Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Joel_Cairo

Total Reviews: 56

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

Am i the only one who finds this to be a rather wan retread of Vettiveru? I'm not as opposed to it as some, but not nearly as enamored as others... still waiting to "get it"
23rd July, 2007

L'Anarchiste by Caron

My feeling on L'Anarchiste falls directly between PigeonMurderer ("death's door...infected blood") and robyogi's ("alive"). To me this is the scent of the Living Dead, specifically, a zombie reanimation of Herrera for Men's cadaver. It's Clove, Cedar and Musk, but with this fructosey, battery-acid-like orange note shot through the whole composition, plus the floating, spectral presence of metal and blood. I can't account for these accords in the notes, but L'Anarchiste smells distinctly of metal and blood. It has a ghastly, vampiric aura to it that I can't say I'd really want to wear very much, but it's undeniably compelling.
13th November, 2006

Black Vetyver Café by Jo Malone

It is indeed fleeting, and its a shame, because veitiver is a great note to "suspend" (as Quarry termed it) with this nutty coffee accord. Black Vetyver Cafe fills a gaping hole among coffee scents: the non-sweet. Those looking for coffee notes have numerous options: New Haarlem, L'Eau du Navigateur, Casual Friday, etc, but all of these have a sweet, gourmand voluptuousness. Not so Black Vetyver Cafe, which keeps it clean and bitter, courtesy of that vetiver. Hence the "black" (as in "hold the cream and sugar") I sense a little echo of L'Artisan Mechant Loup, but alas, by the time I can try to get a close read on it, Black Vetyver is gone :(
31st October, 2006
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Himalaya by Creed

My experience is similar to that of other reviewers', in that I actively disliked Himalaya the first time I tried it (though I got more than a couple compliments on it). Now, hoever, I consider it the best Creed has to offer. This is the quintessential blizzard frag. It has a frosty, mountainous quality. It's crispness imparts a kind of remote, pristine feel, making Himalaya one of the best-named fragrances on the market. The iciness, while it evokes a winter morning, is also the perfect antidote to a blistering hot day, so long as its worn lightly. I typically don't much like Creed, due to the ambergris house-note, but here it harmonizes so well with the pepper that I adore it.
30th October, 2006

Tea for Two by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The perfect homebody fragrance. I can't imagine leaving the house with Tea for Two on (unless its pouring and I want to feel sheltered warm under my umbrella), because it is just so damn cozy. Tea for Two makes me want to own a cat; it makes me want to move someplace where it is always grotesquely rainy outside and sit by the fireplace with an enormous book and a big, heavy blanket. This is the coziest smell I know.
The scent itself is rather linear, IMO: Sweet, milky tea from top to bottom. I think I'm alone on this, but I recognize hints of Bulgari Black in the tea notes. However, while BB is dry as a bone, T42's milk note gives it a wetness unlike any other frag I know. Its not creamy or thick, just "milky", there's no other way to put it. A calming, warming aura almost verging on soporific; an olfactory lullaby.
30th October, 2006

Burberry London for Men by Burberry

I think of it as contrapuntal to Burberry Brit. To me, Brit is the quintessential Christmans Morning scent. The excited bergamot is waking up and running downstairs for presents, the cinnamon is all the candy and gingerbread sweets you eat, the somewhat over-sweet tonka at the end is the toothache you have by noon. Brit's great, but a bit juvenile, IMO.

By comparison, Burberry London is Christmas Eve. It has a rich, smokey, "fireplace" feel to it. Its still sweet, but not in an artificial sweetener way, more like homemade pumpkin pie and deep red fruits candied on the stove. Its a restive but heady mix: the taste of a nice cordial with a pipe or cigar by the fireplace after the kids have gone to bed, when its just the adults som kose seg ("cozy-ing themselves"), as they say in norwegian. It comes on a bit strong, but to me the plum dominates the heart notes. Not sure what this reminds me of.... one of the fruit & leathers' date accord I think (maybe Varvatos or DK Fuel). Cranberry maybe? It soon becomes boozy, but not overly so (As I find Michael Kors to be). Maybe like FdA, but in a less herbal way, more leather going on here, and a silky tobacco note.

