When I first inhaled this, I immediately recognized it as an old friend. It smells identical to the original Gendarme, an iconic scent of the 80s and 90s and my youth.
I don't know what is in Simply Belle, but I recall what was in Gendarme with its mix of citrus, herbs and one floral: Lemon, Bergamot, Lime, Basil, Tarragon, Lemon Verbena, Jasmine.
It is totally refreshing and a magnet for both sexes. Thus it is really unisex, as was Gendarme. If you are young, wear either of these and you will fascinate others, who will have no idea its due to pheromones and a simple scent that brings these to the skin surface.
And most importantly, Simply Belle is very inexpensive, while Gendarme is not. You can't go wrong with this scent - best for spring and summer wear.
A great early Coty (1911) that remains a rarity and one embraced by lovers of early chypres.
Barbara Herman describes it as "moody and dark." It is that! This is one of those scents based almost entirely on base notes with just a few lighter ones to make it waft.
There is orris, vanilla and carnation here immediately perceptible, but the breakdown is as follows:
Top: Bergamot, Carnation, Ylang, Galbanum
Heart: Orris, Olibanum, Violet
Base: Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Benzoin, Musk, Oakmoss
Originally marketed as "The fragrance of subtle, mysterious, haunting personalities," it is rumored that Garbo wore it. Need I say more.
Discontinued in its original formulation in 1946, reformulated in a light parfum de toilette version only in 1951. This reformulation was discontinued in 1961.
One of the great early Cotys and to be treasured.
Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, the only perfume company that advertised on commercial television seemed to be Lanvin, with its constant ads for its two big hits, Arpege (Promise her anything, but give her Arpege!), and My Sin. You would also find these advertised heavily in newspapers and magazines of the time.
This is definitely an old school floral chypre, a complex and rich blend of florals and musk notes that define the great perfume world of the 1920s and 1930s. Unlike the sharper and over the top Arpege, My Sin is subtle and rich. Barbara Herman called it "lush, over ripe, decadent," and I'm sure she meant it in a good way.
The scent existed from 1924 to 1988, when it was discontinued after 65 years of success, reflecting the changing times and tastes no doubt, but the vintage is one of the greats. No doubt about that. Luckily, still available on Ebay.
I was fortunate to find a two oz. bottle of Conflict cologne, still sealed, in an antiques store recently and am pleasantly surprised by its old-fashioned, yet beautiful, floral blend.
Immediately one gets a burst of lilac, supported by the rarely used note of wisteria. (The only other use of wisteria I am aware of is in D'Albret's Princesse.) As it develops, jasmine and neroli join these and proceed to create a sweet floral aura that invokes the post-war era with nostalgic references to earlier happier times. Base notes must be there, but they never surface to my nose. Perhaps this was always intended as just a splash and not a long-lasting perfume.
A joyous and uplifting scent that belies its name. What an odd name indeed for any scent. Perhaps it refers back to the war just ended.
Worth seeking out for the younger woman (18-28).
Fleurs de Tabac arrived in 1929, one of a handful of scents created by the firm of Cherigan. It followed Caron's Tabac Blond by 10 years and Roger and Gallet's Cigalia by 18.
The dark scent of tobacco leaves mingle with vetiver, a touch of vanilla and amber and a light jasmine overlay.
It seems relatively simple, but the overall effect is one of great sophistication and superb blending and balance. It can stand with the rougher Cigalia (birch tar infuses this one) and the cigarette tobacco (carnation and orris blend) of Tabac Blond to hold its own as one of the three great tobacco scents of the 20th century.
Cherigan operated in both Paris and Havana between 1929 and 1949. Below are listed their ten scents, which are very hard to find, even on Ebay.
1929 – MASCARADES, CHANCE, FLEURS DE TABAC
1945 – CHYPRE, BLEU IMPERIALE, LA HABANA CUBA, OR IMPERIALE
1947 – FLEUR DE CHERIGAN, HISTORIE DE FLEURS, JUPONS
An odd green floral/wood scent that is pleasant, but unremarkable.
Turin gave it 5 stars and named it a "reference rose." The rose is very very faint and gives us the green note. It combines with peach, muguet and jasmine and floats above "dark resins," such as vetiver, sandalwood and musk.
