Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Post Your Questions Here!

I've seen a lot of you have questions for me regarding fragrances, my own tastes, what I'd recommend that you try, etc..  Although I can't claim to be any expert in perfume - I'm an enthusiast - I'll do my best to answer your questions.  The questions I'm best qualified to answer of course are the ones about my own personal tastes, but I'll take a stab at anything else you may want to ask me, just as long as the subject matter stays on fragrances.

I'm creating a separate section in this blog, entitled "Questions?" (see at the top of the page under the "Pages" index) as a place where you can post any questions you might have for me, for the sake of keeping the blog organized.  Just post your questions in the "Comment" section, and I'll do my best to answer them.  The reason I'm doing this is because I've noticed that sometimes you have questions that don't quite fit into the subject matters of the reviews I post (e.g., asking me, "Shamu, what are your favorite leather fragrances?" in the comments section of my Lapidus Pour Homme review), but you want a place to post them.  This is where you can do that.

The only thing I have to insist on that particular page is that I be the one to answer the questions. I'm not saying that I don't value others' input, but if everyone pipes in there trying to answer someone's question, it's going to turn into a chaotic free-for-all, and we won't be able to keep track of who's asking the questions or what the questions are. Again, I'm only putting this rule in place for this particular page, since I created this specifically as a question & answer page; on all my other posts' "Comments" sections, please feel free to pipe in and give your input.  I value your input, and I learn a lot in the process.

Please remember that if you want to comment or post questions specific to my reviews or articles, by all means keep posting in the comments sections of those reviews or articles.  I'm just trying to maintain some order here.

Best regards.


  1. Hey Shamu, I really enjoy reading your blog and finding out about all these fragrances that no once else pays attention to anymore. I totally sympathize with your taste for manly fragrances and skepticism regarding the niche hype. I'm really interested in these masculine masterpieces you review and I would really like to try some of them. Tell you the truth, I'm just bored with most colognes made these days.
    This may be an odd question, but do you have any suggestions for me? Maybe three awesome, manly fragrances that I could easily get my hands on? Or just a few of your favorites? Thanks a lot.

  2. Thanks for moving your post over here. Wow, I could go on forever on stuff to recommend. If you want something "manly" smelling, do you mean big testosterone macho frags? Or do you mean more discreet, gentlemanly type fragrances? If you're looking for macho time, some of my favorites are Quorum, Drakkar Noir, Kouros, Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme and Lapidus Pour Homme (I could go on and on). These are all easily available from online retailers, and are relatively inexpensive.

    If you want manly smelling but more mature and classy, some of the ones I love are Equipage (Hermes), Monsieur de Givenchy, YSL Pour Homme, and Moustache. These are also easy to find, but Equipage is now fairly expensive (around $100 U.S.).

    Of course, if you want really old school and inexpensive, you can't go wrong with Brut Classic or English Leather. I love both of these as much as or more than the more expensive fragrances in my collection.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Wow, thanks a lot for your reply and all those suggestions. I do know a few of those and will have to sniff out the others.
    However, maybe if I could pester you for a bit more, I should clarify what I'm looking for: I'm in college. Quorom, Drakkar, Kouros, Equipage, and Brut (those are the ones I've smelled) are too much for me. While I do enjoy some of them, I feel pretentious and out of place wearing those mature, classic type fragrances. I do wear original Old Spice, but I really don't find it to smell "old" or mature or anything, just classic. I actually layer it with Kenzo Jungle for a really great woody oriental type scent.
    Here are some of my favs: Fahrenheit, Old Spice, Gucci Pour Homme I and II, Rive Gauche, Encre Noir by Lalique, and Narciso Rodriguez for Him. I wonder if you could recommend a few good, manly scents for a college kid?
    Sorry I wasn't specific the first time, and thanks again for your reply.

  4. May I tell you that you have good taste? With the frags in your rotation, you're already ahead of the game, and in fact I find Rive Gauche, Encre Noir and Narciso to be pretty mature smelling already - those aren't fragrances for teeny boppers.

    I showed your post to my wife, who is also a perfume freak. She recommended Grey Flannel. I couldn't agree more. She's loved the scent since she was 18, and she bought it for a couple of her boyfriends when she was in college. It's ultra masculine, with a dry, crisp smell that a guy of any age can pull off wearing well, plus it's classic and conservative enough that a guy over 40 can wear it comfortably too. I wore it when I was in my early 20s (my wife got it for me back then!), loved it, and I still wear it often at age 42. Plus, it's got powerhouse strength to boot, even though it's not as brash as the frags I recommended earlier. This is truly a great fragrance.

    If that isn't your style, try Azzaro Pour Homme or Tuscany by Aramis. Both are easy to find and are awesome aromatic, ultra masculine frags. I wore Tuscany all the time when I was in my 20s, and I wear Azzaro often now. The two are very similar and very classic.

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  6. The first thing I thought about when I read PeaceFingers comment was Grey Flannel, some others he might also try are Azzaro Onyx/Silver Black, PS Casual, and Boss #1.

