Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Swanky

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Total Reviews: 280
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Jean Nate by Revlon

The concentrated cologne spray lasts all day, and due to its sharpness, may not be a perfect analog for the after bath splash with which most are familiar. It definitely skews unisex, with the musky bergamot and lemon combo bringing the classic masculine eau de cologne couple to the party. I also get the sandalwood and jasmine. This is definitely old school so try before you buy.
01st April, 2019
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La Yuqawam pour Homme by Rasasi

This one steers into tobacco territory for me rather than leather. It's an improved, upmarket version (actually, this probably came first) of Karen Low's Cut Cigar, which also is tobacco-centric. Gladly I can say that the vaunted raspberry note is all but absent for me, since I'm not a big fan of sweetness and fruit generally. Frankly this is a bit overpriced right now on ebay but for $45 or so it's a nice fragrance.
28th December, 2018
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Aramis by Aramis

The previous reviews pretty much cover this one from every angle. Aramis is potent stuff, and if misapplied could lead to room-clearing offense. Moderation is key, and leads to an all-day, pleasant leathery and floral classic. I'm a big fan of the old school, yet I confess that Aramis, while still holding forth in a plausible manner, does wear its era more obviously than some others. I cannot imagine this being introduced today by a designer house. But the quality that Lauder has maintained is laudable, and is evident in Aramis. It may not scream Old Man, but it does shout Man.
12th December, 2018
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Baryshnikov Sport by Mikhail Baryshnikov

Another of a rare breed of long-lived fresh scents (rare in that it doesn't devolve into the usual musk mess) that manages to breath some character into a moribund genre.
09th November, 2018
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1881 pour Homme by Cerruti

This may not be well known to the populace at large, but it's a winner. It's available for great prices (usually), and it outperforms many more expensive bottles. There's a timeless quality to 1881: it reaches into the past, nodding to Eau Sauvage and Chanel Pour Monsieur, and is in the same class as Boucheron Pour Homme. Very nice work for a citrus cologne, with all-day longevity and more complexity than one usually gets in a standard barbershop cologne structure.
05th September, 2018
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Vetiver by Guerlain

I cannot outdo valkilmer's spot-on review. Despite the plethora of notes listed, this is a straight-up vetiver fragrance that lasts all day. You must love vetiver to wear this often, but the note doesn't get much better than this if you're a fan. A classic.
31st August, 2018
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Passion for Men by Elizabeth Taylor

Long-lasting fragrance that is in the Obsession/Santa Fe lineage, but is better than those. It's sweet and spicy like them, but holds together a bit better. If not oversprayed, it stays just this side of cloying.
31st August, 2018
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Armani Eau d'Arômes by Giorgio Armani

Smells fine but is totally generic; it's yet another citrus and musk scent that's been done a hundred times in the past decade.
25th August, 2018
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Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

One of the great masculine fragrances of the latter twentieth century. For those who care about such things, this garners compliments from the opposite sex. This is the best YSL for men since YSL Pour Homme, and as much as I like that earlier offering, Rive Gauche is more complex and elegant and is suitable for just about any occasion.
08th May, 2018
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Monsieur Balmain (original) by Pierre Balmain

The impressive thing about the vintage bottle is that it's a clear forerunner of the 90s-00s fresh aquatic genre. A throughline from Balmain to Armani Pour Homme to Eau d'Issey is evident. That said, I'm not particularly a fan of this subset, so I'm not as hooked on this as I'd like to be. I have many vintage fragrances in my collection, but alas Monsieur Balmain won't be in the lineup. But for those who like citrus with a twist, it's well worth seeking.
24th January, 2018
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Havana by Aramis

Many fragrances have a long list of supposed ingredients, yet don't smell nearly as complex as the breakdown would suggest. Havana is complex; while I don't smell all of the notes listed, I do detect many and they sit in a virtual 3D relationship to one another. Primarily I get the coriander/pepper/pimento accord in the foreground. The anise and jasmine sit in the mid-range while the tobacco and myrhh hover in the background, but in focus like Alton's depth-of-field camerawork in Citizen Kane.
13th January, 2018
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Sartorial by Penhaligon's

Many mainstream fragrances with this structure fall apart, leaving a very cheap and thin vanilla or amber the last man standing. Penhaligon shows some quality here by avoiding the devolution into the bakery-goods sweetness of many pretenders.

