Talking about great chypres: vintage formulations of Mitsouko, Pour Monsieur, Diorella, Derby, Bandit, Aramis 900, etc, Sagamore is one of the best. Itís an abstract mossy woods chypre with balanced notes characteristic of the family; sort of a creamier-dustier-muskier vintage Pour Monsieur but not as clear and effervescent, and lacks the echoic smell of a great scotch as in vintage Pour Monsieur. But Sagamore is one of the absolute best examples of the bergamot-labdanum-oakmoss chypre accord which smells citrus-resinous, sweet-amber resinous, and bitter resinous. It may borrow some of the qualities of the great vintage feminine chypres, especially Chypre de Coty, but itís entirely masculine. Itís fairly unbelievable that it was reissued in 2005 when everything, especially chypres, was going to crap. Iíd always use vintage Pour Monsieur as the example of a perfect masculine chypre drydown. Sagamore in general is a hair sweeter and significantly muskier. Unlike some others, I donít compare Sagamore with things like the far more affable, sweeter, spicier, full of ylang ylang, and overall heavily ornamented oriental chypre Tiffany for Men; a well made fragrance that tires me, loses me after a few wears. Theyíre completely different feels altogether. Tiffany for Men is a fairly ostentatious woody oriental. Sagamore is a straight mossy woods chypre thatís far more fresh, cool, aloof, restrained, and austere. I see very little similarity. It actually has a lot in common with Derby, which came out in the same year. Sagamore is a great masculine, one of the best. It contains high quality ingredients, smells natural, and displays the genius of compositional balance There isnít a niche fragrance of its kind that can match it. It has all the fundamentals of a great fragrance: character, diffusive capacity, delicacy, clearness, volume, and persistence. Itís virile, well defined and durable, but never reaches beyond with the absurd radiance people think theyíre so fond of today. Itís one of those fragrances that just smells great. Smells like a man, blends with the man, distinguished, a man whose presence always says far more than a cologne ever could. Itís the kind of thing that could easily epitomize a signature fragrance. Along with things like Yatagan, Pour Monsieur, Derby, Balenciaga pour Homme, Azzaro pour Homme, Songe díun Bois díEte, and Vetiver Extraordinaire, itís one of the ones Iíd always keep around.
09th December, 2013 (last edited: 12th July, 2014)
I bought a flacon of Vintage Tabarome in Paris. The female companion I was with stated that there were two prerequisites for the wearer: He must have worldly life experience, and be utterly wealthy. She said the fragrance is powerful in that it is exceedingly subtle rather than distracting. It evoked for her an image of elite musty men's clubs in the country, and reminded her of fatherly secure embrace, reassuring that all is well. A classic scent.
11th December, 2009 (last edited: 29th February, 2012)
Yohji Homme is an amazing balancing act between the comfort of light and easy abstract gourmand notes and the silvery soapy effervescence of an energetic fougere (a mostly masculine genre based on the interplay between an accord of lavender, coumarin and oakmoss). The immediate vetiver-coffee-rum accord with some fresh bergamot and lavender is still one of the best things Iíve ever smelled, but itís only one of many parts of the overall fragrance. Itís a serious fragrance thatís much darker, pricklier and more mono-maniacally focused than first impressions might lead you to believe. The accords are rich, natural and complex on a level with Patou pour Homme, and while they feel comfortable and smell outrageously good, the fragrance wears relatively deep, dark, grey and aloof like any good fougere should. Itís an oriental x fougere hybrid, but references to gourmand are misleading in many ways, primarily due to the fact that there are no heavy oriental basenotes in Yohji Homme. Once youíre into the genius middle whose spices and florals are such a paragon of blending, the fragrance also begins to smell like the anisic-salty accord of Rive Gauche pour Homme. It then morphs into a woody-earthy-leathery base of natural woods, oakmoss, vetiver, light amber, the fleshy warmth of castoreum, and soft leather; all of it as plush, smooth and compelling as the most perfect feminine bottom after a day at the spa. Itís rich and durable but wears easy enough to take you almost anywhere. The longevity is good for seven or eight hours, never loud or bothersome, and with sillage radiating at an appropriate masculine range of no more than three or four feet. There are few to compare with its quality, and there arenít many better examples of masterful blending. It was years in the making by the great Jean Kerleo (Patou pour Homme), although the official perfumer is listed as Jean-Michel Duriez due the departure of Kerleo before the fragrance launched. Duriez definitely contibuted a major accord to the fragrance, but it was mosly designed by Kerleo. And while itís a different structure than Patou pour Homme, Yohjiís heart reveals a big whiff of Patou pour Hommeís most compelling accord.
