Perfume Reviews

Reviews by archibald

Total Reviews: 29

Habit Rouge Sport by Guerlain

I like this better than Habit Rouge. So sue me. Which is not to say I love HRS. HRS loses both the best part of HR, the rosewood/spice accord as well as the powdery to the point of stale-smelling aspect which made it impossible for me to enjoy HR at all. What remains is a pretty good, if otherwise completely unremarkable citrus/spice/wood masculine neither much better nor worse than other competent examples of the genre. As many might predict, this is not a sports fragrance.
19th September, 2009

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

Ok, you guys have convinced me. GIT smells like Cool Water. GIT has convinced me that Cool Water smells way better when it's made with Creeds materials budget.
13th August, 2009

Sandalo by Etro

The pickins are mighty slim in the Santal Forest these days, and it seems fruitless to debate which ones smell most like the real Mysore deal since the answer is probably d) none of the above. Etro's Santal (or at least my decant from a recent vintage) has absolutely no plot, but sure smells good which is more than one can say about Original Santal, the Floris, Lutens and Micheri sandalwoods, which IMO falsly trumpet the word "Mysore" in their names or notes. That being said, the Floris pales in the presence of Sandalwoods that actually contain a healthy slug of Mysore--Creed's Bois De Santal, which costs about 5 times as much, smells about 31.4 times better and as such will get my full bottle money if I can ever find it. I give this a thumbs up only because I always give frags that smell good a thumbs up regardless of their high artistry or lack thereof.
03rd August, 2009
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Dirty by B Never Too Busy Be Beautiful

I think I get the joke....whoever wears this is the punchline: "and he smells bad too"
31st July, 2009

Le Vetyver by Lubin

While I like this better than everbody else so far, and especially enjoyed the clove/nutmeg accord singing the baritone part during the middle section, I can't think of a reason why anyone would buy this instead of GV, except if they like a little less vetiver in their vetiver.
26th July, 2009

Bois de Cédrat by Creed

A great solio-citrus, not one iota impressionistic or abstract. As pointed out below, Meyer lemon is the closest real world analogue to BDC thanks, I'd wager, to a hint of bergamot providing the orange aspect and some kind of subtle herbal accord providing bitterness--the two features that separate Meyer lemon peels from their martini-riding brethren. BDC is also half of the only layering combo I'd actually wear out of the house:--two or three spritzes of BDC on top of one of Bois de Santal (which has a nice creamy lemon opening of it's own) provides an amazing two hour balancing act of smooth and sharp followed by whatever's left of BDS, which persists a good three hours longer than BDC.
16th July, 2009

Vetiver by Guerlain

One of my very few criticisms of Basenotes reviews is that there seems to be more than a few people who seem to go out of their way to pan every fragrance that features an accord they despise. Seems a little counterproductive to wage a private War on Vetiver, or Coffee or ISO E Super or whatever in the review section.

If you do like Vetiver, look no further than GV. I find the vetiver accords in both Racine and in Givenchy Vetiver reissue marginally better articulated, but GV has hands down my favorite drydown in all of perfumery, managing to actually deliver what the marketers 99% of contemporary masculines can only promise--a precise "balance of sensuality and freshness."
22nd June, 2009

Oud Wood by Tom Ford

I'll take the oud exprts word for it that Oud Wood may not be the purest sxression of that material, and it's probably not a dumb guess that its relatve oudlessness is exactly why I find it orders of magnitude less obnoxious than Black Aoud, the least obnoxious oud frag I'd tried befor recieving my sample of Oud Wood. For those who know M7 was produced under Ford's direction, I guess Oud Wood can't help but conjure up a neural connection, but while M7 celebrates Oud at its most medicinal and rubbery, Oud Wood elevates its resinous and smokey aspects, acomplished perhaps by the addition of a healthy shot of rosewood. Sure, it's linear but that's the Private Blend Collection deal, isn't it? You read the label and figure that's literally what you're going to get. If less Oud winds up being more in this frag,so be it. It's a full bottle buy for me
01st June, 2009

Canali Style by Canali

Quintessentially run-of-the-mill Italian on it's own, but early one morning I stumbled upon good use for it: By carelessly IDing my samples, I discovered that I could extend the dregs of my 2.5ml Jubillation XXV by layering two sprays of the Amouage with one of the Canali. This creates an interesting effect: The Canali barely changes the character of Jubilation except to mask some of the fruit, enhance the fresh/woody aspect of the incence accord and to extend the overall persistance, all of which is probably a result of the heavy use of ISO E Super used in the Canali.
31st May, 2009

