I'm a fan of CSP's non-vanillic scents, and Bois de Filao is no exception. A beautiful violet top note reminiscent of Balmain's classic Jolie Madame, but where Monsieur Balmain underpins Jolie Madame with greens and a velvety leather, CSP adds woods, patchouli and the standard CSP white musk. Not as long-lasting as some of CSP's other EDTs (I'm thinking of Le Roi Santal, Sultan Safran and L'Eau de Gouverneur). I reach for this when I crave violet but don't have time for Grey Flannel's mossiness to calm down or when I want something a bit more casual than Jolie Madame. Not as easy to find as some of CSP's more common scents, but worth seeking out.
Originally called Thé, the formula has changed since it was only available as an EDP. When it first came out, it was dark and smokey. The EDT is much lighter, with a bright, long lasting white musk and a fresh orange pekoe tea note, together with some darker mate that does lend a touch of smokiness, but not nearly to the degree of the EDP. I must say that I still love it, as it is unlike anything else I've smelled, and CSP quality is always first rate.
My first "good" cologne, I wore this often in the 1970s. A very masculine herbal citrus, very long lasting for its type. The combination of thyme and vetiver is unlike any other. I much prefer this to the High Concentration version, which though quite good on its own, has less verbena and more herbs, making it somewhat "dirtier" and, worst of all, less airy. Why mess with a classic?
A wonderfully aromatic rose fragrance with just enough patchouli to add smokiness and a little fruitiness to make it that much more interesting. VdR is the fragrance that sent me down the path in search of rose scents, and it remains my favorite. Expensive, but worth every penny.
I have a love/hate relationship with Trafalgar. It is unrelenting and harsh at temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but becomes bracing and distinctive in cooler weather. A heavy dose of jasmine with some spice and woods, at its best it is a very upright Brit. The only other fragrance this reminds me of is Caswell Massey's Jockey Club, although Trafalgar is superior. At the very least, it is Truefitt & Hill's most interesting offering.
Bold floral, this Tenere. To this nose, it is a scent of flowers that have just died and are beginning to decay, burnished with some honey for balance. Most definitely an acquired taste, it is a cologne that you continually return to once you have gotten your nose around it. Similar in some ways to Givenchy's Insense, Tenere is much better constructed in my book. Best in early autumn and late spring.
This was first given to me by my college sweetheart more years ago than I care to admit, and it was my signature scent for some time. I have recently started wearing it again, and I'd forgotten how good it is. The formula has not changed, and except for perhaps a slight diminution in quality of ingredients, it is as mighty as ever. Lavender and honey are the dominant notes; it is clean and not too sweet. Another modern classic, one I can heartily recommend to men of all ages.
First released as Douro, later renamed Lords, now back to its original appellation, this fragrance is a dress-up power citrus, stronger in both woods and citrus than Taylor's Eton College. Another upright Brit, not really sexy, but not stodgy, either. Great for the office and a visit to the club after work. Much more in line with Hammam Bouquet, Blenheim Bouquet and English Fern in Penhaligon's stable than the newer and more contemporary scents such as Racquets and Castile.
From where I stand, the finest men's cologne ever from an American company. Very deep blend of cinammon and other spices stand out in this complex brew. Still can be found in the Washington, DC area, at a reasonable price. If Lauder's current mangagement had any sense, they would do a better job promoting this long hidden gem.
In my search for rose scents, I came across Hammam Bouquet. And though there is a great deal of rose here, jasmine is also high in the mix, and lasts at least as long as the rose. A beautiful sandalwood note lingers in the base. Because of the competing notes, I find this one to be a bit baroque. It is also quite evocative of another era. But do I enjoy wearing it? Absolutely! This is one of the most compelling scents in my collection, but it does take a great deal of panache to wear.
A great pick for fans of the now discontinued Crown Perfumery Fougere, as they are very, very similar. A soapy clean lavender and fern concoction, this one is best enjoyed in warm (not hot) weather, where it lasts virtually all day. Another excellent choice for office wear.
A very complex and reserved chypre worthy of the Guerlain name. I have an undying love of juniper, which unfortunately can be "perfumey". But in JP Guerlain's hands, the juniper is masterfully mixed with citrus, spice and patchouli that brings out the juniper's depth and de-emphasizes its topnotes. As with all Guerlains, Coriolan wears extremely well on the skin. I suppose I'll need to stock up.
A modern Creed scent that can stand up to all that have come before it. Feel free to think of this as a less sweet Guerlain Heritage with deeper and more potent woods. One of the best men's fragrances in the last 20 years, it never falls out of my personal top 5.
It seems that every other week on the men's message board, someone starts a thread asking which scent best attracts women. Well, who knows, and better yet, who cares? Guys, do you really want a woman who is attracted to you for your cologne? Wouldn't that attraction be a little too easily replicated? (Which reminds me of an old Rodney Dangerfield line: "When my wife tells me I'm one in a million, she isn't joking.") The better question might be, does anything ever engender a positive reaction, one that causes the other person to let on that she may be interested in you? If you are one that appreciates that not-so-subtle distinction, try Antaeus. Boldly masculine, yet sophisticated and refined leather with a touch of beeswax, it set the standard for Chanel's men's scents that only the original Egoiste can approach. Always in my top 5.
