Reviews by Indie_Guy

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    Showing 31 to 60 of 100.

    Steam Aoud by Montale

    I try to enjoy this one but I keep envisioning a hot, humid basement boiler room infested with waterbugs. ICK!

    05th December, 2009


    D&G Masculine by Dolce & Gabbana

    For me, this is the perfect citrus cologne. Masculine is based on a big lemon note heavy with citral and facets of petitgrain. It almost seems just that simple, but then you get sparkles of basil and peppermint-- these unexpected herbal chimings give it a carefree, youthful Mediterranean lilt. I also perceive a soft floral that reminds me of honeysuckle. The fragrance then comes to rest on a subtle but vital foundation of vanilla and vetiver, giving it a soft, pleasant bump at the end like one experiences before getting off a roller coaster ride at an amusement park.

    01st December, 2009


    Rykiel Man by Sonia Rykiel

    I bought this because I have a soft spot for green bottles. I don't know why! Anyway, I bought it blind because it wasn't expensive and I liked the bottle. I initially thought it was just OK, and I wore it sparingly. Tonight I wore it to work, and I think it's outstanding and also highly original.

    I like Rykiel Man because it just doesn't smell like anything I usually wear. It's not some variation of the same theme rehashed over and over. The opening reminds me of a bubble bath I used when I was a kid, but like others have said, there's a "latex" note to it--which is nice. I have a really hard time describing this scent, but I enjoy its novelty. I think it would make an interesting clubbing scent.

    I've rarely seen this fragrance mentioned, but check it out-- it's really different in a good way.

    25th November, 2009


    Michael for Men by Michael Kors

    If I had to name the one timeless and perfect fragrance for Autumn, it would without a doubt be this one. I break this one out every year in late September as soon as the first chill hits the air.

    Michael for Men is bone-dry sueded leather and patchouli, with subtle dark plums, pipe tobacco and an herbal breath of thyme. It has a nice booziness but unlike other similar fragrances, it remains arid and avoids sweetness. When this was released back in 2001, it was widely praised and much talked about-- it was really unlike its fresh contemporaries and was more of a throwback to the archetypal 70's patchouli-monsters like Ralph Lauren's original Polo. Over the last few years, its popularity seems to have waned some. It hasn't fallen out of fashion, it just seems to have been forgotten, almost carelessly misplaced.

    This one destroys every other Fall fragrance out there.

    01st October, 2009


    Infusion d'Homme by Prada

    cool, chalky candy cigarettes.

    This fragrance is one of contrasting textures, and your nose seems to "feel" it as much as smell it. So dry and cold a big blast of white and then trailing along underneath, a warm, quiet fizzy stream of something Dr Pepper-ish. Infusion D'Homme smells like the world's best clean white bedsheets would smell. This strikes me as somewhat minimalist-- there aren't any dead-weight notes here.

    I was initially unimpressed with both this and Prada's Amber Pour Homme. Weird thing though, they've both turned out to be workhorse fragrances that I NEVER get tired of. Both fragrances give me that "new haircut" feeling and are easy to wear.

    I found Infusion D'Homme to be pleasantly addictive.

    18th July, 2009


    Vetyver Lanvin (new) by Lanvin

    Lanvin Vetyver has become one of my favorite "go-to" fragrances. Strange but true...

    The first time I smelled it was when I bought a small bottle of it blind. It was inexpensive. I found it a very middle of the road scent. The opening reminded me a little too much of a Lysol air freshener smell so I put it away for a while. I was confused by the name also, because it's not your typical vetiver scent. Many people say this has little to no vetiver at all, but that's not true. The vetiver is apparent only as it dries down onto the skin, but once it does the effect is palpable and gives the scent a nice texture. Some people look so hard, they seem to miss it!

    There is a "cologney" vibe about Lanvin Vetyver that might be offputting to some people, but it manages to behave well enough in its construction that it never falls apart into brash cliché. There are a lot of designer fragrances on the market that start out similarly to this one but turn awful because the quality of their ingredients is so poor. This one starts off a bit unambitious and common but gets better with time and repeated wearings. Very fresh and bright smelling. Supposedly, this contains a very high percentage of natural ingredients and I'm inclined to believe it.