    Anyway I wanted to ask you Shamu if you like to layer fragrances like Pino or Tea Rose that are great by themselves but have such a strong single note that they just seem like they would be good mixed with other things? For instance I like Pino mixed with Dirty English, and I am wearing Tea Rose mixed with Tobacco Latino right now and it's pretty good.

  7. Hi there D Cato. I layer things on occasion, but not too often because my experiments with layering haven't been too good. Tea Rose is a really good one to layer with patchouli oil, or another patchouli-heavy scent. I've always loved the accord of rose blended with patchouli.

    Another one I really like is blending Lapidus Pour Homme with Bijan Men. What you get is a rugged powerhouse that reminds me a lot of the discontinued Balenciaga Pour Homme.

    I ought to try those Pino Silvestre combos you mention, since I have all three of those fragrances.

  8. Hey Shamu have you ever tried True Religion? I actually really like it myself to me it is like a modern green aromatic without so much aquatic in it. To me it's very crisp, green, and fresh. I was suprised by how much I like it. By the way I am dwrestle on basenotes in case you didn't know that already.

  9. Hey I had no idea that you were dwrestle, so thanks for telling me. No, I've never tried True Religion. I see it in the stores like Marshalls all the time, but I've never found an open box where I could spritz a little onto my hand, just to try out. If it is crisp and green, then I should try it. I remember reading reviews of it on basenotes and not being too impressed with what I'd read. But if you tell me it's worth trying, I will.

  10. Hey man don't buy it without trying it you may think it's boring. I think True Religion smells like Curve if Creed made it LOL. Anyway on to my question.

    There are a lot of colognes today that all smell pretty much the same to me(most like Aqua di Gio, or Polo Blue/Black). I have noticed that even back in the 80's there were several fragrances that seemed to be trying to copy Drakkar Noir(still better than what we got now). So my question is do you think all the Drakkar clones may have killed the powerhouse era, or at least helped in some way?

  11. I personally think Drakkar had something to do with power scents going out of fashion, and I think the people who used to bathe in it are the ones to blame, not the fragrance itself. Drakkar was everywhere in the 80s, and too many guys put WAY too much on. This is a super strong fragrance anyway, so when guys are splashing it on like it's 4711, people are sure to get pissed. I think it caused a generation of olfactory fatigue.

    As for Drakkar fragrance clones are concerned, I don't think they were so much to blame as all the awful bath gels and deodorants that had a Drakkar-like scent in them. Those vile things helped make Drakkar truly ubiquitous in the U.S., and by that time I think everyone was so sick and tired of Drakkar and wanted their sense of smell back.

    And because Drakkar was probably the most well known powerhouse during the 80s, I believe all the others fell out of fashion with it.

  12. I asked this question on basenotes but I really couldn't get a straight answer so I will ask you. Does aftershave still do it's thing(tone your skin, and whatnot) if you have not shaved recently, or does it rely on skin irritation from the shaving to work?

    Also I used Lectric Shave today before I shaved(because my dad had it and I was curious), the stuff seems to have done what was claimed and I was not using an electric razor. Mainly though it smells great(Drakkar-ish), and I wondered if you have used it?

  13. I actually don't know how to answer that, since I've never used AS on my face unless after a shave. I've splashed it on at night as sort of a lighter version of a cologne, but I've never splashed it on my face at night. I would think it only works after you shave. If you splash it on late in the day, stubble has probably set in already, which I would think interferes with the aftershave being able to tighten up your skin.

    Never tried Lectric Shave. I was curious about that one too, and I didn't even know it had a scent at all. I assumed it was odorless. I should try it.

  14. Which of the classic styled citrus colognes(like Eau Sauvage) do you think is the best bang for your buck? I mean which one has the best combo of smell, longevity, silliage, and price?

  15. Hey D Cato, I'm sorry I didn't respond to your question earlier. I didn't realize that you posted this last question until now. Sorry about that.

    Wow, that is a tough question for me to answer, since I find most citrus frags have terrible longevity and poor sillage. They also tend to be pricey, so in my opinion, citrus dominant fragrances inherently don't give me a lot of bang for the buck.

    Having said that, I do have an opinion on this. For overall best bang for the buck, I'd have to say it's Signoricci by Nina Ricci (review to come soon). It's not cheap ($60-70 US range for a 100 ml. bottle), but it is well worth your money. It is extremely old school Mediterranean in style - lemon and orange notes over bitter herbal notes - and amazingly it has excellent radiance and its smell lasts at least 8 hours on my skin. It's a lot like Moustache, but not quite as skanky and with better longevity than Moustache.

    Personally, I like Eau Sauvage's smell a little better than Signoricci (Eau Sauvage is my favorite citrus scent), but if you're looking for overall best value, Signoricci blows it out of the water. My one and only complaint about ES is that I get terrible longevity from it - if it lasts two hours for me, I'm doing well.

  16. What is the most beastly nasty smelling fragrance you have smelled, and did you like it? Mine is without a doubt Hayward Enterprises Kouros oil, because it smells just as beastly as some people make Kouros out to be.

  17. There are probably nastier ones out there, but so far I have to say Mazzolari Lui is the beastliest, dirtiest, nastiest smelling brew I know. And I do really like it- I've owned a bottle for a few years now. I've written several reviews of it in other forums, and I probably need to write a new one here for the blog too.

