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cK one by Calvin Klein

Reviewing generalist scents always brings up the problem of not only setting the facts strait amongst all the unintelligible and extreme two-liner reviews that either skyrocket or tank the scent's ratings, but also of accurately describing them with enough specifics to make them seem distinct to the reader without smelling them, since generalists are not meant to be distinct by their nature, with cK One (1994) being the ultimate generalist. The hot take version of this review is cK One is essentially an Alyssa Ashley Musk (1968) 2.0, but for more, read on. The mass-appeal fragrance model always existed but not until the 90's did it cast such an impossibly wide net, with new creations resetting all the levels on things from the past and striving to be as inoffensive and unspecific as possible, in an attempt to reclaim respect and acceptance lost by the very brash and ostentatious 1980's. This process began in earnest first with masculine fragrances as male "powerhouse" scents were often the most bizarre and virile, while female-marketed scents were no less loud but commanding in a more charismatic way than by brute force, so they didn't transition into the "fresh revolution" until later on. Calvin Klein is much to blame for this entire changing of the guard, as they were among the vanguard of perfumers offering a new generation of unassuming olfactory pleasantness, but kept going further and further in that direction by using increasing numbers of nondescript custom synthetics (often with fantastic names in the note pyramids) until their perfumes smelled like nothing recognizable in the real world. Removing nature from perfume was relatively easy, as enough blending can achieve that even without synthetics, but the next step in Calvin Klein's efforts to "smell like nothing" would be to remove gender as well, which led to the creation of cK One in 1994. Now to be clear, unisex fragrances actually predate all other kinds of perfume, as fragrances did not have gender, despite being favored mostly by women in western culture for centuries, and only received sexual assignment after insecure guys made it clear they needed their own special scents with reassurance of masculinity if they were to wear any fragrance at all. Many niche and high-end perfume houses have never really taken to labeling their creations by gender until exclusive "for men" fragrances came about, and some still don't assign gender even to this day. However, in regards to mainstream perfume, Calvin Klein deliberately marketing cK One as "unisex" by design became a huge deal and mind-blower to those who didn't know better. The "Age of Eternity" was in full-swing by the advant of cK One, and it's "One for All" attitude spawned a wave of unisex clones from other houses throughout the decade, plus created a cult following that to this day buys up every flanker and seasonal alternate version released.

Alberto Morillas, who even by 1994 had an impressive portfolio of creations, was brought in by Calvin Klein to spearhead the cK One effort, with Harry Freemont, who is also known for a lot of winners in the designer segment. Together, they created a scent that is basically so intent on being gender-neutral from a perfume aesthetics perspective, that it literally comprises notes that act to neutralize each other, making the most anonymous and androgynous of beige pleasantries ever smelled at the time. cK One is constantly fighting itself in the dry down, creating a silent maelstrom of opposing forces that smell both like a dozen things you've smelled before and also none of them simultaneously. This amazing and admittedly confusing feat begins with bergamot, lemon, mandarin, pineapple, papaya, and cardamom, which is a "we are the world" of citrus minus maybe lime, counterbalanced by rounder fruit choices and a meaty spice. The next level of Dante's Inferno in a bottle comes in the form of jasmine hedione, violet, rose, muguet, freesia, and nutmeg, which swings the the composition feminine from all the florals at first but soon swings the pendulum back to the guy side with nutmeg. Green tea, oakmoss, cedar, sandalwood, amber, the only synthetic "Kleinism" in the form of "green tree accord" and finally white musk bring the base into territory inhabited by unisex musk perfumes of the 1960's, without the hippie sweat factor of heavy aromatics. The conflict these accords undertake with each other is less of a free-for-all and more of a standoff a la trench warfare of the first world war. You catch a glimpse of something like citrus, then the fruit holds it in check. Violet and rose begin painting a dainty and dusty feminine picture until nutmeg stamps it out. Cedar and oakmoss begin to anchor the base in barbershop territory until the sweet amber and laundry musk neutralize the effort. The whole thing is literally just checks and balances from top to bottom, which is both exhausting to parse, and ultimately blurs into the perfume equivalent of "apartment white" carpeting. It goes on sweet, bright, then goes floral, and finally ends in clean musk that's hard not to like. High school teens everywhere throughout the 90's obsessed over this, thanks to pictures full of despondent 20-somethings in grungy jeans, white shirts, and edgy haircuts that plastered every subway, bus stop, airport, and magazine insert in the US. Ironically, I remember some total chauvinists back in the day refused to wear cK One because to them, a scent that was unisex was tantamount to just being women's perfume anyway, which was their loss.

