Fragrance Reviews from January 2010

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    MFJ's avatar



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    Alain Delon / AD by Alain Delon

    It opens with very nice spices and citrus in a typical 80s style, and within minutes on my skin, starts to reveal the slightly-candied sweetness of aldehydes. The aromatic woods in the base instantly reminds me of Rochas Lui, while retaining a good dose of the citrus in the background, and the benzoin gives it a nice incense-y and slightly powdery texture. There is very mild tint of green bitterness from the moss near the end. How this is discontinued is beyond me. IMO, this could do very well in this day and age.

    10th January, 2010

    MFJ's avatar



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    Missoni Uomo by Missoni

    Thanks to Dimitrios from Down Under, I got to sample this. To my nose, the opening starts with a herb-infused lemony aroma. As with my previous sampling of this, an extremely sweet accord of Jasmine resting on uber powdery frankincense(?) and amber starts to surface and dominate the entire scent. There is a flour-like texture beneath all that sweetness. There is also a civet-y element here that is similar to that in Givenchy Gentleman (newer formulation). This is a powerhouse sweet amber scent and is best smelled from a distance lest it gets too cloying or stuffy. This is really potent stuff that I may have some trouble wearing regularly, but I have to give credit to quality, where it is due.

    10th January, 2010

    JonB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Eau des Baux by L'Occitane

    Eau des Baux does smell nice enough, but I also feel that it's a bit too simple and is not complete. It does give me an impression of being a bit light weight just as Diamondflame mentioned. Like the other L'occitane fragrances I've tried, it looses most of it's oomph quite quickly. I can barely smell this after an hour or two. Bottle worthy? I guess so since it's pretty inexpensive but I have many other fragrances that I would choose to wear more often.

    10th January, 2010

    JonB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Notre Flore Cedre / Cedar by L'Occitane

    Soft, sweet, simple. A bit boring if you ask me. Cedar is not in the forefront here in reality. Though designated as unisex, this is more appropriate for women in my opinion. Cedre needs a bit more of an edge to appeal more to men. My overall reaction is "blah".

    10th January, 2010

    sammyo's avatar



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    Bigarade Concentrée by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Almost indistinguishable from Cartier Declaration.

    10th January, 2010

    wilrock's avatar

    United States United States

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    Windsor by Creed

    I managed to buy this amazing scent in the 1.7 oz atomizer, but does anyone know where I might purchase the 8.4 oz flacon? Or have they been snapped up?

    10th January, 2010

    Late-Hit's avatar

    United States United States

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    Usher for Men by Usher

    Nothin' to hate, nothin' to love. It's a very ordinary scent, like a bazillion other recent men's fragrances. And it doesn't last too long, but sometimes that's OK, too. It's a product of its time, and will be remembered as such. Just the same, I do like the bottle and silver celtic looking bottle cap, and I think it is worth the tiny price I paid for it at the discount store.

    10th January, 2010

    Snowbunny82's avatar



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    Yatagan by Caron

    For a fragrance that receives so much visceral reaction, I find Yatagan to be a fairly tame scent (basing this review on the current formulation, only). It's a dry fragrance which encorporates a mixture of woods, spices and earthy tones to create a very natural, dusty smelling fragrances with a subtle 'fungus' note. I do not adore this fragrance, nor do I despise it. My bottle never got much use as I would often turn to other musculine options like Polo, Fahrenheit or Gucci PH for a cold weather outdoorsmen scent (though smell wise, they don't share much similarity to this Caron offering. ) In my opinion, aside from getting lost in the curved sword imagery and historical context, this fragrance barely gets my blood pumping. Yatagan is certainly a classic and offers a great manly alternative to trendy designer scents on the market but manages to situate itself smack dab in the middle of neutral valley. On a sidenote, my cat can't stay away from my pulse points after I've applied this stuff. The scent lasts a long time but remains fairly close to the skin. Yatagan, no Paul Bunyan

    10th January, 2010

    Snowbunny82's avatar



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    Iss by Laura Tonatto

    Iss was a pleasant surprise. It opens with a strong lemon note that comes off as more vibrant and heady than many other classic citrus offerings. On my skin, this is a truly powerful scent. The grassy vetiver note sneaks in later into the development. This scent oozes class and stands out in a sea of other similar scents. The quality is excellent, lasting power and projection are unbelievable. Just when this fragrance starts to smell familiar, it takes surprising turns. Iss provides a very uplifting and sensual trail. I highly reccomend this fragrance. A true sleeper and a keeper!

