Category Archives: perfume review

Monday Quick Sniffs, part 38


Italian niche brand Etro has recently introduced a new creation titled ManRose. This fragrance opens with a dash of juicy zestiness of bergamot that is shortly followed by a slightly pungent wave of Sichuan pepper. Later these two get a gently spicy-oriental twist thanks to cardamom and elemi. At some point rose starts to emerge from the composition. It has a green, herbal and crisp side because it has been paired with a dose of geranium. The overall feeling is fresh and quite airy, even despite frankincense that is swirling around. Drydown consists of a blend of woods that are quite dry yet smooth, vetiver that presents its more grassy, hay-like facet. There’s also amber that warms things up. Other notes are patchouli and leather. I especially didn’t recognize the latter one. All in all ManRose wouldn’t be enjoyable if it didn’t smell so flat on my skin and if it actually had some sillage or lasting power. To notice it, I had to smell my wrist from up close and the perfume faded away very quickly. Shame, because a bottle decorated with arabesque looks rather pretty.


Last month Montale has presented some new fragrances with So Iris Intense among them. Here I’d like to make a remark that it was the first time that I was curious to give this brand’s perfume a try since I smelled White Aoud few years ago. So Iris Intense starts with a delicate Calabrian mandarin accord that is juicy, sweet, tangy and quite mouth-watering but… it disappears after 5 minutes and then the perfume goes straight to iris. Iris here is earthy and rooty, a little bit muddy too. Combining aspects of carrot but there’s also some powdery vibe to it. It’s kind of like an iris party where all iris perfume gathered together and everyone lends something to Montale. Drydown comes early, with a smooth, rounded sandalwood (from Mysore, they say) and a big cloud of white musk that gradually starts to dominate, making the fragrance smell plain and more reminiscent of a laundry product. And I don’t like the bottle can so that’s another issue for me. Even if it’s iris – I pass. Sorry – not sorry.


Last flanker to Gucci Guilty family – Gucci Guilty Absolute truly caught me by surprise by being so well done! Immediately after spraying it on paper or skin it bursts with a really intense leathery aroma. It’s pungent, loud – almost acrid and vicious. But the depth and dimension it gives is amazing. Vetiver which has been also used in overdose here is responsible for impressions such as woody, aromatic and earthy. Just with these 2 you can feel as if you were going down, deeper into the fragrance heart. Generally described woody notes create a solid base to Guilty Absolute while cypress gives a dark green hue to the blend. As the perfume spends some time on the skin it becomes more wild, developing an animalic facet. From the press release you can learn that this fragrance features 2 powerful aromachemicals: Woodleather® and Goldenwood® and that cypress (Nootka species) is natural. Also that there are 3 different patchouli oils inside. Guilty Asolute is not a perfume for me but I give it a thumbs up for being more original than most flankers are.

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Lyrical – Magical, Anatole Lebreton Grimoire

Magic has been deeply rooted in my life ever since I was young. As a little boy I loved listening to fairy tales that my parents read to me & I enjoyed watching cartoons or children movies about wizards, witches and their adventures. For a long time I even believed that magic truly exists (sometimes I still do!) and I wanted to be able to use it too. Of course with age I had to rectify that witchcraft is not only used for good but also for bad causes. I have a sentiment for Harry Potter books and fantasy-magic genre still remains my favorite choice for a good read.

Some time ago I learned that Anatole Lebreton has been working on a new fragrance. In social media he revealed that its name and inspiration are tied closely with a magical world. Imagine an old book with damaged leather cover and aged, yellow pages that are all shabby and falling apart. A book that contains ancient spells. Such book is called Grimoire and so is the perfume. A very first waft brings to my nose an intense smell of aromatic lavender. It has a rich, medicated smell that has some pungency to it. The style of it makes me think of some old apothecary where pharmacists in white aprons would actually take different herbs, combine them and grind them in mortar in order to create a curing remedy. It’s quite enchanting because of its richness and complexity.

Lavender is a multifaceted note of Anatole Lebreton Grimoire. In the opening it’s more herbal, medicinal but after some time it unveils the smell of green, aromatic stems as well as some floral tones of tiny purple flowers themselves. Green vibe gains additional dimension thanks to addition of basil leaves and lime that makes it smell more juicy with a sparkling effect. Later comes a downfall into a dark pit of olibanum. Its resinous, balsamic properties come out immediately. This particular note expands the aura of mystery – it has depth and specific darkness but it doesn’t frighten. Paired with elemi it emanates a warm fragrance that is surprisingly cosy & comforting.


Incense aroma created with combined olibanum and elemi is quite like a visit to a church. It has undeniable spirituality that goes in an unexpected direction. In general I find a lot of churchy insense compositions to be quite cold. Grimoire is different. Its encens part is warm in a way smoked wooden boards would smell. It’s pleasant and relaxing and I want to compare it to cracking logs in the fireplace (maybe with few lumps of olibanum thrown it too) at some mountain chalet. This warmth continues for a couple of hours and it gradually develops some spiciness.

Spiciness of this perfume is very mild, tactful – with a specific elegance to it. Anatole mentions cumin but please, fret not! In my opinion it doesn’t smell like cumin at all. It’s more like a black pepper, nutmeg (with its paper-like effect) and cardamom blend. The only way cumin would participate in this stage is by providing this sensual, carnal atmosphere to Grimoire. Few hours later a drydown begins to step in. It has some roughness coming from the uneven surface of cedar wood and some gorgeous chypre quality given to it by oakmoss. Last but not least there are some dirtier musks that give it an aphrodisiac like smell that could be associated with warm body.

In my opinion it wouldn’t be an excessive talking if I said that Grimoire from Anatole Lebreton is a fantastic perfume. If someone made me to list of top 5 fragrances that I smelled at Esxence 2017, it would be one of them. With its level of complexity and wonderful development I can feel that this perfume is really worthy a name of a spellbook tome. It has great sillage and lasts all day easily. This magic in a bottle comes in eau de parfum concentration. Purchase options include a 50 ml bottle or a 10 ml travel spray that is a part of 3 x 10 ml travel set (you get to choose your fragrances, multiples of the same scent are also possible). There’s also a sample set at Anatole Lebreton website.

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