Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Bowling Green by Geoffrey Beene

Total Reviews: 50
Oh, this put an enormous smile on my face. Bowling Green opens with an exuberant, effervescent lemon-citrus, which opens over a burst of ebullient greenery. It's a bit like stepping out into the middle of a golf course on a sunny summer morning. As the joyous opening fades, the fragrance matures into a verdant masculine, as though you're moving from grass fields into shadier woods.

It's crisp and elegant--a gentlemanly fragrance--but there's nothing stodgy about this. It's a shame it's been discontinued, because a fragrance this unique deserves success.
01st March, 2019
Bowling Green (EA version). Boy, this was a rude awakening at first. But I think I love it now. I really dig the initial massive assault of citrusses with the stem-like leafy greens. Then came the hollow EA-housenote of wet cardboard, and I thought 'oh no, here we go again...' but luckily that lasted only for a minute tops, and now I don't even notice it anymore.
The beauty is in the drydown and final stage. You get an aromatic-floral-woody aroma with the moss, citrus, sandalwood and everything good, with a subdued cinnamon appropriately lingering underneath it all, juuust enough to sense it. Now and then I get an '84 Lacoste-like whiff.
Performance is slightly above average, allthough I 'overspray' to make it last even longer and to really take in that citrus 'n' green onslaught.
Oh and the next day, your shirt smells incredible too...

14th February, 2019
Given the numerous approving reviews, I was initially baffled by this scent. On my skin it opens brutally with a very sharp, juicy lemon spread over resinous, synthetic pine. The effect is not one of freshness, but of bilious chemical sourness, like a 75 cent "Lemon Fresh" pine-tree-shaped car air freshener, or to move to an automotive metaphor that better suggests the scent's funky recesses, like the interior of an elderly man's musty Buick that's been parked in the hot sun after a cheap detailing job left the seats damp with some sort of lemony cleaning product. As the newly-mopped-floor intensity of the opening wanes, the notes don't quickly evolve; it's lemon and foul pine, well into the second quarter.

But, things change. The pine-lemon cleanser eventually stops screaming and recedes, and a soft, unexpected and beguiling duo of patchouli and sandalwood comes in, gently offsetting what remains of those stiff initial notes. The scent improves astonishingly, and evokes in me a memory of an inexpensive Chinese Sandalwood fan I had as a kid that I loved to sniff and that never lost its faint, beautiful smell. Remarkably, after its truly painful beginning, Bowling Green becomes something understated, and rather charming.
30th July, 2018
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This is my signature scent (along with Mugler Cologne) and out of my entire collection, I've only gotten backup bottles for this as well as Mugler Cologne - two fragrances I would rate as my absolute favourite fragrances. This is possibly the greatest mens' lemon verbana fragrance out there. Lemon verbana is a plant that is unrelated to the lemon tree yet has leaves that smell somewhat like lemon, but with a very green plant-like character to the scent. This fragrance starts off with a very realistic and strong lemon verbana; the lemon verbana is vibrant, green, and refreshing in this fragrance and lasts for about 2 hours. On drydown after 2 hours I smell lots of beautiful masculine greenery with leaves and moss while the lemon verbana disappears - hence the name "Bowling Green". It smells sort of like smelling a lemon verbana bush, carrying some leaves of the plant with you, and then walking in a cool forest in the middle of spring. I believe this is a masterpiece and combines the notes I love in fragrance (namely citrus and fresh green notes). In my opinion this is Geoffrey Beene's greatest creation, and far superior to the putrid (to my nose) Grey Flanel. Sillage is moderate but leaning strong (especially in spring or summer weather) while longevity is very strong at 10 hours. The fragrance also leans very masculine and has an old-world type of feel to it (in fact I bought a bottle of this for my grandpa as well). The juice colour - greenish yellow - is very indicative of the scent inside, one of green citrus, and the bottle (and even box it comes in) are actually quite beautiful with an antiquated vibe to them. The sprayer is also one of the best out of all my fragrances and lets out a lot with each spritz. And the low price on this is also unbelievable (less than $20 for a 120 ml bottle on online discounters). Geoffrey Beene should continue producing this forever.

