Reviews

Reviews by foetidus

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Terre d'Hermès Parfum by Hermès

I can immediately tell that this is a Jean-Claude Elena fragrance. The opening citrus bears the classic Jean-Claude Elena citrus aura so apparent in so many of his fragrances. For some reason I’m liking this citrus opening better than as usual for me. Come to think of it, I’ve enjoyed several of Hermes' latest men’s offerings: Jardin Sur le Toit, Gentiane Blanche, Voyage…

This parfum version Terre d’Hermes comes across quite strongly. The opening is not as cool as the original TdH because the flint accord holds off for a while longer than in the original, I guess it gives the opening citrus a longer period to shine. When the stony flint note takes over, the scent shows the cool earthiness that TdH is famous for, only richer and more full than in the original. This flinty / citrus accord forms the core of Terre d’Hermes Parfum and has excellent longevity. The drydown goes woody with a hint of the citrus / flint remaining.

I find this a rather linear fragrance which is centered around some genuinely interesting and enjoyable accords. It is quite seductive.
03rd May, 2015 (last edited: 17th May, 2015)

Coromandel by Chanel

Dramatic, visceral opening… certainly not my idea of typical-Chanel. The accord settles a little to a rich benzoin / floral / wood with a strong undercurrent of incense. This opening accord is one of those that do not reveal the individual elements that compose them: Except for the resinous undercurrent of incense and the stabilizing foundation of elegant patchouli (more of a presumption on my part than an obvious experience), I cannot pick out the individual notes but I can accept everything the pyramid tells me: citrus, rose, jasmine, patchouli, spice. The accord is full and sumptuous as I expect of Chanel, and a good bit edgier than what I would normally consider for “Chanel,” but it never passes the tricky boundaries of its own perfection. With an added plus, the opening accord holds on for a good deal longer than most fragrance openings, cementing its visceral ecstacy…

I realize the mid-level when I first get a hint of florals (rose, actually). The heart accord is a reminder that this is truly a Chanel fragrance: That combination of florals (jasmine, rose, orris) and patchouli rings several bells of Chanel fragrance-memory for me. To my nose this less visceral but more refined and elegant movement is true to both its opening and to its Chanel origins… and, to further prove both origins, the middle accord also exhibits very good longevity. This is Chanel at its most enduring-creative best.

The base accounts for the resinousness of Coromandel with its quality incense. The remainder of the base is traditional wood, musk and vanilla in a dense and rich combination – this level is also very rich in Chanel-ness and is a fitting way to close on the superb beginnings.

This is a fragrance that, on first sniff, I thought would be perfect... In a very real sense, it is perfect – I don’t find one element at all discordant in Coromandel not one chink in its splender. Its opening is captivating. It is an elegant, refined, and beautifully structured-and-performing fragrance. But so much more than that, it is passionate and poignant and dream-worthy. And while the heart and base are excellent, for me they don’t reach the visceral intensity and satisfaction of the opening and I kind of miss that. Still… two thumbs-way, way up – perfection is perfection.
03rd May, 2015 (last edited: 05th May, 2015)

Fougère Royale by Houbigant

Impressive opening – the aromatics are spectacular. The opening is a traditional bergamot, chamomile, lavender, and green, but I don’t remember an accord with such impressive aromatics. When the aromatics subside, what remains is a rather traditional fougere opening complete with bergamot, lavender, geranium, and rose. The ingredients are top quality.

The middle continues the heart note florals into the opening. In addition to the mentioned rose and geranium, the florals are filed out with spicy carnations and lilac. To my nose the rose has already disappeared from the floral and the accord has been filled out with cinnamon, with patchouli and oakmoss already rising up from the base.

The base continues with patchouli, oakmoss, sage, and a bit of sweetener provided by tonka bean – those are the notes that I can identify, anyway.

