Perfume Reviews

Reviews by The Cologne Cabinet

Total Reviews: 98

Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

TF Signature Beau de Jour EDP sample
(2020) -


My top 5 in this style are Azzaro pour Homme, Aramis Tuscany, Brut, Drakkar Noir, and Gucci Nobile.

I enjoyed wearing Beau de Jour as its understated shaving cream vibe is right in my wheelhouse, but how often would I reach for it?

At $150 for 100 ml this one has holiday wish list for the mature gentleman written all over it. I knew this beard would pay off eventually!

3.5 stars
02nd December, 2020

Cavendish by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements

Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements “Cavendish” EDP (Pipe Tobacco) -

This type of fragrance has the potential to be a pipe tobacco lovers dream or simply another entry in a long line of banal unisex tropes that smell like a candle.

Fortunately, Cavendish is the latter! Well blended and complex with the subtle addition of wood, vanilla and mild smoke. No ash here, just straight out of the pouch pipe tobacco.

Recommended pairings - Brisk weather; Crackling fireplace; Flannel; Tumbler of Bushmills.

3.5 stars
02nd December, 2020

Havana Reserva by Aramis

Aramis Havana Reserva EDT -

Released in 1996 as a “concentree” flanker to the original, this one has been long discontinued and can be tough to find. The bottles are identical, shaped as a conga drum in blue frosted glass, with the only difference being that Reserva has a silver topped cap.

Havana Reserva is definitely a different animal than the original, however the backbone and DNA are the same. The opening is much less aromatic / boozy and instead dives right into a thick, oily blend of spices over a dusty vanilla. They are both mildly sweet.

After an hour, your head will be placed squarely inside the bouquet of the humidor's chopping block as the leafy, earthy tobacco and cedar sharpen their collective axe. Your smile should be a mile wide at this point!

Reserva is an amazing composition, BUT truthfully, only dyed in the wool Aramis Havana devotees (like me) need apply. The overall differences are not going to be worth it for the casual fan of the original.

If you are interested in applying for admission as a Brother of the Leaf, then polish up your V-cutter and expect to pay north of $125 for a 100ml bottle.

4.5 stars
23rd November, 2020 (last edited: 24th November, 2020)
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Devin by Aramis

Aramis Devin EDT (current) -

To my nose, Devin is a kissing cousin of Halston Z-14. A very similar grassy, pine and mild cinnamon opening that moves through a heart of soft florals before wrapping up with a base of leather, musk and moss.

I was concerned about the floral heart of this one before I tested as heavy florals are not my preference. I was pleasantly surprised as they blended in with deft subtlety. The blending here is so good that nothing in particular stands out or dominates the overall experience.

Devin offers up a really pleasant composition that would wear comfortably in a casual or formal setting. Like the entire Aramis Gentleman's line, you get a 100ml bottle for around $20 bucks, which is tough to beat. Viva Aramis!

4.5 stars
22nd November, 2020

La Yuqawam pour Homme by Rasasi

La Yuqawam pour Homme EDP -

Like other frags by Rasasi I have worn, you need to give this one time to develop. Out of the gate, it reminds me of Dior Fahrenheit with the strong violet leaf gasoline accord. All good so far!

Then, you get the TF Tuscan Leather comparisons with the Raspberry note. Saffron is prominent here as well. At this point I am getting concerned as it is getting legs and smelling a lot stronger. Yikes!

After 90 minutes, the blending begins to take shape and round out a bit. This seems to be a characteristic of Rasasi, all signs point to a possible train wreck and then all of a sudden it’s calm waters and smooth sailing. The frag remains very strong, but the composition improves.

Overall, 3 stars, as I would only reach for this on a cold day / evening and IMO it isn’t versatile enough for a work setting.

1 spray is good for 12-15 hours and if it hits your jacket collar then you just signed a 72 hour binding contract.
16th November, 2020

Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

Montana Parfum d'Homme (Vintage red box)...from a sample -

This fume is a no-brainer to add to the wardrobe of any fans out there of Aramis Havana (like me). The familiar bright and refreshing aldehydic opening link the two immediately, with Montana favoring a shade of 80's oakmoss and Havana shooting a spicy rum floater.

