The Cologne Cabinet

Captain Molyneux by Molyneux

Vintage Captain Molyneux EDT -

“Oh Captain! My Captain!”

Unlike Whitman’s poem, Captain Molyneux has nothing to do with the death of President Lincoln and everything to do with classic aromatic fougere goodness.

Captain Molyneux opens with an attention grabbing blast of spicy lavender and dusty oakmoss. There is also an iron-like metallic quality floating around too. Once that tapers off, it begins to remind me of another great fragrance from the same era - Charles Jourdan Un Homme (1979) - with a very well blended anise and sandalwood steadying the ship.

Born in 1975, this one doesn’t swing brass knuckles like other powerhouses of its day and just like Un Homme, Captain Molyneux has a classy and restrained quality that stays close to the skin. I personally favor this as I prefer the year round versatility.

Fortunately, vintage is still available online and is reasonably priced for the quality represented here.

4 stars
Mar 12, 2021

Atomic Age Bay Rum by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements

Atomic Age Bay Rum Aftershave / Cologne Splash
by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements -

Two thumbs way up! This is my second fragrance from PAA, the other being "Cavendish", an excellent pipe tobacco eau de parfum.

Atomic Age Bay Rum beats its drum after literally being aged in oak barrels so not only does it smell fantastic-liciously of bay and spices, but it's also extremely well blended with not a hint of synthetics to be found.

I know some aftershave hounds love the 15 second "burn" upon application, but this one doesn't fit that profile. It isn't greasy or slick either so you will just have to deal with it being damn near perfect!

5 stars

Feb 21, 2021

Lucifer by Renaissance Fragrances

Lucifer EDT 100ml Spray -

Renaissance Fragrances was a company based out of the UK in London and completely unknown to me until recently. The only fragrance I can find by them is this EDT - "Lucifer", which is now long discontinued, and a blind buy for me ($35 for 100ml).

At first sniff, this is a clone in the vein of Polo Green. But thankfully, a vintage Cosmair / Warner Polo Green clone!

The opening is a bit dustier than Polo with a huge whack upside the head of oakmoss. I don't know the year this was produced, but it has to be pre-2001.

Within minutes, the patchouli and tobacco merge into an accord similar to the dry down of Montana Parfum d'Homme with an added coniferous overtone. Wow!

Ultimately, even though I'm reviewing this one as a clone, it still has a personality of its own. I agree with drseid's review completely - why wasn't this on anybody's radar!? It may have been a UK only release and once the company went belly up that was the end of Lucifer.

3.5 stars
Feb 20, 2021

Jazz Prestige by Yves Saint Laurent

Vintage YSL Jazz Prestige EDT - 

YSL Jazz and Jazz Prestige remind me of another combo I have in my wardrobe - Ralph Lauren Polo Green and Polo Crest. 

Just like Polo Green, the original Jazz leans more serious and mature, while being a very well blended composition especially in vintage form. A reliable pull year-round that simply just "smells good". No need to over think it and no wonder it is still in production since 1988. 

Now for Jazz Prestige, which just like Polo Crest, was unable to find a foothold and has been long discontinued. Prestige presents itself with an instantly recognizable DNA to it's big brother, but with a composition that leans more laid back with a daring blend of notes floating all around like Mint, Apple, Ginger, and a slightly smoky-sweet Tobacco accord that must be a combo of Benzoin, Patchouli and Sandalwood.  

I'm not exactly sure what I'm smelling with this one as the progression through the notes is definitely unique (minty tobacco?), but with a name like Prestige, it must be some form of high quality art. Performance for both fragrances are very close and will last for the better part of 6-8 hours. 

Jazz Prestige is a worthy flanker to its stalwart big brother and would be a plus to any collection. Although, as a discontinued fragrance, Prestige has taken on a reverence normally reserved only for dead movie stars of yore so its bloated price tag on the gray market is a big minus. 

Final verdict - I personally prefer the original Jazz over Prestige, especially vintage in the black and white bottle. It is unmistakably masculine and projects a very satisfying "aura" around you that, as I said at the top, just smells good. 