Burberry London feels very high class, very mature and exclusive. It should have been more expensive than it is, by the smell of it. I think they should have left Burberry Classic as London, and called this new one Burberry Prorsum, but what do I know.
23rd October, 2006

Bois d'Argent by Christian Dior

Upon first sniff, a wave of comparisons rushed through my brain. Bulgari Pour Homme’s soapy/dirty musk fused with the gourmand allure of honey. That warm doughiness of L’Artisan Bois Farine, but less quirky, more solid. A non-floral L'Artisan VdR. But I think that the most useful frag with which to juxtapose BdA is Versace Dreamer. Both are buttery rich, with a glistening iris piercing the sweetness (in both compositions, the iris reminds me of spearmint gum). But BdA is far and away superior, because it seems to invert Dreamer’s recipe. In Dreamer, the tobacco comes off as thick and syrupy, many have called it synthetic, while the iris can just barely eek out its little high-pitched accompaniment. BdA has a cleaner, clearer iris, a bit powdery at first, but with luxurious and very natural honey humming behind it.
But ultimately, as Shakespeare said, comparisons are odorous. In point of fact, BdA is unlike anything else I know really. It sits at the intersection of a very unusual note combination: Iris (the least flowery of florals, and rather rare in men’s perfumery, outside of the Dior house that is), Honey (the least sugary of sweeteners and likewise unusual in men’s frags nowadays) and Incense (which is common as can be, but is hardly ever used in so weightless and whisper-like a way). What results is a spell-binding and meditative composition. Someone on MakupAlley said BdA was the ultimate Sherlock Holmes fragrance, and I think that’s spot on: thoughtful, restrained, but with unlikely prowess.
23rd October, 2006

Kouros Fraîcheur by Yves Saint Laurent

The name phonetically says it all: "Kouros, fresher!"
04th August, 2006

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Aveda Hair Products... Gillette Shaving Foam... Brut...Old Spice: these oft-cited referents all place Rive Gauche in its niche as a classical kind of grooming smell, as being built upon a "retro chassis" often shorthanded as "barbershop" I think this is the brilliance of it. It's devil-may-care (it reminds me of the vogue for bedhead hairstyles and just-the-right-amount of stubble), which sets it apart from the rest of the YSLs, which are by and large audacious, idiosyncratic extranvanganzas (paradoxically, YSL's website calls RG "unconventional" Pah!). This is just no-nonsense manly, not in a bland or generic way, just kind of classic. much of the reason many men are embarassed by cologne is because were not supposed to seem "put-together" or "primped" or "preening" or any of those other things that women do for hours in front of full-length mirrors. Rive Gauche is the aesthete's answer to all that, encompassing that which is most sexy about that whole effortless, unmarked "conventional masculinity" and giving it an impeccable spit-shine sheen without seeming dandified or foppish. A masterpiece, the Levi's 501 of men's fragrance.
29th July, 2006

Fou d'Absinthe by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Heavily louched and with a generous cube of sugar on the straining spoon, L’Artisan’s rendering of this legendary elixir is a much more approachable concoction than its spirituous namesake. Absinth’s infamous bitter anise bite has been considerably tempered in Fou d’Absinthe, yielding a result which I find to be somewhat sweet, as green fragrances go. At the top there is a very brief boozey note, but one which reminds me more of rich eggnog than the brittle smack of Absinth. It has a pronounced herbal body throughout which, in keeping with the house’s reputation, smells unimpeachably natural. There are traces of spices which I found vaguely Egoistisch. FdA’s much advertised hot/cold sensation, presumably a kind of homage to the burn of a good stiff swig, recalls rather the cold/hot feeling of rinsing off shaving foam and splashing on aftershave. I find something strongly reminiscent of shaving in it (there’s a certain kinship with YSL’s Rive Gauche here). That’s actually the dominant scent-image I get from this particular L’Artisan, making FdA the most masculine but also most conventional fragrance I know of from this house. Rather than seeming illicit or hallucinogenic, FdA’s cocktail of cool herbs and warm spice struck me as rather well-behaved and gentlemanly. Quite “sober” in fact. It’s closer to the image of the prodigious, aspirational petit-bourgeois Jules Cheret than to the indulgent fallen-aristocrat/gonzo bohemian persona of Toulouse-Lautrec (If it’s the seedy decadence of Moulin Rouge you’re after, see rather L’Artisan’s Dzing!).

