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CK All by Calvin Klein

cK All (2017) was touted as some sort of a big deal, and even acts like the previous cK2 (2016) never existed, being called "The Third Pillar in the cK series" by Calvin Klein themselves, who've either sectioned off cK2 into it's own little world to die like Calvin Klein Crave (2002), or have retroactively made it a flanker due to it's failure, which is their own fault for deliberately stating cK2 as a "genderless fragrance for millenials", which regardless of intent, sounds like some of the worst soulless pandering in perfume history. Calvin Klein cK All doesn't seek to repeat that mistake by reinventing the cK wheel with psuedo-political correctness so to speak, and instead returns the best-selling unisex fragrance series to it's roots by being mostly floral and really cutting back on the "Kleinisms" aesthetic impression notes and actually telling people what the Hell is in the fragrance. cK All is literally cK one (1994) for the new era, and it's not so much better or worse, just more with this decade than with the 90's as it's time-honored predecessor. CK tapped big talent in the form of Albert Morillas and Harry Freemont, both CK veterans responsible for penning the original cK One, plus many career accolades since. Bringing back the original "dream team" of the first cK One was a smart idea, but unfortunately, lighting rarely strikes twice, and although I give this a thumbs up for sure, it's nowhere near the level of ingenuity of the original. Bottom line here, is this is a fairly pallid, citrus-lead, dusty floral affair that could have been a feminine perfume if it had been released in the 90's, but since it's released in the 2010's with much more-relaxed gender tolerances, it gets to be labelled unisex. Now bear in mind, I wear feminines if I like them, so I don't really care what a fragrance is "supposed to be", but I have to admit this feels more feminine in the dry down.

cK All starts with a fairly stark manadarin accord, that actually is almost undetectable, making one want to overspray applications in the beginning. There are some other synthetic citrus whatevers going on in here, but at least Ck isn't giving them pretty names like "citrus on a wisp cloud of fresh" or other nonsense "Kleinisms" like they have done before. Instead, the next two identifiable notes in the pyramid are citrus blossom (a semi-Kleinism for it's vagueness), and Paradisone: a custom captive that's an intensified version of the hedione molecule used in fragrances past, giving it an unexpected tie-in with greats like Dior's Eau Sauvage(1966). Don't get excited by this news, as Parisidone doesn't smell much like the original hedione and I can't even detect any jasmine accord from it like is expected. The generic citrus blossoms are the dusty florals I mentioned, and the base of amber, rhubarb, lily of the valley, vetiver, and musk just place an end-cap on the whole affair with an ephemeral sense of weight that comes and goes depending on how the air hits. Calvin Klein cK All goes on a lot less sweet and musky than the original cK One, and is less piquant than cK Be (1996) but also more citric and tart than it, almost as if this was a progression from cK Be more so than a true sequel to cK One by it's own creators, which is weird. Once more, I like the stuff, but this really feels more like Calvin Klein were just so determined to avoid the embarrassment of cK2 that they were really trying to retcon not just it, but an entire series of seasonal flankers that came before, taking the family tree all the way back to the cK Be branch and continuing on. It's a shame, because I liked the much rounder and sweeter direction that cK One Gold (2016) was taking the series, but since it released the same year as cK2, it probably got retconned as well from the cK timeline and left to be forgotten. I think the overall gist of cK All is a respectable one, by pushing the citrus forward and focusing on crispness and delicate floral notes rather than go tit-for-tat with masculine and feminine values like past cK entries (barring cK2), since this approach is arguably more "genderless" in execution than Calvin Klein thought cK2 was. It's almost a de-ozonated 90's ozonic masculine, which would pretty much dump it into the appropriate unisex appeal category.