    10th January, 2010 (Last Edited: 17 January, 2010)

    Snowbunny82's avatar



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    Tom of Finland by Etat Libre d'Orange

    If this is what thick moustached, brawny, leather clad gay icon smells like, then move over queens and let me at them! Tom of Finland, by the eyebrow raising fragrance house, Etat Libre D'Orange, manages to resolve all the frustrations that Divine's L'Homme Sage managed to evoke in me. TOF glides sleekly into a modern balance of citrus tang, powder, spice, soft leathers and soap. Where as Divine's 'saffronic' offering sucked the air out of my lungs, TOF effortlessly brings me pleasure and a smile. This scent is well mannered enough to hint at 'signature scent' status but remains flirty and stylish enough to receive attention. Etat Libre's Tom of Finland was love at first sniff and one carefully aimed spray just above my chest region beneath my blouse provides me with enough projection to satisfy. Classy stuff! Tom can toss me over the back of his motorcycle, anytime...

    10th January, 2010

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Marc Jacobs Essence by Marc Jacobs

    A femininely wearable bouquet of gardenia flecked with subtle hints of rose and indoles. Its simple yet pleasant presentation may however be misconstrued as 'boring' or 'bland'. It could certainly do with the demure sophistication of Bulgari pour Femme.

    10th January, 2010

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Magnetism for Men by Escada

    Cedarwood soaked with fizzy grape soda. I finally understood why MAGNETISM FOR MEN is one of the popularly recommended fragrances for a night out at the club - to get past its drugstore-synthetic overdosage, you practically need to get yourself inebriated, your senses overwhelmed by pounding music, distracted by the sight of heaving bosoms and gyrating hips on the dance-floor. It just feels so...juvenile.

    10th January, 2010

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Encens Tranquille by Sonoma Scent Studio

    A dry incense as parched as L'Artisan Parfumeur's Dzongkha would have been unwearable. Laurie Erickson clearly understood this in her use of labdanum absolute and oakmoss to bring a balsamic, somewhat damp and mossy roundness to the dry resins and incense accords. I find ENCENS TRANQUILLE very similar to the studio's own sweeter Ambre Noir and just as competent as Serge Lutens' favorite Serge Noire.

    Notes: frankincense, myrrh, labdanum absolute, oakmoss absolute, aged Indian patchouli, Texas cedarwood, Indian sandalwood, ambergris.

    10th January, 2010

    cheekyhamsta's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Joop! Go by Joop!

    I don't get the lukewarm response or outright contempt aimed by many at this fragrance on this site. I find it a very pleasant, sweet and fruity scent with a happy demeanor that is easy to wear on any occasion. Perhaps its easy going nature is why it is called "Go" - you just spray it on and off you go without any further ado. Surprisingly it is not quite as strong as the other male Joops, but some may argue that is no bad thing, and anyway it's as strong as most other EDTs and retains that distinctive Joop woodiness. Lovely bottle and fantastic green juice colour. This one is undoubtedly my favourite of all the male Joops and I always look forward to wear it.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain

    I've wanted this for awhile because of all the positive comments about the pine scents it's known for, so I finally bit the bullet and picked up a sample.

    ???

    This is supposed to be Christmas in a bottle? I smell either civet or dirty musk instead. Very heavy scent to my nose, and the animalistic note completely destroys everything else for me. And I can't believe it's considered a feminine or unisex scent, because it comes across so strong to me as a male scent. I'll pass on this one; it's awful.

    Tried wearing it a second time and had complete revulsion with it. Had to scrub it off.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Bois de Cédrat by Creed

    Bois de Cédrat has an absolutely wonderful lemon citrus opening - but longevity is pretty much zilch. On my skin the citrus is wonderful for the 10 to 15 minutes or so that it lasts. Really reminds me of G.F. Trumper / Extract of West Indian Limes and how that one has a stunning lime note that's gone inside of 5 minutes. Bois de Cédrat lasts somewhat longer than GFT Limes, but not long enough for the top shelf price.

