I'm new, check out my intro post.
So about 5 years ago I ran into a very iconoclastic friend of mine -- a real bohemian artist type, killer with the ladies, extremely charismatic and unpredictable -- and upon giving him a big Californian hug, I smelled a complex and exciting fragrance. I finally got around to asking him about what it was a couple years later, and he said he had no memory, only that he commonly mixes colognes, and that he was wearing a Diesel cologne a lot at that time.
No Diesel colognes I have ever smelled are even close to what he had on that day.
So, please rack your brains for me. Here is the description of my first signature fragrance:
Firstly, it must be green. Grass, herbs, certainly. Woods, probably. Fresh but never aquatic. Bracing but not medicinal. Citrus would be a welcome rounding out to the greenness.
Next, it should be dry. Uncompromising. No sweet edges in the top or heart. Certainly no fruits (NO FIG for f%&k's sake). In fact, it should be dissonant: there should be tension. Some sort of classic clash. I could imagine that a clean white flower like Jasmine Sambac might be present in a small dose as a bridge between the green and the animalic, as long as it increases, rather than smooths out, the tension.
Lastly, it ought to be animalic. I'm not sure if that means cumin, civet, castoreum, honey, musk, oud or ambrette. This note could conceivably be the dissonant counterpart to the fresh notes.
Edit 6/10/11: To summarize:
green/grass : must have
castoreum, civet: probably
dry woods: probably
floral: minimal to none
leather: only if not birch tar (saffron or costus are good)
fruit: probably not
birch tar: no
- A more bitter, more green, more animalic, less citric version of Bois d'Orage/French Lover
- A less sweet, less spicy, more green, less coniferous, less edible version of Yatagan
- Sort of halfway between those two frags.
Here's how I imagine the experience it ought to evoke: sex in an herb garden surrounded by an industrial factory. (That doesn't necessary mean metallic, just something modern.)
I don't care if the fragrance is meant for men or unisex. (I assume all women's fragrances will not be dry enough for me.) I am an experimental man, a musician. I dress younger than I am, but act mature beyond my years. Unconventional is a must. Never sporty or light. I want to communicate a connection to nature and sexual threat... hence the green/animalic goal. Sort of like an urban Pan.
My experience with naturals is extensive, but with commercial frags I don't have a lot of memories to draw on, but here are some notes from my trip to Sephora today:
- Burberry Beat: too conservative musky. I'm not classic, I'm experimental. Nice construction though.
- Bvlgari Eau de The Vert: wonderful smelling, but too nice. The tea is far too innocent. Not green/bitter enough.
- Hermes Jardin Apres le Mousson: fantastic opening accord, green is awesome, but too friendly, clean and smooth on the drydown. Not animalic enough.
- Tom Ford Grey Vetiver: dryness is great, but too clean and classic. I'm no gentleman.
- Terre d'Hermes: opening is great, very unique. this is in the direction i want to go, but the drydown is too musky and classic. I hope I never feel old enough to wear this.
- Hermes Jardin au le Nil: this one is interesting. if it could be a bit more bitter/dry and add a subtle, disgusting note, we'll be close to what i'm looking for. the greenness is a little too attenuated, but the balance of the construction is just superb. drydown stays nice and dry, though missing a little funk
- Cartier Declaration Essence: really, really interesting. see, here we have a weird animalic note reminiscent of bilge water grossing out the nice woods. if there was a big bunch of grass and herbs fucking this frag up, i'd be in business. Take out the musk and put in the green and that would pretty much seal the deal.
What do you think? Anything spring to mind? Referencing Perfumes A-Z Guide, Derby and Sous le Vent seem like they might be in the area I'm seeking. The latter is a longshot because chypres smell like soap and dad to me (he had Canoe), not interesting in the slightest.
Last edited by MonkeyBars; 10th November 2011 at 02:27 AM.
From the reviews, it might be a match. Drydown sounds a bit classic though. I'll check it out for sure.
Citrus Paradisi could fit the bill
Thanks alfarom. Sounds a little more citrus than green, with just some light herbal notes in the middle. That sounds kind of interesting too though...
Oh, hmm... in my imagination civet+grapefruit = urine... is that the case with Citrus Paradisi?
Eau Zone by Jeanne Arthes
The one that your description conjures up for me is Hindu Grass by Nasomotto.
