Reviews by Hartman Design

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    Hartman Design
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    Showing 1 to 30 of 37.
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    Bang by Marc Jacobs

    Somewhat reminiscent of Terre d'Hermès, without the finesse or longevity.

    29 April, 2013

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    M7 Fresh by Yves Saint Laurent

    My favorite offering from YSL, and aptly named as it is, indeed, a fresher-smelling flanker when compared to it's progenitor. To clarify, it bears a strong resemblance to the original (though I only possess M7 in the after shave to make my comparison), yet seems devoid of whatever element the original scent contains that affords it the "hint of Kouros." Instead, the slightly dirty note has been swapped with a fresh and very modern citrus.

    I probably get more compliments on this fragrance than any other I wear. I heard that it was a sales disappointment for YSL, which is hard to fathom.

    19 May, 2012

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    Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

    Clearly constructed with quality ingredients. Guerlain Homme opens with a spicy mint, tea and citrus accord; I get none of the marine or sport qualities ascribed to it by its detractors. While not overwhelmingly unique, I find this to be a solidly constructed, well balanced fragrance with just about the right amount of longevity and aura to make it suitable for everything from the opera to the office. Recommended.

    16 August, 2011

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    Unbound for Men by Halston

    Much more subdued than other inexpensive Halston fragrances such as 1-12 and Z-14, Unbound hugs the skin and shakes off it fleeting and ephemeral top and heart quickly, making it a good choice for office wear. Pleasant woody/amber drydown on the verge of being too boring and short-lived, but refined enough to warrant a neutral ranking.

    01st June, 2011

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    Dunhill Pure by Dunhill

    Pleasant, uninspired yawnwear...perfect for office drones in small cubicles who might otherwise offend their co-workers with a more aggressive and interesting fragrance. There's nothing wrong with Dunhill Pure other than marginal longevity -- but there's nothing in the bottle that will bring a smile to your face, either. The office equivalent of a day full of data entry...I'm get drowsy just thinking about it.

    31st May, 2011

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    Curve Connect for Men by Liz Claiborne

    York's Peppermint Patty meets cotton candy. Overly sweet, unrefined; just this side of repellent.

    31st May, 2011

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    Chaps (original) by Ralph Lauren

    Vile liquid! This is to cologne as haggis is to meat.

    I'll say this for it: It's got lasting power, which unfortunately has lasted beyond the shower I just took to get this crap off my skin. Horrid.

    15 March, 2011

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    Quorum Silver by Antonio Puig

    Late-Hit hit this one on the nail head: Quorum Silver is largely a one-note blast of cedar, with subtle herbal undertones. But I happen to like cedar, and in this fragrance it's done very nicely. Above average persistence and sillage, so go easy!

    01st November, 2010

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    Incanto pour Homme by Salvatore Ferragamo

    Ho hum fragrance that aspires to nothing and somehow manages to fall short of that unambitious mark. Vaguely floral, musky and herbal but not strongly evocative of any scent, it hovers close to the skin for one or two hours before dissipating into bored yawns. Certainly inoffensive for office wear, but a waste of money for anyone who wears cologne to add spice to their lives, as there's absolutely nothing here to engage the senses.

    02 May, 2010

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    L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake

    Oftentimes perfumers speak of "balance" when constructing a fragrance, and L'Eau certainly fits that description: It's a mélange of notes evolving over time that somehow manage to work.

    On the other hand, most successful blends allow a few dominant notes to take center stage in order to bring clarity and sparkle to the experience. L'Eau comes dangerously close to failing that litmus test, although on my skin, its progression is united by a persistent ginger note lurking in the background. Were the ginger any stronger, I fear this fragrance would have fallen into a rather ubiquitous boatload of colognes with citrus and ginger accords powering their way through the top and heart, but in this offering I can find enough other things happening to hold my attention, including some wonderful herbal notes -- possibly clary sage -- that emerge a few minutes after spraying, albeit well in the background.

    I feel this would have been an even stronger product if one or possibly two supporting notes would have been given a slight boost to bring them forward in the mix, but I still enjoy and recommend it.

