Reviews by Hat and Beard

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    Hat and Beard
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    Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

    Dominant raspberry and slightly smokey leather that dries down so sweet that it hurts.

    04 July, 2014 (Last Edited: 05 July, 2014)

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    Bois d'Ascèse by Naomi Goodsir

    Opens up extremely smoky/slightly boozy with a whisper of cinnamon that has an almost burned paper characteristic to it. As it moves on, the amber and oakmoss become a bit more prevalent and start to add a slightly sweet soapiness. All of the time it never loses a bit of the ash-like quality that it opens up with. A few hours in it loses some of the smoke, but a very dry wood emerges and mixes great with the touch of oakmoss from before. Thankfully it loses the soapy quality that appears in the early stages of “development" as it can be a bit overbearing. In the end you are left with an extremely dry wood/moss/smoke scent with the slightest amount of powdery/ambery sweetness to round it off. Sillage is moderate and longevity is excellent.

    03 July, 2014 (Last Edited: 20th July, 2014)

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    Black Amber by Agonist

    This is an interesting take on an amber based scent. The whole scent isn’t overtly sweet and cloying like most ambers, but instead it has an subtle ozonic/marine quality to it. It opens up a tad on the cherry cough syrup side, but thankfully that aspect goes away rather quickly. The sweetness settles down into a wonderful dry, ashy vanilla that’s as if you’re smelling a piece of vanilla amber resin as the wind blew across a smoldering fire next to the ocean. It’s a dry and subtly sweet vanilla amber with a peppery/earthy backbone that stays at about arms length for sillage and also has good longevity.

    03 July, 2014

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    Dark Aoud by Montale

    The opening is a blast of that signature Montale medicinal oud along with a sharp sandalwood note that accompanies it. No it isn’t close in comparison to a legitimate aquilaria crassna oil, but if that’s what you’re looking for you’ve come to the wrong place. I have really grown to appreciate a synthetic oud over the years and Dark Aoud is a good example of a synthetic done well. It is a very “wearable” oud that doesn’t have any of the more barnyard/fecal qualities that are out there. Most importantly it is not jam packed full of floral notes that are in a milieu of oud based fragrances on the market. As it dries down it seems to take on an almost petroleum-like quality as black pepper and a subtle vetiver barely mix in with the oud and santal. There is also an airy openness that is present that I can put my finger on, but really seems to open the scent up into a wonderful, “heady” experience. Excellenct sillage and longevity.

    03 July, 2014

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    Private Label by Jovoy

    What a deep, rich fragrance. It opens up with a bitter blast of vetiver, some patchouli and green notes. This is a nice dry patchouli that doesn’t have that “hippy” smell that is often associated with it, but rather one that adds to the dirt/earthiness of the overall scent. As another reviewer said, I get a distinct oud note that is present throughout the duration, but is tamed down significantly by a buttery sandalwood that emerges as the fragrance begins to dry down. Over time the leather and papyrus notes come out to really give the fragrance an incredible “old leather-bound book” feel that pairs wonderfully with the now smoky vetiver and sandalwood. Excellent sillage and longevity.

    03 July, 2014

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    Full Incense by Montale

    A very sweet, bright, almost sharp frankincense scent. The frankincense note that it opens up with has a very dominant orange quality to it. Similar to CdG: Avignon in the sense that they both share that same bright, citrusy note, but they differ because ‘Full Incense’ lacks the smoky backbone that is prevalent in ‘Avignon.’ As it dries down it stays pretty much as it was when you first sprayed it except it gets even sweeter the longer it sits on your skin. Almost candy-like. It's an extremely linear fragrance, but it is executed very well if you are looking for that catholic church/frankincense vibe without the smoke. It’s almost as if they captured the smell of a newly built catholic church that uses frankincense air freshener in their ceremonies rather than lighting up the old incense censer. Sillage and longevity are both great

    03 July, 2014

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    Harrods Oud Patchouli by Bond No. 9

    I want to put it out there that I love agarwood and I also like patchouli as well, and that this review does not in any way reflect their entire catalog, but this has got to be some of the worst smelling stuff out there. I went into Bond No. 9 in New York really excited to have an olfactory spree as I was not entirely familiar with the brand and was surprised at all of the oud options they had. This was the first one the service woman sprayed on my arm. At first you get a slightly sweet, dirty, musky oud. The oud they use has some of the more fecal qualities you can sometimes get from Cambodian agarwood (I’m assuming its usage here) so this one may not for those who don’t like a more “rural” smell in a fragrance. As the evening went on things took a turn for the worse as this started to smell more and more like body odor. Just to make sure it wasn't just me, my friend who had accompanied me there was (forced into) smelling my arm every time I did. I would assume that these more "human" aspects here are coming from the leather that is mentioned in the notes list as well as the earthy myrrh, but both can’t be detected individually. By the end of the evening my arm smelled as if I had aggressively rubbed it under someone’s funky armpit that for whatever reason had sprayed it with Aquanet hairspray. The silage on this one is thankfully low and the longevity is mediocre. Sorry Bond No. 9.

