Citrus & Wood by Yardley (2011)



"Poor man's Terre d'Hermès" indeed, but given the price, that's definitely a plus. And it's not the only one, actually. Citrus & Wood is definitely similar to Ellena's bestseller to many extents, as it is basically the exact same "airy", hyper-clean, very contemporary Iso-E infused woody blend with a zesty, classic eau de cologne-inspired top accord of citrus notes. But it has a couple of unexpected twists that make it quite worthy the purchase regardless of whether you like and/or Terre already.

First, Citrus & Wood is even cleaner and crisper than Terre d'Hermès, slightly more soapy and floral, a bit spicier at heart, and somehow overall less syntethic as well. I've tested it extensively in the past few days and that's probably the feature I enjoyed the most - the fact that it smells very laid-back, very natural even if it obviously isn't, not cloying and not "plastic" at all as one may expect. The citrus notes do smell like proper citrus, properly fading in a couple of minutes as proper citrus notes do, and the woody notes do smell like realistic, freshly cut, sharp wood (Ikea stuff, don't expect any raw- dirty smokiness). It's obviously that ubiquitous industrial cedar-pencil aromachemical again, but Yardley's staff did a great job in infusing some life in it and making it smell smoother, softer, less dry and less blatantly artificial as many others did. Partially thanks to the use of the floral tones and partially to the quality top citrus accord, it all smells very uplifting, fresh, vibrant and classy.

Shortly this is a great clean citrus-woody scent which can be perfect basically anythine and anywhere, more than safe and greatly inoffensive but classy and pleasant. A great alternative to Terre d'Hermès (and similar scents) with a smoother, lighter and cleaner presence. The projection is decent and the persistence is a bit short - as you'd fairly expect with this type of notes, but given the cheap price and the fantastic top notes, it's a pleasure to reapply.

7/10

Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland (1999)



Out of the dozens of classic "clean" fougères I tried over the years, Patrick is - to this day - the absolute winner of the category for me. Others are more complex, more refined or more praised, but when it comes to comfort, I think this is the ultimate grail. It's subjective, I know, but it works for me. As other reviewers said, the structure of Patrick is fairly simple, but not simplistic; it's basically a soapy fern scent, so there's a ton of sparkling crisp greenness laced with a fresh breeze of soap, all supported by a sort of nondescript mossy-earthy feel. It smells natural (sort of), deep enough to let you appreciate the notes, yet not too powerful - actually the contrary, this is a rather distinguished and discreet fragrance (contrary to many vintage examples of this same category, which may contain thicker and more natural ingredients, but mostly smelling way too rougher and bolder than Patrick).

Think of being on a fall holiday in the mountains and spending a day out in the woods, then coming home, having a relaxing bath and going out again for a quick stroll before dinner. That's Patrick, that calm, sunset-like feel of balsamic cleanliness, the artificial soapy notes blending with the smell of earth, leaves and cold branches. I know that hundreds of scents feature these notes, and yet I never found such a perfect balance of vibrancy and quiet haziness, creating a feel of deep comfort I basically never experienced with any other fragrance. Out of the many masterpieces I know and the few fragrances I "love" more than this, to this day Patrick is the only scent I can wear for several days in a row without getting tired of it. It's not particularly creative, doesn't scream "art" or utter quality, but it feels "home" in the purest and most irresistible way. Best "cheapo" ever made for me.

8,5/10