Shifty Bat

Encre Noire à l'Extrême by Lalique

Dirty English takes off the biker leather and sits down by the hearth fire. Definitely has a bit of old school church/temple about it with the dry wood and resins combo. Feels like it should be thick, tarry, and cloying but it disperses well so the notes separate enough off of skin. I don't see this getting much use in the Summertime unless I'm camping but it's performing great in Winter and has a very comfy feel about it. A welcome addition to my family.

Michael Kors for Men by Michael Kors

Plummy, honeyed tobacco. Love the elemi note. I gifted this to my father a couple years before he passed and now I have the same bottle to remember him by. Honestly he pulled it off better.

Whiskey Reserve by Bath and Body Works

Easily the most impressive B&BW release for men since Oak. Speaking of which, there is oak listed in the notes for this one. Stick to what you know, I guess. Reserve doesn't change much during its stay but it sure does Last. I would've much preferred a woodier or even mossier base to the almost cloying coumarin/tonka thing that every house is doing these days but what keeps me interested here is the sour apple top that somehow remains throughout the wear. I have always loved Nicole Miller for Men (I was wearing it when I bought this) but have also always been frustrated with how quickly the top dissolves. Fans of NM may very well enjoy this in a similar way, though it lacks the leathery mossy depth of the other. All in all a swell scent from a bath products outfit, and it lasts all day.

Escada pour Homme Light Silver Edition by Escada

I'm not losing it! - Reviews are disappearing. This used to have far more, including a perfume counter boyfriend anecdote, a comparison to warm towels, and, well, My review, which in short basically said I like the top and love the drydown of original Escada whereas the inverse is true for the Silver version. I am quite fond of the apple note.

Habanera by Hové Parfumeur

I Will buy this Tobacconist!
(Monty Pythoners unite)

Habanera may not have the delicious aldehydes of vintage Tabac but it sure is rich. It is not nearly as foody or busy as some other scents that try to capture the Cuban cafe scene, but it sure is pleasant. It sits right between Knize Ten and Commodity's Whiskey, if that puts in perspective. Simple and effective.

Cold Cave X Blackbird - Death by Blackbird

Must Love Sage.
This one opens up like pine or fir nettles because the sage note seems demure at first but ends up riding out every other aspect of the perfume. And it's not a short ride - two sprays of this will haunt you like a poltergeist until your next shower. Next in line is the leather - not old, tanned or cured leather but more the suedey type you can find at craft stores. The oud is the only part I find problematic, because it does lend a syrupy, resinous, medicinal tint to this pitch liquid, and I think sandal may have worked better, but you know supply and all that. All in all I am surprised this was the co-creation of a darkwave band, because the ingredients are of sound quality and the performance is stellar. Grab your smudge sticks, strap on your favorite biker jacket, and get ready to banish some demons, because Ghost Rider has been released again.

Booster by Lacoste

Very pleasant, albeit kind of weird stuff. I m not terribly fond of eucalyptus and certainly don't wish to smell like a bag of mothballs, but Booster and Body Kouros are the chosen few that turn Strange into Lovely. If you added orange zest and fresh, green patchouli to this recipe it would be the most invigorating designer scent of all.

Horse by For Strange Women

Horse basically attempts to recreate the scent of a barn without all the animal refuse, and to this extent I would say it is a success. Luca Turin once mentioned that hay absolute could be a fragrance of its own because it is so multifaceted. This notion puts it on par with sandalwood. The base has a bit of vintage English Leather to it but the top isn't nearly as bright, lacking the citrus and aldehydes. The clover is a nice touch, adding a sort of Springey,sticky and sweet texture which is very subtle. I am not usually one for oil-based scents but I would call this a winning combination. if you want to smell like Samuel Smith's famous oatmeal stout in a freshly-stocked paddock I have good news for you.

PS by Paul Sebastian

Samsara EDT as a shaving foam for men.
"But can men wear yellowy florals?" you ask.
I wear this, Samsara, and Xeryus, so I'd say there is no line to be drawn.
PS is basically a classic musk like Royall Muske or vintage Old Spice without the trademark bay leaf note, and smells to me the way forsythia looks. It's pretty charming.

