Reviews by JaimeB

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    Showing 181 to 210 of 284.

    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)


    Eau Fraiche de Rosine by Les Parfums de Rosine

    A rose scent with a difference; this is made, I believe, as a warm-weather alternative to "bigger" rose fragrances. Pear in the top contributes to a lighter, fresher and fruitier introduction; the heart accord tempers a yellow rose oil and absolute with a lime flower "neroli," and light, green-tinged florals of mimosa and lotus; the base is largely a vegetal musk, ambrette seed, a good fixative with a light touch as well. This is a great daytime wear for hot days and an elegant companion for warm summer nights. Take note: this is a limited edition — a very suave and yet intriguing one.

    09th July, 2008


    L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme by Guerlain

    Woody, spicy, slightly floral, and gourmand all at once, this is an unusual scent. The top is citrus, spice and resin; the heart, white floral-sandalwood accord on a tea and chocolate gourmand center; and the base, with patchouli and the malvaceous seeds of hibiscus, gives an intriguing slant of depth and provides fixation anchoring the whole. This produces an overall feeling of warmth and woodiness as well as a touch of resinous earthiness, both of which enhance the mildly floral central gourmand theme. Very nice for day or evening social occasions, it radiates the right amount of warmth and inviting coziness to set one's companions at ease.

    07th July, 2008


    Plus Que Jamais by Guerlain

    A classic floral oriental, very full as to aroma, and quite satisfying. The floral bouquet is very nicely balanced; also, it has a judicious underpinning of vanilla and vetiver, with a bit of amber and tonka bean. Some noses detect a touch of rose in the heart notes; others don't. This is probably not a scent that most men would want to wear, but I would be game for giving it an outing on my skin in certain "safe" situations: for example, I'll be wearing it to church this time out. It would also do for me on a private or intimate occasion, but not for anything too public or official. Judicious use by males to be encouraged, IMO, if you're up to it.

    06th July, 2008


    Costume National 21 by Costume National

    This is a very woody, yet at the same time lactonic, creamy scent. There is a good deal of spice in this, and some perfumer-arty things like bergamot, moss, and clary sage (very sophisticated and traditional notes). Kashmir wood in the top is backed up by vetiver, cedar and patchouli in the base. The labdanum in the heart gives aid to the creaminess, yet veering off a little toward ambergris, its closest scent equivalent. Tonka and vanilla add an oriental dimension and a roundness to the woody and spicy notes. To me , this is one of the best of the Costume National line; milder, but at the same time more complex, better balanced and more skillfully constructed than the other offerings from that house. This is also an EdP strength. A very welcome addition from Costume National, and a clear demonstration of how good their stuff can be! Kudos to Juliette Karagueuzoglou, the nose responsible for this.

    05th July, 2008


    Jardin Clos by Diptyque

    I've got to confess that I love hyacinth, and in this scent the hyacinth is beautiful. Also, I have to say that I don't like melon notes; but in this, the watermelon seems to be there mostly as a "boost" to the hyacinth and lilac. The base notes are woody-oriental, and provide an excellent foil for the florals. A floriental with watermelon... Go figure! I wouldn't have thought I'd like this, but I do. Going on, I thought it a bit feminine, but the green note that haunts the hyacinth and lilac keeps it from going over the edge, and it does mellow out pretty well. In any event, Diptyque sells it as a shared scent, and ultimately, I think they're right about that.

    04th July, 2008


    New York by Nicolaï

    Very much in the classic mold, this is a winner. It is elegant, restrained but not diffident, and it has a quiet confidence and dignity about it that bespeaks its breeding. Patricia de Nicolaï is a grandaughter of Pierre Guerlain, brother of the famous Jacques; perhaps one can see in this that there may be some truth in the Guerlain family mystique. New York is a beauty, a structured composition with a clearly discernible development. It says sophistication and style, but in a timeless mode. I don't think this one can easily be forgotten. Its balance, tenacity, subtle development, and sillage all make it a classic.

    03rd July, 2008


    Philosykos by Diptyque

    Leafy green at first, then figgy-pudding fruity, and finally a round accord of rich wood and coconut. A very nice scent. It seems a bit sharply green at first, but the edge soon wears off to reveal a softer, pulpier fig note. The best is the final drydown, which does last longer than I thought at first. The sillage on this is moderate after the first stage; and while the longevity seems better than the first time I tried it, it still isn't as long-lived as many other scents. Alas, if Diptyque could improve longevity, it would make their offerings much more attractive!

