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  1. #1
    Basenotes Junkie Sloth's Avatar
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    Default Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    I realise there are a lot of hard core niche lovers here and that's all part of the 'mix' so to speak.
    I confess that as a newbie and a far less 'serious' frag-head, I have not heard of many of the houses, let alone the frags themselves that, many folks on here, only seem to discuss or be interested in. It's almost as if it's a contest between them, to name something as obscure as possible, but of course I appreciate that is not the case, it's just that they are far deeper into this than I or most people will ever be, and are just far more informed and educated in fragrances.

    Anyway, that said I wondered if there were instances where you have tried a cheapy, perhaps begrudgingly or reluctantly and with low expectations, only to be amazed in spite of yourself at the smell and quality of the scent?
    Perhaps it was cheap but had a top shelf designer or even niche quality to it?
    Perhaps it could be branded under another, pretentious niche name, have the price inflated to a ridiculous, silly level and thus be praised as the next nectar of the Gods?

    I can't believe that all designer and/or cheap frags are trash, and there must be some surprises out there that punch waaay above their weight?
    I'm not talking about the usual 'cheap frags with beast performance' or just smelling better than they should for the price, I'm talking about something cheap (say £20-£80 range) that smells light years away from it's price point and could easily be a top shelf/niche fragrance under a different name?

    On the flip side, there may be top shelf or niche frag disappointments, that cost a million dollars but smell like they should cost only £20 or so?

    Just a bit of fun, it's all good.

    Sloth.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Hey Sloth!

    My Number 1 recommendation for this would easily be Nabeel Arab Tradition. a variation on the Tom Ford 'Tuscan Leather' theme but, in my humble opinion, better smelling and with excellent longevity. Available online for about 13 quid!!

    It used to look like this:


    But now looks like this:


    From what I've read it's the same fragrance/performance etc, just newer packaging. Smells 10 times its worth I would say...!

  3. #3
    Dependent chopwet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    There are plenty of nuggets out there that can be had for relatively little outlay and there are many threads that cover this exact topic, it's worth going through a few:

    1. https://www.basenotes.net/threads/37...rances-for-Men
    2. https://www.basenotes.net/threads/47...HEAP-fragrance
    3. https://www.basenotes.net/threads/18...AND-SMELL-GOOD!
    4. https://www.basenotes.net/threads/42...heap-fragrance
    5. https://www.basenotes.net/threads/29...rance-Bargains
    6. https://www.basenotes.net/threads/27...ap-fragrances-!!


    'Niche' used to refer to fragrances that appealed a small crowd but somehow along the way it has come to refer to exclusive fragrances. Niche doesn't guarantee quality but these days it usually guarantees high prices.

    I highly recommend exploring the older Guerlains, and the houses of Caron and Lalique as starting points for really nice fragrances that are still very affordable (when not paying RRP of course).

    And some final advice: rather sample extensively and then buy one or two really good fragrances you truly adore instead of trying to get lots of bargains.

  4. #4
    Basenotes Junkie Mark.B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    I find a lot of Lalique fragrances are great value for money.

    I am using Lalique pour homme lion this week and it is a very elegant scent for very little money. The encre noir series are great value too.

    Currently wearing: Bel Ami by Hermès

  5. #5
    Basenotes Junkie Sloth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark.B View Post
    I find a lot of Lalique fragrances are great value for money.

    I am using Lalique pour homme lion this week and it is a very elegant scent for very little money. The encre noir series are great value too.


    Thanks all, Mark.B, isn't that particular Lalique supposed to resemble Creed BDP d (not sure if in the EDT or EDP version?

  6. #6
    Basenotes Junkie Mark.B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    It is not quite as woody or as dry/spice in my opinion, but it does have a nice dry down and is not a million miles away from creed BDP.
    Currently wearing: Bel Ami by Hermès

  7. #7
    Basenotes Junkie Sloth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Interesting, I had a sample of BDP and it was OK but didn't wow me. My wife hated it, said it was too spicy.
    Perhaps this is a way to get something similar for not a lot of money, just to scratch the itch?

    Would you recommend the EDT or the EDP and why?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    A recent discovery for me very late in 2020: D&G The One for Men EdP. Could easily be marketed by a niche brand and would likely sell for much more. To my nose, the scent is excellent value for money, projects a sophisticated amount and lasts very well into the evening when not over-sprayed a ridiculous amount.

    181119dolceandgabbanatheoneforhimintensemob.jpg

  9. #9
    Basenotes Junkie Mark.B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post
    Interesting, I had a sample of BDP and it was OK but didn't wow me. My wife hated it, said it was too spicy.
    Perhaps this is a way to get something similar for not a lot of money, just to scratch the itch?

