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Total Reviews: 159885
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States

Arabian Desert by Dunhill

Arabian Desert, part of Dunhill’s Signature Collection, is their entry into the rose/oud market, that note combo so beloved of niche fragrance houses and now drifting into the mainstream. Created by Alexandra Monet, this is in line with the pared down number of notes and also has the bergamot top notes which seem to be thematic with this collection. Now, I do not like the smell of roses and I only just like the smell of oud and even then only when it is very well blended and plays a supporting role. That said, I really like Arabian Desert largely because it is a mellow, scaled back rose and oud which does not shout Midnight at the Oasis but whispers of rich, gentlemanly woods. As with the other offerings in this line, I do not get any bergamot in the opening but I do get a lovely, spicy pink pepper. It is all about the semi-sweet oud note with the rose staying well in the background. The oud (which may or may not actually be oud—I am not a good judge) does remind me of vintage M-7 which is a good thing. This is a rose and oud fragrance as reimagined by a British luxury goods purveyor, gentlemanly and discreet, which suits me just fine.
22nd September, 2020

Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

Thumbs up for the scent, but a neutral at today's prices....

One of Tom Ford's better offerings, as it doesn't wear "heavy" like his eponymous lineup does.

However, staying true to every TF scent I've tried, this is very linear. And there is the "pencil shavings" scent lurking in the background, throughout the day.

Longevity is above average, as are all TF scents I've tried, so if this frag is your bag you will get your money's worth.

The discontinued Tommy Bahama for Men is a similar reference for the base, so add some spice and a faint "cola" hint to that and you are pretty close to Gucci PH I.

Definitely take a test drive before signing on the bottom line for this unicorn, but all in all better than anything with a "Tom Ford" on the label.
22nd September, 2020

Angie by Rosie Jane Cosmetics

A lovely gardenia soliflore (yes, more gardenia-like vs. tuberose). Unfortunately it didn’t last long at all which is why the neutral rating.
22nd September, 2020
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Leila Lou by Rosie Jane Cosmetics

Tried this with Rosie Jane’s Angie on the other arm. Initially loved the gardenia-drenched, lush Angie more (being a gardenia/tuberose die-hard) but it slid off my left arm pretty quickly. I kept finding myself returning to my right arm to inhale the lovely jasmine (another of my loves) And musk of Leila Lou. It started out briefly with the greens ( they were lovely), then immediately opened a hefty nectarine note (reminded me of a Jo Malone nectarine fragrance my daughter once loved), then turned into a loud pear/nectarine fruit combo that almost prompted me to wash my arm. But, being hungry,I left it and descended downstairs, only to be enthralled with it after breakfast. A great way to start my day.
22nd September, 2020

Miyako by Auphorie

The beauty of this is that it feels totally natural. It smells like you are really smelling osmanthus and a garden of exotic fruits and flowers. But it's not overly floral in a perfumey way like, say, Arpege or Joy.

These brothers have created a perfume that utterly transports me to an exotic but unnamable tropical garden. Good on them!

I find projection, development and longevity to be very good.
22nd September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

White Moss & Snowdrop by Jo Malone London

The fresh opening is a reasonable rendering of the snowdrop. Quite full, it is paired with a blast of white musks of an average quality. Bothe components competent one another well. A nice start.

Later on the moss gives way to an amber notes that is a bit pale and quite weak. There is a touch of just a bit of spice present - cardamom and whiffs of a gentle white pepper - but they are bloodless and rather perfunctory on me.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

This light and bright spring scent starts quite promisingly and with a touch of originality, but its longer term execution ends up in a chemical blandness that makes on wonder what could have been if.... Overall a bit middle-of-the-road. 2.75/5.
22nd September, 2020

Zeybek by Pekji

I agree with the initial description for this fragrance - "ambient notes of horses, cigarette, booze, and the sea far away". Sweet hay with bright lavender. Boozy scent of Ouzo. Savory citrus. This is by far one of the best masculine frags I've ever experienced.

