At a glance…
Scent: Z Zegna Extreme
Availability: In Production
Dominant notes: Rose, Patchouli, Cardamom, Gin, Cedar
Scent: Armani Diamonds
Availability: In Production
Dominant Notes: Cacao, Bergamot, Cedar, Amber
The house of Armani is a heavyweight in the world of fragrances. Heck, they have no less than 3 different lines of fragrance. They have their Armani/Giorgio Armani line, their Emporio Armani line and their highly exclusive Armani Prive line.
They of course have huge successes like Armani Code and Acqua Di Gio which remain best sellers and have a massive following.
Emporio Armani Diamonds was released in 2008 and it was an instant hit. While it didn’t quite manage to maintain its popularity like its siblings, it is still a very popular scent and a great addition to the Emporio Armani line.
I have had my bottle for a couple of years now and I’ll be giving you the lowdown on this scent.
The juice is housed in a clear long cuboid bottle that is feels fairly heavy in the hand. I have dropped it on a few occasions and it has held up pretty well.
It has a chrome plastic stopper which has an integrated spritzer. Unfortunately, it feels a bit cheap and looks pretty fragile. That said, Giorgio Armani are not particularly renowned for their bottle designs.
Most of them tend to be on the average side but the strength of the brand more than makes up for that. Besides, many who buy Armani will not be doing it because of the attractive bottle design. The brand association and universal approval is enough.
Ancillary products are available. You can get a shower gel and an aftershave balm. There is also an aftershave splash although it’s a little difficult to find.
A spray of Diamonds is a burst of refreshing bergamot – a citrus note. A few seconds later, the citrus wanes and it begins to sweeten rather hastily. The sweetening continues till you have this cotton candy accord that is supported by a hint of chocolate. Only a hint though.
As time progresses, you detect a waxy like character to it. It is amplified by the presence of pepper and cedar. At times, if you inhale deeply, you get flashbacks of a much more tame version of Joop! but it never leans too much to that extreme. The chocolate undertones are pretty much ever present and they stay for a good while.
An hour into the mix, if you inhale deeply once more, you smell this bitter note lurking in the background. At this point you get flashes of Terre D’Hermes, a vetiver, pepper and cedar clad fragrance so this bitter note can only be vetiver.
It adds more depth to the mix without interfering with the predominant sweetness. But this is nothing more than a celebrated cameo. It doesn’t really make it presence felt and while its execution is successful, it’s all very enjoyable until it hits you in the face like a pinata; if you have owned or smelt fragrances from Giorgio Armani, particularly Attitude Extreme and Code, suddenly this is all very familiar.
That familiar sweet, bright ambery base is making an appearance here. In Diamonds, it’s a lot fresher. In Attitude Extreme, it’s heavier and in Code, it’s a lot brighter and much more vibrant.
It’s still Armani’s signature nonetheless and it makes it a touch difficult to justify owning many of their scents since they are more or less identical in the dry-down.
Once you get to this base, don’t be surprised to hear people ask you if you’re wearing Armani Code. They aren’t exactly the same per se, but they are so so similar. I find it a little disappointing that their scents smells this similar.
It’s difficult to be unique or to stand out while wearing Armani scents. Code is one of the most ubiquitous and easily recognized smells out there so the feeling of individuality is inevitably detracted while wearing this.
Finally, while Armani Diamonds has a cotton candy/chocolate accord to it, it never really steps into gourmand territory. It always teeters along that boundary and never quite steps into the other side.
In fact, it can come across as soapy and fresh but never ‘delicious’ or foody. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. The fact that it can be a little soapy means it’s a clean wearing scent that’s more functional and versatile.
It also means that this scent works as a daily signature scent. It’s clean, sweet, easily likable and if I’m being honest, kind of generic.
Is that a bad thing? Not at all. I think this pleases a lot of noses and manages to do so without presenting a challenge of any sort. It’s one of those ‘safe bets’. One you can always reach for when you’re not sure of what to wear as you can never go wrong with it.
It’s a nice enough scent but if you were looking for something to totally capture your imagination, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
If you look at the reviews online, opinions are rather divided. On my skin, Diamonds gives out a healthy dose of sillage in its first hour or so. From then on, it is dramatically less powerful and becomes a bit of a skin scent projecting no more than a foot.
It stays this way, slowly losing strength for the rest of its progression. I find that Diamonds is on the weaker side. The longevity isn’t poor per se, it’s just unspectacular.
Wearers should expect to get around 6 hours of longevity from it. In its final hour, it’s all but gone save for the occasional whiff of candied amber. I think its quite appropriate. This stuff is extremely sweet.
Had it been any stronger, it would be bordering on cloying and besides, it would upset the balance of the scent and it would be totally different as a result. While unspectacular, it never leaves you wanting. It does what’s required of it and disappears and that’s fine with me.
So here we have a scent that smell nice. Really, really nice. Unfortunately, things don’t progress from there. It fails to wow and capture the imagination. I’ll admit that this is a compliment magnet. Girls seem to adore this stuff.
However, it’s almost German in its execution. It seems like a well engineered yet cold and calculated creation. There is a distinct lack of flair and character in this release and it will leave many an enthusiast disappointed.
I’m in a dilemma here. It’s clear I like how this smells. I really do enjoy this stuff immensely. It’s a superb scent. I can wear it everyday and it works pretty much all year round. However, it lacks a certain ‘je ne sais quoi‘ that would otherwise make it truly special.
A lot of you reading this have no desire in amassing a collection of fragrances. You just want to smell good. I say buy it. Buy lots of it. You’ll definitely smell good and you’ll have millions of women complimenting you or being more receptive to your advances.