    21st July, 2012

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    Tam Dao by Diptyque

    Being one who likes to create custom incense blends, Tam Dao reminds me of something that I have come across before in the incense world. I have some Indian sandalwood chips that I burn on white bamboo charcoal and Tam Dao smells exactly like the split second when the sandalwood hits the hot charcoal. I say "split second" because anything longer than that means the incense would start to smell much smokier. Even though dry, there isn't a whole lot of smoke in Tam Dao. There is, however, an even mix of cedar wood as well as some sweet amber muskiness that come out more as the fragrance sits on your skin. There is also mention of rosewood, cypress and myrtle in the notes list, but they are not noticeable to me.

    I really like Tam Dao and proudly have it in my collection, but one could criticize that it is a very linear fragrance and doesn't have the best longevity. Don't get me wrong here as it is very well executed in it's linearity and smells very warm and inviting, but too many excessive sprays bring about an almost offensive anise-like note. If you are looking for a nice, soft, incense-like sandalwood that stays close to your skin then Tam Dao is the way to go.

    21st July, 2012

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    1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

    What a deep and intriguing fragrance. I may be going out on a limb here, but after having the chance to test all of the 'Histories' line I feel this is one of the better ones they offer. All of the 'Histories' line are very deep/full/rich fragrances, but 1740 just struck the right chord for me; probably because I'm a sucker for leather, labdanum, and smoke. The subtleties of this fragrance have far more to offer than that, but on my skin those are the predominant notes that last the entire time the fragrance does. As a few have said already it opens up extremely boozy along with a wonderfully sweet labdanum and a tiny bit of cardamom. Almost immediately the smokiness (it's a woody smoke and probably is coming from the cedar) slowly starts to creep in along with a tiny bit of leather. I'd like to mention that I have let many people try 1740 and this stage seems to be completely different on everyone. On my skin the smokiness comes to the forefront and is combined with an extremely deep, warm, and visceral note that I can't seem to put my finger on. It's almost sexual and keeps bringing me back to the arm I sprayed it on time and time again; taking a deeper whiff every time. On others the smoky/visceral qualities don't take charge. Instead they sit quietly in the background as leather note starts to mix in. I can safely say that I'm glad that doesn't happen with me, as that is my favorite part of this fragrance. As time goes on the boozy quality dissipates, but the smoke, labdanum, and leather (along with that visceral note) hold strong. After the hours and hours this fragrance lasts it seems to take on a subtle, almost "womens boudoir-esque" quality as it begins to fade. Meaning that it almost smells as if you walked up to someone’s vanity and had a look around at all of the different types of makeup and perfume that were there. When I say this I mean it in the most positive and subtle way possible, as this is not a feminine fragrance.

    Overall I really like this one, but will say that it is not one I wear all of the time and usually reserve for special occasions or nights on the town. Silage and longevity are great with 1740 and one spray goes quite a long way.

    21st July, 2012

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    1903 by J Peterman

    I was so excited to try this given all of the reviews praising it. It also seemed like every time I searched fragrances by note on here 1903 popped up in the list. I decided to take the stab and blind buy a bottle from the J. Peterman website. Oh man did I not like this one at all. As I awkwardly applied the cologne from the "classic" style bottle I was suddenly whisked back to high school gym class as this smells EXACTLY like the 'regular' version of Mennen Speed Stick to me. I didn't get much but an extremely soapy/spice/green from this one the entire time it was on my skin. Every time I went back to my arm to take another whiff I was really wanting those leather and tabac notes to be there, but alas they never showed up. I will say that the staying power is excellent, but that unfortunately is not enough to get me to keep the bottle. If more classic style/barbershop fragrances are your thing you probably will enjoy this burly man-juice quite a bit.

    20th July, 2012

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    Sandalwood by Art of Shaving

    I really enjoy this one quite a bit and it is a staple in my (humble) collection. It's pretty much a linear fragrance, but executed very well. It seems to me that most of the sandalwood based fragrances that I've sampled (which aren't many) tend to lean towards the incense side, but this one is composed in a different way. I had been using the AOS sandalwood aftershave lotion and shaving soap for quite a few years and absolutely loved the smell of them. I had said many times that I wished that they made an EDP/EDT that smelled as wonderful as they did because the first time I tried it in the AOS store I was initially taken aback by the big eucalyptus rush I got at the beginning. I guess it could have been because I just sprayed the sample on a card and not my skin, but upon revisiting it and sampling it on my skin I have grown to love it! That being said it only lasts about 15-20 minutes before you get down to the rich and creamy (almost soapy) sandalwood. The AOS site lists the rest of the base notes as vanilla, patchouli and myrrh. I don't really get any of the patchouli or myrrh in this fragrance, although the myrrh could explain the hint of earthiness that’s present. As far as the vanilla goes I get a more of a resinous benzoin smell that gives the subtle sweet edge to the dry down. I also layer this fragrance with sandalwood oil that I picked up from this great shop in NYC called Enfleurage as the longevity for me isn’t the best. This is also not a projection monster, but does not go unnoticed as I get compliments on it all of the time.

    24 June, 2012 (Last Edited: 01st July, 2012)

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