03rd May, 2018
Bowling Green was a long-awaited follow-up to Grey Flannel (1975), and like it's predecessor, was a very verdant and herbaceous scent that went against the grain of most musky, mossy, and animalic scents which proved to be the apex predators of the masculine fragrance scene. However, this unique anti-establishment theme did not impart the same level of success as Grey Flannel, and eventually led to Bowling Green's discontinuation. It was revived once by EA Fragrances when they acquired the Beene portfolio, then retired again, yet this is always so highly-rated by critics and collectors in spite of it's long track record of commercial failure. I feel Eau de Grey Flannel (1996) was an intended replacement since it too was rather light and herbaceous as well, but also faltered in sales, leaving only the original Grey Flannel as the continuing Geoffrey Beene masculine. What happened? It's hard to say because all the masculines from this house are good for what they tried to be, but I guess lightning doesn't strike twice. On it's own merit, Bowling Green is exactly as it sounds: an extremely green and fresh fragrance, almost a revival of green chypres from the early 70's but in male form, a la Aramis 900 (1973) minus the rose and jasmine indole.

Bowling green opens with a brutally sharp bergamot to let you know it's still from 1986, but afterward, a very high-quality lemon verbena note that gets compared to Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985) appears, but this doesn't stay in "GIT Territory" for long and soon moves through basil and juniper before hitting the pine forest middle. I compare the next phase of this slightly to Pino Silvestri (1955) but only in it's use of prickly pine needles in the scent. The pine is not dominant here, as it has to sit alongside lavender, artemisia, cinnamon, and cardamom. There is a jasmine here, but it's fresher than the indolic variety of Aramis 900, reminding me of the jasmine "ghost note" from Grey Flannel, but as an actual ingredient rather than just implied. The base is fairly light and free of the usual crotch funk animalics popular by the mid 80's, giving it a finish similar to Drakkar Noir (1982) but without the gray scale monochrome drab aura of that cufflinks-and-tie scent. Patchouli, oakmoss, cedar, amber, sandalwood, and balsam fir take this back into the garden grove of the opening, ending in a dry crispness and subtle woodsy warmth that underpins all the citrus and coniferous freshness of the opening. Bowling Green isn't quite "aquatic fresh" but holds up lightyears better under the modern "simple and clean" mindset than the bulk of it's 80's ilk. I'd say this stuff rests somewhere between an 80's sport scent (before sporty meant mimicking deodorant), and a 90's "freshie" with a slight throwback to the antique eau de colognes in it's opening.

Bowling Green probably just didn't have the sophisticated charm to accompany it's theme like Grey Flannel, which was far more daring as a male floral chypre in an age of aromatic fougères anyway, whereas Bowling Green was more like a simple green herbal chypre flying in the face of neon-lit testosterone powerhouses. It definitely doesn't have the galbanum bite of stuff like Aramis Devin (1978), but Bowling Green is a rare breed of bitter green regardless of preferred decade, and the perfect spring/early summer scent, when the air is just warm enough to carry it aloft. Unfortunately, this stuff doesn't have the power for colder weather and is too casual/simple for office use, but those who often work (or play) outside during pleasant times of year might find it appealing. If you want a good, unassuming green scent for warm weather days when you don't want your scent trail to make a "statement", then you can't do much better than Bowling Green. Quite a shame this stuff never really got it's due, but for the price, this is an easy blind buy, especially for the guy who loves outdoorsy chypres hut finds the flower power of Geoffrey Beene's masculine debut a bit too challenging. If there is any criticism here, it's in the sillage and longevity, but for these prices, you can just spray on more throughout the day!
30th March, 2018
Mind blowing stuff, really. This had to have been inspired by Green Irish Tweed.

I am amazed that something like this isn't as loved as something like Fahrenheit. Although they are so very different, they both present that classic aura, they bring you back to the 80s, but they are both still very modern.

