Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
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    Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermès

    This is an odd-ball scent. Props to it for being something kind of off the charts. I can't decide what I think about it. It will never be bottle-worthy for me, yet I don't hate it. There are moments when I sort of like it and moments when I sort of don't like it.
    Cutting to the chase -- my problem is the vague suspicion or impression of a green cantaloupe note. This likely arises as the syncretism between the grass and basil notes with the fruit notes. Don't know how others feel about green cantaloupe; for me it is not a go-to note.
    I appreciate the green, grassy notes. They are herbal and very bright.
    The fruit is OK, just OK. On the plus side, it is not teeny-bopper or cutesy-poo. It is as bright and cheery as the herbal notes. On the down side, it is not really an identifiable fruit, certainly not "pear" or "apple". Rather, it is a generic crisp fruity sort of scent, obviously lab-concocted but not obnoxiously synthetic.
    Translucent, as I'd expect from Ellena.
    Sometimes I think the herbal notes work well with this Franken-fruit note; other times I'm not so sure.
    Certainly this is a spring-summery scent, both in style (light) and in mood (cheery).
    Perhaps, if I really use my imagination, I get the merest hint of a very shy young rose, just barely budding.
    Some have suggested that this scent is a somewhat jumbled or unreconciled melange of various notes, and I agree. Whether this crazy salad is to your taste is for you to decide.

    18 January, 2012

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    Notre Flore Neroli by L'Occitane

    Intensely sweet and sugary. Powdery and candied.
    No neroli that I can detect. No orange blossom.
    A bland, sweet, floral with no distinguishing features.

    15 January, 2012

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    Sycomore (new) by Chanel

    This is a very, very fine scent.
    If you have any interest at all in vetiver, then you must try this.
    The scent starts with beautiful wood notes, along with the haunting traces of smoke from a distant fire. The combination is irresistible and lovely. At this point, the scent reminds me of Cartier's Declaration -- grassy, woody, but arguably leaner, more delicate and drier which suits me. There are grassy-earthy notes from the vetiver, along with a very light citrus note. I love the style: austere, intriguing, introspective yet at the same time warm and attractive. Not at all sweet or heavy, everything is handled with a light but sure touch. The scent settles into a very satisfying vetiver: lean and bright, and it wears well.
    Notes may be: vetiver, aldehydes, violet leaf, tobacco, wood, spice
    Update -- revised the above but the 5 stars continue. Truly an excellent scent. A classy vetiver. Lovely subtle smoke note.

    13 January, 2012 (Last Edited: 10th September, 2014)

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    31 rue Cambon by Chanel

    Hmmm, a patchouli-centric scent which I can endorse??? Must be very well made.
    It is.
    Starts off with an aromatic, slightly sweet note in which fruity bergamot plays a large role. At times metallic, other times fresh and bracing. Then (surprisingly) the merest touch of a sweet chocolate / vanilla note appears. The crisp metallic balances this rich note. Hints of a leathery patchouli emerge... and yet all is sprightly and even translucent. The scent simply does not get heavy or cloying in the drydown (which I often find in patchouli scents). Indeed, the dry-down is quite interesting, as the herbal rather than the leathery notes of patchouli emerge, slightly refreshed by revived citrus notes. OK, the scent at times has slight powdery aspect (to be expected) and hints of floral sweetness. Eventually the patchouli settles into its usual nutty-earthy chord. Yet even here, it is handled with restraint.
    An intriguing, complex scent. Try it and see how it works for you.

    13 January, 2012

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    Bois des Îles by Chanel

    I am speaking of the reissued scent.
    It has a GREAT rose opening -- wow, it is warm and inviting, really excellent. That combines well with the other floral notes. It is very attractive. The rose has such depth that it suggests earthy notes. The florals are rich but not excessively sweet. They are handled with panache. The overall effect is round and even a bit creamy. The creamy note is augmented by sandalwood. The vanilla (thankfully) is restrained, and merely adds a further softening note which compliments the sandalwood. I'd say this is lovely for a woman and yet woody and restrained enough for a man. The rose note persists, and makes welcome appearances from time to time. The sandalwood likewise persists, in a fairly dry manner. The scent is subtle, classy -- a real winner sure to appeal to many who appreciate a well-constructed and complex scent.

    13 January, 2012

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    Beige by Chanel

    I think the name is a complete misnomer. When I hear "beige" I think of a light suede leather, or maybe a light wood.
    This is a sweet, floral scent. Cheerful, pretty, young. Perhaps the honey is what is meant by beige but that is a rather obscure reference. Sunny flowers in a meadow give way to further very pleasant light floral notes. But really, how many beige flowers can you name....
    Points deducted for off-kilter name.

