Reviews by ericrico

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    ericrico
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    Monsieur de Givenchy by Givenchy

    A classic - to some dated, to those who can appreciate, timeless. An incredible work of classic, masculine fragrance with wonderful blended essence of superb quality ingredients! I am referring to Vintage Eau de Toilette. It is a landmark scent and, while reserved, a quintessential creation in 1959. Chanel Pour Monsieur came just four years before in 1955. It was the "benchmark" - Hubert de Givenchy created his own wonderful bottle that expresses balance, class, and a true gentlemanly vibe. You must be a fan of French-styled fragrance to appreciate this fully. It is of sheer quality - the notes have superb depth for an Aromatic Citrus (Chypre), but it is never loud or intrusive. For Vintage EdT, I have a tremendous amount of respect and enjoy each wearing. Nice attire is mandatory. Original Vintage EdT is simply outstanding. No rating, just admiration...

    I was able to acquire a pristine, Vintage, 100ml bottle of the Monsieur de Givenchy in Super Concentrate ("Haute Concentree") formulation as well. This is really nice. In the Super Concentrate formula, there is a rich base of moss and nice touch of musk (or possibly civet) with smooth sandalwood - but not overdone. This wears like a classic watch...it is dependable, shows sophistication and will definitely tell others around you that you have a style all to yourself. Not a fragrance for the mainstream - and I never have been part of that. Since a young age, I've enjoyed classic scents. This is extremely good and I appreciate every nuance. Different than the standard concentration EdT, but actually wonderful in a blended wearing (not directly applied on top of one another - just a couple of sprays on my forearms of this while wearing the Vintage, Original formulation and it is mesmerizing). Worn separately, different vibes - as well as together.

    It is not loud, but it is very distinct. One spray on the back of my hand from about 2 inches away. Where it sprayed heavy, there is more focused scent (and deeper moss, musk and more sharp citrus & herbs)...where it "misted", the note separation is wonderful. This is very good to discover. Excellent to note as I will apply this (in a full wearing) at least 6-8 inches away for a couple of shots and then a focus shot on my wrists. This is, traditionally, a spring/summer scent. However, the "Super Concentrate" formula is definitely a year-round fragrance. It is laden with moss and depth of herbs. The top notes are there and very rich, but the depth of the base notes (moss, musk and a very nice and traditional gentleman's sandalwood) are what allow this scent to last. I actually see this being wonderful on cooler spring/fall days - and even wet weather (but not too cold). The subtleties would be lost - like the beautiful lemon verbena, slightly pungent carnation-clove, fragrant (but slightly bitter) sage, fresh masculine lavender and touch of pepper (and the dash of civet is notable). The entire composition exudes confidence and what a European gentleman is all about - with an aire of sophistication. Proper attire and confidence required. It does wear close to the skin, but in warm weather - this breathes on your skin and has very nice presence.

    Intelligent, reserved, and refined masculine fragrance that shows wonderfully. There is a time and place where MdG would be perfect...I can think of many. Relaxing on a weekend (or dressing up in proper attire on a weekday), reading a novel (not a book), watching a classic movie (black & white, foreign, arthouse), listening to live jazz in an upscale bistro...

    **Update** - Bought last formulation in squat, squared 100ml spray bottle prior to Les Parfums Mythiques release. It is a tester, with the description written on the back: "WOODY CITRUS: Freshness of Lemon and Bergamot, elegance of Lavender and Sandal wood." A brief, but perfect description - a distinguished scent for a gentleman. With sandalwood becoming a more precious commodity, we see houses going to other ingredients...in Monsieur de Givenchy, Les Parfums Mythiques has gone to Hinoki Wood. I wanted to get the older, last bottling of the very close to Vintage formula - and I am very happy I did.

    A scent for those who understand that less is more, elegance and taste has been refined and that scent is part of your "wardrobe" or attire. Understated and one of the best Citrus Aromatic scents ever created in an excellent composition. This is not as loud as another great citrus aromatic/woody/chypre scent, YSL Pour Homme nor is it as herbal as Eau Sauvage. A composition of purity and refinement...in all of its formulations and concentrations.

    27 January, 2014

    rating


    Yatagan by Caron

    To approach a written review with Yatagan, one must first understand what the Caron house represents...uncompromising, avant-garde, classic and amazing perfumery - creations go back many decades! Yatagan was first released in 1976. If you haven't smelled Vintage - well, then you have not truly smelled the animalic notes that were once in here. It has been tamed - the Yatagan blade has been "dulled and sheathed", to a degree. However, it is still a wonderful (and perhaps) more wearable scent than before in today's world.

    Lessened to a good degree is the castoreum and that note, in and of itself, transcended the entire composition. But, I respect what Caron has done here - as their other two main masculine scents have evolved as well. Sure, one can argue that Vintage of ALL 3 are superior...but we are still left with wonderful scents in the current juice of Caron Pour Un Homme, Le Troisieme Homme and...Yatagan. Without a doubt, this is the most difficult of the three to approach - let alone wear, for some. It is, to me, very good, close to excellent (in current formulation). Vintage is excellent.

    The boozy opening is comprised of rich and pungent artemisia (wormwood), deep & resinous galbanum, sharp lavender, along with a nice 'tossed herbal salad' blend of basil, mint and watercress (which create the "celery" accord). If you want to minimize the "celery" accord, spray close and rub in. Really 'stack' the scent - it is more potent and longer lasting this way as well, with slower development. People mention other herbs, including rosemary - which I get the bitter earthiness of, however, it could be an accord. The mint on top is not light or 'fresh' - it is mentholated and comes in like a cool mountain breeze after the warm booziness of the galbanum and artemisia/worm wood calm down. Wow. Not for the faint of heart, still. Caron continues to take pride in ALL of their classic bottlings!

    Into the striking heart of fragrant pine needles, woody vetiver, and herbaceous and slight camphorous patchouli...wilderness surrounds you. The aromatics here are wonderful. Oakmoss is listed as a heart note. I do not detect it until a light touch shows (in the reformulation) in the dry down/base notes. This is stark green, dry woodiness and very aromatic throughout most of the wearing in the heart. Possibly my favorite part of the composition as I adore the rich, boozy opening and the segue into this pulsating heart. When you where this, it is best to close your eyes and breathe. It is, like Caron Pour Un Homme and Le Troisieme Homme, truly transcendental and can carry you to a far-away place.

    The base notes breathe through as a slightly dirty, warm musk is the key animalic note now. It is done well here - keeping the Yatagan-vibe as castoreum is only a faint note in the current juice as compared to before. Deep, resinous and still very much a green scent throughout. The key note in the base, for me, is a nice warm leather note, that is more 'raw' leather that is distant from a soft suede and more "fresh-cut" than a saddle note, although it does seem to dry down to that after an hour or so.

    Final "note" of discussion - and an important one as it really delivers a lot to the composition. A light smokiness enters with the touch of green moss in the base. That 'incense' accord is actually coming from styrax (or benzoin resin) - a wonderful, smoky note that seems to create plumes that weave their way through to nearly the top opening. Brilliant. It does not sweeten the scent - but, instead adds warm depth and a touch of light smoke. Enchanting and wonderful vibe...

    So, where does Yatagan take me? If I close my eyes and meditate - I am riding on a mighty steed, in the cool crisp air surrounded by forest on a leather saddle. In another life, an Ottoman Turkish soldier on horseback, my sabre (a sharp Yatagan) held in my hand! I smell the fresh wood of the pine trees in the coniferous forest around me, pungent green notes, fresh-cut herbs and smoky resins from the bushes that grow out of the damp soil. I am alone in the wilderness...far away in a distant time & place.

    You cannot possibly over-think this fragrance. To say it is 'masculine' is completely rhetorical and meaningless. The best comment I received while wearing it was from my wife, who said, "...it smells exotic and rich, yet comforting." It is not about 'smelling like celery' at all - in actuality, Yatagan is a work of olfactory art that only some will enjoy wearing. Not for everyone - as no bottle from the timeless and uncompromising house of Caron is. To me, true excellence in composition. You choose when you wear it...

    Cheers.

    07 January, 2014

    rating


    Sybaris by Antonio Puig

    Vintage Sybaris

    I've been wanting to try this for a while and I am very thankful for a nice decant from my good friend, Dimitrios. I have to say that it truly has a wonderful unique, green chypre/leather vibe.

    The house of Puig has some great scents - this is one of very high quality.

    The feeling of the scent is very natural. A vibrant, fresh, green chypre with rich notes that jump from the bottle. Very high quality ingredients in Sybaris! Interesting to note the origin of the word. Sybaris was an ancient Greek city of southern Italy on the Gulf of Taranto. Noted for its wealth and luxury, it was destroyed in warfare with Crotona in 510 b.c.

    I get the citrus with the Aldehydes up-front, strong and good rich opening, and it is not fizzy. The basil is nice - green, but earthy, further enhanced be a very nice cumin note (works very well here). The Artemisia and Juniper in the heart join the top quickly and dominate the heart. I do smell some light florals, with a nice sprinkling of cinnamon. Sandalwood comes through toward the end of the heart - not loud, but smooth.

    The initial base note that came to me was the Oakmoss, but then I resprayed from atomizer (as I first dabbed on some to test) and found that Olibanum actually comes up and meets the Sandalwood in the late heart (a light smokiness forms), followed by a blend of herbaceous, green Patchouli and lichen (Oakmoss) that is very well-presented. Vetiver shows here as a woody note - not a major player, but precise and a bit sharp. The Olibanum is further warmed by Amber in the base which is really a smoldering ember under all this foiliage and wood...but it works well to enhance accords.

    The final note, is the key...a green, woody chypre/leather composition with the leather being a bit tattered. Not heavy birch tar, but significant depth here. I will say that the green notes are more dominant to me and lean towards a green woody chypre as a classification, but the leather is like that of a worn saddle. It completes the scent. Riding on horseback through the Pyrennes at dusk with rancher's homes warmed by a wood-burning stove - wisps of smoke drift in the air.

    This is not a loud scent, but a well-crafted one. It warms to the body and wears very natural...the vibe is definitively Spanish, muy clasico! Moderate silage and, from a layered sample, good longevity. Masculine and a bit rigorous - would wear wonderfully outdoors on a veranda having dinner. I will refrain from comparing it to other scents as it has a uniqueness - but feels comfortable. One could wear this formally or casual (but still upscale)...for a mature and confident man. Recommended. Salud!

