Reviews

Reviews by Pollux

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Bleu de Chanel by Chanel

Unjustly bashed, methinks.

Yes, it resorts to most of what is in fashion nowadays - in other words, it smells "contemporary". But, well, these are the aromachemicals around so it should not be a surprise.

Together with its persona, its complexity, extraordinary sillage and its remarkable longevity, I am surprised I can't get whiffs of it among men heading to the office, the way it happens with bestsellers like 1 Million (real or faked) or Terre if the bunch proves to cater to less ubiquitous options. It looks tastes linger more on the side of the fruity and sweet side of things, rather than the spicy ones a la Guerlain Homme or Bvlgari Man (to which you might find analogies).

I like it, really. However, it can be somehow tiring if not applied lightly for its notes will linger for the whole day. After a 12 hour long working day it can be dreadful once back home. So, go lightly, problem solved.

I think Polge did a really good job, regardless of how similar Blue can be in respect to the ones (Guerlain and Bvlgari) mentioned.


28th June, 2014

Voyage d'Hermès by Hermès

It is so magnificently synthetic that all you can feel is is a melange of spicy and earthy notes. Yes, it does smell like a take on Terre, maybe with the idea of making a lighter version of it or whatever.

I am not ignoring other facts: it is complex, very complex. As to silage and longevity, I can't give an account on these because this review is based in a test done on skin.

It gets my attention that Hermes men´s classics are still in demand, Terre being a bestseller. Add to these the ones sold in their stores.

As to the rest... time will tell.

25th November, 2013

Bond Street by Long Lost Perfume

OK, I got it wrong: I thought Bond Street was the place were high-end haberdashers have their stores and where taylor-made suits were bought, but upon reading about "Bond Street" in Wikipedia I realized that it is an ungendered high-end shopping street - you'll find suits and purses alike - yes, I owe myself a trip to London.

Further search in the local E Bay showed me that it was offered in Pan American's flights for passangers using the plane´s toilettes - it was, maybe, a unisex.

Perfume Encyclopedia told me it was launched in 1917 as a men's and a women's scent, later discontinued, to be re issued in the 1950's.

And finally, the verdict: it is classified both by BaseNotes and Fragrantica as a lady's scent. Thus, I am reviewing a scent for women that I bought thinking it was a scent for men. That can give you a sound idea of how this vintage is / was like.

As to the blend, I can get clear honey - like notes in the top notes, some aldehydes alas not a la Chanel N° 5 (no so prominent) and then a generic - leather feeling that stays for the rest of the olfative journey, which is fleeting.

It feels mildly flowery and quite run of the mill if compared to other bottles of cuirs I heredited or got as vintage scents: nothing groundbraking. Mind you, this is not "haute parfumerie": no Guerlain, no Caron, no Molinard, not even high-end designer's scents, like Weil - forget Shalimar, Secret de Venus or L'Heure Blue. Yes, I can get traces of Vigny's Heure Intime and Geldy's Cuir de Russie without their quality, albeit, as mentioned, in a less flowery fashion, much less complex.

I might be dead wrong, but it makes me think this was some sort or safe / run of the mill template widely in fashion during the time it was launched. Common, as the rest of the inexpensive cuirs sell like.

Besides, it does smell dated, as previously mentioned. My Daugther told me she gets whiffs of Grandma and Grandpa - mind you, my parents are in their eighties but the her account is further away in the scale of time - she actually likes Crystalle and 19, which are the ones my Mother uses.

A "Love it" / "Thumbs Up" for memory's sake. Besides, I can stay calm, after all, I've got all the cuir de russies availables.

Off topic: I'd love to work on a present day rendition of these classics. I can't get why it has not been done, except for Polge's work.

PS: If you got anoter impression, please do us a favor and discuss this review, that would be def. fun.
17th November, 2013

Vetyver Lanvin (original) by Lanvin

As for vetiver-based scents, there are many types of them: the complex ones, a la Guerlain, or straightforward ones like Carvin. Or soft, ones, like R&G. Or rooty ones, like Encre Noire. Or the new kind of, like Adolfo Dominguez' and Thierry Mugler's. Or the complex, rooty and genlte ones, like Chanel's Sycomore.

