This is perhaps the strongest most powerful cologne I own (new Version). It comes across as a thick, moderately sweet knock down punch at first spray and does not let go of your olfactory perception for an hour or two. DO NOT OVER SPRAY! I like the scent quite a bit and the sweet leather(?) it produces seems linear to me. With some patience I can pick out a variety of the notes through the dry down, but barely. After it fades, 1 to 2 hours, I begin to appreciate the JHL more. I like this house and own four of the colognes with Tuscany being my favorite. JHL kind of reminds me of Devin on steroids but a bit sweeter. This I have to put in the night time usage only and one not for the office or even a party unless one is very careful with usage. I also feel it is a mature and definitely a male fragrance but one that has that sweet edge that I don't normally wear, and as a matter of fact don't wear it often. Silage and projection are tops and longevity is over 8 hours for me.
JHL by Aramis, 1982
Rated #330 in Fragrances
Vintage JHL opens with a whiff of aldehydes (nothing overpowering, I assure you) before quickly transitioning to a beautiful mildly cinnamon and all-spice laced carnation and rose combo, with maybe just a hint of bergamot thrown in for good measure. The spiced floral accord remains through the heart notes, now joined by jasmine support that sweetens the accord, but never "too sweet." The spiced carnation and rose finally recede as the primary base notes of sandalwood and patchouli emerge to sweeten the scent just a tad further as they take the fore, while the spiced floral tandem hangs around well in the background, at this point just barely detectable but crucial to the scent's success even in the base. Projection and longevity are both superb. Vintage JHL is a truly outstanding scent in every way. The cinnamon spiced carnation and rose combo is absolutely captivating, and speaks of extreme class and sophistication. I view this as a perfect scent for dressing up in a fine suit and tie. The scent is sweet, but unlike so many others that go too far and become cloying; JHL goes right to the limit, but masterfully never crosses that line and remains very wearable and easily accepted. The projection and longevity here also need to be emphasized as this is a true powerhouse of a scent... As an aside, when I first put vintage JHL on, I thought it reminded me a bit like my beloved vintage Floris No. 89, and there are definitely some similarities between the two masculine floral scents to my nose, at least. That said, upon closer inspection, vintage JHL is smoother, more refined and sweeter than vintage No. 89 (No. 89 relies on rough dry vetiver support, while JHL turns to a smooth sweeter sandalwood and patchouli... and of course there is the carnation). I never thought I would say this as vintage No. 89 is very dear to me and is an absolute all-time favorite of mine, but I prefer vintage JHL to it by a small margin. In short, vintage JHL is one of the best scents I have sniffed to date and easily deserves its classic status. I'll give this outstanding "Top 10" caliber juice a well-deserved 4.5+ out of 5 rating. 6/25/12 Edit: I have now bought a re-release bottle of JHL to compare against my vintage juice... I find the re-release a very competent one, but there are some differences. The vintage juice is smoother, richer and rose is much more prominent. The re-release definitely tilts much heavier to the carnation, it is also more powdery (although not overwhelmingly so, never fear). Longevity and potency are still just as superb as with the vintage juice. I prefer the vintage juice of the two and can't go back having experienced it first, but those starting afresh with JHL with the re-release are not giving up much, and you save a ton of cash. I give the re-release a still very strong 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5. Bravo Aramis for bringing this one back, and in such great shape!
Forgive me whether i don't argue specifically about the olfactory pyramid in spite of my plain appreciation about this powerful and baroque celebrated juice. In this occasion i just write that JHL is the smell you could ideally perceive over a conservative and distinguished gentleman after his night of love with an aristocratic lady on her sixties (with a stuffy potpourri fragrance over). The old lady's scent is layerd with the sweated skin's aroma of the man that washed himself few hours before with a sandalwood-patchouli quality sharp-soapy bath foam. Regally a rosey old-school one. There is some aromatic spicy and boise' coolness around. Orangy cinnamon, carnation, bergamot, patchouli, woods and labdanum perfectly blended in a fantastic changeful, decadent, masculine and artistic composition.
For years JHL was my go to winter fragrance. It was the "more mature" Aramis scent. Now that it is back and available, it is like finding an old friend. Sure, by today's standards it seems a bit "old fashioned" but in a world dominated by "Acqua di this", "Blue that" and "Black the other", JHL is a unique fragrance that gets noticed and stands out.
I like cinnamon on toast once in a while, but not on my chest. Intially, I found JHL repulsive and returned my blind-bought bottle. But over time, as I assembled the Gentleman's Collection, I thought I'd give it another try. I'm glad I did. JHL is a cinnamon-carnation explosion that will either make you cry like a baby or gasp in horrified ecstasy. I find the cinnamon-carnation/floral heart of JHL compelling, but I grow tired of it after a few hours. JHL doesn't develop much over time to my nose. It softens as it settles into the base, but the heart notes beat on and on. I'll give this potent monster a thumbs up because it is an interesting, compelling change of pace scent for me and is unlike anything else in my wardbrobe.
