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  1. #1

    Wink Yatagan mini review

    Having worn Yatagan a few times (have bottle on order) - I have to say it is a very unusual scent. Some folks recoil since it is not "pretty" or "lovely" by any stretch and has a few notes that are downright unpleasant. In fact, I don't think you could use the words "pretty" and "Yatagan" in a sentence without the word "not" thrown in there and maintain any sense of artistic integrity afterwards. It is no mistake that the word Yatagan refers to a sword used by Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire - the elite, non-muslim, foreign born, expendable, shock troops of the Emperor. They LOVED their Yatagan (sword, not cologne!), and sometimes were buried with it and treated it in a similar manner to a sword owned by a Japanese Samurai. There is very little you can do with a sword to divorce it from its purpose - the purpose is un-pleasant no matter how many jewels are encrusted upon it, death-dealing regardless of whose name is inscribed upon it in gold leaf. I believe this captures the "artistic vision" they had when making Yatagan, even if "artisitc vision" is a bit over-the-top for this one.

    Side note: I have noticed that some people are inspired to poetic lengths by some perfumes, and I really didn't understand until now. This one elicits a load of descriptions from me, my first one that has done this, though I do not find Yatagan even 1% pretty or pleasant any more than (wait for it!) a overtly masculine official from HR bearing down on someone with a pink slip informing them that "their services are 'no longer needed'" is pleasant or pretty - and yes I am comparing getting laid off to wearing Yatagan, but only if you are the one doing it. Is there no amount of hyperbole and poetic license I will forbid myself as I write this?

    It does project power, and is very masculine in that it is not even one whiff or touch sweet. This scent will not attract others and make you the life of the party. It will make you seem like you have the authority to determine the life and death of your fellow man. I imagine Julius Caesar would have worn this as he crossed the Rubicon, Leon Trotsky might have dabbed on some during those fateful days in October 1917, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis both would have worn this when signing documents declaring the opening of the American Civil War in the 1860's. You get the picture - if you have a tough and powerful job to do - unpleasant and life affecting - this is your scent.

    I think an interesting review comparing Yatagan and Dzing is here in Basenotes articles.

    Now you may be asking "what does it smell like? Not what does it feel like other that it is not the least bit sweet." Well I don't think you can divorce the two, but in essence, it smells vegetal. Vetiver, celery almost, but not quite sweet at first then a crushed grassy-celery smell with a hint of all things mustard. It evolves into a touch of pine needles and pine sap (hence some comments about pine smell). And for me it remains linear leaving a touch a patchouli and the same vegeal smells at the base. But, you really ought to smell it for yourself. It is pungent for sure and seems to change upon each application with certian things emphasized and de-emphasized. And while one might catch a whiff of pine detergent - it isn't a clean smell at all.

    I love both, for different reasons. I do think Yatagan is a very challenging scent, and would not be a daytime scent unless you are in charge of a large number of people (say more than a dozen), and even then you would have to be sparing with the application (wouldn't want to be known as the 'celery man'), and there is no shame if you don't like it, after all it is also projecting a unreconstructed 1970's idea of conservative powerful masculinity.

    As you can see, it made an enormous impression on me. My wife found it disgusting. I didn't like it at first, but wore it to work anyway. As many scents have their uses, I think Yatagan has its use, and I ordered a bottle.

    This is my first review for Basenotes. You can go ahead and flame. I am wearing Yatagan as I post this, after all.
    Last edited by Bromo33333; 18th February 2008 at 02:51 PM.
    ===
    “… [I] recall thinking that the computer would never advance much further than this. Call me naïve, but I seemed to have underestimated the universal desire to sit in a hard plastic chair and stare at a screen until your eyes cross.” ~ David Sedaris

  2. #2

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    A good read, thanks for posting that .

    Yatagan is the only scent I have which my (now) seven year old son said he doesn't like the smell of.

    Strangely, on repeated wearings, it smelled more and more pleasant to me, albeit in an slightly acerbic way. It doesn't even really seem strong to me anymore. I think it is the kind of scent which you need to apply lightly so that those who smell it do so subconsciously.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Yatagan and Devin are two unabashedly masculine fragrances that I can't warm up to at all. Even on dry down (more like knock down with these two) there is something in there that is not just discordant but stridently discordant. I imagine some mad scientist in his gloomy basement laboratory mixing smoking and oozing substances making Yatagan saying, "Ah now let me put some of this in, Ha Ha! no one ever thought of this, and whoever uses this will be under my power!"

