Reviews by jimmyfresno

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    jimmyfresno
    United States United States

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    Poivre by Caron

    I bought this in extrait form in Paris and it struck me as the most masculine of the urn perfumes. Upon wearing it repeatedly, however, the clove overtook the floral aspect and it seemed that the fragrance was ill-blended. I persisted, believing that Caron intended for this fragrance to "unfold" rather than be the dentist office oil of clove it was. I was never able to smell beyond the perhaps floral sweetened clove to pick up the namesake peppercorn.

    Inspired by the idea of the scent, and somewhat of a dabbler novice perfumer, I was able to create my own version of what I thought this fragrance should have been. Carnation absolute, tincture of star anise and white peppercorn, pimento essential oil, essential oil of black peppercorn, tons of jasmine grandiflorum absolute, exaltolide musk, true mysore sandalwood supported by sandalore, and then a careful hand at adding the aromachemical eugenol, which Caron tripped with. I found that eugenol was less medicinal, muddy, and sweeter than pure clove bud essential oil. I love the perfume I created. Caron's inspiration does count for something.

    05 October, 2012

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    l'eau de parfum #2 Spiritus / land by Miller et Bertaux

    If fragrances could be film characters, this fragrance would be Hannibal Lechter. It is by far, the most soul-less, hollow and lonely perfume I have ever tested or worn. The Miller et Bertaud fragrances all seem to have a detached chemical aspect to them, but this fragrance is a bone dry (coffin)wood note with a deft use of smoke (cade) that is difficult to titrate artfully. While some have labeled this as a contemplative incense fragrance, I don't get a spiritual or calming vibe from it...I get a depressing emptiness and barren charred landscape. Maybe a scent to be worn if you're going to jump from a building or burn your house down.

    I liked Alfarom's review very much...he has dissected this fragrance well.

    I am giving this fragrance a "neutral" rating instead of "thumbs down" only because for a detached Goth, this fragrance could be nirvana. Just not for me.

    11th September, 2012

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    Boss Number One by Hugo Boss

    Dated. clumsy, heavyhanded and nauseating. I wore this in the 80s and dont' know how I managed it.

    Revisiting it in the context of some knowledge about fragrances, I appreciated the beeswax (they're calling it honey) note hidden in the murk of horrible "Fruit Loops" synthetic florals and fruit. The basenotes are so insinuated into this sickening mess that they are overpowered by the aromachemical catastrophe that Boss is.

    My real pity is for the female or other partner of the innocent man who applies this miasma to his chest and has to smell it while next to him.

    I am wondering if they are still employing Pierre Wargnye, the perpetrator of this scent.

    27 August, 2012

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    David Beckham Instinct by Beckham

    This scent had the potential to be very nice in the basenotes. However, why do all department store scents for men rely on an opening of the usual limonene, "oh, this is cologne" note? I realize they're trying to give an instant payoff to the impatient, but would they die if they opened with something original?

    The fragrance is nice enough, it morphs into a spicy richness that is worth its $14 TJ Maxx price tag. But give some credit to your consumer audience, Coty, and give us something unpredictable.

    14 August, 2012

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    Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

    I understand the "gasoline" and "motor oil" comments about this fragrance, but they are painted with a delicate brush along with florals and green notes that are a continuous landscape of fragrance. It is very complex without ever being muddy. Sieuzac must have studied sweet woods, spice, herbs and musk and learned how to cover up the delicate turning point just at which they become blended and unrecognizable as individual components. I pick up some Iso E Super used in a way to smooth the whole concoction over into a watercolor of scent.

    I have loved this fragrance since being in Europe in the late 70s when there was an advertising blitz. Yes, it was abused, but over 25 years later, I have just bought another bottle after being tired of it for a period.

    14 August, 2012

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    Bellodgia by Caron

    I have the eau de cologne. I like the top carnation note on this fragrance, but in the first 5 minutes it reveals what I guess is Caron's mousse de saxe, but in this case the result is something that has a slightly citrusy/fecal/mossy "off" note, like the spray that is used to deoderize pet kennels. Who am I to question Caron.

    06 July, 2012

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    Hamptons by Bond No. 9

    I don't know about Bond. It seems these fragrances artfully concoct the most synthetic, impersonal aspects of fragrances that are all supposed to conjure memories with their elaborate backstories. I almost try to ignore the descriptions of perfumes because they are all so hyped, but Bond's word artestry is sublime.

