Orange Spice opens with a civet-laden drop kick to the face, much like the original Kouros, yet darker and richer-smelling. The civet is potent but recedes after a few minutes, revealing a very naturalistic representation of orange zest and clove. Hints of neroli and ambergris waft along after an hour or so, and extend the lifespan of the scent far beyond what I had imagined was possible for a Creed EDT. Nine hours later I still get clear whiffs of it off my shirt and chest. The orange and clove are all that remain, but they're beautifully done here. I imagine Orange Spice will be discontinued within the year, and it saddens me that this fragrance hasn't garnered more positive press, but at least Kouros will stick around. I'll remember this Creed every time I wear the famous YSL scent, and dream of better days that have long passed.
Say what you will about it, but Aventus isn't very good. Its semi-sweet and nondescript pineapple/apple/blackcurrant topnotes aren't very realistic and smell like an extremely high quality aromachemical blend, with a heady "mens cologne" vibe. Disappointing really, especially given how much the pineapple note has been hyped up. Eventually rose, birch, and oakmoss step in, smelling very inky and dry. There's really nothing "smoky" going on. Someone else said that Aventus closely resembles freshly-printed newspapers, but I have another theory: Aventus smells like crisp dollar bills. It has the same metallic/inky/clean/semi-sweet demeanor, and its presence is just as cold and incorruptible. Aventus means "success" - do I sense a theme here? In the end, this all resolves into a light vanilla brushed with the vaguest suggestion of patchouli and ambergris.
Perhaps women swoon over this uninspired dreck, but even if they do, I'm hard-pressed to care. As Aventus dries down on me, my feelings for Green Irish Tweed grow ever stronger.
This is for women? Wow!
Oscar (EDP version) opens with a wallop of bitter lemon and lavender, lightly spiced by basil, and nuanced with a touch of tuberose. The lavender is frigid, herbal, probably Spanish. The drydown rapidly brings forth the warmth and creaminess of opoponax and sandalwood. The base is a masculine take on cloves and ambergris, all haloed in a rugged aroma of rosemary and myrrh. This smells very expensive, very well constructed, and surprisingly unisex. I don't know how the EDT dispenses with those morning-slap top notes, but I can say that the perfume is stunning all around. A real winner from Oscar de la Renta.
Controversial? Perhaps, but undeservedly so. Sniffing Black Orchid calls to mind four things: lipstick, makeup powder, bubblegum, and grape candy. Much has been made of rotten fruit notes in this scent, but I get none of them. The fruits simply smell dense and synthetic, perhaps intentionally unbalanced, and are wedded to cold orchid, milky ylang, and indolic jasmine notes, but nothing here smells overripe. There is a rich, smooth, sweet, and dramatic feel, with emphasis on the darker side of everything represented. Still, I'm not in the least bit compelled by Black Orchid, see very little unisex potential in it, and would rather be smelling something else.
Although I love the original Allure Homme, this version does very little for me. I admire its familiar (but overly-pruned) pink pepper top, and find its creamy lemon drydown to be trite and uninspired. Very well made, but too simple and unworthy of the brand.
I've been wearing Portfolio Green off and on for almost a month now, and at this point I can say that I'm feeling rather neutral, but leaning heavily toward disliking it. Its opening is borderline unbearable, and predictably long-lasting. The scent opens with a saccharine lime and neroli accord that smells cheap and nakedly chemical. Thirty minutes later, things take a strange turn, and white floral notes take over. They're still sweet, but have a less synthetic edge, and this stage of the scent is its best. Two hours in, Porfolio Green has devolved from cheapness into total blandness, as nothing but tonka and a wood note that is equal parts scratchy and nondescript remain. This fragrance is relatively obscure and hard to find, but don't bother seeking it out. Its heart notes are competent, but unfortunately book-ended by a Perry Ellis boardroom budget.
