Reviews by Swanky

    Swanky's avatar
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    Showing 91 to 120 of 237.

    Spark for Men by Liz Claiborne

    Muted thumbs up. It's inexpensive and smells different than most of the stuff out there (it does remind me of Fire & Ice for Men). It is sweet but not in the heavy, Pi gourmand fashion.

    02nd May, 2012


    Beverly Hills Polo Club Classic for Men by Beverly Hills Polo Club

    A rather insubstantial, diluted aroma whose low quality ingredients show through. Only Rogue is worth having from this line.

    28th April, 2012


    Carlo Corinto Classic by Carlo Corinto

    I sprayed some of this (the original vintage formula) on a scent strip and got in my car. A lovely floral-spicy-patchouli scent kept beckoning from my console. Several hours later it still smelled great. I returned to the store for the bottle, the last one they had.

    Sadly, I can't retain my original joy. On my skin it is way, way too demure. After about an hour I literally cannot smell it. For about 6 hours it's hiding until like a new puppy it sticks its head out a little to see what's going on.

    I wish what I smelled on that strip was now on my skin because it was fantastically rich and inviting. What I get now, after the initial stage, is like a eunuchized L'Eau du Navigateur. L'EdN is a favorite of mine and I thought I had found a low-cost alternative. Instead, I have a zero-projection hologram.

    28th April, 2012


    L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake

    Although this may be among the best of the aquatic-fresh genre, I am not convinced that such is especially high praise. While it is not L'EDIMPH's fault that there have been a great many dismal copies since its release, it sure doesn't make it a very unique fragrance. Also, many seem to forget Claiborne for Men which was released several years before and which is probably the true progenitor to the citrus-fresh aquatic craze of the Nineties.

    Obviously I am in the decided minority here: I simply don't see what the hype is about. This is another of those generic fragrances which I had smelled in the air for years before knowing what it was. So THAT'S L'Eau d'Issey! That's what everyone is raving about? Smells like L'Eau de Conformity to me.

    It's basically an artificial citrus and floral concoction with stellar projection and longevity. Its continued popularity means someone's buying it. I just won't be one of them.

    20th April, 2012 (Last Edited: 29th May, 2012)


    212 Sexy Men by Carolina Herrera

    After scanning the other reviews of 212 Sexy Men, I was surprised that no one mentioned Burberry Touch as a precursor. I find this comparison even stronger than the Le Male connection. Both fragrances have a synthetic leaf opening, which is followed by a pepper midsection and sweet musky base (vanilla or tonka providing the cavities). I find the composition somewhat uneasy and chimerical - several unnatural notes unsuccessfully blended. Someone mentioned bath salts and I agree that is sounded within the jumble as well.

    16th April, 2012


    Tattoo pour Homme by Michel Germain

    Totally generic and dull. I can't give a specific fragrance reference; it smells like all of them, in a sense. If the air surrounding the fragrance aisle at Sephora were to be extracted and bottled, you'd get this. For conformists only.

    14th April, 2012


    The Dreamer by Versace

    The Dreamer is often called an oriental, but I don't get that feeling from it. I find it not especially sweet but drier in the mold of Timberline, Byblos Uomo, or Jako. It opens with a sharpish juniper (I detect a bergamot note, though not listed) which is soon joined by a spicy-herbal mix. The tobacco is there but rather reticent. Dreamer is not as cacophonous as some of its ilk, with a better blend of spice, florals, and mild amber.

    13th April, 2012 (Last Edited: 23rd April, 2012)


    Lomani by Lomani

    I'm not sure I can add any new insights to what has already been said. For those of us who were in high school in the 80s, Lomani will ring the Drakkar Noir bell for sure. Drakkar was the lifeblood at my high school; as a result it was one that I did NOT own at time. I found it too harsh and sharp and frankly ubiquitous. Years later and that association fades. Lomani does an impersonation of Tuscany at the opening and soon settles into a Drakkar Noir twin. But after a couple of hours it diverges due to the intense oakmoss and it veers into Captain Molyneux or Acqua di Selva territory. As a mixtape of 80s hits, Lomani should be mandatory wearing at any 80s-themed parties. But carry the bottle 'cause it's even more dated than the frag, and that is a word I seldom if ever use. An oldie but a goodie and for those who don't like the circumcised rendition of Drakkar or can't find Caasars Man, give it a try.

    13th April, 2012 (Last Edited: 14th April, 2012)


    Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf

    A dilemma always presents itself with derivative fragrances such as Spicebomb: do I review in a vacuum and disregard the previous originators? Or do I dismiss the imitator even if it's good, because it is an imitator?

