Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Buysblind

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Total Reviews: 198

Uomo Acqua by Valentino

This was a creative and daring idea from Valentino and has largely gone under-appreciated since it's release in 2017. It smells fantastic. Before we go into its construction or discuss its performance or whether or not it's a true summer fragrance or masculine enough, let's just make this clear--it's a pleasure to smell. Uomo Acqua tones down the gourmand elements of the original until they're simmering just below the lines of perceptibility, while leaving its recognizable iris accord largely intact. Without the chocolate and hazelnut upfront as they are in the original the iris takes on more of an airy, higher pitch, and here it's met with a vivid, juicy, clear mandarin note and slightly bitter-green tomato leaf. The combination works beautifully, and the resulting smell is almost along the lines of a barely ripe pear--fruity and refreshing with a trace of vegetal bitterness to keep it all in check. This is the dominant accord, backed by a discreet, but oh-so-smooth suede, that plays out for the first couple of hours while wearing Uomo Acqua. It's completely enjoyable and has an interesting effect, as these notes manage to convey a fresh, unique approach that balances a casual springtime, summer appeal with a bit of a dressy, semi-formal character due to the leather and iris. Hues of pale yellows and greens swirl gracefully among whites, and soft, translucent beiges.

This is a different kind of scent--void of sharp citrus notes and white musks, not too swept away into the ambery depths of its sturdy iris accord or over-concerned with its leathery base--it masterfully creates a relatable "Acqua" out of its original elements. Performance is where this one falters, perhaps, but to what extent? I think there have been a lot of snap judgments in this regard, both over-exaggerating its lack of performance and also forgetting the category into which this scent ultimately falls, and that being a warm weather "aquatic." To begin, I get a reliable 4 to 6 hours from this. With at least 2 or 3 hours of solid, above average projection. If I spray more heavily than usual, I'll get 6 to 8 hours of longevity without a problem. So it really doesn't disappoint me in this area considering the majority of summer citrus fragrances last no longer than it, and usually even less. Another gripe about this is that it's not masculine enough. Well, those are probably complaints coming from the same kind of people who wrote off Dior Homme when it was first released, or who believe that men's fragrances have to feature sharp citruses, bold leathers, and traditional aromatics in order to feel masculine. Who cares? I mean of course, if you feel that way, than indeed this one might not be masculine enough for you, but if you've been enjoying men's fragrances in the 21st century, then you've probably gotten over this.

To conclude, Uomo Acqua's combination of green, slightly bitter, fruity-fresh notes over Dior's lipstick-like, cosmetic iris and soft, designer suede is a success not only because it's sort of daring, but also because it works. The fragrance smells great on a warm spring day, and it really begins to shine just when the temperature goes above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While it might feel too heavy in really hot, humid climates, that's not really a knock against, as I find 90% of my fragrances don't work in that kind of environment, and I usually just opt for something very light anyway. Overall, I'd give this a very solid 8.5/10 rating, as it brings something quite new and unique to the table while also providing a fragrance that's easy to wear and that smells good. Props to Valentino for taking a chance on this one--you should too, as you may be surprised by this mostly overlooked gem.
02nd January, 2019

Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

A flat-out classic. A verified and sworn in member of the men’s fragrance hall of fame pantheon. Along with Fahrenheit, Rive Gauche, Terre d’Hermes, and Dior Homme, there is Egoiste. Without a doubt this is one of the best smelling, most refined and elegant woody orientals for men. It is eons beyond anything you typically find on mall fragrance counters today and hearkens back to a time when creativity and distinction meant something. It’s hard for newbies who’ve come up in the 2000’s to get this one and love it at first sniff. They don’t understand it. It has smells and an aura that houses are no longer producing. That’s okay. It took me about 8 years to come back to this, and today I can fully recognize it for the marvel that it is. But 10 years ago, when all I wore and owned was a bottle of Lacoste Essential and AdG, Egoiste beat the crap out of me. I was way out of my league and I wasn’t ready for it. I thought I was slick writing it off as “weird” and “old fashioned.” I was an idiot, naive with crude and limited taste. Few fragrances truly deserve to be called a masterpiece, Egoiste is one of them.
15th December, 2018

Sixes & Sevens by Slumberhouse

While many Slumberhouse fragrances are incredibly complex, consisting of many moving parts and shapeshifting tendencies, Sixes in comparison seems fairly dialed-in and focused, a fairly singular presentation of a warm, spicy sandalwood with cozy and comfortable animalic facets and a buttery, leathery texture. What immediately struck me about Sixes is its warmth--the sandalwood accord (which drives the heart of the fragrance) is ensconced in a very much living, warm-blooded musk, and such its presence is deep and rich, the olfactive equivalent of a fur coat or soft winter blanket. In my experience, Sixes avoids the more off-putting facets of animalics. While there's certainly a touch of funk among the musk, and the fragrances is literally pulsating with vibrant, living heat, the really sultry elements and strong barnyard components are, for the most part, absent. In turn, Sixes & Sevens is a comfortable and easy wear, and it feels like it could be appropriate in a variety of situations.

