Take the leather aspects of Aramis but remove most of the florals and aldehydes. Now make it more of a citrus scent, and add a touch of patchouli and a hint of woods. That's what I get from this, and it's quite pleasant. This could be a niche version of Aramis. It's funny how some "experts" are saying things like there should be a niche version of Old Spice, when you can just get some old Avon scents for little more than a song and you've got better than "niche-quality ingredients" as well!
This is really nice, at least somewhat unique and with excellent balance. The few other Victorinox scents I've tried were always too "chemical" or became that way after a while (as in 125 Year's far drydown), but this is quite pleasant/natural smelling, and I can see how some would view this as a light green/anisic version of Individuel. I wore Individuel the other day, actually, but I prefer this one to it, since it's rather unique and I also find it more pleasant. The reviews suggest that either there were different formulations, at least one being very strong or one being very weak, or a focus on top notes versus waiting for the drydown. I used to sprays to the chest and kept my shirt open, since I wasn't going out, and it was never too strong, cloying, irritating, "synthetic," etc. I enjoyed every minute of its development!
I'm the first to review this one! I thought I'd review it here in light of all the PEO:BVA hype, because this one also has light projection but at least decent longevity. I haven't tried PEO:BVA so I'm not comparing them, but this one has a little sweetness in the drydown, just as people are saying about PEO:BVA. Also, this is a very nice blend that has a niche-like drydown, with the florals providing a kind of plush/smooth quality though without any kind of "feminine" presentation (though I think more than a few women wouldn't mind wearing it). The major "wow factor" here is the price to quality ratio, and since I got it at a "super cheapo" price (less than $10 for 100 ml), this is where the comparison to PEO:BVA ends! Seriously, I'd rather buy a bunch of scents like this that just one botttle of PEO:BVA. Another scent that cost less than $10 per 100 ml was Amber for Men/Eau de Iceberg, which in fact has a clear rum note! Anyway, Excellence is very interesting in that none of the three basenotes comes through powerfully, but instead work with the florals to create a sort of hard powdery texture. I've got amber scents, vanilla scents, and tonka-dominant scents, so I certainly didn't need another. There is clearly an orange tint to this scent, and I usually dislike orange notes, but again this is about the overall blend and so it doesn't unbalance the composition. I'm surprised at how good it is, as I thought it might be similar to something like Victory League by Adidas, which isn't bad at all, but I consider Excellence a major step up from that one, and the prices aren't that different, even if you pay a bit more than I did.
The dominant impression I get is a berry-like quality, for the first half hour or so. There's a bit of this and that too, such as some kind of "fresh" aroma chemicals, but it's pleasant on some level. Over time it gets better and it's a very nice blend, not too "synthetic" or harsh in any way. It's got a bit of a "bite," perhaps from the grapefruit or elemi or mastic or juniper, or some combination, but it's also powdery. It's not ambery, vanillic, or animalic, and it's just a touch musky (no detectable lavender). I get little sweetness here but it's not especially dry. There's no strong leather or cognac, or really much of anything. You might think that you are smelling something, but then it seems to shape shift into something else. I could see this being cloying if too much is used, but the spray is a fine mist, so you might want to use just one spray the first time. This is better than nearly all the recent "masculine" designers I've tried, but I can't say I am nearly certain I will like it in subsequent wearing. However, it's possibly I'll really enjoy it in the future, so I'll have to update this review at that time. As another reviewer says, there isn't much if any similarity to Aramis, but this is certainly not like the calone-rich New West for Him, IMO.
At first I was thinking, "The Knize Ten, but less oriental and complex," but then I was thinking, "vintage Red for men but with leather instead of sequoia, and again, less complex." And after a few hours, at most, my thought was that it was far too "chemical," as in chemicals being spilled in a lab! I find Leather Oud by Dior to be more "natural" smelling, and therefore superior, but it's in that "general ballpark" as well. I can understand the appeal, especially for those who like these kinds of scents and don't find this one to be too "chemical," so I'll give it a neutral rating.
I'm giving this one a positive rating because I paid about $4 for 100 ml, and it holds its own against much, much more expensive scents. In fact, I prefer this to Sauvage, because the ambroxan (or similar molecule) is not as obvious here. The fruitiness at first is not bad at all, and I tend to really dislike scents that begin with typical "masculine" fruit notes. Then there is a kind of "old school" quality, though thankfully without any detectable lavender. And then the ambroxan type quality takes charge, but that's hours later. My only issue with it is that it's not something I can see myself really wanting to wear - I'd wear it as a "change of pace" on rare occasions, though that's true of a whole lot of scents, most considerably more expensive than this one. Unlike Darvant, I don't perceive typical "masculine" laundry musk (I think the "fuzzy" qualities ambroxan possesses generates this impression), fruitiness, etc., and I don't understand what "oily" means in the context of a scent, other than perhaps someone thinking that it smells like oil and vinegar salad dressing, which this one certainly does not. It's a little different from the "madding crowd" of "masculines" and if you are in the mood for a bit of ambroxan fun, this is a "cheap thrill."