  18. Now that you have changed your mind about Knize Ten would you still rank Pinaud Reserve higher that it?

  19. Good question. Definitely not. Knize Ten is FAR superior to the Pinaud Special Reserve. I think it smells more leathery and is much more complex. Also much longer lasting - a good spraying of Knize Ten will last me 24 hours or so; I have to scrub it off in the shower the next day to get the smell off. Special Reserve is a great fragrance, but Knize is in a class of its own.

    I still can't believe I'm writing this, considering how much I used to lambaste Knize Ten. I must have had a bad sample before.

  20. I just got a few Pinaud aftershaves in the mail(Lilac Vegetal, Clubman, Bay Rum, and Clubman Special Reserve), when I first smelled Clubamn I thought it was Brut-ish. I am wearing Lilac Vegetal right now, and it is quite a strange beast. It's almost like Clubman but with strong Lilac instead whatever is in Clubman. So what is Lilac Vegetal, and has anybody made anything like it since?

  21. I guess Lilac Vegetal is simply a floral. I have a bottle of it, and all I smell is flowers in it. I believe this style was popular back in the 1800s in Victorian England - the "dandy" style.

    Another fragrance I find similar is Ajaccio Violets by Trumper. I reviewed it here several months ago. I like it, but it has terrible longevity.

  22. Have you ever heard of the Old school AS "Musgo real classic" from Claus Porto (Portugal).I own a bar of luxury soap and have read that it is Johnny Depp's favorite scents. It is very difficult to come by here in Western Europe, mainly online. Is it well known over at your end ?

  23. Yes I've tried Musgo Real. It is very old school in style. It's a good fragrance but not to my taste. It's got a lot of citrus and herbal notes with vetiver in the base notes, and it smells all natural. It is very Mediterranean in style, which I usually love. It has all the qualities I love, but for some reason, this combination of notes doesn't appeal to me. It's got a musty smell that turns me off, but that's purely a subjective thing. Don't hesitate to try it though, since it is a good fragrance, especially for old schoolers like us.

    Musgo Real is a Portuguese fragrance I believe, and though it's not popular in the mainstream of the U.S., it is pretty popular among wet shaving enthusiasts. There's a store in the downtown of the town where I live that sells it, along with Musgo Real's other fragrances like Orange Amber and Oakmoss.

    1. Got in contact with a Portuguese seller on ebay lately, who goes directly to the factory outlet and has it shipped to anywhere in the world for about 20$ a bottle including shipping. He has sent me classic, spiced citrus, oakmoss and orange amber. In the end I kept only the orange amber,the rest wasn't too great imo.

      But you are right- all of this is vintage Old School and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who's still in his 30s.

      As it's now almost a year since I've been bitten by the perfume bug while searching for a Bay Rum formula online, it becomes more and more clear to me that after having sampled about a dozen frags after reading your reviews, my preference are clearly old style English colognes. While I love Lapidus,Quorum, Moustache and especially the tobacco scents like Cigar Commander or Cuba Red, I mostly go for the English.I guess it's because at my age men want to get old in style,but I simply prefer these English perfumes over the French ones because they smell better to my olfactory nerves.Subjective for sure, but when you have reached an age where you wear this stuff not to shine & attract but for your pleasure only,isn't that what counts in the end ? I have learned more in one year than I thought possible (thanks to blog like yours) and I have come to realize that while Cartier,Dior,Lagerfeld,YSL and the likes may all be great parfumes, I prefer Penhaligon's,Floris,Taylor of Old Bond Street most of the time.

    2. I feel like the English have their own unique tradition and style with making perfumes. It's hard to describe, but I can smell it right away, just like I can tell Spanish, French and Italian styles from the way they smell. I like British classic masculine frags too, but my own personal tastes lean more towards the French chypre styles.

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  25. Hi Shamu
    I am totally new to this fragrance world, and even newer to 80's powerhouses. My current favorite cologne is Giorgio Beverly Hills, which is a lot better than any modern one I've tried so far. To me it feels warm, elegant and sweet due to its prominent honey and carnation notes, and I would associate it with yellow-green color. However, I would like to try a scent that creates THE OPPOSITE aura than Giogrio - that feels cold, sharp, deep and would have blue, dark hue if smells were visible.

    Any suggestions?

    I know, that's a weird question. Smells are hella difficult to describe. Based on reviews on the net, these drew my attention:
    Sung Homme
    One man show
    Drakkar noir
    Salvador Dali
    Aramis Tuscany
    Halston Catalyst

    Thanks in advance

    1. My impressions of Giorgio For Men are the same as yours - soft, heavy, warm, rich, and yellowish green. I look at it as an oakmoss bomb.

      Out of the fragrances you've listed, the only one that I think meets your standard of sharp, severe and dead serious would be Van Cleef and Arpels PH. Definitely. It's probably the most unsmiling, serious fragrance I own, and is brutally strong in a sharp, aggressive way. However, it's not "blue" in smell, nor are any of the others you listed. VC&A smells dark pine green, almost black, to me.

      Hope that helps.