Fragrance Reviews from September 2006

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    Cuba by Santa Maria Novella

    the woman at the store told me this is not a big seller but the people who love it are really crazy about it.

    it's sweet I don't even really get tobacco or leather, its more like nectar than honey. I think it is quite nice.

    29 September, 2006

    weymouthuk's avatar



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    Van Gils by Van Gils

    Allow me to preface my ramblings by saying that prior to my most recent purchase of this fragrance, the last time I experienced it was a good 15 years ago in a duty free store at an airport I was passing through. I remember clearly trying this on one wrist and Ted Lapidus on the other. I liked neither on application but some hours later, at 38000 feet with a trolley stocked only with Kouros, Jazz and Lagerfeld Photo, decided that I liked both.

    Now, my first impression is of Boss No1. In fact I had to get the bottle of Boss No1 from my bathroom to check I hadn't been sold a dud product. The two are undeniably similar...at first! Both are warm and earthy but where Boss No1 maintains a sour/bitter element, which is part of its charm, Van Gils gives way to a sweeter note that settles in nicely.

    This is the first fragrance I've found where one spray is adequate, two is lavish and three is a social faux pas. This scent does date from 1988, a time when mens fragrances were designed to arrive in the room before their wearer did. Nowadays we are much more used to lighter, often more aquatic scents and so this is where I feel Van Gils may strike some people as too much. In this day and age it is quite safe to go mad with a more current fragrance and hose yourself down in it but with older fragrances it isn't required. This fragrance does have a perfume like quality, perhaps in the same way of Santos de Cartier or Eau Savage. That said, despite its heavy, formal smell, it can be pulled off in any situation but only with the right amount.

    The Van Gils site doesn't give much away regarding individual ingredients but its safe to say that is a fragrance suited to colder weather, is clean and to my nose at least, inviting. It is old school and to be fair I dont think an 18 year old could pull it off with much charisma. The other safe bet with this is that hardly anybody else wears it. There are only 3 existing reviews on this site!

    If you want something different, individual, that makes a statement, that harks back to an era when fragrances were heavy and serious, this is the one for you. Buy a bottle and join me and the other 3 reviewers below and join one of the most exclusive fragrance clubs its seems there is.

    29 September, 2006

    zztopp's avatar

    United States United States

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    L'Anarchiste by Caron


    L'Anarchiste. The anarchist. All hell will break loose the moment you put this on.

    Well, I am not trying to scare you, but the opening definitely is a shock. Unique, but shocking. Shocking in a good way. It screams metal. Copper to be exact. Who the heck would create something like this ? Caron, thats who. The opening is a strange mix of oranges, spices, and clove. A blend which surprisingly smells a lot like metal. Gun metal.

    After the initial shock, the clove note becomes more apparent; its fantastic here, the clove note. Smells great with the cedar note. L'Anarchiste then transitions to a smooth musky drydown. Quite an experience. The sillage and longevity are near perfect.

    L'Anarchiste is a fragrance which you would expect from the Big Three (Creed, Serge Lutens, L'Artisan). It just goes to prove that the house of Caron is still at the top of its game. Maybe the power group should be renamed the Gang of Four, instead of just the Big Three.

    29 September, 2006

    zztopp's avatar

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    Quimbaya Homme by Jean Pascal


    Notes: citrus notes, rosemary, thyme, violet, clove, lavender, musk

    Quimbaya is the latest mens fragrance by Colombia based perfumer Jean Pascal. The intent of this creation was to evoke the smells of fresh fruits, plants and flowers that are found in Latin America. I would say that not only has Jean Pascal succeeded, but that this is a generally excellent fragrance.

    Quimbaya opens with bright citrus notes with a slight hint of sourness. The fragrance then introduces a slightly spicy tangy note - this mix of citrus and spice is very well done. The blending of the notes is superb. The official notes dont list any spice - maybe its the thyme note. The violet and clove notes are very subdued. This combination of citrus and spice stays till the very end, with very little, if any, lavender coming into play....by the drydown, the spice notes exhibit a bit of earthiness.

    Quimbaya does what it sets out to do - and along the way, succeeds as a classy mens fragrance also, with good longevity. I find it to be a bit similar to MPGs Racine in the general smell and note structure (although the vetiver note is more pronounced in Racine). For the price, Quimbaya might be the way to go.

