Perfume Reviews

Reviews by theLateDoctor

Total Reviews: 21

Monocle Scent One: Hinoki by Comme des Garçons

For reasons irrelevant to this review I spent six months in 1989 working for a Japanese lumber company here in Vancouver, a profession I had entirely no ambition for and which was mercifully short-lived. During this time I had occasion to visit a few lumber mills that were in the process of cutting up yellow cedar logs. The Japanese like to use yellow cedar as a replacement for the much more expensive indigenous (to Japan) hinoki. Now, yellow cedar smells totally different from whatever type of pungent cedar they use for making cedar chests, and different again from western red cedar used to make cedar shingles, etc. In fact, the unique smell of yellow cedar logs being cut was my favorite part of that job and I always thought that it would make a great essence for use in perfumery. Having never smelled hinoki (the wood) itself, I can't say how closely Hinoki (the fragrance) comes to replicating it, but I can say that it does sort of remind me of the smell of those yellow cedar logs.

It should be fairly obvious that I do like this stuff. The fact that I'm down to the last third of my second bottle tells you I probably like it a LOT. In fact, there was a long period where it was my hands down favorite of the several dozen bottles that I own. Nowadays I wear it occasionally as a trusted old standby, and really have to be in the mood because it's a scent that I find to be a little overwhelming at times. I totally get why there are people who are put off by it... It's sort of like how the smell of coffee can be intoxicating for some, while others can't stand it. Rich smells can sometimes be too rich.

It just occurred to me that it is too vague to say that something smells like wood. As I have touched on above, wood smells can really run the gamut, and whereas CdG+Monocle Hinoki smell sort of like yellow cedar (and, presumably, hinoki), something like Gucci pour Homme kind of reminds me of Douglas fir (that typical pencil shavings aroma). That's about the extent of my obviously limited ability to connect wood varietals to commercial perfumes, but I'm sure there must be others. Perhaps somebody with more initiative than I needs to do a comprehensive olfactory survey of wood essences.
26th December, 2008

Kenzoair by Kenzo

When I first tried this in the department store I really couldn't pick up much of anything, but once you get it home, and away from the competing smells, Kenzoair starts to come out of its shell. There's that definite licorice note at first that evolves into just a really pleasant vetiver, and as light as it is (and as much of a fragrance hoover as my skin is) this scent just kind of keeps hanging around. I can usually still detect it 4 hours after application, which is more than ample for this frag. The bottle I bought was labeled Kenzoair Eau de Toilette Intense, but as far as I can tell this is the one and only version of this scent, though I'm sure I've seen it around without the "Intense".
09th January, 2008

Joop! Homme by Joop!

This is some pretty wild stuff, no doubt... But I definitely don't hate it. Is it incredibly potent? Yep... Ridiculously persistent? Oh yeah... Does it smell like some candy-colored cinnamon nightmare? Some would say yes... And is it great for the office? No. NO! Of all the scents on Basenotes, Joop! is probably LEAST suited to the daytime suit set... But after all that, still there is still something uniquely appealing about this perfume, and I say perfume because that is how I would treat Joop! on that one day of the year when I felt like wearing it. And in so doing I would be able to appreciate its many subtleties, and the fact that this is a very well engineered and dead-sexy scent when worn with discretion. I bought the 75ml bottle on a lark for $25 on sale, and I've never regretted it for a second.
09th January, 2008
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Habit Rouge by Guerlain

I really should wait until I've worn this more before reviewing it, but what the hell? Buying this was a bit of a fiasco: First I bought it thinking I was getting the Eau de Toilette, but it was the Eau de Cologne instead. So thinking it just wasn't going to be strong enough to wear for the whole day I immediately searched around until I found a place selling the EdT, then splurged and bought it. THEN I find out that the EdC is actually the original version (fyi, this all occurred during the BN downtime, or I might not have had to scramble so much...) So now I find myself with both the EdC AND the EdT. I don't mind so much because I find that I love this scent very much. Like someone said, you don't really appreciate it until you actually wear it. I still can't discern all the subtleties of it (and I don't really get the animalic quality) but the way it just sort of stays in the background, all subtle and elegant is pretty much perfect. I have a lot of bottles on my dresser these days and two of them say Habit Rouge, but I have a feeling those last two are going to get used up the quickest. Two thumbs WAY up!
09th January, 2008

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

I was trying out some of the Hermessences at the Hermes boutique in Vancouver the other day and happened to mention to the SA that i was a big fan of Jean-Claude Ellena. But as i was walking home it struck me that although i am quite familiar with Ellena's style and have tried (and liked) many samples of his work, I still had not actually purchased a bottle of anything he's done. Well. This situation had to be remedied...

