8 88 by Comme des Garçons

Smells like a bad clone of Lalique le Lion mixed with some Cool Water Then add a couple of kitchen spices amongst which curry.

Don't even bother sampling this.
Dec 4, 2021

Fougères Marines by Montale

Surprising. Smells like wet minerals, musky, blue, watery, salty. Only minimally sweet, I get hints of anise and tonka but only in the opening.

Transparent white amber/ambroxan heart but not screechy at all!

It's also like animalic and non-animalic musks were combined in here. Or actually it's more likely just a non-animalic musk with the dirtyness stemming from a hearty patchouli and oakmoss.

Very unique. Also has a strooong salt accord that's hip at the moment even thought this one is from 2007. Strongest 'salt accord' I've ever experienced so far.

It is somewhat like Versace Dylan Blue but this Montale is way more natural smelling. Caron l'Anarchiste also comes to mind with regards to the 'natural wetness' that this smells like.

You know what, I just read another reviewer mentioning Tommy by Hilfiger and indeed, I get that one too in here.

Think of it as if Caron was told to make a fragrance that would combine the best of Dylan Blue and Tommy.
Dec 4, 2021

Stronger With You Absolutely by Giorgio Armani

Sweet crowd pleaser. Nothing wrong with it. Just a bit generic. Peppery cinnamon, maltol, patchouli and woods. Made more gourmand by vanilla and a faint nut/praline like accord.

Leans a bit towards an early Ultra Male. Personally I prefer Ultra Male or 1 Million in this genre but I can't really fault this one by Armani.
Dec 1, 2021

Nuit d'Issey by Issey Miyake

I'm a bit disappointed with Nuit d'issey, you see in the opening there's nothing really 'night' or 'dark' about it. You'll think its just Eau d'Issey or the sport flanker. It does have that nice fresh/yuzu far east thing going on that Miyake is known for and they do that quite well but where's the night time twist in this? (hint: you'll have to wait quite a while)

It just has a bit more pepper than usual but that's were it stops. Maybe a hint of a faint suede leather. Don't get the incense or it's absorbed by its freshie DNA.

But okay in the far drydown it does get darker and I get a semi resinous amber from it. They could've done much more in my opinion.
Nov 29, 2021

18.21 Sweet Tobacco by 18.21 Man Made

The honey in this is very realistic, like smelling (solid) orange blossom honey. Now you would think that's a good thing but to me it actually puts it in the kitchen/cupboard ingredient category. If you yourself are not susceptible to that dismissing a fragrance for you, than this might be your thing.

That is, if you like the Mugler Pure Havane vibe. Seen one youtuber saying that Sweet Tobacco is a clone. The tobacco in here is weaker unfortunately even though it has the word tobacco in its name.

I like that it is slightly sweeter than Pure Havane's other clone: Reyane Insurrection Wild but I still prefer the Reyane one as an alternative to the now almost extinct Pure Havane.
Nov 29, 2021

AB Spirit Silver by Lomani

I heard a youtuber say it's like one of the smokier batches of Aventus. And it's exactly that. Don't remember which youtuber that was.

Comes with a flipside though, the other notes are heavily muted because of it. What is initially an acidic, smoked meat like smokeyness, settles down around 10 minutes later to a firewood/fireplace like smokeyness. I don't know if this is close to a real, smokey Aventus however. I would expect it to be different because it should be birch/tarry smoke not a firewood smoke?

Anyway I prefer this Lomani over Armaf CDNIM but LPDO Cretus is still my favorite Aventus clone (not smokey at all fwiw).
Nov 28, 2021

Déclaration by Cartier

It's a feminine mess of cumin, anise, white lily and a bunch of other pond vegetation in there.

Even if was to rate it as a women's scent, I'd give it a thumbs down.
Nov 22, 2021

Daarej pour Homme by Rasasi

Tried it because of seeing Joy Amin praise it in one of his videos. So far only tried Hawas from Rasasi (which I like).

Daarej is a spicy aquatic with a white musk and pepper heart and a powerful cedar base. I think there's a tiny bit of coriander in here.

While it shows potential in the opening, it unfortunately quickly settles down to just pepper and the cedar becomes pencil shavings like, which I hate.

So no, it's definitely not "the devil" that will make the girls come over and 'play'.

Nov 22, 2021

1 Million Privé by Paco Rabanne

Smells like myrrh added to a weaker version of the original. This gives it a nice depth and if you for example like CK Obsession but think it smells dated, then this might float your boat. Don't really get tobacco although it might be morphing the myrrh a little bit to be less church like.

I prefer the OG.

Nov 22, 2021

1 Million Lucky by Paco Rabanne

Nothing special. All in all it smells a bit like a weaker Valentino Uomo (or its clone Zara Gold). Come to think of it: I once made a 50/50 decant of CK Obsession & JPG Ultra Male and it smelled very close to this scent.

There's not a lot of the original 1 Million DNA in here which is disappointing. Honestly, I think they would have done better just adding a praline/hazelnut accord to the OG.