    01st August, 2013

    rating


    Oscar for Men by Oscar de la Renta

    Oscar for Men

    I had this earlier in life, back when it was released (sometime in the early 2000's) and adored it! There are two fragrances Oscar de la Renta has made for men, this and Pour Lui. Both are absolutely wonderful and staples in my wardrobe! What a gorgeous, original scent. Nothing has ever smelled like it over the years - this is, in a word, stunning.

    Oscar for Men starts with a bright and beautiful peppery-citrus infused opening. Imagine slicing bergamot, lemons and oranges and grinding fresh pepper over the top of the fruit and then allow the smell to waft up to your nose. On the tray, this array of peppered citrus sits are branches of fresh-cut pine...those notes come in at about 10-15 minutes. This is what I remember - no other scent I have smelled in all my years touches on this blend so gorgeously! You have to smell this opening - it is worth the price of the bottle...but, it only gets better.

    That note in the composition is elemi, a wonderful aromatic resin from a tree native to the Philippines. Ironically, the country it comes from has the word "pine" in it and elemi is described as "a fragrant resin with a sharp pine and lemon-like scent". It has also been used in other fragrances that I love and have this special note. Gorgeous and rare.

    Then, some fresh-grated nutmeg is sprinkled into the composition, as I find it blends perfectly with the distinct clove note. If you have ever smelled fresh, whole cloves, then you will know what this note is. The cloves, however, along with the fir transcend seemlessly into a nice light bouquet of florals (no single flower is too dominant here), but the violet leaf is a great addition to the florals...in essence, the "fragrant" greenery added to a nice spring bouquet. Beautiful, but not too pronounced - it is seamless.

    The fir note and pepper at the top with the clove and nutmeg in the heart all lead to the base that will win virtually anyone over who has an affinity for incense in their fragrance. This is a light incense - not heavy or burning. Very natural...not headshop or heavy. A lifted note that is one I adore. It is like smelling a blend of incense cones that is flavored with florals, pine (again, from the elemi), vanilla and sandalwood. I have a large collection of incense and burn it regularly...sometimes to match notes in the composition of my fragrance. Sounds strange, but to smell an accord diluted in alcohol on your skin now in plumes of smoke in the air - you have both liquid and fragrant, ethereal, airy aromas combining - very aromatic and excellent for meditation or just serenity and pure olfactory enjoyment. I found the key is to burn the incense in a room (or two away). You don't get the smokiness, but you get the smell more naturally. It is spiritual and very natural.

    I don't get any leather here - until the very end, and it is more of a soft suede...almost more of a "feel" that you get from the fragrance rather than a note. Hard to describe, but once you wear it - you may understand my perspective.

    Never heavy - that is why I see this as warm weather and that is when I initially wore it. My wife (as this is a surprise for her) will remember this on me...it was special.

    And while the longevity is not that long on my skin, it's because I love the richness of the top and middle so much - I find myself re-applying sooner than maybe one should. It does last, however, much longer and develops differently on fabric. I recommend applying to both skin and your shirt in a full-wearing. This never gets cloying. It truly is fantastic and invigorating. There is so much happening in this bottle!

    In a few words...Graceful. Refined. Elegant. I will add that I absolutely love this fragrance - not just like. Oscar de la Renta for Men is a true "treasure" and something very special. It is an incredibly well-made, chic and sophisticated scent that only someone who is confident can wear. I was confident when I first wore it (and it made me feel incredible) - and I feel even better today, because I understand the scent even more over the years.

    I will wear this year-round, but it will definitely be in my regular rotation this Spring and Summer (especially summer evenings) - both casual and formal! A wonderful, well-composed unique fragrance that seems to showcase different notes each wearing...but always fantastic.

    No score as I cannot attribute a fractional value to the pure pleasure of this fragrance...Oscar de la Renta is uncompromising in his taste of creating timeless fragrance, so I will not compromise and give a mathematical equation to judge it.

    Salud!

    25 July, 2013

    rating


    Hadrien Absolu by Annick Goutal

    My review for the Masculine bottling of Hadrien Absolu...

    Sharp, vibrant and vivid notes of beautiful lemons (gorgeous Amalfi Lemons) combine in the top with grapefruit, and a squeeze of mandarin orange. This gets every part of the lemon - from the squeezed juice to the fleshy pulp to the bitter rind (just wonderful)! A green note is detected on top - herbal in nature and wonderful (it actually stays and evolves with the citrus maintaining its crisp freshness with a greenness underneath). Whoever thinks this is too bitter - I totally disagree. It is citric in nature, but no sour notes that are off-putting whatsoever or anything even remotely related to cleaning products (please!) This is extremely natural smelling - the house of Annick Goutal uses very high-quality ingredients and it shows here incredibly!

    This is for people who have a passion for such wonderful classic citrus scents in the realm of Acqua di Parma, Eau Sauvage and more recently, Monsieur Balmain)...but in EdP strength and added depth of wonderful cypress, light ylang-ylang and a touch of aldehydes. A wonderful, niche-quality citrus of depth, but retaining a sparkle...brilliant!

    There is a clear distinction between this bottling and the original, Eau d'Hadrien. I have tested and worn Eau d'Hadrien and love it - as many times as I've contemplated a full-bottle purchase, it just didn't happen. By the time I made my decision "firm"...the scent had faded and I felt like I had to let go of my lover's hand. It was a difficult choice to restrain myself, as I consider all Goutal bottlings to be absolute olfactory art.

    When I heard about Hadrien Absolu, I pondered the thought and then started looking for a bottle (knowing how much I adored the scent of Eau d'Hadrien on its own merit). I wanted this sooner - but it wasn't to be. So, here I was in the middle of winter in Northern California and I found a bottle for the Spring & Summer that is upon us. My oh my, this is so beautiful. The lemons, when blending with the cypress, a wonderful accord of a green, zesty lemon smell comes to mind - lemon verbena or petit grain with verbena in a blender (all leaves, herbs with a full squeeze of fresh lemon juice). However - that is how it presents itself initially and in the heart, it warms to show the beautiful, sharp cypress...a touch woody but fragrant and ethereal. It never loses its radiant freshness...

    A wonderful delight and the essence of how a great citrus can still be made with originality. I would not compare it to any other scent, but say that it is a truly exceptional and rich aromatic citrus unto itself. No rating. Again, for the Goutal house - pure adoration.

    Highly recommended, for those who love this realm of scent. I absolutely do - and this is, indeed, a stand-out composition and presentation of brilliant ingredients.

    02 May, 2013

    rating


    Eau du Sud by Annick Goutal

    Annick Goutal, as a house, has found a way to 'recreate' most typically categorical fragrances and deliver them to both men and women in a, somehow, new and stimulating way. Rarely does a Goutal creation lean heavily into the masculine or feminine realm - and, most importantly, there is always something remarkably beautiful in the composition that makes it unique and original from all interpretations of similar fragrances that have come before...and after. Mrs. Goutal was an olfactory artist who found the magical ability (like all true geniuses) to create a "canvas of notes" that we can relate to, but blend them and create a tonality and sentiment that evokes something very different from what expectations were set. Eau du Sud is a perfect example of this artist's work...and truly brilliant!!

    From the Annick Goutal site: "Eau du Sud awakens memories of Annick's travels in Provence and Tuscany. This fragrance conjures up carefree summers, the caressing warmth of the sun, and long evenings when daylight seems to last forever.

    A fragrance that makes you want to bite into a delectably juicy fruit and quench your thirst with cool water on a fresh sunny day under the shade of Roman arches.

    Olfactory family : Citrus, Chypre, Green (Bergamot, Persian lime, grapefruit, mandarine, verbena, peppermint, basil, hint of jasmine and vetiver, patchouli, oakmoss)"

    I have to say that what comes forth is deep yet fragrant, citric as well as herbal and with depth and richness that is rarely found in this realm. I have tried Eau d'Hadrien many times and as much as I want to compare this...I cannot. Each is unto itself. I recently found and added Hadrien Absolu to my collection, as it too, reflected an incredible richness that is beguiling in a citrus scent - yet incredibly wearable and, without hesitation...unisex. My appreciation for Goutal's work (and the house since she has passed - kudos to Camille and the Goutal folks for keeping her brilliance alive) is unrelenting. She is, in my mind, one of the finest non-traditional, artistically-mindful and sentimental perfumers whose work I am fascinated by, in every olfactory canvas she has shared with us...simply and truly, magnificent pieces. I liken her work to the Expressionist Art movement of the early 1900's - there is a timeless feel to everything she has created...and that is because it comes from "within". She created bottles that were from her life's olfactory memories. I am, forever, thankful. I do not rate any of her bottles - as I say in virtually all of my reviews of the house of Annick Goutal's work, one cannot quantify her artistic presentation with a fractional value. And, the torch has been passed to Camille - who has carried on the seminal work her late mother created wonderfully.

    Eau du Sud is, simply, gorgeous and breathtaking. I have traveled to Provence and Tuscany and feel a distinct connection to both places in this bottle - memories of a lifetime are in this composition that I can relate to.

    The listed notes, as per the Goutal website, perhaps with a lighter amount of oakmoss in current formulation due to IFRA regulation, but there is a nice, warm moss and undertone here that all of us get, something slightly smoky, herbaceous and penetrating - the wonderful patchouli...creating a gorgeous base from which the quenching, fresh-squeezed citrus and bouquet of fresh-cut herbs radiate their natural sparkling and fragrant beauty. Bergamot, Verbena/Lemon Verbena, Grapefruit, Persian lime, Mandarin, Basil, Mint, a light touch of penetrating and fresh-blooming jasmine still on the vine...together, compose the melange of radiating and extremely natural aromatics on the top and in the heart. The aforementioned oakmoss offers its depth (in older formulation) and the vetiver, although clean, is an expression of light, fragrant woodiness that further sharpens the composition in the base (keeping it from getting too dark during the dry down).

    This is harmonious and beautiful - equally on a man or woman. The only requirement, like all Goutal's bottlings, is that one wear this with an understanding and sense of taste & refinement...as it is a gorgeous composition. It can be worn casually (please do not confuse my statement), but intelligence and having knowledge of Goutal's vision is a requirement to fully appreciate it.

    Undeniably, stunning and fantastic...an honest & beautiful expression from Annick Goutal that, like so many of her other creations, is transcendent. Ahhhh, the wonder and amazement only deepens...as does my undying admiration for her expressionistic works of art. Eau du Sud is a divine creation.

    Merci, Annick. Merci! Reposer en paix...for we are forever grateful that you shared your beautiful palate and vision with us.

    02 May, 2013

    rating


    Agua Lavanda by Antonio Puig

    A quintessential Eau de Cologne with the most natural scent one can find. Beautiful and perfect for splashing on in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Brilliant to layer with so many scents with lavender - including Caron Pour Un Homme.

