Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Late-Hit

Total Reviews: 78

Madame Grès by Grès

A blind buy at the discount store, perhaps hoping that the low price reflected a great deal on some out-of-fashion chypre like Madame Rochas. I really need to get a smartphone so I can check in with Basenotes before making such silly mistakes. But wait... no one has reviewed this yet?

OK, here goes: Madame Gres is a totally modern synthetic fruity woody floral thing with pale pinkish juice, a plain boring bottle that looks like Lagerfeld overstock, and a really cheap plastic cap. Considering the very stern-looking black and cream package that evokes Chanel boxes and labels of the 1960’s, I was expecting the fragrance to be something throwback-fabulous, but whatever. Don’t buy this if you were thinking of Cabochard. It’s much more like Cabaret.

On balance, it’s not a style I favor, and it's not a smell I'd associate with anyone with 'Madame' attached to their name. But it's not bad, either. Actually, it's very similar to Adam Levine for Women... and maybe half-a-million others.

The fragrance pyramid indicates basenotes of sandalwood, vanilla and leather... but I’d urge you to temper your enthusiasm for any of that. Buy it for your sister, assuming she's under 35.
22nd November, 2013

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

Just as a man is judged by his enemies as well as his friends, once in awhile you have to write about the things you don't like. This is one of them. Along with many of the other negative reviewers I cannot comprehend the popularity of Terre d'Hermes. To me it is simple, boring, and vaguely unpleasant.

Then something amazing happened. As I was thinking about this review, and scanning down through the 'Negatives' for inspiration and moral support, my EXACT word-for-word feelings about this bad-vibe orange thing with the dusty, flinty feel were staring back at me from 2006:

Cedarmoth: "An old shoe grinding a baby aspirin into a gravel road".

Like haiku, not one word can be added or taken away. I just wish I wrote it.

14th November, 2013

Escada Homme by Escada

A very full and classy fragrance. Can a fragrance make you smell smart? In that regard, the ‘projection’ of Escada Homme reminds me of Tiffany for Men or Lauder for Men due to the heavy hitting yet silky / boozy / complex cognac note.

If you like fragrances that project suaveness and professional sophistication then this is a safe blind buy. There's a reason why this one got so many positive reviews.

Sad note: Not long ago I saw Escada Homme in all the discount stores for very little money, and now I regret that I didn't pick up a few more bottles. I suspect that one day it will be considered a classic, and nostalgic old guys will pay big money for it on ebay :)

February 2016 update: Wow, the auction prices really HAVE soared. Awesome fragrance!
10th November, 2013 (last edited: 08th February, 2016)
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Nicole Miller for Men by Nicole Miller

The story of the waxing and waning fortunes of Nicole Miller for Men is one of the most interesting and instructive you will encounter. Please read the reviews on Basenotes back to the beginning, and then read the forum threads... and then forevermore BEWARE of how much we are influenced by reputation, scarcity and cost, and how little any of those things actually have to do with the fragrance itself!

When Nicole Miller for Men was introduced it was expensive and very sought after. When it was discontinued it was very lamented... and quickly became very scarce and VERY expensive. And then a funny thing happened.

When it was reintroduced, Nicole Miller for Men was no longer really expensive. And then when the recession hit it became really, really cheap. I think I saw Nicole Miller for Men for sale in many places for $7 per bottle, and you can still find it for about $10 per bottle.

Now some will tell you the reformulated Nicole Miller for Men is different from the original and blah, blah, blah. Maybe... but I don’t know.

What I do know is that Nicole Miller for Men in its modern version is a very solid fragrance. And, as you can read in several forum threads on Basenotes (back to at least 2006) there is virtually no difference between Nicole Miller for Men and Paloma Picasso Minotaure!

In fact, the extreme similarity between these two fragrances was commented upon several times in the forums, and I have also done my own side by side tests... and I can assure you that these two fragrances are virtually identical in every way.

However, if you track the reviews of Nicole Miller for Men from 2002 to the present you will see that the ratings and angst have generally gone down as the price and perceived scarcity of the product plummeted, while the reputation of Minotaure has remained pretty much the same. Hmmph!

