CHSeifert almost took the words out of my mouth below, but I will try anyway.
I really tried to like Habit Rouge. Obviously a very refined classic with high quality ingredients, huge strength, huge lasting power, lots of development and a place in the all-time greatest Top Ten list from Luca Turin. This just has to be a wonderful experience, right? Wrong!
I hate Habit Rouge - really, really hate it. A fluid smelling like this would be appropriate for embalming pharaohs in ancient Egypt, but there is no way in the world that I voluntarily will put this stuff on my body again, privately or public. It literally makes me sick, and it just gets worse the more I try to get into it.
Habit Rouge just smells so unbearably old and dead to me. Makes me feel like a walking corpse or a very old man, helplessly stuck in a wheelchair in his apartment with sealed windows, slowly suffocating from inhaling dust and powder, dust and powder, dust and powder....
In spite of a strong citrus note, Habit Rouge totally lacks even the slightest hint of freshness and ”air”. Because of the great quality and artistry behind it, I will not dare to say that it smells bad – just suffocating.
I have no problems with old-school scents generally (Chanel’s Pour Monsieur is my all-time favourite). But my nose is totally incompatible with this one. Even Grey Flannel (which I cannot stand either, but I respect its uniqueness) never came close to provoking as strong a discomfort as Habit Rouge.
I envy those who can appreciate – and even wear - this monster. But I’ll pass, thank you. Try before you buy!
There seems to be a general consensus that EN and Chanel Sycomore have extremely much in common. I totally agree, but they are also very different. As diorshowman has pointed out earlier, their relationship can be compared to Cool Water vs. Green Irish Tweed. Most people will easily recognize the latter as the most exclusive – and certainly the most expensive. But it is still very much up to your own personal taste which one you actually prefer.
After having enjoyed EN during almost two years I finally got the chance to sample the hard-to-get Sycomore in Chanel’s famous Paris shop in 31 Rue Cambon. First impression was ”This is just Encre Noire – what’s the point?”. But after an hour I realized that the feeling was very different in spite of the similar basic idea.
Encre Noire is dark, brooding, earthy, masculine, and very linear. Sycomore is warmer, friendlier, more anisic, unisex, shimmering, and with much more development along the way, unquestionably due to more exclusive ingredients.
I decided to buy Sycomore in spite of the rather hefty price tag, and the two scents will now be my trustful companions for years to come. EN will remain one of my winter favorites, when I want to make the best of gloom and snow. Sycomore will be for whenever I want that little extra treat for myself (and my wife can use it too).
If you want to enjoy a very clean, dark and modern vetiver – and still at a modest price – Encre Noire is a safe buy. Be aware that there is a world of difference between this and the much greener/brighter Guerlain Vetiver and similar scents. Quite another game, but wonderful in their own right.
By the way: The EN bottle is a work of art. Worth half the price in itself.
After a series of trial-and-errors (including Knize Ten) I realized that traditional hardcore leathers were not for me. What I really wanted was the perfect suede – and this is it!
The opening of Tom of Finland can admittedly be slightly overwhelming. There really is a lot going on here: boozy notes, rubber, smoke, leather, aldehydes, and more. But after half an hour ToF settles into a delightful vanilla/suede note on a dark background of smoky vetiver with a slight hint of rubber. Very subtle and just enough to keep the scent from becoming too sweet. This phase goes on forever and it just gets even better as the drydown sets in.
Tom of Finland reminds of the fabulous Bulgari Black, but with less smoke and rubber. Or l’Essence de Cerruti with smoke instead of toothpaste-mint (which is nice, by the way). Or a masculine version of the great Cuir de Lancome. But ToF is not a compromise – it stands firmly on its own feet. Suede heaven in a bottle!
Forget all the hype about gay/straight, naughty marketing, condom smell, Village People and all the other stuff that leads the attention away from the scent itself. Tom of Finland is utterly wonderful and it stands a good chance of becoming my new signature scent. For the cold season at least.
A bit expensive, but worth every penny. Try l’Essence de Cerruti (and add a bit of imaginary Bulgari Black) if you want a small and more budget-friendly foretaste of the real thing. Strongly recommended!
If there ever was a ”cosy” fragrance, this is it. It will place you in front of a warm fireplace, feeling good and having a wonderful time with your family or friends. Christmas in a bottle!
