Monday, July 27, 2020

Xeryus Rouge - Revisited



Nine years ago I lambasted Xeryus Rouge, calling it a "shit fragrance".  I think nine years away from anything is a long time, so I've decided to give Xeryus Rouge another chance. 

I like this a lot more than I did in 2011, so I don't know if my old bottle was bad, if I overapplied it, if it's been reformulated, etc..  I don't know, except that I enjoy Xeryus Rouge very much.

I have always loved the opening stage, which is like a spicy-sweet blast of Swedish Fish candy, cinnamon, cherries, hot pepper flakes, dry wood and vanilla.  I don't smell any of the original Xeryus DNA in here, but Xeryus Rouge broadcasts the color red, so its name is perfectly apt.  The sharpness of the opening fades after about 10 minutes, but that basic awesome spicy/sweet accord goes on for hours and hours.  For whatever reason, I did not smell this when I first reviewed it.

Xeryus Rouge is now on my thumbs up list, because it keeps its fiery, hot-blooded vibe throughout its development.  It is an addictive, sex machine of a fragrance.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Santos Concentrée


I've read the reviews of Santos Concentree on Basenotes and Fragrantica, and I'm amazed at the amount of love this fragrance gets.  I like Santos Concentree, but I don't find it to be anywhere near as mindblowing or enchanting as most people describe it.  In fact, I think it's somewhat overrated.

If you've never tried this and expect it to be a stronger, more intense version of the original Santos, forget it.  If anything, Santos Concentree is weaker than Santos in every way: in longevity, in projection, and in complexity.

Most of you reading this are probably familiar with the regular Santos, and are curious at how Concentree compares to it.  The regular Santos is a strong and complex chypre with a ton of notes swirling around, like oakmoss, patchouli, musk, labdanum, nutmeg, vetiver, sandalwood, and a whole lot of others.  With Santos Concentree, Cartier has stripped Santos down to its bare essentials, and it smells thin and spare by comparison.  I smell primarily four notes: sandalwood, nutmeg, patchouli and amber, and that's about it.  I don't see how this is more concentrated than Santos, except perhaps that it concentrates on Santos' four strongest notes.  If that's the case, Cartier's calling this "Concentree" was somewhat misleading.

Santos Concentree is a weakling compared to regular Santos, because this is a scent that stays close to the skin, at least on my skin.  It's subtle, so no one is likely to smell it unless you are walking by or right up close to someone else.  Maybe that's why so many people gush about this being "the fragrance for a perfect gentleman".  Although it's a fairly classy scent, I can think of a lot of classier "gentleman" fragrances than this.

Having said all that, I must say that I really enjoy the scent, even though I wish it were stronger and more complex.  It has an overall brown-hued woody spiciness to it that is smoothed out with amber.  It's a warm, comforting fragrance that is a pleasure to get little whiffs of during the day.  It smells like a stripped down, smoother version of Versace L'Homme to me.  A lot of reviewers call this a powerhouse, which I do not agree with at all.  On its best day, Santos Concentree is more like a powerhouse for guys who don't wear powerhouse frags.

Overall, I give a thumbs up to Santos Concentree, with a footnote saying that it is a tad overrated.

MY RATING:  8/10


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Tabac Original Eau de Toilette



Why doesn't anyone give an honest review of Tabac Original eau de toilette?  This is the unloved sibling of the Tabac Original line, and I don't understand why.  All people ever write about it is, "It's not as good as the eau de cologne".  Although I too prefer the EDC, this fragrance deserves way more praise and write-up than that, so I'm here to give it its due.  Just writing, "The cologne is better" is an idiotic and snobbish review.  The eau de toilette is an excellent fragrance in its own right.

The EDT is both similar and different from the EDC.  It's similar in that it contains the same basic structure as the cologne: it's a clean, soapy floral scent where aldehydes, carnation and sandalwood play a dominant role.  They are different, however, in that the EDT ramps up the volume of the aldehydes and the moss, which gives it a sharper, waxier smell than the EDC.  The EDT is also soapier and, many might argue, harsher than the EDC.  The EDT is close to being a powerhouse scent (helped by its prominent use of moss), whereas the cologne is warm, smooth and subtle, and it exudes the concept or idea of tobacco, as opposed to replicating the scent of tobacco leaf exactly.  The eau de toilette, by contrast, does not give any kind of tobacco vibe.  Rather, it exudes soapiness and clean-shaven, well-groomed sophistication.

Granted, I prefer the warmth and laid back feel of the cologne, but the eau de toilette is excellent as well, and it is worth owning both.  One thing I prefer about the eau de toilette is the raw, woody smell of the drydown, which has an outdoorsy feel and which the cologne version does not have. This is a great scent to wear when you're walking in the woods.

By the way, if you want to get the feel of both the cologne and eau de toilette at the same time, just slap on some Tabac aftershave after shaving (it's the same scent as the cologne) and spray on the EDT after that.  The two scents blend together very well, due to their same basic DNA.


MY RATING:  8.5/10

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Limon Cicegi Kolonyasi (Turkish Lemon Cologne) by Pereja


This Turkish eau de cologne is sunshine in a bottle.  It is my favorite eau de cologne, and what's even better is that it costs almost nothing.  I buy this at my local Arabic grocery store, which sells this for about $7 US for a huge 750 ml. bottle.

I'm usually not wild about eaux de colognes because I think they're boring.  Stuff like Jean-Marie Farina and 4711, though they smell okay, bore me to tears.  Pereja's lemon cologne, on the other hand, is a fragrance I adore.  "Lemon cologne" is what Pereja calls this, but I can assure you this is a lot more than just lemon.  This is a beautiful citrus fragrance that has some complexity, courtesy of its use of beautiful soft floral notes.  Its scent is similar to Acqua di Parma Colonia, only much less concentrated, and obviously about 1/20th the price.  How awesome is that?

This is meant to be splashed on liberally, and its scent is so fresh and natural smelling, it is impossible to over apply.  No one would ever be offended with this cologne, even if you bathed in it.  I use it as an aftershave, which it does admirably, and a splash on cologne.  When applied liberally, I can smell it for about 3 hours, which is pretty good for an EDC.  But don't be afraid to keep reapplying this, because it is dirt cheap.

Pereja's cologne smells like summer on the Mediterranean sea.  It is a beautiful scent for either men or women, and you will ALWAYS smell good wearing it.

MY RATING:  9/10

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Swiss Arabian Jannet El Firdaus



If you're one of those guys who always complains about longevity and projection in today's fragrances being too weak, you should give up on mainstream eaux de toilettes and go with perfume oils.  Jannet El Firdaus by Swiss Arabian is a power monster.  If this frag is too weak for you, then the problem is with YOU, not the perfume.  This stuff is fucking brutal.

Jannet El Firdaus is going to smell quite alien to most wimpy "Western" noses.  Swiss Arabian lists this as a unisex perfume, but to me, this is a Middle Eastern macho man frag hands down.  Yes, it's a bonafide powerhouse.  If you do not like green smelling fragrances, you will hate this.

What we have here is a very soapy scent that seems to contain every green note known to man.  The soapiness dominates, but underlying it all are awesome grass, geranium, oakmoss, pine, artemisia, cypress, and lord knows what other green smells exist on this planet.  There is also a strong smell of broken flower stems in this, so the greenness of this frag is extreme.  Many people will not like this, but I think it's great.  It's a sharp green scent, but with some nice floral notes that give it not only a soapy smell, but make it smooth. 

Don't forget that in the 60's and 70's, soapy colognes were considered to be super masculine, and Jannet El Firdaus carries on that tradition.  This is old school to the extreme, so this is NOT meant for guys who love to rock One Million or Aventus.