Here's Luckyscent's description:
Peaceful, serene and calming, Hindu Grass is a dry grass-meets-green fragrance infused with patchouli (we think) and a definite dried herbal counterpart. It’s completely unconventional and disarming, a dry, soothing scent that’s so unusual we don’t think we can compare it to anything, whether in real life or another perfume (and we love that!) The philosophy behind Hindu Grass is to, “Breathe the belief in universal peace and love. It is a result of the quest for the warm affection of humanity.” That might sound like flowery prose, but when you actually wear Hindu Grass, you get it: it’s created to be calming, with notes from the earth that don’t intrude on your reverie with blatant, hey, that smells just like so-and-so. Spiritual and meditative, it invites flowery prose and draws people close with its natural attractiveness.
Hindu Grass Notes
Herbs, grassy notes, tobacco, patchouli
Amouage -Memoir Man ,very dry and green in my opinion and Divine - Eau Divine .(superb).You might wanna try them.
Versace l'Homme - dark and leathery animalic, dry and almost astringent due to citric and spicy notes, also slightly soapy, while the opening is herbal, almost botanical
Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will definitely be checking out most of these.
I'm noticing a lot of these frags being suggested have a leather drydown. I'm pretty bored by leather fragrances, and definitely want to avoid soapy notes. The last thing I want to put forth is a classic, tweed-wearing luxury car vibe. I prefer a complex dry vegetal vetiver drydown. I wonder if that's too much to ask...
As for the leather in the drydown, it can be used in a number of ways of course. Many leather scents do use a clean, purse/new car interior leather note, but often it can be dirtied up, like a punk rock leather jacket, and be a little dirty, somewhat stinky, and often simply slutty. Dirty English is a good example of this use of leather.
And finally, look into Malle's French Lover (Bois d'Orage). It's described as possessing a "vegetal animality", and it does feature a "complex dry vegetal vetiver drydown", as requested. On my skin the cedar is much too prominent, but it does get a lot of love here on Basenotes, and it's worth a try. Incidentally it works much better on a hot day...
Thanks for the distinction Al -- a dirty leather would probably be okay as long as it's not too rich. I am pretty sick of safe, boring, powdery musk drydowns.
French Lover sounds like a good match, thanks! I enjoy cedar and angelica a lot. I'll have to think hard about it since it's so pricey.
Monsieur Lanvin Vetyver sounds like it would fit the bill (the original).
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Thanks Al, I'll do that for sure.
Well, I ordered the Luca Turin top 10 masculines pack of 1ml decants from The Perfumed Court and now that I'm finally over my cold for the most part, I am delving in. (I would have dropped by Barney's this weekend if I'd been feeling better.) This is not so much because I think any of them will be right for me, but for my own edification.
The first scent I tried is one that sounded like it might be a fit, or at least enjoyable to smell, Chanel's Sycomore. I dipped my scent strip directly into the vial (no atomizer...) about 15 minutes ago, and I must say, it's the best perfume I've ever smelled, knowing what I was smelling. That is not saying a lot, since I haven't been through more than a couple dozen. It's just so amazingly natural and balanced. If my opinion changes farther into the drydown, I'll repost here.
I'm not surprised no one suggested it, as it is neither green nor animalic enough -- it's more smoke and dry woods. But I do love the vetiver. I like the aromatics too .. and in fact I can finally smell that camphoric-smoky tone of sycamores. It brought me back to my front yard as a child, all those tall eucalyptus dropping their dry leaves on our steep driveway in the Winter!
Okay it's been around half an hour and there is a slightly sweeter note coming in, probably sandalwood, and boy it just really works. I am totally blown away by this composition! I knew I was right to give the world of synthetic frags a sincere shot at impressing me.
Sycomore isn't right for me because it's too civilized, but it is absolutely fantastic. Very surprising that it is being marketed to women. I love how dry it is (8 or 9 on a scale of 10). My first 5-star rating for sure. It's got a bit of a glow to it, but not annoyingly, synthetically so. We'll see if the drydown is too musky for me -- I'm pretty sure I'm hyperosmic to macrocyclic musks and many other synthetics (since others don't seem nearly as bothered by them as I).
Last edited by MonkeyBars; 24th May 2011 at 11:28 PM.
There's no designer frag like that, I'll tell you that much.
It's fun to "witness" someone discover their first five-star frag. It may not fill the role for green animality that you're looking for, but don't forget: different situations call for different fragrances! I got into the fragrance game thinking I'd be a 1-2 fragrance dude. Now it's more like 25 and counting... Watch out!
Al Gae, when you start collecting frags it will always be a number, from 2 to 999, with the phrase "and counting" following.
pk116, you'll have to refer directly to what you mean by "that" if you want me to understand.
