Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 144387

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Begins with cardamom and spice, for me. The tea, incense, and leather become oddly woody with an animalic accord. All this quickly passes in which the iris dominates on my skin. It is all iris from there on out. The middle notes could have lasted a bit more. I was enjoying the "skank". I DO enjoy my powdery irises so definitely a thumbs up, for that.
17th June, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Parfait de Rôses by Lancôme

On me I can detect two phases:

Firstly, the rose. The rose is fresh, light and elegant. More on the elegant side. Neither dark nor creamy, this rose is on the nimble side. There is an agreeable sweetness mixed with just enough greenness to balance out the sweetness.

Secondly, the second phase, constituted of a sweetish and non-distinct impression that is hard to characterise. The rose, initially still present, is inexorably swallowed by this olfactory melasse.

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

This spring scent’s rede is nice, but nothing truly special. The second phase is rather unimpressive, and the initial rose is not special enough to push this composition into the positive realm. 2.75/5.

17th June, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Tubereuses Castane by Lancôme

When I applied this fragrance in my skin, it was mainly the tuberose that was of interest to me. Although a bit thin, it was nice, more in the restrained and gentle mode and devoid of any waxiness or wood undertones.

The chestnut is less convincing on me, and whilst a generalised nuttiness cannot be denied, it remains rather nonspecific on me.

There is also a tonka noticeable towards the second half of the course of its development, and whilst it is pleasant and agreeable, it remained a bit too faint to contribute more that some sweetness and additional depth to the whole mix.

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

Quite a nice tuberose but not very intensive, and the whole is a bit too anaemic to really convince. 2.75/5.
17th June, 2018
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Lavandes Trianon by Lancôme

There are two main elements to this composition:

Firstly, the lavender of course. And it is a nice lavender, typical and more in the traditional vein, soft and herbal.

Secondly, the vanilla. A pleasant vanilla, but devoid of any special features and a tad pedestrian on me.

Otherwise there is limited development in my skin.

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

Overall it is the lavender that makes this spring scent. It is make of ingredients of good quality, and justifies a - just - positive score, even is the rest is less convincing. 3/5.
17th June, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Jasmins Marzipane by Lancôme

The jasmine is clearly eveident, especially in the first part. His is quite a pleasant jasmine and on the sweet side, and overall more on the restrained side.

The other main component is a vanilla. It is sweet too, but again not very intensive and never intrusive or cloying. Whilst the vanilla is obvious, the marzipan promised in the name is rather faint and more of a transient nature.

Otherwise, in the later stages there are woodsy undertones, as well as white musky tones towards the end.

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

This spring scent is not bad in its concept, but the execution comes across less complex and is rather generic. Together with a certain lack in vividness, this amounts to a neutral score. 2.75/5.
17th June, 2018

Rose TRO Attar by Amouage

awesome...a rose lovers dream...rose in all it's splendor and glory...unbelievable powerhouse projection...not much to say...could ramble on for several paragraphs about all the nuances and delights of this fragrance, but suffice to say, this is all about rose...the only other flavor is a citrusy amber mist hanging in the distance to give this a little balance so as not to be just an overpowering rose scent...if you love rose, I would recommend making an effort to at least sample this baby at some point of your fragrance journeys...
17th June, 2018

Eternity Air for Men by Calvin Klein

Fresh, clean, citrusy-sweet and masculine, Eternity Air smells really nice. Nothing terribly original but is nice to smell. And that’s where I run into problems with this scent, it doesn’t project or last well enough for myself or others to smell. Almost instantly a skin scent and only lasts for maybe an hour on my skin.
16th June, 2018

Mon Guerlain by Guerlain

No doubt Guerlain has spent a good part of the past 15 years or so trying to keep its name at the forefront of the collective mind of the mass perfume-buying public. Which is fine. Even the French have to send their kids to college, and they can’t do it on the strengths of Mitsouko and Shalimar alone.

And it hasn’t been all bad. L’Instant and Insolence are very good, though I don’t own them. And Parfum Initial is in my opinion great. Also targeted for mass appeal, you bet, but it didn’t insult those masses. It gave them a beautifully updated and almost humorous riff on a classic that at the same time managed to throw off tons of modern sparkle and charm. That Guerlain pulled the plug on PI after only a few years (as they do with all Shalimar flankers, most of which range from very good to drop-dead great), sending yet more 'fume freaks scrambling over to the ‘Bay to hoard bottles, makes me wonder if Wasser and Co. don’t suffer from some kind of attention deficit disorder.

