Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

Total Reviews: 122
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
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 fougere formulation. 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 fougeres, which were also replacing not just the orientals, but the powdery barbershop fougeres 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 the Azzaros and Yatagans of the day could take hold for the remainder of the decade (at least until the 80's powerhouses showed up), here comes little old Geoffrey Beene and his bitterly floral long-kiss-goodbye to the fresh fougere, 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 napsack on a table as a department store tester for years, which is funny because most department stores nowadays don't prominently display older scents or have testers available for them, if they even carry older scents at all. Most of the time the big fashion-savvy chains like Nordstrom and 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 right away that it must be the ONE JUICE everyone over a certain age still yearns for, or a scent with such universal appeal that it still attracts certain buyers from any generation. Once I experienced this, I determined it was the latter. It's just such a strange unorthodox combination of notes within the construction parameters of what is otherwise a very traditional fragrance trope that it blows the heads off people (for better or worse) when they smell it.

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 fresh fougeres if that helps to wrap one's head around what's being conveyed here. From there the other florals like rose and geranium take us down the bitter headrush 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 powdery fougeres, or aquatics I normally wear in the work space as it maintains that same professional 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. If anyone is going to accuse you of smelling dated, it's more likely to be someone thinking you raided your grandmother's perfume stash over your grandfather's aftershave, due to all the flower power right out in front here. 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
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
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Love this lasts all day and changes all the time, wears well
03rd March, 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
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.

Recommended.
18th June, 2015
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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
THE BEST WINTER COLOGNE MONEY CAN BUY!
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
A rich leafy, orangey green opening of neroli and petitgrain, galbanum, anise and lemon oil that recedes too quickly; it’s amazing. After an hour, the full fragrance is revealed: an intense violet and iris, mimosa, narcissus, rose and sage heart and a delicious almond, oakmoss and coumarin base. It’s lovely, although over time the alpha-isomethyl ionone can be somewhat tiresome. About four hours in, the citrusy notes reassert themselves on the skin along with vetiver--beautiful. Then that base sings its happy tune for hours and hours.

It's a brilliant violet and almond fougere undoubtedly worth exploring particularly for those who like green, violet, Fahrenheit or value.
20th February, 2014
Grey Flannel (current EA formulation) is a conundrum. I understand both those who love it and those who hate it. I rather like it but it's not an easy fragrance to wear for me. The opening is unpleasant - sort of Eau de Harpic Pot Pourri edition. It takes about half an hour to calm down and about an hour for the signature violet to shine - there's no splash and dash with this as you need to get it in a fit state to leave the house! Once the violet note is out there it is full, bright and clear and rather beautiful for five or six hours. After that it starts to decline into Eau de Lipstick Pot Pourri edition. In general for the office I wear fragrance under or on clothes but that doesn't work for GF at all - depending on fabric it will tend to go straight from Harpic to lipstick. One spray to the back of the neck - that's it. Is it worth the effort? I think so - the violet is stunning when it shows - but I can see why many would pass.
18th February, 2014
I love this scent. Classic without being dated, rich and strong without being overbearing (2 spray max), always a solidly pleasant smell. I don't get tired of it throughout its long stay. From jeans to suit, versatile, though I usually wear it with more casual attire. A bit thick for summer..

Great casual cold weather scent.
14th November, 2013
Not grey at all

Most natural (non-synthetic) fragrance i ever smelled.
Its a sharp blast in the beginning with crushed flowers n freshly mowed grass mainly violets but well composed, very green!
Drydown is soft,tender,kind and laidback.
In my opinion the best laid back lazy sunday fragrance ever created.
It will not offend anybody i think this perfume is one of the most kind ones amongsts the sexy,macho, and bold perfumes around for men.
its not a perfume you should wear in sweaty night club or on a dance party for sure.
I think if you wear this right (smile with it) many people (women,men,and elderly people) are easily attracted to you because you create a aura of kindness around you.
Maybe a good advice to wear this if your a salesman...
My girlfriend told me that it was sex in a bottle after she smelled it on first sniff.
Maybe she likes kindness...

Second great thing about this is the price!
Many people here said its almost niche like and i totally agree with that. one of the cheapest niche perfumes around.

10/10
sillage+Longevity+scent+price+originality

Pros: Most green fragrance ever
Cons: Can be crude to some"

28th August, 2013
Awesome

simply awesome

Pros: Unique packing
Cons: low budget price"

13th August, 2013
awesome fragrance !!

i just love this fragrance , it's unique and soothing aroma lingers for 8+ hrs(good longevity). initially the silage is strong but then it bcms close to skin. it's a love or hate frag. i wd love if it has more sillage

Pros: a very soft and soothing drydown , good sillage
Cons: sharp opening ( but it's okay)"

08th July, 2013
Grey Flannel is something of a cult fragrance in Europe. There’s hardly any folk memory surrounding this surprisingly American old school classic so anyone looking for a cheap, stylish scent that isn’t too obvious can always investigate. Much has already been said about this controversial fragrance and I suspect the negatives mainly concern the opening. I personally don’t like the opening, which reminds me of a damp woolen blanket left overnight in the grass. But then again, I don’t like the majority of openings of most of my favorite fragrances and they are relatively unimportant in real classics. After five minutes Grey Flannel starts to mutate and lighten up into something literally bittersweet and unique. The base has a brilliant soapy feel which thanks to the remaining bitterness never gets too sweet.

Longevity and projection are above average but not as forceful as some have suggested (perhaps the original formulation was more powerful). This is indeed a scent for elegant men, not your t-shirt and jeans combo. With its constant associations of musty green and dampness I also like to think of it as the ultimate rainy Sunday morning scent. Calm, clean and slightly austere. A beautiful scent.
28th April, 2013