Fougère Bengale by Parfum d'Empire

A gorgeous, powerful, opulent immortelle-tobacco fougere. As has been noted in other posts, the actual list of notes far exceeds the official list. Coffee and mint are there, along with the rich honeyed tonka. I do not get the curried note that other's notice, to me it is more coffee-liquorice-anise. For fans of the original Yohji Homme, this is a richer, deeper, more expansive version of that. Sillage and longevity are excellent. This is bottle-worthy.

Tuscan Scent : White Mimosa by Salvatore Ferragamo

At first sniff this comes across as a jumbled, slightly sour mimosa coupled with leather (think of the famous sculpture: "Rape of Europa"). It is an intriguing, though initially discordant, combination. However, I encourage the wearer to be persistent. You will be rewarded with a truly magnificent and unusual mimosa fragrance, as drier white florals and iris begin to peek through the initial discordance, and creates a bridge that unites the integrates the parts into a whole. The vanilla brings an incense-like quality to the mix, and the whole thing radiates beautifully. This perfume progresses and evolves (unlike Tuscany "Incense Suede" which is a linear smoky leather), and truly captures the idea of a "suede" fragrance. Osmanthus flower is frequently thought of as a having a "suede-like" aroma, but mimosa works equally well at evoking that soft, sensual leather. This is elegant, sophisticated, and completely unisex (or rather, it is both sexes at once, as the discordant Rape of Europa is transformed into a beautiful marriage).

Eau des Sens by Diptyque

While most classic eau de cologne fragrances are ephemeral -- refreshing after a shower and gone well before lunch -- Eau des Sens manages to throw it's delicious solar goodness all day long. This is a masterful piece of art. The lemony citrus in the opening is bright and fresh-squeezed, giving way to golden, burnished neroli that has a depth and development throughout the day that is truly amazing. In fact, it is the journey over 8-10 hrs that holds my attention. This is one of those perfumes that changes and surprises the wearer: "Who smells so good? Oh, it's still me!" The juniper berry keeps this slightly spicy and lends it a masculine vibe as it bridges fruit with wood (as does the petitgrain). This is how unisex should be: a journey from feminine to masculine while maintaining an integrity throughout. My respect for Olivier Prescheux is enormous -- this is a confident master at work.

This will be my scent for a trip to Italy this summer - I can't imagine a more perfect accompaniment.

Christopher Street by Charenton Macerations

Where have you been all my life, Christopher Street?
This is a fantastic debut fragrance, a metallic, spicy, leather and floral chypre that feels both avant garde and from a bygone era. Fabulously unisex (or given the name, androgynous?) this is a knock-out. A perfume lover's perfume. Moderate sillage, excellent longevity, smells clean. I'm not sure where some of the other reviews on this frag get dank or pungent or sweaty -- I don't find that here at all.

The clove and cinnamon are subtle, the leather and tobacco retrained, all well blended, with an pervading alcoholic lime that manages to a hazy and not overbearing. Just. Lovely.

Byerley by Parfums de Marly

An underappreciated stunner. It brings an austere beauty to cedar and vetiver, with some smoky gaiac to add interest, and some subtle spiciness that steers clear of any spice-bomb similarities. This is elegant, eminently wearable, day or night, office or date. It reminds me somewhat of Bois d'Ombrie, but with better projection and much more wearable. [I have just begun exploring this house, and Parfums de Marly has produced some amazing juice. "Herod" is another stunner, holding its own with Tobacco Vanille and Pure Havane.]

Byerly has good sillage and longevity (moderate). This is great for fall and winter, but I light enough to not feel oppressive in 70 degree weather. 5 stars.

No. 10 White Oud by Agonist

An intriguing fragrance that radiates like white heat while also maintaining a baby-powder-like chrystalline presence, probably achieved with musk ambrette. There is a quite prominent synthetic plastic vibe, when sniffed up-close it is almost unpleasant, when captured out of doors and allowed to bloom away from the body, it feels fresher and more feminine. Despite the name there is no oud in this fragrance -- the fragrance has the medicinal astringent quality of some ouds, but does not smell like oud. This is curious, contemporary, avant guarde, and could easily have been a CDG fragrance. The bottle perfectly reflects the contents. Austere, white, sterile.

L'Essence de Must de Cartier by Cartier

SOOO much better than the original Must de Cartier, and a lovely companion to the other MdC flanker, Anis Vert.

MdC Essence is a soft, spicy, musky, warm, slightly powdery truly unisex fragrance. This is not a big hairy chested manly power frag. This has a sensual feminine side and a sexy but gentle beasty side. The longevity is 4-5 hours, but after the first couple hours it is predominantly a musky skin scent. Sillage in the first hour or so is moderate, after that it hovers close to the skin. It is a fairly unique scent profile, I cannot really say it smells like anything else, although the musky drydown is reminiscent of Narciso Rodriguez for him EDP in the way it radiates.

