Reviews by Renaissance_Man

    Showing 1 to 30 of 31.
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    Zen for Men by Shiseido

    I like this one and the more I wear it, the more soothing and relaxing I find it to be. It's no Basala and is more mainstream than I would like it to be but it doesn't deserve the bashing it gets in my opinion.

    The opening is fruity and fresh. The unique nashi note is clearly there. The fragrance does become louder afterwards with the heart notes. The combination of the violets and the musk is apparent from the beginning, which reminds me of Narciso Rodriguez for him (by Kurkdjian, of course). The nutmeg gives it a soft and warm feel and I enjoy this spice in fragrances for this reason. I'm not sure what rhododendron is supposed to smell like, however, and can't identify it.

    There is a slight smokiness that develops midway and I suspect it's part of the otherwise muted leather note that rises up slowly but what's more noticeable to me is the musk again. It is sweet and not animalic. The patchouli is part of the profile but takes a back seat here. It only shines more in warmer temperatures.

    I also get a slight vanillic sweetness in the base (or maybe the nutmeg is still at work). It could also be Shiseido's "calming" signature note that reportedly is used here. Whatever it is, it gives the scent a particular Japanese feel. One of the most interesting aspects of this scent is that the sweetness sort of oozes all of a sudden and comes out in bursts out of nowhere.

    I recommend taking your time with this one. I did a 180 on it because of that strange and soothing sweet note. Don't dismiss it quickly.

    15 April, 2011 (Last Edited: 21st April, 2011)

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    Comme des Garçons 2 by Comme des Garçons

    As already mentioned, this may be a bit on the feminine side but in a different way than anything else. It's still dark and mysterious, comforting, and warm...irresistible and it has all the right notes for it. Except I wish the magnolia were a little toned down. There are other "shared" scents like this (more on the feminine side) which I would not wear but this one is fine by me. It's rich and luxorious, not synthetic like other CdG's.

    26 December, 2006

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    Vetiver Sport by Guerlain

    I don't usually go for variations on original items but this is an exception. It opens with more citrus than the original (one of my favorite classics). There may be some mint in there too. The vetiver note itself is cleaner and the base is generally more soapy and cleaner than the original. For example, I don't get as much tobacco. It's very easy to wear--obviously better for warmer weather. Alas, it's a limited release and as far as I know available only at Sephora.

    18 December, 2006

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    Devin by Aramis

    I find this one to be quite understated for a fragarance with a leathery base. It is somewhat dry and earthy herbal/green plus a softness that I find almost feminine (but which I'm comfortable with!). In that respect, some elements here remind me of Aramis 900--also a favorite of mine. Unlike many scents, this would be good for any weather. After years, I've gone back to it and I'm enjoying it in cold rainy weather. And because the warmer notes aren't so dominant, I know that I'll easily enjoy its other facets during the summer months. Devin is elegant and classsy yet casual enough. Not something you smell on every other person. Also, I have always found this scent to be similar to Caron's Yatagan, except CY is bolder and sharper with more animal notes in it. You will not offend others with this one.

    12 March, 2006

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    Aramis 900 by Aramis

    Absolutely agree that it's very similar to Clinique's AE, perhaps not as sharp. 900 is dry yet has a hint of florals. It has a soft feminie quality to it which I'm somehow comfortable with. The citrus note stays fresh and carries down to the base without being "lemon pledgy." There, it works great with the vetiver. I don't get much of the moss or the patchouli--a good thing for me. This is a great herbal/dry/earthy fragrance. It would work well in any weather but if you want to feel clean, fresh and dry in hot weather, this is it!

    12 March, 2006

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    Paco by Paco Rabanne

    I received this as a gift when it was first launched so I did use it. I would never buy this type of a fragrance myself and would never wear it again. Whether it's considered a rip off of CKone or not doesn't matter. Both (and all their "fresh" and unisex clones) are generic and uninspired.