To be sure, FdA is an excellent fragrance - with the best projection I have found among L’Artisans- and were it released by any other house, I’d call it an unqualified triumph. It certainly is intoxicating – devastatingly handsome, remarkably refined and positively humming with quality- but just not in the way I was expecting. Given L’Artisan’s unique reputation for mind-bendingly evocative scents that play not just upon the nose but also the imagination and memory, I was hoping their interpretation of the Green Fairy would have been just a bit more psychoactive. “Crazy for Absinthe” is a bit too respectable; I wanted more visuals.
24th July, 2006

Navegar by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I find this one to be wholy misnamed, and it’s a shame, as its appellation will make many a sniffer who is bored to death by the “me-too aquatics” pass right by this gem. Navegar is, in fact, completely landlocked. I sense nothing aquatic or blue or oceanic in it whatsoever. Quite to the contrary, it is an earthy green pleasure. In classic L’Artisan fashion, Navegar is poetic and imagistic: the topnotes are grassy like lawn-clippings on a humid August day, while the basenotes are composed of the lightest woods imaginable, evoking with uncanny precision mulch drying in the sun after a downpour. In between you have some just-rinsed-vegetable notes and some fresh pepper. The scent’s humidity is not, however, a static hanging swamp, rather it is breezey, brisk and very clean. It reminds me of taking a break from yardwork in the shade of a leafy green tree during one of those sudden summer deluges. Its changing nature is duly noted too, as other times it strikes me as (paradoxically) very very dry, like standing inside an old wooden barn in the sun.

Navegar is almost preternaturally organic-smelling, and my nose has never actually corroborated a niche house’s claim to use “all natural ingredients” before smelling Navegar. Very rustic, very outdoorsy. Being from Boston, this smells to me like New Hampshire. If you are from NYC, it’d smell like Upstate. It’s the earthiest vetiver-less scent I know of and an absolute knock-out choice for summertime. Gorgeous like a rainbow after a rainstorm.
24th July, 2006

Odeur 53 by Comme des Garçons

Yeeks! smells like battery acid, or being struck by lightning. My most unequivocal thumbs down.
31st May, 2006

Good Life by Davidoff

ALong with Rive Gauche and Claiborne Sport, Good Life completes the triumverate of fragrances that, while not particularly original or even outstanding in composition, seems to garner innumerable compliments. RG is the sexy date one, CS is the casual weekend one and GL is the office/power one. For the person who wears cologne for the benefit of those around him, rather than for his own curiosity/appreciation, this highbrow-seeming green marvel is a winner.
04th May, 2006
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Lacoste pour Homme by Lacoste

As the bottle's color scheme hints, this scent is reminiscent of Boss Bottled, except with a creamy, coconut-rum element in place of the apple. The subtraction of apple makes it less fresh, and the vanilla musk in Lacoste PH is less sweet than Boss's, which makes for a more coherent, if less ambitious, composition. In my opinion, Boss's fresh apple/sweet vanilla always seemed to clash, like a tie-dye t-shirt with camo shorts. Lacoste, on the other hand, reminds me more of grey corduroy pants and a navy polo: more conservative, more stylish, but never really reaching beyond pleasant into inspired. However, unlike other reviewers, i can't imagine this on anyone over, say, 25, and never with anything but sneakers.
03rd May, 2006

Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels

I don't know YSL Jazz myself, but to me VC&A Tsar seemed similar to Drakkar Noir. Its a little bit more floral, a lot bit more formal, and not nearly as brash. There is something neanderthalic and common to Drakkar that is nowhere to be found in Tsar. i quite like it.
03rd May, 2006

Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari

Subtle, clean, fresh, a touch of pepper- this unisex masterpiece is indeed a CK One for the next generation. But instead of the vaguely rude synthetic feel characteristic of Calvin Klein scents, this time around the unisex 'second-skin' tea is done by the masters of tea; Bvlgari brings their signature discretion and subtelty to the recipe. Jean-Claude Elena at his finest, The Vert does indeed recall spas at the Ritz-Carlton. One of the 'healthiest' feeling fragrances I've ever worn.
02nd May, 2006

Eau Sauvage Extrême by Christian Dior

I was hoping for a longer-lasting rendition of the original, but ES Extreme is, as many others have said before me, a total failure. It's a heavy, herbal mess, which you'd do well to avoid.
26th April, 2006