If you are a perfume lover and appreciate something that does not smell like everything else out there, track this down and try it out (minis are fairly easy to find online). This would also work well in a work setting, since it is quiet and reserved. And also try its brother flanker Anis Vert, a fresh alternative to traditional colognes in the summer heat.

Lacoste L!VE by Lacoste

If there was ever a case of the juice bearing no resemblance to the listed notes, this is it. This is just another slight variation on Armani Code, YSL l'Homme, One Million, etc etc -- modern, bland, sweet, inoffensive....boring.

I was interested in this one because of the black liquorice, which I adore in Lolita Lempicka, but here I cannot pick it out. Nor do I get much, if any, lime.

C'mon people, you can do better than this...90% of what sits on the counters at department stores smells the same. And they keep churning it out because someone is buying this stuff. I just just can't figure out why...

Nuit d'Issey Austral Expedition by Issey Miyake

Not sure if this is meant to be a flanker of l'Eau d'Issey or of Nuit d'Issey, but this closer to the original Ed'I than Nuit is. This has a dry woodsy quality similar to the Eau d'I, and the coriander note is of the the fresh leafy/herbal variety. It is very well done. Gentian and Vetiver also contributes to the dryness of the composition. I also get a hint of pine (just a hint) which may be the amber resin. It feels refreshing, with good longevity and mod sillage. Nuit d'Issey, which reminds me a lot more of YSL La Nuit de l'Homme than the original Eau d'I, is has more languid, sweet with cardamom, a liquid vibe.

I actually like Austral Expedition better than the original l'Eau d'Issey, and feel it would be great for summer and office wear. That being said, all three (original, Nuit, and Austral Expedition) are all wonderful, and are what flankers should be, referential to the original, but also stand alone as great fragrances in their own right, and each has it's place in the wardrobe.

L for Men by Clive Christian

This is a smooth, polished scent. As is typical of the sometimes baroque Clive Christian style, this is complex and takes the wearer on a journey.

It opens with a fizzy petigrain/grapefruit and slightly smoky vetiver, and over the course of a couple hours settles into the heart of the fragrance, which is predominantly a rose-oud oriental accord. The oud is very very subtle. And, though they are not listed in the notes, there is a coumarin/lavender effect as well, which may qualify it as a fougere. This does not feel as dense/opaque a composition as we usually see in CC fragrances.This has a more watery, transparent quality. There is nothing animalic, this is a clean walk in the woods, in a tweed spportcoat. May be too heavy for the heat, perfect for fall and spring, for a night out, or if spritzed with restraint, could be a workplace scent. I think this is firmly in the unisex category.

Longevity is excellent, literally 12 hours, sillage is moderate. Very good, smells of quality ingredients.

Black Gold by Ormonde Jayne

In a word: Exquisite. This newest offering from Ormonde Jayne shoots to the top of the list for this house, and to the top of the list for releases this year (IMHO). The notes listed by are: Top notes are bergamot, lemon, mandarin orange, clary sage and juniper berries; middle notes are orchid, rose, water lily, jasmine and carnation; base notes are agarwood (oud), pink pepper, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, labdanum, moss, musk, cedar, ambrette (musk mallow) and amber.

The perfumer for this is Geza Schoen, in collaboration with OJ founder Linda Pilkington. It is a parfum strength oriental fragrance in which the creators chose to use only the finest ingredients, apparently without regard to expense (a bottle is $700 USD). They were daring enough to use specially-distilled and curated Mysore sandalwood, which gives the composition a golden warm glow seldom achieved with synthetically reconstructed sandalwood. There is a honeyed sweetness overlaying a dark warm amber-oud base. One can definitely detect the DNA of Ormonde Man in the base.

To my nose it opens with citrus, orange being predominant, and pink pepper, followed by a watery floral composition (no raspy white florals despite their being listed in the notes), one does not have to wait long for the dark, incredibly beautiful, mysterious base to become apparent, the mystery coming from the mossy oud. This perfume wears close, the cloud of scent stays in one's personal space, and the longevity is quite good. Vanilla and amber ground this firmly in oriental territory, but it is truly unisex. Warm. Glowing. Sensual. Really terrific. While not listed, I definitely detect some thing feral or animalic -- whether this comes from civet or the oud I'm not sure, but it is masterfully done -- it contributes a depth and sensuality that also binds the whole composition into something that feels like a cohesive experience - no note out of place, nothing left out either. (Civet-phobes fear not, it registers almost subconsciously.) In my opinion this is a career highlight for Geza Schoen, always on of my favorites, and also marks a maturing of the OJ brand into a house synonymous with quality, luxury, and beauty. Bravo.

