Perfume Reviews by IsoESuperman

Body Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

BLUF: To me it's a comforting, medicinal, toned-down cotton candy-ish incense…and I absolutely love it. A warm blanket in a bottle.

When I was fairly new to fragrances, I blind-bought this before trying its “white devil” older brother…for obvious reasons. BK is another one that at first, I wasn't too sure about. I think I was simply bewildered, attributed to my lack of experience then. It's devoid of floral notes and is chock-full of creamy, semi-sweet incense. It's rich, in the best sense of the word. In the colder months, I like wearing it to bed. I think the eucalyptus note is calming on its own, so mix that with some sweet, camphoric incense and boom…warm blanket in a bottle. There is a delightful “funk” in the drydown that I can't put words to but it's nothing like the “funk” of Kouros (who I do not like, but have the utmost respect for being what it is in the world of perfumery). To me, there is something undeniable sexy about Body Kouros. Not just “that smells sexy” sexy but like “I want to do bad things to you” sexy.

References to Lolita Lempicka au Masculin are warranted, but they're certainly not clones. LLaM snaps its fingers and wakes you up and is a bit more astringent. BK soothes and calms you down.

I don't get great longevity, maybe ~4 hours before becoming a skin scent (much longer on clothes, as per usual).

A unique oriental that I love and recommend.
4th March 2016

Xeryus Rouge by Givenchy

BLUF: Raucous, highly original, not safe for most. Try while at home, not work, because you'll smell strongly of it until you shower. Great for a collection, far less likely as a signature/daily wear for most. I'm honestly not that comfortable wearing it.

Xeryus Rouge and I got off to a bad start. I bought it blind and tried it for the first time while hung-over, immediate dry heaves ensued…yet, XR still gets an unflinching “thumbs-up” from me, mainly for originality. To echo past reviews, it is one of the best for longevity and sillage in my relatively small collection. The artificially sweet/cactus/tarragon opening is loud and very unique and then something like cedar follows within 15-20 seconds. In the drydown, the sweetness morphs a little but stays prominent. For me, the drydown is a (somehow) pleasant saccharine/vanilla-ish sweetness, pimento, and a hint of what I can only describe as “synthetic floral woods from the future”. I hate to admit it, but I kind of understand other reviewers suggesting that it might be a “club scent”, but only because of its bold character. I just don't like the idea of a fragrance I admire being lumped into a category with something like One Million.

Every now and then I get a slight hint one of the original wave of Axe/Lynx products, but I can't (and refuse to take the time to) figure out which one. However, most of the time this offering from Givenchy smells like nothing else I've encountered. I almost immediately put it up for swap that first day, but glad I didn't because this one really grew on me, despite my rarely wearing it.

Big, bold, unique, memorable, probably not for everyone, not even sure it's for me really, but I admire it.
4th March 2016


L'Homme Libre by Yves Saint Laurent

BLUF: A personal favorite with a pepper-heavy opening and wonderful use of violet. In my opinion, it's the best from the YSL L'Homme line.

I'm kind of surprised this one doesn't fair better in the ratings. I find it to be a unique, refreshing and versatile scent with a stellar violet accord. I wonder if this suffers from sharing the L'Homme name (Flankeritis?) in a similar but polar-opposite way to the new Dior Sauvage gets the hate it does…even though Sauvage is not a flanker (…I know I know, Dior really should have called it something else).

The opening is a semi-citrusy fresh blast of pepper, basil, violet, and a reserved dry/cool sweetness. The basil disappears fairly quickly and I get none of the anise listed, which is alright with me (not a big anise guy). The drydown is a nice masculine blend of vetiver, leather, and very mild patchouli…in that order, to my nose. Together they form a modern, refreshing, masculine accord that has just a hint of supporting sweetness from the tonka.

I personally don't get much of a Fahrenheit connection, other than they're both refreshing, masculine, and know how to use violet.
4th March 2016

L'Homme Parfum Intense by Yves Saint Laurent

BLUF: To my nose, it's very sweet, overtly feminine and powdery with an “old lady” vibe. Not an “intense” version of the original L'Homme at all. Oriental-spicy-orange-powder. I got no woody notes.

