Reviews by Mario Justiniani

    Showing 1 to 30 of 296.
    rating


    Exceptional Because You Are for Men by Exceptional

    At the risk of repeating what practically everybody has said thus far:

    1. It's so generic that if you held up a bank, blindfolded the hostages, and Luca Turin and co. were among them they'd never be able to identify you by your smell.

    (At best they'd tell the cops that you might work at the local Sephora)

    2. It's not Godawful just mediocre, so mercifully you won't have to scrub it off. Why bother anyway? Unless you find a sink within half an hour this will vanish on its own.

    3. It won't offend anyone at the office, even if you bathe in it.

    4. Some notes are reminiscent of Creed's MI others of Gendarme; not that I'm a huge fan of either, but here the composition is inferior. By comparison, this one makes Baldessarini Del Mar smell like a classic masterpiece and Chrome an edgy 5 star scent.

    5. I disagree about it being for college kids, or the 19-30 crowd. They're too old not to be held accountable.
    Perhaps forgivable with first year High School students who got it as a Christmas gift from Grandma.

    Other than that, it's terrific.


    25 December, 2013

    rating


    Vetyver / Vétiver by Givenchy

    I am not a salad! I am a free man!

    I can't possibly give this one a thumbs down, though I understand the one negative reviewer who wrote that he didn't want to smell like stuffed Thanksgiving Turkey dressing.
    Our most prolific reviewer, the worthy foetidus, put it more delicately when he observed that he found himself respecting the frag but not thoroughly enjoying it, so he gave it a "non-enthusiastic thumbs up... "

    I have to give this wonderful revived classic a neutral and advise all to get it before it vanishes again--I believe that's already started--and if you can, get a sample vial for a test drive.
    No, I got the full bottle and I have to say that the I find the cilantro/coriander note not to my taste. In my defense, I recall a reporter asking Luca Turin if his personal preferences influenced his reviews; to which Dr. T replied that he had no impersonal preferences.

    And, since you're dying to know, cilantro refers to the whole plant but sometimes specifically to the leafy part, whereas coriander refers to the seeds.

    Now, there's been some discussion of poor sillage/projection (true) and poor longevity (Wrong! It's an illusion. Spray it before you go to sleep, have sweet dreams for 8+ hours and I guarantee you'll still smell it in the morning. )

    Whether poor projection/sillage is viewed as restrained elegance or as a damn shame, depends on whether you're an optimist or a pessimist.

    Moreover, what smelling like Mexican parsley in a salad is something every vetiver lover also has to decide if he opts for this particular fragrance.

    You may very well love this juice. Look at the reviews. Most do, and some go so far as to pronounce this one their Holy Grail. It is very well constructed, indeed.

    Besides. how can one not cheer when a classic is resurrected? Perhaps one day Patou pour Homme, Macassar, Royal English Leather, Vintage Tabarome, Versailles pour Homme? --I live in hope . . .






    15 December, 2013 (Last Edited: 03 January, 2014)

    rating


    Black Orchid by Tom Ford

    Oh, Buddha! Where do they come up with these names? The scent itself is like John Varvatos on steroids, possibly estrogen. Fruity and cloying with a pungent kick that's supposed to bestow elegance.

    Still, one must concede points for the moniker!
    Have you watched any corny spy movies lately?

    FADE IN: Our agent is trying make contact with the deadly Natasha. Could this really be her? This wholesome looking salesgirl behind the fragrance counter? He gives the code signal.

    -- " Excuse me but do you carry CARNAL FLOWER? "

    She smiles and replies with the countersign,

    --" No, but have you tried BLACK ORCHID? "

    Whereupon they engage in car chases, exotic hideouts, wild sex, betrayal, 10,000 rounds of ammo, hand to hand combat--and at the end save the world, fall in love and forsake weirdly named flower frags-- for cactus flesh.
    They both sport XERYUS ROUGE at their wedding.

    FADE OUT/THE END.







