Reviews by milamber

    Showing 1 to 30 of 36.
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    Black XS by Paco Rabanne

    They got the marketing for this scent all wrong. Touting it as a “new fragrance for tough men with a tender heart”, really is like saying tough men wear tutus. Giving the bottle gothic letterings alone will not make the scent any more masculine and besides, no self-respecting Goth would be caught dead (undead as the case may be) with this scent on them. Bulgari Black will still be the frag of choice for Goths. The targeted age group though, is spot on. It targets the 18 to 25-year olds, rather than the usual XS consumer who is aged around 35. I’d prefer to call it “XS Red” or “Red in XS pour homme” in homage to the praline heart note that distinctively resembles cherries to me or strawberries to some others. Either way, the scent evokes the colour red.

    The one preoccupation of perfumers is to find that singular new molecule which can be used as the heart note of a scent and drive up its sales to stellar heights. Olivier Cresp’s creation focuses on the “praline” note, no doubt a synthetic new discovery and blends it with a citric topnote of Calabrian lemon, kalamanzi and a basenote that contains his favourite smell, patchouli as well as black amber for a soft balsamic effect on the drydown. It is a masterfully blended scent because the lemon and lime combo adds a sharp sour note to the sweet praline heart that gets depth from rosewood and breath from the patchouli and amber. It is critical for ingredients to add aspects of its note in a complementary fashion to form a unified accord.

    Praline on its own would probably smell tart and very synthetic, just like vertiver on its own would be bitter and nearly unwearable as a scent, but we don’t get that sense of “synthetic-ness” because of a perfumer’s mastery over his ingredients. He knows almost instinctively what ingredients would blend well with each other and experiments these blends with the new synthetic molecule to discover the best combinations to put on the couturiers’ table for their selection.

    There has been a sort of underground perfumers’ war to outdo each other in trying to create a simple masterpiece that surrounds a synthetic sweet heart note with more natural ingredients. The challenge is to make that sweet heart note wearable and less synthetic. Amber and vanille notes are very popular as basenotes because they contribute to the sense of natural-ness as substances naturally occurring in the wild and powdery notes mute the synthetic buzz of man-made molecules by surrounding it with the natural aspects of talcum powder.

    So, Black XS’s praline note is wrapped with Tolu balm to encase it in a smooth creamy texture. Even then, the synthetic nature of the praline manages to scream out a loud siren before it is embalmed, between the top and mid-notes. Yes, it is very hard to hide synthetic-ness because it is usually astringent in quality and the sharp edges just pokes out of the best-made encasements. You know how great the perfumer is by the quality of his “encasements” and Black XS is blended to let just enough of the new molecule jut out, declaring an original creation is born, yet made wearable with more traditional bases.

    27th July, 2006

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    Yatagan by Caron

    So, i've been thinking about all the dregs produced in the past few years and coupled with my readings of Herbert Mancuse, i just can't help but see how correct the man is when his theories are applied to the ubiquity of today's scent creations. The idea that everyday life is becoming colonised by "mechanisms of conformity" is so startlingly reflected in the strict conformity of today's scent offerings. Marines, citruses, linear concoctions abound in a society that imbibes the relentless advertisements that portray them for more than what they are. True individualism becomes drowned in the face of the "totally administered society" where we partake in the ultimate act of repression, our real needs transformed into false ones and subsequently "satisfied" by the pleasure industries in an orgy of contentment that masks the dumbing-down effect of ubiquity. Marcuse's argument is that the passive consumption of superficial products leads to short-term contentment but in the long run, creates an uncritical and one dimensional society.

    Now, what would such an intellectual wear? Definitely something against the grain of mass culture. A scent that exudes strength and leadership. A powerhouse scent it must be to resist the conformity of the times. Yatagan fits this description to a tee! It combines the forces of woods (wormwood) and leather to great effect. A very masculine scent of intellectual proportions. A slap in the face of mass culture. A gauntlet thrown down on the side of individualism, signifying the rebellious attitude of revolutionary times.

    I just used half a spritz and that is more than enough to carry me through to the end of this review. Excellent longevity with a grandiose sillage.

    08th October, 2005

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    Chic for Men by Carolina Herrera

    What i find chic about this scent is the bottle that houses it. A really chic black bottle designed by Fabien Baron in the image of an ink bottle. The ink or juice however, does not really exude "chic" to me. The topnotes ara a fresh fruit cocktail of iced lemon, Italian bergamot and invigorating watermelon. Forget the citruses, it is the watermelon note that stands out and provides the freshness. This tenacious note follows the scent's evolution to the midnotes which reveals notes of suede, cinnamon and black pepper. The sweetness of the melon note combines well with the aromatic sweetness of the suede and spicy cinnamon. The suede note is not as luscious as in Michael Kors but it is the certainly a much needed presense that pulls Chic away from the brink of the innocuous modern citruses that are flooding the market these days. The basenotes of cedarwood, sandalwood and musk continues the theme of pungent sweetness and the central role of the suede note is apparent, to rein in the runaway sweetness of Chic.

    Everything about Chic seems to complement Michael Kors very well, from the similar design of the bottle to the central suede note in each scent. These two would be the perfect match in a scent combo for the regular guy who sticks to 2 or 3 fragrances in his arsenal. Chic for casual use or office scent and Michael Kors for a more formal outing in the evening.

    Chic is a delicious scent that is fresh and clean. Since the new millenium is a time that gives perfumers a lot of practice in constructing scents around the theme of "fresh and clean", it is good to see that Chic at least tries to be something interesting and creative albeit within a rapidly crowded scent category. The design of Chic is sure to please those who are looking for an understated scent that projects within their personal space. For those who prefer something with more projection, try Paco Rabanne XS and XS Extreme. Both cuts straight to the chase by eliminating the tutti-fruitiness of Chic and load the scent with plenty of leather and musk. For a more cultured fruity melon note, Creed's Silver Mountain Water can't be beat. However, i suspect, for everyday wear, Chic is enough.

