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Reviews by kbe

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United States

Devin by Aramis

Another Aramis Reissue Home Run

The reissue is mossy, leathery, herbal, tangy with some lavender thrown in the mix. Heavy, dark and pleasantly bitter from the get-go much like the hops effect I experience from a pint of top quality dark ale. Sillage and lasting power of the reissue seems somewhat less than the vintage but the overall impression is that they both are very similar.

18th October, 2013
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United States

Chevignon by Chevignon

According to Perfume Intelligence:

"A rich aromatic fougère edt with top notes of wild mint, basil, nutmeg and bergamot, heart notes of wormwood, oregano, ylang-ylang, patchouli, pine balsam and Russian leather, on base notes of cedar, vanilla, sandalwood and musk."

I definitely find the comparisons to Polo Crest spot on. I have the original Polo Crest though. The reformulation may be different.
19th January, 2012 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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United States

Silver Bond / Andy Warhol Silver Factory by Bond No. 9

Andy Warhol Silver Factory is the scent version of the Bach Toccata and Fugue in Dm beautifully played on the massive pipe organ retrofitted to a classic European gothic cathedral.

Sweetly pungent sillaging incense and garlands of flowers lift the sense of smell toward olfactory ecstasy, one that culminates in an unctuously resinous-sweet drydown.

As with the Dm organ work of Bach, I find AWSF to be one of Bond's most intriguing efforts.
29th December, 2011
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Antidote by Viktor & Rolf

A pleasant cacophony that seems to include bits and pieces of damn near every nice fragrance I own.

I don't understand it, but I like it.
06th February, 2011
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Force Majeure by Jacques Bogart

The opening blast is a bit off-putting: what the scent pyramid says is Aldehyde/Ozone/Bergamot (with a Minty background). I was initially disappointed, thinking Force Majeure might be a scrubber. But, give it a few minutes and things settle down to a very pleasant peppery Cinnamon/Clove/Mint mix that replaces the somewhat nose-shocking opening. In about an hour a beautiful soft woody/fruity drydown shows, and it is worth the wait.

Surprisingly modern, I find it a fragrance that after a short initial jolt doesn't yell out its presence but sillages gently with a quiet authority. Very good.
25th January, 2011
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Elixir by Penhaligon's

The opening eucalyptus/mint reminds me of the nose of a particular wine I once tasted. It was a bottle of 1974 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet, but Elixir is without the fruit of the wine. I detect a bit of mace also. The overall opening effect is one of a well crafted fragrance in the Penhaligon tradition, not totally unlike their Hamman Bouquet, and invites continuous sniffing..it is that good!.

Middle notes continue the eucalyptus/mint framework adding a rose floral note with a muted cinnamon present as if braided skillfully throughout.

Basenotes include a gentle slide into Tonka, Sandalwood and an intriguing background of incense. Again, all notes are carried along by the opening Eucalyptus/mint. Strangely now the captivating Eucalyptus/mint radiance that carries all the other notes is experienced as much in memory as in the fragrance itself and I have to re-sniff closely to distinguish it.

Beautiful. Enchanting. Mesmerizing. I fell in love with this scent a few seconds after I spritzed it for the first time this morning. The love story is continuing as I continue to sniff its development. Definitely Bottle Worthy. This is one Penhaligon fragrance I will be adding to my wardrobe in the future.
22nd January, 2011 (last edited: 08th May, 2014)
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United States

Midnight Tryst by Neil Morris Fragrances

Starts out somewhat muted. I initially get a hint of high quality oil paint squeezed from a tube onto a palatte. Then it quickly evolves into a sumptuously rich and rounded spice and humus melange. Within 20 minutes a velvety and darkly flavored mixed floral comes to the fore.

At this stage I note a sense of taste as well as the sense I am smelling this fragrance with the inside tissue of my nostrils--in fact with my total olfactory zone!

Smooth, polished and deep, the basenotes perfectly wrap the sensual florals in a thin overlay of delicious animalic tones, all sliding into a slowly emerging glow that lasts and lasts.

Very high quality and just a beauty of a fragrance!
22nd January, 2011 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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United States

Eau de Verveine by Penhaligon's

After an initial blast of sharp green accord that sillages nicely but lasts just a few minutes a much more subtle sage phase arises, the green virtually disappearing. This phase is also reminiscent of the wood of a freshly shaved pencil and almost reticent it is so laid back.

Within 45 minutes of application a hint of vanilla and cedar wood is all that is left. Not exactly a stellar performer. If you are into explosive green then Geoffry Beene Bowling Green would be a longer lasting and far less expensive choice.
22nd January, 2011
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Yohji Homme by Yohji Yamamoto

Coffee, licorice, rum and the smell of late day Autumn cut grasses . Unique. Intoxicating. Devastatingly beautiful. This is the stuff fragrant dreams are made of.
17th June, 2010
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United States

Aqua Velva Ice Blue by Williams


Possibly the best Men's fragrance value in the $0.86 per ounce category!

