Perfume Reviews

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Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Gucci Guilty Absolute is probably nothing new to those who have familiarity with niche perfumes themed around smoke, woods and leather but I really believe it represents a daring move from Gucci, to propose this in a more mainstream-oriented section of the market where people either look for sweet-woodyambers or fresh and clean type of fragrances.

A simple and yet striking combo of smoky leather, dry patchouli and woody notes that feels pleasantly unpolished and halfway between industrial / urban and earthy / outdoorsy. It shares a certain kinship with stuff such as Terre D'Hermes but it smells overall more straight-forward and even unapologetic. If you can get past how ugly the presentation is, Gucci Gulty Absolute is probably the only decent fragrance released by this brand since the Tom Ford era.

Rating: 7/10
18th December, 2017

Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens

I have been sampling a lot of fragrances lately, that smell like make-up or lipstick; this is one of them. More musk than anything else, in this one. I did get some iris although it is very gentle. Neroli and bergamot just weren't there. Lovely, demure perfume.
18th December, 2017

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite by Tom Ford

I perceive Noir Anthracite as a tribute to oakmoss done with a modern twist. It feels like one of those testosterone-driven american fragrances from the 80s (I'm mainly thinking about stuff in the Aramis back-catalog) to which they added a slightly metallic edge and the ever present peppery note. It's simple and deja-vu but I find it extremely easy to wear and, most of all, completely different from the plethora of sticky-sweet-woody stuff that overpopulate the shelves of mainstream perfume shops.

Probably the most interesting fragrance in the Tom Ford's non-exclusive range since Sahara Noir.

Rating: 7/10
18th December, 2017
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Note de Yuzu by Heeley

Note De Yuzu opens with an holographic note of fizzy / zesty / juicy green citrus. In this phase, the accord is so literal to make me salivate. Very aromatic and hyper vivid without falling too much into functional smells territories. I'm not a huge fan of citrus but the accord is so well executed that I've found it pretty entertaining. Unfortunately the fragrance slowly turn into a Sel Marin clone introducing exactly the same salty / clean musky / woody vetiver base. Now, while I really dig Sel Marin, I find Note De Zuzu a bit redundant for those who already own the former. It could instead make a valid option for those who don't own Sel Marin or have a particular affection for citrus-themed compositions that don't feel too Eau De Cologne-ish.

Rating: 6.5/10
18th December, 2017

L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake

L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme is a perplexing scent, from it's composition, to it's bottle shape, all the way down to it's very name. What the scent is becomes very apparent upon first whiff: an ozonic fragrance of epic proportions. It takes the ball first kicked down the alley by Liz Claiborne with their Claiborne for Men (1989), then gives it an injection of unholy strength and power before setting it back out into the world to conquer. I really get why people like this, and I like this too, but it must be made clear that this one really exemplifies the "ozone" characteristic of the ozonic genre. The designer himself has always been known for his technology-assisted fashion designs, his bizarre use of pleats on everything (making dresses look like accordions or lampshades), and the monolithic mock turtle necks the late Steve Jobs wore during all of his summit speeches. It only makes sense that the debut scent from a forward-thinking designer like Issey Miyake would embody that same visual minimalism while containing high-tech construction under the hood, for both sexes. One look at the maddeningly huge list of notes for this and it's clear that N.A.S.A.-grade micrometers are needed for blending it into form.

The scent opens much like the aforementioned Claiborne for Men, as it is a huge cloud of metallic and astringent fruit, spice, and dry herbs right up front. But whereas Claiborne pushes this a tad more gently with bergamot, lavender, lemon and melon, L'Eau d'Issey opens fire with a barrage of Yuzu that's followed by orange, sage, coriander, verbana, and cypress actually used as a top note. From there, it's a ticker tape of heart and base notes which look like a kitchen sink of dry, acerbic, clean, tart and just a bit warm, with that ozone combining in a threesome of smokey tobacco, cypriol, and vetiver at the bottom. The whole thing is just a huge boondoggle when you think of what scent all that stuff produces: a louder, sharper, shrieking ozonic that is otherwise extremely comparable to others in it's class. The yuzu is definitely the most distinctive note in the whole thing, and many people love it just for that reason, as yuzu had not really made much of an appearance in fragrance until that point, and it's ties to Japanese culture add a level of authenticity as a scent created by a Japanese designer.