    Love the scent, but not the longevity.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Bowling Green by Geoffrey Beene

    I wanted to really like Bowling Green and eagerly looked forward to trying it, but now that I have it on I recognize it as a scent that I couldn't be around from the 1980's.

    It smells good, but gives me hot flashes and a dull headache. My wife initially gave it tepid approval, then said it had a soapy dry down that she didn't care for.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Citrus Bigarrade by Creed

    We've grown miniature citrus trees over the years for our own pleasure: miniature lime, miniature grapefruit and miniature lemon. When it gets cold, they are small enough to move into the house. So in the winter we usually smell wonderful citrus accords from the fruit that is slowly ripening, or the blossoms when they come on, or from the leaves and wood of the trees.

    Citrus Bigarrade is a perfect distillation of the scent from lemon leaves, bark and wood. It has a wonderful citrus tang that's mixed with the earthier, woodier scent of the actual tree - rather than just the fruit itself. Truly a beautiful, delightful and special scent.

    My wife was so impressed with Citrus Bigarrade, she asked me to apply a lot more so she could smell the top notes at full strength (!!!) . In all honesty, had it been Bois du Portugal she would have been submitted to a hospital, because I applied enough Citrus Bigarrade to drop a horse. However, even at that strength it never smelled over-powering; all it did was amp up the woodier heart and the lower basenote of ambergris. Like all citrus scents the brilliant top notes died away quite quickly, but a soft citrus note lingered.

    The ambergris mellowed out at the 7 hour mark for me, mixed with the woody heart notes and dried down into a soft green scent.

    I give it a 9 out of 10 (had the citrus lasted all day, I would have gladly given a 10). Citrus Bigarrade is the nicest, most complex citrus cologne I've ever applied. It has the initial citrus blast that I crave, followed by a beautiful dry down into an intoxicating soft green scent.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Epicéa by Creed

    Recently - while being slammed by a winter snow storm - was the perfect opportunity to try Epicéa, which was described to me as Creed's effort to create a winter season pine-based scent. I think they have a winner here, folks!

    As I've posted before, I REALLY like pine-based colognes and have been testing a bunch of them in recent weeks. However, I was unprepared for the natural pine scent and complexity of the supporting notes in Epicéa. This one is nice enough to wear all year round and has a better rounded flavor of a fir forest to it than the other pine colognes I've been enjoying.

    It starts off strong with citrus and lavender, which dries down in about a minute on me. Then a cardamom (sweaty? animalistic?) note rises for about another 3 minutes or so before it begins to rapidly mellow into the most wonderful pine forest scent I've encountered to date. It really reminds me of wilderness camping among the firs and breathing their scent deeply so I can take it home with me. Wonderful, wonderful juice.

    Alas - it also has a downside. Like many other Creed scents, longevity is short and sillage may be too little for some folks. However, this one is perfect for my work environment where people are sensitive to fragrances.

    My wife gave this one a 9 - an amazing rating considering she isn't the pine aficionado that I am. And what's more, she grabbed my wrist to smell it more carefully - something she hasn't done with the other frags I've been running by her. I give it a 9 as well and will be buying some of this.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Néroli Sauvage by Creed

    Mmmmmm.

    Very nice citrus top notes, with more of an emphasis on Italian pamplemousse (grapefruit) than the bergamot to my nose. All of that wonderful hesperidic goodness drys down very quickly - 5 to 7 minutes - to a far more muted néroli (bitter orange tree flower) and to a lesser extent verbena for the middle notes. This all smoothly moves into the base notes of sandalwood and ambergris, which later mellows into more of a light muskiness and oakmoss to me.

    My wife really likes citrus top notes, but can't handle them when first applied - to her it's too much LIKE SHOUTING. So I waited until we were about an hour into the dry down and asked her to rate it on my arm. She liked it enough to grab my arm twice for really deep breaths of the scent and said it was "Very nice!"

