Top Rated Reviews - 2016

ColinM 5 years ago 12

Masterpiece!
Dia Man by Amouage is stunning. Stunning! Not my favourite Amouage to wear “daily” and forget about it, due to its very subtle presence on skin (which for me would be a crime to miss, so I’d rather wear it when I’ve enough attention and peace of mind to appreciate it), but surely and by far, probably my favourite ever of their range as a work of... hell, there, I’ll say it: a work of art. I think it accomplishes a level of vibrant creativity and impeccable perfection no other Amouage ever did, except maybe for Ciel. But Dia probably pushes the limit even above that. It manages to be smoother, to subtract even more, to make an even more precarious, complex and thin balance perfectly stand still as a transparent ice sculpture. Just replacing ice with air. Others in their range are more easy to love, richer and more fulfilling maybe, surely performing better and thus being more appealing and easier to wear. But Dia Man is just something different.

On paper it is seemingly quite a simple, understated floral-suede-vetiver scent with spicy-green accents – and you could wonder where’s the deal. The deal is precisely in how Dia transform that mildly promising, yet probably not-overly-exciting structure into something completely amazing. And that sadly can’t really be described with words, which would only make it sound undeservedly boring. Or well, mines would surely. I could mention a mind-blowing weightlessness, a unique sense of natural refinement, an amazingly, almost hypnotic slow evolution bringing in and out vetiver, smooth smoke and posh powdery suede, quiet clean woods, delicate breezy flower petals (orris, peony, ylang) which you can almost feel agitated by some gentle wind, an incredibly crisp yet almost unperceivable sort of grassy-minty aroma breezing erratically through the notes as a fairytale ghost of an elf, a genius touch of silky fruitiness... but that would all make Dia sound “just as another good scent” – while it isn’t. Not because it isn’t good, obviously, but because it’s beyond a scent - it’s a world, really. I would add “totally unparalleled” if Hermès Cuir d’Ange didn’t exist, as in some way, I think these two scents share some connections – both in some notes (especially the powdery-suede treatment), in their stunning quality, and in their general texture and inspiration. But creativity-wise, Dia is probably a tad superior to that, as it dares a bit more in terms of minimalism and complexity. The palette is broader here, so to speak, but surely they share some roots.

Pardon this personal detour but in a way, Dia Man reminds me of some summer holidays I used to spend in Switzerland, Engadin valley, some years ago. I always admired and deeply enjoyed the sense of cleanliness, clarity, purity and almost unsettling calm you can feel wandering through the lakes and the Graubünden mountains in the summer season, together with the warm, cozy, subtle yet somehow also very austere, pragmatic, even slightly decadent neat elegance of many houses and cafés there. In my memories the world there was all green and blue with a sprinkle of flowers, a constant uplifting crisp breeze, a Swiss sense of restrained elegance combined with a deep, archaic love for nature and for the mountains, with their dark shades and primitive secrets (which a couple of clouds are enough to transform from heaven to the most frightening place on Earth). I mean, Nietzsche spent his holidays there, in Sils Maria’s village – you get what I mean. It’s not only about some fresh air and good food to seek some rest. It’s like wandering through human nature. Now ironically Amouage’s heritage hasn’t much to do with of all that (or maybe it has?), and yet the refreshing, soothing sense of sophisticated, almost meditative yet also very “civilized” raw naturalness is quite the same. Probably “natural elegance” hasn’t ever make so much sense as it would for Dia Man. And it’s something really beyond simple charm, or a simple “natural feel”. It’s truly the modulating smell of a whole ideal world in a bottle, a blend of crisp archaic nature and modern cozy refinement. And the choice of giving it such a discreet, subtle texture is just pure genius to me, as it really feels like a call to your sensitivity and intellect to appreciate it at its fullest. Brilliant!

10/10

WildGardener 5 years ago 11

expressionist enchantment
A richly atmospheric juice of burnt embers and incense; where woodbark, brown humus and evergreen leaves lie strewn with red sweets.

No picnic in the woods this but Hansel and Gretel abandoned in the Dunkelwald (Dark Forest).