By the end of the day, fans of the cK series will go nuts for this, and I feel that's who this is truly for, which means Calvin Klein has bought me hook-line-and-sinker with it. We cK fans love our weird unisex science experiments that bring back high school memories when androgyny in fashion was exactly that, and not an attempt at a larger social statement (although kudos to those folks who are trying to make those much-needed statements). Everyone else not so indoctrinated won't see the value in this from that sentimental perspective, and like somebody who doesn't understand why the latest Star Wars films trespasses on so much of the fan's trust, the outsider to the cK universe won't get why this is a worthy new cK pillar and successor to the cK throne. These folks will just see it as a relatively weak, somewhat boring, synthetic floral perfume packaged in "another cK bottle that can't be told apart from the others" and you know what? They're totally right. This isn't some crazy next-generation thinking here like cK2 was purported to be, and it isn't even remotely novel. It's another safe, fresh, nondescript Calvin Klein unisex fragrance, but at this point, anyone not knowing that going into testing cK All should be scolded for any attempted incredulity. This is the closest thing I've seen Calvin Klein do in regards of making something just for the fans of a particular line, and I don't mean flankers, but actually creating a continuation of something liked in the spirit of it's predecessors but with a few new twists. Such a thing is tantamount to Guerlain not making a Vetiver (1961) flanker, or even a Vetiver reinvention, but just a "new version of Vetiver" that respects the original but still does it's own thing. That's why I think I like cK All the most, because if I was just to be blindfolded and told to sniff it sight unseen, I'd think you were trying to get me into the latest Celine Dion or Britney Spears fragrance, and we ain't going there! However, knowing this is the "new back-to-basics Act III" of the cK line, I totally dig it. This is by-the-numbers synthetic unisex cK for only the cultists. Everyone else can move on.
26th May, 2018

L'Homme Libre by Yves Saint Laurent

Fresher, cleaner take on L'Homme with violet leaf and vetiver. Feels like they added more modern/synthetic sweetness to it too but it balances out nicely with the violet. The violet leaf is so prominent that my first thought was this is like a sweetened and modernized Fahrenheit.

Maybe not for the hottest of days but seems perfect for warm days outside or in the office. Very casual.

Projection is really good during first 4-5 hours. The scent lasts all workday.
26th May, 2018

Colony (original) by Jean Patou

Stunningly beautiful Fruity Chyper-esque Feminine Jubilation 25 took this frame, turned up the volume and sharpened some of the corners.
Side by side they feel the same and throw off an accord, sublime. Another Vintage charmer free from Contemporary deafening naff.
26th May, 2018
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Eau de Patou (original) by Jean Patou

Beautiful scent, particularly for Summer. Feminine? Maybe. Closer to genderless to my tastes.
Bright Citrus top. Finessed use of the Honeysuckle with the Orange Blossom and bit of Peppery Nasturtium to counter the sweetness. Musky, Oakmoss Canvas turns to a perfect Ambered Savon. Civet? Perhaps for a little angling to scent human.
This competes well with Vintage Pour Monsieur, Eau Sauvage, Dior Eau Fraiche for the sexy, classy Citrus supported by real Oakmoss depth.
Recommended.
26th May, 2018

Yatagan by Caron

This is a comparison of vintage mid-80s Yatagan (grey bottle sticker/box with a sword motif) and the current formula, purchased in I believe 2014.

TL;DR:
Vintage = more bitter, green, mossy, cool, earthy, better proportioned animalics; a clear cyphre. Modern = warmer, sweeter, more powerful, stronger animalics and leather used with less grace and intention without the offsetting moss.

OK. First off, both are wonderful scents, but there are very clear differences.

Compared to the modern formula, the opening and heart stages of this vintage feel considerably more green (stronger galbanum and moss notes, I think), bitter and vaguely poisonous (more wormwood and/or artemesia), earthy and damp, like forest greenery and soil. It feels more "cool" and slightly sinister. The bitter mossy green tone reminds me of a smoother Aramis Devin, which is not a parallel I ever drew with the modern formula. I think there's less celery, or it's more of a raw celery vs. toasty celery salt.

The modern version feels more arid and has a toasted warm tone with a bit of sweetness that I never picked up before when not comparing with the vintage. The forest notes are there, but this is a dry forest in summer. They both feel rich, but in entirely different ways. The modern version feels considerably more powerful in the opening and beyond, but in an almost bloated, unfocused way, like they're replacing the lithe richness of the bitter mossy green notes with a warm, musky personality that's slightly blown out of proportion.