Cool Water Cool Summer by Davidoff

Cool Water flanker number 18 (unless you count the flankers made by other companies, in which case its Cool Water flanker number 81,362). This one has a fruity opening and a synthetic smelling coumerin drydown, otherwise it' guessed it. Personally, I'm waiting for Cool Water Red Tide, Cool Water Heavy Metals, and Cool Water Angry Putin, which may be the only ways to avoid having to smell another version of Cool Water ever again.
26th March, 2009

Ungaro pour L'Homme II by Ungaro

There's a lot of Civet in this frag. Ok...if you're still reading, try this: Order the Ungaro I and II sample pack from your favorite online sample seller. Apply a liberal amount of Ungaro II. Wear the most conservative, uptight banker suit you own, a button down oxford, and a George Herbert Walker Bushish tie. Enjoy the looks you get from the reputedly naughty hottie from Marketing and Public Relations.
09th March, 2009

L'Anarchiste by Caron

An accurate description of the first third of l'Anarchiste's development sounds a lot like a dessert at some restaurant trying too hard to be au courrant: Baked apples with candied citrus and herb foam. I'd probably just get coffee, but the airy green on top of sweet orange on top of apple pie makes L'Anarchiste damn near irresistible. The citrus and greenness fade, but I get the apple and sweet spices all the way down through the much dryer finish. Thankfully, on my skin the drydown is mostly a nice cedar with very little of the sweet amber others are getting, Another winner. Thanks to basenotes, I'm 4 for my last five blind buys (Eau Sauvage Fraicheur Cuir, Riverside Drive, Equipage, and Sycamore, for the record)
08th March, 2009

Eau Sauvage Fraîcheur Cuir by Christian Dior

Off the top of my head, I can't think of another fragrance, classic reissue or recent release, that plays within the confines of the contemporary fresh 'n clean sensibility without sacrificing classic structure, smart composition, or quality ingredients as effortlessly as Eau Sauvage Fraîcheur Cuir. Starting with an original that has stood the test of time gave a leg up to the nose that created this version to be sure, but ESFC's composition is extremely clever--leaving the top notes pretty much alone, at least enough to make the the fragrance immediately recognizable as an Eau Sauvage, toning down some of the perfumey (read: dated) smell of the heart, and adding a leather accord that at once suggests a classic structure without actually replicating the actually leather that usually defines old-fashioned cyphers. The "fresh leather" in ESFC is the fine suede of a pair of a brand new pair of bench-made bucks---nothing dry or overbearing at all. My current fave.
06th March, 2009
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Tom Ford for Men by Tom Ford

I can't fault Tom Ford's business decision to tap into the full range of fragrance buyers by putting out a firmly mainstream frag as his flagship and a bunch of niche frags as flankers. Trouble is good business usually makes for crappy fragrances. Tom Ford for Men strikes me as a failed attempt to create a modern, mainstream version of classic frags (Heritage and New York pop into my head as I sniff). The problem is that the notes are dimmed so much that what are usually just side-effects of the older school style, the powdery drydown and "perfumey" feel, are pretty much the whole deal here. I'll stick to the excellent Bois Rouge and Oud Wood.
16th February, 2009

Déclaration Essence by Cartier

There is an upside to being a fragrance newb: I just realized I have smelled dozens of shameless copies of Decraration before getting around to smelling the real deal, which is sort of like someone, whose only contact w/ the Beatles' music was through repeated viewings of Beatlemania, finally putting on Revolver--an instant recognition of what the fuss is all about. The intense version is minimalism at it's best. It smells like a big, lush, old fashioned fragrance that has been edited down to just the essentials, which not only increases the impact of each simple accord but also makes the whole seem far, far more interesting than just the sum of its few parts.
13th February, 2009

Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder

From Luca Turin's book:"[fragrance is] a portable form of intelligence."