The sandalwood seems to be of a high quality. I find it has a buttery, luxurious texture, cloud-like at times though altogether very deep and present. One of the interesting things about Sixes is how the sandalwood develops, and over time it seems to become much drier and takes on a fiery intensity at times. I was also reminded of Gucci Pour Homme while wearing this. A smell similar to GPH's signature bold "pencil shavings" accord is at play here, perhaps even more waxy at times, but delivering much of the same dusty rawness as the original.

My experience with Sixes & Sevens so far has revolved around 2 interesting developments and changes that occur during its course: To begin, there is a curious element of heat in this composition. I find that Sixes begins with a very comforting human warmth, and that it persists in this for some time, but then it gradually becomes hotter as the composition becomes drier. The heat can get to very intense levels, almost as if a fire is occurring in its heart, and as the heat intensifies and really begins to cook, a smokey component joins the sandalwood which is now dry and desiccated. This transition regarding the heat occasionally goes back and forth. Things will seem to cool down for a moment only for the fire to catch again until everything's burning with a hot intensity. The other interesting development that I've already alluded to is the "dryness" of the wood. Though Sixes begins with a very cozy warmth, it's a deep, alive sort of feeling that's soft and reassuring. The sandalwood is creamy, waxy, and buttery. But once the heat kicks in, it's like it saps the composition of all of its moisture. The sandalwood becomes extremely desiccated (as does the fragrance in general) and we are left with heat and smoke, almost as if a forest has been burned to the ground and all that remains is scorched earth. And it still smells good.

I really enjoy this fragrance overall. I like the fact that it's dialed in. Everything works together seamlessly and all the parts seem to operate with a singular, unified purpose. The fragrance itself smells very nice. It's a great woody composition to wear in these colder months. It would be perfect for a cold December night around the fire, and it doesn't really contain any off-putting, controversial elements that could otherwise ruin the enjoyment of wearing it or turn other people off from wanting to be close to you. At the same time, it's an interesting, dynamic composition. I haven't smelled a sandalwood this good in a long time, and the animalic components, particularly the musk, lend a very luxurious and rich dimension to its quality. Before becoming fiery hot and bone-dry, Sixes feels like donning an expensive furl-lined leather jacket or some kind of alluring fur coat. Performance is just as it should be--slightly stronger than mid-range projection and stellar longevity. One of my favorite Slumberhouse releases in a while, hopefully Sixes & Sevens will see a second release at some point in the future. If it doesn't, I'm sure glad to have gotten a bottle while it was available.
11th November, 2018
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Emporio Armani Diamonds Club for Men by Giorgio Armani

A semi-sweet fresh spicy geranium scent with excellent performance. This one fits in among the modern mainstream crowd, and more specifically among scents like Invictus which combine a fresh quality with a vague, benign sort of spiciness and some sweetness. Diamonds' smell reminds me a bit of fresh, pink bubblegum, but it's done in a mature, elegant way so it never comes off as juvenile or just "fun." As it develops it becomes a bit darker, and a sensual powdery quality emerges in its texture, which seems like the cardamom at play. These transitions make it a bit more elegant and sensual in the end, and really appropriate for a club or night out. The obvious notes you can pick up on in this are geranium, cardamom, and lavender. I also believe there's hedione, as I can detect some of its trademark sweet and uplifting floral punch. The hedione is tastefully restrained here, as it's a note that can easily become overpowering in a scent. Overall, I really like this. It's composed well and smells good, if not a bit familiar at times. Thumbs up, and an 8 out of 10 final rating.
11th November, 2018

Eau Sauvage Cologne by Christian Dior

Good...a solid citrus-centered fragrance with above average longevity and projection. The citrus notes are bright, vibrant, and natural. They have a realistic smell to them and comprise the majority of the scent. Cologne is mostly linear until it reaches finality in the base--a light vetiver that's just enough to keep it on a masculine plane while providing some backbone. This is a nice flanker, imo, and very different from the original classic as it lacks all of its herbal, floral, and musky components and instead focuses on the citrus notes. It's very similar in style to Dior Homme Cologne, and I'd really be just as happy wearing either one. The white and clear bottle looks very nice in person too (as do all the other Eau Sauvage bottles). From what I understand, this has been discontinued for sale in the United States, though still in production overseas. Thumbs up, final rating 8/10. Add half a point if you're a big citrus fan.
22nd June, 2018

Invictus Aqua by Paco Rabanne

This is a great scent, albeit relatively simple. Take the heaviness out of Invictus, but keep its trademark sweet smell, bolster it with a nice aquatic note to give it a buoyant, aqueous feeling, and you have Invictus Aqua. It's a fragrance that's enjoyable and easy to wear and seems to spread cheer wherever it goes. Performance is solid, about 8 hours of longevity with good projection for the first four. Unfortunately the 2016 version was discontinued.
11th June, 2018

