Reviews by JaimeB

    JaimeB's avatar
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    Showing 151 to 180 of 281.

    Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

    A chypre of distinction that has become a classic over the years. I find it a pleasure to wear this on festive occasions, but it even feels good just to wear it to work sometimes. The top notes are dedicated to the citrus clan, the middle to the spices and herbs, and the base notes to the woods, mosses, and roots. This is as it "should be" for men's scents: refreshing, intriguing, grounded. Yet this is a formula that gave a new face to male elegance in its day: lemon, verbena, and petitgrain replace the traditional bergamot for citrus; the base note forgoes patchouli for vetiver — and so it has passed from innovative to classic.

    21st August, 2008


    Aqua Allegoria Laurier-Réglisse by Guerlain

    A very pleasant, eau-de-cologne style fragrance, like most of the series. This one is especially nice in the drydown, with a citrus-violet-green-amber vibe that persists rather well. The early stages of the scent tend to be a bit "pushy," by which I mean a little too sharp and slightly lush, perhaps even a bit "feminine" in the conventional parlance. That is brief, however, and really easily tolerable, when you consider where the scent ends up. This is very fresh and green-leafy, nice for warm days and upbeat times.

    18th August, 2008


    Calèche Fleurs de Méditteranée by Hermès

    A limited edition, this is a beautiful composition based on mimosa, rose, and jasmine with beeswax absolute and heliotrope. The mimosa's floral note is slightly green, lending a bit of freshness to this rather rich fragrance; the beeswax gives depth and a gently animalic touch, while the heliotrope contributes the gourmand redolence of almonds and cherry pie. It is definitely an opus of elegance and style, deep and reassuring. Ellena's genius for making a great deal of a minimal set of ingredients is amply evident here.

    17th August, 2008


    Hugh Parsons (Blue) by Hugh Parsons

    A refreshing, masculine, tonic fragrance. it is characterized by spicy and green/herbal notes, with citrus and fruit in the top note and a woody-ambery base. I first encountered this scent a few years ago and took it on a trip to Hawaii with me. At that time, I was very struck by the juniper, angelica and spice notes, which along with the citrus, put me very much in mind of gin and tonic. Ever since that time, I have always associated this scent with the Islands and with the cocktail hour. I think these are pretty good associations for a fragrance, so I can't help but think highly of it.

    17th August, 2008


    Eau de Cartier Concentrée by Cartier

    A very fresh woody oriental, I would say, though a little genre-bending is evident here. I like this quite a bit, even though it's not my usual style; I think the freshness and the juxtaposition of acontextual notes is the main reason. It also helps that the persistence of the coriander helps make the drydown amazing. This is especially nice in warmer weather, but anytime I want a bit of a lift, it is a welcome break from heavier, denser concoctions. Simplicity and transparency have their charms.

    15th August, 2008


    Arpège pour Homme by Lanvin

    I used to think I liked Lanvin Arpège pour Homme even better than Dior Homme because it seemed drier to my nose. I think that impression comes from the patchouli in the base of Arpège pH. It seems to make a big difference in the overall feel of the scent. Now, I'm beginning to think that I like them both, but in different ways. the Lanvin does strike me as a bit drier and perhaps more stereotypically masculine than the Dior. But the remarkable thing about both of these is that they brought iris (orris root) back out of exile from men's perfumery; they set the clock back to 16th century Tuscany and made iris a men's note again. That wasn't easy. Others had been trying, mostly niche houses and "edgy" noses. These were the ones that broke through to the larger market.

    14th August, 2008


    Laguna Homme by Salvador Dali

    This is a controversial scent, as you can see from the reviews in Basenotes. It really is a strange scent. I think the quinine note in it is responsible for both the positive and negative reactions. It's not exactly aquatic, but combined with the citrus notes, it makes for a lightly smoky and slightly metallic edge to the top note. I guess this is intrigued some and puts off others. The middle is a somewhat diverse collection of typical heart notes, woods, white floral, tobacco. Where the main interest lies for me is in the base notes: tonka bean, vanilla, and musk make for a bit of powderiness there; but the touch of labdanum and clary sage take it to a different level. On my skin, the powder hangs in the background, but the clary-labdanum win out. When to wear this? Warm weather definitely; when you are in a sunny, optimistic mood, too.

    13th August, 2008


    Nemo by Cacharel

    A charming, soft, yet spicy woody-oriental. The distinctive top note is probably mostly the result of combining lavender and betel pepper. The florals in the heart note (geranium, jasmine, and carnation) are sharpened by thyme and enriched by labdanum (an ambery resinoid). The base note anchors all these in cedar, patchouli, vanilla and a touch of leather. The overall impression is somewhat soft, but stimulating and uplifting, which is largely due to the spicy and woody notes. Having said that, it should be added that the floral notes provide a a captivating romantic aspect to the fragrance as well. Great in all weathers, this could be a work fragrance or something to brighten a casual evening engagement. It deserves high marks for its suave, self-assured, warm, and sprightly character.