By the way, I really like the fragrance and am now on my second bottle although I must admit that while the Minotaure bottle is outstanding, the bottle of Nicole Miller for Men (also textured and frosted) in not nearly as attractive. Ah, well... If you want a good masculine fragrance with a strong tobacco vibe, then go buy Nicole Minotaur for men :)
02nd November, 2013

Rush for Men by Gucci

I got really lucky and found a big full bottle at a thrift store for almost nothing. Now I understand why the loss of this fragrance is lamented by so many. It is actually one of the most appealing men's fragrances I have ever smelled!

It is sweet, but not cloying, soft but not quiet. Although often described as an incense fragrance, I thought it mostly reminded me of the smell of freshly split Oak wood, not Cedar or another kind of conifer. All these smells are very closely related, of course, but Oak was my first and lasting impression.

Some say the smell of Oak has vanilla in it, and maybe that’s the difference... but I’d guess that most folks who like Azarro Visit, Quorum Silver and other woody, incense fragrances would find Rush for Men appealing.

Visit is one of my every day standards, and I like it very much. But in the end, Rush for Men is very much a fragrance after its own style, and I am so glad I found it!

31st October, 2013

Alix by Grès

I found one of those pre-pressurized bottles from the 1980's, and I think the contents were in pretty good condition. Anyway, it still smelled great!

After the initial green blast and similarities to Cabochard subsided, what remained was a bold, soapy and somewhat spicy floral. Actually, I was mislead a bit by the first few minutes, which I liked a lot... but the drydown was very different.

Although Palomar54 felt Alix Gres was a fruity floral, that style tends to be so overtly fruity nowadays, some vintage fragrance hounds might inadvertently be mislead. But make no mistake... the wrap-up like Ivoire with hints of Opium. I am tempted to say Krizia's Teatro Alla Scala, but sadly I don't have a reference good sample to compare.

But you get the picture. This is a big fragrance of the old school style.
31st October, 2013

Phileas by Nina Ricci

Yum! The previous reviewers have captured the 'essence' of Phileas quite well, and so I can't add much except this:

The only currently available fragrance that immediately came to mind when I smelled it the first time was Wrappings by Clinique... although it certainly resembled a few others upon reflection.

Something to add to your collection, if you can find it.

29th January, 2013

Wrappings by Clinique

From the first time I sniffed Wrappings I knew it was unusual. Much credit is due to Estee Lauder for developing this one.

For those who don't appreciate the similarity, then I suppose some might say it smells like those sprays that are sold at Christmas to simulate the fragrance of a real Christmas tree. They are partially right.

Like many Estee Lauder products, this is a big fragrance. It is deep, it is bold, and it lasts well. It really doesn't evolve much over time, and I guess that's OK.

To me it smells very much like Balsam Fir (Christmas trees), plus frankincense, rosemary and lavender. Those are some good smells, and they certainly compliment each other very well. And there's much more in the background, too... and that's why the comparison to holiday room spray is apt, but ultimately inadequate.

Wrappings ia a great fragrance, and perfectly unisex.

18th March, 2012

Burberrys for Men (Original) by Burberry

Another great one from the past, and now nearly impossible to find. A truly well made and wonderful fragrance.

And take a look at the pramid. Here's nostalgia for you! All the notes listed are things you can actually smell and identify. Every one of them actually occurs in nature.

People are always complaining that they don't make them like this anymore... and maybe that's true because without 'Mystic Woods' or 'Hypnotic Ocean Accord' no one thinks they can sell it.

Per Basenotes, there were a total of 53 fragrances for men AND women launched in 1981, and many were outstanding. This was one of them.
18th February, 2012

Ivoire (original) by Pierre Balmain

Ivoire is not just soapy, it's actually somewhat like eating soap. Simultaneously attractive and bitter. It pulls you in from a distance, and then gives you sharp smack.

Do you want to project alluring femininity with slightly menacing, poisonous overtones? Do you have a fur coat or a sharply tailored wool suit? Do you believe that a fragrance should be smelled and felt? This is one of those scents.

Green, herbal, creamy, yet sharply balanced on a bed of florals. This is a chypre of a very high order.
16th February, 2012

Bang by Marc Jacobs

It's very bold when you spray it on, and a little goes a long way... but it also disappears unusually quickly.

To me it smells just like pepper mixed with pencil shavings. And there's no evolution to speak of... just pencil and pepper all the way out. Ah well.

