Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

Total Reviews: 179
Blind bought this out of curiosity...always used to see this in the five and dime stores and always a little curious especially today with Grey Flannel's high ratings.This smells like something a tourist from Florida,New York,or California whipped up to make a buck off of as a reflection of their trip to the south.Something they wear before they can visit to watch the leaves change and do some 'glamping'.

Grey Flannel's approach is to invoke what seems like a sunny day in a rural mountain area.The tourist notices a certain worship to the mountain breeze by the natives.Despite the modern convenience of a dryer some people still like to hang their clothes on the line to dry.Despite Central Air some families like to dine with the windows open and let the breeze carry the fragrance of the forest through the field and through the flower bed giving an indulgence of nature's gift through the open windows of their home.Grey Flannel hit a neutral for me because it's a useless scent to me as a southerner and had no appeal.It hit negative because it was so tacky and synthetic.

I get a really bitter and sharp lemon in this bordering more on an industrial cleaner of some kind.Sandalwood is in this which does nothing really other than generates more dryness to the lemon.A really nasty violet note.I like violet in general as a note in Preferred Stock and Sung Homme but this is gross with it's urine tone it has.A moss note but more reflective to a sun dried/stale moss crumbling to a powder in my hand.A rose and powder duo...this bothered me in two ways.The powdery structure combined with the bitter crumbling moss adds more powder to me and made me sneeze both times.The rose and soap combination rubs me in a way of an elderly woman's after bath powder really.Grey Flannel reminds me of the ladies gathered after Sunday service in the living room for a glass of sweet tea and gossip.All of them trying to outdo each other with Jean Nate,Primo!,and feminine floral scents by Crabtree Evelyn combined.

Grey Flannel is very tacky,synthetic,old lady feminine,and trying to throw off a 'Little House on the Prairie' feel.It's like a bad joke that I'm surprised isn't sold in the back of the tourism promoting magazine called Southern Living via mail order.A magazine that also avoids discussing problems in the south on economical,poltical,and cultural issues at the result of tourists migrating here.

27th May, 2018
TeeEm Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This was given to me as a cheap Xmas present back in 1990. I loved it but I never dared to put the bottle next to the other designer perfumes I owned due to its low price tag.

Now I buy it from time to time, currently do not own it, just to remind me how nice a simple cheap smell can be.

Its smell is unique, very difficult to describe ... a woody/flowery unique smell

08th January, 2018
I've worn this for around 20 years now.This one is hard for me to put into words.

Let me just say...masterpiece.

18th October, 2017
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Grey Flannel is a love-it-or-shove-it male fragrance that seems to toy with a lot of traditionally feminine floral top notes and typically masculine woodsy bottom notes in an otherwise traditional fougère formulation which honestly veers close to chypre as well. It's a scent that smells of things it doesn't possess in the note pyramid, just due to the virtue of how what it combines smells when mixed, and will either clear a room or get people to actually come a little closer in curiosity. What I find most interesting is that it looks nothing how it actually smells, and smells nothing like what it's name suggests, furthermore being quite the surprise for the unsuspecting blind buyer, which also may be part of the extreme reaction to this stuff. 1975 was a time when oriental-themed fragrances were just starting to phase out in favor of heavier, more woodsy aromatic fougères, which were also replacing not just the orientals, but the powdery barbershop fougères that carried men through much of the mid-century. Grey Flannel was an odd example of something that wasn't dark, musky, or forest-like at all, during a time when that was becoming the new standard for masculinity. But before Azzaro came along to add a brighter zest to things (at least until the 80's powerhouses showed up), here comes little old Geoffrey Beene and his bitterly floral long-kiss-goodbye to the days of yore, in a bottle that looked like something one would find some sort of Victorian-era tonic in rather than a fragrance. I've seen this bottle sitting in it's little trademark nap sack on department store tables for years, which is funny because most of them nowadays don't display older scents or have testers for them, if they even carry older scents at all.

Most of the time the big fashion-savvy chains like Macy's only want the most relevant stuff made in the last 5 years on their shelves. Having something this old still out for testing tells me that it must be the ONE JUICE everyone over a certain age asks for, or a scent with such universal appeal that it attracts buyers from any generation. Once I experienced this, I determined it was neither. It's just such a strange combination of notes within it's style parameters of what is otherwise a very traditional trope that it blows the heads off people (for better or worse). Grey Flannel at first glance comes across as a very bitter jasmine, which is the best part of all since it has absolutely zero jasmine in it, but because the violet and petitgrain interact so vividly with each other, they mimic the opening blast of jasmine quite well, but without the sweetness. It's the same sort of flavor confusion one would have when they try amaretto for the first time and mistake it for cherry flavoring without being told it's actually derived from almonds. Grey Flannel is essentially the amaretto of fougères if that helps to wrap one's head around what's being conveyed here. It nearly conforms to the chypre standard but technically isn't. From there the other florals like rose and geranium take us down the bitter head rush that is the top and middle until we gently fall on a bed of aromatic woods near the end. These woods would threaten to make this more of the aromatic fougere type as mentioned earlier if they didn't have such flowery notes doing their best Three Dog Night impression and singing in three-part harmony all over the top and middle of the fragrance. When it's all said and done, these woods do more to anchor down an otherwise overdone florals in something just masculine enough not to send this into perfume territory, which I sort of feel it already is in anyway. If anything out there deserved to be described as "Perfume for Men", Grey Flannel would be a huge contender.

