The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Palo Santo by Carner Barcelona

Carner-Barcelona-Palo-SantoWHAT I SMELL:  Palo Santo opens with a milky coconut, boozy rum accord.  It’s sugared without being sweet, but it crackles with a wonderful gourmand and slightly earthy goodness.  The sugared aspect begins to retreat as the perfume starts to become a bit more woody.  Add on top of that a light burnt hue as if the woods and rum have attracted a lit fire which singed the sweetened wood.  The guaiac wood starts to become prominent as it begins to dominate the perfume.  Thankfully, the guaiac is tempered quickly by the addition of a woody vetiver which helps to bring the perfume into a more sharpened tonality.  After around 30 minutes or so, the perfume begins to blend with hints of incense and tonka bean sitting on top of a woody base that is full of cream.  Palo Santo is at first rather big, bold and in charge, but with a rather sweet demeanor.  In the end, all those elements are still there, but they settle down to more of a whisper.

From the Carner Barcelona website:

A ‘’sacred wood’’ steeped in magic and mysticism for thousands of years, releases an enchanting aromatic essence that swirls to life in a spellbinding blend that infuses earthy hints of wood and incense.

Coveted by shamans for centuries, it is believed that this spiritual wood has the power to protect and usher in good fortune. A faint misting will cleanse the mood and raise spirits, invoking the true purifying virtues of Palo Santo

top notes: Indian Davana, Rum Accord

mid notes: Warm Milk, Paraguayan Guaiacum Wood, Venezuelan Tonka Bean

base notes: Moroccan Cedar Wood, Vetyver from Haiti, Dominican Republican Amyris

brown-bear-4689WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Don’t ask me why, but for some reason this brings to mind a very happy and content brown bear.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE PALO SANTO:  milky, calming, peaceful

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT PALO SANTO: Chemist in the Bottle, Colognoisseur, Kafkaesque

BOTTOM LINE:  Palo Santo is smooth and creamy and full of guaiac wood which unfortunately never seems to work on my skin.  However, if you do like guaiac wood…this might just be a good fit as it softens to a nice woody glow in the end.


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Byredo Gypsy Water

Gypsy WaterWHAT I SMELL:  Gypsy Water opens with a glaze of lemon tinged juniper and pine, almost like that of Lemon Pledge, but with a sweeter vanilla finish which takes it from Lemon Pledge to more of a lemon custard.  After a short time, the perfume begins to soften and them lemon becomes light and tart and slightly sour with addition of a quiet incense and wood.  I was expecting Gypsy Water to be a lively and phrenetic fragrance, but instead, it’s rather subdued and unassuming.  After around 20 minutes, the pine, amber and sandalwood come together to provide for a creamy, but lightly incensed powdered warmth.  In the end, Gypsy Water is a lightly warmed quiet woody perfume, that although unassuming, is rather mysterious.

From the Byredo website:

GYPSY WATER IS A GLAMORIZATION OF THE ROMANY LIFESTYLE, BASED ON A FASCINATION WITH THE MYTH. THE SCENT OF FRESH SOIL, DEEP FORESTS AND CAMPFIRES EVOKES THE DREAM OF A FREE, COLORFUL LIFESTYLE CLOSE TO NATURE.

TOP: BERGAMOT, LEMON, PEPPER, JUNIPER BERRIES
HEART: INCENSE, PINE NEEDLES, ORRIS
BASE: AMBER, VANILLA, SANDALWOOD

warm breezeWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A warm breeze lilting through the forest.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE GYPSY WATER:  quiet, comforting, peaceful

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT GYPSY WATER: Perfume Posse, What Men Should Smell Like, Katie Puckrik Smells

BOTTOM LINE:  Gypsy Water doesn’t have a lot of projection, but is instead a really nice skin scent that is unique with its citrus and woody incense combination.  It’s perfect for the office, or for those quiet days when you want to feel special just for yourself and no one else.

