Cuiron Pour Homme EDC by Helmut Lang



Year: 2002
Nose: Françoise Caron

The opening of Cuiron is mind-blowing for me, I received my bottle today after years of search and I'm happy like if it was Christmas. I tried this scent sometimes back when it was available, then forgot about it, then started looking for it, but the prices were always too high for me, and I stupidly missed some good bargains – this time I "nailed" it instead. And I am so amazed and happy to realize it's indeed the great scent I remembered. Together with Moschino pour Homme this is perhaps one of the very few "hyped" and "cult-like" discontinued scents which to me are actually worth the hype – had quite some disappointments with other ones. Well however... the opening of Cuiron: a salty, plummy, white musks, soapy-clean accord with bergamot and lime, violet petals, a silky, unperceivable suede-like base, Iso E/cashmeran-like cozy aromatic and soft woods, and a sort of tobacco dustiness which emerges better after a while, and a hint of spices (cloves, cinnamon, pepper). Daim Blond dressed in Lang. Can hardly think of anything more essential, refined, cozy. The name can be deceitful, as there is hardly no leather here, or at least surely no raw/dark/lived-in/tanning leather accords, not even "suede" as it is often rendered. Is just something completely on its own, it is a sort of ultra-thin, satin leather, which has undergone so many industrial treatments that it looks like plastic, or PU, but it's genuine. The silky, ultra-flat leather of a glossy lounge... but not even that, because there is so much abstraction and uniqueness here, that the only thing I can think of is "leather in Helmut Lang's world". Deeply and brightly post-modern in its completely new and innovative approach to the leather accord. What amazes me – apart from the scent itself, which smells just heavenly – is the fact that Cuiron manages to stay bold, dense, sharp, with a good projection and a good sillage, still being so minimalist, understated and essential. It's the same visual sharpness and boldness of constructivist architecture: few bold lines, but still a majestic presence. Utterly sophisticated in its own total way. Plus, it has a really peculiar sort of '80s fougère subtle aftertaste, which I am not able to identify, some sort of slightly salty/creamy density, which together with the suede note conjures this sort of feel. A really true and smart example of post-modernism in perfumery – taking an accord and a bunch of notes, cut them in pieces, re-pasting them with a minimalist détournement, giving it a complete but consistent new meaning. Brilliant. And as I said, jibber-jabbers aside, it smells irresistibly good, sharp, distinctive, quite linear but that's definitely part of the concept. I may be a voluble hype-victim but all this deserves a ten to me. Sadly it's most of the times insanely overpriced, and for me, despite the "10", not worth the pathetic greediness of sellers selling it at X times its original cost. Be patient, sometimes good bargains happen and you can still grab a bottle at a decent price.

10/10


Ore Parfum Extrait by Slumberhouse



Year: 2009
Nose: Josh Lobb

I'm completely sold to Slumberhouse. This is just the freshest stuff around, at least in the indie niche segment. The opening is again, as all of Lobb's scents, sharp and powerful, vivid and perfectly crafted like a sculpture in raw wood: dusty, earthy, sweet cocoa beans, so earthy and raw that they smell like patchouli, on cistus and whiskey notes, with a totally peculiar resinous, mossy, dry amber base. Dark woods. The most dense, dark, thick, luscious, ambiguous and foggy gourmand I have ever smelled, that vibrant cocoa prominent note is just brilliant, so tasty and silky, and dusty like black concrete. Half-velvety, half-milky neon-green balsamic vein with echoes of vanillin and anise pulsating below – Slumberhouse's signature accord. Unique, brilliant, sophisticated in its own peculiar way, with an incredible balance of notes, a lot of facets with a compact, consistent overall vibe. A blend of raw, organic naturals with aromachemicals – that addicting, intriguing "retro-futuristic" vein under almost all the scents of this – allow me this idiotic word – "genius" indie house. An overwhelming talent with a perfect craft and stunning materials. The evolution is equally great, it loses a bit of dustiness, the balsamic breeze gets a bit more space, and the dry, yet rubbery dark tar-woods emerge more clearly. Quite a linear evolution, though – that may be the only con. For me, hats off.

9/10


Cuoio tartaro / Tartar Leather by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo



Year: Unknown
Nose: Dominique Dubrana

Cuoio Tartaro opens with a beautiful, sharp accord of balsamic, dense, clean vetiver notes blended with a mossy/earthy side with a slight aniseed touch, on a subtle musky castoreum base, initially quite thin and cozy, almost unpalpable, but with a specific and perceivable organic stickiness. I also detect other woods like perhaps cedar, a leaf of tobacco, and overall, a remarkable and substantial lymphatic feel of humidity, which may be due to a hay note (which in turn links to the mossy-aniseed accord). My nose, as most of fragrance enthusiasts' noses, is well used to synthetic scents (partially, or mostly), so I instantly felt all the "naturality" of this fragrance, which lies in a palpable transparency, a freshness, a clarity of all the notes, even if the mood is more of a "shady" woody/musky scent, it is in fact at the same time bright and vibrant. The reference to "tartars" is not out of place, since there is a spicy vibe which emerges more and more clearly as minutes pass, and that brings in a mystic feel which blends with the "barbaric" animalic base. This spicy accord which comes in is a beautiful, "culinary" herbal/spicy blend, I detect cumin and perhaps a microscopic hint of aromatic herbs like oregano. A subtle ginger note emerges too, together with a delicate, ethereal floral note, really subtle, which softens the woody-animalic general austerity and the overall meditative mood. The depiction of leather is achieved brilliantly by a "mosaic" of suggestions, there is no tricks, no safraleine/norlimbanol rubbery smell which delivers a more common "leather note"... basically here it's rather an evocation of the "feel" of leather, that comes from a smart blend of vetiver, woods, spices, mossy notes and that subtle animalic base. It can therefore disappoint you, if your were looking for an ordinary, easy, "shouted", artificial leather note, but if you get the mood and the point, then it's a stunning fragrance, honest and sensitive, perhaps enigmatic, but incredibily fascinating. Overall this is a terrific aromatic scent, cozy, mellow, really pleasant, also much elegant, genuine, wearable by anyone. It eventually dries progressively on the drydown, coming closer to a leather idea, still keeping several beautiful nuances – balsamic, woody-aromatic, spicy, mossy, with a sweet/ambery note too for a while. A fascinating fragrance to be enjoyed "per se", not a monster scent in terms of projection and sillage – rather a cozy, pleasant experience to enjoy by yourself, a naturality which implies the patience and the ability to enjoy something closer to skin, something more intimate and elusive. Rather linear as regards of the evolution, and with a delicate but fairly long persistence. This is my first encounter with AbdesSalaam creations and I am totally intrigued, can't wait for the future ones.

8,5-9/10


Bruno Acampora - Three EDPs

Here's my choice among Acampora's range of Eaux de Parfum.



***

Jasmin T

Year: 1978

The opening is powerful and sharp, jasmine on ylang, simple as a soliflore but beautifully complex because of the "freedom" Acampora skillfully left to the flowers to express all their depth and facets. The nuances are impressive and range from dusty tobacco, to camphor, to balsamic, to a materic, organic, botanical crunchy "greenness", to the silky, resinous, carnal, polleny (pollinous?) softness of the very heart of jasmine, ending with the airy and lively gracefulness of the sweet notes of the petals. Natural and shady, raw and springy, gloomy and invigorating. The majesty of a single material – that's perfumery at its traditional best. There is also a tiny, dense rose heart, tasty and almost fruity, and a general elusive melancholy, a slight cloudiness I felt in almost all Acampora scents I tested, which I link to the Italian heritage he was such a great representative – some aristocratic, understated, decaying Mediterranean melancholy, with an austere and respectful attitude towards nature – a nature that in fact, Acampora does not "play" with to create posh, refined, rounded, glossy floral bouquets: he just presents nature as it is, in its rawness and ambiguity. So basically this is an essential, earthy, even rough chypre, really dry and simple, almost monolithic, utterly noble and slightly stale. The way Acampora treats flowers makes me think of floral bouquets, not fresh but not dead, just slightly wet and sleepy, abandoned on a table in a closed room of a noble mansion on the sea. One of the very few "pure florals" I would wear with joy and confidence. Brilliant.

