Perfume Reviews by ericrico

Royal Copenhagen Musk by Royal Copenhagen

This review is for Vintage formulation of Royal Copenhagen Musk (from an 8oz. Splash bottle):

Very, very good...and, "special", to me. I read the reviews here and what I got was similar to Shifty Bat. To me, this is about fresh herbal/green notes balanced with florals - all on a base of musk and moss. The opening is rather striking and one that I really am fond of. One does not think a "Musk" could be so clean, airy and yet rich with all these notes that are far away from an animalic accord - and this is done exceptionally well.

You see, I know the original Royal Copenhagen from my youth, along with original Vintage bottlings of Jovan Musk for Men, Coty's Musk, Vintage Jovan Sex Appeal for Men, Original Old Spice, Vintage Brut and many others. I am pretty sure my father had the "Musk" bottling by RC in its Vintage form when I was young, so I sought it out to do a comparative thread on Vintage "Musk" scents of a bygone era. This one struck me as profoundly different and one that I have a deep fondness for - like I did for Original/Vintage Royal Copenhagen when I was a kid. This is not about macho - this is about refreshment and a wonderful aromatic composition that lasts virtually all day. A little touch-up goes a long way, too!

The opening of lavender and herbs is great - mostly sage and basil, but I detect a hint of thyme as well. This is very nice and definitely (in Vintage form) does not smell cheap or overly synthetic. Read Jon_Remy's review above and you will see that I am not alone in my opinion - what it is today is nothing more than a bottle of synthetic blue liquid that smells cheap. Original/Vintage RC Musk is another scent altogether!! It is well-worth seeking out.

The transition from the bright and lively top to the nice floral heart is wonderful and the lavender stays and the herbs keep lingering for a great effect...I find this builds in warmth and strength on my skin like a true, good musk should. The jasmine in the heart creates the powdery accord, but not one that is unnatural or anything feminine, or is it too powdery at all. It actually "softens" the scent and makes it less sharp - allowing it to warm up nice and blend better with the other florals & spices and well into the base. Along with the neroli and lily-of-the-valley, this really opens up. Nutmeg comes in at the end of the heart along with the cloves - this is really breathing nicely and opens up. The spices are key here as they take the freshness of the lavender and herbs, slight powder from the jasmine and other florals from the heart and transition the scent to a nice dry down that really is wonderful. They are key in the composition. I adore the heart of this and find it to be compelling as it lingers for a long time...

The base is where the warmth comes from - again, very natural. I get a nice oakmoss first (again, mine in Vintage and pre-IFRA the true pyramid!) that really keeps this green and also a wonderful fixative that helps the freshness last. Along with a nice natural, earthy feel with the patchouli - which is a green note here, not dark at all. The scent then goes into the nice clean musk. This is a nice and vibrant musk that is not dirty. What is smoldering under all of that is a smooth amber note - creating the solid base for this fragrance. Really a great fougere "vibe" from this...just no coumarin. Just a touch soapy and knightz puts forth - but in a classy, "milled-soap" feeling of cleanliness and sophistication.

This is NOT even remotely the same as what current formulation is, so if you run out and buy a bottle from the drugstore expecting to get the Vintage Royal Copenhagen Musk, you will be very disappointed. I have only tried smelling by unscrewing the cap...and put it back on the shelf immediately.

So, this bottle led me on a retro-journey to travel back. I still need to procure a couple more bottles that my father used to have, but I now have enough to start writing. What I find so good about RC Musk in Vintage form is how the entire composition just comes together and stays fresh for hours. This smells a bit dated - but so am I. ;-) I will be 40 later this year and have a large collection of Vintage fragrances from top labels. What I wanted to do was revisit the Musk's of Yesteryear. I am familiar with layering Vintage RC with Vintage RC Musk, but I wanted to write this review about Royal Copenhagen Musk in Vintage form unto itself.

A memory...and now a great scent that I look forward to wearing (along with the other Vintage Musks) that I bought at first just to see "how much" things have changed, knowing them from my youth and smelling the chemical waste that is being labeled today under the same name.

To remember vividly - is there anything more cool, Macho and Masculine from my youth than the moment I saw my dad finish shaving, rinse off the shaving cream and then reaching up into that cabinet, pulling down a bottle of nice musk, cupping his hand and splashing it on vigorously? No. The days are gone, but the images linger in my memory. It is what brought me to scent. It is part of me. Smelling my father and the aroma around him, now that's a man! It would last all-day long! When he left, I would sometimes even climb up to reach a precious bottle just to smell it and dab a little bit on (before I was shaving!). How it brings me back...

This is truly exceptional scent that I have and I am very glad I decided to take this interesting little tangent in the world of fragrance. I will, for memories sake, keep a nice rotation of Vintage Musks around. Whether or not I even shave in the morning - after showering or washing my face thoroughly with a nice soap/cleanser, I find myself reaching for this bottle and other Vintage Musks as a way to start my day. A nice vigorous splash. I actually have to shower or wash it off in order to change scents as it is so potent and radiating - now, that is how it USED to be!!! I also sometimes touch up and put another splash never gets cloying or overbearing. To smell like a gentleman never goes out of style and retro scents actually bring compliments from all age groups. It is how you carry yourself, your attire and attitude. It's about being a Man...something that perhaps is rare to find in our modern times. Not brash, overly-macho or arrogant - but refined, fresh and confident.

No score. Precious memories are not quantifiable with a fraction.

For you, Dad.
26th June 2012

Terre d'Hermès Parfum by Hermès

After having Terre d'Hermes EdT and smelling a sample of the Pure Parfum (and then buying a bottle), I am writing this in perspective of differences between the two - and how they 'co-exist'. Personally, I enjoy and have deep admiration for both - and a layered wearing of them together is simply the best option, for me...they speak to me uniquely, but have wonderful harmony together. Great synergy as they each unfold their own unique depth and create something amazing when layered. Not all EdT and EdP/Parfum's of scents do this - and Terre d'Hermes does it to near perfection.

I will be concise (hopefully, not too much so) - the EdT is louder with more projection, but less concentration of scent and evolves a bit more. It has more of the peppery/spicy quality along with more of the "mineral earthiness/flint accord" - that projects well off the skin. The vetiver is more dominant at the end because of the scent's evolution along with cedar.

The Pure Parfum, however, is more dense, wears closer and has a deeper orange and grapefruit (juice, rind and even a bit of stem from the orange with more pure juice from the grapefruit) - it is fantastically-rich citrus! The pepper is there (but not as loud) and you end up getting a slightly smoky/charred wood note with the cedar...interesting, along with the nice vetiver. The mineral/earthiness is dampened by the incredible amount of fresh-squeezed citrus. The flint accord is not present in the Pure Parfum.

Visual imagery - Imagine cracked, dry earth - with dried, gnarled vetiver roots coming out of the ground with an orange and grapefruit "sweating" their juices under the hot, baking sun with fresh ground pepper dusted on top near an old dried cedar tree log...this is Terre d'Hermes EdT. Please note how there is 'closeness', but separation of notes here.

Now, imagine not one orange or grapefrut, but an entire pile - much more fresh and several cut open and squeezed, dampening the earth, the pepper grounds are floating in the puddle of orange and grapefruit juice under the same hot sun. The earth is refreshed by the citrus...the dried vetiver root is still there - but, moistened by the juices of the orange & grapefruit. However, the cedar tree log was struck by lightening a while back and a charred stump and log remain in the distance - a light smokiness emerges. The natural sugar of the citrus 'bakes' onto the dried wood sap, blending to form a touch of resin - creating a benzoin accord. On the shady side of the log, a bit of dried oakmoss is there - lichen that is earthy (not damp) from the last season of rain months before. This is not a sweet scent, but incredibly vibrant with an underlying earthiness that creates gorgeous accords. What dominates is all that deep, wet citrus and the rest of the notes offer touches, nuances and undertones. This is Pure Parfum.

