WildGardenerWildGardener's Perfume Reviews

1 - 10 of 100

2 Awards
Luca Turin dismissed the original YSL Homme with a quip about how Pierre Bourdon would be richer than Berlusconi if he only had a dollar for every Cool Water clone.

Cologne Bleue takes the Nuit flankers back to their aquatic roots with a predictable medley that probably wouldn't make Bourdon a billionaire, but it should by rights buy him a yacht on the Côte d'Azur.

After flirting with a gingery promise of Envy for Men, Classic then goes for an Eaux de Baux style piquancy over sweet powdery wood. And then it vanishes, leaving behind only a faint pale ghost.

It isn't true what they say : sometimes the cheaply derivative die young too.

2 Awards
In the old days before digital, photographers would calibrate their cameras using a mid grey card, 50% black 50% white.

Drakkar Noir achieves a similar balance by mixing the dark tones of leather, patchouli and tree moss with lavender and coumarin. DN may be called black but to my synesthetic nose it smells grey, grey like fluffy mould.

The neutral tones of DN were adopted by feminists when it first came out in the eighties. The tactic of wearing traditionally male perfumes allowed women to sidestep olfactory stereotypes long before Serge Luten's Palais Royale brought crossover scents back into the mainstream.

A middle of the road fougère, sweet yet bitter, moderately heavy, opaque but nebulous, it still divides people today. Some love it. Others perhaps unsettled by its vague indeterminate nature don't like it at all.

It is easy to overdo it with DN, too much can get suffocating so moderation should be the order of the day - not too much and not too little.

I think its not bad - but not great either, just quite nice. Technically its no great shakes either, another barbershop fougère.

And the legacy of Drakkar Noir : eighties gender bender or the smell of shaving foam in a can?

1 Awards
A sort of sugar-water pink peony, with jasmin, grannies violets and orange flower, but even notes like grapefruit, banana skin, green notes and a bitter dark iris nuance can't restrain an overwhelming sugar rush tendency. Although this is a massively sweet-toothed profile it actually handles the syrup quite well; by holding onto the watery texture it manages to stay on the breathable side of glycerine.

It comes as no surprise to see the adverts for Innocence featuring a pale, blue eyed blond girl of impeccable complexion, the super-sweet scent profile points directly at the teen market.

The saccharin simplicity of Innocence is a remote descendant of that first great puberty perfume - Anaïs Anaïs, and both must be held responsible for prizing open the bedroom door to those morally (and aesthetically) dubious phenomena, Celebrity Perfume and perfume marketed at girls.

Chloé - not so innocent.

1 Awards
LouLou is to the white floriental what metallic paint trainers are to a pair of Stan Smiths, its the gritty sparkle that makes 'em stand out.

This is one of the best spiky woods so far, but needles, sweet powder, woody amber and ashes still isn't saying that much.

Cheap smelling bubble bath that turns into a cheap smelling floral.
GFF then loses a star for the nasty metallic note.

The tangy basil - citrus - bergamot opening comes laced with cool spice. This is set over a base of lightly sweetened dark woody vetiver and patchouli. Coriander adds an air of aromatic sophistication, but even a large dose of linalool can't stop the profile from quickly plunging into obscurity. It gets more and more muddied till the whole thing becomes just a featureless dark brown with a citrus tang rising up; like a brown bear in a bear pit, thrashing around on the mandarins put down for bait.

The recent fashion for adding piquant notes to the profile of designer masculines shows how, in theory, this type of thing could be improved. A hard edge at the top would add definition to the structure and could help to provide direction to its evolution. But the success of this strategy depends on material quality, whether it's traditional incense or pepper etc, or even aldehydes that make the cut, or whether the option is for savage industrial chemicals.

After a promising opening vintage Eau pour Homme becomes a disappointing muddy brown mess; its dull and its boring, but it could be worse - at least it isn't offensive.

1 Awards
A dark, sturdy, smooth bergamot - orange accord comes mounted on a dry, clumpy and woody backdrop. This is the bland side of the petitgrain and synthetic neroli heart, the floral business end of which blends with and neatly hides the crunchy sweet drydown of the orange oil in the head. Together they combine to give this cologne its sustained orange direction. Spice then comes through, and cedar and a discrete touch of musk can be found in the vetiver demerara brown base.

The original formula is some 200 years old and they've done a commendable job of bringing it up to date with modern materials. It remains good and true and hardly puts a foot wrong.

While other venerable marques have opted for prestige outlets with their associated high running costs, Roger & Gallet have stuck to a mid market strategy and sell their wares though a network of pharmacies. Extra Vielle isn't just good, at €40 for a 200ml splash bottle its a real bargain.

4 Awards
Chanel released two colognes designed by Jacques Polge in 2007, Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport and the Exclusif.

The strategy reminds me of that used by motor manufacturers who make their cars in a range of models to suit various budgets. These two colognes are built around the same chassis of a hard and bright lemon - grapefruit accord. Allure is the basic, entry level runaround made to a strict budget, and Eau de Cologne de Chanel has all the trimmings you'd expect from a top of the range model.

They both launch on the same basic citrus accord, but here it comes ameliorated by lime, sweetness and discrete powdery and woody nuances that soften the citrus and broaden its effect ready for what is to come.

Its when you get into the luxury floral interior that the real magic starts. With a budget generous on quality ingredients like bitter orange, real (?) neroli, and a decent musk, as well as Chanel's own Grasse jasmin, rose, lavender and spice, it all makes for a beautifully smooth elegant ride.

The other difference between Allure's basic saloon and the Exclusif black limousine must be the care and attention lavished on the evolution and detailing. It holds a fine balance between shiny and matt, acid and sweet, hard and soft. Crucially the citrus head accord remains crisp and true deep into the floral heart, thus maintaining the profile's artistic integrity as a cologne. It feels as though its been made to the same standards of excellence as the EdT's.

Cologne de Chanel is classified as feminine but for the first three hours or so it conjours up for me images of Saville Row shirts and high class tailoring, but then it makes a swerve to the feminine as the powdery sweet musky drydown starts to break through the citrus glass ceiling.

This is a traditional structure that relies on impeccable materials and great design work for its success rather than innovation, and so, in this conservative context, I think that remarking on a mild sense of gender realignment in the base is a valid criticism.

However, despite that, this is still one of the best colognes there is.

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