Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Swanky

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Total Reviews: 255
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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 but 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, 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
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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 paper its derivative, gimcrack nature is revealed.
27th March, 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
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Vera Wang for Men by Vera Wang

For me the anise is to the fore as it is in Brit or Pi Neo, with an orange top that adds some fullness without getting too sweet. Longevity is good and the bottle is relatively nice for a designer of the period. A surprising scent given that I don't care for Wang's feminine creations.
30th January, 2015
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Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

This is the modern man's fragrance done right. It tips its cap to the classic lineage of fragrances past (Guerlain's Vetiver, Monsieur de Givenchy) while keeping a foot firmly in today's world. The bottle is nicer than so many contemporary men's offerings and it, and the name, suits the fragrance well. Those who usually find vetiver too rooty or earthy shouldn't have any issue with Ford's rendition, well-smoothed by the citrus and spice.

Grey Vetiver is right for any occasion from a weekend fishing trip to a weekend in Vegas. A nuanced, modern classic.
16th January, 2015
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Boss The Collection: Silk Jasmine by Hugo Boss

Like some other reviewers, this is my favorite of this collection. That said, this is to me like a poor man's version of Jaipur Homme, despite costing twice the Boucheron. I still prefer Jaipur and it's vanilla quality seems better than Boss'.
15th January, 2015
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Cut Cigar by Karen Low

I purchased this for about $10 in Las Vegas since I'm a big fan of tobacco scents. At first it's quite sweet, almost fruity but the tobacco steps forward early and stays center stage for the remainder. There's an almost wet, fresh tobacco leaf undercurrent to the proceedings that's pretty nice for such a budget offering, and unexpected too. Those seeking a documentary on tobacco production probably would not find this essential but those who've enjoyed Remy Latour's Cigar or Zino's rendition may find an affinity for this fragrance.
16th December, 2014
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Black by Kenneth Cole

Not black. Not bad, though. Good longevity atypical of the citrus-based set. This would serve as a work scent or for casual occasions where more daring and complexity would be undesired.
14th October, 2014
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Only for Men by Julio Iglesias

Only for Men is a frustrating wear. Out of the bottle it's strong and has the makings of something fairly unique, especially for a men's fragrance. Alas, it very rapidly turns into a wallflower, even with heavy sprays. It's so wispy that I cannot get a handle on what's here. There seems to be a bit of floral, maybe. Maybe it's a sandalwood in the style of THAT MAN. It's a perfume Sybil with all of its personalities underdeveloped and shy.

This shows up on ebay for triple figure prices. Don't waste your funds on a blind buy.
19th August, 2014
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Bigelow Barber Cologne Elixir White No. 1585 by C.O. Bigelow Apothecary

White is the best of the Bigelow Elixirs and represents a good value. They're readily available at your local mall for the price of a couple of coffees. Others lament the longevity but I don't experience those woes. On me it lasts damn near all day, surprising for a citrus fragrance. Simple but effective and a good work fragrance that nods to the barbershop while not smelling, as they say, "dated." Nice work.
16th August, 2014
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Perry Ellis Platinum Label by Perry Ellis

Relative to the many similar fragrances on the market, Platinum, if purchased at a discount, represents a decent value. Longevity is superb and the citrus freshness never devolves into a sour aquatic mess that quite a few of this ilk offer.

The fresh/aquatic genre is probably my least favorite so Platinum will not (nor will any other of this family in all likelihood) crack my Top Ten, but it manages to straddle both the younger set that favors fruity fresh aromas and the mature crowd that wants something pleasant and unoffensive.
04th June, 2014
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Aramis Gentleman by Aramis

As others have noted Gentleman is a mildly spicy concoction. It bears, to my nose, little resemblance to the immediate family. It is very discreet and it is indeed attenuated for a modern audience. But it smells good and the longevity is good for a close-to-the-vest offering like this. Fine for an office, school or church environment where a more potent brew brings the ruckus.
08th May, 2014 (last edited: 01st May, 2016)
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Rouge Royal for Men by Marina de Bourbon

Rouge Royal is a cheapie that boasts admirable sillage and longevity. I see it as the love child of an orgy of Le Male, Fire & Ice For Men, and Deauville Pour Homme.
06th May, 2014 (last edited: 17th October, 2014)
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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.
25th December, 2013