    Evolution: **
    Longevity: *
    Sillage: **

    09th September, 2005

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    Geir by Geir Ness

    Some fragrances don't need lengthy reviews:
    Tears of an angel.

    06th September, 2005

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    Michael for Men by Michael Kors

    To understand this scent, we must understand why it was created. In essence, this is a response to the downward spiral of modern perfumery and its obsession with being clean, fresh, safe, profitable and unobtrusive. For a scent to succeed these days, it seems to require less and less imagination, and a whole lot of money pumped into the marketing machinery of advertising. Not entirely a perfumer's fault, when every brief he receives says "Fresh, cool, clean, understated and emulates the success of Cool Water and Acqua di Gio".

    Fortunately, we have a few couturiers who see the malaise of modernity and tries to be different, creative, bold. In an interview, Mr Kors explains:
    "There is such a sameness in men's fragrances now of everything being citrusy and sort of innocuous. We definitely wanted something that was a statement. I wanted something memorable, special. I like something that causes a reaction, but I'm not looking to clear an elevator here."

    What i like about Michael Kors for Men is its obvious links to the classics, yet attempts to merge tradition with modernity. In his words, "You want the best of the past, but you want to leave what's old-fashioned." His style can be called modern traditionalism. So what can you expect from Michael Kors for Men?

    The topnotes are an attention getter for sure. It is full of the sillage inducing notes of spicy Cardamom and Star Anise. As for the citrus, none other than the deep, breadth-extending bergamot was selected. The heart notes are even more intense. All masculine notes of tobacco, sweet suede and smoky incense rush to the front in a sensual, refined accord designed to overload the senses with a mingling of sweet and bitter notes. The drydown echoes this theme of opulence with patchouli, dark plums and dried fruits.

    Michael Kors for men is without doubt, an intoxicating scent that reflects refinement and sophistication in a bold, confident way. He manages to put a sexy spin on the theme of classic luxury and at the same time, infusing the fragrance industry that seems to be increasingly jaded, with some much needed creative vibrancy.

    06th September, 2005

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    Ultraviolet Man by Paco Rabanne

    Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet Man (2001)
    ******************************
    Sometimes the search for unique smells can lead us to create enigmatic new scents that widen our spectrum of olfactory experience. What better way to conceptualise a fragrance then by combining 2 sensory elements, the sense of smell with sight. Colors to be exact. There seems to be an almost mystical link between smell and colors. Smell a rose and we see the color red (though there are many varieties of roses that are not red). Smell aquatic scents and we see blue, the blueness of the sea perhaps. This is where a disjunction can be really grating to the senses. For example, smelling Kenneth Cole Black, i see intense blue, not the black that is implied, not the blackness of rubber tyres as in Bulgari Black or the grittiness of Armani Night. Perhaps it's just me, but do smell it if you ever get a chance and tell me there isn't a note of Cool Water in KCB.

    How then do you capture the color of Ultraviolet? Paco Rabanne seems to have done so in their Ultraviolet Man creation. Because links are like hooks that connect in ever expanding tributaries so, the link with ultraviolet is technology and the artificial, the man-made, synergy of syntheticism. There is nothing natural about Ultraviolet man and the marketing hypes on this aspect of it - the smell of technology. In an increasingly synthetic world, syntheticism becomes the object of reverence. Just look at the notes of this scent - grey amber, liquid mint, organic vertiver and moss crystals. None of those notes exist in the real world and don't be fooled by the "organic vertiver" which is probably another way of saying "man-made synthetic verviter", in any case, there isn't a hint of vertiver in Ultraviolet Man anyway.

    So, what does Ultraviolet Man smell like? Well, in a nutshell, it smells very sweet. Interestingly, i do get the color ultraviolet in this scent and its a rather sweet color in a very synthetic way. It has no soul in it, very uncomplicated and singular in accord yet has a certain vibrancy to it that is almost teasing but monotonous. It fades very quickly but lingers for hours.

    Admirers of artisinal fragrances will curse the creation of such a soulless creature. Devotees of the classics will scoff at the fleeting, ultra-femininity of this scent that dares to call itself "Man". Perhaps only a technophile can appreciate Ultraviolet Man. That said, there are legions of techies today, in a modern world dominated by Apple, IBM, Intel, Microsoft etc... This is probably Bill Gate's signature frag.

    05th September, 2005

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    Magnetism for Men by Escada

    The house of Escada comes full circle in this latest offering. The only traces of Escada pour Homme (1993) is the opulent and vibrant nature of the scent. The chiseled flacon looks like it was carved from a piece of dark, purple obsidian with a platinum top that symbolises masculine strength. The Escada bottle looks like a toned, muscular body with perfect abs but in a symbolic way, without the crassness of the Le Male bottle.

    The topnote of schinus and saffron radiates an electrical vibe that reminds me of a fizzy cola. Schinus was selected for its aphrodisiac quality and certainly, the whole concept of Magnetism is to seduce. Forcefully, it is the midnotes that do the trick. This is where the sensuality of the woods such as cedar and sandalwood combine with the virility of leather, always emanating from within the electric, vibrancy of the schinus+saffron topnotes. The topnotes don't really burn off but combines enticingly with the sensual midnotes supported by an exotic, ambery drydown fashioned from the essence of tolu balm and amber. There is a hint of sweet musk too added into this mixture of a love potion. All the ingredients blend perfectly, designed to entice and captivate the senses of the opposite sex.

    Sex appeal distilled. The only question it how long is your stamina because Magnetism is created to last. Layer by layer it evolves, always with the sweet, sexy saffron note in the background, the cheeky perfume equivalent of a wink. Wear this with confidence anytime, anywhere. Less spritz for an office romance, more for the predatory night clubbing sessions.

