Reviews by Swanky

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    Swanky
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    Bottega Veneta Pour Homme by Bottega Veneta

    Bottega Veneta takes the classic masculine structure of fragrances such as Balenciaga's Ho Hang Club and Leonard Pour Homme and makes it palatable (that is, less testosterone-driven) to the modern audience. Pour Homme is suitable for the youngish man who wants to smell like an adult (say in a work environment) or the man of the world who's seen a thing or two and has Van Cleef & Arpels and Xeryus already in his arsenal. Attenuated, but not neutered. Surprisingly nice work from a contemporary designer. I agree that it's a bit pricey, but I don't regret the purchase and while the sillage is modest, the longevity is substantial.

    25 December, 2013

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    Hervé Léger Homme by Hervé Léger

    Under the Radar Bargain

    Herve Leger Homme is a quality Avon offering that is well worth the low purchase price. The overarching notes are sandalwood and fir, from what I can tell. The amber adds some depth and complexity to a straighforward woody fragrance.

    Herve Leger would be a good starter fragrance for the man looking to graduate from the Macy's counter but who doesn't have spare income to jump right to the niche lines at Barney's. The projection is not overbearing so this could be a successful work fragrance and the longevity is substantial. Nice work and nice bottle, too.

    Pros: Price; bottle; longevity
    Cons: Relatively hard to find"

    21st October, 2013

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    Tabac Man by Mäurer & Wirtz

    Maligned Man

    TABAC MAN is not a great fragrance, nor an especially good one but it is not, to my nose, the capital offense that so many find it to be. There is an intially sour note (Design for Men, Ulysse, Carolina Herrera among other men's perfumes have a similar note) that fortunately settles down by the mid and drydown. I don't have a lot of fragrances in my wardrobe like TM, so it's an acceptable member of the pack. As others have noted, don't expect much if any resemblance to Tabac Original, which is a great fragrance. Sweet but not too sweet, dry but not too dry, sharp but not too sharp. Should you seek it out? No. But if a bottle comes your way, don't be afraid to give it a sniff.

    Pros: Longevity, bottle, price
    Cons: Generic"

    04 August, 2013

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    Set Sail Martinique for Men by Tommy Bahama

    Aptly Named

    Martinique does give the vibe of sea air and suntan lotion overlaying a mild woody aspect. For the occasions where I might be inclined to wear this style of fragrance (summer at the ocean, for example) Set Sail Martinique fits the bill. The drydown has a figgy nature further bolstering the mirage of lounging in the shade while being fed coconut milk and fruits by island girls.

    Pros: Solid longevity, affordable, different from the typical aquatic
    Cons: Not overly exciting"

    18 July, 2013

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    Beverly Hills Polo Club Sport for Men by Beverly Hills Polo Club

    Not Good

    The only connection with sports that this fragrance displays is a similarity in aroma to muscle rubs such as Tiger Balm. Sport opens with a harsh, medicinal blast. Mercifully the fragrance is relatively short-lived. Does the world truly need yet another blue-hued conformist called "Sport", even for the paltry ducats this brings?

    Pros: None
    Cons: Smell, longevity, concept</p>

    24 June, 2013 (Last Edited: 23 March, 2014)

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    Halston Man by Halston

    Reductio

    If Halston Z-14 was Little Richard: crude, brash and original, then Man is Pat Boone.

    Pros: Nice bottle.
    Cons: Weak, pale shadow of Z-14

    08 June, 2013

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    Royal Copenhagen Sport by Royal Copenhagen

    Aquatic Forefather

    If the bottle I have at all resembles the original 1982 rendition of Sport by Royal Copenhagen, then this should be getting a lot more publicity as a progenitor of the latter-day sport fragrance. I am a big fan of the original RC men's perfume, but it's a near-macho, potent oldschooler. Sport shares nothing with it's dad except the brand name and bottle shape. Sport really does capture the feel of a day at the beach: salt water, a breeze, tanning lotion and sunshine. It's an upbeat fragrance that possesses more character than just about any current "Sport" aroma. Upon the drydown I recognized another scent - Patrick James's Yosemite. Where that bottle disappointed in the longevity competition, Royal Copenhagen Sport lasts damn near all day with just the right amount of sillage. As the previous reviewer alluded, this is the Sport fragrance for those who eschew Sport fragrances.

