Knize Forest is a green herbal beauty that shows hints of Green Irish Tweed, Bowling Green and Jazz. The opening is strikingly similar to Green Irish Tweed with a touch of Bowling Green. As the herbal heart kicks in, I'm vaguely reminded of Jazz. I don't perceive a huge pine note, which I regret. In the end, a green, herbal, and grassy fragrance emerges. Knize Forest is an elegant fragrance that reminds me more of a forest floor than the pines that surge from it. A nice respite from the tart Creed drydown. If you enjoy green fragrances, you should give this one a wear. It's a well-done, old style charmer.
Ricci Club is an affable citrus, woody, spicy scent. Ricci Club is not a typical citrus in that the opening is both green and citrus with neither note overpowering the other. I smell a distinct peach note in the heart, but it's a "spicy peach". There is clearly a floral accord in the heart that follows the opening notes very well. The cinnamon base note breaks through quite early in the progression of Ricci Club and to my nose is the true essence of the fragrance. This is not a JHL cinnamon bomb. Tonka bean sweetens Ricci Club nicely. No cloying nastiness to my nose. Overall, I would describe Ricci Club as a spicy, sweet scent that is very well done and an effective counterpoint to many citrus offerings. Highly recommended.
Clubman is "clean man" smell in a plastic bottle. Pleasant, affable, not plowing any new ground (even though it has been around forever). After the first bracing splash (or dab, as it goes on strong), Clubman settles in as a classic barbershop scent. How can you take a $7.99 aftershave in a plastic bottle seriously? Well, it plain and simple smells good. This is no Sartorial, mind you. Clubman doesn't strive to be more than it is. And judging by the air of nostalgia swirling around it, what it is is a timeless masculine classic on par with Canoe, Brut and a creamy, close shave. Definitely worth a try.
Monsieur De Givenchy belongs to the group of classic masculines including Chanel Pour Monsieur, YSL pour Homme, and Eau Sauvage that evoke crisp elegance. MdG is a citrus aromatic that just begs for a business suit in a high-rise glass tower filled with folks getting things done. I envision the guys in Mad Men wearing MdG and its amenable compatriots. MdG brings you along to the happy hour after work.
The bar is filled with laughter and congratulations about the account you landed today. Martinis flow. And then it fades and you head home to your loved ones. This is how MdG strikes me. MdG is a bit more soapy than Eau Sauvage, but not over the top. Whereas Eau Sauvage can be sharp, MdG doesn't feel that way to me. MdG smells citrusy, slightly soapy and clearly aromatic. I find MdG to have average longevity and light to moderate sillage. A timeless classic. A fragrance that comes with an itinerary.
Nemo is a woody oriental that is quite unique with a strong lavender spicy opening that is pleasant but with a kick. The opening accord of lavender and spices sets Nemo apart from other fragrances of its age. Nemo just has an "I'm not the same as you" feeling about it. During its drydown, Nemo becomes more restrained. I smell a green, geranium accord with a hint of carnation and cardamom. A touch of incense offers a slightly mysterious edge. Nemo finishes with a sweet, woody accord, which is very pleasant. This is a very good fragrance with good longevity and average sillage. You can do much worse than Nemo when searching for a quality woody oriental fragrance. Why Nemo has been scuttled to the gulf stream of discontinued fragrances is beyond me.
Jardins d'Amalfi opens with a beautiful citrus mix that generates images of a sun-washed blue sky in my mind. This is a bright fragrance that is really quite stunning. The Tangerine and neroli are a perfect match, much more interesting than Neroli Portifino, for example. Where it really excels is in the heart where the rose merges with the citrus notes. This is a unisex scent. I wear this without a second thought. Perfect for warm weather. The drydown is musky vetiver. Nice projection and average longevity (6+ hours on my skin). One of Creed's best.
13th January, 2014 (last edited: 23rd January, 2014)
H.M. loses me at the shaky opening and never fully recovers. I enjoy gourmand/oriental type fragrances such as Rochas Man and Midnight in Paris. H.M. has elements of each of these fragrances, i.e. iris, lavender, chocolate, etc., but I prefer the others over H.M. I don't dislike H.M., I just have other options that better fit my nose and mind. H.M. is a pleasant, inoffensive fragrance. Worthy of a test drive.
