Fragrance Reviews from September 2005

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    Aramis by Aramis

    As with most Aramis scents, it is very distinct and bold, and it's no surprise that some people hate it - it is one of those love or hate things. If there is a classic post-war Western fragrance, this is it.

    22 September, 2005

    Uzkalnis's avatar



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    Gant USA Classic by Gant USA

    It is too generic to be interesting. Same old story - starts citrusy, dries down into oakmoss. How many times have we seen this one before?

    22 September, 2005

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    Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

    This is a good proof how a simple combination can feel accomplished and elegant. Now that I think about it, Aramis seems to pick winner - Havana (sadly discontinued), New West (also sadly discontinued) and Life are all distinct, memorable, bold fragrances that do not attempt to be all things to all people.

    22 September, 2005

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    Soho by Gant USA

    There is a reason why everything coming from Gant is discontinued very quickly. It is all generic, and the people who shop at Gant and easily spend $100 on a pair of trousers just don't buy a bottle of fragrance on a whim, like they buy a pair of socks. They have enough money and common sense to get what they like. The new Gant Adventure is, for a change, advertised quite heavily (well, WAS in summer 2005), but it's success is at best modest, too.

    22 September, 2005

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    Gant Adventure by Gant USA

    I bought it largely on the strength of in-magazine tester. I thought it was a relatively new marine scent. The real thing turned out to be much more lacklustre than I thought. The top note is so weak that the alcohol kills it off with no trace, and by the time the alcohol dries, you have arrived into dry-down, which is unremarkable except for a nice hint of old clean paper - not library dust, but expensive German paper in a draughtsman's workshop. It is just a hint, though. I would not buy another bottle.

    22 September, 2005

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    Kenneth Cole Signature by Kenneth Cole

    Merely a less sweet, spiced up version of Kenneth Cole Reaction, same citrusy overtones. I prefer it to Reaction however as it is spicier, woodier, more mature, still nothing special.

    23 September, 2005

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    Corduroy by Zirh

    Very spicy cinnamon nutmeg notes, Fall Winter only I would have to say. Good for those seasons but year round I don't think so.

    23 September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Eau Belle by Azzaro

    A more charming, almost innocent fragrance you're not likely to find. Eau Belle is a women's scent you virtually never hear about and I know I wouldn't have discovered it had it not been for a European friend who mentioned it to me. It's an eau fraiche type of scent, designed to be refreshing and whisper-light - just like a bazillion other scents out there these days, right? But what sets Eau Belle apart is the relative simplicity of its composition; it's not loaded with aqueous fruits, ozonic notes, watery flowers, clean air accords and etcetera and so on in a striving attempt to mimic the concept of refreshing. And as such it succeeds where so many other "fresh and clean" fragrances fall down. With Eau Belle, you get a simple opening of bergamot and mandarin, a very light heart of honey and jasmine, and a cooling moss base with just a tinge of woods. Ridiculous as it sounds, in my imagination this scent embodies the story of "Beauty and the Beast" and particularly of the heroine Belle wandering through a mossy forest. It has that fairy tale quality to it, gently romantic and airy with a lowlight of hidden, shaded, cool darkness. And the bottle design must be seen to be appreciated; it's made of dove-gray glass blown, in an artisanal manner, to represent the shape of a belle in a ballgown. The best light fragrance you've probably never tried.

    23 September, 2005

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    Orange Tonic by Azzaro

    Orange Tonic is an eau fraiche that is the successor to the utterly charming Eau Belle. In Eau Belle, you have mandarin topnotes blending with a delicate honey-jasmine heart and resting on a misty mossy-wood base. Orange Tonic picks up the orange and honey theme and adds in more florals, mostly warmish and sunny white flowers, as well as a few herbal touches. You get a very simple but nonetheless lovely scent designed to be a treatment fragrance; its official designation is not EDT but "tonifiante" (toning fragrance), because it's fortified with vitamins and energizing essences. As Azzaro is a Clarins company, this makes total sense; Clarins makes some of the absolute best treatment fragrances out there and Orange Tonic is no exception. I hope Azzaro continues to do fragrances in the eau fraiche theme, because the ones they've produced thus far are really terrific.