9/10

_______________

Sballo

Year: 1977

Sballo has been my very first "encounter" with Acampora's EDPs. I did not know it was from 1977, so the opening was quite a surprise to me, as I wondered how did they manage to recreate that mood and that "old" quality. Sballo opens in fact with a beautiful, nostalgic, dusty, chypre, deeply Italian accord of oak moss, robust woods, hay, so dry and dirty it almost smells like a tobacco-leather accord, with austere shady green notes and some spices, among which perhaps cloves, cumin and juniper, a subtle geranium note which may be the cause of a medicinal/menthol thin balsamic breeze, a floral side accord, discreet enough to give just the right amount of airy silkiness. The harmony is great, a dense, aromatic, cozy, gloomy texture with a slight salty touch and a base accord tight a slightly animalic/indolic, perhaps due to labdanum. The ambiance is again, as for other Acampora scents, deeply and genuinely Mediterranean, a forgotten room in an old mansion above the sea, stuffed with accessories, scents, memories, in a sleepy afternoon of a windy, slightly cloudy day. What I love the most is an elusive, yet compelling and bold "Italianity", which I can get perhaps because I am Italian myself and therefore I share a common cultural and traditional ground... an aftertaste of souvenirs I also have which tell me stories of a dusty, relaxed, forgotten elegance. The notes are all great and the quality is perfect, all sounds deep, rich, wide, evocative. A velvety, refined, shady chypre/fougère scent, hieratic but cozy and friendly, a severe, distinguished but gentle and thoughtful grandfather. As many "bold" vintage scents, not for everybody (no fancy notes, no glossy roundness, just uncompromising old-school beauty).

8,5-9/10

_______________

Iranzol

Year: 1975

Iranzol opens with a heavy, textured note of jasmin, rich and realistic, on a soft sweet base accord of vanilla, amber, resins and tonka, with hay notes, cedar-like woods, and "something" darker on the very under-base, which I do not get clearly – smells almost like castoreum to me, same ambiguous dense thickness, slightly sweet too (although I doubt it's that note). Bergamot and citrus notes to counter-balance this overall "austerity", ginger root, a rich and tasty fruity/spicy note which may be red pepper, and also a mossy-herbal vibe. The bone-structure is however that narcotic, dry jasmin accord on resins, musk and vanilla. A quite gloomy and nostalgic chypre, enigmatic in its own way, rich and overwhelming with a remarkable "lost times" feel, like Sballo. Then it slowly "blossoms" a powdery side, mellow and aromatic, with violet notes, some more soft woods and a talcum feel, which slightly reminds me of Feminité du Bois, only with a more cloudy, gloomy, musky and masculine twist – and more Mediterranean too, Acampora's true "heritage". This sort of wet, slightly cloudy feel is perhaps one the more interesting key features of this scent, there is this general, palpable but elusive and nondescript humid/windy almost "rural" accord with delivers a bold Mediterranean feel, just in a less predictable way – no spices, no bergamot, no beaches, rather a more countryside-aristocratic, slightly decaying but graceful melancholy and austerity. The drydown (which after a while gets a little cloying on my skin, to be honest) comprises dusty resins, a subtle "roasted caramel" feel, which then eventually ends with a gentle powdery/medicinal accord, much discreet and cozy. 

7,5-8/10


Casbah EDP by Robert Piguet



Year: 2012
Nose: Aurelien Guichard

Casbah opens in fact with a Polaroid picture of a casbah, bags of cinnamon, ginger, narcotic spices, sweet notes, flowers (geranium?), something "sparkling" that may be a side-note of ginger, frankincense, the smell of dusty streets, merchants, the sweat, the sun, the mysticism. Superb. Extremely fascinating, powerful, vibrant, colorful, with a cozy side of vanilla and white musk, perhaps liquorices or anise too (everytime I get this feeling it's because of patchouli), a bold mossy feel – the Mediterranean breeze, a balsamic cloud in a suk near the sea. And of course, the incense, sharp and pungent but still hiding below the initial blend. Extremely strong but with a great balance of notes, and a base that perfectly shapes and round this bag of notes, with a stout dusty base of tobacco leaves, perhaps oak moss and patchouli too. The blend slowly softens, becoming sweeter, more cloudy, calmer, balmy, settling on a mossy/hay/chypre accord somehow close to Corticchiato's style, and a majestic incense fog arises – until now you just got a subtle note of olibanum stuffed in a bag of spices, now "the market has closed" and it's time for the ritual. The incense accord is beautiful, spicy, rich, balsamic, vibrant, evocative, with "something" mellow and aromatic, sparkling like hot gold amber, at the same time bold but delicate. It just "arises" until you realise you are surrounded by incense. The evolution is perfect. A dry, aromatic, half-mossy half-liturgic elegance, a superb trip to the mysteries of the Mediterranean sea, rich in unpredictable and elusive nuances. The incense is just brilliantly crafted in a diamond of spices, balsamic-medicinal notes, cloves, dusty tobacco leaves, subtle floral notes. Extremely fascinating, distinctive, with a monster persistence. A Byzantine majesty and a must try for all incense lovers.

8,5-9/10



Crap Roundup #2

Just to reassure you I don't really like everything I test, a healthy dose of fragrant poop (imho, of course). And no, who ends up in the shame corner does not deserve pictures!

***
Wilde by Jardins D'Ecrivains

Wilde opens with an accord of aldehydes and galaxolide, with a green-floral touch (fig, carnation, mossy notes). The ambiance is "bath tub", withouth any possible romance, powdery elegance, sumptuous nostalgia, just more the bath you middle-class prototypical reader - no offense - took last night with your usual supermarket bath gel. It smells cheap and I don't get the connection with Wilde, or better in a way I do according to my personal tastes, as I don't like Wilde, but I am quite sure that was not the aim of the line.

4/10

***

Santal Rouge by Il Profvmo

I don't like to "make fun" of scents and noses (well at least, not too much), and I always try to take juices seriously, sometimes pretending not to smell certain artificial tricks (I mean to pass over), but this time, this is too hilarious to pass. There's great scents, good scents, dull scents, stinky scents, and the "hilarious" ones, which luckily are rare. This is one of the best around – it terms of laughters it triggers. The fun comes from the pretentiousness of the brand compared to the actual quality of the scent. A glorification of the cheapest aromachemicals on the market, a soapy, white musks/fruity/woody concoction drowned in a bath tub of galaxolide and musk ketones. It's nothing only "skilled noses" can detect: it's a Garnier shampoo, anyone can spot it. Worth a try to cheer you up when you feel sad.

3/10

***

Straight to Heaven by By Kilian

Straight to Heaven opens with a pleasant, discreet woody accord surrounded by an aromatic floral (rose) and vanillin cloud, cinnamon, green-bitter notes. I barely get any rhum note. All is delicate, transparent, aerial and unbearably dull. Sophisticated cheapness like a downtown boutique (not "haute couture", think more of the "classy" dept at Zara's). Anonymous, conventional, quite pale and washed. No evolution, just a general toning down. Short persistence. Overpriced and pathetically pretentious.

4/10

Amour de Palazzo Extrait de Parfum by Jul et Mad



Year: 2012
Nose: Dorothee Piot

The opening is superb, similar to Roja Dove's style and that "new wave"of classics, with an overwhelming cloud of talcum, labdanum, incense and an elusive, irresistible accord of beautifully-crafted plushy leathers. Quite a significant dose of Iso E and ambroxan, the same dusty, silky, crisp "aeriality" of some other contemporary scents (Dove, Tauer), with a lot of nuances, from balsamic to flowers (violet), from woody to green, with perhaps some tobacco too (I though of Miller Harris' Fleurs de Tabac for a while). Everything is perfectly shaped, controlled and balanced, with a lot of harmonic variations depending on what you "focus" on when smelling. As Darvant brilliantly and passionately described on Basenotes, an utterly sophisticated depiction of a shady, delicate, elusive, luscious, decadent aristocracy, the breeze of a Luchino Visconti movie, but with the post-modern oniric "nowhereness" of Russian Ark by Sokurov – the ball scene, notably. A perfectly balanced and complex symphony, where everything brilliantly and effortlessly blends with the rest. The significant amount of synthetics gives it a definitely contemporary "look", it's nostalgic but in a more figurative, metaphorical and modern way. Cozy, elegant base comprising mellow cashmeran-like woody notes. A dry, spacious, even transparent opulence, romantic but avant-garde, linear and restrained. On the drydown the leather-suede base emerges better, a rare beauty: soft but bold, plushy and delicate but sharp and dense, really pleasant and again, much sophisticated. It also arises an anisic-aldehydes feel, halfway between soapy and metallic, another "contemporary" feature (it reminded me of Invasion Barbare). An interesting, contemporary scent, with an utterly sophisticated and versatile elegance. Quite overpriced, though.