    Hamptons is supposed to be unisex, but comes across as feminine only because it is so chipper. Beyond "fresh," it is hair product clean. I think it is a touch of synthetic rose, combined with a soapy accord, that does it, although rose isn't listed in the notes.

    Someone said that Bond is great with topnotes but basenotes are crafted unsuccessfully. I would guess that the basenotes are purposefully lacking because Morganthaler is trying to keep the topnotes supersonically high without muddling them. If the topnotes were worthy of this treatment, I would approve.

    03 July, 2012

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    Brooklyn by Bond No. 9

    I have none of the baggage regarding Bond as some reviewers, e.g. the number of fragrances they release each year, etc. But I am starting to believe that their formulas are ripoff tweeks of popular perfume notes.

    Brooklyn, oh Brooklyn. What an overdose of a note not listed: synthetic Pink Peppercorn, iso e Super, and the line's favorite chemical, Calone acquatic marine "accord." . Astmatic, bronchospasm-inducing Pink Peppercorn. One tiny half spritz on my wrist and I recognized it and had to wash it off. It is the very note that causes my lungs to close when a colleague wears it. My spouse is now coughing 3 rooms away, I swear to god.

    01st July, 2012

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    Parfum d'Habit by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    This was a strange fragrance to get "comfortable with." Most reviewers are describing a cross between vetiver and patchouli, but it comes across to me somewhere near costus root but a synthetic analog like costalon, a strange aromachemical used that used to be popular in 80s fougere fragrances. It is overdosed in this one. I use this very very sparingly and layer it with some sandalwood essential oil to tame the fakeness of that predominant element. Once accomplished it has many redeeming blending qualities.

    01st July, 2012

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    Gold by Donna Karan

    This one missed the mark for me. I was looking for a lily soliflore that transmitted the almost supersonic narcotic quality of the topnotes of lilly, supported by the clovey spiciness. I bought the EDP version of this perfume.

    First, the diffusiveness is very, very lacking. I sprayed it on a test strip in my warm car at the post office, excited to receive it. Only when I put my nose to the strip was the fragrance even discernible, even at this EDP concentration.

    What I got initially was a sort of lily "accord" constructed as an almost impressionistic interpretation of the flower. Isoamyl acetate banana, a cool water fresh accord similar to the cucumber some described, jasmine somewhere in there, clove, cinnamon, and a lily that is quickly muted by an almost gourmand carmel-amber gooiness that muffles the whole thing into a syrupy hand lotion smell. I am sorry to break from the pack of those who adore this scent, but for me it missed the mark, but the topnotes on this fragrance need some serious work, as does its diffusiveness.

    03 March, 2012

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    Armani Code for Women by Giorgio Armani

    I smelled this on a female co-worker and was dumbstruck at how beautiful it is...in the air.

    On the skin, the first impression I got was funny. Animal crackers! Sweet and sugary and buttery.

    Perfumes are so complicated now, compositions using aromachemical molecules that are often imperceptible to the wearer (olfactory fatigue, anosmia) but that hover in the air in a brilliant cloud for those around them...paradisone, berryflor, International Flavors and Fragrances does nothing but try to produce novel molecules for this purpose, but it has rendered review and recognition of any single new fragrance almost impossible. They have become postmodern "simulacra" where the copy is so pervasive it is mistaken for being the true original. We cannot imagine what real deer musk smelled like anymore..

    Armani Code for women is one of those mysteries. It is not a wrist sniffer. Near the wrist, it comes off as a cloudy, velvety "me too" fragrance. But the suederol, musks, and maybe even Iso E Super are blunted and blended so craftily that they equal a whole that does not represent the parts. Under it all is a lightly used touch of soapy generic Avon, but smudged with an ozone-like matrix scaffolding that comes across like the smell of a dirty refrigerator. Almost a metallic or mineral feel, dusty and cold.

    How this all falls into place is not detectable to the wearer. It is for all of us around him or her to decide. I finally found this fragrance to be breathtaking...in a good way.

    23 January, 2012 (Last Edited: 24 January, 2012)

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    T for Him by Tommy Hilfiger

    OK, so this is a scent I smelled on someone else and was captivated by initially. The burst of citrus was so clean, green and well rounded, it was mouth-watering. I didn't feel that I needed to actually wear it before deciding to buy it since it seemed like such a straightforward, fresh, clean scent. I don't usually buy mass marketed cologne, but for casual wear, this seemed refreshing.

