Reviews by JaimeB

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    Showing 91 to 120 of 284.

    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.

    27th March, 2009


    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.

    25th March, 2009


    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.

    15th March, 2009


    Teck by Molinard

    Herbal and woody in the base with mint and citrus in the top, going on to sage, sandalwood, and the resiny-sweet note of mastic in the heart, Teck is somewhat old-school (as other reviewers have pointed out), but dead elegant. Very strong sillage at first, that mellows after a while, but never really goes away. Strange in that for a woody fragrance it still manages to have a definite sweetness to it. The sage note plays a more prominent role as this progresses: one of its chief virtues is that it has a clear progression throughout. Good balance, fine construction, and overall elegance make this a fine example of a masculine that could become a classic, if only more people knew about it...

    07th March, 2009


    Eau de Lalique by Lalique

    A bright, floral eau de cologne style fragrance with woody-musky base notes and a novel green note, dill. On me one of the most refreshing and novel EdC-style scents I've come across in a long time. This is especially good in warm weather, and always produces an up-beat, lighthearted mood in me. This lasts a long time and the drydown is very smooth. Also, reapplication is not a problem, as it can be with many eaux de cologne, which are not friendly to perspiration and require soap and water before reapplication. Not so with this one; reapplying is worry-free.

    11th February, 2009


    Rose Barbare by Guerlain

    Not at work today, so I thought I would get away with a little mischief in the form of sporting this rosy, honeyed fragrance. It shouldn't raise any eyebrows if worn on a man, but of course, people being what they are, it would... One of the originals from the L'Art et la Matière series, this is a beautiful composition of rose attar (the purest form of rose oil extraction), honey notes (for a slight animalic quality), and a blend of subtle spicy notes; the whole gives this an incredible cachet. It has a nice, but not overwhelming sillage and very good longevity on my skin.

    09th February, 2009 (Last Edited: 22nd July, 2009)


    Mayotte / Mahora by Guerlain

    Something round and woody, fruity and oriental under this green floral. Some people think this is death by tuberose, but I find it deep and anything but screechy. After a few minutes, this is not so much about white florals as it is about oriental base notes and fruit wood. A very fine EdP by Guerlain. Can this be worn by men? Be patient, men, and see how this dries down on your skin. If you are lucky, it might just work for you!

    24th January, 2009


    Ho Hang by Balenciaga

    A spicy aromatic fougère scent from the early 70s. Fresh and spicy top notes lead to a heart of woods and florals, with a base of amber, resins, musk, coumarin, and vanilla. Great sillage right off and then gets quieter; longevity varies depending on temperature. An appealing scent: fresh, energizing, suave, not overwhelming.

    02nd January, 2009


    Coriolan by Guerlain

    A heavy contender at the start, this is best after it has a chance to wear down a bit. Definitely not one to overapply, either. Having given those caveats, however, this is a remarkable scent. It speaks confidence and power, and after having been retired for a time, it has earned enough recognition to return, only slightly chastened, as l'Âme d'un Héros. Citrus and herbal to start, the original then goes into a heart of strong herbal, green, and spice notes slightly relieved by ylang-ylang; woods, leather, and resins in the base complete this green-herbal chypre. Not for the faint of heart or for casual wear, this must be kept back for greater needs and occasions. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for the soul of the valiant and questing knight, it's as necessary as a coat of chain mail.

    30th December, 2008 (Last Edited: 18th September, 2009)


    Chamade by Guerlain

    A classic scent from Guerlain with a rich floral palette balanced by green galbanum, spices, and oriental base notes. Looking at the pyramid, one imagines something very rich, perhaps even heavy, but this is blended with a very light hand. The overall impression is ultimately fresh, airy, slightly spicy, and green with a lingering hint of the florals. Good longevity and decent sillage characterize this fragrance. I think most men wouldn't find this impoassible to wear — in the EdT form, at least (on which this review is based).

    29th December, 2008


    Royal Scottish Lavender by Creed

    One of the nicer old Creeds, from 1856. This is slightly 'soapy,' but not in a bad way; the lavender and slight clove note are very fresh. Supporting in the head note is bergamot and neroli, and in the base, sandalwood, vanilla, and a bit of amber. This is not one of the ambergris-dominant Creeds. No need to be too sparing with this, for if you go too light, it will not last or project. A moderate dose will achieve a better effect, and then the sillage and longevity will be worth the trouble. Overall, a very classic old-school lavender, elegant, but not stuffy; a good country or more relaxed town fragrance. Soothing, tranquil, but not sleepy; rather, I would say it is more energizing than otherwise.