8,5/10

China White Extrait de Parfum by Nasomatto



Year: 2008
Nose: Alessandro Gualtieri

Finally a decent Nasomatto under my nose. This is nice, even good. A minimalist, clean, yet not dull super-synthetic concept à la Helmut Lang, Costume National and Geza Schoen, with just a touch of nature, a really shaped and restrained incense note, a rarefied, narcotic and somehow sensual blend of green/herbal notes with a fruity heart (osmanthus?), a nice tobacco/tar base, dusty but velvety, with a bitter shadiness which is almost leathery, ambroxan perhaps, cedar woods and cashmeran – in short, the "pencil sharpener" effect. To be honest this heavily reminds me of another scent which I do not recall, perhaps one by LesNez or Coze 02, or Chamarré by Mona di Orio, however I have this "dejà-vu" feel. Anyway the scent is simple, delicate, subtle and ultra thin, undoubtably "easy" from the point of view of the composition (I mean the easiness of achieving this synthetically), but in its own way it's utterly sophisticated, elegant, somehow distinctive and fascinating, most of all because of an interesting green-dusty tobacco axe and an overall tasty "dustiness" which is not soapy, not "concrete-like", not earthy, slightly medicinal and herbal, just quite unique – in short, this time Gualtieri quite nailed it if the reference was cocaine (something he did not with that pathetic Afgano thing). A totally contemporary feel, a palpable, clean, neon-like and aerial transparency, elusive and delicate but "there". A bit too much delicate perhaps, and with a ridiculously short persistence (what's the point of selling an "extait" of this?). A nice, a bit trendy rendition of a trendy drug. At half of its price it may be worth a purchase.

7,5/10

Blackbird Perfume Extrait by House of Matriarch



Year: 2012
Nose: Christi Meshell

The opening is black and dusty, with tobacco, leather, ambroxan, perhaps vetiver, green-balsamic notes. Amazingly sophisticated and contemporary, a super mellow and sensual leather (suede side), with a splendid herbal/balsamic/resinous feel, olibanum, and just the right amount of perfectly-shaped futuristic synthetic notes. Then it eventually slowly blossoms up a medicinal accord with cumin and cloves. A gloomy, ambiguous, elegant but somehow erotic feel, really evocative, fascinating, perfectly-executed – and the scent itself smells just gorgeous. Elegant, somehow rarefied and thin but still with a bold and hieratic presence, it then evolves on a fougère territory just without flowers and spices, keeping it on a balsamic-leather accord with a slight metallic/salty feel. Sensual, sweet, slightly narcotic (the cannabis note, which to me is just a well-played cashmeran note, but nonetheless, "it works"). The oud note emerges slowly, discreetly, giving shape and bitterness to the dark and dense base notes. The persistence is awesome, discreet but really long. A dark, closed-down, elegant hotel room just above the sea in a cloudy day, windows slightly open, the balmy-mossy notes coming in from outside, a salty-green breeze caressing the sheets, the curtains, the garments someone abandoned there. Overpriced (it seems we must get used to that) but brilliant.

8,5/10

Romeo Gigli per Uomo EDT by Romeo Gigli



Year: 1989
Nose: Uknown

This fragrance is an ultra-modern gem. I am so happy I received a bottle via a blind-swap (must say I highly respect and have confidence in the opinion of the beloved Basenoter I did the swap with... he said he loves it, I was quite sure I would have too). Romeo Gigli opens with one of the most pleasant, sophisticated, cozy and relaxed modern fougère accords ever. No sweat, no decadence, no hairy chests, no excessive gloominess: not a powerhouse for sure, even if it has the right amount of power and boldness. The initial accords make this scent stand quite on its own, there is lavender, aldehydes, balm, plum, vanilla, oak moss, cedar, citrus notes, resins, cloves, cardamom... an Oriental, aromatic, slightly fruity, floral-mossy-balmy blend. I know words fail a bit, but it is something I never smelled before. To try to give a rough idea, I feel a sort of "talcum" coziness, a dusty-transparent subtle metallic feel, something dusty, slightly powdery, balmy, soapy, mossy, the feeling of being just out of a relaxing bath in a cozy, not "luxury", just more cozy and understated hotel room, with a slightly cloudy weather outside, a garden below the window, but also a modern, artificial vibe, still aromatic, just more contemporary. Slightly shady too, I won't say dark, but melancholic perhaps. That may be the overall smell, that mixing of different suggestions, the realm is definitely contemporary and manly, just less predictable than in other scents. I get a feel of cleanliness, masculinity, silence, comfort, nostalgia. A heavily aromatic, romantic but self-confident scent. One of a kind for sure, it's masculine but in a bit more "feminine" and contemporary way, as it smells more delicate, more clean, more sophisticated than other "bolder" fougères. The drydown evolves then on a darker, bitter, woodier accord, basically only "losing" some floral notes and part of the initial talcum/balmy feel. Personally I am completely sold to this, as it's the perfect kind of scent I just love to wear, especially in the morning – I love masculine elegant scents with "something" nostalgic, dreamy, slightly feminine and understated. Darvant's review on Basenotes quite nailed it giving reference to "solitude" and a general quiet, meditative feel... andit's not the "incense" type of meditation, there's no spiritualism and no mysticism, what I keep thinking of is just a man chilling in the afternoon, rolled-up sleeves, quietly looking out of his hotel room window, in some Italian town – say, Rome. Not a Sheraton hotel, more a still elegant, hidden, understated hotel with just a touch of mystery – if you've been there, think of the quartiere Coppedé, with its Art Nouveau mansions, the gardens, the general melancholic calm. A complete gem.

9/10

Norma Kamali Incense EDP by Norma Kamali



Year: 2012
Nose: Unknown

Incense by Norma Kamali opens with a buckload of black, sticky, warm oil pouring straight out of a reservoir, pungent and ultra dense, the Holy Grail of biomechanicism fetishists. I have a friend who is crazy for Ballard and his "Crash" and all that human-machine eroticism, I instantly thought of him. Tobacco notes, wet and humid, a slight fruity vibe and obviously an incense cloud, so black, dusty, dense, organic and cloying you won't even recognize it at first. A beautiful chorus of nuances, from dusty to rancid, to even floral and balsamic, but most of all, a tar-like industrial heaviness. Black and sticky like some of the blacker, stickier Slumberhouse scents, just less experimental and less "de-structured": more of a simple buckload of this ultra-dense decaying blackness. The mood is again that same post-atomic urban decay, with a mechanic/industrial feel, as this is more close to the smell of oils, tar, production wastes. Some notes I get from this epitome-of-gloominess: woods, green poisonous notes, some "heavy" floral notes like perhaps narcissus, frankincense, labdanum, ambroxan... that's what I smell, but I may be completely wrong, it's like rescuing birds from contaminated sea – they're all black and sticky. It does not evolve much, it just kind of gets drier and denser, like a piece of black wood drying under the sun. To be really honest, as far as I admire the composition, I can not come to get excited for this an to really "love" this (as I expected). I love incense, but here is so (brilliantly!) turned into a gigantic, heavy industrial fog, with an oily, indolic materic density and a touch of decadent rancid notes, that it's just a bit too much for me, I mean to make me want to actually wear it. It's utterly fascinating and well-done, one of the purest black compositions I have ever tried, with an unforgiving dry cedar-birch drydown which persists for ages, but I like this more as a "smell", as a creation to smell it per se, without wearing it. Not for everyone and sadly not for me either, but apart from this, superb.

8,5-9/10

Oud 27 EDP by Le Labo



Year: 2009
Nose: Vincent Schaller

One of the few oud-based scents I like. I admit this is not one of my favourite notes, so among the thousands of scents I've never tried yet, oud scents are not exactly on my "top" list. But this one was quite a surprise. A friend of mine brilliantly defined this "an imaginative oud" and in fact, I think she was perfectly right. The opening is pleasant, a peculiar balance between an oud base, with its signature indolic/animalic personality, and a velvety, delicate, dusty rose breeze. The overall smell is much ethereal and spacious, but sharp and clear. The notes are linear and thin, the ambiance is rarefied and silent, vast and wide but calm and "void" in a way. All it's there, but all is transparent. Initially the oud note is much refined and civilised, and also quite subtle. It's more of a linear, woody accord, quite clean and a bit rubbery, with just a slight but palpable and ambiguous "oud" heart. The same for the rose note, it's talcum-powdery but restrained and positively plain. This makes me think of "sheets", one on another, on a perfectly white glass desk, if that makes sense. The vibe is open-air, but industrial too, or more precisely, a "lab" vibe, with that specific medicinal/suspended mood, rarified but oppressing too. I also think of waiting lounges and that kind of post-modern "non-places". After a while a balsamic refreshing breeze arises, still with a powdery feel, and I like this passage a lot – often notes vanish or tone down, this instead just "comes in" like if someone opened a window. The "key" adjective here are "clean", "sophisticated", "subtle", "aerial". The oud base is there and it's shady, but is also delicate and fairly inoffensive (which is perhaps one of the reasons why I like this scent, I like oud either like this, or just raw and unleashed, like is the darkest Montale's). After one hour or so, a nice twist again, some unexpected accords come in shape; a woody/incense nuance, a dry white musks accord, a slightly salty breeze. Luminous, in a totally contemporary, artificial meaning. Moreover, some of those notes fades away, and all that aerial lightness gently "vanishes". The drydown turns almost into a delicate and essential chypre, a nostalgic, dark and somehow sensual thin accord, still clean but a bit more dense, gloomy and sweaty. A great evolution for a really good scent, not my cup of tea but brilliantly executed and worth a try.

