At a glance…
Scent: Z Zegna Extreme
Availability: In Production
Dominant notes: Rose, Patchouli, Cardamom, Gin, Cedar
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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+
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+
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!
Scent: Fleur Du Male
Availability: In Production
Family: Floral Oriental/Oriental Fougere
12 years after the release of Le Male and two years after Gaultier2 was introduced, the house of Jean Paul Gaultier released its second masculine; Fleur du Male. Once again, Francis Kurkdjian was at it, releasing something that was edgy, unique and distinctive. Fleur du Male was released to an unsuspecting public and was met with shock and bewilderment.
You see, it was the perfect way to make a bold statement. The house of JPG had built a following with the iconic Le Male and now they had everyone’s full attention. Everything they released from here on would be greatly anticipated. It was the perfect opportunity to make a statement with something unique, groundbreaking and unusual. And boy did they seize it!
Fleur Du Male has that same distinct Jean Paul Gaultier bare torso bottle design. However, it’s totally white. It’s actually rather beautiful. This must have cut production costs significantly as there is virtually no difference in size and proportion between the bottle designs of Le Male & Fleur du Male.
It has the same metal band acting as a nozzle guard/stopper except that it’s not chrome.. but you guessed it.. it’s white. It’s available in 4.2,2.5 and 1.3Oz bottles while ancillary products are a little scarce. You can find aftershave balm, deodorant stick and shower gel.
Fleur du Male opens with an alarmingly loud, soapy, green burst of orange blossom not too dissimilar to Joop! Homme. This citrusy floral aroma is supported by a very sweet powdery accord which I’m sure is vanilla although it’s not listed in the pyramid. Fleur du Male is a linear beast that rarely changes during its dry down. This floral orange blossom accord stays, eventually giving way to a sweet Le Male like vanilla base.
There’s something strange that I can’t put my finger on. The florals in Fleur du Male seem stale/dead.. almost gothic. There’s something dirty and animalic/indolic about the dry down that can only be attributed to the white florals present in the pyramid. For those who are lost, some white florals tend to have an animalic quality to them which can smell musky or even smell like body odor!
Fleur du Male is a very distinctive fragrance that provokes extreme reactions from many people. The floral qualities can be perceived as feminine and I can definitely agree with that. Some say it smells too powdery; like old ladies.
While I do find it slightly powdery, I can’t say I get the ‘old lady’ vibe from this. It’s rather youthful and contemporary to my nose. Others find it too over the top and again I have to agree. There’s nothing subtle about this stuff. It’s about as assertive as a fragrance can get!
Fleur du Male morphs into Le Male late into the drydown. However, the florals still linger. Where Le Male is spice and vanilla, Fleur du Male is flowers and vanilla. The similarity is obvious and not difficult to spot. A smooth vanilla base seems to be the Jean Paul Gaultier DNA and it works well here.
I find Fleur du Male intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable to wear. This is a fragrance that stands out and gets noticed. I get lots of compliments with this stuff and I absolutely love it. The strange thing is, people react badly to it when they test it themselves.
However, the reaction isn’t so bad when they smell it on someone else. That’s probably because the opening is so incredibly loud that it shocks and stuns a bit while the dry down is much more restrained and refined.
Fleur du male is absolutely nuclear. It has room filling sillage and exceptional longevity. I have to repeat this for people to understand me. THE SILLAGE IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. This stuff TRAVELS! I recall getting my delivery of the stuff (I bought a used bottle). Before I even opened the box, I could smell that oh so distinctive citrusy orange blossom accord.
There’s absolutely nothing subtle about it. It’s ridiculously powerful stuff and it does have a tendency to cloy and overpower. Those florals and thick, creamy vanilla can get a little overwhelming if you over do it.
The fact that the sillage is never-ending and is pumped out with a maniacal intensity doesn’t help either. If I were to describe the sillage in this stuff in one word I’d say it is ‘relentless’.
Seriously, the sheer output of scent you get from this stuff is frightening. It’s really rather impressive. Yes, this stuff has far more sillage than Joop! and quite possibly 1 million. I also find it stronger than our sillage champion Michael For Men but not quite as ludicrous as Byredo Pulp. Yes, this just might be the most radiant designer fragrance out there. I’m sure some of you will disagree.