    I find this intriguing because she normally doesn't like sandalwood scents of any kind. However, in Néroli Sauvage the sandalwood is so smoothly blended with the other notes that it seems to accentuate them more so than itself, giving the base notes more of a light musky/oakmoss scent later in the dry down.

    Néroli Sauvage is marketed by Creed as a unisex scent, but smells far more masculine than feminine to me.

    With all my testing of fragrances lately, I'm finding that we both prefer the lighter Creed ambergris base note to the more animalistic, dirty, earthy, fecal notes of musk, castoreum, civet, hyraceum or amber of other houses.

    Pros: Creed really knows how to lay on the citrus top notes.
    Cons: Typical fleeting fragrance from Creed; I need to apply a LOT of scent for it to last throughout the day.

    Ratings: She gives it - 10/10. I give it - 9/10.
    Longevity: 5 to 7 hours for me.
    Sillage: Pretty strong for about 7 to 10 minutes, then it begins to move close to the body by the end of an hour. Anything beyond that time is muted to others.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Polo by Ralph Lauren

    I've always avoided this one, largely due to association with bad memories and experiences. But being a pine lover and all the positive reviews about it, yada yada, I decided to try it with an open mind.

    Yes, there's pine - but there's also cumin which, combined with the musk, carries a fecal note I really dislike. The pine is nice, once the cumin dies down, but I can still detect the fecal note throughout and it gives me a low-grade headache as well as a wrinkled nose. Thumbs down on this one - the better bet is Polo Modern Reserve.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Racine by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    I recently tried MPG's Racine (I'm assuming it's named after the French playwright of the 17th century, Jean Racine - but racine is also the French word for "root", so who knows?) and would like to report that it's a luxurious and well crafted vetiver scent with citrus and woods.

    This scent is part of the Les Caprices du Dandy (The Gentlemen Indulgence) line from MPG, though I've seen it advertised as a woman's scent on some websites. I've also seen the scent notes completely mislabeled as well; make no mistake, this is a refined men's vetiver scent.

    Racine starts out with a bright quick-moving citrus accord and transitions to a lighter version of vetiver - the brighter grassier notes rather than the darker rootier notes. Then it segues - with the vetiver still holding the focus - to mellow wood notes of oak moss and light musk. In that sense, Racine is linear in presentation - the vetiver is throughout the scent, from beginning to end.

    Man, I love the green scent of a good vetiver! I can readily pick out it's unique note from a fragrance, and this one smelled very classy right out of the bottle. Racine is more of a cool scent, though not as cool as Creed's Original Vetiver. The vetiver is not as dominant in Racine as it is in Original Vetiver, but works well with base notes. No dirty, earthy or fecal notes at all here - very clean and refined. Perfect for office wear or an evening out with the wife to a nice restaurant and show.

    This is my first scent from MPG, and I must say that I was impressed. A must try for any vetiver lover.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Royal Scottish Lavender by Creed

    Royal Scottish Lavender opens with a bright bergamot and citrus top note, transitions into a moderate lavender and clove combination, which then segues into a soft, slightly sweet, lightly spicy woods and vanilla accord that has a clear lavender note in a subdued supporting role - at least on my skin. I also have some on a test strip as I'm writing this and the paper is retaining the lavender heart note *much* better than the sample on the back of my hand, so it's likely to vary widely with different skin types.

    If one *doesn't* lust for a heady smack-you-in-the-face lavender scent, or feels that lavender is a bit too "pretty" to be the primary note in a male scent - then Royal Scottish Lavender may very well fit the bill. It is truly a wonderfully refined "barbershop" style scent that invites feminine company to come closer and get acquainted. The typical Creed house-note of cool ambergris is evident in the dry down - rising at one point to brief prominence - but is far more restrained than with many of their other offerings. It does not contain any of the rougher animalistic notes of other niche houses. There is clove in the middle note dry down, but it's not pungent and helps to carry the impression of lavender much longer than it ordinarily would. At the far end of the dry down the vanilla becomes more prominent with a lavender and woods tapestry that take turns weaving in and out of focus.