Longevity: 5.5/10 (5-7 hours)
Sillage: 5/10 (great for the first hour but loses strength)
Scent: 8.5/10 (Very, very nice.)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 4/10 (Smells a bit like code which is as common as rocks)
Value for money: 5/10 (It’s an Armani. Costs quite a bit)
It scores a mediocre 5.6/10. That isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t get it. It smells awesome and there is a 90% chance you or your girlfriend/wife/partner will like it. For me, fragrances are more a passion rather than a functional tool.
I wear them for the experience.. the artistry. I like to appreciate certain nuances and quirks. I like to let my imagination run wild as I try and decipher what it is I am smelling.
Unfortunately, Emporio Armani Diamonds fails to take me to that place. We’ve all seen it before – too familiar. It smells nice really.. but that’s about it.Google+
After years of struggling with note identification, I suddenly made a realization that I’d known all along. Why not get some essential oils and an oil burner and learn these notes? Makes sense doesn’t it?
Don’t you find it frustrating when you sniff a scent and you don’t know what you’re smelling? Well, I struggled with a few notes and I finally bit the bullet and got myself an oil burner and some essential oils.
I got rose geranium oil, clary sage and bergamot. I had an idea of what clary sage and bergamot smelt like but I wanted to be 100% sure. When I smelt begamot, I immediately recognized that as the top note of a gazillion scents.
It’s just as fleeting in oil form as it is in most scents. The sage I suspected to have a sharp, peppery smelling scent and I wasn’t wrong. It’s actually a lot more green and herbal with a ‘dry leaf’ accord to it. Though the sharpness and pepperiness remains.
That leaves us with the Geranium. I’d struggled with geranium on numerous occasions. I simply couldn’t pick it out. Now I know what it smells like.
It’s not like vetiver which is so different and so distinct that it’s unmistakable. Geranium carries a rose like, green, almost metallic accord which can blend in with other notes and thus become elusive.
I have a sample of Czech & Speake no. 88 and it’s totally unmistakable. It’s very clear in the top notes. The smell also reminded me of Z Zegna Extreme which incidentally contains a healthy dose of rose. I guess that confirms the similarity in scent between rose and geranium then.
Finally, there’s Caron 3rd man. That supposedly has geranium and rose in the heart. Since these two are so similar, detecting them would be nigh in impossible for me at this stage. I also wasn’t able to detect any geranium in that although I may need to live with it a little.
All in all, geranium oil has definitely opened my eyes and now I know what geranium is supposed to smell like. i’ll be increasing my collection of oils and other smelly things with tonka bean, patchouli, cypress, sandalwood, frankincense, myrhh, lily-of-the-valley, anise, rosemary, lavender, violet and iris just to mention a few. I already know what some of these smell like but I know there’ll be differences when I smell the pure oil.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Brad from Florida asks “Dennis, can you tell me the longest lasting male fragrance?”
That’s surprisingly a common question. If you look on the basenotes forum, a question of this nature pops up on a near weekly basis. Before I answer this question, you have to understand that my collection comprises of mostly designer stuff. I haven’t quite made the jump into niche scents.
Now that we have that sorted, I’ll answer the question.
Brad, thanks for your question. It’ll help a lot of people out there. My collection has now swelled to over 100 bottles. I stopped counting when I got to ninety two. That was about 6 months ago. Out of every single fragrance I have owned and tried, there has always been one that continually exhibits obscene and outrageous lasting power. Wanna know what it is?
Wait for it….
This is BY FAR the longest lasting fragrance in my collection. It’s so long lasting, I could wear it for two days straight (without showering of course). The secret to its potency lies in the headline note (immortelle). The name itself tells you that this stuff is nothing to mess with. (immortal.. immortelle.. do you get it?).
Sables has moderate sillage. It behaves a lot like an Eau De Parfum. It doesn’t travel like a Michael Kors or a Paco Rabanne.. but it just sits there. It smells just as strong at 12 hours as it did at 2 hours. It’s quite astonishing. It’ll even outlast you. You simply stop counting after about 20 hours when it shows no signs of quitting.
Before you rush to their online store and ask them to take your money, I strongly advise you reconsider. Sables is NOT at all a fragrance I’d describe as approachable. In fact, it’s rather hostile.
It has a very strong sweet/bitter burnt sugar syrupy smell. It also has cinnamon and a spicy pepper heart and has the tendency to resemble curry. It’s definitely an acquired taste and most people will probably hate it. Insane longevity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a nice fragrance. I happen to like Sables but it sure is weird.
I could recommend Montale Black Aoud as a runner up but that too is plain weird. Firstly it’s a rose scent and then it has a strong oud base. Most aren’t familiar with the smell of rose in a fragrance. It’s really quite different from other rose scented stuff you’ve smelt before.
So where does that leave us? What is the longest lasting male fragrance that is novice friendly? There are a few.
1. Thierry Mugler A*Men – Sweet.. a little strange but it’s approachable
2. Gaultier2 – Can be a little feminine but lasts very long and smells wonderful
3. L’Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme Eau Extreme Eau De Parfum – Smells like freshly baked gingerbread cookies. Heavy on patchouli but difficult to dislike. Very nice indeed.
I purposely left out Dior Homme Intense because that’s been played with. I’m told the longevity isn’t as good. Joop! is everywhere and Tom Ford Black Orchid is marketed towards women even though it wears like a masculine fragrance.
So there you go Brad. A few things for you to try. I’d give Sables and Black Aoud a go, certainly. But these are a little challenging to like if you’re just starting out and learning about fragrance.. They can also be difficult to wear as they are unlike what conventional fragrances tend to be.. just like a racing car may be a little challenging to drive in public it can trigger extreme reactions. Same with those scents.Google+
Scent: Versace Pour Homme
Availability: In Production
Family: Fresh Aromatic Fougere
Versace Pour Homme is the flagship fragrance of the Versace Fashion house. It was released in 2008 and it has enjoyed a lot of commercial success since its launch. The nose behind it is legendary perfumer Alberto Morillas who is also behind such fragrances as 212 men, Acqua di Gio, Givenchy Pi, YSL M7 and the classic CK One.