The strength of this is amazing.  I actually like to apply this fairly liberally, which for oils, means about 5 or 6 drops.  This is a big, hairy chest frag that I like to have broadcast its scent for a good distance.  Staying power is all day and sillage is nuclear.  It costs very little, so a blind purchase is not a big risk.  If you want something superpowerful and super manly, try out Jannet El Firdaus, because this is a macho frag for sure.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

UDV For Men


Here's a cheapie but goodie.  It's constructed like a cheap frag, like a bunch of jumbled up notes that don't especially blend well together.  However, this is one of the few fragrances that smells so good, I can forgive its rough construction.

This is a sweet but VERY aromatic, and fairly powerful fougere that takes cues from Lapidus Pour Homme and YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme, as well as many other manly frags.  The main reason I really like UDV For Men, however, is because it reminds me of one of my favorite discontinued scents: Arpege Pour Homme by Lanvin.  Though iris is not listed in its note pyramid, I detect both a strong iris and an anise note in this scent, and I love it.  I feel like I've finally found a good substitute for Arpege Pour Homme with this, and that alone is cause for celebration.

Though it's a bit of a mess, construction-wise, UDV always stays interesting, because it's complex and it continuously throws different notes under your nose all day.  One second it smells like Lapidus Pour Homme, five seconds later I get Lolita Lempicka Pour Homme, then Arpege, etc..  It sounds chaotic, but it somehow works.  All these different facets are bumping into one another under your nose, but it always manages to deliver the goods and smell great.

Fans of powerhouse frags will like this because it's got plenty of the old school herbal notes like patchouli (heavy on the patchouli), artemisia and moss, but fans of newer scents might like it too due to its sweetness.  It's not candy-sweet, though.  It's more like a Kouros-type sweetness, and it's counteracted by the iris and anise, which tone down the sweetness and make it more spicy.

MY RATING:  8/10

Cerruti 1881 for Men

Cerruti 1881 is a fragrance I have liked for a long time, but no longer wear.  It's a scent that, for whatever reason, no longer interests me much, but I still feel is superb.

I remember first smelling this in the mid-90's, and I found it memorable because it was so different from what was popular back then.  It still is.  It smelled like a stronger version of Eau Sauvage, but with a lot more floral notes.  In fact, Cerruti 1881 smells like a cross between Eau Sauvage and Boucheron Pour Homme.  I bought a bottle a few weeks later.

I don't understand why this is classified as an aromatic fougere, because I smell almost no lavender, and the scent isn't particularly aromatic.  What I get is a wonderfully fizzy, lemony citrus and floral scent.  The floral notes of carnation, lily-of-the-valley, ylang-ylang and rose make this fragrance completely unique, even today, and they define the character of the scent.  This is not some boring citrus fragrance.  The floral notes give the scent real depth, mass, and sophistication, while still smelling masculine.  This is not a testosterone bomb, no.  Cerruti 1881 is an elegant, breezy and relaxed fragrance that exudes cleanliness and class.  I like it particularly during warm weather, but it is suitable any time of year.

I still have yet to find another fragrance that is similar to this.  The sillage on this is fairly weak, which is good because I remember it having nuclear, overpowering projection with the first bottle I bought back in the day.  This is not a frag you want to broadcast with a bullhorn.  I prefer the strength of the current version, though longevity is only fair, at about 5 or 6 hours on my skin.

I don't wear this much anymore, and may never again, but I can't deny that it's excellent.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Aramis 900


Now here's a fragrance that certainly is not for everyone: Aramis 900.  People who like it adore it, and those who don't tend to find it too feminine.  I've seen many "old lady scent" comments about Aramis 900.  I'm not going to criticize those who say it's too feminine though, because Aramis 900 is strongly floral-based, which is something you rarely see in designer men's fragrances.

I happen to love Aramis 900.  It's a green floral chypre that has an obvious similarity to Aromatics Elixir by Clinique, probably because the same guy Bernard Chant composed both.  Bernard Chant must have been the god of chypres back in the day, because he also created Aramis, Cabochard, Aliage and Devin, which are all great chypres.  Therefore it is no surprise that Aramis 900 is a gem of a scent.

A lot of reviewers talk about this being a patchouli-dominant fragrance, but I don't get that at all.  I can tell there's a healthy dose of patchouli in here because there's a strong underlying herbal earthiness to the scent, but I don't get any macho blast of patchouli in it.  For me, the floral and green notes dominate.  Rose is the most prominent, with a nice green geranium note that keeps the scent green all day.  I love that.  Carnation is also quite strong, and it gives the scent its old school feel.  I get the same effect when I wear other carnation-heavy frags like Tabac eau de toilette and Ho Hang.  The moss and patchouli keep Aramis 900 smelling natural and aromatic.  Not surprising for a 70's frag, Aramis 900 contains a huge number of notes, but they're all blended together beautifully.

Guys who aren't used to wearing old school European-style chypres will be taken aback when they first try Aramis 900.  It is so unlike what most men have been used to since the 80's, and for the uninitiated, it may come off like a powdery "old lady perfume".  But for those who like wearing unusual scents, this is a must try.  I won't say it's a must own for chypre fans, because if you love chypres, you probably already have a bottle of this.

I bought my bottle about 15 years ago, and it's the one you see pictured.  Don't bother searching for a vintage bottle because fortunately Aramis didn't mess with the formula much on the current version.  I've smelled the current version of Aramis 900, and I get the same feeling as from the older stuff, so bravo to Aramis.

Longevity is all day for me, and projection is strong.  Therefore I don't recommend wearing this unless you are comfortable wearing a brazenly floral, old school chypre.  You will definitely be noticed.

MY RATING:  9/10

Monday, July 13, 2020

Jazz


Jazz is one of the forgotten fragrances of the 80's.  It's an excellent fragrance in every way.  The problem, for me, is that it doesn't distinguish itself enough from the many aromatic fougeres that have been released since the 1970's.

Jazz is a lot like Azzaro Pour Homme: aromatic, spicy and masculine.  Whereas Azzaro's big featured notes are lavender and anise, Jazz separates itself by having a big, fat nutmeg note.  This nutmeg note is also what makes it fit in nicely with so many of the other men's frags that were big in the 80's.  However, it lacks the heft and muscle of the big power scents of that era, and I have to believe that a lot of guys thought it was kind of boring back then.  It's much drier and thinner smelling than Azzaro Pour Homme.  Azzaro has patchouli and a lot more moss than Jazz, and I feel like Jazz smells a little bit skeletal because of that.

The bottle I have is the one pictured above, and I bought it about 12 years ago.  I am fully aware that I have a reformulated version, and that the original had a black and white bottle, but I don't care.  Although I like Jazz, I almost never wear it because it's too similar to both Azzaro Pour Homme and Dunhill Edition, another spicy fougere, and I much prefer those.  Jazz seems to have a cult following, though, which is nice to see because this is a high quality scent that is well composed and well balanced.  Personally, I just find it a little boring.

MY RATING:  8/10

The One - Grey


Whenever a company releases a fragrance like this, they must think their customer base is bunch of idiots.  I haven't even bothered to find the note pyramid on The One Grey because it's clear to me this is nothing but three ingredients: ambroxan, dihydromyrcenol and alcohol.  The alcohol is the natural ingredient.

As to be expected with a frag made of two synthetic aromachemicals, this is completely flat, generic and lifeless.  It smells like the sharp, nasty base you smell in all the awful "Millesime" fragrances Creed released back in the 90's.  There is absolutley nothing unique about The One Grey.  This is one of the blandest, wimpiest fragrances I've ever smelled.

The only reason I'm not giving this a 1 out of 10 is because it is doesn't make me recoil in horror.  If someone gives this to you as a gift, either re-gift it to someone you don't like, throw it in the trash, or keep it as a poop spray next to the toilet.

MY RATING:  2/10

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Knize Ten


Leathers are my favorite fragrance genre, and I wear a lot of them.  Knize Ten is, without a doubt, my favorite leather.  It is the standard to which all leather perfumes are held.  There's just no contest.