29th April, 2016 (last edited: 05th May, 2016)
This would be a unisex niche scent today, as it is powdery, ambery, animalic, spicy, and quite heavy. Another reviewer said he smelled apples at first, and there is some sort of fruitiness for a while. He also said there is tobacco but I think that's castoreum (in combination with some of the other notes). This could be a Serge Lutens scent, but I actually like the smoothness of this one better than most of the Lutens I've sampled. Also, it doesn't smell "synthetic" at all. I thought it might be similar to something like Sex Appeal for Men, but it's considerably better, IMO.
Not bad considering what I paid for it! At first there is a strong quality of what seemed like pepper and dihydromyrcenol, along with some lavender, so some might say it's somewhat similar to Cool Water at this point. The peppery element doesn't last long and then I can detect dry woodiness, which lasts a long time. The Parfumo site lists Jasmine, Coriander, Lavender, Musk, and Sage, so some of those in combination might cause me to find it peppery. After a couple of hours an "old school" type of base emerges, though it doesn't have the strength (I only used one spray to the chest). It's not especially animalic and it's not syrupy, sweet, or too floral. I do get a touch of an old/worn leathery quality after several hours. Longevity was very good. If you enjoy a scent like Jules, this is not likely to replace it, but if you want an inexpensive scent to wear once in a while, rather than using up your quarter full bottle of Jules, this might be a great inexpensive option. I'll give it a positive rating due to the low cost.
Think of a smoother version of Bogart Pour Homme, but with blackberry and chocolate replacing the lily and rose, and you'll have a rough idea about what this smells like. At first, though, it isn't smooth, with some sort of odd varnish-like element, but that doesn't last long. Overall, this is a great scent for a low price (assuming the prices haven't risen by the time you read this). There is a light leathery quality in the drydown, and the blackberry lasts a long time. I don't get a clear cognac note so perhaps it lasts a very short period of time. It's not powdery, syrupy, nor too sweet, but the tonka is obvious, in case you are not a fan of that note.
Sort of like a cross between the original and the 32 flanker. I might like this one more than either of those, actually. I'll have to wear it more to see if my perceptions change.
If you like apple notes except when these are sharp, this is one to consider. There is a hint of chocolate, wood, etc., but the apple is the star of the show and lasts a long time. It's definitely not too sweet or syrupy, and it is a touch musky (no major "laundry musk," thankfully). And the florals are in check as well. So, it's very good for all kinds of social situations, and it's certainly not a "blob" scent, but if you are used to niche then my guess is you'll find this underwhelming (such as if you were to compare it to Apple Brandy).
Another take on the Green Irish Tweed type idea, which also includes Stardust for Men. This one seems to have some calone along with dihydromyrcenol, making it quite strong but not so great if you aren't a fan of obvious calone (I'm not). It seems quite strong but I just sprayed it on a card and then decided that it might not be agreeable. Moreover, I've got Stardust and prefer it to the others of this type. I also have Corinto Rouge, which is like a simplified and more wearable Cool Water, though I think there are more significant differences between CW and GIT. I just mentioned CR because it too has quite a bit of dihydromyrcenol, but not calone, and it's sweet/powdery like CW (but not like GIT in that respect). Anyway, to sum it up, I think Immense will be enjoyed by those who would like a variation on the GIT theme and don't mind or even want some noticeable calone. I'll give it a positive rating even though I'm not a fan of it.
First of all, I'm only rating this positive if you got it at a steep discount and you like this kind of scent (in the Baldessarini Ambre range). For the first half hour or so, it's all over the map, and I had trouble getting a sense of what it was, but it wasn't good, AFAIC. However, this lasts a long time and after an hour or so it smells quite nice, though rather blended. There's a bit of tea, a touch of amber, etc. Later on, I get perhaps a pine/violet raising the heavier elements up, so to speak. Projection/sillage is moderate, and seems to come in rather gentle wafts (I've only tried the EdT). I imagine that the next time I try it, I'll be able to detect more, and possibly enjoy it more. Interestingly, I didn't get much if any of a boozy quality, though others have mentioned that it pervades the composition.
