Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
    Canada Canada

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    No. 88 by Czech & Speake

    This is a magical and very distinctive scent! It is boldly new and yet it has a quirky old-school aura about it. It is deep and yet bright. It opens with a perky bergamot and geranium-rose blast, and then moves into an opulent floral heart which is balanced by a somewhat sharp edge. Many have identified oud at work here, and I agree. Oud combines so well with rose and the other languid flowers. The geranium rose makes this very British and suggests a rounder, smoother version D.R. Harris's Arlington. Might be some moss here too, and incense. Lovely drydown as the oud combines well with a creamy sandalwood note. good longevity. Gets rich, languid, slightly decadent. Oscar Wilde could have worn it. This is sometimes compares to Washingon Tremlett's Black Tie -- this has a more forward oud note and a lesser rose note. (revised)

    15 February, 2009 (Last Edited: 23 March, 2011)

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    Neroli by Czech & Speake

    Magnificent! An utterly gorgeous evocation of bitter orange blossom. This is a beautiful woody-floral scent. It seems light, ethereal, even delicate; yet it has depth and substance. It is floral and yet not sweet; certainly it is not heavy and cloying. The ylang ylang gives an interesting, luxurious and earthy note. I like this very much.

    15 February, 2009

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    Thundra by Profumum

    Leaves, mint, patchouli, white musk
    This is a delightful and distinctive scent, somewhat delicate and yet having a lot of character. I find it to be very minty, but that is not a problem. No toothpaste here, rather what I find is a great green-leafy sort of mint. Now this is the way to achieve a fresh cool note, a beautiful natural-smelling path rather than the usual tiresome ozonic and synthetic-smelling elements! The mint reaches into every phase of this scent. The opening is a leafy green mint. The brown earth tones of bark, soil and forest floor have a cool tone. The light patchouli is framed by mint. And the gorgeous musk is balanced by mint. I think this is a well-designed scent. Although it is not a fougere, it evokes the same cheery vibrant mood as my favorite Trumper’s Wild Fern. My only reservation is the price! Otherwise, it's a winner in my opinion.

    09 February, 2009

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    Greenbriar by Caswell-Massey

    Mid: French lavender, Russian sage, modern florals
    Base: patchouli, cool musk, labdanum absolute
    Note that the fragrance notes are different from the BN description. I got these off the box, they are the same for the scent and the accompanying soap. Probably the BN reflects the earlier formulation which would have (on the face of it) been greener and more herbal. The new elements, in particular the ozone and cool musk, are a concession to the modern “fresh” market taste. This starts with a an orange-floral and fresh ozonic blast which is a bit sweet. There are some good herbal-green notes, and light patchouli. The drydown is a pleasant dusky green with a slight soapy air. The freshness and ozone is not excessive, and make this a pleasant but not brilliant summer scent.

    08 February, 2009

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    Grass by Demeter Fragrance Library

    Well, no surprise here. This is a simple, grassy, slightly sweet and synthetic scent which lasts about 10 minutes. It is forgettable and because of its simplicity, rather boring and shallow.

    08 February, 2009

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    L'Eau du Navigateur by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Fragrance notes: Spices, exotic woods, strong coffee resins.
    This is a very good, distinctive scent. It has deep spices and dark woods. It is very similar to MPG’s Eau des Îles. EdN is woodier, spicier, sweeter, richer. EdÎ is drier, smokier. They both are warm scents and yet EdÎ has an intriguingly cool aspect. They both have a very roasted espresso note that is quite charming. I didn't detect any tobacco notes. I can’t see owning both, and I prefer the MPG take on this. But Navigateur is a classy scent, to be sure!

    08 February, 2009

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    Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

    The fragrance note list from Fragrantica is LONG! And this is borne out in the scent, which is complex. The opening is spicy-green, accentuated by the aldehydes, and is powerful and slightly sweet. The middle is a floral-herbal-spice mixture. The carnation gives a real clove spice ‘kick’ and also a barbershop vibe. The barbershop theme is picked up in the tangy patchouli drydown. Also in the drydown are pine needles (yay!) and a significant dollop of vanilla (boo!). This is an interesting scent, to me it seems ‘old school’ in a good way. It reminds me of Rive Gauche pour Homme or even a less formidable Yatagan. As noted, this is the original version, in the red box.
    By way of comparison, the revamped Montana pour Homme in the blue box is a simpler, more translucent scent. It is drier, more lemony. It is more fresh and greener than the original – and thus I prefer it. But the original is a very worthy scent.