The easy thing to do is give Joop! a ten minute try, turn my nose up, declare "it's too strong and too sweet," and move on. But this fragrance doesn't really make things that easy, not if I stop for each of those ten minutes and really decipher what's going on here. At first it does seem awfully sweet, one-note, aggressive, and cheap. That maraschino cherry accord seems like a lousy aroma chemical that took no artistry to create. The reality, though, is that Joop! is ridiculously well blended, and there are several high fidelity notes playing off each other. Burying my nose in it, I get a sharp cinnamon, an incredibly well-disguised orange blossom, heliotrope, jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood, brightened by the edges with touches of orange and sweet tonka. Note fidelity is actually, surprisingly, quite good. The longer it stays on skin, the more the notes loosen up, and the scent begins to enter a very good stage of showing its cards and flaunting how well they work together. Later the cardamom and patchouli become more evident, and Joop! becomes a definite masculine oriental, sort of the Cool Water of orientals. It's truly a work of art in that it uses disparate elements to create a harmonious profile. Still very modern, very sexual, and worth more than a spritz at the mall. This is one of the good ones, the kind of stuff you need to take home.
With vague notes of mint, powder, and leather, Skin Bracer smells like Brut without the skank. It's also similar to Clubman by Pinaud, although I find it strange that the much-older Clubman smells more modern than Skin Bracer. For some reason this particular aftershave by Mennen smells stodgier, although if you're looking to capture that barbershop scent, you could do worse. I'm not particularly fond of these crude wetshaver fougeres. They tend to smell sythetic, and Skin Bracer suffers from the same stinky-sweet drydown of its peers. But all things considered, this gets the job done, and all for under $10.
Eau de Givenchy is an overlooked masterpiece. I wonder how so many fine noses missed the gentle caress of green grassy notes as they part for a brilliantly-executed honeysuckle, lily of the valley, jasmine, and tuberose exposé. Although the florals follow the lemon and bitter mint, they don't take center stage for very long. As the evolution trends dangerously close to floral territory, bitter oakmoss and grassy notes reemerge to flank the sweetness. Eventually everything dries into a citrusy green melange of herbs and spices, tinged by the gentleness of honeysuckle, and darkened by a withdrawn-but-present tuberose. Simply beautiful, and comparable in tonality to Chevrefueille Original by Creed.
Liking Unforgivable all depends on how well I like Millesime Imperial. Which is to say, not really all that much. But given that the former is less than half the price of the latter, and achieves almost the exact same effect, I have to vouch for Sean John's juice. I also agree with jcastano's review - the negative press here is unwarranted. I also feel it's a little hypocritical of the basenotes community to be lambasting this scent, when acclaim for its progenitor is so overwhelming. If there was this kind of disparity between the number of positives vs. negatives between Green Irish Tweed and Cool Water, I'd have to abandon this forum completely. It would be impossible to have faith in the collective opinion. But in the case of Unforgivable and MI, there's not much of a difference - it's pretty much the exact same kind of comparison. Yet this fragrance is 50/50 on love and hate, while GIT and CW share a majority thumbs up vote. I really don't get it.
Unforgivable, however, doesn't exactly capture the magic of MI. It's basically a cruder, louder, scratchier version of the Creed. Unlike some reviewers here who call it a "watered-down" MI (I find this claim true for Cool Water against GIT), I find Sean John's version to be far stronger than MI, and much more in-your-face. This is club juice in the tradition of Joop! Homme and Le Male. It's all muscle shirt and brash. Yet its elements are following an elegant blueprint; Unforgivable begins with a green-studded iris/citrus/melon melange, which sheds its lemony posture after several minutes to become an utterly linear affair. Aside from a half-hearted and chemical suggestion of amber, there's no evolution from the top to the base. The scent, however, stays fresh, and for all intents and purposes, smells good.
Unfortunately, I'm not someone who finds much to love in fruity floral '90s fragrances, although I do sometimes enjoy them. Incense Ultramarine by Givenchy yields a similar effect on my skin, although it must be a chameleon to others, as it garners very little praise here and elsewhere online. The same must be said for Unforgivable, as the fragrance that emanated off my skin today can't possibly be the same juice emanating off others. Unless, of course, statistics lie.
In this case, I have to wonder.
Whatever it may have been, it is no more. Émeraude in its current incarnation is little more than a sharp and nondescript chemical-green blast up front, followed by a powder-puff granny-esque drydown. Synthetic, cheap-smelling, and truly vile.