Versace pour homme is classified as an aromatic fougere with notes of tonka bean, geranium, cedarwood and musk. It is currently in production and widely available to purchase in department stores and online.
The retail bottle is extremely attractive indeed. It’s an elegantly designed cuboid with square pyramidal protrusions on either side. A chrome Versace lady is logo is on the front of the bottle. Unfortunately, I don’t own a retail bottle so I cannot tell you much more. I have held the bottle in a department store and it feels very heavy and solidly made.
I have an industrial tester bottle with a cheap metallic lid (aluminium) and a cheap looking spritzer (see pic). Before anyone says it’s fake, I can assure you it isn’t. It’s 100% legit and I’ve compared it with the juice in the stores countless times to eliminate my own doubts. I got that 200ml bottle for £27.99 on eBay. Lucky indeed!
You can get it in 200ml, 100ml, 50ml and 30ml bottles. Ancillary products are available too with bath and body shampoo, shower-gel and a deodorant stick.
Versace Pour homme opens with a combination of bergamot and lemon and a wonderfully green note.. maybe neroli or orange leaves. It’s kinda like what you smell when you peel an orange. It’s quite nice. It then settles and turns a lot sweeter. There’s a lurking spice there.. almost peppery which must be the clary sage. After a while, it shifts again with the zesty citrus toning down a bit. It starts to resemble an aquatic.
It becomes light and transparent.. almost watery. It’s as if there’s some calone or melon. There’s a watery oceanic vibe that is anchored by citrus notes in the dry down which bears a striking resemblance to Chanel’s Allure homme sport and Giorgio Armani’s Acqua Di Gio to a lesser extent. An interesting fact is that Acqua Di Gio was done by the same perfumer. I think it’s a little more than coincidence.
Later in its drydown, cedar makes an appearance. It works quite well here. It’s easy to pick out yet it doesn’t dominate. The sage sticks around lending it’s sharp, peppery accord to the smooth, sweet aroma that also carries that calone/aquatic vibe.
Altogether we have a scent that os predominantly clean, refreshing and quite refined. It’s a really classy ultilitarian scent that can serve as an everyday signature fragrance to wear daily.
What I also like about Versace Pour homme is the versatility. This is a fragrance you can wear all year round. It leaves a thick, oily film on your skin when you spray it. That usually means a high concentration of oil in the mix and it shows.
The longevity of this is extremely impressive. It easily lasts 8 hours although it becomes rather close wearing in its final stages. Still, those seeking better longevity only need to moisturize their skin or spray on clothing to make last longer.
I also find that Versace Pour Homme elicits many compliments. It’s just a wonderful smell. Fresh, citrusy, transparent with just a hint of spice and florals. It’s quite nice indeed.
Sillage and longevity
Versace Pour Homme delivers a soft trail of sweet, transparent sillage. What you smell in the sillage is markedly different from what you smell up close. That sharpness from the sage is all but non-existent in the sillage.
You get a scent that resembles Acqua di Gio at times; a cool, sweet/sour nearly watery melony vibe. It’s very fresh and quite light at the same time. i think ‘bright’ is a more fitting word.
It’s got reasonable radiance and it tends to come alive if your body temperature climbs up a bit. It tends to create an oily film that sits on your skin just waiting to deliver a beautiful dose of scent the moment your temperature rises.
The longevity is spotty though mostly good. With dry skin, it evaporates at a disappointing rate. Inside 5 hours, it’s all but gone. However, moisturize a bit and you pretty much double the longevity.
Spray it on clothes and you have a scent that clings on for days on fabric. sometimes it survives a few washes! It’s just so clingy! As a result, I tend to always include a few sprays to my shirt as well.
Versace pour homme is a very nice scent and worthy of being Versace’s flagship. It’s really good stuff. It’s a high quality fragrance that genuinely smells good. Versace didn’t try to make an artistic statement of re-invent the proverbial wheel with this one. They simply contributed their own version of a tried and tested formula and this was the result.
Some say this is a direct copy of Allure Homme Sport and I have to admit that the similarities are striking.. to the point where owning both is probably unnecessary. Even while they smell fundamentally the same, they do differ in many ways with each presenting its individual qualities which some may or may not like.
Versace pour Homme manages to pay a passing node to aquatics without becoming an aquatic itself. The vibe is there and sometimes you can e convinced it is.. especially if you catch a whiff of the sillage on somebody else. It just happens to create that vibe. This ofcourse widens its appeal as the aquatic vibe seems to be universally likable.
However, it remains an elegant, complex, light, high quality, fresh and clean smell. It’s easy to wear and it draws compliments. It’s just a very nice smell that’s not very difficult to pull off.
Longevity: 6/10 (6-8 hours)
Sillage: 6/10 (soft but adequate)
Scent: 9/10 (It just smells really good.)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 6/10 (semi popular and widely available)
Value for money: 8/10 (Can eb had cheaply on the internet if one is patient enough to search extensively).
We get an overall score of 7/10. It’s worth trying and it’s definitely full bottle worthy. it’ll take me years to go through my 200ml bottle but I’m glad I have it. It’s one of those scents I reach for when I’m in a hurry and cannot spare a minute to decide what to wear. I know I can never go wrong with it.
What we have here is a nice scent that is neither ground breaking or thought provoking. It uses classic ingredients and we end up with a fragrance that is a classic aromatic fougere. But this is a very well done scent. From the complexity to the way it transitions very seamlessly from top, mid to base notes without falling apart and becoming non-descript.