    Simply put - the best lavender soliflore ever created. Gracias, Senior Puig...please keep producing this gorgeous scent.

    One point to note...while this is very inexpensive in the large 25.5oz 'dishsoap' plastic bottle, simply transfer some to glass. Cut the plastic nib under the cap and dispense into a glass container. Personally, I use a small bud vase that I cover with nice towel and cup my hand and splash on...for me, the only way to wear it. But, one could spritz away if they desire.

    Perfection in scent. "Una oda a lavanda..." ("An ode to lavender...")

    Cheers.

    22 April, 2013

    rating


    Équipage by Hermès

    The first masculine release (1970) from the wonderful house of Hermes. Excellence & class poured into a bottle. The nose - Guy Robert. This is a beauty.

    The gorgeous aldehydes infuse the rich top notes of crisp bergamot, clary sage and incredible rosewood. I get the carnation note right underneath and its bloom is full and sharp - that is balanced beautifully by the nice lightly powdery jasmine and a key note - pine (which is aromatic, not dominant or resinous). The baking spices, sharp vetiver, and a nice base of oakmoss that interplay and 'dance' with each other on our olfactory palate - it is the feeling of watching elegant ballroom dancing...a waltz in perfect stride. This is gentleman fragrance - old-school, yes...but absolutely beautiful and timeless! How does one describe this better than a combination of Darvant (awesome inclusion of olfactory notes & scent development) and jtd (the 'feel' of this classic gem) and Bartlebooth (wonderful interpretive review).

    To me, there are notes here that are presented in a fashion that is revelatory. I have a passion for Vintage fragrance that is always going to be relevant and here it is elevated to another level (including many classic Aromatic Fougeres, Chypres, and Leather scents - this is classified as an Oriental Fougere). Like others, it transcends both classifications and time. Guy Robert created a masterpiece in 1970 in Equipage! It lives on with those of us who care to take the time and respect true refinement in fragrance. My score - 9.5+/10. To be worn on special occasions...I look forward to it as I will do so with respect and confidence. I am not yet 40, but no concern. Elegant, proper attire is a must.

    After losing Guy Robert (RIP) recently, I came back and sprayed this on my arm. I enjoyed numerous fragrances of his in honor of the remarkable legacy and creations he left behind. This is, simply, magnificent. No other scent has ever been created like it...and no one ever will. A scent that I adore and treasure. Merci Monsieur Robert! A masterpiece fragrance...forever, timeless.

    I only own Original Vintage and Vintage bottles with the Lucite/Bakeline "wheel" caps...both EdT and After Shave lotion. Splash and spray. I do not own any current version. There is a slight difference in the feel of Original Vintage (slight more "focused" and austere, with a bit more aldehydes, a touch more sharpness...even a touch bitter, vetiver note and a dollop more moss; while the newer Vintage has a more 'velvety' feel with added spices and is a bit more 'plush' in vibe). Both are truly exceptional and wear exquisitely - the late dry downs are almost identical - so don't get hung-up too much. It is the feeling in the heart and transition into the base where you get the slightly different nuances - more 'how' not 'what'. The notes are the same - just a feel that is slightly unique...and subtlely different. I adore them both. In the end, Vintage Equipage (Original or Newer Vintage) is, for me, a composition that is a must in my collection. Once you wear (just once), you will never forget it. I have adjusted my score since further wearings (including some gorgeous one when I layered Vintage After Shave with the EdT). This is very near perfection in a bottle for me...

    08 March, 2013

    rating


    Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    My review for Rive Gauche Pour Homme (Original formulation - from the 4.2oz/125ml 'shaving foam can' flacon):

    A step back to the time of classic, old-school barbershops but with a great twist of modernity. Yves Saint Laurent did something special here in the realm of the traditional Aromatic Fougere. It is not a scent that will blow your mind, but instead, put it at ease. Sometimes, as in this case, less is more.

    The quality ingredients with the fresh rosemary, splash of bergamot and the brilliant star anise gently come over you, followed by (as another so eloquently put it) - "lavender in a great mood", a nice earthy geranium note that blends wonderfully with a key note in this brilliant can, cloves. It is what ties the star anise to the heart and carries the composition to a wonderfully warm and slightly 'dirty/earthiness' in the late heart as it blends with the coumarin into the base. I adore this nice contradiction - it demonstrates itself very articulately. It is actually why Rive Gauche works for me. If this stayed fully clean, it would not impress me.

    It does articulate well and carries an aire of both class and sophistication, but yet it works perfect after a clean shave with a pair of jeans and casual top (t-shirt in summer, long-sleeve thermal in winter). Why? Because Jacques Cavallier's intelligence told him that us, as men, would prefer to have a modern fougere that allows us to display our masculinity first and then choose how we want to present ourselves - not let the scent dictate our attire (which is often the case). This is why Aromatic Fougeres work so well - and the good ones are timeless classics...including Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Azzaro Pour Homme, Houbigant Fougere Royale, Worth Pour Homme and more. I recognize that Rive Gauche is classified as an "Aromatic Green" and not a true "Fougere" or 'fern scent' - but, to me...it is moot point. The classicism that exists here impresses the point to me that it is a modern interpretation of the brilliant Aromatic Fougeres of yesteryear with some added subtleties and nuances with a deft touch be Jacques Cavallier (under direction by Yves Saint Laurent in 2003).

    It never gets heavy and stays "fresh" throughout - a key to its charm, yet it warms and reveals very good depth and shows the raw, slightly dirty edge right under the 'surface' of cleanliness. The base of rich, herbaceous green patchouli is impressive and balances wonderfully with the sharp, woody vetiver. The light touch of Oakmoss (.1% allowable by IFRA in the can) is held up with Tree Moss. However, a key note here that transcends the star anise/clove segue into the heart is the use of guaiac wood. It is an exotic wood note that has tar-like quality, imparting smoky notes in fragrance. It works perfect here and underpins the nice warm slightly earthy, dirty masculinity that makes Rive Gauche a man's man in either a fresh, pressed dress shirt with a tie or a fitted T-shirt/Polo, relaxing on the weekend.

    I like what a lot of reviews here state - it recreates a sense of nostalgia while staying a step ahead. Although respected, it is understated as a composition...which, personally adds to the allure for me.

    Highly recommended. Cheers.

    23 January, 2013

    rating


    H.M. by Hanae Mori

    A non-typical, linear and chronological review for Hanae Mori HM, EdT. I wrote this as I took this out of the box and first applied.

    First - a nice, tall proud flacon. Classy and chic.

    I put two sprays on my inner wrists and 2 shots to the back of my hand, lightly rubbed in - I want to really get this. The tester bottle lists all the notes in French and English down the back of the bottle (here it is as written):

    Lemon
    Spearmint
    Lavender
    Blackcurrants
    Jasmine
    Iris
    Bulgarian Rose
    Lily of the Valley
    Moss
    Amber
    Vanilla
    Tonka Bean
    Sandal Wood

    NOT FOR SALE - on the bottom

    Okay, definitely a wonderful fresh and vibrant lemony opening that integrates with the spearmint and lavender within 5-7 minutes. I love this opening, being totally honest! I can smell a freshness that is clean, yet breathing through is a slight touch of the florals to come and a bit of the oriental base (I smell vanilla, tonka bean and a touch of amber) - at 15 minutes or so. This is the pastry smell some mention - "a lemon creme puff pastry", or something to that effect. I can grasp that, but to me...this stays a bit lighter and not edible. It could be because I am not in a full wearing, so the effect could be more like that if this was on my neck, chest/shirt, etc.

    While it is somewhat sweet and the brilliantly fresh and citrus, mint, lavender opening has mellowed - it doesn't get cloying. I have to say that the Blackcurrants come in somewhere around the notes of Jasmine and Iris at the top of the heart (right at the end of the opening). This isn't too sweet, but there is a noticeable near-gourmand quality at this stage, but the florals come in and really show the heart of this fragrance (fresh, yet powdery - very natural; organic & beautiful). It offers (as the French word is 'Cassis') a deep, rich earthy fruit note. Cassis is a note I know to the nose, ironically, from wine. It is not overly done here - this stays light in texture, "color" and aroma. I am not finding myself in the camp of pastry here - although the Jasmine and Iris both have powdery qualities, the Bulgarian Rose is not too loud (but smooth and harmonious), but a key note here along with the Lily of the Valley (earthy). Very nice bouquet! The moss is not really a key note in this. To me, it is more like a green accord/undertone that comes with the florals (a splash of green in the bouquet to 'fill it out') - a little damp and something that helps bring the heart together. More of a "feel" than an actual note.

    Vanilla showed first, but at this point (30-35 minutes), I actually get a bit more amber and tonka bean. The vanilla is there - but what I like is that it was used in moderation. As I've discussed before - vanilla, amber and even tonka bean can radiate through a scent (breathing up from the basenotes to the top even...a feeling of warmth throughout) - what I find interesting is that the floral heart really lasts well with these notes in a nice synergy (also all fixatives, in the oriental realm).

    Last, and certainly not least - the key to why this composition does not get cloying in the base (45-50 minutes in) - the Sandalwood note! It is very well-defined and offers that creamy, smooth woodiness that only sandalwood can offer. I am getting a very nice warm, well-integrated base with the florals still wafting their scent through the base. I have to say that the moderate use of the amber, vanilla and tonka bean (and not too much of any one of those) allows the sandalwood to be more dominant. This is seriously good stuff.

    No rating - just admiration. There was a point where I thought it may overly-sweeten and go into gourmand territory, but on my skin...I get a nice oriental base (no chocolate for me) with nice woods and singing light florals. The rose actually peeks through and blooms even more at the 1 hour mark.

    Definitely a very, very good buy. Nothing like it in my collection. I asked my wife what she thought of it - she really liked it! "A bit sweet, but that's really nice!" And, because human body chemistry is different - I sprayed two shots on my younger son's neck (who loves fragrance). It smells deeper and yet, more floral and spicier on him. I applied it just 15-20 minutes after I sprayed my wrists and hand. I do notice that the inside of my wrists are deeper too - the back of my hand is taking longer to develop and evolve (which is why I always wear scent there). Plus, the projection from the backs of your hands really radiates and shows the scent...

    Very good, indeed! Invigorating. A beam of radiant sunshine in a bottle. Recommended for those who want to add a splash of decadent light into their wardrobe.

    **Please note - that this was written in real-time as a "virtual review" - typing, sniffing, pausing, and typing more as I went.

    Cheers.

