Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
    Canada Canada

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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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    Sienne L'Hiver by Eau d'Italie

    Notes (from Eau d’Italie website): coal-roasted chestnuts, black olives, autumn leaves, truffles, French straw, iris root, white musk
    I wanted to like this scent! The concept of a olfactory ‘walk’ through a location, especially one as romantic as Sienna, is very appealing. The promised fragrance notes are intriguing. I’ve tried it on several occasions over the past few months. In the end, I’m neutral on it. My reservation is that it just isn’t “me” – it doesn’t suit me. On my skin, it is a largely a creamy, slightly sweet and slightly leathery scent. Although it is so much better than Cumming, it does remind me of that, another high-concept and location-oriented fragrance.
    The opening is very good. It is green with lovely lemon and birch-like wood notes. There are hints of smoke, olive, wood, the earthy tang of truffles. It is a subtle scent, and stays close to the skin. It evokes an introspective, personal aura. It dries down to a clean, slightly soapy finish. But as I said, the lingering sweetness and creamy aspects don’t click with me.
    I urge people to try it, and see for themselves. I’m sure it will suit many, men and women.

    20th November, 2008

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    Sel de Vetiver by Different Company

    This is such an interesting scent. All vetiver-lovers must try it. I find that the top and mid notes are brief as distinct phases, but they re-emerge in the basenotes and add complexity. Initially I thought, “citrus-spice, lovely, poof it’s gone.” As for the floral notes, “where have all the flowers gone, short time passing.” And even the vetiver initially appears very briefly before retreating in the face of an iodized salty note. The latter is powerful, not unpleasant but so unusual that I wasn’t sure if I cared for it. Gradually that note abates (but never disappears) and a lovely, grassy vetiver emerges. And now I find that some citrus and spice notes re-appear. The visual impression I have – a strong one – is of sitting on a grassy knoll beside a beach. It is a sunny day, and I’m drinking lemonade. The salty sea breezes, the hay-like scent of the grass, the warm lemons; all combine in that moment. I’m not sure how they achieve that salty, tangy note. Perhaps it is the patchouli, carefully deployed in combination with the vetiver. Perhaps it is some unlisted ingredient. All in all, this is quite an experience.

    19 November, 2008

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    Philosykos by Diptyque

    This is a very interesting scent, and I like it. I characterize it as an aromatic, fresh green/wood type. The opening is astonishingly complex. At times it reminds me of very green banana skins, at other times I swear I get some creamy coconut. Neither of those are ingredients, rather, it is that the fig leaf treatment has affinities to those things. The fig leaf is really well done. It then develops a light herbal-vegetal note for a while, something like celery leaves. This segues into the light wood of cedar. This is a refreshing, summery scent. It is different from many things out there. Not sweet at all, and quite satisfying.

    18 November, 2008

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    Cool Pour Homme by Woods of Windsor

    Here's a more complete note list I found.
    Top: artemesia
    Mid: coriander, sea breeze accord
    Base: vanilla, masculine woody notes
    I don't care for this one. Artemesia gives me grief in Polo Black and the same is true here. I find it to be a irritating, cool, sweet green note. There is a hint of nutty spice (the coriander) that is OK. The fresh accord isn't too bad, it is kind of minty. But the vanilla peeks out almost immediately and persists. Vanilla is a deal-breaker for me and that is certainly the case for this scent. I tried it two years ago, put it away and am trying it again. Still don't like it.

    16 November, 2008

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    Verbena of Provence by Jo Malone

    Fragrance notes: verbena citronelle, flowers, spice
    If you know verbena then you are not surprised at this. What we see is a lemony-green scent, in fact here quite lemony. I don't really think this is a stand-alone scent, it is not especially interesting. But it might work well in the JM layering system.

    16 November, 2008

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    Cedro by Campos de Ibiza

    Lemon, basil, mint, juniper, cinnamon, cedar.
    This has a lovely lemon-green opening. It is aromatic and dry, with a haunting yet cheery quality. By that I mean it conveys a sort of spacious, airy sense like being alone but not lonely. Focused and still but full of life (lots of subjectives there…). There are great herbals here – the basil is really well done. There is a restrained spice note which blends well into the other elements. Nice light woods. This is an excellent scent, quite classy in character.