Fleur du Male is a stellar fragrance. It’s edgy and different – just what we fragrance lovers like. It also pushes the boundaries and totally flips convention upon it’s head. A floral scent for men? Yes and it’s a damn good one at that.
Sadly, it’s not as universally likable as its older siblings (Le Male & Gaultier2). Those are much more conventional and mainstream and thus, much more popular. However, this stuff is special in its own right.
In my opinion, this stuff is a must have. You need it in your wardrobe. Admittedly, when I first tried it, my reaction was just like everyone else’s. I recoiled in horror and shyed away. I didn’t get it and had no idea why anyone would want to smell like this.
That was until I smelt it on someone in a queue at the supermarket. I instantly knew what he was wearing and it melt amazing. The sillage was incredible and I just had to get it for myself. Now I marvel at it every time I wear it and I just can’t get enough of it.
Longevity: 9/10 (16+ hours)
Sillage: 10/10 (NUCLEAR)
Scent: 9/10 (a very complex green, citrusy accord that is soapy and dirty at the same time. unique & Brilliant!)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 8/10 (widely available but not commonly smelt)
Value for money: 8/10 (suprisingly affordable for a Jean Paul Gaultier).
A score of 8.8 shows that FdM is a special scent that can divide opinion but is undoubtedly very high in quality. That can’t be disputed. Yes it’s loud and in your face and a tad heavy handed. There is no restraint or subtlety about it.
Spraying this is like exploding a giant sack of flowers right in your face. It packs a rather lethal punch and many people can’t handle it. But get past that shocking opening and you’re rewarded with a rich, citrusy, green, soapy and a slightly animalic dry down which echoes YSL’s Kouros.
For such a heavy scent, it works amazingly well in the sun. I recommend it in spring time before the temperature get too warm as it can cloy if the heat gets too intense. Those florals and soapy notes come alive when you’re out in the sun. A cool breeze only helps your sillage travel further. What’s not to like?!
It’s youthful, edgy and contemporary. This stuff has a permanent place in my wardrobe and I recommend you try it.. more than once. You’ll probably hate it the first time but give it another chance!
I guarantee this will become a future classic. Francis Kurkdjian seems to have a knack for creating these. This stuff is a must-have. I dont think there’s much more that needs to be said.Google+
Scent: Le Male
Availability: In Production
Family: Fresh/Spicy/Woody Oriental
Le Male was Jean Paul Gaultier’s first masculine fragrance. What a debut ey? This fresh spicy oriental has since become one of the most decorated, celebrated and highly regarded masculine scents of all time. Even now, nearly 20 years after its launch, Le Male is still one of the best selling fragrances of all time.
Even now, it’s still just as contemporary as the latest releases and time and again, that formula is oft copied but never bettered. Francis Kurdjian’s first ever creation turned out to be quite possibly his greatest.
Le Male’s bare torso shaped is an iconic bottle design that is both striking and unmistakable. You couldn’t mistake this for a feminine scent. The bottle is housed in what appears to be a baked bean tin. I don’t quite understand that if I’m honest. The bottle itself is a frosted turquoise with smoky white stripes.
The nozzle is chrome colored and has a metallic band which acts as a stopper as opposed to a lid. It’s definitely pleasing to hold and the symmetry of the torso is strikingly precise. This is the single biggest problem counterfeiters struggle with. They just cant replicate the precise symmetry and proportion of the bottle.
That said, the bottle is solid and has withstood many a clumsy drop without so much as a chip.
Le Male can be found in 6.8,4.2,2.5 and 1.3Oz sizes. There are a myriad of special editions and reinterpretations in existence but I haven’t tried any of them. Every year a summer version is released but I don’t really have much interest.
I am also aware of the ‘Terrible’ version which I’m told is rather good. I’ve got this on my sample purchase list.
There is no shortage of ancillary products for Le Male. You can get aftershave spray, aftershave balm, soap, showergel and even some soap.
Le Male opens with a fresh burst of sweet mint, bergamot and something bitter and sharp.. almost plasticky; artemisia. The bitter artemisia quickly settles down while curbing the sweetness somewhat. There’s also a hint of cardamom; a spice with a sharp aroma.
