Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kouros, Quorum and YSL Pour Homme Knockoffs by The Fragrance Shop

Just a few days ago, one of my readers brought to my attention and recommended The Fragrance Shop, an online seller of knockoff perfume oils.  What's especially cool about this company is the fact that they also make knockoffs of discontinued fragrances.  If there's a knockoff you want that isn't on their list, they'll make it for you, for a reasonable fee.  It sounds like a perfume fan's dream come true. 
I couldn't resist trying out some of their products, so I ordered samples of their perfume oil versions of Kouros and Quorum.  As a courtesy, they threw in a sample of their version of YSL Pour Homme, with a little note card saying, "Based on your order, we thought you might like this as well."  It was a nice gesture that I really appreciated.  They also guessed my tastes correctly, since I love YSL Pour Homme. 
I've now had a chance to wear all three of these, and here's my take on them:

Kouros being one of my favorite fragrances, I'm sure to love anything that smells like it.  This is a very good knockoff of Kouros: it smells a lot like the real thing, and more importantly, it captures the overall feel of Kouros.  However, there are differences between the two.  First, TFS' version has no citrus top notes.  Instead, you get a slamming fecal blast in the opening, with civet, musk and artemisia creating an accord that, believe it or not, smells even dirtier than real Kouros.  This is awesome.  Once the middle stage appears, the similarity to the real Kouros is very close.  The drydowns are also similar, though TFS' version has a light sweetness in the drydown that the original Kouros does not have, and I love it.

Though it smells great, I'm not impressed with its strength.  I actually find the original eau de toilette to be a little stronger than this perfume oil on my skin, in terms of projection.  Though it has brutal power for the first half hour, after that TFS' version tones down significantly and projects moderately.  There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but I prefer the way real Kouros projects.  Longevity is about equal, with both clocking in at around 12 or 13 hours.

Would I buy a bottle of TFS' Kouros?  Probably not.  The reason is personal, because I own three bottles real Kouros already, and it's still easily available.  Even though I love its smell, TFS' Kouros doesn't have enough going for it to make me want to stop wearing Kouros and start wearing theirs.  However, if YSL ever discontinues Kouros, I will definitely be knocking on TFS' door and stocking up on their Kouros oil.  I give it a thumbs up vote.


I'll keep it short - this is horrendous.  It's inferior to Quorum in every way: scent, complexity, strength and quality of materials.  It doesn't even smell like Quorum.  There's no pine, no green notes, no oakmoss that I can smell, nothing.  It smells like cigarette smoke.  It has no depth, and it smells thin, flat and cheap.  Longevity and sillage are also weak.  Even if TFS didn't market this as a Quorum knockoff, I still wouldn't like it.  This gets a big thumbs down.

YSL-Type For Men (YSL Pour Homme knockoff)

The pro: it smells good.  The con: it doesn't smell like YSL Pour Homme.  This smells a lot more like Chanel Pour Monsieur - powdery, green, and very classic French.  Granted, I've always thought Chanel Pour Monsieur and YSL Pour Homme were cut from the same cloth, so TFS succeeded in capturing that really old school feel I love.  Like both fragrances, TFS' oil is not a power monster, but projects moderately for a long time.

The only thing I don't like about this is that it doesn't smell so good when you sniff it up close against your skin.  I smell a creamy sandalwood note in here that might smell great on its own, but smells completely out of place in a fragrance like this.  Fortunately I can't detect it from the scent it projects off my skin while wearing it.

I like this fragrance, but I'm not sure I'd buy it.  The jury is still out, so I think I need to wear this one a few more times before I decide whether it's a worthy purchase for me.


I can't say yet that I'd buy a full bottle of oil from TFS, but I'm definitely going to purchase some more samples.  With knockoffs of stuff like Balenciaga Pour Homme and Fendi Uomo, The Fragrance Shop is a company I simply can't ignore.