Erolfa by Creed

Although aquatics have become somewhat dated, the quality of Erolfa's ingredients and the degree to which they're balanced result in a sort of timeless naturalness which makes wearing it today as easy and enjoyable as ever. And despite the plethora of aquatic releases on the market, there really aren't many (or any) that smell like it. Erolfa's success and distinction, lies to some extent in its simplicity. It is simply a salty, watery scent with light citrus accents and nothing much else. All of those ubiquitous, chemically-tinged "blue" notes--an unavoidable standard in your average aquatic--are absent. In turn, Erolfa feels spritelier, less bogged down with synthetics, and possessing more of a sparkle akin to sunlight in the mist. There are also no attempts to add vague fruit and floral notes either. Although these are often a given when designing aquatics, Erolfa rightfully abandons them. Here, it's just the ocean breeze, some salt, and your skin. Finally, Erolfa also avoids becoming too marine (an occasional error in niche-market aquatics), choosing to leave all the seaweed, plankton, and decaying fish out of it. However, it maintains its realism, smelling more like a fresh, misty breeze near the ocean than the air hovering directly over it, close to the shore, or the ocean air during low-tide. In a lot of ways Erolfa smells like Millesime Imperial minus its melon and sometimes metallic edge, with added salt and a dry, crisp clarity. While I'm sure Erolfa relies on the aromachemical "calone" to achieve some of its aqueous texture, it's handled deftly here, and doesn't become close to overbearing or abrasive. Calone is one of those notes that can cause headaches when overdone, and that's certainly not the case in Erolfa. Overall, I think it's a great scent, especially if you're somewhat a fan of aquatic fragrances. I am, and I find Erolfa is unique in that it provides a crisp, unadorned simplicity that isn't as apparent in my other favorite aquatics like Sel Marine, Aqua di Gio, and Bvlgari Aqva. Those scents I appreciate for different reasons. Longevity and projection are fine--just about where I like them--and Erolfa's sillage hangs very nicely in the air, settling slowly but maintaining a light, well-dispersed feel. Somewhat overlooked and no longer in-step with what's trending, Erolfa is actually a very solid release within the Creed pantheon. Recommended for sampling or as a blind buy for true, die-hard fans of aquatics. Final rating 8.5/10. Add half a point on especially hot, summer days.
12th May, 2018

1828 Jules Verne by Histoires de Parfums

A nice aromatic citrus and woods fragrance marked by a cooling eucalyptus note in the opening and a juicy, natural combination of grapefruit and tangerine. 1828 takes an old theme--the aromatic fougere--and places it in a modern context through a tightly constructed composition and bright, vibrant ingredients. It has the heart of a classic men's cologne with stylish, subtle embellishments that bring it right into the 21st century. Powdery nutmeg lends a touch of a spicy, barbershop appeal while a gentle Incense in the blends masterfully with 1828's aromatic, coniferous woods. Since Lorenzo Villoresi's masterpiece, Uomo has suffered an unfortunate reformulation, 1828 is now my go-to "modern-classical." Thumbs up for sure with a final rating of 8.5/10.
25th January, 2018

Emporio Armani Stronger With You by Giorgio Armani

This seems like an excellent alternative for someone who finds scents like Invictus, Eros, or Azzaro Wanted enjoyable in some respects, but in the end, just too crass and juvenile to wear consistently. In other words, Stronger With You is a sweet, somewhat synthetic modern men's fragrance with a nice, toned-down elegance which separates it from scents like those described above. The main notes to my nose are pink pepper, cardamom, and vanilla, so it comes across in the style of a sweet, semi-spicy oriental. There's some freshness present as well, which keeps the sweetness from becoming too heavy or cloying, and helps give it some buoyancy. In my opinion, this is a great "date night" scent--alluring, affable, upbeat, and nice and cozy up close. But it's also easy to wear in other situations due to the freshness it brings along. At fist, Stronger With You may strike you as sort of generic (been there, done that), but wear it for a day and you'll realize that its quality sets it apart from the rest. It's really a very good fragrance. From its structure and ingredients down to its performance and longevity, everything's in place where it should be, and Stronger seems like the kind of scent which will gradually grow in popularity over time. 8/10. Thumbs up.
24th January, 2018

Chrome Pure by Azzaro

I think this is a pretty good release. It has a great fruity orange note in the opening and the combination of akigalawood and make for a unique, interesting heart accord. Pure is also accented with aquatic marine notes which really work well here and bring a watery, sea-like dimension to its edges. There's a bit too much Tonka in the base, and part of Pure has a somewhat generic, "Macy's fragrance counter" smell to it, so these aspects bring it down a bit. Still, it's pretty good, and its performance is solid. Overall I'd give Pure a 7 out of 10 and recommend it for sampling to those who enjoy modern, somewhat synthetic scents.
23rd January, 2018

Armani Mania by Giorgio Armani

A pleasant neutral....

