Fragrance Reviews from September 2005

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    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Bleu Marine by Pierre Cardin

    I agree with Dave, a terribly weak marine release. Not better in any way than Axe/Lynx aftershaves. Uninspired aquatic mess, simple and bad. The original Cardin, Pour Monsieur was a much better juice along the lines of the first Polo by Ralph Lauren. Piney, fresh and masculine.
    By all means stay away from Bleu Marine though.

    27th September, 2005

    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Minotaure by Paloma Picasso

    Very 90's in the overall feel, for me along with Eternity this was one of the signature scents of that decade. Minotaure achieved huge sales in Europe, especially considering the small Picasso brand. A strong juice, heavy on vanilla, orange blossom and jasmine. Instantly recognizeable and somewhat sexually ambigous courtesy of the florals. Smooth leathery base with a mellow sweetness that keeps delievering throughout the day. The closest scent is without a doubt Roma by Biagiotti, but Minotaure is the better of the two, at least for me.

    27th September, 2005

    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Signature pour Homme by S.T. Dupont

    Bought this blind and was delighted at first. It is however very heavy on the incense, and easily becomes cloying. Strictly for winter use therefore, where the ambery, piquant sweetness and woods will surely please it's wearer. Is very similar to Cacharel's Nemo by the way, minus the caramel and with significantly stronger incense.
    As snowman pointed out the flacon is made to resemble an ink-well, which is of course a reference to the companys rich history of making high quality fountain-pens.

    27th September, 2005

    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Ténéré by Paco Rabanne

    Just recently sampled a very old bottle of this and I'm almost sure it had gone off, cause it was very urine-like... Can't imagine this was the purpose, especially with the 2 positive reviews. It did smell rather mossy though, which seems to be a Rabanne house note. Hope I can smell an okay version of this sometime, the bottle is very alluring somehow in all of it's simplicity.

    27th September, 2005

    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Ultraviolet Man by Paco Rabanne

    Unfortunately UV turns very synthetic on the drydown, which is a pity since it's quite a cool EdT. It's sweet and almost gourmand in nature, has a milkiness also found in Diesel ++ and Allure. Additionally It manages to capture the colour purple/violet well in the overall impression. BUT the longevity is bad and the base definitely too artificial to warrant a purchase.

    27th September, 2005

    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Glacier by Oriflame

    Oriflame is a swedish based cosmetics company that has become very successfull especially in Russia. Their concept is employing thousands of representatives globally, that sell the products during "tupperware"-parties in the homes of private persons. The quality is generally low, but it is a cheap brand as well. Their fragrances are unfortunately no exception, they're actually even inferior to the mainline, very poor standard. Glacier is a run of the mill spices and woods concoction, nothing new. If you're still interested in this brand check out http://www.oriflame.se/prod/catalog/MainCategory.jhtml?CATID=fragnance for their list of fragrances.

    27th September, 2005

    MonkeyManMatt's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Paul Smith London for Men by Paul Smith

    Neat "swinging sixties" flacon, but only decent content. London could have been excellent if it wasn't so artificial in it's general ambiance. It's figgy, rummy, coconutty and cosily woody. There seems to be large- scale trends in the mainstream designer houses every year now, multiple launches under a given period smell very similar. And this is definitely the case with London, Armani's Black Code and CK's Obsession night. Out of these 3, the Paul Smith is the given winner, especially longevity-wise. An acceptable cologne, and a huge improvement over the two first very dissapointing offerings.

    27th September, 2005

    Quarry's avatar

    United States United States

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    Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    I'm sure there are bad ambers out there, but I haven't run into one yet that's offensive. Comparing MPG's amber to Ambra del Nepal, my scale tilts toward the i Profume di Firenze juice. Nepal reads a little smoother and quicker to give a powder impression. Ambre Précieux comes across as elegantly forceful. I'd want to smell Ambre Précieux on my lawyer and Ambra del Nepal on my lover.

    27th September, 2005

    rjrober22's avatar

    United States United States

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    Dior Homme by Christian Dior

    A softer more refined version, at least to my nose, of Hanae Mori Edt. I seem to be the only one who thinks so but ??? It is definitely worth a try. The drydown is very nice...don't wash it off...give it a good 15-20 minutes to make a decision....enjoy!