I'm not going to waste time describing which notes are in Knize Ten, because frankly they're irrelevant.  Besides, I can't tell what's in this other than an astonishingly authentic leather accord.  Knize Ten captures all the various types of leather perfumes in one bottle - it's got some black oily petroleum, it's got the buttery leather smell, it's got the suede smell, it's got the fat, semi-sweet leather, and lord knows every other leather type.  And it blends them all perfectly.

Knize Ten is a huge, heavy fragrance, so there's no need to spray a lot on.  It projects like an atom bomb, and it sticks to skin or fabric for 24 hours.  I've never heard anyone complain about its strength.  If you've got sillage or longevity problems with Knize Ten, either your skin is really dry or you're anosmic to a lot of its many facets.  This is a monster.

I love how luxurious the scent is, and how smooth it is.  It's the smell of a new car, a black leather jacket, a leather chair, all in one fragrance.  It's ultra-masculine, but I believe it would smell amazingly good on a woman.

If you love leathers and you've never tried Knize Ten, I can say confidently that this is a safe blind buy.  It is the greatest leather ever, and one of the best fragrances for men ever made.  I can't imagine it ever losing that status.

MY RATING:  10/10

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Zizanie



After reviewing The Baron, I can't think of a better frag to follow up with than Zizanie.  I said The Baron was the most old school fragrance ever, but Zizanie could possibly be number two.

Although my tastes in perfume tend to lean towards these older scents, I'm not really an old school kind of guy.  For example, I don't give a damn about "The Rat Pack".  When I found out that Frank Sinatra wore Zizanie, I almost wanted to hate it.  I didn't want to wear any fragrance associated with that asshole.

However, I can't hate Zizanie because it smells too good.  I wear a suit and tie often, due to my profession, and I must admit I have a special affinity for fragrances that go well with that.  Zizanie is one.  It has a dark formality that I really like.  It's a very visual scent for me, because when I wear it, I always think of stuff like fine leather chairs, cigars, guys smoking pipes, and dry martinis in a room with mahogany paneling on the walls.  I guess you could call it a "club scent", but definitely not a "clubbing" scent.  I've never lived that kind of life, but it's nice to think about.

I've read that Zizanie only contains patchouli and sandalwood.  I find that hard to believe.  Zizanie smells far more complex than simply having two ingredients.  It's dark, powdery, musky, animalic and bitter, with a warm semi-sweet base that I believe is amber.  The accord is complex and beautifully balanced.  The longer you wear Zizanie, the more bitter and animalic it smells, but the sweet bottom notes keep it smooth.  Zizanie is in the same universe as Dunhill For Men (1934), Royal Copenhagen, Black Suede and Woods Of Windsor For Men, so if you like those, you'll probably feel right at home with this.

Unlike The Baron, which I like but think it's stuck in a 60's time warp, Zizanie has a classic, almost timeless scent.  It simply reeks of sophistication and maturity.  I can assure you that guys snorting coke and doing keg stands at frat parties won't be wearing Zizanie.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

The Baron



The Baron hereby wins the Pour Monsieur "Most Old School Fragrance Ever" award.  It also wins the "Weirdest Fragrance Ever" award.  This should definitely be a "try before you buy" scent, but I've only seen it sold online, so if you've never smelled this, it's likely to be a blind buy for you.  Fortunately it's not expensive.

The Baron's smell is not only from an earlier era, it's from another universe.  It makes Brut smell modern and trendy by comparison.  It has a split personality: on one end, you get this dry, powdery, soapy musk that is very strong, and on the other end, in the base notes, you get what smells like creamy sandalwood mixed with caramel or chocolate.  Obviously there is no caramel or chocolate, since no one put those in fragrances back in the 1960's, which is when this frag was first released (it was originally produced by Evyan, now made by LTL Fragrances).  I smell both of these accords throughout the day, but never at the same time.  I'll initially smell the loud musk, but if I move my body a little, I'll get the sweet base notes a second or two later.  What is this?

This prehistoric fragrance is crudely blended, and it's just plain wacky.  I like the smell simply because it is so unlike anything I've ever smelled before.  Many people around you will probably hate it, because it's so old fashioned and powdery.  If you plan on buying this, don't expect women (or if you're gay, other guys) to come up to you and say, "Ooh, you smell great!".  Expect people to ask you what you're wearing and give you a funny look. 

The Baron is very strong and long lasting, but don't spray it on hard.  Liberal application of The Baron would be a completely obnoxious thing to do.  The smell will not only offend people around you, but it might even make people hate you.  All humor aside, seriously, this fragrance smells really bad when it's oversprayed.

This may sound like a negative review, but it's not.  I don't wear The Baron much because I'm rarely in the mood to, but I like keeping a bottle more as a novelty than something I'll someday wear as a daily driver.  Because it's so unique, I can't help but give this fucked up fragrance a good rating.

MY RATING:  7/10

Samples Are Welcome!

As I mentioned in my review of Caswell-Massey's Sandalwood Cologne, I'm getting close to having reviewed all of the fragrances in my collection, so pretty soon I'll be looking for more to review.  I avoid buying bottles of perfume for the purpose of reviewing them, because frankly it's a waste of money.  I'm guessing I have about 30 left to review in my collection.

If any of you have a fragrance you'd like me to review, don't hesitate to send me a sample.  If I get too many of them, I can't promise to review them all because I can only sample one or two a day without developing olfactory fatigue, which would render my reviews worthless.

As a teaser, here are some more perfumes I own and plan to review soon: 

Cerruti 1881 (Cerruti)
The Baron (LTL)
Zizanie (Fragonard)
Green Irish Tweed (Creed)
Cool Water (Davidoff)
CKOne (Calvin Klein)
Altamir (Ted Lapidus)
Witness (Jacques Bogart)
Habit Rouge (Guerlain)
Ho Hang (Balenciaga)
Davidoff (Davidoff)
L'Homme Ideal Cologne (Guerlain)
L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme (Guerlain)

Friday, July 10, 2020

Dunhill Edition



The term "freshie" is used nowadays to describe light aquatic or sporty fragrances, specifically those created in the 90's and later.  Dunhill Edition could be considered a "freshie", but in a very old school style of the 80's.  It has the dryness and transparency of today's fresh fragrances, but none of their unisex appeal.  I've read reviews written by women who regularly wear men's colognes, who say that Dunhill Edition is simply too masculine for them to wear.  I've also read the same kind of comments by women regarding Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme and Grey Flannel.

Dunhill Edition is not a powerhouse fragrance because it's not heavy, but it has a bold, herbal dryness that follows the tradition of very old school classics like YSL Pour Homme (the 1971 release) and Moustache by Rochas.  It is loaded with dry herbal notes like sage and thyme, but it also has very strong dry spices like nutmeg and clove to give it that 80's punch.  The nutmeg and clove are the strongest notes in Edition, so this is a super spicy fragrance.  It has a strong moss base which adds even more macho goodness and plunks it down it firmly in the 80's. A big whomp of vetiver adds earthiness, bitterness and staying power to this scent.

I don't think dry, transparent fragrances ever go out of style, even if they have qualities from an earlier time, and for that reason, I consider Dunhill Edition to be a classic scent.  I could see some of today's men who gravitate to fresh scents like Acqua di Gio or L'Eau d'Issey enjoying this, though they'll be taken aback at first by how mature and utterly masculine it smells.  Due to its high spice, vetiver and moss content, Edition has excellent longevity, as it lasts for over 8 hours for me.  Sillage is fairly strong but transparent and diffuse, so it doesn't batter you over the head like most powerhouse fragrances do.

MY RATING:  8.5/10


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sandalwood Cologne by Caswell-Massey



In case you haven't figured it out, I'm getting close to running out of fragrances to review, because I've reviewed most of the bottles in my collection.  So now I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something to review, and I found a bottle of this lousy fragrance.

I hate this fragrance, and I can't even remember why I bought it.  Maybe I got it in a swap, I don't remember.  My bottle is from the early 90's, and rumor has it that Caswell-Massey used Mysore sandalwood in these batches.  If this is even true, which I doubt, they could have fooled me, because this is HORRENDOUS.