Lanvin's belongs to the first ones, however, without much complexity: citrics with vetiver in the base note, as simple as that. In that sense, it resembles many of the decade: I have in mind Dior's Eau Sauvage, Givenchy's Monsieur de Givenchy or Myrurgia's Alcurnia - they all open with strong hesperidic notes morphing into animalc undertones, which, by the way, were not that notorious. Of course, nuances play a role in these blends, like Hedione in Dior's and oakmoss in Monsieru de Givenchy but in all these cases their proposal have in common a family air with traditional Eaux, which is quite logical of the times when they were released and the role of masculinity at that time.

Somoene with a deep knolewdge the history of scents can shed some light on this, but Aramis and Givenchy's Gentleman seem to be radical proposal at the time they were launched.

12th November, 2013

Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

Classic to the point of becoming a reference

Finding Drakkar's smell alikes is fairly easy. Ceasar's and Lomani are the ones mentioned as being the best next to it, to the point a very enthusiastic reviewer and later blogger said thatthe first one was better than the original for it had what it lost in its reformulation; you can find close analogies to it in Gres' Cabaret, a now discontinued fragrance that is very enjoyable in its complexity, which I would say is better than Drakkar's; or maybe in locally manufactured versions sold by haberdashers that are, indeed, inspired by it. I imagine that this proves it is a classic, but I can't find in this argument the reason why I find Drakkar younger than it is.

Drakkar Noir smells classic, but not dated. It has a twist that provides for a contemporary feeling, a note that I associate with acquatics. Maybe many of these, a more recent group of blends, resort to dyhydromircenol, or its properties ("Powerful, thin, sweet, fresh, lavender-like, fruity, metallic, citrusy (linalyl acetate-like), clary sage-like, ambery odour." in http://perfumechemicals.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/dihydromyrcenol/ October 25, 2013).

Let my imagination or faulty olfative capabilities aside, the dry down is the best part of the olfative journey, characterized by a subdued character and limited longevity. It leaves you craving for more, at least in the version I have, which seems it has been improved lately.

The opening is spicy and citric, turning into a stingy balmy blend in a short period of time. According to the pyramid, what follows are more spices and some floral notes, carnation and jasmine: I can't get these for the stingy combo is still prevalent. Now, the base notes smells manly and powdery. The blend revolves around this stingy / powdery leitmotiv, which does not mean it is linear.

Strong? Olfative analysis brings a slight headache. Better enjoy it with a full wear. It seems it claims to be worn punishing reviewers when disecting it.

Long lasting? Not at all. Maybe overapplying might give wearers what they are looking for.

Pros: My formulation; understated and elegant
Cons: Common, almost what an aromatic fougere a la 1980's should smell like"

26th October, 2013

Black Amber by Zara

I found some tiare in my soup!

What the heck is tiiiare? Tahitian Gardenia. I know how gardenias smell like. Well, it is in my soup. Really. Passion fruit? Sorry, it is in my dessert.

Fruits in the top notes. The generic kind, the sort you cannot tell what fruit is it. Tutti Futty? No. Bananas? No. Straweberries, apples, appricots, pineapple? No no no no. Fruits, the synthetic ones, the ones that noses use, synthetized by chemists working for big corporations. An olfative construct, so to speak.

Disgusting.

Where is the catch? Ir moves straight ahead to the base notes, musky a la B*Men / Avon's Woody Musk sort of musk, the ones widely used in the 1970's.

I like it there.

Wear it if you can get over the top notes. I can't, unless I prepare myself mentally for it. You can name it "olfatory masochism". Yes, this hobby deales with some sort of freakiness. In my case, this kind of Amber is a blatant proof of this.

BTW, I'd rather choose the one from 2008. But Zara is like this, continously on the move, so discontinued scents are part of their business. A pitty.

Pros: Musky basentes a la 1970's
Cons: Fruity top notes"

23rd October, 2013

Weil pour Homme by Weil

An aromatic fougere halfway between the gutter and the sars

The group "aromatic fougere" might include shaving cream-like scents like YSL's Rive Gauche, powerbombs like Kouros, subtle blends like the vintage formulation of Rochas' Moustache, and chypre smell alikes, as Welil, sharing with this goup strong top notes. In this case, these morph into tradiional men's soap - like notes. It does remind me of One Man Show's and Krizia Uomo's opening in ts harshness, but the soapiness is there to stay for a fairly amount of time from the mid notes on.

