Projekt Alternative Reviewed By Master Reviewer Kanak Menon!
SOTD ROUGE 666
First of all, damn, beautiful presentation. Beautiful chunky bottle and nice box. Much better than most mainstream designers. When I first got the package, I was expecting a BR 540 clone along the lines of something like Dua Casino Royale. But this is actually a blend of BR 540 EDP and the Extrait. It actually starts off with the Bitter almond note of the extrait before transitioning into the more familiar amberwood/ ambergris n saffron notes of the BR 540s. It's not as sweet as the EDP, the sugary syrup vibe is not that strong so if you are expecting a straight clone, this is not it. This is more like an Interpretation of BR 540 and it's a darker version of sorts so your expectations will decide how much you enjoy the frag. I've been wearing it all week and I have been liking it a lot.
One thing that I found a bit weird is that while longevity is excellent, 8 hours plus easily, it does not project much. Especially compared to say Barong Bali or Overdoped Amber which really radiate off you. This is more well behaved which is sometimes a plus as I've been wearing it to work with no problems. I would not wear regular BR 540 to work. So in conclusion, I would say, if you like BR 540, you would probably like this version of it. It's not a direct clone and that's a good thing.
Mohit Khatri Thanks for the bottle Mate! I like the fact that you are experimenting in bold directions and taking risks, not just doing clones. I like what you have done here with this interpretation. Follow your instincts Mate, you'll end up doing mind blowing stuff.
BARONG OF BALI.
What would have started out as a straight alternative of Zegna Indonesian Oud actually turned out to be a beast or rather I should say 'Barong' of a different kind. To be perfectly honest, Zegna Ino Oud didnt really cut it for me, to my nose it was a fairly safe "Euro" take on the rose, patch n oud combo and I didnt really find anything special in it. Used up a decant and forgot all about it until this came along.
Here, you really can sniff the oud within the first 10 minutes after the initial blast fades. It's not really skanky or anything, more of a musk that attaches itself to the rose molecules and gives depth. Anyone who has some experience with Oud oils will pick it up though. The top and the Heart phases of this fragrances are my favourite parts of it. The Citrus, Rose, Oud and I am assuming Patchouli combo,going purely by my nose, is beautiful. This ride, while it lasts is a treat. ( Mohit Perfumery India Mate if you can find a way to make the heart of this a complete long lasting frag, you would be onto something fabulous) Once the Citrus fades, it transitions into a more standard Rose oud frag in the dry down. Not bad all things considered but it is a bit like hearing your local Metal Band take the stage after Iron Maiden, if you can forgive the Metal simile.
I have been taking my time reviewing this as I wanted to do it justice. For the most part, it's linear and seems simple at first. live with it a bit and it is still linear in overall progression but there is depth and complexity in each bit n piece. Longevity and projection are both good, no issues there. This most definitely is an occasion frag, you need to dress up a bit for it to work. It's too rich and bombastic in notes to be paired with jeans and a T unless you're on a casual date or something but even then, this scent would not match your outfit. I have been wearing the heck out it for parties n dinners all through the Christmas n new Year season and it did get noticed. Suffice to say, paired with a dark suit, I killed it. So dont wear this to the Office unless it's for an Office Party!
In conclusion, I would say if you are looking for a rose oud frag with a bit of a citrus punch while being completely safe from skank notes, or if you're just getting into ouds, at this price point, I have yet to find a better " Alternative" than Barong of Bali. Both Scent and Presentation are very impressive.
INSTANT VINTAGE 668
IV 668 for short has been my absolute favorite of the Alternatives I have tried so far. The other variations have been interesting experiments and most have been good with a couple of stand outs for me like OD Amber and Barong of Bali. I like this one even more. If you had told me mixing MFK Grand Soir and MFK BR540 would work, I would not have believed you but Good Golly, work it does.
I am going strictly by nose here so any mistakes from the actual note list are mine alone. What I get upon first spray is a bracing Citrus that's slightly sweet, with hints of saffron n star anise maybe. There is an underlying spicy layer to the sweetness of the Cacao note from LIDGE which really shines through next. This sweet note blends with the standard cotton candy sweet notes from BR540 (amberwood, saffron, woody note et al) so that sometimes you smell like chocolate caramel and other times like cotton candy without really ever going into full blown gourmand territory. Mohit Khatri Pretty amazing feat of balance amongst notes to achieve this Mate. I cant really explain this any better than to say it's really blended well where for all intents n purposes the notes should clash.
