ColinMColinM's Perfume Reviews

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ColinM 6 years ago 3 2
Abort, abort!
By far one of the most irrelevant, pedestrian, nonsense new launches I smelled in a long time. If something like, say, Dior’s Sauvage seemed like that for you, then Mr. Burberry will make your nose explode. Someone on Basenotes’ forum mentioned an Axe deodorant, and I now regret having used that same term of comparison for scents which compared to Mr. Burberry don’t really deserve that. Because in fact, in my experience Mr. Burberry is the scent which absolutely went the closest to that. Actually it even went further and below– no kidding, the 2,50 EUR deodorant I carry in my tennis bag smells more appealing, nuanced and rich than this garbage.

Basically this is a truly nondescript, extremely artificial, puzzingly uninspired sort of a counterfeit Bleu de Chanel meeting a sport deodorant with a drop of Interparfums’ irritating signature musky-tonka base accord (Armani Code all over again- please fix that time machine, Interparfums!). There’s some synthetic citrus, some extremely generic woody stuff with a pointless sort of subtle minty-creamy nuance (a bit as in Paul Smith London), something sweet-spicy, and that’s it. I’m using the term “something” not out of laziness but because it’s truly the best approximation I can use – I read the composition, but none of the notes mentioned is remotely detectable here for me. It would be a joke to mention cardamom or vetiver here. It’s just woody stuff, spicy stuff, citrus stuff, cheap lab replicas of some “idea” of woods and spices. The same exact materials you find in supermarket deodorants in fact. Just a big generic “something”. And it’s so vastly nonsense that I can’t even think of a possible audience for this, neither can I understand how could Burberry approve to invest money for something so desperately unappealing and cheap.

So shortly, if it wasn’t clear enough, my opinion is that this is a complete depressing trainwreck on every level – quality, inspiration, identity. And if you want to understand better how it smells, I can’t really describe it better than I did above – I know my description sounded generic but this is truly how this scent smells. I’ve never been a fan of Burberry but I’ve always (kind of) respected Kurkdjian’s work on commission, even recently – for example, Carven Homme from 2014 was quite good, and if you compare it to Mr. Burberry you can definitely sense the immense gap of budget and efforts that separates the two scents. This is on the contrary easily the worst scent Kurkdjian ever put his name on, and one of the worst scents by Burberry ever.

2 Replies
ColinM 6 years ago 4
Pop lysergic oddball
“It... could... work!” – that’s what Silver Factory by Bond n.9 is for incense (and for the brand itself). Finally – finally! – a non-boring, non-flat, no-nonsense incense fragrance, unexpectedly coming from one of the most boring and nonsense niche brands there are today. One of the most improbable and surprising “what-were-the-odds” coincidences I’ve ever witnessed. But well, it’s here. Silver Factory is very good. It’s a deeply creative take on the incense theme, and somehow it does have a “pop” soul as the name suggests.

First, they finally gave some thickness and substance to incense, instead of diluting & stirring Givaudan’s Mystikal incense compound and selling it as-is; it smells solid, vibrant, alive. The substance is made of an array of nuances which are this close to smelling messy, and instead smell just beautifully kaleidoscopic: there’s amber, there’s a bold metallic vein with a smudged pink shade of iris, there’s some odd smell of ashy rubber, even something resembling to a dusty old drop of musky castoreum popped out of a vintage chypre, and a distinguished, slightly urinous touch of lavender and violet. Just as you would assume with something named after Andy Warhol, it’s old and new, naif and dirty, cold and oily, dark and colourful mixed altogether. And obviously, completely unisex. If I had to sum this up I’d consider Silver Factory a pinkish ambery-lavendery-candied-metallic incense, but that would make little justice to the funny, cheerful, complex texture of this fragrance. It’s at once elegant and juvenile, funny yet troubled, hippie and hipster, but perfectly easy to wear and like.

I agree with what many others said – if Bond ever made something nice, it’s probably this. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not suggesting you to get it: the price is completely mad and this is surely not worthy that money. But if you get the chance of some deals, then surely grab a bottle!

ColinM 6 years ago
Comme des Garçons' unreleased aniseed scent!
Somewhere halfway two other prominent Japanese brands making (sometimes) nice scents – Comme des Garçons and Kenzo, and a tad below – yet connected to – the majesty of Yohji Homme, there lies “mat; very male” by Masaki Matsuhima. The aesthetics are clearly closer to Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, and so is the inspiration of this scent for me – quite minimalistic, “urban”, dark and hypermodern; but some notes and the overall texture definitely remind me of a couple of Kenzo’s, notably Kenzoair for a similar use of “transparent woods” and a sort of light, grassy-watery breezy vibe. Finally I can’t not mention Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin for the top anise accord, here filtered through a contemporary Japanese sensitivity, and also actually smelling a bit more quality and less juvenile than in Lempicka’s rendition. Just add Comme des Garçons Black’s smoky licorice to the scents I just mentioned above, and you’ve quite a good picture of “mat; very male”. In fact it’s pretty much that: smoky licorice, breezy anise, “airy” woods, an almost unperceivable hint of birch-suede, with a touch of water and a Japanese sense of peaceful, ephemeral suspension. Be prepared to a massively light scent, but it lasts for a decent amount of time.

