Fragrance Reviews from August 2009

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    ortho123's avatar
    ortho123
    United States United States

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    Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

    This is not a fragrance that one "sums up" but one that sums things up itself. The best reviews here share at least that common experience of this tour de force casual. formal, seductive scent.

    I can remember when this was readily available on most counters for testing...too long ago...Bach and Picasso...a summation!

    02 August, 2009

    bbBD's avatar
    bbBD
    United States United States

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    Diorling by Christian Dior

    The reigning queen of all vintage leather chypres! Truly a smooth leather with that chypre/oakmoss structure underneath. The re-issue is nowhere near as wonderful. Although rarely on eBay, Diorling is not forgotten because bottles go for small fortunes on eBay, especially parfums. I was recently testing an 80s bottle of Guerlain Derby when it struck me that Derby has much more to do with fragrances like Diorling then it does its 80s-powerhouse brothers.

    Like Lanvin Scandal and vintage Cuir de Lancome, it may be called 'feminine' but Diorling would be a bold masculine by today's standards. Consider yourself lucky if you have a bottle.

    02 August, 2009

    bbBD's avatar
    bbBD
    United States United States

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    Givenchy III by Givenchy

    Over the last few months I've taken it upon myself to focus on Givenchy III. I wouldn't presume to call myself an 'expert', but at this writing I have 14 bottles in various concentrations (it was made in EdT, EdP and parfum). I sample it almost daily and wear it weekly. Since first sampling Givenchy III just over a year ago it has worked it's way up into my personal "Top-5 Fragrances of All Time" list.

    If you are curious about Givenchy III do yourself a favor and don't even bother with the re-issue. It's hardly an echo of the original, and if there's actually any oakmoss in the formula it must be so little as to prevent the chypre accord from being realized. By way of analogy, if the original is the Mona Lisa, the re-issue is a drawing of Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon. It hints at the original without ever actually smelling like it (much the same way 31 Rue Cambon alludes to the chypre genre without actually smelling like a chypre). The citrus is far more apparent and the base not nearly woody/mossy enough in the re-issue. I'm not saying the re-issued perfume is a bad fragrance in and of itself - in fact it's quiet pleasant - but it's not Givenchy III and should never have been so titled.

    As far as the original goes, it should be next to Chypre de Coty in the perfume encyclopedia as the definition of 'chypre' is. It is simple and uncluttered. It is utterly timeless, and unlike some vintage chypres it does not smell dated. Smelling deeply, Givenchy III is one of those perfumes in which you can smell multiple layers simultaneously, and as the fragrance develops these layers are always anchored to the chypre structure. From the beginning oakmoss is apparent under the mellow bergamot/floral topnotes, which eventually meander into a green/floral heart. Givenchy III is less soapy and brighter then its peers (such as Miss Dior), and it never becomes overtly floral by any means. The florals give way to the mossy/woody base that persists for a long time, close to the skin.

    Everything Givenchy III does, it does smoothly and quietly - always reserved and always elegant. It really is a 'composition' - no notes stand out loudly. Sillage in the EdT is typical of a fragrance from this period (moderate) and longevity a tad shorter (3-4 hours). The EdP is essentially a stronger version of the EdT, with better sillage/longevity. The parfum composition focuses far more on the mossy/woody nature of the fragrance, skipping the citrus and going right to the floral/mossy heart. Sillage of the parfum is about the same as that of the EdT but the longevity is incredible - 8-10 hours easily.

    If your thing is modern niche with bold accords and loads of sillage Givenchy III won't be for you. However, if you're into chypres and/or the classics of perfumery you must try Givenchy III because you will love it.

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Blu pour Homme by Bulgari

    Blu is not one of Bulgaris' best. I think they were trying to create a good oriental fragrance but ended up failing in that regard. I have some friends that like it, but to me it just doesn't smell all that great. Its not bad, but I wouldn't spend my money on it

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Bulgari pour Homme Extreme by Bulgari

    Different than the original. This usually isn't supposed to be the case with "extreme" versions of fragrances. With this rendition, the pepper really stands out to me. Its a great warm weather fragrance because it has a little better sillage in the heat than the original. It still retains the gentleman factor for me by not being over powering and is an intimate fragrance that's draws a person in for a better smell. Longevity is better than the original as well.