G Sunny by Gansonne

Truly an astounding and bewitching fragrance, G Sunny begins with an effervescent fizz of mint and cilantro, reminiscient of Alka-Seltzer mixed with chilled battery acid, very refreshing. In classic Gasonne fashion, G Sunny then proceeds through a lush middle section of jasmine, freesia, suede, almonds, ambroxan, ylang-ylang, yuzo, guaica wood, ga-bonk-a-bonk and diet pepsi before settling into an alluring basenote with animalic and deeply feminine undertones, the highly-secret components of which are rumored to be distilled from Katie Holmes' placenta. Sillage is outstanding, though longevity could be improved.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an Extreme or EdP version to be released!
19th April, 2006

Bulgari pour Homme Extreme by Bulgari

I liked the "warmed Gendarme" simplicity of the original Bvlgari PH, but found it to be a bit of a one-note-wonder: nothing but a soft clean musk with the slightest hint of tea. In keeping with the greatest elements of the Bvlgari tradition, PH Extreme remains understated, well-behaved and minimalist-feeling, but just adds a bit more body to the recipe, namely by upping the pepper. Not terribly different from the original, but to my nose, a bit better.
and, to the best I can tell, there is no grape note here.
23rd March, 2006

Fierce by Abercrombie & Fitch

I think Blare said it all. You must be really stupid indeed.
25th January, 2006

John Varvatos by John Varvatos

Great stuff. exotic fruity leather with a woodsy tree-bark like opening. There are more sophisicated versions of this recipe out there, but Varvatos has much to recommend it. A very "grown-up" scent for those in their twenties, but there are better things out there for actual adults. Definately worth a test-drive.
16th January, 2006

The Dreamer by Versace

A very sift and gentle tobacco fragrance. Not rich pipestyle tobacco, but the actual leaf, sawying in a sunny breeze. Not much for sillage, but very comforting and surprisingly refreshing for something so sweet. Not necessarily formal, IMO, but tending in that direction.
16th January, 2006

Stetson Black by Stetson

Smells eerily like Kenneth COle Signature to me, but for $5, pretty damn good.
11th January, 2006

Baldessarini Del Mar by Baldessarini

A real anomaly amnog Aquas, Del Mar is spicy, refined, has good sillage and is long lasting. Who knew Patchouli and Cinnamon could work in something so ostensibly "summer"-themed. Its the only Aqua that I could imagine dressing up with a suit (though it'd have to be khaki or seersucker)
11th January, 2006

Herrera Aqua by Carolina Herrera

For an aqua, this smells VERY floral to me. Inasmuch, I think it defeats the guiding principle of of acquatic frags, as it feels sort of thick and heavy. Never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but i wish it were more ozonic, to add some crispness. Not much on longevity either. pass.
11th January, 2006

Michael for Men by Michael Kors

Pine needles and wild berries. incense and liquor: Michael is a very lush scent. It is luxurious and bold and dandified (owing its lineage, of course, to Le Dandy, the king of all boozy frags). Its heavy, no doubt about it, and loud, but I dont get as much leather as some others. To me it is very alcoholic smelling, more in the class of Gucci ph than Knize Ten. As has been said previously, this is not for those brought up on AdG and its many Echoes, but if you like your scents stiff with no chaser, give it a try. To me, its just too much.
11th January, 2006

Happy for Men by Clinique

I find it very soapy, with topnotes reminiscient of Mugler Cologne. It really reminds me of fancy soap or a scented candle, there is something "waxy" to it throughout. Very far from a natural orange smell. That said, it is not unpleasant at all.
11th January, 2006

Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

The gentleman's citrus. I like eau sauvage more and more each time I wear it. In the summer, I naturally find myself using light citrus fragrances more, but Eau Sauvage is head and shoulders above most by virtue of its classic, retro feel. It maintains a kind of dignified, masculine put-together-ness, which puts most other citruses to shame and exposes them for the watery lemonade they are. An unassailable classic.
11th January, 2006 (last edited: 26th April, 2006)

Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

AT first it is soapy to the max. I felt myself repeatedly having the urge to rinse my hands, as if they were still slick from a rushed hand washing. But then it gives way to a divine cleanliness. I will always keep this in my desk drawer at work, for thise (many) mornings when I wake up hung-over with no time to shower, as it makes you smell baby-fresh laundry-commercial clean, even if you slept face-down in an ashtray.
11th January, 2006

Rush for Men by Gucci

Ahh the smell of sawing down christmas trees before dawn on a winters morning. Brazen beyong belief. Turin never mentions this scent without calling it "reckless" its a great word. Ballsy, ballsy stuff.
10th January, 2006