It’s versatile, easy to wear and easily likable. It’s approachable and perfectly usable as a work fragrance due to its clean. inoffensive nature.It also possesses a lot of strength for a fresh scent. It can stay on clothes for days or even weeks. There’s little to dislike about it really. It’s really quite lovely.
Scent: Dirty English
Family: Woody Spicy/Leather
The house of Juicy Couture is well known for their bold and outrageous (read garish) fashion and funky handbags… and their obsession with pink. However, in 2006, they released Juicy Couture and juicy girl.. feminine floral fragrances. Two years later, the released their very first masculine; Dirty English.
True to form, Dirty English was a middle finger to the conventional aromatic fougeres and aquatics that were ruling the genre at the time. It was a deliberate attempt to be different. The packaging was totally bananas and it was marketed as a ‘bad boy’s scent’. Unfortunately, 4 years after its release, Dirty English was finally discontinued. Today we shall take a closer look at this scent!
Dirty English is housed in a brown aged leather effect box that has ‘Dirty English’ printed in Old English font. The bottle is made of glass and is very thick and heavy. The lid is metallic and has a leather rope with two charms; a horn and a juicy couture medallion. The juice itself is amber like rum color. The presentation is spot on. The box isn’t much to look at but the bottle is lovely.
It feels heavy to the touch and the lid is solid metal and has a curb chain wrapped around it.. not to mention the suede rope. There’s a lot of drama and a real sense of occasion about the bottle which makes you all the more eager to try it. Keeping in theme with the high quality bottle design is the spritzer.
It’s plastic and chrome in colour however, it’s one of the compact, really good ones a la Encre Noire! It allows you to judge the amount you want to spray with surprising accuracy. I wonder why they don’t make them all like this? All in all, the bottle is really impressive and of all the scents I have reviewed second only to Encre Noire in quality (Michael for men is close).
Dirty English has a very dry opening. In fact, it’s a dry fragrance to start with. The opening starts with cardamom, bergamot and a load of woods. A few minutes later, a very strong, dry leather note comes into the fore. It almost dominates the entire mix. The leather in here is quite strong and smells like an old leather jacket.
Leather is never difficult to pick out as it has a very distinctive aroma. Simply close your eyes and take a deep breath and you’ll pick it out. The other notes are a bit more tricky and may take a few wearings to pick up.
As Dirty English soldiers on, another note comes into the fore. Cedar. This is again an easy note to pick out. Take a pencil.. sharpen it and take a whiff of the shavings. Yes.. THAT’S cedar… and Dirty English has lots of it. There’s also agarwood and ebonywood in Dirty English.
I know what agarwood smells like; cough syrup with an intense woodiness about it. I can sort of detect that but it’s not glaringly obvious like the cedar and the leather.
Also in the mix is a smouldering vetiver note. I find that it adds a certain bitterness and smokiness to the mix. However, to my nose, it’s very faint and most people would have trouble picking it out. However, thanks to my supply of Encre Noire, Guerlain’s vetiver and Floris Vetiver, I’m able to pick it out!
As time passes, dirty English gives way to a woody-musk base. The leather is still very much present but it takes a back seat to the musk. I do not for one minute find this ‘dirty’. While it features leather, I’ve never considered leather to be animalic.
I know that’s a contradictory thing to say but let me explain; I’ve always been under the impression that animalic notes are more crude.. i.e. fecal/sweaty/urinal. THAT to me is animalic. Leather just smells like shoes or jackets.
In many ways you could argue that it’s a near carbon copy of Gucci pour Homme which is now discontinued. Certainly the abandunce of cedar and the presence of leather makes them very similar. However, Dirty English sets itself apart with a more prominent leather note and some agarwood too.
What I cannot explain is why Dirty English smells so good… why it gets so addictive. Many a time I’d ask myself; why would anyone want to smell like a sharpened pencil.. or an old jacket.. or a combination of the two. I still wrestle with that question from time to time but somehow it works.
I find myself continually smelling my wrists. So much about this is so anti-fragrance. It’s not sweet. it’s not fresh. It’s not flowery but rather, it’s dry, woody and a little sharp. It shouldn’t smell good but it does. And I can’t stop smelling my wrist. It’s strangely addictive.. and i’ll probably never figure it out.
This one is tricky. Dirty English isn’t a powerhouse by any means but it doesn’t ‘feel’ weak. It’s not at all ephemeral. It’s hard to describe but some fragrances have mediocre longevity yet you don’t get the feeling that they are weak at all. Dirty English lasts around 6 hours and the sillage is pretty good.
There have been numerous complaints about the longevity of this thing but I can’t seem to agree. I know I’m not making much sense but it’s something you just have to try for yourself. It usually all gone after 8 hours but you somehow you think it’s still there with you. Every once in a while you swear you’ve just smelt it. It’s one of the ghosts.
I also believe that because the ingredients are all quite heavy (woods + musk), it can induce olfactory fatigue. I certainly haven’t been left wanting by Dirty English. It seems perfectly adequate and I enjoy it.
How I will miss this stuff. Dirty English was the victim of poor marketing. It was packaged in a funky bottle and labeled the ‘bad boy’s’ fragrance. All of which would lead one to conclude that this was for the young man. In the bottle though was a rather mature scent; dry and devoid of any sweetness.
An incredibly masculine scent in an era where most guys want to be metrosexuals. A non conformist scent for the world of conformists. A high quality, complex fragrance in a world where mediocrity flourishes. It simply couldn’t work.
Dirty English is not without fault though. It feels like a skeleton. It feels incomplete. As if it needed one more final touch. Even then, I still have my doubts. Could it be saved? Just look at the very similar Gucci pour Homme. A complete scent in its own right and quite possibly a classic too.
Yet that suffered the same fate. That couldn’t capture many people’s imagination and it too was discontinued. Maybe the era for the woody spicy scent is now done. Maybe it’s the age of the sweet orientals, aquatics and the aromatic fougeres. I guess only time can tell.