I rarely, if ever, use the term "old man scent" to describe a fragrance because I think it's demeaning, but Caswell-Massey's Sandalwood Cologne fits the bill.  This is a sharp, powdery odor that smells like synthetic wood oils mixed with a laundry-grade musk that manufacturers use to add scent to rolls of toilet paper.  Some guys might find this charming in an old-fashioned way, but I find it vile.  I'm wearing it right now, and sometimes it smells like furniture polish.  I can't quite put my finger on why this is, but this is a depressing scent.  Every time I smell it, I think of death and funeral homes.

The reviews of this on Fragrantica are hilarious.  It's been described as "the smell of an old lady", which I agree with.  Someone else said it smells like #2 pencil shavings, which I also think is accurate.  Another guy said it smelled like synthetic wood notes with a base of toilet bowl cleaner.  I wouldn't go that far, but the message is clear: this frag sucks.  I wouldn't even use this crap to embalm a corpse, out of respect for the dead.

This is the worst sandalwood fragrance I've ever smelled, even worse than Truefitt & Hill's disaster of a sandalwood.  Even Demeter's Sandalwood, which is mostly synthetic, is a thousand times better than this shit.

MY RATING:  2/10

P.S., I just saw some of my cross-references to this fragrance in some old reviews, and they were vaguely positive.  I don't know what to say, except maybe my tastes have changed.  All I can say is that I now find this fragrance to be flat-out awful.

P.P.S.,  Now I remember.  I smelled this in a store a long time ago and thought it smelled like shaving cream and sandalwood.  Years later, I got my bottle in a swap with a Basenotes member, but I never wore it until now.  This will be going in the trash today.

Givenchy Gentleman


If you hate patchouli, stay far away from Givenchy Gentleman.  Givenchy could have easily, and probably should have, named this "Givenchy Patchouli Pour Homme".  This has been one of my favorite frags for a long time, and even I have to say that it isn't a gentlemanly scent.  This is a bold and daring fragrance, even in its reformulated state, and it takes some real balls to wear this out in public nowadays.

I rarely go out of my way to make a big deal about reformulations, but the reformulation of Givenchy Gentleman is worth noting.  When I first bought this back in the early 90's, the bottle I had (and still have) was made, I'm guessing, sometime in the 80's.  Even though this frag was first released in 1974, I'm assuming a lot of perfume fans would consider my bottle to be "vintage", and good lord, this was a barn-burner of a fragrance.  It is a full-on patchouli BOMB, and to make an even more daring statement, it has a strong, sewage-like civet note blended in with it.  Givenchy Gentleman was a dirty, brutish, "fuck you" powerhouse.  It was not at all refined or "gentlemanly".  Like I said, I still have the bottle, and spritz it on from time to time to remind myself of how rude a fragrance can be.

I bought a bottle of the reformulated Gentleman about ten years ago, which is the same one you see in the picture above.  The bottle and box Givenchy sells this fragrance in now looks a little different, and I assume they reformulated it again, but I can't say for sure because I've never tried it.  What I can say is that the reformed Gentleman I have is amazingly good, and I prefer it to the old version.  It's still a brute, albeit a caged brute, but it's a lot smoother and more "gentlemanly" than it used to be.

Gentleman now is a legitimate leather fragrance, with strong patchouli on top.  The amount of leather and patchouli in it reaches macho levels.  I can also still smell there's civet in there, but it's much better balanced with the leather and patchouli.  The fragrance is far better composed and balanced than it was originally, and is therefore more versatile.  That doesn't mean it's not still a daring scent, because it is.  Any guy who walking around these days wearing overt leather and patchouli is going to turn heads, even if people aren't likely to be outraged as if you were wearing the old stuff.

So the bottom line is that Givenchy Gentleman is a superb scent, regardless of which version you have, but they are different.  The reformulated version is closer to being a gentleman's scent, whereas the original is a balls-out powerhouse.  I love them both.

MY RATING OF VINTAGE:  9/10

MY RATING OF REFORMULATED:  10/10

Opium Pour Homme



I bought my bottle of Opium Pour Homme about 15 years ago, and until I found it in my basement last night, I forgot I even had it.  YSL discontinued Opium Pour Homme several years ago, and I'm glad to see they've brought it back!  They reintroduced the eau de toilette, not the eau de parfum, which I've never tried and have heard is richer.  It doesn't matter to me, because the EDT suits me just fine.

Opium Pour Homme definitely leans on the spicy side of the oriental genre, as opposed to the warm, sweet side, and that's what I love about it.  This is a boon for any fan of strong, spicy fragrances.  The scent is very complex, with a lot of different dry spices popping in and out during the day, but the note that I find most prominent and enjoyable is star anise.  It's like the anchor of this spicy stew, and it compliments the clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper notes really well.  Opium Pour Homme always has a subtle powderiness to it that I really like, though it is nowhere near as powdery as Jaipur Homme.  The vanilla and benzoin serve as a great base to this fragrance because it warms it up but never becomes overly sweet.  Imagine Jaipur Homme without the intense powderiness, and you'll get a good idea of what Opium Pour Homme smells like.

This is a great scent, and unfortunately it's always been overshadowed by its legendary sister perfume, Opium Pour Femme.  Hats off to YSL for creating a men's version of Opium that is quite different, but maintains the overall firey, sexy and spicy feel of Opium Pour Femme.  Opium Pour Homme is a strong, long lasting fragrance that projects well, like most orientals do.  A lot of guys consider it a powerhouse, but I don't.  It's too sophisticated and classy, and it lacks the crudeness of most power scents from the 80s.

I'm so glad I found my bottle of Opium Pour Homme, because I'm going to start wearing it again.  Jaipur Homme is still my favorite oriental, but this comes close.

MY RATING:  9/10


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sergio Tacchini


Sergio Tacchini is Mediterranean machismo in a bottle.  If you live in the U.S., you will definitely stand out wearing this fragrance.  It would even smell unusual in 1970s and 1980s era America, because it is not what most Americans would associate with a macho scent.  Sergio Tacchini doesn't exude overcompensated, bombastic, stupid masculinity you often see in native-born American men.  No, this frag projects real machismo, as in something an older guy from southern Spain, France, Italy, Greece, etc. would wear on a regular basis.  It's the smell of a guy who is truly manly, i.e., a man who has nothing to prove, who projects masculinity without even trying or thinking about it.  This is a quintessential "old school" scent.

I'll ignore the paltry list of notes on Fragrantica.com, because this frag smells a lot more complex and substantial than just a bunch of cinnamon, musk and cedar.  This is an aromatic fougere that focuses on being spicy and mossy.  What I smell is a lot of patchouli and dry spices, warmed up by a lot of oakmoss and some kind of semi-sweet oriental note, which I'm guessing is benzoin or styrax.  Sergio Tacchini is not a sweet scent, actually it is very dry, but the moss, musk and benzoin/styrax round off the scent and give it warmth and just a tad of sweetness.  No, this is not a harsh, sandpaper-like woody scent such as Quorum Silver or Azzaro Visit.  There is nothing modern or contemporary about Sergio Tacchini, and it even smells older than its 1987 release year would suggest.  My only complaint with this scent is that it doesn't develop much at all, so what you smell when you first spray it on is what you'll smell 8 hours later.  It can sometimes be tiresome to wear for that reason.

Tacchini is strong, but smooth and breezy, with a sillage that projects nice wafts of sunny, exotic Mediterranean charm.  It's really not a powerhouse because it's too dry, suave and classy for that.  However, it lasts a long time, and it projects really well.  Its scent doesn't attack people near you, but it always makes its presence known.

You'll need a lot of life experience to pull off wearing Sergio Tacchini effectively.  This is an older man's scent ideally, though not an "old man" scent.  This is a frag to wear with your shirt unbuttoned, and if you have hair on your chest and gray hair (or no hair) on your head, all the better.  Fans of old school European stuff like Ho Hang, Bel Ami, Signoricci, Agua Brava, Capucci Pour Homme will love this fragrance.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Monday, July 6, 2020

Perry Ellis For Men (1985)




This is a Disco Stu fragrance that screams, "Welcome to the 80's!!".  In fact, this old school frag may remind me of the 80's more than any other fragrance I own, so much that I would call it "dated".  It is not "outdated", however, because this fragrance is fabulous, and is one of my favorite leathery green chypres.