Armani Mania suffers two main problems, in my opinion. The first is its performance: It simply doesn't project or last all that well. And while it's not the kind of scent that calls for beastly projection, it's probably too dialed-in here. I have a friend who used to invite my wife and I over to watch movies. He had a nice TV and a surround sound system. But he insisted on keeping the volume so low that we had to strain our ears just to hear it. It's like squinting your eyes when you're barely able to see something. We were squinting with our ears. It drove me crazy, every spoken word falling right between the threshold of audible and inaudible, every explosion a staticky tinkle that sounded more like someone shushing me than a bomb going off... "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? WHY CAN'T YOU TURN THE VOLUME UP?!" I wanted to shout into the tense, imposed silence. And that's what I want to shout at Armani Mania when I'm wearing it, "Turn the volume up!" It's too quiet, and not in a good way, just an unsatisfying, itch-you-can't-scratch, incomplete sort of way. You crave more but you never get it. The second problem involves its development, or lack thereof. The first third of Mania is great, a beautiful fresh blend of woods and light citrus notes, some white musk giving it a pleasant ozonic fuzz. But then it doesn't really develop at all or even stay solidly linear long enough to be satisfying. If Mania's first 45 minutes persisted for 3 or 4 hours I'd be fine. But it doesn't. Instead, around the one hour mark it becomes a pretty bland, uninspiring cedar smell. The fresh spritely goodness from the opening is gone but there's really nothing that emerges in the base to take its place and keep this one fun. So then you get boring, been-there-done-that cedar for another measly hour or so before Mania completely craps out into a thin veil of woods and white musk, nothing more than a skin scent if that. Ugh. Mania had so much promise. The beginning is really wonderful, but it neither holds nor develops and instead peters out like a dying car on its last lap. Putt putt putt putt putt......that's the sound of Mania, petering out at 2 1/2 hours.

While I give this a neutral I have to be honest and say that it's a positive neutral. I like Mania. I even love it for a little while, it just suffers from a couple serious issues. But when it's first applied, it really smells nice, maybe the nicest "fresh woods" scent I've smelled. And that's really what it is, fresh woods. Think of a much better version of Mr. Burberry or something, Kumkat Wood minus Mancera's perfumey nonsense to ruin it. Also, it holds up on fabric so if you spray Mania liberally onto your clothes you'll have a better ride. But that's kind of like me pushing my closer to the TV so I can hear it while watching movies at my friend's house--it kinda works but shouldn't be necessary. Therefore I give Mania a 6.5/10 in the end--still neutral--but on its positive side at least.
18th January, 2018

Sorriso by Profumum

A blend of chocolate and vanilla with a soft, cushiony, fluffy feeling. It wears like one's ensconced in a cloud. As is the usual case with Profumum Roma, the ingredients are obviously of a very good quality--rich and robust despite being used in a simple manner. Furthermore, Sorriso is impressively, and almost dangerously, strong. While wearing just about two and a half light sprays I filled the room I was working in. I knew I was choking out anyone around me with a gigantic gourmand cloud that followed my every move. I ran home during lunch to wash some of it off me it was so strong. And even after scrubbing and rinsing myself in warm, soapy water the fragrance is still very present. In fact I received 3 comments AFTER I washed myself off, none of which were negative, and one of which was a compliment. So that may tell you a little bit about how it wears. If something can be both "soft" and bombastic, this is the one. As mentioned before, Sorriso blends chocolate and vanilla, and for the most part I don't smell (or care to smell) anything else. If there are a couple of other notes there, they're not too important. I have one chocolate scent--this is it. It's my holy grail chocolate. When the rare mood strikes me and I need a cocoa fix, Sorriso's the one. While not especially masculine, it's not particularly feminine either, and seems to hover right in the middle of the gender scale. A great quality fragrance of exceptional strength and impressive longevity, my final rating is a 9/10.
03rd January, 2018

Pegasus by Parfums de Marly

Partially metallic and slightly powdery, Pegasus plays on an olfactory theme previously explored in Amouage's Reflection Man and Lancome's Hypnose. However, here the accords of almond and vanilla are taken to a sweeter level and the fragrance sits in a bit of a higher register than the others. These accords are the focus of Pegasus and drive it for the duration of the scent. Behind it you get the impression of a clean yet kind of vague blend of lavender, amber, and florals of a sweeter variety. For the most part, Pegasus is linear and it uses a fair amount of synthetics in its composition. Personally, this doesn't bother me as I don't find them particularly harsh or scratchy here, they're just sort of the standard Parfums de Marly synthetics that we find in many of their scents. I love the way Pegasus smells. I find its sweet, aromatic composition of almond and vanilla upbeat and, for lack of a better word, kind of yummy. It's fairly versatile, as I've worn it to work and on nights out and found it right at home in both situations. Overall, it has a semi-casual, friendly appeal.

Pegasus performs very well, with strong projection and excellent longevity (over 8 hours). In my experience it works best when applied sparingly with just two, or maybe three solid sprays. Applying it in this manner I catch nice wafts of it throughout the day and other people notice it as well, but it doesn't become intrusive or overbearing. Go heavy on the trigger and you'll pay the price, as the smell can become very annoying and dominant when over-applied. I've gotten several compliments on Pegasus since wearing it, for those of you who care about such things, and haven't received any negative comments or dirty looks. This one gets a thumbs up as it's another appealing, though kind of familiar offering from Parfums de Marly. I recommend it for sampling with the possibility that you may like it enough to buy it. Final score: 8.5/10
24th December, 2017
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Ferrari Bright Neroli by Ferrari

What's not to like? This is my favorite neroli scent for sure, as usually I'm not much of a fan of the bitter, white citrus flower. However, Ferrari's seems to be paired with a wonderfully fruity citrus component and what results is a bright, cheerful neroli fragrance with a bit of a watery texture, and a light, sparkling crystal quality. While I find it a relatively simple scent, and very linear, it's the kind of smell that's hard to dislike. My only complaint about Bright Neroli is that its projection is on the weaker side. While I still catch nice wafts of it from time to time, it could be stronger. While available, this goes for about $40 online, which is definitely worth it, in my opinion. If you're looking for something fresh with a different twist to your standard lemons and aquatic blues, this is a great option. Thumbs up. 8/10
12th October, 2017