[See edit below - 6/11] I'm not terribly impressed with it, to be completely honest. And no, I don't think it smells like an old lady. I'm not going to say it's not my style either: I like Hermes Equipage, which shares many traits: spice, carnation and other flowers, resinous wood notes, etc. I was prepared for the intense aldehydic floral/fruit opening, too. I fact, I kind of liked the opening and cinnamony early heart. No, the part that let me down is the part I expected to enjoy: the late heart and base. I never expected to say this, but JHL feels a little empty, like something is missing. The spice feels rather sheer and soapy, the amber and woods that are supposed to bolster the spice and provide some body seem thin to me. The whole thing just seems shockingly transparent for this kind of scent...and this is not an accord that benefits from minimalism. Judging my the other reviews - "rich!"..."luscious!"..."intoxicating!" - I think I'm probably in the minority. Opium Femme is much more satisfying in this category. EDIT: I take it back, JHL! I've had the opportunity to wear this scent a few more times in the warmer weather, and I must say this stuff is really in its element when the body heats up. The same qualities I complained about a few months ago - the soapy lightfootedness of the spices - make JHL a perfect summer oriental. The heat brings some of the warmer, more substantial base materials out, and it moves away from smelling so much like a lightly spiced soap on me. An excellent choice for summer nights. I suspect it smells like this all year round for some people, but for me it seems to be a little thin in the winter - but this is my skin's fault, not JHL's.
Finally, a fragrance for men who are too embarrassed to wear Opium (for women) and Cinnabar. JHL does indeed smell a lot like Opium and Cinnabar. It could be their love child. In fact, I can see the ladies wearing this as a substitute for their beloved Opium/Cinnabar and nobody would know different. So is it any good after all these years? Yes, fantastically so. Aramis reintroduced their entire line recently and JHL is still wonderful. It's completely out of step with everything in men's fragrance and rest assured, the boys down at the office won't be wearing this. JHL is a thunder horse of carnation, cinnamon, and amber with touches of rose, fir, pimento and patchouli. Kind of reminds me of a bolder and denser Equipage at times. It's not as boozy as it used to be, but smells stronger than ever so use extreme caution on the trigger.
Unbelievably smooth and rich. Cognac or Armagnac are great analogies. I do get the cinnamon, but everything else is just this great blend. Apply sparingly and not for hot weather or every day, but...wow! Just picked this up at Bloomies NYC for $60. The salesperson said that it sells out as soon as it comes in. I used to have this unreasonable snobbery about Aramis products, but in the last year have come to realise how many brilliant scents they have created. Even if you don't wear this very often, it's great to have around.
There's nothing like eating a big bowl of spicy chili and wearing JHL to clear out your sinuses. Wow, this is STRONG. And what's with the "old lady" jokes about JHL? If you don't like it, fine. No big deal. I can't help it if you smell like an old lady when you wear this. JHL is unlike most 80s powerhouse fragrances because it's not fueled by big leather and moss notes. JHL is all about harsh, dry spices, which flatten any sweet base notes that might qualify this as an oriental. This is from the Youth Dew and Cinnabar school of power scents, propelled by tear-inducing cinnamon, clove, carnation and patchouli notes. JHL never really evolves, but rather calms down after several hours, though not by much. Oh, by the way, JHL smells great. I love it for its potency, its spiciness, and the fact that it's unlike any other fragrance in my wardrobe. It's unique even among the crowded field of 1980s power scents. It's definitely not for everyone. And potent it is. JHL is a real show stopper. It's loud and has booming sillage, so apply this with a great deal of caution. If you like strong fragrances, then JHL should be on your must-try list. MY RATING: 8/10
After reading some of the great reviews here, I was shocked to find, that JHL is old fashioned in the worst possible way. Old corpse, laying silently in a coffin, in a badly ventilated funeral home. One of the viewers looks like a sumo wrestler who tried to cover his body odor with some oil. The rest of the people are old ladies with wilted flowers and cups of rice pudding in their hands. I don't find JHL masculine at all. Old lady, maybe. Even then it will be too much. If you need a frag with no freshness whatsoever, JHL is the final stop. It will choke you like a giant, old, stagnant pillow. Horrible!
JHL by Aramis, 1982
|Top Notes||Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Pimento|
|Middle Notes||Carnation, Cinnamon, Fir, Rose|
|Base Notes||Labdanum, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood|
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