The opening is pleasant and refined. Unlike most oriental fragrances, Le Male doesn’t explode and assault your nose when you first spray. It’s almost muted and rather tame and that can fool you into spraying too much. What a mistake that could turn out to be.
As le Male dries down, it’s more radiant and powerful notes begin to make an appearance. That famous vanilla begins to assert itself taking over where the mint left off. The mint is still there by the way, adding a certain fresh vibe. At this point, the cinnamon makes an appearance too.
In prior wearings I used to perceive the lavender too but not today but I can ‘feel’ it if that makes sense. This fresh, spicy, sweet accord persists for a very long time. At this point, Le Male seems to grow strong and more radiant – more sillage being pumped out. It just seems a lot more present that it is at the opening.
Several hours later, the cinnamon makes an exit and gives way to cedar. If you don’t know what cedar smells like, sharpen a pencil! Yes, that’s cedar! This woody base arrives so late into the progression that you might not even notice it.
Le Male is a dynamic fragrance that shifts and transforms as time goes on. It has a distinct top, heart and base. It’s an altogether interesting fragrance that is extremely pleasing to wear and it of course, smells absolutely terrific.It’s a difficult scent to dislike. The mint and vanilla combine to create a rich, creamy aroma reminiscent of Bassett’s mint creams.
At times it exhibits gourmand qualities. The artemisia at the opening adds in a certain bitterness that prevents it from being an overly sweet mess. Everything about Le Male is so well judged and expertly executed.
The opening is rather restrained but as time progresses and it heats up on your skin, it begins to travel and radiate a lot more. It screams quality and you can instantly understand why it has been around for nearly 20 years. It’s just a damn good fragrance!
I’d like to settle a few myths about Le Male. Its strength is often exaggerated to the point where it gets a little disappointing when someone else tries it and finds it a touch lacking. I will say this; there’s absolutely no doubt that Le Male is one of the longest lasting male designer fragrances for your money.
No doubt at all – it’s one of the stronger fragrances money can buy. However, it’s not as strong as you may be led to believe. Joop! and Paco Rabanne’s 1 million have it well and truly beat in those departments. Hell, even Gaultier2 and Fleur du Male are stronger… but not by a whole lot.
The main issue is that Le Male doesn’t open with a frightening blast. Unfortunately, this forces people to be liberal with the trigger. The presence of mint doesn’t help either. Mint has a tendency to numb the senses a little. Le Male is the sort of scent that begins to pick up about 10 minutes after you’ve sprayed it.. which is right about when the mint begins to fade and the vanilla and cinnamon make an appearance.
It terms of sillage, it’s no slouch. It pumps out a healthy dose. Not quite nuclear or radiant but it definitely packs a punch. Longevity is ridiculous. It’ll push past 16 hours although it gets rather feint in the later stages – much more than other fragrances do.
To sum it up, Le Male is a fragrance of restraint. Applied normally, it doesn’t have room filling sillage but it’s more than enough to get you noticed from a few feet away. However, it can become way too much if over-applied and that tends to happen all too frequently.
If you’re looking for a strong fragrance with great sillage, Le Male will not disappoint. Just don’t expect stratospheric levels of performance. You won’t find it here.
Is it any doubt that Le Male is one of the greats? Such a well composed fragrance deserves all forms of accolade. It’s so well executed that it just blows the majority of all designer fragrances out of the water. Unfortunately, its popularity is its greatest weakness. It’s instantly recognizable and almost daily, I smell this on someone. Mind you it smells great, but it does nothing for your distinguished taste if you wear what everyone else wears.
Jean Paul Galtier’s success in the fragrance business is down to this one fragrance. While I concede that I prefer Gaultier2 and Fleur Du Male simply because they are more unique, I actually think that objectively, Le Male smells better. That amazing mint and cardamom opening wins over many hearts on a daily basis.
That creamy vanilla base contributes to its legendary staying power while lending a sensual, romantic appeal to the fragrance. While many designer fragrances tend to be a tad harsh or chaotic; altogether unrefined, this is one of the few fragrances that gives you a real ‘quality’ feel. It feels like money well spent and I guess many people have a sub conscious feel for that. Rarely does bullsh*t do well in the fragrance industry.
