Niche Fragrance Magazine



NeoXerxes has 60 articles published.

Sample Impressions: L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris

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Sometimes marketing just gets in the way of a fragrance. L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris is a scent where the marketing behind the name is superfluous and unnecessary. Luckily, the fragrance doesn’t need it.

Moving right along while intentionally ignoring the name, L’Art de la Guerre is classified as an oriental fougere, and rightly so; oriental fougeres typically use sweet notes—often vanilla or amber—to both compliment and contrast the fresh masculinity of the fougere accord. To some extent, this genre is populated with a vast array of derivative and decrepit scents that combine titanic doses of lavender and vanilla with not even the slightest hint of ingenuity. It is a breath of fresh air when a fragrance comes along that doesn’t fit that very traditional mold, and perfumer Vanina Muracciole deserves artistic credit for managing to revitalize a rather stale genre. KEEP ON READING

A Patrician Personality: Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge

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Certain fragrances bring to mind an image of class, wealth, and sophistication. For me, these scents are simple, usually modeled after the eau de cologne, and impeccable in both quality and design. Some of my favorite examples are the great Acqua di Parma Colonia, Creed’s exquisite Pure White Cologne, and the elegant Roja Parfums Danger Pour Homme. Put on a nice pair of slacks, shoes, and a tailored shirt, then spritz on one of those fragrances—you’ll see exactly what I mean, as they will lift the spirit and perhaps the ego (but hopefully not too much). Another fragrance in this style is Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Bond no. 9’s Sutton Place

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Recently Bond has been gaining a lot of positive press in the fragrance forums. In particular, Bleecker Street has become a bit of a hot commodity, and through Bleecker, many enthusiasts are discovering their other offerings.

Enter Sutton Place, a hypermodern Bond no.9 fragrance with a bottle that won’t give children nightmares. Admittedly, when I first saw the bottle and description of this fragrance, I knew that I had to get my hands on a sample.

Surprisingly, it turns out that the refined, masculine bottle fits the character of this fragrance. Before reading the sample, I read on the forums that it smells like Aventus (why does everything have to smell like Aventus?). As usual, this fragrance doesn’t smell like Aventus. And there is no actual similarity except for the vanillic and fruity elements. KEEP ON READING

Summers in Paris: Creed’s Original Vetiver

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Of all my summer fragrances, only one takes me straight to France. The whimsical, white columns and sculptures of Paris are only done justice by sartorial elegance with a bit of flair, which is exactly what Creed does best. Look no further than Creed’s Original Vetiver, which (contrary to popular opinion) is both heavy on the vetiver and quite original.

Based solely on the opening, Original Vetiver does smell similar to Mugler’s Cologne, a fragrance that is sometimes heralded as the “original” Original Vetiver merely because it was released a few years earlier. But while there is a similarity of style and genre, these fragrances are quite different. Original Vetiver is significantly more expensive, but is worth the premium if you like the style. Where Mugler Cologne is extremely heavy on the musks and fresh citruses/neroli, Original Vetiver has more complexity since it incorporates several textures at once. KEEP ON READING

2017 Summer Favorites

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When it comes to wearing fragrance, summer is my favorite season. Maybe it is my taste, or the fact that I live in a hot, dry climate, but when I am out in public under the blazing sun, I’d much, MUCH rather smell summer fragrances. On those days, sweet scents can smell too sticky and gross, and spicy scents can smell like cumin-tinged sweat in the heat. But those summery citruses and florals, oh my… THOSE can be beautiful. Here are some favorites that I’ve been enjoying in Summer 2017: KEEP ON READING

Venture to the Tropics: Mancera’s Sicily

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While I respect the house for its fabulous balance of quality and price, Mancera is a brand that is, in most cases, not for me. To my taste, many of their fragrances are far too heavy on the oud and synthetics, or tend to produce hairspray-like aromas. Along with the popular Cedrat Boise, Mancera’s Sicily is a notable exception.

Some have heralded Sicily as some sort of newfangled Aventus clone, but that description would have nothing to do with the actual fragrance. Sicily has pineapples, yes, but that note is presented differently, is placed alongside a prominent peach note, and comes across as far more unisex, tropical, and soft than Aventus. It’s not a distinctly masculine fragrance like Cedrat Boise, which has a similarly fruity/woody vibe. Departing from the dark woods/fruits of Aventus and Cedrat Boise, Sicily is brighter, fresher, far more citrusy and floral, and yields an inescapably summery aroma that would feel woefully out of place in the cold darkness of winter. KEEP ON READING

Duel of the Molecules: Molecule 01 vs Escentric 01

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An Italian friend of mine regularly insists that the superiority of Italian cuisine is attributable to a mastery of simplicity. Instead of producing intense flavors by cramming together a host of spices and other elements from across the globe, Italian cooking requires a talent for producing a symphony of flavors from a deceptively small number of complementary ingredients. For some in the Italian culinary tradition, drawing out the complex gamut of flavors from a single tomato is a skill that in itself could take years to master. In this tradition, one might say that when it comes to ingredients, less is more. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Xerjoff’s Dhofar

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I can’t recall where, but I’ve read Dhofar described as a barbershop fragrance for the dark-haired man. Without hesitation, I’d say that this description is spot on. I’ve also read that Dhofar is too conservative, maybe a little boring. But this description is way off.