Shortly a very compelling modern take on a woody-anise-licorice theme, quite “synthetic” in spirit but actually fulfilling and “round” enough not to smell annoyingly artificial, or too harsh. Nothing top notch, but it’s very (very!) decent. Very easy to like, very versatile, not too derivative, quite unusual too due to its “aquatic black” sort of atmosphere – a transparent, breezy ambiance yet with a subtle, weightless black feel amazingly paired with the sweetness of anise. It can still be found for relatively cheap on eBay, if you like the names I mentioned in my review I’d definitely recommend it.

ColinM 6 years ago 5
Melancholically perfect!
Well, I won’t hide it – I am a big fan of Ellena, and quite a fan of this extremely solid line of green-fresh “eaux” by Hermès. Sure, they’re quite short-lasting and ephemeral to say the least, quite discreet and not the best booty call radar for your hot nights downtown : but within the concept and considering the expectations one may reasonably have, that is to say “for being fresh toilet waters”, they are just perfect. They deliver exactly what their names suggest, with the most effortless, understated, solid class and accuracy. Eau de Mandarine Ambrée is nothing less and nothing more than a delightful sleek glass bottle filled with a distinguished infusion of water scented with, well, orange and amber. More orange than amber, actually; the “ambrée” feature seems to me here almost more a metaphorical reference to a shade of golden warmth giving some “substance” to the prominent – and actually, main and nearly only – accord of orange and citrus. I get no specific accords of amber, rather just a sort of ambery shade, a very subtle touch of that. Something slightly resinous, maybe, but not a proper amber accord for me. Think of a glass of lukewarm orange-scented water, with its golden-orange nuances flaming and reflecting the light, there’s the “amber” feature of this. More an aesthetical reference, so to speak. However it’s surely more all about orange for me – a refined still-life portrait of an orange, Hermès style; don’t expect a splash of invigorating, zesty, juicy orange pulp, this is rather the smell of a mid-afternoon tea room on the French coast with some orange leaves and peels lazily lingering on the table, waiting for someone to pick them up and clear the table. Think of Hermès’ own trademark orange colour, this is quite its olfactory depiction. Sophisticated, mannered, almost snobbish, kind of melancholic and definitely French. And what amazes me, as for other “eaux” of this line, is how Ellena managed to make this smell restrained, civilized, modern and almost “abstract” in its universally-appealing, prototypical cleanliness, and yet extremely natural and realistic. Sometimes he seems the only living perfumer which is able to accomplish such an effortless blend of elegance and naturalness. Long live Ellena!

ColinM 6 years ago 4
Woods in heaven
I think I underrated this line way more than it deserved, except for Cuir d’Ange which stroke me since the very first sniff as the utter overwhelming masterpiece it is. Both Vetiver Tonka and Ambre Narguilé quite grew on me slowly over time, and lately Santal Massoia has done it too – even more slowly. It seemed to me a weak sandalwoody ”thingy” at first, while now I quite changed my mind about it (luckily I hesitated to review it right away back then). I mean, I liked it already, but it just seemed a bit too tame at first. On the contrary, it’s a fantastic, perfectly compelling and fulfilling scent: and as many fantastic scents, it just requires a bit more attention than usual to get its value at its fullest. Composition-wise it bears Ellena’s best features, which this Hermessence line surely and deservedly glorified: transparency, weightlessness, and yet a substantial, consistent, rich presence and persistence – just a different, “airy” concept of richness. If you want to understand the difference between “light” and “weightless”, then a couple of these Hermessence scents are quite a magnificent example of that.

Since the very first minutes, Santal Massoia goes back to Gucci Rush for Men’s territory: clean, modern, transparent, onirically creamy sandalwood-cedar notes, here paired with a subtle, marvelously comforting sort of milky-fruity note (the “fig” nuance). Take Gucci Rush for Men, for once not raping it like any other depressing ripoff of it did in the past years (from Azzaro Chrome to Pal Zileri Sartoriale), mix it with Carbone de Balmain’s concept of a “fig-infused woody accord”, give it a luxury, extremely quality substance and elegance as in the very few best sandalwood scents of all times, tweak the volume know down to left a bit, spray it on an angel’s wing, distill it, there’s Santal Massoia. By the way, the “angelic” component – I wasn’t kidding about that – will emerge even more clearly on the late drydown, a fantastic, ephemeral sort of watercolour touch of bright, vibrant yet extremely delicate floral nuances with a light woody undertone, oddly even more fresher than the early stages.

A superb piece of classy understatement, nowhere and anywhere on your skin, one of those subtle scents which seem always about to vanish and yet you smell around them for hours, and hours. Just pure white brilliance with a sophisticated, somehow opalescent and dreamy texture as in some old Polaroids of a trip to Middle East. It’s very simple actually, a delicate (and amazingly high-quality) creamy sandalwood, and yet Ellena’s ability makes it smell just like heaven. A dreamlike reflection of heaven, actually, given its smooth, glassy, see-through substance. Just give it a shot. Amazing and completely unique.

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