Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Excellent release from L'Artisan. After a few so and so fragrances, especially the austere and boring Timbuktu, this house is right back on track with Fou d'absinthe and Dzongkha. By no means an instant crowdpleaser, Dzongkha is an extremely dry and somewhat demanding scent. Lovely pale iris opens the blend that progresses into deep spices, tea and muted smoke. All notes with significant dryness as their common denominator. The drydown, that lingers forever, is a woodsy leather with subtle incense - truly exotic. Like many reviewers attest, it is a very evocative blend - romantic as in breathtaking nature and stunning vistas. This may sound a bit cliche - but There is defintely a "zen" to this fragrance. A mellow calm and without even the slightest hint of superficiality.Give Dzongkha a serious try/wear, and don´t let a bad or perplexing first impression scare you of. For those willing to give this eau de toilette some time, chances are it´ll be a very rewarding experience. Simply superb.

Daim Blond by Serge Lutens

Daim Blond does come across as very feminine smelling on a strip or from the bottle, but in fact it works very well on my skin. This is an amazing fragrance but waaay too light! Not much to add about the smell itself that hasn´t already been covered by earlier reviewers - other than that it is a very evocative scent - dreamlike and mesmerizing. When experiencing it I imagine a large piece of the finest suede delicatly sprinkled with jasmine flowers and ripe, fuzzy apricots. The end result is just fantastic, tender and completely unlike perfume as we are used to it. It is the olfactory representation of an idealized scent of human skin - musky but clean and inviting. One of many Lutens fragrances that are the testament of the resident genius in this house.

Gris Clair by Serge Lutens

Extremely different from most Lutens scents, Gris Clair is somewhat brutal, quite one- dimensional and very masculine. It definitely breaks the mold regarding what we´ve come to expect from this house. Neither ambigous or an oriental-candied fruit-honeyed-sweetness-meltdown, Gris Clair is a modern, sharp and quite dark take on lavender. The lavender has a clear metallic edge to it that is very special - reminds me a bit of the small spice sachets that grandma had lying around drawers with linen. But it´s also easy to argue that Gris Clair in fact is a stronge move toward the mainstream. It´s miles less original than most Lutens fragrances, and elements of it are extremely reminiscent of widely available stuff like Lanvin L´Homme or Rocabar from Hermès. Perhaps this is the route many niche houses will be taking? At least Fredric Malle´s Outrageous and many of the latest L'Artisans seem to indicate such a development. To conclude, Gris Clair is a cool (literallly)and macho spiced juice with some serious bite. Mellow and subtle it is not, but an accesible lavender that'll work great in a professional business enviroment assuming it is applied with moderation. A nice fragrance on it´s own but only okay granted it´s maker and niche status.

Chypre Rouge by Serge Lutens

The keyword for Chypre Rouge is patience. I´m quite certain that most of the negative reviews stem from it´s opening and topnotes, which are indeed pretty bizarre. Celery and curry immediately come to mind with the initial blast. Dior´s Eau Noire is in the same category - strangely herbal and with clear kitchen spice, perhaps some thyme as well? Anyhow, after half an hour or so what remains is a pleasant amber with a piney touch that ´s real nice and wearable.I also pick up something reminiscent of vinyl (maybe the beeswax?)that gives CR an abstract edge - very Comme des Garcons-ish. But yeah, to reach that phase you´ll have to endure a good deal of quirky strangeness - for me the wait is worth it, but I have full understanding for those who don´t agree.

Fahrenheit 32 by Christian Dior

The comparison to Fleur de Male must be made - both are heavy on vanilla and neroli in combination. But where the Gaultier is a balanced, original and cool release - Fahrenheit 32 just seems redundant and frankly, a bit cheap. On my skin I just can´t get by the feeling of a highly artificial product. Something created in a lab between washing powders and stain removing liquids. As for instance Comme Des Garcons has proved time and again, artificiality doesn´t need to be bad per se. But in Fahrenheit 32 there isn´t enough originality or other redeeming stuff going on to justify it. The vanilla and orange blossom smell awfully synthetic and the whole brew has a strength (nuclear!) and offensiveness that´s just a bit too much too handle.It also shares that sharp "floral aggression" of Geir Ness and Tommy T, giving it a ridiculously clean feeling. The irony is, it´s so strong it comes across more like some kind of industrial strength cleaner for warehouses or something...Nevertheless it is quite different from most of the stuff coming out today which in itself is worth some praise. But at the end of the day a definite thumbs down. Hardly worthy of sharing shelves with Eau Sauvage or even the original Fahrenheit for that matter.

Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens

I also belong to the scarce group of fans of this Lutens. Definitely not one of this house´s biggest crowdpleasers. But Santal Blanc is such a pleasant wear! It sort of shares some qualities with L'Artisans Bois farine, both have a dry, almost flourlike accord. The Lutens however is seriously complimented by cinnamon, pepper and other balsamic ingredients. The sandalwood isn´t a standard one (obviously) but instead a lighter, mellow one. Drier than the creamy variations found in for instance Trumper´s. But after all this is a Lutens fragrance, and there´s plenty of sweetness in there balancing the dry, blonde sandalwood. There´s no information about cumin being part of the pyramid but to my nose there´s a clear cumin note as well, This might however be the fenugreek that other reviewers have mentioned. I suspect that it is this spicy edge that makes Santal Blanc an aquired taste. To me, as a whole, it is an amazing fragrance with so much going for it. Sillage might not be awesome, but longevity is - won´t leave until you shower. Overall a cool and original winner from Serge!

Black by Roberto Cavalli

After the first three catastrophic releases for men, Cavalli´s Black is big step forward. By no means a particularly orginial fragrance, but instead a very plesant one. Basically a subtle and rustic amber with strong notes of dry lavender and a noticeable white pepper. Very italian in it´s overall feel. Initially the longevity may seem limited, but Black sticks around for quite a while but without major sillage. The late drydown is in fact it´s most rewarding stage, This is where the tonka bean in the base steps up and sweetens the deal significantly. To those that might feel Caron´s Pour un Homme is a tad old fashioned and stuffy Roberto Cavalli Black is a nice alternative. Of course with such a trade what you´ll gain in wearability you´ll lose in complexity and quality.

Lacoste Elegance by Lacoste

Along with Baldessarini Ambré Lacoste Elegance is one of many signs that the mainstream fragrance licence holders like Procter & Gamble are finally moving in the right direction, albeit terribly slowly. Elegance is an almost embarrasingly simple amber scent with a semi-gourmand base. Not very good but certainly no disaster like Essential etc. If P&G keeps up this development for another 2-3 scents we´ll end up with something on par with Lacoste Booster.Let´s hope they do.

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Avignon by Comme des Garçons

I Recently purchased Avignon together with Jaisalmer and Quarzazate from this fine series. It´s impossible not to admire CdG for their great integrity and artistic approach to making fragrances. This was especially true before the sweet-series and the recent guerillas, which are fine as well, but a bit too mainstream. No other house (fairly large that is) could or would put out a series like this. There´s such a leisure cool and above all strong sense of luxury to the concept of exploring variations of a theme such as incense in 5 different premium fragrances. No Demeter fragrance library here, these are all standalone scents with great character. The different nuances balancing the incense range from sweet to woody, smokey and smoulderingly spicy. Avignon is definitely the most straightforward "churchey" one of the lot. The comparison to Etro´s Messe de Minuit must be made. They are certainly similar, but I would argue that Avignon is far superior and above all much more wearable. MdM stays with the gothic theme during it´s entire progression, never leaving that catholic mass groove. Whereas Avignon is significantly softened by the vanilla and chamomille that appear quickly alongside the frankincense and myrrh. The subtle vanilla also prevents it from becoming to cold and musty. Avignon could be described as a mix of MdM and Gucci Rush, with the originality of the first and the pleasant powdery wearability of the latter.

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Ouarzazate by Comme des Garçons

If Jaisalmer is the most challenging and Avignon the most eccentric in the Incense series, Quarzazate is their playful cousin. Carefree, light and very easy to wear. There´s a strong bergamot note in the opening that stays with the fragrance during it´s evolution. This adds an orange like dimension to it and also makes it smell a bit like a hot cup of tea. Additionally the incense is much more muted here than in the others. I partly agree on the comparison to Gucci pour homme. They definitely share a dry cedar base, but there is very little pine or smoke in this one. More of a fizzy, slightly herbal and optimistic addition to this excellent range of CdG´s. Not great sillage but stays on the skin for a long time.

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Jaisalmer by Comme des Garçons

For me, Jaisalmer is easily the most challenging fragrance in this series. I suspect there´s a good amount of raw vetiver in there. A note that with it´s earthy and soily qualities certainly is not a favourite of mine. I do however like this fragrance anyway. Like the others have pointed out, it is intensely smokey and spicy. I too get images of campfires and charred pieces of wood when wearing it, and I like it! Jaisalmer is intensely dry, a bit dirty and very masculine, would not want to smell this on my girlfriend. Like many CdG´s it is an aquired taste, so don´t buy blind. It´s siblings, Quarzazate and Avignon are mucher safer bets if you´re into incense and want a cool avantgarde approach to it. Jaisalmer´s staying power outlasts both of those easily though.