Fougere Royale: Classic construction, excellent blending, quality ingredients, and distinguished history. What’s not to love?
03rd May, 2015

Lucky Number 6 for Men by Lucky Brand

I like several inexpensive fragrances – but this isn’t one of them. I think it’s the combination pineapple / watery note in the opening that turns me off – just too plastic for my taste. And then there’s the gingerlily… I never did get along with gingerlily and this one's worse than usual. These synthetic ambiances hang around for the total run of the fragrance, so I pretty much have to sign off on Lucky Number 6. I guess “6” isn’t my lucky number. But there is one good thing about it: it smells much better on my clothes than on my skin.
03rd May, 2015

Eau sOleil by Nicolaï

The opening smells very much like the smell of aromatic sap from a broken plant stem melded with a quality citrus note... I like it… natural and calming. The pyramid lists a whole lot of citrus, but I get a green / "citrus" combination. Looking at the pyramid, I don’t understand where the green comes from. I get a rather strong petit grain note. Although I can’t pick out the thyme, I think it is there working with the wormwood to balance the overdose of citrus load. In any case, I’m smelling a complex, nicely designed accord. This is not your typical citrus opening, nor do I think it is your run-of-the-mill suntan lotion offering, although it resembles more the later than the former. I’m impressed by the opening, and it seems to merge seamlessly into the floral heart accord.

The heart is floral dominated by the Ylang Ylang. It is of good quality but rather unspectacular – especially after following the interesting opening. It either doesn’t last very long, or else its lack of intrigue dulls my sense of smell a bit. The base moves into even more unspectacular territory… it completes the “run-of-the-mill suntan lotion” potential of the opening. I’m surprised how it lost so much interest is such a short time. I’m also surprised that Eau Soliel was introduced in 2013… I’ve seen better versions of this suntan lotion concept ten years ago. Excellent quality – not very original… if you enjoy it, its quality makes it worth owning.
03rd May, 2015

Boss Orange Man by Hugo Boss

I kept waiting for the blatant synthetics, the sticky sweetness, and the the boring, predictable movements. They didn’t come. Can this one really be a Hugo Boss fragrance? I have my doubts…

Boss Orange opens with a very nice green / fruity accord (what kind of fruit, I don’t know… but I doubt it's apple) that contains a warm, pleasant note in it. I am supposing that the warmth comes from the Bubinga wood… but there’s a slight aromatic feeling in the background that could be the incense. Those are the possibilities; otherwise, I don’t smell either the wood or the incense. And I don’t get the vanilla. Other reviewers call Orange Man "sweet" but it doesn’t seem overly sweet to me; I suppose it could be my dry skin minimizing the sweetness.

I kind of like this one, which would make it the second or third Boss fragrance I can enjoy. That happens so seldom with this maker and I just am forced to give Orange Man a thumbs up. Because it's a Boss fragrance, and with so many negative votes... I could be missing something.
03rd May, 2015

Prada Amber pour Homme Intense by Prada

I liked Prada Amber Pour Homme but not enough to buy it. But I enjoy the Intense version so much that I have purchased two bottles… I don’t want to run out of this. I don’t get much of the bergamot opening – my nose is immediately drawn to the ambry-sweet patchouli accord. I usually prefer rougher versions of patchouli, but this sweet version captivates me – perhaps because of the almost-implied myrrh enriching it. On my skin Intense is linear because I miss most of the opening’s bergamot and the drydown seems like an extension of the ambry-patchouli heart of the fragrance. Some other reviewers refer to the fragrance as soapy and I can understand that, but the subtle incense-resin pulls me away from the soapy interpretation. This is a rich and elegant fragrance.
03rd May, 2015

Dragon Fruit by Demeter Fragrance Library

I was addicted to dragon fruit in the years I lived in Taiwan – I liked the ones with the white flesh, but I loved the ones with the red flesh, except that the red ones were less consistent in quality – sometimes they weren’t as yummy as they should be. The white one didn’t have much of a scent that I remember, but the red one had a bit stronger scent – slightly tropical... or maybe I’m just thinking it had a stronger smell because it had a stronger taste.

