In many ways, Monsieur Balmain may be the answer to your quest for a great lemon scent that's affordable, pleasant and long lasting. I get a little bit of Pledge for the first couple of minutes, but it settles down nicely into a smooth, creamy and classy fragrance that can stick around for most of the day. It's sillage won't clear a room, but it radiates outward in assertive force field close to the skin, so only the people in your orbit will get a whiff. This is a great antidote to an oppressively hot day, but frankly, it's got enough body to be a great pick-me-up on a cold winter day too.
Searching for the perfect lemon fragrance can be can an exhausting and elusive proposition. Lemon scents are often ephemeral for reasons I'll leave to chemists to explain. And then, of course, each fragrance has its own take on the genre, and you can wind up with a lemon that smells medicinal (I'm looking at you, Art of Shaving), too much like rotting vegetation (yes, Eau de Sauvage - that you would be you), and so forth. Acqua di Parma has a stable of lemon scents -- Colonia, Assoluta or Intensa -- that are quite good, but are really pricey or fleeting. (Personally, I think Assoluta is the best of the bunch). Chanel Allure Edition Blanche Pour Homme is ok too, but the lemon gives way quickly to cedarwood. But for value, it's hard to beat Monsieur Balmain as a pure lemon fragrance.
When it comes to my search for the olfactory equivalent of the Holy Grail, my quest has been focused primarily on fragrances that don't smell stereotypically like cologne. Part of this is due to my wife's aversion to strong scents, and partly due to the sin of "trying to hard" to get others' attention. It was with delight, then, that I began wearing Artek Standard. Redolent of pine -- but not of the type to dangle from a car's rear view mirror -- the scent exudes subtlety and refinement. Crisp but not bracing, fresh but un-binaca-like, Artek Standard sets the standard in unisex cologne that is always appropriate. It lingers for many hours, but wafts close to the skin. It is fiendishly expensive but it may just end up as the scent you keep reaching for, whatever the season, whatever the hour.
Enjoying this classic. Surprisingly spry and non-linear for what one is prepared to think of as staid, at least based on the generation in which it was created, and all its perceived baggage and preconceived notions.
I won't keep you in suspense: It's a good trip, with a bit of drama in the top and heart notes. For me, I get Old Spice in the first few seconds after application. My heart sinks like a stone, but I quickly recover my equilibrium when that's replaced briefly by the barbershop vibe that will later dominate. But for now, it flits briefly by and is supplanted by soap. Uh oh, I'm thinking again. Too much of a good thing? Ah, there's the incense coming in now, and that's just fine with me. But wait -- it's suddenly a little boozy and woozy, and that's quite alright too. Hark; what's that? Licorice, it seems. Nice. Digging it. Finally, there's that barbershop singing in three-part harmony. Yeah, baby. It's all good.
Can be worn in any setting and it will behave. Good longevity and polite sillage.
03rd October, 2011 (last edited: 23rd February, 2015)
Had expected some similarity to Rive Gauche, as many commentators and colognistas have suggested. That appealed to me, as I like Rive Gauche and wanted something a little less sweet. Azzaro was supposed to be drier. Well.... I didn't get that at all.
Hot out of the bottle, this gave me pencil shavings (and not in a good way, because, yes, I have experienced pleasant pencil shavings). Alarmingly, it also channeled cockroach repellent - you know, the stuff they spray to kill the buggers? Not a strong selling point in the fragrances I audition.
I was also picking up pressure-treated wood, the kind they used to sell that was laced with arsenic for preservation. This wasn't going well. Fortunately, it was a decant and I can move on with my fragrance life with few regrets.
Perhaps I got a bad decant or my skin chemistry is dysfunctional, but the way I experienced Burberry London was disappointing. It was redolent of sulfur and sporty deodorant, petering out after two hours to a powdery base. I guess it's fortunate that the the sillage and longevity are weak on this one.
I couldn't really get past the soapy opening. It was inoffensive enough I suppose, but it lay kind of one dimensional -- way too stereotypically "department store circa 1988" to be of interest. Yes, it was cheerful and clean, but it was decidedly linear and boring, I wanted to give it a thumbs-up because of it reputation, but it didn't really speak to me.
Updated Oct. 17, 2011
Ok, well, it's speaking to me now. This is nifty, cheerful little frag, after all. Uncomplicated, but very good at what it does, and that is -- lifts one's spirits. Unoffensive to others, with a discreet but detectable sillage, and one that persists for 12 hours or more. There's a lot of lemon pledge on its opening, but once it fades, you're rewarded with a long drydown redolent of honeyed vanilla and the very mildest wisps of tobacco.
22nd September, 2011 (last edited: 17th October, 2011)
Out of the bottle, it smells somewhat artificial and plastic-like, but it very quickly gets its act together to become a polite and versatile scent. I would even posit that it's a less painful, shorter and more civilized way than, say, Aramis Havana to get a kind of honeyed tobacco and faintly boozy accord. On me, it lasts 3 - 4 hours, and I wish it were longer. It doesn't project much, so don't think of it as a way to draw other people in from afar, but rather, a way to keep people staying close. A classic, and for good reason.