  1. Nice to hear your opinion on those selections. On your blogpage, we can always count on the good, the bad and the ugly. I wonder why some of these companies have some good knockoffs while at the same time their other selections are way off?!?! Why is there such a discrepancy with some of these? Could it be that the more complex a frag is, the harder it is to reproduce a faithful copy? Likewise, relatively simple frags are much easier to dupe? Could it be that the oil base vs. alcohol base, namely that certain notes will separate better in one or the other? Or, could it be legal repercussions? Maybe, it is a combination of all of the above. Hmmm...I wonder. On the other hand like you said, sometimes it is not sufficient to make a 'perfect' copy, but to also render a whole different 'animal;' something unique, rather than just a mere mimic. Perhaps, some appropriate feedback sent their way from us might encourage them to rectify their obvious shortcomings, e.g. Quorum-type. I think that some constructive criticism might be effective, since they are eager to please their clientele (especially in these tough economic times). I think that I even saw one fragrance (can't remember which one) labeled 'new improved' probably because someone did send feedback. Consequently, they were compelled to improve their version of that particular fragrance. For the kind of money that they are asking for a large bottle, they had better make it good.

    Of course, it makes sense that in certain cases (Kouros/Moods) the original is still available and the price/longevity/projection is there. Moreover, with Quorum though sad that their dupe is a disappointment Quorum is still fortunately available at decent prices. I, too, am looking to stock-up on Kouros (the bottle with the chrome shoulders, not the all white bottle) and I expect that stockpile to last a long time.
    Nice though, that TFS does have a viable back-up version just in case.

    I want to check out their Antaeus, Balenciaga PH and Zino samples probably in March 2013. Some of
    their single note items are interesting; might be worth a try for kicks. Although I currently
    have a full bottle of Loewe Essencia, I might ask them to dupe that one in the future. I will be sure to chime in about that. We look forward to more reviews on your blogpage.

    1. If only their Kouros was a little stronger, sillage-wise, I'd probably buy a bottle. Kouros is one of those fragrances that I prefer in splash bottle form rather than a spray, so a fragrance oil works great for me for Kouros. I'll definitely buy a bottle if my cache of real Kouros runs dry.

      I'm sure this company has great desire to do the right thing, but man, I think their Quorum oil is beyond hope. It's that bad. And this isn't my personal bias; even though Quorum is my favorite fragrance, I've been wearing Kouros a lot longer than I have Quorum, so I'm just as familiar with Kouros as I am Quorum.

      The YSL oil is good. I'm going to wear it again today to see if I like it even more.

  2. That version of Kouros sounds like Hayward Enterprises version except Hayward Kouros is more powerful than the real Kouros.

    1. Wow, where can I get some of that Hayward Kouros?

    2. Oops, just found their website. Are their frags any good?

  3. Some are great some are not, but overall I am pretty happy with them. I know I had a 1/2 oz spray cologne bottle of Hayward Kouros and I honestly think YSL Kouros would need a sprayer like Quorum or better to match the little spray of the Hayward Kouros. You should try thier Eau Savauge I get great longevity out of it, and I would kind of like to know how it compares from someone who loves the real deal as much as you do.

  4. Also I still have that bottle but I have watered it down with Everclear and it's still super powered, but I think it smells more like the real YSL Kouros now. I also added a little of the Hayward Patchouli to it.

  5. The Hayward version of Creed Original Vetiver is also one of the most green smelling fragrances I have smelled, and I love it so it might be worth getting for anyone who doesn't want to spend $200.

  6. OK, thanks for all the info on this company. Their prices are very reasonable too, so my mission is clear - I need to try some of these. Their selection is unbelievable.

    Ha! I noticed they have a knockoff of Hai Karate! Who the hell would buy that?!

  7. Very interesting article. Description of Kouros perfume would make me more comfort to buy this perfume. Thanks for your article.

    1. Definitely go for a sample first. At first $6 for a sample seems steep, but this is REALLY concentrated stuff, so I'd expect you'd get at least 20 wearings out of a sample. Not bad for 6 bucks.

  8. The Rive Gauche is also pretty good.
    Its very linear; it smells like the EDT does right on the cusp between heart/base notes. Not up to snuff for a full replacement of RGPH, but i'm really enjoying using it as a deodorant fragrance (when I use my alum block for underarms) and giving myself a shot of the real deal on the throat.