I can’t quite identify this Demeter Dragon Fruit as the scent of the dragon fruit – it’s been seven years since I’ve eaten one, but this doesn’t really smell familiar to me except in a slightly-tropical semi-generic sort of way, and I’m fairly sure that I have eaten enough of them to remember their aroma if I were to smell it again. Anyway, this Demeter smells a bit tropical and it is not unpleasant, and I’m making my neutral vote for its value to me as a fragrance, not for its accuracy in the depiction of the odiferous reality or lack thereof of the dragon fruit.
03rd May, 2015

Norne by Slumberhouse

Excellent reviews here on Norne. Like other reviewers, I find Norne quite similar to Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles, which I own. Compared one to one, I think Norne is more complex and a bit better smelling. Norne has even fewer of the sweet references than Fille en Aiguilles has, and Norne is more realistic – I know because I live in a pine-spruce-fir forest. Norne is an excellent fragrance... quality materials, noteworthy performance... a daring composition. It is a must try for anyone interested in conifer fragrances.
03rd May, 2015

UR for Men by Usher

I don’t get “fruity” or even “woody,” I just get an uninteresting sea water note that would be at home in any bargain-brand shampoo. I don’t dislike this fragrance, but it is boring… and poorly performing. I might possibly have given this a neutral, but this time I decided to join the crowd.
03rd May, 2015

Aqua Vitae by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

A light, semi-sweet citrus opening… I get a slight metallic tinge to it – or maybe it’s the guiac wood wafting up from the base. It’s a nicely refined, sweetish citus – non-sharp, non-screechy. The vanilla provides the sweetness, but it supports without dominating the accord. The first hint of floral is a clean jasmine note – doesn’t smell flowery and it certainly isn’t indolic; rather, it is more of a clear jasmine texture overlaid with a thin veneer of translucent citrus. I don’t know when the woodiness makes its appearance, but after about thirty or forty minutes I notice that the citrus / jasmine has joined with a wood note that the pyramid identifies as guiac, but it seems more to me as a clean, non-creamy sandalwood… regardless, it is a subtle, pleasing citrus / wood accord.

Aqua Vitae is an attractive fragrance. It’s performance is quite light in sillage but it has good longevity. It is not very original, but it doesn’t need to be. The quality of its constituent materials is impeccable, its structure speaks of discretion and sophisticated minimalism. Aqua Vitae has loads of quality and class. It is a must-try for one looking for discretion, quality, and refinement.
03rd May, 2015

Just Me for Men by Paris Hilton

A light fruity floral that is uninteresting and weakly performing. It has a synthetic ambiance which is exaggerated by the budget-level violet and freesia notes, and these make the whole floral aspect of the fragrance quietly screechy. I had hoped that the woods and musks of the base would eventually make the fragrance a little less screechy and substantially more interesting...

...but no such luck. Boring to the point of annoyance ...righteously discontinued.
03rd May, 2015

Gucci by Gucci Sport Pour Homme by Gucci

I disliked Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme, so I was expecting to dislike this… but I don’t dislike it: This sport version opens with grapefruit / mandarin instead of violet as in the original Gucci by Gucci. The sport version definitely benefits by the citrus opening – it’s pleasant. Things go a little downhill with the middle notes. The cypress and juniper berry provide a coniferous accord (obligatory these days), whose sharpness, I suppose, is meant to be ameliorated by the creamier fig and cardamom, but the fig and cardamom don’t seem to do their job very well – the cypress and juniper get a little screechy.

I find the base enjoyable because it is a legitimate extension of the first two levels and it also stays true to its genre as a sport fragrance by holding back the sweetness. It manages to be somewhat heavier than the normal run of sport offerings. I think Gucci by Gucci Sport is a better fragrance than the original Gucci by Gucci. It is plenty OK, but it could easily be more interesting.
03rd May, 2015

L'Eau au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka

L’Eau Au Masculin hits with the impact of a Nerf ball. Mild opening of pink pepper and verbena… very nice. The pepper is more “pink” than “pepper,” and the verbena is a bit neutralized in its impact. As a result, the opening presents more of a pleasant shampoo or lotion scent than the scent of its dramatic and aggressive progenitor, Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin. The remainder of the notes and of the fragrance are vibrationally equal to the opening accord… pleasant, non-challenging, and lotion-like; for a time the violet wood makes its presence as an individual known, but it soon softens and dissolves back into composite, leaving a nice drydown of vetiver and olive wood, which is just as non-exciting as it sounds.