That is how I paint the "pictures of difference"...with admiration for both. Again, a layered wearing is optimal. You get the gorgeous and damp citrus, flinty mineral notes, cracking vetiver root, dried wood (a touch smoky) and even a touch of sappy resin and dried moss.

A brilliant composition - in reality this is two reviews in one, but in order to understand (fully), one must have perspective of both. Ellena's best work are in these two bottles.

13th June 2012


Bang by Marc Jacobs

I like this - as a lover of pepper in my fragrances, I was attracted to Bang by Marc Jacobs. It came in a pair of fragrances (the other being YSL M7!) so I had little to lose.

It goes on strong - with loud pink pepper dominating, then transitioning to a blend with white and black pepper mixed in. I thought this would be more synthetic, possibly a mess. Definitely a polarizing scent, but this is actually well-composed.

Kudos to Ann Gottlieb for this creation. The wood notes come in after the first 10-15 minutes and seems to "smother" the pepper a bit on my skin, but as the drydown occurs...integration. I give credit for intelligent use of elemi (another fantastic ingredient I seek out in fragrances - it blends incredibly well with better example than Oscar for Men by Oscar de la Renta.)

The benzoin is turned down, thankfully. I didn't want this to go towards any sweetness and it doesn't. The patchouli, clean vetiver note and white moss give a nice base to the wood. I don't really get much more than a touch of additional warmth and earthiness from the patchouli with the vetiver. The wood from heart actually stays well into the base - with pepper holding up throughout. For pepper lovers - this is a must-try.

This is hard to quantify, because of my affinity for pepper...but, personally I like it a lot and could see if layer well with many citrus scents that I have (including Eau de Colognes) and also pure wood scents that can be layered (including CoSTUME National Homme). Just a single spray (or two at night) with a nice, fragrant citrus and Bang could become more than a scent to wear by itself - which I will do as well. Same goes for the wood scents in the cooler weather.

Well done...cheers.
13th June 2012

Gucci pour Homme (original) by Gucci

This is a masterpiece - Foetidus' articulate (and very enthusiastic) review captures what this scent is...for those of us lucky enough to have it, or to have even ever smelled the "real" thing.

I am left, almost speechless...Wow!!! THE epitome of a classic masculine chypre - a truly incredible piece of olfactory art. IF Gucci did ever reissue this - it would not be the same. It would be a watered-down spritzer in a fancy bottle and a 3-digit price tag...along with some marketing hype. Tom Ford saved Gucci a while back and now he is gone - but this was there a long, long time before he was. This fragrance from 1976 is the pinnacle along with Tom Ford's Gucci PH and Envy from the late 90's - April 2004 (when Tom Ford left). Alfarom, who I admire greatly on this forum, has it fully correct.

You cannot compare this to anything Tom Ford created. This is truly a 70's chypre with an awesome leather and moss base covered in lavender, citrus, and beautiful florals - carnation, geranium, jasmine and iris. A light, ethereal and classy vibe with the powdery feel from the last two floral notes (jasmine & iris) combined with aforementioned suave Italian leather, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, musk and that wonderful oakmoss all sitting on a bed of steaming amber resin.

I could not be happier to have this in my collection! If 2oz of liquid heaven has a price tag - then it is on a bottle of Original Vintage Gucci Pour Homme. "There can never be too much elegance in your life"...what a marketing tagline and this came out when I was a young child. I have finally discovered what the beauty and hype is all about - it only took me three-and-a-half decades to do so in my existence. 5/5 stars!! 10/10 and, please anyone who does not know what a chypre is - do not waste your time. Leave this iconic juice for those who appreciate it and understand the art of perfumery!

Update: Every time I put a couple of dabs of this magical elixir, I awaken an inner passion. This is special, timeless fragrance - a lifetime of memories could be enjoyed and celebrated with a bottle. To poetically sum up the experience of wearing Gucci Pour Homme Original: "To me, this is like coming home to my beautiful wife...and she kisses me the way she did like the first time we kissed, years ago." It is simply...stunning. Awe-inspiring scent that will forever be relevant and captivating.

29th May 2012

Vetyver by Carlo Corinto

Review is for Vintage Carlo Corinto Vetyver:

I chose to pursue this after reading various reviews and then Wicozani's awesome "Vetiver-Redux" evaluation. Total shock and displeasure...abysmal. And, I have the deepest love for vetiver - it is a passion of mine. I have a large collection of Vintage, Current, and Niche bottles. I simply find it to be divine.

The review: Just received a bottle today from a very reputable seller. Immediately upon first spray, there are some very off-putting notes in this to me. It is not what I had hoped for at all. Great expectations as well - actually, huge! I contacted the seller and was reassured that my bottle had not turned and was in perfect form, but the smell is of burned sugary sweetness melded with stewed and overly sharp herbs - creating a waft of unpleasant smokiness. What is going on???? I was expecting something fresh and invigorating - I cannot get a single good note out of this!!!

When it finally settles down, it is nothing more than a light skin scent not unlike you have just smoked a clove cigarette and the smell is on your fingers - just a bit greener and harsher. So, imagine rubbing fresh cut grass over the clove-infused skin. The vetiver in this is not noticeable at all until 30-40 minutes in and then it is very light and grassy (the burned smell, I hoped, was going to reveal a rich and deep vetiver that was trying to get air and show itself). It wasn't - this is very badly done, to me. I get better vetiver notes out of a deodorant body spray I have (and far better citrus!) that costs the sales tax of this bottle. No joke.

Notes on top that possibly ruined this for me...very cold and harsh, bitter bergamot (there is a "spike" that hits my nose wrong), a strange and bad combination of very sweet licorice (is that what is killing this for me?) and way too much nutmeg at first and still in the heart, where raspberry (???) is listed as a note along with olibanum, sage and thyme. The top also lists basil - this sounds great at first (green herbs with vetiver), but too many herbs from the top and ends up a stewed green mess with very little vetiver at all to me. Not to be rude, but who thought hiding vetiver would be something people would want? I like vetiver compositions, but when all these notes come together - you get overly sweet, bitter and harsh and a nose-burning concoction that loses its train of thought. How would one want to purchase this with all the other great vetivers out there?

Now, I love herbs and this could have been a well-made scent if the sweetness was taken out and the citrus was actually used properly. The base notes (listed at another site) include vanilla and patchouli along with leather. Not simple. The patchouli actually is too dank, the leather is not really there (if it is, it's vinyl) and the worse note of all, to make this finish on a poor note - vanilla. Who wants vanilla in a fragrant vetiver scent??? I found that scent pyramid AFTER I bought this and noticed all the sickly-sweet notes and the herbs smothering what you bought this for...vetiver. If the juice wasn't called what it is, I would not even think of vetiver! Oddly enough, bergamot and licorice (along with tarragon) are found in Guerlain Vetiver Extreme. Was this poor vintage rendition from Carlo Corinto the inspiration for that excellent Guerlain composition that I love??

Here are the differences in Vetiver Extreme that Guerlain delivered...the bergamot is wonderful and the licorice is almost like the root itself (very nice and natural - a woody undertone), the tarragon adding a nice accord to the vibe - green, but in the same vein and adding depth. The heart is beautiful with the nutmeg turned down in Guerlain's bottle and a nice addition of pepper that enrichens the earthiness and adds great warmth. The licorice never gets sweet and the dry down is segued by a great, light incense note into a warm and rich base of cedar, warm tonka bean and the deep, rooty and very dark green vetiver throughout the entire composition (from top, through the heart and wonderful in the base).

