Reviews by MHV

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    MHV
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    Showing 1 to 17 of 17.
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    Les Plus Belles Lavandes de Caron by Caron

    This is a hard one to get in North America. I have never managed to find someone here who stocks it, but a friend brought me back a sample from visiting the Paris boutique on rue Montaigne.

    It's a plain lavender, straight and not shaken. There might be a few things to support the smell, but I can't discern them.

    Basically, this is what everybody who hates Pour un Homme because of the vanilla should wear.

    It's a beautiful lavender, delicate and aromatic, and masculine enough, even though Caron officially markets it as a ladies' cologne.

    18th February, 2011

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    Yatagan by Caron

    Yatagan is so dry it makes my nose bleed.

    I don't smell anything that recalls the humidity of bodies (jockstrap? undies?), although I agree that it's a smell that can complement very well the natural, pungent and rounder odour of sweaty armpits. Gives it extra bite.

    It has scorched pine needles, burning bushes o'Moses, and the celery-ness of wormwood (viz. absinthe, also noticeable in Eau de Rochas man).

    It's an extreme woody, sand for your skin. I always have the vaguely alarming feeling that I'm about to be devoured by an oncoming prairie fire when I smell it.

    18th February, 2011

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    Heno de Pravia by Gal

    In Montreal, I have only found the large plastic bottle, which is suited for use as a body splash rather than as an Eau de Toilette/Cologne.

    It's labeled "Agua de Colonia", but it has castor oil in it, a product you won't find in perfumes, but rather in aftershaves, due to its hydrating properties.

    I love to splash it on after a shower, gives a nice clean scent, sweet and coumarin-y, that will evaporate quickly. Makes your skin feels good too, with that castor oil.

    I'll be frank, however, I have never gotten the hay association. Whenever someone talks about coumarin, they drone over and over that is has a hay-like smell. And "heno" means "hay" in Spanish. But curse me if I know anything about the real smell of hay, I mean I have only lived the first 15 years of my life in farm country where the only crop was hay to feed the milk cows!

    The similarity with hay, in my opinion, is more in terms of the impression, the sweetness, rather than the aroma.

    Nevertheless, it's a great body cologne, and the soap is as good as Valobra Fougère or Yardley English Lavender.

    08th February, 2011 (Last Edited: 11th February, 2011)

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    Proraso Dopobarba / After Shave by Proraso

    I'm still waiting for someone to tell me about the origins of this fragrance.

    Granted, it's nothing but a humble aftershave, and there's no cologne. But it smells like an aromatic fougère, has the masculinity and strength to prove it, and drives my girl completely crazy.

    Forget about Old Spice, and smell like a Uomo.

    EDIT: Some intense sniffing the other night indicated that the top note what an earl grey-ish bergamot, which accounts for the potency, but there's more going on below to make it agreeable. It's hard to say how the menthol contributes to the smell, since it's there mainly as a skin product rather than a perfume, but Proraso is definitely in the fougère gang.

    04th February, 2011 (Last Edited: 03rd November, 2011)

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    Moustache by Rochas

    I can see Moustache as related to Eau Sauvage, but it has a fruit rather than a flower at its heart. Its opening citrus is very lemony, but like Eau Sauvage, the beauty is when the fragrances has settled down. Then it's rich, but not heavy, complex, but organized, and manly without the clichés.

    I mourn its demise, but more than that I mourn the demise of all the other derived products Rochas used to make from it: aftershave, balm, shaving soap (can you imagine the glory!), bath soap, deo, etc.

    Like many men's classic, it's a fragrance that once turned into a way of life, so that a many would never worry about conflicting smells, and get a gold watch at the end of his 30-year tenure with the fragrance. Get it while you still can.

    04th February, 2011

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    Wild Fern by Geo F Trumper

    Based on my Perfume Oil sample of Fougère Royale, which I got from The Perfumed Court, the closest thing to this FR is in fact the humble Fougère soap by Roger & Gallet. It appears to be discontinued, but stashes hither and thither still remains.