From the AMA:: "[NASA] researchers are concerned about the long-term effects of exposing yourself to high levels of vibration. At least one is worried that brain damage is possible".
13th February, 2009

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

It ain't too scientific, I know, but a quick scan of 185 reviews probably won't convince anyone that fragrances smell about the same on everyone regardless of skin chemistry--at least if you assume that people who care enough about fragrances to spend time reviewing them are able to discern TdH's listed notes from bug spray, straight snadalwood oil, lime candy, cigarettes, dirt, rotting oranges on park benches, gasoline, or plastic. As interesting as it would be to smell any of the above in TdH, I have no suck luck. What I get is pretty typical turn of the Century citrus/wood stuff: a perfecly pleasant orange opening, a faint tinge of something metallic wehen the citrus burns off and a bit of vetiver along with very usual woods. Guess I have boring skin, a dead nose or, most likely, both. But if the day ever arrives when I can't possibly risk offending anyone's nose, I will confidently wear Terre d'Hermes.
10th February, 2009

Équipage by Hermès

I bet more than a few younger basenoters have seen that "1970" between the parenthasis and immediately hit the back button. If that's true, they've missed out on a terrific fragrance that smells thoroghly contemporary. Equipage ought to be in everyone's collection, not only to serve as the standard for judging perfect balance, seamless blending, and understated power but also because, however old you and this fragrance are, everyone will think you smell way better than you do when you wear Aqua di Whatever.
04th February, 2009

Story by Paul Smith

I also picked this up for a guilt-free $16 at Marshall's. Story smells and performs on my skin exactly as described in the other positive reviews, so I'll just add that the beautiful ivy note creats a vibe almost identical to the vetiver in any number of famous and far more expensive frags--so much so that if folks wanted to pick up Story instead of, say vetiver '48 (which has similar longevity on my skin) they could keep a Franklin in their pockets and not feel as though they're sacrificing much at all.
29th January, 2009

Salvatore Ferragamo pour Homme by Salvatore Ferragamo

Bought this blind, which I regret about as much as you can regret a $16 snag at a discount store--but since I picked up Dirty English and Story for the same price, I think can endure the letdown. Whether I can endure another wearing of SFpH, though, is doubtful. The first few seconds might lead you to believe you've got yourself a unique fresh fragrance, but once the fig and citrus burns off you're SOL for the next four hours during which you'll be subjected to whiffs of an amzing reproduction of the smell of clove cigarettes, a 100% synthetic-smelling freshness, very dry vetiver and wood, and a sweetness that seems unpleasantly out of place under the sharp and dry notes. I always try to give fragrances a full wearing but this one got washed off with extreme prejudice.
28th January, 2009

New Haarlem by Bond No. 9

Although there's apparently plenty of research indicating that both men and women find food smells incredibly evocative, arousing even, most of the gourmand fragrances I've tried feel more like novelty items ("Hey, you smell just like my grandma's Chocolate Delight Bars!!") than important pieces of a stylish person's wardrobe. New Haarlem somehow works as the latter, largely because it avoids the big pitfall that ruins most of the gourmands I've tried: combos that work on a plate tend to smell cloyingly literal on skin. Flowery herbs with chocolate? Not on my desert tray either, thanks. But in New Harlem, the notes form a great counterpoint to the coffee with cream and raw sugar accord--interesting and almost un-foody. The coffee does smell like a triple venti 2% latte, but its roasted aspect also functions like cedar might in a non-gourmand. New Haarlem is completely wearable, and will probably be the only food frag I'll ever buy.

I'm fast becoming a big fan of Bond #9. When I bought Chez Bond and Riverside Drive the nice lady at Saks tossed a sample of everything else in the bag. With a couple of exceptions I find most of the line completely unique. A few are definitely clones, but (also with an exception or two) represent improvements on their models.
23rd January, 2009

Wall Street by Bond No. 9

Men's Health reports that women prefer cucumbers...or at least cucumber notes in men's fragrances. Leaving that info to fragrance marketers and Freudian psychoanalysts to sort out, it would be hard to believe that very many people would ever use word "sexy" to modify "Wall Street by Bond #9." It's even harder to believe that Wall Street is made by the same house that gave us Riverside Drive and Chez Bond.