    23 September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Euphoria by Calvin Klein

    Kind of a little disappointed with this one at first; the notes sound so spectacular on paper but when I tried it on, all I got was a semi-clone of lots of other dark-fruit, slightly cough-syrupy scents out there, new and old ones ranging from classic Dior Poison to the brand new Ines de la Fressange. I guess I was expecting something a little more spectacular but then again, Calvin's scents have often taken their cues from other fragrance trends floating around out there and then "Calvinized" them by adding something specific to the brand's persona. In this case, I think this happens most noticably in Euphoria's drydown, which takes a long time to arrive but is a big, big consolation to the seemingly ordinary topnote introduction. The base brings together a profound wood note touched with very good candied fruit and a general plushness and luxury that's somehow not of this time or place. It makes me think of Vienna, for some reason, and it really is very beautiful and becomes even deeper over time. I will end up buying this and will have to come up with a different "pet" name for it, as the Euphoria moniker makes less than zero sense to me.

    23 September, 2005

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    Red Door by Elizabeth Arden

    This is one of those very late 80s-early 90s fragrance affairs that seemed perfectly right until it suddenly seemed so very wrong. Come the mid 1990s, fragrance trends changed, fashion trends changed and Red Door just seemed like such an anachronism all of the sudden. I don't even really recall what I thought of it before then; I know I used to wear it regularly as a young professional so I must have considered it suitably savvy, and I remember being gifted with it several times and being perfectly fine with it until - see ya! I just one day decided I hated it and banished it from my fragrance radar. Fast forward many years later to about nine months ago, when I was at a family function and just could not ignore how fabulous an in-law of mine smelled. Her scent? Red Door. Well, like many others d'un certain age these days, there are those moments when I long for the old days of fragrances with a capital "F," the strong stuff that contains neither fruits nor aquatic notes nor genuinely sweet and gentle flowers, and in this spirit I obtained another bottle of Red Door for myself to see how time had treated it. The verdict: quite nicely, thank you. It's much spicier and cleaner than I remember, almost as though it's got a big stephanotis thing going on, which it does not. And the red rose profusion - you know, compared to a lot of the far more sour and dour rose scents that have launched since Red Door, the rose here smells positively honeyed (honey is one of the heart/base notes) and really, really lovely. Overall, this is an ambery rose with accents of sultry tuberose and spicy-clean orange blossom. The peach and plum in the topnote can be a little much but dissipate pretty quickly. I have to say I'm really pleased to rediscover this fragrance; it still has its charms even after all this time!

    23 September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden

    Sunflowers seems to be a now oft-maligned smell that ran its course in popularity in the mid 90s. Yes, I wore it along with millions of others; I even wore, in addition to and for variety, a sort of pseudo-version of it called "Van Gogh" (he of the famous painting of sunflowers - made a lot of sense) made by who knows what obscure perfumer. These days, I dabble once every so very often with a mini of Sunflowers; it's a very friendly, warm fragrance of not tremendously distinct character, particularly because I think its basic construct ended up being copied into a number of other formulations. It literally smells yellow to me, the way I imagine a goldeny-orange shade of yellow would smell, and also a little waxy, like wax fruit. It's got melon and peach topnotes, a heart of jasmine, cyclamen, tea rose and raisiny osmanthus, and a base of sandalwood, musk and moss. Pretty simple stuff but it can be deceptively STRONG if applied with too much exuberance. It's been known to make many people headachey so go slow.

    23 September, 2005

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    Lily Chic by Escada

    This is such a feel-good fragrance, from the bright chartreuse-green bottle to the juice itself - a gentle lily infused with very tangy fruit and soft woods. It smells like April, big Easter bouquets, sparkling dewy mornings, everything vibrant and awakening. Lily can sometimes be a bit too cloying and clingy and "toilet watery" at times but here is handled very well, not overdone at all. Other positives include the fact that this is still an easy fragrance to find, despite its being discontinued; and its palatable price. The lasting power is so-so, which I find to be the case with just about every Escada limited edition, but the scent's so affordable that it's not a big deal.