    Well, on skin, this is a dissapointment. After the grapefruit/lime topnote quickly fades, the "green" edge of the citrus is left behind on ones body as a strong celery seed note, which I'm surprised that no one has mentioned thus far. It's almost like Yatagan but not as interesting, accompanied by that standard, hackneyed men's 70s fougere accord with lavender and amber. Unwearable.

    05 October, 2010

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    Joy by Jean Patou

    I was exposed to Joy first by an old empty 1/4 ounce bottle tucked away in my mother in law's dresser when she moved. I sniffed the glass tapered dauber beneath the red bakelite cap and instantly detected almost the only remaining basenote that had survived time and evaporation: a pure, beautiful ambergris.

    I have toyed with vintage feminine fragrances for some time as the old formulations were so rich and dark that in the right circumstances they could light up a well dressed man in a suit who has enough security not needing to be swathed in "aquatics" that are on the market today, or the linallol/geraniol cliche that is supposed to be the naive olfactory touchstone that yells "masculine" from the discount store shelf.

    In contrast were the vintages; brooding elixirs with complexity and no fear of having real body surrounded by heady topnotes of substance: tons of pure jasmine, peachy gamma-decalactone, real pissy civet, anise, all in a classy swirl of perfect blending that rises to the nose as a harmonious chord, not individual notes. The dissection of this fragrance takes patience since the materials are so seamlessly intertwined that the anise becomes an aspect of the jasmine, the green ripe fruit also adding to it. The high quality sandalwood binding with what's left and then what I insist is ambergris holding the bouquet together.

    I wear this fragrance as a male scent often; perhaps not in the proportion that a woman of the 40s would use, but dotting it on a fresh washed chest, after the womanish topnotes evaporate in 20 minutes, I have come to feel it as a very comfortable melancholy men's sturdy floral with enough of a base to not have indolic bridal flowers leaping out at passers by. Context is everything, and in a world of Sara Jessica Parker and J Lo Glo, on a man, this scent is a statement that draws interest and, "What's that." It also layers well with dry scents, like Parfumeur et Gantier's Parfum d'Habit with its hay, caraway, light patchouli and light vetiver, to butch up Patou Joy. The basenotes are exquisite and linger for most of the day, unnoticed by those whom I am not close enough to allow it to reveal its beautiful self.

    30th July, 2009

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    Oud 27 by Le Labo

    I sampled this fragrance at Barney's in Chicago and was blown away. An initial boozy bourbon and tobacco cedar blast won my heart from the first spritz, since I am a pipe tobacco and wood fragrance lover. So I backed my way out of a sale by telling the lovely salesperson that I'd need to live with it on my skin for a while to decide.

    Walking for an hour on Michigan drive, I smelled my hand and wrist and couldn't resist running back to Barney's. This fragrance is the quintessential mix of tobacco, wood, booze and a whisper of skank that drives me wild. Each of these elements are in perfect proportion so that they interlock and present themselves almost in whole fashion rather than a dissectable composition: tobacco becomes oud becomes civet (almost a parmesan cheesy, cat box funk) with enough white birch to give a camphorous lift and an ambrox envelope to hold everything in perfect synch.

    I was forward enough to justify the extra 10.5% sales tax ($23!) by asking the saleswoman if she would get in trouble by adding some extra base to the custom blended alcohol-juice bottle. She smiled and said, "there is some margin for error."

    I can see not wanting to wear this fragrance every day; it is quite a sturdy, austere scent that stays close to the skin. But I give it a huge thumbs up.

    12 July, 2009

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    Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

    I am finding the Tom Ford line rather clumsy. The fragrances seem to find a favorite student in the class and look at no one else. For examle, the Oud Wood in this line is cedar heavy and too camphorous to allow the artificial oud to peek its head through. Similarly, the Tobacco Vanille is very heavy handed on typical sweet amber, which overwhelms the beautiful fruity floral nuances of true cured tobacco can have.

    This fragrance does not develop into anything noteworthy other than a sweet amber vanilla confection in the middle notes and drydown, with maybe some tobacco drowned somewhere in the glop. I suppose a half spritz would be a great layer for a very dry wood fragrance, but why not plunk the $200 down on something created by a nose who knows what he or she is dealing with? Shame for the price and presumed snootiness that this line seems to want us to buy into.

