Fragrance Reviews from October 2005

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    Cabochard by Grès

    This is a very interesting scent that's built on the same sort of mossy, leathery, smoky foundation as Robert Piguet Bandit and Caron Tabac Blonde. Unfortunately, for me Cabochard is too chypre, too leathery, too smoky and not well suited to my personality or skin. I feel as though I just smell like a big old leather saddle that's had a few ashtrays dumped on it. This is not a desired effect for me when I wear fragrance! But it's worth trying at least once if you get the chance - it can be devastatingly sexy on those who wear it well. And it comes in a big, heavy column of a bottle that just feels powerful and entirely self-assured, as does the fragrance. Notes include aldehydes, spices, jasmine, rose, ylang, orris, gernaium, leather, tobacco, amber, patchouli, musk, moss, vetiver and castoreum.

    01st October, 2005

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    Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Oh so sexy, oh so smooth. This surrounds me like a swath of satin and makes me feel like the most alluring thing in the room. It is creamy without being rich - it's not buttery or heady, just creamy, heavy cream on fresh figs creamy. The sandalwood, lime and coconut offset the fig notes to perfection, imparting a little spicy wood, a nuttiness, a fleeting twist of zest. This is the first L'Artisan I bought for myself and something I'll always consider the line's "number one" although they do so many other great ones as well. Great year-round, not too light or heavy; the fig makes it work for fall or winter, the coconut and lime for spring or summer. Absolute and unadulterated perfection in fragrance.

    01st October, 2005

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    Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent

    Rive Gauche is more chypre than anything else to me, though its' typically considered a floral aldehyde. It is not sweet, not especially smoky and not green either; all the flower (including magnolia, gardenia, geranium, rose, ylang and lily of the valley) and green notes smell a bit smoked, as if they've been dipped in incense. A powdery, sharp rope of iris and tonka, dusted up even further by aldehydes, run through all. It's got some character in common with Cabochard and Chanel 19, though I like Rive Gauche better. Still, it wasn't a major favorite of mine until I layered it over a Bourbon vanilla lotion one day - and then it truly came alive. The Bourbon vanilla is smoky, too, like the fragrance, but adds that jot of sweetness - not too much, just enough - that this scent seems to call out for. I have never worn it any way but then since then and highly recommend trying it this way. I am, by the way, referring to the "old" verison of Rive Gauche; I have not yet tried the reformulated one that's supposed to be a lighter take on this fragrance. The old heavy one's just fine by me!

    01st October, 2005

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    Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

    I always found Paris too florally and close until I started wearing some of the lighter spinoff limited edition versions like Paris Premieres Roses. The roses and other florals in the Paris family are unique in character - I find them almost candy-like, but as in very good and expensive French candy, pastilles and so on, rather than jelly beans or common hard candies. They are also warm and glowing, effusive without necessarily being overly heavy or ripe. Lovely in their own ways - just took a little getting used to for me. Paris is a scent that accomplishes being delicate without going wimpy or wishy-washy, a lesson that plenty of other water-logged aquatic fruity-florals could stand to learn! Notes include rose petals, orange blossom, mimosa, cassia, hyacinth, violet, ylang, lily, linden, iris, heliotrope, amber, musk, moss.

    01st October, 2005

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    Paris Premières Roses by Yves Saint Laurent

    This fragrance is about the first rose buds in spring, delicate and a little tentative, perfumed but not heady. Sometimes "young rose" scents can err on the side of being too green and so a little musty, but not this one; the infusion of a good deal of violet with its powdery qualities keeps this scent just airy and floaty enough to carry you right into printemps at the Tuileries. The base is pretty much inconsequential, not noticeable against the profusion of flowers and not really missed. Interesting, I find this fragrance to be plenty strong enough for an EDT; it applies with quite a bit of scent and certainly doesn't fade away quickly. But the sillage is minimal; it honestly stays as close to the skin as any scent I've ever tried. I have gone through almost all of the huge four-ounce bottle and have enjoyed this fragrance more and more, to the point where I may strongly consider repurchasing it - if I can find any more of it - when I run out of my current supply.

    01st October, 2005

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    Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain

    Kind of a cute idea for a fragrance - evergreen trees, sugar cookies, smoky fireplaces - but it's a little too novel for me, along the same lines as those appliqued sweaters that people only wear for Christmas. The pairing of heavy pines with gourmand ingredients is a little jarring and contrived to me, something of a disconnect; each category of notes has its place but together they seem strange. That's what I pretty much think of the scent - it's just a little strange. I like the briskness of the evergreen notes and here they manage to avoid feeling oily and disinfectant-like; they actually have a nice sparkling quality. And I like the base section, which is about sugar and spice - including ginger - and that smokiness from the incense. I think the base notes alone could have carried this sense, actually. It would have worked out fine. I wear it maybe once a year - guess when?! Hint: I put it on before I set out the cookies and milk for you-know-who.