Bought blind and returned the next day. While I do think this is refined and fairly well-composed, it's not for me. It brought to mind being at a wake for a grandparent. It's not cloying, but it's never something I'd wear. To be fair, I'm fairly picky about powdery fragrances…I absolutely love Midnight in Paris and a few others, but this one just screamed “wealthy older woman”. I've spent a lot of time on and around sailboats in New England, so I've smelled my fair share wealthy, elderly, old-money yankees.

A better offering than L'Homme Sport, but not any of its other siblings.
4th March 2016

Joop! Homme by Joop!

BLUF: Well, the 3-4 hour mark of the drydown is tolerable…however, that is not a good enough reason to wear it. The rest of this beast, I cannot deal with nor understand. *Bottle I bought dated 2011.

Quick embarrassing background story: before I knew anything about fragrances, my girlfriend wore Angel which I thought smelled painfully sexy and amazing (I still do, that's not the embarrassing part). After researching it, I found out it was hotly debated/controversial/etc.…so I sought out hotly debated/controversial male fragrances to see what I thought of those. This led to my blind-buy of Kouros, A*Men, and Joop! at the same time (turns out I like none, 0-3 that round). Whoever filled that order probably reported me to the government and now I'm on some watchlist or something.

Anyway, I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, but here's my two cents.

The opening, for me, is horrible. I assumed something must have happened to my bottle (prolonged exposure to heat, light, weapons-grade plutonium, etc.) it's synthetic to the max. I totally get the cherry cough syrup comments; I'd honestly prefer to wear Nyquil. I know they list cinnamon in the opening, but I don't get any until about 4 hours after application. When I first tried it my girlfriend did one of those cough/gag combos, her eyes watered and she said “Oh god, it smells the way it looks.” I think that comment speaks volumes and sums it up.

One virtue (probably a strong word) is that about 4 hours into this lurid affair, the cinnamon, patchouli, amber combo is acceptable…in the way that a cheap scented candle can make a teenage boy's room smell better than it was before you lit one, but not necessarily pleasant.

Just because I don't like a fragrance doesn't mean I think it is garbage. I respect taking chances and being different, thus I respect Joop! And where it lies in the history of male perfumery, but I will never wear this one again (…never say never they say…). It's now 125ml of potential swap material, but I won't hold my breath…unless the bottle breaks, then I'll have to :P

I can't do it, just can't rock the Joop.
4th March 2016

Encre Noire by Lalique

BLUF: Fantastic vetiver scent, masculine and fresh. Unlike most folks, I have longevity and sillage problems with this one. In my top 3 inexpensive men's fragrances and quite possibly #1 based on price and quality of scent.

Slightly smoky vetiver and a healthy dose of well-placed Iso E Super make one hell of a team here. I'm not sure if the name planted a mental seed or not, but I absolutely get a hint of a wet ink (encre noire = black ink, for those unaware). I'm in the minority here apparently, but I think it's a great summer scent. I was surprised to see how many folks suggest the opposite. How different we all are…one thing I love about the online community.

I don't really have anything new to add, EN speaks for itself and is one of the best values out there. Unfortunately for me, it becomes a skin scent fairly quickly (1-2hrs) and doesn't project well. Maybe I got a bad/old batch/bottle? (my batch code doesn't register on…) but chance are pretty much zero of anyone faking it though.

If the only other vetiver you know is Guerlain's Vetiver, be ready for a much earthier, smokier, less bright affair with zero tobacco. If Guerlain's offering is grassy, this is rooty.

I would recommend this as a blind buy more so than any other male fragrance. Huge thumbs up.
4th March 2016

Drakkar Essence by Guy Laroche

BLUF: Generic, bland, offputting. The sample I had smelled like those “Exceptional” samples that you-know-who puts in every order, mixed with a hint of cat urine.

When first applied to my wrist, I got a run-of-the-mill male drugstore fragrance…a clone of a clone and so forth. After letting it dry for a few minutes, I smelled it up close and got a whiff of urine, specifically cat urine. I immediately scrubbed it off, chalked it up to interacting with whatever I had worn earlier that day. I tried it again after showering and the same thing happened. Perhaps I got a bad sample? It was free after all, a gift in with other samples I purchased from some Amazon third party seller.

