Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
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    Le Petit Prince by Le Petit Prince

    Who could resist such a cute line, including scent, bubble bath, soap… all at really inexpensive prices when it appeared at a local remaindered shop? Not me! It is true that it would take a genius designer to capture the whimsical, poignant, innocent, sadly wise qualities of the novella Le Petit Prince. And it is true that this scent does not fully do that story justice. However, it is an acceptable scent and it you can find it at a low, low price then you might give it a try. It has a very good lemon-verbena opening. In my opinion the verbena is really quite good, lots of citrusy-green leaf notes. These last a satisfying amount of time for volatile citrus top notes. Later there are very light touches of moss and tiny bits of translucent wood which – if you use your imagination, as the little Prince suggests we all should – give a somewhat thoughtful air to this light-hearted lemony splash. Apply liberally and repeatedly. The joys of life are beautiful but transitory. We can’t hold on to them, we just enjoy the moments.

    14 July, 2008

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    Lotus Bleu by Roger & Gallet

    I wear some R&G scents: Vetyver, Extra Vielle, Bouquet Imperiale, Ginger. To my masculine taste, those are dry enough that I enjoy them. Lotus Bleu is a beautiful scent but – no surprise – I find it to be feminine and thus outside my style. Thus, I can report that it is quite sweet, floral, pretty. The floral notes are big, even rich. The patchouli is sweet. Not much wood here. I think this is one of the ‘bigger’ R&Gs in terms of fragrance presence. Since I have to position the thumb I'll put it sideways, but this is an attractive scent for women.

    14 July, 2008

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    Spezie by Lorenzo Villoresi

    Spezie puzzles me. There are different versions of the fragrance notes. Here is what I got off a LV brochure: “pure herbs from the Tuscan garden” (laurel, origanum, sage, thyme, rosemary, lavender, fennel, tomato leaves), juniper, cut grass, fir, bergamot, coriander.
    Well, that should be exactly the sort of herbal-grassy scent I like! And many reviewers describe it as a green herbal concoction. I’ve sampled it twice, but on me it is an odd sort of powdery scent. The image I get is of a hand that has worked in the garden but more recently was in a rubber glove sprinkled with baby powder. Needless to say this does not thrill me. The opening is very pungent, sharp and spicy. But even at this stage, and developing further, is a sweetish-aromatic tone that I suppose might be from juniper… it is a bit boozy-gin in style. Once in a while I get hints of herbal notes, and also a sweet-nutty coriander note. But basically the powder remains front-and-centre. This should be like a super-charged Sisley Eau de Campagne, on me it is something very different. I like herbal scents -- for me this is not herbal enough.
    (additional thoughts) I stand by my earlier review. The powdery aspect of this is my bane. Otherwise, it is a very interesting scent: it is green, herbal and spicy, medicinal (which I like). Every time I try it I dislike it less... and it now seems much better to me than Piper Nigrum which is even sweeter and more powdery!
    Latest thoughts... I have assessed this again, without looking at my previous notes. My conclusions remain similar. The scent is too sweet and heavy to suit me. For my taste, the sweet spices are at odds with the aromatic herbs and overwhelm the herbs. I continue to get the impression of a sun-warmed plastic bottle of baby powder -- not the sort of thing I seek out. The herbal notes here are excellent, but they aren't a big enough component.

    11th July, 2008 (Last Edited: 23 December, 2012)

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    Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermès

    Additional fragrance notes (from sample brochure): mastic tree, red cedar
    I like Un Jardin en Méditerranée. It is the first fig-oriented scent I’ve tried that I can endorse. This is a citrus/green leaf/light wood scent. It is light, translucent and very refreshing. It opens with a crisp citrus and green leaf note. Woods quickly appear. They stay close to the skin but are very well done. By that I mean they are ‘true’ to type, in particular the cedar smells very natural. The mastic tree note is a gum which has a leafy-resinous character. The fig elements start in a low-key way and get bigger (but never out of control). I think this is the ‘biggest’ of the three Hermès Jardin scents, the one with the largest presence. If you are a fan of fig scents, you’ll probably like this. I’m still neutral on them but I have to admit this one is pretty good.

