Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Hugh V.

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Total Reviews: 62

K by Dolce & Gabbana by Dolce & Gabbana

The design of this bottle compelled me to sample it. I really like the royal crown topper. The K-Mart "K" logo is a little off, but overall a pretty nice presentation.

The scent is immediately pleasant smelling, up there with nice and bold scents like Dylan Blue. Not the same exact smell, but it's got that bold-yet-fresh scent to it. The only drawback is that it's so sharp that it almost hints at a cleaning-type of scent. It doesn't bother me at all, but I can imagine that being someone's criticism when first taking a deep huff of top notes.

As it dries down to the middle it mellows out, but it still retains the same bold/clean smell.

The base smoothes out more but it's not too much different from the general profile you get in the opening and middle.

This is one entry in a wave of popular ambroxan blue fragrances. For me it's one of the few that's able to smell very distinctive and make an impression without being obnoxious or overbearing. I think Versace's Dylan Blue is a great scent but the dry down is too in-your-face and heavy to be a casual scent. Missoni Pour Homme is probably the most understated of this style scent, and while very good, it can be a little too understated and doesn't puff its chest out. K by Dolce & Gabbana walks tall but doesn't need to flex at every passerby.

CONCLUSION:
This is just a really good modern fragrance. It's very bold and gives an added boost of confidence. But it's also clean smelling so you feel fresh and the scent itself can be versatile.

Dylan Blue has the best opening of the new blue genre, but K is overall the best smelling in dry down. It's a new favorite for me.
12th July, 2021

Dakar by Al Rehab

This is a good little fragrance.

This is exactly like the basenotes/eventual drydown of vintage Drakkar Noir, which has a very green vibe to it. The current Drakkar Noir doesn't have that.

If you've only experienced current Drakkar Noir, then it's going to smell like a very linear, greener Drakkar Noir, but with a bit more depth and better blending.

I highly recommend this if your a fan of Drakkar Noir, and/or you want to experience what the vintage smelled like after 2 hours. This is very high quality.

SIMILAR TO:
Obviously vintage Drakkar Noir at the basenotes. I don't get similarities with any other fragrance.

CONCLUSION:
If you like Drakkar Noir and classic fougeres, there's no reason not have this in your collection.
03rd April, 2021

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

The opening at times reminds me of the opening of Brut, but lighter and smoother.

The middle is like this subtle but slightly sweet shaving cream, but made of a bit higher quality ingredients. At this stage its very complex and nuanced, and the scent almost shimmers. The sweet shaving cream vibe here makes it more appropriate for Fall or Spring weather. It has some slight warmth due to the sweetness, and the feeling of wearing it reminds me of getting a shave or a haircut. The scent can come across as foamy or wet, if that makes any sense.

The basenotes come into play and the scent changes into the drydown of vintage Azzaro PH. It's very similar but not quite as musky and slightly more polished. But pretty much Azzaro PH in my opinion but toned down a bit for modern tastes.

I've heard it describe as a "cold" fougere, which is what had me intrigued. I don't get that. It's just as musky and warm as vintage Azzaro PH, but I don't get anything cold in it.

SIMILAR TO:
Overall, vintage Azzaro Pour Homme at the basenotes. I don't get Tom Ford, Drakkar or Paco or any other barbershop from it.

CONCLUSION:
This is quality designer fragrance and should have been kept in production because of what it brings to the table. It's been my only, truly successful blind-buy. That said, I wouldn't pay more than $100 for a 4.2 oz can or bottle. The hype has built it up into the holy grail of fragrances, or at least the holy grail of the fougere genre. It's extremely well-blended and multi-faceted but it's pretty much OG Azzaro Pour Homme.
03rd April, 2021
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Spicy by Avon

This is a wonderfully classic men's fragrance. If I didn't know any better I would expect it to be some designer scent from Dior or Chanel's past. One of those releases that aren't outdated but "classic." It's something I've smelled sometime before but can't place exactly when or where.

As it turns out, this is apparently Avon's answer to Old Spice, which would explain why it's vaguely familiar and nostalgic to me. The smell of Old Spice, and Brut for that matter, are familiar to all males thanks to the deodorant and grooming supply spin-offs. So the reason I think of Avon Spicy as being classic-smelling is rooted in the scent I smelled growing up.