Duc de Vervins by Houbigant

Van Cleef and Hayman show you around their green lemon grove and adjacent lavender farm. The old trees on the property perimeter are old, twisted, and covered in moss. The lawn was just trimmed and the sunlight is filtering through the leaves of the grove. Perhaps you are sipping a Limoncello on ice. Good moods only.

Maxim's pour Homme by Maxim's

I finally got around to trying this via a shipping accident and am glad I did. Maxim's is like the version of Hammam Bouquet that it's currently acceptable for a man to wear because, while quite floral and woody, it boldly and comfortably exudes a bit of 'lower body stink.' The civet Really makes this formulation pop for me in a Jules kind of way, in that it's a little gross or upsetting but all the more intriguing for it. The opening volley makes it out to be a powerhouse but it remembers its manners after a few minutes.

Gatsby by Pacoma

I am trying to discern the bitter, herbal scent in the top of Gatsby.It reminds me of the Laurel in JHL, or perhaps linden blossom or sage, or maybe even spoilage over time. All I can say for certain is the opening is an old fashioned (think '77-'83) sort of stodgy herbal-amber blend a la Wall Street which eventually fades into a mix of sandal and honey, which then lasts all day, like a space shuttle jettisoning it initial fuel reserve. Like Lauder for Men it's not going to smell contemporary but it will smell well built, well conceived, and will last quite a long time. For those of us holdout weirdos that actually enjoy the hybridized herbal-Orientals of yesteryear Gatsby is some certifiably good stuff.

Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur by Pierre Cardin

Must Love Vanilla

With a base consisting mostly of vanilla, amber, benzoin, and tonka, PCpM smells like mossy, caramelized sugar. This was probably created just moments before the sweaty, animalic macho bombs came to take over the disco era and boy's club business end of the 80's. It doesn't smell dirty - just a tad burnt. If you dropped your orange creamsicle onto a green, smoldering shag carpet it would smell something like this. That being said, I quite like it, though it can become wearisome (especially if over-applied), as the aforementioned base is relentless.

My bottle is quite old, late 80's or early 90's as best I can tell. I can not recall what I felt when I sampled the current formula, as it was close to a decade ago at a mall Perfumania.

For historical purposes this is certainly a must-try, as it was an obvious and traceable influence on things to come (Looking at You, S.T. Dupont Signature).

Statement by Etienne Aigner

This is the precise median of Chanel's Platinum Egoiste and vintage Safari. It is a sharp, bitter floral-herbal scent with a big leather base and a handsome dose of barbershop soapiness that smooths out into quite a beauty after the first phase. What a coincidence they all were released within a year and a half of each other. Every Aigner scent I have tried so far has been, for lack of a better word, a copy scent of something new but manages to smooth out the creases while somehow reducing the cost, and Statement is no exception. If you like soapy, spicy musks like Giorgio Red, Montana, and Royall Muske and the bitter-clean herbal scents from the early Nineties like Sud Est, Burberry for Men, XS, and the old Armani, this one is worth checking out, because it was well-built and fairly overlooked, so the aftermarket price isn't too bad.

Samouraï by Alain Delon

This smells like 2/3 Escada Silver Light's fruit, laundry musk, and vanilla, and 1/3 Azzaro's Visit, especially the peppery notes. I like both of those blue boys and I like Samourai. We're breaking no new ground with this one but it's an easy reach for a lax, comfortable scent that's flexible as bamboo in terms of versatility.

Eros Flame by Versace

Have you ever wished Xeryus Rouge had a Vanilla Edition? Neither have I. Eros Flame serves as a sort of poster child for the lack of available or fashionable base notes and what has filled the vacuum in the absence of anything of substance. It seems like most designer scents are relegated now to vanilla, tonka, Iso E Super, treemoss, fake vetiver, and 'woods.' As a result tonka is very big right now, but it's very limiting, in this case yawn-inducing, and this iteration of the Eros line adds nothing new to the discourse of scent, except that instead of just being 'safe' it pushes into 'offensive' territory with its cloying abuse of awful bases. To newcomers and club-goers and carefree teens I am sure this is an easy grab but scents like this are precisely why I own so many old ones. The kids may think I smell old but I think this just smells gross.

Miss Dior Rose N'Roses by Christian Dior

Another groovy potpourri rose.

