Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Hugh Parsons Traditional by Hugh Parsons

Total Reviews: 20
Sweet and green, fresh and fruity. Green and spicy opening with a fruity accord goes into a sweet ambergris base. Very aromatic overall and easy to wear, pleasant.
25th May, 2016
It took me months to come up with a review with this. Traditional (is that the name, by the way?) by Hugh Parsons is a deeply odd scent in my opinion, almost bizarre. One of the weirdest I’ve ever tested. I got a bottle some months ago and wore it from times to times, each time I couldn’t really figure whether I liked it a lot, or it smelled like utter crap. Now perhaps I made up my mind a little, so here’s my take on this. I must start by saying that personally I do not agree much with the definitions I read online about this scent: I wouldn’t define this an “ozonic” scent, although I admit one of the key notes here is a sort of aqueous-mineral feel, but rather “organic”, lacustrine and almost moldy (sort of sweetish-salty). What I smell more though is a loud, pungent herbal-peppery smell in which angelica surely plays the dominant role, with its peculiar leafy smell sweetish and bitter at the same time, on a base in which I get quite a remarkable dose of ambergris; and oddly enough, it smells like real ambergris to me. The note is rooty, salty, slightly animalic, camphorous and earthy, as proper ambergris should be. Finally (on the same “volume level”) I also get laurel, sandalwood and other woody notes and something that reminds me of licorice, an earthy-sweet anisic smell that may however be due to ambergris. There’s citrus too but I get it quite tamed down, just more a generic bitter-citric feel, sharp but not prominent. Overall this smells... odd as I said, and much complex too. There is a loud contrast between bitter-citric-green-sour notes, and all the sweetish-rooty-woody-aqueous bottom counterpart. I would define this scent a herbal-rooty fragrance with spicy, greenish and “watery” nuances, but all played here in quite a unique way. The green notes here for example are not really the usual “sport” green notes, rather a strongly aromatic, loud, kind of shady and windy Mediterranean blend of leafy notes, from angelica to laurel and juniper. For some reasons I won’t define this fragrance “bad”, but not completely “good” too. It surely has a vibrant and distinctive sort of natural raw elegance, it shows some really enjoyable notes (angelica, ambergris, that licorice feel), it’s aloof and moody in a fascinating way, it surely is much creative (I can’t really think of anything similar to this), and honestly as far as I can tell, the materials smell nice here, rich and vibrant. Still... it’s not entirely compelling in my opinion. Mostly because of the actual overall smell, which despite being unique and charming, is also a bit loud especially initially, and honestly almost vile at first, then however keeping a slightly “discomforting” feel underneath. I guess it may be mostly due to that aqueous-lacustrine-moldy feel, if you try to imagine how that can go with citric-green notes (you can’t imagine it? I’ll tell you: it doesn’t go well, at all). Shortly: a fun, oddly refined peculiar scent worthy a try.