That basic difference continues through the evolution: the vintage stays greener, mossier, and cooler, and importantly, smells more clearly like a cyphre with a greater moss element. The modern replaces the natural moss that makes the cyphre personality so compelling with a castoreum/musk/leather chord. The vintage is more woody/mossy/dry leather, with a quieter but better-integrated animalic accord.

The gap nearly closes deep in the base, but never disappears entirely. The differences are very apparent for a long time - like at least 4-5 hours.

The vintage version is a lot quieter, and actually strikes me as the more versatile, well-behaved sibling. The modern version is entirely respectable, but I can't deny that my nose is naturally drawn to the more natural and well-proportioned earthy-cool environment of the vintage.

Both versions are among my all-time favorites.
25th May, 2018

Oud Zen by Areej le Doré

I fall somewhere between ClaireV's and Darvant's astute impressions of Oud Zen.

The opening is quite a ride: richly sour, smoked, vividly and sharply animalic, and medicinal all at once. I do not know enough about the nuances of different oud varieties and preparations to comment on which specific ouds are present here, but suffice it to say the oud smells sharp, tangy, a tiny bit fruity and in the initial stages of decomposition - moldy is a good word for the effect. This opening roar is both heightened and smoothed by a sharp civet and a bass chord of castoreum and woodsmoke. It's a fascinating smell, and my nose keeps returning to it. In the opening stages, I identify with Mr. Darvant. It's challenging, but rewarding.

The evolution is a slow burn, but Oud Zen does gradually dry out and become a more approachable spiced woody oud, a la ClaireV. But the animal backbone is always very present. It's *just* tame enough to be approachable, but it's right on the border, and you get the sense the beast could easily go rabid and escape. But it stays contained. When it does perk up - which has a tendency to do - the richer, sweeter nuances of the leathery, balsamic, civet profile come to the fore in a pleasant fragrant bloom. But at its core, it remains primarily a woody, smoky oud.

As always with Areej le Dore scents, the materials are absolutely top notch, and from a personal perspective, this is among my favorite of the Russian Adam compositions I've smelled.

25th May, 2018

Eau de Réglisse by Caron

Not bad but, doesn't last on me. A blast of orange, basil, and lemon verbena on top gave this promise. I get no licorice whatsoever. A bit of patchouli in the middle; a bit of vanilla at the end. A good quickie for spring weather.
25th May, 2018
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Figuier Fleur by Fragonard

Light, fresh, a brightness the combination of neroli and bergamot delivers. It blends in beautifully with the freesias, magnolia, and the whiffs of oleander I get on the floral side. Nutmeg, cardamom and a herbal note are present towards the end, but the fresh/floral core is always present throughout the whole development.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

A summer delight. Simple but satisfying. 3.25/5.
25th May, 2018

Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

Brisk, conservative lavender - very English.

The lavender is paired with a restrained peppermint, similar to the one in Cuba, which livens up the composition. Rosemary is vaguely discernible in the accord, but adds a suave herbal freshness to the composition. The lavender paves way to a charming light mossy, woody base that persists for a few hours. Projection is low, sillage is close and duration on skin is average at around five hours based on a generous application.

Oxford & Cambridge is quintessentially classic, refined and cut from quality cloth - a notch above something like Penhaligons. What works here is that the resultant composition is simple, elegant and effortless. It is not dressy, but rather an everyday scent, perhaps even a comfort scent.

It also helps that the lavender here is quite good. While I personally prefer Encens et Lavande for a fresh lavender, Oxford & Cambridge is a noteworthy lavender fragrance together with Caron and Gris Clair.

While it is fresh, I find it to work best in temperate weather. Perhaps a little 'masculine', and a must try for wet shavers.


3.5/5
25th May, 2018

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso by Dolce & Gabbana

More than five years ago I went through a bottle of Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme, made in Germany, which was a limited but respectable offering. Fast forward to 2018, and I am wearing Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso. I see many superficial similarities to the original, but here the scent is different.