cK One set another precedent for Calvin Klein, who already ushered in the serenity that was Eternity for Men (1989), then came along with this scent so everyone and their sister, brother, cousin, or mother could smell clean, unobtrusive, and completely alike. I know it sounds like a fragrance trying to smell like nothing would be terrible, and for many a purist this was blasphemy, but those folks subsequently moved either into vintage scents or niche depending on their economic upward mobility anyway, leaving the designers behind to court the masses, which may have been their end game all along. Who's to say? One thing is certain, there's so much effort and creativity worked into this scent by Mr. Morillas and Freemont, plus so many nearly-imperceptible sides to cK One as a result of it's highly-synthetic blending, that it's hard not to appreciate the artistry here even from a hobbyist standpoint, if not the style of the scent itself. For those who love the puzzle box in the frosted medicine bottle that is cK One, wearings in different temperatures will reveal a great deal of versatility. Like most generalists before and after, you don't really have to think about wearing cK One, and it becomes the "dumb-grab" for the person in a hurry, which itself has moved more units than probably any other reason that can be found in this review. Safe and sexy in one package is the way to sell units, and designers learned from this going forward, gendered or not. The smell of cK One will yield many a compliment by men or women, as was by design, if that's something which interests you, but it is not a very distinguished nor distinguishable smell, so people wanting to be credited for their good taste are looking in the wrong place here. I find cK One to be the height of Calvin Klein's innovative perfume art through artifice approach, and although later 90's output was also nice, including the unisex sequel cK Be (1996), a certain nadir would set in by the mid-2000's that would culminate in their attempts to relearn diversity by the 2010's with mixed results. cK One is still the best of it's line to me despite being the first, because it is still the most sophisticated, well-blended, gender-neutral, and rounded of the cK scents. It's attempts at minimalism is something it's sequels achieve more successfully, at the cost of quality or true unisex appeal. I also like to think the use of cK One also encourages moving outside the comfort zones and exploring other possibilities, because one thinks "if I can wear this, what else can I do?". It's cheap, it's pallid, but it's also quite liberating. Cheers!
27th May, 2018

Magic : Invisible Oud by Viktor & Rolf

Stardate 20180527:

I went in with no expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. Starts with a light touch of vanilla and amber supported by pepper and white musk. There is some iris too. Reminds me a lot of Fleur de Peaux by Diptyque especially after 30 mins.
As it develops you can smell the Spicebomb base. Unfortunatley it all lasts for about and hour and you are left with nondescript pepper accord.
Would have been a thumbs up if it had better performance. Still do give it a try.
27th May, 2018

Fontevraud by Bruno Fazzolari

Stardate 20180527:

Caron Third Man with synth guava note. I expect better from Bruno.

Guava is such a wonderful fruit. I grew up with a Guava tree in my yard. This fragrance is not guava.

Also I am not a fan of third man so this is a big pass.
27th May, 2018
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Paper Moon by Sixteen92

Review is for the oil. Very autumnal. The vanilla musk is mellow. Benzoin is not overdone. The peach blossom can be prominent at times. The base actually smells like hand-crafted paper, from the notes of oakmoss and ivy. Very different.
27th May, 2018

Angel: Le Gôut du Parfum - Sublimée de Poudre de Cacao Amer / The Taste of Fragrance - Magnified with Bitter Cocoa Powder by Thierry Mugler

Angel, amped up. A wonderful blast of chocolate that smells real to me. Some citrus and fruity sweetness. Glorious patchouli, vanilla, and a touch of caramel. Chocolate lasts throughout.
27th May, 2018

Poivre Piquant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The woody/pepper notes that occasionally waft into your nose are quite nice during the first 2-3 hours of projection. It's when you go to sniff it up close that you get the licorice and other unpleasant smells. I only advise smelling this from a distance. Leans feminine to me but not heavily, still unisex.

