Fragrance Reviews from December 2009

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    colormechris's avatar

    United States United States

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    Contradiction for Men by Calvin Klein

    Actually, I think this is one of the best men's scents Calvin Klein has yet done. It's kind of like a grown up Clinique Happy for Men. Orangey and ambery. Not too much, not too little. A classy, all occasion gem that has consistently flown under the radar while other frags from this house have jumped up and down for attention. And Contradiction is one of the best. Now isn't that a contradiction? One of the best bottle and cap combos ever!

    11th December, 2009 (Last Edited: 22 March, 2010)

    mikeperez23's avatar

    United States United States

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    Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Fille en Aiguilles might be too bold for you if you are uncomfortable wearing something that walks a thin line between: room spray and fragrance. The synthetic smell of pine needles has been introduced to most of us from those large aerosol cans, which you spray in your home during the holidays – not something you splash on your body after a morning shower.

    FeA is different. The strong pine needle, resinous top notes are intermingled with fresh cut cedar wood, gentle fruit notes and a tiny wisp of incense. From top, to middle to base notes, the entire fragrance evokes the smell of place(s): forests; wood lined walk in closets; a home with fruit pastries baking in the oven; an apothecary store filled with balms, ointments and elixirs; a single wisp of incense smoke in a moment by the Christmas tree and fireplace.

    Unlike many of the woody Serge Lutens scents (Chene, for instance, is a close relative) FeA is gentle and polite due in part to the way it dials down the sharpness with vetiver and a tiny, savory bit of laurel. Instead of feeling like you’re trapped inside a wood closet, the smell of woods diffuses around me: as if the trees I smell are in the distance…a circle of pine trees, if you will, that hovers and travels with me wherever I move. This might lead you to believe that FeA is a fougere but it’s not - perhaps it’s best categorized as a woody oriental.

    The bitter medicinal edge reveals itself at the very initial spray but then quickly becomes reserved and hushed - allowing me to enjoy it without a disturbing, loud or hissy synthetic smell (I smell no aldehydes). Perhaps because of this – it only lasts 5-6 hours before it starts to fade and give off a subtle tannic aura…like warm, mulled red wine.

    It might prove difficult, to disassociate the smell of FeA with the holiday season. I can’t see wearing this in the heat of the summer. Just like Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain, this just feels more appropriate and comforting worn during the holidays.

    11th December, 2009

    mikeperez23's avatar

    United States United States

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    Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

    It is easy to love the fougère-oriented top notes – reminiscent of violet leaf, angelica and something slightly watery and pungent. Imagine holding your breath in an outdoor pool, under the surface, and then once reaching the surface to fill your lungs the air smells of grasses, plants and leaves…mixing with the scent of dripping water. Not an aquatic fragrance (thank goodness, the men’s fragrance counter has more than its share of this kind of scent), yet the smell of wet and thriving plant life clearly define the beginning notes of Grey Vetiver.

    The vetiver note seems as if it has been genetically spliced – all of the dirty and soiled bits have been removed leaving a shiny, metallic and distinct vetiver accord that increasingly gets richer, smoother and softer as it dries on skin. Grey Vetiver belongs to the clean vetiver family, of which Encre Noire by Lalique and Series 3: Cologne Vettiveru by Comme des Garcons belong – yet it also leans a bit towards the theme that Frédéric Malle and Dominique Ropion strove for in Vetiver Extraordinaire (loads of vetiver, crisp, no sweetness). Ever so often, I got a whiff of acidic lemon.

    My first thought, after I enjoyed wearing this scent was: do I need another new vetiver scent? The answer is, no! Yet, there’s something entirely unique about this one.

    It’s barbershop-oriented top notes will make it easy for men to love this on first sniff (my hunch is, this will be a big hit for Tom Ford Beauty), but the modern salty vetiver and spiced woods should appeal to those who like to mix it up a bit (think KenzoAir, minus the anise-headspace radiance). Even though Ford is releasing this as a masculine fragrance, it has a delightful fresh-as-a-summer-breeze manner which defies being categorized as only for men.