    17 January, 2013 (Last Edited: 22 March, 2013)

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    Eau de Réglisse by Caron

    I originally penned this review from a memory I had of a beautiful, "shared wearing" and moment I had with my wife of Eau de Reglisse by Caron. I posted it on another review site and let it be. However, I felt the need to repost it here today...as it brought back the lucid memory after spraying some on my skin just now after a hot shower on a sunny but crisp winter day. I wouldn't change a word as this evokes the emotions and takes me back to that day even when just reading it - but, the smell transcends the visual memory and it becomes an olfactory daydream. The gorgeous, spicy yet delicate, lemon verbena pairing with the licorice note (which shows naturally, not candied - very beautiful)...blended with the ginger, light touch of green and sharp patchouli with a clean and lucent musk.

    My original review -

    Brilliant...natural...stunning...and a truly unisex scent to be adorned. My wife and I wore this together in October (each a full wearing) and made love to celebrate the day we got engaged years ago. It is one of the most elegant and beautiful creations of niche quality by the uncompromising house of Caron.

    From the box/tube to the bottle & cap - and most importantly what is inside...this is artistry in perfumery.

    The refinement and elegance create an olfactory experience that is to be enjoyed. This is not just fragrance.

    Enjoy! No rating as this is sheer beauty - and, in this case, is in both the eye and nose of the beholder. Not just a gorgeous flacon...and not meant to be understood by all. This is why I love Caron!

    17 January, 2013

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    Furyo by Jacques Bogart

    This review is for Vintage formulation:

    Almost a surreal opening of rich spices (a full cinnamon stick is in this bottle!) and florals with deep, smoky patchouli and very nice civet - that comes together with a warm, glowing base of amber and vetiver in glorious richness! This is a time bomb from 1988! One is engulfed in the Nag Champa incense accord that these amazing notes form. Artemisia in the top along with coriander create a wonderful balance of herbal bitterness and earthiness right before an "incense cone" starts to form and glow on your skin. Rose in the heart along with jasmine and geranium create a nice bouquet that shows itself in plumes...this is rather amazing. The incredible power, as mesmerizing as it is (and well pointed-out by foetidus)...this is a truly radiant skin scent. It projects well on my skin for the first hour or so and after that, it wears close but breathes out a few inches from the skin...creating a true aura effect. A wonderful vibe that your skin is glowing with warm embers of incense, amber and spices.

    The ingredients are of exceptional quality. Nag Champa incense is a composition itself that traditionally contains Plumeria flower (in a semi-resin form) and sandalwood. Those accords show here, but are mysteriously not listed as notes...which makes this even more fascinating. I am in full agreement with jenson - this is niche-quality fragrance in Vintage formulation. I cannot compare this scent to any other as it breaks conventional wisdom and turns its back on anything traditional in fragrance. I am in pure admiration. I have only done one full wearing and a couple sample wearings. It is a scent that one must be comfortable and confident to wear - not for the faint of heart. However, since it does not project too loudly, a scent that you could wear (in light application) to a lot of occasions.

    Stunning. I will refrain from giving it a fractional rating but know that one is very lucky to be able to have tried this...for it is pure olfactory art, with no name on the canvas. I am so curious whose brilliant touch & nose was behind this under the Jacques Bogart label.

    Cheers.

    09 November, 2012 (Last Edited: 09 December, 2012)

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    YSL pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    Pure adoration. This is a classic scent from the early 70's that does a wonderful and truly brilliant job blending the traditional citrus, herbal and woody components of the dirty/aromatic "citrus" genre that make it such an amazing fragrance - and stand out from the rest. What it is missing from the current formulation - Oakmoss. The most current bottle I have is still very good (from 2007...prior to YSL being sold) is a whole lemon - the fresh-squeezed juice and the bitter rind with bergamot and petit grain (this is, after all, a masculine citrus-dominant scent) put into a blender with fresh chopped lavender, herbs (mainly lemon verbena, thyme and rosemary with a hint of marjoram - the scent pyramid above is not close to complete). This is classic in structure - therefore, a bit restrained. So, although it is slightly austere (not a bad thing for a citrus), the brilliant heart is where this comes into form as it transcends the fragrance into a truly aromatic woody fragrance.

    The rosewood smooths this composition and offers warmth, along with more light florals (including both a nice carnation and geranium) as well as the important clary sage note, which brings eloquent harmony between the citrus, sharper herbs and florals. The base is predominantly vetiver and musk - although there are nice notes of sandalwood and cedar that one gets after about an hour into the wear. A touch of patchouli offers a nice earthiness and there is still the light touch of green moss. This is a classic, French-styled aromatic woody citrus that delivers power and longevity...dare I say the most in the genre (that is not Haute Concentration). More complex than Monsieur de Givenchy (but not necessarily better) and closer in depth of composition to Armani Eau Pour Homme - YSL's Pour Homme offering is a refined, gentleman's scent with a nice entourage of complimentary notes. A classic among classics. For the gentleman...wearing this will always make you feel invigorated, masculine and more refined. Timeless.

    I will not by any bottle of juice made by YSL past 2008 (when Yves Saint Laurent passed away and the house was sold to L'Oreal). Reformulations to virtually all the fragrances occured soon thereafter - and I am truly appalled with what has been done to the house that was orchestrated by a genius in Yves Saint Laurent.

    This scent is possibly for those who find restrained and elegant, French-styled fragrance to their liking - except that I, personally, find something here that is (while not "hip") definitely for the retro-crowd as well. A fragrance-lover's pure delight. Subtleties, nuances, and aromatic touches that lend to a wonderfully fresh and long-lasting and mature scent...9+/10! Merci!

    01st October, 2012 (Last Edited: 19 May, 2014)

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    Eau de Metal by Paco Rabanne

    A rare treasure, but one definitely worth seeking out. This rather unique release by Paco Rabanne is part of the rich history of the house. It came out in 1986, and was actually, according to some old marketing I found, released "for Men". Here, on Basenotes, it is classified as a "Feminine" scent. However, most people who have worn it would probably agree it is truly Unisex. The bottle I have is not as shown, but instead came in a reddish/silver box with a big silver "Pr" logo on it with the bottle having the large, Vintage "Pr" logo - clear glass with all red lettering, no white border or white cap. The cap is actually black and is as wide as the bottle. You can find what I am talking about on Ebay, hopefully.

    The notes here are actually wonderful! A vibrant opening of aldehydes, hyacinth (gorgeous here), lily-of-the-valley, rose (not dominant), jasmine and a nice note of ylang-ylang as well as a light iris which offers a touch of powder. There is also basil, which adds a nice green, herbal note that balances nicely and carries into the heart of florals.

    The base is well-done as it doesn't dominate the florals. You will find oakmoss (more of a fixative than a note, but it is there and keeps the green notes alive and the florals fresh), a light vetiver, a touch of warm amber and a nice clean white musk.

    On my skin, I find it to be very fresh and a wonderful radiating aura scent with just a single spray! I have done a wearing (3-4 shots or so) on a warm spring day and it lasted for hours. Definitely a scent for men who want to explore fragrant florals on their skin and don't mind presenting their feminine archetype (as Carl Jung would express). I have a static feminine with a dominant masculine, but I feel totally confident and comfortable wearing this. A composition to admire and one you will not find in today's mainstream boredom.

    Glorious and harmonious. One of the better (and least known) Paco Rabanne bottlings, Eau de Metal in the clear glass (no white border) and red lettering with the red & silver box. I prefer to wear it during Spring, Summer and Fall days - with sunshine! The sensation is one of the flowers opening on your skin when the rays of sunlight interact with this fragrance. I deeply love masculine florals - and this one is even short of that and is fully Unisex (my wife wears it and it smells amazing on her as well). Enjoy...this is truly beautiful!!

    26 September, 2012

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    Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga

    Ho Hang Club is a brilliant masterpiece created 10-15 later than it smells...yet, timeless is the beauty of this. Its amazing, rich and transcendent composition can only come from one house...Balenciaga! Adoration...pure, humble adoration is what this scent evokes. It opens with a brilliant chypre vibe that is of THE highest quality - a burst of bergamot and basil are the main notes, blended with a nice dusting of coriander - with a rich, gorgeous and deep note of carnation underneath (perhaps one of the best presentations of this wonderful floral note in fragrance I have ever found - oh, how I wonder how this would smell next to a Malmaison Carnation from the times of days past in Victorian England with Oscar Wilde wearing a fresh bloom)...

    This is nearly immediately blended with the main focus of this scent - the glorious heart, that emanates its rhythmic pulse within a minute of the opening blast...smooth and creamy florals that only a Balenciaga scent can wrap in a bouquet. The carnation is initially sharp, combined with the nice spike of bergamot on top - but it tones down to a warm "mid-range", smooth accord that never fades until this is off your body. The earthy geranium & cardamom blend in, with the ethereal jasmine...all supported by two essential ingredients - orris root (perfection here) and a wonderful light rose note. Yes - this is a full bouquet. While the juniper and cypress give it a nice fragrant lift (and greenness to the bouquet)...it never ceases to amaze me just how amazingly smooth this fragrance is - and how the florals can all be picked out individually! Incredible.

    It is one of the best skin scents I have ever smelled - and that says a lot. But, then again, Balenciaga Pour Homme is one of my top fragrances of all time. People mention the "honey accord of Balenciaga". There is a light 'sweetness' here from all blended florals and warm amber (and an incredible soft and smooth feel), but also a nice light, powdery quality. I, personally do not get honey as a note - but Balenciaga does use styrax here as a note as the house does in other top-shelf bottlings, which offers a deep resinous quality. The melange of incredible florals could create a honey accord to some with the styrax, perhaps, but I feel it is the quality of the ingredients (and depth) that create a warm and sensuous smooth quality (a "vibe" more than an accord) that is the signature of the brilliant house of Balenciaga.

    I get richness that spills over and evokes an image of sheer beauty and harmony. It smells like only something Balenciaga could (and would) put in a bottle. The smokiness comes in from the olibanum and rich leather - definitely an elegant "club"-aroma is created...a dimly lit room with a bit of smoke in the air, warm leather booths surrounding candlelit tables, cocktails and live music. If this came from another house, it would be off-putting or terribly blended - virtually impossible to create this ambiance in a bottle. The composition takes an incredible touch and a brass pair to even think of pulling this off! And, it's done incredibly well.

    It is epic in its purity and the ingredients are as rich as one needs to ever satisfy their soul. But, herein lies the beauty - it is not too overtly loud (after the first 5-10 minutes, it becomes a gorgeous fragrant skin scent that creates an aura around you...but it does not have the power of the 1990 Pour Homme bottle and I would not consider it a powerhouse, nor would I want it to be one.) The beauty is its balance and wonderful light feel. The light, smoky florals combined with the leather, patchouli, amber and musk are in harmony and it wears incredibly natural on my skin...wafting up amazing aromas!

