Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
    Canada Canada

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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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    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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