3.5 stars
Feb 17, 2021

Azzaro pour Homme Intense (original) by Azzaro

Vintage Azzaro Pour Homme Intense EDT -

I will say this one could easily be a stand in for the original 1st version of Azzaro Pour Homme (oval cap), but unfortunately it is so rare these days that you actually have a better chance of finding an original partial or even full bottle. Stay in the hunt!

Thankfully, Azzaro Pour Homme Intense is a flanker that actually is what you want it to be. A deeper, more opulent and long lasting take on the original with just a speck more animalic notes in the heart. Basically, if Azzaro Pour Homme is a meat sauce, then Intense is a bolognese.

Azzaro Pour Homme aficionados will without a doubt love this, so if you can find it then pull the trigger as you will not be disappointed.

5 stars
Feb 9, 2021

Antaeus by Chanel

Chanel Antaeus EDT -

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- “Invictus” (Henley, W.)

4 Stars
Feb 5, 2021

Vermeil for Men by Vermeil

Vermeil For Men EDT (from a sample) -

Vermeil For Men wants desperately to be what Roger & Gallet Open is - Living large like a Boss, chewing on a cigar and rubbing shoulders with the other powerhouses in 1985.

Instead, Vermeil is a pretender arriving late to the party, smoking Virginia Slims and wearing a suit off the rack with shoulder pads in 1995.

This doesn’t mean it’s a bad fragrance. Not at all. But, when your bottle is designed to look like a retro zippo you need to have presence and bring more to the table than just - meh.

2.5 stars

Feb 5, 2021

Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent

YSL Jazz EDT Splash (Vintage Black and White bottle) -

Straight-ahead. This isn't fusion or rock 'n' roll.

This is a walking upright bass and a swinging ride cymbal. A locked in rhythm section that can hold it down for hours while the soloists out front explore the tune.

Think of the legendary Miles Davis Quintet from the mid-50's. Straight-ahead, all the way.

4.5 stars
Feb 2, 2021

Black Suede by Avon

Avon Black Suede EDT (2012 formulation) -

Other than Old Spice, Avon Black Suede is by far the safest reach in my wardrobe. With no sharp edges, Black Suede bends itself into more of a warm "aura" around you instead of marching through a particular set of distinct note pyramid phases.

With that said, I wouldn't go for more than 3 sprays as it performs great for a budget EDT. I scored mine new in box for $15, which is an awesome value for the quality presented here.

Ultimately, there is a good reason this one has been in production for decades. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

3 stars
Jan 20, 2021

Clint by Avon

Avon Clint After Shave (Paul Revere Bell Decanter) -

"Aramis Lite" is by far the best description here so I will echo the previous reviewers comments.

I still want this one in my collection though as the 70's era Avon decanters are just awesome. Busts, globes, cars, screwdrivers, broad swords...come on lighten up, this is fun!

2.5 stars (fragrance)
1.5 stars (decanter)
4 stars
Jan 20, 2021

Tribute by Avon

Avon Tribute For Men Cologne Splash (Frosted Spartan Warrior Bust Decanter) -

Classic aromatic citrus chypre, full stop. Splish-splash with reckless abandon any time of the year.

The Spartan Warrior Bust decanter comes in 3 versions, all with the same juice: Clear glass w/ Ribbed glass helmet, Clear glass w/ Frosted glass helmet, and Blue glass w/ Chrome Helmet (limited edition). Thanks to Zealot Crusader for these details!

3 stars
Jan 20, 2021

Gianfranco Ferré for Man by Gianfranco Ferré

Gianfranco Ferre for Man (30ml spray) -

I recently discovered long discontinued Charles Jourdan Un Homme and now this one! Wow, they share much of the same DNA with a very satisfying green herbs and fern heart on down to the woods, moss, and leathery base. The biggest difference to my nose is this one has the addition of a luxurious tobacco accord blended in. Really well done, viva 1986!