    11th March, 2006

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    Kenzo pour Homme by Kenzo

    If I had to choose one aquatic/marine scent (and thank God I don't), this would be it. It's a little warmer than and not as irritating as all the aquatic designer junk out there these days. The bottle is beautiful and I think it matches the bamboo type accord present in it. Longevity was O.K. However, it's not something I would consider buying again.

    06 March, 2006

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    Very Irrésistible for Men by Givenchy

    Innovative and different from a lot of what's out there but something in this fragrance is cloying and it bothers me. Still, I congratulate Givenchy, with whom I was never able to make peace completely. I think it's the combination of the mint, the mocha, and the roasted hazlenut accord. Years ago, I was more attracted to coffee/mocha notes. It was so revolutionary. I'm not so sure anymore. This has kept me away from other gourmands too. They remind me of scratch-and-sniff children's books.

    28 February, 2006

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    Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Not at all what I expected and certainly not what the name suggests. I was hoping to find a dark, mysterious incense scent but I found all white flowers (dry and piercing) and plain incense (flat). The incense base lasted and lasted though. I would love to see the incense paired with some wood or amber.

    28 February, 2006

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    Joop! Homme by Joop!

    Ever since JH was launched I have flirted with it, fought with it, loved it, hated it...I don't know what to do with this scent. It's definitely masculine and I still don't dare wear it. Still, there's someting indescribable in it that's enthralling to me. The beautiful presentation and the color fit the spice and the warm notes. I understand why it's one of the most controversial scents ever. Need not say anything about sillage and longevity. This has to be the benchmark for everything else.

    28 February, 2006

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    Comme des Garçons White by Comme des Garçons

    Here's a very exotic fragrance. The specific spices, pomegranate, and the rose all whisper Middle East or Arabian nights to me. I also think it's a bit too feminine because of the dominant rose. I enjoyed it while I had it but I don't think I'd buy it again. The white flower effect is also a little too dry and invasive to my sinuses. For some strange reason, I find the scent similar to L'Artisan's Passage D'Enfer.

    28 February, 2006

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    Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma

    No doubt quality and class but not masculine enough to be a shared scent. I think it's a clean scent except for the heavy rose. I wish the rest of the notes lasted a bit longer instead of the cloying rose. I'd rather use Chanel PH or Armani EPH.

    28 February, 2006

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    Dior Homme by Christian Dior

    I was excited about this scent when it was launched but was disappointed upon experiencing it. I feel it's too flat and dry. I don't smell any of the warmth and the sweetness that some have mentioned. Similar to Cartier's Declaration (another disappointment to me), it's nice but I wouldn't wear it. There are many more exciting scents to enjoy out there. The bottle, however, is phenomenal.

    27 February, 2006

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    Cavalli Man by Roberto Cavalli

    The only fragrance I paid full price for at Nordstroms. As soon as it was launched, one sniff, and I had to have it. Refreshing opening with citrus and ginger that quickly settles down to a soft and understated sandalwood and myrrh. I don't understand the negative reviews for this scent. IMHO it's Cavalli's second scent JCM that's nothing special. This is a quality fragrance presented in an equally beautiful bottle. Great for summer and for younger age groups too.

    27 February, 2006

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    YSL pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    This simple yet genious composition is one of my all time favorites; a staple of my wardrobe. It exudes class, elegance, and power. Especially good IMO for spring and fall because of the green notes. Opens with strong refreshing fruit. The drydown has beautiful vetiver and incense. The concentrated version is good too, although darker.

    27 February, 2006

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    Yatagan by Caron

    Recently, when I decided to expand my wardrobe, I went back to this scent after almost 20 years and it still smells great to me. Just not the same longevity that I seem to remember. I think the combination of Artemesia, wormwood, herbs, and leather is very striking and very masculine. I find this scent very similar to Aramis Devin but slightly drier and sharper than AD. My second most favorite scetn from Caron after PuH. I'm still trying to make friends with their other two men's scents.