    Route de Vetiver also starts out aggressively discordant, but it quickly settles into a challenging but beautiful place that one can appreciate, and some can wear. This doesn't really happen with Yatagan, which is more of an industrial strength kitchen cleaner.
    Currently wearing: Benedictus by Excelsis

  4. #4

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    would it evoke similar reaction as franceso smalto...?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Great review Bromo. Yes, when I joined BN and kept hearing about Yatagan I still remember the 1st time I smelled it. I instantly loved it heavy handedness. Weird that the sample I tried smelling very non-celery seed but then the decant I got later smelled very celery seed prominent. I still love it.

    I remember back in October, I had just gotten my decant of Yatagan. It was Halloween and my boyfriend was dressed up as a demon. Cape, horns, claw nails - he looked scary and intense. He asked me to pick a fragrance for him - I reached for Yatagan immediately. He applied it and smiled, 'This is perfect!', he said. It was a pretty crazy Halloween costume party. We danced a lot. He drank a lot. The whole time I kept smelling Yatagan swirling around the party. I will always inherently link the smell of Yatagan with Halloween 2007. Wicked, scary and fun!
    "All problems are illusions of the mind."

    -- Eckhart Tolle
    Currently wearing: Epice Marine by Hermès

  6. #6

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Excellent post Bromo33333!

    I am an ardent admirer of Yatagan. I rarely change scents in the evening, so this one goes with me to the office and everywhere else.

    It is one of my wife's favorite fragrances - she even borrows it for herself!

    Some people smell the celery while others don't. I am one of those that do smell it and it can be almost sickening. The trick for me is to allow it to dry completely before allowing it to come into contact with fabric. It is almost as if contact with clothing arrests the development of Yatagan and, if I get dressed too soon, I get stuck with the celery note all day.

    Yatagan, along with Kouros, Knize Ten, Vintage Tabarome and several others help when I know that I my serenity is going to be tested.
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, ...... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Yatagan rivals Aramis (vintage) and Jules as my favorite choice for castoreum. The base responds to increases in body temperature very well on me. I can smell the mossy undertones better after I have worked up a good sweat while wearing it. Rugged masculinity in a bottle.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    GUYS!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    would it evoke similar reaction as franceso smalto...? in the sense i founsd FS to be rude but interesting..it kinda grew on me...i didnt find anything sweet in FS. is yatagan in similar lines...?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    GUYS!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    would it evoke similar reaction as franceso smalto...? in the sense i founsd FS to be rude but interesting..it kinda grew on me...i didnt find anything sweet in FS. is yatagan in similar lines...?
    I would like to help, but I have never tried franceso smalto. Not sure how many members that have tried both will also read this thread.
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, ...... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

  10. #10

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoRoads View Post
    I would like to help, but I have never tried franceso smalto. Not sure how many members that have tried both will also read this thread.
    I don't find Smalto very similar to Yatagan.. though both are inherently masculine fragrances. Smalto is more incense and warmth, where as Yagatan is more pine and vegetation... Both fragrances are unabashed 'no grin' fragrances but I can wear Yatagan quite well, whereas Smalto just smells undercooked.. to my nose (despite the torrid Smalto love affair on this site). Yatagan has a woodsy sharpness to it that makes it a lot more striking a fragrance than Smalto, which is a fragrance that would prefer to remain subdued and pleasant, fearful to ruffle a few feathers!

    Yatagan is a great fragrance because it needs to be coddled and played with. I am sure that quite a few basenoters loved it upon first sniff. I was NOT one of those... it took me over a year to appreciate and 'feel' what this fragrance has to offer. I rarely reach for my Yatagan, but find it increasingly hard to let go of the bottle! Perhaps it "IS" the work of a mad scientist..who does have its power over me.

    a.
    Current Top 5: Timbuktu, Gris Clair, J. Cassanova, Zino, Rose Poivree

  11. #11

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    that gives me fair bit of idea! Thanks! when i first sniffed FS..i was totally blown away...i felt my nose bled...it didnt make any sense to me...i was thinking to myself..why would anyone put this on?? slowly, it grew on me and i now know when to apply and how much....it sits on top of my list now...what a wonderful creation...

    i would now look forward to have yatagan...seems its has lil more sweetness compared to FS
    Last edited by jenson; 18th February 2008 at 10:23 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Very impressive revue. Although Yatagan is not conventionally "pretty" and although I will sometimes go for weeks without being in the mood to wear it, I can't think of a men's fragrance that inspires more awe in me. It is like a work of art that affects you very strongly, but is not particularly decorative. And when you leave it on your skin, it gradually softens and becomes quite beautiful.