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme is basically redolent of a lemon scented high quality toilet floor cleaner. I get immediate flashbacks of toilet attendants handing out towels and intermittently spraying lemon-lavender fresheners in air and on the sparkling Italian (the Italian connection) floor tiles, while guys bathed themselves in Axe in the nightclub restrooms at Park Hotel, Calcutta, circa mid 2000s. This was in fact confirmed by my good friend (no perfume snob, has been wearing Acqua di Gio for a decade), who regularly played bass with rock bands at the said venue.

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intense is lemon-lavender paired to aquatic notes and woody amber, but balanced and more towards the fresher side. However, it’s better suited as an excellent parfum d’ambience.


1.5/5
25th May, 2018

Dior Homme Sport (2012) by Christian Dior

I am a big fan of the 2008 version of Dior Homme Sport. A great casual summer fragrance, very lemony, rich and the lemon is paired to the brilliant central accord of Dior Homme, but only a smidgen of the latter.

Now exploring the 2012 iteration, I find that the lemon is toned down, while the Dior Homme accord is more prominent together with ginger. So far so good, it would seem. However, the dry down, as so often, is where everything comes apart. It degenerates into an overly synthetic smelling accord of woods, to the point of being abrasive. In comparison, this would make something like Chanel’s Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport seem like composed of rare essential oils.


1.5/5
25th May, 2018

Déclaration Parfum by Cartier

Declaration Parfum is basically Declaration EdT, but with a generous lashing of popular woody amber notes, and most importantly - muddled and flattened. This is Declaration tailored to mass mediocrity, so much so that it doesn’t declare anything anymore. Here there is a greater exploration of cardamom; however it is the spicy warmth of synthetic cardamom, which is a darling ‘spice twist’ of so many modern designer masculines, and not a study of the green aromatic attributes of fresh cardamom as one finds in the beautiful Declaration d’Un Soir EdT. There is also a discernible leathery vibe; however, as one would imagine, the cumin driven edginess is of the original is completely gone.

Sillage is good and duration is excellent at over ten hours - but what is the point? To make no declaration, and silently conform?


2/5
25th May, 2018

Acqua di Giò Essenza by Giorgio Armani

Feels slightly more fresh than the original but dials down the sweetness and aquatic notes.

The main thing I notice is the improved performance. This seems to really project during the first 4-5 hours and even when it settles, lasts all day.

Personally, I definitely feel like "cologne guy" wearing this, not sure if this still appeals to younger ladies anymore. That said, it nice, pleasant, refined and fresh.
25th May, 2018
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cK One Gold by Calvin Klein

cK One Gold is amazing for two reasons: It's a flanker that is not a seasonal redressing of cK One (1994), and it actually takes the nameplate in a new direction without the need to make gendered versions, meaning it's both unique and still truly unisex. Typically this feat is left to the bigger niche houses; just sniff anything Mancera or Bond No. 9 and outside obviously-named creations, you tell me who's -supposed- to wear it? It's an area of pure art that designers don't touch, outside of Calvin Klein's deliberately and ostentaciously unisex cK line (plus all the intial designer imitators of the 90's), so usually my hat's off to the "Nuveau Niche" houses (Guerlain and Penhaligon's have been at this forever so they don't count). cK One Gold is the second "Gold" flanker outside a set of them for the Euphoria nameplate in 2014, but shares no other commonality. The warm, woodsy, fruity, and sensuous cocktail here was made for fall use but is light enough for summer too; it has only fair sillage but really good longevity and presence. You'll know cK One Gold is there all day but you won't knock anyone down with it. Like all cK One bottles, the atomizer is separate, so be careful if carried to work (or stuff a tube over the neck if atomizer is left in).

