Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

Reminds me of my youth in the ‘90s, when nearly everyone smoked, one thing or another, so this takes me back to a summer’s evening, laying with good friends round a campfire, snuggled up with a girl, all tipsy on cider, the smoke from our shared cigarette mingling with the perfume in her hair. Lovely stuff.

Tabac Original by Mäurer & Wirtz

The Eau de Cologne is better than the Eau de Toilette of the current formulation (I purchased both mine in Australia in 2022 for about $15 AUD each) - the EDC is far less cheap-smelling than the EDT, which I can't do at all on its own, far too screechy soapy/floral - however, the REAL trick is to first splash some EDC on, then spray the EDT over it - and WOWEE! - now you'll know why it's called TABAC! The smokiness of the two combined is extraordinary - rich, dark, complex, and European-smelling, if you know what I mean - really fabulous stuff, far transcending the sum of its parts.

Incidentally, I recently bought some vintage After Shave Lotion splash (in a set with miniature soap and shaving cream) from eBay (diagonal Tabac logo), and I have to say the vintage stuff was far superior - it had a creaminess to it that the modern stuff lacks, though the combination of the EDC and EDT layered comes close, just approaching from a slightly different point of view..

I'm also a big fan of the contemporary roll-on deodorant - very fresh and clean - and also the shaving cream. This was apparently George Harrison's favourite scent, back in the day - you can't get any cooler than that.

Rush by Gucci

I bought this for my wife after many years of her solely wearing Jungle l'Elephant by Kenzo, to the extent that she had gone completely "nose-blind" to it (and anyone who's smelled that will have a hard time believing it), and she wanted to try something new, and I'd read all the intriguing reviews of Rush so bought a 30ml bottle blind.

Our first thoughts were a bit "meh" - it was quite sweet, though not overly, and had a bit of Parma Violets (the English sweets) about it, slightly floral, definitely synthetic, but not in a bad way. I said to her, well, if you don't like it, we'll put it on eBay and get you something else.

But then later in the day, when the scent had all but worn off, I got a strange feeling of addiction, that I needed to smell it again, so I got nearer to her.

Then she didn't wear it the next day, as she was going to work, and again, I - weirdly - really missed it.

By the time she put it on the following day, I was truly addicted, and kept following her all around the house, catching glimpses of that sexy Rush haze. She's a smoker, so combined with the smell of cigarettes, I find it utterly irresistible. Thank God we persevered through our timid initial reactions. What a Rush!

Booze and Baccy by Captain Fawcett Limited

Thoroughly enjoyed. Long-lasting. Enjoyed the original Colonel scent. This is a hard-hitting, almost Kenzo L'Elephant version that beats the original into a cocked hat. Woof.

Santal 33 by Le Labo

Santal 33 is a thoroughly decent scent. I ordered a sample from Le Labo for £3.99, including delivery. Sprayed it on this morning, my wife was impressed, but there was something about it as it developed that seemed very familiar to me. Then it hit me, the cedar note, that is. For I get mostly cedar in this, I guess because it's Australian sandalwood, rather than the far more difficult to get Indian stuff, so the sandalwood doesn't really stand out for me. This is cedar all the way.

But what was that all-too-familiar cedar note, where did I know it from? Ah yes, the old familiar, Quorum Silver, currently available at about £10-15 a bottle, compared with Santal 33 at £120.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Well, that's marketing for you, Wills.

Yes, Quorum Silver is not quite as refined as Santal 33, but for the sake of £100, I think there's very little in it, though they do have slightly different accords. Try a sample of Santal 33, and buy a bottle of Quorum Silver, and see if you smell the same.

Lonestar Memories by Tauer


Lonestar Memories - fragrances like this are the reason I love fragrance, thank you, Andy Tauer.

When I first put this on, I smiled, and that is the power of perfumery, and what I heard Andy talk about on a youtube video recently, when he said he came to realise this was not about making fragrances to sell to make money, this was about touching people.

The first wild, strange, intangible burst I got from this, besides the leather, and goodness knows what else, there was just one note, just one note, that took me back to... back to... it was on the tip of my tongue, and my smile was beaming wide, what was it?