Pasha Edition Noire Sport by Cartier

Not to piggyback on another reviewer's thoughts, but speedracer's first sentence really sums it up perfectly. This has a beautiful, refreshing aquatic melon note in the opening which lasts for about 20 minutes to half an hour, and then it is followed up by a very standard, typical synthetic woody-aquatic base which is neither offensive nor impressive. I went against my own rules on this one and bought it in the store after smelling the initial spray on a paper card. It smelled so good! But alas, it only lasted 30 minutes before spiraling into a very generic, simplistic base. I'm giving it a neutral, because it's certainly not a bad scent, but it doesn't quite deserve a thumbs up.
09th October, 2017

Aoud Vanille by Mancera

A rich, woody, high performing borderline gourmand that strikes a nice balance between a vanilla cookie and a pile of lumber. The wood has a dry, almost-dusty natural smell, a mix of oud and other varieties like guaiac, sandalwood, and cashmeran. The vanilla is well-proportioned, not of the cotton-candy, sugary variety but a little darker and drier, and it helps to maintain a relatively mature feeling Aoud Vanille. This one projects and lasts extremely well--I use 2 sprays on my chest and it still gets well out there for hours. At one point I owned about 8 or 9 Mancera fragrances. This is the only one that I still own. I consider it among Mancera's best and one of the more impressive releases in general in recent years. I would rate this a solid 8 to 8.5 out of 10.
21st September, 2017

Luna Rossa Eau Sport by Prada

A bright, refreshing, semi-watery take on Luna Rossa Sport. At first it seems to lack the original's DNA, but sure enough, it's there. This might be the best in the entire line. It's a nice, refined, fresh scent, at times reminiscent of Dior Homme Sport 2008, with notes of ginger and lavender and a clean, laundered finish.. Eau possesses a very light, cooling, and to some extent, delicate character, and for this reason it is suitable for exceptionally hot weather. Thumbs up and worth exploring if you live in a hot climate or are in the market for a summer Eau. Projection is average and longevity around 5 hours.
11th August, 2017

Traversée du Bosphore by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Duchafour has created a unique gourmand with a new and unusual combination of notes in Traversee du Bosphore. Its opening is familiar; a leathery lipstick infused iris reminiscent of Dior Homme with a red, tangy fruitiness gradually creeping toward the forefront. By the half hour mark the iris has taken a back seat, overcome by the tart fruitiness which has grown in both intensity and sweetness. Now a jammy red rose enters the picture as well, coated in a rich, sugary syrup, and we are presented with Bertrand's interpretation of Turkish delight, a dessert I'm all the more eager to try now that I've smelled this. This is the heart of the fragrance, a soft, pale suede note graces the background just noticeable, while on top of it a distinct candy-like sweetness, slightly tart like a red apple, but sugary and delectable, has taken hold blending in with and accenting a rich, honey-rose syrup drizzled over chunky nougat. It is sweet, it is tart, it is very much red, and it is unlike anything I've smelled before in the world of perfumery. The heart persists for some time, and just when you're beginning to feel stuffed, as if you can't take anymore of the rich, treacly, candied-rose, it all starts to settle down and warm elements of tobacco and a nutty pistachio bring a sobering, neutralizing reassurance to the base, grounding Traversee in a warm, savory finish. What an olfactory ride! Du Bosphore may not be loved by everyone, but if you connect with it you will indeed love it. It is completely unique, and the creative, deft hand of Bertrand Duchafour is on prime display in this complex gourmand extravaganza. I've been lucky this year to discover both this and Noir Exquis (another Duchafour creation). Both are among my best discoveries of the year, but more importantly, both are undoubtedly the best gourmand fragrances I've sniffed in at least three years (I haven't been this impressed with a gourmand since Pierre Guillaume released Aomassai). However, while I can wholeheartedly recommend blind buying Noir Exquis, I have to recommend sampling Traversee du Boshpore. It is so unlike anything around I have no reference point to orient potential buyers. In that case, it's probably best to sample this in the unfortunate case that you find Turkish Delight just doesn't sit right with you. Gladly, I don't have this issue, so I'll be wearing this quite a bit in the future with great pleasure. T

The feel of Traversee du Bosphore is casual, though it could probably be dressed up a little too. It leans more toward night than day in my opinion, but seems well-suited for almost any season. I imagine the sweetness could become too much in really hot, humid weather, but other than that I don't see many seasonal limits for this one. Projection on my skin is very good and longevity is impressive. Please note that there seem to be altering, inconsistent accounts of its performance, though I find for a L'Artisan this is extremely well-performing and I've have had no issues with it. Thumbs up all the way. It's not every day something like this comes along and for that reason Traversee du Bosphore is a truly special scent. 8 out of 10.
21st July, 2017