Fig, bergamot, and a strong sage open up cK One Gold, and it's almost so sweet initially that one might be convinced this is going feminine, but actually things shift towards aromatic as the sage creeps up to dominate and turn this into almost a peach ghost note opening similar to Mario Valentino Ocean Rain (1990). Now before you crucify me for comparing Calvin Klein to the almighty late Edmond Roudnitska, it's just the opening, and doesn't have the animal sweat factor he was known for, although it does take a semi-meaty turn with neroli, jasmine, and violet playing with tarragon in the middle. By this part, we realize both that this stays not only sexually ambiguous but also devoid of "Kleinisms" fantasy notes like most CK creations; I'm not saying there aren't synthetics or custom captives here, they're just the mortar instead of the bricks, and therefore unlisted. The base is simple enough with patchouli, vetiver, guaiac wood, and what is a "slightly Sauvagy" norlimbanol/ambroxen/woody aromatic chemical filler alongside a slight dollop of white musk. These now-standard-issue base fillers don't take over the scent like they can in other creations, but despite the natural pyramid, we're neither dealing with vintage nor niche, so their use is almost expected. It's all fairly well-done and immaculately balanced.

Sadly the nose is again unpublished, so I don't know who's responsible for this little treat of a scent. I think it's good enough to be an anchor, but Calvin Klein likes wasting those on far more pandering creations, and this is ironically too niche in design for such a risk to be taken; it's just a sign of the times I suppose. Much like cK One Shock for Him (2011), I see this being bought in the mainstream segments for the bottle graphics (a handsome gold-dipped clear cK One bottle), and praised by perfumistas in the know, while everyone else just ignores it as yet another brand-abusing cK One flanker. My only complaint if any, is this does seem a bit aimed at the club scene, and sniffs slightly of "what Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008) would smell like if it was a cK One flanker", but it's only in general feel, since the fragrances don't share any significant notes at all. Oh well, at least this one isn't a seasonal run, so it might have more than one batch made, in case I use up this delicious little number and wish to seek more in the future. Dare I say this flanker almost surpasses the original? Nah, but it is on equal ground. Recommended for romance or evening use, but can get you by on a hot day as well, you just might attract more attention than intended if you're at work! This one's solid gold baby!!
25th May, 2018

Eternity Intense by Calvin Klein

Given what some had said about this having iris and being weird for a Calvin Klein, I held hope that this was an austere, under-the-radar mass-market gem. Doesn't it seem as though this brand has a unique opportunity to offer something like that? I'm so ready for it, myself.

The opening did not disappoint - proper starchy, ballet-shoe-smelling orris. But in warm weather that was gone in 30 seconds and replaced by an apricot-fruity violet/iris accord under the shadow of a looming stormcloud of hot cardboard sugar (I refuse to call this effect vanilla).

The sugariness takes over, though compared to something like La Vie est Belle, it's a minimalist version with relatively a lot of fruity violet/iris. Its warm radiant sweetness was pleasant and longevity from just one spray was great at over six hours in the heat.

Looking for something austere I instead found it to be something that's a reserved kind of fun, maybe what would happen if Insolence were done in the Calvin Klein manner.
24th May, 2018

1826 Eugénie de Montijo by Histoires de Parfums

I would gave guessed the notes for this included iris and leather, which they do not. Searching my memory and re-reading previous sampling notes, I think this effect is from the bergamot, white flowers (typically jasmine), and patchouli combination. It's a combination I like.

I think this would fit right in with my collection. It smells plenty masculine, despite the marketing. It has some vintage quality to the smell, which I think is still possible with good floral concentrates.
24th May, 2018

Rose Sublime by Laurence Dumont

Rose dominated. Tinge of honey. Watery notes on top. Some shavings of wood here and there. More rose, on the bottom. Sillage is all rose. The other notes, are discernible closer to the skin. A good rose scent for spring and summer. Not overly heavy.
24th May, 2018

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

Lovely amber, not sickly or overbearing, just smooth and gorgeous to wear. Quite durable too. Probably my favourite at the moment, with Ambre Narguilé and L'Eau d'Ambre close runners up.
24th May, 2018

Elysium pour Homme Cologne by Roja Dove

Reminds me of BdC or Sauvage but a bit more fruity sweet and cedar wood. Doesn't smell cheap, so if you're wishing Sauvage was a little more refined, this could be a good alternative. There’s also some nice, clean vetiver deep into the drydown.

Average projection during the first 4 hours then gets close to skin. Longevity is very good, I can still smell it 12 hours after applying.