I know some reviewers are fond of hyperbole (that's not a criticism, hyperbole is fine and more often than not, entertaining) and will say “this or that smells like piss” or “Angel smells like a cat barfed up a Cadbury egg” but in my case, I literally got a cat urine note from this one when smelled up close. Sniffed from 6 inches or so it's just generic, linear, and boring.

I can't speak to longevity or sillage, I scrubbed it both tries.

Thumbs down/pass, regardless of price.
4th March 2016

Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels

BLUF: Powdery leather is right (to echo a previous reviewer) and it's awesome! Smoky, rubbery, and powdery. One of the few powdery frags I like, plus the value is phenomenal. Will stay on clothes for weeks. *Review is of EdT

I'm a huge fan of this one. I typically get below average longevity and sillage from most fragrances, but this one is great for me on both fronts.

I don't get any lemon or citrus on top, at least not in the typical hesperidic format. The opening is a blast of powdery leather. The leather slowly mellows out and you're left with a very sensual, warm, sweet tonka/powder that I personally love. MiP is another one that I like to wear an hour or so before bed.

Even if you're opposed to powdery fragrances, get it anyway for the bottle. One of the coolest bottle designs IMO. I bought it blind for that reason, turns out I love the juice too.
4th March 2016

Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

BLUF: Opening seconds are gloriously punk rock…dark rum/leather/tobacco notes. Within a minute (maybe less) it fades into another sweet amber/musk and dies shortly after.

The opening is something to get excited about. It's a shame it doesn't last. If it had more staying power I would consider a larger bottle, but when my sample is gone, that will be the end of Dark Rebel for me.

Within two minutes, it became a skin scent (barely) that smelled nothing like the opening. Astounding really, how fast this one quits on my skin. I hope this gets reformulated into something with teeth, because I really like what I smell.

Performance has it teetering on verge of thumbs down, despite the great scent.
4th March 2016

Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler

BLUF: A nice clean, soapy, neroli-centric fragrance. It smells like an expensive soap. Yes, it smells nearly identical to Creeds Original Vetiver. A perfectly capable, far less expensive alternative to OV, IMO.

I own this and Original Vetiver. They smell nearly identical in the opening and into the initial stages of development. OV, being an EdP, stays potent much longer and does have the typical “refinement” of a Creed. As others have said, MC smells like you just got out of the shower.

A “hard-to-go-wrong” scent that is among the most refreshing out there, to my nose at least.
4th March 2016

Moonshine : A Gentleman's Cologne by EastWest Bottlers

BLUF: Okay fragrance-wise, but even loading it on by hand leaves nothing but a barely detectable skin scent after about 30 seconds. No spray option, just splash. Juice degraded quickly under ideal storage conditions.

Found out about this via, then hunted it down via Orvis by way of Amazon. Obscure, American-made, supposedly very masculine, interesting packaging (wooden box and burlap bag), deeply discounted…I was all in! Opened my 100ml and it did smell quite good. A sort of boozy-gin/piney/tobacco scent. Unfortunately, it evaporated into thin air after about 10 minutes. I don't mean turned into a nice skin scent, I mean it was practically gone. It's not just my nose, I asked a friend to sniff and she replied, “Is this a trick?” Nothing, nada.

Perhaps if a house with better resources and more experience took over for East West, this could be a winner. It's not a groundbreaking accord, but I liked enough at first and it's unmistakably masculine.

Fast forward a few months to when I gave it another shot…pull it out of the back of my closet, now the liquid is almost totally clear (before it was slightly yellow) and it just smells like stale tobacco and something like Iso E, and just barely. Even dumping a handful onto my arm yielded very little in the way of scent.

Very disappointing, I'm considering contacting the company directly. My experience leads me to believe that perhaps my bottle was not stored properly before it got to my doorstep. Bummer.
4th March 2016

Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne

BLUF: Opens with lots of real orange, very nicely done citrus…lots of citrus. Citrus, citrus, and more citrus. You're going to smell like an orange, then shortly thereafter, like an orange and some wood. So much citrus, this will boost your immune system (statement not verified by FDA).