If you like Envy for Men, this is along the same lines, as are a few others. I'm not a huge fan of these scents, because they seem to get cloying awfully quickly, especially if you use too much, but I'd rather wear those than most of the recent designer offerings. I'll give it a positive rating because there's nothing really "bad" about it, other than it having a derivative feel to me.
I didn't get much of a honey/beeswax element, but the tobacco is obvious. It's not too sweet and I didn't get too much of any aroma chemical either. For $20 or so for 100 ml it can compete against anything else, so long as this is what you're seeking. As others have said, it's dense - note separation isn't like the vintage greats, but it doesn't come across as a synthetic blob, and if something like Michael for Men by Kors is bothering you (as it sometimes does to me on occasion) this one is easier to wear, if less ambitious in terms of composition. In fact, I think Cadillac Coupe is more interesting as a composition, but this one is good for when you know exactly what you want and don't want notes to "spike out" on you (for whatever reason). When I find a scent like this, my thought is often, why should I even bother to sample the much more expensive recent designer releases?
First, I'm giving this one a positive rating because if this is what you are seeking you should be pleased. Second, unlike the others, I don't understand the fig cookies/newton idea. This isn't sweet nor vanillic, and the fruit type element doesn't last very long with any potency. The main players in the drdyown seem to be oregano or thyme and wods (pine and sandalwood perhaps), along with the dihydromyrcenol that is obvious from the beginning. There's a bit of lavender and citrus, probably with small amounts of the usual "masculine" suspects, but overall it's like a less complex Green Jeans, and is also somewhat reminiscent of Oscar for Men (not Pour Lui). So, if you want a dry pine/herbal scent and don't mind a bit of dihydromyrcenol, then I think you'll like this, as it seems strong enough not to disappoint. I just did a dab sampling to the ankle so I'll update this review when I wear it the usual way, if I think there is anything else that should be said.
I haven't tried the vintage one; the new one comes in a bottle that is similar to ones I've seen at the dollar store, which may be a good sign - perhaps they spent a bit more on the scent than the bottle! The odd thing is that a slightly burnt smelling rubbery quality dominates everything. There is no searing fougere accord, for example - not much of a fougere at all, actually. It's not sweet, beyond the most minimal amount, and the muskiness is moderate. You can get a sense that some citrus and herbs and present but spices do not seem to be included. There is nothing "hard," such as a clear wood note, and if there is vetiver here it is of the "skunky" variety I've come across in decades old vetiver scents marketed to men (that might be the burnt rubber type of thing). This was purchased new from a major retailer, so on some level I'm happy because it suggests those old vetivers I own smell appropriate (not being any kind of vetiver expert). It doesn't come across as "green," nor "blue," though the liquid is a a deep blue. Other than the skunky/burnt rubber element, this is reasonably natural-smelling though as I said, that quality may very well be natural! It's not very strong but it's easy to make it stronger by spraying more - since the price is low there's no reason not to do so. And it does a nice job o\f conjuring up images of the sea without the use of the usual synthetic "aquatic" aroma chemicals (or else these are being used in very small amounts). And finally, I doubt if you will be happy if you buy this thinking that it will be "modern," especially if you like aquatic scents from the last 15 years or so. I'll give it a positive rating for those who don't spend too much on it and don't "blind buy" it. I don't see myself wearing it often, as it's got limited dynamism, richness, and depth.
Tired of "lavender overload" gourmands and "iso e super nightmares?" This is one to sample, as it is clearly "masculine" but doesn't go for the obvious. No doubt, the opening seems to have been inspired by Gucci Pour Homme II and the base by Spicebomb, but that doesn't bother me. There is a softness and depth here which is uncommon in recent designer scents, and it smells reasonably natural (Spark for Men, by contrast, has an obvious "synthetic" quality). I don't get that much woodiness nor fir balsam here, and overall it's nicely balanced so that no note is dominant. I've now tried the EdT and the EdP and I think the EdP is a bit creamier, though I didn't study them in detail or side by side. And at current prices this is a really good deal. To those who criticize it, my question to you is, what do you expect at this price point? Longevity and projection/sillage are very good if not great in both formulations.
Yesterday I sampled Spiritueuse Double Vanille, but the vanilla in that one was too strong. In this one, it's just right (if you want a vanilla scent of this type), though I don't think you'll like this if you hate vanilla. In any case, the drydown is rich and natural smelling, and even has reasonably good depth! The balance is fairly good too, though perhaps just a bit more vanillic than I'd like (and not enough sandalwood). I don't get much saffron, other than perhaps in the top notes, so that shouldn't be an issue for those who dislike that note. And I agree with CDGfan over at Fragrantica, in that this has a specific kind of jasmine/incense feel (I didn't know the name of it but she apparently does). Overall, this is one that I'll likely keep, as I can use it for layering too! Also, I consider the drydown unisex, at least for those who enjoy vintage or niche. A very nice surprise for quite a low price.
