Atrocious soapy iris. I can tolerate Prada's other iris-dominated offerings, but for some reason find this one cringe- and scrub-worthy. By all means test this one all the way through dry down before you buy.
Okay, I'm a big Ellena and Hermèssence fan, and this is by no means a bad scent, but it's barely noticeable and thus hardly worth the asking price. There is such a thing as being TOO discreet. This is a lovely composition--why not give it just a little more oomph?
A citrusy, Cologne-type opening soon yields to a rich, spicy vetiver. I love vetiver, so what's not to like? This is my favorite masculine from Guerlain, bar none. I love it on my skin, but I also love spraying a little on my bed linens before going to sleep--it's guarantee to give me sweet dreams. If it still smells this good after all of the reformulations supposedly ruined it, it really must have been some kinda fantastic back in the day.
This is one of the best things Chanel has unleashed on the world in a long time. Perfectly blended, approachable yet mysterious, radiant, classy. It reminds me a bit of Après L'Ondée, but slightly more piquant thanks to the pepper and a touch sweeter. It's also quite feminine, but it smells so darn good that I just want to run out into the street and yell "To hell with these arbitrary gender distinctions!" and then douse myself with it. I decided to throw caution to the wind and wear this out in public today, and I swear to God some woman was following me, no doubt unable to part with the celestial aroma emanating from my person. She didn't have the courage to ask me what it was, though. I'm sure the memory will haunt her for a long time.
A super blast of powder soon gives way to a magnificent blend of hay, woods, yerba mate, and incense. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but it's certainly original and unique. My only complaint is the longevity, which on my skin is only a couple of hours at best. So it's not going to the top of my "to buy" list, but I can see a day when I'll break down and decide that I want to be able to smell like this at will.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
-- Charles Dickens
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I love the 70s. Bell bottoms, flower shirts, long hair and moustaches, funk and disco, swinging, Good Times and Sanford & Son, Burt Reynolds--I'll take it all. Before Reagan. Before AIDS. Before padded shoulders.
Azzaro PH and Paco Rabanne PH evoke the 70s for me more than any other fragrances, and that makes them winners in my book. I have nothing to add to the fine descriptions of this fragrance below, except to say that there's nothing wrong with unbuttoning your shirt, growing a moustache, and channeling your inner swinger. The 70s are dead. Long live the 70s!
Synthetic and headache-inducing accord of violet and ozonic cucumber. Original? Yes. Pleasant? No. Not my cup of tea and, like most designer fragrances, it smells cheap.
Some of the reviews on this page seem to be for the Concentrée version. This review is for the older, non-Concentrée version, which as of this writing is almost impossible to find in the United States. Despite sharing the same name, the two fragrances are very different.
Chanel Pour Monsieur is a classic masculine chypre. It starts off with citrus and the trademark Chanel aldehydes and soon dries down to the classic chypre base of oak moss and woods. No surprises, no hard edges, no weirdness, just excellent ingredients and a perfectly blended composition. This is a deceptively light fragrance that seems to disappear long before it's actually gone, but just breathe on your wrist to warm it up a bit and you'll notice that it's actually still there. It's the kind of fragrance that the wearer's nose habituates to quite quickly, which is disappointing in some respects because it smells so good, but at least has the advantage of not interfering with dining.
I wouldn't rank this among my favorite masculines of all time, but I own a bottle and I fully recognize its excellence. I just wish it were a little stronger, though without being as sickly sweet as the current Concentrée version is. I don't think that's asking for too much, but given how preoccupied Chanel seems to be with Titanium Megalomaniac or whatever blockbuster it is they're peddling to the aspirational punters at the moment, I realize it's not likely to happen.
Gingery, soapy, and loud. I've smelled worse, but this should have been toned down, and sexed up. My mother likes it, though, so I don't have the heart to give it a thumbs down even though I want to. Good longevity.