    If you're looking for some kind of be-all end-all vetiver root tour de force, look elsewhere. If you're looking for an outgoing, crisp, sporty, fresh, versatile cologne that dries down to a slightly dry vetiver skin scent-- think about adding this to your rotation.

    17th May, 2009


    Casual Friday by Escada

    I had forgotten about this one. I didn't even know that it had been discontinued. Too bad really. If this was released today up against most designer offerings, it would simply wipe the floor with them. Casual Friday is one of the best balanced gourmands of its class (A*Men, Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin, Rochas Man, etc.) I've never been able to try the widely venerated (and also discontinued) Yohji Homme, but I've heard that it's similar.

    Casual Friday is very heavy on the cedarwood-- maybe more so than other gourmands, but it works here. It also feels a bit cool-- maybe like a "shamrock shake" from McDonalds. It's sweet, but it's not a heavy nostril oriental nostril-clogger. It's very laid back, care-free and relaxed, like its name. A total shame that this didn't catch on and that it was discontinued. If you see a bottle of this, snap it up and enjoy it!

    For some reason, I've also loved the bottle design/packaging of this one as well.

    11th May, 2009 (Last Edited: 26th April, 2011)


    DKNY Men (original) by Donna Karan

    Smells like a raspberry lemon ice. I also get fresh cotton notes and the most unusual red maple. It's too bad the bottle was so cumbersome and awkward-- great fragrance otherwise. Still, the frosted grey sides of the bottle do convey accurately the feel of this scent. I always thought there was something "off" about this one-- in a good way. It never gets mentioned much these days and it's discontinued. I still reach for it on occasion.

    07th May, 2009


    Vétiver by Creed

    One of the softest, smoothest most subtle vetivers I've ever experienced.

    Much is often said of the craggy "mineral" note of this one, and I agree that this scent does conjure images of digging into damp clean earth. Still, it's very subtle. What I also get is a substantial alpha-isomethyl ionone note and it's got that quality of being somewhere between "buttery" and "ashen". This may be what gives it that wet, rocky, grey feel. Some have said there is little vetiver in this, and I'll concede, this is not a mega-vetiver for the bean counters. I do, however, easily detect vetiver here. The ginger gives it a spark and there's a slight kiss of sweetness in the base.

    The longevity/strength can be deceptive with this one. I can sit at home and spray several times on my arms and it seems like the stuff vanishes in minutes. However a few days ago, I wore two sprays under my t-shirt and dress shirt at work. It lasted at least 10 hours and actually generated some sillage. I was pleasantly surprised. It seems to lack oomph, but I think the more you wear it, the more you notice it.

    Understatement is the theme of Creed Vetiver, but it's totally refined and gentlemanly. I also find its quiet beauty to be calming and almost hypnotic at times. Perfection.

    16th April, 2009


    L'Occitan by L'Occitane

    This is a really good one. The black pepper is awesome in the opening. Then I get lavender, nutmeg and musk. Almost a touch of something like cherries/almonds. I think I smell Virginia cedar.

    What I like about it is that it's got a sort of washed out watercolor feel to it. To me, this has an overall similarity to Burberry Touch for Men, but I prefer this one-- it's somewhat more rustic and natural. Also, at times I get some common notes with Creed's Himalaya. The total effect of this one is having both sharp and smooth textures. Also it's versatile and easy to wear.

    If you like peppery scents, try this.

    14th January, 2009


    Ice*Men by Thierry Mugler

    I like this. I don't know if it's the same fragrance as A*Men Summer Flash, but it at least strikes me as similar. I thought I got a little more cotton candy when I tested Summer Flash, and this seems to be mostly about patchouli.

    Yes, I look at Ice*Men as primary a patchouli scent. Reminds me of the earthy patchouli grit of Rive Gauche Pour Homme, but this one is cool instead of warm. ZZ Top mentioned a "tinny" quality and I get that too, though I don't find it to be a bad thing. There's something of an unresolved suspension in this scent. You do expect at some point during the drydown that the whole thing will resolve to something warm or something cool. Nope, it keeps walking that tightrope all the way to the end. Cold patchouli. Crisp. Unusual.

    The bottle is so rad.

