Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Top Ten

For those of you who are wondering where I stand regarding personal favorite scents, here you go.  These are my top ten favorites, not in any particular order.  However, I must add that the first five listed below are my Top Five, and the rest fall into my Top Ten.  I also have a Top 25 list as well, and it was hard to sift out ten from that bigger list. 

Despite my trying new fragrances all the time, this list has remained relatively static for years.  It will take a lot to dethrone any of these old wardogs from my list.  So without further ado, here you are:


Quorum (Antonio Puig)



Here it is, my favorite fragrance, my Number One.  I've said about all I can ever say about this awesomely dark, macho monster.

I still get excited whenever I put on Quorum.  It's the most aromatic fragrance I've ever smelled, with all the patchouli, tobacco, leather, pine, herbal notes and oakmoss I could ever want.  And it blends it all perfectly. 

I own eight bottles of Quorum for a reason.



Drakkar Noir (Guy Laroche)

One "Top Five" post I plan on doing soon is an article on old school macho frags.  Drakkar Noir will definitely be on that list.  This is one of the most bad ass fragrances ever made.

Drakkar Noir was my very first fragrance, and I still wear it.  It has a dark, oily glow that separates it from everything else I own.  I'm not sure if that effect is from the leather, juniper or the patchouli, but whatever it is, it's what has drawn me to this powerhouse since the time I first started wearing it in 1988.

Many people consider Drakkar outdated and way too strong.  That's because they don't have what it takes to pull off wearing it.


Azzaro Pour Homme (Azzaro)

Azzaro Pour Homme is the greatest masculine fragrance ever, and is in my personal Top Five.  I can't imagine a day where my big 100 ml. bottle isn't sitting on my dresser.


It does everything perfectly, and it has everything I look for in a fragrance - masculine smell, perfect balance, strong aromatic qualities, versatility, great longevity, and it projects at just the right amount of strength.  It's also got an old school French style that I love to wear.  I never tire of this scent.

When I wear Azzaro Pour Homme, I feel like it's part of my body.  This is one I know I'll be wearing until I die.



Eau Sauvage (Christian Dior)

Drakkar Noir may have been my first fragrance ever, but Eau Sauvage, my second fragrance ever, was what started my passion for perfume.  It was also my wife's first gift to me, back in 1993, so it has special meaning for me.  I've gone through about ten bottles of it, and I've been wearing it ever since.

Eau Sauvage is one of the classiest, most elegant fragrances I know, and I literally feel like a million bucks every time I put it on.  Its perfect blend of citrus and floral notes has never been surpassed, and I never tire of it.  It's got that old world French Mediterranean feel that I love.

My only complaint about Eau Sauvage is that it has terrible staying power on my skin.  If I get three hours out of it, I'm lucky.  However, it's so good, I just keep reapplying it when it fades.  I'd pay just about any amount of money to keep my supply going.  This is another one I'll be wearing to the grave.



Kouros (Yves Saint Laurent)

Most Americans are completely repulsed at the smell of Kouros, because it defies all sense of what's "acceptable" in a scent in this country these days.  For me, it was love at first sniff, from the moment I first smelled it back in 1994.  I've been wearing Kouros ever since, and have never been without a bottle.

I love everything about it: its macho smell, its unrelenting strength, its amazing ability to meld clean and skanky smells together perfectly, its Mediterranean vibe, and the fact that it's totally unique.  This is the quintessential powerhouse fragrance, yet it's timeless.  Kouros is not obviously an 80s fragrance, unlike, say, Quorum.

I wear Kouros year round, yet I prefer it in fall and winter.  For some reason, all of Kouros' many facets spring to life for me when the air is cold.



Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (Paco Rabanne)

For many years, I considered Paco Rabanne to be my favorite fragrance.  However, for some reason I haven't worn it much during the past couple of years, so I can't honestly say it's my favorite.  It's still one of the best colognes I've ever worn, and still deserves to be in my Top Ten.

I love how green and old school Paco Rabanne smells.  I love dry herbal scents, and I love how Paco combines green herbal notes with old fashioned barbershop smells like talc and shaving cream.  It smells like a green version of Pinaud's Clubman a lot of the time.

Strong, long lasting, classic and manly to the core, Paco Rabanne is a fragrance I've been able to grown into easily, since I started wearing it back in the mid-Nineties.



A*Men (Thierry Mugler)


You're probably surprised to learn that I wear and love this fragrance, never mind putting in my all-time Top Ten list.  It's gourmand, insanely sweet, and the most feminine smelling fragrance I own - all bad qualities for me in a men's fragrance.  And you know what?  I love everything about it.