This has one of the most astonishingly beautiful and refreshing openings I've ever smelled. Citrus, vanilla, woods, and spices in an accord that is more than the sum of its parts. The dry down is not as breathtaking without the citrus to give it oomph, but is still lovely and mysterious, quite resistant to any kind of note identification--if you don't believe me, just look at the disparities in the notes below. The base certainly wouldn't meet any classical definitions of "masculine," but I also don't consider it any more feminine than a couple dozen other unisex niche fragrances, so I don't have any self-consciousness about wearing it. This baby is definitely going into rotation.
This is my favorite of the AdP colognes--I find it to be more understated yet also more complex than the others. I think I detect some Iso Super E in this composition, and consider Intensa to be one of the subtler and more skillful applications of that aromachemical. None of the AdP colognes really knock my socks off, but this is the one I could see in my rotation.
Count me in the "Lemon Pledge" column. I don't mind it in the top notes when it's very sparkly, but something happens about twenty minutes in that just doesn't agree with me at all. The lemony note becomes duller yet doesn't go away, and enters into an accord with the woods that smells very synthetic and odd--except, interestingly, when it's very hot and humid. I put this on, started running errands, and noticed that it smelled nice in the humidity but not nice at all when I was inside in the air conditioning. I've never worn a fragrance that changed character so radically depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. I don't work outside, however, so anything I wear is going to have to smell good inside as well.
I can understand why many revere this as a classic, but it has poor longevity on my skin and the dry down just smells musty. I can't give it a thumbs down, though, because clearly the problem is with me and not with the juice itself.
This one's a winner. I wasn't crazy about Dzongkha or even the fabled Timbuktu, but this fragrance has all the right moves. The blending is remarkably smooth, without any of the oddball notes that tend to dominate many of Duchaufour's other incense compositions. A slightly sweet floral incense that softly, yet confidently, announces its royal lineage.
I applied this today and for a long time couldn't stop thinking to myself how good I smelled, even without having to smell my wrist. That's pretty good sillage, if you ask me. Too bad it costs a fortune.
It boggles the mind that something so sweet doesn't grow cloying, but there you go--the transparency saves it from that fate. Others have noted that there's very little amber here, and I would have to agree. The best description, to my mind, is Turkish Hookah Dancer's. I really can't better it, so I'll do the next best thing and cut and paste it: "a delicious, yeasty raw dough swirled with black raisins and sweet cinnamon. The amber in this fragrance anchors it, acting as a warm, skin-scent undertone throughout, and emerges on the drydown to meld with a sweet and dry, woody cinnamon stick and cedar."
Hear, hear! I would only add this: the important thing to remember about the Hermèssence fragrances is that they may not always be that interesting to sniff on your wrist (no pyrotechnics here), but they are FANTASTIC to smell like, beautiful with an understated yet persistent radiance. I think perfume connoisseurs get so caught up in identifying notes and in pursuing new horizons of complexity that sometimes they forget it's nice just to smell GOOD in a quiet, classy, almost ambient way. Ambre Narguilé is no exception to that rule.
I can't add much to the wonderful reviews submitted below by the devotees of this fragrance. I simply wanted to echo the (near) unanimous praise, even if only to add to the statistical certainty that this is an extraordinary scent that everybody should try. A Homeric epic of a fragrance, timeless, masculine, and profound.
This is easily one of the top three vetivers I've tried, and on some days I even think it's the best of all. Through an astonishing feat of perfumery magic, this manages to be bitter and raw yet moist and refreshing at the same time, all the while remaining true to vetiver in all of its moods. No verbal description and no other vetiver fragrance can adequately prepare you for your first encounter with this almost otherworldly scent, so just hurry up and try it already. Earthy yet luminous, it will always have a place in my wardrobe. Excellent sillage, outstanding longevity. Thumbs up all around.
Am I the only one who smells a Sambuca/Ouzo aniseed liqueur accord in this fragrance? I think it may be an olfactory hallucination arising from the interplay of bitter almond, honey, and myrrh. As a lover of aniseed liqueurs, I have to say I'm quite beguiled by this little number, although I'm not really sure when I would have occasion to wear it--certainly not when I want to remain inconspicuous, because this scent is quite distinctive and projects strongly.