    17th December, 2008


    Bulgari pour Homme Extreme by Bulgari

    This is the scent that Platinum Egoiste becomes when it grows up and stops nightclubbing every night of the week.

    I couldn't live without this one.

    12th December, 2008 (Last Edited: 03rd April, 2010)


    Dior Homme Cologne by Christian Dior

    Though the differences are subtle, I find that I much prefer this reworked Cologne version of Dior Homme to the original EDT. It's got neroli and more bergamot, which lends it a depth and transparency. The powdery feeling is balanced this time with a slight effervescence. It feels a little "cooler" than the original. Also, it wears well in warm weather and after a workout.

    You can smell the precision in this one.

    11th December, 2008


    Habit Rouge by Guerlain

    It took me a while to appreciate Habit Rouge, because I think it takes a certain kind of maturity to pull it off. Not necessarily an age thing, it's more about one's demeanor and personal style. A few years ago, I would have been fighting with Habit Rouge, but now a couple of sprays of the EDC under a dress shirt seems to be the crowning touch.

    I agree with Asha's description of the notes and feel of Habit Rouge. It does have a bit of an animalic undercurrent that melds into a sweet vanilla base-- much the way L'Artisan's Dzing does. I feel like it does smell "red" for some reason, and red is not everyone's color. Though it doesn't smell of cherries, it evokes the word "cherry" as in the way someone would describe a classic car in mint condition. Habit Rouge is very cherry.

    I enjoy what others have called a "crispness" about the EDC. Though Habit Rouge is classified as an oriental, the EDC version is not your usual thick heavy oriental. It's very fresh and citric, with that sweet dusty base which reminds me a little of corn syrup. As it's an EDC, it wears closer to the skin, but I prefer that. I don't like orientals that scream.

    The EDT was more powdery than I would have liked, but it's been a while since I tested that and a retest is in order. I'd love to snag a bottle of the EDP, but it's hard to find. I actually find some strange parallels between the EDP and Habit Rouge Legere (which I think is also fantastic). I hear that there is a parfum extrait version out there now as well. Wow.

    They don't get any better than this Guerlain classic.

    28th November, 2008


    Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

    The first time I smelled it, it struck me a lot like Kouros. Now that I own a bottle, not so much. Still, I love the smell of Kiehl's musk, although up til now I've never had the courage to wear it in public. It's funky, dirty stuff in a vintage way-- like how women of previous generations used to wear really musky animalic perfumes. But this stuff is manly. I'm finally getting to the point where I don't feel uncomfortable wearing this in the right situations. It's deep and sexy, but wears somewhat close to the skin. The rose note is well done.

    Definitely one of the more funky ones on the market, but it's got serious sex appeal as well. Must be worn with a little bit of confidence.

    27th November, 2008


    Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella

    Definitely one of my all time favorite scents. Huge WOW factor. I first bought a bottle and loved it, but thought it was too strange to wear in public. I was wrong. I get the best compliments on Nostalgia. Women always notice it and tell me how good I smell.

    The gasoline and motor oil opening is unusual, but this fragrance evolves quickly into something deep, complex and magnetic. As the drydown unfolds, out comes leather, musk, fine tobacco, and exotic wood notes, the likes of which I've never smelled in a cologne. I also get a bit of hot gummy red cinnamon candy, like those Swedish Fish. The composition of this fragrance is amazing.

    If you ever try this one, you have to give it a full day's wearing-- don't judge it on a quick sampling. This is not just some dashed out novelty scent, but rather a well made luxury scent with lots of personality and class. The bottle is a bit ugly, but with a scent this good it's easy to overlook.

    This stuff is top gear.

    24th November, 2008


    Habit Rouge Eau de Toilette Légère by Guerlain

    I bought this first and then Habit Rouge EDC second. I like all of the incarnations of Habit Rouge, but I find the EDT a little too powdery for my taste. The EDC is sublime, but it wears like an EDC and the pitch of the fragrance tends to fall in the lower midrange.

    Habit Rouge Legere is a much brighter scent than the EDC, and less powdery than the EDT. It really accentuates the citrus topnotes. In a way it's almost unisex, but there in the basenotes, the leather and musk are still there. I actually find this fragrance to be much stronger than the EDC, so it's not quite accurate to think that this is just a "light" version of Habit Rouge. I also keep getting this red licorice "twizzlers" note out of it. When I sniff this, I can see what Dunhill Desire for a Man tried to be and failed at miserably.

