Reviews by JaimeB

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    JaimeB
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    Cuir Pleine Fleur / Fine Leather by Heeley

    Cuir pleine fleur is the French term for the highest quality leather. This scent is really quite a good leather, using birch and suede notes carry the leather impression, and supplementing and supporting them with rather green-tinged florals (violet and mimosa). Vetiver in the base gives this a good anchor for longevity and a decent sillage. It is really rather captivating, recalling somewhat such famous and classic suede-leather scents as Tabac Blond and Cabochard. A definite keeper!

    09th November, 2008

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    Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

    An incredibly smooth, slightly leathery eau chaude-style of EdT. The top notes are classic eau-de-cologne formulation, citrus with a dash of lavender for an herbal-floral effect. The middle notes combine spicy notes (among which cinnamon predominates) with green-herbal sage and florals. The base is a conflation of chypre (labdanum and moss) and fougère (tonka bean), but the lavender in the top tilts this to an overall spicy fougère modality within the eau chaude family. Good longevity and sillage. Warm, full, yet not quite rich, it is elegantly confident; nevertheless it is quite genteel in its restraint. Very much a "class act."

    08th November, 2008

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    Jean Pascal by Jean Pascal

    A rather traditional fougère-style scent that doesn't seem to have any coumarin notes in the pyramid. Still, it is a bit herbal and mutedly floral with some spicy aspect that also seems not to be listed in the pyramid. The base is very classic for men's fragrances: amber, moss, musk, and unspecified woods. The woody note seems to have a bit of a leather cast to it, so it may be birch. It seems to be a real eau de toilette strength, and so not extremely long-lasting, but it doesn't do too badly in that way either. Its chief appeal is that it's kind of stereotypically masculine in a gentler, more refined sort of old-school way. Definitely male, but not a big, bold 80s-style power scent, Its drydown is really quite satisfying. I give it high marks. It's a pity it isn't better known, but it comes from a South American company, though the nose, I believe, is from Geneva, la Suisse romande (French-speaking Switzerland). Et voilà!

    06th November, 2008 (Last Edited: 30th July, 2009)

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    Polo by Ralph Lauren

    Curious to relive the experience of Polo after wearing Polo Modern Reserve, I decided to wear them back-to-back. This is a woody chypre in the 1970's style, full of green, woody, and spicy-balsamic notes; jasmine, carnation, geranium, and rose for florals in the heart; then the whole is anchored by musk, tobacco, patchouli, moss, and woods. Indeed, it is redolent of the days of my youth. I remember it as sweeter, but then, maybe I was sweeter myself back then. I could have sworn there was a honey note in it. It still strikes me as a sporty scent, maybe not so young now as I remembered it; some of the stronger notes make it seem more mature. I don't think this is dated, but then styles cycle back through the ages, and while they say retro is only for people who weren't around the first time through, I think I'll chance it.

    06th November, 2008

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    Polo Modern Reserve by Ralph Lauren

    Spice and herbal notes lead off, with a white floral and resinous note to follow. Later, patchouli and woods with soft leather. This strikes me as a casual or work scent more than as anything really dressy, but it could probably be stretched to that end. Being a modern scent, it can defy convention as far as that. This harks back more to the original Polo (Green), and I think I prefer both of these to Polo Blue, Black, or Double Black.

    05th November, 2008

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    Dans Tes Bras by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    An engaging aroma from the start: gentle, but a definite presence, making a fresh and slightly spicy impression, not exactly floral, but something woody-resiny tinged with moments of floral notes. When it dries down, it smells remarkably like clean, fresh skin, redolent of warmth and health. How Roucel does it is a mystery; from the pyramid, one would expect a slightly floral woody oriental. Indeed, in a sense, it is just that; nevertheless, it is the "skin scent" par excellence. Truly amazing how the warmth of skin can be encapsulated in such a fragrance!

    02nd November, 2008

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    99 Regent Street by Hugh Parsons

    A fresh and sparkling blend of florals, resin, musk, and amber. This is a stimulating scent, which energizes with its unique blend of orris, geranium, and white florals skillfully blended with sweet violet and rooted in mastic resin, vegetable musk, and amber. The orris plays its powdery note against the resin in a surprising harmony, as the other notes chime in to balance and blend. This has good longevity and moderate sillage; it's just the thing for the office on a mild,sunny day.