The BN notes tell me I should like this. Berries... yeah, I like berries, more to eat than to smell, but why not? Rose and peony... both flowers with very nice aromas, especially (to my nose) peonies. White musk... who doesn't like white musk?
Yet I don't. Like 100% Love, that is. Notes, after all, are approximations, metaphors, flights of fancy. It's impossible to predict what a fragrance is going to smell like from any kind of verbal description. You just have to smell it.
I can imagine what it would smell like to take a piece of rich, aromatic chocolate and a rose and hold them together under your nose. This doesn't smell like that. Not that it's even supposed to, although Luca Turin did describe it as a "chocolate rose." I do get the berries and rose, but I also get something else, something that it's impossible to sum up in a word, but something that reminds me of standing dish water, of the insides of dishwashing gloves, or of an old sponge. I don't mean the smell of dishwashing soap, I mean the smell of watery putrefaction, of something that's not exactly putrid, but not clean, either. The smell of an incomplete attempt at cleaning, of nascent bacterial colonies mixed with water and traces of soap, on rubber or foam.
Doesn't sound very pleasant, does it? It's not.
This is a remarkable scent, beautiful and unique. The only other fragrance I've sampled that attempts to recreate the smell of salt is Sel de Vetiver (which I do like), but this nails it so much more convincingly. It really does make me feel as if I'm at the seaside, surrounded by herbs and flowers. And in case you're wondering, the salty and medicinal notes keep the flowers from getting too flowery, making this a definite unisex fragrance in my book.
I can't say much else to add to flathorn's excellent review--I agree with every word, except that I crave this scent, not just in the winter, but all year long. That "fresh, salty bewitching air" is habit-forming, and I've come to find that I need a regular fix. I hope more people try this under-appreciated beauty and buy it so that it stays in production.
This is a difficult one for me to warm up to. Sometimes I think it has a refined, old world, gentlemanly charm, and at other times I think it smells like a ghastly baby powder on steroids. Perhaps that undecidability is a sign of aesthetic greatness, but for me, personally, it's difficult to imagine a setting or situation where I would eagerly want to be wearing this. Maybe that will change when I turn eighty and ask my young nurse to spray it on me as she changes my diaper.
EDT also has poor longevity.
This starts off with the zestiest lime note imaginable, joined mere seconds later by something that smells a lot like menthol. Yes, as in Vick's VapoRub. I love it! I wish the top notes would last forever.
In due course, as one might expect, the menthol calms down and the accord begins to smell like muscat candy. This phase is also quite nice as long as the citrus is able to maintain its hold. It's only when the candy note begins to take over in the final stages of the dry down that I begin to lose interest. Smelling like candy might be nice when you're eight years old, but that train, I'm afraid, left the station a long time ago.
I still love this fragrance, though, for its creativity, uniqueness, and infectious sense of fun. I think everybody should try it at least once.
When this first goes on it smells like soft, exquisite, freshly-tanned leather. I find it quite intoxicating. As it dries down it takes on a fruitier character, although I can't quite identify the fruits other than to say it's a mix of berries, though they never turn sweet, exactly.
Vibert mentioned a "vinegary" phase in his review. I pick up a note of balsamic vinegar on certain occasions when I wear this, though not always. I can't say I find it a particularly pleasant note (although I love balsamic vinegar on salad) and it's the only mark against this fragrance in my book. Who wants to smell like vinegar? Fortunately, I only detect it intermittently.
Not for everyone, but definitely worth trying.
Full disclosure: I'm a certifiable vetiver fanatic, so it kind of goes without saying that I'm going to be all over this discreet beast. I love the raw, uncompromising nature of this fragrance, its single-minded devotion to the great god of vetiver. Yes, it's as dry as a bone in the desert, and yes, it's brutal, but as marco points out, it has poor sillage and longevity, which is why I call it "discreet." It's like a shocking little secret that only those who draw near will have any inkling of.