    First, I don't get any bubblegum from this (unless there is a "bourbon and leather" flavor that I don't know about). I get a strong dose of spices up front but then mostly a boozy leather. At this stage it is a clear homage to Egoiste and other such leather scents as Truefitt & Hill's Spanish Leather, even Cigar by Remy Latour. I find it less gourmand than Eau des Baux, and actually quite different.

    Second, it smells pretty good for the first hour or so before the drydown comes. If I didn't have several things like it already, I might be tempted to splurge on a bottle. The drydown, nonetheless, follows the same path as so many others these days to the Land of Amber, and a dull one at that.

    11th April, 2012 (Last Edited: 23rd September, 2012)


    English Leather Black by Dana

    Enough already! It is time to put a moratorium on "Black"-monikered fragrances. Since Bulgari's edition, the designer offerings boasting a "Black" name have been risibly unblack. English Leather manages to outpathetic Jovan's Black Musk and Stetson Black in the "Bubble Yum and musk" sweepstakes. It is both a positive and negative thing that this has dismal longevity: good in that it is not worth smelling anyway and bad in that there is truly nothing to recommend this waste of money. There are a few niche extremists who take eye-blink longevity as a sign of quality. Here's a cheapie for those people. This was at Sears in the $6 clearance bin - fully understandable after smelling it.

    09th April, 2012


    Cubano Gold by Victory International

    As others have said, this represents a fine bargain. Sure, it is a knockoff of Le Male, Eau des Baux, Cadillac...Low marks for creativity, but thumbs up for the economy pricing and fine longevity and sillage.

    08th April, 2012


    Casual for Men by Paul Sebastian

    Casual for Men starts out disconcertingly sour. For about a half-hour, the citrus is underlined by a sweetness that clashes and produces a mildly sickly note. Mercifully, this subsides fairly quickly leaving a soft and pleasant fresh floral and citrus-wood aroma in its wake. The essentially low-cost structure of this scent shows through so it is not a world-beater, but those in need of an inexpensive and slightly less generic take on fresh citrus might check this out.

    04th April, 2012


    Starring for Men by Avon

    Starring begins with a sharp floral character reminiscent of California, Insensé or Carrington, although florals are not listed in the note breakdown. The bergamot is the probable suspect - Moustache, too, has a similarly tart opening. After a while, though, it tones down into a mildly spicy and creamy scent with an incense backbone, which is, I think, the best part of the fragrance. With time, though, the quality of ingredients lets this offering down. That said, for the affordable price tag, this presents a decent choice for the man who doesn't want to smell like the guy next to him at the slot machines. The bottle is pretty cool, too.

    30th March, 2012 (Last Edited: 24th July, 2014)


    Escape for Men by Calvin Klein

    Undoubtedly, CK's Escape has been an influential product. It helped usher in the trend in masculine fragrances toward fresh, aquatic scents. It is not watery like many of its brethren. I agree with Shamu that it is not sweet, but the grapefruit is indeed prominent and while I detect the spice, I can't say that it is "super spicy" at all. The eucalyptus is vocal as well. Ultimately, this is not my kind of scent.

    It was a bit more daring at the time it came out, but today it is somewhat less outstanding. I find it linear and, after a few hours, grating.

    I don't have a particular axe to grind with Calvin Klein. I simply am not impressed by this offering. Longevity is tenacious so if you like this after an hour, have no fear of it wimping out for the rest of the day.

    20th March, 2012 (Last Edited: 20th October, 2012)


    Brasil Dream for Men by Estée Lauder

    Brasil Dream is a nice, modern rendition of a classic men's fragrance from the '70s or '80s (think Halston Z-14, Catalyst or Bogart) done in the more transparent airy style of today but keeping the spicy longevity of the powerhouses of the past. Worth a spin if you can find it.

    07th October, 2011 (Last Edited: 14th June, 2014)


    273 Indigo for Men by Fred Hayman

    Fred Hayman seems to have an affinity for older fragrances. Both this one and his Touch pay homage to male frags from the past. In Touch's case, Brut was the inspiration. Here, 273 Indigo seems to share some DNA with Byblos, Ricci Club, Open by Roger and Gallet and especially Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme. 273 Indigo is a downmarket rendition to be sure, but if you like the citrus leather of the aforementioned trio or even Ho Hang, this one may appeal to you as well.