    27th October, 2008

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    Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    A sleeper. Goes on kind of soft and then slowly unveils its charm. A bit of a gourmand scent, with a mellow chocolate note, it is mainly green, slightly floral, and woody. The list of notes reads a little like an evasive suspect being interrogated by the bad cop, not wanting to be too specific: sap notes, undergrowth notes, woody notes — who knows what these things might really be? The fact is, however, that they work. Some think this rather too pale, but its beauty is in the subtlety of composition and in the balance of the elements. To me, it's just lovely and very smooth, suave.

    16th October, 2008

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    Chevignon by Chevignon

    This is listed as a woody or leather chypre, depending on the source. It is an example of the 1980's style surviving into the early '90s. Lots of people swear this is a ringer for the discontinued Polo Crest; I wouldn't know. To me, this is a blast from the past as a men's scent. The notes, spice, green/herbal, and citrus in the top note; mostly floral in the heart; and wood, moss, amber, and leather in the base, are archetypal for the genre and period. It reminds me of the days when we called such things "Way cool," and so it still is.

    15th October, 2008

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    Roadster by Cartier

    Fresh, minty, green, woody, oriental. That about sums it up as to notes. It starts of quite green-minty, then passes through a kind of faux-vetiver phase, where it smells almost (but not quite) like vetiver. I believe this is due to the minty notes starting to yield to the patchouli and labdanum in the base, the combination of which does seem to mimic vetiver. The mint never quite completely dies down, but rather yields mostly to the woody oriental notes of the base. This scent is remarkable on me for longevity, even now, over twelve hours after applying, it still holds on. The best sillage is for the first six to eight hours, which is also quite remarkable. The development is rather limited, but effective, and the scent is pleasant, if not groundbreaking. Overall, a plus, and worthy of Cartier, but perhaps not the best thing they've ever done in men's fragrance.

    12th October, 2008

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    Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    To my mind, one of the most interesting ambers on the market. Ambergris, together with Peru and Tolu balsams, give a genuine and classic rendition of amber fragrance in the base note, while amber, vanilla, and nutmeg provide a generous and fulsome heart note; the top is a brilliant stroke of olfactory imagination, pairing lavender and myrtle to produce a spicy, smooth, and slightly floral-herbal introduction to the piece. I always thought Jean Laporte was a genius, with Santal Noble, Parfum d'Habit, and Eau des Îles to his credit, and this is just confirmation of his skill. In my book, this beats most of the other leading ambers for sophistication and sheer beauty.

    07th October, 2008

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    Tom Ford Extreme by Tom Ford

    If you don't much care about longevity, this is a fine scent. If, on the other hand, you're going to be a bugbear about such details, you'll probably stay away from it. So. apart from the issue of longevity, let's talk about composition: This has quite a cast of characters, from herb and spice to fruit and flowers, through incense, woods and gourmand notes. It has everything a fragrance could have, albeit in a slightly precarious (but convincing) balance. It does have a (somewhat limited) development, and it smells, frankly, very nice. There aren't many others quite like it. On points, I'd have to give it a "thumbs up." On value for money... well, that's for you to decide.

    30th September, 2008

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    Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

    This is a very well-blended vanilla-based oriental. The harmony is so tight that it is difficult to pick out a lot of the individual notes. The "cotton" note is vaguely present as a kind of "clean linen" or "fresh laundry" vibe, which does come across a bit in the top note. The overall impression from this is of a more-than-typically fresh and slightly floral vanilla. It's the sort of thing that might be a daytime office scent, or a subdued evening fragrance. Not something I'd wear a lot, but definitely good to have on tap.