    29 September, 2006

    Andre BH's avatar

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    Pi by Givenchy

    I bought this on a gamble, at Costco, discounted, it was in a plastic box. I don't know what to make of it. The bottle is garish, almost vulgar. It looks very much something that would be on a 75 year old man's dressing table in Trump Tower.

    I sprayed it on myself about 15 minutes ago. It's a hot day here in California, about 98 degrees. OK, I'm getting used to it now. There is a powdery scent, like those brushes they use at the barber after they cut your hair. It's sweet and and also piney. It smells clean after it stays on your skin awhile.

    If I had been at a fragrance counter and purchased this properly, by sampling it first, maybe I wouldn't have bought it. But it has a way of growing on you, that I don't entirely detest, and I think there is some mystery and sensuality to the scent that might create some interesting reactions from other people.

    29 September, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Sung by Alfred Sung

    Innocence in a bottle. Not for anyone over the age of 25. Reminds me of my baby sister -- she wore this all the way up until grad school and marriage, then she outgrew it. Along with Miss Dior and Fleurissimo, this is, IMHO, a quintessential young woman's scent.

    29 September, 2006

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    Gardénia Passion by Annick Goutal

    Sensual stuff -- very heady, not for the faint of heart. I love it, though. It's one of those fragrances (kinda like Joy and Ysatis and a few others) that put me in mind of outrageous drag queens and insufferable old socialites with exquisite taste. Very decadent, very Old World, very "out there." NOT for the office, nor for anyone under 40.

    29 September, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Sandalwood by Crabtree & Evelyn

    Subtle? Try non-existent. No lasting power on me. Caswell-Massey's is much better, far less expensive, far longer lasting, and considerably less linear.

    29 September, 2006

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    Tabu by Dana

    It should have been dubbed "Taboo" instead of "Tabu", as most cultures have strict taboos about applying such horrid things to one's body prior to making a public appearance.

    29 September, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Heaven Sent (original) by Dana

    Lucifer's girlfriend wears this kerosene-based hell juice, I do believe. I had a trig teacher in high school who bathed in this oily concoction, and many of us hung around her only to ask questions about logarithms and watch our friends' nose hairs curl at the same time.

    Best applied on one's enemies.

    29 September, 2006

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    Ysatis by Givenchy

    You KNOW that you've got an olfactory winner when you find a women's fragrance so wonderful that even us gay guys wanna sniff the women wearing it. This stuff is like heroin to junkies, in that -- once you've smelled it -- you have to have more and more. My friend Brenda wears this stuff, and I can't help but sidle up next to her two or three times a day just to get a whiff. YUMMMMMMMM!

    29 September, 2006

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    Mitsouko by Guerlain

    Guess this "elusive" one is only for some, as I find it fetid and burnt-smelling. "Mystery," indeed. Go for Shalimar, ladies and gents, or Jardins de Bagatelle, or (YUM!) the Eau Extreme version of L'instant. Leave Mitsouko alone unless you are just DYING to figure out its burnt-smelling "mystery."

    29 September, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Jardins de Bagatelle by Guerlain

    Along with YSL's "Paris," Ungaro's "Diva" and Galanos' "Galanos," this one is a quintessential Eighties scent. (Very big, very loud. Think giant Eighties "Carrington" coiffures, Lacroix pouffe skirts, etc.)

    Still, it's very, very pretty -- very delicate. I'd say this one is for the under 30 crowd, though, along with "Paris." Leave "Diva" and (the lamentably discontinued) "Galanos" for those over 30.

    29 September, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Fidji by Guy Laroche

    Omigod -- this scrumptious stuff is almost enough to make me go straight. (Well, almost.) Sex in a bottle, pure and simple -- the woman who wears this stuff should have no problem whatsoever snagging any man she wants. (Well, within reason.)

    Very green, very floral in its opening notes -- lots of aldehydes, I guess. The name is quite appropriate -- very tropical, very mysterious. And the drydown is SPECTACULAR -- wow! Incredibly longevity, and no cloying after-effects.

    Gotta love this stuff -- hope Laroche never lets it go away. (Unlike the vile Drakkar Noir.)

    29 September, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Molinard de Molinard by Molinard

    SO feminine. Like Alfred Sung for Women and Creed's Fleurissimo and Guerlain's Jardins de Bagatelle, this one is NOT for the tomboy. Very nice stuff with that proviso. (LOVE to smell this on my sister-in-law and Mum alike.)

    29 September, 2006

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    Charlie / Charlie Blue by Revlon

    Laugh all you wanna. It's still a nice, inexpensive scent for young women -- falls into the same category as White Shoulders, etc.