If someone asked you what an 80's green leather chypre for men smelled like, all you'd have to do is give him a sample of  Perry Ellis For Men.  This is a definitive green leather chypre.  It's a powerhouse, but what separates it from the others is its smoothness.  You get the usual warm, buttery 80's style leather base with a lot of galbanum that is intensely green and silky smooth.  There is labdanum, amber and vanilla that smooth the fragrance out even more.  I am amazed at how long the green notes last, which is all day.  Perry Ellis For Men has both warmth (from the leather) and a cooling effect (from the green notes), which is a difficult quality to achieve in a scent.  It's very similar to Halston 1-12, but much creamier and smoother.  It is a beautiful and comfortable fragrance to wear.

If you've never tried Perry Ellis For Men, this scent is deceptively strong.  The atomizer sucks - it spits out dinky little dabs, so you'll need to spray this more than you typically would.  Because this frag is so smooth, it might not smell very powerful when you first spray it on, but make no mistake, this is a powerhouse.  Like Giorgio For Men, it doesn't smell all that strong at first, but it gets more powerful as time goes on.  It projects quite far, and it lasts all day on my skin.  If you're not comfortable or used to wearing big, strong 80's fragrances, then be careful.  It takes about an hour for this frag to hit its stride, and if you aren't careful in applying it, people will be calling you "Cologne Guy" behind your back.

MY RATING:  9/10


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Sauvage



I don't usually review trendy fragrances, not because I'm appalled by them, but rather because I don't have many opportunities to do so.  I've had a sample of Sauvage lying around from when I bought a bottle of Derby several months ago, and it's been collecting dust since then.  So why not wear it and review it?  Though it's not really my style, this is a good fragrance.

I must be out of touch with what is trendy these days, because I'd assumed the fragrance industry was still pushing sweet-ass, Creed Aventus clones to younger guys.  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sauvage is neither overly sweet nor particularly wimpy.  Sauvage is a spicy musk fragrance that I feel a guy of any age can wear comfortably.

Sauvage's opening is superb.  I smell sharp floral and spicy notes that remind me of the opening of the old Zino by Davidoff.  I get little wafts of rose popping in and out, which is very enjoyable.  The list of notes doesn't include rose, but it smells like rose to me.  I don't like the middle stage at all, however, because there is a sharp, synthetic smelling laundry detergent musk that dominates for an hour or two.  I almost gave up on Sauvage during the middle stage.  The drydown, however, is quite nice, because the musk calms down and the spicy and woody notes come back to the forefront.  Sauvage gets better the longer you wear it.  Overall, I would describe Sauvage as a sharp, spicy scent, with some nice floral undertones that give it depth.

I probably wouldn't buy a bottle of Sauvage, even though I think it is a good fragrance.  However, if someone gave this to me as a gift, I would keep it and wear it.

MY RATING:  8/10

Bel Ami



Before it started catering to no-class dimwits like Kim Kardashian and the shitheads who try to emulate her, Hermes was known as an old-money brand, and its perfumes were known for their refinement and elegance.  Therefore it's kind of funny that they released a comparatively brash, loud fragrance like Bel Ami back in 1986.  I have to assume that Hermes was trying their hand at what was trendy at that time, which were strong, leathery, manly frags.  They succeeded big time.

Bel Ami is one of my favorite fragrances, and I don't wear it as often as I should.  This is why I still have the bottle I bought about 15 years ago.  I chose the picture above because that's the one I have available to me right now.  I used to have an older bottle that looked like a cocktail shaker, but I used that up a long time ago, and I have never smelled the one in the modern bottle.

A term "refined powerhouse" seems like an oxymoron, but it describes Bel Ami well.  This is a strong, overtly masculine fragrance with no subtlety.  I remember first smelling this back in the early 90s, and I was knocked over by how strong it was compared to the Hermes frags I'd been used to, like Eau d'Hermes, Equipage, Eau d'Orange Verte, etc..  Compared to those, Bel Ami felt crass, but I quickly grew to love it.

This is a warm, aromatic leather scent.  The leather is of the "buttery" type, not the black, oily, petroleum leather you get in fragrances like Fahrenheit.  The leather provides real bulk to the ballsy, ridiculously complex assortment of dry spices.  Its combination of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, patchouli, vetiver and a ton of other heavy hitters gives this frag serious brawn.  However, the addition of oriental oils like styrax and amber smooth everything out, and give Bel Ami an air of smoothness and refinement.  It's a strong fragrance, but it's not crude.

Bel Ami is totally unique, and I have to commend Hermes for not simply copying another power scent of its time.  It's its own beast.  The bottle I have is more spice-dominant than the original formula, where the leather was a little more prominent, but it still smells awesome and it still smells like Bel Ami.  I haven't smelled the stuff that Hermes is selling now, but I am looking forward to trying it.  I refuse to take the word of all the whiners who automatically criticize any fragrance that has been reformulated.

Even if you are on a budget, Bel Ami is a must-own for any fan of old school power scents.  It's worth holding off buying any other fragrance until you can save up the money to buy a bottle of this.

MY RATING:  10/10


Friday, July 3, 2020

Eau Sauvage


Ahhhhh, Eau Sauvage...  Man, I love this frag.  I can't believe I've gone so long without ever reviewing it.  

Eau Sauvage was the first fragrance that actually enthused me about perfume.  Before my wife gave me a bottle of this 27 years ago, I only owned a bottle of Drakkar Noir, which I wore mainly because women liked it.  In the 1980s, Drakkar Noir was considered a "chick magnet", so I wore it.  I liked the smell, but what I thought of it was irrelevant.  The way I saw it, wearing cologne was solely for the purpose of attracting women.  My actually enjoying the smell was nothing more than an accidental side benefit.  What the hell did I know?

Eau Sauvage changed all that.  My wife told me that real men liked to smell good, and that Eau Sauvage was the greatest fragrance for men ever created.  She bought me a 3.4 ounce splash bottle when I was 23, and then I was hooked.  Splashing on this juice made me feel like a million bucks, and it still does.  I've gone through at least six bottles of this stuff since then, and two of them were the giant 6.8 ounce bottles.  I've never bothered with those dinky little 1.7 ounce bottles.  Anything less than a 3.4 ounce bottle are pointless and a waste of money.



A lot of guys consider Eau Sauvage "old school".  I don't, and I never have.  I call it classic.  This is a beautifully blended citrus and floral fragrance that truly transcends the test of time.  Eau Sauvage is elegant and refined any time, in any situation, and in any season of the year.  I wear it all year round, and so can you.

What does it smell like?  It's sharp, dry citrus like lemon, bergamot and lime blended with white floral notes, all rounded off with oakmoss and a little bit of poopiness from civet.  In other words, this is a FRENCH perfume to a T, with big French flags and blaring orchestras playing the Marseillaise all over the place.  This has been a big seller in France since the time it was released in 1966, and Dior has been producing it continuously since then.

Yes, Eau Sauvage has been reformulated many times, but I don't give a shit.  I've been buying and wearing this stuff consistently for the past 27 years, and I've even worn stuff from old bottles that my father-in-law had hanging around, which were probably from the 80s, and it doesn't matter which version you have.  Sure, some version might be stronger, some might have more civet, some might have more oakmoss, etc..  Whatever.   Eau Sauvage has always maintained its same overall feel, and that is what matters.  If you're going to be a dickhead and criticize and scrutinize the reformulations of this, then you don't truly like Eau Sauvage.  You don't have what takes to wear this well.  Go back to your corner and play with your niche perfumes.

I'll always wear this, and I can't say that about many other fragrances.