I move my arm and I get different notes at different times. Later, I feel this scent actually leans towards unisex - anyone could wear this. Hints of sweetness, tame the hay, leather, and tobacco. This one, is worth a tray. Love it!
22nd September, 2020

Fleur de Lilac by Bud Parfums

Jasmine and ylang ylang straight away. Very floral, slightly green, no sweetness. Turns into an antiseptic or witch hazel-like smell. A light, rotted gardenia aroma... No lilac, do I detect but, at times I smell the illusion of it. It could be the mix of violet, hiacynth, and heliotrope. This fragrance softens with time. The earlier notes turn less greenish, the gardenia, less "rotted".

Hours pass and everything melds together. It's a good floral perfume overall. Smells of spring and early summer gardens. However, nothing out of the ordinary.
22nd September, 2020

Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Despite trying quite hard to research what Amyris actually is (a plant? a herb?) the best information I could find is that it may also be known as American or Jamaican sandalwood. My review of the EdT of 2009 describes it as a woody scent, with accents of iris and tonka (coumarin).

Both versions of Amyris Homme have common notes to other scents, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call either a copy of anything. I find Chanel Allure Homme Sport (loaded with tonka bean) in any version and the Dior Homme series (based around iris) hard to wear. Not long after the release of Amyris Homme Extrait, I ended up with bottles of both the EdT and the Extrait. And I have put quite a dent in both. This says a lot - they are both easier to wear than any other similar scent.

Whilst the EdT appears light and becomes a mess with too many sprays (no more than 2-3 with this one and it lasts all day), the Extrait is more polished and has less of the harshness from the dry down of the EdT. Whilst the tonka is a big player in the Extrait as well and supports the scent throughout, the aromatic, woody accents are amplified above the iris even more so than in the EdT. Once again though, the scent is not an "in your face" scent with no single note being unbalanced. If there was a slight hint of coffee in the EdT, there is definitely no such note in the Extrait.

The Extrait is however a highly concentrated interpretation of the EdT, meaning even less of it is required than the EdT. Any more than 1-2 sprays could be too much. Projection is easily a few feet and a typical application should last well beyond 12 hours. A 70ml bottle should there last years.

Both EdT and Extrait share some enormous similarities and as such should be thoroughly tested before committing. I couldn't decide between either and both were a love, so I proudly own both and change between them according to season and mood. Your mileage may vary and I can probably guess most would be happy with one or the other. Another all-star creation from MFK.
22nd September, 2020
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States

British Leather by Dunhill

Dunhill’s British Leather, a part of their Signature Collection, has three simple notes with bergamot as the top note which seems to be a theme for this line even though all four are by different perfumers (in this case, Pierre Negrin). I do not get even a hint of bergamot in the opening and violet leaf which can be such a dynamic element as used in major hits such as Green Irish Tweed and Fahrenheit is missing in action as well. What I do get is a dry, slightly dusty leather note reminiscent of old books. This is not lolling in the backseat of a Bentley Mulsanne or shopping for leather goods in the Via Condotti (or even at Alfred Dunhill!) but picking through shelves of old books in an antiquarian bookstore. Luckily, this happens to be one of my favorite things to do so it gives me a way to appreciate this scent. Think of Heywood Hill on a rainy afternoon—this is British, after all. That said, there are so many wonderful leathers out there that frankly do more for me.
21st September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Mimosa & Cardamom by Jo Malone

Whilst the heliotrope is in the foreground initially, I soon get quite a bit of the mimosa, although it never is really impressive. The floral opening is a light affair.

The heat notes are a somewhat nonspecific rose that is spiced up with just a bit of cardamom.

The base adds a woodsy side - sandal with a bit of imagination and a discreet sweetness owing a tonka impression that is light and bright and never heavy or cloying.

I get soft sillage, limited projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

A nice idea, an agreeable spring scent, but to anaemic to make a lasting impression. 2.75/5.
21st September, 2020
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States