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Bulgari pour Homme Soir by Bulgari

    A very light, clean and refreshing rendition of the original. The tea note is most distinguishable to me with this one. The fragrance overall is indeed discreet. I like this in a fragrance because it doesn't scream "I'm walking in the room" when I wear it. Again, its an intimate fragrance that stays close to the skin and is for the more close encounter. I think this version, the original and the extreme are all very excellent fragrances that anyone who is considering a good, non-offensive fragrance for work use, or just to freshen up a little bit. IMO, Bulgari scents in general are very well put together with the exception of Blu, which rubs me the wrong way for whatever reason.

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Calvin Klein Man by Calvin Klein

    Not bad. CK has put out a lot of crappy fragrances in the past few years, but this one I actually like. I can pick out the rosemary and mint from the start which instantly draws me in. The cypress in the base also comes out withing 15 minutes of application, and I'm a sucker for cypress. The dry down is decent and longevity as well. Sillage is average.

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Hugo XY by Hugo Boss

    Not bad, but again this is too generic. I want something that will make me stand out, not just be another person on the sea of indistinguishable fragrances. The opening is the only part that is worth while in this one...then it just dries down to a run of the mill patchouli base. Not impressed at all.

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Hugo Element by Hugo Boss

    Yet another generic mess of a fragrance. I couldn't distinguish any notes from each other at all. This stuff is crap. But I guess if you're young and don't know any better, then this is the stuff for you.

    02 August, 2009

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    jalexhrovat
    United States United States

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    Exceptional Because You Are for Men by Exceptional

    Blah is all I got for this one. I get samples of it with my FragranceNet order, and wish they would stop sending me samples of it because it is yet another generic smelling fragrance to me. Nothing really stands out. Doesn't smell bad, but again, just not worth buying.

    02 August, 2009

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    MFJ


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    Gris Clair by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Gris Clair opens with a cooling lavender accord presented in typical syrupy fashion. It then works its way into an ambient smoky vanilla + wood base. Simple, pleasurable and extremely well-suited for warmer weathers.

    02 August, 2009 (Last Edited: 17 April, 2010)

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    MFJ


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    Isfarkand by Ormonde Jayne

    I got a bottle of this some months ago and have found myself reaching for this quite often as the scent definitely blooms with body heat, in my tropical location. Isfarkand is very lightweight and bare. I am welcomed by very well-behaved, yet well represented lime and pepper notes that are not prickly or harsh. The moss and wood in the background take their time to surface non-abruptly, while being mellow and transparent at the same time, allowing the lime and pepper to remain detectable in the composition. Very uncomplicated, minimal and natural. No synthetic, sharp, overly-fresh opening; and no cheap-smelling woody base. For someone who much prefers heavier and more complex scents these days, I remain quite loyal to Isfarkand. A rather quiet yet surprisingly long lasting one, this gem.

    02 August, 2009 (Last Edited: 09 January, 2010)

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    Redbeard
    United States United States

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    Héritage by Guerlain

    Preface: The mini that I bought at a mall shop differs from the decant that I got from the Perfumed Court, and I know some people had mentioned a reformulation. The mini is more woody and very heady right out of the bottle, and it gets a moderate thumbs up; the decant is more sharply candy-sweet and gets a neutral.

    At first, I figured this would remain too sweet for me to use in earnest, but during several trials of my mini I kept re-sniffing it because it had gotten really nice by the end of the day. This version in particular smells much older than it actually is...not even 20 years! At first spray, I find my decant a bit too sweet and "perfumey"...there are so many things hiding in there: sweet spices and honeyed vanilla, with a little green bite, though greener in the mini. Soon the honey starts to break and I get some cedar, which cuts the sweetness further. I find a slight smoky sharpness after the sweetness, which honestly smells like rubber bands, though there isn't much of it. In the end, just the right blend of spices and smoke keeps it from teetering over the edge of too sweet in the mini, but fails to do so in the decant. It's still heavier than it needs to be by comparison to similar scents. It's probably a good super-formal scent, but I'd have to think more about what it says when paired with my usual casual clothes; the version in my decant just feels like it's trying too hard, but the mini would probably work OK.

    02 August, 2009

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    Redbeard
    United States United States

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    Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein

    Even though this is really sweet, the spices are exactly the right mix to counterbalance it. The top notes bring you a gentle and exquisite woody spicyness...the woods aren't sharp or sour and the spices don't burn or cloy, and somehow a bit of Geir-like freshness finds its way in. It's kind of a more natural predecessor to Envy, for those who are familiar. I also catch some florals (jasmine?) in the top and middle that are a bit like those in Bois du Portugal, though not as much of them. I only wish it didn't devolve into such a vanilla-heavy base, though admittedly it's a pretty natural vanilla. Still, it's impressively strong overall, and lasts longer with more power than almost anything else I have, so I feel like I really got my money's worth, but I'm very conservative in how much I use. It might kill people in summer, but one of these days I may go out on a limb to see if that slight freshness can make it behave in the heat. Pretty amazing stuff considering the others by this house!