MY RATING:  10/10

Tobacco by Distillery General


I like this fragrance, but I've never smelled tobacco that smells like this.  I find this to be a very nice green floral eau de cologne that is very light and dry.  Is this what a fresh green tobacco leaf smells like?  I have no idea, but I'm guessing yes.

The label on the bottle lists cardamom, magnolia and vanilla as the main ingredients.  I definitely smell the magnolia, and has a good fresh, green scent.  It reminds me of the smell of broken flower stems.  I don't smell any cardamom or vanilla as individual notes, but there's obviously more to this fragrance than just magnolia.  It must be the cardamom and vanilla and who knows what else that gives this cologne a hint of complexity.

This fragrance is very light and weak, as to be expected for an eau de cologne.  It is something you wear only for your own enjoyment, because I doubt anyone else will smell it on you.  After a two or three hours of wearing this, the scent gets a little darker and more aromatic, and it smells more like tobacco to me.  I recommend that you put on a shirt right after you spray this on your skin, so that the fabric absorbs some of the scent.  Otherwise, by hour three, you'll barely smell it on your skin; getting some of the scent on your shirt will extend the longevity by hours, and you'll be able to better appreciate the drydown.  Although the sticker on the bottom of the bottle says "eau de cologne for men", I don't find Tobacco to be particularly masculine.  It's the epitome of a unisex scent.

I'd never heard of Distillery General before, but fortunately it looks like their whole line of fragrances is inexpensive.  Tobacco is a good scent, but not a must-buy.

MY RATING:  7.5/10

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Bel Ami Vetiver


This is one of the easiest fragrances to review, because I can sum it up like this: if you love Bel Ami and you love the smell of vetiver, you will love Bel Ami Vetiver.  I say that because the name describes this scent perfectly.  It is Bel Ami with a lot more vetiver.  Bel Ami has always contained vetiver, but here it's amplified.  It's as simple as that, and it's wonderful.

Never smelled Bel Ami?  If not, Bel Ami was essentially Hermes' own version of an 80s powerhouse.  It is a strong, spicy leather chypre that somehow has more refinement than most 80s power bombs.  It was originally a leather with a ton of dry spices and herbs (e.g., cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, patchouli, basil, etc.) on top, then years later Hermes reformulated it so that the spices were more prominent than before.  It was a successful reformulation, because it still retained its leatheriness, its strength, and its overall Bel Ami vibe.  It is still a power-packed fragrance, despite what all the reformulation whiners like to bitch about.

So that's what Bel Ami Vetiver smells like, only with the volume of the vetiver cranked up higher.  I was skeptical about a leather/vetiver accord smelling good, but it works beautifully here.  It gives the scent a sort of gingerbread smell, and adds even more depth to what has always been a complex fragrance.

Just like Bel Ami, Bel Ami Vetiver is nice and strong, with good projection and longevity, though it is a little tamer than the original.  It is also uber-masculine, as it always has been.  If Hermes tried to sweeten this up and move it more to a unisex smell, it would have defeated the whole purpose of Bel Ami.

Bel Ami Vetiver is a true flanker of Bel Ami, and it carries on the tradition proudly.  This is an outstanding fragrance that fans of Bel Ami and old school power scents will love.  I certainly do.

MY RATING:  9/10

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Jaipur Homme


It's about time I review my favorite oriental fragrance, Jaipur Homme.  This has been my favorite oriental for many years.  I remember that Boucheron discontinued this several years ago, but I am happy to see that it is back in production.  I just checked Boucheron's website, and both the eau de parfum and eau de toilette are there.  Bravo!

If you hate powdery fragrances, stay away from this like the plague.  Jaipur Homme is the most powdery scent for men I have ever smelled, so it's definitely not for everyone.  I'm guessing this is a love-it or hate-it fragrance.  However, it's also one of the spiciest.  Spray this on, and you're greeted with a big poof of both powder and spices, and it is very intense.  They both attack you with equal strength, and you can't tell which direction the fragrance will go.  The middle stage is mainly a warm powder smell, with clove, nutmeg, pepper and woody notes hiding in the background.  I really like this stage, though many guys will throw in the towel after wearing this for a half hour.  It's just so powdery.

The drydown is beautiful, and I recommend that you wait for an hour or two of wearing this scent before you judge it.  The drydown is where the spiciness comes to the forefront, pushing the powder to the back of the line.  The powderiness is always there, but the spices really take over, and they are quite intense, with clove being the strongest.  Jaipur isn't a very sweet scent, even though it's an oriental, and I like the fact that the amber and vanilla are quiet.  They are there simply to give warmth to the scent and to hone down the sharpness of the spices.

I own both the EDP and the EDT, and there isn't a big difference between the two.  Sure, the EDP is a little bit denser and the EDT has a slighty more transparent quality to it, but they are both superb.  You can smell the difference when you wear it, but I doubt anyone near you will.

Jaipur Homme is one of the deepest, most elegant and refined fragrances I own.  It is such the polar opposite of anything that's been released in the past 30 years, that even Quorum smells modern and hip by comparison.  Of course you can wear any frag you want at any time, but I think Jaipur works best with a suit, or with a tux at a black-tie event.  This really isn't the kind of frag you'll want to slap on before slamming down beers with the guys at a NASCAR event.

MY RATING:  10/10

A*Men Pure Coffee - Revisited


I've now had four years to wear Pure Coffee, and although I still like it, I feel the need to reassess it.  I recently bought a new bottle of A*Men, and after wearing that, I can't help but feel like Pure Coffee is a bit of a letdown.

I still get the basic A*Men accord when I first spray on Pure Coffee, but after about thirty minutes, the fragrance's relative lack of complexity rears its head.  One of the things I love most about A*Men is its complexity, and when I reach for Pure Coffee, I want to be smelling A*Men with a more prominent coffee note.  I only get that for about a half hour.  After that, the patchouli takes over, and Pure Coffee smells pretty spare.  It's basically patchouli rounded off by a soft, sweet coffee note for the remainder of its life on my skin.  It smells good, but it reminds me more of an el-cheapo knockoff of A*Men.  You know those kinds of knockoffs, which only nail down the smell of the opening of the fragrance it's copying, then loses most of its steam in the drydown, revealing its lack of complexity.

I love patchouli, and I enjoy the patchouli in Pure Coffee, where the coffee note compliments it.  But the fact that this fragrance is significantly less powerful than A*Men merely brings its lack of depth more to the forefront.  Pure Coffee is still a good scent, and I will continue to wear it, but it's a little dull, and I don't think I will buy another bottle when I use mine up.

NEW RATING:  7.5/10

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Monsieur Musk - Revisited


Dana makes a lot of crappy fragrances, but Monsieur Musk is one of the few good ones.  I didn't realize until today how important it is to spray this on hard.  I've always applied this one conservatively (3 or 4 sprays), but today I decided to really go to town, with 9 sprays.  Wow, what a difference! 

You're likely to miss out on the complexity of this frag if you apply it lightly.  I smell spices, sharp sandalwood, soap, herbal notes and a shaving cream smell, on top of the basic musk.  I missed all of these great smells before.  I particularly like the soapiness, which, back in the 60s and 70s, was considered an essential accord in almost any man's cologne.  Soap notes were often what defined a masculine scent, and often was what separated it from women's fragrances.

I try to avoid giving age classifications to fragrances, but let's face it - I cannot imagine any guy under, say, age 35 being able to pull this one off.  In fact, I can't imagine any guy under 35 wanting to wear this.  If I'm wrong, I say hats off to you.  Monsieur Musk is the epitome of what an "old school" masculine frag is.  I wouldn't even call it a "classic", because this scent is so grounded in the 60s and 70s.  It only takes one whiff to understand what I'm talking about.

I don't know if Monsieur Musk withstands the test of time, but I still like and wear it.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Jazz Club


I'm going to assume that the people who give Jazz Club rave reviews have never smelled synthetic sandalwood oil by itself.  Does Jazz Club smell good?  Yes, it does.  But is it the masterpiece of perfumery a lot of reviewers make it out to be?  No way, not even close.