Armani Attitude by Giorgio Armani

! Disclaimer! - No offense to any fans of this brand: But if the name Armani still conjures up luxury, creativity and timeless elegance in your head, then chances are, unfortunately, that you are in fact living in 1989. Can't really think of a bigger sell-out designer brand, especially in the fragrance and cosmetics section the last decade. There's simply no limit to the kinds of crap that they will put in their gift boxes to sell the below average juices. So far I've seen t-shirts (but always with the word parfum added - God forbid anyone actually would get a 100% "real" t-shirt), electronic alarm clocks, cheap plastic cuff links, and the last one - silicone i-Pod covers. Ok, maybe someone actually wants all that stuff, but it's becoming painfully obvious that the fragrances just aren't cutting it by themselves anymore. It has to be said that this mainly goes for the Emporio Armani diffusion label, but still... On a positive note Attitude sports a very good looking black flacon. Unfortunately the hinge mechanism that holds the cap is worthless, as countless people have already testified on the boards. But before this review gets too shallow, let's focus on the juice. It's a Diet B*Men. An anorexic cousin if you will, of Mugler´s pleasant woody/licorice- themed male fragrance.Ironically, that far superior brew is getting discontinued - sigh... Did I mention that Attitude sports an impressive longevity as well, 35 minutes approximately…The worst part of all of this is, that with the Privé line (expensive and very hard to get) it's obvious that the house of Armani is indeed still very capable of producing high quality, rich and original fragrances. This kind of dualistic cynicism, where the mainstream is served hastily put together junk sold mainly through the name is just saddening. I mean, who will seriously remember City Glam in 10 years? Do try the Privé line though if you have the opportunity, especially Privé Bois d'Encens is terrific.I am very aware of the tremendous impact and importance that Giorgio Armani had upon the world of fashion during the 80´s. But as the Dylan song goes - The Times They Are A-Changin'. As far as I'm concerned, at least in the world of fragrances this house is over.

Nicole Farhi Homme by Nicole Farhi

Recently sampled this very hard to find fragrance. I do understand the Safari comparison (obviously a eucalyptus connection), but there is another juice out there even more similar to Nicole Farhi Homme - Issey Miyake L'Eau Bleue Pour Homme. They share the same sharp, astringent opening and that slightly sour, herbal, woody thing going on. I guess that doesn´t sound too good, but it actually works great, creating a complex impression, almost like a cold forest. The tea tree is easy to detect like the others pointed out but I think the fragrance would have benefited from a bit of softening of that particular note. Personally I associate that specific smell with medicinal anti-acne products.It has to be said though, Nicole Farhi is a very interesting and abstract fragrance. Was greatly surprised by it´s avant-garde presence - cool!

1881 Black by Cerruti

Upon application Cerruti Black immediately reminded me of the original Burberry (the one with the silver cap, formerly known as London). And they certainly share a sticky, synthetic, sweet vibe and an intense mossy feel. I kind of enjoy it in the Burberry but it gets out of hand in this one. Especially that artificial marzipan note goes haywire on me. I did however notice that it works extremely well on some guys, making it one of those "chameleon" colognes that are impossible to judge without trying it on your on skin. On my friend it just smelled warm, clean and projected very strongly. In other words worth a try - results may vary...

Hypnôse Homme by Lancôme

Not bad at all. Familiar territory for most of us as this is mainly based on lavender and vanilla. The fragrance opens with a pungent blast of cardamom. Then the lavender does come on very sharp and strong, but eventually mellows out during the long amber/vanilla drydown. Hypnôse Homme is actually a bit reminiscent of Miracle for men as well, which is kind of cool out of a house continuity perspective. If in the mood for a spicy, fresh and potent oriental, then give this one a go. Clive Owen is a cool guy by the way (he´s the "face" for Hypnôse).

cK In 2U Him by Calvin Klein

Kudos to the CK-people for extraordinary packaging on this one. The In 2U bottle surely is an eye-catcher and very good looking in it´s modern coolness. Sadly the juice is below average as one has come to expect from this house nowadays. Boring, artificial semi-oriental that doesn´t know where to go. Kind of powdery, kind of cocoa-ish, not a good composition. And a fleeting one on top of that. Pass.