  13. #13

    narcus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by Bromo33333 View Post
    ...This is my first review for Basenotes. You can go ahead and flame. I am wearing Yatagan as I post this, after all.
    Congratulations! Your first review, not even mini, has been a pleasure to read! - Luca Turin’s review was but a five-liner. He called Yatagan "Caron's only truly virile cologne...Without being madly original, Yatagan is a solid assembly of wood and spices. Its copper tone surprises and allures. Very well done." I’m not so sure, whether my translation of 'la tonalité cuivrée = copper tone' is correct. It’s from the French 1994 edition of “Parfums, Le Guide” , Paris 1994.
    C. Burr, always trying to get more attention by exaggerating his displeasures, recently wrote: “Yatagan is the odor of a European man removing his underwear in August -...now categorically unwearable except by the French”. This time, however, he sounds like he really meant it.
    (Chandler Burr, The Perfect Scent, page 249 )

    I love the top and middle phases of Y. best: floral notes come and go, and resins prevail. It’s like marching through a huge dark forest with few highlights on the mossy floor. Unfortunately that always ends too soon on me! Maybe I paid too little attention to the warmer part of musks, castoreum, and amber when it all settles. It’s about time to buy it. Only then will I really know…
    Last edited by narcus; 19th February 2008 at 11:01 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Thanks!

    I would tend to agree with Luca Turin, but of the perfumes and scents reviewed by Chandler Burr seem to be so over the top as far as opinion I sometimes have a hard time figuring out if something smells good or not. For instance, I get NO "underwear being taken off in August" from this - and I am not sure what he's meaning when he says it can be only worn in France - aside from a snipe about personal hygenie being almost at OCD levels in the US compared to, well, most of the rest of the world.

    I don't get really any floral notes - but sometimes I have a hard time picking out individual notes and the celery and mustard notes tend to stick around on my skin gently fading - they never go away altogether. My wife (as she runs away after whiffing this) says she gets incense, but she associates that with Patchouli, and there is some in it, though I don't think it is particularly dominated by it - but her nose is significantly better than mine about these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    Congratulations! Your first review, not even mini, has been a pleasure to read! - Luca Turin’s review was but a five-liner. He called Yatagan "Caron's only truly virile cologne...Without being madly original, Yatagan is a solid assembly of wood and spices. Its copper tone surprises and allures. Very well done." I’m not so sure, whether my translation of 'la tonalité cuivrée = copper tone' is correct. It’s from the French 1994 edition of “Parfums, Le Guide” , Paris 1994.
    C. Burr, always trying to get more attention by exaggerating his displeasures, recently wrote: “Yatagan is the odor of a European man removing his underwear in August -...now categorically unwearable except by the French”. This time, however, he sounds like he really meant it.
    (Chandler Burr, The Perfect Scent, page 249 )

    I love the top and middle phases of Y. best: floral notes come and go, and resins prevail. It’s like marching through a huge dark forest with few highlights on the mossy floor. Unfortunately that always ends too soon on me! Maybe I paid too little attention to the warmer part of musks, castoreum, and amber when it all settles. It’s about time to buy it. Only then will I really know…
    ===
    “… [I] recall thinking that the computer would never advance much further than this. Call me naïve, but I seemed to have underestimated the universal desire to sit in a hard plastic chair and stare at a screen until your eyes cross.” ~ David Sedaris

  15. #15

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    I'm surprised no one is mentioning the base animal notes. There's castoreum in Yatagan and I love the drydown for it. I can hardly wait for the combination of the resins and the dirty animal drydown. The same effect-but much milder-in Aramis Devin.
    Yatagan is like Donatello's Mary Magdalene (1454). Is it pretty? No. Is it beautiful? Yes.
    A very "Caron" masterpiece.
    RM

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    Luca Turin’s review was but a five-liner. He called Yatagan [I]"Caron's only truly virile cologne...Without being madly original, Yatagan is a solid assembly of wood and spices. Its copper tone surprises and allures. Very well done."
    Thanks narcus. Yes, Turin hits it square on the head again. 'Copper tone' sounds like a wonderful description of Yatagan.
    "All problems are illusions of the mind."

    -- Eckhart Tolle
    Currently wearing: Epice Marine by Hermès

  17. #17

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Oh, the full bottle arrived this AM at work. I sprayed it in my office to make sure "it works" so I will be Yataganned all the rest of the day.
    Last edited by Bromo33333; 19th February 2008 at 03:19 PM.
    ===
    “… [I] recall thinking that the computer would never advance much further than this. Call me naïve, but I seemed to have underestimated the universal desire to sit in a hard plastic chair and stare at a screen until your eyes cross.” ~ David Sedaris

  18. #18

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    great review!

    i really like the brute lack of subtlety, brash at its finest! i very much agree that you can not let the wet juice touch clothing at all or else it will not delevop in the least. the much noted 'celery' opening i find more reminiscent of high desert sage scrub (nostalgic of my time growing up). i dont grab it very often but when i am in the mood for it nothing else will suffice. for me a must have frag.