Grey Vetiver - The anti-vetiver. I am not a vetiver fan, but Grey Vetiver has the component parts (Vetiver, florals, citrus, spices) to create a sophisticated, versatile, fragrance that I can easily wear without trepidation. Usually, Vetiver is too dirt-like for my nose. I prefer clean Vetiver. Sycomore is stunning, but I like Grey Vetiver more. Clean, bright and not overpowering in the silty loam department. I love it and wear it in various settings. A solid fragrance that lasts and smells great. I don't smell like I'm digging for night crawlers when I wear this one.
Allure Homme is a creamy, green, citrusy fragrance that displays restrained elegance. Allure Homme is very "Chanel": smooth, classy and free of obvious flaws as it unfolds on my wrist. Safe? Yes. Boring? Maybe. Allure Homme is not exactly ground breaking, but it is a pleasure to wear. Good longevity and projection. I initially rated this "neutral". After additional testing, I've changed my rating to a "thumbs up". Not everything needs to be a masterpiece. Allure Homme isn't, it just smells nice. Sometimes that's all I need.
06th January, 2014 (last edited: 12th January, 2014)
Frank No. 2 is not well-known, but it is a budding star. A bracing, boozy, fruity and resinous aromatic fougere with a touch of coffee and mixed woods. The plum, cognac, wood and coffee notes work together very well, with no screeches or odd transitions. Frank No. 2 is almost linear on my skin after the original bergamot, lavender onslaught and the mid-heart notes. This is fine with me. My nose would be miffed if this aspirational masculine went all complex on me. There is enough depth with the plum, cognac, coffee and woods to hold my interest for the entire life of this outstanding masculine fragrance. Signature scent worthy for those who enjoy the boozy, fruity, resinous and "just dry enough woody" aromatic fougeres. Frank No. 2 lasts around 8 hours on my skin with very good projection up front that lightens up a bit during the drydown. This is a "wow!" fragrance for me. Should be trending.
Philosykos. An astringent, very green leafy/vegetal opening. Coconut breaks through the top notes almost from the start. Philosykos unfolds into a creamy, fruity heart which is very pleasant, slightly sweet and summery. The drydown lends a slightly dusty feel to the coconut-fig accord. Philosykos has a soothing effect on me. Summer. Summer. Summer. A unisex fragrance that works as well on a man as it does on a woman. A nice alternative to the standard citrus summer scents. I get moderate longevity with average projection. A very satisfying addition to my summer wardrobe.
Tom Ford's ode to the Oriental Spring via the Ume Plum. Plum Japonais has a fruity, oriental character with lush, resinous and smokey notes, infused with floral and wood, Oudh wood to be exact. I find the opening of Plum Japoinais to be quite beautiful, but more dark than I expected. Dark Spring forest. When the florals emerge, Plum Japonais brightens, but only as far as the resinous accord allows. I enjoy this juxtaposition. However, as the Oudh emerges and develops fully, I enjoy Plum Japonais less, as I'm not a huge Oudh fan. Wood and amber notes anchor the surprisingly long-lasting skin scent base, which is my least favorite part of Plum Japonais. As others, such as drseid and the blogger Kafkaesque have noted, this fragrance has a Serge Lutens vibe. Whether it lives up to that standard, who knows? What do you think? I love Plum Japonais' top and heart. The base not so much. I give Plum Japonais a conflicted neutral rating.
31st December, 2013 (last edited: 06th January, 2014)
1270 evokes a summer stroll along a Main Street in a small village in Door County. It's 80 degrees, you are wearing shorts and flip flops and this lush aroma of freshly made candy dares you to walk in the candy shop door and sneak just one piece. 1270 invites a sniff, then another, then another. We are in gourmand land and it's kind of nice. Dried fruits, coffee and cocoa introduce me to 1270. A soft leather note and florals soon emerge. I smell mainly vanilla and honey in the drydown. I find 1270 to have enough complexity to hold my interest. 1270 lasts over eight sweet hours on my skin. This is one of the more compelling gourmands I've tried. Definitely unisex. Definitely recommended.
Polo. Loewe Esencia. Tsar. Drakkar Noir (Yeah, I know, I know...). These four fragrances have conspired to create Duc de Vervins. Sometimes conspiracies are a good thing. Duc de Vervins case in point. What we have here is a citrusy opening with a nice blend of spices (See Escencia), a lavender heart accompanied by a green note which I believe is geranium, and a Siberian-sized blast of oakmoss holding down the base. Duc de Vervins is a powerhouse. Masculine and mature (Not old, mature), Duc de Vervins makes most watery designer offerings cry like a spooked hyena under the moonlight. Duc de Vervins does not strike me as a fragrance for only the monied and well-bred. This fragrance goes for the folks looking for a long-lasting piney, mossy fragrance that is right at home on a cool day or any other time it darn well pleases to be worn. It does wear you.