I don't know if the current version (the one depicted) is a reissue of the original one or what: the only thing I can say is that it shares a family air with 1980's powerbombs. I can imagine it conveying a sense of creaminess lost in most of them, "rounded molecules" I call these notes. It does feel stingy to the nose. This does not affect its conservative aura, though.

Now, conservative does not mean delicate. Be aware of it - call my nose gaga, there is a note lurking around I can associate with one found in Kouros. Please, don't let me confuse you, they don't have anything in common. But the animalic - skankiness is there.

It does feel, mmm, boldy. The base notes save it from rudeness.

Pros: Strong if you like it
Cons: Strong if you don't"

23rd October, 2013

Balmain de Balmain by Pierre Balmain

A chypre as it should be

Well, the opening notes remind me of a floral Tiffany for men, while the mid and base notes diverge into manly skinkiness. It was a blind buy: a big surprise indeed, I never would have thought this could be that way. A woman wearing this? I cannot imagine for the sake of me blind-dating a woman wearing BdB. I would think she would be chewing me up in no time. Ladies, do your newly met boys a favor, don't ever wear this in a first date.

Pros: Whatever good you find in chypres in its not so fem version
Cons: If skanky puts you off, avoit it as the plague"

23rd October, 2013

Carbone de Balmain by Pierre Balmain

Cedar / Pencil shaving lover's kind of paradise

It does have a pencil shaving opening a la Gucci I, whoever morphing into fruit like mid notes. A skin scent with amazing longevity without much evolution. It does not fall into designer's oriental genericness, thus the reason for my 4,5 / 5. Blame the 1,5 on the fact it does feel synthetic.

As per its similarities with Rochas Lui, it lacks its sweetness. Well, as a matter of fact, IMHO I can't see any resemblances between both.

Pros: Cedar
Cons: A tad synthetic"

23rd October, 2013

Mr Blass by Bill Blass

Who said all recent launches are bland / generic?

Frankly, I don't understant why this is vastly ignored.

One has several impressions ater the first sniff:

- Many would consider it a masterpice should the House behind it be a well known niche one, like Creed, Amouage and the sort.

- However, it terms of its presentation, it lacks what many of these offer: a luxurious packaging, for instance.

- Ad of course, it lacks the price factor: USD 30 / 40 for 3.3 Oz of it? Too cheap. It should be on the USD 100 - USD 150 range.

- And the blend: amazing sillage and longevity, a must for many niche scents - a logical aspect after all, if one is going to pay USD 300 for Puredistance M, the least thing I'd be asking for would be two or three days presence after application.

Well, let's see: House behind it? Check, a historical one that is worn off. Price? Check, inexpensive. Sillage and longevity? Check, good, but not abnormal, of the kind that makes you think your are the subject of some strange chemical experiment. Packaging? Check, normal one (reminds me of Lorenzo Villoresi's).

As per the blend itself, it does not evolve much, but this does not have any consequence over its structure in terms of how I am enjoying it: top notes of the citric - spicy one gives way to the leathery - amber mid notes, the drydown staying close to the skin in a fashion that reminds me of the subdued version of Gucci's Envy mid and base notes.

If you want to have fun, make your favorite fragrance snob try it blind. I am positively sure you'll enjoy the results, or you might end up saying that is the last release of some obscure niche house from Prague, selling 1 OZ for USD 125, and only avalable in a very exclusive on-line shop with only one brick-and-mortar store located in Forest Hill, IL or Greenwch, CT.

Pros: A classic deserving more praise
Cons: I cannot imagine how it would be like if it would have oakmoss"

21st October, 2013

A*Men: Les Parfums de Cuir / Pure Leather by Thierry Mugler

A darker A*Men

OK, you don't like A*Men because the chocolate - spicy combo is too much for you.

Looking for an alternative? You might think B*Men might be one: A*Men divested of its gourmand notes because of the rhubarb or a kind of musk that was quite in fashion during the 1970's - there is a cheap cologne sold by Avon called Woody Musk that smells exactly like a bad quality B*Men.

