Top Rated Reviews - 2011

Apicius 9 years ago 11
2
Scent
7.5
Longevity

Standard Pitch, for Hours!
Tom Ford's exclusive line is how niche perfumery should not be. It consists basically of a monolithic marketing concept, optimized by special perceptions of sales psychology. The outcome is a fancy scent bar with numerous, quickly developed perfumes.

In the past, the real maîtres among the perfumers allowed themselves years and years of development before they finally decided to release a scent to the public – but at Tom Ford, they simply buy what is quickly available for money. All perfumes of Tom Ford's exclusive line that I have come across so far are optimized for quick sale: the customer is presented a spectacular head note, but with not much behind it.

Just like this is Neroli Portofino: the start is overwhelmingly good – one is pleased with so much delicacy and refinement. Airiness, freshness, but also considerable orange-y volume mingle together in perfect balance. Any possible customer can easily see the difference between Neroli Portofino and a Neroli-cheapie like 4711.

However, a slight glance on the packaging should make you suspicious: A neroli scent, labeled as “Eau de Parfum“? Usually, neroli is not very enduring. As a flowery, citric note, it is mainly being used as top- or maybe heart note in many traditional colognes. After this short period, it fades away. And for this reason, neroli is the center of many simple, short-living Colognes – such as Guerlains' Eau du Coq, a true gem. But since a few years, we sometimes find neroli notes with monstrous life period. Examples are Colonia Essenza by Acqua di Parma and the number 201 from Micallef's Art Collection line. Did they find means to fix neroli? Or is it some chemical replacement of natural neroli oil? I suppose the worst since I came across this neroli type of scent blown into the air by a room freshener machine.

Basically, Mandy Aftel writes in her book about the advantage of natural perfume oil that the batches all slightly differ from each other, since the oils are never completely pure. On the other hand synthetizised scents smell like „dead“. You may put this aside as the thoughts of an esoteric natural perfumer – but as far as neroli is concerned, I can very well follow these thoughts. To me, Neroli Portofino is just as dead as the central cemetry of my home town. Once the interesting top note has settled there is only sweet and sticky kind of neroli with maybe some amber.

This is so solid, it does not move an inch! And it never leaves you alone, just like unwelcome relatives. I can only describe this as an olfactory tinnitus!

With Neroli porofino, you seriously peril your sensitivity for scent. It is just the attraction of neroli that it is fleeting. One should never even consider holding it! Whoever wears Neroli Portofino in a certain period of time will surely develop an averseness against it. So, this is also another way to put off customers.


The marketing concept of Tom Ford is just as sustaining as the deforestation of the amazonas region. At the Tom Ford scent bar, customers' interest is being exploited, not aroused. They will not return to the perfume shop for good.
2 Replies

Turandot 9 years ago 9
7.5
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
7.5
Bottle

Natural Noblesse
During my beginning as a sales assistant in a noble perfume shop I always was awestruck when somebody was wearing Chant d'Aromes. Even today, I remember all those posh women: Mrs. So-and-so and her kind, who dropped by in the afternoon just to find out if there was something new. They were served a glass of champagne or a cup of coffee, and with a bill of 500 Deutsche Mark and a coloured bag, they left to continue their shopping.

Chant d'Aromes emanates this natural noblesse of these customers. These were not the nouveau riche, or a dyed blond person on high heels who pulls bundles of bank notes out of her handbag. Today I consider to get Chant d'Aromes for myself. Perhaps this perfume provides that kind of noblesse that I am missing. I have never worn it so far, but it is simply enchanting.

Chant d'Aromes is a pale green, transparent chypre fragrance with an elegant aura. The top note promises a very special Guerlain experience. It does not have any sweetness, although the heart note looks differently in the scent pyramid. On the other hand, it is not tart as well. Maybe it is a bit soapy but in a very refined way. I would describe the temperature of this fragrance as rather chilly, and the expression of the flowers is discreet in an unfamiliar way.

Chant d'Aromes rounds off with a note of oak moss that I love so much. But noboby has to be afraid of dark, mossy base notes since also the base notes are bright and caressing.