    11th December, 2009

    bokaba's avatar

    United States United States

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    Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

    Egoiste was not much better than I expected it to be or was it worse. With the exception of Pour Monsieur and Eau de Cologne, most Chanel scents for men have disappointed me thus far. Egoiste was no different although superior to Platinum Egoiste, which is a different story altogether. There is very little progression in Egoiste--it is a sweet fruity accord flanked by spices and some sandalwood. Not great at all.

    11th December, 2009

    photofinish's avatar

    United States United States

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    Bois de Cédrat by Creed

    Sweet citric fruits, eclipsed by brash, woody earthiness... that entirely lives up to its name, Bois de Cedrat (wood of citruses).

    11th December, 2009

    photofinish's avatar

    United States United States

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    Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari

    Suffocating, cloying, Rose dominant perfume, whose 'unisex designation' is simply a veiled euphemism for 'unabashedly feminine'.

    11th December, 2009 (Last Edited: 12 March, 2010)

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    Only Givenchy by Givenchy

    Clean green florals and musk. A forgettable fragrance however it's not bad just generic. Fresh and lively and with a little sparkle to it. It smells light but sticks around a while. Decent sillage.

    11th December, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    J'ai Osé by J'ai Osé

    This one is a very musty floral in the opening and is quite the nose-wrinkler up close. One has to enjoy this from its silage. Dark spices and florals that make for a strange accord from opening to the base. The very end of the drydown is a wonderfully open soapy oakmoss. Not a killer fragrance but different enough from the rest to make a statement (good or bad).

    11th December, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

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    L'Ombre dans L'Eau by Diptyque

    I find this to be a pleasantly sweet green leafy scent. The rose really smells more like a sweet ivy leaf. My French is rusty but I think this translates to "The shadow in the water." Nice rose, not for me but would like it on a pretty gal.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Black Cashmere by Donna Karan

    Donna Karan Black Cashmere

    I think there has to be a rule that if a feminine marketed scent contains the word "black" in the name it really means its unisex. It has taken me so long to try the 2002 release, by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Donna Karan Black Cashmere that it has sadly been discontinued. After wearing it I am not surprised that it never found its mark on the designer shelves as this has niche stamped all over it.

    The top of Black Cashmere begins with a melange of soft spices. Nutmeg, saffron, pepper, and clove all appear as if on a spice-laden breeze. This is an unexpectedly warm combination and M. Flores-Roux continues the warmth into the heart. There a dark rose accord takes the lead and it is the spicier aspects of rose that are accentuated to complement the spices that linger from the top. The base is a woody incense olfactory fireplace at which to warm one's sensibilities. The woods are wenge and sandalwood which add a sharpness and a creaminess. The incense is frankincense and labdanum which again creates a shrap and rich aesthetic.

    Black Cashmere has modest longevity and average sillage on me. I think this is where the quality of ingredients needed to keep the price down shows a bit. If this were truly a niche product the quality of ingredients would have made this one last much longer.

    I am sad that I didn't discover Black Cashmere until it was too late because these are the kind of releases I want to support from the designer end of things. For now I'll just pull my fragrant cashmere tight around my shoulders and lose myself in its softness.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Shaal Nur by Etro

    Etro Shaal Nur

    One of my favorite incense fragrances is Etro's Messe de Minuit. There is a dry austerity to that fragrance that really connects for me when I want incense, most of the time. Then there are times when I want a more rounded incense expereince and when I am seeking that I don't have to move out of the Etro section in my wardrobe. The 1995 release Shaal Nur is a more lush incense experience as it adds citrus, rose, vanilla and amber to the mix to create the antithesis of Messe de Minuits chilly incense and instead create an incense that feels like a Snuggie.