    Pros: Original, Long-lasting
    Cons: Hard to find in stores

    27 May, 2013

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    Casran by Chopard

    For originality and truth in advertising, Casran gets a thumbs down. For the aroma itself, in a vacuum, it is not bad so I settle for a neutral.

    Smells like it's from the same neck of the woods as Deauville, Colonial Club and others of the era. The note recipe listed above bears scant resemblance to the very linear yet pleasant Casran. Maybe there's some bergamot, there is a sandalwood-like note and vanilla, of course, since men's fragrance developers nowadays are inspired more by Foster's Freeze than by, say, Rolls Royce.

    04 May, 2013

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    Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka

    Au Masculin is sweet in the way Brit for Men is sweet, which is to say that I don't find them of the dessert variety. Neither strikes me as overly gourmand, mercifully, since I tire quickly of cookie dough note breakdowns.

    Plenty of others have captured the flavor (and aroma) of this one. As someone who does not like black licorice, I surprisingly find this lovely and wearable. Nicely done, LL.

    01st May, 2013

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    Vegas by Playboy

    Vegas is the best of a rather sorry lot from Playboy. I'm not sure what I'm smelling here. If not for the notes list, I'd really be at sea. I guess that's apple at the top, but like Starburst's or Sweetarts' version. Maybe there's some tea here which combined with the faux apple is giving some a root beer vibe (I don't quite get anything that distinct). Underlying this all is another diffuse sweet note; in this rather rare context I'm glad it is so, because a straight-up ice cream cone vanilla would really drive this off the rails. Instead it's somewhat like Fire & Ice for Men, almost cherry-like but not quite that fruity. Probably more legible if one has not actually been to Las Vegas; on the other hand both the city and this fragrance are mirage-like and ersatz.

    23 April, 2013

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    Amazing for Men by Bill Blass

    Amazing is anything but. The name is pretentious by definition, the longevity is mediocre and the fragrance is dull and uninspired. If you have some of the Jordan fragrances such as Jordan by Michael or the Perry Ellis bottles that come in similar columnar packages, then you don't need this redundant offering. Mr. Blass is the one from this house that is worth a sniff.

    17 April, 2013

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    Jivago 24k Men by Jivago

    Jivago 24K is a dud in just about every way. The bottle is gimcrack '80s personified. Dollar store knockoffs don't use such cheap plastic! The gold flakes are risible and add nothing to an already low-rent operation. The fragrance is a cross between Eternity and Dolce and Gabbana Pour Homme for about 20 minutes, then becomes a melange of illegible notes. Finally, the vaunted longevity and sillage are nowhere to be found in my bottle. After two hours projection is puny and dull; at the six hour mark I can hardly smell this stuff. I wanted to like it, perversely, because it is so unpromising out of the box. The whole scene is set for a lousy, dated loser and I hoped it would be awesome despite itself. No go, I'm afraid.

    15 April, 2013

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    Rogue by Beverly Hills Polo Club

    It's not uncommon for Hollywood to remake a foreign-language film that, in its original language, was tough, downbeat and uncompromising. Attaching a bankable star, they will make the new version more mainstream, audience-friendly and, unfortunately too often, compromised.

    Rogue is a bit like a Hollywood version of macho powerhouses such as Polo and Krizia Uomo. What was swaggering and brutal in its original form is now filtered for a modern consumer who wants an airier, lighter, more accessible fragrance. If you sort of like Polo but think it's too strong, this is made for you. It's very affordable but frankly the low budget shows through. Longevity is all-day but there's a sense that there's less than meets the nose. Not terrible but it's definitely the shallow end of the pool.