Carven L'Eau Intense by Carven

A very clean, aromatic green scent with excellent projection and staying power. Carven L'Eau Intense features a powerful refreshing blast of mint and lavender, a touch on the sweet side with some spicier, peppery characteristics on the back end. It's synthetic smelling but only in the best way possible, as it's taken freshness to the next level and amped up its strength so that it really projects and lasts. In this regard it feels very modern and polished. It's a snappy, vibrant kind of scent, that will go well with a white button down or sharp Polo shirt during the warmer months. In some ways you can compare L'Eau Intense to Acqua di Parma Colonia which also is fronted by a very powerful, synthetic mint note. However, while I find the AdP somewhat abrasive and harsh in the synthetic sense, Carven's is much smoother and well-composed. So between the two, Carven is definitely the better choice. The juice is presented in a nice, pristine white bottle with a clear backing and simple font. It reflects the scent well and looks good on display. Longevity is about 8 hours. Overall, L'Eau Intense is a solid choice for a clean, vibrant summer fragrance featuring mint, and is a pleasure to wear. Thumbs up.
05th July, 2017

CH Men Central Park by Carolina Herrera

Really nice! By far the best CH Men flanker that I've tried (which is all of them except for Africa). This actually reminds me a lot of the original CH Men before it was reformulated, as it really taps into CH Men's fresh spicy sugar/maple sap component which smells kind of like the sap on a pinecone. What makes Central Park special is the addition of ginger, which has reinvigorated it, really creating what feels like a spring version of CH Men. The ginger is bright and aromatic, and the fragrance itself has a nice diffusive levity to it, never feeling heavy or bogged down but instead projecting confidently with a soft, bouyant consistency. It's a very relaxing, comfortable scent to wear as well. While it isn't heavy or dark, for the most part shedding its leather components altogether, it's never sharp or citrusy either, and doesn't get caught up in trying to smell "fresh" by using all the typical tricks of the genre that often appear in 'sports' fragrances and aquatics. It's a relatively simple scent--this sweet, aromatic ginger over CH Men's trademark sugar accord--but it works.

Is Central Park worth owning if you have the original? It depends. Are you a huge fan of the line? If you are, then this is definitely a worthwhile edition that you will enjoy. Are you a big "seasonal" wearer? If so, then I think a good argument could be made for owning both, as Central Park really seems like the perfect spring/summer version of the scent. This is the group I fall into, so I don't mind owning the two. However, if you're just a casual wearer of scents, I could imagine both would get redundant, in which case only owning one would be best. Either way, they're both very good and you can't go wrong with one or the other. Thumbs up for this relatively under the radar flanker, and great seasonal addition to the CH Men line.
05th July, 2017

Black XS L'Excès for Him by Paco Rabanne

What a pleasant surprise! L'Exces features a fresh, candied pineapple and grapefruit accord over a clean, synthetic woody base. It's simple--fresh and sweet--and is perfectly wearable as there are no particular missteps, imbalances, or awkward moments in its development (in fact it's linear for the most part, just moving more toward the woody base as the fresh pineapple accord settles in). Performance is solid, slightly above average with decent projection and 6 to 8 hours of longevity. I was also surprised by the quality of L'Exces' bottle--it's solid glass which fades from black to clear (top to bottom) and features a tiny, dark gray, solid metal skull dangling from its side, with "Black XS L'Exces' in gothic silver writing on the front. Sounds tacky but actually comes across really cool and well done. I'm totally happy with this. There are so many men's scents that have come out recently and have tried to capture what's been so effortlessly achieved here--to create a sweet men's masculine that combines fresh fruity qualities with woody undertones. L'Exces does it without blinking. And rather than incorporating that clumsy, woody-amber chemical that's being done to death in the base of today's men's scents, L'Exces succeeds with a simple synth sandalwood that remains relatively smooth and dry, providing a perfect platform for its fresh top. If you enjoy Bond No. 9 Scent of Peace for Him you will probably like this one. In some ways it's even better, and it costs much less. Thumbs up for this offering from Paco Rabanne, which I recommend as a blind buy as long as you're into this kind of fragrance, of course.

Final Note: In comparison to Black XS, which I also like, L'Exces is fresher, lighter and brighter, substitutes grapefruit and pineapple for strawberry and rhubarb, and has an immediately more wearable appeal. Black XS is darker, more syrupy, and requires a bit more thought before applying it (like, "Where will I be? What will I be doing? Etc.). Though Black XS may be a bit more interesting, what L'Exces loses in that department, it gains in wearability and simple use factor. Good stuff.



28th June, 2017

Terra by Vince Camuto

Terra follows the current trend of of men's fragrances with their latest release which features a fruity, slightly tangy rhubarb note surrounded by that approaching-cotton-candy-but-not-quite tonka-laden designer sweetness inherent in so many scents at the moment. There also is a touch of warm earthiness which shows up briefly, and oddly, in the beginning of the scent's development as opposed to its end. I was actually glad to see the earthy aspect quickly disappear as it just smelled kind of strange and out of place while it was around. To its credit, Terra is not a bad scent. It smells good, and despite its generic theme, it's been executed well in the sense that the sweetness never becomes overbearing and the obviously synthetic elements never feel harsh or grating on the nose. It's possible to enjoy it at times, which I do. And in that regard, it's decent. Also, for some reason there's no strong woody-amber component, which is fine with me as those can be especially obnoxious, so that's a plus. But it's important to note how basically generic this one is. The rhubarb doesn't exactly smell like rhubarb--just a vague fruity tang--and the rest of the scent is pretty much just this general sweetness I've been talking about. Although it's well-done, it's so familiar and expected at this point. Terra's real downfall however is its performance. Had it been created with solid projection and good longevity, I might be happy with my purchase, as I think Terra's treatment of this generic sweetness might be my favorite version of it (after all, it's smooth and easy on the nose, and for some reason doesn't get annoying). Unfortunately, its performance is below average. The reserved projection, which I enjoyed at first, is actually too weak, sitting too close to the skin to be much more than a skin scent after the initial half hour. And Terra's longevity is only about 4 hours when it can be detected, as it's almost completely gone from the skin by hours 5 and 6. I like Terra as a smell, but its poor performance and lazy lack of originality can't allow me to give it a thumbs up. I would score this one a very netural 6 out of 10.
28th June, 2017