    I place this as a worthy successor to the classics and i am sure it will soon join the ranks of the classics. I foretell that in 10 years time, we will look back into the history of perfumery and laud Escada Magnetism with the same status as Calvin Klein's Eternity and Armani's Acqua di Gio.

    30th August, 2005

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    Escada Homme by Escada

    In the age of non-scents and the fresh and clean look, it can be rather difficult to find a formal scent for a more serious setting. This is when we turn to the classics for some strict formality, yet in the context of today's scents and its direction, the classics are becoming more alienated in a clean, aquatic world. We need to be more discerning in our choice of classics and pick one that truly deserves that mantel, after all, shouldn't "classics" be synonymous with "timelessness"?

    Fortunately, in Escada Pour Homme, i have found just such a timeless scent that fits in well into my collection as a scent to be worn for formal occasions. It has a very hysperidic topnote, containing Bergamot, Lime, Mandarine and lemon. A citric blend that is smoothened out with a touch of cognac! It is this cognac note that makes all the difference. This singular note unites the scent into a forceful, coherent whole, imparting the essence of formality. The sweetness takes on an almost honeyed quality that blends well with the spicy cardamom and sweet juniper berry in the heart of the scent. This theme of refined sweetness is carried through to the end with a basenote of vanilla and sandalwood. You can sense the sharpness of the notes contained in the lime, lemon, mandarine of the topnotes, the sweet spiciness of the cardamom and juniper berry in the midnotes and the running thematic sweetness in the woody vanillic drydown. It is the cognac that imparts the sense of luxury to this scent, the note that transforms the scent from becoming yet another ubiquitous vanillic oriental to a richly refined fragrance that exudes class.

    While the design is tailor-made for formal occasions, i have worn this scent with great effect on cool evenings out with friends. What is needed here is a deft touch, a corduroy sweater and non-pleated pants. A serious attitude goes well with that look. Of course it is with a suit and tie that Escada pour Homme shines in a league of its own along with the other greats of formal wear such as Creed's Bois du Portugal and Aramis' Havana. Yet, when I need something with a touch of subtlety amidst a heady blend, i always pick Escada pour Homme.

    29th August, 2005

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    Colors Uomo by Benetton

    The unifying force of fragrance is an ideal concept for a company that has unity as its publicity campaign. The theme "The United Colors of Benetton" has become a tagline for this fashion house. Luciano Benetton always had the idea that his apparel had to be industrial first and fashion second, somewhere between Armani and Coca Cola. Striving for universalism, you'd expect this first offering of a male scent from Benetton to reflect the ubiquitous patchouli+vertiver combo of the powerhouse scents produced in the 80s and you'd be partly correct. The vertiver and patchouli combo notes are there but that is not the mainstay of this fragrance. It has subtle nuances that allows it to shine in a genre that has become something of a base commonality in the 80s.

    The men's bottle is black, in a pentagon shape, and carries the script logo on each side, in five different colors. The word "man" appears in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Chinese to convey the scent's international positioning.

    The topnotes of bergamot and lime ensures a sense-awakening freshness upon the first spritz. This topnote combines well with the patchouli to create a soapy clean accord but this changes dramatically when the vanillic notes make an appearance. Then you get an accord whose Oriental flavour recalls the captivating sillage of Caron's Le 3me Homme but only for an instance, before the cypress and cedar heart adds an aromatic woody tone to the whole blend and sharpens an opulent body.

    The drydown comes quickly providing an ambery base of soothing woods and vanillic accord. The scent softens and becomes rather surprisingly understated, after the buffeting freshness of the topnotes and aromatic midnotes. It is probably this aspect of the composition that makes Colors Uomo wearable even amogst today's generation of perfume-wearers who crave the clean and freshness of marine or citrus notes.

    Do note that for this review, i used a gentle spritzing technique that mists the scent onto skin from a distance. I find i get better separation of notes by doing this. The normal spritz of Uomo gets less evolution and more of the patchouli-vertiver accord. You may prefer the effects of this gentle spritz better if you do not want a loud effect with Colors Uomo. The versatility of this scent is an added bonus.

    28th August, 2005

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    Casran by Chopard

    The beauty of simplicity is evident in this offering from Chopard. The concept is that of a spiritual journey into one’s inner being, through meditative contemplation. The bottle is inspired by the magic of crystal cut rocks. Chopard hopes to achieve an “intense exploration of the senses” and does so by overwhelming us with luscious notes of chocolate, dry ambered cherries, dates and prunes.

    The topnotes contain Rum and Cardamom. This burst of sweetness anticipates the luscious core of the fragrance. The top and midnotes meld together forming one singular accord of pure creamy sweetness that can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. It is certainly a core that fills one’s senses as a wind filling the sails of a ship. Whether the wind blows as a calm gentle breeze or a roaring tempest, largely rests on the method of application. I recommend the walk-through technique for this and all other heady scents.

    The drydown is a subtle blend of benzoin and vanilla. What you get at this stage is akin to the heart of Armani’s Black Code, but with more substance. Like Black Code, the drydown envelopes the user with a sense of tranquillity, a pervading sense of serenity. This scent is very “zen” and truly imbues the wearer with an aura of paradoxical stillness amidst the buffeting sweetness that threatens to engulf the senses.

    This is my quintessential office scent because it serves a vital function in maintaining my sanity amidst the hustle and bustle of the workplace. I never fail to pick Casran as my scent of the day when I anticipate a hectic day at work. Our office is often a stormy place that can sweep us away and we lose sight of our centre. With Casran, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I just need to close my eyes wherever I may be, stop whatever I am doing for a few seconds and recover my centre automatically. Everything stops and nothing matters. Datelines disappear, the shackles of responsibility slip away, I am me, just me. If you can find a scent that does that, who needs a holy grail! Again, I reiterate, the beauty of simplicity! Sure, we all have our niches that throws us a curve ball with the evolution of every note, they have their place in our collection, but so does a scent that is simply crafted and allows you to feel at one with the universe, at peace with your surroundings and thankful that you exist! That’s the essence of Casran for me.

