The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Robert Graham Valour

WHAT I SMELL:   Valour has an incredibly wonderful opening that’s made up of bergamot and brown sugar goodness.  It tingles and sparkles like light brown amber crystals.  Not long after the initial opening, the light sugared deliciousness begins to warm as a wonderful creaminess begins to smooth out the sparkle.  The brown sugar (which never is too sweet) feels as if its mixed within the cream along with the lightest note of coffee.  At the same time a clary sage enters adding a marvelously herbaled dimension to the lightly gourmand mix. Eventually, the perfume moves away from the enjoyably edible and takes on a more traditional amber tone.  Valour feels as if it should be heavy and hefty, but instead it remains restrained and contained.  In the end, Valour remains an ambered hue of masculinity wrapped up in gentle sophistication.

From the Robert Graham website:

The art of audacity and boldness for the loyal and the dynamic. The bulldog has always been a symbol of fierce individuality and willful intelligence a fitting way to top off such a determined essence housed in a faceted decanter and finished with a foulard print. This bottle gives a nod to the well-dressed modern gentlemen.

This blended essence walks the line between fresh and sybaritic mixing top notes clary sage coffee santos and amber wood to give it the epitome of eclectic sophistication.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A 1970s sophisticate.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE VALOUR:  easy, smooth, subtle

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT VALOUR: CaFleureBon

BOTTOM LINE:  Valour is one of three perfumes in the “Collector’s Trio” which also includes Fortitude and Courage, but Valour is my favorite.  The perfume is nicely refined and very easy to wear.  It does have a nostalgic vibe to it, which to me, makes it all that more attractive.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Spicy
  • Classification: Masculine
  • Expense:  $125 for 100 ml blended essence (I’m not sure if that means cologne, eau de toilette or eau de parfum)


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Russkaya Kozha by Berdoues

WHAT I SMELL:  Russkaya Kozha has a discordant and biting opening that quickly moves to a flattened wood tinged with leather and oud.  There’s a sour edge and a pungent aspect, like worn leather pants that have absorbed the dirt and sweat from the wearer.  The perfume is beefy without being weighted, but it does have presence.  After a few minutes, the funky opening starts to sweeten and a wonderful radiating amber and benzoin ride above the now rough hewed sueded leather.  There’s a slight booziness that meets the mix and what was a bit rough and tumble at the beginning is now confidently sophisticated.  It also seems like there may be a light rose note buried under the leather, but I’m not seeing that listed as one of the notes.  The perfume settles down into a warmed smoky leather that is masculine without being overt but is still clearly in charge.  Instead, it projects confidence in a wonderful grandeur that is born from the majestic heart of Mother Russia.

From the Berdoues website:

An elegant leather perfume.

All the sophistication of Russia captured in a glass bottle. A blend of the noblest raw materials, Russkaya Kozha develops into an intense, mysterious perfume through the combination of Cade wood from Spain, Siam Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.

Russkaya Kozha is a leathery, amber perfume that bares eternal Russia’s soul through the blend of Cade wood and an elegant accord of Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.  An elegant and sophisticated Grand Cru.

Prince Alexander Konstantinovich Gorchakov

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A perfume fit for a Russian Prince.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  secure, cultivated, resolute

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  Colognoisseur, The Perfume Expert

BOTTOM LINE:  Russkaya Kozha is a lovely leather perfume that feels refined, yet still embodies the rough edges that come with the harsh environments of the Russian landscape.  This is a really nice leather perfume that doesn’t overwhelm the wearer and as a cologne, this has incredible lasting power.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Leather
  • Nose: Flavien Laurandeau
  • Classification: Leans masculine, but easily unisex
  • Expense: $80 for 100 ml eau de cologne


16 Comments

Xerjoff Oesel

WHAT I SMELL:  Oesel opens like the dawn of a new day with a creamy, smooth, layered orange blossom.  It’s as if the sun warmed blossoms have exploded with their fragrant projection just at the peak of the late morning.  The florals are rich, thick and bountiful without being overtly juicy or sweet.  The mix of florals including jasmine, mimosa and Bulgarian rose are blended as if they were carried in the most fragrant nosegay and are melded so seamlessly as to defy you to be able to distinguish them, but for the voluminous orange blossom.  In addition,  Oesel is warm and full of bright yellow hazy sun and when smelled on the skin, the perfume retreats to the depth of your lungs.  After a while, a consistent and dried wood begins to float under the orange blossom giving the perfume an added dimension with just the slightest of dirt and earth.  Oesel is golden in every sense of the word.

From Fragrantica  –

Oesel perfume from the Shooting Stars Collection is a symphony of bright and rich notes perfectly mixed with the best raw ingredients. Orange blossom and petitgrain from Paraguay lead the path to the heart of Bulgarian rose and Sambac jasmine, which are skillfully wrapped in sophisticated mimosa and white flowers. Graceful result of this mixed breed is the ambery wooden base of Indian patchouli, cedar and tobacco flower, which exudes the character, depth and persistence.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  An orange blossom boutounniere…the perfect perfume for your wedding day.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE OESEL: rapturous, uplifting, joyous

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OESEL:  Now Smell This, CaFleureBon, Confessions of a Perfume Nerd

BOTTOM LINE:  I finally set forth cleaning up my office and the stash of perfume samples that were invading every corner of the room.  There were quite a few of the perfumes I didn’t even realize I had in my possession.  So off came the tops of many for a quick smell.  Oesel was the loveliest of surprises and I wish I had tested it sooner.  In fact I loved it so much so that the next day I purchased a bottle.  How’s that for an endorsement?!

  • Bone Rating:  5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Floral
  • Classification: Marketed for men, but could easily be worn by a woman.
  • Expense: Varied…mid $200 for 100 ml eau de parfum