Smellyicious

Aramis by Aramis

In 10 or so years, once everyone’s grandpa or dad from a certain generation is dead and buried, Aramis will rise again.

It will be considered brave, bold, daring, avant-garde and oh so masculine.

The industry will turn upside down. Blue shower gel fragrances will be mocked, smelling “like my dad” duh.

And it will be just.


The Dreamer by Versace

A “cruder version of Tommy”? Well, I guess if you live long enough you hear it all.

The Dreamer is, in a word, magnificent. And I’ll leave it at that.


Des Clous pour une Pelure by Serge Lutens

I’m mostly endorsing this one. It looks like a summer scent (blue liquid) but it might be better suited for spring and fall. There’s a warmth to this one, and it’s comforting.

That said, the orange and clove combo is nice (shades of Artisan Pure) on a warm day, and the quality is top notch.

Finding the right time to wear might be challenging. I understand why people would associate this with potpourri or candles. It’s a little off the beaten track. But it’s Serge Lutens after all. His whiffs are better then some home runs.

Neutral for now.


Artisan Pure by John Varvatos

This, friends, is what we call a “summer banger”. And a head turner. Could never call this boring and without character. Are we talking about the same product? This is bold, confident perfumery. And like it or not (I like it) it’s original and unique.

Artisan Pure zaps you with Italian citrus - I get mostly a deep, cloved orange that never leaves - and then adds woods that get smooth and creamy by the end. There’s an herbal quality to Artisan Pure, but it’s not the least bit green. That dark orange adds so much character. It’s tangy, spicy and sophisticated.

Pretty linear, and JV isn’t known for their projection, but this performs decent, and just smells sooooo good.


La Nuit de L’Homme Bleu Électrique by Yves Saint Laurent

I love it. A better LNDL. Fresher, a little lighter, but maybe with more staying power? Still not a beast, but better than my late model batch of the OG.

No downside if you like the original.


Platinum Collection : Vetiver by Commodity

This is very clean and uplifting vetiver. It’s also soft, smooth and comforting. An elegant fragrance for grown ups - not old people! - regardless of age. Smells confident and assured.

I’ve neglected this one a bit, but now that it’s spring, this will be a staple.

EDIT (6/24/22): as I wear this more I get the initial fresh citrus in the beginning. It’s bright and juicy, but calms quickly. Adds to the overall charm.


M by Banana Republic

This was one of my earliest buys and I probably show more unwarranted disrespect to this frag than any in my collection. I routinely ignore Banana Republic M, for no good reason.

Bright, uplifting tangerine and citrus from the jump. Impossible to dislike IMO. Creamy woods dry down, which is typical Banana Republic. A steal for the price you’ll pay at the rack stores.

Needs more attention and wear from me, and probably everyone. I’m going to put a dent in this juice this summer! It’s about time.


90210 Metal Jeans Man by Beverly Hills 90210

Bought 100ml for $8 at Burlington after reading it’s got a dead nutz accurate Fahrenheit barrel note. And darn it if it don’t do! It’s the best clone I’ve ever smelled. At least for the first couple hours, after which I’ll respray to keep that gas lit.

I keep this at the office and wear this for my own pleasure and amusement, because my wife wouldn’t allow it or Fahrenheit in the house.

If you can tolerate the hard truth that this is a 90210 fragrance dupe…and live without that awesome Dior bottle, well, it’s kinda a no brainer for $8.


Azzaro pour Homme Intense (new) by Azzaro

If Dior Sauvage Elixer was a boozy Christmas cookie flavored with brandy, vanilla and cinnamon this is what it would smell like.

I love Azzaro Pour Homme Intense and I love Sauvage Elixer, and I sense a kinship here, because at the end of the day they are both old school barbershop frags.

In fact, today I was thinking that if you only owned these two you’d be covered for damn near anything. And smell fantastic.


Dark Aoud by Montale

Just Oud man, with vetiver and pepper. Real simple. Real nice.