Indian Sandalwood by Dunhill

Indian Sandalwood is one of the pillars of Dunhill’s latest luxury Signature Collection line and they pulled in none other than Carlos Benaim to bring this to life. The old school legacy of Dunhill fits nicely with this last days of the Raj Indian-influenced sandalwood scent. There are only four listed notes which can be a great way to showcase the star of the show, the eponymous sandalwood. That said, I get nothing of the bergamot which is meant to be the only top note in the scent. Right from the start this is a sweet coconut sandalwood—literally like suntan lotion in the opening moments. From there it dries down to a more arid sandalwood with a little desiccated coconut alongside of it. There is an earthy, mossy patchouli note that emerges towards the end of this scent but this is truly a sandalwood scent from beginning to end. Deep into the dry down, the sandalwood and patchouli take on an oud sort of note that is really attractive. It smells of quality ingredients and is very subtle which is saying something coming from the same hand that created the original Polo. There may be better—and cheaper--sandalwood scents out there but this is very nice, indeed, and is subtle enough for the office and could be a good signature scent. The perfect fragrance to wear with a sola topi and a pink gin in hand.
20th September, 2020 (last edited: 21st September, 2020)

Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum (2019) is probably the last thing anyone expected to see, as an extrait version of the original Amyris Homme (2012) feels a bit unjustified because it was always meant to be "the mass appeal one" from the range, and mass appeal fragrances typically don't get the extrait treatment unless you happen to be Chanel. What the extrait treatment does for the Amyris Homme composition is not super obvious but substantial for those who are patient, although it won't make fans of those who hated the original. Primarily for this reason I have to make it clear that if you strongly disliked Amyris Homme, there is nothing for you here, but if you were on the fence about it leaning towards positive, the extrait formula might tip you over the edge. Likewise, if you are already a fan of Amyris Homme, you may enjoy this too, but also may see it as a bit redundant because as an extrait Amyris loses a bit of the sparkle that made it such a versatile stunner in the first place. I like this quite a bit but I don't know if I'd ever feel the need to own a heavier version of Amyris Homme because it doesn't feel like it needs to be heavier, even if I'm in the minority of guys in regards to projection being the number one facet to consider in fragrances.

In the most blunt way possible, this can be described as a thicker, smoother, and warmer Amyris Homme. The opening is the same sweet citrus and white floral overtones but this time rounded with bits of cinnamon and a sweeter mandarin edge. Rosemary seems to mostly back off from the opening, and the reminder that Paco Rabanne borrowed much of this for the DNA of Invictus (2013) also comes flooding back because now thanks to added sweetness, Amyris feels more like the designer ilk it inspired even more. Elemi and a light iris still play with each other in the heart, but now a saffron accord like the one in Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 (2014) also adds a bit of heft. Before long, the tonka base that anchored most of Amyris Homme becomes evident here, thicker and devoid mostly of the scratchy dry woody amber aromachemical punch that MFK listed as coffee and oud in the original. Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum is ironically closer to being gourmand without these inclusions because of the added vanilla, but is still pretty versatile at least situationally. As with Amyris Homme, you also want to avoid overspraying because the extrait can be come a cloying nightmare if you do, which is a flaw it inherited from its papa. Wear time is over 10 hours and sillage is more noticeable but this is not a beast mode fragrance at all even if it fares better in colder weather or in romantic scenarios where sweet fragrances are often desired. I like this a lot, but I don't think I'd ever have a use for this myself, and I wear the original Amyris Homme a lot.

Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum will disappoint fragrance dudebros with backwards hats and screwface smirks looking for the newest niche-quality club banger to troll for attention with on Instagram, but I don't think Maison Francis Kurkdjian is quite ready yet to go the Parfum de Marly route and fully sell his soul to the devil. If that devil was me, he'd only have to release a proper barbershop fragrance or stinky animal-parts chypre and I'd be ready to guarantee eternal life to the man but that will likely never happen, but neither will an MFK version of Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008). After all, Kurkdjian started his perfumer career with the banger-to-end-all-bangers that is Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Mâle (1994), so does he really need to revisit such intentionally gauche territory with his own line? I think not. Fans of MFK's older more "niche-like" works will still hate this too, so the bulk of buyers for Amyris Homme Extrait de Parfum will be those willing to slap another $100 on the price tag for a little extra performance or people so in love with the original that a richer and warmer iteration that's really only marginally better in cold weather seems paradoxically like a must-have. For everyone else, approach with cautious optimism if you liked Amyris Homme to begin with, or pass along for the next one. Thumbs up.
20th September, 2020
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Clubman Reserve : Gents Gin by Pinaud

Gin is in - the opening blast; a straight London dry Gin in style with a good lashing of juniper aroma - I don’t get any aged gin here. A twist of lime is added in, which makes a nice combination.