    06 May, 2013

    rating


    Catalyst for Men by Halston

    The poor man's Havana, or if you will, the poverty stricken man's Cacharel PH. A spicy fruity concoction that is ridiculously cheap.

    Please recommend this to the next teenager that asks for an alternative to John Varvatos.

    7/10?

    14 October, 2012

    rating


    Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

    This is the finest fragrance that never existed.

    I sprayed some on, courtesy of The Scent Bar. It smelled a bit like raindrops. No, a raindrop. No, make that the barest hint of a raindrop.--

    Oh, what the hell, it doesn't smell like anything at all, really.

    I believed I understood the hype about this one: You'd have to be naked with some babe and sweating profusely after having done the wild thing to be close enough for her to even imagine a scent.


    Thus my astonishment when hours after application at S.B. I ran into a certain psychotic female of my acquaintance who remarked, while fully clothed, how good it was to see me and how much she liked the Sandalwood cologne I had on.

    Sandalwood?

    Apparently there's some kind of comic/cosmic scented Rorschach-Niche test going on here.

    Well, reading up on all the Iso-E stuff on BN has been enlightening! I suggest you search the threads . . .

    I had often wondered what all the fuss was about Terre d''Hermes. A beloved frag around these parts which always left me shrugging my shoulders.

    Aha!
    55% Iso-Super E

    Be that as it may, I conclude by referencing the previous reviewer's allusion to "snake oil" and confess that that if I'm going to get ripped off, I'd rather spend the cash on an engine motor-oil additive (which skeptics assure me also does nothing) rather than on a frag I cannot smell.




    05 March, 2012

    rating


    Monocle Scent One: Hinoki by Comme des Garçons

    I never realized turpentine could smell this good.

    Yes, I did try it on my skin. It does have great longevity and if Japanese wooden temples are conjured up, so much the better. Let me know if you attain satori.

    Ive tried Sequoia, Palisander, Avignon, Kyoto, and other woods + incense combinations from Comme des Garçons and my vote goes to Hinoki

    OK. Time to go save all sentient beings . . .

    04 March, 2012 (Last Edited: 20th May, 2012)

    rating


    Olibanum by Profumum

    I agree with the reviewers that this is a unisex comfort frankincense scent that rides close to the skin. Perhaps SirSlarty put it best when he described it as 'heady' and 'a fragrance for an introvert'.

    Well, you might wear it while praying or going to Mass in a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church.
    You might also get away with it at a High Anglican service, though it would have been a dicey thing during the reign of James the First.
    (Forget Cromwell, you'd have been burnt at the stake)

    I was prepared not to like this, since I'm a sucker, or a snob (or both) for pure Frankincense E.O. of which there are still many good ones at a reasonable price, even if doomsayers predict that frankincense will soon become as endangered and as outrageously expensive as Mysore Sandalwood, but while the opening is not as as sharp as an E.O., This smooth blend is really magnificent.

    Honestly, if I keep wearing this I might have to renounce all allegiance to the forces of evil--or at least to 'dramatic " scents.

    I do wish the longevity would be longer, though.

    04 March, 2012

    rating


    Fou d'Absinthe by L'Artisan Parfumeur


    After hearing Odysseum rave about it, I thought I'd give this L'Artisan a try, and I'm happy to report that it is indeed a Conehead's dream!

    A gentle version of Polo?
    Or is it a 21st century gentleman's Polo?

    This does NOT have monster sillage--which I believe is a wise choice here.
    After all, what refined gentleman wishes to draw attention to himself within a 20 foot radius?

    Resinous and complex. a splendid blending of absinthe ( which as I've always maintained, makes the heart grow fonder ) and fir notes.

    Not the least bit harsh, a problem with some coniferous offerings as the aforementioned Polo, or Yatagan, Macassar and other similar powerhouses. Still, it's equally uber-masculine; in a quiet way.

    04 March, 2012

    rating


    Big Pony 3 by Ralph Lauren

    Deconstructionism meets Polo!
    Say what?
    Well, if you don't like 3, there's always 1,2, or 4
    All of which contain some aspect of the original.
    Arguably, this is the closest.
    But who would want to argue over something so bland and generic?
    Boring.