I'm not getting the comparisons to Platinum Egoiste, but Eau de Grey Flannel does resemble any of a myriad of "Mountain Fresh" soaps and deodorants currently on the market. I'm reminded a bit of Azzaro Chrome, as EdGF boasts somewhat similar citrus and sweet fruits against a decidedly "blue" and metallic background. The metallic element is much less pronounced and seems to be a byproduct of cheap ingredients rather than conceptual perfumery. This smells like something that took all of three minutes to throw together - a few splashes of limonene and linalool, a wallop of calone, and a minuscule dash of woody amber with a hint of green, maybe pine. The end result is inoffensive, boring, faceless, and forgettable. What a cynical flanker to the far superior Grey Flannel, but my girlfriend loves how EdGF smells, so I guess it'll be around on the hottest of summer days. On the plus side, the matching deodorant smells better than any of your Speed Sticks or Arm & Hammers.
Calone and cucumber notes . . . what's not to hate? Polo Sport is a fragrance I reviewed a while ago here on basenotes, but my words somehow got lost. Let me restate them: this fragrance is mediocre from start to finish, and it's not because it's a fruity aquatic fresh fougere. I can forgive the hundreds of entries in that genre if they each offer something distinctive to it. But that's a fantastic standard. Simply put, Polo Sport offers nothing. The tangerine and accompanying citruses are a chemical byproduct of whatever form of calone was used, a fact that becomes painfully obvious the longer you wear Polo. They never really fade, but just hang in there til the end. Then there's the middle, which is quite "cool" feeling. Like cucumbers on your eyes, this phase braces your nose, and is perhaps the only thing about the fragrance that feels good to me. Rapidly the coolness sullies into a faded version of itself, detached and marred by some pointlessly-integrated oakmoss and a vague suggestion of green herbs. Yes, Polo Sport is clearly an agent of freshness with plenty of practical utility in the gym locker room. Beyond that, it doesn't register as a serious fragrance, and is to be avoided. Unless, of course, you wish to remain inconspicuous, in which case I would say Polo Sport is your Holy Grail.
I'm biased against fruity aquatics from the outset, so one should take my review with a grain of salt. Millésime Impérial has a very astringent and natural-smelling lemon top, which rapidly transitions into a melon and iris blend, with salty ambergris tinting its frail base. While everything smells clear and somewhat natural, I've smelled much better aquatics for much less. Halston has this exact same scent for $240 less, and with more character. I appreciate the summer fizz of Millésime Impérial, but in a crowded genre, it simply offers too little to bother paying a Creed price. If you want salted fruit, get Unbound for Men instead.
It's a shame they're phasing this one out. I just got a bottle from 2006 from the Creed Boutique, one of a precious few they dispensed for this spring season. Since I live in a middle-class valley, I figured Green Valley would be the most fitting Creed for a valley guy to wear. It certainly is a pleasant little fragrance.
It also smells like Creed's "middle class" Millesime, if such a thing were to exist. There's something very casual and laid back about it. I can't help but get a not-so-veiled allusion to Irish Spring soap from the box, with its white and green speckles, and indeed the scent does match the classic Irish Spring soap (the version predating the '90s). Colgate called Irish Spring's scent "Ulster", and it's a strange concept: green vanilla. With Green Valley, I get just that - an airy citrus with blackcurrant, a wall of bitter herbs and uncut mint, all strewn across a base of nutty vanilla. It's really an interesting scent.
A five year-old bottle isn't old enough to suffer the ravages of time, and I have a much older bottle that smells like blackcurrant over an old shoe, but I can see why Creed discontinued this formula. It smells like it took a lot of work to make, and the ends didn't justify the means. There's something a little uneven in the blending that makes Green Valley a second-tier Creed, although I should note that it was a product of a time when the company devoted more time to its infusion technique. I'll enjoy wearing this smooth green scent, and I agree that it conjures images of golf and sipping highballs on the club terrace. But when my bottle's up, I doubt I'll be rueful of Green Valley's commercial demise.
Quite a disappointment, this one. I expected a lavish fruity-floral, with a hyper-realistic greengage. In tiny doses, the plum is dynamic, but anything more than a drop results in a somewhat-synthetic and cloying rose/plum/cedar combo. The plum is still the best part, because the rose is rather flat, and the citrusy aquatic notes surrounding it do nothing to add to the rest of the construct. I don't mean to say that Acqua Fiorentina smells bad - it's amiable, and it boasts better note separation and clarity than 95% of its fruity-aquatic brethren. But ultimately, for the money, this perfume is forgettable. For rose with non-edible green notes, try Red Roses by Jo Malone instead.