15th January, 2015

I do not like the way this opens at all. It reminds me of sour, slightly rotten compost with a bit of a Green Irish Tweed aroma wafting throughout it or pickles and old licorice dumped in a bottle of gin. It's probably the Juniper berries that are responsible for this foul smell, but once the fragrance settles down it at least becomes tolerable. After the opening, Blue settles into an herbal accord that is somewhat robust and spicy. It's a unique, interesting blend that I haven't come across in any other fragrance and I can see how some folks find it appealing. The thing is, it reminds me more of a spice mixture I'd add to a spaghetti sauce than anything "blue," or fresh--not that we need any more of those. At the same time, there IS something slightly aquatic about it, a watery texture created by the combination of notes that I like and appreciate. Despite disliking the fragrance personally, I will say that it's a quality fragrance as far as the ingredients and structure is concerned, never markedly synthetic or cheap. So I'll go neutral on this-- though I personally don't care for the way Hugh Parsons smells, I respect its design and more than reasonable price tag.
11th November, 2012
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One of the best and well balanced aquatics I've ever had the pleasure of smelling. If you've smell Erolfa you'll have a very good comparison. I actually prefer this to Erolfa and would recommend anyone who's thinking about buying Erolfa to at the very least sample Hugh Parson's Blue (traditional). This fragrance reminds me of setting on a beach deck at night with a clear sky full moon, sea breeze blowing, and the smell of fresh flowers and exotic vegetation.
02nd May, 2012
This is one of my favorite aquatics, instantly fresh and oceanic right from the beginning, with no ethanol fumes. It has a bit of the Millesime Imperial melon note (i.e. believable honeydew, not synthetic watermelon like in some lesser aquatics). It makes me think of my old days back in Santa Barbara; it's not a stormy gray north seas aquatic like Bulgari Aqua, nor a sunny tropical lagoon like Tommy Bahama Very Cool, nor exotic like MI, just a sort of averagey coastal vibe. The fruit gets a bit dried up and sweeter during the mid notes, bringing it closer to Erolfa, minus the sharp herbs. Later on, the evolution is toward a more green character, which is unusual; it heads toward the wet, bitter grassy style of Hermes Gentiane Blanche or Sisley Eau de Campagne, though there's just a little bit of licorice here which I could do without. This green anisy base is one of the most natural ones I've encountered in an aquatic, without any of the sensation I usually get: "oh, yeah, we threw this base together really quick so it would still have a smell after all the calone evaporated." You can save some money and get this stuff insead of Erolfa.
26th February, 2012
Hugh Parsons Blue starts with a citrus accord of lemon and mandarin that does nothing to move me. Michael Edwards classifies Blue as a fresh woody oriental, which I would have never guessed from the opening notes. It seems like one of those aquatics that I have little interest in. As Blue develops, I get a hint of Green Irish Tweed, but only a hint. Both fragrances have the dreaded ambergris note in the base, which causes all kinds of problems for my nose, in a sensitive or allergic kind of way. As Blue continues to develop, I detect a blackberry note and a juniper note. I enjoy the fruity addition to Blue's development. Things are looking better. I'm beginning to enjoy Blue. As Blue evolves and the woody notes emerge, there is enough complexity and development to hold my attention. While Blue is not the type of fragrance I frequently reach for, it is not bad and is well-suited for office wear. As I spritz on Blue, I chuckle and think about where my heart really lies: Gucci Nobile, Azzaro, A*Men, Chergui, Pure Havane, Kouros, Rive Gauche, Fou D'Absinthe, Havana...There is nothing Blue about that lot.
29th December, 2011
Gin and tonic with a bit of pencil shavings. I first encountered this at Nordstrom's a few years ago and it made me realize I was heading toward a serious, nuanced appreciation of fragrances. Looking back, I now admit that Blue is a bit linear. But, the lead and juniper scent I discovered years ago still invokes positive feelings. This is a business man's fragrance. Masculine, crisp, direct, refined and understated. My only qualm lies with the notion that it needs something more in the middle to make it a true classic. I enjoy wearing this with a grey suit and white tie. It is not a fragrance to attract the ladies at a club. But, you will convey authority and sophistication at the office with this one. If only Hugh Parsons could create a flanker and release a mixture of Blue and Guerlain's Vetiver, a new classic will be introduced.
23rd May, 2011
JDBIII Show all reviews
United States
Synthetic sandalwood all fancied up and put in a pretty blue bottle. Keep the bottle.
08th February, 2010
I have to agree with SirSlarty on this one. It's very fresh with a sweet fruit tone and just a hint of spice and herbal background. Very understated and classy! I love it! It's great for the office since it's inoffensive and I often wear it for job interviews just because of that. I'd say the age range has no limit except for maturity in the individual so I'll say 18+.
29th October, 2009
Simply the best aquatic out there!

This has none of the synthetic generic feel of the ADG and CW's of this world
This spicy fruity aromatic gem is always the one I reach for when I want to go into the office and feel fresh and confident.

Why o why is this unique fragrance so hard to find?
28th July, 2009
Fresh, spicy, fruity, herbal (it's got it all!) that makes for a rather good and original aquatic.
11th October, 2008
JaimeB Show all reviews
United States
A refreshing, masculine, tonic fragrance. it is characterized by spicy and green/herbal notes, with citrus and fruit in the top note and a woody-ambery base. I first encountered this scent a few years ago and took it on a trip to Hawaii with me. At that time, I was very struck by the juniper, angelica and spice notes, which along with the citrus, put me very much in mind of gin and tonic. Ever since that time, I have always associated this scent with the Islands and with the cocktail hour. I think these are pretty good associations for a fragrance, so I can't help but think highly of it.
17th August, 2008
Dull, synthetic freshness layerd over brackish spice and musk... that makes one wonder why this scent deserves such a handsome and elaborate, flask bottle.
30th June, 2008 (last edited: 12th March, 2010)
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Leifer Show all reviews
United States
Amid the spicy and herbal, fruity and citrusy, woodsy and musky, there lies an aquatic genre; perhaps the most controversial of genres -- and for a very apparent reason: When you have your spices, it's either too strong or too bland; when you have your herbal, it's either too "green" or too transparent; and, when you have your fruity or citrusy, it's either reminiscent of Lysol (how many times have you heard a cologne compared to house-hold cleaning products?) or it's severely lacking proper notation in the heart or base. And, you guessed it, the same goes for your woodsy and musky scents -- they're either synthetic, powdery, or just plain yucky.