    25th August, 2008


    Vetiver Extreme by Guerlain

    I can't believe the lack of enthusiasm for this fragrance, which in my opinion is fantastic. It's a Guerlain and it's a new chapter in the Vetiver story, so I'm kind of surprised at how little attention this has received.

    The first thing that impressed me about it is that it shares a bit of a unusual "rubbery" quality with Frederic Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire. The smell of hot rubber snorkels lying in the grass of a backyard, baking in the late afternoon sun of summer, near a pool. Vetiver Extraordinaire almost takes this facet too far, while Vetiver Extreme backs off it a little, balancing it with other things-- notably soft greens and spices.

    I think what may underwhelm people about Vetiver Extreme is that its sillage has a kind of "surface tension" quality about it. You either smell it or you don't. And when you smell it, you've hit a tipping point in which you smell all of it. You have to break a certain bubble of space to smell it, because the top notes don't continually break away and flare off like sunspots. The whole thing is so cohesive that it isn't given away by the screech of renegade top notes. So in a way, people might be upset because it doesn't bleed continuous sillage everywhere.

    I think it's a beautiful, sturdy variation on Guerlain's Vetiver. Earthy, green and sophisticated. The "Extreme" denotes a kind of "weight" rather than "intensity." In some ways the original Vetiver probably announces its presence with more volume. Vetiver Extreme is more of a deeper, somber, resonant lower register kind of affair.

    I have to wonder if once this stuff becomes hard to find, it won't garner more praise.

    19th August, 2008


    parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Soda by Comme des Garçons

    I like that this fragrance is inspired by effervescent soft drinks, yet it doesn't smell like any one particular type in particular. It's something like Sprite and 7UP, with its citrus notes, but then it's also got quite a ginger ale character as well--maybe even a touch of lemon Alka Seltzer. Soda is very strong, long lasting and generates pretty intense sillage-- although it's such a playful scent that it comes across really friendly and amiable. There is a bit of a citronella candle accord that sometimes comes through and I can see where some people might find it a bit like household solvents and cleaning agents like Pledge, but it doesn't bother me too much-- I expect a bit of a chemical playground feeling from the Synthetic Series.

    This is a good fragrance to wear on a 90+ degree day, when you're going to be outdoors for long periods of time and you want to stay constantly refreshed. Where most citrus colognes would shear off in the hot sun, this stuff is engineered (synthetically, of course) to stick around.

    18th July, 2008


    Santal Impérial by Creed

    For some reason, Santal Imperial has become one of my favorites lately. Like others have said, it's a bit conservative (nothing wrong with that!) and straightforward. The sandalwood here is soft and warm. Having smelled both real ambergris and most of the synthetic materials, I have to say that whatever is used in Santal Imperial smells very true to the salty, sweet and slightly animalic character of the real stuff. I get a lot of ambergris in this one. I also love the smoky tonka bean and mild cinnamon spice that fills in the woody floorboards.

    For a wood scent, it conveys a lightness that feels almost effervescent. The funny thing is that it reminds me a lot of the smell of some pink pencil erasers that I had when I was a kid.

    18th July, 2008 (Last Edited: 18th May, 2010)


    Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée by Chanel

    First of all, let me just say that Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée has been savaged by the same people who insist that Platinum Egoiste is garbage while the original Egoiste and the non-concentrée Pour Monsieur are flawless. I'm not knocking Egoiste or Pour Monsieur-- they're really great, it's true. But so are Platinum Egoiste and Pour Monsieur Concentrée.

    I was at a fragrance counter buying Egoiste Platinum and I happened to test Pour Monsieur Concentrée. I was instantly struck by it. I knew I'd be back for a bottle of it, and sure enough I came back the next day to get one. It has a fresh burst of classical style citrus bolstered by a big cardamom note that reminds me a bit of Prada Amber Homme's. What's instantly appealing is that the sweetness is almost a milky, coconutty, cotton candy web that wraps so tenderly around the bundle of citrus and spices. It tapers down to a flawlessly tailored base of vetiver and moss. The overall effect is almost like a soft tobacco warmth and a pastel purple freshness. The orchestration of vanilla and spice in this is extremely sophisticated. It has a semi-dry sweetness that never goes south... and a spicy oriental quality that never goes east.