I hadn't worn this since T-Rex roamed the earth but was inspired to try it again by a recent Basenotes Thread. It instantly brought back memories of the very few times I wore it, and those all almost exclusively on high school dates as I recall.

If Aqua Velva Ice Blue had never before been issued and was brought to market today as a Designer Fragrance I believe it would easily sell for 5 times the price for half the 7.0 ounce volume of today's bottle. This is a smooth masculine enjoying typical Aftershave longevity with a most pleasant lavender/bergamot opening that ends up as a musky/mossy/amber delight!

Don't expect a powerhouse or a top tier mix of scents by any means--enjoy it as a comfort frag that projects a relaxed mood and a man-in-the-house atmosphere.

I know of no other bargain fragrance that gives so much for so little money.
31st January, 2010 (last edited: 08th May, 2014)
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Field Notes from Paris by Ineke

Soft notes of fragrant, mild pipe tobacco wrapped initially in bergamot and later joined by black pepper (more pepper oil than the peppercorns) and continued tobacco.Then a rich amber/vanilla/beeswax wood polish accord appears and dominates the delightful slow drydown. Lasts a good 8 hours.

Surprisingly masculine to me and decent but not overwhelming sillage throughout the experience. Great for a breezy mild evening or a cool afternoon in sweater or light jacket.
29th November, 2009
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Armani Mania by Giorgio Armani

Quite good as a warm weather fragrance actually. The explosive right out of the gate green tangerine note is perfect for fighting the warm weather blues. Saffron lifts the tangerine as it tires and carries it through to a soft, aquatic-like ending. Different and enjoyable.
23rd August, 2009
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Agua Fresca by Adolfo Dominguez

The opening reminds me of the tangy nose of a cut-fruit laden white Rioja Sangria (served in an icy cold blue-glass pitcher) that I enjoyed at a fine Spanish restaurant. Woodsy, herbal notes back up the fruit but they don't overwhelm it. The laid back middle notes and drydown keep the fruit alive and both phases hold quietly close to the skin but are definitely not hard to notice and enjoy, particularly as the modest sillage drifts past the wearer's nose on a warm, sultry summer evening.
21st August, 2009 (last edited: 30th December, 2011)
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Nobile by Gucci

If you are looking for a Tobacco (ashtray tobacco ash, in a good way) fragrance look no further. Tobacco ash is dominant from early Top Notes and right through Middle Notes and into and through the Basenotes, with a smattering of mashed green tree leaf and spice for good measure along the way. This bold fragrance slowly winds down to a moderately sweet patchouli-amber-tobacco finish . As the old song says: "a cigarette bearing lipstick traces.."
13th August, 2009
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Gendarme by Gendarme

Smooth, suave, clean, fresh. Gendarme holds tightly on my skin for better than 8 hours, all the while gently enveloping me in a soft masculine aura. Not an in-your-face fragrance by any means but one that will catch the attention of those close to you as it plays hide-and-seek with your own sense of smell. A winner.
26th June, 2009 (last edited: 27th June, 2009)
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FCUK Him by French Connection

On first spray it smells like a slab of just unwrapped baseball card pink bubble gum with that light dusting of some kind of white powder..

Not much of a middle note noted. More of the same. Not unpleasant but notable it isn't.

Drys down to a generic sweet intensity that holds close to the skin. All in all a fragrance that seems more subtle in nature when compared to other masculine marketed fragrances.
04th November, 2008 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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Cuiron by Helmut Lang

A leisurely late August walk through a hardwood forest while wearing a fragrant and supple leather jacket.
24th August, 2008 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

Take a fresh and ripe lemon peel and bent it to release the intense spray of essential oils from the skin. That is the citrus fireworks opening notes of Eau Sauvage bring to my mind.

This superb beginning quiets down rapidly and evolves languidly into a less explosive but still rich mixtue of citrus, patchouli, caraway and much more. Definitely a fragrance for those who cut their own path and would never leave a trail of fluff in their wake

10th August, 2008 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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Jean Pascal by Jean Pascal

Maisonstinky's site review of Jean Pascal Edt states that the following notes appear:

Top Notes:
bergamot, pineapple, herbal essence

Middle Notes:
lavender, jasmine

Basenotes:
musk, wood, amber, moss

This one starts out sweet and spicy and evolves quickly into an arrestingly smooth and muted floral of considerable depth. The finish shows a background of the floral notes but now interwoven with an earthy, musky framework. Longevity is about 5-6 hours on me but it lingers faintly on for as many hours more.

Altogether a classy fragrance I feel quite comfortable in, and one I can be reasonably sure no one else would be wearing to an upscale cocktail party. Nice.

