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Owned a bottle of this for a couple of years, but I've only just now begun to truly appreciate Bel Ami.
Never smelled the vintage stuff, but I have the new bottle and it's fantastic.
The opening is kind of weird. It starts off like leather, orange juice and One-a-Day Vitamins. I initially thought this scent was too "funky" for me to pull off, so I never wore it. Last year I encountered some random person wearing Bel Ami and wondered to myself, " Jesus, that smells amazing. It's Bel Ami. I had no idea it was that devastatingly good." I'm not gay, but I wanted to stand in the guy's wake for an hour, it was so pleasant. It's weird sometimes how you can only properly appreciate/evaluate a scent when you smell it on somebody else.
The drydown reminds me a little of a more masculine cousin of Acier Aluminium. Different notes, but a similar kind of golden-brown/ sepia slow motion bliss. I prefer Bel Ami. It manages to be opulent and rich, while also somehow trim and shapely. The vetiver here reminds me a little bit of the drydown of Timbuktu, almost like a metal darkened by a heavy patina.
I can't really pin down why Bel Ami is so good, but much like Rive Gauche Pour Homme, you know it when you walk past someone wearing it.
08th March, 2011