The next thing worth mentioning is that while this doesn't really smell conventional for it's era, it also doesn't really smell conventional for any era, hence the love-it-or-hate-it reaction, even if most here on this site seem to love it. The scent's dry floral treatment is fresh enough for a warm weather but naturally recalls spring time, so it's best worn during that season, and maybe a bit into summer. It doesn't fit the rustic smells of fall nor have enough warmth for winter, and this is above all else a casual or workplace scent. Nothing about bitter flowers screams sensual to anyone besides maybe a botanist or gardener. Maybe layering this with some musk might be what the scent needs to grow a nice pair of dancing legs, but I don't tend to mix stuff into or alongside my colognes often so I just take it as it is. Mr. Beane wouldn't make very many fragrances, as his legacy lies more with fashion wear than on scents, hence his name being applied to the "Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award" given out by the Council of Fashion Designers of America every year to various prominent life-long fashion designers, but the ones he did make certainly stood apart from everything else out there at the time. Hey, this managed to win a FIFA award the following year so it must have turned enough heads in the right sense to be praised so officially. I personally enjoy wearing this as a break from the inoffensive fougère I normally wear in the work space as it maintains that same pleasantry but with a whole different construction under the hood, and the fact that people keep saying it smells like jasmine (seriously I get that a lot) when it doesn't contain a bit of the stuff makes me giggle. Timeless? Maybe. A classic? Depends on how you define such a thing. Unique? Definitely. It also seems to be an unofficial sequel to the obscure Monsieur Lanvin (1964) from a decade before, but decidedly without the huge civet plonk. For a daring nose with a taste for the strange, you can't go wrong here, but if you like to color inside the lines, pass on this one.
07th September, 2017 (last edited: 12th March, 2018)
Awful stuff. Would never by again. Pot Pourri, Furniture Polish and Kitchen Disinfectant. Nice bottle though!
06th May, 2017
One of the worst chemical abortions ever made. So many great perfumes are discontinued and I wonder why this atrocity is still in production. Abysmal.
23rd March, 2017
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
Love this fragrance. Beware of the initial blast, though! A light touch is best for this juice. Bitter herb opening softens to wonderful violet and woody notes that on me, seem to morph back and forth with the rose and moss notes. I adore how it seems to change over it's long-life. May not be for everyone, but is is for me!
19th March, 2017
Love this lasts all day and changes all the time, wears well
03rd March, 2017
Tons of violet. Instantly, I recalled that I never enjoyed smelling violets. For me, an old lady scent with enough heavy chorus added to be a male scent.
17th February, 2017
Nope. Not for me. Don't understand why people like this so much. Eau de Chemicals! The opening is very abrasive, sharp and biting- then it dries down into a powdery old man concoction. I know this scent well because it is my dad's signature scent and used to smell it on him almost every day. (My dad unfortunately never learned the art of having a cologne rotation). I honestly cant see how any of the ladies would find this attractive. It has literally nothing to offer for even the most avid of collectors; the strong kitchen cleaner vibe, the ugly eyesore that is the bottle, and that ridiculous 'grey flannel' baggie that it comes in, all need to go back to the 70s and stay there. Time to retire this one Mr. Beene. Thumbs down.
22nd January, 2017 (last edited: 24th July, 2017)
I finally searched out Geoffrey Beene's 'Grey Flannel' after seeing it reviewed on YouTube, and I had seen it for sale at super low prices everywhere and never picked a bottle up. Last year during the winter I decided to grab a large bottle up and paid only $20 and boy am I glad I did.

The initial notes are violet, geranium, lavender and ferns, which is completely unique and unlike anything you've ever smelled before. It smells a bit like ink, and violets and needs to be worn by a man who projects success as it literally smells like money, lots of old world, family trust, private estate money.

The scent changes up a lot over the day, you will catch cedarwood, mosses, lavender, and much more as it drys down and develops. Projection is amazing and longevity is well over 12+ hours on this.