The overall effect is similar to other pepper/woody scents but that licorice note makes it unique. Feels more dressed up than casual.

Lasts 5-6 hours.
26th May, 2018

Binturong by Auphorie

What is a Binturong? Apparently, it's a species of bearcat native to Southeast Asia. Gee, I didn't know that. I must have slept through my Geography classes. Not that it matters, for surely the name is nothing but a marketing decision to align each release with Auphorie's Southeast Asian heritage.

On my skin, Binturong 'purrs' contentedly, a musky leathery oriental of impressive depth and ambition, featuring a barnyard-like almost fecal note that is perfectly tempered by the spices and smoky resins. Thankfully this animalistic aspect hugs the skin so you won't go around reeking of a petting zoo.

After Miyako, this is probably my next favorite from the house. The ingredient quality is topnotch and execution near flawless. I almost feel guilty wearing it when so many people have to make do with expensive yet harsh-smelling chemicals. Fans of Dior Leather Oud should get their nose on this cat before it goes extinct. Or am I already too late?
26th May, 2018

Putting Green by Omerta

This is simply one of the best clones on the market - an excellent rendition of Eau Sauvage, which was itself "merely" (as in what Picasso could do with merely a stroke of charcoal) a classic Eau de Cologne transformed by a heavy dose of iso-jasmonate. The longevity is a bit lacking, but reapplication with this type of perfume and at the ridiculous price is not an issue. Forget dior and its fading star, just refill your vintage flacon with this.
26th May, 2018

CK All by Calvin Klein

cK All (2017) was touted as some sort of a big deal, and even acts like the previous cK2 (2016) never existed, being called "The Third Pillar in the cK series" by Calvin Klein themselves, who've either sectioned off cK2 into it's own little world to die like Calvin Klein Crave (2002), or have retroactively made it a flanker due to it's failure, which is their own fault for deliberately stating cK2 as a "genderless fragrance for millenials", which regardless of intent, sounds like some of the worst soulless pandering in perfume history. Calvin Klein cK All doesn't seek to repeat that mistake by reinventing the cK wheel with psuedo-political correctness so to speak, and instead returns the best-selling unisex fragrance series to it's roots by being mostly floral and really cutting back on the "Kleinisms" aesthetic impression notes and actually telling people what the Hell is in the fragrance. cK All is literally cK one (1994) for the new era, and it's not so much better or worse, just more with this decade than with the 90's as it's time-honored predecessor. CK tapped big talent in the form of Albert Morillas and Harry Freemont, both CK veterans responsible for penning the original cK One, plus many career accolades since. Bringing back the original "dream team" of the first cK One was a smart idea, but unfortunately, lighting rarely strikes twice, and although I give this a thumbs up for sure, it's nowhere near the level of ingenuity of the original. Bottom line here, is this is a fairly pallid, citrus-lead, dusty floral affair that could have been a feminine perfume if it had been released in the 90's, but since it's released in the 2010's with much more-relaxed gender tolerances, it gets to be labelled unisex. Now bear in mind, I wear feminines if I like them, so I don't really care what a fragrance is "supposed to be", but I have to admit this feels more feminine in the dry down.