Top notes: Peach, Bergamot
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Muguet, Geranium, Orris, Ylang
Base notes: Vetiver, Tonka, Sandalwood, Musk, Oak Moss, Amber
Certainly nice, but there are better green roses out there (Jacomo's Silences, Dior's Diorling and Laurent's own initial scent, Y, come to mind).
Along with Beene's Grey Flannel, I find Givenchy III one of the two best green scents for men ever created. I know this one was created for and marketed to women, but it is so unisex and so superbly, confidently, quietly masculine, that I can't imagine a woman even liking it, let alone wearing it.
A green floral chypre that is round, deep and complex. Intriguing suave, assured, sophisticated.
Green citrus and fruity florals blend harmoniously and lay over a woody, powdery, slightly spicy base. The slightly mentholated dry down is light and pleasant.
Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Galbanum, Peach, Gardenia
Heart notes: Muguet, Hyacinth, Rose, Jasmine, Orris
Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Amber, Sandalwood
Turin gave it 5 stars and dubbed it a "great masculine." I agree.
From 1923 to 1961 Ciro created approximately 25 scents, presented in beautiful Baccarat bottles that are treasured today by collectors, irregardless of whether they have any content.
I have only experienced/reviewed one other Ciro - Reflexions (correct spelling) and liked it. However, Surrender is far superior and was deservedly their biggest success.
This is a spicy, warm ambergris/civet dominated chypre, beginning with a caramel effect, perhaps some patchouli. The violet and jasmine float ethereally as top notes, but this is really an in depth chypre. The generous use of orris and real ambergris give this a dry down best described as warm floral leather.
I'll be looking for a full bottle on Ebay. My sample was vintage edc.
This is a most unusual and unique masculine green scent, in that the oak moss is very subdued, not overwhelming as in most scents of the late 70s and early 80s. It is quite dry and sophisticated,
with a fresh, herbal, grassy greenness.
It has the effect of a very concentrated green tea extract, which makes it a most pleasant scent to wear in the summer months.
The dry down is powdery.
Turin gives it five stars and calls it a "sweet green." He notes it can smell crude if over-applied.
One of the great men's scents from the "powerhouse" era that deigns to be subtle, not in your face.
This is a gentle and restrained white floral, quite light, and a true tribute to the scent of jasmine. It has a light menthol-like dry down.
Top notes: Neroli, Jasmine Sambac
Heart notes: Iris, Vanilla
Base notes: Amber, Patchouli
Turin gives it four stars and names it a "honeyed floral."
It is recommended for the very young woman - in her early twenties.
Very nice, sophisticated, complex.
When most successful scents for women engender a "for men" derivative, the formulas bear no resemblance one to the other.
With the creamy oriental, Obsession, this is not the case. It's version for men begins just as voluptuously as a fruity floral. It is given more weight however than the version for women, by the addition of spices (Coriander, Clove, Sage), resins (Patchouli, Myrrh) and a dry lavender/sage combination.
This grounds Obsession in a slightly darker, more sober take on the fruity floral. The dry down is a warm vanilla/amber/sandalwood combo that is as masculine as it is unisex.
A very nice take on the original that still manages to be true to it.
Both Obsession and Obsession for men are highly recommended.
Ciro created about 23 scents between 1923 and 1961, the three most successful being Surrender (1932), Reflexions (1933) [note that this is the correct spelling], and Danger (1938).
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery we are told. Reflexions copies the success of Dana's Tabu (1935), a scent that would go on to be imitated again in 1948 (Tuvara) and 1951 (Youth Dew).
This is a creamy oriental, very rich and voluptuous. According to Barbara Herman, it contains amber, patchouli, orris, vanilla and sandalwood. I can also detect jasmine, rose and tuberose in the make-up.
The formula in whatever of the above incarnations it appears is for me a reference oriental, whose honeyed and sensual palate is most warm and appealing.
Worth seeking out.
There are two things about Amarige I find hard to reconcile. The first is that a house as refined as Givenchy created this bomb. The second is that it is still around 24 years later.
Barbara Herman correctly ascertains its synthetic-smelling sweet fruitiness and its overdose of tuberose. She notes also the sandalwood and cedar which ground it, but overall finds it to be very chemically laden and over the top. I couldn't agree more.
This reminds me of Sand & Sable, another tuberose bomb that is truly offensive. I love tuberose and I love its use in perfume, but these two are just embarrassing.
Turin gives in only one star, naming it "killer tuberose."