This overrated, boring fragrance, at the end of the day, smells like 98% percent Ebanol and Okumal, which are synthetic sandalwood oils, and 2% bourbon whiskey.  Maison Margiela markets this as being a scent that is supposed to remind you of a smoke-filled jazz club, with the smells of whiskey and burning cigars.  Does it succeed?  Not really, and I've been to a lot of jazz clubs.

When I first spray this on, I get a blast of the bourbon note, which is good, and some warm woodiness, which I assume is from the sandalwood.  I get no tobacco or smoke.  After about 15 minutes, the whiskey note is gone, and I smell fake sandalwood for the remaining duration of the scent.  This doesn't even remotely smell like any sort of night club, let alone a jazz club, nor does it make me think of one.  All it reminds me of is how glad I am that I didn't throw away $130 for a full bottle of this.

Jazz Club is a pleasant fragrance, but it doesn't succeed in its goal.  More importantly, the price this goes for is outrageous, because I swear this is almost all Ebanol and Okumal mixed with perfumer's alcohol.  I'll bet the company spent more on the bottle than on the materials or the development of this scent.

If you really want to smell like a jazz club, get an old bottle of the original Michael For Men by Michael Kors, which kicks this frag's ass in every way.  If you sample Jazz Club and like it, save your money and buy a bottle of Sarah Jessica Parker's very similar Stash at a fraction of the price.  Stash is also a boring scent, but at least it doesn't cost much.  Jazz Club is a waste of money.

MY RATING:  6.5/10

B*Men

I wish Thierry Mugler held on a little longer before deciding to discontinue B*Men, because I think given a little more time on the market, B*Men would have caught on with the public.  I don't agree at all with the reviews that say B*Men has nothing in common with A*Men.  For those of you who like the smell of A*Men or Angel, but who found them too sweet to wear, B*Men is perfect.

When I first spray on B*Men, its relation to A*Men is obvious.  The two are very similar, and you can smell that intoxicating basic accord of patchouli, dark cocoa and vanilla that makes A*Men and Angel so unmistakable.  In fact, I wore B*Men years ago, before I even tried A*Men, and it served as my introduction to the entire A*Men line.  The difference with B*Men is that it's a lot drier, and rather than relying on heavy loads of caramel, chocolate and vanilla for its sweetness, B*Men gets most of its sweetness from rhubarb, black licorice and just a hint of vanilla.  Also, whereas A*Men is a gourmand oriental, B*Men could be called an aromatic fougere with a gourmand touch.  Lavender is not listed as a note for B*Men, but this still smells like a fougere to me.

Don't think for a second, however, that B*Men is a light and airy fragrance.  It's not.  It's nice and strong, assertive, and very masculine, and it's a lot more aromatic and spicy than A*Men.  It also has a crisp, dry powderiness in the background that gives off a subtle barbershop vibe, which in turn steers it firmly in the masculine direction.  It is also long lasting and projects well, though it won't clear out a room like A*Men does.

So which do I prefer - B*Men or A*Men?  I prefer A*Men due to its greater complexity, and its caramel note, which B*Men does not have, brings it right over the top for me.  I also wear A*Men a lot more often, but that isn't a knock on B*Men at all.  B*Men is a masterpiece in its own right, and many guys prefer it to A*Men.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Havana



Time to get back to doing what I love most: reviewing old school power scents.  I've owned, worn and sampled countless powerhouse frags over the years, and Havana is one of the best.  I was so happy when Aramis decided to bring this back into production a few years ago.

Are there stronger, longer lasting fragrances out there?  Of course there are, but few are as shamelessly macho as Havana.  In fact, I would put it in the Top Five most manly fragrances ever made.  I know a lot of women wear men's fragrances, and obviously I have no problem with that, and it's none of my business anyway.  But when it comes to Havana, I have to say sorry ladies, this is 100% a man's cologne, case closed.  There's no androgyny in this one.

Though Havana is well constructed, it's neither refined nor particularly sophisticated.  This isn't a frag you'd wear with a suit and tie to an important business meeting.  No, Havana is what you'd wear to a barroom brawl.  Smelling it brings to mind images of things like slamming down tequila shots, getting a lap dance, smashing a beer bottle in someone's face, or breaking a chair over some guy's head in a bar.

Havana comes roaring out of the bottle like a firestorm of tobacco, whiskey, heavy spices and lavender.  Yes, its intensity does settle down to something a bit warmer and smoother over time, but its density and swagger never wanes.  I think how Havana behaves depends a lot on your skin type, because I've read reviews saying that after the first five minutes, Havana becomes much less aggressive.  That's not how it smells on my skin; on my skin, Havana always remains thick and assertive.  This is aided by the heavy loads of moss, leather, patchouli and sandalwood in the base, which keep it swaggering.  Of course Havana gets quieter over time, but it remains crude and ballsy.  I love this frag, and I should wear it a lot more often than I do.

I remember when Havana was first released in the mid-90s, a time when political-correctness was still in fashion.  I remember first smelling it at Macy's and going, "Whoa, what the hell is this??".  I loved the scent, but I knew the Eighties were over, and in the back of my mind I felt like I shouldn't like it.  Havana was like a kick in the balls to the social trends of its time.  It made no apologies and took no prisoners.  Aramis fortunately didn't screw around with the formula much, if at all, because the current version is just as muscular as I remember it.  Therefore I think tracking down an old bottle of this is a waste of time and money.

Forget about refinement or classiness when you wear Havana.  That is perfectly okay, because Havana smells great.  Unfasten the buttons on your shirt, let your chest hair show, slick back your hair, and make no apologies.

MY RATING:  9.5/10


Friday, June 26, 2020

Joop! Homme



Considering my tastes, I shouldn't like this silly looking frag, but I do.  Joop! Homme has been described as "smelling like a candy store", "achingly sweet" and a "sweet-tooth fragrance", yet I don't find this to be anywhere as sweet as most people do.  If this smelled anything like those things, I wouldn't go near it.  I find A*Men and One Million far sweeter than Joop! Homme.  I must be anosmic to a lot its sweetness.

I can describe in a few words what Joop! Homme smells like to me: white soap and candied cherries.  The cherry smell is more tart than sickeningly sweet, and is very pleasant.  There are dry, soapy florals (mostly heliotrope) on top of the cherries, and the aromatics like patchouli and sandalwood in the base give the overall scent a little bit of grittiness.  I do not find it to be a blatantly synthetic scent, as some people complain.  I also smell no cotton candy, pancake syrup, jelly beans, or other shit that some people describe, and which have no business being in a fragrance.  Joop! Homme smells warm and smooth, like olfactory comfort food.  What's wrong with that?

I was in college when this frag was launched in 1989, but I don't remember seeing it or smelling it.  That may be becuase I didn't give a rat's ass about men's fragrances at that time.  I wore Drakkar Noir, and that was it.  Smelling Joop! Homme now, I can imagine that this must have been pretty daring in 1989.  Until then, men's fragrances were macho man leather and moss bombs.  Joop! Homme with its crazy pink juice and very un-macho smell must have thrown a lot of people off.  I can just imagine a lot of guys seeing this in a store and thinking, "Shouldn't this be in the women's aisle?".

Most reviewers say that this is a frag for night clubbing and guys in their 20s.  I can see that, but there's a dry powderiness to Joop that gives it a classic smell as well, which I think makes it appropriate for older guys too.  Besides, it came out in 1989, when I was a young adult, so this is hardly a hip, cutting-edge scent anymore.

Joop! Homme has legendary strength, but have no fear in wearing this.  I spray two or three shots into my hand, rub my hands together, and spread the stuff on my arms and my chest, and it gives me 24-hour longevity without being overpowering.  Yes, any more than say four sprays will be obnoxious, but there's no need for that.  Joop! Homme can be a soft, pleasant and enjoyable scent if you're just careful in applying it.