It shares some congruence with a couple of the fragrances with which itís often compared to, but I donít find any major similarities in the overall quality or ultimate feel of any of them. Yohji Homme is a great one, and here's a big, slick thumb coming at you for this luxurious masterstroke fragrance.
07th December, 2009 (last edited: 03rd May, 2011)
Jubilation XXV puts out some excellent sillage that smells like a magical pulsating bubble of plump dried fruits, woods and incense. My girlfriend wears it a lot and it can be slightly mesmerizing. But as good as it smells on her Iíve never loved to wear it. I always figured it had something to with the synthetic pre-composed woody amber, and the fact that in edpís especially, woody ambers can intensify over time and be a serious pain in the ass. But lately my perceptions are different and the fragrance wears a lot more like I always imagined it should: more like it smells on my girlfriend. Itís just another example of why itís often good to smell the fragrance on someone else before coming to any major conclusions. It has a great boozy davana note thatís evident as soon as you spray it and it lasts for varying amounts of time depending on the day. I like many things about Jubilation XXV, not the least of which is that most of its sweetness relies on a variety of primo balsams rather than the typical amber/vanilla kind of thing. The spices are smooth and the fragrance never really suffers from any kind of seriously tiresome affability. The spices just warm it up, make it smell good and give it a little more diffusive capacity. It also contains a lot of guaiac wood which comes from the Palo Santo tree, and I like that because I burn Palo Santo wood all the time. Itís cheap, effective, and leaves a great smelling and long- lasting sandalwood-like smell in your room. Itís a quality oriental thatís easy to wear, never makes you want to take a shower, or gets so heavy that it makes it impossible to wear something else later on. It smells good on clothes, and itís a fairly intelligent scent with a mildly contemplative intellectual dimension that I always like. But as good as it is I still donít wear it that much. Right now I just think of it as an alternative for vintage Egoiste, but vintage Egoiste is more musky, dynamic and satisfying overall.
Hereís a thumbs up for Bertrand and this rich and luxurious fragrance that smells amazing on my girlfriend.
02nd November, 2009 (last edited: 19th September, 2011)
"The northern face of leather chypre". Itís dark, green, and bitter, extremely dry and astringent, with barely an atom of sweetness. Itís bleak, Plutonian and monomaniacally focused. The smoke is persistent but soft. It smolders the scent of liquid grey suede, but itís a little too clean for a leather chypre, with a dusty, peppered sage and well-integrated vetiver working throughout the development. The vetiver smells Haitian, and itís responsible for some of the smoke, because itís not the robust smoke you get from Knize Ten and a few others. Either way, the birch tar (the leather smells like itís from birch tar rather than isoquinolines) is putting out its share. Thereís little sign of anything overtly animalic but Iím sure thereís a few drops of castoreum in there to smooth things out. Luca Turin compared elements of Or Black to Rive Gauche pour Homme, ďÖlike triple-distilled Earl Grey, a step beyond even Rive Gauche pour Homme in its saturine gloryĒ and I can understand it. Itís grey and aloof like any good fougere should be, and it more effervescent than the average chypre. Another reason sampling is so deceptive. Because when you actually wear it, it can be a lot more aromatic (an energetic, fougere-like aromatic) than you may have been led to believe; and along with its dry, bitter, astringent nature, youíll probably even taste it for a while.
But classifying it doesnít really matter. Mainly it just works its way down the road in a killer ride, smoother as it goes, a little rough at times, but mainly just delta waves and the occasional theta, until the suedeís so soft I could make love to it, or make pillows out of it so I can hold onto Ďem as I sleep on my furry bed. The evolution moves pretty fast, and even though the drydown isnít all that interesting, itís as clear and smooth as my girlfriendís freshly powdered bottom. The balsamic labdanum softens everything, as a dusty oakmoss and a high quality and somewhat sensual musk hang around with woody vetiver and a drop of benzoin and amber. The stuff is seriously well blended. Itís also a decent example of the chypric balance and abstraction of bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum. Or Black has bite, and itís a great fragrance for getting out and taking care of business. It would also smell great on women. It might even work better on them. Women can wear any masculine fragrance, and they often smell more alluring than many of the feminines. Nothing's more sexy on a woman than a leather chypre. It also smells amazing on clothes as it deepens, softens, and maintains the scent of rich suede. That's true of most leathers. They smell great on clothes.
