Skip to content
Fragrance Notes
Share
Explore

Summer Scent Hunt 2020-21

Testing and comparing 7 fragrances over the course of a week. July 20-26. The goal is to find an amazing, refreshing warm weather scent to complement the warmer fragrances I already wear (Le Labo Thé Noir, Aesop Hwyll and Byredo Super Cedar).
This turned into 14 fragrances in October with the cooler weather inspiring some spicier choices.
And now batch 3 on June 4, 2021 adds 7 more fragrances, bringing us to 21 in all.

Now that I’ve also ordered a few bottles from Fragrancebuy that weren’t part of these sample shipments (Hermès, Just Jack, D&G), maybe I should expand to general fragrance writing/study/review. I think I want to learn how to isolate accords and generally deconstruct a fragrance.
Wherever possible, I’m using Luckyscent for price info to keep things standard.

Rating Rubric

1 - Good, nice, I like it (maybe I should use zero for things I either don’t like, can’t smell or don’t have an opinion on?)
2 - Very good, like it a lot
3 - Best in class, blew my mind
Luckyscent Sample Shipment
0
Order Tried
Name
Type
Vol. (ml)
Price (USD)
$/ml
Yummy
Projection
Longevity
Overall
Notes
1
1
EDP
100
$175.00
$1.75
First one tried and immediately thought it was worth buying. Of course, it ain’t cheap. Available on Fragrancebuy for ~125 CAD Sort of minty/lime freshness and herbaceous but not particularly bold, complex or bassy. Would add to a collection but prolly not a signature frag.
2
2
EDT Intense
50
$130.00
$2.60
Intoxicating. Definitely more of a cool weather fragrance and expensive for an EDT, but a serious contender for a sale
3
3
EDP
100
$180.00
$1.80
No initial wow factor, a bit disappointing but conceptually what I’m looking for.
4
4
EDT
200
$135.00
$0.68
Nostalgic for some reason. Aldehyde? Urban but gives me a feeling of travel. I’d definitely travel with this fragrance. It’s weak though.
5
5
EDP
100
$165.00
$1.65
Yummy. Kind of smells like rain but with a warm, spicy underbelly. Not a summer vibe but definitely nice!
6
6
EDP
30
$125.00
$4.17
Has the same rain + spice thing as Copper but takes it in a completely different direction. More green, less gourmand. This would dry down superbly. Most expensive per ml. Leather/tar/black pepper vibes.
7
7
EDT
50
$120.00
$2.40
Delicate, spicy and pretty but weak. Like a slightly less woodsy version of Hwyll. EDT prolly won’t last too long.
8
8
EDT
100
$120.00
$1.20
Powdery, but in a good way. Hints of Le Labo in a sort of sandalwood note. Feels lightweight early on (as expected from EDT?)
9
9
EDP
100
$131.00
$1.31
Sweet. Very quickly gets dry/bassy/woodsy. Also feels lightweight but scores slightly higher than 2 MAN
10
10
EDT
100
$140.00
$1.40
Hints of Le Labo Gaiac but less “fresh” and more “warm”...I think Gaiac is yummier but also more expensive
11
11
EDT
100
$135.00
$1.35
I might be to this...didn’t smell anything initially. After about 15 minutes, feeling a bit like Super Cedar in that sweet, woody, light, cold vibe.
Ahhh, there you are. About an hour in. pencil shavings. wet wood. Still some sweetness from before.
12
12
EDP
100
$165.00
$1.65
Green. A bit woodsy. Animalic. Very small hint of Harriet Lye-esque “urinal cake” smell. Dry-down is good but I’d say I prefer Hwyll. Got this because I like Le Labo Mousse de Chene and was curious to smell more oakmoss fragrances.
13
13
EDT
100
$160.00
$1.60
I think definitely tastier than menthe fraiche and possibly even tonic vert... base notes came through after going for a run. Pretty weak—it’s still on skin after a day in the park but barely, compared to tonic vert on the other writs.
14
14
EDP
50
$240.00
$4.80
Floral but not quite powdery. Nostalgic, puts me around the Vivian Fowler prom. Not as good as Neroli Portofino but similarly summer-appropriate. Really grown up and sophisticated, just not enough presence at this price point. July 2022 - something a little sweet about this, somewhere between lavender and jasmine. Officially: Top notes are Bitter Orange, Mandarin Orange, Lemon, Calabrian bergamot and Petitgrain; middle notes are Neroli, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Shiso, Ylang-Ylang and Lily-of-the-Valley; base note is Moss.
