Perfume Directory

Halston Z-14 (1976)
by Halston


Halston Z-14 information

Year of Launch1976
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 480 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerVincent Marcello
PerfumerMax Gavarry
PackagingElsa Peretti
Parent CompanyRevlon Inc > Elizabeth Arden Inc
Parent Company at launchNorton Simon > Max Factor

About Halston Z-14

The international roll-out for Halston fragrances in 1976 was masterminded by Michael Edwards, who told Basenotes why Halston chose to launch with two male fragrances:
"Halston couldn't make up his mind which one he preferred so he said, "Launch both". The names, Z-14 and 1-12? Those were the perfumer's code numbers."
Basenotes visitor, Bryian Davis tells us "the bottles were inspired by the soft shapes fingers would make pinching the form, that's where the name 'pinch' bottle came from. "

Halston Z-14 fragrance notes

Reviews of Halston Z-14

Roy Halston Frowick was a larger-than-life personality in the fashion world of the 1970's. Between his appearances at Studio 54, his notorious pillbox hats and ultrasuede dresses, he was quite literally the epitome of the disco decade, furthered along by his fragrance line starting with the eponymous feminine from 1975. Halston himself was really much more interested in other men however, having an on-off relationship with famous artist Victor Hugo that ran a decade, plus launching not one, but two masculines simultaneously when he took his house international in 1976. Z-14 and 1-12 are pragmatically named after their perfumer's codes, with both being a product of Max Gavary (mostly of Puig fame), and Vincent Marcello, known only for his work on the infamous Caron masculine known as Yatagan (1975). Both Halston scents share identical packaging (although early 1-12 bottles had purple caps), but Z-14 is the louder brother, and more successful as it's the only one still produced between the two. Z-14 more or less embodies the scent of the club-going male in the mid-70's the same way Lapidus Pour Homme (1987) or Le Male (1995) did for their respective decades, being a 70's forerunner to the powerhouse style that dominated the 80's. Z-14 would go on to become "the" masculine by the house, and when many guys say they're wearing "Halston", they really mean Z-14. Hell, the stuff was still getting endorsements as late as the 2000's with Jeff Gordon adorning Halston packages, which says a lot for the lasting power of this potent juice. Sure, it had major competition from stuff like Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971), Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur (1972), Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973), and many others in the disco nightlife of the decade, but Halston Z-14 always is the first to be name-dropped by anyone who was there, which says a lot.

Z-14 in vintage form is an entirely different animal from the newest IFRA-compliant version. Normally I don't pick on reformulations as hard as some may do, but in Z-14's case, the vision has been utterly destroyed by IFRA standards and downmarket realignment thanks to EA Fragrances taking the mantle away from French Fragrances. Usually new productions contain at least the fundamental characteristics of the original formula, but it just isn't so here. The rumors of Big Red chewing gum and Lysol aren't far from the truth, so vintage is the only respectable way to go here if you want to smell what the perfumers intended. Luckily, there was no major change from 1976 to 2011 IFRA reformulation, so that's a very wide (and thus affordable) net being cast. Z-14 as it should be experienced opens with a telltale bergamot, lemon, basil, cypress, and gardenia salvo that at once is reminiscent of that furniture polish opening YSL Pour Homme possesses, but also is crisper, rounder, and more pillowy thanks to the herbs and rich heart that backs it up. Vetiver, jasmine, patchouli, coriander, cedarwood, cinnamon, and geranium all represent this heart; it's part barbershop, part floral chypre, and part aromatic fougère, which is a heady amalgam that also runs through the base as well. I smell the waxy citrus, jasmine, cedar, and patchouli most in this phase, until the base comes into play. Halston Z-14's dry down consists of sweet amber, suede-like leather, olibanum, benzoin, buttery oakmoss, musk, and smooth tonka. It's once again an abutment of chypre and fougère designs, but the fougère aspects win out due to the sweet warmth and earthy glow of Z-14 when it reaches skin scent. This final phase of the wear is most indicative of the vintage's quality and current formulation's butchering of the perfumer's vision, since nothing but musk, benzoin, an whatever synthetic standing in for moss remains in the new juice.