    02nd July, 2008


    Bois d'Argent Cologne by Christian Dior

    Woody, spicy, oriental. A hint of leather in the base and the civilizing influence of iris in the top. Some people find this a bit sweet, with honey and amber, but I prefer to think of the juniper, cypress, myrrh and patchouli. It seems to me that these balance the sweetness and never really let it dominate the scent overall. This is a bracing scent to me, it keeps me focused and energizes me. While I mostly turn to it in cold weather, it seems perfectly suited for cool summer nights as well. It can make a very nice dressed-up evening scent.

    01st July, 2008


    Cassini for Men by Oleg Cassini

    From, a slightly different take on the pyramid:
    Top Notes: Mandarin, Basil, Caraway, Rosewood, Osmanthus
    Middle Notes: Lavender, Geranium, Verbena, Jasmine
    Base Notes: Vetiver, Musk, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, Amber, Incense, Benzoin

    An aromatic fougère with an unusual caraway top note that makes it smell a little like pepper and a little like dill for the first few minutes. Osmanthus is another unusual top note in this fragrance. After the mildly acerbic top, the heart is a fairly typical floral fougère bouquet, which as usual, features lavender. With tonka bean for the coumarin note (de rigueur for fougères), the base also heavily incorporates oriental notes, giving this a rounder, subtler finish than its start. Very fresh, nice for cool-to-temperate spring days, with which our San Francisco summers abound.

    28th June, 2008


    Patou pour Homme Privé by Jean Patou

    One of the loveliest, gentlest, and most extraordinary of fougères. Lavender and new-mown hay (for the coumarin note) are the backbone, with patchouli for strength and balance and a sandalwood-vanilla combination for the creamy, oriental finish. Wearing Privé is pure joy to the spirit. Uplifting far beyond the average inspiration of scent, this is a work of art characterized by balance, taste, and economy of line rarely paralleled in the recent history of masculine fragrance.

    26th June, 2008


    Moss Breches by Tom Ford

    A deep, spicy and herbal impression slowly melts into something more animalic, resiny, and oriental; a strong allusion to chypre construction can't be missed in this scent. The whole seems particularly innovative in the weight of spice and herbals vis-à-vis the chypre theme. The total lack of florals in a chypre is quite striking, really. This is barely balanced at the tipping point, but its audacity gives it the edge it needs to pull off the stunt with panache.

    25th June, 2008


    Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Oh, this is a very odd scent; but who said odd was bad? There is something very unsettling right at the top, and most people seem think that it's the fenugreek. Who am I to disagree? I don't have a better theory. Fortunately, this awkward stage doesn't last forever; eventually Santal Blanc settles down into a spicy, musky iris groove. Then it's fine, but it does lose some of its projection at that stage. It should be obvious by now that this one isn't for everyone. I go back and forth on it, but today I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.

    20th June, 2008


    Néroli Sauvage by Creed

    A citrus bomb with decent staying power. This is nothing terribly creative, but it smells good and satisfies the desire to be fresh and upbeat. The drydown passes out of the bright citrus territory into a more astringent mode before descending into the base notes.

    19th June, 2008


    Balmain de Balmain by Pierre Balmain

    A very green spicy top sets the tone for this revival of the classic chypre style. The innovative stroke here in the green chypre sub-genre is the inclusion of cassia buds to provide a aromatic woody-spicy note in the top. The floral bouquet in the heart is not novel, but seems to me to be remarkably well-balanced. The classic chypre triad bergamot-oakmoss-patchouli gives this a truly classic profile, and the inclusion of sandalwood and vetiver in the base reinforce the woody hint first given in the cassia buds. All in all, very classic, yet satisfyingly updated with a bit of zing. Luca Turin says this is a man's chypre, and I think I agree. At least one woman reviewer on Basenotes does too. By now, the floral accord in the heart would be no surprise in any men's fragrance. I like this for cool to temperate days or summer evenings, but it works pretty well in any weather.

    17th June, 2008


    Noir de Noir by Tom Ford

    Starts off with a saffron, rose, and oud accord and a hint of something mysterious and deep, which eventually reveals itself to be a black truffle note. The rest of the base note is a version of the chypre foundation made slightly oriental by the addition of vanilla. The scent is any thing but linear; eventually, the base notes take over, and in the end the tree moss and vanilla hang out in front, with the ghost of roses and saffron. As with the other Special Blends, the kickoff is much stronger than the ending, but this is by no means a slouch. The unusual ingredients, the novel reference to the chypre genre, and the complex farewell make it a tour de force.