And now we're at a halt with aquatic scents. Inspirations such as Cool Water, by Davidoff, and Green Irish Tweed, by Creed, have stimulated the production of hundreds of lines of "aquatic" and "fresh", or even "sporty" and "energetic" fragrances. Fast-forward twenty years, and here we have quite a collection to pick and choose from -- so then, what's good and what's not? Let's start with the English "Hugh Parsons Blue" and move onto one of the most famous colognes in the world -- Cool Water.

Firstly, Hugh Parsons. Not much out there is known about this fresh fragrance, except that it's licensed to Nordstroms exclusively (and, as far as I know, a smaller chain called Perfumerie). More than likely because it's caught up in the mix of Adidas, Polo's, and Nautica's; all of which, great fragrances, albeit it a tad on the common side. It's not too popular, or well known -- but don't let your guard down, because this scent has some kick to it.

But, before we get more in-depth about Hugh Parsons, let's talk about what makes an aquatic fragrance "unique" (and I'll leave this open to opinion, so feel free to add on); undeniably, the fresh essence of air and water is captured and prized above all. There has to be very little, if any, musk or strong wood; and spices have to be rendered void to achieve that "smooth" and "clean" feel, so feel free to kiss that black pepper and tobacco goodbye! Instead, the tendency is to focus on light fruits that are pleasant and light on the nose.

Here, your apples, grapefruits, dashes of mint, touches of eucalyptus (Body Kouros, we're looking at you) and the slightest pinches of orange and lemon add a pristine charm to our concotion. Moving further down the pyramid, herbal notations are often introduced here to anchor the sweet top notes and keep them from dissipating; namely, lavender, jasmine, rose leaves, light basil and iris flowers. The affect at this stage is already favorable -- a smooth transition from a light and captivating opening that gently cascades into a soothing and relaxing heart, filled with the beautiful breath of nature. At this point, as the natural herbs sigh, and the final notes awake from their slumber, perfumers often rely on the aromatic woods -- sweet amber, piney cedar, variations of light sandalwood, cedar, and white mosses, and others that are known to be friendly to the transition between heart and base notation.

--- (take a break, folks, and let those thoughts simmer in your mind... there's a LOT more to come) ---

Unfortunately, what we picture in our minds is often not what we smell on our wrists, and the tendency is to forego the qualities of nature, and to use synthetics. Synthetics last longer, project somewhat better, and are a little stronger -- but, my oh my, they are nowhere near as captivating. Take Hugh Parsons, for example; a scent that unfolds with a squirt of crisp lemon, and guides you through a rich and piney forest, filled with the lightest of lavenders, mints, mosses, and cedars, and finally rests in an earthly bed of warm patchouli and faint musk. As an essence of nature, Hugh Parsons is quite beautiful. It doesn't scream attention, it doesn't barge into the noses of those around you, and it doesn't make the girl you just walked by turn her head to take a second whiff, in contemplation of whether or not she likes it. The bottom line is, Hugh Parsons is a wonderful scent; it shimmers with natural essence, (which that girl we mentioned earlier does like on the first whiff ) and caresses your sense of smell ever so gently.

But, there are a few issues. The lemon, with grapefruit undertones, does a marvelous job of drawing attention and truly making the fragrance "light", but it leaves you hanging just a bit. For something so awe-inspiring and hooking, it lacks a spicy/bitter companion, which could accentuate the citrus and result in more of a two-dimensional opening. In addition, for how well-orchestrated the heart is, it might have been a little too much. With close examination, the combination of so many heartstrings results in a mix... an output of a single note that is a tad on the bitter and bland side, thus it plays out to be somewhat indistinguishable. Given our lemons earlier, it doesn’t seem like we’re in for a pleasant ride. Don't be alarmed though, because the base is done perfectly; like a sunset, the remnants of the day are illuminated, and the most beautiful notes of the heart and top notes are relived gently and without force. Furthermore, unlike other aquatics, the purpose of this base is not to continue the life of the fragrance, and add a third batch of notes; rather, it is to allow the heart and what's left of the top notes to gently fade away in an envelope of patchouli and musk. Truly resembling nature; Hugh Parsons is a fragrance that understands that death is just as beautiful as life; it cannot be elongated or drawn out. Right down to the last molecule of life, Hugh Parsons is a journey with a hypnotizing birth, and a mesmerizing death.