In addition to the understated, classy vibes the real win with GFM is how affordable it remains on the secondary market. Give it a try and instantly increase the dividend from your "smell 'em who's boss" portfolio.

4.5 stars
Jan 20, 2021

Tai Winds by Avon

Avon Thai Winds Cologne (Barbershop Brush 1.5 oz splash)

This juice MUSK is very MUSK pleasant to wear after a shower MUSK and shave. Right in the wheelhouse MUSK of many men’s medicine MUSK cabinet stalwarts Brut, Clubman and Dana Canoe.

4 stars

Jan 15, 2021

Duc de Vervins by Houbigant

Duc de Vervins EDT (current version) -

Knock, knock.

“Who’s there?”


“Tsar who?”

Tsar you Drakkar Noir?

Yes, and I love you.

If Drakkar Noir and VC & Arpels Tsar had a love child, it’s name would be Duc de Vervins.

3.5 stars
Jan 6, 2021

Un Homme by Charles Jourdan

Charles Jourdan Un Homme (Vintage 100ml spray) -

Not mandatory, but definitely recommended for aromatic fougere enthusiasts who favor such hallmarks like Azzaro pour homme and Patou pour homme.

The opening begins with a round and full lavender/ anise that is really well done.

Over the course of a few hours, the moss / cedar / patchouli surround you with an aura of “just got a fresh shave” goodness, mercy!

Charles Jourdan Un Homme is clearly a legend in the masculine barbershop category and as such has achieved unicorn status on the grey market. Limited availability pushes this one near or above 2 dead presidents for 100ml. Good luck and happy hunting because this one is worth it!

4.5 stars
Jan 5, 2021

Francesco Smalto pour Homme by Francesco Smalto

Vintage Francesco Smalto Pour Homme (Purple box / Made in France)

Francesco Smalto smells exactly like what you would expect a masculine fougere from 1987 to smell like - spicy, rich, mossy, smokey and generally BOSS.

Fans of this decade will revel in Smalto, especially the vintage, which has the mossy punch and lasting power many crave. To me, this one smells like a blend of VC & Arpels Tsar and Gucci Nobile with a pinch of Jacomo.

4 stars

Jan 3, 2021

Cavendish by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements

Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements “Cavendish” EDP (Pipe Tobacco) -

This type of fragrance has the potential to be a pipe tobacco lovers dream or simply another entry in a long line of banal unisex tropes that smell like a candle.

Fortunately, Cavendish is the latter! Well blended and complex with the subtle addition of wood, vanilla and mild smoke. No ash here, just straight out of the pouch pipe tobacco.

Recommended pairings - Brisk weather; Crackling fireplace; Flannel; Tumbler of Bushmills.

3.5 stars
Dec 2, 2020

Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

TF Signature Beau de Jour EDP sample
(2020) -


My top 5 in this style are Azzaro pour Homme, Aramis Tuscany, Brut, Drakkar Noir, and Gucci Nobile.

I enjoyed wearing Beau de Jour as its understated shaving cream vibe is right in my wheelhouse, but how often would I reach for it?

Needless to say, this would be an ultra safe reach for nearly any occasion or season so the versatility here is a big plus.

At $150 for 100 ml this one has holiday wish list for the mature gentleman written all over it. I knew this beard would pay off eventually!

3.5 stars
Dec 2, 2020

Havana Reserva by Aramis

Aramis Havana Reserva EDT -

Released in 1996 as a “concentree” flanker to the original, this one has been long discontinued and can be tough to find. The bottles are identical, shaped as a conga drum in blue frosted glass, with the only difference being that Reserva has a silver topped cap.

Havana Reserva is definitely a different animal than the original, however the backbone and DNA are the same. The opening is much less aromatic / boozy and instead dives right into a thick, oily blend of spices over a dusty vanilla. They are both mildly sweet.

After an hour, your head will be placed squarely inside the bouquet of the humidor's chopping block as the leafy, earthy tobacco and cedar sharpen their collective axe. Your smile should be a mile wide at this point!