A beguiling tour de force that resonates with something deep in the unconscious.

(Fairytale inspiration courtesy of graindemusc)

Tar 4 years ago 11
10
Scent
8
Longevity
8
Sillage
8
Bottle

Bliss
So GRAND SOIR meant to be the next POUR LE SOIR... I feel a bit sad. Both of them are incredible and fantastic. POUR LE SOIR is (was?) woody, rather unisex and brown.
But... GRAND SOIR is also fantastic, and landed immediately on my wishlist. Right now the ratings say 8.8 / 10. Pretty realistic.

Unfolding itself with innocent, aquatic flowers, looking around, realizing, that the place is safety, GRAND SOIR grows to be a wonder! Depending on your skin, it can be more aquatic-flowery, or more honey-fruitty. It is a true bliss to wear this sweet, honeydew-melon like fragrance, that is strong, heavy and happy.

Kindred: Safanad (de Marly), Le Rivage des Syrtes (MDCI), Back to Black (Kilian)
Audience: unisex (a bit more feminine than the ancestor)
Strength: not extreme, but still pretty good
Type: yes, completely my type :D
Season: from the moment, when I already grabbed a bottle, all seasons included
Occasion: always, when I am awake

GothicHeart 5 years ago 10
8
Scent
8
Longevity
7
Sillage
7
Bottle

I smell yellow...
How does yellow smell?
To me it smells like Volupté, for Volupté is a million suns burning in a bottle, blooming like yellow and white incandescent cosmic flowers, embroidered in the huge dark canvas of the space between the stars.
Most of the time we tend to forget that down-to-earth matters are still floating in a microscopic speck of cosmic dust swirling in the most farflung rims of a rather tiny galaxy.
If there was some fictitious fusion between the sci-fi and cloak and dagger genres, this would be the treasure waiting for the audacious adventurer in the end.
This is what Conan the Barbarian would risk his life for, in order to seize it from its rare earth august pedestal, facing either monstrous sentinels or grids of death rays all the way.
And while its abstract shape would have probably looked incomprehensible to his barbaric mind, the walnut-sized emerald on its top, beaming mesmerising memories of dense humid forests and lost cities, would have made it irresistible to his ravenous eyes.
I can't decide whether its bottle depicts a very primitive or a highly stylised bust of some long-forsaken goddess.
In its golden fathomless depths I can see the voluptuous charms of a barbarian queen ruling on some lush corner of an exo-planet, totally unaware that she's been monitored by eyes coming from thousands of light-years away. Eyes belonging to a deep-space plunderer named something like Carmen Sandiego, whose scent is oscillating like a pulsar for all eternity. Volupte is both these women and each of them is fiercely tantalising in her own unique way.
And while its top notes are scorching supernovas wreaking effulgent splendour on the dark and frozen extremities of the macrocosm, its base note is tears shed for something dear and long gone. And although you can hardly recall what it was, its absence still ravages your heart.
Somewhere in the background a melancholic voice is singing:
"For a moment you could not recall the colour of her eyes..."
And I stand terrified by the unbearable veracity these words are carrying.

RhythmnHues 4 years ago 9

Gucci Pour Homme - The Macho version
There was no way I could stay away from the GPH comparison. (I tried) It was obviously the idea to begin with and then take it somewhere else. And it does go someplace else. Where GPH was smooth, subtle and sophisticated - with a lot of nuances and a complex development stage, this is a pretty straight-forward, very balls-to-the-wall approach to the same concept. Smoke, dusty-woods and spices.

The main notes are pretty similar. Frankincense, Ginger, Papyrus, Pepper, Cedar, & Oud. Just more in-your-face than GPH. Very dusty and dry too, but without any of the sweet-powdery and floral aspects of GPH. No leather here either. But all this makes for quite a different scent. The quality of ingredients seems quite good. And performance wise it's quite a beast. Lasts a good 10hrs plus on my skin and for days on my clothes.