This is a scent that first comes across as redolent of cucumbers, and it's one that's entirely inoffensive, at least initially. But the wheels start coming off the wagon as it starts getting dragged down by an increasing cloying sweetness. Fortunately, the sillage isn't that powerful, so you won't annoy that many people. On the other hand, it's longevity is somewhat long, so the only annoyed person might be the wearer, asking himself why he invested in this fragrance.
I don't smoke a pipe, but the times I've been around pipe smoke, I've enjoyed it. This is very evocative of that warm, clubby, cherry-infused bonhomie. The drydown mellows it out and leaves you with a very pleasant heart and base that is mildly reminiscent of the A-Men pastry shoppe vibe, but it's much less cloying and toothache inducing than its flagship namesake. I acquired this as a decant, and while I don't intend to invest in a full size bottle (I was looking for something more appropriate for the office), it's a really compelling option for pipe scent aficionados.
Hmmm. I fell hard for this when I discovered it existed but have cooled on it in recent months. Certainly a departure from the brutal, dry harshness of some fragrances. A flower bomb in its own right, one might say. It's probably correct to conclude, as many have, that this suffers mildly from too much of a good thing -- a jumble of competing and complementary accords. Fortunately, it fades fast, but you'll miss it when it does. An interesting scent...just not at the top of my list.
A refined scent that smells like success. Starts a little sweet (pineapple?) and then cools down to a consistent fruity leather. Now, I loved it when I first tried it, but there was something progressively cloying about the leather scent that now gives me a headache. Should be enjoyable for leather fetishists, though.
What is with all the hate? It's not bad at all, and useful when you want to change your roster up a bit. Tremendous longevity and strong sillage that sort of sneaks up on you -- yet not intrusive into other peoples' personal space.
Egad. The earthiest and most indolent, fecal-redolent opening I've yet experienced in a frragrance. It does settle down into a nice tobacco and high end boozy accord, but honestly, I can't get past the debut with a straight face.
Laregly inoffensive, somewhat pleasant, andprobably hypoallergenic. Mildy sweet, fresh wintergreen and, if you don't want to be charitable, maybe a dash of Pepto Bismol (did I just ruin it for you? Sorry :>) Minimum sillage and mild-to-medium longevity. A quiet one, but mildly refreshing and quietly reassuring. Not exciting, but sometimes, that is what is called for.
Yup, this is Olde Time Barbershop done right. Manly in a refined, classic sense, but the furthest thing from the harsh smell that tends to be associated with hyper-masculine colognes. As other have noted, it's creamy and musky. Fairly linear progression - no surprises. Minimum sillage, decent longevity. Get it, even if it costs a few bucks, given its discontinued status.
Hubba hubba! The very epitome of 80's powerhouse. A perfect scent to go clubbing in or relaxing around the house -- just don't venture into work wearing this baby. It's that potent. The opposite of the meek, watery clones so prevalent today. Opening blast is like a fougere's version of the Big Bang - dramatic, explosive, disorganized and foggy. Isolate yourself from society for about 20 minutes. Only then will you and fellow sniffers be rewarded with a rich, rummy, boozy, tobacco-y haze that gets progressively smoother. A good ride, but hold on for dear life, at least for the first hour. A real treat for enthusiasts and students of the genre.
I used to work with someone who reeked of what I thought was Irish Spring soap. I always thought it was weird because she smelled of it all day -- as if she had just gotten out of the shower. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was strong and rather banal. When I sampled this, I realized that it must have been Gendarme or a close cousin. Gendarme is not a horrible scent, just pedestrian and linear. And for a supposedly inoffensive scent, it gets really annoying. Too bad it's long lasting.
If you manage stick around after its opening, you'll probably be glad you did. Personally, I can't see myself buying this, though, and here's why: The debut is redolent of morning breath, body odor and mothballs. But only for a few minutes that seems like hours. You are rewarded with a powdery and cumin-infused drydown that is actually fairly pleasant...but it's a lot to suffer through to get there. Try before you buy.
My current favorite. A very civilized, long lasting fougere that doesn't leave a vapor trail or clear a room -- at least on me. Starts with cloves, cinnamon then settles into a politely boozy and mild tobacco accord. I've come to view (smell?) this as Aramis Havana's reserved, subtler and much more wearable nephew. Shame this has gotten hard to find, but well worth it.
Just like the original Bulgari Pour Homme, but more so. Longer and louder citrus opening and more intense and pungent tea-flavored, musky drydown. Quite an elegant and well behaved skin scent. Fairly long lasting, but wears close to the skin -- and that's the point.
Quality juice that oozes discretion and subtlety. A real skin scent for those that don't want to make waves or offend officemates or housemates. Citrus top notes give way to a tea and musk scent with very, very mild sillage and good longevity. Classic.