Carlo Corinto's juice cannot touch this (Vetiver Extreme - incredibly good!!!). I seriously feel let down. This bottle was, according to some reviewers regarded higher than Guerlain's Vetiver (although the notes compare more to the Extreme bottling)...neither is true to my nose. After wearing this for almost two hours and letting it play out, I realize the juice is in fine order - that is just how Carlo Corinto's Vetyver is to my palate - if this was an entree at a highly-regarded restaurant, I would send it back. I will go against the masses and say - avoid. I wanted to like this, but I cannot. Not to offend anyone's taste. Enjoy it if you do. I am returning this bottle back to the seller.

My final, and unfortunate, score is 3/10. Simply poor in all aspects. I am also washing my skin. C'est la vie...this was shockingly bad.

**Update - bottle has been mailed back! The final smell on my shirt sleeve, which is nauseating is of heavy nutmeg, sweet vanilla and a concoction of dank herbs and wet grass. Disappointment level - 10/10. Olfactory pleasure - none.
3rd May 2012

Tuscany / Etruscan by Aramis

In my opinion, the best ever from this house - Vintage Tuscany Per Uomo is truly a modern classic. This came out in 1984, the same year another masculine powerhouse scent was released, Davidoff for Men (Classic). This could be its cousin back home in Italy - wearing a tailored suit, sunglasses and chic as hell. Both are masculine and rich fragrances but Davidoff is a powerhouse and Tuscany Per Uomo is a wonderful, suave Aromatic Fougere that smells divine.

The citrus in this is wonderful, along with the brilliant opening of basil and lavender - truly invigorating! One is transported to a garden in the rolling hills of Tuscany - with a nice breeze. So nice on the skin. The heart of earthy caraway and herbal notes is where this opens up brilliantly. The tarragon and anise are in perfect proportion here. Not as dominant or prevalent as in some other classic Fougeres (including Azzaro Pour Homme and Charles Jourdan Un Homme), but done with a very organic, light and herbal feel that blends into the basil, lavender and citrus. A well-integrated presentation of these notes - not uncommon to find in compositions, but 'how' Vintage Tuscany Per Uomo does it is utterly amazing.

I think the orange blossom keeps it lighter and more floral, but also you get the rich, dark herbaceousness of the patchouli radiating through from the base. It becomes more earthy and warm with the oakmoss, Italian leather and key note of tonka bean (coumarin) making this a true Aromatic Fougere, with classic styling. The sandalwood, for me, shows up later in the dry down - after the rich Italian leather and Oakmoss have deepened the entire fragrance (while still retaining a distinct herbal/green accord that just carries beautifully). It is a nice note that gives you roundness, even a touch creamy - and it interacts perfectly with the tonka bean to bring a smooth, warm late dry down. The Oakmoss keeps the greenness and the rich Leather note is the driving gloves and smooth bucket seats in your Alfa Romeo as you drive through the Tuscan countryside, with the top down...soaking up the sun. The smells and aromas surround you. It is a day that you feel more "alive"...

I drove through Tuscany on my honeymoon with my beautiful wife. I know the beauty - taken in both from your eyes and your nose. This is truly wonderful...and timeless.

A very natural composition with nothing out of place. No comparisons to Davidoff even though they might share a few notes. It's the difference between sheer elegance in Tuscany and a refined powerhouse in Davidoff. Enough comparison, although the common year and olfactory notes do have similar points - it is in the way Tuscany Per Uomo develops that makes it so different, even from other great Aromatic Fougeres. Vintage formula is the only "Tuscany Per Uomo" - period. Do not waste your money on the reformulation. I have a bottle that will be savored for years to come. It is special. I have been to and loved Tuscany as a place. Some great reviews here that mention just how good this is - I concur. It is not very bold or too loud (as alfarom noted) or a true powerhouse - but simply a rich, complex and wonderful composition that is timeless. This will only get better over the years (as people realize just how good it was). Fantastic - 9+/10.
29th April 2012

Balenciaga pour Homme by Balenciaga

Epic bottle of juice that is sadly long gone. Balenciaga Pour Homme will always be in my Top 5 fragrances - it is meant for only those who understand it. A powerhouse that is refined and the composition so unique. A masterpiece of taste and sheer strength - nothing like it exists. The other reviewers on Basenotes cover this well. I just wanted to add another positive note without trying to write a review that even the most colorful adjectives, metaphors and superlatives could not come close to actually describe. Personally, I don't get the "honey" note and it is one I am sensitive to - but this magnificent bottle does have that infamous feel of a Balenciaga. What is missing from the note pyramid are two rich resins that give this bottle and many others from Balenciaga that incredible richness - styrax and benzoin. Together, they create that "Balenciaga-vibe" and warm body - it is more of an accord that one gets with the incredible depth of this composition, in my humble opinion. But, it is important to note just how incredible& rich this acknowledging those resins is key to understanding how this depth is created. It doesn't matter as much to most people who are lucky enough to even smell Balenciaga Pour Homme - this is sheer brilliance that creates awe when you wear it (or you adorn it, better said).

Grottola's review is very accurate in both description and vibe. I am blessed to have this in my collection. It is Gerard Anthony's genius captured in a bottle.

As per the official scent pyramid (which I find, to my nose, to be correct - but missing a few key notes):

TOP: Ceylon Cinnamon; Italian Bergamot; Coriander; Thyme

MID: Patchouli; Sandalwood; Cypress; Cedar

BOTTOM: Yugoslavian Oakmoss; Vanilla Bourbon; Amber; Musk

This is not fragrance - it is olfactory perfection in a composition. 10/10.
28th April 2012

Azzaro pour Homme Intense (original) by Azzaro

Very good review by Sporenburg (with one point I am going to defer on - see below) overall. I have mini Vintage bottles of Azzaro Pour Homme Intense that attest to the fact that it is deeper, more opulent and the basenotes are richer. It is not louder, but the depth allows it to be a more 'Intense' version. I have both Vintage and current formulation of Azzaro Pour Homme. Vintage is excellent and current is very good. The recent re-release of the Intense bottling was stated here on Basenotes - otherwise, I probably would have not picked it up (as I was keen on the Vintage version and considering a bottle price three times what I paid!) I will put it this way - as Vintage Aph is better than current, Vintage Aph Intense is, inherently (and truly), better than current Aph Intense.

I won't get into note replacement and an imperceptible fecal touch (which I have no clue about - that is something I do not get from any bottling of Aph Intense or regular formulation). I am not convinced that I want to, at this point, settle for current Aph Intense. While it is very good, rich and a nice warm (aura) scent like all bottlings of Aph, I find it to be a deeper progression of notes to heart and base that allow the scent to be more enjoyable.

The top notes being muted doesn't detract for me, but Sporenburg is correct in that. Longevity is a little longer than current formulation - again, an aura scent so you need to apply to pulse point, chest, and clothing that touches skin. It will not be loud (be definitely you will notice the power of the scent in the first 15-20 minutes) but expressive and radiant. A welcome addition to the wardrobe and one I will reach for.

For current formulation Aph Intense (and Aph): An interesting suggestion for those who want the sharper citric-anise opening is to do what I tried. Layer a nice neutral balm on your freshly-shaven skin (or beard/stubble, if you have that), apply a liberal amount of Aph Intense. Let it dry down for 5-10 minutes. Then, since you don't want to reverse order and bury the top notes you are trying to achieve, apply a few well-placed shots (including clothes, so it lasts longer) of the current Aph juice. I got the nice bright citrus to show along with more of the sharp anise. *Important to note - I would only suggest doing this with current formulations and not blend Vintage juice into the mix. It is simply too precious.

Final score - current formulation Aph Intense - 8/10. Vintage Aph Intense from Mini - 9/10.
15th April 2012

Bogart pour Homme by Jacques Bogart

Wow! After an initial trial wearing (a single spray that had me in awe at first scent - both power and wonderful notes), this got stored away. I have a friend that I promised a full-wearing and searched until I found it today. Maurice Roucel (one of my absolute favorite noses and perfumiers that creates magic in a bottle!) gave us TL Pour Lui the year before in 2003 - an example of using lifted and fresh notes (mint, white florals and smooth lavender along with a beautiful, ethereal vanilla touching light wood). I love it - it is no secret. Unbelieveably good juice for the price!