    24th August, 2005

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    Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

    Fragrances often evoke memories that transcend time and place. This is what Aramis tries to do with its classic offering, Tuscany Per Uomo. This scent’s concept is to create the feeling of being in Tuscany. Everything from the packaging design to the colour of the juice and even the bottle cap embodies the spirit of Tuscany. It is no wonder then that Aramis took the production of this scent out of the US and into the verdant, rolling hills of Firenze, Italy.

    The fragrance opens with the biting citric quality of bergamot and lemon with a touch of lavender to counter the harsh astringency of those two sharp citruses. The golden juice in the sleek, stylish bottle is the embodiment of the warm Tuscan sun as it rises above the distant hills, casting its warm golden hue over the lush, fertile land.

    The midnotes appear soon after, offering a spicy heart as the sun warms the hot red tiled roofs of Firenze. The anise note is cleverly combined with hints of amber, geranium and a strong patchouli presence that promises a persistent aromatic accord.

    The basenotes of leather and tonka ensures that the scent will linger on the skin for quite some time, just as the memory of a visit to this charming land blessed with both the bounties of nature and culture is sure to stay in one’s mind as a lasting memory.

    Tuscany Per Uomo is a formal scent ideal for cool evenings. It recalls other classics such as YSL pour homme(1971) and Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur(1972). Comparing it to Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur, Tuscany Per Uomo is much sharper with the herbaceous basil and geranium blend, while the orange in Pierre Cardin smoothens out the scent. Tuscany Per Uomo is also longer lasting which is a bonus with citrus based scents. Overall, the concept fits the packaging and scent to create in effect, the essence of Tuscany bottled!

    22nd August, 2005

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    Time for Peace for Him by Kenzo

    This is a limited edition scent from the House of Kenzo, produced on the brink of the new millenium. I must admit, I was intrigued more by the name and concept before even seeing the bottle or smelling the juice. What would Peace smell like? I anticipated something soft and surreal, perhaps even ephemeral, an intangible nuance that could not be seen, but only detected through the olfactory sense, to signify the evasive nature of Peace. Truly then Art imitates life!

    I was not disappointed. This is one scent where the notes support the concept precisely. Perhaps too precisely! If this scent were to fail, it is will not be due to a failure of craftsmanship, but rather, a failure to convey the concept behind the fragrance to the mass market. However, this is probably why Time for Peace is a limited edition. It marks one of the few times when concept and purpose is put forth before the profit motive.

    The perfumer for this project was aptly chosen – Annick Menardo. She is the perfumer who crafted such mass market successes as Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin, YSL Body Kouros, Boss Bottled, Bulgari Black and Dior Hypnotic Poison. You can see, she creates sublime scents of the Oriental family, my personal favourite. Her background in psychology is put to good use here. She certainly understands what the project requires, which is no easy feat, to distil the very essence of Peace. The one important thing her mentor, Michel Almayrac, taught her was probably how to find beauty in simplicity and she put that lesson to good use in creating Time for Peace.

    Time for Peace is a soft, lingering Oriental with a balsamic quality. It is soft to reflect the ephemeral nature of peace and lingering to signify an almost obsessive ideal worth working towards even though the final destination is never certain. The Mandarin in the topnotes convey a message of hope for a bright future while the chestnut(!) and tonka bean midnotes provide the necessary body to both lift the sense of hope and provide the aura of a heavy obstacle along the way to attaining the objective of Peace. It dries down to a soft vanillic end which is the position of attainment, signifying heavenly bliss yet one that is so transient that it feels like the shadow of a dream sometimes, twice removed from reality.

    You will probably like this scent if you enjoy Orientals such as Gautier’s Le Male and Montblanc’s Individuel but happen to be looking for something softer for a more casual, romantic evening. You could spring for Armani’s Black Code as well, or choose Time for Peace and wear a fragrance with a concept that works and enjoy the Art of perfumery.

    19th August, 2005

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    In Leather Man by Etienne Aigner

    Sometimes I have to ask what drives the fascination with leather and leather scents. Is it something passed down to us from the age of the caveman? Leather after all must be one of the oldest clothing materials. Is it then a distant memory passed down through our genes of a time when we walked around wrapped in leather, hunting mammoths during the last Ice Age?

    Where masculinity is concerned, leather is closely tied with the male ego. Many symbols of masculinity are made from leather – holsters, saddles, boots, jackets, you name it, if its made of leather, it can effectively convey the masculine ideal. Leather just oozes machismo in a refined, suave way. The link with the sexual is also worth exploring. Is there anything more sexy than a lady in leather or a man in a leather racing biker jacket. What was the one accessory that made Neo so sexy in The Matrix? You guessed it, the leather and black shades.

    But what is it about the smell of leather that just evokes a sense of mystery, darkness and crossed boundaries? There’s just something so dark and alluring about it that’s hard to resist. So many scents manage to capture this aspect of leather. I hear Knize Ten does it very well indeed and so does the classic range offered by the Pierre Cardin Centaure series, especially Cuir Fougere, Chanel’s Antheus and Trussardi Uomo, all offer variations of the sexy leather theme. These classics truly capture the opulent, aromatic nature of leather.

    The difference with Aigner’s offering, In Leather Man, is in the execution of the leather note. There is a brief citrusy topnote that lasts all of 5 seconds and then the scent gradually sheds its citrus coat to slowly extend its leather heart. It is 95% leather and nothing more. Where the classics capture the mysterious sexiness of leather, Aigner distils its brighter embodiment of refinement, the sublime note of a Porche’s leather interior. This is the antithesis of the traditional dark leather scent, the clean, modern version that exudes the right mix of opulence and elegance. Still, I don’t dare wear more than a few spritz of this scent, lest I smell like a walking leather sofa set. A touch is enough for a wild night out on the town in my black leather jacket and denim jeans. The ideal image to fit the scent. Leather requires more than a little confidence to wear, luckily when you’ve wrapped In Leather Man around you, the scent does the rest.

