Reviews by JaimeB

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    JaimeB
    United States United States

    Showing 61 to 90 of 281.
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    L'Eau de Tarocco by Diptyque

    Saffron and cedar make this eau de cologne memorable, and different from others in the genre. I don't quite smell the blood orange here (that's what the name 'tarocco' means in Italian). The citrus notes that are the hallmark of the genre are fine in this one, however, and seem to complement the spice-and-wood theme very well. Incense rounds out the accord and gives it a bit of distinction and suavity. One doesn't tire of this; it makes a good steady scent to wear in fine weather.

    02 November, 2009 (Last Edited: 17 February, 2010)

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    Yatagan by Caron

    This one used to have bulging muscles, but has been reformulated down to a slimmer figure. It still has some power, and for nostalgic reasons, I continue to like it, though it is no longer what it was in the 70s and 80s. (Yes, children, I do remember those days: I was already grown up then!) Yatagan retains an unusual floral-aromatic accord within the chypre genre. What it seems to lack now is projection and longevity. Wishing for it to be what it once was is an exercise in futility; it still boasts a lively presence for its unusual character and its animalic undertones. I'll say it's still a thumbs-up. Many more alterations, however...

    28 October, 2009

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    Antaeus by Chanel

    Antaeus is a masterpiece of its genre. The combination of myrtle and clary sage in the top note is an incredibly powerful reinforcement of the woody notes of cedar and sandalwood, and the perfect complement for the chypre accord of bergamot, oakmoss and patchouli. In fact the patchouli function in the chypre accord is helped by labdanum in the base, as well as being strengthened by the animalic notes of beeswax and castoreum. This scent has a wonderful sillage and longevity. It is attributed legendary powers of seduction. That's as may be, but for whatever reason, it undeniably turns heads. Some people put this down as a power scent from the 80s; they may have reason to categorize it that way, but it is paradigmatic of its type, and far above even the best of its imitators.

    26 October, 2009

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    Géranium pour Monsieur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Fresh, spicy, resinous, with a good drydown of musk and resins. Good for fair cool to warm weather and an upbeat mood. This has a pretty good longevity on my skin, as well as a moderate sillage. For me, this is not the best of the Frédéric Malle line, but that's because my taste runs to heavier, more complex scents. For what it is, this is very well-balanced and well-constructed fragrance.

    17 October, 2009

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    Lyric Man by Amouage

    Top Notes: Bergamot, Lime
    Middle Notes: Rose, Angelica, Orange Blossom, Galbanum, Ginger, Nutmeg, Saffron
    Base Notes: Pine, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musk, Incense
    A rose is a rose, is a rose... but in this case, so much more than a rose! The spicy and oriental notes abound to escort and support the rich, pure Damask rose in this scent. Her only floral competition is orange blossom, and the rest of the spicy, resinous crew make her smell pretty green and just a little bit earthy. This is going to be a trip to wear!

    08 October, 2009

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    Un Bois de Sépia by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Luca Turin, in "Perfumes: The Guide," presents an analysis of a few scents which would derive them, among them Bois de Violette, Bois et Fruits, and Un Bois Vanille from the earlier Féminité du Bois.He traces its history, ultimately deriving its concept from Chanel Bois des Îles through Caron Parfum Sacré to the cedar and fruity accord that Pierre Bourdon conceived while in Marrakech, and then passed on to Christopher Sheldrake. He in turn made it into Lutens' first introduction for the Palais Royal Shiseido collection. Turin says that Bourdon and Sheldrake "generously credit each other" with the concept; but the technique of "overdosage," in which a background note in one version of a scent is brought forward to a central position, each one in turn, to make a series of related perfumes, says Turin, is Bourdon's bit of genius. I don't know if you can properly call these scents "flankers" of Feminité du Bois, but the family resemblance is unmistakable.

    Turin goes on to pan Un Bois Sépia, but Un Bois Sépia is just as much one of the flankers of Féminité du Bois as the others. It is the one that emphasizes the woods and resins and soft-pedals the fruity notes of the parent scent. Sandalwood, cypress, vetiver, patchouli, and opopanax make for an opulent effect that is truly memorable. Un Bois Sépia is not the most delicate, nor the most stunning, of the series, but it might fairly be said to be the subtlest, and to have the densest base note of the pentad. It develops incrementally through the soft, then the sparkling, then the deep aspects of the accord. Not the greatest in longevity, nor in sillage of the group, but perhaps the most soothing and comforting.