In my opinion, this is a cool weather scent. It works rather well int he heat due to the mint adding a dose of freshness but once that vanilla intensifies, it can get sickly. It works well on romantic dates as the vanilla is warm, sensual and inviting. it’s also the ultimate way to make an impression as the ever present sillage and the excellent staying power mean its with you throughout the day.
That being said, virtually every single male has this. It’s more ubiquitous than Joop! Homme. And that stuff is half the price! Also, every girl’s ex boyfriend used to wear this so you’ll probably trigger unpleasant memories or worse yet, pleasant memories that don’t include you.
Longevity: 9/10 (16+ hours)
Sillage: 8/10 (plentiful)
Scent: 10/10 (beautifully constructed stuff. one of the great smells of our time)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 2/10 (Kinda everywhere)
Value for money: 6/10 (expect to pay top dollar for this stuff).
A good score of 7/10 shouldn’t deter you from adding this to your collection. If you want to smell unique, there are better, more fascinating concoctions out there for half the money (L’Arnachiste). But you see, Le Male is in a class of its own. It sits right at the top of the masculine woody oriental tree.
It’s quite a feat for a fragrance to grace our counters for nearly two decades and remain virtually untouched. I haven’t heard of any reformulation or changes to this stuff ever since it first came out. Many greats have fallen to the hand of reinterpretation/modernisation (Ahem.. Dior Homme Intense.. ahem.. ) but Le Male stands strong and defiant.
Many fragrances have tried to copy this formula but have failed spectacularly. Some couldn’t get the balance of sweet and fresh right. Some cudn’t get it to last long enough. Some couldn’t replicate that creamy smoothness. They just couldn’t get it right… but Francis Kurkdjian did. That’s the story of Le Male.. oft copied.. but never matched. Long may it remain on our fragrance counters. It’s a true classic indeed.Google+
Availability: In Production
Family: Amber Oriental/Oriental Vanilla
Ten years after the legendary Le Male was released, the house of Jean Paul Gaultier rather unexpectedly decided to unleash their first unisex fragrance. Their prodigious in-house perfumer Francis Kurkdjian was at it again, stirring giant bowls of fragrance oils with his magic wand.
The result was Gaultier2. It had these funky magnetic bottles which stuck together to symbolise the masculine and the feminine. I’m sure gender equality was the real metaphor here (The power of two). To date, Gaultier2 has been a rather successful release.
It’s not quite on par with it’s torso shaped sibling but then again, the dearer price point may have something to do with it. That said, it’s a great fragrance in its own right and we’ll soon find out why.
The packaging is simple but attractive. The bottle is only livened up by the magnetic inserts on each corner. The back is painted in a dull brass to give the effect of a metal attachment but it’s just glass. The bottles can be joined together although the reason for this still evades me.
I suppose it’s to create some sort of union of the genders. The whole ‘two becoming one’ ideology: a fragrance for partners with similar tastes perhaps. I haven’t really read the marketing blurb so I’m really clutching at straws here.
That said, the use of magnets on fragrance bottles is not something new. Carolina Herrera’s 212 MEN uses it to great effect with its snap-on lid! All in all, it’s solid and well made. It’s not quite as striking as Encre Noire nor does it have the same heavy, solid feel.. but it’s adequate nonetheless. And besides, the bottle isn’t the real star here.
The spritzer is made of plastic and shares the same dull brassy colour scheme. The juice itself is a rich amber which in a way echoes one of the juice’s main ingredients.
A spray of Gaultier2 gives way to a generous dose of vanilla and amber. It’s very, very sweet. The amber lends it a certain sharpness. It has a certain warm, toasted quality to it… almost exactly like caramelized popcorn. Really odd indeed.. but strangely likable and dare I say, somewhat addictive. I really, really enjoy it.
The vanilla actually stays in the background for the most part while the amber takes center stage. The amber, vanilla and musk work so well together. The vanilla provides a sweet, smooth base. The amber adds the toasty toffee/caramel accord and the musk provides an animalic twist which makes the scent sensual and warm.
About an hour into the progression, you get pretty much nothing but amber/caramel popcorn. The vanilla is still there playing its supporting role but the amber is the star here. Amber is not an easy note to differentiate. This is because there are actually three ambers in existence.
