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Creed

Sample Impressions: L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris

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Sometimes marketing just gets in the way of a fragrance. L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris is a scent where the marketing behind the name is superfluous and unnecessary. Luckily, the fragrance doesn’t need it.

Moving right along while intentionally ignoring the name, L’Art de la Guerre is classified as an oriental fougere, and rightly so; oriental fougeres typically use sweet notes—often vanilla or amber—to both compliment and contrast the fresh masculinity of the fougere accord. To some extent, this genre is populated with a vast array of derivative and decrepit scents that combine titanic doses of lavender and vanilla with not even the slightest hint of ingenuity. It is a breath of fresh air when a fragrance comes along that doesn’t fit that very traditional mold, and perfumer Vanina Muracciole deserves artistic credit for managing to revitalize a rather stale genre. KEEP ON READING

A Patrician Personality: Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge

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Certain fragrances bring to mind an image of class, wealth, and sophistication. For me, these scents are simple, usually modeled after the eau de cologne, and impeccable in both quality and design. Some of my favorite examples are the great Acqua di Parma Colonia, Creed’s exquisite Pure White Cologne, and the elegant Roja Parfums Danger Pour Homme. Put on a nice pair of slacks, shoes, and a tailored shirt, then spritz on one of those fragrances—you’ll see exactly what I mean, as they will lift the spirit and perhaps the ego (but hopefully not too much). Another fragrance in this style is Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake. KEEP ON READING

Creed Viking: Lost at sea or ready to capture the world?

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Upon spraying Viking, I get an intense lavender note. It’s spicy and immediately reminds me of fougeres of yesteryears. Within the first 20 minutes, the lavender and peppercorn/pink pepper subside, at which point citrus/bergamot lightens the mood. The heart of Viking is seemingly the most unisex aspect of a relatively “masculine” offering. It’s where the rose emerges and a creamy sandalwood. (Think Cartier Declaration d’un Soir with a toned down rose note) The dry down is where the magic happens, albeit in a POST-IFRA chop shop, world. I’m met with oak moss, sandalwood, patchouli, and persistent lavender. KEEP ON READING

Summers in Paris: Creed’s Original Vetiver

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Of all my summer fragrances, only one takes me straight to France. The whimsical, white columns and sculptures of Paris are only done justice by sartorial elegance with a bit of flair, which is exactly what Creed does best. Look no further than Creed’s Original Vetiver, which (contrary to popular opinion) is both heavy on the vetiver and quite original.

Based solely on the opening, Original Vetiver does smell similar to Mugler’s Cologne, a fragrance that is sometimes heralded as the “original” Original Vetiver merely because it was released a few years earlier. But while there is a similarity of style and genre, these fragrances are quite different. Original Vetiver is significantly more expensive, but is worth the premium if you like the style. Where Mugler Cologne is extremely heavy on the musks and fresh citruses/neroli, Original Vetiver has more complexity since it incorporates several textures at once. KEEP ON READING

2017 Summer Favorites

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When it comes to wearing fragrance, summer is my favorite season. Maybe it is my taste, or the fact that I live in a hot, dry climate, but when I am out in public under the blazing sun, I’d much, MUCH rather smell summer fragrances. On those days, sweet scents can smell too sticky and gross, and spicy scents can smell like cumin-tinged sweat in the heat. But those summery citruses and florals, oh my… THOSE can be beautiful. Here are some favorites that I’ve been enjoying in Summer 2017: KEEP ON READING

Venture to the Tropics: Mancera’s Sicily

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While I respect the house for its fabulous balance of quality and price, Mancera is a brand that is, in most cases, not for me. To my taste, many of their fragrances are far too heavy on the oud and synthetics, or tend to produce hairspray-like aromas. Along with the popular Cedrat Boise, Mancera’s Sicily is a notable exception.

Some have heralded Sicily as some sort of newfangled Aventus clone, but that description would have nothing to do with the actual fragrance. Sicily has pineapples, yes, but that note is presented differently, is placed alongside a prominent peach note, and comes across as far more unisex, tropical, and soft than Aventus. It’s not a distinctly masculine fragrance like Cedrat Boise, which has a similarly fruity/woody vibe. Departing from the dark woods/fruits of Aventus and Cedrat Boise, Sicily is brighter, fresher, far more citrusy and floral, and yields an inescapably summery aroma that would feel woefully out of place in the cold darkness of winter. KEEP ON READING

Sweet Fougere: Creed’s Aberdeen Lavander

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When one thinks of a fougere, one tends to think of the 80’s. Brash, serious, and distant, a fougere is often associated with conservatism and unrestrained masculinity. But the oriental fougere is sometimes different. Playing with the contrast between common fougere elements (often lavender) and sweeter notes (vanilla comes to mind), the oriental fougere smells warm and inviting while retaining many of the characteristics of the fougere.

Enter Aberdeen Lavander. Aberdeen Lavander is different from anything that Creed has done previously or after. I’m not sure what this has to do with Aberdeen, but the lavender element is front and center. There is no cheap lavandin here, nor is there a boring, sheer green lavender element. What is obvious upon first sniff is that the lavender smells complex, deep, vibrantly purple, and unmistakably herbaceous. It is most similar to the lavender in the brilliant Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake, but where that one cuts the purple lavender with a green mint element, Creed uses artemisia and rosemary. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Creed’s Royal Water

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As a fan of classic fragrances, I had to track down a sample of Creed’s Royal Water. Like many Creeds, this is heralded as a classic fragrance, and one that is both likable and unique.