    26 September, 2009 (Last Edited: 14 October, 2009)

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    Fleurs de Bois by Miller Harris

    This is a very nice green scent with a good supporting base of oakmoss and woodsy notes, notably patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, and birch. The birch here doesn't make a particularly leathery impression. The tangerine in the top will do for bergamot, so I guess this would pass as a woody-green-floral chypre with rose, jasmine and iris doing the heavy lifting for the florals section. There is a touch of incense in this, which is due to the resinous quality of rosemary; any maker of church incense knows that you can atone for inferior frankincense by adding a little good rosemary oil into the mix. Galbanum, grass, and rosemary are a good green note here, with just enough of a hint of dissonance between the dense rosemary and the slightly sharp-and-sour grass note.

    11th September, 2009

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    Bowling Green by Geoffrey Beene

    I seem to remember an incarnation of this from the 1970s, but I must be dreaming. It goes on great, like gangbusters, but quickly goes much quieter. Still, it never backs away beyond detection until the very end. People classify this as a spicy scent, but I would call it spicy-green, since the spice seems to be there mostly to liven up the green bits. This is very pleasant to wear, especially in the daytime and in fine weather. The notes are the uplifting kind, so it works to sustain or create a good mood for me. I've seen the "drugstore" version of this, but I think the one I have must predate that, because it seems to retain the complexity I remember from the original.

    07 September, 2009

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    L'Anarchiste by Caron

    This is far from the usual, pretty much on the edge at the very outset. Later it tames down a little, and winds up smelling creamy and elegant. An anarchist in youth that has come to the finer things of life later on? The early phase does have much of the firebrand about it; the drydown speaks of maturity, but definitely not of disenchantment or resignation, with a bit of powdery musk still showing the nonconformist edge. The bottle I have was a gift from a friend of excellent taste, but it was not brand new when I received it. On my skin it doesn't fulfill its reputation for longevity, but perhaps the bottle is old enough for the juice to have gone off a bit. I can always spray a little more to keep it going... and I do think it's worth keeping it going!

    04 September, 2009

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    Molinard Homme I by Molinard

    A nice, typical masculine from Molinard. This is a kind of hybrid between chypre and fougère, without being either: it has the lavender and oakmoss of a fougère, but lacks the expected tonka bean; it has the oakmoss and patchouli of a chypre, but none of the chypre top note of bergamot. Still it does very well as a quiet, unassuming sort of scent, perfect for the workplace, where those sorts of values are appreciated. It does equally well if one is in a contemplative mood, or is in need of soothing reassurance. Well made and pleasant, but not meant to be exciting. That's cool by me, sometimes — sometimes it's exactly what I'd like.

    02 September, 2009

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    Cabaret Homme by Grès

    A fresh, spicy fougère suitable for sporty, daytime, or casual wear. It also makes a good workplace scent. While this is nothing earth-shaking or terribly innovative, it is a good, somewhat quiet, and fairly suave scent. Freshness from pineapple in the top, with rosemary, coriander, juniper berries, and basil for herbal and spicy notes; there are delicate florals in the heart, sporting lavender to pick up the herbal top, lily of the valley for subtlety, and a touch of jasmine for depth; oriental base notes of woods, amber, and more spice (clove and absinthe) complement the oakmoss and tonka bean which, with the lavender, give the fougère triad. Smooth, suave, acceptably (or deceptively?) well-mannered.

    31st August, 2009

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    Sel de Vetiver by Different Company

    A salty, slightly bitter scent, with overtones of spice, a sweet floral note, earthy root notes, a celery- like note (lovage) and an underlying iris almost devoid of powdery effect. This is a tour-de-force of a fragrance, whose character is beautiful without a trace of prettiness. The beauty is in the audacity of it, and in its extreme rawness and earthiness. The geranium and one of the vetivers in it are called "Bourbon," after the pre-French-Revolution name of the Indian Ocean island of Réunion, an overseas region of France; this island is a perfumer's emporium of exotic white florals, aromatic grasses, vanilla, and geranium, among others. Anyway, wear Sel de Vétiver, and you're bound to attract attention!

    25 August, 2009

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    Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Very nice. The pine needles are fun, but to my nose, what makes the scent are the unspecified spice notes. The woody oriental drydown works very well with this set of notes, as does the sap note, which lends a touch of sweetness. Some sources list fruit notes in this, but I don't get that out of it. I think it's the sap notes that are pushing the sweet thing, along with some sweet spices. Characterized by considerable longevity and decent sillage.

    19 August, 2009

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    A Scent by Issey Miyake

    Issey Miyake
    A Scent
    (2009)
    Daphne Bugey
    Top Notes: Lemon, Verbena
    Middle Notes: Jasmine, Hyacinth
    Base Notes: Cedar, Galbanum

    This is very reminiscent of green florals going on. One thinks of Chanel No. 19, or even Vent Vert. Then the accord takes on a persistent and unpleasant note of acetone. (That's right, nail polish remover.) I suspect something I've smelled before in other scents that listed a synthetic musk note, but I don't know which one. It doesn't go away for quite a while, maybe 45 minutes, but even then, traces linger. If it weren't for this, I could give this an excellent rating, but I can't really say I admire anything so synthetic and chemical-smelling. On the basis of the objectionable note's eventual attenuation, I'll stretch a point and give it a neutral score.