    30th January, 2009

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    Aspen for Men by Coty

    I like the ingredients. I don’t like the fragrance. I didn’t expect a lot from it, and I do enjoy some inexpensive scents. But this one has something that says “loud and synthetic.” It starts with a lemony, fresh-mint note. Then there is something very powerful and soapy, along with a really fake sort of lavender and vetiver. Very quickly this gets tiresome, even irritating.

    30th January, 2009

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    Gotham by Neil Morris Fragrances

    Fragrance notes: black pepper, yuzu, rose, narcissus, ambergris, myrtlewood, russian leather, amber, labdanum
    This one surprises me. Normally I don’t care for amber, yet I find this to be an intriguing scent. I attribute my interest to the fact that there is both ambergris and (vegetable) amber here – I suspect that the ambergris adds an interesting, animalic complexity. There is peppery spice here, evident rose notes, and a cool, almost minty-green note (probably the myrtle). The amber is rich and buttery, and yet it is compelling in a brooding sort of way. Hints of leather add to the depth. Ultimately, this is not the sort of scent I enjoy, yet I can appreciate the craft and quality here. I’m sure others will enjoy it.

    27 January, 2009

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    Molinard de Molinard by Molinard

    This has a powerful, sweetly floral opening. It is not very green, in my opinion. It is a pleasant and classy scent, though a little too sweet and floral to suit me. The dry-down has substantial patchouli, which gives a soapy/sharp tang that is abetted by a hint of incense resin. There is also a little grassy vetiver in the dry-down. The amber is not problematically sweet, buttery or heavy.

    27 January, 2009

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    Sud Est by Romeo Gigli

    This is a perfect example of a garrigue fragrance (herbs on a warm breeze). It is an aromatic and powerful scent. Many of the notes is distinct and identifiable: bergamot (Earl Grey tea), rosemary (minty freshness), basil (green and soapy), thyme (strongly aromatic), artemesia (dusky and sharp). Together the notes create a herbal mélange which I find appealing. I see the comparison to Yatagan, but I find this closer to (and better than) the thyme/basil Baime. Never sweet, always assertive. Cologny and old-school? Perhaps. This is not a problem for me, I appreciate it.

    06 January, 2009

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    Rose of Kali by Neil Morris Fragrances

    I always get dismayed when the very first thing I smell is a basenote, particularly when it is one I don’t care for. This suggests to me some kind of imbalance in the construction of the scent. Well, here I get chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. It is not a yummy dark chocolate, it is an odd, kind of indolic/fecal chocolate. The chocolate opening lasts for about five minutes. It settles down, and allows some pear and rose notes to peek through. There are some green notes from the myrtle, but not much incense that I could detect. Then the chocolate comes back, accompanied by a sweet and also piercing amber note. This is very powerful oriental, and not at all to my taste. Kali is a powerful goddess, a destroyer of illusion. All that is destroyed here, however; is my interest in this scent.

    05 January, 2009

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    Cédrat by Roger & Gallet

    Notes: cédrat lemon, grapefruit, water fruit, cardamom, basil, mint, ozonic notes, musk, cedar, white amber, vetiver.
    This is a delightful scent: it is light, balanced, and elegant. All the notes are apparent and distinct, and yet they are moderate in amount and natural-smelling. The citrus notes are refreshing and appealing, as are the herbal notes. Special praise to the basil, which is very true to type. The ozonic note adds to the freshness but does not dominate in a tiresome synthetic way. This is a translucent scent. The cedar is pleasantly light and woody, the vetiver is lightly grassy, the amber and musk add some depth but not heaviness. Well done!