Eau de L'Occitan is a spicy yet smooth fougere fragrance that is reflective of the L'Occitane brand. Quality ingredients and deft blending of notes set this scent apart from other lavender fragrances, certainly at this price point. Eau de L'Occitan starts with a stingray strike of pepper, lush lavender and cedar. I'm not typically a huge fan of pepper openers, but this one works. The spicy notes mesh very well with the cedar and lavender, with the lavender holding back just enough to make it worthwhile. As Eau de L'Occitan settles into its base, lavender, light musk and a hint of cedar meld to create a delicious, slightly sweet and emphatically soothing finale. Longevity is at least 6 hours. Projection is strong for the first hour then calms, but is noticeable. Recommended.
26th December, 2013 (last edited: 27th December, 2013)
Bentley For Men Intense is a sweet, spicy, boozy oriental, almost gourmandish fragrance that is anchored on incense, rum, labdanum and woods. The opening is bracing as the pepper, citrus and incense notes break out quickly upon application, making my nose and eyes sting a bit. This experience is somewhat similar to the initial opening of Hermitage, although the fragrances are very different. The green, earthy geranium note merges well with the pepper and incense, bringing balance to the opening. As the rum note emerges and blends with the insence, Bentley For Men Intense leaps quickly into the oriental realm, taking on an almost Amouage-like character as noted by another reviewer. The rum note balances very well with the insence during the heart note stage of development, preventing the scent from going too sweet, too quickly. The cedar note is also very noticeable in the heart and plays off the sweet rum very well. The fragrance grows noticeably sweeter over time as the labdanum, benzoin and rum notes merge and the wood notes fade, but it doesn't quite push me over the edge into hyperglycemia. The base notes stage borders on gourmand to my nose. Overall, I find Bentley for Men Intense to be a classy, sophisticated fragrance. Longevity is very good and projection is above average. Fans of Dior Homme Intense and Terre de Hermes-type fragrances will feel at home here.
Michael is rich, strong, boozy and laden with tobacco ash. Part of me likes this fragrance very much. Unfortunately, it gives me a headache. Too much incense and tobacco in a combination I really don't like. Michael is a fragrance I'd rather smell on someone else. Much to like, but not enough for a thumbs up. I'll go with Burberry London instead.
Burberry London is an excellent boozy, fruity, spicy fragrance that conjures fall and winter in my mind. A walk down a city street with leaves drifting to the ground, snow flakes emerging from where it is they hide, stepping into a home with a fire in the hearth. This is one of those fragrances that is Proustian. Evocative. I highly recommend it. It lasts about six hours on my skin, longer in my mind.
M7 Fresh is a woody oriental that is signicantlly different than M7. M7 Fresh opens with a refreshing blast of citrus notes, with grapefruit and Mandarin Orange being most noticeable to my nose. I don't get the "Fruit Loops" accord that others do. Fruit yes, Fruit Loops no. This is a fresh opening, not at all medicinal. I've forgotten how much I enjoy this fragrance. M7 Fresh is a more versatile fragrance than M7. I adore M7 but I won't wear it to work, for example. M7 Fresh can be worn during the day, night and in different seasons, though warm weather is best. Oud can be found in M7 Fresh but vetiver definitely makes its presence known. Longevity is adequate on my skin, approximately 6 hours. M7 Fesh is not a projection monster, but it will get you noticed when you want to get noticed.
Polo Crest is a dry wood child of the magisterial Polo Green. Crest opens with a citrus, herbal mix that is not as sharp as Polo Green. Basil, juniper, and caraway are front and center in Crest. The distinctive pine note of Polo Green only peeks around the corner in Crest. The heart notes in Crest are floral, which lead directly to the oakmoss and patchouli base notes, with a dash of leather, amber and cedar. Crest is a refined fragrance that can be worn in many occasions. Longevity is excellent and projection is admirable. These are the fragrances my nose pines for, masculine, self-assured, somewhat edgy by today's watery standards. Even if you despise Polo Green, I recommend you give Crest a try. In the case of Polo Green and Crest, the child is much better behaved than the rambunctious father.