And maybe, at this point, an inability to innovate? Seriously, does the world really need Mon Guerlain, yet another well-made but inoffensive scent? Perfectly fine, sure, but also perfectly generic, perfectly redundant, and perfectly calibrated to be as easy-to-grasp as every paint-by-number juice that hits the counters these days. A hit of something citrus up front, followed by an iris that momentarily echoes that of Parfum Initial’s, some lavender to tone down the sweetness, some musk to keep it clean, and enough vanilla in the dry down to hit that perfect pastry note, since it seems that everyone these days wants to end up smelling like a donut.

I laughed when I saw that Angelina Jolie is the spokesperson. Really? I’d be embarrassed if I were her. Don’t mind me, though. Mon Guerlain is probably selling like gangbusters.
16th June, 2018

17/17 Richwood by Xerjoff

Heaven. Truly, it is. But Heaven's price tag is far too exclusive... especially when the price-of-admission sandalwood note is sweetened and powdered to the extent of losing its most valued (woody, milky) qualities. In purgatory, I'll stay.
16th June, 2018

L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme Intense by Issey Miyake

Peppery, fresh and clean but too much bitterness, not enough sweet-citrus for me to enjoy in the beginning. Maybe I'm just wishing it was more like the non-intense version, which I do like very much.

Feels like a dressed up version of the original, as if Intense was what you wear to formal events. More green and bitter, less citrusy sweet.

The drydown is very nice. Sweeter but still plenty of clean freshness. This does smell more like the original. Also, better longevity than the original. Does not project as well as the original, low projection throughout on my skin.
16th June, 2018

Yesterday by Room 1015

WOW! Stunning juice. Slightly sweet, green and floral to my nose. I get a little apple type vibe from it as well. I do smell vetiver, basil, cardamom and sandalwood. I would say this is a true unisex. I think this is a perfect juice for spring, summer and fall. Day or night. I wouldn't pay full retail for this but a nice decant will do you. Enjoy!

In the dry down
Now that I am over 5 hours in the dry down is very similar to Davidoff The Good Life. Lots of Vetiver. Awesome juice.
15th June, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Sky di Gioia by Giorgio Armani

Sweet fruitiness - peony - quite popular with this house at times - and a rather generic and nonspecific rose are the centrepieces of this blend.

he fruitiness - lychee and whiffs of a slightly peachy hint - add to the sweetness. Not much development over time.

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

A synthetic tone in this spring scent and the quite generic outlook taken here condemn it to being an average creation. 2.5.
15th June, 2018
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Air di Gioia by Giorgio Armani

An generalised fruitiness is at the core of this composition, with fresh touches of bergamot and neroli woven into the opening notes.

The drydown developers into the floral range, with peony indeed in the foreground, but in a rather generic fashion. A synthetic patchouli - mixing softly with the floral sweetness - leads into the base, where a nonspecifically woodsy undertone remains until the end.

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

A fruity/floral sprong composition that is rather generic and very much middle-of-the-road. 2.5/5.

15th June, 2018
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Cereus Pour Homme No. 14 by Cereus

Overall a safe office or casual juice. This shouldn't offend anyone nor will it garner many compliments. I don't mind the fragrance myself but it is lacking in imagination. It is a more mature scent IMO. Similar to other frags on the market such as Armani Code. Try before you buy.
15th June, 2018

Pineapple Vintage Beyond Noir by Parfums Vintage

An amazing quality product that mirrors the smokey versions of Aventus from Creed. Great longevity and sillage. There is a nice amount of pineapple with lots of birch. I think it's great and the fans of the smokey birch version will love this as well. For the price and quality I would say this is blind buy safe but if you are hesitant get a sample... Otherwise... Enjoy!
15th June, 2018

John Varvatos Oud by John Varvatos

You can smell the oud in JV Oud but it is definitely more approachable and safe than other oud scents considered to be the references for the genre. The ambery-sweetness (this is not a sweet scent) mixed with florals, spice, tobacco, and leather all share equal billing with the oud, so I could see how some would be disappointed that the oud isn't featured more prominently. That being said, a solid choice for someone who wants to just "dabble" in oud and also not choke out a room. Projection is average while longevity is just slightly below average, maybe 4-5 hours.
15th June, 2018

