It took me months to come up with a review with this. Traditional (is that the name, by the way?) by Hugh Parsons is a deeply odd scent in my opinion, almost bizarre. One of the weirdest I’ve ever tested. I got a bottle some months ago and wore it from times to times, each time I couldn’t really figure whether I liked it a lot, or it smelled like utter crap. Now perhaps I made up my mind a little, so here’s my take on this. I must start by saying that personally I do not agree much with the definitions I read online about this scent: I wouldn’t define this an “ozonic” scent, although I admit one of the key notes here is a sort of aqueous-mineral feel, but rather “organic”, lacustrine and almost moldy (sort of sweetish-salty). What I smell more though is a loud, pungent herbal-peppery smell in which angelica surely plays the dominant role, with its peculiar leafy smell sweetish and bitter at the same time, on a base in which I get quite a remarkable dose of ambergris; and oddly enough, it smells like real ambergris to me. The note is rooty, salty, slightly animalic, camphorous and earthy, as proper ambergris should be. Finally (on the same “volume level”) I also get laurel, sandalwood and other woody notes and something that reminds me of licorice, an earthy-sweet anisic smell that may however be due to ambergris. There’s citrus too but I get it quite tamed down, just more a generic bitter-citric feel, sharp but not prominent. Overall this smells... odd as I said, and much complex too. There is a loud contrast between bitter-citric-green-sour notes, and all the sweetish-rooty-woody-aqueous bottom counterpart. I would define this scent a herbal-rooty fragrance with spicy, greenish and “watery” nuances, but all played here in quite a unique way. The green notes here for example are not really the usual “sport” green notes, rather a strongly aromatic, loud, kind of shady and windy Mediterranean blend of leafy notes, from angelica to laurel and juniper. For some reasons I won’t define this fragrance “bad”, but not completely “good” too. It surely has a vibrant and distinctive sort of natural raw elegance, it shows some really enjoyable notes (angelica, ambergris, that licorice feel), it’s aloof and moody in a fascinating way, it surely is much creative (I can’t really think of anything similar to this), and honestly as far as I can tell, the materials smell nice here, rich and vibrant. Still... it’s not entirely compelling in my opinion. Mostly because of the actual overall smell, which despite being unique and charming, is also a bit loud especially initially, and honestly almost vile at first, then however keeping a slightly “discomforting” feel underneath. I guess it may be mostly due to that aqueous-lacustrine-moldy feel, if you try to imagine how that can go with citric-green notes (you can’t imagine it? I’ll tell you: it doesn’t go well, at all). Shortly: a fun, oddly refined peculiar scent worthy a try.
I do not like the way this opens at all. It reminds me of sour, slightly rotten compost with a bit of a Green Irish Tweed aroma wafting throughout it or pickles and old licorice dumped in a bottle of gin. It's probably the Juniper berries that are responsible for this foul smell, but once the fragrance settles down it at least becomes tolerable. After the opening, Blue settles into an herbal accord that is somewhat robust and spicy. It's a unique, interesting blend that I haven't come across in any other fragrance and I can see how some folks find it appealing. The thing is, it reminds me more of a spice mixture I'd add to a spaghetti sauce than anything "blue," or fresh--not that we need any more of those. At the same time, there IS something slightly aquatic about it, a watery texture created by the combination of notes that I like and appreciate. Despite disliking the fragrance personally, I will say that it's a quality fragrance as far as the ingredients and structure is concerned, never markedly synthetic or cheap. So I'll go neutral on this-- though I personally don't care for the way Hugh Parsons smells, I respect its design and more than reasonable price tag.
One of the best and well balanced aquatics I've ever had the pleasure of smelling. If you've smell Erolfa you'll have a very good comparison. I actually prefer this to Erolfa and would recommend anyone who's thinking about buying Erolfa to at the very least sample Hugh Parson's Blue (traditional). This fragrance reminds me of setting on a beach deck at night with a clear sky full moon, sea breeze blowing, and the smell of fresh flowers and exotic vegetation.
This is one of my favorite aquatics, instantly fresh and oceanic right from the beginning, with no ethanol fumes. It has a bit of the Millesime Imperial melon note (i.e. believable honeydew, not synthetic watermelon like in some lesser aquatics). It makes me think of my old days back in Santa Barbara; it's not a stormy gray north seas aquatic like Bulgari Aqua, nor a sunny tropical lagoon like Tommy Bahama Very Cool, nor exotic like MI, just a sort of averagey coastal vibe. The fruit gets a bit dried up and sweeter during the mid notes, bringing it closer to Erolfa, minus the sharp herbs. Later on, the evolution is toward a more green character, which is unusual; it heads toward the wet, bitter grassy style of Hermes Gentiane Blanche or Sisley Eau de Campagne, though there's just a little bit of licorice here which I could do without. This green anisy base is one of the most natural ones I've encountered in an aquatic, without any of the sensation I usually get: "oh, yeah, we threw this base together really quick so it would still have a smell after all the calone evaporated." You can save some money and get this stuff insead of Erolfa.
Hugh Parsons Blue starts with a citrus accord of lemon and mandarin that does nothing to move me. Michael Edwards classifies Blue as a fresh woody oriental, which I would have never guessed from the opening notes. It seems like one of those aquatics that I have little interest in. As Blue develops, I get a hint of Green Irish Tweed, but only a hint. Both fragrances have the dreaded ambergris note in the base, which causes all kinds of problems for my nose, in a sensitive or allergic kind of way. As Blue continues to develop, I detect a blackberry note and a juniper note. I enjoy the fruity addition to Blue's development. Things are looking better. I'm beginning to enjoy Blue. As Blue evolves and the woody notes emerge, there is enough complexity and development to hold my attention. While Blue is not the type of fragrance I frequently reach for, it is not bad and is well-suited for office wear. As I spritz on Blue, I chuckle and think about where my heart really lies: Gucci Nobile, Azzaro, A*Men, Chergui, Pure Havane, Kouros, Rive Gauche, Fou D'Absinthe, Havana...There is nothing Blue about that lot.
Gin and tonic with a bit of pencil shavings. I first encountered this at Nordstrom's a few years ago and it made me realize I was heading toward a serious, nuanced appreciation of fragrances. Looking back, I now admit that Blue is a bit linear. But, the lead and juniper scent I discovered years ago still invokes positive feelings. This is a business man's fragrance. Masculine, crisp, direct, refined and understated. My only qualm lies with the notion that it needs something more in the middle to make it a true classic. I enjoy wearing this with a grey suit and white tie. It is not a fragrance to attract the ladies at a club. But, you will convey authority and sophistication at the office with this one. If only Hugh Parsons could create a flanker and release a mixture of Blue and Guerlain's Vetiver, a new classic will be introduced.