I do see how some can get an Aventus feel from this but there's just no essential smoke/birch that I can pick out in Elysium, so that's where this differs.
24th May, 2018

Dent de Lait by Serge Lutens

I had little expectation for Dent de Lait, but was enthused after trying this on a paper strip. It had this fresh, milky and vaguely metallic note jostling alongside heliotrope and almond. Now that I am wearing it, my hopes are completely dashed. Any interesting minty freshness, that is somewhat unique, disappears completely within the first twenty minutes. What remains is a stereotypical concoction of almond, musk and heliotrope that becomes increasingly jarring. Dent de Lait does have good sillage, but unfortunately I find it impossible to tolerate after a while. While there is a reasonable degree of abstraction, the accord is also jaded and vapid. The dry down is clichéd, and I find it tiresome to smell this accord in a Serge Lutens perfume.

Dent de Lait provides further testamony to the proposition that the best days of Serge Lutens as a company have long gone by, especially as one considers the back catalogue.

2/5
24th May, 2018

1804 George Sand by Histoires de Parfums

This is an interesting, complex fragrance, bordering on bizarre. The main accord I'm getting from this is typical, classic masculine grooming product, an after shave type smell (which doesn't seem to match the listed notes), and just behind that is a contrasting sweetness that is almost too much and that threatens to ruin it.

The is interesting niche perfume: experimental, but wearable.

The sandalwood and/or patchouli in the background is nice. It smells like they got their hands on some good stuff. The sweet, fruity stuff, such as the pineapple note, is less refined, and smells gimmicky, but the elements that are good are so good, it mostly works.
24th May, 2018

Mélodie de L'Amour by Parfums Dusita

An indolic - narcotic - musky - vaguely animalic - neo-classic tuberose/jasmine-chord "civilized" by a well calibrated gardenia's support. Supremely floral, musky-dirty, heliotropic and honeyed. I'm somewhat sure that a significant dose of civet is included in the mix. Try to ideally "melt" together the peachy/coconutty tuberose of Bois 1920 Sensual Tuberose and an indolic honeyed jasmine a la Bruno Fazzolari Au Dela', well Dusita Melodie de L'Amour will definitely disclose its main essence. There is for a while more than a tad of the stale (kind of flower pot's "rotten" water like) civet-laced dirty graveyard's water-effect conjuring me partially scents a la Corticchiato's Parfum d'Empire Musc Tonkin, Dusita Oudh Infini or La Via del Profumo Tawaf plus the support of a "to a tuberose-connected" gardenia a la Onyrico Zephiro. Lily of the valley enhances the general floral intensity along the way. An obsessive sambac jasmine smells slightly dominant (after the initial tuberose's explosion) under my unfaithful nose. Overall the scent is kind of merged in to a sort of intense neo-chypreism a la Bogue Maai (and partially a la Zoologist Civet) and in to a generally classic floral grandeur a la Piguet Fracas. Yes a must try for any tuberose/jasmine-accord's addicted.
23rd May, 2018 (last edited: 24th May, 2018)

Reveal Men by Calvin Klein

It seems that Calvin Klein began playing the open requisitions game like many large companies do when hiring subcontractors, skipping between IFF, Firmenich, and this time Givaudan, who was tapped for 2004's Truth for Men. At least this time we know who the Givaudan noses are, and we're back up to a three-way like in many of CK's 2000's releases. Calvin Klein has long since stopped making fragrances that can be categorized by traditional perfumery classes like fougère or chypre, but like with 2012's Encounter, Reveal Man can best be seen as a gourmand at it's core. It feels like CK threw resumes at this fragrance rather than the perfumers themselves, as 2 of these are well-established with Tom Ford and one a wide range of niche labels, being Olivier Gillotin and Rodrigo Flores-Roux respectively. Gillotin also has consistently worked with the Ed Hardy brand for Christian Audigier, while Marrypierre Julien has worked directly with Audigier's own label as well, giving Reveal Man talent from all ends of the perfume spectrum, as Flores-Roux even worked with Avon. Additionally, CK sees itself trying to escape for a second time from the legacy of the freshie revolution it helped instigate with Eternity for Men (1989), releasing another masculine that focuses on warmth and aromatics rather than citrus and florals. The "Age of Eternity" probably ended in 2009 with CK Free, 20 years after it started, but Reveal Man proves that CK still has a lot to learn if they want to do more than make inoffensive clean masculines.