As they progress, Montana steers its suit towards a well heeled zip code while Havana refuses to put out its cigar and break up the pool party.

Montana is a men's fragrance of 80's construction (1989) that wears very easily and modern. This one would be a great entry point for anyone wanting to experience a bit of vintage, add versatility to their wardrobe, and not break the bank. The 125 ml vintage formula can be found online for around $50.

4 stars

15th November, 2020

Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

Acqua Di Gio EDT -

How I loathed this fragrance when it was new. For me, it was a victim of its own popularity as it was inescapably absolutely everywhere. School, the grocery store, the mall, the movies, everywhere!!

Now, revisiting this one almost 25 years later I can review it with a clear head and confidently say that I have now confirmed the source of my hatred for calone in fragrance. "Marine notes" just don't do it for me, especially when turned up to 11.

1 star out of respect for the popular imprint Acqua Di Gio has left on the long history of men's perfumery.
10th November, 2020

Gucci pour Homme II by Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme II EDT -

My nose is not sophisticated enough to appreciate this fragrance. I can recognize that it is well made, but the tea note just doesn't get my engines going.

It is basically an herbal tea note mixed with watery violet leaf sprinkled with cinnamon. Clove isn't listed, but the impression of it seems to be and may be attributed to the Myrrh / Olive wood in the base.

I found that it manifested into a kind of "warm-aquatic" scent that sits blandly on the unisex fence.

Demand for this one remains high as prices online still float around 3 dead presidents for 100 ml. Longevity wasn't anything to shout about as it only performed for around 3 hours.

2.5 stars.
05th November, 2020

Acqua di Cuba by Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella "Acqua di Cuba" -

Opens with a very pleasant semi-sweet honey that blends quickly into a flower blossom accord. Not overly sweet or too flowery at all. The tobacco is of the moist variety where you get a humidor effect, no ash or smoke to be found here.

Acqua di Cuba is strong and subtle all at once and as the user you may not realize how it is being perceived by others. In the air, the tobacco aura around you will carry the scent more prominently than when you just bury your nose into your wrist. Definitely a trait of a well made fragrance.

3 stars.

03rd November, 2020

Sotoor WaaW by Rasasi

Rasasi Sotoor "Waaw" EDP -

Tag line: "Rasasi - Make Your Presence Felt."

I really have grown to love this house as they don't mess around. Unique note pyramids, loooong lasting, and a huge line of frags available at every level of affordability.

Many reviews have compared Sottor Waaw to Spicebomb, but let me assure you, this one exposes Spicebomb for the pimply faced teenager that it is.

Zero synthetic pink pepper harshness and extremely well blended. The opening is very unique with a blend of walnut and mild spices before transitioning towards cinnamon / saffron and smokey woods. Nice and warm and nice!

If you are new to the Rasasi brand, know this...the fragrance will not necessarily smell amazing to you the user, but the vapor trail you leave behind will. I also have "Tobacco Blaze" and it performs the same way. Smells great to others, but can seem a bit flat to me when I wear it. In Rasasi we trust!

4 stars.
02nd November, 2020

Herrera for Men by Carolina Herrera

"Herrera for Men" EDT (Original Formula, 1991) -

Along with Polo Green, "Herrera for Men" is Carlos Benaim's best work and my personal favorite from this house. The combo here of clove, tobacco and soft musk are expertly blended for a mildly sweet and earthy feel.

The original formulation does not have any synthetic moments to my nose and the overall longevity is strong at around 8 hours with 4 sprays.

3.5 stars.
02nd November, 2020

Aramis by Aramis

Google "Herbal. Leather. Chypre." and you will see a picture of an unassuming bottle, adorned with lower case letters and a gold plastic cap. Aramis IS the definition.

Even re-formulated to soften the edges, there is a reason this stalwart is still in the game 55 years on.

Wear with caution in warmer weather as the cumin note has the potential to blow your hair back. Under normal conditions, Aramis quiets down around 10 minutes after the first spray.

Some may condemn Aramis as outdated, but when you are still swinging a 20 lb sledge after 50+ years are you really concerned about the opinion of others anyway?