    29th September, 2008

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    Givenchy III by Givenchy

    This review is for the 2007 reissue. Unfortunately, the notes listed for this on the tester (and in other sources) are just a skeleton of the 1970 version. Whether any of the other original ingredients are present is very hard to say, as I never smelled the original; but it is just possible that Givenchy had some reason to give just the bare bones of the notes, and that not all of the original pyramid was eliminated. I certainly hope that is the case. In any event, the 2007 juice is still beautiful, and while it doesn't have a great deal of longevity, it is quite lovely while it lasts. It preserves the chypre character, right down to the oakmoss, which is commendable, because it is now restricted under EU rules. This version is available only in EdT. Whatever the answer to the question of reformulation, this is a very good scent — a definite "thumbs up."

    28th September, 2008

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    Green by Byredo

    The base notes of almond and musk conspire with the sage and honeysuckle to construct a green note with a curious edge to it which is half herbaceous (the sage) and half powdery (almond, tonka, musk). The honeysuckle is an offbeat stroke of genius here: honeysuckle wood shares a note in common with catnip, nepetalactone, which has both a pithy-woody smell and herbal note. While the construction of this scent is fascinating, the overall impression is a bit odd. That's not necessarily bad, if you like odd, and I occasionally do. This isn't cheap, and I bought it, so in this case, I guess I like odd.

    27th September, 2008

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    Eau de Givenchy by Givenchy

    A very pleasant green floral, in my opinion suitable for both sexes. It strikes a fresh-floral note and reveals the green and mossy woods aspects more and more as it dries down. Citrus, fruity, and green notes (with marigolds) in top lead off, followed by a floral bouquet of white flowers with honeysuckle, orris, and a light rose, all supported by a base of woods, musk, and moss. This is especially good to wear in fine weather; it matches the sunny mood. Its a pretty optimistic scent, giving one a feeling that everything is going to be just fine: "Everything's coming up roses and daffodils" (well, narcissus...). A very definite thumbs up for this Daniel Molière classic from 1982.

    27th September, 2008

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    Bois du Portugal by Creed

    Top Notes: Bergamot, French Lavender
    Heart Notes: Cedarwood
    Base Notes: Mysore Sandalwood, Bourbon Vetiver, Amber

    One of Creed's most popular and best offerings. This is a fresh woody-oriental fougère-style fragrance of good breeding, the sort of thing a proper gentleman would wear to his club or a board meeting. For me, lacking such lofty venues in which to shine, it does for work at times, but more often for a nice evening out. Bergamot, lavender, cedarwood, sandalwood, Bourbon vetiver, amber (perhaps some hint of cinnamon?): very balanced, yet well and closely blended, with a very slight development, as befits such a stately fragrance. The longevity on me is about average; the sillage is quite marked at the beginning, but tapers off gradually, making a discreet exit. Too correct? Perhaps, for some, but not without a certain charm, and above all breeding... (How we do hate that word 'class'!)

    23rd September, 2008

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    Photo by Lagerfeld

    A good near-fougère which is clean and fresh without being too soapy. The top notes are quite vivid, fresh, and striking. They lead into a floral-aromatic heart, and the scent then resolves into a mossy, musky and very slightly powdery drydown. I like this one, even if it does resemble a few others, because it is extremely well done. The construction is very careful and balanced; it is complex and shows a superior development. The longevity is moderate, but it does have a decent sillage until it winds down. You can be a little more liberal in application with this if you want it to last longer. A good, solid scent with potential for classic status someday.

    22nd September, 2008

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    Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

    A wonderfully complex chypre with the addition of aldehydes. This is mainly floral, but classed sometimes as a spicy oriental because of the base notes. It has a strong green component in the top notes (galbanum) supported by citrus notes and white florals. The heart is iris and narcissus softened by vanilla and spiked with aldehydic notes. The pure perfume has a marked oriental feel, probably put forward by oakmoss, orris root, and musk; moreover, there is remarkable sillage and above average longevity. A Jacques Guerlain classic from the 1930s that still captivates today.

