an entry level gander into the world of sandalwood.

6.5/10


Eau Sauvage Parfum (2017 version) by Christian Dior

The citrus really helps this version out by lifting the composition, and giving a little breathing room to the other notes. And I do mean little, as this still wears pretty heavy.

The 2012 version wears thicker and heavier, and is the more formal of the two. This is perfect for office in the fall through early spring, but in heat and humidity this can be a real choker.

I've never worn more than 3 sprays, and the performance is phenomenal. 12 hours later I'm still getting steady wafts.

8.5/10


Bottega Veneta pour Homme Extrême by Bottega Veneta

Absolutely georgeous pine wrapped in velvety leather that does not have that raspberry note.

This really needs the volume turned up to 10, as it is sadly around a 2. I really want to give a neutral or negative rating for the performance, but I just can't. It's not fair to such a beautiful accord.

Alas, I would need to shower in this to enjoy it properly, and at today's prices, that's just not practical.

5/10 with performance factored in

9.5/10 for the accord itself


Boss Orange Man by Hugo Boss

A bland, sickly sweet, "bubblegum pop" type of scent, best used by teenagers.

At least this doesn't stab my nose like the latest "blue wave", which is what saves this dreck from a negative rating.

4/10

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