4 stars.
01st November, 2020 (last edited: 02nd November, 2020)

One Man Show by Jacques Bogart

"One Man Show" (Vintage 1 oz spray / 85% vol) -

Jacques Bogart "One Man Show" already holds a strong position in the cheapie hall of fame so I will not belabor that point.

For reference, if you are a fan of "Bogart Signature (1975)", you will notice the clear progression One Man Show takes just 5 years later to ring in 1980 as the decade of powerhouse men's fragrances.

One Man Show follows the note pyramid to a tee, opening up with with a dry blast of Bergamot, Basil, and Galbanum...transitioning briefly to layer on Rose and Jasmine before closing with Sandalwood, Castoreum, and Cedar. The 85% vintage was never synthetic at all to my nose.

Overall, this one projects serious business. Dry, masculine and in charge at all times! If you are all about wearing frags that do not sit on the fence, One Man Show timelessly fits the bill 100%.

4 stars.
01st November, 2020
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Uomo Signature by Salvatore Ferragamo

Uomo "Signature" EDP -

UH OH, get your earplugs as the opening is quite synthetically loud!! Fortunately, after about 10 minutes it settles down into a pleasantly sweet leather, patchouli and coffee accord which is well blended.

If you are like me and not a big enthusiast of the sweet stuff, this one will still pass muster as it is greatly toned down from the stratospheric heights its older brother "Uomo" flys in.

For an EDP, the longevity was only average on my skin at around 8 hours so if you want more hit your shirt.

A safe blind buy? I would say yes, as this one is very agreeable for casual wear and a great value with 100 ml bottles found on line for around $40.

3 stars.
30th October, 2020

This is not a Pipe by Demeter Fragrance Library

Demeter "This is not a Pipe" -

Difficult not to like this one if you are a tobacco enthusiast. A one not samba of mildly sweet pipe tobacco straight out of the pouch. Lasts for a few hours exactly as expected. Light 'em up!

3 stars.
30th October, 2020

John Varvatos Oud by John Varvatos

John Varvatos Oud EDP (sample) -

If you are a fan of the Varvatos fragrance line then you will dig "Oud". Smooth and charming, this one comes right out of gate with the signature JV tobacco note mixed with some cinnamon, moving into a mid of rose and more spices, and finally closing with leather and woods.

Overall, a mildly sweet, masculine and fairly dark presentation where the crowded note pyramid actually blends really well. If there is oud in this, it's wrapped tightly within a bunch of other notes and is not a main player.

As an EDP, this one will stick around a bit longer than other JV EDT offerings, although projection remains low. 4 sprays will give you 6 solid hours on skin, but if you hit your shirt it will be there all day.

On the JV website, "Oud" is still punching above its weight priced at $120 for 125ml, but on the gray market you can find it for around $50 which is what this casual mid-level designer is really worth.

3 stars.
24th October, 2020

Open Black by Roger & Gallet

Whomever claims time travel hasn't been invented has yet to experience the glorious new vintage of "OPEN Black".

Released the same year as well behaved clubbers Eros and Invictus (2013), this one flaunts a flagrant middle finger right in their faces, having more in common with long gone discontinued cousins Van Cleef & Arpels Tsar and Lapidus Pour Homme.

Door Man: "You're not on the list."

Open Black: "Good story, but in what chapter do you shut the f*ck up?"

4 stars.
22nd October, 2020 (last edited: 16th November, 2020)

Cuba by Czech & Speake

Czech & Speake Cuba (sample / current version) -

Disclaimer: Aramis Havana is in my Top 3 all-time deserted on a desert island frags.

“Cuba” has a beautiful opening where you get a very unique mint, lime and rum blend with no synthetic noise at all. This one is well made for sure!

After around 20 minutes, the mids start kicking - rose, bay leaf and clove. This blend to me hints at poolside “chlorine” but it’s still palatable. Maybe drinks poolside is the intent?

Finally, the dry down is where the similarities to Havana come in to play. In terms of strength and projection they are also in the same ballpark.

“Cuba” really is a wonderful fragrance, although for me, Havana remains my preferred choice for 2 big reasons -

It is undeniably a bit rough around the edges and clearly masculine where “Cuba” leans unisex...