cK All starts with a fairly stark manadarin accord, that actually is almost undetectable, making one want to overspray applications in the beginning. There are some other synthetic citrus whatevers going on in here, but at least Ck isn't giving them pretty names like "citrus on a wisp cloud of fresh" or other nonsense "Kleinisms" like they have done before. Instead, the next two identifiable notes in the pyramid are citrus blossom (a semi-Kleinism for it's vagueness), and Paradisone: a custom captive that's an intensified version of the hedione molecule used in fragrances past, giving it an unexpected tie-in with greats like Dior's Eau Sauvage(1966). Don't get excited by this news, as Parisidone doesn't smell much like the original hedione and I can't even detect any jasmine accord from it like is expected. The generic citrus blossoms are the dusty florals I mentioned, and the base of amber, rhubarb, lily of the valley, vetiver, and musk just place an end-cap on the whole affair with an ephemeral sense of weight that comes and goes depending on how the air hits. Calvin Klein cK All goes on a lot less sweet and musky than the original cK One, and is less piquant than cK Be (1996) but also more citric and tart than it, almost as if this was a progression from cK Be more so than a true sequel to cK One by it's own creators, which is weird. Once more, I like the stuff, but this really feels more like Calvin Klein were just so determined to avoid the embarrassment of cK2 that they were really trying to retcon not just it, but an entire series of seasonal flankers that came before, taking the family tree all the way back to the cK Be branch and continuing on. It's a shame, because I liked the much rounder and sweeter direction that cK One Gold (2016) was taking the series, but since it released the same year as cK2, it probably got retconned as well from the cK timeline and left to be forgotten. I think the overall gist of cK All is a respectable one, by pushing the citrus forward and focusing on crispness and delicate floral notes rather than go tit-for-tat with masculine and feminine values like past cK entries (barring cK2), since this approach is arguably more "genderless" in execution than Calvin Klein thought cK2 was. It's almost a de-ozonated 90's ozonic masculine, which would pretty much dump it into the appropriate unisex appeal category.

By the end of the day, fans of the cK series will go nuts for this, and I feel that's who this is truly for, which means Calvin Klein has bought me hook-line-and-sinker with it. We cK fans love our weird unisex science experiments that bring back high school memories when androgyny in fashion was exactly that, and not an attempt at a larger social statement (although kudos to those folks who are trying to make those much-needed statements). Everyone else not so indoctrinated won't see the value in this from that sentimental perspective, and like somebody who doesn't understand why the latest Star Wars films trespasses on so much of the fan's trust, the outsider to the cK universe won't get why this is a worthy new cK pillar and successor to the cK throne. These folks will just see it as a relatively weak, somewhat boring, synthetic floral perfume packaged in "another cK bottle that can't be told apart from the others" and you know what? They're totally right. This isn't some crazy next-generation thinking here like cK2 was purported to be, and it isn't even remotely novel. It's another safe, fresh, nondescript Calvin Klein unisex fragrance, but at this point, anyone not knowing that going into testing cK All should be scolded for any attempted incredulity. This is the closest thing I've seen Calvin Klein do in regards of making something just for the fans of a particular line, and I don't mean flankers, but actually creating a continuation of something liked in the spirit of it's predecessors but with a few new twists. Such a thing is tantamount to Guerlain not making a Vetiver (1961) flanker, or even a Vetiver reinvention, but just a "new version of Vetiver" that respects the original but still does it's own thing. That's why I think I like cK All the most, because if I was just to be blindfolded and told to sniff it sight unseen, I'd think you were trying to get me into the latest Celine Dion or Britney Spears fragrance, and we ain't going there! However, knowing this is the "new back-to-basics Act III" of the cK line, I totally dig it. This is by-the-numbers synthetic unisex cK for only the cultists. Everyone else can move on.
26th May, 2018

L'Homme Libre by Yves Saint Laurent

Fresher, cleaner take on L'Homme with violet leaf and vetiver. Feels like they added more modern/synthetic sweetness to it too but it balances out nicely with the violet. The violet leaf is so prominent that my first thought was this is like a sweetened and modernized Fahrenheit.

Maybe not for the hottest of days but seems perfect for warm days outside or in the office. Very casual.

Projection is really good during first 4-5 hours. The scent lasts all workday.
26th May, 2018

Colony (original) by Jean Patou

Stunningly beautiful Fruity Chyper-esque Feminine Jubilation 25 took this frame, turned up the volume and sharpened some of the corners.
Side by side they feel the same and throw off an accord, sublime. Another Vintage charmer free from Contemporary deafening naff.
26th May, 2018

Eau de Patou (original) by Jean Patou

Beautiful scent, particularly for Summer. Feminine? Maybe. Closer to genderless to my tastes.
Bright Citrus top. Finessed use of the Honeysuckle with the Orange Blossom and bit of Peppery Nasturtium to counter the sweetness. Musky, Oakmoss Canvas turns to a perfect Ambered Savon. Civet? Perhaps for a little angling to scent human.
This competes well with Vintage Pour Monsieur, Eau Sauvage, Dior Eau Fraiche for the sexy, classy Citrus supported by real Oakmoss depth.
Recommended.
26th May, 2018

Yatagan by Caron

This is a comparison of vintage mid-80s Yatagan (grey bottle sticker/box with a sword motif) and the current formula, purchased in I believe 2014.