    19 March, 2010

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    Lapidus pour Homme by Ted Lapidus

    Sweet and fruity (...pineapple? OK, I'll go along with that) opening salvo that quickly gives way to strong chypre notes and a wonderfully lasting and potent patchouli and moss drydown. The really nice thing about LpH is the lingering sweetness of the opening blast that remains well past the point in other fragrances when top- and middle-notes have faded to memory. I can't stop smelling my wrist, even five hours after moderate application. Great endurance and sillage.

    15 March, 2010

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    Cool Water by Davidoff

    Not sure what all the fuss is about with this fragrance. Certainly mis-categorized as an aquatic, I find the opening melange of accords somewhat dirty and off-putting. After a few minutes it settles into an agreeable scent, but never scales the heights its reputation affords it.

    15 March, 2010

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    Angel Schlesser Homme by Angel Schlesser

    The nearly universal "thumbs up" coupled with a lack on consensus about what it is that makes this fragrance so appealing is testimony to it's unique and quirky balance.

    On my skin it starts off a little too sweet, with touches of honey and fig which yield to notes more herbal, yet somehow complex, mysterious and difficult to define. The mystery deepens over the next few hours into a drydown that is masculine, refined and equally difficult to pigeonhole. Suffice to say that the pyramid yields a refreshingly unique experience over it's life. Clings closely to the skin and seems to exhibit average duration.

    14 March, 2010

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    Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

    Interesting that so many basenotes reviewers have mentioned the blast of lemon with the opening salvo. I'm not getting that at all. What I do perceive is a somewhat cloying, sweet-almond-and-honey accord that is at once off-putting and intruiging. Mixed in with the sweetness is an undercurrent of herbs and greens, but the almond and honey are so overpowering that those elements are relegated to the no-smellum zone (the fragrance equivalent of the insect world's "no-seeum").

    In some ways D&G pour Homme is similar to Versace's "The Dreamer", with the sweetness cranked up an order of magnitude. I prefer Versace's approach, however, and find "Dreamer" more wearable and evincing a more refined and interesting progression through the pyramid.

    As D&G pour Homme dries down, each time I inhale deeply, my feeling that I really don't care for this fragrance is renewed -- but as I exhale I wonder if maybe it's starting to grow on me. That's the chameleon-like quality of this fragrance I find interesting. I'm looking forward to finding out whether others (by that I mean women...who cares what other men think?) find it alluring on me. The answer to that question could well determine the frequency of future applications! One thing is clear: this is a cologne that must be applied with discretion; one or two under the shirt and a third shared with the pulse points is all it's going to take.

    I seriously doubt if D&G pour Homme will ever become a scent I could wholeheartedly endorse, but even with it's cloying sweetness and the absence of compliments from the female persuasion, I find it interesting enough to warrant a neutral rating.

    05 March, 2010

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    Axis Black Caviar by Sense of Space Creations

    Mislabeled on the basenotes site, as the actual product name is "Black Caviar" and not "Black Cavier". As the name suggests, the bottle has small black beads posing as faux caviar that swirl towards the bottom of the juice. It would all be so clever if the cologne lived up to the presentation. But alas, were I to nominate a poster boy for the juice taking a back seat to packaging, surely this would be it.

    Bland, blase, vapidly weak -- what other adjectives can I conjure to convey to you how lame and yawn-inducing this scent really is? Faintly woody smell, but frankly more enjoyable to watch those tiny beads swirl around the bottle like some bizarro-world snow globe than it is to spray it on and sniff. Godawful.

    09 February, 2010

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    Helmut Lang Men by Helmut Lang

    As other reviewers have attested, this is certainly a creamy fougere that clings close to the skin and retains a nice masculine and refined presence. I don't get the butter at all; on my skin it's more akin to a honey & fig aroma, with a rooty, musky undercurrent. After a few minutes the heavy powder of the opening begins to fade and an exquisite floral enters into the mix. This cologne certainly has a distinctive progression; it's a great scent for many scenarios, as the longevity is decent and the wearer is afforded a pleasant experience without Lang-bombing anyone nearby.

