KankuroKankuro's Perfume Reviews

1 - 5 of 7
Kankuro 5 years ago
7.5
Scent
10
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle

A little taste of Orient
I remember when Santal Royal was announced by Guerlain. On that day, many a Guerlain lover celebrated, as the great House of Guerlain would finally make another Sandalwood fragrance, an arabic inspired one that is. Would Santal Royal be competition for the beloved classic Samsara, which originally featured an exceptional amount of real mysore Sandalwood? Shortly after the release, negative reviews started coming in. People where upset about Santal Royal not being a Sandalwood fragrance, but merely another Oud with Rose. Also, people claimed the new fragrance to smell highly synthetic and concluded that not a lot of money was spent on its creation, using cheap raw ingredients. Even the well known and passionate Guerlain collector and blogger "Monsieur Guerlain" couldn't find any love for Santal Royal. But despite all of that, the fragrance seems to do pretty well, as Guerlain will create a whole collection called "Les Absolu d'Orient", which will include Santal Royal as the first creation. And the next chapter is already on its way: Ambre Éternel, the second one in this new collection, will be launched worldwide in February. How did I get around trying Santal Royal? It was pure coincidence. When I ordered Habit Rouge Dress Code, a sample of Santal Royal was added to my order as a gift. After reading all the negative reviews, I hesitantly sprayed a bit on the back of my hand, and slowly inhaled the new scent. Instantly, I was in olfactory heaven! What a wonderful, oriental smell. Thierry Wasser once again created something really nice. I don't know why so many people dislike this excellent scent.

Santal Royal, I agree, is not a Sandalwood scent. Guerlain already got an exquisite Sandalwood fragrance, Samsara. So why did the marketing people behind Guerlain decide to call this new fragrance Santal Royal, instead of being honest and calling it Oud Royal? Well, Samsara doesn't have to fear any competition, the intended target market for Santal Royal is different from that of Samsara anyway. But what does the new, arabic inspired fragrance called Santal Royal smell like? On one hand, it is different from anything Guerlain did before. On the other hand, I think it got a whole lot of a Guerlain feeling. The opening is a fruity, woody, smoky, spicy and sweet blend of a captivating berry like sweetness, which Thierry Wasser already used in La petite Robe noire; Cinnamon and Oud with Rose. The combination is wonderfully exotic and oriental, but also very Gourmand. So Santal Royal is a Rose + Oud fragrance after all. Thus, the fragrance fits into a niche Guerlain already covered with their fragrance "Rose Nacrée du Désert". So why do they need another one? Well, the price point of those two is different. Where Rose Nacrée du Désert is an expensive high end Rose Oud, Santal Royal costs less and offers 125 ml instead of only 75 ml. Isn't it quite nice to see the launch of more affordable variations, instead of more of these ambitiously priced "Ultra Niche" products that are saturating the market these days. Back to the scent itself, on the back of my hand Santal Royal evolved into a more woody-spicy fragrance, but don't be mistaken: The Rose is now the ruler over all other notes. She dominates, but lets enough room for the Oud, which lives in symbiosis with the fruity notes. The combination may not be new, but here it obviously bears Mr. Thierry Wassers signature. Luca Turin describes this signature as "[...] the weird long-term freshness that Thierry Wasser somehow builds into the fabric of his fragrances [...]", and he is spot on with his description. Even in Santal Royal, there is a freshness I cannot fully grasp, but that shifts the fragrance from being too dense and thick to having a wonderful lightness to it. How can I describe the scent in its current phase of evolution? Well, think of fruits drunk of cinnamon, lying on a leather tray, garnished with Rose petals and slivers of Oud wood. Yes, Santal Royal is a "Rose + Oud + Fruit" mixture. No, that doesn't mean Santal Royal is a trivial fragrance that fails to stand out from others. It's exactly the warm and Gourmand like feeling that makes this perfume a true Guerlain, and makes it stand out from the crowd. Adding to the Guerlain feeling, is the leather, which may not be animalic, but adds a nice texture to the base notes, they appear richer and more facetted thanks to the addition of the leather. Those who still got some space for a stunning Rose Oud perfume in their collection, and those who like their fragrances to be fruity, spicy and warming, will be delighted with Santal Royal.