And then, bingo, it came to me - it was my dad's dental laboratory, and the smells of my childhood - my father was a dental technician, and a big fragrance fan (and I instantly knew I would have to get him a bottle of this for his upcoming 70th birthday) - it took me straight back to those happy times as a kid, helping him out in his lab at home, those intoxicating smells of the chemicals in his lab, never unpleasant in any way - in fact we always used to joke that he must have been getting high off of all those fumes! - but it took me straight back, and it made me smile, and for that I will be forever grateful, Mr Tauer.

On me, that final basenote lasts and lasts and lasts, literally an application in the morning will last into the next. I don't understand how anybody can be anything but mystified and stupefied at how this fragrance can so slowly and so subtly change and mutate from its brute opening to its beautiful soft, woodsy closing - it is nothing but the purist art from a pure artist, and all I can say is long live our sense of smell! I think of it as art for the nose. I mean, we have art for the eye, art for the ear, art for the mouth, why not art for the nose? WHY NOT ART FOR THE MEMORY, ART FOR THE FEELING! THUMBS UP!!!

Yohji Yamamoto pour Homme by Yohji Yamamoto

I bought a 10ml/0.34FlOz travel-sized bottle of this on ebay, advertised as "Yohji Homme" (to be fair to the guy, I don't think he realised, and has offered to exchange it) - so please note, this is NOT "Yohji Homme", as made famous in the Luca Turin review, this is "Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme" - a completely different kettle of fish, if you'll pardon the expression.

This is very linear, seems to stay on the same thing from start to finish, which is a vaguely boozy, watery aquatic nothing, really. It reminds me of a less interesting Baldessarini Del Mar Marbella (which in itself wasn't that interesting to begin with).

Vaguely pleasant/vaguely insipid, depending on your taste. Not one to revisit for me.

This bottle was imported by "Delphic HSE Solutions" to the UK, made in France. Not sure if it is a reformulation, as other reviews mention this was discontinued, but I think a fair few reviews of this I have seen elsewhere on the internet, as well as the Basenotes reviews of "Yohji Homme", may have had the two mixed up.

Understandable really, given the similarities of the names, and the bottles (something I think they may have changed now - a quick internet search shows this now comes in a rectangular-shaped bottle, whereas mine was the slim, tall "Yohji Homme" shaped one, but without "Yohji Homme" written at the top - photo submitted below).

Jack by Jack

This is a beautiful composition, refined like a Caron (reminds me a little of Le Troisieme Homme in its watery gentleness).

The lime and mandarin opening is fresh and beautiful, and present throughout but never overbearing. Marijuana is mentioned as a topnote on the Jack website, though it doesn't smell like any strain I'm familiar with(!), but rather a slightly sweet oudh-iness and an impression of an interesting character.

Through the middle and the drydown is the presence of something I can't quite put my finger on, which is intriguing, a slight... "Sourness" is not the right word, something languid in character, almost like the hug of a smiling, smartly-dressed uncle who's been drinking a little too early in the day!

I am hugely impressed with this fragrance, it has nothing to do with the notion of "celebrity fragrance", but is the work of a man (and a skilled team of others) with a genuine passionate love for fragrance. Give it a try!

I also recommend you read Richard's story of how he came to make this fragrance - a very entertaining and funny read, find it online.

Axe Java / Lynx Java by Axe / Lynx

Shares a note with Jazz by YSL - that spicy note in the opening. Jazz's version is much more refined, but reminds me a little of good old Lynx Java :)

Quorum Silver by Antonio Puig

Bang-for-buck King - five minutes in, it takes me back to the early 90s and my first forays into the wonders of men's deodorant: a memory of the exoticness of Lynx 'Java' comes back to me (I think it's called Axe in the US and possibly elsewhere).

But yes, a lovely bright cedar, with lots of herbals going on underneath, peppercorn, possibly a bit of mint at the start, the sourness of grapefruit, too.

For the first ten minutes, I can't get anywhere near my skin - it's too much! - I can only waft my nose over my arm from six inches away. Unrefined, synthetic to an extent, but a lovely and well-earned dry-down will greet you at the end of your day, warm woodsy ambers and RAAR!

Try it... you might like it :)

The Lion Cupboard by 4160 Tuesdays

It begins peppery. Peppery, with a backdrop of the gloopy Adriatic olive oil my auntie used to slather over us as kids on holiday in hot Croatian summers, to protect us from the sun, would you believe?

But there is a promise of just a little sweetness all the while, underneath, and an increasing murmur of a kind of mentholated frankincense that emerges with that sweetness.

