Reviews by Griff

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    Showing 1 to 30 of 43.

    Patou Pour Homme (new) by Jean Patou

    A perfect example of reformulation gone dreadful. The initial resemblance to the original on first sniff lifts one's hopes in anticipation - the old beast returns! - but hope disappears within seconds as the initial top notes give way to the weird, ersatz accord of this dreadful reformulation. I'm not a fan of the word "synthetic" as an adjective but if there was any place where it really fits, this mess is it. And it only gets worse with time. The drydown is revolting. Put this into a generic bottle and you wouldn't give it shelf room in Walgreen's Nice going Proctor and Gamble. Here's a thought: Get out of the fragrance business.

    10th November, 2014


    Absynthe for Him by Christian Lacroix

    Although I agree with Shifty Bat about the longevity and strength, there is so much to recommend this failed masterpiece that I am driven to write a review.

    First off, this is the one cologne out of my extensive wardrobe that garners the most compliments. And I mean, serious, intense compliments. And inquiries. My trainer claims it is intoxicating. Colleagues at work go out of their way to tell me how much they like it. I get more notice with Absynthe than with Aventus (which is a close second in the notices department.)

    The bracing green and peppery opening is brief but glorious. (the notes say "citrus." I don't get any citrus at all). The fruit and patchouli heart notes blended with a very "mate" like vetiver is also delicious but short-lived. I get maybe two hours before it starts to fade. But oh, the dry down. Aromatic wormwood! and shot through with a deep resinous amber. Without a doubt, Absynthe Pour Homme is my favorite scent at the moment. If only it projected a little farther and kept its full volume longer. I find that over applying it helps extend the entire performance (and spritzing it on your shirt really helps).

    Hard to find today but I stocked 10 bottles which should last me for the rest of my life. If you get a chance to sample, don't pass it up.

    17 July, 2012


    1872 for Men by Clive Christian

    Geza Shoen's modern update on the traditional "cologne water," 1872 is somewhat similar to Tiffany For Men, only with a dash of pepper,a bit less powder and a much more "buttery" lemon note. The drydown is fairly linear and the sillage is moderate. Excellent for evening wear and to this nose, definitely not "feminine." Smells like one rich SOB! Worth the cost? Maybe, but as long as TFM is in production, it presents a better value for those concerned with price. Otherwise, by all means, spend away for a bottle of 1872, you rich SOB you!

    14 December, 2011


    Pi by Givenchy

    I remember when I purchased this back in 2000. Kooky bottle, amber juice. Sampled and liked it in the store. Later, I decided it wasn't my taste and I put it away. Over the years, I've taken it out now and then to try and though I haven't ever had a bad reaction, it never curled my toes so back it went and there it sat.

    Then a few days ago, I was fishing around in the back of the wardrobe and pulled it out. Oh, you! So I thought, "why not?" and took a few discreet spritzes before heading off to the office.

    By the time I was half way there, sitting in a cloud of Pi in the middle of traffic, I was madly in love.

    Funny how fragrance works like that. You never know when an otherwise forgettable cologne you had discounted as pedestrian or unremarkable, suddenly, unexpectedly blossoms and grabs your heart. It's eight hours later and the simple aromatic woody vanilla dry down is so beautiful, it is to weep.

    So, stake in the ground: I am converted. Pi is a simple but stunning masterpiece, albeit, not one that is universally recognized or admired (as indicated by the split opinion in the reviews). Maybe it's past its time for most. After all, variants on the sugar gourmand have been done to death and most are headache-making after a while. Maybe this gem will be better understood and appreciated in the future. (If production stopped, it could become the next PPH with prices for existing stock soaring. Let's hope it isn't discontinued.) But for now, Pi gets five stars from me along with a new respect and an elevated position in the wardrobe.