    12th August, 2008


    Charmes et Feuilles by The Different Company

    A very nice blend of herbs and jasmine together with the deep, woody note of patchouli. This is very, very green — deeply and intensely so. The herb bouquet is splendid, especially with the citrus notes. The choice of the somewhat woody-camphoraceous Arabian (or night-blooming) jasmine (Jasminum sambac) for the floral note in this scent is also particularly suited for use with the sharp herbal notes, because this species of jasmine is also spicier, muskier, and more penetrating than either Jasminum officinale or the grandiflorum varieties. The drydown with patchouli in the base also marries well with that standout floral note, and when it mellows, it smooths out beautifully. This is a definite keeper.

    11th August, 2008


    Lagerfeld Classic by Lagerfeld

    A woody oriental of the "old school" that inspires hatred in some and admiration in many others. Opinion is divided on whether this smells "masculine" or "feminine," and that may well show how subjective those notions can be. This is not something I would wear very often; I have to admit that at one stage, it reminds me of the smell of a childhood closet. Well, that's pretty subjective and idiosyncratic, too. Basically, this is a complex blend and ends up being pretty satisfying, especially as far as longevity and sillage go. A snapshot of the past? Maybe that's why it's called Classic.

    09th August, 2008


    Iris Bleu Gris by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    A bit sweet, a bit powdery, but not too much of either. Others have mentioned that the drydown is awesome, as it indeed is. Personally, I don't find the opening at all taxing to my nose. I enjoy the whole journey. It is a bit dressier than some others, but nothing you couldn't wear on a day off for a little excusion to someplace nice and fun. This may be elegant, but it's far from stodgy!

    08th August, 2008


    Numero Uno by Carthusia

    A chypre of unusually masculine character. In spite of the inclusion of ylang-ylang in the formula, this isn't remotely a stereotypical feminine scent in feeling. It may be the one note that rings false in this chime; it seems out of place with the more herbal floral of lavender, and certainly with eucalyptus and the other herbals. In conjunction with the musk, the sweet floral makes this scent a bit powdery at first, although that impression diminishes after the first twenty minutes or so. Then it blends more smoothly into the rest of the formula and largely loses the powdery aspect. This fragrance took a little getting used to for me, but once past the rough spot, I now like it quite a bit. In the end, it comes out as a slyly suave and even slightly rakish bit of work, the sort of thing to wear when one is in the mood for fun and a little taste of the offbeat in life.

    05th August, 2008


    Coromandel by Chanel

    Pepper, Frankincense, Patchouli, Benzoin, Leather, Woods, Orange Peel, Spice, Dry Amber, Vanilla.

    Quite remarkable as a woody oriental, with spice and a hint of leather. It is rather dense, complex at first, but ends in a patchouli-oriental-woody drydown. The name suggests the famous carved and lacquered Chinese screens which were transshipped to Europe from treaty ports, such as the British Fort St. George and the French Pondicherry, along the Coromandel Coast of southeastern India (parts of the current states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu). Apparently there were some such screens at the apartments of Coco Chanel, and according to the firm's blurb, these made her "faint with happiness." I suppose the woods in the fragrance represent the screens, and the patchouli and spices are meant to evoke the mysteries of India. If you ask me, this is one of the best of the Exclusifs de Chanel line.

    03rd August, 2008


    Eau des Îles by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    A leather-chypre slant with a strange, evocative set of notes. Labdanum serves for the leather note in this, with curious companions in the heart note of coffee, frankincense and the surprising floral ylang-ylang. Myrrh in the top (it's usually a base note) with a green, but slightly anise-like tarragon for support. Galbanum in the base (usually a top note) echoes the tarragon, and patchouli and vetiver are just typical of Jean Laporte. The effect is marvelous, even enrapturing (to me, at least); it is rich, with a green undernote that both delights and astonishes, so deftly tucked into a dry woody-oriental-leather scent. Laporte at his best, it is on a par with Santal Noble and Parfum d'Habit for masculine elegance.

    02nd August, 2008


    Roma Uomo by Laura Biagiotti

    Top Notes: Grapefruit, Basil, Bergamot, Galbanum
    Middle Notes: Jasmine, Juniper, Heliotrope, Pine
    Base Notes: Cedar, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Benzoin

    I like the top notes in this, and the rest is interesting, but it doesn't quite seem to make a whole. It is a bit on the sweet side, and could use more balance. On the good side, it is fresh and comfortable to wear in warmer weather, if you don't mind the sweetness too much. I have seen pyramids for this that claim jasmine, juniper, heliotrope, and pine in the heart and don't mention vanilla in the base. That's the pyramid I included in this review , from Those notes seem to make some sense to me, although I think they would make for more balance and more projection than I get from the juice in the bottle I own. I think this is OK, but I had hoped for greater things from it, so the best I can do is give it a neutral rating.