I'm not sure if this could be the ideal "replacement" for GPH - depends on what one percieves, I suppose. But this is definitely very good on it's own right. If GPH was the sensitive, soft-spoken, slightly-feminine version of this concept, this is a foul-mouthed, hairy-chested, macho version. Surely recommended if you're into these accords.

8.5/10

Taskphorce 4 years ago 9
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
9
Bottle

Citrusy, Powdery, Musks ...Oh My!!!!
Its not often that I encounter a $600 fragrance where I can justify the price. This is the exception...If I were to sum up Xerjoff Pikovaya Dama in just a few words I would describe it to someone by saying overwhelming powdery-clean-musks infused with a light soapy citrus. There is an accord that resembles baby powder...a royal citrusy baby powder created by the finest materials on earth. The scent is straight forward and linear, it doesn't really change...but make no mistake about it,a little goes a very long way, this fragrance is nuclear...in other words it is incredibly potent. 16+ hours and still going strong. It is a Russian Airport Exclusive. There are two versions, the regular bottle and a shiny gold limited edition that comes with a bracelet. The latter is approximately $1800.

WildGardener 5 years ago 9

toxic clone
It must be disheartening for a skilled perfumer to turn out iterations of what everyone else is doing.

What's required of the Nose is to make something that's virtually identical to the one sitting next to it on the promo stand, while at the same time retaining its own unique selling proposition.

In a market of near clones, all of which closely resemble a commercially successful formula, these USPs can be no more than mere details which, when combined, make juice X a slight variation of juice Y.

Mainstream perfume thus becomes like the suits of the men who design it. Uniform; intended to blend in with the crowd, differentiated only by small flourishes of ornamentation - a neck tie here, a pair of brown shoes there.

ColinM 5 years ago 8

Worth every penny!
One of the most honest, worthwhile and affordably good releases in a long while. I am not a fan of Yves Rocher usually, as despite I respect the brand, none of their releases seemed that interesting to me so far (not even for the price); but Cuir Vetiver quite got me. It is by no means inferior to many decent designers easily showing double the price tag – Hermès, for instance: for the similarity of the notes, the composition and the quality, this could have easily been a budget-mainstream release by them. In fact Cuir Vetiver is basically a cheaper, yet absolutely solid sort of fresher Vetiver Tonka meeting Terre d’Hermès with a thin shade of some smoky tonka-infused suede (and that’s the only “cuir” you’ll get), and also some tangy cardamom nuance which reminds me of another Hermès scent for men – Voyage.

A poor man’s Hermès digest, shortly, with a surprising good quality and a not-so-ordinary texture. Specifically I detect here a more than compelling sort of fresh-woody-powdery transparent clarity dangerously close to Ellena’s style, and despite Cuir Vetiver smells quite close to the stuff I mentioned above, for some reasons it doesn’t feel just like a blatant ripoff of it. I don’t get what precisely, but there’s more than that. It’s like if more than a simple passive carbon-copying activity to monetize on other brands’ ideas, this was just more a genuine “tribute” simply taking inspiration from them with enough skills and budget to elaborate the brief a bit. It’s still 90% close to Vetiver Tonka and the other couple of Hermès I mentioned, but the remaining 10% is, well, a little sparkle of uniqueness (after all, it’s fresher than Vetiver Tonka, and smokier than both Terre and Voyage – unique, in its own and a bit derivative way).

So, all in all, totally recommended. It smells good, classy, versatile, smoky yet fresh and breezy enough to be perfect for any climate and circumstance. And surprisingly natural, too, considering the level of flat syntheticness you usually get at this price range. Sadly the persistence is a bit weak, but it’s so inexpensive that you can simply reapply it on and on. For 29 eur/100 ml or so, a total winner in my “everyday-replacement-for-more-expensive-stuff” book.

