Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Hugh V.

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Total Reviews: 53

Azzaro pour Homme L'Eau by Azzaro

I was iffy about buying this, even at a discounted price. I like Azzaro Pour Homme but it's a big rough around the edges and smells a little crude at times. A lighter version smells ideal. However, not too many people talk about the L'eau version so maybe there's a reason for that, right? But curiosity got the better of me and I pulled the trigger.

The opening immediately is deceptively modern and fresh but up close you can tell it's got the original's DNA but not rough or sharp.

After the opening dissipates and it begins to dry down it immediately smells like a 10-15% fresher take on Aramis Tuscany. I like Azzaro Pour Homme but I don't like Tuscany. It's okay but a bit warm and even a hint of a sweat note somewhere in there. Azzaro L'eau though is like Tuscany perfected.

This is very much a "watery" or "fresh" take on the original Azzaro Pour Homme, but despite how fresh it is, the retro vibe is still there. However, if you're a fan of barbershop fougeres but find the the classics to smell too dated and strong to pull off in environments such as the workplace, I think this one is the perfect compromise. It still smells a bit barbershop-y and of course has dated aspects to it, but it doesn't have that musky dry down of old classics like the original APH, Paco Rabanne PH, or Tuscany.

Now the problem with L'eau is that it doesn't last too long, maybe 3-4 hours, and it seems to stay close to the skin. However, taking into consideration the fact that it's extremely fresh smelling, I think that may be the reason why there's not enough chemicals to make it stay adhesive to the skin for a long period of time. And I'm okay with that because this usually goes for a discounted price, and the scent itself is very good.

SIMILAR TO:
Quite similar to Aramis Tuscany, reminiscent of Azzaro Pour Homme.

CONCLUSION:
I really enjoy Azzaro L'eau. It wasn't quite what I expected but it's got this wonderful old school feel to it while still being wearable and versatile. I love classic fragrances from the 80s but I've always been disappointed that they seem to all have a "dirty" aspect to them, which makes them hard to pull off, especially in warmer weather. The only light ones I can think of are Armani Eau Pour Homme, which itself is kind of basic and still not very fresh. This one though is kind of what I've been looking for.
21st July, 2020

Mambo for Men by Liz Claiborne

This is an underrated gem.

The Liz Claiborne DNA is in this one. If you've ever tried Curve, Lucky You, or Bora Bora, you'll recognize something similar in Mambo for Men. So it's got something fresh/sweet going on at first.

As soon as the dry down starts it reminds me a bit of the 1980s. I can't put my finger on it, but it just has some retro vibe in there, and yet it doesn't smell like the usual suspects of the powerhouse decade. I've seen it compared to Drakkar Noir and Gillette Cool Wave. I personally don't see that exactly, but it does feel like it could be one of their peers. I get a note of pencil shavings somewhere in there that provides a nice balance to the sweeter elements at play.

CONCLUSION:
This smells good. Sometimes it feels like a throwback scent, other times it smells like a modern unisex fragrance. For me, this is a top 10 fragrance.
05th July, 2020

Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene

This is a difficult fragrance to review because of all the baggage and infamy it has in the fragrance community.
If you've heard of the "Grey Flannel Challenge," YouTube reviewers were dared to try this fragrance and review it since it was supposedly such an outdated and oft-putting scent.

When I finally tried it for the first time I didn't think it was anything remotely awful. If anything I thought it was a pleasant smelling but quaint. Something a once-dandy-now-turned-senior citizen would wear. Soft and floral. It wasn't for me.

I tried it for a second time, and my feelings for it changed. Instead of this light floral scent, I noticed an overall soapy-quality that reminded me of something like Paco Rabanne Pour Homme. Now keep in mind Paco has a dirty aspect to it that gives it this uber-macho character to it while mixing it up with a bit of Irish Spring. I think a lot of late 70s and early 80s barbershop fragrances have that dirty/clean aspect going on. Grey Flannel doesn't have any dirty or challenging notes in the dry down. However, the soapy quality evokes a masculine sophistication.