Longevity: 6/10 (6-8 hours)
Sillage: 7/10 (pretty good. Easily detected but it doesn’t quite ‘travel’)
Scent: 9/10 (complex spicy woodfs and leather. Smells rather good but I can never figure out why.)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 9/10 (Discontinued and never got popular)
Value for money: 9/10 (Available for peanuts online. Got my 100ml for £13).
Altogether, Dirty English scores 8/10. It’s a very fitting score for a high quality fragrance. It’s wonderfully complex and it transitions quite obviously from top, heart to base. The packaging is quite pleasing to the eye and the price tag is attractive. However, you must be warned.
It’s not like anything else out there. You get dense woods, leather and a little spice. It’s far removed from any aquatic, sweet oriental or fresh citrus you’ve ever tried. Most people will hate it.
Claims of dirtiness are overrated. Ungaro II is dirty. Kouros is dirty.. Yatagan is dirty. This isn’t. It’s sad that the world runs on a certain economic model. If it doesn’t sell.. it has failed. How many gems will we continue to lose because of this? how long will this carry on?
Unfortunately, that’s not a question I can answer. I can confidently say that for the enthusiast, Dirty English is a definite collectors item and all you can do is get yours now before it triples in price.
Scent: Thierry Mugler A*Men
Availability: In Production
Family: Gourmand/Woody Oriental
A*Men or Angel Men is the infamous masculine gourmand that was released by the house of Thierry Mugler in 1996. Based on their ground breaking feminine gourmand, Angel, A*Men took the same theme of using edible ingredients and moved it in a more masculine direction.
The result was a revolutionary fragrance that shocked the industry. Today we will be taking a closer look at A*Men and understanding exactly why it has been so successful.
The signature Thierry Mugler packaging is present here. The bottles (if you call them that) are refills that sit in a metallic casing. A*Men has a chrome metal flask in which the refill bottle sits.
You can also get rubber flasks that have the signature Mugler glass star protruding. These are great for travelling and storage as they tend to be quite sturdy. The juice itself is light blue and gives the star a visually pleasing hue.
The scent is available in 30ml (1Oz), 50ml (1.7Oz) and 100ml (3.4Oz) bottle sizes. There have been countless special editions and limited editions based on the same formula with a different twist and emphasis. These are Pure Malt, Pure Coffee, Hot Chilli (le Gout Du Parfum), Pure Shot, Pure Leather and Pure Havane.
Unfortunately, I don’t own any of these and if I’m honest, I’m quite disappointed I don’t. I never thought to seize the opportunity while some of these were still available. While Pure Shot and Pure Leather are still available, I just haven’t got the dispensable funds to get them! oh well!
Ancillary products are abundant for A*Men. You get a showergel, deodorant stick, soap, hair and body shampoo and aftershave tonic.
A*Men begins with a nuclear burst of mint, tar and an intensely sweet coffee + caramel combination. The mint quickly subsides and caramel. And boy is it sweet. The coffee lends it a sharp edge, giving it intensity and making it seem even sweeter.
The tar is ever present and has a certain burnt quality to it. The best way to describe this is the smell you get from a candy floss machine. When that sugar is heated up and begins to burn, it produces this intensely sweet, almost smoky aroma.
A*Men settles down from its theatrical opening and reveals a strong patchouli note. I like it very much in A*Men. The thing is, in B*Men, the patchouli is just way over the top and unharnessed. It just dominates and begins to irritate a little.
Patchouli when overdone has a tendency to make you feel like you’re in a cloud of dust with its earthy, soily aroma. B*Men, Givenchy gentlemen and even the much loved L’Instant de Guerlain can sometimes behave like this. In A*Men, the patchouli is nowhere near as abundant but it’s there alright!
While I like the patchouli, I can’t say its presence makes the fragrance better. I kind of like the unadulterated sweetness and relentless intensity the top notes present and I feel like the patchouli breaks up the party.
There is definitely a reduction in the sweetness and the intensity when the patchouli arrives. It seems like it was placed there to tone things down a touch. Still, the coffee and tar are still there while the caramel slowly begins to fade.
Later on in the progression, the patchouli is STILL around and so is the tar. The coffee is hardly detectable and there is a feint hint of chocolate.
In my opinion, A*Men falls apart towards the end and it becomes a bit of a mess. I still think the patchouli is the culprit. I just don’t enjoy how it begins to smell later on in its progression and I find it difficult to describe this aroma.
That being said, the top notes and the middle notes are extremely enjoyable. A*Men is a very powerful scent and performs admirably in cooler weather and in the evenings. It’s definitely a fragrance for clubbing as it has the strength to permeate through just about anything!
Furthermore, those gourmand notes make it a great scent for a romantic date although I recommend spraying once. If you have to spray twice, then wear two layers of clothing. You don’t want your scent to dominate your surroundings.
I’ve always asserted that A*Men’s sillage and longevity are overrated. Countless threads have been started on basenotes inquiring about the correct method of application; how many sprays and where to spray. It’s really not THAT strong. Don’t get me wrong, the sillage is nuclear and the longevity is stupendous. However, people go way overboard and say it lasts an entire week e.t.c.
That’s just not true. A*Men has monumental staying power. There are no doubt about it. It can pull for 24 hours with relative ease. However, after the first 3 to 4 hours, the sillage is drastically reduced and it’s actually quite well behaved after that.
I’ve also observed that A*Men doesn’t like dry skin. It falls apart quite spectacularly. Wearing it on dry skin reduces it’s life and speeds up the progression. The patchouli appears much sooner and that sweetness disappears a little too quickly. Just make sure you moisturize your skin before applying!