TL;DR:
Vintage = more bitter, green, mossy, cool, earthy, better proportioned animalics; a clear cyphre. Modern = warmer, sweeter, more powerful, stronger animalics and leather used with less grace and intention without the offsetting moss.

OK. First off, both are wonderful scents, but there are very clear differences.

Compared to the modern formula, the opening and heart stages of this vintage feel considerably more green (stronger galbanum and moss notes, I think), bitter and vaguely poisonous (more wormwood and/or artemesia), earthy and damp, like forest greenery and soil. It feels more "cool" and slightly sinister. The bitter mossy green tone reminds me of a smoother Aramis Devin, which is not a parallel I ever drew with the modern formula. I think there's less celery, or it's more of a raw celery vs. toasty celery salt.

The modern version feels more arid and has a toasted warm tone with a bit of sweetness that I never picked up before when not comparing with the vintage. The forest notes are there, but this is a dry forest in summer. They both feel rich, but in entirely different ways. The modern version feels considerably more powerful in the opening and beyond, but in an almost bloated, unfocused way, like they're replacing the lithe richness of the bitter mossy green notes with a warm, musky personality that's slightly blown out of proportion.

That basic difference continues through the evolution: the vintage stays greener, mossier, and cooler, and importantly, smells more clearly like a cyphre with a greater moss element. The modern replaces the natural moss that makes the cyphre personality so compelling with a castoreum/musk/leather chord. The vintage is more woody/mossy/dry leather, with a quieter but better-integrated animalic accord.

The gap nearly closes deep in the base, but never disappears entirely. The differences are very apparent for a long time - like at least 4-5 hours.

The vintage version is a lot quieter, and actually strikes me as the more versatile, well-behaved sibling. The modern version is entirely respectable, but I can't deny that my nose is naturally drawn to the more natural and well-proportioned earthy-cool environment of the vintage.

Both versions are among my all-time favorites.
25th May, 2018
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Oud Zen by Areej le Doré

I fall somewhere between ClaireV's and Darvant's astute impressions of Oud Zen.

The opening is quite a ride: richly sour, smoked, vividly and sharply animalic, and medicinal all at once. I do not know enough about the nuances of different oud varieties and preparations to comment on which specific ouds are present here, but suffice it to say the oud smells sharp, tangy, a tiny bit fruity and in the initial stages of decomposition - moldy is a good word for the effect. This opening roar is both heightened and smoothed by a sharp civet and a bass chord of castoreum and woodsmoke. It's a fascinating smell, and my nose keeps returning to it. In the opening stages, I identify with Mr. Darvant. It's challenging, but rewarding.

The evolution is a slow burn, but Oud Zen does gradually dry out and become a more approachable spiced woody oud, a la ClaireV. But the animal backbone is always very present. It's *just* tame enough to be approachable, but it's right on the border, and you get the sense the beast could easily go rabid and escape. But it stays contained. When it does perk up - which has a tendency to do - the richer, sweeter nuances of the leathery, balsamic, civet profile come to the fore in a pleasant fragrant bloom. But at its core, it remains primarily a woody, smoky oud.

As always with Areej le Dore scents, the materials are absolutely top notch, and from a personal perspective, this is among my favorite of the Russian Adam compositions I've smelled.

25th May, 2018

Eau de Réglisse by Caron

Not bad but, doesn't last on me. A blast of orange, basil, and lemon verbena on top gave this promise. I get no licorice whatsoever. A bit of patchouli in the middle; a bit of vanilla at the end. A good quickie for spring weather.
25th May, 2018
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Figuier Fleur by Fragonard

Light, fresh, a brightness the combination of neroli and bergamot delivers. It blends in beautifully with the freesias, magnolia, and the whiffs of oleander I get on the floral side. Nutmeg, cardamom and a herbal note are present towards the end, but the fresh/floral core is always present throughout the whole development.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

A summer delight. Simple but satisfying. 3.25/5.
25th May, 2018

Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake

Brisk, conservative lavender - very English.