That said, I've recently tried Old Spice's Eau de Toilette. I found it to be extremely spicy and powdery. The red version of Brut.

Avon Spicy on the other hand isn't as spicy or powdery. I quite like it.
30th March, 2021

Island Lime by Avon

Avon is turning out to be one of my favorite fragrance houses.

Island Lime opens up with a gummi green-like scent. That sounds like it would come across as "juvenile" or overly sweet but it's not. It's very much a lime-scent but subdued enough to not be confused as some type of candy gourmand.

What I've found in most classic men's fragrances from the 60s, 70s, and 80s is that "fresh" is not in their vocabulary with some very rare exceptions. The one's that aren't overly dry heavies end up being overly powdery or overly musky. Azzaro Pour Homme is legend for its soapy barbershop character but it's so musky it gives off a mild warmth. It's not what I'd consider "cool." Drakkar Noir is described as fresh-out-the-shower, but it too has a warmth that emanates from the heart which makes it more appropriate for cooler weather. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme is probably the cleanest and freshest of the old guard, and probably the "lightest" of them. And yet there's a dirty note in the middle and very musky dry down that in modern times is better suited for those who like to be noticed. It's not for the casual wearer. Avon itself has some classics that are bold and conspicuous. Wild Country is extremely powdery and can be confused for baby powder. Deep Woods is a bit spicy and similar to Halston's Z-14.

And yet, Avon Island Lime is different. It's like a lime-scented after shave, refreshing, smooth, and low key. It smells clean without being musky or powdery. And I really like it for that reason.

I can see this even being worn today. It smells a bit retro I suppose, and yet it doesn't have any of the typical traits of "old" well-known men's releases.
30th March, 2021

Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

I agree with others that this is a "bad boy" fragrance in a way. It's dark, intriguing, and gives off a rugged impression but with just enough sweetness in there to make it sexy.

I typically don't like cold weather fragrances, especially not orientals. They're often heavy, cloying, to the point of irritation. Dark Rebel is a bold scent for sure, but unlike say, Fahrenheit, AdG Profumo, or even Dylan Rebel, it doesn't choke you out. The "warmth" of the fragrance itself is comforting but doesn't actually feel warm, or hot when wearing it. It doesn't suffocate me like Obsession or Brut Special Reserve.

It's probably my favorite of the John Varvatos releases, and one of the best modern designers releases to come out in a while. It's very unique with that masculine, coffee bean/coco bean-meets-leather smell.
17th March, 2021

Missoni Parfum pour Homme by Missoni

This fragrance is deceptive. At first you get some bright citrus, that to my nose, that tries too hard to get you to like it. It's got this sweet-fresh thing going on, with what I'm guessing is a lot of lemon and maybe the grapefruit. It's not bad at this point, and even a relief to the harsh chemicals swirling about in stuff like Gucci Guilty and Allure Homme Sport.

Then it gets to the middle and you get a very subdued "dark blue" smell. A very, office-friendly, versatile take on Bleu de Chanel or Dylan Blue. It never gets into those two fragrances' territory of heaviness or spice. It's just the fainted hint of the genre's boldness.

When it dries down further and the base notes come into play, it takes on a slightly more nuanced approach. It's still kind of subdued compared to other modern blues, but it gains some additional character that makes it more interesting, and it's the best part of the scent. There's something small in this part of the dry down that reminds me of an old school 80s/early 90s scent. Just something small though, as it's definitely not trying to be retro or "mature". It's just a very versatile fragrance that I think anyone can wear.

It doesn't come across as "beast mode projection" at all, despite being labeled a "parfum." But that's fine for me because I don't want my fragrance to precede me.

CONCLUSION:
This is one is surprisingly good. Unlike most men's fragrances where the top notes are the best part, the reverse is true of Missoni. When the base notes come into play you get something really nice.
23rd January, 2021

Cuba Black by Cuba Paris

This is an Azzaro Pour Homme clone, right? That description is what convinced me to blind buy this.

Cuba Black opens up very similar to Azzaro Pour Homme's opening. As soon as it starts the drydown, it becomes it's own thing.

