Good challenge. I don't do reviews very often, but I should get in practice, now that the edit function is working. The only problem is that I can't ever pick my number one!
I may just roll a die on my top six....
Thread: A Challenge - Review Your #1
I pose a challenge on this thread for members to review their current (or longstanding) #1 favorite fragrance...
I reviewed more perfumes before I knew there were better reviewers. More were on Make Up Alley but I deleted them
I'm concerned I will be too subjective.
Great idea AnthoyDG. I had written a review of Ambre Sultan, that most people here on BN know is a very special fragrance to me, when I first joined BN. This is what is said:
Instantly liked this when I tested it - it's background note reminds me of Youth Dew by Estee Lauder (haven't read anyone else review that mentions this...) but Youth Dew is feminine and a little cloying while Ambre Sultan is VERY sexy, spicy and warm.
One of my top 10 fragrances of all time & now I am really interested in trying/sampling the rest of the SL line.
Also must say, even though this has longevity on my skin, it does not have much sillage on me (unlike other reviewers who've mentioned this is a sillage monster...?) - maybe just my skin chemistry?
Since then, I wrote a larger, much more comprehensive review of AS for sofresh's blog that I have decided to copy and paste here on the Basenotes directory.
Last edited by mikeperez23; 12th September 2009 at 09:51 PM.
Do it all the time.
The only issue would be figuring out my "favorite" for the day. I suppose if I had to choose a scent that I've held in consistent, unwavering high regard, it might be Dia for Men. (Ask me tomorrow, and it could well be something else.) Looking at my review in the Basenotes Directory reminds me that it merits revision, as it references my old olfactory nemesis Amouage Gold in less than complimentary terms, and I've since come around to that scent's over-the-top extravagance. So with thanks to AnthonyDG for spurring teh revision, here's my updated review of Dia for Men:
As easy to love as Amouage's Gold is challenging. Where Gold is extravagant, verging on bombastic, Dia is balanced, poised, and elegant. Whereas occasions to wear a scent as opulent as Gold are limited, Dia is an exemplar of versatility.
Amouage makes much of its rarified frankincense note, and in Dia it occupies the place of honor. The frankincense is immediately obvious when Dia leaves the bottle, accented by cardamom, soft neroli, and a brief flash of bright citrus. The gap left by the citrus is soon occupied by some sweet dry fruit, cardamom, and gently balanced floral notes, led by peony and ylang-ylang, as Dia settles on the skin. Soon after there emerge two notes that in tandem with the incense carry Dia’s central structure: a smooth, buttery iris, and a subtly smoky leather. It doesn’t take long for the spices to round out and blend with the frankincense, iris, and leather in a tightly blended accord that is at once gentle and exotic. Dia’s heart accord is more openly floral than most contemporary men’s fragrances, but unlike Gold it eschews aldehydes and indoles, making it at once a sparer, "cleaner," and less gender-ambivalent scent.
Dia is not a weak scent, but it does wear fairly close to the skin, which is just how I like it. Though it’s anything but loud, Dia lasts for the better part of forever before entering its suave leather, iris, and labdanum drydown. I think that the luxurious drydown alone makes Dia worth wearing. It will persist overnight and greet you with its gentle touch when you awaken. Like all of the Amouage line Dia is costly – it was shockingly so when first released in 2002. Now that you can pay more for the Comme des Garcons Luxe line, scents from Indult, Parfums MDCI, or limited editions from L’Artisan Parfumeur, Dia's price doesn’t seem quite as outlandish.
Last edited by Off-Scenter; 12th September 2009 at 10:29 PM.
This really would be a challenge for me because I find it difficult for some reason to review scents that I love. I can review scents I think are likable, mediocre, bad, and scents that have notes I dislike but are appreciably well done. But for the ones that I really, really love, I find it hard describe and put into words the visceral appeal they have to me. Anyone else?
Eddie: Sweetie, what are you drinking?
Patsy: Oh, this? Chanel No. 5.
-- Absolutely Fabulous
Sorry, I should clarify - I'm not hoping for a review of your #1 all time favorite fragrance, but perhaps just your favorite(s) right now or even your SOTD Even a revision of a previously submitted review..
I always enjoy reading reviews both in the review section and right here in the forums - when someone goes and posts thoughts about a bunch of samples they received or a visit to the department store to offer a new perspective on classics.. that sort of thing.
Vibert & MikePerez - loved them! I'll follow suit shortly with one I have in mind.
OK - here goes. I'll echo some of the other comments about being a bit self-conscious about doing reviews, especially since I often worry if I'm merely adding to a consensus in an unproductive manner or simply being terse and cruel. I look back and regret some of the reviews I've done, but now I feel I'm getting into it a bit more and will start compiling them for my own records as one would a journal or diary.
I'm going to post this in the BN reviews but thought I'd see how it does here first..
Hermes - Bel Ami (Vintage) 1986
A true scholar and gentleman, who I also consider a good friend, sent me a sample of this. Immediately I applied it and had fragrance deja vu. I now realize there is a bit of similarity in the opening of Bel Ami to Lutens' Fumerie Turque - only briefly. I also get a hint of Ambre Sultan.