SIMILAR TO:
Halston 1-12. That one opens greener and a little more masculine, but dries down into an even softer fragrance. I much prefer Grey Flannel, but I think both fragrances occupy the same lane.

CONCLUSION:
This is definitely a quality fragrance that just so happens to be incredibly inexpensive. The more I wear it the more I like it. Originally, yeah I thought it was simple and dated. Now...I think it's one of the best, pre-90s fragrances I've ever smelled.

9/10
08th December, 2019 (last edited: 13th December, 2019)
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Matchabelli by Prince Matchabelli

For some reason I just really love the name of this men's cologne and the art deco-styled bottle. Just very nice and very 80s. On to the scent..

It's an 80s fragrance for sure, yet doesn't smell like the more well known styles from that era: basic herbal-lemon scents (Armani Eau Pour Homme/Aramis Tuscany), incense laden oriental fougeres (Kouros/Antaeus/Lapidus), outright orientals (Calvin Klein Obsession for Men), or soapy green leathers fougeres (Drakkar Noir/Tsar). What is it close too...
The opening is really harsh, and it reminds me of 70s fragrances like Jovan Musk. It's almost sickening. But once it calms down you get this nice floral dry down that doesn't cross over into feminine territory. It's a nice scent that's suave and romantic.
It projects very well for a cologne and has excellent longevity.
This was supposedly a cheap department store fragrance but I find it much better than some of its more expensive peers at the time.
02nd September, 2019 (last edited: 13th December, 2019)

Artisan Pure by John Varvatos

I initially dismissed Artisan Pure. It was a "pure" scent to the point of being boring, similar to the simplistic 4711 (or TF Neroli Portofino).

I gave this one a second go-around, and my opinion completely changed. I still got a very fresh, hot weather-friendly opening, again, similar to 4711.

Then it gets reminiscent of Artisan Acqua, herbal but not as bitter. It's a little more mature at this point, kind of keeping in line with the rest of the JV line.

Then it gets to this third phase where it becomes smoother, softer, and more modern.

It's rare when I encounter a fragrance where I like all of its stages equally.
This is my new favorite in the line, and probably the best all-around fragrance from the house of John Varvatos.
22nd April, 2019

Black by Kenneth Cole

This is a "meh," from me.

It's fresh with a dash of spice.
A very generic, inoffensive fragrance.
The thing is, even though it's a bit more higher quality smelling than Claiborne's line of men's fragrances ie Curve, Mambo, Bora Bora, it's too synthetic and, despite it's fresh nature, a bit cloying.

I think this would make a decent office scent, but it's not that fun to wear.
02nd November, 2018

Aramis by Aramis

Aramis is an interesting one.
Initially, I considered this to be a "granny" fragrance.
I tried this out on a tester strip in the mall and it smelled very floral, and conjured up images of antiques and potpourri. I could imagine an elderly aunt or someones grandma wearing it, but definitely not a man, regardless of age.

After getting some more experience with fragrances, I gave this one a second try, this time on my skin.
This time the opening had a very classic, cologne-y type smell, with some floral and herbal aspects. It was very sophisticated, refined, and almost femme. I could see it as old school unisex.
That lasted for about an hour.

After that it switched gears and became undeniably macho. The leather comes out and there's a hint of sweat in there. The floral aspect are lingered faintly in the distance, but the leather and animalic notes were at the forefront.
The good thing, is that despite this animalic nature and the tough persona, it doesn't wear heavy, unlike other masculines like Polo, Trussardi Uomo, Drakkar Noir, Kouros, etc. I only used one spray though.

SMELLS LIKE...
a little like Quorum. They both have drydowns that have a hint of sweat in there, and their both very macho. There's an herbal element in both as well, but Aramis has florals mixed with it too.
However, I prefer Aramis much more to Quorum.

CONCLUSION:
The first hour of this fragrance is a beautiful scent. Just very classy.
After that, it loses some class and becomes this very rough and tumble character. It matches well with what was in fashion for men in the 1970s: thick mustaches, and shirts unbuttoned enough to show thick tufts of chest hair. I can see John Holmes or Tom Selleck's Magnum P.I. wearing this.