    13 November, 2008

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    Hurlingham by Atkinsons

    Citrus and verbena opening notes; with a long-lasting, woodsy and masculine body.” (From an Atkinsons brochure in the package.)
    This is a lovely little chypre with typical lemon and grassy notes. The opening is very citrusy and refreshing. The green notes are excellent. They are herbal and interesting. What might they be? Perhaps sage and /or clary sage with tarragon. Vetiver might be lending a grassy note. For sure there is patchouli in the later phase, but it is well done (with a light hand). This settles into a grassy vibe, with clean soapy aspects. A short-lived and light fragrance, now discontinued. It reminds me of Greenergy by Givenchy.

    12 November, 2008

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    Les eaux de toilette de Joséphine - Spices by Lothantique

    Fragrance notes: exotic eastern spices (cinnamon, clove), Indian incense, woods, pepper.
    Judging from its position in the Josephine line, one might assume that it is a women's scent, but I characterize it as unisex verging on masculine. I think it is a very nice and inexpensive scent. It has good resinous incense and black pepper notes. The cinnamon and especially the clove give it a barbershop vibe. There is a powerful initial blast which quickly settles close to the skin. Indeed, my only complaint is that this is a very short-lived fragrance, lasting about an hour – but at the price one can’t complain. This is a dry oriental, a budget version of something like Czech & Speake’s Frankincense and Myrrh.

    12 November, 2008

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    Marc Jacobs Splash Basil by Marc Jacobs

    I think that basil is a difficult scent to render accurately. It is such a beautiful, vibrant green fresh herb. Most scents only approximate that. And this one doesn’t even come close! If I strain hard I might think I smell something vaguely herbal. But mostly this is a pretty and extremely short-lived little scent, nothing remarkable or distinctive about it at all. ZZZZZZ

    12 November, 2008

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    Prince de Galles Sport by M. Bur Parfums

    Prince de Galles Sport is a budget scent. It is a green mossy scent, very much in the style of Acqua di Selva. I like mossy scents, but in my opinion both PdGS and AS have an odd and unpleasant cabbage/vegetal aspect. That being said, Prince de Galles is almost tolerable and has some attractive notes. Certainly if you LIKE Acqua di Selva you will really like PdGS.

    12 November, 2008

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    Fire from Heaven by CB I Hate Perfume

    CB's notes about the fragrance:
    * “blended from classic ancient incenses” – frankincense, myrrh, opopanax, labdanum
    * Cedar, sandalwood, styrax
    * “memory of smoke”

    Well there is a vague sort of incense note here. Somewhat sweet, not even remotely resinous. Incense ‘lite’. I don’t get any smoky notes. This is the typical, predictable CB style: slightly sweet, somewhat synthetic, light and yet irritatingly persistent. This should be much, much better. I like incense scents but this one does not please me.

    12 November, 2008

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    Cologne by Roger & Gallet

    Note -- this is NOT Jean-Marie Farina/ Extra Vielle.
    Fragrance notes: mandarin orange, basil, bitter orange, jasmine, verbena, cedar, orange wood.
    This is in a green box with a picture of an orange tree, and it is billed as a “tribute to the orange tree”. It is quite nice. It has a brisk citrus opening, with a hint of leafy-herbal green. Jasmine lends a lovely floral note, softening but not too sweet. The final phase is a lightly pleasant wood. R&G Cologne is a delightful daytime/summer scent. Not complex; but fresh, natural and enjoyable. I like it.

    12 November, 2008

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    Incenso by I Profumi di Firenze

    This has a **very dry**, woody/incense opening which persists throughout the duration of the scent. I’ve been told by company representatives that this scent uses organic frankincense. I’d say that this is a soliflore type of scent, namely a single-note. That’s marvellous when the note is so strong and true, as it is here. Resinous, a bit smoky, lean verging on the austere. I find this type of scent very attractive and satisfying. I enjoy this one a lot!

    12 November, 2008

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    Verde Bosco by I Profumi di Firenze

    A beautiful blend of scents from grapefruit, mandarin, basil, Florentine lavender and other wild flowers; with touches of musk, amber, vetiver and cedar wood.”
    Verdo Bosco (Green Wood) is a lovely and powerful green scent. It is EDP so it is substantial. I find the basil and vetiver to be the most prominent notes. They combine to give a herbal-grassy character, a walk in grassy fields more than through a deep dark forest. I this sort of scent (chypre) and this is a very good one. It is not complex, but it is satisfying.