    12 July, 2009

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    Intimately Beckham Men by Beckham

    This fragrance was formulated to be one of the first to contain a new synthetic molecule identical to natural deer musk, L-muscone, and is proprietary to this brand so far. For this reason alone, I want to try it. I am hoping that the drydown that everyone has described as being "close to the skin," or "not performing well on skin that is not freshly scrubbed," would be indicative of this musk component. Ordered a bottle today to sample.

    04 January, 2009

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    Duro by Nasomatto

    This scent is constructed mainly of an overdose of an off-the-shelf aromachemical "Oud Base" made by Firmenich company . This chemical was intended to be rounded and complexified by natural ingredients or other accords to soften it, and it was never intended to be used in such a huge dose by itself.
    Nasomatto did attempt to round it with a bit of Suederol to give it a leathery feel, but failed to overcome the bludgeon of the overdose of Oud base. This is a clumsy fragrance to those familiar with its components.

    It could redeem this to use half a spritz layered with something more complex with sandalwood or incense, I suppose. But for the price, this fragrance should be a masterpiece on its own.

    11th December, 2008 (Last Edited: 03 January, 2009)

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    Melograno by Santa Maria Novella

    I do agree with the above reviewers that this fragrance is aldehylic and somewhat powdery and there is no pomegranate (melograno) to be found, however I do find it to be leathery because of a big dose of isobutyl quinoline, which is where the "synthetic" reviews and smokiness might come from. I equate it with a clumsier take on vintage bandit, still it has its cozy aspects. The florals are so blurred it is hard to name them, and there's some citrus in the mess. This review makes it sound horrible, which it's not, it's my favorite SMN next to aqua di colonia, but still I don't reach for it often, and never in warm weather.

    30th November, 2008

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    X for Men by Clive Christian

    Wish I hadn't been a johnny come lately on this one, but to me, a LOVER of labnum, this one yelled at me a most refined, almost destilled cream-of-labnanum distillation that warrants its' sky high price. it's almost as if someone had distlled the very best of labdanum, blended it with some complementary citruses and sages, and marketed it as an uber-priced exquisite fragarance.

    If you love labdanum and can't get enough, this is your holy grail Otherwise, be disappinted and exptect the hype. I love it. It gives me the very quintessence of labdanum that lasts for hours with minimal intrsion by the other hype notes. Sorry to sway from the pack on this onle. Five thumbs up.

    27 July, 2008

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    Eau de Cartier by Cartier

    This fragrance is extraordinary, but a true example of how manufacturers can just slap on names of notes for marketing sexiness regardless of what's in the juice itself. To me, under the kuzu top note, this fragrance rings clearly of peppercorn, pimiento, violet and a woodiness based on the aromachemical iso e super (think Shiseido "Feminite du Bois" or Escentric Molecules "Escentric 01")

    It is a loveable, masterfully blended, refreshing scent.

    26 November, 2007

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Ouarzazate by Comme des Garçons

    After sampling all of the Incense series at a boutique in San Francisco, fell in love with the sage/peppercorn/balsam fir/nutmeg/incense accord of this perfectly blended fragrance.

    Although CDG is always very edgy, the only risk they took with this one was in experimenting until they discovered it. If you've ever smelled those pueblo indian souvenier balsam fir incense boxes in a gift shop, think of it combined with them ost luscious spice and richness you can imagine. My only regret is that the individualized peppery nature of the top notes melds in the drydown to an indiscriminate but still delicious single semisweet chord. I wanted the topnotes of this fragrance to go on forever. The nutmeg, so prevalent in my first experiences with Quarzazate, gave way to cardamom and fir in later tries. I love this complicated puzzle of a fragrance.

    09 November, 2006

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    Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne

    OK;I am having a hard time with the comments "weaker" and "barely smell." I literally picked up a tiny bottle of this stuff left behind on a bench at my gym at closing time and took it home with me. It is on sale at Sears and I am too snobby to actually buy it.

    This miasma of a fragrance has to be one of the most Guido, gold-chain and- wifebeater-in-polyester-sans-a-belt fragrances my crippled old nose has ever smelt. Get ye to a men's boutique! Spend more than $10 on a fragrance! As has bee said before, none of the pyramid of notes is truly reflected in this clash of 10 disco fragrances mixed in a latrine. Green, fake, persistent, insincere, un-sexy, camouflage for the human spirit.