    10th July, 2008

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    Un Jardin Après La Mousson by Hermès

    Un Jardin Après la Mousson: a lovely name, a beautiful bottle, an excellent concept… a failed product. This was a disappointment for me. I like its sibling scent, Un Jardin sur le Nil, very much and I looked forward to trying Mousson. The opening of peppery spices and a brief blast of melon was attractive. That lasted for about ten seconds. Then things turned unpleasant. There was a salty-stale marine chord which evoked the image of a salt-encrusted pier with barnacles and seaweed. Also, there was an odd kind of toasty note, like rancid sesame oil and dodgy old melon rinds. And that is where it stayed until I washed it off. This is a unisex scent that can be disliked by either gender.

    09 July, 2008

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    Megumi by Ayala Moriel

    It is interesting to note how Megumi performs on my (male) skin. The fruity notes are not prominent. Similarly, the florals are lovely yet not too sweet. For me, the peppery spice notes lead, supported and softened by florals and light fruit. I call the opening phase “green aromatic,” and it is very attractive and dynamic. Then, mysterious oud starts to blossom, and it provides a very intriguing segue into the lower notes. At first it gives a bracing edge to the fuzzy moss. Then it combines with vetiver to give a smoky wood/grass chord. Finally the oud itself takes centre stage, but now it is supported and modulated by all the previous notes. I think this is another brilliantly designed green scent by Ayala. I also think it would be an excellent introduction to oud for the uninitiated. Sometimes oud can be overpowering or highly distinctive; here it is marvelous and very attractive. This can be a unisex scent, I like it a lot.

    08 July, 2008

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    Polo Black by Ralph Lauren

    I’ve tried Polo Black four times, and I like it less each time. Enough! It has some elements (sage, armoise, aka. artemesia) that have the potential to be appealing. But all these “green effervescent accords” and “lush liquid accords” and hedione translate into an overly-synthetic and irritating scent. It is a shallow scent: airy-fresh with no redeeming depth or character, something like smelling cool air blasting out of a freezer full of frozen green things.

    07 July, 2008

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    Incensi by Lorenzo Villoresi

    Revised review.
    I am of mixed mind about Incensi. It is spicy, yet cool (rather than the expected warm tone). Generally, it is dry, but the spices and labdanum at times give a sweet, balsamic aspect. Thumbs are up but not 'way up.
    Starts with a very green galbanum opening which is well done. There are those spicy-green celery leaf and dusty stones notes which I associate with galbanum. To me this is a very attractive stage. A good spice mixture enters the scene, along with some conifers from the juniper. The scent mostly is dry, cool, and a bit austere -- yet it has a somewhat powdery note in the dry-down (not my favourite sort of finish).
    I wrote an impressionistic comment which I'll retain from my earlier review.
    Incensi is interesting. Its final effect is cool, contemplative, slightly detached or even melancholy. You are not in a daytime church service experiencing chanting, colorful vestments and smoky incense. Rather, you have wandered into a cool and silent cathedral in the evening. Ghosts of prayers and traces of incense linger and outside, there is silvery-cool moonlight.

    04 July, 2008 (Last Edited: 16 October, 2014)

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    Chancellor by Tru Fragrance

    Romane’s Chancellor is irritatingly fresh. It is VERY minty and a brash, budget-frag sort of green scent. A severe blast of spearmint, like toothpaste or a Lifesaver mint! We can do better than this sort of thing.

    02 July, 2008

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    l'eau de parfum #3 green, green, green and green by Miller et Bertaux

    Fragrance notes: aromatic herbs (laurel, bay leaf, coriander/cilantro), sap of fruit wood, “garrigue,” white jasmine, “assertive woods” (cedar, vetiver), verbena, musk.
    Miller & Bertaux’s Green-4 is very distinctive. It simultaneously offers fresh green and woody notes. It opens with a verbena blast (lemon/basil/freshly-baked bread) and then segues into a dry yet fruity wood. Aromatic, green, very refreshing; all is excellent.
    A note on “garrigue” – it is a Provençal French term for the smells of wild resinous herbs (e.g., thyme, lavender, rosemary) as they grow in the hot baked earth. Many wines from this region, are described as having a garigue aroma and flavor. Garigue literally means a thicket or bunch of low bushes. So whatever the garigue is in G-4 it is certainly green, lively and intriguing.
    The wood in G-4 changes from fruity to cedary, and it intensifies. In fact, for me this becomes a woody scent with green supporting notes. It is distinctive, as I’ve said, and oddly satisfying. If I were to compare to a Hermés scent it would be Le Jardin sur le Nil. Jardin is more lemony and has an interesting ethereal paper/reed note; whereas G-4 is woody and earthy. However, the two seem like cousins to me.