Sure, it's not the most manly fragrance in the world, but who says a guy has to eat roofing nails for breakfast every day?  Joop! Homme is a damn good scent that is comfortable to wear, and is more versatile than most people make it out to be.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Dunhill Desire Men


I bought a bottle of this blindly several years ago because it was on clearance and was super cheap.  It's been sitting in a box in my basement collecting dust ever since, and after wearing it today, now I remember why.  Dunhill Desire Men is a complete waste of money and time.

I can't stand sweet and powdery perfumes where orange blossom is the dominant note, and this is one.  It's a prissy, foppish orange blossom scent that is augmented by nauseating vanilla and musk.  The only development I can detect is that it goes from obnoxiously strong in the opening 20 minutes, to being barely detectable after that.  Normally I would criticize a perfume for being barely noticeable, but in this case it's a good thing.

I can't give this a 1 out of 10 rating because although I don't like it, Dunhill Desire Men does smell like it was competently composed.  It's no masterpiece of perfume construction by any means, but at least it doesn't smell like The Three Stooges created it.

I would only recommend this to guys who either love orange blossom-based oriental perfumes, or guys who feel they need a lousy fragrance to balance out their collection.

MY RATING:  3/10

Thursday, June 25, 2020

David Beckham Classic


David Beckham's fragrances are often criticized for having poor longevity and sillage, but I think they are, hands down, the best and most reliable budget-minded fragrances money can buy.  Though they'll never win awards for originality, all of the Beckham scents I've sampled are well constructed and smell like they contain good quality ingredients. I've owned and worn six of his fragrances, and I like all of them, some more than others.  Classic is my favorite.

I adore this scent.  It is a beautiful light, woody oriental that is classy and discreet.  The notes are perfectly blended and balanced, which results in a very smooth fragrance.  It is a seamless blend of amber, vetiver, citrus, cinnamon and nutmeg that comes off as professional and refined.  I think any man of any age or personality can pull this one off.

I have to admit that Classic is nothing you haven't smelled before, as it reminds me of other mainstream fragrances like Davidoff Adventure and Mustang Cologne.  In fact, one of the reasons I love David Beckham Classic is because it smells to me a lot like one of my favorite long-discontinued fragrances - Canali Men.  I was saddened when Canali discontinued that one a long time ago, but once I found Beckham Classic, I knew I had a good substitute.

Like with all Beckham fragrances, don't expect strong projection with this.  It's a discreet skin scent, as it should be.  If this had powerhouse strength, it would not come off as a "classic" scent, and would defeat its purpose.  Though most people complain about its longevity, I get a good 6 to 8 hours out of it.  Fortunately my skin tends to hold onto fragrances well, so others might experience shorter longevity.  However, multiple applications during the day is no problem, since this fragrance is so inexpensive anyway.

I will definitely buy another bottle after I finish mine.  This is a great, timeless fragrance.

MY RATING:  9/10

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme


I said earlier that Bentley For Men was the best fragrance I have smelled in the past ten years.  Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme is the second best (followed closely by One Man Show Oud Edition).  I bought a bottle of this two years ago, and it's so good, it was what inspired me to start blogging again.

Ignore the trendy-sounding "Gucci Guilty" name, because there is nothing even remotely trendy about this fragrance.  I'm amazed that a designer house like Gucci even had the guts to release this, because I can't imagine the cool hipster crowd or the One Million by Paco Rabanne fans going for this one.

Gucci Guilty Absolute is a stark, unbelievably dry wood scent.  It smells like it has a soul of utter darkness.  It is a beautiful scent, but there is nothing even remotely sweet or flowery about it.  This is black, oily leather (petroleum-type leather, like in Fahrenheit) on top of heavy patchouli, dry vetiver and what smells like blackened, charred wood.  It is a brooding scent.  It doesn't develop a whole lot, so you basically get all four of those big, stonking aromatic notes for a very long time.  The quality of the ingredients smells top-notch and completely natural.

There are a ton of fragrances with the word "Night" in their names, but few, if any, smell dark or like anything resembling night time.  Gucci Guilty Absolute is night in a bottle.  Dracula would wear this.

Although this is not a power scent, fans of powerhouse frags will likely dig this big time.  It's not heavy, but it's powerful and assertive.  A good fragrance to compare it to is Yatagan by Caron, in its boldness and dryness.  It projects well, though not as loudly as a lot of 80s frags do, and longevity is over eight hours.  Its dryness is unbelievable.

Fans of ultra-dark niche fragrances like Parfum d'Habit or Mazzolari Lui will definitely dig this.  It quickly became one of my favorite fragrances, and I give it a perfect score.

MY RATING:  10/10

Oud Touch


In case you're wondering, no, I have not all of a sudden become an oud fan.  The fact that many of my recent reviews are of perfumes containing oud is purely coincidental, seriously.  Frankly, I'm sick of the big oud fad that has existed in the perfume world during the past several years.

That is not to say that I don't enjoy some oud fragrances.  Oud Touch by Franck Olivier is one I enjoy.  This is a dark fragrance that features mostly oud and rose.  Lord knows there have been countless fragrances featuring oud and rose, so there is nothing new about Oud Touch.  In fact, that is my only real criticism of it, because there isn't really anything unique or groundbreaking at all in this scent.

Oud Touch, however, serves a purpose, because even though it resembles countless niche fragrances (e.g., most of Montale's early offerings), you can buy a 100 ml. bottle of this for under $30 US.  That's impressive, becuase although obviously this contains synthetic oud, the quality of the composition is high.  For someone like myself who doesn't wear many niche fragrances, Oud Touch is an excellent value.  It smells of quality.

I love the opening stage, which is a strong, assertive blast of dark oud.  It's a sharp and semi-medicinal smelling oud, which a lot of people don't like but I do.  The rose gets stronger as the scent reaches its mid-point, and it lasts a good two hours.  I'm so-so with this stage.  The drydown is very good, which is very woody and smooth.  It retains its darkness throughout.  I also get occasional whiffs of a Kouros-like animalic skankiness, which I really enjoy.

A lot of reviewers report getting enormous, billowing sillage from Oud Touch, but I don't.  I don't find it to be super strong, but I've had people standing a few feet away from me tell me they can smell it.  Longevity is very good, going over 8 hours on my skin, which is to be expected from a oud-rose fragrance.

Though it isn't an amazing fragrance, Oud Touch is a good option for those who aren't necessarily oud fanatics, but want a good quality oud fragrance in the wardrobe without having to pay a fortune for it.

MY RATING:  8/10


Monday, June 22, 2020

Hommage à l'Homme



I've held off reviewing Hommage a l'Homme for a while because I find it hard to describe what it smells like.  It is quite a unique scent, and I really can't think of another fragrance to compare it to.

If I had to label this, I'd call it a light woody floral musk fragrance.  The opening is amazingly good - unlike the usual opening citrus blast, with this you get a strong smell of charred wood and spices, which are probably nutmeg and cinnamon.  The woody smell is both dark and slightly sweet, and is wonderful.  I've read that the wood in Hommage a L'Homme is oud, which I don't recognize as oud but which gives the fragrance an exotic, mysterious aura.  The opening is pretty powerful and assertive, but that intensity fades significantly within five minutes or so.

I wish there was a way for the opening to last for hours, but that isn't to say that the middle and drydown aren't any good.  After the opening blast, this fragrance changes character significantly, and it becomes a light, airy and transparent floral musk scent with a subtle dark hue from the oud.  Oud fanatics will probably think Hommage a l'Homme is boring, because the oud is quiet and in the background.  I would not call this an "oud fragrance".  The oud is there to darken this fragrance.  Without it, Hommage a L'Homme would probably smell kind of like laundry detergent.

This is not really my style, because it's too musky for my taste, but the quality is unquestionable.  Though Hommage a L'Homme is a safe scent to wear any time, and will not offend anyone, it is elegant, refined and totally unique.  Despite it not being something I like to wear, I have to give this high marks.

MY RATING:  8/10