The original is the better scent.
Nov 22, 2021

Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren

I'm really digging this blue Polo, just trying it now for the first time. I see that it's from 2002 but I think it's probably still one of the best blue fragrances on the market right now. Like top 3 material.

In fact it already has me kind of second guessing having bought Acqua di Gio Profondo here recently. Profondo is definitely stronger but that's also because of the hedione and that original AdG backbone. However, the marine accords in Profondo and Polo Blue are both similarly nice!

Polo Blue is well put together. It steers clear of that Axe/Lynx vibe you'll get from for example a Versace Eros. It's also not screechy ambroxan loud like Sauvage (edt) and Dylan Blue are.

It's just a fresh, in-your-face herbal aquatic with a good dose of geranium, aided by lavender, calone and some coumarin. Which is how I like my blue scents. Of course more work was done here to the top, heart and base but I hope you catch my drift. Other highlights are the velvety smooth base and the fruitiness in the top.

To me Polo Blue is one of the 3 best blues out there, the other ones being AdG Profondo and Dunhill Century Blue.

Nov 21, 2021

Kenzo Homme Night by Kenzo

Opens blue then turns gourmand quite quickly. Also has an Issey Miyake feel and quality throughout. I'd say it's a bit like Le Male In the Navy if you know that one mixed with Guerlain L'instant de Guerlain's woozy gourmand tea/anise/candy like accord.

Basically this is as high quality as L'Instant de Guerlain but with a blue/yuzu/orange/cardamom like twist. I might get a bottle of this. Price wise it's only slightly cheaper though than L'Instant at most retailers here. Makes sense given the quality, even if Guerlain is positioned above Kenzo in most people's minds.

Nov 21, 2021

Dior Addict by Christian Dior

A good and safe blind buy from Dior. I wanted to see it's very similar to Lancôme Hypnôse or not because of the jasmine sambac and vanilla combo. And they're both done by Thierry Wasser.

Whilst Addict is not as flamboyant as Hypnôse, it is still a nice semi-sweet floral gourmand in the same genre.

In fact, if you like to wear Hypnose on a night out, you could wear this as a more casual alternative to the office.
Nov 21, 2021

Polo Red Intense by Ralph Lauren

I quite like Red Intense. It's very much about red fruits, almost fresh strawberry like at times, and it has a luscious candy sweetness in the opening.

In fact it has the kind of candy sweetness that I really like in certain women's scents but at the same time you can't wear that yourself as a guy... Or can you?

This kind of pushes that boundary. It 's not feminine or even unisex leaning though. It has a nice, crowd pleasing masculine base/heart. I might buy a full bottle of this some day.
Nov 20, 2021

Vetiver by Guerlain

Too harsh and dated for me. It's incredibly spicy and in your face. There's a lot of pepper(s) and nutmeg in here and a sharp, resinous cedar.

Apart from that, the vetiver is also not to my liking. It's too grass like, plain grass not vetiver. It's also too 'dark green' if that makes sense. Almost as if there's things like gentian, pine needles and even some sort of salad leaves in here.

It's love or hate I guess.

Nov 20, 2021

Vetiver Extrême by Guerlain

I agree it's not as extreme as the regular Vetiver. It's much nicer and less in your face thanks to leaving out things like nutmeg but putting in some of the crowd pleasing notes in Le Male namely artemisia and tonka.

I quite like it, it's like the vetiver flanker to Le Male that Gaultier never made.
Nov 20, 2021

The Dreamer by Versace

Kind of a plain scent to me (at least for the first hour, see below!). It' s like a much simpler, cruder version of Tommy with some amber sweetener and an impression of tobacco (cedar/tarragon/pepper?).

It's not bad though and I can appreciate the juniper and tarragon combo, especially how it sort of recreates the scent profile of more elaborated fragrances with just those 2 notes (and maybe some hedione).

So then it comes down to price whether it's a thumbs up, down or neutral. Well, it's one of the cheapest designer edt's out there... but I still can't give it a thumbs up. Can't give it a neutral either because it smells too dated and simple for that. You're better off paying 10€ more and getting a 100ml of Tommy. That's around 30€/100ml over here. The Dreamer is only 20€/100ml but I don't think it's worth it because it'll have you smelling not even half as great as the Hilfiger will.

Edit: Unexpectedly, in the far drydown, The Dreamer actually becomes a very pleasant scent! I think I also heard Jeremy Fragrance say this come to think of it. In the end it's like the scent of a dry, white bar of soap mixed with a (prada l'homme like) powdery patchouli and a flowery tobacco! This is really nice but I don't know if I can live with that opening and first hour of wear before it finally gets there! I think it has to do with the iris and maybe a patchouli being 100% subdued during the first hour.

Anyway I changed my mind from thumbs down to neutral because of this.
Nov 20, 2021

Y Eau de Parfum by Yves Saint Laurent

Nice enough scent. Definitely not smelling like a lot of other recent blue fragrances which is a good thing.