    15th August, 2005

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    L'Eau d'Ambre Extrême / Ambre Extrême by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    I just put on some L'Artisan Ambre Extreme and i am being enveloped by a cloud of creamy, luxurious, amber. To me, this qualifies as a "special scent". Not a scent you use on the prowl or specifically to attract the opposite sex, but something that puts me in a state of mind that is close to euphoria and zen-like tranquility. Not all ambers have this effect on me. Serge Luten's Amber Sultan is a deeper amber that's penetrating while L'Occitane's Amber is sharper, more synthetic smelling. This is EDP strength and more expensive than the regular L'Artisans but definitely a must have in any collection.

    12th October, 2004

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    Green Irish Tweed by Creed

    Curve lacks the projection ability of Green Irish Tweed. I sprayed 2 spritz of Curve on my chest and 2 on each wrist, put on my clothes and went out to do some shopping. Nothing! I barely got a drift of scent from my wrists but nothing emanated from my clothes. The "Caron 3rd Man" effect just wasn't there! Last night i tried the same thing with GIT. Frankly, i expected a resounding success and i wasn't disappointed. Some Creeds may have longevity issues on some people, but none i've tried have had problems with producing sillage IMO. I went out last night to an all-night cafe wearing just two spritz of GIT on my chest and it was pumping out plumes of GIT notes throughout. My pals noticed it, their girlfriends noticed it even more!

    So, the question now is: Is GIT a more potent/concentrated Curve or is Curve the poor man's GIT? While GIT has a citric topnote that turns green rapidly, Curve goes straight to the point of being green with a slightly vanillic base that mimics the sandalwood + ambergris base of GIT. Upon application, Curve immediately expands its notes, like a Chinaman spreading his wares on the sidewalk of Chinatown, while GIT (and most Creeds) prefers to keep things strictly regimented. You get one dominant note, it subsides and you get another and another and so on, like buying jewellery. You could say that GIT does it with style and panache while Curve exudes youthful exuberance and brashful energy. Being exuberant, Curve also tires itself out faster and doesn't last as long as GIT, spritz vs spritz. GIT takes its time, nice and slow, playing out a mellow soulful tune before hitting the basenotes. I think this is the attraction for the opposite sex. GIT promises a prolonged engagement of a pleasurable encounter. Afterall, why does GIT attract men of substance like Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford? Like attracts like IMO.

    The problem now is: With the availability of Curve, is GIT worth it? Tough one to answer. I have both and can see situational applications for them but i came by both by "accident". I had to try out the legendary Creed in my lifetime (Eastwood and Redford being two of my fav actors of all time) and the Curve is a rare scent in my country, hard to come by plus nothing in the mainstream smells quite like these two. In terms of situational use, yes i believe they have a particular niche area, i'd use Curve for a day outing exclusively, while GIT for evening wear and more serious stuff where i want to feel special and confident and flirt. But what adds fuel to the fire is the price and questions of value that will inevitably cross the minds of discerning buyers with limited budgets for scents. I will go out on the limb here and say go for the GIT over the Curve. Narrow the price gap by buying from Ebay or do what i did, swap with a basenoter of excellent repute (Œcool¹ from Poland in my case). I will not go into the debate of "buying retail for peace of mind" because i think you can spot a fake Creed a mile away, the Creed note being the first thing you look for unless it's a vintage line. But if you already have Curve, and think it's the beez kneez, finish that bottle unless like me, you want to explore the significance of GIT.

    12th September, 2004

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    Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne

    I am really struck by how similar Curve smells to Creed's Green Irish Tweed! This has been mentioned before but i was a bit sceptical because i kept thinking, how can a mass marketed scent smell so similar to a legendary Creed! I've gotten into collecting Creed recently and the association just simply refuses to connect for me. My first impression was that GIT and Curve are very similar, definitely in the same family. Upon closer inspection/testing i've found:

    Curve lacks the projection ability of GIT. I sprayed 2 spritz of Curve on my chest and 2 on each wrist, put on my clothes and went out to do some shopping. Nothing! I barely got a drift of scent from my wrists but nothing emanated from my clothes. The "Caron 3rd Man" effect just wasn't there! Last night i tried the same thing with GIT. Frankly, i expected a resounding success and i wasn't disappointed. Some Creeds may have longevity issues on some people, but none i've tried have had problems with producing sillage IMO. I went out last night to an all-night cafe wearing just two spritz of GIT on my chest and it was pumping out plumes of GIT notes throughout. My pals noticed it, their girlfriends noticed it even more!

    So, the question now is: Is GIT a more potent/concentrated Curve or is Curve the poor man's GIT? While GIT has a citric topnote that turns green rapidly, Curve goes straight to the point of being green with a slightly vanillic base that mimics the sandalwood + ambergris base of GIT. Upon application, Curve immediately expands its notes, like a Chinaman spreading his wares on the sidewalk of Chinatown, while GIT (and most Creeds) prefers to keep things strictly regimented. You get one dominant note, it subsides and you get another and another and so on, like buying jewellery. You could say that GIT does it with style and panache while Curve exudes youthful exuberance and brashful energy. Being exuberant, Curve also tires itself out faster and doesn't last as long as GIT, spritz vs spritz. GIT takes its time, nice and slow, playing out a mellow soulful tune before hitting the basenotes. I think this is the attraction for the opposite sex. GIT promises a prolonged engagement of a pleasurable encounter. Afterall, why does GIT attract men of substance like Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford? Like attracts like IMO.