Angel has always been my favorite women's perfume.  I get weak in the knees when a woman wearing it walks by.  What I love about A*Men is that it's a men's version of Angel.  Granted, it's not masculine compared to anything else I own, but I don't feel feminine at all when I wear it - I wouldn't wear it if I did. 

A*Men's blend of patchouli, caramel, floral notes and chocolate is indescribably great.  I consider it a potion, not a fragrance. 


Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme (Van Cleef & Arpels)

No fragrance for men smells as menacing as this old school monster.  I wear this whenever I feel the need to intimidate (I'm a lawyer).  Wearing Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme with a navy blue pinstriped suit, white shirt, cufflinks and black wingtips makes quite a show of authority. 

To call this scent dark and austere is an understatement.  Nothing about it smiles.  It's an amazingly dense and powerful leather chypre that is bitter and aromatic, and it has the transparency of a brick wall.  It was created in 1978, but its over-the-top levels of oakmoss and patchouli give it the feel of an 80s powerhouse.

This is one of the all time great powerscents, and is an essential staple in my wardrobe.


Patchouli by Santa Maria Novella



You all know patchouli is my favorite fragrance note, and Santa Maria Novella's Patchouli is my favorite patchouli perfume.  Patchouli does not get any more hardcore than this.  If you hate patchouli, this fragrance will drive you to murder.

It's raw, deep, extremely dark, earthy and powerful.  There is nothing to water down its full bore potency.  There is no amber, vanilla or other silly sweet notes to make it more user friendly.  That's why I love it so much.

Despite its aggressive nature, SMN's Patchouli is the most versatile patchouli I own.  Believe it or not, I wear this in business settings.


Brut (Helen of Troy/Faberge)

I've never hidden my love for Brut, and my earlier review of it here says it all.  When I want to feel totally put together, I reach for Brut.  I also like splashing it on after a shower at night.

Though I love the cologne by itself, Brut is best experienced if you do the whole Brut regimen: aftershave lotion, aftershave balm, shaving cream, deodorant, and cologne.  I have all of it, and I think it cost me about $25 for the whole line.

I love the Brut in the cheap plastic bottle well enough, but the real treat is Brut Classic, made by the same company and packaged in a green glass bottle with a silver chain around it.  It's the perfect bottle of Brut, smelling the same way I remember Brut from when I was a kid in the 70s.  It smells greener, more natural and much more complex than the plastic bottle version, and is better than most fragrances that cost ten times more.


COMING SOON:  My Top 25

33 comments:

  1. Nice list! Brut, Kouros, and Eau Sauvage would make it into my top ten easily. I didn't realize Drakkar was a favorite of yours. Quite a good one.

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    1. Oh yeah, Drakkar rules. I've often wondered if it's my Number One, I love it that much. However, Quorum has the tiny edge over it because I find I wear it a little more frequently.

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  2. Oh no man, no !!! A*Men !!!!!!!!! You are our consultant for macho frags !!! (but where the hell is LAPIDUS, a great fragrance I purchased after reading your review of it ???)

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    1. I had a feeling someone would react to my including A*Men in my list. Sorry, man. I love this frag, even if is a wimpy scent. I also like Joop Homme, another wimp-fest.

      Don't get me wrong, Lapidus is the balls. I just like these ten a little better. Lapidus is in my Top 25, though. You have to remember that I own about 350 bottles of cologne (and that's just currently), so being in my Top 25 is pretty damn good!

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  3. Drakkar, Quorum, and Kouros would all be mandatory in my top ten too.

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  4. If anyone would have the giant 33oz Paco Rabanne, and the Brut Classic 25oz bottles I imagine it would be you.

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    1. Actually, I don't have either, but I'd love to. I do have this big 6.7 oz. bottle of Paco, but I only have the 3 oz. Brut Classic.

      Man, I wish they had a 33 oz. bottle of Eau Sauvage. I'd go through a few of them.

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  5. Great list! My favourites include both powerhouse classics and some fairly modern fragrances that you would probably call wimpy but I have to agree that Quorum rules. It is the most awsome-smelling fragrance I have ever tried.

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    1. Cool! I know there are a lot of Quorum fans out there, but I don't know too many who say Quorum is their favorite. Welcome to the club.

      There are some frags I'd call wimpy, yet I love. A*Men is definitely wimpy, and it's in my Top Ten. I also love Joop Homme, another wimpy scent.