    27th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Basic Black by Bill Blass

    Basic Black was like the third part of the trio of scents Blass put out in the very early 90s - Nude and Hot being the other two. And if Nude is the sexy one and Hot is the wild one, then Basic Black is the very refined, tasteful and well mannered lady-like one, beautifully appointed and self-assured but also incredibly interesting and well-rounded. Unfortunately, it is also ridiculously hard to find! A soft floral with a semi-oriental feel, Basic Black melds rose, violet (which is quite prominent and at its most powdery loveliest) and ylang ylang with some spices, a little coriander and cardamom. The soft base is mainly oakmoss with lower-lying notes of patchouli (can't even detect it) and sandalwood. The result is something that sits between delicate and confident; the violet-moss combination comes through quite clearly as coolish and powdery, while the spices insert a sense of vitality and worldliness. As with a black dress, one could probably wear this on a very regular basis and never tire of it or find it out of style.

    28th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel

    If you're very interested in exploring the facets of lily in a fragrance, this is one to try. The dominant notes of the fragrance feature white Madonna lily, which doesn't show up in many other places, and lily of the valley. I think it's this set of lilies more than anything else that make this scent so liltingly gentle; it's almost reticent in a way, which only adds to its allure. A very "under the radar" fragrance that could almost be mistaken for a floral powder if it weren't for the leather and musk that rest at the base of the scent and give it just enough bravado to keep it from being completely too shy and timid. Every female fragrance lover should have a bottle of Anais Anais in her collection; it's a foundational, ageless type of scent that's great to have around in those aggravating moments of ambivalence when you just can't decide on what shirt to wear, which shade of lipstick to apply or what fragrance to spritz. Ever have one of those days? Anais Anais is terrific at times like that - unobtrusive enough to let you think your thoughts yet so pretty you can't possibly regret having chosen to wear it.

    28th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Savannah Gardens by Crabtree & Evelyn

    This and Crabtree's Nantucket Briar are probably two of the first fragrances I ever actually purchased on my own as a teenager, most likely from the Crabtree shop in Newport, RI, where we used to spend many summer vacations. Savannah Gardens is a white floral, more or less, and an incredibly sweet and spicy one given the way that the jasmine and hyacinth interplay with the orange blossom, vanilla and amber. It's so thick and weighty that it almost has a drawl to it, and applying it feels liek drizzling yourself with some decadent syrup. Definitely a slow down, take it easy scent, something to be fully savored and appreciated. It's perhaps too sweet and drippy for some but I really love it, mainly for the associations of (my own!) youth that it carries but also for its unique character. It's quite original and feels very natural and guileless, as do all Crabtree and Evelyn products to me. The very sweet, fresh packaging always makes me smile, too; very charmingly innocent and gentle.

    28th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Nantucket Briar by Crabtree & Evelyn

    One of Crabtree's real classics and one of the most place-evocative fragrances ever created, in my opinion. (I've spent a lot of summer time in New England vacation places - Nantucket, the Cape, Newport, Bar Harbor, etc - so I speak from happy experience!) This is a blend of wild rose, lavender and a scattering of green and powdery notes, meant to create the impression of rambling backyard gardens and fresh linens flapping on the line. I smell this and in my mind literally see childhood memories of relatives' homes that exactly fit this description. The rose you get here is not a lush, hothouse one, but something modest and discreet, like a primrose. And of course, the lavender is clean, a bit bracing, a touch spicy. There's not too much of it, either, so you don't get that slightly masculine effect that this note can sometimes lend; Nantucket Briar is very feminine all the way around. The green notes could be either a smattering of grass or something a little more citrusy like bergamot or verbena, I'm not entirely sure; they're not that noticeable but they lend a little spark to the scent, which might otherwise tend toward a bit of flatness. This is just a purely simple and beautiful fragrance.