    That said, Wild Fern is indeed not unrelated at all to FR. In fact, it preceded the damn thing by at least five years! So I guess Fougère Royale was not innovating, but capitalizing on a previous success. It's most likely that over a few years, many people came with "fougère" or "fern" perfumes, most of them failed, and only two or three remain to this day.

    So what about WF then? It beats English Fern by being less harsh, more "natural" and really pleasant. When you have smelled aromatic fougère, you will wonder about the connection with this. In my nose's opinion, the link is the core, the trunk of the fragrance, not its aroma: that masculine, strong impression you have is the trunk. The leaves are whatever the thing smells like.

    Wild Fern smells green and grassy, whereas other aromatic fougères can smell of flowers, spices, woods, or a combination thereof. Both are fougères by virtue of their common trunk. But spices give me a headache, and greenery uplift me. So I'll go for Wild Fern any day.

    04th February, 2011

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    Vetiver by Guerlain

    Tight, dry, clean.

    I find Habit Rouge too complex; Vetiver has the straightforwardness of an executive summary, and the maturity of the one meant to read it.

    04th February, 2011

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    Pino Silvestre by Silvestre

    Democratic and well made. Although Pino Silvestre opens on a pine hologram, it gradually breaks down into its own constituents, especially lavender and herbs. It's a scent made for visiting your in-laws on Sunday or your good old mamma and not let them know that you went out on Saturday night and did things that did not even exist in their days.

    A good line of derived products complement it, and it is worth getting at least an aftershave, soap, and deo to scrub away all the things you did the night before.

    04th February, 2011

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    Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

    Buy it, learn from it, and then decide.

    It's a great fragrance for someone young who's just getting into fragrances and isn't sure about today's experiments, but also is decent for more mature people.

    In our era, it's a baseline fragrance, something that should be the A-440 of men fragrances. You need it to tune your nose.

    I generally like to wear it, although sometimes I feel it's too carefree for my serious self.

    04th February, 2011

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    Number 3 / Le 3me Homme / The Third Man by Caron

    Le 3e Homme achieves a balance between bitter and sweet, between earthy and aromatic, but when I wear it, I feel like I'm seeing triple.

    There are multiple centers in this fragrance, and it's hard to pin down its identity. Like others said, Le 3e aims to do many things at once, and it's a full chromatic scale, not the pared down major or minor scales of other works.

    Still, it has a beautiful form, but I feel like the dissonance at its heart is distracting. I nevertheless give it a thumb up because it's way beyond "meh" even if I'm still not falling for it.

    04th February, 2011

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    Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain

    Worth having, but it's even worth more getting it from a discount place.

    Cologne is by definition fleeting, and you will need Imperial means if you buy it new and want to use it the Imperial way.

    Yes, it's something that's fun drowning yourself into, just like Bonaparte did with Farina's cologne. I wish the alcohol therein was unadulterated because I'm sure it could make a great drink! (Eau de Cologne was indeed drunk until Bonaparte forced manufacturers to put on the label their ingredients. From then on, Cologne makers labeled their product "for external use only" and used adulterated alcohol.)

    I drown myself in it after a good bath, bask it its smell for its short duration, and put on another Eau de Toilette once it's gone. I also like to use it when I'm feeling yucky or sick. It focuses the brain on something bright and nice, soothingly.

    30th January, 2011

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    Pour Un Homme by Caron

    Caron Pour un Homme is a scent, not a fragrance. It's what oozes from the bathroom of the man who uses it for his bath soap, his shaving, aftershave, and cologne. It's what emanates from 8AM before the first coffee, and it's what stays on your shirt as you open the 6PM beer.

    Pour un Homme is one of those scents that fundamentally IS, that, before being a structure or a form, is a presence and a way of life.

    I like the fact that I can wear this day in, day out, and regardless of what happens during the day, it goes through it with me, never gets in the way, and reminds me constantly that I have a nice home in which to sleep tonight.

    30th January, 2011

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    Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

    Becoming a man.

    I wore this for one of my uncle's funeral, and I think it's the only thing I could have worn that was sufficiently dignified.

    I usually wear Pour Monsieur with a suit, because it's the fragrance that can really evoke being a mature man. Not an old man, but a full man, with both the joys and travails of responsibility.