    This is a formal scent that is quite versatile. I wouldn't wear it with a t-shirt and jeans, but it would go with anything from a nice casual button down dress shirt all the way to a tux with ease. I've received several nice compliments from women on this one and that doesn't surprise me. This one is truly great and easy to wear. Nothing but high marks.

    17th July, 2008


    Black Jeans by Versace

    One of the most perfect scents ever released. A cousin in spirit to Yves Saint Laurent's Rive Gauche Pour Homme-- they both share a slightly ironic take on classic, macho fragrances, but with a knowing intellectual wink. As others have said, these are both the equivalent to a fitted, black mens' dress shirt, open just a little at the collar.

    Black Jeans is very dry and sharp. It opens with a kind of pleasant "fumes" accord that would appeal to glue sniffers or people who enjoy the smell of gasoline. Very masculine. Then it settles into a dry herbal zone with a perfect vetiver base. There's not much point talking about the notes, because the whole is so coherent. It sparkles darkly across a room.

    I first discovered Black Jeans on a valet's table at a cheesy nightclub. Never having smelled it, I tried it and was astonished at how lively it was. It had real personality. I went back a few times to reapply-- I couldn't get enough. Unfortunately I had a hell of a time sourcing a bottle. Finally, years later I acquired a bottle from another Basenoter and was thrilled to finally be able to wear it again. Just the other day I snagged a second back-up bottle. With this being discontinued, I don't want to run out.

    A true gem.

    08th July, 2008


    Acqua d'Estate Essenza by Ermenegildo Zegna

    I got a bottle of this today and it's a nice light summer version of the original Essenza Di Zegna. As a summer version, it's similar to the way Issey Miyake's L'Eau Bleue Eau Fraiche was reworked from the original L'Eau Bleue-- lots of mint. I still get that banana/dental anesthetic/anbesol note in this one-- I noticed it in the original, and I like it. Strange, but gives it a bit of character. There's a cucumber note in this as well-- this reminds me of a subtler cousin to Aramis' Surface Skin Tonic. Even though it's probably pretty synthetic-- all sharp crisp edges, it still feels like luxury to me. Doesn't seem to have extreme longevity, but it's great for hot days.

    06th July, 2008


    Blue Jeans by Versace

    I've done a 180 on this one. Hated it the first time. Actually returned my bottle which I almost never do. Then, over time I began wondering about Blue Jeans again. Had I misjudged it? Though a staple of the TJ MAXX clearance racks, I'd begun to notice less and less of it lying around, so I decided to grab it before it became too hard to find. I think my original bottle was bad or something, because my new bottle is really good. Sure, there is a kind of cheap almost tacky quality lurking in this scent, but it can also be thought of as an assertive forwardness or self confidence as well. It's almost done in a humorous, lighthearted way.

    Lots of sweet pipe tobacco in this one, balanced against an herbal heart of galbanum. Maybe a bit dated in a mid-90's tight rolled jeans kind of way. Still, it lifts my mood. It smells very free and playful. Smells like an olfactory intersection of naiveté and cunning.

    30th June, 2008


    Rose 31 by Le Labo

    When I put a spray of this on, it's like "new car smell" for the human body. Really crisp, transparent, and upifting. If I wake up feeling ragged, a shower followed by a spray of this seems to reset the odometer nicely. Despite the presence of cumin, this smells perfectly clean to me--the cumin here is like that in Baldessarini and Erolfa-- nothing like Kingdom-- don't be afraid. What I like is that this fragrance feels like it has no mass-- it's tenacious and long lasting, but it seems to weigh nothing-- it levitates. All the ingredients in this produce a very nice unified whole. A very modern rose scent that is masculine/unisex and well tailored. On top of that, it gives off a radiant, natural sillage that reminds me of Comme des Garçons Odeur 53, in that it doesn't come across much like a "cologne" or "perfume". It seems to slip quietly through the nostrils and olfactory center of the brain without triggering any "I SMELL PERFUME!" responses. Also, it smells sexy.