Or Black is an excellent fragrance.
10th October, 2009 (last edited: 23rd September, 2011)
I was wild as hell at fifteen, and my black concert t-shirts were saturated with all kinds of things, Azzaro pour Homme being one of them. Waking up was a challenge, but Azzaro PH gave me the bump I needed and always did the job at any time. I still wear it at forty and itís as good as ever. Itís hale, clean, suitably gray and aloof, but with a laser focus that most fougŤres donít deliver. Both are in the matte-black stealth category, and while Rive Gauche pour Homme is excellent, it works on a duller edge. But Azzaro PH never loses its edge, maintaining a sharp connection at all times. Itís still the best fougŤre out there, and itís also one of the few definitive paragons of menís fragrances. If there were an official fragrance for movies like Heat, Deep Cover, and King of New York, Azzaro pour Homme would be at the front of the line.
Clean, green and beautiful as a mountain girlís radiance during a late Spring afternoon deep in the Ventana National Wildnerness via Big Sur, CA. Tommy Girl smells a lot like it, it's still one of most exhilarating florals there is, and there are few things I'd rather smell on a woman. I don't listen to a lot of classical music, but TG is supposed to be a lot like Prokofiev's First Symphony. So check it out. I'm going to.
28th June, 2008 (last edited: 12th November, 2011)
Jules was made by Jean Martel (Paco Rabanne pour Homme). It's one of the few resolutely masculine fragrances of any real quality. A previous reviewer described it as raunchy, and fortunately it is. Should men and women smell like cotton candy and laundry detergent? I don't think so, but it's heading that way.
Jules is a little dark and dirty, but itís also some of the most sublime and uplifting nose candy imaginable. Itís reminiscent of that masculine, hard working yesterday's shirt smell, such as Patou pour Homme and others from that time period. Jules is a leather chypre gone lively, full of sexy cool-warm notes that put it squarely in the aromatic fougŤre category. It manages to disguise minor structural poverty behind an abundance of mystery, melancholy, and some of the most distinguished top notes in all of perfumery. Itís brilliant stuff, full of galbanum, sage, black caraway, black pepper, birch tar, castoreum, among other things; a paragon of herbal, spicy and woody, with the right amount of florals to amplify it but keep it even darker. Almost all great menís fragrances contain a solid floral component in the heart notes, and Jules is one of them. It also contains a lot of geranium, probably the real kind (at least in the original stuff) that contains geranamine, which made up as much as 15-25% of the compositions of the great fougŤres like the original Azzaro pour Homme, Paco Rabanne pour Homme and others. But geranamine is now known as a powerful stimulant, euphoric and boosting physical performance. Itís actually banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and isnít used in fragrances anymore, so donít get excited. The geraniol used today doesnít have those effects.
Luca Turin once classified five or six men's fragrances as ones that just smelled great. Among them were Pour Monsieur, New York (de Nicolai), Jicky, and Jules. And he was right on. Jules wonít win any awards for its structure, but it's vibrant, manly, unique, and works with the rugged outdoors in a way that few can match. Like any good fougŤre, it's grey and aloof and fuels a little testosterone, and Iím inclined to think that anyone who hasn't known some extensive hard physical labor might not enjoy it as much as those who have.
Jules is sexy.