    02 July, 2008

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    Sandalwood by D.R. Harris & co.

    D. R. Harris’s Sandalwood has some attractive elements but it is BIG and spicy. It is woody, somewhat dry but also a bit cloying and heavy. It smells like an old wooden chest that has had spices stored in it for a few decades. It evokes the glory days of the original Old Spice sort of scents… definitely old-school. Powdery dry-down, with amber, clovey spice and sweet musk. Not my style but certainly a classic.

    02 July, 2008

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    Comme des Garçons 2 Man by Comme des Garçons

    Foetidus said somewhere that one sign of an exceptional fragrance is the way it evokes polarized opinions. That seems to be the case here! I like this scent very much, and don’t get any of the so-called synthetic, metallic or problematic elements. To me, it is a luxurious and beautiful scent. It is not heavy nor sweet, there is no vanilla (thankfully) and its powdery elements are restrained. I find it to be masculine and suave. I think it would work well as a date scent: it has exceptional sillage (as some have noted) and women love it! I think one reason that women like it is that it does project a ‘masculine’ aura. Having just read the excellent article “What Makes a Scent Masculine?” by Ayala Sender [ayalasmellyblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/what-makes-fragrance-musculine.html] I agree with her point that the natural smell of a man’s body includes elements which have a similarity (inter alia) to cumin, wood and vetiver… precisely what we have in this scent. This starts with a brilliant overture of all its elements: there is smoke and incense, spice, a creamy power/leather note, and very good dry wood. The scent settles into a dry spicy-wood vibe that is very enjoyable. The cumin is noticeable but IMO well-modulated, restrained, and combines well with the wood. I find the incense to be a minor note, lovely but not as mysterious and evocative as that in the CdG Incense line. Excellent!

    27 June, 2008

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    Blu pour Homme by Bulgari

    Bulgari Blu is wretched stuff. Like some others below, I find it to be simplistic, powdery-sweet and cloying. It is powerful, excessively "fresh" in a synthetic manner, and quite obnoxiously headache-inducing in a budget-frag sort of way. Ughh, a total scrubber.

    25 June, 2008

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    Sélection Verte by Creed

    This has a lovely beautiful citrus opening: gorgeous neroli with a green herbal 'snap'. Quite quickly, the scent develops a distinctively refreshingly herbal-mint note. The mint is leafy-green, charming and quite natural in style. Not any hint of toothpaste here! At this point the scent is quite cool, dry, bracing in a tonic manner. So green, vital and energetic. Gradually this settles into a gentle, slightly peppery green musk note. This is suave and classy and wears well. Reasonable longevity.

    12 June, 2008 (Last Edited: 22 January, 2013)

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    Borsalino Panama by Borsalino

    I sampled this in a hat store (a logical, if unexpected place to find it) and was unimpressed. Cloyingly sweet, floral and musky, simple. Not classy like Borsalino hats.

    12 June, 2008

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    Silver Mountain Water by Creed

    inspired by the exhilarating crispness of mountain air and the purity of cascading alpine streams…” (Creed site). I find this to be a cool, even frosty scent. Citrus and green tea in the opening, lots of green tea. The blackcurrant buds give another green note. For me this scent is all surface, showing glittering sparkles but having no depth. Indeed, I find it tiresome after a while...like breathing air from a freezer. Much nicer cool-frosty scents are Blenheim Bouquet and Fath's Green Water.

    12 June, 2008

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    Angélique Encens by Creed

    Well, for me this was a disappointment. I love "churchy" incense scents; ones that are resinous, dry, and woody. They evoke a haunting, mysterious quality. The fact that this scent was revived for the occasion of Pope Benedict's visit to the USA led me to think AA might be something along the lines I've described above. But, as many have noted, this is a very sweet, musky, vanillan and floral scent. It has only a passing acquaintance with incense. Creed's Cypres-Musc is the sort of thing I had been expecting, and certainly Comme des Garcons' Incense line delivers the goods. This is another pot of incense, and not my style. Doesn't smell masculine to me at all. Thumbs down because what the promotion suggests, and what the product delivers, are two different things.