    01st August, 2008


    Shaal Nur by Etro

    Citrus-herbal with woody oriental notes of depth and character. Etro has done a very good job on this one. The base notes really work well together, and are responsible for giving this a slightly smoky, mysterious vibe. I think this could work as a daytime scent in cool weather, and as an elegant fragrance for evening dates, especially ones where one wishes to project an air of urbane savoir-faire and coax one's companion to explore an enticing invitation to get to know each other better. The heart note contains karo-karoundé, an "exotic and carnal flower" ( from Africa that figures in a few other scents and lends a real air of mystery, beauty, and sensuality. The incense, opopanax, cedar, patchouli, labdanum, and amber in the base also contribute to making this deliciously deep and rich. Too bad Etro is getting harder to find...

    30th July, 2008


    Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

    A lot is going on in this one, and while it's very nice, maybe not everything fits. Is this a fougère or an oriental? I can't quite decide; perhaps it's trying to be both. I agree that this uses pretty good ingredients for a designer scent from a smaller house, and while it smells decent, I can't really say I think it's well constructed. The balance seems to be a bit off on the sweet side, and while it packs a good bit of sillage at first, the initial impression breaks down fairly soon and becomes a bit muddy. This is not a bad scent as these things go; it's just that it seems to hold some promise and then doesn't fully meet the expectation. I'll have to go for a neutral on this, although it's fully good enough to wear for everyday work or such routine events.

    29th July, 2008


    Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès

    A very fresh floral oriental with hints of grasses, fruits, woods, spices, and oriental notes. Here is the essence of late spring or summer in search of refreshment from the heat and the consequent languid, muggy afternoons of inactivity. The promise is of a soft and cooling breeze scented by a riverside garden retreat. Ellena has here penciled a minimalist sketch of such a garden, matching everyday and exotic elements in an easy balance over a woody-oriental base suggesting ease and luxury. A very fine scent for the seeker of peaceful respite from stress and ennui.

    28th July, 2008


    Jules by Christian Dior

    One of Dior's great men's scents. Relatively unknown for a while, it dropped below the radar until Dior began to offer it more widely for sale again in the U. S. a couple of years ago. This is a woody, leather (and tobacco?) scent with some unusual green notes in the top. Florals in the heart are kept in low profile by the more assertive notes, but are definitely there and eventually revealed for what they are. The base is woody, mossy, leather, a touch of oriental, and the impression of tobacco. I suspect this is a scent made to please a man. Don't think it would appeal much to many women, though they might grudgingly tolerate on a man they really liked...

    25th July, 2008


    Nomade by D'Orsay

    Parfums d'Orsay
    Le Nomade
    Top Notes: Berries, Cardamom, Coriander
    Middle Notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedar
    Base Notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Sage, White Musk

    This is a spicy, woody scent that seems to be seeking its way, and almost manages to find it. The notes are classic for the genre, and the opening is very effective. Once, I sprayed it on at the gym, and the dude a couple of lockers down asked me if it was Cartier. I have to admit, it does bear a superficial resemblance to Eau de Cartier, especially the Concentrée version, but it doesn't have the legs. I wish this lasted longer on my skin, because the opening notes are so promising, but alas! It misses the boat. It just needs something warmer, perhaps a touch of florals, and some decent projection and reinforcement in the base to keep it going.

    24th July, 2008


    Gigli Man by Romeo Gigli

    Vaguely chypre-like (bergamot in the top, patchouli in the base, but no oakmoss anywhere), this is a pretty good scent. A warm spicy, slightly floral heart with a bit of Japanese influence (yuzu citrus in the head; bamboo and hibawood, a Japanese genus of cypress, in the backnote). The overall impression is: a rather floral start; segué into a fairly spicy heart; soften and round out the spice with deep woody notes for the drydown. The development is good, longevity somewhat above average, sillage very good for the first third to half of the course, then tapering off to more of a skin scent. In my personal universe, this doesn't rival Sud Est, my favorite Romeo Gigli œuvre; still, it proves to me that Gigli hasn't lost its touch!

    22nd July, 2008


    Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma

    Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile uses bergamot, orange bloosom, hibiscus, mimosa, and cedar to bring out orris note and to wrap it in the sweetness of white florals. The amber and vanilla base gives this a distinctively floriental bent. I feel it's particularly beautiful in the EdP version.