15
15
EDP
100
$175.00
$1.75
for $160 CAD. First impressions are Ralph Lauren Polo Blue. Citrus but also that...”blue” smell. I see it compared to Baccarat Rouge 540 which I’ve never smelled. Supposed to have musky/animalic/skin base.
Honestly might be better than Tonic Vert. Buying a bottle!
16
16
EDP
100
$225.00
$2.25
Powdery. Honey-like sweetness. Apparently this is an oud? I’m only a minute in so perhaps that will come later. So far, perhaps a little cloying for me. for $120 CAD.
Ah, there’s the oud. After about 20 mins. I should try this on moisturised skin.
Dry down is a sort of sweet gourmand with a little oud but maybe more vanilla or even rose?
17
17
EDP
50
$125.00
$2.50
Salty summer air, but in a good way. One of the more unique frags in the batch. Not overpowering but still present. Somewhere between aqua, floral and citrus. Lots of reviews reference the leather but I didn’t perceive that at first, maybe because of the sweetness. I’d say I could see it as a violet/leather (which, if you read through this, you will see a trend emerging). It’s rated as high performance (even by me the first time I wore it) but as I write this, it feels a little weak. Notes are (top) almond, bergamot, (mid) violet, leather, jasmine, (base), tonka bean, sandalwood, madagascar vanilla
18
18
EDT
30
$52.00
$1.73
Almost imperceptible at first. Fresh, almost laundry fresh (I was also folding laundry at some point today). Citrusy. But something else...a sort of sweet nectar.
Reading online seems to match my perception—lots of reviews cite fresh laundry. Top notes include geranium, mint, lavender. Chamomile, pepper and cloves are some of the mids, sandalwood and musk base. “citrusy-aromatic-woody
A bit weak as an EDT, I think that’s amplified by having to smear it on my skin rather than atomise. That very first 30 seconds or so of fresh fresh FRESH is intoxicating. 7 hours later, a sweet, vaguely minty drydown on skin. Could be the sandalwood (ISO Super E?)
Next MORNING, still have a bit of drydown left. For an EDT you have to say that’s insane longevity. But it’s a very mild fragrance.
19
19
100
$142.00
$1.42
Fresh, floral but not powdery, more like a refreshing cordial with some gin. Top end has...not quite menthol, not quite eucalyptus, but something of that very cool breeze feel to it. Mint? Tea tree? Not a lot of low end so far (5min) Apparently inspired by a French 75 so my cordial/gin impressions weren’t far off.
20
20
75
$293.00
$3.91
Name, of course, makes me think of G Floyd. Smells mature. A little metallic. Bass from the start. Slight hit of Joop! but... greener.
Described online as an “amber”, (typically lavender + oakmoss), “barbershop/shaving foam”...I think I just about get all of that. Official notes are Brandy, shaving soap, tonka bean. Rochas is a gourmand (sweeter, more coffee bean and vanilla) but I think has similar notes.
This feels like it’s going to be weak after 10 minutes. Given the nearly $4/ml price tag, it’s not going to score well.
21
22
Boris Bidjan Saberi - 11
EDP
100
$150.00
$1.50
Initial hit of cold oud. But something else...something boozy, menthol, cooling. Oud isn’t quite smoky, it’s more like that dried crayfish kinda smoke-like aroma. OF COURSE IT’S LEATHER. Maybe a bit grassy too—some reviews mention horses and definitely a bit of that. In a “manure” way as well as a “lovely ride in the countryside” way. It does feel rather soft, which apparently is off brand for BB. Leather, grass, beeswax and industrial glue all listed as notes but the official 11 notes are undisclosed. 5-10 mins in I can smell the glue more now, lingering at the end of the leather on a long inhale. Something of a smell of my parents’ wardrobes, all belts and handbags and starched traditional fabrics with their batiks and tye-dyes. Hours later after a trip to the farmers’ market and chilling on the Milkys patio, “blue” sweetness coming through from the leather (and possibly glue). December 21, 2021—I’m not getting any of these notes today, just some very mild alcohol. UPDATE DECEMBER 30: This is because I had COVID!!!!!
22
22
EDP
120
$180.00
$1.50
for $70 ($0.58/ml). They slipped a sample into my Tonic Vert purchase.
Another fougère, I think. Opens a bit nightclubby but mellows out with time.