Al, I thought you might dig what I had to say about Sycomore! I will indeed be careful. I have a few natural perfumes and oils that I created and enjoy wearing them at different times, so I do know what it's like. Formulation and mixing became too time-consuming, however, and that's another reason I'm here, smelling professional compositions.
Sycomore is pretty linear after the first minute, slightly mellowing but still perfect dry vetiver-woods. Wonderful stuff.
Well, I didn't want to spend $5 for a sample of Yatagan which is $29 for a 4.2oz bottle, so I just went ahead and ordered it blind.
You'll see my post on the For Sale board if I hate it. Wish me luck...
Anyway, some things to try:
One Man Show (Jacques Bogart): maybe more brown (nutmeg, incense) than green (galbanum, basil), it is bitterly dry, and a bit of a beast (cistus labdanum and castoreum in the base.) It does include jasmine, somewhere, but I wouldn't recommend spraying extra to find out where.
Bogart (Jacques Bogart): green, woody, and I rarely notice the Russian leather in the base. It is a comfortable green scent ...
... somewhat unlike Bandit (Piguet), which you seemed to be describing. It's one of THE feminine green leather fragrances, but after an hour I think you'll understand why I describe it as the first things you should smell after missing a curve in the road and wrapping your Harley around an orange tree. (l'Anarchiste is a close second - no crankcase oil, but plenty of oranges, and some folks say they smell blood)
Well Derby is certainly nowhere even close to what I'm looking for... check my thread on LT's top 10 masculines for more info:
adversity introduces a man to himself -anonymous
Try Route de Vetiver by MPG (vintage juice, if you can find it) and if you're really lucky (or rich) try the discontinued Djedi by Guerlain the dryest, greenest, most animalic fragrance I've ever smelled.
"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"
-- Jack Kerouac
on second thought... Creed Original Vetiver does actually turn somewhat dusty on the drydown, that may work
also give Vetiver Tonka and Encre Noire a sniff
adversity introduces a man to himself -anonymous
Djedi sounds like a perfect match, other than the fact that it costs 10x more than most fragrances!
Dior Fahrenheit is WAY too sweet for me. I am uncompromising and my fragrance should be too.
Oops I must have gotten confused!
French Lover/Bois d'Orage
Eau de Campagne
Papyrus de Ciane
Route du Vétiver (again)
So dry you can choke on it.
or perhaps Vertiver Extrordinaire - Also very dry, but in a different way.
Thanks guys! Maybe I will head to the Editions de Parfums counter @ Barney's in Beverly Hills today to check out Bois d'Orage and Vetiver Extraordinaire.
Had a dream that my Yatagan arrived! It smelled like an animalic pine...
Okay, this is a big day!
First off, hats off to you guys. Give yourselves a hand, because you guys actually read my post and responded with stuff you think I would like, instead of trying to convince me you have good taste. I really appreciate that.
So I had lunch at Souplantation (man that was bland -- I'm just going to do niche everything from now on) and headed down to Barney's in Beverly Hills. Took me a second to find the Malle counter behind the staircase, but the funky red booths were unmistakable once I got there.
I found the girl at the counter helpful but rather arrogant and even a bit snide. I was mentioning some notes I detected in the frags and she laughed haughtily while correcting my erroneous assumptions. Um, girl you're a salesgirl, I don't care how well trained you are to sell, I have several thousands of dollars worth of essential oils and absolutes, don't tell me I'm not smelling a touch of tuberose. And a lowly pleeb like you certainly doesn't have access to the formulae. Come on.
Naturally, my first forays were Bois d'Orange aka French Lover, and Vetiver Extraordinaire on the wide Malle scent cards, which are so much more efficient than stupid little strips for atomizing. WOW! Now we're talking. This is some scent art of the highest order. Both come out of the gate with bitter accords like the intense tones of an oboe in the altissimo register and trumpets playing fluttertongue in the lower register, respectively. I smelled them in the scent booths and got a much more diffuse, smooth effect. Definitely a very different experience. I think it was more like a "snapshot" of the drydown in that it kind of included the top, heart, and base notes rather than a temporal drydown like on the skin or a strip.
I also got samples of Carnal Flower (most accurate tuberose I've ever encountered, stunning), Musc Ravageur (candy-floral bouquet with a hint of poisonous bitterness, kind of interesting) and Eau d'Hiver (more tuberose but very "muted strings" .. might buy that for my dream girl some day) just out of curiosity.
The florals in Bois d'Orage and Vetiver Extraordinaire are much more apparent on paper than on my skin. Maybe that's why so many frags smell too sweet to me on scent strips. Bois is dry cedar, vetiver, and orange blossom on my skin. V.E. is vetiver and god knows what else dirtying the sh*t out of it. Genius.