    13 April, 2010


    Poison by Christian Dior

    The olfactory equivalent of the audacious line backer shoulder pads, tourniquet-tight waistcoats, and towering hair of the Dynasty-inflected 1980's, Poison's tuberose-jasmine-overcooked-berry accord doesn't waft gently from the bottle or the skin; it rises and strikes like an angry cobra. There is nothing subtle or mysterious about Poison. It's all about power and total dominance. Poison invades and conquers every space it encounters. Even the tiniest dab on the nape of the neck can fill a good sized dining room like floral and grape juice stink bomb. And yes, it is fascinating at first sniff (much like a corpse is fascinating on first sight) but the fascination quickly turns to disgust, for me at least, and I suspect for most. (on first sniff, I am always reminded of the scene in the Raiders of the Lost Ark where the beautiful white smokey Ark ghost lady's face turns into a hideous skull, just before the Nazi's skin melts away. An apt metaphor.).

    Ladies who still love this one, please, please, please consider the the exquisite alternative, Carolina Herrera Eau de Parfum which although it possesses a note structure similar to Poison (and is of the same period), it slowly, softly whispers its creamy floral//green brilliance as opposed to the shrieking, braying monster that is Poison.

    Don't come to my party bearing Poison. I will ask you politely, but firmly, to leave.

    18 August, 2009


    Kretek by Ava Luxe

    Nat Sherman "Touch Of Cloves" cigarettes. We used to smoke them in the seventies when we were young and hip and slumming it in Boston.

    Kretek is "Touch Of Cloves" in a bottle. The memories it conjures bring tears to these older eyes.

    Find it, buy it and wear it out clubbing. I guarantee you that no one else in the house will smell like you or as good as you for that matter.

    24 December, 2007


    Impact Pour un Homme by Caron

    Caron has dropped the reference to Pour un Homme from the title. It's now just called "Impact."

    I always felt that PuH was one of the strongest EDT's ever (one spray will do you) so I don't quite get the why of an EDP version. It isn't bad but it seems redundant. PuH is more interesting. Impact was a straight line from application to dry down to complete fade.

    Buy it as a curiosity only. Stick to PuH otherwise.

    24 December, 2007


    Orphée by Maxims

    Hard-to-find but worth the effort, Orphee is unlike anything else. A refined version of that irresistable smell of watermelon bubblegum you can occasionally detect at supermarket checkout counters. Wait. That sounds cheap. Orphee is much better than that.

    The fresh, clean, sweet bite of watermelon. Nothing less, nothing more.

    24 December, 2007


    Tokyo by Kenzo

    Interesting. Kenzo Tokyo is, to this nose, a layered combination of Kenzo Jungle and Kenzoair. The initial notes are more Jungle. The later, basenotes are more like Kenzoair, so much so that the drydown is virtually indistinguishable from Kenzoair. I have always admired Kenzo for its unmistakable accord apparently across all its offerings. However, one expects that each new addition to a house's line will be somewhat original. Although Tokyo is pleasant (and definitely a Kenzo product) it is totally lacking in originality.

    01st November, 2007


    YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration by Yves Saint Laurent

    One of the joys of collecting and savoring scent is the discovery of an old school fragrance that one somehow missed when they were new. YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration, for example. I just found this one. I had no idea.

    YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration could only have been concocted by the same house responsible for the equally disturbing and irresistable Kouros. This stuff is pure "swoon" in a bottle.

    Hovering just beneath the initial soapy verbena blast of light (yes, the citrus is that startling) lurks a dark, animalic underpinning similar in composition to the base notes of Jicky or Ungaro II but in YSL HHC, the effect of cheery lemon and nasty musk is much, much more sinister. I realize none of these descriptives sound appealing but this weird combination of completely disparate light and shadow notes somehow works.

    The drydown, though not entirely linear, is still remarkable. Instead of total metamorphosis, the two accords quiet down into a soft, slightly musty (think old leather books), slightly herbal (think dry gum tree leaves) delight that growls like a Bizzaro World Joseph Merrick, "I am not a man, I am, an animal!"