Projection is strong for the first hour or so before settling down a bit. Longevity is also good, on my skin I get a full working day easy, 6-8 hours albeit it gets closer to skin towards the end. I do a few extra sprays with this say compared to OD Amber. I really love the presentation on this. Being a History buff, appreciate the tribute to Maharana Pratap. Something uniquely n Proudly Indian.
In conclusion, i would say if you like frags that are a bit on the sweeter side like LIDGE, Br540 or even stuff like CH Man, do check this out. The best compliment I can give it is that amongst my collection of 200 odd frags, it's been my most worn frag of the New year so far. I just find myself reaching for it most mornings. Despite the all black, dark bottle, it's actually a bright, fun frag. Mohit Khatri Thanks for this Mate. Proud to have it in my collection.
PROJEKT ALTERNATIVE ALEXA
Aventus. Now there's a name that has Resonance for any Fraghead worth his salt that's been in the game a while. Responses vary from Obsession with the perfect batch to enjoying the frag and having decants or FB's of a couple of different smoky or fruity batches ( Like me) to others who think it's just an over hyped fruity shower gel smelling frag.
What is undeniable is that it has spawned a whole sub category of frags...the "Aventus Clone/Inspired by" and these range from outright clones like the Duas, CDNIM n Parfums Vintage to others who have taken the Aventus DNA and put their own twist on it like Nishane Hacivat, Atelier Cologne Musc Imperial, Jeroboam Vespero or even Mancera Cedrat Boise or Tiziana Terenzi Orion. I happen to own all of the above mentioned frags in addition to Aventus and I enjoy all of them as I feel they all bring something to the table.
So now We come to the crux of this little discussion and it goes by the name of Alexa and I will keep it short and simple. If you are looking for the best clone of a fruity batch of Aventus, this is it. None of the Duas or Parfums Vintage really compare on the performance. The Pineapple note up top is bright and sharp. The citrus and green apple keep it nice and fruity and the dry down is a long lasting musky black currant combo. The only thing I can find missing from Alexa is the Creed Ambergris note which I dont really expect at this price point so that's not a minus. The Projection is arms length on me but it's been cold weather out here for the past few days so that might improve once the days heat up. The Longevity is a solid 8 hours and even longer as a skin scent.
So in conclusion I would say if you want Aventus on a budget or you want to save your Aventus and want something similar smelling for daily use without breaking the Bank, Alexa is your best bet. If Aventus is 10/10, this is 9/10 easy. Mohit Khatri All the hard work paid off Mate. You have done something to be proud of here. Bravo!
SOTD OVERDOPED AMBER
Amber notes are one of my favorites in Perfumery. They cover a pretty wide spectrum of frags. From your resinous balsamic Amber's like SL Amber Sultan n TF Amber Absolute to your darker Amber's like Olympic Orchids Amber and Francesca Bianchi Dark Side. Then you have your sweet Amber's like Grand Soir n Taklamakan on the Niche side to frags like Baldessarini Ambre n Escada Magnetism on the designer side. Then there are the Fresh Amber's like Nishane Ambra Calabria n ADP Essenza Ambra or OJ Tolu. Then you have floral Amber's like OJ Ambre Royal. So as you can see, veritably a smorgasbord you could spend a lifetime discovering and I haven't even got into the oils.
Now to the frag in question, OA for short falls into the sweet Amber category. The opening is a bit resinous akin to something like Dior Mitzah but is short. It turns pretty fast into a thick, rich Amber with a generous helping of sweet vanilla on top and remains this way for the rest of its scent life. The vanilla note in this actually makes the frag appealing even to folks who like sweet gourmands as this pretty much straggles the line between Amber's n Gourmands. Projection and longevity are both excellent. I got about 10 hours with 4 sprays and I was getting strong whiffs of the frag throughout. This is actually the best season for this frag as it shines in cold weather. I have a feeling this would be too strong in the summer so get this while the weather is best for it.
In conclusion, I would say even though I generally prefer my Amber frags resinous n balsamic, I have enjoyed wearing Overdoped Amber the past few days. Imagine Grand Soir with the vanilla Overdoped n this is what you get. A sweet Amber with a vanilla punch.
Mohit Khatri Bravo Mate. Good Job on this. I like the presentation too. Bright n rugged at the same time.