Later on a touch of cedar emerges in the background and adds further depth, but the wood very much remains in the background.

I get moderate sillage, and good projection initially, but the longevity is a short two hours - then this is only sold as an after shave, so the limited performance is acceptable.

A typical no-nonsense Clubman After Shave; nothing exciting but nicely done and doing the job well. 3/5
20th September, 2020

Idole Eau de Parfum by Lubin

Nice enough but to quote from Dervant:

'Idole Edp is finally a less complex and more syrupy superfluous variation of the original Idole Edt'

Thats correct. This reminds me slightly of the outstanding Amouage Journey Man and Miller Harris Etui Noir. At least it begins to but fails to develop into any interest or depth.
At best you can use this as a safe work fragrance if you are keen to wear this spicy incense tobacco vibe to work.
Move along.
19th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Frangipani Flower by Jo Malone London

The frangipani and the ylang-ylang dominate the opening blast on me. The frangipani develops a restrained spice with a smooth texture, whilst the ylang-ylang is characterised by its lean character; it is neither rich nor creamy, but rather bright and elegant. This might be enhanced by the lemony background that develops quite slowly on me and not straight up at the beginning.

The middle phase adds a jasmine impression that never manages to outflank the previous notes, and at times I get whiffs of green lavender-ish impression.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

A pleasant spring scent that delivers a niche rendering of the me frangipani, bit that is a bit too bland otherwise. 2.75/5

19th September, 2020

Armand Basi Homme by Armand Basi

Armand Basi Homme (2000) feels like a test-build for Armani Code/Black Code (2004), which says all most people will need to know about the stuff. This is your now-common powdery spicy men's office fragrance built on tonka and vanilla then carried off by wisps of oakmoss and woody amber aroma molecules, prim and proper. Some people into exceedingly clean scents with a hint of bad boy spice may actually find this sexy, and I guess there is a certain appeal to that, but not for me. I wasn't much a fan of the snoozefest that is Armani Code, and despite this feeling a bit more complex (also read: less defined), it isn't quite enough for me to move the needle from tolerate to enjoy. That being said, I can appreciate what Olivier Cresp has tried to do with the light semi-oriental fougère structure here, and it smells more thought-out and sophisticated than most things in the same bloodline, even if I'd never reach for it myself.

The opening of Armand Basi is sweet citrus and cardamom with bits of cinnamon and some medicinal lavandin in place of rounder lavender to give a bit of that powdery fougère feeling. The cardamom does the heavy lifting in the opening but soon the heart of dusty nutmeg and white florals becomes the core of the wear. You have to like nutmeg to really enjoy Armand Basi Homme because it's very prominent next to the cardamom and lavandin. Unlike the later Armani Code, there's no weird waxy olive flower but there is a dry guiac wood note like in Code alongside whatever softer (and thus better) woody amber compounds were standing in for the later more-intense itchy ones found in Code, smoothed over by heaps of tonka. A bit of extra vanilla helps keep the woody amber base in check and a sliver of oakmoss also adds some natural vibrato to the final dry down. Wear time is about 6 hours so that's a tad short for a day-long office wear, but sillage is appropriately polite but present. Keep the bottle in your desk drawer if this is your daily driver.

Luckily, it seems like people like this enough that it stayed on the market despite its relative obscurity and trouncing in the face of "greater" competition from Armani, especially considering Code all but stole Armand Basi Homme's thunder. This means bottles should be relatively inexpensive, and even less than Armani Code sells for at discount, making Armand Basi Homme a cost-effective alternative where you're only dinged slightly on performance but get a smoother more-original take on the idea in return. I mean hey, this stuff did technically come first right? Should it ever be discontinued (as tends to happen with scents from these obscure B-movie type discounter darling fragrances houses), you can always just pick up Code instead. Armand Basi would release Basi Homme (2001) the very next year, which is an upped-ante version of the same idea found here, a bit stronger and punchier, but still in the powdery warm spicy semi-oriental fougère vein. If this sounds like a good time to you, check both of them out, it's not just for me man. Neutral
19th September, 2020

He Wood Ocean Wet Wood by Dsquared2

Not the typical blue or water fragrance.