7,5-8/10

M Parfum Extrait by Puredistance



Year: 2010
Nose: Roja Dove

The opening is marvelous, clear, sharp, amazingly elegant and cozy. I detect patchouli, aromatic woods, cedar, vetiver, a floral accord, sweet resinous spices, cinnamon, a gorgeous leather note (soft like suede, initially) with a bold talcum-soft feel. All is aerial and dimensional, almost geometrical, at the same time plushy, silky and mellow. A lot of suggestions and images come to mind, there's an oriental vein blended with a totally contemporary Western personality. Quite complex and textured, really compact, just smelling beautiful and great like Fetish pour Homme, and also quite on the same "concept" too: basically, a renovated, modern "masculine classic", with some nostalgic fougère/chypre accords blended with a new and more modern sensibility. A tight and harmonic scent full of nuances you feel better in the sillage than on skin. What I like the most is an irresistible accord of leather, flowers (jasmine?), delicate woods (cashmeran, cedar?) and spices blended with a talcum-balsamic accord, something that just captivates me I don't know why precisely... like those scents you link to people you love, or loved. So distinguished and majestic, without being "opulent". As minutes pass a talcum cloud emerges and "explodes" in all its dreamy and narcotic dustiness, and again, a symphony of nuances, mellow woods, flowers, leather. Then it all starts to dry and the bone-structure emerges more clearly, which I said, it's quite a classic fougère/chypre texture, incredibly sophisticated, soft, mossy and velvety. As many other reviewers already noticed, a couple of scents come to mind at this point, two legendary scents to which this one almost sounds like a "tribute": Moschino pour Homme and Bel Ami. The leather accord with a talcum/floral "gentleness" is one of the best I've ever smelled, it smells really perfectly. The drydown is great as well, more bitter and dry, but well balanced, and doesn't reveal the sadly-too-usual safraleine cheapness (burnt rubber). Utter elegance. The quality is uncompromising and really high, of both materials and composition. Still, the price is completely insane, pretentious and megalomaniac, and not in a way that I'd say "... but it's worth it". It's not, it's great and stuff, but it's not worth that cost. Just grab a sample and try it, then enjoy the hundreds of equally good (or better) fragrances around.

8/10

Nasomatto Round-up

Ehw.

***
Black Afgano 



Year: 2007
Nose: Alessandro Gualtieri

The opening is pungent, bitter and sour with a nice black-green blend of balsamic notes with an edible, crunchy and poisonous heart, on a sticky, dense and black base of aoud, stuffed with dry echoes and burnt-tires vibes. A nice note floats around, something halfway fruity and balsamic, which gives dynamism to the structure and counter-balances the overall bitterness and dryness. A bit better than other aouds, surely worse than many others, I don't get the hype. It's basically a less interesting, less elegant, less powerful, less-everything M7 which smells like a hundred of other low-key aouds. Pretentiously dull.

5/10

***
Duro



Year: Unknown
Nose: Alessandro Gualtieri

Another Nasomatto I do not really get. Or better said, I sadly get too clearly. The opening is clean and pleasant, a grey, silky, mellow Iso E plus cashmeran blend, so basically an aromatic woody scent with a slight rose-anise heart. Opaline and synthetic, surely pleasant to wear, even sophisticated, as any "safe woody scent" can be at, like, a fraction of this price. The most interesting part is the very heart of the scent, a half-floral half-dark concoction with incense echoes, perfectly wrapped in a sort of synthetic cage, a plastic bag. Super plastic vetiver notes. The overall vibe is refined, but mute and pale, and not in a fascinating way. This smells like the first one to be bored by this was even the creator himself – the marketing genius, Gualtieri. Masculine virility? Lol. My low rating is partially due to the scent itself, which smells good (as any "office scent" does) although the persistence is ridicolously short to be an "extrait". What really annoys me is all that surrounds it – the insane price, the pretentiousness, the mediocrity.

4/10

***
Silver Musk 



Year: Unknown
Nose: Alessandro Gualtieri

Fresh aquatic slap on aldehydes and white musks, basically some sort of exaltolide/galaxolide wrap-up with some vague earthy notes on the very base, and a slight ambery feel too. Shampoos and supermarket deodorants. The evolution is pretty much on the same path – even worse, just less fresh and more musky. It soon settles on a weird accord halfway between a warm ambrettolide-gingerbread note and that white musks accord, with a persistent metallic feel, which finally evolves on a salty-musky-clean drydown with a subtle and unpleasant kind of "sweat" aftertaste. Cheap and useless, luckily it's at least quite delicate. If Gualtieri really managed to sell even just one bottle of this scent at that incredibly crazy price, than he should be featured as a "case study" in marketing books.

4/10

Slumberhouse's Best - Round 1

I'm testing the whole Slumberhouse line, my plan was to pick 3-4 of the best ones, but since actually most of them are beyond great, I'll "split" my selection in a couple of round-ups. Here's the first one.

***

Vikt



Straight on my top chart of Slumberhouse, which is actually an ex-aequo of most of their scents. Ultra-modern elegance at its best. The first smell is something completely new, a narcotic, velvety feel, sensual and mellow but in a totally unique way, nondescript and physically irresistible, extremely persuasive and pleasant, halfway between sticky and dusty. I detect the over-dark, venomous oily accord of styrax and benzoin (and trisamber?) of other Slumberhouse scents, but here is played in a suspended, aerial, azure-green balsamic nowhere. And there lies that "smell" I find so luring and irresistible, it's like and anisic, medicinal, poisonous talcum. Incense notes emerge too. Usual terrific balance of notes and quality of materials. On the base you feel this dirty, sticky terpenic river of dark woods with a medicinal vibe, but the main unique feature of the scent is that translucent anisic smoke with silky tobacco notes, which just surrounds everything. At some point, from somewhere, a fruit note drips into the base darkness, and it brings to life a subtle rancid note. Crazy alchemic balance. The "visual experience" here is consistent with Josh Lobb's obsessions, it's like wandering in a decaying, post-modern, desert suburb, and just stopping by a crevice on a wall and inspire the narcotic azure smoke it exhales. Several notes recur, and compared to other scents from this line, this is one of the most complex for me, as it show many nuances and shades. It's still quite linear, but the linearity is vast and dimensional enough not to get bored of it. After a couple of hours it gets warmer and sweeter, the balsamic-medicinal accord emerges better as well as the ambroxan base, still with a black sticky vein and a dry, gloomy, industrial rubbery feel of dead woods (perhaps a bit too much rubbery after a while). Echoes and ruins of a dissolved contemporaneity.

8,5-9/10

***

Baque




Perhaps my favourite so far. Again, the Slumberhouse mantra: sharp, powerful, vibrant, a "stereo" feel. A bold cocoa note, dustier and darker than ever, on a boozy tobacco-ambroxan base and a rough, earthy, biting patchouli feel, heavy and gloomy. There's no patchouli but cocoa and tobacco give me that feeling. Think of Lutens' Borneo 1834 on steroids. Like being thrown in a humid, black, empty, deep reservoir, with green, bitter, poisonous branches growing on the walls. You also feel quite clearly the cedar and the mossy notes, with this sour, dense and tiny heart of artemisia. And then, of course, the tobacco, so rooty, powerful and overwhelming you don't even notice it's there – because it's surrounding you. Shady, humid and pungent, the Holy Grail of tobacco lovers. Like waking up in a humidor. As minutes pass it progressively dries down still remaining super dark and dusty, with this dense poisonous heart, and a balsamic breeze which is the consistent trademark of many Lobb's scents. The drydown is slightly sweeter and stickier, but the texture is the same, and it goes on, and on, for hours, tasty and clear like hours before (again, Slumberhouse's linearity: that may turn into a "con"). Besides the great, balanced, bright composition, the materials are just amazing, powerful and vibrant. Sadly for the moment it's discontinued but it's a mandatory try!