What about this flanker? Well, I don´t get leather at all. What do I mean by leather? The smell of leather wallet, a brand new purse, a leather jacket or that of a dry waxed English country jacket that has been treated with some sort of deodorizer smelling like a leather jacket (and with such a sillage that the smell would be felt in the room after the jacket has been taken out), or the smell of classic leather scents like Cuero de Rusia - any brand, they share similarities-, Morabito's Or Noir or Knize Ten.

What I get is a bolder B*Men: yes, there is some chocolate and coffe and the rest of the notes of the original one, but in this case I get the feeling that these are kidnapped by the before mentioned rhubarb / musk in such a way the blend has the strength of a perfume or an absolute revolving around this last one, its longevity and sillage are really strong.

It does feel synthetic: however, to my surprise, in this case the word does not have any derogatory meaning. Why? It feels "sticky", rather than an EdT, Perfume or Extrait or Absolute, it feels like a a bunch of molecule clinching to my skin for a whole day long.

I my case, it was a try and instant - buy experience. I don't regret it. IMHO, it is better than the original. Of course, as the former one, it needs to be applied with care.

Pros: No sweetness
Cons: Bombastic"

11th August, 2013

Jacarandá by Fueguia

Skinky Chypre

We all know what a chypre is: a blend made of a citric note, oak moss, patchouli and musk. In this case, Jacaranda includes a citric note (Bergamot), oak moss and patchouli. As a product of one's imagination, which at the same time is a by-product of extensive smelling of perfumes and raw materials, you come up thinking of the usual suspects: Mitsouko, Y, Aliage, Aromatics Elixir, etc.

Yes, it does recall the last one in its skanky persona, but to the extent if feels boldy masculine: the oak moss prevails at the expense of the rest of the notes. Forget the bergamot, forget the patchouli. I might call this one a perfect chypre for oakmoss lovers - I cannot attest if it is real or synthetic oakmoss: rest assure, it prevails in the base notes in the shape of its very bitter / root like / skanky green accords.

It is not an easy fragrance to wear, it is somehow a very bold version of a classic composition that originally was supposed to be lightly animalic. Not in this case. One might end up thinking Jacaranda is an extreme chypre, as chypre as you might get... or a failed one - let the wearer judge by him / herself.

IMHO, Jacaranda leaves Aromatics Elixir way behind in terms of a chypre's animalic notes, thus the five stars.

Pros: Complex
Cons: Unbalanced "

13th July, 2013

Thays by Fueguia

An aromatic infusion

At first there are cologne-like notes morphing into green - like traces. I cannot help thinking of the mate in its colour, not in the way their leafs smell when placed in a gourd: this is clearly balmy, while in Thays mid notes are quite sharp. The cologne - like notes are still there minutes after application, citrousy traces that are balanced by whiffs of very shy sweety notes, turning into a skin scent that can be only smelt when being close to the wearer.

I'd describe the blend as original, contemporary but still away from what is mostly in fashion nowadays. It may have a flaw in that the composition does not flow armonically, it feels sharp to the nose in most of its facets while at the same time it somehow lacks complexity - when appreciating it one gets the feeling that the blend revolves around a limited amount of notes and restrained accords. Thus, even though original, it is far from being a fragrance - breakthrough... you will have to search somewhere else if you are after such kind of blends. Now, conceptually, I'd say that it remotely captures the aromas you get from the trees Carlos Thays brought to Buenos Aires when he planned the city's parks at the end of the XIX century.

However, these flaws - to which I might add a very limited longevity and sillage for those that care about these attribute - are not something I particularly care of, for its short live accounts for subtlety and discretion, thus the reason I enjoy it.

Pros: Subtle, well-mannered and discrete
Cons: Not for the ones looking for sillage and longevity"

13th July, 2013

Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop

Never say "no" to roses

I bought this on a whim: blind and based on many good reviews. Once at home and after trying it all I got was roses, no tea at all, really - a statement of the obvious, indeed. So, I followed Shamu's suggestion, just one spray. It was enough, he was right. Then I realized it might be a good idea to use it as a layer, for the rose accord might be too much, so I decided to do it with a short lived scent, namely, Pour Un Homme. And yes, the result was worth the experience.

