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Iss by Laura Tonatto

A quality sparlking citrus which lacks that special sparkle. Fresh and sunny, but sort of vacuous and adding nothing new to the genre. Quite linear, with some musk and very tame vetiver in the drydown. Lemon candy for damsels.
12th April, 2015
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Chic Shaik Arabia No. 70 by Shaik

A nauseating sweet'n'spicy syrup. Take any of the more cloying Amouages and remove the whatever finesse there is in it, and this is what you get.
16th March, 2011 (last edited: 06th April, 2011)
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Kanz by So Oud

A copycat rendition of Montale's signature floral/oud theme. Given that Montale operates its own successful cloning business, I doubt there's much room on the market for this release.
16th March, 2011
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Hampstead Water by Washington Tremlett

Er -- nice, but this is mostly lavender. Done in the grand old British tradition but hardly adding much, if anything, to what we already have in the lavender department.
19th October, 2010
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Rafale by Molinard

Opens up with the promise of a fresh herbal but turns into a sweet, watery and way too polite old-ladyish thing in a matter of minutes. Dated and on the feminine side. Stated notes - top: bergamot, mandarin, lavender, lemon; middle: jasmin, lily of the valley; base: cedar, sandal, vetiver, musk
19th March, 2010
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Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio

A solid woodie in the sandalwood/amber department. Opens with a heady mix of sandalwood, guaiac wood & patchouli, with a hint of vetiver & perhaps a dash of spice. Quite soon, a welcome but short-lived tar/smoke note pops in, and in a matter of minutes the show is over to a subdued and close-to-the skin sandal/amber drydown. Winter Woods is well-crafted and appears to have quality ingredients but a stronger tar/smoke note and better longevity & sillage wouldn't hurt to make it stand out among the many other good woodies on the market.
28th January, 2010
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Fresco di Vetiver by I Profumi di Firenze

More "fresco" than "vetiver", and quite poor longevity on my skin.
Otherwise, a nice light feel-good citrus/vetiver, quite similar IMO to Fragonard's take on vetiver.
15th October, 2008
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MCM Success by MCM

Success belongs to the same family of heavy-duty colognes as, say, Boss No. 1 or Aramis but makes both look like bell-boys by comparison. It just exudes authority – and too much of it for my liking. You'll find all the usual suspects here, including tobacco, patchouli, vetiver, leather, amber and musk plus a generous helping of honey and hard liquor, all somewhat overdone to my nose. Picture a post-meeting boardroom some place in Houston full of kempt unsmiling men in their sixties smoking cigars and sipping cognac (a nod to Lord Molyneux) and you'll get the idea. You will probably like Success if you're one of those.
28th May, 2007
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Derby by Guerlain

My two cents' worth of dissent… As a lover of vintage chypres, I earnestly tried to develop a fully-fledged affair with Derby (both original and reformulated), but failed miserably. To my unsophisticated nose with a predisposition to full-bodied, manly, sensual and user-friendly chypres, Derby is rather thin and effeminate while also uninvitingly detached and indifferent to the wearer and others at best or smug at worst (given the name, it could easily make a great piece of tongue-in-cheek social commentary). I find the moss, leather and vetiver promised in the basenotes just barely perceptible, with Guerlain's signature vaguely floral / distantly sweet accord proudly floating above and muffling all other notes there are until the very end. Elegant and refined, no doubt, but hardly an outstanding men's chypre by my standards.
28th May, 2007
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Cirrus by Amouage

A truly boring sporty-fresh-aquatic-ozonic number. Save your money and get something from Boss or any other mid-market maker if you're into this kind of scents.
25th May, 2007
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Vetyver Lanvin (original) by Lanvin

No surprises here – Lanvin Vetyver is the fuzzy, boozey, heavy and aromatic Lanvin Monsieur, only a bit (but just a bit) more dynamic and less calm owing to a vetiver note that starts off cheerfully but soon takes a somewhat (but only somewhat) darker, deeper turn, vaguely reminiscent of the vintage Guerlain Vetiver. Alas, little happens besides that as the scent progresses, or rather, hangs there like a thick cloud.
14th May, 2007
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Lanvin for Men by Lanvin