I like the bottle, but it's also easy to knock over. Better be careful about that.
15th February, 2012

Marc Jacobs Essence by Marc Jacobs

If you like gardenia, then you'll almost certainly love it. One or two squirts in the morning is all it takes to smell like your favorite flower for the rest of the day. Trust me. This is a very deep, long lasting and potent fragrance.

15th February, 2012

Miss Balmain by Pierre Balmain

One of the great leather chypres, and one of my favorites. One little drop of the parfum goes a long way. Was it only released in 1967? It seems to have more in common with scents from the 1940's, like Rochas Femme. Superb!
18th September, 2011
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

I've tried it many times, both vintage and new. They are different, of course, but the net effect is always the same... a 'dark' variation of the basic cologne concept, ala 4711.

Now, I like lemony colognes, but aren't there a million of 'em out there? And cheaper, too?

Well, maybe that's true, and maybe it's partly because Eau Sauvage was the first to elevate the wonder of lemon in a masculine fragrance before so many other followed along. There's been a lot of 'eau' under the bridge since 1966.

Eau Sauvage is good, but no longer great.
31st July, 2011

Bijan for Men by Bijan

If the dates shown on the Bijan page are correct, this is actually the oldest of all the Bijan fragrances. In my opinion, it is also the best. Along with vintage English Leather, Bijan for Men is one of my all-time go-to favorites. I always have a bottle handy.

Now... Is it a powerhouse? I don't think so. It is an ample scent, and appropriately concentrated. In other words, you only need two or three squirts. However, I have also found that if more is applied, the scent just gets "bigger". It does not morph into something harsh, unpleasant or offensive.

In terms of scent, I get rosemary, nutmeg and patchouli above all else, with the usual male aromatic fougere bits and pieces lurking in the background. The notes shown in the pyramid on this page are probably among the truest I have ever seen. Overall, the effect is dry, fairly simple, very linear, and nearly unique. The bottle is interesting, too.

A good scent for an older guy, or somone younger who wants to project maturity.
31st July, 2011

Twill Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

I tried it twice, several days apart. Eh... it's just a basic rose fragrance. Not notably animalic, and not particularly "masculine" either.

I used to have a bottle of Perry Ellis Portfolio for Women that I used as an air freshener in my bathroom. That's what Twill Rose reminds me of.

I can't imagine many men buying Twill Rose, or many women envying it. Unless they can't find Portfolio for Women.

13th July, 2011

Ma Griffe (original) by Carven

Oh, yes *sniffs it again* this is the parfum I was looking for!

Lovers of vintage classics like Nuit de Noel and Emeraude take note: Here's one more to hunt down and treasure.

This is what a fur coat should smell like. This is what MONEY should smell like.
29th June, 2011

Black for Her by Kenneth Cole

Oh, the polished onyx cylinder with the stark white label and chrome sprayer. So sleek, so hard, so mysterious. And inside it's full of something that smells like a new box of fabric softener sheets. Is this the perfume you spray on 'Motorcycle Barbie'?

Clearly, the only thing "black" about it is the bottle... or maybe your mood, if you were buying blind, and thinking you were going to get something dark and brooding.

Too bad you can't refill it.
29th June, 2011

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

Darrin: Endora, you might as well show yourself.

Endora: *Poof* Well alright, Derwood, have it your way.

Darrin: If I have to smell you, I might as well see you.

Endora: Yeeeess Donald. Exactly.

05th March, 2011

English Leather by Dana

This review is for the vintage, since I haven't sniffed the current production.

My memory of the topnotes was confirmed by the old 'MEM' bottles I have, circa 1980... kind of soapy, citrus and a bit musty. Not very 'leather' really, but immediately recognizable and true to my memories.

But the drydown... what a surprise! Once the topnotes fade, the vintage Old Leather leaves you with a very rich sandalwood. In fact, it's one of the best sandalwood scents I've ever smelled.

For those who enjoy sandalwood, vintage EL should be a 'must have'.

21st January, 2011

Passion for Men by Elizabeth Taylor

Passion for Men is a very underrated fragrance! Perhaps the bottle is to blame, or perhaps the very 'unmanly' name, but PfM is really very good... and despite Luca Turin's mediocre review.

Yes, it is kind of sweet and powdery in much the same way as Jaipur Homme and Stetson. And yes, it is very inexpensive.