Spice and Wood interested me, but Sublime Vanille left me cold. Call it a case of over-blending. This Royal Exclusive opens with a white flowery vanilla, a little bitter, and takes its sweet time transitioning into its logical conclusion of tonka, dry citrus, and musk. The entire affair is pristine in execution and clearly derived from the finest ingredients, yet lacks even the slightest hint of dynamism. Its white floral opening is neutered of indoles and smoothed into a grandiloquent abstraction of the vanilla and citrus that follows. For all its intended airiness, Sublime Vanille possesses considerable weight - the fragrance smells and feels heavy, making it rather joyless. It's the perfect funereal vanilla perfume. If you're a fan of vanilla you'll likely revel in this non-gourmand rendition of vanilla and citrus, and see charm in the overall construct of its closely-welded notes. The rest of you will probably wonder, as I do, why anyone would spend $550 on this.
Maybe I'm just in a good mood today, but despite all the information suggesting an opposite outcome, I'm oddly drawn to Himalaya. I find the comparisons to Paco Rabanne XS hard to believe, not to the credibility of other reviewers, but because the only fragrance that seems related to it is Quorum by Antonio Puig. For a perfume that is written off as "nothing remarkable", "not ground-breaking", and "forgettable", there's a heck of a lot going on here. Lurking beneath the prominent notes of cedar, pink pepper, sandalwood, and ambergris, are components that, taken together, comprise the mythical "gunpowder note" at Himalaya's core. I perceive this note as being not just one, but several elements - namely cyclamen aldehyde, which tints the fragrance into a shade of green, carnation, which introduces a rich sweetness, and pine, exhibited here in such a small dose as to make its presence seem ghost-like and smoky. This accord, in conjunction with the typical creamy Creed sandalwood, creates a scent that conjures imagery of Buddhist temples, incense-sweetened pews, and fresh breezes through cut flowers. It occurs to me that Olivier's interpretation of a Himalayan climb may rest more in the remote temples of Burma and Nepal, and less in the fresh snowy icecaps they're nestled in. As time passes, the integration of Himalaya's notes intensifies, and mellows into a very mild and mellow pepper, carnation, sandalwood, and ambergris. This fragrance is very understated, mature, introspective. I like it. Longevity is around 3 hours, with 2 of them strictly skin-scent. Application to fabric enhances that a little. Sillage is modest, and this requires intimacy to be fully appreciated. Here is perhaps where Himalaya falls short - it is pleasant and well-made, but not what I would consider a sexy, come-hither scent. Be that as it may, it's something worth checking out.
The house of Creed is like that old-time rock band that has had its share of hits, and sorely disappoints when it misses. That's right, I've drawn a Creed/rock analogy. Take a good look, it's the last time you'll ever see it.
Chèvrefeuille Original is the first Creed eau de toilette that I've tried, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I expected something with the strength of a flea and the sillage of a buttercup. While in no way an overbearing perfume-grade scent, Chèvrefeuille is quite heady and noticeable. Upon initial application, I'm reminded of Original Vetiver, as there are sharp, sparkly notes of lemon, mint, and grass. The grassiness is a bit more serious than that of OV, with herbs and grass in place of iris and ambergris, and holding my hand just under my nose, I get generous whiffs of mint, which underpins the citrus and greens. The grassy nature remains fresh and uncomplicated for about 15 minutes, and then begins to reveal the subtly sweet honeysuckle leaf and fennel. It's remarkable how natural, green, and minty this scent is, and even more amazing that it deftly avoids entering mouthwash territory. The hints of sweet florals continue to play out as time goes by, and this remains a close but amiable fragrance for quite some time.
For a while there, I thought Original Vetiver was the only Creed I could love. I'm an idiot for ignoring Chèvrefeuille Original, and am glad I finally came around. There's nothing else out there that's like this, but it's the greenest, freshest EDT I've ever tried. This is something distinct to wear in springtime, and it fits the season perfectly.