Actually this is a very nice scent, and I would certainly buy it if I were looking for another soft, understated fragrance – I’m not... got plenty. L’Eau Au Masculin is exactly that: a milder, subtler, calmer cologne-like version of the original Au Masculine, and thank heaven L’Eau doesn’t include the anise... excellent decision! L’Eau boasts an attractive composition, a soothing neutrality, and a quite nice performance.
03rd May, 2015

Traversée du Bosphore by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A fruity / floral accord opens Traversée du Bosphore, with apple and pomegranate for fruit, and tulip, iris, and rose for florals… the tulip and pomegranate take prominence which makes for an interesting and inventive accord. The accord IS synthetic, but I rather enjoy its synthetic but untypical nature. The next accord moves in with a dominant leather / saffron – I agree that the leather is more suede than leather. Even with my dislike of leather and saffron notes, I don’t dislike this middle accord – but I’d guess that I am not capturing the complete drama of the accord. The base goes sweet primarily with vanilla and it still retains the “leather” aura in a very pleasant and long-lasting manner.

Some other reviewers experience Traversée du Bosphore as a gourmand – to me it usually comes across as a sweet fruity suede. In my first testing of it, the iris came across rather strongly but with further tests the iris strength diminished and the leather / fruit took precedence.

This is a well made fragrance that attempts some fairly complex and dramatic things while still retaining a L’Artisan identity - which is an almost self-contradictory goal. I think it does a good job of reaching that goal… It’s an interesting fragrance – more edgy than most L’Artisans. I like the direction this one takes.
03rd May, 2015

Côte d'Amour by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Citrus opening greened with rosemary… similar to the top notes of some of the traditional colognes, but actually this one is quite a pristine experience. I would say that the balance of the rosemary and citrus is remarkably well done.

It doesn’t take long for the floral-conifer heart notes to show up and they are a treat, too. I barely smell the rose note, and the floral combination is rather softly wild flower-conifer. Cleanly natural. I don’t get much powder.

A light sweetness enters in with the base by means of the honey scented heather, which is combined with broom and maritime pine for a wood accord… remarkably natural in a subtle powdery-woody-salty way.

This scent is what I would normally consider too weak for me, but that’s understandable because of its natural composition. But I like this scent and I like the idea that it is made up of entirely fresh, natural notes. It is too bad that it’s been discontinued.
03rd May, 2015

Gucci Guilty Black pour Homme by Gucci

“Gucci Guilty Black” …I think they’re right! … Gucci SHOULD feel guilty… first, for creating this mediocrity… and second, for calling it ”black.” The way to profit nowadays apparently is to knock off as many cheap flankers as possible. The original Gucci Guilty wasn’t a bad scent – just a bit cheap and a lot uninspired. This one is gross with its appalling synthetic lavender and cilantro opening; its redundant middle; and its threadbare patchouli and cedar wood base.

Mediocre projection, short lasting…

When I consider the phenomenal 1976 Gucci Pour Homme, the exquisite Gucci Nobile, the captivating Envy for Men, the ground-breaking Gucci Pour Homme I & IIs, and all those fantastic women’s fragrances … I can’t help but lament how far Gucci has fallen so quickly. Whoever’s running things won’t be able to trade on the Gucci name much longer – at least as far as fragrances are concerned.
03rd May, 2015

Azzaro Duo Men by Azzaro

The opening and middle notes – grapefruit, galbanum, and ginger – come at me all at once. The grapefruit provides “clean” and “fresh”; the galbanum, provides the green; and the ginger provides the synthetic aspect which was probably meant to be a metallic note… the opening basically works acceptably. This opening / middle combination accord is a bit discordant at first but it is the kind of edginess that can be gotten used to. It is fresh and it is strange, but it loses its quirkiness soon enough.

The base is enjoyable. It is a pleasant combination of vetiver, myrrh, tonka, and white musk. It is fresh, slightly resinous, agreeably sweet, and agreeably synthetic. Duo Men has average sillage and good longevity. It’s an OK fragrance – just not exciting. It is clean, crispy, and a little metallic, and if it weren’t for the initial weirdness, Azzaro Duo Men would be quite forgettable. The bottle looks like a bone for Astro.
03rd May, 2015

A Black by Blood Concept

I’ve read that the concept behind Blood Concept Black A has something to do with the opposites of the “adorable” and “poison.” Mandrake root and angelica seeds represent the poison, the danger… the narcotic… captivation. I guess that the ginger, coffee, sandalwood, and benzoin represent the adorable or maybe the comfortable. Rather complex ideas and maybe even self contradictory…I have no idea how these operative concepts shape this fragrance or why they were chosen – I only wanted to review this because “A” is my blood type.