Bowling Green opens up with an amazing lemon verbena note, I mean, breathtaking, vibrant, uplifting, even better than the lemon verbena top note in Green Irish Tweed, which is hard to top. It blends smoothly with a noticeable bergamot. About 10 minutes in, the bergamot fades, the lemon verbena remains strong, and it becomes more herbal, and green. The pine note is excellent, it's not modern, but it's not dated, it fits in well. As it dries, it becomes more lavender heavy.

Unfortunately toward the 2 hour mark, the beauty starts to fall apart. Not to say it's bad, because it's still good, but not great. The base smells sort of cheap. It's hard to tell what I am even smelling at this point. A somewhat wet mossy, musky, floral. It kind of incorporates pieces of Grey Flannel, only much much lighter.

The first 2 hours are gorgeous. Even younger guys will probably love this. Don't be biased and dismiss a fragrance for its age. If this was remarketed and redone today, with a different label, I guarantee people would talk about what a modern classic this will be.

We are fortunate that Geoffrey Beene either brought this back out of discontinuation, or somebody found a massive stockpile of this somewhere and they've been selling all over the internet for $15-20 bucks for a 4 oz bottle. One of the best bang for your bucks out there. I have not smelled the original, and I am sure it's been reformulated just like everything else has, so I can't say how this used to be. I can say how it is now, and it is excellent!
24th May, 2017
For an inexpensive juice, Bowling Green impresses. Snappy summer barbershop with bergamot, flawed only by its quick fade like Eau de Grey Flannel. It simmers down to a pachouli base; I don't love that element, it's OK. This would make a splendid Vacation favorite during a month at the Cape.
16th March, 2017 (last edited: 30th March, 2017)
Not the one in the picture, this is the original Sanofi one with a little cloth tied round the cap.

It's different, evidently. I get a little citrus and it's spicy and green but the pale sweet fruity core - that runs all the way down - smells like pear. And that makes it a little ... flaccid.

Pear fougère. Nice but not outstanding.

30th August, 2016 (last edited: 14th September, 2017)
ad_scott Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This is a remarkable scent. On first sniff it is Drakkar Noir's cousin, however I prefer Bowling Green as it's more natural, calm and classy than its kinsman. I don't mind Drakkar Noir but I found it too stout and more on the artificial side.

The name of Bowling Green fits well with the scent - it's different tones of green grass and trees which are taken care of by a greenkeeper. EDT is sturdy in projection, sillage and longevity.

Remindful of the putting green at the golf club after a little rain in spring time. Fresh lemon in the opening then it calms to pine and fir. It's different greens all the way through, like a lavish golf course or a graceful landscape; not any woods really, just greens. Bowling Green is a classic, every gentleman/fragrance collector should own it.
11th March, 2016
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
So aptly named, this is a stroll along an herbaceous border in an English garden, the freshly cut grass clinging to your shoes. This is all about freshness and being out of doors as opposed to the urban, indoors refinement of the monumental Grey Flannel. This never found its market the way that Grey Flannel did and--as often happens with sophomore efforts--it was fairly quickly sidelined. For many years I kept a bottle of this in my shaving kit, so I associate it with travel to fun places. One of my travels took me to stay in a house in the English countryside and when I came down in the morning, my hostess couldn't get over how good I smelled--she told me that she wore Vent Vert and that my cologne smelled like a manly version of the Balmain perfume.
11th August, 2015
I'm suprised to see lemon as a top note, not so noticeable to me.

When wearing Bowling Green all I can think of first is fir/forest green and then some fresh herbaceous notes. Then maybe somewhere in the background some citric, maybe.

I can't make up my mind as to whether this is a cool/cold or wart/hot scent. I'm also surprised to see it gets overwhelmingly a spring/summer vote. When I've worn this I tend to think of it more as a cool climate fragrance.

Another thing about this Geoffrey Beene product is that it brings to mind more formal events and a scent for those over 30. I'm not going to hold it against you if you're younger and give it a go though.

