JHL is what YSL's Opium Pour Homme should have been, --- only JHL was several years ahead. It is the perfect consort to the original Opium for women --- rich, spicy, intense, elegant, sensual, sweet, and warm, with incredible lasting power. This is not for the timid, or for young men. It takes considerable panache, maturity and confidence to bring off a heady borderline-sweet scent like this. Obsession, Lagerfeld, KL Homme and Chaps are all close relatives, but none of them have the gravitas of JHL.
This is one of those scents that should be saved for special occasions --- it's too intense for everyday wear. But for a night at the opera, or a tryst at an elegant hotel, perhaps a formal New Year's Eve party --- bring it on! JHL is at home amid rich velvets and brocades, heavy draperies, and crowds dressed to the nines. It conjures up a sultry night in a Sultan's palace in the Arabian Nights, although its heat and richness makes it more of a wintertime scent than one to wear in the summer. This is a 5-star classic if ever there was one, but only when used sparingly in the proper setting.
Understandably considered a classic. Opens strong, with a peppery lavender/bergamot accord that quickly settles down to reveal a mélange of carnation and spices, all so well-blended that it's difficult to distinguish the individual notes. I pick up some conifer resin (spruce? fir?) and a very smooth rose in the mix as well.
JHL dries down very slowly to reveal a leathery base of labdanum and patchouli, with a hint of sweet tonka or vanilla peeking out here and there.
JHL is dignified, but not at all pompous, distinguished, but never stilted. In fact, it has the kind of assertive and sophisticated presence I'd hoped for from Creed's Bois du Portugal. But where Bois du Portugal's drydown is very stuffy on me, JHL retains a faint animal undercurrent that keeps me from feeling overly "mature." Definitely not for little boys, but great for the man who wants to project confidence without appearing brash. JHL is very potent, with lots of sillage and great lasting power, so it should be applied with a light hand.
I've tried and tried both current (Gentlemen’s Collection) and vintage. I'm old school and really enjoy Equipage, Chaps (original), and some of the other scents reviewers mention here. Now those I’d call masculine. Similarities may exist, but JHL just goes too far. The ‘dated’ and ‘old lady’ descriptors are apt, regardless if they offend, and it’s too fem for me, too. Describing JHL as masculine likely confuses and misleads the average Joe.
Many do call JHL among their finest, however, so test it yourself. Just know what to expect: A cinnamon, patchouli, aldehyde, amber capable of becoming a monstrosity if over-sprayed. ‘Foom-Bah’ was coined with scents like this in mind. Like shoulder pads in leather jackets, some things were left in the 80s for good reason. Honestly, I’d not want to smell this on a lady either, not with so many superior smells out there.
I'm 51, for reference.
22nd February, 2014 (last edited: 23rd February, 2014)
My most immediate impression of JHL was "Holy s#17!"
It brings to mind the delicious opening stage of Monsieur Carven or perhaps a semi-oriental Derby.
The list here says nothing of civet but I can see it hiding there in the corner.
This is beautiful stuff. I will have to try the re-release.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for 'Old Spice in a tuxedo.'
Classic Spice Power
A citrus-pepper-spice blast marks the beginning of this experience - a strong, at time harsh attention-seeking top note mix. In a drydown a dark rose mixes with wood notes and cinnamon, but it is the cinnamon that takes over as the second main backbone of this scent after the pepper-spice mix. Vanilla and patchouli in the base notes provide added depth and fit in beautifully, but until the end the cinnamon is present and even gains strength towards the end. This is not really a smooth scent á la Angelique Encens, and is has more rough edges than KL Homme. A classic of the 1980s and one of Aramis' finest.