I don’t get much “danger” out of this – actually it’s a nice fragrance: It has a unique linear texture. The combination of these some of these notes like mandrake root and Angelica seed joins with the more typical ginger, coffee, sandalwood, benzoin, and amber to form this pleasant representation of my blood type. The mandrake and angelica provide a gently resinous wildness that’s edgy and a small bit visceral. I particularly enjoy how the ginger smooths out the resins and provides a minor rooty sharpness to the accord. The coffee provides another bit of interest and I certainly connect the concept of coffee with the concept of comfort. The sandalwood provides a platform for all the actions of the other notes. The accord is not what I would call sweet – the benzene and amber add to the texture but are not at all aggressive. As I said, it’s linear… it is more like a skin lotion than a regular EdP, which it claims to be. I’ve seen this concept work well in several fragrances, but it doesn’t work here because, as pleasantly interesting as the accord is, it is weak in sillage, quite short on duration, and not at all intriguing. Most of Black A’s existence comes to me as a recessive skin scent.
11th March, 2015 (last edited: 16th May, 2015)

Versace pour Homme Oud Noir by Versace

Very nice fragrance. Opens with wood / oud accord in which the synthetic oud strikes a nice balance with the other woods. The oud seems to project at an appropriate level, and it is the prime element of the accord. The run of this fragrance is fairly linear, typical designer type oud aroma. The aromatic oud sillage is apparent, but controlled and the longevity could stand improvement.

There is nothing extraordinary about Versace Pour Homme Oud Noir except that it does what it does with noticeable competence. Competent, pleasurable, a touch edgy but restrained enough for general wearing; this is quite good for a designer oud, but I doubt that I’ll be buying: The only place that I found it for sale online is the Versace site where it sells for $150. That would put it at the price of several excellent niche ouds that are more competent, certainly more interesting, and much better values than this one. If I find this at a more realistic at a price, I’ll likely be buying.

10th March, 2015 (last edited: 03rd May, 2015)

Mr Blass by Bill Blass


Nice fragrance. Deep, rich cypress / vetiver / amber, construction spiced up the nutmeg, smoothed out with Leather and musk, and highlighted by incense. It reminds me of some of the ‘80s powerhouses, but that not really the case: Mr. Blass doesn’t have the typical development through pyramid levels… it is basically linear. Its aroma is more of a ‘90s composite scent – difficult to separate out the individual notes. The linear accord, itself is composed of lower-key materials which seem to be less synthetic than the typical ‘90s designer offering. And finally, Mr. Blass doesn’t come close to having the longevity of the old powerhouses, which is one of the main drawbacks of some linear fragrances.
This is a very pleasant fragrance and it is offered as at an extremely economical price. Good one.
10th March, 2015

Géranium pour Monsieur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


Quite aromatic opening dominated by minty emanations and strengthened by a clear geranium – this opening is impressive if you are into mint notes, and this is a upscale, non-toothpastey mint. This mint ensemble is also cleaner and more sophisticated than the mint note in… say… Roadster by Cartier. I myself am not into mint dominant accords, but this one I enjoy, probably because its strong tinge of geranium makes the mint more palatable to me. The opening has impressive longevity.

The mints and the geranium stay on the surface of the heart notes – and its background shifts and mitigates a little. I think what is happening with the heart is that the clove oil takes over in the background making the accord a little less ethereal and a little more earth-bound than the opening. This middle accord is subtle, sophisticated, and it serves as an appropriate continuation of the opening. I had been apprehensive of the clove oil but was happy to find it quite discrete and nicely performing.

The mint is pretty much gone by the basenotes… the geranium tenuously hangs on for the remainder, offering a subtle airiness to a discrete but solid white musk / sandalwood base which hints at a quality grey amber (“quality” is extremely important with grey amber). The pyramid says incense, and I smelled the incense at the first testing, but since it has apparently melded into the accord and I haven’t been able to separate it out. I don’t miss the incense because this light accord is solid, enjoyable, and completely fulfilling without it.