12th March, 2015
Genre: Fougère

Bowling Green’s sunny, green herbaceous opening accord is the perfect olfactory expression of its name. The grassy notes recede only slightly with time, making way as they do for a succulent lemon that’s a dead ringer for the one that anchors the wonderful Monsieur Balmain. A warm, well-defined cardamom, soft lavender, and some bracing coniferous notes fill out the structure, and once these manifest themselves Bowling Green goes along on a steady, linear course for a couple of hours before shifting into a sandalwood-and-spice dominated drydown. Oddly transparent and “modern” smelling for something done in the mid ‘80s, and I’m sad to see it discontinued. On the plus side, it can still be found very cheaply, and is very much worth owning for fans of green and citrus fragrances.
09th June, 2014 (last edited: 10th June, 2014)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Green freshness

Lemon, bergamot, lavender and basil - the opening blast has lots of traditional citrus, but the added herbal greenness is striking. With a touch of fruitiness that is balanced by just the right amount of cardamom. Moss adds another note, and cedarwood arises in the base. Whilst the later stages are nice, is is the first hour after the opening that is phenomenally good. Adequate silage and projection, but pretty much gone after two hours, although I get the occasional whiff another hour. Very well done, straightforward without fuss.

10th August, 2013
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I love this scent and it is (was) a very good deal for the money, I still own maybe half a bottle but I will not miss it once it is gone because ther are other scents that are very similar to replace it.
Trophee (Lancombe) is almost indistinguishable, but I still like BG better. M pour Monsieur (Marc de la Morandiere) is practically identical, with the difference that MpM is made with better quality materials, but it is hard to find. Finally, Loewe pH is a much better version of BG, so if you are missing BG get yourself a bottle of Loewe pH and will forget BG for good. Loewe pH is much better, refined, sophisticated while maintaining the spirit of BG alive, in another words, BG is to me the crude version of LpH.
At any rate, BG was a better value for the money because it was priced well below all those just mentioned.
23rd September, 2012 (last edited: 05th October, 2012)
This was one of my first frags waaaay back in the day. In the early 90s, I received a gift box of this and some other odds and ends. Christmastime, snow, youth, winter with high school girlfriend, writing music... kind of brings me back. That's what this fragrance is for me these days. Does not quite smell like the things we're wearing anymore, but this crisp pine, winter morning still serves a wonderful purpose.
When I first tried this, I may have been about 15 or 16. This was certainly a bit too "mature" for someone of my youthful exuberance. I was immediately drawn to the "conifer forest" aspect of it. That's what got me right away. This is a fragrance that hits you right off with a piney/juniper shocker. It seems to be the life of the thing. I do detect the bergamot and citrus now that my nose has matured, but it's not the focal point. As this dries down, it turns into a pine/juniper hybrid tree covered in aromatic mosses. I wore this every day in my teen years, getting compliments such as: "You smell like a pine tree", or "you smell like the woods"...
If you can find it, get it.
08th August, 2012 (last edited: 10th August, 2012)
I can't believe I've never reviewed Bowling Green. Well, time to correct that situation. BG is a very pleasant scent. It basically is a minty-mossy combination. Not much more than that. It is kind of green and has a nice, easy-going soapy light-green vibe. The mint gives it some freshness. There is nothing irritating or phony about it; however there is nothing exceptional about it either. If you like green scents, then check it out. For me, I'd say that it is nice and easily available... but not compelling. I think it is a scent with a wide appeal, and it is still somewhat different in that it is not sweet, aquatic or heavy.
29th December, 2011
In fell swoop, BG wiped out a decade of bad fougères. True to its name, BG is monumental green, similar to the great Polo (Green) but more restrained and laid-back. They also share a similar structure - piney balsam, herbaceous juniper, and woody (patchouli, moss, cedar) drydown. Nobody knew how good this was until CK Eternity for Men came out and the new emperor suddenly stood with no clothes on.