    01st October, 2005

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    Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    So fine in so many ways, so impressively different and beautifully sultry yet of the earth and real. Voleur de Rose strikes me as one of those medieval scents, something drawn from an herbalist's special potion and made from the deepest red rose petals gathered beneath a full moon, spiced with a mythical beast's breath of patchouli and sweetened so delicately with exquitely ripe pulp of black plums (assuming they had plums back then - ?!) Every note in this fragrance lives up to its reputation; the patch isn't stinky, the rose not florid or musty, the plum not sour or sticky. Voleur de Rose is a special, special fragrance and worth every single penny it costs. I'm slightly in awe of its incredibly sensuous aura.

    01st October, 2005

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    Les Nuits d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

    There is something of the ancient in this fragrance, something that seems to go back to cultures from long ago, and that makes it fascinating to me. It's very herbal - even verging on the medicinal during the opening phase but in a way that really works. With a blend of bergamot, lemon, cypress, basil, cumin and juniper, the character of this tends toward aromatic spices and herbs, the kinds of things people in ancient Rome or India may have scented themselves with or burned in urns as incense (which is also a note here - beautiful, not at all woodsmoky.) Of course, too much of a good thing is too much, so there are vanilla, amber and white musk to sweeten, smooth, balance out the other half of the composition. This is not a feminine fragrance in the way we think of them nowadays, but that could have been worn by an elegant woman - or man - of centuries ago. Splendid work from the house of Annick Goutal.

    01st October, 2005

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    Orchidée Blanc by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Once you fall in love with this scent, prepare to love if for life. I was not so wild about it at first; the iris in it is heady, powdery and yet a tiny bit sharp and also very gently earthy, like the ground as it smells when thawing out in spring. But I soon learned this was part of its charm, particularly in the way it interacts with the light drizzle of honey and softly sweet vanilla and jasmine. This smells a bit retro, as if it's stepped into the 21st century from another time. Perhaps the 1940s - sometimes it reminds me of a lady's face powder from that time, something tinted very lightly pink. If you try this, be patient with it; many people are turned off of it at first and dismiss it because it's such an unusual composition, but treat it gently and let it grow into itself before you decide.

    01st October, 2005

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    La Chasse Aux Papillons by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Rolling around in a bed of the loveliest flowers couldn;t possibly smell better than this fragrance. Seriously, I have walked by huge, incredibly lush floral arrangements while wearing this, and have attributed the sublime scent in the air to the flowers themselves only to relaize, once past, that it was my La Chasse Aux Papillons that smelled so very wonderful. Nice, rich tuberose is tempered with the honey-like stunner linden blossom, and orange blossom lends its slightly spicy cleanness to a sweet night-blooming jasmine. And that's it; from just these four notes, a floral symphony of unparalleled beauty. Given its nature, it does not linger on the skin as long as I'd like, but that's fine. I love it nonetheless. (BTW, L'Artisan now makes an intense version with a heavier tuberose note.)

    01st October, 2005

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    Eau Fantasque by Fragonard

    Eau Fantasque is fantastic, truly, such a clean and pure-smelling scent that I can't imagine going through a warm weather season now without it. Truth be told, I didn't love it at first, as the freesia note plays a larger role than I ordinarily would like. But it's not really such a big deal once you get accustomed to it, and the rest of the notes are just so incredibly clear that they seem to have emerged from a crystalline spring somewhere. Even the black currant, so often a round and warmish note, is effervescent here. The grapefruit in particular is very crisp and refreshing and gives the scent a rather green character; it's not so much an identifiably fruit or floral scent, more just green and clean as a fresh-snapped flower stem. Lovely!

    01st October, 2005

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    A*Men / Angel Men by Thierry Mugler

    Took a while to get used to it, but A Men really is something special! Just chocolate, chocolate, chocolate is all I smell, but it's taseful, if yet a bit playful. The younger guys get a kick out of this, but the older ones can appreciate it as well. I can understand if a few people hate it, but I guess they must have had a bad experience with someone who had 20 sprays too many. Keep it light guys!

    01st October, 2005

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    Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne

    A good everyday cologne, fresh and young, but I think it may be a bit too common. I prefer the Wave version actually, as it says more SUMMER than the original, and I only wear light colognes during the hot season. But you can't go wrong with this one!

    01st October, 2005

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    Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

    I agree with the "flowerly" comment. It's too much and also too popular of a cologne for me to wear. I guess the fact that people tend to overspray this also makes me react negatively to it. Most people like it though, but I thank myself for trying it out before even thinking of buying it.

    01st October, 2005

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    H.M. by Hanae Mori

    I love this cologne, a bit like A Men, but with more class and less of the chocolate note. I haven't tried the EDP version yet, and I'm willing to give it a go, as the EDT seems to be missing something (but not enough to keep it away from my skin!) Give it a try!

    01st October, 2005

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    Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

    Really sweet and really vanilla like, which I tend to love in fragrances. But try it first, especially with all this controversy. But it may be a bit too popular for those looking for something different. Le Male isn't for those who want an everyday scent.