    17 February, 2012

    rating


    Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi

    It's now four hours since I first applied Sandalo. At first the opening was a bit sour and spicy. Then something else crept through which wasn't incense or sandalwood but i wish it would have been.

    I remembered thinking, by way of contrast, how much better MPG Santal Noble was--but that was in 2005 and I've heard it's been reformulated into a watered down shadow of its former self.
    Some two hours later I was driving my, as pluran would say, female companion; when she tactfully observed : ' You smell like F****** Onions! My God that's GROSS! Open the windows! "
    I remembered thinking, by way of contrast, how much I missed my cats.

    Be that as it may, I'm 100% in agreement with Off-Center here. Where the hell is the sandalwood, anyway?

    Not Lorenzo's finest hour.

    18 November, 2011

    rating


    Serge Noire by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Sacré bleu, Serge!
    Why did you market this horror?

    The top notes are almost passable, insofar as they don't contain the trademark Lutens fruitcake accord, but soon enough it develops into something that redefines noire in French as "Yuck!" instead of black, ne'st-ce pas?

    Some reviewers mentioned clove. If so it's perverted beyond recognition. I can, on occasion, enjoy a well made powerhouse clove bomb like Jacomo de Jacomo ( 1980's of course) but what's going on here? Perhaps ashes of clove mixed with something putrid.

    Well, it's not the worst frag of all time; that dubious honor belongs to Insensé Ultramarine by Givenchy but perhaps among the three worst niche scents, ever.

    Will I ever find Lutens I like besides the " hippie oil " (Luca Turin's phrase) of the barbarically sensual Muscs Koublaï Khän?

    By now, I doubt it.

    25 April, 2011

    rating


    Aventus by Creed

    The opening is tart and mellow with a pineapple note. Neither overly citric nor fruity sweet, just mellow.

    After a couple of hours or so, all this turns to leather!

    OK, leather notes not listed. So either I've been smoking stuff I can't spell again or "dry birch " a component of many leather scents kicks in.

    Perhaps kicking the door down would be a better metaphor.
    If you're not expecting it, the transition into the middle and base notes is quite dramatic.
    Who'd have thunk we'd end up here? A completely different scent from the top notes??

    The rest of the frag is reminiscent to Truefitt & Hill's Spanish Leather.

    Aventus is a well made masculine frag that some will love as a signature scent with an impressive pyramid note switcharoo, great longevity and, as previously noted, an outrageous price tag.

    But it might be worth it . . .

    23 April, 2011 (Last Edited: 15 August, 2011)

    rating


    Pour Un Homme by Caron

    This is a good one to give to anyone who says there's no difference between masculine and feminine scents. Come to think of it, it's a good one to give to anyone who says there is a difference between masculine and feminine scents. It'll annoy both groups, especially if you don't tell them the name of the frag.

    OK, bottom line. Women can absolutely wear this, especially if they intend to have triplets and name them Lavender, Rosemary and Vanilla

    ( Amber should not be discounted, either)

    Perhaps this would work on men if it were EDC strength and intended for aftershave but it's just too sweet for me. I'd rather wear the non-classical barbershop 'The Baron '---Is it better?
    No. but for the price . . .

    Why not a thumbs down? Something fairly decent happens during the middle notes--but I can't wait that long. However it is a refined 1934 classic that is still in production. Another one for Bertie Wooster--and Jeeves would only caution him against overspraying

    14 March, 2011 (Last Edited: 12 October, 2012)

    rating


    Polo by Ralph Lauren

    Well, this is the kind of fragrance that will convince your GF that only gay men have any taste for scents, whereupon she will proceed to ban 80's Powerhouse Fragrances from your wardrobe--

    ( Good news: she might get you Caron PH for your birthday. Bad news: it could be Le Male instead )

    Yes, I know Polo was created in '78, not the 80's --The same year Azzaro made its debut and also heralded the Oakmoss Decade To Be.