    13 January, 2012

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    Coromandel by Chanel

    Notes: amber, frankincense, benzoin, "soulful woody notes"
    Amber from the get-go, zingy benzoin... and yet I like it??? Well, those elements are bold yet delivered with a classy nod to restraint, and they are admirably framed by a very interesting frankincense. The package is complex and intriguing. It is cool and yet has a warm dark chocolate / vanilla / rubber note. Yet, I like it (and I don't really care for those notes normally). The benzoin comes across almost like opoponax, a very sweet and perfumed myrrh. The scent is intriguing, a bit of a shape-shifter as it moves between the various discrete elements. Finally, it settles into a very attractive dry woody scent. In my opinion, this what Guerlain's Bois D'Armenie should be -- restrained yet slightly rich, wood and benzoin, sweet and yet dry. Well done!

    13 January, 2012

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    Citrus & Wood by Yardley

    This is an amazingly good scent! I'm astonished at its quality, given that it sells for a very low price. The opening has excellent citrus notes, with realistic woody notes and a nice peppery bite. The citrus and wood notes have great longevity. Eventually the scent settles into a woody vibe which is dry and translucent. At times, the scent reminds me of a very credible version of Terre D'Hermes. Really, people, if you see this, snap it up. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

    13 January, 2012

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    Artek Standard by Comme des Garçons

    I like it. Admittedly, it is for wood fans only -- it is awesomely and resolutely woody.
    It starts with a lemon twist which interestingly morphs into a bright metallic note. That doesn't last too long. The ginger spice adds a minor note, but it is there and I can appreciate it. Basically, the scent finds and maintains a dry, heart-of-cedar note. Warm and yet haunting at the same time. Not heavy, not sweet at all. I keep checking my wrist and enjoying it. The drydown doesn't have a lot of layers, just loads of cedar wood. And sometimes, that is enough.

    12 January, 2012

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    OM Sensual by Scentsational of Huntington

    Essentially an aquatic -- therefore "Om Sensual" is an odd name for it. I'd have expected something with exotic spices and incense notes. Nope, this is a cheerful, fairly solid and smooth aquatic. Fresh, mellow -- no shrill or screechy synthetic notes. It would appeal to a lot as a safe scent. It has been discontinued, likely due to the mismatch between name and content.

    11th January, 2012

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    Eau Lente by Diptyque

    I'm giving this a thumbs up for its interesting, complex and unusual style. It is a little sweeter and darker than I like but it is a good scent.
    It starts with an usual combination of spice, powder and green notes. Hints of vanilla and dark chocolate also appear. The spice notes are supposed to be cinnamon and cumin. Each of those is distinctive, but here they are smoothly blended into a spice chord. Apart from the initial sweetness, this is a good start. An interesting dusky green note develops, almost a bit leathery in style. Smoky round and sweet opoponax appears in the dry-down, followed by some animalic, slightly "dirty" notes.

    10th January, 2012

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    Cool Buchu / Cool by Molton Brown

    Well, I'll admit to having some suspicion about "blue" scents or cool scents or scents which I suspect might be aquatic. The juice of Cool is a light blue but this actually is a decent scent, not aquatic or ozonic or tediously "fresh" in a synthetic way. It has a nice citrus-minty fresh vibe. It smells natural, or at least not overtly synthetic. It settles into a pleasant, close-to-the skin clean vibe. It is not sweet and has a certain breezy and yet comforting quality. I can't see anyone taking a violent dislike to this. Not terribly distinctive but certainly a reasonably safe bet.

    30th December, 2011

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    Bowling Green by Geoffrey Beene

    I can't believe I've never reviewed Bowling Green. Well, time to correct that situation. BG is a very pleasant scent. It basically is a minty-mossy combination. Not much more than that. It is kind of green and has a nice, easy-going soapy light-green vibe. The mint gives it some freshness. There is nothing irritating or phony about it; however there is nothing exceptional about it either. If you like green scents, then check it out. For me, I'd say that it is nice and easily available... but not compelling. I think it is a scent with a wide appeal, and it is still somewhat different in that it is not sweet, aquatic or heavy.

    29 December, 2011

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    English Lavender by Yardley

    Consider the following.
    Houbigant Fougere Royale 1882. Allegedly the first "fougere"
    Geo. F. Trumper Wild Fern 1877
    Yardley English Lavender 1873
    Both of the latter share the same fougere-style formulation of lavender, tonka and oakmoss.
    Well, I won't answer for Trumper's claim to the title here. But I can say that although Yardley's Lavender has the structure of a fougere, it is so lavender-prominent that it is correctly termed a lavender scent rahter than a fougere.
    I can't speak to vintage juice -- I am commenting on a current bottle. The lavender starts off very dry. It has a medicinal-herbal quality, actually quite camphoraceous due to the rosemary and eucalyptus. These, along with the lavender, give the scent a very cool and airy tone. Gradually the dryness diminishes and the scent takes on a rather floral note, with a fairly sweet musk. The musk asserts itself for a while, and then amazingly the lavender appears as a shadow note to the musk.
    I'd say that this has amazing longevity for a lavender scent. I feel that a vintage version would have been exceptional. This is pretty good for a what is a drugstore scent.