At some point I read some reviewer claim that Santa wears Fever pour Homme, and I’m sure he or she is right. After a slightly anonymous opening (very similar to Zirh Ikon) you will be greeted by a wonderful combination of incense and fir resin, spiced with a touch of rose. This smells exactly like Santa’s workshop, in my fantasy at least. An absolute joy, and if you wear it under your clothes, the enjoyment will last for a long time.
Fever is one of my winter favorites and is great on a rainy day, too. It is very unobtrusive and with moderate sillage, so it can easily be worn at the office. If you like incense fragrances you should not miss this. Especially not when it is sold unbelievably cheap at online stores. Strongly recommended – and infinitely better than its cloying sibling Celine pour Homme.
29th January, 2011 (last edited: 09th June, 2011)
At first whiff my reaction was ”A masculine? Are you kidding me?” Inverse has a very pronounced feminine touch, which actually is one of its great qualities once you accept it. The same goes for its very synthetic feel – this is not a classical symphony for your nose, it’s first rate techno dance pop and extremely enjoyable as such.
After the opening lavender blast has calmed down, you are ready to enjoy a wonderful milky/creamy sweetness that feels both warm and cold at the same time. Impressive. And no problems with longevity here – it easily lasts a whole evening on my skin.
I’m a big Kylie fan and Inverse catches her own image spot on, both in the packaging and the scent itself. Unpretentious and lovable regardless of gender, age and sexual orientation: ”Come on everybody, join the fun!”
A class act – especially for a celebrity scent. It smells expensive and sophisticated (but can be found extremely cheap), it’s unisex without being bland and I love it! Thumbs up!
An interesting one. Conran Man opens with a very sharp blast of citrus and smoky hay. Eventually this gives way to a a softer and slightly ”minty” anis note that will stay with you for the rest of the day. This is an ultra-masculine and not very sophisticated scent, but under the right circumstances I really like it (although my wife doesn’t).
Conran Man comes into its own in cold weather – the colder the better. It reminds me of a walk in a snowy pine forest where you suddenly come by a burnt-out camp fire. This scenery runs non-stop on my inner movie whenever I wear this fragrance, preferably under a thick woollen sweater. And, as other reviewers have pointed out, it will compliment a smoker.
It’s a bit crude though, and it should not command a premium price. If you can find it at a discount price – and you can – it is well worth a try for it’s winter qualities. But don’t even think about using it in hot weather. All in all: thumbs up!
If you like the smell of incense - and I do - this may be one for you. Because incense is what you get - in buckets. After a short, spicy opening Ikon turns into a dark and slightly tar-like incense note that goes on for hours without going anywhere else. This might have worked out fine in a high-quality fragrance, but the frankincense note in Ikon is frankly very one-dimensional and leaves a rather cheap impression. Not bad, but not very good either.
Try out Celine Fever pour Homme instead if you want a good incense fragrance at a low price. Besides having a much better incense note than Ikon, Fever furthermore adds a wonderfully fresh sawdust-resinous sweetness that makes it an absolute joy to wear, especially in cold weather. And just like Ikon it can be found on the internet at a ridiculously low price (nice bottle too).
I live by the rule that a fragrance should contain the same qualities from which you choose your music, your clothes and your food: It should make you feel good and it should be right for the occasion. The original Signature is a favorite of mine in the "smart casual" category. It has its own identity, it smells nice and fresh, it does not draw too much attention, it lasts all day (on my skin), and it has a remarkable relaxing/soothing quality. Perfect for office and daily wear.
Having enjoyed Signature so much, I looked forward to try out the new Story-version, which I bought blindly at a discount store. This is quite another story, however. It opens with a sickening, cloying smell of stale pineapple mixed up with some melon and other unpleasant fruity scents. I waited patiently for the scent to develop into something nice, but this didn't happen. At all stages I only sensed a cheap tutti-frutti smell that is unfit for any occasion, at least if you are out of your teens. It made me feel strongly uncomfortable and I had to wash it off after a couple of hours (when my wife went "yikes", too).
A complete disaster. Someone took the original Signature, corrupted everything that was good in it and came up with this horrible mish-mash. They should be punished - please make it go away!
06th May, 2010 (last edited: 16th June, 2010)