Wall Street by Bond No. 9

This has the (very good) synthetic vibe and feel of CGD 2 (which is meant to recreate an ink smell). Bond NO 9 creates a similar accord to create it's own version of the smell of fresh money. The longevity for me is very good. It lasted on a piece of clothing for 4 days, and stays with me all day (8 hours). It is fresh and summery without being clean and sterile. I think this is one of my favs from this line.

Grand Cuir by Parfums Retro

Parfums Retro's Grand Cuir joins an elite club of top tier leather fragrances. It is a perfect marriage of fresh, crisp, masculine leather and a sensual, slightly feral, feminine leather. It opens with a citrus/pine freshness on top of a barbershoppy lavender and orange flower. It is not all squeaky clean, though; there is a sensual heart, slightly animalic (this barely registers but is there), giving the creation a warm beating heart. The florals are carefully and masterfully blended, reading as bright and fresh (not ozonic) and dry. Unlike Cuir Pleine Fleur, which is rather dark, brooding and autumnal, with a more prominent violet/orris and salt note, GC stays fully in the light of day. Sillage is moderate and gratifying, tenacity is also 6-8 hours. This brings to mind Knize Ten in terms of style, without being quite so conventionally "manly".

Hugh Spencer is the perfumer for this, and the rest of the Parfums Retro line. I am looking forward to more from Jeffrey Dame and Hugh Spencer. Bravo!

Andy Warhol for Men by Andy Warhol

A solid, undervalued fragrance, that develops steadily over the 2-3 hours before lingering in woody basenotes. It's clean, would work in any season, classy, would be great for work. It is interesting enough to rise above other woody fougeres, and an be had for $30 -- you can't beat the price.

Shelter Island by Bond No. 9

First off: Bond No. 9 is not my favorite or go-to line. I appreciate that everything is EDP, Andy Warhol Silver Factory is a brilliant incense, and I like New Haarlem, but I find the bottles garish and off-putting.

That said, Shelter Island is quite beautiful. It opens with a fairly aggressive citrus pepper blast with marine notes (Calone anyone?). After about 10 minutes it settles into it's floral heart notes (vague white floral, abstract). Although the list of notes sounds incongruous, they show up just as listed, each is identifiable. What the algea and oud do for the composition is ground it and make it less clean, steering it away from a feminine into a unisex fragrance. I wore this to "Here Lies Love" in NYC and 3 hours into wearing it I was thinking who is wearing that fabulous myrrh? I was convinced the guy next to me wearing Armani Privé Myrrh, but it was me! Lovely. A warm sandalwood hums in the back ground.
Longevity is great (it survived dinner and Disco in Manilla), sillage is moderate. A tad synthetic but softer than most BN9s.

I bought a bottle (lovely blue and white nautical stripes). That's saying something.

Vetiver by Roja Dove

This is, in my opinion, the new benchmark reference vetiver. As stated before, it makes the others seem thin and synthetic by comparison. This is a lush, full vetiver. It is brisk without being sharp, refreshing but with great depth. As with most creations by Roja Dove, it is incredibly well blended and just smells opulent and classy.

A refreshing citrus opening, more lemon than bergamot to my nose, with a lovely subtle smokiness to the vetiver notes (the vetiver bridges all the phases of this top, middle and base notes). There is a warm heart of white florals. Despite all the notes listed, the base feel monolithic, a tribute to Dove's mastery of blending. This not nearly as rooty or autumnal as Sycamore or Encre Noir. It is very reminiscent of vintage Guerlain Vetiver.

Longevity is excellent, 12 hours plus, still lush and heady on clothes 4 hours later. As an extrait it wears fairly close to the skin but is constant. Other than the fleeting citrus and smokiness, the composition is fairly linear through most of the wearing.

Highly recommended.

Body Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

Not what I was expecting

BK is NOT what I was expecting. I was expecting a "fresher" more marine version of Kouros, with the old Kouros DNA still detectable. However, this is a completely new scent, not really a flanker. I am surprised I didn't read more of this in the other reviews, but to me it is very similar Bvlgari Black and JPG Le Male. Very sweet, androgynous, synthetic. I can see why people say dry (there is a woodsy freshness to it). Unlike comparing a sweet and dry wine (where the two terms are antonyms), it is possible in a fragrance (IMHO) to have both sweet and dry characteristics. I do not smell eucalyptus, although I do detect something mentholated. I gets woods, some incense, coumarin, vanillin, and some musk in the drydown (which I suppose is the link to the original Kouros). I find it quite linear, very good sillage, avg. longevity. The musk is clean, not animalic. There is no dirty civet here.