I think this scent is too dated to be a thumbs up. I'm not a fan of that sweaty machismo in men's fragrances. But, for the type of style this fragrance is going for, I think it succeeds very well.
11th October, 2018 (last edited: 13th October, 2018)

Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren

*reformulated version with the clear blue spray nozzle*

This opens up much like Calvin Klein's Eternity. It's sharp and sweet, but with a blue smell to it, if that makes sense.
And like Eternity, the sharpness in the opening gradually fades away to reveal a much softer interpretation of it. To me, it's somewhat linear, in a good way.

I've heard reports that this isn't as good as the Cosmair version. That it even smells bad.
I've never tried the original, but the bottle I did sample smelled really nice and pleasant.

SMELLS LIKE:
Aqua Velva Ice Sport. Almost the exact same, except Polo Sport obviously lasts longer, and has a better dry down.
Also, Aqua Quorum.

CONCLUSION:
I like this scent, but it's not really mature. This feels like something a high schooler would wear. Almost like a starter fragrance.
I think Polo Blue, and Polo Blue Sport are both a slightly more serious take on this style, although I think this one is more distinctive.
Overall this is a very pleasant scent. It feels a bit dated because it reminds me of Cool Water, and that scent, for me, was synonymous with the early/mid 90s.
An excellent fragrance to give you an idea what the 90s was like.
26th September, 2018

Brut by Fabergé

This is for the Special Reserve cologne spray with the medallion.

I always dug Brut products. To me, the aftershave and deodorant used to be synonymous with getting clean, right after hitting the locker room showers. At least back in the day. I think Axe replaced Brut as the school athlete's choice of deodorant.

Anyway, this stuff is so much more potent and strong than the stuff they sell in the plastic bottle. This is more like an oriental fragrance to me. Really thick and heavy.
I think this stuff is too strong.
This smells very dated, especially when it gets down to that spicy powdery dry down phase.


SMELLS LIKE:
The original Old Spice. Not exactly the same, but same vibe: powdery spicy.

CONCLUSION:
It's a classic scent, but even for someone like me who typically likes classics, this one is just far too dated and heavy for me to enjoy.



07th July, 2018 (last edited: 12th September, 2018)

Platinum Égoïste by Chanel

Wow, I'm surprised I'm giving Chanel's cologne a thumbs down.

It opens up decent, with a nice fresh, coldness to it. I've smelled better openings though.

But then it dries down and this queasy-inducing smell comes about. At first it smells almost feminine/floral/slightly powdery, but there's other elements as well that make it smell like...nauseating, stomach turning. Smells like diapers.

Usually when I rush to scrub a fragrance off me it's because they're overly sharp, way too sweet, way too heavy, but this one was actually grossing me out a bit. And it was very hard to wash it off as well.




01st June, 2018 (last edited: 12th July, 2018)

Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne

This is a review for the current EA reformulation.

This starts out with a very loud, synthetic, fruity/green opening. To some it might be like stilettos being jammed up your nose. But the opening overall is a pleasant scent.

It dries down to a skin scent in like an hour.
The vintage had decent-to-strong projection. I remember it drying down into this very musky, synthetic smell. I myself wasn't a fan of this part of it, but I'm in the minority on that one.
The current one dries down is subtle, and doesn't have that musk. It really is a shadow of it's formal self. But that's okay if you think the original was too strong and musky. It's not like the dry down on this gets rough or dirty.
For the type of scent people view it as: starter fragrance, teenager, etc, it's great. It's a sexy smell, and when I wore the original I got compliments.

SIMILAR TO:
Luck You. But this one had a weaker, but better smelling dry down. Luck You smells like burnt plastic or rubber in the middle. Not cool.

Also, this feels like the younger brother of CK Eternity. It's got the same vibe, a fresh, synthetic green opening, then a musky, soft dry down. At least the vintage did.