    01st October, 2005

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    Opium pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

    Too spicy, too spice cake like. All this comes in the initial spray, but it mellows down to a more wearable scent. It's something you have to grow on, and something I don't recommend buying blind (as I did.) It's definitely not a masculine scent, but something more inbetween, which I found a bit disappointing.

    01st October, 2005

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    Pi Fraiche by Givenchy

    Original Pi was perfect, so I don't know why they bothered, but it seems everybody has to do a summer version of their popular cologne. Wasn't really interested in it, but it isn't a bad scent. I guess I'm too much of a Pi guy to really love it.

    Try Pi first, then the Fraiche version next.

    01st October, 2005

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    Reaction for Men by Kenneth Cole

    Really fruity and really nice. Definitely a summer cologne, and something you shouldn't wear too often, but I recommend it for those who like fruity fragrances. Women tend to like it as well.

    01st October, 2005

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    Red for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

    Too early 90s for me, which means musty and rather heavy. I could understand the following it has however, it does have it's signiature scent. Just don't expect to smell something spectacular when you pay 200 bucks for it.

    01st October, 2005

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    Touch for Men by Burberry

    Touch for Men is a sweet cologne, but not too much, just enough to set it apart. Can't really grasp what makes it sweet though, but I do like it. And it does get compliments, just don't overspray this one. Some colognes aren't meant for overspray, and this is definitely one of them. (They tend to be sweet colognes that do this.)

    01st October, 2005

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    Style In Play by Lacoste

    Really fresh and fruity and not sickenly so as many other fragrances. I actually skipped over this one many times at the department store, and was pleasantly surprised to finally get a whiff of it. Recommended! (Though for the younger guys.)

    01st October, 2005

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    True Star Men by Tommy Hilfiger

    A light cologne, (like so many out there.) But there's something about this one that hits me. The smell is really addicting to me for some reason. I can't quite place why, but I really like it. Thought about buying it, but figured that within months this will reek in schools and businesses everywhere, so I decided on something else. But I do recommend it.

    01st October, 2005

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    Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

    New to the scent game, I guess it's no surprise I purchased a bottle of this during one of my first Dillard's cologne shopping experiences. For the first couple of weeks I really liked it. Now, my 1.7oz bottle, which I had initially thought wouldn't last long, has been sitting 3/4 full on a shelf for some time. It does smell good, mind you(though it doesn't last all that long on me), but I now have so many other "better" options available that I only pull this out for nostalghia's sake.

    01st October, 2005

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    Chrome by Azzaro

    It is a rather ubiquitious scent for a reason...it rules! Haha...seriously, though, in the 4 or so months since I've really gotten into cologne, I've owned either bottles or samples of roughly 20 different colognes, from Creed to Armani, and out of them all, this is my favorite. And although I wouldn't want to date a female that liked me only for my cologne, I have to say that this is the one scent that has gotten the MOST attention, by far, from the opposite sex. Heck, people in general. I don't wear it as often as I might like just because I've been going out of my way to broaden my scent horizons and I do like variety. This is my "go to" scent for now, though.

    01st October, 2005

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    Desire Blue by Dunhill

    I really do like this one. I only wish it was just slightly less sweet, but that's my only real complaint. It lasts pretty well on me and I think it'll work in most situations, save full on formal.

    01st October, 2005

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    Vera Wang for Men by Vera Wang

    Hmm...the drydown on the skin is nice, if perhaps a bit too subtle to really be worthwhile. I don't like the non-mellowed smell of this stuff, so spraying on clothes, which I normally do to improve projection and longevity with my other colognes, is a no go...as it doesn't "age" and just retains the "fresh out of the bottle" smell. I wish I weren't so new at this or else I may have been able to explain that better...haha.

    01st October, 2005

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    Allure Homme Sport by Chanel

    I will always have a special place in my heart for this scent, as it was the first "real" cologne I ever purchased. Unfortunately, the scent got old really fast, and within a month I was seeking out replacements...which was a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it...'cause now I've got the addiction and my collection is growing at an alarming and ever expensive rate...haha.

    01st October, 2005

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    Curve Crush for Men by Liz Claiborne

    This is a pretty decent scent, but once my little .5oz bottle is gone I doubt I'll buy more. Dave is pretty much right on the money that this smells like Echo. It's not 100% identical, but it's bloody close. I even gave my mom, who has the keenest sense of smell of anyone I've ever known, a "blind" comparison test between the two, and she thought the two scents I handed her were the same. Echo, to my nose, though, smells just slightly more refined.

    01st October, 2005

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    Curve Wave for Men by Liz Claiborne

    Bought a 1 oz'er of this at Wally World on a whim (hey, the scratch and sniff sticker smelled good...haha). Anyway, the next day I was giving it away to a friend. I'm relatively new to the scent game, and this is the first fragrance I've come across where the description "synthetic" immediately popped into mind. It's not horrible, exactly, but it's not a scent I'd want to smell for very long.

    01st October, 2005

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