    For the most part I love the powerhouses--even if I do get more female compliments with Creed Himalaya---but there are some that I loathe, considering them a caricature of masculinity.

    This is not one of them--but classic or not it ain't Macassar, Versace L'Homme (original) Lowe Para Hombre, or other coniferous kick ass greens.

    I like the opening. If Tuscany Etruscan is a left hook to the jaw, Polo is a Karate master's open palm-heel strike to the nose, sending your septum crashing up into the brain.

    However after a while it's bad ass leather. Or perhaps bad leather? A bit too discordant with the notes. Is it dated? Yes, after the first 15 minutes until it settles to drydown hours later.

    Why not a thumbs down? Well the notes are discordant ( for a masterpiece of harmony in leather check out Dunhill '34) but they're really quite interesting in a Republican / Oedipal sort of way.

    What the hell, you might pick up some perverted chick that's into Bandit

    07 March, 2011

    rating


    Escada Homme by Escada

    Well, with this neutral verdict it still remains one (or perhaps the only one) of all fragrances with over 50 reviews without a single thumbs down. Escada deserves it. Yes, the opening is fantastic, it's fairly well blended and I'm glad many of you love it so much--I can find no " fault " with it but I chuckle at narcus's comment that he keeps forgetting that he has it in his wardrobe and Off-Scenter's that while it's more bland than Habit Rouge, and other oriental classics, it does have more character than Armani Code.
    Yes, it's a middle of the road scent--but I've bought enough 3-4 star scents that I've no intention of purchasing again. Been there, done that.

    24 May, 2010

    rating


    D&G Masculine by Dolce & Gabbana

    I don't understand the negative comments either, except that it's made by D & G ( NOT the most innovative, groundbreaking house in existence) and it's marketed at teenagers.

    So? I'd put this ahead of Dunhill Edition.

    No, it's not Bois de Cedrat by Creed, which I admire, costs three times as much--and is far more linear. D & G Masculine has a lot going on with its 10,000 top middle and base notes :) Really, it's rather interesting and manages to blend the notes quite well.
    Yes, an upbeat and cheerful summer scent with good longevity and fair sillage.
    So while in the "lemon citrus under the hot sun category" I'd prefer Iskander, or Selection Verte Let's give credit where credit is due.
    For me? 4 stars out of 5.--Which ain't too shabby . . .

    24 May, 2010

    rating


    Navegar by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    What's the point? DULLAH nailed it. Yes, it's not " green." The frankincense note is pale and outstanding. A great and unusual fresh scent, indeed.
    BUT
    Longevity is poor and sillage is laughable. Hence only a neutral rating.
    Wake me up if this ever comes up in EDP, it'll be worth it.

    16 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 12 February, 2012)

    rating


    Back to Black by By Kilian

    I fear I must concur with Marcelle. " The overall effect is girly,powdery and sweet."
    One day another king will come and Excalibur shall rise out of the waters of The Lady of The Lake, but until then, those of us who want pipe tobacco scents are in the midst of a famine.
    There's Tom Ford's overpriced and underdone Tobacco Vanille.
    And then?

    17 January, 2010

    rating


    Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Drats! PigeonMudrerer said it all.
    One of the few Lutens that does not overwhelm with his ubiquitous fruitcake accord. Yes, there's a bit of honey at the start but I was braced for it, so it didn't seem that strong of a note.
    Do I get a pardon from the niche police?

    07 January, 2010 (Last Edited: 08 March, 2010)

    rating


    Tabac Aurea by Sonoma Scent Studio

    My thanks to Somerville Metro Man for answering my question for a frag that captures dry dark pipe tobacco. He didn't say this was it, but it sounded interesting enough, and I've liked some of the Sonoma offerings before to warrant a try.

    Yes, it's the smell of cured tobacco leaves being dried in the sun. Not quite my thing, though the frag is wonderfully well constructed and delivers what it promises. I can't help but compare Ford's overpriced Tobacco Vanlle to this one. TV just doesn't deliver the goods. This one does.