No rose. No saffron that I can detect. Nothing fruity or gourmandy. Just a layered, wood on wood experience.

Solid 8 hours on skin, longer on clothes. Decent projection for first 3-4.


Coach for Men (new) by Coach

I honestly don’t get it. Unless I soak myself in it. Then I can smell it. And for the next 10 minutes it smells a lot like Luna Rossa Carbon, just less soapy. And then it’s gone.

I need more than that.


L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme Intense by Issey Miyake

The incense here really slaps. I dig it. A perfect rainy day fragrance. Perks you up but puts you in a contemplative mood.

Short of the peppery citrus blast of the original, this doesn’t remind me of the OG.. This reminds me of a modernized - and somewhat dialed down - Ted Lapidus Pour Homme. With incense!

And that’s a very good thing indeed.


Republic of Men by Banana Republic

This and RL Purple Label were my only 2 colognes for about 15 years. They’re actually similar. They’re both fantastic. Mysterious, luxurious, complex and sophisticated. The balance of fig and plum is sublime. The herbal heart cuts just right into the creamy, sandalwood dry down.

I have a little left in my OG bottle, that I rarely spray anymore since going down the fragcom rabbit hole and buying about 100 bottles of juice. Honestly, not many smell BETTER than Republic of Men.


K Eau de Parfum by Dolce & Gabbana

So, between the EdT and the EdP you see comments like “typical mall scent”. Which is interesting, because I’ve been smelling everything I can get my nose on at the mall pretty regularly now for about 18 months and nothing really smells like K to me.

There’s no bubblegummy Invictus tease here. I don’t get any BdC at all. There’s no vanilla or tonka bombs going off.

Sure, there are “things” in K that smell like “things” in other frags. The chili here, for example, is also picked up in Nightvision EdP. There’s some Ambroxan that reminds of Sauvage. You’ve smelled some of this citrus before in various Light Blue’s (surprise!). But only Burberry Hero with its smooth spice opening is really, truly similar, and it’s really just a lower grade Johnny come lately K. This is nothing like Ralph’s Club, for example, which really is just a dressed up, bubblegummy fake out mall melange.

Maybe it’s the “melange” of well balance recognizable modern aroma chemicals that people are calling “common” with K? Can’t say. K is a smooth criminal. A little sweet, a little spice, a little blue, a little barbershop, a little wood, a little cream. It’s really nice!

I like it and it even gets me a compliment here and there. It’s very versatile and you can wear it anywhere. Smells classy and never offends.



Encre Noire à l'Extrême by Lalique

I thought this was so dark and deep at first. Really intense and impactful. Even maybe a little depressing as someone mentioned.

After my fourth wearing I got it. I knew what was coming and I was ready for it. And now it’s a joy. The wood on this is dark, like ebony or mahogany. With Vetiver. I mean, wow. The incense and the patchouli balance it out, but with smoke and earthiness. So even more depth. But not depressing after all. Comforting.

And 10 hours later, after my wrist sprays had mostly worn away with day, the dry down - sandalwood! - from the morning sprays on my chest was miraculous. Captivating. Mesmerizing. Intoxicating. Gorgeous. Perfect.

Winning.



Eros Flame by Versace

Edit 6/30/22:

This is my new summer banger baby! Signature summer scent with panache. I’m doubling down on the Allure Homme Sport with ZEST call below.

Missoni Wave is getting a lot of (warranted) play lately in the “bang for the buck” community for the AHS comparison (+ Versace Pour a Homme). I like Wave, and Eros Flame has everything good about Wave only better, with higher citrus highs, some green energy and that pepper that says “hey, b*tch, I’m different!”.
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This is quite good. The negative reviews here seem misplaced, if not a little unfair, but whatever.

Eros Flame is unexpected. It’s not warm or particularity spicy. It’s not “by the fireside fun”, or a dialed up romantic evening. It’s not a club banger. It’s really more of a spring and summer zinger. A bright ray of sun on a blue Italian bay.