    27th December, 2008 (Last Edited: 10th March, 2010)


    Santal Impérial by Creed

    Quite old-school, not very strong, with a somewhat limited sillage. This is a very straightforward sandalwood, with a little bergamot in the top and some other woody and coumarin notes in the base, plus the ever-present Creed signature ambergris. Not great on longevity, this scent is nevertheless redolent of aristocracy and conservative notions of style. If you like solid and reliable scents that send a message of (perhaps slightly smug) self-possession and self-regard, this is for you. The other possibility is that you like something very obviously old-fashioned; simple, yet brilliant in its simplicity; and satisfyingly (if fleetingly) beautiful; then this is for you, too. Personally, I think I'll take it on the latter terms.

    26th December, 2008


    Nuit de Noël by Caron

    A very lovely, very intriguing woody floral-oriental from 1922 by Ernest Daltroff, founding "nose" of the house of Caron. This is a chypre in structure, with a citrus top and oakmoss in the base, but in an oriental base note with sandalwood and vanilla. The heart notes are rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, orris root, and precious woods; the "woods" here may include some things we might usually call spices, notably cinnamon. The balance of the floral notes in the heart is exquisite, with just enough orris root to soften and blur the slight sharpness of the ylang-ylang, yet without making the scent in the least powdery. This is a real classic, and in spite of the floral nature of the heart, not something particularly feminine; the general tone of Nuit de Noël is not very different from, say, PdN New York. This is a real classic, timeless in the original formulation; even the EdP is full and generous, round and redolent. Even if you never wear it, you must smell this to get a reference base for the woody floral-oriental as high art.

    24th December, 2008


    Scent 79 for Men by Jil Sander

    The notes in this sound marvelous, and it is an eau de parfum. Going on, however, while it's a very nice, I find the sillage modest for an EdP and the longevity a bit disappointing. The scent itself is well made, progeressing nicely from top to bottom. I'm a big fan of clary sage, so its presence here is very welcome, and it makes a wonderful accord with the angelica root and incense. There's no citrus listed in the top here, and indeed, that citrus brightness which might have made it a bit more vivid seems to be missing. A lovely floral accord of jasmine, violet, and orris root in the heart is touchingly simple and subtle, yet elegant. Finally the base of leather, vetiver, and sandalwood is unimpeachably masculine and grounds the scent in that territory. I can't help wishing this stood a]out a bit more from the skin. You've got to get very close to detect it properly, and the lack of any light or sharp note does make it a bit heavy. On the other hand, it's a lovely bit of work, well made and showing good development. I suppose one can't have everything; but one still wants everything, doesn't one? I want to give it a thumbs up, but I'll call this one neutral. I think Buxton could do (and has done) better.

    20th December, 2008


    Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

    One of my all-time favorites. Balanced, classic, well-blended, and above all, engaging to those around me. When I wear this to work, people always remark favorably about it. My supervisor has followed me around sniffing my sillage as we went. She's a real fan of this scent now, although she didn't know it before she first smelled it on me. To take a slightly more analytical approach, let me say that lavender, rosewood, and clary sage make a beautiful opening accord; the muscatel note of the clary sage does wonders for the marriage of the other two. The florals in the middle notes are also a classic accord of rose, jasmine, and geranium, but with an extraordinary lily of the valley note which lifts them into something far less predictable. Coumarin, woods, and vanilla in the base make a gracious underpinning for the notes above, and just enough patchouli rounds out the whole quite elegantly. One word to sum it up? Intoxicating.

    17th December, 2008


    M7 by Yves Saint Laurent

    Strange and wonderful, a congeries of exotic notes, from agarwood (oud) right down to mandrake root. Along the way, there are such commonplaces as bergamot, mandarin, rosemary, amber, musk, and vetiver, but the exotics really transform the usual suspects into strange beasts in and of themselves. The overall effect is one of mysterious, slightly pharmaceutical exuberance and sensuality. Mandrake is a plant steeped in lore, a member of the deadly nightshade family (along with belladonna), a plant that induces delirium; and whose resemblance, because of its bifurcated root, to a human figure with arms and legs, caused it to be used in arcane magical rituals. John Donne, the 17th century Anglican priest and mystic wrote in his famous Song: "Go and catch a falling star/Get with child a mandrake root,/Tell me where all past years are/ Or who cleft the devil's foot,/Teach me to hear mermaids singing,/Or to keep off envy's stinging,/And find/What wind/Serves to advance an honest mind." Like the lyric, M7 is mystical, magical, and profound.