The first thing that I noticed upon application (aside from the orange) was effort. I get the feeling that a lot of effort (and citrus) went into this one to make it smell real. Too bad it disappears pretty quickly. To my nose, the orange here is not sweet, I'm honestly not exactly sure how to accurately define it, other than by a process of elimination. It's not sweet (I'm surprised to see tonka in the notes), it's not synthetic, and it's not floral. It's not a screamer, sillage-wise, I didn't get great longevity either…actually, it was quite poor. It's almost like the mist that is produced when tearing into an orange peel, plus some woods in the drydown.

It's one of the few fragrances designated “Unisex” that I happen to agree with. To my nose, it doesn't lean towards any particular sex. Neutral on this vitamin C bomb. Like most Atelier I've tried, smells pretty good, but way overpriced.
4th March 2016

1 Million by Paco Rabanne

BLUF: Highly synthetic, sweet, potent, busy, cloying. Not a fan.

On my skin One Million is something akin to cinnamon, candy, cheap leather, and even cheaper amber. It really does smell like some sort of over-seasoned, overcooked bubblegum that preteens stick under desks or on school bus seats. So much going on that I have a difficult time picking out individual notes.

I don't hate it, but it's not something that appeals to my senses at this point. It was also one of the difficult scents to remove from my skin that I've come across. Pass.
4th March 2016

Angel by Thierry Mugler

I can't really do a BLUF (bottom line up front) for this hot topic…too many moving parts. All I can say is that I'm on the “Love” side of the love/hate dichotomy. It's a clumsy, unapologetic, fun fragrance with a sense of humor. I imagine Rose Tyler would make the TARDIS smell of Angel.

Yes it's bold, but it doesn't strike me as “in your face”. Maybe it's the way my girlfriend wears it or her particular skin chemistry, but it's not offensive to my nose at all. I'm in my early 30's and she in her mid-20's, for reference.

My layman summary would be: a playful burnt caramel/honey/patchouli...the drydown being almost pure patchouli to my nose, with some sweetness. Maybe I'm partial because my girlfriend is stunning, sexy, and an absolute muse to me and this is her go to, but she wore this long before I became interested in the wide world of perfumery, and I loved it then as much as I do now.

Like many fragrances, over-applying is going to have a negative result…I can see that being the case here more so than with many other fragrances. I'd venture to say some women who wear Angel, might wear a little too much (we've all been guilty of this at some point). Longevity is off the charts, sillage is a bit less so but still above average. I wouldn't call it a full-blown gourmand honestly, but it's in that realm for sure. I don't get the cocoa/chocolate that many seem to. It is predominately caramel/honey with a lot of patchouli after the fact.

With the Angel hand cream, on top of the previously mentioned notes I get a bit of sweet urine mixed with fresh hay, but for whatever reason, it smells absolutely sexy to me. It's kind of embarrassing to read that back to myself, but this stuff just drives me mad, period.
4th March 2016

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

BLUF: A brilliant, unique, unforgettable green scent. At risk of sounding cliché, it's art. To date, this and L'Homme Libre are my favorite uses of violet (haven't tried Narciso for Him yet) although Fahrenheit Absolute & Parfum are up there too.

A genius offering from Dior that is in my top 3, a fragrance that I'll never be without. I don't subscribe to the “you can only wear this scent during that season” idea, but Fahrenheit does remind me of summer when I wear it…probably because people don't mow their lawns in New England during the winter. Yup, I'm there with the rest of the gas/grass crowd.

My personal take on it is this: The opening smells like the inside of a shed (yurt, in the case of my family) where the lawnmower, weed wacker, and tennis shoes that my Dad wore while mowing, are stored. A mix of petrol fumes, cut grass, and a bit of leather. There is a hint of something just barely sweet that peaks in and out over the life of the scent, but I don't get honeysuckle sweetness at all.

Longevity is moderate for me (6-7 hours) as is sillage.
Call my nose unrefined if you will, but I barely notice a difference between my bottles from 1999 and 2015, other than the newer bottle having better longevity.

No flankers come close to the original but Parfum and Absolute honor their forefather very well in their own beautiful way.
4th March 2016