    29 September, 2006

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    Byzance by Rochas

    Wish they'd come up with a men's version of this sultry classic -- what a nice Oriental that would make! (Unlike the androgynous Shalimar, no guy I know of -- save perhaps RuPaul -- could pull this feminine gem off.)

    But, alas, perhaps we'll just have to settle for the EDP version of Opium Pour Homme, or (even better yet) the Eau Extreme version of L'instant by Guerlain.

    29 September, 2006

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    Diva by Ungaro

    Picture Leontyne Price as Aida. She proudly struts across the stage, with elephants behind her and columns on either side. Chorus chants. Palms sway. Robes rustle. High notes ring out. THAT is Diva, in a nutshell.

    This one is a definitely Eighties power frag, so don't apply it if you're in the mood to bake cookies, read Proust, and sit at home with the cat.

    29 September, 2006

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    Je Reviens by Worth

    Quirky and fun and elegant all at once. Let us hope -- and let the religious folks among us pray -- that Worth never discontinues this classic.

    29 September, 2006

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    Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

    Intoxicating is right! This one takes me back to undergraduate school, as almost all the coeds I knew then wore either this or "Fidgi." Very sweet, very innocent, very breezy. Lovely take on roses, and without being overbearing (as so many rose -based scents can be -- and so often are).
    A truly great Eighties frag.

    29 September, 2006

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    Acqua di Selva by Visconti di Modrone

    Only when you want an eau de cologne. I agree with MisterK in his assessment to the extent that and EDT (or, better yet, an EDP) would be far superior. I never buy EDC for good reason -- it has no lasting power. But the scent itself here is top-rate -- can't be beat for the dollar.

    29 September, 2006

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    British Sterling by Dana

    Hell, this one's not even silverplate. Should have been named "Old Pitted English Pewter With High Lead Content."

    29 September, 2006

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    Brut by Fabergé

    I don't hate this because it's cheap. No, on the contrary, I rather like Canoe and Acqua di Selva and That Man and Benetton Colors and other less expensive frags. But THIS stuff belongs in the garage, not in the house, as it's most handy when cleaning carburetors, stripping varnish, and fumigating.

    29 September, 2006

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    Bulgari pour Homme by Bulgari

    Try the Extreme version -- it lasts longer and has more spiciness. That said, this is one of my personal favorites in the spice category -- it's right up there with Paul Sebastian for Men (a cheap but perennial favorite as spicy goes).

    29 September, 2006

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    Giorgio for Men by Giorgio Beverly Hills

    Like Givenchy's "Gentleman" and Bond No. 9's "H.O.T. Always," this stuff must be applied with a light hand, else the fumes will kill small mammals within a 10 mile radius. Applied MODESTLY, it's a lovely scent. In this regard, it's kinda like Vegemite -- a little bit is yummy on toast, but a whole lot will gag you with the proverbial Eighties spoon.

    29 September, 2006

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    Habit Rouge by Guerlain

    Class in a bottle. PERIOD.

    29 September, 2006

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    Héritage by Guerlain

    An incredible Guerlain creation -- just WONDERFUL. (Does anyone know how I can find the EDP, by any chance?) Somebody, somewhere here on Basenotes referred to it as "pompous." Nothing could be more wrong -- it's rich and full and masculine and woody, and perfect for cold weather.

    The initial blast is very, very, VERY like that of Shalimar, but then the vanillic notes die down a great deal and the patchouli and woods and spices set it.

    Along with Antaeus and Always Hot, this is one of the most formal fragrances in my wardrobe -- I love to wear it with black tie.

    29 September, 2006

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    Kanøn by Kanon

    A favorite around here. Can't believe they still make this stuff, though, as it's pretty dated. Not for those who don't care for powdery drydowns, though. If you seek yet another Eternity clone, there are thousands out there to tempt you.

    29 September, 2006

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    KL Homme by Lagerfeld

    Luscious Oriental. Pity it's discontinued. Pity, too, that crap like Acqua di Gio (I like to translate that one as "Joe's Old Water" -- LOLOLOL) remains popular while gems such as KL get discontinued. (Ah, the cruel injustice of it all!)

    29 September, 2006

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    Michelson Bay Rum by Caswell-Massey

    Want good bay rum? Go with Royall or Burt's Bees. This stuff smells nice enough, but I've had daydreams that lasted longer.

    29 September, 2006

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