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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?

3/5
17th December, 2017
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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 higher.in 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
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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

Oriental Lounge by The Different Company

Mod, fresh, Célinesque,
This Hello Kitty amber,
Strobe-lite Opium.
14th December, 2017

Aromatic Conflict by Alexandria Fragrances

Being that this is a clone/copy of the original Interlude Man by Amouage which I have had several decants and samples of I will say this is absolutely amazing. Very close to it's inspiration for sure. Worth a full 30 or 60 ml bottle for sure. Great longevity and projection. Try before you buy of course. Enjoy!
14th December, 2017
cacio Show all reviews
United States

Une Amourette Roland Mouret by Etat Libre d'Orange

A nice big patch. Highlighting the eary, warm, ambery aspects of the material. Not as unique or intriguing as other perfumes of the brand, and perhaps not necessary if one has other patch perfumes, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
14th December, 2017

Essence No. 6 : Vetiver by Elie Saab

Stardate 20171214:

A decent vetiver. Not too citrus and not too sweet.
Somewhere between grey vetiver and diptyque vetyver edp.
14th December, 2017

Eau Sauvage Parfum (original) by Christian Dior

The moment I smelled
The encrypted machismo
I bought their mistake.
14th December, 2017

Be the Legend by Oriflame

I'm a naysayer for a lot of modern perfumes, including this one. I'm fairly confident this uses the same aroma-chemical featured in Dolce and Gabbana The One for Men, which I prefer over this. In both cases, the aroma-chemical induces a weariness, despite smelling ok in moments. My sense of smell is initially drawn to it, and somewhat interested, but then concern sets in - that it might be harmful, perhaps headache inducing, and the association with potential harm is a deal breaker. Ultimately, it smells too harsh for me.
14th December, 2017

Black Tulip by Nest

This is fairly loud. I guess one could say it's a dark floral. Plum, pink pepper, violet, and patchouli is an odd marriage here. Not much violet, do I detect. It is more a plum and patch dance. Smells of stale wood. Smells, "off", for lack of a better word.

Nest has some better perfumes, than this. When it dries down though, it becomes less obnoxious.
14th December, 2017

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Zagorsk by Comme des Garçons

Georgeous - Love the Snowy, Fir, Moody, vibe from this one. Check this.

https://youtu.be/t2eE7Tv5jyA

14th December, 2017

La Yuqawam pour Homme by Rasasi

I don't like smelling of leather but I almost find this a delight. Another reviewer described it as more like suede and I think I get it. There is a subtly and depth and almost a freshness. It is quite linear.
Certainly this is far superior to Tom Fords Tuscan Leather.

Fragrance: 4/5
Projection: 4/5
Longevity: 4/5
14th December, 2017

Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford

This is a complete joke. If want to smell like leather buy Rasasi La Yuqawam which is more subtle and fresh (as much as any leather can be) and is almost a delight.
If you want to be ripped off with a lower quality fragrance then Tom Ford it is but rest assured no one who smells it will know. Maybe you want to feel you smell like the inside of a Veyron? After all art should be for you not the beholder. In this case Tom Ford's bank account.

Fragrance: 2/5
Projection: 3/5
Longevity: 3/5
14th December, 2017

Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford

Average Neroli fragrance but with a green vibe that makes it damp and annoying. Castle Forbes Special Reserve Neroli is much better and cheaper.
For the fashion victims only not the connoisseurs .

Fragrance: 2/5
Projection: 3/5
Longevity: 3/5
14th December, 2017

Proust Perfumes : Oriane by 4160 Tuesdays

Described on the website as a fantasy floral made with natural absolutes and contemporary synthetics.

Opening is a light powdery floral note that settles into a cold cream/talcum powder scent. For those that love the 'makeup' smell or cold cream notes, or in my case it's reminiscent of my grandmother's 1950's style bathroom, this is one for you.

Oriane dries down to a powdery vanilla, which I've noticed in a number of 4160 Tuesdays perfumes that focus on florals.

14th December, 2017

Monsieur de Givenchy by Givenchy

Monsieur Givenchy is a fragrance created on the heels of a predecessor, in much the same way Guerlain's Vetiver would be a take on the emerging category of "vetiver masculine" and like Guerlain's scent, wasn't necessarily an attempt at outdoing what came before but rather just place a unique spin on the style. The aromatic citrus was one rare instance where the chypre-type actually worked for masculine composition, and ever since it gained popularity at the end of the 40's, most of the prominent French design houses would do their own take on it, most of them being debut masculines for their respective houses, continuing into the mid-seventies until the chypre was finally thwarted by the more versatile fougère. In retrospect, Givenchy's debut male chypre feels closest to Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955), not because it is an attempt at duplication, but because it has the same mannered and measured structure. It wasn't the wild virility bombs of Moustache Rochas (1949) or YSL Pour Homme (1971), but neither was it as herbal or soft as Dior Eau Sauvage (1966) and Guerlain Habit Rouge (1965), respectively. Simply put, this scent is a careful balancing act in a bottle made possible by what must have been a fastidious amount of formulation by Givenchy.

Monsieur Givenchy would take lessons from both the the skank from the early Rochas entry and the petigrain-soothed restraint of the Chanel, sitting somewhere firmly between them in terms of masculinity and etiquette. The dry lavender and lemon show through as expected, with the oakmoss and sandalwood being less heavy than the Chanel, and a pang more of the civet , but still not a whole dollop of it like the Rochas, which makes this feel like a chypre compromise in a bottle. The whole thing is light, airy, aromatic, a bit mischievous in the civet usage, and definitely more of an enhancing scent than a dominant fragrance meant to mask all indiscretions, so it's easily layered with something else or worn on fabric for a longer citrus sustain. It's romantic in the French ballroom sort of way, and is the perfect aromatic citrus for the person who wants to experience the lowest common denominator between all the various varieties made around this period. It certainly isn't my favorite, but from an objective point of view, it does have a little bit of everything in equal amounts that typify what a masculine chypre was at the time, so for the person not wanting to spend a lot of cash tracking down all of these old kings of French design, it serves as the least risky entry point.

Another less-evident comparison would be to Avon's Tribute for men, a much more obscure offering that would also be a debut masculine (of sorts) and come several years after this. If Monsieur Givenchy was the median French chypre for European men or sophisticates elsewhere, then Tribute would become it's reverse-engineered American sibling, with the former's immaculate sense of balance spun off in favor of a more-downmarket approach that thrusts the citrus zest and woodsy warmth ahead. It's almost funny that in describing this scent, I've had to use so many comparisons. It really is like the Goldilocks of aromatic citrus scents: everything is "just right" and as a result it fails to have any unique characteristics outside of this averaging of notes. It's not quite a redundant addition as chypre fans will appreciate it's immaculate construction and subtlety whether or not they have more than one of the other selections this is most closely related to, and sometimes you just want something that is quality without quirkiness, fanciness without fussiness, and maybe that's what the makers of Monsieur Givenchy were on about all this time. The jack of all trades chypre, and master of none.
14th December, 2017
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