Dhofar opens with something resembling an exotic (oriental perhaps?) barbershop accord. Imagine walking into a barbershop, with seated men wearing woody citrus fragrances, smelling exotic spices from the bazaar while having your neck powdered after a shave. Combine all of this with a slightly astringent barbershop and an exotic something that I assume is the jatamansi, and you have Dhofar in a nutshell. Literally, a nutshell. There is something warm and comforting in Dhofar that briefly reminds me of the smell of freshly cracked walnut shells. It’s weird, but awesome. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique

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I’ve been thinking about Bal d’Afrique for a long time now. Sometimes it is one of the most interesting fragrances I’ve ever tried. Other times I am bored before I hit the dry down. After many, many samplings, I’ve begun to develop a more consistent view of this fragrance, which I will offer to you today:

Many Byredo fragrances are not my style, as their creative elements seem to embrace an aesthetic that is nowhere near mine, as I prefer more classical, austere fragrances. Byredo is certainly more avant-garde than my preferences would demand, and Bal d’Afrique is more different. KEEP ON READING

Sweet Fougere: Creed’s Aberdeen Lavander

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When one thinks of a fougere, one tends to think of the 80’s. Brash, serious, and distant, a fougere is often associated with conservatism and unrestrained masculinity. But the oriental fougere is sometimes different. Playing with the contrast between common fougere elements (often lavender) and sweeter notes (vanilla comes to mind), the oriental fougere smells warm and inviting while retaining many of the characteristics of the fougere.

Enter Aberdeen Lavander. Aberdeen Lavander is different from anything that Creed has done previously or after. I’m not sure what this has to do with Aberdeen, but the lavender element is front and center. There is no cheap lavandin here, nor is there a boring, sheer green lavender element. What is obvious upon first sniff is that the lavender smells complex, deep, vibrantly purple, and unmistakably herbaceous. It is most similar to the lavender in the brilliant Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake, but where that one cuts the purple lavender with a green mint element, Creed uses artemisia and rosemary. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Clive Christian L for Men

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In short, Clive Christian L smells like your boss. A tailored, reserved, infinitely serious fragrance, this is one to sample if you like the classic masculine fragrances of the 80’s.

Grapefruit is listed as a note, but L doesn’t smell like grapefruit, as the citrus element (along with petitgrain) is used to add a fresh, green, damp, and oily texture to the rest of the composition. Fir is definitely the star of the show, and makes the fragrance smell of tree sap and the woodsy outdoors. It’s resinous, green, and full of life, much like the great outdoors, but is cut with a distinct vetiver, cedar, and cool rose which together ensure that the wearer won’t smell like a lumberjack. L is quality from top to bottom, and though it doesn’t evolve much, it definitely smells worthy of the price tag. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Creed’s Royal Water

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As a fan of classic fragrances, I had to track down a sample of Creed’s Royal Water. Like many Creeds, this is heralded as a classic fragrance, and one that is both likable and unique.

Well, it’s damn good. Creed fragrances often smell extremely natural (whether or not they are), and Royal Water is no exception. The citrus in this fragrance is juicy and refreshing, but it is by no means the star of the show. What makes Royal Water unique is its blend of citruses and green herbaceous notes. Peppermint is present, though it seems to support the other elements. Generally, in the top and the mid of this scent, the most prominent note to my nose is basil, which adds a culinary sharpness to the scent that smells natural enough to fool a cook. KEEP ON READING

A Very British Oud: Leather Oud by Floris

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For those who are not familiar with the brand, I should tell you up front: Floris has a very particular aesthetic. Though it was started by a Spanish perfumer, over time its fragrances have become iconic in their representation of British style. Sheer, elegant, and never loud, Floris fragrances are a joy to wear for the fragrance traditionalist. Leather Oud is no exception. Yes, it contains the exotic note of oud, and yes leather can be loud, but this is still a Floris fragrance.

To an oud lover, from the first spray, it becomes clear that the Floris take on oud will be something familiar. Upon first whiff, it comes across like a typical rose and oud fragrance, but if you take the time to explore Leather Oud, you’ll find something much more interesting. Unlike Dior’s Leather Oud, which to me smells like a cow pie rotting in the sun quite dirty and unpleasant, the Floris take on the pairing is not only palatable, but also pleasant to the average person (sprayed in moderation, of course). KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

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Molecule 01 is a sneaky fragrance and a triumph of marketing, though not in a negative way. It is marketed as a “radically minimalist” fragrance, one that changes based on the skin chemistry of the wearer. Even calling it a fragrance is somewhat of an overstretch, as it is more of a skin scent and an aura than a proper fragrance.

In terms of the value proposition…. Well, Molecule 01 has a single substantive ingredient (ISO-E Super) and is the most simple composition possible, if it is even reasonable to call it a composition. It would be a stretch to call it beautiful, though it does appear to attract both attention and compliments. Following the design philosophy of the company (and perhaps perfumer Geza Schoen), the fragrance might not necessarily be intended to smell beautiful. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Floris 1962

in Reviews/Thoughts by

A sucker. Yep. That’s me. A sucker for the hype train… One way ticket on the Hype Train Express. Hype central.

When folks on a certain fragrance forum began discussing Floris 1962, praising it as the second coming of vintage greats, I had to get myself a sample. And upon obtaining one—luckily for me (and perhaps for you, dear reader)—I found that (for once) the hype was indeed justified.

Floris is a house that can be hit and miss for many people. Classic in style but true to their roots, many of their fragrances have a distinctly British and conspicuously patrician soapiness to them. Despite exploring many of their offerings for a number of months, I found only one Floris fragrance—the limited edition Victorious—that I simply had to add to my collection. Well… That number will very likely become two. KEEP ON READING

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