Eros Flame is similar to Eros but with the citrus amped up, the mint dialed down and the vanilla smoothed out. There’s spice, but it’s pepper, not cinnamon. It makes Eros Flame more piquant, less playful, less cloying and more versatile than the original. But the Eros DNA is there and it’s nice.

The pepper, along with the rosemary, gives Eros Flame a momentary mildly tangy green edge in the heart. If there’s rose it’s a green rose. There heart is bit herbal, with some sweet tonka, before everything settles to a nicely blended, creamy dry down.

There’s sweetness here, but it’s the creamy sweetness of Allure Homme Sport, not Eros. You can sample on paper, but your nose may deceive. On paper it’s much closer to Eros I think. needs to be sprayed on skin to make a decision.

I loved this in the store, felt I’d made a mistake after purchase, and now feel I have a nice, sweet zingy daytime crowd pleaser with some depth. Also fine for warm, congenial evenings, but original Eros would be a perfect carry over heading into more sultry, hedonistic evening festivities

The only real sin here is that it was probably misnamed.

Thumbs up, baby.


A*Men / Angel Men by Thierry Mugler

Thought it was too pungent and funky first time I sprayed it.

Then I got used to it but way over did it on the sprays one day and choked myself out. Had to change my sweater.

I now have this baby dialed in and what a joy. My favorite gourmand by a long shot. Sooooo much going on here. Very complex and very well blended. Monster sillage.

Mostly chocolate, patchouli and musk for me. Some coffee and tonka and a bunch of other stuff simmering under the surface.

I recommend trying this before chasing the latest gourmand or spending a fortune on Dior Homme Parfum online. Lots to like here. A modern classic.


Green Lavender Cologne Intense by Art of Shaving

Edit 8/6/22: I recently sampled Maison Margiela “At the Barber’s”. It’s the same scent profile if not the same fragrance IMO.
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When I first purchased and used Green Lavender in spring 2020, I would have agreed 100% with the Vagabond’s review. I’d found 100ml at Burlington early in my fragrance acquisition phase. It seemed high quality, interesting - not “cologney “ at all - but fairly one dimensional. A bright green, lavender scent, with an undeniable creamy sweetness.

A bargain for the $20 I paid, and I wore it a lot that summer. Ultimately growing tired of it and actually questioning if I liked it or not after all. As I acquired more and different styles of fragrance, it took a backseat.

I’ve ignored it since., until this morning. Either it changed or I changed. I suspect more of the latter, because after blitz buying about 100 bottles in barely over a year my nose has developed along with my tastes. I’m still a newb, and not great with individual notes, but I’m learning as I go.

I now understand why this is a barbershop profile. And I smell way more notes now than before, including an intoxicating anise and a trace herbaceous essence that escaped me before. All supporting and sitting on top of that powerhouse lavender, that’s always there.

I don’t agree it’s made with cheap ingredients. I do agree that it’s well blended, and I dare say quite clever. I think Green Lavender requires some time to understand and appreciate. And boy, that is the one thing that this hobby reinforces over and over. To understand a fragrance you need to live with it. Until you do you don’t really know it. You can experience many facets of a fragrance without really knowing it. And now that I’ve revisited Green Lavender I want to get to know it better. Seriously! It’s good, and I anticipate it being even a little addicting, with that Lavender Sambuca melange going on, with a hint of mint, daring me to ignore it.

This is going to work really well this. spring, and might, in fact, be best reserved for sunny weather falling just sort of “hot”. In warmer weather the sweet, creaminess of this can get cloying. Fall would be fine as well, but this was made to be a spring signature.

I myself think Green Lavender has a quite strong sillage. It fills up a car that’s for sure, ask my wife! I recall it lasting sufficiently and I’ll go with that for now. I’ll update this if I learn otherwise.