Ended up buying a 60ml bottle on Fragrancebuy for $60 (not quite the insane deal but ok) to keep my FragBuy points active (when I could have done that by writing a review instead). For some reason, I had it in my mind that this was an oud frag—didn’t consult my notes first. It’s maybe more of a leather/amber combo with both ozonic nighclub vibes and some baking spice.
23
23
EDP
50
$190.00
$3.80
I first described this as a “cool oud”—supposedly there isn’t actually oud in it (that’s what “accord” usually implies). Reviews mention the blackberry notes quite often and I guess I see that now that I’ve read it, but for me it was sort of... cold rainy day extinguished campfire.
has 100ml for $239 ($2.39/ml) which brings it down to "pricey” vs “OMG” (for comparison, )
24
24
EDP
50
$215.00
$4.30
Note: Le Labo sells directly in Canada for $250CAD/50ml ($5/ml) and $370CAD/100ml ($3.70/ml). In the US, prices match Luckyscent at $215 (4.30) and $310 ($3/10).
25
25
EDP
100
$150.00
$1.50
First impressions were it has a little bit of that “nightclub” thing all designer frags have, but with added depth, smoke and soul. Excellent performance Base notes are listed as amber, vanilla and tonka bean, which reminds me of Rochas, but this isn’t as sugary. Leather as a middle note which is what I’m mis-smelling as smoke. Bought a 100ml bottle blind on a Fragrancebuy sale because it’s meant to be a stunner. Not dissapointed.
26
26
EDP
50
$215.00
$4.30
I love how...minor key this feels. LIke, just a bassy, abrupt blast of minor chord. En route to pungent but still delightful. This is the fragrance that introduced me to Oud and I would say there’s a lot of it in there, but they describe it as having cedar atlas, amber, incense, gaïac and a bunch more (which, as the numbers on every LL frag suggest, is true—they use a lot of ingredients).

27
27
EDP
50
$215.00
$4.30
I remember smelling this the first time and being shocked by how much I liked a rose fragrance. Definitely spicy/woodsy/herbaceous. Now that Aesop has come out with Rozu, it’s maybe less surprising to me that a non-powdery, non-girly rose could exist. In fact, when I bought a sample of this in Williamsburg, the cashier (a very beardy, Wburg-looking fellow) mentioned that rose fragrances were originally considered masculine only. Le Labo tend not to list their ingredients but they talk about guaiac, cedar and amber, all things I like, as well as cumin and olibanum, both new to me in a fragrance setting.
28
28
EDP
50
$190.00
$3.80
All of the D.S & Durga fragrances I sampled in Williamsburg were underwhelming at first—the shop right next to Le Labo and I bought the Rose sample after being disappointed with the Durga frags. The second time I went into the shop was a scorching day, and the drier frags (including this one) suddenly really came into their own.
This was prolly my
100ml sells at 280 ($2.80/ml). Fragrancebuy currently has which makes this pretty much a no-brainer. Likely to purchase at once.
29
29
EDP
50
$190.00
$3.80
30
30
EDP
50
$190.00
$3.80
Seems like their newest frag, not on Luckyscent yet and they didn’t have samples in-store. I may need to go back and try it again
31
31
EDP
50
$190.00
$3.80
DRY. Summery..piney but yeah they mention Marfa and this has desert vibes. Catherine Uhlrich hated this, seemingly because of patchouli. Probably my #3 pick behind Bowmakers and Bistro waters, but the one I would reach for on a hot hot hot day, because it’s so dry.
32
32
EDP
75
$190.00
$2.53
First time trying a Dyptyque perf and haven’t heard great things. This one is slightly “old lady perfume”. I perceive it as quite floral but it’s listed as a “woody chypre”! It’s meant to evoke a smoky, wood-filled bar but I definitely get more powdery vibes. Official notes are: Juniper Berries, Tonka Bean, Cedar Wood, Jasmine. Now that I’ve had it on for a while and read some things, it actually feels a little like Mancera’s Black Gold...less bass heavy but similar bright/cool opening to spicy drydown.
33
33
EDP
75
$190.00
$2.53
VERY light—can barely smell it on first application but not hyposmic (I don’t think). It’s kind of green and maybe a little bit of that elusive, Sanborns-in-the-morning-in-CDMX smell. Apparently it’s mostly fig, which I’m struggling to smell. There’s also some coconut which I do perceive, in a light way. Luckyscent thinks it’s one of the best figs of all time. They love it. Second wear, there it is! Smells like expensive French lotion, which is I guess what people mean when they say “creamy”? OK, it’s actually a legit masterpiece. Wore it during my trip to Greece in September and it fit the hot air perfectly. Not performant enough for a premium frag (but also not insanely expensive), but beautiful. Apparently the EDT is the one to get here (which is cheaper at $115/50 ($2.30/ml) and $165/100 ($1.65.ml)). Performance isn’t very different but it’s said to be more “transparent”.