But you know... there aren't very many inexpensive oriental fragrances available for men nowadays. This is one of them, and if you like that sort of thing, then you should buy PfM without much worry.

16th January, 2011

Michael Kors / Michael by Michael Kors

This review if for the EdP. Yes, this is a big, fleshy floral. Is it tuberose? I don't know. Overall, I think it reminds me of Donna Karan Gold, and maybe also Marc Jacobs.

Although this is not a style I wear myself in public places, I do enjoy smelling these bosomy things from time to time. But a little really does go along way, so a light hand is probably in order.

If you enjoy the scent of lilies and gardenia, then seek no further!
30th December, 2010

Rochas Man by Rochas

The opening is strong and strange, and most likely to be appreciated by those who enjoy Joop!, A*Men and Le Male.

Sometimes I get the coffee, sometimes the vanilla, and sometimes the sharp jolt of an industrial-strength air freshener. Something like a cappuchino poured into a box of bounce sheets. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Several reviewers suggested that this is a good club fragrance, and I suspect they are right. For my part, I am having a hard time imagining myself wearing this to work, or even during the daytime.

Perhaps I will wear it to the Mall and see what happens...
18th December, 2010

Bouquet d'Orient by Girard

A spicy and dense oriental that's similar to Opium, but even more old fashioned, like something from the 1950's. Even the packaging is of a vintage style, and really very nice.

All of the foregoing is basically welcome and good, but to my American nose Bouquet d'Orient also has a persistent note of root beer in the background.

Perhaps that note might make this it interesting and different for someone who did not grow up with root beer... but not for me.

18th December, 2010

Musk Eau de Toilette by Alyssa Ashley

I tried a little bottle of the new stuff, and it was nothing. Then I found a bottle of the original Houbigant, probably vintage 1980, and it was very good.

One squirt filled the room with the intoxicating aroma of sunshine and teenage exuberange. Delightful!
14th December, 2010

Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is not the fierce and camphoraceous patchouli of head-shop days gone by, but rather the smell of a little garden where patchouli plants once grew... and then the patch was rototilled.

All through the dry down I am reminded of the smell of an old antique store, with bare wood floors, a lot of old books, and maybe some turpentine rags by the back door.

Yes, I like it a lot... but I'm actually surprised that more people don't hate it. Patchouli Patch is a very unusual fragrance.

07th December, 2010

Arden Men - Sandalwood by Elizabeth Arden

The newer version opens with a stong cedary lavender, soon becomes a quiet mix of lavander and sandalwood, and then is very soft. However, the older stuff is distinctly sandalwood from begining to end, and without much lavender at all, and the creamy sandalwood is notable in the drydown.

The new version is OK, but the vintage is really better... at least for someone who appreciates the nuances of natural sandalwood.

30th October, 2010

Norell by Norell

Dark, thick, pungent, green, floral... and definitely not one to overapply. Oh yes, this is a serious perfume for serious women, and Norell demands a serious attitude, and maybe diamonds and a fine dress or well tailored suit.

Normal Norell was an important New York Fashion designer, and his only fragrance was developed towards the end of his (long) career. In many ways, Norell was already 'retro' when it was introduced in 1968. Seek out the older versions, as they really are better; an edp version was also produced.

24th October, 2010

Spark for Women by Liz Claiborne

Somewhat like Obsession, but a little brighter and more cheerful. A bit like Organza Indecence, but much less vanillic. The spice plays a minor role and the floral elements are very subtle. Overall, the feeling of Spark is warm and comforting.

I am surprised that Spark has not been reviewed more (or loved more) because it really is a very nice fragrance. But then again, this style is a bit 'out of fashion' at the moment. It will be back again, I'm sure.

14th October, 2010

Cardin by Pierre Cardin

I guess I'll have to tread a line between the preceeding reviews. Cardin is floral, but its also spicey. And it is animalic in a way that shows that it is from another place and time (the 1970's). Other than that, it's not terribly unusual, from what I can tell.

For this review, my sample was a 1/2 oz splash bottle with glass stopper + plastic insert. The juice looks looks thick, dark and potent, so maybe I have the edp version? Overall, the package is somewhat 'above average'.

Anyway, it's big stuff. Anyone who likes Paloma Picasso or First will probably enjoy it.

10th October, 2010