Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Swanky

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Total Reviews: 266
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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 really 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. 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. Nice work and I would consider buying a bottle.
14th September, 2017
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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 Pour Homme 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 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
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Pitbull Man by Pitbull Premier Fragrances

Pitbull Man comes in a sleek bottle but frankly the Pitbull-in-black-tie marketing is off base; this is a generic fresh fragrance. Sure, it could be used for any occasion but it's a summer, daytime scent much more than a formalwear accoutrement. As these things go, this is pretty well done, affordable and as I said earlier the bottle is cool. Those looking for something special or original won't find that here.
24th April, 2016 (last edited: 05th August, 2016)
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Duc de Vervins L'Extreme by Houbigant

For once the notes listing is spot on, with the possible exception of lime, which seems to be the main citrus player here. The motor in Duc de Vervins L'Extreme runs a good 18 to 20 hours as one might expect from an EDP. Lime, lavender, moss - stars of many masculine classics from Acqua di Selva to Moustache - take center stage. Fans of the old school and fans of power fragrances can blend the best of both worlds in one bottle. Look for bargains. The gimcrack, dated packaging is the only drawback to this brew.
24th April, 2016
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Mesmerize for Men by Avon

Mesmerize is not really my bag, but for the price and longevity, it's an acceptable offering. Bobster referenced Dunhill Desire and I agree that there is a similarity. At the start, Mesmerize has an almost-effervescent aspect like some 50s-era fragrances (think Moustache or Tabu)and the apple is the key note (although it is like a SweetTarts version).

Later some spicy sweetness enters the fray and it remains potent all day.
16th April, 2016
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Gravity by Coty

Yes, Gravity is made by the econobrand Coty. Yes, it is a drugstore fragrance with the attendant low price. No, it's not natural or niche.

But, Gravity is pretty damned unique. It's a bit like Captain by Molyneux and a tad like Horizon (although the latter fragrance post-dates Gravity). It doesn't have the usual wispy aquatic character one might anticipate in a blue-hued bottle. In warm weather this can pack some oomph - go easy on the trigger when temperatures climb.

The touch of lime in this puts in on another plane from the usual cheapies.
12th April, 2016
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Royall Vetiver by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

As a vetiver fan, I do like Royall's plausible and realistic rendition but sillage and longevity are lacking. Several vetivers on the market are superior (Grey Vetiver, Encre Noire, Guerlain for example).
01st April, 2016 (last edited: 05th August, 2016)
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Séxual Noir pour Homme by Michel Germain

It's not very fun to write negative reviews; good fragrances warrant and garner more enthusiasm, frankly. Alas, Sexual Noir deserves derision. The inaptly-named Sexual line from Michel Germain features a sugary note and Noir (also inaptly-named) is no exception. This is an utterly generic brew. The notes list above bears scant resemblance to the scent in the bottle. I get a heavily synthetic and vague sweet and fresh...something.

Try it on skin; on paper it's a semi-pleasant if bland mainstream fragrance but on me its derivative, gimcrack nature is revealed.
27th March, 2016 (last edited: 19th November, 2016)
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Replica At the Barber's by Martin Margiela

I agree with Erok32 that this may not be up to the price tag, but it is well made, long-lasting and different enough to merit a test drive at least.

There is some semblance of Barbasol shaving cream in this but this is sharper and near medicinal, which suits the apothecary styled bottle but, to my nose, detracts from the overall success of the fragrance. Fans of Pasha or Safari might find much to recommend in At the Barber's.
22nd March, 2016
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Agua Lavanda by Antonio Puig

I own Agua Lavanda in the fluted columnar bottle with a green cap and sprayer. It is essentially an EDT concentration, so I have none of the longevity woes some lament. This is one of my go-to scents in spring and summer. A near soliflore, it's probably my favorite straight-up lavender.
27th February, 2016
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Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

First, I am a huge fan of old school classic fragrances such as 4711, YSL Pour Homme, Moustache, Monsieur Musk, et cetera. I have none of the anti-age bias that some exhibit. Second, I enjoy the Chanel brand's cultural place and Antaeus and No. 5 are masterpieces in my book. All that said, I cannot wholeheartedly endorse Pour Monsieur due to the performance, as many others have noted. I don't care about sillage or compliments, frankly, but I do want to be able to detect a fragrance myself. CPM has an odd resume on my skin. It's grammar school years (the opening) are top notch, but the high school years (middle period) are invisible; he's cutting class, smoking in the boys' room or hiding in the lockers because he's absent on my skin. Later, though, as a middle-aged college student, he comes back with better grades and more participation in the class discussions. When I can smell it, it's a winner but for long stretches it's but a memory...
24th February, 2016
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Desire for a Man by Dunhill

Desire is both modern and a throwback. It has the fruity sweetness of the current crop with the distinctive "cologne" note of Sixties-era fragrances. This split personality makes this one of the more interesting of Dunhill's current roster of fragrances. Longevity is top-notch and in the end I don't find this too sweet once it dries down. A nice offering in my collection that manages to stroll just this side of generic.
20th December, 2015
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Jacomo de Jacomo Original by Jacomo

Smokey Joe's Cafe - Wow, the smoke in the top of this bad boy might turn some off but for me it's what sets this winner on the right track. Yes, it's very dry as many others have witnessed with a leathery, woody heart. A bottle such as this does point out the downside to a large fragrance collection: something like this can get overlooked. I should reach for this more, because when I do I like it more each time. Iko Iko indeed.
05th December, 2015
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Life On Top by Penthouse

The notes list implies a more complicated fragrance than Life on Top actually is. It's another fresh-woody in the Sean John 3 am fraternity.

It's dirt cheap so it's a decent value if you're looking for this kind of young man's quotidian drone.
06th November, 2015
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Oak by Bath and Body Works

Oak is like a cross between Hypnose Homme and Obsession for Men. It shares some obvious d.n.a. with Woodland, another B&BW fragrance that was an even closer replica of Obsession. In warm weather, the spicy aspect speaks more loudly, like the CK precursor.
05th June, 2015
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Diesel Zero Plus by Diesel

I'm surprised by this fragrance. The bottle, like the other Diesel fragrances, is dull at best, even ugly. The market for Diesel hardly is the old school jetsetter, yet this fragrance seems more suited to a person who enjoys Old Spice and Tabac Original.

This doesn't smell like Big Red gum to me. It certainly does have a prominent spicy note, but the floral elements seem to be at the forefront to my nose. Not too sweet either, which is just fine by me. For the price, this is an acceptable, even worthy, option for those afraid to wear something that originated before they were born.
26th February, 2015