    19 January, 2010

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    Diesel Plus Plus by Diesel

    A case of the packaging fitting the scent quite well. Finishes the way it starts on my skin, with an initial blast of dairy creaminess drying down to half 'n half. I get only marginal traces of the wood and floral components mentioned by others...the Pasteurized sweetness is so overwhelming, it masks what could have been an interesting, and in my opinion, more rewarding symbiosis of fragrances. Certainly a unique scent, but I find it unrefined, and even a tad gag-inducing after awhile--especially if applied on the upper pulse points. Probably best applied sparingly to the chest under a sweater on a cold winter's day. I do appreciate the "creaminess" aspect of this fragrance...I can certainly imagine that as part of the brief, in which case the perfumer succeeded brilliantly.

    15 December, 2009

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    Lucky Number 6 for Men by Lucky Brand

    I don't get the comparisons to Fahrenheit or musty Grey Flannel at all. Begins very and warms to a sweeter woodsy spice within a few hours. Offers very decent projection and longevity. Nothing quite as exotic as the bottle label suggests, but overall a very pleasant experience. I've spent considerably more for inferior, less unique colognes and find it a nice change of pace once a month or so.

    14 December, 2009

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    1881 by Cerruti

    Vaguely remini-scent of Aramis, but with a much more robust, fruity, herbal top note. Like Aramis, this has a dark, animalic lurking in the background that gives 1881 it's masculine traction. It's a nice scent, but dated, and never quite scales the final pitch of the powerhouse mountaintop it aspires to; Aramis without the minerals to make it to the top.

    Wish there were rating choices between neutral and thumbs up -- on my skin and to my nose, 1881 deserves better than a neutral, but less than a fully positive endorsement.

    12 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 10th January, 2010)

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    Corduroy by Zirh

    Boring, blase vaporwear. Even heavy applications are gone within a few minutes. Sharp antiseptic opening, quickly settling to a tame 'n lame tobacco and leather wisp. I imagine if the lab boys shot the juice on this one, they'd find little more than alcohol and water; not much chance of that happening, though -- who'd want to deconstruct this dog? I can't fathom so many positive reviews of this loser -- could this be a reformulation that has recently flooded the market?

    Luh-hoo-ser, big time.

    08 December, 2009

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    Quorum by Antonio Puig

    A powerhouse fougere that, in my case, took a few applications to grow into. Masculine, a bit animalic, with a wonderfully prolonged drydown that gets better with age. Not sure what the natural-to-synthetic ingredient breakdown is, but there's nary a trace of astringency, even upon initial application. As many other reviewers have stated, it's strong, so use in moderation. One of those scents that's probably better applied with discretion where the sun don't shine. Can be had for well under $20 for 100ml, making it an exceptional value.

    Quorum Silver is a great fragrance as well...

    06 December, 2009

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    Nicole Miller for Men by Nicole Miller

    A rather nice spiced apple and rum scent that might possibly warrant a thumbs up were the longevity and sillage not so abysmal. Even the most liberal dosage disappears within the hour. Specifically formulated, I'll warrant, to last just long enough to get through the checkout counter and leave bewildered customers wondering if it's too late to return it once they arrive home unscented, wallets unfettered.

    Further tipping the balance to neutral rather than thumbs up is the cheap-looking packaging. Ugly decanter. The ring that attaches aerator to bottle is made of serrated plastic, and comes off if I attempt to replace the cap. Poorly conceived and executed packaging.

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

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    Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka

    A cotton candy blast that goes right to the edge of overboard without quite crossing the threshold to nasty. To enjoy this scent, you certainly need to like wearing sweet gourmands -- and probably need a private office, as the projection and longevity are both epic. A few sprays of Au Masculin and even the most foul-tempered lout can feel like a sweet guy.