18th June, 2008 (last edited: 08th November, 2011)
If you took some of the best parts of the classic Guerlains such as pre-2005 Mitsouko, pre-1996 Habit Rouge, and vintage Vol de Nuit; amplified the virility by hardening it up with spices off a welderís rod, kept them lively with citrus and the right amount of dry herbs, balanced the clean woods and resinous amber to a frequency that resonated within a semi-sweet, gingerbread-like mysterious powdery core, then blended it all to perfection and provided enough contrast to keep it glowing until the end, youíd end up with something a lot like New York. Itís a spicy oriental with enough of the intelligence of chypre that makes for something cool-calm-collected-pensive-cerebral-agile-evocative-charming and intensely wearable. Like so many great fragrances, it benefits greatly from the animalic castoreum that gives it a fleshy warmth and a smooth, velvety, oozing from the pores feel. The construction is flawless and the drydown is relatively cool, never heavy or flat, with ďcomplexity, heft, and the captivating, charming, mesmeric, persistent quiddity of the basenote accord.Ē Like Patou pour Homme and other greats, ďit has an equivalent olfactory viscosity and density, as well as a deftness of touch and the genius of compositional balance to offset any heavinessĒ. It puts out solid redolent output for the ten to twelve hour duration, and while the sillage is always perceptible it never becomes annoying even if it might not be the right fragrance for you on that day. Itís one of the best ever made, and itís one of the few that manages to keep my interest over time. It has the same kind of vibe as Chanel Pour Monsieur but New York far more spicy, oriental, and in general performs a lot better and gives more satisfaction. Both smell great, have sufficient panache, and speak of mature gentlemanliness in way that few others can. And even though Iím not into talking about about compliments I receive while wearing fragrances (unless itís something Iím telling my girlfriend about, or whatever) this one is liked by a wide variety of women, from the hottest young babes on up.
Edit: New York is often compared to Bois du Portugal, and vice versa, and even though I like Bois du Portugal to some extent, it feels doughy, formless, pampered and confused compared to New York. For overall quality and a variety of other reasons (ďthe understated deft interplay of spice and herbal elements, the smouldering slow release of it all, the level of salience and extensivenessĒ, and many others), Iíd be far more likely to compare New York to something like Patou pour Homme rather than Bois du Portugal.
Edit: New York has been reformulated. It's hard and confused compared to the original, but it's still pretty good.
11th April, 2008 (last edited: 08th July, 2014)
Some mild florals would amplify the other notes and make it a little more interesting, but it would also change its character and I like it the way it is. Whoever made it handled the spices with finesse. Raw materials aren't its strong point as it lacks any kind of real texture; but it's a no-nonsense fragrance that's cool, cerebral and distant yet also warm and bracing, making for adequate company in a variety of places. It can become a little routine but it has sufficient panache and manages to keep my interest at least to some extent. I wore it during an intense legal deposition not long ago in a hot city and it felt good while holding my own, even turning things around. Some people have mentioned that they think women don't like it, but my girlfriend loves it. There are better quality citruses, but I like the serious edge of Blenheim Bouquet and it definitely deserves an erect thumb.
09th April, 2008 (last edited: 30th March, 2012)
Smelling Tabu on a woman always makes me horny and there's nothing better than being horny, so I'd say there's real value in this perfume.
Slut city, cheap hooker, nasty whore, whatever you want to call it. It's a good one. It moves me.
The story I got is that Patou pour Homme Prive was made as a bespoke fragrance for an American client, and only one batch was ever made. I guess Patou made more than the amount for the client, and then sold the rest. Whatever. They're completely different fragrances but the more unique Patou Pour Homme Privť is every bit as good as Patou Pour Homme. Itís an immaculate and unusually natural smelling fougere; hale, clean and aloof, that starts off with green, pungent galbanum, plenty of fresh bergamot, a few drops of mandarin, one of the most clear and pristine lavender notes in all of perfumery, and gobs of dry earthy oakmoss thatís strong throughout the life of the fragrance. The accord is complex, faintly herbaceous, leaving the galbanum more leafy green and the minty lavender much like it was. Like any good fougere the lavender is also juxtaposing oakmoss and the newly mown hay smell of coumarin. It's just an integral part of a complex accord thatís earthy-smooth-sensual, and starting to smell more and more like the forest floor that fougŤres are intended to smell like. Vetiver and patchouli enhance the twig-rich earthy drydown, along with a touch of vanilla and an ever increasing high quality, deep, balsamic and tenacious sandalwood that cools and softens while doing its part to maintain one of the smoothest, slickest accords there is. Jean Kerleo obviously used the best iris known to man because the dusty, semi-buttery quality it adds is something rarely experienced. The fragrance has excellent olfactory density and viscosity; rich without a trace of anything heavy or surrounding you like a halo. The longevity is excellent with redolent diffusive capacity, perfect trajectory with lively, long-lasting sillage. Privť is in a class by itself with plenty of mystery, strong character, excellent diffusive capacity, delicacy, clearness, volume, and persistence. Itís energetic, sensual, cerebral, magnetic, and smooth as a beautiful woman's freshly powdered bottom.