Emprise by Avon

Emprise was one of a series of "Ultra-Colognes" from Avon: fragrances that really sat somewhere between eau de toilette and eau de parfum in power, but since the word "perfume" conjured up images of daintiness, and eau de toilette was likely deemed too much a mouthful for the Avon rank and file, they used this term to describe it's strength instead. Right out the gate you can tell this was inspired by by green floral chypres like Fidji (1966), Calandre (1969), and Alliage (1972), siting somewhere between them and the leathery starker and even greener chypres of this nature such as Chanel No 19 (1971) or the later Silences (1978). There's a floral bounce similar to Charlie (1973), which is what many who owned both back in the day compared this to most, but Emprise is not on the same level of sweetness as Charlie, pulling more unisex like most of what's mentioned above thanks to it's bitter green top mixed with a dry woodsy moss base. I'd still say Emprise is more of a challenge than stuff like No 19 to guys looking for transgender fragrance ideas, since No 19 is much better-suited to guys thanks to it's dominant leather grass and rose accord, but men who can stand a larger-than-usual lily of the valley and jasmine dose should do just fine in time. Women, on the other hand, might find this a little more jarring than men because of the dryness and heavy moss plonk making it literally a world apart from modern airy florals, but I have a feeling the perfumistas reading this are already well-versed enough in this era to know what they're in for before the first spray.

Emprise opens with a metallic bergamot, lemon, and galbanum, as is almost expected from this genre. The opening is nicely faded into the middle, especially since deep vintage is the only vintage on this juice, so it quickly slips into the floral middle of jasmine, rose orris, muguet, and carnation, with the orris and carnation being the big connection to Charlie that made all the drugstore-shopping teen girls of the day connecting this to that competing Revlon scent, but I feel this is far more mature, and more 3-piece suit than blue jeans and blouse. Sandalwood, amber, and oakmoss finish this up, and once they land, the florals dance on top of them for the rest of the wear, with men less confident in their footing with feminine perfume probably relieved at this point to be back in usual chypre territory. The lovely jasmine/rose/muguet/carnation singing quartet never quite fades from view, making Emprise more "floral" than most of these other older green chypres, which is Avon's legacy at work, since they are known primarily for two things outside of their price point and wavering originality: their propensity for deep amber notes and their origins as a maker of quaint floral perfumes. Why wouldn't Avon bolster the flower count in their take of the dry green feminine chypre style that was marching through the 70's? It really feels like they were trying to compromise between the fans of their older "proper lady" perfumes, and the edgier, tomboyish young Women of the 70's with this stuff, but not all compromises are bad. The metallic edge never really goes away, which can be irritating, and longevity on this is a monster, so it's a sharp-smelling commitment from the first spray until you get to shower it off.

To wear Emprise is a tricky endeavor for anyone in the 21st century, as it skates on the thin ice of being a flower-heavy perfume but without the usual aldehydes, supplanting them instead with lots of green chypre notes, but otherwise sharing similar woods and moss bases. It's sometimes too feminine for a man, but too masculine for a modern woman, but not deliberately unisex enough to maintain that narrow balance betwixt. Instead, Emprise plays out like a battle of the sexes on skin, a tug of war back and forth between bright florals and dry base notes. Performance on Avon "Ultra-Colognes" is utterly amazing, and you're going to be very loud with just a few sprays, so please be careful. Despite the Avon moniker and likely cheap price tag (even decades later in vintage), this is a really quality perfume, with noticeable moss and sandalwood in the base, full of depth. The box claims "Into a world not easily impressed, comes Emprise", and I'll leave it up to you weather this old gal can actually still impress as it suggests it can, but I'm pretty well-stunned. Guys who love playing with old chypres can totally afford to jump on this, but this is not nearly as approachable to a man as something like the gateway drug of Chanel no 19, so advanced dabblers only. As far as ladies are concerned, if you love the dry 70's style and aren't afraid of a little grass stain on your jeans, give this a shot.
15th June, 2018