Chant d'Aromes does not put its mark on the wearer. It does not go strong, instead it subordinates to its wearer quite natural. My clients in the 1960's would have regarded Chant d'Aromes as day wear. If I wore it, any day would feel like holiday. Yes, Chant d'Aromes is what is still missing in my Guerlain collection, so the only thing I can to is to extend my wishlist. May thanks to Turmalin, for renewing my acquaintance with it so pleasantly.

Translation: Apicius
1 Reply

Eternity 9 years ago 7
9
Scent
10
Longevity

How it all began
The Scent of Peace has caused all the trouble! This perfume is the reason why I fell ill with perfumania! It is the reason I found myself at Parfumo and cannot come away any more. It is the reason why I think expensive fragrances are better than others. It is the reason why I am completely puzzled. It is the reason why I am so bewildered.

But Scent of Peace also taught me to be patient. It taught me that a fragrance smells completely different on skin during its drydown compared to its beginning. I taught me that there is more than just one holy perfume grail, and a lot more...

It happened about two years ago. I went to town, wearing my new white coat with big black buttons and belt. I just had left the nail salon where I had lots of cursory small talk concerning beauty. I was all dolled up, and my Marco Polo bootees gave me about respectable 6 ft. This is how I pranced, or better: hovered through the crowded city center on a saturday, and I felt like a young godess – no, like a fashion model! I was so full of smug self-satisfaction that I thought I felt the need for a new fragrance for my outfit. And so I just dropped by one of those expensive looking perfume shops still lead by the owner. I wouldn't have done this before, but my look and outfit sent the signal that I was ready to spend money. So, I dared to enter with the mere expectation of a good service. The sales assistant analysed my style, made compliments, asked for my favour and then presented her suggestions by giving me a sample of each. Among those samples, there was also The Scent of Peace. Back home, I fell head over heels in love with it. This was something I never had smelled before. Unisex? What does that mean? Brilliant! My only problem that day was that I looked like spending money but I had none. Oh, no! 235 € for a bottle of perfume? So far, I had had no knowledge about these high prices. I sensed that this fragrance is worth every penny, but it definitely exceeded the budget that I allowed myself to spend for a perfume at that time. In Eternity's world, there had only been permume mass market so far, for 16 years. So I booted my laptop and had a hard time googling for it. I got forwarded to Parfumo and to Kankuro's reviews, and got stuck since then.

It is hardly possible to find a bargain sale of The Scent of Peace, so I waited at least a year before I finally was able to call this fragrance my own. And whenever I use it today I really have to smile about my previous appreciation. I was unable to spot or identify what it was that I liked so much about this fragrance. Today, I am, and the charm is gone.

The Scent of Peace is a very harmonic and fresh fragrance. It is nothing new that grapefruit and Lily-of-the-Valley can provide freshness, but basically, it is the currant that makes this fragrance interestant. It does not smell sweet or fruity. It just pours its violet juice over the fragrance. Just imagine having a scent that is so fresh and comfortable as if you'd just have taken a shower or washed your hair with lots of shampoo. Besides this fresh feeling, current adds another dimension. The freshness gets an individual note. It is enjoyable like a prickly dry white wine that tastes like berries so you cannot get enough of it. The Lily-of-the-Valley appears and adds anothe kind of freshness, more tender and refined. Now the fragrance has got you. It seems highly complex, but an ordinary person cannot understnd where this redolency comes from. It is simply the fresh berries that are unknown in the mass market! The hedione in the heart note appears to be a transparent flavor enhancer that makes the fragrance shine and prevents over-applying. The hedione itself is not detectable for any layman. The fragrance stays beautiful very long, and you feel clean and special with it. The musk in the base note does its best, but nw I have a problem: after some time, the cedar provides a masculine tartness to the skin. At this point, I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed because I am afraid people may think I had used a men's shower gel or would have used a men's antiperspirant that now comes into view.

So, it is a unisex fragrance par excellence, but for women I would recommend daytime use. It is not suitable for a night out or clubbing since whenever the skin warms up and one may start to sweat this tartness comes into view.