    The base notes are in perfect proportion - carrying the magnificent heart. Main notes are a wonderful patchouli, warm musk & amber, the previously mentioned slightly smoky olibanum, styrax, and plush leather. I only detect a touch of dried cedar and the moss is light and a nice green note (not heavy at all). This stays floral and fresh with a beautiful oriental vibe in the drydown...and not too woody. I would personally call it an Oriental Chypre - Ho Hang Club is unique and truly top-shelf.

    This is for people who appreciate fragrance at his highest quality. My score - perfection on scent alone! Longevity is good, but projection is moderate. After several wearings, I wonder if I would want it to be any louder...hmmm, I think not. This is for those who have quiet confidence and swagger. Ho Hang Club is "exclusive" - only those in the "know" should attempt to wear this. Overall score - 9.5+/10. Another masterpiece from the house of Balenciaga. There are great fragrances, classic scents and then masterpieces. If this was music, it would be smooth jazz. Sheer brilliance in a bottle.

    09 September, 2012 (Last Edited: 03 January, 2013)

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    Vetyver / Vétiver by Givenchy

    The Les Parfums Mythiques - Vetyver by Givenchy bottling is a fantastic and exemplary scent that pays homage to the original creation, Eau de Vetyver in 1959 by Hubert Givenchy.

    I have and know the original bottle - pristine & stored away (it is divine!) This review is for the Les Parfums Mythiques bottle. I bought this for wear and sheer enjoyment with a lot of hope after discussing it with people who have wonderful noses and a deep passion for vetiver, as do I. I've actually had this in my collection for a while now, but held off writing a review, yet I adore it...so, it was only a matter of time. I have pointed several people to it as a truly exceptional vetiver that stays in the classic realm - yet is gorgeous & timeless. In the modern world of reformulation and with Givenchy's line of Les Parfums Mythiques having some bottles fall way short of their original juice (Xeryus, for example)...one must be selective and judge each bottle on its own merit.

    Vetyver shows incredibly well - elegant, refined and with the classic four-note composition. The splash of bergamot on top is wonderful - not too loud, but crisp and inviting. No bitters, just a nice squeeze of juice that refreshes with nice vibrant, sharp vetiver showing immediately upon application (not dark or brooding - this is beautiful, rich, and very green vetiver!) With the bergamot, it is slightly "wet" and very fresh - even a touch "rooty". Please note, this is a true vetiver composition - which will show as the dominant note throughout (from the moment it leaves the atomizer and hits your skin), vetiver is the absolute focal point.

    It is simply accented by the three other notes in the top, heart and base - but done so well. The coriander is a very key note in the heart, adding a nice earthy and wonderful spice to the composition. The vetiver gets a little drier at this point as the bergamot fades away and the famous "nutty" vibe begins to emerge. Still a radiant green, but slowly drying on your skin...the vetiver dusted by the coriander allows you to smell the earthiness of the root. The "nutty" vibe is different from other famous bottles and I will refrain from comparison. I will say, that this is simply amazing! I, personally, love the use of coriander here and understand the historical context back to the original bottling. Very warming on the skin...it also starts to wear a bit closer - but still very good projection for a "classic" vetiver composition. A little body heat, and this radiates wonderfully - but not too loud.

    The is a refined composition that exemplifies, not amplifies, the vetiver and the accompaning notes to offer you three different accords. It is about balance and displaying the glorious root from its opening of radiant freshness (with bergamot) to accentuating its earthiness (with coriander) in the heart and finally its woodiness with the final note in the composition, sandalwood.

    Late in the heart, the coriander slowly begins to fade - the vetiver root now has the dry, slightly crunchy nutty accord. One can breathe deep and it smells like the vetiver has been laid under the hot sun to dry out the root. The rich earthiness of the root shines through, slightly accented and assisted by the deft use of the dusty coriander spice.

    The sandalwood enters quietly and shows us the amazing depth of the vetiver in this bottle. It is very warm and woody at this point with a hint of earthiness (which is the vetiver itself, not the coriander - that has since faded). It is distinct and very gentlemanly. The sandalwood is smooth and has a light creamy texture. This never stops projecting wonderful, rich vetiver - but what you smell in the dry down is the woody vibe that still maintains the "nutty" texture that was established before. It is so brilliant! Although the sandalwood is not loud, it blends wonderfully with the vetiver - letting it breathe on your skin for hours with a nice subtle, smooth texture with a warm, radiant glow.

    Some have described this as linear - but I believe it is a perfect display of balance and symmetry. This is an olfactory metaphor for the life of the plant and its glorious root - pulled out of the ground and rinsed off, lied out in the sun to dry out in a bushel and then the root separated from the plant - becoming a semi-hardened 'wood' full of precious essential oil. The vetiver in this bottle is of very high quality. The use of bergamot, coriander and sandalwood is done to perfection - letting the vetiver root shine and offering nice touches & nuances of flavor. It has confidence, poise, beauty and perfect harmony. There is never a moment during the wearing that anything feels unnatural or out-of-place...all the accords and subtleties merge into one another.

    It is, if I may...a classic string quartet with a virtuoso violinist supported by a 2nd wonderful violinist to offer nice bright accents (bergamot), a mid-range that allows the harmony & sound to fill out and offers great ambiance (coriander) and finally, a cellist (sandalwood) who delivers the warm undertones and offers fantastic foundation. Most importantly, all follow the awe-inspiring lead player - who shines above all in the spotlight, and whose name is on the marquis... "Vetyver".

    Near perfection. Outstanding. A truly wonderful, modern bottling of a timeless classic.

    Bravo!

    05 September, 2012

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    Woods of Windsor for Men / Gentleman by Woods of Windsor

    I recently swapped with a great individual to get this Vintage bottle of Woods of Windsor for Gentleman (dated 1992 on the back of the bottle) - I am very fortunate and glad I did!

    I really enjoy what this offers - uniqueness, quality ingredients with a very natural feel that are well integrated. Odysseusm really writes an accurate and thoughtful review. I have to say that while a lot of people would be quick to compare this to other citruses - it is intelligent, aristocratic and sophisticated...truly "for Gentleman".

    I love the lemongrass note in here - along with the verbena, which together with the lemon, bergamot and orange really open with a nice freshness. However, the heart stage is what really impresses - the spices make this a really aromatically brilliant scent (in Vintage formulation). The clove note is nice and very well presented, along with the fresh ground and slightly dusty cinnamon and nutmeg (great separation of notes throughout the wearing). A key note here in the heart that lets the fragrance show its full beauty is the neroli - as it rounds out the composition and segues to the dry down. The base of wood here is nice, but this really is supportive of the great top & heart notes. There is possibly some sandalwood, as well as a touch of cedar. But, after a half hour or so in...I get a slightly bitter (but clean) vetiver note. It is not loud, but offers a nice balance to the earthy spices and lemongrass that carries through this composition into the heart with the verbena as well.

    I am thankful to have a relatively rare Vintage bottle of this scent. While not a loud scent, it does have nice "aura" effect that I like. A true Gentleman is not loud or brash anyway, so why should his fragrance be? Refined and a scent that would wear well either upscale casual or formal. Perfect fragrance for a nice Sunday brunch or to attend church (or both). The spices make this less austere, along with the wood - so it leans in a different direction than a lot of Aromatic Citrus scents. Longevity is average (around 4 hours) - recommended to apply to fabric as well as skin. As previously stated, there are no fixatives in this to increase power and longevity, which is part of its charm.

    A Vintage bottle that smells like it could have been made 20-30 years earlier even. This is old-school, but smells like a nice classic - recommended for the mature, sophisticated man who will appreciate it more. Savile Row suit, derby hat and nice laced-up, polished oxfords not included, but a lot of British style and taste is in this scent.

    Very good - bravo.

    20th August, 2012 (Last Edited: 29 August, 2012)

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    Sex Appeal for Men by Jovan

    Great reviews here - Shamu1 nails the scent's composition...this is truly a deep, warm patchouli-laden, nicely spiced, amber, wood and musk scent. It is rich but not too heavy for me. It actually deserves the attention it gets from fragrance lovers.

    I have a Vintage Splash (4oz bottle) that I adore and recently ordered a 4oz splash online and it is the reformulation. I tried the latest spray in the store and it smelled somewhat close, but the patchouli smelled smoky/burnt and then it faded to a light skin scent - rather odd. However, the current formulation splash seems to wear a lot better...more similar to the Vintage, but toned down. Side-by-side, you can smell the richness and depth of spices that I believe make Vintage superior. So, it has a little bit less depth, but it still retains the smooth, warm patchouli, wood, musk and spices. The key note that keeps current formulation good is the warm amber. It is about equal and that allows the scent to carry and is a nice note in and of itself.

    There is a bit of green herbs in the blend as well - along with cloves (which is stronger in Vintage). Going back & forth - my old juice is very balanced, rich and powerful...memories in a bottle! I love the old box and the marketing lines they print on it - cheesy as hell, but it adds to the macho vibe! The current is still very good, but it is definitely lighter and has less depth. It may be more wearable in today's world - but I really like the brute force of Vintage.

    70's marketing aside...this is seriously good stuff. My collection of Vintage Musks would not be complete without this. Jovan's line of musks are very different from one another. To have this, Vintage Musk for Men, Vintage White Musk and other great bottles from the 70's and 80's in my cabinet is just pure fun and you will not smell like everyone else out there. Wear a nice splash of Jovan Sex Appeal, a high-end T-shirt and designer jeans and your hair slicked back on a warm summer day (or throw on a leather jacket over the top in the cooler weather) - but just throw your attitude around with your scent. You will get noticed.

    Macho as hell...nothing that smells this good will ever go out of style. Period. I highly recommend it - get the current formulation 4oz Splash bottle, as it is being carried everywhere. I think the spray takes away from how this scent should be applied - and it makes a difference in how it smells. If you are serious - pursue a bottle of Vintage!

    01st August, 2012

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    La Nuit de L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    This is truly awesome fragrance! To me, if you can get imagery out of scent, then you have accomplished something unique and exceptional. Your olfactory senses allow your mind to visualize...with La Nuit de l'Homme, I find myself on dark, cool night with a light breeze and a full moon shining bright, radiating off of clouds. I am in the woods - alone, but not afraid or cold. I am walking on a path to the one I love and I will be there soon...and, I know she is waiting for me.