    31st July, 2007


    Fougères Marines by Montale

    A near dead ringer for Stardust (the mens cologne by Llewylln). FM is a tad more linear in the drydown. It doesn't change. Stardust is out of production and almost never shows up on line. Like Stardust? Fougeres Marines is a worthy substitute.


    17 July, 2007


    Monogram by Ralph Lauren

    I have to ask myself if the reason I am so insanely mad for this relic is because it's out-of-production and I have to admit, that is a big part of the appeal (who doesn't lust for that which one cannot have, at least not easily?) but, difficulty of attaining and maintaining an adequate supply aside, this is the single greatest carnation scent of all time. There. I said it.

    Unmistakably Ralph Lauren, (it's easy to follow the the sharp, distinctive green accord of the original Polo through Chaps and then to Monogram and beyond) no collection should be without a bottle.

    The composition? Carnation of course, lots of it draped from top to bottom notes. There are woods, some pungent spice and bass clef animalistic note (ambergris perhaps?) but I don't detect even a whisper of citrus. The total effect is a deep, masculine, sophisticated blend of class and raw sex. My bottles sit prominently on my "never get sick of" shelf.

    Ok. Listen to me. You hate this stuff. Sell me your bottles! Now!

    18 May, 2006


    Greyland by Montale

    Montale scents all share a particular sharp, pungent accord whose intial, sudden burst in the nose is always a pleasant, if startling, experience. Greyland's top notes-an intoxicating blend of sharp, resinous cedar, smokey incense and almost ethereal, very light citrus and cumin notes-make it one powerhouse of a frangrance. Unlike other cedar/incense fragrances in my collection, Greyland lasts all day (at least on my fair, dry skin). And it isn't one-dimensional. After the bracing top notes slowly settle and quiet down, the sharp cedar steps aside a bit to reveal a soft, surprising semi-sweet aquatic note. Astonishing.

    I ordered a bottle which I received last week and am quickly working my way through it towards a second bottle.

    17 May, 2006


    Eau de Patou (original) by Jean Patou

    Calchic's review below on the complex composition is spot on. I would only add that this now out-of-production citrus and spice gem is is definitely suitable for men. It even out-classes Eau Sauvage in the fresh citrus category. Eau de Patou is like a smooth, silky citron cousin to Caron's L'Anarchiste. Shame it is no longer available.

    28 April, 2006


    Patou pour Homme (original) by Jean Patou

    What's your favorite? The one you couldn't live without? Popular question among Basenoters. When it comes to absolute favorite, this fickle nose changes it mind ever few weeks, as it has done for years. How does one choose?

    Funny, Jean Patou Pour Homme has been sat in my "favorite" throne more than anything else in my wardrobe. It is the one I reach for when leaving on a trip. It's the default when nothing else will seems right, or when I cannot make up my mind. It's the one fragrance I always enjoy with the same intensity and wonder as the first time I sniffed it years ago.

    I am loath to overpraise it (its everything stated below and more) since the exisiting supply of this now out-of-production masterpiece is quickly disappearing and quite frankly, I don't want to assist my competition. Sorry, I am unashamed of my selfishness when it comes to Jean Patou Pour Homme.


    UPDATE: Back a few years ago, I suffered a really bad gall bladder attach just after spritzing JPPH and for years afterwards, I couldn't wear this due to the association of the aroma with the excruciating discomfort of that attack . The mind is a mysterious thing. I just recently took the bottle out and enough time has passed that I can wear it again without a problem. But whatever you do, do NOT purchase the new version. It's horrid beyond description.

    24 February, 2006 (Last Edited: 10th November, 2014)


    L'Eau du Navigateur by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Yes it is similar in some ways to Eau des Iles but they are discernable based on their familiar accords: L'Eau de Navagateur is unmistakably L'Artisan; lighter and brighter in composition-an oboe to EdI's bass bassoon--with sweet, smokey coffee beans, wood and spice. Also has a longer sillage trailer than EdI at least on my skin. Eau des Iles is unmistakably MPG, earthier, darker, moodier. I love them both for their differences and individual characters.