Value - For 100ml, “Cuba” goes for $160 and Havana goes for $20.

3 stars.
20th October, 2020

Tobacco by Franck Boclet

Franck Boclet Tobacco EDP (sample) -

Like, but not Love. I could see wearing this one around the holidays as it is not overpowering or too sweet so it won't make all of your food taste like cake frosting.

My main issue with this fragrance is that it smells exactly like a scented candle. More often than not, I don't fancy to smell like a candle. Even an expensive, extra fancy one. I was hoping the vetiver in the base would add a bit of smoke, but it wasn't meant to be.

For tobacco frag heads, this definitely leans unisex and the tobacco note is well balanced with the dried fruits. A much more subtle composition overall than Tobacco Vanille.

2.5 stars.
20th October, 2020

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite by Tom Ford

Tom Ford Noir Anthracite (sample) -

This dude is swingin' brass knuckles and makes the black heart of Jacomo de Jacomo smell like Tobacco Vanille dipped in candy cane garland sipping hot cocoa on Christmas morning.

Bone dry, ZERO sweetness, spicy peppers, and a wide wood post shoved right up your arse.

I will give it a few more testings and update, but as of now I would reach for Jacomo before this one.

2.5 stars
19th October, 2020

Bottega Veneta pour Homme by Bottega Veneta

When you have absolutely no idea what to wear, you reach for your favorite casual "uniform" - a charcoal grey slub t-shirt, jeans, boots and Ray-Ban's. Nothing fancy, just comfortable and confident.

That's this fragrance in a nutshell. Well blended, masculine, never loud and good to go all year round. You may not stand out, but you know you've got the goods so who cares?

3 stars.
15th October, 2020

La Yuqawam Tobacco Blaze pour Homme by Rasasi

Rasasi Tobacco Blaze -

Disclaimer: 1 Spray only

After reading reviews of how nuclear this one is I made sure to test it one day when I was home alone HA!

Tobacco Blaze is one of those frags where it doesn’t smell like anything special when you sniff your wrist, but when it projects off of you (and fills the room) the fragrance really blooms.

For me, the blend of mildly sweet apricot and ashy tobacco are most prominent and a unique combo that you won’t normally find in this genre. Other reviewers claim to experience a harsh motor oil smell, I never got any of that so it may have been re-formulated since it’s original release in 2013.

Overall, I enjoyed Tobacco Blaze. If you are unable to discipline yourself to use only 1 spray, then do your loved ones a favor and add an additional one to your shirt.

Definitely a cooler weather frag as too much heat would just assassinate the user and anyone within 20 feet of him.
Longevity is easily 12-15 hours.

3 stars
14th October, 2020

Halston Z-14 by Halston

Vintage Halston Z-14 (Jeff Gordon Edition) -

Tom Ford's Italian Cypress is discontinued, while it's prototype - Halston Z-14 - lives on! (Sort of...)

Nothing dated here, with an amazingly green opening, which is very bright and not synthetic at all floating over a heart of very well done cinnamon, cedar and geranium.

UNLIKE THE CURRENT VERSION, the Jeff Gordon Edition has oakmoss in the base to anchor Z-14's long list of ingredients together and is thankfully still widely available online for less than $20.

Extremely versatile, Z-14 can be worn year round.

4 stars.

13th October, 2020

Bentley for Men Absolute by Bentley

Bentley for Men Absolute / 100 ml EDP - 

Clearly, Michel Almairac had a job to do and many with the exception of only the most ardent Tom Ford era loyalists will enjoy this Gucci Pour Homme I re-creation. If you have never worn the original then you won't know what you are missing anyway - WIN!

For around $30 you can experience this interpretation while patiently waiting for your Ebay search engine to find a vintage bottle of GPH. Then you will need to make the call - pay my rent or get this juice!? (100 ml New In Box can go for $500 +). 

I have worn GPH I for years and for me Bentley for Men Absolute is not a clone, but rather an impression. There are many similarities, but ultimately the composition of the original Gucci is superior as apparently synthetic oud is de rigueur in men's perfumery forever more. 