    Okay - a little cheesy, but this is honestly how transcendent YSL's juice is to me. I first smelled this and was absolutely in love with the intoxicatingly rich and spicy cardamom - a note that I am already very fond of and I think this bottle has used it masterfully! However, as singular as the nose is at first, it warms into a heart of gorgeous lavender (fresh, not dried) that is blended harmoniously with warm citrus (bergamot), which also lifts the scent and giving it a breeze of fresh air. The cedar is not overly used or dusty - on the contrary - this is very rich and damp cedar and very well-integrated. The olfactory pleasure continues into the dry down with a nice fresh vetiver note that is not overly "rooty" or earthy. A slightly sharp, but also clean vetiver that melds with the cedar and lavender with the cardamom carrying through the whole composition. This turns, on my skin (nothing short of amazing) slightly sweet, powdery blend of notes that just seem to breathe on my me! Don't over-apply!

    I have seen people say 3-4 shots - one on the chest, one each pulse point on the neck and one on the back of neck. I think I would say that is about right - on a cold night (when this is perfect) maybe add one to the wrists. This is a fantastic, radiating scent. Maybe put one shot on your shirt, but this really feels fantastic (and smells right) on my skin. I prefer it there...

    A true night-time scent - possibly year-round with milder application on a summer night, but absolutely do-able. Stunning, dark, sexy as hell and chic! Better for formal, but possible with up-scale casual attire. This can wear you, if you are not confident and know what you want out of "that night". If you are in a Nascar shirt and jeans shooting pool and wear this, you have offended this fragrance and the bottle should be taken away from you at once.

    My firm score - 9/10. Don't try to make this work for you...ask your partner as you are close with them if this is something they like. La Nuit de l'Homme is truly an intimate fragrance. I believe most will love it, but if they don't then you need to find something that does - or possibly another partner. Cheers.

    26 July, 2012

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    Bigelow Green Tea Eau de Parfum No. 1900 by C.O. Bigelow Apothecary

    I bought my first bottle of this last spring, so it has been in my collection almost 18 months. A wonderful, gorgeous and rich Green Tea Eau de Parfum from the C.O. Bigelow house. Ironically, I originally bought this beauty for my wife with the hope that it could be unisex and we could share. We both adore it and I find myself actually wearing it more often than her!

    I am a confident man - this scent is as far from macho as you will find, but so articulate, beautiful and natural! I called the Bigelow Apothecary and spoke to someone who has been with the company for over 20 years and asked if men actually wear this..."Most definitely!" was her response. She said it is one of their top selling scents for both men and women, while some men have shyed away at first - and then returned to buy it later as it lingered on their skin, they found the affinity for it. I found it immediately! A great warm weather scent different from anything else I have (although I do have a Green Tea Eau de Cologne from Yves Rocher - which is a nice spritzer). You will get noticed wearing this. It projects wonderfully on the skin for the first couple hours and lasts as a very nice skin scent for many hours past that. It never loses its beauty.

    This is a scent that requires clean skin, nice attire and an aire of sophistication - it could actually be a formal scent, or as I prefer, a warm weather scent that captures a mood of harmony with nice casual attire. A polo shirt, clean shaven, hair slicked back and a pair of nice khakis (or designer jeans). Nothing macho. If you want this scent to work with you, you have to understand that it is a rich, but simple composition - so attire needs to follow suit.

    Perfect for daytime - I don't see this as an evening scent. The green tea note is wonderfully aromatic and strikingly real (so very natural), but the complimentary notes of citruses and jasmine make this what it is - special. The jasmine is smooth and very fragrant - not powdery at all. The citruses are very nice and linger in the composition well into the heart, although this is rather linear (which is perfectly fine for scent like this - it is brilliantly focused). For a green tea fragrance (and I have smelled several others), this is absolutely incredible - especially for the price. It could, technically, be worn year-round...but I find it to be magical in warm weather with the sun shining bright. The only requirement is that you are relaxed when wearing this - not one you would want to exercise while wearing. It is an EdP and should be adorned in a social setting, intimacy during the day or for pure aromatherapy.

    Fantastic and charming scent that is truly unisex and of the highest quality ingredients. My favorite fragrance from the Bigelow house! Outstanding.

    22 July, 2012 (Last Edited: 26 September, 2012)

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    Gucci No. 1 by Gucci

    I don't typically review women's scents, but this is an epic masterpiece. With the passing of Guy Robert a short time ago on May 28th, I wanted to say that this is a bottle of amazing quality - a masterpiece and timeless beauty. While classified as a "Floral Aldehyde" - it is stunningly deep, rich and full of earthy and wood notes. Oakmoss, patchouli, amber, cedar, musk and a benzoin/vanilla base further enhanced by tonka bean. So deep and warm. While aldehydes are present, they lift the notes off your skin and allow the entire composition to breathe, but are not overly dominant. The color of the Eau de Parfum in a 60ml spray I bought for my wife is bronze and all the notes are true to form. It is closer in color to Guy Robert's 1970 masterpiece he created for Hermes in Equipage (4 years earlier) than his bottling of Gucci Pour Homme Original just two years later...a chypre.

    Now, while I am adventurous in scent and adore his 1976 creation - a masterpiece for men! - there is a part of me that believes this scent with it gorgeous base notes and integrated oriental tones and depth could possibly be worn by a confident, classic man! I have floral scents for men that are far less rich as this and could easily be worn by my wife. While I believe this is perfection in scent made for a confident and elegant woman of taste - understand that this plays off Carl Jung's archetypes of both Dynamic Feminine and a strong presence of Static Masculine in the base notes that could easily rise to the forefront. It smells as good today as it did nearly 40 years ago - and, perhaps in comparison to so many scents that are not nearly as well-composed...even better. Timeless. Just like a piece by Bach, or Chopin - does it ever sound "dated"? No, it is classic...as is this fragrance.

    I see this as a centerpiece for a woman's collection - it is chic, amazingly elegant and gorgeously rich. Not for the faint of heart. Age appropriate is 30's to 60's, but it is how a woman carries herself and her aire of sophistication that will allow her to adorn this fragrance. This is a confident Woman's scent that is never going to be out of style - like Monsieur Robert's Pour Homme bottling...you must wear this proper or it will wear you.

    10/10. Masterpiece.

    21st July, 2012

    rating


    Un Homme by Charles Jourdan

    An excellent fragrance from 1979...a year after Azzaro Pour Homme came out. The scent pyramid, while scaled down from Azzaro PH, has some similarities - and the nose behind it is Francoise Caron. The beautiful sharp opening of bergamot and lavender is accompanied by a distinct anise note (not mentioned above) as well as tarragon. It is bright and has the quality of an excellent pastis or absinthe in aroma. This is, in my humble opinion, truly fantastic! It is a lifted opening that immediately gets your attention and warms wonderfully to the skin. One who knows Vintage scents will immediately realize just "how" good this is within the first few minutes - and the best is yet to come.

    For true lovers of Aromatic Fougeres...this is an excellent bottle and far surpasses many scents from the time period. The patchouli and cedar in the heart are brilliant along with a nice carnation and geranium. I, personally, do not detect jasmine although it is listed in other pyramids. There is nothing powdery about this either. Smooth, very smooth - an aura scent. One does not need to apply heavily, but definitely let it breathe on your pulse points. The projection is excellent and the longevity is very good indeed.

    The base is where the refined power and beauty really show what this scent can deliver. With the lavender and anise carrying through to the end of the heart, it transitions to a very smooth and rich leather and very distinct oakmoss. The aromatics here are superb - with a smooth high-quality sandalwood, tonka bean and musk entering as complimentary notes. But it is the leather and oakmoss that, for me, make this composition outstanding. The patchouli stays for a long time too with the anise, lavender, and base notes - creating a nice earthy green note that is sharp and articulate. A touch of warm amber is detectable about 90 minutes in...which adds even more dimension and longevity.

    Note separation here is simply incredible! It is astounding how good the quality of this fragrance is...quite possibly THE best aromatic fougere from the 70's & 80's that is relatively unknown (and definitely one of the best overall). I highly recommend it.

    I bought a lot of several bottles from a private seller who I consider a friend and shared one at cost with a good friend here on Basenotes. I will let them add their comments - but for anyone who has a deep love for Vintage Azzaro Pour Homme (and Aromatic Fougeres in general) would find this as a stand-out bottle. I most certainly do.

    No note is intrusive. Balance. Elegance. Great depth. Distinct and defined notes. Excellence. Very masculine with a macho vibe, but not overly so - this is in a word, suave. I cannot compare this to Vintage Oscar Pour Lui, except how one can separate the notes and smell the exceptional quality. To be worn with appropriate attire, confidence and a grin. This fragrance is another reason why Vintage Aromatic Fougeres with real oakmoss are so dear to me. They will never be made again as IFRA has banned oakmoss.

    My final score for a lost and nearly forgotten gem - 9+/10. Cheers.

    11th July, 2012 (Last Edited: 02 August, 2012)

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    YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration by Yves Saint Laurent

    Dare I say - brilliant! YSL Pour Homme's original bottling came out in 1971 while this entirely different composition arrived in 1983, a full dozen years later. For fans of the genre, familiarity with the classic bottles is essential to understand this composition. It shrinks the note pyramid of YSL Pour Homme, and is not stronger (both are Eau de Toilette) - but it shows us how aromatic compounds can be deeper and more focused. A huge blast of lemon opens this scent but is immediately blended with petit grain. The depth of citrus here is phenomenal - it will last the entire wearing...up to 10+ hours and stay on clothing for several days! The carnation in the top, while just a light nuance in the traditional YSL Pour Homme bottling is much more prevalent here. A key note that brings this together, which I believe is missing from the scent pyramid above is verbena (or lemon verbena) that blends brilliantly with the rosemary and sage to give us the herbal heart. I get a great earthiness in this from the deep patchouli - possibly the best use of patchouli in a citrus fragrance! The wood here is important, but blended well - cedar, sandalwood and a nice, slightly-dirty/bitter vetiver accord that is rounded out by the nutmeg offering a dustiness into the base notes. I love this texture...the depth is stunning!

    Some people say this is a very strong scent. While it may awaken your olfactory senses - it is aromatically rich and a different scent than its older brother. This is, to me, one of the best Haute Concentrations of an Aromatic Citrus ever produced - because it does what many attempt to do...it decreases the number of notes from the original and, yet, makes the composition deeper and richer (than 'standard' formulation).

    A modern classic - to be worn with swagger, confidence and honesty. This is a scent with confidence in just a light to moderate application. While I find myself torn on which is better, I reach for the YSL Pour Homme standard bottling to feel cleaner and more gentlemanly (and for a single key note in Vintage, Oakmoss) - this is one I wear when I want to be noticed. I adore both.