I acknowledge the historical importance of Knize Ten. That being said, it does not move me. Oily leather, castoreum and amber dominate this scent as I wear it. These notes make me cringe, at least in this iconic fragrance. I'd like more floral in Knize Ten. Perhaps it is there but it escapes me. I don't now when I would wear Knize Ten on a regular basis. This is a very interesting fragrance that refuses to capture my heart. It does capture my mind, but that is not enough. This one is a neutral.
Updated Review: April 29, 2014
As I've worn various leather fragrances over time, I've discovered a new found appreciation for Knize Ten. Knize Ten lacks the green blast of Bandit, the dark leather of Derby, and the berries of Tuscan Leather, and that is fine by me. What I've discovered is that when I'm looking for a leather fragrance, I now reach for Knize Ten. I've switched my neutral rating to an enthusiastic thumbs up.
19th May, 2012 (last edited: 29th April, 2014)
Live Jazz starts with a bracing citrus blend of lemon and grapefruit that is at once bitter and grapefruit sour. The mint note is prominent and creates an overall "citrus cool" accord that I find very attractive. This opening works extremely well in very warm weather. The herbal notes, mainly coriander, help Live Jazz from hurtling over the edge as do many citrus fragrances. "Citrus green" has emerged, until the cedarwood and soft vanilla anchor the fragrance. Live Jazz is not a sillage monster, though it is bit sharp during the first one half hour or so. This fragrance has typical YSL quality at a very good price. I wear Live Jazz to the office as well as wandering around at the mall on weekends. It is versatile. While Live Jazz doesn't conjure images of John Coltrane, it does make me feel comfortable in my skin. More often than not, that is good enough for me. A solid and recommended summer scent.
Bleu strikes me as an enjoyable woody aromatic with a no nonsense grapefruit/citrus opening that lingers well into the progression of the fragrance. The ginger/spicy middle and woody/vetiver base notes are also prominent and are well-blended. I must admit the other listed notes escape my nose. The bottom line is I really enjoy Bleu. It is fresh, woody, and spicy. This basic formula is not rocket science, but its successful execution is. This is where the Chanel product surpasses so many others. I don't get the synthetic vibe that others do. Bleu garners many compliments and thus is popular in the mass market. This is not a bad thing. Keep the cash flow coming to Chanel and more of the "traditional" favorites will emerge. Until then, I have a feeling we will be seeing this one around for awhile being disparaged and purchased simultaneously.
Discreet. Classy and dignified. Bvlgari pH is a unique scent with floral, tea, pepper and musk notes shining through a formidable note pyramid. Sometimes fragrances like Bvlgari pH are overlooked due to their lack of projection and testosterone. Oh, but this tea-infused wonder is sexy in a sneaky way. Well-groomed with a lightly beckoning finger that invites those around you to lean in for a lingering sniff and possibly a nuzzle if the moon is just right. Oh yes, that's what you are Bvlgari pH, a stealthy seducer who pretends to be a safe, proper office scent. You are so much more. Unexpectedly, Bvlgari pH conjures "grey" in my mind, like raindrops sliding down a window after a summer rain. But there is no melancholy here. Nothing aloof about this one. Bvlgari pH makes me feel good. Olfactory sophistication works in strange ways. This fragrance is unique and worthy of classic status.
I have a soft spot for 'classics'. Acqua di Parma Colonia fits the bill. This one has a long distinguished history, allegedly worn by by many luminaries. This fragrance is one of my favorite eau de colognes. The citrus opening is superb. The floral heart, primarily rose to my nose, is very nice. The light musk base is just right. Longevity is 4-5 hours, not bad for an edc. AdP does have a feeling that is not of this time, and after all, it is not. WWI era, but apparently they created damn fine fragrances then. AdP is bottle worthy and I'm glad it is still in production. When my decant is gone, I will be buying a bottle. I wish perfumers produced more fragrances like AdP today. Instead, the luminaries are wearing many fragrances that aren't so luminous. No need to mention these, as they are legion.
Elegant, refined, absolute classic gentleman's fragrance. Traditional chypre. I'm reviewing the original formulation. CPM starts with a pleasant citrus opening followed by a "sweet" heart with cardamom and ginger most prominent to my nose. The base is a typical oakmoss, wood blend. All in all exquisite. Exudes class and sophistication. Longevity improves if sprayed on the chest under a tee shirt. This is the one I reach for along with Dunhill 1934 and Monsieur de Givenchy when I'm looking for a classic gentleman's fragrance. This will always be in my wardrobe, in addition to spread collar white shirts, a charcoal wool suite and black dress shoes. Great work fragrance, although I wear it anytime, even when I'm wearing jeans and a Nirvana tee shirt. What the heck, why not? Definitely doesn't smell like Teen Spirit. Highly recommended.