CONCLUSION:
It's a classic in my opinion. Yeah, it's synthetic but it smells nice.
It has some baggage considering it's age, it being sold in every single discounter, pharmacy, and retailer, and it's cheap price tag.
But it's a solid fragrance.
I'd give it a thumbs up, but considering that this once had very good projection and longevity, but no longer does, it only gets a neutral.
29th May, 2018 (last edited: 04th June, 2018)

Taxi by Cofinluxe

I bought this because I heard that it's very similar to Guy La Roche's 1982 classic, Drakkar Noir.

Now, I love Drakkar Noir's top notes. But when it dries down on my skin, it becomes it smells cheap, crude and dirty. Since then I've tried as many DN clones as possible to find a similar smelling scent that's a little bit lighter and more agreeable to my skin chemistry:

LOMANI: DN-like opening that lasts longer, but then it eventually dries down to this basic, weird spicy soda smell.
CLASSIC MATCH: A very accurate clone of Drakkar Noir except the Lemon Pledge-aspect is prolonged and there's even less soapiness in the dry down than the original.
AKTHAR NOIR: Opening is just like Drakkar Noir, doesn't have the warm raunch middle notes, it's much smoother. But it further dries down into this cheap plastic, $3 smell. No good.
DAKAR: Smells just like shaving cream. Not a bad scent at all, but hardly any similarities to DN.

So how does Cofinluxe's TAXI compare?
The opening is definitely reminiscent of Drakkar Noir but with a *hint* of something sweet. Licorice maybe.
However, here's no warmed up, raunchy middle notes like Drakkar Noir has. It goes straight into the basenotes which smells like tobacco and that that hint of licorice that's in the opening.
Whereas Drakkar Noir is only really suited for winter weather and chilly nights, Taxi is lighter and much smoother. It's not a summer scent, but you could easily wear it in Fall or Spring weather.

CONCLUSION:
I like this fragrance.
I can't pull off many 80s fragrances because they're usually too dirty in the dry down and/or far too pungent.
Despite this one's dry down being clearly in the same vein as Polo and Drakkar Noir, it's so much smoother than those two.

It's a shame this has such a cheap sounding name and cheap looking bottle design. If this stuff came in a black crocodile skin flask with a gold cap and had a name like Carrozza L'Uomo I think it would be held in a higher regard and probably go for a little more.
21st May, 2018 (last edited: 05th September, 2018)

Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

After a nice 10 second opening, it begins to smell like pure lemon. Not good.
It later dries down into a more mature Azzaro Pour Homme. On my wrist it smelled pretty nice, and I can see wearing this on a cold day with a leather jacket.
But recently I wore it to work and I did not like the scent at all. It smelled like eau de sweat or something. The good thing it's not a strong project (that I know of).

WHAT'S IT LIKE:
Azzaro Pour Homme
It's the 80s version of Azzaro, a little more sophisticated and mysterious, but not a interesting or pleasant. A more herbal version, and less fun in my opinion.

CONCLUSION:
At first I thought this was a nice, cheap find. But now I'm going to toss it.

17th April, 2018 (last edited: 27th April, 2018)
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Acqua di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani

I love Acqua di Gio but obviously, it's too common.
After reading about this, I was interested so I tried it out.
Very incense heavy, and very woody. I didn't like it.
I was hoping for a unique take on the existing AdG but instead, this one just reminds me of what's already out there, as someone mentioned, it gives off a Bleu de Chanel kinda vibe. I feel like Armani is just taking what's fashionable in perfumery right now, and adding that to their 90s fragrance.
I'm biased against heavy colognes with incense so take that into consideration.
It doesn't smell quality, as it should. On me, it smelled like one thin layer of the original AdG, and then a heavy layer of the incense and patchouli over it.
It's super strong at first, but after about two hours it calms down a bit.
When it's in its final dry down stages it's kind of nice, but not for me.

Honestly, if I wanted something relatively more modern, I'd rather go with Bleu or Dior's Sauvage.
Check it out for yourself, but I find the original to be far better as an overall scent.
06th April, 2018

Polo by Ralph Lauren

Just sprayed this on my wrist.
Wow, smells very nice, piney with some tobacco in the distance.
It DOES smell like "money." Pine-like colognes conjure up images of those pine tree car air-fresheners, but that's okay.