There are some fragrances which I don't consider to be wetshaver scents, but still use in tandem with witch hazel and aftershave - Cool Water is one of them. It pairs particularly nicely with lavender witch hazel, as the tonic brings Cool Water's synthetic and sweet lavender out of its otherwise blah mixture of herbs, woods, and musk. There really isn't anything exactly like Cool Water, so newbies beware: don't think you have it prefigured. It's a try-before-you-buy, and while generally safe and functional, can be off-putting to people who are unfamiliar with '80s "fresh" fougères. The distinctive scent profile is (reluctantly) original, and Pierre Bourdon did a magnificent job creating a fragrance with near-universal appeal, and near-zero sex appeal. To this day, after years of sporadically wearing Cool Water, I still have no idea how he did it. The scent is as boring as it gets. Furthermore, the current formula has more than a few splashes of cheapskatery - its heart notes, once fizzy and vibrant, are now dull and smell somewhat like cardboard. I know my review is contradictory, but trust me on this - you'll be intrigued by the scent's singularity without being the least bit interested in it.
True Rose is, as Goddess_Dreams says, just another pink rose fragrance. Unfortunately its lack of distinction resounds in comparison to gems like Une Rose and Rose Barbare. Even Red Roses by Jo Malone has an edge over True Rose. But all things considered, it isn't an unpleasant scent. There's a touch too much alcohol in its formula, and I get a sharp dryness stinging through the top notes for a good two minutes after application. Eventually the astringency dissipates, leaving a cool, fresh-smelling rose that hangs on to its synthetic tone until it fades away six hours later. Inexpensive, but if you're on a budget try Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop instead.
Having read MysteryBuff's review, I'm actually wondering (in ways previously thought unimaginable) whether or not it's possible for a small, inexpensive niche house like Fragrances of Ireland to suffer from knock-offs and counterfeiting; how anyone could possibly smell this and consider it one of their "worsts" is completely beyond me. Patrick is a peculiar scent to be sure, but giving it just a little time reveals the thought and care that went into its construction. The scent is a hybridization of the typical traditional masculine eau de cologne and eau de toilette. Its top notes consist almost entirely of bitter orange and lemon, with a dash of lime and ozonic brine for weight and depth. Though the sharpness of the citrus settles in ten seconds, its zesty essence pervades the remainder of Patrick's evolution. An incredibly green accord, comprised of vetiver, clover, and hay, envelopes the zest and creates a wild earthiness that is utterly delightful. Hints of sea air and smoked peat (a partially-decayed turf that is pressed and used in lieu of firewood) pervade the atmosphere, until the earth steps back and the transparent salt air presides over the drydown. I get a good five hours out of Patrick, and it is more resilient than its opening had me believe. There is no major sillage, and it is more of a skin scent, but Patrick's presence is admirable in its subtlety. Miles better than the watery Inis, this fragrance can easily take a man through a workday. What makes it desirable over other eau de colognes is how presciently the nose behind Patrick managed to capture the effect of standing in a damp 150 year-old thatched cottage, tucked away somewhere amidst the coastal hills of Donegal, with the Irish sea air blowing through the door and mingling with the smells of dried manure and peat smoke. Perhaps this experience must be had firsthand to fully appreciate the concept behind Patrick, but that shouldn't exclude anyone who wants to smell good and green from enjoying it.
A forgotten '70s drugstore classic, Revlon's Charlie harkens back to the days when women smoked filterless Chesterfields while ironing and watching daytime soap operas. Do any women still do that? Doubtful.
The scent opens with a blaring lemon/orange zest, then quickly transitions into a somewhat spicy and chemical combination of white rose, lily, and half-hearted carnation on a very dry chypre oakmoss foundation. You can smell the florals distinctly between the tang of the opening and the moistureless base because they're decidedly "white" and lack any coherence amidst all the oranges and browns. I suppose that's a minus for Charlie, as a darker rose and more robust carnation might make the scent flow better. But all things considered, Charlie isn't bad, and is not the blobby peach and musk nightmare I find in so many reformulated drugstore feminines. She who remembers her soap opera and pack-a-day Chesterfield habit probably still hold onto this fragrance, but it lacks relevance in today's world for today's women.