What a marvellous triad of Roses, Oud and spicy sweet Fruit. Santal Royal is not trivial, nor is it of lesser quality. Instead, it shines thanks to its exotic aroma. I do not believe that the lower price indicates lower quality raw materials, that's nonesense. We all know how the "high quality materials" lie is used to push prices for niche fragrances up. Whether it's Chanel, Dior, Guerlain; or Creed, Amouage and Roja Parfums, they all use the same ingredients. Need an example? Frederic Malles new scent "Cologne Indélébile" features the musk material called "Habanolide". Everyone familiar with this kind of materials knows: Habanolide are not exclusive, nor particularly expensive. But yet, they make up 50% of the formula of Cologne Indélébile. Does that make it a bad fragrance not worth the price tag? No. It's still a good fragrance. Everyone experienced enough in perfumery will know to ignore many companies presenting their products telling us "We only use the finest and purest of ingredients that we hand pick from all around the world". It's a lie. And just like that, Santal Royal is not more or less luxurious than any other Guerlain perfume out there. My guess is, people can't get over the bad choice of a name, and are just too disappointed to not find any Sandalwood in Santal Royal. Personally, I don't care, and I will continue to enjoy the sweet cloud of fragrance that is Santal Royal around me. And I am pretty excited for the next Chapter: Ambre Éternel.

Kankuro 6 years ago
10
Scent
10
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle

Blue is warmer than red.
XerJoff, again and again this magnificent niche label draws me in. Right from the beginning, the beautiful scents by Sergio Momo made me swoon. No wonder I once owned four of them. I will never forget my first XerJoff perfume. It was the limited edition "Verona 010". Only 101 bottles were made and every one was hand painted by a chinese artist. Every bottle was unique. I paid 300€ for a 100ml bottle, quite an expensive blind buy. But there was no other option, as samples weren't available. Luckily I loved the scent. The second XerJoff in my collection was the honey and caramel drenched Oud, Mamluk, followed by Uden and finally Mefisto. I enjoyed all of them, but only for a short time. I came to a point were I wanted to take a break from perfumes. I sold most of my collection, including the XerJoffs. Then I was gone for one year. Currently I am rebuilding my collection. My new motto: Less is more! I focus in less fragrances, which allows me to enjoy and experience them in a more intense way. As I made my way back into perfumery, I noticed several new releases, including Red Hoba, Blue Hope and 1888 by XerJoff. Of course I wanted to try them, but I took it slowly. I don't want to experience the feeling of "too much" in terms of perfumes again. Everytime a new release sparks my attention, I stop myself from immediately ordering samples. I remain patient. But amidst all my patience, a sample of Blue Hope found its way into my hands. After all this time it's XerJoff again. What can I expect?

Just seconds after spraying the fragrance on my skin, the scent of tart and lush citrus fruits emerges, studded with beautiful accents of Saffron. This almost spicy freshness makes me think of nature and calmness. After reading several reviews on the internet, saying Blue Hope is sweet and fruity, I was quite surprised by such an opening. This must be a typical case of false expectations on my part. Or is it? Rather quick, the first impressions of Blue Hope start to disappear. After merely two minutes, the first changes begin to unfold: The perfume gets richer, the citrus melts into an accord of woods, which also brings fruity and sweet notes along with it. Just a few seconds after their appeareance, they already start to take over. What is the source of these new olfactive impressions? Sure, I could take the easy road and guess that some fruits are responsible for the fruity sweetness. But in this case it's just not that easy. Blue Hope may be fruity, but doesn't smell of fruit. The same goes for the Sweetness, which gets more intense as I write these lines, but never really goes into gourmand territory. The scent as a whole seems rather milky and tasteful. Also, the saffron is still there, lending the scent a velvet like gloom. As I consulted the notes pyramid to find out which of them is responsible for the curious fruit accord, I saw the cedarwood. At this point it is important to consider that cedarwood comes from many different regions. All these varieties produce oils, but they all have a distinct smell. They range from urinous, resin, woody, smoky; to even creamy and coconut like. That's exactly it, I am sure! The slightly woody, sweet and milky scent mixed with fruitynessmit is a result of combining a certain variety of Cedarwood with Jasmine. Often Jasmine is called the single most important flower in perfumery. You can also find different kinds of Jasmine, growing in different parts of the world. They all smell have an individual smell, but they all smell without a doubt like Jasmine. And truly, as Blue Hopes heart comes to full bloom, it offers a moist and green note with exotic hints, typical for Jasmine. But let's be honest: All of that is rather hard to make out, as the perfume is blended masterfully. Not a single note acts on its own, all of them act together and create something wonderful, something new! After an hour on my skin, all thats left of the saffron is a soft hint. It played its part extremely well in the composition and continues to lend a faint, almost unnoticeable velvet spice accent. During the rise of the Vanilla, these little hints of spice are pleasant and keep the composition alive and moving. And now to my favorite part of the fragrance: The Vanilla shows its full beauty during the drydown of Blue Hope! On a side note, it's fantastic how this fragrance manages to change this dramatically three times without losing its spirit. After the dry citrus and saffron opening and the rich and creamy Jasmine and Cedarwood heart, follows the beguiling and sweet base note of Vanilla. And despite all these different phases, Blue Hope always smells like Blue Hope, staying true to itself. But now back to the wonderful drydown: The already mentioned Vanille does not overpower the heart notes completely, parts of them remain until the end of the perfume. But something rather curious happens now. The Vanilla is hiding a secret. It's a carnal secret. It may only be the faintest hint, only a whisper. But it's there, something animalic. The last fragrance that combined sweet Vanilla with animalic notes, if I remember correctly, was Musc Maori by Parfumerie Générale. Unfortunately, this one smelled rather vile to me. Blue Hope is luckily not even close to this disastrous combination, I guess it's due to a different ratio of how the notes were used. So while Musc Maori reminds me of Vanilla pudding with chocolate chip cookies and big cat anus, Blue Hope doesn't evoke any wild animals, nor is it erotic in any way. It carries the scent of life, which draws me in and keeps me protected and warm. This warmth and feeling of protection is present during the whole development of Blue Hope. It's a comfortable kind of fragrance it calms me down and envelops all my senses. A fresh oriental like no other. Chapeau, Mr. Momo! Your creative direction resulted in yet another marvelous fragrance.