    02 August, 2009

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    Redbeard
    United States United States

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    Polo Crest by Ralph Lauren

    A sweet but no-nonsense bright green scent. I think there's a little mint and cilantro which tend to remind me of the original, but I can handle this version, whereas the original is just a spitefully bitter green to me, and has assured me that it does not want to be my friend. (unfortunately, the Crest bottle is just as tacky and dated as the original). Other than losing its slight lemon edge after the top dies, I don't find much change over time with this one. The herbs noted earlier keep the brightness a little more under control than in Bowling Green, whose brightness persists too far into the base and wears on me a little bit later in the day. One problem with Crest is that, even though I don't recall the exact smell of Pine-Sol, some of the sharpness on certain isolated sniffs makes me suspect what people refer to as Pine-Sol in other scents. Maybe it would smell a little more empathetic and less authoritarian if it had just a smidgen of Paco Rabanne-style soapiness? Still, it sure beats the fanatical in-your-face drill sargeant of the original Polo.

    02 August, 2009

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    Redbeard
    United States United States

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    Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme by Van Cleef & Arpels

    I can just see the forum thread title now: "What would the Masque of the Red Death wear?" It's so sweet and heavy. Old Victorian lady heavy. Dead wilting flowers heavy: black, brown, and brownish oranges and yellows. Honey combined with the strongest-smelling detergent ever made, whose fetid vapors seep into your lungs and suffocate you. It isn't a sugary dessert sweetness like many recent scents, but an army of menacing zombie flowers rising from the forest floor and lurching toward you. I sprayed one shot in my living room, and it felt sickly and stifling, transforming the room into a turn-of-the-century harlot's boudoir. Objectively, I'll grant that it's a fascinatingly rich scent, and I couldn't even begin to identify all of the ingredients. But it's just so terribly impractical for me...unwearable, and almost un-room-sprayable (which is unheard of) in case I just wanted to contemplate it. I could only wear it with a tuxedo while conversing with senior diplomats at the King of Sweden's ball, which means never (unless some idiot gives me a Nobel Prize)...even an ordinary suit would leave me feeling pretentious and overbearing with this scent.

    I need to go dunk my head in a bucket of 4711 now.

    P.S. I suspect that what I got was the reformulation, not the re-reformulation: no brown leafy pattern on the box. But my bottle/box combination didn't quite match any that I found pictures of, so I'm not positive.

    02 August, 2009

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    Redbeard
    United States United States

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    Vetiver by Guerlain

    A few days ago I tried the pre-2000 version on one arm and the post-2000 on the other. The old version smelled sweeter and more richly expressive in the top, but then got very weak, leaving only a little smoky green behind. (The funny thing is, I don't remember it being so weak on the previous times I've worn it.) The new version was sharper and stronger for the whole duratino, with more sour citrus in the top, and a reedy smell which I was able to pick up all throughout the development. I've found this reediness in the bases of a few other summery frags and I quite like it; it makes me think of bamboo. It appeals to me more than the tobacco in the base of the old version. Overall, they're noticeably different scents, but I like them both. They both convey the same classical candid and clean virility even though they go about it differently. If the old one continues to be weak in the middle and base for me, however, then even its richer top will not win it my favor over the new one. Still, it could just be that my bottle of the old version has lost some of its kick over the years.

    02 August, 2009

    JonB's avatar
    JonB
    United States United States

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    Grezzo d'Eleganza by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    Starts out like a traditional eau, but has an Italian flair with a healthy dose of thyme. This is definitely masculine. The thyme is at once resinous, dry, spicy. Excellent. A big thumbs up.

    02 August, 2009

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    JonB
    United States United States

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    Cologne de l'Empereur by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    A very nice eau, but with very poor longevity (even on fabric). I guess you expect short longevity with this type of fragrance, but this one is more labile than most.

    02 August, 2009

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    andy85


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    Azzaro Twin for Men by Azzaro

    i love this fragance.. it smells so nice.. i think it smells a little like deseo for men by jlo, but much more well composed.. i love it.

    02 August, 2009

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    Sunnyfunny
    United States United States

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    Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

    This one is warmer and spicier than I remember, and deeper, too. I definitely get patchouli, more so than in Chance; and while Chance blooms in the heat, Coco Mlle. is a little stifling. In the end, it is a mildly sweet fruity floral, and my skin probably doesn't do it justice. It's too heavy for me to want to wear in the heat, and not dark or rich enough for me to place it with my cooler weather orientals.