“Geranium Pour Monsieur” could just as easily been named “Geranium for Madame” because the temper of GPM is gender neutral as far as I’m concerned… neither sensual nor sexy. GPM is not dramatic or compelling, but rather it is buoyant, unisex, and deliciously wearable.

At my first testing of GPM I thought it was a pleasant but not very interesting scent – with that, I guess I was being unreasonably dismissive. Later with a couple of full wearings, its quiet uniqueness and almost spiritually-uplifting tenor grew on me: Instead of my oft-used comment: “Great scent but I don’t want to smell like this,” with Geranium Pour Monsieur my comment is “Subtly captivating scent and I DO wish to smell like this.”

10th March, 2015

D&G La Force 11 by Dolce & Gabbana


A sad little fragrance with a terribly ironic name… From the notes listed I would guess that this is meant to be a gourmet. I suppose it does smell a bit quasi-gourmandish because of the cinnamon and nutmeg overlaid on a weak heliotrope / sandalwood platform (Etro did the heliotrope / gormandish thing brilliantly). What’s not quasi-gourmand is the synthetic background that has an annoying oily tinge. La Force reaches its high point of synthetic gourmandness quite quickly: a high point that lasts about twenty minutes to an hour (…hard to say … hard to keep interested). From that high point it just sort of whimpers out, dragging itself to its weak vanilla / wood conclusion, mercifully dying its sad little death. Limited projection and dismal longevity. (What’s REALLY sad is that La Force is one of the better ones of D & G’s Anthology Series.)

10th March, 2015

Hugo Red by Hugo Boss


Hugo Red: as Hugo Boss fragrances go, it’s pretty good. It has a citrus / green opening with pepper for aromatic support. Nothing new here – quite typical of dozens of other fragrances. The grapefruit / pepper combination makes it seem somewhat ozonic.. The opening lasts for about 15 – 20 minutes and then moves on to the fruity middle where the combination of pineapple, rhubarb, and cedar sort of mirror the opening notes at a lesser extent and a softer vibration. The base is a generic tonka and amber – mercifully not outrageously sweet.

Pretty good scent. The synthetics don’t bother and the accords are pleasant, which, in my humble opinion, is quite an accomplishment for a Boss fragrance. Average sillage and good longevity.

10th March, 2015

L.12.12 Rouge / Red by Lacoste


The top notes are citrus and fruity. They seem to have a serious artificial tinge to them in the manner of an aromatic aura… or else I might be picking up a bit of the rockrose from the base. Anyway, the opening is orangey and lightly mango-ish. The spices of the heart level also come across rather lightly – this is no spice cabinet fragrance even though the pyramid might lead one to think so. As usual I don’t get much pepper but the ginger and cardamom come across clearly… but without overwhelming. The base… sweet and a bit aromatic… is rather neutral and pleasant… and it is the best part of the fragrance, which is where the best part should be. Lacoste’s L.12.12 Rouge has longevity problems as a projector of sillage. It quickly moves to being a skin scent and that last stage lasts about two-three hours at the most on my dry skin. This is a pleasant fragrance – somewhat synthetic, a bit demure – I can see where it might be a decent fragrance on the right person. For me, if I wanted something that performs like this, I would buy Polo Double Black.
10th March, 2015

Patchouli Impérial by Christian Dior

There’s no getting around it… this is one of the best patchoulis I’ve tried. Immediately upon application I get the rich, broad-spectrum Indonesian patchouli – I believe it’s already supported by the base’s sandalwood: It is an excellent, strongly wooded patchouli fragrance. There is also an amber with the patchouli, which gives an almost gourmand lusciousness to the visceral stripped-earthiness of the patchouli and the smooth richness of the sandalwood.

Patchouli Imperial has good sillage and excellent longevity, and I would say it’s likely the easiest patchouli to wear of all the patchoulis I’ve tested. For both patchouli lovers and patchouli middle-grounders, this is a dream fragrance.


10th March, 2015

A*Men Pure Havane by Thierry Mugler


Pure Havane is another flanker of A*men PH, and I find it, like Pure Malt, better than the original. Pure Havane adds tobacco and honey to the original A*men PH, and, more importantly, has mercifully been stripped of its progenitor’s birch tar. The result is a delicious boozy-tobacco-y patchouli / cocao / amber treat.