Sung Homme by Alfred Sung

Alfred Sung is a Chinese-born Canadian fashion designer known in the industry for founding the Club Monaco chain of stores, but in the mid-80's launched Parfums Alfred Sung, which begat the eponymous Alfred Sung in 1986, then this male counterpart in 1988. Sung Homme is an anachronism for the 80's in the same way Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003) was for the turn of the millenium. The late 80's was a time of extremely virile and animalic floral chypres doing battle with (and losing to) the new wave of synthetic "fresh" fougères and aquatics pushing their way up, but here was Sung Homme just riding in the out-dated groove of soapy early 70's aromatic fougères and doing surprisingly well. It would seem like the career death via estrangement from the progression of mainstream masculine trends a la Avon, but maybe because Alfred Sung had a lot more clout in the scene, the throwback nature of his masculine was allowable. Regardless, the futuristic violet color juice and monolithic Art Deco bottle catches the eye enough that I'm sure more than a few guys (or their significant others) bought this blind upon release. Sung Homme, as an aromatic fougère, feels right at home alongside 70's aromatic fougère and chypre greats like Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973), Avon Deep Woods (1974), Bogart Eau de Toilette Pour Homme (1975), Halston Z-14 (1976), Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme (1978), and others, but it's not without it's notoriety.

What is that notoriety you ask? Well, let's just say it bares a remarkable resemblance to Irish Spring Soap (1970), and wouldn't be alone in directly drawing parallels to commercial bath products, as Cabaret Pour Homme (2004) would also be a direct aping of Coast Soap (1976), but doesn't get the flack that Alfred Sung receives since it was designed by a famous nose and was discontinued, getting instant veneration from vintage fans. Speaking of noses, nobody knows who made Sung Homme, and while it chugs along into it's 30th year of continuous production, it gets a more-divisive reaction from perfumistos because it's commonly available, making it's perceived flaws less tolerable. Commercial soap comparisons aside, the scent does have way more notes than can be readily detected due to it's blending, but there is definitely a lemon/bergamot top with laurel and galbanum. I don't get much petitgrain but I don't doubt it's in there; the middle of sage, thyme, lavender, geranium, rosewood and fir is more readable to me, although the mossy base of cedar, sandalwood, musk, and vetiver is definitely the star attraction after the first hour. I'm not getting much patchouli separation in this mix, but overall this feels like Paco Rabanne Pour Homme but slightly less herbal, less floral, and levels of magnitude higher in the soapy department. Regardless of what kind of soap it is, you really have to like soap fragrances to like Sung Homme, as it's the soapiest masculine I've smelled; it's literally an 80's powerhouse of epic bar soap.

Performance on Sung Homme by Alfred Sung is extraordinary, with sillage for miles and longevity for a work day. Aromatic fougère fans will honestly forget this is an 80's juice outside of the packaging and it is probably the safest work scent from the period as you'll smell like nothing but clean all day. Wardrobes well-stocked with 70's classics don't really need this violet oddity, but the asking price is low enough that it also makes for a low-risk experiment if the curiosity of what 70's sauve and 80's power combined smells like, or if the legend of this being "Irish Spring the Fragrance" is true. I don't think this is an intentional or direct copy of Irish Spring's "Ulster Scent" (as it's called in-house at Colgate-Palmolive), but I can certainly see the resemblance in Sung Homme's DNA. There also isn't a ton of distinction between new and vintage (thankfully) as the increased soap factor from reduced moss found in most still-produced aromatics isn't detectable in a scent like this, as it's already known for being soapy. Older iterations have an integrated sprayer cap while newer just use separate cap and spray head, if that matters. Thumbs up for performance and quirkiness, but fair warning that Sung Homme is far from a revelation in a bottle, outside of the color. Best used in the office, lazy weekends, or days when clean is the only vibe you want to give off.
14th June, 2018

Speed Smelling 2017 Postmodern Collection : Epicene Gamma / Nicolas Beaulieu by IFF

Stardate 20180614:

Starts off like Italian Eau de Colgne. Good quality and has something more that makes it really good. Geranium maybe or that Gamma thingy.
I get a lot of citrus here. Citrus that lasts for hours.
This one would make a great addition to Acqua de Parma Colonia line.

Good stuff
14th June, 2018

Polo Ultra Blue by Ralph Lauren

More fresh and zesty in the opening than EDT or EDP. Something salty or spicy.

Does not project like the EDT and does not have the depth of the EDP. Feels very summery and young throughout.