    16th December, 2008


    Idole de Lubin by Lubin

    Slightly smoky, spicy, woody with a touch of citrus and booze over sandalwood and leather. Olivia Giacobetti designed this one for Lubin, and made a splash in a new pond. By that, I mean this is not her usual style — she usually has more subtlety and finesse than this, but less gumption; here she has dropped some of the reserve and picked up a bit more edgy energy. There are curious notes in the pyramid (the cult of the exotic?) like doum palm and black cumin. This is a great cool-to-cold weather scent, bringing warmth and soothing vibes into the mix with the up-tempo, more typically masculine notes. Decent longevity and good sillage (while it lasts) are positives for this juice; the only small negative is that it could be a bit more tenacious. Overall, very nice: comfortable, but not boring; trendy, but not outré.

    10th December, 2008


    Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Borneo 1834 is not quite like anything else. The camphor note seems to come on quite strong on my skin right off, with just a hint of the cocoa from the base note. This strikes me as a rather strange combination, especially because I imagined the patchouli would chime in first, but on me, it waits a bit longer to appear. While it's waiting, a hint of white florals begins to emerge, along with the spicy edge of cardamom. Galbanum begins to enter the picture, and then, finally, the strains of patchouli begin to play, along with a touch of labdanum. This is a beautiful scent which unfolds quite dramatically, with good longevity and moderate sillage. Later, when the rest of the players have gone to bed, patchouli and cocoa remain to provide the famous signature of Borneo 1834 that everyone talks about.

    07th December, 2008


    Sandringham by Crown Perfumery

    Some have called this a chypre, but the predominance of lavender in it makes it seem more of a fougère to me. That is neither here nor there, I suppose. What is interesting about this is the sort of old-world, old-school masculine vibe that was so dominant in men's scents until thirty years ago or so. Dating from 1873, Sandringham (named for Sandringham House, a crown estate of the British royal family in Norfolk) seems like a snapshot of mid-to-late-Victorian masculine elegance and (perhaps not too happily) probity. It does have a bit of the stuffed shirt about it. At the same time, the woody base in the back note is a tad rougher, leading the redoubtable Baron de Charlus (channeled as archly as ever by our own Naed_Nitram) to allege that it has "perhaps a hint of the royal brothel about it." The drydown is softer, and comes fairly promptly, though it lasts quite a long time. In fact, for longevity, this is one of the more remarkable scents. It is getting hard to find, as with so many bygone classics; nonetheless lovers of period pieces will quite likely adore this.

    04th December, 2008


    Marquis by Anglia Perfumery

    To my nose, this is very reminiscent of Floris JF. Looking at the published pyramids, there is only a superficial resemblance, but I feel haunted by the similarity in overall impression. The biggest difference is in the opening, where the neroli note in this gives a much sweeter impression than JF. The wormwood (artemisia) note makes the JF a little more "medicinal" also. In Marquis, juniper, neroil, and galbanum join citrus notes to add complexity in the top notes. Lavender and herbal notes are the chief components of the heart, with clary sage, rosemary, basil and mint featured there; spicy coriander and green angelica add depth in the heart as well. "Exotic spices" make the interest in the base note, supported by the usual suspects: amber, moss, and woody notes. Overall impressions of Marquis include: an opening that is fresh, but also a bit sharp and definitely sweet at the same time; good projection and sillage with a decent longevity; and a markedly mellower drydown, for which one must wait a good hour or more. Not for the timid, but if you like green, herbal, a little sweet, lavender, and hints of spice, this could be for you. As for me, I'm quite happy to wear this bit of nostalgia from 1928.

    04th December, 2008


    L'Essence de Must de Cartier by Cartier

    A spice-laden juice that has more of the oriental or aromatic fougère about it than any other genre (because of the tonka bean in the base, I guess).The top is largely citrus with a good dose of anise, the heart a warm and unusual accord of cinnamon and ginger, and in the base quite a pronounced woody air with sandalwood, cedarwood, vetiver, and patchouli. Except for the absence of floral notes, the Essence version of Must pour Homme seems recall the feminine version rather than the other masculine offering. This strikes me as a cool-to-cold weather scent, primarily because of the hearty spice accords, and at the same time it seems to suggest an evening or slightly more formal context than the plain Must pour Homme. The longevity and sillage are fairly tenacious, and the development, while somewhat limited, does tend to play out to a woodier place than where it starts. I find this very pleasant, a bit bracing and energizing, and an overall good thing. Kudos to Cartier for this!

    02nd December, 2008


    Must de Cartier by Cartier

    A rich top of citrus and other fruit notes leads to a dense and heady heart of rose, white florals, carnation, orchid, orris, a hint of leather, and vetiver; all this is rooted in a base of vanilla, sandalwood, amber, tonka bean, and civet. The overall effect is rich and voluptuous for a blissful moment, whence it tones down to a warm and slightly animalic effect; then the drydown goes through the florals and leather to a purring oriental accord softly whispered like warm breath in the ear. The whole is one of the gentlest, most captivating romantic voyages a perfume can offer. Discontinued, very hard to find, but if you can find it, grab it and make it last for as long as you can.