The bottle is quite nice, though if the faux wood (like grey drift wood) were real, the bottle would have been a knock-out. And the price can't be beat.

Pros: interesting, cool and sweet at same time, can't beat the price
Cons: similar to some others done better"

Iris Nazarena by Aedes de Venustas

An Iris Blooming in the Desert My first impression of Aedes' newest release, Iris Nazarena, is that it is bone dry, almost dusty. This is not a conventionally pretty iris, there is no dewey earthiness, no doughy notes, no grey funereal drizzle as found in Serge Lutens' Iris Silver Mist. But I never liked conventionally pretty, anyway, especially not in my niche fragrances. The leitmotif that spans the Aedes oeuvre is of course incense, and the incense here is of the dry resinous astringently bracing type (not a bad thing at all). To my nose, there is very little in the way of top notes, although it is in the opening that one gets the most identifiable iris note, amplified in a beautiful way with ambrette. To me it rapidly morphs into a vetiver, oud, and woods accord over suede. Add here is where it stays for the duration, finishing with a dusty musk. There is something clean and fresh about it, perhaps from the musk, but also dirty in the way cowboy boots might be dirty after a long ride in the desert. If I had to assign gender, it would be leaning toward the masculine (though that shouldn't put anyone off), or maybe it's the Barbara Stanwyck of irises-- tough, rough around the edges, a little butch, but beautiful nonetheless. The notes list star anise, and better noses than I (Denyse, talking to you) have detected it, and I wish I could -- it's a note I love. Not listed is clary sage, which I do get, and which I think contributes to the impression of the desert. The clove and rose are also not obvious to my nose, but perhaps on repeat wearings. This is a complex fragrance, made more so by the addition of oud, which contributes a bit to the antiseptic feel. There is also a salty note -- though not a marine salt, more like the great salt flats in Utah. It takes three points on a curve to determine a trend, and with this third addition to their lineup, Aedes is proving itself worthy of eager anticipation of their next creation.Pros: A wonderful new, original addition to the iris pantheon Iris/Leather/OudCons: longevity 4-5 hrs tops on the back of hand, perhaps better on clothes?

Luna Rossa by Prada

If you like Hermes Vetiver Tonka.... This is surprisingly beautiful for a Prada mass market, and to me is very reminiscent of Hermes Vetiver Tonka. Both have a fresh, almost soapy, dry vetiver, the main difference is the slightly minty opening in the Prada -- and the price! The Prada is also more complex and not as linear as the Hermes. This is a welcome relief from the calone/abroxan fresh aquatics that are everywhere. It smells of understated sophistication, a crisp linen shirt on suntanned skin. Recommended. And the bottle isn't bad either, handsome, unique.Pros: fresh, clean, summery, well doneCons:

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

One of the better "sport" flankers out there, but that said, doesn't break any new ground. I find this more wearable than the original, which I admire as a work of art but which feels harsh and head-ache inducing (to me). The nutmeg note in this is very reminiscent of Allure Homme and Allure Homme Sport. It is well done, balanced, well-blended, good longevity, good sillage. If there weren't already 10 other fragrances like it out there, it would be outstanding. It is an example of the impact that Acqua di Gio has had on the market. This is sweeter and less abstract that AdG, and lacks some of the effervescent freshness of AdG.

Still, a very good fragrance for any age, inoffensive, wearable in most settings.

Bulgari pour Homme by Bulgari

Blind bought this one based on the reviews and the price ($27). I have to say I am underwhelmed. I feel it is a less successful version of l'Eau D'Issey for men, with poor projection and a musty drydown.

Essence Musc Eau de Parfum Intense by Narciso Rodriguez

Sexy clean musc with a subtle green rose, this has that skinscent musc oil smell. According to Amazon product description, contains notes of iris, rose, musk, benzoin, woodsy accords & incense. This is intense, powerful and long-lasting with terrific sillage. Fairly linear. Very feminine. Gorgeous bottle, like liquid mercury.

Iris 39 by Le Labo

A springtime Iris, with green, hyacinth notes and a crystalline quality. Initially cool, there is a warm heart that becomes more obvious as time progresses. This is classy without being matronly.

Narciso Rodriguez for Him by Narciso Rodriguez

Beautiful homage to the bold fougeres of the 70s and 80s -- this is a raspy violet over a deep base of patchouli. The Amber doesn't become apparent until well into the drydown. Francis Kurkdjian did an amazing job here, well blended, sophisticated. For patchouli haters, fear not! it is treated in a very elegant way similar to how Tom Ford has used it in Black Orchid and Homme Intense. Notes that are also present but not listed in the Basenotes description are a peppery opening with cinnamon leaf and eugenol present for the whole ride. Highly reccomended.

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