What else can I say? Blue Hope is a fragrance I fell in love with. It is warm and gentle, and the way the fresh citrus transforms into something much deeper and more rich is stunning to whitness. I know that XerJoff is often critiziced for their high prices and decadent bottle design. But personally, I am willing to pay the money they ask for Blue Hope, as this fragrance is unique. XerJoff is one of the very best out there, not a single of their compositions was a disappointment. Even if I did not like a fragrance, like Dhofar or Fiero, their quality is always outstanding. Lastly I'd like to mention that Blue Hope, despite being gentle, has amazing staying power and a strong sillage.

Kankuro 6 years ago
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle

A velvet Rose without thorns
With Perfumista Avenue, the intensely colored flacon already tells you a lot about the fragrance itself. The color promises a fullbodied, velvety scent full of sensual splendour. Also, this fragrance is special, as it is the first fragrance created in honour of a fantasy neighbourhood. And this is not just any fantasy neighbourhood, no. This one is called "Perfumista Avenue", a place where perfume lovers from all over the world can come together and appreciate scent. A brilliant idea from Bond No. 9! While reading through the notes pyramid, I immediately noticed the rose, queen of flowers. Rose water and rose oil; believe it or not, they smell very different; were both used in this fragrance. My interested was immediately sparked, as I love a good rose perfume. Everything about this looked like I would love it. And I was right!

Perfumista Avenue is a fabulous new addition to the Bond range. The opening gives you a fresh burst of my beloved "Bond Mille et une Rose Accord". It's the kind of rose that only Bond achieved yet. It is also present in West Side, New York Oud, New York Amber and also a bit in Bryant Park and Broadway Nite. It's this modern but yet sensual and classy kind of rose. Not dusty, not grimly, not green but not red either. It's a pink and plushy rose, that seems to glow without being vulgar. I just love this accord Anyway, Perfumista Avenue opens up with the mentioned rose accord and also a noticeable amount of saffron and the famous plum note, wich we can find in a lot of Bonds lately, it seems to be a favorite note of Laurice Rahmé. But, as always, it works. It's not as strong as in Andy Warhol or Manhattan, but lends a nice and soft juiciness in the background. Initially, Perfumista Avenue shares many similarities with New York Oud. Both contain Rose, Saffron, Plum, Patchouli and Musk. The oud and the sweetnes of the honey is missing in Perfumista Avenue. Therefore, it smells more floral and clean than NY Oud. The initial burst of rose and saffron gets softer during the heart note, the sweetness gets a bit more prominent, mixing with a slight amount of other floral notes. They're really quiet, never stealing the spotlight from the Queen of the Flowers (the Rose). What I like a lot about this phase of development is the clean vibe. Some may say, clean fragrances are boring. Let me tell you: PA is clean, but far from boring! Some slightly spicy notes lurk in the background, velvet like in texture, they sneak up from behind, like an elegant black panther by night. It's subtle, but just enough to give this fragrance some "je ne sais quoi". Seems to be a great fragrance? It is! But there is more to see (uhm, smell). The base features quite a bit of patchouli, not dirty or musty, but clean and slightly earthy. Together with the remaining rose aroma, Perfumista Avenue develops a nice chypre accord. A clean, rosy chypre accord. The lasting power is excellent, as is the sillage. A powerful fragrance, worthy to be the 10th anniversary fragrance from Bond No. 9