Calvin Klein has singled out a mega-hit fragrance of the past for homage treatment in its new feminine scent Beauty. To my nose, the scent is Tommy Girl by Hilfiger. They're so close that I'm unnerved, although I recognize the jasmine and cedar standing in for the green tea of the older perfume. Both fragrances also exhibit charming black currant notes. Beauty is certainly woodier and a more "solid" scent profile, but in the end it opens up with the same airy sweetness, with just enough balance between the subversive woodsy notes and the fruit. Between the two I prefer Tommy Girl, if only for its green tea top. But Beauty is a worthy tribute and well crafted. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in enthusiasm. If you must wear a CK scent, make it this one. Like Tommy Girl, it is entirely unisex, and quite nice for spring and summer.
La Nuit is basically the original L'Homme, this time with brown sugar-encrusted ginger dialed up to 11. Most of the exact same components are in place. I'm not really sure how this translates to a "night" fragrance, but apparently YSL decided that clubbers have a sweet tooth. As it ages on skin, the ginger recedes, leaving a cooler rendition of the original in place. It's okay I guess, but why bother? If you like the original L'Homme, owning this is redundant.
L'Homme missed its release date by seven years. It smells as though it should have been introduced in 1999, the same year as Allure Homme, to bring competition to Chanel. The similarities to my nose are astounding. Although L'Homme lacks the Chanel's allspice oomph, its tonka bean parity lends the same warmth and sweetness found in both scents. Unlike Allure, L'Homme is cooler, with more generous citrus and synthetic herbal components (the ginger and basil?) in its top. I'm certain that, like the labdanum in Allure, the violet leaf in L'Homme is present but dialed back. The composition is slightly sharp, a little hollow, and altogether sweet. The fragrance grows warmer and increasingly powdery with time. It is pleasant, and could be the perfect "signature scent" for the discreet male. However, for this kind of thing, I'd stick with Allure Homme.
As an appreciator of roses, I'm glad I tried this one. Red Roses is a very simple, linear, and fresh soliflore. The rose is red, rich, yet delicate and tinged with a youthful greenness that sends the perfume into a realm of desirability that parallels Creed's Bulgarian Tea Rose, sans sourness. Well made, hyper-realistic and nuanced offering from Jo Malone. Certainly worth seeking out if you're a rose lover. This is my second favorite rose, after Guerlain's Rose Barbare.
Big Pony 4 is, amazingly, the most faceless scent in the series. It has an orangey, ambery, raspy wood & musk essence, if only an essence. It's strange because the scent is akin to a popular Chanel in its abstractedness and affability, yet lacks even the slightest hint of distinction, or anything to set it apart from the mindless league of colored Polos. If this sort of fragrance is your thing, you're better off with Polo Blue, Black, or Double Black. Me? I'll steer clear of Ralph Lauren's fragrances altogether, with more emphatic route diversions, thanks to Big Pony 4.
Big Pony 1 has me wondering why, after decades of boardroom meetings and market analysis, Ralph Lauren hasn't caught on that redundancy is a cheap thrill. You capture the public's attention for all of two weeks, manage to rake in some extra holiday-allowance profit, and eventually wind up discontinuing, discontinuing, and discontinuing some more. There's no big picture here. I thought the 1980s were supposed to teach us about the Big Business Big Picture. Apparently I was mistaken.
This fragrance is the perfect example of what not to buy, for two reasons: 1) you'll wind up smelling like a cheaper version of Polo Blue, and 2) Everyone smells like Polo Blue. This is a thin watercolor sketch of that tried-and-tired "blueness" that has pervaded perfumery since Cool Water. Not to say that it comes anywhere close to the specific nature of Cool Water itself; BP 1 is a rather air-freshened and abstract blue sky concept. I'm fairly certain that Polo Blue has already failed at making this type of fragrance anything more than a teenage diversion.
09th February, 2011 (last edited: 10th February, 2011)
I probably shouldn't be doing this, but I'm giving Big Pony 3 a neutral rating because it's the most likable of the BP lineup. Some mint and an incredibly synthetic greeny heart, over a faceless and clean musk. I'm a sucker for green, even when it's as soulless as this. I suppose if I were 17 and sexually frustrated, this would be my spring spritz. Anyone even a smidgen further along in life should just man up and wear the original Polo.