For men, however, this development is a perfect match.

Still, The Scent of Peace is a very special fragrance to me, but the demystification by its fragrance notes and development for me has contributed to the loss of its glorified leading position.

Whoever likes hyacinth and finds this fragrance too expensive should test Coquelict by Il Profvmo. Whoever likes berries in a feminine without sweetness and tartness should test Amethyste by Lalique. These three fragrances all have a certain similarity with each other.

By the way, I am not the vain, smugly person that you might suppose by this story. I just wanted to express that you have to feel comfortable in your skin in order to finally skip your long time mass market signature scent. Fragrances not only reflect the way we are but also the way we want to be and what we want others to see in us. A perfume is more than a fragrance. It is a non-verbal statement, and the perfume we wear can make our emotions and attitudes visible for others.

Thanks to Bond No.9 and The Scent of Peace who have caused all the trouble, but have taught me a lot :-)

Edit: Today, after getting experience with some other fragrances I more often take Miss Charming by Juliette has a Gun rather than The Scent of Peace. This fragrance is not so much about berries, but it has lots of feminine freshness.
Translation: Apicius
1 Reply

Apicius 9 years ago 6
8
Scent
7.5
Longevity

The Grey Governess
Antaeus is a great fragrance beyond question. But I am quite shocked when I apply it. I do not know any other perfume that gives off such an aura of rigour and strictness.

I feel that Antaeus is space-consuming and sophisticated. Always in a bad mood, it is driven by the need to spoil any feeling of Laissez-faire or even the slightest smile. At any time it demands moderation and temperance, and strict fulfilment of one's duties – like a governess in a high-necked, mouse grey outfit.

Its depth of francincense transforms whoever wears it into an inhabitant of fathomless urban canyons. With its tristesse, it suits Keanu Reeves in the movie “Matrix” or any other version of the Brave New World. A great perfume that unfortunately sends out strong negative energies.

Taurus1967 9 years ago 6
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
7.5
Bottle

House of pralines
In Duesseldorf – one of the nicest cities in Germany – was a little shop called “Haus der Praline” (house of pralines). They offered belgian pralines in different kinds. Some of them was made of bright or dark or white chocolate.
The stuffing was with chocolate-, nougat-, fruit- or buttercreme. All pralines was handmade and tasted excellent. No doubt – they was made with exquisit and freshest ingredients.

Who ever degust one of these little artworks never wants cheap pralines of a factory.

If you entered this doom of confiserie, you smelled this wonderful yummy flavour nobody can resist. Inherently to take a breath, your calory requirement is covered for a half day.

It´s a long time ago and I´m missing this “Haus der Praline”. L´ Instant de Guerlain pour Homme Eau Extrême give me back this trip down memory lane. Especially I can see again these little darkbrown pralines covered by kakaopowder and filled with lemoncreme, if I smell this fragrance.
For me a divine revelation of a gourmand scent. Guerlain has done everything right and is remain true oneself.

A little bit kakao and a little bit fruity but not excessive sweet, wonderful aromatic with light dark fragrance notes and for me definitely enough masculine. Yepp – basically women can wear this fragrance too, but as man I have no unpleasant feeling. However this fragrance press on some synopses of my brain, so it makes me hungry. Hungry for pralines …

I can advise L´ Instant de Guerlain pour Homme Eau Extrême, but more for cooler seasons – like a little reward for oneself.
1 Reply

Apicius 9 years ago 5
7.9
Scent
7.5
Longevity

Once again, like every Christmas...
If you are looking for a decent Christmas perfume for men, then Creed's Orange Spice is a great choice.

It combines two contradictory accords. First, the Christmas part: a delicate and pronounced mandarin orange note enhanced with only slight spiciness. The very discreet spices are reminiscent of gingerbread, but with the prominent mandarin, thoughts of plum pudding also enter my mind.