Perfumer Jacques Cavallier would later go on to make Acqua di Giò for Armani two years after this, and unsurprisingly, it too is very clean, ozonic, and fresh, even if it is definitely softer than this and pulls closer to an aquatic in terms of overall feel. L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme is a rarity in it's class, as it is a light and fresh fragrance that is anything but subtle. It's the closest that we would get to a "powerhouse" variant of the new fresh style that dominated the 90's, and the only thing close to it able to ring out such plumes of sillage would be the later Ralph Lauren Polo Blue (2002), which is an aquatic with a shocking amount of brawn in it's delivery. The love-it-or-hate-it scream of L'Eau d"Issey pour Homme has been much debated by fragrance fans over the years, but often is such a popular scent fraught with controversy, especially one that is uncompromisingly noticeable when worn (we're talking chemical burns on your nose hairs here folks). If I had to pick just one ozonic to wear, it certainly wouldn't be this one, but my absolute favorite thing about it is that it's the only scent of it's kind that can be worn outside in winter air and still be perceived on skin or clothing, which speaks volumes for why I give it a thumbs up, monolithic bottle and all.
18th December, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Orange Blossom by Demeter Fragrance Library

The opening blast bombards my nose with a chemical onslaught - an unpleasant one that is - before settling into a fairly nonspecific white floral impression.

Moments reminiscent of a flat orange blossom come and go, but for most of the time I only get a generic floral note of little distinction.

I get soft sillage, adequate projection and and six hours of longevity on my skin.

A nondescript spring creation that is rather linear and not very exciting or convincing - neither as orange blossom nor as a fragrance in general. This is not Demeter’s finest hour. 2/5
18th December, 2017

Nautica Blue Sail by Nautica

Yet another re-use of the original Nautica bottle, and yet another attempt to re-invent the original Nautica, by yet another perfumer tasked to bolster the brand's relevance while retaining it's legacy. Nautica Blue Sail is the 3rd overall fragrance to share the bottle of the original Nautica, which has long since been re-badged "Nautica Classic" to avoid confusion with the re-launch of "Nautica Blue" in 2006. Nautica already made an extremely vapid "Nautica White Sail" a few years back that entered discontinuation (surprise) after a few short years, so if this was meant to be the complimentary fragrance to it, then good job for making the other one unavailable for combo sets (which Nautica loves to use). You really have to be a pretty hardcore aquatic fan to get excited about this, let alone even know it exists, which happens to be my curse for walking past fragrance displays regularly when shopping on weekends. Once I got a whiff of this stuff, it became clear that Nautica was yet again going through another midlife-crisis, which the yuppie sleaze who were in their 20's when the original released are also probably experiencing, thus making this something they'd probably reach for. I can't say it's all bad, and sort of gives nods to the chypre genre while still being an aquatic in it's construction, straddling the space in-between the traditionalist original and 2006's modernist Nautica Blue, so at least there was some serious thought given to the history of perfume this time around.

Orange rind and rosemary are the top notes here, which make this a bit more aromatic and herbal than past Nautica smells in the beginning, but this is no mid-century aromatic citrus and very shortly thereafter we are thrown back into Aquatic Hell with notes of lavender and juniper. Some cypress helps squeak out that chypre-like dryness, making this the crispest aquatic to ever be a part of the main line, but sandalwood, vetiver, and just a tad of sweet white musk in the base tie this in yet again with that soft skin glow which is characteristic to a flagship Nautica creation. It definitely feels more like classic perfuming ideas were behind the creation of this than a lot of starkly modern Nautica flankers that have come and gone since Nautica Blue inherited the throne from the original, but I wouldn't exactly call this old-school or even retro. It's nose is a guy named Laurent Le Guernec who seems to like classic French accords but then tweaks them with unorthodox replacement notes, such as marrying orange and not lemon to rosemary, and using juniper berry with the otherwise warm core of sandalwood and lavender for modern transparency in what would otherwise be a dense aromatic scent.