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    2. I am on the fence with A-Men. It just doesn't seem to appeal to me and its price doesn't help either. However I love Joop! Homme and would go so far as to say that it is one of the greatest fragrances ever created but I would never call it wimpy. It seems like more of a "bad boy" type of scent to me.

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  6. Shamu, although I really love most of your top ten, I am quite amazed that Worth Pour Homme does not feature, given your admiration for it (whcih I now share)

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    1. Like I said, this wasn't an easy list to put together. Because so many frags could have made the list, I had to weed out the ones I haven't worn in a year or two. Worth is an incredible fragrance. I love it enough to be in my top ten. However, I haven't worn it in a while, so it didn't make the cut now.

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  7. You like scents with an old school vibe and you love A*Men, so Animale Animale seems up your alley. Also, A*Men Pure Leather releases Friday.

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    1. Funny you mention Animale. When I was in the process of writing this post, I was thinking of that frag and reading the reviews. I've never tried it before, and I'm interested in a scent that smells a lot like A*Men, but without the nuclear sillage.

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  8. 350 bottles down to 10 is a tough call for sure!! I'd have trouble whittling down my 100 or so to a Top 10 but one thing's for sure - Quorum would be No.1. This was the first fragrance which made an impression - bought for me on my 16th birthday (in 1989...!). I'd had Old Spice around the same time (which I liked a lot) but Quorum smelled like a real MAN'S Fragrance and I was in awe of the way it smelled and its super strength. It holds many memories for me and its something I'll hopefully never be without.

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    1. Thanks for posting this DM. I knew you loved Quorum, but I had no idea it was your #1.

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  9. Hi shamu - it's always been #1 on the basis that it's the first proper fragrance I ever owned and I can distinctly remember being 17 or 18 and thinking, "I'm sure people will think this is way too old for me" but I couldn't have cared less - I loved it! When I bought Habit Rouge on the strength of a magazine article about classic men's fragrances I rapidly developed an interest in fragrances beyond the casual wearings of before and I immediately thought of Quorum and dug out my old, nearly empty splash bottle and all the memories came flooding back. It was then that I sought out other fragrances from the same year and found you guys on the Powerhouse Forum on Basenotes. Its a frgrance which I've worn almost weekly for many years and although it's VERY familiar to me I still love wearing it and how it makes me feel. Thanks to Quorum, yourself shamu and the other Powerhouse forum stalwarts my life is much more rich & fragrant - Thankyou.

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  10. 350 bottles!! And we silly Germans believe that most Americans are basically broke :) I have always wondered if those scents are cheaper over at your end, because if you add it all up it should amount to quite a fortune.I should have listened to my ol' man and studied law ! Since I've been following your blog I have aquired miniatures of eau sauvage,zino davidoff, ted lapidus, marbert man, moods,grey flanel, guerlain vetiver, moustache and a big bottle of Quorum, all of which I like and would have never discovered otherwise. Others like Aramis New West I sampled when downtown ( it's next on my list since birthday is coming up). Thank you again , shamu, for all the time you invest to aquaint folks like me, whose signature scents have been limited to Brut, old Spice or Tabac, with the best that's out there.Hoping that one of these days I'll be able to afford a bottle of Acqua di Cuba I thank you for your recommendations!

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    1. There's no shame in having Brut, Old Spice and Tabac as signature frags. Those are all incredible fragrances, and I wear all three of them a lot. Tabac is an awesome scent. I've reviewed it a few times before, but never on this blog. It's time for a new review, of both the EDC and EDT.

      Tabac EDC is in my Top 25 list, by the way.

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  11. I know it's in your top 25, but I am suprised that Giorgio didn't make the top 10.

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    1. Yeah, after the first six or seven, it got tough picking the last 3 or 4 to fill up my Top Ten list; I put together my Top Ten about a year ago, and it's been consistent since then. Giorgio's awesome, but I didn't put it in the Top Ten mainly because I don't wear it as often as I do the others.

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  12. Shamu:
    It's always good to see Eau Sauvage get kudos. I see it get lambasted in mainstream outlets as "old man" or "dated" and other such nigh-useless terms, but I find it to be one of the greats. It's in my Top Five and I won't ever be without a bottle. Fortunately, as well, I get better longevity than you and others seem to. By no means is it a powerhouse, but I can get through a work day just fine. It's subtle, like Monsieur Givenchy or Cravache, but that's part of its charm. It may the fragrance that I wear most often. Also love the VC&A shout out.

