Sunday, April 1, 2012

Listen For Men

Listen For Men is a case study for me in the rule that you should never judge a fragrance by its top notes.  I remember Listen For Men being in the clearance bins in Marshalls way back in the early Nineties, sitting next to the bottles of Fred Hayman colognes and other stuff nobody wears.  I remember spraying this on my hand many times, taking in Listen’s great top notes and thinking, “What is this doing in the clearance bin?  This is freakin’ awesome!”.  Yet I never bought a bottle for some reason, until about a year ago.

Listen For Men’s top notes are awesome.  It’s got that powerful, brash herbal/spicy thing going on that was a hallmark opening in the great power scents of the ‘70s and ‘80s.  I love this style.  There’s anise, basil, pepper, citrus and wood notes in Listen’s opening salvo, exploding in your face like shrapnel.  In fact, it smells like a brighter, cleaner version of Azzaro Pour Homme for the first twenty minutes.  How cool is that?

The problems start once the top notes disappear.  Underneath that great opening is a dull, generic, weak synthetic smelling herbal concoction.  Listen fires all its big guns in the beginning, and it’s got nothing left after that.  The middle stage and drydown smell so uninspired, I can’t even garner enough inspiration to find words to describe it.  Weak herbal notes mixed with some generic “Men’s Cologne” chemical smell?  It also smells vinegary to me, another thing going against it.

What bugs me even more than the smell itself is how weak it is on my skin after the first twenty minutes.  I have a feeling that if it had more muscle, Listen would smell better because I’d be more able to detect what it has to offer.  As it stands, Listen For Men smells like some pallid quagmire of boring smell on my skin.

Despite my negative review of this, I can’t say that you shouldn’t plunk down the money (it’s very inexpensive) and give it a try.  The opening is truly wonderful, and I suspect that the problem for me may have more to do with my own skin or sense of smell, rather than the scent itself.  There are a lot of positive reviews on for Listen For Men, so it may just be me.

MY RATING:  5/10

Fragrance House:  Herb Alpert


  1. I should write up a post on my blog about this! For me, Listen is intolerably brash at first, and I can't make much of anything out, note-wise. When that subsides, get a fabulous cedar wood fragrance that has balance (unlike so many cedar-dominant fragrances, especially recent ones). And it's plenty strong! Your review of Listen reaffirms my sense that for many if not most fragrances, one is either a top notes person or a base notes person, so to speak.

  2. I remember reading your review on Basenotes, and it was the one that convinced me to finally, after 19 years of not doing it, buy a bottle. Your telling me you smell a nice cedar accord in this convinces me even more that it's my skin or my sense of smell that's off, not really the scent itself. However, I can only write about what I smell.