You might think I'm being a bit harsh, or pessimistic; but, what cologne doesn't have flaws and blemishes? Our ability to forgive the minor mistakes and bask in the beauties of the scent are truly what define the love we have for it. Yes, the opening is straight-forward, and yes, the heart is dangerously multi-faceted; but that's coming from a critic, who must keep the balance of compliments and criticism to achieve a neutral verdict -- well, neutral until I tell you that I love this fragrance above all aquatics I've smelled.
15th January, 2008
I searched high and low for this exclusive cologne at Nordstroms. What a nice cologne! Again, I hate to sound redundant BUT...if you like fresh clean scents (ie Sport colognes during the day) then this is YOUR cologne for office wear and nightime wear, eating out etc. Classy cologne indeed!

Perfect for the man who loves fresh and clean but in a classy NON "Sporty" daytime way. Another words this would be your equivalent to a daytime wear BUT for a classy dinner or event, party.

Thumbs up on this one. Bigtime! classy notes.
10th April, 2007
I don't like this one as much as the yellow version. While the latter is one of the most equisite citrus- herbal scents i know, exhaling the very essence of unquestionable style, this one is just clean-cut, almost aquatic fresh, but was defintaly topped by its follower. I would expect- but maybe its just a bias encouraged by conventional ( fragrance) wisdom- even a "fresh", "crispy clean" British scent to be much more classically and less casually smelling.
18th March, 2007
Hamp Show all reviews
United States
Hugh Parsons is a wonderful fragrance that is light, clean, and fresh.
It has a distinctly masculine presentation which communicates classic regal elegance. It is refined and delightful. An excellent traditional fresh scent!
22nd September, 2006
Hugh Parsons Blue is a fragrance easy to miss if you try it once and make up your mind about it within the first ten minutes of initial application. On initial application, I didn't like it. I thought it was a bit dull, somewhat "starchy" with a bit of lemon/citrus in a rather conventional mix. The key to this fragrance, however, is stunning evolution as it sails blissfully through the day. It can be citrusy and formal, then it becomes warm, woody and inviting and goes on and on for about twelve hours. After the firstf week of ownership, I planned to sell my bottle. Now I wouldn't be without it. I went to Nordstroms to buy a couple of extra bottles on the fear or suspicion that it wouldn't last long in the rough and tumble of the mens' fragrance industry Memo to Nordstroms and everyone else who sells this: It is a great fragrance keep it in stock! It can be both traditional and modern without "selling out" either aspect and will be well appreciated, eventually, by those who bother to give it a chance. Hugh Parsons Traditional Blue is a brilliant fragrance. It is one of my signature scents. I just pray "they" keep making it.
31st August, 2006 (last edited: 06th September, 2009)

A somewhat spicy, aromatic, fresh scent, I would guess. Hugh Parsons opens with a citrus / berry / pepper accord that is clean, a bit too sharp, aromatic, and not really unique. It’s a bit of a messy opening, but, fortunately, the opening doesn’t represent the rest of the fragrance: in fact, the slight mess is the complete opposite of the rest of the fragrance which is refined, discreet, and elegant. Hugh parsons Traditional Blue is a light fragrance that offers a desirable complexity and movement that make the middle and base levels worth waiting for. With the heart notes, Hugh Parsons Blue takes on the clean ambiance of a subtle angelica, cardamom, and juniper. The angelica is perfect, the cardamom doesn’t exhibit any of its wayward bodily emittance potentialities, and the juniper is just a tiny bit too strong to my nose. It is a dry accord, rich but not strong, and a bit aromatic. It an excellently refined accord that signifies taste and quiet sophistication. The base follows with a smooth, subtle wood / ambergris that is captivating and superbly wearable.

Except for the first ten minutes of the opening, all the accords are balanced and refined, and the individual notes are quite clear and natural. The freshly cleaned shirt image fits this fragrance quite well: I find that Hugh Parsons Traditional beautifully serves the same purpose as the understated and excellent scents such as Gendarme and Bvlgari Pour Homme – scents to use on those occasions when a high quality, discreet fragrance is the order of the day. It’s quiet cleanliness made it one of my most worn scents when I lived in East Asia, and it is still one of my favorite subtle scents after all these years. (Edit of March 27, 2006 review)
27th March, 2006 (last edited: 16th June, 2009)
Dennis Show all reviews
United States
Made in the tradition of fine English gentlemen's cologne, Hugh Parsons is a delight to wear--a refined, clean yet masculine scent that lasts. A great all-around fragrance.
24th September, 2005