Shift gears - or better yet. Jump onto a rocket! This is tonka bean turned up (in guitar lingo) - dimed!! But, as powerful as the tonka is, Jacques Bogart PH was created with the touch of Monsieur Roucel. It is atomic upon application, but has amazing rich cherry pipe tobacco, rich, blooming lavender with a blast of bergamot squeezed into the bottle and a fantastic note of cedar that I got in the heart of this scent (along with the florals that are used softly, but to the right effect). The patchouli is awesome here as well - along with a nice clean, but very fragrant white musk...both lifting and sharpening the fragrance's composition and allowing it to breathe. As explosive as it is upon "take-off", it opens a parachute at the point where the cedar comes in. The slow drift back to Earth is the amazing dry down...depending upon application (skin or clothes) - this could take 8+ hours or more than half a week! Tonka Bean is smoldering underneath all of this as if being warmed and simmering with the essence being released - wafting up throughout the entire wear.

What I like is the note separation - even in the initial blast. I went in prepared (not quit a haz-mat suit), but I did several (4-5) half-sprays with the nice atomizer. A well-made flacon as well - points for that. After I got into the florals and the cherry pipe tobacco was dying down into the cedar and patchouli, I reapplied another 3-4 half-sprays on skin and, for fun, a full blast on the center of my shirt! I swear, somewhere in that mushroom cloud...Superman's "S" appeared on my shirt! ;-)

Damn good fun! My wife was almost blown away from a room away - no joke. When I walked within 15 feet of her...she said, "Okay - what IS that???" And, the best part, she wasn't at all mad nor was I in the doghouse - she loved it! She admitted it is strong as hell, but when she smell my wrist and I mentioned some notes - she was able to pull them out. From 15 feet away, she said it smelled simply awesome.

So, moral of this story...this has an amazing aura to it - I feel like I am in a cloud right now (or maybe on one)...another great, unique and wonderful triumph in fragrance for Monsieur Roucel! I am not misplacing this bottle again! It went onto my dresser at my wife's direct order!

This is an inexpensive modern powerhouse that never gets Roucel's work never does - a true master at his craft! We are all thankful...8.8/10!

I will let this and TL Pour Lui share the same score as they both strike me as brilliant - TL Pour Lui is a beautiful flamenco guitar played with touch and Jacques Bogart PH is a Marshall Amplifier cranked up to 10 to fill a large hall, but all the notes coming out of it are amazing as the guitar player is fantastic! Highly recommended.
12th April 2012

Carven Homme by Carven

Great reviews here - I came to know of this discontinued gem a short while ago from fellow Basenoters online. I got lucky, found it and got a decent number of bottles. This is simply great juice - I am very happy to have even learned of this.

The comparison to Gucci Envy is out there (as well as Zino). But I find it so different than Zino...the only connection is with current formulation Zino with the lavender and rosewood in the top notes and the incorporation of wood in the heart, but I find it far more different than alike to either in comparison and have decided not to write more about Zino at all as it vastly different after two intensive comparative wearings. While some notes are shared with both, Carven Homme is a true woody spicy with very nice rosewood, sandalwood & cedar on the base intermixed with great baking spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander. The amber and labdanum create warmth along with a pinch of pipe tobacco that accentuates the spices - giving it a nice kick.

The slight commonality with Gucci Envy lies in the top & middle notes for me (if I really try to find the connection) - mainly with the spiciness and wood notes in the heart (but they are very different compositions) - however they share cedar, coriander and a touch of vetiver each (ironically, both clean vetivers) - not listed in the pyramid above. Common notes in the top with Gucci Envy are a nice smooth lavender with rosewood (a great opening note that give you a woody feel from the top). I don't get ginger in Carven Homme - I get a nice blast of citrus, bergamot versus mandarin in Envy. Therefore, Carven Homme is less bright as Gucci Envy has a sharp ginger accord on top (as some find 'mentholated' - but if you have ever smelled fresh-cut ginger, you know that is not menthol at work) - that is not at all present here in Carven Homme. By the way, the citrus is fresh, bright and well-done, but not overpowering in either.

While Carven Homme turns to a nice warm woody base with amber and a light touch of patchouli, Gucci Envy for Men goes to the infamous deep incense and sharp patchouli that incorporates vanilla and a touch of vanilla that distinguish it as an Oriental Woody (more of an Oriental Woody/Aromatic to me, if such a thing exists!)

There is a reason that the reviews for this are so good. Carven Homme is a great quality composition, has fantastic warmth on the skin and could be worn either casual or formal (or as an office scent). It radiates nicely from the body and a couple shots to clothing upon application and the first 2-3 hours...but becomes a very smooth wood and spicy skin scent that last for over 6 hours, even in cold weather outdoors - this stuff stays on and has a nice "aura scent" to it, but is never loud or abrasive. Impressive longevity and above average projection.

Office wear - no more than 5-6 sprays total, with at least 1-2 on your clothes.
"Full" wear - 8-10 sprays total, 2-3 on clothes. This would be for going out, date night, etc. A fragrance that begs for comparison as it is so damn good. Gucci Envy is what others compare it to - I did a final comparative review here with a "Full wearing" of Carven Homme, except for a nice dose of Gucci Envy on the back on my hand to get all the notes right.

I suggest to have both bottles of juice in your wardrobe - one is not at all a substitute for the other. Try to find it. It is worth seeking out.

Quality ingredients here. It can be worn year-round, with moderate application in warm weather - but very masculine and a scent that will get you compliments everywhere you go. Nobody knows what it is (but wants to know - women and men) and ask where you can buy it...I get strange looks when I tell them it has been discontinued - someone said, "I guess you're lucky to have it." And, I am.

Overall score - 9/10. Highly recommended.
26th March 2012

Silver Black / Onyx by Azzaro

Full wearing (body and clothes, ~10-12 sprays) - it has been sitting (for no reason) on my shelf for several months. I bought a tester bottle and wanted to wait for warmer weather before trying it due to the notes written on the back: "bergamot, green lime, coriander, cypress tree, vetiver, amber and white musk". I had several opportunities on warm fall days, but reached for something else. It was "that" bottle which remained mysterious (I have a couple more for when I want to try something new on a whim that are also highly-regarded)! So, based on what the bottle said, to me, that expressed spring, summer and the early days of fall.

It is early March - a sunny day, some coolness in the breezy air and I decided after reading more and more that I have been neglecting this bottle for too long. I have to first say, I love Vintage Azzaro Pour Homme and like the current reformulation as well. That said, there are a lot of other fragrances by the Azzaro house, including this somewhat unknown gem by Francoise Caron, that stand on their own merit. No correlation and I couldn't even put the two next to each other on a shelf. I wanted to see what Onyx (also called Silver Black) is all about...

This bottle of Azzaro Onyx, as I am engulfed in a lot of juice - inner wrists, neck, really modern and a breath of fresh air! Wow! I get Bergamot and Mandarin Orange on top with a nice smooth lavender and a squeeze of the aforementioned lime - a blast of fresh citrus and a dash of their bitters!! I am impressed as the notes blend into a wonderful, juicy composition. I get a nice, warm, earthy spiciness underneath from the cardamom and coriander. I defer to the Tester bottle's notes for that one as well as the cypress. The green note I get is more refreshing and slightly woody. A dash of geranium and a touch basil are components in the heart (as the middle is nice and transcendent), but they are both in the shadow of a beautiful, tall cypress tree. Interesting - I get more cypress on my skin and more basil/geranium/citrus/lavender on my shirt in the middle as the top is still going strong on my clothes - fresh but with even a slight orange rind/basil bitterness that some mention. I am neutral to this - it keeps it unique and a modern "twist" on things.