This is lovely. It becomes warm, lovely and warm, just a hint of sweetness from the patchouli, never cloying, like a recently oiled, ancient piece of oak.

I have worn this several times before, and enjoyed it throughout the day (it has decent longevity), but never had time, until now, to sit, and study the composition - oh, how it increases one's enjoyment of a fragrance!

Ferris Bueller was right...

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it..."

The Lion Cupboard is the recreation of the smell of a hug from the perfumer, Sarah McCartney's, dad. It is evidently made with love, and projects that way. Wonderful stuff.

The Great Randello by 4160 Tuesdays

Beautiful! Can't stop sniffing my wrist...

This starts out very unusually, in the immediate opening, and I thought I perhaps wasn't going to like this one of Sarah McCartney's magnificent range of creations, but there was enough in the opening to hold my interest, and soon enough, a dark fruitiness began to emerge, which is at the heart of this unisex scent.

As it develops, it begins to take on a similar character to one of my favourites, 10 Corso Como, with echoes of the sandalwood and fruitiness used in that, but this is very much its own fragrance, with a deep, dark, raspberry/strawberry/toffee heart.

As Illyria says in her review, a delicious gourmand, but with nothing cloying or sickly sweet about it.

In short, wonderful stuff!

I highly recommend buying one of Sarah's taster packs. For £20 (if you're in the UK... she currently can't post abroad due to silly UK laws), you'll get an amazing variety of her scents, and all of those I have tried so far have made each day a delightful journey through a fragrance, all beautifully crafted, all unusual, all deliciously, non-stoppably sniffable.

Treat yourself, before the prices go up!

Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel

My wife bought this for me at Caracas Airport, a strange place to find a classic French fragrance. It had long been on my wish list, and I was not disappointed when she brought it home.

Such a superbly crafted, subtly blended fragrance. You know you're going to smell good whenever you put this on.

And yet, after a year or so of fairly regular wear, I became too accustomed to it. Was it really that great, after all? Was it a little too artificially, dare I say it, sickly sweet?

I persevered with it, but I had my doubts.

And then, this Wednesday, I was jogging along by the old canal on my break at work, sweating and looking shabby in my Brighton & Hove Albion football shirt and tracksuit bottoms, getting more and more bedraggled in the warm, late-summer rain, when I saw a Chinese man on the towpath up ahead of me in the distance.

As I got closer, I could see he was dressed smartly in a not-so-expensive suit, but he looked dapper enough. He was just standing there, holding an umbrella in the rain, staring at nothing in particular, contemplating the canal, as if he were waiting for the rain to stop. It was a curious sight to see, among the usual parade of joggers and cyclists and mothers with prams, and as I ran past him I caught his scent, and it was, undeniably, Chanel Pour Monsieur.

It smelled divine, sublime, and whenever I might find myself doubting this scent again, I will remember this Chinese man, with his suit and his umbrella in the rain, and I will know I have made the right choice to wear it again.

Thé Pour un Été by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I have just applied this on the train, travelling through Sussex on a cold, crisp bright English winter's morning. It is a couple of degrees below freezing outside, but I am wrapped up well inside the carriage, with the sun streaming through the windows, and all is right with the world.

When I breathe in The Pour Un Ete, it is as if I have just woken a first-class cabin in the midst of a long haul flight somewhere over Asia. An air hostess approaches with a small pot of piping hot jasmine tea, and lays a small vase of flowers on my tray table, and smiles as she bids me good morning.

The cabin is quiet, and I am enjoying the sun out of my window and the clear blue sky from above, with the occasional white puffy cloud dotted about here and there.

I close my eyes and return to my dreams for a while.

For me, there is nothing TOO feminine about this, and when I first smelled it, in a mix of samples of mens and womens fragrances, this definitely stood out as one I could wear. Gentlemen, give it a try.

Tam Dao Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm sandalwood, cedar, incense, drying down to a lovely ambergris creamy woody finish. The nasal equivalent of an early rise dawn adventure leading into a day of travel ending curled up by a fire with the one you love.

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent


Wow, I thought Azzaro PH was good (and it is), but this is its outrageous younger cousin - dirty, dirty, dirty!

I sprayed this on at Boots today (here in England), having sprayed Bleu de Chanel on my other wrist first, and nice as Bleu may be, I'm afraid it cannot hope to compare with the downright animalistic, hirsute, languid sexiness of Kouros.