There’s perfume amber which is a combination of vanilla, labdanum and beeswax. You also have mineral amber which is made from tree sap. We then have ambergris which is made from whale vomit. The amber in Gaultier2 is the perfumer’s amber which causes so much confusion. This is because this type of amber is purely down to the perfumer’s interpretation as it is a combination of different notes. There isn’t any one formula on how to create this amber so it almost never smells the same in any two fragrances!
It’s a rather simple concoction. Gaultier2 is the ultimate feel good scent. It’s so comforting and soothing. It envelopes you in this warm, soothing aroma of freshly made caramel popcorn. This makes Gaultier2 the ultimate cool weather scent. It’s utterly in forgettable. This is the kind of scent that rubs off on others when you hug them and leaves them wondering what smells so good long after you’re gone.
The secret to Gaultier2‘s success is in its simplicity. Where Chopard’s Casran promises a pyramid of several compelling gourmand notes and ends up a powdery, sickly mess, Gaultier2 manages to make a truly heart warming, unforgettable scent out of a modest pyramid of just three main ingredients; vanilla, amber and musk.
With its sweetness and smoothness, some feel that Gaultier2 can sometimes come across as somewhat feminine. I disagree to a point. As with most feminine vanillic/ambery fragrances, Gaultier2 lacks the floral aspect that would make this a full blown feminine scent. The main notes in Gaultier2 are not gender specific. One might argue that it’s too sweet to be masculine. What about 1 million? A*Men? Yes I concede that the former has leather as a masculine touch while the latter has woody notes but you’re just going to have to try it. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, too bad.
Gaultier2 is a fragrance I blame for my lofty expectations from masculine Eau de Parfums. Every time I try an EDP, I expect spectacular sillage and longevity. This was the very first EDP I ever had the pleasure of owning and it quite simply blew everything I owned out of the water. This stuff will easily last 24 hours and you’ll know it’s there the entire time. The sillage is just radiant. I wouldn’t call it nuclear but it’s not far from it.
It’s unfortunate that modern day Eau De Parfums like Prada’s Amber Intense Pour Homme EDP or even parfum strength fragrances such as Terre D’hermes add very little in the way of sillage and longevity. Fragrances like Gaultier2 have the unfortunate tendency of making one expect stellar performance from any EDP. Unfortunately, in terms of sillage and longevity, fragrances like Gaultier2 are in a class way above – a class that is only shared by a handful of other special fragrances.
Simply put, Gaultier2 is one of the modern greats. Being a unisex fragrance, it manages to straddle both sides of the gender divide without leaning too much on either side. Many will argue that it errs too much on the feminine side and I’ll agree to a certain extent. However, it’s still perfectly wearable by any man and is not that much sweeter than most contemporary masculine offerings.
This is a feel good scent that will comfort you and fill you with confidence. It’s a true head turner that has the power to seduce and leave a lasting impression.. literally. Two sprays to either side of the neck and you’re set for the day. Anyone who comes within a few feet of you will have fragrant memory of you hours after you’ve departed.
Gaultier2 is a scent that draws attention and elicits compliments. It works wonders in cooler weather where its powerful, smoky sillage pervades the cool air, filling it with warmth and sweetness. Few fragrances perform in these conditions with such aplomb. Francis Kurkdjian once again proves that he is untouchable at this whole perfumery thing. Another classic in the making!
Longevity: 10/10 (24+ hours)
Sillage: 9/10 (abundant)
Scent: 9/10 (wonderful fragrance)
Uniqueness/Exclusivity: 9/10 (not very prevalent)
Value for money: 8/10 (can be pricey but it’s great value for money).
All in all, Gaultier2 scores a stellar 9/10. It’s really THAT good. It’s an easy scent to like and it smells incredible. I suggest you hurry up and get yourself some in time for winter. Expect some very enjoyable months ahead.. and great memories too; strong scents like this lock in memories like nothing else! I needn’t say more. My first bottle was permanently borrowed by my mum and I didn’t hesitate to replace it. I stumbled upon a barely used 4 Oz on eBay and I’ve used approximately half of that. I just love this stuff and I am sure many of you will too. What are you waiting for? Get yourself one!