First base note that I get is white musk - clean and lifted...followed by a nice touch of amber. The patchouli and leather add a nice touch in the drydown (I love patchouli in scents like this as it keeps the composition on the fresh, green and spicy side). The leather is a soft note - not dominant, as I detect a light "suede" feel...'plush', if I may.

I disagree with the bottle notes - no vetiver...period. That's fine as I don't think it would have been a note needed (or desired) in this very good fragrance by Francoise Caron. Vetiver, as a note, can take a fragrance in a whole different direction - and mind you, this is coming from a Vetiver-lover! No shift in direction wanted or needed.

So, I waited for the right occasion to wear this and now I find myself asking - "What is NOT the right occasion to wear this?" This is a terrific bottle of grab-spray-and-go juice! It is truly vibrant and warms up so nicely. Not overly synthetic at all - as a matter of fact, I would say that it smells like a bottle far more expensive than its price tag. This is very good for virtually any age - high school/college up to 50's+. Special occasion - sure. Jeans and a shirt - sure (that's my attire today). Shorts and a nice polo - absolutely!

I have to give this a genuine 7.5/10 for the value and versatility. I don't know about longevity yet as it's only been 35-40+ minutes, but the drydown shows promise and my shirt still has warm and fresh citrus on it! Glad I "found" this amongst my bottles on a Friday afternoon. Impressive.

*Update* - after having lunch outside, this became a skin scent with a little more projection on my shirt. I was hoping for more power, but it is not there...a little disappointment for longevity. So, do apply generously if you are going to be outdoors with Azzaro Onyx and know you will need to reapply. Same score 7.5/10 - I look forward to wearing this do people not see this as a spring/summer scent as well as cool weather? This will be even better when the weather hits 80 degrees, in my opinion - but a true year-round scent.
26th March 2012

Pure Vetiver by Azzaro

I was pointed to this fragrance again by someone with great taste (although I had visited the fragrance before, had reservations and never purchased). Thank you, Renato! :-)

Then, I decided that the scent pyramid had a lot of notes that I look for in fragrance and find appealing. So, although the name "Pure Vetiver" is a misnomer - I decided to give it a go, and I'm very glad I did. I also knew that this would be a warm weather, fresh scent with vetiver in the composition - not a linear, dark and brooding vetiver with heavy, smoky, rootiness...which I am glad because I have numerous bottle that fill that realm and several vetivers in-between (including virtually every bottle Guerlain has ever put out - from Original Vintage EDC, Vintage EDT's to 2000 reformulation. And, that's just my Guerlain Vetiver collection - I am officially in love with vetiver in fragrance.

Okay - so I put one nice full spray on my inner left wrist and gave it 10-15 minutes to breathe on my skin and started writing this about 3 hours ago. Impressive from the start...incredibly fresh! Grapefruit, spicy ginger with a dash of white pepper on top. The cardamom is not pronounced to may show more in a full wearing. I found afresh-cut grass note almost immediately after the citrus note faded...grapefruit was very nice here (by the way) and the green juice indeed has a true middle note of fresh-cut grass that is very similar to one in a bottle of juice from Yves Rocher that I have (and really enjoy for that accord!) As it warmed after another 10-15 minutes, I realized the grass has nice green tea aroma about it (fragrant and slightly earthy). However, it is not as dominant as the Yves Rocher juice as the pepper and ginger linger into the heart and gives a nice sharpness. I also found something a bit ozonic as another review I read of this described integrated into the composition - truly refreshing.

This is a woody aromatic, with the "wood" being vetiver. I get the vetiver right at the base of the heart going towards base notes. This is not nutty or dirty, as previously mentioned, at all. Clean, fresh vetiver is in here - that comes out of the green grass/green tea note and touch of artemisia, which is also a nice sharper "green" note that adds something extra here.

A nice note that people may (or may not) get here is nutmeg flower. It comes in at the base - I didn't get any lavender that was prominent and expected to, but the base of vetiver is slightly floral with the nutmeg flower, which helps retain the "clean" and lifted feeling of this fragrance. The sandalwood is a light touch - not dusty at all. Very clean.

Totally inoffensive and a very good alternative to anything aquatic in warm weather or in an office setting. I feel that this is a surprisingly good light vetiver-based scent that has a good surrounding composition of notes that are harmonious. Take the notion of "rich vetiver fragrance" out of your mind and let your nose provide you the actual truth.

I could never wear this with anything from Guerlain - even EDC (which is the pure essence of vetiver and no tobacco), as it would overpower this ethereal, fresh and light fragrance.

My overall score - 7.5+/10, as it wears close to the skin (light projection) and I was hoping for a little more power, but it is still there with one spray after 3+ hours and I can enjoy it. 8/10 for pure scent alone...very nice, remarkably refreshing and sophisticated. A full wearing in warm/hot weather will definitely show more (it is cold, overcast and a light rain starting). The Yves Rocher bottle with the all of its green notes is put away until Spring/Summer. This will be next to it.

**Update** - this stayed as a great skin scent for about 5-6 hours on me with light application in cool weather that day! I was surprised how I could pick up even individual notes at 4+ hours. I am very glad to have purchased this and find it to be a great alternative to aquatics come this summer.
22nd March 2012

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

For Vintage Eau de Cologne Habit Rouge -

Excellent reviews by Darvant, jenson, volley2, my friend Dimitrios (concise and exact review) and grateful nod to alfarom - who offers us all great perspective in reviewing Habit Rouge.

I was between Vintage Eau de Cologne and Original EDP (as a new formulation of that was recently released that has no oud - which made the scent of interest to me in the first place). I decided that Vintage Eau de Cologne would be the most proper way to approach Habit Rouge when acquiring the olfactory pleasure of a timeless classic.

I have, of course, smelled it over the years (in various bottlings) and never bought a bottle of any concentration until recently. I ended up with an Original Vintage (black & white/zig-zag box) After Shave, which was perfectly stored. It is on the back of my left hand right now while the Vintage EDC is on my right inner wrist. Incredible.

The burst of bright citrus (bergamot) is prominent from the EDC and there is a touch of citrus in the After Shave. The EDC then evolves beautifully into a nice, slightly-powdery (but warm, sophisticated and gentlemanly) vanilla blended with leather, actually smoothing out after 30 minutes (no longer powdery - but warm). The patchouli is working here, giving a nice accord of freshness and liveliness. The balance, as stated by Dimitrios is simply, harmonious. I don't think any one note is dominant and the composition is clearly exceptional - a landmark in fragrance that smells so fresh. Definitely something I would prefer wearing with a nice button shirt and dress attire. Sophistication poured into a bottle.

The After Shave actually has a bit more leather than vanilla and the touch of patchouli is there as well. So, the EDC and After Shave, after going back and forth a dozen times now, compliment each other almost perfectly. The EDC is definitely stronger (this is when Eau de Cologne was rich - 85% volume is stated on box and bottle!), but the After Shave is a great skin scent with just a few dabs.

When doing my research, I heard a story of an individual that wore Vintage Habit Rouge - but only as a nice splashed on After Shave, of which he kept in nice little refrigerator. It would stay for hours and he never wanted the power of the fragrance bottlings. That is a testament to how good that juice is. Personally, I like the power and refinement. So, I would want to layer.

The EDC has been on my skin for well over an hour and is actually so smooth and putting out more power. Sure, the initial burst of citrus is bright and sharp - but this is a wonderful skin scent. I don't think I would apply more than a touch to clothing when wearing this. It breathes on your skin.

This is, simply wonderful. A legend and classic scent. Rating not appropriate - just pure admiration.

22nd March 2012

Fath Pour l'Homme by Jacques Fath

I had been thinking about purchasing this fragrance for a while, but never did. Thank you to a fellow Basenoter, Slayerized (you're awesome man!), I went ahead and purchased a full bottle. I am very happy I did!