    23 September, 2005

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    Pleasures by Estée Lauder

    I was all over this fragrance in the mid-90s; I easily went through three bottles of it in succession and just couldn't get enough of it. It's important to note that a key note in Pleasures is black LILAC (not black lilies as per the notes above; I suspect that's a typo), one of my all time favorite flowers, and ten years ago lilac as a prominent note was just not to be found. (Then again, it's not all that common today either!) It was just such a pleasing fragrance, so lilac-y and fresh, mildly powdery and very clean - albeit, like many, many Lauder scents, a touch overpowering in the opening and also a little tiny bit sourish. My only problem with Pleasures was just burning out on it; I might wear it once a year now, if that, and no longer find it has that "mmmm - stunning" factor. But it was good while it lasted. I would still like to try the pure parfum one of these days, though (I always wore the EDP) as I've heard it's really beautiful.

    23 September, 2005

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    Eau d'Orange Verte by Hermès

    An exhilarating and tonic-like burst of orange and mint with a little bit of bitterness to it. Funny, I find this more masculine than feminine, though in general I think even Hermes' women's fragrances veer dramatically from what's considered trtaditionally feminine. Eau d'Orange Verte is like an invigorating slap and seems almost more of a "treatment" fragrance or aromatherapy product as it smells so natural and un-perfumey; it really reminds me most of those very zesty Kneipp herbal bath products. In addition to being enjoyable to wear, d'Orange Verte is one of the best gift-giving fragrances ever because it's pretty much universally appealing. The packaging makes it look all the more expensive and high-end, too, which has delighted every one of the dozen or so people (mostly men) I've given it to over the years.

    23 September, 2005

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    Eau Dynamisante by Clarins

    What really makes this scent pop are its two uncommon notes: the rooty and earthy, slightly gingery essence of ginseng and the aromatic note of caraway. If it weren't for those, you'd have a very nice, mild herbal scent more than capable of standing on its own. But these two notes give it a lift; I think of them plus the lemon as the "dynamissante" part of the mix (which makes a lot of sense since ginseng is considered a natural energizer anyway.) There's a mild effervescence to the opening of the fragrance and then just a really pure, fresh drydown that is totally unique. There are some parallels to Shiseido Energizing but the Clarins isn't as powdery or woody at the base. I've mostly worn Eau Dynamissante in dry oil form through the years, dabbed just like a parfum at the pulse points. It's so nice and subtle and always gets attention and inquiries. A little known but really, really winning fragance/treatment/experience.

    23 September, 2005

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    Escada by Escada

    It's interesting to see where Escada has gone with its fragrances over the past decade and a half, culminating in this new signature scent that has just come out in summer 2005. Gone are the extremely rich and saturated compositions behind the exotic uber-floriental Escada by Margaretha Ley and the tantalizing ambrosia-kissed cola, tonka and sandalwood of Collection. Ever since the company started turning its new launches progressively lighter and less intense - Sentiment, Magnetism, the feather-light fruity annual limited editions - it's become clear they're trying to distance themselves from their old, rather heavily gilded late 80s-early 90s image. And while I fully understand the need for a brand to evolve and stay relevant, unfortunately this fragrance is just TOO generic and like a gazillion other things out there. The Escada folks should have quit while ahead with something like Magnetism, because this new signature scent is plain old wishy-washy, nice and all but really without any kind of definition whatsoever. I've sampled it extensively and have to say it's the first Escada I won't be buying; I'm already up to my eyeballs with all the aqueous-fruity, lightly floral, clean, refreshing scents I could ever want. The market hardly needs another. I just find it really disappointing, to the point where I feel nearly nostalgic for the days back when Escada by Margartha Ley nearly asphyxiated me a few times with its extreme headiness! The notes for this new launch include bergamot, black currant, greens, cucumber, lemon, sea breeze accord, freesia, honeydew, magnolia, jasmine, muguet, rose, ornage blossom, peony, amber, musk, nectarine, vanilla, orris, patchouli, sandalwood.

    23 September, 2005

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    Comme des Garçons 2 by Comme des Garçons

    Very unusual and warm fragrance. The sumi ink is incredible. Lasts all day.