The lavender is paired with a restrained peppermint, similar to the one in Cuba, which livens up the composition. Rosemary is vaguely discernible in the accord, but adds a suave herbal freshness to the composition. The lavender paves way to a charming light mossy, woody base that persists for a few hours. Projection is low, sillage is close and duration on skin is average at around five hours based on a generous application.

Oxford & Cambridge is quintessentially classic, refined and cut from quality cloth - a notch above something like Penhaligons. What works here is that the resultant composition is simple, elegant and effortless. It is not dressy, but rather an everyday scent, perhaps even a comfort scent.

It also helps that the lavender here is quite good. While I personally prefer Encens et Lavande for a fresh lavender, Oxford & Cambridge is a noteworthy lavender fragrance together with Caron and Gris Clair.

While it is fresh, I find it to work best in temperate weather. Perhaps a little 'masculine', and a must try for wet shavers.


3.5/5
25th May, 2018

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso by Dolce & Gabbana

More than five years ago I went through a bottle of Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme, made in Germany, which was a limited but respectable offering. Fast forward to 2018, and I am wearing Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intenso. I see many superficial similarities to the original, but here the scent is different.

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme is basically redolent of a lemon scented high quality toilet floor cleaner. I get immediate flashbacks of toilet attendants handing out towels and intermittently spraying lemon-lavender fresheners in air and on the sparkling Italian (the Italian connection) floor tiles, while guys bathed themselves in Axe in the nightclub restrooms at Park Hotel, Calcutta, circa mid 2000s. This was in fact confirmed by my good friend (no perfume snob, has been wearing Acqua di Gio for a decade), who regularly played bass with rock bands at the said venue.

Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme Intense is lemon-lavender paired to aquatic notes and woody amber, but balanced and more towards the fresher side. However, it’s better suited as an excellent parfum d’ambience.


1.5/5
25th May, 2018

Dior Homme Sport (2012) by Christian Dior

I am a big fan of the 2008 version of Dior Homme Sport. A great casual summer fragrance, very lemony, rich and the lemon is paired to the brilliant central accord of Dior Homme, but only a smidgen of the latter.

Now exploring the 2012 iteration, I find that the lemon is toned down, while the Dior Homme accord is more prominent together with ginger. So far so good, it would seem. However, the dry down, as so often, is where everything comes apart. It degenerates into an overly synthetic smelling accord of woods, to the point of being abrasive. In comparison, this would make something like Chanel’s Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport seem like composed of rare essential oils.


1.5/5
25th May, 2018

Déclaration Parfum by Cartier

Declaration Parfum is basically Declaration EdT, but with a generous lashing of popular woody amber notes, and most importantly - muddled and flattened. This is Declaration tailored to mass mediocrity, so much so that it doesn’t declare anything anymore. Here there is a greater exploration of cardamom; however it is the spicy warmth of synthetic cardamom, which is a darling ‘spice twist’ of so many modern designer masculines, and not a study of the green aromatic attributes of fresh cardamom as one finds in the beautiful Declaration d’Un Soir EdT. There is also a discernible leathery vibe; however, as one would imagine, the cumin driven edginess is of the original is completely gone.

Sillage is good and duration is excellent at over ten hours - but what is the point? To make no declaration, and silently conform?


2/5
25th May, 2018

Acqua di Giò Essenza by Giorgio Armani

Feels slightly more fresh than the original but dials down the sweetness and aquatic notes.

The main thing I notice is the improved performance. This seems to really project during the first 4-5 hours and even when it settles, lasts all day.