Plum Peach, Neroli, Violet
Ylang, Jasmine, Tuberose, Rose, Orchid, Carnation
Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musk, Amber, Tonka, Vanilla
It's so bad, it's almost laughable.
Lanier created only seven scents, beginning in 1955 with his La Folie de Minuit.
Barbara Herman describes it as having a lavender, bergamot, citrus opening and drying down to a powdery, spicy, amber. The overall effect is green and leafy.
Only available on Ebay as nips, it is hard to get an idea as to the real effect of this scent with such small amounts available for sampling. I was able to secure two nips and find this description as accurate. However, it is nothing special for all that.
The other six Lanier scents, listed in the Perfume Encyclopedia are:
CONOISSEUR, ENVOY, ESPERANTO, PALOMAR, SILHOUETTE, VIRTUOSO.
LA FOLIE is nothing to go out of your way for.
A very green powerhouse man's scent from the 1980s. Along with Aramis, Open and Quorum, Drakkar Noir defines the green, herbaceous chypre type.
The citrus notes of lemon and mandarin mix with the herbal green notes of basil, rosemary, bergamot, mint and verbena.
The spicy heart reveals cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, juniper, angelica, wormwood and a healthy dose of lavender.
All this rests on the dark green notes of patchouli, oak mod, cedar, balsam, vetiver and pine.
It's powerful and iconic. I do believe Drakkar Noir and Aramis were the two best selling men's scent of the 1980 decade.
LaRoche only created about a dozen scents. Drakkar Noir was his most popular men's scent, while Fidji was his most popular woman's scent.
DN is still a winner after all these years.
A bit over the top for me with its sweet peach/plum accord and its spicy clove, cinnamon, bay leaf concentration. Very much a barbershop splash in its heyday (1925), it has that explosive quality of an Old Spice or a Bay Rhum.
You have to enter the period of time it emerged and recognize it for something that would be splashed on, invigorate you, and then have faded in half an hour. Most "toilet waters" and "colognes" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were just that, refreshers, not hours long scent applications.
An interesting period piece, and to be worn as a splash, not a personality-defining scent. Nice, but not great.
One of the great leather chypres.
Others have likened this to Chanel's Cuir de Russie, which comparison I can't fault. I find it to be a pre-cursor for both Coty's A Suma and Lelong's Sirocco (both 1934). I also find a similarity to R&G's 1904 Cigalia.
Coal tar, sandalwood, vetiver, civet, ambergris, orris, oakmoss. So primarily and literally a base noter. There is a subtle soft floral combo of rose and jasmine that keep it from being totally made up of base notes.
I can't imagine a woman wearing this. It is totally masculine, very sophisticated, dark, sexy, animalic.
In a word, fabulous.
One would have thought that Taylor's first scent would have been above the ordinary, a star and celebrity in and of itself, like its creator. No such luck.
This is a "safe" scent - warm and powdery, with the amber, musk and sandalwood supporting the floral melange of gardenia (tuberose actually), rose, muguet, jasmine and ylang. More of a scent your mother or grandmother might wear, even back in the late 80s, when this debuted.
Think Avon or the drugstore Coty scents - hundreds of them, cheaply and mass produced, all nice, for the most part, but none of them outstanding.
Not bad, just not particularly good.
A most unusual combination of oak moss chypre and citrus candied sweetness. You wouldn't think at first that this could be successfully pulled off, but Caron manages to do so.
Homme de Gres and R&G's Le Jade come to mind as other successful combos of these two qualities of citrus and chypre, the first using lemon and bergamot and the second using lime.
I believe Le Jade pre-dates Alpona, so may have influenced this scent, but the Caron delivers beautifully, irregardless.
Although marketed for women, this is a perfectly fine unisex scent.
A non-scent. Cheap, plastic, grape soda. Nasty thing.
Avoid at all costs.
Peach, Apricot, Bergamot
Orris, Rose, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Muguet
Cedar, Amber, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musk Cumin
…..But you'd never know it.
This has been called the great grandmother of orientals, influencing Guerlain to create Shalimar. I don't see it that way. Without any spices or resins (except amber), it is more of a comfort floral mix than a striking out in a new scent direction.
This is a citrus/vanilla powdery scent that is most comforting, and in my day, worn by all our mothers and aunts. It is one of the few early Cotys that is still available after almost 100 years.
Charles of the Ritz copied it in 1935 and called it Jean Nate and it too had a great run.