Sadly, it's been discontinued but you can still find a bottle on the cheap i.e. Ebay. BG may not get the praise and press of Grey Flannel, but it's just as good. Understated and elegant.
18th August, 2011
I love the first twenty minutes of Bowling fresh, so uplifting, so peppy. But then it kind of goes syrupy sweet. It's still great, but not AS great. It is very much like Drakkar Noir (which I can't take) if it had a summer version. Bowling Green seems to never have really found its place. It was around for a good twenty years, and it's a shame to see it go...but I kind of understand why. At first it was ahead of it's time, then it was behind the times, and now it's out of time. Luckily, the original LaCoste in the square green bottle with the white accents is still around. If you like Bowling Green, I think you'll love LaCoste original (1984). It seems to be what Bowling Green just missed being. A bit drier and none of that syrup.
19th June, 2011
I bought Bowling Green for 10$ at a discount store. I never smelled it before and I just took it as I love Grey Flannel. What a surprise. It has a shiny / transparent opening with sparkling green notes, lemon and lavander (i also get juniper somewhere). After that it stays linear for quite a while to turn in the very end into a bloder spicy-woody-citrusy drydown (tones of cedarwood, be advised). This scent is quite intense, has a nice projection and some lasting power. Nothing really exceptional and for a few aspects it runs on the edge of cheapness but it smells definitely good and it's perfect for spring-summer time. Very Nice!
05th April, 2011 (last edited: 13th February, 2012)
Such a shame that this has been discontinued. I find Bowling Green rather similar to Chanel Pour Monsieur and its neighboring scents (Monsieur de Givenchy, Eau Sauvage, etc.), though it's lighter, greener and slightly less complex. If you've smelled Chanel PM concentree you know what to expect, though Bowling Green is much lighter and has no vanilla (though its sandalwood is sweet enough to hint at it).

The opening combines citrus, herbs and spice; the lemon note lasts quite a long while, and the drydown is beautifully classic - spice and refined woods, again quite similar to Chanel PM.

This doesn't have quite the depth of the Chanel or Givenchy offerings, but it does have a beautiful, simple clarity. It smells focused and unadorned rather than cheap. Sillage is modest, longevity very good.

And speaking of cheap - at the beginning of February 2011 I was able to find an eau de toilette and aftershave gift set for $20 on Amazon. Now in early March the same set is going for around $100 - I wish I had stocked up when I had the chance!
08th March, 2011
Bowling Green stands as one of my all-time favorites. Smelling this is like walking through a sun-slanted coniferous forest path on a warm morning while drinking a freshly cracked Sprite. The cardamom is fiercely pronounced to my nose and I can certainly see why this might turn some off, but it's an uplifting and energizing scent that makes those really early mornings tolerable. I instantly feel happier wearing it and would give it a sixth star just for that quality.

Edit: Did this go back into production? My first bottle says, "Made in USA" but was distributed by EA Fragrances Canada. My second, older one says "Geoffrey Beene Parfums, Miami, FL. This version has darker juice and smells much more of tarragon upfront, with a tad less of the powdery edges. Now, I have come into possession of a third which was made in England by EA Fragrances London. This one is missing some of the finer elements and smells much like the original's aftershave counterpart. It smells intrinsically like itself, but is missing some nuance. I still like it more than about 90% of what I own.
24th March, 2010 (last edited: 25th December, 2017)
None of the other reviewers --- nor, for that matter, the pyramid listing here --- have mentioned Bowling Green's single most distinctive note. Spearmint! Along with the citrus-lavender-juniper opening chord is a healthy dose of spearmint, which gives BG its springtime-fresh uniqueness. Comparisons to Drakkar Noir are accurate, but think of this as a young green sapling which will eventually grow into the mature and fully developed tree of Drakkar Noir. Bowling Green is lighter, less spicy-woody, and less intense, with much more prominent green notes (did I mention the spearmint?) It also has a kinship with Jacques Fath's Green Water (which has prominent mint notes as well).