    27 February, 2006

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    Ungaro II by Ungaro

    Most of what I get here is only musk and civet. I don't think this scent works at all. The card that contains the sample vial has both I & II side by side and describes UI as "sensual and emotional" and UII as "brisk and energetic." I think the descriptions should be switched. I sense the exact opposite! UII is the one that has all the citrus (and I haven't switched the positions, the printing is very clear LOL). I haven't smelled UIII. I'm not very familiar with this house so I'm not sure what their general style or philosophy is. I don't get it.

    27 February, 2006

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    Pour Un Homme by Caron

    I agree that it's hard to smell anything other than the lavender and the vanilla here. But undoubtedly, a timeless classic. A very comforting scent for when my statement is "I'm minding my own business now but later, you'll see what a genius I am." I wish Caron was more popular and more appreciated here in the States.

    27 February, 2006

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    Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

    It is interesting to see some of the strongest opinions and reactions on this site on the Kouros page. I love this fragrance. I smell lime and spices in it and love the incense at the base (a favorite note in many YSL's). For years this was my signature scent and I wouldn't wear anything else, didn't feel I needed to. Very classy and masculine, good for any weather and any age. Wear in various doses for a variety of effects. I don't get any of the dirty animalistic notes mentioned in some of the posts.
    I definitely agree with the previous post that this isn't your generic aquatic scent so common these days.

    27 February, 2006

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    Eau de Rochas Homme by Rochas

    I think this is a successful citrus scent--clean and refreshing. I'll have this next to CD Eau Sauvage for spring and summer. It's one of very few citrus/lemon scents that don't smell like lemon Pledge. I too find the opening slightly bitter (as mentioned by others). This scent to me is reminiscent of a dry gin drink or dining alfresco on a summer evening. The drydown has such a soft comfortable feel. Longevity may be a slight problem as with most citrus scents.
    Edit: After wearing this for a while, I'm editting my review to include that the drydown (moss? cedar?), albeit soft, is not very pleasant to me. It lingers on and on and becomes cloying to me. Otherwise a great scent and still a thums up.

    27 February, 2006 (Last Edited: 29 June, 2008)

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    Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

    This is a good classic scent but I wish it didn't present the neroli so strongly. Still, a quality scent from Chanel, one of my most favorite houses. I have used the original version but would rather use Armani PH for this category. The concentrated version has a soft and warmer drydown which I think resembles Tiffany. I consider these a bit too generic. Good only if you're not really into fragrances and just need something to smell clean and pleasant. Also, nice for individuals who are starting to experiment in this field.

    27 February, 2006

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    Armani Eau Pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

    The only Armani fragrance that I consider quality. Elegant and timeless. I even like it slightly better than Chanel's PM since the other one has a dominant neroli which I associate with barber shop and 4711 scents. Better than Hermes' Ed'OV (no longevity as we all know). My choice for summertime and when I want to feel absolutely understated yet masculine. The only scent for summer vacations in Italy with my girlfriend. If one is new to frags and unsure about what scent to start with, this is the one.

    27 February, 2006

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    Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

    I agree with some of the comments about how difficult this fragrance is to "embrace," or how you shouldn't use it when first meeting someone. There's no doubt that this is a very complex scent. In fact, this is the one fragrance I had the most difficult time understanding. The geranium comes across very "oily" to me. Also, at first, I had a hard time smelling anything beyond the combination of rose and amber. It was absolutely cloying and "dirty"...made me feel like a prostitute in ancient Babylon (fitting the description of the house in sensual terms). Over a period of weeks, I was able to go beyond that. With just the right amount applied (and yes, a surprisingly high dose), I got to the combination of lasting vanilla, amber, and woods in the basenotes. This is when I felt I understood it. I can see how this is a well-respected and much loved fragrance but most people can't appreciate it.