    The problem now is: With the availability of Curve, is GIT worth it? Tough one to answer. I have both and can see situational applications for them but i came by both by "accident". I had to try out the legendary Creed in my lifetime (Eastwood and Redford being two of my fav actors of all time) and the Curve is a rare scent in my country, hard to come by plus nothing in the mainstream smells quite like these two. In terms of situational use, yes i believe they have a particular niche area, i'd use Curve for a day outing exclusively, while GIT for evening wear and more serious stuff where i want to feel special and confident and flirt. But what adds fuel to the fire is the price and questions of value that will inevitably cross the minds of discerning buyers with limited budgets for scents. I will go out on the limb here and say go for the GIT over the Curve. Narrow the price gap by buying from Ebay or do what i did, swap with a basenoter of excellent repute (cool from Poland in my case). I will not go into the debate of "buying retail for peace of mind" because i think you can spot a fake Creed a mile away, the Creed note being the first thing you look for unless it's a vintage line. But if you already have Curve, and think it's the beez kneez, finish that bottle unless like me, you want to explore the significance of GIT.

    12th September, 2004

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    Uomo? Moschino by Moschino

    This was one scent i had considered purchasing when i was looking for a different kind of citrus. Something totally paradoxical to the multitudes of fresh, clean designer citruses in the market today. While Monsieur Givenchy and Eau Sauvage hit me as being particularly earthy citrus, Moschino is much more spicy and herbal in nature. Certainly very different from the modern citrus non-scents of today, with its Kumquat topnotes and Clary Sage midnotes providing the aromatic herbal pungency to the cinnamon leaves spiciness. The selection of Cedarwood at the base is very appropriate IMO as it merges well with the spicy sweet nature of the scent as something like leather or suede would make it over-the-top cloying. For something similar, you can compare it to Trussardi L'Uomo which has a slightly more interesting topnote of Tomato Leaves and Sandalwood + Tobacco leaves basenote. I picked Trussardi L'Uomo in the end. For the leathery version, look to Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur. This has a strong leather mid and base for a masculine punch with the lemon+Bergamot+Orange topnotes carrying through to the midnotes very well for a bitter citric punch.

    12th August, 2004

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    Laguna Homme by Salvador Dali

    Firstly, it is rather hard to find so you'll be sure to be among the few people in your country/state that wears it. It's exclusivity is matched by its aromatic qualities that never fails to draw attention. At the mention of the name, people instantly get the sea-breeze connection so it is a very precisely crafted scent.

    Secondly, this scent leaves behind a trail that is fresh and clean. It is the sort of sillage that gets people to look up from reading their newspaper or magazines on the train just to figure out who just passed by them.

    Thirdly, it is very masculine. I get a kind of tobacco-like note that passes off as the salty sea spray that gets in your mouth and throat while walking along the beach during high tide. This mid-note lasts quite awhile on me before turning into a very sexy vanillic hue so that by evening, it transforms into a soft, mellow vanillic scent ideal for a quiet night out with a loved one.

    Finally, after wearing a scent for some time, it is inevitable that the scent will carry many memorial baggage and luckily for me, this scent carries with it many happy memories of my youthful zest and abandonment. So much so that this scent has come to symbolise just that - youthful zest and wanton abandonment, a celebration of life, for me. That connection between scent and memory is for me, the most important utilitarian facet of this hobby, the essence of scent collection is as a repository of memories both sweet and bitter. It is magical isn't it, how a multitude of memories flood back at the simple spritz of a perfume bottle?

    11th August, 2004

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    Body Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

    Body Kouros is projected by aromatic spices of the anise and cinnamon type. This is the heart of the scent and it is fuelled by Benzoin and Tonka bean which releases a stronger, more luscious vanille note that provides a powdery drydown. The caramel and sandalwood in the base also serve to smoothen out the pungent aromatic spices nicely. Yes, this is an oriental but the smoky incense produced by the scent can distract someone to believe this is a gourmand as the accords when the notes are put together is reminiscent of dark chocolates, such is the power of the tonka bean, it adds a creamy layer to the base that is very tentalising. This is a spiritual scent that belongs in any wardrobe!

    09th June, 2004

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    Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne by Helmut Lang

    I just spritzed the EDP version and must say that it is very powdery in the drydown with a distinctive musky note that is reminiscent of BY's animalic note but not quite so synthetic yet not subtle by any means. The woodsy feel is actually a powdery musk drydown that could be mistaken for cedarwood though it is definitely more musky in character due to the richness imparted to the scent itself. It is precisely this character which puts the scent squarely in the skin bracer type fragrance, one that should be worn on the skin to complement the body chemistry. It is not one that provides an abundance of sillage, but rather, imparts a masculine aura around the wearer. I keep wanting to smell this scent because of its buttery, creamy richness. :o
    On a sidenote, i have to slightly disagree that this one smells like Melagrano in the sense that i find certain artisinal houses tend to make their scents very bold and loud (helps to justify the price tag) but that is where it is a mistake for this type of scent. Helmut Lang has managed to tone down the SMN Melagrano and Parfume d'Habit overtures considerably and yet maintain the buttery allure quite nicely, not overpoweringly so. It's all about balance! To get my meaning totally, try some Melagrano or Parfum Habit on one wrist and spritz some Jovan White Musk on the other. You can instantly tell the difference in intensity and richness. Now spritz the Helmut Lang EDP onto the crook of your elbow where the vein lies on the same arm as the Jovan White Musk (the other arm is useless with the Melagrano/Parfum Habit as it will overwhelm your EDP.) After 5 minutes, the richness should appear and you can compare it with the synthetic cadence of the Jovan. Quite extraordinary eh? Now that's balance and what you're paying for in the EDP. A scent that is just right!