I didn't like Terre d'Hermes at all the first time i sampled it; i remember it being somehow cloying. But the more i tried it, the more i came to REALLY like it. So that is what became my first official Ellena scent. I must say that his stuff intrigues me and i respect him as an artist, but it's not really an accident that it took me this long to spend money on his work. TdH is the first of his scents that really gets me in the heart. The others i've tried are kind of cerebral and minimalist, but Terre is the first one that feels grounded and full of life. I have a hard time picking out the individual notes; it's just this kind of tangy, raw, magic earth smell that is soapy-clean and smoky-dirty-sexy at the same time, and i just can't get enough of it. Sadly, my skin seems to just lap the stuff up, and I get maybe a couple hours, at best. But what a couple of hours...
27th December, 2007

Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I fully agree that this is an absolutely beautiful scent, and this coming from someone who is no fan of florals... And i accept the notion that it could be worn by a man, but only in the sense that any fragrance could theoretically be worn by anyone. Certainly there may even be men for whom this scent totally works... But for me, Carnal Flower is a completely feminine scent, and not at all something that the average man would wear. (Thumbs up, of course bearing in mind that caveat.)
27th December, 2007

Original Vetiver by Creed

Since getting into fragrance a year or so ago, I have accumulated maybe a couple dozen bottles of scent. Many of them gather dust having been spritzed once or twice, but failing to make the cut. The better ones show clear usage, but are still over 75% full. My 4 oz. bottle of Original Vetiver was my second to most recent purchase 4 months ago and it's nearly gone. I just love its clean, natural, kind-of-soapy-but-in-a-good-way smell.
14th November, 2007

Bulgari pour Homme by Bulgari

I am relatively new to the world of fragrance and after wild, shotgun indulgence early on where I built up a bit of a collection, I have lately come to realize that there aren't all that many scents that i REALLY like and want to wear on a regular basis. BpH, however, is one of the few. I find it hard to dissect an overall impression that I tend to think of as "peppery". I guess I can detect the tea and musk notes that people mention, and admit that it doesn't really smell like pepper, but that is always the first word that comes to mind when I think of this frag.

Actually, Bulgari pour Homme is, along with Creed Original Vetiver, my main day-to-day office scent, and I wear them together. I work in a large company that produces videogames and so the demographic is 95% male. Dress is casual and average age is 25~35. Normal rules regarding fragrance do not apply, but I have had success with this combo; BpH on the body, OV on the arms. It makes for a clean and zesty scent that works for me.
14th November, 2007

Fougère Marines by Montale

It wasn't until I got Fougeres Marines home from the Perfume Shoppe and lay down a full spritz that it hit me how much I was reminded of the lead Creed, Green Irish Tweed. The similarity turned out to be only in passing however, as after a couple of days comparing GIT on my left to FM on my right, the differences became fairly clear. Although I do get a bit of a salty note from both scents, Fougeres Marine takes me right out to sea while Green Irish Tweed is decidedly landlocked, perhaps a lighthouse on some windy western shore, shining its beam in vain for Fougeres Marines who shall remain forever out among the waves.
20th July, 2007

Angéliques Sous La Pluie by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

This is one of a few Malles that have taken me a while to get my head around. Now that I have become acclimated it's a fragrance that I really enjoy. I get what foetidus is talking about re: the lack of counterpoint, but it's ok for me. I don't know what Angelica smells like, but I do get this mesmerizing pepper/rain thing. Then again I have always leaned toward the melancholy. I need to get the 250ml so that I can splash around in it.
19th July, 2007

parfums*PARFUMS Series 4 Cologne: Vettiveru by Comme des Garçons

I'm a sucker for Vetiver. And I am so glad I resisted the temptation to buy Mugler Cologne until I'd had a chance to check this out. Of course I caved and got the half-litre keg and just love that, apres shower, I can splash on a few palmfulls and achieve the subtle, but stern vetiver radiance that I've longed for these past weeks...

Yep, this stuff has a very nice V-resonance, and when not standing its own ground, can also provide a smooth, meditative base, allowing lead-players like the Vetivers Extraordinaire and Oriental to fly higher and farther than when they are forced to gig solo... Stiff T ups.
18th July, 2007

Odeur 53 by Comme des Garçons

Personally, I find this stuff weird, and not in a good way. Maybe I need to give it more time to work its magic smell on me, but all I got for the 1.5 hrs it was on my skin was smoldering plastic; pretty much the antithesis of fresh. If my laundry smelled like this after a wash, I'd have to suspect a fried drivebelt in the dryer. When i tried to wash it off though, it changed up into a smell that reminded me of like, instant pina colada mix or something... It's some crazy juice, I'll give it that.
18th July, 2007

Lalique pour Homme by Lalique

Oh, I really am conflicted about this. Bought it blind on the weight of its BN review rep, and because it's a Maurice Roucel creation. My very first impression was of a very distinct old man-smell... Perhaps a rich, old man, but definitely dusty, old and a tad overripe. I was NOT feeling it. But then after paying another longer visit, leaving it sit for a spell, I didn't mind it quite as much... Started to get some of the cedar and citrusy bits... And then the drydown was... mellow, seasoned, urbane.

So whereas my first reaction was to swap this for something/anything asap, I am more inclined to live with Lalique for a while. See how the old gent feels in the autumn, maybe.

