My review is based on the original version, although I am given to understand that the recent reissue is quite similar to the original one (oh I wished other houses did that too). Yohji Homme is one of the 2 or 3 "cult" scents of contemporary perfumery (say, post-2000s) which is highly worth its fame and praise. It is, in fact and without doubts, the unique and timeless masterpiece everyone talks about. If you read Turin's guide to perfumes, his review of Yohji Homme is perfect. Like a really few else recent fragrances (I think of M7, a couple of Costume National, Cuiron), it basically smells like nothing else: just pure, white, futuristic synthetic elegance. Yohji is basically a sophisticated woody-spicy scent, with a transparent, polished but warm and dense texture of gourmand notes, slightly creamy and powdery, with also something floral (it smells like iris to me, apart from the lavender note) elegantly contrasting with a dark, boozy subtle undertone of licorice. Above all of this, a rarefied white fog of pure, artificial freshness, some odd but tremendously fascinating plummy and plushy abstract notes providing and irresistible and refined sort of "white glow" all over. What makes Yohji a masterpiece, besides smelling so (so!) great, is the incredible perfection of the composition: it is a complex scent with a lot of echoes, notes, nuances, from spices to sweet notes, a lot of "new" and never-smelled-before going on all over, but still it is so thin, compact, subtle and transparent, almost "zen" and peaceful in a way. It is like that new wave of experimental "cuisine" with those chemist-chefs which stuff recipes and lots of complex flavours in tiny pills. But apart from all of this, it's enough to say that Yohji smells simply gorgeous, addictive, compelling and unique like a really few other scents.
Yohji Homme has a fascinating bittersweet opening, alcoholic and aldehyde driven. I can't recall anything like it. It quickly evolves into a woody sweet accord with well-blended coffee and anise accents: a bit like a balsawood dowel soaked in coffee with sambuca.
The woody notes grow more and more prominent and the coffee floats in and out until, inside of an hour, the whole thing just up and disappears on me. I suspect anosmia here, which is sad indeed, since by all reports what I’m missing is delightful. What I can perceive of Yohji Homme is very promising, but the quick exit leaves me unfulfilled.
My earlier experiences of Yohji Homme left me unsatisfied (see below), largely because I could not detect the scent after about an hour’s wear. I’ve recently had the opportunity to re-sample Yohji Homme from a new source, and am happy to report that this time I can smell the drydown. A good thing, too, because that drydown makes all the difference.
I’ll echo the estimable pluran in his assertion that Yohji Homme is not quite the “gourmand” scent so many have described it as. While Rochas Man, Lolita Lempicka au Masculin, Body Kouros, and any number of the other scents that riff off of Yohji Homme’s coffee, anise, and rum accord set those notes atop a sweet, vanillic woody oriental foundation, Yohji Homme stands apart in its use of much cooler, drier fougère–style base notes. Yohji Homme’s genius lies in the internal contrast between its sweet, warm, foody notes and the brisk, refreshing aromatics of the fougère construct. Its uniformly sweet gourmand successors all miss the point and wind up smelling ponderous, two-dimensional, and cloying by comparison. Now I get it.
Yohji Homme (Original Formula)
Many things have been said about Yohji Homme including, obviously, that's basically a fougere with smooth boozy-gourmandic facets. Lavender prominent with spicy elements, woody and bittersweet but, most of all, with an incredible balance and an overall classicism inherent to it. It's able to smell modern and traditional at the same time. Casual and elegant, sophisticated and easy to like. I'd dare saying this represents perfection in an unambitious and unpretentious genre mainly targeted to younger crowds. I'm generally not a fan of these type of compositions but Yohji, especially when compared to other fragrances playing similar themes, destroys boundaries and elevates itself to the *classic* status.
There is little to be added to what some reviewers mentioned previously. A touch of top freshness that night immediately morphs into the anise-licorice drydown that is beautifully balanced. Added are some boozy rum and a hint of coffee, and this is the longitudinal core note of this scent. In the base sandalwood and a very soft leather - reminding me a bit of Farina's Kölnisch Juchten - is added, but the anise-licorice note remains ever-present. This is beautifully blended, smooth without being especially sweet and is never cloying. Clearly a gourmand, but a restrained, elegant but warm composition that's even lighter than my reference light gourmand Casual Friday. Rich but not pushy, is is an unusually versatile gourmand fragrance that in my case can even be worn - sparingly - at work. Adequate silage and projection, and on my skin with a very good longevity of nearly six hours. One of the few great elegant gourmand masterpieces.
*This is a review of the original release.
Yohji Homme opens with a deliciously well-blended combination of sharp bergamot citrus, lavender and the beginnings of a slowly growing licorice-like anise and slightly sweet rum tandem that at this stage takes a back seat to the citrus. In the early heart the anise and rum take the fore as the citrus all but disappears quickly, while joined by faint hints of carnation and cinnamon. During the superbly transitioned dry-down, the anise and rum finally dissipate, revealing a leather spiked powdery cocoa-like coffee base with just the faintest additional sweetness from supporting tonka bean. Projection and longevity are both very good.
The original discontinued release of Yohji Homme is a truly fabulous gourmand. The rum note mixes with an extremely well-implemented anise note perfectly, coming off as absolutely delectable. Transitions throughout the scent's development are deftly handled to the point of the scent morphing from its boozy heart into its leather and powdery coffee base seemingly out of nowhere. This kind of structure can only be achieved by a master nose at the top of their game and I suspect as others have mentioned in other reviews that Jean Kerleo who had just left Jean Patou before its release was indeed responsible for a good part of Yohji Homme's core structure... That said, credit needs to be given to Jean-Michel Duriez who officially is the nose behind this reference gourmand. As an aside, Yohji Homme is supposed to be re-released shortly after the posting of this review, and I confess I am eager to see if it is left relatively well-intact. If indeed it is, gourmand fans (and fragrance lovers in general) can certainly rejoice, as in its original form at least, Yohji Homme is just about as good as it gets in the gourmand genre, earning a strong 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5.
I purchased this with great anticipation after hearing about the fougere/licorice theme but I was so disappointed. I get an overarching blast of acrylic reminiscent of those badly ventilated korean nail shops that are dotted along the high street. Charmless and head-ache inducing. RIP