Calvin Klein Reveal Man sees itself as some sort of technologically-enhanced vetiver scent, as it's typical CK in that it uses synthetic "Kleinisms" for accords that have fantastic names but are little more than custom captives from whatever chemist they've contracted. This is a frontier they pushed before nearly anyone else, and have pushed the hardest since that E-bomb dropped on the perfume world in the late 80's, so arguably they're the best at it, despite it being abundantly clear that synthetics are not in good taste for most hobbyists; the market CK has cultivated probably can't tell the difference anymore, if they ever could, so they know their audience. I find what Reveal Man brings to the table to be enjoyable, but I agree with niche fans that the smell of science doesn't connect with the wearer on the same emotional level as recognized accords found in nature. Reveal Man opens with kiwano (an Asian melon, so possibly just a tweaked colone note), "crystalized ginger" (okay Bill Nye leave my ginger alone), "pear brandy accord" (not going there), and quite literally candy arabic gum (named "mastic" to throw you off). It's the most "Kleinism'd" opening I've yet seen, and adds a LOT of sweetness to the prominent vetiver in the base. Synth-o-suede, agave, and clary sage make for a more-conventional middle that segways quickly into the Haitian vetiver, amber, and tonka base. Woo-whee that top though!! Once you get past the Star Trek opening barrage of chemical sweetness, the scent dries into a clay-like slightly-rubbery vetiver scent, that's good for somebody who likes the smoke of vetiver but seeks to separate that element from it's greener and grassy side. The somewhat carmelized transition from fruity to smoky follows a path that does greatly remind me of a cashmere note, which seems rather more attuned to a feminine than a masculine, but that unmistakeable amber/tonka/vetiver trifecta becomes the core experience afterall anyway, with only a few wisps of the top returning to the nose. Reveal Man has respectable sillage and longevity for a CK scent, and although it's no Obsession for Men (1986), it will stick to skin and shirt for most of the day.

I can't tell you who this is going to impress. Mainstream perfume fans love it, and perfumistas hate it. Just look at reviews on Fragrantica, where more everyday Joe-types drop their two cents, and it's praised by them or their significant others. Come back to Basenotes or surf various perfume blogs, and this is painted as yet another reason why Calvin Klein is the Antichrist of perfumes. Neither side is really wrong here, especially with this bizarre piece of work. Reveal Man isn't the pure synthetic nadir of Euphoria for Men (2006), but it pushes further in the abstract direction than Euphoria did as something that tries to have too many disparate elements coexisting to cover the widest swath of potential buyers. I like and recommend it as a neat and sweet little vetiver science experiment that's more wearable the longer it sits on skin, but unless you love vetiver enough to be curious about seeing it presented as the core of a sweet synthetic gourmand, you might want to pass. For the brave souls willing to drop the $20-$30 it costs to find out, stick to evening and romantic use. Reveal Man isn't much different from mid-century masculines in the way it marries a scary open with a comfortable base, just that the scariness used to be from animalic accords, and now it's from abstract synthetics that create impressions instead of directly smelling like something. Gillotin has once again created a commercially-successful mainstream masculine that's a critical failure, this time with the help of two others. Thumbs up with severe prejudice. Try before you buy!
23rd May, 2018 (last edited: 24th May, 2018)

Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

Wazamba is a nice incense fragrance, with fruits (plum and apples) and a lovely cypress note. Thankfully the fruitiness is very minimal, at least on my skin, whereas the cypress blends beautifully with the resins and incense, it is quite a bit balsamic and even somewhat sticky in the manner of several Serge Lutens fragrances (Fille en Aiguilles), but I love many of those so I am not complaining. It is substantial, fleshy and closer to Lutens or even Amouage (Jubilation XXV Man) in style rather than the ethereal incense style of Comme des Garçons. I also detect a lovely note of fir balsam in the mix. There are tons of incense/resin scents but Wazamba stands out for how it is interwoven with the green notes. Finally, unlike some other Parfum d'Empire scents, performance is quite adequate on my skin based on a modest application.