    15th June, 2008


    Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

    One of the early so-called aromatic (or herbal) fougères. This class of "fern" scents ("fougère" means "fern" in French) traditionally include the trio of oakmoss, clary sage, and coumarin (in this one, that's the tonka bean); they also often include lavender. Jean Martel's take on this cleverly introduced rosemary and laurel. These are both herbal-resinous notes that aid in yielding a much stronger projection than the earlier fougère scents. The rosewood in the top adds a fresh, floral-woody note, and the honey in the base gives some depth, richness, and a bit of animal "sweat." The times were right for this pumped-up version of the fresh, lighter masculine EdT. It was, after all, the era of the muscle car...

    15th June, 2008


    Bel Respiro by Chanel

    A very fresh and green summery scent. The notes suggested by iMaverick in his review (see below) seem very plausible to me. The first time or two I skin-tested this, it seemed to me that the notes faded very quickly, but more recent testings show it to last longer than I had originally thought. The real reason for getting this, however, is the beautiful accord of the ensemble. The green notes and florals truly do recall, as Luca Turin says in The Guide, the most dramatic moment in the evolution of Pierre Balmain Vent Vert.

    13th June, 2008


    Calandre by Paco Rabanne

    A complex and delightful scent and very old-school from the days when only women would have worn such a thing. The top is green, but only slightly; the aldehydes and bergamot are what really come across in the top. Classic floral heart, with the orris root giving a bit of strength and character. A woody-oriental and slightly musky base note finish the picture. To me, this is really reminiscent in tone and feeling of Ténéré (but not really similar), though much less spicy and woody; I think it's the florals in the hearts of both that make for the seeming connection.

    11th June, 2008


    Nicolaï pour Homme by Nicolaï

    Green and semi-fougère (without the coumarin), but very subtle and beautiful. This is a discreet and masculine perfume that is uplifting and energizing because of its cool freshness and green aura. The florals in the heart note are present, but not overwhelming, and the base is mossy-woody with tobacco and oriental touches. This is elegant and open, outgoing, and far from staid; and yet, it gives the impression of decency and uprightness, the mark of an honorable and forthright man.

    10th June, 2008


    8 88 by Comme des Garçons

    At first blush, woods and pepper moderated by incense and saffron. This also claims a rhizome called curcuma, which can be (among many other things) turmeric, the spice that gives a yellow color to Indian curries — but I doubt that would be much use to a perfumer; instead, this reminds me of a rhizome I met in Indonesian cookery called 'kencur' (or as it was spelled in the Dutch colonial days there, 'kentjoer'), which is called zedoary in English. It has a slightly bitter but vaguely floral-fruity undertone which I think seems to fit in with what I can detect in 8 88. This is definitely a haunting fragrance, with an air of mystery and exoticism about it. Very engaging, with a touch of floriental in the heart and an amber-patchouli finish. It's quite well-done in the off-beat style so typical of Comme des Garçons.

    It's credited to Antoine Lie at the Estonian website, which lists the following pyramid:
    Top Notes: Pepper Wood, Coriander, Curcuma
    Middle Notes: Geranium, Incense, Saffron
    Base Notes: Amber, Patchouli

    09th June, 2008


    Twill Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

    A remarkable rose accord that smells like a men's cologne. In his review in The Guide, Luca Turin says this is founded on a base called Animalis™ by Synarome, which he says includes allusions to castoreum and civet. That may well be; or could it be that the list of notes includes cumin to throw us off? Who can say. Anyway, the galbanum and rose (with citrics and spice for reinforcement) in the top note introduce the delicate rose and violet heart and its slightly dirty cumin smudge, and set it all up on a foundation of oriental woods, roots, and amber. The upshot? A slightly puzzled look and the thought : "Why does this guy's cologne remind me of roses?"

    08th June, 2008


    Cyprès-Musc by Creed

    Starts off with something jarring, discordant; I think it may be the mint disagreeing with the galbanum. That lasts for a few minutes. In fact, the first time I tried this on my skin, I was very put off by it. After a relatively short time (perhaps 15–20 minutes), however, things start to smooth out and the cypress begins to come out and dominate (or at least tame) the earlier accord. Then the scent becomes quite elegant and manly in a woodsy, musky sort of way, with a touch of the Creed signature ambergris rounding it out and mellowing it; and, voilà, the caper is pulled off smoothly and seemingly effortlessly!