Nautica Blue Sail will not amaze, nor will it even impress, and like all the creations sharing this same bottle, will serve just as well as one could hope for a daily workhouse aquatic in the cold white florescent lights of an office or retail environment, whether it's adorning the collar of a business shirt or a sales clerk uniform. It's not particularly flirty but for anyone head over heels for Nautica, this will be the new cats pajamas until the next flanker comes along probably a year from now, and what I can imagine will be another flagship Nautica scent by the next decade, since that seems to be their frequency now. There is something to be said for consistency in lieu of diversity, and one could almost liken Nautica to the AC/DC of active life-themed fragrance: all their releases are built from the same rhythms and power chords, with just a slight upshift or downshift in tempo and key. Blue Sail is a perfectly safe blind buy for the guy who's sworn by the brand since it's inception, or just doesn't want to think about what he smells like as long as he's groomed, and I give that pragmatic mindset some respect, but this one is really just not for me.
18th December, 2017

Amber Sky by Ex Nihilo

I love amber...i love this...feels like its pulsating and glob of spicy-woody amber in all its my nose it presents the same kind of enjoyment and addictive nose glued to the back of the hand pleasure i get when i'm enjoying smelling an attar...very similar in the blending , richness , and quality of ingredients...smooth and opulent...still though , even with as great as I think this fragrance is , the price is a little out of hand...want to wear this really bad but I think I'll have to settle for one of those 7ml travel sprays I see available for this...bottom line-outstanding spiced amber with a touch of patch sitting on an exquisite creamy layer of wood...
18th December, 2017

Nautica Blue by Nautica

The Nautica design house entered the fragrance world with it's eponymous scent (now labelled "Nautica Classic") at the beginning of the 1990's; It was a "less blue" creation than it's peers and would go on to become a staple wardrobe item for many young men of the day due to it's unique beach vibe, and now survives as an entry-level "safe" aquatic, but the story doesn't end there. The Nautica name would become attached under license from the clothing company to a series of similar aquatic scents throughout the 90's as the genre exploded exponentially in popularity, eventually becoming a design house of it's own under ownership of Coty, who was really the company designing these. Most of them came and went into discontinuation as quick cash-grabs with little originality, which is why there are sparse comprehensive reviews for any of them beyond the original scent. Nautica Blue was in essence the proper aquatic that the original was not, and tightly focused on re-imagining the primary accords of original Nautica without the warm sand and wind vibes. Without a doubt, this scent was meant to replace the original as the proper Nautica masculine, because it even reused the same bottle and the original developed it's "classic" subtitle after this one's launch.

Nautica Blue smells every bit the part of a "Nautica 2.0" and perfumer Maurice Roucel tries to go away from the traditional building materials of the first Nautica by using fruit notes such as pineapple and peach in the opening to make it juicier and sweeter, but keeping the bergamot vibe to tie it in with the original. So too would the base be constructed almost the same, with musk remaining and sandalwood being swapped for cedar, with everything else being otherwise different. The results of this 2000's remix would come across to those familiar with the original Nautica as simply "more blue" or "more aquatic" with a bit of gourmand in the opening salvo but then quickly drying down to a cool, soft skin scent like the original. 1990's leisure suit prowlers could easily swap out the old Nautica with this one and continue their competition dating unaffected, which this scent still reminds me of, and younger guys would feel this is relevant to them because of the millenial fruity vibe. It's a win-win for all parties involved if your thing is fairly conventional aquatic smells, but as with all Nautica before or since it's creation, it does nothing for the man who wants something exciting.

This one is marginally more wearable if only because it doesn't have the more traditional powdery fougère construction being stretched and warped into the semblance of an aquatic like the original Nautica, and can often be found bundled with the original in 2-for-1 sets at your local big box retailer, especially around the holidays. Like all Nautica still in production, it's unbelievably cheap, so it could become "utility cologne" for the guy who really doesn't have a discerning nose but if you're really wanting to do some aquatics, there is far more stand-out stuff than this on the market, including stuff made so late in the game as this. What's funny is Nautica still pumps out an ocean of flankers (no pun intended) with all kinds of shapes and sizes, discontinues them after a few years, then tries again to reinvent the primary line, as they did in 2017 with Nautica Blue Sail. If all you want is a cabinet of generic inoffensive blue juices, they guys have you covered. As for me, I'll just keep wearing my Cool Water when I'm feeling blue.
18th December, 2017

