Piotr Czarnecki - Sensei

Tonyprince

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 1, 2007
Has anybody tried this one yet? Lucky Scent just started stocking it but it's currently on backorder. The gimmick is that it has three different versions in a single three-in-one bottle. Normally, I'm a bit put off by gimmicks like this, but the fragrance(s) look(s) potentially good to me.
 
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Danbar99

Super Member
Feb 5, 2008
I'm a fan. Very labdanum heavy to my nose, with spices and a slight boozy vibe. Just received my luckyscent order today though, so more time is required for a proper assessment.
 

dougczar

Basenotes Institution
Mar 3, 2012
Interesting. I had never heard of this one. Seems to have some very positive feedback on Fragrantica. I will need to look into this one. Thanks for the heads-up!
 

deadidol

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jan 19, 2013
I've tried it, albeit in passing at an awards show. I wasn't impressed though -- mainly a cinnamon bomb with a gimmick.
 

ClaireV

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 25, 2014
I've tried it, albeit in passing at an awards show. I wasn't impressed though -- mainly a cinnamon bomb with a gimmick.

Yikes, really? I fell for the hype hard on the Facebook groups and joined a split (I am getting 5mls each of the EDT, EDP, and extrait). The notes sound amazing, and first reviews back from people who received their splits are all raves. It just goes to show that the FB fragrance community can be its own little world away from the fragrance community here in BN. I will give an update here when my split arrives. Hope I am not disappointed!
 

deadidol

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jan 19, 2013
Hope I am not disappointed!

I hope not as well! Honestly, when I tried it, I was trying like 15 other things at the same time and I had to take notes really fast (it was the IAO awards thing). "Spicy, peppery gourmand" is what I listed, but I distinctly recall it being one of my least favorite fragrances in the lineup. I don't do well with gourmands and I tend to dislike a lot of cinnamon and culinary spices, so those combinations kind of killed it for me a bit. I'll revisit it sometime soon just to make sure, but I hope you like it more than I did.
 
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ClaireV

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 25, 2014
Hmmm, yes, there is someone on the Facebook groups selling off her sample as quickly as she can....when asked why, she gave a very honest review where she said all she could smell was cinnamon. That is a bit of a red flag to me, honestly, as I feel that too much cinnamon can dominate an entire scent (for me anyway). I was attracted by all the dark coffee and whiskey notes, which tend to be the only type of gourmand stuff I am into, but all this talk of cinnamon makes me wonder if I am in for another experience akin to the unpleasantness of Eau Lente, and apologies to anyone who liked that!

Nevermind, the price for the decant wasn't bad at all. And anyway, I just tested Blackbird and was blown away. Sometimes blind decant buying works out, sometimes not, especially with the more avantgard stuff
 

ClaireV

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 25, 2014
Got my samples. Here are my thoughts.

Is the hype justified? Yes. It's a really good scent, perhaps even a great one. It is a very masculine fragrance, which is to say that it references traditionally masculine smells like whiskey, black coffee, and tobacco leaves, but a woman who likes these sorts of notes would have absolutely no trouble pulling it off.

Smelling it blind the first time around, I jotted down all the notes I thought I could identify, which were as follows: Irish whisky, dried fruit, black Russian tea, unflavored tobacco leaves raw and wet, leather, woods, and the resinous edge of a cinnamon stick. Interestingly, though, there is no black tea or dried fruits anywhere in this. The only explanation I can come up with is that tobacco leaves, when presented as raw and as wet as they are here, do have a sort of tannic edge to them that resembles black tea, and they also smell somewhat fruity. I couldn't pick up on the coffee note the first few times, either, probably because my nose was reading it as dark woods – for me, coffee is first and foremost a dark, woody smell, and not a chocolate-gourmand smell at all. In general, though, Sensei just reminds me of how great a smell tobacco is, and how multi-faceted.

The opening blast is almost unpleasantly boozy and dense, like Christmas cake, but the dry-down is absolutely gorgeous. Once the booze and wet tobacco leaves settle down a bit, it becomes drier and sweeter, eventually thinning out to become a gauzy, transparent woody-tobacco scent that I find deeply comforting. No matter the concentration, Sensei reaches its light, sheer dry down in a mere matter of hours, and does not have the sort of sillage that will invade anybody’s personal space.

So, yes, Sensei is really very good. It is wholly deserving of all the rave reviews it is getting, but it does not, in my humble opinion, justify the frenzied hype surrounding it, for the simple reason that, while it is beautiful, it is not unique. For me, Sensei is simply too reminiscent of different parts of other perfumes I already own and love to ever warrant me buying a bottle (or bottles, I should say). The black tea samovar and booze feel strongly recalls Parfums d’Empire’s incredible Ambre Russe, which is one of my favorite perfumes. The raw tobacco and slightly leathery, dirty labdanum dry down reminds me of Sonoma Scent Studio’s infinitely more severe but also more beautiful Tabac Aurea, and the woody cinnamon parts remind me (uncomfortably) of Diptyque’s spicy Eau Lente.

During the far dry down, I am reminded most delightfully of the spicy, delicious woody-fruity dry downs of fragrances such as Idole EDP by Lubin, Feminite du Bois by Serge Lutens, and even some parts of Fendi’s sadly discontinued Theorema – I don’t mean to suggest that these are smellalikes, but to me, there is something in their transparent woodiness and spiciness that unites all four. Take it as a rough guide – if you are drawn to any of the fragrances I have just mentioned, then it is highly likely that you will enjoy Sensei too. I know I did.