    Much more complex and interesting than most of the modern Creed's, and it contains one of the best lavender notes I've ever experienced.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Woods of Windsor for Men / Gentleman by Woods of Windsor

    Woods of Windsor is interesting in that it doesn't open with a sharp citrus blast like so many other fragrances. The citrus instead comes out fairly muted and quickly moves to the middle and base notes which develop into a nice dry woody/leathery scent. Not green, pine or citrusy enough for me, and too close to sandalwood for my wife. I'll pass on this one, but I think it would appeal to a lot of guys.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Cuba by Czech & Speake

    I've been very keen to try both Havana and Cuba since reading about them here. Fortunately I had samples of both arrive recently and have been trying them out.

    I tried Cuba and found it to be the most repugnant scent I've ever encountered. I liked the first 30 seconds or so, then got a long lasting blast of swine fecal note that just wouldn't die down for over an hour and a half. It's now over 3-1/2 hours since I put it on and that nasty smell has finally given way to a really nice tobacco-leather scent. But I won't be wearing Cuba again due to the awful fecal middle note that occurred for me.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Fou d'Absinthe by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Fou d'Absinthe is truly fir balsam in a bottle. If you like pine scents like I do, this one is a must try. Dullah had mentioned this great scent in another thread, so I picked up a tester bottle. WOW - awesome pine and fir balsam juice!

    I get the absinthe very briefly at the beginning, some of the spices for about 30 minutes in the middle and very heavy on the pine/fir balsam in the base notes. It's like wearing a great smelling Christmas tree around. NOT Christmas in a bottle - which would include all sorts of other notes - but more along the lines of the best Christmas balsam tree you've ever smelled. Really good sauce with great longevity!

    Compared to Pino Silvestre, Fou d'Absinthe is more complex and has a more robust pine/balsam series of notes to it, and also has longer longevity. Also much pricier than Pino Silvestre. I still like Pino Silvestre, but I think Fou d'Absinthe is a better pine/balsam cologne.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Polo Modern Reserve by Ralph Lauren

    Smells nice! It really is a modern take on Polo - hence the Modern Reserve moniker - and has a modern green/woody/piney scent to it. Longevity is good and the sillage is not overpowering. Like it a lot better than the Polo Green.

    10th January, 2010

    WhosYerBob's avatar

    United States United States

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    Windsor by Creed

    My decant of Windsor *finally* arrived this evening and I'm sucking in the scent of it from the back of my hand as I type this.

    Now *THIS* is an example of scent craft. The recent Millésimes from Creed seem crude and heavy handed by comparison. Windsor is very refined, subtle and complex. Nothing loud about it - even the top notes don't scream. The mid-note of roses is surprisingly masculine and is beautifully blended with the orange and cedar base notes. Utterly unique in my experience, and I keep catching different aspects of the presentation as it dries down. Absolutely no trace of ambergris in this, nor any other heavy notes.

    If citruses are light and orientals are heavy, this is in the mid to upper-mid range between the two, with a slightly warm tone. Not spicy, not floral - somewhere between the two. Quiet assurance. This would be THE scent to wear to a killer job interview.

    Man, I could whiff this all night!

    10th January, 2010

    Tortola's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    L'Heure Bleue by Guerlain

    I almost bought a bottle of L'Heure Bleue unsniffed because I loved the listed notes and adore Mitsouko and Shalimar. I am so glad I got a sample instead! This is the first time I've encountered the "old lady" vibe that others have got from the classic Guerlains. It is so incredibly powdery that the orange blossom and carnation don't shine through and - to my nose - the overall effect is far from edible. I just get the impression of violet soaps wrapped in waxed paper that have been left in a drawer for years. There is also helliotrope snaking through the whole thing which I can't abide so that's a major turn-off for me. After a while it starts to give me a headache which is the final straw. However it's obviously a melancholy masterpiece to many and far from a bad scent, it's just not for me so giving it a neutral. Do try before you buy if you're not a fan of "cold", musty scents.

    10th January, 2010

    pagano's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

    This frag would be great but its longevity is very, very poor! After 10 minutes I detect it only if I sniff my skin! What a pity!

    10th January, 2010

    Showing 211 to 240 of 1092.