Top: Orange, Bergamot, Tarragon
Middle: Jasmine, Rose, Roswood, Ylang
Base: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber, Opopanax, Benzoin
For gay men in the early 70s, this was as prevalent as Old Spice for our father and grandfathers. Every male, straight or gay, BATHED in it, so my memory of it is that is nauseatingly repulsive.
However, once my nose became educated, and I was able to disassociate the scent from experience, I find that this is a dry, tweedy, oak moss-laden, chypre, that is quite basic 101 in your face, direct OAK MOSS CHYPRE, in case anyone was interested in having a basic course in that area.
As such, it is an excellent reference scent. The re-formations are (thankfully) less powerful and more balanced, but still striking.
Top: Artemesia, Bergamot, Cumin, Gardenia
Heart: Jasmine Patchouli, Orris, Vetiver, Sandalwood
Base: Oak Moss, Castoreum, Amber Musk
I have always hated this scent - for almost 40 years.
It is a dry, green, tweedy thing with an underlying sweetness that is nauseating to me. Very unpleasant. Of course, it has been around almost 40 years because other noses love it. So, I am definitely in the minority.
One of the powerhouse scents that men must have found - and still do - wonderfully masculine and repulsive, so therefore of value.
Those with noses, sniff elsewhere.
In post WW-II America, every dad and grand dad had a bottle of Old Spice in the bathroom medicine cabinet. It is probably the most popular male scent ever produced.
The original is a barbershop fantasy - the citrus, bay, clove spiciness is very strong and lasting. Bracing and the cinnamon, amber, frankincense and vanilla base warm it to a powdery softness in the dry down.
A masterful barbershop fougere.
Beware the current reformulation with its emphasis on rose, pepper and bay. It bears no relation to the original.
A warm vanilla amber scent with a touch of spice.
This was my first adult scent, the iconic bottle with the wooden top.
The warm base of sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, myrhh, amber and civet support the vanilla and opoponax, allowing the floral notes of jasmine, ylang, orris, clove and violet to hover sweetly in the background.
One of the truly great unisex scents of its era and one of the great ambers of all time.
It's hard to believe this came from the house of Coty, but that's what happens when you sell out to a drug store chain.
This is a loud, harsh, cheap-smelling tuberose, that won't give up and won't wash off.
Tuberose, Gardenia, Musk, Sandalwood, Peach
Like Tuvache's Jungle Gardenia, this is the sort of stuff Sadie Thompson would have worn, cheap, vulgar and an insult to the nose.
For great tuberose scents, stick with Piguet's Fracas, Caron's Tubereuse, or By Kilian's Beyond Love.
This reformulation starts as a dry, tweedy, somewhat sharp scent, settling over a non-descript floral mélange. The dry down is a powdery combo of peach and apricot.
Bergamot, Apricot, Peach, Violet
Rose, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Ylang, Muguet, Orris
Amber, Musk, Sandalwood, Vanilla
This is nice, but not outstanding. It is very light, compared with the rich original. At least the reformulation has a classy cobalt blue and silver bottle design.
Undistinguished dry, mossy, woody aftershave for the man who is not really into scent.
Bergamot, Lemon, Petit Grain, Orange, Lavender, Rosemary
Rose, Orris, Honey, Fern
Cedar, Tonka, Vetiver Musk
It's a nice fougere, but with the above ingredient combo, one expected a lot more.
I was fortunate enough to find an eighth ounce of the pure parfum of this incredible scent on Ebay. Due to its rarity, I have used it sparingly.
This is a very dark, very rich chypre, typical of the 1920s. It is most reminiscent of Coty's original Chypre de Coty and to a certain degree Molyneux's Le Numero Cinq, but without the coal tar notes of that masterpiece.
This is rarer than hen's teeth, but when found, is very worth the purchase. One of the great chypres of the 20th century.
This is one of the finest eau de colognes you will find today.
The classic formula of bergamot, neroli, verbena, lemon and orange are supported in the dry down by lavender with cedar and tonka providing a warm woody vanilla base.
The addition of citrus-smelling herbs (bergamot, verbena) and flowers (neroli) to the basic lemon and orange pure citrus scents ups the ante and the lavender secures the scent, but discreetly never overpowers its delicacy.
An improvement over their original eau de cologne and the preferable of the two to add to your scent library.