In the end, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Nautica had put this out smells like yet another Voyage flanker.

Longevity is below average, lasts maybe 4-5 hours and then fades away quickly.
14th June, 2018

Dark Rebel Rider by John Varvatos

Enjoyable when first sprayed on, drydown is headache inducing. Returned to store.

14th June, 2018

First Instinct by Abercrombie & Fitch

First Instinct is a summer appropriate, fresh fragrance that opens with a contrasting synthetic accord of tart citrus against a sweet powder musk accord. The sweetness reveals a slight watermelon aroma and the tart citrus connects to a bitter "violet" accord which gets buried in a base of soft musk and ambroxan. There are no natural aromas here in First Instinct - nothing in this scent has the ease and life giving aroma of an extract from any natural source, but the synthetic elements are nicely blended into an innocent and happy young scented fragrance. First Instinct smells really good from several feet away and is a more or less perfect summertime fragrance. Up close the synthetic nature has a sharpness that is not very pleasant. The projection and strength of the fragrance dies down quickly and loses all of the brashness of its opening flurry. The scent is a nice, easy to enjoy, fun fragrance that smells like a heavily sugared tart citrus and melon carbonated beverage that was converted to perfume. Not bad. I would rate it 6 of 10 stars.
13th June, 2018 (last edited: 14th June, 2018)

Vera Wang for Men by Vera Wang

Vera Wang for Men was a surprising turn for the house at it's time of launch, since the designer almost exclusively caters to the fairer sex, but the point behind it was as a "wedding scent" for a man, while his wife-to-be wore the original Vera Wang (2002) and accompanying bridal finery. I'm not sure how well that worked, but there was plenty of bride and groom advertising for the stuff. Jean-Claude Delville and Harry Freemont from IFF made the original, and although no nose signed off for Vera Wang for Men, it also comes from IFF and I'd be unsurprised if they reprised their roles, since it feels like one of theirs (particularly Freemont). This is by all accounts a relatively modern take on an oriental/chypre hybrid, not being able to benefit from unrestricted oakmoss or animalics, and making up the difference with "freshness" notes lifted from ozonics of the day but dialed way-the-f**k-down so they fit in the genre context. There's definitely some sharper "treemoss" here, but overall is a very constrained modern effort riding along traditional lines. I like the stuff as the rare oriental-themed scent that I can pull off on a hot day, and because it's Vera Wang and not Dior, I can apply with abandon because replacement bottles are the price of a meal at Red Lobster.

Vera Wang for Men opens with a soft yuzu and "manadarin orange leaf" which I believe is just mandarin + galbanum, but it's a nice mix of sharp green and rounded citrus that comes across like somebody listened to perfumistos and kept the 90's/00's trendy yuzu accord from being nuclear by adding in some old-timey body. I also get a bit of a fig/peach ghost note, which is interesting. From here, our dapper groom-to-be in a bottle goes for nutty oriental spice, still restrained, still measured, and likely boring to the fan of more daring (and expensive) niche fare. Nutmeg, anise, cardamom, and a barely-there leather note keep it masculine but genteel, while a typical chypre base of sandalwood, treemoss (in proxy of oakmoss no doubt), a slight musk, and a lovely tobacco note. I'm getting mostly the sandalwood and tobacco by the end, and the overall composition reminds me of a lighter, sweeter, tobacco-infused modern take on Arden for Men Sandalwood (1957), which by 2004 would not be in line with the "fresh" trends still going strong since the early 90's. This also cross-pollenates to a degree with scents like Michael for Men by Michael Kors (2000) and Dolce & Gabbana The One (2008) because of it's tobacco presence, but it's really in a league of it's own.

Vera Wang to date hasn't made another masculine, and why should they? The house has dialed this in so perfectly as a modern gentleman's oriental citrus chypre (that passes IFRA by the skin of it's teeth), they honestly don't need another one. Once again, this is not exotic or daring, not loud or esoteric, and marries new and old school ideas, so purists will dismiss it, but as a potential signature for the even-keeled guy who wants a modern mature vibe, it's nearly perfect. My only complaint with this is it's performance, as many oriental and semi-oriental compositions from the period were "quieted down" so they could run in the same races as all the fresh fougères and aquatics of the day, but without the chemical oomph of the latter, can become invisible without over-spraying or applications to clothing. Vera Wang for Men might not be for the man that demands distinction, prestige, or individuality from his fragrance, but it's certainly for the man that loves being understated but memorable, just like the lovely bottle in which it comes. A nearly-classic and soft-spoken designer gem that may not get you hitched, but will see you through most of your day's commitments nonetheless. Bravo Vera Wang.
13th June, 2018