    Of course, finding the now out-of-production L'Eau de Navagateur is becoming more difficult. I have finally acquired my third bottle. That should last me for this lifetime.

    If you can pick up a decant or more, do so.


    24 February, 2006


    Cedro / Cedar by Acca Kappa

    High quality, refined woods composition but not long lasting, at least on my old skin. The top is is clean, smooth aquatic cedar accord. I would love to have told you about the middle and basenotes but the drydown for me was more like a die down. Gone in 15 minutes. Reapplications did not help at all.

    It may last longer on your skin though. Sample it and see.

    20th November, 2005


    Xeryus by Givenchy

    Xeryus is the closest thing to my holy grail artemesia (wormwood) foliage scent. Although listed as a top note, to my nose the artemesia permeates the entire composition, lasting right into the dry down of amber and heady, dry, resinous woods. And I mean lasts! Six hours and counting.

    (I see "grapefruit" in the pyramid but I no smell "grapefruit.")

    This refined fougere is one classic 80's scent that makes the transition to the 21st century intact and with no apologies. Wear it with confidence.

    20th November, 2005


    JHL by Aramis

    The second-best men's chypre ever (Derby is the best) and the most refined of all the 80's colognes in my estimation. You would think, looking at the note pyramid, that JHL would be super strong. It's not. It does last all day and it has has an excellent earthy woody dry down but it is not an overbearing loudmouth like so many of that decade's introductions (Yes, I am talking to YOU Drakkar...)

    The overall intial impression is one of a dry, sweet cinammon and pepper. The dry down reveals the true genius of the composition with a perfectly balanced foundation of patchouli and sandalwood woven beneath a airy wreath of carnation and rose.

    Apparently, it was unavailable for quite a while then, without fanfare, it started showing up this year in select department stores (like Nordstroms). DO pick it up while you can. Buy three or four bottles and put the extras away in the fridge. It could disappear just as quickly as it reappeared.

    If you like a refined chypre, you will take to JHL in a whiff.

    20th November, 2005


    Aramis 900 by Aramis

    Yea, I can see the florals up there on the note pyramid. Don't be fooled. Aramis 900 is the most aromatic herbal cologne this nose has ever enjoyed. Guaranteed to clear your sinuses! All that is missing is a strong hit of balsam (I wonder what that would smell like). It calms down after a few mintues on the skin but the sharp snap of freshly broken twigs remains for hours.

    900 is not for everyone. It's as green as it gets and there is nothing at all pretty about it.

    Sample before trying. It's not for everyone.

    20th November, 2005


    Kingdom by Alexander McQueen

    Cumin-a controversial smell for most-has the be the most difficult note to use as a base for any scent. L'Autre by Diptyque is pure cumin. It is also probably the single most reviled odor in a bottle ever produced (I love it to death).

    Of all the other cumin scents like Equipage and Quorum, Kingdom, to this nose, get's it right. There is no mistaking the curry ingredient but it does not stand alone. The initial rush of cumin fades down quickly and up wafts the lovely florals and light citrus, all continually supported by the fading but never gone cumin note.

    This one does last forever on me. It is also one of the small group of scents in my collection that garner uniformly positive responses, even from those who when presented with the bottle to sample, recoil in horror.

    Get it and revel in it.

    20th November, 2005


    Piper Nigrum by Lorenzo Villoresi

    Buy it and then use it very sparingly. A little goes a long way and, as absolutely fabulous as this singular fragrance is, if you overdo it (wearing it for days at a time or too heavily), it will turn you off.

    That said, the beauty of Piper Nigrum isn't just in its intial exotic and heady blend. The variations of notes slurring, appearing and disappearing over the basso profundo pepper sostenuto is never quite the same with each wearing. A mysterious changling, no collection should be without.


    02 November, 2005


    Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

    Think "pretty." Think "girly." Think "floral-y"

    Now think the absolute opposite of all three. That's Kouros.

    Say what you will, Kouros is the very essence of what most of us would call a "masculine" scent if one defines "masculine" as an opposite of all things "feminine."