07th August, 2008 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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Epicéa by Creed

A dense pine forest brushed here and there with sunbeams and shadows, fragrant with resin and crushed pine needles overlaying a peek-a-boo black pepper oil background. The drydown holds close to the skin and softens beautifully an hour or so after a rather intense opening few minutes. Masculine, warm and rich. Will show best in cooler weather I would think. Yes!
17th April, 2008 (last edited: 05th April, 2013)
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Havana Reserva by Aramis

Very spicey opening, followed by an added dimension of rum-soaked cigar ash and then slowly evolving into the familiar 'classic' Havana smoke-and-spice vanillic fruit, faintly alcoholic afterglow. Lasts for hours. Different from 'regular' Havana but yet so much the same. Classy and utterly delicious.
23rd October, 2007
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United States

Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

A first cousin to Aramis Havana for Men, the intense opening is parallel, perhaps more Oriental but not quite as wild. The initial intense in-your-face spice/dried fruit compote slowly melds into an intoxicating background drydown of musk, incense and mulled wine for me. A very seductive scent you can enjoy alone or, better yet, allowing it to capture the attention of others.

Definitely a keeper and a legitimate steal at current prices (2007). Get it while you can as not too many know this discontinued gem. It is a wonderfully masculine 'killer' of a scent.

edit 7/4/08: Apparently being manufactured and available again in a formula very close to if not identical to the original. This is a truly wonderful fragrance, with similarities to Havana for Men but definitely going it's own beautiful way. It has an appealing dusky-bergamot-citrus opening and glides through a long, delicious drydown.

I will try to never be without a bottle and have sufficient backups stored safely away to make that a fact. When you find a frag you love, you never know when some marketing 'genius' will change it for the worse or ::shudder:: make it disappear..
09th March, 2007 (last edited: 08th May, 2014)
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United States

Havana by Aramis

A HUGE presence for the first 10-15 minutes. Intense and almost overpowering at first if over applied. Easy does it.

Seems to turn its head away slightly during a middle phase lasting a half hour or so. Definitely still there, but changing, much more subdued.

Then, a long, slowly evolving glow of multi layered spice, incense, tobacco, dried fruit radiates from the skin. Almost edible at this stage. Great longevity. Finally emerges into a delicious and subtle melding of vanilla and fruitwood smoke. Damn nice!

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>>September 27, 2009 Review of Havana 're-release':

Hallelujah! The Aramis Havana 're-release' (did it ever really go out of production outside the USA?) is essentially the same as the original--a wonderfully raucous opening barrage of spice/citrus/tobacco that is the olfactory equivalent of a spectacular nighttime fireworks display!

Middle notes are quieter with less flashy sparkle but more depth of fruit and a touch of rum and floral quietly and firmly taking center stage backdrop position. The drydown, simply put, continues to be one of the most sublime the fragrance world has to offer.

As I write this edit the single back-of-hand tester spritz of the 'new' Havana I applied at noon is in it's 8th hour, and I just cannot stop myself from sniffing it!

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June 26, 2011


Below is my forearm-to-forearm review, originally posted in a Basenotes thread, of both the original and reissue of Havana from October 2009. I thought I would include it as a part of my review of Havana as it is the only review I have undertaken pitting the original against the reissue:
It is now late June of 2011 and I haven't changed my opinion:

**********
Tonight I am pitting the recent reissue of Havana against the 'vintage' version of Havana


Two spritzes of vintage Havana on my right forearm, then two spritzes of the reissue Havana on my left forearm.

Note: Updates to this post will continue approximately every half hour tonight until I either get tired of doing so or go to bed.

Initial observation: The usual Havana cacophony opening for both with a blast of concentrated citrus/spice dominating a tobacco background. For the first 5 minutes the reissue is brighter, sharper by, say, 20% in opening notes. But isn't that to be expected when pitted against a vintage fragrance that has been imprisoned in the bottle for over 10 years? I think so.

20 minutes in: No discernible difference. I cannot distinguish between the two. They are absolutely identical at this point to my nose. Still the concentrated citrus/spice/tobacco but now deeper, less sharp and much richer and with considerably more depth of notes.

50 minutes in: Middle notes of pepper and rum beginning to appear intertwined with the citrus/spice and the tobacco notes getting stronger. Again, both vintage and reissue are so similar at this point I could not tell which is which if I didn't know where I spritzed each. This is a sleek, muscular thoroughbred fragrance, glistening in the sweat of an early evening workout it is fully enjoying.

90 minutes in: Spices, rum, and citrus concentrate opening notes beginning to mellow but still dominant. Tobacco somewhat stronger than in the opening notes, but so nice! Florals beginning to show: hyacinth and Jasmine according to the Basenote Pyramid but I cannot be definite about which floral I am beginning to detect, only that it is a slightly floral note in the mix now. Magnificent overall sillage for both reissue and vintage. Makes me want to bury my face in my forearm (either) and just sniff and sniff..The reissue is ever so little behind in development but with the identical mix of wonderful aromas. Myohmyohmy...I am slap-in-the-face reminded why I love this fragrance so damn much! So similar still you would think it was the same bottle.

120 minutes in: Identical development, sillage and notes. Intense. Magnificent. Heading into drydown with Smoke, Fruitwood, Tobacco, some Rum, Vanilla beginning to emerge with some Floral and definitely some Spice left to strut it's stuff. All melded together in what I call Heaven on both forearms. Stopping here because as far as I am concerned Aramis has re-created a nearly identical fragrance to their original Havana in the reissue.


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12th December, 2006 (last edited: 08th May, 2014)