Veleno Doré, part of LM Parfums‘ high-end Gold Label Collection, is lovely but also exceedingly familiar. It’s an oriental parfum which is initially centered around vanilla-infused, fruity pipe tobacco, laced with patchouli, enveloped in spices, then drenched in cognac booziness, syrupy sweetness, and caramel ambers. A tiny, early echo of Ambre Loup quickly gives way to major overlaps with Tom Ford‘s Tobacco Vanilla and Roja Dove‘s Enigma Pour Homme/Creation-E and a whisper of Kilian‘s Back to Black, except this is their heavily spiced, chili-flecked brother, and black cherry has been substituted for plums or plum pudding. Over time, woodier, drier, smokier, more leathery, and more woody-ambered elements replace the gourmand-skewing ones for a different twist on tobacco but this, too, feels familiar with echoes of other popular fragrances, like Black Oud and even Black Afgano.
I’m introducing a new feature or section to the site focusing, as the title suggests, on The Average, The Banal, The Bad & The Ugly. The name is a play on Sergio Leone’s famous film, “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly,” but none of the fragrances covered here rise to the level of truly “good.” Not by my standards, or in my opinion. A handful of the fragrances may, at best, be deemed “Average” or decent, but they’re a small handful and, in some cases, the classification may be relative to the abysmal character of others in the line, to the price, or something else.
Whether it’s Roja Dove, LM Parfums, MFK, or a smaller brand, they’re all capable of putting out something that is simply not worth extensive discussion, so I’m going to do things very differently in this section as compared to my regular reviews. There won’t be note lists, official descriptions, links to Fragrantica, discussion of other people’s experiences as a comparison, photos of every bottle, a long list of retail links, or anything else. I’m going to take a page out of what Luca Turin and so many other people do, and simply give my opinion in the most general, synthesized fashion possible. In some cases, it may only be a single sentence. In others, I’ll lump five or six fragrances into one passing observation about their overall character. In both cases, it will probably be because they were scrubbers or bored me into a state of total apathy.
Sensual & Decadent, the latest release from LM Parfums, is a fragrance whose opening blew me away at first sniff and made me do a double-take so fast that my head practically swiveled off. I thought I had finally discovered my Holy Grail vanilla, a sumptuously buttery, creamy vanilla doused in buckets of cognac, rum, and then even more cognac still before being finished off with a lick of lush floralcy. After 5 minutes, I was tempted to lick my arm. After 15 minutes, I actually did so.
In hindsight, it was a foolish idea (that I don’t recommend) but I simply couldn’t help it at the time. Sensual & Decadent’s opening is like an alcoholic gourmand’s wet-dream version of “vanilla,” and I was so intoxicated by its hedonistic extravagance that I rather lost my mind. Technically, the perfume doesn’t fall within the vanilla genre at all and is either a floral oriental (a “floriental”) or a fruity-floral, but that is a distinction that only makes itself apparent later on when Sensual & Decadent transforms. In the first hour, though, I was certain that I’d found my “Holy Grail” vanilla. Unfortunately, Sensual & Decadent subsequently changes quite dramatically, turning into the sort of fragrance that is so much outside of my personal tastes that I came close to scrubbing it off and then, after 22 hours, I finally did so. I’m rather heartbroken about that because the opening… my God, that opening! I licked my arm, people, I actually licked my arm!
Malefic Tattoo is the latest release from LM Parfums, and a scent that is meant to evoke the darkness of a tattoo with “wicked” notes that “manipulate the emotions, desire, and lust” within the “dark chamber fulfilled with passion” that lies within each of us. Laurent Mazzone generously sent me a bottle, but I’m afraid my reaction was not the lustful passion which was intended. I have great affection for Mr. Mazzone, so I’ve sat on my review for weeks, using free moments to see if I could warm up to Malefic Tattoo, but nothing has changed. I find it not only disappointing, but mediocre, a tired derivative retread devoid of any distinctiveness, and cheap in feel.