    For the price of a burger and fries, this release offers a throwback aroma (even the bottle looks more '80s inspired than contemporary) that won't be on every other fellow's hide at the lounge. Also, I experience none of the longevity woes with this fragrance that others have noted.

    23rd September, 2011 (Last Edited: 26th June, 2012)


    Stetson Fresh by Stetson

    My least favorite category of fragrance is the fresh/aquatic, and this falls into that category. Among this dull crew, Stetson's offering is among the better choices due to its nice take on the ubiquitous citrus note which lasts through the life of the scent. I have the aftershave and for this type of use, it works just fine.

    22nd September, 2011


    I am King by Sean John

    Is there a single element of this fragrance that works? The name is lame; were they watching Spartacus the night before? It doesn't suit this scent in any way. The bottle is okay, but again doesn't have anything to do with the fragrance inside. This is pretentiousness defined: a drugstore cheapie hidden within a designer bottle and price and Trojan-horsed with a pompous name. For Curve, Unforgiveable and DKNY for Men fans only.

    20th September, 2011 (Last Edited: 23rd April, 2012)


    Phoenix by Keith Urban

    The circumstantial evidence against Urban's Phoenix did not look good. The package and presentation, a mock Southwest theme and squat bottle, was disturbingly close to his brother-in-country Tim McGraw's Southern Blend which begins decently enough but soon falls apart. The economy pricing and downmarket availability portended a cheap and gimcrack and mercenary product. And, in the macro view, how many celebrity-flogged contraptions are released each year that are even passably wearable? Surprise, then, that the jury has acquitted Phoenix of the charge of pandering. This is actually not bad.

    Who knows what Keith Urban actually had to do with this fragrance but assuming he was involved it seems he told the mixologists to "do me a Burberry London." If you liked the latter or Remy LaTour's Cigar, you may get some pleasure from Phoenix. It shares a mildly sweet leathery texture with those older offerings and adds the chocolate note which is popping up more frequently than Michael Caine in British crime flicks. It also has good longevity without devolving into another lackluster amber, so common on the masculine side of the perfume counter these days. If you aren't a chocolate fan, though, it may be a bit too much.

    19th September, 2011 (Last Edited: 11th August, 2012)


    Eau des Baux by L'Occitane

    Initially, I missed the boat on this one. It seemed at first to be a variant on the Le Male genre, but actually it is quite different, sharing only a sweet character. Where Le Male is dry and powdered, Eau des Baux is rich and warm.

    Indeed, I find this to be a gourmand once the middle and drydown settle in. If you like Play Intense or Rochas Man, this is a well-done take on a similar style. I find it close also to Hypnôse Homme and La Nuit de L’Homme, opening as they do with woody notes. Cedar seems prominent with EdB, but in a more natural fashion than the others I've referenced. Eau des Baux has been called an amber, but to my nose it seems to be a straight-up vanilla fragrance upon drydown with the woody elements decidedly in the background.

    I wish I lked this genre more because Eau des Baux is a very well-done rendition. I recommend it heartily to those who seek an affordable yet classy version of the gourmand ilk.

    14th September, 2011 (Last Edited: 14th April, 2012)


    Escada Homme by Escada

    For what this costs these days, it truly is a great bargain. Escada manages to be dense and heavy while at the same time being well-spaced so that there is an illusion of lightness. The bergamot and lime up top do give an almost civet cast to the opening which recedes in the wake of the booze. I get the juniper and vanilla, but the latter is not forceful nor cloying. Don't overdo the trigger on this one; the penalty could be severe.

    I get twelve hours of longevity from Escada. All in all, I enjoy it and am glad it's part of my arsenal.

    09th September, 2011


    Équipage by Hermès

    Unlike so many fragrances, this one seems perfectly named. The scent evokes the leather goods one might associate with old-money livery: the leather seating in a coach, riding boots, horse bridles, gloves. Leather is not indicated as a note, but it's definitely in what I am smelling.

    Perfectly judged, too, is the fragrance within. The subtle floral produced by the carnation and the mildly smoky woods (birch tar?) that produce at least a hologram of leatheriness result in an apotheosis of traditional European masculinity and refinement. This is one of the greats that has the added enticement of being rather unique. If you want a classic, classy men's gift idea, look no further. Projection is modest but omnipresent and longevity is superb for such a nuanced fragrance.

    08th September, 2011 (Last Edited: 17th October, 2012)


    Princess by Vera Wang

    Overpriced. Smells cheap and poorly blended and exceedingly artificial. Stick with Avon if you want inexpensive and simple scents.