Roy Halston Frowick really had the loud, brash, arrogant style of the hairy barrel-chested 70's male pegged to a T with Z-14: it's an aromma which comes on charming, a bit safe, then slowly ratchets tension like a sexual climax throughout the wear until a comfortable afterglow is achieved in it's final stages. It surely wasn't the raw virile sex juice of the early 80's masculines like One Man Show (1980), Kouros (1981) or Antaeus (1982), but it certainly shows it's naughty intent on it's sleeve, which is why it could hang toe-to-toe with them in the 80's, but started to become "your Dad's cologne" by the 90's and beyond. Z-14 isn't a total sleezeball with animalics like some of what I named, but it certainly creates a randy mood, so I'd say not to wear it as an office scent, as the softer and more dapper 1-12 works better in that capacity. Z-14 is a good, if dated night time fragrance from fall through spring. Most vintage fans don't need an appropriate context for this, and will just wear it whenever they want a layering of smooth citrus, woods, florals, amber, moss, and musk to enrich their day. It may not be the sweaty gold-chain wearing go-getter it once was, but Halston Z -14 in the legendary "pinch bottle" (or flattened jellybean as I call it), has lost little to none of it's charisma in the 40+ years it's been around, just so long as you buy stock older than 2011. Anything afterward is more like a Time Life disco anthology CD collection: close but not the genuine article. Oh by the way, Avon Deep Woods (1974) has a strikingly similar, albeit milder vibe, despite being two years older. Talk about spooky omens!
27th March, 2018
Halston is clearly a less well-known name in the UK, but alas the joys of these boards is easy to hunt out scents that you've never heard of. Z-14 is one such scent, as is the designer house of Halston.

Not wanting another cypress/chypre, I reluctantly tried the current version. Let's just say the connections to big red gum are totally justified. Cinnamon in a bottle. You might be forgiven for wanting to dust your rice pudding with it!

Vintage on the other hand, even something I would class as semi-vintage, is clearly on another level. Woody, resinous, potent and long-lasting (and yes, with some cinnamon in there - but not a truck load), this is another one of those scents that any chypre lover should vie to try at least once in their life time. It’s hard to believe that this scent is so affordable. Two sprays are enough to last a whole working day. Projection is quite strong. Wearers should expect their clothes to smell of the mossy accord for days later.
19th October, 2017
I wasn't happy with this.
This smells just like cinnamon, or as others have called it "Big Red gum." That's all it is.
I don't like to wear oriental fragrances but I definitely appreciate the different kinds out there. But this's just cinnamon mostly.
Even reformulated 1-12 is better than this in my opinion.
The weird thing is that the aftershave of Z-14 smells a little more complex. THAT isn't bad. I think aftershave's tend to have a little oakmoss these days. I know Quorum's aftershave does, and Z-14's does to.

If you want to check out Z-14's aftershave, you might like it. But the cologne is not good IMO.
19th August, 2017
Something spicy in the lower midrange grates badly on me, mild head ache and iffy stomach. Its gotta go.
17th February, 2017 (last edited: 18th February, 2017)
When this first came out, I was but a bored 10 year old, killing time until my Mother and Sisters got finished in the fitting room. Stupid old dresses. Anyways, I remember standing at the Halston counter at Strawbridge & Clothier department store and the kind lady attendant allowed me to sample the fragrances. Z-14 was absolutely amazing with its bold burst of lemon and cedar woods; however 1-12 was just as breathtaking with its burst of green notes and soft, powdery musks. The bottles were out of this world and to a young lad, it was like holding the holy grail! (*Back then Z-14s bottle was brown glass and 1-12s bottle was black/dark purple glass.)

I couldn't decide then which one was better and nearly 40 years later, I still cannot pick one over the other. They're both different with 1-12 being softer and more elegant while Z-14 is bold, daring and sporty. Two good friends!

I still wear both 1-12 and Z-14 in constant rotation from my fragrance wardrobe. Regretfully, Z-14 has suffered over time with reformulations. While still a hauntingly beautiful composition, it lacks the longevity and depth it once had back in the late 70's and early 80's. I suspect mostly less oakmoss and musks due to restrictions and perhaps the accountants under pressure to cut costs. Still great value for the money, though. I have heard that Halston himself could not choose between the two scents, so he launched both. I'm just glad that he did!
28th December, 2016 (last edited: 12th February, 2017)
I really really hate this. The initial blast is Lemonheads and Red Hots that have been stored in an attic and the cardboard has started to decompose. It also brings to mind getting the flu and taking a mixture of lemon and cinnamon flavored Theraflu. The dry down is still lemon & cinnamon, but someone added a dash of musty McCormick basil seasoning.

20th December, 2016

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