    The top of Shaal Nur begins with a bracing combination of lemon and coriander with rosemary lurking in the distance. The incense is also present right from the beginning and the resinous nature of the incense versus the tart feel of the lemon would be jarring without the presence of the coriander to create an almost bridging note between the two. As a result the top comes off as something quite enjoyable. The heart is supposed to be a mix of four floral notes but the only one that really awakens on my skin is the rose, and this combination with the dry incense is really nice as the spicy aspect of rose complements the incense at the core of this scent. The base is where this turns towards the comfortable notes of vanilla and amber and this is where Shaal Nur becomes like a blanket of soft notes to be pulled tight around you and enjoyed.

    Shaal Nur has average longevity and slightly above average sillage.

    There are times when I want my incense to be dry and austere but for those times when I want to just feel warmth and comfort along with my incense Shaal Nur is where I will turn.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tiffany for Men Sport by Tiffany

    Tiffany for Men Sport

    Sport is an innocuous word. If you make it plural and attach it to car it conjures images of sleek design and high performance. Keep the plural and add it to the word bra and you get a functional useful piece of everyday clothing for an active woman. Do a search using the word sport in the Basenotes Fragrance directory and you will be directed to a motley assortment of 87 fragrances none of which I would describe as sleek, high performance, or functional; insipid, lame, and useless are the adjectives that spring to mind. The word sport on a bottle of fragrance usually makes me roll my eyes and that some of the truly great fragrances like Habit Rouge and Dior Homme have spawned ridiculous sport versions do nothing to temper my disregard for the class....and yet. In every group of things there has to be one member that might make the grade; one sport version that might be a highly performing sleek and functional fragrance, doesn't there?

    Jacques Polge is one of my favorite perfumers and has created many of my favorite fragrances out there including Tiffany for Men, which is one of my top 10 men's fragrances. Unfortunately M. Polge has also created one of the insipid versions of a sport cologne of another favorite when he perpetrated Allure Homme Sport, in 2004. This has all the purported hallmarks a sport fragrance is supposed to have; easy wearability, bright citrus notes paired with clean cedar notes. It is all eminently forgettable and did not prepare me to be experience his first attempt at Sport in 1998 when he created Tiffany for Men Sport. Everything I dislike about Allure Homme Sport, and most sport fragrances in general, doesn't exist in Tiffany for Men Sport, for me. Where most of the 87 fragrances on the sport page of Basenotes reek of citrus and cedar overload neither note is to be found in Tiffany for Men Sport, and that's what makes it so enjoyable for me.

    Tiffany for Men Sport begins with the greener citrus note of citron and it is paired with a wonderfully sharp juniper berry. This has the effect of being refreshing without being boring. The heart brings in a mix of spices in pepper and coriander matched with the "green rose" accord of geranium. The heart of Tiffany for Men Sport is a great little blast of green. The base is a creamy light sandalwood that never rises in intensity and thus keeps Tiffany for Men Sport on the light side as I imagine M. Polge expected a sport fragrance should do. One thing I really appreciate about Tiffany for Men Sport is that M. Polge creates a fresh and clean fragrance without resorting to loading up on the citrus and woods and instead uses a balanced hand and a different set of notes to create the same effect.

    Tiffany for Men Sport has slightly below average longevity on me and slightly above average sillage. Again probably by design as this seems like what a sport fragrance is supposed to do.

    Does Tiffany for Men Sport redeem the other 86 sport fragrances in the directory? No, I still think they're all mostly glorified underarm deodorant. I think I'm going to go cross the word sport off the Tiffany for Men Sport bottle it doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the boring fresh and clean sport masses. I'm just going to call it Tiffany for Men II from now on.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    New Haarlem by Bond No. 9

    Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

    Once the gourmand field became as popular as it has become the search was on for a gourmand fragrance that would exude a sense of sophistication to go along with its mouth-watering notes. In 2003, Maurice Roucel achieved this feat with the creation of New Haarlem for Bond No. 9.