    03 December, 2009

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    Light Blue Pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

    Despite the preponderance of negative reviews, I really enjoy this fragrance. Fresh citrus opening, yet very different than most other aquatics. Well-seasoned drydown; seems blended to appeal to a younger audience. I'm surprised this scent is so polarizing and garners so many negative reviews compared to an aquatic as bland as Cool Water, which has received a much more favorable ranking from basenotes reviewers. Just goes to show how subjective this whole business is, I suppose. I must also admit that Light Blue was the fragrance that launched my interest in collecting men's cologne, so perhaps my opinion is somewhat jaded by sentimentality. Notwithstanding, I love everything about the pyramid, and though the longevity is nothing special (seems to be a commonality among many D&G fragrances), I find myself coming back to this scent in my collection on a regular basis. Works well for me year 'round, and is especially good in summer, when I've learned to shelve many other spicy fougeres that simply become too dominant after an hour or two. A great example of primarily synthetic ingredients used to great advantage. Stop reading the reviews, go to Macy's, spray some on your wrist and make your own judgment.

    15 September, 2009

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    Gucci Pour Homme II by Gucci

    Extremely likable blend of sweet and spice with just the right amount of projection, as well as excellent longevity on my skin. I seem to get very little of the floral opening notes; the fragrance quickly settles into spicy cinnamon and tea notes, with the musky, sweeter drydown lagging not far behind. PH2 is a unique scent, and I really can't put my finger on exactly why that is. There are plenty of other fragrances that walk a tightrope between spicy and sweet accords; this scent just seems to do a better job of balancing them than most others. Seems more suited to me as an evening fragrance, and for a night out, rather than office wear.

    15 September, 2009

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    Subtil pour Homme by Salvatore Ferragamo

    Lovely opening scent, but as some others have alluded to, the longevity and projection is really quite poor. After only a few moments, even the most liberal applications can only be detected by thrusting my wrist directly under my nose. Surely the client and perfumer actually test these products? If so, you'd think someone would have insisted some heavier molecules be added to the mix to increase the lifespan up to the "lame" threshold. Good for office wear, as it would be nearly impossible to overdo it on this scent -- stash the bottle in your briefcase so you can reapply every two hours. Neutral rating is a gift to Ferragamo...without the pleasant opening salvo this would be a total loser.

    12 September, 2009

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    Spark for Men by Liz Claiborne

    Realities' Blue Graphite's boozier big brother. Not as sharp out of the bottle as Blue Graphite, but packs a heavier Rum, Cognac and honey punch within the first few seconds of application. Moreover, it's got a darker, more sophisticated appeal -- this fragrance manages to stand out as pretty unique with good longevity. If I worked in an office, I could envision wearing this one frequently, as it seems well-balanced throughout the entire fragrance pyramid, and is tough to overapply even by a squirthog like myself. Enthusiastic thumbs up.

    21st August, 2009 (Last Edited: 07 December, 2009)

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    Graphite Blue by Realities Cosmetics

    Graphite Blue strikes me as the epitome of a fantasy fragrance: Synthetic (in a pleasant way) out of the bottle, and to me, not clearly evocative of any natural odor I'm familiar with. Seems pretty linear throughout, with a soft drydown melange of tobacco, rum and green woods. Inexpensive, with good longevity. Works well for me in any climate, and in a variety of social interactions. Thumbs up!

    10th August, 2009

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    Casual for Men by Paul Sebastian

    An agreeable, vaguely floral fragrance that stays pretty linear from top to bottom. I can't agree with other reviewers that claim any kind of longevity -- 60 to 90 minutes is about the longest interval I can squeeze out of several sprays. The name is certainly apt, though; good casual scent for the office. So toss the bottle in your briefcase (Bonus: it resembles a small whiskey flask) and give yourself 3-4 booster sprays throughout the day. Thumbs up if only it lasted a bit longer on me...

    10th August, 2009

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    Rykiel Homme Grey by Sonia Rykiel

    Perhaps the biggest diamond-in-the-rough I've run across, and one of my very favorite scents. There's nothing beguiling about this juice straight out of the bottle. After about 10 minutes, though, it develops into something very special, with a green note I just can't put my finger on. Absolutely gorgeous -- subtle and refined, with a balance of green, spice and sweetness that remains in harmony for hours and hours.

    05 August, 2009

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