I've recently been hung up with all the fuss of reformulations, easily persuaded by the opinions of those who decry current formulations of multitudinous classics, to the point where I thought I'd never really get to experience the authentic spirit of these icons.
However, I decided to give in to the current reform of Bel Ami as the vintage is prohibitively expensive, and I was really pleased; I am sure that if I smelled a vintage I'd be floored and I'd understand the difference, but even in its current incarnation, it really is impressive, mesmerizing even, to my nose. It is opulent, yet wistful; robust, yet mildly sweet. The leather starts off as raw, animalic and rugged, but smolders into a tender and refined entity, genteel yet still of solid constitution. The supporting notes of vetiver, orris and carnation do add interest to the experience, imparting texture and leverage to the leather. Overall, this is really a moving wear for me.
One day I am sure I will experience the vintage and really understand what others claim, but I know what I like, and what I have now surely is a keeper to my nose. 9/10
Maybe I am just used to masculine powerhouses, but this newer tester of Bel Ami is rather short lived and feminine. It does have an okay citrus opening, if you like Lemon Heads candy, but becomes a skin scent in less than one hour. The dry down is faint, richly-scented groomers pet shampoo, (maybe that is the amber?) accompanied by a sharp, fleeting, spicy cinnamon and then finally fades to cosmetic lipstick(leather?) and feminine body powder. No leather, no cedar, woods, oakmoss, no vetiver.
I wore Z-14 & Polo in the 80's and that is what men smelled like. This Bel Ami smells like my Mom on a Saturday night---Wind Song and lipstick when she would come home and pay the babysitter.🥱
Bel Ami is Vito Corleone!this is a powerful fragrance that demands respect and oozes quality;it falls in the same class as Cartier Santos, Chanel Antaeus every man over the age of thirty should have one of those greats in his collection. one of the first fragrances i fell in love with at eighteen.this scent is sophisticated testosterone in a bottle that will bully all your other fragrances. it is a leathery chypre such as Bandit,Derby.it is like warm sexy skin,sexy in a warm,clean and classy way.a true gem for everyone who can appreciate a strong masculine scent.
The perfume starts off with a burst of citrus like a classy chypre - lemon,bergamot,sage and rosemary.it then moves to a classic floral heart as it begins settling with notes of basil, jasmine,and carnation,and finally settles into a leathery woody chypre base comprised of patchouli,leather and oakmoss.the key attribute to Bel Ami is the great compositional balance,where a styrax driven leather accord rests harmoniously on a chypre foundation laced with a deft blend of herbs and florals. sometimes it's more spicy, sometimes more herbal.this certainly isn't for little boys,it's a perfume with strong character.absolutely awesome fragrance.Double thumbs up!
Bel Ami is one of the better leathers. Its radiance is supple and sweet but it has a woody and bitter core.
Leather is a power scent, but unlike the biker jacket with its black toughness Bel Ami is more sedate. It's a soft brown leather which feels rather complacent, all monogrammed slippers and dressing gown. If you compare Bel Ami to Fahrenheit (which the same perfumer wrote two years later) you can see how staid this is. Bel Ami: the boon companion of rich old white men.
(This is about the vintage, not the Jean-Claude Ellena version.)
This is so much like Creed Royal English Leather, just not as dirty. But side by side Id have a hard time guessing which was which. Maybe more oak and less orange in the Bel Ami. But its an old broken in dirty leather smell I get. Good staying power, and just right amount of projection and sillage. I love it and use it now that my Creed REL is gone and discontinued by creed. This will replace it.