    Many gourmands make the error of amping up the food note, usually coffee or chocolate, to levels that make it hard for anything else to compete. In New Haarlem M. Roucel keeps the coffee note front and center but it is kept in balance at all times and in the prescient choices of notes to go with it, has created one of the finest gourmand coffee scents available.

    The top of New Haarlem begins with the coffee note but there is a beautiful light fleeting movement of green notes that also appear right at the beginning. This passes quickly and cedar adds clean lines to the rich coffee and this is also complemented with an earthy feel of patchouli. I know that your thinking you've had this kind of woody coffee patchouli mix before, most notably in A*Men. This mix is entirely different as, in this case, the coffee is more pronounced and the cedar is almost used as a framing boundary in which the patchouli is allowed to add an herbal counterpoint. The base of New Haarlem simmers with amber and vanilla and it almost feels like a rich hazelnut coffee has been served and placed in a cup on my skin.

    New Haarlem has above average longevity and above average sillage, although not as much as A*Men in either category.

    If you are a lover of A*Men or are just looking for a coffee fragrance I think New Haarlem is the best cup available in town.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka by Hermès

    Hermes Hermessence Vetiver Tonka

    I have really enjoyed the Hermessence line from Hermes as a concept and in the execution. Jean-Claude Ellena has done a wonderful job at exploring the interplay of some of perfumery's signature ingredients and making something fresh out of them. Case in point is one of the original Hermessence releases from 2004, Vetiver Tonka.

    Vetiver has to be right up there with patchouli and sandalwood as one of the most used and versatile notes in the perfumer's toolbox. Vetiver can be used to add edge or a green feel but rarely does it come off smooth. In Vetiver Tonka, M. Ellena turns this sharp edged note into a thing of cashmere like softness and shows just how versatile a note vetiver can be.

    The top of Vetiver Tonka begins with the vetiver feel most men are familiar with. In fact it opens almost identically to Guelrain Vetiver. Almost immediately that changes as M. Ellena chooses to blend two gourmand notes of roasted hazelnut and dried fruit. This has the effect of accentuating the natural nuttiness that vetiver has but too often gets lost when it is paired with more powerful notes. Here the feel comes off like smelling a nut roaster from a distance. The fruit accord could be jarring but it adds a little necessary sweetnes to keep this on the smooth side. The base is all tonka and its richness really brings the vetiver's suave and debonair side out. The now very intense vetiver is truly matched by the tonka making this comforting at the last.

    Vetiver Tonka has average longevity and sillage on my skin. It is a typical light Ellena compsoition but it has a little more depth than most of his other works.

    Vetiver Tonka is what happens when the most talented perfumers decide to look at the tried and true and make something bright and new, it can be eye-opening and wonderful and Vetiver Tonka is all that.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    10 Corso Como by 10 Corso Como

    10 Corso Como

    Sometimes perfume is simple. Sometimes the fragrance just does what it is supposed to do. It always acts the same on my skin and it always produces the same response in me. 10 Corso Como, named after Carla Sozzani's Milan clothing boutique, is one of those fragrances for me.

    Olivier Gillotin is the perfumer behind this 1999 release and he uses some very common notes and doesn't really ask them to do anything more than exist. The art here is the balance he brings to 10 Corso Como which makes it so wearable.

    The top of 10 Corso Como begins with a zephyr of sandalwood and incense and that zephyr never stops blowing those notes to my nose. Eventually the breeze shifts slightly and it blows past a rose bush and I get a nice rose note with the sandalwood and incense. Then the best part of 10 Corso Como comes when the oud appears. The slight medicinal quality of agarwood is appropriate counterpoint to the slightly sweet sandalwood and incense. This middle phase of 10 Corso Como is the best part of the development. The finale is a mix of vetiver and musk which add an air of familairity to things at the end.