Although I won't be getting a full bottle, I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying exploring my samples. The fragrance comes pre-packed as a set of three concentrations – the EDT, the EDP, and the extrait – which is either a brilliant idea that nobody thought of until now, or an annoying gimmick that kind of forces your hand as to what concentration you actually prefer to buy. You decide which. None of the concentrations last more than four hours on my skin, but there are slight differences between them when it comes to the presentation of notes. The EDP is stronger on the booze in the opening, the EDT has more of a dried-out tobacco leaf feel in the drydown, and the extrait is heavier on the coffee upfront. But beyond these small variations at the beginning, they all dry down to the same delicious base.
 

Duke Hunt

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 17, 2010
Got a sample of this one coming in tomorrow with my order. Looking forward to trying it, anybody else tried it since?
 

MegaMav

Basenotes Dependent
Dec 12, 2013
I think its in the same camp at Tea for Two and Gucci Pour Homme II.
It has a honey note not listed that melds with tobacco, cinnamon, whiskey and labdanum.
I tested the EDP. Good first impression, but probably not worth the asking price.
I'd value it around $80.
 

hednic

Basenotes Institution
Oct 25, 2007
I received a free sample of this with a previous order from Luckyscent and didn't care much for it - a spicy mess.
 

Duke Hunt

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 17, 2010
Giving this one a whirl right now via a sample. Quite a jarring opening so far, cinnamon bomb indeed. Sort of a Tabac Aurea meets Montecristo.
 
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joov84

Basenotes Dependent
Aug 8, 2012
Sampled the new shihan for men and she shihan. The men's version is quite a mess. So different from espresso royale. On the other hand , the female version (she shihan) smells great and is totally unisex.
I never smelled sensei but I heard they are the same as the shihans.
 
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Beck

Basenotes Dependent
May 13, 2014
Yikes, really? I fell for the hype hard on the Facebook groups and joined a split (I am getting 5mls each of the EDT, EDP, and extrait). The notes sound amazing, and first reviews back from people who received their splits are all raves. It just goes to show that the FB fragrance community can be its own little world away from the fragrance community here in BN. I will give an update here when my split arrives. Hope I am not disappointed!

I find Facebook groups and here to be very different worlds. On FB beyond the love for fragrances there are also vanity and a need to show everything is alright most of the times involved. I always take the opinions with some grains of salt. I got used to see people saying a fragrance was the best one he/she tried and in a little the same person selling the supposed best fragrance ever. It's like "Oh I love it. It's the best fragrance I know. I need to sell you in order you can use this beauty!"
 

Duke Hunt

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 17, 2010
Need to dig my sample out again, I remember the opening being rather unpleasant and then being underwhelmed by the dry down.
On paper it looked incredible from the note breakdown, holy grail realm in fact.
 

sobejjj

Super Member
May 25, 2016
I've tried Shihan very recently. Can't compare to Sensei but I understand they're roughly same thing (Shihan being rebranded Sensei). I definately wouldn't call it best thing ever, but I think it is a very solid fragrance. The idea and the notes are great (tobacco is amazing, coffee very nice), the ingredients seem to be high quality . The one thing I've noticed is that the drydown is a bit hmm chaotic. I think with a bit more skill used in the development this had potential to be a masterpiece. I think the author is a self-taught perfumer, am I right? I would say this is in top 15-20% of fragrances I've tried and I'm considering buying the bottle. Definately looking forward for more from Mr Czarnecki.
 

ClaireV

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 25, 2014
I find Facebook groups and here to be very different worlds. On FB beyond the love for fragrances there are also vanity and a need to show everything is alright most of the times involved. I always take the opinions with some grains of salt. I got used to see people saying a fragrance was the best one he/she tried and in a little the same person selling the supposed best fragrance ever. It's like "Oh I love it. It's the best fragrance I know. I need to sell you in order you can use this beauty!"

Totally agree, Beck. When I was new to the scene, I got completely swept up in hype storms that seemed to whip up once a month in the various FB groups, and was invariably disappointed. Over the years, I came to see those groups for what they really are and I am quite able to just stand back and observe without getting sucked in. Perfumers and fragrance wearers thrown into the same groups means that all honest perfume criticism is suppressed, because nobody wants to say anything negative when they are FB friends with the perfumer or brand owner. This has resulted in a situation where all perfumes are uniformly considered excellent and anyone who dares say something even a little critical is accused of "bashing" a brand.
 

Beck

Basenotes Dependent
May 13, 2014
Totally agree, Beck. When I was new to the scene, I got completely swept up in hype storms that seemed to whip up once a month in the various FB groups, and was invariably disappointed. Over the years, I came to see those groups for what they really are and I am quite able to just stand back and observe without getting sucked in. Perfumers and fragrance wearers thrown into the same groups means that all honest perfume criticism is suppressed, because nobody wants to say anything negative when they are FB friends with the perfumer or brand owner. This has resulted in a situation where all perfumes are uniformly considered excellent and anyone who dares say something even a little critical is accused of "bashing" a brand.

Hahaha. I wasn't expecting you seeing my reply. You have exactaly (in details) the same view as me from the operation of FB groups and you felt just like me. I guess this is the healthiest way of seeing I could find to keep me sane in all that insanity. :beer:
 

common scents

Basenotes Member
Dec 10, 2007
I got a hold of a sample as well and like it. I get the cinnamom and something at the outset that reminds me of chocolate, it also has that MFK Absolue PLS vibe which I like.
 

Cheetah1919

Basenotes Dependent
Mar 16, 2016
This Shihan sample I just dug out has got me in a frenzy. It is so good, and nothing like I remember it being the first time I got and smelled it last year! Recently I’ve been saving a bit to try and purchase Creation E, but now I’m so darn tempted to buy a FB Shihan.....which would set me back a ways in getting the Roja....uhhhhh
 

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