    01st December, 2008


    Bois et Fruits by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Somewhat understated woody-fruity scent with hints of oriental and floral notes. This is not quite as lasing or as sharply delineated as Bois de Violette, but is a nice down-tempo scent with a distinctly elegant air. The sillage and longevity are relatively strong, and, thought it seems a bit like a "skin scent," it has a definite flag zone, from inside which it can easily be recognized. A good choice for a relaxed day or event.

    30th November, 2008


    Bois des Îles by Chanel

    Very lush blend of sandalwood and floral notes brightened by aldehydes, fruit notes, and citrus, and then richly anchored in woody resiny musk. Vetiver and benzoin contribute some of that richness. There seems to be a bit of amber, too, but that isn't in the original pyramid, and may be a modification of the recent reissue in the EdT strength Exclusifs de Chanel series. This can certainly be worn by a man, especially as a special-occasion evening scent. The florals and fruit notes are very well balanced by the woods and the darker resin and musk notes. Ernest Beaux was a genius, and his work is timeless.

    29th November, 2008


    Versace l'Homme by Versace

    A leather chypre from way back, when these things were still pretty robust. This one is pretty well-balanced, however, and not at all overwhelming like some of the scents from this era. The notes are pretty standard, with a bit of floral (rose, jasmine, carnation) buried in the heart and not given too much chance of poking out very far. Still a nice scent for day or evening wear; modern taste might see this as too forceful for the office. A light hand should compensate for any disquiet on that score, however. Maybe not a deathless classic, but still holds up pretty well on this old dude.

    28th November, 2008


    Bois de Violette by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Violet flowers, leaves, and cedar. The cedar is the perfect foil to bring out the floral aspects of the ionone note as well as the greenness of the violet leaf. In The Guide, Luca Turin sings the praises of this scent, speaking of the rotational nature of the notes from Feminité du Bois; he analyzes the swapping around of the prominent note in each of the derived scents, and expounds on how the violet and cedar are brought out in this one. I can't believe that the prominent notes are the only ones here; there might be hints of honey or beeswax, cinnamon, and orange blossom in here, but deftly relegated to the background. These or some other elements spice, soften, and impart a warm, animalic note to the mix. Beautiful, fairly lasting, subtle but sensuous. One of the best.

    27th November, 2008


    China White by Nasomatto

    Gualtieri refuses to publish pyramids or discuss the notes that constitute his perfumes; still, they are, for the most part, remarkable for their tenacity and sillage. I suppose that's why people are content to pay his prices without knowing what's in them. I find China White to be oddly floral, powdery, and spicy while keeping a somewhat chemical or medicinal air about it. It's both mysterious and straightforward; by this, I mean it seems quite determined and forthright, yet it is difficult to wrap one's mind around, hard to parse. The upshot is, I like it. Next to Duro, I find it the best of the line so far.

    23rd November, 2008


    Eau de Santal by Floris

    It does smell a bit like sandalwood, though there's none in the pyramid. Basically, it's the spices and the patchouli-oakmoss that make this scent. Bergamot is always a nice touch... I suppose this is technically not a chypre, because there's tree moss rather than oakmoss in it, but it kind of qualifies. I like this for cooler (but not cold) weather. It does seem to project a bit, but not excessively. It's warm and slightly spicy because of the clove bud oil and cardamom. Like many Floris masculines, it's "safe" for office wear, so I'll go with that for a casual Friday.

    20th November, 2008


    Cuirasse by Jacques D'Auvillers

    A somewhat ambery leather chypre, about which very little information is available. From my nose and what little I could find, I would guess some of the elements in the juice are bergamot, a white floral, amber, a leather note, and oakmoss. I have it in EdT form, and it is quite nice, with a moderate sillage. It has a fresher aspect than many leather chypres. Perhaps this is something about the citrus and white floral working together. I have no idea about the perfumer, the date of introduction, or its current availability. I found it in a tiny shop here in San Francisco. I think it's a small gem!

    16th November, 2008


    Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

    Rather strong on the birch tar (Russian leather) note at first, but then this dries down to reveal a more ambery scent. The incense, labdanum, and styrax in the top combine to give an assertive oriental impression. Though the leather predominates for quite a while, it only finally disappears quite late in the drydown. Powdery benzoin and iris soften, but do not overwhelm it. In fact, for a scent containing such a definite powdery heart, it hardly comes across as powdery at all. I have to say, though, that this fragrance, while quite lovely, is overall a very close approximation of Guerlain Cuir Beluga. This is not very apparent at first, but as the development progresses it becomes unmistakable; so I would say if you have Cuir Beluga, you may not need this one at all.

    16th November, 2008

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