CH Men Privé by Carolina Herrera

This scent projects nicely with a smooth, soft lavender based traditional aroma. There is a pure sweetness and spice that reminds me of cinnamon sugar cookies at the opening. This sweet spiced accord has some slight whiskey leather complexity on its way to an herbal lavender and thyme toned tonka soft powder base. CH Men Prive is a well put together fragrance that will pair nicely with a suit and tie. Rated 7.5 of 10 stars.
13th June, 2018

Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers by 4160 Tuesdays

Stardate 20180612:

I do not like Cocoa. This one has cocoa. Tons of it. I think pyramid is wrong. There is no coffee.
When cocoa dies down you get ash tray.
And there is no marmalade here. The burnt stale toast has some Vegemite on it.
I do not like vegemite. And I do not like cocoa.

13th June, 2018
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Terre de Lumière by L'Occitane

Nothing ground-breaking here, that's for sure.
I have to douse myself in this to get any projection and the lasting power is very average. On my skin, the almond note is the most prominent and although very "nice" this is not a scent I would buy for myself (got it as a gift in the circular box.)
13th June, 2018

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

I find Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme to be a missed opportunity more than anything else. Here is a fragrance by Gucci, after all those tiresome non-perfume entities, that merits at least a second sniff. It is a leather-vetiver scent, and quite far removed from everything else among mainstream perfumes. It starts off on skin with a lush note of medicinal leather. The leather is characterised by a particular medicinal character that hints at antiseptics and hospitals, and yet is oddly compelling, even brilliant. It is by no means an outlandish accord, but it is odd among mainstream perfumes, and hence the reaction. However, this leather accord doesn't persist and transforms into a vetiver dominated accord within an hour, which is largely nice but rather underwhelming after the initial phase. I do not detect any patchouli or cypress at any stage of development. I also find it to be extremely subdued on skin, and it practically disappears in about four hours. I do note that the dry down is soft and sensuous, and this can be an interesting office scent for people who wear stuff like Cuiron.

Gucci Guilty Absolute is definitely a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with clichéd fresh woody-ambers. It is innovative. However, it fails short of the mark personally, largely due to its potency/concentration issues. As an innovative leather scent it brings to mind Fahrenheit, but is rather tame in comparison. Leather vetivers are not that novel, with Bel Ami Vetiver being perhaps the most immediate example. In the context of medicinal leathers that push the envelope, it is comparable to Arte Profumi's Fumoir, which is pricier but more compelling. In fact, I recommend Fumoir to those who would find similar shortcomings in the Gucci. Gucci Guilty Absolute does not change the world of mainstream corporate perfumes, but it makes one more hopeful about positive change.

13th June, 2018

Elvis by Elvis Presley by Frances Denney

Elvis by Elvis Presley is an almost forgotten-about member of the first-wave celebrity scents that hit the market in the 1980's. Everyone from automakers to teen idols were getting the sense to market scents during the fragrance boom of the 1980's. Sadly, most of these were playing-it-safe affairs sold by downmarket labels like Avon or Revlon at best, or terribly-executed cash-ins from upstarts that just wanted to sell snake oil with somebody's name on it. Frances Denney was a relatively obscure cosmetics house founded by an Irish immigrant who moved to Philadelphia in the late 1800's, establishing what is touted to be the first American-based cosmetics house (something which is hotly contested by Avon under it's original name of California Perfume Company), but only had a series of minor hits throughout the years including stuff like Wild Rose (1940), Interlude for Women (1965) or Adolfo for Men (1981). Denney was on it's last legs as an independent perfumer and probably saw the contract to deliver Elvis by Elvis Presley (1989) as a good way to bail themselves out of trouble, which didn't happen and eventually history shows the house assets being sold off to The Stephan Company, who did who-knows-what with the properties. During it's launch, the scent was often promoted with Elvis impersonators at cosmetic counters of big department chains like JC Penny and included with greatest hits collections on cassette or CD, belt buckles, and other memorabilia. Nobody really knows how long it was made and when it finally was pulled from the market, but enough of it exists at reasonable prices despite nearly 30 years of age to indicate that it wasn't a hot seller, like most early celeb-perfumes. The only other male celeb perfume that I can recall sinking as fast as this probably did was the Billy De Williams Undeniable by Avon (1989), which also had zero input from the celebrity in question, even if he was very much living at the time.