I found a very good deal on a small bottle of Sartorial, and I'm glad to add it to my collection, although, frankly, I don't find it nearly as complex as the notes listing would promise. It does start out with a Brut-like lavender, wood and vanilla dryness, but ultimately it diverges from Brut (I don't get the barbershop powder in Sartorial that is central to Brut's structure) with what I assume is the beeswax filling the center channel.
12th January, 2018 (last edited: 01st September, 2018)
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Perry Ellis for Men (original) by Perry Ellis

Unlike most of the users here, I like the newer formulation of Perry Ellis, but it is very different from the original vintage. The original sits on the lifeline between Jovan Sex Appeal and Giorgio for Men. As others have mentioned, fragrances such as Derby, Bel Ami and even Equipage are reference points for the evolution of this one. The spicy, leathery feeling of the vintage is completely removed from the newer rendition. While I do enjoy the subtle floral of the current crop, this is one fragrance where seeking a vintage cologne bottle is worth the effort. Longevity is stellar, the blend is top notch and each stage brings new pleasures. Excellent stuff.
28th December, 2017
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Dusk by Herban Cowboy

Dusk is more interesting than one might expect from a fragrance on the shelves at Whole Foods Market. It manages to avoid the common trap of disintegrating into a cheap pseudo chocolate or vanilla mess. It also avoids too much of a headshop vibe; I don't feel like a cast member of Dazed and Confused while wearing this. I agree with the previous reviewer that there is an old-school aspect to this; middle-schoolers might not connect with it. That said, it's certainly not inaccessible and it's a pretty good value for the price.
22nd September, 2017
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Royal Mayfair by Creed

My sampling clearly features a tuberose-like smell, but I wonder if it's an illusion. Orange is listed, but is it instead orange blossom? Royal Mayfair reminds me a bit of Fleur du Male. If so, perhaps the pine, rose, and orange blossom are combining to produce the tuberose impression. I don't find it as medicinal as others do and I generally don't like eucalyptus or mentholated fragrances, Safari for Men being the reference example. Fortunately for me, the eucalyptus is not active in my sample. I agree with those who find this suitable for both men and women; I am a fan of wearing floral fragrances such as Fleur du Male and The Baron. This smells dignified and classy, but it lacks the oomph I'd prefer. It's a subtle scent, but the longevity is deceptively long. If you can find a deal, it's a full-bottle-worthy offering.
14th September, 2017 (last edited: 24th February, 2019)
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Red Fleece for Him by Brooks Brothers

An utter dud. Generic, dull swill. I've enjoyed a few Brooks Brothers fragrances and I admire their longevity in the men's fashion game, but this is a cynical money-grab. Longevity and sillage are poor. At $60 US, this is a ripoff. Avoid this and stick with 1818 or New York Gentleman.
23rd June, 2017
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Jockey Club by Caswell-Massey

This is another barbershop classic in the Canoe and Clubman mold, closer to the former in its talcum meets vanilla aura.
13th June, 2017
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Original Penguin Reserve by Original Penguin

As a fan of men's vintage fashion of the 50s and 60s, I was glad to see Perry Ellis revive the Penguin logo several years ago. Alas, the same vigor doesn't apply to the fragrance line. This is utterly generic, lifeless stuff - yet another watery, faux-woody brew with some sweetness added in without any imagination. If you find Kenny G too esoteric in the jazz scene, or recoil from the overly hard-charging sounds of Air Supply, this stuff has your name all over it.
02nd June, 2017
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Musk Extrême by Alyssa Ashley

Musk Extreme is unisex, as was its predecessor, Alyssa Ashley Musk (it has the intertwined masculine and feminine symbols on the packaging). While I owned and enjoyed the original, this EDP formulation is even better. For once, an Extreme manages to just amp up the basic rendition, rather than presenting a completely different fragrance. I wear this without any trepidation, although this has a more floral character than Monsieur Musk, for example. Smooth and rich, this is one of my favorite of this type of perfume, along with Kiehl's Original Musk.
20th April, 2017
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Clubman by Pinaud

This is the classic talcum barbershop fragrance. Longevity is stunning for an aftershave concentration, especially one that is so linear. The history of men's grooming in a bottle.
20th March, 2017
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French Club by Alain Daniel