It should come as no surprise that I really like this stuff. So maybe I find the base a little uninspired but many scents are like this. They simply fall apart at the base. Besides, a spray on my clothes preserve the top notes and middle notes for me to enjoy throughout the day. A*Men is a modern classic.
There’s absolutely no doubt about that. It smells unlike anything you’ve ever tried. It’s intensely sweet but it’s not a flat, boring sweetness like for example, the body shop’s vanilla oil. it’s full bodied, complex, rich and even has a tarry twist to it for added masculinity.
It’s no doubt this stuff has been a resounding success. It’s absolutely immense! From the sillage and longevity to the way it makes you feel. It’s assertive and bold but it fills you with confidence. It’s not a smell you’d imagine people hating.
The dry down is something to marvel at too. At this point it has calmed down and it releases a steady trail of sweet, chocolatey sillage. It’s really enjoyable stuff.
Longevity: 10/10 (24+ hours)
Sillage: 10/10 (NUCLEAR)
Scent: 9.5/10 (Beautiful smell)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 6/10 (Popular. A frequent best seller)
Value for money: 8/10 (Not too pricey. Can be had for cheap if you are patient. Wait for January sales and buy a gift set).
Altogether, A*Men scores 8.7/10. This is a great score but as a scent, it does it no justice. I would argue that every enthusiast must have A*Men in his wardrobe. I am deathly serious. It’s a modern classic and thus a must have.
Not only will you be flooded with compliments when you wear it (in moderation), you will experience one of the modern day greats. I say get yourself a bottle and enjoy this masterstroke of genius perfumery.Google+
Scent: Thierry Mugler B*Men
The house of Thierry Mugler is famous for its smash hit fragrance A*Men. Few are aware of its younger brother B*Men. Launched in 2004, 8 years following the successful A*Men, B*Men never really managed to capture the public’s imagination. A*Men was simply too good. A hard act to follow. Dare I say, a one hit wonder?! Because of its less than successful tenure on the Thierry Mugler roster, B*Men has since been discontinued. It’s still available at a reasonable price so if you’re a collector, I recommend getting it!
If you’re familiar with A*Men’s packaging, then that’s pretty much how B*Men is presented. You get the same metal flasks which are refillable. You also get the same rubber flasks which are awkward to spray. B*Men’s flasks are more khaki rather than black and they have a red star as opposed to a blue star. I personally find the bottles to be rather unattractive but conversely well made and durable. The rubber flasks especially as they simply don’t shatter when dropped.
Ancillary products are available too. You can get shower gel, aftershave gel, deodorant and shampoo.
B*Men opens with a fairly powerful burst of sour rhubarb, sharp citrus and licorice. This opening is quite hefty thanks to the generous dose of patchouli and burnt tar which is instantly reminiscent of A*MEN. That strong patchouli-tar accord is pretty much the Thierry Mugler DNA and it’s what makes the fragrances seem so similar. B*Men seems like an attempt to please the masses. I feel that there may have been complaints about A*Men’s decidedly sweet nature and how some may have preferred something more wearable/subdued and the house responded. Unfortunately, they swung the pendulum a little too much to the other side. B*MEN is sweet, no doubt, but it’s also irritatingly sour and just as tricky to pull off.
The sourness persists, almost relentlessly for hours. The earthy patchouli is also very apparent and it has the tendency to grate. I like patchouli a lot and some of my fragrances feature the note prominently. Here, it seems a bit too much of an overload. The thing with patchouli is, it tends to work well when in harmony with other notes.
On its own, patchouli smells EXACTLY like wet soil and it has the tendency to totally dominate and this is exactly what happens here. B*Men ends up smelling like a sour bowl of damp earth. While tar is present, making it similar to A*Men, there is MUCH more patchouli in B*Men and for me, it simply doesn’t work.
I can’t quite make my mind up about B*Men. Early in my enthusiast days, I remember purchasing a travel set of A*MEN and a 50ml of B* Men and finding them indistinguishable and thus, likable. However, a few years later, my nose has become a lot more sophisticated and now there two are like night and day. A*MEN is unadulterated sweetness while B*MEN is sour, sour with spicy undertones. I prefer the former.
Overall, B*Men is a fragrance that I almost enjoy but it simply falls short. Should it have been sweeter? Maybe less patchouli would have done the job? Probably.. but I don’t know. I just can’t seem to truly enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an intriguing smell. Unique in its own way and interesting to boot. But I can’t say it smells amazing. It’s OK and it probably won’t offend in moderation. But it just doesn’t seem to cut the mustard.
I can’t be the only one to feel this way about it. It comes as no surprise that this was discontinued. There’s just too much sourness and patchouli. It’s tricky to wear and few will enjoy this eccentricity. The irony is, had this been a niche creation from Montale or Bond no. 9, this would have been hailed a masterpiece. Weird is king in the world of niche. However, there are certain expectations from mainstream designer fragrances. One of them is that the fragrance has to be pleasant and easily liked. This just isn’t easily likable.
B*Men is like the artist who manages to emulate a winning formula, gets a little success and then puts a unique twist to it. The only problem is, this unique twist twist totally ruins the strong foundation that the winning formula once provided. As a result, the final output is a failure in and of itself. I don’t hate it. It’s not repulsive or disgusting. It’s just grating and irritating.
B*Men is a very heavy scent. The generous dose of patchouli makes sure of that. As a result, you’ll find it far more rewarding to wear this in the evening or during winter time. Because of its gourmand notes, it’s definitely a romantic fragrance that will do well on a date although I recommend minimal application – it’s better in small doses!
The house of Thierry Mugler has become synonymous with insane sillage and longevity and B* Men is no exception. There’s something about that patchouli DNA that lends itself to huge sillage and longevity. While B*Men is a toned down, sour version of A*Men, it still packs a punch. It has very good sillage and the longevity is well over the 12 hour mark. It really does pull. However, like A*Men, it’s rather soft and muted in its final hours.