Unlike Way Off Scenter, I don't find the opening pleasant at all, and instead agree with what Foetidus said: "I’m afraid Ciel for Him is a rather disappointing fragrance to me: First, its opening is unimpressive—a sharp, floral / herbal backed up by a light incense and cedar. The peach seems to enter into the opening also, creating what is to me a discordance that I find a touch unpleasant. I really can’t separate out the floral notes because it’s an amalgamated accord—blended to the point of seeming forced or artificial."
On another site, Dullah pointed out that there was a reformulation and that the earlier one was really bitter/sharp, so if that's true it may account for the big differences in some reviews. I had an old official sample and I'd guess it is the bitter/sharp formulation, if there was more than one. To me it's like sharp floral notes combined with a leftover ethnic food accord. I used a small amount, thinking that Amouage scents are strong, and I'm so glad I did because I don't know how sick I would have felt if more was applied. I then sprayed a pleasant "cheapo" underneath where I sprayed Ciel and that dominated it to the point where the unpleasant experience ended. I'd go for vintage Insense if I wanted this kind of thing, but so far I have only found these kinds of compositions to be quite unpleasant !
First of all, if you think 1985 you are probably thinking this will contain a load of lavender and coumarin. It doesn't. While it may contain those elements, I don't even consider this scent a fougere, because other notes dominate. Second, I have one with a gold top but that cap has green sides, and I have another with an all gold cap (older). The green one is stronger, like an intense version of the earlier gold cap, but the earlier version is smoother and really special. The notes are "tight" in green cap and it can be a bit irritating, and some of the musk element doesn't seem as natural as I'd like. Still, after an hour or so it's not too far from gold cap, and the actual smell is very similar. Now here's the most important point, at least to me: when compared to others that are at least somewhat similar, that is, 1881, Jazz, Tsar, Photo Lagerfeld, etc., I prefer this one by a wide margin (though I'm not sure if my 1881 is vintage, if there are differences with that one). The only other one that I'd put in this category is Coriolan, but that one is a bit different, so I can enjoy having these in my rotation without thinking I don't need both. The problem I've encountered is that when I wear similar ones I often think I'd rather be wearing the one I consider best.
Beyond sweet gourmand there is this scent. It's olfactory abuse in a bottle. From what I can remember, it's closest to Cadillac, and certainly not Dior Homme (never tried DH Intense). There are strong aroma chemicals, but they are dominated by what comes across to me as candy or food flavorings amplified to the extreme. I wear gourmands regularly (A*Men, Play Intense, So New York, Rochas Man, Pi, etc.), but this one goes where no man should ever venture (just kidding, of course). On the other hand, if you want to announce your arrival from a mile away, this may be your best choice!
What you get:
1. An inexpensive but decent Minotaure type of scent.
2. A tobacco-like effect, presumably due to cedar and tonka.
3. At least good longevity and projection/sillage.
4. Ingredients that don't scream "chemical soup."
5. Intelligent composition.
What you don't get:
1. Soapy fougere or super-musky "cologne guy" effect.
2. Too much sweetness.
3. "Rough edges."
4. High prices.
5. Bad sprayer or cheap bottle.
I first sampled this as a newbie, and at the time my sense of smell was quite sensitive. This came across as harsh and discordant. Now I realize that was just the top notes, but these days I enjoy that lime/nutmeg/pine combination. For me, this does what GIT does, but in a more original, and hence more enjoyable way. There are so many violet leaf/lavender type scents, and yet few like this one. However, to me the best part is the drydown, which again is similar in "feel" to GIT but doesn't seem to have much dihydromyrcenol. Somehow, Stardust does what so many "dihydromyrcenol overload" scents fail to do, that is, create a slightly creamy ("crowd pleasing"), aromatic, and natural smelling effect, while possessing good note separation and dynamism. The sandalwood note is fairly good, but I don't get clear leather (and it's certainly not too sweet). There i no animalic quality and it's a bit musky; also, I fail to detect the jasmine in any clear way. Overall, I consider this quite an achievement and I can't think of anything that is on this level. Oscar for Men (1999) had a similar idea, but feels rather singular and definitely more "synthetic" by comparison (and I consider Oscar to be quite good). The only thing some of those with quite a bit of experience might not like about Stardust is that it has a slight "musty" quality (and there isn't as much vanilla and amber as one might expect, considering how common it is in more recent scents to include such notes in large amounts).
Top notes: Mexican Lime, Mediterranean Lemon, Siberia fire needle, shaved nutmeg.