9/10

***

Mare



Crazy, gorgeous opening, really powerful and amplified, an edible, mentholated green-balsamic accord of crunchy leaves on a dark, oily, milky base, greener than green, humid and wet, spacious and tridimensional, with bold herbaceous notes and a general invigorating, energetic vibe, like those sugarfree mint candies you eat when you've a sore throat. Never smelled anything like this before – and I am surely not "an easy one" when it comes to enthusiasm, especially for avant-garde niche products. This instead just completely got me. The heart of the scent is really dense, thick, materic, almost oily and sticky, pungent but at the same time, luminous and bright – not in a predictable "sunlight" meaning, rather a neon, plastic light. Lot of synthetic aromachemicals, but used in a really balanced, bright and creative way, to explore new ways of composition and give the scent a palpable futuristic vibe. All smells so "new" (to me, at least) that makes this scent quite hard to describe for me, but it's simply superb, the only "normal" reference I can recall is that balsamic accord, which from times to times smells also like absinth, with its darker, liquid and stickier counterpart. But there is a lot more, there's this strange, captivating feel which makes me think of two cultural references: the opalescent, suspended, gloomy photography of Sokurov's movies, and the world of Ballard's novels - specifically his "The drowned World" novel, which is set in this post-apocalyptic green, super humid world. This is quite the smell one can imagine that world may exhude – a futuristic, at the same time organic and archaic nature. Deadidol perfectly summed that up on Basenotes: "it’s the scent that vegetation will produce when humans are no longer around to interfere". Totally brilliant. Plus, the composition is just perfect, powerful yet restrained where it should be, it's just great. Plenty of skills and talent here, and a stunning quality of materials. The only tiny "con" is the drydown, which smells a bit like a chewing-gum, but I can really forgive that.

8,5/10

***

Here is a great and interesting interview with Josh Lobb.

Peety by O'Driù



Year: 2013
Nose: Angelo Orazio Pregoni

The opening is, again, brilliant and unique: dark, velvety, in a nowhere between vanillin and frankincense, floating above a warm, thick sea of ambroxan and benzoin. Anise and liquorice on woods, with quite a number of spices, notably cloves, which Angelo seems quite fond of. Dense animalic heart, utterly sophisticated and captivating, shady and materic, with some sweet, sticky aromatic feel. Part of this you can feel it better in the sillage than close to skin. As other O'Driù scents, an abstract, compact composition which manages to smell at the same time totally pleasant, wearable and soothing, still interesting and complex. And incredibly smart. Which to me is quite a rare and precious feature, because many "avant-garde" scents smell either bad, or interesting but "un-wearable". This instead can be enjoyed as-is, or unwrapped and dissected like a magic candy. One of the really few scents around for which I'd use the term "new", and in fact, you'd better just stop reading this and just wear Peety (with or without "personalization"). Aerial and dimensional, futuristic and translucent, with the same oniric opalescence of Eva Kant, rarified and without a detectable structure, yet completely "clear" and... well, "there", hard to get and to describe with classic perfumery's terms and concepts, but perfectly "there". A really smart and fun interplay between naturals and aromachemicals, which also moves through different moods and ambients; once the opening evolves, it slowly becomes warmer and dustier, a floral heart emerges, and for a while you're close to a classic chypre, yet, as in a dream with your Charon driving you through a hall of mirrors, the chypre is destructured, appearing more linear, more abstract, more "fake", yet palpable and tasty. Rubbery tar echoes emerge too, drowned in a sticky lotion that makes them sound restrained, "mute" and pale. The fil rouge here, and also the link to other O'Driù scents, is a sharp medicinal vibe comprising vanillin and cloves, pungent and vivid like a blood-stained gauze, as if sniffing that was the key to access this surrealist, oniric, mutating gallery of realms and suggestion. The warm, dusty ambroxan base – not sure about the material, however that is how it smells to me – makes this scent a bit close to Tauer's style, I agree with Darvant on Basenotes; although here is just more... bizarre. It's warm and soothing, but also somehow morbid. After a couple of hours an animalic note pops out again, dry and rubbery, which then drowns down again, and you're back again on that warm medicinal amber-spicy sea, with its synthetic sharpness and a dusty, geometric feel. The drydown is mostly based on this warm and dusty ambery-vanillin-medicinal accord, which is terribly sophisticated and really pleasant, and also incredibly persistent. It was with me basically the whole day. A totally consistent, dense scent, in which you hardly smell something you have already smelled elsewhere, which manages to be totally pleasant and the same time, totally and genuinely new to all extents. You just come back to smell it again and again, like something you don't want to see because you don't get it, yet you keep spying and peeping. Intriguing, versatile, refined, playful and irresistibile.

(and now comes the joke I saved there for the whole time: "I tried to pee in my sample, but I wasn't able to hit it").

8,5/10

Fougère galore - Three picks!

Three nice vintage fougères (well, specifically: a masterpiece, a great one, and a good one - in that order).

***

Moschino Pour Homme EDT by Moschino (1990)


A majestic, monolithic marvel of iris and leather with a stunning depth and range of facets, from animalic to herbal. Incredible quality – both of materials and composition. The opening is just breathtaking: powerful, fresh and juicy, dry and animalic, with a dark, dense vetiver heart, floral notes, a waxy, decadent iris side which evolves in the best way I've ever smelled. Bergamot, lavender and balsamic notes – its classic "eau de cologne" side – beautifully blend with a balsamic/mossy breeze and a dry, rich, dusty, materic leather note, really vibrant and multifaceted. By far one of the most pleasant leathers I've ever tried... and we're talking about real, crisp leather, so forget nowadays' overpriced safraleine-based crap leathers which smell like burnt tires (Cuir Garamante and the like, anyone?). A sort of mediterranean, shady, hyeratic fougère with two major, incredible-quality main characters – leather and iris. The drydown lets the duo emerge even better, all the side/head notes gently vanish until you get this endless, perfect accord, which lasts for hours, with a gentle hint of talcum. Also, after a while the drydown gets unexpectedly slightly similar to Heeley's Cuir Pleine Fleur – just a bit more vast, dry, dense, less floral and transparent. Astonishing quality. Also really contemporary and wearable, I know sometimes the terms "1990s" and "fougère" may let you think of "old" stuff... this instead has a linear and vibrant personality which looks perfectly "fit" and modern.

10/10

***
Quorum EDT by Antonio Puig (1982)




Rich, dense, raw opening in a perfectly classic fougère style. A textured blend of green balsamic notes on spices and citrus drips, with a rich and natural oak moss note on ambers and bold, resinous aromatic woods. The leather note emerges as minute pass: honest, shady, solid, slightly rubbery and dry. A great, manly, elegant, rich and self-conscious fougère – still not tacky or cloying. With just a hint of that gloomy, sweaty personality many powerhouses had in the 70s/80s (some more elegant and understated fougères like Tsar are like old, classic Mercedes cars; this is rather the fast & noisy Alfetta Spider). Highy wearable today as well. I own a vintage version and I have heard is has subsequently been reformulated on a more green/fresh tone – probably still good, I don't know.

8,5/10

(Sorry for the cra*py picture but I wanted to display the proper vintage box & bottle).

***

Gengis Khan EDT by Marc de la Morandière (1990)



Herbal, mossy, coniferous, balsamic and resinous: pine needles, fir balsam, crunchy branches... and a thin, rarified black fog. Evocative and really pleasant. "Evocative" because it actually makes you think of a calm, green, meditative, smoky forest, not a predictable Western forest but something slightly different, with a touch of mystery and exotism. Perhaps it's a peculiar quality of incense, however it smells "green" but in quite an unique way, a darker, thicker, smokier way, and I love it. Elegant and understated at the same time, not a "powerhouse" and quite creative and modern considering the age. After a while an aquatic – not calonic, rather "salty" – note comes in, finding its way in that sharp, pleasant, cozy balsamic-mossy aroma. I also smell a slight metallic feel which may be due to aldehydes and that however, gives the scent a nice "retro-futuristic" vibe. Not a masterpiece, but refined and interesting. Beautifully ugly bottle (I am referring to the original bottle - and to the vintage scent, by the way).

7,5-8/10

Guerlain: L'art et la Matière - Three random picks

Here's three random picks I reviewed from Guerlain's renowned "L'art et la Matière" exclusive series.



***

Cruel Gardenia

Year: 2008
Nose: Randa Hammami, Sylvaine Delacourte

Nice and pleasant opening of rose and gardenia, with a fruity pomegranate note and an almost bittersweet touch like rose pepper or pimiento, a substantial dose of aldehydes, a nice green leafy feel and a earthy patchouli note (I know half of this it's not listed: still this is what I smell). Soft and cozy base of sweet sandalwood and white musks, soft and cozy as a freshly-cleaned super soft pillow – so nor creamy neither powdery. A bright, golden, elegant but lively and vibrant fragrance, quite multi-faceted – it has a slight spicy-saffron note, a super slight boozy hint, with herbaceous/natural and floral echoes, and just the right amount of synthetic which gives it the "right" shape, roundness, overall transparency and contemporaneity. Besides, it eventually emerges a peculiar and really interesting salty note which smells just like the skin of a woman wearing a scent under the sun, so there is "the scent" but also a hint of salty skin-sweat (I don't mean "bad-smelling" sweat, just that tiny translucent layer you have after having spent an afternoon under the sun - or... doing some other equally hot activities, if you get what I mean). Which gives a really sensual, materic skin-like shape to this. Good persistence and projection. Not a masterpiece given we're talking about Guerlain, but really good!