34
34
EDP
75
$240.00
$3.20
Ahh, something that smells more like my profile! Smoky, bass-heavy with a bit of brightness/berry in the opening. This feels a lot like Noir Ambre. To the point of being redundant, but it’s still right up my alley. Launched in 2021. So, apparently, “Middle Eastern” frags (that have things like Oud in them) were not fashionable in the west until fairly recently (I think Tom Ford was influential in that regard). They list their olfactory notes as: RAW MATERIALS - Leather, Iris, Cedar heart OLFACTORY ACCIDENT - Raspberry It’s a leather frag but according to the ingredients, pretty synthetic. Which is cool. Fragrantica calls it an “amber woody”
35
35
EDP
100
$210.00
$2.10
Got this and Invisible post at Scent Bar, the lady curated a selection of fresher scents with woody/spicy drydowns. I find this one really hard to categorise. Yes, it’s a clean/fresh, but it opens with a bit of...tobacco? Or maybe whatever the note in El Cosmico is that makes it smell like a tex-mex desert. After about 5 minutes it opens up with some sweetness—vaguely floral or herbaceous, like jasmine or lavender but neither of those. Still very light tobacco/ash vibes. OK, time to see the notes. Officially: green leaves, orange bigarade, pine, pepper, juniper, cedar, incense, ambroxan, cashmeran. But Luckyscent says “a lot of kitchen garden notes in here too, particularly the resinous snap of tomato leaf, mint, basil, and the milky juice of fresh fig leaf. The vibrant, stemmy smell of crushed leaves is intoxicating, bringing back memories of small, childish hands stained green with plant juice”. I’d agree there’s green, a bit of savoury/herbal, the forest vibes remind me of a much much lighter version of Hwyl or Monocle’s Hinoki, appropriate for summer days. Let’s see how the drydown goes. Sillage is not insane until about 20 minutes in, but apparently we’re using a lot of naturals in the top notes.
36
36
EDP
100
$195.00
$1.95
(about $2.30/ml USD, but the 30ml on Luckyscent is $100USD) It’s also $209 CAD at Sephora vs about $240 converted from USD.
Opens up with a creamy fig accord—the classic Philosykos vibe. Very clean, slightly soapy. I went for a haircut immediately after putting it on today and by the time I got out of the barber’s it had evolved into more of a sweet/spicy wood base. Very different to Philosykos/Debaser in that sense, maybe closer to Thé Noir which is also ostensibly a fig. But I love that it starts green and fresh.
Officially, the notes are Petitgrain, green fig, tangerine, palm leaf, blackcurrant, cyclamen, sandalwood, cedar, tonka. So the sandalwood/cedar notes likely create the classic spicy drydown (ISO E super ?) and the blackcurrant/tonka is the sweetness I’m getting.
37
37
EDP
50
$190.00
$3.80
Instantly reminded me of a sweeter, punchier Phylosykos. It performs slightly better but isn’t quite as elegant. Same green fig at the start but with fruit—pineapple? Coconut?—which someone online accurately called “piña colada”. Supposed to be “woody” but I didn’t get this so much in the drydown. Admittedly, I was already wearing Terre d’Hermès when I tried this on at Park & Province. Would need clean skin to give a fair shake. Somehow, this has jumped to the top of my DS&Durga wishlist, with Bistro Waters, Bowmakers and El Cosmico all contenders. But man I love that green. Maybe I’ll try BW today?
38
38
Le Labo - Gaiac 10
EDP
$0.00
Tokyo City exclusive.
39
39
(Dominique Ropion)
EDP
50
$295.00
$5.90
Got a sample at Art Toronto. Initial thoughts are it has the juicy, orange blossom opening of Neroli Portofino but with way more white floral (jasmine, gardenia). WAIT I WRITE SO MUCH MORE AND IT DISAPPEARED!!! The gist is that it’s actually Tuberose and I should know that but I can forgive myself for thinking it’s orange blossom because I had a tuberose/orange blossom diffuser from the Body Shop in my bathroom for months. Anyway, the top notes felt very light and fast-dissipating but now that we’re into the mid-section it’s actually getting warmer and spicier. Still white floral but something slightly powdery and resinous coming through now. Fits my view of FM fragrances as “syrupy”.