Kankuro 6 years ago
9
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
10
Bottle

Lush "green" for Gentlemen
Roja Dove is much debated on fragrance boards lately. From high praise and euphoria to disappointment, every kind of opinion can be found. And not only on fragrance boards you can find discussions about Roja Parfums. Various fragrance groups, as well as many Facebook are enchanted by Monsieur Doves' creations. This makes one thing very clear: The Maître and his creations are highly polarizing. No wonder, since the prices of the products are far higher than comparable manufacturers, such as Amouage, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, by Kilian or Bond No. 9. There even have been claims that the high prices are only a tool to attrac a certain kind of clientele. Let's be honest: Every perfume maker needs to make money in order to continue existing. Each product has a target audience, which doesn't mean other buyers are not welcome. Also, whether I belong to the target group of a brand or not, I do not care about such things. But let's talk about the scent, Scandal Pour Homme. Currently it's the only Fougère fragrance in the men's line of Roja Parfums. To be honest, I did not expect too much from Scandal pour Homme, as I have never been a great fan of Fougère fragrances. Scandal though, taught me to be patient and try to let a fragrance uncover all of it's secrets, before judging it based on the olfactive family it belongs to.

Scandal pour Homme is a kind of scent I can not classify easily. Why is that? Well, the opening feels like it has a little bit of everything. Shy citrus notes, who sneak around. They disappear as quickly as they appeared, leaving a pleasant blend of mild herbaceous and lush green fragrant impressions. Also, there is a subtle kind of fruitiness, which is by no means edible or sweet. So this is a fougère? I am not sure about it, and really, it does not matter. One thing is certain: Scandal pour Homme does not smell even a tiny bit like contemporary mens fragrances. It rather reminds me of a scent from another time. This is by no means negative, as it's a pleasure to find such a classic smelling scent that was launched only three years ago. The first stage of the scent, which still smells moist and pleasently green, only starts to change after about 25 minutes. A delicate floralcy emerges from the depths of the composition. The heart note is still green, but I clearly notice some white florals, like jasmine and lily-of-the-valley. In addition to the floral elegance, the first signs of the base notes start to emerge. Especially the moss is already present. Together with the flowers, the overall impression is a bit sweetish and definitely forest like. Those who know my preferences in fragrances might know that I appreciate neither green nor forest like fragrances. Scandal pour Homme is one of the very few exceptions. Why? For me, the rather unpleasant flavors were used subtly in the composition of Scandal pour Homme. They all work together perfectly and create a beautiful and lively harmony. Mr. Dove has created a perfume that truly deserves the title "Parfum". Unlike fragrance creations that try to imitate the smell of a certain object or a certain note, or are highly Gourmand and remind of delicious delicacies, there are those scents that unmistakeably smell like perfume, or like some people would say: Perfumey. And this is what I've experienced in all Roja creations I have tried so far. No wonder that Mr. Dove prefers these classic accords, he worked for 20 years at Guerlain. Everyone who knows Guerlain will understand why. If you look at the base notes of Scandal pour Homme, you will notice a big variety of notes listed. Frankly, I can not make out a single one. This happens a lot to me with complex creations, the big amount of single notes tend to create a whole new olfactive impression. It's delicate, still refined and green with plenty of moss. A delicate sweetness sneaks around, surrounded by an elegant woodiness. Scandal pour Homme ends like it has begun: Difficult to classify, interesting and "très élégant". Chapeau, Maître Dove! You created a fougère fragrance which appeals even to me, a lover of oriental and gourmand fragrances. This rarely ever happens, and I am happy I had the chance to sample Scandal pour Homme.

This fragrance test made me realize once more: Fragrances need time to unfold all their aromas and nuances. Scandal pour Homme, even if there is nothing scandalous about this perfume, is the manifestation of elegance and class. For me it was love at second sight. Roja Parfums is a line every perfume lover should eventually try. Give them time, and they will reveal their true nature to you, these fragrances are alive and full of beauty!