Bowling Green is at its best on a sunny spring morning, all light green and sparkling with dewdrops. Much more distinctive than the horde of bland aqueous nothing scents of the nineties claiming to be "fresh." A light splash or spritz of this will wake you up and lift your spirits --- it also makes a good afternoon pick-me-up.
23rd March, 2010
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
A wonderfully fresh green frag unlike pretty much anything else that came out in the 80s, which opens with some strong citrus notes (not too disimilar from lemon bathroom cleaner, but nicer than that if that makes sense) before settling down to a light herby and soapy-clean base which, to my nose, completely misses out most of the middle notes and heads straight for the base. Fortunately that base is so pleasant, it's not really an issue. Longevity and sillage are pretty good for something as light as this and, like the main Beene frag, its reasonable price point belies its quality - there are similar frags out there which cost two or three times as much and aren't half as good. Even though Bowling Green is officially discontinued, it's still thankfully easy to come by on the 'bay and other online sellers.
07th January, 2010
One of the finest green and gold symphonies of masculine fragrance. It opens bright, light and sharp, citrus-green, tangy and refreshing,yet not at all harsh or crude. Very soon (not unlike, indeed, a gradually warming sun sending down its rays upon green summer lawns) some exquisite shafts of gold begin to seep into this sharp, refreshing opening. The interplay between green and gold continues, unfolding some truly sumptuous notes as it does so. Gradually, the lazy, luxurious gold gains predominance, but never completely annihilates the clean green tang of the introductory phase. Marvellous olfactory music! I love it dearly.
Bowling Green seems to occupy a place where quality meets democracy, and nearly everyone approves. It's not surprising that some reviewers have described it as a scent that can be worn at any time of day and on any occasion. And nor is it surprising that it has been compared, on the one hand, to niche perfumes like Nicolai's New York and, on the other hand, to popular scents like the much loved, much reviled Drakkar Noir. It has affinities with both but remains, finally, its own splendid self.
12th December, 2009
Eaudemi Show all reviews
United Kingdom
1. Take 25 lemons and 2 fistfuls of fresh lavender.
2. Rub your face in it.
3. Allow to settle for about 40 minutes.
4. Empty 5 large tablespoons of celery salt into a hot cup of indian masala chai.
5. Throw all over yourself making sure your clothes are saturated.
6. Spend 4 hours trying to get away from the smell.

A rewarding experience for those that are rewarded by such experiences. I wasn't.
04th December, 2009
Love the opening of amazing lemon and soapy lavender. It just feels great and wonderful to wear. The rest kinda peters out but lingers for quite sometime. I like the seamless transition from citrus top, green middle to the soapy mossy drydown. This is something to put on in the morning to wake up. Very energetic and I like it.
30th September, 2009
The opening is gorgeously green with just the right hints of spice but as it progresses towards the drydown, all I got was sackloads of cardamom. I noticed Lavender, Jasmine and Artemisia listed in the heart notes but on my skin these florals were absent; overwhelmed no doubt by the rampaging spice notes. Perhaps the sultry weather is to blame. In any case I went home for a quick scrub before anyone mistook me for a sweaty "Spice Guy'.

A second wearing on a cooler day however brings a noticeably different dimension: it is a lot greener and the spices less rampant. I could also detect a fleeting powdery floral note before it gets chased away by the spice. As much as I like the masculine green opening, I can only give this a neutral. Certainly one of those scents that should come with a user's manual stating: "For use in COOL DRY WEATHER only."
07th September, 2009 (last edited: 08th September, 2009)
JaimeB Show all reviews
United States
I seem to remember an incarnation of this from the 1970s, but I must be dreaming. It goes on great, like gangbusters, but quickly goes much quieter. Still, it never backs away beyond detection until the very end. People classify this as a spicy scent, but I would call it spicy-green, since the spice seems to be there mostly to liven up the green bits. This is very pleasant to wear, especially in the daytime and in fine weather. The notes are the uplifting kind, so it works to sustain or create a good mood for me. I've seen the "drugstore" version of this, but I think the one I have must predate that, because it seems to retain the complexity I remember from the original.
07th September, 2009
I suspect the ingredients in the original version of Bowling Green may have been of a different caliber than in the low-end $9.99 product offered today at every discounter in the US. In any event, what I wore gave me little pleasure - an extreme blast of cheap soapiness that wore on for a good half hour, before evaporating into a decent but unexciting blend of herbs and spices. The high-end version of this, to me, appears to be Miller&Bertaux's No. 2 Spiritus/Land and I'll gladly pay the vastly higher price for the genuine pleasures it has to offer.
22nd July, 2009