    Piss? Armpit? Sweaty testicles? Well, yes, Kouros smells a little bit like that but only figuratively, not literally. The thing is a work of genius in that it takes the most animalic composition of this-close-to-foetid notes ever squirted into a bottle and comes up with a long lasting, heady fragrance with a warm, almost sweet grassy drydown. This is one that only a girly man would disdain (and yes, that's a challenge pilgrim!)

    Buck up Mister and wear this one like a man!


    02 November, 2005


    Iquitos by Alain Delon

    The ultimate 80's era rose scent for men. This is not a bright pink rose characteristic of so many, mainly women's fragrances; Iquitos is a dark blood-red rose whose petal tips have started to brown and wither. More "thorn" than "petal," the genius of this composition is the balance between patchouli, amber and green (vetiver?) with the humid rose not that lasts from top to bottom. Smells like...? Nothing else I know.


    02 November, 2005


    Bois Noir by Chanel

    Chanel's masterpiece, Bois Noir flopped and was removed from the Chanel boutique shelves within the year of it's introduction (1987). It was re-launched in 1990 as Egoiste. As good as Egoiste is (and it is good, no, it is great) Bois Noir is far and away, a superior mix of the same notes found in Egoiste. It is a dirty rotten shame Chanel found it necessary to alter the formula, however slightly for it's relaunch as Egoiste but they did and of course, Egoiste was a huge success.

    I sparingly use my Bois Noir mostly for very special occasions... like the election of a democratic majority in the house and senate...which is to say, my bottle will easily last me for my lifetime.


    02 November, 2005


    Cuir / Cuir de Russie by Piver

    A proletarian take on the "Russian Leather" accord. Where Chanel's Cuir de Russie is sublime floral smoke and leather, and Creed's Cuir de Russie is a complex and kaliedescopic journey through a well-kept stable bursting with polished and oiled riding tack, Piver's offering is just a solid-if-flat concoction of a slightly harsh bergamot/carnation held aloft by a patently synthetic leather. The prominent note is not leather though; it's a metallic mandarin slightly evocative of L'Anarchiste but just barely. This isn't to say Piver's Cuir isn't good. It's actually not bad and in fact, it gets better during the drydown where the sillage improves with time as it slowly reveals cedarwoods and spice. Am I glad I bought it blind? Sure, but L'Anarchiste does this better. Will I actually use it? Maybe. Sometimes. Probably not often. It's certain to be a nearly full bottle at my eventual estate sale, pending my eventual demise of course.

    A juuuuust barely thumbs up.

    23 August, 2005


    Molinard Homme II by Molinard

    If only the mandarin or the cedar were a bit more prominent, this could be an interesting, perhaps even outstanding cologne. As it is, the sum of the notes though not unpleasant initially (the juniper is very prominent on the top then disappears), dries down into something like cheap baby powder. Great I suppose if you like baby powder.

    07 August, 2005


    Derby by Guerlain

    The single best gentleman's chypre ever. Like the previous reviewers, this nose was struck with the potency of the leather and the bergamot but... don't discount that peppermint. It's shade permeates the entire drydown but not loudly. The only thing that comes (came?) close was Monogram but Derby is much more complex, more long lasting and more sophisticated. I cherish my only two bottles with my life.
    Why oh why did Guerlain discontinue it?

    13 June, 2005


    Griff's by Geparlys

    Unremarkable. A trifle gourmand, like a low contrast A*men. Sweet and cloying. Ugh. But with that name, HOW could I resist?

    23 March, 2005


    L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

    I was of two minds regarding L'Instant. The composition is exquisite. A column of notes, all perfectly balanced. Definitely the sweetest Guerlain for men. However, there's that staying power issue. Somedays, it lasted for the entire day. Other days, it seemed to disappear an "l'instant." Doesn't seem to be weather or humidity related. Just a mystery. Final vote? A thumbs up. Well, how can you NOT add it to your collection?

    14 February, 2005

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