    13 December, 2011

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    1903 by J Peterman

    Here's another appreciative review of this retro marvel. The opening notes have crisp citrus and dusky green aspects which remind me very much of Truefitt & Hill's Grafton. A fair bit of peppery spice keeps a warm touch to balance the cool notes. These cool ones may be from the frankincense, certainly they have a coniferous, mountain-air quality. Gradually the old-school notes of leather, moss, smoke and tobacco appear. These are restrained, classy, and very very similar to Gucci Nobile. This is a well-made scent in a warm, masculine style.

    07 December, 2011

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    Askett Essential by Askett & English

    The citrus notes start in a nice lemony way. The scent develops a soapy character, at times it seems round and at other times a bit muddled. It took me a few wearings to recognize the herbal notes but now that I do, I appreciate them. The dry-down is a very light mossy sort. I don't get any particular wood or vetiver notes.

    This and its companion (Absolute) are good scents. There is nothing problematic in them, other than a slight metallic note at times in each, which lurks as a very minor echo in the background. They are not sweet or heavy, so they are something a man could wear. The elements are pleasant and I don't find any loud or tiresome synthetic notes. I can wear each with appreciation. Longevity is short, but that is to be expected with citrus-centered scents. My slight reservation -- and this is an issue of my personal taste -- is that these scents don't offer anything particularly distinctive. They are nice and enjoyable, and I assume that is the goal. I urge people to sample them. They are subtle and low-key and worth trying.

    03 December, 2011

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    Askett Absolute by Askett & English

    Definitely orange rather than lemon is in view here. The cold tea note pops and is a nice element. The herbs are merely hinted, not stated. Sometimes the spices are there, sometimes not. I am a bit disappointed in the floral heart. Orange blossom should be a gorgeous cloud (don't find that here). On some wearings, I get a faint rose; other times I simply cannot find it. So the floral note is somewhat generic in my opinion -- pleasant but not remarkable. The drydown is soft, gentle and comforting.

    This and its companion (Essential) are good scents. There is nothing problematic in them, other than a slight metallic note at times in each, which lurks as a very minor echo in the background. They are not sweet or heavy, so they are something a man could wear. The elements are pleasant and I don't find any loud or tiresome synthetic notes. I can wear each with appreciation. Longevity is short, but that is to be expected with citrus-centered scents. My slight reservation -- and this is an issue of my personal taste -- is that these scents don't offer anything particularly distinctive. They are nice and enjoyable, and I assume that is the goal. I urge people to sample them. They are subtle and low-key and worth trying.

    03 December, 2011

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    Jardin Clos by Diptyque

    This is a lovely white floral. I will respectfully disagree that it is more green than Eau de Lierre, I can't imagine anything more green than the crunchy leaves of Lierre! I find this to be a white floral, perhaps with a hint of green at the edges. The flowers are quite pretty and a bit sweet, though not heavy or cloying. The wood and moss give a bit of depth to this otherwise innocent young scent. I think a guy could wear it, if it appealed to him.

    30th November, 2011

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    L'Eau de L'Eau by Diptyque

    This is intended to be a fresher, lighter version of L'Eau; and it succeeds. It is a pleasant combination of citrus and spice. In comparison to L'Eau, the citrus notes are brighter and more prominent. The spices are more a compliment rather than a dominant feature. The combination of citrus and spice works well together -- the scent is still somewhat old-school (reminiscent of a pot-pourri) but it is not as heavy and certainly not as clove-y as L'Eau. The ginger adds a nice note, not so noticeable in L'Eau.

    30th November, 2011

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    Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

    This is an excellent vetiver. Vetiver is a favorite note for me, and I really enjoy this version. It starts with good citrus and herbal notes. The sage is not overdone: it adds a pleasant dusky-green note without suggesting turkey stuffing. The spices are very well blended. They add a sophisticated and modern touch of warmth without the usual retro barbershop vibe. The vetiver comes in as grassy and lemony: bright, airy and very enjoyable to wear. A very close comparison can be drawn to Givenchy Vetyver, the latter being a little more citrusy but likewise light and cheerful.