Elvis by Elvis Presley opens with a rather shocking animalic bouquet, lying somewhere between the smooth Belle Epoch approach of Maxim's Pour Homme (1987) and the virile shriek of Balenciaga Pour Homme (1990), before settling into a mulled apple cider spice and tobacco. There's no note pyramid to assist in the journey from opening to skin scent, so I'll have to do the rare impressionistic breakdown and just describe what I get since I can't look for individual notes. The top is definitely bergamot and some kind of herbs, likely thyme and/or sage. There's a strong cinnamon note that presages the later Bogart Witness (1992) or Spark for Men (2003), but it's overtaken by apple, nutmeg, and ginger. The animalic that starts off loud in the open eventually simmers down and feels like a castoreum and civet double-wallop that eventually loses the fight against amber, tobacco, honeyed leather, and possibly a black tea note that crosses so many scents from before and after this was released it's ridiculous. The strong tea note feels like it could be something from Burberry, but the honeyed leather feels more like the first masculine from Ted Lapidus (1978) while the tobacco and amber pull towards Hugo Boss Number One (1985). All in all, it's just a jumble of power notes that each on their own could totally shape the personality of whatever masculine they're in, but together just exchange punches in a battle royale for control over your nose. Ironically, the concentration isn't the greatest on this scent, as it's an actual spray cologne and not an eau de toilette, so all this cacophonous masculinity is thankfully turned down and just remains a dull roar on skin after only a few hours. Over-application or shirt-sprays would fix this, but then you'd absolutely smell as loud as Elvis' costumes were gaudy towards the end of his career.

It's funny this died out because it is an Elvis product after all, and the fanaticism of his fanbase is eternal much like The Beatles so I'd have expected better turnover. By comparison, scents from musicians like Jay Z or actors like Antonio Bandaras seem to fly off shelves in the modern age. Maybe it took that long for Americans to lose distinction between a person's fame and why they're famous (hello Kardashian family), so anyone's name can be on the bottle as long as they have some sort of clout, even if they had nothing to do with the perfume inside, or in Elvis' case, weren't even alive to witness it's release? I don't know if the King of Rock and Roll would have worn this stuff, but it was sold as the "King of Colognes" too, which probably didn't do itself any favors outside the Elvis legion, since anything self-asserting is usually laughed at in this industry. Overall, Elvis by Elvis Presley is an odd but also oddly delicious little scent that tries to be everything a man could want in a bottle: strong, yet sweet; masculine, yet comforting; bold, yet approachable. It's just a pot lock of aesthetics in a bottle that makes it a bit of an animalic-fueled chimera. Elvis the cologne is certainly very 80's, unlike Elvis the singer, and it's right at home in collections of guys who like powerhouses, but just smells like so much other stuff off and on that it might only suit as a dumb grab for the guy that can't pick what type of 80's scent he wants so he picks the one that kinda covers all the bases. If Elvis had lived to see this come to fruition, I doubt he would have worn it, because his wardrobe was well-documented, and contained far more powdery fare like Brut (1963), Hai Karate (1967), and the occasional bottle of Zizanie (1932). Still, it's a cool little ambery animalic that I would have enjoyed regardless of who's name was on the bottle.
12th June, 2018 (last edited: 13th June, 2018)

Polo Blue Eau de Parfum by Ralph Lauren

Not as loud or screechy as the EDT which can become cloying quickly. Smells like it has more base depth, more rounded/refined than the top-heavy EDT. Still very "blue", fresh and clean like the original. Does have an AdG or AdG Profumo feel to it, minus the incense.

Interestingly, the EDT performs better, both in projection and longevity. However, the EDP smells better to me. Projects decently for about 4 hours. Skin scent that follows lasts another 3-4 hours.
12th June, 2018

RÒS by Caswell-Massey

Spicebomb Rose Extreme,
Your anise is the secret
That I cannot keep!
12th June, 2018