7,5-8/10

***

Bois d'Arménie

Year: 2006
Nose: Annick Menardo

Pungent, sticky, dense woody-balsamic opening, with some floral notes accidentally entangled in this syrup, a caramelised vibe with anise notes, and a quite realistic, dry, dark aromatic note – the guaiac wood, softened by an incense fog which makes it smell dustier and darker. Earthy patchouli and a subtle fresh breeze. A bag of spices, and a hint of vanilla. Finally, a round, discreet, powdery and bit plastic iris note. Once it settles on the skin, it slowly becomes unexpectedly more and more bright and luminous, something that really "opens up" your nose – perhaps it's some particularly balsamic incense accord, however it's nice and aerial. It then evolves on a spicy/medicinal accord with floral notes and a woody base, and a thin, rarified but palpable smoky/incense meditative breeze all around. Pleasant, interesting, intriguing, really aromatic, worth a try. Weak persistence.

7/10

***

Cuir Beluga

Year: 2005
Nose: Olivier Polge

The opening is elegant, aerial and captivating, with a mellow, silky, sumptuous and super soft suede note sided with a subtle aromatic woods note, in a rich, dusty cloud of vanilla and talcum, blended with a floral-spicy heart (saffron, cumin?). If you inspire with more strength you detect a dry, dark far base, which may be the "below side" of suede, with anise notes and a bitter, crunchy, subtle herbal feel. Quite a deep scent, with a strong "dimensionality", rounded by a "Guerlinade" of aldehydic vanillin-orris. Also I agree with the references to Shalimar, this smells quite like a "futuristic" tribute. As minutes pass the green-suede accord emerges better, with a bittersweet, almost animalic feel dusted with a talcum-vanilla powder – unpredictable, but really elegant and quite sensual too, also because of a slight salty "skin" note. To sum up: a powdery suede-vanilla accord with spices and a slight metallic feel, developed in a translucent, aerial, deep, cozy richness, with a peculiar personality which i am not able to describe – just try it. Not a gourmand, though; it's all quite breezy and ethereal, don't expect any "thickness". Big promises which however, sadly, are then partially disappointed: in fact, after a while it just starts to "fall apart", many notes vanish one after another, like in a dream just before waking up, when "stuff" around you starts to disappear (actually it never happened to me as far as I remember, but in movies it happens often). And you end up with a generic, still nice but a bit "pointless" drydown of vanilla on a subtle metallic-suede base. Actually more than losing notes, it loses in depth and width. The drydown, however, lasts for ages and it's not bad. An interesting fragrance which for me, is worth a try. I tested the old version (darker juice), I am given to understand the more recent one is lighter and more delicate.

6,5-7/10

Geste EDP by Humiecki & Graef



Year: 2009
Nose: Christophe Laudamiel, Christoph Hornetz

The opening is nice and interesting, and unlike other Humiecki & Graef scents, at least here it manages to stay like this for its whole life cycle. Aldehydes, some camphor-medicinal vibe, a lot of spices, an anise-amber base, some sticky/silky note I do not get entirely but fits perfectly, aerial and geometrical floral notes which smell almost like magnolia and tuberose, some slight honey notes, and finally a balsamic-incense subtle accord. A bit hard to describe: in fact it's a round, thick and dense smell, overall really nice, wearable, interesting and fresh, which feels like a double face half-velvety half-metallic piece of some avant-garde cloth, icy and intriguing at the same time, although a bit cold and unfriendly like a "non-place" (airport lounges and those kind of "non-lieux" as Marc Augé called them). As minutes pass the scent gets a simpler and more defined shape, becoming a pleasant, cozy and well-executed narcotic and musky floral on amber and aromatic woods. Really nice, still with a bit of "weird", which is cool and keeps your attention and curiosity up. It then slowly kind of loses this contemporary "avantgardeness" and goes back in time, settling on a rich, nostalgic, bold central note of honeysuckle on vanilla, quite dusty and round, pleasant and with a slight boozy feel. This is what remains from the initial structure, like a futuristic building collapsing and revealing ancient ruins. It's an interesting and nice feeling, although the the "con" counterpart of this is that at this stage it is also a bit more predictable and dull – in fact, the drydown is nice, soapy, silky and floral: tons of scents do that, but if you want to, say, "reach it" via a different way, then this is worth a try.

7/10

Lyric Woman EDP by Amouage



Year: 2008
Nose: Unknown

Superb floral opening, thick, dense, powerful, overwhelming, with rich rose notes, so rich they're almost syrupy, oriental and spicy, on a shady and dark woody base. A classic chypre with an exotic-oriental twist, a powdery musky feel and a slight salty note which gives the scent a sensual carnality. Then it slowly blossoms and opens in a breezy, invigorating balsamic vortex on woody notes, always with a heart of tasty rose and a counter-chorus of resinous notes, on a deep base which smells almost like castoreum, also with a pleasant earthy-green fresh accord which gets bolder as minutes pass. At the same time, from the base obscurity it emerges a vanilla-talcum dusty accord which becomes a soft "pillow" for the central sensual accord of rose, spices and woods. With a perfect tiny hint of patchouli which gives just the right amount of heartiness. Words fail a bit; it's a real symphony of notes, there's quite many, in many directions, and with many nuances, all perfectly harmonized with the rose-centered bone structure. A great and sumptuous harmony. Elegant, rich, perfectly-executed, aerial and dimensional, imaginative and evocative, totally addictive, with just the right sillage that accompanies every movement you make, like music in a musical, and the right persistence. The drydown lasts for ages in a cozy, soft, nostalgic silky accord of flowers and delicate, warm vanilla notes. Still a bit overpriced, but a great scent for sure.

8,5/10

Two Villoresi crowdpleasers!

Here's my reviews for two scents by Lorenzo Villoresi which I recently tested, and that I found somehow quite close as for inspiration, structure and general "mood". Spoiler alert: two nice and super safe alternatives to your other "office scents" - with just a touch of "niche".

***

Theseus by Lorenzo Villoresi



Year: 2011
Nose: Lorenzo Villoresi

Pleasant and classic opening, even a bit "retrò", of spices, suede leather, citrus notes, translucent but dense and with a bold salty/metallic undertone. Green/mossy counterpart of oak moss, vetiver and patchouli, elegant and dusty, which emerges more and more strongly as minutes pass, until it basically becomes a straightforward, refined, pleasant, aerial and modern vetiver, still slightly salty and aquatic, really pleasant and fresh. A subtle animalic note with amber and vanilla enriches the base, which eventually becomes drier on leather and oud (however much subtle and delicate). A sort of light, contemporary vetiver-based fougère with just a hint of "trendy" (Iso E, oud), that basically smells like a self-tribute made by Villoresi to his 1994's Vetiver - which was however richer, darker, rougher, earthier and more classic (in short, for me: better). However this Theseus is really nice to wear, surely well-made and balanced; an elegant "crowdpleaser" which may suit any vetiver fan as well as any man who wants to smell classy and good, yet not boring or mainstream. Decent persistence.

7/10

***

Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi



Year: 1995
Nose: Lorenzo Villoresi

A good, pleasant, cozy, aromatic sandalwood-vetiver scent, simple and honest, with cedarwood-like notes and a mellow "rounding" accord of something like cashmeran, which I personally like quite much. Classic masculine "eau de cologne" structure: amber-woods with a floral touch and an earthy-mossy counterpart. I also smell a hint of incense and tobacco, but that may be just a trick of my nose. Really pleasant, elegant, bright and effortless, vibrant but relaxed. A bit delicate, but boldly persistent: also perhaps slightly "unpersonal", I mean without a defined personality, but perhaps its strenght is exactly in not having one – just being cozy and elegant, without being boring. A well-executed and versatile "crowdpleaser" and all-year, all-climates, all-outfits rounder. My review may not sound that enthusiastic, but instead (for what it's worth) I quite like this!