    25th June, 2008


    Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge by Bulgari

    My favorite of the Bulgari's "tea" series.

    The aspect that I find so novel in this is its tannic character. I get the exact smell of the skin of a red delicious apple on September evening, as the sun sets. Not the smell of apples, but specifically the slightly bitter smell of apple skin. It's a really evocative note, and it reminds me of Autumn and hayrides. Also, the tannic character suggests red wine. Makes me think fondly of getting "wine drunk" with a girl and the lovey-dovey feelings that result. Sure I suppose most people experience this fragrance more literally for its red tea notes, but that's not what I get from it. The whole thing is framed by a sunkissed note of hedione, which gives it a warm blissed out transparent feel. Completely unisex and a work of evocative, minimalist beauty.

    05th June, 2008


    L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    For a long time I bashed this one. It didn't seem to have that YSL "DNA". It didn't seem to be dangerous, dark, eccentric or interesting the way the other YSL fragrances are. My first thoughts were that L'Homme smelled extremely generic. But one afternoon I was wearing a sample of it and wound up getting an enthusiastic comment from a girl I was dating. So, like a little chimp, I ran out the next day and bought a bottle. I still felt that it wasn't up to YSL snuff, but it was better than I thought. As time went on, I found that I liked it more and more. The topnotes weren't my favorite part, but I liked the way the effervescent ginger collided with the vetiver in the base.

    It's never going to be the best thing that YSL has released, but I do like it. It has more depth than it seems at first glance, so do test it thoroughly. If you're wanting to smell good for girls who don't care about the particular minutiae of your perfume while they're busy ripping off your shirt, then buy this and don't feel bad about wearing it. Girls will like it. Still, if you want them to bite you passionately, obsess over you, sleep with garments that smell like you, well then... you'll have to wear Rive Gauche Pour Homme.

    04th June, 2008


    Tom Ford for Men by Tom Ford

    I was quite perplexed to find this one so middle-of-the-road and yet so sublime that I'm always eager to wear it often... I think it's one of the best all around fragrances a man can buy these days. Sure, it smells cologney, and there are times when it reminds me of Escada PH, L'Instant de Guerlain PH, Obsession for Men, and a whole slew of things we've all smelled before-- but dammit if this isn't the one that just gets it right. A crisp tangy orange over a slightly dressed up aromatic base. I don't really know what the cypriol contributes, but this does have a wonderfully musky base-- and women have commented positively on it. Sure the clear plastic cap looks like the puffed up reservoir tip of a condom-- and knowing how Tom Ford is, it's probably no coincidence... but the classic notched bottle and amber colored juice are a fitting complement to this scent which is understated and perfectly balanced.

    Lasts really well on me and it's one of the most versatile fragrances I own. It proves that a fragrance doesn't need to be novel to be perfect.

    02nd June, 2008


    Opium pour Homme Eau d'Orient by Yves Saint Laurent

    I bought this blind and immediately found it to be shockingly great. There's a mouthwatering grapefruit note that is reminiscent of the sweetened red grapefruit segments that come packed in jars of sugar syrup-- and this note lingers all the way though. Also, the dry, peppery melange of spice notes grabs your attention right away like a Chinese firecracker. The subtle vetiver in the base rounds everything out nicely. I dislike the heavy-handed sweetness of most orientals, but this one achieves a perfect dryness. This fragrance also resonates with a certain air of mystery-- when you walk up to a group of women wearing this, they will all wonder who you are.

    I've recently discovered the original Opium Pour Homme and it's good, but I prefer the modern touch of Eau D'Orient (2006 version). Get a bottle and wear it to your favorite smoke-filled, dimly lit bar. Then watch the magic happen.

    28th May, 2008


    Play by Comme des Garçons


    I just got a sample of it today and it initially gave me deja vu. It reminded me of "T" by Tommy Hilfiger (the one that smells like a freshly washed t-shirt). However, the notes that rumble along under the bright sunny surface are nice and edgy-- A bit of burned rubber to go with a clean shirt. Very nice. I'd buy a bottle right now if the design on the bottle didn't look like some John Wayne Gacy clown nightmare. Still, it smells great.

    17th May, 2008

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