    02 August, 2009

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    Sunnyfunny
    United States United States

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    Joy by Jean Patou

    There's lots of jasmine in the opening of this one, ans ass it begins tosettle something a little bitter comes out. It dances with the jasmine, rarely taking the lead, often just on the precipice of perception, but always there. It is the complex flower that dominates, beautiful, sweet, and strong. Joy is beauty amidst darkness, and I'm reminded of where, how, and why this perfume came to be. I feel knowing its full story is integral to the full appreciation of Joy. I feel beautiful in this perfume.

    02 August, 2009

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    Bastetcat
    United States United States

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    Enjoy by Jean Patou

    Poor red-headed stepchild! I think EnJoy is unfairly being rated against big sister Joy. I like it. It's very well blended and complex. More "modern", less "perfume-y" smelling than Joy. I find it sweet without being cloying at all. I definitely recommend you give it an honest try before dismissing it.

    The notes came out backwards on me. I smelled the floral heart notes first - but that may be because I adore rose and jasmine, and instinctively seek them out in any fragrance. The florals lasted about 45 minutes. Now, an hour later, I smell the top note fruits balanced on the patchouli/musk base. Florals mostly all gone. I get more of a "peach" smell than anything else. Otherwise, I can't really single out a particular fruit, but I don't find any "bananna" note at all. This is a good thing as far as I'm concerned as I was rather dreading that note. Hints of nice vanilla.

    I love a perfume that evolves well on me, and this is definitely one of them.

    This is my second try, and I'm hooked. While I like big sister better, EnJoy is lovely enough that I'm now looking to buy a bottle. 2 thumbs up!

    02 August, 2009

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    misscasey
    United States United States

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    L'Instant de Guerlain by Guerlain

    Smells to me like I cracked open some chocolate covered cherries and used them as bath beads. Which is not a terrible thing, but not what I'm looking for in a fragrance. I like this scent, but it feels like something is missing. Super duper sweet is all I get. Like Cherry Coke. Just doesn't suit me I guess.

    02 August, 2009

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    sfmedusa
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Mitsouko by Guerlain

    Having read so many reviews of Mitsouko, and having found from experience that the scents I seem to gravitate towards are the less 'soft' scents (my favourites are Angel, Givenchy Gentleman, Miss Dior, Cabochard- I like my scent to stand up for itself) I just had to try it.

    The very fact that Mitsouko doesn't suit everyone or please everyone makes it all the more interesting for me to try- and this is so right.

    It's complex although suprisingly rounded for a scent with so many hard ingredients. It's not at all gentle or warm but I love it for that.

    On days when sweet things make my teeth and sinuses recoil in horror there is Mitsouko. On days when I'm being a grown up there's definitely Mitsouko.

    If you like flirty, feminine, girly, soft or understated scents then don't try Mitsouko. If you like anything pink or fluffy then don't even think of walking near a tester.

    In fact, you can't buy Mitsouko. It's mine.

    02 August, 2009

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    sfmedusa
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Black Pepper by Molton Brown

    Smells fabulous, spicy, warming, stimulating, but just when you're beginning to appreciate it, there's nothing there any more.

    02 August, 2009

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    JDE
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    A*Men / Angel Men by Thierry Mugler

    Far too sweet for me. I'm also not sure why they didn't go for a smooth velvet-like chocolate note in this rather than the cheap smelling powdered chocolate I get from this. Might just be my nose.
    Yeah, it's clever but it's not pleasant to me. My Dad sometimes wears this, which I found hysterical, but it smells better on him than on me, so maybe it's a skin thing. I don't mind the tar note on it's own, but mixed with the coffee and chocolate, it gets a bit acrid.

    The bottle is cool, but pretty ugly. Two sprays lasts forever and everyone knows you're wearing it. Too rich for my blood.

    I have no idea who would want to smell like this. As much as I like the smell of chicken soup, I do not wish to smell like a bowl of it. Maybe I just don't "get" gourmands.