Generally, I do not like orange fragrances that much, and I would not like Orange Spice either if orange was the only aspect in it. But next to the Christmas accord, there is something explicitly masculine: a clean, soapy and musky Barber shop style accord! Amiable, tender or floral notes are always difficult in gent's perfumes. They require a counterpart or at least side note that adds just that piece of masculinity that the general direction of the fragrance is missing. I think it is not easy to integrate such a counterpart without spoiling the beauty of the original approach. Orange Spice, however, shows us a perfect solution for this challenge. The soapy note in itself is not very dark or rough, so the optimistic and amiable tendency of the mandarin orange is not obscured.

For me, Orange Spice is almost exclusively Christmas eve's wear. (Some rare exceptions may occur.) However gentle and delicate the mandarin seems to be on first sight, in the long run, this note can become strenuous. I cannot imagine this as every day wear, I would simply get fed up with it. But once a year, on that very special day, I use it and I am really looking forward to wear it. Just as you do not eat gingerbread all year, you do not constantly use Orange Spice.

Orange Spice has full Eau de Parfum strength and can last all day. Being released in 1950, it is definitely a perfume classic, so do not expect any modern twist. It has not gained lots of interest at Parfumo yet, maybe because it is so special. I can imagine people put it aside because with the denomination of orange, they might expect it to be on the summery or fresh side. It is simply not fair to compare it with better known mandarin perfumes like Clinique Happy or the Oranges by Hermès.

Creed is not my favourite brand. Their general style is conservative up to point where it becomes boring. Except for Bois du Portugal, Orange Spice is the only Creed fragrance I really like. With its tender but nevertheless expressive mandarin – soapy style it stands out well from all the other rather conventional Creed perfumes.

Apicius 9 years ago 4
5
Scent
7.5
Longevity

A Cocoa Gourmand
Yesterday, I finally was able to pick my Slumberhouse sample set from the customs office. This brand from Oregon is not very present in the European market so far. At least, they do not have lots of experience with deliveries abroad: the customs declaration was unreadable, so I had to go to the customs office and show them my Paypal invoice. Not easy if you have a 9 to 5 job.

Ore presents itself as a pure gourmand fragrance. It is all about cocoa, and this note is set right into the center of this fragrance. It is not dark chocolate such as the ones that seduce us to highly complex fragrances like Guerlains Arsène Lupin or the L'Instant perfumes. No, this is an instant cocoa drink, milky and sweet. I just can'believe that some people like to spray themselves with such notes. However, tastes are different.

At least the perfumer tried to prevent the worst by adding herbal and woody notes that are very ethereal. This is the way that also the perfumer Sigrun Steinhausen-Strobel from Parfum Privés successfully gets a grip on too opulent flowery or resinous notes.

Rudeness can only be answered with rudeness, and so Ore contains a lot of those ethereal notes. This saves the fragrance during the first two or three hours. At least, during some time you have the impression that something genuine has come out of this mélange. It could have been worse, and my averseness is definitely not against the perfumer and his abilities, only against this type of fragrances. I should have been warned: “Strange and unique perfumes” is the slogan of this brand! Now I am looking forward to test more from Slumberhouse, it can only become better fot me. I simply do not like Gourmands.

Ore can only be recommended to extreme fans of milk shakes. While waiting for delivery, I would recommend hot baths. Just add a pack of instant cocoa drink - it's healthy!

Apicius 9 years ago 4
8
Scent
7.5
Longevity

Almost Oud
There is an interestant interview on YouTube: the two nice guys from Humi?cki & Graef thoroughly discuss their new issue Blask. The story is a bit confusing: of course, they also have noticed the oud hype, and they have a specific problem with it. This fungus-infected arab wood with the fustid harem scent does not fit to this brand at all. At Humi?cki & Graef they strive to reflect on the emotional life of today's western people in a more modern way. On the other hand, the little word „oud“ currently seems to be the Open-Sesame to the wallets of many perfume customers.

Travel bug is a strong motivation for food but also for perfume preferences. The answer of Humi?cki & Graef to this challenge is to issue a perfume only in the style of the current oud fragrances which does not contain any oud at all. So, we may expect an opulent, deep black fragrance that touches the same chords as i.e. Montale's Black Aoud – and is particulary different.