    09 November, 2006

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    10 Corso Como by 10 Corso Como

    This scent initiated me to the smell of the warm, artistic interpretation of "incense" used in perfume jargon. (Nothing like incense in my opinion). It continues to be one of my favorite dispite its dry, potent, rubbery smell. I might just love it because of its absolute lack of sweetness or powder and its absolute sheerness. It breezes comfortably in the back of the nose and palate like a toasty vapor, not hitting it like most of the overblended opaque men's stuff out there. It is sparse and minimal. It lasts nicely and it is evocative and distinctive. Three huge thumbs up.

    08 November, 2006

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    Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

    OK, not sure whether to be extatic or completely deflated now. I am somewhat of an amateur perfumer (hobbyist) with a very good nose, and I waited a month and spent $210 for an impossible to find bell jar of Serge Lutens MKK. I love it. Two weeks later, I came back from my local TJ Maxx with two bottles of Kiehls snatched for $20, and was able to duplicate MKK simply by adding a drop of cumin oil in alcohol and two drops of amber paste tincture. A dead ringer, top notes through drydown, one minute to four hours later. I guess it's good in a way since I can now refill my bell jar when it's empty.

    08 November, 2006

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    Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Should be called Leming. I own it and was lured by the craze to buy it untested, but never have I seen such hype since "Coty001" (The "digital" fragrance with a note of "electrostatic accord" launched as an experiment by an Advertising man at Coty in 2001). Such a backstory!

    I am a fan of rubber, but what others read as rubber comes to me as syrupy sweet amber. Dzing does not contain elephant. I was taken to no circus by this one. No imagery of trapeze-flying women occurred to me. I was taken to another amber vanilla wanna-be that made my co-workers scratch their heads and hesitantly say, "James... what's that...cologne..." I felt like I had come out of Wal Mart and sprayed all of the Vanilla Fields bottles down my shirt. Calliope music, please, $175 later, who's the real clown.

    08 November, 2006

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    Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    This fragrance is one of the best attempts at revisiting the amber/musk theme that can be so cloying in other lines. That being said, the funky "what's this?" crotchy pheremone/funky top note, very compelling, lasted five minutes on me. I was like, "WOW!" amazed that they captured that in a bottle. It actually smelled more precisely like the intimate areas of someone dark skinned. I'll go no further on that comment.

    While women may feel embarrassed to smell like this, men (even clean men) smell it all the time on themselves and it was no biggie on me. It also rides very close to the skin, so I don't understand the posts on how strong this is. I was actually prepared for way more funk!

    Still a wonderfully composed scent worth the two month wait and $200

    26 October, 2006

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    Chergui by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I must say that even the best of reviews of this fragrance make it sound like exactly the kind of nauseating mess I try to avoid. This artificial, cloying amber/vanilla era actually closes up my throat sometimes. Thank you for helping me avoid this collision.

    04 October, 2006

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    Bulgari Black by Bulgari

    I am one to believe that different perceptions of scents are not so much a product of chemistry as a genetic inability of certain noses to detect certain notes. Bulgari Black was purchased to entertain my craving for deep, dry rubbery tar and tea. What I got was the sickeningly cloying artifical vanilla scent of a cheap hand cream or dime store body spray. I believe it's contributed by the ingredient Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene, basically an overused compound put in every hand cream to give that love it or hate it "warm vanilla" note that I find heavy and repulsive. Interestingly, studies have shown it also to be a HUGE irritant, and Europe demands that it be disclosed on labels. It's hard for me to overstate how much I loathe that smell. It literally closes my lungs up in bronchospasms.

    My bottle of Bulgari Black went from my wrist to Ebay in 15 minutes flat to finance a purchase of Comme des Garcons Synthetic Series "Skai." I'm hoping it gives the smoky, Barbie Doll PVC scent I'm after.

    04 October, 2006

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    Bandit by Robert Piguet

    Man, I crave this fragrance, but only in the vintage form EDT, where the Isobutyl Quinoline was used so generously to "give the finger" to those who would raise their eyebrows. I think this is the perfect amount of sillage, smells like a guy should. I bought a big 8 ounce vintage bottle so I have a vintage bottle 1 oz on Ebay till thursday: just search under item 190035616703 or search "Vintage Bandit."

    28 September, 2006

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    Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana

    I loved this one from minute one to hour five on a co-worker of mine and bought it to blend with male components to tough it up a bit because of what came across as "spicy," rich notes in the woman who was wearing it. Funny though, it turned out to be one of those scents in which the musk note becomes imperceptible to the wearer, so you have to be verrrrry careful not to over-apply. You can't tell how much you really have on. Lovely.

    26 September, 2006

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