Writing reviews is tedious and often a little blinding to the reviewer. Iíll give you a list of my favorite fougeres. Rive Gauche pour Homme was the last real fougere ever made, and the fact that it came out as late as 2005 when everything was turing to crap, is even more unbelievable.
Patou pour Homme Prive
Azzaro pour Homme (vintage)
Or Black (vintage)
Paco Rabanne pour Homme (vintage)
Third Man (vintage
Yohji Homme (vintage)
Rive Gauche pour Homme (vintage)
Mouchoir de Monsieur
Tuscany per Uomo (vintage)
Lauder for Men (vintage)
09th August, 2007 (last edited: 11th July, 2014)
A hale, clean and virile chypre (mossy woods) that just smells great. Never sweet or loud, it just becomes a part of you rather than surrounding you like a halo. ďContrasted on clear and moderately powdery notes, it recalls the workshop of a cabinetmaker.Ē The opening is still one of the most confidently balanced and uplifting accords I know: a fresh-floral-woody-herbaceous slightly spicy balsamic citrus bolstered by the warmth of clove-like carnation. The heart is brisk but refined, with the low hum of soothing spices, the masculine floral carnation, and a few drops of stimulating basil. A subtle wooden breeze of cedar and vetiver move through the evolution as the earthy oakmoss becomes clearer and a semi-sweet labdanum smoothes and gives a little sweetness. The musk is efficient, but almost entirely clean. There's nothing animalic about the fragrance, especially not the new stuff. Pour Monsieur (1955) has always been the closest thing the original Chypre de Coty (1917), and while Pour Monsieur is the same basic size and still feels like a pure chypre: resinous and web-like, the main components (bergamot-oakmoss-labdanum) working to keep it balanced and abstract; it isnít as rich and chypric as many of the older formulations. So rather than feeling like a classic chypre, itís a little less deep, making it more of a fresh/crisp chypre with a slightly lighter base. Its stucture is still excellent, but it was never intended to have the same complex design as something like Patou pour Homme. Either way, it still smells great, and like many chypres, it might be good to avoid if you feel as though it has seen more of the world than you have. Itís still better than ninety nine percent of the masculine fragrances being made today, and if Chanel would increase the oakmoss, and the bump up the concentration by even half a percent, it would be something hard to approximate. Henri Robert was an overlooked genius. It must have felt pretty good to have been able to make three masterpieces in Chanel Pour Monsieur, No. 19, and Cristalle.
28th July, 2007 (last edited: 28th March, 2011)
An evocative, well constructed fragrance, crisp and clean with a subtle darkness that reminds me of being in a deep alley in a certain part of Paris. The sun's going down, smell of wet stone, beautiful people and creature comforts not far away. You can take a Mercedes or just walk. Same difference. All is well. Sillage is moderate, sublime. Longevity is excellent. My friend told me this is her favorite skin scent, and I understand why. I don't wear it much because Giacobetti could have handled the spices with a little more finesse, and those spices become a little tiresome. But many people love those spices, and that's good, because it's quality stuff that smells sublime on a woman I know. Clean and soapy with an edge.
17th May, 2007 (last edited: 20th June, 2008)
When all the others let you down
Patou Pour Homme came to town
Itís deep and complex
As good as some sex
Herbal, spicy, and woody
Oh man, itís a goody
The evolutionís profound
Tenacious and sound
The drydownís outrageous
Extended and contagious
It makes you feel good
The way that you should
Thereís no doubt about it
Itíll give you some wood
Itís the bomb
Exotic, and full of aplomb
The best Iíve worn
And Iíve no need to mourn
For I own five bottles
And can spray with full throttle
16th April, 2007 (last edited: 01st December, 2011)
Overcast October skies
New York cool wind
Leaves and leather on your feet
A million dollars in your room
Edit: Reformulation has left it pale with a semi-sweet fruity drydown that has nothing to do with the bone dry animalic green chypre it was; full of natural musk, ambergris and castoreum that made the original one of the most intelligent and sensual fragrances ever made.
13th September, 2006 (last edited: 08th July, 2014)