While I wish there was a bit more going on at the tail end of this fragrance (some patchouli would have helped the faceting, for instance), this remains a reliably happy rose scent, although I think the geranium is almost present enough to deserve dual-billing. Rose N'Roses will not surprise you but it probably won't let you down either.

Toy 2 by Moschino

Great news! Your favorite budget shampoo now comes in EDP form!

Progression: Juicy -> Breezy Floral -> Quiet Synthetic Base

Toy 2 smells like it is peer-pressuring you to day-drink sweet white wine with it. Perhaps that is the point? Association is a strong seller.

Eternity for Men Intense by Calvin Klein

Who the hell green-lit this? It smells as hollow and uninvolved as the Clean scents they sell at Sephora. If you were honestly (and I emphasize -honestly-) trying to sell me an emboldened take on the original, already strong, Eternity I would be sadistically curious. This has absolutely nothing to do with Eternity. It is not even a distant cousin. Nor is it intense, It is a bitter, smokey, two-dimensional affair which seems like it is trying to replicate fire smoke (effort, woodsmanship, and actual fire not included).
Maybe some will be into this but for my money it's downright gross in addition to being embarrassingly weak.

Eternity Air for Men by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein's ever-expanding repertoire almost always involves roping the buyer in with the first few minutes with something exotic or uncommon and petering out at the base, perhaps hoping its buyership won't possess the attention span to care or notice for that long. They have made some great releases over the years, but every one since CK One has floundered at the tail end.
Eternity Air may as well be a Tommy Bahama fragrance, as it smells nearly identical to earlier explored waters. That being said it is refreshingly pleasant for what it is; a saline, ozonic lavender aquatic with a hint of seaweed. For those who like oceanic-fresh but feel that Kenzo is too challenging and Horizon is too old-school, I suppose. I can at least say it is potent without being screechy and smells gentler than most of the house's recent releases. Certainly nothing to write home about, but not really bad in any way.

Eternity Now for Men by Calvin Klein

I have no idea why this was released under the Eternity moniker, as it bears no resemblance whatever to the original or its other flankers. It is a candied, sweet mixed drink type of scent reminiscent of l'Artisan's Batucada with slightly better (albeit less natural-feeling) performance. I swear I smell a surprising hint of Szechuan pepper a la Opium PH, which adds a bit of depth. If you want to smell like a Tiki party at a Thai restaurant, be my guest. Not a scent to be taken too seriously, Now is fun and lighthearted, and frankly not terrible - just be sure to brush and floss after wearing.

Reveal Men by Calvin Klein

By rights I should hate this, but I am a sad-sack sucker for boozy suede. I have become blue in the face from saying that CK's men's line would benefit immensely from more natural-smelling ingredients (CK Man could have been great)but then again it just wouldn't feel like 'them.'
If you, dear reader, can entertain and enjoy the idea of La Captive pear brandy spilled over a new and freshly-warmed pair of suede sneakers, then Reveal might be worth your time. Many will assuredly find it sickeningly sweet, some too synthetic, but I am too wasted on liqueur to care and my shoes know the way home.

Calvin Klein by Calvin Klein

CK's original foray into scent evokes (to my nose) fond memories of Houbigant's Raffinee, the original Nicole Miller, and Aramis 900, here meaning I am quite fond of its construction. It is mossy and ripe, strong yet versatile, and just plain good. This company dipped their toe in the waters by imitating classics and nailing it (see Calvin [Blue])and then went Calone-crazy instead of keeping a good thing going. While I do enjoy vintage Eternity, CK One, and a few others to some extent, it feels like after the flagship male and female scents and Obsession that the company tried to go either too abstract or too minimalist; It is understandable that the firm wanted to pioneer the future by divorcing themselves from the past, but I do wish their classical phase lasted just a bit longer.

Jules by Christian Dior

Jules smells to me like an even mixture of Leonard Pour Homme, Gambler by Jovan, and Givenchy gentleman, in roughly a 3/2/1 parts ratio. So much spicy and indolic flower usage that, when paired with all that leather, smells of cinnamon. The basil and laurel together clearly state "made in the 80's". The galbanum and cumin play a round of "fresh cop, dirty cop." There is quite a lot going on, but it is a comparatively quiet scent with more of a come-hither vibe than a mating call. Sure, I wish it had a little more rev to its engine but the smell itself is enjoyable enough to forgive it.

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