Fahrenheit Cologne by Christian Dior

I really enjoy this rendition of Fahrenheit. I think it's very clever the way that the original has been integrated into the summer-style cologne. This is a two layer fragrance and the immediate layer that you'll notice--that jumps out of you right from the atomizer--is a big, bold citrus note reminiscent of the citrus in Dior Homme Sport 2008. In this regard the citrus seems more than just oranges, lemons, and limes, but also accented with vibrant ginger. This initial accord is so bold that it immediately distracts one from the fragrances second layer--original Fahreneheit. While the top layer is doing it's thing, Fahrenheit, with it's distinct combination of violet and honeysuckle begins creeping out from underneath. When I first smelled Fahrneheit Cologne all I noticed was the citrus top layer. But then suddenly I found myself catching wafts of the original Fahrenheit, and the longer I wore it, the more and more it came into being. What's missing in the cologne are the elements of leather and petrol. But this is okay to me, since Fahrenheit's biggest problem is that it can become overbearing and heavy in the heat specifically as a result of these two elements. So they've been removed to create a version that is perfect for the spring and summer. I've no problem with this, since the original Fahrenheit isn't going anywhere and now I have an enjoyable and safe warm-weather option. And there's no doubt about it--it still smells like Fahrenheit and leaves my favorite part intact. Thumbs up. If you're a fan of the original and always wished for a lighter version, make sure to sniff this right away. It's perfect.
19th June, 2017

Scuderia Ferrari Light Essence Acqua by Ferrari

A light, though well-made version of your standard "blue" aquatic. There's nothing wrong with this one, and to some extent I'd like to give it a thumbs up, but it's pretty generic--hence the neutral rating. Scuderia Light Essence Acqua features all the notes typical of this genre--citrus notes, a synthetic water accord vaguely approximating some kind of ocean atmosphere, dry, unidentifiable woods, and a some soft florals floating around the edges to round it out. And it's all pretty much blended together into one singular, linear blue accord There's not much else to it. On the plus side Essence Acqua is surprisingly pleasant. As long as it's applied reasonably there are no harsh or abrasive chemical smells, and there isn't anything annoying about it. These kind of scents occasionally work for me, as it did today: I never set my alarm and was running late to work about 45 minutes behind my normal schedule. I had to take a really quick shower and grab whatever clothes were available to me, and I had to choose a fragrance for the day. The weather looked nice but I couldn't tell if it was cool or warm outside; I wasn't in a bad mood but I wasn't in a great mood either; and since I put myself together in such a hurry I wasn't really going for any kind of special look or affect. I just wanted something that would smell clean and a little fresh, and to cut through the daily smells carried around by the general public. Without thinking, I grabbed my bottle of Light Essence Acqua and it turned out to be the perfect choice. So as far "dumb reach" scents are concerned, this stuff works--at least in the spring and summer. However, if creativity or distinction are what you're going for, you'll need to look elsewhere. As I mentioned before, I'm sort of tempted to give this a thumbs up. It delivers for what it is and it doesn't pretend to be anything else. Still, its generic makeup can't carry it too far beyond a neutral.
09th June, 2017

Le Mâle Eau Fraiche by Jean Paul Gaultier


This was a pleasant surprise. It's fresh and sweet in the same vein as Invictus Aqua, but instead of Invictus' trademark sweet accord, Popeye incorporates mint. I think if you like one you'll like the other. Of course this still contains the basic Le Male DNA, but overall it feels a bit lighter, and updated through the addition of ambroxan. This is a friendly scent, and doesn't take itself too seriously, giving off a sort of happy, playful vibe. What I like most about it is the effect of the mint accord; it feels very airy and diffusive, so it really projects and gets out there in sweet, aromatic wafts while still remaining light. Popeye Eau Fraiche is probably best suited for temperate climates, as the mint becomes muted in very cold weather and the sweetness may become overbearing when it's very hot. I like to wear it on mild winter days and think it will be great during the spring. It can probably be compared most to Versace Eros as far as its smell, though this one has less tonka and as a result is lighter overall, with the mint elevated to an airier, more diffusive plane. So I suppose it has the feel of Invictus Aqua and the smell of Eros. Either way, it works well. Performance is very good and should last you throughout the day. You'll probably like this if you enjoy Invictus, Eros, One Million, Ultra Male, or Allure Homme Sport. If you don't like those fragrances, then Le Male Popeye Eau Fraiche is probably not for you. Thumbs up.