Middle notes: Jasmine, sandalwood, Indonesian Patchouli.
Base notes: Bourbon Vanilla, creamy amber, and impressions of leather.
24th September, 2014 (last edited: 18th January, 2015)
The Estonian site lists incense as a base note rather than olibanum, but that may be a "lost in translation" situation. In any case, this begins with a clear fougere accord but it's accompanied by a minty quality. Because of that, the fougere accord never becomes irritating, as I find that it often does. On some level this is like Francesco Smalto Pour Homme (1987), but this one is drier and isn't as smoky. Moreover, FSPH is one of those scents with a fougere accord that scorches the olfactory earth, so I generally don't have much interest in wearing it. What happens in this scent, by contrast, is that as the mint loses its potency, a dry, herbal/incense type of quality comes forward, and it too has the effect of preventing the fougere accord from becoming irritating. It's not too musky, and definitely isn't too sweet. There's not obvious aroma chemical element to this one either. I like to think of this as a niche fougere, actually, due to its unique qualities. This is not a grassy green - if you want something like that, try Bobby Jones Cologne.
Not sure if the one I tried is Rebel or Rebel 2, or if there is a difference. The one I tried begins with a mild, melon-like quality and that lasts quite a while but slowly gets weaker. It's reasonably natural smelling but not something I enjoy. I never got any "deep, dark" base, as others have claimed, and I don't want to spray more because I don't like the melon (I used two sprays to the chest). I have a feeling it won't be strong enough for the people who like these melon type scents and others will either not like it or think it uninteresting. At the low prices I see it selling for now, it's certainly a good deal for those who can enjoy it. Since I don't enjoy it, I'll give it a neutral. Longevity seems to be at least good, though it never seemed especially strong.
Unlike the other person who reviewed this, I get no bitter tobacco nor smoky leather, and I think it's far from being anything like Bogart Pour Homme or Macassar, so perhaps there were different formulations of it. I do agree that there is no iso e super nor "laundry musk" overload here. If tobacco is present it is the most subtle I've encountered so far, and I'm a tobacco scent fan. Instead, this is quite similar to Jacomo for Men (2007), though with a couple of different notes. On the box, coumarin is listed, and there is a gourmand-ish fougere accord here, though mild. Also, there isn't much note separation , though it is reasonably natural smelling. It reminds me of another scent too, perhaps U Ungaro Him, but I can't remember for sure. Just so long as you aren't expecting the richness and depth of vintage, you may be pleasantly surprised, especially at current prices. I also have bottles of the original Cadillac and Cadillac Extreme, and those are crude and loud by comparison to this one, though I might like those better for that very reason! However, relative to most designer releases of recent years, this one compares favorably, generally-speaking of course. It would likely work well for "romantic" occasions but it seems a bit too subtle for the 20-something party scene. And I don't think it would work well in hot weather.
I first tried a Dana formulation that is several years old and then an original. The smell, at least beyond the top notes, is similar, but the original has more depth and complexity to it (it also lasts longer). It's simple yet the quality of the ingredients must be what makes it so enjoyable! Basically, it's a vanillic/spicy/musky scent with a hint of wood (just a bit sweet). If you think a scent like Jaipur Homme is great you might want to give this one a try. There's something in Jaipur that doesn't work for me (I think it's a synthetic wood molecule used), but this one is just right. Moreover, you could use this for layering. You can still get Mem or Speidel formulations on ebay for reasonable prices, if you have some patience.
I would call this Preferred Red, because it is like a simplified version of vintage Red for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills. I do think this is better than the new version of Red for Men, but I'm giving it a neutral for lack of originality. If Red wasn't released first, I would give this a positive rating. It's a more "mature" scent, but not too "old" (not that it matters to me), and the ingredients seem at least good (for a "cheapo"). However, because I already have enough vintage Red to last me a long time, what can I do with this other than put it on my swap list?
The listed notes for this one seem to be patchouli, rose absolute, oud wood, and skin musk. I'm not an oud fan and have disliked the acrid note in some of the Montale oud scents I've tried. That's not the kind of oud you get here. In fact, it reminds me of wormwood more than anything else. If you want Ungaro I but can't afford it this might work for you, actually. I don't get much patchouli either, and the rose is subdued and subordinated to the wormwood tinted oud note. Fortunately, there is no major iso e super or any harshness, though if you hate all wood notes this probably won't work for you. I'm really surprised at how "high quality" this feels. I don't know what the original retail prices were, but some have said it was selling for $14.99 at discounters! I took a chance on this one (cost me more than that), and I'm really glad I did! Longevity is outstanding and projection ("sillage") is just right.