Americans - grow a pair and spray this loud and proud!

Update - 26th June 2015 - I just bought the new reformulation in the bottle with white rim on shoulders and bottom, and the sillage is gone; after 6 hours it's a skin scent. Gonna try and get my hands on the old stuff before it's gone forever.

Update 2 - 23rd July 2020 I have a 90s formulation and it's OUTRAGEOUS!

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette by Chanel

This is perfectly pleasant, not a bad everyday go-to for when you're feeling a little uninspired as to what to wear on an average day at work, or an evening meal out. I agree with others that it favourably compares to Armani Mania; it's done with a little more quality, I'd say.

However, the trouble is I sprayed this on in Boots today, just to try, and on my other wrist I sprayed some Kouros.

And there is, I'm afraid, simply no contest between the two. Once again, the past wins out over the present. But that's not Chanel's faute of course... 7/10

Agua de Colonia Concentrada by Alvarez Gomez

It's a bright, bright yellow sunny spring morning. You wake up with a smile, and the air is cool with the promise of later warmth. You put on your lightest clothes, splash on a load of Agua de Colonia and head out to greet the day.

Passers-by smile as they see you, you stop for coffee and a slice of lemon cake. Geranium flowers hang down over the table where you sit, yellow bees hum lazily through a lavender bush by your side. You close your eyes and smile, and let the warm sun play on your face. Today is going to be a good day.

I find it hard to feel melancholy wearing this scent. Yes, it's not so refined or delicate as others, but it possesses a rugged, Mediterranean mascufeminine charm that will just make your day go by better. As the great Catalunyan Manuel Vazquez Montalban wrote, in his book, 'Offside', "your pen should be Mont Blanc, your cologne should be Alvarez Gomez".

And it's cheap as chips too...

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

Sickly, sickly, sickly. Literally makes myself and my wife want to be sick. How strange, all the positive reviews! Have tried it twice now. Never again.

Who would have thought people would have different noses?(!) ;o

New-York by Nicolaï

Whenever I open my bathroom cupboard, amongst the melange of smells that are released, the amber notes of New York are what jump out at me, above all the other scents in there, and they are the notes I find myself drawn to every time.

Sometimes I can resist, and will find something else to wear. Mostly, I cannot.

My nickname at university was Nicolai. My favourite city is New York. This was made for me. I will spend my lifetime drowning in its beauty.

Kenzo Power by Kenzo

Flower/Power. A fragrance of opposites, a floral for men (though hardly a new idea). I get some lovely menthol notes after the top has gone away, but I think it's generally a bit much for me, too much going on, I've never been able to stomach a stew. But this has enough interest in it for a thumbs neutral. Too "modern synthetic" for me.

Dior Homme by Christian Dior

Further to my previous review, some friends of ours came round for dinner the other night, and I'd left this in the bathroom on the windowsill, as an "objet d'art", more than anything else.

Anyway, midway through dessert, the girl from the couple goes to the loo, and has sprayed this on herself, and comes back, saying to my wife, "Oh my God, does he smell like this all the time? Can I sleep with him?"

Granted, we'd all had a few drinks. But that's the effect this can have on some people.

Oh, and sadly, my wife said no.

Nicole Farhi Homme by Nicole Farhi

I can see this holds appeal for others, and I really want to like it, I do. However, it just smells too "medically" on my skin, but clearly that's not a problem for others, so give it a go.

Also agree it would work best as a wintertime daytime frag, imagine coming off the piste, removing your snow goggles, and settling down to a nice Irish coffee and a croque monsieur in the apres ski hut, with this wafting around your nostrils.

I found this (on sale, 10 pounds!) at Tesco's (a large chain of supermarkets in England), and thought it sounded promising (and a bargain), so gave it a try. The drydown does get less "medically" but it takes about 3 hours to do so on my skin.

Was going to give it a middling thumb thing, but as the review has gone on, it now definitely gets a thumbs up! Almost "mentholly" in its freshness on the dry down, which gives the impression of "coldness".

Oh, I do like making up words ;o)

Infusion d'Homme by Prada

I initially HATED this, far too soapy, medically so, but after drydown it reveals itself to have an incredibly delicate floral undertone, and smells clean and beautiful, like a newborn baby boy. You need short, precisely-coiffured hair to wear this scent. Not quite for me, but I would almost change my whole image for this little beauty.

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