I read and was told that rose fragrances and oils are used by men in the Middle East, thus, our perception of rose-based scents is biased by cultural matters: as such, it can be seen either as an old woman's scent or, plainly, as a women's fragrance. Still, I'd suggest any fragrance aficionado to ignore these ideas and try it as a discovery exercise. Liked or not, you will have the chance of knowing what a good rose blend is without having to pay an excessive amount of money.

And if you think it is too much for you (soliflorals can be challenging), you might experience how it performs when layered with other scents.

I don't regret it having it in my wardrobe, besides the fact I keep on revisiting it frequently.

Pros: It will make change your mind
Cons: Handle with care

21st June, 2013

Must de Cartier by Cartier

Is it too fem for men to wear it?

First: yes, it is true. It smells like CK's Obsession for women.

Second: yes, it is somehow different. Why? No idea. At first smell, it is not so brash, less bold, more complex, you name it, than CK's. Now, just compare Calvin Klein and Cartier, make up for qualities associated with these brands and you will find enough reasons to conclude that C is much better than CK. In terms of fragrances I cannot attest as to how true this is, I am in no mood, nor have the resources for conducting a blind product test that would, in a conclusive fashion, tell us if this is so or not. In the meantime, take my word (or bash it, feel free to do it) C's Must feels better than CK's Obsession.

Now, let's go to the point...

"Dear Basenoters, can Must de Cartier for Women be worn by men?"

- Indeed, ol' chap! Wear what you want, just make sure you feel comfortable. Cheer-ohs!

- Of course not, are you **** out of your mind!!! There are some notes in Must's blend that are widely used in women's perfumes that will make you feel you are in drag, unless you like that, which is 100 % fine if your are happy with zat.

- Of course you can, just make sure to layer it with some patchouli, dude. Peace and love...

- Yap, you can layer it with some old fashioned musk - not Galaxolide, please. It does not mix well with Bvlgari Black (which, BTW, is my Galaxolide heaven).

- Apply it two hourse before leaving home, the drydown is heaven. Besides, your maid will thank you for she won't have to air the rooms. Must will do it for her.

- Did you try layerin git with Men's Must?

Whatever. I enjoy it. No I did not try to layer it with Men's Must. But the rest of the suggestions did work fine.

Said drag? Sorry, not my cup o'tea. But it does feel like it... sometimes, ehem.

Pros: Not at all...
Cons: Yes, it is...

09th June, 2013

Krizia Uomo by Krizia

Difficult to make up your mind

A nightmare upon application: after the initial spray you will instantly say to yourself something like "oh, what have I done" or the like. You will picture yourself facing a crowd pointing and yelling at you, insults based on your lack of finesse when it comes to wearing scents. Yes, you will fear everyone will tag you as "Disco Stew", and if hitting the office, you will undergo the unnerving feeling you will be laid off because your bosses claimed that your olfative tastes are considered conflictive, thus paving the way to professional and later, affective failures and, ultimately, a lonely, yes, very lonely, sad, pathetic decline and fall amidst the kind of alcohol that is not sniffed, rather drank.

Nah, forget this. Just give it half an hour. What follows is a very classical, old school, reassuring virile drydown that is quite complex and long lasting.

A 180° turnaround, actually. Love'em this way.

Pros: Excellent drydown
Cons: Horrendous top notes

09th June, 2013

Ballena de la Pampa by Fueguia

Animalic top notes rapidly acquiring musky undertones, powdery yet modern, its complexity is revealed in the mid and base notes, which take a respectable amount of time to evolve - apparently, plain musks, but so many of them that you can perceive the way they change through time. Thus, the animalic traces don't vanish through the olfative journey, they express themselve from the grassy notes to the beforementioned musks. The end result is a powdery, subtle fragrance that lingers on the skin for a good amount of time.

I'd say is def a unisex scent in the full sense of the concept: femenine in its nuances, masculine in its subtlety - if you are among the ones thinking men's scents demand a restrained character, outruling bold blends.