IMHO this plan worked out perfectly, although I do have some remarks. Instead of the classic rose-oud-combo we encounter a wild interaction of notes reminiscent of red wine and a tart walnut accord in the top. This is really something and it has not been done before as far as I know. It may not necessarily have an overwhelming sillage, but it definitely has high impact on whoever smells it – just as any decent oud perfume.

For the top note – if you may call it like that – we have to praise the perfumer at any rate. But: at Humi?cki & Graef they generally want none of the classic scent pyramid. According to them, these fragrances unfold themselves radially! Well, nothing is for ever, and this accord quickly reveals itself as a pretender. The further fragrance development is of a different kind – I discover something rare, yet familiar to me.

There are very few perfumes, where I have already met this note before that is coming up now. For me, I have named it „black shoe polish“. I do not intend to depreciate it with that name, even if it sounds a bit pervert - but aren't oud perfumes a bit pervy anyway? It is this pervading scent of black shoe cream from the past – younger customers might not have too many chances to come across it. But it is indeed a sensual delight to polish your Martens boots with such stuff.

This beautific note can also be admired in Volo AZ 686 by Profvmvm Roma, where it goes into extremes with gardenia, cocos and lots of vanilla. A lot more discreet, but still with oud-like intensity is it handled in Ajaccio Violets by Geo F. Trumper. Also, Pierre Guillaume scents it out in „Bois de Copaiba“. This french perfumer releases so many perfumes, but at his desk on the Düsseldorf' perfume fair it was his shoe-shine fragrance that he pointed out to me (although it was not a new release at that time). He might have regarded this German visitor as easy to impress with a „Wow“-effect!

I hope it becomes clear: Blask is end-to-end spectacular, more is hardly possible. It will find its customers, and if you look closely enough, you may discover the little $$ characters in the eyes of the two guys in the interview video. We sincerely wish them all the success that they hope for!

As far as I am concerned, I am beyond these kind of fragrances. Spectacular and excentric perfumes do not open my wallet any longer. I payed my obolus for fragrances with „Wow“-effect that end up in the drawer not being used. Buying perfume is emotional business – but as long as you can think straight you should make up your mind about the occasions that you would like to wear a perfume like Blask.

Apicius 9 years ago 4
9
Scent
5
Longevity

Save and Sound in the Arms of Masculinity
This is the slogan for the old, now renewed Russisch Leder! Farina kept announcing it for ages, then they were selling only tiny miniature flasks for some months but finally, it's out! I was lucky to get a sample early in 2011, at a perfume fair where Farina was presenting it.

Farina Gegenüber's Russisch Leder puts a smile on every face: a traditional birch tar accord, unmistakably masculine and exciting. Farina claims to be the first who released a Russian Leather, many decades ago. Possible, but it does not matter that much, does it? It is the result that counts. And this version of Russian Leather does something to me that neither the expensive Cuir de Russie by Chanel nor the cheap Russisch Juchten by Harry Lehmann achieves: It brings back childhood memories!

This is about the smell you could get in a barber shop during the 1960's or 70's, when after a decent cut and shave a big load of Russian Leather Eau de Cologne was splashed into the customer's face. Just one of these things you do not forget. Chanel's Cuir de Russie may be a high quality perfume, noble and a fine choice - it simply does not tell a story. But Farinas Russisch Leder does! The slogan for the small advertising campaign could not have been chosen more aptly.

The mystery behind this fragrance may be the fact that Farina decided to declare it a gentleman's fragrance. And you can smell it! No regards to the requirements of unisex perfumes are made as the other Cuir de Russies do. Nevertheless, Farina's Russisch Leder is anything but simple. The scent pyramid shows a complexity that only in the drydown becomes a bit more bland. It is difficult for me to analyse this fragrance. Are there any florals? Yes, but totally discreet. Musky notes and vanilla? Only a hint of. Vetiver and Cedarwood? Maybe. Herbal or fougère stuff? Yes, definitely! By the way, almost the structure of a chypre. Anyway, it simply suits my taste!

