I can’t add much to the terrific reviews here of vintage Carven Pour Homme but what I personally find most remarkable about this offering is its overall balance. As one studies this scent closely you get the impression that it would be horribly marred – and indeed likely suffer a wholesale collapse -- if there was one molecule more or less of any single ingredient. Obviously that not likely to be the case, but that is the impression. Just to focus on the wood elements, my best guess is that this is a blend of rosewood, Australian sandalwood, and cedar. Based on the original price of CH, I assume that true mysore was not used. If this assumption is correct, Carven’s formula to recreate a realistic slice of mysore accord is very admirable and a secret not replicated by the many others who, unlike Carven in CH, set themselves specifically on the task of creating a santal themed scent. (God, do I despise so-called santals that smell like hamster cage cedar chips.) One can zero in on any major facet of the this fragrance’s makeup, or on the fragrance as a whole, and the concept of balance, balance, balance is inescapable and creates a smoothness that is totally comforting.
01st May, 2015 (last edited: 06th May, 2015)
The opening of Carven Homme is practically identical to Envy Men, to say the least, but it quickly takes a quite different path. Still it opens with a really similar, quite recognizable blend of citrus, ginger, sandalwood, cinnamon, lavender, pepper, violet, nutmeg: a sweet spicy-woody harmony with a creamy-powdery feel, rich and warm, mellow and easy-going. What strikes the most from the very first sniff is the astonishing quality of the notes: they smell intense, rich, “round”, with no synthetic or “plastic” flaws. From the very first minutes Carven Homme shows its great, solid, pleasant personality: it’s discreet and classy in a versatile, effortless way, and since apparently this kind of woody-spicy-bright “sweet” designer scents which were quite “the cool thing” back around early 2000s is not really that “trendy” anymore, this fragrance is even quite distinctive – positively outdated, if you want. And above all, simply irresistible. You’ll just crave for it. The drydown is perfect: always a spicy-sweet sandalwood and cedar accord scented with lavender and rounded by amber, but with a hint of sharp tobacco and finished leather – something which emerges after a while. The tobacco note takes soon a prominent role, adding a fantastic touch of “sweet darkness” which perfectly enhances the overall spicy-powdery woodiness. So classy. Besides Envy Men, I also agree on the slight similarity with Jaipur Homme: Carven is decidedly more spicy, more ambery-tobacco and more woody, with far less “dandy soapiness” – shortly a completely different mood; but there is undoubtedly a powdery-spicy-lavender feature here as well, which may make you think of some aspects of Boucheron’s masterpiece. Finally, the longevity is excellent to any extent: it lasts long, and never showing any syntheticness – it just keeps smelling rich, round and refined for hours. Perhaps not the most creative fragrance around, surely carrying a sort of “2000s trademark”, but the quality is so high it’s just irresistible. It’s warm, rich, relaxed, extremely versatile, one of those scents which you just don’t get tired of wearing. Good for any circumstance, as it bears different facets – it’s “dark” and sensual enough for a romantic dinner, but with that safe “woody cleanliness” which makes it perfect for office or cinema or whatever. Shortly, it smells *fantastic* and that’s it... we are so stuffed with artsy-fartsy niche crap, we’ve forgotten how rare this quality is – to smell *fantastic*. Terrific quality. Highly recommended.
Fantastic! Well balanced, mature yet not boring, elegant yet not pretentious. World class and will never fade with time. Can't believe such good cologne can be had with such reasonable price.
Nice cinnamon blended in this with the tobacco and vanilla makes this one you may want to check out. For the price, it's a great buy. I detect the tonka and light touch of patchouli and ginger. Nice! 8/10
Great reviews here - I came to know of this discontinued gem a short while ago from fellow Basenoters online. I got lucky, found it and got a decent number of bottles. This is simply great juice - I am very happy to have even learned of this.
The comparison to Gucci Envy is out there (as well as Zino). But I find it so different than Zino...the only connection is with current formulation Zino with the lavender and rosewood in the top notes and the incorporation of wood in the heart, but I find it far more different than alike to either in comparison and have decided not to write more about Zino at all as it vastly different after two intensive comparative wearings. While some notes are shared with both, Carven Homme is a true woody spicy with very nice rosewood, sandalwood & cedar on the base intermixed with great baking spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander. The amber and labdanum create warmth along with a pinch of pipe tobacco that accentuates the spices - giving it a nice kick.
The slight commonality with Gucci Envy lies in the top & middle notes for me (if I really try to find the connection) - mainly with the spiciness and wood notes in the heart (but they are very different compositions) - however they share cedar, coriander and a touch of vetiver each (ironically, both clean vetivers) - not listed in the pyramid above. Common notes in the top with Gucci Envy are a nice smooth lavender with rosewood (a great opening note that give you a woody feel from the top). I don't get ginger in Carven Homme - I get a nice blast of citrus, bergamot versus mandarin in Envy. Therefore, Carven Homme is less bright as Gucci Envy has a sharp ginger accord on top (as some find 'mentholated' - but if you have ever smelled fresh-cut ginger, you know that is not menthol at work) - that is not at all present here in Carven Homme. By the way, the citrus is fresh, bright and well-done, but not overpowering in either.
While Carven Homme turns to a nice warm woody base with amber and a light touch of patchouli, Gucci Envy for Men goes to the infamous deep incense and sharp patchouli that incorporates vanilla and a touch of vanilla that distinguish it as an Oriental Woody (more of an Oriental Woody/Aromatic to me, if such a thing exists!)
There is a reason that the reviews for this are so good. Carven Homme is a great quality composition, has fantastic warmth on the skin and could be worn either casual or formal (or as an office scent). It radiates nicely from the body and a couple shots to clothing upon application and the first 2-3 hours...but becomes a very smooth wood and spicy skin scent that last for over 6 hours, even in cold weather outdoors - this stuff stays on and has a nice "aura scent" to it, but is never loud or abrasive. Impressive longevity and above average projection.
Office wear - no more than 5-6 sprays total, with at least 1-2 on your clothes.
"Full" wear - 8-10 sprays total, 2-3 on clothes. This would be for going out, date night, etc. A fragrance that begs for comparison as it is so damn good. Gucci Envy is what others compare it to - I did a final comparative review here with a "Full wearing" of Carven Homme, except for a nice dose of Gucci Envy on the back on my hand to get all the notes right.
I suggest to have both bottles of juice in your wardrobe - one is not at all a substitute for the other. Try to find it. It is worth seeking out.
Quality ingredients here. It can be worn year-round, with moderate application in warm weather - but very masculine and a scent that will get you compliments everywhere you go. Nobody knows what it is (but wants to know - women and men) and ask where you can buy it...I get strange looks when I tell them it has been discontinued - someone said, "I guess you're lucky to have it." And, I am.
Overall score - 9/10. Highly recommended.
26th March, 2012 (last edited: 09th July, 2012)