Beautiful flacon...traditional, chic with a modern edge. The cap (a piece of art in and of itself) smelled wonderful - good things to come, I thought. I applied two full sprays to my inner wrist and one small one to the top of my hand. Wow!

This is some damn good juice! It is so warm - the amber, wood, musk all are seamlessly integrated with a blend of citrus & spices, a dash of lavender, mint and a touch of clove (in the heart). I took notes along the way, but found it (very interestingly a scent that is integrated upon application)! I get a lot here - and, also, like some other amber-based oriental wood scents, it doesn't seem to transition much from out of the bottle to the skin, except get warmer and more radiant! To me, that is the difference between a lot of Oriental Woody's with an amber base like this - and those that have vanilla. Vanilla, as a note (I find) sits on the bottom of the bottle wafting through the fragrance (separated like a blob of extract on the bottom), but pronounced throughout a scent.

Okay - imagine a bottle of, say, Le Male (I just wore it the other day) - a large puddle of vanilla extract is "plopped-in" and it sits there from the waist down of the upper torso and fills out the hindquarters and bulge in front! You smell it from the start and it gets stronger as all the rest of the composition dries off and melts away until you are left with a rather heavy vanillic accord that is a bit too sweet for some - cloying is often used. I happen to really like Le Male and other scents in that vanillic vein, but Jacques Fath is in a whole different vein...I am VERY happy with it. The smell is great - really nice, rich, warm but also chic and sophisticated. The spices with the lavender and mint make the heart so rich...along with the nice wood (cedar, sandalwood).

Fath Pour l'Homme is cloying at all. And, here is the key - I would be very doubtful if much vanilla is in here (although reviewers reference it), or really any at all! Amber, musk, patchouli and wood together can create a great warm accord that is found in Fath Pour l'Homme, along with the baking spices (my nose says a touch of nutmeg and a whiff of cinnamon - neither too strong). Some noses may confuse this with vanilla when the composition comes together (but this has a pure amber base at the end). But, some get it right - so I am not saying something entirely new. Timing on this is rather funny, because, I have been on a huge amber-binge in the last several months of cold weather for both me and my wife. Some are very unisex - Jacques Fath Pour l'Homme is a very masculine composition.

I am impressed as it comes together very well - overall score (with a warm thanks to Slayerized for helping me push the "BUY" button) - 8.5/10! Really good juice and definitely one I will look forward to wearing...!
21st March 2012

Voile d'Ambre by Yves Rocher

I bought this for my wife for a little "stocking stuffer" at Christmas. It's simply enchanting - especially on her olive skin!

Amazing fragrance - she gets compliments like crazy and it has a beautiful composition that supports the gorgeous amber accord!

I put a little on my skin, as I knew it could be unisex. I really liked it, but this quickly became one of her favorite scents for the winter...and I didn't want us smelling the same. Plus, I have other fragrances in my collection that are loaded with amber - so this is her's. And, I love it on her.

What is downright amazing is to make sensual love to her while she puts this on her pulse points and I apply a complimentary male fragrance. One of her favorites on me is Gucci Pour Homme I with the beautiful deep wood & incense mixed with amber and vanilla. It is a coming together of body, mind, spirit and scent...harmonious.

Not to offend anyone, but this is a magical elixir with special memories for me (and my wife). ;-)
18th March 2012

Comme une Evidence Homme by Yves Rocher

Very, very good indeed. Yves Rocher has a great fragrance here - very warm, sensual aroma. Deep, soothing, earthy. The notes are so wonderfully blended and natural (not synthetic at all)...the fragrance has one of best QTP (quality-to-price) ratios out there! If I had to pick one fragrance from the Yves Rocher line, this is it. The cedar, patchouli, guaiac wood and pepper intermingle so nicely with the rose note. Deep and masculine - this is mainly a fall/winter scent, but could be warn out to dinner in the spring and summer. Wearable at the office, but more for cozy intimacy. While one could wear this at the office, I personally feel it is better suited for romantic evenings (year-round) and cool days. There is no oriental base of amber or vanilla, which is perfect. This is a moonlit path with patchouli bushes surrounding you walking through beautiful, dark woods...that leads you to a base note of beautiful rose. I give a round of applause to Antoine Maisondieu! What a magical, deep composition that is about scent and mood - not power and longevity. My final score is a solid 8+/10 due to a little short longevity (about 4 hours on me...but a great 4 hours from top notes to drydown, so the scent, in and of itself, is a bold 9/10!)

I also have to give credit to Yves Rocher for their commitment to quality ingredients that are natural and not synthetic - they even plant trees when you order from them! If you have not shopped with YR, get online and have fun. Price points are almost ridiculous for what you get in ALL their products. Always nice to speak with them on the phone as well - they are in Quebec and there is a true European feel about everything they put out. Cheers...!
18th March 2012

L'Anarchiste by Caron

Great reviews here - awesome "story" by PsychoTommy, alfarom (precise as always), and Gilgamesh2003 sums up whatever was missing. And, an honorable mention to Foetidus - who I think gives a totally summation of both notes and how I feel about the Caron house as well...true admiration of their audacity!

Here is the scent pyramid offered -

Top notes are african orange flower and mint
Middle notes are vetyver, sandalwood, guaiac wood and virginia cedar
Base note is musk

I really like the bright metal-tinged orange flower/neroli note on top that is sparkling with the mint accent. This stays for a while for least the first 20 minutes or more on the back of my hand and is even more alive on fabric! Very key here to spray L'Anarchiste on both skin (liberally) and a few sprays on your shirt. My sleeve is really nice now...showing the top notes after applying about 30 minutes ago (PsychoTommy is right - the slightly medicinal mint stays on fabric!). This, to me, is not a beast for projection - but an "aura scent". Apply, let it warm up and you have a nice radiant scent fragrant that surrounds you - a couple feet or so away (this will not tell people across a room what you are wearing). If you walk by, someone of taste - and isn't too shy - should definitely ask what it is you're wearing, though!!

The heart definitely warms up to copper-tinged wood accord - not traditional "woody". Mind you, the mint is still alive on your arm, but a "green" wood accord that I get from a fresh vetiver (clean, not earthy)-infused cedar and sandalwood. This is where the scent evolves overall into something awesome - the heart & drydown. The "spice" I get is from what I perceive to be a cinnamon stick accord (not grated - as that would be louder and dustier). No, the imagery I'm getting here is likeable to a heated copper pot of soaked wood chips (cedar, guaiac, and sandalwood) being stirred by a cinnamon stick. The fresh vetiver root is very rinsed & washed off and a few strands of root are tossed in...offering a greenness to the whole composition. Not dominant, but a key note the keeps the green mint on top through the heart and base.

That is the picture I get. No blood. No vampires. But, a simply stunning flacon!

The freshness remains on my clothes at over an hour! The musk is a just off-white musk here...not totally clean, but almost. The musk note is lifted, but also offers a touch more warmth on the base, which true "white musk" will not offer. I love white musk in my "fresh scents" and notice the difference here. Definitely not a heavy musk, though.

To the House of Caron - you have some audacious taste! And, well, if it isn't for everyone, you never cared about that any way. Richard Fraysse, the perfumier, has given us a chance to try something so unique here. This is true art, to me. Like Eau de Reglisse (another brilliant creation from Caron and truly unisex) - there is a passion that is poured into this bottle, not just mass-marketed juice. This is not for the mainstream, which makes me like it that much more. A "niche", masculine fragrance from a larger house...and one that strikes me as simply great! Overall score - 8.5+/10. I offer my admiration and gratitude. Cheers!
16th March 2012

Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

The scent pyramid I found for this wonderful fragrance from the house of Annick Goutal is an elixir of amber, frankincense, labdanum, styrax, benzoin, iris absolute, vanilla and Russian leather. Very interesting notes included...hmmm.