I see a certain similarity to Mäurer & Wirtz' Tabac Original - but only in style. This is also something from the past that perfume lovers love to come back to once in a while - disregarding of their favour for any sophisticated or fancy perfumes. However, compared to Tabac Original, Russisch Leder is definitely of a better quality.

A big compliment to Farina Gegenüber for having dared to re-issue their Russian Leather! In this case I'd hoped for some more money put into an ad campaign than they obviously do. The customers will not find their way back to this fragrance on their own. Too much time has passed since it had been discontinued. Too many fashion trends have by now changed people's fragrance preferences. Even an iconic perfume like Russisch Leder will work out only if it is launched at least as an insiders' tip.

Here is the reformulated scent pyramid:
Top: Lemon, Bergamot, Basil
Heart: Fern, Carnation, Vetiver, Ylang-Ylang, Cedarwood, Geranium, Cinnamon
Base: Leather, Musk, Storax, Moss, Vanilla

If just more traditional perfume houses would dare to bring back their great perfumes from the past!

Farina Gegenüber is a traditional perfume company founded in 1709 in Cologne. It still seems to be owned by the descendants of the original founder. They claim to be the ones to have invented the original "Eau de Cologne", and this is the product they became well known for. If you ever come to Cologne do not miss the Farina Gegenüber Perfume Museum in the city center!

Apicius 9 years ago 4
9
Scent
5
Longevity

Dior's Cinderella
No, the Cologne was not reformulated, I was assured at Berlin's luxury department store KaDeWe. I have it on my list for a long time now, also because it stands in the shadow of the Eau de Toilette and the Intense version. If at all it is only available in big stores that can afford a Dior scent bar.

Dior Homme is a wonderful fragrance – an oriental scent for men that has lots of orris root. The famous dry and powdery “lipstick” accord is something you just have to get to know before you die. The latest reformulations, however, were completely in vain from a customer's point of view. They did not improve anything and were only caused – as one can read – by copyright problems. In case of the Intense version, the result is disgusting. I have not looked closely yet at the 2011' Eau de Toilette.

Due to these ongoings, the Cologne Version should get a bit more interest by us. Well, the current leads us into another direction. Whenever there is a release of an Intense or Eau de Parfum version of any decent perfume, there is also immediate interest among the Parfumo users. However, many people do not take Colognes seriously – but why! Colognes and light variants are very often less complicated, more accessible and thus, more wearable. What use is a great but too intense perfume that people buy but do not wear?

For me, Dior Homme is such a case. The original 2005' Eau de Toilette version is grand – maybe the best men's perfume you could get in the medium price segment. Nevertheless, it stays in the drawer. Never I am in the right mood for this dry, powdery and cuddly fragrance. Always other perfumes seem to be more suitable.

Dior Homme Cologne has all the essentials of the 2005' Eau de Toilette – especially the lipstick accord, the dry powder note, the vanillic notes and that appeal of foxy paper. It is not so far away from the original, and occasional customers will not find lots of differences. But nevertheless, Dior Homme Cologne is much more than just the original diluted. It has light citruses in the head note. They lead the Cologne into a somewhat fresher direction. Suddenly, the common classification of an autumn and winter scent becomes questionable. Dior Homme will never be a summer scent, but as a fresh fragrance for spring the Cologne will do.

The citruses in the head note do not last very long – they soon fade away. Only in the heart note I still sense some kind of neroli. With this twist, Dior Homme Cologne breaks out into the direction of the classic Eau de Cologne, but only a little bit! This small twist is enough to provide a transparent and somewhat whafting character. The Cologne is less robust and sturdy than the original – it might appear even a bit more refined.

Dior Homme Cologne is a true Cologne with a limited longevity. After the neroli note is gone, the whole scent fades away after about two hours. If the overall result is so good as it is here, this is okay for me. It might make sense to by a pocket flacon and a miniature funnel – so one can have fun with this beautiful Cologne all day long.

Yes, the Cologne indeed is more accessible than the original, and it is the answer to at least my reservations. But you will not like it if you do not also like the original. Dior Homme Cologne is quite near the same style as the original version – it is neither a citrus bomb, nor full of fresh notes. Possible, that it will enter my collection one day.