    28th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Demi-Jour by Dana

    Demi-Jour is one of those timeless-seeming powdery soft florals that seems as though it's been around since the days of the court at Versailles - although the aldehydes at the opening give it a somewhat more contemporary feel. In my fragrance classification "system," I tend to group this one together with Je Reviens and Bal a Versailles - though it's much less spicy and lacks the incense notes that both of those have - as well as Anais Anais, though it's a touch less flowery than that. But in general, it's got that same sense of total wearability, not so commanding that it must be paid attention to, yet not so wimpy and washed-out as many of the more modern compositions around today seem to be. Also, like the other fragrances in my self-appointed category, it's comfortably affordable and widely available particularly through online retailers (well, Demi-Jour perhaps just a bit less so than Je Reviens or Anais Anais but about the same as Bal a Versailles.) The notes for Demi-Jour: top notes of bergamot, aldehydes, greens, violet; heart notes of rose, orris, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang and heliotrope; basenotes of musk, moss, sandalwood and cedar.

    28th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Flirt by Prescriptives

    Almost patently offensive, Flirt can only be described as having a toxic topnote that I've never been able to place in terms of source. The dossinia is an orchid, and although orchid notes can be maddeningly strong they generally don't resemble Raid. That leaves the pomegranate, usually powdery, and the leaf greens. And maybe something of the ginger flower. It must be the alchemical reaction of some or all of these that make this fragrance so - awful. And behind that awfulness, a nothing floral, somewhat green but not enough to elevate to anything worth noting. I was sincerely upset with this effort by Prescriptives; after the very real magnificence of Calyx as well as a well done mid-90s group called Color Sense (fragrances composed according to the colors they embodied; I had White, which was white floral and something like honey, and Red, a very spicy cinnamon-rose concoction, and both were good), I had definitely been expecting something way better than Flirt. I did go ahead and bought a bottle anyway, just to say I did, but ended up giving it away. Prescriptives seems to have been off its game in the fragrance department for some time now, but maybe it's just not a great category for them. They seem now to be focusing solely on Calyx, which makes sense since it's far and away the best scent they've ever done.

    28th September, 2005

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    Potion by Prescriptives

    Somewhere along the line, Prescriptives seems to have lost its fragrance mojo, with Potion standing as the most recent example - albeit one that's several years old. Who knows, after the nightmare that was Flirt and then this rather anemic potion, perhaps the company has concluded that sticking to its gold standard Calyx might be the best bet? Anyway, I had heard several favorable comments on Potion and had, as per usual with a great many of my fragrances at that time, made a running lunch-break purchase of it at the old Rock Center Sephora. I remember the occasion well. I wasn't impressed with the test spritz but told myself I'd "grow to like it," yada yada. Same old same old - oh, the money I've gone through using that one short phrase as leverage! Sure enough, days later, it was still striking me as a watered-down fruity floral with no special angle, nothing much to say and not a lot to hold my attention save a demi-sourish tang that had me thinking of some less-than-acceptable drugstore scents I'd encountered. There was a touch of fairly pretty powderiness - maybe from the dianthus, probably either a sweet william or pink note - that pulled it off the edge of being total dishwater, but not by a whole lot. I'm sure many had the same or similar reactions as this didn't stick around for long. As for me, I used up my bottle without incident and have gone on to encounter, unwisely purchase and subsequently tolerate many other wishy-washy fruity-florallys of similar caliber. No, I will probably never learn!

    28th September, 2005

    calchic's avatar



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    Ciara by Revlon

    Don't mess with Ciara, got that? Though it dries down into a rather nicely wearable if highly spiced oriental, this fragrance has a formidable opening stage. Frontloaded with vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli and cedar, you are met with a very sharply sweet set of topnotes. And then wait, don't relax yet, because there's more! Frankincense, myrrh, other spices, raspberry - it's like an incense sundae drizzled with fruit syrup. Sounds potentially wretched but somehow it works. The balsam helps to smooth over and pull together the other notes so that the overall effect is nicely blended, defintiely strong but not noxious. Charles Revson supposedly created this for his "assertive" wife, and I do think of it as a real streets-of-New-York scent, favored by a no-nonsense yet impeccably beautiful career woman stepping out of her towncar with a take-no-prisoners type of expression on her perfectly made-up face. There's a jot of Lauren Hutton, 70s vibe about the scent but it's a positive thing, unless you're avidly anti-70s.

