I've recently entered a leather exploration phase, so I acquired samples of:
- Cuir Ottoman (Parfums d'empire): Very nice and wearable, reminds me of L'instant de Guerlain pour Homme with a little suede on top. I might see myself buying a bottle of this.
- Knize Ten: I have been scared half to death by a smelling strip of K10, but I decided to bite the bullet and try it on skin anyway. I told my GF to be afraid, very very afraid, etc. and... well, we both LOVED it! It's powerful stuff certainly, but nowhere near as "nasty" as it seems on paper - and it was (much against my expectations) a massive compliment-getter on New Year's Eve. Buying a full bottle next week.
- Knize Ten Golden Edition: I actually tried wearing this before K10, and I rather liked it, but it's not quite "there", if you know what I mean. I believe it's supposed to be a more wearable/modern interpretation of K10 and, in these terms, it succeeds; the problem is that what makes K10 old-fashioned and "hard to wear" (not necessarily, but you know what I mean) is also what it makes it so enticing and effective.
- Cuir Pleine Fleur (Heeley): exceedingly civilized - somewhere around the smell of a shirt after it rested in a leather bag for a few minutes, say - and way more feminine than I expected. After loving Menthe Fraiche and the wonderful Sel Marin I was expecting something stunning, so I'll admit there's a bit of disappointment here.
- Yatagan (Caron): Not a leather fragrance, no matter what I was led to believe. My GF loves it, I think I'd love it too if it weren't for the overbearing and infamous "celery" note that hides a lot of the nuances, as far as my nose is concerned.
- Dzing! (L'Artisan Parfumeur): *this* is leather. More exactly, this is the tiger cage - for the first 30 seconds. Afterwards, it turns into something surprisingly nice that hovers between a leather jacket and the memory of soap. I think it leans ever so slightly towards the feminine side of leather, but it's absolutely wearable by a guy (provided you can face the beginning).
and full bottles of:
- Tauer's Lonestar Memories: my experience with this is the opposite than with K10: loved it on paper, bought it and found I can't really wear it on skin. The main leather note, which is what I find so overpowering on my skin, is rather peculiar and the end result is something more like "new car smell" than "leather jacket" or anything like that.
- Aramis Classic: I've been circling this for ages, sniffing it on paper and finding almost unbearable everytime. The last time I found a smaller bottle for (almost) cheap and took the plunge - ten minutes later I was in love. What I found out after spraying it on skin is that it's actually not a leather fragrance at all: the initial pungency is more related to lemon than to anything else, and what remains is a strangely spicy/earthy fragrance that's very easy to wear and appreciate.
Hope this helps =)