    07th June, 2008


    Hiris by Hermès

    Hermès Hiris is a beautiful take on iris, mediated by Olivia Giacobetti, and even though a lot of lists call it a feminine, I think it is really very gender neutral. The remarkable thing about it is the "carrot" note in it. It used to be, in days of perfumery yore, that carrot was a note used to supplement and complement the orris root's characteristic dark, earthy smell. Coriander, carnation, almond wood, cedar, and honey notes seem to be the best support for the carrot flower accord in this. It's one of the most inventive orris scents out there, and yet it also strongly evokes a classic tone from days gone by.

    The pyramid:

    Top note: Coriander, Carrots, Ambrette
    Middle note: Neroli, Rose, Orris, Hay
    Base note: Cedarwood, Almond tree, Vanilla, Honey

    05th June, 2008


    Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

    A spicy, rose oriental with good sillage and staying power. A bit on the formal side, but not impossible for more casual occasions. The rosewood in the head note is critical here; it sweetens the top and moderates the acidity of the citrus. Also a brilliant touch is the coriander and the vegetable musk of ambrette seed. These two combine with the oriental elements in the base to enliven the central floral note of rose. Very smooth and elegant. One feels debonair when wearing this.

    04th June, 2008


    Cacharel Pour L'Homme by Cacharel

    A bit spicy, with nutmeg and the clove overtones of carnation in the heart on a woody-musky base, with opening notes of lavender and citrus. I suppose this all makes a kind of fougère, though with vetiver standing in for a coumarin note and no oakmoss in evidence at all. I like this for its slightly sharp, fresh character. It is satisfying and has decent projection, sillage, and longevity. This is the perfect everyday scent, frank and open, plain-spoken and naturally winsome just as it is.

    03rd June, 2008


    Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

    A spicy fougère with good projection and sillage. This is my favorite of the YSL men's fragrance line. The floral heart is the pivot or fulcrum between the spicy, citrus, and herbal top and the woody, tobacco and coumarin base. A satisfying accord, and for me, on the day after his passing, a fitting way to remember the great designer who lent his name and brand to it.

    02nd June, 2008


    No. 68 by Guerlain

    Pretty mellow, with a kind of fresh, almost fougère kind of quality to it. A little fruity and lactonic at the start, it manages to be spicy and woody and complex in the latter phases. Overall, it seems at first that there's not a lot of development, nor a lot of sillage either. Perhaps this is due to sensory overload. All 68 notes are listed right on the label, but in French, of course!

    If you really need to know, here's the Cologne du 68 Complete List, as listed on the label:

    1. Bergamot 2. Green Tangerine 3. Lemon 4. Clementine 5. Cedrat 6. Orange 7. Blood Orange 8. Limette 9. Grapefruit Leaf 10. Basil 11. Fennel 12. Star Anise 13. Lavender 14. Bay Laurel 15. Cypress 16. Elemi 17. Thyme 18. Myrtle 19. Bigarade Petitgrain 20. Tangerine Petitgrain 21. Lemon Tree Petitgrain 22. Pear 23. Violet Leaf 24. Ivy Leaf 25. Gentian 26. Sap Note 27. Black Currant 28. Freesia 29. Lily of the Valley 30. Hazelnut Leaf 31. Cyclamen 32. Cardamom 33. Coriander 34. Black Pepper 35. Pink Peppercorn 36. Nutmeg 37. Ginger 38. Frangipani 39. Magnolia Flower 40. Orange Blossom 41. Peony 42. Rose 43. Carnation 44. Ylang-ylang 45. Lychee 46. Fig 47. Blackberry 48. Immortelle Flower 49. Mastic 50. Opoponax 51. Amber 52. Benzoin 53. Vanilla 54. Cistus Labdanum 55. Heliotrope 56. Iris 57. Tonka Bean 58. Sage 59. Musk 60. Patchouli 61. Agarwood 62. Cedar 63. Sandalwood 64. Vetiver 65. Botanical Musc 66. Praline Note 67. Myrrh 68. Lichen

    The onrush of notes makes it seem like everything is on stage at once, but the eventual dissipation of the top notes reveals a much spicier scent supported by richer notes of woods, sap, mellow florals, and amber-tobacco accords. The first blast settles into a calmer mood, with a feeling of nonchalance that isn't quite lack of direction, but perhaps a willingness to let things come as they may. A lesson in detachment for the perfumista who wants to pigeonhole scents, this one is far to encyclopedic to permit such a reductionist approach. The only thing to do is to relax and enjoy the ride. Very pleasant on the whole, slightly muted, but quietly distinguished. Cologne du 68 is not straightforward and obvious, but cannot escape notice and appreciation for the attentive nose.

    21st May, 2008

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