It has that prominent cucumber and/or green melon note. Reminds me of Aqua Fahrenheit. Maybe it’s the marketing talking but that greeness is what makes this feel more like ocean water than fresh water, like it has seaweed in it.

Low projection, which is disappointing. It sticks around better on clothes, but that isn’t saying much. Maybe 6-7 hours of low projection. The performance issues really bum me out because this could have been really interesting. It does have some different and pleasant qualities.
19th September, 2020

Gold Woman by Amouage

One of my grandmothers used a soap called Camay, the other a sandalwood soap by Flower & Bee. Amouage Gold Woman caught me off guard with a scent reminiscent of those two soaps combined. So if you like Amouage Gold Woman those soaps might be of interest to you. Neutral.
19th September, 2020

Tihota by Indult

Would you like to smell like fresh crepes? This is the juice for you. Tihota does align squarely in my fragrance library built collecting scents that represent memorable travels or moments. It would fit the bill of the many times across Europe or Asia I’ve hit up a crepe cart. In no way would I turn my nose up at someone wearing this, but on me? Negative. Tihota is far too food-like and sedate, so sweet and satiating the ghost carbs turn into an aromatic lullaby.

FK’s East-West wavelength is almost always a perfect ride for me but on this one he either went so Parisian I couldn’t follow or he cranked it out on his laptop without too much thought because mon dieu it’s strong, making Tihota worth the attention of true vanilla connoisseurs.
18th September, 2020
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Golden Needle Tea by Jo Malone

The opening is characterised by the prominence of a gently spicy note. This is a smooth spice mix, neither sharp nor hot, and without any ceremonious of medicinal feel. The Yunnan tea buds arrive a bit later, very discreet, mild, neither smoky nor tannic, and more an accompanying feature - the buds are not that intense.

The is a leather coming in at a later stage, an light and smooth suede that blends in nicely. A touch of wood - sandal - that is very much in the backgound - rounds off the whole mix. Just a touch of styrax - again very gentle - comes and goes too. Whiffs of candlewax make a transient appearance.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection, and a very good nine hours of longevity on my skin.

A mild tea and a more convincing gentle spice are the major player in the scent for warmer autumn days. It is a bit linear and pale at times, but overall it has an original touch and is crafted solidly. Good for work. 3/5
18th September, 2020

Jezebel by Bud Parfums

Muted spices, sweetened, honeyed spic. Vanilla-amber in the background. A dark wood aroma, like mahogany or ebony. Perhaps some labdanum is in this mix or something like it. The spices smell of nutmeg, cloves, and star anise, possibly coriander.

As it mellows it is full-on amber-wood-vanilla, hours later. Autumnal and wintry; smooth and warm.
18th September, 2020

Dubai Black Sapphire by Bond No. 9

Very dark, balsamic, rich. Notes mix well with each other. The rose is bitter, like rotting green stalks. I prefer "Bulgarian rose" over Turkish rose. The rose here, is ugly. However, I am strangely attracted to it. I think the addition of woods and pepper make it tolerable. It's a masculine rose.

Eventually the rose becomes smothered by balsam and benzoin, with a tiny sweetness coming from somewhere (I don't know)... Except for the brief time with bitter rose, this is a good rendition of a dark, balsamic fragrance, although I have smelled many others like it.
18th September, 2020

Brooksfield Men by Brooksfield

Brooksfield is an Italian menswear company with a rather English-sounding name, and comes across rather "casual dad" in nature with clothing that focuses on the usual trousers and overcoats look, turtleneck sweaters and tartan patterns galore. The brand launched a men's fragrance in the early 90's just called Brooksfield for Men (1993), and it's a rather conventional "fresh fougère" which at the time probably seemed pretty novel, as the newest iteration of the genre has just started picking up speed into the 90's. This fragrance is nice, and it's of the rarer breed of fresh fougère that sways more traditional fougère than freshness, but there are (or at least were) a ton of things that could also serve in the same place as Brooksfield for Men, so it never really had a chance on the market. The other problem here is few people outside of Italy or the EU even know of Brooksfield, as the brand doesn't get around much outside of a select few distribution channels beyond those areas, so most people haven't heard of the menswear brand let alone this fragrance unless they are from continental Europe, mimicking in some ways the semi-local nature of US designer brands like Tommy Hilfiger. The bottle is kind of neat, with a medallion in the front and giving me big time liqueur vibes, but all that comes with the territory when you aim for a mature menswear audience.