I'm reminded of the discontinued Transat from Yves Rocher, which was done by Kurkdjian. That one sat at a lower price point and was scratchier because of it, Y EDP is not, it's very smooth. Main notes to me: a powdery, somewhat make up like apple accord, lavender/geranium/vetiver combo, a bit of amber extreme, tonka.

So it's an aquatic with a hint of gourmand (tonka) and a really good "Hugo!"-like apple accord with a nice powderiness. Doubted between neutral and positive but it smells too good to get just a neutral.
Nov 10, 2021

Polo Supreme Leather by Ralph Lauren

Really simple but nice leather. It's right in between of the two usual extremities: first being your average generic scent that states leather but you can't really detect it that much. And second is a bomb like e.g. Tuscan Leather, where it's like having a leather hide slapped in your face.

Really well done, leather really is the key ingredient here, in the background some nice, inoffensive spices and soapiness. Something along the lines of nutmeg, tonka and cardamom.

Nov 7, 2021

Polo Double Black by Ralph Lauren

Inoffensive, dark, soapy, woody scent. A bit of a Axe/Lynx genericness in the open but that fades away.

Quite a nice heart of sweet, spice and herbs. Minty. A clear liquor booziness from the juniper.

Sitting on a nice coumarin, gourmand shower gel like base. Quite a nice mango note in here too, fairly synthetic but only if you really dig your nose into it. Don't quite get the coffee, pepper or nutmeg separately but that could be my decant or it's just well blended to avoid anyone of them being too obvious.

I'd say this is a yes in you're the US, not so much if you're in Europe as they will charge you quite a lot more for it!

Nov 7, 2021

21 Conduit St by Jovoy

I gave Jovoy some hate for Les Jeux sont Faits (LJSF) but this second fragrance I try from them really gives me some more insight into the brand.

What do you mean? Well, 21 Conduit St is a very artistic scent. In fact I can't name a more artistic one at the moment. If I look at LJSF I can now see it more as if it's an art gallery held in either a church or some other grand location with frankincense burning. 21 Conduit St then is a vetiver like no other. Is it even a vetiver you might ask?

The opening blast of the very funky rhubarb together with a minty, piney ambroxan will trigger in your memory the smell of unlit cannabis. But it's definitely different to that don't get me wrong. Tonka and almond then quickly distract you from that path of thought and all in all you're left with an intriguing scent.

Deep in the drydown, a cleanliness actually develops that you will not expect. This is because of the woods coming out adn the rest subsiding to its final levels. To my nose it's a red, hearty, clean cedar not. I even get a hint of myrrh in here. This can and will be a signature scent for a select few.

Jovoy is an artistic niche house and while I can't appreciate LJSF because I personally can't stand it because it smells like church incense, this one, 21 Conduit St, really made me re-think Jovoy and see their talent.
Nov 7, 2021

Vetiver Ambrato by Bois 1920

Vetiver, sweet amber, a well balanced and strooooong heart of tobacco, spices and herbs. Minimal and sporadic vanilla undertones. I could swear I get a powdery yet boozy iris too but that could be the lovely patchouli that blends with the benzoin and maybe other things. Lovely make up powder smell in there, drying down.

This really has some punch to it. It's strong and in your face. In a way you could say it's Tabac on steroids but it does so in great style. Tabac will seem weak to you compared to this. Then again Tabac is creamier and has that lovely ambergris.

Vetiver Ambrato in my mind caters to a 30+ or maybe even 40+ audience. It has a certain datedness in it but it's a classy dated, if you know what I mean. Therefore I can't see a younger crowd pulling this of I do have to add. Tabac is the better option for the younger crowd.
Nov 7, 2021

Fath's Essentials : Green Water by Jacques Fath

What a great vetiver. The spices lift it up, the mint keeps it going and makes it ethereal. I has a gorgeous sweet neroli and lemon mixed in.

The gentleman musk becomes more pronounced in the drydown. Oakmoss and ambergris back it up although I'm left yearning for more of it.

Compared to the similar scent AdP Colonia Club: slightly less herbal, more mouthwatering in the top, less animalic and more velvet like in the base.

Nov 7, 2021

Phantom by Paco Rabanne

It's not groundbreaking but can we blame Paco Rabanne for that? I find it quite original still given everything that's on sale. I don't like the bottle though.

Phantom is like a type of turkish delight candy that doesn't exist yet. Imagine one of those dusted with sugar, so it's sweet on the outside but inside is a sour orange that has marinated in lavender oil with some chopped vetiver and patchouli in there.

It's as soapy as it is sweet and sour so it's not just the next sweet fragrance some make it out to be. Projects well for its style so they've done their work on that.

They enter a little bit into Prada territory here too with this, Prada l'Homme that is. Again, a nice twist. I give the makers of Black XS, 1 Million and Invictus a thumbs up for their newest release.

Nov 5, 2021

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