The Fine Art of the Fragrance Review

It takes more than a good sense of smell to sum up the character of a sophisticated cologne. After noticing how skilled our very own Birchbox Man subscribers were at doing just that in their product reviews, we decided to ask some serious noses for some serious advice. We tapped a couple of “Good Smellas” for the secret to turning olfaction into poetry.

Edward Libassi, who goes by “Frunkinator” on his own YouTube channel and runs fragrance store locator, says the best way to review scents is with simple, clear language. His strategy? “I relate smells to foods and to parts of my life I think others can relate to. I always have a section in my reviews called ‘If I Could Paint a Picture of this Fragrance.” For example, Bond No. 9 New Haarlem smells like warm syrup-drizzled pancakes, while Etat Libre's Tilda Swinton reminds me of fresh baked bread in a cozy spice filled kitchen.” blogger Barney Bishop also instructed us to keep it personal. “Often times I'll smell a scent and it will trigger a memory. Those are usually my best and most-read reviews. Readers will comment that my review made them want to sample the scent, and that is a huge compliment.”

Our subscribers can also teach us a lot. Here are just three solid fragrance reviews from the Birchbox Shop:

“This is the real deal in terms of fragrances that are complex, unique and bold. This cologne is one of the most unique blends that I have had the pleasure of using in some years. It is a mature, bold, manly statement that says clearly you have arrived at a particular station in life and offer no apologies. The notes of wood and leather are pleasant but nothing is overpowering. The scent is long lasting but unobtrusive and a small amount goes a long way. This is one I will purchase and savor, while the compliments keep coming. Worth every penny!” — Lash, writing about Atelier Cologne Vétiver Fatal

“I really like this scent. It has a manly undertone but the cardamom and general spiciness of the scent is really terrific. If you are looking for a cologne that has a great scent that is very different from others, this is a good one to choose. This is also one of the longest lasting colognes I have ever used.” — Shives18, writing about Cartier Déclaration

“My [significant other] can't stop nuzzling my neck when I wear this. The top notes fade nicely to a well-rounded, musky-spicy aura—lingers in your sweaters. She'll be smelling them when you're not there.” — Voljen, writing about Cartier Déclaration

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