Azzaro pour Homme is an aromatic fougere that opens strong with a prominent and long-lasting anise note accompanied by various herbs, including caraway. There is a slight blast of citrus, but this is primarily an herbal opening. I liken Azzaro's opening to a poke in the eye by your annoying but basically affable big brother. Like your older sibling, Azzaro can be off-putting at first, and this is where those who dislike this fragrance are lost. But stick with it and Azzaro will take you on a pleasant fougere foray. Lavender plays a prominent role in the progression of Azzaro. This is where we see the path on which Azzaro is headed...straight to the fougere palace in search of its crown. On the way, it meets some contenders such as Rive Gauche pour Homme, which is a similar barbershop-type fougere, but is drier (talcum powder accord) than Azzaro. Azzaro settles into a vetiver, patchouli, leather and woody base that lasts for hours. I also detect some oak moss in the dry down as one expects in the standard fougere formula. There is also a sweetness to Azzaro that is just the right counterpoint to the other base notes.
Azzaro is a classic fragrance that since the late 1970's has staked its claim to the royal crown of the fougeres. Is it worthy? Maybe. If you want to "understand" Azzaro, wear a gourmand or an aquatic for a few days, then reset your nose with ApH. If you want to understand your older brother, forget about it. He'll poke you in the eye anyway. Azzaro on the other hand, goes straight for your heart and more often than not, lands there softly and securely.
Hugh Parsons Blue starts with a citrus accord of lemon and mandarin that does nothing to move me. Michael Edwards classifies Blue as a fresh woody oriental, which I would have never guessed from the opening notes. It seems like one of those aquatics that I have little interest in. As Blue develops, I get a hint of Green Irish Tweed, but only a hint. Both fragrances have the dreaded ambergris note in the base, which causes all kinds of problems for my nose, in a sensitive or allergic kind of way. As Blue continues to develop, I detect a blackberry note and a juniper note. I enjoy the fruity addition to Blue's development. Things are looking better. I'm beginning to enjoy Blue. As Blue evolves and the woody notes emerge, there is enough complexity and development to hold my attention. While Blue is not the type of fragrance I frequently reach for, it is not bad and is well-suited for office wear. As I spritz on Blue, I chuckle and think about where my heart really lies: Gucci Nobile, Azzaro, A*Men, Chergui, Pure Havane, Kouros, Rive Gauche, Fou D'Absinthe, Havana...There is nothing Blue about that lot.
Terre d'Hermes starts with a sharp citrus blast followed closely by a strong pepper note that almost seals the deal, but in the wrong direction. I dislike strong pepper notes. However, something interesting happens as Td'H develops. The top, mid and basenotes emerge so rapidly that this fragrance is almost linear. Cedar and vetiver emerge very quickly and thankfully, the pepper note takes a step back. The base of Td'H is woody, earthy and basalmic (benzoin). The benzoin adds a light sweetness that helps balance the woody and earthy accords. When the base sets in, I'm hooked. Td'H develops into a decidedly masculine fragrance that beats the crap out of so many of those watery things out there today. Longevity is similar in duration to a Wagner opera cycle. I can see Td'H becoming a part of my regular rotation despite the pepper-induced sneeze in the opening. Very pleasant surprise, this one. Pleasant indeed.
It's time to brush off the Rosetta Stone, learn to speak Italian and head to Tuscany. Tuscan Cypress is a perfect scent for warm, sunny days. TC opens with a crisp grapefruit note. This note lasts for a surprisingly long time. Herbs, including rosemary, basil and sage, snuggle with the grapefruit creating a spicy citrus-herbal accord. TC reminds me somewhat of Live Jazz during the top notes. While I enjoy Live Jazz very much, I find TC to be more complex and interesting. As TC moves into the mid notes, lavender pushes to the forefront. I detect some pine and a cardamom note that is reminiscent of Bowling Green. The transition from top to mid notes is smooth, although the grapefruit-lavender combination isn't my favorite part of TC. Nevertheless, as TC unfolds, my enjoyment and admiration for this fragrance grows. The woody, patchouli base drys TC at just the right time. TC is a fresh, spicy pleasure to wear in Tuscany or Iowa; your choice.