Pure Havane retains the chocolate-patchouli platform of the original. It retains the lusciously rich and controlled sweetness of the labdanum / amber background. It civilizes the ungodly projection of the original but retains much of the longevity. And it adds the aforementioned richness and depth of tobacco and honey. The result is a basically linear fragrance that I find, in total, much more palatable than A*men Pour Homme.

In my review of the original, I said that I enjoy the drydown. With this one I enjoy the entire run. This is how flankers should be done.
10th March, 2015

Arabian Wood by Tom Ford


A strongly soapy floral / wood accord opens Arabian Wood – and I agree that it does smell more like a quality English barbershop accord than an exotic Arabian fragrance. The florals of the opening exude the brightness of orange blossom and freesia, while the woods are rich and smooth; I don’t get a strong rose vibe from it. Although neither the floral aspect nor the wood aspect of the accord is extraordinary, together the florals and woods provide an excellent, attractive, and high-end introduction to the barbershop concept.

The middle goes all floral at a richer, deeper tone than the florals of the opening. It’s an excellent alto level floral accord – strong with “white” feel of the orris, gardenia, and jasmine with a mezzo Ylang-ylang accent. As usual with the May rose, I smell primarily a rose texture rather than a strong rose note. Although this middle level is very floral, it feels acceptably masculine to me.

The base is complex. With the waning of the middle florals, I first get a straight wood accord of sandalwood and cedar. The scant oakmoss that I manage to smell forms a minor part of the accord, or maybe I’m simply hallucinating the oakmoss. The patchouli seems to combine with the cedar to bring about an almost incense smell – an incense without the usual resinous aura. I do get lavender and a bit of a honey-like sweetness. I find the base intriguing in its quality and complexity.

Although I’m not a strong devotee of the barbershop genre, I enjoy and respect this fragrance because it puts a high quality stamp on a genre that I usually connect with the casualness of Brut and Canoe – which are just fine in their own arenas. Arabian Wood employs excellence in its interplay of quality florals and woods without barbershop’s usual (but usually appropriate) screechiness. Arabian Wood, regardless of its complexity (which leads to several interpretations of it) is very much Tom Ford in that it boasts high quality ingredients excellently balanced and blended… and the Tom Ford genius of often taking new perspectives on the old tried and true.

10th March, 2015

L.12.12 Noir / Black by Lacoste


“Not sure about this one,” is a good way to begin a review of Lacoste Noir. I kinda like this and I kinda don’t. I don’t get clearly defined notes, I get a sort of watermelon note and a sort of lavender note… I get something like chocolate and a definite coumarin. I’m not at all sure about the patchouli; I get no verbena, or basil. What notes I perceive have something in common – their tendency to be rather synthetic, but the synthetics are not disagreeable.

L.12.12 Noir is a bit of an enigma to me. I can’t place it in any kind of logical pattern or design or purpose, unless it was meant to be everything for everyone of a certain age (but certainly not mine!). I don’t find much to like about it, but then I have no inclination to rail about how bad it is, either – because it certainly isn’t bad. Guess I have to go neutral… moderate sillage and OK longevity.
10th March, 2015

Daddy Yankee by Daddy Yankee


Daddy Yankee is a simple, straight-forward scent with basically two levels: It has an opening accord and a base accord, but, even thus, it doesn’t change much in aroma… except it diminishes in strength. The accorded individual notes are conglomerate rather than individually identifiable, and they form a quite pleasant aromatic journey. As basic as the scent is, it gives some good smells and shows some good moves: The primary accord is a soft leather / wood, and is composed of redwood and suede. To back up the redwood and suede, there is a somewhat green basil-sage herbal set with a little sweet supplied by an apple note. There is supposed to be ginger in there somewhere, but I don’t smell it. The movement to drydown is long and smooth because the middle level of the pyramid is eliminated altogether. The drydown continues the suede / redwood, loses the apple, and its original herbal green changes to a coniferous green by means of a casual cedar note.

For its price Daddy Yankee delivers more than adequately: It is a pleasant, modern scent; it smells good, it has decent sillage, and it has good longevity. Daddy Yankee can join the ranks of Thallium, Thallium Black, the original RL Chaps, Michael Jordan Legend, and several others where good fragrances can be had for unbelievably reasonable prices.
10th March, 2015