Kankuro 6 years ago
9
Scent
10
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle

Rough leather on warm skin
Once again I am under the spell of Roja Doves' gorgeous perfume collection. I am captivated, bewitched, enslaved by the glorious splendour each of his fragrances exude. Until now I had the chance to try the following Roja Parfums: Amber Aoud, Aoud, Scandal pour Homme and now Fetish pour Homme. Some years ago I tried Diaghilev and Unspoken, but I can't remember how they smell anymore, what a pity! It was a time where I had so many samples that I could not pay attention to one fragrance for more than 2 seconds, so I also forgot about these two treasures. But I will definitely refresh my memory some day. My absolute favorite so far remains Amber Aoud. Never before did a perfume cast it's magic upon me this strongly. Never before did I fall in love with a smell like I did with Amber Aoud. Trying Aoud was also a magnificent experience, even though I prefer Amber Aoud just a little bit more. Today, my journey through the collection of the worlds sole "Professeur de Parfum" continues. Fetish pour Homme, a fragrance for men with a distinct leather note. For me, there are two kinds of leather perfume: The "soft leather"; including fragrances like Guerlain Cuir Beluga and Tom Ford Tuscan Leather. And there is the "bitter leather". Robert Piguet Bandit and Montale Aoud Cuir d'Arabie are but two of many examples how bitter leathers smell. Fetish pour Homme is supposed to be a bitter leather, and usually these kind of leathers are not for me, I prefer the soft ones. But thanks to my fragrance journey I learned, that sometimes there are fragrances that don't belong to ones favorite olfactory family, but they appeal to you nonetheless. So what about Fetish pour Homme?

Just a single drop is enough to endulge in the rich aroma of Fetish pour Homme. At first, the scent shows a lot of character, is spicy and intense, almost dusty. A hint of citrus can be found in the first few minutes, hiding in the background. This scent is voluptuous and wicked, in a most beautiful way. Parts of the base notes are present from the fist moment on: Cinnamon, Pepper and Leather are the notes that stand out the most in the scents first 15 minutes. If you want to try Fetish pour Homme, be prepared for it's highly potent and opulent nature, or else you might be unable to cope with the sheer abundance of facets. At first, I was a bit sceptical. The scent seemed to be much to harsh, spicy and rich. Luckily, this was just my first impression. I know that Roja Doves creations often need time to reveal all their beauty and liveliness to the wearer. Often his scents change dramatically after just a few minutes. Lo and behold: It is true: Fetish pour Homme is one of those perfumes, that change over time. After 30 minutes on my skin, the scent becomes softer. The floral heart takes some of the sharp edges out of the fragrance, the scent becomes like a second skin. The warm, leathery and amber like aroma is enriched by a subtle powdery note, could this be the violet? Without letting the scent actually smell floral, it gives the whole composition a beautiful mildness. The fragrances striking character is luckily not lost during the tranformation, Fetish pour Homme stays powerful and distinctiv. All of the Roja Perfumes I tried, stayed beautiful even in the later stages of development. More and more of todays perfumes start to fall apart after the head note is gone. They fade away, like a withering flower, becoming unrecognizable. The reason behind this is, that many modern perfumes are composed to impress customers with just their initial notes, trying to seduce the customer into quickly buying them. The heart- and basenotes do not matter, as there seems to be no time for them in modern perfume stores. Not only designer fragrances are the ones to blame, but also countless creations from the niche market. I do not talk about linear creations, which are fine, but only about those who fade too quick. Roja Doves perfumes, however, are not like that. Fetish pour Homme showcases how magnificent even the basenotes can be: Intense and lasting, complex and deep. All the facets from before are still here, but are now embraced by a soft whisper of Vanilla and Patchouli. Warm, attractive, sensual. These attributes are perfect to describe the fragrance. A subtle Chypre accord is crowning Fetish pour Homme, it is probably rooted in the oakmoss listed in the notes pyramid. Just like Scandal pour Homme, Fetish pour Homme is an excellent fragrance. Even though I usually dislike leather fragrances like this, there is something about this one I just adore. Every perfume lover who prefers fragrances with a wild and intense nature, will be thrilled when smelling Fetish pour Homme. Roja Dove created a cinnamon-spicy leather Chypre beyond compare, and I can't get enough of it!

I surely am in loe with Rojas fragrances, I want to thank him for creating these modern classics! There are so much more Roja Parfum fragrances I need to try, and yet they are pretty hard to get their hands on. The ones I want to try the most are Amber, Enigma pour Homme, Nüwa, Diaghilev and Musk Aoud. But, to be honest: I want to try them all! This collection is refreshingly different, and my passion for these creations if just beginning!

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