The opening of Brooksfield for Men is rather quiet, with bergamot, juniper, and a nice tart green apple coming to the front, very fresh and semi-fleeting as a soft lavender barbershop medly of tarragon and clary sage enter. There's some muted plum notes here, and a bit of vetiver that rests on a backdrop of cardamom, giving a dull spice and slight smoky sweetness to the mixture, but still feeling very fresh. Oakmoss, musk, and a noticeable cedar fill in the void, and overall Brooksfield for Men rests somewhere between Gilette Cool Rain (1993) and future releases like Quartz pour Homme by Molyneaux (1994), American Crew Classic Fragrance (2000) or the even-later Cabaret de Grès Homme (2004). All of these scents rely very heavily on clary sage for their aromatic backbone and all but the Quartz are fougères. Everything I've mentioned is also discontinued outside the Gilette, so the "fresh clary sage" masculine style as a whole is just about extinct in the mainstream realm, but I have a feeling nobody really misses it. Once more, this is a nice fragrance, and a different kind of clean compared to the aquatics and ozonics of the period, or modern ambroxan fragrances, but nothing about it leaps out and says "gotta have" unless you have a fetish for mild-mannered masculines. Wear time and performance on the lower side of average, and Brooksfield feels best in warmer weather social functions with strangers. Back then this stuff read like it was made for older guys, but now it just feels like an EdT adjunct to a shower gel/soap range.

Back in 1993 masculine perfumery as a whole was headed into an age of apology that wouldn't relent until all the retro-chic stuff Tom Ford was brewing at the time over at LVMH hit the market (also all doomed to discontinuation), and the super-shrill Y2K millennial male foghorns started ruffling feathers, meaning for the next decade or so, scents like Brooksfield for Men were the norm. Under these circumstances, Brooksfield is probably one of the better options because the alternative was tons of fruity shimmery metallic calone and aldehyde fragrances on soft green wood bases or aquatics riding a wave of laundry musk into your nightmares, at least beyond the fresh fougères. Semi-oriental fresh tobacco styles and gourmands became a thing then too, but these weren't the versatile daily wear solutions men wanted then and with standard fougères being ushered out the door along with chypres while animalic powerhouses sank into tar pits of their own making, Brooksfield for Men had all the makings of a successful middle option between the transparent aromachemical stuff and the old guard, if only it wasn't from a menswear range that sounds English but is from Italy. If you like these kind soft-spoken fougère exercises, grab it if you find a deal, otherwise your time spent excavating discontinued treasures is better spent elsewhere. Thumbs up.
18th September, 2020

Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Eau Fraîche pour Lui by Lacoste

A simple but pleasant summer fragrance. Very fresh, citrusy-sour and peppery opening. Similar to D&G Light Blue pH Eau Intense.

Projection is pretty good during the first few hours and then is pretty much faded out to a skin scent after 5 hours.
18th September, 2020

Wanted Tonic by Azzaro

Wanted Tonic doesn’t smell bad. In fact, it’s very pleasant. However, I’ve smelled many better options in the same genre.

It’s sweet but nowhere near the sweetness of the original Wanted. I really don’t even get much of the Wanted DNA. The one oddity is I get a coconut smell from this, similar to something like Joop Homme Wild. I prefer the Joop though, it’s a better, more distinctive smell and better performer.

Speaking of performance, that was the biggest disappointment. Light projection even right after spraying for me. Also, it doesn’t last all that long, maybe 4 hours.
18th September, 2020