7,5/10

Eva Kant EDP by O'Driu'



Year: 2013
Nose: Angelo Orazio Pregoni

One of the most intriguing and stunning "new" scents I have smelled since a long time, one of those scents which literally smell like nothing else. The opening is a slap: a biting, angular, nondescript potion of flowers, musk, a load of spices, an animalic oily drop on a gorgeous dusty vanilla base, mixed with a totally unrelated, still inexplicably perfect and fit carnal and lascivious "feel" I can really not come to describe. Cloves, ginger, pungent spices, a really dense and pulsating heart of flowers – magnolia and ylang – some raw animalic notes like castoreum, aniseed, a meditative balsamic breeze with an herbal feel, caramelised benzoin and myrrh, incense. A totally peculiar blend both decadent and medicinal, archaic and futuristic, with ambery translucent notes and narcotic flowers. I kept thinking of art while wearing this, as this scent has a really oniric and "imaginative" progression which triggers images and unconscious "situations" more than words, and I recalled the work of some of my favourite artists which kind of work or worked with the same suggestions, from Jeremy Mortimer to Jenny Saville, to Schwarzkogler and other provocative Viennese "aktionists". An alchemic smell of gauzes, bandages, blood, medicines, flowers, flesh, animals, with a heavenly, but at the same time gloomy balsamic sweet breeze all around it. Really hard to catch, decompose and define, but terribly irresistible and captivating. And most of all, speaking of "perfume" itself, so good and pleasant to wear. Then, it slowly and brilliantly evolves on a rich, decadent floral accord, which in turn gets a really weird, evocative and a bit creepy, sticky and opalescent feel of water – not in a predictable "calonic" way, rather of lacustrine, stagnant water, still salty but much dense and almost oily, together with a counterpart of talcum/vanilla and spicy dusty notes, medicinal and sensual at the same time. That medicinal feel is the other "pillar" of this scent, a subtle but bold vibe which does not disappear and stays there like a psychotic nurse from some obscure Italian horror/crime movie of the Seventies. Ghosts and fantasies apart it's a terrific scent, not "challenging" to wear since it perfectly manages to be daring and new still smelling amazingly good, exuding talent and intelligence, with a beautiful evolution and a totally unique and distinctive personality. Bravissimo Angelo!

9/10

Datura Noir by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido



Year: 2001
Nose: Christopher Sheldrake

The opening is classic and promising, although to me (on me) it smells a bit different as regards from how it should, reading the composition: it should contain tuberose and osmanthus, I smell a microscopic bit of tuberose and no osmanthus at all. While instead I get a beautiful, breezy-mentholated carnation note, and since I like it I'll pretend I am right. Jokes aside it is much elegant and sensual, the floral notes are dense and rich, and there is an enjoyable green/floral balsamic breeze all over, on a powdery/vanilla base comprising white musks and perhaps resins too. I also feel some spices like maybe cumin, and a fresh hint of citrus, or better bergamot. Basically a good classic structure with a contemporary twist, as it is all quite linear, simple and aerial – almost geometrical, like some other recent scents by Lutens. After a while it emerges a little bit of gingerbread heart. So far so good: silky, soft and velvety but fresh, aerial and multi-faceted, feminine and refined but also luring and shady, intriguing and sensual, in a really peculiar minimal way. I thought of Tokyo Decadence for a while. As I said at the beginning, however, this is all just "promising", because in fact, the drydown is far less interesting than the part before. It basically, entropically becomes all more generically sweet and powdery, still elegant and dry but dull – basically the same drydown you'd have after taking a bath or a shower. It "loses" all that interesting personality as minutes pass, like waking up in the middle of a dream. Quite persistent, though.

6/10

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Kyoto EDT by Comme des Garçons

Year: 2002
Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour

A martial, quintessential smoky/incense meditative scent, linear, grey and green, simple but comprising and bringing to life an entire heritage. Cedar and burning incense with a balsamic breeze, a splendid vibrant evocation of the Japanese traditional milieu, in a rarified, thin, oniric but palpable ambiance like in a Mizoguchi fairytale, with those "suspended", out-of-time foggy settings. Ambergris on the base and a green breeze, really light but palpable, with perhaps a tiny note of tea or some similar aroma, which gives a slight sweet-syrupy feel at the very microscopic heart of the scent, to kind of emulsify the blend. Really elegant and wearable, perhaps the most delicate and cozy among the line, and also the most "close to skin". Basically, coming back to Earth for a second, a bomb of Iso E and other aromachems, but Duchaufour manages to make you forget about it: it's superb and powerful - the proof that anything can turn into unforgettable gold in the right hands. Another beauty from a milestone series (and a milestone perfumer, which however I often do not like much, but I venerate his contributions to this line).

9/10

Vitriol d'Oeillet EDP by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido



Year: 2011
Nose: Christopher Sheldrake

Super harsh opening, pungent green notes, raw freshly-cut carnation flowers, a massive aldehydes feel, all in a trasparent, metallic, vibrant cloud, with a slightly sweet base. The carnation is powerful, vivid and biting, surrounded by spices (cloves and pepper) and a tasty, savoury bittersweet note of pimiento. The softer base of vanilla and ylang comes in shape and emerges as minutes pass, slowly turning the fragrance in a sweeter and almost slightly milky tanning cream-like scent (I recall Un bois vanille). The middle phase is basically a talcum-musky fairly pleasant and sweet take on the initial accord - meaning that it's still all there, just "emulsified" in a sweeter shape. The evolution is a bit odd and almost "sea-roving", it ranges from metallic to sweet than switching back to a dry green/floral, then ending back again to a musky sweet drydown, which eventually dries and settles in a discomforting floral/medicinal accord. And frankly I do not enjoy any of these passages in particular, it's like watching a movie with people yelling and moving in front of the screen – the movie is carnation and the rest is, well, all the rest that surrounds (or better say, covers) it here. Plus I don't get any "feeling" in particular - it's not refined, not pleasant, not "ironic", not evocative... not even shady or masculine or avant-garde. Not that it has to be some of these, it's just that it's more kind of a sequence of smells, none of which achieves any result in terms of identity. A bit too much, in a bit too much unclear concept. If you like carnation, you'd better go CdG's Carnation - an unbeatable quintessential tribute to this beautiful flower.

5/10

Opus III by Amouage



Year: 2010
Nose: Karine Vinchon Spehner

Powerful opening, a violet that smells like iris, a mimosa as powerful as a tuberose, other (nice) flowers I don't get clearly. A classic, honest, well-executed floral chypre with a mimosa heart, an earthy and aromatic base of cedar and dry woods (that, weirdly, vanish quickly), softened by a gentle and pleasant vanillin-tonka note with a resinous touch. Green and balsamic feel coming and going. As I said, a classic, initially kaleidoscopic and opulent composition which just "switches volume off" too soon. In fact, its promising, musky, baroque, decadent, soapy, shady and bold chypre-poudrée personality evolves really quickly – or better say, tones down, losing much of its vitality, and what you get sooner than you expected is an elegant, pleasant but fairly dull and sleepy floral-talcum poudrée blend still with a persistent (evolving into "annoying") tonka note. And at this point you're probably already regretting the crazy price you paid for this. Decent!

6/10

L'Intrigante EDP by D'Orsay



Year: 2010
Nose: Marie-Anne de Puy Raimond

Graceful and lively opening of rose and a powdery, aromatic and bright floral note which I am given to know it's camelia, green notes, opoponax/resins, vanillin, citrus (a nice orange note, so more sweet and mellow, with neroli and orange blossoms). The base is a sweet-fruity musky accord similar to galaxolide, so quite a round, warm, almost slightly creamy embrace, with a pleasant fresh green note, a fruity touch and a realistic mellow suede note. Aldehydes also, perhaps. This is like one of those super cheap, still decently-crafted bijoux: it's not gold, neither silver, but still it sparkles and shines and it will do its job for a night's out. A silky, elegant, graceful, bit of a bath-soapy poudrée scent. Safe, with enough persistence and a good projection. Simple and decent!

6/10

1804 EDP by Histoires de Parfums



Year: 2001
Nose: Gérard Ghislain

Bergamot, vanilla, green notes, a fruity heart and white musks... and something else, which smells weird and terribly synthetic-generic from the very beginning. My first thought was: cheap summer scent. The base is a bit odd as well, it has a strange, rubbery, dry note with reminds me of the infamous safraleine that often "replaces" or amplifies leather notes... which however there are not, so this may be a trick of my nose, I believe that is the patchouli. Honestly I did not even feel the fruity notes at the beginning but they eventually come clearer after a while, and not to sound repetitive, they smell terribly plastic as well. I trust it's pineapple but it may as well be anything else. I won't say this is bad, in fact it is pleasant and even slightly evocative of (postcard) summer vibes... but it strongly reminds me a buckload of other cheaper and "mainstream" sporty colognes.

5/10

1876 EDP by Histoires de Parfums



Year: 2001
Nose: Gérard Ghislain

Carnation, rose, spices, resins, vanilla, white musks, ginger (I know it is not listed but I somehow smell something similar), sandalwood, light citrus notes, and some other floral notes I am unable to get precisely. Soft and slightly powdery. I read iris is here: glad to know. A rather classic structure with a transparent spring feel, pleasant and balanced, with a refreshing balsamic breeze coming and going. The sweet accord (which smells a bit like gingerbread to me) is a little overhelming and cloying, I wish it managed to stay lighter. Beautiful dusty base of dry woody-tobacco-like notes with a nice herbaceous/mossy feel. Globally nice but also "neither flesh nor flow", basically an "eau de cologne" (European meaning) with a chypre heart, a feminine twist, and a masculine drydown. Pleasant and refined but a bit dull.