    12 August, 2009

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    Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

    Quite a simple, yet effective presentation of a kind of "terroir" smell: the smell of a piece of land and its associated vegetation. The much-discussed silica or flint note here seems to me really the product of pepper and geranium notes augmented by dry, woody notes, though there is likely some synthetic that tweaks that into a bit more stony vibe. The citrus top seems to acquire a greener feel under the influence of these. Some people complain about sillage and longevity of this scent, but I find the base notes do a good job of fixation, even though the sparkling nature of the top notes does dissipate relatively quickly. This is an intellectually satisfying piece, rather than an emotional one. I can't bring myself to think of it as sexy, but then, they don't all need to be that. This is very good just as it is, when worn for what it's good for. Keep it on tap for cool, uncomplicated occasions.

    11th August, 2009

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    Jean-Louis Scherrer by Jean-Louis Scherrer

    A classic chypre from the 1980's, with prominent moss notes in the base. The "woody notes" definitely include patchouli, and the mandarin stands in for bergamot. The floral bouquet in the middle is classic and very tastefully done, so the florals don't tip the balance against the base notes. Marketed to women, but the drydown is fine on a man, since all the florals in this are now commonly found in "masculine" scents and fall well short of screeching levels.

    09 August, 2009

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    Parure by Guerlain

    Parure means ornament, adornment, finery, often in the sense of jewelry. This is indeed sparkling and brilliant, like a ball gown or a diamond tiara. Green, citrus, and aldehyde notes in the top give the sparkle; delicate florals shimmer in the heart note; and orientals, leather, moss, and amber give depth and just enough gravitas in the base. In the drydown, this takes on a curious, cinnamic note, which has really been present all along, and just waiting its turn for the others to get out of its way in order to shine more brightly. A Jean-Paul Guerlain classic, without a doubt, worn as happily by some men as by women.

    08 August, 2009 (Last Edited: 23 December, 2009)

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    Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris

    Cascarilla bark comes from a plant native to the West Indies, Croton eleuteria. Cascarilla bark is (among other things) used to flavor the liquors Campari and Vermouth. Maybe that's why it makes me think of Negronis (minus the gin, of course). But at least part of the magic in Feuilles de Tabac comes from the weird triangle of sage, coumarin, and tobacco leaf. Tonka bean (the coumarin note in this) is usually found in fougères, which this definitely isn't. The patchouli rounding this out into a kind of woody-oriental vibe doesn't make sense either. Even so, all in all, this is one of the best and most novel tobacco scents out there. It deserves to be better known. I don't wear it enough, but that's got to change.

    07 August, 2009

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    Aperçu by Houbigant

    Geranium and rosewood in this do an amazing job of making you believe you are smelling roses. This is reinforced by the cinnamon notes in both cinnamon bark oil and cassia bark. The actual florals, in the top note here, are white florals used with a delicate hand, and closely associated with citrus notes, which also exist in attar of roses. The capstone of the rose deception is in the addition of sandalwood, the final brush stroke in the simulation. The bergamot-oakmoss-patchouli triangle make of this s perfect classical chypre, worthy of Houbigant. As suitable for men as for women, if worn lightly. Sadly now withdrawn from the market.

    06 August, 2009

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    Kenzo Power by Kenzo

    Spice, florals, and woody oriental notes; this hits all the major fragrance groups popular in contemporary unisex fragrances. A bit powdery in the heart and consistently spicy almost throughout, its woody oriental character doesn't fully emerge for a while. It never really loses that pervasive spicy edge. The first time I tried it, I didn't much care for it, but it came to grow on me with successive trials. I suspect for many it may be an acquired taste, with its slightly metallic edge and sharp coriander-cardamom persistence. The dry down can be a bit screechy if overapplied, so beware. On the whole, substantially satisfying for a sufficiently acclimatized nose.

    05 August, 2009

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    Apparition Homme Intense by Ungaro

    This is a flanker that improves on the original Apparition Homme. The notes are deeper and more well-balanced. The whole hangs together better than the original. The chief improvement is in the heart note, where the Chinese anise and coriander reinforce the licorice in the base and make it more of a blended accord. In the base, vanilla and amber form a rounder, softer foundation with the licorice than the vetiver alone did. The dryness of the black pepper in the heart is also gone, in keeping with the softer feel of the Intense. The projection and longevity is not softer, however; rather, both are stronger. This was at Neiman's for a bit. If you can find it, it's definitely worth a sniff.