I sprayed it on for a "review" - one spray on my wrists and one on my neck. Great warm, smoke-infused amber fills the air. A nice diffuser of styrax sits on the table in front of you...wafting notes towards you. Incense lurking underneath all of this, but not heavy and definitely an amber & vanilla/frankincense blend - like one I have that I burn around the holidays. Resinous and balmy...very nice. Soothing. However, this is not an incense-laden scent or that "dirty".

Expecting even deeper and darker notes to come, this surprisingly turns toward Myrrhe Ardente about 30-40 minutes in - sharing a "sweetness" with the labdanum, benzoin and vanilla combining to create a "creamy" texture for the nose. No beeswax or anything carmelized here...not cloying at all. The resinous warmth still there, the touch of initial smoke has cleared and we are moving towards the dry-down. This takes another unique turn - and I think a very good one.

However, as Myrrhe Ardente is honeyed and you can almost feel benzoin crystals forming on your skin (just short of cloying - although that is part of its own beautiful nature), the iris absolute note here in Ambre Fetiche creates a nice lifted, slightly powdery accord...which leads to a slight touch of leather. It is very faint - but creates a nice feel on the dry-down. What happens is nothing short of experience in fragrance, not something you just spray. This is for connoisseurs and lovers of unique and true perfumery (as all Goutal bottlings are). I try to mention that point in every review I do for a bottle of this house's work. This is niche, artistic and created with true imagery - not marketing in mind. The idea is to transcend the wearer (and those around them) to another place. This does for me, along with virtually every other Goutal I've ever had the joy of trying or owning.

I really like this as a fragrance as well - it is a wonderful amber scent and clearly unisex. Myrrhe Ardente is definitely far better on my wife's olive skin. I think this will be as good or better as well. The potion that Ambre Fetiche is in a bottle is truly wonderful - it is meant to worn and adorned. Not a casual fragrance, but definitely one I will reach for on special occasions and when I want to radiate warmth and confidence. Again, I don't give ratings to Goutal's work...the house creates art, so a quantitative rating is not apropos. I really, really admire this.
14th March 2012

Acteur by Azzaro

I got a Vintage bottle recently prior to reformulation - the moss is definitely there and shows up in the mid-notes on the skin (on clothing, this is radiating a deep, dark rose (not dirty like Zino Davidoff's - very different vein due to the mace note, which is superb). This rose is not a "fresh" bloom, but one that has start to drop a couple of petals into the bowl of fresh and dried fruit under it (definitely some nice fruit notes in here). However, what keeps the rose from being "off" (or too wilted) is actually the sharp carnation, in my opinion (brilliant). I actually think it fits perfect into the structure. A bright, cheerful rose note would not fit into this simply wonderful! Damn good.

Two sprays - one on my inner arm and one on my sleeve right above it and this is really nice. It would take a confident man to wear this - most definitely.

I will comment on the "Azzaro-vibe" - it is only slightly there. It is more in the structure, not the scent (if you own Vintage Azzaro Pour Homme, then you understand what I mean). It is how the scent evolves and how the components blend. No similarities to Azzaro Pour Homme - this is, in my opinion (as I boldly say) just as good as Vintage Azzaro Pour Homme and far better than current formulation ApH (not even ballpark close there).

Wow - the wood in this is so well-integrated with the florals and the fruits are drying down a bit. The heart of cedar blends beautifully into the warm musk and amber.

Lots of great reviews here - I too, get a slightly "boozy" note from the combined mace, fruit notes (not mentioned here) and dark rose. This is actually radiating warmth on my arm - I am more than impressed.

Final score - 9+/10, Vintage formulation!! I look forward to a full wearing of this, because I definitely have the confidence. This is awesome juice and I would not think to layer it. I have not tried the current release, which is missing the moss - but this is not even a moss-laden scent (I definitely smell it, but other notes are more prevalent and dominant).

Final thought - This is a warm, masculine and beautiful fragrance!
9th March 2012

Pour Un Homme by Caron

Something from another era - and it smells like it. This is, as another reviewer put it, more of a scent than a fragrance. Sharp lavender, musk and vanilla are the three components everyone focuses on, but there are a few more overtones (and undertones) in Caron Pour Un Homme. "Minimalism is beauty in its simplest form"...this holds true with this bottle of magical aromas.

I find current formulation to be very refreshing if applied liberally or reapplied within 10-15 minutes of 1st application (layering increases the scent's projection and longevity). The key is to spray very close to the skin (about 1") to 'stack the scent'. In current formulation, this allows the lavender to show its beauty and articulate its duality in the scent (leaf and floral). The effect is interesting - the vanilla is more potent in current formulation and the close application provides better longevity and true form of scent. Otherwise, I find that the notes separate and the richness of the composition is not nearly as well-presented. The vanilla dominates in current juice. Vintage formulation has more musk and sharp lavender (and overall less vanilla, although it is still an amazing drydown to a vanilla/musk & warm amber on the skin).

However, this is classic perfumery...undeniably and indisputably (regardless of formulation). It is the showcase of a gorgeous lavender soliflore, as it has both the sharp, herbal aspect of lavender leaf along with the soft and fragrant floral accord of the same stem. The vanilla picks up the floral quality of the lavender, which is soothing and has light sweetness...while the musk carries the herbal feeling of the lavender, creating balance and brilliant harmony in this divine composition and not allowing this great scent to be cloying.

The longevity is not great but definitely adequate and above average (as it dries down and stays on your skin). You get a very nice fresh lavender aroma that intermingles with the warm vanilla/musk base for about 3-4 hours on my skin with decent projection. After that, it dries down a nice, radiant skin scent and lasts for another 4+ hours. A true classic...a gentleman's scent from 1934 on the shelf today in my wardrobe.

Caron, as a house, is simply top-shelf. A very non-mainstream line of fragrances (many unisex) that transcend time and olfactory notes that are atypically together or compositions that are tastefully unique. I will not get into all the other Caron fragrances I know, have and love.

This is about a timeless scent - Caron Pour Un Homme. One should have this in their fragrance collection. It will be around, most likely, forever...and generations should pass this on. My rating is not in points - but in a thankful and gracious nod to Caron for keeping this great bottle around all these years. Merci!
5th March 2012

Moods Uomo by Krizia

I have waited to find this scent for a reasonable price and was able - as it was sadly discontinued.

Overview: Moods by Krizia Uomo was launched in 1989. Top notes are aldehydes, coriander, lavender, bergamot, cardamom and lemon; middle notes are rose, carnation, ginger, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, and geranium; base notes are patchouli, leather, tonka bean, amber, musk, vanilla, oakmoss and cedar.

I have been seeking out special bottles of Krizia juice recently, including a 100ml bottle of Spazio Krizia (with the after shave balm). I've owned Krizia Uomo for a while, really like it (although there is no similarities here) and Moods has been lurking in my "Want" list near the top for a couple of years.

Patience is virtue. I am really loving this composition! The opening is a blast of sharp lavender (green and slightly medicinal), aldehydes that tingle the nostrils, along with rich carnation-clove and bergamot engulfed in patchouli - huge, opens herbaceous, aromatic and powerful. After about 10 minutes, the cardamom, ginger and coriander add spice and "simmer" the concoction while aldehydes give a lifted airiness to the overall scent - tantalizing. Then, a note not mentioned above rises into the fragrance that blends so beautifully with the entire composition and gives it the color of the juice, golden tobacco leaf. It is one of the finest uses of tobacco leaf I have ever come across - as it merges seamlessly with the patchouli's green, sharp earthiness (with a slight camphorous quality now emerging)...and the bouquet of radiant florals. Absolutely brilliant!