I'd say it is among Fueguia's best.
10th March, 2013

El Mono de la Tinta by Fueguia

Cinnamon is what you get upon application, but the copaiba restrains the cinnamon's widely known spiciness. As usual, it is very difficult finding the right words when it comes to describe the way these two materials blend... the cinnamon softens and what we get is a spicy - creamy feeling. Interesting enough, one might as well say the blend feels like an alternative gourmand: this term usually makes us think of chocolates and candy, not here. In this case it'd rather be a "woody spicy gourmand" if we were to ignore the presence of sandalwood, which, at the end, makes the blend even more softer and mellower.

Of course there are many other fragrance were cinnamon plays a central role: JHL, by Aramis / Estee Lauder and YSL's Opium are my favorite. However, in this case, there is an originality not found in the rest of the bunch for the blend feels, if I can beg your pardon after failing to find a better word, wild. It really does. I cannot find the reason behind this observation, but I guess it must be the remnants of the above mentioned spice.

Wrapping I up, the originality of the fragrance's name translates quite well into the blend.

Version reviewed: Perfume
08th March, 2013

Caoba by Fueguia

You might be mislead by the fact it is mostly made of patchouli, for although it is notably a predominant note, the cacao and the ambergris are combined in such a fashion the blend feels distinctive.

It develops quite fast, the opening signed by the patchouli is disguised in a way it smells somehow formal, thus usual connotations given by it are set aside. I can get a powdery feeling in these top notes acquiring a gourmand effect, obviously due to the presence of cacao. One may think of a powdery black chocolate scent that slowly turns sugary, finally turning somehow cozy. In other words, the olfative journey proposed by Caoba is somehow a lingering game between opposites, bitter and sweetness in this case.

Undoubtedly, one of my preferred scents among those made by Fueguia. In the case of men wearing it, be aware Caoba's strength and silage are notorious. As to women, I have no doubt it can be worn as a very sexy oriental that will draw many compliments.

Version: Absolute
08th March, 2013

Platinum Égoïste by Chanel

Baffling: it does smell "1990's generic".

I got a sample and tried it without many expectations, the top notes reminded me of many others launched during the same decade. However, after hours I realized that PE had what others of its kind lacked, namely, an extraordinary complexity - its base notes are radically different to those in the top notes.

Its "genericness" can be deceiptive, specially when comparing it to the House's classics for men - Pour Monsieur, Egöiste and Antaeus. Don't let this fool you: in my case, after the top notes faded, I enjoyed it enormously.
24th September, 2012

Mémoire d'Homme by Nina Ricci

Grapefruit? Pomelo? Nonsense, this is a mixture of tea and licorice. There is no denying, this is strong, longlasting, lienar and quite original, up to your tastes or not, but still, original.
25th June, 2012

H.O.T. Always by Bond No. 9

Is this a joke? It is a pre reformulated version of Givenchy Gentleman, of which there are zillions of knock offs in Argentina. For those not caring about brands and price tags, go for the version by Laboratorios Wels, Tabac Black. Hard to find, look after it in small perfume shops in neighborhoods. It sells at 10 % of Bond's price tag.

Wear it and tell the world you paid USD 300 for it.

BTW, tha actual reformulation of Givenchy Gentleman is quite good. So you will be doing yourself a favor buying the original one. If you don't justify its price, go for the Wels knock off. And if you buy Bond... well, caveat emptor.
20th February, 2012

One Man Show Gold Edition by Jacques Bogart

"Bombastic" is a very cautious term when it comes to describe this blend, I'd rather say nuclear. 1980's powerbombs are nothing compared to this. When applying it one has the sensation people will react in an aggresive fashion, it is by far the most boisterous scent I have ever smelt or tried.

It does not have anything to do with the original OMSh, this is more contemporary in terms of notes in fashion nowadays of the kind found in Paco Rabanne's One Million, Carolina Herrera 212 VIP, Antonio Bandera´s The Secret and The Golden Secret and Ted Lapidus Black Soul (I did not try its Golden edition, but I bet they must share the same aromachemicals).

In this case, its originality lies in that the blend morphs into darker notes, thus turning it into a very interesting scent, maybe due to the spices and the base notes. In this sense I regret the fruity top notes.

Overall, I have the feeling that the nose behind this blend wanted to deliver an extreme value for money, or better still, accomplishing in a mass market brand what many niche scents do, without much complexity.