Current Azzaro's drydown is this harsh, dirty-soap scent, with some anise lurking underneath a layer of dirtiness.

Cuba Black's on the other hand is this sweet, light tobacco smell. The sweetness must be from the anise, so there's still some faint parallels going on with Azzaro. But it's mixed up with a soapiness that almost makes it smell clean, despite tobacco being in the mix. My first impression was that the overall experience was too heavy a wear, that this was more of an oriental or fougere-oriental hybrid. But more and more you notice the soapiness, making it firmly a homage to the barbershop fougere genre. There's no dirtyness going on in it, but it very much smells like it could be a forgotten actual 80s fragrance.

Current Azzaro and current Tuscany are still nice fragrances, but overall, I think Cuba Black is more enjoyable and less challenging than those two. It definitely skews to the mature side, but the soapiness that gives it a semi-clean feeling saves it from coming across as harsh or rough. It's an incredibly smooth, soapy, sweet tobacco scent, and despite weak longevity, it's a bargain.
15th November, 2020

Azzaro pour Homme L'Eau by Azzaro

I was iffy about buying this, even at a discounted price. I kind of like Azzaro Pour Homme but it's really rough around the edges and smells crude. A lighter version sounds 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 If you're looking for it, you can find the original's DNA under all that yuzu.

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. Tuscany is okay but a bit warm and there's even a hint of a sweat note somewhere in there. Azzaro L'eau though is like Tuscany perfected.


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.
L'eau is cleaner, Tuscany is more daring.

CONCLUSION:
I enjoy Azzaro L'eau. It wasn't quite what I expected but it's a nice 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 (last edited: 26th March, 2021)

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)

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
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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.

This is one of the most nostalgic masculine fragrances out there.

The topnotes are pretty much familiar to anyone, as it exists in the aftershave and deodorant. It's fantastic.

Then it dries down and it becomes this fougere/oriental/gourmand-like hybrid. It's very potent, very strong and projects really well. There's vanilla in the base so you get a strong, powdery vibe, but it's not baby powder like Avon Wild Country.

It kind of reminds me of the vibe of Tom Ford Beau du Jour. That one is more fancy I guess, as it should be because of the price and quality of ingredients. But I kind of prefer Brut as it's more bold and pleasant to my nose.

Sadly, because this fragrance is so old and so ubiquitous for decades it may come across as "dated." However, if someone smelled Brut for the first time and you told them it was Tom Ford, they'd believe it. It's got a wonderful classic barbershop-vibe to it. Strangely enough, I think this works better when dressed up during colder seasons.


SMELLS LIKE:
A bit like Old Spice, as they're both kind of potent, made for cold weather, and got that heavy powdery vibe.

Avon Tai Winds has very similar top notes.

CONCLUSION:
It's just a classic that every guy should have in his collection. The top notes alone are worth the price of admission. It's a fun scent and I enjoy wearing it in cold weather.



07th July, 2018 (last edited: 03rd April, 2021)

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 think the lack of longevity with the reformulation is a shame, but the scent itself is still amazing, and for the current price, ehh, it's a somewhat decent compromise.
29th May, 2018 (last edited: 25th January, 2021)

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)

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

Polo Black by Ralph Lauren

This has a fresh smell, which I guess is from the mango note, but it dries down with this semi-strong muskiness that gives it some masculine swagger.

Ralph Lauren Polo's line is excellent by designer house standards. I'd say that Polo Black is second only to the original Polo.
Polo Blue is good but a little boring.
Polo Explorer is interesting, and I like it, however, it's very synthetic smelling, which is on purpose probably.
Polo Sport...very good, but is stuck in the 90s.
Polo Blue Sport...a good mid point between the two but not "wow."

Polo Black though...it's just a great men's scent. That muskiness is what really sells it, and it even reminds me of Paco Rabanne Pour Homme. They're completely different scents, but the Paco does that very fresh-with-the-manly-musky-drydown as well. It's like there's two ways to view Polo Black: One, is that it's a fresh scent for the young crowd. The other, is that it's a modern interpretation of old school sensibilities.

It's in my top 5/top 10.
28th November, 2017 (last edited: 06th October, 2020)

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)