40
40
Frederick Malle - (Dominic Ropion)
50
$275.00
$5.50
They seem to like Dom! This strikes me as a very clean, dry vetiver without the usual farmyard funk. More quiet/subtle/intimate/skin scent. Bergamot/orange creates the dry/citrus opening. Growing on me in 2024—a bit of a designer vibe but greener, warmer.
41
41
Frederick Malle -
(Carlos Benaïm)
50
$1,080.00
$21.60
I said this was what I hoped L’Air du Desert Marocain would smell like (I need to re-smell that one). Sweeter/more incensey than The Night but still oud/M.Eastern vibes. Insane price. Dries down to laundry musk according to the card I have. Oakmoss, pink pepper, turkish rose, frankincense.
42
42
Frederick Malle - (Dominic Ropion)
50
$1,195.00
$23.90
Along with dawn, result of Ropion’s two-year research into the Middle East. Highest concentration of oud of any perfume in the world, so we’re told. This smells like money all the way. Turkish rose.
43
43
Frederick Malle - (Maurice Roucel)
50
$295.00
$5.90
I like it. Not sure if it’s just because I smelled some two days ago but I get Christmas candle vibes. Starts green and a bit bracing but after about a minute the spicy ginger kick comes through. Apparently based on the perfumer’s secret personal frag. The is worth the price of admission.
44
44
Frederick Malle - (Edouard Flechier)
50
$295.00
$5.90
Opens very chemical...completely different to POAL. Still juicy/syrupy but in a synthetic way. A few hours in and not really rose at all but maybe a kind of champagne with rose petals in it? Reminds me of lotions my sisters would use. Nice smell though! The listed notes are Rose, Truffle, Wine Lees, Honey, Patchouli. They talk about marrying vetiver, patchouli and castoreum (“Perigord’s truffle”)—typically dark and masc—with rose—typically femme.
45
45
Xinu -
EDP
50
$240.00
$4.80
Went sniffing at Scent Bar and while my nose was oversaturated, this stood out as a fairly dry, bracing, stemmy frag. Maybe grapefruit (but I smelled a lot of grapefruit). Wearing a sample today and it’s more subdued, more...melony? describes some earth, some sharp (pineapple), some white flower and some creamy vanilla.
Goes on very green and stemmy (but not stemone), becomes sweeter after about 5 minutes. I get some spice too but it’s not very powerful.
Absolutely gorgeous but does not last or perform, at $4.80/ml.
46
46
Fragonard -
Parfum
30
$52.26
$1.74
€48 for a 30ml bottle from . It’s parfum (not eau!!!) but I wouldn’t say it’s insanely strong.
FIrst impression was that it smells a bit like Uncut Gem and I can see how I got to that conclusion. A little gourmand and...gemmy? But the notes are quite different.
Lady at the counter said this was their best-seller for men (but that whole collection is unisex). I personally liked their Fleur d’Oranger and Rose Jasmin—both dude-appropriate.
Also sniffed Belle de Nuit (femme bestseller, too floral for me), Rose lavand (weirdly, not too floral for me) and Fleur d’oranger (also really liked, as it’s drying down on a strip two days later I smell the synthetic oranger crystals).
47
47
Serge Lutens - Santal Majuscule
EDP
$0.00
Smelled these two Lutens frags at the boutique, along with Un bois sépia (which I loved before reading ), Ambre Sultan (bestseller) and a vanilla one that was a little too gourmand.
Has all the spicy woody oriental stuff l like, plus a mildly powdery flower facet (rose was mentioned in the shop). Fragrancebuy has , a bit of a no-brainer..
48
48
Serge Lutens - Écrin de fumée
EDP
$0.00
Opens a little like
@Issey Miyake - L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme Noir Ambre
but more...incensey. Smoke and sweetness/amber but something else. Website mentions cacao, tabac, rhum. I’d say I don’t get much cacao but the other two, sure. My skin is pretty dry here in Berlin so it’s not likely to perform as well as it could.
Off topic, I’m writing this at Zeit for Brot and there is a seemingly Turkish lady sat a table away with her partner having a sandwich wearing the freshest, most exuqisite fragrance. It’s maybe a little too powerful considering we’re about 7 feet apart but a delightful scent. Clean/lotion, slightly floral and maybe a tiny bit sweet. Making my evaluation a little harder.
There are no rows in this table

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
CtrlP
) instead.