    05 January, 2009

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    Vetyver / Vétiver by Givenchy

    This has a sparkling-green vetiver opening that is quite delightful! Green citrus notes (lemon, aromatic bergamot) and green leaves and herbal notes contribute to this excellent beginning. It is refreshing and most enjoyable. The scent develops into a lovely warm, comforting cushion. There is a haunting yet invigorating dusky-tangy quality that is so appealing! Light sandalwood is here: soapy, woody, aromatic. IMO this far surpasses Guerlain Vetiver. Those who like it, like it a lot; and with reason. Re-released recently.

    05 January, 2009

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    Santal Noble by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    This is a dark, rich, very woody scent. The dark tone is very interesting: at times I get hints of espresso coffee, but mostly I am reminded of rich, organic black soil – an attractive smell for those who garden. My goodness, the cedar is prominent and aromatic here! It dominates the sandalwood, in my opinion. The incense notes are pleasing and a bit heady. Like many other MPG scents, this is rich, and at times ever-so-slightly sweet. The vanilla and amber stay fairly restrained, and add a bit of luxury. Very nice stuff.

    20th December, 2008

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    Original Vetiver by Creed

    This is a beautiful, perky and cheerful vetiver. Not heavy or excessively soapy IMO. The bottle has a green tint, and the scent seems green to me as well, a kind of leafy-green opening. I love vetiver scents and this is very good. It is not complex, and I can see the alleged similarity to Mugler Cologne. I think the vetiver here is more pronounced than in the Mugler, and the Mugler has a touch more soft musk in the drydown.

    18 December, 2008

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    Arôme 3 by D'Orsay

    This is an aromatic fougere. Lavender and light moss combine in a classy way, with good barbershop spice notes. I really appreciate the lavender which is realistic, dry and herbal. The scent is not heavy in any way; in fact it is restrained and measured. It conveys a crisp and elegant aura, it is a white-shirt sort of fragrance. As is often the case with well-done peppery/clove scents, there is a slight cool, airy note which is attractive. The drydown is a very light mossy spice.

    15 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 26 March, 2011)

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    Santal by Melvita

    This is a lovely, simple and very natural rendering of sandalwood. It is very dry and woody, and a bit soapy. Sandalwood has a sharp, aromatic quality that makes it different from other woods, and it gets centre stage here. I find Santal to be a very satisfying, go-to sort of scent. Sometimes sandalwood can be tarted-up with excessive vanilla, amber or other sweeteners. Other times it can be done in a very pungent, heavy style. Neither is true in Santal, which is balanced and elegant in its own austere way. This is a simple, quiet performer with good longevity.

    12 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 22 January, 2009)

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    Verveine by Melvita

    This opens with a lemon-green blast! It is typical verbena: leafy/herbal, lemony, aromatic. The scent is bracing and enjoyable. Since it is a solyflore it is not complex, although many hours later it does develop a light woody tone. Basically, this is a refreshing summer splash, or it could be used as a brightening element in a layered system. It has amazing longevity for a citrus-style scent. There's nothing particularly feminine about it; in fact due to its dryness and power it certainly could be worn by men.

    11th December, 2008

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    Tam Dao by Diptyque

    WOW! A powerful blast of dry yet rich cedar greets me. Cedarwood to the max, pencil shavings galore… it’s beautiful! It settles into a gentler version of a woody scent as the sandalwood develops. The wood is creamier than before; and it is sweet, aromatic and very pleasant. In some ways this is a simple scent, “zen” as others have noted. Perhaps due to this simplicity and a kind of austerity; I find it to be enormously pleasing, charming and accessible. At times I get hints of ginger and cloves – I think these are notes from the sandalwood rather than any actual spice ingredients.

    11th December, 2008

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    Monocle Scent One: Hinoki by Comme des Garçons

    No vanilla, no amber = happiness for me! Hinoki is chock-full of woody goodness, or goody wood-ness. At first is presents itself as a very simple scent, namely variations on a wood theme. The turpentine note is not as powerful or even harsh as it is in Eau Trois. Here, turpentine and camphor contribute bracing, slightly astringent notes. The incense softens and adds depth and richness. This is full of nature’s vitality. The drydown is smooth and satisfying; it is a lovely balance of pine wood, incense, and aromatic elements. Believe me folks, I know from pine and wood and this is a great one! It is a memorable scent: assertive and yet restrained; bold and yet with an elusively haunting quality. The scent draws me in. This might be a niche and austere sort of scent, not appealing to many. So be it.