One final note: I don't think this was meant to be worn heavily. It really smells most appealing when it comes across in light wafts. 2 or 3 good sprays should do you fine, but once you get into the 5-6 range you're risking turning this one into an obnoxious, juvenile kind of smell. Of course if you're going to a club or something you can always add an extra spray or two, but for the average day, 2 or 3 is my recommendation.
30th January, 2017

Hommage à L'Homme Voyageur by Lalique

Whew! This is a serious one. I'm surprised Voyageur hasn't acquired the prestige of Encre Noire as I believe this is even better. Voyageur is a dark, rich, and smooth uncompromisingly woody fragrance. It's extremely well-done and presents an elegant, polished feel never lacking in depth or structure. Its vetiver is dark and fragrant when combined with the patchouli, but it's been rendered extremely smooth through the vanilla and amber in the base. This never becomes sweet, rather the amber and vanilla expertly round out the edges, adding to its depth and smooth feel. I would recommend this to anybody really looking for a woody fragrance, not necessarily a playful one either but one that is truly composed and confident. However it's equally important to point out that Voyageur is not lacking in heart--it's not an "unfriendly" scent or detached in any way. It just didn't come to play games. Completely worth the $35 you can find this for and I don't think people would bat an eye if it sold for $150 under a different name. Thumbs up.
28th January, 2017

Insensé by Givenchy

If I'm to be completely honest, I really don't care about the history of this scent or the fact that it was ground-breaking when it was released because it was the first floral for men. What I care about is how it smells to me, and to me it just smells like an over-abundance of floral notes clubbing me over the head with little room to appreciate anything else that's going on. It's so uncompromising and powerful in how it presents the florals that I just don't dig it. There are floral fragrances I enjoy, where I find better structures, either smoother or more delicate, or used in combination with other notes as to present some contrast and interplay, but Insense is a no. In smell, it reminds me a bit of Kenzo Power, but even Power is light in comparison to this, which comes across to me as really just a floral monstrosity.
28th January, 2017

Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

"You smell like an old, nasty soap!" were the words directly from my wife's mouth after applying Givenchy Gentleman. I kind of agree with her. This one does sort of smell like "an old, nasty soap." I don't know what's occurred as a result of reformulations, but I get very little warmth and sweetness in the newest iteration of Givenchy Gentleman. Instead I get a very dry, acrid patchouli bomb, with a shrill floral note that seems like geranium and rose and a bad attempt at leather. It smells outdated also, though that's not really my issue with it. It just smells bad to me; like something I'm going to put on and annoy everybody with thoughts of "the cologne guy" and such a stereotypical, played out masculine chypre sort of smell. The notes and accords feel flat and compressed, and it all comes across sort of cold and heartless...and 70's. Not my thing. Thumbs down.
28th January, 2017

Armani Code Ultimate by Giorgio Armani

This is my favorite in the Code line aside from Sport Athlete. Ultimate does a great job creating a creamy, sensuous tonka accord in the opening and then transitioning to a solid, woody base with some character in the end. In the beginning it flashes some fresh notes but pretty quickly settles into a vanilla and tonka combination that is smooth and enticing. This one really seems designed to be a date fragrance, and its consistent, though never over-the-top projection is perfect in this regard. Code Ultimate isn't linear however, as it makes a complete transition from its tonka heart to a very woody base. The woods notes here are distinct, and indeed it's a very good rendition of guiac wood, a kind of fuzzy-warm, rich woodiness that continues the romantic, sensuous theme, keeping this one along a warm, alluring plane. Longevity is very good. As mentioned earlier, Ultimate makes for a great date fragrance or just a night out on the town during the cooler months. There are many, many woody/tonka fragrances on the market these days. This is one of the better choices. Thumbs up.
28th January, 2017

Roadster Sport by Cartier

Roadster Sport doesn't remind me too much of the original other than for a a brief moment in the opening when I get a flash of something resembling mint. This is a much more subtle fragrance and for some, it may come across as bland. To me it is a grassy, mildly herbal scent mostly dominated by rosemary, lime, and orange flower. There's also something of a cold, bitter edge to it, but not in any extreme, dominating way, just enough to give it a cool feeling. I think Roadster Sport is nice and pleasant, but it's not anything that's going to wow you or feel particularly special. The original Roadster makes much more of an immediate and lasting impact. At the same time, the original also suffers from a few awkward moments and missteps while this version does not. In that regard, Sport is well-composed and put together, achieving its mildly pleasing effect rather effortlessly. I'm sort of neutral toward this, but definitely neutral leaning in a positive direction. It seems like the kind of scent that I may appreciate more with time and several wears. As of now, it's just kind of cool and grassy, slightly herbal and bitter while coming across nice and pleasant. Also, on the positive side, there's nothing that screams "SPORT" about this. It doesn't possess any of the sterotypical "sporty" blue and aquatic fresh qualities that often plague sport flankers, so kudos to Cartier for not going that route at least. Projection is on the reserved side of moderate and longevity is about an average 6 hours. Roadster Sport reminds me of the now discontinued Essenza de Zegna, dialed down a notch, but similar as far as its grassy, herbal quality is concerned.
28th January, 2017