    05th September, 2011


    Allure Homme Edition Blanche by Chanel

    This contains one of my favorite uses of lemon. It has none of the furniture polish tone of some others. Frankly I don't get a lemon dessert either. This seems to be straight-up lemon with some musk, vetiver and cedar in small amounts.

    02nd September, 2011


    DKNY Men (New) by Donna Karan

    This stuff is embarrassingly generic: a copy of a copy of a copy. Violet leaf note? Check. Watery musk? Check. Ultra-artificial citrus? Check.

    For once, I'm going to blame the consumer rather than the designer. If we didn't buy this crap, the designers would get the message that they can't get away with merely imitating the fragrance du jour. But buy them we do and they keep on coming. At least copy something good. Apparently the only scents the perfumers have sampled are Acqua di Gio, Curve, Chrome, Fierce and Cool Water.

    I've run out of adjectives...

    Also, what in the world does this wimpy concoction have to do with New York City, the skyline, the hustle, Downtown, Uptown?

    30th August, 2011 (Last Edited: 31st August, 2011)


    Xeryus by Givenchy

    Moss is boss with Xeryus. Fragrances such as Acqua Di Selva that contain a prominent oakmoss tend to be very dry and sharp. Xeryus manages to be more refined by buffing the edges with citrus and sweet. After the opening, the woods come to the fore and Xeryus becomes even more comfortable to wear.

    It's a bridge fragrance: it looks back toward classic male perfumery via the oakmoss and woods, staples of old school scents such as the aforementioned Acqua Di Selva, without being dated while the tempering, quite mild sweetness (very mild) looks toward trends that would flourish in the Nineties and later.

    I wore this in my very early Twenties without any "old man" comments (whatever the hell that term means) and it was one of my staples. I'm glad to have returned to it twenty years later and to have found it still going strong.

    25th August, 2011


    British Sterling by Dana

    British Sterling (1965) is another quintessential 60s-era masculine that is still chugging along. Aramis, The Baron, Kanon are all teammates in his old school class. Kanon, Pierre Cardin and Jovan's Sex Appeal have a similar character to British Sterling so one's feelings about those oldtimers will probably apply to Dana's stalwart.

    I get fine longevity and sillage from this. It's not quite a classic. There are many like it that are a bit better but as an affordable option it's well worth a look. It's a drugstore fragrance that has been around for decades for a reason.

    18th August, 2011 (Last Edited: 05th September, 2011)


    Animale Animale for Men by Animale Parfums

    As far as gourmands go, this is a good deal and apparently something of a trailblazer. I'll add nothing by saying that it is an Angel Men predecessor - the noticeable chocolate note up top really makes the connection clear. In my opinion this isn't the classiest genre so I can't get too poetic. It is a pleasant surprise, however. The cheap plastic Shazam bottle doesn't hold promise, the pedestrian double name doesn't entice and the low price would, if mainstream opinion were true, promise a drugstore yawner. Instead, we get Animale Animale's James Brown to Angel Men's Prince: the latter has made a lot more cash but couldn't have existed without the former.

    04th August, 2011


    Cigar Aficionado by Cigar Aficionado

    Aficionado (the word "Cigar" doesn't appear on the box nor on the bottle) is definitely a throwback to the 70s and 80s heyday of pungent and aromatic masculine fragrances. It has some of the tobacco/leather character of Bogart and Z-14 with a smoky note similar to Jacomo de Jacomo. The bottle is old school as well.

    For the price this is a good under-the-radar selection for the guy who'd like to smell a bit unique for a budget price.

    01st August, 2011


    Gin & Tonic by Demeter Fragrance Library

    The maligned Demeter line is like a Cliff's Notes version of niche fragrances: the presentation (bottle and label) is uniform; the price is the same for all fragrances (per size); they are not available everywhere; and they have esoteric contents such as "Dirt", "Snow" and "Mesquite." Relatively speaking they smell like the element they purport to mimic. Finally, they are quite inexpensive which makes them a good primer route to non-designer aromas.

    That said, they are not masterpieces and the quality is quite variable. Gin & Tonic is among those I enjoy the most, along with Humidor and Whiskey Tobacco. Longevity is not stellar but not as fleeting as some have experienced (I get about 5 hours at least from the better offerings in the line). The juniper in this one is not unlike that in, say, Guerlain Homme; I paid $2.99 for a 1 oz bottle on clearance so I can't complain about the financial investment. Demeter presents a low-cost, low-risk opportunity to get outside the aquatic/sweet designer box.

    29th July, 2011 (Last Edited: 13th July, 2012)

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