    09 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 22 January, 2009)

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    The Natural by Gap

    This is an inexpensive scent, and it is OK. Of the three in this series, it was the only one that interested me. It is a combination of citrus and green notes, on a vetiver base. The citrus is perky and fresh. The vetiver is solid, and a bit soapy. The dry-down reveals that this is a budget fragrance. It doesn't go anywhere, it gets a bit sweet and synthetic, it certainly doesn't develop much of interest beyond its initial flurry of activity. Competent, that's all. If you are interested in vetiver, check it out, it is affordable.

    07 December, 2008

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    Gris Clair by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Grey lavender, delicate smoky amber” (Lutens product information)
    The range of opinions on this is most interesting. Those who like it, like it a lot. I’ll put my cards on the table: I love dry aromatic lavender and I don’t like amber. This scent has very little lavender and it has a particular style of amber. And yet, it is so well made that I cheerfully give it a neutral.
    As I said, to my nose the lavender is MIA. Almost immediately I got a creamy, buttery amber note, with a bit of a salty tang. For a while this aspect dominates. It is somewhat unusual, and not unpleasant. It reminds me of a smoky cream cheese. The amber is translucent or “claire” and it is not cloying. In dry-down the amber becomes more conventional.

    04 December, 2008 (Last Edited: 23 December, 2012)

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    Li Altarelli by Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan

    Lemon, galbanum, lavender, floral violet, marine notes, immortelle.
    This has a beautiful citrus-green opening. The lemon notes are remarkable for their purity and strength. This is really attractive. There is a bit of lavender. Violet leaves, and also the immortelle flower, give a wonderful earthy note which at times is exactly like rich, dark soil! The marine note is quite enjoyable. It is not ozonic. It has a salty tangy quality. With the lemon, herbs and earth notes at play, this scent is definitely a marvellous garrigue-style experience. I like it a lot.

    03 December, 2008

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    Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi

    Well, skin chemistry reactions are certainly interesting! On me, this has a gorgeous neroli opening. There are lovely orange blossom notes, of both fruit and flowers. It then develops an airy, light green note from the incense and laurel. This phase is quite interesting. The vanilla is faint and not cloying. The orange blossom note has great longevity, and I enjoyed it for many hours. I guess this is definitely a scent that each person has to try. I have a sensitive sniffer, and I can find no odd-ball components here.

    03 December, 2008

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    H pour Homme by Gemey Paris

    The history on this is complicated. My bottle says “H pour Homme / Fougère Royale” by DiParco. It also has Houbigant printed on the bottle. My research indicates that Houbigant created a subsidiary company called Chéramy in 1924, which reformed under the name Diparco in 1956. In 1959 Houbigant relaunched its famous Fougère Royale, which had been discontinued. Then in 1963 Diparco released its own version of Fougère Royale in an EDC 90 degree concentration. Likely the Diparco version was an attempt to present a less expensive, mass-market version of the more exclusive Houbigant product. In 1977 Gemey amalgamated with Diparco and L’Oreal, and released a version of Fougère Royale in 80 degree concentration. My bottle is Diparco and 90 degree, therefore it is from the 1963-1975 era. I say all of the above to situate this product within its larger framework, and to provide a foundation for analysis.

    On its own merits, the Diparco is an excellent scent. Despite being a vintage bottle, the scent is lively and quite enjoyable. It has the classic, old-school fougère scent. It starts with a very perky and fresh lavender note which is dry, aromatic and very well done. The scent opens up beautifully with light florals and moss. It settles into a delightful soapy moss base. Despite its age, it has good longevity. I also have this in aftershave, at 38 degree concentration. Predictably the AS is lighter than the EDC, but it is still very pleasant and in the same camp.

    I am fortunate to own a 1960 era Houbigant Fougère Royale, and thus I can comment on the difference between the two versions. The Houbigant version has an incredible depth and a haunting, earthy quality that is not in the Diparco. Clearly there is a qualitative difference between the two scents. But as I said, the Diparco is a charming scent in its own right.