Wazamba is recommended to anyone looking for a green-resinous fragrance. This could have been stellar if the fruit-sweetness was toned down a notch together with a greater emphasis on the cypress-fir notes, but it is still very nice for what it is, great to wear on cool fall days. In fact, I'm having ideas about layering it (and I am someone who almost never layers ...) with some uncompromising green scent (how about the 'house green' Corsica Furiosa ...?).


3.5/5
23rd May, 2018

New-York by Nicolaï

Stardate 20180523:

I wonder who started this style of masculine. Or is it just a result of male fragrance evolution.

The farthest I can get is Bois de Portugal in 1987. Pierre Bourdon took the Old Spice structure and dandified it. Polge refined it further in Tiffany for men and more so in Chanel PM Concentree. I think Patricia took it a bit too far. What she made was too light for this style.

Guerlain fixed this problem with Heritage and gave us what is the best in this genre.

In any case, a great fragrance.
23rd May, 2018

Shocking by Elsa Schiaparelli

Stardate 20180523:

A classical floral aldehyde with animalics and rot.
There is a splash of oriental in it too. Something akin to EAOS.
A nice composition.

23rd May, 2018

Chai by Baruti

Tea for Two, Dzing! and Jungle Elephant orgy. If you like those scents you have to check this out. The opening is spicy, and with a sharp black tea note as well as hay. Then it settles down a bit more, as if you added a ton of cream to it all. It smoothes out quite nicely.
23rd May, 2018

Invictus Aqua by Paco Rabanne

This is a very bold high seas typhoon force aquatic scent. The bitter green citrus opening washes into an off centered violet dark green then sprays outward into turquoise and lightning charged ozonic air. One of the aquatic characteristics of this scent derives from how expansive the fragrance is. It projects like an electrified burst into crisp ocean storm vapor. While clearly aquatic, Invictus Aqua holds hints of past great violet fragrances, but seen through an aquatic oceanic aesthetic. I like the work on this scent and prefer it over the other versions of Invictus, but it is a little too bold and assertive for me to pull off. It is nice bold statement.
23rd May, 2018

This Is Not A Blue Bottle by Histoires de Parfums

I am not a fan of screechy woody ambers by any stretch of imagination and This Is Not A Blue Bottle seems to be loaded with the stuff. Fortunately my first encounter with it began last year with a modest dab from a sample because anything more than a single spray is likely to bring me back to the dentist office for a root canal.

Today I wore a single spray to the chest under my shirt. Such a restrained approach to wearing paid dividends. It kept a leash on the screechy base and allowed the rest of the composition to shine. From the electric, almost ozonic orange-laced aldehydes at the top to the warm ambery glow of honeyed musk in the heart. It might not have worked out for some but for me, it did. Beautifully.

I can’t deny the synthetic signature of This Is Not A Blue Bottle is such a departure from the house’ typically richer baroque style but it is clearly intentional and somehow IMO they made it work. The KEY to unlocking its magic is to wear it sparingly.

This Is Not A Weapon of Nose Destruction but it comes close. The power on tap is unbelievable. A single shot to the solar plexus announces my (fragrant) presence with the subtlety of a sports commentator. I dare not attempt it but I believe 3-4 sprays will be the olfactory equivalent of an air raid siren. Joop! Homme has finally met his match.

Olfactorywise, this rates a Neutral from me. It smells like a good designer and reminds me somewhat of Cartier L’Envol. But I appreciate Histoires de Parfums’ audacity to take a cheeky piss on the reigning designer woody amber trend with this irreverent release. That’s why I’m giving this a ‘thumbs up’.

23rd May, 2018

Santal Cardamome by Fragonard

A little spicy and smells like Rose 31 to me. Leans more feminine but still smells good when I wear it, doesn't put me off.

Notes don't look the same but smells like a less dirty Rose 31. That's just my take.

Longevity and projection are below average.
23rd May, 2018
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