    This is pure excellence in a bottle! YSL Pour Homme Haute Concentration is a scent that stays within the lines of the genre, yet goes at least one (or two) levels richer in olfactory depth than almost any other scent out there in the realm of Aromatic/"Dirty" Citruses - awesome. Profound and to be respected!

    Only for those who adore what an aromatic citrus can offer when it turned up to FULL volume. This is much like feedback on a tube amplifier - noisy to some; beautiful (and harmonically-perfect) to others. Cheers! Near perfection...

    27 June, 2012

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    Royal Copenhagen Musk by Royal Copenhagen

    This review is for Vintage formulation of Royal Copenhagen Musk (from an 8oz. Splash bottle):

    Very, very good...and, "special", to me. I read the reviews here and what I got was similar to Shifty Bat. To me, this is about fresh herbal/green notes balanced with florals - all on a base of musk and moss. The opening is rather striking and one that I really am fond of. One does not think a "Musk" could be so clean, airy and yet rich with all these notes that are far away from an animalic accord - and this is done exceptionally well.

    You see, I know the original Royal Copenhagen from my youth, along with original Vintage bottlings of Jovan Musk for Men, Coty's Musk, Vintage Jovan Sex Appeal for Men, Original Old Spice, Vintage Brut and many others. I am pretty sure my father had the "Musk" bottling by RC in its Vintage form when I was young, so I sought it out to do a comparative thread on Vintage "Musk" scents of a bygone era. This one struck me as profoundly different and one that I have a deep fondness for - like I did for Original/Vintage Royal Copenhagen when I was a kid. This is not about macho - this is about refreshment and a wonderful aromatic composition that lasts virtually all day. A little touch-up goes a long way, too!

    The opening of lavender and herbs is great - mostly sage and basil, but I detect a hint of thyme as well. This is very nice and definitely (in Vintage form) does not smell cheap or overly synthetic. Read Jon_Remy's review above and you will see that I am not alone in my opinion - what it is today is nothing more than a bottle of synthetic blue liquid that smells cheap. Original/Vintage RC Musk is another scent altogether!! It is well-worth seeking out.

    The transition from the bright and lively top to the nice floral heart is wonderful and the lavender stays and the herbs keep lingering for a great effect...I find this builds in warmth and strength on my skin like a true, good musk should. The jasmine in the heart creates the powdery accord, but not one that is unnatural or anything feminine, or is it too powdery at all. It actually "softens" the scent and makes it less sharp - allowing it to warm up nice and blend better with the other florals & spices and well into the base. Along with the neroli and lily-of-the-valley, this really opens up. Nutmeg comes in at the end of the heart along with the cloves - this is really breathing nicely and opens up. The spices are key here as they take the freshness of the lavender and herbs, slight powder from the jasmine and other florals from the heart and transition the scent to a nice dry down that really is wonderful. They are key in the composition. I adore the heart of this and find it to be compelling as it lingers for a long time...

    The base is where the warmth comes from - again, very natural. I get a nice oakmoss first (again, mine in Vintage and pre-IFRA ban...so the true pyramid!) that really keeps this green and also a wonderful fixative that helps the freshness last. Along with a nice natural, earthy feel with the patchouli - which is a green note here, not dark at all. The scent then goes into the nice clean musk. This is a nice and vibrant musk that is not dirty. What is smoldering under all of that is a smooth amber note - creating the solid base for this fragrance. Really a great fougere "vibe" from this...just no coumarin. Just a touch soapy and knightz puts forth - but in a classy, "milled-soap" feeling of cleanliness and sophistication.

    This is NOT even remotely the same as what current formulation is, so if you run out and buy a bottle from the drugstore expecting to get the Vintage Royal Copenhagen Musk, you will be very disappointed. I have only tried smelling by unscrewing the cap...and put it back on the shelf immediately.

    So, this bottle led me on a retro-journey to travel back. I still need to procure a couple more bottles that my father used to have, but I now have enough to start writing. What I find so good about RC Musk in Vintage form is how the entire composition just comes together and stays fresh for hours. This smells a bit dated - but so am I. ;-) I will be 40 later this year and have a large collection of Vintage fragrances from top labels. What I wanted to do was revisit the Musk's of Yesteryear. I am familiar with layering Vintage RC with Vintage RC Musk, but I wanted to write this review about Royal Copenhagen Musk in Vintage form unto itself.

    A memory...and now a great scent that I look forward to wearing (along with the other Vintage Musks) that I bought at first just to see "how much" things have changed, knowing them from my youth and smelling the chemical waste that is being labeled today under the same name.

    To remember vividly - is there anything more cool, Macho and Masculine from my youth than the moment I saw my dad finish shaving, rinse off the shaving cream and then reaching up into that cabinet, pulling down a bottle of nice musk, cupping his hand and splashing it on vigorously? No. The days are gone, but the images linger in my memory. It is what brought me to scent. It is part of me. Smelling my father and the aroma around him, now that's a man! It would last all-day long! When he left, I would sometimes even climb up to reach a precious bottle just to smell it and dab a little bit on (before I was shaving!). How it brings me back...

    This is truly exceptional scent that I have and I am very glad I decided to take this interesting little tangent in the world of fragrance. I will, for memories sake, keep a nice rotation of Vintage Musks around. Whether or not I even shave in the morning - after showering or washing my face thoroughly with a nice soap/cleanser, I find myself reaching for this bottle and other Vintage Musks as a way to start my day. A nice vigorous splash. I actually have to shower or wash it off in order to change scents as it is so potent and radiating - now, that is how it USED to be!!! I also sometimes touch up and put another splash on...it never gets cloying or overbearing. To smell like a gentleman never goes out of style and retro scents actually bring compliments from all age groups. It is how you carry yourself, your attire and attitude. It's about being a Man...something that perhaps is rare to find in our modern times. Not brash, overly-macho or arrogant - but refined, fresh and confident.

    No score. Precious memories are not quantifiable with a fraction.

    For you, Dad.

    26 June, 2012

    rating


    Terre d'Hermès Parfum by Hermès

    After having Terre d'Hermes EdT and smelling a sample of the Pure Parfum (and then buying a bottle), I am writing this in perspective of differences between the two - and how they 'co-exist'. Personally, I enjoy and have deep admiration for both - and a layered wearing of them together is simply the best option, for me...they speak to me uniquely, but have wonderful harmony together. Great synergy as they each unfold their own unique depth and create something amazing when layered. Not all EdT and EdP/Parfum's of scents do this - and Terre d'Hermes does it to near perfection.

    I will be concise (hopefully, not too much so) - the EdT is louder with more projection, but less concentration of scent and evolves a bit more. It has more of the peppery/spicy quality along with more of the "mineral earthiness/flint accord" - that projects well off the skin. The vetiver is more dominant at the end because of the scent's evolution along with cedar.

    The Pure Parfum, however, is more dense, wears closer and has a deeper orange and grapefruit (juice, rind and even a bit of stem from the orange with more pure juice from the grapefruit) - it is fantastically-rich citrus! The pepper is there (but not as loud) and you end up getting a slightly smoky/charred wood note with the cedar...interesting, along with the nice vetiver. The mineral/earthiness is dampened by the incredible amount of fresh-squeezed citrus. The flint accord is not present in the Pure Parfum.

    Visual imagery - Imagine cracked, dry earth - with dried, gnarled vetiver roots coming out of the ground with an orange and grapefruit "sweating" their juices under the hot, baking sun with fresh ground pepper dusted on top near an old dried cedar tree log...this is Terre d'Hermes EdT. Please note how there is 'closeness', but separation of notes here.

    Now, imagine not one orange or grapefrut, but an entire pile - much more fresh and several cut open and squeezed, dampening the earth, the pepper grounds are floating in the puddle of orange and grapefruit juice under the same hot sun. The earth is refreshed by the citrus...the dried vetiver root is still there - but, moistened by the juices of the orange & grapefruit. However, the cedar tree log was struck by lightening a while back and a charred stump and log remain in the distance - a light smokiness emerges. The natural sugar of the citrus 'bakes' onto the dried wood sap, blending to form a touch of resin - creating a benzoin accord. On the shady side of the log, a bit of dried oakmoss is there - lichen that is earthy (not damp) from the last season of rain months before. This is not a sweet scent, but incredibly vibrant with an underlying earthiness that creates gorgeous accords. What dominates is all that deep, wet citrus and the rest of the notes offer touches, nuances and undertones. This is Pure Parfum.

    That is how I paint the "pictures of difference"...with admiration for both. Again, a layered wearing is optimal. You get the gorgeous and damp citrus, flinty mineral notes, cracking vetiver root, dried wood (a touch smoky) and even a touch of sappy resin and dried moss.

    A brilliant composition - in reality this is two reviews in one, but in order to understand (fully), one must have perspective of both. Ellena's best work are in these two bottles.

    Cheers.

    13 June, 2012 (Last Edited: 03 April, 2013)

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    Bang by Marc Jacobs

    I like this - as a lover of pepper in my fragrances, I was attracted to Bang by Marc Jacobs. It came in a pair of fragrances (the other being YSL M7!) so I had little to lose.

    It goes on strong - with loud pink pepper dominating, then transitioning to a blend with white and black pepper mixed in. I thought this would be more synthetic, possibly a mess. Definitely a polarizing scent, but this is actually well-composed.

    Kudos to Ann Gottlieb for this creation. The wood notes come in after the first 10-15 minutes and seems to "smother" the pepper a bit on my skin, but as the drydown occurs...integration. I give credit for intelligent use of elemi (another fantastic ingredient I seek out in fragrances - it blends incredibly well with pepper...no better example than Oscar for Men by Oscar de la Renta.)

    The benzoin is turned down, thankfully. I didn't want this to go towards any sweetness and it doesn't. The patchouli, clean vetiver note and white moss give a nice base to the wood. I don't really get much more than a touch of additional warmth and earthiness from the patchouli with the vetiver. The wood from heart actually stays well into the base - with pepper holding up throughout. For pepper lovers - this is a must-try.

    This is hard to quantify, because of my affinity for pepper...but, personally I like it a lot and could see if layer well with many citrus scents that I have (including Eau de Colognes) and also pure wood scents that can be layered (including CoSTUME National Homme). Just a single spray (or two at night) with a nice, fragrant citrus and Bang could become more than a scent to wear by itself - which I will do as well. Same goes for the wood scents in the cooler weather.

    Well done...cheers.

    13 June, 2012 (Last Edited: 19 June, 2012)

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    Gucci pour Homme (original) by Gucci

    This is a masterpiece - Foetidus' articulate (and very enthusiastic) review captures what this scent is...for those of us lucky enough to have it, or to have even ever smelled the "real" thing.

