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  1. #1

    Default My journey through colognes

    I've been looking for some colognes (eau de toilet) which go beyond the boundary of masculine and feminine. Some might say, "Why not a unisex cologne like CK one?". Well, I tried a lot of "unisex-type" colognes, just to be disappointed, especially because of their too neutral scents and the absence of any positive feedbacks from people around me. The problem with most unisex-type colognes is their tendency of smelling ambiguous. It's not masculine enough, and not feminine enough, either. It's almost like wearing Febreeze. It smells good, but just too neutral and does not catch any attention of anybody. And makes it worse than that, most unisex colognes are so popular that poeple recognize them quite easily, "You're wearing CK1, aren't you?". No mystery there.

    Then, believe it not not, my next step was to try some female perfumes. Guerlain offers some great scents such as Mitsouko and Jucky. I liked them, especially the latter. The combination of lemon, patchouli and jasmin (I guess) smells very noble yet exotic. I tried some sweet oriental stuff like Shalimar, Opium and Tabu, only to end up smelling like sugar-added soy sauce. Then Miss Dior (too much Jasmine makes you smell like a toilet deodorizer), No.5 (Ylang ylang is too feminine and too hypnotizing).... I got to a conclusion that female perfumes are not the answer to my question..... (Oh by the way, one precious discovery at this stage; Did you ever try Bal a Verseille of Jean Depre? It's loaded with Rose de Mai. Try one drop of its parfum into your bath tub. It really smells like nothing you ever experienced!)

    All right, next! (Naturally) back to male colognes. I personally cannot tell the difference among the most "Aqua" colognes. Aquaman (Rochas), Bvlgari Aqua, Insence Ultramarine (Givenchy), Givenchy Blue,.... to me they all smell the same. Bvlgari Blue may smell a bit different, but after all it's just a marine note plus ginger, isn't it? Most of the popular "summer/sporty" colognes have at least partially have this "marine note" in them. As a man who tried various female perfumes before, I had to guess that, to women, these all smell quite uneventful just s "one of those typical male colognes of these days". Marine notes must be something radical, as opposed to the traditional male colognes such as leather/tabacc types (such s Polo), Cypree types (combination of citrus and oakmoss, such as Aramis) and Fugiere types (typical combination of lavander and oakmoss), but just because we now smell in most of the "new" colognes, I feel it's already becoming classic.

    Then. some male colognes which are sort of light. I tried citrusy stuff, like Eau Sauvage, Portugal, Eau D'Orange, LaCoste....., they smell fresh and great, but the problem is they never last! In a hour or two, all you smell is either unremarkable calmness of oaskmoss or touch of slight leathery notes. I did not like that. I then tried sharp greenish stuff such as ones containing vetiver. Vetiver is very sharp yet warm, but sometimes, especially, when you're tired, it smells too pushy and almost annoying.

    Now, coming back to unisex types. But this time, almost-unisex-smelling male colognes. Allure, Dune, Contradiction, Egoiste...... Alas, they don't smell like anything. It almost like female colognes with some lavender/citrus added. Worse than unisex colognes! People can tell you're wearing something new from Chanel or Christian Dior, but they wouldn't bother to ask you what, because they smell so unremarkable. And most importantly, they don't enhance your mood or anything. Just there, doing nothing.

    Then I reached Habit Rouge. It's supposed to be one of those oriental male colognes like Anteus and Opium. Actually, one of friends gave one to me on some occasion. The problem with this cologne is the top. I guess it has bay, basil and some spices on top, which, in combination of the strong base note of ambergris, makes it almost unbearable to wear unless you're into herbal medicine or something. But we don't say Jack Guerlain was a genius for nothing. The last note of this cologne is just beyond description. Some say we should not wear cologne beneath underwears. But I splashed Habit rouge onto my chest beneath the undershirt in the morning. The spicy top is a bit tough to deal with, but just hang in there. By 3-4PM, all the top ingridients are gone, and all you have, I guess, is the remnant of patchouli and ambergris. Just to clarify, you cannot create this last note by just mixing the essence oil of patcouli and ambergris (I know it because I tried!). It's just a magic played by Jack Guerlain. This is the first time when my friends asked me "Wow, you smell heavenly, what is this?" Truely, this last scent goes beyond the boundary of masculine and feminine.

    My last stop (so far) was Bvlgari Extreme Pour Homme. I guess some people try to put Bvlgari Pour Homme and its concentrated one called Extreme in the lines of either unisex-type, or fresh-citrusy-type, but I strongly disagree. First of all, the top is green. Is it clary-sage? I have no idea, but it's a very soothing top. I don't think they added much flowerish ingridient in the middle. Instead, they added Darjeeling tea. The last note is probably just musk, but the combination of darjeeling tea and musk creates such an irresistible scent. Very fresh (again, not citrusy, but greeish, which lasts longer and soothing) and very sexy (I don't know who came up with the idea of combining darjeeling tea and musk!). The Extreme is a lot greener and longer-lasting. A lot of friends around me (surprisingly both male and female) come up and ask me what I'm wearing. Maybe you might find it ethically wrong, but I sometime wear it beneath a lab coat (by the way, I'm a physician), and not a single day passes without having my patients (both male and female, again) giving me a remark like "Thank you, Doctor....By the way, whatever you're wearing smells grrrrreat!"

  2. #2

    Default Re: My journey through colognes

    Dr, I think your sensory nerves are yearning for stimuli from a daring fragrance house, make your next journey stop at the house of Caron. Yatagan & L'Anarchiste awaits you at this destination.

    If you require something mysterious or a bit elusive, try Piper Nigrum from Lorenzo Villoresi.

    As a rule of thumb, I tend to steer clear from mass-marketed fragrances like the marine/aquatic ones you mentioned, only for obvious reasons.

    Try Czech & Speake's No.88 if you savour the complication associated with Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz...

    Free your mind, free your soul, let your nose be your pilot.
    Let your nose be your pilot

  3. #3

    Default Thanks!

    Dear Magnnum;

    Thank you for your to-the-point advice. I've never tried anything from Caron. Let me give them a try!


  4. #4

    Default Re: My journey through colognes

    It was very interesting reading your impressions of various scents. I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for, but based on my overall impression from your post (pleasant and fresh, but not boring or common), here are a few suggestions to check out:

    Yang by Jacques Fath--Has a strong tea note and is woodier and more extoverted than Bulgari PH.

    Knowing by Estee Lauder--A floral chypre marketed to women. Fresher, lighter and more delicate than most men's chypres, but still masculine to my nose.

    Gendarme and Gendarme V--both very fresh and clean smelling, but distinct from the acqua trend. V is a little softer and greener than the original Gendarme, with a little bit of a sexy/dirty undertone to the overall freshness.

    Mugler Cologne--Very fresh soapy and green.

    And, as magnnum suggests, if you want to go in a more adventurous direction, there are a number of other options.

    Hope this helps.

    Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

    My sales thread:

    Wanted: YSL Nu EdP

  5. #5

    Default Thanks!

    Dear Steve;

    Thank you for your reply. Gendarme and Mugler sound very interesting. But Yang, based on some comments on the website, appears to have much stronger and sharper scent. Well, let me give them a try. I'm already getting excited. Thanks again.


  6. #6

    Default Re: My journey through colognes

    Hi Asiawind, If you like the heavy basenotes of Habit Rouge, maybe you should wait for Gaultier 2. Seems it is made up of basenotes only (amber, vanilla, musk). On other things, you should check out Live Jazz since you seem to like the opening of Bvlgari Extreme (which I suspect is due to the coriander).
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
    -- Marcel Proust

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