    02 April, 2013

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    Bulgari Man by Bulgari

    Bulgari Man comes in very nice clothing, almost formal and classy, a black tie kind of bottle. The name of the fragrance, like so many others these days, especially in the designer realm, is dull but unpretentious.

    The fragrance has a subtle woody-floral construction in the style of Guerlain Homme and ST Dupont and Cartier's Declaration. It starts with a mild bergamot and is shortly joined by a muted violet leaf aroma. Many masculines today use violet leaf lazily and harshly, but Man uses it judiciously to add depth to a somewhat transparent recipe.Vetiver, sandalwood and musk round out the team. Unspectacular, but solidly done. This makes a fine choice for those occasions where discretion is the better part of valor: weddings, funerals, work, church and job interviews.

    01st April, 2013

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    Brit for Men by Burberry

    There was a time when Brit was quite influential (Pi Neo is one obvious example of a post-Brit fragrance) in taking the Le Male route and subverting it by adding a dose of spice. There is a slightly chalky, inedible vanillic aspect to Brit but I don't categorize this as a powder scent (see Canoe for a reference powder). Against my usual predilections, I do like Brit for Men well enough, although as some others have opined, it's too simplistic to be a daily wear and in hot weather or if over-applied it will be cloying.

    31st March, 2013

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    Sienna by Crabtree & Evelyn

    Sienna is viable option for fans of classic masculine structures. To quote another firm's ads, "if you love Halston Z-14 (or Tuscany or Santos), you'll love Sienna." Sienna is of the kitchen-sink school, ladling in spices, leather, patchouli, perhaps some basil. For a substantial bottle the price is quite a bargain and anyone near a mall will probably be able to access it, although there's talk of the line being discontinued.

    29 March, 2013

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    Mackie for Men by Bob Mackie

    Back in the early '90s, this was my signature scent. Trying it again twenty years later, I still find it a pleasant wear. It's not so much my style any more, but that's part of the appeal - it's unlike most of my wardrobe today. It's in the same boat as Eternity, XS, Pleasures and other aromatic citrus fragrances of the period, but I prefer Mackie to the others. The candied sharpness that characterizes Eternity and Pleasures is present at the start of Mackie, but is quickly buffed to a shine and while it cannot be called natural-smelling, it is at least plausible. It has pretty good longevity, too, for this type of aroma.

    24 March, 2013

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    Arden Men - Sandalwood by Elizabeth Arden

    Old School to the bone - bone dry, that is. Denizens of the barbershop era of men's colognes: Brut, Aqua Velva, Jade East, et al will recognize the DNA of Arden's sharpish lavender-sandalwood accord. Apart from the hint of lemon, I don't get much more from this than those notes. No problem. It's 1957 and Frank's singing "I'm A Fool To Want You" on the turntable and the fire's roaring away in the fireplace. And Kim Novak's taking your tie off...

    21st March, 2013

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    Claiborne Sport by Liz Claiborne

    I'm using a very relative, very liberal scale to give this a thumbs up. Claiborne Sport manages to improve a formula originated by Eternity for Men and Pleasures for Men: a candied fresh scent like a million others. Claiborne manages to make it last longer than Pleasures and not smell as ubiquitous as Eternity. Judged solely against this tepid pack, CS is a good option. Pitted against Derby, Habit Rouge or Sables? It's like bringing a toothpick to a swordfight.

    19 March, 2013

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    Society Yachting Men by Society Parfums

    Yet another post-ADG citrus fresh offering. Not bad but has mediocre longevity.

    17 March, 2013

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    Boucheron pour Homme by Boucheron

    Boucheron Pour Homme EDT carries the baton passed by Eau Sauvage and Cerutti 1881 - an impressionistic lemon and spice construction that manages to maintain horsepower on hills and curves. Although launched in 1991 it could past muster thirty years earlier. Old guard European manhood personified.

    15 March, 2013

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    Full Throttle by Orange County Choppers

    The Paul Jr version seems another knockoff of Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme. Since that fragrance is still available, I see no reason to purchase Full Throttle. Those strapped for cash might look at it if D&G is out of reach.