    10 Corso Como has below average longevity and average sillage on me. This isn't a work day fragrance for me because it doesn't last long enough but it is a great nighttime fragrance because it does last long enough for an evening out.

    10 Corso Como is one of those fragrances I reach for when I'm getting a sandalwood or incense craving and it scratches that olfactory itch for me every time.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Voile D'Ambre by Yves Rocher

    Yves Rocher Voile D'Ambre

    Can somebody show me a reasonably priced Eau de Parfum which has staying power and complexity? Right this way, young Colognisseur, let me introduce you to the Yves Rocher line and the 2005 release Voile D'Ambre, created by Olivier Pescheux. Note the use of quality ingredients the distinctly balanced development and the tiny price tag. This is the answer to the question.

    Yves Rocher has a number of very reasonably priced fragrances and one of the five or six standout fragrances in this line is Voile D'Ambre. This is an amber where the amber is like a pizza crust as it is the base upon which all the remaining notes rest and combine with.

    The top of Voile D'Ambre begins with a sharp mandarin note that contains a bit of green to it. This combines with the soft spiciness of cardamom as the amber softly supports everything. The base moves toward a couple of traditional partners of amber as myrrh and incense take their place. M. Pescheux keeps the resinous notes in balance as he adds opopanax to them and the floral aspect in combination with the incense and amber make a delightful mix. The base is all woody warmth as sandalwood, vanilla, and patchouli all add to the now more intense amber to leave Voile D'Ambre in a lovely place.

    Voils D'Ambre has incredible longevity on me, 24 hrs. worth, as well as above average sillage.

    Voile D'Ambre is one of the best amber based fragrances available for one of the most modest prices. If you're looking for one of the best bangs for your buck out there I think you could do much worse than to start here.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Sandalo e The by Bois 1920

    Bois 1920 Sanadalo e The

    What to do with the scent that doesn't do what you think it should do. I like the House, as Real Patchouly from Bois 1920 is a beautiful meditation on patchouli. Enzo Galardi has shown a deft hand using a few notes to create subtle interactions as in Sushi Imperiale. So when faced with the 2005 release Sandalo e The I think "yum sandalwood and tea should be great". Instead I am sadly underwhelmed. The quality ingredients are there, the perfumer is there; the sum of the parts just never add up to a coherent whole for me.

    The top of Sandalo e The begins with a floral accord of rose and jasmine along with a slight herbal accord. This only lasts a minute before the tea and sandalwood come into the mix. This opening phase is the best part of Sandalo e The and if it somehow could have remained this balanced mix of woody rose and tea I would have loved it. Instead the sandalwood gets out of balance and really takes over everything with the tea attempting to try and get back into the game from time to time. This makes the drydown almost annoying as I want to enjoy both of the titutlar notes and I really am only getting the sandalo at this point. If I want a great sandalwood drydown I'll turn to Burberry London for Men for a great example of how to do that.

    Sandalo e The has excellent longevity and sillage.

    I really like the idea of sandalwood and tea as complementary notes that can carry a fragrance. Unfortunately Sandalo e The is not the fragrance I'm looking for.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Tom Ford Extreme by Tom Ford

    Tom Ford Extreme

    I am an admirer of Tom Ford's style of fragrance making, there are very few releases that I have just dismissed out of hand as not being wearable or boring. Unfortunately one of those fragrances that didn't zing my strings was Tom Ford for Men. I found it to be a confused melange of too many notes over that lemon pledge note that all perfumers try to avoid. Therefore a scent named Tom Ford Extreme should be a stay away at all costs kind of experience. But I read that, the 2007 release, Tom Ford Extreme was very different and that in this case Extreme signified something different and not more of the same.

    To those who didn't like Tom Ford for Men, like me, Tom Ford Extreme is a very different fragrance and it reminds me of another set of flankers and the differences between Cartier Declaration and Declaration Bois Bleu. Bois Bleu doesn't work for me because it tries to be all traditional masculine aquatic while nodding to the completely unique original. Tom Ford for Men tries too hard to be a generic masculine and throws too much into the mix. Tom Ford Extreme manages to be the real deal and feel like a completely original masculine and easily the better of the two.