    Would you recommend the EDT or the EDP and why?

    i am commenting on the EDT as that is the bottle I have - not tried the EDP
    Currently wearing: Bel Ami by Hermès

  10. #10
    Basenotes Junkie Sloth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    I suspect there's a lot more to come....

  11. #11

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Bel Ami can usually be found at a reasonable price if you shop around.

    Also, Polo Supreme Cashmere can be found for about £80-£90 for 125 ml.

    Both could be 'niche' easily.

    I'm struggling with the very cheap ones -- I mean, you get what you pay for really. Bogart Pour Homme is unique imo and is cheap as chips -- it's a little 'rough' though.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post
    Interesting, I had a sample of BDP and it was OK but didn't wow me. My wife hated it, said it was too spicy.
    Perhaps this is a way to get something similar for not a lot of money, just to scratch the itch?

    Would you recommend the EDT or the EDP and why?
    EDP of Lalique pour Homme is the way to go. Fuller, more satisfying composition, better performance.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    I bought 50ml of Guerlain Habit Rouge EdP for less than $30, and it's way better than a lot of fragrances that cost more than three times what I paid for it.
    Currently wearing: Mitzah by Christian Dior

  14. #14
    Basenotes Institution Danny Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Gucci Guilty Absolute would be a good one, IMO.
    "Ducks eat for free at Subway."
    Currently wearing: Gucci Guilty Oud by Gucci

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Altamir by Ted Lapidus
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark.B View Post
    I find a lot of Lalique fragrances are great value for money.

    I am using Lalique pour homme lion this week and it is a very elegant scent for very little money. The encre noir series are great value too.

    Lalique fragrances are nice for what you pay. Their presentation is always very nice. Lalique is actually a french crystal manufacturer which is probably why their bottles are so nice.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    All of these are currently available online discounted for around these prices:

    Aramis Havana $20
    Aramis Devin $25
    Aramis Tuscany per uomo $50

    Azzaro pour homme $30

    Bogart Signature $20

    John Varvatos Vintage $25

    Montana Parfum d'Homme (red box) $50

    Ralph Lauren Polo Green $45

    Roger & Gallet Open $20

    “Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”
    ― Mark Twain
    Currently wearing: Polo by Ralph Lauren

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Carbone de Balmain

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Encre Noire for me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Many great cheapies out there! One thing I learnt after my brief "niche snob" phase was that price doesn't equal or guarantee quality - or more precisely, price point has little to do with my personal enjoyment.

    To me, all of these cheapies (cheapie = 20 euros max) are good/great regardless of price, even with many of them being reformulations:

    - Lalique Encre Noire (16 euros)
    - Jovan Sex Appeal (6 euros)
    - Roger & Gallet Open (11 euros)
    - Bogart Signature (11 euros)
    - Lapidus pour Homme (18 euros)
    - Quorum Silver (10 euros)
    - Geoffrey Beene Bowling Green (11 euros)
    - Azzaro pour Homme L'eau (15 euros)
    - Puig Agua Brava (10 euros)
    - Coty Aspen (8 euros)
    - Lomani pour Homme (11 euros)
    - Bourjois Masculin 2 Black Instant (6 euros)
    - Capucci pour Homme (11 euros)
    - Soprani Uomo (13 euros)
    - Pino Silvestre (10 euros)
    - Cerruti 1881 Men (15 euros)
    - Aramis Havana (20 euros)
    My Most Worn by Decade
    90's: YSL Jazz
    00's: Clinique Happy for Men
    10's: Armani Code Sport
    20's: Aramis Havana, L'eau Bleue d'Issey, Fahrenheit

  21. #21
    Basenotes Institution dougczar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Some that I think smell far better than their price tag are:

    Aramis - Havana
    Perry Ellis - 360° Red
    Versace Man - Eau Fraiche
    Lalique - White
    D&G - The One
    Lomani - Intense Black
    Current Winter Favorites:

    1. House of Matriarch - Blackbird
    2. Brückner - Aoud 1
    3. Creed - Royal Oud
    4. Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 - Generation Man
    5. Armani Privé - Oud Royal
    6. by Kilian - Straight to Heaven
    7. Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 - Mortal Skin
    8. Creed - Royal English Leather
    9. Creed - Bois du Portugal
    10. by Kilian - Cruel Intentions

  22. #22
    Dependent midsbloke's Avatar
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    Default Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Boucheron Pour Homme
    Boucheron Jaïpur
    Guerlain LIDG/LIDGE
    Guerlain Heritage
    Habit Rouge EdP
    Guerlain Homme EdP
    YSL Pour Homme
    YSL Opium Pour Homme

  23. #23
    Super Member Deuce2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by motorcade View Post
    Many great cheapies out there! One thing I learnt after my brief "niche snob" phase was that price doesn't equal or guarantee quality - or more precisely, price point has little to do with my personal enjoyment.

