Invictus Victory by Paco Rabanne

I’ve had this a while now. It’s grown on me. It’s the best Invictus product in my opinion. It’s sweet and chocolatey with a little incense and still fresh at the same time.

I spray this to watch the Big Game. Works like a charm.

Polo Blue Parfum by Ralph Lauren

Varanis nailed the similarity to AdG Profumo. Especially in the dry down, which is really nice.

Up top it’s very green to me. Less bright than AdG but certainly fresh. And spicy. I didn’t like it too much at first spray but it improved over the course of the day. Especially once the incense kicks in.

This smells “grown up”. It’s got more balls than the others in the line. This could do very well as an easy reach in all seasons. And the bottle is beautiful.

Probably the best performance for a Polo since the OG in ‘78.

*FYI, the picture here shows the wrong bottle.

Armani Code Parfum by Giorgio Armani

I smell the Code DNA in this pretty clearly. Which I think is just OK. In fact, I think this dries down awfully close to Code Profumo, which is the only Code I own and while pleasant, it’s not that special. I do wonder if I’ll come around to this more. The dry down gets better as it becomes mostly a skin scent.

Code Parfum is sweet (sugary) and effervescent and light weight. Like a root beer float, but sweeter. I like sweet fragrances, but maybe I prefer them to have a little more gravity than this? Or originality.

Certainly unisex. Not very masculine at all, which is just fine if you’re a male Code fan. Just ok for me.

Legend Eau de Parfum by Montblanc

Honestly, I think it smells as if Nautica Voyage and EL Oxford Bleu had a baby. Opening with that sharp, sweet fruit and then settling into the woody, musky dry down. The apple lingers, a little tonka provides warmth. It works and it’s nice.

I smelled it once at Macy’s back in early 2021 and I really liked it. Seemed very sophisticated compared with things like Bad Boy and Spice Bomb Night Vision EdT(s). I passed on it then but never forgot, and with it being just. so. inexpensive. on the grey market, I finally bought a bottle.

This review is after one full wearing. I’ll update after I’ve tested it more often. So far so good.

Signature Tabac by Zaharoff

Like it don’t love it. But might really like it? So who knows where this ends up. I own a travel size of this and maybe I’ll buy a full bottle some day.

Sweet, honeyed tobacco with woods and myrrh and amber and lavender…blended extremely well as are all Zaharoff’s (I don’t count the Zed creator frags as I haven’t smelled them and I’m not interested).

It’s a little too rich and gourmandy for me at the top. At first spray it’s too cloying for my tastes. Not for summer or heat, no way.

As it settles in the sharp sweetness softens and the scent becomes more cozy and, ultimately, lovely. So autumn and winter anytime, maybe a brisk spring evening.

Zaharoff’s just feel right. Like when you drive a fine car or play a quality instrument or use a well crafted tool. You get your money’s worth here. FAR better this than a handful of blind buy “cheapie gems” at Marshalls.

When my family asks “what are you wearing?” it’s usually to express displeasure but not with this one. Zaharoff Signature Tabac is popular with the people that have smelled it on me.

Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior

I wish I’d bought this first. I’d have never bothered with blind buying or seeking out hidden gems or cheapie gold.

Dior Homme Intense is as good as it gets. Perfectly conceived and blended. A smooth criminal.

Bentley for Men Intense by Bentley

Some commentators go contrarian on this one, saying it’s not worth the hype, overrated or “smells cheap”. Some people need nice things to be expensive. To convey status. Or maybe some just can’t handle car brand frags, especially those that cost under $40.

There are definitely “cheapie gems” that are overhyped. But Bentley for Men Intense ain't one of them. I’ve blind bought so many frags that I ended up not liking or needing that I won’t comment on if it’s “blind buy worthy”. And I’m sure you can find expensive niche and designers you’d prefer. But maybe not so much in a blind comparison?

A warm, comfortable - and comforting - fragrance. This might pass for a Dior Homme Flanker. Or a By Killian. It’s smooth, elegant and smells of quality.

It’s good. And it’s stupid good at the price point.

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.


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!”.

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.

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