It doesn't rank among my favorite vetivers of all time simply because I think vetiver projects more strongly with adjutant notes, like citrus, that set it in relief (and with me, it's all about PROJECTING that vetiver), and also because of the poor longevity, but it still gets a thumbs up for its admirable aesthetic discipline and, frankly, just for being a vetiver.
I'd love to see a version of this with better projection called "Vetiver Sauvage" or something like that. I'd be the first in line to buy it.
As others have noted, this is a remarkably accurate rendering of Lapsang suochong tea. Unfortunately for me, Lapsang suochong (along with Vietnamese lotus tea, which tastes like postage stamp glue) is one of the rare tea varieties that I don't care for that much. I'm still waiting for the perfect recreation of a great Earl Gray (please PM me if you know of one!).
It takes a couple of hours for the lapsang to settle down enough for this to become enjoyable to my nose. The base is quite nice, a bit like Burberry London for men but richer, smokier, and less synthetic. If I could just get the base I'd probably buy a bottle of this, but at this point I don't think it's worth enduring the opening for. This is one of those fragrances, though, that I can imagine myself changing my opinion about over the course of a few years.
Three hundred dollars to smell like incense and pot? I could do it for twenty.
Nice scent, but probably best suited for former hippies who are now rich and part of the establishment (or other bourgeois bohemians).
The spray was broken on the tester bottle so I had to dab a little of this on my skin. The overwhelming celery note on top was immediately repulsive, but it was already on my skin so I decided to wait and see what happened. The celery went away eventually, to be replaced by a sweet, honeyed amber. Not bad, but nothing distinguished enough to be worth waiting all that time for the godawful celery to go away.
I don't know what it is with me and the compositions of Bertrand Duchaufour. On the one hand I fully recognize the creativity and craftsmanship of his work, yet on the other I don't think I've smelled a single fragrance of his that I can honestly say I love. Like, yes, but not love.
I got a decant of this and, over the past year or so, have worn it perhaps a half dozen times. I hardly ever feel the desire to so. The reason, I've come to conclude, is the lychee note. I occasionally eat lychee fruit, but it's one of the last things I want to smell like. This is a consistent pattern with me and B.D.--he always throws something in there, one note, that drags the whole thing down for me.
There seems to be a consensus that this smells like bell pepper, and I agree. There's something quite unusual about a person smelling like a bell pepper, and I dare say there may be days when I'm in the mood for just that--how often do you run into someone who smells like a big, ripe vegetable? On the right skin, it just might work. Even then, though, I'd want it to last longer than this. This fragrance does have a "sweet spot" when the waxy ripeness of the bell pepper fades and turns into something sweeter (though I never get any chocolate) and is quite nice for about an hour. Then it's gone.
I love vetiver, and though I agree with foetidus that the vetiver note is not very prominent here, I love this fragrance anyway. The tonka is extremely well integrated, making this the rare gourmand that never becomes cloying.
The Hermèsscence line gets a lot of criticism from many quarters for being "weak" or watered-down, but I feel these scents have tremendous radiance (which is hard to notice when you're the one wearing them). The base notes (especially the white musk) are also surprisingly tenacious considering the subtlety of the top and heart notes.
Luca Turin compares this unfavorably with the licorice-rich Yohji Homme, which he considers better and more intense. They *are* similar and they are both extremely beautiful, but for me they serve different purposes: YH is bolder and more in your face, better suited for cooler weather and nights out. VT is subtler, sweeter, a little more elegant, a little more edible, and better when the weather is warm. It can be worn in the office but also in the boudoir, when you want to lure your partner in with sweet hazelnuts and tonka instead of blaring out your intentions with licorice from across the room.
Thus, I have room in my wardrobe for both. Also, Yohji Homme has been discontinued, so after it disappears from eBay, this is the closest you're going to get.