20 MINUTES PASS

This does NOT smell good. It reminds me A LOT of the dry down in Preferred Stock. Almost like a dirt smell.
I suppose I should say it has a "dirty" note, which is common in a lot of old school powerhouses but this to me is more just like a DIRT note. If I put your nose to my wrist, and try to appreciate it, I can kind of visualize tobacco with a very faint pine smell. But just a casual whiff, and this smells very unpleasant.
People are going to think I haven't bathed.
Maybe it's because this is a reformulation, maybe it's because I'm experiencing it out of context-not in the era it was made for-or maybe it just doesn't mix well with my body chemistry.
But I don't like it and I have to get this off of me.

RUNS TO SINK TO SPLASH SOME WATER ON WRIST

Is it gone?
*sniff*
No
*sniffs again*
It's...
*keeps sniffing*
It's actually smelling a little bit better. Just a little bit. The pine and the tobacco are mixing better with one another...but it's still very oft putting in a contemporary context.
Very dry, tobacco/cigarette butts/dirty smell laced with a slight bit of pine and...is that a hint of cinnamon?
*sniffs once more*
Okay...I get it. I can see a little bit of WHY it was so popular during its heyday. I'm even beginning to like it.

CONCLUSION
This is going to put off a lot of people who didn't grow up with this scent. As YouTube fragrance reviewer MyMickers said, "it smells like death." And in the dry down, it does. At first.
But once you give it some time (or maybe splash some water over the sprayed spot to dilute it???) it becomes this very dry, masculine scent, and and almost addictive.
Most people, like myself, aren't used to cologne smelling like this, so they mistake something very different as = bad.

This does come across as a very dated scent. I think most fragrances that have a prominent pine-note in there are going to come across as dated because the general public associates pine-scents with cheap air fresheners.
But this is also a very good scent, and while the dry down can be a little challenging, it's pretty nice. On the right person, for the right occasion, with the right outfit, this could be pulled off very well.


08th March, 2018 (last edited: 12th April, 2018)

Sung Homme by Alfred Sung

This scent is like a mix of Irish Spring bar soap, cinnamon, and Polo green. At it's base there's an ashy note to it, that balances nicely with the bar soap aspect.

It has good longevity, and good projection.

SIMILAR TO:
The most recent reformulation of Paco Rabanne pH (the non-integrated atomizer, with a detachable cap). They both smell cheap, but I think the ruined, reformulated PRpH is still better.

CONCLUSION:
The overall idea of this fragrance is nice. Irish Spring is a very pleasant scent. But Sung Homme comes across as extremely synthetic, and loud, and probably too simple. But it's definitely one of the better and cheapies out there.
19th February, 2018 (last edited: 27th June, 2018)

Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme by Gucci

Heard great things about this flanker so I tried it out at Macy's.

At first there's this petrol and leather vibe. Really strong, and different from anything else out there. My first thought was that this is unlike anything else out there.
I thought, "I shouldn't like this but I do."
As it dries down, that sharp petrol vibe mellows out and it smells more like a creamy leather vibe.
From this point on the scent stays the same.

This shares a lane with Dior's Fahrenheit due to the petrol and the overly masculine vibe. But this scent is even more challenging.

For me, I prefer the sharper opening to the dry down, although the latter is good too.

Easily one of the best designer men's fragrances out there.
26th January, 2018 (last edited: 07th April, 2018)

Azzaro pour Homme by Azzaro

This is a review for the most recent reformulation.

I heard that Azzaro Pour Homme is quite a legend, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I recently sampled it, and loved the opening. Very classic, sharp, masculine scent.
I decided I buy a bottle and try it out.
So after testing it on my skin, here's my thoughts:
The opening is GLORIOUS. Classic, but not old man.
Really great.
As it dries down though, it loses that sharp vibe, and gets a soapy, a hint of being powdery, and then this hovering "dirty" note. Is it a dirty note, or just a cheap and crude dry down? That dirty note/mixed with the soapy vibe reminds me of Paco Rabanne PH. It also smells kind of pungent. I want to like this, but the dirty part of it is just not pleasant to me at all. The dry down begins to smell less masculine and very dated.