Crave by Calvin Klein

There was a series of shrill battle-cry ozonic scents released into the early 2000's with woods, florals, and fruits racing to the fore in order to reclaim the space taken by the vapid "blue" aquatics. Crave by Calvin Klein was one such fragrance, and attempted to be loud, fresh, sophisticated, sexy, and distinctive... but to the late GenX or early Millenial crowd that was obsessed with complexity for the sake of it. The problem here with this is all the pop and flash worked into the scent, it's packaging, it's advertisement, and even the official name of it's notes ("Fluorescent Fresh Accords" means what exactly?) that it comes across like unapologetic pandering to the demographic it attempts to serve. The all-plastic bottle looked like the disturbing love child of a Windex bottle and a pill planner used to track one's medication, but was supposedly inspired by mobile tech such as cell phones. Naturally, the same tech-savvy generation that would potentially enjoy this scent is also individualist enough in it's self-expression that this sort of "direct" marketing would come across as vulgar, regardless of how it smelled, making this fall flat on it's face in discontinuation after just a few short years.

Hipster culture isn't the death of this scent however, as a few others like Kenneth Cole New York and even an eau de toilette creation by Axe would prove: it just wasn't time quite yet for the aquatic to let go, and the most popular male scents still remained aquatics until nearly the end of the decade. For instance, Ralph Lauren released it's Polo Blue flanker in the same year as this, with much the same shrill chemicals and sweat opening, but retained the overall "cool" accords one would expect from something in a blue bottle from this period, and it remains in production. It's not to say that Crave was a bad scent; when I wear it I get a huge blast of chemically-augmented grapefruit and melon right up front that fades in time to something more like white musk and light spice, with wisps of that grapefruit/melon Kool-Aid mix resurfacing from time to time. It's a hallmark of early 2000's male perfumery to keep top notes around for as long as possible, and this certainly achieves that end. It's a good scent for hot summer if you're tired of aquatics and mossless modern fougères, but only if you're a huge fan of a sweaty missing link between 90's ozonics and 2000's gourmand scents.

Funny that young men from the generation known for high-tech living and bucking tradition ended up siding with tradition against the hip, neon-bright and radioactive fruit salad offerings that were given to them in this period, instead just sticking with the stuff from the 90's their older brothers or upperclassmen wore, rather than reaching up to grab their plastic bottle-within-bottle photon torpedoes and "embracing the future" that this splendid failure of a scent offered them. I owned a bottle of this and even re-bought it once after, but I see it now for what it really was, and perhaps it's just nostalgia for this that kept it in a good light for so long; it was one of the first designers to replace my starters-Avon stash at the time, and I ironically have repurchased all of them but not this one, which I also never really reach for anymore. I've developed past the mindset needed to appreciate this, and the youth of today are back into dark and rich masculines with Oud replacing the moss in most instances, so they wouldn't like it either.
17th December, 2017 (last edited: 18th December, 2017)

Anucci Femme by Anucci

This eau de parfum is scrumptious! Sweet and ambery. Floriental in nature. Iris, balsam, and jasmine. Wintery, balsamic powdery goodness in a weird, golf ball bottle. It is very 80's or 90's like.
17th December, 2017

Royal Water by Creed

Frosted-glass citrus
With brill syn tweaks somehow says
God save the whole lot.
17th December, 2017

Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Screaming incense. Intense balsam. Loud amber. Lots of benzoin, cypress, wood, and cinnamon. So much so, this stuff could spontaneously combust. Dry, is an understatement. When the sandstorm passes, rose, beeswax, and vanilla bloom.