Another gent here on BN pointed me in the right direction to buying a full bottle, which I did without hesitation or reservation. My thanks, sir. Bel Ami opens up with a smokey leather with a fair bit of pepper and spice. There's a sandalwood heart and a gorgeous vetiver dry-down. The sillage is, quite simply, awesome... same with longevity. Bel Ami has satiated me, if only momentarily, with its beautiful composition - which is rather straightforward I'll admit, but the elegance and quality it exudes are phenomenal.
What does it evoke? An evening at a steakhouse with dark wood, burgundy cloth napkins accenting a white tablecloth... a flickering candle.. smiles, and savoring every moment of such a classy occasion. Somehow Bel Ami just manages to avoid being stuffy, caged and pretentious... I think this is because there is a freshness to Bel Ami, and believe me I hate that word as much as most of you do. It's a clean, soapy freshness versus the fresh that comes from the aquatics/green scents. This is quite possibly the warm sandalwood.
I simultaneously feel Bel Ami is one of the finest leather, vetiver and sandalwood fragrances simultaneously and I want to reiterate and again praise the two gents who introduced me to this completely delightful scent. My only worry is that the 3.3 ounces on its way won't suffice for this newborn fanatic. A timeless, elegant gem that I will never ever be without. 5/5.
Thanks for reading.
Last edited by AnthonyDG; 13th September 2009 at 05:29 AM.
Hell, I'll bite...
I just submitted this review of Burberry London, one of my early favorites, and still possibly #1...we'll see how many weeks/months it takes to pop up on the new reviews page. Mind you, this is about twice as long as my usual ones.
Even after writing a few dozen, I always struggle with what types of things to include or not include in the next round of reviews as I go down my list. I know what AnthonyDG means about the worry of "adding to a consensus in an unproductive manner or simply being terse and cruel."
"London was one of my early favorites, and it has stayed among the top contenders throughout my sniffings of countless other designer brands, so it merits an extra-long review. It's woody and sweet with moderate spices, like so many others, but it's a unique sappy, leafy wood, like you're smelling the tiny nascent leaves sprouting out of a tree branch. It's especially so in the top notes, but I even find it somewhat from smelling the basenote residue in the bottle cap. People talk about the port wine note, and I might say it reminds me more of sherry or marsala than port, but there is definitely a fortified-wine component. I think it adds a mellow, calming presence to an already gentle scent. There's something close to milk-chocolateyness in the top, but not exactly...it's more like the flavor of Sixlets, the chocolate-like candies that I had a brief but passionate love affair with during childhood. Or of the faux-chocolate carob chips that you see at health food stores. But there's not nearly enough of this component to make London a real gourmand scent. (Zirh Corduroy is related but a little more desserty if you like that sort of thing. Also excellent.)
To me, London feels extremely natural, and it conjures up dry woods...not dry in the opposite-of-sweet sense, but the image of trees growing a dry setting that I remember: the shady, dusty chaparral in a botanical garden near my home in southern california, with its manzanita bushes, live oaks and shrubs. So while I'm sure the pefumer meant to evoke a walk in a wet deciduous (European) forest after a fall or winter rain, I find myself reminded of quite a different place, my own little patch of dry western scrubland, just because of personal memories. The only problem with this stuff is something that it has in common with Obsession, though less so: after the amazing top and middle, the base progresses too far into the territory of "standard vanilla wood because that's what everyone else does". (Still, London's a big notch down on the heaviness meter from Obsession!) Neither of them go so far as to become just a vanilla cliché, but this development always disappoints me a little. Still, London's vibe is so different from other wood scents that I love coming back to it again and again. It's truly rewarding."
Going by the definition of some people, a "go to" scent might sound like something they like to wear when they don't feel like wearing anything. My definition of a go-to scent is what pops up first in mind when I am thinking what to wear. When I am looking for something elegant to wear and haven't "scheduled" a scent to do justice to my ever-expanding wardrobe, then Zino is the one that pops up in my mind most of the times. Ditto for something casual. Ditto for something formal. Ditto for something for the office. Ditto for cold weather. Ditto for warm weather. I had a hard time choosing one from Zino, Aramis JHL, and Domenico Caraceni 1913. All due respect to both JHL and 1913 they don't fit into every category the way Zino does for me.
From the notes listed, it would seem just like any other 80's scent. It is not. There are a tonne of very good 80's scents that have a herbal/citrusy opening courtesy of bergamot, clary sage and lavender. But Zino tones down the herbal character (albiet just a tad bit) and gives even the opening somewhat of a woody character. I detect both rose and jasmine in abundance in the middle, but it is not overwhelmingly floral (perhaps due to the presence of geranium). There is some earthiness in the middle as well (perhaps patchouli peeks in?). The middle lasts a good 3-4 hours for me. Even the base is not just a regular earthy/woody concoction, and tonka and vanilla help to keep the typically 80's excesively woody or earthy character in check. It is hard to fit Zino into herbal, woody or floral caracters, but it could easily qualify as one and all. In short, it is so well balanced that it is none of these, but yet all of these.
Mudassir - Loved it, and thanks! We seem to both agree on the definition of the "go to" fragrance. I'm curious as to which reformulations, if any, Zino has undergone over the years. There doesn't appear to be consensus on this one - and I'm hoping Davidoff leaves it alone, because it does indeed stand out from the other 80's scents and is so well-balanced as you said.
On an unrelated note, I've just discovered lately that all of my absolute favorite scents were made in the mid-late 80's. I wonder if there's some latent psychology at work there.