Btw, kids... It's just a glass bottle, NOT Lalique crystal. You CAN get this frag in the really good glass, but you'll pay accordingly.
16th July, 2007
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Black Jeans by Versace

I really find this to be a very well-realized concept; the bottle and can that it comes in are a really cool and attractive design and the scent inside somehow fits perfectly into the overall scheme. It's a dry, spicy and sharp fragrance, though i personally don't get a "tar" note from it. But there is something there that immediately made me think of the "rubber note" in Bulgari Black, and so of course i had to marry the two and it IS a match made in perfume heaven. I can hardly stand to wear one without at least a spritz or two of the other now.
16th July, 2007

Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Since receiving this as a Father's Day gift, Vetiver Extraordinaire has become one of the mainstays of my wardrobe, especially as we head into the hot days of summer. This cool, dry scent is very refreshing when the temp goes up, but works well on cooler days as well. I can't see a lot of change over the course of wearing it... Seems pretty linear, and very integrated. Nothing jumps out; just the slightly sharp, earthy, extraordinary vetiver, all down the line.
14th July, 2007

Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme by Van Cleef & Arpels

After reading near-unanimous praise for this scent here at BN, I felt pretty secure buying blind when I noticed Van Cleef and Arpels pour Homme tucked away in the corner of the display case at the perfume kiosk in the mall. This place specializes in somewhat rare and discontinued classic fragrances you would never find among the heavily promoted fashion scents at the major department stores here in Vancouver, but presumably because of the difficulty of procuring some of these items, they have very few testers on hand and one must rely on popular (Basenotes!) opinion in making purchase decisions. Imagine my disgruntlement when i spritzed, sniffed and smelled something completely counter to my olfactory anticipation! VCA is clearly a complex and well-made scent and I supposed I can discern some of the notes mentioned by others, but there is some overriding element that is not very pleasing to my nose. I am still new to all this, so perhaps when i achieve a higher level of sophistication I can be more descriptive... It seems to me that there is some kind of leather note that I find cloying, and I get it right off the bat, even with a light misting. It backs off after a few minutes and things become much more tolerable, but I would be lying if I said I liked it. I've skin sampled Antaeus and Kouros once or twice, and if I recall, Kouros had a similar quality. I like Antaeus though, so I don't think I have an aversion to leathery scents, per se.

I shall keep VCApH around and study it from time to time. It may be that this is a good fragrance to learn from.

Oh, one other thing... I absolutely don't see how this would be a good summer fragrance. Hmm...
14th July, 2007

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

This isn't my favorite fragrance, but it may be the most elegant one I own. Useful for when I want to make an unmistakably positive impression and still keep my own nose interested. It has been a while since I've worn it, and having just spritzed I'm getting a slightly salty note that I never noticed before. Is that coming from the ambergris? It does smell expensive... Maybe because, like all Creeds I've tried, it lacks that aldehydic thing so common in the mainstream. GIT may be somewhat overplayed these days, but perhaps that's because it's so solid and dependable.
14th July, 2007

Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens

Out of the dozen or so fragrances in my newly acquired collection, this is the one that I treasure the most. Somehow this scent works for me on every level, and i find myself adding spritzes of it to other fragrances to lend its distinctive nutty-sweet texture, like a cherry on top (that is, when not giving it the solo star treatment). Something else that i have been doing a lot of lately is wearing VO on my left arm and FM Vetiver Extraordinaire on my right. These contrasting scents, held together by the Vetiver bridge make for an intoxicatingly dynamic overall effect that short-circuits any tendency toward olfactory habituation. I"ve also worn that combination to bed and had sweet, sweet dreams.
08th July, 2007

Vetiver by Guerlain

I am a very recent convert to the wonders of the bottled scent, and the gorgeous green Guerlain was my very first purchase. Apparently I take well to the Vetiver, because I love this stuff... And the hotter it gets outside, the more I love it. L-O-V-E it.
07th July, 2007

Black by Bulgari

I just purchased a bottle (puck?) of this yesterday, and although i'm not sure i would have picked out the "rubber" note had it not been mentioned so much here, i can definitely smell it. For me it's not so much a rubber tire note as it is that of a rubber squeeze toy if anything. I put some on last night and found the sillage to be pretty average, and though some have said it lacks in persistance, I could still very much smell it this morning. Interestingly, while Black develops in a pretty linear fashion (thanks to that O.B.), when i awoke the aroma that greeted me was this peppery/vanilla/muskiness that i REALLY liked. Anyway, the overall unique spicy/sweetness of Bvlgari Black really works for me, and i can see it getting a lot of playing time .
01st July, 2007

Envy for Men by Gucci

I bought a bottle of this a couple weeks ago, and it has taken me until now to really warm up to Envy and start wearing it. At first it seemed a little too strong for the workplace, but having worn it for the first full day today I have to say that I am really in love with this fragrance. It just had an amazing progression throughout the day, ending in perhaps the best drydown of anything I have owned to date. Longevity, for me, seems perfect, as is the sillage. I'm still very new to the world of fragrance, and am thus hesitant about some of the terminology specific to scent, but the bottom line is that Gucci Envy is near-perfect for me.
27th June, 2007