    I also think it's a secret answer to Old Spice. That clove note is unmistakable, and I like to imagine that the connection between the two would have been Henri Robert smelling it off GIs during WWII, and incorporating it into what his idea of the post-War man.

    Perfect, understated, flawless, and alive.

    30th January, 2011

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    Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

    I like Grey Flannel because it's a bitter floral, not a sweet one. If you've ever eaten violet-flavoured Anis de Flavigny, you'll recognize the smell, minus the sweetness.

    I tried it first as a sample from an academic interest for the classics, but I eventually bought it because it embodies a nice form, a particular genre of manliness, and is just enough barbershoppy that you don't feel like you're wearing "perfume".

    It's a light enough fragrance with bones, and juicy, crunchy green violets. Fun, without pretention, and versatile as a daily scent.

    30th January, 2011

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    Acqua Classica by Borsari

    I was really hoping for a more affordable Acqua di Parma, and was close to being fulfilled, but there's a "fresh" note that's really bugging me, because it smells slightly synthetic and rough. Otherwise, on the citrus front, it's good, but the fresh note turned me off.

    30th January, 2011

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    Tabac Original by Mäurer & Wirtz

    Well, this one is an affair of love, and my first review on BN!

    I came to Tabac by way of the superlative reputation their shaving soap possesses. Being impressed with the soap (it's now my standard), I inched closer to the cologne with the Aftershave, which made me confident enough to try the EDC.

    Oh my. Where were you all my life? Not knowing you was probably one reason why I stayed away from perfumes for so long. Now I got the balm, the body soap, and refills just in case I run out; where will I stop?

    What sold me to the smell really is the EDC. It begins sharp and astringent, very bitter, but in a few minutes it turns into a beautiful floral smell, and as soon as it warms up you feel the "tobacco" smell, evocative of good pipe tobacco's sweetness. Once it has settled in, it's a sweet, almost vanillic smell, but there's nothing cloying about it. It remains light, suave, but modern ; rich without being heavy.

    That said, it remains a drugstore fragrance, and it has some rough edges once your nose is accustomed to more structured smells, but it's a damn good everyday smell, something that you can wear like a favorite sweater to go about your business, work or grocery shopping. It's a democratic smell, but one that believes in the people!

    Avoid at all costs the EDT. It begins almost exactly like the EDC, very sharp and bitter, but instead of morphing into something alive and breathing, it remains perpetually in the bitter stage. After a few minutes, it gives me a headache, and smells too soapy, aggresssive.

    Both thumbs up for the EDC, both down for the EDT. And get the soap if you shave!

    06th October, 2010

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    Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain

    The scent that made me pop my hard-earned money exclusively for the purpose of smelling good.

    Before I tried Mouchoir de Monsieur, my only prototype for a fine smell was Penhaligon's and Trumper's, so I was used to more barbershoppy contraptions. Which made me blind at first to the more structured elegance of Guerlain. In the store, it did not arrest me as something I would want to wear, but I think the fougere accord challenged my nose saying "you can't say what I am, yet you can't forget me!". On the day I smelled it first, it was horribly hot outside, and all I got was a rather grandma-ish rose. But the mystery it caused in my nose was enough for me to request a sample vial.

    Two days later, as the weather abated, I had a nice lazy day alone in the house. I thought it would be the perfect occasion to give it a try: should I dislike it, my girlfriend would not suffer!

    And then it was a revelation: first it began with very fresh oranges and citrus, but then the rose turned in more gracefully and the animalistic smells kicked me hard enough to let me erupt in a long, blasphemical string of pleasure exclamations. And still that mystery in my nose, but now I was delighting in it. I was reading Joyce's Ulysses that day, which, like MdM, is set in 1904. It was like being there, feeling at once the gentility of the Belle Epoque, the last illusions before the Great War, and the pangs of regret that come with progress.

    MdM is eminently wearable today, and if you hesitate between it and Jicky EdT, get MdM for its larger shoulders, more ample smell (can't comment on how it compares with other strengths of Jicky). It's something I would wear with a nice suit, a clean tie, and a handkerchief in my breast pocket.

    06th October, 2010

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