  • Bone Rating:  3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Woody Aromatic
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $145 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum


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New Release: Ex Idolo Ryder & Interview with Ex Idolo’s Matthew Zhuk

Ryder-50mlWHAT I SMELL: Ryder opens with a lightly boozy ambered wood.  It reminds me of the beginning of fall, when ashen wood meets the semi-sun tinged skies.  After a couple of minutes, the perfume lightens and becomes a bit sweeter, like the sweetened tobacco sitting in the bowl of a pipe.  Ryder is anything but brash or loud, instead the subtle rise of the tobacco and frankincense weaves around the wearer like an aura of comfort. After 10 minutes, a rounded and full-bodied jasmine enters and takes its place right in the middle of the composition as if it was the filling in an old and worn wooded box.  What started off as of more of a standard woody perfume now takes on a new dimension of mixing the masculine and the feminine.    The jasmine also adds a thicken headiness which gives the perfume more projection.  In the end, Ryder is a spiced jasmine beauty that lives in the world of masculinity.

From the Ex Idolo press release:

A FRAGRANCE INSPIRED BY THE HISTORY OF MAYFAIR AND ST JAMES

True to the traditions of the grand houses of the golden age of perfume, Ex Idolo has created an exceptional blend inspired by the history of the members clubs of Mayfair and St. James in London. The fragrance is a juxtaposition of sweet tobacco and boozy notes against a warm woody-amber accord. The fragrance is anchored by a sparkling and ultra rare Omani (Hougari) frankincense. Although inspired by the past, Ryder is a modern fragrance; it is worth mentioning that although many of the members clubs started as male-only – a large number of them now invite women as well. To represent this, Ryder’s distinctive character has been enhanced with a heady, indolic Royal jasmine. Ryder is a unisex fragrance.

The one and only Marlene Dietrich

The one and only Marlene Dietrich

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Neither all masculine, nor all feminine, Ryder is the perfect old world gender bender.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE RYDER: confident, secure, bold

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RYDER: Scooshy

BOTTOM LINE: Ryder is the perfect scent for the coming fall months.  It’s intoxicating and heady jasmine makes me look forward to the impending change of seasons.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Woody
  • Nose: Matthew Zhuk
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $185 for 50 ml Release Eau de Parfum
Ex+Idolo+-+Matthew+Zhuk

Matthew Zhuk, Ex Idolo

Mr. Zhuk, the creative mind and nose behind the Ex Idolo brand was gracious enough to answer some of the Hound’s questions:

The Scented Hound:  The inspiration behind the perfume, “the history of the St. James and Mayfair” fits perfectly with the feel of the perfume.  What compelled you towards this historical reference in creating Ryder?

Matthew Zhuk:  When I moved to London 4 years ago I actually had the privilege of visiting a lot of these clubs. I’ve always been a fan of the things of old, antiques.. mechanical watches, you name it – so naturally it was very interesting for me. A lot of the things I saw and sensory experiences I had really stuck with me and I guess that’s where the inspiration came from. It’s not really meant to be a literal or realistic interpretation as some perfumes do with their subjects of interpretation – but rather my interpretation through the lens of memory and human experience.

The Scented Hound:  Where does the name Ryder derive from?

Matthew Zhuk: Ryder Street is a street in St. James which once was home to one of the oldest members clubs in London – now there are some art, rare books and manuscripts dealers in the area.

The Scented Hound:  Ex Idolo 33 was launched in 2013, why so long for a sophomore release?

Matthew Zhuk:  I’m not a fan of brands releasing “x” many perfumes per year, quarter, etc – it’s not good for the industry and it’s not good for the consumer either. Of course, this is the open market and anyone can do as they wish – but it’s not really my style 🙂

The Scented Hound:  Now that Ryder is launching, anything next in store for Ex Idolo?

Matthew Zhuk:  Always ideas floating around – I can’t even predict which one will be the one to see the light of day. It’s quite possible that the next Ex Idolo product won’t be a perfume.

I love it when a perfumer and creative director aren’t led by the conventions of trying to create and market based on the latest trends.  Matt Zhuk and Ex Idolo have really created something exceptional with Ryder.  We’ll see how long it takes or what kind of product is introduced by the brand next, but I have the feeling it will be something pretty special.  Thanks Matt!