    20th July, 2008


    Bois d'Iris by The Different Company

    Jean-Claude Ellena engineered The Different Company's Bois d'Iris in his typical stark, minimalist splendor. Iris joins vetiver and bergamot in the top note; cedar, narcissus and geranium in the heart return to the theme of woods, white floral and rosaceous tones, but in a different modality, making the economy all the more striking; then just simple musk domination in the base. Bois d'Iris is rather stark, and a bit sharp to my nose, and perhaps this is due to the extreme balancing act on such a narrow base; no oriental notes here to round out the iris, and the vetiver gives its slightly sour grassy-woody head note to help throw this into a minor key. A very different iris, but an intriguing one.

    20th July, 2008


    Équipage by Hermès

    A spicy-floral chypre from 1970, this is a heady combination laced with aldehydes and some clary sage in the top notes. Carnation is the head of the floral accord in the heart with jasmine and muguet completing the triad. A chypre base adds musk, coumarin, vetiver, and vanilla for depth and roundness. Some people find this slightly medicinal (I suspect the nutmeg and mace play a role in this impression); others, like me, just find it exotic, like a beautiful face endowed with a strikingly odd nose — but the tones are so warm and rich, the angles and planes are so perfect, the underlying structure so blatantly classical that the beauty of the whole is undeniable.

    19th July, 2008


    Armand Basi Homme by Armand Basi

    This would be a classic aromatic fougère if there were oakmoss in the base, but it's close, anyway. It's fresh, upbeat, but rather light, with noticeable, but not very prominent sillage. This is a good scent for an informal day of fun, or for a time when you want to feel energized, but not hyped. I would say this is mellow, but alert; you've got all its attention, and it's got yours.

    17th July, 2008


    Envy for Men by Gucci

    A woody oriental of some distinction. It is a very smooth scent, and although not entirely linear, the development is somewhat modest. The notes are typical of the genre, with some florals in the heart. The base notes are very characteristic and form quite a solid foundation. In contrast, the top notes are a bit unexpected, with some fairly strong spicy notes to support the citrus and lavender. This is a fine evening scent, but it also does well for a relatively formal event during the day, or just for making one feel elegant and debonair.

    16th July, 2008


    Vetiver by Guerlain

    Vetiver, tobacco, coriander, cedar. These are the main notes in this classic of Guerlain's golden age of men's fragrances. The best way to wear this is in black tie. Wing collar, cuff links and shirt studs, an impeccable pocket silk. Then the aroma can develop to its full glory, in the surroundings where it feels most at home. This really is an elegant scent, whenever and wherever you wear it.

    15th July, 2008


    Une Fleur de Cassie by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Flowery, spicy,fruity, aldehydic, musky, woody; this scent is remarkable for its brilliant composition, its juxtaposition of notes that work together beyond expectation. This is the genius of the true nose, to make a scent that works in balance despite odd combinations by gauging exact proportions to achieve a novel effect. Ropion here succeeds in spades, making a rich floral-woody-oriental with subtle marriages of fruit and spice, using apricot to enhance the florals, and clove to reflect the carnation, and then tying it all together with a classic and straightforward woody oriental base note. This is an extraordinarily rich floral, shimmering and complex, with carefully arranged modulations to carry one through the seemingly seamless development in precise order. It's one of the best of an already excellent set in the Éditions de Parfums series.

    13th July, 2008


    Anucci Man by Anucci

    I almost like this very much. It is very pleasant in general, but something seems out of place. I think it might be the chamomile in the top notes. Whatever it is makes this smell a little bit (to my nose) like someone's been rolling around in lawn clippings. It never quite disappears, but it does linger less prominently after a while. The rest of the composition is quite beautiful, and has great longevity and decent sillage, too. On the whole, this is a sweet, floral scent of some distinction. When you wear this, you definitely won't smell like just one of the crowd.

    12th July, 2008


    Black Violet by Tom Ford

    Strange and a little raspy at first, this eventually sorts out to a very subtly resinous place after passing through some violet-evocative notes. I say "violet-evocative" because this is not the modern take on violet, which is more about violet leaf than it is about the elusive floral violet, which is nearly impossible to distill from the plant and must be hinted at through the use of ionone and other synthetics. The "violet" in this fragrance takes after the floral side in spades. It is well balanced, however, with citrus and other fruity notes in the top, and nicely anchored in a mossy-woody base. This gives the scent the feel of a chypre. It's a fairly deep take on the title player, but then most of the Special Blends are at least somewhat deep and dark. This one, though, does manage to end on a subtler note. It becomes quite soft and elusive at the end. In my book, it's one of the better ones from this series.

    11th July, 2008 (Last Edited: 12th July, 2008)

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