WHAT'S IT SIMILAR TO:
Paco Rabanne Pour Homme
Different openings and endings but in the middle, they both have that soapy dirty note thing going on. They both are dated fragrances, but I think Paco is a little better.

Aramis Tuscany
They have different openings, but Tuscany's dry down is a very slightly updated, more subtle interpretation of Azzaro Pour Homme. But not as good either.

CONCLUSION:
This is a dated a fragrance. If you're a collector or you like 70s/80s fragrances, you'll definitely find this interesting. It's a fun fragrance. But that dry down makes you smell cheap, and the crudeness combined with the dry down doesn't really work for younger guys in my opinion.
I will keep an eye out for the vintage though, because the general composition of this fragrance is a winner though.


18th January, 2018 (last edited: 27th April, 2018)

Lomani by Lomani

Yeah, yeah, this opens up just like Drakkar Noir. Fresher? Mmm, not really.
They both got this rough, crude, musky dry down, but whereas Drakkar Noir has that birch tar/leather dry down, this one has this sickly smell of an almost soda-like accord. You're not going to smell like Coca-Cola, but there's a syrupy soda-ness in there to me. It's not pleasant to me, and just smells cheap. So I guess absence of birch tar equals "fresher" to some, but for me it's trading one heavy for another.

I myself used to like Drakkar Noir but now I can't stand the dry down. If you like DN, Preferred Stock, and Red, you'll probably want to try out Lomani PH. They all start off with the same vibe as Guy La Roche's popular flanker but then veer of that path and kind of do their own thing.

12th January, 2018 (last edited: 11th February, 2018)

Voyage by Nautica

I heard good things about this fragrance. I generally like "clean" smelling fragrances. I like that fresh-out-the-shower feeling, so I blind bought this.
It's definitely a cool, clean scent but you've smelled this type of fragrance, or maybe this particular fragrance, a hundred times before.
It comes across as a very generic, aquatic men's cologne.
I don't like it.
I think it's smoother than Azzaro Chrome which is similar but that one has a sharper, more synthetic dry down that's almost headache inducing to me.
Supposedly this is a crowd pleaser and a compliment getter. If you want something like that, I'd recommend Aqua di Gio, which is also common, but is a far superior and fresher scent.
03rd January, 2018

Boss Number One by Hugo Boss

Okay, 1985's Boss Number One.
The opening is a very classic, crisp, cologne-y smelling type of 80s fragrance. I like that about it. It comes across as slightly sophisticated and formal.
Then it gets powdery. A little too powdery, with a dash of dirtiness in there. To my unsophisticated nose, it smells like something someone's great aunt would wear. Actually, "dandy" is what comes to mind at this point.
Finally, as it dries down more and becomes more of a skin scent, it loses that powdery-ness and actually smells masculine. The honey and dirtiness is most prominent at this stage, and as you keep smelling it, it alternates between those two notes and something else. I don't know what it is, but overall, that skin scent dry down is the better part of it.

And yeah, I can sort of detect the pissy/urine note that some people say it has. I mean, I don't think it smells like pee, but I can see how some people might interpret it that way, especially in relation to how modern men's fragrances smell like.

CONCLUSION:
I think this is barely okay. It's definitely NOT something that I would say is bad smelling, but it's not that interesting of a scent either. The powdery middle part of it is what makes it feel extremely dated to me.

14th November, 2017 (last edited: 04th May, 2018)

Lacoste (original) by Lacoste

Reformulated Version Review

This is an okay fragrance.
It starts out like a little musky, fizzy, Sprite-kinda mixture, the Sprite aspect being minimal though. It definitely wouldn't be mistaken for a modern fragrance, but it's not quite typical of what you normally associate with the era it came out in. I'd say it walks a fine line between quirky and mundane.