    28th September, 2005

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    Xi'a Xi'ang by Revlon

    Gosh, I remember this so well because it was around in my presence (in my sister's collection, as were most fragrances I experimented with back then) ages before I really got into fragrances myself; I was just starting to wear them but was a total ignormaus about what they were actually made of and what those ingredients actually meant. I somehow talked myself into believing that the name of this scent meant "ylang ylang" in some kind go Chinese dialect. Wrong! This, as I recall, was an extremely fruity fragrance - nothing Asian or exotic about it at all and not a drop of ylang to be found - that went on with a twang of something vaguely sour. Extremely strong; I'd guess lots o'jasmine, peach, white floral. I'd take a hit of this off my sister's bottle expecting something Opium-like or at least along the lines of Cinnabar, and get nothing but heavy fruits and florals and always feel disappointed about it. I do wish I'd stashed a supply of this, though; it's a real rarity now and the bottle and package - gold foiling striped with various tones of royal purple - were both pretty enough to keep around just to look at even if the juice was basically average.

    28th September, 2005

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    Jade Blossom by Stila

    Jade Blossom sometimes reminds me of the South, where they always ask you whether you want sweet tea or unsweetened. The green tea in this fragrance is most certainly of the sweetened variety, one of the most sugary green tea notes I've yet to encounter. Fortunately, it works, creating a nice foil for the citrusy grassiness of the verbena and the cool watery cucumber. The tea here is also not of the super-strong, full bodied and potentially bitter variety, which is a good thing to me; it's more along the lines of the tea notes in Bulgari Eau Perfumee and L'Artisan The Pour Un Ete, and less like those of Barneys Route de The or MPG's Eau de Camellia Chinois. Green tea can be a tricky note with my chemistry but Jade Blossom poses no problems. And for such a light-bodied scent, it possesses surprisingly good staying power. If you apply this liberally enough, it can last all day well into the evening.

    28th September, 2005

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    Crème Bouquet by Stila

    Creme Bouquet needs some understanding and TLC on its wearer's part before it's able to bloom into a genuinely enjoyable fragrance. I was rather put off by this fragrance for some time, would apply it often during sampling visits to various stores and immediately react with an "ew, gross, air freshener-bathroom cleaner-cheap powder" assessment. And would then pass it by in favor of something less likely to provoke that type of reaction. Then, one day, I allowed Creme Bouquet to take its time and dry down properly and at its leisure, and ended up amazed at how beautiful it had become, vanilla intermingled with extremely delicate floral powders, reminiscent of scented pastilles and lace parasols. It has a certain Victoriana sensibility, with something almost like a charming touch of naivete with its sweet, innocent lily of the valley and pink lilac. I have loved it ever since and worked my way through two bottles of it. A very fine scent if given the chance it so richly deserves!

    28th September, 2005

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    Angel by Thierry Mugler

    Angel, Angel, Angel - I know this is one of the most popular and revelatory scents of the latter 20th century, and I have no reason to dispute its standing as such. But when it comes to wearing this fragrance myself, I am one of the unlucky ones who've learned the hard way just how truly awful patchouli - which I frankly love on its own o rin other types of compositions - can become when combined with profusions of sweetness. In short, Angel just stinks on me. And this is not for lack of trying; in fact, I still stubbornly refuse to delete it from my fragrance holdings in the belief that one day, someday, I will wake up and put it on and have it smell as indescribably beautiful on me as it smells on others. This process has been going on for more than a decade in my life, from back when Angel was first launched. I had read about the notes, so new, so different - chocolate, caramel, vanilla, honey? Hello, I'm there! - and rushed out to Bloomingdales to secure a bottle. And the bottle, and the package - entrancing in and of themselves! I was so ill-prepared for the consequences of that other little note that I'd innocently overlooked. And so, the very first day I wore it, an Indian summer day that started out chilly-crisp and ended up in the high 80s and for which I was not properly prepared, dressed as I was in my first heavy sweater of the season and a thick wool skirt...Well, let's put it this way: my prevailing thought for that day was, "Gosh, I definitely need to apply more deoderant, I'm sweating up a storm!" I mean, I was at work all day - it's not as though I could do a pit-check every half an hour, so I just naturally assumed it was me that smelled so rank thanks to the unexpectedly hot weather married with my ultimately innappropriate outfit. The Angel itself went unsuspected. For about a week, this type of thing went on, with the late fall warmth getting blamed for something really being rendered by the effects of patchouli combined with candy. And then, like that - it turned cold. Highs in the 50s. And the truth was revealed, the source uncovered; I became enlightened. It's been an uphill battle with this scent ever since, though I must say that with some affection. It's impossible to really hate Angel, I think. It's just got a little devil in it somewhere in there, that's all.