I never saw this advertised or marketed. If what was mentioned in other reviews is true, that is a shame - To discontinue such an artistically perfect incense fragrance, is a crime. I won't chase the dragon on this one, for a full bottle. I may settle on another small decant, or two.
17th December, 2017
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Stetson Black by Stetson

Stetson Black is a strange and far-reaching masculine that tries to ape the style of many popular late 80's and 90's scents. I can gather that the target demographic Coty was trying to reach with this stuff was assumed to not particularly care about distinction or originality, but rather just the Stetson name as a brand they trusted. I can further surmise that these same potential buyers had probably never smelled any of the things this scent was attempting to emulate, let alone recognize their piecemeal addition to the Voltron-in-a-bottle that is this cologne. The entire "black" fragrance trope to begin with was pretty undefined, as all of the most notable scents within it were "darker" flankers to bigger and older marquee scents, and "darker" is defined rather subjectively in the realm of fragrance anyway. I can't hate this stuff, because my mother loves it so and won't stand without me having a bottle in my collection, so I'm more acquainted with it than I perhaps should be otherwise.

The smell opens with some spice and what to my nose smells like a dry cherry accord. I know the official notes say otherwise, but the melange of herbs, pepper, spice, woods, musk, and the token vetiver note come across as cherry to me, just a sour candy kind of cherry and not the rounded cordial cherry or maraschino cherry that would have made this more of a gourmand scent. This dry and sour cherry is met with moss, sandalwood, a leather note, and patchouli all the way down in the base, so therein lies the "dark" smokey base anchor this needed to fit it's description of a "black" flanker. Stetson Black wears pretty fine for what it is, and overall smells like what one would get if Coty reformulated the much-better Preferred Stock (1990) to be a bit fruitier in tone and -even- sweeter than it already is, with a bunch more leather in the base to compensate. It sort of takes that same Preferred Stock route to the dry down too, going from soap and synthetics right up front, and ending in a haze of blended dry fixatives that make the Walmart equivalent to a sensual skin scent. Again, not terrible, just not particularly original either.

If you always wanted a less-scary or more masculine Joop Homme (1989), this is a good surrogate, but you'll sacrifice a whole lot of quality for that more buttoned-down approach to a fruity floral blast. Stetson Black also works as a scent that's just meant to be pleasant, safe, and a bit darker than the aquatic or ozonic meat grinder that most commercial houses were still making us traverse even into the 2000's. The scent just can't be disliked, but neither is it really noteworthy, or unique. It's a "black" flanker for a scent that really couldn't benefit from such a thing (Stetson original is furthest from anything that would impart edginess), and ultimately just becomes a cork board with a scattering of inspirations pinned to it. There's a bit of ozonic here, a bit of floral, maybe a touch of gourmand. Spicy cherry woods and musk in a black bottle. I can't really get past that initial impression. Do yourself a favor and only wear it if somebody you care about likes it on you, which is my case.
17th December, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Bronze Goddess Eau de Parfum by Estée Lauder

The opening has a discreetly summery undertone, with a soft bergamot joining a pleasant mandarin and a smooth jasmine to create a nice jasmine; the latter floral blends in nicely with the brighter notes. This is not a full-on refreshing opening though.

The drydown gradually introduces sweeter components, with frangipani is combined with coconut and a well-intergrated vanilla impression; here a subtle backgound aroma is noticeable that reminds me of some of the Piz Buin sunscreens; memories of the sunscreen in the air when walking along the seashore in summer come to mind. At times whiffs of a very lean and contemporary powderiness can also be noted.

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

A pleasant summery beach-evoking scent; in the tradition of Bond No.9’s Fire Island and the likes. A bit dull at times but overall very agreeable. 3/5.
17th December, 2017

Les Exceptions : Hot Cologne by Thierry Mugler

Hot Cologne is Mugler's new take on cologne with two novel aspects: a wonderful 'green' note of coffee assimilated within a cologne structure, and a peculiar temperament - something that imparts a 'hot' contrast to the traditionally refreshing notes of citrus at the beginning. This 'hot' aspect is akin to the heat after a steam bath; I find the citrus to be a blend of bergamot, lemon and orange - juicy but not overripe, and no sharp or screechy edges. The bergamot is somewhat dialed back in the blend, and doesn't have any bitter or metallic demeanour as it often does. The 'hot' aspect soon paves way to the coffee note that is 'fresh', 'green' and aromatic, and very similar to the one experienced in Dior's Vetiver. This accord of coffee and lingering citrus concludes the development of the composition.

