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.
Z-14 stands the test of time as a classy, clean men's fragrance!
The start is a typical citrus and spice entry that leads into the deep forest of wood and spice that is well-crafted in Z-14. Not an in-your-face antiquated quality, but a laid back, mature, and steady mixture.
A classic fragrance to have in one's collection.
This is actually a review of the reformulated version, but my guess is that most people end up here as opposed to the page of "Halston Z" here on Basenotes.
This is a new acquaintance for me and I found it only after researching Tom Ford's Italian Cypress which I am very fond of. Admittedly, I was somewhat put off by the many negative reviews of the reformulated version vis á vis the 1976 original. But in the end the very modest price taunted me into a blind buy. Before going into the specifics, just let me share that this is one of the more difficult scents I have ever "deciphered". There is a lot going on and much of it is complex and subtle (though the smell certainly isn't weak), if a scent can be thought of as esoteric, Z-14 fits the bill.
To me, Z-14 opens with cypress and a blast of citrus but maybe not specifically bergamot as the pyramid indicates. What I pick up is more of a bitter-sweet citrus, almost like the oil in the peel of almost over-ripe clementines/oranges. Might be the cinnamon and basil throwing me off a bit though. The citrus in the top notes lingers somewhat longer than what I am used to but no shame in that. The bitterness has a slight medicinal quality, especially when the dry down starts.
The dry-down reveals cedar and leather, but still with that ever so slightly bitter accord. Cinnamon, of course, is also present and I get a bit of clove and coriander. In the transition from top notes to heart and base notes I have felt some faint whiffs of burnt rubber or maybe a smokey gunpowder. It is very transient and fleeting and could possibly be attributed to the vetiver. As the scent continues to progress the cypress and leather lingers while amber notes marry with musk and tonka to close the deal.
All in all, it is a very complex and, I'd say, fairly unique scent. It does have something of a "powerhouse" oomph to it but not at all like the old masters. It certainly does remind me of Italian Cypress but IC is more organic and well balanced to me. Z-14 is a bit rougher around the edges, but not necessarily in a bad way. I wore IC a few days ago and Z-14 the day after and asked my wife to smell both shirts. She's not a fraghead by any means but she said they were very similar on the fabric. Will at some point try to find a vintage as well to compare with.
What a masterpiece. Halston's 'Z-14' is one of those department and drug store fragrances that I mistakenly passed over for many years. It is everywhere, for great prices and I was ignorant for far too long.
The first whiff initially is garden greens, freshly cut vegetables, basil, spices, and broiled lemons. It is extremely strong, projects like a beast, and it smells unbelievably amazing.
A touch of leather and cedar comes in as it dries down, laced with a dash of cinnamon and it becomes even more complex.
A beautiful base of musk, patchouli, citrus and herbal greens carry on for a long time. Longevity is about eight hours for me with a liberal application of a dozen sprays to the neck, chest, shoulders and wrists.
For the first few hours it has massive projection and the sillage is very strong. After this stage it settles down and releases a complex blend of herbal notes and aromas that continue to project and linger everywhere you go all day long.
All in all, this is a powerhouse classic. A unique masculine cologne for a mature man that smells amazing, gets tons of compliments, is an unbeatable value and available everywhere but is often overlooked. An essential part of my collection now.