Allow me to weigh in on the controversy regarding the change in formula. Did Guerlain change the formula? Of course they did! The newer one has more citrus, and the notes have been technicolored. Now, the pepper, tobacco and cedar explode off the skin, whereas the older formula is a smoother blend. But the new one is nevertheless great. Complex, bracing and constantly developing (my father, who is no connoisseur, told me that GV keeps changing on his skin throughout the day), JP Guerlain's great masterpiece continues to entice. Notice to Guerlain: bring back the original as "Vetiver Classic" and most fans of this fragrance would own both!
To me, the vaunted Creed quality is most in evidence in new Tabarome. The ginger, tea and Virginia tobacco notes are just so pure and natural. Without a doubt my favorite Creed of the past 15 years. Leans more towards the formal side, something to be worn to a board meeting or a black tie event. Best in cooler weather.
Of Hermes' main line of colognes for men (Equipage, Bel Ami and Rocobar), Rocobar is the easiest to like but perhaps the most difficult to love. It's a snap to get one's nose around it, as it is a smooth blend of vanilla, cedar, pine and juniper, of good construction and excellent quality. Equipage and Bel Ami can be a little off-putting at first, for different reasons (Equipage starts off floral with carnation, and Bel Ami begins smoky and rough), but their development is more enticing. Nevertheless, Rocabar is a worthy addition to the line, and an excellent present to those who are less adventurous in their fragrance choices.
This really is the bomb. Deep and rich, it is a superb oriental of unsurpassed complexity that develops fantastically on the skin. A beacon in the world of fragrance. How could Patou have discontinued this? Even if it didn't sell in volume, there are a number of devotees who would doubtlessly make it worth Patou's while to produce an occasional batch.
A few years back, a new fragrance advertised itself as "patchouli and spice, updated", or some such similar nonsense. I thought, why would we need this, when we have Jacomo de Jacomo? It has been in my wardrobe since the early 1980s, and I wear it when I want something masculine and confident. Very spicy with cinammon and cloves and smoky from the patchouli, it is an excellent choice in cooler weather. And that new fragrance? I tried it and for the life of me can't remember what it was.
I own both the EDT and the EDP, and while I prefer the EDP, the EDT still satisfies. An old world fragrance of vanilla, cedar and patchouli that belies its 1992 introduction. Classy and sophisticated, this one has the added bonus of working on a wide number of people, making it a great choice for a gift.
Light and very refreshing, this one pulls a very rapid disappearing act. And I'm not one that usually complains about longevity. I found myself constantly refreshing, to the point that I used a 100ml bottle in record time. Definitely unisex, worthy of audition if you want something exceedingly discrete.
Eau de Guerlain reminds me of the original Eau de Rochas (NOT the Eau de Rochas pour Homme) minus the grapefruit. Very dry and subdued citrus that has that old world style typical of Guerlain. Very good for office wear in the summer, particularly for the mature individual who doesn't want something trendy.
One of my favorite citrus scents. Like most of its kind, it doesn't last forever, but it is no worse than most. Also, it was formulated to be non-staining on clothes, so don't be afraid to spritz a little on your shirt or t-shirt. Extremely natural smelling and of superior quality, this is a great luxury that won't smash the piggy bank. As has been noted, use of the full product line does help the scent last, but then it really DOES start to get expensive.
Another '80s powerhouse, Bel Ami has the added distinction of being unique. A spicy leather with some floral notes, Hermes calls this their "bedroom scent". Long lasting, with great sillage and of typical Hermes quality, it can be an acquired taste for some. Me, I loved it from the get-go. Any fragrance enthusiast owes it to himself to at least sample it.
A powerful sandalwood with lemon on top, a healthy dollop of tobacco in the middle and a touch of amber in the base. The tobacco distinguishes this from most other sandalwoods I have tried, giving it a distinctive note that plays well off the sandalwood and amber. Excellent quality, too.
A rose fragrance for men who are afraid of roses, this is neither flowery nor overly aromatic. The saffron and other spices temper the rose so that it is noticeable but not overwhelming. I, for one, love the scent of rose, and prefer L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses and Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet in the evening, but find this one to be a little more wearable in formal environments.
An essential classic. A powerhouse in the old style, rich and very deep without suffocating those in proximity. Extremely refined and sophisticated, I reach for this in cooler weather for more formal occasions.
A beautiful spicy and vanillic scent that always makes me think of Christmas time. The spice is reminiscent of potpourri, but with a much more mellow clove note. Lasts most of the day, with a very subtle development as the day progresses.
Very, very green, with a strong basil note. Can be harsh if overapplied. Better suited to casual wear than the office, as the strong herbs may overpower in a closed environment. But just about perfect for a clear, sunny early spring day.
To me, Wellington smells like a clone of Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet. Pervasive citrus topnotes dry down to a potent pine, with some rather discordant vetiver in the base. Starts out great on my skin but turns harsh and unrelenting. Definitely try before you buy.