    I am left, almost speechless...Wow!!! THE epitome of a classic masculine chypre - a truly incredible piece of olfactory art. IF Gucci did ever reissue this - it would not be the same. It would be a watered-down spritzer in a fancy bottle and a 3-digit price tag...along with some marketing hype. Tom Ford saved Gucci a while back and now he is gone - but this was there a long, long time before he was. This fragrance from 1976 is the pinnacle along with Tom Ford's Gucci PH and Envy from the late 90's - April 2004 (when Tom Ford left). Alfarom, who I admire greatly on this forum, has it fully correct.

    You cannot compare this to anything Tom Ford created. This is truly a 70's chypre with an awesome leather and moss base covered in lavender, citrus, and beautiful florals - carnation, geranium, jasmine and iris. A light, ethereal and classy vibe with the powdery feel from the last two floral notes (jasmine & iris) combined with aforementioned suave Italian leather, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, musk and that wonderful oakmoss all sitting on a bed of steaming amber resin.

    I could not be happier to have this in my collection! If 2oz of liquid heaven has a price tag - then it is on a bottle of Original Vintage Gucci Pour Homme. "There can never be too much elegance in your life"...what a marketing tagline and this came out when I was a young child. I have finally discovered what the beauty and hype is all about - it only took me three-and-a-half decades to do so in my existence. 5/5 stars!! 10/10 and, please anyone who does not know what a chypre is - do not waste your time. Leave this iconic juice for those who appreciate it and understand the art of perfumery!

    Update: Every time I put a couple of dabs of this magical elixir, I awaken an inner passion. This is special, timeless fragrance - a lifetime of memories could be enjoyed and celebrated with a bottle. To poetically sum up the experience of wearing Gucci Pour Homme Original: "To me, this is like coming home to my beautiful wife...and she kisses me the way she did like the first time we kissed, years ago." It is simply...stunning. Awe-inspiring scent that will forever be relevant and captivating.

    Salud!

    29 May, 2012 (Last Edited: 28 May, 2014)

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    Vetyver by Carlo Corinto

    Review is for Vintage Carlo Corinto Vetyver:

    I chose to pursue this after reading various reviews and then Wicozani's awesome "Vetiver-Redux" evaluation. Total shock and displeasure...abysmal. And, I have the deepest love for vetiver - it is a passion of mine. I have a large collection of Vintage, Current, and Niche bottles. I simply find it to be divine.

    The review: Just received a bottle today from a very reputable seller. Immediately upon first spray, there are some very off-putting notes in this to me. It is not what I had hoped for at all. Great expectations as well - actually, huge! I contacted the seller and was reassured that my bottle had not turned and was in perfect form, but the smell is of burned sugary sweetness melded with stewed and overly sharp herbs - creating a waft of unpleasant smokiness. What is going on???? I was expecting something fresh and invigorating - I cannot get a single good note out of this!!!

    When it finally settles down, it is nothing more than a light skin scent not unlike you have just smoked a clove cigarette and the smell is on your fingers - just a bit greener and harsher. So, imagine rubbing fresh cut grass over the clove-infused skin. The vetiver in this is not noticeable at all until 30-40 minutes in and then it is very light and grassy (the burned smell, I hoped, was going to reveal a rich and deep vetiver that was trying to get air and show itself). It wasn't - this is very badly done, to me. I get better vetiver notes out of a deodorant body spray I have (and far better citrus!) that costs the sales tax of this bottle. No joke.

    Notes on top that possibly ruined this for me...very cold and harsh, bitter bergamot (there is a "spike" that hits my nose wrong), a strange and bad combination of very sweet licorice (is that what is killing this for me?) and way too much nutmeg at first and still in the heart, where raspberry (???) is listed as a note along with olibanum, sage and thyme. The top also lists basil - this sounds great at first (green herbs with vetiver), but too many herbs from the top and heart...it ends up a stewed green mess with very little vetiver at all to me. Not to be rude, but who thought hiding vetiver would be something people would want? I like vetiver compositions, but when all these notes come together - you get overly sweet, bitter and harsh and a nose-burning concoction that loses its train of thought. How would one want to purchase this with all the other great vetivers out there?

    Now, I love herbs and this could have been a well-made scent if the sweetness was taken out and the citrus was actually used properly. The base notes (listed at another site) include vanilla and patchouli along with leather. Not simple. The patchouli actually is too dank, the leather is not really there (if it is, it's vinyl) and the worse note of all, to make this finish on a poor note - vanilla. Who wants vanilla in a fragrant vetiver scent??? I found that scent pyramid AFTER I bought this and noticed all the sickly-sweet notes and the herbs smothering what you bought this for...vetiver. If the juice wasn't called what it is, I would not even think of vetiver! Oddly enough, bergamot and licorice (along with tarragon) are found in Guerlain Vetiver Extreme. Was this poor vintage rendition from Carlo Corinto the inspiration for that excellent Guerlain composition that I love??

    Here are the differences in Vetiver Extreme that Guerlain delivered...the bergamot is wonderful and the licorice is almost like the root itself (very nice and natural - a woody undertone), the tarragon adding a nice accord to the vibe - green, but in the same vein and adding depth. The heart is beautiful with the nutmeg turned down in Guerlain's bottle and a nice addition of pepper that enrichens the earthiness and adds great warmth. The licorice never gets sweet and the dry down is segued by a great, light incense note into a warm and rich base of cedar, warm tonka bean and the deep, rooty and very dark green vetiver throughout the entire composition (from top, through the heart and wonderful in the base).

    Carlo Corinto's juice cannot touch this (Vetiver Extreme - incredibly good!!!). I seriously feel let down. This bottle was, according to some reviewers regarded higher than Guerlain's Vetiver (although the notes compare more to the Extreme bottling)...neither is true to my nose. After wearing this for almost two hours and letting it play out, I realize the juice is in fine order - that is just how Carlo Corinto's Vetyver is to my palate - if this was an entree at a highly-regarded restaurant, I would send it back. I will go against the masses and say - avoid. I wanted to like this, but I cannot. Not to offend anyone's taste. Enjoy it if you do. I am returning this bottle back to the seller.

    My final, and unfortunate, score is 3/10. Simply poor in all aspects. I am also washing my skin. C'est la vie...this was shockingly bad.

    **Update - bottle has been mailed back! The final smell on my shirt sleeve, which is nauseating is of heavy nutmeg, sweet vanilla and a concoction of dank herbs and wet grass. Disappointment level - 10/10. Olfactory pleasure - none.

    03 May, 2012

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    Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

    In my opinion, the best ever from this house - Vintage Tuscany Per Uomo is truly a modern classic. This came out in 1984, the same year another masculine powerhouse scent was released, Davidoff for Men (Original). This could be its cousin back home in Italy - wearing a tailored suit, sunglasses and chic as hell. Both are masculine and rich fragrances (Davidoff is a powerhouse) that feature a blast of lime, some great florals (along with green notes and herbs in the heart) and a wonderful base of patchouli and leather with a very nice, natural moss. There are significant differences. I find Tuscany Per Uomo to be a touch more refined and slightly less macho. It is not better or worse, just different. The anise/tarragon accord also offers something unique here and where these two fragrances take different paths (and the reference to Azzaro Pour Homme that many mention) - warming the heart along with the earthy caraway (also a note they share). Davidoff for Men has an amazing sharp carnation note (with a hint of rose) that is more muscular...and goes wonderful with the artemisia top-note.

    Enough comparison, although the common year and olfactory notes do have similar points - it is in the way Tuscany Per Uomo develops that makes it so different. I have Vintage YSL Pour Homme and YSL Pour Homme Haute Concentration. I find similarities with Yves Saint Laurent's bottlings more than Davidoff Original, but I wanted to discuss that comparison (and how different they truly are) as the scent pyramids are similar. What you get is an entirely different scent, level of power and overall "vibe". YSL Pour Homme (and Haute Concentration) have wonderful openings of bright citrus, a blend of herbs (some bitterness, some fresh) and a nice dry down into patchouli and moss (with wood) - very similar in notes as well to Tuscany Per Uomo. However, while more similar in construction, power, the "vibes" here are different in one unique way - YSL's offerings are clearly classic French styling, while Tuscany has a completely Italian soul and it transports you to the beautiful region around Florence. That is its charm and beauty...!

    Vintage formula is the only "Tuscany Per Uomo" - period. Do not waste your money on the reformulation. I have a bottle that will be savored for years to come. It is special. I have been to and loved Tuscany as a place. Some great reviews here that mention just how good this is - I concur (Darvant, excellent review). It is not very bold or too loud (as alfarom noted) or a true powerhouse - but simply a rich, complex and wonderful composition that is timeless. This will only be recognized more and more over the years ahead (as people realize just how good it was). Fantastic - 9/10!

    29 April, 2012 (Last Edited: 23 May, 2012)

    rating


    Balenciaga pour Homme by Balenciaga

    Epic bottle of juice that is sadly long gone. Balenciaga Pour Homme will always be in my Top 5 fragrances - it is meant for only those who understand it. A powerhouse that is refined and the composition so unique. A masterpiece of taste and sheer strength - nothing like it exists. The other reviewers on Basenotes cover this well. I just wanted to add another positive note without trying to write a review that even the most colorful adjectives, metaphors and superlatives could not come close to actually describe. Personally, I don't get the "honey" note and it is one I am sensitive to - but this magnificent bottle does have that infamous feel of a Balenciaga. What is missing from the note pyramid are two rich resins that give this bottle and many others from Balenciaga that incredible richness - styrax and benzoin. Together, they create that "Balenciaga-vibe" and warm body - it is more of an accord that one gets with the incredible depth of this composition, in my humble opinion. But, it is important to note just how incredible& rich this feels...so acknowledging those resins is key to understanding how this depth is created. It doesn't matter as much to most people who are lucky enough to even smell Balenciaga Pour Homme - this is sheer brilliance that creates awe when you wear it (or you adorn it, better said).

    Grottola's review is very accurate in both description and vibe. I am blessed to have this in my collection. It is Gerard Anthony's genius captured in a bottle.

    As per the official scent pyramid (which I find, to my nose, to be correct - but missing a few key notes):

    TOP: Ceylon Cinnamon; Italian Bergamot; Coriander; Thyme

    MID: Patchouli; Sandalwood; Cypress; Cedar

    BOTTOM: Yugoslavian Oakmoss; Vanilla Bourbon; Amber; Musk

    This is not fragrance - it is olfactory perfection in a composition. 10/10.

    28 April, 2012 (Last Edited: 12 February, 2013)

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