    perhaps tomorrow will be a perfect time to grab the yatagan!

    cheers,
    ryan

  19. #19

    narcus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Three different Pyramids for Yatagan by Vincent Marcello:

    1- Basenotes’ own: 2- Osmoz:
    - Woody Chypre -
    Top notes : Artemisia, Wormwood, Lavender, Petitgrain
    Middle notes : Vetiver, Patchouli, Pine Needle, Geranium
    Base notes : Leather, Labdanum, Castoreum, Styrax

    3 - H&R – Symrise:
    - Leathery Chypre -
    Top notes : Artemisia, Bergamot, Vermouth, Wormwood, Lavender, Petitgrain Origanum
    Middle notes
    :Jasmine, Carnation, Vetiver, Patchouli, Pine Needle, Geranium
    Base notes : Leather, Labdanum, Castoreum, Olibanum, Styrax, Amber, Musk
    Last edited by narcus; 19th February 2008 at 04:48 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Great research. Thanks Narcus.
    I really like Luca Turin's review, but I do wonder what he meant whe he said it was not "madly original". Does anyone have examples of previous fragrances with similar notes and intensity? It doesn't really remind me of any of the old powerhouses that I am aware of. Of course, if anyone knows of such influences, it would be Luca.

  21. #21

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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    I asked myself the same, and only Brut came to my mind. But Turin's main domain has always been perfumes for women. Maybe we would have to look there. He does recommend Yatagan also for women, by the way: ' sur une femme de preference'.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Just received the bottle. I don't know how many people will be able to relate, but the very first thing, and pretty much the only thing I could think of throughout the day, was "whoa, chinese herbal medicine store."
    may i should give this more time?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    It is always fascinating to read about the reactions to some of the more powerful scents from yesteryear. To someone who grew up smelling Aramis and its ilk, and who wore Kouros when it first came out, Yatagan is challenging but by no means shocking. Francesco Smalto PH? It is of a piece with many other male fragrances released at the time, though very well done, IMO. Remember, scents from an even earlier time like the original Miss Dior, Cabochard and Tabac Blond were aimed at WOMEN. What do you think the men were wearing at the time? Nowadays, especially in America, fresh-and-clean, or aquatic, is where it's at. So the notion that Yatagan is off-putting makes some sense, even if I don't agree with it.

  24. #24

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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    A fantastic review, Bromo! It gave me that well-needed push. My first bottle should arrive in about a week.
    You are not your perfume.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Which one do the majority regard the closest to the domed original ....
    The bottle with the black cap or silver cap ?

  26. #26

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitrios View Post
    Which one do the majority regard the closest to the domed original ....
    The bottle with the black cap or silver cap ?
    For me, it is the black capped bottle.
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, ...... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Great first review, I appreciated the analysis and the musings! Well done.
    For those interested in a variation on the Yatagan theme, try Eloge du Traitre by Etat Libre D'Orange. The latter is very similar to Yatagan, but it is a bit more green and has a slightly brighter pine note. I like them both.
    Smalto is a different thing, more leathery and spicy in my opinion. More patchouli, IOW a classic 80's powerhouse. Not as interesting as Yatagan, not as herbal.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    An excellent review by Bromo, I agree. However, I don't think Yatagan is as repellent as he makes it sound. It's strong when you first apply it, but I find it to be a scent that settles down and blends brilliantly with the natural scent of human skin (or at least mine) - it's warm, herbal, slightly spicy and animalic, but really enhances a man's own natural scent. I say the same about Equipage.

    People have written about how many women are repelled by Yatagan. It's really a matter of taste, because my wife absolutely loves it when I wear it. Yatagan is one of my all time favorite fragrances, second only to Mazzolari Lui.
    Check out my blog Pour Monsieur, a no-nonsense guide to men's fragrances:
    http://pourmonsieurblog.blogspot.com/

    Any fragrance that should not be worn in public, should be worn in public.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoRoads View Post
    For me, it is the black capped bottle.
    thanks Paul

  30. #30

    Default Re: Yatagan mini review

    Yatagan, one I've always thought was bigger part pungeant, smaller part pleasant. I like that about it. Initially, it's harsh, but after about a half an hour, it's less harsh, and actually, you enjoy the strange harshness. Yatagan is like all odors that theoretically are unpleasant, like gasoline, cigarette smoke, tar, rubber, etc, but for some people, they are pleasant, to an extent. I kinda like it. I have yet to wear it out though, and I'm not sure that I am confident enough to do so. lol But I would like to give it a full day's wearing.

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