This is not for the weak, aquatic or sport cologne types, this is for the collector. The mature intellectual gentleman who dresses well, carries himself with confidence and projects success. Best worn during late fall and throughout the winter, and worth every penny.
25th September, 2016
Oh my, what an interesting experience this is. Have just had a very enjoyable day wearing Grey Flannel while doing a day's shopping. A very pleasant oakmoss and violet fragrance that projects softly but noticeably for much of the day. What one should note is that this is an old world fragrance, and impresses most when the smell is allowed to come to the nose. If you smell this on the skin or close up in your clothes, it is decidedly uninviting. That intensity of Basenotes on the skin probably is the reason for the soft and long lasting projection. Another thing to note is that the top notes are quite harsh. It is essentially an unpleasant galbanum bomb for the first 20-30 minutes. So give it time and it will reward. Excellent olfactory experience, probably will not wear often but will appreciate it from time to time.
07th July, 2016
This stuff is surprisingly good. I bought a little 1 oz bottle from my local CVS for very cheap and am impressed. It's initial blast is potent as hell, but it quickly calms down into a nice clean soapy and somehow comforting smell that does not ruin the room, yet lingers on my skin for a good eight hours or more. I've heard it's been reformulated, but that means nothing to me as this forty year old juice is new to me!
23rd June, 2016
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I have finally tried Grey Flannel. It has every element that I love - florals, greens, citrus. Yet I find it unappealing. The composition is dry, dusty and somewhat powdery. There is absolutely no sweetness, and a bitter edge that now and then makes its presence known. While I do not find it harsh, it's too austere.

While I appreciate its historical importance and heritage, in this particular case I would much prefer something a little more updated.

Or maybe I'd fall in love with it in another twenty years.

17th April, 2016
Grey Flannel: a sweet green/Polo on steroids.
According to Turin in his book: The Guide: Perfume from A-Z: it is a sweet green, and it gets 5 stars.
It also won a prize in the seventies for best perfume.
When it arrived at my home, ordered at FragranceX, it was less than 20 $, it was a huge bottle, and it did not have a sprayer.
So I tried to put some in a little stravel sprayer, and I spilled it on my sink.
At first, I was shocked by the force of the scent, so bitter, so concentree.
I thought I made a mistake.
I thought of Agua Brava, which I think has some reblembance with Grey Flannel.
I tried to sweeten it up by mixing it (litteraly) with Terre d'Hermes, but that made things worse, because Terre d"Hermes let it project as hell, due to the abundance of Iso Super E.
But then I learned: just spray a little on your chest, and let the body heat do its work.
It gets better, and better.
The fresh mowed grass, the damp woods, and the very very natural green sweetness.
Now this is my number one scent.
But: my secret: I put twoo sprays on my chest, and one spray of Sweet Redemption by Kilian on my neck.
So I have this sweet green base, and on top of that, this neroli blossom/vanilla projection.
All natural, never cloying, and all day it gives me joy.
Because, I live in cold, depressing Europe, were work is your life most of the time, and this lifts me up.
Karl Lagerfeld also admitted that he always is mixing scents, experimenting to get some new results by mixing/layering.
Yes I know: layering is using deo, soap, edt , shampoo of the same brand/type of perfume.
And mixing is, of course mixing, like making a cocktail.
I tried to mix Grey Flanel with Geranium Pour Monsieur, it works, but the mint is a dissonant there.
Grey Flanel: so cheap, so good, so green, so fresh, so weird for novices, so strong and bitter at first.
But on skin it works. Just wait 20 minutes and enjoy.
sillage: 8.5
projection: 7.5
longivity: 10 hours
for me: winter scent
overall rating: 9
21st March, 2016
Very good masculine scent with a woodsy, spice and citrus mix. Great balance but be careful to not overdo. Great cologne to wear for work or everyday casual use. It's been around forty years for a reason.
08th December, 2015
A bit harsh opening, but after 15-30 minutes it settled into a very charming and complex drydown. Very soapy, with an intensive presence of Violet, Mimosa, Oakmoss and a very strong note of Cumin.

I just love it. Formal, elegant, suitable for winter months. Thumbs up!