    The top of Tom Ford Extreme begins with that lemon note that so dominates in Tom Ford for Men but in Extreme it is light and zesty versus turgid and cloying in Tom Ford for Men. It also helps that it goes away and in its place comes what Tom Ford calls a truffle accord but which on my skin comes off as a mix of spices like coriander, cumin, saffron, and pepper. As a spice lover this is a beautiful spicy phase that wears very well on me. Underneath all of these spices is a perfectly applied fig note. This is the dark fig accord and not the green fig accord and it is the right choice for Extreme. Next comes a very clean cedar note along with patchouli, this is not unusual but it sets the stage for the base which is a great leather accord along with musk.

    Tom Ford Extreme has average longevity and below average sillage on me. There is a fair amount of concern about the longevity of Tom Ford Extreme but I didn't find it to be unusually short lived on my skin.

    Tom Ford Extreme succeeds in all the ways Tom Ford for Men fails for me. By keeping to a list of strong notes and letting them each develop and hold the olfactory stage Tom Ford Extreme is the fragrance I want to return to again and again.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Cruel Intentions by By Kilian

    By Kilian Cruel Intentions

    I've only recently begun exploring Kilian Hennessy's By Kilian line of fragrance and when I was first sniffing the whole collection earlier this year there was one that hit me just right. That scent was the 2007 release Cruel Intentions by Sidonie Lancesseur.

    I think the thing that grabbed me is it is perhaps the most restrained use of oud in a fragrance I've found. Most oud based fragrances come out and at some point in the development use the oud like the bright blare of brass in an orchestra. I found Mme. Lancesseur's much more restrained use of oud to be much more interesting like placing a bell mute in the aforementioned brass section. This has the effect of making me feel like I'm always hearing the oud from a distance and while I expect it to pick up in intensity it never does and that makes this fragrance unique.

    The top of Cruel Intentions starts with a pedestrian mix of bergamot and orange blossom it is light and fresh and a tad boring. Just after this the oud begins to appear and as I mentioned already it rises in intensity and then holds at that level for the rest of the development. This allows the notes that appear later to interact with the oud and not be overwhelmed by it. The next group of notes that appear are a floral bouquet led by violet. Violet is a good compatriot for oud as it has a sharpness to it that goes well with the medicinal quality oud brings to fragrance. The fragrance then settles into a base of gaiac and sandalwood along with a dollop of vetiver. As with the violet, the vetiver has its sharper edges on display to go along with the oud. Very late in the development on my skin I get a healthy bit of animalic castoreum and it seems a like a late-comer to the party but not an unwelcome guest, to be sure.

    Cruel Intentions has above average longevity on me but it is a very close wearing skin scent with almost no sillage to speak of. Another oddity for an oud scent.

    The thing I admire most about Cruel Intentions is the ability Mme. Lancesseur has with making one work to find the oud. It makes the journey that much more enjoyable when its done.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Acqua Fiorentina by Creed

    Creed Acqua Fiorentina

    There are many times when I wear the best of fragrances from Creed that I am impressed with what they do with just a few notes. One of the latest successes in that area, for me, is the 2009 release Acqua Fiorentina. According to the note list this should be a fruity floral but on my skin it is a citrus plum wood fest and I never catch even a whiff of either of the listed floral notes of rose and carnation.

    Instead Acqua Fiorentina starts with a tart lemon note which is paired with an equally bright plum note. This mix of sweet and sour is really well done. The plum is lush and juicy while the lemon is austere and sparkling. From here the clean woodiness of cedar comes into play and it is the appropriate counter point for the fruit of the top. The base is a warm and creamy sandalwood and that transition also works nicely.

    Acqua Fiorentina has average longevity and modest sillage both of which are surprising coming from Creed.