Personally, I definitely feel like "cologne guy" wearing this, not sure if this still appeals to younger ladies anymore. That said, it nice, pleasant, refined and fresh.
25th May, 2018

cK One Gold by Calvin Klein

cK One Gold is amazing for two reasons: It's a flanker that is not a seasonal redressing of cK One (1994), and it actually takes the nameplate in a new direction without the need to make gendered versions, meaning it's both unique and still truly unisex. Typically this feat is left to the bigger niche houses; just sniff anything Mancera or Bond No. 9 and outside obviously-named creations, you tell me who's -supposed- to wear it? It's an area of pure art that designers don't touch, outside of Calvin Klein's deliberately and ostentaciously unisex cK line (plus all the intial designer imitators of the 90's), so usually my hat's off to the "Nuveau Niche" houses (Guerlain and Penhaligon's have been at this forever so they don't count). cK One Gold is the second "Gold" flanker outside a set of them for the Euphoria nameplate in 2014, but shares no other commonality. The warm, woodsy, fruity, and sensuous cocktail here was made for fall use but is light enough for summer too; it has only fair sillage but really good longevity and presence. You'll know cK One Gold is there all day but you won't knock anyone down with it. Like all cK One bottles, the atomizer is separate, so be careful if carried to work (or stuff a tube over the neck if atomizer is left in).

Fig, bergamot, and a strong sage open up cK One Gold, and it's almost so sweet initially that one might be convinced this is going feminine, but actually things shift towards aromatic as the sage creeps up to dominate and turn this into almost a peach ghost note opening similar to Mario Valentino Ocean Rain (1990). Now before you crucify me for comparing Calvin Klein to the almighty late Edmond Roudnitska, it's just the opening, and doesn't have the animal sweat factor he was known for, although it does take a semi-meaty turn with neroli, jasmine, and violet playing with tarragon in the middle. By this part, we realize both that this stays not only sexually ambiguous but also devoid of "Kleinisms" fantasy notes like most CK creations; I'm not saying there aren't synthetics or custom captives here, they're just the mortar instead of the bricks, and therefore unlisted. The base is simple enough with patchouli, vetiver, guaiac wood, and what is a "slightly Sauvagy" norlimbanol/ambroxen/woody aromatic chemical filler alongside a slight dollop of white musk. These now-standard-issue base fillers don't take over the scent like they can in other creations, but despite the natural pyramid, we're neither dealing with vintage nor niche, so their use is almost expected. It's all fairly well-done and immaculately balanced.

Sadly the nose is again unpublished, so I don't know who's responsible for this little treat of a scent. I think it's good enough to be an anchor, but Calvin Klein likes wasting those on far more pandering creations, and this is ironically too niche in design for such a risk to be taken; it's just a sign of the times I suppose. Much like cK One Shock for Him (2011), I see this being bought in the mainstream segments for the bottle graphics (a handsome gold-dipped clear cK One bottle), and praised by perfumistas in the know, while everyone else just ignores it as yet another brand-abusing cK One flanker. My only complaint if any, is this does seem a bit aimed at the club scene, and sniffs slightly of "what Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008) would smell like if it was a cK One flanker", but it's only in general feel, since the fragrances don't share any significant notes at all. Oh well, at least this one isn't a seasonal run, so it might have more than one batch made, in case I use up this delicious little number and wish to seek more in the future. Dare I say this flanker almost surpasses the original? Nah, but it is on equal ground. Recommended for romance or evening use, but can get you by on a hot day as well, you just might attract more attention than intended if you're at work! This one's solid gold baby!!
25th May, 2018

Eternity Intense by Calvin Klein

Given what some had said about this having iris and being weird for a Calvin Klein, I held hope that this was an austere, under-the-radar mass-market gem. Doesn't it seem as though this brand has a unique opportunity to offer something like that? I'm so ready for it, myself.

The opening did not disappoint - proper starchy, ballet-shoe-smelling orris. But in warm weather that was gone in 30 seconds and replaced by an apricot-fruity violet/iris accord under the shadow of a looming stormcloud of hot cardboard sugar (I refuse to call this effect vanilla).

The sugariness takes over, though compared to something like La Vie est Belle, it's a minimalist version with relatively a lot of fruity violet/iris. Its warm radiant sweetness was pleasant and longevity from just one spray was great at over six hours in the heat.

Looking for something austere I instead found it to be something that's a reserved kind of fun, maybe what would happen if Insolence were done in the Calvin Klein manner.
24th May, 2018

1826 Eugénie de Montijo by Histoires de Parfums

I would gave guessed the notes for this included iris and leather, which they do not. Searching my memory and re-reading previous sampling notes, I think this effect is from the bergamot, white flowers (typically jasmine), and patchouli combination. It's a combination I like.