French Club's primary note is tea, with musk and sandalwood bolstering it. This is a relatively linear fragrance. Not bad if you find it at a discount and it doesn't smell like everything else out there but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a gem.
03rd March, 2017
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Jean Marie Farina by Roger & Gallet

One of the best of the classic cologne formulas. It manages to take the structure of 4711 and amplify it to both extend forward in time (I get all day longevity) and extend outward in aroma (it is linear but well-composed so it doesn't get thin like others of its kind). Nice work; good bargain. The notes pyramid seems fairly on point, although I don't get much sweetness from this one.
24th February, 2017
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Noir by Adnan B.

Obviously influenced by Aventus, Noir is a potent, long-lasting perfume in a nice, substantial bottle. It stays together relatively well, unlike some of the other knockoff type of fragrances. Pineapple is not listed as a note above, but it's pretty prominent at the top. Noir is available at a fraction of Aventus; I got mine at the outlets in Las Vegas but I haven't seen it at the usual mainstream locales. This is a solid addition to the wardrobe, especially for those who don't have a Creed budget.
19th February, 2017
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Encre Noire by Lalique

Encre Noire is perfect for guys who find Grey Vetiver too reticent and Guerlain Vetiver too earthy. It sits on the horizon line between the two. Make no mistake, this is a vetiver fragrance; if you dislike vetiver, pass on this one. It's very well done, but since I already have a few vetiver fragrances, it's not essential for me. If you're exploring vetiver, though, this is a perfect place to start.
28th January, 2017
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Prestigious by Penthouse

The name is inapt; this is hardly prestige-worthy. Furthermore, one might expect a more powerful fragrance considering the namesake: does one think of Penthouse magazine as restrained and discreet?

All that said, PP is a pleasant enough offering, another fresh citrus-based scent with some musk thrown in. Longevity is fine, but there are many on the market that handle the same chores with a bit more style and substance.
13th December, 2016
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Set Sail St. Barts for Men by Tommy Bahama

The ersatz Margaritaville exotica offered by Tommy Bahama as a lifestyle brand is not my usual cup of tea, frankly. That said, I do have to tip my cap to St. Barts. For once a designer fragrance is vertically integrated in an accurate way. The blue bottle and nautically themed cap do mesh with the fragrance to contrive an image of yachting and beachcombing. The fragrance itself is better than many of its ilk and has stellar longevity. Taking into account the pricing too and this is a solid, budget offering.
02nd June, 2016
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Colonial Club by Jeanne Arthes

Colonial Club is another well-done cheapie. Admittedly, Colonial Club is quite synthetic yet it is well-blended. There is some sweetness but I don't find it overly so (I'm not the biggest fan of super-sugary fragrances). Mostly I detect the patchouli, and the fruit blend (more like the dried-fruit element in, say, Egoiste than in Black XS's berry) and the musk interacting, creating an almost leathery vibe in the midsection. Longevity is strong, too. Nice packaging as well.
24th May, 2016 (last edited: 06th August, 2017)
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Wilkes San Francisco by Wilkes Bashford

Wilkes is a classic masculine citrus that looks back to shelves stocked with Eau Sauvage, YSL and Dunhill. The orange rind is most prominent with a touch of lavender to hold it together. Surprisingly robust longevity for such a simple mixture - that said, it's a discreet option that would score in any setting.
17th May, 2016
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Tahitian Waters by English Laundry

Jasmine seems to be the headliner here to my untutored nose. The floral forefrontrunners remind me of Insense, an earlier swing at a masculine bouquet that achieved some cult status without being a megaseller.

These English Laundry fragrances are at least interesting (I have a coffret of 20ml bottles), nicely presented and worth a sniff especially if a deal can be had.

Tahitian Waters may be cod-Polynesia, like a tiki torch, but nonetheless evokes a flower-filled breeze on suntanned skin.
10th May, 2016
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Cotton Club Men by Jeanne Arthes

Another nicely done bargain offering, Cotton Club features a lavender, ambery sweetness that's obviously heard recordings by Caron's Pour Un Homme and Burberry's Brit. Alas, like many low-budget fragrances, the vanilla disintegrates toward the end of the record, but while it lasts it's a solid tune.
09th May, 2016