I can't speak for the sillage but the longevity is pretty poor. I get like two hours tops, and it's a barely-there-skin scent. The dry down, which is a skin scent by that point, is nice. It gets less musky, and stale, and a little softer. Some moss mixed with a weak Sprite. The dry down is similar to that of Gillette Cool Wave aftershave but I think Gillette Cool Wave is overall superior to this.

It's not bad, but it's missing something. There are far more interesting fragrances from this era (mid-1980s) to choose from.




14th November, 2017 (last edited: 18th November, 2017)

Horizon by Guy Laroche

From the design of the bottle, to the advertising campaign, I was thinking this was going to be very fresh, and maybe even similar to Davidoff's Cool Water.
It isn't.
Yes, there IS a watery note/vibe here. When smelling this, it first feels refreshing because it's like inhaling a watery mist. The problem for me though, is the prominent herbal medley of thyme, fennel and black pepper. It's a slight bit of freshness, and a whole lot of brittle dried goods. The latter is mostly what this fragrance is made of, and it's not something I would like to wear, or smell on others.
And I'm not against herbal-smelling fragrances. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and Aramis Tuscany are both excellent. But this one, not so much.
This is very similar to Calvin Klein's Escape, except that one has no freshness or water aspect.
This is a unique composition but ultimately it's a dislike.
31st October, 2017

Artisan Acqua by John Varvatos

This smells like a lost '80s scent, or better yet, what I imagine an '80s scent to smell like. I sprayed this on my wrist and got a very nice, opening, and it reminded me and a female friend of a fragrance that we couldn't quite put our finger on.

The bad thing is that after about 30 minutes, maybe less, that great opening kind of devolves into a very generic dry down. It's a skin scent during this time, and after 2 hours it's gone!

Strangely enough, the other day I applied two sprays to the chest, under my tank top, and it seemed to prolong this scent. Was I sweating while wearing it? Did a bit get on my tank top? I don't know but I could smell it throughout the day for a good 5 hours. I doubt it was projecting strongly, but it was enough that I could notice it here and there. YouTube reviewer MyMickers mentioned in a review for John Varvatos' Vintage that humidity "activates" that cologne. Maybe something similar happened in the way I wore Artisan Acqua that day.

I give this fragrance a 7.5 out of 10. I don't feel it's that distinctive of a scent, aside from it's vague throwback scent profile, and it doesn't quite make it to an addictive smelling scent like Dior's Fahrenheit or Armani's Aqua di Gio. However, it's got this citric, musky, masculine quality to it, which I appreciate. I got this for cheap but when I run out, I'd seriously think about paying full price for another bottle.
19th October, 2017 (last edited: 22nd January, 2018)

Santos by Cartier

I had the privilege of trying vintage Santos a ways back. I remember it being a very rich smelling fragrance, sophisticated, complex...it had a lot going on.
I recently tried one of the new formulations, the second to last one that has the integrated atomizer.
First impression is that it smells cheaper and a little crude. A very dry smelling fragrance and to me, this formulation is just very overbearing without any sexy, redeeming qualities, unlike the original.
Even if I weren't comparing it to the vintage I don't think this is a very good EdT.
I tried Antaeus recently, a men's cologne that shares the same lane as Santos, and although not for me, I respect it more, and it seems like that one has more character and a little more refinement than Santos.
19th October, 2017

Akthar Noir by Preferred Fragrance

Is this closer to vintage Drakkar Noir than current, reformulated Drakkar Noir?
I've no clue, as I've never had the privilege of trying the vintage.

But I can tell you that Akthar Noir starts out smelling nearly identical to current Drakkar Noir. It's the familiar Lemon Pledge for a minute than the dry down hits and you get a hint of this velvet smoothness that comes across much nicer than the crude dry down of actual Drakkar.
The problem is that there's this strong, melted plastic note to it. It's not pleasant at all, and smells like you're wearing some kind of solvent. That plastic note is really dominant.
I've tried quite a few of the Drakkar Noir clones and this is probably the worst and cheapest smelling.
19th October, 2017