One amazing sidenote: Bois d'Orage is like a perfected version of an all-natural fragrance that I've been working on for a few years now. They both take advantage of a vetiver-cedar-orange blossom-artemisia accord that is very masculine. All those notes share a bitter overtone that combine stunningly. Of course my paltry 23 trials don't compare to the 100s that Pierre Bourdon did as a full-time perfumer, but I like to think I was on to something awesome, and here is my proof! One thing Pierre succeeded in was continuing the fresh greenness further into the heart accord than I was able. Well it's no wonder since he used synthetics too, whereas I was stuck with galbanum and violet leaf! It's still in the heart accord at the moment so I guess check out my full review to hear how the base turns out. His heart accord drops off into something a bit more quiet, just like mine does. Sillage unknown. It goes without saying that I love it and would definitely wear it; after all my own nose and imagination led me in exactly this precise direction. However I'll probably wait since I've got something so similar sitting on my bathroom counter. Thank you so much Al Gae!
Vetiver Extraordinaire. Now this is some bitter-ass stuff. Wow. Totally uncompromising, and I love it. Another 5-star fragrance. A little touch of floral balance in the heart, like the white dot on the black side of the yin-yang, saves it from being a monster. It's got animalic going too somehow. Ugh. It's ugly-beautiful. I'd wear it. Pretty pricey though. Great suggestion, Slim!
Now for the topper. My blind buy bottle of Yatagan finally arrived today! Got it out of my mailbox just as I was smelling my wrists coming home from Barney's. Went out to the balcony just in case the stuff is so strong and horrible I accidentally fumigate my apt. Got it on the strip. At first I got a little familiar citrus, probably bergamot, with disturbing rumblings beneath. Pretty dry. Then the rest of the composition unfolded into a disgusting and beautiful scent. I am pretty dumbfounded how it can be fresh AND gross/skanky at the same time, and how these two elements are not separate but part of a cohesive accord. I think it's making me nauseous, but I can't put the strip down. It smells like a beaver eating vegetable soup (heavy on the celery seed) in a spruce forest. I've still got the Bois and V.E. on my wrists so a skin trial will have to happen tomorrow. I have a feeling it will take me more than one wear to figure out what's going on there. I'm thankful to rompip and the rest of you for sending me in that weird and unusual direction.
Last edited by MonkeyBars; 27th May 2011 at 11:50 PM.
Followup: the Bois d'Orage vetiver-cedar drydown parallels my "Absinthe" almost directly. I had added a little extra storax to mine to smooth out and cool off the warm cedar, but it's basically the same. It's pretty shocking to experience the closeness.
Vetiver Extraordinaire keeps that cigar-ash note into the drydown with the vetiver. Craziness. Not sure I could wear it... need a little more life in my frag perhaps. But very unusual and interesting!
Yatagan. Spritzed once before dinner, but I found it pretty quiet. My friend had to lean way in to get a little whiff, so not much sillage, but it certainly lasts. I can say with certainty that I love the opening accord, the first 3-4 minutes. The rest is so strange, yet familiar... sooo animalic, but also edible and a little green and fresh. Hard to get a bead on "like/dislike." Suffice to say I'm glad I got a bottle, because it's gonna take me a few ml to figure out what's up with it. It's a grand adventure. What a day! Thanks basenotes!
Hey rompip, interesting subject. What do you mean by "how you apply"? Like, under your shirt or over, & where you spritz?
I was out at a bar last night and mentioned I was wearing a new cologne (the Yatagan) out in the smoking patio. The dude next to me was like, yeah it's intense. The girl next to couldn't smell it at all until she leaned way in, but there was a consistent breeze blowing it directly into the guy so that makes sense.
It's now been almost 10 hours since application and it's mostly gone. That's good imo -- I prefer a scent to last about 12 hours ideally (longer on fabric of course). Hardly any of my natural fragrances last more than 6 hours (since no animal notes).
Reactions were pretty neutral from girls. I think they were a bit confused by it. I'm actually pleased about that -- it might be the best possible reaction for my nefarious purposes .
Last edited by MonkeyBars; 28th May 2011 at 10:55 PM.
Yatagan is a probably bit more edible than what I was looking for -- probably due to the infamous celery note. That and the castoreum make for a powerfully strange cocktail. I absolutely LOVE the top accord, which of course lasts maybe 6 minutes at the outside. I definitely like my bottle and will keep it, but the search continues for now.
