Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
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    Wild Lavender / Inglese by Lorenzo Villoresi

    This is an excellent masculine lavender.
    It is very dry and dark in tone -- no pretty florals or soft musks here. It starts off rather herbal and then picks up earthy notes from the clove and sage. The lavender recedes but does not disappear as the spice core develops. This spice core is expertly blended, and has an affinity with Piper Nigrum. The scent is somber and serious in style -- lightened and cheered a bit by some rosemary mint. The ultimate dry-down has spice, dry musk and little hints of lavender.

    26th January, 2012

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    Esencia Loewe by Loewe

    Revised review
    A green, aromatic, herbal chypre. Green and cool in character. Powdery, herbal, a bit earthy at times. Classy, well-blended, hints of leather and soap in the dry-down. No conifer that I can detect. Dry-down develops further herbal or even vegetal notes (e.g., celery leaves, basil). The cool-minty aspects continue. The artemesia hangs in there, with a somewhat assertive mint/fennel aspect. As well, the moss in the base adds to the minty note.
    An interesting scent, pleasant and of good character. But it doesn't really hit any buttons for me.

    24th January, 2012 (Last Edited: 31st October, 2014)

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    Juniper Sling by Penhaligon's

    I've downgraded my earlier review. I still like the scent, but I don't find it to be outstanding.
    It has a brisk, aromatic opening. If applied liberally, one finds a good and accurate juniper note: tonic, energetic, bright, coniferous, green and herbal. Just what I'm looking for. I enjoy it, and wish it laster longer. It is regrettably short.
    The spices open up and a hint of leather emerges.
    The scent is not at all sweet -- it is masculine, restrained and dry. It offers a low-key leather-wood combo as it dries down. I don't know where the brown sugar and black cherry are... and I'm glad! I don't miss them at all!
    I summary, this is a pleasant, masculine scent. It is smooth, and primarily a peppery wood sort of scent -- and thus my reservations emerge. A scent called "Juniper Sling" should feature and maintain the green-aromatic juniper note much more than this scent does.

    23rd January, 2012 (Last Edited: 13th June, 2012)

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    Esprit du Roi by Penhaligon's

    HEAD NOTES: Citrus Accord, Bergamot, Mandarin, Cedrat, Mint, Tomato Leaf, Davana Essence, Aldehydes, Cardamom Absolute

    HEART NOTES: Clove, Egyptian Geranium, Madagascan Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Honeysuckle

    BASE NOTES: Vetiver, Cedar, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Raspberry Absolute, White Musk, Ambergris, Oakmoss, Africa Stone

    ... and a partridge in a pear tree. So many ingredients, such wasted potential.
    On me, this is a overly "bright" and quite generic fresh-spice scent. Like many drugstore scents, a heavy hand with aldehydes dominates and ruins this. It is supposed to be a "lush woody citrus" but none of those aspects really are presented.
    Given the price and promise of quality which does not appear, I find this to be very poor value and I do not recommend it.

    21st January, 2012

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    Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka by Hermès

    I approached this with mixed feelings. I like vetiver very much. But the dried fruits suggested the potential for a Serge Luten opulence, and the grilled hazelnuts suggested a foody sort of scent -- neither scenario immediately attracts me.
    My fears were groundless. This is a suave, restrained unisex scent.
    It has slight toasty-nutty aspects. Although it starts a bit sweet it is not heavy, and the sweetness recedes very quickly. It has a dry, rootsy-earthy aspect -- not gourmand at all in my opinion. The dried fruit is so subtle that I don't really notice it. I'd say that the vetiver - toasted nut - tonka (hay) melange is held in perfect balance. This sits close to the skin. In the final dry-down, a satisfying light vetiver remains.
    Now, this is not a jaw-dropping vetiver. If you are well stocked in that style, you may not need to seek it out. But it will appeal to many, I'm sure.

    20th January, 2012

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    Hermèssence Vanille Galante by Hermès

    Well, I'm one of those people who hates vanilla -- and I gave this a try.
    Verdict: well done for its type. My antipathy to vanilla keeps me from endorsing it but I won't slag it.
    It starts with a green, slightly sweet floral note. Vanilla provides a counterpoint, here a creamy-woody vanilla. The scent gets a bit gourmand -- like a cookie or pastry. In style this is more rich than sweet, and certainly not cloying.
    If you like vanilla, then do check it out.
    But this isn't the one to move me off my position.

    20th January, 2012

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    Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès

    I have to register a negative vote, not because the scent is unpleasant but because it is so subtle as to barely register. I have a sensitive nose but this is beyond subtle, into the "attenuated" category, or almost invisible.
    The opening has promise: a somewhat substantial fruity apricot with some respectable orange blossom notes. Other florals of a delicate nature appear. As is typical with orange blossom, sometimes there are creamy notes and sometimes there are woody-stalky notes. The tea note is so subtle as to be non-existent. The scent is not sweet and certainly not heavy. The apricot, as is so often the case, has a slight metallic tinge.
    Poof! The scent recedes into the background and one is left sadly searching for even a ghostly impression of what had been.
    When it was present, it was mildly pleasant but not compelling. When it is absent, it is ... absent.

    18th January, 2012

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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.

    18th 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.

    15th 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.

    13th 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.

    13th 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.

    13th 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.

    13th 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!

    13th 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!

    13th 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.

    12th 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.

    29th 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.

    13th 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.

    07th 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.

    03rd 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.

    03rd 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).

    25th November, 2011 (Last Edited: 26th 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.

    25th November, 2011 (Last Edited: 03rd 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.

    25th November, 2011

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