    28th September, 2005

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    Innocent by Thierry Mugler

    Angel and I have never gotten along very well, despite my best efforts and sincere wishes, and so when Angel Innocent launched I had high hopes. Conspicuously absent of the patchouli - which I was confident was the one note that caused Angel to stink to high heaven on me - Angel Innocent seemed an answer to my prayers, a confectionary nougat that I could wear with abandon and relish for its simple, sweet, dental carrie-causing gourmand deliciousness. Well - wrong. What Angel Innocent really turned me on to was the evils of dewberry, one of the few things it shares with its angelic predecessor. Now, I spent most of my developmental years in the Eighties, and did as much of the Elle mag-Benetton-Body Shop routine as the next chick; I know from the yuck of The Body Shop's Dewberry Oil, as it characteristically scented many of those years and not at all in a good way. Yet, when it turned up in Angel, I wasn't aware of it; all the blame there went to the patchouli (and still does, in large measure.) It wasn't until I got to Angel Innocent that I began to detect something of a pattern; the nature of the "off"-ness was different from Angel's, but not completely so. Angel Innocent is more about sugared almonds, brown sugar divinity and nougat, less about the honey sticks, vanilla fondant and caramel-filled chocolate bon-bons that live in Angel's particular region of candyland. Angel Innocent is grounded by musk and amber, not patch; it runs more powdery than Angel does. It's even got some bergamot in there, so that the topnotes don't drizzle around you the way they do in Angel. But innocent though it may be, it still smells as horribly rotten on me as Angel does. Just in a different way. Bad, bad dewberry. How I wish it would go back to the 80s and stay where it belongs!

    28th September, 2005

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    Diva by Ungaro

    An operatic fragrance, dramatic in different way from many other 80s power fragrances. Diva is considered a rich chypre floral and is certainly that. The main floral emphasis is on rose and particularly honeyed rose, though this is not at all a sweet fragrance in the way that fragrances are sweet today. It's more of a truly rich and full sense of fragrance - there's also a lot of tuberose in it as well as a very heavy base that includes ambergris and civet. Dry and warm, Diva's a true chypre with major chords of spiciness - cardamom, coriander, carnation, patchouli, narcissus, sandalwood - and minor ones of powderiness from the iris. The topnotes are thankfully almost fruit-free; there's a spot of mandarin but the opening is more about aldehydes that are like the beginnings of an aria. Few fragrances are more aptly named than this one and it's really not a scent for everyone; those who love Diva love it wholeheartedly and wear it faithfully as an intrinsic part of their fragrance lives. Someone like this introduced Diva to me. I have to say, I don't wear it often; it's in the same vein as many of my Guerlains and I tend to wear those more than the Diva. But I enjoy having it around; it always reminds me of a great 80s film also called "Diva" and for that reason alone is worthy of a spot in my collection.

    28th September, 2005

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    Baby Doll Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

    Although I don't like it for myself, Baby Doll is still a very cool fragrance in my book. I freely admit to being biased; I mean, I love Yves Saint Laurent so much that he or anyone connected to him could launch a stick of unadulterated cocoa butter onto the market and I'd find something fascinating about it. And what I don't like about Baby Doll is actually what makes it interesting to me; I have heard many others refer to it as a light, almost soda-pop-like grapefruity and girly scent, but I find it more dark and medicinal/cough-syrupy beneath its sweet candy-pink surface. I think it's both the currant (which is what makes this scent smell "off" on me) and grenadine (highly sweetened pomegranate syrup) at work there, gliding beneath the tart fruits and slightly powdery florals. In the context of the overall fragrance, these notes contribute something vaguely off-kilter. There's a film by Roman Polanski called "Repulsion," one in which Catherine Deneuve (such the original YSL woman - see "Belle du Jour" for Yves' incredible early work as worn by Deneuve) plays a very disturbed but exquisitely pretty young woman who slowly goes off the deep end during the course of the film. For a good part of the course of her unraveling, she wanders around her apartment in a baby-dollish nightgown. This is always the first image I conjure when I think of Baby Doll, the fragrance!