    21st September, 2008

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    Serge Noire by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Serge Noire opens with a blast of something camphoraceous, and (maybe it's just me) a bit of body sweat. Then it's cinnamon for a bit, followed by incense and dark, slightly smoky woods. Later, there are hints of labdanum and castoreum. (Yes, maybe that's the slightly sweaty note that gave a nod at the beginning, or was it an unspecified spice note, something like fenugreek? — remember the opening of Santal Blanc?). This scent seems to be made entirely of base notes; nothing of citrus, florals, herbals, or any of the others that typically inhabit the upper levels. In spite of that, this is a winner: dramatic, surprising, yet a bit melancholy in its preponderance of darker tones. I would say it's one of the better recent Serge Lutens offerings.

    20th September, 2008

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    Mauboussin Homme by Mauboussin

    According to Michael Edwards, this is a woody oriental, but other sources class it a s an oriental fougère; in any case, it has a fairly prominent lavender note, which gives it a distinctly fougère feeling. The opening is very bright and pretty, but gets slightly muddied by the strange combination in the heart notes; one hopes it might have worked better if it had been balanced differently. I think cinnamon and sage is probably a tricky pair to pull off together. The base notes, however, are pure musky oriental, sandalwood and vanilla with musk, giving just a touch of powder. All in all very wearable, it does approach some of the great scents in quality, recalling the feel of Chanel pour Monsieur in some ways, for example.

    19th September, 2008

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    Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

    I find mrclmind's review spot on about Gentleman as to notes and overall composition and development. A word about the mysterious Paul Léger, a perfumer for Firmenich, to whose nose this scent is attributed. As far as I have ever been able to ascertain, he is only otherwise cited as a collaborator with Roger Pellegrino, Raymond Chaillan, and Robert Gonnon in the creation of Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs. Gentleman has a hint of chocolate and smoky woods in the beginning, both charming and elegant; the base is more old-school, not very fresh or modern, which some people consider a bit "old" or dated. But Gentleman remains a great classic chypre, not much worn any more, and so perhaps interesting for those who would seek a touch of class and originality for their urban dandy man-of-the world wardrobe of scents.

    16th September, 2008

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    Basala / Basara by Shiseido

    An incredible mix of green and woody aromas, with a touch of florals, leather, oakmoss and patchouli. This would qualify as a chypre based on notes, but it's unlike any other chypre I've ever smelled. The mix of green and woody notes is unique to my nose. This is a fragrance that would really shine in cold weather, having enough projection to radiate from the skin without the aid of of warm air temperatures, but it can be worn well in cool weather as well, adjusting the application. Quite a coup for Dominique Preyssas, about whom I unfortunately know very little, except that he designed Le Dandy for d'Orsay, Talisman for Balenciaga, and a couple of men's scents for Jaguar. Definitely worth a sniff if you don't already know it.

    15th September, 2008 (Last Edited: 23rd December, 2009)

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    Yang by Jacques Fath

    This smells more green and hay-like (coumarinic) to me than any of the pyramid notes would suggest, I suppose the green tea and cardamom-usk combination might fool my nose into imagining that. This is a very fine and subtly constructed scent. I think some people are put off by the impression that this is not very tea-like; this is immaterial to me, not being much of a tea scents fan. Edwards calls this a woody-oriental, but it has something of a fougère feel to my nose. I find it to have a moderate sillage for a while, but not an extraordinary longevity. Still, I would rate it a pleasant and nicely constructed scent. I find it somewhat reminiscent of 1998's Fath pour l'Homme (Olivier Gillotin, who also did Cereus No.7 Dior Higher and Higher Black, and the new Ed Hardy Men). I find that same slightly acerbic hay note in pour l'Homme, too; I do think, however, that I find pour l'Homme slightly preferable to this one.

    13th September, 2008

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    Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka

    A very strange congeries of notes in this, but it really works as a fresh, invigorating scent for me. Violet and basil with anise and licorice in the top is a bit odd; rum and orgeat (that almond-flavored syrup they mix with fizzy water to make Italian sodas) with sandalwood and tonka is kind of outrageous in the middle; and praline with cedar, vetiver, and vanilla is not entirely unheard of, but pretty rare in the base note. A lot of surprises in this one. Is it a gourmand or a fougère? I think it's a bit of both — but licorice, praline, rum, and orgeat definitely sounds like something to eat and drink to me... The funny thing is that I'm not usually partial to gourmand-type scents, but for this, I'll make an exception. On a nice mild or slightly cool day, this is simply... What? Delicious!

