Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Claiborne For Men

Claiborne has some of the worst men's fragrances in the industry, but 1989's Claiborne For Men, their first men's fragrance, is probably their best.  This scent gets a lot of hate these days, and I think it's terribly underrated.  I love Claiborne For Men, and its low price makes it even more appealing.

A quick sniff of the nozzle will lead you to think this is just another boring, fresh woody citrus scent, but it's much more than that.  If there was ever a citrus-based macho frag, this would be it.  Claiborne For Men is not a heavy scent, but it's a complex one, jammed to the rafters with ingredients that look like a recipe for a great 80's powerhouse fragrance: leather, juniper, patchouli, oakmoss, amber and carnation.

You can tell this is an Eighties fragrance immediately.  What I smell right away, underlying the sharp top notes, are the oakmoss and leather providing that awesome smooth, green, semi-sweet smell that is the hallmark of 80's power scents.  Claiborne, however, is not a powerscent.

The reason Claiborne For Men doesn't fall into the powerhouse category is because all of its notes are handled with a light touch, not in heavy-handed fashion.  The resulting scent is highly bright and transparent, a quality that was to become a cliche with all the aquatic and woody citrus scents that were about to glut the market in the Nineties.  This is a fragrance that should appeal to both powerhouse fragrance fans and people who wear sporty citrus or aquatic scents.

Regarding the scent itself, I love how it marries citrus, green and moss notes into a seamless whole.  The tart (not sour) bergamot in the opening smells like it goes on for hours, well into the drydown.  Lovely green notes like juniper and basil provide a welcome crisp freshness, and that natural, fresh smell never flags during the duration of the scent.  I like this very much!  The drydown is also great - a smooth, beautiful musk, oakmoss, leather and amber accord that is clean, semi-sweet (but still dry) and perfectly balanced, never becoming heavy or cloying.  The fragrance stays nice and dry from start to finish, and I like that.  Plus, the fragrance has great longevity, lasting about 10 hours on my skin.

If you love citrus or 80's fragrances, Claiborne For Men is worth a blind purchase, considering how inexpensive it is.  I'm sure glad I did it.

MY RATING:  8/10

Fragrance House:  Liz Claiborne


  1. I'm going to have to buy it now if marshalls still has that one bottle they have had for months. BTW You have been doing a lot of reviews, and it's awesome keep it up.

  2. Definitely snag a bottle. This stuff is great. I don't know why Basenotes lists this as discontinued. I can't walk into a Marshalls anywhere without seeing a bottle on the shelves.

  3. I bought this for eight bucks and I agree...it is great stuff.