Lanvin for Men is a warm but reserved green/woodsy scent with a soapy bergamot/lavender (to my nose) opening that lingers throughout the progression. Some floral and animalistic notes pop in and out at a later phase, but overall the scent remains quite static, detached and one-dimensional, bringing to mind a top-notch grooming product or skin-care lotion or perhaps some premium household liquid. Definitely classy but very, very abstract.
Listed notes:
Bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, sage,clary sage; Carnation, jasmine, rose, origanum; Vetiver, civet, labdanum, leather
14th May, 2007
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Quorum by Antonio Puig

Great price, packaging and longevity aside, Quorum is an unapologetically nasty, brutal, artificial, obnoxious, ill-mannered, no-nonsense take-no-prisoners macho brew - I can almost visualize it playing pool in some seedy bar with chums One Man Show and Jean Couturier 12 – but it is also quite complex and can be fun, although in a very limited range of situations. I like having a decant around for a spritz now and then just for the heck of it, but I doubt I'll ever wear it in good society. Wonder if it'll work better without that cumin note...
24th April, 2007
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Phileas by Nina Ricci

Very soapy, very 'erbal, unashamedly full-bodied, beatifully mixed and just downright pleasant. Add excellent longevity, Nina Ricci quality and the unique celery note that run throughout the progression - and you get a must-have in the vintage department.
24th April, 2007
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Paradigm by Shiseido

A warm aromatic woody chypre with bergamot, geranium, nutmeg, jasmine, musk, tonka, vetiver, leather and a host of other notes, pleasant overall but too soft in nature, heady in presentation, fuzzy in its mix of notes, and generally thick and one-dimensional for its own good. Very eightees and decent enough, but not one of the best from that era.
24th April, 2007
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Oscar de la Renta pour Lui by Oscar de la Renta

A rich floral chypre from the eighties with all the usual suspects, including lavender, bergamot, geranium, musk, leather, patchouli and vetiver among others, but exquisitely blended. Aldehydes and anis (besides artful blending) make Pour Lui a lighter, subtler and less in-your-face brew compared to many of its contemporaries and add an abstract, calm and pensive quality to it that somehow reminds me of Ho Hang Club. If you've been curious about 1980s powerhouses but put off by the heaviness and bluntness of some of them, Pour Lui could be a good introduction.
24th April, 2007
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Monsieur Lanvin by Lanvin

I'm not sure how precise this information is, but web sources list the following notes:
Top: bergamot, lemon, fruity
Heart: carnation, sandal, geranium, cinnamon, jasmine
Base: vanilla, musk, civet, tonka, leather
What I get though is just one solid wall of boozey green on a thick buttery base - lush and aromatic, but to the point of overbearing. It's not a terrible scent, just very linear and with little, if any, development. Interesting as a curio but probably not worth spending the time and money to hunt it down. Hard to believe it made it to 1992.
24th April, 2007
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Loewe para Hombre by Loewe

Some would definitely find it a bit straightforward and macho, but for me Para Hombre is manly, spicy, zesty and fresh, with just the right dose of animalistic notes. Mediterranean joie de vivre in a bottle.
24th April, 2007
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Kipling by Weil

Not bad at all as affordable vintage scents go - solid, warm, woodsy, spicy, and with a character of its own - but I'd be hard pressed to prefer this one to some of the other classics from the era. I certainly see the Quorum connection, although Kipling comes across as a bit more refined and less artificial. There's also a sour/bitter note in Kipling that I find slightly irritating. And where's the spice and adventure suggested by the name?
24th April, 2007
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Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga

Cannot but agree - there is a sense of mystery about this scent, floating aloofly above its subdued darkish base spruced up by warm spice and a bitter honey note.
24th April, 2007
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Eau de Monsieur by Annick Goutal