    02 August, 2009

    JDE's avatar
    JDE
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Aramis by Aramis

    What can I say?
    IMHO, this has the finest example of a masculine bergamot opening - quite strong, but perfectly pitched and clear as a bell. Lucky for us, the bergamot sticks around for a good few hours and pierces through the cloves making sure nothing gets too heavy or peppery. The leather begins to emerge faily quickly in this resulting in a wonderful perfumed sweetness floating above a beautiful, moist moss which just goes on and on. The sandalwood lends everything a smooth, warm and civilised air and blends with the moss beautifully. Sweet frag, but completely inedible and utterly masculine.
    There is nothing out of place in this frag - it's all there and in just the right amount. It typifies exactly what I think a good masculine scent should be. It's never cloying or loud, but it's always there. The projection is immense as is the longevity. Were I not such a clean boy, i'm sure it could last well over 24 hours, but i've never found out for sure. On cloth it can last days, but I prefer to spray it on skin to mute it's strength a little.

    Overlooked it may be, but I don't mind as that leaves more for me. A masterpiece of perfumery and a damn near faultless autumn/winter cologne.

    02 August, 2009

    JDE's avatar
    JDE
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Dunhill for Men by Dunhill

    I actually wrote this review on Badger and Blade, but I may as well put it up here with a couple of changes...

    Simply a gorgeous evening cologne. A tart lemon pinch at the start, then florals, clary sage, leather, spice, wood, with a superb soapy leather powder drydown. It's actually really quite complex - I normally dislike florals with leather as they're either too complicated and cluttered for my nose, or they're overpowering and a little rancid (Knize 10 - i'm sorry). The difference with Dunhill, is that the florals are linked to leather with a sage accord that perfectly warms the bouquet into its leather basenote. It's very refined, even slightly dated (which is possibly why it's now discontinued), and is simply done exceptionally well.

    Ok, so the box is IMO pretty dire, but who cares when the bottle and the juice are this great? The atomiser is also very good - far better than modern Dunhill atomisers which basically project a jet of juice like a waterpistol. I'm sure this is part of the reason why the longevity, for a cologne, is relatively high on me - 2 spritzes last around 6 hours on skin, a few hours longer on clothing. It has a subtle projection, definitely not a screamer, but it stays close to the skin without disappearing.

    It's a sensible, mature cologne for sensible, mature men. If this is your sort of show, buy a ticket before the perfume e-tailers run out and you're left with decants or partial bottles for silly money on forums. I have a nearly-full bottle, which i'm very grateful for (I got it for £30-odd from a Basenoter), but even though I do not wear it often, i'm already looking for a suitable replacement. It's not quite a "masterpiece" but it is very, very nice and in my Top 5.

    02 August, 2009

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    JDE
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

    Made in the 70's and it definitely smells like it. A classic face-slap opening of lavender and sage - expansive, clean, dry and green, like a less obnoxious RL Polo. After about 5 minutes it becomes a very nice lavender/woody/pine thing, with a bit of a herbacious feel, then the lavender slowly but smoothly turns soapy. This is without doubt a confident masculine fragrance and it's also incredibly intelligent in the middle of it's transition. It's evokes a huge forest where all the trees bear a fruit of old school gentleman's soap and shaving foam, and the green foliage is bone dry. It never becomes powdery or stuffy and remains easily wearable despite being almost completely without sweetness. During it's heart note phase, Paco PH is actually quite a distant, remote fragrance, very insular. I think Luca Turin said something about it being meloncholy or muted, and I have to agree with him.
    After a couple of hours, however, it becomes suddenly very cozy as the honey and tonka appear. It's like a comfort blanket made of the soapy lavender (which remains present for the duration), and yet at no point during the lifespan of the scent does it go sweet or gourmandish. How they made a vanillic honey aroma devoid of sweetness and yet still warm and creamy is beyond me, but it's a thing of beauty to wear. It's almost leathery.

    This is not a scent for everyone - it's neither "fun" nor "formal," it has no fruit and any florals it may have in it smell like they're from outer space with petals made of Barbasol. It is, however, a clever mix of fresh and arid that is at once comforting and remote. It actually has a texture to it, a depth of quality and inventiveness that makes it a wonderful option for a guy that doesn't like sports scents, but doesn't like heavy in-your-face screamers either. It's manly without being aggressive or butch and in this way, it reminds a little of Rive Gauche, but without the Brut and baby powder feel to it. It seems to be for quiet but confident men, slightly old fashioned but deeply reliable, serious but not mean spirited. Personally, I think it's awesome.

    Longevity is excellent - over 10 hours. It projects well, I mean it's on the strong side anyway, but it doesn't seem to annoy people - who can get annoyed by the smell of a clean bloke? I don't care for built in atomisers as I like proper bottle caps, but the atomiser is a nice one. Otherwise, I love the colour and bottle design.

    02 August, 2009

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