    08th June, 2004

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    Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

    The Azzaro is special to me because it is one of the few fragrances left in the world that uses ambergris. This imparts a very dark, masculine feel to the scent and it absolutely blooms in the evening. I wouldn't bother with the Intense because it is basically the Azzaro without heart! A tin-man in search of a heart because the ambergris is missing. Very hard to find these days, ambergris, so what do you do, especially when you have legions of Azzaro fans out there. You stand to lose millions if you pull it off the shelves, so you create a so-called "Intense" version that doesn't have ambergris and "update" it with the latest in synthetic molecules for an intense burst in the topnotes and you sit and wait blissfully in the mistaken belief that you can wean the discerning masses from the original. Didn't happen and won't happen!!! They already tried it with Acteur.

    Dated? DATED?? Well, not in Europe it isn't! This goes back to a time when scents were supposed to last and project. Today, scents tend to stay close to the skin which generally defeats the purpose of wearing scents in the first place. A difference in concept definitely, but you can certainly wear it with confidence in the evening, beneath your clothes, in summer even. Besides, what does dated smell like? Old cellar stench? Messe de Minuit is selling very well! Old leathery circus smell? Dzing is also doing fine. To me, Purple Label is the epitome of datedness and it was released last year!

    At least, get a very small bottle, just so you can experience the magic of ambergris once in awhile.

    08th June, 2004

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    Must de Cartier pour Homme Vert Anis by Cartier

    Must de Cartier pour Homme Vert Anis(2001) is one that i recommend over the original. It is slightly more complex and much more long lasting. I wore the original yesterday and it lasted about 5 hours which is fine for me, but this one will go beyond 7 easily, plus the anise note is sublime and provides a lovely trail to follow.

    05th June, 2004

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    Emporio Armani Night He by Giorgio Armani

    What's Armani Night like? I would put it as a toned-down Individuel or JPG Le Male. The violet note in this one is what you must look out for. It is less dominant/brusque than the Lavender and Jasmine which most masculine scents prefer to use. It appears for about 5-10 minutes in the topnotes before melting into the heart which has the aromatic sage. The woods in this one is Cedar and Patchouli, and the accord produced is powdery. It is a well-balanced scent. I alternate between this and Rive Gauche, with Rive Gauche being the louder one of the two. They complement each other well, depending on your mood. Some people have made comments that it is similar to Armani Mania and i would say, only in the topnotes are they somewhat akin. After awhile, Mania turns mossy and disappears while Night becomes powdery sweet and lingers. I suppose you could say Armani "fixed" Mania's longevity problem with some Myrrh and patchouli. At night, it is simply sexy!!!Not the overly masculine sexiness like Vendetta or the classic sexiness of Obsession/Opium nor the arcane sexiness of Costume Scent Intense or DK Fuel or the smooth sexiness of Caron's 3rd Man, but a nonchalant sexiness that's just right as if saying "This is all i need, no more, no less." I wear it in black for a slightly gothic touch. Trust me, it gets attention your way! Just look unconcerned, contemplative and when they ask you what you're wearing, calmly say "Oh, that?... Armani Night" in a couldn't care less sort of way.

    03rd June, 2004

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    Vendetta pour Homme by Valentino

    The bottle is exquisite, reminds me of an oil lamp, in typical Arabian Knights fashion which comes with a genie. The juice is light woody brown which gives a hint of the scent itself. The sillage is excellent as is the norm for most classics. Also, like many classics, this one is discontinued!!!

    Now, the scent. It starts off with a deep sourish note created by neroli and lavender with a tinge of verbena floral sweetness. The dominant floral topnotes pushes the scent towards feminity but wait for it, when the scent turns, you're in for a wallop! Very quickly, the clove and bayrum in the heart catches up, the effect is an accentuation of the sourish note that overcomes any sweetness in the top. Where does the sillage come from? Jasmine of course!! The fuel of many fragrances at this time. Remember Monsieur Carven? The turnaround is surprising but that is only the tip of the iceberg. It opens your senses to figure out the notes further and just when you thought that you've had the scent pegged down, it releases its most potent combo! The clove in the heart interacts with the woody base to produce an accord that is incense and smoky to begin with but mellows down to a pungent ambery drydown! The drydown is akin to Serge Lutens' Ambre Sultan and Madini's Ambergris oil!!! I kid you not!! I am sitting here, breathing in the deep incense notes and ambery accords of a scent that is artisinal in its evolution and craftsmanship. This is Caron 3rd Man's older brother, a scent whose accords were mimicked by one of the best artisinal houses, 2 years later in 1993, with the release of Ambre Sultan.

    Vendetta is a scent you wear to be noticed. I've been with this scent for the past 3 weeks now and it is without doubt, a potent brew. Do not overspray, i spritz this on lightly, 2 sprays on my body and let the sillage do the rest. I have 5 sprays on now to get the notes down and analyse its evolution and i am totally engulfed in a cloud of woody insence and ambery accords that is rather intoxicating actually.

    To enjoy Vendetta, I would say that you must like scents like Ambre Sultan, Polo Crest and Obsession, though I recommend Vendetta if you've had enough of that CK scent. Basically, you must like Chypres in general and woods in particular. A modern take on this would be M7 with its agarwood note. If you can take those scents, then you will love Vendetta!

    03rd June, 2004

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    Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    Rive Gauche is a nice spicy scent. It has star anise in the top, cloves in the middle and vetiver at the bottom. This one never fails to make me sweat, a warm pungent scent. I wear this formal and in the evening. It is a scent that exudes power but with a sexier synthetic edge. Power is sexy enough for sure, but a little extra down there, who's complaining! Rive Gauche is a fizzier/friskier Gucci PH. I feel when you look for a modern rendition of a classic scent, Rive Gauche is it, the Gucci PH carried to its logical conclusion, to simulate 80s vivacity. Just smell Sung pour homme and you get what Rive Gauche is trying to recreate albeit with a more contemporary feel. However, be careful with the dose. You don't want to scream sex, it is easy to overdo RG while Gucci PH is more forgiving.