Hot Cologne presents an innovative and interesting prospect in a niche overcrowded with redundant offerings. My personal reservations with Hot Cologne are threefold. I feel that the integration of coffee within the cologne structure would have benefitted from a bolder exploration. Though, would it still have been a 'cologne' then? Is it, now? Secondly, Hot Cologne is rather muted on my skin and has fleeting longevity, which is uncharacteristic of any edp, and also of the Mugler Les Exceptions line. That leads it to the third point - I'm skeptical of Hot Cologne being of good value given the alternatives. Here I should add a caveat: I have only tried Hot Cologne in cooler weather. Perhaps Hot Cologne truly comes to life in hot weather?

17th December, 2017

Herrera Aqua by Carolina Herrera

An interesting
Lemon aquariental
With a Chanel vibe.
17th December, 2017

Pacific Rock Moss by Goldfield & Banks

The first sniff of this and I was transported to the seaside; standing on the cliffs, looking out over the ocean, with all its different blues and greens, watching the waves rolling in, with a delicious breeze bringing the scent of the ocean to me. The lemon and sage give this a fresh, bracing feel. This is a perfect scent for a sticky, humid day like today - if I can't be at the beach on my clifftop, then this is the next best thing. Prompted an unsolicited “oh, you smell nice!” from my husband. Lovely.
17th December, 2017

Jungle pour Homme by Kenzo

This is a surprisingly nice fragrance from Kenzo. Although considering the price perhaps it should be.
It starts off as a tutti fruitti hit of lime. Rather feminine and off putting but this rapidly settles into a more smoky spicy yet paradoxically fresh aroma with the lime nestling coyly in its arms winking at you.
I am note sure what it is but there is something lacking. Either a lack of harmony or an innate cheapness of ingredients. It lacks class.
As it is inoffensive its a safe any time scent for the teens and twenties yet considering the price it is unlikely they are the target market.

Good try Kenzo.

Fragrance: 3/5
Projection: 4/5
Longevity: 4/5
16th December, 2017

Tom Ford Extreme by Tom Ford

Casting doubts upon
Thoughts that perfume's golden age
Ever really left,

For such dark beauty
Arrives not in dark ages
Though in dark scanner,

Rumors of rumors
Of the exaggeration
Of perfume's demise.
16th December, 2017

That Man by Revlon

It's quite sad that Revlon as a fragrance brand quite literally makes none of it's own masculines anymore, instead choosing to distribute designer brands under it's corporate umbrella, as it did have quite a number of good ones, starting with this debut in 1958. The story behind this fragrance is fairly unique, and while I won't repeat it here in the review, as it can be seen in the blurb for this page, I'll add that Charles Revson very closely oversaw this, as he would most Revlon masculines through until his death in 1975, even if he didn't directly supervise it's composition himself like he did with Braggi. This was the return-fire to Elizabeth Arden's "Arden Men" series of colognes, most of which focused on accentuating a single primary note (e.g. Sandalwood), while That Man was a full-blown abstract aromatic citrus "chypre" like the French design houses were making at the time, but made for the drugstore budget of the typical Revlon customer at the time. The modest budget of the scent didn't stop Revlon from parading around it's "sophistication" in the same way domestic sparkling wine tries to feign champagne class, which honestly adds to the fun of wearing this.

The original box flap read, and I quote: "A forthright, truly masculine fragrance." that was followed with a pamphlet that fully described the scent as "never sweet, never overstated" (see pics below for full blurb) before going into the notes, which is something meant to impress, I'm sure. Revlon went all-out on this as a full line when it first launched, making after shave, soap and even a scary "skin bronzer" for the stuff back in the day, so it was clear that they wanted this as the end-all be-all signature smell for the men who used it. Most amusingly of all, is the fact that this stuff is gussied up to be so upper-class in the packed-in advert, with a nonchalant man who's face is blacked out, looking detached from everything around him in the photos, with discerning taste, adventurous, yet civilized blah... give me a break! Long story short, this pretty well apes the vibe of Moustache Rochas (1949) with it's heavy lemon, civet, sandalwood, dry lavender, and according to Revlon's own advert, a "tabac" note. It's a right good chypre that comes across with a bit of that characteristic lemon/civet skank in the opening, but soon simmers down to something with a twang of the remaining citrus, the warmth of the woods, and maybe just a faint hint that tobacco in the dry down.