    28th September, 2005

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    Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

    My worldview of soap being limited to Ivory - how banal, I know - I was initially not too impressed with the Mugler cologne when I first tried it. I love the way Ivory smells, and it also provides me with an instant reference point when it comes to a solid definition of what soapy "means." (And there are, point of fact, certain quite common fragrance notes that come close to being Ivory-like; the sublime floral stephanotis is one that springs immediately to mind.) So when a fagrance widely touted as soapy fails to live up to my expectations, I feel disillusioned; it's a very primary thing, I guess. It never occurs to me that soapy, to others, might mean Irish Spring, might mean Tide or Joy or some goat's milk thing from Provence, maybe a big block of olive oil soap studded with lavender, things like that. Thierry Mugler cologne smelled, and still smells, much like 4711 to me - not soap. Petitgrain, which I do enjoy, gives fragrances a certain talcum-cool sensation plus a little aspirin-y bitterness. Once I realized it was this note, and not Ivory, that largely defined the parameters of this fragrance, I felt better about it and eventually came to accept it for what it was, and is. Refreshing, crisp, clean in a NON-soapy way - but I'll take it. When it comes to hesperides-petitgrain blends, Eau de Patou reigns as my supreme favorite, but Thierry Mugler cologne is good too.

    28th September, 2005

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    Todd Oldham by Todd Oldham

    Tood Oldham's signature fragrance (he only ever did one - it's the same as the "crown") is a throwback to the heady scents of the 80s, even though it was launched in the mid 90s. I can't recall the exact notes but I'm pretty sure they consist of peach and possibly something else like kiwi, cucumber, lilac and a lot of sandalwood as well as decent doses of amber and incense. This is a very, very sweet-syrupy-spicy scent; though totally different in composition, it has a very similar feel to Crabtree and Evelyn's Savannah Gardens. Both even share the same deep amber juice color. The Oldham has a certain smokiness, though, that the Savannah Gardens does not, and is as such a bit more cosmopolitan smelling (versus Gardens' charming sense of innocence.) The beauty of the Oldham is its intensity, which stands in contrast to so many scents out today; one or two shots of this goes on and on easily through a full day-into-night wearing. It's a relatively simple composition so it doesn't evolve a whole lot on the skin; the peach packs a tremendous wallop and is a little obnoxious at first but ends up sweetening the whole blend in a rather saucy, sexy way. I like this one a lot and sometimes really relish the idea of cold weather rolling around so I can put some on; it's way, way too heavy to be considered for anything but crisp-to-cold weather.

    28th September, 2005

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    Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma

    The best eaux de cologne. This is a classic, and as must own. The longevity is a tiny bit lacking, but its still a must own.

    28th September, 2005

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    Silver Cristal Men by Amouage

    This is a slightly heavier and a little rougher version of Silver Cologne. It doesn’t have the citrus notes, and has a slightly animalic note. Like Silver Cologne, this is a winner of a fragrance.

    28th September, 2005

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    Nino Cerruti by Cerruti

    This is a wonderful, rich floral fragrance that isn’t leathery or earthy like most fragrances of its time. This is a very crisp and refined floral fragrance, that doesn’t smell at all aged or specific to a certain genre like most 80’s fragrances. This is what Tenere should have smelled like, imho. A great fragrance.

    28th September, 2005

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    Wall Street by Bond No. 9

    Wall Street is a pretty boring and slightly generic aquatic, woody, and slightly green fragrance. There is nothing about this fragrance that warrants the very high price tag. This is probably the least of a stand out in the entire bond line.

    28th September, 2005

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