Just ordered a bottle of Pino Silvestre after doing a bit more research about green scents. At $16 for 125ml of EDT, I figure it was a good blind buy. I like pine and herbs, and some people say it smells like BO, so it might be fun. Maybe I'll layer it with the Yatagan and see what happens. You guys predicted it ... my collection has commenced. I didn't actually realize some terrific scents are super cheap like this.
There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about Artemisia. Either that, or there exist extracts of the stem or roots I don't know about. Regardless, I'd like to point out that wormwood leaves are a top note -- they're gone in 4 minutes. I'd LOVE to find a fragrance that can magically continue wormwood well into the heart. Wormwood is bitter, astringent, fresh, herbal, and slightly green (even though it's a poisonous gray color). So, add that into the mix...
Pino silvestre is certainly worth, especially for the price. For something more green containing pine you could also check Eloge d'un traitre by Etat Libre d'Orange. (Their Je suis un homme has also green notes and is equally excellent).
I would encourage you to smell Bandit, as offscenter suggested as well. It's a powerhouse leather. Green, and extremely dry, and the leather is of the chemical, quinoline type. Some people find it animalic too (perhaps because it's a leather), though I find none of the animalic notes of some other leathers (like Dzing or Oud Cuir d'Arabie). And you should smell Grey Flannel as well, also pretty green, dry, and chemical.
Actually I'm looking for a more natural, rather than chemical, scent. Nevertheless I'll try to catch Bandit and the others.
I'm looking for the smell of a rare, poisonously bitter flower that grows in a jungle alive with terrifying monsters. Weeds' stems break open and ooze acrid ichor. A black jaguar sits among the herbs and cleans itself calmly, yet alert to every sound. Everything is bursting with danger, life, and intensity. It's eat or be eaten . . .
Ah was hoping Yatagan would do the job for you!
I quite enjoy Pino. The opening is glorious.
Just picked up a combo pack of Grey Flannel EDT and aftershave for $19 down at Ross. Opened the EDT and spritzed on a strip. The opening green intensity is fantastic! Then it goes directly into something really quite sweet and soapy. I'll have to wear it some time and give it a shot. Off the strip it's too classic & soapy for me for sure. Did soap formulators use this as their template for dozens of years? Smells like expensive soap. Blech, never liked that stuff. GF has more depth so far though.
Ah, the sweetness was transitory. Dry & soapy now.
Update: I wore 3 spritzes of Yatagan shopping today and I straight up enjoyed the occasional waft and the vibe I felt from it. It might not be my signature fragrance (yet?) but it's a winner. Definitely hidden depths that I look forward to exploring more.
Bandit sounds too soapy. I can't stand Ivory, Dove, Irish Spring etc. Maybe it's aldehydes and their horribly synthetic sinus-blasting effect. Always hated it -- much, much too strong for me.
I just used the Grey Flannel as a bathroom spray, and it worked great, since all I got was that terrific, intense, green top accord! I'll definitely give the aftershave a shot since I know they often leave out some longer-lived notes in it.
It does have a cool freshness about it, surprisingly, for something that is so dark and bitter. The kind of freshness that makes me think, "If I inhale too deeply, my lungs will freeze".
You can class that effect as a purifying sort of "clean"--even if that is not quite accurate--which in turn might call to mind something like soap. But I would hesitate to call it soapy outright.
I am glad Yatagan is working out for you. Marvelous stuff, even if it doesn't feel right on me.
Also, with regards to "application method" mentioned above, I also find this matters with some frags. French Lover, for instance, if sprayed too directly to my skin, results in this kind of hamster-cage cedar bomb. If sprayed from a little further away, the fragrance really opens up and the other notes blossom into a symphony of goodness, which really dispels that hamster cage vibe. Number of sprays is also an important consideration, as mentioned by rompip. Seldom an issue with me, as I'm fairly low-key with my frags, and a generous application of anything would be 4-5 sprays...
bandit isn't soapy, and not exactly 'nice' either, especially the vintage. true to it's name, you could say it's represents dark side of perfumery. being very bitter and dry, it's also a great example that feminine fragrances aren't always sweet and soft...
and chypres aren't what you think they are either. canoe is a fougere, and the chypre accord in itself isn't soapy at all.
aromatic elixer is something you could try, chanel no 19 (given the right formulation), vent vert (the old stuff only), private collection.. maybe the first scherrer, too.
have you tried yatagan some more?
oh yeah, if you want to try something truly animalic, regardless of you other wishes, go for la nuit by rabanne. that's about as animalic as it gets..