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  1. #1

    Default A blind sampling of six colognes...

    Looking for something fresh yet elegant for this perpetual summer - something not an aqua - I ordered 6 samples of well regarded cologne-style frags. In distrust of my own predjudices and the weight of established opinion I decided to blind sample all of them, wrapping each spray vial heavily in masking tape immediately, without ever checking the labels. I didn't unviel any until I had sampled all.

    My notes from the sampling process:

    #1. Opens very spicy on the wrist, already sweet, a transparent oriental. The spices are freshly ground, the sweetness is not thick or laden with vanilla. I get cinnamon mostly, reminds me of Hermes Equipage which is so firmly centered on dewey carnation. This has that same smoothness if not so heady as Equipage. As it dries down it is becoming more floral, the scent image of a single carnation in a glass of water.

    In wearing, my usual three sprays to the chest, the opening is herbal, damp, slightly bitter with a touch of citrus rind. As it settles into its initial drydown the carnation starts to peek through shyly. As that spiciness becomes stronger it is underlaid by a light use of vetiver. Whatever it is it smells expensive. But however nice, it really isn't me.

    #2. Sprayed onto the wrist, it is very light once the alcohol burns off. If I search for it, light citrus rind, smooth lavendar of the Jicky parfum school. No sillage at. Not interesting enough to wear.

    #3. Opens with sharp, peeling citrus with something weighty beneath that I don't recognize. Mildly sweet. There is something off kilter about it beneath the bitter greeness. The citrus itself is oddly anonymous, not orange or grapefruit or lemon. Nice refreshing edge. This particular green edge reminds me of Ellena's Jardins.

    In wearing, it opens with a nice green citrus peel aura, touched with nutmeg. Dry down becomes very light, ultimately too light; it doesn't even get you halfway through the work day.

    #4. Now here is something beautiful, something special. I can tell from the first sniff. The citrus is silky smooth. It makes me think of that glassy gleam of the finer Chanel's. Every element has been pollished to absolute smoothness. However the Chanel-like accord strikes me as a bit feminine, at least it is evocative of the feminine Chanel's, particularly No 5, if better composed than most of them. I think you would need a bespoke suit and shoes to wear this. This is pretty much flawless. Some rose opens in the drydown.

    #5. Eww. Orange juice and something unpleasant. My stomach rebels. This is a spoiled, almost fermented orange juice. A scrubber - or at least it would be if it lasted more than 5 minutes (or maybe it is still there but my nose defended itself by shutting off).

    #6. Citrus, gentle, light. Naturally sweet. There is an odd spice note similar to the last one, but gentler and not unpleasant. The citrus clearly develops into orange, ripe orange unpeeled.

    In wearing it envelops one immediately in that aura of citrus, full-bodied and with no harshness. This is very nice, decant worthy. Not as smooth as #4, but very nice. The fragrance evokes what I would imagine an orange grove to smell like, heavy with ripe fruit. It is both refreshing and soothing. It lasted through most of the day.

    Now to unveil them:

    #1. AdP Colonia
    #2. Eau Sauvage
    #3. Cologne Bigarade
    #4. Chanel Exclusifs EDC
    #5. Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte
    #6. Bigarade Concentree

    I find the results interesting in that I have not been an Ellena fan to this point, but must yield on BC.

  2. #2
    trumpet_guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Re: A blind sampling of six colognes...

    Very nice, brief reviews, Carlos. Thanks for posting them.

    I wonder if you revist AdP Colonia perhaps the Bulgarian Rose will be more prominent to your
    nose. Certainly the vetiver makes its appearance, but I also cannot avoid the scent of Rose in there.
    This is one of my favorites.

    The Chanel EDC from the Exclusifs line is extremely fine. That's one I could purchase and wear
    frequently. I have too many fragrances already, though, and I want use up AdP Colonia, Ear d'Hadrien,
    and Eau Sauvage, before buying another citrus fragrance.

  3. #3
    DustB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Washington, DC

    Default Re: A blind sampling of six colognes...

    Great project and reviews, Carlos. I love AdP Colonia too, and I'll now hunt down Chanel edc because of your high respect for it.
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  4. #4
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: A blind sampling of six colognes...

    What a wonderful way to sample new scents - I think blind smelling definitely helps me put my preconceived notions behind me, and really give a scent a good starting point before I break it down.

    You have a great nose, sir. The Bigarade Concentree, as I have said before, is the finest orange fragrance I've ever encountered. I love other scents with orange (Arancia by AdP, Eau des Merveilles by Hermes, Noir Epices by Malle) but BC and it's singular and classic reproduction of the orange, the peel, the pits, the pith, and even the decomposition of the orange is fascinating.

    I can't wait to own a full bottle of BC.
    Selling some used fragrances here

  5. #5

    Default Re: A blind sampling of six colognes...

    Mike, have you tried the Chanel exclusifs EDC? It is like No 5 eau premiere, without powder and extremely refined.

  6. #6
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: A blind sampling of six colognes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos View Post
    Mike, have you tried the Chanel exclusifs EDC? It is like No 5 eau premiere, without powder and extremely refined.

    It's the 'butchest' of the Exclusifs, that's for sure. I liked Bel Respiro better, but I found the EDC lively, clean and extremely classy. If I remember the top notes are peppery, no? Maybe a little vetiver in the drydown. Slightly less cologne-y and maybe more perfume-y, right? However EDC's extremely low longevity (I's a cologne) and the 400 ml bottle (are you supposed to bathe in these?) and the price ($175 for the small and $300 for the large) will keep me from owning a full bottle.

    I already own and love colognes (the Comme de Garcons Cologne Series, Caldey Island Laevnder Waters, Colonia Assoluta by AdP) so the Chanel EDC just seemed like an extravagant purchase to even consider - and if I'm going to make an extravagant purchase anytime soon I've got some other scents (Tobacco Vanille, Black Aoud, Rousse) on my 'list'.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 7th January 2008 at 04:22 PM.
    Selling some used fragrances here

  7. #7

    Default Re: A blind sampling of six colognes...

    I think the big bottle is meant for frequent refreshing - like the CdG and Parfums de Nicolai colognes.

    I'm glad I got to experience BG without my prior negative experiences clouding my judgement of this Ellena frag. It is a real beauty and could end up becoming my primary frag (i.e. signature) for most of the year.

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