    17 July, 2009 (Last Edited: 14 January, 2010)

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    Elite by Floris

    I'm in the minority among Basenotes reviewers of this scent. Here's my take on it: Elite is a woody-floral fougère with a green citrus top. The notes, to my nose, marry very well. It seems a bright and optimistic fragrance, not what one would usually think of when seeing patchouli, cedar, oakmoss, vetiver, and sandalwood all stacked up in a fragrance; but in Elite, the top notes and the unusual combination of lavender and tuberose give the whole a real lift and brighten it considerably. Even in the drydown, the gentler notes persist. This may not be to the taste of those who prefer "modern" fragrances, but it's pretty well put together and deserves the occasional outing.

    17 July, 2009 (Last Edited: 23 March, 2010)

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    F pour Homme Black by Salvatore Ferragamo

    Different enough from F pour Homme: Apple is out, black pepper and tonka bean, in. This is nicer than F pour Homme, because it feels rounder, but also because it has a much more prominent labdanum note in the drydown; or perhaps the tonka bean just amplifies the sweet, resinous nature of the labdanum. Whatever it is that does it, it works. Still nice for work or casual situations, it now adds something to make it pleasant for an evening out as well.

    09 July, 2009

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    Lotus Bleu by Roger & Gallet

    A good, summery scent with bright, crisp citrus in the top, pretty florals in the middle (including the unusual blue lotus note), and a smooth, oriental base. This is a good fresh scent that is acceptably circumspect for a man to wear discreetly. It's well and truly uplifting and energizing, redolent of sunshine and gardens and pleasant company in a relaxed and warm setting. Sweet without being cloying, it soothes and calms and sets the heart at ease.

    09 May, 2009

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    Aramis 900 by Aramis

    A very nice green floral chypre for men, not given the kudos it deserves. This is a very good example of how the "feminine" idiom can be made to fit the "masculine" market through simple marketing and tacit acceptance. There's nothing in this that is inherently exclusively suited to either gender, but it's abundantly clear that acceptance is everything in a case like this: slap an authoritative label on it, and that's what it becomes — nay, what it has always been! Perfect for cool, rainy weather.

    05 May, 2009

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    Noir Epices by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Brooding, sensuous, mysterious... Citrus and floral top note; bold spices in the middle; woody and rooty base — a near-chypre in my book, except for the lack of oakmoss. This is a haunting fragrance to wear, and not for the timid. It has a definite presence and a notable sillage. Best for evenings out or romantic ones at home, but fine (judiciously applied) for daytime socials. A scent of confidence, self-assurance, allure, and animal magnetism; be all that, or use with caution!

    16 April, 2009

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    Un Parfum des Sens et Bois by Different Company

    Fresh and woody without smelling artificial. I smelled this and liked it even better on my skin than on paper. Speaking of skin, I want to say that this smells like a skin scent; yet it has a definite, if subdued projection. I think it will be good for daytime and casual wear, especially in cool to mild weather. The standout in this one is the elemi, which subtly takes the edge off the ginger, and which also hangs around longer than you would expect for a top note, wafting in and out all during the ride.

    28 March, 2009

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    Eau de Cartier by Cartier

    A very fresh woody oriental, I would say, but this is a bit green also. I like this quite a bit better than the Concentrée flanker; I think even though it's not as intense, it has a more floral and less peppery character. Of late, I have found that sharp peppery note less appealing. Not very long-lasting, although the drydown is definitely quite nice. Sillage diminishes as it wears off. The base notes keep this going a little bit longer, and are largely responsible for that really wonderful drydown. Just as true of this as of the Concentrée: Simplicity and transparency have their charms.

    27 March, 2009

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    L'Eau de Neroli by Diptyque

    A very good cologne, with an unusual accord of verbena, tarragon, neroli, geranium, and cedar. Not your usual stuff; balanced beautifully, and very well blended. It has good sillage for an eau de cologne, and decent longevity, too. The mood is definitely sunny and upbeat, if a bit cool.

    25 March, 2009

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    Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme by Van Cleef & Arpels

    A green and herbal rose chypre for men. This is no rose scent for any but the most daring woman. The juniper, artemisia, castoreum, leather and strong herbal top notes put this squarely in the traditional "masculines" camp. The rose, jasmine, orris, and carnation lend an air of sophistication and distinction, but don't "pretty up" the scent in an ornamental way; they are organic to the structure and tie the whole together by smoothing and balancing the fiercer bits. This is not a shy scent either: both longevity and sillage are prominent. This is suave, elegant, yet natural and relaxed for the man who can carry it off. That would be a confident, smooth, and out-going man of the world.

    15 March, 2009

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