    30th November, 2011

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    L'Ame d'un Héros by Guerlain

    This is a nice, dusky-green scent. It is a reformulated version of Corolian. Its notes are smoother and not as distinct as Corolian's. Lemony, bright, hints of dusky notes and juniper. Dry, wears well, more subtle than Corolian. The dry-down is very similar. A lovely green chypre, wears well. In my opinion Corolian is superior and still available with some searching (also cheaper).

    25 November, 2011 (Last Edited: 26 June, 2014)

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    Gin Fizz by Lubin

    Totally revised review.
    Scent was created in 1955 as a tribute to a then-popular cocktail of the same name and also to the beauty and glamour of Grace Kelly.
    The re-issue starts with lovely white floral notes. The scent is fresh, spring-like, with a hint of green. Not sweet, not heavy. Wears very well. Arguably feminine in style but a guy can easily wear it. Chic.
    My only complaint is that for a scent named "Gin" the juniper element is quite muted. A little more coniferous zing would make this outstanding rather than safe. Perhaps the original had more swaggering panache.

    25 November, 2011 (Last Edited: 03 June, 2014)

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    Gendarme Green by Gendarme

    Well, if there is a "green" scent sooner or later I will find it and try it.
    I'm disappointed in this. I didn't have high expectations but still was underwhelmed. It is not oppressively sweet (thank goodness) and it does have herbal-basil notes in the opening. It quickly developed what (to my nose) was a cheap, synthetic, detergenty character.

    25 November, 2011

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    03 Century by Odin New York

    I was tremendously disappointed in this. Birch - cypress - mint seemed very promising to me, and vetiver and myrrh likewise held great promise. I found a very sweet and somewhat dense vanilla-amber scent, and that's all. No thanks. Not green or woody enough to be a chypre, in my opinion.

    25 November, 2011

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    Bois d'Arménie by Guerlain

    I've smelled Armenian paper and appreciate that smell. The notes of incense and spice in this scent looked promising. I found the scent to be very sweet, rich and heavy. The emphasis on benzoin may be appropriate but it is not something I would seek out.

    25 November, 2011

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    10 Corso Como by 10 Corso Como

    Here are the notes I saw listed: sandalwood, frankincense, musk, rose, geranium, vetiver, Malay oud.
    This is a very subtle, close to the skin scent. The incense is very smooth, and the sandalwood is creamy. There are mere hints of green-coniferous frankincense and rose; and even a fainter hint of tangy oud. Overall the scent is beautiful, perhaps just a bit too smooth and restrained to really attract my attention. However, I cannot fault it and I am sure that many will find it very nice.

    25 November, 2011

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    Alliage by Estée Lauder

    I've heard about this and was glad to sample it. It is a big scent. Marketed to women but it is so powerful and moderately dry that a man could wear it. The peachy fruit up top gives it a round, plump opening. It quickly settles into a 70's herbal-mossy-leathery brew. It is a sibling to Dior's Jules. Nice enough, some might find it a bit dated in today's market.

    25 November, 2011

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    Kolnisch Juchten by Parfums Regence

    Well, I need to admit that I am not a fan of leather scents. However, this is such a legendary, almost mythic scent that I had to try it. I just sniffed it on paper. It is a huge smokey-leather scent. I have heard it described as suggesting spicy and fatty sausages grilling and slightly burnt on an outdoor wood fire. Very high-calorie and animalic! Well, that is exactly what I encountered. I'm glad to have encountered it -- it definitely is one of the most unique scents I have smelled. By the way, Parfums Regence makes a whole slew of scents, not just this one. I sampled their Lavender and Vert scents at Jaquelines as well... nothing special in either of those. Lavender was a reasonable lavender, Vert was a soapy-green scent, a bit heavy.

    25 November, 2011

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    Jules by Christian Dior

    I used to wear this "in the day" (when it was launched). Recently I had the chance to sniff it. It is a big ol' powerhouse of the 80's, but is quite attractive and well made. I can still appreciate the intensely green opening (courtesy of the galbanum). It quickly settles into a leathery-spicy brown brew. If applied lightly it probably would be good. I've moved out of the leather-scent camp, so I can appreciate it but wouldn't buy it.

    25 November, 2011

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    Sartorial by Penhaligon's

    What an interesting scent! It is both extremely old-school and amazingly modern in style. It opens as a very historic fougere, with lavender, moss and hay-like vanilla notes. Then I find a very contemporary, even industrial, note of paper, steam and freshly-ironed shirts... perhaps the crackle of ozonic electricity. This adds a very clean and bracing quality to the fougere richness. Venerable wood and old leather notes work in counterpoint with an edgy metallic note to create a charming chord. This certainly suggests a location, the tailor shop but also an old library. My one reservation is a slightly more developed vanilla note than I like -- but this is a minor point. High approval for this. Very well conceived and executed.

    25 November, 2011

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