    23 September, 2005

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    H.M. by Hanae Mori

    Always starts off nicely but familiarity breeds contempt. Annoying. Too sugary. Plastic.

    23 September, 2005

    gimpy's avatar

    United States United States

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    Marc Jacobs for Men by Marc Jacobs

    A green, woodsy smell. It smells like you're walking in a forest. The prominent note in this one is fig. Overall, an excellent casual fragrance.

    23 September, 2005

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    B*Men by Thierry Mugler

    I was so excited to get a new fragrance release from Mugler. I couldn’t imagine what they were going to make B*Men like. I was very disappointed when I tried it. B*Men is basically A*Men with all the gourmand notes removed. It’s awful. This is just A*Men with everything innovative and interesting about the fragrance removed.

    23 September, 2005

    JimInCO's avatar

    United States United States

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    Polo Black by Ralph Lauren

    A profound 'DUD.' For whom and for what was this made? This scent has no longevity, no sillage, no nothing. An absolute waste of effort. Sadly, this joins the burgeoning ranks of mediocrity in the realm of fragrance.

    23 September, 2005

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    Narcisse Noir by Caron

    The Black Narcissus - A powerful film starring Dedorah Kerr, set in a Himalaain convent - all about repression etc - whats this gor to do with 'narcisse noir' I hear you ask? Read ON !This deeply sensual perfume has PROFOUND effects on the male psyche - I know now why the film took its name from the perfume; Aninal sensuality is expressed in this georgous perfune, without it being too OTT. I wore it a few times, and without exception, it really changed my image from ordinary woman to seductress. Its Beautiful, it really is and worth more than the price if sensuality is what you want from your perfume.

    23 September, 2005

    RCavs's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Black XS by Paco Rabanne

    Black XS is basically a summer fragrance. It's very fruity, with that kind of "fruity sweetness" found in Acqua di Gio. I can smell some mint mixed harmonically. Powerfull and long lasting, has a lot of sillage. I would describe it as a strong casual scent! It's loud and the image that comes to my mind when I'm wearing it, is Carmen Miranda's hat (full of fruits). I think this one will be a huge success with the young crowd.

    23 September, 2005

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    No. 88 by Czech & Speake

    I am just wondering whether it was just by accident, that N°88 was designed on year before Drakkar Noir. Although quite different especially in the base notes, those two scents have more in common than just the black bottle. It sounds overexaggerating, but to me those are the first pre-punk perfumes ever made. Eager to rise controversities, but difficult to characterize it just into one direction. A somehow relaxed aggressivity.

    23 September, 2005

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    Les Nuits d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

    Everything started with it... When I bought this perfume as the first one of a higher price level, I soon found out, that the smell did not last very long. So a lady in the perfume shop gave me the advice, that because due to the conditions of the male skin men should always use a moisturizing creme before using a perfume, just to make it last longer. I took the advice and use skin care since then, but les nuits d'Hadrien did not develop much better and until now I am a little bored of the all in all quite overrepresented citrus notes of this smell. But you never forget a first love.

    23 September, 2005

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    Dunhill Edition by Dunhill

    This fragrance is class. Nice spicy notes and unique. It just smells of success

    23 September, 2005

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    Lapidus pour Homme by Ted Lapidus

    First time I had it was 10 years ago as a minature. It was a very long lasting fresh smell. I got a 100ml bottle last year, but it didn't wow me as much. There is a sweet note in it which seems a bit out of place, but it is otherwise a very good fragrance.

    23 September, 2005

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    Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

    This is without a doubt one of the best fragrances I have ever smelled. Got a 100ml bottle off e-bay for £12 including post and packing. Result. Its a dark smoky incense smell which is absoulutely unique. Love it

    23 September, 2005

    shifts's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Indra Purple by Ulric de Varens

    This one is incredibly sweet and bubblegumish, also a bit cheap smelling, but I can help but love the cutness of it! There might be some tuberose in this one, which gives it that wonderful bubbelgum note, for which alone I could buy this cheap scent.

    23 September, 2005

    Showing 781 to 810 of 1279.