I think this would fit right in with my collection. It smells plenty masculine, despite the marketing. It has some vintage quality to the smell, which I think is still possible with good floral concentrates.
24th May, 2018

Rose Sublime by Laurence Dumont

Rose dominated. Tinge of honey. Watery notes on top. Some shavings of wood here and there. More rose, on the bottom. Sillage is all rose. The other notes, are discernible closer to the skin. A good rose scent for spring and summer. Not overly heavy.
24th May, 2018

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

Lovely amber, not sickly or overbearing, just smooth and gorgeous to wear. Quite durable too. Probably my favourite at the moment, with Ambre Narguilé and L'Eau d'Ambre close runners up.
24th May, 2018

Elysium pour Homme Cologne by Roja Dove

Reminds me of BdC or Sauvage but a bit more fruity sweet and cedar wood. Doesn't smell cheap, so if you're wishing Sauvage was a little more refined, this could be a good alternative. There’s also some nice, clean vetiver deep into the drydown.

Average projection during the first 4 hours then gets close to skin. Longevity is very good, I can still smell it 12 hours after applying.

I do see how some can get an Aventus feel from this but there's just no essential smoke/birch that I can pick out in Elysium, so that's where this differs.
24th May, 2018

Dent de Lait by Serge Lutens

I had little expectation for Dent de Lait, but was enthused after trying this on a paper strip. It had this fresh, milky and vaguely metallic note jostling alongside heliotrope and almond. Now that I am wearing it, my hopes are completely dashed. Any interesting minty freshness, that is somewhat unique, disappears completely within the first twenty minutes. What remains is a stereotypical concoction of almond, musk and heliotrope that becomes increasingly jarring. Dent de Lait does have good sillage, but unfortunately I find it impossible to tolerate after a while. While there is a reasonable degree of abstraction, the accord is also jaded and vapid. The dry down is clichéd, and I find it tiresome to smell this accord in a Serge Lutens perfume.

Dent de Lait provides further testamony to the proposition that the best days of Serge Lutens as a company have long gone by, especially as one considers the back catalogue.

2/5
24th May, 2018

1804 George Sand by Histoires de Parfums

This is an interesting, complex fragrance, bordering on bizarre. The main accord I'm getting from this is typical, classic masculine grooming product, an after shave type smell (which doesn't seem to match the listed notes), and just behind that is a contrasting sweetness that is almost too much and that threatens to ruin it.

The is interesting niche perfume: experimental, but wearable.

The sandalwood and/or patchouli in the background is nice. It smells like they got their hands on some good stuff. The sweet, fruity stuff, such as the pineapple note, is less refined, and smells gimmicky, but the elements that are good are so good, it mostly works.
24th May, 2018

Mélodie de L'Amour by Parfums Dusita

An indolic - narcotic - musky - vaguely animalic - neo-classic tuberose/jasmine-chord "civilized" by a well calibrated gardenia's support. Supremely floral, musky-dirty, heliotropic and honeyed. I'm somewhat sure that a significant dose of civet is included in the mix. Try to ideally "melt" together the peachy/coconutty tuberose of Bois 1920 Sensual Tuberose and an indolic honeyed jasmine a la Bruno Fazzolari Au Dela', well Dusita Melodie de L'Amour will definitely disclose its main essence. There is for a while more than a tad of the stale (kind of flower pot's "rotten" water like) civet-laced dirty graveyard's water-effect conjuring me partially scents a la Corticchiato's Parfum d'Empire Musc Tonkin, Dusita Oudh Infini or La Via del Profumo Tawaf plus the support of a "to a tuberose-connected" gardenia a la Onyrico Zephiro. Lily of the valley enhances the general floral intensity along the way. An obsessive sambac jasmine smells slightly dominant (after the initial tuberose's explosion) under my unfaithful nose. Overall the scent is kind of merged in to a sort of intense neo-chypreism a la Bogue Maai (and partially a la Zoologist Civet) and in to a generally classic floral grandeur a la Piguet Fracas. Yes a must try for any tuberose/jasmine-accord's addicted.
23rd May, 2018 (last edited: 24th May, 2018)
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