    12 November, 2008

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    Agua de Colonia Concentrada by Alvarez Gomez

    Fragrance notes: lemon, rosemary, lavender, geranium (rose)
    These simple ingredients are apparent here, and work well together. This is a full-bodied lemon scent, quite assertive for a citrus. The rosemary and lavender are fresh, aromatic, and almost spicy. The rose softens the edges. This is a big scent, but there is nothing heavy about it. Available in large bottles at an amazingly low price, this is a no-brainer for a summer splash. It has old-school charm, and I like it a lot.

    12 November, 2008

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    Fil de Soie by L'Atelier Bohème

    Fil de Soie by L’Atelier Bohême starts off with an aromatic bang. It is sharp, herbal and quite interesting. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last. Woody tones (mostly sandalwood but particularly the patchouli) take over. Cedar is hard to detect. Then leather kicks in, starting soft and buttery and getting sweeter. The patchouli ramps up the sweetness and heaviness, and we wind up with a leather/patchouli experience. I make it sound like an old hippie leather vest – far from it. The scent is done with charm and style – but it is not my style at all. Too much patchouli, too sweet for me.

    12 November, 2008

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    Nutmeg & Ginger by Jo Malone

    This is OK, it is a masculine-styled spicy wood scent. I've changed and upgraded my review.
    It is very pleasant, a dry woody spice. The ginger is more of the powdered variety (used in baking) than the fresh ginger root. The nutmeg is a bit peppery and woody.
    This isn't a complicated scent, and since most JM scents are meant to be layered, this is meant to add a dry spicy warmth to other scents. On its own, it is pleasant enough but not incredible. Props to it for being nice and dry, and not heavy, and natural smelling in style (not artificial).

    10th November, 2008 (Last Edited: 05 August, 2012)

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    Armani Privé Vétiver Babylone by Giorgio Armani

    This has a perky, green, and crisp opening. It is lemony-fresh, and quite nice. Then, I get an odd and quite distinct note that seems like rancid butter! I don’t know what that is, perhaps it is the particular treatment of the vetiver. The scent is fairly attractive once the butter note burns off – it remains lemony for a good long time. My reservation is that for a scent called Vetiver, it doesn’t have much of that, especially in the nice cushiony smooth style I like. More could be done with the mid-note spices, they are very faint. So I’m neutral on it.

    10th November, 2008

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    White Jasmine & Mint by Jo Malone

    Nice florals here, very pretty. The jasmine and lily notes are prominent. I don't get much mint at all. Pleasant, I'm not into lily so I'm just neutral on it. But this is a fine scent, it's just not my style.

    10th November, 2008

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    Black Vetyver Café by Jo Malone

    This has a kind of nutty tone (like nuts, not goofy). I don’t really detect a coffee note. And I don’t get the usual sorts of vetiver notes, though I can imagine some sort of vetiver here. The drydown is interesting, a bit of "lite" incense there. This is kind of odd or unusual, in my opinion. It gets more powdery and sweet as it progresses. Don’t really care for it.

    10th November, 2008

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    Eau du Soir by Sisley

    Sisley pamphlet: “A floral chypre composed of a blend of syringe, rose of the orient, Egyptian jasmine; blended with iris and juniper, and the fruity notes of mandarin and grapefruit.”

    This has a tangy opening of juniper and citrus. Then the iris appears and takes over. It is a powerful heart note. On the one hand it is earthy, even a bit fleshy. Yet at the same time (and perhaps with the juniper) it has metallic aspects. This is a floral chypre to be sure. Interesting, yet for me the fleshy/metallic note is a bit jarring, and it doesn’t work for me.

    10th November, 2008

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    Armani Privé Oranger Alhambra by Giorgio Armani

    This has a gorgeous neroli and citrus opening, with real freshness and depth. It develops very light herbal notes which add to the attractive nature of this scent. I keep noting the depth of this – unusual in a citrus scent. The light moss dry-down is excellent. The patchouli is very, very restrained (thankfully). This scent is lovely from beginning to end, quite enchanting.

    06 November, 2008

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    Blue Agava and Cacao by Jo Malone

    The vanilla and spice make their appearance almost immediately, freshened by citrus at this early stage. The chocolate is a velvety sort. Quite a foody scent, and it seems very feminine to me. Although initially I can stand the vanilla, I find that it gets heavier and sweeter, and thus my mild appreciation withdraws. I just don’t like vanilla.

    05 November, 2008

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    Orange Blossom by Jo Malone

    A very orange, tangy opening… more powerful than I expected. It is like the zesty oil expressed from squeezing an orange skin. It softens into nice florals. It is a bit sweet, especially with the lily note. I can appreciate it, but I wouldn’t wear it.

    05 November, 2008

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