I get cucumber, and lots of it, along with a salty, gritty, and slightly synthetic attempt at a marine accord that lasts too long. The drydown is better--and more similar to Erolfa--but not worth the wait. Whatever body of water served as the inspiration for this frag, I ain't swimming in it.
22nd January, 2009

Lalique pour Homme by Lalique

Bought this half blind based on Lalique's Basenotes rep and the very Alluresque smell on the test strip, both of which made me conclude that 55 bucks for 3 oz of EDP had very limited downside. Two full wears later, I still think it was a pretty good buy with a couple reservations. As others have noted Allure's citrus, at once fresher and richer, is superior to Lalique PH's but I think everything else about the Lalique--silage, longevity, dark florals, a good cedar, and restrained sweetness make it a superior fragrance. I do get an almost-but-not-quite staleness--dustiness may be a better word--that appears when the citrus dissipates (well into the development, BTW) and unless I press my wrist to my nose, the drydown dominated by vanilla, which is usually unkind to my skin. One man's dust is another man's powder, I guess, so I give it a thumbs up.
21st January, 2009

Chez Bond by Bond No. 9

I completely agree with the negative reviews of Bond #9's decision to copy two of the most ubiquitous fragrances ever blended--as their house juice, lo less. But after separating Chez Bond, the dopey business decision from Chez Bond, the fragrance, I believe that it's clearly the best attempt of the three. The primary difference between CB, GIT and CW (as well as the main reason Chez bond works the best) is that Bond largely dispensed with the synthetic-smelling blue note that dominates Cool Water and lurks in the top and heart of GIT. True, Chez Bond's development is not as noticeable as GIT's but it's not as linear as CW either. CB's drydown is generally woodier than GIT's, another plus in my book, and the sandalwood itself is much, much better. To be sure, CB is not going to convert anyone who dislikes GIT and CW, but fans of those two frags could do worse than to give Chez Bond a shot when replacement time comes around.
20th January, 2009

Rochas Lui by Rochas

When I read the notes and reviews I was ready to buy: My skin and my nose sure do love them some cedar, and there it was....twice. A fragrance with cedar on cedar! And who among us wouldn't hope that something called "bison grass" smells great? "Everything GpH wanted to be"? Perfect--over the years GpH has been my most consistently complimented fragrance. Picked Lui out of the perfumedcourt box the second it arrived what a letdown: There is certainly a huge blast of dry cedar throughout, a nice cedar even, but it obliterates almost all of the other notes except maybe the sycamore which my nose is probably not sophisticated enough to pick out from the cedar. I get precious little neroli after 30 seconds, and worse, I still have no idea whether or not bison grass smells good or not. The vanilla and patchouli are present mainly in the form of an old lady's powder, sadly. I did get a nice compliment from a female colleague the day I wore it, but I suspect the rest of my sample will remain unused.
20th January, 2009

Riverside Drive by Bond No. 9

Riverside Drive occupies the penthouse in the same building where Cartier Santos Concetree and Rochas Lui also live, managing to be at once more ostentatious and more refined than it's neighbors. The rose and lily make Riverside Drive's silage every bit as powerful as the Cartier and Rochas, but while the latter two frags seem to be all about wood on my skin, Riverside drive's sweet fruit and flowers keep it squarely on the pretty side of masculine. My go-to for dressy social occasions.
16th January, 2009 (last edited: 22nd January, 2009)

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

Pimento please in my Paella
Powdered in my Paprikashes
With Piccoline, in Puttanesca.

In Gucci, Habit Rouge, Escada
It's scent is sharp and stale and clashes
12th January, 2009

Néroli Sauvage by Creed

A great way to smell like orange blossoms and still feel like the manly man you are. On first wearing, I was expecting this to be a one note song, a short walk through the citrus grove and then back to work, but I was surprised and delighted by Néroli Sauvage's drydown--gorgeous (and rare for me) non-powdery wood and musk. Chalk it up to newbism, maybe, but I'm thinking maybe I like this one better than the two creeds in my current rotation, Himalaya and Erolfa, which are more complex to be sure, but ultimately just don't provide the same pleasure.
20th November, 2008

Roadster by Cartier

If your skin, unlike mine, likes Roadster's drydown, I envy you. I absolutely loved the refreshing, deftly blended and interesting mint candy/herb garden opening and woody, subtly veviterish middle notes. I had hoped the wood would stick around long enough to temper the vanilla, amber and patchouli, which my skin turns instantly into pure baby powder, but it didn't. After about three hours all I could smell was faint amber and very, very powdery vanilla. A much more subtle and refined mint experience than the other minty new releases I've tried (Guerlain Homme, Very Irresistible) but the basenotes just don't work for me.
03rd November, 2008