    14th March, 2004

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    Fuel for Men / DK Men by Donna Karan

    Welcome to the darkside! DK Fuel is Darth Vader personified in scent. This is one powerful scent and i don't mean the projection or loudness, though it does have that too, but power per se. Power as an idea, a concept, made into scent becomes DK Fuel. The notes don't just evolve, they combust!!! It is aromatic and spicy sweet. Again, this one reminds me of Caron's Third Man, but with more fizz and pizazz. This is what an energised 3rd Man would smell like. Where 3rd man is more creamy and smooth, refined, DK Fuel doesn't even bother. Where 3rd Man is Gothic, DK Fuel is symbiotic. It feeds off the wearer's natural body chemistry and effortlessly adds it to its palatte, imbuing the wearer with an aura of power that is partly from within and mostly from the scent itself. Some scents gets discontinued because it's time ran out, some gets canned because the ingredients are no longer viable. DK Men's growth was stifled because it is a scent out of time. A modern balance on the knife edge, it speaks of the new millenium. It takes the creamy smoothness of the 80s, cleans it somewhat with the filter of the 90s to give an edgy, sharp scent that's poised to strike, like a coiled viper. It's definitely a fast paced scent for a fast paced world.

    12th March, 2004

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    Derby by Guerlain

    The deodorant is overly chypre in construction with the moss dominating the scent. It's alright i suppose, but the EDT is far better. 2 ingredients in the midnotes fuel this scent - rose and jasmine. While the leather and Sandal in the base smoothens the aromatics out. This is Habit Rouge without the Rouge. Stripped of the red colour, it is a darker, dirtier scent but refined as well. It is not gothic like 3rd Man, more of a powersuit scent. Having said that, i can wear Derby comfortably with a few spritzes and walk-through, in the evening. It is an inviting scent, in minute amounts, it's a snuggle-me type of fragrance. More and it becomes a don't-mess-with-me type fragrance. I like the versatility of Derby, where one spritz of 3rd Man says Gothic and 6 spritzes still says Gothic only in a louder way, Derby has a quiet charm about it. The regal air of nobility.

    12th March, 2004

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    Number 3 / Le 3me Homme / The Third Man by Caron

    When you wear Caron 3rd Man, you are putting out a statement. You are a confident man, comfortable in the most stressful situations, not bothered by the dominant fashion style of the day, a man of tradition. The fragrance itself is caramel smooth. A brilliant take on the 80s' super accord. It is extremely aromatic. This one was designed with sillage in mind. When you leave the room, people will definitely know you've been there a few seconds ago.

    I wear 3rd Man on the skin. I like it close. It goes on my chest, under a shirt. Trust me, the effect is fabulous. This allows the scent to mix with your natural chemistry and pumps out through the pores of the fabric. The effect is one of sexy indulgence and warmth. It should have a place in any gentleman's wardrobe. (Even a gentleman gets horny once in a while.) So who IS the 3rd Man? I'm no Luca Turin, but i believe, there is your physical being, your spiritual being and the scent which becomes an extension of yourself. The aura personified!!!

    06th March, 2004

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    Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein

    The topnotes of this scent is very wierd in a funky sort of way. The advertisement for this tries to sell Obsession as a sex juice. The ads are black and white to symbolise a universal quality that trancends race and culture. Is obsession the sex juice of the 80s then? You wouldn't think so based on the topnotes. In my opinion, the topnotes is more of the midnotes rearranging themselves. Many artisinal fragrances do this eg. Piper Nigrum, Virgilio, Yerbamate etc. I don't mind it but it takes some getting used to. Try the original Burberry(1981) to get a stronger feel of Obsession's topnotes.

    The midnotes is what i want to focus on. This is where the magic happens. You get a mellowing of the topnotes into something very sexy. It is the appearance of the first gourmand notes that take my breath away. Chocolatey creamy but not so much rich as sharp and aromatic because the gourmand accord is made with woody notes of Rosewood and Pine needle mixed with oriental notes of vanilla and amber. Very nice, it is a movement and combination to produce the gourmand note. Not like say, Amen where you get the chocolates straight away... albeit after the tar . Obsessions' gourmand note needs/has to be constructed. It slowly emerges from the chaos of the topnotes. Most interestingly, this gourmand note has added pungency through the addition of a red berries note. This sweetens the gourmand so you don't get dark chocolates, just a sweet milky coco-like effect. The most interesting accord in the fragrance IMO. Chanel took this accord to make Allure (not a statement of fact, just to give a rough idea of the accord i'm talking about.) This is the accord that makes obsession so obsessive and a classic. But what takes it away from the mold of Amen or Body Kouros is the persistent greeness (pine needles) that is in the background. Makes for a highly original scent though.

    If you do not like Obsession it is probably because you find the greeness a little too discordant with the gourmand or simply cannot stand the chaotic topnotes. For me, i find that those qualities are precisely what makes Obsession a unique scent and cements its place in the hallowed halls of true classics.

    05th March, 2004

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    Romeo Gigli by Romeo Gigli

    What a powerful drydown and as expected, the fragrance delivers. The citrus topnotes quickly dissipates into a full-bodied heart that is projected by the ambergris and civet notes. A fresh start, gets complicated and ends on a dirty sexy animalic note. Gigli is a citrus scent that becomes aromatic very quickly. This refined scent is not for boys though. It exudes manly sophistication. This is what Baldessarini wanted to be. It has the two missing ingredients ambergris and civet that Baldessarini tried to replace with tobacco. Nope, no cigars. Gigli has blonde tobacco to boot. It is so far in advance of its time. This is the precursor to scents like Cristobal and Le Male. And so much better in fact. It is twilight and passion in a bottle.

    02nd March, 2004

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