Aoud Lime by Montale

As the earlier reviews indicate, Aoud Lime hardly leaves anyone neutral. This is definitely a strong and somewhat agressive fragrance with a sharp personality. Can´t really think of anything even remotely resembling it. My experience with oud is also very limited, but I certainly enjoy it in YSL´s M7. And after sampling a few of the Montales M7 seems to be true to the naure of this pungent wood. Aoud Lime becomes something completely different though. The sharp lime combined with the smoky and semi-sweet woods creates a dry, herbaceous and medicinal aura. The dryness is further accentuated by the strong iris and organic sandalwood. The sillage is a killer - will take over a small room in no time, so be gentle on the trigger. Overall a very cool and unusual fragrance. Can imagine it working extremely well on the right femme fatale as well.

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

Terre d'Hermès certainly is appreciated by many basenoters and there has been plenty of discussion regarding it on the boards. Personally I find it hard to form a distinct opinion. It´s just so and so. Not bad at all, but definitely not groundbreaking or very desirable either. The broad shouldered and proud looking flacon however is excellent, as always with this house. I strongly feel that this theme was done better with Cartier´s Declaration, that also used a tad of cumin (just like the first Hermès) for an added dangerousness. If I´m not misstaken Ellena was the creator of that one too, which would certainly explain the similarities.TdH is mainly a grapefruit/vetiver combo to my nose. The slightly acidic citrus works well with the earthy grass and that mineral note that sounded like fancy copywriting at first is definitely lurking in there. It creates a salty soiliness making the scent stand out from many other fresh juices of today.Longevity is decent compared to general stuff, but superb compared to several others from this particular house.Certainly worth a try. I can see how this can become a easily worn everyday staple scent for some. I´ll stick to the original Bulgari pour homme for that purpose.

Versace l'Homme by Versace

Foetidus´s review is very accurate. Versace´s l'Homme really epitomizes how brilliant mainstream designer fragrances once were. This is so well blended that it is hard to pinpoint the individual notes. It does start with some pleasant citrus and eventually settles down to a semi-sweet, mossy, herbal and highly masculine base. Lasts forever and the progression is flawless, with each hour a new great nuance of the scent is revealed. L'Homme slightly reminds me of Dunhill Edition, but less sweet and superior overall.Balanced, full of character, subtle yet decisive - this IS bottled elegance. Do get it quick before it dissapears completely. 10 out of 10.

Fleur du Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

Excellent modern oriental take on orange blossom. Classic Gaultier level of exuberance and lavishness. Therefore perhaps not best suited for high level board meetings or office use. Instead, wear this to a fun summernight out with good friends.Although it certainly shares some basenotes with the original, FdM had plenty of merit of it´s own. It´s warm and spicy but also has a certain "cool" that makes it perfectly wearable in hot weather. Less projection than Le Male, but equal stellar longevity, stays on your skin until you wash it off.A modern, eccentric, self confident neroli for urban hipsters - good stuff.

L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Clean, subtle and boring(!) launch from the mainstream house that I respect the most. With fragrances like M7, Rive Gauce and Opium on their resume L`Homme inevitably seems ike a major sellout and blatant attempt to cash in on the conformistic scent market of today. Coming from some other house L´Homme could easily be described as a nice, clean reinterpretation of Dolce & Gabbana PH. But in the light of YSL´s rich history and heritage this new release just serves as a sad reminder of a business in deep crisis. Let´s really hope they pull themselves together...

Burberry London for Men by Burberry

I was pretty excited to try this since Burberry has released some very decent scents in the past. I quickly decided that London will not join my list of those. Fresh and aquatic it ain´t, which in itself deserves some kudos in this day and age. But unfortunately there is something off putting in the heartnotes, something sour and slightly vegetal, almost like rotten leaves. Perhaps these are the alleged tobacco leaves mingling with the port wine? Also the staying power and sillage is minimal, so even if you do dig the scent this is a negative factor. The flacon is pretty cool though, the use of the plaid textile is nicely done and reminiscent of Hermès´s Rocabar.

Ambré by Baldessarini

Baldessarini Ambré is basically Boss Bottled with a dash of amber and in a better looking bottle. Nothing new here in other words and hardly a competitor with excellent niche ambers such as L'artisans or Lutens. Just like Boss Bottled it is a great choice for office wear and other everyday situations though. The subtle apple and vanilla combo is simply very hard to dislike.

Trussardi Inside Man by Trussardi

With Inside Trussardi continue their tradition of excellent packaging and bottle design. Sadly the quality of the juice keeps deteriorating with each release. Inside is basically a Moschino Uomo? ripoff . A bit more synthetic and with much crappier longevity though. The pyramid seems completely wrong compared to the actual scent. Like the Moschino it´s more about cedar, musk and with some toned down fresh lavender. Not a bad scent altogether, but get Uomo? instead, a better , stronger and more balanced execution on the theme.

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