    26 February, 2006 (Last Edited: 16 April, 2011)

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    Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    I decided I had to buy this scent just from smelling it in a magazine strip. It's a great all around fragrance worthy of the YSL name. I'm not sure if I'll continuously have it in my wardrobe but still one of my top choices. It's spicy and warm enough but nothing dramatically new to my nose. I feel like M7 is also a variation on the same theme.

    26 February, 2006

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    Ungaro I by Ungaro

    Smells like the drydown of Boucheron Homme EDT. Nothing special to me. Even though I seem to prefer older creations, this smells outdated to me. I can't give it a thumb down since I believe any smell is better than no smell but...

    26 February, 2006

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    Opium pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    As much as I wanted to understand Zino and I couldn't for the longest time, I knew I liked this but was plain afraid of uncorking the bottle of this genie. I first discovered Opium PH in 1995, when it was launched, and when I was in Gibraltar. As soon as I smelled it I knew I had to approach this mysterious and addictive concoction with caution and respect. I was in an environment that supported a strange mood. Gibraltar has a mix of all people from Europe and Africa; shoppers, hagglers, drug pushers, etc. like a scene from the movie Algiers. After that, I smelled it a couple of times until recently (yes, 10 years later), I finally gave in. The opening fruit and spice is unsurpassed. Brief pepper is next and then the vanilla and cedar (which I'm usually not a big fan of). It works and does not quit. Like most other YSL's this is sheer luxury to me. Better for more mature persons IMO.

    26 February, 2006

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    Jaïpur Homme by Boucheron

    Overall a relatively simple recipe but what a masterpiece! I just wish it were a bit darker and more mysterious instead of the powdery vanilla base, which would have fitted the name better. A good choice for cooler weather and more self-confident men IMO. A much better creation than the origianl Boucheron.

    26 February, 2006

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    Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

    One of very few fragrances that I knew I wouldn't regret buying at first sniff. I'm a fan of spicy and woody-orientals. I remember the first time I wore one drop on my wrist from the sample vial and I got compliments on it! It's been a staple of my wardrobe since 1992. I generally reserve it for cooler weather. The opening mandarin is absolutely breathtaking, then I smell the spice and the rose. This is probably the only rose I'm comfortable with for in a men's scent. The drydown with the ambrette and vanilla keep me sniffing my wrist all day long. Always warm and comfortable with excellent longevity. I have no idea why the "Platinum" version was named after it and why it's available instead of the original, which is so hard to find. I consider this the male counterpart to Coco Chanel. Egoiste and Antaeus are my two absolute favorite Chanels.

    26 February, 2006

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    Boucheron pour Homme by Boucheron

    The overall image (juice, bottle, etc.) is great but I don't see how the top notes (loud candy/Pledge lemon as others have mentioned) would work for any man. If you want a lemon scent CD Eau Sauvage is it. Also, the drydown is a kind of 80's style leftover lemon, sandal, and powder which somehow reminds me of Ungaro I. A quality scent but just not my style.

    26 February, 2006

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    Basala / Basara by Shiseido

    Another one of my top choices. Loved it from the fist sniff. Very hard to find in the States but worth the try. It is the only men's Sheseido I don't find cheap and barber-shoppy. The opening is pretty loud and sharp with the lavender but it quickly settles down as you smell the spices and the "warm" notes. Some lavender stays present, which I find refreshing. I don't smell so much leather in it (as Sheseido lists it) but the vanilla and tobacco are definitely present and this gives it the most wonderful pipe tobacco smell. Girlfriends always make comments and wonder what it is. I love it when someone says, "I didn't even know Sheseido made men's fragrances!" Something very Japanese is always present in this fragrance and I find that mysterious and noble. You can't go wrong with this one. Very good longevity. By the way, a unique feature of the bottle is that it's the only one (of my frags) that comes in a screw-top spray (standard). This would be great for decanting purposes or re-using the bottle. I have used the entire line in the past and I have to say that the shower gel is also great.

    26 February, 2006

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