A blind buy no brainer at $40 or less. I understand these retailed for well over $100 at AoS stores. IMO this was less popular because it’s more challenging.


Essential by Lacoste

The ratings here are interesting. Quite a few, and basically split between yes, no, maybe. The scent is a bit of a contradiction, in that it doesn’t really smell like anything else and yet you could say there are better choices for what this does. Ok.

I’m gonna say yes here. It’s original (odd green freshie, with tomato leaf and a creamy sweetness) and pleasant. Especially now, in this overly blue, bumble gummy ambroxan bomb era.

Sophisticated fragheads and big time collectors are gonna pass on this and that’s fine. For enthusiasts, this is a safe blind buy - its cheap! - but if you have a large collection, this could get lost in it, and you may prefer to spend your money elsewhere.

But for an easy reach, spring and summer refresher or unique gym scent - especially for a younger man or teenager - this will serve well.

Best in short bursts (as longevity is lacking) and when you don’t want to sledgehammer anybody with your scent (light sillage and projection). Safe for gym, school, work, the pool, tennis, walks in the park, first dates, etc. it’s versatile and inoffensive.

Recommended, albeit with caveats and restraint.


Dior Homme Eau de Toilette (2020 version) by Christian Dior

Super pleasing, easy to wear and one of the best blends of citrus and woods - opening to dry down - you’re going to find.

Signature scent worthy anytime, anywhere. Nothing succeeds like success, and Dior Homme 2020 succeeds on every level.


Touch for Men by Burberry

Touch was ahead of it’s time.

I’m thinking about the clean, sweet, spicy, woody, fragrances so prevalent today. Things like Dior Homme 2020. K, Sauvage Parfum, Burberry Hero. These are all riffs on Touch IMO.

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Edit 8/4/22: A big difference to the above is that Touch is very powdery, while the aforementioned are not. Akin to The Dreamer in this way, as well as in the sweetness (tobacco leaf?).
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I have really come to love and respect Touch. Bottom line it’s a great fragrance. And the best description is timeless. Indeed

It’s a smooth, refined 4 season scent, with good sillage and decent duration. And zero bubblegum. 😀

The look and vibe of the bottle is cool too but dated. It looks and feels passé. That clean, minimalist and modern look so ubiquitous in the 90’s and early 2000’s kind of (unfairly) traps Touch in that timeframe. And relegates it to the discounters and rack stores (not a bad thing for the person looking fir cheapie gold). But Touch smells nothing like most colognes from that time period (with the exception of The Dreamer). Touch smells like now. It probably will always be in the moment.

I really think if Burberry repackaged it and put some marketing behind it Touch would find a whole new - and mass - audience.

It’s that good.



Sauvage Parfum by Christian Dior

This stuff slams, period.

The three notes blend perfectly.

This and Elixir are my faves. Dry down here is superb.


Phantom by Paco Rabanne

I’ve really come around to Phantom. It’s a great modern scent!

At first, you think it’s just weird. Sweet, a little sickly, and weird. But that weirdness calls to you. And the next time you wear it it’s less weird and more enjoyable. And then you start thinking about the way it smells, and look forward to the next time you wear it.

And then you just start wearing it more often because it really smells good. It’s a signature scent for sure. It works anywhere , including the gym, which is where I wear it most often.

Modern, somewhat original, and fun. Sweet and herbal and spicy. All at once. It’s what an Issey Miyake would smell like if they tried to make a One Million or XS Black. And that’s a good thing.

The bottle is awesome too.


Windsor pour Homme by English Laundry

Windsor is fantastic.

It’s in the ballpark of the Zaharoff Signature line, Baldessarini Ultimate, Spice Bomb and vintage OGs like Aramis, Quorum and Monsier Rochas.

It’s mature, well blended and wonderfully aromatic and spicy.

Great winter scent.

Edit: the dry down on this is wonderful. Warm and spicy and comfortable.

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