    12 June, 2008

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 2 Red: Palisander by Comme des Garçons

    Palisander is a complex scent. It has a lovely woody opening, with a fresh green note. Some heady hints of myrrh and saffron start to emerge. The aromatic incense notes dance with the cedar wood notes. The myrrh continues to develop. It is a bit sweet and powdery, but that just adds an elegant note to the wood. The dry-down is lovely. I like this a lot.

    29 May, 2008

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    Bois d'Ombrie by Eau d'Italie

    This is a boozy, leathery scent. It has old-school style: it is rich, smoky, powerful. There are lovely notes here. Normally I’m not a fan of leather scents but this has clubby charm. Likewise with the tobacco leaf. The incense notes are intriguing and dusky. Apply in small doses and wear in cool weather, this generates its own heat. Lovely dry-down.

    20th May, 2008

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    Epice Sauvage by Ayala Moriel

    This has an excellent cedar up front: piney, even a bit minty, almost like eucalyptus. A good wood note, though unfortunately it is brief. The honey is like lovely beeswax, making this a very rich scent (in my opinion). The spices are a tight blend, I couldn't pick out the individual elements. The opopanax gives some musky green notes. The florals make this rich too. In short, this is opulent. It is not my style, but I think it is beautiful.

    18 May, 2008

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    Song of Songs by Ayala Moriel

    Your love is more delightful than wine.
    Pleasing is the fragrance of your anointing oils,
    your name is perfume poured out.
    Song of Songs 1:2-3
    In Jewish tradition, the Biblical book 'Song of Songs' is classified as wisdom literature. And there is wisdom in this scent, the evocation of love in its various kinds. We have the beauty and sensuality of love, in the lovely deep rose notes. We have the quiet contemplative (even yearning) aspect of love, in the introspective incense notes. The incense has an interesting treatment here. It is not rich and sweet (as in a typical oriental) nor is it dry and turpentine-like (as in some Mediterranean men's fragrances). This takes a third path, one I struggle to describe: something like steeped herbal tea. We sense the smells and the thoughts associated with a cooled cup of tea as one waits for one's beloved...
    This fragrance is very interesting since it uses fragrance elements known since Egyptian times, many of them mentioned in the great love-poem of the Bible, Song of Songs.

    16 May, 2008

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    L'Herbe Rouge by Ayala Moriel

    Lemongrass is the centre of this scent, exerting its strong lemony – grassy presence. Hay absolute combines with the lemongrass to create a sweet, “hay field in the sun” chord. Some aromatic notes from the clove bud, lavender and juniper berry add interest at the beginning, but they quickly make way for the lemongrass.

    15 May, 2008

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    gs01 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

    Top: dew drop green, orange blossom, green lime, carrot seed
    Mid: white peach, freesia, waterlily, rose, jasmine, davana
    Base: cedar, vetiver, sandalwood, basmati, musk, amber, moss
    This is a lovely scent, full of peach fruit and richly sweet flowers. It is not unisex, it is a feminine scent; and it would suit a lovely young lady.

    14 May, 2008

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    L'Écume des Jours by Ayala Moriel

    L'Écume des Jours is an exceptional fragrance. I urge those interested to go to Ayala's website & read her comments about the link between this fragrance and the novel of the same title. Her intent was to create a slightly "melancholy" scent. Without knowing that, I had already characterized this as having a haunting, contemplative character. The opening is very interesting, aromatic and spicy-green. I find the florals to be subtle, they slightly soften the dry elements but are not foreground. The salty-briny note from seaweed is really interesting. The elements here, and the mood they create, are first-rate. This must be tried to be understood; words fail to capture its effect. Ayala has a real understanding of green scents. Speaking as a fan of green scents, I never fail to be pleased with her creations. This is listed in Basenotes as a feminine scent but I can assure you that many men will love it, this one does!

