Reviews by odysseusm

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    odysseusm
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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.

    25th 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.

    12th June, 2008 (Last Edited: 22nd 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.

    12th 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.

    12th 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.

    12th 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.

    29th 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.

    18th 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.

    16th 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.

    15th 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.

    14th 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!

    14th 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!

    12th 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.

    12th 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.

    09th 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.

    08th 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.

    05th May, 2008 (Last Edited: 26th 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".

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

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    Monsieur de Givenchy by Givenchy

    A lovely, lovely scent. A lot like Eau Sauvage, perhaps a little more floral/sweet. Also a lot like Jean-Marie Farina, but more lemony. In other words, a classy aromatic citrus cologne. A feel-good fragrance with an elegant, white-shirt formal vibe that is balanced with sensuality. Invigorating lemon opening. Light herbal notes are softened by florals, likely rose. The base is also attractive, with well-done sandalwood and mossy musk. Excellent!

    05th May, 2008 (Last Edited: 05th January, 2010)

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    Barbier des Isles by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

    An early scent by CSP, before they descended down the lamentable vanilla rabbit-hole.
    A marvellous old-school scent in the aromatic, spicy-wood line. It starts with citrus and warm spices, with hints of smoky incense. The elements are well blended, so it is a bit of a challenge to pick them out. However, I can say that the jasmine softerns the resinous incense and enriches the considerable woody spices. Hints of patchouli add tangy complexity. Dry woods emerge, along with some grassy vetiver. Hey – no vanilla at all here! Excellent! I like this sort of scent and this is very, very well done. It is substantial, and not for the faint of heart.

    02nd May, 2008 (Last Edited: 25th July, 2014)

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    Acqua di Firenze by i Profumi di Firenze

    Acqua Mirabile Odorosa di Firenze is the full title I have. This is a lovely sort of scent. Though it is a bit more floral than is my usual preference, it is neither sweet nor heavy. I don’t think the green notes are *very* green, they fill in the spaces around the two floral notes, iris and honeysuckle. Iris is the emblem of Renaissance-era Florence so it an appropriate element in this signature fragrance. Here the violet-like qualities of iris root convey the fresh and transparent aspects noted by many. Honeysuckle gives a warm, rich quality, suggesting to me jasmine with a hint of vanilla. I find this to be pleasant, but I’m not wowed by it.

    02nd May, 2008

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    Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès

    This is very good for many reasons, and here is an important one: it is distinctive! If the character was obnoxious or problematic that wouldn’t be a good thing, but that is certainly not the case here. Jardin is very attractive. The opening is freshly-tart, with citrus and green fruit. This moves into an interesting floral heart that is aromatic, green, with a green-straw quality. I attribute that to the calamus, a reedy plant : this is what papyrus might smell like in a perfume. Then – very cleverly – the scent develops its sycamore note. This compliments the calamus so well! Sycamore seems birch-like to me, with a clean woodsy aspect. Together the calamus and sycamore give a quiet, haunting aspect to the green tones. This combination is striking and so might seem ‘synthetic’ to some, but I find it utterly natural and quite appealing. A minor quibble: the frankincense is very light, not a distinct element at all though perhaps a supporting one. But perhaps the strongly green and resinous notes of too much frankincense would overpower the excellent notes above. Jardin is interesting! It is not an oriental at all, as one might assume from its Egyptian connotation. It is a lovely fresh chypre, an airy green scent. Great stuff! Quite suitable for a man to wear.

    01st May, 2008

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    Double Zéro by Galimard

    This has a nice aromatic opening of lavender, green herbs and fern notes. Then there is a tiny whiff of pine. Sandalwood emerges as the dominant element here: it gives soapy, brisk woody notes. In the drydown, the wood is supported by vetiver. This is a dry scent, competent but not distinctive. Just OK.

    01st May, 2008

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    Eloge du Traitre by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Revised and downgraded my earlier review.
    I feel that the scent has good ingredients and potential, but is not well designed. It is a powerhouse but lacks finesse and clarity.
    It starts with very good conifer and bay notes. These are all too brief, quickly swallowed up by a very assertive clove and leather chord. BAM! We are back to the 80's. Floral notes are completely lost in this heavy hammer. When things settle down, there is a predictable patchouli - leather - musk base. The patchouli is tangy and a bit metallic, as it often is in this sort of scent.
    The middle is not for the faint of heart, and not to my liking. When things settle down, the scent is OK in the cool weather.