That Man certainly isn't as scary in the opening salvo as some other things in it's class, and it also is a bit deeper in the base than many citrus scents of this type, but one area it doesn't compare is in depth. That Man is ultimately a product of a major cosmetic corporation, so no matter how well it imitates classy French design, it's still far simpler in it's transition from top notes to bottom, with a lot less variation in the way it smells from the point it hits skin to the moment it fades away. Some may call this consistency, and ironically a scent that remains true to it's opening from start to finish seems to be preferred nowadays over stuff that transforms as it wears, but the fact is it's just a hallmark of it's original price point. The really woodsy, herbal, aromatic, and citrusy stuff really suits my tastes so I couldn't help but give this 5 stars, but I'm going to admit that's a subjective ruling since I'm a huge fan of this style. The only other American company really trying to do this type of thing was Avon, who would give a whack at it with Tribute for Men in 1963. That one is dare I say better constructed than this one and has a noticeable dry down. Simply put, this is a very solid and classy citrus chypre made to sell at the five and dime. It's less sophisticated than it pretends to be, and all the more charming for it.
16th December, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Pink Lemonade by Demeter Fragrance Library

The opening is a lovely impression of pink lemonade, just that the carbonated fizziness in unpleasantly synthetically chemical. Otherwise the additional touch of lime fits in well.

After about an hour it changes to a nonspecific sweetness with a caramel-like undertone; at times this is closer to a caramel infusion with a flat Chinotto being mixed into the lemonade than to the pure pink lemonade as such.

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

Altogether this scent for cooler summer days is not all that convincing, but the first impression is quite nice. 2.75/5.
16th December, 2017

Legend Intense by Montblanc

Slightly fruitier/sweeter (as dry down) than the original Legend due to a more stressed pineapple/apple opening. Cardamom, herbs, pineapple and citrus provide the Legend's soul. The central stage is musky-floral while dry down is mastered by synthetic tonka and woods. Vaguely richer and less restrained than the original. A fruity aromatic new generation fougere. Excellent bottle.
16th December, 2017

Shiseido Men by Shiseido

Cinnamon whispers,
Hinoki sings, nutmeg strums
Quiet kabuki.
16th December, 2017

Royal Copenhagen by Royal Copenhagen

Royal Copenhagen was, is, and always will be a very divisive scent, but most really bold, loud, and often unique masculines are; just ask anybody who wears Kouros, Joop, Le Male, or 1 Million how many folks have both loved and hated their signature fragrance. This was the second major masculine fragrance from Swank, following up on their hit Jade East, and like that Asian-inflected oriental fougère, this also comes in like a wrecking ball, but does it without the "Green Hell" this time around. The Royal Copenhagen name and it's 3 wave logo were licensed by Swank for the scent from the Royal Porcelain Factory in Copenhagen Denmark, which used the "Royal Copenhagen" name to sell it's plates globally. It wasn't an obvious choice for the creation of a fragrance line, especially not a masculine one, as buying fine china didn't necessarily scream masculinity in 1970, but since the Scandinavian-originating Kanøn cologne was selling so well, it might have seen like an appropriate move to compete against it. Royal Copenhagen eventually became sort of it's own brand after it's success, and obviously broke away from it's originating parent company Swank, being made under license by Five Star Fragrances.

The scent of original Royal Copenhagen cologne is unmistakably complex, rich, powdery, and floral for a masculine, which attributes to both it's divisive shock value and it's longevity in day wear. A melange of over 20 notes comprise the scent, but the laundry list of notes essentially outlines a composition that puts citrus, aldehydes, and spices at the top, florals not common to masculine fragrance since the 19th century in the middle (lots of rose and jasmine here), and pretty much every commonly found base note at the time to anchor it all down. Heliotrope, the aforementioned aldehydes, cedar, musk, moss, tonka, all these hard-hitting notes play at commandeering the scent but when blended down they form something that's shimmery and sweet, clean and sort of asexual. A lot of younger people who came into their own long after this scent was past it's prime often decry it as smelling of nursing homes or baby cribs due to it's heavy resemblance to institutional talcum powder (blame the heliotrope), which is both cruel and unfair to the scent itself as it's tantamount to saying anything with patchouli in it is for hippies. Granted, this is definitely for mature guys and for formal or work conditions only, but you don't have to be on kidney dialysis or still learning your first words to appreciate the smell.