Well, it’s damn good. Creed fragrances often smell extremely natural (whether or not they are), and Royal Water is no exception. The citrus in this fragrance is juicy and refreshing, but it is by no means the star of the show. What makes Royal Water unique is its blend of citruses and green herbaceous notes. Peppermint is present, though it seems to support the other elements. Generally, in the top and the mid of this scent, the most prominent note to my nose is basil, which adds a culinary sharpness to the scent that smells natural enough to fool a cook. KEEP ON READING

Shaving Cream in a Barbershop: MDCI’s Le Barbier de Tanger

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From the respected brand MDCI comes the magnificent Le Barbier de Tanger, a scent that promises a relaxing journey into the barbershops of Morocco. MDCI is known for artful blends done with high quality ingredients. Le Barbier de Tanger fits the bill and earns a thumbs up from this reviewer.

To even begin to describe this fragrance, I have to mention a few others: Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste, MDCI’s Invasion Barbare, Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Masculin Pluriel, Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, and Penhaligon’s Sartorial. Le Barbier de Tanger channels all of these fragrances to some extent, but only smells a bit like one of them. Perhaps the closest comparison is Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste, which has the same powdery-barbershop texture and overall vibe of this fragrance, but Le Barbier de Tanger is higher quality and more natural-smelling. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Al Kimiya’s Hayat

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Tom Ford’s Oud Wood, Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Oud, Creed’s Royal Oud—each of these are great examples of fragrances that seek to make oud pleasing to the masses, with very little (if any) oud. Standing in stark contrast to those tame beauties, Al Kimiya’s Hayat is an example of what can be crafted when a talented perfumer attempts to make an actual oud palatable.

Upon first spray, it is clear that Hayat is a different animal entirely. From the outset, I can smell the quality oud clearly and without obstruction. The oud note here smells similar to the one used heavily in the fragrance “Ilm”, also from Al Kimiya. The best I could describe it, which may sound a bit odd, is the smell of a piece of fragrant bleu cheese sitting on a wet, mossy log. For the uninitiated, it will smell strange, perhaps a bit weird, but never unpleasant or disturbing as the oud is always accompanied by other elements. To make it less conspicuous and enveloping (you’ll have to try Ilm for a pure oud in all its alien glory), Hayat buries the lovely oud in mounds of cedar, spices (cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron), patchouli, and cypriot, all rounded out with a traditional dash of lavender. KEEP ON READING

Head to Head: Xerjoff Mefisto vs. Creed Silver Mountain Water

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Today I’d like to do something a little different. I recently had the pleasure of trying Xerjoff’s Mefisto. As can easily be discovered through endless reviews on Fragrantica and Basenotes, it’s clear that some folks find Mefisto to be very similar (a clone even!) to Creed’s Silver Mountain Water. When testing it, I can certainly see the resemblance. But how exactly are these two fragrances similar? And are they different enough? Read on to find out!

Yes it is true: on a superficial level, Xerjoff’s Mefisto does resemble Creed’s Silver Mountain Water. They both open up with an aldehydic/citric blast mixed with a musky note. When smelled side by side, they are certainly different scents, though they do give off the same vibe. But where Silver Mountain Water opens with bergamot and a sweet berry note, Mefisto’s citruses are more Xerjoff (if you know what i mean). One can clearly smell the Italian influence in Mefisto, as the bergamot is blended with an even more prominent lemon and grapefruit. KEEP ON READING

A Gardenia Omnibus Review

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It can be a lot of fun to apply a method to one’s madness. Over the summer, for reasons that I do not fully understand, I have been on a mission to understand gardenia perfumes. In the end, I think my love of vintage Miss Dior perfume gave birth to my fascination with gardenia.

Behold…..the SEA!

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Nature & Scenery

If there is one example of the musical arts that to me encapsulates the full majesty of the sea, in all its splendor and glory, it can be found in the opening bars of Ralf Vaughn Williams’ first symphony – his ‘Sea Symphony’ (you can hear those initial magnificent bars asking us to ‘Behold – the Sea’ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT0BlZK7lgA). But what about the olfactory arts that we have come to love and admire – how do perfumers fare in their quest to evoke the sea, in all its variations and magnificence? Let’s take a walk down to the beach (or harbor) and see what fragrances are available to envelop us in the oceanic world and assess how they perform in terms of their ability to replicate our seaside perceptions. KEEP ON READING

Tea Fragrances for Men and Women

in Thoughts by

I love tea. Whether it is the artisanal blends, supermarket tea bags, or fancy Mariage-Frères sachets, I adore the delicate fragrances of tea and teahouses. Unfortunately, though lots of perfumes in the niche market are considered “tea” fragrances, only a few actually smell like tea or evoke any sort of associations with the drink. Here are my picks for the best of the tea (and tea-like) fragrances that can be worn by both men and women:

Tea fragrances:

By Kilian Imperial Tea: This is the most authentic of the tea fragrances. To me this smells like a high quality Chinese jasmine tea. It wears well, is extremely refreshing, and unisex when worn on the skin. Imperial? Not quite. But it’s certainly Tea. KEEP ON READING

Ormonde Jayne – Ormonde Man: The King of understated masculinity.

in Reviews by

I’m not sure how I’ve been deeply entrenched in the niche-fragrance “game” for the better part of 5 years, but I am just now becoming acquainted with this fragrance. I believe that we’ve crossed paths years ago, in the midst of a niche-sample haul. I could imagine with the amount of pepper and refined “matureness” running through the veins of Ormonde Man, I’m positive that I swapped that sample immediately or threw it in a goodie-bag for someone else to enjoy, or loathe.

Fast forward to present year, 2016, I am more seasoned to say the least. After chasing down every hyped fragrance to ever grace the channels of YouTube and forum pages of basenotes, I think it’s time to revisit, re-discover, and settle in with some lesser-mentioned, cult favorites. KEEP ON READING

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