The rose enters quietly and it is a great note here (not "dirty" like in Zino, nor dominant) - but the depth of the patchouli now darkens even more (with the leather now prominent), making the rose deep, warm and rich. The earthy carnation-clove and alluring rose together with lily-of-the-valley, jasmine and geranium constitute the floral heart - a great bouquet with a lot spiciness and green notes all wrapped in smooth, warm leather. A spicy and fragrant dash of ginger keeps the freshness here, along with a little zesty kick.

The base shows some amber along with a nice cedar, sandalwood and musk - but the patchouli and tobacco are still there...incredible! The florals ease down and the bouquet, while present, is now an undertone to the warm base.

Masculine, bold, fragrant, rich and deep - yet articulate and refined...Moods fits its name in that it shows several. It transitions beautifully and I find the fragrance to be in very good harmony. Krizia has created another wonderful scent here. Final score - 9+/10 and know that it definitely can change your mood. Macho elegance in a bottle - superb!

**Update** - Full wearing the other day and it resonated in my mind. This is truly niche-quality fragrance from a fantastic Italian house. Moods is revelatory to me and has worked its way upward in my mind. I smelled the shirt I wore that day and it still had the full smell of Moods over 48 hours later. I am shocked at the incredible depth, richness and power. Ultra-chic! A top-tier scent for me. Revised score - 9.5/10! Very rare, unique and special. Incredible.
3rd March 2012

Cristobal pour Homme by Balenciaga

Gerard Anthony and Balenciaga have put together, in my opinion, an incredible bottle of fragrance! First off, I really like the flacon - sophisticated, but modern. The juice itself is very rich but lifted.

This is a true Oriental Woody with terrific quality - I don't get synthetic notes here. I love the top notes of spice & herbs - artemisia, coriander, white pepper (clean but spicy) and a dash of nutmeg that helps transition the top into the wonderful tea note here. I get a bit of herbal mint tea mixed with a light Earl Grey (which is black tea infused with bergamot). Very nice - but warming up the entire time towards the benzoin, amber and vanilla in the base along with some nice sandalwood and fresh tobacco leaves (lifted note here, nothing like a rolled cigar or heavy). The oriental flavors blend nicely with the wood but never get overly sweet or cloying at all.

Some have put this in similarity to Givenchy Pi - which I like - but is a vanilla-loaded, sweet oriental (near gourmand in depth). I have smelled Rochas and don't detect any heavy coffee here at all nor do I got the association many made to the synthetic and heavy Joop! Homme. Not close to my nose - no offense to anyone.

What I find here is pure refinement. The key elements that make Cristobal Pour Homme so excellent are the wonderful fresh and clean, lifted notes throughout the entire scent (all the way to the tobacco in the drydown) that keeps this from being another sugary, heavy and cloying vanilla scent. It is one of the most gorgeous and well-integrated Orientals that utilize vanilla but as a balancing note - to me, it is vanilla-tinged and not vanilla-centric. Benzoin is actually the key base note here - a more resinous vibe that is lighter and more "natural" feeling. While it stays definitively on your skin and radiates, it is not overly sweet. That is why I love it so much.

Excellent work by a true artist and master perfumier in Gerard Anthony. To achieve this fragrance took balance, great understanding of how to lift the olfactory senses from the top through the middle and base while allowing the benzoin to shine while the vanilla and amber add their touch of "flavor". Salud! Final score - 9/10, which may even go up a bit...
2nd March 2012

Arpège pour Homme by Lanvin

Olivier Pescheux has created a gem with this offering! The opening is a wonderful combination (to my nose) of fresh-ground pink pepper and nice neroli (personally, I don't think too much) and fresh-squeezed mandarin juice and some orange rind. Awesome!

I absolutely love the top notes here - fantastic, masculine and rich but segueing into a powdery iris within a few minutes on the skin (this is a very particular scent in "where" you spray it. I love Iris as a note and it blends beautifully with the Jasmine here - along with a dusting of nutmeg (but thankfully, not too much) or we would be heading towards a gourmand.

The excellent vanilla, sandalwood and tonka bean drydown is a bit dusty (but another key note, patchouli, sharpens the finish - kudos to the brilliance of the perfumier...again, lifting the scent). I, personally, don't feel this is uber-masculine throughout its development, and I could see this as borderline unisex at certain times (most notably, the powdery iris/floral middle) - but as an overall scent, it is firmly masculine for the full wearing. This bottle exudes class, sophistication and quality!

Here is the key, going back to "where" to apply this. The top note of pink pepper fades pretty quickly on my skin. I actually loved it so much and, poof, it was gone in 10-15 minutes. So, leaving the 3 full sprays rubbed together on my inner wrists (now resonating the beautiful iris and jasmine dusted in nutmeg), I reapplied 2 full sprays to my shirt and...BAM - pink pepper that will stay with the neroli/orange notes for a long while (still going at 45 minutes and should be there on clothes for a good couple of hours (much slower evolution in scent, for those of us who love to get the top and middle notes longer). One key, too, is that it does not turn nearly as powdery on my shirt, but you still get the nice iris/jasmine heart. The vanilla is there with the sandalwood, but the patchouli actually holds its own even more on fabric. When wearing this, I will probably apply at least 3 full sprays to my shirt, jacket, etc. to get the effect that Lanvin Arpege gave me today. It also lengthens longevity, as we all know, but it is retaining the notes that is key for me...

I am extremely happy with this bottle of fragrance - Lanvin Arpege Pour Homme is very chic and, in my opinion, rather unique. It has similarities, but the pepper/iris accord along with the green patchouli mixed into the vanillic base makes this truly stand-out! My final score: 8.5+/10 and a strong recommendation! I also want to mention that I bought the 100ml gift set with a 150ml all-over body shampoo and a 150ml after shave balm - for those of you who love this fragrance...get the full experience from shower to shave to the wonderful fragrance!
2nd March 2012

Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels

Excellent review by Oproust and I like what foetidus added!

This review is for the current formulation in the dark green bottle (but not the original formulation). The citrus (bergamot), coriander, pepper and lavender open very classy and sophisticated on top - impressive and vibrant. Yes, there is a lot of green-ness to this bottle, juice and overall vibe of Tsar - but it is actually a dark green, not bright, with some smoke infused in the composition. With a nice artemesia and juniper blend in the middle (similar to Drakkar Noir, but actually darker than current formulation DN - which is more of a bright green). Floral notes emerge along with the key notes of earthy patchouli and wet cedar. This is not a loud bouquet - but more background notes. Leather and musk lead into the drydown and remain part of it, along with some moss (not heavy in this formulation - synthetic due to IFRA standards) and an interesting note that I picked up a bit earlier...a smoky tobacco scent that starts in the middle as a plume and then finishes with a bit of ash (dry). One of the drier "dry-downs" I have come across in some time - a key point of why I don't consider this to be a really fresh and invigorating scent (not including the first 10-15 minutes - which are surprisingly refreshing). I think the smoky ash, pepper and moss combine with the tobacco to form the base notes - along with hints of green (artemisia and juniper)...but this is a dark and very masculine scent. The moss keeps the smoke in check to some degree, so good balance but definitely more dry than Drakkar Noir (in comparison).

A true smoker's scent - I smelled someone smoking a hand-rolled, organic tobacco cigarette tonight...I picked up some olfactory notes that were similar in Tsar's dry-down. I like this juice, but would have to be in the mood to wear it - I was hoping for more sharp, green notes...but, then again, I already have a lot of Aromatic Green fougeres. This is definitely a smoky, woody aromatic with some depth and a nice green notes that are well-integrated - and one I will think about further. Final score for current formulation - 7/10.

*Update* - wore this on my left arm (inner), wrist and back of hand. In comparison to Duc de Vervins on the other arm, wrist and back of hand. Comparably, this actually comes across as richer and more green with the distinct smokiness. Very nice - slightly above average projection, average longevity. This has grown on me some. Updated score - 7.5/10 for current formulation. The green notes stay through the composition better with this wearing. Look forward to revisiting again with a "Full" wearing...
2nd March 2012