Nevertheless, I look forward to wearing Bentley this Fall as the cooler weather will allow it to shine. 

3.5 stars. 
10th October, 2020

Perfecto Fino by Czech & Speake

"Perfecto Fino" EdP 100ml Spray -

"CELEBRATING LATIN AMERICA: Perfecto Fino reflects the rich, complex, exciting yet tough world of Central America. Unapologetically masculine; fiery and powerful."

IMO this is unisex all the way. Nothing sharp or animalic in the tradition of "unapologetically masculine" fragrances. In its defense, there is zero sweetness.

The opening is burning campfire with a haze of grass floating in the smoke. After an hour the basenotes begin to appear, particularly a well blended sandalwood and leather.

The tobacco has a minor role here, as the blending is so smooth it does not appear as you may expect in the form of cigar ash. Again, unisex, wouldn't want to offend anybody!

Overall, a neutral rating (3 stars) as for me this fragrance would not be an easy pull or very versatile. It definitely leans winter time only. The colder the better and the last time I checked that type of weather is hard to come by south of the equator.

At $225 for 100ml, this juice is fairly priced as 1-2 sprays is all you need. If you are only spraying in the winter then you could get 10 years out of one bottle.

Pro Tip: Hot, cold, humid, dry, rain, sun, smoking, non-smoking - don't matter to the king of versatile tobacco frags - ARAMIS HAVANA.

08th October, 2020

Azzaro pour Homme Intense (new) by Azzaro

Azzaro Pour Homme Intense (2015) -

You step into your local Starbucks day after day to get your regular morning joe, a grande with a splash of cream. Reliable, gets the job done and you don't even think twice.

During the holidays, you are feeling the spirit of the season in the air so one day you splurge on a Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Warming, a bit of spice and sweeter than your normal everyday brew. A nice treat.

Thats the difference between Azzaro Pour Homme and Azzaro Pour Homme Intense. It's the same coffee, just one is dressed up for the holidays.

3.5 stars.
07th October, 2020

Visit by Azzaro

Spicebomb for your Dad. Pepper, Spices, Cedar, and Musk toned way down to an acceptable volume and presented in a bottle that looks like the hood ornament on the Starship Enterprise.

Your Dad will love it and appreciate the nostalgia. Happy holidays!

3 stars.
07th October, 2020

Clubman by Pinaud

I have had the vintage in the glass bottle and the current version in plastic, both are very strong and comparable enough to my nose. This is about as classic as it gets - lavender, talc and a bracing burn.

This stuff lasts 3-4 hours too! If you really want to sharpen your razor, go for the "Special Reserve" blend which is Classic Pinaud + Leather. BOOM!

Rating as Neutral as the talc is a bit too powdery for my taste, but overall this is excellent juice backed up by an over 200 year old pedigree.

3 stars.
04th October, 2020

Jovan Musk for Men by Jovan

Jovan Musk (Vintage / pre-Coty version) -

Jovan Musk is the Cheapie Hall of Fame Cooler King!
Von Luger : Are all American officers so ill-mannered?

Hilts : Yeah, about 99 percent.

Von Luger : Then perhaps while you are with us you will have a chance to learn some. Ten days isolation, Hilts.

Hilts : CAPTAIN Hilts.

Von Luger : Twenty days.

Hilts : Right. Oh, uh, you'll still be here when I get out?

Von Luger : [visibly annoyed]  Cooler!

("The Great Escape" 1963) 
4 stars.
01st October, 2020 (last edited: 16th November, 2020)

Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

Longevity and projection are always connected to this line, but I enjoy the John Varvatos line for the exact opposite reason that it gets heavily criticized - I don’t need my fragrance to create a scent bubble a 1/4 mile out while continuing to pound off me for 12 hours.

For $30 bucks if it isn’t a synthetic mess and smells good then frag on baby. If I need 6-8 sprays then so be it.

Dark Rebel reminds me of a more tobacco smoke forward Halston Z-14. It has a mild cinnamon sweetness in the heart and leather in the base. Z-14 is more complex, but the vibe is similar overall.

3.5 stars.
01st October, 2020 (last edited: 05th October, 2020)