    14 December, 2009

    rating


    Salt Air by Demeter Fragrance Library

    What Taolady said :)
    This might be the poor man's Erolfa but at least sea breezes are not required, it's a fun and uplifting scent--another black mark against you Happy!---This will make you happier than Happy.

    Great good morning frag.

    14 December, 2009

    rating


    Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

    Do you love the smell of unsmoked dark vanilla pipe tobacco?
    So do I, and this ain't it.
    I'm not sure if I agree most with Asha's description of lovely spiced cookie dough or Stereotomy''s vanilla scented candle, but I understand the thumbs up from both reviewers and if i ever wish to smell like either description, I know where to find it.
    There are high quality tobacco scents that convey precisely what they're aiming for ( dry leaves being cured in Tabac Auera for example) but as for the scent of an unsmoked dark vanilla pipe tobacco, I give up!

    In a book of Japanese incense, whose name I can't for the life of me remember, the author mentioned the custom in ancient Japan of wearing a satchel or pouch of wood shavings of Kyara or Sandalwood in the inside pocket of a kimono--or was it a neck pouch? Those crazy samurai!

    Unless someone suggests an alternative, this may be the only way to go for the scent. Stop at your friendly tobacconist's shop.

    14 December, 2009

    rating


    Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    A dizzy and inebriating fragrance. Wearable for a man due to its subtle construction. Don't ask me how it can have great longevity, sillage, opulence and still be subtle.
    Contact mastermind Dominique Ropion and ask him.

    Nevertheless, I think this works far, far better on a woman.

    Unless of course you're an androgynous rock star---see my review of Fracas.

    Did i mention that I like tuberose?

    14 December, 2009

    rating


    Infusion by Bombay Sapphire

    Make it 8 positive reviews!
    Yes it does smell exactly like Bombay Sapphire Gin.
    What a great idea for the summer, most refreshing.
    Just hope you don't get pulled over by a cop :)

    14 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 09 February, 2010)

    rating


    Eau des 4 Voleurs by L'Occitane

    Much as I dislike Pino Silvestre (an herbal pine growing in the molds of a dungeon) I'm with Odysseum on this one. I would not only say it's more complex, warmer and woodier that Pino. I'd go further and say it's Pino exorcised of evil spirits.

    Yet that's only a small part of what makes this frag so good. The progression from the citrus to the lavender to the herbs to the woods. Wow!
    No one can accuse this of being linear. I'd say it's a prime example of a Pyramid moving wonderfully from note to note.

    14 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 08 March, 2010)

    rating


    Bay Rum by Burt's Bees

    Holy Pimenta Racemosa!

    Yes. There really is a West Indies Bay Tree and that's where Bay Rum comes from, not storks.

    The added spices; cinnamon, clove, lime or whatever serve to make it interesting--or just plain weird.

    Like CJ I wanted to like this one too but the clove/spices are set to overkill

    I tried 2 bottles from the shelf. It was obvious one had been there longer than it should have, but both smelled . . .
    It feels as if one is being uncivil by giving a bad review to a discontinued fragrance, rather like speaking ill of the dead, but you didn't have to scramble to wash this crap off your hands.
    And I do like Bay Rum.

    14 August, 2009

    rating


    Virgin Island Water by Creed

    I'm afraid I have to turn in a verdict of a tropical yawn.
    There are far better Creeds along the aquatic theme.

    05 August, 2009

    rating


    Santa Fe for Men by Aladdin Fragrances

    Hey! I forgot I used to own this. You know, for the money it's better than Ferrari Black.
    If it's a clone of The 3rd Man, it's more wearable.

    05 August, 2009

    rating


    Cyprès-Musc by Creed

    Oh no!
    Another posted review lost in cyberspace
    It's becoming tedious . . .
    So let me confine my comments to:
    It rocks!
    Buy it.

    05 August, 2009

    rating


    Royal Delight by Creed

    Sweet syrup? It's time for a revolution.

    05 August, 2009

    Showing 1 to 30 of 296.