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

Fell in love with this instantly.
This is a bit of dry fragrance, first impression is that it smells like some expensive wood furniture and a bit of gasoline. I don't even like dry OR woody smelling cologne but that gasoline note is what makes this great.
What I most like about Dior's Fahrenheit is that it's so different from the powerhouses of the 80s, the fresh aquatics of the mid 90s, and the sugar sweets of the '10s.
A true masterpiece of masculine originality.
While this is ever so slightly dated, reminding me of the mid-to-late 90s for some reason, it doesn't feel like old-man cologne to me, not at all. It's very stylish and modern in my opinion.
It's a love it or hate it fragrance, and because of that, it's not an easy one to wear.
UPDATE:
I wore this again, and for the first hour or so it was projecting nicely, and smelled great. After about 2-3 hours, it was still projecting but it lost some of it's more pleasant-smelling qualities, and got rougher and dirty-smelling. To me, it was somewhat of an unclean smell.
I'm keeping the good rating, because maybe this fragrance just doesn't mix well with my skin, but I won't be wearing it again.
17th October, 2017 (last edited: 31st October, 2018)

Escape for Men by Calvin Klein

Smells dry and brittle.
I don't smell fruit or anything aquatic. This is just bad in my opinion.
I was thinking this would be similar to Eternity...boy was I wrong.

This smells very similar to Guy La Roche's Horizon. Before I tried either one of them, I saw people describe them as having an oceanic/beach-like quality. I assumed that meant it was fresh and aquatic...I'm guessing that description means you smell like you were bathing in salt water. Maybe.
More herbal and dry, nothing coming close to being watery in my opinion.

I now know why CK has a bad reputation in the fragrance community.
17th October, 2017

Aqua Quorum by Antonio Puig

This is like Eternity mixed with a little bit of Cool Water.

The problem with that, is the end result ends up being a dilution of the first fragrance it's imitating. It's basically a dull version of Calvin Klein's Eternity.
What made Eternity successful was its sharpness, there's notes that give its opening this bold vibe. It's like a stiletto. Aqua Quorum is like a butter knife.
Like Eternity, the dry down in Aqua Quorum gets powdery, but more so, and smells cheaper.

SMELLS LIKE:
See above.

CONCLUSION:
It's wearable. The playful, colorful bottle and the neutered Eternity smell give it an immature impression.
At the price, it's a great deal, and I really like the bottle. But I why not just spend the extra $$ and buy Calvin Klein's Eternity?
The only other reason I can think of wearing this one regularly, is if you like Cool Water, but think it's way too sharp, with it's excess dihydromyrcenol, then this might be a good compromise.
07th October, 2017 (last edited: 12th September, 2018)

Quorum by Antonio Puig

In my fragrance journey for something awesome from the powerhouse era I came across Quorum.
Like most men's colognes from the past, the opening is great.
When you get to the mid-notes, it becomes a very challenging, herbal scent. An acquired taste. At first I thought it was bad smelling, but after a while I began to appreciate the raw nature of it. You think Drakkar Noir and Polo are too harsh? Quorum makes them look like pretty boys.

The problem for me is when this fragrance dries down to its basenotes. At this point it just becomes bad smelling. At least on me. It's like a weird BO smell.
I've smelled this one two other people.
One the first person, he smelled only *okay* but it still wasn't very good. Points for being different though.
On the second, they smelled straight up homeless.

SMELLS LIKE:
...nothing else.
People have said that this is the father of Drakker Noir. I can kind of see that in their basenotes. Both very uncouth in vibe, except Guy La Roche's bottle has some slight hints of lemon and soap in there formula.
The very off-putting nature of this scent reminds me of Coty's Preferred Stock. That one also has a challenging middle stage, that can be appreciated in some abstract way. But when that one hits its basenotes, it turns to eau de dirt. Quorum turns into eau de BO. The latter is still better than PS.

CONCLUSION:
Despite being unwearable to me, it was an interesting blind buy. For a collector, it's pretty cool, as you get to see how it fits into the timeline of men's fragrance evolution. I mean, it's only $20, so see if you like it.
07th October, 2017 (last edited: 12th September, 2018)