6,5/10

Cara EDP by Farmacia SS. Annunziata



Year: Uknown
Nose: Unknown

Beautiful opening of dense and natural vanilla, really simple and genuine, with a light and lively floral heart (which globally gets this close to galaxolide, but still more vibrant and cute, less sweet and above all, less synthetic). Bright green feel, which then becomes more crunchy and pungent before gently fading away. Even a slight medicinal/alcoholic feel. Soft and mellow, and again really delicate, basenotes comprising white musks and amber. Then, a really nice salty (not iodine) note emerges, and the scent slowly turns into some more natural version of Odeur 53: a delicate and really pleasant smell of "clean skin", with kind of a beach vibe – again, not in the "iodine" meaning, more the smell your skin gets while you're under the sun, that salty but "scented" feel (as you've probably been putting on some tanning cream hours before). Really light, simple and dry. Must say I am usually not a fan of this type of scents, but this is really nice and well made, it is really minimal, pale, graceful and delicate, with an unpredictable evolution and an overall good quality of both materials and composition, as far as I can smell. Also, projection and sillage are more solid than you may think – it's delicate, but it's there and you feel it. Pretty and refined!

7,5/10

Arabico EDP by Farmacia SS. Annunziata



Year: Unknown
Nose: Unknown

Dark woods, cedar, vetiver (not listed, but personally I smell it), a floral/lavender "feel", something dense and animalic at the very deep heart of the scent which may just be due to woods, a lively citrus note. Splendid incense aroma all over, with a patchouli note that emerges slowly. Absolutely great and refined cologne: rich, aromatic, cozy, beautiful, with a noble and discreet personality and an Italian twist – our infamous ability to flawlessy be noble and lively, elegant and relaxed at the same time. A salty note eventually comes over. Decent projection and unexpectedly long persistence. The only "con" is that the drydown kind of "loses" itself in a generic mainstream "good scent" territory – which is probably a side-effect of some base aromachem (won't blind guess them, but it's some of that soft, mellow, clean, aromatic woody note like Iso E or Ambrox DL). Which still smells great, but just a bit more "generic", so again, super nice overall.

7,5/10

Vetiver EDT by Lorenzo Villoresi



Year: 1994
Nose: Lorenzo Villoresi

The opening is just great: a powerful, invigorating, super-classic vetiver, harsh and savage, with a bold and earthy patchouli-oakmoss accord (I also feel some cocoa beans dusty sweetness), some delicate floral notes (lavender, neroli) which shape and restrain the rawness of the green/woody notes, and a refreshing accord of bergamot and citrus which then sweetens progressively. Straightforward, earthy and dense: a beauty. After a while you also feel some spicy/peppery notes, and the oak moss note emerges more clearly in all its barn-like splendor, together with a really pleasant salty note. But then, all of a sudden, here comes the downpart: it all sags down a bit. Too soon. It still remains great, pleasant, natural, vibrant, with a superb balance of components; but still, all just "tones down" far before you expected – and wanted, since as I said, it smells gorgeous, so you wouldn't really want it to wash away so quickly. This is the only "con"; apart from this I really like this scent. A pleasant, vibrant, elegant and persistent "eau de cologne" which deserves its place in the "classic heritage" side of vetiver fragrances.

8/10

Trayee EDP by Neela Vermeire



Year: 2011
Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour

Delicate, natural ambery-vanilla base surrounding a beautiful dense accord of jasmin, fruity notes, ginger and resins, all perfectly balanced, sparkling and colourful like a pavé diamond. Fresh herbal-earthy base notes of patchouli and basil, with just a tight but rich heart of darker notes (oud). Rich and textured but not cloying, in fact it's all lively and graceful. It eventually get more dense and vibrant as minutes pass, also more resinous and spicy, reaching a splendid peak of savoury richness with a bold balsamic feel. A really evocative, aerial, vivid, romantic and "pictorial" scent, although not that distinctive - more "really good" than "great". It is complex, in a perfect Duchaufour style, but still you can easily "see" each note and accord on its own. The projection is a bit more closer to skin than you may think, and the drydown is long-lasting, mostly comprising a cozy and warm resinous-balsamic accord – which eventually gets a bit medicinal. To be really honest the drydown is a bit disappointing, as this final accord you get is a bit generic and weak – especially if comparing with the greatness of the initial stages. Strangely I feel the oud is very light here (which is a "pro" to me!).

7,5-8/10

Chia EDP by Farmacia SS. Annunziata



Year: Unknown
Nose: Unknown

A pleasant gourmand scent comprising vanilla and almond with tasty and dense floral notes on an ambery/musky base. A particularly nice, distinguished and "organic" gourmand, nor cloying neither amplified or sickening; sweet but balanced, silky, dusty, so in a word, "simple". The almond note in particular is good: I don't like almonds (I mean real ones too), but here at least it's not that usual heavy/resinous "accord of" almond many scents have, rather a single, real, almost slightly roasted almond – which works fine and discreetly. There is something dissonant, a bitter note which I don't get precisely, that somehow tones down and restrains an otherwise "total" sweetness – and I like that too. As minutes pass it slowly blossoms and opens up in a real nice and lively floral scent, while the initial bold sweet notes gently "settle" down on the base. Everything's simple, bright, relaxed, really elegant and refined while keeping it delicate. Not my cup of tea, personally, and a bit... apparently dull, perhaps, or to say it better, "shy" or pale; but it has its own and peculiar not-that-common refined simplicity which makes it worth a try.

7/10

1826 EDP by Histoires de Parfums



Year: 2001
Nose: Gérard Ghislain

The opening is quite much different depending on whether you test it on paper or on skin. I usually don't use paper strips, this time I did it just for curiosity and once I tried this I was like "I love this!"... well lucky for me I also tested it on skin before both writing a review and deciding if it was purchase worthy (spoiler: it wasn't). Basically it opens with a peculiar and bold accord of violet-lilac, mellow white musks and a patchouli note which is so velvety, dusty and sweet that together with ginger and cinnamon it basically creates a sort of "choco-like" accord with a resinous/spicy feel. And that is precisely what I do not like here much – it is kind of "too much" unbalanced a bit overhelming, shouting over the rest of the notes, notably the floral notes. On paper this smelled just perfect and far more balanced – it was heavenly. It is silky, soft, almost milky and quite elegant, with a slight earthy-herbal-balsamic accord... but also much sweet all over. Besides, the drydown eventually evolves towards a rather generic, vaguely ambery/woody aromatic, kind of ambrox smell, not that natural either. So it's kind "too much" at the beginning and "too little" at the end. Perhaps I was unlucky with my skin, but I find this a bit wrong at a couple of stages. Nonetheless, if you like that type of accords I named and/or this works differently on your skin, than it may turn into a great scent as it initially was on paper for me – I'll just say: not for a blind-buy, better try it and wear it before.

6/10

Patchouli Patch EDT by L'Artisan Parfumeur



Year: 2002
Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena

Honest, linear, mild and discreet patchouli, with a substantial earthy-dusty sweet side (cocoa beans like), a mellow sandalwood base and a subtle but refreshing herbal/floral breeze, really pleasant and unique. A month came to my mind: September. It has that same quiet, smoky and malinconic suspended understatement that characterises that month - summer is over, autumn is not there yet, we kind of wait for something to happen, days shorten, the weather is warm and pale... oh, well. It eventually evolves moving on a more balsamic/herbaceous territory, always quite soft, round, restrained and docile – L'Artisan signature lightness, in short. It is undoubtably well composed, as you feel all the notes clearly and they smell great: it is a light and lively patchouli with a peculiar base carefreeness and brightness which make it stand apart. Carefree but also evocative and meditative. Despite I personally prefer other patchouli scents which amplify and shape better its raw earthiness – notably, for example, Patchouli Nobile by Nobile 1942 – I must admit this take by L'Artisan is really pleasant, a bit shy and delicate but elegant, balanced, smart and worth a try (even a blind buy in case of bargains!). Quite close to skin but also quite persistent.

7,5/10

1889 Moulin Rouge EDP by Histoires de Parfums



Year: 2010
Nose: Gérard Ghislain

Powerful, powdery iris, at least another pair of fresh, crunchy floral notes I do not get clearly (gardenia, geranium...?), a rose heart, green aromatic notes, ginger and pepper, and patchouli. Lively and sensual with just a hint of decadence: quite a good depiction of a Moulin Rouge dancer, somehow innocent and somehow naughty, young and pale but "experienced". The powerful and bold opening tones down quite early, it gets graceful and pleasant although not that unique – basically a spicy floral with a balsamic breeze and a nice interplay between silky flowers and earthy patchouli, with just a bit of spices and musks. Overall refined and cozy, pleasant and elegant, but not much memorable and also, sadly, a bit short-lasting.

6,5/10