Reserva is an amazing composition, BUT truthfully, only dyed in the wool Aramis Havana devotees (like me) need apply. The overall differences are not going to be worth it for the casual fan of the original.

If you are interested in applying for admission as a Brother of the Leaf, then polish up your V-cutter and expect to pay north of $125 for a 100ml bottle.

4.5 stars
Nov 23, 2020

Devin by Aramis

Aramis Devin EDT (current) -

To my nose, Devin is a kissing cousin of Halston Z-14. A very similar grassy, pine and mild cinnamon opening that moves through a heart of soft florals before wrapping up with a base of leather, musk and moss.

I was concerned about the floral heart of this one before I tested as heavy florals are not my preference. I was pleasantly surprised as they blended in with deft subtlety. The blending here is so good that nothing in particular stands out or dominates the overall experience.

Devin offers up a really pleasant composition that would wear comfortably in a casual or formal setting. Like the entire Aramis Gentleman's line, you get a 100ml bottle for around $20 bucks, which is tough to beat. Viva Aramis!

4.5 stars
Nov 22, 2020

La Yuqawam pour Homme by Rasasi

La Yuqawam pour Homme EDP -

Like other frags by Rasasi I have worn, you need to give this one time to develop. Out of the gate, it reminds me of Dior Fahrenheit with the strong violet leaf gasoline accord. All good so far!

Then, you get the TF Tuscan Leather comparisons with the Raspberry note. Saffron is prominent here as well. At this point I am getting concerned as it is getting legs and smelling a lot stronger. Yikes!

After 90 minutes, the blending begins to take shape and round out a bit. This seems to be a characteristic of Rasasi, all signs point to a possible train wreck and then all of a sudden it’s calm waters and smooth sailing. The frag remains very strong, but the composition improves.

Overall, 3 stars, as I would only reach for this on a cold day / evening and IMO it isn’t versatile enough for a work setting.

1 spray is good for 12-15 hours and if it hits your jacket collar then you just signed a 72 hour binding contract.
Nov 16, 2020

Montana Parfum d'Homme (original) by Montana

Montana Parfum d'Homme (Vintage red box)...from a sample -

This fume is a no-brainer to add to the wardrobe of any fans out there of Aramis Havana (like me). The familiar bright and refreshing aldehydic opening link the two immediately, with Montana favoring a shade of 80's oakmoss and Havana shooting a spicy rum floater.

As they progress, Montana steers its suit towards a well heeled zip code while Havana refuses to put out its cigar and break up the pool party.

Montana is a men's fragrance of 80's construction (1989) that wears very easily and modern. This one would be a great entry point for anyone wanting to experience a bit of vintage, add versatility to their wardrobe, and not break the bank. The 125 ml vintage formula can be found online for around $50.

4 stars

Nov 15, 2020

Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani

Acqua Di Gio EDT -

How I loathed this fragrance when it was new. For me, it was a victim of its own popularity as it was inescapably absolutely everywhere. School, the grocery store, the mall, the movies, everywhere!!

Now, revisiting this one almost 25 years later I can review it with a clear head and confidently say that I have now confirmed the source of my hatred for calone in fragrance. "Marine notes" just don't do it for me, especially when turned up to 11.

1 star out of respect for the popular imprint Acqua Di Gio has left on the long history of men's perfumery.
Nov 10, 2020

Gucci pour Homme II by Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme II EDT -

My nose is not sophisticated enough to appreciate this fragrance. I can recognize that it is well made, but the tea note just doesn't get my engines going.

It is basically an herbal tea note mixed with watery violet leaf sprinkled with cinnamon. Clove isn't listed, but the impression of it seems to be and may be attributed to the Myrrh / Olive wood in the base.

I found that it manifested into a kind of "warm-aquatic" scent that sits blandly on the unisex fence.

Demand for this one remains high as prices online still float around 3 dead presidents for 100 ml. Longevity wasn't anything to shout about as it only performed for around 3 hours.

2.5 stars.
Nov 5, 2020

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