I love all things earthy, dank and bitter, and this was exactly why I bought Monsieur. However, it turned out to be primarily a citrus scent, albeit with an old-school twist and a moderately bitter, burnt-sugar drydown, not unlike Goutal's own Sables. To add insult to injury, Monsieur is short-lived and somewhat shallow overall. That said, it's not a bad everday scent, just don't expect another Eau de Fier or Vetiver.
24th April, 2007
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Cravache by Robert Piguet

An old-school spicy floral chypre mixing notes of basil, lavender, bergamot, rosemary, patchouli, iris, jasmine, geranium, vanilla, tonka, musk, leather, benzoin and amber. Too musty, motley, floral and characterless to be relevant today.
24th April, 2007
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Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella

An interesting scent definitely worth a try, but with several letdowns: a bit too synthetic (my first impression was the nail polish remover my mother used when I was a kid); leaning on the feminine side; the gasoline/leather combo, the best part of this scent, vanishes in a matter of minutes; the tyre number has been done before, and better IMO (suffice to mention Tubereuse Criminelle), and the leather invokes vynil car seat sofas rather than genuine well-worn car leather.
23rd April, 2007
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The Baron by LTL

An interesting and singular brew, The Baron is a scent that walks by itself. A complex aromatic fougere, I guess, with some floral, synthetic and chypre notes in the mix, but without the warmth you'd expect from a rich fougere, and very elusive and detached at that, as if it wants to keep a distance from us commoners. It reminds me most of all of those coldish, reserved Japanese domestic-market colognes that you can't quite put your finger on. Unfortunately, whatever promise there is in the beginning dries up on the drydown, a muffled semi-sweet moldy-fruit affair with an artificial tang.
28th March, 2007
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Captain Molyneux by Molyneux

Possibly one of the best herbal colognes for everyday wear if you like them laid-back and inconspicuous. Captain won't turn heads but is a real smoothie. The only letdown is dismal longevity.
28th March, 2007
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MG 5 Lavender by Shiseido

The most un-shiseido Shiseido that I've tried, MG 5 Lavender is a rather straight-forward, zesty and somewhat pungent aromatic-herbal-spicy-fresh number with lavender, bergamot, rosemary, geranium and nutmeg among other ingredients, that could be a long-lost Bogart or a not-so-distant relative of Ho Hang or any other of the dozens of those upbeat brisk male scents of the era. To me, the standout note is the heady dusty-dry spice of a dried flower shop. Certainly not bad as 40-year old scents go, but there are some that have aged better. For serious vintage collectors or Shiseido buffs only.
27th March, 2007
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Gentilhomme by Weil

Typical period fare - a rich aromatic fougere with a generous handful of ingredients and chypre undertones, somewhat similar to Lanvin Monsieur, but simpler in construction and a bit too stuffy and conventional to deserve a place in the Fragrance Hall of Fame.
27th March, 2007
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Monsieur Worth by Worth

With all due respect and despite my penchant for vintage scents, I find this one to be terribly dated - suffocatinly heavy, linear and fusty. The dominant woody note is that of a musty chest drawer in an abandoned house. Although born in the heyday of flower power, this Monsieur would make a perfect signature frag for a film noir character: a ten-cent lawyer or a down-and-out private eye in a scuzzy hat swishing Jack Daniels in a dingy uptown dark-paneled office that knew better times. Ugh
23rd March, 2007
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Arboretum by Le Prince Jardinier

A nice but somewhat timid woodsy scent that doesn't quite live up to the promise of the stated notes. If it's a walk in the woods, then it's a trimmed sunny park rather than a dark forest. If you like Sisley's Eau de Campagne or the lighter Creeds, you'll probably like this one as well. Arboretum exudes the same air of quality and calmness, but is too indistinct, short-lived and unisex for my liking.
20th March, 2007
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Eau Cendrée by Jacomo

A rich and warm citric/aromatic chypre, unhurried and with an unmistakable vintage feel that's a bit past its prime, along the lines of Lanvin Monsieur. Nice, but lacks the extra twist to raise it above some of its more adventurous contemporaries.
13th March, 2007