    12 March, 2013

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    Royall Rugby by Royall Lyme of Bermuda

    Royall's Rugby features a strident geranium note right from the gate. Those who don't like such a provocation would be advised to wait - time pumices the hard edges and leaves a polished woodiness when the vetiver joins the geranium. On the other hand, those such as myself who like the peppery, astringent opening will be a tad nonplussed when, seemingly on a dime, Rugby's initial potency beats a hasty retreat to shyness. Longevity is relatively good for such a simple duet, but the projection and sillage are chaste. Smells good, though.

    02 March, 2013

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    New York for Gentlemen by Brooks Brothers

    It's nice to see a contemporary fragrance that isn't anti-history. New York Gentlemen looks back to classic citrus-centric offerings such as Dunhill and Eau Sauvage but is more discreet than either, making this a safe, solid choice for school or work where proximity merits subtlety. The bottle is nice and classic looking and the fragrance equally so, if not quite a great one due to the relative formula budget yet it smells better and lasts longer than many pricier rivals.

    22 February, 2013

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    Woodland by Bath and Body Works

    Plain and simple, this is a ripoff of Obsession for Men, with less longevity.

    20th February, 2013

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    Azzaro Pour Homme Night Time by Azzaro

    Yes, the longevity is stellar and unlike many similar contemporaries, this one smells better as the day wears on. That said, it is derivative and generic like so many others in today's market. It's a hodgepodge of the woodiness of Hypnose and L'Homme and Code blended with the sweetness of Le Male among others. I do think it's an improvement upon many of the others on the counter, so if you enjoy current trends but are looking for something with great longevity and a slight twist, check this out. Those looking for another take on the classic men's perfumery of the original Azzaro will want to keep looking elsewhere.

    12 February, 2013

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    Sex Appeal for Men by Jovan

    Another classic men's barbershop bottle, similar indeed to Pierre Cardin. It's similarly powdery (although not predominantly so) and spicy with a heady musk that screams the Seventies. Although I'm a fan of the old classics, this one does step close to the line into parody but for the low bread outlay, it's well worth it. If you have Pierre Cardin or Kanon or British Sterling, you don't need Jovan too. Longevity is phenomenal; I get twenty-four hours from this disco king.

    30th January, 2013 (Last Edited: 31st January, 2013)

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    Baldessarini Concentree by Baldessarini

    A pleasing designer offering that, as the best fragrances do, improves with time. It begins with a contemporary note prominent in many men's perfumes that is a tad sour and off (PS Design is another example) but mercifully this duration is brief. After a couple of hours a quite nice woodiness steps to the fore and while there is a bit of sweetness, it is far from the dessert aisle. Affable and solid and well worth a sniff.

    30th January, 2013

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    Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

    Zino has an underlying sweetness without tilting into gourmand territory. It has enough variety to appeal to an eclectic cross-section of buyers: old schoolers will enjoy the oomph, longevity and woody floral character that we enjoy in Iquitos or Salvador Dali; younger wearers used to Dunkin' Donuts pyramids will appreciate the vanilla/tonka/amber drydown; those admiring boozy, unique masculines will get off on the well-blended almost rum-like note that emerges in the heart. Nice work if you can get it.

    20th December, 2012

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    Cuba Prestige by Cuba Paris

    I'm among those who are not fans of Angel Men. I find its mixture of burnt coffee and vanilla extract too hammering. Cuba Prestige rounds off those edges and for the first six hours or so, it is quite a nice alternative to Mugler's fragrance. After that, unfortunately, the economy of ingredients betrays the scent and it becomes more or less a straightforward cheap amber, which I simply can't abide, even in higher quality offerings. If you like your fragrances underwritten by Baskin-Robbins, then this ought to float your boat.

    I won't turn to this aroma often, but for those rare times when it'll hit the spot, the low financial investment makes it an easy keeper. I prefer Animale Animale for a similar, superior sweet bottle.

    17 December, 2012 (Last Edited: 23 February, 2013)

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