    I have to say from a juice that is pink to a simple but compelling development I am surprised at how good Acqua Fiorentina is. It's probably a good lesson to not judge a juice by its color.

    11th December, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

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    Oriental Lounge by The Different Company

    The Different Company Oriental Lounge

    I have not been as impressed with The Different Company and their nose Celine Ellena as I thought I would have been. I am a big fan of Sel De Vetiver but the rest of the line has just failed to make me sit up and take notice. For that reason I wasn't overly excited about the 2009 release, Oriental Lounge.

    Oriental Lounge is supposed to be Mme. Ellena's modern take on an oriental. This is a style of perfume that I like a lot and I was worried that this would be too light in tone to really be an oriental. That worry turns out to be the case as Oriental Lounge is a light airy amber-centric fragrance that I can't really call an oriental even though some of the classic bones of an oriental are present. On the other hand I found it to be a delightfully wearable amber that is surprisingly complex for its airiness.

    The top of Oriental Lounge begins with a mix of bergamot followed by a hint of pepper and the note that many will be talking about who try this, curry leaf. The curry leaf adds a green woody aspect that also has the hint of a metallic nature to it. This is never overwhelming but it is present throughout the development of Oriental Lounge and it add an air exoticism to it. The heart is a mix of semi-sweet boxwood and spicy rose, again layered so as to feel as if wafted in on a breeze. It is during this phase that I first detect the presence of amber and it starts off at a distance before growing in intensity. There is a wonderful moment in Oriental Lounge where the curry leaf and amber are in equal balance and that mix is very enjoyable. The base adds in tonka, to sweeten things up a bit, and labdanum to add a touch of resin.

    Oriental Lounge has excellent longevity for something as sheer as it is. The sillage is modest and that's what makes this so wearable in my opinion as most scents with this note list would be overpowering and Oriental Lounge is never that.

    Maybe I'm fooling myself by not thinking of Oriental Lounge as a true oriental because it doesn't have the strength of so many others of that class. I like Oriental Lounge a lot for being something less than oriental but at the same time something more.

    11th December, 2009

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    Amarige by Givenchy

    Amirage - with references to it's Big 80's smell in other reviews here, I found myself puzzled as to why I hadn't any memory of it. Then I see the 1991 issue date and even more questions are raised. Is this a big 80's scent? It's big, that's for certain.

    Also puzzling - the reference to tuberose. Givenchy's own packaging calls this gardenia, mimosa and musk, which are certainly the notes that jump out at me, but tuberose? Well, if you say that it's tuberose, I'll believe you, but I'm getting gardenia and mimosa myself.

    The musk is synthetic, but playing a minor supporting role. There are other white flower-plus-musk numbers out there, MPG's Jardins Blanc for example. However, for Jardins Blanc, the musk is completely different, and MPG has several other florals in the mix - perhaps none of that mimosa either. Bottom line tho: you are certainly reminded of one when taking a whiff of the other. Those who enjoy that other big 80's white flower frag Sung, yet find it too transparent, or perhaps too futuristic, youthful and spacey, might find Amarige the grounded, grown up version of big white floral.

    I'd love to find the leather note in Amarige that others have detected, but it eludes me. There is a rich base, and a slight hint of a dew-drenched grassy stem, an attempt at non-foodie creaminess, but the VOLUME of the entire frag is just so overwhelming that I struggle to find definition. Not to say that volume is a bad thing, but one does have to be in the mood for it.

    Florals are not always my scene, I'm more a dark amber and spice kinda gal, and Amarige certainly is all floral with not even a hint of spice, not a trace of darkness. But I'm also a fan of stand-out, big frags, and this one surely does it. Possibly my favorite of the Givenchy house, and definitely a big, big classic.