    28th April, 2008 (Last Edited: 11th September, 2014)

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    Royal Aoud by Montale

    I’m new to the world of oud so I’m exploring my reactions to this new sensation. This is intriguing. It has a haunting, elusive quality that appeals to me. It is piercingly ‘clean’ but not synthetic or ‘fresh’ in the current style. It is bright and yet dark at the same time. Bug spray... band-aids... rubber... medicinal... I sort of agree and yet I find this appealing. It is not an industrial nouveau, edgy sort of scent. It is in the old Arabian tradition of rare perfume, a world of scents perhaps unfamiliar to modern sensibilities. Many have said that this is not a big powerhouse scent, and I agree. Applied lightly, this has restraint, artistry, a quiet sort of power. I find it to be coolish rather than warm. It is not woody (except for a sharp sandalwood sort of tone), not very spicy, not very leathery. I agree with Vibert’s profile, particularly the powdery-sweet and vanilla aspect. And the fact that I like this amazes me, normally I detest such elements! At times there is the hint of something like chocolate liqueur or creme brulée. Certainly there are ambery notes. I can only account for my approval in the sheer artistry and subtle panache of this. The drydown is a very subtle, second-skin scent.

    23rd April, 2008

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    L'Anarchiste by Caron

    I've completely revised my review and now give this a gentle thumbs down. It isn't a wretched scent, but in essence here's the problem as I see it: good wood burns off too quickly, fresh musk arrives too quickly.
    The orange notes are so fleeting as to be undetectable. The wood notes are good, woody and even spicy. But, very quickly it seems, the scent becomes cool, metallic and minty-fresh. As long as this mingles with the woods it is a rather intriguing combination. But the woods burn off very quickly and all I'm left with is a minty musk, which gets somewhat sweet in the dry-down.
    Smells like a generic "fresh" scent to me. And that is not a style I care for.

    21st April, 2008 (Last Edited: 27th December, 2012)

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    Gingembre by Roger & Gallet

    Fragrance notes: citrus, ginger, “oriental flowers”, musk
    This is an attractive eau de cologne, very much in the R&G style. In my opinion, that means a somewhat under-rated performer, quite competent if not brilliant. R&G’s in my experience don’t have a lot of initial flash but with a couple of sturdy applications they quietly maintain well all day. The florals here are lovely and so is the musk dry-down. There is nothing so pretty or sweet here that keeps me from wearing it. My one caveat is that there is nothing “gingery” about this scent. No spice, no crisply acidic tones or tangy wood notes that are found in freshly-sliced ginger. I think that is a hard note to render in a scent but it would be great to find.

    20th April, 2008

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    Monsieur Galimard by Galimard

    Top: bergamot, lemon, lavender, tarragon
    Mid: cinnamon, geranium, sage
    Base: oak moss, sandalwood, musk
    The Galimard site gives these additional fragrance notes. This is a very good woody fougère. I really like this sort of scent and this is good value and quality. There is a lovely opening of lemon, with aromatic lavender and herbal notes. Spice and herbal aromatic notes continue and develop. Excellent “ferny” notes are here, very well done. And then it settles into an attractive light wood. I find that the longevity is not great, but this is inexpensive enough to have reapplications without guilt.

    18th April, 2008

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    Lem by Galimard

    Update: this is a generic, ozonic-fresh scent with a bit of green. No pine, no incense. Perhaps some juniper and rosemary, put through a rather synthetic phase. The minty notes suggest wintergreen toothpaste. The dry-down is a bit powdery. At least it is not heavy and not sweet. Reference points: reformulated Greenbriar (Cassewell-Massey), Molinard Green.
    ---
    Lem... odd name, vaguely sci-fi in tone. Lem is a competently rendered fresh aromatic green scent. It is big, smells a bit budget. Fresh and green, fresh and green, on and on. Hello, I am a green creature from the planet Lem. It is hard to pick out individual elements, in particular I searched for pine (my obsession) but couldn't find it. This is a lot like Grafton by Truefitt and Hill, perhaps not quite as good.

    16th April, 2008 (Last Edited: 10th February, 2011)

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    Le Vainqueur by Rancé

    Top: Mediterranean citrus fruits, melon, watermelon
    Mid: ginger, nutmeg, sea breeze, jasmine, lily of the valley, lavender, geranium
    Base: leather, iris wood, ambergris, musk (from Rancé website)
    This is an attractive, modern-style scent with a hint of history. Like others, I doubt that this is what Napoleon would have worn. The summery-fresh-marine note is very contemporary. The opening has citrus and melon fruit notes which are pleasant, not sweet, classy, and well blended. The melon adds quite an interesting aspect. Then some woody spices emerge and combine effectively with various floral notes. At this point the scent is complex, and it is difficult to pick out individual elements. The drydown has a restrained and sophisticated treatment of potentially rich ingredients (leather, ambergris, musk). These gradually deepen and have a lovely, even haunting quality. It is this last phase that has the best claim to historical roots. What we have here is an intriguing combination of new and old. I like it.

    15th April, 2008

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