Be aware this must be worn with abundant hair in chest, an open silk shirt and some solid gold chains. Accompay with a set of sport-bars-type lightly dressed girls and a tuned American sports car, preferibly, red. You get the idea...
16th December, 2011

Domain by Mary Kay

For reviews on Domain, check those of Creed's Himalaya, Paco Rabanne's XS, Chanel's Allure, Montblanc's Legacy, Brook Brothers for Men, Ralph Lauren's Safari, Davidoff's Champion, Lauder's Intuition or the now discontinued Ô de Lancôme pour Homme (add to these Alliance, Kevin Black and Kevin Sport by Fragancias Cannon if you live around the River Plate area, namely, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay): they all share the same top notes, which I suspect must be some aromachemical named Bergamotol, Rhubarbex, Bergarubhol or Greenex.

Suggestion: make sure to replace the word "eau de toilette" with "eau de cologne".

If the above mention don't tell you much, it is a conservative powdery and subtle scent like many others which will bring compliments if, by chance, it is noticed.

I like it though, I am into conservative and subtle scents.
12th December, 2011 (last edited: 16th December, 2011)

Aseel by Al Rehab

Prevalent rose top notes feeling a little dry because of the frankincense, not subtle, not gentlemanly, not understated, making it a little bit over the femenine side. The complexity is quite remarkable for such an inexpensive scent, just minutes after the top notes the wearer can percieve the presence of those used in masculine perfumes, thus the gender limits have been crossed due to some green notes, chances are because of aromatics blended with flowers. From then the blend evolves without the initial complexity into flowery and patchouli notes with a very, extremily remarkable longevity.

Final remarks before finishing this review: it is heavy on the rose, so this could be favored by men who are looking after rose-based unisex blends, but not those after masculine rose blends. Now, after trying Epic Woman and Opus IV, I can sense an Amouage - like feeling in this one: could it be the frankincense? Or is it something akin to scents made in the Middle East? Or is it that Al Rehab tries to offer inexpensive versions of Amouage like scents?

Neve mind the retorical questions. After the olfatory patterns so common in many global designer's blends, this is a piece appart that can be considered as a niche scent, albeit all its flaws. And fo the price being asked... something worth trying (and throwed or given away if disliked).
29th August, 2011 (last edited: 03rd September, 2011)

Guerlain Homme Intense by Guerlain

Short review: not ground breaking in the top notes, but marvellous in the mid and the base notes. Is there hints of the Guerlinade in it? No, I don't think so. This does not diminish its allure, despite its lack of projection and longevity.

Not liked by purists, indeed by me.
28th July, 2011

The Baron by LTL

Old school? Because of the floral notes, for sure. The pyramid I found it is not quite precise, the list includes flowers, vetiver, lavender, sandalwood and amber: not very telling, to tell the truth.

The opening does tell the wearer there are flowers of a powdery kind. I know iris and amber is responsible for this, so there might be the chance the powdery feeling is achieved through the iris. The rest of the olfactory journey is not marked by the stridency felt upon application for it morphs into a skin scent in which the rest of the components ameliorate the floral notes, but not to such an extent as to ending their presence - something that reminds a comment as to The Baron being the masculine version of White Shoulders. The sandalwood is quite notable in the mid / base notes together with the vetiver.

This won't please every one around, for it is definitely a blend apart of the rest. You will of course enjoy it if you like powdery floral scents. Indeed, FBW for fragrance aficionados interested in traditional and classic - styled scents.

PS: Together with it, I got Fracas for men. Interesting enough, I imagined Fracas would be like The Baron, a floral scent. No, it is the other way around.
19th June, 2011

Fracas for Men by Robert Piguet

Take this as a very personal opinion on the reviews posted: perceptions can be biased by false leads. In this case, there are plenty of grounds for them...

1. The blend was developed after the original brand name, Fracas, a classic women's scent.
2. The company in charge of its release was not the original company manufacturing and distributing the products under the brandname "Piguet", it was a licensee.
3. Piguet was later licensed to another company who relaunched the line according to the original concept - namely, manufacturing and selling high-quality scents.

Thus far, Fracas for Men is not listed in their product portfolio.