    14 May, 2008

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    Gaucho by Ayala Moriel

    Absinthe (wormwood), “African stone tincture,” angelica, bergamot, broom (genet), deer’s tongue (liatrix), galbanum, “green cognac,” guiacwood, hay absolute, jasmine, neroli, rosemary absolute, yerba maté
    What a fascinating list of ingredients! On her site, Ayala says, “coumarin is the soul of Gaucho” and I certainly agree. This is a very grassy scent, meant to evoke warm breezes coming off the pampas plains of Argentina. It is intense, amazingly tangy, dry... a grassy green rather than a leafy green or a forest green. It is so dry and bold that I think any man could wear it. I find the floral elements (jasmine, neroli and guiacwood which has rose qualities) are very background. There are many grassy or hay-like elements here and they dominate: broom, hay absolute, and of course the coumarin from the deer’s tongue. My research reveals that deer’s tongue was commonly used to scent tobacco, which is why this fragrance very much reminds me of my father’s tins of pipe tobacco. This is a completely unique sort of scent, nothing at all like the amber powdery fluff-ball of Yerbamate by Villoresi! Try it!

    12 May, 2008

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    eo02 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

    I find Egon Oelkers (eo 02) to be a spicy-woody-ambery sort of scent. It starts with good spices and brief citrus notes, and a bit of aromatic galbanum. I searched for the very interesting heart notes but they eluded me. This very quickly settles into alternating notes of cedar (excellent) and rich amber (well done but not to my taste). If you like buttery amber you’ll probably like this. I feel it could have been so much more. I’m neutral on it, a bit disappointed given the great potential of its ingredients.

    12 May, 2008

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    Sabotage by Ayala Moriel

    This has an excellent aromatic green-citrus opening. It is very lemony and invigorating. Grassy-hay notes emerge, contributed by the vetiver and coumarin (from the tonka bean). I think Ayala is an expert on coumarin, she can always get excellent cut-grass notes when she wants. The blond tobacco leaf adds an intriguing variation on this grassy theme. It reminds me of my father’s old pipe tobacco tins. This is a lovely daytime scent. I don’t find Sabotage to be ‘macho’ or ‘stinky.’ The grassy notes are quite distinctive, but that is part of this scent’s charm. Ayala’s site says that she created Sabotage to be “a parody of classic masculine scents.” I like it.

    09 May, 2008

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    Fete d'Hiver by Ayala Moriel

    I have completely revised my review. My earlier comments were based on my confusion between this scent and one with a similar name, "Fete D'Hiver pour Homme." The notes are completely different between the two, and the latter morphed into Bois D'Hiver in Ayala's current product line.

    Here, we see a rosewood (bois de rose) centered scent. Rosewood oil is very powerful, with a languid and rich note reminiscent of deep roses but also furniture oil and old wood. It can dominate a scent if overdone. Here, it is definitely the focal point but it is handled well, and provides a good foundation for the pleasant and warm spice mix and the floral notes. The scent is rich, cozy and not too sweet. There are nice hints of incense and sandalwood in the dry-down.

    08 May, 2008 (Last Edited: 10th December, 2012)

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    Number 3 / Le 3me Homme / The Third Man by Caron

    I've revised this review. Initially I was neutral on it. I still think it is a classy scent, but I find that a couple of elements dominate and I don't like them. If others like these elements then they won't have a problem with the scent.
    The first problematic element for me is the anise. I appreciate a little of that fennel-licorice note, but here I find it dominates in the early going. Sometimes I get a cool, minty note from the rosemary or cloves from the carnation, but mostly it is anise.
    The second and third elements which give me problems are the vanilla and patchouli. Just a little too much vanilla to suit me, and the patchouli, while earthy and tangy, is also assertive and a bit sweet and heavy.
    This is an old-school aromatic fougere. Give it a try if this style interests you. It is a classic of its style.

    05 May, 2008 (Last Edited: 26 December, 2012)

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    Pour Un Homme by Caron

    I have completely revised my review. I now recognize that this is an old-school fougere. The dry-down is a little more sweet than I like, with a little more vanilla than I seek out. But really, this is a charming and classy scent made with the traditional profile of lavender, coumarin, and moss.
    The lavender is lively, accurate, herbal, and persistent. It picks up bits of aromatic herbs from the clary sage, as well as some wood notes. The dry-down is very smooth and gracious. The coumarin from the tonka, in combination with the moss, give a pipe tobacco note, something almost smoky and intriguing. There are hints of good wood in the dry-down as well, and the lavender continues to add an element.
    I can find no fault with it, it is a lovely scent and is worthy of the title "classic".

    05 May, 2008 (Last Edited: 25 December, 2012)

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