    11th September, 2008

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    Méchant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    The first impression I get from this is the licorice/anise smell. It's fresh and exciting to my nose. The softness that comes later in the woody and creamy notes is lovely too, but the spicy elements are what make this one for me. The unexpected (and barely noticeable) myrrh note in the base is astringent and bitter enough to keep this from turning too sweet on my skin. There is a bit of resinous aroma there as well. And the cedar and sandalwood make this a characteristically "masculine" spicy woody-oriental. Very nicely done, and very versatile too.

    10th September, 2008

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    Ténéré by Paco Rabanne

    A sand desert in the Sahara (an erg, or 'sea of dunes') stretching from NE Niger into W Chad lends an unlikely name to a mostly floral scent by Paco Rabanne from 1988. Citrus, cassia bark, lavender. rosemary, and other green notes lead off into a heart of florals (carnation, jasmine, lily of the valley, and iris) and green and sweet spicy notes (anise, artemisia, tarragon, and cinnamon) on an amber-leather base (amber, cedar, leather, musk, patchouli, and vetiver). The overall impression is not only green-floral, but also warm and spicy with a touch of animal sweetness. (Oh, didn't I mention honey?) This is a scent that has cruelly been discontinued. I guess at some point, someone decided that guys didn't want to smell so flowery. Hah! What did they know? This is unique, beautiful, even daring — a creation for men not ashamed to be noticed and admired, even for a certain flamboyant style.

    03rd September, 2008

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    Infusion d'Homme by Prada

    Well, this is a rehash of the women's versions with a few tweaks, as other reviewers have mentioned. The biggest difference is that the Infusion d'Iris was an EdP, whereas Infusion d'Homme is an EdT. Perhaps that's where the longevity issue comes in for some people. To me, this scent is a nice warm weather player that could be introduced into the summer lineup. If it wears off after 3-4 hours ( which isa its duration on my skin in tests), I don't much care, It is rather mediocre. On the whole the women's is better, longer lasting , and a little better crafted to my nose. The flanker for men? No earthly reason for it especially when the original was as perfectly unisex as any slightly woody-oriental eau-de-cologne style scent.

    02nd September, 2008

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    Vetiver pour Elle by Guerlain

    Green citrus bergamot, white-floral citrus neroli, green-floral honeysuckle, white-floral lily of the valley, the sweet spice of nutmeg, woody green vetiver, and the new-mown hay note of coumarin from tonka beans. Altogether a woody and green scent with traces of sweet florals and spice, with a dryish edge of coumarin powderiness. Vetiver with a touch of fougère? Yes, but too much vetiver to allow lavender in, so a kind of fougère manquée. Yet J-P Guerlain's instincts were dead-on; the right balance for a softer version of the 1961 Vétiver, if anything even woodier, less harsh, for removing the screen of rougher base notes and revealing more of the vetiver. It's quite nice for men, too — despite the rather sexist name.

    01st September, 2008

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    Amoureuse by Delrae

    Amoureuse is one of four DelRae offerings, all by Michel Roudnitska, the son of Edmond Roudnitska, another nose of some repute. Amoureuse is a kind of chypre, with citrus top and oakmoss base, but it is a little woodier and greener than most floral chypres. Its sojourn on my skin begins with a floral bouquet, slightly sharpened and enlivened by tangerine, and discreetly spiced by cardamom. At the end comes a beautiful accord of cedar, moss, sandalwood, and honey. In the middle of this is a bouquet of white flowers: tuberose, jasmine, and white ginger flower. Apart form the tropical nature of this accord (which reminds me of things I smelled on vacations in the islands of the Pacific), is the unusual blending of white ginger into the mix. This is the beautiful scent of the lily Hedychium coronarium, whose original range is in the Nepalese and Indian Himalayas. How to describe this scent? It's rich, penetrating, with a slightly acerbic edge, and definitely heady. It's not a very common note in perfumery, but it gets some use in "female" scents; however, I think in this accord it can be very sexy on the right man. (Me!)

    31st August, 2008

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