    To me, all of these cheapies (cheapie = 20 euros max) are good/great regardless of price, even with many of them being reformulations:

    - Lalique Encre Noire (16 euros)
    - Jovan Sex Appeal (6 euros)
    - Roger & Gallet Open (11 euros)
    - Bogart Signature (11 euros)
    - Lapidus pour Homme (18 euros)
    - Quorum Silver (10 euros)
    - Geoffrey Beene Bowling Green (11 euros)
    - Azzaro pour Homme L'eau (15 euros)
    - Puig Agua Brava (10 euros)
    - Coty Aspen (8 euros)
    - Lomani pour Homme (11 euros)
    - Bourjois Masculin 2 Black Instant (6 euros)
    - Capucci pour Homme (11 euros)
    - Soprani Uomo (13 euros)
    - Pino Silvestre (10 euros)
    - Cerruti 1881 Men (15 euros)
    - Aramis Havana (20 euros)
    Motorcade,

    That's a very good list. Encre Noir is one of my go to vetivers, and the Roger & Gallet Open has continued to grow in my rotation. Bowling Green was the surprise scent last year - never having tried it, it compared well to my Aramis Tuscany. The Aqua Brava is such great juice!
    Best wishes,

    Chris
    Currently wearing: Allure Homme by Chanel

  24. #24
    Super Member Jay-Lux'eau's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    I have the 3 best known Cuba Paris clones coming my way at the moment.

    Gold, Prestige and Royal. A lot of ppl claiming they are like somewhere between 80 and 95% similar to cfr. Le Male, A*Men and 1 Million.

    Will share my thoughts when they get here.

    Or maybe you mean non-clone fragrances only Sloth?
    ----- Selling what's left of my clearout as a discovery set for 40€, 28 scents. (updated 20 Jan 2021) -----

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Fahrenheit may not be what some consider “cheap” but I feel like it punches well above its weight for a designer.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  26. #26

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Many great recommendations, also adding:

    Chevignon Brand for Men
    Best of Chevignon
    Caractere by Daniel Hechter
    most Halston scents including Z-14 and 1-12
    Sir Irisch Moos
    Ginepro Nero by l'Erbolario
    Currently wearing: Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

  27. #27

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but Bentley For Men Intense fits the bill.
    Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland too.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedracer View Post
    Fahrenheit may not be what some consider “cheap” but I feel like it punches well above its weight for a designer.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Started to wear Fahrenheit today, but went with that old cheap Chanel Egoiste instead.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Derbyman View Post
    Hey Sloth!

    My Number 1 recommendation for this would easily be Nabeel Arab Tradition. a variation on the Tom Ford 'Tuscan Leather' theme but, in my humble opinion, better smelling and with excellent longevity. Available online for about 13 quid!!

    It used to look like this:


    But now looks like this:


    From what I've read it's the same fragrance/performance etc, just newer packaging. Smells 10 times its worth I would say...!
    This comes to mind first as well. It's the best $15 I have ever spent on a fragrance probably. While there are plenty of good cheapies, they do smell designer, when this smells completely niche quality. I haven't picked up the new black style bottle yet, but I've seen it readily available for $13!

  30. #30
    The Devil in the Details
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    Default Re: Cheap frags but top shelf smell?

    Vintage Avon from 1980 and back. Real oakmoss, real sandalwood, real bergamot and lavender. Nitromusks in examples before 1974, just maybe not the best performance because eau de cologne concentration. Big enough bottles to re-apply once halfway through your day, however.

    Best examples:

    Avon Tribute (1963)
    Avon Leather (1966)
    Avon Wild Country (1967) - still made so Vintage only.
    Avon Öland (1970)
    Avon Blend 7 (1973)
    Avon Clint (1976)
    Avon Black Suede (1980)

    For more modern styles, things get dicier because cost/profit optimization has brought new heights of banality to fragrance from all price points, but some include:

    Avon Tomorrow for Men (2005)
    Avon Signature (2008)
    Herve Legere Homme (2010) - made by Avon
    Avon Premier Luxe Homme (2016)
    Avon Premier Luxe Oud (2017)
    Avon Free for Him (2018)
    oh look, I have a signature
    Discover a searchable archive of my reviews and more at The Scented Devil
    Currently wearing: Joint by Roccobarocco




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