    03 December, 2008

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    Armani Privé Ambre Soie by Giorgio Armani

    I'll put my cards on the table upfront. I really don't like amber! However, I will do my best to objectively report on this scent.
    I find this to be very sweet, rather buttery syrup of a scent. It is amber-laden. I don't find anything remotely dry or resinous about it, it is certainly quite unlike the magnificent Bois D'Encens which is a great dry-resinous scent. The spices are just a spicy and rather vague melange rather than distinct elements. The patchouli tang is apparent. I can't see any connection to L'Eau Trois, other than that the two scents are powerful.
    I can't even give this a neutral rating, but I have attempted to describe it carefully. Amber fans, give it a try.

    02 December, 2008

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    Fougère Royale by Houbigant

    Ad fontes – from the source

    Many thanks to HW for the wonderful review. I read it early in my BN days, and it inspired me. Now I can offer my own take on this interesting scent. I was able to obtain a bottle of this vintage juice, but I held off on reviewing it for a year. I needed to try other classic fougeres, and learn about scents generally, so that I could do it justice.
    My bottle is from Houbigant’s re-launch period of Fougere Royale, somewhere in the 1959-1963 zone. It was from a seller who had the inventory of a drugstore of that time. The little splash bottle is lovely, with a glass stopper. The juice is a golden colour. The bottle was very tightly stoppered, and I’m confident that the contents are as well-preserved as possible.
    What I encountered was the magnificent, incredibly beautiful scent of a classic fougere. It is so lovely! No wonder it was the sensation of its time. It is rich in a way I’ve never smelled in any other fougere, even those of the top ranks. It has a compelling depth, a kind of earthy quality that is peerless. It has power amidst the beauty, and thus it is an assertive scent that any man might happily choose. Its rich, languid notes convey the image of a warm summer day, with flowers and grasses shimmering in a heat haze.
    Amazingly after all this time, the ingredients still ring true. The lavender is very dry and aromatic. It combines well with the dusky green notes from clary sage. Special mention is due for the heliotrope – it delivers its characteristic vanilla-cinnamon-powder chord. The pleasantly fern note, something like rubber or soap, is here. The dry-down is dry and haunting, and completely satisfying. Good duration, especially for a vintage scent. I can still detect it 10 hours later.
    But again I must stress the richness and depth of this scent. People really smelled like this in the late 1800’s? Amazing, simply amazing.
    And in dialogue with HW’s wise, wrist-by-wrist comparison… here is Penhaligon’s English Fern. EF is brighter, crisper, a thinner and more lean scent (especially at the outset). In comparison to the FR it is weaker! I can hardly smell it. Gradually it grows, but it does not equal FR. It is done in the house style of many Penhaligon scents, namely with a cool, even frosty British reserve. It has a crisp, even slightly salty aspect. All of these elements I can recognize only in comparison with FR. EF used to be my benchmark fougere, and it is a marvelous scent. But there is only one FR.

    (Cf. a related scent with the same name by Deparco/Gemey, which also goes by the name H pour Homme.)

    26 November, 2008

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    Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men by Giorgio Armani

    Top: Italian citrus, bergamot
    Mid: cedar, cocoa bean
    Base: gaiac wood, vetiver, ambroxan
    (from Armani website)
    Blah. Cocoa up front, then citrus, then cocoa again. It is OK, not too sweet, and definitely cocoa rather than chocolate. The alleged wood and smoke notes are so faint that I missed them. For the first hour this is an airy, somewhat bright cocoa scent. It then settles into a slightly sweet, powdery finish. There are touches of vanilla and amber, and a synthetic tang from the ambroxan. No thanks.

    24 November, 2008

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    Musgo Real No. 2 Oak Moss by Claus & Schweder

    Fragrance notes: lime, woody spices, coriander, oakmoss
    This has a zesty citrus opening which is bright and refreshing. There are pretty good light spice and grassy green notes. At times there is a little hint of something like fruit cocktail in a tin cup. That sounds odd but it is not unpleasant. This is a good summer splash: it is inexpensive, not strong and can be applied liberally. I characterize this as a light, sporty scent, in the golf or country club mode.

    23 November, 2008

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