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    1. I can understand the "old man" comments somewhat with frags like Brut or Quorum, but not Eau Sauvage. I'm someone who uses the word "dated" a lot to describe fragrances, but Eau Sauvage has always seemed timeless to me. I don't associate it with the Sixties at all. If it's an old man's fragrance, then it's a very classy old man. Same goes for Monsieur Givenchy (which used to be in my Top Ten, but I haven't worn it in years) - another great and timeless classic frag.

      I wish I got the longevity you get with Eau Sauvage. If I did, I don't know if I ever would have bought another fragrance. It would probably be the only fragrance in my collection.

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    2. The face of Brut in its heyday was...Joe Namath. Was he an old man? In 1966 when Eau Sauvage was new, were only old men (assume 70 y.o. plus?) wearing it? As for Quorum, I've never come across a feeble old man wearing it. Aren't all fragrances, upon launch, aimed at those most likely to wear them, which would be guys in their 20s and 30s? OK, maybe Brut is still worn by older man, but I know a ton of guys my age (43) who wear it. I'm getting there, but I'm not old yet. As for Lapidus, Azzaro, 1818 and other such scents that get saddled with "old man" connotations, I find it to be a lazy, copycat phrase that in no way describes the fragrance in question. Maybe here in California, no old men wear fragrance. I'd kill to see a grandpa rocking Lagerfeld Classic, but it just doesn't happen.

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    3. What other people may call "old men", you and I would probably describe as guys who are savvy and have paid their dues in life.

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  13. You guys have made my day! I'll be 53 by the end of the month, so I guess that puts me right center into the "old man category",realizing that I'm wearing just the right frags for that age group:) My son, who is going to be 21,likes some of them, too, by the way ..like Old Spice, which I in turn discovered back in the 60's from my Dad. There are perfumes out there that are simply time-and ageless, regardless if you wear them as a young peacock or in your swing chair out there on the porch !

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    1. I wanted to ask you, is Old Spice expensive or hard to find in Germany? I'd read in a review that in Italy, Old Spice is considered to be semi-exotic, and isn't cheap either.

      I don't know what part of Germany you're from, but I always wondered if Tabac, a German frag, was available in the old East Germany during the Cold War? I've read a lot about how the Communist regime banned so many Western goods back then, and that the few available could only be purchased in ultra-expensive shops in the big cities. Tabac is such a classic, I was wondering if it was banned behind the Iron Curtain.

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  14. Old Spice is neither expensive (10 US € for 5 fl.oz.) nor hard to find, but since for me only the Shulton Version will do(no more available in Germany, I gave my Procter & Gamble bottle to my son and bought the Shulton Classic on ebay Italy for dirt cheap). I am from Nuremberg (Bavaria), South Germany and yes, Tabac was available during the Cold War behind the Iron Curtain,'cause whenever our family visited my uncle in East Germany, my dad smuggled all kinds of household goods (magazines,sweets,After Shave,...) for his brother, incl. Old Spice and Tabac, all banned at the time.So I've been familiar with these two scents practically since Kindergarten.Like most Old School fragrances these brands have released other types, never to match the original classics in my opinion.

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    1. I agree on those Tabac and OS flankers that I've tried; none are as good as the originals. Tabac Man is horrible, for example. Old Spice Fresh and Pure Sport are good, but nowhere near as good as Old Spice. The OS Old Spice that was discontinued a few years ago was horrible.

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  15. Why didn't Old Spice make into your top 10?

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  16. Hi again, enjoyed reading your top ten. Love Quorum, Kouros and Azzaro P H myself in particular, Eau Sauvage too but I prefer YSL pour homme concentration or Armani P H as far as classy, refined citrus scents go - I'd consider YSL PH to be more of a powerhouse than Eau Sauvage and Armani arguable more refined in its composition - just my 2 pence worth! I can't agree with A*Men at all though, it is sickly sweet and offends my nostrils I'm afraid - then again I love the discontinued Versus by Versace which is reminiscent of lemon candy, but in a masculine and wearable way!

    Great blog, keep up the good work!

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    1. Yeah, I was expecting most people wouldn't agree with putting A*Men on the list. It just doesn't fit in with any of the others on my list. Yet, I totally love the stuff.

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  17. I enjoyed your list, and your write-ups on each product. Many on your top ten list would also be on my list, and my top five would include Quorum, Azzaro and Drakkar Noir (although the new bottle of DN I recently purchased seems to have lost some of its characteristic "oomph").

    I know that you have made positive comments about another of my top-five, and I am surprised to see that it didn't crack your top 25: Gianfranco Ferre for Man.

    For the record, my top-five includes four 80's power-colognes, and one outlier: Quorum, Gianfranco Ferre, Azzaro, Drakkar Noir and Terre d'Hermes.

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