My rating: 8.5/10
25th November, 2015
This is new to me, I really can't imagine how this slipped past me in the 70s? Immediately loved it, big blast of sweet floral violet which settles nicely into an herbaceous basket of forest woods. Theres a warmth and an integrity behind it, and I am grateful for my instincts to buy the biggest bottle.
26th June, 2015
My all-time favourite scent. Loved it since the eighties and never been beaten. Herbs, violets, a fresh, cool, damp, woody smell. Cool rain on skin. An Northern woodland clearing, on the cusp of Autumn, cool, green everywhere, the rain suddenly stops, the sun shines through the leaves, highlighting delicate purple flowers, the leafy tree branches still dripping with bright raindrops.
If I could only have one, this would be it.
I met Grey Flannel when I was 16. I'd never really thought about fragrance before, but had grown up with them as my mother wears them (then Poison, opium, rive gauche). This literally stopped me in my tracks, my heart missed a beat and a thousand childhood memories flashed before my eyes. I'll never forget it. I know it's not the original formula now, and I know it's dated now, and I know, increasingly, people don't like it. For me you can never replace your first love. It's me. I hope they drench the place with it at my funeral one day. If BaseNotes created a "golden thumb" that members could only ever use once and never again, I would use it on Grey Flannel without hesitation. :)
June 2015
25th June, 2015
This is a most unusual and unique masculine green scent, in that the oak moss is very subdued, not overwhelming as in most scents of the late 70s and early 80s. It is quite dry and sophisticated,
with a fresh, herbal, grassy greenness.

It has the effect of a very concentrated green tea extract, which makes it a most pleasant scent to wear in the summer months.

The dry down is powdery.

Turin gives it five stars and calls it a "sweet green." He notes it can smell crude if over-applied.

One of the great men's scents from the "powerhouse" era that deigns to be subtle, not in your face.

18th June, 2015
ad_scott Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Impressive! I enjoy sporting this. Grey Flannel is fairly robust yet almost meek at the same time. Amazing value for the price. It retains a linear (kind of) petroleum vibe. Reminds me very much of Fahrenheit by Christian Dior and Knize Ten.
12th June, 2015
Smells amazing. I definitely consider this an amazing piece of art. Very fresh and comforting. Can be worn anytime any place for any occasion. Great value to boot. niche quality for a fraction of the price. five stars. magnificent.
09th May, 2015
I'm not sure if I have dry skin that absorbs fragrance like a sponge to water or if I just have terrible sinuses and require a fragrance to literally jam itself up my nostrils before I am happy, but I tend to overspray myself. Even with only wearing it one or two times a week, I can go through a bottle of something particularly delicious within a year.

The sidebar tells me that this is available in an 8 oz bottle. I have no idea who could possibly live that long.
02nd May, 2015
What I'd imagine a handshake smelling like between Sean Connery and Alec Guinness.
11th March, 2015
This is such a heavy hitter for a budget fragrance, the initial blast hits you with a deep and dry almost harsh opening but the edge comes away revealing some sensual undertones that stay with you. There is some powder but definitely shines through as a males fragrance which complements a clean and fresh cut formal evening occasion, no wonder this has stood the test of time.
06th March, 2015
MRBDX Show all reviews
United States
This stuff is MADE for wool sweaters. Beware....if you do spray it on your clothes......Its there to STAY forever!
22nd January, 2015 (last edited: 02nd February, 2015)
One of my favorites. The violet blends into the peppery sage/sandalwood/oakmoss to perfection. It's the cheapest fragrance I have but I get the most compliments from it.
22nd November, 2014
zoghbi Show all reviews
United States
I was introduced to Grey Flannel back in the early eighties and I have always kept a bottle on hand ever since.
If you have not yet tried it, do yourself a favor and do so. Now. I mean it.
You are welcome.
04th October, 2014 (last edited: 03rd October, 2014)
Grey Flannel opens with a barrage of very dry, bitter herbal notes, supplemented by what smells to me like a very heavy dose of violet leaf. Over time a slightly sweeter mown grass accord enters to underpin the brusque top notes, but Grey Flannel remains a stark and craggy scent.

Grey Flannel eventually matures into a blunt vetiver on a mossy cedar foundation, from which point it remains resolutely linear before fading away. Grey Flannel is clearly a product of that same decade that brought us the more trenchant and confrontational Yatagan, and I’m glad it’s survived for all these years. It makes a fine antidote to the host of faceless clean men’s fragrances that dominate today’s designer market.
15th June, 2014
Released in 1975, I assumed Grey Flannel would be similar to Azzaro PH or the like (which I enjoy but don’t want a similar scent to) but Grey Flannel is truly unique. It surprised me. I have seen this fragrance sitting on the shelf at local discounters for years. “How good could it be?” I thought. Finally, I tried it and I am quite impressed. The violet and citrus opening can be overwhelming to me if I slam my nose to skin but the sillage from the opening is amazing. The middle notes are warm and the floral-sage mix quite inviting. In addition to the base notes listed, I get an almond like note, very enjoyable. This fragrance doesn’t scream anything it just sits there patiently. To my surprise, my girlfriend, who is 25, really enjoyed this. Many classic scents remind her of her grandfather and that isn’t a good thing in some regards. However, she said Grey Flannel was comforting to her. It reminded her of walking through a nice clean alleyway on a rainy day while the smell fresh laundry floats all around.
01st May, 2014