    11th December, 2009

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    Baby Blue Jeans by Versace

    Baby Blue Jeans has a nice citrus opening but all too quickly dries down to a bland powdery smell. I can't detect the base notes of sandalwood or cedarwood at all. Not really a masculine scent but probably more unisex. An uninspiring juice. Sorry about the dull review but it's a dull scent.

    11th December, 2009

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    Odalisque by Nicolaï

    To me this is very reminiscent of two lost beauties from my youth: both the original, pre-trashed 'Lauren' and the older formulations of Patou's '1000'.

    Like 'Lauren', 'Odalisque' presents a well-heeled, crisp, authentic floral effect at first... But it changes, and its increasingly 'dark' undertones, its animalic, almost miso-like accord, make 'Odalisque' really fascinating.
    'Odalisque' is like a superficially proper woman, who knows all the 'codes' in upright company, but lives the authentic, complex, and free-wheeling life of an artist...or vagabond behind the scenes.

    And like that surprising woman -- whom I am inclined to adore totally, I suppose -- 'Odalisque' is not for everyone. I assume her saucy secret-self upsets the people who took her at her chaste, elegant face-value.

    I think they must feel betrayed because they wanted to believe in her as something she was more than, or maybe they are even afraid, that she has achieved a believable pristine posture so effortlessly, and when she shows them it was all a game -- that she had them conned-- she is writhing in sybaritic laughter.

    11th December, 2009 (Last Edited: 13 February, 2010)

    CologneMania's avatar



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    T for Him by Tommy Hilfiger

    this might be one of the few colognes i absolutely despise. just reeks of rancid and bland. the top note starts off with a bland synthetic peppery scent, then dries down to what almost smells like perspiration. ughhh. was really surprised to see how many positive reviews this had. definitely stay away from this stuff.

    11th December, 2009 (Last Edited: 19 January, 2010)

    Corrado Finardi's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Gold Medal by Atkinsons

    Consider the following things:
    - this eau e cologne was released in 1799
    - after 100 years (1878) won the Gold Medal as superior EdC in the Universal Paris Expo
    ..and actually is one of the leading aromas in the perfumery (see the relaunch of 1417 EdC, Mugler Cologne, Creed Original Vetiver, and so on..).
    Simply, a must-have.

    11th December, 2009

    periquito89's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Silver Scent by Jacques Bogart

    I found this extremely awful! Yes, it is cloying, has a monster sillage and lasts really long. There is nothing that would suggest, to me, something "silver", and even so "dark". Instead, it has a super jelly bean smell (like those we find on children parties) which turns this scent very annoying to me.

    11th December, 2009

    Primrose's avatar

    United States United States

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    Citizen Queen by Juliette Has a Gun

    I am a fan of florals (rose and jasmine) and also leather notes, so trying Citizen Queen was just a matter of time for me. Not wanting to spend the $100.00-plus USD for the EDP, I opted for the little "bullet" purse oil roll-on.

    What a nice surprise! The clever "bullet" roll-on is an eye-catcher and certainly controversial. The rose blends so well with the leather notes. I don't like the *hint* of vanilla, but otherwise this is a pleasant scent. It is definitely *not* for a "flirty and fresh" attitude--more for the woman (of any age) who wants to play in a world of men and not apologise for wanting to do so.

    The perfume is long-lasting and this might be a choice for those not wanting to spend money on the 50 or 100ml bottles.

    11th December, 2009

    aimeceleste's avatar

    United States United States

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    Ancient Attar Pure-Fume Spirit Spray by Aveda

    I really like how strong and exotic this is. Unfortunately, one male friend compared it to cat pee. HOWEVER, I love it anyhow! It's a great scent.

    11th December, 2009

    cheekyhamsta's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Casual Friday by Escada

    Speaking as a mere mortal, I suspect that only bloodhounds or those with a bionic sense of smell will be able to discern any significant difference between this and YSL Body Kouros, which by the way I think is an excellent, likable and highly versatile fragrance for men.

    11th December, 2009 (Last Edited: 20th March, 2010)

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