Chevignon by Chevignon

Chevignon Brand is a ready-to-wear fashion arm of Les Établissements Charles Chevignon, founded by the former and Guy Azoulay, and has always been centered around minimalism and a certain brusque aesthetic that seems more suited to men (even if they have had items for women in the past too). Perhaps best known for its jacket, denim, and leather accessories, Chevignon set its sights on businesses outside of fashion as early as a controversial (and failed) cigarette arm in 1990, then later a fragrance division launching in 1992 with the Bogart Group handling composition, manufacturing, and distribution. If this sounds familiar, it's because Bogart Group is home to both the Ted Lapidus and Jacques Bogart lines, producers of the most unapologetic and masculine fragrances on the planet, meaning the debut masculine Chevignon (1992) would be right at home there. Other critics in the past called this a cut-rate Ralph Lauren Polo (1978), and they wouldn't exactly be wrong, since Chevignon has strong similarities, but this is no clone. The whiskey flask bottle and old-timey writing on the front go hand-in-hand with the faux-Americana the brand tried to channel in a decade that was back-to-basics compared to the preceding one, although by 1992 stuff like Polo was the furthest from what young guys looking to grunge it up actually wanted.

The opening is very familiar to Polo fans, with artemisia and galbanum, dry bergamot and aromatic notes like caraway, swapping Polo's coriander for basil. The differences are slight at this phase, as Chevignon does not have the pine of Polo in the heart, although it has just about everything else save muguet and leather, the latter of which is moved to the base in Chevignon. This includes jasmine, carnation, rose, geranium, filling in the heart, leading to a transition into a lighter less-dense base spearheaded by that leather note. The leather is very rounded and spicy like Hermès Bel Ami (1986) but much softer, and some may say Chevignon veers closer to Ralph Lauren Polo Crest (1991) by this stage. Cedar, oakmoss, amber, musk, and that leather form the base of Chevignon, with the telltale tobacco and vetiver from Polo absent in Chevignon, using increased patchouli to bring in some resinous green feeling that steers more towards something like Givenchy Gentleman (1974) or Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men (1984) but with traces of the Polo "vibe" filtered through from the top and heart. Chevignon becomes its own beast by this stage, but just barely. Wear time is average at about eight hours but unlike most of what I've mentioned above, this is not a powerhouse fragrance at all, bringing the 70's/80's masculinity in line with 90's sillage. Best use would be formal situations where something green and mossy feels apropos, and likely more mature.

I like Chevignon but with stuff like Jaguar for Men (1988) still out there as cheaper viable alternative to vintage Polo, I see no reason to pay the steadily-increasing prices of the discontinued Chevignon. When this stuff was viewed as the cheap Polo alternative, it probably did Chevignon no favors which is probably why they chose to discontinue it in the first place. People who wanted Polo were going to buy current Polo regardless of formulation because brand cache matters to the average consumer, while fragrance collectors will either spring for the vintage Polo because "ermahgerd muh oakmossuses" or vintage "wood cap" Jaguar for Men, which is now the cheaper alternative for Cosmair-era Polo than the near-unicorn prices for the Chevignon. Logic dictates if you're going to overpay for a "rare and precious" vintage, get the original and not the reputed imitator right? Back in the day when Chevignon was new and common, I would have recommended it as a slightly lighter and perhaps more summer-suited alternative to fans of heavy green stuff like Polo or Givenchy Gentleman, especially since leather bases tend to shine in hot weather, but now I'd say only go in on a bottle of this if you're a collector. As it is now, Chevignon is a neat little historical blip, a transitory piece sitting between 80's power and 90's apology, but not worth the price of admission for any functional purpose beyond completing a display of such fragrances. Thumbs up.
18th September, 2020

Sahara Noir by Tom Ford

Marketed as a fragrance for women, but I really dig wearing this one in cooler weather. Exceptionally rich, well blended and very long lasting without any trace of noxious chemical sweetness.

4 stars.
17th September, 2020

Jacomo de Jacomo Original by Jacomo

Surrounded by a sea of insecure, hostile candyland niche frags, reeking of jelly donuts and vanilla candles, Jacomo de Jacomo stands alone on the hill raising his fist high and proud. Zero sweetness, 100% black awesomeness.

Jacomo doesn't need your attention, he demands it.

4.5 stars.
17th September, 2020

Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein

Neutral. Upon release, I wore this fragrance in deference to Carlos Benaim, who authored my beloved Polo Green. Ultimately, it never fully resonated with my tastes and the bottle was relegated to under the sink forever more. Despite the annoying, wrecking ball level of mass marketing - this frag deserves it's place amongst the best of 1989 releases.

3 stars.
17th September, 2020
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