Ultimately, Royal Copenhagen is for the guy who wants to be noticed when he enters the room, to create a little confusion, and probably asked what he's wearing, much like the aforementioned wearers of Joop or 1 Million. Due to the scent's age, less people now may remember it than others in it's similarly strong league, so the wearer of Royal Copenhagen may just get his wish. However, louder isn't always better, and if you're already not a fan of the oriental/fougère crossovers of the 60's and early 70's, this is simply more of what you already don't want turned up way intensity. I find the scent very agreeable in winter, where it's rich and powdery sweetness ring out against the cold air, making for a very pleasant and ever-present work companion during the holidays if one spends a lot of time outside. Granted, coming back indoors can prove alarming as the scent "wakes up" more in warm air, so taking it easy is still recommended. It has it's place even for the modern man in the wardrobe if worn in the right context, just that context is much narrower now than maybe it was at launch 40+ years ago. Perhaps it was made to survive the Danish winters on the waterfront, where frosty oceanic air would abolish pretty much all sense of smell to begin with, but whatever the method behind this one's madness, it's definitely a love-it-or-shove-it that might even be an acquired taste. Wear with caution, or with caution to the wind, your choice!
15th December, 2017

Cedrat Boise by Mancera

This is Mancera showing Creed how to do it as far as green woody fragrances are concerned Cedrat Boise is far superior to Aventus. Its more focused, cleaner, fresher, more of masculine edge to it, less 'damp and green'. The difference between walking in a fresh cool sunny meadow versus one that's just been rained in. Or a picture perfectly in focus showing that is what the scents meant to be versus someone who's gone to photoshop. And it's better value for money.
At the other extreme there is always Armaf Club de Nuit which is a budget incredibly accurate clone of Aventus. Mancera however is pure class.

Fragrance: 4/5
Projection: 4/5
Longevity: 4/5
15th December, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Log Cabin by Demeter Fragrance Library

The first impression is a smooth, sweetish wood scent, with pine predominating and a touch of oak aroma thrown in. No open fireplace in sight at this stage. This lasts for the first half hour or so.

Then, a bit of cedar appears, and, further into the drydown, the smokiness sets in. Initially very restrained and soft, but with time it increases in strength and assumes indeed characteristics of an open fire in a fireplace.

It is never really harsh, and the smokiness never completely overwhelms the wood notes; it is balanced quite nicely.

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

A pleasant autumnal scent, this is not very original and not very complex, but it is executed quite solidly. 3/5.
15th December, 2017

Peau d'Espagne by Santa Maria Novella

This leather is a little too much on the raunchy side for my tastes, although I appreciate its boldness.
15th December, 2017

Jazz Prestige by Yves Saint Laurent

Opens with a cacophony of notes and fruity sweetness that had me wince. Like many from the 80's era a bit overwhelming in the opening, kind of like players tuning their instruments with some discord.
Then the hook of Astringent(Bergamot)counters and mates with the Anise, Caraway, Ginger, now I'm finding the groove. A base of Oakmoss, Patch and Sandalwood provides a Lansdcape for a Geranium, Carnation and rose mix almost reminiscent to Equipage. I am a sucker for the Amber with a bit of Benzoin folded in. The Fir makes a showing and I finally recognize the Lavender and a sprinkle of Cinnamon.

All this goodness in a 1.7 oz unopened cellophane untouched an a YSL sticker.

29.99 CAD delivered yah!!
14th December, 2017 (last edited: 17th December, 2017)

Lipstick Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Magnifique! Although I seriously doubt I would shell out the clams for this one... It IS divine! Powdery dry, first whiff. Bright rose. Sweet floral. Muted, woodsy musk. Candied vanilla cookie smell, that later turns into caramel. The caramel aroma eventually, suddenly drops like a brick off a tall building, transforming into the most beautiful of lipstick scents. Expensive lipstick - nothing drug store about its aroma, this. Lipstick rose is a masterpiece, in my opinion.
14th December, 2017