So we have a potentially failed case in here: Fracas for Men does not have anything to do with the real Fracas, and for worst, it has been blended by a company with a business strategy at odds with the present one. The result? The wearer will get a very bad first impression due to poor quality packaging issues mentioned by many reviewers.

Now, what about the blend? On first impressions, you might as well take Lomani Lomani for Men (this one: http://www.basenotes.net/ID26121011.html) and strip the very strong citric / lemon-like top notes. Make these more spicy with some fruit accords to the point of avoiding any annoyment. Later, make this notes morph slowly into slight floral and strong woody notes, albeit subtle. It somehow smells like a toned-down or a mellowed traditional aromatic fougere because of the spices.

As a conclusion, it is a well blended scent along classic perfume making, it def, does not smell edgy, at all. It does lack the sillage many fragrance aficionados demand of their perfumes, but alas, men are supposed to smell nice in a subtle fashion. Longevity is along the norm, 4 hours in acidic skin like mine. Add to all these the fact that it sold under a very convenient price. Thus, I think it would be a good choice for a "no frills" fragrance wearer seduced at the idea of using a traditional scent that is not widely known at all.
18th June, 2011

Champion by Davidoff

A fellow Base Noter noted that this was not as bad as everybody stated so I decided to give it a try. It is true, it is a nice blend, albeit lacking originality: it is a bergamot prominent top note fragrance, this meaning that it is in the same fashion as a kind of blend that became very poular since the 1990's, of which many are still widely available in the market - XS, Himalaya, Allure, Eternity, Brooks Brothers for Men, Safari, O de Lancome for men as well as new ones, like Mont Blanc Legacy, to which we must add the myriad of inexpensive scents released after these ones, like the local Alliance by Carlos Benaim. Of course there are differences between Champion and the rest of the ones in the group, thanks to the availability of modern-day aromachemicals contributing to better projection, longevity and complexity. But, unless you are into details, the overall feeling is that is on the same vein as those we've been smelling for a decade or more.

This leaves me wonder about marketing decision making and perception: in this case, one ends up thinking that what is being offered is a marketing concept rather than a content. Not a bad thing per se, I regard this might be a hit among athletes. As for those looking for information on the product, they might as well look after other less expensive options, for there are plenty of them.
25th May, 2011

Arpège by Lanvin

Short review: excellent, must smell, trully a classic. Now, IMHO, avoid it if you are a man thinking men can pull this off.

Long review: Among BaseNoters it is widely assumed that scents are genderless and that men can wear blends sold under the tag "femenine" and vice versa. Still, there are recurrent threads on female scents that men can wear, of which many end up in heated debates. As per my experience, it is cristal clear that the right answer is personal: one should wear whatever the wearer feels worth wearing, so this review should be read with this idea in mind. Of course, the ones reading this review are free to disent.

Arpege is a floral aldehyde, so in this sense, the top notes, besides being as the descriptor says, are sort of taken to an extreme due to the presence of the aldehydes - I have to admit that I am using this term as per its analogies with the most famous floral aldehyde around, Chanel N° 5: it is the high loud notes the ones responsible for this common attribute. As I mentioned in a thread about Lanvin's most famous perfume, I don´t have anything against florals, but of these being sold for men, I really like a small amount of them. To my nose, florals widely used in femenine scents are too acute to my nose - I resort to this term because they feel like needles.

There has been many formulations and I am clueless as to the one corresponding to the sample I tried. In this case, I cannot give any account as to its complexity, it is rather linear. Thus, the mid notes don't evolve that much. Still, I can understand that comments about Arpege being suitable for men are based in the blend's base notes for there are some notes lurking around that have some sort of distant animalic character that are very nice. Now, be aware that these are rather subdued, thus men wearing it will end up with the feeling of having been forced through a floral journey taking hours in order to arrive to very shy animalic accords.

In summary, it is a classic, but not in the same fashion as the orientals, leathers and chypres blended in the first half of the XX century, the ones that many, even me, think that can be easily used by men, and thus, find them full bottle worthy. Thus, if interested, do sample it through a full wear before thinking about buying it, for it is the only way to find if you feel comfortable wearing it.
24th May, 2011