8/10

Drseid 5 years ago 8
5
Scent
8
Longevity
7
Sillage
7
Bottle

Portrait of a Gentleman?...
Monsieur. opens with a very quick dash of orange-laced rum, as a slightly synthetic smelling vague wood infused smoky patchouli immediately emerges and takes control. Moving to the early heart the smoky, synthetic wood infused patchouli continues as star, increasing in strength while adding a slightly sweet vanilla and near soapy frankincense supporting tandem to the mix. During the late dry-down the patchouli remains, shedding its smoky facet, as a slightly animalic musk emerges as co-star, supported by smooth suede leather and remnants of the now dry vanilla through the finish. Projection is above average and longevity very good to excellent at around 12 hours on skin.

When I heard my favorite house was releasing a new composition that was supposed to be the “masculine” counterpart to my favorite perfume, Portrait of a Lady, I, like others got excited. While Portrait of a Lady certainly is “masculine” enough for me and most others who have actually worn it, sometimes macho gents need a perfume specifically marketed towards them in order to feel like they have the “green light” to wear the composition -- Enter Monsieur. Unfortunately, my excitement quickly evaporated when I found out the perfumer behind the new composition was not Portrait of a Lady's brilliant nose Dominique Ropion, but rather Bruno Jovanovic, easily the least talented perfumer in the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle stable (with only one “passable” release -- Malle's own Dries van Noten). Uh oh... Enormous disappointment in perfumer choice aside, could Monsieur. prove that all of Jovanovic's many previous sub-par perfume outings were just learning opportunities for creating his first masterpiece (or even his first winner) in Monsieur.? Time to find out...

Monsieur. has been touted by Malle as containing one of the largest concentrations of patchouli in a perfume, and having now worn the composition on skin several times I can definitely believe it. Monsieur. is almost *all* patchouli, all the time. This would not be so bad in and of itself (if not a tad boring), but the patchouli presentation used in Monsieur is of the somewhat rough around the edges aromatic smoky variety. This is the polar opposite presentation of the ingredient to the one favored by this writer. One could have hoped for smooth sophisticated patchouli like the stuff found in Javanese Patchouli by Zegna, but instead we get rough and ready patchouli a la Patchouli 24 by Le Labo without the far superior perfumer's skill used on that one. It doesn't help that the composition is extremely linear, with the smoky synthetic wood-laced patchouli taking center stage throughout from start to finish, only adding significant supporting musk and a touch of softening suede leather late. In truth, suede in the late dry-down is the only thing that separates this perfume from being a total failure, instead salvaging it to the level of minor disappointment. What it *doesn't* do to this writer's chagrin is buck the trend of unfortunate releases by perfumer Jovanovic. One has to wonder when Malle has so many top superstar perfumers “under his roof” so to speak, why add someone to the fold who isn't anywhere near their talent level? The bottom line is the $290 per 100ml bottle Monsieur does nothing to buck the trend of disappointment after disappointment by perfumer Bruno Jovanovic, earning it a “below average” 2 to 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and a mild avoid recommendation. My advice is to stick with the *far* superior Portrait of a Lady and just call it “Monsieur.” if you must... This release only confirms a counterpart was never needed, nor wanted!
1 Reply

Rmf1112 4 years ago 8
10
Scent
10
Longevity
8
Sillage
9
Bottle

Very Pleasant Everyday Oud
Just tried it and I get a bunch of frankincense-oud with leather and resins. I think it's really nice and actually prefer it to Versace Oud Noir. I think the Versace is too soapy, and this is a bit darker but not heavy. Initial impression is very good, I could see wearing this often. It is different from most, it has a slight warmth from the resins, and it is well blended. I am getting great sillage, fairly strong at arms length, but just lovely. It has a nice powdery oud, which is smooth and elegant. I am quite pleased with this.

While I appreciate input and opinions, I am very glad I blind bought this, despite suggestions to the contrary. It may not be groundbreaking, but it is pleasant, a bit mysterious, and different. I don't know much about synthetics, but it smells nice, thats all I know, or care about.

Initial impressions

Scent - 9.5
Sillage - 8.5
Longevity- 8.5 (8-12 hours)
Bottle - 9.5 - that doorknocker cap is so damn pleasing

Will fit nicely in my top 3 with Montale Greyland and Bentley Absolute.
2 Replies