If you happen to like the way it smells, then you will not be disappointed by wearing it. It does have some legs on it and you’ll be in for hours upon hours of enjoyment. This is not a department in which it has any shortcomings.
So B*Men is really an ‘almost’ fragrance. It’s almost good. It starts with the name. A*Men is angel men. B*Men should have been called D*Men (Demon). A play on good and evil. Blue and red. From a marketing perspective, that would have pushed the fragrance a little more. People would have been compelled to purchase both. A*Men for when they are feeling kind and all warm inside.. and D*Men for when they are in a darker, more sombre.. or even naughtier mood. Leaving that aside, I found it to be a little too much… of the wrong stuff. Too sour… too much dirt. B*Men is way too sour and way too earthy and virtually nothing curbs that. It just carries on assaulting your nostrils.
As a consolation, the sillage and longevity are stellar. Then again, many things have sticky, persistent odors but you wouldn’t necessarily want to smell like they do.
Longevity: 8.5/10 (12+ hours)
Sillage: 8.5/10 (quite powerful)
Scent: 5/10 (almost good fragrance that can irritate or grate thanks to its sourness)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 9/10 (never got really popular.. quite hard to find these days)
Value for money: 6/10 (not expensive to buy but there are better scents out there for your money).
Altogether B*Men scores 7.4/10. It’s an OK fragrance that will surely please a certain audience. It’s not my cup of tea and it obviously didn’t agree with a lot of people either.. hence the discontinuation. I don’t much like this fragrance but I can appreciate its good points. I just have a gnawing feeling that this could have been so much better had it not tried to swing the pendulum so far back to the other side of A*MEN. Either way, I’m sad to see it go.Google+
Today is a day for the collector. Every enthusiast has a list of fragrances they’d like to procure but for one reason or another, they just manage to get something else instead. I have wanted to get Animale Animale for 3 years but I always find an excuse not to.
Unfortunately, with the abundance of choice when it comes to fragrances that your money can get, some of them can get quietly discontinued and you only remember when its too late. Today I’ll attempt to alert you on the top 10 fragrances that are becoming increasingly harder to find because of discontinuation or impending discontinuation.
1. Cristobal Balenciaga – Described as a masterpiece, Balenciaga’s Cristobal is a fragrance that was once widely available around 2010. A 3.4Oz could easily be found for around £20 and I paid it no mind. At some point between then and now, it as discontinued.
Now it’s rarer than hen’s teeth. In the UK where I live, it never got popular. However, in the US, it had a following so it can still be found. Find it, try it and stock it.
2. Juicy Couture Dirty English – This woody, leather scent made huge waves upon its released in 2008. It was all attitude with chains and leather accented into the bottle presentation. The scent was described as ‘dirty’ or ‘animalic’. In my opinion, the name influenced perception and there’s nothing at all dirty about it.
It’s a pleasant, semi-sweet, leathery wood with average longevity. It does seem to provoke reactions because it’s pretty unique. Unfortunately, Juicy Couture discontinued their Dirty English line of products and as a result, this stuff is available for peanuts online. Get it before it disappears and quadruples in price.
3. YSL M7 + Rive Gauche – YSL’s fragrances can be found for peanuts online. Most of them anyway. That’s a huge problem. YSL responded by revamping their line with fancy new packaging and a price tag to match. M7 & Rive Gauche were one of the victims. To be fair, Rive Gauche was obscenely cheap with 4.2Oz going for less than £15 at one point. Things haven’t got out of hand yet so get this before they do.
M7 I don’t quite understand given that it was the priciest of the YSL line. But whatever. They also tweaked M7 and gave it a new name – Oud Absolu. Now it’s a shadow of its former self and it’s costlier. Great! Miraculously, old stock can still be found online fragrance sites (mostly US) although on eBay, it’s already commanding huge sums. Find the old stuff and stock up now.
4. Gucci PH & Gucci PHII – With the success of their new line of Gucci by Gucci fragrances, the original Gucci & Gucci PHII have been upstaged. I’m told that they have both been discontinued which is a shame. I currently have a 50ml of PH and have recently acquired a 100ml of PH2. Gucci frags were never cheap anyway but I guess sales were rather slow. Get them now!
5. Escada Magnetism – This stuff is already painfully expensive with a 100ml going for around £80 online. Just a year ago, it could be had for just £17 online. However, this clubbing masterpiece has since been discontinued and is now very hard to find at a reasonable price. Only miniatures are reasonable. If you can find it cheap, get it. Even if its expensive, get it. It’s a breathtaking fragrance for the money.
6. Paul Smith London – Paul Smith made a huge blunder by discontinuing this one. It’s a frighteningly beautiful, ridiculously long lasting fruity-boozy leather fragrance and it’s quite easily Paul Smith’s best ever release. High demand forced Paul Smith to bring it back into production – but only in 30ml guise. But for how long will this unprecedented (and practically unheard of) move last? Get it now! It’s quite reasonable in the UK – about £14 for 30ml.
7. Sean John Unforgivable – used to be everywhere, now it’s not. Surprisingly hard to find for a scent that was once more widely available than Joop! Homme. Not so sure what went wrong but now your chances of spotting the Tasmanian tiger are far higher. If you can find it, get it!
8. B*MEN – A*Men’s sour brother, this stuff has since been discontinued. It’s an OK scent that I find a little irritating and I just don’t enjoy it much. It does have a loyal following of enthusiasts who swear by it. To each his own! This will become very lucrative and collectible in the not too distant future. Get it now!!
9. Burberry London – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Burberry London is becoming increasingly harder to find. I haven’t heard any real news of a discontinuation but I recommend you snap this one up. A very pleasant herbal sweet tobacco that oozes class. Highly recommended.
10. Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche – This is a fragrance that I’ve lusted after for years but simply can’t get myself to purchase since I can get 3 or 4 other scents I’m interested in for the price of one bottle. However, rumours of a discontinuation are not new.
It was initially a limited edition that got so popular Chanel brought it back into production and made it a regular. However, that run of good fortune seems to have ended and we may have run out of time. Who knows? I’ll certainly buy it as soon as I can afford to.Google+
Scent: Rive Gauche Pour Homme Intense
Availability: In Production
Family: Aromatic Fougere
Rive Gauche Pour Homme Intense was a 2003 follow up to the massively successful Rive Gauche Pour Homme. Now I’ll just come out and say it: why YSL felt the need to release a stronger version of Rive Gauche is beyond me. Rive Gauche was plenty strong and extremely long lasting in and of itself. Anyhow, I somehow ended up with a bottle and I’ll be reviewing it for the curious.
The bottle design is very similar to that of the original Rive Gauche except that plastic and glass have replaced the aluminium. It’s also refillable. There’s also ‘eau de toilette intense’ printed on the bottom of the bottle just to remind you that this is the stronger stuff. It can only be found in 60ml refillable bottles which are fairly cheap to purchase online.
I found pretty much no ancillary products for this one and I figure it’s because of its similarity to the original. Still, it would have been nice to have an aftershave lotion and a shower-gel!
Notes..(courtesy of fragantica.com)
Rive Gauche Intense is an earthy, herbal fragrance that very much resembles the original. Some liken this smell to barbasol (which I’m not familiar with) and describe it as evocative of old school barbershops.
It’s often associated with cleanliness and grooming. Unfortunately, Rive Gauche Intense contains a boatload of patchouli which can tend to smell dirty. In Rive Gauche Intense, this extra dose of patchouli makes all the difference between it and the original.
I find the smell pleasant enough though it’s not my kind of thing. It’s the same for the original. I find myself smelling my wrist continually, not because I’m in love with the smell but rather, because it’s so interesting and unusual.
There’s a lot of clove in Rive Gauche Intense and it pairs rather well with the patchouli. The only issue is, the patchouli is so much stronger that it borders upon coming across as dirty or even funky. There’s this strange accord that smells kinda ‘off’ but it’s not too prominent.
I can’t say that Rive Gauche Intense is a stunning fragrance in the same way Dior Homme Intense or Michael For Men is. In fact, there are moments where I even question why anyone would wear this. Yet when I wear it, I feel quite confident and I know I smell rather good. Confused? So am I.
It’s a fragrance that triggers the most bizarre cognitive dissonance. I can’t quite describe why I don’t like it and on the other hand, I can’t describe what it is about it that I find so intriguing. That kind of irritates me and for that reason, I try and avoid wearing it altogether.
Interestingly, the original seems to be a total hit with the ladies… a fellow basenoter was bitten by a woman who was totally captivated by it… check out the story here. It also draws compliments like nothing else. I just don’t get it. I really don’t.
Rive Gauche Intense is one of those disappointing intense version of fragrances that don’t really add much in the way of sillage and longevity to the original. In fact, I could argue that the original Rive Gauche Pour Homme lasts just as long.
Still, the sillage and longevity are stellar and if you enjoy the smell, this is a fragrance that can be most rewarding to wear. It stays on you for well over 12 hours and generously permeates the air around you. You’ll be noticed alright. I personally do not care for it – it’s just not my kind of thing.
So Rive Gauche Intense is a scent I struggle to understand or even fully appreciate. Rive Gauche was weird enough already but Rive Gauche Intense is weirder and even more difficult to appreciate.
It doesn’t smell ‘good’ in a classical way. It’s more of a provocative, interesting smell that you can’t seem to get enough of. You’re perpetually sniffing yourself while trying to decide whether you like it or not.
Unfortunately, the original is better. It’s less extreme on the patchouli – more balanced even. It’s still weird but not to the point of being downright perplexing. That being said, it’s so similar to the original that at times they are indistinguishable which makes owning both hard to justify.
Yes I did say that it can smell a bit ‘off’ and too heavy on patchouli but this is mostly at the beginning. An hour into the progression and you have pretty a fragrance that is 95% original Rive Gauche.
Still, that 5% makes all the difference but a less advanced nose would be none the wiser. I used to think they were identical.
Longevity: 8/10 (12+ hours)
Sillage: 7.5/10 (good sillage)
Scent: 4.5/10 (I’m not in love with that smell.)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 9/10 (hard to find and not at all popular)
Value for money: 8/10 (Very cheap to buy for what is objectively a high quality scent. It’s just not to my tastes).
All in all, RGPHI (rive gauche pour homme intense) scores 7.4/10. I can’t deny the quality. Yes it smells weird, but it’s not harsh or synthetic smelling. It’s not jarring or headache inducing. It’s good quality stuff. The sillage and longevity also bear testament to that fact. However, it’s just not my style. Too weird, too much patchouli and too much like the original yet different.. in a not so good way.
It leaves me cold. I want to like it because what I smell is interesting. But I can’t bring myself to obsess over it the way I do other scents like M7 or Opium Pour Homme. Maybe it’s because I have never been in a classic barbershop where the barbasol that this apparently resembles can be smelt in abundance.
I suppose because of that, there aren’t any pleasant memories that come flooding in. To me it’s just a strange scent that smells a lot like the original but has a few tweaks.. which sort of ruin it. Sounds like the exact way I feel about Thierry Mugler’s B*Men! It smells like a very well done fake of Rive Gauche.. but as with all fakes, they always have that one shortcoming, – poor ingredients or that irritating note that isn’t there in the original – whatever it may be, that ruins the scent.
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed the review. I’d like to hear your thoughts below!