Reviews by The Wordy Bird

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    Aramis by Aramis

    Once the leader, now an anomaly, and I do mean in a very good way, of mens' fragrances. Unlike almost anything out there nowadays, Aramis aspires to be neither clean nor sweet, and yet it does not have even a whiff of anything reminiscent of animalistic baseness. The topnotes are a greeness subdued by the underlying smokiness - a rare find in today's field. Upon the path to drydown comes a woodiness that, if one checks carefully, can be sensed as possibly the inspiration for the famed "pencil shavings" notes in Gucci pour Homme. Everything in this juice is understated by today's standards, yet never dull or off-putting. As the Beatles' "Abbey Road" will always define for me the rock and roll album of all rock and roll albums (and I say that as one who was a toddler when it, as this juice, was released) if I had to pick only one fragrance that most pointedly marked the definition of the scent of a "gentleman," Aramis would be that scent. Happy wearing!

    09 September, 2006

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    John Varvatos by John Varvatos

    A bit noisy going onto me, but then the high notes - present aplenty if not riotous - settle down into something warm and soothing. I have to say, the dry-down reminds me very much of the old Giorgio for Men from the '80s, vanilla-leathery with m'be a whisp of the chocolate. A friendly juice - even for me, who prefers a bit of astringence - very mellow & autumnal, very worth a try. I do plan on adding this to my collection.

    23 August, 2006

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    Polo by Ralph Lauren

    Although I did appreciate a few colognes in the '80s - the discontinued scents of Georgio for Men, Burberry, and yes even Andron (hey, I was in my 20s) - I never got around to sampling a lot of the others that were iconic of that era. Well, just yesterday I discovered Polo, and I have to say, I'm mightily impressed. This is exactly what I was searching for after previously wearing Aramis in the '90s and then for a number of years only "hippy-ish" oil concoctions; I find Polo to be warm, masculine, pleasant with nary a "pretty" note to it. Last night I spritzed on the sample I brought home; too much, I fear, as I was unaware of the horsepower of this juice; if it were an engine, it'd definitely be a V8. I didn't note a distinctively pine edge that others have commented on, but more of a pine-leaning spice. Eventually it settled down on me in a most pleasant manner to both me and my wife. Now, seventeen hours later, I'm still very aware of the base on my skin - warm amber with a hint of pepperyness. This would be THE scent for me, except for fact that in reading the comments on this board on how overused it was back in the day and how much of a cliche it's become, I don't think as a male under, say, 55 I could be taken seriously sporting such a thowback scent. Pity. However, having read about Gucci Pour Homme on this site, I think I'll be giving that a try to see if it fits the bill.

    19 August, 2006

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    Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

    Sex, semen, various other bodily fluids - what?!? I don't get any of that from this juice at all. What I do get is a bold blend of spices and incense that to most Westerners would come across as exotic, evoking the Middle East or India - and herein is were I think Kouros has earned it's "bad boy" rep; it's foreign-smelling, unexpected, and not the least bit apologetic about it. That said, I don't think I could sport a decent spritz of this without becoming a tad ill from it; the lingering base is actually quite pleasant - warm yet maintaining its exotic flair - but the drydown period for me features other notes that are too pungent for my taste. Of course, I couldn't stand Islay malts when I first tried them, and later became quite their champion; so it is I may come back to this one day and find I've acquired an appreciation for it. But for now, I'm leaving it be.

    19 August, 2006

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